A simple question, really: Does the price of a round directly correlate to the quality of that round? This simple Statistics 201 exercise aims to figure out just how much a high price point equates to high quality of architecture in the eyes of major rating organizations.Continue reading “The Correlation — or Lack Thereof — Between Price and “Quality” in Top 100 Public Golf Course Rating Systems” »
Donald Ross, Seth Raynor, Bill Coore and More Renovate The Best Courses BPBM Played in 2022
If you’re on social media, you’ve likely read a list, by someone much wealthier and/or better connected than you (power to them), listing the best golf courses that they played during the past year. It’s obnoxious (again, power to them). What makes it worse is when their summaries are less insightful-look-into-the-minutiae-of-golf-course-identity, and more I-was-there photo dumps.
I’m a cynic. I don’t believe the perfect golf course exists, in the same way that I don’t believe many truly terrible golf courses exist. I, a blogger and social media guy, provide very little value to you if I don’t emphasize fatty spots on what is otherwise a fine cut of meat. And that’s how I came up with my annual “best of” format: Rather than simply slobbering to you about how great a course like Bandon Dunes is, I choose my least favorite hole and offer suggestions for improvement.
That would be too easy, however, so there’s a twist:
Each hole is redesigned from the mindset of a different golf course architect. A golf course architect from elsewhere on my year-end list, whose own hole will be dissected in the style of one of his cohorts later on. Confused? You’ll figure it out. Let’s start with a tough one, and hopefully learn something about these architects and some otherwise pretty great courses.
So…what would happen if HERBERT FOWLER renovated NO. 6 at BANDON DUNES?Continue reading “Donald Ross, Seth Raynor, Bill Coore and More Renovate The Best Courses BPBM Played in 2022” »
Probably The Last Photo Tour You’ll See at This Site: Yeamans Hall’s Greens
I don’t advertise myself as a photographer for numerous reasons. The first, and secondary reason: It’s tough to be a consistent online photography presence when you travel as little as I do. The second, and more primary reason: I’m a writer by nature, and a guy who’s got a lot to learn in terms of photography. At least one web denizen caught on to how my black metal schtick works — low light, zero color and, on rare occasions for trve Norwegian effekt, high contrast — and he suggested I check out his club. Summer in Charleston he said…greens that were watered and not much else. Might suit my style. The club?
Even if he had been totally wrong about how the course presented in the black and whites…even if the photos did suck…I could have putted for days on these greens. As someone who tilts toward Tillinghast and Ross’s approach to golf course design, it pained me only a little to acknowledge that this set of Raynor’s was the finest group of greens I had ever putted upon. I’ve not traveled as far as many, but I reckon these will still be among the best when they lay me down.
Oh but the photos…my host was totally correct on that front. They turned out. I don’t do course tours because, again, I’m humble enough to know my portfolio doesn’t justify it. But the conditions that day, coupled in part with oncoming thunderstorms, resulted in something really cool. Something that many more qualified photographers could easily recreate, grant you. But give me this one photo feature guys…I promised I won’t rag on you if you choose to write a blog post.
And so, the greens of Yeamans Hall:Continue reading “Probably The Last Photo Tour You’ll See at This Site: Yeamans Hall’s Greens” »
Make-Your-Own Sheep Ranch: 7 Hypotheticals in The Spirit of Bandon’s Newest Course
The Sheep Ranch, Bandon’s fifth 18-hole golf course, has raised an argument among the muckrakers on golf social media: Is the resort better for having it, versus what was there previously?
In case you weren’t aware, the current route sits on a plot where 13 greens once lay, left by Tom Doak, connected by fairways expanding in every direction. No route existed. Merely 13 greens and your choice in how to get them. An idyllic experiment. Although many are thrilled with the fifth addition to the Bandon portfolio, there is a healthy number who argue that Sheep Ranch’s former purpose was the better.
And these people, let’s be clear, are likely overly idealistic. Calculate the logistics: To play at the former concept course, one required permission. A choose-your-own-adventure golf course is a major liability, potentially even for just two foursomes on the property at one time. The current setup opened the gates, so to speak. We appreciate the original concept, but it’s totally unattainable if open to the general public.
The property’s former purpose opens up a massive opportunity, however, if Mike Keiser decided that he wanted to raise an intense amount of money for some charitable purpose. Many are willing to cough up thousands at charity auctions for foursomes at a private course. Think what you could do (and the money the item would earn) to have free rein at the modern Sheep Ranch for a day?
The Coore and Crenshaw retooling resulted in greens that play more to the purpose of a set route, sure. But the Sheep Ranch’s relatively cramped plot also means there are far fewer “wild” areas…the dense dunes and fescue that separate holes at the resort’s other courses. This opens the door to bold ideas and alternate routes.Continue reading “Make-Your-Own Sheep Ranch: 7 Hypotheticals in The Spirit of Bandon’s Newest Course” »
The Top 100 Metal Albums of the ’10s: Black, Death, Doom, and even One Metalcore for The Kids
A long time ago, I intended this site to include more music writing. And then I acknowledged that the vast majority of my audience was here to read about golf. Not metal. This will be the rare exception.
The obvious question: Why release rankings for the Top 100 Metal Albums of the 2010s more than two years late? The short answer is because my buddy JT, whom I’ve always hated, didn’t suggest I do so until Summer of 2021. So it’s his fault.
Here are some essential stats: Eighteen of the album covers feature some level of skulls. Four were painted by John Dyer Baizley.
The rest is for you to find. I hope that if you’re new to metal, you find one album you can appreciate. If you’re old to metal, I hope you find something new. Or something to yell at me about.
Also, as a side note, all of the descriptions below were written as drafts, intended to be worked over later. But then WordPress broke, so I can’t edit it now. Apologies.Continue reading “The Top 100 Metal Albums of the ’10s: Black, Death, Doom, and even One Metalcore for The Kids” »
Donald Ross, Tillinghast, Pete Dye and More Renovate The Best Courses BPBM Played in 2021
You know what’s great about being a middle-class dude blogging about golf course architecture? I rarely play the World Top 100 clubs that are so over-discussed on social media that it’s positively impossible for me to find a new angle on them. Everything I say about Rhode Island Country Club is going to be new to somebody!
Anyway, that’s how I justify to myself why you would have interest in reading my own “Best of 2021” list, despite its lack of World Top 100s. To be honest, any “best courses I played” blog post is inherently cliché. And so I created a fun activity (for myself, if not any of my readers):
The six best courses I played during 2021 each came from a different architect’s pen. I considered what another architect on the list might do if they had the opportunity to renovate my least-favorite hole at a different course on the list that they didn’t create.
For example, what would happen if Pete Dye renovated No. 9 at Davenport Country Club? Let’s find out!Continue reading “Donald Ross, Tillinghast, Pete Dye and More Renovate The Best Courses BPBM Played in 2021” »
The New Sitwell: Are the Alister MacKenzie and Willie Park Greens of Yore Possible in 2021?
At some point in your life as a golf course architecture aficionado, you’ll stumble across a photograph of the No. 12 green at Sitwell Park Golf Club, a Sheffield-area course that doesn’t attract as much international attention these days, despite the name “Alister MacKenzie” on the marquee. You, if anything like me at that point in my understanding of golf course design and construction, will squint your eyes and grin in the “you gotta be kidding me” method.
What is now known on message boards simply as the “Sitwell Park green” was created to combat a routing problem struck by MacKenzie during 1913. The routing required two greens, nos. 12 and 18, sit next to each other while requiring an uphill approach. If he had performed a common “cut and fill” to build the greens atop the hill, the putting surfaces would be both blind and punished but the newly-steepened slope. MacKenzie chose to create a large green that poured down from the top of the hill, full of roll almost unimaginable to the modern player (which you can see below).
Even at the time, local players were scandalized and the green disappeared, replaced with a far more pedestrian model.
The Sitwell Green remains celebrated online. Tom Doak, a proponent, built No. 13 at Barnbougle Dunes as a tribute to the lost putting surface. But even that, one of the funkiest greens on the planet, seems a bit watered down compared to the inspiration.
I began to wonder…with minimalist golf being all the rage, what’s preventing the creation of Sitwell-level green slopes?Continue reading “The New Sitwell: Are the Alister MacKenzie and Willie Park Greens of Yore Possible in 2021?” »
The Bunkers at Broadmoor (Indiana) Country Club and The Indefinable Donald Ross
I was driving along Interstate 70 and decided that I wanted to play a Donald Ross…so I stopped at Broadmoor.
No, not the Denver-area resort. Although that Broadmoor checks all the above boxes, I live in Columbus and needed a quicker fix. That, and an email alerting me to all of the restoration work that had recently been completed by Bruce Hepner, led me to pull up short in Indianapolis and check out the other Broadmoor, a country club on the near-west side of town.
I’m the kind of guy who does bare-bones research in the lead-up to a round — usually looking at Google Map aerials — so I know what to expect and, more importantly, what I should ask about.
Immediately, from one glance at Google, I had several questions, and they all dealt with the bunkering. After playing the course, I had even more.
It’s dangerous to describe a “normal” Donald Ross course, as the architect created almost as many courses as his Golden Age competition combined, which gave him room to wiggle and tweak. I’ve read Golf Has Never Failed Me and I’ve played enough Ross courses to know that no one breaks Ross’s rules as much as Ross himself.
That said, the bunkering at Broadmoor struck me as highly irregular on three fronts. I was able to speak with Bruce Hepner, who oversaw the restoration for Broadmoor, so he could set the record straight on these three aspects of Broadmoor’s bunkering.Continue reading “The Bunkers at Broadmoor (Indiana) Country Club and The Indefinable Donald Ross” »
Just a post-Royal St. George’s Essay on Approaching Golf Course Ratings and Discussion
GOLF recently ran a panel regarding Royal St. George’s, with particular focus on the concept of blind shots. The question (“are blind shots fair, or too gimmicky?”) came on the heel of Brooks Koepka’s suggestion that Sandwich featured too many of them. The GOLF group — featuring four of its panel of 100 raters — concluded, to differing degrees, that blind shots were in fact a good thing, distinctive to links golf.
The unanimous result disappointed me. I say this as someone who equally values the blindness present at Royal St. George’s.
Continue reading “Just a post-Royal St. George’s Essay on Approaching Golf Course Ratings and Discussion” »
Don’t Buy The Hype: An Argument Against Allegations of “Subtlety” at Pete Dye’s The Golf Club
Reviews for The Golf Club often include one word more than any other: “subtle.” It’s a term long distasteful to me…as a former music writer, editor, and general writing prick. “Subtle” comes across as a crutch, communicating a realization that one enjoyed what they had just listened to or seen…but were not sure why.
If this pleasure was difficult to define, it must be “subtle.”
The Golf Club was not subtle. In many ways, it is Pete Dye’s least subtle design. It encapsulates the essence of Facebook’s founding mantra, packaged into a golf course architect: Move fast and break things.Continue reading “Don’t Buy The Hype: An Argument Against Allegations of “Subtlety” at Pete Dye’s The Golf Club” »