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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 is an avid golfer trying to get better every day, the definition of which changes relatively frequently. He believes that first and foremost, golf should be an enjoyable experience. Always. 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. "What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive." -Arnold Palmer

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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Tour Photo Galleries

Most interesting photos from Tuesday at the Valspar Championship

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This week, the PGA Tour is at Innisbrook Resort on the Copperhead course in Palm Harbor, Florida, for the Valspar Championship, where 2019 champion Paul Casey is looking to defend his title. The field of 156 is getting ready to battle starting Thursday for the $6.9 million purse with $1.24 million going to the winner. GolfWRX was on-site Tuesday to spy a glimpse into the bags of some of the world’s top golfers.

Don’t forget you can check out all our image galleries in the GolfWRX Tour Equipment forum.

Never stop working on the short ones

A putting mat like this is one of the most compact and useful tools you can use when it comes to practicing putts on a green—or even a hotel carpet. In the case of tour players, I suggest a putting green whenever possible.

Yonex blades looking sharp

Although most golfers thinking about the brand Yonex will still usually default to early-career Phil Mickelson, the brand is still alive and well and producing some great-looking irons, including these blades.

Sam Horsfield is a wizard on the greens

This week at the Valspar, Sam is using a custom weld-neck Bettinardi with a sight dot. The reason for the welded neck is to move the hosel closer to the middle of the head to reduce toe hang.

The “other” Koepka is in the field

Although Brooks is out, Chase Koepka is teeing it up this week, and just like his brother, he has a mixed bag of gear featuring multiple brands that includes Vokey wedges and some custom-stamped Mizuno JPX-921 Tours.

Battle of the mullets

Its looks like we could have a battle brewing for the most glorious mullet on the PGA Tour. In one corner, the current champion Cameron Smith, and in the other corner, the challenger: Keith Mitchell’s caddy “Crunchy” Pete Persolja!

I mean, just look at that glorious flow!

Jimmy Walker likes nice things

Now this is a Scotty Cameron putter!

The PGA Tour needs to get reciprocals

Seeing the MLB logo on Adam Long’s bag hopefully comes with tickets to whatever games he wants to see. My next question would be “How do we get a PGA Tour logo on an MLB’s player’s sleeve?”

You can take the Canadian out of hockey…

…but you can’t take the hockey out of the Canadian. We spotted Adam Hadwin working on his release “feels” with what looked to be a very slapshot-like drill.

Go to see him prepping. Stanley Cup playoffs are starting soon.

Putter shopping with Luke Donald

I should clarify that although he’s was seen looking at a number of putters on the practice green at Valspar, calling it shopping is a bit of a stretch.

More Odyssey 2-Balls in action

One of the newest 2-ball converts on tour is no other than the personification of a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man, Chesson Hadley. The 6’4″ Hadley is currently ranked third in strokes gained putting on tour—so, whatever he is doing is clearly working.

Family Guy on FOX - This short but handsome, slightly hairy, newly...

 Vegas has upgraded

Equipment free agent Jhonattan Vegas certainly has a type when it comes to his irons and wedges. At this time last year, he was using Mizuno’s MP-4 irons and Vokey wedges, and this week the Venezuelan is using the new JPX-921 Tours, Vokey wedges, and what looks to be a Titleist TSi3 driver.

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Jimmy Walker spotted testing L.A.B. Blade, graphite putter shaft at Valspar Championship

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The putting green at a PGA Tour event is always full of interesting things as players get ready for the week ahead, and this week at the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida, is no different.

One of the biggest trends in golf is technology-packed graphite shafts for putters, and we continue to see them in more players’ bags week after week. Louis Oosthuizen had a BGT Stability Tour in play last week at the Zurich Classic, and this week, we spotted 2016 PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker working with a L.A.B. Blade putter fitted with an LA Golf Shafts Prototype graphite putter shaft.

Although we don’t have the specs of the exact shaft Jimmy is using, LA Golf shafts are well recognized as being one of the leaders in creating ultra-stable graphite shafts for the tour’s biggest hitter Bryson DeChambeau, who not only uses their Texas Rebar shafts in his irons but also a specially designed shaft for hit putter too.

As for Jimmy, this is an interesting move since one of the bright spots of his 2021 stats is his putter where he currently ranks 40th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained: putting.

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Tour Rundown: ‘Team Mullet’ triumphs in playoff | Henderson’s 10th

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The last full week of April saw events played from the Big Easy to Hollywood, from a Spanish island in the Atlantic to central Texas. The PGA Tour fellows teamed up in Louisiana, while the LPGA tackled a classic course built by Macbeth. The Korn Ferry Tour made a swing through the Lone Star state, where it encountered a bit of a weather delay. The European Tour moved from the mountains of Austria to the southern tip of Gran Canaria, off the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Twisting the words of Sugar Ray, All around the world putts tumble for me. Five winners stood tall in these four events (don’t forget the partner one) so let’s race around and find out what we can.

PGA Tour: Zurich Classic Decided in Playoff

The beauty of two formats in an event is simply that one competitor (or team) can excel on one given day then founder then next—and vice-versa, my friends! Look no further than the team of Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith, Australia’s finest. They played the final six holes of the Zurich Classic in two over par, with three bogeys, and still won the tournament. Their last bogey, at the par-three 17th, dropped them to 20 under par on the week. Fortunately for them, the South African besties (Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel) also made four at that hole, which dropped them to the same figure. When neither team made birdie at the par-5 closing hole, it was off to a playoff.

On that solitary playoff hole, the unbelievably reliable Louis Louis bailed on his swing and flared a tee ball into the water. His baby draw betrayed him, and the hole was wide open for Cameron Smith, who ensured a dry landing with a drive tugged left, into a fairway bunker. From that point on, it was up to the Smith-Leishman duo to make par, and Smith did so with a seven-foot putt. Third place went to Richy Werenski and Peter Uihlein, whose 67 surge was tied only by one team on day four.

LPGA Tour: Los Angeles Open is Henderson’s 10th Title

Not many were better than Brooke Henderson on Saturday. Just five golfers bested her final-round 67, and they did it by just one stroke. Victory number 10 on tour seemed out of reach for the Ontario native, as four strokes separated her from leader Jessica Korda. Korda had owned the front nine at Wilshire Country Club all week, playing it 2 under, 3 under, and 4 under with zero bogeys on the card. When her fourth-round card saw plus 2 at the end of nine, however, the game was on and Brooke was in it.

Who knows what vexes golfers, and equally so, what vindicates them? Why did Korda lose her grip on the LA Open after holding firm for 54 holes? What did Henderson find on Saturday, that so eluded her on Friday? Lots of questions, aye? The facts show that Henderson made six birdies against two bogeys over the final 18 holes, while Korda was able to summon just two birdies on the day, with one coming at the 18th, where she needed an ace to tie.

Henderson’s first title in two seasons certainly returned a fair amount of confidence to a game that shouldn’t need it and to a psyche that did. Korda was hoping to add a second win in 2021 to her résumé but came up short on birdies when she thought she’d never run out.

Korn Ferry Tour: Veritex Bank Championship to Coach’s Son

Two types of stories tend to stoke the adrenaline fires for the Korn Ferry Tour aficionados: young triumphs and veteran victories. The recent successes of Will Zalatoris fit in the former category. Allow Mr. Tyson Alexander to occupy the latter on this delightful Sunday evening. Alexander was a stalwart member of the UFlorida Gators team a dozen or so years back. Since then, he has honed the tools of the professional trade, learning how to win. Having a golf-successful father (his former college coach and U.S. Amateur champion, Buddy Alexander) had to be equal parts benefit and burden.

This week in Arlington, Alexander opened with 67, then improved to 65, then another 65, and finally, a 64 on Sunday. They say that if you continue to improve, good things come your way. Well, Alexander improved all the way to 23-under par, a pretty impressive tally. Over the course of the first three days, Theo Humphrey was the man in command. Much like Korda above, he appeared to have the tournament under control. Like Korda, Humphrey’s troubles began on the outward nine. Twice he followed birdie (1 and 5) with bogey; at 8 and 9, he reversed that trend, and turned in even par. In Arlington, that amounted to a two of three-shot deficit.

Birdies at 10 and 11 gave the third-round leader hope, but bogey at the 12th ended that run. Desperately needing one more birdie to join Alexander, Humphrey was all pars over the final six holes, and came second by one shot. It was two more shots to the third-place pair, Taylor Moore and Brett Drewitt.

European Tour: Gran Canaria Open Sees Fireworks and an Unlikely Winner

Three golfers posted 61s in round two at the Gran Canaria Open, yet none figured in the top three at week’s end. Last week’s runner-up was this week’s runner-up, despite opening with 63 and closing with 62. If you weren’t five under par on Friday evening, you weren’t playing on the weekend. Golf on Gran Canaria was serious business, as the Meloneras Golf layout let players know early on that birdies were the week’s currency.

Garrick Higgo was never far from the lead all week, but he somehow flew under the radar, even after opening 65-64. Attention was on Connor Syme, who improved ten shots from his opening 71, or on Thorbjorn Olesen, who stood at 126 through two rounds, or on Sam Horsfield, who also signed for 61 on day two. On day three, Syme nearly matched his 61 with 62, and he moved quite high into contention. The problem was, Higgo kept getting better. He dropped another shot with 63, and overtook Olesen on the top rung.

On Sunday, Higgo made eagle at the fourth hole for the second consecutive day, framed it with five more birdies against zero bogies, and reached a massive 25-under par. Charging hard was last week’s hard-luck, playoff-losing Max Kieffer. The German amassed seven birdies and a hole-out eagle at the 10th, but simply ran out of holes against the young South African, who gained a second European Tour title in the Canary Islands.

Hard Pan

A new feature of Tour Rundown: We take a no-holds-barred look at something that happened this week in the world of golf.

Today, we target that photo of King Tiger and his faithful hound, Bugs. Are we so golf-starved or hero-starved that we immediately begin tweeting and gramming and tiking about #TigerWoods2022MastersChampion? Have we so quickly forgotten that he might have had a little responsibility in this? Dude was on the shelf from back surgery for 2021’s playing as it was, so the shattering of the lower right leg certainly added to the list of boxes to check. Lots of other stories in golf to tout, so let’s leave Eldrick the Only to his rehab and focus our enthusiasm on other elements.

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