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
Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball
Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.
In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.
"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’
Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.
“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.
“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’
Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.
The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving
Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.
The major championships I'm certainly proud of, but Barbara, the kids and my grandkids are the best things to ever happen to me. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/wkma1Q9LlK— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) November 23, 2017
GC Tiger Tracker:
Mixing Thanksgiving and waiting for a week from today. pic.twitter.com/u9m9WxQNYx— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 23, 2017
Happy thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends. #Thankful— Steve Stricker (@stevestricker) November 23, 2017
Was reading about Thanksgiving. Originally they ate waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Seems a bit tastier than Turkey!— Frank Nobilo (@FrankNobiloGC) November 23, 2017
Literally food for thought.
Tyrone Van Aswegen:
Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017
Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.
Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan
Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.
Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.
Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:
“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”
Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.
“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”
Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.
“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”
Best Greg story: coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes “Yep, caddied for her, her, her and her” Legend— Matthew Galloway (@matthewgalloway) November 23, 2017
In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.
“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”
Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.
“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”
The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time Tour caddie, Greg Sheridan. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP pic.twitter.com/QKy0YdK249— LPGA (@LPGA) November 22, 2017
Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.
“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.
Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:
Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:
Sad to hear the passning of Greg Sheridan. This photo brings back many memories. Always respected his caddy skills and devotion to womens golf. @natalie_gulbis @LPGA #RIPGreg pic.twitter.com/lHU3Ixz9Vk— Annika Sorenstam (@ANNIKA59) November 23, 2017
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:
Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:
Professional caddies are often overlooked and underrated. But they're just as often the unsung MVP of a player's success. We just lost a great one. RIP Greg Sheridan. He was the 1st to welcome me to my LPGA assignment years ago. He will be missed eternally.— Jerry Foltz (@JerryFoltzGC) November 22, 2017
Rest with the Angels now, Greg Sheridan. ❤️— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:
RIP Greg Sheridan. One of the most successful and great caddies of World Golf, period.— Shaun Clews (@shaunclews1973) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:
Sad to here that long time tour caddy Greg Sheridan has passed away! RIP Greg, you will be missed. — Jonny Scott (@stixy76) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:
The world is a sadder place today without our buddy Greg Sheridan, a caddy and a friend for lifetimes...Godspeed buddy— Kevin Casas (@TheKevinCasas) November 23, 2017
LPGA pro Jennie Lee:
So sad to hear the news of long time LPGA caddie Greg Sheridan. I️ remember sitting next to him on the plane from Walmart to the US Open one year and he gave me the best words of wisdom on player/caddie chemistry. He will be missed greatly. Thinking of you @natalie_gulbis ❤️— Jennie Lee (@JennieLeeGolf) November 23, 2017