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what people in golf make tv’s $1.1b problem tax advice for any golfer

Contents 02/17

how to play. what to play. where to play.



Money Issue 72

The Rules Are Changing From the Golf Digest 50 to television deals and beyond, money is flowing in new ways.

Features 50


▶ Cover Story: Bust It Every Time Make this your best year ever—with my tips for power and precision from tee to green.

Play Your Best 11

TV’s $1.1 Billion Problem Making sense of Fox and the USGA.



Undercover Tour Pro: Lending Money to Fellow Players Can Be Awkward WITH MAX ADLER


Pooling Resources at Augusta Jack Stephens knew how to swim the deep end versus Clifford Roberts.

▶ America’s 100 Greatest Courses A change at the top: Pine Valley overtakes Augusta National.





Rankings: 63 100 Greatest Courses 65 Second 100 Greatest 70



What People in Golf Make Our biennial report on salaries from around the game. BY ALAN P. PITTMAN



Tax Advice for Any Golfer Like a tour pro, should you pick where to live based on taxes? BY PETER FINCH

Old School Chippin’ This lost art will save you strokes. BY A.J. AVOLI

▶ The Best Teacher No One Knows Pete Cowen on his five major champions, a prank with a lion and a tragedy that haunts him.


Tom Watson You can master the long greenside bunker shot

Ask Golf Digest Should you fix divot marks with a tee?


Style: Hybrid Jackets The new essential in golf outerwear.


5-Minute Clinic The art of saving par. BY DAVE STOCKTON


Why’d I Do That? The blowup after a birdie. BY RICK SMITH


Swing Sequence: Shane Lowry


David Leadbetter Hit more tight fairways with your fairway wood


New Looks Eight new drivers that are lighter than ever.



Jack Nicklaus Beat the prevailing wind Butch Harmon How to get to your left side


Think Young, Play Hard Will Brooke Henderson become the best Canadian golfer of all time?

Best Young Teachers A simple way to make more putts. BY CHRIS MAYSON


Simple Tips to Get Out of Fairway Bunkers BY COREY LUNDBERG




How to Go Deep When You Need To

The Golf Life


The Core The best winter workout for golf. BY RON KASPRISKE


Stuff Five smartwatches that combine fitness and GPS. BY KEELY LEVINS AND BRITTANY ROMANO

100 Closeout

Why we love this new USGA rule change. BY RON KASPRISKE


Editor’s Letter The Golden Ticket.


What’s in My Bag Wesley Bryan


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Cover photograph by Dom Furore

johnson: dom furore • course: courtesy of ballyneal/dick durrance • cowen: sebastian nevols • cover fashion credits: page 55


Editor’s Letter The Golden Ticket JERRY TARDE Chairman and Editor-in-Chief nside this issue is the granddaddy of all course rankings, still recognized as the oldest and most authoritative order of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses. Started in 1966, the biennial list is now the result of 50,000 ballots of 954 Golf Digest panelists over an eightyear rolling period cast not only on the 350-some courses that contend for the top 200 in the country, but also courses reviewed for our rankings of the 100 Greatest Public and Best in Each State to be announced in the June issue. These rankings are the most statistically significant in our history, but we’re on a mission to improve with a little help from our readers. Dean Knuth, known as the Pope of Slope for his decades of work on the USGA’s handicapping system and the chief statistician for Golf Digest’s course rankings, advises us that we need to raise our minimum qualifying number of evaluations from 45 to at least 70 to make the 100 Greatest statistically above reproach. To reach that goal, we’re dedicating our efforts to double the size of the panel by 2020. Want to become a panelist? We’ll tell you upfront: It’s a thankless though ultimately rewarding activity. It’s not cheap. Panelists pay a membership fee and are expected to cover their travel and lodging and arrange their tee times with the assistance of a great many clubs who are eager to have Golf Digest review their courses. We allow clubs to offer panelists complimentary green fees, but only that. Panelists are continually lectured by


Senior Editor Ron Whitten on the seven criteria of judgment and reminded by Associate Editor Steve Hennessey to get their ballots in on time. Every score is scrutinized by Knuth for outliers, and every two years panelists get a letter grade on how they are doing. There’s also a code of conduct. “Panelists are welcomed into a lot of great private courses,” Whitten says, “but if they accept so much as a lunch or a logoed shirt, they’ll get booted off the panel.” So why do it? Most panelists tell us there’s personal satisfaction in being part of an exclusive club that has an enormous impact on architecture, which influences site selection for championships. Many panelists appreciate the education; they thought they knew golf design before, but they get exposed to a much greater variety of architectural philosophies. They recognize strategic nuances and understand factors that might amplify or compromise the design of a particular hole. Such enhanced knowledge elevates their passion for the game. If you’d like to be part of this exclusive club, hold a Handicap Index of 5.0 or less, and have enough time to play and evaluate at least two dozen courses a year, or know of a player who fits

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the 7 criteria that decide america’s 100 greatest the courses that lead in each category (on a 10-point scale).

1 shot values (doubled in value)

Pine Valley


2 resistance to scoring Oakmont 8.8290 3 design variety Pine Valley


4 memorability Augusta National


5 aesthetics Cypress Point


6 conditioning Augusta National


7 ambience Augusta National


for the complete listing, go to

this description, contact us at 100GreatestPanel@golfdigest .com, and we’ll start the process for membership. (The same panel also votes on our World’s 100 Greatest, but a less-rigorous ballot is used because of the geography covered.) Golfers with a young family are probably not going to have enough time to dedicate to course evaluations, but those willing to travel (or travel a good deal because of their career) fit the typical demographic of our panelists. Competitive amateurs will not be allowed to evaluate courses during tournament play, as their focus would rightfully be on their game, not course design, but they can certainly evaluate the layout during a practice round. “All panelists should treat evaluation rounds like a practice round,” Whitten says. “As long as you don’t hold up play.” So do panelists get to play the exalted Top 10? Don’t count on it. We have plenty of ballots on No. 1 Pine Valley (178), for example, so that’s not where our efforts are concentrated. Readers who don’t travel much outside their state can still be valuable panelists if they’re willing to evaluate contending courses in all four corners of that state. Those who travel coast to coast are ideal, especially if they’re eager to visit new venues rather than return to the same haunts year after year. The added benefit of the panel is the camaraderie that comes with kindred spirits who communicate via the panel’s website and assist each other in getting on courses and reciprocating. If you’re a student of the game with a passion for great golf courses and a low-singlefigure handicap, it might be the golden ticket for you. Send us your golf résumé, including GHIN number, and we promise a quick response. Photograph by Joann Dost

zohar l azar

Back-to-back The iconic par-3 16th at Cypress Point (top) and the par-4 17th.

edited by ron kaspriske


Hard Yards How to go deep when you need to BY JHONATTAN VEGAS

verybody wants to swing faster and hit the ball longer. But I make fewer than 20 driver swings a year where I use more than 75-percent effort. Why? The longest bombs happen when you get the right combination of launch and spin, and that comes from swinging under control and in good sequence—not from swinging harder. When you really need a long drive, you want to hit the center of the face and get that great launch. I’ll show you a couple of tips to make it happen. —WITH MATTHEW RUDY


Photographs by J.D. Cuban

february 2017 |


Play Your Best The Long Ball

12 | february 2017





“Keep your feet anchored to the ground longer in the downswing.” LEVEL OUT YOUR TURN I bet you’ve heard “you need to turn more” plenty of times. I won’t disappoint. You do need to turn. But the driver works the best if swung on a shallow plane. You lose that plane if you make a very steep turn, and your left shoulder dips very low on the backswing and then comes around very high. That makes the bottom of the swing steep and narrow, not flat and wide like it should be. To feel a good turn, hold a club across your chest and turn back and through with the shaft remaining roughly level with the ground. Recreate that feel when you play. LET THE ARMS LEAD When my driving is off, it’s usually because my lower body has unwound much faster than my upper body. When that happens, I have to use my hands to try to save the shot, which costs distance and accuracy. How you start down is crucial. While keeping your feet anchored to the ground, let your arms and club start to drop before unwinding. This helps sling the club faster through the impact zone. You’ll start hitting it farther without any extra effort. Remember, you’re not trying to attack the ball. You’re trying to launch it. Jhonattan Vegas, winner of the RBC Canadian Open, averaged 304.4 yards off the tee in 2016.

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Play Your Best Best Young Teachers

33% 26% 7%


How many putters do you own? ▶ One ▶ Two ▶ Three to five ▶ Looking into renting a storage locker SOURCE: GOLF DIGEST READERS

more from our best young teachers “One way to develop consistent rhythm is to download a free metronome app on your phone. Set it between 72 and 80 beats per minute. The average tour pro’s b.p.m. is around 75 when he putts.” ma r io g u er r a


“Achieving good rhythm really starts from eliminating tension. Unweighting the putter in your hands is a good idea for many amateurs to achieve a smooth stroke. Feel relaxed.” ch a d mid dau g h


“When I teach a pendulum stroke, I tell students to make sure the wrists don’t break. For good rhythm, you want a smooth motion keeping the putterhead square to the hole. But pay attention to not breaking that flat left wrist through impact.” mer ed ith k ir k

Putt with ‘Per-fect Pace’ Two simple words to help drop the ball in the cup

hen your putting goes south, what’s the first fundamental to try and improve? Restore good rhythm to your stroke. Here’s a simple cadence to practice. When you make a stroke, think per-fect pace— three syllables. It’s like a pendulum ticking two beats to one. When you take the putter back, think per-fect. When you swing the putter through, think pace. Whether your stroke is long or short, the rhythm should stay the same every time. Using this cadence will help

14 | february 2017


you strike the ball solidly, and smoothly. It helps eliminate any jerky or abrupt motions that can affect ball speed or the orientation of the putterface at impact, especially on longer putts. You won’t feel like you need extra effort to get the ball to the hole. One more piece of advice: Instead of worrying about the importance of making a putt, shift your thoughts to how you’re going to do it. Focus on the process, not the outcome. Chris Mayson, director of instruction, Maderas Golf Club.

“A lot of people struggle with long putting because their rhythm is off. They’re hitting it instead of rolling it, and a lot of that is because the grip pressure is way too tight and inconsistent. When your grip pressure is consistent, typically your rhythm is pretty good, too. So be conscious of how hard you are gripping the putter at address and maintain that pressure throughout the stroke.” billy fitzgerald BEVERLY C.C., CHICAGO

Photographs by J.D. Cuban

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Play Your Best For Better Players by Tom Watson

“Let the hands roll to get the ball to the hole.”

ou might get this shot only once or twice a round, but knowing how to get up and down from a bunker on the other side of the green can really help you score. When I won the Masters in 1981, I faced a long greenside bunker shot—about 80 or 90 feet—on the 17th hole on Sunday. The flag was all the way on the back


of the green, and I was in a front bunker resting on the upslope. Fortunately, I caught it just right, hit it pin high about five feet from the cup and saved par to win my second green jacket. How did I play the shot? I changed my technique from a normal greenside bunker scenario starting with aligning my shoulders more with the slope (left shoulder higher, right shoulder lower) and kicking in my right knee toward the ball at address to keep from swaying. When I swung, I let my hands release, or turn over, through impact. The reason for this different shoulder alignment is

18 | february 2017

to keep from sticking the club into the bunker at impact, so you can cut a shallow swath of sand out from under the ball as you would do from a level lie. Instead of holding the clubface open and skimming through the sand, I let my hands turn over as the club passes through impact. Rotating them counterclockwise closes the clubface and helps project the ball out with some force. The key here is don’t dig too deep into the sand. Make a nice, shallow divot that starts behind the ball’s position. The ball will vault out of the bunker and then roll toward the hole.

ELEMENTARY WATSON To make this shot easier, use a lower-lofted club instead of your sand wedge or lob wedge. Clubs like a gap wedge, pitching wedge or even a 9-iron give you more distance without having to swing harder. Remember that they tend to dig more than skim, so be careful you don’t swing too deep. Tom Watson is a Golf Digest Playing Editor. Photograph by J.D. Cuban

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Turn it Over Master the long greenside bunker shot

Play Your Best Strategy by Jack Nicklaus

“Sometimes a bunker is your friend.” Play Up Raising your game when the time is right

6-15 HANDICAP Not all middle-handicappers have the same skill set, but generally this is where most should aim. It’s the widest section of fairway, plus favoring the rightcenter limits exposure to the water. Better for a loose drive to find the sand than get wet. Sure, shifting your target here sets up a longer approach, but there’s a nice bailout area right of the green if you’re coming in with a hybrid or long iron.

hen I design a hole, my goal is to give golfers of all abilities a way to play it. Often I try to present three distinct options for the tee shot, escalating in difficulty. If I can do that, I figure I have nearly everybody covered. Paramount is recognizing the path down a hole that best suits your game. The perceptive player learns to identify all the choices. That way, when there’s a change in weather or circumstances, you’re ready to pounce on the opportunity to play more aggressively—or be more conservative, if that’s what the situation calls for. Let’s take the par-4 18th at The Loxahatchee Club (illustrated) in Jupiter, Fla. It’s a course I designed in 1984, and our team renovated in 2016. The prevailing wind is against. This sets up three basic positions attainable with a solid drive, depending on your power. However, if the wind switches to helping, as it frequently does here in the winter months, consider moving up a position. It’s your chance to play the hole like a stronger player. —WITH MAX ADLER


16+ HANDICAP Look at the scorecard. This happens to be rated as the sixth-toughest hole on the course. If I’m a higherhandicapper, that tells me I’m not supposed to make par. Time to figure out how to come away with no worse than 5, maybe see a putt for 4. Aiming well right makes the hole so long it likely resigns you to reaching the green in three shots, but it should keep your ball dry. And don’t be scared of the bunkers; they’re here to save a slice from scooting out-ofbounds on the right. Even if you find the sand, reaching the green in three is still quite manageable.

patience at pebble

This is where a lot of low-handicappers are looking. Driving down the left side means flirting with the water. But the hole bends to the left, so this leaves the shortest approach to the green. Also, this fairway runs a touch faster down this side, rewarding moxie even more. If you’re confident with your driver and feel like you need a birdie, have at it. Downwind, be cognizant of the fact a big drive can run through the fairway and get wet.

20 | february 2017

This hole reminds me of the 18th at Pebble Beach, even though that’s a par 5. Both are doglegs that wrap around a nonrecoverable hazard. I rarely challenged the ocean much with my drive or second shot at Pebble. Usually I went 1-iron, 1-iron, and then wedged on. That strategy worked for me. I won the U.S. Amateur there in 1961 and the U.S. Open in 1972. Illustration by Chris O’Riley

usga archives


Play Your Best Do This, Not That by Butch Harmon


The most frustrating moment in golf is… ▶ Watching the fivesome ahead fish for balls: 37% ▶ Chunking a short approach into the water: 36% ▶ Four-putting: 20% ▶ Multiple attempts to escape a bunker: 7%

No More Chunky Irons Shift forward, and don’t stop turning

t’s frustrating when you hit a great drive and then chunk an iron from the middle of the fairway. With one lousy swing, your mind-set goes from Birdie time! to Don’t make a double bogey. Most poor contact comes from not getting off the back foot on the downswing. A lot of golfers rush the club down from the top and “throw” it at the ball instead of building momentum from the ground up. When the weight stays back, the club usually hits behind the ball. Your first move down should be shifting to your front foot, followed by your lower body


turning toward the target. Then comes your upper body, your arms and, finally, the club. In the correct photo here (below left), my right foot is coming off the ground, which proves I’m shifting forward. My body and the club are moving in sync. In the fault photo, my right foot is still down because my weight has stayed on my back foot. My body has stalled, and the club flipped past me. Fat shot, here I come. So shift to your front side and keep turning. Remind yourself to swing through the ball, not at it. Butch Harmon is at Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson, Nev.


Here’s a great way to pre-set the proper weight shift on the downswing. Lay a wedge on the ground, clubface down, and take your stance with your back foot on the clubhead. That’ll angle your foot inward. Using a middle iron, hit some balls, half-swings at first. You’ll quickly get the feel for starting with more weight on your front side and shifting it there on the downswing.



22 | february 2017

Photographs by Dom Furore

titleist: hat, glove • footjoy: shirt, pants, shoes • rolex watch • house of fleming belt


Play Your Best Back to Basics

ou aren’t always going to have your best game off the tee or into the green. Even tour players struggle sometimes. But short-game skill can turn bogeys (or worse) into pars. Feeling good about your play around the greens spreads confidence throughout your bag. Targets get a little bigger; hazards look less menacing. What’s better than halving a hole against your buddy after he hits the green in regulation, and then you knock it stiff from a greenside bunker? Nothing. Trust me. Learn the art of saving par.


—WITH MATTHEW RUDY Dave Stockton, a Golf Digest 50 Best Teacher and two-time PGA Championship winner, teaches at Redlands Country Club in California.

1 sand play


Make a big enough swing in the bunker ▶ Greenside bunkers present a problem for players who feel they need to make a fast, short swing to get the ball out, but not hit it too far. What you should do is set up with the clubface open and make a big enough backswing so that it doesn’t feel like you have to swing super fast through the sand. Make a swing as if it were a normal pitch shot outside the bunker. The goal is to hit behind the ball in the sand and keep swinging to a full, high finish.

2 breaking putts

Get the lowdown on the read ▶ To get a complete, accurate read, you want to be in a position where you can see green contours the most clearly. When you have a putt with noticeable break, start with a look from behind the ball, but then move to the low side of that break—opposite from the apex—and complete your read. Visualize your line to the hole, pick the spot on the edge of the cup where you want the ball to enter, step in and roll your ball with that information fresh in your mind.

24 | february 2017

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pitch shots

distance control

Loosen your lead hand to loft the ball

Regulate rollout with a tee ▶ I watch a lot of my amateur friends ram some 10-footers in and leave the practice green happy. That’s nice, but it doesn’t teach you anything about the importance of speed control—a big deal when you’re trying to avoid a three-putt. What’s ideal speed on the green? The ball should get to the cup and roll no more than 18 inches past it if you miss. You can build feel for this speed by sticking a tee in the ground on a practice green about 18 inches beyond the hole. Hit putts from various distances that roll no farther than the tee.

▶ When you need to hit a higher shot near the green, resist the urge to squeeze the grip too hard and make a fast swing. The results are rarely good. Instead, keep your right hand very soft on the grip throughout a controlled swing. You can open the face a bit at address to add loft to the shot, but keeping the right hand relaxed is priority one. The other factor to executing this shot is to let the right hand pass under the left through impact. It will feel like the left hand stops moving. This allows the clubhead to slide through the turf and pop the ball up.


5 chipping game

Stand up to greenside shots yes

illustration by zohar l azar

▶ For a basic chip shot, you want the club to make consistent contact with the ground in a position that’s just in front of the ball. The easiest way to make that happen is to start with nice, tall posture, with your toes angled toward your target (far left). As the round progresses and you get a little tired and careless, the tendency is to slump your back and set up too square with your body and feet (near left). This forces you to straighten up through impact, which costs you that repeatable contact. If you maintain good posture, you’ll hit crisper chips that set up easy par-saving putts. Photographs by J.D. Cuban

Play Your Best Curing Faults by Rick Smith

Just put a circle on your scorecard? Don’t follow it with a triple

THE PROS STAY IN CONTROL Most of the players I work with decide on the mind-set they want before the round starts and are determined that nothing will change it—not even a hole out for eagle. You should, too. Own your mind; don’t let the ball control it. Golf is a game of achievements and mistakes, and it’s all about how you respond to stuff that happens during the round. Not getting too high or too low is key. —DR. BOB ROTELLA

Why’d I Do That? The post-birdie screw-up

here’s a statistic on the PGA Tour called Bounce Back, which indicates how well the pros recover from a bad hole. Many amateurs experience the opposite of a successful bounce back. They follow an excellent play, say a birdie or a maybe a par on a tough hole, with a train wreck on the next. Why does this happen? If you just made a great score, the tendency is to let your excitement carry to the next tee. You get jacked up, and that can cause havoc to your game. Grip pressure gets firmer, the backswing gets shorter and the transition into the downswing gets quicker.

26 | february 2017


The result is a disjointed swing and poor contact. It’s no wonder you often pump the post-birdie tee shot out-of-bounds or top it into the water. So how do you avoid blowing the momentum you just gained? You need to calm down as best you can before you hit your next shot, and focus on making a balanced and fluid swing. Think of giving yourself plenty of time to complete the backswing. This thought forces you to slow down and swing more in sync, like normal. You’ll be more likely to hit a better shot—and maybe add another birdie to your scorecard.

Many remember Phil Mickelson’s collapse in the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. But Colin Montgomerie’s finish was equally tragic. He birdied the 71st hole, snaking in a 60foot putt for a share of the lead. Then on the final hole, he fatted a 7-iron approach, pitched long and three-putted for a double bogey. As it turned out, a par would have won. Geoff Ogilvy took the major instead. Rick Smith is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional. Illustration by Chris Gash

head: peter stemmler • ezra shaw/getty images


Play Your Best Swing Sequence any Irish golf fans can easily recall the gutsy performance of their 22-year-old countryman, Shane Lowry, at the 2009 Irish Open. Although an amateur, the young lad outplayed the best pros in Europe and won after a three-hole playoff with Robert Rock. He turned pro not long after, but more success came slowly. His first PGA Tour vic-


Shane Lowry A classic swing that produces modern distance

28 | february 2017

tory was at the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and he contended at the U.S. Open last June, holding a four-shot lead on Sunday before losing by three to Dustin Johnson. Lowry navigated the tight Oakmont fairways that week by often driving it 250 yards with his trusty 2-iron. Here you can see how he handles that club, with analysis from teaching pro Neil Manchip, whose full-

time job is the National Coach of the Golfing Union of Ireland. Lowry’s swing is fluid and relaxed, but he has a competitive fire “bred into him by his father and uncles, who competed on the Offaly Gaelic football team,” Manchip says. “In 1982, they defeated defending four-time champion Kerry.” In other words, the Lowrys are tough. —ROGER SCHIFFMAN




When you’re hitting a long iron, even from a tee box, ball position is very important to hit it solid, says Shane Lowry’s coach, Neil Manchip. “Shane plays it just left of center in his stance, where the club bottoms out,” he says. “I like his neutral grip, relaxed arms and overall body balance.”

Starting back, Lowry is relaxed, letting himself turn with the clubhead. “There’s nothing rigid, which is like Sam Snead’s swing,” Manchip says. Halfway back, his right arm is slightly higher than his left, and he cocks his wrists early. “His arms and body are relaxed.They’re responding to the clubhead’s weight.”

At the top, the club is set nearly perfect, Manchip says. The face is slightly open, which is reminiscent of how he swings his wedges around the greens. “And what a fantastic, big shoulder turn,” Manchip adds. “His back is facing the target.” Lowry says his swing thought is to pause at this moment.


298.7 YDS

Shane Lowry (32nd)


290 YDS

314.5 YDS




Tour average

J.B. Holmes (1st)

Shane Lowry (22nd)

Tour median

Rory Mcllroy (1st) S O U RC E : S H OT L I N K ( 2 0 1 6 )





That slight pause allows him to start down with with the lower body first, which keeps everything in sync, Manchip says. Also note Lowry’s head and right arm. “His eyes are looking well behind the ball, and his right elbow is below his left, showing he’s swinging from the inside with tremendous lag,” Manchip says.

Lowry’s impact position resembles a great player from the past—Jack Nicklaus, Manchip says. His head has not drifted or rotated toward the target. The left arm is straight, and the right wrist is bent. “It’s like he’s punching somebody,” Manchip says. “The shaft angle shows how he is putting pressure on the ball.”

“Past impact, the weight of the club is moving the arms,” Manchip says. “Now his left arm is bent and his right arm is straight, showing a free release.” The finish is created by momentum, Manchip adds. “His hips have really turned open, his weight is on the outside of his left foot, and he’s balanced, just the way he started.”

shane lowry 29 / 6-1 / 225 pounds Clara, Ireland 2-iron Srixon ZU 45 18 degrees ball Srixon Z-Star XV

Photographs by J.D. Cuban

Play Your Best Step by Step by David Leadbetter

Finding the Fairway Use your 3-wood for accuracy hether it’s a tight treelined fairway or a short par 4, there are times when using your driver off the tee is unnecessary—or just plain foolish. Instead, consider using your 3-wood for better accuracy. You might lose some distance, but hitting your second shot from the fairway is going to greatly reduce your chance of making a bad score. Follow these steps to find the short grass with this club.






▶ Most 3-woods have a fairly shallow face, so you don’t need to tee the ball very high. A good height for the tee is about a quarter of an inch above the turf. This gives you the perfect lie to hit it solid.

▶ The shaft lengths on 3-woods are longer now for more distance. However, the longer the club, the harder it becomes to hit it straight. Because you don’t need extra yardage, focus on accuracy by gripping down on the handle about an inch.

▶ To help ensure you make solid contact, address the ball about an inch back of where you set up to a ball with a driver. This adjustment also gives you a better chance to accomplish step four.

▶ The best fairway-wood players strike the ground in front of the ball. That’s the feeling you want. Don’t try to pick it off the tee. Hit down on the ball and squeeze it off the turf. You’ll square the clubface at impact and find the fairway.

David Leadbetter operates 34 golf academies worldwide.

32 | february 2017

Photograph taken at Concession Golf Club, Bradenton, Fla., by J.D. Cuban

illustrations: todd detwiler • jos. a . bank: shirt royal albartross: shoes • house of fleming: belt

“Pinch it off the tee, and the ball will really take off.”

Play Your Best Equipment by Mike Stachura

to u r e d g e e x- 1 0 ▶ A new, lightweight titanium alloy allows for a larger face so toe and heel hits lose less distance. It also makes room for a hefty weight deep in the sole for extra stability on offcenter hits. pr i ce $350

wilson t ri ton

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▶ The club made famous by the “Driver vs. Driver” TV show has two adjustable sole plates that allow you to control the club’s weight, launch and spin. Movable weights in the heel and toe let you tweak direction, too.

▶ Two titanium posts inside the head and just behind the face run from the crown to the sole. They stiffen the body, allowing the face to be thinner and more flexible. pric e $500

p r i ce $450

Weight Watchers How new drivers are getting lighter in all the right places 34 | february 2017

xxio prim e ▶ The Prime is designed for average swings in need of speed. The club is 20-percent lighter than most drivers on the market and has a shaft that weighs a little more than an ounce. price $850

t’s not that today’s drivers are getting lighter. It’s just that designers have gotten smarter about how they distribute weight. Yes, they’re making use of lighter titanium alloys and carbon-composite materials, but it’s how they’re using them that’s making drivers more effective than ever. The greatest innovation in drivers today is the ability to save weight in one area and use it strategically elsewhere. Redistributing weight can take many different forms: It can free up space so that the driver can feature more adjustability. It can make the heaviest part of any driver (the face) lighter so the driver can be larger and more flexible. Or it might make it possible for drivers to come equipped with the kind of on-board diagnostics that would make even a NASCAR crew chief jealous. Here are eight new models that throw their weight around so you can, too.


b r i d g e sto n e to u r b x d ▶ Sole weights can be adjusted to tweak spin, and each head produces a different ball flight: higher and favoring a draw on the XD-5; lower with a fade bias on the XD-7; and neutral on the XD-3. p r i c e $700 taylor m a d e m1 (2017)

ho nma t w737

▶ This update of golf’s most adjustable driver adds a lighter titanium alloy and a carboncomposite panel in the sole to lower spin and boost forgiveness.

▶ The four drivers in this line aren’t adjustable, but they come in four sizes to match four player types: the 445 (low spin), the 450 (deep face), the 455 (forgiveness) and the 460 (extra carry).

price $500

pric e $500

cob r a k ing f7 ▶ The carbon-composite crown saves weight to allow for three weight ports in the sole. But the cool bonus is the sensor in the grip that tracks your driving stats via a smartphone app. price $350

Photograph by Justin Fantl

Play Your Best What’s in My Bag

Playing card When you go from having no status in 2015 to winning Tour Player of the Year in 2016, a PGA Tour credential means a lot. FAIRWAY WOOD specs Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816, 14° (Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8X, 43 inches)

age 26 born Columbia, S.C. story Won three times on the Tour in 2016, topping the money list and securing his PGA Tour card for 2017. gaining confidence I was contending and started to think: OK, so my game is good enough to win. Three events later, I won. That self-confidence got me those three wins, and I’m looking for the same kind of self-belief now that I’m on the PGA Tour.

Red-dot state I’ve marked my Callaway Chrome Soft for the past two years with a red dot, an ode to South Carolina and its colors.

I put this club in play in the fall. I’ve used the same shaft in my 3-woods for the past three years, and I have the same one in my hybrid.

PUTTER specs Odyssey Metal-X Milled #2, 34 inches, 350 grams, 3.25° loft, Lamkin Deep-Etched paddle grip There’s no doubt that this is my favorite club. I put it in play before the start of Tour Q school in 2015, then rode it all the way to the PGA Tour.

IRONS what it all means After Elizabeth and I got married in 2012, we were living in a studio apartment, and I caddied in my spare time. That’s why my success means so much to our family. —with stephen hennessey club

specs Callaway Apex Pro 16, 4-iron through pitching wedge (True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X-100 shafts) To my eye, these are a nice blend of blade and cavity-back.

No tricks here Before last year, you probably knew me for my trick-shot videos with my brother, George (right). This ad shoot we did with Rory McIlroy was pretty cool. Now I’ll be teeing it up next to him! DRIVER


specs Callaway Great Big Bertha, 9.5° (Mitsubishi Diamana S+2 70X shaft), 45 inches

specs Callaway Apex, 18° (Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8X). All grips are Iomic Sticky 2.3

Trusting my driver in pressure situations last season was a big key to my success. I’m testing Callaway’s new Great Big Bertha Epic, so don’t be surprised to see me start gaming that soon.

This is my failsafe choice off the tee. If there’s a musthit fairway, I pull this club. It’s versatile, too, which is why it’s been in my bag for a while.




























*carry distance

Early years I grew up hitting balls in my back yard and at my dad’s practice facility. I’ve come a long way! WEDGES specs Callaway Forged prototype 50°, 54°, 58° (True Temper DG S400 shafts)

Marking time I’ve been blessed to play Augusta National a bunch. Dreaming of playing it when it counts. Trophy hunting You don’t win trophies by yourself. You’ve got to have someone who’s always in your corner. Elizabeth’s support is vital to my success.

In college, I ran the numbers and dumped my 3-iron for an extra wedge. I still have the same setup.

38 | february 2017

Photographs by J.D. Cuban

bryan: ezra shaw/getty images • bryan bros/mcilroy and childhood photo: courtesy of wesley bryan • elizabeth: michael cohen/getty images


edited by peter finch

Brooke Henderson Could she be Canada’s best golfer ever?

40 | february 2017

‘I’m a feel player. I do a lot of things you don’t normally see.’ he hasn’t had her driver’s license for long, but Brooke Henderson, 19, already has logged time on a greens roller and a vehicle that smooths bunker sand. She testdrove both at her winter practice site, The Golf Lodge at the Quarry in Naples, Fla., courtesy of superintendent Rodney Whisman. What’s next to drive? Maybe a hockey Zamboni? That would make sense: Before becoming one of the world’s top-10 women’s golfers, Brooke played goalie on the Canadian national girls’ junior hockey team at age 14. Her father, Dave, played at the University of Toronto and once appeared in a 7Up commercial with Wayne Gretzky. Dad also was a decent golfer and passed on his knowledge of the game to Brooke and her older sister, Brittany. Brittany played on the minitours before taking over as Brooke’s full-time caddie this season. As for Brooke, in between operating those maintenance vehicles, we caught up with her about the amazing start to her professional career.


you’re just a teenager, but you’ve already won three times on the lpga tour, including a major, represented canada in the olympics and are closing in on $2 million in earnings. did you see this coming? I won my first pro-

fessional tournament when I was 14 and made the cut in six of eight LPGA tournaments before I even turned pro, so I felt like I could do this. I had big goals going into this year, including being top 10 in the world. I don’t feel like I exceeded them. I met my goals. • you have a very long backswing, like canadian long-drive champion jamie sadlowski. I played with

Jamie in the CVS Health Charity Classic for two days last year and really watched what

he does. His swing is unconventional, but he’s so strong. It reminded me to swing the club the way I want to. I’d say I swing, pretty much, as hard as I can. Jamie was a hockey player like me, too. • what’s it like to be a goalie? They say you have to

be a little bit crazy. You’re either the hero or no one wants to talk to you after a game. It was a great way to learn to deal with pressure. • ever score a goal? No. [Sighs.] • your father says you rarely work on mechanics. what’s the secret? I’m a feel

player. I do a lot of things you don’t normally see. I hover the club at address. I grip down a lot. My backswing is long. But it works for me. I think standing in goal all that time made my legs stronger, too, and that helps me hit the ball farther.

you played in 31 tournaments last year. are you a golf junkie? Yes. It’s not

all golf, but it’s close. • worried about burnout?

Well, I once had back-to-back hockey games where the first one went eight periods and the second one went nine. Now that’s exhausting. • why are you so driven?

I credit my sister for that. She’s six years older than me and is a great golfer. I watched what she did and was always chasing after her. She paved a path for me. • worst canadian stereotypes? One person I met

seriously thought we had sled dogs, and that some people live in igloos. Best stereotype? Canadians are very nice.


Photographs by Dylan Coulter

The Golf Life Ask Golf Digest

Ball went down an animal hole? Take a swig and go get it!


I hit a shot into a bunker, and it rolled into a groundhog hole inside the bunker. What’s the ruling? JACQUES GARANT, MAGOG, QUEBEC

Are you sure it was a groundhog hole and not, say, a tunnel into the Upside Down? If you’re certain it was a burrowing animal, take a swig from your flask, genuflect, then reach in there for your ball and hope no one’s home. The ruling is simple, whether you retrieve your ball or have to replace it. You’ll need to drop within one club-length of the nearest point of relief from Chateau Groundhog, no nearer to the hole. Do that in the bunker, and there’s no penalty. You can drop outside the bunker, but that comes with a one-stroke penalty (and quizzical looks from everyone who

thinks you just wasted a stroke, including the groundhog). I see pros repair pitch marks with a tee. A tee can’t do a better job than a real divot repair tool, can it? LARRY BEACH, CLARKSBURG, MASS.

▶▶▶ Ever prop your sunglasses on the back of your cap? Scoop a ball off the turf and flip it into your hand with a wedge? Hit a shot and bend down to pick up the tee without looking where the ball went, because you know you pured it? Well, just like using a tee to repair a pitch mark, these are some of the skills pros

42 | february 2017

What is the term used for a golf course whose ninth hole does not return to the clubhouse? EDWARD WAITT, NEW ORLEANS

▶▶▶ The unofficial term is Cruel & Unusual. We really like a bathroom break and a bag of Funyuns at the turn. Our architecture editor, Ron Whitten, says it’s also known as a singleloop design. A double-loop has Nos. 9 and 18 finishing by the clubhouse. This is often done to accommodate ninehole rounds, avoid the cost of halfway houses and allow you to buy new pants after hitting from the mud bog on No. 7. Interestingly, architect Tom Doak just named his new Michigan course The Loop. It’s reversible, meaning holes can be played in either direction because there are greens on both ends. Loopy, right?

IN TWO WORDS Q: What type of ball do you suggest playing in cold weather? A: Beach ball BRRRRRRRR Is the golf-less winter getting to you? A quiz: 1. Hold your snow shovel with an interlocking grip?

2. Use your range finder to check distances to things around the house? 3. Think about calling in to a hockey telecast to report a rules infraction? 4. When parallel parking, ask the person in the passenger seat for a read? 5. Open the garage door every now and then to check on your golf bag like it’s a sleeping baby? 6. Drive by closed golf courses after work . . . that aren’t on the way home? 7. Actually plan to replace your grips and spikes? key Answer yes to 0-2 ▶ You can make it ’til April. 3-5 ▶ There’s a heated range two counties over. 6-7 ▶ Flight to the Dominican—stat.

Submit your burning questions here: or on Twitter @GolfDigest Illustration by Paul Windle

hand: dom furore • shovel: istock

learn during PGA Tour rookie mini-camp, which takes place every winter in an undisclosed location in the Mojave Desert. The hazing by the older players has really gotten out of hand, incidentally. It took six hours to get Emiliano Grillo unstuffed from a locker last January. We kid. The point we’re making is that pros often do things because they look cool. Function often follows form in their world. Though there’s nothing like a tee to clean your fingernails after a round, we asked Paul Latshaw, the respected director of grounds operations at Muirfield Village, whether using a tee to repair a pitch mark is a good idea. “Using a tee is fine by me, because the tendency with a multiple-prong divot tool is to twist, and that sheers the roots,” Latshaw says. He’d rather that golfers use a single-prong divot tool. It’s basically the same shape as a tee, but it has a little plow that helps push the turf forward.

The Golf Life Style by Marty Hackel


Utility Player The hybrid jacket is your new essential he ideal golf attire doesn’t require much thinking. Hybrid golf jackets are a good example. Throw this on to walk the dog, go to work and play a round. The jackets were made popular by RLX Ralph Lauren two years ago, and other apparel companies have followed with their versions. Why are they popular? They’re breathable, allow you to swing unencumbered and are water- and windresistant. Plus, they have cool features, like an internal smartphone pocket in this Nike jacket.


▶ peter millar

newton hybrid, $245


▶ under armour

storm coldgear, $160


styling by judith trezza • grooming by richard keogh/abtp

nike aeroloft hyperadapt, $230 rlx ralph lauren shirt, $90, pants, $98

▶ fairway & greene

hybrid cardigan, $295


▶ lacoste sport quilted, $250

44 | february 2017

Photographs by Jeffrey Westbrook

The Golf Life The Core

Are your shoulders flexible enough for the wall slide? Winter Workout The best moves to prepare for 2017 ew Year’s resolutions rarely stick, but maybe this one has some staying power: We asked Golf Digest Fitness Advisor Ben Shear to come up with the best golf exercises for an off-season program. No problem. He selected a dazzling dozen. First there are three to improve mobility and three to improve stability. You’re looking at those here. The other six come next month, once you’ve had a chance to work on this starter kit. In the March issue, Shear will give you three exercises for strength and three for power. In other words, once you’ve improved your stability and flexibility, you’ll be able to add the gas for more explosive shots.



mobilit y

stabilit y







90-90 knee drop Start with both legs bent to 90 degrees and the knees touching the ground (left). Keeping one knee down, rotate the other until it’s touching the ground on the opposite side. Then repeat with the other knee (right). Keep alternating the knee rotations back and forth. Do six reps in each direction to help improve the mobility necessary to coil and initiate the downswing.

bretzel Lie on your side with your top leg bent at 90 degrees, waist high, lower arm holding it down. Rotate the other leg thigh down (top). Lift that foot up, grab it with your other arm and pull it toward your butt. Finally, rotate your torso away from the top leg (bottom). Hold for a few seconds, then return to start. Do five reps, each direction, to improve trunk, thigh and hip mobility.

shoulder wall slide Keep your back, shoulders, head and arms against a wall (left). With your eyes straight forward and your feet a foot from the wall, slide your arms up as high as you can, maintaining all points of contact with the surface (right). Don’t arch your back. Do 10 reps. Improves shoulder mobility needed to swing on the proper plane.

46 | february 2017

medicine-ball lift Kneel on one leg with the foot of the other leg directly in line with it. Hold a medicine ball down by the hip of the kneeling leg (left). Bring the ball to your chest and lift it across your body above the opposite shoulder (right). Do 10 reps. Switch leg positions and repeat in the opposite direction. Improves balance, core strength and cross-body coordination needed for the golf swing.

no-arm side plank Lie on your side, supported by your shoulder and upper arm with your feet stacked and resting on a bench (top). Raise your pelvis as high as you can (bottom). Hold for a few seconds and then lower it to the ground. Do 10 reps, and repeat on the opposite side. This strengthens the oblique muscles necessary for proper side-bending and torso rotation in the golf swing.

dead bug Hold a physio ball with your arms and legs (top). Lower one arm behind your head while straightening and lowering the opposite leg (bottom). The other leg and arm should push into the ball. Keep your back from arching. Return to start. Do 10 reps, alternating arms and legs. Improves core stability to control faster swings.

Illustration by Brown Bird Design

The Golf Life Stuff

TAG HEUER CONNECTED/ GOLFSHOT This Android-Wearpowered smartwatch gives subtle notifications that won’t take away from the classic Tag luxury design or disrupt your round. For $30 the GolfShot app provides yardages, shot tracking and club recommendations. It also can score foursome, skins, nassaus and match play. $1,500

f you’re like a lot of us, you don’t run your fitness life through a trainer—you use a device on your wrist instead. Counting steps, logging running miles, calculating calories burned: You can track it all in one place. So why not do the same with your golf game? The following products allow you to get your yardages and see how many steps you took for the day, all in one place.




APPLE WATCH The Apple Watch isn’t golf-centric, but download an app like the Ping Golf Workout and fuse your fitness with your golf. It tracks your steps, heart rate and golf stats, plus monitors your swing tempo and gives you yardages. $269

The analog face displays when the watch is not in use, adding to the traditional look. A stainless-steel body and crystal sapphire face make it harder to scratch. With Android Wear functionality and the TrackMyGolf App, you can analyze your swing in 3-D and review speed, grip position, impact angle and swing path. $349

Most smartwatches have fitness functions built in, but you can make any smartwatch golf-specific by adding an app. Here are four worth checking out:

the grint Track stats, find yardages and keep a handicap. The $20 Pro version updates your data when you snap a photo of your scorecard.

golflogix Get your yardages and stat-tracking with the free version, but spring for premium ($30 a year) and you can preview courses in 3-D.



It couples fitness-band benefits—like reading your heart rate, counting steps and calories burned—with yardages and automatic shot detection. When you have an incoming call or text, it vibrates to alert you. $250

This watch takes care of your every golf-stattracking and distancemeasuring need. Plus, you can use it to track off-course activities like bike-riding and hiking. Download the app on your phone to store your data, and measure your improvement in all disciplines. Available in January. $230

48 | february 2017

Four smart apps

hole19 View flyovers and detailed images with distances on 40,000 courses for free. Premium ($50 a year) allows more analysis of your stats.

golfnow Book tee times, get accurate distances, keep scores and analyze your game through detailed datakeeping. (Free)

courtesy of the companies • illustration by zohar l azar

What a Match These watches combine fitness, golf



50 | february 2017

cision make your tee shots count by d u stin johnson


made two adjustments to my game last year, and it turned out to be the best season I’ve had as a pro. Three wins; my first major; I led the tour in scoring and finished in the top 10 in 15 of 22 PGA Tour events. What did I change? It started with my driver. I now almost always play a fade. I’m still driving it plenty far. I averaged 313 yards off the tee last year—but I’m hitting more fairways, and my misses are way better. I don’t snap-hook them by accident anymore. That’s the first part of my new game plan. The second is that I don’t waste those great tee shots. I spent a ton of time dialing in my short-iron distances and now go into every tournament with three stock yardages for each club from 9-iron to lob wedge. The result is that I’m hitting my approaches a lot closer, and I led the tour in birdies. I’ll tell you about my technique on the following pages, and hopefully you can take my advice and use it to have your best year ever. with ron kaspriske

off the T

he best thing about playing a fade is that it’s reliable. The second-best thing is you really don’t have to make major adjustments to hit the shot. Keep in mind, I don’t want the ball to curve a whole lot unless the hole calls for it. More important, the way I hit a fade is not with a glancing blow across the ball. It feels really solid coming off the clubface.

1. i set up slightly open with my feet, meaning they’re aligned a little left of my target (big photo, right). This puts my body in a position where I can swing on a path that’s along my toe line. In other words, out to in in relation to my target. My ball position stays the same, just off my left heel, and my grip pressure is about a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being really tight. 2. i get a lot of attention because I keep my left wrist bowed as I swing to the top, but this puts the clubface in great position for me to hit that power fade, provided I swing on that out-to-in path on the way down (next page, photo No. 1). The face is closed in relation to my target, but it’s slightly open to the path, and that’s what makes it start left but curve back where I want it. 3. because of my bowed wrist, I don’t have to do anything but turn my body and let my arms swing through the ball (No. 2 and No. 3). The clubface and path do the rest. 4. if i keep turning into a full finish (No. 4), the ball sails. If you stop the swing short, you’ll probably hit a weak fade, or maybe even a slice. Keep rotating.


‘ the big thing with hitting a power fade? keep turning. ’





avg. driving distances (yds)

313.6 2016 pga tour rank: 2

Photographs by Dom Furore

into the

54 | february 2017





e green I

t’s such a bad feeling to hit a great drive and then hit a short iron nowhere near the hole. That’s why I went to work early last season on figuring out how far I hit those clubs. Being pin high, even if you’re a little left or right of the hole, is a key to scoring. I used a TrackMan and kept practicing with each short iron, swinging it three different backswing lengths, and then trying to guess how far the ball would fly. TrackMan would confirm whether I was right or wrong, but it got to the point where I was right 95 percent of the time. To dial in each wedge, here’s what I do.

1. i play the ball in roughly the same spot for each club, centered between my feet. I square the face with my target, but I keep my stance line slightly open (previous page, photo No. 1), and swing as if I’m playing a fade. It makes it easier to keep the clubface square.

‘ change your backswing length to regulate how far you hit it. ’ approaches 50-125 yards


2016 pga tour rank: 4

2. the backswing with each club is key. I’ll swing the club halfway back, three-quarters back (No. 2) or make a full backswing depending on how far I want the ball to go. I don’t swing harder; just longer. This gives me the three stock yardages with each short iron. 3. my downswing is always the same. There’s really not a lot of wrist action (No. 3). My hands stay quiet, and I turn through the ball at the same pace no matter how far I took it back. It’s that fade-swing mentality. 4. one final thing to remember: Short shots still require a full finish (No. 4). Don’t saw off your swing, or distance control will be more of a guessing game.

+ ADIDAS shirt, pants belt, shoes TAYLORMADE glove NEW ERA hat

imposing the ninth hole at p i n e va l l e y.

56 | february 2017

a change at the top



Photograph by Dom Furore

by ron whitten

ill Love, a soft-spoken East Coast golf architect, has been a consultant to the Olympic Club in California. He started well before its most recent U.S. Open in 2012 and has continued to revise the club’s famed Lake Course, ranked No. 31 on Golf Digest’s 2017-’18 list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, up from No. 33 two years ago. Most recently he reshaped bunkers on several holes. Golf Digest panelists who evaluated the course praised his work (“significant improvements” . . . “spectacular new eighth hole” . . . “huge upgrade”), but one panelist decried the new “cresting wave” style of bunkers as not in keeping with its original 1920s architecture. Another commented that it was akin to “changing the hairstyle of the Mona Lisa,” and a third called it “perhaps the worst renovation in golf history.” In politics, such polarized opinions are a cause for consternation, because they lead to gridlock. In golf architecture, they’re to be celebrated, a reminder that variety is the essence of the game. Golf would be an intolerable endeavor should every course be stamped upon the landscape with the same template. Golf Digest’s biennial ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses has highlighted that fact for decades. It starts at the top, where this year rugged, sand-splashed Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey, the epitome of “penal architecture,” returns to the No. 1 spot, the position it once firmly held for decades but occupied only twice in the past five survey periods. It nudged out plush, manicured Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, the standard for “heroic architecture,”

which had been our No. 1 in 2009, 2011 and 2015. The tussle between these two titans will undoubtedly continue, not because of indecision on the part of our panelists, but because golf architecture in America will never become homogenized. During last year’s U.S. Open, nearly everyone lauded the deforestation of No. 5 Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania. The removal of some 30,000 trees over the past 20 years returned the layout to its distinctive, stark roots. Whether other courses on the 100 Greatest (and beyond) would benefit from similar clear-cutting is another heated debate in golf design. Architect Gil Hanse is responsible for the removal of more than 1,000 trees at No. 77 Plainfield Country Club in New Jersey, showcasing its Donald Ross-designed green complexes, which

several panelists say are among the game’s best. But a few were dismayed that Hanse filled voids with clusters of bunkers and deep rough. Whether one believes Hanse has d a d o l u p tat e m enhanced Plainfield or turned it into a plain fa c c u l pa e l e at u s , field, his changes were donecwith o n s the t h econsent edis of the club membership. (The same is true of Love’s work at Olympic.)



anse is the hottest architect in golf, his profile elevated by his 2012 selection to do the Rio course for last year’s Olympic golf competition, by his design of No. 82 Boston Golf Club and by his restoration work at No. 23 Los Angeles Country Club North, No. 62 Winged Foot East and No. 76 Quaker Ridge. He has shown restraint and appreciation for original architecture in those restorations. As he has demonstrated during his television commentary of the past two U.S. Opens, Hanse is thoughtful, engaging and easygoing, qualities that help him convince club members that tree removal, fairway and green expansion and deeper bunkers can revitalize their layouts. But he’s not always successful. Last sum-


courtesy of ballyneal/dick durrance

moving up t o m d o a k ’ s b a l ly n e a l in colorado improved four spots, to no. 50.

mer, Hanse presented a plan to remove the wasp-waist fairways and tight Robert Trent Jones bunkers of No. 17 Oakland Hills South and restore it to Donald Ross’ original vision of vast fairways and few trees. The club membership voted the proposal down. The debate—to tree or not to tree—will continue. Pine Valley has recently removed a number of trees on its fifth and ninth holes to reveal long-range views, and a few years back, Augusta National planted dozens of pines to tighten certain landing areas. Ironically, the consulting architect for both courses is Tom Fazio, still active at 71. Pine Valley closed last winter for significant renovations that have been hailed a success by

our panel, but at press time it was closed for another round of wintertime renovations. More trees were being removed, and more visual expanses of sand, especially around green complexes, were added. Great holes have become significantly more dramatic in look and playability. The pursuit of excellence is a moving target. When No. 100 Eagle Point Golf Club in North Carolina steps in to host the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship in May—while usual host Quail Hollow prepares for the PGA Championship—spectators will marvel at the fabulous pine-lined topography. Few will know that Fazio started with lifeless land and that his crews manufactured the hills

and hollows and transplanted mature pines to fashion a forest. Fazio has been “creating environments” ever since the early 1990s, starting with No. 26 Shadow Creek outside Las Vegas. Many of his massive land manipulations have landed on America’s 100 Greatest, including No. 97 Flint Hills National in Kansas, No. 83 The Quarry at La Quinta in California and No. 69 Spring Hill Golf Club in Minnesota, one of four newcomers to the 100 Greatest. Yes, such courses cost enormous amounts, but Fazio’s clients can afford them. Besides, no one has ever gazed at Mount Rushmore and asked how much it cost. Please turn to page 68 february 2017 |


drama in idaho t h e g o l f c l u b at b l a c k rock , ranked no. 84.

courtesy of bl ack rock/allen kennedy

open to see a m e r i c a’ s 1 0 0 g r e at e s t golf courses a n d a m e r i c a’ s s e c o n d 1 0 0 g r e at e s t ▶ ▶ ▶

february 2017 |



69 spring hill



1 (2) PINE VALLEY G.C. Pine Valley, N.J. George Crump & H.S. Colt (1918) 2 (1) AUGUSTA NATIONAL G.C. Augusta, Ga. Alister MacKenzie & Bobby Jones (1933) 3 (3) CYPRESS POINT CLUB Pebble Beach Alister MacKenzie & Robert Hunter (1928) 4 (4) SHINNECOCK HILLS G.C. Southampton, N.Y. / William Flynn (1931) 5 (6) OAKMONT C.C. Oakmont, Pa. Henry Fownes (1903) 6 (5) MERION G.C. (East) Ardmore, Pa. / Hugh Wilson (1912) 7 (7) PEBBLE BEACH G. LINKS Pebble Beach Jack Neville & Douglas Grant (1919) 8 (8) NATIONAL G. LINKS OF AMERICA Southampton, N.Y. / C.B. Macdonald (1911) 9 (11) SAND HILLS G.C. Mullen, Neb. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (1994) 10 (9) WINGED FOOT G.C. (West) Mamaroneck, N.Y. / A.W. Tillinghast (1923)







































51 (47) TPC SAWGRASS (Players Stadium) Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. / Pete Dye (1980) 52 (52) CAMARGO CLUB Indian Hill, Ohio Seth Raynor & Charles Banks (1927) 53 (56) KINLOCH G.C. Manakin-Sabot, Va. Lester George & Vinny Giles (2001) 54 (57) INTERLACHEN C.C. Edina, Minn. / Willie Watson (1911) 55 (68) WHISPERING PINES G.C. Trinity, Texas / Chet Williams (2000) 56 (79) OLD SANDWICH G.C. Plymouth, Mass. Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2005) 57 (50) SCIOTO C.C. Columbus, Ohio / Donald Ross (1916) 58 (51) OAK TREE NATIONAL Edmond, Okla. / Pete & Alice Dye (1976) 59 (61) DALLAS NATIONAL G.C. Dallas / Tom Fazio (2002) 60 (53) PETE DYE G.C. Bridgeport, W.Va. / Pete Dye (1994)































T H E G A M E ’ S O L D E S T R A N K I N G / E S TA B L I S H E D I N 1 9 6 6



11 (10) FISHERS ISLAND CLUB Fishers Island, N.Y. Seth Raynor & Charles Banks (1926) 12 (13) CRYSTAL DOWNS C.C. Frankfort, Mich. Alister MacKenzie & Perry Maxwell (1931) 13 (12) SEMINOLE G.C. Juno Beach, Fla. / Donald Ross (1929) 14 (14) CHICAGO G.C. Wheaton, Ill. C.B. Macdonald (1894) / Seth Raynor (1923) 15 (15) MUIRFIELD VILLAGE G.C. Dublin, Ohio Jack Nicklaus & Desmond Muirhead (1974) 16 (19) THE COUNTRY CLUB (Clyde/Squirrel) Chestnut Hill, Mass. Willie Campbell (1895) / Alex Campbell (1902) 17 (17) OAKLAND HILLS C.C. (South) Bloomfield Hills, Mich. / Donald Ross (1918) 18 (18) PACIFIC DUNES Bandon, Ore. / Tom Doak (2001) 19 (23) FRIAR’S HEAD G.C. Baiting Hollow, N.Y. Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2002) 20 (16) OAK HILL C.C. (East) Rochester, N.Y. / Donald Ross (1925)

61-70 RANK

61 (58) BALTUSROL G.C. (Upper) Springfield, N.J. / A.W. Tillinghast (1922) 62 (59) WINGED FOOT G.C. (East) Mamaroneck, N.Y. / A.W. Tillinghast (1923) 63 (60) CANYATA G.C. Marshall, Ill. Bob Lohmann & Mike Benkusky (2004) 64 (73) SOMERSET HILLS C.C. Bernardsville, N.J. / A.W. Tillinghast (1918) 65 (67) MONTEREY PENINSULA C.C. (Shore) 72 61.9157 Pebble Beach / Mike Strantz (2004) 66 (99) SHOREACRES 61.9080 Lake Bluff, Ill. / Seth Raynor (1921) 67 (84) KITTANSETT CLUB 61.8254 Marion, Mass. William Flynn & Frederic Hood (1922) 68 (65) ARCADIA BLUFFS G.C. 61.7943 Arcadia, Mich. Rick Smith & Warren Henderson (2000) 69 (New) SPRING HILL G.C. 61.7867

























































21-30 RANK

21 (20) THE OCEAN COURSE Kiawah Island, S.C. Pete Dye (1991) 22 (22) WHISTLING STRAITS (Straits) Haven, Wis. Pete Dye (1998) 23 (26) LOS ANGELES C.C. (North) Los Angeles George C. Thomas Jr. (1921) 24 (24) RIVIERA C.C. Pacific Palisades, Calif. George C. Thomas Jr. & W.P. Bell (192 25 (21) WADE HAMPTON G.C. Cashiers, N.C. / Tom Fazio (1987) 26 (32) SHADOW CREEK North Las Vegas, Nev. Tom Fazio (1990) 27 (27) THE ALOTIAN CLUB Roland, Ark. / Tom Fazio (2004) 28 (30) GOZZER RANCH G. & LAKE C. Harrison, Idaho / Tom Fazio (2007) 29 (25) PRAIRIE DUNES C.C. Hutchinson, Kan. Perry Maxwell (1937) / Press Maxwell 30 (28) PINEHURST RESORT (No. 2) Pinehurst, N.C. / Donald Ross (1935)

71-80 Wayzata, Minn. Tom Fazio (1999) 70 (74) BANDON TRAILS


Bandon, Ore. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2 RANK

71 (62) MILWAUKEE C.C. 61.7524 Hills, Wis. H.S. Colt & C.H. Alison (1929) 72 (98) MAIDSTONE CLUB East Hampton, N.Y. Willie Park Jr. & Jack Park (1924) 73 (80) CHERRY HILLS C.C. Cherry Hills Village, Colo. / William F 74 (70) THE ESTANCIA CLUB Scottsdale / Tom Fazio (1995) 75 (82) CONGRESSIONAL C.C. (Blue) Bethesda, Md. / Robert Trent Jones ( 76 (71) QUAKER RIDGE G.C. Scarsdale, N.Y. / A.W. Tillinghast (191 77 (72) PLAINFIELD C.C. Edison, N.J. / Donald Ross (1921) 78 (90) ARONIMINK G.C. Newtown Square, Pa. / Donald Ross (


100 eagle point

31-40 PAR















31 (33) THE OLYMPIC CLUB (Lake) San Francisco / Sam Whiting (1924) 32 (31) THE HONORS COURSE Ooltewah, Tenn. / Pete Dye (1983) 33 (34) PEACHTREE G.C. Atlanta Robert Trent Jones & Bobby Jones (1947) 34 (36) THE GOLF CLUB New Albany, Ohio Pete Dye (1967) 35 (29) SOUTHERN HILLS C.C. Tulsa, Okla. Perry Maxwell (1936) 36 (37) BANDON DUNES Bandon, Ore. / David McLay Kidd (1999) 37 (35) SAN FRANCISCO G.C. San Francisco / A.W. Tillinghast (1924) 38 (43) BETHPAGE STATE PARK (Black) Farmingdale, N.Y. Joseph H. Burbeck & A.W. Tillinghast (1936) 39 (41) BALTUSROL G.C. (Lower) Springfield, N.J. / A.W. Tillinghast (1922) 40 (44) PIKEWOOD NATIONAL G.C. Morgantown, W.Va. J. Robert Gwynne & John Raese (2009)





































81 (97) VALHALLA G.C. Louisville / Jack Nicklaus (1986) 82 (75) BOSTON G.C. Hingham, Mass. / Gil Hanse (2004) 83 (77) THE QUARRY AT LA QUINTA La Quinta, Calif. / Tom Fazio (1994) 84 (63) THE G.C. AT BLACK ROCK Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Jim Engh (2003) 85 (95) HUDSON NATIONAL G.C. Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. / Tom Fazio (1996) 86 (76) DOUBLE EAGLE CLUB Galena, Ohio Jay Morrish & Tom Weiskopf (1992) 87 (64) YEAMANS HALL CLUB Charleston, S.C. Seth Raynor & Charles Banks (1926) 88 (81) RICH HARVEST LINKS Sugar Grove, Ill. Jerry Rich & Greg Martin (1999)





























6) 7,302 7,560

72 72

64.3575 64.0722












lynn (1923)

) 1962)









81-90 79 6,759







(66) OLYMPIA FIELDS C.C. (North) Olympia Fields, Ill. Willie Park Jr. (1922) (83) THE VALLEY CLUB OF MONTECITO Montecito, Calif. Alister MacKenzie & Robert Hunter (1929)



























41 (38) SEBONACK G.C. Southampton, N.Y. Jack Nicklaus & Tom Doak (2006) 42 (40) CASTLE PINES G.C. Castle Rock, Colo. Jack Nicklaus (1981) 43 (45) VICTORIA NATIONAL G.C. Newburgh, Ind. Tom Fazio (1998) 44 (42) ERIN HILLS G. CSE. Erin, Wis. Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry & Ron Whitten (2006) 45 (46) BUTLER NATIONAL G.C. Oak Brook, Ill. George Fazio & Tom Fazio (1974) 46 (49) GARDEN CITY G.C. Garden City, N.Y. / Devereux Emmet (1899) 47 (55) OLD MACDONALD Bandon, Ore. / Tom Doak & Jim Urbina (2010) 48 (39) MEDINAH C.C. (No. 3) Medinah, Ill. / Tom Bendelow (1928) 49 (48) SPYGLASS HILL G. CSE. Pebble Beach / Robert Trent Jones (1966) 50 (54) BALLYNEAL G.C. Holyoke, Colo. / Tom Doak (2006)








































89 (69) INVERNESS CLUB Toledo, Ohio / Donald Ross (1919) 90 (94) DIAMOND CREEK G.C. Banner Elk, N.C. / Tom Fazio (2003) RANK



91 (New) ESSEX COUNTY CLUB Manchester, Mass. Donald Ross (1917) 92 (91) BLACKWOLF RUN (River) Kohler, Wis. / Pete Dye (1990) 93 (87) THE PRESERVE G.C. Carmel, Calif. Tom Fazio, J. Michael Poellot & Sandy Tatum (2000) 94 (93) CROOKED STICK G.C. Carmel, Ind. Pete Dye (1967) 95 (92) LAUREL VALLEY G.C. Ligonier, Pa. / Dick Wilson (1959) 96 (88) CALUSA PINES G.C. Naples, Fla. Michael Hurdzan & Dana Fry (2001) 97 (85) FLINT HILLS NATIONAL G.C. Andover, Kan. / Tom Fazio (1997) 98 (108) SAHALEE C.C. (South/North) Sammamish, Wash. / Ted Robinson (1969) 99 (101) MAYACAMA G.C.




























S P R I N G H I L L : P E T E R WO N G • E SS E X , E AG L E P O I N T: LC L A M B R EC H T



GOLF DIGE 110 california golf club of san francisco

147 fox chapel







101 (122) SLEEPY HOLLOW C.C. Scarborough-on-Hudson, N.Y. C.B. Macdonald (1914) / A.W. Tillinghast (1928) 102 (100) STREAMSONG (Red) Streamsong, Fla. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2012) 103 (111) PASATIEMPO G.C. Santa Cruz, Calif. / Alister MacKenzie (1929) 104 (96) THE PETE DYE CSE. AT FRENCH LICK RESORT French Lick, Ind. / Pete Dye (2009) 105 (78) MOUNTAINTOP G. & LAKE CLUB Cashiers, N.C. / Tom Fazio (2006) 106 (102) SHOAL CREEK Shoal Creek, Ala. Jack Nicklaus (1977) 107 (86) HAZELTINE NATIONAL G.C. Chaska, Minn. Robert Trent Jones (1962) 108 (131) THE MADISON CLUB La Quinta, Calif. Tom Fazio (2006) 109 (114) PRINCE G. CSE. Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii Robert Trent Jones Jr. (1990) 110 (136) CALIFORNIA G.C. OF SAN FRANCISCO South San Francisco A. Vernon Macan (1926)





































111 (125) COLORADO G.C. Parker, Colo. Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2007) 112 (110) KAPALUA (Plantation) Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (1991) 113 (113) ROCK CREEK CATTLE CO. Deer Lodge, Mont. Tom Doak (2008) 114 (104) FOREST HIGHLANDS G.C. (Canyon) Flagstaff, Ariz. Jay Morrish & Tom Weiskopf (1988) 115 (New) PHILADELPHIA CRICKET C. (Wissahickon) Flourtown, Pa. A.W. Tillinghast (1922) 116 (126) NEWPORT C.C. Newport, R.I. William F. Davis (1899) 117 (121) GALLOWAY NATIONAL G.C. Galloway, N.J. Tom Fazio (1994) 118 (145) BELLERIVE C.C. St. Louis / Robert Trent Jones (1960) 119 (103) EAST LAKE G.C. Atlanta / Donald Ross (1913) 120 (128) THE OLDE FARM Bristol, Va. / Bobby Weed (2000)




151 (New) MAUNA KEA G. CSE. Kohala Coast Robert Trent Jones (1964) 152 (149) SANCTUARY Sedalia, Colo. / Jim Engh (1997) 153 (172) ALDARRA G.C. Sammamish, Wash. Tom Fazio (2001) 154 (152) EASTWARD HO! C.C. Chatham, Mass. / Herbert Fowler (1922) 155 (150) THE STONE CANYON CLUB Oro Valley, Ariz. / Jay Morrish (2000) 156 (165) TRUMP INTERNATIONAL G.C. (Champ.) West Palm Beach / Jim Fazio (1999) 157 (153) BEL-AIR C.C. Los Angeles George C. Thomas Jr. & William F. Bell (1926) 158 (New) THE G.C. OF TENNESSEE Kingston Springs, Tenn. Tom Fazio (1991) 159 (141) THE GREENBRIER (Old White TPC) White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. C.B. Macdonald (1914) 160 (168) SEA ISLAND G.C. (Seaside) St. Simons Island, Ga. / Tom Fazio (1999)
































































121 (116) GRANDFATHER G. & C.C. Linville, N.C. Ellis Maples (1967) 122 (107) SAGE VALLEY G.C. Graniteville, S.C. Tom Fazio (2001) 123 (New) SHOOTING STAR G.C. Teton Village, Wyo. Tom Fazio (2009) 124 (120) STREAMSONG (Blue) Streamsong, Fla. / Tom Doak (2012) 125 (112) ATLANTA ATHLETIC CLUB (Highlands) Johns Creek, Ga. Robert Trent Jones (1967) / Joseph S. Finger (1971) 126 (133) KINGSLEY CLUB Kingsley, Mich. Mike DeVries (2001) 127 (106) HARBOUR TOWN G. LINKS Hilton Head Island Pete Dye & Jack Nicklaus (1969) 128 (129) EUGENE C.C. Eugene, Ore. / Robert Trent Jones (1967) 129 (130) CHAMBERS BAY University Place, Wash. Robert Trent Jones Jr. & Bruce Charlton (2007) 130 (105) JUPITER HILLS CLUB (Hills) Tequesta, Fla. / George Fazio (1970)




161 (142) CHARLOTTE C.C. Charlotte / Donald Ross (1925) 162 (166) SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS G.C. Las Vegas / Robert Trent Jones Jr. (2000) 163 (148) BLACK DIAMOND RANCH (Quarry) Lecanto, Fla. / Tom Fazio (1987) 164 (170) SPRING CREEK RANCH G.C. Collierville, Tenn. / Jack Nicklaus (1999) 165 (171) SECESSION G.C. Beaufort, S.C. / Bruce Devlin (1992) 166 (177) TORREY PINES G. CSE. (South) La Jolla, Calif. / William F. Bell (1957) 167 (140) WHISPER ROCK G.C. (Upper) Scottsdale / Tom Fazio (2005) 168 (162) GLENWILD G.C. Park City, Utah Tom Fazio (2001) 169 (154) THE BROADMOOR G.C. (East) Colorado Springs Donald Ross (1918) / Robert Trent Jones (1952) 170 (158) ATLANTA C.C. Marietta, Ga. Willard Byrd & Joseph S. Finger (1965)

































171-180 RANK

171 (156) PRONGHORN CLUB (Nicklaus) Bend, Ore. / Jack Nicklaus (2003) 172 (176) WHISPER ROCK G.C. (Lower) Scottsdale Phil Mickelson & Gary Stephenson (2001) 173 (New) C.C. OF BIRMINGHAM (West) Birmingham, Ala. Donald Ross (1929) 174 (187) CONWAY FARMS G.C. Lake Forest, Ill. Tom Fazio (1991) 175 (New) KIAWAH ISLAND CLUB (River) Kiawah Island, S.C. Tom Fazio (1995) 176 (169) McARTHUR G.C. Hobe Sound, Fla. / Tom Fazio & Nick Price (2002) 177 (192) THE COURSE AT YALE New Haven, Conn. C.B. Macdonald, Seth Raynor & Charles Banks (1926 178 (173) FALLEN OAK G.C. Saucier, Miss. / Tom Fazio (2006) 179 (175) MAY RIVER G.C. AT PALMETTO BLUFF Bluffton, S.C. / Jack Nicklaus (2004) 180 (167) WOLF RUN G.C. Zionsville, Ind. / Steve Smyers (1989)


165 secession


131-140 YARDS





































131 (New) DISMAL RIVER CLUB (Red) Mullen, Neb. Tom Doak (2013) 132 (115) ROBERT TRENT JONES G.C. Gainesville, Va. Robert Trent Jones (1991) 133 (124) THE CONCESSION G.C. Bradenton, Fla. Jack Nicklaus & Tony Jacklin (2006) 134 (New) HUNTSMAN SPRINGS G.C. Driggs, Idaho David McLay Kidd (2009) 135 (118) FOREST DUNES G.C. Roscommon, Mich. Tom Weiskopf (2002) 136 (163) THE CREEK Locust Valley, N.Y. C.B. Macdonald & Seth Raynor (1923) 137 (117) KIAWAH ISLAND CLUB (Cassique) Kiawah Island, S.C. / Tom Watson (2000) 138 (134) OCEAN FOREST G.C. Sea Island, Ga. / Rees Jones (1995) 139 (138) SYCAMORE HILLS G.C. Fort Wayne, Ind. / Jack Nicklaus (1989) 140 (132) CAVES VALLEY G.C. Owings Mills, Md. Tom Fazio (1991)



7,379 7,390

































































141 (123) LOST DUNES G.C. Bridgman, Mich. Tom Doak (1999) 142 (146) OMNI HOMESTEAD (Cascades) Hot Springs, Va. William Flynn (1923) 143 (137) BAYONNE G.C. Bayonne, N.J. Eric Bergstol (2006) 144 (135) WANNAMOISETT C.C. Rumford, R.I. Donald Ross (1916) 145 (151) MARTIS CAMP G.C. Truckee, Calif. Tom Fazio (2008) 146 (157) COLONIAL C.C. Fort Worth / Perry Maxwell (1936) 147 (New) FOX CHAPEL G.C. Pittsburgh Seth Raynor & Charles Banks (1925) 148 (139) LONG COVE CLUB Hilton Head Island / Pete Dye (1982) 149 (147) THE HIGHLAND CSE. AT PRIMLAND Meadows of Dan, Va. / Donald Steel (2006) 150 (161) THE STANWICH CLUB Greenwich, Conn. William Gordon & David Gordon (1962)














181 (144) PRONGHORN CLUB (Fazio) 7,462 Bend, Ore. / Tom Fazio (2006) 182 (179) DESERT HIGHLANDS G.C. 7,108 Scottsdale / Jack Nicklaus (1983) 183 (New) BALLYHACK G.C. 7,294 Roanoke, Va. Lester George & Vinny Giles (2009) 184 (New) THE PRAIRIE CLUB (Dunes) 7,583 Valentine, Neb. Tom Lehman & Chris Brands (2010) 185 (New) POINT O’ WOODS G. & C.C. 7,075 Benton Harbor, Mich. Robert Trent Jones (1958) 186 (180) PABLO CREEK CLUB 7,026 Jacksonville / Tom Fazio (1996) 187 (186) CORDEVALLE 7,360 San Martin, Calif. Robert Trent Jones Jr. (1999) 188 (184) OLYMPIA FIELDS C.C. (South) 7,114 Olympia Fields, Ill. Tom Bendelow (1916) 189 (198) THE LINKS AT SPANISH BAY 6,821 Pebble Beach Robert Trent Jones Jr., Tom Watson & Sandy Tatum (1987) 190 (188) PINE TREE G.C. 7,301 Boynton Beach, Fla. / Dick Wilson (1961)































6) 7,487















191 (New) WHITE BEAR YACHT CLUB White Bear Lake, Minn. Donald Ross (1915) 192 (195) WHISTLING STRAITS (Irish) Haven, Wis. Pete Dye (2000) 193 (New) MEADOW CLUB Fairfax, Calif. Alister MacKenzie & Robert Hunter (1927) 194 (181) PGA WEST (TPC Stadium) La Quinta, Calif. Pete Dye (1986) 195 (193) WILMINGTON C.C. (South) Wilmington, Del. Robert Trent Jones (1960) 196 (182) WOLF CREEK G.C. Mesquite, Nev. / Dennis Rider (2000) 197 (New) DESERT FOREST G.C. Carefree, Ariz. Red Lawrence (1962) 198 (200) LOBLOLLY G.C. Hobe Sound, Fla. / P.B. Dye (1988) 199 (199) BLUE MOUND G. & C.C. Wauwatosa, Wis. / Seth Raynor & Charles Banks (1926) 200 (New) SHADY CANYON G.C. Irvine, Calif. Tom Fazio (2002)
































Continued from page 59



nother architectural debate is the matter of rough. Should it be modest? Should it be deep? Should it exist at all? The team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw showcased the issue with their 2010 renovation of Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina (ranked 30th this year), where they removed all Bermuda rough, exposed the native sand beneath and planted clumps of wire grass. Panelists have mixed emotions on the result, some loving the sandy “waste areas,” others calling them far more penal to highhandicappers intimidated by sandy lies, and others saying the “natural areas,” now continually invaded by weeds, are unattractive. Coore and Crenshaw have since conducted similar turf removal at No. 13 Seminole Golf Club in Florida and No. 72 Maidstone Golf Club on New York’s Long Island. Incidentally, Hanse will redesign Pinehurst No. 4. and he plans to replace its hundreds of Fazio-designed pot bunkers in favor of a motif of sandy, scrubby waste similar to Course No. 2. Diversity in design is also reflected in the newcomers to our 2017 list. With the aforementioned Spring Hill, there is No. 91 Essex County Club in Massachusetts, an early, quirky Ross design; No. 98 Sahalee Country Club near Seattle, perhaps the most densely tree-lined layout in America; and No. 99 Mayacama in Northern California, a Jack Nicklaus design along oak-dotted hillsides and narrow, rocky canyons. This is the fewest number of newcomers to America’s 100 Greatest since we began numerically ranking courses in 1985, a sharp contrast to our Second 100 Greatest ranking, which has 20 new members (including four that dropped from 2015’s 100 Greatest). That one-fifth turnover is an indication of turmoil among contenders that we consider healthy and expected. The Second 100 Greatest should be the battleground for all those hoping to make America’s 100 Greatest.

more rankings to come Golf Digest will continue our celebration of great golf architecture in June, when we’ll announce America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses and the Best in State rankings.

Photograph by LC Lambrecht


how we rank the co urses Our panelists play and score courses on seven criteria: shot values How well do the holes pose a variety of risks and rewards and equally test length, accuracy and finesse? resistance to scoring How difficult, while still being fair, is the course for a scratch player from the back tees? design variet y How varied are the holes in differing lengths, configurations, hazard placements, green shapes and green contours? memorabilit y How well do the design features provide individuality to each hole yet a collective continuity to the entire 18? aesthetics How well do the scenic values of the course add to the pleasure of a round? conditioning How firm, fast and rolling were the fairways, how firm yet receptive were the greens and how true were the roll of putts on the day you played the course? ambience How well does the overall feel and atmosphere of the course reflect or uphold the traditional values of the game?

restored w i n g e d f o o t e a s t, r a n k e d n o . 6 2 .

▶ To arrive at a course’s final score, we total its averages in the seven categories, doubling Shot Values. A course needs 45 evaluations over the past eight years to be eligible for America’s 100 Greatest and the Second 100 Greatest.

simple tips to get out of any fairway bunker

A lot of golfers think hitting it into a fairway bunker is a sentence to a big number. But that doesn’t have to be the case. No matter whether your ball is up against the lip, on a downhill slope, or rest-

hazardous by corey lundberg

70 | february 2017

ing in the middle, make these simple adjustments

and you’ll have a fighting chance at getting out

and saving a shot or two. —WITH RON KASPRISKE

Photographs by J.D. Cuban

ag ainst the lip

mid trap

downhill lie

The key to this lie on the left side of the bunker is to shallow your downswing, so you can get the ball up and clear the lip. To do that, swing into the ball more from inside the target line. Also tilt the shoulders a little more, so your left shoulder is higher than the right. Don’t worry if your weight is slightly favoring the back foot. It’s difficult for it to be any other way. For club selection, take as much loft as you need to easily clear the lip, even if you have to sacrifice distance. Hopefully you already knew to do that.

For a decent lie in the middle of a fairway bunker, make a normal iron swing with two adjustments: (1) Stand a little taller, and grip down on the club so your swing bottom isn’t too deep in the sand. (2) At address, focus on a spot just in front of the ball on your target line. When you swing, limit any lateral movement away from the target in the backswing and then try to enter the sand with the club at that spot you are looking at. This ensures you’ll strike the ball solidly. Still struggling? Feel like your chest stays more centered over the ball.

A shallow downswing won’t help you for this lie on the right. You need the opposite. Set up in a wider stance, put pressure into your left leg, and grip down on the club an inch or two. When you swing, hinge the club up quickly in the backswing and then swing down on the ball while keeping the lower body fairly stable. Don’t swing out of your shoes. You need control here. The ball is going to come out low and hot, so be prepared. Unfortunately, this lie is probably going to cost you a shot. Just make sure it doesn’t cost you more.

s material corey lundberg is one of Golf Digest’s Best Young Teachers. He works at Altus Performance in Dallas. + FOOTJOY shirt and shoes, UNIQLO pants

72 | february 2017

From the golf digest 5o to television deals and beyond, m%ney is flowing in new ways


by ro n s ir a k

TH3 RULE$ ARE CHANG รทING Illustration by Eddie Guy



when the golf economy was running hot, Nike chairman and co-founder Phil Knight was asked at the annual stockholders’ meeting if the company could have found a better way to spend $100 million than by extending Tiger Woods’ contract for five years at $20 million a year. “No, it couldn’t,” Knight replied emphatically and, in terms of words, economically. ▶ When Knight said that in September 2000 at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Ore., it had a ring of truth. Woods had just won three consecutive major championships—the U.S. Open by 15 strokes, the Open Championship by eight and the PGA Championship in a thrilling playoff. Seven months later, he would complete the Tiger Slam at the 2001 Masters, becoming the first to hold all four men’s major championships simultaneously. For relatively new Nike Golf, and for golf in general, the ceiling for growth seemed to be quite high. The Woods deal unleashed a flurry of high-priced contracts as golfers followed their form of free agency—not changing teams like baseball, football and basketball players, but by changing equipment companies. Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, David Duval and Davis Love III were among those who cashed in big-time, either by changing companies or by using the possibility of leaving to enhance deals. And equipment companies, lacking the deep pockets of Nike lined with sneaker cash, began cutting deals with players to keep them, allowing them to sell their most valuable logo space—the hat—to other companies. And thus financial services, pharmaceuticals and other concerns got into the endorsement game. Sixteen years after Woods’ groundbreaking deal, the number of equipment companies has shrunk. Nike has stopped making clubs and balls. TaylorMade is for sale, and most say the new owners will be more cost-conscious. All that leaves some wondering if the hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually on player endorsements might be contributing to the consolidation of the equipment industry, which still showers players in money to play their MON3Y clubs and balls. +G%LF That largesse can be seen in the 14th annual Golf Digest 50 allencompassing money list. Though the names have changed—slightly—the stars are still pulling in eight figures a year off the course to supplement tour prize money, which continues to grow. Not only is Nike gone from the hardgoods scene, but Woods no longer has his hold on the top spot in the GD50. For the first 12 years of the ranking, Woods was No. 1, usually by a wide margin. But reduced play because of injuries and the loss of more than half a dozen A-list endorsement partners after the 2009 scandal caught up to him in 2016, when he fell to No. 3 behind Jordan Spieth and Mickelson. This year, Woods is No. 4 behind Rory

74 | february 2017

G%LFD1G3ST5O on-course income for 2016 includes all money earned on the PGA Tour and the five international tours (Japan PGA, PGA European, Australasian, Southern Africa, Asian) and the PGA Tour Champions, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and the Japan LPGA through Dec. 4, 2016. It includes unofficial money won in nontour events. off-course income includes estimates of all money earned from endorsements, bonuses, appearance fees, corporate outings, speaking engagements, licensing fees (video games, trading cards, etc.), course architecture, books, instructional videos and businesses that capitalize on a person’s status as a player, such as product lines including clothing, wine and turfgrass. Investment income is not included. name

previous rank

on course

off course


1. Rory McIlroy





2. Arnold Palmer




3. Phil Mickelson





4. Tiger Woods





5. Jordan Spieth





6. Jack Nicklaus













9. Adam Scott





10. Gary Player




11. Henrik Stenson





12. Hideki Matsuyama





13. Rickie Fowler





14. Sergio Garcia





15. Matt Kuchar





16. Bubba Watson





17. Patrick Reed





18. Bernhard Langer





19. Greg Norman




20. Colin Montgomerie









22. Jimmy Walker





23. Graeme McDowell





24. Brandt Snedeker





25. Ernie Els





26. Lee Westwood





27. Branden Grace





28. Nick Faldo





29. Jim Furyk





30. Russell Knox





31. Tom Watson





32. Miguel Angel Jimenez





33. Zach Johnson





34. Danny Willett





35. Martin Kaymer





36. Fred Couples





37. Paul Casey





38. Davis Love III





39. Luke Donald





40. Justin Thomas





41. Brooks Koepka





42. William McGirt





43. Jason Dufner





44. Lydia Ko





45. Kevin Kisner





46. J.B. Holmes





47. Kevin Chappell





48. Bill Haas





49. Kevin Na





50. Padraig Harrington





7. Dustin Johnson 8. Jason Day

21. Justin Rose

nr Not ranked among the Golf Digest 50 in February 2016. sources Figures for the list were compiled through Golf Digest interviews with agents, players, executives of companies involved with endorsements, industry analysts and through the official money lists of the professional tours.

McIlroy, Arnold Palmer and Mickelson. Last year’s No. 1, Spieth, fell to No. 5 mostly because he earned $16 million less on the golf course, including only $550,000 in FedEx Cup bonus money compared to the $10 million top prize in 2015. That bonus went to McIlroy, helping him make more than $17.5 million on the golf course. Remarkably, the top earner off the golf course on the 2017 list is Palmer, who died last fall at 87. Nearly 45 years after his last PGA Tour win, the King made $40 million in licensing, endorsement and design money. Lydia Ko at No. 44 was the only woman to make the list this year, in part because perennial off-course money leaders Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie had sub-par years in oncourse earnings.

PAY FOR PLAY Number of players who had compensation arrangements in 2016 with each of the 10 major equipment companies. Titleist










Cobra Puma




PXG Golf





source Equipment company websites. TaylorMade says it has “more than 125” players under contract.




he withdrawal of Nike from the ball and club market—it will still market clothing and footwear—and the fact that TaylorMade will soon have a new owner have changed the endorsement landscape, not so much for the best players but for everyone else. According to Casey Alexander, a research analyst specializing in golf stocks at Compass Point Research & Trading, Callaway, Ping, TaylorMade and Titleist have 80 percent of the ball and club market. “Everyone else doesn’t have enough revenue left to compete on the marketing side,” Alexander says. “You can have the best club in the world, but if you can’t do marketing on multiple platforms [print, Internet, player endorsements, demo days, etc.], you can’t compete. Every two or three years, someone gets tossed out of the ring. It wouldn’t surprise me if in five years that 80 percent [of market share] for those four companies was 90 percent.” Alexander says the four big companies have profit margins in high single digits. In the heyday of golf, those margins were probably mid-teens, he says. Exactly how much money do equipment companies spend yearly on player endorsements? “No one shares that information,” Alexander says. “No one wants to.” One source familiar with endorsement deals, speaking with Golf Digest under the condition of anonymity, estimates that TaylorMade, which says it has “more than 125 players” under contract, spends “$20 million to $25 million combined on its big four [Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose] and then doesn’t spend that much on the rest of its players,” putting its total endorsements at $40 million to $50 million annually. “Different companies have different philosophies,” the source says. “Titleist wants numbers [of players, to win things like the tour ball count]; other companies want names. The common thread is authenticity and believability of the marketing message.” TaylorMade declined to comment for this story, as did Titleist. “Player endorsements have been a long-term strategy at Ping as we started our tour program in the early

1970s,” says Chance Cozby, vice president/sports development at Ping. “Product validation and brand awareness by the world’s best players provide a great foundation for a premium product like Ping to succeed in the marketplace.” Will the departure of Nike and the impending sale of TaylorMade change the marketplace? “Given industry consolidation, keen attention will be paid when determining whether to retain an athlete as a spokesperson,” says David M. Carter of the marketing consulting firm The Sports Business Group and executive director of the Marshall Sports Business Institute at the University of Southern California. “Athletes who separate themselves from the pack and who can truly deliver a quantifiable return on marketing investment will remain in a strong position to secure endorsement deals. Athletes who are only marginally differentiated from their peers may struggle to secure meaningful endorsement dollars.” That has agents casting a wary eye. “Clearly, this has been a unique year with golf equipment companies/professional tour-staff endorsements, primarily due to TaylorMade being in a holding pattern of sorts for most of the year and Nike abruptly exiting the equipment industry,” says Jay Burton, an agent with International Management Group. “Needless to say, the other major equipment companies are using this as an opportunity to adjust their game plans. In the past two months, there has been a flurry of activity from TaylorMade/Nike tour players to test other equipment/balls.” Burton agrees that the pain will be felt by second-tier players but not the top stars. “Equipment companies need the endorsements of professional tour players if they expect to be major players in the game,” he says. “There definitely has been consolidation,” says Mark Steinberg, an agent with Excel Sports Management, which represents GD50 players, including Woods, Rose and Matt Kuchar as well as young stars Daniel Berger and Justin Thomas. “But it hasn’t really affected the pricing as much as I thought at this point.” His clients are, for the most part, the guys at the top of the pyramid getting the big bucks. Woods still has multiple years left on his Nike contract and will


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continue to wear its clothing and shoes. But he is free to make money from other equipment companies. Alexander says the big four companies have consolidated their power by keeping prices high. “The guys running those four companies are smart enough to know you don’t want to become a black widow and eat your mate,” Alexander says. “They do better if they don’t worry about gaining a market-share point or two. They wised up and are not discounting the price of the clubs, so that keeps the gross margins high enough so that they have enough money to do marketing. The big four don’t worry about the bottom feeders. When the bottom feeders discount, they go into a death spiral.” Like most agents and analysts, Alexander doesn’t expect the consolidation of the industry to affect the top players. “We’re still in a marketplace of demand and supply, and the demand for quality players just went down by one company that was spending millions,” he says. “Stars will still get paid. It will take time for the Nike impact to flow into the marketplace.”

Illustration by Oliver Munday

“Time will tell,” Ping’s Cozby says about the impact of consolidation in the industry. “In the short term, there has been very little change. In the long term, equipment brands will have to consider potential changes in requirements as players move to soft goods as a primary sponsor.” Are the companies paying too much? “Because the world has changed, should we have known what the world was going to look like five years ago?” Alexander asks. “Are they over-paying? In hindsight, it’s easy to say that. But they operated in the old framework. That framework has changed.” What kind of endorsement structure that new framework constructs is the real question. The result could be a trend set in motion by Tiger all those years ago: more money flowing to players from nongolf companies. Golfers remain the most valuable endorsement partners in all of sports.


M%ney losses and overall ratings declines leave a $1.1 billion question by ron sirak

When the 12-year deal between the United States Golf Association and Fox Sports was announced in 2013, it rocked the golf world because Fox had never televised the sport and because of the price tag, reported by Golf Digest at $1.1 billion—$93 million a year. But after two years of losses that sources say are in the tens of millions for Fox and some bumpy coverage situations, the unavoidable question arises: Is this what Fox and the USGA had in mind when they signed the landmark contract? According to sources familiar with the situation, tensions between the USGA and Fox increased after the network’s aggressive handling of rules controversies at the 2016 U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open. There was also significant dissatisfaction within the USGA, sources say, over the fact that Fox and its cable arm Fox Sports 1 (FS1) did not take advantage of a West Coast venue for the Women’s Open to push the broadcast deep into East Coast prime time, bringing the women’s game much-needed exposure. february 2017 |


Sports Business Journal says the slide coincides with an overall trend that, in 2016 at least, can be blamed in part by the ratings boost news outlets like MSNBC, CNN and The USGA and Fox are saying the right Fox News got from a presidential campaign things publicly, but they both acknowledge that resembled a reality show. “Sunday Night rules infraction by Anna Nordqvist in her there have been conversations after 2016’s Football” is off 10 percent, “Monday Night playoff with Brittany Lang before USGA ofmajor championships to settle differences. Football” is down 19 percent and “Thursday ficials had a chance to examine the video, And both sides shot down whispers that Night Football” slid 15 percent, according which, sources tell Golf Digest, angered they wouldn’t mind an early end to the deal, to SBJ. Viewership for “Sunday Night Base- some USGA insiders. which has 10 more years to run. This comes “Both organizations realize we could’ve ball,” NASCAR and UFC also dropped after a rough start for Fox at the 2015 in 2016. In fact, the NBC portion provided more complete information in a U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, alof the PGA Tour schedule, more timely manner and explained our though pretty much everyone which comes mostly early processes better,” Mike Davis, executive agrees the 2016 broadcast in the year, was a bright director and CEO of the USGA, told Golf from Oakmont was sigspot, up 9 percent, join- Digest. “In both cases, the USGA put a prenificantly better from ing the most-watched mium on gathering all the facts to make a technical and talent Fox has events NBA Finals in 18 an informed decision for the competition standpoint. in other sports years as success sto- first, and then relaying that information From the beginthat draw better ries. And the Sunday accurately to those who were watching. ning, the USGA said than most golf. ratings for the British We have since enhanced those processes the Fox deal was not Open were the highest and will continue to improve them, so that just about the monsince 2009, but that can everyone reporting, including Fox, can ey—150 percent more be attributed to its return maintain journalistic integrity with the than the $37 million annuto broadcast TV instead of best expertise and knowledge we can offer.” ally NBC and ESPN combined At the time of the deal with the USGA, cable. ABC scored a 3.8 rating in paid under the previous TV con2009, and NBC hit 3.3 in 2016. In the the financial gamble for Fox made sense. tract—but also about bringing golf to a six years ESPN had the tournament (2010-’15), The network needed content for FS1, wider audience of general sports fans. The it never exceeded 3.1. And in the Olympics, which launched on Aug. 17, 2013, 11 days game would reach the nongolf fan, the thinkwith NBC and Golf Channel both providing after the deal was announced. Though ing went, and help grow the game’s spectator coverage, the final round of the men’s event the U.S. Open generates nearly all of the base. For Fox, there was the attraction of the drew 8.8 million viewers, second only to the USGA’s annual revenue, Fox was also get13 USGA championships, providing content ting rights to 12 other USGA competitions, Masters in 2016. for its fledgling FS1 as it took on ESPN and Of course, TV ratings no longer tell the giving it a lot of content. The hope was that NBCSN in the all-sports market. entire story, because viewers use other plat- the contract, expected to lose money iniBut viewing habits are changing, and forms to tune in. On Fox Sports Go, 1.1 million tially, would prove worth the price over 12 television is becoming less of the go-to meyears by driving viewers to FS1, generattotal live streams were started during the dia for the cord-cutting generation that is ing subscriber fees. U.S. Open, up 99 percent from 2015. abandoning cable and traditional TV for According to the USGA’s In addition, 30 million minutes mobile devices. The three lowest-rated U.S. annual report, in the fiscal were streamed across cable Open broadcasts since the cable TV era beyear ending Nov. 30, 2014, and broadcast simulcasts gan in 1981 have been the last three (see acthe governing body deand bonus feeds, an 86-percompanying chart). In 2014, the final round clared $122 million in revcent increase over the previof the Martin Kaymer runaway at Pinehurst enue from “championships ous year. The simulcast of No. 2 in NBC’s lame-duck broadcast scored MON3Y and team matches, includthe final round had 350,000 a 3.0 rating. The Fox debut at Chambers +G%LF ing broadcast rights,” and stream starts, up 188 percent Bay in 2015 pulled only a 4.2, despite a West for 2015 that number infrom 2015. Coast venue that spilled the broadcast into creased to $162 million. What Still, beyond the past three, East Coast prime time. And the 2016 Sunday changed to account for the $40-milno other U.S. Open since 1981 has had broadcast of the win by Dustin Johnson at a Sunday rating worse than 4.5. The high- lion revenue increase? The Fox TV deal Oakmont managed only a 3.4. est-rated U.S. Open in the cable era was 8.9 kicked in (backloaded to reach the $93-milThese ratings, however, need to be takin 1981, when there was still relatively little lion average per year). en within the context of a dip in overall TV But one of the other reasons then-USGA competition from cable, and in 2002, when viewership for golf, and for other sports. Tiger Woods won at Bethpage. Ten times president Glen Nager and his negotiating The 1.8 rating for the 2016 final round of The since 1981, the final round of the U.S. Open team sided with Fox over NBC/Golf ChanBarclays, a FedEx Cup playoff event, was the has scored a rating of 7.0 or higher, more than nel in 2013 was because of the expectation lowest since 2008, when the tournament double the number Fox achieved at Oakmont the new platform would reach new fans. took place during the Olympics, says Sports “First, we get the opportunity to expand in 2016. Media Watch, which tracks ratings for all Further complicating things between our exposure and tell our story to a broader sports. According to Sports Media Watch, the USGA and Fox were the rules contro- audience,” Sarah Hirshland, the USGA seafter June, 10 out of 12 final rounds of PGA versies. At Oakmont, Fox announcers were nior managing director, business affairs, Tour events posted declines in ratings and extremely critical of how the USGA handled told Golf Digest in 2013. “The other is the viewership. what was eventually an after-the-fact penalty called against Johnson. And in the Women’s Open at CordeValle, Fox aired a

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opportunity to create some distinctiveness about the role we play in the game through ancillary programming—wrap-ups, documentaries, use of archival stuff. There is a commitment to a lot of ancillary programming leading up to the Opens.” Despite what the numbers say, it feels like that hasn’t happened. On Thursday at the Women’s Open, FS1 left the broadcast to cover a truck race, although the glamour group of Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson and Lexi Thompson still had six holes to play. Then both weekend rounds were played in threesomes off two tees, which did not please most players but allowed for an early finish that let Fox broadcast baseball on Saturday and pick up its regularly scheduled prime-time programming on Sunday. One of the miscalculations by the USGA was in not realizing that pretty much all of its events other than the U.S. Open have far more value to Golf Channel than to any other broadcast entity. Live golf is what drives Golf Channel’s ratings—moving the NCAA championships to midweek has provided compelling content and increased exposure for the NCAA. Fox, quite simply, has events in other sports that draw better than most in golf. At the Women’s Open, FS1 left the coverage at 5 p.m. PT Thursday and Friday, and Fox concluded coverage at 4 p.m. PT Saturday and was scheduled to end at 4:30 p.m. Sunday but ran until 5:20 p.m. because of a three-hole playoff. But not only was Fox contractually obligated to other events, the ratings show that those events performed far better than golf. It’s difficult to blame Fox for a smart programming decision that might not have been anticipated by the USGA when it negotiated the contract. On Thursday, when the Women’s Open pulled an average of about 175,000 viewers on FS1, according to Fox, it left for a set-up show for a truck race that drew 242,000 viewers from 8-8:30 p.m. ET, and the truck race from 8:30-11 p.m. attracted 596,000 viewers. Saturday’s third-round Open coverage on Fox drew 732,000 viewers, up 21 percent over 2015, Fox says. Sunday’s final round had 1,307,000 viewers, up 35 percent over 2015. The Major League Baseball game Fox was contractually obligated to cover on Saturday drew 2.1 million viewers. On Sunday, the early finish to the Women’s Open let Fox go to its regular prime-time schedule, anchored by “The Simpsons,” which drew 1 million viewers when it began at 8:20 p.m. ET.



he USGA and Fox say that although the ratings were unimpressive, the number of eyes that experienced the product increased because of more hours on the air and because of the other devices viewers use to see the product. “The number of hours of USGA programming has dramatically increased; the total consumption has gone up 20 percent since 2014,” says Bill Wanger, executive vice president of programming, research and content strategy at Fox Sports. “We look at a lot of different things. In 2016, we aired over 223 hours of USGA programming—play, previews, taped product, etc. In 2014, it was 150 hours.”

According to Wanger, the 12-year deal gives Fox time to build financial momentum for its golf coverage. He says golf attracts a more upscale viewer, and with those new viewers come new advertisers. “Anytime you take over a new property, from an advertising standpoint, it takes a little while to ramp up,” Wanger says. “I do see the sales component becoming much easier.” As for suggestions there was tension between Fox and the USGA over the rules coverage, Wanger said: “At the end of the day, the relationship is not strained at all. We needed to report what’s happening, like a news organization.” Adds Wanger about rumors of divorce talks between the USGA and Fox: “There is absolutely no truth to that whatsoever.” As for the notion that Fox shorted the Women’s Open, Wanger said: “You have to remember that we have other contractual obligations. We had to go to a baseball window on Saturday, and we had other commitments on Sunday. Anyone who says we are not committed to the U.S. Women’s Open, I take issue with that.” In part what Fox learned is what the USGA has known for years: The U.S. Open is the only

lowe st s u nday r at i ngs for men’s ma jors since ca b l e e r a b eg a n i n 1 9 8 1

hig he st s u nday r at i ngs for men’s ma jors since cabl e e r a b eg a n i n 1 9 8 1 masters 14.1 1997 Tiger Woods wins by 12 strokes 13.3 2001 Tiger Slam completed 10.7 2010 Phil Mickelson wins his third green jacket; Tiger returns from scandal 10.6 1981 Tom Watson beats Nicklaus, Miller 10.5 1990 Nick Faldo beats Raymond Floyd

6.8 6.9 7.3 7.5 7.7 7.8

1993 2014 2004 1986 2016 1985


2014, Martin Kaymer wins by eight strokes at Pinehurst 2016 Dustin Johnson wins at Oakmont 2015 Jordan Spieth wins over Dustin Johnson at Chambers Bay 1988 Curtis Strange wins at Brookline 2011 Rory McIlroy wins by eight strokes at Congressional

Bernhard Langer wins by four Bubba Watson wins by three Phil Mickelson wins first green jacket Jack Nicklaus wins at 46 Danny Willett beats Jordan Spieth Bernhard Langer wins by two

u.s. open 8.9 8.9 8.1 7.6 7.5 7.5 7.5

1981 David Graham wins at Merion 2002 Tiger Woods wins at Bethpage 2000 Woods wins at Pebble Beach 1987 Scott Simpson wins at Olympic 1982 Tom Watson wins over Jack Nicklaus at Pebble Beach 1983 Larry Nelson wins at Oakmont 2008 Woods wins at Torrey Pines

3.4 4.2 4.5 4.5

open championship 6.4 6.0 5.8 5.0 4.9 4.9

2000 Tiger Woods wins career Grand Slam at the Old Course at St. Andrews 1982 Tom Watson wins at Troon 1983 Watson wins at Birkdale 1998 Mark O’Meara wins at Birkdale 1995 John Daly wins at St. Andrews 1981 Bill Rogers wins at St. George’s



2010 Louis Oosthuizen wins by seven strokes at the Old Course at St. Andrews 2014 Rory McIlroy wins at Liverpool 2011 Darren Clarke wins at St. George’s 2015 Zach Johnson beats Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman at St. Andrews 1991 Ian Baker-Finch wins at Birkdale

2.8 3.4 3.4 3.5 3.7

2008 2012 2016 1986 1996

2.3 2.3 2.4

pga championship 8.8 7.5 7.0 6.9 6.8

2000 2002 2006 1999 1985

Tiger Woods wins at Valhalla Rich Beem beats Tiger at Hazeltine Woods wins at Medinah Woods wins at Medinah Hubert Green wins at Cherry Hills

P. Harrington wins at Oakland Hills Rory McIlroy wins at Kiawah Jimmy Walker wins at Baltusrol Bob Tway wins at Inverness Mark Brooks wins at Valhalla

month 2016 |


one of its events that makes money. And what the USGA learned is that its TV partner has to put profits first when planning programming. “In terms of carrying it into prime time, when you have conflicts with other contracts, ultimately it is a business,” says Mark Evans, vice president of national ad sales for Fox Sports Media Group. “The economics where it is today don’t make sense. What the women’s game needs is a breakout star.” While admitting disappointment, Fox looks to the future of its golf coverage with optimism. “Were we hoping for bigger rat-

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ings? Of course,” Evans says. “Were we hoping for Tiger Woods to re-emerge? Of course. But we do have a dynamic, young group coming up. The U.S. Open brings the cream of the crop. Between year one and year two we added 21 new advertisers, which generated $13 million more.” According to Hirshland, the Fox-USGA partnership delivered more than seven million live streams on digital channels. “[We] feel very good about the overall reach of USGA content in both linear and digital feeds,” she says. In terms of added exposure, Hirshland cited the five million viewers who watched “Spieth’s Northwest Conquest” in 2015 immediately after the Fox nationally televised NFL game on Thanksgiving Day. She also noted that Fox had a 20-hour USGA documentary marathon on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

“We are,” Hirshland said when asked if she is comfortable the 12-year deal will achieve its original goals. And so says Fox. “I think we’ve got the right broadcast team, I think we have the right stars,” Evans says. “The sky is the limit.” Fox and the USGA have 10 more years to try to reach that ceiling.



Lending m%ney to fellow players can be awkward


don’t think it’s fair to name names, so all I’ll say is, there’s a player, a guy who had a great rookie season this year, who might not have ever made it to the PGA Tour if not for financial assistance from another player. He was on the mini-tours and out of money when a veteran gave him 15 grand to keep going. Enough to keep entering tournaments and eat something other than fast-food. ▶ Whether it was because the veteran believed in his talent, or because they’re from the same home state, who knows? All I know is, the first time they were paired together, playing for real money on TV, the handful of us who were aware of the story recognized how unique it was. ▶ Most players don’t spread wealth down the system. Generally, the view out here is, everyone is on his own journey. If you’ve got game, it will work out. And if you do help another golfer, you should consider it a loan that will never be paid back. Which is hard, because it’s your buddy, and you want to believe him when he says, “Yeah, bro, hittin’ it great; just need to see a few more putts drop.” But deep down you can’t. And because you probably haven’t set a payoff date or any real terms, neither one of you has any idea how to behave, how to fulfill your obligation as lender or debtor. Despite the friendliest intentions, all it takes is one of you feeling awkward before you end up avoiding each other. Illustration | by Christian Northeast


I’m always happy to pick up the phone to get people out on courses, take groups to dinner and that sort of thing. But I’ve only lent hard cash to three individuals who were pursuing playing careers. As each left the game, we inevitably fell out of touch. Money changes relationships. When a guy makes it to the next level, he might be leaving behind a couple roommates who are still driving range-pickers and filling divots in exchange for practice time. The friendships I formed in college golf and development tours are some of the closest I’ve ever known. It’s a weird balance. You’ve got no shot of playing pro unless you can afford to be 100 percent, entirely committed to golf. At the same time, you’ve got to have the stones to perform when your living depends on it. Mini-tours sort that out pretty efficiently. If a friend asks me for money, I know it will feel nice to give it to him. But it’s probably in both our best interests if I don’t. Everybody knows exactly how much I make. At least it feels that way. Obviously, our purse results are published, but I’m always meeting people whose guesses of what I pull down for a certain endorsement or outing are surprisingly spot on. (Hint: Prize money was the majority of MON3Y my income last year, but +G%LF not by much.) And when people know what you have, they want it. That’s human nature, right? After I first won, I must’ve had a dozen people approach me with investment ideas. My cousin’s friend wanted to open a restauStories like this—and there are several— rant. The brother of a guy I played golf with are usually offered as evidence that Roberts had a plan to develop some real estate. This was a vindictive autocrat. But Stephens told one knucklehead, who was sort of a friend in me that he had been happy to pay, and that high school, wanted to start a T-shirt comif he hadn’t been in a position to do so, Robpany. Virtually none had anything close to erts would never have billed him. He also resembling a business plan. I invested a little said that Roberts almost always turned down in the real-estate project, which fizzled. No members who suggested improvements one likes bragging about losses, but I bet and offered to pay for them: “I don’t think if you asked around the locker room, most he was interested unless he was the one who guys have thrown money into at least one thought of charging them.” flimsy scheme. A few weeks after the Masters in 1969, As much as my first instinct is to help Roberts and Stephens took a walk around someone who’s struggling—because somethe cluster of cottages between the 10th times even I can’t believe how much money I fairway and the Par-3 Course. Roberts make—I tell myself to sleep on it. When I wake stopped in front of an open space next to up, I’m going to realize it’s not a smart idea. the Eisenhower Cabin, which the club had — WITH MAX ADLER built in 1953, after Eisenhower was elected president. (It has dormers that were designed to accommodate Secret Service marksmen, who sometimes carried golf bags concealing Thompson submachine guns.) “Cliff took my elbow and said, ‘Jack, there’s enough room right there to build a


Jack Stephens knew h%w to swim the deep end vs. Clifford Roberts by david owen

n the late 1960s, Clifford Roberts—Augusta National’s co-founder and its chairman until his death, in 1977—told Jackson Stephens, a member, that the crowds at the Masters Par-3 Contest had become so large that patrons were having a hard time getting past the fourth green. Stephens said that Roberts might be able to reduce the bottleneck if he moved the greenside bunker from behind the green to the right side, between the putting surface and the pond. “Cliff didn’t say a word,” Stephens told me in 1997 (when he was the chairman). “He just grunted.” That summer, though, Roberts moved the bunker—and sent Stephens the bill. “It was for something like $2,600,” Stephens said. “Cliff had signed it, and there was a PS: ‘By God, you were right.’ ”

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very nice cottage,’ ” Stephens recalled. Roberts said that if Stephens would underwrite the construction cost, Roberts would get the cottage built that summer, and then in the fall he would “syndicate” it among the other members. Syndication was an innovation of Roberts’ from the days when Augusta National was perennially short on cash. All the cottages on the grounds are owned by the club, even if they’re named for a member. But members helped to pay for most of them, and for other improvements, by buying what Roberts called “building certificates.” A certificate buyer gained a preferential right to stay in whatever accommodation his purchase had partially financed, and he could redeem his certificate to cover club charges. The certificates were essentially

interest-free loans to Augusta National by its members. “I told Cliff to go ahead with the cottage,” Stephens continued. “I guess he wasn’t convinced that I understood what underwriting meant, because he called me the next week and said, ‘Jack, the house is going to cost this much money, and if you’re going to underwrite it, you need to send me a check.’ So I told him it was in the mail.” Before the cottage was built, Roberts and Stephens had several arguments about it. Roberts wanted every bedroom to have twin beds, so that members would be able to double up at times when the club was full—an important issue for him. “Well, I detest twin beds,” Stephens said. “So we went back and forth on that, until, finally, he gave in.” Stephens told Roberts that he wanted something else as well. “I said, ‘You know,

Cliff, I love to swim, and I expect I’ll be spending a lot of time in that house, and I’d like to have a swimming pool underneath it,’ ” Stephens told me. “Oh, God, he hated that idea.” Roberts disliked ostentation— his bedroom at the club was spartan—and he believed, furthermore, that swimming had no place at a golf club. He wanted the cottage badly, though, so in the end he acquiesced. As soon as he did, Stephens confessed that he hadn’t been serious. “I no more wanted a swimming pool than I wanted a billy goat,” he told me. “I just wanted to win an argument with Cliff.”

Certificates were essentially interestfree loans from the club’s members.

Illustration by Michael Waraksa

Our biennial rep%rt on salaries from around the game

WHAT P3OPLE IN G%LF MAKE Ever wonder what your head pro makes? The superintendent? Maybe even the kid who collects the range balls? It’s impolite to ask, of course, so we’ve done the research for you. Golf in the United States is nearly a $70-billion industry. There are roughly 24 million golfers and 15,000 courses. The game

$$$$$ ▶ $ Tim Finchem Outgoing commissioner, PGA Tour $5,655,352 • Wally Uihlein President and CEO, Acushnet (owner of Titleist and FootJoy) $4,978,638 (includes base salary of $995,200, plus bonus and other incentive pay) • Oliver (Chip) Brewer III President and CEO, Callaway Golf $4,305,268 (includes base salary of $750,000, plus stock awards and other incentive pay) • Jay Monahan Incoming commissioner, PGA Tour $2,116,875 • Pete Bevacqua CEO, PGA of America $1,444,331 • Ty Votaw Chief marketing officer, PGA Tour $1,252,536 • Michael Whan Commissioner, LPGA Tour $966,742 • Mike Davis Executive director, USGA $854,803 • Kerry Haigh Chief championships officer, PGA of America $744,260 • Joe L. Barrow Jr. CEO, The First Tee $618,853 • Sarah Hirshland Senior managing director, USGA $606,057

Greg McLaughlin President, PGA Tour Champions $595,474 • Bill Calfee President, Tour $587,148 • Stephen Hamblin Executive director, American Junior Golf Association $538,420 • Course design (U.S.) Design-fee estimate for a leading architect $500,000 • Stephen Mona President & CEO, World Golf Foundation $481,317 • Joe Beditz President & CEO, National Golf Foundation $467,645 • Steve Timms President & CEO, Houston Golf Association $435,461 • J. Rhett Evans CEO, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America $397,915 • Reg Jones USGA senior director, U.S. Open Championships $338,142 • Jeff Hall Managing director, Rules & Competitions, USGA $316,196 • John Spitzer Managing director, Equipment Standards, USGA $310,187 • General manager Prominent private club near Washington, D.C. $308,483

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employs about two million people and pays out $55.6 billion in annual wage income. From the richly compensated executives at golf’s leading associations to the minimum-wage workers who keep America’s courses in playing shape, we offer a peek into MON3Y the paychecks of people in golf. —ALAN P. PITTMAN +G%LF

General manager A storied 100 Greatest Golf Course in the West $291,542 • Jay Seawell Men’s head golf coach, University of Alabama $287,735 • Superintendent Tom Fazio-designed 100 Greatest Golf Course in the West $220,314 • Bruce Heppler Men’s head golf coach, Georgia Tech $220,144 • Tournament director Mid-level PGA Tour event $200,000 • PGA Tour caddie What you might expect to make if your player finished 40th on the money list $161,332 • Carrie Forsyth Women’s head golf coach, UCLA $155,250 • Head golf professional Private club in St. Louis $150,097 • Executive chef Highly regarded private club in Georgia $142,854 • Head golf professional Donald Ross-designed course in the South $129,210 • Kimberly Lewellen Women’s head golf coach, University of Virginia $125,800 • Executive chef 100 Greatest Golf Course in the Midwest $124,926 • Head golf professional Highly regarded private club in Michigan $122,143

Superintendent Prestigious private club in Midwest $121,259 • General manager National average, private course $110,407 • Superintendent National average, private course $103,359 • Director of golf National average, private course $100,318 • Course remodel (U.S.) Design-fee estimate for a leading architect $100,000 • Director of golf National average, public course $96,334 • General manager National average, public course $92,544 • Director of instruction National average, private course $82,841 • Sales rep for a golf manufacturer National average $82,418 • Head golf professional National average, private course $73,488 • Director of instruction National average, public course $72,799 • Superintendent National average, public course $69,448 • Teaching professional National average $53,717

LPGA Tour caddie What you might expect to make if your player finished 40th on the money list $53,000 • Golf shop merchandise manager National average $52,003 • Head golf professional National average, public course $48,103 • Derek Radley Women’s associate head golf coach, University of Arizona $46,000 • Golf retail store manager National average $48,177 • Assistant golf professional National average $44,994 • Chris Nallen Men’s assistant golf coach, University of Arizona $42,500 • Assistant superintendent National average $41,372 • Angelo Sands Men’s head golf coach, Florida Atlantic University $33,500 • Locker-room attendant Estimate for private club $30,000, plus tips • Course ranger Estimate for private club $25,000, plus playing privileges • Course shaper Estimate for a person who uses a bulldozer to shape and build a course $300-$400 an hour • Beverage-cart worker Estimate for private club Minimum wage, plus $200 to $300 in tips a day

Golf-club cleaner Private club Minimum wage, plus tips • Bartender/waiter Midwest private club Minimum wage, plus tips • Range-ball picker Northeast driving range Minimum wage • Mower Midwest public course $18,000 (works four days a week and may play golf for free weekdays after 1 p.m.) • “Larry the Looper” Caddie at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., since 1976 $80 a bag today (versus $8 a bag in 1976) • Groundskeeper National average $10.41 per hour • Demo-day rep Estimate $200 per event • Tournament volunteer PGA Tour $0 (Typically free admission, food and sometimes a free round after the tournament.)

Compensation figures are a mix of 2014 and 2015 and in some cases include bonuses and benefits. Compiled using the latest organizational tax returns available, salary surveys conducted by the PGA of America and Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and interviews. Additional reporting by Brittany Romano, Matthew Rudy, Dave Shedloski, Ron Sirak and Ron Whitten.

Photograph by Hugh Kretschmer


Illustration by Brian Cronin


Like a tour pro, sh%uld you pick where to live based on taxes? by pe t e r fi n c h

TH3 FACT$ %N TAX PGA TOUR STARS TEND TO CONGREGATE in Florida, Texas and Nevada—and not just because they like fresh-squeezed orange juice, 10-gallon hats and roulette wheels. ▶ They make their homes there because of something those locations lack: state income taxes. ▶ One of the reasons that some non-American tour pros live in places like the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands is that these countries impose no income tax. Unlike U.S. citizens who must pay federal income tax on their worldwide incomes, regardless of where they live, most international players can escape nearly all income taxes in their original home country by moving to a tax haven and establishing their primary residence there. ▶ The financial benefits are huge. When you earn more than $1 million a year, making your home in a tax haven or no-income-tax state could save you hun-

dreds of thousands annually. ▶ Phil Mickelson caught some flak for complaining about his big California tax bill in 2013. One can argue whether it was bad form to gripe about it publicly, but this much is undeniable: He does pay a lot more in state taxes than many of his fellow tour pros. Assuming Phil and his wife, Amy, are filing jointly, the Mickelsons pay the state about 13 percent of their taxable income. That adds up: Before expenses, Golf Digest estimates Phil earned more than $37 million in on- and off-course income in 2016. Pros like Dustin Johnson (Florida), Jordan Spieth (Texas) and Ryan Moore (Nevada) can keep that state tax money for themselves. ▶ Most of us don’t have the luxury of moving to another state or country to save on taxes, at least in mid-career. But what about in retirement? Should we follow the tour pros’ lead and make our homes in areas with no state income taxes? february 2017 |


Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming don’t have state income taxes. Two more—Tennessee and New Hampshire—tax interest and dividends but not paychecks. Retirement advisers say it’s fine to consider income taxes when deciding where to live. Just don’t go crazy with it. “Obviously there are financial advantages to living in a no-income-tax state, but you need to look at more than that,” says Rocky Mengle, a state-tax specialist with the research firm Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. “Your overall tax liability in a state is going to include sales tax, property tax, maybe even an estate tax.” Rates vary widely. Keep in mind, too, that many states have special rules for retirees making them more appealing than they might seem on the surface. In Mississippi, Illinois and Pennsylvania, retirees pay no state tax on their Social Security income or withdrawals from IRAs, 401ks and pensions. Result: If you’re mainly living off your retirement accounts, you’re not paying a lot of state income tax. In Georgia, you won’t owe tax on your Social Security income. And if you’re 65 or older, you get an exemption on your first $65,000 of most other types of retirement income. That’s $130,000 per married couple. Twenty-two other states have similar (if not quite as generous) tax exemptions on income from pensions and other qualified retirement accounts. And just because an area might be known for high property tax, don’t assume you’ll have to pay the same rate as everyone else. Some states offer seniors a break. Homeowners 65 and older in South Carolina and most counties in Georgia, for instance, get a “homestead exemption” that reduces their property tax. Kiplinger’s website has a comprehensive “State-byState Guide to Taxes on Retirees.” You can click on any state and learn about everything from whether it taxes Social Security to estimated property taxes to special senior exemptions. A handful of other groups produce rankings of state tax burdens that you can look up online., a personal-finance site, has one that ranks states in order of their taxes on low-, middle- and high-income earners. You can Google “WalletHub best states to be rich and poor” to find it. Alaska, Wyoming and Nevada do well across the board. But you’ll notice that many other states get good marks for some taxpayers and terrible marks for others. Washington state, for example, is No. 11 for those making $150,000 a year. Yet it drops to No. 44 if you’re making $50,000 a year and all the way to No. 51 (including the District of Columbia) if you’re getting by on $25,000. “You see that a lot,” says Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at WalletHub. “The no-income-tax states rely on very regressive tax systems that lean more heavily on people with lower incomes. Sales taxes, excise taxes and property taxes are higher in these states. The top 2 percent of earners are really getting the best deal.”

88 | february 2017



our pros have it tough at tax time. Well, their tax preparers do, anyway. Golf pros compete for prize money in multiple states, and those states expect to take their cut in taxes. This means that, in addition to their federal 1040s, players are supposed to file tax returns in each state where they play. Most states these days make tournaments withhold state taxes from players’ winnings, says Jim Palsa, a CPA who handles taxes for a PGA Tour professional. Palsa gets a notice from the PGA Tour every month telling him how much the player made, and where. He can see which states don’t withhold—Virginia and Alabama are two. Could he maybe just . . . forget to file those state returns? “Our feeling has always been to file everywhere,” Palsa says. “If you don’t file in a state, there’s no statute of limitations. Then you’re looking at interest and penalties.” Some states have been coming after players’ endorsement income, too. Let’s say you had $1 million in endorsement contracts and spent 10 percent of your days this year in California. The state would expect you to pay income tax on 10 percent of that $1 million. For a closer look at the tax return of a typical PGA Tour player, we consulted Florida-based Art Hurley, who specializes in professional athletes and entertainers as partner in charge of the Game Plan division at the accounting firm Daszkal Bolton LLP. Hurley ran the numbers for us on a hypothetical player who earned $1.37 million in tournament purses last year MON3Y and $450,000 in endorse+G%LF ment income. This player competed in 29 events in 17 states, plus Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada. Hurley calculated expenses of about $760,000, including agents, caddies, transportation, lodging, meals,

swing coach and a personal trainer. This data is based on 2015-’16 season of Patrick Rodgers, whose winnings were close to the median figure on the PGA Tour last season. Note that these aren’t Rodgers’ actual expenses, so we can’t be sure they reflect his true tax situation. But they show how it works. How much did our hypothetical player owe in taxes? Just under $457,000, meaning—bottom line— his bank account was $597,000 larger at the end of the year. No question, that’s a lot of money by nearly anyone’s standards. But consider that it represents just 33 percent of our player’s $1.82 million gross income and 56 percent of his net income after expenses. Some other highlights from Hurley’s number-crunching: ▶ Our player’s biggest tax bill came from the IRS ($385,000). ▶ He earned his largest payday in Connecticut ($391,000), and it cost him. He owed the state around $17,700 in income tax on his winnings and another $430 in income tax on his endorsements. ▶ Florida took no such bite from his $142,000 in tournament earnings there, because it has no state income tax. But it saved him most on his endorsement income. As a Florida resident, he was in the state 213 days during the year, or 58 percent of the time, meaning that 58 percent of his $450,000 endorsement income was not subject to state income tax. ▶ His highest tax rate was in Mexico, where the $92,000 he netted (on a $146,000 tournament prize) at a PGA Tour event was taxed at a total of almost 31 percent. ▶ There were four states (Alabama, New York, North Carolina and Ohio) where he competed and missed the cut. Those states can tax a percentage of his endorsement income based on the number of days he was there. But because of his expenses, he was able to show a net loss in those states, meaning he owed no state income tax in any of them. —PF

living there, or if he still has a home there. Assuming that the player meets the test of being a nonresident, he will no longer owe income tax to the U.K. on money earned outside of its borders. (Winning a tournament inside the hat if, instead of moving to a low- or noU.K.—such as the Open Championship—would still be income-tax state, you bought or rented a fully taxable at rates up to 45 percent.) home there and lived in it part-time? Now, let’s say you want to make your home in For those who can afford it, that kind of the Bahamas instead. To become a permanent resimove can produce big income-tax savings. dent with the right to work (i.e., earn money), you The important thing is, you really have to make the have to invest $500,000 in a business or residence. new home your main residence. You’ll usually need It generally takes about six months to set up, to spend 183 days or more per calendar year there says Bahamas immigration lawyer Clemand be able to prove it with receipts from local ent T. Maynard III. If you’re willing to invest vendors, ATMs and the like. To establish that $1.5 million, there’s an expedited service that it’s your main home, you’ll also want to do will usually make you a permanent resident Keep in mind, things like register your car, vote, have your in about six weeks. Permanent residents states with low taxes bank account and see your doctor there, tax don’t have voting rights in the Bahamas, but often have higheradvisers recommend. they do enjoy the same Bahamian incomethan-average housing Let’s say you meet all those criteria and tax rate as other citizens: zero. and medical costs. have made Florida your main residence while Switzerland is a little different. It does keeping a second home in a high-tax state. tax income, but it allows certain non-Swiss You might still owe some income tax to your old residents who don’t work in Switzerland to pay home state, depending on how and where you earn a negotiated “lump-sum” amount. This agreed your money, but it will most likely be way less. If you’re amount is not based on the person’s income but on a retiree living entirely on Social Security and cash from the amount of living expenses. The agreed sum is invariyour qualified retirement plans, you might be able to cut your state ably a much smaller amount than the income-tax bill to zero. person would pay living in his home Still, no one should move anywhere for tax reasons without concountry. (Some regions of Switzerland sulting a qualified expert first. “So much of this depends on what do not provide for this benefit.) THE FAVE FIVE type of income you have and what you’re going to be spending it on,” The only way for Americans to Our best states for Mengle says. “We recommend you go to a tax professional and have take advantage of these tax havens golfers earning $150,000them work up an analysis for you specifically.” and special deals would be for them plus per year And don’t stop there, says Christian Weller, professor of public to formally renounce their U.S. citipolicy at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a senior fellow zenship, Gray says, which means that Alabama There’s an income tax, but other at the Center for American Progress. “Nobody likes to pay taxes. I get they must have another one already taxes are generally low, that,” he says. “But it takes on this outsize importance. Healthcare in place. There are countries that sell and its RTJ Golf Trail is and housing, in my view, are the things you really ought to focus on.” a new nationality “over-the-counter.” the ultimate collection of Last year Weller co-authored an exhaustive study of all 50 states But a renunciation of U.S. citizenship public courses. and Washington, D.C. for the National Institute on Retirement Secumight trigger a costly “exit tax,” as if Florida An obvious rity. One clear message: States with low taxes often have higher-thanthe taxpayer had sold everything he or choice, but how can you average housing and medical costs. she owned all over the world. Plus, if not consider it? There’s no Florida, for instance, had the highest out-of-pocket expenses for the renunciation is held under the law state income tax, and they don’t call it the Sunshine Medicare patients and the 10th-highest housing costs. With Nevada, to be for tax purposes, then the family State for nothing. Illinois and California, it ranked worst in cost of living for seniors. of the former citizen would pay a hefty North Dakota and Wyoming were tops in this category, followed “penalty” tax on any gifts received Nevada Not much of by Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota and Montana. from that person or on any property a gamble here, either. There’s no state income inherited at his or her death. tax, and you’ll have INTERNATIONAL INTRIGUE One little-known tax break availdependable golf weather able to U.S. citizens can be found in for most of the year. Puerto Rico. As of 2012, Americans who make Puerto Rico their official resiTexas Though its sales tax is high, the Lone Star or Americans, there really is no escaping the long arm dence owe no local or federal income State has no state income of the Internal Revenue Service. We owe federal income tax on dividend or interest income tax, and it has good tax no matter where we live. earned within the commonwealth. weather and more than Those rules don’t apply for non-U.S. citizens. This Nor do they owe tax on capital gains 800 courses. is why you see top golfers like Justin Rose and Thomas Aiken ownthat arise after moving to the island. Washington Sure, it rains ing homes in the Bahamas. Or Mathias Grönberg and Søren Hansen They don’t escape U.S. taxes a lot. But Washington still settling down in Monaco. Or Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott officially completely. They have to pay fedaverages 262 playable residing in Switzerland. These countries, and others like them, offer eral income tax on interest and dividays a year, according to Longitudes Group. Plus: big tax incentives for wealthy people to relocate. dends from investments within the no state income tax. —PF To do so, a player has to cut off his old residence status in his 50 states and D.C. But still, for many home country, says Stephen Gray, a London-based tax attorney. If taxpayers this represents a haven-like the player is a British-resident taxpayer, his tax-residence status in break without having to give up their the United Kingdom depends on a handful of factors, including how U.S. passport. many days are spent there per fiscal year, whether he has a family still Plus, year-round golf weather. THE PART-TIME PLAY



february 2017 |


chippin (OLD SCHOOL)

Photographs by J.D. Cuban |


the ball carries and rolls using a stroke of the same length and speed. You can experiment with other clubs, too, but I’ve found sticking to these three brings about the most consistency.

setup + stroke

this lost art will save you strokes by a .j. avoli ▶ Over time, a simple method for getting the ball from off the green to the flagstick fell out of favor. I rarely see anyone chip like the late Hall of Fame golfer Paul Runyan. That’s a shame because this technique will make you more accurate around the greens with a lot less practice. Once you master the setup and learn to make a rhythmic stroke—like putting—you’ll start getting up and down more often. Let me show you how to chip old school. —WITH RON KASPRISKE

scenario + selection ▶ Although you can use this shot in a lot of spots, it’s not all-purpose. Use this technique when you are no more than five yards from the green in the fringe or rough. Because this shot requires a stroke of consistent length and speed, the only thing you need to judge is which club to use to get the ball pin high. Visualize a small spot on the green where you think the ball should land to roll out to the hole. Then read the rest of the distance like a putt. So which club to use? Take a little time on a practice green with your pitching wedge, 9-iron and 8-iron to see how far

▶ Start by aiming the clubface at the small target where you want the ball to land. Remember, you have to read the green like a putt. That means if there is a slope, you might be playing the shot away from the cup. Now hold the club with medium grip pressure with its heel just off the ground (small photo, above). That’s really important to ensuring the club glides along the turf instead of digging into it. You’ll notice the shaft is nearly vertical, with the handle leaning slightly toward the target and your weight favoring the left foot. Your arms should be relaxed, slightly bent and aligned parallel to the target. Ball position normally is just right of center in your stance, although you can alter it slightly as you experiment with how that changes the amount of carry and roll. The stroke is as simple as it gets. It’s like a putting motion—the shoulders and arms do most of the work, and there’s no wristy movements. Focus on swinging the club with the same rhythm and force. The handle of the club should be swung no farther than the distance between your thighs. It’s a short swing equal in length on the backswing and follow-through. The stroke should be aggressive or slightly accelerated, and always hold your finish to ensure a steady pace. If you’re struggling with that, say any two-word phrase with the first word coming on the backswing and the second word on the follow-through. A suggestion? Tick-Tock. Even better? GreatChip or Hole-Out. I think you get the idea.

a .j. avoli is one of Golf Digest’s Best Young Teachers. He is director of instruction at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif. february 2017 |


SW T O T H E |



NG DR pete c ow e n

on his fi v e m a jor ch a mpions, a p r a nk w i t h a lion a nd a t r a ged y t h at h a un t s him with guy yocom

ARS february 2017 |


m y s h ot / 6 6 o n ja n . 7 / s h e f f i e l d / e n g l a n d

IT ’S early tuesday morning of the 2011 Open Championship at

Royal St. George’s, and Darren Clarke is a mess. He’s trudging toward the range with his head down and shoulders slumped.

When he gets to me, I ask, “Are you all right, Darren?” He says, “No, I’m f------ not. I can’t hit the ball. I’m wasting my time. I might as well go home.” I had seen this before in Darren. I had talked him

down off the ledge many times. I said, “Look, the weather is going to be terrible, and you’re the best bad-weather player in the world. Why would you think you’ve got no chance? Let’s have a look at you.” After watching him hit balls briefly, I gave him one thing to think about. Within two hours, his demeanor changed completely: “Watch me hit this stinger. . . . Watch me hit this high draw.” It was an incredible exhibition of shotmaking. As he left the range, I said, a little sarcastically, “Are you OK now?” Darren replied, “Yeah, but I still can’t f------ putt.” We laughed. He won by three.

i’ve had five players win major cham-

pionships while I was working with them: Darren Clarke, Louis Oosthuizen, Graeme McDowell, Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson. Some other very good players: Lee Westwood, Thomas Bjorn, Sergio Garcia and Charl Schwartzel [before he won the Masters] among them. And now, Thomas Pieters and Matthew Fitzpatrick. Over 200 tournament titles worldwide. I’m proud of that, but you might have noticed I keep a fairly low profile. It’s not about me. I had my shot at fame when I played professionally for 10 years during the 1970s. I had very middling success—I was a failure, really—and my time to be famous came and went. As a coach, it’s good to be part of something special. But let’s face it, it’s about the players.


lee westwood told me that at his first Ry-

der Cup, at Valderrama in 1997, Seve, who was captain, approached him on the practice range and held out some balls of cotton. “Lee, I want you to put these in your ears before you go to the first tee,” he said. “The noise there will be deafening.” Lee re-

Photographed by Sebastian Nevols on Nov. 23, 2016, at Cowen’s academy In Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England.



Oosthuizen’s gift was to never be tempted to change the awesome swing that won the Open at St. Andrews in 2010. It’s the same basic swing I saw when he came to me as an amateur. That’s a gift, believe me. When a player has success, there’s always a voice that whispers they can be even better if they make this one change. It can be disastrous, but Louis never heard that voice. He also has never changed his priorities in life. His family comes first, his farm second and golf third. Nothing will ever change that. ●●●

danny willett’s greatest gift is some-

plied, “I’ve worked a long time just to hear that roar. No thanks, Seve.” Which tells you something about world-class players. They love the stage.

thing that can’t be taught. I’m talking the total absence of stage fright. Did you watch him win the Masters? Here it was, the biggest moment of his career and maybe his life, yet he seemed no more nervous than if he were playing with his mates at home. It was incredible. Stage fright is a form of choking, a fear of embarrassing yourself. It happens in everything, from singing karaoke to giving a speech to playing a weekend round with your pals. Overcoming it is something that can’t be taught. It has to be sorted out, alone, the way Bernhard Langer did with his yips. What’s killing Tiger Woods? Stage fright. This great athlete, who once laughed at bad shots and had no self-consciousness at all, is now terrified of looking like the rest of us. He’s done what most stage-fright victims do, which is try to overcome it by dissecting his technique. That stanches the flow of creativity, robs from the player’s inherent talent.



improving at golf is not that big a deal.

tiger woods’ last year as an amateur

I can guarantee dramatic improvement from 15 minutes a day, without even using a club. But that commitment is way out of the range of most people. I spoke recently at a seminar attended by 500 Australian club pros. I said, “We’ve long known that exercising 15 minutes per day will add several years to our lives. Those of you who have spent 15 minutes daily over the last 10 years, raise your hands.” Not a hand went up. I said, “If you won’t commit 15 minutes to lengthening your very life, what makes you think you’ll devote 15 minutes to golf?” The problem comes down to actually doing it. It’s a very tough sell.

in some ways was the high-water mark of his swing. He had height on his backswing. He had a drop on his downswing that was to die for, a moment of deceleration with his upper body that allowed his arms to catch up. He then exploded into the ball in a way that was incredible. He will never have that again, if for nothing else than age. Age eventually makes everyone look ordinary.


the fascinating thing to me is how all

these great players are different. They’re gifted in varying ways—physically, emotionally, temperamentally and ambition-wise. Louis


i spend my share of time around miserable millionaires. If you assume tour players are unimaginably happy and content, I assure you that is not the case. Many are, but most aren’t. They are healthy, rich and living the dream, but something in them—the perfectionist tendencies, perhaps—leads them to not being happy people. When you think about it, there are only two things in life that are essential: food and shelter. Beyond that,

it’s all window dressing. A new iPhone? New car? Bigger house? You’ve got to be kidding. If there’s a fact of life I see hit home on an almost daily basis, it’s that money and fame do not bring happiness. ●●●

as a coach , I can’t look at Adam Scott and not see sort of a puzzle. On one hand, I see all this natural ability and wonder, like many people, why he hasn’t been more dominant. On the other hand, he has accomplished a lot: Masters champion, WGC titles and wins all over the world. Who’s to say he’s underachieved? You cannot criticize him. It’s his life. Contentment is not a crime. ●●●

when i began teaching other professionals, I immediately formed a fee structure that is quite different from that of many teachers in America. My company, Top Ten Golf Limited, is a service that is strictly performance-based. I get 4 percent of the players’ tournament winnings, but only for finishes in the top 10. If they don’t finish in the top 10, I don’t get paid. I cover all my expenses and am available on short notice. I’m very proud of this. What other coach in the world of sports has the confidence to structure their fee schedule this way? There have been times when the results of my coaching have produced revenue for me that the players’ agents felt was excessive. This led me to add a corollary to my offer: If the player leaves my camp, for any reason whatsoever, and doesn’t leave a token bit of compensation in place, said player cannot come back. This happened several years ago with a very good player I was helping. A Ryder Cupper who became top 50 in the world. The player’s agent rang me one day to say his player was going to “do his own thing,” was leaving and choosing not to keep a bit for me intact. I warned that said player couldn’t come back. Some time later, the player’s performance declined. The agent phoned me, asking if I would begin working with his player again. To that I said, “You obviously weren’t listening.” I couldn’t take the player back. But good luck to him. He’s a nice lad, and still a good player. ●●●

i dislike putting . It carries too much

weight, scoring-wise. If it were up to me, each putt would count only half a stroke. I give you two golfers. Player A hits a 3-iron over water to a back-right pin. Hits it to 10 feet, then misses the putt. Player B hits a big february 2017 |


pull left of the green, pitches it to six feet and holes the putt. Under my system, Player A scores a 2 on the hole, while Player B scores 2½. That’s called justice. And it would speed up the game. ●●●

i helped the Irish men’s team when Rory

McIlroy was 13 and 14. I was told there was this McIlroy kid who was brilliant, so when the team came down to see us, I quickly picked Rory out and challenged him. “You can’t hit this shot, can you?” I said, and gave him a shot only a really good player can hit, a high, soft, 30-yard bunker shot to a back pin. “I can do it!” he said and dove right into it. He couldn’t pull it off. When I shook my head in an I-told-you-so kind of way, Rory didn’t show an ounce of embarrassment. He came right back at me: “Next time I see you,

guess what happened next. A young boy, out with his trolley and clubs, rounded a corner right into the gorse bush and the face of the lion, teeth bared, ready to eat him up. The boy ran back to the clubhouse without his clubs, almost dying with fright. David, of course, thought it was hysterical. ●●●

my first tournament as a pro was in a lo-

cal assistant’s event. I shot 109-100. It was a rather traumatic experience, but I did have the courage to at least sign my card. When I talk to kids who come by my academy, I mention that story as I lay out my three Rs for being successful in life. The first R is Respect yourself. Never be embarrassed so long as you try your best. Don’t throw clubs or lose your temper; you’re really disrespecting yourself when you do that. The second R is Respect those who helped you. This particularly applies to your coaches, parents or teachers. Remember that if you disrespect yourself, you’re disrespecting them, too. The final R is Responsibility, which sort of goes back to my signing for the 109-100. Always be accountable. Whatever happens, it is not anyone else’s fault. Do not buy into the blame culture that is ruining the world today. Man up, and you’ll be fine in life.

‘IF IT WERE UP TO ME, EACH PUTT WOULD COUNT ONLY HALF A STROKE.’ I’ll be able to hit it.” A short time later, when I traveled up to Carton House Golf Club outside Dublin, Rory pounced. “Watch this,” he said, and went into the bunker and played the shot expertly. Even at that time, Rory felt there was nothing he couldn’t do. The enthusiasm and certitude with which he’d embrace any challenge proved he was going to be special. ●●●

i played the european tour from 1970 to

1980, with a two-year break due to a back injury. I had a bit of success—I beat Tony Jacklin and Peter Butler on the same day in the Benson & Hedges Match Play in 1974. But I wasn’t a world-beater, and it was tough to make a living. I tied for 35th in the 1979 Open Championship—Seve won it—and didn’t make enough to cover expenses. I was 57th in the Order of Merit and lost money for the year. At that point I was 28, had a young family and needed to move on. ●●●

my best friend on the European Tour was

David Jagger. Nice player, and the best practical joker I ever met. David, who also was a club pro, got a call from a friend who had been to a house clearance sale and bought the complete stuffed body of a lion a hunter had claimed in Africa. David ordered the man to bring it over to the club early the next morning. Together, in secret, they took the lion out to a far corner of the course and inserted it into a gorse bush. They went back to the shop, and, as players began showing up to play, they told them that a lion had escaped from the nearby zoo. “The whole town is on the alert,” David said. “I’m sending you out, but for God’s sake, be careful.” You can

96 | february 2017


that isn’t to say luck isn’t a factor

in life, or on the golf course. The secret is to ride the good streaks and wait out the bad ones. If your ball buries in a bunker on the first hole, hits a spike mark on the second and comes to rest in a divot at the third, don’t start taking chances. Ride it out and play conservatively. When a run of good luck happens—say, a lucky chip-in followed by a 50-foot putt—start rolling the dice. Play along with the golf gods. ●●●

on the sunday prior to the 2010 U.S. Open

at Pebble Beach, I sat with Graeme McDowell in front of a TV at a restaurant near the 17th hole. As we watched Lee Westwood win the St. Jude Classic, Graeme grew rather quiet and seemed to be taking something from it. After the first round—Graeme shot 71, only two shots back of the lead—I casually mentioned it was too bad he didn’t get more out of the round, because he’d hit the ball great. Graeme spun, looked me in the eye and said, “I’ve got a big one in me, you know.” Over the next three days he put on display his particular gift, which is massive balls. Graeme is absolutely fearless. He hits the right shots at the right time, and if it happens to be a demanding one with dire consequences if he misses, he won’t hesitate. When Graeme is on, his courage and self-belief are unreal.

when i began working with Henrik Sten-

son, he had sort of a preset movement with his shoulders I didn’t care for. I decided Henrik should get rid of it, and he followed my direction exactly. It wasn’t the best decision I ever made. It took Henrik an awfully long time to work through it, enough to make me wonder if it was worth it. As it turned out, it was, but it was a reminder I should think changes through very carefully before recommending them. ●●●

when i see players going through a whole-

sale swing change, I worry for them. When it comes to the golf swing, improvement is good, change is bad. If I see an aspect of the swing I don’t care for, I usually try to integrate it into the rest of what he does, without changing it radically. You can sometimes even make it a strength. This often is better than trying to eliminate the flaw, because that can require a great deal of other complex changes. It can set up an entirely different motion. ●●●

i liken the golf swing to a car. During the swing, the whole of your body is the engine. The arms, hands and the club are the steering wheel. Your brain is the driver and provides the fuel. Despite our efforts, sometimes we start hitting poor shots. More often than not, the source of the problem is the car’s transmission, which in a golf context, is the shoulders. Poor shoulder movement is a huge cause of inconsistency and days where you don’t seem to “have it.” Any command from your brain to your arms and hands can’t be obeyed, because it’s not transferring correctly through the shoulders. It’s one of the biggest oversights in golf. ●●●

best shoulders in golf: sergio garcia.

Sergio lays the shaft down on the downswing far more than anyone, myself included, would recommend. But the way he delivers the club into the ball through the movement of his shoulders is fantastic. When I work with Sergio, I’m never tempted to touch the way he flattens the shaft, because the movement of his shoulders is so good. Remember, the swing isn’t about positions, it’s how you move from one position to the next. Billy Foster, who has caddied for Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Seve Ballesteros, Sergio and even Tiger, will tell you that Sergio is the best striker of the lot. It’s the way Sergio moves those shoulders that makes Billy’s observation spot on. ●●●

my vote for the best swing of all time:

Sam Snead. I played 36 holes with Sam at a tournament in Kenya in 1980. He shot 6969. I actually led him after those rounds, and I still have the note he wrote for me: “To a wonderful player, Pete Cowen. Re-

gards, Sam Snead.” Sam in his prime had this incredible hyper-mobility that was unique in that he was strong enough to control it. He was 68 when I played with him and still carried a 1-iron. It wasn’t there just for show—he could drill it. There was the wonderful rhythm, of course, but it also was amazing mechanically. Even with the length and power of his swing, Sam never suffered a serious injury from playing golf that I’m aware of. That alone says a lot. ●●●

mechanically , Sam embodied almost perfectly my conception of the full-swing motion resembling a spiral staircase, going back and coming through. Sam’s sequential coiling and uncoiling was timeless and without flaw. There was none of this lateral-motion stuff, nor was it simple turn then unturn. Sam’s engine was much more dynamic than that. You could imprint a silhouette of Sam, and it would be a great imprint for anyone to follow today. There’s only one player today who comes close to matching it, and that’s Henrik Stenson. ●●●

darren clarke at his best is one of the two or three best ball-strikers I ever saw. His ability to hit the ball solidly, to control his trajectory, is fantastic, especially with the driver. I prefer a slightly lower, penetrating, bullet-like ball flight that connotes the word drive. I prefer it to the arcing, rainbow flights you see in some other players. The ball flight I like works on any course and is especially effective when it’s cold and wet, or when the air is heavy. Nick Price had that. So did Ian Woosnam. Thomas Pieters has it. ●●●

europeans , who develop swings in adverse conditions on courses that often aren’t wellgroomed, gravitate toward controlling ball flight and trajectory. They apply pressure on the ball in a more stable, less-manipulative way than the Americans, who generally are more focused on achieving a higher flight with maximum speed. Is one style better than the other? I shade toward the European way, but depending on the player, it can go either way.

book, and I can absolutely see how he arrived at his beliefs, but that doesn’t make it a good how-to manual. Coaches who know what to look for can derive value from it, but average students, no. It will only confuse them. ●●●

one of my favorite students at the moment is Thomas Pieters. I’ve taught him since I took part in a Belgian golf program when Tom was 13. He is unique. It’s rare when a player follows your instruction without question, but if I were to tell Tom, “Go stand in the corner for two hours, and it will make your golf better,” he would head for the corner. I’m not taking full credit for the success he’s had so far, because his coach at Illinois, Mike Small, really turned him into a player. Personality-wise, Belgians seem to either be very strong, driven characters, or they’re not. Tom Pieters is a strong character, and a strong Belgian is something to behold. ●●●

i’m also coaching a Yorkshireman named Jonathan (Jigger) Thomson. He’s 20, a leukemia survivor, and his pro career is well underway. Jigger is 6-9 and, needless to say, quite long. It’s impossible to look at his sheer size and not wonder if that isn’t the future of golf. They say in boxing that a good big man will always beat a good small man, and you wonder if one day it might hold true in golf. ●●●

if you want to stay young by hanging around young people, don’t demand special treatment and oodles of respect. They’ll want to take the mickey out of you by calling you “old fart” and stuff like that. Let them—it’s a test and a sign that you’re welcome. And give it right back. ●●●

new kids continue to show up at the Pete

here to steal, yet they break in anyway. Not one person has been caught, and every plea I’ve made to the police and local councils for a bit of security has been ignored. I have put a great deal of my own money into this place. It’s a labor of love, and I carry on because I grew up here, still live near here and want to be an asset to the community. But I’m near my limit. There’s an open area near one of our greens, and the environmental agency in the U.K. just issued permission for a guy to move a million tons of toxic waste there. Can you imagine that happening, what with all the kids running about? It’s outrageous but somewhat typical of what’s going on in the U.K. these days. ●●●

you never heard of david moore. He was

an English kid we toured with back in the 1970s. An absolute brilliant player, unlimited potential, destined for greatness. He could do things with a golf ball the rest of us couldn’t do. In the winter of 1976, there was a series of tournaments in Zambia. Big events, excellent purses. All the best Ryder Cuppers were in the fields as well as Jack Newton, who’d just lost an Open playoff to Tom Watson at Carnoustie. The towns in Zambia were remote with few hotels, so we stayed with host families. A few days into it, David asked me who I was staying with, and could he possibly arrange to stay with us as well. “I don’t like the atmosphere of the house I’m in,” he said. “Something is not right with the guy who is hosting us.” I sympathized and looked into it, but the house I was in was full of guests. A few days later, David and another pro attended a party at a rugby club. The host and the host’s wife were there, and the guy got drunk and accused David of having an affair with his wife. Which was insane, because David scarcely knew them. The husband left. A couple of hours later, when David and another player arrived back at the host’s house, the husband opened the front door, drew a gun and shot David in the head. Killed him. My inability to get David into another house has always haunted me.

Cowen Academy, but it’s getting harder to get them interested in golf. We offer footgolf, table tennis, basketball and soccer, anything to get them to take up golf. I cringe slightly at the other activities. But with the disappearances of caddies, there are fewer inroads to golf. We have to try new things.




you never stop discovering things. Ever no-

is ben hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern

it breaks my heart to tell you this, but my

Fundamentals of Golf still relevant? No. I’ve read it hundreds of times, and it’s increasingly clear that what Hogan thought he did in the swing isn’t what he did at all. It’s a smart

academy has been burglarized 22 times. It’s not in the best part of town. They break in every way possible—last time was through the roof—and trash the place. There is nothing

tice how you’ll sometimes put backspin on a buried lie from sand? I’ve developed a technique for doing that. It has to do with “rippling” the sand. Come over to the academy, and I’ll show you how it’s done.

GOLF DIGEST is a registered trademark of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. Copyright © 2017 Golf Digest Publications. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. Volume 68, Number 2. GOLF DIGEST (ISSN 0017-176X) is published monthly (except for a combined issue in December/January) by Golf Digest Publications, which is a division of Condé Nast, which is a division of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. Principal office: Condé Nast, One World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007. Condé Nast: S.I. Newhouse Jr., Chairman Emeritus; Robert A. Sauerberg Jr., Chief Executive Officer and President; David E. Geithner, Chief Financial Officer. Periodicals postage paid at New York, N.Y., and at additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement 40644503. Canadian Goods and Services Tax Registration 123242885-RT0001. Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS (see DMM 507.1.5.2); Non-Postal and Military facilities: Send address corrections to Golf Digest, P.O. Box 37065, Boone, IA 50037-0065. For subscriptions, address adjustments or back-issue inquiries: Write to Golf Digest, P.O. Box 37065, Boone, IA 50037-0065; visit; or call 800-PAR-GOLF. Please give both new and old addresses as printed on most recent label. Subscribers: If the post office alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within one year. If during your subscription term or up to one year after the magazine becomes undeliverable, you are ever dissatisfied with your subscription, let us know. You will receive a full refund on all unmailed issues. First copy of new subscription will be mailed within four weeks after receipt of order. Address all editorial, business and production correspondence to: Golf Digest magazine, One World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007 or call 212-286-2860. For reprints, please email or call Wright’s Media 877-6525295. For reuse permissions, please email or 800-897-8666. How to play, what to play, where to play is a registered trademark of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. To subscribe to other Condé Nast magazines on the World Wide Web, visit Occasionally, we make our subscriber list available to carefully screened companies that offer products and services that we believe would interest our readers. If you do not want to receive these offers and/or information, please advise us at P.O. Box 37065, Boone, IA 50037-0065, or call 800-PAR-GOLF. Golf Digest does not accept any unsolicited submissions and is not responsible for the return or loss of, or for any damage or any other injury to: unsolicited manuscripts, unsolicited artwork (including, but not limited to, drawings, photographs and transparencies), or any other unsolicited materials.

february 2017 |



Happy Days! Golf’s rules-makers announce a welcome change f you needed yet another reason to get excited about the 2017 season, golf’s governing bodies have supplied it. With their blessing, courses and tournament committees can enact a Local Rule that says if you, your caddie, your partner or your equipment (or that of your opponent) accidentally move a ball or ball marker on the putting green, there’s no penalty, and the ball should be replaced. ▶ You read that right. Rules-makers did something really good for the game, and the reaction from professional tournament organizers has been extremely positive: All the major pro tours and the Masters Tournament said they will use the rule in 2017. ▶ This Local Rule was announced by the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and took effect Jan. 1.


100 | february 2017

“We’re golfers, too, and when we saw players penalized for minor movement of a ball on the putting green, it didn’t sit well with us,” says Thomas Pagel, senior director of the Rules of Golf and amateur status for the USGA. “I hope people are excited about the change and it’s well received.” Pagel said he could envision this Local Rule becoming permanent when the next revisions of the Rules of Golf go into effect in 2020, but “I’m not going to guarantee anything,” he says. The new Local Rule was a reaction in large part to the messy situation that affected Dustin Johnson at the 2016 U.S.

Open. Johnson was deemed to have accidentally moved his ball on the fifth green during the final round and later received a one-stroke penalty, although video evidence seemed inconclusive, and Johnson said he didn’t cause his ball to move. The way Decision 18-2/0.5 is worded, if the weight of the evidence indicates that it’s more likely than not that a player caused the ball to move, the penalty must be assessed. In Johnson’s case, the USGA said there was no other reason more likely than Johnson. Another key reason for the change is agronomy. As green speeds have become faster, keeping a ball at rest has been a challenge. Something as innocent as stepping in to address a putt could cause the ball to move. So what happens if the Local Rule is not in effect? The one-stroke penalty for violating Rules 18-2 (ball at rest moved by player, partner, caddie or equipment), 18-3 (ball at rest moved by opponent, caddie or equipment in match play) or 20-1 (lifting and marking) would still apply. Those rules specify a penalty for moving a ball or ball marker in many situations, including accidents such as kicking the ball or moving it when you make a practice stroke. Keep in mind that the new Local Rule applies only if a ball is on the green—by definition, when any part of the ball is touching the putting surface. Furthermore, if the ball should move on the green as a result of wind, water or some other natural cause, such as gravity, the ball must be played from its new position. A ball marker that moves as a result of strong winds, for example, should be replaced. But put all of that aside for now, and just take a moment to salute the USGA and R&A for doing something positive for golf. — RO N K A S P R I S K E Illustration by Lou Beach

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