Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort in NE Pennsylvania is a classic

By June 24, 2010, 9:06 pm

Shawnee Inn and Golf ResortThe decades-old bridge at the Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort is actually portable and taken down every fall as golf season ends.

SHAWNEE ON DELAWARE, Pa. – Walking through the century-old clubhouse at the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort you can't help but notice all the photographs of the great comedic actor Jackie Gleason. It was here in 1944 where Gleason learned to play golf, which brings to mind a classic 'Honeymooners' episode in which Ed Norton (Art Carney) tries to teach Ralph Kramden (Gleason) how to play the great game by using an instruction book.

Somehow I just can't see Sam Snead, who was once the resident pro at Shawnee Inn, explaining address the same way that Ed Norton did.

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'What do they mean by address the ball?' Ralph asks.

'How should I know? That's what it says here,' Norton says as he pounds his hand on the book.

A few moments later, Norton exclaims, 'Wait a minute. I think I know what it means.'

Norton then takes a stance, looks down and says, 'Hello ball,' spurring Ralph to slap him on the back, and the laughs ensue.

The truth is by the time that episode aired in 1955, Gleason was already an avid golfer and had played countless rounds at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort. He might have still needed lessons, but he was intimately familiar with the game.

Shawnee Inn is early A.W. Tillinghast design

Gleason was at the then Shawnee Country Club during its heyday. Back then, the course was just 18 holes originally designed by A.W. Tillinghast before he became a renowned architect. It was the site of the 1938 PGA Championship won by Paul Runyan over Snead, and it had become the playground of celebrities, athletes and high-ranking politicians.

Today there are 27 holes at Shawnee Inn, the Red Course, White Course and Blue Course. In 1961, nine new holes designed by Bill Diddle were added, possibly diluting the experience but making the course more resort friendly.

Diddle's holes are integrated into the original layout. They blend in rather seamlessly, although there are junctures where finding the next tee box requires a little local knowledge.

There's talk of restoring the course to its 1938 splendor. Owner Charles Kirkwood has been in discussions with architect Tom Doak about restoring the course using old photographs and drawings. Doak did a similar project at Pasatiempo Golf Club in California, although it didn't involve eliminating extraneous holes.

All but three of the holes at Shawnee Inn are on an island formed by the Delaware River, making for some dramatic holes alongside and over the river. There's also a portable bridge that was built decades ago. It was designed by original Shawnee Inn owner and architect C.C. Worthington.

Each year, the bridge is removed after the season, and it's reassembled in the spring. Part of any future renovation would include a bigger permanent bridge that could allow for heavier traffic. Kirkwood would like to see major tournaments return to Shawnee Inn, which in addition to the PGA has also hosted the U.S. Women's Amateur (1919), Shawnee Open (which Walter Hagan competed in) and the 1967 NCAA men's championship.

The signature hole at Shawnee is the seventh on the Blue Course, although the second on the Red Course is just as scenic. Both are par 3s that cross the river, however, the Blue hole might have a better view from the green with the Poconos and river in the background.

The Blue is arguably the best of the three nines, with three par 3s, three par 4s and three par 5s. The 3,438-yard layout tends to slow down play at times, but it's most interesting, especially the difficult par 3s. Combined with the Red Course, it plays to more than 6,800 yards with a rating of 72.8.

Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort: The verdict

If you ask players and those associated with the Shawnee Inn whether or not it should move forward with a Doak renovation, opinions are pretty much split down the middle.

As a retreat that serves the Northeast, many feel there would be little benefit to shrinking the course to 18 holes. Others, including Kirkwood, who purchased the resort with his wife Virginia in 1977, believe a renovation would be the ticket to getting significant tournaments and national recognition.

The truth is probably somewhere in between, especially considering recent and overall improvements to the resort.

The golf course is already a fun and challenging test. During the fall, with the leaves turning on the hardwoods on the hills, it's a classic American setting.

Doak already has his fingerprint on the par-3 Tillinghast Approach Course at Shawnee. Opened in 2006, Doak designed the course with Tillinghast-style bunkers and greens, and it provides a great warm-up to your round.

There's also the Tillinghast Golf Academy. Opened in 2003, it's headed up by PGA lifetime member Jim Miller, who serves as director of instruction. Miller excels in teaching all aspects of the game, especially the short game. (I can attest to this.) He draws from his extensive experience as a head professional in the area as well as playing in the U.S. Senior Open and nine other Champions Tour events.

The academy offers schools that range from a half day to three-day packages, which can include lodging and golf. You can also take part in group clinics or receive individual lessons on the grounds, which feature extensive short-game practice areas.

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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:







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Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

"The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

"You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

"But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."