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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Huge Upset in Sweet Sixteen! Thompson upsets Ross

Can you say CANADIAN CLUB?! Stanley Thompson ROLLED Donald Ross in the Sweet Sixteen like he was a baby seal! It was a romp...and that's WITHOUT Rob Thompson's vote. In the other match of greatest interest, Tom Doak defeated Harry S. Colt by ONE VOTE. Voting for this round continues till Sunday night at 5PM. Vote here, at the bracketmaker site, (see below), my email or for those architecture experts, vote over at "The Think Tank";)

Here are the matchups:

St. Andrews Regional Final

1 Pete Dye vs. 2 William Flynn (surprisingly, he beat Coore and Crenshaw by a comfortable margin...can you call this a mild upset despite the seedings?)

Bandon Regional Final

1. A.W. Tillinghast vs. 2 Tom Doak (watch this one...there could be an upset)

Augusta Regional Final

2. C.B. Macdonald vs. 5. Stanley Thompson

Cypress Point Regional Final

1. Alistair Mackenzie (Devries actually got a surprising number of votes. Way to go underdog...hat's off to you)

vs. 2 Seth Raynor (This looks to be a heavyweight bout going all fifteen baby...another round...I didn't hear no bell!...That's from Rocky for those of you scoring at home. Rocky rules.)

Media Guru, Hooked on Golf start "The Golf Space"

My buddy Tony K, aka the Media Guru and also aka Hooked on Golf Blog has started a new site.

It's called the Golf Space:

Here's how Tony describes it:

"A little less than 2 months ago I was driving down the street when this new web site idea hit me. The thought blew me away so bad I almost drove off the road. The idea: Build a networking site like myspace for golf. I couldn't get home fast enough to start researching URLs for the new golf/myspace site. I was fortunate enough to register http://www.thegolfspace.com - The Golf Space. For the next 6-7 weeks I burned the candles at both ends building the site, getting opinions, finding cool modules etc.


The Golf Space is a "networking" site geared toward golf. Networking in this sense refers to the connection of friends, businesses and business associates. This is a similar concept to many social networking sites like myspace.com, tagworld.com, friendster.com, orkut.com etc. People or businesses register accounts and fill out profile information. They then become part of a network and can find people or other businesses with similar likes or interests.

Personal profiles

Each Golf Space user has his/her own personal profile. Within the profile is a ton of information about the user such as location, interests, matchmaker info, golf information (handicap, home course, lowest score, equipment list), what they're there for (networking, friends, business, matchmaker etc), blog entries, forum posts, personal photos, visitors, connections and more."

There's alot of other stuff too, so go check it out. Here is the link. best of luck Tony...and have a really fun Masters...his favorite tournament. Here's the link for more.

I will also praise the excellent job Tony did covering the TPC, arguably my favorite tournament of the year save the Open Championship, (no not the US Open, the British). It will be great seeing the FIFTH MAJOR next year in May. Also, I plan on seeing everyone from Winged Foot this year...and from Royal Liverpool...not covering the Open Championship, but as a player in a tournament held there this October. We'll play both Hoylake (the familiar name for Rpyal Liverpool and the excellent nearby links at Wallasey.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Golf course designers, The Clash, Black Flag and Deerfield Academy

I was having an interesting discussion about real punk rock, pop-punk rock and golf design with fellow golf course architecture expert Jason Blasberg. He said the band "The Clash" was under appreciated. At first I thought "Not true...London Calling sold a hell of alot of records," but then one of the other music lawyers in the office, pointed out that back in the old days, kids got what it meant to "be punk" and now kids like the Clash merely to like the Clash and be cool and really don't understand it.

She's right. Just like that saying in the movie
A Fish Called Wanda:

Otto: Apes don't read philosophy!

Wanda: Yes, they do Otto!
They just don't understand it.

Anyway, I wrote back to Jason, (as a laugh)I wonder what everybody would think of
Black Flag.

Black Flag was a hard-headed, hard-biting punk rock band out of New York. Among such other gems as "We don't care what you say %$#@ you!" they growled, grunted and groped their way to a reputation as one of punk's loudest bands. I had two Deerfield Academy acquaintances that were both from NYC that actually decorated their dorm rooms in
brown paper shopping bag with the Black Flag logo (see above) and anarchy symbols done over in Sharpie.

These two guys...with the help of lots of Vodka...actually got laid and were really popular. One went to Berkeley a year early he was so smart. They sell real estate now and I do the punk rock. Go figure. Punk really has fallen;)

Personally, as far as music goes I'm not a fan and Black Flag is more an interesting but important footnote, but it does show the difference between punk in the time of real punk and watered down major label "punk." (Simple Plan anyone?)

Brad O' Sullivan and Black Flag would kick Chuck from Simple Plan's ass in two seconds flat.

Anyway, Jason and I got to thinking...who has the same "punk ethos" in the world of Golf Course design? And I don't mean who has a spiked mohawk and swears and such.

Who is so sure in his design that he does what he wants and trumpets it proudly. I'm out of time for today and really need to reflect on the nuances of it, but it's question microcosmic of a lot of issues at the center of the debate about what makes a great golf course.

To be continued...with more great musical references too. Never let it be said I don't embrace pop culture.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Sweet Sixteen for golf course architects

We have us an underdog! Mike DeVries, a 12 seed, ousts RTJ! Also I predicted at Houston's Clear Thinkers, Stanley Thompson beat Fazio. Here are the sweet sixteen matchups.

St. Andrews Regional

1 Pete Dye vs. 4 George Thomas (who survived a really close match w/Perry Maxwell)
2. William Flynn vs. 3 Coore and Crenshaw

For those of you who keep emailing me, Flynn did Merion and Shinnecock. That's why he's a 2 seed.

Bandon Regional

1. A.W. Tillinghast v. 5 Jack Nicklaus (who trounced Neville in the "pair of Jacks" game)
2. Tom Doak v. 3. Harry Colt

For those same emailers, please google "Harry Colt" and you'll see why he's seeded higher than Nicklaus and, to the same crew, uhhhh, Neville did Pebble.

Augusta Regional

1 Donald Ross v. 5. Stanley Thompson
3. Old Tom Morris v. 2 C.B.Macdonald

and finally in the Cypress Point Regional

1. Alistair Mackenzie v. 12 Mike DeVries
3. George Crump v. 2. Seth Raynor

Voting ends Thursday at 1PM

Frank Hannigan and Sabbatini v. Faldo

So Frank Hannigan writes an excellent article discussing exactly how much golf "coverage" has devolved with ESPN and NBC leading the charge. The article is here at Golf Observer. Hannigan, along with Phil Mushnick at the New York Post point out how vacuous and Tiger-philic golf commentators from ESPN through Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller have become at trying to get garbage past the listener. Phil's piece is here.

So Rory Sabbatini and Nick Faldo had a HUGE dustup at the TPC over pace of play. This one got personal, with Faldo making a brutal sexual innuendo. Basically, Sabbatini, who left Ben Crane in the lurch last year at the Booz Allen, got paired with Faldo - who hinted over the air last year that if paired with Sabbatini he would deliberately play slow.

Editorial: Bad form, Nick. Like it or not, people ape what they see on TV. You are just the direct cause of a bunch of beer swilling casual golfing lunkheads deliberately slow-playing their opponents just to stick it to them. You are also directly responsible for bad sportmanship.

So during the course of a five and a half hour round, the notoriously slow Faldo (who blamed a lost ball on ten by Camillo Villegas) and Sabbatini got "put on the clock." Mercifully, nobody got penalized.

next day, after a visit to the local mart that sells screened T-shirts, sabbatini pulls a lunkhead move and dreses his wife in a T-shirt that reads "Keep up." Not exactly sublte or classy. Apparently, something got lost intranslation from America to England...either that or Faldo is dyslexic. Faldo made a brutal swipe at sabbatini's sexuality. One wonders if "Your mother wears army boots" is forthcoming.

Of course, since Tim Finchem has no control over the players and no will to act to punish anybody with more star power than him, I'll bet Faldo won't get fined. Hats off to Tom Kirkendall at Houston's Clear Thinkers for writing the details. Here is the story.

Hats off also to Shack and Thompson who also ran stories. Hey. Finchem. This is the PGA Tour, not the bloody Durham Bulls vs. Toledo Mudhens. Bag their heads together for the good of the game.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Pictures of Lederach and Baltimore CC (West)

Here are some pix of Lederach and Baltimore CC, West Course.

The Lederach review is here:

Above and to the left, the first fairway is a harbinger of things to come, as Kelly Blake Moran cants his fairways severely here. Above and to the right, you see from the 2d tee, the rear of the blind fairway bunker of the par-5 third. Its blind from the tee of 3 and fairway, so beware when playing the hole.

To the right, Kelly has several great cross bunkers and perpendicular hazards to play over and around. Sign up to get a tee time now, as times the opening weekend are going fast and innumerable golf nuts are already booking foursomes.

The BCC west review is here:

To the right, the excellent 8th green has a dramatic false front. If you play away from the false
front, you bring the bunker into play. The safe play here is to the back...again following the doctrine of deception and hiding the actual safe spot from the player, who is left to puzzle it out for himself with out spoon feeding or dictatorial command by the GCA.

Below, the seventh green is a double green with the first and showcases good green contours with a slightly canted fairway.

First Round results of the 2006 Golf Course Architect's Tournament

Here we go. The double digit seeds that won upsets were Tom Simpson, Rick Smith and Mike DeVries. Send me emails or go to my website or the brackets to vote. The link is here - http://www.bracketmaker.com/tmenu.cfm?tid=150961&tclass=

Voting closes 9PM Sunday night:

St. Andrews Regional

1. Pete Dye v. 8 Tom Weiskopf
4. George Thomas v. 5. Perry Maxwell
3. Coore/Crenshaw v. 6. Jim Engh
2. William Flynn v. 10. Tom Simpson

Bandon Regional

1. A.W. Tillinghast v. 8. Gil Hanse
4. Jack Neville v. 5 Jack Nicklaus
3. Harry Colt v. 6. RTJ II
2. Tom Doak v. 7 Brian Silva

Augusta Regional

1. Donald Ross v. 9. Jay Morrish
4. Tom Fazio v. 5. Stanley Thompson
3 Old Tom Morris v. 6. David McKay Kidd
2. C.B. Macdonald v. 7. Mike Strantz

Pinehurst Regional

1. Alistair Mackanzie v. 8. Henry Fownes
4. RTJ v. 12. Mike DeVries
3. George Crump v. 11. Rick Smith
2. Seth Raynor v. 7 Jeff Brauer

Dont forget that if you already "filled out a bracket and missed some picks, just re-send me your votes for what games you got wrong.

E.G. Lots of people picked Baxter Spann. (That would have been a hell of a matchup 'tween he and Dye.) Just email me with your choice of dye v. weiskopf and any other misses.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Quick questions with Jim Engh

I had the chance to catch up with Jim after he returned from his annual vacation to Hawaii with Monie and the kids (Brian 10 and Bailey 8). Here are some of his thoughts. Look for a longer article soon in my column for Golf Observer.

Jay: How was the vacation?

Jim: Oh it was great. Every year in the winter, we go to Hawaii. I rarely play any golf there.

Instead it’s two tanks of scuba diving in the morning, then Mai Tais by the pool with Monie and the kids all afternoon.

Jay: What’s the most important goal for you in creating a successful design?

Jim: For me, it’s all about options. The more ways to play a hole and get a ball close to the pin, the better.

Jay: What courses of the British Isles have given you ideas for your own holes?

Jim: Both courses at Ballybunion are incredible. I love a lot of the holes at the Cashen course, especially number 15. I also love the Old Course as well. 18 is just a fantastic finishing hole. Also the Northwest of Ireland holds a special place in my heart. My design team and I go over about four times a year. Enniscrone, Carne, and Rosapenna are some of my favorite courses on Earth. I’m really grateful to have a chance to work right now on the new nine at Carne.

Jay: You had a rude introduction to golf. Tell us about your first golf experience.

Jim: I crashed my first golf cart when I was two years old. Dad was playing and I was in the cart.

I jumped in the driver’s seat and took off and overturned the cart right on top of me. It was a frightening crash. The cart crushed one of my kidneys. I was lucky though. I got up from my deathbed.

Jay: Your career as a designer had a similar rocky start. Let me read you this quote from Jeff Brauer [Author's note: with whom Jim worked in college.] I first met Jim as a summer associate for Bill Kubly. You could tell he was a “gunner” (Kubly’s term for an up and comer) back then, but he was also green as peas. He left one of Kubly’s drafting tables in a pickup truck overnight in a rainstorm ruining it!”

Jim: (laughs) I remember that! Bill was a good sport about it. I survived my growing pains.

Jay: What are some of those growing pains now?

Jim: Well I still feel bad when my work gets misunderstood. I really try to take into account everything in a property to maximize the golf holes, yet make it a player friendly experience.

Jay: Like trying to add some walking paths at Lakota Canyon.

Jim: Yeah. I try to start by making the best hole I possibly can. The most interesting and strategic. Sometimes a hole is not as easy a walk as others, but I'm a walker. I have a small ping bag and boots or sneakers. I spend so much time in the UK where its almost all walking and I want to recreate that old time, authentic experience whenever I can. Sure, sometimes my hills are pretty tough, like 16 at Pradera which is 200 feet in the air, but the payoff when you get up there is incredible.

Jay: What's in your CD player?

Jim: Well I'm a huge Van Morrison fan. I see concerts of his all over the world, Ireland, San Franscisco, anywhere I can. Van Mo is my guy.

What the bracket looks like

Golf Architect's Madness

(Click on the links in the bracket for more details.)

Pete Dye
Game 1 Details
Kelly Blake Moran

Donald Ross
Game 17 Details
Ellis Maples

Winner of 1
Game 33 Details
Winner of 2

Winner of 17
Game 41 Details
Winner of 18

Winner of 33
Game 49 Details
Winner of 34

Winner of 41
Game 53 Details
Winner of 42

Tom Weiskopf
Game 2 Details
Baxter Spann

Mike Hurdzan
Game 18 Details
Jay Morrish

Peery Maxwell
Game 3 Details
John Low

Stanley Thompson
Game 19 Details
Robert Von Hagge

Winner of 3
Game 34 Details
Winner of 4

Winner of 19
Game 42 Details
Winner of 20

Forrest richardson
Game 4 Details
George Thomas

Game 20 Details
Tom Fazio

Winner of 49
Game 57 Details
Winner of 50

Winner of 53
Game 59 Details
Winner of 54

Game 5 Details
Arthur Hills

Old Tom Morris
Game 21 Details
Ted Robinson

Winner of 5
Game 35 Details
Winner of 6

Winner of 21
Game 43 Details
Winner of 22

Winner of 35
Game 50 Details
Winner of 36

Winner of 43
Game 54 Details
Winner of 44

Jim Engh
Game 6 Details
Press Maxwell

David McKay Kidd
Game 22 Details
Dick Wilson

Scott Miler
Game 7 Details
Tom Simpson

Ken Dye
Game 23 Details
Mike Strantz

Winner of 7
Game 36 Details
Winner of 8

Winner of 23
Game 44 Details
Winner of 24

P.B. Dye
Game 8 Details
William Flynn

Joe Finger
Game 24 Details
C.B. Macdonald

Winner of 57
Game 61 Details
Winner of 58

Winner of 61
Game 63 Details
Winner of 62

Winner of 59
Game 62 Details
Winner of 60

A.W. Tillinghast
Game 9 Details
Davis Love III

Alistair Mackenzie
Game 25 Details
Mark Mungeum

Winner of 9
Game 37 Details
Winner of 10

Winner of 25
Game 45 Details
Winner of 26

Winner of 37
Game 51 Details
Winner of 38

Winner of 45
Game 55 Details
Winner of 46

Gil Hanse
Game 10 Details
Max Behr

Henry Fownes
Game 26 Details
Greg Norman

Jack Nicklaus
Game 11 Details
Gary Panks

Hugh Wilson
Game 27 Details
Mike DeVries

Winner of 11
Game 38 Details
Winner of 12

Winner of 27
Game 46 Details
Winner of 28

Gary Player
Game 12 Details
Jack Neville

Game 28 Details
Robert Trent Jones

Winner of 51
Game 58 Details
Winner of 52

Winner of 55
Game 60 Details
Winner of 56

Harry S. Colt
Game 13 Details
Dan Maples

George Crump
Game 29 Details
Dick Nugent

Winner of 13
Game 39 Details
Winner of 14

Winner of 29
Game 47 Details
Winner of 30

Winner of 39
Game 52 Details
Winner of 40

Winner of 47
Game 56 Details
Winner of 48

Game 14 Details
Joe Lee

Rees Jones
Game 30 Details
Rick Smith

Desmond Muirhead
Game 15 Details
Brian Silva

Jeff Brauer
Game 31 Details
Geoffrey Cornish

Winner of 15
Game 40 Details
Winner of 16

Winner of 31
Game 48 Details
Winner of 32

Jim Fazio

Tom Doak

Ron Garl
Game 32 Details
Seth Raynor

Early leads to Mackenzie, Doak, strantz, tillie. Close matches = Spann/Weiskopf, Hurdzan/Morrish, maxwell/low, richardson/thomas.