Tuesday, August 10, 2010

WSJ Story on the Awful Summer; Nantz Just Doesn't Get Architecture

John Paul Dupont wrote an informative piece in the Aug. 7 issue of the Wall Street Journal, titled, "The Ugly Summer of 2010" that details the trials and tribulations superintendents are dealing with from the Mid Atlantic states up to New England as a result of the long, hot and humid summer. It's worth the read. He cites major problems at Huntington Valley Country Club, Golf Club at Cuscowilla and Winged Foot Golf Club among others.

Dupont deserves kudos for laying some of the responsibility for dead greens firmly in the golf bag of players.

"Golfers themselves deserve part of the blame for insisting that putting surfaces be mown short and fast even in weather conditions in which such practices are almost certain to ruin them," he wrote.

In an email to me July 20, USGA agronomist Jim Skorulski, who works in the Northeast Region, said the year was becoming one of the worst in 20. With the ongoing high temperatures since then, it surely is the worst. The one question that remains, is how many superintendents will lose their jobs over a set of circumstances that were almost entirely out of their control.


I happened to catch golf announcer Jim Nantz on New York City radio station WFAN chatting with host Mike Francesa, who knows little or nothing about golf but leads the league in kissing the behind of Nantz every time he appears on the Big Apple's top-rated sports talk show.

The conversation turned to this week's PGA Championship at the Pete Dye-designed Straits Course at the Whitling Straits resort in Sheboygan, Wisc. when Francesa, in a highly unusual moment of clarity, asked Nantz what were the characteristics of the Straits Course. It was a beautiful softball for Nantz giving him the opportunity to knock it out of the park with a concise and informative answer about Dye's style of strategic design that is based on angles and options. Instead, Nantz fouled out to the catcher. His reply: "it looks like the courses in Ireland."

Nantz should probably stick to telling us how every golfer that appears on the screen - and this week Whistling Straits founder Herb Kohler, as well - is a great guy and a wonderful family man.

My prediction is that on a number of occasions during the broadcast of the tournament, Nantz will fawn over the Straits Course telling us how beautiful it is, how it was built on what was formerly flat farmland, the fact there are over 1,000 bunkers but never discuss its strategic qualities.

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