A Year Worthy of Celebration
+ Poll: Is PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan under the microscope?
ON THE TEE
🏌️ Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford lose in court and are not allowed to play in the FedEx St. Jude Classic. PGA Tour goes 1 up over LIV Golf.
🏌️ A report says British Open winner Cameron Smith is set to join LIV Golf after the FedEx Cup playoffs. Match even.
🏌️ Some PGA Tour players verbally lash out against their former brethren after 11 LIV players sue the Tour for antitrust violations.
🏌️ By the way, the three-week playoff run began Thursday, in case you didn’t hear about it above all the noise.
🏌️ The Presidents Cup looks doomed, so who’s going to save the Ryder Cup?
🏌️ Ashleigh Buhai squandered a five-shot lead in the final round and survived a late triple bogey to win the AIG Women’s British Open in a playoff. Was anyone watching?
🏌️ Gary Player accused his son Marc, who was once his father’s manager, of the unauthorized selling of the elder Player’s trophies and memorabilia. His other son, Wayne, has been banned from the Masters for a marketing stunt.
🏌️ Golf is not immune from inflation. It costs much more this year to keep a course fit and playable. Remember that when you pay your greens fees or get your club bill.
:: Mike Purkey
The First Call: A look back at Year 1
Launched a year ago on Aug. 9, the golf industry newsletter looks back at its top headlines of the past 12 months ... and not surprising LIV Golf was peppered throughout
:: Stuart Hall | Read
Inrange Golf improving golf range experience
Nick Longley, co-founder of Inrange Golf, joins 'The ModGolf Podcast' to discuss what led to creating engaging digital games that heighten the traditional driving range experience
:: Colin Weston | Listen
Should the PGA Tour look at LIV Golf's playbook?
Is LIV Golf doing anything right? If so, readers of the The First Call were asked if the PGA Tour should take note and adopt any of the upstart league's concepts
:: The First Call Inbox | Read
Ocean Park | Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Listing: 547 Front Nine Lane
Stats: 3,883 square feet. 4 bedrooms, 4 baths.
About: Set along Kiawah Island’s most eastern tip, Front Nine Lane — designed by the Lake|Flato architectural team — offers an opportunity to own your forever home next to Pete Dye’s iconic Ocean Course fairways. Intent on reimagining a community’s connection to the environment, Lake|Flato crafted an innovative pattern for home placement. Front Nine Lane’s residences mark the landscape in trio formations, arranged in a modified horseshoe pattern, with each home bordering a shared green space. This refreshing positioning allows for superior viewing corridors from each home and maximizes the flow of sea breezes across every porch and terrace. Ocean Park flaunts some of the eastern seaboard’s most enviable land seascapes. The Ocean Course is a battle-tested course, having hosted both a Ryder Cup and PGA Championship, the last coming in 2021.
Good reads that are mainly about golf, but not always …
📖 Serena Williams is at peace with herself
:: Michael Silver | Sports Illustrated | 03.22.1999
📖 Dick Vermeil: Fire, burnout and redemption
:: Mike Sielski | The Philadelphia Inquirer | 08.05.2022
📖 Inside the elite, underpaid and weird world of crossword writers
:: Mike Hartman | The New Republic | 08.05.2022
📖 The PGA Tour vs. LIV: Inside the battle between a giant that won't budge and a startup that won't stop
:: Joel Beall and Dan Rapaport | Golf Digest | 08.09.2022
Westchester Hills unveils Renovation
The latest news and notes in golf course architecture.
⛳️ Westchester Hills Golf Club in White Plains, New York, a Troon Prive-managed property, recently completed a $3.5 million golf course renovation by Rees Jones. The renovations, which began in October 2021, touched on multiple areas of the course to add functionality and visual aesthetics. Greens, fairways and chipping areas were all expanded, new tees were added and all bunkers were renovated. Jones’ enhancements to the original 1913 Peter Clark design included adding 20,000 square feet of green expansions, 50,000 square feet of chipping area expansions and 30,000 square feet of fairway expansions. In addition, Jones’ team installed XGD drainage in all greens and updated and renovated all bunkers with new sand and Capillary Concrete drainage. They also installed 10 acres of new sod throughout the course and installed a new irrigation system, consisting of 12 miles of pipe, 1,250 sprinkler heads and 54 quick connects.
The project commenced with the addition of a Rees Jones-designed practice putting green area. The 6,700-square-foot practice green is surrounded by fire pits, along with farm fencing, a nod to the club’s Gedney Farms history. “Our design was to liven a classic-style golf course while upgrading the course’s playability and maintenance standards,” said Jones. “The members of Westchester Hills strive for excellence and we are proud to be included in their success. We fully expect the golf course’s new features to take the Hills golf experience to a new level in the private club community.”
⛳️ Sir Nick Faldo and his Faldo Design team are returning to one of their earliest creations, Chart Hills Golf Club in Kent, England, to create a six-hole par-3 course. Faldo teamed with Steve Smyers to design Chart Hills’ championship course in 1993 and this new project comes twelve months after Faldo Design renovated that layout. The six-hole par-3 spread will feature holes from 50 to 100 yards and will incorporate design traits inspired by two fabled courses where Faldo has been especially successful, St. Andrews (Old) and Augusta National. It will be configured to allow golfers to play two three-hole loops or to use it as a short-game practice ground. Bunkering will be sparse, to ensure maximum playability, but creative contouring on and around the greens will offer a test to the best.
“I am thrilled to see my first par-3 short course design come to life at Chart Hills,” said Faldo. “The course will boast USGA specification greens, and the design has been hugely influenced by some of the most significant holes from my career.”
Faldo will also build a 7,200-square-foot putting green, with elements of Faldo’s favorite greens from St. Andrews, Augusta National and Muirfield.
⛳️ Veteran Illinois-based designer Bob Lohmann has retired, and so the firm of Lohmann Quitno has been renamed Quitno Golf Designs to reflect Todd Quitno’s sole ownership. Before Lohmann took down his shingle, however, he teamed with Quitno to renovate Abbey Springs, a semi-private layout in Fontana, Wisconsin, which reopened in early July. Originally designed by Ken Killian and Dick Nugent (the firm where Lohmann started his career in 1974), the 52-year-old layout rolls through forested terrain and boasts handsome views of Lake Geneva.
The project primarily revolved around transforming the greens. “Many were way too steeply sloped, which required the grounds crew to keep speeds in check through a higher cut, otherwise they were unpinnable,” said Quitno, who spearheaded the work. “That resulted in complaints about the greens being slow. Several also had very steep surrounds that were tough for the novice golfer to navigate as balls would funnel far away or into deep bunkers.”
Quitno rebuilt 14 greens to USGA specifications and renovated the surrounds on all 18 greens. “Our goal was to create a lot more variety in the surfaces,” said Quitno. “We also integrated internal contours to create more distinct pinnable areas guarded by bumps, ridges or rolls.” In addition, Quitno fully addressed the greenside bunkering. “We rebuilt the surrounds, and now the bunkering has a more classic, elegant look and is accompanied by bentgrass roll-off and roll-on areas that provide more recovery options and interest,” said Quitno.
Several holes were redesigned, with an emphasis on ground contouring. New drainage, regraded fairways, an improved practice area and a new short-game practice green are other highlights.
⛳️ Settler’s Hill in Batavia, Illinois re-opened August 6 following a Greg Martin-led renovation. A Kane County Forest Preserve District course that’s located 43 miles west of Chicago, Settler’s Hill dates to 1988, with 13 holes constructed on landfill and five holes on the perimeter of the landfill. Martin’s improvements included a state-of-the-art irrigation system, a new driving range/practice area, a new four-hole short-course learning center tailored to juniors and renovations to the existing course. Two brand new par-3s, several new hilltop tees and relocated greens will give a truly distinctive character to the Settler’s Hill, a course that Martin describes as “a roller-coaster ride.”
RELATED: Design Notes archive
NAMES | NEWS | NUMBERS
▪️Pin High CBD: Launches its website that offers CBD isolate products. … Flite Golf and Entertainment: Announces the groundbreaking of Atomic Range in Las Vegas. The 99,000-square-foot, four-story facility will feature 103 separate hitting bays, six bars, 10 putting bays, Astrocade multi-use area and meeting space. Atomic Range is slated to open in Q4 2023. … Golf Heritage Society: Will host 51st National Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sept. 21-24 at Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel. … Club Champion: Introduces a brand refresh that includes a redesigned logo, website and revamped interior store concept that embodies the company’s growth over the last 12 years. … Audubon International: Partners with WaterIQ Technologies and will collaborate with the tech company on educational webinars and research projects. … Golftec: Announces it will acquire SkyTrak and enhance the current launch monitor user experience, along with creating solutions that leverage its coaching, data and digital platforms. … Global Value Commerce, Amateur Players Tour: GVC becomes the tour's exclusive golf e-commerce partner, and all APT members will receive a $25 credit with GlobalGolf.com.
COURSES / COMPETITION
▪️LPGA: Announces that due to ongoing COVID-19-related travel restrictions, the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA, scheduled for Oct. 27-30, has been cancelled. … Troon North Golf Club: Scottsdale, Arizona, club introduces Toptracer Range, which provides the same ball-tracking technology that traces the shots of the world's best players on television. … Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort: Readies for the Epson Tour’s Circling Raven Championship, Aug. 26-28 in Worley, Idaho. … On Course Foundation: U.S. Team finalizes 13-player team for Simpson Cup, which will pit the United States in a Ryder Cup-style match vs. the U.K., Aug. 28-31 at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey. … LPGA: Announces that Oak Valley Country Club in Wonju, Gangwon, South Korea, will host the 2022 BMW Ladies Championship, Oct. 20-23. The tournament will feature a field of 78 players competing for a $2 million purse and $300,000 winner’s check. … Landscapes Unlimited: Begins restoration of Tamarack Resort’s Osprey Meadows Golf Club in Tamarack, Idaho. The restoration is being done in collaboration with Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects. … KemperSports: Extends management agreement with Desert Willow Golf Resort, a 36-hole public golf facility in Palm Desert, California. … Island Resort Intercollegiate: Annual collegiate event will return to Island Resort and Casino’s Sage Run, Sept. 4-5 in Harris Michigan.
▪️V1 Sports: Launches its new V1 Golf mobile app, which showcases a modern user interface, innovative features and workflows. … Scotty Cameron: Introduces his new Special Select Jet Set putters, a limited release, four-model collection. Available beginning Aug. 19, the Special Select Jet Set will retail for $650. … TaylorMade Golf: Debuts its Hi-Toe 3 wedge that focuses on versatility and is designed to be capable of producing the entire catalogue of short-game shots. The wedge can be purchased online and at retail locations for $179.
▪️Ahead: Names Jackie Kirkwood director of strategic accounts. Kirkwood has more than 30 years of experience in sales and sales management, most recently as general manager for Ecco Golf USA. … Lyle and Scott: Apparel company appoints Ben Tilley as brand ambassador. Tilley serves as PGA professional and director of golf at Collier’s Reserve Country Club in Naples, Florida. … GCSAA: Announces Legacy Award winners as scholarship program assists children and grandchildren of association members.
▪️HK’s: 43rd Lake of The Ozarks Open in May raises $171,000 to benefit Lake Regional Health Systems in Missouri. … Arcis Golf: Affiliated courses and clubs conduct “Round Up” campaign that raises over $150,000 to support Els for Autism Foundation. … Ann Liguori Foundation: 24th charity golf classic is set for Sept. 22 at Maidstone Club in East Hampton, New York, and will benefit cancer research and care. … Blackstone Country Club: Peoria, Arizona, club raises more than $211,400 for local charities over the last eight months. … ClubsHelp: Raises over $150,000 for Oakland Hills County Club employees in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Donation aids the employees impacted by February’s clubhouse fire.