Feb 17, 2014 | 06:43 AM

We Liked Ike

Just two months before the 78th Masters tees off on April 10, one of Augusta National’s enduring symbols is gone. The Eisenhower Tree—a 65-foot-tall pine that stood along the left side of the 17th fairway about 200 yards off the tee—finally met its match in the icy winter storms that recently battered the Southeast. The broad pine (visible up the left side of the hole in the photo above) was named for President Dwight Eisenhower, an Augusta member who often hit his tee shot left and found himself stymied by the tree. According to The Masters: A Hole-by-Hole History of America’s Golf Classic, by David Sowell, the tree “caused President Eisenhower more trouble than the Russians ever did.” Ike, who twice served on the Augusta National Board of Governors, even suggested that the tree be cut down. “Clifford Roberts quickly adjourned the meeting before Ike could obtain a second for his motion,” wrote Sowell. Current Augusta Chairman Billy Payne says not to worry. “The golf course sustained no major damage otherwise,” Payne was quoted by the GlobalPost. “We are now open for member play and we will be unaffected in our preparations for the 2014 Masters.” As to what will take its place, “We have begun deliberations of the best way to address the future of the 17th hole,” said Payne, “and to pay tribute to this iconic symbol of our history. Rest assured we will do both appropriately.”

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Feb 14, 2014 | 07:56 AM

Trump’s Triumphs, Trump’s Travails

It’s been an interesting few weeks for Donald Trump. The redesign of the Blue Monster course at Trump National Doral (that’s the new 6th hole, above) was revealed to positive reviews, including this one from LINKS Editor George Peper. And earlier this week, it was announced that the Trump Organization had bought Doonbeg Golf Club in County Clare, Ireland, which includes a Greg Norman-designed course and 219-room lodge. But even The Donald can’t win them all. The same day he nabbed Doonbeg, his plans for a second course at his club near Aberdeen, Scotland, took a hit when a Scottish court refused to block the construction of windmills in the North Sea. Trump had strongly objected to the turbines, which will be visible from his property, saying they will be an eyesore. As a result of the ruling his company withdrew plans for the second course, which Trump had planned to name after his mother. According to the Scottish Express, a Trump spokesperson said, “Trump is investing heavily in golf across the globe, most recently in Dubai, Miami, and now Ireland, while Scotland is missing out.” The day after the ruling, Trump himself angered people on both sides of the Atlantic by saying, “Wind farms are a disaster for Scotland like Pan Am 103 [referring to the Boeing 747 that blew up over Lockerbie in December 1988], an abomination, only sustained with government subsidy.” Trump’s organization has said it will continue to fight the court ruling.

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Feb 13, 2014 | 10:08 AM

Gimmicky Golf?

The par-three 6th at Riviera Country Club—venue for this week’s Northern Trust Open—has a bunker in the middle of its green. So do holes at Doonbeg in Ireland, TPC San Antonio in Texas and Shadow Ridge Country Club in Nebraska. Is it a gimmick or a stroke of genius? Dustin Johnson aced the sixth in 2010, albeit to a pin location below and away from the bunker. Riviera members and guests are not allowed to use anything but a putter on the green, even when the bunker is between their ball and the hole. Good luck getting down in two if that’s the case. But here’s a look at how it can be done. 

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Feb 12, 2014 | 12:30 PM

End of the Road

The weather at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, is better suited for golf than skiing and had a major highway been approved, that’s just what people would be doing there at a Pete Dye course located about 10 minutes from the alpine facilty at Rosa Khutor (above). Dye and Bobby Weed were well into design development on Sochi's first course a couple of years ago, Weed tells The Buzz, getting bids from contractors, doing water testing, when they got the news about the road. “We were pretty disappointed because it’s a great piece of property that’s very well suited for golf,” says Weed. “It was a former vineyard so it was very open with rolling terrain. The routing really laid on the ground very well and offered great vistas. The long-range views of the surrounding mountains, which are snow-capped much of the year, are stunning.” The project is on indefinite hold until a new developer can step in and get the road approved. Russian President Vladimir Putin spent $50 billion on the Games and they couldn't find a few extra bucks to build a road? Guess Putin does't play golf.

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