“How did you find out about that course?”
That is a question that I commonly get from golf buddies who haven’t gone quite as far down the rabbit hole as I have. The short answer is, “I poked around and came across it.”
The long answer is that I would rather spend my time researching courses and looking at golf course photography than I would watching reality TV or debating politics on Facebook. In poking around, I found the people who were both far more knowledgeable about golf courses than me, and generous enough to share their knowledge on the interwebs.
What follows is a compilation of the resources that I use (along with a little celebration of the people involved). My hope is that it will be helpful to you in your research, as well as a starting point for further exploration. I know the joy of having an amazing experience on a course that most people have never heard of. My hope is that your golf adventures are enhanced as a result of poking around for yourself. Let me know how it goes.
GEEKED ON GOLF RESOURCES
Jon Cavalier Course Tours
There are obvious reasons why I asked Jon to be a contributor to this site. He really gets around, his photos are gorgeous, and his tours are both inspiring and immersive. See Jon’s tours here, and stay tuned for more to come.
Golf Course Videos
A large section of my video archive is dedicated to course-specific videos. New videos are added every month, so come back regularly to see what’s new.
9-Hole Golf Courses
In the past two years, I have become quite enamored with 9-holers. If you have not already read Anthony Pioppi’s book To The Nines, I highly recommend it. He has a follow-up book in the works, which I believe is going to be called Finest Nines. Follow Anthony of Twitter at @AnthonyPioppi.
I have not had a chance to create a resource here, but I have been pitching in to curate the Best Nine Holers thread on GolfClubAtlas here. The entire thread is a fun read, and a course compilation is available in Reply #84.
GeekedOnGolf Golf Maps
Although I play golf all over the U.S., my golf adventure interests are most keenly focused on the Northeast and Midwest. To keep track of all of the information that I was compiling, I created two publicly viewable Google Maps. Slowly but surely, I am updating the pins on the maps with links to more course information.
Sure, the GCA discussion group can get a bit unruly at times, but GolfClubAtlas.com is an amazing resource for information on golf courses around the world. Here are a few shortcuts for you:
Ran Morrissett’s Course Tours
Ran has shared his tours from around the globe. Great stuff, with new additions regularly. Explore Ran’s tours here.
Sean Arble’s Course Tours
Sean has done so many wonderful tours of courses throughout the UK that he now has his own index page on GCA.com. See Sean’s tours here.
Dave Harshbarger’s Map
I thought I was the only one with a map of golf course info, and then I found Dave’s – wow. Although it is a bit outdated, it is still an amazing resource. Check out Dave’s map here.
The Fried Egg
Andy Johnson is one of the most prolific individual content creators on the subject of golf courses and course architecture. Andy is a my kind of golf geek, and I appreciate his efforts to expose more golfers to the subject of architecture. Check out his articles on courses here and course architecture here. He also has a podcast, and you can follow him on Twitter at @the_fried_egg.
Golf Course Gurus
I discovered the work of Billy Satterfield and his crew while searching for photos for a project. Not only are they nice people, but they really get around, especially in the Western U.S. Check out the Gurus reviews here.
Steve DeWalle, also known as the Itinerant Golfer, is a successful Top 100 quester and he shares those course profiles and many others on his site. He has photos of some courses that you cannot find anywhere else. See his profiles here. (P.S. Steve is also with JT Spencer – love their belts.)
Graylyn was a student at University of St. Andrews, and shares reviews from his travels around GB&I. He is now living in South Carolina, working in the business and writing for Links Magazine, so he has a nice collection of East Coast tours as well. Check out Graylyn’s reviews here. (P.S. Graylyn is also a contributor to the Scottish Golf Travel Podcast which is a must-listen for golf geeks.)
The Joe Bausch Collection
I cannot imagine that there is a more comprehensive guide to courses in PA and NJ than Joe’s. The amount of time and energy he has put into his collection is mind-boggling. View the Bausch Collection here.
Speaking of Links Magazine, they also have a great reference on their site of courses from around the globe. The write-ups are brief, but often provide solid insights. See the Links profiles here (and if you don’t subscribe to this magazine, you are missing out.)
If there is a better traveled golf geek than Darius Oliver, I would like to meet him/her. I was fortunate enough to hear Darius speak at an event recently during a book/course tour of the States for the newest edition in his series of Planet Golf books (which are fantastic). He described his travel schedule, and it was nuts even by my standards. Darius has a wonderfully comprehensive library of course reviews on his website. Read the Planet Golf reviews here.
Sugarloaf Social Club
These young geeks are well traveled, have great style, and possess an eclectic taste in golf courses and architecture that makes them a great follow on Instagram @sugarloafsocialclub. They have also launched the Hidden Gem Project here on their website, that includes an interactive map of courses that are affordable, accessible and architecturally interesting.
GOLF COURSE PHOTOGRAPHERS
Gary and the folks at Dimpled Rock do amazing work, which I discovered by pure chance. If you want to get lost for a few hours, this is a wonderful place to do it. See Dimpled Rock photos here.
Evan Schiller Photography
If you read my interview with Evan Schiller, you know that he is a cool and interesting cat. You also know that he is very talented. His course photos are so stellar, they almost look fake. View some of Evan’s photos here (and while you’re at his site, buy his GolfShots calendar – it’s outstanding.)
I’m a homer, so I dig the work of John and Jeannine Henebry because they are from Chicago. But they are also really cool artists – they have adventures (on and off golf courses) and they share those adventures with us. Explore some of their work here.
I suspect that it would be hard to find a truly great golf course that Larry has not seen and shot. Sometimes when you dig a little, you strike gold, which is what happened when I discovered Larry’s photo of the month archive. Grab a beverage, sit down, and prepare for a glorious golf journey with Larry as your guide.
SOCIAL MEDIA RESOURCES
The beauty of social media is that it connects you to your fellow geeks and adventurers and delivers their discoveries right to you. Here are few folks on Instagram and Twitter to follow.
If you start by following these accounts, and then explore who they are following, you will soon find your IG feed filled with glorious golf pics, and much more.
@sugarloafsocialclub, @linksgems, @mattfreypga, @rolling_around, @golfcoursegram, @flopic7, @hriefs, @jbecker23_, @linksmagazine, @pjkoenig, @lvlinks, @farrowgolf, @top100golftraveler, @jeff_mingay, @doakgolf
This is a great place to keep up on what the architects and their collaborators are doing around the world. For me, there is nothing better than getting behind the curtain of golf course design and construction.
@golfintegrative, @crenshawcoore, @farrowgolf, @rhebbgolfdesign, @buildsmartrgolf, @planet_golf, @timliddy, @hurzdangolf, @ianandrewgolf, @wvugolfarchie, @forse_design, @kingcollinsgolf, @jayblasi, @integrativegolf, @benkuskygolf, @hochsteindesign, @gwatersgolf, @kylephillipsgcd, @occmgolf, @ivgd1, @devriesdesigns, @jeff_mingay, @michaelclayto15, @davidzinkand, @bradleysklein, @dmkgolfdesign, @keithrhebb, @geoffshac, @jdrgolfdesign
I also follow as many Superintendents as possible, in part because I greatly respect the work they do, and also because they provide another fascinating perspective on golf courses. You’ll have to dig through my Following list to find those pros.
Is that enough to keep you busy for a while? It’s a good start, and I hope you take the exploration in your own direction. Remember to pay your discoveries forward, and enjoy your golf geeky adventures!
Copyright 2016 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf
6 thoughts on “Geek’s Guide to Golf Course Research”
Great post and lots of reading to do. This will inspire and supplement me on my Top 100 quest. Thanks for posting!
Thank you. How far along are you in your quest?
I am playing GD and GM Top 100’s both overall and public. Have played 20 GD, 26 GD Public, 19 GM, and 27 GM Public. I started officially May of 2014. I had already played a few before then.
Right on. Quite the adventure. Good luck!
Thank you, hopefully we can play one day!
Thanks for the compliment of “To the Nines.” The working title for the next book, due to be released around Christmas, is “The Finest Nines, North America’s Best Nine-Hole Golf Courses.”