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Jan 17, 2014 | 02:39 PM

Open Books

Midway between the 2013 and 2014 U.S. Opens, a pair of impressive books has appeared chronicling the histories of the two host clubs. Merion: The Championship Story, by Philadelphia sportswriter Jeff Silverman, is a handsomely presented 500-page account of the 18 major championships held there, every word and photo echoing the assessment of Pete Dye: “Merion is not great because history was made here. History was made here because Merion is great.” The Legendary Evolution of Pinehurst, Home of American Golf is golf architect Richard Mandell’s update of his 2007 edition. A coffee-table-size edition of more than 400 pages, it includes many previously unpublished historical photos as well as a complete description of the recent restoration by Coore and Crenshaw.

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Jan 16, 2014 | 10:50 AM

New Home On the Range

Warming up properly may not be the first priority when you finally play Pebble Beach. But starting January 23rd it should be. That’s when one of the world’s greatest courses unveils a state-of-the-art practice facility. Located on Collins Field—land previously used for local sporting events—the new range is across the street from its much smaller predecessor that’s been used since the early 1970s. There will be plenty of room to hit off grass on the new double-ended range and you can tune up your game at the new 3,000-square-foot home of the Pebble Beach Golf Academy, currently located at Spyglass Hill golf course. Custom eight-passenger shuttles will transport golfers on the brief ride between the first tee and the range. Pyramids (not buckets) of balls await, as do attendants ready to clean your clubs. The price? Complimentary on the day you play and for guests of the three hotels at Pebble Beach. 

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Jan 15, 2014 | 12:14 PM

No Irish Wake

There is perhaps no finer hotel in Ireland than The Lodge at Doonbeg, and the Greg Norman-designed links with its massive dunes isn’t too shabby either, so it was disheartening to hear a report that the resort on the Southwest coast near Lahinch has entered into “receivership,” the Irish equivalent of bankruptcy. But it turns out not be quite accurate, according to a spokesman for the hotel’s owner, Kiawah Partners. “This is not receivership in the traditional sense in Ireland, where a bank forecloses on a property and appoints a receiver,” says Mike Touhill. “We are restructuring some of the debt related to the real estate side of Doonbeg and beginning the process of looking to sell the property. This is not a bankruptcy. We have committed the funding to continue operating Doonbeg as normal throughout this process, as long as it might take, which we don't anticipate will be very long given some interest already expressed. There is no change in the status of employees, guests, members, or vendors. We are open and fully operational.”

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Jan 14, 2014 | 06:48 AM

Raising Anchor?

According to the USGA and R&A, it’s a done deal: An “anchoring ban”—restricting how long putters are held when making a stroke—will go into effect on January 1, 2016. But while the two ruling bodies consider the matter closed, two other golf organizations, the PGA of America and the PGA Tour, are about to reopen it, requesting a “grandfather period for recreational amateurs.” And they need your help. PGAA President Ted Bishop and Tour commissioner Tim Finchem will make their request at the USGA’s Executive Committee meeting on February 8. In their search for ammunition, Bishop sent an email to PGA club pros, writing, “I am asking you to submit real-life stories and/or case studies of players at your facility who may be adversely affected by this change in the Rules. We want specific names and details of those who may find it difficult to enjoy the game after Jan. 1, 2016.” If you are one of those likely to find it harder or less enjoyable to play golf without anchoring, let your club pro know as soon as possible. It’s good that the pros—Tour and club—feel strongly about this issue. But if it anything is going to happen, it’s real golfers who have to speak up.

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