Alan KatzThis Week at Mar. 07, 2006

Gift for a golfer: Hogan vs. Snead
on "Shell's Wonderful World of Golf"

As a teenager growing up in New Jersey, I loved to watch "Shell's Wonderful World of Golf" on television. The weekly show, which aired on Saturday afternoons from 1962 to 1970, matched two great golfers head-to-head. Gene Sarazen was the host and his knowledge of the game, its history and players added a lot of color and class to the program.

Twenty minutes of the hour-long show were devoted to a travelogue of whatever city the match was played in. In those days before the advent of cable TV, we didn't see as much golf on television as we do today. The major championships were televised but if you were interested in the rest of the tour, you had to read about in the newspapers. That's one reason "Shell's Wonderful World of Golf" was so popular.

If you're looking for a gift for a golfer, consider a copy of the classic 1964 "Wonderful World" match between Ben Hogan and Sam Snead at the Houston Country Club. Hogan was 52 and had retired from the tour four years earlier. In my opinion, Hogan was as amazing in his way as Tiger Woods is today. You still hear about how Ted Williams retired from baseball right after hitting his final home run. But did you know that Hogan retired after carding a record 30 on the back nine of the Masters?

Snead was the same age as Hogan but he was still playing on the tour in 1964. In fact, the following year he won the Greater Greensboro Open. Snead is still the oldest golfer ever to win a PGA event - not including the seniors tour, of course - and is credited with winning an all-time record 89 PGA tournaments in all.

This was such a big match that more than 5,000 people showed up to see it and Red Smith was among the reporters to cover it. Fifteen years after the head-on crash with a bus that almost cost him his life, Hogan beat Snead 69 to 72 with a performance that was among his best ever.

You can buy a copy of this classic match at any of the big online vendors of books, music, DVDs, etc. It's worth every penny.

As always, welcomes your comments.

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Jack NicklausThere's more to golf in Augusta
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When people think about Augusta, Ga., their minds immediately get taken to the revered Master. But there is much more to Augusta than just one golf tournament. As the second-largest and second-oldest city in Georgia, Augusta is a thriving town of nearly a quarter-million. It's also home to great golf courses not named Augusta National. With tracks like Mount Vintage and the River Course, Augusta is a place you'll need some time to explore.

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Sean CochranMcDonald on custom club-fitting:
Past the pink tees and beyond

The game of golf has long been fertile ground for hucksters who come up with half-baked gimmicks they swear will give you 50 yards off the tee and Mickelson's touch around the greens, Tim McDonald writes in his latest From The Rough column. I always thought custom club-fitting fit into that category. I think now maybe it doesn't exactly work that way - Jon Decker, a PGA Professional down in Orlando, Fla. - made me see the light.

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MyrtleBeach River ClubS.C.'s River Club doesn't have a
river but watch those approach shots

The River Club on the south Strand is a club without a river, though it does have plenty of water. It also has plenty of bunkers, most of them taunting you after you've hit your drive and looking at the green. "Irons are the key here," said Head Professional Christa Bodensteiner and she's right as rain. Good wedge players will giggle like schoolchildren here.

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