Design Theory

When asked by a reporter from the Boston Herald to explain his philosophy of designing a golf hole in a single sentence Tillie replied,

“The one shot that tells the story in golf is the shot to the green, and if you conceive of golf being a game of animate attack and inanimate defense with regard to that shot, you have my design in a nutshell.”

Albert Tillinghast

As seen on GolfClubAtlas.com

Urban Renewal

Some times it takes synergy of widely divergent sources to pull off a project of major scale and importance, but it also takes the stewardship of a visionary to collate those sources, convince them of shared purpose, and compose a finished proposal that has a chance to get to the finish line.

In the case of the restoration of a pair of age old public courses in the South Side of Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan that visionary is Mark Rolfing.  Those sources are Tiger Woods, Barack Obama, Mike Keiser, and Al DeBonnett who have collectively brought to the brink of reality a restored municipal golf venue that is a win-win-win-win for all the parties involved.

If they have there way they will create, at a minimal cost to the public coffers,  a restored Jackson Park 18-hole Championship Course complete with public access to the beach, a community cultural center, affordable greens fees, and viable youth employment program.

The final march along the shore line of Lake Michigan should provide stunning views of the lake and the impressive Chicago skyline

The model for this project is totally unique in the way it is funded, the pricing structure for the golf, the caddie program, and  community amenity improvement possibilities that it will create and support.

It is hard to imagine totally funding this with private donations, greens fees on a championship layout of less then $50 for the neighborhood locals, a robust caddie program that could provide employment of 150 to 200 inner city kids, and improvement and support of non-golfing community recreational amenities.  This is the type of stuff often discussed but rarely accomplished in major urban renewal projects.   But that is what this confluence of sources has brought to the table to the benefit of this community and it’s residents.

Pour yourself a cup of refreshment and take a few minutes to read Dylan Dether’s fascinating account of the development of this unique project to renew Jackson Park Golf Course and dramatically enhance this neiborhood in the South Side of Chicago.

(Click to read Dylan Dether’s Golf.com article on Jackson Park Renewal)

Dylan Dether

Golf.com (2018)

No Two Snowflakes Are Alike

Visits to strange courses are the best education for the golfing mind.  The eye which has never seen but one horizon sees but little of what is made visible to the educated power of sight.

Every fresh hole we play should teach us some new possibility of using our strokes and suggest to us a further step in the progress of our golfing knowledge.

John Low

Concerning Golf (1903)

Evolution Of The Golf Ball

Likely you have seen in a golf memorabilia store the rack of old golf balls that depict, much like this image of the lineage of man, the evolution of the modern golf ball from its humble beginnings.

What started out as a small croquet ball became a hand-stuffed leather spheroid before being molded from a rigid latex extract called gutta percha and eventually making it to the more reliable and durable wound rubber band ball that we played for almost 100 years.

(Click to read the detailed timeline of golf ball evolution)

All of this has been obviated by material technology that allows manufacturers the ability to customize the feel and performance of the ball to the perceived preferences of the wide variety of players.

But many of us pine for the good old days of wound balata balls that actually spoke to you when you miss-hit them badly by providing a wry smile demarcing your swing folly.

 

 

Justice Reckoned

Back in 2012 Max Adler, a writer from Golf Digest, got interested in the case of Valentino Dixon, a young man who was serving 39 years to life in Attica State Prison for a murder that he claimed he did not do.

That original article, and you can read it here through the link to our moegolf posting “Justice Served?”, outlined how Max had come to know of Valentino’s plight and his side story that golf, a game that Valentino had never played, was providing him solace and the will to continue to fight his conviction.  Max was convinced from studying the exhaustive paper record of Valentino’s trial and subsequent legal efforts that he was in fact wrongfully convicted and this was a miscarriage of justice.

Fast forward six years!!

Through the persistent efforts since 2012 of Max Adler, Valentino’s wife Louise, the Dixon family, and a host of lawyers and advocacy groups, the conviction of Valentino Dixon has finally been overturned and he was released from prison in September 2018.

Valentino and Max smiling inside and out in front of the courthouse after his release

Take a few minutes to read Max Adler’s recent Golf Digest article that details the difficult and turbulent road Valentino faced these last six years in overturning his conviction.  Make sure to watch the embedded video in the article that provides a moving epilogue to this tale.

(Click to read Max Adler’s Golf Digest Article “Valentino’s Redemption”)

At the end of the article there is a link to a GoFundMe drive that Valentino and his wife Louise have set up to help them fund their next challenge, a legal battle with U.S. immigration, that would finally allow them to be permanently reunited here in the United States.  Now wouldn’t that provide a real happy ending.

Max Adler

Golf Digest (2018)

 

Changes In The Rules For 2019

As you probably are aware the rules gurus of the USGA and R & A have put their heads together over the last couple of years and have been in serious discussions on how to simplify the rules of our game.

The result is that the total number of rules is being reduced significantly and many of the most confusing rules have been refashioned to make them simpler to understand and easier to apply.

You will find through this link a summary of the major changes in the rules that go into effect on January 1, 2019.  Many of these rule changes were designed to speed up play as well as make them much easier and fairer to enforce.

(Click to see the summary of the Major Changes In The Rules Of Golf For 2019)

You can also take a look at our Rules Education Forum-it is chock full of entertaining explanations of the rules that often confound people.  These too have been updated to reflect the rule changes for 2019.

(Click to see visit our Moegolf Rules Education Forum)

Parent Shots

Long driving from the tee, if it be also straight and consistent, is the groundwork of all further movements and performances…..

The tee sorts are, in fact, the parent shots; the second shots are their heirs, inheriting the advantages of their forefather’s virtues…..

It must be remembered as a commandment that the play proceeds by stepping stones from situation to situation; only one shot goes into the hole; the others are preparatory to this end.

John Low

Concerning Golf (1903)

Postcard From Casa de Campo

We took a late fall trip to the delightful Casa de Campo Resort and Villas in the Dominican Republic.  This is a bastion of Pete Dye golf courses, high end accommodations, good food and drink, and lively entertainment.  Over five days we played em all….Teeth of the Dog, Dye Fore, The Links, and La Romana Country Club….and it was just the perfect warm antidote for the November chill that had set in on the East Coast.

With business down a bit in what we thought was high season, the powers that be upgraded us from the main hotel to a series of lavish villas across the property.  Four to five guys in each, we had our own pool, jacuzzi, outsized living spaces to stretch out, and even a service professional to make us a hot breakfast every morning.  We were living the life of a Conquistador.

#5 Casa Arriba Villa….Rooms r’ Us…….

Welcoming in three languages…….

The Master Suite…..had a walk in closet that would house four……

Living room was perfect for an afternoon siesta nap or a chat with the boys…..

Or sneak out back for a private plunge in the pool or the hot tub……

We even had our own pair of Spanish speaking parrots out back……

Many had a view like this from their porch while enjoying their breakfast…….

For the golfing experience it is Dye, Dye, and more Dye….just cannot get enough of his influence, which is understandable since he lived just off the green at the Par 3 7th.  Having said that the courses are totally playable for folks of all skill sets.  The ocean views on Teeth of the Dog can be somewhat distracting but it fills your golfing heart with pride when you traverse one of those shore lines and land your Srixon on terra firma.

Pete is the master of all golf in Casa…standing sentinel in front of the pro shop

Our professionals Ranger Hal and Double-D did all the arranging to perfection

Ronnie was all in on cries of “Bella Bola”……

Howard proudly sporting the Kompany K……

Kolman and Harry preparing for the day’s skirmishes…….

The first stop on the Dye Tour was his 1971 work on this campus, the famed “Teeth of the Dog”.  The course get’s it’s name for the aerial view of the coastline it straddles where the nooks and crannies the holes traverse look like the dentifrice of a German Shepard.  This was fine since we had our fair share of representatives of the dental profession.

The Par 4 2nd hole has the full compliment of Dye extras…..in this case waste areas surrounded by what look like drift wood pickets….

The 5th is the first of a series of ocean side three-pars…this one is only an 115 yard pitch but that pesky tree front right has great reach…..

In this case it rejected a perfectly good looking shot into a perfectly nasty waste bunker……I experienced the same fate twice in two rounds…

World Wide Weber, Doc Kella, and Steve the Wanderer just hangin’ out….

The 7th is one of the truly captivating views of the day….Pete’s vacation home was just to the right of the green so he could witness the follies first hand….

The Fun Bunch-Mish, Doc, Night Walker, and Kounselor Konnor about to take on the back nine coastal holes….soon the smiling will end….

You know you are on the back side since the ocean is now on the right….here at the short 15th you almost feel like you can drive the green…maybe in a power boat…

This add-on was a bit of Dye levity off the side of one of the greens….it is kind of what it feels like trying to hit some of these Par 3’s in a big wind…….

The hardest of all the hard one shotters…the 16th has two distinct green sections that are connected by a grass boardwalk….there is no backing off this pin….

If you get a bit too bold on the double presses you might end up making a deposit in one of the spaces in what we coined (pardon the pun) “The Wailing Wall”……

If it really gets bad you can use this remnant of a landing strip from the old Casa Airport in front of the 18th tee to call in a Med-Vac Helicopter for a quick escape..

The other gem we played was the Dye Fore Course (circa 2007) which is set a bit more inland on a challenging piece of tumultuous property perched above a river gorge running through its center.  Pete was up to the task, creating a dramatic but playable set of holes with plenty of risk and reward sewn therein.

The 4th is the Number 1 handicap hole as it wraps around the edge of the gorge.  There are no bailouts on this hole, just some lines less risky then others…

The Kodak moment of the day is on the short Par 4 5th….the fairway wends its way down toward the shore with the marina shimmering in the background…

Doc, Craig, Double-D, and Len The Plumber posing on the 14th Tee…the gorge behind them is in play big time on this stretch of holes….

All the three-pars share the look of the 15th….providing a dramatic backdrop as your ball falls helplessly from the sky searching for safe landing below…

For the overly ambitious among us there was the opportunity to play additional golf in the afternoons at the Casa Links or at La Romana, a superb private club within the Casa de Campo campus.  The former was just a nice toned down Pete Dye experience, but La Romana was 27 holes of pure Pete Dye genius without the benefit of the seaside views.

The 8th at Casa Links was a sweet punch bowl style Par 3….getting to the pin was best accomplished using the side walls…..

Mr. Bill, as one of our caddies affectionately referred to him, uses the aura of the Rainbow Halo to insure putting his drives in the first cut…..

Brice shows you where professional power is generated as he unloads on downswing…..this one was about 280 in the air…..

Full professional contingent playing for Monopoly Money on the last hole of links

On these guy trips eating is just below golf and just above the afternoon nap in terms of priority.  The restaurants across the Casa Resort are all top notch and cover most of the sacred food groups.  The adult beverages flow freely as well so the levity of these evenings is enhanced accordingly.

The night we ate at the Minitas Beach Club Doc Kella was celebrating collecting his Social Security….the cake was adorned with a Roman Candle that enhanced his tan….

Eating at La Piazzeta was a serious indulgence in all things Italian….

Which included a Mariachi Band with some Bar Mitzvah experience since they were able to abide Phil’s request for Hava Nagilah….the crowd got raucous…

Click on the frame below to witness the full Hava Nagilah revelry in a video

After five days of golf and spiritual therapy, 29 guys were a bit tired but smiling broadly from this tranquility experience in a wee bit of paradise…

 

 

 

Bandon Dunes: Shorty’s

Among the novel amenities that Mike Keiser came up with for his Bandon Dunes Resort right from the get go was a very neat Approach and Putt Course called Shorty’s. Designed by David McLay Kidd, the guy who did the Bandon Dunes Course, this is a full feature short track with architectural detail commensurate with it’s big brother.

Built on the back side of the South Practice Range, it is convenient, practical and fun.  Holes from 92 to 177 yards with plenty of options in between on each hole, it is a great place to acquaint yourself with long pitch and run shots you will need across the links style and wind blown Bandon Dunes courses.

Shorty’s is open from Thursday through Sunday, when the North Range is in use.  Truth is you can play the Mini Shorty’s Routing of 1, 2, and 9 any day since they are safely out of the range of fire of the South Practice Tees.

The full 9-hole walk is probably less than an hour depending on how much trash talking you do.  Best part is that playing Shorty’s costs you nothing at all, it is free to all comers.  Just another perfect happy hour activity for you and your buds.

The photos below will give you an idea of the architectural interest of this layout as well as the challenge it presents.

The distances on each hole are the official yardage plates, though you can pretty much drop the ball anywhere you like on each hole to fit what you are working on.  Note that the hole names are based upon my impression and totally the fabrication of this author, not sanctioned by the folks who run this place.

Launch Pad

Here is where you start.  If the green flag is up Shorty’s is fully open, red flag not so much.

 

#1 The Devils Trap Door  86 Yards

Brings to mind the 10th at Pine Valley where the front bunker earned the moniker of the Devil’s A-hole. You have to flight something with grip into the right center of this green and hope it hold’s on.  As you can see in this reality TV ground level look, recovery from the Devil’s orifice is unlikely.

#2 The Uprights  113 Yards

Garo Yepremian would love the look of this one, just split the uprights for 3.  This is a good one for working on a 100 yard seven iron pitch and run shot.  Just trundle one up the front ramp and let it work to the pin.

#3 Cape  177 Yards

The Cape Hole was a classic Golden Age design configuration where the green was nestled behind a large body of water not sand.  Here you have to work your approach from right to left to avoid the cavernous bunkers and let the slope of the green bring it toward the flag.

Close up of the front right bunker also hints how the front ramp will continue to work your approach from right to left.

#4 Pine Valley  126 Yards

The name seemed like natural to me. Shallow green with a tiny opening between fierce bunkers and a pine tree squeezing you from the right for good measure.  The pines behind just complete the full George Crump look.

#5 Potchy  145 Yards

One of the longer carries over this lone pot to a long green that falls away from you.  It gets its name from the fact that this green is the closest to the South Range Tees so it is fully potched from ball marks making it resemble the rutty face of a pimply 13 year old boy.

#6 Dome  111 Yards

You can see how the right half of the green resembles the hood of a VW Beetle making really hard to hold a high approach.  Once again this is a good place to work on your long pitch and run out shot, letting the ground do the work.

Don’t let the shot wander left because there are two of these blow-out bunkers, much like you would see on the shore holes of Kidd’s Bandon Dunes Course.

#7 Gully-Vers Travel  108 Yards

The shot here must travel across a deep gully to this perched green behind another pot bunker.  The bank left of the flag can be dexterously used to feed a shot onto the green avoiding the bunker.  Links golf requires forethought.

#8 Misty May and Kerri  92 Yards

This green complex of this one honors the Gold Medal accomplishments that dynamic Olympic Beach Volleyball Duo Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh.  You may find yourself volleying pitch shots back and forth across this raised shallow table top green.

The look from the receiving side….equally steep approach back up.

# Homeward Bound  146 Yards

The final hole has all the architectural features bundled into it.  The layered, ragged edge bunkering from the right reminds me of some of the fairway bunkers on Bandon Dunes.  Mounding from the right masks the playing surface from clear view.

The green emanates from the hill on the right and has a deep low behind the front mound  that will shove timid approaches away from a flag in the back right.  Putting this green is an adventure all it’s own.

The Back Door

The look from behind shows you the mound that hides the front and the collar bunkering that rings the back waiting to catch an approach with too much enthusiasm.  Great holes are often kool looking from either direction.

Shorty’s Course Map

You can see the counter clockwise routing of the course.  It follows a tight circle for a very efficient walk, one well worth taking.

Bandon Dunes: Punchbowl

Mike Keiser did it again.  In 2013 he added one more piece of priceless frivolity to what already has to be the complete golf destination in the world.  Tom Doak designed the ultimate putting playground called Punchbowl at Bandon Dunes.

It has quickly become one of the most popular tickets at the resort, delighting folks of all ages in a kind of DIY-no classroom walls putting experience.

Hills and Dales…furry mounding and lots of whispy grass

This ginormous putting surface (total acreage undisclosed) sits just off the veranda of the Pacific Dunes Grill overlooking the great western pond with 18 holes sprawling across rigorous seaside terrain characteristic of the rest of the resort.

Wild Back nine wends through the trees

Inspired by the Himalayas green at St. Andrews Doak created this with a bit more drastic topography.  From the moguls on the big plateau at the north end around the large tree in the middle to the deep bowl on the south end there is an elevation change of as much as 20 feet.

Click image to experience the full Punchbowl panorama.

Click image to appreciate Josh’s eerie shadow and experience the full Punchbowl panorama.

This is a full service putting entertainment facility.  Open from 2 pm until dusk (they probably need six hours in the morning to cut this small piece of paradise),  there are 100-foot roller coaster putts, Daytona doglegs, and ridiculous topographical transitions that will challenge the most creative mind.

Starter’s Stand can accommodate the lines-just drop your ball in the ball slot until it becomes your turn.

Note the hole markers have integrated beverage stands…how convenient!

As you would expect at Bandon, there is a beverage cart close at hand to wet your whistle or simply calm the putting jitters as required.  Drink holders next to every tee and hole location and a course routing that can change every day.

The Tap-In Trailer is open when necessary-waiter service from the Pacific Grill at all times

Perfect for resolving unsettled wagers from the morning walk, a little fraternal fun with your compadres, or some serious work on the lag putts with the new saw grip.

There are even Viewing Lounges perched on the hill for watching the action

Punchbowl is a necessary add to every Bandon Dunes itinerary.  Once again Mike Keiser proves that he knows what we want even if we cannot tell him what it is.