Nov 05, 2013 | 01:42 PM

Out With the Old

The bulldozers returned to St. Andrews this week to begin Phase 2 of the controversial changes to the Old Course. With last year’s alterations to holes 2, 7, 11, and 17 completed, work is now underway at 3, 4, 6, 9, and 15. The changes include recontouring of green surrounds, moving bunkers closer to greens, shaving back a fairway mound at the 4th, and adding new bunkers at holes 3 and 9—the first new bunkers on the Old Course since 1949. The R&A’s consulting architect Martin Hawtree is supervising the work which is intended to stiffen the challenge of the Old Course in preparation for the return of the Open Championship in 2015.

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Nov 04, 2013 | 10:51 AM

What Did One American Architect Say To The Other?

The man on the right, with the microphone, is golf course designer Rees Jones. The man on the left, with the scroll, is Thomas Jefferson. Actually, it’s actor Bill Barker, who portrays the third President and noted architect (Monticello, the University of Virginia) as part of the “living history” on display at Colonial Williamsburg. The occasion was this past weekend’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Gold Course at Colonial Williamsburg’s Golden Horseshoe Golf Club. The course was built by Robert Trent Jones Sr., and redesigned 15 years ago by son Rees, who described the course—widely regarded as one of Jones Sr.’s finest—as “precise with some of the best greens and par threes in the game.” The festivities featured a conversation between Messrs. Jones and Jefferson in which they discussed architecture, golf, and the importance of outdoor activities. Plus there was a commemorative round on the Gold Course, which began with a different sort of “shot heard ‘round the world”—a “musket start” provided by riflemen in period dress.

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Nov 01, 2013 | 11:36 AM

Lost In Translation

The Buzz believes world leaders should play more golf, not only to take their minds off bigger issues but to help grow the game. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush must agree: He recently suggested that political paralysis in Washington could be solved if President Obama teed it up more often with House Speaker Boehner—although it’s hard to imagine them agreeing on a course, let alone the stakes. Let them play, as long as they don’t fall back on golf-speak to explain their positions. Otherwise we’ll start hearing things like this mixed metaphor from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who used golf to belittle the previous government’s failure at fixing that country’s financial crisis: “You’ll never hit the ball out of the bunker if you use a putter because you’re scared of the cliffs beyond the green. That’s why we are using a sand wedge to get the ball on the green.” Economists no doubt wanted to know if it was a minimum wedge.

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Oct 31, 2013 | 10:02 AM

A Tripp Back in Time

Gil Hanse, Tom Doak, and “Open Doctor” Rees Jones are among the go-to names in golf architecture for the restoration of classic courses. But very quietly, Oklahoma-based Tripp Davis has landed several high-profile commissions, especially in the New York metropolitan area. Having touched up the likes of Deepdale Club and Engineers CC (shown above) on Long Island as well as Whippoorwill Club in Westchester County, Davis has just been signed to renovate and restore Spring Lake Golf Club’s historic course on New Jersey’s north shore. The original 18—laid out by George C. Thomas in 1911—was redesigned and updated by A.W. Tillinghast in 1918. Davis’s two-year makeover will preserve Thomas’s routing and re-establish Tillinghast’s strategic intent. When Davis speaks, members listen: He was a member of the 1989 National Championship golf team and an NCAA All-American while at the University of Oklahoma, and continues to play in prestigious amateur events. At Spring Lake, Davis will make the course more strategically interesting for modern play and enable golfers to take a step back in time.

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