Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Asking Price for Machrie Slashed; Boston Golf Club Remains Closed

Simon Freeman, head greenkeeper of the the Machrie Hotel and Golf Links, emailed to say that the amount needed to purchase the legendary course and hotel has been dropped.

"The asking price for Machrie has been massively slashed from £1.75million ($2,884,900) to just 'offers over' £895,000, ($1,475,260)," he wrote.

Freeman also reports that it has been a great spring for growing grass and that the course is in great shape.

Meanwhile, the Boston Golf Club remains closed although maintenance workers have been spotted on the property. Members have reportedly been told that the club is hoping for an opening as early as the first week of May.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Quinnetucket Blog Removed from CTGolfer.com

My blog on CTgolfer.com detailing the Quinnetucket Golf Course project has been removed by the site's owner, Bob Samek, under pressure from Tom DeVaux, superintendent at Hunter Golf Course. According to Samek, DeVaux threatened to pull Hunter's advertisement off the CTGolfer.com site because of a piece I wrote on my own blog about the bunker work at Hunter. I posted the item in January, weeks before I began writing for CTGolfer.com. Click here to view the offending blog post.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Boston Golf Club in Financial Trouble, Not Open for Play

The Boston Golf Club, located in Hingham, Mass. 18 miles south of Boston, is closed and may not open for the 2011 season amidst reports of serious financial problems. Other courses in the area have had play since mid March.

Opened in 2005, the heralded Gil Hanse design received instant acclaim and is ranked 21st on the 2011 GolfWeek's list of Best Modern Courses.

I've talked to a number of people familiar with the situation and the information all seems to indicate the same causes. First, a club member who had been funding a large annual deficit in recent years informed other members that he would not be doing so in 2011. Second, the lease payments for the land on which the entire course sits triples in May.

BGC was founded by Rob Ketterson and John Mineck. In 2007, Mineck was killed in a construction accident on the golf course.

(Photo: Brett Zimmerman, copyright 2010)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Favorite Comments from the Masters Broadcast

For seven of the last 10 years, I've hosted a Masters Sunday party at my home. This year, eight of us wolfed down sushi, pizza, Goldfish Crackers (not considered sushi no matter what George says) and pretzels. We also quaffed copious amounts of beer, lots of my Springbank 10 single malt and some white wine.

For the first time in the history of this even someone was put on probation, and then double secret probation, for what can best be described as poor attitude. The Executive Committee will meet before the next Masters Party to determine whether Rachel will be allowed to return.

Now, along with rooting for Anybody But Tiger, we have a wonderful tradition of chastising the announcers for their idiotic comments.

We detest Jim Nantz for his fake sentimentality. One of the surest bets is that Nantz will bring up a heartwarming tale about a player's father. This year, Nantz was so wracked with emotion when talking about Jason Day's father that he blurted out that the elder Day died when he was 12. We think Nantz meant he died when Jason was 12, but we're holding off judgement until we have more information.

Ian Baker-Finch had a beauty, informing us that Angel Cabrera was so poor and hungry as a child in Argentina that he stole chickens, which inspired Randy to scream, "They just called him a thief on national TV!"

It was also Baker-Finch who said of Cabrera, "He tries to hit a great shot every time."

Thanks for that insight, buddy, but we'd find it more entertaining if you told us which players occasionally strives to produce a mediocre result.

David Feherty proved that he has not even the most basic knowledge of world geography when he stated of the leaderboard, "every continent is represented except the Arctic and Antarctica."

Not too long before that, he told us, "every continent will be watching" the broadcast.

So all eight continents will be watching, David?

Feherty's gaffe led to Jonathan wondering aloud why they are called "polar bears" and not "north polar bears" since none are found on the South Pole. The conversation, more scintillating than what was on TV, lasted a good three minutes.

The basic problem with announcers is they just can't shut up. It's as if they have an unseen force driving them they to comment on everything. It's television for god's sake; let the picture tell the story now and then.

Nantz is the worst. He just couldn't clam up as Geoff Ogilvy's approach to 18 landed on the front of the green and spun back and off.

"He better be careful," Nantz said with a tone of concern that should be reserved for someone diffusing a bomb.

To which one of the party-goers barked out, "How can he be careful, he's a 145 (expletive) yards away?"

Following his epic implosion, third-round leader Rory McIlroy was kind enough to grant an interview to Peter Kostis off the back of the 18th green. McIlroy was gracious and honest after shooting an 80. Kostis, of course, couldn't just keep the encounter as pure question-and-answer, he had to fawn over McIlroy and told his interview subject, "You have a head that's wiser than what's on your shoulders."

So, Rory has another head? Where do you think he keeps it? How does he get it through airport security?

The ridiculous comments about Eldrick Woods were just too many to list here. For me, the blabbering went over the edge following Tiger's missed putt at 13 when Nick Faldo informed us, "I was watching his jaw line."

We're not sure if Nick's assignment was to watch Woods's jaw or if he just made the bold decision to do it on his own. By the way, enough with calling Faldo, "Sir Nick." This is the United States; we don't grant royal titles.

We, the television viewers, were also treated to much useless knowledge.

Did you know that 2011 Masters champion Charl Shwartzel weighs 140 pounds? You would if you had watched the CBS broadcast. We're guessing that that number had some importance since we weren't told the weight of any other competitor. Come to think of it, nobody's height was mentioned. I wonder why?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Original Intent at Augusta of MacKenzie and Jones

As the Masters golf tournament plays across television screens the world over the next two days for the tournament's final rounds, it's good to remember that the once great golf course is a mere thin shadow of its original self. No matter how many times the CBS golf announcers tout the greatness of Augusta National Country Club - led of course by the ultimate sycophant, Jim Nantz - maintaining that it adheres to the original intent of architects Alister MacKenzie and Bobby Jones, they are telling lies. If Augusta was once the Mona Lisa, then a series of overzealous club chairmen and ill advised architects from Jack Nicklaus to Tom Fazio have sullied the once stunning lady.

Here is a March 1932 article from the American Golfer magazine in which MacKenzie details the intent of the design and gives descriptions of all 18 holes. The nines have been flipped since the course opened so no. 1 is now no. 10 and no. 18 was the original 9th.

Throughout the magazine piece MacKenzie informs readers as to what were the inspirations for the holes at AGNC.

For instance the 4th (originally the 13th) was patterned after the Eden Hole (no.11) of the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland.

The original 4th (current 13th) took its design characteristics from the 17th at Cypress Point, a MacKenzie design, which, as MacKenzie points out in the piece, was considered an ideal hole by Charles Blair Macdonald in his book, Scotland's Gift - Golf.

The 16th (original 7th) was changed markedly by Robert Trent Jones. The hole Bobby Jones and MacKenzie built "is somewhat similar to the best hole (seventh) at Stoke Poges, England."

Never having walked the layout, I feel I've missed an opportunity to view one of the greatest courses every built. Now, the original design, an attempt to create the ideal "inland course," is gone and gone forever.