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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Design Your Own Hole Contest

My friend Jack sent me an email today notifying me of an Armchair Architect contest being held by Golf Magazine. I jumped on it right away and began designing a hole from scratch. It took me about 30 minutes to get all of my thoughts and a sketch down on paper. I'm pleased with my draft and will make only a few minor edits to it over the next day or two.

For the contest, you are asked to design a par 5, which is supposedly the most difficult type of hole to design. The gimme is that you have a blank canvas from which to create your hole; you don't have to put it in the woods, by the ocean, or on rolling farmland. It can feature any landscape you wish. This is obviously much easier than doing what professional architects do. They have to design holes around the land they are given with. Here, you can design the hole AND the land that goes with it.

My hole is a slight dogleg left that plays up a hill off the tee. The fairway then flattens out after 265 yards. From there on in, there is all kinds of excitement. The hole is punctuated by a double green, thus inspiring the hole's name, "Two For One".

Contest entries are due by end of day, September 15, 2005.

Friday, August 19, 2005

My New Idol

I have a new idol. His name is Leon Wentz. Mr. Wentz is a 68 year-old businessman from California who recently completed the gargantuan task of playing every course in Golf Magazine's Top 100 Golf Courses in the World list (2003). This achievement is bigger than it seems at first glance. Here's why:

1) Most of the courses on the list are private.
2) The courses are in 13 different countries.
3) He paid to travel to each course out of his own pocket.
4) The list changes every two years, and he insisted on staying current when a new list appeared. He said there were 11 courses that he had already played that he had to substitute new courses for when the updated lists came out.

I've heard of people playing every course on various US lists, but nailing everything on a World list is beyond belief. He mentioned in the Golf Magazine article that it took several years of networking to get on some of the Japanese courses. He must really believe in the Six Degrees of Separation concept.

You have to admire someone who can achieve such lofty goals. Leon Wentz is the man!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Pay-Per-View Majors

21st century media has become about choice. With TiVo, iPods, XM Radio, podcasts, blogs, webcasts and their various kin, people have a choice about not only WHAT they watch, read, or listen to, but WHEN and HOW they digest their information and entertainment.

However, there is a major exception to this array of choice -- network golf broadcasts. The amount of commercials, highlights, and flashbacks aired during this weekend's PGA compared compared to the amount of live shots shown was horrendous. I don't want to even get into CBS' and the PGA of America's botched scheduling of the final round on Sunday. What makes me crazy is the complete lack of live footage of the event. Some of us want to see some actual golf being played!

My solution to this problem is to give viewers a choice. Continue to offer the normal, commercial-laden broadcasts for free so Joe Casual Golf Fan can watch the sorry network version of the tournament, but also give serious fans the option to watch the tournament as a pay-per-view event without commercial breaks. I would be willing to pay up to $150 for a four-day package and up to $100 for all day weekend broadcasts if it meant no commercials.

We need a choice about how to watch our major tournaments, and since we'll never see CBS, NBC, or ABC go commercial-free, at least offer a pay-per-view option. The networks can still demand their massive fees for commercials, they can make money from the pay-per-view subscribers, and golf fans everywhere can get what they want - more live coverage.