More to come, but for now, here are the answers to 18 pressing questions:
Now I can see why Geoff Shackelford made fun of my Ambush videos:
Anyway, I've kept in contact with both planners of The Ponce, Michael Palmore and Neil Thomson, and as they prep for their 10th annual buddies trip, I received this email from Thomson:
This was another case of capital is king, and guys like Dedman, Donald Trump, Herb Kohler, Mike Keiser and Wayne Huizenga have been the snakes in the grass-for a lack of a better analogy-striking when the time has been right. More than anything, they’re buying up prime real estate, growing their stakes in golf. And as natural selection continues to play out across the country of courses with broken business models, inept management, horrific designs and bad timing, it’s the guys with deep pockets who are maximizing the returns on their investments by hiring minimalist architects.
As colleague Peter Finch and I continue our phone tour of some of the best resorts in the U.S., I spoke to Don Padgett Jr., president of Pinehurst Resort since 2004. Not only is Padgett an accomplished golfer who has played in six PGA Championships and three U.S. Opens, his father, Don Padgett Sr., was the former director of golf at Pinehurst and was the past president of the Professional Golfers Association.
Padgett shared the news of Pit becoming a Bill Coore-designed Pinehurst No. 9. He also said that as long as he has been in and around the business of golf, he has never seen anything as successful as the restoration of No. 2, which will host the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open in 2014.
Until 2009, James C. Justice III was little known outside the industries where he made his fortune -- coal and farming. But the 61-year-old multimillionaire jumped straight into the golf spotlight with his purchase of the foundering Greenbrier Resort & Spa, which had fallen into bankruptcy. On the three-year anniversary of that bold move, we caught up with Jim Justice to see how things have changed for both him and the West Virginia resort Golf Digest calls the 5th best in North America.
“I was in shock!”
That was Brendan Fehr’s reaction when he found out he was the winner of an all-expenses-paid golf trip for two to Ireland thanks to his entry in Golf Digest’s Major Championship Challenge.
“I’ve subscribed to Golf Digest long enough to know that it’s owned by Conde Nast, so when Conde Nast came up on my caller ID, I answered the phone.”
Fehr, 35, of West Valley, Ariz., picked Bubba Watson to win the Masters. “I love Bubba,” says Fehr. “He’s an amazing person. He has such imagination around the golf course, and that’s the reason he won.”
Fehr was one of 953 who entered the first leg of Golf Digest’s Major Championship Challenge, a fantasy golf competition based on the “five majors.” (We’re counting the Players Championship as the fifth major.)
He was listening to music, and I was in a hurry, so with not much more than a nod of appreciation for his dedication, we went our separate ways.
There are roughly eight million people living in New York City, so it was more than a ridiculously crazy coincidence to see my avid golfing friend again on Monday: