Andy Johnson’s recent travels have taken him to two municipal golf courses with A-1 architectural pedigrees: Donald Ross’s George Wright Golf Course near Boston, Massachusetts; and A.W. Tillinghast’s Swope Memorial Golf Course in Kansas City, Missouri. In this episode, Andy sits down with Garrett Morrison to reflect on what makes these courses special. They discuss Ross’s clever drainage methods at George Wright and Tillinghast’s adventurous use of hilly land at Swope Memorial. They also debate whether the restoration trend in the golf course industry, which has primarily affected private clubs so far, will soon filter down to municipal facilities.
Korn Ferry Tour player Vince India (@vince_india) catches up with Andy Johnson and discusses the grind that is the Second Stage of Q-School. Vince has made it through every level of Q-School for six years running. He shares some of his favorite stories and explains how his mindset going into qualifying has changed over the years. Andy and Vince also discuss the rising importance of physical conditioning in pro golf and how to actually improve your weaknesses.
Rodney Hine got his start in the turf industry as an assistant superintendent at Winged Foot Golf Club. He then moved into golf course design, serving as the grow-in superintendent at Tom Doak's Stonewall and eventually as a designer and agronomist for Hanse Golf Course Design. After helping Gil Hanse build Boston Golf Club in 2003, Rodney decided to stay on as the course's first superintendent, and he has been there ever since. In this installment of our Superintendent Series, he and Andy Johnson chat about Rodney's fascinating career, the quirky challenges of BGC, the importance of varied plant life on a golf course, and more.
The Superintendent Series is brought to you by the Toro Company.
This past weekend, Team USA won the Ryder Cup in dominant fashion, beating the European side 19-9. To get a handle on what this victory means, Garrett Morrison called up three different people—Ben Coley of Sporting Life, Joseph LaMagna of the Finding the Edge newsletter, and Shane Ryan of Golf Digest—and asked each for one big takeaway from the action at Whistling Straits.
Lawrence Donegan (@lawrencedonegan) is a longtime golf journalist who has worked for The Scotsman and The Guardian. He co-founded the excellent McKellar Magazine and hosts the McKellar Golf Podcast. With the 2020 (not a typo) Ryder Cup approaching, Lawrence joins Andy Johnson to share five things to watch for at Whistling Straits. They discuss Steve Stricker’s uninspired start to his week-of captaincy, the reasons behind Team USA’s chronic underperformance, the looming succession drama on the European side, and more.
To get ready for this week’s Ryder Cup, Andy Johnson and Garrett Morrison chat about the design of host venue Whistling Straits. Andy recently shot the Straits Course for a new Fried Egg video, so Garrett asks for his thoughts on Pete Dye’s routing, par-3 concepts, and outrageous shaping. They also discuss the PGA of America’s hefty build-outs, the reasons behind Andy’s hatred of catch basins, and the simple pleasure of gazing at a big ol’ lake all day.
After a well-regarded run as LPGA commissioner, Mike Whan started two months ago as the CEO of the USGA. Earlier this week, he sat down with Andy Johnson at Chicago Golf Club to discuss a variety of topics. They cover Whan's thinking about the USGA's priorities, championship host selection, and the potential of bringing the U.S. Open back to Chicago and the Midwest. Whan also weighs in on the hottest topic of the day: the distance increases golf has seen over the past few decades, and the USGA's role in securing the future health of the game.
In this wide-ranging conversation, Don Placek, Partner at Renaissance Golf Design, and Andy Johnson cover the complexity and challenges of the golf architecture consulting business, compare finding new golf courses to discovering new music, and discuss Don’s passion for drawing, maps, and art in general. Don shares how his passions and talents outside of golf improve Renaissance Golf Design’s work and how his routing maps help visualize the 3D world for their clients.
If you're in Northern Lower Michigan to play Arcadia Bluffs or Crystal Downs, you shouldn't skip Champion Hill Golf Course and Pinecroft Golf Course. Public, affordable, and well designed, Champion Hill and Pinecroft are owned and operated by one family. Is this the ideal business model for affordable golf? Andy Johnson and Garrett Morrison tackle that question in this episode, but first they spend some time chatting about the Solheim Cup, which took place at Inverness Club this past weekend. After Andy and Garrett finish up, they throw it to a conversation Andy recently had with Lee Stone, the owner of Champion Hill and Pinecroft, and Jim Cole, the longtime superintendent of both courses.
Team match play is the most entertaining format in golf, but we might not understand it very well. What factors should team captains consider when pairing players up for foursomes and four-ball? How much does a player's past match-play record matter? In alternate shot, how should teammates decide who tees off on which holes? Joseph LaMagna (@JosephLaMagna) believes that the conventional answers to these questions rely on faulty reasoning. Joseph runs Optimal Approach Golf, which advises PGA Tour pros on strategy, and writes an excellent newsletter called Finding the Edge. In this episode, he and Garrett Morrison dig into the intricacies of team match play and the tactics that Team USA and Team Europe should use in the upcoming Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup.