Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What is this blog?

Pretentious - in a word! So there, I said it first.

No, seriously, this blog is my specific reporting of personal progress vis-a-vis the 2008 Golf magazine 'Top 100 You Can Play' list. As of this initial posting, I have 11 courses completed. The impetus for the blog is another similar effort, which I (and, me thinks, you would too) enjoy tremendously. Its @ http://top100golf.blogspot.com/ and I readily (plus humbly) acknowledge my debt to the erudite gentleman who created it. Whomever the lad is, that scribe does a wonderful job besides, obviously, enjoying himself tremendously.

His 'Top 100', however, is different than mine. It is - in a word (to use the same expression again) - exclusive. Most of the courses on his 2003 list are not accessible to the general public and many are outside the USA. Believe, if I'm not mistaken, that +80% of his list are private tracks. The 2008 Golf magazine rankings are, albeit very pricey at times, completely public.

I doff my chapeau to this inspirational lad for the well-oiled connections he indubitably possesses to so efficaciously climb his pole of accomplishment, but I have set a more realistic goal for myself. At my current clip, I anticipate finishing around several years past whatever remnants of Social Security savings come due which I might be able to access still. At least my cats can still be fed, I hope.

In spirit of homage, I'll "borrow with pride" a couple of my golfing Columbus colleague's trademarks such as listing all the courses in the skinny column and being able to go directly to that sod 18's review (once I figure out how to do that). Although I admit this blog is mostly an act of personal vanity, the main utilitarian purpose I hope to achieve is passing along any/all useful information to fellow 'Top 100' quest-seekers. As all my employees have said of myself, "I am a river unto my people!".

An example of such - the advice not the Biblical self-delusions of grandeur - would be my golf blog inspiration's tidbit in his Muirfield post that an exclusive tee time can be garnered if one stays at the (quite literally) next door Greywalls hotel. Apparently the exclusive abode has a few tee times daily which it does not publicize.

Mine, by corrollary, is not nearly so posh, but just as exclusive. Specifically that there's a deli of interest just down the road from the fabled Bethpage Black. It's in a strip mall with a hardware store (Tru-Value), a branch of the Post Office and a Chinese kitchen. If you go inside and nicely ask around a bit, they'll give you a phone # for someone who has an inside track on getting a tee time for 24 to 48 hours out. "Nuf said", ya know, Mr. Iroc Z, what I mean?

If you are serious about your quest, I suggest you group the courses around geographical foci. I have a list and usually there are two to six courses (e.g., Phoenix, AZ) within a couple of hours of each other. Broken down, there are 24 'hubs' (as I've dubbed them) and - of my 89 courses remaining - only 9 do not fit into one of these focused locations. The nice thing is that many of the hubs are airline transfer points or not too far from such. My point is that if you're dedicated and show some forethought, you can knock-off a couple every year just in the course of normal travel. Once I figure out how to do such, I'll attach my list for the perusal of all my armies of faithful.

So why am I doing this? Probably most of you don't care and I don't blame you. Suffice to say, I love golf and am a very goal-oriented person. When I say "I love golf", I mean it a bit more comprehensively than most. I love playing, collecting, thinking about it, studying various aspects, etc. I'm not one for idle occupation or mellowing-out. As one ex-paramour said of myself, "If you didn't have a mountain to climb, you'd make one and then fill-in the dug-out crater so you could run a lakeside marina!". Guilty, as charged, your most munificent Magistrate.

Enough of the personal; that's the extent of such I'll reveal because that's not the purpose of this blog nor do I enjoy reading such psychosis-sucking sentimentality in others. Mr. Top 100 doesn't indulge in such sapply semantics nor will I. After all, when was the last time Sigmund Freud teed it up in a friendly Nassau? Hah! [Although, truth be told, at times a mobile confessional couch on the course would be a much more welcome sight than even a bevy of the most comely cart girls, but I digress.]

First the list and, then, straight into reviews of individual courses. As mentioned I'll put up all the tracks numerically on skinny side of the blog and (once my vast mastery permits) have links on each to their individual review. Trying to get to know my subject better however, I've done some work on 2008's high holy per their respective architects. Specifically I've broken down courses by the highest number per architect & each's individual ranking. Think you'll find results interesting, but gent to the right is Mr. Tom Fazio, winner for most courses on Golf magazine's 'Top 100 You Can Play'.

No. 1: Tom Fazio (12 courses) [Above]

No. 2: Pete Dye (10 courses) [Left]

No. 3: Jack Nicklaus (9 courses)

No. 4: Robert Trent Jones II (Jr.) (6 courses)

No. 5: Robert Trent Jones, Sr. (5 courses)

No. 6: (Tied [5 different architects])

Bill Coore (4 courses)
Ben Crenshaw (4 courses) [Left]
Jim Engh (4 courses)
Rees Jones (4 courses)
Donald Ross (4 courses)

No. 11: (Tied [3 different architects])

Tom Doak (3 courses)
Arthur Hills (3 courses)
Jay Morrish (3 courses)

No. 14: (Tied [9 different architects]):

Bob Cupp (2 courses)
William Flynn (2 courses)
Dana Fry (2 courses)
Michael Hurdzan (2 courses)
Scott Miller (2 courses)
Roger Packard (2 courses)
Rick Smith (2 courses) [Right performing his famous four club circus trick]
Tom Weiskopf (2 courses)
Dick Wilson (2 courses)

Ahoy, mateys, and let the excellent adventure begin!

There are, incidentally, thirty eight other golf architects who have a single course listed in the 'Top 100'. For brevity's sake, I omitted these fellows. However this group includes a list of luminaries such as (to the right) Arnold Palmer for Deacon's Lodge in Minnesota, oddly enough, and the most eminent of them all, Alister MacKenzie of Augusta National, Cypress Point & Crystal Downs reknown. The latter Scot is an example of several prominent architects who did not design many courses today not private and, thus, are not on my 'Top 100' list. Also, it should be noted, that co-designers were each given equal credit. Therefore Rees Jones gets Torrey Pines' South Course listed for himself due to his 2001 redo, despite the original design being done by Mr. Billy Bell, Jr. (who receives equal credit as well) back in 1957.

One judgement call on the author's part is that, regarding the vein referenced in above paragraph, I didn't omit citation of Mr. "Wild Man" Pete Dye, the original architect, for the Trump National Golf Club in California's den of inequity, Los Angeles. Currently The Donald, unbelievably, has himself as the sole architect, but the comb-over king doesn't know redan from risotto when it comes to implementing course designs, in my humble albeit considered opinion, so DJT's self-designation didn't obviate Mr. Dye's equal share in credit for this recent Pacific seaside entry.

By the way and in closing, is it just me who notices there's nothing but white Anglo males listed above? Ouch!