Sep 12, 2014 | 06:05 AM

Tom Doak Is At It Again!

Back in 1996, 27-year-old course architect Tom Doak stunned the golf world with his Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, a 361-page compendium of no-holds-barred reviews of the best and worst courses he’d seen. Now, two decades later, Doak—who in the meantime has given us Pacific Dunes, Streamsong (Blue), and Cape Kidnappers, among other Top 100-ranked courses—is issuing the update to his book, or at least the start of the update. Confidential Guide II, which just became available, features 288 courses in Great Britain & Ireland and will be the first of five volumes produced by Doak and three co-authors, Ran Morrissett, Masa Nishijima, and Darius Oliver. In all, they will cover 2,500 courses around the world, rating each on a scale of 0-10. As in the original, the expanded version will include a "Gourmet’s Choice” featuring longer descriptions of the authors’ favorite courses, as well as a Gazetteer with lists of everything from the best and wildest holes to the best courses to take your dog to play. The subsequent volumes, to be published annually, will cover The Americas (summer destinations), The Americas (winter destinations), Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. For more information or to order copies, go to Doak’s website,

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Sep 11, 2014 | 10:05 AM

Dancing Bear

The Canadian golf season is coming to a close soon — at least in the mountains of British Columbia — so a baby bear decided to get in some quality green time recently at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort’s Mountainside Golf Course, 185 miles southwest of Calgary. He or she decided to take the flagstick on the 15th hole (a 323-yard par 4) for a brief dance. Although not an uncommon sight on golf courses in the region, this bear puts a new spin on going full circle.

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Sep 10, 2014 | 11:36 AM

Labor of Love

Say what you will about President Obama, but he sure loves his golf, but not everyone loves that he golfs. You'll remember that he was roundly criticized for playing golf on Aug. 20th while on vacation in Martha's Vineyard just minutes after making a strong and emotional public statement about the beheading of journalist James Foley, which he expressed some misgivings about this past Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press. "I should have anticpated the optics," he told Chuck Todd. "Part of this job is also the theater of it. It's not something that always comes naturally to me, but it matters." Over Labor Day weekend, Obama tried to play golf at a private club in Westchester County, just north of New York City, but was rebuffed, according to a report today by the local NBC affiliate in New York. Trump National, Winged Foot (pictured), and Willow Ridge all turned down the First Duffer because they didn't want to inconvenience their powerful members on the last weekend of summer (no one else can be on the course). Obama was in the area that weekend for a fundraising event and planned to spend Friday night to attend the Saturday evening wedding of White House chef Sam Kass to MSNBC host Alex Wagner. Instead of staying over and playing golf Saturday morning, he flew home and spent some time with his family before flying back up on Saturday.

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Sep 09, 2014 | 02:41 PM

LACC In 2023?

If you can wait a few years, you may finally get a peak inside the gates of the very exclusive Los Angeles Country Club. The Los Angeles Times reports that LACC and the USGA have agreed to hold the 2023 U.S. Open over the highly regarded North Course (presently number 39 on the LINKS100 World Rankings; number 21 on the U.S. list). Holding the event isn’t a done deal: Club members have to vote on the proposal. A letter went out to the membership last week and the results could be known—at least within the club—by October. The North Course was originally designed by George C. Thomas, who also did Riviera and Bel-Air, and was treated to a restoration at the hands of Gil Hanse finished in 2010. The club is famous for its aversion to publicity, and for years was known for not admitting anyone from the “industry,” LA-speak for the movie business. If the club agrees to holding the Open—the first in Los Angeles since Ben Hogan won at Riviera in 1948—it will have to admit Fox Sports’ TV crew, and their equipment, too. But in a town famous for spending millions on blockbusters, we have to believe the club won’t be disappointed by its share of the box office.

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