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The Year in Review – Part 3 - The Newsmakers

 

 

 

The most memorable moment of the Year (courtesy golf digest)

 

 

I’ll take on the year’s most interesting stories in order and finish with some extra highlights in specific areas.

 

 

Much to do about Nothing

 

Davis Love III summed up the change in grooves as much to do about nothing. He said, "There hasn't been that much effect. It's just an adjustment.” Statistically the long players continued their dominance and those who drove the ball accurately were only a half a percent better in overall performance.

 

 

“Poop”ie Hills

 

Poppy Hills Golf Club will undergo a major renovation designed to bring the AT&T back. While they had serious discussions with architects like Gil Hanse, they have returned the original designer. I’ll never understand why a club or organization would return to the same person when the first effort is seen as sub-par.

 

I think they should have hired Rees Jones...

 

 

Quote of the Year

 

“She’s slower than evolution” 

 

It came early but Christina Kim’s comment on the slow play of her playing partner was priceless.

  

 

Let’s shave - Part One

 

How nasty was the 14th in this year's final round of the AT&T? The hole saw just eight birdies against 17 bogeys, five double bogeys, one triple bogey and three quadruples. All because the right of the green is too steep and the left of the green was cut short.

 

 

The 18th at the "TPC of Wentworth" (courtesy of Golf World)

 

 

The Pete Dye Retro Award

 

Wentworth hired Ernie Ells to renovate the course and bring up its stature. While there were a lot of changes nothing can compare to the 18th. He built a green site that looks so much like Pete Dye’s work that the course was dubbed the TPC at Wentworth by the Press. During the tournament last year it was criticized for being too severe and therefore discouraging the pros from attacking it in an attempt to make a dramatic closing eagle. The green was once again rebuilt lowering it and making it larger to encourage more players to attack the green. It still doesn’t change the fact that it’s unnerving to see timber bulkheads against water in the Heathlands of London

 

Mona Lisa Gets a Moustache

 

The worst renovation work this year was the new bunker work at Pebble Beach. The bunkers were completely out of scale, context and character from all the other bunkers. 

 


Would they Play Every Event Once?

Around middle of the year the suggestion of four year rotation where players must play each event once was raised by the commissioner and supported by the Tour Policy Board. This was one of those game changers that would bring more people to Professional Golf, but of course Phil and Tiger quietly nixed any chance of that happening. The tour will find the networks might play tough in the next round of negotiations because of this.

 

 

 

 The 14th green was everyone's focus ... twice (courtesy golf digest)

 

Let’s shave - Part Two

 

The chipping area left of the 14th green at Pebble beach was created by Mike Davis the senior director of rules and competitions for the USGA. After watching the AT&T he changed the short grass line to half way up the hill to make the recovery shot more reasonable. We lost none of the theater from the spring, but more of the player’s were able to get up and down during the US Open from that new rough line.

 

 

Year of the Goat

 

In the fall Pasatiempo Golf Club has started employing 200 goats to clear brush from the ravines on the back nine. At one point these ravines were clearly visible and a key component of the drama. It’s expected that the Goats will take around twelve weeks to open the ravines back up. This is the Innovation of the Year in Golf.

 

 

What Bunker?

 

2010 will not be remembered for a single great shot but rather for a great mistake. The lasting image for me is still Dustin Johnson failing to realize he was in a bunker and grounding his club. It’s hard to ignore the scene with a mob of spectators who are standing in the same hazard and how it must have clouded his judgment in such a pressure filled moment. It did leave me thinking that the architect and the style of architecture were indirectly responsible for this rules nightmare.  

 

 

Individual Blog of the Year - Tom Dunne - Out and Back

 

Ron Whitten wrote “A Critic’s Rant” to prod the architecture community into action, but I don’t think even he knew that it would elicit such a wide spread negative response. Tom Dunne’s is the best of the bunch and probably the best read I can offer up from the blog world this year.

 

A sample of the response:

 

“Instead of developing original golf holes to address 21st-century technology, time constraints and resource limitations, architects are preoccupied with decrying technology and clamoring for a rollback in ball distance. Sorry, folks, that’s called progress.” (Dunne quotes directly from Whitten’s piece)

No, that’s called a howler. Does anyone see the contradiction here? He mentions “resource limitations”, but doesn’t seem to connect the dots that the “progress” he’s defending means higher initial land costs, higher maintenance budgets…and more of all the things that make courses harder to build and the game more expensive and time-consuming to play. This “progress” raises the threshold of what might be considered a viable piece of land for golf by several orders of magnitude. Indeed, some iconic examples of the art form wouldn’t be built today simply because their property would be considered too small. Merion East, arguably the most ingeniously routed course in the world, is what it is in part because of its intimate setting. If you want to see innovation–or even just good old-fashioned quirk–give an architect limitations, boundaries, thorny puzzles to solve.

 

The entire piece can be found here: http://www.out-and-back.net/?p=2341

 

 

 

Magazine Article of the Year - Chris Millard - Golf World

 

Chris wrote a piece a two piece article on the current state of golf architecture. The original piece is Altered Course and the follow up piece was called The New Stewardship. It was accurate, informative, blunt and well researched. It was the best piece I read all year. The second article is here:

 

http://weirgolfdesign.com/images/stories/pdfs/inthepress/golfworld2.pdf

 

The Ron Whitten sidebar on China was brilliant in the first piece!

 

 

 

December 10th, 2010

 

 

Next: My Renovation and Restoration Business