New Book of Golf Sayings – With Art

Every year with the arrival of Fall comes for many the end of the golf season (except in Florida, when it begins). For those who have put away their golf clubs, staying connected with the game they love becomes difficult as the days get shorter and the weather colder. There are remedies to this problem, however:  First is the Golf Channel with its comprehensive lineup of interview and golf news shows, lessons and clinics, tournaments from around the world and the Big Break. Then there are the many golf magazines that include articles like “Add 20 yards to your Drive”, “Making the Perfect Bump and Run” or “Never Three Putt Again”. And, of course, are the hundreds of “how to” books and memoirs by the great professional players of yesterday and today. As to the latter, it is not surprising that many golfers have a good number of these books stacked nicely in their library for reading by the fireside during a cold winter evening. This leads to another aspect of golf that makes it unique from other sports: Its relationship with the arts.

Ever since the first ball was stricken somewhere in the wilds of Scotland, the game of golf has lent itself to the arts, both literary and visual. Books have been written about golf. Many a notable quote has been made by the famous and infamous about golf. The words of golfers and non-golfers alike about golf can lend credence to the notion that “golf is the microcosm of life”. And this could lead to spirited debate. But its not only words. The beauty of the golf course, with its surroundings created by nature, lends itself to visual presentation, and many a painting or photograph has featured the quiet solitude of a fairway or the lonely golfer agonizing over a shot.

Unfortunately, however, while the literature of golf is well represented, not so much with the visual arts. Until now.

Bradford G.Wheler has just added a new book to his BookCollaborative.com “Wit & Wisdom Series” with Golf Sayings:  wit and wisdom of a good walk spoiled just published by BookCollaborative.com.

golf-sayings-cover

This new book brings together both the literary and visual sides of the arts as they relate to the game of golf. From the BookCollaborative.com website:

“GOLF SAYINGS: wit & wisdom of a good walk spoiled is an exciting and vibrant collection of golf art and text designed to celebrate golf and the people that love the game.

“This golf art book showcases artwork along with quotations about golf that covers topics including sportsmanship, golf humor, the pros, Scotland, and even presidential golf. This collaborative publication has two goals in mind: first, to honor and highlight the great game of golf though text and artwork, and secondly, to showcase the talents of new and emerging artists who focus on creating golf art.”

Author Wheler achieves these two goals with great success.  First, the quotes selected were carefully chosen and skillfully presented within the book’s ten chapters.  From the first quote in chapter one, “That’s Golf”, Wheler kicks off with one of the most famous of all golf quotes, “Golf is a good walk spoiled” by Mark Twain. It gets better. And as the reader becomes immersed in the words he or she can pause and admire the artwork that appears on nearly every page of each chapter.

The second chapter entertains the reader with quotes from professional golfers followed by a chapter on golf humor, always a favorite. Chapter four, “Winning & Losing” ends with an interesting quote from Dave Williams,”If you want to beat someone out on the golf course,just get him mad.” Chapters five and six deal with the two biggest elements of the game, Sportsmanship and Frustration, with the latter something experienced by nearly all golfers during every round they play. The artwork in these chapters compliment and cleverly illustrate the sayings quoted.

Chapters seven and eight deal with things close to the heart of golf:  Scotland and Presidential.  Every golfer knows the home of golf is Scotland and a trip to St Andrews is prominent on the bucket list of any golfer. The illustrations capture the essence of St Andrews.  Presidential golf is uniquely American.  The relationship between golf and the President probably had its genesis with Dwight Eisenhower, who was often seen on television. But probably most famous was President Gerald Ford, whose misadventures made headlines. His quote in chapter eight summed it up: “I know I’m getting better at golf because I’m hitting fewer spectators. Either that, or fewer people are watching me play.”

Chapters nine and ten ends the book with quotes from four of the greatest golfers, Hogan, Jones, Nelson and Snead in chapter nine and finally “The Back Nine” in chapter ten. For many golfers, even one good shot on the back nine is enough to bring one back to golf, inspite of the horrible front nine.

The sayings in Wheler’s book are classic.  So, too, is the artwork.

One of the goals of Wheler’s series of books is the promotion of the visual arts.  In his earlier books this was a prominent feature.  In Golf Sayings, it continues with relish.

Among selected artists whose works are featured in “GOLF SAYINGS”  are Christine LaGrow from Southern California who’s captivating landscapes add so much to the book, and Lesley Giles an artist from England who has “walked inside the ropes” with top golfers including Tiger Woods.

Christine got her inspiration from living in the Lake Tahoe area and the Napa Valley wine country of California.

Lesley is primarily a landscape painter inspired by solitary places and isolated objects. She was encouraged in golf art by her husband (an avid golfer) who could see a potential for her to make paintings of golf courses, which, to her, are very strange but tantalizing landscapes! Her work appears throughout the book, including paintings of Tom Watson and Tiger Woods, as well as famous golf courses such as Augusta National and St Andrews.

Below are two examples of Lesley’s work appearing in the book:

W.LGiles.Augusta.ClubHouse(wat-11x14ins)     W.Scot.StAndrewsSwilcan(wat-8x10ins)LGiles

This book is a valuable addition to the golf literature and will fit well in any golfer’s library. The artwork included is an extra treat that is a unique and welcome feature. Enjoy!

The book is now available and Lesley is offering exclusive signed copies here.

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The Open Championship at Muirfield – Final Day

Well done to Phil Mickelson for winning the Open Championship on a challenging day at Muirfield.   The course was tough, but fair and as the day wore on, many opportunities presented themselves to the leaders.  Many could not capitalize.  Mickelson, however, did, and took the Claret Cup with strokes to spare.  By the time he had sunk his birdie putt on the 18th, only a miracle to another player still on the course would have denied him his victory.

Well done, also to the rest of the players in the field, who individually gave outstanding performances during the tournament.

When my wife and I were at Muirfield in 2002, the scene was quite different as there was a 4-way tie at the end and no clear winner until  Ernie Els parred the 18th to secure his win in sudden death.  This year it was different, as it was clear who the winner was with players still out on the course.  But the excitement level was the same, and the crowd, always knowledgeable, gave enthusiastic recognition to to the outstanding level of play witnessed during the day.

After the excitement of the finish and as the crowds head home, it is always nice to sit back a bit and savor the feeling of the golf course as it slowly reverts to its natural self.  Even though the grandstands, the tented village, the various support facilities will not be dismantled until the following day, there is a feeling of peace and quiet as the sun begins to dip in the west.  The tee boxes are cleared, the fairways are now quiet and the flags have been removed from the greens.  There may be watering here or there, but serenity is in the air.  It seems so sudden, after a week of intense activity.  But soon the course will be active again, as members and guests hit the links again for a round of golf.

The par 3 16th hole gave many of the players a great deal of trouble.   I think it was a pivotal hole during the championship.  So much could go wrong even with a tiny error.  In many cases escaping with a bogey was a good result, and indeed, Lee Westwood, during the 3rd round, saved a crucial bogey after landing in severe trouble on his tee shot.

On Sunday, however, once Mickelson was finished at the 18th with a score of 3-under par for the championship, the closest player, Westwood, was at 16 and needed three birdies starting at the 16th to catch him or birdie-eagle-birdie to win.  That was an impossibility, given how the holes were playing during the tournament.

Below are the yardage charts of the 16th, 17th and 18th.

hole-16-map

hole-17-map hole-18-map

A poor tee shot at 16 could almost guarantee bogey.  At the 17th, the decision is whether to take on the cross bunkers on the second shot to try and get on the green in two.  The wind, also, plays a factor, and a head wind would make that shot extremely risky.  On 18, the key is a good tee shot and to avoid the bunkers.  Mickelson played these three holes par-birdie-birdie.  Westwood, on the other hand, hit a poor tee shot at 16 and made bogey.  Now needing an eagle at 17, he went for it with driver on his second shot and ended up in the deep right rough, denying him any shot at an eagle and thereby securing Mickelson’s victory.

All in all, this was a great tournament and we are looking forward to next year, and of course 2015 at St Andrews!

 

The Open Championship at Muirfield

In 2002 my wife and I traveled to Muirfield to visit the region and hopefully get to see some of the Open Championship golf tournament being held there at the time.  We arrived on Friday afternoon and set up our tent at a campsite nearby.

We decided to take a long walk along the coast and visit some of the local villages on Saturday and to go to the tournament on Sunday.   On Saturday morning we secured our tent and set off for the walk.  We first walked along the Muirfield golf course as we made our way along the coast.  As the day went on, a huge storm hit the area that created havoc on the golf tournament and our walk.  With some luck, we made it back to our campsite only to discover part of the tent was blown over, although the living area managed to stay up.  The storm passed and it became calm.  We survived.

We later learned that players starting in the late morning/early afternoon suffered the brunt of the storm, including Tiger Woods who carded an 81, knocking him out of contention.

The next day we awoke to beautiful weather and made our way to the tournament.  We found a parking area near an entrance to the golf course by the 6th tee.  The tee was visible from the parking area and we were able to watch players teeing off.   As it was the early afternoon, we noticed that people were leaving and decided to see if we could find someone willing to give us their tickets so we could gain entry.  As we had done this at Wimbledon we thought we could do it here!  A couple kindly let us use their tickets and a few minutes later, we found ourselves on the golf course.

The leaders had made the turn and were on the back nine.  We walked around the course, seeing the famous holes and eventually caught up with the leaders.   We followed Ernie Els group and watched the tournament end in a four-way tie!  Els, Thomas Levet of France, and Stuart Appleby and Steve Elkington of Australia were all tied.  There followed a four hole playoff,  at Nos. 1, 16, 17 and 18.

We went to watch play at the first.  Levet and Elkington went off in the first pair and Els and Appleby in the last. After a 50-foot birdie putt on the second hole (#16, par 3), Levet led by a stroke, but bogeyed the last to tie Els at even-par. Appleby and Elkington also bogeyed the last hole and were eliminated by a stroke.   There followed a sudden death playoff between Els and Levet.   Basically, they were to play the 18th until someone won.   We went to the grandstands at the 18th to watch.  Levet put his tee shot in a fairway bunker and bogeyed.   We then witnessed Els save par from a greenside bunker with a five-foot putt to win the title.

What a day!  We had been at the 2000 Open Championship at St Andrews but had to leave before the end to catch the last train to London.  This was different.  We were able to watch the end, and also linger after the tournament and explore the golf course as everyone was leaving.  What a beautiful course!  This was golfer’s paradise!

Now we are watching this year’s Open from home in the US and remember that visit in 2002.  Who will win this year?  It doesn’t look like there will be a storm this time, but the course is taking its toll on the players.  It will be an exciting finish.

My wife did a painting of the 13th hole back in 2002, and here it is:

No. 13, Muirfield

No. 13, Muirfield

No. 13 is a 190 yard par 3.

Here is the yardage chart:

Yardage guide, No. 13

Yardage guide, No. 13

Here is an image of the hole from the Muirfield website:

No. 13, Muirfield

No. 13, Muirfield

Muirfield Golf Club is known as the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and is located in Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland.  Its original location was in Leith in 1744 and later moved to Musselburgh and finally in 1891 to Muirfield.  Muirfield first hosted the Open Championship in 1892.

This is a terrific golf course and a great place to play the game.

The Masters – Paintings of Augusta National

Here are some watercolors of scenes from Augusta National created by my wife, the English painter Lesley Giles.  Prints of these paintings are available on Fine Art America:  http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/lesley-giles.html?tab=artworkgalleries&artworkgalleryid=26891

W.LGiles.Augusta.ClubHouse(wat-11x14ins)

Clubhouse Augusta National

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10th Augusta National

W.LGiles.Augusta.13th(wat-11x15ins)b

13th Augusta National

W.LGiles.Augusta.16(wat-14x11ins)

16th Augusta National

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18th Augusta National

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Vijay Singh 2000 Masters Champion