Punch Shot: Ultimate U.S. two-course, one-day fantasy

By Ryan LavnerOctober 16, 2013, 8:05 pm

Jordan Spieth played both Pine Valley and Augusta National on Tuesday. GolfChannel.com writers offer up their Stateside two-course, one-day golf fantasy.


Covering this year’s Walker Cup, I absolutely fell in love with National Golf Links of America, in Southampton, N.Y. The first two holes – for the big-hitting amateurs, at least – are drivable. The trio of par 3s is great fun. And the last hole, a reachable par 5, gives the illusion that you’re hitting the second or third shot into an infinity green, with the Great Peconic Bay lurking in the background. It’s spectacular, and so, apparently, is the lobster served in the clubhouse, which could serve as the necessary fuel for our cross-country flight to Cypress Point. 

Surely the grub there is fine, too, but the real treat is the views, which are breathtaking, and the eclectic collection of holes, which should make this gem No. 1 on every golfer’s bucket list. Sure, you might be able to find two better courses in America, but you’d be hard-pressed to find two that are more fun to play, especially in the same day. 


Pebble Beach and Spyglass? Been there, done that. Bethpage Black and National? Very tempting. The “You Pick Two” special at Bandon? Sounds like a Panera lunch deal. Augusta National and Pine Valley? Apparently any 20-year-old can do that these days.

The truth is, if I’m going to play any of those places, I’d like to take my time and enjoy the atmosphere rather than race for the parking lot to get to the next track. Hey, you wouldn’t rush through a date with Kate Upton, so why settle for a quickie with one of the world’s greatest courses?

If I’m going to play two cool U.S. courses in one day, I want to have a story. I want something to tell my grandkids someday. I want to make a little history.

I’m picking Eagleglen GC and Nanea GC – in that order.

First I’ll start in Anchorage with a Robert Trent Jones design that is listed as Alaska’s best course by Golf Digest. Then I’ll shed a layer or two and hop in the G7 for the Aloha State, where I’ll play the magazine’s crown jewel of Hawaii, which features a view of the Pacific Ocean from every hole.

Two excellent tracks will make for one excellent story. Just imagine how cool it would be to begin the day in Alaska, whipping past snow-capped mountains, then finish it in Hawaii, surrounded by a tropical paradise.

Sure, there are more traditional offerings to put on my dream list, but I’d rather take my time and enjoy all the amenities of those courses. Maybe sneak out for an emergency 18. Or 36.

If I’m picking any two to play in one day, I’m going for the big story over the big name. Hey, it’s my dream. You can’t tell me it’s wrong.


If I’m given carte blanche for a 36-hole day of dream golf, I’m starting my trip on Magnolia Lane. Augusta National probably tops more bucket lists than any other golf course, mine included, so to be able to begin with a morning round through Amen Corner and across a back nine that may evoke more of golf’s historic moments than any other is too good to pass up.

After a quick bite to eat near Butler Cabin (hold the pimento cheese), I’m heading north to the Sandhills of North Carolina and one of Donald Ross’ crowned jewels, Pinehurst No. 2. The Village of Pinehurst holds a special place in my heart – I love the area, the ambiance and several of the courses on-site. None are better than No. 2, though, and an afternoon round taking in the recent changes made under the watchful eyes of Coore & Crenshaw would be a perfect way to end an ideal day.

Augusta in the morning, Pinehurst in the afternoon … doesn’t get much better than that. Hopefully my short game comes along for the ride.


Heaven on earth would be 18 holes at Pebble Beach Golf Links in the morning and 18 at Cypress Point Club in the afternoon.

Put my dad and my two brothers in my foursome, and I'll be weepy on the first tee box.

There may be better overall tests of golf you could arrange back to back in a single day, but nothing as spectacular as those two courses, both built along the Pacific Ocean and the Monterey Peninsula. Anyone who plays golf knows the grandeur of Pebble Beach, but nobody tires of it. There’s nothing like stepping on that No. 7 tee and hearing sea lions barking and waves crashing on the craggy rocks around you. I’m fortunate enough to know that thrill, but I’ve never played Cypress Point, where there's more mystique than Pebble Beach because there's so much more mystery. We don't know it like we do Pebble. 

Alister Mackenzie is credited for building three of the best holes in the world – Nos. 15, 16 and 17 – along the ocean at Cypress Point. If his design can rival the awe inspired by Pebble Beach, I’m more than intrigued. 


There is no shortage of 36-hole dream days in the Lower 48 – Augusta National and Pine Valley top most folk’s “bucket list.” Or maybe Pebble Beach and Cypress Point is your cup of tea.

But for the perfect combination of architectural brilliance and effortless proximity, we’ll take National Golf Links of America and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southhampton, N.Y.

Separated by the narrow Sebonac Road, one wouldn’t need a second warm up after a round at one of these gems before setting out for the afternoon 18.

And the golf, well let’s just say Southampton’s 11968 zip code may be the deepest collection of classic architecture this side of the Monterey Peninsula.

Although both courses are perennially ranked among the top courses in the country, Golfweek Magazine’s top 100 list of “Classic Courses” puts the relevancy of proximity and perfection in context. Shinnecock Hills and National Golf Links rank third and fourth, respectively, on that list.

By comparison, Pine Valley and Cypress Point are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, on the Golfweek list. Although that would be a potent combination, a mid-round red-eye doesn’t exactly scream “dream day” to most folks.

Whereas a day on Shinnecock and the National would literally be a walk across the two-lane road, but not before a relaxing lunch and maybe even a nap.

Now that’s a dream day.

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Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.