Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TRUE Linkswear Auction for some pure shoes...sweet

Our favorite shoe company, TRUE Linkswear, has come up with a cool idea - auction off all their 2011 samples, (including some in crazy colors) to benefit The First Tee. Great idea, well executed with 501 Auctions and I have already started bidding - well, I'm not going to tell you on which ones am I!
You can see the auction and bid here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Askernish - An Old Tom Morris Masterpiece

At last weeks Affordable Golf Syposium there was a wonderful presentation by Gordon Irvine from Scotland about the magnificent, natural golf course called Askernish. Located on the island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, the course was laid out by 4 time Open Champion Old Tom Morris in 1891 and was abandoned in the 1920s. In recent years a team, led by Irvine, has resurrected the course using traditional methods and created something very special. I strongly recommend the article listed here and also the Askernish website which goes into more detail than space here allows. Looking at the website I notice its possible to join for $160 - yes, that right... join! There's a wonderful T & L piece by John Garrity here about the history of the club. And here is the Askernish website with wonderful pictures and the whole story.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pasatiempo and those goats!

I have been fortunate to play some great golf courses over the last few years and Pasatiempo near Santa Cruz, CA is up there with the best of them. So it was with great interest that, on Monday, I heard a talk from Paul Chojnacky, the superintendant of the MacKenzie gem.

Paul made an excellent presentation about his water management of the property, but what we really wanted to hear about was the well publicized goats. He wisely started with water and finished on a high with his goat herd! The purpose of the goats is to clear the canyons that run through the property and provided such inspiration to Alister MacKenzie when he designed the course in the late 1920s. Paul shared the numbers on the goat program he initiated last year. The cost was less $15,000 for a herd of 175 goats to roam the property and eat everything in their wake for several months. The cost of removing the unattractive undergrowth using 2 legged workers would have been in the region of $105,000. Plus, and it a huge plus...what's the fun in that!
As I said at the conference, Paul is a great super and also a marketing genius. His annual goat spend has created hundreds of thousands of dollars of PR and raised Pasa's profile as it regains its rightful place in the World Top 100 following Tom Doak's wonderful restoration. The course is open to the public and only a 50 minute drive from Monterey. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New pictures of Bandon Preserve

Our friend, Josh Smith, the golf landscape painter, just returned from the Renaissance Cup at Bandon and sent these pictures of The Preserve. The new par 3 golf course looks wonderful and his pictures are all the evidence you need to add this loop onto your next trip to Bandon! You can see Josh's actual paintings on his website here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are these the coolest tees in golf?

I know, I said the only acceptable tees in golf were white and wooden. Well, that was before I played a certain golf course who give these tees away - it was all I could do to only take this many! Any guesses for the name of the club?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Great Pictures of The Preserve at Bandon

It looks like the 5th course at Bandon is really taking shape for the 2012 season. There are some great pictures from GolfWeek Magazine here. Even more reason to go there, like there isn't enough already! The prospect of 18 holes in the morning and then the short course is very appealing. You can see Alex Miceli's pictures here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fishers Island - one of the purist (and most fun) golf experiences ever!

I'm not sure if it gets any better than golf on Fishers Island. Big statement for one of the truly great golf courses in the world. Even getting to the club is part and parcel of the experience - see the small fishing boat rented from Wild Bill...really, that's his name.
Here are some great photos of a great day (thanks to Chip for the pics). The hole numbers are not listed and you know what, it doesn't matter - there isn't a weak one out there and all 4 of us on our trip ranked it number 1 of the 5 courses we played in the NY/CT area.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An Impure Golf Club Logo? Well Here are 3 to Start!

At dinner the other night someone asked me, after seeing the best logos on the blog,  "So, what's the worst golf club logo out there?"
That got me thinking. I should stress that my choices have nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the golf course. The choices are based on aesthetic, ease of use for, say embroidery, quality of design and memorability.

I'm not quite what the folks at Dallas National were thinking - ok, so you have bridge, but do you need to put it front and center. The logo would be perfect for a bridge construction company!

Ah, The Members Club at Four Streams. Four streams, not 1 or 2 or 3 streams as depicted in the logo. The logo is so confusing it's tough to know where the stream is and where the banks are!  So how do they have a logo without 4 streams in it - the current logo would seem to be at least 1 stream short of a golf club!

All of the Trump golf clubs have the same logo, which is great, because collectively I can say they are all dreadful. The only difference between Trump National in D.C and LA is in the copy underneath the fake royal crest. For the master marketer, Trump, to have a such a mess of a golf logo is truly astounding. Donald, hire a great design firm and simplify the mess.

Let me know any other candidates for the Hall of Club Logo shame.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bandon - The Legend Continues with The Preserve

As if opening the fourth course at Bandon Dunes this year was not enough for Mike Keiser and his team - another one is coming in 2012. Called Bandon Preserve, the new course is a 13 hole par 3 course that will measure between 819 yards and just under 1,500 yards - now that sounds like the perfect respite after one of the "big" courses in the morning. On our last visit to Bandon we made the fatal mistake of simply playing too much golf (it's tough not too!) and on subsequent golf trips have started acting our age and taking the odd morning off and enjoying 18 holes in a day. Bandon Preserve will prove to be incredibly popular with visitors and you can read more by Golf Digest's roving reporter, Matt Ginella here and see Matt's wonderful construction pictures here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pure Golf In The Rain - Sherwood Forest Golf Club

I'm back in England and had the good fortune to play a classic Colt/Braid golf course, Sherwood Forest, the other day. Despite the fact that we lost, the golf course was a delight, even in the pouring rain.

It's pedigree is without reproach - originally laid out by Harry Colt in 1912, it was "tweaked" by James Braid in the 1920's. In recent years, the committee has done a great job in removing all those pesky trees that robbed the greens of light and the members of the wonderful view from the clubhouse. If you are looking for a real hidden gem in the "midlands" of England then call the club and book a tee time. Like most private clubs in the UK they will be happy to take your money. Fair warning, the gorgeous purple heather will swallow up your golf ball - when you find it, take your wedge out and get the ball back in play or you could be there some time.
Read More Here.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Pure Entry Into Golf Magazine's Top US 100 - The Cal Club

A truly outstanding golf course makes it's debut in Golf Magazine's Top US golf courses, The California Golf Club of San Francisco. Originally designed by William Locke and opened in 1918, the course had suffered over the years until a brave Board of Directors hired Kyle Phillips to renovate the golf course in 2007. He and his team did that and more by opening up views of the city and creating 5 new magnificent new holes. Our friend, landscape artist Josh Smith, works at the club and has produced several beautiful paintings of the South San Francisco Club. I have had the good fortune to play it a number of times and it is a magnificent addition to America's best.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Great Logos, Part Deux

Four more classic logos from four of America's best golf courses.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pure Golf Course Logos

Here are 5 of my top 10 golf course logos (Can you name the Club?) - feel free to let me know yours - it's not about the golf course - purely the course logo!

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Wonderful Links Golf Course, Pennard Golf Club

Josh Smith recently completed this wonderful picture of the classic links course, Pennard Golf Club, just 8 miles west of Swansea in Wales. Pure links golf at it's best and the definition of a "hidden gem" - we thought you would enjoy a look.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Shivas Irons Society - Pure Reading

We have had fun working with The Shivas Irons Society over the last couple of months creating A Digital Anthology of the SIS Journal. The 25 page electronic version features extracts from the four printed issues of The Journal that include the work of many of golf's finest writers. 
In print, each of the issues is a unique, collector quality publication intended as a vehicle for all of the creative arts inspired by the game of golf with contributions from outstanding writers, artists and photographers from around the world.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pure golf in London and why you should go there before Scotland and Ireland.

Ok, I've had enough of this. If one more person asks me "I can't decide between Scotland and Ireland for next years golf trip" I'll scream! The correct answer, if you are looking for truly great golf from the late 19th and early 20th century is...wait for it....London.
Just for fun without looking at an architecture book I"ll name you 15 wonderful courses in the London area. Okay, go!....Sunningdale Old and New, Walton Heath Old and New, Swinley Forest, Berkshire Red and Blue, Worplesdon, Woking, West Hill, Hankley Common, Camberley Heath, Liphook, Blackmoor, North Hants, St George's Hill Red and Blue, Wentworth East. How many was that? 17.... and no mention of the travesty that has befallen the once great Burma Road (or West course) at Wentworth. (Ernie are you coming back for a fourth time to "fix" it?)
Nearly all of the courses named above were designed by the greats, James Braid, Harry Colt, Herbert Fowler, Tom Simpson, Willy Park Jr. And if they weren't, such as West Hill, they were designed by architects from that era with wonderful names like Cuthbert Butchart (when did you last meet a Cuthburt?)
So, not only do you get accessible golf, with reasonable green fees, but you can visit the greatest, coolest city in the world, London. Golf during the day, great restaurants and shows at night - all within 30 miles of the center of "town" as us Brits call London. Ok, the exchange rate is a killer, but you were going anyway right. So, don't change planes at Heathrow, get off the plane, stay in town and get to grips with the best collection of golf courses within a 20 miles radius anywhere in the world.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Golf Digest Top 100 Pure Movers

The latest Digest rankings are out. Here are my personal thoughts on some of the "pure" golf courses and their respective moves up and down the list or there inaugural listing.

A couple that jump out are Crystal Downs' solid move from 16 to 12 - Mackenzie's gem is well worth the trip. (see the picture above)

Sand Hills vaults into the top 10 and well deserved it is - a wonderful golf course

Bandon Trails also made a huge jump from 80 to 63. One a recent trip to Bandon Dunes Resort, all 8 of our group placed Trails in the top 2 (with Pacific) and some had it as their number one course on the property.

Also worth commenting on are the fallers...

Chicago fell a couple of places - who knows why? ...and equal with Whistling Straits - I don't think so!

Shoreacres fell 18 spots? - I loved Raynor's course. What's up, no one going to Chicago these days?

The new entries are notable for the volume of "pure" plays

Friars Head in at 34 seems high to me. Ballyneal on the other hand at 95 is way too low. Doak did a magnificent job. I can only think that more people accessed the formers New York location than Ballyneal's remote Colorado geography. Boston and Old Sandwich are both in and represent fine work by Gil Hanse and Coore and Crenshaw.

You can see the full list here.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The 2nd at Dormie Club

My obsession with pure golf at Dormie Club continues! Here is the view from the second tee - a great dogleg left with a big reward for those taking on the left hand bunker.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The 3rd at Dormie Club

Another picture of marvelous Dormie Club near Pinehurst. This shows the approach from the right side of the 3rd hole.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The 18th at Dormie Club

A number of people wanted to know if I had any other pictures of the magnificent Dormie Club near Pinehurst, NC. Over the next couple of days, I'll trawl through my files and find the good ones. Above is a view from behind the 18th green looking back down the par 4. It has a wonderful green with a "sweep" from right to left. Really, you have to see this place - it's Coore and Crenshaw at the top of their game.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Iliac Golf - Bringing Back the Pure

Bert La Mar is bringing back the pure to golf. His Carlsbad based company, Iliac Golf creates cool products including retro style leather headcovers and bags as well as up to the minute stylish clothing in modern fabrics. Iliac likes to say "Understated elegance with hidden performance and cutting edge technology."

Bert is a skateboard and snowboard dude turned golfer and it shows in his refreshing approach to the traditional game of golf. He likes to do things his way and his way is classic with a twist. You can read his story here.

Iliac has made amazing inroads into the leading clubs in the country with his products and it is unusual to visit a top club and not see his wool or leather headcovers presented in funky Iliac wooden crates. You'll be seeing a lot more of Iliac's products out there in 2011 as they ramp up in other categories.

I have his leather headcovers, naturally in green, and they'll last a lot longer than me and they make a statement, which is 100% Pure.

They say "I love the game of golf and my equipment says so!"

Thursday, January 6, 2011

National Golf Links of America - What a Picture!

Our favorite golf landscape artist, Josh Smith has just released for sale an awesome picture of the 16th and 17th holes and windmill at the architectural gem on Long Island, National Golf Links of America. Golf aficionados go weak at the knees at the mere mention of C.B Macdonald's 1911 masterpiece. I have to be honest and say I liked the golf course, didn't love it. Modern equipment has made a mockery of some of the holes and as sacrilegious as it is, I prefer Sebonack across the road.
The picture is a beauty and is a complete one off - there are no prints and it will look splendid in someones office or den. If you are interested in purchasing the picture, the price is $3,500. You can email me at - nick@macduffconsulting.com