FAIRWAY STRIPES – SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED

by Eric J. von Hofen
Over the last few months I have noticed a trend while attending and watching professional golf events on TV and around the world. I have even shot out a few Tweets about it and I think I have hit a nerve with some people. Question: Should fairways be striped or not? It seems like I might have lost my mind or I don’t know which country I’m in. This year there have been more courses on the European Tour that have striped their fairways than courses in the United States. Also the European Tour players are dominating the world rankings. This picture above is from the BMW PGA Championship on the West Course at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England. What is going on? Are we slipping?
Torrey Pines by Eric J. von Hofen
We all know this course. Torrey Pines has hosted some big events over the years and it’s one of the greatest layouts in the world. Does that fairway look inviting to you? When I see this in my travels, I think damn, another victim. The asset manager or penny pincher strikes again. I can just hear it, “mow them all in one direction and we will save some money”. Or “we can say we are going green and cutting back”. Whatever! I think courses have lost their eye on the goal line.
Eric von Hofen at Kingsbarns Golf Links Scotland
I have played courses in Scotland, like this one above (Kingsbarns), and thought they did a great job with the mowing lines and patterns. The checker board look would be just too much.
Doral Blue Monster by Eric J. von Hofen
This picture shows the 16th hole at Doral during the PGA TOUR event in 2005. Guests paying $350 to pay the Blue loved the look and expected it to look like this.

I heard Jack Nicklaus tell a story in person about when he played the Masters in the 80’s.  He would pick a white mowing line and hit his tee ball at it to get a few more yards of roll. I grew up watching the Bear and loved the stripes at Augusta. Then they were gone. But Jack still wanted the fairways at Muirfield Village checker boarded. I mowed those fairways at Muirfield in the summer of 1990 and have to say they were perfect. Each pinch point and landing area was laid out perfect. You could never hit a white line of the tee because the pattern would not allow it. Let’s see how they will look and play this week.

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TWEETS STOP DAYS AFTER MANY PGA TOUR EVENTS

Wells Fargo Championship
Five months have gone by since the start of the 2011 PGA TOUR season and we have seen some surprises for sure. Some young guns have won and some old birds have been pushed aside. The young guys like @McIIroyRory, @Graeme_McDowell, @IanJamesPoulter, @CamiloVillegasR, @WestwoodLee and @trevorlmmelman all Tweet about their lives on the road and on the course. Just about everything you see today has a Twitter page to follow, providing the latest news on what is happening. Almost every PGA TOUR event these days has a Twitter page and a Facebook Fan Page to promote the tournament and to allow players to promote themselves during the event.
Doral Blue Moster #18 green
Some tournaments use Twitter to promote the sponsor, tickets sales, drinks, parking locations, weather delays, tee times, and fun facts during the event. I have noticed a very big pick up in Tweets from tournament organizers now that the PGA TOUR has relaxed the ban on cell phones at the events. The Tweet trend starts about four months before the tournament and picks up more every week until the event is over. Following the PGA TOUR events on Twitter leaves you high and dry when the tournament is over. I checked out some of the tournaments I’m following and it goes like this. This week Wells Fargo is lighting up Twitter and they are updating almost every hour. The Players Championship is following about the same Tweet speed. The Master’s has not Tweeted since April 7th, The Honda Tweeted March 6th, Cadillac Champ last Tweeted March 16th and The PGA Championship August 17, 2010. Why is it like that? Are they paying someone to ghost Tweet and the day after the event the tech guy goes home and we never hear from anyone again?

I think tournament organizers should give us a few Tweets after they use us to build a buzz for their events.  Tell us about the take down, clean up, course changes during the summer and promote the players who have played or won your event.  Pay the tech guy some jack and keep us interested.

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Turfunderground’s Top 5 Golf Predictions for 2011


I gave this a ton of thought and really think I hit the mark.  You probably thought I was going to predict easy stuff,  like who was going to win the Open or the Master’s.  Well not today.   Today I went after bigger targets, and below are my top 5 predictions sure to take place in 2011.

1. Tiger Woods takes over for David Fay at the USGA. He moves the USGA headquarters to Jupiter, Florida.
2. The PGA of America announces that they will hold the 2017 PGA Championship in the State of Florida. They will move the event to mid April, so it will not be during hurricane season.
3. More golf courses are opened rather than closed in the United States.
4. Titleist is purchased by Dubai World. Headquarters is moved to Abu Dhabi and all golf balls will have a picture of The Burj Khalifa on them, the tallest building in the world.
5. The PGA TOUR drops it’s no camera and cell phone policy for patrons and players. They just request you turn off the flash. Tour players Daly, Casey, Westwood, Mahan, McDowell, Watson, Cink and Poulter all love the change and tweet their entire rounds. They each pick up 1,000,000 followers on Twitter the first day.

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