One of the perks of covering this great game: you get around. Here’s a chronological look back at some of the far-flung and fabulous spots to which our staff traveled in 2017, as captured on our phones.
Jan. 14: Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links
This was my first visit to Pebble, and I was surprised to discover the hype is most definitely not overblown. It’s majestic and breathtaking. This photo, looking out to the peninsula where the 6th and 7th holes reside, doesn’t do the place justice. Not even close. — Lucas O’Neill
March 17: Scottsdale (Ariz.) National GC
The aptly-named Bad Little Nine short course at Bob Parsons's desert playground has some...um…unique holes. This one is a doozy. — Mike Chwasky
April 3: Augusta (Ga.) National GC
I love taking my camera out for Masters practice rounds, especially on Monday. This is the scene from my favorite spot for spectator viewing — the bleachers to the left of the 15th green. Beside sweet views of that par 5, you can also peer down on the par-3 16th, where pros skip shots across the pond during their practice rounds. You can see a lot of Augusta just from watching on TV, but this is one angle you can only get in person. — Jeff Ritter
May 1: The Long Knockers Driving Range, Philadelphia
This photo was taken on my iPhone by a passerby at the Long Knockers, the popular name for a driving range on North 33rd Street in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia. I am in the Bay Hill shirt. The man with the sunglasses is Pancho Thorton, a veteran caddie at Merion Golf Club and, on an informal basis, a golf instructor at Long Knockers. Pancho signed off on a new address position and backswing I was fiddling with in the early season. I took his encouragement to the finals of two club titles (handicap events) this year, though I lost both. Meeting Pancho reminded me that this game, no matter how long you have been at it, has surprises in store for you. — Michael Bamberger
June 10: Ramsey (N.J.) Golf and Country Club
Playing a quick nine with my two boys is always the highlight of my weekend, as you can probably tell from this photo. After Michael and Rory closed out this match (3&2) on the 16th hole at RG&CC, they were all smiles. Yet another win for Team Under Armour! — Ryan Asselta
June 17: Jackson, Wisc.
At the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, our staff’s rental house came complete with a basement putting green, where most nights we banged putts into the wee hours. On Saturday night, the team got a little punchy, with Alan Bastable attempting a daring shot from the jaws of Sean Zak. I don’t recall if he made the putt (I’m guessing he did not), but I’ll never forget the good times from that week. — Jeff Ritter
July 17: Royal Birkdale GC, Southport, England
There are few settings in golf grander than the 18th-hole grandstands at the Open Championship, where the action is seamlessly funneled to the final green. I took this picture on Monday of Open week after a quick jaunt around Royal Birkdale. This spot was also the site of two memorable moments that I witnessed up close: Branden Grace putting the finishing touches on his record-breaking 62 on Saturday and Jordan Spieth capturing the third leg of the career Grand Slam on Sunday. — Josh Berhow
Aug. 3: TPC Stonebrae, Hayward, Calif.
Not long after I snapped this photo at the Web.com’s Ellie Mae Classic, a young boy in the gallery begged Steph Curry to autograph his shoe. Curry called back, "I gotta keep moving but throw me your shoe and I'll sign it." So, of course, the kid flings his sneaker to Curry, who signs it while striding up the fairway, and tosses it back. The kid was so ecstatic, he spent the next few minutes hooting and hollering and running around the nearby hillside, holding his sneaker aloft like the prize that it was. It was thoroughly charming. Everyone seemed to love it, including Curry. Curry was a long way from the best ball-striker in that event, but he gave a master class on how to handle pressure, and how to engage with the crowds. — Josh Sens
Sept. 21: Tijeras Creek GC, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
This is a photo of my husband, Paul, teeing off on one of my favorite holes at Tijeras Creek, a course we always play during our annual family vacation in California. It was actually the first round we’d played together since our round on New Year¹s Eve in 2015, which was the day before we found out that I was pregnant with our daughter, who is now nearly 16 months old. It was great to be back on the course together, and although my game was admittedly rusty, Paul’s was not. He carded a personal-best seven birdies! — Jessica Marksbury
Sept. 26: Liberty National GC, Jersey City, N.J.
U.S. Presidents Cup assistant captain Tiger Woods seemingly casts a spell as Jordan Spieth looks on, entranced by the powers of the Big Cat. The American squad possessed some magic of its own that week, thumping the Internationals, 19-11.. — Dylan Dethier
Sept. 28: Liberty National GC, Jersey City, N.J.
I was only a few weeks into my job here at GOLF when the Presidents Cup was contested just across the river from our Lower Manhattan office. On the first day of competition, I managed to get myself into a crowded press box next to the 1st tee. Rowdy fans from around the world chanted and cheered for Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, who were surprise attendees. After the distinguished guests made their rounds and posed for photos, I saw Tiger and Obama having what appeared to be a candid conversation, away from TV cameras and professional photographers. I wasn’t close enough to eavesdrop, but I think Tiger guaranteed a Masters win in 2018. — Tim Reilly
Oct. 3: Silo Ridge, Amenia, N.Y.
I snapped this pano of Silo Ridge (that’s the home hole in center) before a crisp, early-morning fall round on this rugged-yet-regal Discovery Land Company property. Yes, the golf is a stunning as it looks, to say nothing of the gluttony at your disposal at the developer’s legendary “comfort stations.” A top-three golf day in 2017, no question. And before you ask, no filter. — David DeNunzio
Nov. 23: Ash Brook Golf Course, Scotch Plains, N.J.
With temperatures just a few ticks above freezing, Thanksgiving was hardly an ideal golf day in central New Jersey. But what else are you going to do with three growing boys (and one greying one) in the long hours between French toast and roast turkey? So off I went with my brood — ages 5, 8 and 11 — for a chilly nine at the hilly par-3 course at my local muni. These rounds generally follow the same soul-crushing pattern and this loop was no exception: boundless enthusiasm on the first tee, moaning and fighting over the next three or four holes, followed by an emotional and sometimes physical breakdown down the finishing stretch, as evidenced here by my 8-year-old, Henry, and, further down the fairway, 5-year-old Declan. I wanted to scoop them up and assure them that the game will get easier. But I don’t like lying to my kids. — Alan Bastable
Dec. 3: Albany, The Bahamas
There's plenty to see and remember from this rather uninspiring shot, which I took during the final round of the Hero World Challenge. This is the 4th hole. That’s Tiger Woods on the left, sporting his favorite color. On the dune to the right is tennis great Rafa Nadal and his posse. An optimist would be excited about Nadal flying in to watch his buddy race up the leaderboard for the first time since The Fusion. The pessimist would look at Nadal's crew and remember just how surreal the seaside setting was. They didn't have inside-the-ropes badges, but they still strolled wherever they pleased. So did many of the other 300 or so spectators. It wasn't a normal tournament. It certainly wasn't a normal Tiger gallery. Wherever Woods plays next, he'll be the first to realize the difference. — Sean Zak
Dec. 15: Diamante, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
At a private clinic for club members that I attended just last week, a pain-free and in-form Woods shows the dark clouds are literally and figuratively behind him. — Joe Passov