Thursday, 15 December 2016

2016 The Year in Review - Part 5 – Ian Andrew Golf Design

18th at Knollwood - what a golf hole!

So this is the final installment. Hope you enjoyed seeing the year through my eyes.


It was a great year for construction projects, but an unusually quiet year for planning. My work around New York City continues to grow and it’s become a major source of new work for me in the last two years. I do see signs of clubs becoming more confident and see projects beginning to start in other parts of Canada, but Ontario continues to be the laggard.

The Numbers


Miles Driven: 35,930 km. (not including rental car miles)
Flights Taken: 56 (similar to last year)
Total Miles Flown: 51,888 miles
Nights in Holiday Inn: 49
Rental Cars: 21

My Business

American Clients: 33%
American Income: 50% in 2016
Last 10 Clients: 9 of 10 are American Clubs
Interviews: 2
Clients from Interviews: 1
New clients: 4
Potential for 2017: 1

New Clients

  1. Ardsley CC, NYC – putting green project
  2. Edmonton G&CC, Alberta – Range project
  3. Pepper Pike Club, Cleveland – Restoration Master Plan
  4. East Aurora CC, Buffalo – Master Plan
18th at Laval

In the Field

Construction – Part One – Laval-sur-le-lac’s (Green Course)

I found some 1920’s aerials a few years ago and pitched my desire to take the Green Course back to its Willie Park Jr. roots. The club supported the approach and we began to return the grass faced bunkers and square green sites in 2015. We also rebuilt the 18th green, but I retained the steep pitch that was its primary defense. The work was finished in May and back in play for the Lesley Cup played at Laval this fall. Positive feedback from that esteemed group was appreciated. Work by NMP Golf

Construction – Part Two – Penn Hills Greens

The original nine is a compelling short course by Walter Travis featuring some very elaborate small greens. The back nine was done by Dick Wilson (much later) and does not have the same charm as the front nine. There were three greens that were too steep and we took the opportunity to use Walter Travis’s original green drawings for those holes to create three highly contoured Travis greens. The 17th might be the wildest green I’ve ever built. Work all done in August by Faery Landscaping

Construction – Part Three – Oakdale’s Thompson Nine Bunkers

I finally got a chance to finish the renovations on the Thompson Nine at Oakdale G&CC. The work involved rebuilding 7 tees and the remaining 21 bunkers. Some of the work was restorative, like the shared bunker between 2 and 8. But since the original course lacked the planned bunkers, most of the work was renovating the newer bunkers on the nine. The work was done by Flightline Golf and took place from September to the end of October.

11th Cedar Brae mid-construction

Construction – Part Four – Cedar Brae Bunkers

Like Oakdale, this was a chance to get the remaining bunkers renovated and finish what we started. Cedar Brae’s bunkering is grass faced and the work was done to create something much more sustainable and historically based for the long term. This is a good example where the bunker count was reduced and the maintenance eased in an attempt to prepare the club for the current economic environment. The work was done by KCM Construction and took place September till the end of October. The highlight was the change to the 11th hole.

Alison's 11th fairway bunker at Park CC

Construction – Part Five – Park CC Bunkers

The work at Park Country Club started in September and will continue into June of 2107. It was an opportunity to finish the restoration of Charles Alison’s Park CC. The upper holes were completed this fall and all the valley work will begin this spring. The work was done by Faery Landscaping. The highlights include the second landing on the 1st hole, the green side bunkering on the 7th and the restored carry bunker line on the 14th. 

Short 14th at Knollwood

Construction – Part Six – Knollwood CC Bunkers

I never thought you could restore all 19 holes worth of bunkers, build a new green, drain a fairway, add new tees and remove a hundred trees all in 10 weeks. The entire project got completed in the months of October and November and the credit goes the NMP Golf. I loved working on my first Seth Raynor course, having been such a huge admirer of his work, so I consider this one a special honour. The highlight for me was the work at the 8th green, which involved returning a serious kicker slope.

Construction – Part Seven – Wheatley Hills Bunkers

The club continues to plug along on an Emmet restoration. The bunkers were done on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 9th holes in this phase. The 3rd hole will become one of those transitions that you will need to see to believe. Work began in November and continues through into the spring of next year. Work was done by Geoff Porteus.

Construction – Part Eight – St. George’s 4th Green

The front of the 4th green was raised up on the left side to increase the available pin in the entire front of the green. Additionally, new bunkers Bunker were added into the major knoll short left of the green and on the left side of the green to replace the large Oak lost on that side. The work was done in early November by KCM Construction.


The Year Ahead – Part One – Sure Things

  1. Pepper Pike Club – finish up Legacy Plan this winter
  2. Park CC Bunkers – finish up the bunkers in April, May and June
  3. Pinegrove Bunkers - two greens to be bunkered this May
  4. Oakdale Homeniuk Nine – renovate bunkers & tees for remaining 8 holes
  5. Wheatley Hills – more bunker work on a few holes

Trump has alluded to the fact he may cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement. If he does, he will remove the way I permit to work in the US. This doesn’t necessarily end my work in the US, but it likely ends my ability to self-permit which kept my costs down for clubs I worked with.

Springdale by Flynn on the grounds of Princeton University

The Year Ahead – Part Two – Potential Projects

1.  Springdale, NJ – full bunker project
2.  Spring Brook, NJ – full bunker and green surrounds project
3.  Huntington Crescent – possible Master Plan

Final Thoughts

Ian Andrew@IanAndrewGolf Oct 28
The unsung heroes of all renovations are the ladies and gentlemen who spend their time on the smallest of details

I'm only as good as the people around me. To everyone I spent the year with ... THANK YOU 

2016 The Year in Review - Part 4 – Ian’s Travels

The E green at Wolf Pointe
I usually make at least one trip to go and see new courses. This was the year where I made less effort. It was a combination of too many trips the year before and a lull in work in the Spring. But I still saw some interesting golf and I plan to see more next year.

By The Numbers

Rounds Played: 58
Average: 24
Rounds in Texas: 6
Lowest Round: 81 (the Last One)
Strangest Nine: 43 with a 10
Lessons Taken: 6

7th Green at Wolf Pointe - one of the game's best
The Courses

Favourite Modern Course - Wolf Point

I did play a few other games around Houston including Champions Club, but the highlight of the trip was easily Mike Nuzzo’s Wolf Point. I loved all the playing freedom and his green contours were terrific. The course had a few over the top moments, but that didn’t take away anything from the quality of the course. Greatness lies in taking big risks and I considered Mike’s work an architectural “breath of fresh air”.

5th at Bluejack National - courtesy of club
Runner Up - Bluejack National

Went to see it out of curiosity after Adam Lawrence had suggested I should. The golf was smarter than I thought it was going to be. It looks just a little too much like Augusta for me to be comfortable. There was a little too much shaping in spots, but some surprising restraint in other areas too. It’s really good and credit must go to the designers for thinking of fun first.

Favourite Golden Age Course - Pepper Pike Club

I wish I could share photos of the 2nd, 8th, 11th and 18th, but Pepper Pike is a very private club and has asked me to not share photos. The course was designed by William Flynn over some outstanding rolling terrain. The course invites risk, but offers ample room for every day play. You only need to go around once to realize that it would be a wonderful place to call home. The only note is I would play it back to front every time if I could, because the second hole is the hardest two shots of the day.

Best Nine Holes - Quogue Field Club

You know the details are great when the highest elevation on the property is four feet and it’s still compelling golf. The interior trees are all gone opening up the fescues and long views. But even better is the steady ocean breeze that impacts how you will play your shots. Simply golf as it’s meant to be.

Applebrook's 9th courtesy of Larry Lembrecht
Biggest Surprise – Applebrook

The front nine at Applebrook by Gil Hanse stands out as my favourite work of his to date. Where he ratcheted up the architecture it creates moments where you’re back on your heels. But the reason I’m so taken by the front nine is the other moments where he shows tremendous restraint and allows the golf to sit quietly into the surrounding landscape. There’s a rhythm to this that I like more than the having the architectural features come at you non-stop.

Favourite Canadian?

I played St. George’s for the first time since the greens were rebuilt, had a great time playing the restored 3rd green. I also made a return trip to Highlands Links to play this summer and saw the greens in the best condition I have seen since 2003. So how do I pick a favourite round, well I can’t, but both days were among the best I had all year.

Ardglass GC - courtesy Tee Off Times UK
Confidential Guide comes to Montreal

I took Tom Doak to see Laval-sur-le-lac Green and Blue, Royal Montreal Red and Blue, Mt. Bruno, Beaconsfield and Kanawaki on a quick trip. His favourite was Mt. Bruno. The highlight for me was playing the Blue Course at Laval-sur-le-lac on film for a potential Confidential Guide Podcast. He said some nice things about the greens and made a few observations for improvements which I agree with. It was a really nice few days with one of golf's best architects.

On Site at Streamsong (Black)

I spent two weeks working on Streamsong (Black) with Gil Hanse and his crew. It's always helpful to see how others do things differently and for me an education on finishing and springing into sand. I really like some of the bold concepts and feel strongly that this may become the strongest of the three resort courses.

Future Travels

Spring – Ireland North
Royal County Down - my favourite place for golf
Royal Portush - want to see changes and not play in 40mph wind
Machrahanish – will access by ferry - my single missing course in Scotland
Portstewart - not played yet
Ardglass - not played yet
Ballyliffin - not played yet
Portsalon - not played yet
Rosapenna - not played yet

The holy grail - Sand Hills - courtesy of Wisconsin Golf Addict
June – Nebraska (quick trip)
Sand Hills - the only Top 50 in the Wold I have not seen or played!
Ballyneal - worth the return trip
Might add round at Dismal River too

July – Cleveland (quick trip)
The Country Club - great threes
Kirtland - is it one of the best back nines in golf ...
Brookfield - under the radar ross
Canterbury - Herbert Strong!

Camargo's threes may be the best set in golf! - courtesy of Planet Golf

August – Cincinnati (quick trip)
Camargo - plan to take up this standing invite
Moraine - if I can make the extra time

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

2016 The Year in Review - Part 3 – In the Media

Tom Simpson's 5th Green at County Louth - photo by Aiden Bradley
Once again this reflects my own interests and in this particular section I cover what I have written and what was written about me. I at least edited that down to the more interesting bits and pieces

On Television! 

Relaunching Laval-sur-le-lac
by Jason Logan
Score Magazine

On You Tube

Sunningdale Architecture Panel - begin video at 16 minutes in

Books on Golf Architecture

box cover of book

Crump's Dream
by Andrew Mutch

I'm not sure if this book is for sale. Mine came as a gift from the Pennsylvania Golf Association. It contains all the drawings, plans and images of the course from Crump's original purchase through to 1936. It's strictly about the course. The collection of early pictures is stunning, but the real amazing part is he shares all of the Colt and Alison hole and green plans that I always wanted to see. It also carefully lays out the contributions involved from finishing the final four to seeing Crump's vison to completion. Truly awesome read.

Simpson & Co.
by Hawtree & Steele

Simpson was intellectual who push the envelope quite a bit with his design work. His greens at County Louth are among my favourite in golf. I also love his opinions on architecture including this one on the 4th at Woking, "I realized for the first time, as soon as I saw this much maligned hazard, that the true line to the hole should not always be the centre of the fairway, and the placing of a bunker had a far more serious and useful purpose than merely the punishing of a bad shot. This led me to see the importance of golf architecture as an art as well as a science."

The Life and Times of Donald Ross
by Chris Buie

Chris says that he set out to not elevate the status of Donald Ross, but to tell the story of Donald Ross. I like his premise. He has found lots more information about Ross himself and spends a great deal of time talking about the man. He also widens the story to include his impact in areas other than golf. I expect this to be a popular Christmas gift.

The Buried Loonie

Yes I buried a “lucky loonie” in the 18th green at Rio. It was done spontaneously after playing sand golf to supply some Canadian karma for the players. It drew attention when Gil Hanse mentioned it at a media event. Turns out I had the wrong pin location for the final day. It did get a bunch of mentions in various media outlets … but unfortunately no medal karma.

The Golf Architecture Show?

If I was asked to revamp Golf Architecture Week , I would change it into The Golf Architecture Show. I would ask an authority on golf architecture like Brad Klein to host a half hour weekly program. I would provide the host with five minutes to discuss recent events and bring in guests he desires, since Architects would travel to Florida to take part. I would run it live from the second week of January through till the middle of March (10 weeks) and then stop. I would also have a camera team spend the fall, after the FedEx Cup finishes, travelling to collect arranged interviews with architects on golf courses (preferably well known ones) where they can explain architectural ideas or what their working on at the time.

The show would always feature a major segment on an important golf course or architect (usually historical but occasional present day). One of two shorter segments on golf design concepts, produced out on course with a guest architect explaining how it all works. Each day would feature a couple of interviews, sometimes with a single architect talking about an active project, but usually a group discussing design issues like the golf ball or should we change the Old Course.

My Opinions on St. Andrews (Old)

Seeing The Old Course Through Architectural Eyes
By Matt Ward (his interview with 4 architects about The Old Course)

Link to full article:

IA: “I’d be happy if they just stop tinkering with the course. If I had to pick one thing, I would remove the recently added two bunkers on the right of the 2nd green. I’ve collected ideas for decades and the 2nd green site was one of my “Essential 18” for future architects to see and understand before you practice golf course architecture.”

I can be followed on Twitter:

17th after work done at Highlands Links

My Writing

The Full History Highlands Links
For Golf Architecture
Published by Australian Golf Architects Association - not available by link yet

"By the end of 2012 we had restored the bunkers, recaptured greens and returned the original playing corridors and views. The conditioning had come around and the course was improving every year”

Articles On My Business

Restoring Glory
by Jason Logan of Score Golf Magazine

“Andrew’s most important project — and perhaps the most notable in Canada — was the bunker restoration at Toronto’s St. George’s G&CC. Over the years the famed club had seen its highly artistic Thompson bunkers either removed altogether or, for lack of a better word, bastardized to ease maintenance work and costs.

However the advent of such things as bunker cloth made proper maintenance of any bunker, however wild, possible, and former St. George’s superintendent John Gall pushed for a restoration, hiring Andrew because he knew other architects would stray from the plan and try to leave their own mark.

“Ian is just not like that,” Gall explained. “He’s all about getting it right.”

Ian Andrew’s restoration project at Park Country Club nears completion
By Sean Dudley, Golf Architecture Magazine

“The course at Park Country Club was originally designed by the Colt & Alison design firm, and hosted the 1934 PGA Championships.

The current project is being led by architect Ian Andrew, who has worked with the club for the past 15 years. Andrew developed a masterplan for the 18-hole track, with the aim of restoring, in his words, ‘the massive scale of the course.”

5th Hole at Knollwood

Knollwood Country Club Gets Seth Raynor Facelift
By Dave Donaldson, Westchester Magazine

“Knollwood Country Club members and their guests will face a rejuvenated golf course when they return to the venerable Elmsford club next spring.  A major restoration of the course under the direction of Ontario-based architect Ian Andrew began this fall and promises to present players with some new and interesting challenges.”

Ranked Courses

Golf Magazines Top 15 Canadian Places You Can Play

8. Muskoka Bay Club, Gravenhurst, Ontario

“This Doug Carrick/Ian Andrew creation opened to rave reviews in 2006. Ten years later, this 7,367-yard head-banger rocks you with pine-studded ridges and granite outcroppings. Heaving terrain affects every lie and stance, even on the greens, which ripple with hollows and ledges. Wetlands, beaver ponds and a set of beefy back-nine par-4s help form an ideal combination of beauty and brawn.”

4. Highlands Links, Ingonish Beach, Nova Scotia

"This is the Cypress Point of Canada for sheer beauty," said the late George Knudson, a Canadian who won nine times on the PGA Tour. While this remote 1939 Stanley Thompson product in Cape Breton Highlands National Park had fallen on hard times, architect Ian Andrew has recently helped with design restoration and conditioning issues -- all the better to mend a stunning, sprawling, forested layout within sight of the Atlantic Ocean.

11th Hole at St. Georges

Golf Digest World Top 100

41 St. George's G. & C.C.
Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada / 7,145 yards, Par 71

“St. George's is outstanding Stanley Thompson design routed through forest-covered glacial land, with meandering fairways that diagonally traverse valleys and greens perched on domes. The putting surfaces are tightly bunkered and full of hidden undulations. These are considered some of Thompson's best bunkering. Some of the credit belongs to Canadian architect Ian Andrew, who supervised their rebuilding over a five-year period, highlighting their sweeping lines and graceful movements.”

3rd Hole at Laval's Blue Course

Score Golf Canadian Top 100

51. Laval-sur-le-lac (Blue)
Laval-sur-le-lac, Quebec

“Though not a brand new build, Weir and his design partner Ian Andrew completely overhauled the Blue Course at Laval. The result is terrific.”

2016 The Year in Review - Part 2 – Golf Architecture

9th Hole at Turnberry - photo courtesy of Golf Architecture Magazine
I no longer try to follow everything going on in architecture. But here’s my take on what caught my eye and the biggest stories of the year.

Changes to Turnberry

The 9th hole has been turned into an awe inspiring par three playing across the inlet of the ocean. The 10th was should be even better with the green set out at the edge of the cliffs. The new 11th is a tremendous improvement over the old hole as it hugs the rocky seashore and brings the ocean more into play. I had multiple plays at Turnberry in the past and saw the course as bit overrated. But these changes will make a big difference and change the discussion of the course. If only the ownership was different …

World Cup goes to Kingston Heath

Nothing thrills us more than when an event is played on one of the best designed courses in the game. Australia regularly delivers and Kingston Heath was the highlight this year. The course features superbly contoured greens, excellent use of tight turf in the surrounds and some of the best bunkering in the World. The fact that I’ve played there helps me understand the conundrums throughout. Kingston Heath is a master class in how to make a flat course spectacular.

Augusta National – Part One

The $27 million price tag, if true, to lengthen the 13th is a reminder of how much money The Masters generates. It provides me with my annual reminder of how much the improvement in equipment is STILL affecting design and renovation of courses.

Pebble Beach – Part One

The 17th went very well, so this should also go well too. They will be leveling off the upper part of the green and enlarging the tier at the back. But more interesting and concerning is how they handle the long contours on the right in an attempt to return a right pin to the green. What it will do is solve the pin location problem the superintendents have had for decades. Once they get that done, they can go back and fix the awful bunkering of recent years.

Course Set-up – Part One

Mark Russell, “We have done the same thing all week. We have been double cutting these greens and double rolling them and trying to get them firmed up. What happened today was just kind of a perfect storm with the weather. We weren't expecting a 20 mph wind all day, and the humidity 30 percent, not a cloud in the sky. And they just, you know, sped up on us.”

I like what he said. They were caught off guard and never intended to make this occur. Some players were angry, but a number said we were all in the same boat. What I can say is it was compelling to watch. At least the balls didn’t move after address …

The Olympic Course was very well received
Gil Hanse – Part One

The Olympic Course Karma has Gil front and centre on every new course project. Mike Kaiser said, "Gil is the front runner for the Sheep Ranch, but it's not a done deal." Essentially Gil is going to do Mike’s next project, whether its Bandon Mini, the 5th course at Bandon Dunes or the 3rd course at Sand Valley. The busiest architect in golf will remain fully booked for the remainder of the decade.

Pebble Beach – Part Two

Starting this month, the rate to play the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links, host of five U.S. Opens has been increased to $525.  If you can afford the experience – do so – it’s worth paying this once for the privilege.

Glen Abbey

The course is going to be developed, it’s only a question of when. David Lea reported, “Oakville council enacted the bylaw on Feb. 1, 2016 after the owner of the golf course (ClubLink) put forward a redevelopment plan that would see the elimination of the golf course in favour of developing approximately 3,200 residential units, approximately 80,000 square feet of office space and 80,000 square feet of retail space.” Course does nothing for me, won’t miss it when it’s gone.

David Kidd Seduced By Media

The following two tweets were issued by David, “I was seduced by the 'harder is better' Tiger proofing ethos sold by the media, incremental alterations are improving playabilityI was seduced by the 'harder is better' Tiger proofing ethos sold by the media, incremental alterations are improving playabilityI was seduced by the 'harder is better' Tiger proofing ethos sold by the media, incremental alterations are improving playability.” He later added,I will own it I'm just telling you where the influence came from, many mag rankings use difficulty as a major factor and I tried to please.” Love the honesty, but a huge mistake to place the blame on the media. Every decision we make as architects are on us, there is always another option and we have that choice.

Gil Hanse – Part Two

Pinehurst’s continues its transition toward more natural settings which began with the highly-acclaimed restoration of Pinehurst No. 2 by Coore and Crenshaw. The critcal and environmental success of that project has led to the next stage. Gil is being asked to rebuild the 4th course and restore the 1st and 3rd courses over a number of years.

7th and 8th at Portrush - courtesy of BBC Sport

Royal Portrush changes

Architect Martin Ebert has created two entirely new holes to replace the seventeenth and eighteenth holes on the Dunluce. The 7th is a pretty long par five playing up a mammoth valley. The drive on the 7th is threatened by a version of Big Nellie (original bunker on 17th) and the green is surrounded by massive dunes. The new eighth is a mid-length par four with a large drop into the valley on the left side. Players are asked to carry some of this feature to set up a better approach angle. These are excellent replacements for the plain finishing holes of the original course.

Tari Iti - courtesy of Golf Architecture Magazine

The Best New Course of the Year- Tara Iti

Designed by Tom Doak, the combination of an outstanding site and Tom’s penchant for interesting and unusual ground based details make it the only course with the potential to find its way into the Top 100 in the World.
Bluejack National - courtesy of the club
Runner Up - Bluejack National

I really liked the golf course a lot. The Tiger Woods design looks and feels too much like Augusta National and I wish some shaping was just a little more restrained, but they provided ample room to play and enjoy the round. I thought the golf course was really well done. Even more impressive is their concept of a modern club, this is the club I would join if I lived in Houston.

Renovation of the Year – Piping Rock

There are lots of great projects to choose from a vast selection of really brilliant architects. Moraine by Keith Foster, Winged Foot East by Gil Hanse, Tom Fazio at MPCC (Dunes) and Tom Doak’s work at Shoreacres, but the standout in most eyes is the work at Piping Rock by Bruce Hepner.

Architect of the Year – Gil Hanse

What a year … Olympic Course turned out great, opened Mossy Oak, has a new project in Georgia, built Streamsong (Black) and is strongly rumored to build the next Kaiser project. Throw in commissions at Winged Foot West, Southern Hills, Oakland Hills and the rebuild of Royal Sydney.

Most Anticipated Openings

Sand Valley by Coore and Crenshaw
Streamsong (Black) by Gil Hanse
Meadowbrook by Andy Staples

Sunday, 11 December 2016

2016 The Year in Review - Part 1 – Professional Golf

Spieth on the way to the drop - courtesy of ESPN 
The following is Part One of Five on everything golf in 2016. It is a summary of what catches my interest, shapes my opinion, or impacts what I do on a year to year basis.

Spieth’s Collapse at the 12th

The 12th at Augusta National is the single best tournament par three in golf. And this year it played a stunning role at The Masters. I had all settled in to watch an easy walk to victory by Jordan Spieth … and then the first ball went in the water at the 12th. OK, fine, no problem … and then the second ball went in the water. Huh ... Who won, Danny Willet with a fine 67, but just like Faldo, he will take a backseat to Norman and Spieth because we seem to remember Vandervelde long after we forgot Lowrie.

No Open at Muirfield

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A said this, “The R&A has considered today’s decision with respect to The Open Championship. The Open is one of the world’s great sporting events and going forward we will not stage the Championship at a venue that does not admit women as members.” I love the game, The Open and Muirfield.  I respect any club’s right to maintain their traditions. But I’m with the R&A, with public money and public corporations involved, the Open must reflect society’s values. Hope the club changes its mind, but won’t hold it against them if they don’t.

Players Skip Olympic Golf

Zika became the perfect excuse for the professional golfers whose primary focus is on the majors and money. Despite medical experts insisting there was minimal risk and the games took place in Rio’s winter months, many top players largely abandoned the event. If you believed this might impact your family, I respect your choice, but I think more took a pass to keep their patterns for performance. If golf gains a foothold in the Olympics, the Gold Medal will have the same career weight as a major championship.

The Debacle at Oakmont

David Eger believed it was the right call as the rule was written. Here’s the problem. The players, the fans and the remainder of golf saw this as unfair. What made it worse was how it was handled.  When you throw in the issue of “their” set-up playing a critical role, it just points out the injustice of the ruling. They managed tarnish an excellent event. They were saved by Dustin’s increasingly great play over Oakmont. But this one wouldn't end till they made changes to the rules.

End of great duel - courtesy of CBS New York
Stenson wins fantastic Duel at Troon

We were treated to Phil’s lip out on Thursday in a quest for the first 62. What we didn’t see coming was Stenson. He would shoot the lowest aggregate score ever in a major at 262, capped off by a final round 63. But it was do much fun was the play of both players in the final round. They hit so many great shots, made some incredible putts and showcased levels of class and character rarely seen in. Phil’s 65 was spectacular, Stenson’s 63 simply blew our minds. Our “Duel in the Sun”.

PGA – Part One

Quick, who won? See it’s the 4th major for a reason. But who won the Olympics … ah, you know that don’t you. Can you tell me where they played? It was Jimmy Walker wire to wire at Baltusrol.

Olympic Golf – Part One

Despite all the doom and gloom predictions, the event not only went very well, but the golf was really good. Gil Hanse’s course was beautiful, interesting and delivered lots of thrills coming home with a series of short finishing holes. Golf was even luckier to have two high profile champions in Imbee Park and Justin Rose. But funny enough the highlight for me was Adilson da Silva hitting the first tee shot of the event. That moment felt special.

Bubba Watson of all people seemed to sum things up well, “All we do is read what’s in the headlines, and the headlines always scare you.” And yet in the end, the reaction from those who went was overwhelmingly positive as they became involved in much more than the golf. As one writer said afterwards, “Rio deserved a more than the hysteria that began the event.”

Arnold Palmer at Weston - courtesy The National
RIP Arnold Palmer

He wasn’t the best player, he wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t matter. He meant more to the golfing public than any other golfer before and after. He was relatable. He met everyone eye to eye, person to person, regardless of who they were. He had grace and presence that few in life have. I loved what Sam Saunders said in describing his famous grandfather “There wasn’t a big difference between the man you saw on TV and the man we knew at home. We are all here for the same reason. We all loved Arnold Palmer.”

World Golf Hall of Fame

Like Baseball, Golf is trying to figure out the new minimum numbers to meet who should go in and who should not. I trust those involved when it comes to players. Personally I don’t think there should be numbers. I always believed "you know" and all that numbers do is be helpful when you're on the fence. I do think Stan Thompson makes the grade, but I expect that will take some time.

Ryder Cup – Part One

I’m born in England so I have always pulled for either GB&I or Team Europe. I hated the dominance of America in the past and Europe lately too. I prefer the event to be a toss-up from the outset. I found the fans a little much and that needs to be addressed. The play was exciting throughout and I think the conditions made everything on the greens makeable. The epic final matches of Phil and Sergio eclipsed what was going to be the best match I’ve ever watched between Rory and Patrick Reid. I enjoyed the American victory, it raised the stakes for next year.

Ryder Cup – Part Two

Rory McIIroy  said, “It should be the best 12 players from Europe versus the best 12 players from the US. For me, there shouldn’t be anything to do with membership of tours. To have a guy like Paul Casey not on our team when he is playing some of the best golf in the world right now, it definitely hurt us [in Hazeltine].” The European Tour will need to tread carefully around this.

Partick Reid at Ryder Cup - courtesy of
Ryder Cup – Part Three

Darren Clarke's picks of Lee Westwood (0-2) who is a lousy putter under pressure and Martin Kaymer (0-3) who was in poor form left questions about picking experience over hot players. Thomas Pieters went 3-1. I thought Love's best move was leaving multiple Ryder Cup veterans off the team.

Jay Monahan takes over PGA

Keith Pelley said  “Our job as the gatekeepers of the Tour is to provide bigger purses, greater experiences and greater courses so that the players want to play here – and play here more than they need to just to stay a member – and so be a Ryder Cup player,”

Will Jay change the focus of the American based PGA Tour or will he expand more internationally and try to prevent the European Tour from gaining more leverage over player’s participation. It will be interesting to see what changes will come.

PGA – Part One

When Pete Bevacqua said, “We are huge proponents of the Olympics. We are all about the Olympics, but we also have to protect the PGA Championship and we can’t just bounce the PGA Championship around every four years,” He also alluded to the idea of moving the PGA permanently to May! I believe this is partially their attempt to no longer be the 4th major, but I also agree that the cycle of events leading up to the PGA and Olympics hurt both immensely.

It's as good as a major - courtesy of Golflife
Olympic Golf – Part Two

Ewan Murray reported, “A source at the International Olympic Committee said it would be “very surprising” if golf is not afforded an extended run. The IOC meets early next year for a standard review and to announce what sports will feature in the 2024 Games.”

Olympic Golf – Part Three

Olympic Course to Close? Rex Hoggard reported, “We have been disheartened by the recent reports regarding the status of the Olympic Golf Course and can only hope that the [Confederation], Rio 2016 and the city of Rio can work together to find both a short-term and long-term solution.” Sebastian Smith said, “A source close to the company who asked not to be identified said Progolf has been given no contract by the confederation and, having been forced to foot the $82,000 monthly maintenance operation out of its own pocket, is set to pull out.”

Gil Hanse offered the perspective from working in Brazil, “We witnessed this type of brinksmanship during the construction of the course, and we are hopeful that this is another example of having to hit a low point before things get better.”

Tiger’s Back …

I had to share Alan Shipnuck’s great paragraph, “He was dressed in a badass all-black ensemble, befitting the high noon tee time. The World Challenge is a mostly meaningless hit-and-giggle event, but the tee was crowded with reporters, cameramen and assorted rubberneckers. The most dominant golfer of all time does not have the luxury of easing back into competition. The mood was tense, even fraught. As Woods settled over the ball, waggling his discordant new TaylorMade driver, it was so funereal quiet you could hear decorative flags flapping in the distance.”

As much as I don’t pay any attention to him, he still moves the needle for so many others. I don't like or dislike him, I’d just rather see Spieth, Rory, Rose, etc. win at this point.

tomorrow - The Year in Golf Architecture