Friday, June 28, 2013

We've MOVED!

Just a reminder... the new home of the Golfdom Daily is here:

We're still up and running, so come visit us over there, won't you?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

We're moving! (the blog, that is)

Well, guess what?

Now that the blog is kicking all sorts of ass (back-to-back TOCA awards for best blog in the business, all-time highs in hits per month; the best coverage of crazy sinkholes in the biz) it's time to move it.


Yes, we're moving. Please bookmark this new location for the Golfdom Daily:

Why would we do such a thing? Well, we want all our internet traffic to go to our homepage over at where you can find all our GolfdomTV interviews, a historic archive of the magazine dating back to 1927 and the latest industry news.

All of the contents of this blog has been imported to the new address, so nothing will be lost. And we'll get to work on the look of the new site, with fun stuff like photos, polls, complete randomness, etc.

I might make one more post over here... but from then on, we're at the new site.

Thanks for your continued support of Golfdom, and all our many media outlets!

Jacobsen launches AR522 contour rotary

Jacobsen, a Textron company based out of Charlotte N.C., has launched its new mower the AR522 contour rotary. The new mower, which is an upgrade from the previous AR-522, is designed to work on intermediate golf roughs; green and tee surronds; and sports and recreation fields.

“Even though golfers don’t want to play out of the rough, they still expect them to look good,” said David Withers, President of Jacobsen. “The new AR522 helps give our customers better-looking roughs, especially in their contoured and hilly areas. It’s one more way Jacobsen is helping our customers provide superior conditions every day.”

The new mower will be available globally in July 2013.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The June issue is here

The new issue is here, and ready for your eyes!

Some highlights of this issue:

-- USGA-funded research on Buffalograss
-- Plant Health part two, by yours truly
-- A feature on Pelican Hill's efforts to keep run-off out of the Pacific
-- Getting the most out of golf car batteries, from our friends at Trojan
-- Keeping ants off your greens
-- Mark Woodward on the best offices in the world
-- 19th Hole interview with Jersey super Jeff Wetterling
-- A hilarious story from Pennsylvania super Jim Rattigan

Just give a click right here!

GCSAA COO resigns

From the GCSAA newsroom:

GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans today announced that Richard Konzem has made the decision to resign his position as chief operating officer effective immediately. Konzem was hired for the position in October 2011.

Statement from GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans on Richard Konzem:

"I appreciate Richard's contributions to the association's operations and its members," Evans said. "We will miss him as a GCSAA team member, and wish him much success in his future endeavors."
Evans said that as is standard procedure, the position will be evaluated before any posting decisions are made.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

U.S. Open hangover

Well, it's Tuesday, and I'm almost back to normal after a few days at the U.S. Open. I hope you enjoyed the blog posts, the photos, the interviews and the many tweets I sent out while at the Open. I know I had a good time! But then again, you know me — I always have a good time.

I did make my way through one of the giant merchandise tents to pick up a few things. While I was there, I grabbed a few hats. I'll be giving them away on Twitter here in an hour or two. Follow me at @Golfdom for a chance to win!

Here's a pic of the hats. I especially like that forest green one, with the wicker on the mesh...

Friday, June 14, 2013

How tough is the rough?

The rough at Merion, as most players saw yesterday, is brutal. Here are a few shots, using a $20 bill and my iPhone as reference points.

"The rough is thick — U.S. Open rough. The rough is thicker right now, because of the water… they haven’t cut it… it’s getting long and thick," Brandt Snedeker told me. "It’s going to be longer than normal because of the length of the golf course."

Furyk said some spots weren't as tough as others:

"It’s tough, it’s thick. You can tell in spots there’s definitely some fertilizer in there, to thicken it up. It’s not overly-overly long, in a lot of spots," he said. "Some of the short holes, like behind 11, it’s got to be 8 inches back there, but it’s not as thick. But you can tell in a lot of areas that they fertilized it and thickened it up."

U.S. Open photo parade pt. 3

Our last day of photo parades... photos taken Tuesday through Thursday... here we go...

No. 17 green from the grandstands.

Kevin Streelman blasting out of a bunker.

Streelman on 18 tee... he's currently # 6 in FedEx Cup points.

You know it's getting serious when the Goodyear blimp comes out!

My media pass gave me access to the locker room.

John Zimmers and Paul Latshaw Sr.

Ben Franklin is buried right behind my hotel!

Tom Fazio and I. Look for a video interview with Mr. Fazio on GolfdomTV here in two weeks.

So, so good.

The trophy was in the media shuttle with me... what luck! I had to get some shots with it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

U.S. Open photo parade pt. 2

Welcome to the U.S. Open! This is day two of the photo parade... I'm Seth, and I'll be your host. Just a note about these photos, they are taken straight from my camera without any Photoshop or light filtering, etc. They're just pics I took. This photo, for example... I did not travel back in time to get it. Instead, I took a photo of one of the promotional signs at Merion.

Some of the guys relaxing in the mid-afternoon.

Rickie Fowler about to go on camera with the USGA. Had no idea the lovely on-air talent was locked in on me when I was about to snap this photo. Had I known, I would have asked them to say, "cheese!" Or, for Rickie, "Go Cowboys!"

Here is the front view of No. 14 tee (/green), which I was writing about yesterday... weird, huh?

A lot of boots on the course these last two days...

The crew gets in dinner before going out on their evening rounds.

Tom Marzolf, senior design associate with Fazio Golf Designers, explains to a couple of golf fans, "I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure the weight room is... THAT WAY..."


Robert Smith observes the fairway mowers as they're in action.

Having one leg doesn't slow this crew member down. Wait...

$6.50 a beer. I confirmed that this price was what they were actually charging. You see, I go the extra mile for you, the reader. Because I care.

A note about these photos: They're all property of Golfdom magazine. But if you're a benevolent entity (read: not one of our mortal enemies... you know who you are) you can "borrow" these photos if you just give a credit to GOLFDOM and a link back to Thanks much.

Furyk, Watson and Snedeker talk conditions

I got a few more player interviews done today.

I avoid the press conferences where everyone gets a typed transcript of what a player says. I prefer one-on-one interviews with players on the course. I believe they're more useful and honest.

I grabbed Furyk after his practice round today at 3 p.m. EST. A colleague (from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) and I interviewed Bubba Watson on the practice range at 4:25 EST. And the Brandt Snedeker talk was a quick one while he signed autographs at 4:45 EST.

Jim Furyk

"(The course is) better now, it was really wet and sloppy (Tuesday) and ripe for scoring. It’s improved a lot more than I could have imagined in just one day…

The problem is, if they get the teeniest bit of rain, it’s going to start flooding up again. I don’t know, in Florida, if we get three or four inches of rain, not a big deal. We drive carts down the middle of the fairways the next day. It’s different types of turf. It’s retaining water.

I feel bad for (the maintenance crew) because I know the worse the weather is, the more problems it causes for them. I’m sure they’re kind of running 24/7 this week, trying to get this golf course in shape. We appreciate all their hard work.

Bubba Watson

The conditions are going to be what they’re going to be. It’s golf. You’re going to have wet conditions, you’re going to have dry conditions. Obviously, we’re going to have wet (conditions) this week.

(Thursday) looks like rain, hopefully it doesn’t. I want to be done with my round before the rain gets here and let the other guys worry about it. I’m waiting to see what happens. You have to be ready for anything. It’s a grueling game, especially at the U.S. Open.

The greens are soft. It doesn’t mean it’s going to play easier, it’s going to play softer. It’s still Merion. It’s still got high rough.

I don’t see the course drying out. It’s still wet. We could play the ball down right now. If the rain comes, I don’t know if the USGA plays the ball up, but… it’s one of those where you just have to play it.

Brandt Snedeker

The course is playing pretty good. It finally dried out, all that stuff. It’s all gonna change tomorrow.

I’m very surprised (with the progress of the course.) They’ve done a great job. The greens are good and fast.

The rough is thick. It's U.S. Open rough… the rough is thicker right now, because of the water… they haven’t cut it… it’s getting long and thick. It’s going to be longer than normal because of the length of the golf course.

Pros and cons of Philly

It's been a great week in Philadelphia so far. Some pros and cons:

  • Public transit. I've taken the subway/train from downtown to the course every day. It's a breeze, and costs a total of $3. Extra bonus -- there's a train stop right outside Merion's front gate.
  • The history. There is so much American history here (obviously)! Benjamin Franklin is buried in the cemetery right behind my hotel. I mean, RIGHT behind my hotel. Non even a nine iron away. That just seems unbelievable to me, I don't know why.
  • Tourist friendly. Lots of signs telling you which way to go, and what other cool thing is right around that other corner. Signs, signs, everywhere a sign.
  • Cheesesteaks. I don't think I've found the ultimate one yet, but I'm going to try another two or three to continue that quest. Leave me a comment if you know where the best one is...
  • Wacky liquor laws. Apparently it's against the law to sell a 12-pack of beer in Philadelphia. I'm serious. I was going to throw a 12-pack in my room, as is tradition when I travel. But I was told that there are no places to buy canned (or bottled) beer in Philly except for bars, where you have to pay for to-go beers. So a 6-pack is literally $30, minimum. Bizarre. I thought Kansas had weird liquor laws.
  • Customer service. I walked out of a place tonight. Sat there for ten minutes and no one would come up to say high, take a drink order, anything. I know it sounds snobby to gripe about this, but I put myself through college working in restaurants and bars. Especially when tourist dollars are in town, it's not that hard to schmooze a little for a tip.
  • Phillies are out of town. I think it should be a rule that when a major sporting event (i.e. the U.S. Open) comes to town, you make sure your pro baseball team (or whatever is in season) is in town as well. That allows sports fans to double-up on the pleasure and see a ballpark and a game that they normally wouldn't have. But no Phillies for U.S. Open fans, sorry.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Q: When is a tee also a green?

A: When it’s No. 14 tee at Merion

Keep your eyes peeled for an unusual sight at Merion Golf Club this week: players teeing it up on a green.
Reigning U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson tees it up on No. 14 green. Er, tee.

 Tom Marzolf, senior design associate at Fazio Golf Course Designers, smiled when asked about this unusual circumstance. The green is a practice green for members at Merion, but there’s more to the story than that.

“For the (2005) U.S. Amateur, the decision was made to create a level spot on the green. During the tournament, we picked up the markers and actually played (tee shots) off the green… that was well received, and added a lot of length to the 14th hole,” Marzolf says. “In the interim, we decided to make the green bigger. We did a 38-yard extension to this green. It’s one of the largest greens here. The green committee asked us to replicate the 17th green. It mimics the contours of the 17th green at Merion.”
In the foreground is the normal teeing ground for No. 14.

So Merion has a replica of 17 green that also doubles as a teeing ground for when the big hitters come out to play. Some courses really do have it all, eh?

“One of the issues for the change and why the green got 38 yards longer for the tee on 14, they wanted to put a very large grandstand behind 18. The wider the grandstand, the harder it would be to play 14 from the normal tee. So as we extended this green, we changed the angle of the tee shot to golfer’s left (on 14),” Marzolf says. “The line of play now is down the left-hand side… and now the grandstand on 18 is larger. It was done together.”

This new line means that a stop sign had to be moved on Golf House Road, which adjoins the course. With the new line, players would have had that stop sign as either a distraction or a target.

But isn’t it weird to step up on a green and put a peg down?

“It’s not something you do every day,” Marzolf says. “They’re all hitting woods off the tee, there’s not a divot issue. But it is a unique feeling to walk on to a green and swing away.”

If you read one U.S. Open preview...

It should probably be this one:

Click here to read it!

(OK, Sports Illustrated did a pretty nice preview as well...)

U.S. Open photo parade pt. 1

Welcome to the U.S. Open and my first of three photo parades. My name is Seth, I'll be your host... let's get started.

On the right is Robert Smith, equipment technician here at Merion. That's his brother Mike on the left, and his dad, uh... Mr. Smith, in the middle. Yep, this journalism thing, I've got it down.

The preferred reading of the Merion maintenance tent is Golfdom. This photo proves it. Take THAT, competition. (Gotta beat that competition, yessir!)

The crew, excited to get back out there on the course, on Tuesday afternoon. Once it was discovered that this photo might make a magazine, I had to take it again, so the young lady in the center could take the photo again sans sunglasses.

"And now, a word from our sponsor..." Merion GC superintendent Arron McCurdy speaking to the crew in front of the sponsors banner. Is it just me, or does that Turf Screen logo really pop?

Walk mowers, along with their mats for turn-arounds on the collars, head out for the afternoon shift.

Rakers. Lots of rakers.

The fairway mowers are all lined up and ready to mow.

There were a lot of golf fans out there today. There were also a few of these fans, too.

Rollin', rollin', rollin' fairways.

You see, there is random stuff in the rough. AND WE LIKE IT THAT WAY! (More on the rough in a future post.)

I haven't seen this before: the fairway mowers mow to the end of the fairway, then, one-by-one, they all stop, throw it in reverse, and back their way out of their.

The fairway mowers mow in a staggered line, like this character:     /       ... so no chevron, or flying 'V.' It's a little less dramatic for photos, in general. Still fun to watch, though.

Matt Shaffer, director of grounds at Merion, and his close friend John Zimmers, superintendent at Oakmont CC, observe the crew at work. (Great, great guys to work with.)

Uh-oh... someone got a little arty with a few photos...

A note about these photos: They're all property of Golfdom magazine. But if you're a benevolent entity (read: not one of our mortal enemies... you know who you are) you can "borrow" these photos if you just give a credit to GOLFDOM and a link back to Thanks much.

Zach Johnson 'shocked' at how well Merion holding up

Good news here at the U.S. Open... like Matt Shaffer promised at the Media Center on Monday, this course does dry out surprisingly quick.

Great weather (partly cloudy, light breeze, NO RAIN) on Tuesday sure did help. It was enough to get Zach Johnson, winner of the 2007 Masters, to tell me that the course had him pleasantly surprised.

Johnson had just finished his practice round at 2:45 EST when I caught up with him on the 18th green for a quick one-on-one.

"It's surprisingly really good. I was shocked at how good the course has held up," Johnson told me. Merion has taken on more than 5 inches of rain in the past few days.

"I thought there was a chance the course might be closed today. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the course held up. Hat's off to the grounds crew, the superintendents, and the individuals who worked through the night," Johnson said. "The greens actually have some bounce and roll to them!"