Hogan left us the other day for greener fairways. A goodbye as he would have wanted it, without superlatives, by a man of God in his own church in Forth Worth before an audience of his contemporaries and the flower of American golf...a man on whom even a breath of scandal never touched, who never did an unworthy thing in his life, whose friendship was as rare as rubies. For what Hogan meant, it's the old story. For those who know golf, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't, no explanation is possible.
Great set of content videos here from the folks at Trinity Forest, host to this week's AT&T Byron Nelson Classic.
Ogilvy on the double green at the third and eleventh holes.
Ogilvy on the short par-4 5th:
On the short par-3 8th and it's green complex:
On the well-placed bunker at the 14th:
And finally the zany 17th green:
Geoff Ogilvy covers most of the things you'd expect someone of his character and wisdom to not care for in the modern game. Still, he offers his usual honesty and strong takes that makes this piece for Golf Australia worth your time.
On slow play, he describes something I once again saw multiple times at last week's Genesis Open, including from one player when his group was a par-5 behind the next group.
Penalty strokes would, of course, fix this...
If you do all the little things between shots quickly, you can almost take as long as you want over a shot and not fall behind.
On Tour, the most frustrating aspect of slow play is being ready to hit, then looking over to see the guy with the honour just about to start his pre-shot routine. In other words, he has been doing something else entirely at a time when he should have been working out his yardage and figuring what club he needs to use. It is just so thoughtless and selfish. And it drives me nuts.
I get that some players can have trouble taking the club away from the ball – Kevin Na, Sergio Garcia and Ben Crane spring to mind. And I have sympathy with such a problem. But still. It is relatively easy to get to that point quickly – even if you then struggle to start the backswing.
Golfweek's Eamon Lynch talks to some interesting male golfers who are tuned into golf architecture and who generally have to tune out most courses week-to-week.
Besides great insights from Geoff Ogilvy and Zac Blair, I enjoyed this from Frank Nobilo on elite players, which is even more reason to step up the design nuance and risk-reward setup!
“He finds the weakness and exploits it. You take the liberties that your own game allows,” Nobilo said.
Nobilo notes that Johnson hit driver on eight of the last nine holes at the Plantation Course.
”At no stage is he considering what the designer had in mind, or for that matter who they are,” Nobilo said. “He only thinks what advantage he can gain.”
A man doesn’t need to waste time mulling risk when he can fly it all and reap the reward.
And this from Ogilvy on non-major tour courses he's play if architecture and brain engagement were the only pre-requisites for schedule-making.
I asked Ogilvy how many non-major events he’d compete in if he only played courses that engaged his brain. Kapalua. Riviera. Pebble Beach … Long pause.
“I’m starting to run out of courses,” he said. “Which is a shame. It’s a business and we have to go where the money goes. But strategically interesting architecture generally produces better tournaments and winners. Augusta National is so good at finding the guy who has got every part of his game – including his head – going that week. That principle remains everywhere. The more interesting questions a course asks, the more the cream rises to the top.”
Add Geoff Ogilvy (again) to the onslaught calling for professionals to be regulated.The timing now, however, adds to the sense the game's best thinkers have finally conceded something needs to change.
Martin Blake, reporting from the Australian Open, on Ogilvy's comments in response to recent remarks of the USGA Executive Director.
“Major league baseball in America they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.
“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters. We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’
Evin Priest does a nice job for Golf Digest Australia (thanks reader AM) talking to Adam Scott, Jason Day, Rod Pampling (Rampling in the online version) and Geoff Ogilvy about the best way to get kids into the game.
It's Junior Golf Week on Morning Drive so there are bound to be good ideas galore, but the four Aussies all have some great ideas. We'll just bite our tongues when Jason Day says the game takes too long. (He wants loops of holes designed into routings to foster shorter round options.)
Adam Scott on par-3 courses:
“I think growing up on a par-3 course was really beneficial. When you’re 5 or 6 years old and the holes are 80 or 100 yards, you can actually play them. It’s very hard to get a young kid, even 10 or 11, to play a 420-yard par 4 – it just seems like an unattainable goal to get it into a tiny hole at the end of that.
“Golf’s biggest challenge in the modern day is it just takes too long; young families with little kids don’t want to spend four, five or six hours on the golf course. They’d rather play a few holes and an hour is all they can possibly give up. Maybe if there were three-hole and four-hole loops on courses where they can go out for an hour and come back, they’d get on board. That’s how you can get introduced and fall in love with the game. And those who like it will transition into the 18-hole side."
Loved this from Ogilvy:
“I was so addicted when I was a kid because I had access. And is there a better place to drop your kids off in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon, considering the alternatives? Rather than the local shopping mall, terrorising the place. If they’re at the course, they’re hanging around generally respectable people learning how to behave around adults.”
We've put the band back together and talk to Geoff Ogilvy about this recent Presidents Cup gig as an assistant captain along with other issues in the game.
For those wanting to hear Geoff's appearance on Playing With Science alongside Neil degrasse Tyson, it will be here when it is pushed out to devices.
The MP3 version is here and of course the show is available on iTunes.
He does not name an existing perfect course but I'm pretty sure North Berwick would be qualify based on the criteria if not for the weather.
A couple of highlights from his piece written with Brendan James and posted at Golf Australia's site, starting with this, which ought to irk the folks at some of the world's elite courses who think they've kept their courses up with the times.
For me then, the perfect course is probably a combination of all the best features of, say, the top courses on the rankings. Ideally, I’d amalgamate the common attributes of Pine Valley, Oakmont, the Old Course, Shinnecock Hills, Royal Melbourne, The National Golf Links, Augusta National and Cypress Point.
With one or two exceptions, these courses are not generally that difficult until the weather turns nasty or the pins are placed in really tough spots. That makes them – again generally – playable for golfers of all standards.
There’s width to the fairways, and without any real difficulty found around the greens. Everybody can have fun.
Fun … that’s important. What the top professionals find difficult, the average amateur finds relatively easy. In other words, the further the average guy gets from the hole, the harder golf gets. For the pros, the game gets harder the closer we get to the hole, generally anyway.
As for the atmosphere...
My perfect course will also be part of a welcoming and friendly environment. There will be no cart girls, but there will be a Sunningdale-type halfway house where sausage sandwiches will be available. There will be a small range where you can hit a few 5-irons before you wander to the 1st tee, carrying your own bag. At the end of the round, you will be able to get your own car from the carpark and you will be able to walk around with your dog on a leash if you so wish. I don’t know why we don’t do that in Australia.
In other words, on my perfect course there will be no wasted manpower, no wasted energy and no wasted money.
Speaking of which, my perfect course will be playable with a half-set of clubs. Don’t get me wrong though, I want to be able to go out with my 14 clubs and have a great time. But I also want to be able to play in three hours with four clubs and have just as much fun. My perfect course will cater to whatever version of golf you want to play.
I'd concur, except for the leash. Let the hounds roam!
Another fun read from Geoff Ogilvy in this week's Golf World, talking about his career resurgence following a few years of struggle. As with many others before him, all the searching only made things worse.
At first my reaction was to practice harder and longer, experiment more with TrackMan, video and other equipment, and increase my work in the gym. It made me feel I was doing it the "correct" way, but it's actually easy to just work hard. Somebody next to you is hitting 500 balls, so you hit 550, and it seems you've gained ground. It's the time-honored sports approach that many simplistically ascribe to Ben Hogan, but I have no doubt even his voluminous practice was more about quality than quantity.
Bottom line, that kind of "more" didn't really work for me. For months, I found myself dragging my clubs to the airport Friday night instead of Monday morning. I finally realized I had fallen prey to a common tour disease: getting analytical, doing a lot of repetition, taking a scientific approach that tempts with possible answers.