Tag Archives: Tour Tempo

Partisan Rancor Over Azalea-Free Masters

The electronic mailbag overflowed in response to my Masters post asserting that man-made climate change has so thoroughly jumbled the seasons that spring golf is no longer possible. “You must have been smoking those cherry blossoms,” suggested a reader from St. Petersburg, Fla. “I just drove through two feet of snow to get to Walmart. Global warming is a proven hoax.” A reader from Peculiar, Mo., sent me a crude pencil drawing of blooming redbuds captioned, “Everything’s NORMAL in Peculiar.”

I certainly didn’t intend to wade into one of our era’s most contentious issues. In fact, I’ve purposely downplayed the subject. Last summer, for instance, I redacted a line in a course review that alluded to “crocodile sightings” at Nebraska’s Awarii Dunes. More recently, I rejected a developer’s ad for “Gulf-view lots on the Arkansas coastline.”

But not all the mail came from so-called “deniers.” Several Irish golfers pointed out that a month or so of the Celtic winter seems to have relocated to June-July, making September the most summery month. That followed an e-mail from Dubai insisting that the desert has swallowed up whole golf courses, including Al Ruwaya, a highly-touted Tiger Woods design.

Listen, folks, you’re barking up the wrong, climatically-distressed tree. The Top 50 blog is a politics-free zone, a refuge for golfers escaping the drudgery of the Drudge Report or the sluttishness of Slate.com. Rest assured, if I spot a hoodie-wearing penguin seeking the services of a cross-dressing abortion provider at a radical mosque in my predominately-white Kansas City neighborhood, I’ll keep it to myself.

That said, this is what 50th-ranked Glen Echo Country Club looked like when I played there last week:

Glen Echo CC

Spring lingered last week at Glen Echo Country Club in Normandie, Mo. (John Garrity)

Top 50 on TV: Nothing this week, but the Valero Texas Open is at the TPC San Antonio, where John Novosel Jr. and I performed a Tour Tempo segment for a not-so-long-ago episode of “Champions Tour Learning Center.” (That’s your cue to break down the door of your favorite e-book store for a copy of Tour Tempo 2: The Short Game and Beyond, by yours truly and John Novosel Sr.)

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Changes Ahead for Top 50 Blog?

Dear Readers: Although Mr. Garrity has not visited our Catch Basin headquarters for several weeks, he keeps in touch through texts and “honks.”* On Christmas Day he alerted us to a possible change of emphasis on the Top 50 blog. “More tour analysis,” he honked. “Less anime.” In a follow-up text, he wrote, “Offer Van Sickle premium to leave SI and cover tour full-time.”

Falcon Ridge's 15th hole

The 15th hole at 51st-ranked Falcon Ridge Golf Club, Mesquite, Nev. (John Garrity)

*Honks are 63-character messages from Honker Ltd., a Twitter rival in which Mr. Garrity has invested much of his fortune. If you would like to learn more about Honker, feel free to enter your social security and credit card numbers in the comment box.

We’re not sure what Mr. Garrity has in mind for 2012, but we know he’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year and remind you of the recent publication of Tour Tempo 2: The Short Game and Beyond by John Novosel and John Garrity, now available in iPad, Kindle and Nook editions.

On behalf of the Top 50 staff, I thank you for your past support and hope you’ll continue to count on the Top 50 for all your course-rating needs.


M. G. Snead, Operations Director

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Top 50 Author Debuts at No. 1

A worried reader asks,“Is this a golf course blog? A week or so ago, you popped up on Golf Channel’s Champions Tour Learning Center with some snake-oil swing remedy. This morning I caught you dispensing tips on bunker play on “Teed Off,” Brian Katrek’s PGA Tour Network program. Now I’m in my dentist’s waiting room, and here’s your byline on an SI Golf Plus rant about Tiger Woods’s screwed-up tempo. What gives? Have you forsaken course rating for the Hollywood allure of swing-guru celebrity?”

John Novosel Jr. on "Learning Center"

John Novosel Jr. explained Tour Tempo to a Golf Channel crew at the TPC of San Antonio. (John Garrity)

Fear not, Worried Reader. I just spent a working weekend in the Atlantic time zone, checking up on our two Canadian courses (24th-ranked Cabot Links and No. 31 Highlands Links) and I’m already packing for a trip to Oregon’s Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, where I’ll tee it up and trade rants with Tom Doak, designer of Pacific Dunes, No. 26. And just to forestall confusion, the Top 50 is not “a golf course blog.” It is the golf course blog.

However, like the late Steve Jobs, I take pride in revolutionizing whole industries. To that end, I co-authored the best-selling golf instructional, Tour Tempo: Golf’s Last Secret Finally Revealed, now in its 11th printing by Doubleday. And now John Novosel and I are out with an e-book sequel, Tour Tempo 2: The Short Game & Beyond, available on the Amazon Kindle* and Apple iBooks** platforms.

*Tour Tempo 2 debuted at No. 1 on Amazon’s golf books list. No surprise, that, since the original Tour Tempo was Amazon’s best-selling sports book of 2004, beating out Leigh Montville’s compelling Ted Williams biography.

**The Apple edition [which also debuted at No. 1 among golf books in the iTunes Store] is “enhanced” with color photography, instructional video clips and the  Tour Tempo short-game training tones. Buyers of the Kindle version can acquire these TT2 extras via a free download from the Web.

Naturally, promoting the new book has kept me from blogging as often as I’d like. But that hasn’t kept our highly-paid Top 50 evaluators from their appointed rounds. Within the past hour, for example, the A.W. Tillinghast-designed Wissahickon course at the Philadelphia Cricket Club jumped from No. 62 to No. 53 upon news of a breakthrough in the European sovereign-debt crisis. At the same time, a perennial Top-50 favorite, Colonial Country Club of Fort Worth, Texas, plummeted from No. 24 to No. 238.*

*Colonial’s fall, a by-product of program trading, was interrupted by a computerized “circuit breaker.” Our IT staff is looking into it.

Tour Tempo 2 Cover Art

TT2 is $9.99 on the iPad and Kindle reader.

How good is Tour Tempo 2?  Sports Illustrated senior writer Michael Bamberger, co-author of the best-selling golf novel, The Swinger, rates it ahead of the collected output of every last golf guru of the past half-century. “Since Eisenhower took to the links,” Bamberger writes in his latest blurb, “there have been two important golf instruction books: Five Fundamentals, by Ben Hogan and Herbert Warren Wind, and Tour Tempo, with John Novosel playing the Hogan role and John Garrity as Herb. TT2 is clearer yet. It’s like a wonder drug.”

Coming from Bamberger, a master of understatement, this is high praise. But let’s talk value. For a mere $9.99, you get the aforementioned color photography, the short-game tones, and the instruction videos. And if you order in the next hour, you’ll receive at no extra cost a bonus chapter, “The Force,” from an upcoming e-book by long-drive specialist John Novosel, Jr. Act this very instant and we’ll throw in “The Force” video clip, which will take strokes off your game faster than you can say “Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman!”

As for Worried Reader … stop moping and play some golf before winter sets in. I recommend any of the courses on the adjacent list.

Top 50 on TV: Nothing this week, but Rory McIlroy leads after one round of the Shanghai Masters, which is being played on the Lake Malaren Masters course, a Jack Nicklaus design. Robert Allenby, meanwhile, is the first-round leader at the Asia Pacific Classic, held at The Mines Resort & Golf Club in Selangor Malaysia, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. track. Both courses are “Unrated” pending a review of the Colonial situation.

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