In this week's Inside Media column, Tim McDonald reviews the 2007 efforts of golf pundits, journalists and wannabes.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The International Network of Golf shouldn't hand out travel/golf writing awards. It's embarrassing. The ING is primarily a business network, a place for those in the industry to hobnob and do business. That's great.
The organization recognizes good writing in other categories, but its "travel" awards section is a joke.
Their 2006-07 travel award went to Jacob Kubie of Colorado AvidGolfer magazine, titled "Quirky Albuquerque".
He writes: "From a tiny Spanish colony that supplied nearby forts, Albuquerque has grown into a bustling metropolis that's vibrant with new sophistication and centuries-old tradition."
Can you count the vibrant and bustling clichés?
And this: "I beam with hometown pride realizing that Albuquerque is no longer a fledgling city."
I've often griped about the too-cozy relationships between many golf and travel writers with the destinations they write about. This Kubie guy could be a poster boy for that argument.
• Sometimes, to find a little journalistic sanity, it's necessary to go back to the old school - newspapers. Like the Las Vegas Journal-Review getting John Daly to tell the truth about his feelings on Maxfli, the ball he endorses.
"I'm sick of it," Daly told R-J columnist Ed Graney. "I've got the best ball I've ever played with, (but) the plant in South Carolina (keeps) sending me a harder ball. It's good for a guy who spins the living crap out of it, but I don't, and it's killing me."
• "The Angry Golfer" in Golf World (with ESPN) is one of my favorite mini-features.
Like this one, which contends Bandon Dunes may be in danger from its own success: "Pushy starters, cranky bartenders and go-through-the-motions marshals ..."
After playing several rounds, The Angry Golfer, a.k.a. Golf World columnist John Hawkins, writes: "America's friendliest and most fabulous links farm felt more like a factory."
Another Angry Golfer item mentions one of my favorite gripes, the inevitably tedious and self-serving sponsor interviews at the end of PGA Tour events.
"It is the sameness of these shameless schmoozes that is so uninvigorating, and when that same white-collar captain decides to pull the plug on his $8 million annual investment with the tour, the disingenuousness of this airtime can seem a trifle obvious," the Angry Golfer writes.
No other sport does this. Why golf?
Is it my imagination or are golf blogs getting worse? Never that great to begin with, they seem to be going downhill. Maybe it's the Silly Season. I was trying desperately to find something good, so I ended up going to the player blogs, where I found Natalie Gulbis. It's a good thing Natalie has game and ample physical gifts - her blog posts read like a 12-year-old's.
Here's Gulbis on having dinner in Monte Carlo at the largest wine gallery in the world:
Natalie on the Solheim Cup:
"We prevailed as a team and the girls are so excited and not a bit exhausted."
"The temperature was about 45 degrees...Brrrr!"
• Speaking of Gulbis, the Golf Blog had a two-part interview with her. It's the only interview I've ever read where the questions are twice as long as the answers.
The interview elicited some interesting responses from Gulbis fans, some of which can't be re-printed here.
Here's one of the tamer ones, grammatically and creepily intact:
"in my whole life I have never seen a women like you. those eyes can kill men. that smile can give me light at night. there is more I have to tell you. you inspire me. I will be writing you bye."
He writes a little later, hurt that Natalie hasn't responded. It's fascinating to watch a future stalker grow.
• Our all-time favorite golf blogger, the Reluctant Jam Boy, hasn't written since July. In his last entry, Jam Boy, a caddie, tells us how he's been stymied when trying to move into management, with his critics calling him disorganized.
"Well, that's nothing," Jam Boy writes. "You should have seen me when my crack addiction peaked."
• Travel and Leisure Golf has an excellent story on new seaside golf courses on Australia's Mornington peninsula and Tasmania, and another good one on the Kentucky bourbon (and golf) trail.
And this magazine, which makes no bones about catering to the wealthier and more privileged among us, has a surprise. There, tucked in among stories about single-malt scotch, Cadillacs and expensive cigars, is one about a California nine-holer in the Russian River Valley with green fees $40 and under.
• Most anticipated golf event: Boo Weekley in China for the World Cup. Boo's going to want to know if there's largemouth bass on the other side of that big wall.
Lastly, looking back on the televised golf season, I wouldn't scream with indignation if The Golf Channel replaced Kelly Tilghman. Tilghman is a novelty as golf's first female play-by-play man, but she is no better than average, which puts her in the category of the vast majority of golf announcers.
She'd be much better if she knocked off most of her forced humor and just handed the ball to Nick Faldo. She makes me cringe sometimes.
October 29, 2007
Simply select where you want to play, find a tee time deal, and golf now!