Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
    Sports Media Group
  • 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
  • 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
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

A golf course that invades a hundred or more acres, and is actually visible in its garish intrusion from several points of observation, is an abhorrent spectacle. The less of man’s handiwork the better a course. PERRY MAXWELL



Goats Are The Future!

Julie Williams follows up with a story on the goats thinning native grass areas at Pasatiempo and shares this from Terry Hutchens.

Terry Hutchens, extension goat specialist at the University of Kentucky, notes that employing goats for brush clearing is a West Coast idea making its way east. But then, so are goats.

“It’s been used in the West for years, but east of the Mississippi River, it’s a phenomenon,” said Hutchens, who predicts that using goats for brush management (on golf courses or otherwise) will be common practice in 10 years.

For the past two years, Hutchens has been involved in a student research project that introduced goats to three landfills located on Bluegrass Station, a former Army base in Fayette County, Ky., now operated by the state. Groups of four goats first were released in quadrants slightly smaller than a half-acre to assess their land-clearing capabilities. The project was taken one step further when goats ended up at Avon Golf Course, a public nine-hole facility on Bluegrass Station, on a two-month trial basis.


The Caddy's Compendium...

Thanks to reader Bill for this "Caddy's Compendium" by Margaret Erskine Cahill and posted on the Schott's Vocab blog at They were mostly new to me!

The jungle means the rough. While a day in the clouds is used to describe working on a hilly course. The Scotchman is the appellation bestowed upon professionals, regardless of country. Big house is the club house. Matinee loopers are so stigmatized because of their habit of reporting for duty late or in the afternoon.

Ice cream caddies are schoolboys who earn spending money through caddying, but who do not depend upon it for a living. A looping fool is a caddy who holds the record for doing the most caddying per day, per week or per season at any particular course.


Golfweek Debuts Top 40 Best New Courses List

Who knew there were enough courses for a list? Actually, forty may be the entire list of new courses which looks hefty considering next year's will be a much shorter list.

What struck me more than a couple of startling slights was the sheer comedic value of some of the course names. And I'm not referring to the ones named after their developers. In the interest of kindness, I won't name names.


"At least it's a first; the first trophy wife to serve on the Executive Committee."

That quote came from a USGA insider who was looking for a positive in the nomination of Diana Murphy, wife to former USGA President Reg.

Judging by the measly seven comments you'd think the latest USGA Executive Committee shuffle would be of more interest. Especially when one of the new candidates is from Sea Island. Because we know how those posts go.

But the traffic numbers tell me otherwise. Apparently you USGA insiders are at a loss for words at the latest boondoggle cooked up by the Nominating Committee, so you pounded the refresh button after my comments about Jay Rains' untimely departure. Perhaps in hopes of a follow-up post?

Well I'm a tad distracted these days but when I had a cell signal I heard from a variety of people who suggested this latest oddball move has many at Far Hills and in blue blazer circles reeling, especially since a possible president and individual you'd want in the room is being replaced by a former president's wife who no one is suggesting will bring much to the table at a time the USGA needs smart people in the room.

Another wrote in to suggest that this latest political mess has forced a certain Executive Director to postpone his departure to help right the ship. But only David Fay knows the answer to that question and I just bet he won't tell any of us ink-stained wretches if this is, in fact, the case.


Greenbrier: The Flower Beds Were Toxic!

Jim Justice is countersuing in between explaining why some lien-filing contractors will get paid and back surgery.

Justice said he plans to file the countersuit against Aspen Corp, a landscaping company, and George Golf Development, a golf course design firm, because of "sub-par" work.

He said the companies put a material on the golf course's flowerbeds that made the soil "toxic."

All of the flowers died before the tournament, Justice said. The resort bought additional flowers and replanted them, but those flowers died after the tournament because of the soil, Justice said.

A lawyer representing the companies has said the "work would receive an excellent grade."

A grade?


"I played better when I was drunk."

I really hope the PGA Tour doesn't fine John Daly for what he said to Ron Green Jr. Fine him for his pants, the WD's, but have mercy VP Of Fines.

Signing copies of his book, "My Life In And Out Of The Rough," with a silver pen, Daly was asked what he's learned about himself through the years.

"That I was happy when I was a miserable drunk. I played better when I was drunk," he said.

Daly paused, smiled half a smile and gently shook his head.

"I don't know," he said.

"Sometimes you point your finger at yourself. You can only point your finger at yourself so many times. You look back at yourself and write the pros and cons of your life and the pros outweigh the cons.


"It's the difference in lobster tail and hot dogs."

It's hard to argue against Shane Bacon's assertion that the Fall Finish is better and more authentic than the FedExCup.

Why? Because, unlike the FedEx Cup, the Fall Series is actual drama. It isn't that "which multi-millionaire is going to cushion his retirement by nine figures" drama, it's "which golfer is going to have a great job next season or just a good job."

It's "which player will be playing at places like Harbour Town and Riviera, or which will be playing at Hardscrabble Country Club and Midland Country Club?" It's the difference in having a job the next year that will surely make your life a ton better, or driving from town to town hoping to find a good guy on the Nationwide Tour to bunk up with. It's the difference in lobster tail and hot dogs.


"These guys can thrill thousands with their shot-making -- and don't need to squirt vintage champagne over nightclub revellers to make themselves appear 'interesting'."

A very nice column by Karl MacGinty makes a simple case that the need for more colorful characters is ultimately not a product of their off-course life, as in Anthony Kim's case, but what happens on the course and how the emotions, strategy and beauty of the game will bring out the color.

Are players like Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler not exciting enough? These guys can thrill thousands with their shot-making -- and don't need to squirt vintage champagne over nightclub revellers to make themselves appear 'interesting'.

Those who suggest golf lacks adventure or excitement obviously missed last month's Ryder Cup climax. Though shunned by the megastars and played in front of dwindling crowds, the PGA Tour's 'Fall Series' has in recent weeks produced a couple of incredibly dramatic finishes.

For example, Jonathan Byrd completed the most astonishing coup de grace in golf history as darkness fell over Last Vegas last Sunday, landing a sensational ace on the fourth hole of sudden death to beat Aussie Cameron Percy and defending champion Martin Laird of Scotland.

"Did that go in? You gotta be kidding me," said Byrd, who'd struggled in the gloom to see his superlative 204-yards six-iron pitch 10 feet from the hole, hop once and then roll into the cup, clinching a fourth PGA Tour victory for the 36-year-old and ensuring he has a job for the next two years.

A worldwide TV audience witnessed history being made as a PGA Tour event was decided for the first time by a hole-in-one. To see it happening live was indeed a thrill.


Annual USGA Executive Committee Shuffle, 2010 Edition

Sadly, I've read enough of these now that all the middle-initials sound the same and with all due respect to the new nominees, there weren't any bios with much wow factor.

As usual, the buried lede is in the retirements, where the annual quality committee member/future president material is pushed off prematurely. Besides returning president Jim Hyler...

Four other current members of the Executive Committee have also been nominated to serve as officers. They are: Glen D. Nager of Washington, D.C., and Thomas J. O’Toole, Jr. of St. Louis, Mo., as vice presidents; Geoffrey Y. Yang of Menlo Park, Calif., as secretary; and Steven R. Smyers of Lakeland, Fla., as treasurer.
The other seven current members of the Executive Committee nominated to continue their service are: Christie L. Austin of Cherry Hills Village, Colo.; Daniel B. Burton of Lititz, Pa.; William L. Katz of Essex Fells, N.J.; Brigid Shanley Lamb of Mendham, N.J.; Christopher A. Liedel of Vienna, Va.; Gene McClure of Atlanta, Ga.; and James B. Williams of Orinda, Calif.
There are three newly nominated candidates for the Executive Committee for 2011: William W. Gist IV of Omaha, Neb.; Edward G. Michaels III of Atlanta, Ga.; and Diana M. Murphy of St. Simons Island, Ga.

A IIIrd and a IVth!

Gist is a dentist who received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska and his DDS from the University of Nebraska College of Dentistry. He was a member of the Nebraska Golf Association’s Board of Directors from 1996 to 2006 and served as its president from 2002 to 2004. He has served on the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship Committee since 2001 and has served as a Rules official at various USGA championships, including the U.S. Senior Open, and collegiate events such as the Big 12 Championship and the NCAA Men’s Regional Championship. He won the Nebraska Mid-Amateur Championship in 2000 and is an eight-time club champion.
Michaels, who earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina and his MBA from Harvard Business School, worked for McKinsey & Company in a variety of roles from 1969 to 2001 after serving as a supply corps officer in the United States Navy. Michaels served as chairman of the board of trustees for The McCallie School from 2005 to 2008 and is the founder and current chairman of the Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education. Michaels, a former board member at Wade Hampton Golf Club, serves as chairman for the United States Seniors’ Golf Association’s Desert Invitational Tournament. He is the current senior club champion at The Vintage Club in Indian Wells, Calif.
Murphy is managing director for Rocksolid Holdings LLC, a private equity firm. Murphy, who received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University and an advanced executive business degree from Northwestern University, was formerly managing director of Chartwell Capital Management Company as well as senior vice president of advertising and marketing for the Baltimore Sun Company. She currently serves on numerous public and private boards of directors, including: Georgia Research Alliance Venture Capital Fund, Abeome Corporation, Coastal Bank of Georgia, College of Coastal Georgia, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia and Landstar System, Inc. She served on the USGA Membership Committee from 1996 to 2008.

She's almost got a board for every month of the year!

Uh, isn't it kind of odd that in her bio it fails to mention she's married to Reg Murphy, former USGA President and 2006 nominating committee chair?

Mark E. Newell of McLean, Va., has been nominated to serve as the Association’s general counsel for the first time, replacing Joseph W. Anthony of Minneapolis, Minn. Newell is vice chairman and chief operating partner of Latham & Watkins LLP, which he joined in 1983. He has been a member of the firm’s Executive Committee since 1999 and served as the managing partner of the Washington, D.C., office from 1993 to 2000. Newell served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. from 1982 to 1983. Newell, who earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1981, served as editor and treasurer of the Harvard Law Review. He received his undergraduate degree from Albion College and earned his Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
Three current members of the Executive Committee will retire at the 2011 Annual Meeting: Pat Kaufman of Fort Washington, Md.; John Y. Kim of New York, N.Y.; and Cameron Jay Rains of San Diego, Calif.

Longtime readers know that I had problems with the way the entire Friends of Torrey Pines/San Diego/USGA marriage took place, but it ended up a great success in spite of Rees's insipid redo of the South. Throw in the city of San Diego's pecularities and it now looks like a minor miracle that the Open ever got there.

So after Jay Rains joined the Executive Committee, it was delighful to find him to be one of the more approachable, likeable and thoughtful committee members who seemed like an ideal presidential candidate with his combination of intelligence, savvy and love of the game. Of course, as one observer noted, he's from California and we just had Jim Vernon's presidency that went way too well, so it needs to be at least 30 years before they dare hand the keys over to someone from a state that's about to elect Jerry Brown...again.


PGA Tour Set To Take GM's Dirty, Grubby Government Money!

Michael Smith reports on this clear and obvious move to the side for the PGA Tour, taking back a longtime sponsor that is only around because of--don't say, don't say it--that non-Republican American in the White House!

The shock and awe of it all is coming to the WGC event at Doral:

“The luxury auto brands can’t be expected to stay away from golf forever,” said Rich Luker, a trends research and marketing consultant. “I think it’s a great fit. Cadillac is not going to sell cars to the middle class, they’re going after the market that needs to be encouraged, the professional types that are willing to help revitalize industry in the U.S.”

The GM brand most synonymous with golf used to be Buick, which was the tour’s official vehicle from 1984-2009 and title sponsor of as many as four tournaments in a season. Buick also had a long-running endorsement deal with Tiger Woods through last year, but with that brand looking to market to a younger audience, industry sources say, Cadillac is now considered the better fit for the PGA Tour.

GM’s return to golf also would be a boon to Doral’s network partner, NBC, because $3 million to $4 million of the money spent on a title sponsorship goes toward media. Each title sponsorship typically comes with more than 30 ad units each on the network — NBC or CBS — and Golf Channel, at least half of which must be used during the event’s broadcast.

Now the only question remains, which member of the Tea Party's PGA Tour chapter will denounce the move?


R.I.P. Robert von Hagge

Cybergolf publishes a very nice remembrance of an architect who certainly took chances and was by no means dull! I always had a particular fondness for the work he and Bruce Devlin did in transforming TPC Woodlands into one of the more fun TPCs.


SI/ Breathlessly Rushes To AK's Defense... For Now! ****

First there was Alan Shipnuck's story containing a few soft denials from Anthony Kim about his Vegas fun and a cheap shot about the gossip columnist's missing eye in the name of protecting AK. And then this from the roundtable:

Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: You know, these guys get killed all the time for having no personality, and then when they show a little flair we kill them for that, too. The guy is 25, single and wealthy. If in fact he already knew he couldn't play, as he claims, then I don't see any harm in going out with his friends and having some fun. There was likely a lot of alcohol consumed, but not necessarily by him. He just picked up the bill.

Morfit: Good point, Gorant. I think that's what kids in his situation are expected to do. That's not to say it's not potentially problematic for Kim. If we get 10 years down the road and the guy still only has a few Ws and no majors, we'll know the partying was an issue.

And then we'll act like this discussion never happened and rip him to shreds!

Van Sickle: For the old-timers out there, the AK story so far sounds remarkably like the young Raymond Floyd story. He turned out pretty well.

Herre: The initial report came from a gossip columnist, Norm Clarke of the Las Vegas Review Journal, whose sole source was a tweet from a DJ. Amazing how so many "journalists" took such a flimsy story and ran with it.

Yes, like the "journalists" at's Press Tent blog, where most of the golf world read about the flimsy story first. And actually if you read the initial Norm Clarke column, he appears blissfully unaware of the tweet. What kind of "journalists" is he?

Now, remember this next bit of fawning when Kim is either, God forbid, (A) broke (B) in car accident (C) ending a career after his doctors said his alcohol-depleted immune system just couldn't mend the injuries, or (D) sitting outside the Masters selling merchandise out of his Winnebago:

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Alan said it in his story and many of us have seen it: AK likes the low lights, the heavyweight fights, courtside seats, good-looking women, shiny rides, and why shouldn't he? A lot of people do. He knows the deal: what happens in Vegas is on Al Gore's World Wide Web within minutes. He's not pretending to be something he's not. I don't care. I'd like to see him get all he can out of his golf talent, but if that's not important to him now, that's between him and his sticks. Too much damn judgment these days about how other people lead their lives.

Evans: AK should own his reputation as a party animal. He's not married or a member of a team that holds him accountable. Giving Alan some spin just makes him look lame. What's the point of being at a casino with a pocketful of money and a lot of chips on the table if you can't act wild?

Thankfully, Garrity and Van Sickle restored a big-picture view:

John Garrity, contributing writer, Sports Illustrated: The thing that worries me about Kim is that he seems to have all these "friends" helping him spend his money. It's relatively easy supporting a wife and children on a Tour player's income, but there's real pressure if you've got a posse counting on you.

Van Sickle: It's doubly amazing how far removed we are from AK being any kind of a force in golf. As young guns go, he's way back in line now behind the Molinari brothers, the Italian teen who just won in Europe, Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler, Jeff Overton, Rory McIlroy, Ryo and a few others. Kim is going to have to re-prove himself next year if/when he's healthy.