Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Bit of Irony for the New Year

The United States Postal Service is issuing new stamps for 2010, including one that will be released Jan. 14, to honor the Year of the Tiger. The lunar new year begins in February.

If the fact that it will be the Year of the Tiger isn't humorous enough, 14 is the amount of alleged mistresses that have stepped forward in the Tiger Woods scandal.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ann Arbor Media Group No Longer Publishing Golf Books

This is not good news for authors and readers.

Ann Arbor Media Group, of which Sports Media Group is an imprint, will not longer be publishing golf book. Sports Media Group published my first book, "To the Nines."

SMG traces its roots back to golf book publisher Sleeping Bear Press. Lynne Johnson, head of Product Service Management at AAMG, wrote in an email that the decision was based on on the fact the golf book market has changed dramatically.

"Our decision in the golf market is more a gradual process than a one-day, press release type of event. While doing golf books at Sleeping Bear, we sold largely to a reader interested in golf history and architecture. In our recent sales with AAMG, we found less of an interest in those topics (Perhaps because more has been done there in recent years? Perhaps because those readers are aging?). Sales were more modest and as a result we signed fewer new projects each year. At the same time, our business model evolved to do more custom publishing and fewer trade sales (a non-returnable market as opposed to a returnable market). We might do a course history for the club, but not an instruction book. It's been a gradual process for us but we've decided not to sign additional books in the trade golf area."

Johnson says there might be signs of hope in the new media areas.

"It is a sad occasion of sorts. I've worked in the golf stuff since 1994. We had a good run with those high-end architecture books like the (Brad Klein's) Ross book and I'm afraid some of those projects won't be done any more now that the bookstores rarely carry a book that sells over $40. Good news that perhaps ebooks will give some of the shorter run text only projects life without printing a bunch of copies? I can tell you that publishers are really scared about the cheap ebook market currently, with good reason probably."

So while publishers are scared and trying to figure out what the future will bring, writers are left with fewer and fewer places where they can pitch legitimate book ideas and those dwindling group of golf book fans will have fewer titles to add to their collections.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No Decision Yet on the Golf Course

Monday night the Middletown Economic Development Commission did not vote on my golf course proposal. They want to have a deeper look at the lease/tax issue. As it now stands, if the city goes ahead with the plan of me having a lease and pay full taxes, it will sink the project. The next EDC meeting is Jan. 11 and we're working to have the issue solved by then so they will be able to approve my proposal and move it to the Middletown Common Council for their approval, at which point I would have control of the land.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spain, Portugal and Africa

Still have golf travel on my mind with Portugal and Spain in the forefront. While I set foot on a number of golf courses during my trip to Portugal nearly two years ago, I never struck a single golf ball. I think it's time I made up for that transgression.

As for a golf break in Spain, I'd really like to find out what's going on in the country that produced Sergio Garcia and Seve Ballesteros.

Being in that part of Southern Europe would also give me the chance to head over to Africa where I've never been. I like the idea of teeing it up on another continent. The Royal Country Golf Club that dates back to 1917 and is located in Tangier, is a parkland style layout designed by Frank Pennink and Henry Cotton, then renovated by Peter Harradine.

According to this website, it the oldest course in the country and the layout "winds its way through cypress, pine and eucalyptus trees while crossing the mountain, sloping down and climbing again. It provides panoramic views over the white town of Tangier and the Straits of Gibraltar."

Sounds good to me.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tiger and Chevron

For those who believe in karma, the timing of the Tiger Woods debacle, coming right before the Chevron World Challenge, hosted by Woods, cannot be ignored.

Chevron has been accused by a number of human rights organizations of being in partnership with the Burmese military regime, the same people who blocked aid agencies from helping the survivors of Cyclone Nargis that claimed close to 80,000 lives. As detailed in this article by Dave Zirin that appeared in the May 2008 issue of the Nation, human rights groups contacted Woods to voice concerns about his partnership with Chevron that helps fund the Tiger Woods Foundation, but received no response.

According to the Nation, "Ka Hsaw Wa, co-founder and executive director of EarthRights International, wrote in an open letter to Woods, 'I myself have spoken to victims of forced labor, rape, and torture on Chevron's pipeline--if you heard what they said to me, you too would understand how their tragic stories stand in stark contrast to Chevron's rhetoric about helping communities.' ERI's request to meet with Woods or someone from the foundation has been met with silence."

The story also shows how Chevron's unethical dealings are not just confined to Burma and includes the United States.

"Lawsuits have been issued against Chevron's toxic waste dumping in Alaska, Canada, Angola, California. Then there's the matter of 18 billion gallons of toxic waste the company has been accused of dumping in the Amazon."

There is hope that the end result of this mess that Tiger has created for himself might result in him becoming humble. Maybe, too, it can also teach him to look beyond his bankbook, the walls of his gated community and his gated life and see the world around him.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tiger and Other Athletes Who Want It Both Ways

Here is a wonderful column from James Corrigan in the English newspaper, The Independent, talking about how athletes want only the attention that is beneficial to them. Thanks to Geoff Shackelford for uncovering this piece.

I've refrained from wading into the whole Tiger Woods debacle but this is the subject on which I would have written if I had no choice. Even from my days covering the NHL's Hartford Whalers along with a handful of PGA tournaments, I ran across instances of athletes courting the press to cover their achievements, yet being incensed when their transgressions were made public, as well.

At its most basic, the reaction of many athletes is a result of having nothing but lavish praise thrown on them their entire lives by relatives, coaches, management people and sycophantic media outlets such as the Golf Channel. If Tiger never used his fame to sell us Buick, Nike, Rolex, Gillette and Chevron, he have never would have faced this kind of scrutiny.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tour of the Arawana Site

A few of us are heading out to what could be, someday, the site of my golf course. The two-hour walk begins at about 10:30 a.m. and we're meeting at what would be the first tee off Bow Lane. If you need directions, let me know.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


On the advice of my high-tech guru, Rick White, I have now started a Twitter account:

At some point I'll be posting scintillating updates about the world of golf in 140-character increments.

Stay tuned!