In 1988 an aspiring golf-course architect named Tom Doak produced a private-press collection of his iconoclastic globe-spanning course reviews for the benefit of his friends and colleagues. He called it The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses. Eight years later, a commercial version of the book (bearing the same name) appeared via Sleeping Bear Press. It brought the critical discourse around the once-cozy world of golf design to a new level and was an essential piece of a movement that changed the way new courses were built. In October Doak released the first of a rewritten and updated five-volume series—also called The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses (Renaissance Golf Publishing)—in which he applies two more decades’ worth of experience to help readers decide on the courses most worth playing at any given destination. Doak’s architectural successes, from Pacific Dunes, in Oregon, to Cape Kidnappers, in New Zealand, have transformed him into the quintessential golf insider, but that hasn’t dulled his edge. In the first volume, which is dedicated to Great Britain and Ireland, he gives the Castle Course at St. Andrews Links, which was designed by rival architect David McLay Kidd, the failing grade of 0, calling it a “formula for excess.” Avid golf travelers will want to fire up the popcorn maker for Doak’s often scathing reviews.
A Golf Traveler’s Ultimate Companion
In October, golf insider and course architect Tom Doak released a rewritten and updated version of his classic The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses.