What Does The Crystal Ball Say?
+ Poll: Should the LPGA consider joining with LIV Golf?
ON THE TEE
🏌️ Eleven LIV Golf players, including Phil Mickelson, filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour, alleging antitrust violations. Isn’t this the fight we’ve been waiting for?
🏌️ Three of those players — Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones — will ask a California judge for a temporary restraining order, forcing the Tour to lift its suspensions so they can compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
🏌️ Cozen O’Connor, a national law firm, ended its sponsorship of Jason Kokrak, who signed on with LIV Golf. Looks like Kokrak will get free legal services from his new employer.
🏌️ It’s little known that legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, who died Wednesday at age 94, had a stint in the 18th tower, including the Masters for CBS in 1975 and 1977-82.
🏌️ Davis Love III suggested if LIV players are allowed to return to play PGA Tour events, Tour members could strike. Who benefits from that?
🏌️The purse of the AIG Women’s British Open was raised 26 percent to $7.3 million. An attempt to fend off LIV?
🏌️Nineteen of the top 25 in the women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, including No. 1 Rose Zhang, will not play in next week’s U.S. Women’s Amateur for a variety of reasons. Does elite amateur golf matter as much as it once did?
🏌️Webb Simpson let Tiger Woods’ phone call go to voicemail because he and his kids were ordering hot dogs. That’s all you need to know about Simpson.
🏌️Adam Scott is one of the few players on the PGA Tour who leave the flagstick in on the putting green. It doesn’t help if you don’t hit the hole.
:: Mike Purkey
TFC Inbox: What will rest of 2022 golf year hold?
Now that the majors are over and LIV Golf has launched, readers of The First Call offer their opinions on what can be expected these final five months of the year
:: The First Call Readers | READ
Mullie Golf melds online shopping, community
Co-founders Michael Zerah and Steven Moskowitz join ‘Behind the Golf Brand’ host Paul Liberatore to explain how their community-curated marketplace app came to be
:: Behind the Golf Brand | LISTEN
Get To Know: Tommy Lim
The Golfzon America CEO is leading the golf simulator company's growth in North America. Lim discusses why he chose to lead up the company's expansion, lessons he has learned along the way and shares some sage advice.
:: The First Call Staff | READ
Mayakoba | Riviera Maya, Mexico
Listing: Fairmont Terrace | Residence 1012
Stats: 3,067 square feet. 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 1 powder bath.
About: Fairmont Residences is a collection of masterfully designed residences and penthouses located amidst the greenery, lagoons and fairways of Mayakoba. Situated within private, boutique buildings, residences are available for full and fractional ownership. Homeowners enjoy the services and amenities of Fairmont, as well as the amenities of the Mayakoba community. In addition to 3,067 square feet of open, expansive living space, this listing includes a gourmet kitchen and an outdoor terrace with plunge pool that overlooks the pristine, lush Mayakoba landscape. As for golf, the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon course, which hosts the PGA Tour’s Worldwide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, is part of this 620-acre destination that includes tropical jungle, dense mangroves, freshwater canals and pristine Riviera Maya oceanfront.
Good reads that are mainly about golf, but not always …
📖 Vin Scully: The Transistor Kid
:: Robert Creamer | Sports Illustrated | 05.04.1964
📖 Where There’s Smoke
:: Paloma Pacheo | Maisonneuve | 06.24.2022
📖 How to Embrace Doing Nothing
:: Arthus C. Brooks | The Atlantic | 08.04.2022
Pinehurst No. 8 pauses for refreshments
The latest news and notes in golf course architecture.
⛳️ Pinehurst No. 8, a 1995 Tom Fazio design, closed in June and will reopen in September following a series of agronomic and infrastructure enhancements. Golfers who’ve followed Pinehurst Resort’s arc over the past decade might assume the centennial Fazio design is getting a Sandhills makeover like No. 2 and No. 4 experienced in 2011 and 2018.
Bob Farren, Pinehurst Resort's director of agronomy, says he wouldn’t fault them for jumping to that conclusion. But this time around, it’s simply not the case. No. 8 will retain all its original Fazio design elements and architectural stylings. According to Farren, changes will be "subtle yet impactful" and make the layout play firmer and faster in keeping with the Pinehurst way.
"We talked to Fazio’s people, and Tom even came out twice and visited," Farren said. "We offered him the opportunity to give us ideas and see if he was interested in making any changes. But he had a fair amount of conviction that what we were doing is enough. Like [Pinehurst Resort president] Tom Pashley says, 'We don’t have to hit every course with the same hammer.'”
RELATED: Q&A: Why Tom Fazio is right at home
The menu of upgrades includes new TifEagle greens, bunker restoration and fresh bunker sand, improved drainage throughout the course and the removal of invasive trees limiting views and inhibiting sunlight. Several updates are also planned for the clubhouse interior and grounds, including the installation of fire pits overlooking the 18th green later this fall.
"No. 8 is a retreat away from the other courses and golfers like the change of pace over there," Farren said. "Only golfers who’ve played the course several times will even notice the changes. And that’s the goal. The course will appear crisper and play firmer and faster. That’s it."
While the slope and speed of the greens at storied No. 2 are legendary, the putting surfaces at No. 8 gradually made their way into Pinehurst lore. They were originally bentgrass upon opening in 1995 and were replaced with Champion Bermuda in 2013. Over the years, the slopes became more severe via topdressing and other maintenance practices. To say there have been a few three-putts throughout the past decade is an understatement.
"We’re excavating the tops of the greens before we re-grass them to sort of let the air out of them, so to speak," Farren said. "Ultradwarf bermudagrass has fine blades, is dense and can be cut low and roll as fast or faster than bentgrass. This will help temper the severity of the greens while still maintaining their integrity."
The existing bermudagrass turf on tees and fairways will be kept, says Farren, but thatch will be removed throughout the course using “fraise mowing” to tighten up lies and foster more rollout on tee shots. Fraise mowing is a highly disruptive mowing technique developed in the North Carolina Piedmont that fully removes thatch from bermudagrass in one fell swoop.
So, while it may not look like No. 2 and No. 4, No. 8 will certainly play more like the dynamic duo. Just as importantly, No. 8 will be strongly positioned as one of Pinehurst Resort’s premier golf offerings for decades to come.
⛳️ The Arizona Biltmore Golf Club will close its historic Adobe course in August and September in preparation for a summer 2023 renovation led by 1996 British Open winner Tom Lehman and his Lehman Design Group. The 2022 work will revolve around soil prep, dethatching and bermudagrass removal.
Originally opened in 1929 and designed by prolific west coast architect William P. Bell, the Adobe is one of Arizona’s oldest courses. The 2023 renovation project will infuse modern golf course design and water conservation technology. Crews will install a new, more efficient irrigation system and plant drought tolerant TifTuf bermudagrass throughout the course. In addition, green complexes will be renovated, tee boxes will be leveled and bunkers will be rebuilt incorporating a technically advanced drainage and liner system featuring Capillary Concrete. This new generation lining method increases the speed at which water flows through the bunker, minimizing washouts, reducing maintenance and producing superior playability. Throughout the renovation, the general routing and par (71) will remain in place and the Adobe’s mature parkland setting will be preserved.
⛳️ McLemore, a resort and residential community in the mountains of northwest Georgia, has enlisted architects Bill Bergin and Rees Jones to craft a second 18-hole course for the property, to be called The Outpost. Bergin and Jones were also responsible for the major redesign of McLemore’s Highlands course in 2019, which vaulted the former Canyon Ridge Club into national prominence.
McLemore president William Duane Horton decided that a second course would elevate the destination even further.
"We discovered a piece of land that’s like nothing else," Horton said. "This opportunity is one that can make McLemore even better than it is, which is hard to imagine as we’ve already got a top course that has one of the best finishing holes in golf. We say we’re 'above the clouds,' but this is going to launch us to new heights."
"The natural characteristics and the views from the site are so spectacular that we will be able to create a classic Golden Age design," Jones said. "The opportunities for unique and different characteristics for every hole are virtually unlimited. This site is a golf course architect’s dream. It is a mountain site with a seaside feeling. This course could host a major. It’s much like when Bobby Jones and my father Robert Trent Jones went all around Atlanta to find the best site for golf. They looked at site after site, rejecting a dozen before they found one perfect for Peachtree. I think Duane has found a Peachtree for Bill and myself."
Bergin and Jones understand that they’re working with mountain terrain, but they intend to make walkability a priority, even with a potentially hefty back tee length of 7,800 yards. The routing features five holes edging a mile-and-a-half-long cliff edge, as well as zoysia fairways, bentgrass greens and playable areas bracketed by fine fescue and broomsedge grasses. Mountain streams, lakes and waterfalls will add additional eye candy.
"The routing takes full advantage of the property’s cliff edge while giving all holes a view of McLemore Cove and Pigeon Mountain,” Bergin said. "We know this is going to be one incredible golf course. It’s golf first and that is such a unique opportunity. While it’s a big course, on a spectacular canvas, we will make small details matter. It’ll feel like this golf course has always been here and this land was meant for golf."
⛳️ Chris Wilczynski has signed on to develop a master plan to renovate the golf facilities at Killearn Country Club in Tallahassee, Florida. Wilczynski, enjoying a successful solo career after a long stint as an Arthur Hills associate, has recently specialized in reinvigorating Florida courses.
He’s especially enthusiastic about this project, following the March 2022 purchase of the club by David Cummings, who called the work to come a “restoration and revitalization.”
"Working with a canvas like this is a dream," Wilczynski said. "The natural and classic elements like its mature oaks and pines, and the wider corridors will allow us to define unique angles that create interesting and strategic golf holes. This is a special club and it is a privilege to be part of this fantastic team."
Killearn is a 1967 William Amick design that played host to more than 20 PGA Tour and LPGA Tour events. Among the winners at Killearn were Lee Trevino, Hubert Green and Chi Chi Rodriguez. Wilczynski will restore and refine the 18-hole championship course, redesign and expand the practice facilities and bring back a nine-hole layout that was shuttered in 2014.
"The golf course is an important part of this club and neighborhood’s history," Cummings said. "We would love for Killearn to host the caliber of events it has been known to host in years prior, as well as make it a beacon for the most talented players in north Florida to hone their skills."
Work will begin in autumn 2022.
RELATED: Design Notes archive
NAMES | NEWS | NUMBERS
▪️DeWiz: Adds the PGA of Germany as a coaching partner. … Nemacolin Resort: Selects Capstone Hospitality to develop and drive membership sales for The Woodlands Club, a recently announced private club option from Nemacolin Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania. … True Spec: To open True Spec North Georgia at Cartersville CC in Cartersville, Georgia, on Aug. 16. It will be True Spec’s second location in Georgia. … First Tee: CDW to become a trustee and will support First Tee chapters, coaches and technology advancements. … Payntr Golf: Announces a distribution partnership with U.K.-based Specialist Sports as the golf footwear manufacturer continues its expansion across Europe. … LPGA: Launches a new program, in collaboration with Radius Sports Group, to actively recruit minority, women, LGBTQIA+, disabled, veteran and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses to participate in procurement opportunities at LPGA headquarters in Daytona Beach, Florida, and at the 2023 Cognizant Founders Cup in Clifton, New Jersey, and 2024 Solheim Cup in Gainesville, Virginia. … Southern California Golf Association: Reports that more than 800-plus affiliate golf clubs are registered with the association, a growth of 25 percent in the last two years.
COMPETITION / COURSES
▪️Frederica Golf Club: Announces that Vanderbilt University will host the 2022 Frederica Cup, Sept. 7-8 on Saint Simons Island, Georgia. The field will include Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas Christian and Texas Tech. … Westchester Hills GC: White Plains, New York, club recently completed a $3.5 million golf course renovation of its Rees Jones redesign. … Pelican Women’s Championship: Tickets go on sale for the Nov. 7-13 LPGA tournament. Ticket offerings include exclusive hospitality access and general grounds passes. … PGA of America: Announces that Hot Springs Country Club in Hot Springs, Arkansas, will host the 2023 Junior PGA Championships. The 47th edition of the event will feature 312 players —156 boys, 156 girls — in a stroke-play competition, Aug. 1-4. … PGA Tour: Announces its 2022-23 FedEx Cup Season schedule of 47 tournaments (44 regular season, three FedEx Cup Playoffs) that will conclude with the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Aug. 21-27. The schedule will offer a record $415 million in official prize money and another $145 million in bonuses, including $75 million for the FedEx Cup. … R&A, AIG: Increase the prize fund for the AIG Women’s Open to $7.3 million. This week's winner will receive $1,095 million. The over prize purse has grown by 125% since 2018 and 26% over 2021. … Piza Golf: The Pit was played in virtual reality on Golf+ by over 5,000 patrons at the British Open. … Golf Heritage Society: To hold its 10th Michiana Hickory Open, Aug. 21 at the historic South Bend Country Club in South Bend, Indiana.
▪️Golf Guru: Launches a mobile app to help golfers improve their mental game. The app, available for iOS and Android, features more than 25 hours of mindfulness and meditation content. … Golftec: Annual August Sale features savings up to 20 percent off swing evaluations, clubfittings, game plans and lesson packs. … GolfLogix: Adds 3D flyovers, ‘plays like’ features to app. Additions allow user to see the shape and elevation of each hole. … Edison Golf Company: Edison Forged wedge heads are now available for purchase by the community of do-it-yourself club builders.
▪️ClubWorks: Hires Michael Leemhuis as chairman and chief executive officer. Prior to joining ClubWorks, Leemhuis spent four years as president of Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, and more than 16 years as CEO at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. … Golftec: Hires Jeff Foster as chief strategy officer and will be responsible for developing and executing Golftec strategies. … Presidents Cup: U.S. Team Captain Davis Love III announces Steve Stricker and Webb Simpson as his final two captain’s assistants for the 2022 Presidents Cup, which will be played at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 20-25. … Motocaddy: Signs Ladies European Tour player Amy Boulden as a global brand ambassador to promote its award-winning range of caddies and rangefinder products to a growing female audience. … MindTrak Golf: Hires Dr. Raymond Prior as a psychology performance advisor. … Sun Mountain Sports: Hires Wes Whittingham as national sales manager, having previously worked at Volvik, Bridgestone Golf and Orlimar.
THE STYLE LINKS
We like this mantra.
:: Janice Ferguson | IG: @janiceferguson_thestylelinks