Latest From GolfDigest.com
Twitter
Feedblitz
To Get GeoffShackelford.com Posts Delivered To Your Inbox Enter Email Address Below:


Powered by FeedBlitz
Books
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • Men in Green
    Men in Green
    by Michael Bamberger
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins

    Kindle Edition

  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

The true links have an intimacy with the waves; they are much on the same level, in close relation, almost cousins and part of the ocean if you can imagine sea turned into land or the land suffering sea change into something rich and rare.  H.N. WETHERED

 

    

Thursday
Dec062007

"For some reason, the tour keeps eliminating Q-school spots."

Buried on page 4 of the designed-to-generate-page-views setup of Steve Elling's latest Knockdown Shots, was this  item:

News item: All precincts have reported and the toll at the polls can be tallied. A whopping 14 of the 25 Nationwide players who will receive promotions to the PGA Tour for 2008 have previously played in the major leagues. Conversely, of the 26 who navigated though Q-school to land their cards, 15 will qualify as big-league rookies.

Knockdown shot: For some reason, the tour keeps eliminating Q-school spots. This year the number of cards was pared from 30 to the low 25 and ties. Why, for heaven's sake? Players like Gainey (a former furniture mover and assembly-line worker), Yong-Eun Yang (who beat Woods in China last year), Cody Freeman (an insurance salesman) and Bob Sowards (a club pro) are interesting folks and represent the American ideal, even if Q-schoolers do often struggle to retain their cards. Note to Ponte Vedra: From a storytelling perspective, rookies trump retreads nearly every time.

I will never understand why our friends in Ponte Vedra continue to eliminate the chances for those potentially outstanding stories that make golf so unique. And not just on the PGA Tour, but also the Champions where I'd sure rather hear about a Jim Albus or Tom Wargo than some Tour player who was boring in his prime, is just as boring now and who doesn't need the money. 

Thursday
Dec062007

"The saturation point came when it opted to serve as title sponsor for the AT&T National, the event hosted by Tiger Woods."

Stan Awtrey details AT&T's decision to opt of the Atlanta tour stop after 2008 and includes this:

The saturation point came when it opted to serve as title sponsor for the AT&T National, the event hosted by Tiger Woods.
And when the decision was made to dump a tournament, the Atlanta tournament — not the one affiliated with Woods — drew the short straw. AT&T officials notified Kaplan that it was invoking an escape clause, which allowed the corporation to withdraw upon giving a six-month notification.

It's amazing what havoc the Tour's decision to abandon the Chicago/Western July 4 date has wreaked: the demise of the International, horrible press and fan relations in Chicago that the Tour is trying to remedy, and now one less sponsor for Atlanta. I'm sure there's something else I'm forgetting.

Thursday
Dec062007

Par-3: Live Or Tape Delay?

In the great news about the par-3 contest being televised, the Augusta Chronicle's John Boyette says it will be on from 3-5 p.m.

I'm assuming this is live?

I actually think it would be fun if they tape delayed it to preserve some cache for patrons, while also allowing them to watch it after they've left the course.

Not complaining, mind you, just a thought! 

Thursday
Dec062007

Par-3 Televised! Kids Free! Second Cut...Still Around

Mark Lamport-Stokes on the latest great news out of Augusta:
Youngsters aged between eight and 16 will be given free admission to next year's U.S. Masters if accompanied by an accredited patron.

"We want to inspire the next generation of golfers," Augusta National Golf Club chairman Billy Payne said in a statement on Thursday. "We're serious about exposing youngsters to golf and the Masters."

Really, shouldn't this just be the case at all PGA Tour and LPGA events. What do you think?

This is the best news, though I suspect we'll see some criticism in the coming days:
Payne also said the popular par-three contest, traditionally held on the eve of the Masters, would be televised for the first time next year by ESPN to reach a wider, younger audience.

"These initiatives are important first steps and a great kickoff to our ongoing mission of growing the game," he said.

"The par-three contest is fun and exciting for the entire family. It's an event everyone enjoys and we think it will demonstrate to kids just how fun golf can be."
On that note, I have just completed some market research that says the 18-34 demo loves the old tight grass look of Augusta National and believes the Masters would be a lot more fun without all that rough and tree planting.

Oh well, maybe next year.
Thursday
Dec062007

"Do you ever swing the club as hard as you can?"

Thanks to reader Steven T. for this Craig Dolch story recapping Tiger's Monday clinic in Palm Beach where he faced tough scrutiny from the assembled media:

What was your favorite statistic this year?

"Seven wins," Woods said.

Michael (Jordan) used to throw away his shoes after every basketball game? How long do you wear your shoes?"

"Michael did give his shoes away after only one game," Woods said. "But in golf, once you break your shoes in, you want to keep them. I probably keep them for three months."

What type of a grip do you use?

"I use an interlocking grip," he said. "I used a baseball grip until I was 4. But I use different grips when I chip, depending on the shot."

Do you ever swing the club as hard as you can?

"I try not to go much over 90 percent," he said. "You can try and generate more clubhead speed, but I've found the ball goes the farthest when you hit it flush. If you swing hard and don't hit it flush, it goes out there like a 3-iron."

Wednesday
Dec052007

And Now A Word From Our Sponsors...

They've revamped USGA.org. You can probably guess what I think.

Tell me (and our Far Hills readership) what you think of the key difference between the USGA and R&A home pages, and what is says about the two organizations.

USGAHomePage

 

RAhomepage 

Wednesday
Dec052007

"The development he has proposed is much more Myrtle Beach than Balmedie."

Alasdeir Reid pens a must read Telegraph piece calls the entire Donald Trump saga "Swiftean" and says the course should not be built because of the proposed surrounding development's very un-Scottish approach to the land. Then again, this is the same country that approved a grotesque looking hotel on the Road hole, so they aren't entirely immune from acts of reckless taste.
Of course, the First Minister has kept a public distance from the wrangle between Trump and the Aberdeenshire planning authorities, but reports have suggested that he was furious over the Council's decision to reject the American magnate's plans. Certainly, the move to 'call in' the planning application for consideration at senior government level is not the sort of assistance the rest of us can expect when our plans for modest conservatory extensions are turfed out by local planning officials.

There are some whose opposition to Trump is probably based on nothing more than a visceral antipathy to the larger-and-louder-than-life figure he presents, the mouthy yank who would sooner push down any door than knock and politely wait his turn.

Those who witnessed his toe-curling contribution to the 2004 Ryder Cup's opening ceremony might suggest he should immediately have been served with a lifetime ban from any further involvement in golf. Yet if Trump has been guilty of hyperbole at times, it is still unquestionably true that the links of Balmedie offer a canvas on which a great course could indeed be painted.

Yet golf is a relatively small component of a development which, if implemented in full, would almost inevitably be known as Trumpton. In full, the proposal under consideration is for two courses, a training academy, a five-star hotel, 450 holiday homes and around 1,000 houses. Trump's most remarkable achievement has been to set an agenda in which everyone seems to be discussing golf courses, when even his own website suggests a construction project that could comfortably be seen from outer space.
And this really gets at the main concern many clearly have:
The fact of the matter is that Trump has come up with a plan that pays no heed whatsoever to local tradition. For all his moist-eyed claims about honouring the land of his mother's birth - Mary Anne Trump, nee MacLeod, came from the Isle of Lewis - the development he has proposed is much more Myrtle Beach than Balmedie. Golf was Scotland's gift to the world; it would do better to stick to the original version rather than re-import its American form.
Wednesday
Dec052007

18 Hole Year In Review

Doug Ferguson puts a new twist on the year-in-review story, taking us through 18 key holes.

Wednesday
Dec052007

Rory: Media Twists My Idiotic Tiger-Related Remarks

See, I didn't twist his remarks!

Geoff Roach reports on Rory Sabbatini's sit-down with the Aussie inkslingers to explain how he's entitled to his high sense of self esteem even if Tiger mops the floor with him every time they play head-to-head.

"But then those same people want to burn you for it. Sure I speak my mind because I'm just as entitled to my opinions as everyone else is. The thing is, if you are going to say something, at least have the courage to say it to the person concerned and not behind their back."

Well, he was asked, is there a bit of behind-your back-stuff out there on Tour?

"Definitely," he said. "Quite a bit of it. But I'm not a person who is going to step back and be a follower. I'm one of those guys that wants to be up there. l want to be leader of the pack.

"If you spend your whole life trying to please everybody in this world you're going to be miserable because you're not going to be able to achieve that.

"You may as well be the person you are and enjoy that. I know whose opinions I respect and trust and they're the ones I listen to."

But does the unpopular tag bother you, he was asked.

"Look, a lot of that is being unfortunately created by the media," he replied.

"Some of my remarks, like those about Tiger, have been twisted. I know what I said. I know the person I am."

You know Geoff Ogilvy is opinionated yet he never seems to have a problem with the media twisting his words. I wonder what the difference is? Hmmm... 

Wednesday
Dec052007

What A Compliment: Rory Calls Day's Remarks Admirable

Rory Sabbitini was asked about Jason Day's assertion that he's going to take Tiger down as well as hopefully join his neighbor for java at the same time:
"Personally, I think Jason Day is a phenomenal talent. I think he is going to be one of the fiercest competitors in years to come.

"I think a good question is would you want to raise a kid saying 'hey, listen, you can be No2, you can't be No1'.

"I think it is admirable that someone is willing to go out there and say, 'yes, I do want to beat him'. You can't let Tiger sit at No1 forever, because that's not going to happen.

"There will be a time when someone's going to overtake him. For him to say I want to be the one that's going to take down Tiger, good for him."

Wednesday
Dec052007

"Nobody at Golf Magazine would dispute Chicago is one of the great cities in the world as far as passion for the game."

Ed Sherman effectively dismantle's Golf Magazine's case for Chicago as America's 46th best golf city in the U.S. and includes an apology from this L.A. resident.
Perhaps fearing area readers might cancel their subscriptions, deputy editor Michael Cochran said, "Nobody at Golf Magazine would dispute Chicago is one of the great cities in the world as far as passion for the game."

But …?

Cochran said weather and affordability weighed heaviest in the equation.

"There may be a slew of great public-access courses in Chicago, [which our numbers acknowledge,] but if you're stuck with too many unplayable, lousy days to play, then it also hurts in the rankings," Cochran said.

OK, we'll concede Chicago has about five good weather days per year. But Cochran's weather argument takes a hit when you consider Columbus, Rochester, Detroit (12th) and Indianapolis (16th) all are in the top 20. At last check, those towns have weather comparable to Chicago. There aren't many January days where you see players in shorts on the golf courses in Detroit.

Then further defying logic is Chicago's ranking under the category of quality of courses, which is defined as "The best courses in the best overall condition." Chicago is fourth.

And Chicago placed first in number of courses designed by "esteemed architects."

John Kaczkowski, the BMW Championship tournament director, asks the obvious.

"How can Chicago be 46th and ranked one and four in those categories?" Kaczkowski said. "Those are two pretty big categories, aren't they?"

It almost sounds like a scouting report for a baseball player saying, "All he can do is hit for average and power."

"Yes, 'quality' was a significant category," Cochran said. "But if the citizenry can't afford them or they have to fight for the tee times, then it doesn't resonate as well."

Wednesday
Dec052007

“A branded golf course will boost the value and income of a resort.”

The San Diego Union Tribune's Diane Lindquist covered a gathering of real estate minds to talk about the future of projects in Baja California. Jack Nicklaus was a guest speaker.

The most popular and lucrative projects now are those that are branded, such as golf courses designed by champion golfer Jack Nicklaus, who spoke yesterday about his role as the top golf course architect in Mexico.

“As soon as golf became part of the equation, prices went up,” he said. “A branded golf course will boost the value and income of a resort.”

 

 

Tuesday
Dec042007

The Donald Serves 30 Day Notice; Scottish Government Folds Like Beach Chair

Andrew Hough reports in The Guardian that the Scottish government is looking for ways to overturn the Aberdeen council's decision to vote down Donald Trump's proposed project.

The timing is curious considering Frank Urquhart's story of The Donald's purported 30-day option on a piece of land in Northern Ireland, along with Trump's threats to the council.

Last night, George Sorial, the Trump executive charged with masterminding the resort development, warned: "The clock is ticking. We are not going to compound one disaster with another."

Mr Sorial said: "There are several reasons behind our decision not to pursue the appeals process - the length of time it would take, the uncertainty of the outcome and also other business deals that we are actively pursuing. If we have an option to build what we want in another place it may be a better business decision for us."

He continued: "I have spent the whole weekend in Aberdeen and I have been reading about the public outcry [over the infrastructure services decision]. There have been two different surveys in which the support of the population has been put at 93 and 89 per cent.

"Over the past couple of days, an overwhelming number of the people have sent me e-mails and come up to me in the street and just expressed their complete dissatisfaction with the result and implored me to impress upon Mr Trump that the people really want this project

It's worth reading some of the comments of users following the Urquhart piece. (294 when I last looked). I'd say it's split more like 50-50. 

Tuesday
Dec042007

Jason Day Looking To Dethrone Rory's Claim As Best Player Who Could Believes He Could Be Better Than Tiger (And Is Dumb Enough To Tell A Reporter)

Looks like Australian Jason Day has been reading too many of his own press clippings, including this howler from the PGA Tour. From The Age on Nov. 27 (yeah, I'm a little slow).

Day has already claimed his own slice of US golfing history as the youngest player to win a PGA Tour-sponsored event when he won on the secondary Nationwide Tour in July.

"I had a really good amateur career," said Day, who emulated Woods' feat of winning a world junior championship, if not his three consecutive US Amateur crowns.

"Making five out of seven cuts on the PGA Tour (on sponsor invites) was pretty big at 18," he added.

"Winning at 19 and being the youngest on the PGA tour to win ever is pretty big.
Uh...it's called the Nationwi...ah forget it.
"At 19, Tiger didn't win a tournament as a professional.
And that has what to do with this?
"I'm just trying to mark myself up against him.
How about we just play a major first! Or win a PGA Tour event and then we'll try to compare. 
"Next year when I'm on the Tour somehow I've got to win two tournaments because that's what he won and I want to try and keep up with him."

What a good idea!

Day said winning a tournament boosted his confidence.

"At the same time the pressure builds up," he said.

"You're a 19-year-old kid, the youngest kid to ever win a PGA sanctioned event and the media is building you up like you're going to chase down Tiger next year which is a big, big ask for a 20-year-old kid on his first year out on the PGA Tour.

Take that Rory!

"I want to chase Tiger and my goal is to become the number one golfer in the world. That's been my goal since I was a little kid.

"If I work hard on what I need to, I'm sure I can take him down."

Oh but there's more. On whether he thinks Tiger could pick him out of a police lineup:

"He (Woods) watches a lot of golf. He has so much time.

"He played 16 events, what does he do with his time?

"He'd be aware of me, he'd be saying 'here's another kid coming up'

Well if he wasn't aware before, he sure is now.

"I just want to work really hard and take him down."

So glad you repeated it just in case the unbylined writer missed it the first time.

Day owns a house in Orlando just a lob wedge away from Tiger's mansion - at least till Woods relocates to his new spread under contruction.

He hasn't met the great man he plans to dethrone.

"He lives 10 minutes down the road but I've never come across him," he said.

"I must just knock on his door and have a coffee with him and let him know I'm chasing him."

My guess is Tiger doesn't drink coffee Jason. Maybe a carrot juice or some wheat grass.

Meanwhile, Nick O'Hern was asked about the comments

"I don't know Jason myself but from what I've heard and from what I've seen, he's a fine player," said O'Hern.

"One thing I've learned about Tiger though is you don't annoy the guy.

"If you do - look what happened to (Rory) Sabbatini and Stephen Ames."

Hey, at least they'd actually played on the PGA Tour and even entered majors, shoot, even contended in majors when they opened their mouths.

Tuesday
Dec042007

"When the market goes south, you can't support a golf course that costs who knows what - maybe $1.5 million to $2 million a year - to water and seed"

Regarding the status of Escena, the new Nicklaus course in Palm Springs, this Desert Sun story suggests that the shutdown is all Lennar's doing and a result of the sub-prime meltdown.

During an inspection of sprinklers by The Desert Sun on Tuesday, the fairways, roughs, tees and greens appeared not to be watered. Only the outlying landscaping appeared to have drip irrigation.

"When the market goes south, you can't support a golf course that costs who knows what - maybe $1.5 million to $2 million a year - to water and seed," said McCulloch, an avid golfer.

Marshall Ames, a vice president in investor relations with Lennar, said Tuesday his company is "very challenged to answer questions about individual communities."

I was in the desert Monday and drove around. I've never seen a nearly complete development essentially abandoned, so I pulled out my video camera... 

Tuesday
Dec042007

"If I'd have had full status somewhere, I definitely would have (turned pro). Now I don't know."

Steve Elling checks in with the two college players who were playing PGA Tour and LPGA Q-School as amateurs and considers where this leaves college golf.

Tuesday
Dec042007

"Since then the event venue has been for sale to the highest bidder."

Mike Clayton previews the Australian PGA and ponders the dynamics of choosing a host site. Thanks to reader Hugh for spotting this.

The players and their families love the resort, the locals have supported it in numbers Brisbane only dreamed about (even when Greg Norman was in the field) and whilst the course is not one of the best in the country it is a good test and the nature of professional golf all over the world is that commercial considerations are of fundamental importance when it comes to the choice of the golf course.

If you don't believe that, have a look at the courses the Europeans have chosen for the Ryder Cup. The last time a course was chosen on merit was in 1981 when they went to Walton Heath. Since then the event venue has been for sale to the highest bidder.

 

Tuesday
Dec042007

Golf Digest Best New 2007

bestnewcourses_470.jpgNow posted at GolfDigest.com, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Doak's Sebonack takes the private category.

The Best New Public With Hot Beverage Cart Girls Over $75 goes to Virginia's Highland Course at Primland by Donald Steel and Martin Ebert.

Best New Public Where You Might Have To Change Shoes In The Parking Lot Under $75 goes to another Virginia course, Ed Carton's Spring Creek.

The Best New Public Remodel, Lester George's restoration of The Greenbrier, beats out in stunning fifth place position, the horrid Industry Hills, aka Misery Hills, oh, wait, it's been rebranded as Industry HIlls GC at Pacific Palms Resort. I think the rebranding put it in the top 5.

Best New Private Remodel, goes to Gil Hanse, Brad Faxon and Jim Wagner for their revitalization of TPC Boston, edging out Rees Jones remodels of Bellerive and Atlanta Athletic Club as well as Jack Nicklaus's work at Ohio State.

And Best New Canadian goes to Muskoka Bay by Doug Carrick.

Stephen Szurlej's exclusive photos of the winners are posted, but other than the aerials of Sebonack I wouldn't waste your time unless you want to see a bunch of TPC Boston ground views from behind greens guarded by lakes. Not as horrific as his photo of Rustic Canyon when it won, which actually was taken by a blind ground squirrel. However, considering how easy the two courses are to photograph (I know, I'm biased) and considering the landscape photography work of folks like Lambrecht, Dost, Brown, the Henebry's, Cuban, Furore and Scalletti, Golf Digest should farm this assignment out.

While not award winning, at least some of these images give you a sense of why TPC Boston edged out some tough competition. 

Monday
Dec032007

"I wouldn't mind that."

Thanks to readers Adam and Jon for catching Tiger's appearance on CNBC to plug the latest swollen spatula from Nike. You can see the video here, but be warned, lots of lame questions from giggly anchors.

I loved that Tiger pointed out how this latest ugly thing you won't find in his bag "sounds a lot better."

Eric Pfahler writes up the interview but mysteriously leaves out a key, key comment.

While other professional sports have standardized equipment, golfers have lots of leeway, though there is some debate about using a standardized golf ball.

“I don’t see how we could get the entire industry to (believe) and go with that,” Woods said. “There would be some serious fighting going on if that was the case because that’s what separates us from other sports.

“It could happen. Augusta threatened to do it, but they just lengthened the golf course so we’re playing from downtown Augusta. We’ll see what happens down the road.”

Whatever technological advances there are in the future could change the game even more, Woods said.

“Seven years, our entire industry’s changed,” Woods said. “How’s it going to be 15 years from now? I don’t know.” 

But this kinda key answer was left out, as you'll see on the video.

Asked about a ball rollback:

"I wouldn't mind that."

Works for me!

Monday
Dec032007

"I think it's the two best rounds anybody has ever played"

Really neat to see Todd Demsey make it back to the PGA Tour. And super news for Colt Knost: no Nationwide Tour event to conflict with Masters wee...oh wait, scratch that thought.

Pete McDaniel profiles the final round hits and misses.

Medalist Frank Lickliter is quoted by Steve Elling:

 Lickliter, a two-time tour winner, led a large group of tour-card retreads, thanks to opening with consecutive 62s, the lowest 36-hole total in tour history had this been an official event.

"It's unofficial, but nobody's ever done it before, which counts for something," he said. "It's not quite Neil Armstrong on the moon, but it's up there."

Lickliter, who has declined comment after every round this week because he didn't want to derail his concentration, was asked if his opening 36 marked the two best rounds he's ever played. He took a drag on his cigarette and paused for moment.

"I think it's the two best rounds anybody has ever played," he said.

No doubt, it's impressive to fire back to back 62's, but really, if you are the medalist of an event, it's not The Show.

Golfweek's Ray McCarthy featured notes and this rationale from Lickliter for ignoring the press all week:

 “Hogan didn’t talk to the press,” he said.