“I take a breath—that last one just before the swing. I can hear the sheep pulling at grass 100 yards away. There is no other sound but my heart, slow now, but urging me to go on. The swing comes like a crashing wave over which I have no say. It finds me from the ether and I move with it.”
Finding golf nirvana in four little-known courses.
“As I stared at the green scribbles on my ball, the right side of my face went numb. I pulled the club back and swung meagerly, dribbling a shot 40 yards to the left. I was no longer deflated about my round; I was scared.”
A Life Rebuilt
Golf gave him a way back from the unimaginable.
“Which Masters champion literally walks up No. 18 assured of victory and breaks into Dave Loggins’ ‘Augusta (The Theme From the Masters)’? I mean, probably Bubba Watson, I will grant you that. But nobody else.”
Reflections on a Wooden Shaft
Breaking down a theme song unlike any other.
“Without my 6-iron, I suddenly had to rethink that 181-yard shot. I grabbed the 5, shut my robot golf brain off and flipped on the creative side. Rarely had I been more excited for an otherwise run-of-the-mill shot.”
Fewer clubs, more options and a deeper understanding.
“I thanked Guy for ranking me as a best dude; it was as high a status as I’d achieved in golf. And it reminded me that my great American golf course was going to have more to do with the Americans with whom I played it, versus its red, white, and blue bona fides.”
The United States of Par
Searching for the perfect American course—whatever that is.
“Rodgers, who at that point was nearly 80 years old and had been battling chronic myeloid leukemia for more than a decade, who experienced the dizzying heights of an NCAA title and two major championship near-misses and the crushing lows of falling into obscurity, still couldn’t quit golf.”
Guiding Nicklaus to major glory is only part of the Phil Rodgers story.
“It is not in the power of the human imagination to picture a situation more dreadful or disgusting. To help sop up the mess, the ship was bedded with grass pulled from the Angolan deltas. Today, the same turf lines fairways and greens all over the world.”
Exploring the dark history at the root of a popular turf.
“Times and tastes change, but the golf course remains a celebrity playground.”
The Glamorous Game
Audrey Hepburn makes putting look good.
“Such was the humor of Thompson: The original hole allegedly resembled a female form so provocative that it left little to the imagination. The story goes that the railroad ownership was so offended that they made Thompson change the hole immediately. Regardless, the name stuck.”
Yardage Book: Cleopatra
A stunning, complicated beauty in the Canadian Rockies.
“Another time he showed me a twin of the spoon used by Gene Sarazen for his double eagle known as the “Shot Heard Round the World” at the 1935 Masters. Then he produced a photo of the Squire in full safari gear sitting among a tribe of bare-breasted women from, he said, “somewhere on the other side of the world.”
The only thing more legendary than this collection? His mustache.
“Most importantly, he did it without bothering players—something the always-aware Seve Ballesteros appreciated.”
The weird and wonderful eye of photographer Phil Sheldon.
“Ross built a home at Pinehurst, and his love for the area is widely known. But does that make Pinehurst his favorite?”
The Truth About Cypress Point
A (nearly) comprehensive research project on the true favorite courses of MacKenzie, Ross and Tillinghast.
“His U.S. Open win confirmed, at least for now, that distance is king and accuracy is overrated. Yeah, well, screw Bryson.”
Just Get It in the Box
How a second-serve mentality changed my game.