A Golf Trail Rich In History, Greatness
+ Why there are so many kids in Pinehurst.
ON THE TEE
🏌️ PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan issued a memo to players that says a fund will be created to compensate PGA Tour stars who did not take LIV Golf millions. Will you hear from any of the beneficiaries, complaining about the source of the money?
🏌️ Monahan also said the Tour will come out against ball rollback proposed by the USGA. Considering that 99.9% of Tour players are opposed to the ball going a shorter distance, is anyone surprised?
🏌️ British Open champion Brian Harman said he was constantly heckled by local fans at Royal Liverpool. He told Dan Patrick that the treatment was “brutal” and “they did not want me to win that tournament.” What was that about British Open fans being the most knowledgeable in the world?
🏌️ Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee, who just can’t seem to help himself, says Rory McIlroy is past his physical and statistical prime. “I’m talking about mental, I’m talking about optical acuity, all these little things touch nerves, speed.” Since when did Chamblee become a doctor?
🏌️ Martin Slumbers, CEO of the R&A, met with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Saudi PIF — and future chairman of PGA Tour Enterprises — in a private box at the British Open. Which one was doing more talking?
🏌️ Fred Couples, U.S. Ryder Cup vice-captain, says Max Homa, Cameron Young and Jordan Spieth are locks for captain’s picks. What about Tony Finau, Collin Morikawa — and Justin Thomas? Can you imagine Thomas not on the Ryder Cup team?
🏌️ Thomas is also two spots outside the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which is the other reason he entered the 3M Open. He has just one top-10 finish since March and one top-five finish since February. Any doubt that Thomas is one swing away from playing well again?
🏌️ Lexi Thompson skipped the Amundi Evian Championship, the fourth LPGA major, for the third year in a row. Can you name a top player in the modern era who said no to a major because of a dislike of the course?
🏌️ Erik van Rooyen’s caddie, Alex Gaugert, Monday qualified for the 3M Open and was paired for the first two rounds with his boss. At what point does this cease being fun and start being serious?
:: Mike Purkey
Old Tom Morris Trail showcases Morris' design genius
Opened in 2022, the eclectic trail hits 18 Scottish courses that Morris either designed, redesigned or consulted on and pays a fitting tribute
:: Tony Dear | Read
World’s largest junior golf event converges on Pinehurst
More than 2,200 players from 55 countries and all 50 states will be in Pinehurst, North Carolina, for the annual U.S. Kids Golf World Championships
:: David Droschak | Read
Good reads that are mainly about golf, but not always.
📖 Honoring the last of the ‘Boys of Summer’
Carl Erskine was a champion with the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, but what came after that is what will be celebrated with an award from the Baseball Hall of Fame
:: Tyler Kepner | New York Times | 07.17.23
📖 The real history behind Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’
The “father of the atomic bomb” has long been misunderstood. Will the new film finally get J. Robert Oppenheimer right?
:: Andy Kilfer | Smithsonian | 07.18.23
📖 The legend and the renegade
A conversation with an outlaw icon and a modern Nashville rebel
:: Matt Hendrickson | Garden and Gun | 04-05.16
The money of the majors
The major championships have increased their purses by 52% since 2021. Over 15 golfers made over $1 million in the majors this year
1️⃣8️⃣ The golf industry’s week in review — the names, news and notables that are making the headlines. :: Read
THE STYLE LINKS
Classy! Look forward to seeing the new adidas MC80 golf shoes on Aug. 1.
:: Janice Ferguson | IG: @janiceferguson_thestylelinks
Each episode of the “Course of Life” podcast closes with the guest sharing a favorite 19th hole experience.
Paul Heery, general manager at The K Club in County Kildaire, Ireland: “I’m a pretty traditional man and I love a good ribeye steak after the round … with a Heineken."
:: Alex Lauzon | Co-host of “Course of Life” podcast
TPC Twin Cities | Blaine, Minnesota
Listing: 2591 Tournament Players Circle.
Stats: 5,224 square feet | 5 bedrooms | 3.5 baths | 3-car garage.
About: This home is located across from the 16th fairway of TPC Twin Cities, the host course of the PGA Tour's 3M Open. The course, designed by Arnold Palmer, plays 7,164 yards and features six sets of tees, including a family tee, on each hole. The home itself features an open-concept living area with a vaulted ceiling and the primary suite on the main level. Four additional bedrooms are upstairs. Its gourmet kitchen is complete with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and ample storage space to suit all your needs.
Kris Spence is restoring Asheville Muni
⛳️ The Asheville Municipal Golf Course, a 1927 Donald Ross design listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is in the midst of a $3.5 million capital improvement project, funded by the City of Asheville (North Carolina) user fees and grants.
The first phase of the project started in October 2022 and will run through the winter of 2023-24. A major component of the project concerns stormwater and irrigation management and repairing infrastructure that has deteriorated over a century.
Tees, greens and bunkers are also being improved, and the pro shop has been renovated. Architect Kris Spence, a specialist in restoring and uplifting Ross courses, was retained through the Donald Ross Society to provide a master plan for the course.
"This project has been a long time coming and was very much needed," said Pat Warren, course general manager and head golf professional. "We’ve gotten so many favorable comments from regulars who cannot believe the transformation. There’s a lot of excitement over what’s happening now and what’s to come.
"The drainage and irrigation is old, to say the least. The layout is still pretty close to Ross’ original vision. The biggest piece beyond the water management is getting the tee boxes back in good shape, leveling them in places, resodding in places. We’re addressing fairways where they’re thin."
Ross built four courses in Asheville in the 1920s — Biltmore Forest Country Club (1922), Asheville Country Club (1926), Asheville Municipal (1927) and Beaver Lake Golf Club (1928). The Muni, in Ross’ mind, was a key element in developing a wave of city-owned and operated golf courses and followed, by one year, the opening of Wilmington Municipal on the opposite side of the state.
"The development of municipal golf courses is the outstanding feature of the game in America today," said Ross nearly a century ago. "It is the greatest step ever taken to make it the game of the people, as it should be. The municipal courses are all money makers, and big money makers. I am naturally conservative, yet I am certain that in a few years we will see golf played much more generally than is even played now."
That element of the Asheville Muni experience, which will celebrate its centennial in 2027, has played out over the decades. It was the first course in North America to racially integrate. The Skyview Open was conceived in 1960 as an all-African American event and had 50 competitors. Two caucasian golfers participated the following year, and it has been played each July since.
The Skyview has helped launch 29 Black golfers onto the pro golf tours, among them Lee Elder, Jim Dent, Chuck Thorpe and Harold Varner III. World Boxing Champion Joe Louis played in the tournament, as did John Brooks Dendy, who won three National Negro Open championships in the 1930s and was a regular caddie at the Muni, Asheville Country Club and Biltmore Forest Country Club.
Among the catalysts for the Asheville Muni renovation has been the course falling under a new administrative structure in the City of Asheville and taking on a new management company in the fall of 2022. The Asheville City Council voted to approve Commonwealth Golf Partners II as the new operator of the facility. Commonwealth Golf Partners is led by Peter Dejak and Michael Bennett. They have an extensive background in building, renovating and operating golf courses and country clubs in the Mid-Atlantic region.
“Every time I go to the golf course, I meet new people who say, ‘I can’t believe this is happening here,'" said Chris Corl, director of Asheville's Community and Regional Entertainment Facilities division. "The tried-and-true regulars are ecstatic. The next step is to get the out-of-market visitor to play during tourist season, then get good reviews and grow that business. That will allow us to reinvest — getting visitors to play the course, enjoying it, and coming back."
Fundraising is ongoing, and the Friends of Asheville Muni was launched as a 501(c)(3) organization to help generate money to assist the restoration well into the future.
"It’s been glorious to watch," said Phil Blake, who grew up in a house on the tenth fairway and has played the course for more than fifty years. "I never in my lifetime have seen this much money thrown at this golf course. There’s a new spirit around here, for sure."
Among the highlights of the work completed:
— Thinning out underbrush and cutting trees to provide air flow, sunlight and turf health
— Cart path repairs
— Sodding tees and fairways where needed
— Extensive tree-clearing and new green and bunkers on the 16th hole
— New signage and pin flags
— Golf shop overhaul with new carpet, paint, fixtures and significant upgrade to the retail product offering
— A new weather station to measure green surface moisture
— Restoration of 10 bunkers
— Mounding and broomsedge grass installation on holes one and six to mirror Ross’s original design
"We have a good set of Ross’s individual hole drawings and a good general plan of the 18 holes," Spence said. "The routing is intact. The evidence on the ground is that the golf course was built according to the plan. In pulling a master plan together, my first step was to walk the golf course and try to decide the highest priorities.
"It’s not often you get to restore an original Donald Ross that has not been altered over the years. When I first walked the site with Commonwealth, we found Ross bunkers that had been abandoned decades ago. Tees that had trees growing over them. Green edges that you could clearly see and are still defined but have been abandoned. In some ways the lack of attention over the last century to this historic golf course has made the changes that much more rewarding for the players.
"The main thing was cleaning the weeds off, encouraging the Bermuda growth, clearing out trees. In time, we’ll restore the edges to the greens, and all of the bunkers around the greens, the ones in the fairways that bring back the essence of the Ross strategy. The Muni is headed in the right direction."