A sketch of Stonewall No. 4 
End of Summer Reflections
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
By Ron Romanik

Most fun on TV: Louis Oosthuizen’s brilliant 29 on Sunday on the back nine at the U.S. Open. Here’s a few of his shots compiled in under two minutes. Louie birdied six of last seven holes—and he did it with such apparent ease, like he was out walking his dog in the park.


Least fun on TV: Same day... Dustin misses eight putts from inside 10 feet. Yes, the greens were ridiculous, but still. Here’s a list of his misses on Sunday, compiled by Gary Van Sickle at


Big question to ponder: Will the USGA go back to Chamber’s Bay for the U.S. Open? My guess is yes. The USGA does not like to admit mistakes, and they won’t, so they have to go back. My guess is 2026 or 2027.


Bomber alert: The most impressive swings I saw at the U.S. Women’s Open were by one Morgan Pressel. Big, high draws that were placed with precision. On Saturday on the long, uphill 18th, Morgan took a good rip at her driver and the fans tee-side were perplexed. We all saw the ball head toward the right fairway bunker, but Morgan quickly picked up her tee and started strutting confidently off the tee. A few fans mumbled: "Did she hit it in the trap?" No, actually... she flew the trap, got a decent kick forward and rolled past the gallery crosswalk—while the fans were walking across! The TV didn’t catch the drive, but it did broadcast the second shot.


Reviewing the DVR later, I could hear Greg Norman’s voice betray his own mild disbelief when he said: "Only 106 yards left, that's quite a drive." But Greg

 didn’t have enough time to do the math in his head, because no one else was anywhere near that close to the green on that hole. The upshot: 308 yards, by my calculation.


Caddie experience: I enjoyed caddying for a friend of mine on the last day of the Pennsylvania Open at Rolling Green Golf Club. It’s a three-day event, and he had another friend lug his bag on the first two days, so I offered to help on the third day because he was on quite a roll. On the first day, he made an incredible eight birdies (but only four pars). After making the cut after two rounds (top 40 and ties), on day three he... well... let’s just say the putts weren’t dropping. (He wasn’t letting me read the breaks, so...)


Kudos and kudos: I cannot say enough about the Pennsylvania Golf Association and the Golf Association of Philadelphia. These organizations run really great tournaments. And a lot of them. The courses are set up perfectly every time, and the staff and volunteers are excellent.


Putting clinic of another kind: Inbee Park must be one of the best putters on the planet. I think she could give many PGA Tour pros a run for their money. She seems to make most of her 15-20 foot putts, week in and week out. Too bad the LPGA doesn’t have ShotLink, or her dominance on the dance floor could be measured more thoroughly.


Alarming statistic: According to a Global Golf Post article by Lewin Mair, there are as many as 2,000 junior girl golfers in Korea with handicaps of scratch or better. Wow.


Save the Dates: The USGA has a bit of a love affair with Pennsylvania golf courses. There are three USGA events are slated for 2016.

2016 U.S. Open at the venerable Oakmont Country Club will be June 13-19.

2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship at Rolling Green will be at Aug. 1-7. (This is a recent date change, due to the Olympics.)

2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Stonewall Links near Elverson will be Sept. 10-15.


ICYMI: This boy’s one-arm swing will either inspire or discourage you.




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18th at Lancaster CC (USGA photo) 
On the course Thursday at Womenís Open
Friday, July 10, 2015
By Ron Romanik

Mission: Your guide to the totally spurious, mildly ridiculous, and terribly ironic in golf.


The Open greens: The primary strategic advantage at Lancaster Country Club this week is having the patience, ability, and nerve to position approach shots below the hole. As much to provide a better chance at birdie, but more to prevent those dastardly three-putts.


The length: The listed yardage for Thursday was 6,353, about 130 yards shy of the "maximum" for the week, just FYI. The USGA does show some mercy, occasionally, particularly on #18, which was about 20 yards short of its maximum.


A little drama: Volunteer marshaling on the par-five 13th hole has been fun so far this week. The ladies are polite and professional across the board, almost to a fault. However, it was off-duty on the same hole that I was involved the most "drama." I had the distinct displeasure of having to signal to Jessica Korda, 150 yards back down the fairway, that her third shot ended up out-of-bounds. Only four inches OB, but OB nonetheless.


The toughest: As predicted and even with the tees up a little, #18 was the toughest hole on the day, averaging 4.5 strokes per competitor. I think the USGA was looking for a Merion-esque finishing hole, and they’ve got it. In the afternoon, #18 was playing into the wind, as was #14, and both with uphill landing areas. Yet it was amazing to watch how these ladies were still able to get their drives on these holes well "up" the fairway on the fly.


The easiest?: Only two holes played under par—the par-three 6th (2.9 stroke average) and the short par-four 16th (3.978).


The old guard: The timeless Laura Davies, at 51 years young, shoots an even-par 70 with two birdies and two bogeys. Oh yeah, and top thirty in driving distance on the day. We’re pulling for you to add to your 85 worldwide win tally, Laura.


A "Wie" bit off target: Don’t count Lady Michelle out so quickly. On the cut line Thursday, but I’m not worried. Well, maybe a little.


New sleeper pick: Since my original "not-so-sleeper" pick, Suzann Pettersen, played herself out of the tourney early, I’m going with the yet-unproven-in-majors Pernilla Lindberg. Scandinavia will rise yet again!


Front-runner pick: Amy Yang had an amazing seven birdies on Thursday, finishing at three-under. I would be shocked if she isn’t on the first page of the leaderboard come the back nine on Sunday.


Not-so-bold prediction: Look for the course to play tougher on the weekend. The USGA always tightens the screws on Saturday and Sunday, and I’m sure the greens will get slicker and the pins will be harder to find.


Twitter: @RonMyPhillyGolf.


Ron Romanik is principal of the brand, packaging and PR consultancy Romanik Communications (, located in Elverson, PA. His full bio is here.




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Michelle Wie (USGA photo) 
Lancaster CC will shine this week
Thursday, July 9, 2015
By Ron Romanik

Friday Flops and Fliers



Lancaster CC Will Shine This Week


Mission: Your guide to the totally spurious, mildly ridiculous, and terribly ironic in golf.


The design: Spectators should come to Lancaster Country Club for the sole reason of seeing a truly classic layout in pristine condition. William Flynn is the artist that crafted this gem, among many other classic Pennsylvania layouts. Flynn adds an extra level of grandeur to a site and to nearly every shot around the course. It’s pure Golf with a capital G—and no gimmicks.


The condition: Fairways and greens are perfection—not as hard and fast as the USGA would like, obviously, because of a wet June. But the fairways couldn’t be easier to hit down and through and take a nice divot. The flip side of that is that there will be very little roll on many shots, and the course will play longer than its listed yardage.


The length: Sometimes the listed length of a course is "padded" as the tees are often moved around from day to day. I don’t think the USGA is going to shorten the course too much on any of the days, however. And there are more than a few holes where the landing area is uphill (almost no roll) and there are also a number of holes with sharp doglegs.


Some numbers: Average age of competitors – 25.1 years; First-time players – 52; Amateurs – 25; Consecutive par-fours to start the front nine – 5; Par-fours over 400 yards on the back nine – 4.


Slow and straight: As has been said many times before, watching the ladies swing a club in person offers renewed perspective on effortless power. It also offers a renewed appreciation of how, in their game and in the average amateur’s game, straight and steady is the name of the game.


Spectator tip: There are three areas where three greens and three tee boxes converge—at the clubhouse, behind No. 1 green, and behind No. 10 green.

I feel for the ladies: If the hills and swales and demanding golf—and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune—of the first 17 holes hasn’t deadened the spirit of players, having to finish on the 18th might be the proverbial straw. This long, uphill par-four with a devilish green will see more than its share of bogies. Many players will be hitting hybrids or fairway metals to an unreceptive, treacherous green with a false front.


Not-so-sleeper pick: Suzann Pettersen has been in the hunt nearly every week the past few years. She has the length, the strength, and the steely nerve to navigate this tough test.


Not-so-bold prediction: Don’t be surprised if the winning score is over par. Two-over 282 is my guess.


Twitter: @RonMyPhillyGolf.


Ron Romanik is principal of the brand, packaging and PR consultancy Romanik Communications (, located in Elverson, PA. His full bio is here.

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9th at Ravens Claw 
Opens and closed cases
Monday, June 22, 2015
By Ron Romanik

Mission: Your guide to the totally spurious, mildly ridiculous, and terribly ironic in golf.


Not so ridiculous: It seems the anticipated carnage at Chambers Bay has been disappointing to some. So far, no one has been carried off on a stretcher or bled out on the course. Yes, it’s different. Maybe, it’s fun to watch. But no, there’s really no justification or precedent to change the par number on holes during the tournament.


Totally spurious: Donald Trump’s run for President. Instead of holding up his financial summary sheet during his announcement, I wish he had held up his USGA handicap summary. That would be more telling of his character, and illustrate his commitment to transparency more immediately. As it turns out, he doesn’t post many scores. He shows 3.0 index, but has only two posted scores for 2015; only seven posts for all of 2014, and only nine for the three years from 2011-2013. I’m a 10, and I, in the spirit of full disclosure, formally challenge him to a match on any course at any time, straight up. (With a USGA official present, of course.)


Pennsylvania Pride: Looking forward to volunteering at the U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club. According to a Global Golf Post article by Joe Juliano, the community is embracing the championship, with volunteers and fans alike excited about the event. Of course, Lancaster is a William Flynn design, so it will always rank in the upper echelon of PA courses in my humble estimation.


Slippery slope-ish: I came across an odd way to describe Tiger Woods in a Michael Bamberger article recently... "single father." I wondered who might have started this absurd informal moniker, so I did a quick search with that Google thingy. It seems that Alan Shipnuck may have been the first on record in 2011, followed by Bamberger in 2013. The phrase has recently gained momentum with Golf Digest’s Cameron Morfit, AP’s Doug Ferguson, and Bamberger each dropping the descriptive label earlier this year. Gentlemen: Please think of the many connotations and implications of the phrase "single mother." Do any of those apply to Tiger?


Fox Sports watch: As I mentioned earlier, Fox has tried some crazy things with sports broadcasting over the years, so I’m watching closely for any egregious or Sacreligeous bending of the time/space continuum. I did notice a questionable gratuitous use of a fish-eye lens Thursday night, but that is only borderline egregious. I’ll be watching closely, though.


Revisiting ridiculous: Steve Williams opens up to Golf Digest about a few things, and recounts the moments leading up to Tiger’s improbably holed chip at Augusta’s 16th hole. He claims Tiger hit his aiming point—a faint ball mark the size of a dime—from 20 feet on the fly out of a tough lie. Impressive, to be sure. But still the best part of that moment was Verne Lundquist’s call: "In your life!!..."


ICYMI: Bubba sinks a ridiculously long putt at Chambers Bay with his back to the hole.


Pulling for: Dustin Johnson. Not because of his heroic return from whatever his recent struggles were, but because of the way he let three other majors slip through his fingers a few years back.


Private hole of the week: LedgeRock’s diabolical par-four 17th hole. After a position tee shot that rewards playing chicken with a creek down the left side of the landing area, the hole climbs neck-strainingly up a dogleg left to a shelf green. Often, you’re left with a 200-yard uphill shot that feels like 230.


Public hole of the week: Raven’s Claw’s perilous par-four 9th hole. A similarly dangerous dogleg, this one to the right. A creek also comes into play—twice—and you’ll want to take a club-and-a-half more than the yardage for your approach shot to sliver-thin target of a green.


Twitter: @RonMyPhillyGolf.


Ron Romanik is principal of the brand, packaging and PR consultancy Romanik Communications (, located in Elverson, PA. His full bio is here.

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6th hole at Merion West: Bausch Collection: 
USGA and FOX Sports: A match made in...
Saturday, May 16, 2015
By Ron Romanik

USGA and FOX Sports: A marriage made...


Mission: Your guide to the totally spurious, mildly ridiculous, and terribly ironic in golf.


Totally ridiculous: Birdieing No. 17 at Sawgrass three times in a row. Does not compute. Rickie, I never thought you were overrated. I swear. Four top-5 finishes in four 2014 majors. You’ve got game, for sure.


Mildly ironic: Ian James Poulter tweeting: "I'm not sure people understand ‪@twitter. If you don't like what people say, Press unfollow & you don't have to read their shit again ‪#simple". I’m not sure Poulter understands #media. If you're a #celebrity and you tweet something #snarky, the media will report it as #scandalous, and we will have to read it. #wearetherealvictims.


Mostly spurious: "The New DJ" cover story in Golf Digest. Conde Nast is moving that magazine closer and closer to a Vanity-Fair-lite tabloid. Now if only they could get an expose about the Kennedys or Marilyn Monroe in every issue, then they’d have something...


Because I can’t help myself:  I swore off ranting because it's a tired Internet genre, but I have to allow myself this venting. I fear for the future of our country, of the founding principles the Fathers of our Country fought for, for one reason. Because Fox Sports might ruin all of sports before they are through. I'm not saying they are the devil incarnate. Not quite.


And I'm not saying the end is nigh, though there is evidence. All that I'm saying is that FOX Sports tries drastic measures to "save" TV ratings. And the USGA has a self-esteem issue they over-compensate for by trying desperately to be liked.


From time to time, I find it amusing to imagine the conversation inside certain rooms in history. Times when some very persuasive people said: "Everything will be fine, trust me." Like when Bill Gates said to IBM executives: "You do the hardware, and we'll do the software. Everything will be fine, trust me."


Or when Henry the VIII said to his wives to convince her to marry him: "You'll produce me a male heir and everything will be fine." (Of course, there may have been no conversation at all. Those were different times.)


Or when MTV said to the NFL: "We'll take care of the halftime show, and you won't need to lift a finger. Isn’t that ideal for you? We’ll make sure nothing goes wrong."


Or when FOX said to the USGA: "We'll grow the game for you by adding excitement to golf. We've done it before, trust us."


Well let's go to the evidence before the court. Fox has introduced some "innovations" that may have attracted casual sports fans, but most often annoyed loyal fans of the sport they were innovating on. Does everyone remember the glowing puck in hockey? And again, why do robots play football? And yes, the "Pointer Box" will make an appearance at the U.S. Open, it appears.


Granted, some FOX innovations help viewers learn more about what is going on during a live event. But some are sneaky. I caught them messing with live video during a baseball game some years ago. They were trying a little trick to extend the brief moment the pitcher was pitching the ball.


As the pitcher started his pitching motion toward the plate, the control room would switch to another angle with a slight delay, meaning there was a split-second when you saw the same moment in time twice, just from different angles. I guess this extended the moment of anticipation for the viewers. Or that’s what FOX thought. Most didn’t notice this little trick. FOX, be warned, I’ll be watching closely.


Probably scandalous: "Sloped" tee boxes at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, among other oddities, as reported by the Washington Post.


ICYMI: Philadelphia native Johnny McDermott deserves to be in the World Golf Hall of Fame, as argued by both Jeff Silverman in the GAP Magazine and Jeff Neuman in Links Magazine. Johnny won back-to-back U.S. Opens, after all.


Private hole of the week: No. 6 on Merion West. You can’t get much more downhill than this short par-three. You know it’s steep when you can’t see the lower half of the steps leading down from the tee. You’ll never have a longer hang time with a pitching wedge in your hand. But take time to notice how the green is pretty much a mirror image of No. 9 on the East Course.


Public hole of the week: Broad Run No. 17. Another severe drop from tee to green on a par-three. This time 100 feet, usually with a crosswind from right to left. Aim for the right front with a draw and try to ride the wind to the center of the green... and good luck!


Twitter: @RonMyPhillyGolf.


Ron Romanik is principal of the brand, packaging and PR consultancy Romanik Communications (, located in Elverson, PA. His full bio is here.

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No. 4 at Iron Valley 
Masters short shots
Friday, April 10, 2015
By Ron Romanik

Mission: Your guide to the totally spurious, mildly ridiculous, and terribly ironic in golf.


Always ridiculous: The spotless condition of Augusta National. Oh yeah.... and the difficulty. Insane.


Also always ridiculous: How insanely, unbelievably good the top pros are. As insanely difficult as Augusta National is, when these guys are "on," it just doesn’t matter. Time to introduce moving obstacles, I guess.


Prediction: But... Thursday’s round proves that if you give these guys soft greens, it’s dart-playing time. The weekend will be fun to see how close to unplayable they will make the greens. Augusta will mete out her revenge.


Mostly spurious: A new excuse from Tiger... green speeds. Too slow, no less.


Almost ironic: Tiger’s forlorn short game is back, which everyone thought was in his head. Trying to predict what’s in his head is a fool’s errand. What’s actually in his head, no one will ever know.


Not-so-ridiculous: The idea that Tiger should retire. It’s not that he’s no longer any good; it’s that he’ll never again be what he was. Do it for your fans, Tiger. It’s like watching an undercard fight just because you have to sit through it. But then there’s no Main Event afterward. It’s an empty feeling.


Oddly suspicious: The prices at The Masters concession stand. Only $1.50 for a Pimento Cheese sandwich? How do they make any money?


Totally inspiring: Tom Watson, 65, shoots 71. C’mon, Tom, shoot your age already! Slacker.


Pulling for: The Big Easy. Hard to believe Els doesn’t own at least one green jacket already.


ICYMI: Phil Mickelson loses a clubhead on a fairway bunker shot two weeks ago.


Augusta caddie memories: The Masters preview edition of Golf Magazine includes an article that recounts favorite anecdotes from Carl Jackson, Ben Crenshaw’s long-time Masters caddie. Many are funny in a "Wow-those-were-different-times" way, and some are just precious nuggets of mischievousness. Of course, I always relish an anecdote that illustrates Gary Player’s arrogance. Mr. Jackson claims that particular Achilles’ heel cost Player the 1970 Masters with a poor club selection on the approach to the 72nd hole. Another great story is Hogan, at 56, outdriving Nicklaus, at 27, by 15 yards on number 10 with wily local knowledge and a low running draw.


Private hole of the week: Philadelphia Country Club’s fifth hole is a short, downhill par-three over water. A nine-iron in your hand doesn’t make it an easy shot, and the green has a menacing hump through the center to make two-putts less than a sure thing.


Public hole of the week: Iron Valley’s 4th hole is still one of the funnest holes ever constructed. From the tee, it’s benign. But the second shot is a severely downhill shot off a slightly downhill lie. To go for the par-5 in two, you usually need a 210-yard shot over the corner of the lake that was formed by filling in a long-abandoned mine shaft. Just plain fun.


Twitter: @RonMyPhillyGolf.


Ron Romanik is principal of the brand, packaging and PR consultancy Romanik Communications (, located in Elverson, PA. His full bio is here.


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Broad Run GC, No. 13 (Bausch Collection) 
Risks, Rewards and Ridiculousnesses
Sunday, March 22, 2015
By Ron Romanik

Risks, Rewards, and Ridiculousnesses


Mission: Your guide to the totally spurious, mildly ridiculous, and terribly ironic in golf.


Totally spurious: The PGA’s lack of transparency in its drug testing policy and its suspension policy. Not that we need to know what drug Dustin Johnson was caught using. Or I guess I should say: Not that we didn’t already know what drug....


Criminally torturous: The 10th hole at Riviera. Geoff Shackelford got it right after Thursday’s round. No 310-yard hole should have a 4.21 stroke average. Ever. And no tour pro should be humiliated by hitting out of four greenside bunkers on the same hole. And ICYMI: Video of Ryan Moore very nearly acing No. 10, but instead missing the green.


More than mildly ridiculous: What’s most galling is when the tournament committee and greens staff claim to be victims of circumstance. The drought! The drought! There’s really nothing we could have done differently! Really?

Infographic: Riviera No. 10 and the myth of the virtue of laying up.


More statistics on golf performance: Here’s one gem of an observation in a series of golf articles titled "Moneygolf" published a few years back over at One passage debunks an un-truism that golf announcers and analysts have been repeating for decades:


"[Golf researcher Mark Broadie] also pokes a hole in another piece of conventional golf wisdom. Many good golfers have a distance from the green where they feel most comfortable hitting approach shots—perhaps they like to hit a 9-iron from 120 yards. So, on a par 5, if they can't reach the green in two, they will often hit their second shot into that comfort zone, the strategy being that it's better to groove a 9-iron than to sweat over a 40-yard wedge. Broadie has found that the "comfort zone" feeling doesn't hold up. Everybody gets better—they hit it closer—when they are closer to the green."


Are you a risk-taker?: Take this questionnaire and get yourself rated.

Mildly ironic academic study: If you really want to go down the rabbit hole about how risk averse PGA players really are, read this summation of an academic study published in the online investment advice website


Promoting: One thing Golf Digest has been doing well lately is their "undercover" articles. Though the Hungover Caddie series was a failed experiment, they just did a decent one-off with an undercover cart girl. But their Undercover Pro series is the best. The March 2015 edition reveals what really motivates Tour Players. And it’s not majors, or honor.


Twitter: @RonMyPhillyGolf.


Ron Romanik is principal of the brand, packaging and PR consultancy Romanik Communications (, located in Elverson, PA. His full bio is here.

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