Fun new Shackelford book just in time for U.S. Open

June 17, 2023

Life is full of coincidences, especially if you are open to the possibility that some of them are planned that way.

I thought of this while reading Geoff Shackelford’s fun new book, “Golf Architecture for Normal People,” available through and ($30 SRP).

Shackelford often appears on The Golf Channel and has a popular website, He is especially well known and appreciated among fans of golf course design and the architects who create these living works of the sporting arts. 

The former Pepperdine University golfer has covered the subject comprehensively for over 25 years, with several books to his credit as either primary author or editor. I reviewed and recommended several of them at, including “The Art of Golf Design,” “Alister MacKenzie’s Cypress Point Club,” “The Golden Age of Golf Design,” “Lines of Charm” and “Masters of the Links.”

His depth of knowledge in this specialized field (pardon the pun) did not go unnoticed. Shackelford worked with Hanse Golf Design in the creation of Rustic Canyon Golf Course, an award-winning layout in Moorpark, Calif. 

Another of his books, a biography of legendary architect George Thomas, was certainly instrumental in Shackelford’s more recent contributions during the restoration and renovation of Los Angeles Country Club.

Thomas did a major redesign of LACC in the 1920s, which many consider among his best work. LACC also happens to be the host of the 2023 U.S. Open, happening this weekend.

This is what I mean by a potentially planned coincidence — not that there’s anything wrong with that.

As in his prior publications, in his newest book Shackelford shows a deep appreciation for what can be done to create a golf course that appeals to the broadest possible golfing audience. However, he is not such a fanboy that he won’t discuss why some designs fail to deliver.

Like most other outdoor sports, golf requires an artificial playing area in which to compete. Unlike most other outdoor sports, the best golf course designs create landforms and features that give the impression they were in place well before anyone thought to put a tee down and see what happened.

Shackelford argues for a few elements he contends are best suited to meet that goal. These include the easy ability to remember each hole’s features, challenges and rewards; enough playing versatility to keep coming back; and a pleasant, walkable environment, suitable for golfing while accompanied by a faithful doggie companion.

That last element runs afoul of most courses I have played, but I understand his point. Even those layouts that prohibit dogs should nonetheless inspire the idea that a dog would probably love to check out the place and have a great time. 

And if a dog likes it, why wouldn’t most humans?

Shackelford’s prose is succinct, often witty, and accessible. “Golf Architecture for Normal People” could even inspire interested readers to check out his other books about golf design — after first watching the U.S. Open at LACC, of course.

That might also be a coincidence, but it would be a happy one for them, and him.

Harrod honored again

Congratulations to Cape Henlopen head golf coach Robert Harrod for being named co-Coach of the Year by the Delaware Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association. The Cape teacher earned this honor along with Bill Larsen of Brandywine High School near Wilmington.

Youth on Course

Youth on Course is a 501(c)(3) organization that subsidizes golfing opportunities for juniors. It reimburses participating clubs the difference between the fee paid by the golfer and the usual rate.

In the Cape Region, YOC juniors can pay $5 to play at American Classic Golf Club in Midway and Mulligan’s Pointe near Georgetown.

For more information, go to

Chris O’Halloran Memorial 

The fourth Chris O’Halloran Memorial Golf Outing will take place Friday, July 21, at Plantation Lakes Golf & Country Club. Sponsorship proceeds benefit the Home of the Brave veterans’ support center in Milford.

The event honors O’Halloran, a 9-11 responder and Plantation Lakes board director who succumbed to cancer in June 2019.

Sponsorships and a few playing opportunities remain available. For more information, contact the club at 302-933-8072.

Local club competition results

The Kings Creek CC Ladies 9-Hole group played a Far-Out game June 13, where the par 5 scores are tossed.

Linda Outlaw won first-place gross in the first flight, with Melissa Soper taking first gross in the second flight. Francie Young won first gross in the third flight and Brenda Schilli won first gross for the fourth flight.

In the net categories, Christine Emery won first place in the first flight, with Susan Julbe in second by tiebreaker and Sara Cavendish in third.

Deb Grant won first net in the second flight, with Yona Zucker taking second and Alicia Polsky finishing third. 

Patricia Davis won first net for the third flight, with Carol Loewen in second and Kathleen Andrus in third.

Tish Brey won first net in the fourth flight, with Margaret Rebarchik taking second and Juanita Wilson finishing third.


  • Fritz Schranck has been writing about the Cape Region's golf community since 1999. Snippets, stories and anecdotes from his columns are included in his new book, "Hole By Hole: Golf Stories from Delaware's Cape Region and Beyond," which is available at the Cape Gazette offices, Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Biblion Books in Lewes, and local golf courses. His columns and book reviews are available at

    Contact Fritz by emailing

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