Big weekend for Korn Ferry (at least the Tour), as the first in a decade’s worth of Tour Championships took place at Victoria National. Some projected that scorecards could border on the U.S. Open-at-Shinnecock…because that’s what happens to every other human being who plays at National—it’s basically Tom Fazio’s take on Whistling Straits…if ponds replace the bunkers. The European Tour’s Tom Lewis thought otherwise, shaving 23 strokes off par to take home a win.
Many apologies this week: The editing staff at BPBM have been working furiously on side projects for other publications, which we realize is selling out on a grand scale—albeit not quite as grand a scale as Batushka B (the Batushka we don’t care for)—but it has been paying dividends (which is, after all, the entire point of selling out).
This week’s post will be a quick one, despite The Open being held at the epic and awesome Royal Portrush this weekend.
Portrush, like many classic links layouts, has a collection of names to go with its holes. We’ve chosen the five spookiest and aim to rank them based on scariness. The formula we’ll use is simple: 50% of the score comes from the epicness of the title, and 50% comes from the epicness of the hole. All subjective, of course. With that being said, here are the most metal holes at Portrush, based strictly on name. And also strictly on strength of hole. And not strictly on the definition of “strictly.”
Oh hey. The Masters is over. As is the RBC Heritage. Guess it’s time to get excited for the Zurich Classic?
RBC benefits from a hair-of-the-dog schedule. The golf world is drunk on The Masters, and RBC gets us through the hangover with a distinct brand of shot-maker golf. But by the time Zurich rolls around, we’re too busy talking about how Tiger is gonna win the U.S. Open (which is crazy because there’s usually a two-month gap before the next major. That tendency is exaggerated this year because of two things: A) Tiger is the legitimate favorite at the next major and B) that major is actually the PGA Championship, bumped up to May!). Zurich’s shift to an NBA Jam-style two-man format was admirably bold. But nothing will be bold enough to fill the gap this year. Not even a Pete Dye course sporting vent bunkers and Kiawah-style fairways, which snake between giant waste areas.
It’s a shame, because Louisiana is a wonderful state, both in climate and in its spectacular sludge metal scene. At least 10 golfers agree, as they’ve won multiple titles in New Orleans (and we’re sure they dig New Orleans sludge as well)—at Zurich, or its previous titles, dating back to 1938.
But no golfer has won it more than twice. Just for kicks, we’re ranking those golfers’ second victory in terms of excitement, or just general interest.
Stirring around for an angle on the announcement that Ric Kayne—founder and owner of Tara Iti Golf Club in New Zealand—would be opening two public courses adjacent to his acclaimed private playground, we stumbled upon something else entirely.
Considering that Tom Doak (designer of the original Tara Iti layout) and Coore & Crenshaw were announced as the respective sculptors for the future courses, not to mention the land those courses will be sitting on, it’s inevitable to make some sort of “Bandon, New Zealand” reference. Mangawhai is about to become an international bucket list destination for golfers. So we figured we would check out what other options were available to those in the neighborhood. The nearest is named, neatly, Mangawhai Golf Club.
This piqued our interest, noticing that a heck of a lot of courses in New Zealand’s North Island region incorporated the syllable “wai” (or “whai”). Why “wai”? Two parts to the answer: One, most golf courses in the area simply retain the name of their geographical locations. Secondly, those locations all tend to feature a prominent aquatic feature. In Maori, “wai” invokes water, hence the so many golf courses having some form of “water” built into their names. Which is the most normal thing in the world: Think of all the “Lake,” “Creek,” “Stream” et al courses that you play at.
Anyway, here are a few highlights—all located on New Zealand’s North Island—that you may be able to squeeze a few rounds on when Kayne’s links paradise opens to the public (no proposed dates yet).
Alice Dye passed away last week, at the age of 91. Although long appreciated by golf course enthusiasts for her long career and role alongside husband Pete, the wave of coverage was nice to see. If you read any, you’ve at least learned that she was the mind behind “Pete’s” most famous hole: the island green at TPC Sawgrass—which claims some 100,000 lives a year, on average. This might have one believe that Alice put the “kill” in “Dye,” but the exact opposite was true, as Pete noted during this PBS segment some years ago:
“She’s always on me ‘how is Mary Smith going to play this golf course?’ I have more respect for Mrs. Alice than anybody because she doesn’t worry about moving the dirt or the swamp or the drains, she worries about Mary Smith.”
Slicers, Hookers, Cutters is a monthly rundown of the best and worst albums released during the previous month. Let’s be real…there’s only so much time we can dedicate to albums every month, so feel free to tweet @BethpageBM and let us know what we missed. Understand, of course, that we may have actually hated the garbage you recommend…so if you don’t see a social shout-out for that release, you’ll just have to sit there and wonder whether we missed your comment…or whether your taste is terrible. This crushing paranoia is all part of the doom metal experience.
It’s been a couple of months since we’ve broken down the month’s albums, but in all seriousness…the industry dies during December. We mean…an album that sold literally 823 copies topped the Billboard 200 during January. No new metal means no new segments. But metal has never sold, so no one was nervous about dropping their LPs during January! Let’s get it!
So Golf Digest released its list of the Top 100 golf courses in the United States and, as can be expected, nobody liked it. Or at least those who did like it didn’t talk about it on social media. That’s how lists work. Long before we took any interest in golf, we worked for a music publication. We saw firsthand how the year-end lists were only good for generating hatred and loathing, even among the staffs compiling them (especially among the staffs compiling them). Our advice to you: Don’t take lists too seriously.
A new year and a new dawn for the PGA. Alright, well, technically that new dawn won’t rise until 2021. By this point you’re aware that the PGA will be moving its headquarters to Frisco, TX, about 40 minutes or so north of Dallas. We’re sure there are procedural elements for someone to get excited about, but us course aficionados are naturally thrilled to hear of two new courses, totaling 45 holes: a championship-ready layout designed by Gil Hanse, a more tourist-friendly course (also potentially designed by Hanse), as well as a short course. Dallas is on the verge of becoming a Top 10 U.S. golf destination, and the north side of town will be carrying the weight.
But it really should have been on our radar before.
It doesn’t seem like Golf.com is doing their biennial rankings of every state’s best public courses…so BPBM has taken it upon themselves to take up the task for its home state (Ohio) for 2018—by simply reorganizing Golf’s 2016 rankings. Check out Nos. 1 – 3 today, or head back to Parts I and II to see what the first five listings were…and then stay tuned to find out the Top Three…plus a couple of additional publics worth your consideration, which didn’t get a shout out from the powers that be in 2016. Or this year, for that matter.