Why Should We Care What Tom Doak Thinks? cover

Why Should We Care What Tom Doak Thinks?

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This is the slow season for the PGA, FedEx Cup points notwithstanding. Given time zone differences, I have been forced to watch reruns of the last two tournaments. It was great to see Graeme McDowell back in the winner’s circle, triumphing in a three way playoff at Mayakoba. G-Mac, reportedly one of the nice guys on tour, would be a great addition to the mix in 2016 if he can recapture his 2010 form. Jason Bohn did his best Kevin Na impression by playing great, but not closing. Three top 3’s so far this year for Jason. Russell Knox almost went back to back. Lots of good stuff, but nothing to get the heart pumping…yet.





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Why Should We Care What Tom Doak Thinks?

Slow Season

This is the slow season for the PGA, FedEx Cup points notwithstanding.

Given time zone differences, I have been forced to watch reruns of the last two tournaments. It was great to see Graeme McDowell back in the winner’s circle, triumphing in a three way playoff at Mayakoba. G-Mac, reportedly one of the nice guys on tour, would be a great addition to the mix in 2016 if he can recapture his 2010 form.

Jason Bohn did his best Kevin Na impression by playing great, but not closing. Three top 3’s so far this year for Jason. Russell Knox almost went back to back. Lots of good stuff, but nothing to get the heart pumping…yet.

Thrill Is Gone

Thrill Is Gone

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Reading The Unread

As a result, I have spent the last few weeks digging through unread Golf Magazine and Golf Digest issues.

As usual, I tried to take the “Tips from the Pros” and apply them to my game, but, alas my inability to integrate apparently simple changes to my self-taught swing has only led to ballooning scores. I still have no idea what David Ledbetter is preaching, but am too cheap to take it to the next level.

As always, lots of good stuff in these magazines, but most of it makes me feel inferior about my game.

Caught The Eye

I did, however, find one Golf Digest article (Dec 2015) quite interesting.

“A Course Critic Doubles Down on His Candor” reports that legendary course designer Tom Doak has taken it upon himself, again, to provide his opinions on courses around the world. That it takes five volumes to critique everyone else’s work seems like overkill.

Full disclosure: since I am not interested in lining Doak’s pockets, and because it is five volumes I have not read this work. Rather, my comments are based solely upon the Golf Digest synopsis.

Golden Balls

Golden Balls

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Unmemorable

If “unmemorable” makes for a great golf course, than Doak is your guy.

Not only did he design the vastly overrated Old Macdonald course at Bandon Dunes but the only two courses he rated a 10 in his Vol. 2, The Americas (Winter destinations) were Cypress Point (probably, but I need an invitation to confirm…hint, hint) and Pinehurst No 2 (another overrated course). I will grant you that Pinehurst is top 100 worthy, but is not nearly as enjoyable as TPC Sawgrass which he rates an 8.

In fairness, Doak’s Pacific Dunes layout at Bandon is an enjoyable romp even if it does not warrant the Number 1 ranking of the “Courses You Can Play” as Golf Magazine states.

Deja Vu

I will be the first to admit I know nothing about golf course architecture, however, I know what I like.

To me a course is great if you finish a round and can remember most, if not all the holes. Old Macdonald and Pinehurst No 2 both feel like you are playing the same hole over and over.

My strongest memories of Old Macdonald were of the two starting holes, as they were perhaps the most pedestrian of any venue I have ever played. With expectations high, this was not a rousing start.

Uninspired

Uninspired

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Discriminating

Picasso may have been an amazing artist, but I would never hang his works on my wall.

I seldom enjoy Academy Award winning movies. As an English Literature major and avid book collector, I cannot bring myself to read Pulitzer Prize winning novels. The reality is that the so-called experts are usually too smart for the room, while I can barely turn the door knob. Their opinions may shed light on what they deem to be brilliant, but they typically do not speak to the masses.

More To Learn

More To Learn

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Absurd

Such is the case with Doak’s opinions regarding the work of other golf course architects.

The fact that any golf course could receive a score of 0 is absurd. I have never wanted others to tell me what I should like. So how do I justify doing exactly that regarding the top 100 courses you can play in Confessions of a Golfaholic? …great question. Seriously, that is a great question. I have no answer.

Weekly Observation:

Although I find Pinehurst No. 2 to be overrated (No. 3 in Golf Magazine) I really do like Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (Pinehurst re-designers) courses.

Further, I have always enjoyed Donald Ross (original Pinehurst designer) venues. The Pinehurst trip is a must for golf addicts, but make sure and visit the Mike Strantz designed Tobacco Road facility about 30 minutes up the road for an unforgettable experience. This design has the feel of a Pete Dye course on steroids.

Paul Laubach - Golfaholic

Paul Laubach is completely unqualified to provide expertise with respect to golf course rankings and design, however, he is a highly opinionated golf addict who believes everyone should be entitled to his thoughts. Read his story at Union Tribune. He has recently released Confessions of a Golfaholic: A Guide to Playing America’s Top 100 Public Golf Courses; now available in hardcover edition. Please visit tophundredgolf.com regularly for more (im)practical information.