The Story of Golf in Fifty Holes

I always like to read a fresh perspective on golf.  Tony Dear provided that opportunity with The Story of Golf in Fifty Holes.  Instead of only focusing on the history of architecture or the competitive history of golf this book seeks to investigate both.

It takes us on a journey from St. Andrews to Pinehurst to Bandon Dunes and many other courses in between.  The book is a whirlwind around the golf world that has interesting tidbits about the history of the holes and courses as well as the competitive events that occurred on the links.

This book has a little bit of everything.  I enjoyed that I could hear about Old Tom Morris, Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, and Annika Sorenstam as well as the events played on these holes. Continue reading “The Story of Golf in Fifty Holes”

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The Shattuck Golf Club

The Shattuck Golf Club – Played Multiple Years

  • Rankings: None of the four lists
  • Location: 53 Dublin Road, Jaffrey, New Hampshire
  • Year: 1991
  • Architect: Brian Silva
  • Course Access: Public
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 6,764 yards, Par 71, 75.0 Rating/147 Slope
  • Blue: 6,077 yards, Par 71, 70.8 Rating/141 Slope
  • White: 5,412 yards, Par 71, 68.4 Rating/130 Slope (Men’s), 73.9 Rating/135 Slope (Women’s)
  • Red: 4,632 yards, Par 71, 67.6 Rating/125 Slope (Men’s), 73.1 Rating/139 Slope (Women’s)
  • Gold: 4,393 yards, Par 71, 64.6 Rating/127 Slope (Men’s), 66.2 Rating/125 Slope (Women’s)

The Shattuck is one of the courses I played while spending my summers in New Hampshire.  A friend of my grandfather would take me around to many courses in the state to get me exposure to different places.  For that I am very thankful and want to give Steve a shoutout.  Let’s get into a little of the background on the course.

The course sits near the base of Mt. Monadnock.  The mountain is in your field of vision for much of the course and is really pretty to look at.  As you will see from the photos, wetlands and other hazards are not far from the playing surface.  This is the primary defense of the course as it is not overly long.  The golfer will have to put them out of his or her mind to score well.  While it can be difficult, don’t be discouraged.  Per the course’s website, if you can hit the ball 75 yards in the air, you can play any of the holes.  That being said, it has made the list of the Top 100 toughest courses in the country.  I highly recommend getting the player’s guide to help you navigate the course.

Hole 1 – 357 yards – Par 4

You need to be careful from the very first tee shot here.  As you can see in the photo below, there is a creek that cuts across the fairway at the 150 yard marker.  You have to make the decision to lay up short or challenge it with the driver.

sha-1Hole 2 – 146 yards – Par 3

This hole plays from an elevated tee to a green that sits at an angle.  The downhill slope must be accounted for as the easy mistake here is going long.  Anything in the middle of the green is a solid shot.

sha-2Hole 3 – 343 yards – Par 4

I had some technical issues with the photo here so it is a little smaller.  The green sits a in a stadium-like setting.  The challenge on this hole is the narrow fairway.  There is a hazard on the left and a ledge on the right that requires a good shot to clear.

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Hole 4 – 312 yards – Par 4

Thankfully this is a shorter hole and you can afford to not hit driver.  It is definitely a tight landing area.  You must be aware of the wetlands down the left side, while the bunkers on the right are no picnic.

sha-4Hole 5 – 551 yards – Par 5

This can be a monstrous hole from the back tees as it plays over 600 yards.  The tee shot plays to a narrow fairway.  The hole has trouble on both sides most of the hole.  The green is seen below.  It is carved into a large rock ledge and sits behind a peaceful stream.  The Shattuck is just not like many places you have played before.

sha-5Hole 6 – 508 yards – Par 5

I always think it’s a nice change of pace to have back to back par fives.  This hole is the definition of target golf.  There are two landing areas.  There is no need to get too aggressive.  Just play the course and hope to make a putt.

sha-6Hole 7 – 183 yards – Par 3

This longer par 3 plays over more wetlands that are definitely all carry.  There is a small area to the right to bail out, but otherwise this hole requires a well-struck shot.

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Hole 8 – 373 yards – Par 4

This hole has some scenic views.  You need precision with your tee shot since you need to carry a waste area, but also cannot go to far or you risk being blocked out from the green.  Welcome to The Shattuck.

sha-8Hole 10 – 394 yards – Par 4

Continue reading “The Shattuck Golf Club”

TAC 9-2

Taconic Golf Club

Taconic Golf Club – Played July 2016

  • Rankings: Golf Magazine Public #39
  • Location: 19 Meacham Street, Williamstown, Massachusetts
  • Year: 1927, 2009 (Restoration)
  • Architects: Wayne Stiles & John Van Kleek (Original), Gil Hanse (Restoration)
  • Course Access: Public
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 6,808 yards, Par 71, 73.5 Rating/136 Slope
  • Gold: 6,410 yards, Par 71, 72.1 Rating/127 Slope
  • Purple: 5,826 yards, Par 71, 69.4 Rating/122 Slope (Men’s), 74.8 Rating/130 Slope (Women’s)
  • White: 5,143 yards, Par 71, 66.6 Rating/116 Slope (Men’s), 71.4 Rating/122 Slope (Women’s)

Well after my day at Boston Golf Club I was off to western Massachusetts and Taconic Golf Club.  It’s funny because after playing my first Gil Hanse course, I arrived here where Hanse performed an extensive renovation in 2008-2009.  I had never really been to this part of the state.  The location of this track is very near to New York state and I spent most of my drive from New Hampshire in Vermont.  It took about three hours, but I had my multiple podcasts to keep me entertained.  Shout out to Shane Bacon, Michael Collins, and Jason Sobel.

Let’s get into a little background.  According to the course website, the story goes that the course was started by “three men with three tomato cans” in 1896.  Their names were Doughty, Ide, and Gale and they set up three tomato cans in the ground on Weston Athletic Field which is next to the present day 18th fairway.  A few more men joined and weeks later the first real course was planned out as a seven-holer.  By 1897, they had expanded to nine holes and converted a residential house to a clubhouse that lasted until 1955.  The course was then expanded to 18 holes in 1928 through gifts to Williams College.

Continue reading “Taconic Golf Club”

Best Winter Drills to Practice at Home

***My first guest post comes to you from Matt at TruGolf.com and it tackles the challenge of keeping your game sharp during the winter.  I hope you enjoy it.***

Being from Utah, I’m no stranger to adapting during winter weather conditions. Winters can be brutal in the Salt Lake Valley and we face extreme inversion on top of it. Warm air rises and cold air sinks, basically creating a lid over the valley causing pollutants to be trapped near the valley floor. It makes spending time outside difficult and hazardous to our health. Still, I’ve never let this stop me from practicing during the offseason. Here are a few drills that have helped improve my game the most. Continue reading “Best Winter Drills to Practice at Home”

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Boston Golf Club

Boston Golf Club – Played July 2016

  • Rankings: Golf Digest #74, Golf Magazine #81
  • Location: 19 Old County Road, Hingham, Massachusetts
  • Year: 2005
  • Architect: Gil Hanse
  • Course Access: Private
  • Walking Rules: Caddies Available

Score Card Information:

  • Championship: 7,062 yards, Par 71 , 74.8 Rating/139 Slope
  • Back: 6,740 yards, Par 71, 73.4 Rating/136 Slope
  • Member Stake: 6,462 yards, Par 71, 71.0 Rating/131 Slope
  • Middle: 6,279 yards, Par 71, 70.6 Rating/128 Slope
  • Forward: 5,021 yards, Par 71, 69.6 Rating/125 Slope

This is one of the more modern courses in the Top 100 rankings seeing as it opened in 2005.  It is just to the south of downtown Boston.  While the distance is short, the trip duration will depend on time.  Boston has some bad traffic so plan for that when you are heading in for your tee time.  Being that this is a Boston-area course, I was not surprised to hear my caddie say they have had groups with Tom Brady, Tedy Bruschi, Randy Moss, and Tuuka Rask.

I haven’t had the opportunity to play any Gil Hanse courses so I was looking forward to this.  I figured it would serve as a good introduction to his work and give me somewhat of a connection to Olympic golf since he designed that course as well.  I had a morning tee time on a Wednesday morning.  There weren’t too many people at the course when I got there.  After I was taken care of very well by the bag drop attendant and in the pro shop, it was off to meet my caddie and get started early.

Continue reading “Boston Golf Club”

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Wentworth By The Sea Country Club

Wentworth By The Sea Country Club – Played July 2016

  • Rankings: None of the four lists
  • Location: 60 Wentworth Road, Rye, New Hampshire
  • Year: 1897 (Original), 1921 (Update), 1964 (Expansion)
  • Architect: George Wright, Donald Ross, Geoffrey Cornish, Alex Findlay, & Brian Silva
  • Course Access: Private
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Blue: 6,306 yards, Par 70, 69.2 Rating/127 Slope
  • White: 6,006 yards, Par 70, 68.9 Rating/126 Slope
  • Gold: 5,440 yards, Par 70, 66.3 Rating/117 Slope
  • Red: 5,055 yards, Par 70, 67.1 Rating/116 Slope

The first course on the New England jaunt was Wentworth By The Sea Country Club.  The course website didn’t have a great deal of history on it, but I played this course back when I was 16 and I really wanted another go of it.  Luckily, we could get on through a network of private clubs our home course is apart of.

As you can see from the course details a lot of work has been done to this course by many architects.  You can’t really tell as it all fits together very well with the best holes being along the water.  Let’s get started!

Continue reading “Wentworth By The Sea Country Club”

2016 New Hampshire Trip Report

I try to get up and see the family when I can.  This year it would include four rounds of golf.  Three of which I took pictures during the round.  So coming up you will see Wentworth By The Sea Country Club, Boston Golf Club, and Taconic Golf Club.

It’s a long trip up to New Hampshire, but one I have done plenty of times.  You can’t go wrong with most things in the Granite State, but I will give a couple of recommendations.  The lobster roll at River House in Portsmouth was awesome.  In addition, just down the street Annabelle’s has some really good ice cream.  It’s cash only so be prepared.

We got to go a Red Sox game at the classic Fenway Park.  I have been almost 10 times, but it never gets old.  If you find yourself in the area and the boys are in town do yourself a favor and get tickets.  You can go by the Bleacher Bar or Cask & Flagon for food/drink before the game.  Keep in mind that they will be crowded so get there early.

Course tours to come starting next week!