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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
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • 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
  • 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

It must be remembered that the great majority of golfers are aiming to reduce their previous best performance by five strokes if possible, first, last and all the time, and if any one of them arrives at the home teeing ground with this possibility in reach, he is not caring two hoots whether he is driving off from nearby an ancient oak of majestic size and form or a dead sassafras. If his round ends happily it is one beautiful course. Such is human nature.




Sang-Moon Bae To Play On, For Now

An unbylined Reuters report says South Korean Sang-Moon Bae plans to compete in this week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

By law, Bae must return to Korea by the end of January to complete his military service or face criminal charges.

From Reuters:

"(Bae) is seeking legal counsel to work through the military issues in Korea," the 28-year-old golfer's manager said in a statement released on Friday.

"He has a valid green card, and Sang-moon intends to stay in the United States as long as it is lawful to do so and play on the PGA Tour this year, beginning with next week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Resort on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

I don't envy those trying to interview Bae this week considering the sensitivity of the issue. But I look forward to watching how this is handled!


“Have we Irish died and gone to golf heaven?” 

Karl MacGinty of the Independent files an expansive celebration of all things Irish golf, starting with McIlroy, touching on McDowell and Lowry, then finishes with Captain McGinley.

And this message to Team USA...

America had gone the opposite way with Watson. Their aim was to end 'captaincy by consensus', erroneously thought to be a factor in the stunning reverse suffered by Davis Love and his team in 2012.

One didn't have to wait until Sunday and Phil Mickelson's post-match criticism of his captain to realise how much out of touch Watson was. Key errors with his pairings said it all.

Ironically, with five current Tour stars on the 11-man Task Force, the PGA of America now clearly acknowledges the importance of working with the players. It was a lesson hard-learned.

Yet America would have a better chance of emerging from crisis if they stopped bellyaching about their own shortcomings and fully acknowledged the class shown by McGinley and his team.


Jack: "The average golfer always wants to relate to the pro, and I don't think the average golfer can relate to the pro today"

Jack Nicklaus visited the Coachella Valley en route to the Rose Bowl game including his grandson Nick O'Leary of Florida State (Oregon beat FSU 59-20).

Finishing off Toscana for developer Bill Bone, the 28-hole facility will be 36 by next year and Nicklaus tells Larry Bohannan that the project is a sign of an improved economy. He also discussed various initiatives and the distance the ball flies in altering how the game is played.

In particular, he's fleshing out his case for a rollback by noting what was inevitable: the relatability factor for the average fan.

"The average golfer always wants to relate to the pro, and I don't think the average golfer can relate to the pro today," said Nicklaus, the all-time winner in golf's four major championships with 18 victories and third all-time in PGA Tour wins with 73. "How can you relate to someone who can hit it 330 yards, 340 yards?"

Nicklaus hopes initiatives like larger cups, which have been used on several Nicklaus courses across the country, and initiative like Tee It Forward, which promotes shorter and more appropriate tees for some players, will stem the slide in golf participation in the country.

"The only thing it is supposed to do is to bring people into the game and keep them in the game," Nicklaus said. "You introduce women and children to the game, well, it's a tough game. You really want them to have some kind of success. And the seniors who are struggling as they start to get a little older, losing their strength, you give them a bigger hole and they have a game where they can enjoy it.

"You are not trying to change the game for people," Nicklaus added. "You are just trying to bring people in and have them have more fun."


I Know You Were Worried Files: The Yellowstone Club Is Back

Thanks to reader Bob for making sure I saw Sarah Max's New York Times business story on the resurgence of Big Sky's Yellowstone Club. The second home for the uber-rich had been the subject of several prior NY Times pieces looking at what a mess things had become. But you can throw out your Lunesta and plan on resting easy now. All is right with their world and they contractors are even getting paid thanks to shrewd new investors and Discovery's Mike Meldman lending his touch.

Max writes:

Likewise, the new owners have toned down the décor in the lodge and converted the caviar bar to a breakfast buffet. What was to be a grand ballroom in the basement of the Warren Miller Lodge is now dedicated to children’s activities, with a basketball court, game room and movie theater.

“This isn’t Augusta or some Upper East Side club,” Mr. Meldman said. “It’s a ski place in Montana, and you have to program it that way.”

Skiing is the primary draw. Yet more members are coming throughout the year to hike, bike, fly fish and golf — though people golfing in bare feet, with their dogs, is not an uncommon sight.

The place is so expensive they can’t afford shoes. Send checks now!


Video: The Viral Video That Could End Viral Videos?

As we wrap up a year in golf highlighted by no shortage of peculiar controversies, 2014 was undoubtedly the year of the viral video.

After this weird bit of child endangerment, titled "How To Pull A Tooth with a golf club, golf ball and dental floss," 2015 may be the year mothers don't let their husbands shoot viral videos. Or, maybe we just filed this one under the "stuff they do in the South" files. Roll Tide!


Happy New Year Patrons! Master Badge Price Goes Way Up...

...and the four-day ticket to gain entry to the Masters remains the best bargain in sports.

John Boyette of the Augusta Chronicle on the $75 leap to $325 for four days of tournament entry.

Boyette writes:

It’s the biggest single price increase for a badge since the tournament started in 1934.

A Masters badge has long been considered one of the toughest tickets in sports. A waiting list for series badges was established in 1972 and closed in 1978 when demand far exceeded the club’s supply. The waiting list was briefly reopened in 2000.


Poll: How Many Tournaments Will Tiger Win In 2015?

On his 39th birthday, it's a very simple question: how many will Tiger Woods win in 2015?

This is from January 1 to December 30th, so this includes World Challenges and Hero Four-Balls and anything else he might play. For what it's worth, I'm voting for one*, with an asterisk.

The poll:

How many tournaments will Tiger win in 2015? free polls

*2016 will be the big year for Tiger.


Brandel: Arnold Would Never Have Done What Phil Did

Brandel Chamblee's year in review focuses on the turmoil in 2014 golf and he feels the R&A's vote to finally take women to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews will be the story history looks back on as the defining one for 2014.

I'd suggest history will mock that it took so long even in the face of obvious candidates, and even more obvious hypocrisy of operating as a governing body while blatantly discriminating. Oh, and jacking around with the Old Course too.

Anyway, Chamblee is still upset with Phil Mickelson's Ryder Cup press conference performance, which, like it or not, produced results in the form of coming reforms. And I'm not sure this is the barometer we want for all golfers to live their lives by...

First, let me say that I have lost track of the number of times I have said Phil Mickelson is a gift to golf - he is. He wins often and plays with a recklessness that is a throwback to Arnold Palmer, and in dealing with crowds and the media he once again gets compared with the King. But what he did in the media center on Sunday night of the Ryder Cup, implying it was Tom Watson’s fault the U.S. lost, was something Arnold Palmer never would've done. It made the American side look even worse, which I didn’t think was possible.

Maybe temporarily but in hindsight, it had to be done and Mickelson gets points for taking out the trash.

Chamblee goes on to make one more case for Larry Nelson and suggests that the USA struggles may be tied to karma, a theory I wholeheartedly endorse.

The last thing I am going to say about the Ryder Cup is this: Larry Nelson was promised the captaincy in 1995, didn’t get it and then got stepped over by lesser major winners. What does one typically need to be a Ryder Cup captain? To have won the PGA Championship? Check. He won that twice. How about the national open? Check. How about success in the Ryder Cup? In his first nine matches in the Ryder Cup, he was 9-0. Check. Respect of your peers? Check. For added measure, he served his country on the front lines of battle, willing to put his life on the line for the freedoms we all enjoy. Find those credentials in a player today; go ahead and look. Good luck. Larry Nelson has them all and to those of you who say he's out of touch with today’s players, well, I say to you: How have all those captains who are in touch with today’s players been doing? If there is such a thing as karma for not fulfilling a promise, the PGA of America and U.S. Ryder Cup team are feeling it.


Will Sang-Moon Bae Face Charges For His Devotion To Craft?

Alex Myers does a nice job summarizing a Yonhap News Agency report on two-time PGA Tour winner (and current FedCup #2 points earner!) Sang-Moon Bae's plight with his native South Korea.

Bae's travel visa expires this month and under South Korean law he must return within 30 days and face "conscription" or he will be the equivalent of a fugitive.

From the Yonhap report:

All able-bodied South Korean men between the ages of 18 and 35 must serve in the armed forces for about two years. The country remains technically at war with North Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Also under the conscription laws, men between 25 and 35 who have not yet completed their compulsory service require a special permit to stay overseas.


Sales On The Things You Wish You Got For Christmas

Over at The Loop I write about five less flashy products/brands that were probably overlooked by your relatives.

Mentioned and linked in The Loop post: Doak and friends' Confidential Guide, Carlson's Donald Ross documentary, Ashworth's Linksoul, Johnnie O's shirts and Jones golf bags. Left out because their email arrived after I filed, but another favorite: Criquet shirts (use code saleonsale for another 10% off before New Year's).

I have no allegiance to any of these products and brands, nor do I benefit from promoting them other than knowing we're supporting things created by people who genuinely love making the game a little better. I'm pretty condident you'll be as satisfied as I've been with all of the mentioned products.


The Rio Olympic Field Update...Major Wins At A Premium

The updated Rio 2016 field is maintained at this site and while the women's field has the same big drop off, the men's field will get more attention for it's big drop off after the top 30 (if it were decided today.)

Most alarming is not that Jonny Vegas would get in the Olympics, but as Nick Zaccardi points out at NBC's OlympicTalk blog, Vijay "Singh and top-ranked Rory McIlroy are the only players with more than two major championships who would make the field off today’s rankings."


Torrey North Project Likely Facing Delay Due To High Bids

Tod Leonard of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Phil Mickelson's Torrey Pines North Course renovation project, which has seen an approximate cost jump from just over $6 million to $11 million due to various add-ons (including some South Course work), is likely to not begin following the 2015 Farmers Insurance Open. The only two construction bids that came in were apparently well above the project budget.

Leonard writes:

The work on the North Course originally was slated to start after the conclusion of the 2015 Farmers Insurance Open in early February, but City Golf Manager Mark Marney said the construction bids came in higher than the budget, and that will require city staff to re-work the plan.

“Engineering hasn’t completely ruled out the construction for this year, but it sounds like it’s very unlikely that it will happen,” Marney said on Monday.


Great Read: Andy Sanders And Jimmy Walker

One of 2014's best stories remains the emergence of Jimmy Walker as an elite player and Ted Bishop at his One Shot At A Time blog files a stellar write-up on a key piece of the Walker story--looper Andy Sanders.

Once an aspiring player, Sanders has overcome MS to guide his man to great finishes while flying under the radar.

Back in the 1990’s when Andy Sanders was visiting Franklin, staying with his grandparents and playing golf, it would not have been a surprise to hear his grandmother, Dottie, telling him that someday he would be in the competition at The Masters and Ryder Cup. She was proud of her grandson and she would tell anyone willing to listen how good Andy was going to be. I know because I lived across the street from Dottie on Carriage Lane here in Franklin.

Those predictions did come true, but not in a way that Dottie imagined. Unfortunately she never lived to see Andy enjoy success in golf at the highest level. Sanders was one of the country’s best junior golfers and he attended the University of Houston on a golf scholarship. After college he played on the Nationwide Tour from 2002-04 aspiring to continue his playing career.

Then one day Sanders woke up and experienced a blind spot in his right eye. Initially he thought it was a problem attributed to his contact lenses. Sanders would soon discover that he had Multiple Sclerosis. He tried to fight through the condition and keep on playing. He was receiving muscle injections every other week and eventually he contracted vertigo which was the worst thing that could happen to a golfer.

“My playing career ended because of the medicine, not the MS. Those shots depressed me night and day. They gave me vertigo and losing my balance was the end of my playing career,” recalls Sanders.  “There is no way you can’t look back and have some second thoughts. I made my choices at the time and now I am incredibly fortunate with my family and hopefully I have a great career ahead of me.”  

Bishop goes on to recount how Sanders and Walker ended up working together and other interesting insights into a player-caddie relationship.


"Top 10 in 2014: Social Media Fails"

I hope I'm not the first to wish Steve Elkington a big congrats for making Golf Channel's 2014 Top 10 Social Media Fails list...twice.

The list is a sobering reminder of the pedantic and more ridiculous scandals of 2014, all from hitting little keys on a digital device.

And a special nod to Jesper Parnevik for Instragraming his Segway accident, which made the list.

On a classier note,'s most watched videos of the year list is topped by an actual golf shot and includes several other golf shots. For those so inclined.


Music Video: #StopDropAndMakeA12Foota

"Matty" is a self-described 11-year old Vermonter who believes he's going to shot 18 "unda" par in "1 round of golf." He's clearly an aspiring playa (did I just date myself with a playa reference?) and if the golf career doesn't pan out, he can make a career out of doing (A) music videos (B) Tiger Woods Torrey Pines 2008 reaction impersonations (C) making 12-footers or (D) all of the above.

Thanks to Matty for this wildly imaginative, worldly and fun music video. For more, check out his website.


WSJ: "Golf, as it’s now played in China, doesn’t have a promising future."

It'll come as a massive shock that the hyper-expensive, uber-gawdy, totally-unsustainable version of golf exported to China appears to be slowing down.

Andrew Browne, writing for the Wall Street Journal (thanks to JB and Bertie for sending), writes:

Just a few months ago, members of a newly opened Jack Nicklaus signature course in the Beijing suburbs woke up to discover the venue had been ordered shut amid a government audit of all of the city’s clubs. It was allowed to reopen after a few weeks, but only for members, not their guests. A nearby club didn’t get off so lightly: it had to plow up its immaculate greens and close permanently.

This isn’t a passing shower. Golf, as it’s now played in China, doesn’t have a promising future.

Browne cites Dan Washburn, guest on State of the Game and author of the best golf book of 2014, as his background for golf's history in modern China.

Washburn recently visited and offered this on his website:

But during my recent two weeks in China, I encountered more pessimism and uncertainty from those in the industry than ever before. Everyone quoted the rumor that up to 100 courses would soon be shut down, a process that perhaps got kickstarted with the closure of a handful of courses this summer. Beijing then, as it had a handful of times over the previous decade, reiterated its oft referenced but rarely enforced ban on golf course construction. It did so again just this week. Things do appear to be ratcheting up.

What to make of it? Who knows. Maybe this is truly the end of the boom. Maybe it’s just another bump in the road. Either way, it seems a good time to share with you a recent email I received from a China golf course industry veteran.

That email is worth checking out (many paragraphs). And as you might suspect, all of the reasons for the slowdown were predictable.


Hamilton Hall By The (2014) Numbers 

The Scottish Herald's Simon Baines has gone through Herb Kohler's annual report for Old Course Ltd and shares all sorts of fun numbers for those who care about the plumbing magnate's investments in the Home Of Golf.

Namely, Baines highlights what Kohler has sunk into Hamilton Hall and the optimism Kohler has for his investments as The Open is headed for St. Andrews in 2015.

Food for wonks...

The Old Course Ltd reduced trading losses last year as the first £1m-plus apartments were sold, and took on an extra 46 staff in response to higher occupancy levels. It also recognised an accelerated £4.6m liability for the wearing out of the tees and greens on the Duke's course. That pushed it to a £5.1m pre-tax loss, and took the cumulative deficit on the profit and loss account to £15.7m.

Mr Kohler, who bought the resort 10 years ago, says the return of the Open Championship to St Andrews next year "will provide a further opportunity to grow revenue and gain more exposure ein the market-place". His corporation also owns the Whistling Straits links, used for US PGA championships, in its home state of Wisconsin.

Earlier this year, Graylyn Loomis posted this history of the Hamilton.


Let The Debate Begin: 2014 In Viral Videos

My colleague Alex Myers' ranking of 2014's best viral videos is Academyesque in its blind spot for genuine viral golf video quality (his #1 selection is the golf version of picking Rocky over All The Presidents Men for Best Picture).

That said, I'm in a forgiving mood because Myers spent countless hours reviewing the many fine viral clips from the year and though my three favorites barely made the list, at least they were in the top 25. Kind of like how the Golf Digest panel always finds some Fazio course of the moment to love over a Merion or Oakmont, only to slide it off down the list a decade a later.

At #25 the high school lads Eric Angeles and Zachary Christman who also had this epic shot, barely make the list with the first of their two viral classics. Their original and still great shot...

Myers could only place the epic dancing bear 19th. But it was my favorite of the year.

And a close second or third place finisher was this brilliant four-footer at Elie, 17th on the list in spite of 3 million views.


Klein's Year In Architecture, 2014 Edition

Since 2008 it's been tough for architecture writers and magazines to do much in the way of year-end wraps, but in a sign that the design world is more active than it's been in a while, Golfweek's Brad Klein hands out a few awards for 2014.

Course of the year was Pinehurst (which I'd second), his best new design was Tom Doak's Dismal River creation and he gave best restoration to three courses. I was most excited to see a positive review from Keith Foster's work at Philadelphia Cricket Club, which we can now cross off the list of great courses most in need of a refresh.

Best Renovation/Restoration: A three-way tie here. Keith Foster’s restoration of the Philadelphia Cricket Club-Wissahickon Course brought out original designer A.W. Tillinghast’s genius for compelling landforms in a way that finally enabled this singular property to excel after decades under wraps.


The Great White Shark Is (Showing Us His) Back!?

Greg Norman's desire to share some of his most revealing moments via social media continued with this pre-Christmas Instagram posting:  "Nothing like being BACK in #queensland #Australia."

Now, some might say that it's odd for a 59-year-old man to share so many shirtless photos on social media, especially after this bizarro selfie and the recent post-chainsaw accident photo. Others might note the strong sense of self evident in the above image where he reveals the most robust shoulder hair since James Caan wore a wifebeater in The Godfather. And still others might point out that the Shark actually asked someone to take a cell phone photo of his back for the express purpose of having a shirtless "back" shot to announce he was back in Australia.

I, as a blogger, do not judge but merely copy and paste so that you can decide.

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