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Bulle Pulpit: Learn to Love Pete Dye’s Strategy, Without The Monumental Hazard.

BPBM was fortunate to check out Bulle Rock—a Pete Dye layout that’s typically ranked the best public course in Maryland—and we found the course’s “signature” hole a little suspect. Here’s why, and a more subtle hole from Bulle Rock’s many subtle joys, which better displays Dye’s knack for fun golf. 

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Hey Hey, My My: 2 Holes Out of The Red and Into The Black at Bethpage Black’s 2019 PGA Championship

Bethpage Black. Our namesake. Probably the most touted municipal course in the land. You arrive at the first tee and the classic sign subtly informs you that you are about to be destroyed.

Truth is they need that sign, because the holes you can see from the clubhouse are…less than incredible? You might even believe, based on the first and final holes at Black, that you could survive the round. And that’s why we need to be replaced for professional tournaments. As in real life, it’s the parts you can’t see that are truly horrifying. Maybe that was all part of Tillinghastly’s plan…to lure you into a false sense of ease before you cross Round Swamp Road on the way to No. 2, where it gets real. But the two holes you can see from the clubhouse don’t quite match the monstrosity that is Black, and both have willing, aggressive substitutes from the course’s underrated, uncomfortable brother.

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Slicers, Hookers, Cutters: Best Metal Albums, April 2019

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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The Best Closing Hole in Wells Fargo History…Isn’t at Quail Hollow, And What to Do About It.

It’s a good week to discuss alternate holes. Not even alternate routing. Alternate holes. To call any golf course “perfect” is a huge overstatement (just don’t suggest Augusta National is “imperfect”…it will lose you a media pass). Some championship complexes are blessed, however, to feature multiple courses that, while not on par with the entirety of the headline route, feature a few holes to give pause to their brethren.

This applies particularly to our namesake, the Blessed Black Course of Bethpage. And we’re not just talking about no. 18. But we’ll come back to that topic when the time comes near (and it approacheth).

Let’s focus instead on this week’s tournament—the Wells Fargo Championship—and its host, Quail Hollow Golf Club. “Quail Hollow does not have a second course,” you say. “This is an exercise in futility / stupidity.” Perhaps. But there was once a better closing hole for Wells Fargo, ever so briefly, during 2017. Here’s what happened:

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10 Winners in New Orleans: Ranking Second Titles, from Ben Crenshaw to Not Ben Hogan, at Zurich and Beyond

Oh hey. The Masters is over. As is the RBC Heritage. Guess it’s time to get excited for the Zurich Classic?

RBC benefits from a hair-of-the-dog schedule. The golf world is drunk on The Masters, and RBC gets us through the hangover with a distinct brand of shot-maker golf. But by the time Zurich rolls around, we’re too busy talking about how Tiger is gonna win the U.S. Open (which is crazy because there’s usually a two-month gap before the next major. That tendency is exaggerated this year because of two things: A) Tiger is the legitimate favorite at the next major and B) that major is actually the PGA Championship, bumped up to May!). Zurich’s shift to an NBA Jam-style two-man format was admirably bold. But nothing will be bold enough to fill the gap this year. Not even a Pete Dye course sporting vent bunkers and Kiawah-style fairways, which snake between giant waste areas.

It’s a shame, because Louisiana is a wonderful state, both in climate and in its spectacular sludge metal scene. At least 10 golfers agree, as they’ve won multiple titles in New Orleans (and we’re sure they dig New Orleans sludge as well)—at Zurich, or its previous titles, dating back to 1938.

But no golfer has won it more than twice. Just for kicks, we’re ranking those golfers’ second victory in terms of excitement, or just general interest.

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The Eisenhower Tree: Did It Matter? The Masters, Nandina, Stats, and Tree(s)

The Masters stars tomorrow, and we feel inclined to wade into the vast content swamp that is Augusta National. Our pitch for your slavish attention: Eisenhower Tree, and did it make any difference at all?

Eisenhower (a loblolly pine) stood above among the many landmarks at Augusta National. And, as we’ve established before, we love a good, iconic golf tree. Everyone knows the story of how then-President Ike wanted it gone, and how Augusta’s board stood its ground. Everyone loves the story so much that we still hear it at least once on every Masters broadcast, even after the tree met its end at the wintry hands of an ice storm during 2014. It’s kinda the only thing they can talk about, outside of Jack Nicklaus’s iconic birdie putt in 1986.

We, being stats-based folks, wanted to take a look at the limited numbers we had access to and judge just how much the tree actually impacted play during The Masters by looking at 2014 through the present (it came down in February of ’14) compared to its glorious past.

Here’s what we found:

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Slicers, Hookers, Cutters: Best Metal Albums, March 2019 [NSFW]

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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Your Bracket On Golf: Reseeding Based on Best Golf Near Your Favorite NCAA Team’s Hometown

We’re not going to spend too much time on the intro this week. Here’s the gist: Before the fortunate Tiger-Rory matchup at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event, you were going to watch the NCAA Tournament. The tournament at which your bracket has already fizzled out spectacularly. Texas, host of the Dell, is one of FOUR states featuring multiple teams in the Sweet 16. This suggests A) your state probably needs to figure out basketball and B) the NCAA Tournament is similar to The Masters in that people with absolutely no reason to watch it still will because “America” and “sports.”

So we’re desperately aiming to grab your attention by taking those 16 remaining teams and basing the bracket on the golf “available” to hometown fans (private clubs included for consideration). Seeding remains the same. The only catch is this: You can’t rely on the same course twice. So, for example, Augusta University wouldn’t win out based strictly on Augusta National. It could probably get a few rounds in, thanks to the under-appreciated Augusta Country Club, but depth is key here.

Also, we realize that by the time we publish this, 12 of these teams will be eliminated. We’re sorry. We hope your team does better here?

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“Wai” Tara Iti? The Maori Prefix and Why It Appears in So Many New Zealand Golf Course Names

Stirring around for an angle on the announcement that Ric Kayne—founder and owner of Tara Iti Golf Club in New Zealand—would be opening two public courses adjacent to his acclaimed private playground, we stumbled upon something else entirely.

Considering that Tom Doak (designer of the original Tara Iti layout) and Coore & Crenshaw were announced as the respective sculptors for the future courses, not to mention the land those courses will be sitting on, it’s inevitable to make some sort of “Bandon, New Zealand” reference. Mangawhai is about to become an international bucket list destination for golfers. So we figured we would check out what other options were available to those in the neighborhood. The nearest is named, neatly, Mangawhai Golf Club.

This piqued our interest, noticing that a heck of a lot of courses in New Zealand’s North Island region incorporated the syllable “wai” (or “whai”). Why “wai”? Two parts to the answer: One, most golf courses in the area simply retain the name of their geographical locations. Secondly, those locations all tend to feature a prominent aquatic feature. In Maori, “wai” invokes water, hence the so many golf courses having some form of “water” built into their names. Which is the most normal thing in the world: Think of all the “Lake,” “Creek,” “Stream” et al courses that you play at.

Anyway, here are a few highlights—all located on New Zealand’s North Island—that you may be able to squeeze a few rounds on when Kayne’s links paradise opens to the public (no proposed dates yet).

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TifEagle: Explaining Favorite Florida Bermuda Grass at Bay Hill, PGA National, TPC Sawgrass & More (Plus a Ridiculous Trump Interview)

Grass has an enormous impact, both on metal and on golf. But, unfortunately—while grass is readily celebrated in metal blogs—it gets skirted around far too often within golf blogs. That’s why most viewers of the Genesis Open were bemused by the word “kikuyu,” and curious as to why analysts so frequently mentioned it. The reason for such focus is, of course, because it’s important, dammit.

And that’s why, this week, we’re wasting our time on a subject you—our valuable readership—don’t think you care about! And we will use the cookies on your internet to find where you live if you think about skipping this week’s post.***

*** = Not how the internet works.

There was a point, up until 2016, where the PGA Tour shifted gears between the Honda Classic and Arnold Palmer Invitational (at PGA National’s Champions Course and Bay Hill) to The Player’s Championship at TPC Sawgrass. You don’t need much more than Google maps to spot the difference in design from Bay Hill to Sawgrass, but it went a bit deeper than that. As implied earlier, it came down to grass. Specifically on the greens.

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