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Monday, February 28, 2005


Tuesday I'll have the Maples interview/Pit Article up. In the meantime, I want to introduce you all to some people without whom my book could not be written. Please take the time to read these and check their links since you never know when you too may want to reach out to them for whatever you need. I vouch for them - stout hearts all.

Since the lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client, David Rose of Pryor Cashman Sherman and Flynn, Jeff Levy of Roberts and Ritholz and Peter Glass of Anderson Kill, all from Manhattan, have all "let business take care of business so the writer can take care of writing." They are all an entertainment and IP lawyer's entertainment and IP lawyer and are among the world's elite movers and shakers in the biz, yet are sincere, warm and generous. Check out David's firm, Jeff's firm, and Peter's firm to see their A list clientele and terrific achievements.

Next Barry Neville my agent has been a terrific fighter for me. He's at The Neville Agency and helps me win the points I need with the publishers.

Next, Mike and Heidi Strantz, Fuzzy Fezler, Brian Silva and the entire Maples family (see my blogroll!) have opened their hearts and devoted their most precious asset, thier time, to helping me nail down the details of design and architecture. The only thing more superlative than their talent as designers is their collective collegiality, consideration, patience and generousity. If only all businesses were conducted in this spirit, a throwback to an age many decades past, this would be a far merrier world.

Next, fellow writers Robert Thompson, musey, media guru, instamarv, and Larry at No three Putts and Brent Kelley all provide insight and comeradery along this incredible and fulfilling journey. I may not be playing well at this moment, but I am playing with wonder and ineffable joy...and that is a great gift.

Next, Nancy C. and Carrie have faithfully typed page after page of gibberish which has somehow crafted itself into well...insert your own description here.

Thanks to all the musicians, film makers, authors, software developers, TV producers and broadcasters I am privileged to call clients and friends. Like me, you dare to dream, chase the dream, live the dream and share the love through your art. I am proud to count you among my extended family. Plus the music rocks, the films inspire, the products pioneer, the TV shows...well...;);)

Finally, thanks to my family, friends, all the hard working golf industry professionals all over the USA and to my two regular weekend foursomes - Steve D, Wink, Chucky and the strict rules on Saturday crew, and all the laid back but plucky newbies I take out on Sunday like Jay Kogan, Nancy, and others who count everything even up to 140 even though I'd give them the freebies since they are just starting out. For you purists, my dad once said to me when I was a kid and was teaching a friend to play, but sticking him with rules, "You dont teach someone by screwing them." Thanks dad and mom for all the life lessons and for believing in me with white hot faith.

Last, thanks readers for getting what I'm doing. This project is for every man and woman who wants an epic golf vacation at an affordable price. They are out there and they are more moving than you know...but are finding out. Keep coming, keep spreading the word and keep playing. The end of the tunnel is in sight. Oh, and always remember golf's real magic. Golf makes dreams come true. Golf keeps families together. Golf is a zen cleansing. Golf is a never ending adventure. Golf is meeting new people and finding common ground and breaking down barriers that divide us. Golf is the truest window to a person's soul. Love golf for its wonderous variety, not the score, that's its most precious gift...the one you can't see.

See you in your area soon!


Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Pit - Pinehurst, NC 11th Tee. Posted by Hello


State Hwy 5
Pinehurst, NC 28370

Architect: Dan Maples
Par – 71/72
Excitement Level – 8/12
Difficulty – 5/12
Conditioning – Three stars
Cost - $45, excellent packages available
Yearly memberships – No
Value – Three stars

Tees Yards Rating Slope

Screw 6600 71.8 133
Spike 6138 69.9 123
Half Rail Anchor 5690 68.0/71.0 115/125
Rail Anchor 4759 68.0 115

Dan Maples smiles warmly and his eyes twinkle as he takes a bite of his ribeye au poivre in the Golf Club at Longleaf grill room. “Heck, Donald Ross tinkered with No. 2 his while life. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to own the course and run the course. I can tweak it till I get it just right.” Maples is right – it is rare for a designer to get the chance to have any input whatsoever after handing the course over to the owner. Indeed, many designers have produced wonderful designs only to watch in horror as course owners, real estate developers or even public golf commissions presume to sign the Mona Lisa with a spray can and call it art. (Just look at High Pointe in Michigan for a cautionary tale). Luckily, Dan Maples did not have that problem at the Pit. Buying and owning the land, rallying friends and colleagues to be the investors and living a drive and a chip from the clubhouse give new meaning to the words “home course.”

In this case, Maples’ Ross-esque tinkering has produced a course which is not merely competitive, but revered. Even more remarkable, he did it in an area dominated by Pinehurst and Donald Ross, two names at the bedrock foundation of American public golf. In a way it is fitting. Dan’s grandfather was Ross’ shaper. Dan's father, Ellis maples designed Pinehurst No. 5 and was a pro in North Carolina. Maples used to doodle golf holes when daydreaming in grammar school. “I remember one day my mom pulled out a crayon drawing of a golf course layout I did when I was seven” he laughs with a sincere, folksy charm. “It had everything, greens, fairways, bunkers, I mean it had the works.”

Nevertheless, Maples did not figure out his path until college when he selected the University of Georgia for its excellent landscape architecture program. Since then, in a manner true to the diligence and adaptability necessary in running a family business in a hyper-competitive industry, Maples has worn many golf hats. Designer, club pro, teaching pro, long driving champion, even multiple winner of the national Golf Course Architect’s tournament, Maples has done it all. But in his case, it’s jack of all trades, master of all trades. Maples is celebrated as one of the greatest architects of the living generation. “Dan Maples is a living legend” said Fox Sports Broadcaster Steve Czaban, a long time Virginian. In fact three living generations can claim to have spent many vacations and leisure hours cherishing his courses. Marsh Harbour, Oyster Bay, Sea Trail, The Pit, Man-O-War, The Witch, The Wizard, Longleaf, Cherokee in Tennessee, Dunegrass in timeless Old Orchard Bay, Maine – the list reads like a who’s who of great, affordable and celebrated public courses. More than a dozen Myrtle Beach courses alone bear Maples name and, for many years, formed the backbone of the region’s packages.

Although Maples believes in a classic philosophy of design, (“I like people to see the landing area, see the greens,” he says) there was much about The Pit that was against the grain, indeed rebellious when it opened in 1985. While we now take expansive waste bunkering for granted, Maples’ occasional uses at The Pit drew more than a few raised eyebrows. Three heroic carries in a row at the course’s version of “Amen Corner,” ironically at 11, 12 and 13, riled some, inspired others. Nevertheless, you can’t throw a paper airplane made from a tobacco leaf in N.C. without hitting someone who recalls their experience at The Pit with a smile and who recounts at least one train wreck somewhere with its grassy corridors.


More on Dan Maples and The Pit

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Right now the AWITP team is on 95-S in the teeth of a snowstorm. Not the greatest omen for golf, but as we have not yet reached VA, hopefully we’ll see 50s, maybe even 60s by journey’s end. I would shudder to think of trying to walk and play Tobacco Road in blowing 40 degree cold. The course would prove most cruel indeed. On such days, always remember that 40 and blowing, possibly even raining, is the norm in Scotland or Ireland, so get used to it if you want to be ready for that trip.

Even so, as I was driving down 95, it occurred to me how many excellent places are just a scant few miles off the highway and are perfect for an afternoon jaunt – weather permitting of course. So here are two great choices.

Also, as I feared, my off-hand comment this week that I like Outback Steakhouse provoked a flurry of food-related responses and emails;) (almost more than the golf related responses!) Rather than get into that debate here, I will instead make the subject of food an amusing diversion thoughout my reports this trip. So without further ado:

101 Back Creek Drive
Middletown, DE 19709

Architect: David Horne
Par - 71
Excitement Level – 5/12
Difficulty – 5/12
Conditioning – Three and ½ stars
Cost - $65 Peak, $55 Off-Peak/Reduced
Yearly memberships – No
Value – Three and 1/2 Stars

Tees Yards Rating Slope

Back Creek 7003 74.2 134
Blue 6505 71.8 128
White 6105 69.9 126
Red 5014 69.3 115

More than one magazine has called Back Creek the best course in Delaware. While it is not the kind of course you build a vacation around, it’s great for a low impact, high comfort, convenient round at the beginning or end of a trip up/down 95, or for a weekend trip to DelMarVa. Yes houses line a few holes, but there are many interesting holes, a wide variety of terrain, challenging shot values and shot shaping requirements, good conditioning and an affordable price. Top is $62, but $40 is most common. We like holes 5, 6 and 16 for there beauty and shot values.


Aberdeen, MD

Architect: Tom Doak
Par - 71
Excitement Level – 8/12
Difficulty – 6/12
Conditioning – Four stars
Cost - $90 Peak, $60 Off-Peak/Reduced
Yearly memberships – No
Value – Three and 1/2 Stars

Tees Yards Rating Slope

Black 7023 74.9 142
Blue 6656 72.6 135
White 6086 70.1/74.8 130/134
Red 5363 70.4 121

Tom Doak is again the master of subtlety and understatement. Beechtree
Features scalloped bunkering, rolling fairways, large undulating greens, impeccable conditioning and naturally occurring streams and lakes. The price tag is a bit high, but Doak provides an extraordinary diversity of holes and a comforting playability at Beech Tree that even Fazio would envy.

From the viewpoint of quality, Beech Tree is in that highest echelon of public courses on the eastern seaboard, along with Royal New Kent, and Bulle Rock. The price tag still exceeds $80, but the conditioning and layout are still superb. Plus it is less than 10 miles off 95.

Burger King
Clara Barton Rest Stop
Pennsgrove, NJ

Architect: The Donald’s Lickspittles
Par - NA
Excitement Level – 0/12 despite the hype
Difficulty – 10/12
Conditioning – One star – for the “Smoky BBQ Sauce”
Cost - $5
Service: Excellent actually, bubbly and effervescent
without being unctuous or obsequious
Value – 1/2 Star

When a sandwich is unleashed with such fanfare as its own reality TV episode and comes with its own life-size cut-out of a scowling Donald Trump it must be the raison d’etre for creating the sandwich as a food form in the first place, right? Oh, wait…its Trump flavored.

Somebody got fired for this sandwich and I for one am glad. It tastes no different than the other Burger King burgers. (Must be the flame broiling). Whoever had the idea of putting breaded onion rings on burgers should foot the bill for the corresponding spike in coronary treatments. Thank god they were smaller than fingernails…and for extra BBQ sauce.

When they said “Have it your way” may way apparently means dry, stringy, miniscule and on a flavorless, doughy hard roll. I could have opted for the “Fire Grilled Shrimp Salad” or the “Wake up with the King Croissanwich” but I didn’t. Oh well. Live and learn.

Monday, February 21, 2005


The serene 14th at Tobacco Road. Posted by Hello


Get ready for tour journal reports again because AWITP is headed back on the road, this time to indulge in the southern charm, tranquility and grandeur of Noooooth
Ca-ro-liiiiiiiiii-na. For this trip, I have teamed up with Erik with a K from "The Sand Trap," web site here. We'll play The Pit Mid-Pines and Tobacco Road - two low impact, high comfort rounds sandwiching one of my favorite courses in the world and a real firebreather. This will make the total number of ranked courses I have visited for the book 207. My articles on Tobacco Road are part one and part two

Three rounds in the Pinehurst area and a two night stay at a quite comfortable hotel complete with extra large jacuzzi for $203. Should be amazing. Donald Ross designed Mid Pines, so it will be a steady diet of good chipping and putting to score well there. Dan Maples' the Pit was a trend setter back when it was designed and is still a well respected favorite despite the fierce rise in competition.

I am also looking forward to meeting and playing with Erik. Not only is he a fine writer, but a solid stick as a nine handicap. With the driver problems I have been having I should struggle to play to my 12, but between my short game and my knowledge of Tobacco Road (well except for 9 and 15), I should hold my own and make other contributions with my rapier wit, potent quill, and newly-minted affinity with video. We hope to return with some video blogging. I know the camera loves me(***rolls eyes***) and Erik assures me the camera at least likes him as a friend, so weather permitting we should get some incredible video footage, especially of Tobacco Road.

That brings me to the most important aspect of this trip - food. Last time in NC, I made the mistake of eating at an Iron Skillet restaurant before playing Tot Hill Farm. For those of you unfamiliar with this dubious chain, lets just say nobody serves up a plate of mystery meat and oily eggs like them. Without a doubt the worst "steak" I have ever, EVER seen in my life. On the subject of steak, Erik is especially looking forward to the fact that we can walk to Outback Steakhouse from our lodging. Now I know some of my New York readers right now are saying "JAY! STOP! YOU'RE KILLIN US! PLEASE!" Relax guys, when in NYC, the choices are obviously Angelo & Maxie's, Smith & Wollensky's, Peter Luger's and those numerous great Belgian Brasseries. (Calm down, Musey, I said Brasserie)MUsey's great blog is here. But this trip has taken me to a great deal of middle America and lets face it people, yeah Manhattan is great, but just like we need South Beach style, Madison Ave pinache and Soho sashay, we also know a good deal. So before you lay into me, remember I'll see you at Woodbury Outlets or at Beau Brummell on half-price deisgner suit week. fact is, when away from NYC - whether its been Ohio, NC, Pennsylvania or wherever, when I'm in a strange town and dont know whats great or don't have time to look or take a detour, Outback serves up a solid $20 dinner. Besides, we'll have a whole other night to do the "fine dining" thing if time permits. If not, more time for chipping, pitching, putting, writing and the jacuzzi.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Lets all give a polite golf clap to some blog newcomers...and click on their links to check out their copy. First media guru has assembled a great conglomerate of golf blogs at http://hookedongolf.blogspot.com.

Next, have a cocktail in the Bogey Lounge, a fun irreverent golf site. Its at http://bogeylounge.com

Also, please keep checking in with other great golf writers Erik Barzeski (www.thesandtrap.com)

Robert Thompson: http://goingforthegreen.blogspot.com

MJ and the best golf jokes going: www.mjongolf.com

There's also plenty of fun at www.golfblogger.com, so pop in for a visit there too.

and of course Musey: http://golfersmuse.blogspot.com

Finally, if you look at the blogroll and buttons, you'll see some new toys I am particularly keen on. First, HOW BOUT THAT PINK FLOYD BUTTON! Is that cool or what? Right above Old Glory, my American Blogger button. Next, you can get Firefox, the hottest new Internet Browser and Thunderbird, a new email program. No more pop-ups, viruses or spyware! Also, there's great music on my list too...Bowling For Soup, Phish, Samsara and free LEGAL downloads at Mashboxx. Legal free music that the music industry sanctions! That's a bargain all day long! Plus there are great golf courses, great golf designers and the ever popular "Smelly Hippies Click Here!"

The coolest buttons, the brightest blog-buddies, the newest software, the hottest music - who's got a better blog list and buttons than A Walk in the Park?

Nobody, that's who! :):)



A lot of ink has been spilt and bandwidth absorbed chronicling the recent on-course tribulations of David Duval. Sure he has certainly carded some cringe-inducing scores and shouldered some searing, withering criticism. Sure he is a long way from the form that made him immortal back in the summer of 2001. Several folks have joked about him “getting shots” when he plays and queried “Could you beat David Duval?” Some have even uttered the word - retire. Think about this for a second. Amateurs - people who do not PLAY golf for a living and possibly play it particularly poorly, and are nevertheless only vicariously involved with the man on any level (if at all) are suggesting to a seasoned professional and former World Champion “Give up.” “Quit.” “You can’t do it any more.” “You’re washed up.”

As a long time fan of David - someone who watched with joy as he finally conquered golf’s Mount Everest and who followed his career for several years before that - I also find I have to throw out my unsolicited, amateur’s opinion. I may not know much about shooting scratch golf, but I know something about carrying on in the face of insurmountable odds and continuing to fight when everybody else says your quest cannot be achieved and you should give up.

By God, I sure do know something about that.

So after deep and careful consideration, David, please take a moment, gentleman to gentleman, golfer to golfer, human being to human being, to take the brief advice I will presume to offer.

DON’T YOU DARE GIVE UP. Not for one second. I have seen the things you have accomplished...and I believe that the unquenchable spirit and ceaseless dedication you possess will overcome this too.

Did you give up when sportswriters and radio show hosts joked about you being over weight? Not for one second. You hit the gym, changed your diet and became a paragon of fitness. Did you give up when you got unfairly blighted with the worst tag in all sports, “best player to never win a major?” I’ll pause for a moment while you pour yourself another glass of claret from that silver jug with your name on it that graces your mantle. (Oh, and Nicklaus’ name...and Hogan’s...and Palmer’s...and Woods’...and Bobby Jones’...)

Did you ever act like a prima donna in public or have any public meltdown or moment of shame? By my count, there has never been a snap, snipe, or sour note from the smiling southerner even now as the microscope probes far too close. Plus, you handled the “World Champion of Golf” title that goes with winning the British Open with respect and dignity. You knew that winning the British Open was not the end, but a whole new beginning; one that carried a heavy burden of responsibility and reverence - a burden you bore with grace.

Who would you rather cheer for, sports fans? Guys like Freddie Mitchell? Alex Rodriguez? Randy Moss? Ron Artest? Jason Giambi? Ray Lewis? Rae Carruth? Barry Bonds? Stop me anytime if you find someone with as much integrity and grit as David Duval. Let’s face it. When it comes to being an ambassador of the game, Duval shares the rarified air of superlative gentlemanliness with such stalwart company as Mickelson, Els and Crenshaw.

Let me briefly remind everyone else about some other seemingly impossible things. It was absolutely impossible back in 1776 for a ragtag, divided, motley bunch of colonists to fight it out with England, a country that had not lost a war in CENTURIES and had superior arms, mercenaries, resources, naval power, manpower and money. No chance. A sure rout. Game over. Tea and crumpets all around. Oops. It seems we underestimated some little motley bunch of colonists’ resolve and resourcefulness.

Recently, when a midwestern American gentleman was trapped by a fire in his house, it was impossible that the family dog could somehow go to the telephone, dial 911 (DIAL 911!) and bark incessantly to summon help in time to save his master. That could never happen. No way. Well, woof woof...look what Rover just did. His master is alive and well, if incredibly lucky.

Courage is the ability to be strong and brave and resolute in the face of adversity. But valor is the ability to be courageous, brave and resolute in the face of insurmountable odds and certain failure. David, if you think winning the British was the high point thus far, just think how much more legendary, indeed epic it would be for you to win again on tour. You have already shown your valor, fighting on in the face of insurmountable odds and continuing to chase the dream no matter how many people tell you “don’t,” “no,” “can’t,” “won’t,” and “stop.” Boy, there is nothing more satisfying than proving them wrong.

More than that, what an example you are setting now that people are missing. Your valor and grace are the gold standard that not only athletes, but citizens (in the true sense of the word) should strive to attain. And people criticize that effort? This is the country that takes “don’t,” and turns it to “been there, done that, what’s next?” This country’s greatness (yes, I am proud of what we accomplish and believe we are great) was built on taking “can’t” and saying “Oh, yeah? Guess again.” Instead of the knee-jerk, instant gratification, “write it first so they can read it here first” reactions, some of us recognize this is a marathon not a sprint and that the race goes not to the swift, but the dedicated, the unsinkable and the fearless. We all should be inspired to work as hard. We all should dare to dream as big to achieve such heights. We all should face our adversity with such grace and resolve. Our society would be so much better for the effort.

I believe in you, David. Just like I believe in anyone who shows the great American virtues of rock-hard resolve and tireless effort. I’ll take a guy who dives into the stands for loose balls, who runs the court full speed whether winning by 20 or losing by 20, and who is the first in the gym and the last to leave even when he knows he won’t play in the game that night anytime. He’ll lap lazy, talented guys in the long run and in the clutch. Don’t you dare quit, David. You will get by, you will survive. So let them say what they want. None of it matters to me. They will have to pry my belief in you from my cold, dead hand.

Jay Flemma

Purely by coincidence, my friend and collegue, sportswriter Steve Czaban also wrote a great piece on this very issue. You can find it here:


Also at


Monday, February 14, 2005


Concord Road
Kiamesha Lake, NY 12751

Architect: Joe Finger
Par - 72
Excitement Level – 8/12
Difficulty – 10/12
Conditioning – Three and ½ stars
Cost - $65 Peak, $55 Off-Peak/Reduced
Yearly memberships – No
Value – Four Stars

Tees Yards Rating Slope

Blue 7650 76.4 142
White 6989 74.1 137
Red 6548 78.5 144

Back in the seventies, the Concord Resort was one of the most celebrated facilities in the country. A-list celebrities entertained well-heeled New Yorkers and other jetting golf and tennis aficionados in a bucolic getaway conveniently nestled in the Catskill Mountains. This full service resort climbed to the top of its competitive mountain primarily on the strength of its unconquerable golf course, dubbed “The Monster.” Even now, its prolific length and fierce rating make it one of the most difficult tracks in the country for all levels of play. Most amateur players are overmatched at tracks over 6800 yards and ratings over 72 and pros still face a stern, long test at the Monster’s Herculean 7650 yards/rating 76.4. Now imagine the challenge presented back in the course’s heyday when no one heard of a bubble shaft, fairway metals were not even in designers' imaginations and blade irons were the standard in all bags. The Monster’s difficulty was so renowned that pros were unwilling to consent to a tour stop being played there. To this day, the course record remains 67, owned by several players.

Sadly, bankruptcy and real estate disputes have closed this once proud resort. It has been many years since Bobby Darin and Englebert Humperdink shared drinks with Florence Henderson and Ben Vereen. But the golf course has stayed open throughout the turmoil, a well kept secret on any true connoisseur’s golf radar screen. Even now, the course is still a fantastic challenge to all golfer’s and is a steal at the $65 greens fee.


In the early sixties, owner Ray Parker issued a challenge to top architect Joe Finger (now in partnership with nationally acclaimed designers Baxter Spann and Ken Dye). Parker wanted the most difficult course in the country, one that could host a tour stop and provide a difficult test to the world’s top players. Finger succeeded too well to lure to the professionals, reputedly intimidated by the ungodly length and ubiquitous water hazards. When the course opened in 1963, only Spyglass Hill had a higher course rating in the United States. Nevertheless, the course was an instant hit with the playing public, eager to test their skills and see if the Monster was truly deserving of its reputation. To this day, most players return to their homes humbled by the layout.

Most of the course’s difficulty is derived from a combination of its length, the size and placement of its intimidating water hazards and its enormous, undulating greens. Built amid eight large lakes and Kiamesha Creek, water is in play on nine holes. The course features numerous forced carries over water. Add in the sheer length of every hole and the course is worthy of its rating and reputation. Seven of the ten par fours are over 410 yards from the white tees and both par threes on the front exceed 207 yards. The par threes on the back, while shorter, feature forced carries over water from tee to green. In a nod to the amateur and resort players, the owner reversed the routing of the nines and the back is considerably shorter and easier, if not more intimidating due to the forced carries over water.

The course opens with five long, narrow and daunting holes. After a long, narrow three-shot par five to warm up the players’ swings, the course present two consecutive 425 yard dog-leg par fours. Water runs all along the right side of both drives, eagerly swallowing any slice. Drives must be long and straight to reach the knee of the dog legs. The adventure does not end upon reaching the putting surface as both greens are over 42 yards deep.

The course only gets harder. The fourth is the hardest hole on the course, a 600 yard par five with a 210 yard long water hazard diagonally bisecting the fairway on the second shot. Thick forest lines both sides of the fairway sternly penalizing wayward shots.

The par threes at The Monster offer no reprieve. After negotiating the frightening opening stretch, the first par three uphill, is over 200 yards in length and is played to a green amid a sea of deep bunkers. As the back half of the green slopes away form the player, shots must not only be long, but high, a difficult challenge for average players and resort guests. After a short par four, the second par three is even longer and further uphill. The seventh hole is over 215 yards from the resort tees. Worse yet, the deepest and largest bunker guards the front of the green. The entire left side is protected by an enormous drop-off into the woods from which recovery is impossible…if the ball is even found. Two more par fours over 420 yards in length round out the front side.

The par four tenth measure a mere 352 yards, but the tee shot is played to a narrow peninsula of land guarded by a lake on the left and a creek on the right which cuts in front of the green. Finger rightly anticipated advances in equipment since the design of the hole is just long enough and the green well guarded enough to be undriveable even with today’s modern equipment. Next, two scenic par threes with water tee to green sandwich a fantastic three shot par five featuring two carries over water, first off the tee and again to the putting surface. While both par threes are only 160 yards for resort guests and 190/180 yards for the pros, the short eleventh green slopes steeply left into the hazard and the fourteenth is well guarded by bunker on either side and the forest behind.

The finish is a world class challenge. The fifteenth is 440 for amateurs and 480 for pros (again, those are the same distances that existed in the sixties and seventies!) If the drive carries the crest of the hill about 210/260 yards out, the fairway slopes downhill and to the left towards the putting surface, giving the player additional yardage. The green sits serenely nestled in a sea of bunkers. The approach shot is one to two clubs downhill, making this otherwise absurdly long hole reachable with two excellent shots.

After a long, narrow, uphill three shot par five, the seventeenth offers the best risk-reward challenge on the entire golf course. Off the tee, the player can lay-up into the peninsula fairway surrounded on three sides by water with a 200 yard long iron or fairway club. The approach shot will then be about 170 yards uphill to a narrow green. Alternatively, the player can attempt a 220 carry over the left hand pond to a separate part of the fair way leaving a mere 130 yards to the green and a much better angle of approach. For a final challenge, eighteen is a 450 yard par four to a green surrounded by deep bunkers.


While the resort may not re-open for a few more years (if ever), the course is still in terrific shape. While rumors went around several years ago that the conditioning had deteriorated, the course took the criticism to heart and rectified the problems. While it’s not tour conditioning, the course is still an excellent value and a challenge that all golfers should experience. On weekends, the course offers a twilight round and full dinner special for $80 that, at least for one day, hearkens back to the resort’s glory days.

Friday, February 11, 2005


As the pro tour rolls north up Route 1 through beautiful Carmel and Monterey, lets stop and take in the view.

This week, the pros play three courses, Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Spanish Bay. Phil shot 62 at Spyglass Hill, shattering the course record. Once upon a time, Spyglass had the U.S.' highest course rating and featured shot requirements so stern no less a personage than Jack Nicklaus said "When I play Pebble Beach it makes me proud to be a golfer, when I play Spyglass Hill, I wish I went fishing." Phil made birdie on the difficult 4th hole by getting up and down from the normally fatal ice plant..a rubbery, grabby, steriodal version of pachysandra.

(WITP editor's note...we do not actually know if ice plant and pachysandra are botanically related. It just looks similar and we so rarely get to use the word "pachysandra" in a sentence;)

Phil said he never drove the ball this far in his life. This is the same week, players and officials are openly pressuring the powers that be for regulation of balls and drivers. Coincidence? I am more than a little concerned when a quintessential classic, indeed a paragon of difficulty, is reduced to a pitch and putt.

I love you Phil, this is not a jibe at you - but 62 at Spyglass? I never thought I'd see the day...

You too can play Spyglass if yu plunk down $350 + $75 for a caddy...and maybe $500 for a hotel. Its $405 to play Pebble beach. Twilight...which starts at 5PM for some strange reason (oh, so you can't finish), is "only" $250 at Pebble Beach, $225 at Spanish bay and Spyglass?

Tell me dear readers? Is it worth it? Have you played it? What is your opinion of its being a good value?

Notice something else...the Zero factor. Pebble Beach will host the Open on a rotatating ten year basis. 2000, 2010, 2020, etc. St. Andrew's will host the Bristish Open every five years, 2000, 2005, 2010. For those of you scoring at home it will go St Andrews's, four courses from "The Rota," St. Andrew's, then the other four courses from the Rota, with some minor vairation. That means every year that ends in "0" Pebble and St. Andrews's will host the open in the same year. What happened last time? Tiger dominated over courses deemed susceptible the new length of playews. St. Andrews's tried to "Tiger proof" the course a bit - we'll see this summer. Tiger will always have an edge at Pebble Beach as it was his college home course for four years. Stanford guys have done well there...just look to Tom Watson as another Cardinal who won the Open there.

While on the subject, I had one of the most memorable meals of my life at Ciao Bella on Route 9 in Aptos. The INSIDE is like the retro-sensory hipster eatery "Jack Rabbit Slim's" from Pulp Fiction. The OUTSIDE is strolling violins and tiki torches illuminating tables set at the base of enormous, towering Redwoods. The menu is all in Italian:) You must have a meal there if you are in the area...it's stellar.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


The 6th at Tot Hill Farm Posted by Hello


For decades Dan Maples has designed highly acclaimed courses throughout the Carolinas, most notably The Pit, which for years graced numerous top 50 lists. Now his daughter Jennifer has helped carry the torch of egalitarianism, designing and offering wonderfully inexpensive golf packages to a wide palatte of course designs all conveniently located in the Pinehurst region. Sure Pinehurst Resort is a seminal facility in the world of golf, but at $350 per round to walk on No. 2, $240 per round to walk on 4, 7, 8 or 10, it adds up for a family of four. Add that at minimum staying at the resort (including meals) and playing golf, each person per day will run up a $686 tab and it's priced out of most players' range. Luckily, there are two five star courses in the region that are about 1/5 the price (Tobacco Road and Tot Hill Farm) and several other wonderful courses that also are ranked highly by Golf Magazine and Golf Digest - the Stately Mid-Pines and the bucolic Pine Needles - both in the top 100 you can play and quintessential Donald Ross designs. These courses, plus the Maples family commitment to the games egalitarian roots means great affordable golf for everyone in the Pinehurst area.

P.O. BOX 1666
Contact: Jennifer Maples

Course Selection: Four and a half Stars (over twenty-five courses to choose from)
Hotel Selection: Three and a half stars (six comfortable, if rustic chain hotels)
Affability and flexibility: Four and a half stars (you get treated like family)
Value: Four and a half stars

Three day two night packages including one round at The Pit and two rounds at any of twenty or more other courses should not exceed $400 in high season, but are as little as $137-200 most of the time. For example, last August I played Tobacco Road and Tot Hill Farm and stayed at the moderately confortable Residence Inn (complete with jacuzzi;) for a mere $133. That is five star golf for a song.

This spring packages where you stay and play before 3/1/05 are equally inexpensive. A package of The Pit, Tobacco Road and Mid-Pines or Pine Needles and two nights at the Residence Inn is a fantastic $203. That's less than two people spend on dinner, drinks and a movie in Manhattan in one evening. "A bargain all day long" sang one happy customer from Ohio while we were there last summer. Spring packages after March jump only $50-$80 total.

Acclaimed courses include:

The Legacy by Jack Nicklaus II (the same Nicklaus who did Boston's Pinehills)
Mid Pines by Donald Ross
Southern Pines by Ross
The Pit by Dan Maples
Mid South Club by Arnold Palmer, and many more.

Housing options include the comfortable and well stocked Condos at Longleaf, Little River Farm resort and various established chains.

The area is right in the town of Pinehurst, so all sightseeing and dining options are mere steps away. Walk ons are welcome at the Pinehurst resort courses for those wishing to splurge for a round or two, making a week stay much more affordable and offering a broad array of courses.

Monday, February 07, 2005


One singular moment of ugliness reigned supreme over the ESPN-endorsed craziness at the 16th hole at the TPC Scottsdale - Kevin Na was not merely heckled, but booed by the crowd. It's one thing to root a little harder for a favorite player, but mob justice has no place in golf. There is no booing in golf - no exceptions. It looks worse because it had the ugly undercurrent of America vs. a foreigner, another sentiment that has no place in our game and only fosters resentment against us as "ugly Americans." Kevin Na is 21, the youngest player on tour. That should command some modicum of respect. How bout giving him his props for hanging tight with Phil on Phil's home course? That also should garner him some respect. Finally, how about the graceful way in which he, Shigeki, Tanaka, Els, Goosen, Phil and DarrenClarke (to name a few), always conduct themselves. True golf fans embrace any player, foreign or American, when they act like a champion. Savaging second is a pastime best reserved for writers and TV interviewers. Drunk galleries are only good for one thing....TV ratings and reporters. Sad to say, but I watched the tournament with my little nephews, age 17 and 15...and the only time they got excited was whenever 16 was being shown. And TV executives say its not their fault society is in decline...must be mine...I let them watch...

Kudos too to Phil, who endures everything with grace, whether its the media needing to know every detail of his personal life, pudits mercilessly scrutinizing equipment changes, collaring him with a "label" (best player never..." which should be put in a coffin and given a Texas funeral - then falling all over themselves to praise his victory. Through it all there is nary a snipe, snap or sour note from Phil.. Enjoy it Phil, not only did you win, but you delighted the "hometown fans."

On a similar note, (classy...like Phil), hats off the the Patriots...the consummate definition of team. Notice how Bradshaw cut off owner Bob Kraft right as he was saying this Super Bowl win (and the other two) wasnt about strutting, mouthy, preening players, but about a team mentality? To those of you scoring at home, this kudo comes with a healthy serving of crow...the Patriots had to beat my beloved Steelers to get there. They earned it and they are behaving like champs in all respects. Credit where its due...

Similarly, how much better was a Paul Macartney than some in your face, edgy, gen-x niche act? EVERYBODY I know enjoyed the halftime show (for once). Yeah, ticket to ride was a bit campy as an opener, but he GAVE AWAY a Rickenbacker Bass to a fan (do you know how much that must be worth!?!) More than that, Live and Let Die with synchronized fireworks was epic and worldwide singalong "Hey Jude" was legendary. One act, not three (like that awful Aerosmith, NSync, Britney melange in 2000...there's that word again...or last year's train wreck. It all comes back to people acting reasonably and with a modicum of respect and dignity vs. lowest common denominator and force feeding tired garbage down the public's throat. I wonder why big media wonders why cable is beating them like a rented mule? Must be a cyclical thing! That's it;);)

One last note...is the eagles fight song strange...check this out...here are the lyrics:

Fly Eagles Fly
On the road to victory
Fly Eagles Fly
Score a touchdown 1,2,3...

I get the Fly Eagles part, so how and why should they fly ON A ROAD? Shouldn't they FLY through the air...it makes no sense. They are eagles, what are they doing on a road? Then score a touchdown one two three? Touchdowns are worth 7...I think they could get something a little more snazzy. "Hail to the redskins" is by far the best fight song in all of sports. Athough that Houston Oilers No. 1 song used to give my fits growing up as a Steeler fan...infectious and easy to sing. Miami stole it and uses it now...too bad they are 2-14. Oh well they did beat New England, as did Pittsburgh. I would have loved a second shot at Philly...oh well. Cheese steaks all around...or not...

Thursday, February 03, 2005


I'll get back to golf travel again next post, but I have congratulate ESPN again for keeping a perfect record - when it comes to golf, no one is more wrong, more loudly, more often. Robert Thompson from www.goingforthegreen.blogspot.com and I are lamenting the drivel that passed for analysis in today's ESPN.com article that "Fact - Rowdy Crowds are good for the game of golf." Please click on Robert's blog for the entire thread - as usual "Going for the Green" leaves us putting for eagle, but here are the high points. ESPN got their paid shills to again try to "dumb down" golf by encouraging fans to act like lunkheads and football hooligans.

According to two ESPN contributors rowdy, drunk galleries are good for the game of golf."It's not only good for the game, it's great for the game," says one. "The energy that places like the FBR Open -- or the U.S. Open at Bethpage in 2000 -- create transcends the game and thrusts it into mainstream America. And that grows the game in an ancillary fashion. Of course there's a fine line between being rowdy and downright idiotic. But you have to take the bad with the good."

Oh really? Wearing a wifebeater and filthy jeans to church will make people talk too...just not in a complimentary way...

Better yet is this comment: "As long as they quiet down when it comes time for a guy to hit, what's the problem? The game needs a little energy around it. And the only crowd control problem I've seen in recent years at a tournament was at the 1999 Ryder Cup -- and it was created by people inside the ropes. "

Here's Robert's take...in a nutshell:

Oh, OK, so that guy with the gun following Tiger in 2001 wasn't that big an issue?(WITP note...AZ police hadda tackle a Tiger heckler...who by the way was packing a LOADED .357!) Or that guy who threw the orange at Tiger. What about the stupid spectator who heckled Davis Love at last year's match play? Or the ones who heckled Sergio? Or Monty?Apparently those weren't issues either.Growing the game of golf is a noble concept. I just don't think you do the game any benefit by growing it by attracting a crowd more at home tailgating at a Bills game.Golf has a long-standing ettiquete, one some people will never understand, but which is important nonetheless. I just don't see how rowdy crowds add anything to the game.

I added the following:

I was disheartened and disillusioned by the egregious irresponsibility ESPN shows yet again. They just do not GET golf. One of them commented "You dont see people get quiet when Brady takes a snap, then clap politely when he throws a TD pass." Memo to ESPN - Golf is not football. We conduct ourselves with a reasonable modicum of self respect and dignity...it does not necessarily equate to being an elitist snob. In short, go sell crazy somewhere else, we're fully stocked. Maybe instead of dumbing down our noble game, you should elevate yours.

The big problem is that ESPN's imprimatur on rowdy behavior will encourage nonsense and further foster confrontation between the lunkhead fan and the polite fan and the lunkhead fan and the athlete who is minding his own business and trying to make a living. Uninformed, non-free-thinking sports fans routinely parrot the garbage they hear in ESPN just because it's on ESPN.

If you feel the need to further sully yourself, here is the link to the ESPN article: http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/news/story?id=1982529

While we are at it, check out Robert's blog for one more thing...not two days ago in responding to Robert's great article on "John Daly Signature courses" I wrote that Daly's signature meant:

"it will feature a tournament in which he'll shoot 84 in the first round and withdraw....But that's OK...in the American Big Media "race to the bottom" ABC, ESPN, NBC and CBS just claim all his alcohol fueled troubles, gambling problems and five wives are "just Big John being Big John...hey! lunkhead golf fan! look...there's a guy who hits it 400 on the tee! Woo Hoo!"

For those of you scoring at home, Daly shot 81 in today's first round of the FBR (Phoenix Open) and promptly withdrew...anybody need their palm read?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


THE 4th at TRUE BLUE - MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. Posted by Hello


Steve from Manhattan asks "Dear Jay, some buddies are going to Myrtle beach in April and want to play the good courses. We all love your site and we know you tell us what courses are CHOICE. What do you recommend?"

Flattery will get you everywhere, Steve.

Let’s call a spade a spade. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is the golf world’s equivalent of a Grateful Dead concert – loud, colorful, raffish, and full of hawkers, lights, attractions and billboards commanding your attention and money. The “East Village” of golf destinations, this honky-tonk oceanside Carnivale for budget seekers has all the charm and subtlety of a Moroccan bazaar, but all the fun too. It’s a place where golfers can take Lionel Richie’s advice and “party, carrano, fiesta, forever” or at least straight through until the next morning’s tee time. Nevertheless, the golf has ascended from merely cheap to world class. But Steve is right. With over 100 courses to choose from, you must choose wisely. For openers, the general unwritten rule is when in Myrtle, do not play a course with an animal in the name...and that includes John Daly's Wicked Stick;) After that...well here's a great list for the discriminating traveller. Steve, these courses are CHOICE, if you will...We will post a longer review later this week with course details and some travel and lodging advice. But let the debate begin! Here's AWITP's list...what do you think?


Mike Strantz's first solo effort was nothing short of the grandest course on the grand strand...and that is quite an accomplishment. Caledonia is the Latin word for Scotland, but should be the Latin word for gorgeous. Sublimely integrated with the landscape, Caledonia is a sensuous but subtle delight. Built on an old rice plantation, the site is steeped in tradition, refinement and southern charm. Strantz is indeed the master of counterpoint and dichotomy. In perhaps the tackiest city on the eastern seaboard he built a standard of charm and old-world refinement and relaxation. Then in Pinehurst, known for its refinement, he built his legendary heathen firebreather, Tobacco Road. Both differ from their surroundings, but perhaps thats what makes them unique gifts to our great game. $70-120 but worth so much more. Do not leave the beach without playing 36 here...and relaxing with the reknowned Thursday PM fish fry.

2. TPC - Myrtle Beach

Tom Fazio built the 100th layout at Myrtle and it deservedly plays host to a Champions Tour stop. $70-$120, but with great risk-reward designs, holes carved through the forest (not your standard beachfront humdrum claptrap), and impeccable conditioning it has risen to the top.

3. The Dunes Golf and Beach Club

Home to a long time LPGA stop and once home to the PGA tour, Robert Trent Jones 1950's design held the title of best course for over 40 years on the Strand. Still beautiful, full of great risk reward holes and southern charm, the course is a fair and fun test of all facets of the game for all players. Watch out for the GATORS! Only a handful of "upscale" hotels allow patrons to score a coveted tee time, but be careful where you pick...the Palmetto Bug, "state bug of SC" inhabits more than a few "upscale" hotel rooms. Bolt your confines if you see one and the management does not offer you an upgrade immediately. $70-$120 and worth the splurge, but after caledonia and The TPC.


TRUE BLUE - People used to complain that True Blue was "too hard", but it's a cakewalk compared to other Mike Strantz courses...a very clever design with a fantastic finishing strech. Never one to forget to "dot the i," at the course built on an indigo plantation, Strantz put a blue roof for the clubhouse.

TIDEWATER - Ken Tomlinson was a tax attorney before designing this terrific low country layout filled with risk reward options and heroic shot values. Glad he changed professions...what's next Ken?

BAREFOOT LANDING - Four great designers, four fun courses to relax at and play without leaving the grounds. Convenient.

LEGENDS COMPLEX - Three great courses...Parkland, Heathland and Moorland...Tom Doak, PB Dye and others give you three contrasting styles at a fully loaded facility.

GRANDE DUNES - new and sporty. Many well designed holes and two miles from the Dunes. Great for a 36 hole day and then some beach time. Minimal driving too...

Also try these great designs...


More to come...Jay