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  • 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
  • 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 medium of the artist is paint, and he becomes its master; but the medium of the golf architect is the surface of the earth over which the forces of Nature alone are master. Therefore, in the prosecution of his designs, if the architect correctly uses the forces of nature to express them and thus succeeds in hiding his hand, then, only, has he created that illusion which can still all criticism.



"We're trying to make the course more available to more people."

Thanks to readers John and Scott for this Frank Eltman story on the trend of municipal and public courses mandating cart use.

Nassau County officials argued that Eisenhower Red is so popular that carts are necessary to keep up the pace of play. They contend that anyone who wants to walk can still use the county's two adjacent 18-hole courses at the park named in honor of one of the country's best-known presidential duffers.

Of course, the added income from golfers paying up to $29 each to rent a cart won't hurt the bottom line in a county that only several years ago teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.

"We're not doing it for the money," Deputy County Executive Peter Gerbasi said after the policy went into effect. "We're trying to make the course more available to more people."
I'm assuming he is claiming that either (A) carts will help keep the course in business or (B) carts will speed up play and therefore allow more people to play?

Either way...frightening.

And I thought I was the only one driven to self publishing... 

Dan Zurla, a retiree from Port Orange, Fla., wrote a self-published book, called, "A Civil Right: The Freedom to Walk a Public Golf Course," and has filed lawsuits with little success against the municipalities of Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach and Port Orange, which have mandatory cart policies.

He argues that his constitutional right to liberty has been infringed by policies that prevent him from walking the links. He wrote an opinion piece that appeared in Sports Illustrated last year, supporting the rights of walkers.

"Requiring golf carts changes the basic nature of the game and deprives people of their liberty to choose," he said. "Governments cannot make walking illegal on public land without a good reason."


Steve Stricker's Emotional Win Overshadowed By Steve Allan's Early FedEx Cup Exit

Just remember, they weren't going to eliminate anyone after this first event until Tom Pernice sounded off last year to John Hawkins (I'd link it, but I think it's a goner). The tension it added was palpable, well at least the few times I flipped over from the U.S. Amateur.

Meanwhile, Rich Beem avoided elimination with his fine play, earning a spot in Deutsche Bank and reportedly forcing tournament officials to order an emergency print run of tickets,


Number of Champions Tour Playoff Participants Exceeds Gallery Size

...Denis Watson beats six other geezers in Seattle.


TPC Boston Before/After 4th Hole

This is the one TPC Boston hole that Hanse-Faxon-Wagner reworked most, shortening the 425-yard par-4 by over 100 yards to create a risk-reward, driveable short par-4. The new view facing players is seen in the below "after" photo.

I'll be able to say more about how the options work when I get out there and see it next week.



TPC Boston Before After 5th Hole

The TPC Boston's 475-yard par-4 5th hole, before and after the Hanse-Faxon-Wagner redo. I'll try to get a better look at that big boosting bank that has been created just to the right of the green to kick shots in. Looks interesting.


And after...





"Money games seem to have gone the way of the niblick and stymie."

Thanks to reader John for catching Jim McCabe's excellent overview of practice round gambling in pro golf:

"It's different out here. It's way too serious," said Brett Quigley, who isn't against tossing down his own money to back his game, except his colleagues seem to prefer the company of swing coaches, sports psychol ogists, and agents as they walk the fairways in practice rounds. A spirited Nassau? Not enough of his peers seem to go for that sort of thing anymore, "at least, not like when I was watching Dana grow up."

That would be his uncle, Dana Quigley, who at 60 is old enough to remember when money games during practice rounds were standard.

"I'm sure guys would still want to do it, but the fact is, they're all in their private planes, going home between tournaments, so they don't travel together," said Dana Quigley. "It's too bad, but there's no one around to have money games with."

Certainly not like the days when players such as Doug Ford and Bob Goalby were part of the traveling PGA Tour show.

"We had to play the money games," said Ford, a two-time major champion. "We made our money in the practice rounds."

To illustrate his contention, Ford recalled a practice round at the 1957 Masters when a colleague challenged him. Accepting the game and the stakes, Ford pocketed a sum of money that nearly matched what he made later in the week when he captured the coveted green jacket ($8,750).

OK, that pales in comparison to the gaudy sums that Mickelson and Huston took from Daly, but Goalby offers reminders of inflation and perspective.

"You'd probably have to play a $100 Nassau to match the $5 and $10 Nassaus we played for," said Goalby. "The only difference is, we didn't have the sort of money that these fellows do today, so the pressure was probably greater back then, because we couldn't afford to lose what little money we had."

Still, Goalby doesn't begrudge today's players for their treasures.

"They're so much better than we were, it's unbelievable," said the 1968 Masters champ. "They drive the ball better, they putt it better, they practice more."

But Goalby offers a disclaimer.

"But I think we had a better time playing golf in our day," he said. "We definitely had better times in our practice rounds. I'm sure of that."



U.S. Amateur Final Set

506-t.gifI was wrong when I posted that Colt Knost wants to be the next Tom Scherrer. He wants to be the next Chris Patton. Holy guacamole is he, well, uhhh...let's just say I hope they pad that U.S. Walker Cup budget so Buddy Marucci can meet Colt's dietary needs.

Ryan Herrington blogs about Colt's so-called Masters dilemma, and Colt says no matter what there is no chance he's remaining an amateur to the U.S. Open should he win Sunday.

Meanwhile there is this unbylined game story on Saturday's matches, while Dave Shedloski also looks at Knost, Ken Klavon writes about the other finalist Michael Thompson and Alex Miceli posts notes.


TPC Boston Before/After 15th Hole

And the 15th hole at TPC Boston before photo courtesy of






And Yet More FedEx Cup Reviews

fedexcuplogo.jpgNot since Tiger turned 30 have the scribes found such an easy column, only in this case, they're actually interesting to read. Chris Lewis lists various reasons to question the playoff concept but loves that it has revealed an "unparalleled surfeit of tour pro honesty."

Meanwhile John Huggan says the FedEx Cup... merely the latest attempt by commissioner Tim Finchem to set a place for himself at golf's top table, where sit the Masters, run by the Augusta National Golf Club; the US Open (United States Golf Association), the Open (Royal & Ancient Golf Club), the USPGA (PGA of America) and the Ryder Cup (PGA of America and European Tour). The world's biggest and richest circuit, the PGA Tour, has long been driven crazy by its almost total lack of influence over any of the game's five most important and lucrative events.

Which is why the Presidents Cup matches, a glorified exhibition between a 12-man team from the US and another drawn from anywhere and everywhere except Europe, exists. Ticked-off Tim wants to be the centre of attention.

Sadly for his sizeable ego, however, the Fed-Ex Cup has just about the same level of (in)credibility as does the transparently tacky PC, a biennial affair that is but a pale imitation of the Ryder Cup.

Also check out Huggan's column for his review of Scott Macpherson's new book on The Old Course. 


TPC Boston Before/After 8th Hole

The TPC Boston's 213 yard par-3 8th appears to not have provided the Hanse-Faxon-Wagner team much to work with, but the bunker has less of that lovely Rees quality to it in the after shot (below). I also like the little bumpy ridge cut out short right that eliminates some of the modern shaping look and probably helps the player see into the right bunker better.




U.S. Amateur Saturday and Other Olympic Club Observations

506-t.gifI'm a little behind because the matches are underway, but for those tuning Saturday at 1 on NBC, a few stories will acquaint you with the final four.

Beth Murrison has the Friday game story summing up the day's play with a nice overview of the semifinalists.  Art Spander writes about Jhonattan Vegas, whose impressive game I got to see some of Friday. There's also Dave Shedloski on Colt Knost and Stuart Hall on Michael Thompson. 230136-992923-thumbnail.jpg
A big gallery follows the Vegas-Pan match Friday (click to enlarge)

As for the event, it was my first U.S. Amateur and if you've never been, it's one of the great spectating experiences in golf. Very few ropes dot the property and you get the chance to roam a great golf course watching elite golfers. Until you see it, you forget how unique it is to get so close to such high quality play in today's game. 230136-992909-thumbnail.jpg
(click for a word from USGA sponsors)

As for Olympic, it remains one of my very favorite places in golf thanks to the atmosphere, singular design and fond memories from playing USF's collegiate event there. I was a both thrilled and disappointed in how the course looks. On the sensational side is the extensive tree removal work since the U.S. Junior Amateur that has left mostly Monterey Cypress and some pines. Vistas have been opened and the Cypress look more impressive than ever. The view from the clubhouse of No. 3 green is particularly eye-catching.

View from behind No. 8 (click to enlarge)
The fairways and greens looked to be in fine playing condition, but outside the main playing areas, the course looks worn out. And there is a difference between looking natural and rugged, and appearing beat up.

Here it was the U.S. Amateur, with very limited galleries and it looked like Tuesday after a PGA Tour event. The many fescue native areas that looked so good during the U.S. Junior Amateur now look less appealing, with too many non-native weeds and a less than satisfying appearance.

Bunkers were recently resodded so it's hard to say how the sod will settle, but right now the bunkers have lost some of their gracefully aged look. Give them time and play and I suspect they'll settle back into their classic antique look. 230136-992914-thumbnail.jpg
New tee on No. 3 stretches it to 247 (click to enlarge)

Several new tees were in play since my last visit, and while the third and fourth were conceptually fine, the execution was uninspired and in the case of the third, they appeared to have been done very close to the Amateur. Two new modern and even less inspired practice greens right below No. 3 don't exactly add much ambiance either. I have a feeling this overall feel may be the reason Olympic has slipped a bit in some of the recent course rankings.

And just to be the broken record I am, the fairway widths were incredibly depressing. On a course where the slopes and trees are such a prominent part of the design, the confining widths just seem to keep errant balls in play instead of taking missed shots to greater trouble. When firm and a lot wider, Olympic is infinitely more interesting to play or watch. I would contend that when it is firm enough, as it was Friday, it is far more difficult the wider it gets. I have played it when it's wider and it was exhausting! In a good way.

Rough around and behind No. 6. What a contrast to Southern Hills (click to enlarge)
Two narrow fairway examples come to mind: No. 2, with it's beautiful helping slope to the right and steep fall off to the left was reduced to a meaningless sliver, while No. 6, at a paltry 22 yards wide and featuring the lone fairway bunker, offers nothing but rough over that bunker, even though a player should want to hug the hazard and the left side to get at right side hole locations (and tee shots missed left trying to secure this angle find serious trouble).

Of course it would help if the guys weren't hitting wedges into a 440-yard hole, but that's an issue for another department in Far Hills. I hope that by the 2012 U.S. Open some of the fairways are tweaked.

Still, for overall tournament golf atmosphere, I don't think there are many better places than The Olympic Club. 230136-992937-thumbnail.jpg
One of the game's great scenes, No. 18 at Olympic Club (click to enlarge image)


More TPC Boston: 16th Before and After

I believe this is a new green by Hanse/Wagner/Faxon at the TPC Boston, with the par-3 shortened and the green given more of a peninsula effect that should make Sunday hole locations fun.

Before and after, with the old green site sitting where you see the reddish fescue grass:





"Rory Sabbatini still found a way to tug on Superman’s cape"

That's Steve Elling writing about Rory Sabbatini's latest comments directed toward Tiger. Now, they say the definition of insane is when you keep doing the same thing go Rory! We love when Tiger wipes the floor with you!

His favorite foil, Tiger Woods, isn’t even in the field this week, yet cantankerous Rory Sabbatini still found a way to tug on Superman’s cape and court another mini-controversy.
Sabbatini shot an 8-under 63 Thursday to take the first-round lead at the inaugural FedEx Cup playoff event, The Barclays at Westchester Country Club, but he couldn’t resist taking the bait when the topic of Woods’ controversial absence was broached.
Sabbatini, whose opinionated honesty has repeatedly landed him in some sticky situations with regard to Woods this year, characterized the decision of the game’s top player to skip the first round of the mega-hyped playoff series as an embarrassing black eye.
“It's a disappointment because, obviously the whole purpose of this new system was to try and create an atmosphere that would draw everybody to the final four events of the year,” Sabbatini said. “Obviously, it's kind of backfired in the sense by Tiger skipping the first event.
“It leaves a lot of questions and a lot of interesting questions to what they need to do, to maybe change it so that you definitely have the incentive to play all four.”
Sabbatini, who won earlier this year at Colonial and stands sixth in FedEx Cup points entering the week, said those who skip stages should suffer a penalty of some sort and possibly should not receive the full $10 million bonus if they win the four-week race.
“There's many guys that play on tour that are out of shape and they play six, seven weeks in a row,” Sabbatini said. “It's just, I don't know if there's any solution to it, but there's got to be some kind of financial incentive.”

This ought to go over particularly well in Orlando this week. 
Woods’ claim that he was too tired to play after winning back-to-back weeks at the Bridgestone and PGA Championship rang hollow in Sabbatini’s ears. For Woods, the FedEx bonus money is probably no great windfall, odd as it might sound to civilians out there, he said.
“Oh, I definitely think it's something other than fatigue,” he said. “Well, I think maybe to some people $10 million doesn't seem like a whole lot of incentive but to others it would seem like a good incentive.”

 For more of Rory's thoughts, here is his press conference transcript.


TPC Boston Before/After 1st Hole

On the TPC Boston's first hole it looks Hanse-Faxon-Wagner raised the front bunker (or certainly didn't lower it) to obstruct a clean view of left hole locations. I can already hear the players crying foul! It's not all right in front of you!




TPC Boston Before/After 10th Hole

More of the Hanse-Faxon-Wagner redo of TPC Boston, this time the 10th hole, which only saw minor changes. More fescue and bunkering with a lot more flair.

 And after...



Explaining Westchester's Greens

John Hawkins says the August weather has taken its toll on Westchester's greens.

They really need to lose some trees too. 


U.S. Amateur Quarterfinals Set

Ron Balicki offers this story at while Ryan Herrington sets up the four Friday matches, that include one player whose identical twin also played this week.  And Golfweek offers this slideshow courtesy of our friends in Fairhaven.


"His dad taught him a lot outside of golf that has carried over into the way he plays"

Tim Rosaforte posts a peculiar little blog item about Andrew Giuliani, the Duke golfer and son of presidential candidate Rudy.

It didn't surprise Phil Mickelson that Andrew Giuliani (right, with Tiger) was doing so well in the Met Open, shooting 71 in the opening round Wednesday at the Meadow Brook Club on Long Island. Lefty and the former New York City mayor's son played in the Buick Classic Pro-Am a few years ago, before Giuliani enrolled at Duke, where he is entering his junior year as a walk-on member of the golf team. "He's got game," Mickelson told me after his opening-round 67 at The Barclays.

Rudy Giuliani is an 18-handicapper, but in Mickelson's mind, Giuliani's 21-year-old son got his father's disposition. He lists a muny, Van Cortlandt Park, as his home course, but also plays out of Trump National in Briarcliff Manor. "His dad taught him a lot outside of golf that has carried over into the way he plays," said Mickelson. "He doesn't let bad shots affect him. He plays without fear. He plays aggressive. He plays smart. He's got a good overall way to attack the game."

Uh, that stuff his dad taught him outside of golf. Was that when they were still speaking?



TPC Boston Before/After 9th Hole

The TPC Boston's 480-yard par-4 9th, with the view prior to last fall's Hanse-Faxon-Wagner renovation and the after shot below.



The Promotion Or The Format?

fedexcuplogo.jpgRon Kroichick says what others have been saying, namely that the Tour's promotion of the FedEx Cup is largely to blame for fan and media apathy:

The flaws of the FedEx Cup, then, begin with how Finchem and other tour officials promoted their pet project. They tried to jam it down our throats all year, as if the playoffs really were more important than the majors. They didn't put it that way, of course, but the implication turned off many fans (and players).
It seems to me that while that is true, the PGA Tour is in a tough position because of a perceived need to cater to "tradition."


Now, I'm just as guilty as anyone of revering golf's traditions, but if the promotion conveyed that the FedEx Cup was simply a new, fresh way to conclude the year and merely meant to entertain us, would they have been raked over the coals for daring to imply that professional golf is in the entertainment business above all else?

I'm afraid so. Which is a shame, because the pro game needs more variety outside of the major season. The Tour needs ore interesting formats, more diverse courses and more variety in setups.

But it seems golf, and in particular, pro golfers, are too conservative and devoid of imagination to accept anything outside of 72-holes of stroke play each week played on a course looking pretty similar to the one played the week before.

So has the promotion rubbed you the wrong way or is it the format?