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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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19th Hole

Fans react to spectator running onto fairway and hitting shots at U.S. Open

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Sunday at Torrey Pines was a wild rollercoaster ride, and amongst the chaos came a bizarre moment when a fan decided that he would like to play some shots too.

Appearing to be carrying his own clubs, the shirtless fan with a rainbow cape slipped under the ropes and made a dart for the fairway. Then with his golf club in hand, he dropped a ball from his pocket and played multiple shots before security took care of him.

Rich Beem caught the incident on camera, and his reaction of “Look at this idiot out here” perfectly sums up the madness of what was happening.

 

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A post shared by GolfWRX (@golfwrx)

However, some GolfWRXers reacted differently, with a couple even impressed by the caped crusader’s swing.

“He’s got a nice swing”, wrote one user, while another responded, “Great tempo, I must say”, with one even requesting a WITB: “Can we get a WITB for this guy??”

One of the strangest moments on a Sunday at the U.S. Open since the infamous Birdman of Alcatraz back in 2012.

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Gure Txapelduna! Jon Rahm Rodriguez claims 2021 U.S. Open title

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The amateur statistician in me is overwhelmed by the fact that NO ONE shot lower than 67 on any given day, and that either 2, 3, or 4 golfers shot that number each day. The linguist in me is thrilled that Spain and the Basque Country have their first US Open champion. The human being in me continues to marvel at how professional golfers can put themselves through the agony of major-championship competition, knowing that the outcome is likely to be gut-wrenching and heart-rending. Professional sport is a fierce cauldron of emotion and exertion and unexpected brilliance. How else to explain the finishes of Harris English (third) and Guido Migliozzi (fourth) at Torrey Pines? They weren’t the story, however. They never should have been there, save for what was already alluded to above.

Jon Rahm played a near-perfect round of golf. He opened with birdies at one and two, and he closed with birdies at 17 and 18. In between, he traded a birdie and bogey and added 12 pars. The brilliant Basque hit eight fairways, and a massive 14 greens in regulation. Only Edoardo Molinari and Rikuya Hoshino were better on the day with approach play, and that was by one more GIR each. It was what the Spaniard did with his flat stick, that made the difference. Rahm putted brilliantly, taking 28 putts on the day. You might expect 28 putts from someone who hit 10 greens in regulation figures, but not from someone who ranked so high. In contrast, the aforementioned Hoshino (31 putts) and Molinari (34) putted more in line with a high GIR tally. Most importantly, Rahm stayed out of trouble.

That could not be said for the mercurial Bryson DeChambeau. After nine holes on Sunday, the defending champion looked to be in prime position to hoist the winner’s medal for a second consecutive year. Two of the tri-leaders (Hughes 77 for T15 and Henley 76 for T13) had fallen off the pace, and the third (Oosthuizen) was plodding along near par. Then came the inward half, and a grotesque tally of two bogeys, a double and a quad for the Californian nee Texan. DeChambeau drove the ball horribly, finding just three of the 14 fairways on the day. His putting was five higher than the eventual winner, and he simply lost his hold on his game. That’s the US Open; it turns the winds and the tide instantly against the sailor.

If a professional golfer were given the option of contending or not in major events, with no guarantee of victory, each golfer would accept the challenges and the inevitable heartbreak. Three of four men’s major championships have been completed this year, and Lodewicus Theodorus Oosthuizen has finished T26, T2 and 2 in them. Known to the world as Louis, Mr. Oosthuizen has much satisfaction and much frustration on this Sunday evening. He outplayed everyone who mattered from tee to green in round four at Torrey Pines, but he couldn’t buy enough putts (four more than Rahm) to close the deal. Some will point to a wayward drive at the penultimate hole and say That’s the one that did it, but it’s always the body of work that paints the portrait. On this day, as last month at the PGA, and at the Masters in 2012, Louis Oosthuizen was in the hands of the fates until the very last moment, but his number simply did not come up.

That one hole might be the best way to sum up the tribulations of those who fell short. For DeChambeau, it was the double at 13, as it was for Morikawa. Rory’s double came one hole earlier, at the long 12th. Brooks didn’t have a double on the card, but his bogey at twelve forced him to go for broke. He performed admirably for a few holes, with birdies at 13 and 15, but the Open never lets you truly go for broke and get away with it, unless your name is Johnny Miller, and that happened once. And the aforementioned English had seven birdies on the day, but he also made bogey at three of his first four, and added a fourth later on. For Rahm, that one hole turned out to be the 4th. Unlike the others, he kept the hole in front of him and never bit off too much. Although he made bogey, he never threatened anything higher. And that is one way that, in hindsight, you win a U.S. Open.

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5 things we learned Saturday at the U.S. Open

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The U.S. Open reminds me at times of this monologue from Maurice Moss at the infamous The IT Crowd soccer match

Sure, Roy says a few things, but it’s really Moss who carries the scene. Some people get/like U.S. Open golf, and some do not. There’s usually little movement on the leaderboard unless someone makes a passel of bogeys and doubles. For the third consecutive round at Torrey Pines, 67 earned low daily honors. That’s just four strokes below par, so the birdie fanatics had little to cheer (like Moss.) In fact, sometimes, it’s hard to determine just who is winning, and who isn’t.

Well, that’s not exactly true. We know that this year’s Cinderella, Richard Bland, isn’t winning. Blandy ran out of gas on the back nine, making five bogies for 41 and 77 and tied for 21st. With that written, plenty of stories remain, and we’ve tracked down five five that you’ll agree are worthy of a spot in Five Things We Learned on day three of the US Open.

1. Spuds Mackenzie has a share of the lead

At least in Ontario, Poutine is a popular treat when you have the munchies. That’s our spuds reference, although Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes does share the grit of the bull terrier that hawked Budweiser back in the day. Hughes’ long game afforded him plenty of opportunities to chip away at par, and he made the most of them. His two hiccups came on the outward half, at the fourth and ninth holes. Approach shots went astray, and his chipping game failed to get him close enough for par saves. On the inward half, Hughes was brilliant. Two birdies and an eagle earned him a 32 and a minus-five total after three rounds. As he finished earliest at that number, Hughes was assured of a spot in Sunday’s final twosome, no matter what the chasers did.

2. Louis, Louis

No, not the song. This makes twice that the 2010 Open winner and champion golfer of the year has challenged into the final round of a 2021 major. The PGA didn’t end so well for him, if we’re talking victories. Let’s remember that, if not for Bubba’s wedge silliness, Oosthuizen might have a green jacket to wear while drinking from his claret jug. As things stand, Oosthuizen’s minus-five total has him even with Hughes and paired in the final twosome. Things will be different from his last-group match last month with Phil Mickelson. Let’s say that Hughes won’t have the fanatical following that Oosthuizen’s last partner had. Oh, did we mention how Louis finished off the day?

3. Rory and Bryson

No, they won’t play together. Rory gets Russell Henley in penultimate pairing, while Bryson tees it up with Scottie Schefler in the third-last pairing. Rory and Bryson do represent opposite sides of a conundrum: chase distance or don’t? Rory has been open about the toll that chasing yards put on his game, and he has spent the past year rediscovering much of his game that was lost. Torrey represents his first true chance to determine the worth of his quest. In contrast, Bryson is unabashed in his pursuit of distance, and has demonstrated that his method can have positive results. Rory reached minus-three on the strength of a four-under 67 on Saturday. He managed the front in one-under, then came alive on the inward half to match Paul Casey for day’s low round. Bryson had no bogies on his card on Saturday, and has an enviable, downward trend (73-69-68) in his scoring. I’ll say this: if he goes lower than 68 on Sunday, he keeps the trophy.

4. Rahm, DJ, and the Wolff

Jon Rahm got hosed by the 14th hole today. Sort of. He played carefully out of fairway sand, clanked the flag stick with his recovery, then got too aggressive with his par try. Other than that, he has more momentum going into Sunday. I say, forget caution; chase birdies. On egin!

Dustin Johnson is in a similar position. Come to think of it, so is Matthew Wolff. They are all within 4 shots of the lead, and there is no suggestion that any of the minus-5 guys will go any lower than 2 under on Sunday, to reach 7 under. Thus, what do these lads chase? Do they go for 66 and hope that it will be enough? I think so. It’s lower than any other round this week, but by one slim stroke. I’m hoping that the USGA will give us enough tempting hole locations to reward brave play. That would be a nice send-off for Mike Davis in his final U.S. Open as executive director and CEO.

5. Who do we like?

No one mentioned just yet. He first qualified for the U.S. Open in 2016, and one year later, earned low amateur honors. Slowly but surely, he has worked his way into contention in major events, tying for 4th and 8th in the last two PGA Championships. He has yet to win on the PGA Tour, but I say that he makes the 2021 U.S. Open his first tour win and his first major title. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Scottie Schefler, your 2021 Gorham Company trophy winner.

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