When officials at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif., began looking through old photo albums of their classic Alister MacKenzie design, they had the idea to return the course to its roots. That meant clearing 80 years’ worth of non-native plant growth (such as pampas grass and acacia trees) from the surrounding canyons and barrancas. With terrain too steep for groundskeepers to traverse with heavy brush-clearing equipment, superintendent Paul Chojnacky called in four-legged backup.
That’s right: Release the goats.
With 150 large-bodied meat goats wandering the canyons, the landscape is rapidly changing at Pasatiempo. The first herd arrived at the end of September, and already the goats have exposed peaks and ravines that were in hiding since the 1920s and ’30s. Chojnacky expects the goats to clear about 12 acres total, digesting their way through the canyons – without disrupting play – at a cost of a little more than $1,000 per acre. The requisite manpower and machinery would cost roughly 10 times that, Chojnacky said.
Not only are goats cost-effective, but they’re also erosion friendly. Unlike sheep, goats won’t tear the entire root from the ground, experts say, and the animals’ hooves help compact the soil ...
Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam aren’t the only power couple seeking to build the golf venue for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
They’ve got company, and they are old rivals: Greg Norman and Lorena Ochoa.
The recently retired Mexican LPGA star, who just launched her course architecture firm, and Norman announced their design partnership last week. They christened the business venture with hopes of landing the Olympic bid for the venue project.
However, it remains unknown whether the Rio 2016 organizing committee will opt for a new course or use an existing facility.
Peter Dawson, R&A chief executive, Antony Scanlon, executive director of the International Golf Federation, and Ty Votaw, executive vice president of the PGA Tour, are meeting with the organizing committee this week in Rio de Janeiro to discuss a number of issues, including the venue. The IGF is working with the organizing committee to help it make a final decision. They began studying venue options in January and haven’t issued a time table for site selection.
The Gávea Golf and Country Club and the Itanhanga Golf Club are the only two full-length, 18-hole golf courses being considered as possible ...
Golf club manufacturers can boast many skilled players among their full-time employees, but not many have played in a PGA Tour event.
Marty Jertson, a 30-year-old engineer at Ping who is credited with designing the new Anser forged iron, is in the field this week at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Jertson, a Class A member of the PGA of America, advanced through a PGA Southwest Section qualifying event by shooting 65 on the Sun Mountain course at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort.
The Sun Mountain layout is no pushover. Measuring 7,112 yards, it is one of three Paiute courses by architect Pete Dye.
Of course, Jertson is no pushover, either. Throughout his golf career, he has been a man with a plan.
When Division I college golf beckoned, Jertson decided instead to attend Division II Colorado School of Mines.
“The (Division I) coaches I met were pretty much against playing golf and studying engineering,” Jertson reflected. “I wanted to study mechanical engineering and play golf, too, so I went to Colorado School of Mines. The golf wasn’t too serious, but it was a wonderful experience.”
As an Oredigger (how many golfers can say that ...
You have heard about the kid who realized his childhood dream, made it in pro sports, parlayed his riches into all the expensive toys, bought the pretentious home in a glitzy part of the world, and forgot who he was and from where he came? Well, this is the other kid’s story . . .
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Several blocks into his casual role of tour guide, Jeff Overton realized his gaffe along College Avenue. “I should have let him in, shouldn’t I?”
In other parts of the country, ignoring a driver’s bid to enter the flow hardly would register. But here in the shadows of State U, where people still wait at crosswalks for the light to turn, Overton understood his action worked against the very fabric of what keeps him here.
“This is home,” Overton said. “Everything I need is right here. I can be a normal person.”
Normal does not describe, however, Overton’s ascension in golf. It is a success story rooted not in meteoric AJGA success but rather a willingness to work until the last drop of sunlight is squeezed from the sky.
Bob Walther remembers.
“My wife and I went out to dinner and as ...
Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson gave us split-personality portrayal through Jekyll and Hyde, now something of a behavioral brand. Golf offers the entertaining same through Scottish-born Colin Montgomerie. The dichotomy is not lost on the nonfictional character himself.
He knows two halves make for a Full Monty.
Clever, caring and charming sometimes give way for arrogant and curt, complete with a smorgasbord of facial expressions and eye movements. Undesirable golf shots could activate the darkness. You don’t become arguably the best Ryder Cup player of all time without hating to lose. Those eight PGA European Tour money titles, same thing. More than logos were worn on the sleeve.
“He has more than once caught sight of himself on TV and been appalled at how he comes across – slumped shoulders and poor body language,” said longtime British golf journalist Lewine Mair, who co-authored Montgomerie’s 2003 autobiography.
We’ll be treated to perhaps his final emotional act on the world golf stage Oct. 1-3 at Celtic Manor in Wales. Captain Montgomerie will guide Europe against the United States in the 38th Ryder Cup Matches, and once more his passion, humor and ...
CLAYTON, Ga. – Nick Saban is late. And the first thing you learn when you meet the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide is this: Saban hates to be late.
“OK, let’s get it going,” he said to anyone within earshot. “We’ve got a program here.”
The first tee at Waterfall Country Club was open, and Saban was eager to join his foursome. Still, he dutifully agreed to pose for a few photos – he’s more media-friendly than his tough-as-nails image might suggest – before high-tailing it to the first tee.
“We got a game here or what?” Saban said as he pulled up in his cart. He immediately began lobbying his playing partners as if they were officials who had just flagged an Alabama cornerback for pass interference.
“You guys didn’t let me hit any balls, so you should give me three more shots,” he said.
They were unpersuaded. Saban may be the most powerful coach in sports, as some have written. He may be able to make Tide fans swoon. But here at his hideaway on lovely Lake Burton, he’s just one of the guys enjoying time with his golf buddies. And that’s the ...
During economic strife and political turmoil in his native Ghana in the mid-1980s, Michael Akuamoah bolted west Africa with the hope of finding a better life in the United States. At different times over the next decade, his wife and two young sons joined him in a Southside Chicago apartment, and the transplanted family grew with the birth of a daughter.
While Michael worked as a waiter in a downtown hotel, children Albert, Stephen and Annchellie excelled as students, caddied during summers and earned Evans Scholarships to Big Ten universities. The plan worked. The Akuamoahs not only found an enriched life but continue to send aid to extended family members lacking basic necessities in Ghana.
Albert Akuamoah, now 29, calls their moving story a fairy tale. “And it’s still going on,” says the computer software developer. “Now I see the world (my father) wanted for us. He was one of the lucky ones to come here.”
The Akuamoah children are among the countless successful faces of this prominent golf charity, funded in part by the Western Golf Association’s annual PGA Tour stop, next week’s BMW Championship, formerly the Western Open. The WGA’s Evans Scholars Foundation oversees ...
The PGA Tour is moving forward with efforts to spur growth in Latin America in advance of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
PGA Tour officials will meet next week with officials from South America, Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico to discuss forming a new tour in the region that likely would serve as a feeder to the Nationwide Tour.
The Sept. 15-17 meetings in Miami will be the third set of face-to-face discussions between the Tour and Latin American officials.
“The idea around this is to create a more consistent model, week-in and week-out, . . . and to create a clear pathway for how players can elevate themselves to potential spots on the Nationwide Tour, and follow on to the PGA Tour,” said Jack Warfield, PGA Tour vice president of championship management.
The yet-to-be-named tour (I like PGA Tour de las Americas) would be run by the PGA Tour and consist of at least a dozen events, Warfield said. Top finishers on this tour’s Order of Merit would earn Nationwide Tour status for the next season. The tour would not start until at least 2012.
The proposed tour, while meant to help improve competitive golf in Latin America ...
Where many banks have shunned ties to golf amid public bailouts, London-based Barclays is all-in. Why? It works, Barclays president Bob Diamond says. The multinational bank sponsors the Singapore Open, Scottish Open and the PGA Tour’s first FedEx Cup event, The Barclays.
Diamond spoke with Golfweek during his firm’s eponymous event in Paramus, N.J.:
Barclays deal with the PGA Tour is through 2012. When do the next negotiations begin?
There’s never a beginning and there’s hardly ever an end. We’re in discussions now. And it’s rather positive, too. I would find it very surprising if we don’t extend, in a pretty easy manner.
How much has it helped to have Tiger Woods in the field the last two years compared to the first two years when he didn’t play the event?
There was a clear impact the day Tiger technically said, “Yes, I’m there.” Ticket sales soared that day. He’s going through a very difficult time personally, but I think anyone who says he isn’t a big impact on the game of golf would be wrong and the clients would want to see him back and playing.
Demand for golf tourism has waned amid a persistent recession, but new international destinations are surfacing regardless – hoping to capitalize whenever the economy recovers, according to findings of a just-released KPMG survey.
More than 120 golf tour operators from 41 countries – about half from Europe – participated in the poll conducted this summer by KPMG Golf Advisory Practice based in Budapest, Hungary.
The survey responses clearly show the toll of the recession’s impact: 38 percent of the tour operators reported a decline in the number of golf tourists. That response was nearly four times greater than in 2008 when 10 percent acknowledged a slowdown in demand.
Though more than a majority of participants – 54 percent – noticed an increase in demand, that response, too, is off considerably from 2008. Then, 73 percent of operators reported an increase. (This year, 8 percent said demand was stable compared with 18 percent in 2008.)
Once the global recession passes, however, tour operators – 80 percent – expressed confidence that their business would grow steadily, if not experience “spectacular growth.”
Survey participants also were asked to rate “hot spots” for tourism in the coming years on a scale of 1 to 5, from modest to strong demand ...
DETROIT – A disclaimer: The writer hails from the city in question – the mighty Motor City – so don’t expect objectivity or sober judgment. I have 10W-40 in my veins, the great Gordie Howe in my memory banks and the temptin’ Temptations in my very soul. Um, can we not talk about the Lions?
I moved to Los Angeles 30 years ago, but every visit home is an adrenaline shot. Detroit has taken its share of post-industrial age licks, but its sturdy steel heart and vibrant culture keep on ticking. It also is surrounded by fish-filled lakes and miles of healthy greenery, so you better believe I bring my sticks along with my nostalgic outlook. The metropolitan area has some 250 tracks from which to choose – a legacy, in part, of the prosperity Hammerin’ Henry Ford brought to the city a century ago.
True, the local economy is teetering, but that translates into more modest greenfees. Less than $50 buys a quality round within an hour’s drive of downtown, where the casinos and new sports stadiums have vivified the city center. All that and killer chili dogs at venerable Lafayette Coney Island, and my heart is well-plaqued and happy.
How’s your summer vacation going? Bet it hasn’t been as eventful as Charles Kingston’s. The fictional six-time PGA Tour winner faces a return to Q-School in the fall and is going through an early mid-life crisis. So he retreats to his ancestral homeland of Ireland for a few weeks of soul-searching.
His time there doesn’t prove as restful as planned, though he does get off to a heck of a start. After holing out with a 9-iron for an eagle-2 on his first hole of his vacation, he meets a beautiful green-eyed woman at the sixth tee who not only plays golf but who owns a red Mustang convertible and whose husband just happens to be out of town for a few days. Too bad the husband also owns the course they’re playing.
Before long, Kingston not only lands the women but a job offer – from the man he cuckolds – as head pro of the club. Within a month, Kingston gets even more lucrative job offers from the same man – to run his worldwide golf operations and design a golf course or two. Kingston also has a second affair, gets physically assaulted, then shot in ...
DRIGGS, Idaho – When Jon M. Huntsman Sr. gives speeches, he likes to remind his listeners that they should “prepare young for what people will say at their eulogy.”
That perspective helps explain why Huntsman wasn’t satisfied to found and build Huntsman Chemical into the world’s largest privately held chemical company before taking it public in 2005. It wasn’t enough that he and his wife of 51 years, Karen, raised nine children and became grandparents to 56 more. Nor was it sufficient to give away hundreds of millions of dollars to charities – everything from cancer research to earthquake relief to scholarship funds – sometimes even taking out multimillion-dollar loans to meet his charitable commitments.
The man who built the Salt Lake City-based Huntsman Cancer Institute, one of the world’s leading research and treatment facilities, has another objective: He wants to cure cancer.
No, that’s not quite right. He will cure cancer. Because Huntsman doesn’t try to do things. He does them.
All of which helps to explain why Huntsman ended up back here in Driggs, not far from where he was born, pressing forward on a hugely expensive private golf community called Huntsman Springs in the ...
The British – er, the Open Championship – is golf’s oldest championship, but Donald Steel reminds us that for much of its first century, it hung by a financial thread. He recalls that “the now unthinkable suggestion (was) floated in 1947 that ‘The Open Championship be advertised and sold to the highest bidder,’ ” and the tournament’s finance committee proposed holding the Open only near large population centers. Fortunately, both proposals failed.
It wasn’t until 1953, when Ben Hogan came to Carnoustie and 27,069 fans paid to attend, that the Open began to find sound financial footing. The rest, as they say, is history, which is detailed in Steel’s brief words and a rich collection of historical photos from every links to have hosted an Open.
Those old photos are complemented by the sublime course photography of David Cannon, who romances the golfer’s eye with his wonderful use of light. Cannon is to modern-day course photography what Bernard Darwin was to golf writing in the first half of the 20th century.
Among other things, Steel and Cannon remind us of the forgotten Open links, such as Prince’s, Musselburgh, Royal Cinque Ports and Prestwick, where it all ...
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Friendship. It can begin in the strangest of ways and lead to the most improbable of consequences.
Back in their teen days when they teed off at 8 a.m. and played until dark, Jim Justice slipped an 8-pound rock unsuspectingly into the bottom of his friend’s golf bag. Then, with a comic’s timing, he waited until they climbed the hill at 18 at Black Knight Country Club before saying to Slugger White, “Why don’t you take that rock out of your bag?”
White flipped the bag upside down.
“Fup, fup, fup, out rolls the rock,” Justice, 59, recounted. “Well, I took off running because, I mean, he could’ve beat me like a dog.”
Hijinks aside, their friendship flourished. But who would’ve believed that these best buddies from Beckley, W.Va., who grew up 60 miles from The Greenbrier Resort, would combine to bring the PGA Tour to their home state for the first time in decades?
White blossomed into a good-enough golfer to compete from 1976 to 1979 on the Tour. He has spent nearly 30 years as a Tour rules official. Whenever he returned home, White would hunt ...