Monday, August 11, 2014

The lost courses of NYC

Four summers ago, I pitched an idea to my editors at the New York Post about writing a consistent golf column with a bunch of niche-y stories.  It didn't exactly take off, but a few of them ran, including one where I saw all 13 public courses of the city in one day.  That followed the next week with a story about all the golf courses of New York City that had disappeared.  It was a fun story, and unfortunately, it got cut for the paper.

I happened to be searching Google today looking for an old photo of Harry Vardon from 1900, and I stumbled upon a photo the paper had purchased from the USGA to run with my story.  (Above.)  It's of Vardon and Walter Travis at a place called Oakland Golf Club, which was in Bayside, Queens.

I reread my story, decided to find the uncut version in my computer and reprint it here.  I had also written a sidebar about Gene Sarazen and Fresh Meadow Country Club, in Flushing, Queens, and the two major championships it held.  It's all below.  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Thinking about Prestwick, and the most "fun" in golf



I'm working on a part of the book which goes briefly back into golf's history, starting with Allan Robertson and Old Tom Morris, into Young Tom Morris, then Harry Vardon, Bobby Jones, and onward and upward.  But rereading a lot about Robertson and Old Tom, I'm brought back to a place that still means a lot to me.

On my one trip to Scotland, we played a magical little place called Prestwick Golf Club, on the Western shores of South Ayrshire.  It held the first 11 Open Championships in succession, starting in 1860, won when Willie Park, Sr., from the hated section of Musselburgh, took the tournament by going around the 12 holes three times in 174 shots.

Below is a reprinting of what I wrote for www.GolfGuidesUSA.com, with the full story of the trip (all 12,000 words of it) being accessible HERE.


Monday, June 23, 2014

The Best Thing the USGA has done in a long, long time

By BRETT CYRGALIS
            There were complaints from people who didn’t understand, and that’s OK.  There are always going to be people who can’t see the forest for the trees.
            Because what Mike Davis and the USGA did by having back-to-back U.S. Opens at a revamped Pinehurst No. 2 was the execution of the best idea they’ve had in . . . well, maybe since choosing Bethpage Black as a U.S. Open site . . . or maybe ever.  Honestly, it sounds like hyperbole, but in 30 years from now, this single event might very well be considered the watershed moment (no pun intended; keep reading . . .) for the governing body of the sport.
           

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

On statistics and hating probability

By BRETT CYRGALIS
            In the throes of a hockey season, and hours before one of the NHL’s showcase games outside at Yankee Stadium, I’m brought back to an essential question:
            Do you root for the probable outcome?
            In the age of advanced statistics, ones that go well beyond the realm of sports and into things that actually matter, like science and politics, there is a deep divide that separates two distinct types of people – those wanting the numbers to be proven true, and those that want the inexplicable.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fred Shoemaker, TrackMan, and interpretation of reality

By BRETT CYRGALIS
            One of the joys of reporting this book has been meeting Fred Shoemaker.
            He is the man behind Extraordinary Golf, and wrote a terrific and successful book called Extraordinary Putting, along with a broader work, Extraordinary Golf.
            Fred is very smart, and kind, and engaging.  His philosophy is based on being present, and relying on the intuition of human beings.  He is far from a swing mechanic.  The way he approaches life is fascinating, and it translates to his coaching.
            So I ask him about science and technology and how he deals with all of the modern equipment to measure and calibrate the golf swing.  He gives me an answer that is part anthropology, part neuroscience, and part new-age existential philosophy.  Here is some of what he said, with the bolding as my choice, obviously.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Against Our Ever Getting Better"

By BRETT CYRGALIS
            The people at the Shivas Irons Society are as nice a group as you could ever want to meet.
            Last year, I walked the fairways of Bandon Dunes with them, and it was a wonderful and enlightening experience.  This group of people enjoyed the game more than any other I’ve ever seen.  I mean, really enjoyed it.
           

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hunter Thompson and the vibrancy of voice

My new (old) copy of Fear and Loathing, with my ever-
changing book outline behind.
By BRETT CYRGALIS (sort of)
            In the midst of writing about my time in Big Sur, and Oregon, and San Francisco, about all the strange mysteries of life (and golf, sometimes) in reporting for this book, I’ve reengaged an old friend.
            Hunter Thompson was one of the reasons I began to love reading, and soon thereafter, writing.  As a freshman in high school, a friend named Rory turned to me in second-period study hall (I remember it so clearly) and said his older brother read this little orange-and-yellow paperback, with pages that were faded and fragile and smelled like the library.  Rory had read it, and said I might like it. 
            He handed me Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream.