Road Hole Shorts

Golf Design, golf, golf, GOLF

Was Gulbis’ nude photo a home run for the LPGA?

Natalie Gulbis’ naked­ness created a minor stir over the past few weeks. Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit issue was the can­vas for her painted body exhi­bition. To no one’s surprise, the result was controversial.

Ron Sirak, noted writer for Golf Digest, expressed an opinion in a Golf World arti­cle that Natalie bravely bared all for the sake of the LPGA. I found that interesting in that I doubt that Gulbis consid­ered what affect her appear­ance would have for the LP­GA. Furthermore, unless someone told you she was nude, you’d have no idea. Her body was painted to look as though she wore a skimpy green and white polka dot bikini. Gulbis, herself, had to say “You never forget the fact that you’re naked,” proving that even she didn’t think she looked nude. Lastly, posing nude is way overblown in my opinion — certainly no one would pay to see me naked — but a naked body is a naked body is a naked body — you’ve seen one, you’ve really seen them all. And as we all know, it’s not the viewing of the naked body that is desired so much as the endorphin high that can result.

But, I digress. The article brought many responses — among them this anonymous internet poster: “In the article he mentions that it was a home run for her and for the LPGA. I would dis­agree. Ms. Gulbis has dropped to number 125 in the world, had no top 10’s last year, and is rarely competitive in tourna­ments. Yet she somehow is in­vited to invitational events denying a better golfer the op­portunity. In my opinion, this happens because Ms. Gulbis is a very attractive woman. It can’t be a reward for her golf.

Quite frankly, many of the guys with whom I play golf had seen her photos, yet none knew where the LPGA was playing last week, who was in the lead, or who had won the previous week. So to say that Ms. Gulbis’ appearance in SI was a home run for the LPGA is a gross exaggeration.” So, not a home run? Perhaps a bunt single? Alas, I’m not sure I can even say that. Per­sonally, I think LPGA Com­missioner Mike Whan, struck out on this. The LPGA has been down this road many times — Laura Baugh, Jan Stephenson, Erica Blasberg — and each time, a sexy spread has done zippo for the tour and only left the participants in golf limbo (perhaps the ex­ception was Stephenson).

There are many men that like to watch the LPGA — and there is a lusty factor there, but do you think that more women would want to watch the PGA if Camilo Villegas appeared in Better Housekeeping with sculpted eyebrows? No, we would just want to see him with his shirt off. The same is true for Natalie and the men watching her — they only want to see her without the paint in Playboy. Sex is about sex, and sex trumps any sport. I think it’s been pretty clear that sex does­n’t sell sports and to go down that road again is farcical.

As for Gulbis, this will prob­ably help her gain sponsor ex­emptions down the road and certainly isn’t going to hurt her appeal for appearances. But you have to ask yourself, “how does posing nude help her golf game?” Natalie’s game isn’t her priority. If it was, she’d have an athlete’s physique and not a model’s body. It seems clear to me that she has decided that she can make more money looking good than playing not­so-good.

In the final analysis, Natalie’s bravest hour may have been when she submitted herself to the pre-painting body wax.


Hanse Design wins olympic contract

The Rio Olympic Committee selected Gil Hanse and his staff over big names such as Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Anni­ka Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa and Gary Player to design the 2016 Olympic course. Hanse teamed with ex-LPGA star Amy Alcott and wowed the committee with his commit­ment to a legacy component that focused on a golf academy facility that would help develop the sport in Brazil.

Hanse has been involved with many noteworthy proj­ects, including the restoration of Winged Foot and the North Course at Las Angeles Country Club. I am familiar with his Boston area work, in­cluding the renovation of the TPC Boston and the design of the Boston Golf Club. He is an authentic architect who has worked his way up the ladder. I’m pleased that he was selected over so many celebrity architects that push their name over the product.

 A golf architect in New Hampshire for over 20 years, Armstrong brought her craft to Las Cruces in January 2010. She is the founder of Armstrong Golf Architects, which provides planning, designing, permitting and construction monitoring services for golf course projects. Mary is also the Executive Director for the Rio Grande Golf Course Superintendents Association. You can comment on her writing and view past articles at her blog: http://roadholeshorts17.wordp







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