Archive for August, 2012

Barclays, Bethpage Black, 17th Hole, FedEx Cup Playoffs and The Game of Golf & The Art of Business

This week the first round of the PGA Tour FedEx Cup Playoffs takes place at Bethpage Black. The course was the setting for the book The Game of Golf & The Art of Business. Expect the 17th hole to play a pivotal role in the outcome of the event. Below you will find an excerpt from the book The Game of Golf & The Art of Business featuring the 17th hole at Bethpage Black.

Hole 17
The Lesser of Two Evils

The Black Course doesn’t taper off at the end. Seventeen is the
last par 3, but it’s a tough golf hole. It’s got a huge, kidney beanshaped
green. The concave side of the bean is facing you, but the
bean is lying at a 40 degree diagonal angle to you as you look at it
from the tee. So, as the player sees it, there is a near section of the
green that’s on a lower tier of elevation. In front of that is deep
rough. The concave portion of the bean is filled with a deep
bunker, and the back of the green is a good 20 yards further away
than the front on a higher tier of elevation.

The yardage card reads 195 because that’s to the center of the
bean. But for all practical purposes, there are two greens, and a
player with Bob’s range and skills is faced with a difficult choice.
He can aim for the front portion of the bean only 175 yards away.
If he comes up short, he’s in deep rough. If he hits the green he’ll
have to make a 100 foot lag putt up a steep hill to the upper tier.
But at least he’s on the green and has taken the bunkers out of play.
The other choice is to aim for the upper, back portion of the
bean over the bunkers in the concave side. But the ball has to fly
200 yards from the tee to clear the bunker. For Bob, that would be a
full swing with his driver. And then the ball would come in fast,
with a low trajectory, and roll off the back.

The flag was in the back, upper portion of the green which
meant that Bob had two bad choices: an easier tee shot followed by
a 100 foot lag putt that could easily lead to three more putts or a 3-
wood into the bunker followed by a bunker shot to get up close to
the pin and hope for a one-putt for par or, most likely, a two-putt

“Pick the lesser of two evils,” I said, as I explained his choices.

“I want to hit the green near the pin and birdie this,” said Bob,
shaking his head and laughing at the difficulty of the shot.

“Yeah, well, that’s not on the menu,” I said. “What you need
to decide here is what crap you want to deal with.”

“So this is like a day at the office, huh?” said Bob, laughing.

“We joke a lot that we don’t get to choose between bullshit and no
bullshit. But we do get to choose what flavor of bullshit we want to
deal with.”

“That’s a good way to look at it,” I said. “It’s like choosing the
window or aisle seat on a plane. If you take the window, you can’t
get up and stretch or use the bathroom. You’re trapped by some
sleeping granny. But if you take the aisle, the beverage carts bang
your elbows, and there’s always some whiny kid next to you that
wants to get up every fifteen minutes.”

Bob laughed, “Pretty much. There are no good seats, just
degrees of bad. But there is a worst seat: the middle, right?”

“So, that’s the sort of choice you have to make here. Do you
want your second shot to be the beginning of a putting adventure
or a blast out of the bunker?”

Bob thought about it for a while.

To find out what Bob does next and enjoy all 18 of his adventures at Bethpage Black, go to