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Debatably Donald & The Damage Done: W.D. Clark and The Architects Forgotten at Faux Ross Courses

Special thanks to Jay Revell and Rick Shefchik for their contributions to this piece. Many of you are familiar with Jay from his site, but Rick is an accomplished sports and music writer, whose ‘From Fields to Fairways’ is a history of Minnesota’s classic courses. 

This is not a story about Donald Ross.

However, as much of the subject matter is tied to Palatka Golf Club—a municipal south of Jacksonville that is also allegedly a Donald Ross design—it’s tricky to avoid him. You may have caught that one word in the previous sentence that sets up an obvious premise…a fact-and-fiction regarding the course’s lineage. It’s a common theme, covered by Will Bardwell at Great Southern Golf Club, and covered eagerly by the press during the drama surrounding Mayfair Country Club in Sanford, FL. A similar tale could be told about many Ross courses, and many have previously broached the topic regarding Palatka. Analyzing Palatka won’t be a Pulitzer “A-HA” investigative moment.

So this isn’t a story about Donald Ross or about why the proper identification of this course is important for his legacy. This is a story about W.D. Clark and why the proper identification of this course is important to his legacy.

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Golf.com’s Top 100 Courses in The World…and What YOU Hate About It. Comparing Trends at Every “Top 100” and Finding Your Match

The few of you who were around at this point last year might remember our feature, “Golf Digest’s Top 100…And What YOU Hate About It. A Statistical Analysis of The ‘Best’ Courses.” You may remember a few things about it…for one, it had nothing to do with statistics, and everything to do with looking at simple numbers and noting trends (they’re different). Secondly, it focused specifically on three major services’ Top 100 U.S. golf courses. Due to the overwhelming lack of readership we had last year, we are unable to provide solid evidence that there’s a demand for the same feature highlighting the Top 100 golf courses in the world.

So we’re doing it anyway…and then you can tell us “never again.”

As a reminder, the three most certifiable rankers we’re looking at are Golf, Golf Digest, and Top100GolfCourses.com—three offerings that base their rankings on a panel of some scope, and not simply a roundtable.

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The Fox & The Lion: Restoring Seth Raynor’s Lion’s Mouth Hazard at Fox Chapel Golf Club

Here’s a book concept for any number of the golf historians / architecture aficionados I follow on Twitter: The Redans of Raynor. A chapter dedicated to every Redan that Seth laid out. It could be a fine book, and Redans are a fine concept, but there is a point where the tried and true needs a rest. You and the missus need something slightly more exotic from the Raynor repertoire.

Here lies the Lion’s Mouth, a template (in some circles) that Raynor didn’t attempt to place at every routing. You’re probably familiar with the concept already; a large bunker cutting into the front of the green, both discouraging the ground game (a generalization) and muddling the distance to the flag. As opposed to the Redan—which is always en vogue—the Lion’s Mouth has had a few flash-in-the-pan moments over the past few years that have driven newfound interest to this relative rarity. For one, Keith Rhett and Riley Johns incorporated the concept during the drivable No. 6 at the hip Winter Park nine north of Orlando. More so, the U.S. Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston brought wide eyes to the intimidating bunker laying at the feet of No. 16’s green.

So let’s keep that momentum moving into 2020. More accurately, Fox Chapel Golf Club will keep that momentum rolling.

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Sunnehanna Country Club’s Almost-Greats: Tillinghast’s Favorite Hazard and Its Allegheny Adaptation

A.W. Tillinghast was not a fan of templates.

“I have known Charley Macdonald since the earliest days of golf in this country and for many years we have been rival course architects,” he wrote. “Our manner of designing courses never reconciled. I stubbornly insisted on following natural suggestions of terrain, creating new types of holes as suggested by Nature, even when resorting to artificial methods of construction. Charley, equally convinced that working strictly to models was best, turned out some famous courses. Throughout the years we argued good naturedly about it and that, always at variance it would seem.”

That is, Tillinghast was not necessarily a fan of MacRaynor’s template philosophy when it came to MacRaynor’s own template holes. Tillie approved more so of his own concepts, which include the “Reef” and “Double Dogleg” (his “Tiny Tim” was, for all purposes, just a different term for “Short”).

One has gathered more acclaim than those, however: The “Great Hazard” (frequently cited as “Tillinghast’s Great Hazard”…which probably fed into the architect’s noted ego).

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Slicers, Hookers, Cutter September 2019: Crypt Sermon, White Ward, Pharmakon, More

Slicers, Hookers, Cutters is a monthly rundown of the best and worst albums released during the previous month. Let’s be real…there’s only so much time we can dedicate to albums every month, so feel free to tweet @BethpageBM and let us know what we missed. Understand, of course, that we may have actually hated the garbage you recommend…so if you don’t see a social shout-out for that release, you’ll just have to sit there and wonder whether we missed your comment…or whether your taste is terrible. This crushing paranoia is all part of the doom metal experience.

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Expanding The PGA’s Charitable Impact to Las Cruces, New Mexico: A Modest Proposal

You may hate the PGA Tour’s course setups, schedule, the major it shares a name with (or all of the above), but chill for a moment and consider the significant social impact the Tour has had. We’re serious! We’re discussing social good on a website named after Black Metal!

During the 2018 PGA season, the Tour had a combined $190 million “charitable impact” on communities / organizations that hosted an event. For the most part, it’s not difficult to find where these numbers are coming from. The FedEx-St. Jude Invitational obviously benefits the title hospital. Jack Nicklaus is an avid proponent of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in nearby Columbus, and the Memorial Tournament behaves accordingly. The biggest single-year donator on tour was The Players Championship, which brought in $9.25 million for affiliated charities. But it can get better.

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Tim and Eric Awesome Show: 2 Guys Keeping Donald Ross Classic on Muni Budget at Shennecossett Golf Club

Today’s news included the final day of play at the Oakland Hills South Course for nearly two years, as Gil Hanse sets in to renovate the course…probably ramping it up for a potential U.S. Open pitch in the decade to come. Is this necessarily good news? Hopefully, but maybe not. The Scioto Country Club, near to BPBM headquarters, has recently announced a total remodel to restore its Rossiness. On one hand, it’s a bit of a mislead; most of these restorations will be implemented to address member concerns following the previous round of work, which were made to host the U.S. Senior Open during 2016. Still, we should feel grateful that memberships are seeing fit to maintain Ross’s signature on his layouts at all.

It hasn’t always been the case. While Scioto’s last round of edits came in an effort to challenge pros, many of the Scot’s courses have met a muting of his personality for what can essentially be filtered down into two camps: apathy and, of course, budget.

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Slicers, Hookers, Cutters August 2019: Agenda, Isole, and yeah, Slipknot

Slicers, Hookers, Cutters is a monthly rundown of the best and worst albums released during the previous month. Let’s be real…there’s only so much time we can dedicate to albums every month, so feel free to tweet @BethpageBM and let us know what we missed. Understand, of course, that we may have actually hated the garbage you recommend…so if you don’t see a social shout-out for that release, you’ll just have to sit there and wonder whether we missed your comment…or whether your taste is terrible. This crushing paranoia is all part of the doom metal experience.

Continue reading “Slicers, Hookers, Cutters August 2019: Agenda, Isole, and yeah, Slipknot” »

Mines, Landfills, Brownfields, Black Metal: An Ideal Future for Golf Course Development

Big weekend for Korn Ferry (at least the Tour), as the first in a decade’s worth of Tour Championships took place at Victoria National. Some projected that scorecards could border on the U.S. Open-at-Shinnecock…because that’s what happens to every other human being who plays at National—it’s basically Tom Fazio’s take on Whistling Straits…if ponds replace the bunkers. The European Tour’s Tom Lewis thought otherwise, shaving 23 strokes off par to take home a win.

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Brookline’s New Composite Course Routing for 2022 U.S. Open, and The Increasing Lameness of Stroke Play

Here we are now, three years out from the 2022 U.S. Open, and we can’t think of a better time to start commenting on the course that the competitors will see*.

*= Look, BPBM isn’t exactly that influential so this will probably be the last chance we get to play The Country Club before the U.S. Open / ever, so we’re going to go ahead and write a post about it. And yeah, we’ll probably run it again in the weeks leading up to the actual 2022 U.S. Open. Here’s our angle: We’re reporting on the 2022 U.S. Open before it was cool to report on the 2022 U.S. Open.

That said we do have a bit of a not-so-hot scoop provided by our playing partner (well-regarded within the world of golf blogdom and course analysis): The routing of the 2022 event itself.

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