Monday, February 25, 2013

St. Andrew's Scores Numerous Golf Firsts

Here are a few historical facts about St. Andrew's Golf Club in Hastings, NY, guaranteed to astound your friends and golf trivia fanatics:

 • Saint Andrew’s is the oldest continuously existing golf club in the United States, established on November 14, 1888.

The first photograph of golf in America.
Harry Holbrook, A.P.W. Kinnan, J.B. Upham, and John Reid
 with caddies Warren and Frederic Holbrook at St. Andrew’s.
photo courtesy of the club
The first photograph of golf in America was taken at Saint Andrew’s in 1888.

The first recorded mixed foursome in America was played at Saint Andrew’s. Mrs. John Reid, paired with J. B. Upham, defeated the team of Miss Carrie Law and John Reid on March 30, 1889.

The first known American golf “clubhouse” with its rudimentary “19th hole” (the famous apple tree) was established at Saint Andrew’s in 1892.

Saint Andrew’s was a participant in the first inter-club team matches played in the US on October 9, 1894, along with Tuxedo (host), Brookline, and Shinnecock Hills. Saint Andrew’s tied for first place with Brookline but was unable to stay another day for a play-off, since the first US Amateur/US Foursome/US Open tournaments (October 11-13) were beginning in two days time at Saint Andrew’s.

Saint Andrew’s was the host of the first U.S. Amateur Championship, held under match-play format (as all the UK tournaments of the period were conducted), in 1894.*  The first U.S. Amateur Championship was won by a Saint Andrew’s member, L. B. Stoddart, in 1894.*

Saint Andrew’s hosted the first US Open Championship, in 1894.*

Saint Andrew’s hosted the first U.S. Foursome (two players per team playing alternate shots) Tournament, in 1894.  Held in conjunction with the above-mentioned U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open championships, this event was short-lived on the national scene.

The team of L.B. Stoddart and J.B. Upham from Saint Andrew’s won the inaugural US Foursomes Tournament, 1894. They defeated another Saint Andrew’s pair, T.C. Ten Eyk and W.E. Hodgeman, in the all-Saint Andrew’s final.

Saint Andrew’s member/official Henry O. Tallmadge suggested and organized the December 22, 1894, meeting of five golf clubs at the Calumet Club in NYC, which resulted in today’s USGA.

Saint Andrew’s published the first Club Yearbook (or Club Handbook) in the U.S. containing a list of members, officers of the club, the various committees, and constitution and by-laws, in 1895.

The first golf club in the U.S. formed by women was the Saegkill Golf Club, organized by Saint Andrew’s women (Mrs. John Reid among them), in 1895.

Saint Andrew’s organized and funded the first U.S. Public Links Tournament at Van Courtlandt Park (the first public course in the U.S.), with a field of 50 golfers officiated by John Reid, in 1896. This tournament was “for players who did not belong to a club in the United States Golf Association.”

Saint Andrew’s member Charles E. Sands won the first-prize gold medal for golf at the Paris Olympic Games in 1900, the first year golf was included in the Olympic Games.

*These championships are regarded by some as unofficial, as they were held prior to the formation of the USGA the following year. However, there is no dispute that they were the first amateur and open national golf championships ever held in the U.S.

For more Westchester golf history, check out the May issue of Westchester and Hudson Valley Magazines.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The USGA Tells Golfers To Speed It Up!

USGA President Glen Nager
The USGA says the biggest threat to the game today isn't how you hold your putter, it's how fast you use it. It's about time (pun intended) that the game's leadership step up efforts to make a round of golf playable in less than five hours.

Speaking at the Association’s annual meeting in San Diego, USGA President Glen D. Nager said, “The cry that pace of play has become one of the most significant threats to the game’s health has become only louder over the last year. Industry research clearly shows that slow play and the amount of time it takes to play a round of golf detract from the overall experience and threaten to drive players away from the game. This problem touches every golfer, from the professional to the elite amateur to the collegiate player to the millions of recreational golfers at both public and private facilities.”

USGA Executive Director Mike Davis added: “It is appropriate for the USGA to examine pace of play issues in part because we experience them at our own championships. Six-hour rounds are just not good for the players, our championships or the game. Slow play is also incompatible with our modern society, in which our personal time for recreation is compressed. This is an issue that demands our complete attention.”

Stressing that pace of play cannot be tackled from a singular perspective Nager discussed in detail the various elements of the USGA initiative that will commence this year. Emphasizing that the USGA will seek to establish partnerships with various golf industry leaders, from allied organizations to media partners to golf course managers, Nager said, “We must be committed to addressing over the long term the amount of time it takes to play, armed with the determination to improve pace of play and a belief that the time that golf takes to play can be reduced through the dedicated efforts of everyone connected with the game.”

Included in the USGA Pace of Play Initiative:

Analysis of Key Factors: Factors known to influence pace of play include course design (overall length, green-to-tee walks, location and number of hazards); course management and setup (green speed, hole locations, height and location of rough); player management (most significantly, the proper distribution of starting times); and the effectiveness of player education programs.

Research to Produce Pace-of-Play Modeling: A major study is underway at the USGA’s Research and Test Center to create the first-ever dynamic model of pace of play based on quantifiable data – a model that will be applicable to both competitive and recreational golf. The new USGA model will draw from large-scale real-world inputs, including data from the PGA Tour’s Shotlink system. Once completed, analysis of the model should greatly increase understanding of the key factors affecting pace of play and allow recommendations for improving pace of play on a course-by-course basis.

Pace Rating System: The Test Center model will drive improvements in the USGA Pace Rating System, first developed in 1993 to help players complete a round of golf at an optimum, reasonable pace. The USGA Handicap Department will utilize data from the Test Center model to better customize the Pace Rating System for individual courses

On-site Assistance at Golf Courses: New programs to help golf course managers assess and improve pace of play will be delivered by the USGA Green Section through its Turf Advisory Service. The group will expand its educational efforts about aspects of course management that impact pace of play. The on-site visits will evaluate the overall playing quality of a golf course, of which pace of play is a central component. Recommendations provided by the USGA may also generate economic and environmental benefits, providing additional incentives for course managers to implement new practices.

Player Education Programs: Nager said the Association needs to “double down” on its efforts to educate players on the fundamentals of how to play faster. To this end, the USGA will use its communication channels to reach its Members and the larger golf community with messages on improving pace of play, such as picking up one’s ball on a hole once a player’s Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) limit is reached. Other efforts could include promotion of alternate formats such as match play, foursomes and Stableford scoring that are popular in other parts of the world and that take less time to play than the standard individual stroke-play format. The TEE IT FORWARD campaign, developed in conjunction with The PGA of America, will continue to be promoted as a way to speed play and provide more enjoyment. The Association will support these educational efforts with an online resource center at that contains information to help golfers improve their pace of play.

“Progress in improving pace of play will come only when the entire golf community is committed to working seriously to address the issue,” said Nager. “In this regard, I am pleased that the leadership of the PGA of America shares our concern about this critical issue. As our program develops, we look forward to engaging with the 27,000 members of the PGA, who can play an essential role in supporting our efforts to educate players and facility managers on how to improve pace of play.”

The USGA will also work to promote the nine-hole round of golf as a viable option for golfers who are pressed for time. Contrary to the beliefs of some golfers, a nine-hole round is fully compatible with both the Rules of Golf and the USGA Handicap System. The USGA will work over the coming months with partners across the industry to identify the best opportunities to help golfers and golf facilities embrace and value the nine-hole experience.

“As a governing body, we can look at the Rules of Golf, at the Handicap System, and at many other factors from our unique position within the game to help to advance the contributions made by so many individuals and associations who have addressed this problem in the past,” said Nager. “Significantly improving pace of play in the game is eminently possible, and we welcome the enthusiasm and contributions of the entire golf community as we work together toward this important goal.”

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Food for Thought: Women and the Web Around The World

Here's an interesting look at the ability of women in developing countries to access the Internet. It was provided by Girls Online Infographic
Dave Donelson distills the experiences of hundreds of entrepreneurs into practical advice for small business owners and managers in the Dynamic Manager's Guides, a series of how-to books about marketing and advertising, sales techniques, motivating personnel, financial management, and business strategy.