Joe Logan 
There is hope for golf and humanity
Monday, June 9, 2014
By Joe Logan

Every now and then something happens that should make us all proud of the game we love and the character golf seeks to instill in those who play it.  One of those things happened over the weekend, when a 24-year-old pro from Tennessee who had played his way into the U.S. Open via a 36-hole qualifier, DQed himself five days after the fact, citing a guilty conscience.


Jason Millard, a mini-tour rabbit with one start on the PGA Tour this year (missed the cut at the Honda Classic), had shot 68-68 last Monday at the sectional qualifier at Colonial Country Club in Memphis.  It was enough to get him into his first Open, the biggest opportunity ever for the former standout from Middle Tennessee State.


But there was a problem.   Millard could not get it out of his mind that he thinks he might have accidently grounded his club as he stood over a shot in the bunker of the 18th at Colonial, his 27th hole of the day.


At the time, Millard consulted a rules official on the scene, who advised him that the decision whether to call a penalty on himself was his and his alone to make.  Nobody else saw it.  It was on him.


Millard didn’t call the penalty and went on to qualify for Pinehurst by one shot.  But for five days, it kept eating away at him.


"I'm pretty sure I grounded my club in the bunker," Millard told the USGA, Jason Sobel wrote for "I didn't see anything for sure, but I felt something and I saw a small indentation. It happened so fast, I really don't know 100 percent but deep down, I believe I did.

"I couldn't find peace about it. For five days, I practiced and I couldn't get it off my mind."

So Millard did the only thing he could do, if he wanted to live with himself.

The whole thing is enough to give me hope for humanity, especially for golfers.  Golf takes a lot of heat these days about being in decline, or being the extravagant province of rich, self-important country club types who too often adhere to the life principle of winning-at-all-cost.

There certainly is that side to golf, and it is neither pretty nor good for the future of golf.  But as long as there are people in the game like Jason Millard, who will do the right thing in golf and in life, there is hope.

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Stupid game. Why do I have to be addicted?
Monday, May 26, 2014
By Joe Logan

I was about to tee off with my usual foursome this morning when one of the guys, Tim, said to me, "Hey, you haven’t updated your blog in quite a while.  What’s the matter?"


What’s the matter?  What’s the matter?


This, after he and his partner in golfing crime, Stan, took $20 off me and my partner, Jack, on Saturday.  And they would take another $20 off of us today.  And why?  Because I stunk. 


How can I even think about writing an intelligent blog post about golf when I am wandering so hopelessly lost in the dense, dark forest of golf?  You know, even when you are playing your best golf, they say you never "own" the game;  you can only "rent" it.  Right now I couldn’t rent it with a Platinum Amex card.


Strangely, this all comes after a couple of months of me driving the ball straight and solid.  But now, inexplicably, I have entered into another dimension of suckedness.  I hit tee shots sideways.  Fat.  Smother hooks.  I pop them up.  Today, I even topped one, which I never do.


Tim was only too happy to pull out his iPhone to videotape my driver swing to show me where it was all going wrong.  I use the term "swing" loosely, when in fact we are talking about a move that has devolved into more of a spastic lunge, or some kind of seizure, than an actual pass at the ball.


Of course, what’s wrong is all in my head, which leads to it getting into my swing.  For some reason, I can’t swing through the ball; I quit at impact.  I’m trying to guide it.  If they could hook me up and do some kind of brain scan during my tee shots, I’m sure it would look like an electrical storm.


For a time today, I left the driver in my bag and went with my good, reliable friend the 3-wood, until that rotten bastard betrayed me, too. 


A couple of times, after I hit tee shots that went so far off line that I almost collapsed in a heap, I would look at Tim and Jack and Stan and they would be standing there stone-faced, pity written all over their faces, like those monkeys that see on evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.  Once, all three of them averted their eyes rather than bust out laughing.


Most baffling of all, just when I am sapped of all self-confidence and filled with self-loathing, I’ll crush one right now the middle.  Where did that come from?  Why can’t I do that every time?


The thing is, I’ve come to understand that these bouts of driver yips come and go, although lately they’ve been coming more than going.  And once they come, they stay too long, like a mooching relative. 


I could take a lesson, I suppose, but why bother?  Like the last time the driver yips barged uninvited into my life, they stayed until they were ready to go.  I can spend hours on the range pounding balls -- one straight rocket after another.   What’s the problem?  I ask myself.  I’ve got this thing figured out now.


But somewhere in the walk from the range to the first tee, the stomach starts to churn and the demons in the back of my head start whispering, "Psssst, Joe, we’re still h-e-r-e."


Stupid game.  Why do I have to be addicted?

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Eleanor[6/2/2014 2:06:47 PM]
I guess this means you won’t be a contender for the Conrad Cup this year.

Bausch Collection adds four more courses, total now 192
Monday, May 5, 2014
By Joe Logan

It’s barely spring time but Joe Bausch, intrepid photographer and Chronicler in Chief of the Bausch Collection of golf course photo galleries is a it again.


So far this early season, Joe, who doubles as a chemistry professor at Villanova University, has added four more courses, raising the total number of galleries in the Bausch Collection 192.  More courses are on the way.  The latest additions are:



Bethlehem Golf Club

Butter Valley Golf Port

Fox Hollow Golf Club


New Jersey

Stone Harbor Golf Club


Each time Joe adds a new course, it offers the opportunity to re-post the video I shot of him working his magic when he played last fall.  Here is it:

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Observations from 2014 Masters
Monday, April 14, 2014
By Joe Logan

n  Bubba Watson is better than we suspected, even after his first Masters win two years ago.  He is also getting better, evolving from a one-dimensional, hot-headed long-bomber into a much more complete player.  He went about finishing off the Masters (and Jordan Spieth) yesterday like a cold-blooded assassin.

n  If there is such a thing as horses for courses, Bubba Watson has found his track in Augusta National.  He could win the Masters two or three more times before he’s finished.

n  No adult male should be named Bubba.

n  Jordan Spieth is also better than we suspected, even if we already suspected he was very, very good, if not the second-coming of Tiger Woods.

n  Which was more impressive, that the 20-year-old Spieth played his way into a share of the lead going into Sunday – in his first Masters, no less --  or the incredible poise and maturity that he showed through out the week, most notably after Sunday’s disappointing finish.

n  That said, you knew Spieth was toast late in the front nine – the first time he slammed his club in the ground after a lousy approach shot.  You know that Bubba saw that, and you know that Bubba knew then that the Masters was his to lose.  To his credit, Spieth did not do a full Sunday meltdown (see Rory McIlroy, 2011).  He held it together to shoot even par. 

n  Jonas Blixt sounds like something you’d call an iPhone app.

n  Not having Phil and Tiger around on the weekend wasn’t as bad as most of us initially feared.

n  That Masters theme song with those tinkling piano keys has seemed so charming for so long.  Why is it starting to get a little cloying?

n  The guy who comes away the most disappointed in himself could very well be Matt Kuchar.  If he is going to start winning majors, his time is now.  But he fizzled again on Sunday, shooting 74.  Afterward, the always jovial Kuchar looked like he’d been hit by a bus.

n  It’s hard to know what to like more about Miguel Angel Jimenez, his warm-up routine or his ponytail.

n  Even more cloying than the tinkling piano keys is this absurd business of referring to Masters "patrons."

n  Why, why, why does Rickie Fowler insist on pulling his hat down over his ears?

n  On Golf Channel last night, they pointed out that since 2003, six of 11 Masters winners have been left-handed (Weir 2003;  Phil 2004, 2006, 2010; Bubba 2112, 2114).  Has Augusta National become a lefty’s layout? they asked. Intriguing question.

n  There is nothing like the Masters to remind you that the big-screen, high-def TV is the greatest invention since, what, penicillin? The internet? The beer helmet?

n  Did you even realize that Stewart Cink (T-14) and Darren Clarke (T-44) had made the cut?

n  Among the 50-somethings, Fred Couples (T-21) gets all the love and TV time but Bernhard Langer (T-8) deserves the respect.

n  It’s time for Joe T. Ford, the former Augusta National chairman who does those "Welcome to the Masters...." lead-ins to step aside.  Sorry to say it, but the drawling Arkansas native embodies the stereotypical image of Augusta National’s members – old, white, rich.

n  In all candor, I never did get excited about that Drive Chip & Putt contest Augusta National hosted last Sunday.  I felt guilty every time they re-ran the highlights.

n  Did you freakin’ believe Bubba’s tee shot at the 13th on Sunday?

n  During the opening ceremonies Thursday morning, it was impossible not to notice that Arnold Palmer is walking with a pronounced limp these days.  Looks like a bum hip to me.  As a guy with two titanium hips, I can’t help but wonder what kind of pain he might be in, and what kind of choices he might be facing at the age of 84.

n  No. 14 is a better hole than it appears on TV.  I have played Augusta National twice and I know that for a fact.  It may have the most unforgiving green on the course.

n  Craig Stadler looks like the box Kevin Stadler came in.

n  I wish I didn’t believe that Tiger had won his last Masters.

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The golf season is finally here!
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
By Joe Logan

And we’re off...This being April 1, up here in the Northeast, the 2014 golf season is officially underway.


It’s a little nippy outside as I write this, but the Weather Channel insists it will be clear and just shy of 60 degrees by late afternoon.  If you can’t sneak away for an afternoon round, maybe you can stop off at a driving range on the way home from work to hit a large bucket.


This day – this spring -- has been long in coming.  I’ve lived in Philadelphia  for 32 years and I cannot remember a winter that was so nasty, so relentless and so unforgiving.  Of course, maybe that’s because I’m suddenly tiptoeing around the ice on twin titanium hips.


I like to think of myself as a glass-half-full kind of guy, however, so I believe that as miserable as the winter has been, the spring an summer will be our big reward.  They will be glorious, at least they will if there is any justice in the universe.


I cannot wait to truly break in the new set of irons I bought at the end of last season, or the new 5-wood I ordered off the internet out of boredom and frustration, or the matching hybrid I added to the bag in late February, just because I liked his brother the 5-wood so much.


In my last blog three weeks ago, I mentioned that the forecast looked good enough for the coming weekend and I was going to try to get in the first round of the year.  Three golf buddies and I did, at Scotland Run GC, in South Jersey, where the weather was perfect and the course was brown and dormant but otherwise terrific.  I had played Scotland Run in several years and I’d forgotten what a great layout it is.  A nod of respect to architect Stephen Kay.


I even shot a video of the round, which I posted under Latest Videos.  If you missed it, check it out:







Nothing gets a golfer’s juices flowing like the Masters.   I miss going.  I miss spending all week in Augusta, walking the golf course for hours, hanging for hours at certain spots (Amen Corner, behind the 6th green, 15th green), visiting with friends in the media center and, last but not least, eating lunch with my old colleague Bill Lyon on the balcony of the clubhouse.


"I’ll have the club sandwich on toasted white bread, please, and the peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream.  And a glass of iced tea." I could repeat that line in my sleep, and probably do.


I haven’t returned to cover the Masters since 2008, after I left the Philadelphia Inquirer.  But as a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, I am entitled to go to the Masters for a day mid-week, on Wednesday, to attend the GWAA annual meeting that morning in the media center.  After that, I’m free to spend the day on the golf course, which truly is one of the greatest pleasures in any golfing life.  That night, there’s the annual GWAA dinner and awards banquet, where the food is so-so but the company can’t be beat.


Okay I’ve just talked myself into going next year.



Masters, Part II


This could be the first Masters in more than 15 years in which neither Tiger Woods nor Phil Mickelson is a factor.


Phil seems to be stuck in the mud.  So far this year, the three-time Masters champ has finished T-19th, 14th, W/D, T-42nd, T-19th, CUT, T-16th and W/D.   That last W/D, just last week at the Valero Texas Open, was prompted by a back muscle he strained while hitting a shot.  It did not sound encouraging for the coming season, and surely not for the Masters.


Tiger, a four-time Masters winner, is faring no better.  In his limited schedule so far, he has finished T-80th, W/D, and T-25th.  Tiger is so battled scarred that he pulled out of Bay Hill, one of his favorite tournaments, before it ever started.  He says it’s unclear whether he’ll be good to go in Augusta, but my expectations are nil.


Bottom line is, we could be witnessing one of the most important changing-of-the-guards we’ve seen in a generation.



Sean O’Hair watch


West Chester’s Sean O’Hair continues to struggle through his own bad patch.


The 2005 PGA Rookie of the Year had to re-earn his PGA Tour card for this season and, so far, the results are at best mixed.   His missed four cuts in his first five starts, although he did manage a nice T-5th during that period at the Franklin Templeton Shootout.


Since February, O’Hair has been all over the place again.  He finished T-56th at Pebble Beach, missed the cut at The Honda.  There was one bright spot, at Bay Hill, where he shot 69-67 on the weekend, to finish T-10th.  But then he missed the cut last week in Texas.








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Two remarkable things happened to me yesterday
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
By Joe Logan

Two remarkable things happened to me yesterday.


First, I walked around outside in shirtsleeves, which I wasn’t sure was ever going to happen again.  Gawd, I hated this winter.  Second, my golf buddy Tim texted me with news that the forecast for Saturday at the Jersey Shore is 60 degrees and was I interested in making the trip down for the first official round of the year?


Uh, yes, I was.


(Regular readers of this space might recall that technically, my first rounds of the year were in late January during a weeklong golf trip to the Dominica Republic.  But I would submit that those rounds don’t really count because they were played in a far-away, warm place, which anybody knows is violation of what constitutes an official first round of the year.


It clearly states in the Official Unwritten Rules of Golf Handbook that a first round of the year must be played, if not at your regular course or club, at least on a course in the same climate.  In other words, a round in Florida or the Dominican Republic doesn’t count, but a round in Philadelphia, or, say, Chicago, would count.  You can look it up.  It’s in the same chapter of Unwritten Rules that addresses whether shouting M’fugga at the top of your lungs is inappropriate while playing with your grandmother or children under the age of 6, and whether a cute cart girl can reasonably expect a tip if she insists on wearing long pants and a windbreaker after Masters week.)


So, weather permitting, and South Jersey being close enough, Tim, Jack, Lou and I will get our first rounds of the year in on Saturday.   The ground might be a little squishy, and I might wear a pullover, but that’s okay.  It will still be an early start to a horrible, horrible winter.




Tiger Troubles


Like you, I am wondering what to make of Tiger’s horrid start to the season.   The World Golf Rankings tell us he still has a firm grip on No. 1 in the world and yet, at this point, it’s not entirely clear that I couldn’t take him mano-a-mano, no strokes, loser buys the hotdogs and beer.


Seriously, Tiger misses the three-day cut at Torrey Pines, where he has been consistently winning since he was 6 years old.  He shoots 65 on Saturday at the Honda, then WDs on Sunday with a bad back.   Then, this past weekend at the WGC tournament at Doral, just when he had put in himself in striking position on Saturday, Tiger shoots a 78 on Sunday that was so ugly and pathetic that he had become irrelevant by early in the back nine.  So much for my theory that this was going to be the year he won his fifth green jacket and jump-started his pursuit of Jack Nickluas’ record of 18 majors.


Of course, as dazed and confused as we are by Tiger’s travails, imagine how he feels.  Once amazing and invincible, he’s now either.  He’s still capable of breaking bad from time to time, on in brief spurts, but not on an ongoing or regular basis.  It’s impossible to know what to expect from him anymore.


Somewhere, Nicklaus is breathing a little easier and doing his best to keep the sh- -eating grin off his face.   About 10 years ago, when Tiger was in the midst of stream-rolling golf and, it appeared, Jack’s record, I found myself having lunch with the Golden Bear, just me and Jack, at his club in Florida.  I asked him if he wanted Tiger to break his record.


He looked at me for a moment and said, "Well, no..."  He would prefer that Tiger not break his record but, hey, it was out of his hands.  He wasn't going to be a poor sport about it but he also wasn’t going to lie about it.


Now, with each passing day, Jack’s record looks safer and safer.




Red and Black and Reed all over


In the past day or so, since Patrick Reed won the WGC-Cadillac and declared himself a legit Top 5 player in the world, there has been a bit of a backlash against him for being arrogant little pipsqueak.  I say, give the kid a break.


The way he is playing right now, young Reed has a right to feel like he’s a Top 5 player.  And the only way he can become a Top 5 player is by thinking like one.  Trust me, the range at any PGA Tour event is crawling with guys who think they ought to be talked about in the same breath with Tiger, Phil, Snead and Hogan.  There was a time when I thought it was arrogance and self-absorption, until I came to understand that it was way these guys pump themselves up.  They don't have coaches or teammates to give them pep talks.  They have only themselves, their wives and their caddies to convince them they have what it takes. 

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The Muni Golfer[3/31/2014 2:13:48 PM]
No report on the first "official" round of the year? Where did you play and how were the conditions?

Gil Hanse 
Gil Hanse and the Olympics course - an update from Golf Channel
Monday, February 24, 2014
By Joe Logan

Season two of In Play with Jimmy Roberts on Golf Channel kicks off tonight at 10 p.m. with a look at architect Gil Hanse and his struggles to build the golf course for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.


"It’s the opportunity of a lifetime," says Hanse, who based in Malvern. 


As segment makes clear, the project is also the headache of a lifetime. 


Everything Hanse ever learned about designing and building courses went right out the window in Rio, where he has fought all manner of delays beyond his control, from environmental restrictions to local political in-fighting to disputes over who owns the land. 


At one point, the segment shows a handful of workers clearing the land with chain saws and machetes because...well, because you have to use what equipment is available.  Last year, when his invoices were going unpaid for months, Hanse had to threaten shut down the project and go home, if the money didn’t start flowing.


Now, all 18 holes have been laid out and shaped, but it’s still a race against the clock to get the course grown in and ready to host a pre-Olympics event, as is required of all Olympics venues, from ski slopes to volleyball courts. 


There are also segments on the history of golf in the Olympics, a sit-down interview with NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson on how golf has helped his racing career, and a look at burn victim Michael LaBrie’s passion for golf.


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