I’ll Have The Merlot

No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot! – Miles Raymond

I remember the wine craze well. At least the one from the 2000’s. It turns out the fascination with wine has had a few go rounds. In the 1980’s, a dry to sweet pink wine invented in the 1970’s spiked in popularity, sparking a newfound interest in vino. By 1987, White Zinfandel was the most popular wine and the industry began to boom. Whatever happened to wine coolers, anyways (those Bartle and James commercials were the best)? As is wont to happen, however, as more and more folks jumped into the wine game, the search started for more refinement, more experience….more knowledge, about wine. Once the masses realized that White Zin was created by accident and has little to do with the craft of traditional winemaking, it began to wane in popularity. All of a sudden, those drinking “the Zin” simply didn’t know what they were doing, were crass, or probably both. Clearly, anyone who could stand White Zin didn’t appreciate or know that true wine is a lot more complex and mature. Indeed, condemning White Zin, or at least mocking anyone who liked it, made you part of the hip crowd.

Fast forwarding to the 2000’s, everyone seemed to get excited about wine all over again. The tech boom certainly had something to do with it, as the economy bubble began to grow, more and more high end bottles were in demand. The travel to wine destinations, the escalation to luxury, the attention to the craft – any of this sound familiar?

And it is here the worlds of wine and golf collide. In 2004, “Sideways” anchored wine enthusiasm to a pop culture reference, a movie about two guys taking in the wineries of Santa Barbara County as a final send off for the one that was about to get married. Miles Raymond was the other; a struggling writer/English teacher/neurotic who happens to have a refined passion for wine. He loves Pinot Noir, waxing poetic about how temperamental they are, yet the ones that grow perfectly can be quite stirring, almost haunting. Pinot sales exploded instantaneously.

There’s also a scene where Miles and Jack are going to out to dinner. Jack takes him aside before they go in the restaurant to lecture him about basically remaining calm and acting like a normal human being in front of the ladies they were about to meet. And of all matters of utter importance, Jack instructs Miles that . . . if anyone orders Merlot, it’s not a big deal. Apparently that was the line. Miles unleashes his disdain. He will not. drink. any. fucking Merlot. A fictional character with a vast knowledge of wine having a visceral reaction is all it took.

With that, Merlot was out. 1 As far as most were concerned, it became petty swill relegated to the realms of White Zin.

Unlike White Zin, there was no discernible reason for the ostracizing. Nothing changed with Merlot or how it was made. I’m not ashamed to admit it, I enjoy Merlot. I liked it before the movie and kept liking it after it came out (I actually liked it more since the really good bottles became a lot more affordable). But it was just as complex, just as refined and just as good as the trending Pinot. All that changed was how Merlot was perceived, which snowballed as more and more people churned out the same message until it became a pseudo reality. Drinking Merlot meant you had no idea what you were doing. Winemakers are still fighting that perception, more than ten years later.

Golf makes a brief yet impactful cameo in the movie. Between drinking and philandering, the guys find time for a round at the River Course at the Alisal in Solvang, CA. A run in with another group about slow play some how puts Miles at ease and he finally starts enjoying himself. I like to think that was the magical power of golf at work.

Perception, and how it’s influenced, is a powerful thing.

We’re decidedly seeing a “Sideways Effect” in golf course architecture and it has to do with Rees Jones. This is concerning for many reasons that go beyond Rees, but at its core is a prime example of why we’re more in a trend than the grand renaissance lots of us like to think golf course design is in right now.

Rees has been a mainstay in golf course design for decades. Growing up in course architecture, he has been at it his entire life. Working with his father and brother, then going out on his own and trying to establish his own identity beyond the long shadow of his father was a feat in itself. His career is largely based on renovating courses for tour majors as technology started to increase distance and forgiveness. His work was successful in challenging tour players and while there has been criticism of his work from some of the players (just like there had been for his father), there was no question his work is effective at providing exciting tournaments and anointing a worthy champion. Rees also has countless designs of his own.

Like every architect, Rees’ design style has evolved over the years. Even at the height of his popularity, he introduced new design concepts. He was among if not the first in on the restoration trend when he restored original features at Brookline before the U.S. Open in 1988. Again, this is when he was getting hired to renovate courses for tournaments. He also started moving towards naturalism in the early 1990’s, away from courses surrounded by housing and focused more ground based, low profile designs. I always think of Huntsville in Pennsylvania as a great example of his move in this direction.

Huntsville

Rees is still at it. I have his earliest project as 1968, then he started his own design company in 1974.  That is longer than I have been alive. More than fifty years designing and building courses.

Rees’ style is not not flashy, doesn’t stand out in any blatant way, isn’t quirky and he doesn’t use templates. Rees focuses on how the course plays above all else, with an unassuming efficiency. He differentiates his style from his father by incorporating a ground game when he can, while he has said his father relied on the aerial game based on the conditions and playing style of the time. Also different from his father, Rees limits the projects he works on. In viewing tons of interviews with him, he mentions Herbert Warren Wind cautioning him not to take on the sheer volume his father did to ensure quality didn’t suffer. Rees has also stated he likes to adapt the course to the site as well. Rees is certainly versatile since his work spans such a sheer amount of courses and time, but his fairly traditional style shows a degree of restraint. Many of his courses are player-friendly; not all are strictly pro tournament grade. 

He likes to reward those who are able to hit their tee shot down the center of the fairway. His bunkers typically release towards the center, which leaves you with a fair lie but could also leave you significantly further away from the green. He provides little to no forgiveness for shots that carry the green, leaving anything on the far side usually dead. He likes to provide the player a total visual of the hole so they can plan accordingly, but will use blind shots when necessary, albeit sparingly. He doesn’t like to deceive the player. The centerline of the fairway seems to be sacrosanct.

While versatile, there is a sameness anchored to his identity. I mentioned earlier that he tends to reward those who can hit their tee shot in the center of the fairway. Bradley Klein has pointed this out as part of his aesthetic; continually using flat line central playing fairway surfaces then framing them with high vertical mounds or shallow symmetrical falloffs. Klein thinks this aesthetic is one of the main issues with his style. Again, this framing eventually dissipates, or at least is not as prevalent, starting in the early 2000’s. Klein notes that he designed away from it at Ocean Forest, where he used the natural dunes for framing even though he grassed over them. The centerline indeed appears sacrosanct to Rees and ironically, is a feature that makes his work more accessible. When in doubt, simply get it to the center of the fairway. Rees has accepted the burden of creating interest and engagement from there. There are still plenty of courses where his fairways tilt or cant in one or several directions though. 

In following the evolution of his work, Rees is more in line with trending design principles than most give him credit for. For a while, his courses include many that are playable for all yet challenging for the low caps. His courses include wide low profile designs that allow the ground game. They also include naturalism, incorporating the surroundings into the design and routing, instead of bulldozing over them.

Despite this evolution, Rees is careful what he incorporates in his design. You won’t find any pot bunkers even though Dye made them almost a necessity for a time. You won’t find any template holes even though they’ve been popular for some time. I haven’t seen a course of his with blown out bunkers, even though I feel like a law was passed requiring them on all courses with how prevalent they are now. Perhaps this works against him. With golfers expecting, or at least assuming, that certain trending traits are inherent in a good design, they may walk off a Rees course let down and react accordingly. Despite what trends may come and go or what people might say, Rees does not succumb. He owns his style . . . come hell or high water.  Nowadays, Rees’ style is more subdued, enhancing natural surroundings with more emphasis on bunker shaping.

Recently, Bethpage Black hosted the PGA Championship and he was involved in the course set up leading up to the tournament. Bellerive, his father’s course where he made several changes, hosted last year. He just finished TPC Danzante Bay in Mexico, which is receiving lots of praise. His work is high profile and his legacy a long one.

The popularity of Rees and his style is by any definition wildly successful, yet does not come without its detractors. He receives an inordinate amount of negativity that has gained traction over the years. A knowing smirk when mentioning Rees makes some feel like they belong in the elite discussions of course design. Better yet, making fun of or complaining about some random hole from one of his courses with an @ to the fried egg on twitter is enough to make one feel like Herbert Warren Wind. Some go as far as refusing to play his courses. Just recently, he was called the “Hitler” of golf course design on social media, surely by some golf course sophisticate.

Is this the Merlot point for Rees? Have these people played any of his courses? How many? Do they have a point? How could they if they refuse to play the fucking courses? This type of categorical outright dismissal of Rees is indeed troubling and it’s time to examine how or why this came about. Is it perspective? Is it reactive? Or is it all justified?

But why is this important?

Let me be clear first and foremost, this is not a Rees fan piece. This has to do with a much larger issue. Like many modern course architects of the 1970’s through 2000’s, Rees’ work is largely generalized and overlooked, more than any designer of his stature. Rees’ career will come to a close before we know it and considering his portfolio, there is a lot to learn from him. The brunt of criticism against his work is a mere portion of it, with many ignoring his versatility and shift towards naturalism long ago.

Really though, the underappreciation of Rees emboldens the current design trends into believing we’re in a period of enlightenment, instead of in the midst of yet another era that will likewise be dismissed for the same cyclical reasons by the generations after us. The perception of Rees by many represents yet another trend trying to buck the one before it, instead of a general progression of this art. We’re doing the very same thing as the era before us did while pretending to abhor the practice altogether. His legacy deserves appreciation and his impact on course design realized. Various styles and schools of architecture should be embraced to preserve diversity, even if they don’t fall into current design trends. In that way, we can assure we’re not simply in another trend that will one day pass to something else, wondering how or why we ever thought any of it was a good idea in the first place. So it’s not just about Rees, but about an era of golf course architecture in general and how quickly, summarily, short-sidedly……and unfairly, it has been thrown to the side. To our detriment.

Is one architect’s approach better than the other? Not at all. – Gil Hanse

How is this affecting course design and its progression? Recently, a municipal course near San Francisco was revitalized. Instead of spending a fortune, the design team was able to get as much sand as they could from BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), who actually paid them to take it! The course was sand-capped, bunkers were grass lined, well placed and varied in depth. Lots of reclaimed material was used in construction as well to defray costs, including turf from the old Raiders stadium. The course is now a community hub. It’s a nice rendition of golf you normally find around the Australian Sandbelt. Course maintenence remains low, which is reflected in the reasonable green fees. A successful project for municipal golf by most standards. For reasons unknown, however, the Chuck Corica South Course in Alameda, California has received very little pub. While projects like Memorial Park are receiving a lot more press because of the involvment of Tom Doak and PGA phenom Brooks Koepka as a tournament venue, the work by Rees, his design team and Greenway Golf have flown under the radar, particularly on social media – – a modern links sandbelt course where the ground game is alive and plays well for any skill level.

This course should be in many more discussions on how to turn municipal golf into an interesting and sustainable venue. The fact it’s not mentioned more is a travesty and one of the reasons why dismissing Rees and his counterparts is baffling. It’s a virtual certainty that if other, more social media savvy or popular designers were involved here, perceptions and projections of those perceptions would be much different. As a result, one of the success stories of transforming struggling municipal venues around remains under reported.

Chuck Corica South
Chuck Corica South
Chuck Corica South

In 2013, Kohanaiki opened on the Big Island. Laid out through ancient lava flows, the course highlights the idyllic scenery while the native curtilage and lava rock is used quite well. The course maintains a low profile and invites the ground game. Doak seemed to like it, as it was one of his top 10 favorite courses played in 2018. Yet another more recent example of Rees’ work that should be in more discussions, yet is largely overlooked.

Kohanaiki
Kohanaiki 

I am most proud of my championship golf course renovations. – Rees Jones

Rees was known at one time as the, “Open Doctor,” which was a characterization for his renovations to golf courses in making them remain relevant and competitive as tour venues.

If we simply stick to courses Rees has been involved in redesigning or restoring that have hosted majors or the Ryder/President’s Cup, the list would be:

  • Atlanta Athletic
  • Baltrusol Lower
  • Bellerive
  • Bethpage Black
  • Black Hawk CC
  • Congressional
  • East Lake
  • Hazeltine National
  • Medinah 3
  • Oakland Hills
  • Pinehurst 2
  • Sahalee
  • The Country Club
  • The Royal Montreal
  • Torrey Pines South

Ironically, it’s this list that draws the ire and more than anything else and makes Miles scream no one will be drinking the Merlot. In the current era of restoring to original design intent, design-build and width, it is virtually sacrilege to re-design courses to increase their difficulty by changing their routing, narrowing fairways, changing greens and bunker styles. Yet the context of these changes shows that pointing to Rees barely scratches the surface of a movement that has been building for almost a century, almost bursting at the seams. As tour players become longer, the approach shots are with shorter and shorter clubs, which allows them to score lower and lower. A tale as old as time, the tours, courses; most everyone, felt like they had to do “something” to maintain the same amount of challenge – to maintain par; so they began pinching fairways, tightening landing areas off the tee, ramping up green speeds, shrinking greens and growing rough. And most of all, increased length! Rees hardly came up with the concept and is among a cast of thousands involved in the conundrum of how to keep tournament golf entertaining as the pros make it look easier and easier each season. More to the point, Rees is hardly showing up at these courses on his own and deciding what to do. While Mike Keiser, Marion Hollins, Bobby Jones and all those fantastic green committees are given credit where it’s due for their part in creating greatness, no one seems to look at all those that consulted and hired Rees because they wanted their courses changed, chasing those U.S. Opens, PGA Championships, Ryder Cups, President Cups and yes, even Opens. While successful for so long and providing that challenge and entertainment everyone was so delighted with, Rees seems to now bear the brunt of the backlash.

There is more going on here. Rees’ work was prevalent at a time when modern design was finding its footing with the advent of innovative machinery. No longer having to rely on the natural terrain, courses could be built on a flat, bland ground and no one would know the difference. Once again a sign of the times, there was much more uniformity then, as courses became more of a branded product than nature-based artistic expressions. As demand rose for the product, Rees and others of that time supplied. After centuries of using the land in design for the most part, the ability to shape it at will started another movement; bringing the golf course to the destination was now possible. Resorts and housing developments rejoiced. It’s easy nowadays to scoff at all this but the reality is golf enjoyed its apex of popularity during this time. With more golf courses than ever before and many located pretty much every where, accessibility to the game was at an all time high. This popularity eventually waned. It was then discovered that building on ideal terrain in remote places was viable and a new wave of course design was born. Rees was popular in the age of shaping, which means a lot of his work was done during it. A lot. Something about if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is appropriate here and while Rees has been criticized for not fighting back against the clients, that just seems unrealistic. He was simply proficient in his designs and renovations in a different era. It’s no different from present day Coore/Crenshaw or even Hanse, who are doing the same thing; providing their style of work to clientele who prefer it.

It’s always easier to overgeneralize and seeing Rees as a cautionary tale from a bygone era is a big part of the misperception. At the height of essentially giving clients what they wanted, Rees introduced the concept of restoration at Brookline, with the USGA nonetheless. I already mentioned Huntsville, which was also one of the first modern courses at that time to deliberately exclude housing around the course. Rees was a big part of that decision.

What also seems not to be talked about enough is Rees’ role in revitalizing courses and restoring them to glory. The Equinox in Vermont is a Walter Travis designed course that was in dire need of a face lift. Back in 1992, it wasn’t taboo to call work a re-design. Perhaps there was more realism back then on the limits of a restoration, but Rees’ work was called a re-design even though the routing was not changed. Rees actually softened its penal components, did not lengthen and instead focused on Travis’ design themes of shaping the ball. The work indeed revitalized the course and while it received a good deal of acclaim and there’s no doubt is now improved from what existed before, a quick search on golf club atlas shows at least a few referring to the course being, “Reesified,” without actually explaining what exactly that is supposed to mean.

The reception of Equinox is a microcosm of Rees’ work to Golden Age courses in particular. Bethpage Black was revitalized for the 2002 US Open by the USGA and Rees, then again in 2009. The course has been a mecca of public golf, yet that has not stopped the bemoaning about the course allegedly not retaining its bunkering style, or the strategy they claim resided prior to the work. Bethpage Black was intended as a penal design to rival Pine Valley; it was never meant to be the strategic wide open links lay out some wish it would tranform into. Instead, the course is a challenging driving course that sought to provide the public with a venue capable of hosting majors. All at a reasonable green fee. With this concept in mind, the course needed to be able to withstand the sheer amount of play it expected, which meant changing features like the bunkers. Again, not all that uncommon. Just ask Tom Doak as he deals with the very same issue at Memorial. He’s already said a few times that this is indeed a consideration as he renovates the course for tournament play. So while Bethpage Black is certainly revitalized and now hosts a number of PGA events, there is an undercurrent of discontent about its focus on difficulty, even though Tillinghast always meant for it to be a great test of golf. There’s no need to explain the irony here.

Even Rees nemesis Phil Mickelson praised Rees’ renovations to Bethpage Black. I believe his exact wording was, “Rees did a great job.” Phil went on to say how much he loved the course. And really, Rees’ work at Bethpage Black is one of his crowning achievements. It was a difficult project for a number of reasons. Ensuring the course was challenging enough for the pros and satisfying the USGA, yet making it interesting and engaging for the public, all while staying consistent with Tillinghast et al. were a lot of balls up in the air at once. Yet Rees’ work here has been very well regarded and while purists may quibble about bunker placement, difficulty and the lack of fairway width, the course is a shining jewel of municipal golf.

Bethpage Black

East Lake is another course Rees was involved in revitalizing. A recent documentary on the Golf Channel chronicles just how much the course fell into disrepair until local businessman Tom Cousins decided to make efforts to turn around the entire community, including the course, in 1993. Cousins hired Rees Jones to work on the course. A re-design where Rees again was needed to meet the expectations of creating a competitive tour venue, restoring original intent features, yet most importantly providing a golf course centered around the renewal of the surrounding community. Without any Ross plans to go off of, Rees exercised his own incantation, which included bringing back the peninsula green that Tom Bendelow had in play before Ross showed up. Routing remained intact except for the Seventeenth fairway, but contours, slopes and bunkers were re-worked. Bradley Klein described Rees’ work as “magical” and “simply stunning” while director of golf Jim Gerber remarked, Rees “left his mark here by not leaving his mark.”

East Lake has returned to prominence and hosts the FedEx Tour Championship each year. The PGA and Rees have tweaked the course in that neverending quest to challenge and entertain as the tour players make it look easier and easier. The site of Tiger’s momentous victory in 2018, capping off his own revitalization, became part of its long history of golf lore.

Yet the bemaoning harkens. Not enough of Ross was captured in the re design, it’s too much of an aerial course now, I’d rather avoid the gunfire and play the dilapidated version instead. Other than possibly not accounting enough for the purpose behind the re-design in the first place, Rees had no Ross plans to go off of and George Cobb’s work to the course in the 1950’s destroyed many of these features anyways. Indeed, those that preferred the East Lake of yesteryear are referring to the Cobb layout more than Ross. More to the point, however, many designers today claim a true restoration cannot be performed for the very same reasons Rees could not restore East Lake; no design plans and/or work before them makes it impossible. For Rees, it was no different.

More recently (and locally), Rees was selected to perform work at the Union League Golf Club at Torresdale. Interesting, since Stephen Kay developed an original plan a few years ago, re-sized the greens to original scale since they had grown smaller over the years, widened fairways, removed a significant number of trees and restored all tees and bunkers. The restored course brought back most if not all of the Ross features and that was the intent. Rees has been hired to perform a renovation master plan, which many believe is to incorporate newly acquired land and transform the course into a tournament ready venue. Again, this is happening now. A course that went to great lengths to restore original intent now has Rees involved. Perhaps because while there are those that have the talent to restore, there are fewer that have proven they can restore while providing a successful tournament venue.

There is an argument that much of Rees’s work is now being “fixed,” which some how reaffirms that we’ve now seen the light and are shining that light on the “dark ages” work we should all denounce as vocally as possible. As the more well known designers of today start to get more and more of their courses included on the tour schedule, it will be interesting to see how they too fare in the face of this unique, and very public, criticism. While Doak was adamant early on that he was not keen on getting involved with the championship/tourney style courses, The Renaissance Club looked to be built with them in mind and he’s in the process of renovating Memorial Park with Brooks Koepka consulting, which is slated to host the Houston Open. Doak’s Instagram feed already reminded us that cart paths are being installed—because the client wanted them in. Coore and Crenshaw have had their Kapalua Plantation around for a while, but their greens work at Riviera was a disaster for the PGA Championship played there in the 1990’s. To be fair, the greens issue was more of a greens keeping/PGA official debacle than anything C&C did. Their Trinity Forest has had mixed results although candidly, presents the players with a much different challenge that is interesting to watch. As mentioned, Hanse has accommodated the players’ complaints in the past at TPC Boston. And players outright banned one of Pete Dye’s courses from the tour for almost thirty years. When an architect’s work faces the singular position of being able to challenge tour professionals in a way that pleases everyone, no one is safe from scrutiny and as design trends start to change, we’ll see how much of that work from the popular architects nowadays remains in tact or gets changed. Current changes to Rees’ work signifies nothing other than a change in times and he’s far from the only one.

Recently in fact, Edoardo Molinari denounced Tom Doak’s Renaissance Club stronger than most comments directed at Rees, finding the course lacked strategy and that all that mattered to score well was driving it more than 300 yards, with no penalties for missing fairways. Pretty much every year, players complain about the U.S. Open set up, whether it’s the depth of the rough or speed of the greens. These guys rely on their finishes in each tournament for their living. There’s a whole other level of emotion when evaluating why they don’t finish well and it spills over to the course set up or conditions from time to time.

It bears mentioning that there is one tour player that loves Rees’ designs. Tiger is a big fan and has had a lot of success on Rees-designed or renovated courses. That includes Bellerive, where he finished second last year at the PGA. As we’re seeing a resurgence of Tiger, perhaps this resurgence will transform how Rees is perceived, at least on tour. To his credit, Rees has said he takes players’ criticisms as a compliment; it lets him know he’s in their heads.

Perspective is indeed powerful. Whether it’s wine or course design, popular opinion is not always grounded in objectivity, which I suppose it never can be since it’s opinion. While there was a point in time when Rees could do no wrong (similar to a few current designers), much of his work was from a different style era than what’s popular today. That doesn’t invalidate him or his work. Almost every architect will come under fire from tour pros and almost every course will undergo periodic course renovations or restorations. Rees also does not maintain the social media presence many of the current architects do. His decision not to endear himself to social media golf causes two immediate issues. Many social media “influencers” have no motivation to support him and he doesn’t engage in any attempt to defend, explain or clarify what’s being said. So perception continues in one direction without anything really balancing it out. I suppose just like tour player complaints, Rees is content to let his work speak for him.

Even an objective examination of Rees’ history, however, shows us there’s no denying that an inalienable strength of Rees’ legacy is his ability to present a formidable stage to showcase great and memorable professional tournament golf, amidst an inherent myriad of difficulties. Very few, if any, have done so for as long as Rees. On this basis alone, much can be appreciated from his work as we all try to figure out how to challenge the world’s best in a way that makes for interesting golf. Rees has been prolific in this regard and considering the current design trends, there will always be detractors upset that his championship layouts do not resemble what is now in vogue. But Rees’ history of how he dealt and continues to deal with the intersection of demands placed upon each major venue he’s involved with is something to study as we move forward and his accomplishments in this regard, recognized. And, Tiger. Because when Big Cat likes you, that goes on your tombstone.

If we’re truly in any type of enlightenment period, embracing various styles and eras is a must. Otherwise, we’re simply in another era, turning our backs on anything different, and patting ourselves on the back for now realizing the mistakes of our past. And in 30 years, my kids will be wondering why we ever thought it was a good idea to fall in love with ripped bunkers. Rees is an important part of the evolution of course design, and continues to be a part of it. He knows more about golf design than you, as well as its history. There’s nothing any of us “get” that he doesn’t. He appreciates all the tenets of the game. His work is far-ranging, accomplishing more than most in his field. The perception of Rees by many is indeed a misperception and shows a weakness in the progressive state of design we all like to pretend we’re currently in. There’s plenty that can be learned from his career; from the tournament lay outs, to his original designs, to what he’s still doing today. 

Golf course design is indeed cyclical and while perceptions and trends come and go, we only progress when we appreciate and learn from what came before. I mean, Bill Murray was recently seen drinking White Zin (which was some how reported on), surely signifying its come back. Merlot is definitely next. It just might take a Sideways sequel — and a repentant Miles, to make it happen. 

That Hanse is so hot right now…

We’re undertaking a restoration of the South Course at Oakland Hills. Donald Ross did the original, of course, and it was Robert Trent Jones who did the renovation that created “The Monster” Ben Hogan conquered in winning the 1951 U.S. Open. Rees Jones later revised his father’s work. The plan is to restore kind of a hybrid of the Ross and Jones designs, the best elements of each. The course will be closed for nearly two years beginning in 2019, but when we’re finished, without a doubt it will be a Monster again, albeit one a little different than the one Hogan brought to its knees.” – Gil Hanse

We have come full circle. White Zin is coming around again and with the wine and golf parallels in full effect, we have our modern day Rees. Philadelphia’s own (or Malvern for ultra-specificity) Gil Hanse is likely the busiest architect on the planet right now.

Coming soon. Now, here: https://golfadelphia.com/2019/12/27/golden-gil/

  1. Studies were actually performed on the effect “Sideways” had on Pinot and Merlot. Sales of Pinot indeed shot through the roof in correlation with the movie. For Merlot, it appears that it was already on a downward trend when the movie came out, but the psychological impact was palpable. Many wineries now label Merlots, “Red Blends” as a way to avoid such taboo. And really, that underscores the point here.

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