Renowned golf course superintendent and architect Roger Null joins Andy for the latest installment in our Superintendent Series, brought to you by The Toro Company. Roger has nearly a half century of experience in the golf business, serving as a superintendent at Cedar Rapids CC and Old Warson CC, a design consultant at many courses in the Midwest, and even a general manager at Boone Valley GC. He is also an accomplished amateur player, with three GCSAA National Championships to his name (though Andy suspects the actual number is higher). Roger and Andy talk about how Roger got his start as a greenskeeper, what has changed in course maintenance in the past few decades, the difficulty of growing grass in St. Louis, how his work as an architect influenced his approach as a superintendent, and many other topics.
Our series with golf architect Tom Doak continues with another segment of Andy and Tom’s recent conversation in Traverse City, Michigan. They begin with a series of listener questions, covering topics like green-to-tee transitions, golf culture in Africa, the pros and cons of Bandon Dunes and Scotland as golf destinations, Tom’s ongoing links project in Ireland, his growing interesting in the business side of golf development, and the importance of not pretending every new thing is the best thing ever. A discussion of common misinterpretations of well-known golf architects leads to an extended reflection on Pete Dye. They talk about how Tom would split 10 rounds at Dye-designed courses, the Dye family’s willingness to share knowledge and help Tom jump-start his career, and Pete Dye’s influential insistence on studying a variety of far-flung courses.
For the first time since Episode 46, golf course architect Mike DeVries joins Andy on the podcast. DeVries was introduced to the game at Crystal Downs Golf Club in Michigan, and he worked for Tom Doak and Tom Fazio before starting his own design business. His best-known work is Cape Wickham Links on King Island in Tasmania, but he has also built several excellent, affordable public courses in his home state of Michigan. Mike and Andy discuss two of his accessible designs in the Grand Rapids area, Diamond Springs and The Mines, before speaking more broadly about the dual influences of Perry Maxwell and Alister MacKenzie, the joys of walking, and the challenges of routing courses on severe sites, such as the one where Mike’s stunning Greywalls course sits.
The latest edition of our audio documentary series focuses on Tiger Woods’s first tournament as a professional, the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open. But this isn’t a story about what happened on the course. Instead, we dig into the action in the press room, in front of the cameras, and during commercial breaks. It was in those spaces that the public image of Tiger, the myth of him as a professional golfer, began to be invented. And not everything went smoothly at first. This episode features interviews with two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange, Wieden+Kennedy ad man Jim Riswold, GMO tournament director Tom Strong, and journalists Jaime Diaz and Gary D’Amato. It includes music from Tristan Barton, Sebastian Borromeo, D Fine Us, Kevin Graham, Kloyd, Ian Post, and Kevin McLeod. Check out our sponsor, Visit Milwaukee, at visitmilwaukee.org/golf.
At the GCSAA Golf Industry Show in Orlando, Andy recorded a live episode with The Toro Company’s Edric Funk (@EdricFunk) and Carolina Golf Club superintendent Matthew Wharton (@CGCGreenkeeper). The trio discussed the process behind innovation, the role of #TurfTwitter, the future of labor in the turfgrass industry, and the advent of robotics and automation in greenkeeping. Big thanks to our sponsor Toro for making the Superintendent Series possible
Lately, the biggest news in the golf world has revolved around topics that Golf Channel contributor Geoff Shackelford knows better than anyone. So Andy met up Geoff to get his thoughts on the bombshell USGA/R&A Distance Insights report, which represents a major shift in the governing bodies' rhetoric about golf's distance problem. They also discuss the emergence of the Premier Golf League as a potential disruptor in professional golf. Geoff broke this story two weeks ago on his blog geoffshackelford.com and continues to report on fresh revelations about the proposed world tour.