Monday, April 6, 2015

Augusta National & The Masters

Photos Taking us Back to the Beginning of the Masters

Frank and Lee enjoying the veranda at Augusta National
As we are in the final days before the Masters, we wanted to share some special photos with you. Frank Christian, Sr., was a great friend of Bobby Jones', and became the Club Photographer soon after Augusta National opened. Please enjoy the paragraph by Frank Christian, Jr., as well as the photos by both Frank Sr. and Frank Jr. 

Frank Christian, Jr. and Lee Brandenburg, owner of Cinnabar Hills Golf Club, are great friends and share the love for Augusta National and the Masters. In this picture you can see Mr. Frank Christian, Jr and Mr. Brandenburg enjoy the scenery from the veranda at Augusta National.

This blog post only contains a couple of pictures from this incredible collection. To view all of them (there are over 100 great Masters  photos), please go to:

As told by Frank Christian, Jr:

Frank Christian, Sr, in Augusta
1927, as he was the apprentice to
his uncle Montell. Six years later,
he became the photographer
for the newly established
Augusta National Golf Club
Bobby Jones and Dr. Alister Mackenzie, scoping
out the future Augusta National design, 1932
Photo by Frank Christian, Sr
"My father, Frank Christian, came to Augusta in 1927 to learn the photography trade from his uncle, Montell. In the course of photographing guests at the newly constructed Forrest Hills Resort, my father met and became friends with Bobby Jones who played the Augusta course often. In 1930, Jones' Grand Slam year, my father covered the Southeastern Open, which was held at the Forrest Hills course and the Augusta Country Club. Bobby Jones was impressed with my father's work and soon after invited him to accept the job as Club Photographer at the newly formed Augusta National Golf Club. I sort of grew up there. I was introduced to Bobby Jones in 1942 when I accompanied my father to the ANGC for an assignment. Mr. Jones must have taken a liking to me because he gave me one of his golf clubs along with my first golf lesson. As my father's assistant, I made my first photos at the Masters in 1948. I worked at the club with my father through 1954 when my father had a massive heart attact. His career was over and I carried on with his work. I was the Club Photographer at the ANGC for a 52 year period, retiring in 2000. Most of the information about our family is contained in my book, The Augusta National and the Masters, A Photographers' Scrapbook." 

Horton Smith putting on the 8th green of the first Masters
Invitational Golf Tournament in 1934. Denny Shute
is looking on. Photo by Frank Christian, Sr

To purchase prints, please email Frank Christian, Jr. himself at

For more information, consider ordering the book Augusta National & The Masters, written by Frank Christian. 

Here is a video clip of an interview with Frank Jr. from the Golf Channel:

Friday, January 9, 2015

The British Open - Claret Jug

The British Open, or The Open, is the oldest of the four majors played today, dating back to the year 1860. The tournament started out with a field of only eight professionals who played three rounds of 12 holes in one day at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. The following description is posted below the Claret Jug replica, which is on display at Cinnabar Hills Golf Club. 

The description posted below The Claret Jug Replica, located in the Brandenburg Historical Golf Museum at Cinnabar Hills Golf Club 
In 1871, Prestwick Golf Club agreed to organize the tournament jointly with The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, and in 1892 it expanded from 36 to 72 holes. With the growing number of entrants, a cut was introduced after 36 holes in 1898. Full responsibility for The Open in was handed over to The R&A Golf Club in 1920.
The Claret Jug replica, located in the Brandenburg Historical Golf Musem

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Countdown to Ryder Cup 2014

Who was Mr. Ryder?

A sample of Ryder's
Penny Packet seeds
Early Life
Born in 1858 in Lancashire, England, Samuel Ryder was the fourth of eight children. His father, Samuel Ryder, Sr., was a gardener whose business expanded to include a nursery, florist, and seed merchant. Samuel Jr. worked for his father for a while, but frictions between them eventually drove Samuel Jr. to move to southern England and join a rival seed merchant. 

Samuel Ryder soon came up with a brilliant idea -- to sell small amounts of seeds in packets priced at a penny each. Overnight, the "penny seed packets" business was born and grew instantly. 

Golf Ryder frequently suffered from poor health. Before he started his penny seed packet business, he studied to become a teacher at Owens College. He wasn't able to graduate due to his poor health. When he was 50 years old, his friend Frank Wheeler suggested that he took up the game of golf as a way to get more fresh air. Ryder fell in love with the game and quickly reached a single digit handicap. He joined Verulam Golf Club, where he served on the greens committee for 20 years. During a family vacation at Dorset, he ran into the Whitcombe brothers (Ernest, Charles, and Reg) who were English professional golfers in the 1920's and 30's. Ryder was very impressed by their game and wondered if they would be playing in The Open that year. The Whitcombe brothers explained that they couldn't afford to play in an event like that. They explained, "The Americans come over here smartly dressed and backed by wealthy supporters; the Britisher has a poor chance compared to that." 
The replica of the Ryder Cup trophy, located in the
Brandenburg Historical Golf Museum at
Cinnabar Hills Golf Club

After his encounter with the Whitcombe brothers, Ryder made it his mission to have clubs encourage young golfers like them. Over the following few years, Ryder expanded this idea with sponsorship of tournaments. His interest in challenge matches ultimately resulted in his donation of the famous Ryder Cup trophy.

Ernest and Charles Whitcombe played in the 1929 and 1931 Ryder Cup events, representing Britain. All three brothers played in the 1935 Ryder Cup.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How Science has Influenced the Golf Ball

Golf has arguable become one of the most science-influenced sports. The first types of clubs -- wooden sticks -- have been replaced by clubs made out of carbon fiber, titanium, or scandium. The golf balls started out as pebbles or wooden spheres (which were more or less round), now have two, three, or four layers of synthetic material with 350-400 dimples. The equipment in your bag will have great influence on how well you play, and today's club fitters are essential to how well your set of clubs fit you. Yes, golf has definitely come a long way.

The History of the Golf Ball: The Feathery Ball is Born

When golf first came about, sometime in the 14th Century, most golf balls consisted of a hardwood sphere. Typically, the hardwood selected was beech or boxroot. The game evolved, and eventually cow's fur or wool covered in leather was the newer and better choice. Soon golf enthusiasts realized that if the leather was stuffed with feathers (they would use as many feathers as would fill a top hat), the ball would travel farther. The feather ball was also livelier and longer lasting. The downside? It was very pricey to make and required expertise to create. Next time you complain about the money you spent on that sleeve of  ProV1's, imagine this (courtesy of
  • It took a bucket of boiled goose feathers to make one single Feathery golf ball.
  • A skilled Feathery golf ball maker could only produce about four of them in a day. 
  •  It was virtually impossible to make a truly round Feathery golf ball. 
  • A player may have gotten as few as 2 rounds out of a Feathery golf ball.
  • If it got wet, the Feathery golf ball would come apart. 
  • It's hard to imagine being able to keep any type of golf ball dry during a round of golf on the Scottish links.

A case filled with golf balls, every one with different looking dimples. You
have large circles, small circles, squares, a mix of squares and circles, and then,
of course, the inverted dimples.

The Gutty Ball

The gutty ball made its appearance in the mid-1800s. Gutty-percha is a rubber-like material, consisting of the dried sap from a tree. The material was easy to come by, it was inexpensive, and easy to mold. When the gutty ball first came about, the ball was perfectly smooth. It was soon realized that the ball would fly farther and truer once some nicks were made on the ball, so players would intentionally scratch up the ball. This is how the birth of the dimples came about. With the gutty balls being made for a fraction of the price of a feathery ball, for the first time, a golf ball had become affordable to the general public.

From then on, different manufacturers tried different methods. The Bramble, with its raised dimples, and the Mesh, with square dimples... you name it, manufactures tried it. Star-shaped dimples, oval balls, one which resembled the barrel of a gun (which did work, actually, but only if you hit it 100% straight). They tried everything. Finally, in 1932, the Royal & Ancient Golf Association and the U.S.G.A. reached a partial compromise for weight and size of a legal golf ball: The maximum weight of a golf ball would be set at 1.62 oz and the Royal & Ancient Golf Association wanted a minimum diameter of 1.62 inches. The U.S.G.A accepted the new weight but maintained 1.68in as the diameter.

The displays in these pictures are all found at the Brandenburg Historical Golf Museum. The evolution of the golf ball has been essential to the game. Can't help but wonder how Rory and Rickie would do with these old golf balls.
"The History of the Golf Ball" Display, located
in the Brandenburg Historical Golf Museum

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Yelp Elite Tee Party at Cinnabar Hills

Photo Courtesy: Alex Liu
 From all of us at Cinnabar Hills, thank you attending the Yelp Tee Party!  A special thanks to soon to be former and up and coming South Bay CMs Abby S. and Candice G for helping us organize the Tee Party.
All of us agree that all of you are the BEST group we have hosted here at Cinnabar.
Thank you again for attending, and please keep us in mind for future golf and or/special events.
Photo Courtesy: Alex Liu
Photo Courtesy: Alex Liu
Photo Courtesy: Alex Liu

Photo Courtesy: Alex Liu

Friday, April 4, 2014

Masters 1996

Less than a week to the Masters. This is such an exciting time of the year for sports fans. Thinking back to the most memorable Sundays of the Masters, one that stands out may not have had so much to do with who won, but rather, who didn't win. In 1996, the special Sunday we all look forward to, became increasingly difficult to watch.

Greg Norman started out leading after each of the three first rounds. With scores of 63-69-71, he was miles ahead of the rest of the field. This could be his first Masters win, after finishing runner-up in 1986 and 1987. Nick Faldo, already a two-time winner at the Masters, was in second place, six shots behind Norman. Sunday was looking like it would be a relaxing journey to first place for the Aussie. After starting off with a bogey, Norman settled down and birdied the second hole. One more bogey at the fourth wasn't causing any alarm, but it was towards the turn that things started happening. Faldo crept closer, and after Norman's bogey-bogey-bogey-double on holes 9 through 12, the spectators who had been wishing for an exciting Sunday started cringing in their seats. This was a tough Masters to watch. After the +5 over four holes, Faldo was now ahead by two shots. Norman had no chance of coming back. He ended up with a 78 on the final day, 15 shots higher than his Thursday opening round.
Nick Faldo's signature in the Masters Champions picture, located in the
Brandenburg Historical Golf Museum at Cinnabar Hills.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sorenstam's 59

Sunday, March 16, 2014, marked the 13-year anniversary of Annika Sorenstam's 59, the lowest round in LPGA tour history. During the second round of the Standard Register Ping tournament at Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix, AZ, the Swede was inducted in a club with very few members -- the 59 club.

It was evident that the round was going to be special, right from the start. Beginning on the back nine, Sorenstam started out with eight consecutive birdies. Yes -- eight birdies and eight under par after eight holes. She was 12 under par after 13 holes.

Sorenstam's scorecard during the second round at the Standard Register
Ping Tournament.Starting on the 10th hole, she began
the round with eight straight birdies.

Keeping her game consistent throughout the round, Sorenstam knew she was on track to break 60. "I made such an incredible start," she told ESPN following the round. "I had a lot of thoughts in my head. I was trying to stay calm and hit the good shots, trying to hit it straight every time." On the 17th hole, a 476-yard par 5, Sorenstam drove the ball down the middle and hit a long iron to reach the green on the fly. The 20-foot eagle putt ran through a swale, stopping 8 inches away from the hole for a tap-in birdie. The spectators broke out in applause, and you could feel the tension in the air from the large crowd who now had started following the group.

On the 18th hole, Sorenstam again drove the ball down the middle, hit the green in regulation, and two-putted to finish this memorable round. She leaped into the arms of her caddie, Terry McNamara.

With a total of 25 putts on the 6,459-yard course, Sorenstam missed only one fairway and hit every green in regulation. She recorded a total of 13 birdies, no bogeys, and the rest pars. Her longest par putt was 3,5 feet. "You can use all the words you want -- impressive, simple," said Meg Mallon who played with her. "She put on a putting display, especially on the front side. She hit the right shots. It was the kind of round everyone dreams of playing."

Annika following her 59.
Sorenstam broke a number of records. Her score beat the previous low round of 61, held by Karrie Webb and Se Ri Pak. At 13 under par, she also beat the score in relation to par by two shots, formerly held by Webb and Vicki Fergon. Her front-nine of 28 matched the existing record for nine holes, previously recorded by Mary Beth Zimmerman in 1984.

Making the moment even more special, Sorenstam played this round with her sister, the three-year-younger defending champion of the tournament, Charlotta.

Sorenstam remains, after being retired since 2008, the woman with the most wins in LPGA history with a total of 72. She has overall 89 professional wins, 10 of which are major championship titles. She was inducted in the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003, and was also the first woman to break the $20 million earning barrier with her $22 million.
Sorenstam is perhaps better known competing in a PGA tour event. In 2003, she was invited to play in the Bank of America Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. This made her the first woman since Babe Zaharias, who qualified for the 1945 Los Angeles Open, to play in a PGA event, and it wasn't without criticism. Many players voiced their displeasure, but as usual, Sorenstam teed it up on the first hole and split the fairway in two. Playing from the men's tees, Sorenstam shot a first round 71 (+1) but missed the cut after scoring +5 over the qualifying rounds, mainly due to poor putting during the second round. She has since talked about how nervous she was during the event, but she was overall pleased with her performance. The same year, Sorenstam won both the LPGA Championship and the Women's British Open, becoming only the sixth player in LPGA tour history to complete the Career Grand Slam.

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