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Benjamin Litman

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2015, 11:20:52 AM »
Many thanks to everyone for your incredibly kind words. I'm so fortunate to have such a knowledgeable and appreciative audience to share my experiences with.
 
Onto your specific comments and questions:
 
Jeff: I did get to go upstairs, but to the bar room, not the card room (unless they are one and the same). The reason I went makes for a good story. We were scheduled to tee off just as the Open Championship at St. Andrews was finishing up. Unable to find a television on the main floor (like the lack of air conditioning, a refreshing omission), we walked upstairs and found not only a television (placed inconspicuously inside a cabinet to the right of the logo-adorned fireplace), but several members gathered around it watching the final few holes. They were kind enough to invite us to join, adding just another wonderful memory to a day full of them.
 
Thomas: Thank you for your kind words and for appreciating the before-round and after-round elements, which really enhance the experience at Shinnecock. The clubhouse is situated in the perfect spot to allow the golfer to both preview and review a glorious several hours. Thank you as well for noting the black-and-white pictures. As I've mentioned before, I strongly believe that everyone and everything looks better in black and white (golf courses included), and, to me, the element of mystery--imagining the colors is left to the viewer--makes it a more compelling format. And, yes, you are 100% correct about the Shinnecock smile--I'm glad it came through in my piece.
 
Rob: I very much appreciate what you wrote. Thank you. I'm glad my tour evoked wonderful memories for you and that you, too, were lucky enough to experience so special a place.
 
Josh: To add a bit to what Pat already wrote, I don't concern myself too much with the look of bunkers. If some of the ones at Shinnecock look "simplistic" and "pedestrian" to you, I can't argue with that (although, to me, they fit perfectly with Shinnecock's rugged aesthetic; as much as I love the boldness of Macdonald/Raynor bunkers, natural bunkering is hard to beat). What I can say is that they don't play as they might look to you. That, to me, is how bunkers should be evaluated. Looks are nice, but unless they are placed strategically--and I've played few courses where the bunkers are placed as strategically as at Shinnecock--they're mere window-dressing. Refreshingly, everything at Shinnecock has a purpose. My understanding of the sandy waste areas is that Coore & Crenshaw have restored most, if not all, of them (especially to the right of the 6th and the left of the 8th), so the bunkers that remain were largely as they were. I'm sure others know more. But, as I note in my piece, you are right that Shinnecock doesn't have National's quirk, but Shinnecock remains tons of fun to play, despite its fearsome reputation. As a course, it coheres better, in my opinion, than National. And, yes, as I note in my piece and as Pat confirms, tree clearing in recent years has been extensive, opening up some marvelous interior views.
 
Jon: Especially coming from you, I greatly appreciate the kind words. Thank you.
 
David: Many thanks, and glad we hold Shinnecock in similarly high esteem.
 
Tim: I love your story and hope others will add theirs to this thread. Thank you for sharing and for the feedback.
 
Terry: "B-Lit-erary"--I love it! Many thanks.
 
Pat: Thank you very much both for helping out with others' questions and for the kind words.
 
Ben: My greatest thanks go to you for making it all happen in the first place. I appreciate your kind words and am so glad we were able to experience Shinnecock together. I'll never forget it.
 
David Stamm: Thank you so much for your incredibly flattering words. I'm so glad you enjoyed the piece.
 
Peter: Your way with words is inimitable. Thank you.
 
Jason: Thank you and you're very welcome. I'm happy to hear that you, too, were lucky enough to experience Shinnecock and that my piece was able to bring back at least some of those memories. And thank you for sharing the wonderful story about Ray (I was even thinking Floyd for a second). That's one heck of a bunker shot to hole!
 
Matthew: I'm flattered by what you wrote. Thank you so much, and I very much hope you get to experience Shinnecock one day.
 
David Elvins: You're very welcome, and thank you.
 
Jerry: You are right that nothing feels forced or contrived at Shinnecock; indeed, perhaps that's why Josh perceived some of the bunkers to be "simplistic." I would love to hear from some of the architects on this site about whether what you posit about the influence of Shinnecock's routing is true. Ran's interview with Wayne and Tom--see the link in my piece--certainly suggests that it is. Thank you as well for the kind words.
 
Steve: I very much appreciate your feedback; thank you. As I note, many do indeed consider Shinnecock and Muirfield to be similar, although, having been fortunate enough to play both, I give Shinnecock the nod for several reasons, variety (in the land and the holes) foremost among them. Both are indeed world-class championship venues and just very special places to be. Although you are right about Shinnecock's 10th (I wouldn't call the 11th a forced carry, because, though technically true, the same could be said about the overwhelming majority of par-3s), the 9th is not a forced carry. I don't disagree that the 4th is, at least relatively speaking, uninteresting, but while I loved the 14th, there were several others I preferred--all of which speaks to how good Shinnecock is. As for the scorecard, I decided to include one at the last minute for reference; I pulled it from an image already online, so you might well be right that it is a few years old. I'll go back and look at my hard-copy scorecard and, if it is indeed different, see if I can swap out the pictures. Many thanks again.
 
Keith: Thanks for the kind words. I didn't mean to shortchange the 13th green--which I loved for its depth and the gradual nature of its back-edge falloff--but you are right that repeat plays are often necessary to reveal more of a course's contours. If only I'm so lucky.
 
JJ: So glad you enjoyed; thank you. Flag or not, Shinnecock's clubhouse is without peer.
 
 
 
 
"One will perform in large part according to the circumstances."
-Director of Recruitment at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda on why it selects orphaned children without regard to past academic performance. Refreshing situationism in a country where strict dispositionism might be expected.

David Davis

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2015, 12:31:35 PM »
Benjamin,


Thanks so much for that wonderful tour. Like a couple of the other gentlemen have pointed out you have done such a wonderful job in all aspects of your review, from your historical highlights to your wonderful photography and course tour. It perfectly reminds me of one of the best days of my golfing life as well last year in the beginning of October when Shinnecock pulled the very best performance out of my golfing bones that I may ever experience (though I hope not) on a beautifully sunny and very windy afternoon.


I too had a excellent caddy who I would happily mention (if I could remember names, too much emotional overload on the day.) He was a young lad, he settled into his place perfectly, didn't offer unsolicited advice or help with green reads until a confirmation was necessary and perhaps best of all kept sneaking action photos on various tee boxes that I was not aware of and didn't find until I settled in for a post round Southside on the veranda (at least I think that's what it was). Two of these photos now adorn my entryway at home.


Shinnecock, likewise sits in the top of my list as well as in the top of my overall experiences.


Thanks again for your efforts!
Sharing the greatest experiences in golf.

IG: @top100golftraveler
www.lockharttravelclub.com

James Brown

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2015, 09:55:49 PM »
Damn!  What a great looking place in these pictures.  Those of us who have never played it have all seen the TV coverage and the typical pictures.   I am sure the real thing is even better than you think. 

Peter Pallotta

Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2015, 10:08:42 PM »
A couple (of the many) notable things Benjamin's tour brought to light (for me at least, never having been there):
1. I very much like how those 6800 are 'divided up over 18 holes: some long 4s, a range of other 4s, a couple of long 3s, and some birdie-able 5s. Golf, in other words.
2. The over head shot reminds me of Paul Cowley's thread from a long while back on the value of "S" curves in design.

Thanks again, Mr. B

(That's your new nickname - I hope you like it, because even if no one else does I'm gonna keep using it.  :)  You are now MR. B!)

Peter



Nick Church

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2015, 10:36:02 PM »
Thanks for this post.  I was extremely blessed & fortunate to play Shinnecock this summer.  Your pictures are much better than mine.  I am thankful because yours greatly improve my memory of a fantastic experience.

Frank Giordano

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2015, 11:40:58 PM »
Benjamin,

A marvelous tour of a splendid golf course.  Your work is invaluable, especially to those of us who will never get to play the courses you treat. 

Tim Gallant

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2015, 02:59:11 AM »
Benjamin,


Thank you very much for posting this. It was a joy to read your story and about your experience.

Benjamin Litman

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #32 on: November 06, 2015, 03:07:09 PM »
Apologies for my delayed reply to the latest round of comments, which I greatly appreciate.
 
David: Many thanks for your kind words and for sharing your own Shinnecock story. From reading your and others' comments, it's quite clear that Shinnecock has not only one of the best golf courses in the world, but also some of the best caddies in the world. My Shinnecock caddie was certainly the best caddie I've ever had--and a genuinely great guy. As you note, that only enhances an already world-class experience.
 
James: Thanks to you as well for the kind words. And you are absolutely correct that pictures can't do Shinnecock justice. It's an overwhelming place to be at times--and I mean that in the best way possible.
 
Peter: From the day I was born I have embraced any and all nicknames thrown my way, but you get extra credit for coming up with a new one. Perhaps I'll combine it with Terry's and refer to myself--at least on GCA--as "Mr. B-Lit-erary," although that seems a bit self-aggrandizing. As for your always astute observations, I will note that some people (myself not among them) knock Shinnecock for not having at least one short/drivable par-4. I'm curious to see if Mike Davis, who was not in charge of U.S.G.A course setup in 2004, tries to create one when the U.S. Open returns in 2018. Candidates, to my mind, are the 4th and the 13th, although both play into the prevailing wind. Another option, at least in terms of yardage, is the 8th, but the green is blind from the tee. As for the "S" curves seen in the aerial, I hope you took a look at the feature interview I linked to--Wayne and Tom do a great job explaining the function of triangulation in Flynn's routing.
 
Nick: I'm happy to hear that you, too, were fortunate enough to play Shinnecock over the summer. And I'm glad that my tour helped bring back great memories. If you have any particularly good stories, I'd love to hear them.
 
Frank: Thank you, as always, for the incredibly kind words. And you never know: Shinnecock might come calling for you one day, too.
 
Tim: I really appreciate your note. Thank you.


Finally, going back to Steve's earlier comment about the scorecard, he's correct that the current scorecard reflects slightly different yardages than the one I included in my tour, but the differences are negligible (40 yards total) and I unfortunately don't see any images of the new scorecard online. I will eventually take pictures of my scorecard and swap it into my tour to ensure accuracy; apologies for the slight discrepancy in the interim.
"One will perform in large part according to the circumstances."
-Director of Recruitment at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda on why it selects orphaned children without regard to past academic performance. Refreshing situationism in a country where strict dispositionism might be expected.

Howard Riefs

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2015, 03:19:43 PM »
Benjamin -


Thank you for the time and effort you dedicated to sharing this experience. You have a gift with words. The quality of the presentation unmatched.



"Golf combines two favorite American pastimes: Taking long walks and hitting things with a stick."  ~P.J. O'Rourke

MCirba

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #34 on: November 06, 2015, 03:20:44 PM »
Benjamin,

It's been quite a while since I played there but your wonderful essay put me right back on the golf course.

Thanks for an incredible effort and achievement.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Jon Cavalier

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #35 on: December 03, 2015, 10:59:16 PM »
Ben,

In your tour, you state the following about the Redan 7th:

"At Shinnecock, by contrast, the Redan's tee lines the golfer up directly at the "open" part of the green--i.e., what is the top-right corner at most Redans. To me, Redans are best played with a fade, so that once the ball lands, it comes to rest before gently spinning back toward the hole due solely to the green's slope. (People often say the design calls for a draw, but a properly sloped Redan should propel a properly hit draw--like a shot hit with, as opposed to up against, the wind--off the green.) But hitting such a shot is much more difficult when, because of the tee's obtuse angle to the green, the ball lands more on a downslope than a sideslope. Moving Shinnecock's tee 20 yards to the left might well cure this problem by making the angle more acute and the slope less severe."

A friend of mine told me today that the club recently made exactly the change you suggest and has moved the tee to the left.

Do you know whether this is, in fact, the case? If so, can you provide any additional detail?

Once again, fantastic work on this tour.
Golf Photos via
Twitter: @linksgems
Instagram: @linksgems

Benjamin Litman

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2015, 03:09:26 PM »
Funny you should mention that, Jon. Like others who have posted in this thread, I had the good fortune of not only playing Shinnecock this summer, but having the best caddie along for the ride. He emailed me last weekend to tell me--and prove with photographic evidence--that the club had indeed built at least one new tee at 7 significantly to the left of the existing tees. Although my caddie had seen my tour and also noted that the new tee was "like you said," I have no way of knowing whether what I wrote in any way precipitated the change. I'm sure others have suggested much the same in the past (presumably among them many professionals after the uproar during the 2004 U.S. Open), and I'm guessing that the change was already planned by the club (presumably for the 2018 U.S. Open) long before I posted my tour. As you note, the turnaround time from the day I posted my tour to the day the new tee was built was less than a month.
 
I will see if I can obtain some pictures of the new tee to post (I'm not sure I can post the one my caddie sent, as it has several golfers, who I presume are members, in it), but until then, I'd be very curious to know if anyone on here (a) knows how/why the change came about and (b) has already played from the new tee and can comment on the difference created by the new angle.
 
A few other quick responses now that my post has been bumped:
 
Howard: You're incredibly kind. Thank you for your words (and for everything you do for everyone on this board).
 
Mike: I very much appreciate your note as well; thank you. Given how much (at least aesthetically, in terms of tree removal and bunker/waste-area work) has changed over the years, I was especially glad to hear that you saw little difference between the course of today and the one you played. That confirms that the changes have, indeed, been largely aesthetic.
 
Keith: I drove by the course a few weeks ago to take another look at the 13th green. You're quite right--it's wondrous. What I missed the first time was the falloff along the left side of the green (especially from the middle of the green on). That makes two falloffs (middle/back left and back middle, separated by a spine) and two bunkers surrounding the green (front right and front left), yet it still has an open front to accept low shots. An exceptional hole design from tee all the way to green, and one that deserves far more attention than it gets.
 
Two additional notes: (1) The scorecard pictures in my post have been updated to reflect the current version/yardages, and (2) Jon Jennings is Shinnecock's current superintendent, having assumed the position in early 2013 after many years at Chicago Golf Club.
 
"One will perform in large part according to the circumstances."
-Director of Recruitment at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda on why it selects orphaned children without regard to past academic performance. Refreshing situationism in a country where strict dispositionism might be expected.

Jason Topp

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2015, 05:19:30 PM »
I missed this when it came out.  Thanks Benjamin!

I am interested in your discussion of a "proportional penalty" doled out by having stair-stepped bunkers instead of large ones near the green.  The discussion hints at notions of fairness which is a concept over-discussed by the golfer and under-discussed here.

It seems to me (without having visited the course) that it is unlikely that the choice is as you have suggested.  Since many of those bunkers are on significant slopes, a large bunker would need to be incredibly deep if it were to be built.  More likely, it seems to me that the choice is between having one bunker or two.  I would also guess that the shot from the back bunker gives the player more of a chance than hitting from fescue or a tight lie and therefore probably presents a more enjoyable opportunity for recovery than the alternative.

What do you think?

I am one who is likely to be in the further back bunker and I agree that hitting a bunker shot over a bunker is a difficult task. 


Benjamin Litman

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #38 on: December 07, 2015, 11:38:31 AM »
You're very welcome, Jason, and thanks for the kind words.
 
I'm glad you picked up on my comments regarding the layered--or what you call "stair-stepped"--bunkering at several of the holes at Shinnecock (is there an official term within architecture circles?). My comments weren't meant to suggest that proportionate penalization was the rationale behind the feature, only that proportionate penalization was and still is the refreshing result of it. But while I do not pretend to know why Flynn (or whoever was responsible for the bunkering) chose that particular feature, I doubt it's for the practical reason you suggest. The greenside slopes on which the feature is found (left of the 2nd green, right of the 7th green, left of the 15th green, left of the 17th green) are not particularly steep, and steep slopes certainly have not prevented architects from digging one incredibly deep bunker (see, e.g., the bunker guarding the left of the 13th green at Streamsong Blue), although perhaps that is an option available only to modern architects on account of modern technology.
 
I look at the layered bunkering to the right of the Redan 7th at Shinnecock to prove my point: The tiny bunker near the top of the green's shoulder certainly could have been blended into the larger bunker below to create one large bunker. But they were kept separate. The result, again, is both proportionate penalization and, as you hint at, increased playability for all skill levels. Regarding the former, the more offline the shot, the harder the recovery, as the golfer has to navigate not only increased distance to the green, but also the chunk-inducing intervening bunker. But regarding the latter, the intervening bunker actually facilitates playability, because even a chunked first bunker shot advances the ball closer to the target, making the ensuing shot easier. By contrast, with one large, deep bunker, a chunked first bunker shot requires a do-over (and, for many amateurs, several more after that until, exasperated, the golfer tosses the ball onto the green by hand).
 
Does that make sense? Also, I'd love to hear from architects about why they choose one approach or the other.
"One will perform in large part according to the circumstances."
-Director of Recruitment at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda on why it selects orphaned children without regard to past academic performance. Refreshing situationism in a country where strict dispositionism might be expected.

JJShanley

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #39 on: January 26, 2016, 01:39:45 PM »
Carl Rogers' post about Raymond Floyd's final round 66 at Shinny in 86 reminded me of a question that I meant to ask during this discussion: "Why did Shinny go so long without a U.S. Open?" 

Benjamin Litman

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2018, 12:57:53 PM »
Dear Fellow GCAers,


I recently received very kind requests to restore my Shinnecock Hills reflection and photo tour, which, like all my other tours on this site, had fallen victim to Photobucket's extortionist ways. (For those unaware, at some point last year or the year before, Photobucket asked users of its photo-hosting site for $400 to restore links to their photos on third-party sites, such as this one. Finding the request absurd, I did not pay, so all of my photo tours became photoless.)


I am happy to report that, by transferring my Shinnecock photos from Photobucket to Flickr, I have been able to not only restore, but update my piece, which now includes several more recent pictures. Given that the U.S. Open begins in only 10 days, I figured now would be a good time to bump my thread to promote further discussion.


I hope everyone is well,


Benjamin


P.S. For those on Instagram, I created a Shinnecock-only account (@shinnecock2018) several weeks ago, and I have been posting pictures and commentary from my GCA piece there daily.
"One will perform in large part according to the circumstances."
-Director of Recruitment at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda on why it selects orphaned children without regard to past academic performance. Refreshing situationism in a country where strict dispositionism might be expected.

Thomas Dai

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #41 on: June 04, 2018, 01:19:15 PM »
A wonderful photo-tour.
Thanks for bumping and revising the photo hosting.
Re-reading it drew my attention to an imo very perceptive caption to one of the photos -

....... enormous challenge because of the green siting and surrounds, not length.

Atb





Edward Glidewell

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #42 on: June 04, 2018, 02:28:20 PM »
This is a phenomenal thread and the photos are absolutely stunning. I can only hope I will someday have the incredible luck to play a round at Shinnecock.

Matthew Petersen

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #43 on: June 04, 2018, 02:48:40 PM »
Great tour, thanks so much for updating it. Now I'm sadder than ever that I'll be travelling and watching very little of this year's Open.

Joel Pear

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #44 on: June 04, 2018, 03:41:45 PM »
Ben,


Thanks so much for reposting this tour of Shinnecock.  I don't know how I missed it originally, but I did.  I had the privilege of playing there in June of 2016 and your post brought back so many wonderful memories.  It truly is a special place, and a wonderful golf course.  And, you are completely right, post round drinks and food on the veranda are not to be missed.


Thanks again.

Jeff Schley

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #45 on: June 04, 2018, 03:56:32 PM »
Benjamin,
Thank you so very much for the excellent photo tour, which was bathed in your secret admirer like affection towards which came out via your heartfelt depictions.  Please write up some more of your escapades for they are something we all fancy with that level of detail and wonderful photos. 

What I really liked about the photos I could only find 2 which I could make out actual people in the photo and they were very distant.  Professional quality.
"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine

Jim Nugent

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #46 on: June 04, 2018, 04:31:39 PM »
Jeff, before your time here Benjamin treated to us to a number of spectacular photo tours.  So did Jon Cavalier.  Maybe you can find them with the search function. 



Jeff Schley

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #47 on: June 04, 2018, 05:11:08 PM »
Jeff, before your time here Benjamin treated to us to a number of spectacular photo tours.  So did Jon Cavalier.  Maybe you can find them with the search function.
Great.... that would be worth my time for sure.  I hope he has transferred all the pictures over to Flickr.
"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine

Cal Seifert

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #48 on: June 04, 2018, 05:24:57 PM »
Excellent tour.  I'll be a marshall on the 4th hole next week and those images have me wishing it was here already.

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (A Personal Reflection and Photo Tour)
« Reply #49 on: June 04, 2018, 06:13:28 PM »
I have only played SH twice ten years apart. I think 14 is one of the most natural par fours I've ever played and 16 one of the best par fives anywhere. I think the only guys who have a better place to play as a home course is next door at National.
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

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