Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Confidential Guide to Golf

In the most exciting news of 2014, acclaimed golf architect Tom Doak contacted me about painting the cover art for his highly anticipated re release of The Confidential Guide.   Pictured above is the first of 5 volumes.  The cover of this volume is St. Enodoc hole 6 as seen in a photo Tom took in the Eighties.
To introduce this project I borrow from an interview He did about this great book.
"The original book was printed and given to 40 friends as a Christmas gift in 1988. There were 20 more in 1989 … Norman has a copy of that second printing, I believe.  It was written as a thank-you to people for helping me to get around and see all these courses, so they wouldn’t need to call me and ask which courses they should see in England or Scotland. Since it was strictly for friends, there was zero self-censorship of reviews.
George Peper, the editor of GOLF Magazine , was one of the first recipients, and he wrote about the book in his column in the September, 1989 issue. After that, I started getting requests for it … and notes from people who had “seen pages” or had pirate copies! There were some inquires from publishers, which led to my second book, The Anatomy of a Golf Course. But I still wasn’t sure I wanted to publish The Confidential Guide for a general audience. It was too personal, and I knew it would be controversial. 
I changed my mind in 1994. Business was slow — I paid my associates more that year than I paid myself — and I knew the book had value. Also, a couple of friends [including Ron Whitten] convinced me that most of the people who would be offended by the book were ALREADY offended, so I had nothing to lose and a lot to gain by putting it out there — having seen all those courses was really my main credential for being a golf course architect. So, I decided to print 1000 books and sell them myself. I actually sold about 700 of them by word of mouth, without the benefit of the internet.
My friend Brian Lewis, who helped get the limited-edition book printed for me, convinced me to do the color version for Sleeping Bear Press a couple of years later. The attraction of that edition was being able to share all my photographs. There were 12,000 copies in that run, and it’s been out of print ever since.
I should note that the new edition is entirely new. The last version of the book was stored on old floppy disks, which my computer can’t read, so I had to retype the whole book, and I’ve rewritten most of it in the process"  -Tom Doak
This wasn't the first time Tom has given me the chance to help in one of his fine efforts.  Tom owns an original of Pacific Dunes hole 9 and its upper green.  He has also asked me to work on a couple of original commissions as gifts and one project to go unnamed for now.
The most amazing part of this already amazing gesture was that Tom never offered any "in process" constructive critique of the painting other than  "It looks terrific!  Good call on the white dog, that makes him a focal point, as he should be.  I can't tell you what if anything more needs doing, it looks great to me."  
He shows real trust in telling me my painting will be on the cover before he has even seen the painting.  It is a pressure situation for me knowing how opinionated and discerning he is, but all I can do is go with my gut, give it my very best effort with everything I have ever learned about oil painting and try and create something unique and memorable. Even after hearing his initial feedback in quotes above, I wasn't about to jinx myself and make public the exciting job I had gotten until the book went to press.  Which it now has.  Hope you can look it up, it will be a valuable tool and a great, fun read.  Just like version 1, it has already generated some controversial buzz with some low course grades.

Original Version

Have a great weekend.
Josh Smith

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