Will Golf's Dynamic Duo Save PGA Tour?
+ Poll: Will the PGA Tour's new 'elevated events' keep its best players?
ON THE TEE
🏌️ PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan unveils millions of dollars worth of new tournaments and a guaranteed $500,000 for each full PGA Tour member. Where did the Tour find that much money?
🏌️ Top PGA Tour players commit to play 20 events per year. Was it a suggestion, a strong suggestion or a requirement?
🏌️ The Tour’s Player Impact Program goes from $10 million in 2021 to $50 million to $100 million in 2022 and expanded from 10 to 20 players, all of whom will be defined as “top players.”
🏌️ Will Zalatoris pulled out of the Tour Championship with two herniated disks in his back. Isn’t 26 years old awfully young for such a problem?
🏌️ Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy form a “tech-infused” golf league — 15 events with six three-man teams, starting in 2024. Except it’s “virtual” golf, not the real thing.
🏌️ Flying a bit under the radar is the news that the top 30 in the FedEx Cup will be invited to the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua in January, in hopes of strengthening the field.
🏌️ Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley tees it up at the U.S. Senior Amateur at the Kittansett Club in Massachusetts. Ridley, the 1975 U.S. Amateur champion, is playing in his third Senior Am.
🏌️ Tom Weiskopf, one of the game’s best players and course architects, died last week, succumbing to pancreatic cancer. He was 79. Why isn’t he in the World Golf Hall of Fame?
🏌️ Does college football, which begins in earnest, get in the way of your weekend golf?
:: Mike Purkey
Are you ready for Monday night golf?
Newly formed company by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, TMRW Sports, announces a tech-infused golf league to be played partially virtual in an enclosed stadium setting and in front of live fans. The league, TGL, is being created in partnership with the PGA Tour
:: Stuart Hall | READ
Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy partner on tech venture
The pair, along with respected sports industry executive Mike McCarley, forms TMRW Sports to create technology-based experiences and could be a PGA Tour counter punch to LIV Golf
:: David Droschak | READ
The granddaddy of member-guests
Each May, Desert Mountain’s three-week stretch of tournaments in Scottsdale, Arizona, is not just a test of golfers' skill, but the staff's logistical acumen
:: Shaun Tolson | READ
Tom Weiskopf: A true original, R.I.P.
TFC's Joe Passov pays tribute to the 1973 British Open champion who battled unfavorable labels throughout his playing career before becoming a recognized, if not underappreciated, course architect
:: Joe Passov | READ
Kukui’ula | Kauai, Hawaii
Listing: Kahalawai Custom Home 17
Stats: 4,490 square feet. 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths.
About: Set in the upper reaches of Kukui’ula, this mature neighborhood location is magnified by its breathtaking views. From the gracious great room to the living and dining areas, vaulted ceilings and custom cabinetry evoke a minimalist style. At the heart of the home is a chef’s kitchen with large counter space and a custom-built Japanese tansu design island for prepping and entertaining. Work from home is supported by two office spaces. The second-floor tower, with a 360-degree view, and first-floor corner suite include built-in desks, custom cabinetry and wet bar. Owners will enjoy the corner master suite with island views, large walk-in closet, custom cherry cabinets, a Japanese Ofuro tub in the bathroom and a private outdoor Hamakua shower. Guest rooms are located in the Ohana wing that can be separated from the main house for privacy. Beyond the backyard there is easy access to a host of community amenities, including hiking trails, cultivated groves and The Club at Kukui’ula, a challenging design from the late Tom Weiskopf. The 14th hole is sometimes described as “a quintessential Weiskopf par 4” and has become legendary— and not just because of its dramatic ocean views, occasionally populated by spinner dolphins and humpback whales.
Good reads that are mainly about golf, but not always …
📖 The motorcycle gangs: A portrait of an outsider underground
:: Hunter S. Thompson | The Nation | 05.17.1965
📖 His first hurrah: Tom Terrific wins the British Open, ties a storied course record and gives hint of a budding era: Weiskopf's
:: Dan Jenkins | Sports Illustrated | 07.23.1973
📖 Rocky Mountain Massacre: Was Yellowstone’s deadliest wolf hunt in 100 years an inside job?
:: Ryan Devereaux | The Intercept | 07.20.2022
📖 Lowest of the low: 60 years ago, Homero Blancas mastered a quirky course in 55 strokes
:: Bill Fields | The Albatross | 08.20.2022
Nicklaus Design overhauling PGA National Champion Course’s bunkers
The latest news and notes in golf course architecture.
⛳️ PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, announced that its renowned Champion Course will reopen Sept. 2 after an extensive bunker renovation. Originally designed by Tom Fazio in 1981 and redesigned by Jack Nicklaus in 1990, the Champion layout has played host to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic since 2007. It was also the venue for the 1983 Ryder Cup and 1987 PGA Championship, and is most famous for its infamous stretch of holes 15 through 17, known as the Bear Trap.
Led by Nicklaus Design, construction over the summer resulted in all bunkers on the Champion Course being rebuilt (or in some cases, eliminated) to ensure maximum playability and strategy. The bunkers are now equipped with new subsurface drainage, Better Billy Bunker liners and eye-catching G-Angle sand.
In addition to the bunker renovation, the Champion saw a major reworking of its cart paths as well as new sod throughout. “With the exciting work from Nicklaus Design complete, our celebrated Champion Course is now better than ever,” said Jane Broderick, director of golf. The bunker upgrades are the latest renovations in the resort’s recent $100 million transformation, which included the opening in 2021 of two Andy Staples-designed courses, The Match and The Staple.
⛳️ The Troon-managed Club at Savannah Harbor in Savannah, Georgia will reopen on September 1, 2022 following a five-month, $1.2 million renovation. Led by Director of Grounds Lynn Childress, the renovation focused on rebuilding greens and improving the course’s irrigation and drainage systems.
Since opening for play in 1999, the original Bob Cupp and Sam Snead design has remained largely unchanged. This summer’s renovation project included rebuilding all 18 greens to their original size and shape, resurfacing with Certified TifEagle Bermuda grass, and installing a new state-of-the-art irrigation system. In addition, the Club at Savannah Harbor’s agronomy team completed large drainage projects and cut tree canopies on several holes to increase playability and enhance the ability to grow healthy turf.
“After 22 years, the course was ready for a renovation,” said Chris Thompson, the Club at Savannah Harbor’s head golf professional. “We’re so excited to reopen in September to a fully-updated course.” The former home to the PGA Tour Champions’ Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf Championship, the Club at Savannah Harbor winds its way through tidal wetlands and offers scenic views of the surrounding area, including the memorable backdrop to the sixth hole, the Talmadge Bridge.
⛳️ The Golf Club at The Equinox in Manchester, Vermont, has completed Phase 2 of its four-phase renovation project, with all work under the auspices of Rees Jones. The course architect's most recent efforts involved reworking greenside bunkers on the 8th, 13th and 14th holes, along with a redesign of the approach and green surrounds at the 18th hole. The latter featured widening the approach and altering the two existing bunkers.
"The new bunkers ... are a tremendous upgrade to the course," said Jay Sheldon, general manager of The Equinox Golf Resort and Spa. "The 18th hole is now one of the signature holes on the course and will leave golfers wanting to play more."
Walter Travis originally designed the Equinox in 1927, and Jones engineered a substantial makeover in 1991. Phase 1, completed in 2021, witnessed the renovation of holes 1, 9 and 15, along with the removal of several fairway bunkers to improve the pace of play.
“We’ve enjoyed our more than 30-year relationship with the club, including our ongoing efforts to update the strategic value, appearance, playability and maintainability of the bunkers,” said Jones. “We will continue working with the club to prioritize and implement the remaining master plan recommendations in the coming years. The completed work has been very well received by the members and resort guests, resulting in a significant increase of rounds played and overall golf revenue.”
⛳️ The Highlands of Harbor Springs — formerly Boyne Highlands Resort — in Harbor Springs, Michigan, has embarked on the next phase of renovations on its Donald Ross Memorial course. The brainchild of Boyne Resorts founder Everett Kircher, the Donald Ross Memorial course was designed by architect Bill Newcomb and attempted to recreate 18 of the greatest holes ever designed by Ross. It was completed in 1989. Ray Hearn is the current architect for the ongoing refinements.
With tools of technology that weren’t available in the late 1980s, several of the Ross replicas are taking on a form that more closely mimics the originals. Work on the par-4 1st hole, for example, modeled after Seminole’s lauded 6th hole, was recently completed, and it embraces something more resembling Florida. Currently, the 15th hole is a dead ringer for Aronimink’s 11th and is undergoing similar treatment from Hearn. Next up is the 13th hole, which aligns with Seminole’s par-5 15th.
"We’re not changing the holes," said Ken Griffin, the resort’s director of sales and marketing. "We are doing a better job with the technology now available to us."
RELATED: Design Notes archive
NAMES | NEWS | NUMBERS
▪️PXG: Debuts a custom golf club build and distribution center in the United Kingdom. Facility boasts 10-day customer order-to-shipment turnaround time and new job opportunities. … GlobalGolf: Introduces GlobalCash as part of its loyalty program. UPerks members to receive GlobalCash for purchases, product trade-ins, reviews and more. … Club Champion: Opens four new studios in Q3 and is on track to have 115 global locations by the end of 2022. … Golf Datatech: Total golf equipment sales for July were less than 1% below July 2021, 51% ahead of pre-pandemic 2019 levels. … GCSAA Foundation: Recent donations from John Deere Golf, Palm Beach GCSA, Wadsworth Golf Charities Foundation and the Washington Golf Association provide financial assistance for the Foundation to invest through First Green. … Malcolm DeMille: Creates a hand-sculpted trophy, the Elite Amateur Cup, for the Elite Amateur Golf Series’ top points scorer. … Sentry: Extends its sponsorship of the PGA Tour's Tournament of Champions through 2035. Sentry has served as title sponsor since 2018. … PGA Tour: Extends its agreement with Southern Company to be a part of the Tour Championship through the 2027 tournament. Southern Company, will also maintain its designation as official marketing partner of the PGA Tour. … Golf Datatech: Overall, U.S. rounds played were up 2.5% for July 2022 and down 4% YTD when compared to July 2021
COURSES / COMPETITION
▪️BallenIsles Country Club: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, club receives the 2022 United States Tennis Association’s Outstanding Facility Award for being an exemplary tennis venue and for the club's commitment to growth and development of tennis. … LPGA Mediheal Championship: Tickets are currently on sale and volunteer registration is now open for the Oct. 3-9 tournament at The Saticoy Club in Somis, California. … Hilton Head Golf Island: Adds Palmetto Hall Golf and Country Club, a 36-hole facility with Arthur Hills- and Robert Cupp-designed courses, to its diverse portfolio. … Explore Branson: Ozarks, Missouri, destination touts late summer, fall golf getaways. Region features 10 courses, lakes, live entertainment theaters, restaurants and resorts. … Polo Tennis and Fitness Club: Austin, Texas, club receives a 2022 USTA Outstanding Facility Award, which recognizes excellence in the construction and/or renovation of tennis facilities. … Casa de Campo Resort and Villas: Announces fall stay-and-play packages that include golf on the Pete Dye-designed Teeth of the Dog course in La Romana, Dominican Republic. … Los Cabos: Announces super-saver summer deals for its area golf clubs that include discounted green fees and twilight rates through October.
▪️Ahead: Spring 2023 apparel lines are now available to buyers. Microprints and new color palettes highlight latest collections. … Wilson: Brand ambassador Padraig Harrington wins the PGA Tour Champions’ Dick’s Sporting Goods Open. Relationship with Harrington is the company's longest-running endorsement agreement.
▪️Sqairz: Names Brad Mills vice president of operations. Mills brings 16 years of experience to the golf shoe company, most recently having worked at Acushnet Company. … USGA | R&A: Award Keita Nakajima, of Japan, the Mark H McCormack Medal as the leading men’s player in the 2022 World Amateur Golf Ranking. Nakajima, who has been the No. 1 player in the WAGR for a record 83 weeks, is the first male player to receive the McCormack Medal twice. He also receives exemption into 2023 U.S. Open and British Open. … Rain or Shine Golf: Names Christian Baker as COO. Baker adds experience to the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company that is looking to build on its record-setting years of sales and growth. … BSA Pharma: Signs LPGA player Azahara (Aza) Munoz to be be company's new spokesperson for Tirosint-SOL solution, a liquid hypothyroidism treatment. Munoz, who suffers from Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, will sport the company’s logo on her sleeve and make in-person appearances.
THE STYLE LINKS
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:: Janice Ferguson | IG: @janiceferguson_thestylelinks