By 1988 I was a full-fledged Contributing Editor to GOLF Magazine, writing 3-4 articles a year about championship venues, and keeping track of the magazine’s course rankings. Though they were never sold on having a real “architecture critic,” they did let me write this piece, which was about the increasingly gimmicky features being included in many new courses to try to gain attention. Desmond Muirhead’s “Mermaid” hole at a development course in Florida was on the opening spread.
Honestly, I kind of felt bad going so hard on that course, because I hadn’t actually seen it or seen how it played; their public relations people happily sent along tons of photos of the course, not knowing the slant of the article. So, when Muirhead’s p.r. firm approached me about seeing his next course, “where the golf features are really good,” I felt obliged to go and play in a press day. That was Stone Harbor in New Jersey — which wound up as one of the zeroes on the Doak Scale in The Confidential Guide.