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SOG Ep 093: Bob Denney on AW Tillinghast

With the PGA Championship set to return to the Bethpage Black course in New York next week there will be plenty of discussion about course design AW Tillinghast. While known mostly as a course architect, Tillinghast had many more strings to his bow including a well known - though little understood - tour of the US during the depression years to advise courses on more financially sustainable management practises. What is less known is the extensive records he kept of that period and PGA...


Master Coach Denis Pugh

Denis Pugh is a 40 year overnight success story. In his early years as a coach his theories were often scorned but having worked with more than 200 touring professionals - including Colin Montgomerie, our own Mike Clayton and of course the reigning Open Champion Francesco Molinari - his thirst for knowledge and communication skills have been proven. Denis talks everything from what it takes to succeed at the top level in the modern game to how he helped Molinari go from merely very good to...


The Masters Big Picture

Tiger Woods winning his fifth green jacket was something special but The Masters is about so much more than just the 72 holes each year. Join Geoff Shackelford, Mike Clayton and Rod Morri as they break down what the 2019 Masters means in the bigger picture, from changes to the course (in particular the fifth hole) to media, technology and the role of the Augusta National Women's Amateur. Oh, and there's a brief mention of the possibility that distance might be an issue as well.


SOG Ep 090: Old Course Rough and Rules, Rules, Rules

Is golf going into meltdown or are we just having a rough patch because of the new rules? Geoff Shackelford, Mike Clayton and Rod Morri delve into the seemingly weekly rules snafus in the professional game while also touching on the 'enhanced' rough we can expect at the 2021 Open at St Andrews and what might happen if the pro game made its own rules. Links mentioned in this episode: John Huggan talks to...


Episode 89: SOG Ep 089: Saudi Arabia, Hao Tong Li and Augusta National

The storm over the European Tour's visit to Saudi Arabia is only intensifying but it's not the only controversy bubbling in golf. There is still lots of disquiet over the penalising of Hao Tong Li in Dubai as well as discussion about Lucas Herbert's explanation of his actions in removing loose impediments with his club in wasteland at the same event. It's not all bad news though, with Geoff Shackelford believing changes to the 5th hole at Augusta National made public this week suggest the...


Episode 88: Ep 88: Lucy Li and the Rules of Amateur Status

Most were expecting a rules controversy early in 2019 but few could have predicted what has transpired with 16-year-old Lucy Li. The world's number nine ranked non-professional player looks all but certain to be stripped of her amateur status after appearing in an online video ad promoting the Apple watch in direct contravention of the rules.The USGA is yet to release a formal decision but SOG co-host Geoff Shackelford says in many ways the issue is one of the USGA's own making. Mike Clayton...


Episode 87: SOG Ep 087: Ru Macdonald and the power of Instagram

Interested in golf course architecture and wondering the best social media platform to indulge your passion? Golf Channel regular, popular blogger and SOG co-host Geoff Shackelford says Instagram ( is the best and makes his case - with the help of Scottich Golf Podcast ( host and European Tour Social media team member Ru Macdonald - on episode 87 of SOG. There are a bunch of Instagram accounts menitoned in this episode (find the list...


Episode 86: SOG Ep 086: Richard Gillis and Over The Top TV

Golf on TV is big business and its in the midst of some dramatic change. Sports business writer and consultant Richard Gillis joins Geoff Shackelford, Mike Clayton and Rod Morri to explain the concept of 'Over the top TV' and why the game's two biggest Tours - and Tiger Woods - are rushing to be a part of it. Also, for the golf course architecture nuts, places are now open for our Golf Course Study Tour to Barnbougle Dunes with Mike Clayton in May 2019. Three days of golf including playing...


Episode 85: SOG Ep 085: Golf's New Rules

Golf's new rules come into effect in less than two months but how many people are really ready? USGA Manager of Rules Outreach & Programming Joe Foley joins Geoff Shackelford, Mike Clayton and Rod Morri to discuss that plus lots more including backstopping and the potential for bifurcating the game's equipment rules. Also, we are excited to announce our inaugural Golf Course Architecture golf and live podcast Tour will take place May 3-5 2019 at one of the game's greatest public venues,...


Episode 84: SOG Ep 84: The Euro Tour and Saudi Arabia

Should the European Tour be playing a tournament in Saudi Arabia? Simple question, complicated set of answers. Geoff Shackelford, Mike Clayton and Rod Morri are joined by Middle East expert Arthur MacMillan to discuss the as yet unnamed Saudi event and what its future might be in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khassoggi. There's also some thoughts on Rory McIlroy's commments on the European Tour, some Tiger observations and a heartwarming story about Mike Clayton from his playing...


Episode 83: SOG Ep 83: Jason Day Architecture Critic

Is the handicap system killing golf's adventurous spirit? Will we ever see George Thomas' 'course within a course' concept catch on? Does Jason Day have any credibility when he suggests architects are to blame in golf's distance debate? Is the Tiger/Phil match just the first in what could become a new golf franchise? All this plus some chat about the Ryder Cup course, Tiger Woods' unusual interview at Le Golf National and we ask if there is simply too much professional golf being played? We...


Episode 82: SOG Ep 82 Ran Morrissett

Last month Ran Morrissett published a list of 147 courses he nominated as 'Custodians of the Game'. The venues all promote the simplest and most joyful elements of the game, from width and playing angles to walking and simple green keeping practises. But the pre-amble to the list was at least as - if not more interesting than - the list itself and Ran joins Mike Clayton and host Rod Morri to discuss his thinking when putting together his list.


Episode 81: SOG Ep 81 - The Tiger/Phil Match (and more)

Sometimes there is so much to talk about you don't need a guest and episode 81 of State of the Game comes at just such a time. From the Tiger/Phil big money match to reactions to Bellerive to Inbee Park's slap in the face from one of the game's biggest manufacturers and the possibility of a PGA and PGA Tour merger, its all happening in the world of golf. Join Geoff Shackelford, Mike Clayton and host Rod Morri for an unfiltered take on important recent happenings in the world of professional...


Episode 80: SOG Episode 80 - Andrew Coltart and Scottish Golf

Mike Clayton and Rod Morri are joined by former Ryder Cup player Andrew Coltart to discuss the state of Scottish, and world golf. Coltart won the 1997 Australian PGA at NSW Golf Club, a tournament made famous by another incident involving Clayton himself:


Episode 79: SOG Ep 79 US Open fallout - the big picture

It's been a couple of weeks but the controversy from the US Open continues to bubble with many believing the USGA has lost a significant amount of credibility after happenings at Shinnecock Hills. Geoff Shackelford and Mike Clayton join Rod Morri to discuss the long term fallout from the 118th US Open as well as some Ryder Cup chat and more memories of Peter Thomson. For the reprint of Thomson's book mentioned,


Episode 78: SOG Ep 78 - Clayton remembers Peter Thomson

Peter Thomson was a giant of the game, not only in Australia but around the world. His five Open titles put him among the greats in history but his contributions to golf extend far beyond simply his brilliance with clubs in hand. His writings on the game and key role in establishing golf in parts of the world previously unknown sets him apart from his peers and he will forever be cherished. In Episode 78, Mike Clayton remembers the Peter Thomson he knew, sharing first hand stories of times...


Episode 77: SOG Ep 77 Trinity Forest

2006 US Open winner Geoff Ogilvy joins Mike Clayton and Rod Morri to talk about the new and intriguing Byron Nelson host venue Trinity Forest. With the course dominating pre-tournament talk, Ogvily outlines some of the reasons Trinity Forest will be an entertaining and important test this week. We also get some thoughts on whether he will consider a career as a commentator once his playing days are over and there's a bonus 10 minutes of 'fly on the wall' chat as Ogilvy and Clayton shoot the...


Episode 76: SOG Ep 76

PGA Tour player and course architecture junkie Zac Blair joins Geoff Shackelford, Mike Clayton and Rod Morri on Episode 76 to talk the distance debate, course architecture, The Buck Club project and more.


Episode 75: SOG Ep 75 - The Ball Debate

Geoff Shackelford and Mike Clayton join host Rod Morri to break down the ball debate which has broken out in the recent weeks.


Episode 74: SOG Ep 74

Billy Dettlaff is a retired golf professional who has produced a stunning new book on the history of his craft. The extraordinary end result is a book of both stunning beauty and historical importance. Billy joined Geoff Shackelford, Mike Clayton and Rod Morri on Episode 74 to discuss the book, Doctors of the Game, while there was also some banter about what impact, if any, Tiger Woods' comments on the ball may have.