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Oct 02, 2014 | 10:34 AM

Landmark Status

Almost a century after its two A.W. Tillinghast-designed courses debuted, Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The honor comes from the Department of the Interior's National Park Service Landmarks Program, which defines each honoree as “nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.” The honor described the club’s 36 holes as “arguably the most important and influential design of leading early-20th-century golf course architect Albert W. Tillinghast, one of the first American golf architects to integrate a golf course into nature.” Of course, hosting seven U.S. Opens, two U.S. Women's Opens, a total of 15 USGA Championships, and a PGA Championship (an event that returns here in 2016) certainly helped too. The status also puts Baltusrol in some good company: Pinehurst, Merion and Oakmont are the only other courses to receive the recognition.  

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Oct 01, 2014 | 01:24 PM

Critical Mass

Attention golf-course architecture fans: You can finally order the new edition of Tom Doak’s Confidential Guide to Golf Courses—all five volumes!—by going to his website and ordering the self-published set for $280 (or you can order each volume separately for $60). The update will cover more than 2,500 courses written by Doak and three co-authors, Ran Morrissett of golfclubatlas.com, Japanese architect and critic Masa Nishijima, and Planet Golf author Darius Oliver. Volume 1 is available now and includes 288 reviews of courses in Great Britain and Ireland. The four other volumes will focus on America (winter and summer destinations); Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; and Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, with one volume a year published through 2018. As any golf-course aficionado knows, the first edition is a cult classic, fetching four-figure sums as a collectible since Doak only self-published 60 copies in the mid-'90s (second and third editions totaled 13,000 copies). Readers loved his controversial (read: bluntly honest) take on some of the best courses and architects in the game (all the old reviews are included in the update, as well, though Doak admits to rewriting some since he had to retype them—all the files were on unreadable Mac floppy disks). But don’t expect that just because he’s a famous architect now, he’s gone soft or anything, including on his own designs. Said Doak, who will autograph all pre-ordered copies: “Rest assured that I do not plan to write and self-publish a book about all the great courses I have ever seen, only to leave all of my own work out of the book.”

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Sep 30, 2014 | 11:26 AM

WHAT A FINISH!

Sadly, there was more excitement in the post-Ryder Cup press conference than the competition itself.  if you wanted to enjoy an electrifying  finish on Sunday, the show to watch was the Champions Tour telecast of the Nature Valley First Tee Open, where junior golfers played alongside the seniors for 54 holes in a competition of their own which was won by 17-year-old Christopher Meyers who pulled off an unprecedented feat—a walk-off double-eagle on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach. 
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Sep 29, 2014 | 06:32 AM

Ryder Recriminations

And now comes the worst part of the Ryder Cup, the interminable post-match sniping about what the losing captain did wrong, notably by his own countrymen. Should Captain Watson have rested Phil Mickelson Friday afternoon? Should he have kept the winning team of Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth on the course for the first-day foursomes? Why did the U.S. do so poorly (losing six, halving two) foursomes? Was Spieth prepared to be first out in the singles? And on and on and on. Then there were the nasty comments thrown around by others: Colin Montgomerie bemoaning the “hangers on” who get to walk inside the ropes during the matches; Nick Faldo saying Sergio Garcia had been “useless” during the 2008 matches; Phil Mickelson wondering out loud on TV why Paul Azinger’s system of pairing and preparing players (successful in 2008) isn’t still used. Every year, it’s the same old thing: The fiercest competition isn’t between the two teams, but among members of the same teams. Perhaps the next captains should do something about that.

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