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WATCH: Gary Player hilariously criticizes players using green-reading books

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Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player held a dual press conference at The Masters and addressed a number of issues. It’s all a must-watch, and you can watch the full video here, but skip to 23:54 for the real entertainment. Asked about 9-hole golf courses and how golf takes too long, Player took that moment to rip on pro golfers for using green-reading books. It’s a bit get-off-my-lawn-esque, but it’s hilarious and he makes some great points.

“I’m flabbergasted,” Player said. “I’m not gonna criticize it, but I find it hard to understand when you have in a tournament, I see these guys bringing out a book when they get on the green to look where to putt. Really I find this very hard to understand. I and Jack have played many golf courses and exhibitions that we never played the golf course before we broke the course record. I go to a golf course, you can put me on any golf course in the world, I can read the putt as well as if I played it ten times. I’m a professional golfer, this is something I’ve got to be able to do.”

A fair point from a 9-time major champion.

“When I go to a golf tournament and you see guys having three practice rounds, then they play two rounds, that’s five rounds on a golf course,” Player continued. “Now they’re playing in the tournament and they look at the book where to putt. But I’m not gonna criticize it.”

No. No he’s not going to criticize it at all. Hah!

Jack, how do you feel about green-reading books?

“I think you’re absolutely dead right,” Nicklaus agreed. “I think it’s absolutely absurd. You’ve gotta swing coach, a mental coach, a chef, a pilot. You got everything. And now you’ve gotta book to tell you how to do it. And it’s also done by somebody who can’t break 90.”

Jack, the 18-time major champion, also used this opportunity to get a bit sentimental about the game.

“To me the game of golf is learning how to play the game and be responsible for everything you do. That’s the fun of it. It’s fun to learn how to putt greens, it’s fun to learn how to play clubs.”

Ultimately, however, Jack admitted he’d probably do the same thing.

“That said, if it were all given to me back when I started in 1962 on the tour, I probably would have done exactly the same thing.”

What do you think about green-reading books?

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Mat

    Apr 8, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    You can’t have a compass on the course, but you can have a green reading book? Ya, they’re handy. It’s good to have. But as a consideration for speed of play, they’re hideous. I would much rather give caddies nothing but a laser, and prohibit the use of lasers when the ball is on the green. I’m all for the science-data stuff, but part of having a game is to make pros be pros. Yardage books are fine on Wednesday.

  2. Rich Douglas

    Apr 7, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Shall we ban yardage books? Distance markers? Laser rangefinders?

    Is judging break and judging distance all that different?

    I’m in favor of them, as long as they don’t slow play. But….they will. The same chops who used to plumb-bob putts–and have no idea what to do with what they MIGHT have been seeing–will stare at a line indicated by the book and not be able to translate that into results, either because they can’t use the information or they have lousy putting skills.

    But the real culprit here is slow play, and this will feed it. How many times in a round do you see people who’s turn it is not be ready? They find out they’re away–usually by being told–and THEN they go into their pre-shot routines. And what routines they are! Two or three practice swings–none of which will resemble the actual hack at the ball–coupled with checking the wind, interminable waggling, and a slice into the woods. (That they won’t watch, so finding their ball will be a chore.) Now we’re giving these guys something to read on the greens? Oh, the humanity!

  3. Bob Parson Jr.

    Apr 7, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    This is even more egregious when I see 20 handicappers using yardage books for everything, bah!

  4. Tom Duckworth

    Apr 7, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    I can see using the books for practice rounds but taking them away for the tournament.
    I have never used one but if I was playing in a club championship and I didn’t have one and others players did that would be unfair. So everyone should be given a book or nobody should have them reading greens is part of the skill in golf it separates OK players from very good players. It has nothing to do with longing for the old days it is part of the game a skill you work on and get better at just like driving or learning how to hit a fade or draw.

  5. Bob Parson Jr.

    Apr 7, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Rightly so! I’m tired of 7 hour rounds for professionals.

  6. Justin

    Apr 7, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    They should be for practice rounds ONLY, just as electronic distance devices. And when it comes to amateurs I can tell you I walked off the course DQ my self just last week because playing in a men’s club weekly 18 two of the guys in my group had a new greens book and were taking all day to putt and after 10 holes of that I gave up. I do not know about the rest of you but when it comes to men’s clubs and the importance of putting to a 25 handicapper and the 5 handicapper that thinks he should be on tour 5+ hour rounds are the pitts….

  7. acew/7iron

    Apr 7, 2018 at 8:22 am

    Could not agree more with Player & Jack

    How the open use of cheat books ever got by the rules of golf police I will never know except to say holing putts creates TV drama while missing them puts viewers in surf mode. My only guess is that to help the player make that 4,6,8,10,? footer they allow the use of a road map to the hole.

    I see so many avg Joes miss short putts due to a miss-read and I think…If only the would have had the contour map like Dustin & Jordan they could have at least missed on the high side.

  8. CrashTestDummy

    Apr 6, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    I agree with them. There shouldn’t be green reading books. It should be up to the player to read the greens during play and/or do the homework on the practice rounds to make notations on how the green breaks. Green reading is a skill that should be necessary in competition.

  9. Tyler Durden

    Apr 6, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    Im sure gary would like to go back to flying on 1950’s commercial airliners or have to take an ocean liner to cross the atlantic.

    • ogo

      Apr 6, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      He’s just being open and transparent.. like Trump …. :-O

  10. A. Commoner

    Apr 6, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    Simply stated: the use of green reading books stinks.

  11. G. Mangum

    Apr 6, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Here’s my considered opinion on green-reading books:
    http://puttingzone.blogspot.ca/2010/04/rule-on-artificial-devices.html

    • ogo

      Apr 6, 2018 at 10:46 pm

      That sez it all. Geff knows what he is talking about. However the tour pros want to look good because they are mainly shilling equipment and golf junk to the gullible masses. And that’s why the fairways are shaved and not watered in the landing areas.. so the ball rolls 50+ yards further.

  12. rymail00

    Apr 6, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Am I the only one shocked to see Jack playing the new and current TM ball during the Par 3 Contest, and not a Titleist Professional 90 or Balata? Being so against how far the ball goes today I figured he would lead the way in the “Ball Rollback” by taking the lead by showing golf is still fun for even older guys who don’t hit anywhere like they used too….seems almost hypocritical to play possibly one of the longest balls out today even on a par 3 course.

    But what I do know…?

  13. Simms

    Apr 6, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    And Gary how about the laugh about $500 plus drivers being fit so amateurs can play better when Pros cannot hit a fairway with custom versions of the same driver…

    • ogo

      Apr 6, 2018 at 10:48 pm

      The ams just want to feeel what the pros feeeel… and they love owning colorful toys..

  14. Patricknorm

    Apr 6, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    The other day I watched the 1975 final round of the Masters on YouTube. Jack Nicklaus ended up winning ahead of Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf. What stood out more than anything , and I remembered this quite clearly, was how long and deliberate Nicklaus was over every shot. But his freezing over every putt was epic. I realize that Nicklaus too many is the greatest golfer, but if he played today people would be critical of his putting routine. Ironically giving Nicklaus a green reading book may have sped his putting routine. Who knows though.

  15. wyomick

    Apr 6, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    They’re right. And amateurs mimick the pros. It’s taking all the feel out of the game. Learn to feel with your feet, use your putter for a plumb bob to get the general lay of the land if you must, pick a spot in front of your ball, and HIT THE DAMN BALL TOWARD THE HOLE.

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The 19th Hole (Ep 63): Valentino Dixon talks Golf Channel documentary; Marvin Bush remembers his father

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Valentino Dixon shares his amazing story in an exclusive interview with Michael Williams. Also in this episode: a tribute to George H.W. Bush, featuring a conversation with his youngest son, Marvin.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

featured image c/o Golf Channel

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Hidden Gem of the Day: Park Hills Golf Course in Freeport, Illinois

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here!

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member lawsonman, who takes us to Park Hills Golf Course in Freeport, Illinois. The course sits west of Chicago, and in lawsonman’s description of the course, he cites the immaculate condition of the track as one of the reasons he feels it’s a hidden gem.

“Always in pristine condition. 36 hole layout that is as hard as you want to make it. Trees (big) and water are everywhere. Pace of play is usually very good. Located about 90 minutes west of Chicago’s western suburbs.”

According to Park Hills Golf Course’s website, 18 holes around the course costs just $23, no matter what day you wish to play. There is a $16 charge should you want to use a cart for 18 holes.

@rooftopweather

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Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

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Opinion & Analysis

Louisville Golf: Post time for persimmon

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“I knew I had to give it a shot. If I had tried and it didn’t work out, I would’ve been okay with that. But I had to go after my passion and see where it went.”

Jeremy Wright gets it. Taking over at Louisville Golf is not for everybody. This isn’t a multi-billion-dollar revenue generating machine with private research facilities and elaborate corporate complexes. It’s not about money…or fame…or 385-yard drives. Gerard Just, the youngest of the Just brothers who started Louisville Golf might have summed it up best:

“You know, I guess you could say we’re simple people. We don’t really go on vacations. But we work hard and we enjoy what we do. We don’t make a lot of money. I don’t think my kids could afford to work here to be honest, but they hate their jobs. We never really had that problem.”

Louisville Golf was established in 1974 by Elmore Just and Steve Taylor when they left Hillerich & Bradsby (crafters of Louisville Slugger baseball bats and Power-Bilt golf clubs). Elmore ran the business side of the company and Steve oversaw the manufacturing aspect. Back then, in the heyday of persimmon, the club manufacturers were on an allotment. Since persimmon (remarkably well-suited for golf clubs due to its strength and density) is a relatively slow-growing wood, there was only so much material to go around and upstart Louisville Golf had to fight for every block they got. Eventually, they built the business into a major player, making 800 clubs a day for the likes of Hogan, MacGregor, Wilson, Spalding, and others.

Master models for Louisville Golf persimmon club heads

Some of Louisville Golf’s more well-known woods that won on the PGA Tour were the Wilson Whale that Payne Stewart used to win the 1989 PGA Championship and the Hogan Apex that Tom Kite used to win the 1992 US Open at Pebble Beach. Then metal woods came into the picture and sales dwindled. When Callaway launched the Big Bertha, sales basically dried up overnight.

Though metal woods took off like a rocket in the 1990’s, there were some holdouts. Justin Leonard, Davis Love III, and Mark Calcavecchia held onto their persimmon woods into the late 90s. The last man standing was widely considered to be Bob Estes, who used his Louisville Golf Smart ProBE (a club Just developed specifically for Estes) in the Accenture Match Play in 2001.

When Elmore Just passed away in April of 2001, his brother Mike assumed control of the company. Elmore is actually buried at Persimmon Ridge Golf Club in Louisville, an Arthur Hills course he developed in the 1980’s. When Mike took the reins, though the company had successfully limped along through the metal wood revolution, the hard reality was that they needed to reinvent themselves if they were going to remain profitable. Mike left his mark on the company in 2004 by deciding to leverage Louisville Golf’s unique expertise into crafting period-correct hickory shafted golf clubs and restoring vintage specimens. That decision marked a resurgence of sorts, as the niche has served Louisville Golf well. Today, Louisville Golf and St. Andrews Golf Co. are the only large scale manufacturers of such equipment.

Louisville Golf club heads ready for final assembly

It’s a peculiar set of circumstances to be sure, but oddly enough, many golfers in the 21st century have found Louisville Golf through 100-year-old golf clubs. This is exactly how Jeremy Wright came into the picture. Jeremy was a medical sales representative in Houston, TX with a wife, three kids, and a serious golfing hobby. He had recently gone on a search for an exotic shaft upgrade for his Scotty Cameron putter. On a whim, he googled wooden shafts, stumbled across hickory golf clubs, and the rest was history.

“One of the things I learned in that search was that, when the golf industry transitioned from hickory shafts to steel, a lot of players either kept their old hickory putters or would fit their new putters with hickory shafts for decades after that transition because the feel was so much better.

“So I kept digging into hickory golf and tried to learn what it was all about. I discovered there were hickory tournaments and the winners shot like 75-78 and I thought, ‘I can do that. I’m going to get a hickory set together and figure this out.’ From that point on, I was hooked. There was no going back.”

So hooked, in fact, that when Jeremy heard the Just family was fielding offers for the company as a result of Mike’s passing in October of 2016, he put his name in the hat. It just so happened that Jeremy and his wife were both at a point in their careers where they were looking for more. Burned out and tired of the cyclical corporate rat race, they decided to go all-in on Jeremy’s passion, submitted an offer to the Just family, and ultimately were selected from multiple potential suitors to carry on the legacy of the company.

Sole plates for Louisville Golf persimmon fairway woods

As for where Louisville Golf goes from here, you can probably expect a lot more of what got them here in the first place. After all, one of the biggest reasons Jeremy was selected to take the reins at Louisville Golf was his commitment to preserving its heritage.  Louisville Golf may not be rubbing elbows with the major OEM’s anymore, but these days, they’re not trying to either. Just like the rest of us golfers, they’re getting by with grit, optimism, and respect for the game. They’ve also seen the fortunate bounces and bad lies that come with a life dedicated to golf, but as the old adage says, the most important shot is always the next one. Time marches on. And so does Louisville Golf. They remain committed to what has brought them this far and see that as a springboard into the future.

“We’ve got some products in the works that I think are really innovative and will show what persimmon is really capable of. I think if you’re a better player who can find the sweet spot on a consistent basis, you really should think seriously about persimmon. Especially if you’re looking to get a specific yardage out of your clubs like with a fairway wood or hybrid. There was a video circulating a few years ago with Rickie Fowler using a steel shafted persimmon fairway wood and he was getting a 1.49 smash factor. You can’t get much better than that. The way the bulge and roll is shaped on a persimmon wood and also the location of the CG allows for a bigger gear effect than modern titanium woods. Persimmons do impart more spin on the ball (especially on a mishit), so we acknowledge the ball may not go as far, but that spin also brings the ball back to the target, too. That’s one of the biggest advantages of persimmon. You’ll be shorter but in the fairway as opposed to long and in the trees.

“The people that find us are looking for a deeper connection to the tradition and the spirit of the game. They’re tired of paying for marketing fluff and silly catch phrases. We make viable alternatives for the modern golfer, we make classic reproductions of the steel shaft/persimmon head era of golf, and we make spot-on hickory shafted clubs as well, so we think we have a place in just about everyone’s bag depending on how you prefer to experience the game. Nothing compares to the joy of a purely struck golf shot with a wooden golf club. You just feel like you’re playing golf the way it was meant to be played.”

A visit to Louisville Golf reveals a group of people who have dedicated their lives to exactly that: playing the game the way it was meant to be played. Hard work, attention to detail, a commitment to quality, and having a lot of fun along the way are the hallmarks of their operation. One strike directly on that persimmon sweet spot will send all of those vibes straight into your bones. Playing golf with persimmon woods in the 21st century may be taking the road less traveled, but it could make all the difference.

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