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Changes at St. Andrews’ Old Course Spark Heated Debates

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, November 26th, 2012
Categories: Golf CoursesMiscellaneous
Old Course Changes

17th Road Hole Changes Underway – click to see more

I keep close tabs on happenings at the Home of Golf, the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.  Having gone there in 2011, I feel I have a close tie to the course and the town of St. Andrews.  I’ve got a couple of friends there, including my good friend John Boyne who is a caddie there as well as a St. Andrews tour operator with his company Caddie Golf Tours, helping folks just like me arrange their dream golf trip of a lifetime.

John has provided HOG readers with fantastic photographs of the Old Course, now undergoing some changes this winter as part of  “improving” the course in preparation for the 2015 (British) Open Championship.  I’ve quoted the news release text from the Open Championship website below.  Click read more link below to see it.

In a nutshell, the plan is to “enhance the challenge for elite players without unduly affecting club and visiting golfers while remaining true to the special character of the Old Course.”  Changes are detailed below, with the most debate regarding the 11th hole, where the green is to be altered to add a new pin position.

What’s your take?

As would be expected, there’s a large debate between those who think the course is sacred ground and should not be changed, and those who think that it is fine for the course to change over time to accommodate changes in technology.  That argument is one which has been going around for a long time now, still with no resolution.  They’re not going to “roll the ball back.”

I’d like to hear your opinions on this.  There’s a fairly heated discussion going on over on Geoff Shackelford’s blog.  I have a few questions to start it up:

Is tweaking the Old Course “repainting the Mona Lisa” as some have said?

Can we really expect golfers and golf manufacturers to buy into rolling back equipment, thus “saving” classic courses?

Do courses really need to make these tweaks to challenge pros who play there four days a year or in the case of the Old Course every five years?

The vibe I gathered when in St. Andrews is that the locals don’t like it when low scores are dropped on the Old.  Is the R&A Championship committee doing this to keep the Old Course respectable and prevent it from giving up low scores, 59’s or even 58’s?  If so, why care if the best in the world shoot super low scores?  Why does the course have to be changed because of that? In talks on Twitter with Robert Thompson, I liked his quote, “Or we can just stop worrying about some guy shooting 60. Why the need to protect par at the expense of courses?”

And perhaps the best question to ask is, “what would Old Tom Morris do?”


Review: Salish Cliffs Golf Club, Shelton, Washington

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, September 24th, 2012
Categories: Course ReviewsGolf CoursesGolf LifeGolf LifestyleHOG World TourReviewsTravel

On my recent Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour stop in Washington (state) and Vancouver, Canada, I had the chance to play a new course called Salish Cliffs. Salish Cliffs is located in Shelton, Washington, about 1.5 hours southwest of Seattle. The course opened in September 2011 as part of the Squaxin Island Tribe’s Little Creek Casino/Resort. I’ll be posting my golf travel review of Little Creek’s resort soon.

Salish Cliffs Golf Club

Salish Cliffs Golf Club #2 Tee – click for more

Salish Cliffs Golf Club Overview

Gene Bates is the course architect for Salish Cliffs.  I’ve played many Bates designs, and I can honestly say this is the best one I’ve played so far.  The previous Bates designs I’ve experienced don’t have the dense forest and interesting terrain that Salish does.  Bates did a fantastic job utilizing the terrain to make a fun, challenging and beautiful track. (more…)

Review: Otsego Tribute Course, Gaylord, Michigan

Written by: Tony Korologos | Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
Categories: Course ReviewsGolfGolf CoursesGolf LifeGolf LifestyleHOG World TourReviewsTravel

The Michigan golf posts just keep rolling in.  This is the last course review on the list from my trip to northern Michigan last month.  For links to all related reviews from my recent Michigan Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour stop, see the related heading at the end of this article.

Otsego Tribute Course

Elevation changes are a key feature at Otsego Tribute. Click to zoom.

Today I’m reviewing the Otsego “Tribute” course.  I have to make a confession on this review though.  I only played the back nine.  Unfortunately my schedule didn’t quite allow for me to get the entire 18 in before heading to the airport to head home.  I DID however, tour every hole of the front as well as capture images of the entire course.  Having seen the front, I truly regret not being able to play it.  What a fun track! (more…)

Golf Travel Review: Treetops Resort, Gaylord, Michigan

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, September 17th, 2012
Categories: Golf CoursesGolf LifeGolf LifestyleHOG World TourReviewsTravel

Alright.  I’ve finally completed my reviews of the courses I played at Treetops in northern Michigan. Links to each of the reviews is at the end of this article under the “related” heading.  Now it is time to talk about where to stay when traveling to the quaint town of Gaylord, Michigan, home of Treetops golf courses and the Treetops Resort.

Treetops Resort

Treetops Resort Lodge – click to zoom


My focus for this review is the Treetops Lodge (pictured above), where I stayed for part of my time in Michigan a few weeks ago. (more…)

Review: Treetops Signature Course, Gaylord, Michigan

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, September 17th, 2012
Categories: Course ReviewsGolfGolf CoursesGolf LifeGolf LifestyleHOG World TourReviewsTravel
Treetops Signature Course Michigan

Treetops Signature – click to zoom

As I go through each of the hundreds of photos I shot on my recent trip to northern Michigan I relive the fun and enjoyment of each shot on each golf hole.  Today I’m reviewing the “Signature” course at Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Michigan.  Treetops is a fantastic golf/ski resort in northern Michigan which is home to five courses.  For links to the other courses I’ve reviewed at Treetops, see the “related links” section at the end of this review.

Treetops Signature Overview

The Signature course at Treetops was designed by Rick Smith and opened in 1993.  You may remember Rick as the first Big Break co-host and more recently as one of Phil Mickelson’s coaches.  Rick is one of the top golf instructors on the planet.

The course is a par-70 track which measures out at 6,653 from the back (Black) tees.  The Black tees are one of five sets.  The course is not long by modern standards, but that does not in any way mean this course is not challenging or enjoyable to play.  In fact, it just might be my favorite course at Treetops.  Slope from the tips is 136 with a course rating of 72.6. (more…)

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