No plaque exists on either the 2nd or 17th fairways at Panmure Golf Club commemorating the time spent there by Ben Hoagn more than 50 years ago. And thats just the way this golf legend would want it'keeping the focus purely on golf at one of Scotlands finest yet lesser-known courses.
Panmure was already more than a century old when Hogan arrived in 1953 to prepare for the British Open just down the road at Carnoustie Golf Links. He practiced at the layout primarily for its solitude and privacy, and two weeks of work resulted in a four-stroke win that completed the Triple Crown in the only Open appearance of his career.
At Panmure, Hogan displayed his legendary work ethic and fastidious nature at more than the practice ground, according to a book celebrating the clubs 150th anniversary: Hogan was putting on the 17th green and asked the head greenkeeper, William Falconer, if the blades of the mower could be lowered to shave the green a little to make it more like the speed of the greens at Carnoustie. The reply was, Theres the mower Mr. Hogan!
To his credit, Hogan not only cut the green himself but later insisted on cleaning the mower before he handed it back to Mr. Falconer.
No winner has taken that practice route during the four Opens held since at nearby Carnoustie'the 9th green sits approximately 1,000 yards from Panmures distinctive clubhouse. Nor do many visitors'only an estimated 2,000 annually'stop by en route to the more famous links.
Its their loss really, for little has changed here since that summer of 1953: Just as Hogan found it, the fairways full of plush, tight turf still lead to challenging green complexes.
Located in Barry, 45 minutes north of St. Andrews on Scotlands east coast, Panmure dates to 1845, when the club leased land owned by Lord Panmure in nearby Monifieth and built a 10-hole course that evolved into todays 18-hole Monifieth Medal course. Fifty years later, an assortment of wealthy and influential Panmure members, many of whom had made their money from the Indian jute industry (a fiber used for manufacturing purposes), decided they wanted their own golf facility.
One option was to purchase Carnoustie, in financial woes at the time; another was to take over the nearby Barry Links. Surprisingly, they passed over the former, declaring the links as too far away. So they purchased Barry, renaming it Panmure.
There is speculation that Old Tom Morris, had a hand in the design of Panmure Golf Club, which opened for play in 1899. (He likely met club members while playing in the first professional tournament held at Carnoustie in 1867.)
What is certain is that Scottish course architect James Braid submitted a course improvement plan in 1922, the basics of which were implemented after the purchase of additional land 15 years later. More recently, Donald Steel renovated the 14th hole in 1988, turning a straightforward par 5 with a severe, three-tiered green into a gentle dogleg left with a more subtly sloped green perched on the edge of a tree plantation.
Not a brutally stern test like the longer Carnoustie, the 6,511-yard Panmure layout instead takes it toll via tight fairways accented by an almost constant wind from the west. On seven of the first nine holes, that natural element is in the golfers face. Fortunately, the six homeward holes play in the opposite direction. But no matter which way the wind blows, simply finding the fairway stands players in good stead here'gorse, rough and Lodge Pine trees, planted right after World War II, stand guard on many fairways.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews has used Panmure as a qualifying course for the Open six times, first in 1931 and most recently in 2007. Historically, it has provided the toughest challenge of the areas qualifying sites. There is simply little room to open your shoulders and let rip, says club secretary and former captain Charles Philip. Play has to be more tactical to score well.
Panmure qualifiers ranging from Doug Sanders in 1970 (the year he lost a playoff to Jack Nicklaus at St. Andrews) to Luke Donald in 1999 have faced a collection of very good par 3s, starting at the 147-yard 5th, which has a punchbowl-style green.
The most famous hole is the 413-yard 6th, largely due to the praise'as well as a recommendation'Hogan bestowed upon it. He suggested a bunker short and right of the small, undulating green; it remains in place today. If Carnousties 6th is Hogans Alley, Panmures counterpart should be known as Hogans Hole.
Two blind shots are likely on the 360-yard 8th unless the tee shot flirts with the right edge of the fairway, from where a glimpse of the green is provided beyond two large hills. Equally imposing can be the 399-yard 12th, played into the prevailing wind and requiring a well-struck approach shot that carries the meandering Buddon Burn crossing in front of the green.
Panmures longest hole, Lucky Daddy, is the 535-yard 14th, altered two decades ago. The current tee area once contained a hill from the top of which four members surveyed the existing links more than a century ago before deciding to purchase it.
Bordering this hole and within sight of many others is the main London-to-Aberdeen train line. The clacking roar can add a distraction on the home stretch, which features the monstrous 234-yard 15th and a trio of narrow par 4s measuring 382, 401 and 460 yards.
While unaccompanied visitors are now welcome, Panmure was intensely private until the 1980s. Still, Panmure has played an integral role in several important milestones of the game. Members launched the first professional tournament, held at Carnoustie in 1867, and contributed funds for the creation of both the British Amateur and the Ryder Cup.
Panmures strict guest policy had prevented visitors from marveling at the remarkable clubhouse, which dates back to the early 1900s and was modeled after its counterpart at Indias Royal Calcutta Golf Club'numerous Panmure members were descendants of Royal Calcutta founders.
One regular guest once observed: At Augusta National their trademark is Amen Corner, sited between the 11th tee and the 13th green. Here at Panmure the clubs own Amen Corner is that ever-welcoming area between the 18th green and the 1st tee.
by Tom Mackin, LINKS Magazine
Panmure Golf Club is Carnousties gentle neighbor
O. Fisher, Pepperell share lead at Qatar Masters
DOHA, Qatar - Oliver Fisher birdied his last four holes in the Qatar Masters third round to share the lead at Doha Golf Club on Saturday.
The 29-year-old Englishman shot a 7-under 65 for an overall 16-under 200. Eddie Pepperell (66) picked up shots on the 16th and 18th to catch his compatriot and the pair enjoy a two-shot lead over American Sean Crocker (67) in third.
David Horsey (65) was the biggest mover of the day with the Englishman improving 31 places for a share of fourth place at 12 under with, among others, Frenchman Gregory Havret and Italian Andrea Pavan.
Fisher, winner of the 2011 Czech Open, made some stunning putts on his way in. After an eight-footer on the par-4 15th, he then drove the green on the short par-4 16th for an easy birdie, before making a 12-footer on the 17th and a 15-footer on the 18th.
Like Pepperell, Fisher also had just one bogey to show on his card, also on the 12th hole.
''I gave myself some chances coming in and thankfully I made them,'' said Fisher, who has dropped to 369th in the world rankings.
''You can quite easily make a few bogeys without doing that much wrong here, so it's important to be patient and keep giving yourself chances.''
Pepperell, ranked 154th in the world after a strong finish to his 2017 season, has been a picture of consistency in the tournament. He was once again rock-solid throughout the day, except one bad hole - the par-4 12th. His approach shot came up short and landed in the rocks, the third ricocheted back off the rocks, and he duffed his fourth shot to stay in the waste area.
But just when a double bogey or worse looked imminent, Pepperell holed his fifth shot for what was a remarkable bogey. And he celebrated that escape with a 40-feet birdie putt on the 13th.
''I maybe lost a little feeling through the turn, but I bounced back nicely and I didn't let it bother me,'' said the 27-year-old Pepperell, who hit his third shot to within four feet on the par-5 18th to join Fisher on top.
The long-hitting Crocker is playing on invites on the European Tour. He made a third eagle in three days - on the par-4 16th for the second successive round.
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Uihlein fires back at Jack in ongoing distance debate
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Wally Uihlein challenged Jack Nicklaus’ assault this week on the golf ball.
Uihlein, an industry force as president and CEO of Titleist and FootJoy parent company Acushnet for almost 20 years, retired at year’s start but remains an adviser.
In an interview with ScoreGolf on Friday, Uihlein reacted to Nicklaus’ assertions that the ball is responsible for contributing to a lot of the troubles the game faces today, from slow play and sagging participation to the soaring cost to play.
Uihlein also took the USGA and The R&A to task.
The ball became a topic when Nicklaus met with reporters Tuesday at the Honda Classic and was asked about slow play. Nicklaus said the ball was “the biggest culprit” of that.
“It appears from the press conference that Mr. Nicklaus was blaming slow play on technology and the golf ball in particular,” Uihlein said. “I don’t think anyone in the world believes that the golf ball has contributed to the game’s pace of play issues.”
Nicklaus told reporters that USGA executive director Mike Davis pledged over dinner with him to address the distance the golf ball is flying and the problems Nicklaus believes the distance explosion is creating in the game.
“Mike Davis has not told us that he is close, and he has not asked us for help if and when he gets there,” Uihlein said.
ScoreGolf pointed out that the Vancouver Protocol of 2011 was created after a closed-door meeting among the USGA, The R&A and equipment manufacturers, with the intent to make any proposed changes to equipment rules or testing procedures more transparent and to allow participation in the process.
“There are no golf courses being closed due to the advent of evolving technology,” Uihlein said. “There is no talk from the PGA Tour and its players about technology making their commercial product less attractive. Quite the opposite, the PGA Tour revenues are at record levels. The PGA of America is not asking for a roll back of technology. The game’s everyday player is not advocating a roll back of technology.”
ScoreGolf said Uihlein questioned why the USGA and The R&A choose courses that “supposedly” can no longer challenge the game’s best players as preferred venues for the U.S. Open, The Open and other high-profile events.
“It seems to me at some point in time that the media should be asking about the conflict of interest between the ruling bodies while at the same time conducting major championships on venues that maybe both the athletes and the technology have outgrown,” he said. “Because it is the potential obsolescence of some of these championship venues which is really at the core of this discussion.”
J. Korda leads M. Jutanugarn by four in Thailand
CHONBURI, Thailand - Jessica Korda kept an eye on her younger sister while firing a 4-under 68 in the third round of the LPGA Thailand on Saturday to lead Moriya Jutanugarn by four strokes.
A day after a course-record 62 at Siam Country Club, Korda fought back from a bogey on the front nine with five birdies to finish on 20-under 196 overall. The American was on the 18th hole when concerns over lightning suspended play for 30 minutes before play resumed.
''(I) was playing really well at the end of the season, but I haven't been in this (leading) position. Being back, it just takes you a little bit of time,'' said the 24-year-old Korda, who won her fifth and last title at the LPGA Malaysia in 2015.
Her 19-year-old sister Nelly Korda (65) is eight shots off the lead.
''I'm definitely a leaderboard watcher. I love seeing her name up there,'' said Jessica Korda, who was playing her first tournament since jaw surgery.
Propelled by eight birdies and an eagle on the par-4 No. 14, with three bogeys, Moriya signed off with a 65 and a total of 16-under 200.
''Everybody has the chance to win as all the top players are here this week,'' said Moriya, who has a chance to become the first Thai winner in her home tournament.
Australian Minjee Lee (68) is third on 15-under 201, followed by former top-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn (65) on 202. Lexi Thompson (69), the 2016 champion, is a stroke further back. Michelle Wie (69) is tied for sixth.
Brittany Lincicome was in second place after the second round, four shots behind Jessica Korda, but the American dropped down the board and is tied for ninth after a 73.