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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Robin Williams on golf and the roots of Caddyshack by the Murrays

Two great pieces today. First click here for Robin Williams' HILARIOUS take on golf.

Next, this piece goes behind the scene of caddyshack and shows how true to life it really was. Brilliant. Enjoy.

See everybody from Monterey Peninsula and from the media tent at Pinehurst soon.


Friday, May 27, 2005

Golf course design and onomatopoeia

I had a ball writing this piece! Please click here. Enjoy...and by the way, garble garble blark blark.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

North Korea perverting golf

Two items of "golf" from the land of everybody's least favorite lugnut, Kim Jong II.

First, in an effort reminiscent of North Korean elections, a company building a golf course in the North's Geumgang Mtns created a bizarre hole where the ball will careen into the cup as long as the golfer lands his shot anywhere on the green. "We plan to make a 'hole-in-one green' where golfers get a hole in one as long as they put the ball on the green," said Chang Gi-dae, the chairman of Emerson Pacific which is building the course. The green is on the par-3, 155m (167 yd) fourteenth and shaped like a bowl, so as long as a shot lands on the green, it will drop into the cup. "The green won't be used every day. We plan to use it on special days or for special people."

I think the golf industry should immediately denounce and effectuate a boycott of such a hole. I like progressive golf design, but as Maximus screamed at his master in Gladiator, "This is not it. This is not it!!!"

Next, from the "surprise, surprise" department, Kim Jong II is officially the worst cheater in golf history. He recently signed a card and took credit for shooting a 39 over 18 holes including 5 holes in one in one round and several eagles on a par 72, regulation length course. His "free press" now tout it as legend and sluff it off as fact. China, I'm begging you. For the love of God, please kick his ass.

I am disgusted to the depths of my golfing soul.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

My best friend is a hero!

From the "and I thought I was doing cool stuff" page, here's a great feel good story. My best friend, entertainment lawyer David Rose of Pryor Cashman Sherman & Flynn saved some guy's life last week. Apparently while waiting in line at Tony Luke's Restaurant, some fella started choking on his cheese steak. According to the store manager, "before you could say 'Add mushrooms please' David had him up in the air and dislodged the blockage."

We need more selfless, noble, virtuous people like David in this world. Not a day goes by where I don't count my blessings that I have a friend like him.

On another note, my buddy Lee Sossen just entered his first triatholon ever...AND WON!!! Can you say "over achiever." Lee used to be a star player on my New Hartford soccer team that routinely crushed all opposition like eleven floppy grapes. Lee is another stalwart guy. A man who dreams big, makes it happen and accepts all his good fortune with an aw shucks smile and a nod to the team around him.

You have heard me talk before about the "Honor Roll" - that short list of superlative, virtuous, noble people who make everyone around them look good and make life better to live. David and Lee are both there...in spades. Who else is on the Honor Roll? Oh, Cameron Myler. Jay Fialkov. Rob Thompson. Steve Czaban. Jeff Levy. Janine Small. Bob Donnelly. Peter Glass. Nancy Carpenter. Whitney. BFS. Rebecca. There's plenty more. They'll do superhuman things from time to time and I'll tell you about them.

Golf Writer Jay Flemma receives press credentials to U.S. Open

Thanks to the architects who appreciate my perspective on public golf and course design, the writers who have befriended me, my colleagues at TravelGolf and most importantly, you my readers, I received press credentials to cover the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

I’ll provide stories from past Opens in the coming weeks. There will also be features on Pinehurst, other major tournament venues, public golf perspectives and, of course, course reviews and architecture features.

I have found my moral imperative; to promote affordable and superlative public golf and to educate readers about advanced nuances of design. Golf is egalitarian by nature. It’s playable by anyone physically able to swing a club, from 3 to 103. Moreover, the future is now. We can pay homage to tradition without being a slave to it. We can demand strategic designs with modern twists instead of just accepting parkland designs from 20-50 years ago. By learning more about architecture, we can improve as players, increase the golf knowledge of the public at large, and free designers to be more creative.

Also, look for my first piece in a monthly print periodical coming very soon!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The 17th at Red Tail as seen from the 16th Green. Cut off as much of the waste bunker as you dare, but be careful...the angle is deceiving. Posted by Hello

Architect Brian Silva chooses Number 17 at Red Tail in Boston

For those of you following my thread about which public golf hole the architects wouldd like to see the pros tackles for $1 Million Dollars of their own money against each other, Brian Silva is about to make his legion of fans and all Bostonians proud. He chose #17 at Red Tail, an amazing dog-leg right par-4 with the corner guarded by a menacing waste bunker. The angles here are exceptional.

Silva's choice echoes the sentiments of almost every red tail player as the hole was voted the most popular in Boston with public players. See the picture above. Learn more at the Cornish Silva Mungeam website, here.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Boston Public Golf and Architect Brian Silva part 2

I'm working on my interview write up and a piece on Black Rock. Till then, click here to have your faith that we are living in the golden age of golf course architecture restored. its a quick fix to be sure, but fun.

Hit it over the pancake stack! Posted by Hello

A Biarritz green - identifiable by the valley in the middle Posted by Hello

A true Redan Hole - Black Rock's par-3 9th Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Courtesy of New York Post. Posted by Hello

Boston Public Golf and architect Brian Silva

I'm off to Boston to interview one of my favorite architects, Brian Silva. I'll be reporting here and at Travel Golf soon. In short, Silva had a recent epiphany about blending old architectural design tricks and philosophies with more artistic shaping and lines. I call this blend neo-classic. He is a brilliant historian of architecture as well. Three great Boston plays: 1 Waverly Oaks, his tribute to Seth Raynor, but where he also began testing some of his bolder lines. I love the par-3s there especially. 2. Shaker Hills has fallen off alot of rater's lists, but I love it. Great par-3 and par-5s there. Finally, Red Tail is his most modern public course to date - a bold breakout and one which commanded the willing and accepting attention of his peers. I'll play Black Rock tomorrow. In the meantime, welcome some new bloggers and old friends. Everyone should read Geoff Shackelford. He's an accomplished author and a gentleman writer. He's on that short list of good people I call the Honor Roll.

Next, Texas Golf Blog by Bogey McDuff and Jam Boy are fun reads. Finally, www.syberlete.com is a good sports blog.

Finally, Steve Czaban had my sides splitting with his genius pieces about Ontario Smith and also the Marquette U. nickname change. I love it! Long live "Chingy and Blingy." These are a must, MUST read.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Par-4 fourth at Pacific Dunes. Posted by Hello

Pacific Dunes - Bandon Oregon

Lake Drive
Bandon, OR


Architect: Tom Doak
Par 71
Excitement Level – 12/12
Difficulty – 9/12
Conditioning - *****
Cost - $200 peak, $60 reduced
Value - *****

Tees Yards Rating Slope

Tournament 6557 72.9 133
Regular 6174 70.9 131
Resort 5799 69.3 125
Forward 5101 71.1 131

It’s all true. Everything you ever heard, everything you ever read. Every superlative, every rave review, every resounding endorsement, every story of how magnificent the golf courses are, all the tales of the world-class après golf, it’s all true. In fact, words fail to convey just how superlative Bandon, Oregon is as a golfing Mecca. If anyone needs any proof that we are presently experiencing the golden age of golf course design, come straight to Oregon. You will find religion. In fact, since 1999 the golf world has raced to Oregon to play the most celebrated facility to open in decades, maybe even a century. If the true test of a golf course is its popularity with players, Bandon Dunes’ greatest mark of success and reverence is the countless golfers who all return to their respective homes fully convinced that they have experienced a great golf miracle.

Designed in the spirit of Scotland’s and Ireland’s ancient links, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort offers more than 54 holes of the most authentic links golf a player can encounter anywhere in the world. Conceived and executed in harmony with the natural environment on Oregon’s rugged southern coast, these epic courses sit on a beautiful stretch of sand dunes sixty feet above the pounding Pacific surf, framed by the Oregon tall pines. The terrain is as authentic as any linksland in Scotland or Ireland; a blissful panorama of ocean, dunes, forest, and sky in every direction. Spectacular sixty foot dunes covered in gorse, fescue and native vegetation frame the inland holes while the seaside holes play along the clifftop with the Pacific lapping their feet. Greens and tees hang brazenly on precipices. Fairways meander through fragrant gorse and towering dunes on sandy soil. The ever present ocean winds are a factor, sometimes pleasant and refreshing and sometimes overwhelming in their intensity, a true attribute of links golf. While there is onsite lodging, there is not a single house to be seen anywhere on the golf course and never will be so long as Mike Keiser is the owner. Even the clubhouses for the respective courses do not sit anywhere near the ocean. All in all, the site has 23 miles of undisturbed shoreline.

This watershed moment in golf history began with a cold call from a real estate agent from Gold Beach, Oregon, who heard that real estate developer Mike Keiser was looking for coastland area for a golf course. The agent told him about 1200 acres on the coast of Oregon with one mile of oceanfront property. No one could blame Keiser for being skeptical at first. He had been searching all over North America for just the right site. Rural Oregon seemed a remote for an epic golf resort.

Moreover, the region had a long history of being economically depressed. Except for a brief time when the gold rush made the town flourish in the mid-1800’s, Bandon, Oregon was traditionally the site of logging and fishing industries. As these industries declined, tourism had to take its place to help the economic status of the region which was actually known more for Eugene, the nearby hippie and hobo kingdom. Indeed, until 1999, the town of Bandon, Oregon had been little more than a stop on the drive to California where tourists could take in the rugged and spectacular dunes and shoreline. It seemed as though time itself had passed this sleepy corner of the world by. But Keiser saw its potential for what proved to be the greatest story in golf design in a century.


The town actually burned to the ground once due to a disastrous fire spread by the flammable gorse which was originally imported to the town. Still burned into the town’s psyche, many actually protested the re-importation of gorse to line the fairways as they exist today.


The story becomes more incredible when one contemplates the architects responsible for making Bandon Dunes the number one facility in the world. David McKay Kidd, a 27-year old Scot, had never before been responsible for a project of such magnitude. True, Kidd’s father, Jim Kidd, was the superintendent of greens at the Gleneagles Hotel, but that was hardly a pedigree which would lead people to believe that a facility was about to blossom and unseat mighty Pebble Beach from its lofty perch as the greatest golf venue in America, especially from a first time designer. But when the stage was biggest and the stakes were highest, Kidd seized the moment.


Keiser’s original idea for the design was to have an amateur competition and use the best 18-hole designs for Bandon Dunes.


The facility first opened the Bandon Dunes layout for play in 1999. Injecting much needed life vibrancy and tourism into the region, the town emerged from a decades long economic slumber. Thousands flocked to experience golf “the way it was meant to be.” Keiser succeeded in turning back time to the days when the game was first created. The course opened to instant world wide acclaim.

But Keiser and company did not rest on their laurels for long. Keiser secured golf writer turned golf architect Tom Doak to build the even more incredible Pacific Dunes course. When Tom Doak announced that he was going to try his hand at designing golf courses, many course architects that he had candidly criticized (perhaps too candidly to them) were licking their chops for a chance at revenge. Doak’s candor in evaluating golf courses was well appreciated by his readers but not by designers, who despite much fame and acclaim, have notoriously thin skins. More than a few people were primed for some payback. The chance for payback never came as Doak talked the talk and then walked the walk.

Doak’s success was no fluke. He was not merely some writer who got roped into writing about architecture by a desperate editor. Doak studied landscape architecture at Cornell University and after graduation received a grant to go and study the great golf courses of the British Isles. He played nearly 200 courses in all. At 23 years of age, he was put in charge of ratings for Golf Magazine, which publishes the most important and accurate golf course ratings in the world. When given the opportunity to put up or shut up, he has delivered masterpieces throughout the country including High Pointe, Legends (Heathland), Beechtree and Apache Stronghold.

Like at its sister course, Doak sought to seamlessly weave the holes onto the tapestry of land. In this regard, Doak was the perfect choice to blend the course harmoniously with its surroundings. Nicklaus would have finished on the cliffs, Dye would have made golfers play up and down the cliffs, Fazio would have moved the cliffs, Silva would have made it look like Seth Raynor was there and put in perpendicular hazards and Strantz – well who knows what he would have done with the cliffs, but it sure would have been interesting!

Most importantly, there is nothing artificial about either Bandon or Pacific Dunes and that’s what makes it all the more incredible. It looks as though it has been there for centuries. At times contemplative, poetic and serene (“pacific,” if you will…) and at times windswept, rugged, and heathen, the setting is unparalleled in America. The courses tantalize all of the senses. The fragrant perfume of the gorse, the rhythmic, lyrical hushed whisper of the ocean waves, the soothing aural backdrop of sea birds and aquatic life, the fresh, cleansing taste of the sea air, the waft of the breeze in the hair, the unforgettable cityscape of sand dunes and the siren like wave of the flagsticks tucked oh so close to the cliff’s edge; Bandon Dunes is a heavenly union of sea, soil and sky.

In an industry filled with superlatives, where every course is seemingly among the greatest on earth, Pacific Dunes deserves that mantle. Some knowledgeable golf experts have even called Pacific Dunes the best course on earth. For an architect who has designed barely ten courses, that is high praise indeed. Many players and writers already favor it over Pebble Beach, not only because it is ½ to 1/5 the cost, but the design is a much more authentic links and a stronger routing. A short five years ago, it would have been heresy (or at least certifiable lunacy) to proclaim any public course to be better than Pebble Beach. Well, the fantasy has become reality, to the inestimable delight of public golfers everywhere.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Monterey Peninsula Golf Club - The country's hottest golf course

I'm thrilled to get the privilege to be invited by the club and designer to play Mike Strantz's redesign of Monterey Peninsula Golf Club (Shore Course) It was hailed by the attendees at the American Society of Golf Course Architects as a triumph. Many have predicted it will host a major soon. My full article is here.

Also...a very happy birthday to my mom, Jeanne Flemma. I love you mom - now take some lessons;)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Great New Jay Flemma Golf Content on this site too!

The great news keeps on coming. In addition to the flagship site at Travel Golf, I am also going to be posting terrific golf content here as well. Always tune in to my Travel Golf site first for golf news, news on my golf books, golf course architecture critiques and the like. But now I am re-launching this site for longer, full length course reviews (before they get set up at TG), my Golf Rock 101 series of stories of golf rounds with musicians, actors and celebs, comedy pieces, news about other golf bloggers, food and musical diversions and other offbeat features too.

The real winner here is you readers! You get more for the same price. More where to play, where not to play, what to eat, what music to jam on the iPod and groove to live...you know...more Jay.

Everybody got it? Travel Golf first for news and events, then here for fun.

Same great Jay - now twice a day!

I've Got Michelle Wie Fever!

Help! Somebody call the doctor quick! I've got Michelle Wie Fever! What's wrong??? Why, it's Michelle Wie - there's sooooo much that's newsworthy and I'm just burning up with excitement!

I can't see straight. My ears are ringing I'm drenched in sweat and my breathing is shallow and raspy. And it's all because of the excitement about Michelle Wie! I thought it was just a little head cold or maybe an allergy, but I think the only things I'm allergic to are golfers that aren't Michelle Wie. And the media is so helpful! What's her favorite cartoon? What teen hunk is on the poster on her wall? What other short cut will she try to back-door into a men's major before other deserving women? I'm swooning with fascination so much, I just puked thrice and dry heaved twice! Wow! My whole right side went numb!

What? Is it contagious? If you believe the media, of course! I got mine from Jennifer Mario or maybe Doug Carey. Thanks to CBS and ESPN, it spread all over America! Isn't she so inspiring and invigorating the way she LINES UP THREE FOOT PUTTS. Isn't she so noble, resolute and socially active the way she PLAYS FREAKING GOLF. Run because the media tells you! Everybody do the same thing!

Michelle Wie! Michelle Wie! Michelle Wie!