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.
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.
Let’s throw it back two weekends, to when we were theoretically celebrating Father’s Day and more-than-theoretically watching Gary Woodland clinch the U.S. Open. Black Metal Brother (he’s much more of a groove metal guy but, for the sake of alliteration, we’ll refer to him as such) recently gained fairly unfettered access to his company’s club membership at Clovernook Country Club on the north side of Cincinnati.
A few things to know about Clovernook: It’s about as unpretentious a country club as can be, and it’s doubtful that many golf fanatics were reaching out to members to get on for a “must play” round. That may get shaken up just a tad, as Clovernook was recently featured in The Golfer’s Journal, and that publication tends to generate buzz for whatever small-time course finds its way in. Even then, writer John Schwarb focused on the club’s caddie program in his search for a deeper relationship with his father. It’s a reasonable pursuit, as the club turns out more Evans Scholars than any Ohio course not named “Inverness.” Unlike Inverness, however, Clovernook doesn’t have championship pedigree. The course details therefore fell through the article’s cracks.
We were thrilled, however, to learn upon personal research that the route is part of the Langford and Moreau portfolio.
Jan Bel Jan’s signature concept—”Scoring Tees”—could be the trick to making the 2024 Ryder Cup more fun to watch for TV audiences (while also lessening the American chances at victory). Here are three holes at Bethpage Black that could score big (and fun) with “Scoring Tees.”
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.
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:
Here’s a line that appeared in a feature on Monterey’s Poppy Hills, a lesser-known former member of the “Clambake” circuit, having replaced Cypress Point. That’s like…being whoever takes over for Tom Brady whenever he dies. It’s a ridiculous expectation, but that doesn’t seem to be the only thing that prompted critical reviews. Robert Trent Jones II (RTJ2 from here on out) recently returned to smooth rough edges, and all seems well. But this line from The Fried Egg got this week’s post a-rolling:
“After decades of churning out courses that exemplified what Geoff Shackelford calls the “framing school” of golf architecture, the firm began in the mid-2000s to embrace the strategic school and the ground game.”
More golfers than ever are buying into the art of architecture. And yet we reckon the idea “framing” is lost on most. Most of us are familiar with the Strategic, Heroic, and Penal “schools” of design, so we won’t waste your time on them. But fewer are familiar with another trio. For one, the “Natural” school is the OG, and has since returned to glory thanks to Doak, Hanse, C&C and that whole gang (remember…the schools can overlap). The other two aren’t really schools, per se. They’re pretty much just insults aimed at half-assed designers. First, the “Freeway” philosophy is simply taking a piece of land and cramming straightforward holes into them. A better term might be the “cheap municipal park method”; even doglegs are rare in this field. The other diss is the aforementioned “framing.”