Saturday, July 29, 2017

There’s a New Ball Game in Town at Greenhorn Creek Resort

Greenhorn Creek Resort, located in the Sierra foothills two hours from San Francisco, is home to a championship Robert Trent Jones II golf course, and now there is a new ball game at this premier Gold Country resort – bocce.

Bocce is an outdoor bowling game which has spread from Italy to many parts of the world, and is similar to the French game petanque. The rising popularity of the game has led to bocce courts being installed up and down the Bay Area and Central California, in public parks and at commercial venues, either standalone or associated with a bar or restaurant.
The new bocce courts at Greenhorn Creek Resort, installed just last spring, are proving to be popular with members and guests. (photo courtesy Greenhorn Creek Resort)

Installed last spring at the resort, which is located outside of Angels Camp in the Gold Country foothills, the two bocce courts have become instantly popular with members and guests. The new facilities were featured in the July 2017 issue of PGA Magazine, in an article highlighting the attraction of adding supplementary facilities to strengthen membership retention and help attract new members.

“A small investment not involving golf has made a big impact at Greenhorn Creek Resort,” according to the monthly publication. “Last spring, the facility transformed a spot outside the clubhouse, near the first tee and 18th green, into a pair of bocce ball courts. The addition has changed the vibe at the entire facility.”

In response to the new activity, the resort’s PGA Head Professional, Jim Dillashaw says, “It has kept a lot of our members engaged, especially those who aren’t quite so golf-active. For spouses who have given up the game of golf, it has kept the family as members.”

The new attraction features an outdoor pizza oven and bar/barbeque area, and is located adjacent to the resort’s award-winning restaurant, CAMPS, and the Cellar Room, which features wines from many of the vintners in the growing local wine community. The courts are proving to be a hit, with 40 four-person teams already signed up for a spring and fall Thursday night member/guest league.

For further information about Greenhorn Creek Resort, call (209) 729-8111 or visit
(This article features press release information provided by Greenhorn Creek Resort)

“Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf”, by Kevin Robbins ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Last summer when my former outlet,, went dark, five years’ worth of my online articles disappeared from the internet.

Much of that work was specific to the time at which it was published—tournament coverage or articles relating to then-recent events in the world of golf. Some of that work, though, had more lasting value – though I say it myself – so I will, from time to time, revisit my archives and re-publish some of my “lost works” from the days here at Will o' the Glen on Golf.

(Slightly abridged from the original February, 2016 article)

It has been over twenty year since the phenomenon that is Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From A Lifetime In Golf hit the market, so you, the avid golf reader, can be forgiven for thinking that there must already be a Harvey Penick bio out there. Well, until now there wasn’t—but now that there is, let me tell you, it has been worth the wait.

This bio of golf’s gentle genius, Harvey Penick,
by University of Texas journalism professor
Kevin Robbins, belongs in every golf fan’s library.
Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf, by Austin, Texas-based journalist and University of Texas journalism professor Kevin Robbins, is a deeply-researched and lovingly written book which brings to life the story of the soft-spoken man whose wisdom and dedication to the game of golf has touched literally millions of golfers the world over.

Some of the anecdotes from Harvey’s life as a golf pro and teacher will be familiar to those who have read the Little Red Book and its successors, but the detail on Harvey’s early life, his journey to an increasing level of understanding of the game of golf and how to teach it—as well as the fascinating story of how the Little Red Book and the follow-on volumes came about—is information which you will not find elsewhere. Robbins has done the world of golf a tremendous service by bringing together the whole story of Harvey Penick, his Little Red Book, and the far-reaching touch of this gentle, unassuming genius who was one of the most important figures in the game of golf in the 20th century.

Harvey Penick’s impact on and importance to the game of golf—in Austin, where he lived all of his life; in Texas, a state with as rich and varied a history in the game of golf as any state in the Union; and the world over, though he saw little of the rest of the world—simply cannot be overstated. There are names mentioned in the book, people associated with Harvey over the years, which will ring with familiarity in the ears of any golf fan: Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Davis Love (II and III), Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw; and some which may only be familiar to the more dedicated fan of golf history: Morris Williams, Jr., Billy Munn, Don January, Kathy Whitworth, Sandra Palmer.

Harvey’s association with the big names and important figures in the game is only part of the story, though—he touched thousands whose association with the game extended only to country club and muni golf, monthly member-guests and Saturday skins game between friends.

Harvey became a caddie at the nascent Austin Country Club at age eight, became a golf pro at age 13, and in 1922, at the age of 17, became the head professional at the Austin Country Club. At the age of 26 he took over the head coach position for the University of Texas golf team—with plenty of experience teaching the game of golf, but none coaching a team. He made a success of it anyway, in his low-key, unconventional manner, and remained in the position up until the mid-1950s.

Along the way, Harvey had started keeping notes in a red Scribbletex notebook – a 9-1/8 by 5-3/4 composition book that became probably the most famous notebook in the history of sports. His accumulated wisdom was gathered in this unassuming book over the years, but shown to no one. No one, that is, until he finally decided, in 1991, at the age of 87, to share his observations, to share with the world what he had learned by watching his students, and fellow golf pros, and the talented players of all ilks whom he had observed over the years, and what he had learned from thinking about golf practically full-time for most of 80 years.

The man to whom Harvey entrusted the Scribbletex notebook, and with whom he collaborated in turning the thoughts and observations of 80 years into the most beloved, and best-selling, sports book of all time, was Texas legend of another kind – Bud Shrake.

I initially thought that author Kevin Robbins was dedicating too many pages in the book to biographical information about Shrake, but as I read on I saw the purpose behind the depth he went to in bringing to the reader the background on Harvey’s collaborator. What becomes apparent in this section of the book is that Robbins is using the extensive background on Shrake to establish the character, and bonafides, of the man who would bring Harvey Penick’s golf wisdom to the world.

Bud Shrake was a friend and contemporary of Texas sportswriting legend Dan Jenkins, and had worked with Jenkins on the Fort Worth Press when they were both still in college. Later Shrake moved on, and up, to the Dallas Times Herald and then the Dallas Morning News. He branched out into novels and screenplays, and later joined Dan Jenkins at Sports Illustrated, transplanting himself to New York City. Years of hard living never seemed to blunt the edge of Shrake’s talent, though he eventually calmed down, quit booze and drugs, and returned to Texas, to the Austin area this time, where he took up golf.

When Bud Shrake was contacted by Harvey Penick’s son, Tinsley, in 1991, he thought it was about Bud’s younger brother Bruce, who had tried out for the UT golf team in the early 1950s, and had lessons from Harvey in later years. Instead, Tinsley wanted Bud to meet with his father – a meeting that resulted, eventually, in The Little Red Book. The book became a publishing phenomenon that outstripped the expectations of all involved, even as they realized the genius of the concept—even the man who had recorded all the profound thoughts and observations that comprised it. The section of Harvey Penick which recounts the birth of Harvey’s Little Red Book is truly a joy to read.

Sadder to read, even though parts of this section of Harvey’s story are fairly well known, are the final chapters of the book, recounting Harvey’s declining health even as his book and its successors reach tens of thousands of golfers the world over, and the inspirational, but still sad, story of his death shortly before the 1995 Masters tournament. Most golf fans know about the ascendant victory, 11 years after his first Masters win, and just days after Harvey’s death, of Ben Crenshaw, who along with Tom Kite was the most famous of the tens of thousands of golfers who had benefitted from Harvey’ tutelage over the years.

There have been some excellent golf-related books hitting the market in the last couple of years, and it has been my joy and privilege to read most of them, but I can state, categorically, and with no disrespect to the authors of those other fine works, that Kevin Robbins’ Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf is the most important book of the last decade in the sports genre. If you are a golf fan, you owe it to yourself to read it.

Harvey Penick is available in hardback from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other book retailers. A paperback edition, with a foreword by Ben Crenshaw is coming spring 2018 from University of Texas Press.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Fashion-forward / high-tech Antigua women’s sportswear has it all

Reviewing women’s sports apparel, even golf apparel, is kind of a stretch for me, but I have an ace in the hole in this regard – two, in fact: my wife and my daughter. When I asked them if they would like to try some stylish new tops from Antigua they jumped at the chance, and I had a couple of willing test subjects/reviewers at the ready.

One caveat – neither my wife nor my daughter are golfers, but they do participate in other outdoor activities for which stretchy, comfortable tops made of moisture-wicking high-tech fabrics are desirable. Needless to say, the garments have to look good, too, and the Antigua tops garnered high praise in that department.
The button-placket Sequence top is just one of the stylish offerings from Antigua in their 2017 line for women.

The variety of styles offered by Antigua in the women’s line will certainly meet the needs of just about any wearer. From button-up polos, like the Sequence, to the open V-neck Praise, snap-placket Hype, and Array 1/4-zip, the tops are well-made from Antigua’s 97% polyester/3% spandex Desert Dry™ fabric for sweat-free comfort in the warmest weather. Flat-sewn seams and roomy shoulder/sleeve construction ensure free-moving comfort for tennis or golf – or even bike rides, brisk walks, or light aerobics.

The Antigua line offers a range of colors and fabric finishes that will allow women to build a wardrobe with plenty of stylish variety. There are self-collars, knit collars, and Jacquard-pattern fabrics in a rainbow of colors and color combinations – even ombre-style fade-to-color styling, in the Hype snap-placket top.

My test subjects reported comfortable fit, no rubbing from seams, and no constriction of movement from their Antigua tops – and they remained comfortable to wear even in a recent stretch of warmer-than-usual weather here in the Bay Area. If you are a woman shopping for comfortable, stylish active-wear, or a man in the market for a gift for the active woman in your life, the Antigua line is worth a look.

Antigua products are available at most golf, tennis, and general sporting good stored, as well as online at