The Local Knowlege


Here's an awesome photo of NFL star Larry Fitzgerald playing the most extreme golf hole in the world

Larry Fitzgerald has made a career of going deep in the NFL, but over the weekend he went long on the golf course. Very long.

Related: More on the world's longest par 3

Fitzgerald played the world's longest par 3, the Extreme 19th hole at Legend Golf & Safari Resort, and the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver tweeted this fantastic photo of him teeing off:

Fitzgerald was asked how long it took to get up to the tee, which is 1,410 feet above the putting surface and said it was a five minute helicopter ride each way. Transportation is included in the $700 fee a foursome pays to play the hole -- the rest of the resort's signature course has just a $61 green fee.

Related: NFL stars who love playing golf

Fitzgerald also responded to Hank Haney, who was more focused on the top of the NFL star's backswing rather than the stunning view from the top of a mountain.

Good comeback, Larry.

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Courses & Travel

A 42-hour trip through eight countries for a round of golf (yes, golfers are nuts)

Golfers are nuts, as we know from the motto they have appropriated from the U.S. Postal Service: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will keep golfers from their appointed rounds.

Nor a volcano, as it turns out.

(Getty Images)

On Throwback Thursday, the blog at the St. Andrews Links website recalls how a trio of golfers from Sweden with a tee time on the Old Course at St. Andrews had their flight canceled as ash from a volcano that erupted in Iceland disrupted air traffic throughout Scotland and across Northern Europe in the spring of 2010. They were not deterred.

“Their journey included a drive from Sweden to Denmark and ferry ride from Denmark to Germany,” the blog post said. “They then drove through Europe to Calais [France] where they boarded a second ferry to Dover [England] and finally a ten hour drive from Dover to St Andrews.”

It was a 42-hour trip that encompassed eight countries (Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, England and Scotland) for a four-hour round of golf.

To play the Old Course, no further explanation necessary.

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Courses & Travel

Good news! Arnold Palmer is building his first course in Scotland

The Arnold Palmer Group has designs in progress all over the globe, including one in China and one in Brazil. But for the first time, The King is building a course in Scotland. And he's chosen a pretty awesome chunk of land for it.

Starting early next year, the course will be built on Moray Firth, an inlet of the North Sea near the Castle Stuart. Palmer's new design will make Castle Stuart a 36-hole destination because there's already an 18-hole course on the property. 

While other members of Palmer's crew have been to the site, Palmer himself has yet to see the property, but says he plans to before this year's British Open. According to Google Maps, it'll be about a three hour drive to get from Castle Stuart to St. Andrews. 

In his career, Palmer has found some success in Scotland, having won the British Open in 1962 at Troon. As the BBC reports, Palmer says, "The opportunity to build an iconic golf course in Scotland would be the culmination of all these great experiences." 

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Courses & Travel

Here's a GIF that shows how much Augusta National has changed through the years

Augusta National seems to change every year, mostly because it kind of does. We put together a feature a few years back detailing every one of those changes, but if you'd prefer the same information in a more general, visual form, check out this GIF put together by Golf Digest's Associate Photo Editor Ben Walton.

It's particularly interesting to note how much the plot of land in the top left corner of the property has changed. It's gone from being the course's old parking lot to its new (and much needed) driving range.

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Courses & Travel

This snake hiding in the bottom of this golf hole will haunt your dreams

Need anything more be said? Thanks to @emar7236 for sharing:

What's perhaps more alarming is how much of an interest reptiles are taking in golf recently. One ate a golf ball late last week, and a few days before that, a giant alligator casually strolled onto a Florida golf course and scared everyone.

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Courses & Travel

This headline is insensitive and, frankly, a little bit mean

It has been warm in Connecticut the last couple of days. And by warm, I mean high 40s, maybe inching up into the 50s -- not exactly beach weather, but still a break from this bury-your-head-in-your-coat winter.

At lunch at Golf Digest headquarters the other day, we were projecting when we might actually get a chance to play golf. We were looking out the window at the open field out behind the cafeteria, still almost entirely covered with snow. If you craned your neck and looked in a corner, you could see a patch of brown grass no bigger than a manhole cover.

"April," Steve Hennessey said. "Masters week."

That was a solid month away. It still sounded ambitious. 

"I don't know," I said. "That sounds early."

Here was the view:


I hadn't thought about that exchange until this morning, when I came across this headline online.

What made it even worse was that the story was from website of the CBS affiliate in Minneapolis. 


The story had a video featuring all these pleasantly surprised golfers who said they weren't expecting to play golf this early, but here they were.

I didn't know any of these men, but I can tell you now I don't like them. Especially this guy.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 10.52.29 AM.png
Perhaps I'll feel differently in April.
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Courses & Travel

Our favorite #whyilovethisgame image of the week

You guys share some really great golf photos. Since launching the #whyilovethisgame campaign early last year, an average of six Instagrams per hour have been tagged with the hashtag. @TPCSawgrass shared our favorite image this week.

Photo by @tpcsawgrass. A full moon at dusk. #whyilovethisgame

A photo posted by Golf Digest Magazine (@golfdigest) on

Everything about that snapshot screams, "serenity."

The 15-second video below highlights a few more of our recent favorites.

Remember, the sweepstakes portion attached to #whyilovethisgame (sponsored by AT&T) kicked into gear during the 2015 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. That means that from now through September, every image tagged with #whyilovethisgame and #sweepsentry will be eligible to win a monthly prize -- a signed AT&T Pro-Am flag pin signed by Jordan Spieth, and a grand prize -- a Jordan Spieth equipment and style makeover.

Keep sharing away.

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Courses & Travel

This Fenway Park groundskeeper may have found a way to get snow off golf courses before July

This winter has brought great joy to skiers and crushing sadness to golfers in the Northeast. I'm no mathematician, but by my calculations the snow will melt off courses by July. OK, probably sooner than that, but the courses around here are seriously covered. 

A beacon of hope, however, has come in the form of black sand. The groundskeeper at fabled Fenway Park in Boston, David Mellor, has been popping up on social media, showing his success with using black sand to melt the ridiculous amount of snow on Fenway's grass.  

Many people have contacted me recently asking options of how to remove snow off of a sports field and/or how we remove the snow at Fenway. Our first option to work on the snow is to throw black sand on top of the snow with a shovel. This is a less aggressive and a more grass friendly option than shoveling, plowing or loading the snow off the field. The black sand absorbs heat from the sun and even if the temperature is below 32 degrees as long as its sunny it will help melt the snow. Approx 2 Tons of black sand was thrown on top of the snow last week and reduced the snow depth approx 2-2.5 ft. A fresh lighter coating of a .5 ton of black sand was added on top of the fresh snow yesterday to take advantage of the upcoming week forecast of sunny days which will help reduce the snow depth even more. #FenwayPark #Fenway #BostonRedSox #redsox #BostonSnow #BoSnow #snow #Snowremoval #Boston #fbf #mlb

A photo posted by David R Mellor (@davidrm3llor) on

This looked pretty encouraging, so I reached out to Kevin Doyle, the Northeast region's representative for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, to see if the black sand route is viable for golf courses. Turns out there are a lot of options for clearing snow, but black sand is definitely one of the best. 

Due to the fact that there are huge amounts of snow, plowing is a natural first thought. "Mechanical removal can be the best start, as there is often an ice layer across the very top of the turf," Doyle says, "But [using a plow] can have unintended consequences as well." The last thing you need is to accidentally dig chunks out of your fairways.  

That means the other option is to melt the ice. Doyle directed me to the work of another Kevin, Dr. Kevin Frank of Michigan State University, who has done a lot of research on the subject. In said research, he talks about dark-colored products like fertilizers, sunflower seeds and ... wait for it ... black sand. Doyle says, "Any one of those products will heat up significantly in sunshine, creating a warming effect that will move through ice, or reduce snow cover." 

Two of these options, however, aren't without consequences. According to Doyle, "Any fertilizers used, while effective, can elicit unnecessary or unwanted growth when warmer temps happen. They also often move with the water as it melts, making it an uneven growth. Sunflower seeds would need to be removed off short grass, or blown into the tall grass."

As for black sand, there's no issue as working it into the turf is easy. 

A word of advice from Doyle: "This time of year, the most hurtful situation to turf is the thaw-freeze-thaw cycle that can occur with melting during the day, and below freezing temperatures at night. It is almost more important to manage the water that is produced by melting snow than the snow removal itself." So if you're removing snow by melting it with black sand, make sure you're doing it when you know temperatures are going to stay above freezing.

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Courses & Travel

You can finally book tee times for Donald Trump's new NYC golf course, but when you can actually play is still anyone's guess

The highly anticipated public opening of Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point has finally arrived. Now, golfers just need the weather to cooperate.

On Wednesday, Donald Trump announced that people can start scheduling tee times at 10 a.m. on March 11 for the month of April ( The new course's official opening day is scheduled for April 1, which seems ambitious with all the snow that's been dumped on the New York area of late and no winter reprieve in sight.

Related: Golf courses that were constructed on unusual sites

Speaking of ambitious, Trump said he expects the track "to have many major championships."

Jack Nicklaus, a man with 18 major titles to his name, designed the course that was built on top of a Bronx landfill and took more than 12 years to complete. Constructed beneath the Whitestone Bridge, the challenging course offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline.


"Ferry Point was created to be a unique public golf experience, and it is our collective hope that the golf course will add to New York City's global reputation, enhance New York's reputation for quality golf, and give its proud residents a place to play and call home," Nicklaus said.

Related: Golf Digest's Q&A with Donald Trump

Once all the snow melts, that is.

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Courses & Travel

Tom Weiskopf remembers Jay Morrish: "He was somebody special. I learned so much from him"

Jay Morrish-inset.jpg
These are some admittedly personal reflections on golf architect Jay Morrish, the left-brain half of the superstar design team of Morrish and Weiskopf, who died on March 2 in a Dallas suburb, after dealing for years with heart disease.
I started writing about golf architecture for magazines in 1983, the same year Morrish left Jack Nicklaus's three-man design firm and headed out on his own.  He was living in Tulsa at the time, and he took me around Tulsa Country Club, which he would soon remodel, and Tom Fazio's brand new Golf Club of Oklahoma, which Jay assessed with remarkable insight, pointing out structural challenges and solutions, potential maintenance issues and novel design features. I foolishly thought every architect was going to be as generous with his time.   
The following year, Jay teamed with Tom Weiskopf, at the latter's invitation, to design Troon Golf & Country Club in Scottsdale.  I'd begun running Golf Digest's course ranking panel, and their evaluations (I had no vote) picked Troon as America's Best New Private Course of 1986.  The team of Morrish and Weiskopf became a marquee firm overnight, and their subsequent work also glittered: Troon, the Monument Course at Troon North, the Canyon Course at Forest Highlands, Shadow Glen in Kansas and Double Eagle in Ohio all ended up ranked on America's 100 Greatest. Their La Cantera in Texas won Best New Public of 1995 and was later a PGA Tour stop.  Even today, our World's 100 Greatest includes their Loch Lomond Golf Club, the first design in Scotland by American architects and considered by both men to be their best, even though Jay was sidelined by quadruple bypass surgery during much of its construction.
Golf World proclaimed them joint Architects of the Year in 1996, when they surprised us by announcing they were splitting into separate, competing firms.(Their final co-designs, The Rim in Payson, Ariz. and The Reserve in Indian Wells, Calif., took three more years to complete.) 
To the consternation of some readers, my article on that honor focused on their shared love of big-game hunting, an activity Weiskopf first encouraged Jay to try in the 1980s.  Jay especially loved hunting in Africa. He described it as "95 percent boredom and 5 percent sheer terror."
His big-game trophies, including antelopes, lions and grizzly bears, were so extensive that in the early 1990s he built a 5,600 square foot home outside Dallas, designed by clubhouse architect Bill Zmistowski, to house them all.  In 2007, Jay and his wife, Louise, downsized to a smaller home nearby, and most of the mounted animals were donated to the Dallas Zoo and Bass Pro Shops.
Earlier this week, I called Weiskopf to talk about Jay.
"He was somebody special," Tom said. "The total package. I learned so much from him. I couldn't have started in the business with a better guy.
"We were a terrific team. He handled all the technical aspects; he was the best problem-solver in the business. I'd offer strategic elements, things like following a reachable par 5 with the longest par-4 in the opposite direction.  He liked my idea of a drivable par 4, which I'd gotten from playing the Old Course at St. Andrews. We did at least one on each of the 25 courses we did together.
"I'm proud to say that Jay and I always finished on time and on budget. And we've never had to go back and redo any of our courses."
I had to challenge Tom on that last statement.  After all, he'd just spent much of 2014 rebuilding every hole at TPC Scottsdale, an early Morrish and Weiskopf flagship design.

"That was a result of technology," he said. "When you have the world's best golfers playing a course every year, you'd got to keep it competitive. But its basic structure was still sound. We didn't change that."
On his own, Jay did many spectacular yet playable courses, including Stone Canyon, Pine Canyon and Talking Rock, all in Arizona, Castle Hills and Pine Dunes in Texas, Blackstone, Ravenna and River Valley Ranch in Colorado and Bent Creek in Pennsylvania. He was assisted on most by his son, Carter, whose career he wanted to advance by leaving his partnership with Weiskopf.
By the time we met in 1983, Jay had given up golf.  He'd once been avid about it, while earning a nursery management degree at Colorado State, and played left-handed. But quit because of back problems. "You don't have to be the world's best player to be a good architect," he said. "You just have to understand what the golf ball's going to do."
Morrish served as the rock-steady president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects in the tumultuous year following 9/11.  He was impressively eloquent and well read, as evidenced by an essay he wrote in 2003 comparing the golf design process to the manner in which Edgar Allen Poe composed a poem.
He could also be blunt, like the time in 2002 when I asked him to comment on the passing of his old boss, course architect Desmond Muirhead. "Never liked him, never liked his work," Jay said.
My reaction to Jay's passing is to flip that line.  I always liked Jay Morrish. I always liked his work.

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