Greetings From Santa Monica

I’ve returned to the Home of the Homeless where, mercifully, I will not (A) won’t have to see another artificially faded Boston Red Sox hat for at least a week, and (B) listen to any more complaints about a centerline bunker.

jacknicklausandmartindavis.JPGHowever I will not ever forget a lovely evening spent listening to Jack Nicklaus tell stories while discussing the impressive new Martin Davis book chronicling his life in the same format as the classic Hogan Mystique and The Greatest of Them All. I did not take notes from Jack's remarkably honest chat, but I'm sure several of those who were scribbling away will recount some of the stories he told. Then again, some of the stories he shared were so revealing that maybe they should not be repeated. That, anyway, is my excuse for not doing a post about it.
As for the Deutsche Bank, it’s always good for to get out to a PGA Tour event and be reminded just how few players have anything interesting to say golf architecture, and more remarkably, how few care.  After Ogilvy/ie, Oberholser, Harrison Frazer (who knew?), Baddelay, Pernice, Browne, Elkington, Woods and a handful of others, most of the field isn't too interested in what went into the major overhaul of the TPC Boston or how it might make their golf more interesting. (Maybe they're just too distracted by the stress of the playoffs. That's it!)
You would think that with so much money at stake there would be a bit more driving range discussion about the many nuances injected into the course, but then again, there is a reason many of these fine young men are good golfers: they don’t think about golf architecture. Which, I suppose, is why I admire the talents of the aforementioned players just that much more. Being so thoughtful and trying to play great golf is not easy.
The writer's reactions should be interesting once play begins and they have a chance to see the design impacting their play. Many should be pleasantly surprised at how many odd little lies and unusual circumstances players will face due to the new bunkering or the new/old style mounding I wrote about earlier in the week or other significant adjustments to the green complexes.
No. 5 (click to enlarge)
A few front nine design highlights to look for during NBC's telecasts...

- New 4th hole that should feature all sorts of birdies and bogies
- The revamped 5th that has become is (good) tough, beautiful par-4
- The new 6th tee out of the chute inspired by the late John Mineck
- The cross bunker on the par-5 7th that has induced entertaining whining because Heaven forbid if someone hits a poor drive they will have to lay up short of it and not have a very good view of the flagstick
- The depth perception altering bunkers at the par-4 9th where they constructed a brand new punchbowl green.

No. 18's centerline bunkering (click to enlarge)
Highlights on the back:

- The par-4 15th rewards players flirting with the fairway bunkers a good view of the hole while blinding those playing safe right
- The new 16th is a dynamite short par-3 with a nasty penalty for bailing out right;
- The 17th should make for great theater with the spectators hovering over the new and deceptive little green
- And the 18th, with it’s bunker strewn landing areas that are causing so much entertaining player whining (those bunkers are where I want to hit it!).

The TPC Boston has the potential to become a lot more interesting if Hanse and Faxon are allowed to tinker over the coming years. Namely, take out the modern mounding and catch basins for starters. They need to immediately dynamite the 2nd, 8th, 12th, 13th, and 18th greens and match them in style and character with their newly constructed putting surfaces.
And most of all, it'll be fun to see fescue grasses age under the incredible eye of superintendent Tom Brodeur. Because do remember as you watch, that these are new bunkers and new grasses, even though much of it looks like it’s been there for 50 years.