All posts by Emmy Moore Minister

World Renowned Course Designer Rees Jones and his Team are in Demand throughout U.S. and Abroad

When you ask famed architect Rees Jones, “What’s up?” be prepared to absorb plenty of insightful information on the topic of golf course design.

This legendary golf course designer, known by many as “The Open Doctor” (tagged with the nickname due to the vast number of golf courses he’s improved in preparation for U.S. Open Championships), has an elevated passion for his work. Jones focuses on creating courses that are fair yet challenging and ones that enhance the playing experience while also being sensitive to the natural environment.

Jones is not only a talented and award-winning designer, he is a wise man, one who values relationships and enjoys collaboration. This is evidenced by his team of talented designers who have been an integral part of the professional staff at Rees Jones, Inc., for several years now. Each designer possesses the same deeply-rooted passion for their work as Jones himself, and all are equally-committed to excellence.

Golf Course Designer Rees Jones

Golf Course Designer Rees Jones

It’s that “commitment to excellence” that propels Rees Jones and his team as they continue to be a leading force in golf course design at all levels – from new course master planning to carefully thought-out restorations, as well as golf course renovations that well-reflect improved playability and sustainability.

Their work also focuses on the actual financial realities that many clubs are encountering today, and as a result, they are developing creative design solutions that help streamline the maintenance process (minimizing operational expenses) while preserving design integrity and improving the overall player experience.

“We recognize that financial considerations have always been a key to most clubs and this is especially true today,” said Rees Jones. “In today’s more competitive marketplace, the need to reduce expenses while still providing a quality experience for players of every level is the key. We work with each club to help in these areas by looking at ways to make the course more playable and more cost effective to maintain. We look at the possibility of altering or eliminating course features such as shrinking bunkers or even converting bunkers to grass chipping areas, creating open entrances to greens and other areas which will help the club reach its goals of adding players, increasing pace of play and lowering maintenance costs.”

There is no project too big or too challenging for this accomplished design firm, evidenced by an impressive client list, one that encompasses compelling projects throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Design Projects in the Works

Playa Grande Golf Club, Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic
This is a complete renovation of a Robert Trent Jones, Sr. (father and mentor of Rees Jones) designed course. The project is in the construction stage and scheduled to open in 2015.
Playa Grande Golf Club

Danzante Bay Golf Course at Villa Del Palmar, Loreto, Baja Calif. Sur, Mexico
Located at the upscale resort of Villa Del Palmar in Loreto, the course will maximize the majestic views of both Danzante Bay and the Sea of Cortez to the east and the Sierra de la Giganta mountain range to the west. It is currently under construction with eleven holes scheduled for play by February 2016.
Danzante Bay Golf Course at Villa Del Palmar

Dream Island Resort, Incheon, South Korea
Two, new eighteen-hole courses are in the planning stages, serving as the inaugural design project for Rees Jones, Inc., in Incheon, South Korea. These link-style designed courses will be built adjacent to the ocean.

The Monster, Kiamesha Lake, NY
Adelaar, a meticulously planned, year-round destination resort will feature not only the Montreign Resort Casino but also The Monster Golf Course. Originally designed in 1963 by Joe Finger, the world-famous golf course will undergo a complete redesign using holes from both the current Monster Golf Course and the former International Course. This project is scheduled to begin in fall 2015.

City Park Golf Club, New Orleans, LA
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina flooded City Park with up to eight feet of water. The flooding and damaging winds substantially affected the three courses in operation at the time, leading to the closure of two courses. Following a new golf master plan, a new 18-hole layout that encompasses land previously home to portions of the former East and West courses is currently under construction and scheduled for completion in 2016. The new course meanders through majestic live oak trees and incorporates many of the existing bayous.

Medinah Country Club, Course #2, Medinah, IL
Work has commenced on the restoration of this iconic Tom Bendelow-designed golf course.

Jack Clark South Course at Chuck Corica Golf Complex, Alameda, CA
This is completely new course on the site of an existing one. This municipal course is under construction with nine holes completed and the eighteen hole golf course is scheduled to open in 2016.

Brynwood Golf & Country Club, Armonk, NY
The Brynwood Golf & Country Club project is a major upgrade of an existing Albert Zikorus design with the ultimate goal to meet today’s playability and maintenance standards. The golf course will play like a new course upon completion. Construction is scheduled to commence in late fall 2015.

Urbana Country Club, Urbana, IL
The firm will develop a long range master plan for Urbana Country Club which will assist the club through a complete course renovation. It includes updating features to today’s standards with focus on increasing playability and sustainability.

Resort at Cayo Largo, Fajardo, Puerto Rico
A complete redesign of an existing golf course will serve as the centerpiece of the Resort at Cayo Largo. The unique topography and views of Vieques Sound will make this course a fitting amenity to this new five star resort.

Hodogaya Country Club, Kanagawa, Japan
Established in 1921, Hodogaya Country Club is considered one of Japan’s oldest and most prestigious golf clubs. Using old photos, coupled with other pertinent historical data, the Rees Jones design team is working closely with the club in developing a long range master plan. This plan will help guide the club through a complete restoration of the golf course while also updating golf course features to today’s standards.

Golf Course of the Everglades, Naples, FL
In an effort to introduce a new residential development on site, the relocation of several holes was required on this original Rees Jones-designed course. The project will be completed in November 2015 and re-open for play by year’s end.

Ballantyne Country Club, Charlotte, NC
This project focused on the renovation of an original Rees Jones-design. Work included the reconstruction of all tees and bunkers, including the addition of many senior and forward tees, as well as a re-grassing/conversion of the putting surfaces from bentgrass to ultradwarf bermudagrass. The club has celebrated its reopening and members are now enjoying a completely updated course.

Ash Brook Golf Course, Scotch Plains, NJ
This project is a comprehensive bunker restoration at an Alfred Tull-designed public course and it is slated for completion in November 2015.

Atlanta Athletic Club, Highlands Course, John’s Creek, GA
At the Atlanta Athletic Club’s famed Highlands Course, renovation will include rebuild and removal of select bunkers, replacement of all bunker sand, rebuild of No. 14 green surface to increase the number of hole locations, as well as the addition of new forward tees on 12 holes to improve course playability. This project will commence in spring 2016.

Sahalee Country Club, Sammamish, WA
In collaboration with Sahalee Country Club, a plan to develop a comprehensive tree management plan is underway. The club is scheduled to host the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

And There’s More

The Rees Jones design team is conducting ongoing work on a number of classic golf courses in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts at clubs which include Baltusrol Golf Club (Upper and Lower Courses, the famed Lower Course is the site of the 2016 PGA Championship), Bethpage State Park (Black Course which is the site of The Barclay’s in 2016, 2021, 2027; PGA Championship in 2019 and the Ryder Cup in 2024), Canoe Brook Country Club (North and South Courses), Deal Golf & Country Club, Echo Lake Country Club, Essex Fells Country Club, Galloping Hill Golf Course, Hackensack Golf Club, Montclair Golf Club, Old Oaks Country Club, Marshfield Country Club, Nashawtuc Country Club and two Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designs, The Tuxedo Club and North Hills Country Club.

Ongoing work is also occurring on Congressional Country Club (Blue Course) (Bethesda, MD), Bellerive Country Club site of the 2018 PGA Championship (St. Louis, MO), Lambton Golf and Country Club (Ontario, CA), Belle Meade Country Club (Nashville, TN), Baton Rouge Country Club (Baton Rouge, LA) and Lyford Cay Club (Nassau Island, Bahamas).

In The Planning Stage

Other noteworthy courses that are in the planning stages with the Rees Jones design team include Carolina Country Club (Raleigh, NC), Seabrook Island Club- Crooked Oaks (a Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design) and Ocean Winds Courses (Seabrook Island, SC), The Breakers Ocean Golf Course (Palm Beach, FL), Ibaraki Country Club- East Course (Osaka, Japan), Hidden Valley Country Club (Sandy, UT) and four original Jones’ designs–The Santaluz Club (San Diego, CA), Peninsula Golf Club (Cornelius, NC), Huntsville Golf Club (Shavertown, PA) and Piedmont Driving Club (Atlanta, GA).

More about Rees Jones, Inc.

Founded in 1974, the firm of Rees Jones, Inc. customizes the design and supervises the construction of new golf course layouts for public, private, resort and planned real estate community developments in the U.S. and abroad. They are also noted for their award-winning work in course restoration and renovation at scores of venues worldwide, of which several have hosted major championships, earning company founder Rees Jones the nickname, “The Open Doctor.” This well-established design firm provides innovative solutions and tailors its traditional yet timeless design to each client’s needs while also building strategic options into courses to ensure flexibility and continuing interest to golfers of all skill levels. As stewards of the environment, the firm remains committed to creating sustainable golf courses that co-exist in harmony with nature. To learn more about Rees Jones, Inc., visit http://www.reesjonesinc.com/

Photos Courtesy of Rees Jones, Inc.

Wide Open Fairways: A Journey Across the Landscapes of Modern Golf by Dr. Bradley S. Klein

Wide Open Fairways: A Journey Across the Landscapes of Modern Golf by Dr. Bradley S. KleinIn golf the playing field is also landscape, where nature and the shaping of it conspire to test athletic prowess. Bradley S. Klein, a leading expert on golf course design and economics, finds much to contemplate, and much more to report, in the way these wide-open spaces function as landscapes that inspire us, stimulate our senses, and reveal the special nature of particular places.

A mediation on what makes golf course compelling landscapes, there is also a personal memoir that follows Klein’s unique journey across the golfing terrain, from the Bronx and Long Island suburbia to the American prairie and thePacific Northwest. Whether discussing Robert Moses and Donald Trump and the making ofNew York City, or the role of golf in the development of the atomic bomb, or the relevance of Willa Cather to how the game has taken hold in Nebraska Sandhills, Klein is always looking for the freedom and the meaning of golf’s wide-open spaces. As he searches, he offers a deeply informed and absorbing view of golf courses as cultural markers, linking the game to larger issues of land use, ecology, design, and imagination.

An Interview with Dr. Bradley S. Klein

1. What motivated you to write “Wide Open Fairways: A Journey Across the Landscapes of Modern Golf” and why now?

I’ve been writing short essays and columns for 25 years and I wanted to extend them into longer, more analytical studies of golf – or more particularly, about the landscapes that I think are the most compelling in all of sorts – golf courses.

2. What will readers discover in “Wide Open Fairways” that is absent from most other contemporary golf books?

I’m a writer by basic disposition, and I think there’s a great tradition of golf writing. In the face of all of these coffee-table pictorials about great golf courses there are precious few detailed accounts of what makes these sports fields so special.

The notion that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is only true if you’re reading people who can’t properly express the feelings and power of what these places suggest to you. I’m someone who works off of feelings and sensibilities. My writing is non-technical; I hardly ever take notes about golf courses and have no interest in describing how you play it – or worse yet, how someone else plays it. So I wanted to convey something that I think is missing in all of the literature about golf – the place of these as cultural landmarks, rooted in specific places and ways of life. So I invoke history, fiction, imagination and politics. I spend so much time on the road – 150 days a year, and I’ve been doing it for 20 years – that I thought I had something different to offer golfers.

Besides that, I think that golf can be made interesting to non-golfers. In fact, my imagined audience as I write is always the non-golfer, someone who reads and thinks creatively but would normally think golf boring and a waste of time. If I can capture them and draw them in, then I’ve done my job. So I had all of these short essays from various publications sitting around and the task was to translate them into a sustained idiom with more depth and context than my magazine space allows me. So I situate these accounts, whether it’s the Nebraska Sand Hills and Willa Cather’s fictional accounts about the struggles of life on the prairie; or the role of the Los Alamos,New Mexicogolf course in the development of the atomic bomb; or the way flooding affects golf inMinot,North Dakota.

3. This book is more than a chronicling of compelling golf landscapes, it is also a memoir. What prompted you to share your personal journey in this particular piece of work?

The immediate occasion for this book was my father’s death in May 2011. I literally started it the day after he died and finished it a year later, on the night before his unveiling – the Jewish ritual of showing the gravestone. The first part of the book is a very personal account of what it was like growing up with a mentally ill dad. He wasn’t wacko crazy, just not quite ‘there” and unable to focus on our needs as kids growing up. I had a powerful but sad relationship with him, and it took a very long time for him to see that I was there as his son.

Along the way, I found golf as a refuge; thus the attraction of getting out of the house early in the day and exploring the freedom that “wide open space” afforded me. So the book starts off there, in a sad but weirdly comic way. And it ends with a chapter describing how I was able to create my own golf course, so to speak, through a municipal project in the town where we now live inConnecticut, where we got Pete Dye to design a course for $1 that we spent nine years building.

So the book, while personal, also is a public account of how golf can provide a refuge. And in this I doubt I am alone. I’m sure many others have shared in the sense of freedom and joy that golf provides. What I tried to do in this book was explain that sense of freedom – something you can’t get from a picture of a beautiful golf course.

4. This certainly isn’t the first book that you’ve written. What other meaningful golf books have you written and/or published?

Well, they were meaningful to me. I’ll let others decide if they had any meaning for them. My first collection of short essays, called “Rough Meditations,” came out in 1997 and in an expanded edition in 2006. I also spent three years writing a very detailed biography, “Discovering Donald Ross” that won the USGA International Book Award for 2001 and was reissued in an expanded edition in 2011. Along the way I also wrote a club history, “Desert Forest Golf Club: the First 40 Years” (2004), that is actually a history of golf inArizona. And another club history about “Sebonack” (2009), which manages to convey a good bit of the history of golf course design onLong Island. These last two projects involved very close work with a skilled graphics designer, Carol Haralson, who has the considerable virtue of knowing nothing about golf – until now. We seem to work well together and I’m looking forward to working with her again on another project.

About the Author

Bradley S. Klein is architecture editor of Golfweek magazine and runs its national golf course rating system. He is a former PGA Tour caddie and has been inducted into the International Caddie Hall of Fame. He lectures widely to professional trade groups throughout the U.S. and overseas on topics relating to golf design, the golf development industry, and golf course operations and maintenance. Additionally, he makes himself available for speaking engagements and/or book signings at public, private and resort facilities. He can be reached at (860) 508-7696.

Wide Open Fairways: A Journey Across the Landscapes of Modern Golf is available through University of Nebraska Press or at Amazon.com.

Golf Poems-The Greatest Game in Rhythm & Rhyme-an Interview with author Bo Links

 Golf Poems: The Greatest Game in Rhythm and RhymeAuthor Bo Links, avid golfer and steward of the game has just released his newest book: GOLF POEMS – The Greatest Game in Rhythm and Rhyme. This well-written collection of poems provides a riveting reflection about the game, one that will resonate with any golfer who picks up this handy pocket-size book. As the title implies, the book conveys a meaningful image as to what makes the game so engaging, so special.

Here is Bo to tell us a little bit about the book.

1. What motivated you to write Golf Poems: The Greatest Game in Rhythm and Rhyme?
The game has always fascinated me. Every round is an adventure, no two shots alike. I wanted to capture the essence of all this in a little book that would be accessible to everyone. I also enjoy the game with my friends at the 19th hole and I wanted to provide stanzas for toasts that can be used any time, any place — but which will strike a responsive chord with golfers anywhere in the world.

2. You’ve described this book as an exploration of golf? Please explain how and why?
What is it like to be afraid on the green? Anyone who’s been there knows what I’m talking about. So go read “Desperate Thoughts of A Bad Putter.” It cuts to the bone with respect to a fear over a three-footer for all the marbles. The same is true when it comes to wind, which is the game’s most difficult (and fickle) challenge. So I wrote “The Wind By Any Name.” I’ve tried to touch on all aspects of the game in a very short, little space.

2. This is an impressive compilation of poems, which echo your thoughts and feelings about the game of golf. Within the collection you must have a favorite. If so, which poem and why?
These poems are like children. I love them all. And within them, there are stanzas that ring in my ears. Like this final one from “Home on the Range.” It speaks to the fact that optimism is a vital trait we should all cultivate:

For the true golfer knows
That dreams never die
As long as he swings
And continues to try.

There is a similar vein in that poem about the wind:

When, at last
The sun has set
And dusk begins to grow
With all our strokes recorded
We’ll reflect, and smile, and know
That though the wind was raging
And stole from us the score
We’ll rise at dawn tomorrow
To battle it once more.

3. You’ve given back to the game of golf for many years now, especially through your ongoing advocacy work in support of public golf. One of the projects you are most passionate about is “Saving Sharp Park“… a MacKenzie-designed golf course, in Pacifica, Calif. You’ve even written a poem about this course which appears in Golf Poems. Why such a connection to this modest, public course?
There’s an old saying: Still waters run deep. A corollary is that simple things touch us the deepest.SharpPark is a simple place, but the vibe there is so undeniably pure that it represents all that is good about the game. There is no class distinction there; no division. We’re all equals, fighting the same fight, struggling against the same demons. And when the battle is over, we retire to the same bar to drink together, laugh together and sometimes to cry together. And when you consider that all of this takes place in an incredibly beautiful place, where Alister MacKenzie worked his magic for public course golfers 80 year ago….well, how can you not save it? I can’t say it any better than that.

4. Golf Poems isn’t the only book you’ve penned. What other pieces of work have you written/published?
My first book, Follow the Wind, is the story of a young boy who meets up with Ben Hogan. Together they explore the richness of life itself and what makes golf such an important part of it. The story had touched golfers (and non-golfers) the world over. I once bumped into Deane Beman, former PGA TOUR commissioner, who told me he regularly read the story to his grandchildren when they were growing up. Quite a compliment.

My second book, Riverbank Tweed & Roadmap Jenkins: Tales from the Caddie Yard, is a series of related short stores, all told in a caddie’s laconic voice. I apply golf’s many lessons to life beyond the fairway. The characters are unforgettable, as are the events that take place. A game of “one ball” at Harding Park and a US Open qualifier during a lightning storm at Cypress Point.

I’ve also written several extended essays about golf in San Francisco, including Return to Glory (about the 2005 AmEx battle between Tiger Woods and John Daly at the restored Harding Park) and More Than A Game (about the 2009 Presidents Cup Match at Harding as well as the establishment of a First Tee facility at a troubled middle school in the middle of one of the City’s worst neighborhoods).

I try and strike a responsive chord with golfers the world over. Ben Crenshaw recently wrote to me after reading Golf Poems to say that the game is fortunate to have people like me out there writing about it with such passion. It was one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received.

5. If you had only one round of golf left to play, where would it be (name course) and who would accompany you in the foursome?
The Old Course atSt. Andrews with Ben Crenshaw, Bobby Jones and Old Tom Morris…playing with Old Tom’s equipment.

The book is available exclusively at Amazon, both in paperback and e-book form. Paperback is $12.99 and the Kindle version is $2.99.

About the Author

Bo LinksBO LINKS is a San Francisco attorney and an avid golfer and has spent a lifetime plumbing the depths of the ancient game. He has written two previous golf books: Follow the Wind and Riverbank Tweed and Roadmap Jenkins-Tales from the Caddie Yard. Links has dabbled in golf architecture (having twice won the Lido Design Contest sponsored by the Alister MacKenzie Society), and helped organize local golfers through the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance in an effort to preserve affordable golf. His latest effort in that regard has been the battle to Save Sharp Park, a treasured Alister MacKenzie course located in Pacifica, CA, just 10 miles south of San Francisco. He has served on the United States Golf Association’s Green Section Committee for more than 20 years and is frequently a keynote speaker at golf association meetings and conferences addressing issues of immense importance to golfers and the golf industry.If you are interested in Bo Links as a featured speaker for your organization or corporate golf outing, contact Patty Burness at (415) 564-3890 or via pburness@sbcglobal.net.

An Interview with Al Barkow, Author of Sam: The One and Only Sam Snead

Al BarkowAl Barkow has been writing about golf for some 55 years including his tenure as former editor-in-chief of Golf and Golf Illustrated magazines. Al’s book Gettin’ to the Dance Floor: an Oral History of American Golf, won the first USGA International Golf Book of the Year award, in 1986.

1. What made you want to write about Sam Snead?

Sam was one of the greatest golfers in the game’s history, but had been ignored as a personality. He was taken to be just an uncommonly gifted athlete who didn’t know what he was doing but just did it, and otherwise, was a cranky, simple-minded rube from the Gettin' to the Dance Floorhills. From a long interview I had with Sam for my book, Gettin’ to the Dance Floor, an Oral History of American Golf, I found that there was much more to the man. For one thing, while he was given a marvelous athletic talent, he worked very hard to make it better and contrary to what Ben Hogan and others said, he knew exactly what he was doing with a golf club. For another, beneath the story-telling and profanity, and womanizing, there was a person with strong, even sentimental feelings about family and friends. I felt people should know more about Snead, and that there was a lot more to know.

2. What separated Snead from other prominent tour players during that era?

What separated Sam from the others, or most of the others of his era was his remarkable ability at the game, and the incredible grace of his action. Every time he swung a club we saw a bit of ballet. He was longer off the tee, had a wonderful touch for the short game, and was a better putter than he was given credit for.

Sam The One and Only Sam Snead3. When conducting research for the book what did you discover about this golf legend that was surprising or even shocking?

Discoveries? He had trouble clubbing himself. He needed a good caddie to put the right club in his hand. I don’t think it was his vision, it was some lack of confidence, which sounds odd but I think was the case. He would look in the bag of 20 handicap golfers to see what they were hitting for a shot from the same distance he had.

For another, he was far more generous with his money than the stories had it. He was always pictured as cheap, someone who hid his money in cans he buried in his backyard and so on. It was not at all the case. Many pros went to Sam for loans when they were down on their luck. However, if any of them did not remember the debt he would never lend them money again. Even if they never paid it back, as long as they acknowledge to Sam that he was owed everything was o.k.

He did have some chicanery about him. He played a lot of golf with amateur golfers – something Ben Hogan and others would never do – and for money. He would ask a golfer for his handicap, when there was time check it out with a phone call to his home course, or simply accept it and go from there. However, Sam always played as a scratch golfer, which meant he didn’t give as many strokes as he should have. He was really a plus six or so, but people didn’t know much about plus handicaps in those days. However, because so many amateurs he played were sandbagging their handicap it all came out about even.

4. If you had to describe Snead in three words (traits) what would they be?

Three words for Sam’s traits: Fun-loving, loyal, proud.

5. Might there be a favorite chapter?

The first chapter is one of my favorites, because it lays out the background from which he came and which shaped his personality.

6. Any plans for another golf-related book?

I am now working on a book on the Ben Hogan, Jack Fleck playoff (1955 US Open). I will also be publishing a book next Spring called Golf”s All-Time Firsts, Mosts, Leasts, and a Few Intriguing Nevers. It is a book of statistics and trivia, with a lot of golf history weaved into it.


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Author’s photo credit: Chris Felver

An Interview with Brendon Elliott, PGA-Author of Little Linksters Golf FUNdamentals Coloring Book

Brendon-ElliottDo you have a youngster at home you’d like to introduce to golf? Or are you interested in what we can do to grow the game of golf?

Brendon Elliott is the PGA Head Golf Professional at Winter Park Country Club (Winter Park, FL). He is also co-founder and president of Little Linksters, LLC, and a children’s golf consultant for the Littlest Golfer, Inc.

In this interview Brendon talks about kids, golf and his mission to introduce golf to the youngest of players.

What inspired you to write this book?

I must admit, it was more than being a golf pro that inspired me to create this book….it was also about being a dad. When our daughter was 3, my wife and I discovered a void when it came to player development programs and golf-related learning tools for young children. It was evident that there was nothing strongly identifiable to youngsters when it came to golf….nothing that could catch their eye or hold their interest. We also wanted a tool that would allow a child to express their creativity through art while learning the very basics about the sport.

When we met with the folks at The Brandinghouse in Asheville, NC, who helped breathe life into our vision for the Little Linksters Gang of Floppy, Birdie and Bogey, we knew we had created something that was of interest, with a theme that spoke to very young golfers. Collaborating with our talented illustrator Toby Maurer with The Brandinghouse, added even more life and zest to our book.

Who is the book targeted to, and why?

Our target age group is 3-8 year olds for both our coloring book and Little Linksters instructional program. This is the age group we feel the golf industry needs to pay a bit more attention to when addressing player development programs for beginning golfers. Beyond the kids, we are also targeting parents, grandparents, and even golf professionals…those in search of tools that will assist when working with Pee-Wee golfers at home, at the range, or on the course.

Little Linksters Golf FUNdamentalsWhile you’ve taught students of all ages and playing ability levels, why the focus on the Pee-Wee golfer?

We recognize there is a void and we are here to help fill the gap. Kids ages 3-8 (especially those in the 3-5 year range) are learning all types of activities and skills during their formative years. They learn dance, martial arts, soccer, baseball, swimming, plus music, foreign languages, and computer skills too, yet very few are introduced to the basic fundamentals of golf…a game that teaches so much more than hitting a little white ball.

As the industry struggles to retain players, as a PGA golf professional, I have a duty to help nurture the future of the game. We, at Little Linksters, LLC, are committed to Pee-Wee players and believe our coloring book is the first tool which assists in creating excitement about the sport for young children. I’ve discovered, teaching kids in this age group can be very rewarding and actually it’s quite fun, too.

What advice do you have for parents or grandparents who are interested in introducing their youngsters to the game? 

For starters, find a PGA or LPGA Professional in your area that works with children. Second, always make the game FUN, and never force them into the sport. Third, purchase clubs that are “fit for kids” like those available through US Kids Golf. Avoid cutting clubs down for youngsters, as this type of modified equipment can be detrimental in the development of a child’s swing. Fourth, when bringing kids out to the course, have them tee off from a reasonable distance for their age, even if that means playing from the 100-yard markers. Ask the club where you’re playing if they have US Kids Family tees or kid’s tees. Only other suggestion I have for parents/grandparents is they may want to include our Little Linksters Golf FUNdamentals Coloring Book as an added tool when introducing their youngster to the game.

Your Little Linkster program has received national recognition.  What separates it from other programs for young children?

My wife and I truly felt that the missing piece to both introducing the game to young kids (and retaining them), was the fact that there has been nothing eye-catching or even remotely identifiable to young children that has to do with golf.  Our Little Linksters brand is designed to capture and retain the interest of the Pee-Wee golfer. In addition to our educational coloring book, through our Little Linksters program we have researched and tested several training aids and have identified the tools that work best for children in the 3-8 age range. It’s our goal to make things fun, use tools that are effective and include characters that capture the imagination of the kids.

While our Florida-based program is in its formative stages, our goal is to establish Little Linksters programs throughout the country that are managed and staffed by PGA & LPGA Professionals. Currently, we offer the program at daycares, city parks, schools and YMCA’s throughout Central Florida.

The Little Linksters Golf FUNdamentals Coloring Book extends beyond its pages… tell me more? Our newly-released coloring book is an excellent tool to introduce the game to Pee-Wees but it is not the only thing that defines Little Linksters. And while it may be the heart and soul of Little Linksters, our 5-week instructional program is paramount. The Little Linksters Golf Program is a great introduction to the game of golf for any child. The program is taught in a fun and interactive way using a combination of both traditional and very non-traditional golf instruction. The bottom line with the Little Linksters program, it’s meant to be FUN, which is also the essence of Little Linksters Golf FUNdamentals Coloring Book.

Brendon is a regular contributor to Junior Golf Central Magazine and serves on the PGA of America’s Advisory Committee for the TCA (The Caddy Association) and their Caddy Fore Kids program. Brendon is a supporter of Play Golf America, an industry-wide golf initiative created to bring new players to the game of golf. For more information about PGA Golf Professional Brendon Elliott and his golf instruction programs through Little Linksters, LLC, please visit http://www.brendonelliottgolf.com/. 


An Interview with Laird Small, PGA Director of Golf at the Pebble Beach Golf Academy and author of Play Golf the Pebble Beach Way: Lose Five Strokes Without Changing Your Swing

Authors of Play Golf the Pebble Beach Way
Laid Small (left) with co-author Dave Allen

What possessed you to write this book?
Over the years several of my students have encouraged me to share my thoughts on learning and playing the game. Prior to putting my thoughts to pen I took a look at the landscape of golf books on the market and realized there were numerous publications on how to swing the club but a limited amount on actually playing the game.   

It soon became clear to me, if I could write a book that focused on how to play the game in a manner that wasn’t too technical, it could help golfers improve and it would align well with my avocation as a golf instructor.    

To this day, I am still marveled by Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book, a piece of work which is simply written, yet casts a powerful influence on players and teaching pros throughout the world, including myself  

What is one of the biggest mistakes made by golfers today?
I often observe golfers who don’t play the game because they are too busy working their game, trying so hard and often over focusing on the technical aspects of their swing which can quickly lead to a rapid state of frustration.  

As a PGA golf instructor I continue to absorb all I can about the game. I have always enjoyed Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book primarily because it’s a series of core lessons that are well-and-simply stated. If an author (and golf instructor) can communicate in a style that is easy to understand and apply, then the reader/student will benefit.  

You’ve worked closely as a coach and instructor with players of all performance levels. What have you learned from TOUR Players? 
When I spend time with TOUR Players, I can’t help but observe how simple they are in their approach to playing the game. They swing the club with balance, rhythm and tempo, and are not overcome by mechanical swing thoughts.   

Play Golf the Pebble Beach WayWhat do you mean when you say…Play Golf the Pebble Beach Way?
I wanted to demonstrate the word play in its truest sense….that is, play, have fun, enjoy the round, the course, time with your friends and above all, avoid being mechanical in your thinking. It was of immense importance to my co-author Dave Allen and myself, that the information we share throughout the book would enhance a golf experience, not just at Pebble Beach Golf Links but on any course a golfer might venture.  

Because of my deep connection to Pebble Beach Golf Links (director of the Pebble Beach Golf Academy) it seemed like the ideal backdrop (outdoor classroom) in which to frame the lessons.  In addition to our easily comprehendible text we were able to secure amazing on-course images which enhance the readers’ learning curve and ultimate enjoyment of the book.    

Each hole at Pebble Beach is truly distinct…What lessons can we learn from you, your book and this internationally-ranked course?
As mentioned, the lessons within this book are not just for Pebble Beach Golf Links, they apply to all courses. They are insightful and practical in nature. You’ll find everything from how to handle first tee jitters with the late, and great actor Jack Lemon to hints on how golf icon Jack Nicklaus bounces back from a bad shot, and even a peek on how the Golden Bear views course design. There’s also Champion TOUR Player Tom Watson’s tips on how to find your swing tempo (when you loose it) and golf great Arnold Palmer on driving strategies, plus so much more.  

Who specifically, is the book designed to help…a new player with a higher handicap, or a more experienced player with a lower index?
The book is for everyone…from a high to a low-handicap player. It’s also an excellent tool for teaching professionals (providing assist with playing lessons). From chapter to chapter there’s plenty of fascinating stories highlighting successful players including Clampett, Kite, Miller, Nicklaus, Palmer, Triplett, Watson, and Woods. The focus is not only on how they play the game but how they bounce back from bad shots and how they view course architecture as it relates fundamentally to their game. For golfers who are eager to reduce strokes off their game all the while enjoying the experience… this book will serve them well both on-and-off the course.  

About Laird Small: Besides an accomplished author, PGA Master Professional Laird Small is the Director of the Pebble Beach Golf Academy. Due to his outstanding ability as a golf instructor the PGA of America named him National Teacher of the Year in 2003.  

Other special distinctions held by Small include “Top 100 Teacher” (Golf Magazine) and “50 Greatest Teachers” (Golf Digest). He is a supporter of Play Golf America, AT&T Pebble Beach Junior Golf Association and the National Council for Better Health Through Golf- Doctor’s Orders: Play Golf.  


An Interview with Katherine Roberts, author of Swing Flaws and Fitness Fixes with Swing Analysis by Hank Haney

Katherine RobertsWhen it comes to swing flaws, why the primary focus on fitness?

Most players don’t realize a golf swing is an explosive movement that occurs in less than two seconds. Through my work in fitness and golf, it has become apparent that most golfers are also unaware of the direct correlation between a solid fitness regimen and a lower golf score.  Through this book I am able to demonstrate to golfers the readily importance of body and swing connection.

How are golfers responding to your book?

The feedback from golfers has been quite positive.  Additionally, PGA teaching pros are utilizing the book (and its series of exercises) when working with students on the lesson tee.  Just recently, a low-index amateur player shared his “aha moment” with me…that is, to his amazement (after studying and implementing the exercises) he discovered that he could indeed, train his body to hit a golf ball more efficiently, more precisely.   

What will readers gleam from your best-selling golf fitness book?

The fitness connection to swing flaw correction is powerful.  The book was designed to be an easy and enjoyable read yet filled with plenty of solid swing tips based on inner core fitness and flexibility. There are 65 exercises that will help golfers get to where they need to be to play better, play longer, and have more enjoyment of the game.

Does an aspiring golfer need a golf instructor or would your book suffice?

This book is meant to be a helpful tool in your golf bag, one that will readily assist in increasing stamina and flexibility.  This book does not replace your instructor nor your medical advisor.  I encourage those in good health, especially beginner and mid-level skilled golfers  to work with a PGA or LPGA trained professional.  Most advanced players are well aware of the need for a coach when it comes to refining ones swing. The exercises within the book will enhance ones learning experience and especially with swing analysis from top PGA Tour player coach Hank Haney.

What’s one of the most frequent mistakes golfers make when it comes to their golf game?

Lack of pre-game warm-up.  Most golfers are so excited about teeing it up, they don’t take the time to properly warm up prior to their round.  In Swing Flaws and Fitness Fixes, I make a point to address the various benefits of pre-game warm up and provide a series of practical exercises that are well illustrated and easily adaptable for all skill level of players.

Besides your book Swing Flaws and Fitness Fixes, are there any other published works of yours (books, DVD’s, etc.,) which a golfer can utilize to help improve their game?

Swing Flaws and Fitness Fixes with Swing Analysis by Hank Haney

Yes, I have a few other tools that golfers will find extremely helpful.  For those who favor yoga and recognize its benefit to living a healthier and more vibrant life, my first book Yoga for Golfers can also enhance ones playing ability. I also have a series of nine DVD’s that help golfers stay fit and balanced both on-and-off the course.  For anyone looking for fitness tips, they can also visit my web site www.krflexfit.com

More About Katherine Roberts: She is Founder and President of Katherine Roberts Yoga for Golfers and The Roberts Flex-Fit Method. She is the official yoga instructor for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. An internationally renowned fitness instructor, Roberts has conducted presentations and clinics for businesses and associations including the PGA of America, the largest working sports organization in the world. Besides her best-selling books and DVD’s, Roberts is well known for her work as a golf fitness instructor on The Golf Channel.