Golf Illustrated reviewed

Golf illustrated reviewed Nov 2012


Golf Illustrated, which was the record of the game for 100 years was launched in 1899, previously being called “Golf – A Weekly Recorde of Ye Royal & Ancient Game”. It was relaunched recently as a glossy quarterly by Bauer Media, who also have in their stable the monthly magazines ‘Golf World’ and ‘Today’s Golfer’.

I have kindly been sent edition 4, and can confirm that it is of the highest quality with sixteen in-depth chapters, enhanced by superb photography.

This new quarterly will be loved by all friends of FineGolf

Each chapter is of about ten pages and focuses on fascinating issues and people operating predominantly in the FineGolf sphere.

bandon golf , mike keiser, finest golf courses reviewed

Bandon Dunes by the coast

The British Isles is so lucky in having the finest ‘running’ courses in the world, because our cool climate encourages the finest grasses. But since the beginning of the trend back to FineGolf in the 1990s, Mike Keiser, an American entrepreneur, has been investing in creating ‘running’ courses in other cool climates such as Tasmania and Bandon, Oregon on the USA’s north-west coast.

bandon golf , mike keiser, finest golf courses reviewed

Bandon Trails inland

One chapter by Tony Dear gives a history of the four courses at Bandon designed by David Mclay Kidd, Tom Doak(2), Coare/Crenshaw, and one in the pipeline by Gil Hanse. This represents an impressive line-up and it’s great to be able to advertise the fact that there are many Americans who also prefer the classic ‘running’ game! 

In another chapter Mark Alexander talks about the incredibly important role ‘sand’ plays – no, not in bunkers – but in firming up greens.

Gordon Moir, the top green-keeper at St Andrews’s seven courses, is quoted: “Of all the things we do on the course, aeration and top dressing are the two most important for the health of the turf.

Gordon moir, st andrews golf, spreading sandThe wetter the weather, the more sand we need to optimise drainage and maintain surface playability and firmness. Top-dressing with sand is the optimal way of improving firmness as well as smoothing surfaces and making greens as true as possible”. Go(r)d(on) has spoken!

(see the new FineGolf review of Crowborough Beacon where Mike Poole has shown the success of this type of policy on an inland course).

David Mclay Kidd, son of Jimmy, one of Scotland’s leading green-keepers, is breaking through into the highest echelons of world golf course architecture. Already by his mid-forties he has designed Bandon Dunes, Queenwood (an exclusive club near London), Nanea (Japan), St Andrews Castle and Machrahanish Dunes. Some of these are built on good, some on bad, land but all are successful projects.

There is an interview with Chris Bertram about his life, where he admits to having looked at the Menie duneland two years previous to Trump and did not know how to achieve permission from Scottish National Heritage, and much more, all of which is fascinating.

archie baird, golf museum, finest golf courses reviewed

Archie Baird outside his museum in Gullane, East Lothian

Another chapter is an interview with the modern day Old Tom Morris, Archie Baird, who knows more about the history of the game than all of us put together and has the character to go with it.

Lee Trevino, who Art Stricklin thinks “possibly no one in the game has achieved more with less”, is interviewed and quoted on the state of today’s target–style version of the game: “I think it’s in trouble. I know it’s very exciting on tour but it’s not exciting for a lot of people to play these courses built in the last 30 years, they are all carry. They don’t have a chance to run the ball to the green. They’ve got to carry bunkers and false fronts. We’ve really gone the wrong way”. Seconded…
Lee Trevino, finest golf courses reviewed

Lee Trevino

Why is it that the two most prestigious golf clubs in England don’t assign special parking spots for ‘special’ people? Peter Masters, in another chapter, explains that at Royal St George’s all the members are considered special and consequently egos are left behind.

He covers many interesting aspects of the Club including it being one of the last bastions of male exclusivity and goes into detail why its rules are in no way demeaning to women.

I must firstly mention that my dog Dexter was given special allowance to accompany me the last time I played at Royal St George’s and members are allowed to bring dogs, but there is a general rule against visitor’s dogs. Peter does not elucidate on the reason behind this strange situation but perhaps the club could consider a rule like they have at The Berkshire, which requires visitors to request permission from the Secretary or their team, each time they want to bring their dog. The Secretary therefore can, without any embarrassment, turn down a dog who has been unruly and this is surely the gentlemanly approach.

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The finest golf lunch in Britain?

Five very different Golf Club Secretaries are interviewed including the bearded Keith Adderley who took over from Lt.-Col. John Hunt at Temple GC, when John went on to The Berkshire in the 1990s.

Unfortunately the ‘Golf Illustrated’ article does not mention the fact that over the past decade, Temple has been one of the earliest courses around London to move back to the ‘running’ game. Sunningdale and Walton Heath with their much larger budgets, are running hard to catch-up. It is a pity there is no mention of the high content of fine grasses in Temple’s comparatively firm greens, to mix with the information about Keith’s lively hobbies and his previous army life. Temple is lucky to have him providing the leadership to their corporate affairs.

The closest the magazine gets to advertising golf merchandise is an interesting article on the history of golf grips, which suggests from when slip-on grips were developed in the 1960s, there has effectively been little invention since.

There is also an article on the psychology behind Padraig Harrington having his golf clubs tweaked.

As with FineGolf’s website, one is not bombarded in the new ‘Golf Illustrated’ by adverts, the only ones being are at the beginning and end. However, unlike FineGolf, one has to pay a subscription to receive this attractive and informative magazine at £10 per copy or £40 yearly from .

FineGolf’s concluding verdict is that the new ‘Golf Illustrated’ is a welcome new addition to the FineGolf trend.


Reader Comments

On June 5th, 2018 kevin kenny said:

Hi Do you know if it is possible to get archive editions of Golf Illustrated from 1963.
Kevin Kenny
Dear Kevin
I do not know but perhaps somebody at the British Golf Collectors Society could help you as their members collect memorability.

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