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Zac Blair announces plans for The Buck Club

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If you follow nearly anyone in the golfing community on social media, you have probably at least heard of The Buck Club. For those not in the know, The Buck Club represents PGA Tour player Zac Blair’s mission to craft what he sees as the gold standard for what a golf course should be. He unveiled his plan over the weekend during a kickoff event called “The Ringer” at Sweetens Cove Golf Course in South Pittsburg, Tenn.

Blair has identified and is in the process of securing a 347-acre site in Morgan, Utah, (about an hour north of Salt Lake City) for the course. He has also selected King Collins Golf (crafters of the aforementioned Sweetens Cove) to co-design the golf course with him and oversee its construction. The team of Blair and King Collins Golf have recently completed a design layout that adds up to a 7,400-yard par 71 from the championship tees. In the words of Blair and Collins

“The architecture will be rooted in the fundamental lessons of The Old Course at St Andrews and the great courses of the classic era of architecture in the United States. Strategic decision making, variety, alternate playing routes, and a bold, quirky flair will be the hallmarks of the playing experience. The legacy of Zac’s favorite course, National Golf Links of America, the brainchild of C.B. MacDonald, weighs heavily on the concept of The Buck Club. Using the teachings of history’s greatest architects and C.B. MacDonald as inspiration, every hole at The Buck Club will provoke thought and force players to make decisions on each shot. Alternate routes of attack will be available for golfers of all skill levels, thereby providing ‘pleasurable excitement’ and ‘the greatest pleasure to the greatest number’ in the words of Alister Mackenzie.”

Preliminary Scorecard for The Buck Club

Apart from the golf itself, the club’s atmosphere is equally important to Blair and Collins. The intent is to provide a laid back vibe with an emphasis on camaraderie among people who share a love of the game and the shared experiences it provides. To encourage that, the course will include features such as one complex that encompasses the 18th green, practice green, and first tee as well as multiple bonus holes (Numbers 6.5, 9B, 18B, and 19 are included in the current routing).

Routing of The Buck Club by Zac Blair and King Collins Golf

If the experience at The Buck Club is anything like what transpired at The Ringer, golf enthusiasts should be in for a real treat. Some highlights include a 50-man free-for-all down the first fairway during the three-man derby, multiple alternate holes such as No. 4 tee to No. 6 green and No. 8 tee to No. 9 green, and a stripe show of a closest to the pin challenge. 100 percent of the attendees were encouraging to each other and engaged in every nuance of the experience. It was a refreshing change from the innocuous rounds of golf found at many courses across America today.

Artist’s rendition of the 8th hole named “Mega Redan.” Credit: Josh Bills (@jrbgolfs on Instagram)

The timeline for The Buck Club’s completion depends heavily on securing funding for the project, but it’s conceivable they could start moving dirt in 2019 if the fundraising process continues gaining momentum.

Stay in the know as the process unfolds by following The Buck Club on Twitter and Instagram.

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Peter Schmitt does not profess to be a PGA professional or to be certified at...well...anything much in golf. Just another lifelong golfer with a passion for the game trying to get better every day, the definition of which changes relatively frequently. Peter is a former Marine and a full-time mechanical engineer (outside of the golf industry). He lives in Lexington, KY with his wife and two young kids.

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. John Krug

    Oct 28, 2018 at 12:21 am

    How long is the golf season in Utah?

    • kevin

      Nov 2, 2018 at 11:19 am

      you can play year round in parts of UT. do you even know where utah is on a map? its south of canada, which has some fantastic courses.

  2. Johnny Penso

    Oct 27, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Can you say 7 hour rounds of golf? ???? ???? ???? ????

  3. George

    Oct 27, 2018 at 2:15 am

    I’m tired of private courses being built. If you really want to make a spectacular golf course it can only be good if it is open to the public. Golf in Scotland is way better than the US because of this. You can play anywhere

  4. Chris Epson

    Oct 26, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Zac is from Utah, and we are fortunate to have so many city and county owned courses, kept in terrific shape, and affordable at $50 (with a cart) or less. 9 hole rounds are not just allowed, but encouraged. We have some fun part 3 courses, as well as a few high end country clubs in Salt Lake and Park City. Point is…Zac gets it. His family has been involved in public golf there for many years, so I give him the benefit of the doubt in this venture. And Morgan, Utah in a beautiful venue. Don’t tell anyone, but affordable great quality golf is Utah’s best kept secret

  5. Zebediah (OG of the OT)

    Oct 26, 2018 at 10:56 am

    It’s never getting built. Zac has been busy designing swag and doesn’t have land or money, and is clueless on the development process.

    Nice guy with some interesting (but hardly novel) points of view, but he isn’t putting in the hard yards.

    • JR

      Oct 26, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      What is the point of being so negative here? Why even comment?

      • Jamie

        Oct 26, 2018 at 1:45 pm

        So brutal honesty is outlawed now, Snowflake?

      • Zebediah (OG of the OT)

        Oct 26, 2018 at 2:06 pm

        Only positivity allowed?

        So you don’t dispute what I wrote, you just don’t like it?

        Zachary was on twitter yesterday asking for someone to help him navigate land development in Utah. He doesn’t have the land. He doesn’t have the cash. He sells hats and tees, and he expects to break ground in May?

        Why should I be positive that this will happen?

        • JasonHolmes

          Oct 26, 2018 at 11:31 pm

          Well if people keep buying $25 bags of TBC tees – he’ll have the money raised in no time.

    • Blake

      Oct 26, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      “Zac has been busy designing swag and doesn’t have land or money”

      He sold the swag to get the money and the land. But your wrong bc apparently he has the land now.

      • Zebediah (OG of the OT)

        Oct 26, 2018 at 5:50 pm

        “He is in the process of securing the land” – translation, he doesn’t own the land and hasn’t “secured” it, which is something less than owning it.

        You think he soft enough hats and belts to by the land? His GoFundMe was seeking $5,000,000.00. He “secured” $155.00. I’m guessing he didn’t make up the shortfall at the Ringer. He is approaching this project like a teenager. “Check out my dope pop up store” followed by “anyone know anyone who has developed land in Utah”.

        Explain to me how you know he has the land when this article explicitly states he doesn’t.

        I hope he pulls it off, but he has done absolutely nothing to make me think he will.

  6. Peter Schmitt

    Oct 26, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Lots of people commenting on price, membership structure, etc. Folks, all I know to say there is that nobody knows yet. It’s not that it’s a closely guarded secret. No one knows. As such, I’m going to resist diving into circular discussions over hypotheticals because it’s not going to help any of us. Hope that’s received in the spirit it’s intended.

    • JasonHolmes

      Oct 26, 2018 at 11:34 pm

      As a business owner, what you are describing actually frustrates me more than anything. He seems to just be sort of winging it. Make some cool hats and hole layout maps first – figure out the business part later. How did he not start with a solid business plan and then approach investors with a copy of that plan in his hand? Instead he’s doing what you are describing – he’s winging it.

  7. scott

    Oct 26, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Never heard of this until now. I love the architecture styles discussed. However, if this is going to be a private course, the success or failure will never truly be known until it goes out of business. What I get from reading this article is that if this is a private course 1) Zak clearly doesn’t get it and 2) without a ton of funding, the course won’t resemble the current layout.

  8. SV

    Oct 26, 2018 at 9:17 am

    I agree it will probably be a high-end, private club with limited access. What I would like to know is why in an article like this it is always the the longest tees yardages that are shown? Why not show what normal people will play, even if they will have no chance to actually do it? Your answer Mr. Schmitt?

    • Peter Schmitt

      Oct 26, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Let’s not forget that Zac is almost doing this backwards from the standard convention. There’s a lot of details that just plain aren’t sorted out yet. All of that will come in time but you have to start somewhere. How often does the general public get to watch a project unfold like this? Let’s all enjoy the ride.

      • JasonHolmes

        Oct 26, 2018 at 9:55 am

        “How often does the general public get to watch a project unfold like this? Let’s all enjoy the ride.”

        Is the general public really going to care if it turns out they are watching a PGA Tour pro build a high end private hangout for him and his crew? I doubt it. All the talk and press he’s getting about how “different” this project is going to be – thats all going to fall completely flat if it turns out this is just another high dollar private joint none of us will ever get a chance to play. Golf has enough of those kind of places already.

  9. CrashTestDummy

    Oct 25, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    It looks like a great design and concept. Hopefully, it makes money and is successful, but it is at a time where many golf courses are closing which makes any new golf course risky.

  10. Caroline

    Oct 25, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    Such a great article about something 90% of golfers in California know nothing about…all we have is public courses closing all the time because water is to expensive and courses cannot not make a nickle…so sell the land and build warehouses for Amazon and others or like by me build more houses…..cost 30 million or more to build a public course, cost 3 or 4 million to buy one that will make nothing after paying for maintenance..let course run down force city to allow zoning change and close course build houses….same thing is happening in Las Vegas they close a course let the area turn to weeds, home owners that bought near a golf course fight to keep land a golf course but end up giving in to owners of land to build rather then look out over the desert weed patch…

    • Jeannie Bragg

      Oct 25, 2018 at 6:46 pm

      Trust me the same thing happens in the Grand Strand area of SC

    • Peter Schmitt

      Oct 26, 2018 at 9:13 am

      Fair comment and I think I would address it and CrashTestDummy’s above you by saying that a big reason a lot of courses are struggling is that, in my humble opinion, they’re all really kind of the same. Throwing together another rubber stamped golf course design and dressing it up with pretty water features is what gets you another course that struggles. They all just kind of taste like chicken after a while.

      Sweetens Cove is the antithesis of that and I would imagine The Buck Club will be something like SC on steroids. I have pretty high hopes personally. Admittedly, it may or may not be for everybody (it’s not even built yet so who knows), but I would imagine those looking to go deeper down the golf rabbit hole will be head over heels…

  11. T. Harris

    Oct 25, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    So glad to see King Collins on this project. Rob Collins is an incredibly inspired and talented designer…the final result will no doubt be spectacular!

  12. JasonHolmes

    Oct 25, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    ZB still wont answer the question as to whether or not the public will even be allowed to play at his course. Is he raising money on the backs of people buying $100 shirts – all so he can build some exclusive hideaway?

    Or is this going to be a course people can actually play?

    Because it seems disingenuous as hell if he’s going to keep pumping out hats and shirts to his followers on Twitter – only to turn around and make a completely private club.

    Any time anyone asks him, he says something like he’s trying to “figure it out”. What does that even mean? If he can’t even answer that simple question, to me that says it all. Why cant someone in the press actually push him on this? Otherwise you are doing exactly what he wants – providing more free marketing.

    • Doug

      Oct 25, 2018 at 8:48 pm

      On a recent podcast he said there would be rate levels for local, national, and international memberships. He also thought that it would be pretty open for guests to get to with a member with the thought that people will like it so much they might just become a member.

      Typically national memberships are much more affordable than local clubs because they know you can’t use them much. But then you have to pay for travel.

      I, and I suspect you, would much prefer a mixed option that would include a higher priced daily rate – eg Bandon Dunes – but how many people would buy even a “cheap” national membership at $3k if you could play 18 for $275?

      • Rick

        Oct 26, 2018 at 12:56 am

        Nice, very sad there are plenty of high level courses for people that can pay $275 or more…as golf is becoming more and more a game of kings (rich) as they want it to be. What is sad is there are so few courses under $40 dollars that the average Joe and jill can play..Biggest joke in the Country is the First Tee…thousands of kids learning to play with free clubs, range balls and even rounds of golf…then they turn 16-18 and are ask to pay a $40 green fee or $10 for a bucket of range balls and 99.9% of them are through with golf….

        • Peter Schmitt

          Oct 26, 2018 at 10:48 am

          I agree good golf that’s affordable is hard to find, but I will submit that there are options if you’re willing to look hard enough and have an open mind in the process. There’s a Pete Dye muni here in KY that costs me $12 to walk 18 on the weekends as a veteran. Sweetens Cove has an all day walking rate on the weekend for $60 to play as much golf as you can stomach in one day. I’m not saying TBC will be in that ballpark (or that it won’t for that matter). Just that good, affordable golf isn’t dead yet…though I’ll admit it isn’t going to be served up on a silver platter.

    • Peter Schmitt

      Oct 26, 2018 at 9:35 am

      I think the reason he hasn’t explicitly stated a response to that is because he honestly hasn’t decided yet. Simple as that. Could go in a bunch of different directions and last I heard he was still batting ideas back and forth. FWIW, I trust him. We don’t go way back or anything. I just met him last weekend and have talked to him for probably less than an hour total, but I came away thinking (1) he “gets it” and (2) I genuinely think this could be special. YMMV of course. Just one man’s opinion…

    • Blake

      Oct 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm

      He literally said there would be a way for the public to play this

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Brooks Koepka with Mizuno JPX 919 irons, TaylorMade M5 driver in the bag at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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Brooks Koepka is in action this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship equipped with a new driver and set of irons.

Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall broke the news, via Twitter, that Kopeka has TaylorMade’s new M5 Driver in his bag this week, as well as Mizuno’s JPX 919 Tour Irons.

The three-time major champ used TaylorMade’s M3 460 Driver and Mizuno’s JPX 900 Tour irons throughout 2018, and it appears as if Koepka is happy to make the transition to both manufacturers latest additions of those series of clubs right from the get-go in 2019.

Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX-919

Koepka is currently T13 after two rounds of play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and sits five shots off the lead.

 

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European Tour members have heated exchange over cheating incident…from 2013

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Social media appears to have become the new playground for golfers to air their issues with each other, and this week it was the turn of two European Tour members.

The two men involved were Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and England’s Simon Dyson, and the subject of the feud revolves around a new change in the rulebook of golf. As of 2019, players are allowed to repair spike marks on the greens, an act which Dyson was found guilty of doing when it was prohibited back in 2013, and subsequently found himself slapped with a fine and a suspension.

Fernandez Castano kicked off the fun and games following his opening round at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. The Spaniard said how the new rule “will take some time to get used to” before adding the punchline  “Unless you are Simon Dyson and you have been doing it for years.”

The bad blood between Fernandez-Castano and Dyson appears to be fully down to Dyson’s misdemeanour in 2013, as one year later on Twitter when the Spaniard was asked for his opinion on Dyson; he bluntly replied: “Used to like him, not anymore”.

Asked why he hadn’t tagged Dyson in his tweet yesterday, the Spaniard claimed that the Englishman had blocked him, before Dyson took to the stage, with a different rationale. In a since-deleted tweet, Dyson stated that Fernandez-Castano didn’t have the cojones (or something similar) and stated that the Spaniard is a “sad little man”.

After getting that off his chest, Dyson approached the incident differently, saying that he, unlike Fernandez-Caetano supposedly, had moved on from the affair which occurred six years ago.

Nothing quite like a good old confrontation on social media with a peer to begin your professional year, eh?

 

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Morning 9: Watch out, intentional double hitters!| LPGA Tour in on betting | Heart surgery for Rose’s caddie |

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

January 17, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.

 

1. Tiger to return at Torrey
As expected, Tiger Woods will be in the field for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines next week. Woods made the announcement today via his social media channels.
  • The 43-year-old has won at the venue eight times (seven Farmers, one U.S. Open). He most recently claimed a W at the La Jolla, California, course when he won the 2013 Farmers Insurance Open. He tied for 23rd at the event last year.
  • We last saw the 14-time major champion in action at his Thanksgiving weekend showdown with Phil Mickelson. He hasn’t played an official PGA Tour event since winning the Tour Championship at the end of September.
  • Woods is also officially committed to the Genesis Open, which is run by his foundation and begins February 14 at Riviera.
2. LPGA Tour getting on the betting bandwagon?
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”If legalized gambling is going to boost interest in golf, the LPGA doesn’t want to be left behind.”
  • “Commissioner Mike Whan is positioning the tour to be ready to manage and benefit from real-time betting when it takes off.”
  • “He’s preparing to invest the tour in a shot-tracking system that would give the LPGA real-time data similar to what PGA Tour ShotLink offers. The system would be specifically designed to accommodate the intense new interest gambling could bring.”
  • “Regardless what I think of legalized gambling, it’s here, and it’s only going to get more significant,” Whan told GolfChannel.com. “You can stick your head in the sand and act like it’s not going to happen, but you’re still going to have betting issues. So, wouldn’t you rather get control of it, make sure you educate your players, make sure you understand the audience and make sure the data disseminated is real, accurate and managed by people you trust?”
3. Fooch to have heart surgery
Hoping for the best for Justin Rose’s caddie…
  • Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Mark Fulcher has been on the bag for many of Rose’s biggest achievements, including his 2013 U.S. Open win and gold medal triumph at the 2016 Rio Olympics. But while Rose is in the California desert for this week’s PGA Tour stop, Fulcher is in New York awaiting heart surgery.”
  • “According to a report from Golf Channel’s George Savaricas, Fulcher plans to undergo a heart valve replacement on Thursday. While he is on the mend, Rose will have Gareth Lord on the bag in the near future. Lord caddied for the past several years for Henrik Stenson until the pair split in November.”
  • “According to Savaricas, Fulcher hopes to return to life inside the ropes for the current world No. 1 when the PGA Tour heads to Florida in late February.”
4. Dou wins in the Bahamas
AP Report…”Zecheng Dou birdied the final three holes Wednesday for a two-stroke victory in the Web.com Tour’s season-opening Bahamas Great Exuma Classic”.
  • “Dou shot a 2-under 70, holing a 55-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th at Sandals Emerald Bay to finish at 18-under 270. Three strokes ahead entering the round, the 21-year-old Chinese player rallied after bogeying three of the first six holes on the back nine.”
  • “Dou earned $108,000 for his second Web.com Tour title.”
5. Callaway + European Tour
Our Gianni Magliocco writes…”For the European Tour, Callaway now becomes the official driver, shoe and golf bag brand of the Tour, while Odyssey is now the official putter, OGIO the official luggage brand, and Callaway Apparel along with Travis Mathew brand, is the official on-course apparel.”
  • “Speaking on the deal, which will also see Callaway supply Chrome Soft balls to each driving range at European Tour events, Neil Howie, President & Managing Director of Callaway Golf Europe stated”
  • “Securing this important leadership position with such a forward-thinking and committed organisation as the European Tour aligns perfectly with our own business goals of making the game more enjoyable and accessible through market-leading innovation and superior product performance.
  • “Callaway continues to enjoy a very strong and loyal following among players on the European Tour, Odyssey has been the number one brand for more than ten years and Rogue Drivers were the number one model in play across 2018, and we are excited about the impact of our recently launched Epic Flash family.
  • “We also look forward to the many tournament, broadcast and content opportunities that this new partnership will bring.”
6. Speaking of European Tour golf…
AP Report...”Irish golfer Shane Lowry is looking to reignite his career after losing his card on the PGA Tour last year.”
  • “Beginning 2019 with a 10-under 62 is pretty much the ideal way to start.”
  • “Lowry rolled in 10 birdies and did not drop a shot in the first round of the Abu Dhabi Championship on Wednesday, giving him a three-stroke lead in the European Tour’s opening event of the year.”
  • “Down to 75th in the rankings and now 3½ years without a win, Lowry is adjusting to life back as a full-time European Tour player after failing to successfully juggle his commitments on both sides of the Atlantic in 2018.”
7. Lexi’s family to stay on the bag

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols...”Brother Curtis Thompson was on the bag for Lexi at the CME. He’ll be on the bag again this week at Tranquilo, driving down on Wednesday evening after a qualifier. Curtis plans to caddie for his sister when he’s not competing. Otherwise their father, Scott, will take his place.”

“Lexi said she isn’t currently searching for a caddie outside the family.”

  • “I think I realized that’s who cares about me the most right now,” she said. “My dad’s been my coach my whole life. If I have him on the bag, I know he can help me out tremendously. Same thing with Curtis. He knows my golf swing very well too. He can always keep me laughing out there.”
8. A vintage rules spat
Vintage, in the sense that it has fermented since 2013…
Alex Myers at Golf Digest…”The fun started when Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, following his first round of 2019 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Wednesday, commented on the new rule that allows players to repair spike marks on the green and said, “it will take some time to get used to it.” Before adding this jab out of left field: “Unless you are Simon Dyson and you have been doing it for years.”
9. Intentional double hitters, beware!
Geoff Shackelford at Golfweek…”The double strikes were inspired by Rule 11.1. In the simpler language of golf’s refreshed rules, the kinder, gentler governing bodies are no longer penalizing player for the dreaded “double-hit” made most famous by T.C. Chen in the 1985 U.S. Open but all too-often in embarrassing fashion for everyday golfers.”
  • “While some of golf’s top trickshot artists may be magnificent with a club in their hand, they missed the part about “accidental” in the title of 11.1. With so many copycats, there is a perception that a rules loophole has been exposed.”
  • “Golfweek asked the USGA for clarification and received this from a spokesperson:”
  • “The videos showing golfers deliberately hitting the ball twice (such as getting around a tree) are not allowed under the Rules. Most of these videos demonstrate a player making two strokes at the ball, with the second being made at a moving ball, which results in two penalty strokes. In total, the player has made two strokes and gets a two-stroke penalty.”

 

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