Greetings NGN readers! Yesterday I was at The Barclays at Liberty National for a work event and was able to get some behind the scenes access and watch some of the practice rounds. Since the course is in my backyard (almost literally), I thought I’d share a few thoughts with you on the course and from my observations yesterday:
- Patrick Reed’s wife carries his golf bag and does other caddie duties like read greens. The bag is also 3/4 the size of her!
- Jason Day is a nice guy. Yes he is not a Nike guy (yet), but my wife and I ran into him and his caddie eating dinner at the restaurant down the street from us last night and we said hi and wished him luck.
- Patrick is listed as 6’0 on PGATour.com but is definitely shorter than that and he absolutely crushes the ball. The ball sounds like it explodes every time he hits it.
- Robert Garrigus lost a ton of weight – WOW.
- Most of the players are really tall with extremely fast swing speeds.
- Their short games are insane – more on this below.
- The course is pristine right now and if the players don’t hit fairways then they are in a world of trouble.
- Jeff Overton reached the short par 4 – 15th hole (i believe) on his drive.
- Charley Hoffman almost hit a volunteer with a very errant drive that sliced in the next hole’s tee box. It was cool to see them hit shots like us.
- Every player was super nice and appreciative of the fans. Kevin Chappell was particularly nice signing autographs along the way – just like most pros.
- Nick Watney has a great short game.
- KJ Choi and Jim Furyk were in the short game practice area for a while.
- Sean Foley is the best dressed guy on course and was walking with Lee Westwood who is enormous.
Here are some photos:
Nick Watney crushing the ball off the tee.
Here’s me with the Barclays trophy during my behind-the-scenes tour.
I was at an event off the 3rd hole where people were practicing putts from all directions. After they finished here they walked right past the United Lounge where I snapped this from.
Here’s Phil after he knocked it close. Some players choose to practice alone or with one other person. Phil was playing with Jeff Overton, Brenden Steele and Charley Hoffman. It was cool to hear their banter but I don’t think they were betting.
Here’s Phil’s tee shot. His much talked-about “driver” is tiny. Must be 330cc or around there.
Here’s the view from the member’s tee on the 18th of Liberty National. The Pros will tee it up from about 50 yards past here. In the background you can see the Jersey City skyline including the tallest building in NJ – the Goldman Sachs Tower. If you go right off the tee prepare to say Bye Bye to Par on this hole.
The clubhouse has only 3 apartments right now. When the economy picks up there will be more. Here’s a couple balconies from the clubhouse which has a very modern design. The view overlooks the water and their dedicated Ferry dock.
Here’s the driving range. I wasn’t allowed to get into this area, but I found two nice women who accompanied me through my second try, and guess what, when I was with the two women it was no problem accessing this area! HA!
Here’s the tee shot from the fourth hole I think. Also taken from the United lounge. That’s Kevin Chappell who smacked his shot down the fairway. A lot of players are using 2-iron or hybrid here. Patrick Reed absolutely drilled a 2-iron off the tee here.
Here’s the Interview room where the PGA Tour asks 4 or 5 players to give interviews. Players are independent contractors so they don’t need to do this, but they do it as a favor.
The Media center is tucked away in the parking lot and a lot of people will be in here all week. That’s Doug Ferguson up front. He’s the golf writer for AP.
The green of the 18th hole is very undulating. Here is Scott Stallings trying to figure out how to play all the slopes.
Here’s a view of the approach on 18 from a law firm’s hospitality suite. They have an amazing view – not sure how much it costs to rent out this suite.
Here’s the approach on 17. Players hit uphill to a green that is slightly tucked right. Dustin and Keegan both found the fairway here. Some players were practicing bunker shots from about this distance and absolutely flying the ball. These guys are good – REAL good.
Nike had 8 shirts in the pro-shop with two of them from the TW line. All apparel in the store have The Barclays logo on it. My favorite was that blue and green striped one. Also there was a green TW polo that was awesome, should be a big seller.
I picked up this headcover for my putter. It has the Statue of Liberty on the top with The Barclays logo on one side and the Liberty National logo on the other. I thought it was a nice little tribute to my home city – Jersey City.
Here’s my dog, Maddie, trying to determine if this is something she can eat.