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.