Thank you to all the members who sent in questions for our first Q & A. My first sentence to each response started with “great question” until our editor yelled at me. I hope you all enjoy, and if you have a question you would like answered in the next edition (in a couple of weeks), email us, tweet at us or fill out the form at the bottom of the newsletter.
Q: What are your thoughts on Jordan Spieth's whining as it pertains to bringing new viewers to the game?
Kyle N. - Highland Park, IL
Answer: I am going to widen the scope of this question and talk about Jordan Spieth’s golf game and what I don’t like about it. It’s painfully slow and whiny. Kids mimic what they see. Spieth being one of the slowest players on tour will lead to a generation of slow (and maybe even whiny) golfers. If anything is helping the viewership, it’s the younger, hipper players and characters on Tour. Technology has definitely made the game easier to watch on TV, too.
Spieth moves the needle for the game, I just hope he moves it the right way.
Q: Something I can't figure out and would like to see addressed is, why is bubba just the worst?
Chadd, from the left woods
I don’t know if I can recall a golfer ever having their public opinion shift so greatly. Watson was a fan favorite after his first Masters win. People loved his golf hovercraft, the golf boys, and his pink driver…. now he’s turned into the public’s whipping boy. I think the only comparable fall from grace is LeBron when he left Cleveland for Miami. Let’s rehash just some of the events that caused Bubba to fall from public favor:
Bubba goes off on French fans after a missed cut
Bubba goes off on his caddy. #prayforTedScott
Bubba goes off about the Waste Management Open.
Q: Can you explain the strokes gained statistics?
I plan on doing a deep dive into explanations of statistics in the near future, but here is a basic explanation of the strokes gained statistics that are all the fad of the PGA Tour. The strokes gained statistic is the measure of a singular shot a player hits and the effect it has on the competition. For example, if I hit a 320-yard drive down the middle on a reachable par 5, how many strokes do I gain on the field from that shot? Likewise, if I shortside myself on my second shot to a par 4, how many shots did I lose to the field?
Here are the basic definitions of each:
Strokes Gained: Off-the-tee - The cumulative shots gained or lost by a player’s tee shots in comparison to the field average.
Strokes Gained: Approach - The cumulative shots gained or lost by a player’s approach shots to greens in comparison to the field average.
Strokes Gained: Short Game - The cumulative shots gained or lost by a player’s short game in comparison to the field average.
Strokes Gained: Putting - The cumulative shots gained or lost by a player’s putting in comparison to the field average.
Q: What are your favorite “destination” golf courses that you have played, where are you playing next? What’s on your bucket list?
-Matt M - Chicago
I am making up for lost time now since working the last few years in tech gave me little time off to go and explore the world’s best destination courses. So here’s what I have for you:
Arcadia Bluffs - I am a huge fan of northern Michigan and Arcadia Bluffs. The course is spectacular as it sits on the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. The best part is that during summer months it stays light well past 9pm, allowing a Chicagoan like myself to make the drive in the morning and still get in 36 holes.
Whistling Straits - The golf community is no stranger to this gem, which has hosted 3 PGA Championships and is set to host the 2020 Ryder Cup. The Pete Dye track has spectacular golf holes and views along Lake Michigan.
Kiawah Island Ocean Course - I played a tournament at the Ocean Course many years ago, and it was fantastic. The resort has many other quality tracks, but the Ocean Course is in a league of its own. Host to the historic War on the Shore and the 2011 PGA Championship, it is no stranger to championship golf.
Dormie Club - I played here while I was at a wedding in Charlotte, and Dormie Club was well worth the 4 hour round trip. This Coore & Crenshaw design was originally planned to be an ultra-exclusive private club, but the recession forced it to become a public access facility. I would highly recommend anyone in the Pinehurst area to check this place out.
World Woods - This hidden gem in Brooksville, Florida boasts two unique 18-hole courses, Pine Barrens (modeled after Pine Valley) and Rolling Oaks (modeled after Augusta), both designed by Tom Fazio. While neither is quite the same as their comparison, they are both great golf courses at a terrific value.
Torrey Pines - Back in 2013, I was in Southern California for work and won a NCAA pool. I figured what better way to spend the money than hop on the 405 to visit a buddy and play Torrey Pines. I went through the Dawn Patrol experience and played Torrey from the tips, one I would recommend to every golfer.
Sweetens Cove - Check out our full review here, but this place is awesome. I don’t care that it’s 9 holes. I would drive 9 hours to go play it tomorrow, it’s that good.
Where I am headed next:
Forest Dunes Resort - Their new course, “The Loop”, is set to open at the end of the month, giving them 36 holes of golf (The Loop is 18 holes that can be played both ways). Augusta-type conditioning is touted at this highly regarded facility in northern Michigan. We will report back with more in August.
Sand Valley - Mike Keiser’s latest project is open for preview play, which I will be checking out next week. The plan right now is for two courses in Nekasha, WI, the first designed by legendary Coore & Crenshaw and the second by David Kidd. From the looks of it, Sand Valley could become the Bandon Dunes of the midwest.
Lawsonia - On a tip from a fried egg member, I am looking forward to checking out Lawsonia, which he described as the “two most unique sets of 18 holes of golf you will find.” Lawsonia is in Green Lake, WI, and I plan to check it out in the next two months whenever I can find the time.
Bucket List Destinations:
Bandon Dunes: Don’t think that there is much that needs to be said about this. 5 world-class golf courses on one property, a must-visit for any golf lover.
Streamsong - A Richard Mack project, Streamsong currently has 36 holes of golf with another 18 on the way. From what I have heard, it’s absolutely spectacular.
The Greenbriar - The only public 18 holes of C.B. MacDonald golf is enough to make me head there, but the Greenbriar also boasts four other 18-hole courses for guests to test their game.
Pasatiempo - This is where Alister MacKenzie called home, a public access gem where you will see some of the best MacKenzie green complexes and bunkering anywhere.
Q: Who do you think will be the next player to win their first major?
Emmett W. Houston, TX
Now that Dustin Johnson finally broke through for his first major win, this is seemingly a wide-open question. Names that immediately pop into my head are Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and Rickie Fowler, but I am going to go a little outside the box here and go with Brooks Koepka. On Sunday, Koepka showed the world a glimpse of his immense talent by threatening Johnny Miller’s Oakmont record before stumbling down the stretch. I think that he is the most talented player on this list (yes, more talented than Rickie Fowler) and has a lot less pressure on him when he tees it up in the majors.
Q: Who is the fried egg’s dream foursome?
Mark S. - Los Angeles, CA
Ben Crenshaw - Besides being one of the greatest golfers of all time, Crenshaw has designed 5 of the top 100 courses in America. Talk about a good golf mind..
Tiger Woods - The man behind my love of golf, I still vividly remember Tiger’s win at the 1997 Masters that led me to become the golfer I am today.
Dad - Although he may be America’s grumpiest golfer, how can the guy that allowed me the opportunity to get into the game not be in my foursome?
Q: Is distance and technology a problem in professional golf?
Pete S. Atlanta, GA
Recently, I played in a tournament with a 14-year-old who was ripping drives past me (I am in no way a short hitter - average about 290 off the tee). It was an eye-opening experience and changed my stance on this topic. While everyone is focused on how far the ball is going, my issue lies with how forgiving golf clubs have become. There is no longer a premium placed on hitting the sweet spot. Balls don’t spin off line and distance isn’t sacrificed with today’s technology. This allows people to swing as hard as they can at the ball without the repercussions they deserve for missing.