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FREE December 2012 – January 2013

News for the serious golfer

NEWS

RORY McILROY:

BORN TO PLAY

Current affairs and a year in review PG

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PROFILE

Branden Grace riding out a smoking hot 2012 PG

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HOT TOPIC

The proposed new belly putter rule PG

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EQUIPMENT

The season’s hottest woods, irons and putters PG

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EDITORIAL

Changes for the better? F

or years and years the R&A have been going about their business under the radar as it were and were doing a very good job of it. But suddenly you can’t pick up a golf magazine or visit a golf website without some mention of what the governing bodies are doing and why, and I am sad to say not all of it is positive. There is enough said later in this issue about the putter and anchoring debate so I won’t touch on that here but if that wasn’t causing enough debate the R&A and Links Trust have announced that changes will be made to the Old Course, that hallowed piece of ground, seemingly owned by every golfer worldwide. No golf course remains unaltered. Nature creates new erosion patterns that shift sands and soil. Agronomic techniques come along that make it possible to manage turfgrass in ways unimaginable more than a century ago when St. Andrews greenkeeper Old Tom Morris relied upon a handful of labourers and a top-dressing program limited to “more sand” tossed from a wheelbarrow. If changes have to be made, the question is what changes are being made and what is the motivation behind these changes? R&A chief executive Peter Dawson says there is too much hysteria surrounding planned changes to the Old Course, and has called for balance and perspective from the golfing world. He claims that alterations in preparation for the 2015 Open Championship will stay true to

the Old Course’s original design. Again I ask, are the changes just being made with an eye on the 2015 Open Championship. If that is the case then it is logical to assume that the changes are aimed at that select group of 156 top professional and amateur players and are aimed at toughening up the course to protect par. The Championship is played at the Old Course every 5 years so do they really need to protect par at the Old Course and does it make any difference to everyday golfers. And who cares about par. Par is only there as a measure or standard of measure, mainly so we can compare performance by different players with varying skill levels. For the top tournament player par should mean nothing at all. There are no handicaps to take into account and the winner is simply the player who records the lowest score over the 72 holes. Be that as it may the changes are underway. They are being made in two phases, with some taking place over this winter and others next winter. Dawson explains some of the first-phase changes and why: No. 17: Road Hole Bunker “The work is virtually finished. These changes are so ‘major’ they’ve been done in less than a week! Let’s get this in perspective. The Road Bunker is rebuilt every year because it gets so much play and so much damage. Historically it has been left to the green keepers to rebuild it. That means it has never been rebuilt the same way twice. The bunker has

tee to Green always changed in depth, and quite often changed in shape, and quite often the approach contours have changed a bit. No. 11 Green “We want a left-hand pin position and a left-hand back pin position, which we currently don’t have. That will bring Hill Bunker into play on the left. The issue is that at old green speeds, before mowers were properly invented and greens were four on the stimpmeter or something like that, you could get a pin position on the left hand side. But now when we are at 10.5 in the summer and in The Open, we found that you couldn’t get a pin there that wasn’t Mickey Mouse. No. 2 green “This will be the most noticeable change this winter. We don’t use the bottom part of the green on the right-hand side at Championship time because it’s far too easy. The reason it’s too easy is that the land to right of the green is very, very flat and you are on grass that is as good as putting greens at most courses. So there is almost no premium for hitting the green. What we are planning to do there is make the flat part to the right of the green slightly undulating. It will be just enough to make you think about what line you’ve got to take with the putter. I must say after reading this explanation and the reasoning behind it, the R&A have probably got it spot on with their first round of changes. There is nothing too dramatic and unless you are one of the fortunate few who get to play the course regularly you probably would not even notice them. There is a lesson to be learned for all golf clubs here. Do not make changes simply for the sake of change or to protect par.

Editorial Board Editor-in-Chief Dennis Bruyns bruyns@icon.co.za teetogreen@ballyhoomedia.co.za Publisher Eric Bornman eric@ballyhoomedia.co.za Creative Director Steven Macbeth Art Director Tumi Sibambo Financial Manager Morgan Lufumpa Contributors Theo Bezuidenhout, Dr Rowena Thomson-Selibowitz, Callum Scott Published by Ballyhoo Media Company Reg No 2007/207595/23 14 6TH Street, Parkhurst, Johannesburg South Africa, 2193 PO Box 3125, Parklands, 2121 Tel: 086 111 4626 Fax: 086 6706429 Printed by Paarl Coldset Tee to Green is published monthly by Ballyhoo Media in association with Easygolf Publishing. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of either parties. No responsibility is accepted for errors as all information was believed to be correct at the time of print. Copyright subsists on all content within this publication. Any reproduction without consent is strictly prohibited and may constitute a criminal offence.

Got something to get off your chest? Have something good (or bad) to say about the paper? Any feedback and ideas are welcome so go ahead and mail us on teetogreen@ballyhoomedia.co.za. The winning letter will receive one of three pairs of Tag Heuer sunglasses. CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR NOVEMBER WINNERS Tag Heuer Eyewear: Darel Orkin, Brian von Sorgenfrei Volvo Golf Champions: ProAm spot – Sol Morris, Hospitality tickets – Graeme Forbes, Access tickets – Khambule Mandla

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News, Views and Reviews Warren Little/Getty Images

International and Local

WILL the NGC suRVIVe?

The off course talk at Sun City was all about the future of the Nedbank Golf Challenge. After 32 years would this popular event continue next year, taking into account the competition it will face from the Tournament of Hope, a World Golf Championship event, which will be hosted locally for the next 10 years. Unlike the Nedbank Golf Challenge, the Tournament of Hope, which boasts a prize fund of $8.5m, has been supported by the International Federation of PGA Tours.

“there is no doubt in my mind that we can continue with the event in its current format”

Deutschland Double for Kaymer and Langer M

artin Kaymer wanted one victory from his 2012 season, and finally achieved his goal with a two-stroke victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Sunday. “I’m very happy to finally win this year, that was the most important thing for me, because I was practicing very hard, I played very well the last few weeks and months, but it just did not happen for me on the golf course. I said to Craig, my caddy, we have to win one tournament every year and this is our last chance, fortunately we could bring it home,” he said. The German’s win was preceded by countryman Bernhard Langer’s victory in the Nedbank Champions Challenge. It’s the first time that Gary Player Country Club has produced winners from the same country. “Bernhard has been a very, very big help for me. There was a little bit more pressure today, everybody was talking about the German double. I am very fortunate that everything

worked out the way I was hoping it would and obviously very nice from Bernhard that he congratulated me straight away,” said Kaymer. The former world number one began the day one stroke ahead, raced forward with an eagle at the second and then speed wobbled with a double-bogey at the third. He regrouped with a run of five pars and, once settled, stretched out his lead with three birdies around the turn. On the back stretch Charl Schwartzel made his move and managed to get within a stroke. Although he’s recovered from a torn intercostal muscle, he still seems to lack that killer instinct that earned him a green jacket in 2011. He struggled to capitalize on opportunities over the closing holes and went on to set the clubhouse lead at six-under-par for the tournament. That left Kaymer to a comfortable two-stroke lead heading down the

18th, and the Ryder Cup hero knew exactly how to close out the tournament. His victory marks the fifth consecutive international winner at the $5-million tournament. American Bill Haas carded a final-round 71 to claim sole third, while Louis Oosthuizen never got the hang of the greens and floundered to sole fourth with his Sunday 74. Defending champion Lee Westwood’s chances were destroyed by a seven at the par-five 14th, and the Englishman finished sole fifth with his one-under-par total. Bernhard Langer was in a league of his own at the Nedbank Champions Challenge and claimed a wire-to-wire victory in his 16th appearance at Sun City. “I felt it was very, very tricky today with the wind, and it came down to the last, but I’m very happy to come away with the victory here. This is a great tournament in every way – the organization, the people everything is good when you come here,” he said.

Apart from its bigger prize fund, the Tournament of Hope will attract more golfers as it will boast a maximum field of 72, and will offer golf world ranking points — which the Nedbank Golf Challenge may find itself fighting to retain. As if that were not enough, there have been suggestions that Nedbank may be interested in sponsoring the Tournament of Hope, which could jeopardise the Sun City event. Speaking on behalf of Sun International Alistair Roper, however, was confident that the NGC could survive. He said: “There is still not a proper resolution about where we stand, but we will meet with the Sunshine Tour again in the next few weeks to discuss possible solutions. “However, there is no doubt in my mind that we can continue with the event in its current format, and if we have to go up against tournaments like the Gary Player Invitational or the Alfred Dunhill Championship, then so be it.” Commenting on the future of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, Sunshine Tour commissioner Selwyn Nathan said: “There have been discussions between the promoters of the Tournament of Hope, Sun International and Nedbank about the possibility of doing something together. And until those discussions have been concluded, I cannot say anything. Our primary goal is to do what is best for golf.


8 Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images

SA Open to Sweden

It’s been more than three long years for Henrik Stenson, but the victory drought was broken as the rain arrived on Sunday together with a three-stroke victory in the South African Open Championship. The Swede carded a final-round one-under-par 71 to hold off South Africa’s George Coetzee over the 7,096-metre (7,761-yard) Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate. “It’s three-and-a-half years since I last won,” he said. “When it takes that long between wins, you wonder if there is going to be a next one. You’ve just got to fight hard and put all the hard work in because, with this game, if you don’t put anything in, you’re not getting anything back. So I’m very relieved to have won this one.” And he needed to ward off a spirited challenge from Coetzee, as well as some ropey play of his own before he was able to lift the trophy of the second oldest open championship in golf. And the welcome he received from the fans – as Coetzee generously stood back and allowed the Swede to drink in the moment – warmed the heart of the man who thrilled South African fans with a runaway victory in the 2008 Nedbank Golf Challenge. “It’s been a great week here,” said Stenson. “I’ve felt a lot of support from the South African fans, so they must have been following me when I was here before. Obviously everyone was pulling for George, and I’m sure he’s a bit disappointed. But he played well and he’ll get that win in due course. Sometimes you’ve got to put a lot of effort in and position yourself a lot of times.” Just as Stenson did in those lean three-and-a-half years.

Victory for Team Clark in Gary Player Invitational Tim Clark credits the Gary Player Invitational, presented by CocaCola, for being the start of his professional success. So it was only right that in his first appearance in a South African tournament in two years, Clark should lead his team to glory in this charity tournament. At the end of an event which raised a record of just over R4 million for charity this year, Clark and his team of Scottish football legend Kenny Dalglish and businessmen Alex Maditsi and Doug Jackson celebrated a seven-point victory at Zimbali Country Club on Sunday. And they did so in style, with Jackson holing a putt from off the green on the last for a birdie at the end of a final round that produced a few moments of brilliance from the amateurs in the field. “I remember being invited to this tournament for the first time in 2000. I was just a rookie professional then, and to have had Gary Player even think of inviting

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me was a big deal. It meant a lot to me. I always feel like that was the start of my career,” said Clark, whose team finished on a 36-hole total of 175 points. Second place went to the team of Ladies European Tour professional Carly Booth, Irish pop star Brian McFadden and businessmen Greg Whittaker and Steve Phytides on a total of 168 points. The final day brought with it tough conditions as a strong wind challenged the field of professionals, celebrities and businessmen. But it couldn’t hamper a few individual highlights. McFadden was thrilled to sign off his debut in this tournament with a second place. “I had the time of my life and I can’t wait for next year,” said the former Westlife star. “But I realized this week I’m not a professional athlete. I think I’ve got more of a physique for pro darts.” Winners, Doug Jackson, Alex Maditsi, Kenny Dalglish and Tim Clark

Appearance Fees

According to a report by Australian Golf Digest, the absences of Rory McIlroy and Ernie Els from the Australian Open are both a matter of appearance fees. Tournament promoters believed they had an “arrangement” with the Northern Irishman’s management for the 23-year-old to play the Australian Open in December. But once the final putt was holed at Kiawah Island, the asking price for the new world No. 1 had escalated dramatically. His appearance fee was about $1 million prior to the US PGA, upon winning a second major McIlroy’s asking price was twice that amount. And that put him out of reach for Australian Open promoters. It was another slap in the face following negotiations with Ernie Els, whose bounty rose after he won this year’s British Open. As Aussie legend, five time British Open winner Peter Thomson explains: “Despite shelling out millions of taxpayer dollars to bring Woods to Australia over the past three years, the country’s golf tour has little to show for it.” I think Tiger Woods’s impact was minimal barring the few days he was here,” the 83-year-old said. “It cost heavily and it changed nothing, fundamentally. The tour still struggles to attract top players because we can’t afford the appearance fees.” Appearance fees for participation other than in the majors, are nothing new, what is changing is the amount the sponsor or promoter has to pay. At prices like this how many tournaments which once attracted world class fields will be reduced to second grade events simply because they can’t afford these huge up front monies. Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images

golf talk


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Putter debate continues

Having clearly set out their intentions to change the rule with regard to anchoring of the club to a players body (see Rules Article) the R&A and USGA have invited feedback on the issue. Well the ink was barely dry on the press release when that feedback started pouring in and very little in support of the proposed changes. And when a body as strong and influential as the PGA of America raises concerns they must take notice. In a recent survey, two-thirds of PGA of America members said they were against banning anchored putters due to concerns over the ban’s effect on the growth of the game and the lack of any data to suggest that anchoring is an advantage. The PGA of America, which represents more than 27,000 teaching professionals and hosts the PGA Championship, shared the results of the survey in a letter to USGA Executive Director Mike Davis and USGA President Glen Nager. “We believe that golf is the greatest of all games,” the PGA of America’s letter stated. “We also believe that we need to continue to do what is necessary to preserve all that makes it unique and, consistent with our mission, take actions to grow the game. Therefore, as you near decisions regarding a potential ban on anchoring, we wanted to be sure that you were aware of the polling results as our PGA members are truly the tangible connection between the game and its participants. The PGA of America is not affiliated with the PGA Tour, which issued its own statement on the ban Wednesday: “While the USGA and The R&A have kept us updated on this proposed rule change, we only recently have been able to review the final language and have not until now had the opportunity to share it with our Policy Board and membership,” the PGA Tour’s statement said. “As with any rule change, we will go through our normal process of evaluating the potential impact this will have to all our constituents. It will be discussed at our next annual player meeting on Jan. 22 in San Diego, and it is anticipated that it will be reviewed by our Policy Board during its March meeting. During this review process, we will provide periodic updates to our stakeholders.” The European Tour is a member of the R&A’s Rules of Golf committee. The USGA is the governing body for golf in the United States and Mexico; the R&A is the governing body for the rest of the world. Speaking for the R&A, Dawson said the European Tour is expected to adapt the rule change without any issue, and recalled a saying of former European Tour official Ken Schofield. “When he was executive director of the European Tour, he said the European Tour are rules followers, not rules makers,” Dawson said. “I think from some remarks attributed over the past two or three days to George O’Grady, that sentiment lives on on the European Tour.”

golf talk

No SA grads at euro tour School

Arm Lock Putter

Seventy-two hours after the USGA and the R&A jointly announced a proposed change to the Rules of Golf that would outlaw anchored putting methods beginning in 2016, Odyssey Golf said it would release a line of putters designed to help players stabilize the club during the stroke. Legally. The 43” Metal-X Arm Lock putters are not intended to be affixed to the abdomen or chest. Instead, the top portion of the grip is intended to press against the lead forearm. “We were kind of waiting with bated breathe to see what the actual rule would be and whether this [design] would be conforming,” says Austie Rollinson, principal designer for Odyssey Golf. “We were happy to see that it was.” Unlike other Odyssey putters, which come with 3° of standard loft, the Arm Lock putters have 7° because pressing the top of the grip against the forearm creates a forward press. Rollinson says that press is about 4°, so to offset the delofting effect, 4° had to be added . The one-piece grip was taken directly from Odyssey’s belly putters. To ensure the club is being used correctly, Odyssey added the words “Arm Lock” to a red area in the section where the club should be fastened against the arm. Matt Kuchar has successfully used this style of putting, and according to the USGA and the R&A, it will remain legal if the proposed rule changes are enacted. “Some people have trouble with the butt end of the club moving independently from how your shoulders rock,” Rollinson says. “This really cuts down on the degrees of freedom that the club has while you are stroking it.” He adds that while the club does not eliminate forearm rotation, the method discourages it, and the player will be inclined to bring the clubhead back to the ball squarely. The Metal-X Arm Lock putters are scheduled to debut early next year

After 28 players from 12 different countries secured their place on The 2013 European Tour International Schedule, we look at the facts and figures behind the 2012 Q-School graduates… • A total of 872 players took part in the Qualifying School across the three stages. There were 685 that played in Stage One, joined by 111 at Stage Two, while a further 76 were exempt to the Final Stage. • A total of 28 players (25 and ties) earned their full European Tour cards for 2013. • There were four players who came through all three Stages of the Qualifying School to gain a card. They were: Moritz Lampert (AM), Peter Erofejeff, David Higgins and Scott Arnold. • Of the 28 qualifiers, there will be nine rookies on The 2013 European Tour. • Of the 28 qualifiers, 12 were fully exempt European Tour Members in the 2012 season. • Here are the countries and the breakdown of players: England – seven, Sweden five, Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Scotland and Spain two and one each for Argentina, Germany, Ireland and Italy. • The youngest player to gain a card was German amateur Moritz Lampert, aged 20 years and 198 days. The oldest was Gary Orr, aged 45 years and 202 days. • Orr also broke the record for the biggest gap between winning his first and latest card. Won his first card in 1992. A gap of 20 years. • Mortiz Lampert is the first amateur to gain a card since Matthew Nixon in 2010 and before that Callum Macaulay in 2008. • 8 South Africans made the final qualifying. They were Tjaart van der Walt, Neil Schietekat, Shaun Norris, Jean Hugo, Justin Harding, Anton Haig, Dylan Fritteli and Trevor Fisher jnr. Fisher jnr missed out by just two strokes over the 108 hole tournament. The others finished well down the list.

From No1 to...

When David Duval shot a 59 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in April 1999 to win the tournament on the final hole and vault to the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings, he was on top of the world. In July 2012? Not so much. The former 2001 British Open champion has won nearly $19 million over the course of his career — not including endorsements — yet apparently finds himself in a bit of financial trouble, and is facing the foreclosure of his Cherry Hills Village, Colorado mansion. Beginning around 2002, after his Open win at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club — the last time the tournament was held at the course before this year — Duval suffered a precipitous decline in performance. Reasons for the drop-off ranged between everything from injuries to a new marriage, but despite finishing tied for second at the 2009 US Open, Duval hasn’t won a tournament since 2001. Once one of the only legitimate rivals to Tiger Woods over the years, Duval has only made one cut in eight tournaments in the 2012 PGA Tour season.

DreSS coDeS

Michael Jordan is an avid golfer, and the basketball great’s passion for the game is well-known. However, that won’t be enough to keep Jordan in a private golf course’s good graces, after His Airness had the audacity to wear cargo shorts while playing a recent round. Jordan will no longer be welcome at La Gorce Country Club, according to the New York Post, because the six-time NBA champion refused to change into Bermuda shorts when other members complained. It appears that the club’s strict dress code requires golfers to wear either Bermuda shorts or slacks while playing, and MJ’s cargo shorts are a no-no. It’s not the first time Jordan has played by his own rules when golf attire is concerned — at the Ryder Cup, Jordan wore acid-washed jeans. When informed of the news that Jordan would no longer be welcome at the course, however, the basketball legend’s camp did not appear too worried. “I guess it’s their loss,” the rep said, “as MJ is a great golfer, and a great guest.”

MJ’s cargo shorts are a no-no


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golf talk

tiger puts hand in pocket

Year-end win for mcDowell.

tiger: Part 2?

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Tiger Woods started his World Challenge in 1999, a chance to bring together top players from around the world for a tournament that amounted to a holiday exhibition to raise money for his foundation. It offered big money, even for the guy who finished last. And though it now awards world ranking points, it does not count as an official win on any tour. But it’s serious business to Woods.When the tournament lost its title sponsor last year, and a deal with a major company unexpectedly fell through at the last minute in early September, Woods spent what is believed to be about $4 million of his own money to join presenting sponsor Northwestern Mutual in covering the operating costs. “We’re going to be doing everything we can to keep the tournament going and keep all our programs going,” Woods said. He described the World Challenge earlier in the week as his “showcase event” that he created with his late father, Earl Woods. And while the trophy and a $1 million check are presented at the end of the week, one of the more compelling moments came before the tournament even started. Standing at a podium Wednesday night at a private pro-am dinner was Edgar Perez, a senior at Savanna High School, located in the same impoverished Orange County neighborhood where the 14-time major champion built his first Tiger Woods Learning Center. Wearing a black suit and a red tie, standing tall before an audience of VIPs, Perez told of his family’s business going bankrupt during the economic downturn when he was in the seventh grade. He described himself as “frail, socially awkward and apathetic.” Upon hearing a presentation from a TWLC alum, the boy turned in his application and became a regular at the state-of-theart centre. As a senior, he is the student body president and the school’s highest achiever. He is likely to become an Earl Woods Scholar to pay for his education at Reed College in Portland, Ore. He would be the first person in his family to go to college,

not unusual for the previous 77 students in the program. Only at the end did his voice crack when he introduced Woods, who embraced him and said to the audience, “Wow.” “This is why we’re here, people like Edgar,” Woods said. The World Challenge has raised $25 million for the foundation since it began, including prize money from Woods. He has won five times, which helps. Only last year was it revealed that Woods also donates his prize money from every tournament that benefits the foundation - the AT&T National, which began in 2007, and the Deutsche Bank Championship, which began in 2003 and became a FedEx Cup playoff event in 2007. That total now stands at $14.2 million.

In an interview with Shane O’Donoghue of CNN’s Living Golf, Tiger Woods talked about his three-win season, which came after a dry stretch in which “there were a lot of people that said I’d never win again.” O’Donoghue then asked Tiger if he read what the media wrote about him, and Tiger said he got their opinions first-hand: “I didn’t have to read it, because every press conference I go to I get hammered – ‘Oh you’re never going to win again blah blah blah’ – and it was every tournament I went to...” “It was a lot there for about a year and a half where I had to answer that question after every single round, pre-tournament, and to do that all a lot and then to pass Jack on the all-time win list this year and do it 10 years younger than him, I think that’s a pretty neat accomplishment.” The 36-year-old Woods won his most recent of 14 majors at the 2008 U.S. Open. Nicklaus won the last of his 18 majors at the 1986 Masters, when he was 46. In the interview, which featured Woods and the current No. 1 player in the world, Rory McIlroy, Woods said he has plenty of time to get to 19 majors. “If you say hypothetically 10 years, that’s 40 more major championships I get a chance to play in and compete in and try to win, and hopefully I can try to at least win five of those.”

Graeme McDowell closed with a 4-under-par 68 to win the 2012 World Challenge presented by Northwestern Mutual by three shots for his first victory in two years. McDowell had to hold off Keegan Bradley, who was only two shots back with five holes to play. McDowell executed some key short-game shots down the stretch and clinched the win with birdies on two of his final three holes. During a soggy week at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., McDowell at one point went 41 holes without a bogey and finished the tournament with only three bogeys. His final round on Sunday also marked the 10th time in 12 rounds at Sherwood he has shot in the 60s. In three trips to the World Challenge, McDowell has won twice and finished second once. “This really caps off my season,” said McDowell, a 33-year-old native of Portrush, Northern Ireland. “We try not to put winning on a pedestal, but this one feels very sweet because it’s been a grind all year.”

Practice makes Perfect

Graeme McDowell may not have won the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. But we’re not sure he really cared. Why, you may ask? Because he won the practice rounds. On a trip to Dubai two weeks before the tournament to see the competition course, McDowell proposed to long-time girlfriend Kristin Stape, according to a Golf Channel report. McDowell took to his knee on a rooftop helipad 656 feet off the ground: “I did it properly, getting down on one knee,” he explained, “She was very shocked and had no idea what was going on.” Apparently, “shocked” and “no idea what was going on” were positive reactions, even atop a 656 foot helipad because she said yes.


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BLAST FROM THE PAST

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Golf’s Great Triumvirate and Big Three The turn of the century, that is from the 19th to the 20th saw the game dominated by three great players, who became known as the Great Triumvirate. This dominance was repeated again in the 1960’s by another three players known as the Big Three. he era from 1894 to 1914 will always be remembered for the mark left on the game of golf by John Henry Taylor, Harry Vardon and James Braid. They collected sixteen Open Championships between them and have left an indelible impression on the game of golf. Harry Vardon hailed from the Channel Island of Jersey and Henry Taylor from Devon in England. The emergence of Vardon and Taylor before the end of the 19th century attests to the rapid spread and widespread play of the game. Both had already established themselves as Open Champions before they were joined by James Braid. In addition to the 16 Open titles the three collected 13 second-place finishes and almost completely excluded a host of great Scots players from the records of the game during that particular period of time. John Henry Taylor won the first of his five Open titles in 1894 at St George’s in England, now Royal St George’s, while Harry Vardon pipped Taylor in a play off in 1896 to land the first of a record six titles. James Braid won his first of five Open Championships in 1901 to join Vardon and Taylor as the dominant forces of the day. Though also winning the French Open, unlike Vardon and Taylor, Braid never made the transatlantic crossing to enjoy the spoils of the newly emerged golfing scene in the USA. While Vardon won the US Open of 1900 during a tour of America where he played in approximately 80 matches and winning 70 of them, Braid’s decision to remain at home was well rewarded as an exhibition match player. Braid also established himself in course design, building Gleneagles and Nairn to name but two of his many jewels.

his putting improved. In 1901, he won his first British Open, and he won five more by 1910 - reaching 5 before either Vardon or Taylor. Through 1911, Braid also won the British Professional Match Play four times and the French Open once. He retired from competitive golf in 1912, joining Walton Heath as its club professional. He remained at Walton Heath until his death. Braid’s great passion after his retirement was course design. It it estimated that he designed or re-designed more than 200 courses around Great Britain (fear of flying and motion sickness on boat rides prevented him from ever working in the U.S.).

James Braid

John henry Taylor

James Braid took up the game as a young child and won his first local tournament at age 8. His game developed along with an interest in clubmaking, and in 1893 he took a position as clubmaker in London. Braid turned pro in 1896. His play, prior to the turn of the century, was marked by long driving but inconsistent putting. While Vardon and Taylor were already winning Opens, Braid’s putter kept him from breaking through. He switched to an aluminum-headed putter in 1900 (from a wooden-headed model) and

1894, and he won again the following year. Three more victories came after the turn of the century. His final British Open win was in 1913, 19 years after his first. As late as 1924, at the age of 53, Taylor finished 4th at the Open. During his heydey, he also posted six runner-up finishes. Other big tournaments Taylor won included the French Open, German Open and British Professional Match Play. He also finished second to Harry Vardon at the 1900 U.S. Open. The World Golf Hall of Fame described accuracy as the hallmark of Taylor’s game: “Taylor’s accuracy was legendary. At Sandwich, where he

Great Triumvirate of 1894 – 1914 Among the courses he helped remodel are Carnoustie, Troon, Prestwick and Ballybunion. Many of Braid’s best courses were inland parkland tracks (as opposed to seaside links), and some of these courses contain the earliest known uses of the dogleg. In fact, some have postulated that Braid “invented” the dogleg hole. J.H. Taylor did not come from wealth, and his father died while he was just an infant. Taylor began working at a young age to help his family. One of his jobs was as a caddie at Westward Ho golf course near his home. He gradually moved up the ranks at Westward Ho, joining the greenskeeping staff and learning about course layout and maintenance. He also honed his golf game during these years, and by age 19 was ready to turn pro. Taylor’s first Open Championship victory followed four years later, in

won his first Open by five strokes in 1894, he would have the directional posts removed from the blind holes out of fear that his drives would hit them and carom into bunkers.”

harry Vardon

Harry Vardon was the first international golf celebrity, and easily one of the game’s most influential players. The grip he popularized is now known as the Vardon Grip (a k a, the overlapping grip); the “Vardon Flyer” golf ball may have represented the first equipment deal for a golfer; his instructional books continue, to this day, to influence golfers; he won majors with both the gutta-percha and Haskell golf balls. Vardon was born in the Channel Islands, that group of islands in the English Channel between England and France. He took up golf in his teens and, inspired by his brother Tom’s success as a professional, decided to dedicate himself, as well,

to the game. He turned pro at age 20. His first big win was the 1896 British Open, where he played in what would become his signature attire: knickers (reportedly the first golfer to play in knickers), dress shirt, tie and buttoned jacket. Despite the cumbersome jacket, Vardon was known for a smooth, free-swinging motion. The World Golf Hall of Fame described his swing thusly: “Vardon had a swing that repeated monotonously. His swing was more upright and his ball flight higher than his contemporaries, giving Vardon’s approach shots the advantage of greater carry and softer landing. He took only the thinnest of divots.” His fame exploded in 1900 when he toured the United States, playing more than 80 exhibition matches often against the better ball of two opponents - and winning more than 70 of them. He won the U.S. Open that year, his only victory in the event, but as late as 20 years later - in 1920 at the age of 50 - he was runner-up in the tournament. At the 1913 U.S. Open, it was a Vardon loss that spurred growth in the game. Unheralded American Francis Ouimet defeated Vardon and fellow Englishman Ted Ray in a playoff, an outcome credited with popularizing golf in the U.S. Vardon was struck by tuberculosis late in 1903. His game was never as sound, but he recovered to win the British Open again in 1911 and 1914. n Thursday April 5, 2012 Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer stepped onto the first tee at Augusta National and officially started play at the 2012 Masters. It was the first time The Big Three shared this honour and served as a reminder to us all that they are arguably the most dominant threesome in golf’s history. The careers of Player, Palmer and Nicklaus have been intertwined for more than 50 years. In the early 1960’s Mark McCormack launched IMG by signing Player, Palmer and Nicklaus. The Big Three® competed against each other in every major tournament for more than two decades and were the three best golfers in the world during that time. In the 70’s The Big Three TV-series was launched and still airs on The Golf Channel today. As each progressed in their careers and grew their ancillary businesses, golf course design


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tee to Green became their new competitive arena. Player, Palmer and Nicklaus each have over 300 design projects to their credit and are considered three of the leading designers in the industry. Although competition is fierce in the design industry, every once in a while competition gives way to a truly unique project. The three legendary designers have agreed to the soon to be announced first ever project featuring three (3) 18-hole championship courses each designed separately by Player, Palmer and Nicklaus (Champions Retreat in Augusta, Georgia, USA features 9-holes designed by each of The Big Three®). The one area where The Big Three® have never competed against each other is philanthropy. Raising funds for those in need has been a significant part of each of their lives and careers and that commitment has not waned. Each year The Black Knight hosts The Gary Player Invitational Series of four (4) charity golf events held in the USA, Europe, China and South Africa as well as the Saadiyat Beach Classic in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Arnold Palmer is still heavily involved in major hospital programs in his home town of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and in Orlando Florida and Jack Nicklaus supports and operates The Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation which provides funds for activities that advance and enhance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of childhood diseases and disorders. The power of The Big Three’s® commitment to charitable causes was best demonstrated in 2010 when they joined together to help raise funds for the Mountain Mission School in Virginia. The event set a world record for a single day’s funds raised with an incredible $15 million dollars. In a period of 28 years starting in 1958, they combined to finish first or second in 21 Masters. Player, 76, who was making his first appearance as an honorary starter, said, “It was a great thrill, having had this wonderful relationship, great friendship, with Arnold and Jack for a long, long time and having traveled extensively around the world together. We’ve even cried together and we’ve laughed together and we’ve had good times.” Their coming of age dovetailed with television’s, and they used the medium to grow the popularity of golf by participating in made-forTV events. “We did a lot of golf television or television golf, and that’s how the Big Three kind of got that name,” Palmer said. “And of course, the record here at Augusta is part of it, too. But the fact that we were together competing against each other in the early days of television had a lot to do with the whole thing.”

Gary Player

Gary Player was arguably the first “modern” international golfer, traveling around the world from his earliest days as a professional. Along

the way he won a lot of tournaments, including a lot of majors. He was born in Johannesburg on the 1st November 1935, and was nicknamed “The Black Knight,” which arose from his habit of wearing all-black on the golf course. Tour Victories: • PGA Tour: 24, (and more than 160 tournaments worldwide) • Champions Tour: 19 Major Championships: • PGA Championship: 1962, 1972 • Masters: 1961, 1974, 1978 • U.S. Open: 1965 • British Open: 1959, 1968, 1974 Gary Player was the first “international” golfer to gain stardom. By “international,” we mean non-American and nonEuropean, and we also mean world-traveller. Player, living up to one of his many monickers as “The International Ambassador of Golf,” is estimated to have flown more than 15 million miles traversing the globe to play golf tournaments. Player turned pro in 1953 and joined the PGA Tour in 1957. His first major championship win came at the 1959 British Open, and he was the first non-American to win the Masters when he did so in 1961. The PGA Championship followed in

BLAST FROM THE PAST admiration from fans, he was often called “Fat Jack.” Tour Victories: • PGA Tour: 73 • Champions Tour: 10 Major Championships: • Masters: 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986 • U.S. Open: 1962, 1967, 1972, 1980 • British Open: 1966, 1970, 1978 • PGA Championship: 1963, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1980 It is in golf’s majors that Jack Nicklaus record stands out prompting most pundits to say that he is golf’s greatest player. Nicklaus won 18 professional majors - twice as many as all but two other golfers (Walter Hagen and Tiger Woods). He finished second 19 more times, and third nine times. In all, Nicklaus posted 48 Top 3 finishes, 56 Top 5 finishes and 73 Top 10 finishes in majors. Perhaps Tiger Woods will someday surpass Nicklaus’ major wins. But for now, Nicklaus remains - by far - the most accomplished player in the history of major championship golf. And he did it all exhibiting great class and sportsmanship. Nicklaus shot 51 in his first 9-hole round of golf at the age of 10. By age 12, he was winning the first of 6

The Big Three 1962, and when Player won the 1965 U.S. Open he became, at the time, only the third winner of the career grand slam. The last of Player’s nine wins in majors came at the 1978 Masters, where his final-round 64 propelled him from a 7-shot deficit to a 1-stroke victory. Player won the South African Open 13 times; the Australian Open seven times; and the World Match Play Championship five times. He continued winning after joining the Champions Tour in 1985, including senior majors.

Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus was the dominant player in golf from the early 1960s through the late 1970s, with a few more bursts of greatness into the 1980s. He was born on the 21st January 1940 in Columbus, Ohio and nicknamed “The Golden Bear” although in the early part of his career, before he established his credentials and earned respect and

straight Ohio State Junior titles. He missed the cut in his first U.S. Open in 1957 at age 17. Nicklaus won the 1959 and 1961 U.S. Amateur titles while playing collegiately at Ohio State. He finished second to Arnold Palmer in the 1960 U.S. Open. He turned pro in 1962, earning $33.33 in his first as a pro, the Los Angeles Open. But things quickly got better, and he won his first major that year, defeating Palmer in an 18-hole playoff at the 1962 U.S. Open. By age 26, Nicklaus had completed the career grand slam. Then he won all the majors a second time. And finally, with his 1978 British Open victory, he’d won them all at least three times each. Nicklaus’ final major came in 1986, at the age of 46, with his sixth Masters. Nicklaus brought power to the forefront in golf, being the longest driver of his generation. But he also was one of the best clutch putters ever, and his concentration skills were legendary.

Along the way, Nicklaus created his own equipment company and has designed hundreds of golf courses, among many off-course interests.

arNold Palmer

Arnold Palmer is one of the most successful and popular golfers in the sport’s history. He helped widen the appeal of golf beginning in the 1950s, then helped establish the Champions Tour in the early 1980s. He was born on the 10th September 1929 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Known simply as “The King” he is as famous for the name given his thousands of passionate followers – “Arnie’s Army” Tour Victories: • PGA Tour: 62 • Champions Tour: 10 Major Championships: • Masters: 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964 • U.S. Open: 1960 • British Open: 1961, 1962 Arnold Palmer was one of the most charismatic and popular golfers to grace the game. His impact in the early days of golf on television dramatically raised the profile of the sport, and with it, the money and opportunities available to pro golfers. Palmer was the son of a greenskeeper, and his father started him early in the game. As a teen, Palmer won five West Penn Amateur Championships. He played collegiately at Wake Forest, but gave up the game for several years when he joined the Coast Guard. He returned to golf in the early 1950s, and eventually won the 1954 U.S. Amateur. He turned pro five months later. Palmer led the PGA Tour in wins with four in 1957, then exploded in 1958 with his first major, the Masters Tournament. Palmer’s swashbuckling, go-for-broke style, combined with an aggressive, unorthodox swing, plus movie-star looks and charisma, immediately made him a star. He didn’t disappoint, dominating the PGA Tour into the early 1960s. In 1960, he won 8 times including the Masters and U.S. Open. At the Open, he made up seven strokes in the final round to win. In 1962, he had another 8 wins, including the Masters and British Open. From 1957 to 1963, Palmer led the Tour in wins five times and money four times. He won four scoring titles, the last in 1967. Palmer won seven majors, all of them from 1958 to 1964, and was the first 4-time winner of the Masters. His last big year on the PGA Tour was 1971, when he won four times. The last of his 62 PGA Tour wins came in 1973, but his popularity never waned. It surged again in 1980 when Palmer joined the Champions Tour, and once again helped popularize a golf tour. Off the course, Palmer built a business empire that included golf academies, tournament and course management companies, equipment companies, clothing lines and more. He co-founded The Golf Channel. Palmer’s endorsement deals alone kept him one of sport’s annual richest athletes into his 70s.


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MAIN FEATURE

Rory McIlroy playeR of the yeaR

RoRy McIlRoy won neaRly eveRythIng In sIght In 2012. It’s fIttIng then, If not suRpRIsIng, that he Is ouR playeR of the yeaR.


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The Northern Ireland professional won five times, including a dominant victory at the PGA Championship to claim his second major title. He was also named the PGA Tour Player of the Year “It’s an honour, and I am delighted to win the PGA Tour’s player of the year,” McIlroy said in a teleconference to announce the award. “It’s always nice to earn recognition from your peers, the guys you’re trying to beat week in and week out.” All this at only 23 years of age, so we wonder, where to now? It is all there in the record book for the young star to look at and contemplate - the records of the great players who have come before. He has proved that he is the best of his age group. Indeed he has taken on those senior to him, with years more experience and shown that he can match them stroke for stroke. The question now is can he sustain this and when he reaches his mid to late thirties will he be able to still take on and beat the next generation of players. Remembering of course that many of those are no older than the young prodigy shown on our cover playing around their garden with plastic clubs. Yes that picture should remind us of one of the unique aspects of this great game. When that picture was taken (early 90’s) Ernie Els was recording his first major win at the US Open Championship. He obviously did not know it would be Rory he would be needing to beat twenty years later but he did know that a new group of young players would come on the scene with no fear, no shakes over their putts, just looking to dethrone their own golfing idols. According to Rory McIlory’s official bio, he hit a 40-yard drive when he was two years old. It was all up from there. Family lore relates that he received a new golf club as a present, being shown the correct grip by his father, then taking the club to bed with him that night, with his hands holding the club

Rob Carr/Getty Images

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MAIN FEATURE

tee to Green

Best and worst of 2012 ComebaCk of the Year

In most years a South African winning a Major would be an automatic selection for SA’s Player of the Year. But that has gone to Branden Grace. How can we ignore Ernie’s wonderful win at Royal Lytham in The Open Championship. So comeback of the Year goes to Ernie Els – ten years in the wilderness without a Major victory and he comes back to win the most prized trophy in professional golf, the Claret Jug.

RoRy McIlRoy Is the closest thIng to a golf sensatIon sInce tIgeR Woods properly. A video on golf technique produced by champion Nick Faldo was his early favourite. His first hole-in-one happened at age nine. As a youth in Northern Ireland, McIlroy worked on his game with Holywood Golf Club pro Michael Bannon. And things happened quickly for McIlroy in his teens. He played for Europe in the 2004 Junior Ryder Cup. In 2005, he became the youngest-ever winner of the West of Ireland Championship and of the Irish Close Championships. And in 2006 he repeated as champion in both. McIlroy played in his first pro tournament at the 2005 British Masters, as a 16-year-old. In 2006, he won the European Amateur Championship. But 2007 is when McIlroy started to come to the attention of the worldwide golf audience. That year, he reached No. 1 in the world amateur rankings and played on the GB&I team in the Walker Cup. It was what he was doing in pro tournaments, however, that turned heads. McIlroy made his first cut in a pro tournament at the 2007 Dubai Desert Classic, at age 17. A couple months later, after turning 18, he was among the first-round leaders at the British Open. He made the cut and was low amateur. McIlroy turned pro on Sept. 18, 2007, and his first event as a pro was the British Masters. In his second tournament, the Dunhill Links Championship, McIlroy finished third, ensuring himself a place on the European Tour for the following season. In 2009, McIlroy, age 20, earned his first win on the European Tour at the Dubai Desert Classic. And at the 2010 Quail Hollow Championship, McIlroy closed with a 62 for his first USPGA victory. He was a few days shy of his 21st birthday, and he joined Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Seve Ballesteros as the only golfers since 1970 to win on the USPGA before turning 21. McIlroy appeared on his way to his first major championship at the 2011 Masters, taking a 4-stroke lead into the final round. However, he suffered

a major meltdown in the final round, carding an 80 and falling outside the Top 10. He didn’t have to wait long to pick up that first major, though. A couple months later at the 2011 U.S. Open, McIlroy turned in one of the most dominating performances in major championship history, shattering the tournament scoring record and winning by eight strokes. In March 2012, McIlroy first reached No. 1 in the world golf rankings when he won the PGA Tour Honda Classic. Several months later, McIlroy collected major title No. 2, winning the 2012 PGA Championship. At the PGA, McIlroy set a new tournament record for margin of victory, winning by eight strokes. McIlroy closed the 2012 tour season by winning the European Tour’s season-ender, the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. He was No. 1 in the world rankings, and led both the PGA Tour and European Tour in earnings. In 2011 at the age of 22, he became the youngest player ever to reach €10 million in career earnings on the European Tour. In 2012 he became the youngest player to reach $10 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour. SportsPro has McIlroy rated as the second most marketable athlete in the world while the Golf Club Managers’ Association’s Golf Club Management magazine ranked him as the second most powerful person in British golf. McIlroy has self-identified as British and carries a British passport, although he usually shows reluctance to be drawn into a debate on his nationality. In 2012, he expressed an interest in representing Great Britain (as opposed to Ireland) at the 2016 Olympic Games, where golf will become an Olympic event for the first time since 1904. He is an Ambassador for UNICEF Ireland and made his first visit to Haiti with UNICEF in June 2011. McIlroy was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to sport. From driving a golf ball at the age of two-years-old and winning his first major in his early-20s, Rory McIlroy is the closest thing to a golf sensation since Tiger Woods.

best final round of the Year

immature moment of the Year

rory’s chauffeur

No, we’re not talking about the U.S. performance on the final day of the Ryder Cup. At the start of that final day, Rory McIlroy is seen speeding to the course in a private car minutes before his match against American golfer Keegan Bradley. McIlroy made it to Medinah Country Club with just a few minutes to spare before he would have been disqualified for being late. He was able to win the match, but it could have been disastrous for the European team if he had been late. McIlroy said he was late because of a time zone miscalculation. The best player in the world doesn’t cut it so close and doesn’t make that kind of mistake. Can you imagine what would have happened had he missed his time?

When Ernie Els plucked the ball from the hole after one last birdie and heaved it into the grandstand. At the time, it looked like nothing more than a classy gesture by a former Open Championship winner – not the next one. The name on the Claret Jug was supposed to be Adam Scott, who had a four-shot lead with four holes to play. Unpredictability and Open Championships go hand in hand, yet no one could have dreamed up a scenario in which Ernie Els kissed the Claret Jug after Adam Scott’s monumental collapse Adam Scott’s dream of a first major dissolved with a flurry of bogeys down the stretch in one of golf’s biggest collapses. There were lower rounds, maybe more spectacular ones, but when you make up seven strokes on the leader in the final round of a major, that’s the round of the year for me. And who can forget the body language. There he was, tall, poised, looking “big” and “easy”.

reCoverY shot of the Year

You can take your pick with Bubba Watson as he is always pulling off the most amazing shots from the most unlikely positions. But none was better than the wedge hooking around the trees on the 10th hole at Augusta that set up a Major win for the flamboyant left-hander.

Commentator of the Year

Sam Torrance, whose educated comments are a pleasure to hear. Sam has been there, seen it, done it. Who can forget his raised arms after hitting that wonderful approach shot to the 18th at The Belfry to set up victory for the European Team in the Ryder Cup. But Sam doesn’t harp on his own glories, instead given us objective and informed comment on what’s happening on the golf course. And then there’s his wonderful Scottish accent. Who better that a Scot tell us about a Scottish game. I’m still waiting, though, for the shot of the Year commentator who’ll take a The shot came from 253 yards out as leaf out of those South Louis Oosthuizen flushed a 4-iron that American footballers and dropped on the front of the green, then shout “Bbbbb iiiiii rrrr dddd traveled around 80 feet back and iiii eeee !!!!!!!! when a putt is toward the right and straight into the holed. All we get is a hole. Albatross 2’s are very rare and monotone description of even rarer when they occur in Major the putt which we have just championships. The only downside is seen ourselves. Put some that Louis did not go on to win the life and enthusiasm into tournament like Gene Sarazen did over it guys. 60 years ago when he scored an albatross 2 on the par-5 15th.

Putt of the Year

team of the Year

No question about it - The European Ryder Cup team. Coming back from 10-6 deficit to not only retain but win the Ryder Cup on American soil. This was also the most thrilling tournament of the year.

This must go to the Olympic legend Michael Phelps while playing the Dunhill Links - 50-feet plus, downhill, with a 10-foot break. And the look on his face afterwards suggested he enjoyed it as much as one of those 23 Olympic medals.


What Is It With Ireland And The Majors?

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Refer to page 38 for special travel packages to Ireland

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tee to Green lthough Branden Grace was born in Pretoria, his amateur career blossomed at the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation in George. His amateur career was capped off with victory in the South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 2006, and he turned pro the following year. Grace played on the Challenge Tour in 2007, and recorded two top-10 finishes in eight events. In 2008 he played on the Challenge Tour and the Sunshine Tour. He finished 35th on the Challenge Tour’s Order of Merit and earned his European Tour card for 2009 through qualifying school. Despite struggling on the European Tour that year, he was able to claim a best finish in a tie for second at the Africa Open on the Sunshine Tour, and also finished in the top 10 in seven of the nine Sunshine Tour events that he played in en route to a 11th place finish on the Order of Merit. His maiden victory as a professional came in 2010 at the Coca-Cola Charity Championship on the Sunshine Tour. He consolidated in 2011, finishing 7th on the Sunshine Tour’s Order of Merit and decided to go back to qualifying school to earn his European Tour card for 2012. And it paid rich dividends as 2012 was without question his breakthrough year. He claimed four European Tour wins including the Joburg Open , Volvo Golf Champions (the following week to make it back-to-back European Tour victories, beating his veteran compatriots Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in a playoff), the Volvo China Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Grace became the first player since Fred Couples in 1995 to follow his first victory with another consecutively. His victory at the Dunhill included a European Tour record-equaling 60 at Kingsbarns during the first round. Grace moved to third in the Race to Dubai and also to a career high 37th in the Official World Golf Ranking after the win. Tee to Green caught up with Branden as he took a rare week off during the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

There were a few people who helped me with the basics but my first real coach is the one I have still today, PGA-professional Peter Berman.

Are there any 20 somethings that don’t? Some Hip-hop, R & B, Rihanna and, which might surprise some people, Adele and Michael Buble.

You mentioned other sports. What do you follow now and who are your sports idols? Like many young white South Africans I am a rugby fan and the Bulls are my team. Bob Skinstad and Joost van der Westhuizen were the ones I looked up to most. But while on Tour I mainly watch the English Premier League which is televised no matter where you go. Manchester United is my team.

How do you relax? What do you do when you take a break like now? Well, this week I have done very little, just lie about and chill on the couch. But usually I like to get on the water and go fishing with friends. Just generally, spend time with my family.

What’s on your iPod, assuming that you have one?

sa Player of the year

Woods. I grew up watching him play and achieve so much. I was very lucky this year to play three tournament rounds with him at the Bridgestone Invitational and that was great. Your favourite golf courses in South Africa and worldwide? Fancourt Links here in South Africa. Of course, when you win a tournament like the Volvo and beat two of South Africa’s greatest players, Retief and Ernie, it makes the place quite special. The best course I’ve played to date worldwide is Muirfield Village and also enjoyed Half Moon Bay. But next year I get to experience a lifelong dream and play at Augusta. What’s your favourite shot to play? The lob wedge. I have good, soft hands and able to spin the ball a lot. In fact, I can play lots of different shots with it which is probably as a result of the years I spent chipping with the wedge my dad gave me. And least favourite? A 3-iron. It hasn’t cost me on the course in tournaments but I nearly always hit it badly on the range so have very little confidence with it in my hands. Your favourite golfers to play with? With Louis, naturally, we all like to play with him just to watch his great swing and perfect rhythm. We are also mates off the course. Then Tiger and also the young Italian Matteo Manassero. He can really play. Least favourite course? You’ll probably find it strange that I say Carnoustie because it was one of the courses we played when I won the Dunhill Links. It really is the toughest course on the Tour. You have Zack Rasego on your bag. How did this come about? When I went to the Tour School in Spain last year I had arranged a caddie who at the last minute was unavailable. Zack was also due to caddie for someone else and that fell through so I got hold of him and he took the bag. We agreed he would continue to caddie the next couple of events in South Africa and we would see how things went. Well, things went well and we’ve been together ever since. What does Zack bring to your game? He is great with club selection and also working out what type of shot one should play. But at the end of the day he leaves it to me to make the final decision which I find very supportive.

Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images

Did you have a coach in those early years?

Who is your golfing idol? Your favourite golfer? No competition for me. It’s Tiger

Branden Grace

When did it all begin for you, when did you first start playing golf? My dad played and when I was quite young he gave me a wedge to chip around the garden with. But my first round of golf was at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City. I was 10-years-old and played with some friends What other sports were you interested in at the time? I played cricket, squash and hockey at junior school, actually getting my provincial colours. This was all when we lived in the Pretoria area. Later on when we moved down to the Southern Cape they had golf at school and I started playing more seriously.

You have obviously travelled a lot this year so which have been your favourite places or cities in South Africa and around the world? I am a wildlife fan so in South Africa I just love the Kruger Park and therefore love playing at Leopard Creek. This year I got to play in Crans sur Sierre in the Swiss Alps and it was wonderful. I also got to visit LA which was quite an experience.

MAIN FEATURE

Finally, how much does a Titleist Pro V1 cost? I don’t actually play Titleist but the last time I bought them I think they were about R100 for a sleeve of 3. I play the Callaway Hex Black Dot with extra spin and there’s no point in asking me how much they cost because Callaway make them only for their contracted players so you can’t buy them anywhere!


DEUTSCHLAND DOUBLE: Bernhard Langer (left) and Martin Kaymer (right) of Germany celebrate winning the 2012 Nedbank Champions Challenge and Nedbank Challenge respectively, at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa. (Photos by Warren Little/Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images)


the rules

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T

he proposed Rule change would take effect on January 1, 2016, in accordance with the regular four-year cycle for changes to the Rules of Golf. This timetable would also provide an extended period in which golfers may, if necessary, adapt their method of stroke to the requirements of the Rule. Anyone wishing to submit comments or suggestions is encouraged to do so by 28 February, 2013. If you would like to submit any comments or suggestions on the proposed Rule, you may do so by email to anchoring@randa.org. The R&A anticipates taking final action on the proposed Rule in spring 2013.

What does the proposed neW rule say and mean?

Anchoring Out AfTer mOnThs And mOnThs Of speculATiOn The r&A And usGA hAve AnnOunced Their prOpOsed rule chAnGe ThAT wOuld prOhibiT AnchOrinG Of The club in mAkinG A sTrOke. Dennis Bruyns explAins

The proposed Rule 14-1b, which follows an extensive review by The R&A and the USGA, would prohibit strokes made with the club or a hand gripping the club held directly against the player’s body, or with a forearm held against the body to establish an anchor point that indirectly anchors the club. The proposed new Rule would not alter current equipment rules and would allow the continued use of all conforming golf clubs, including belly-length and long putters, provided such clubs are not anchored during a stroke. The proposed Rule narrowly targets only a few types of strokes, while preserving a golfer’s ability to play a wide variety of strokes in his or her individual style. “We believe we have considered this issue from every angle but given the wide ranging interest in this subject we would like to give stakeholders in the game the opportunity to put forward any new matters for consideration,” said Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A. In proposing the new Rule, The R&A and the USGA concluded that the long-term interests of the game would be served by confirming a stroke as the swinging of the entire club at the ball. “Throughout the 600-year history of golf, the essence of playing the game has been to grip the club with the hands and swing it freely at the ball,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “The player’s challenge is to control the movement of the entire club in striking the ball, and anchoring the club alters the nature of that challenge. Our conclusion is that the Rules of Golf should be amended to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing by eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club.” This proposal reflects The R&A’s and USGA’s responsibility to define how the game is to be played. Aspects of how a player must make a stroke have been addressed in past Rules changes, such as the century-old Rule codifying that the ball must be fairly struck and not be pushed, scraped or spooned and the 1968 prohibition on the “croquet” style of putting. Although anchoring the club is not new, until recently it was uncommon and typically seen as a method of last resort by a small number of players. In the last two years, however, more and more players

tee to Green have adopted the anchored stroke. Golf’s governing bodies have observed this upsurge at all levels of the game and noted that more coaches and players are advocating this method. The decision to act now is based on a strong desire to reverse this trend and to preserve the traditional golf stroke. “Anchored strokes have become the preferred option for a growing number of players and this has caused us to review these strokes and their impact on the game,” said Dawson. “Our concern is that anchored strokes threaten to supplant traditional putting strokes which are integral to the longstanding character of the sport.” In anticipation of the confusion that this change might cause the R&A have posted comprehensive information on the change on their website. This includes pictures, anticipated FAQ’s and videos. Here are some of the FAQ’s: Would the rule prohibit anchored strokes only when made by longer putters or from the putting green? No. The proposed Rule would apply to strokes made with any club, regardless of its length or type, and from any location from which the player plays the ball. Although today anchoring is seen almost entirely in the putting game, players use anchored putters from both on and off the putting green. Moreover, players sometimes anchor other clubs. For example, players have been seen to anchor a fairway wood or hybrid club to the belly when playing a low-running chip shot from off the green. We do not know how far such practices have been or might be extended into the chipping, pitching or full-swing game, but Rule 14-1 is being used for the proposed prohibition because the reasons for disallowing anchoring the club would apply equally to all strokes made with any club from any location. Why would the proposed rule prohibit only some, but not all, strokes made with a forearm intentionally held against the body? A complete ban on intentional forearm contact with the body would be too broad. There are common methods of swinging the club in which the club and gripping hands are free of the player’s body, while one or both forearms are in contact with the body. For example, some players hold the club in a traditional manner with the hands in front of the body, while resting a forearm and elbow against one side or tucking in both forearms against the sides. Such strokes are not considered to be anchored strokes, because the entire club can be swung freely by the player. Therefore, the proposed Rule would not prohibit all intentional forearm contact with the body while making a stroke. It would prohibit only those strokes that are deemed to involve “anchoring the club.” Making a stroke with a forearm intentionally held against the body would be prohibited as an indirect means of anchoring the club only in the narrow situation in which the


tee to Green

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the rules the governing bodies assess current practices and recent developments in the context of history and traditions and make a judgment about the game’s fundamental nature and long-term best interests. In adopting other Rules defining how a stroke must be played – such as the prohibitions on spooning, scraping or pushing (current Rule 14-1, which would be re-labeled as Rule 14-1a under the proposal), using a croquet-style stroke on the putting green (Rule 16-1e), or accepting physical assistance or protection from the elements (Rule 14-2a) – the governing bodies did not conduct empirical studies of the effect of the methods in question. Rather, they made their best judgment concerning the types of strokes that should be permitted in golf. While some actions are subject to penalty under the Rules because they may provide undue advantage to a player, many other actions are subject to penalty because they are deemed to be inconsistent with the definition of golf and the way in which the game is to be played. In this case, we have concluded that a free swing of the entire club is part of the essential character of the game and central to its inherent challenge, and that anchoring the club may alter that challenge by using the body to provide extra support and stability for the stroke and enabling the player to swing only a portion of the club. Also, whether any actual benefit to a particular player may be significant or minor or whether it may be experienced by many or few of those who adopt anchored putting, the very use of this stroke has generated doubt and uncertainty among the participants themselves about whether players are facing equivalent challenges and playing the same game. The competitive nature of the game will best be served if these dynamics are eliminated.

player uses an “anchor point” as defined in the Rule. Players otherwise would remain free to use their individual styles and methods of making a stroke, including forearm contact with the body. Why are the concerns about anchoring being addressed through a proposed limitation on the method of making a stroke rather than through an equipment Rule? There are several reasons. First, our review focused on concerns about how a golf stroke should be made and whether anchoring the club is consistent with the concept of a free swing that we have identified as an essential characteristic of the stroke. Those concerns are not limited to the use of longer putters. There is no more reason to allow anchoring with standard-length putters or woods, irons or hybrids than there is to allow it with longer putters. Second, implementing a Rule that limits the length of a putter would have any number of potential complexities. For example, such a Rule might have differing and inconsistent effects on players of different heights. Finally, use of a longer putter is viewed by some golfers as helping them to cope with back problems or other physical issues, by enabling them to stand in a more upright position while putting. We did not believe that it was necessary or desirable to take this option away from such players. Proposed Rule 14-1b narrowly targets only the use of anchored strokes, while otherwise leaving players free to use all currently conforming equipment and to use all of their various individual styles and methods of gripping and swinging the club, so long as they keep the club and hands gripping the club off of the body and do not use a forearm to establish an anchor point. Do you expect that some players would continue to use belly-length and long putters if the proposed Rule is approved? Yes. We do not know how many players who have used those putters in an anchored style would continue to use them in a non-anchored style in conformance with the new Rule. But players at all levels of the game have used both belly-length and long putters without anchoring. For example, this was prominently illustrated when Angel Cabrera used a non-anchored belly putter in winning the 2009 Masters. Various other professional players have recently used belly-length putters in this manner, as have players at other levels of the game. Likewise, under the proposed Rule players would continue to be able to use long putters in a non-anchored fashion. This would enable them to continue to choose the option of putting while standing upright, whether they wish to do so for physical reasons (e.g. to alleviate back problems) or simply because they prefer a more upright stance or otherwise prefer to putt with a club of that length.

ThroughouT The 600-year hisTory of golf, The essence of playing The game has been To grip The club wiTh The hands and swing iT freely aT The ball What is the basis for the conclusion that anchoring the club while making a stroke should not be allowed? We believe that the essential nature of the traditional golf stroke involves the player freely swinging the club with both the club and the gripping hands being held away from the body. The player’s challenge is to direct and control the movement of the entire club in making the stroke. Anchoring the club removes the player’s need to do so by providing extra support and stability for the stroke, as if one end of the club were physically attached to the body. Our conclusion is that it would be in the best interests of the game for the Rules of Golf to reinforce the free-swinging nature of the stroke and to prohibit the practice of anchoring the club.

Have you reviewed any empirical data showing that putting performance is improved by use of anchored putting? Our decision to propose the Rule change is based on preserving the fundamental character of the golf stroke rather than on empirical data concerning putting performance. The only such data of which we are aware are recent data from the PGA Tour that track Tour players’ putting performance in relation to length of putter used, but those data from Tour events are limited and inconclusive. Otherwise, we are aware of no data regarding the effect of anchoring on putting outcomes for all the many other types of players throughout all levels of the game. More important, changes like this to playing Rules are not based on empirical studies. In writing the Rules that define how golf is to be played,

What is your response to those who say that it is too late to make a change because anchored putting strokes have been used at least to some extent for the past 25 years and therefore have become part of the game? Our mission is to revise the Rules of Golf only when there is a need to respond to changed circumstances and when it becomes clear what the specific nature of that revision should be. In the past, an underlying factor in the balance of considerations on this issue was that use of the anchored longer putter was at a very low level and not anticipated to move into the mainstream of the game. Those circumstances have now greatly changed. With the recent upsurge in the use of anchored strokes at all levels of the game, we have concluded that a Rules change is


24

the rules necessary to preserve the inherent nature and challenge of the golf stroke, and that this can be accomplished while enabling players to continue to use their longer putters and their individual playing styles. If a change in the Rules of Golf is needed to protect and enhance the long-term character and interests of the game, the fact that it may require alteration of existing playing practices cannot prevent us from doing what is necessary and responsible. The governing bodies review and revise the Rules of Golf every four years precisely so that the Rules can be adapted as appropriate in response to developments within the game. By definition, changes to the playing Rules may affect how a golfer plays the game, and the need to adapt to those evolving Rules is inherent in the game. We understand that there are those who believe that long putters should have been banned long ago and others who believe that anchoring should have been banned as soon as the belly putter emerged 10-12 years ago – just as there are those who believe that no action was or is needed in either respect. Even though used infrequently until very recently, the anchored stroke with longer putters has been an ongoing and highly controversial issue with many differing viewpoints. The fact that no action was taken on anchoring at an earlier time did not reflect a determination or assurance that no future Rule would be considered. Assessing and modifying the Rules of Golf necessarily involves considerations of both past and future. In this context, we are identifying the essential nature of a golf stroke throughout the centuries since the game began: the player uses the hands and arms to make a free swing of the club at the ball. The fact that anchoring began to emerge toward the end of the last century does not mean that it has become a part of the traditions of the game. Were players who have used an anchored stroke cheating or should their achievements be viewed as tainted if the proposed Rule is adopted? Absolutely not. It has been entirely within the Rules for players to anchor the club while making a stroke. There should not be a shred of criticism of such players or any qualification or doubt about their achievements. We think that it is highly unfortunate that

anyone has seen fit to suggest anything to the contrary. The Rules of Golf are continuously revised and updated, meaning that players often have succeeded with equipment or practices that were prohibited by subsequent Rules changes. Prominent examples of this include Bob Jones winning the Grand Slam in 1930 using a concave-faced wedge that was ruled non-conforming the following year and Sam Snead winning the 1967 Senior PGA Championship with a “croquet” putting style that subsequently was disallowed. These great champions are rightly celebrated as legends of the game, without any suggestion that such later Rule changes lessened their accomplishments. The same is absolutely true of any player who has played using an

term health of the game by addressing potential obstacles to participation, such as the belief that the game is too expensive or takes too long to play. Such important considerations of cost and personal choices about use of time are key issues about participation, not whether or not golfers are allowed to anchor their putters. We do not share the view that some have expressed that the health or growth of the game depends on allowing anchored golf strokes. Our best judgment is that the recent sharp increase in the use of anchoring has occurred because a growing number of golfers of all ability levels have adopted the stroke in the belief that it may help them to play better, not because they view it as their only alternative to quitting the game. We very much hope that no one would decline to play the game because of the prohibition on anchoring the club, and we do not believe that this proposed Rule would significantly affect overall participation levels. Moreover, we monitor and update the Rules of Golf to protect the essential character of the game for all players in the future, not to do whatever it takes to permit the use of every technique that an individual player might prefer to use. Our conclusion is that the long-term health and appeal of the game would be enhanced by this proposed Rule that reinforces the core elements and inherent challenge of the golf swing.

It has been entIrely wIthIn the rules for players to anchor the club whIle makIng a stroke. there should not be a shred of crItIcIsm of such players or any qualIfIcatIon or doubt about theIr achIevements. anchored stroke, whether at the elite levels of the game or otherwise. Rule changes address the future and not the past. Up until now, and until any Rule prohibiting anchoring would take effect, golfers who used or continue to use an anchored stroke will have played entirely by the Rules of Golf. Would this decision adversely affect participation levels at a time when some worry that golf is in decline or say that there should be a focus on growing the game? As an initial matter, we do not agree that the game is in decline. Although golf participation rates have been down in places where the game is long-established, such as the United States and Western Europe because of deep recessions and slow recoveries, the game is growing in other countries and regions around the world. The R&A and USGA are highly focused on enhancing the long-

What is your response to those who say that this proposed Rule would eliminate a practice that makes the game easier and therefore more fun? The R&A and USGA are sometimes urged that golfers would have more fun and that more people would play golf if only equipment restrictions were loosened, the Rules were relaxed or the game were otherwise made easier to play. We disagree. The challenges and essential elements of the game are an integral part of its appeal to players and potential players alike. Our mission in writing the Rules of Golf is not to make the game easier to play, but rather to preserve and strengthen the elements that have made golf a special game for centuries and will enable it to thrive long into the future.

tee to Green We know that there are a great many individual styles of putting and they can continue to be used in a non-anchored fashion under the proposed Rule, including the use of longer putters. The proposed Rule focuses solely on anchoring the club, while leaving players with a wide variety of methods of stroke to make using their unique personal styles. We believe that this change would reinforce the importance of a free swing and preserve both the challenge and the fun of playing the game. Did you consider adopting a no-anchoring Rule for professionals and elite players but allowing the recreational player to continue to use anchored strokes? No. The USGA and The R&A are committed to the principle that a single set of Rules for all players of the game, irrespective of ability, is one of golf’s enduring strengths. We regard the prospect of having permanent separate Rules for elite competition as undesirable. A single set of Rules adds structure to the game as well as enjoyment to the experience. For even casual golfers, to know that they are playing by the Rules ties them closer to the game, its traditions and the best golfers in the world. This proposed Rule addresses one of the central aspects of the game. The Rules of Golf define a specific type of game in which the stroke is fundamental, as provided in Rule 1: “The Game of Golf consists of playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.” Defining how a stroke may be played is at the core of the game. To create a Rule that would allow one set of players, perhaps 30-40 times a round, to make strokes in a certain way while prohibiting another set of players from doing so would be to start well down the road toward creating two different games. This proposed Rule is a prime example of the importance of continuing to govern golf as a single game with a single set of Rules. It is clear from the above that, as one has come to expect from the R&A and USGA, this decision was not taken lightly and without due consideration. We would welcome our readers’ thoughts on the matter so please feel free to send us an email.


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tee to Green

Taking a time-out BY THEO BEZUIDENHOUT cannot wait for the opportunity to play a lot during your break. Others may have struggled with their games to the extent that they don’t want to see a club till January. Regardless of how the year went make sure you have a plan for your holiday. If you decide to take a break then do it properly. No practicing or just going out for a quick nine to check the swing, you are only going to frustrate yourself and make things worse. Rather take a proper break from the game and think about what

it was that drew you to the sport in the first place. By re-discovering his love for the game Darren Clarke excelled to the next level. Remember the saying: ”absence makes the heart grow fonder?” If you really love golf you will re-ignite the passion without worrying about that absence making you fonder of something else.

YOU AT YOUR BEST

Can you remember your best rounds of 2012? Maybe even your best nines or even just your ten best shots during the year? Best you write them down in the most detail possible before you go on holiday because for some of you this is the only practice you will need in December. By writing these shots down and visualizing them a few times every day during your holiday you are allowing your best performances to become entrenched in your subconscious. Something we very seldom get the opportunity to do after our great rounds. Especially when the kids need picking up or the urgent mails from the office are waiting for you after your round. Thus by taking your best shots on holiday with you, you get the opportunity to only focus on the great things you did on the course in 2012. Even better, you get to do it with a relaxed state of mind. You will also never have more enjoyable “practice” sessions than the ones you will have lying by the pool or on the beach “watching” yourself play great golf. It might not make you a major winner but trust me, it works a helluva lot better than getting irritated with the game and giving up! Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images

D

arren Clarke was at the lowest ebb of his career. After rounds of 80 and 77 in an event in Morocco his agent Chubby Chandler admitted that in 20 years of knowing the Northern Irishman he had never seen him so downcast. Clarke mentioned quitting the game he loved and how he could not see himself continuing the struggles he had endured since the passing of his wife. Chandler listened to his client and then gave the most simple and sound advice possible: take a break. In fact he suggested Clarke not only take his originally planned two week break but actually a threeweek holiday. What did this break do? Well for starters Clarke won his next outing in Mallorca as soon as he returned and then there was that little Jug he won at the British Open. In the process making him one of the most popular major winners ever. Swing Thoughts readers may also have had a tough time of late. Economic, political and social concerns have made 2012 a year in which resilience was tested to the full, not only in the boardroom but also on the golf course. So with Darren Clarke’s example in mind I would like to send you on your way for a well-deserved holiday, but not before I leave you with a few thoughts on how to make your December break a great one for your golf.

SWING THOUGHTS

IT WORKED FOR AN APPARENTLY “WASHED-OUT” FORTY-SOMETHING JOURNEYMAN PRO

IF YOU ARE GOING TAKE TIME OFF DO IT PROPERLY

Some of you may have had a great golfing year and you

READ ABOUT THE GAME

A sad state of affairs is how few golfers actually read about the sport and its history. Now I am not referring to the next “big” swing theory or how you should actually just be putting with three fingers. Instead read about the great characters of the game and indulge yourself in the many great biographies and

autobiographies available on players from Moe Norman to Seve. Reading is a very easy way to learn from the examples of great players, not only on what to do but also in many instances what not to do. Thus instead of bashing your head against a brick wall of technique and worries rather let someone like Nick Faldo explain his philosophies on practice while Phil Mickelson could help you think differently about your short-game.

WHEN YOU GET BACK

To make sure that your mental work over December does not evaporate into thin air with the first frustrating 18 holes of golf make sure you start with the basics. Jack Nicklaus was well known to rehash the basics of his swing with his coach, Jack Grout, every year of his professional career. Nicklaus and Grout looked at everything from the grip to his alignment to his posture, even when he had won many majors. The lesson for us mere mortals? By starting with the basics when you are fresh in the new year, you have the capacity to learn and not get frustrated. So instead of charging to the course the first chance you get rather book a session with your coach or a coach for that matter early in January. If it worked for the Golden Bear for so many years isn’t it something you can try to replicate and in this way enter the golden part of your career? By employing some of these techniques I believe that you can have your best December and also your best January and maybe even your best year yet. If it worked for an apparently “washed-out” fortysomething journeyman pro, isn’t it worth a shot?

PROFILE:

Theo Bezuidenhout is a sport psychologist in private practice and consults with golfers of all abilities and ages. His clients include top juniors, amateurs and Sunshine Tour professionals. Theo has been a columnist for Tee to Green for over seven years. He is also an ambassador for Volvo South Africa and Volvo in Golf as well as a Titleist ambassador. He has a special interest in parental involvement in sport and has also been involved with the Glacier Junior Series for the last two years as a consultant. He refuses to divulge how often he gets to work on his own golf.

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HEALTHY GOLF

tee to Green

Food, drink and supplement advice BY DR ROWENA THOMSON- SELIBOWITZ

I see rugby and cricket players drinking energy drinks during breaks but never pro golfers yet I see many club golfers drinking Energade etc. Do you recommend it? Attie Combrink, Brits

WINNING LETTER What vitamin or supplement can you recommend that will avoid getting fatigued by the last few holes of the round? Rudolph Esche, Windhoek:

Dear Attie, Sports drinks are usually high in electrolytes and some also contain a high amount of sugar. Usually electrolytes are needed when one has had a particularly long and physically exhausting game and when you may have lost a lot of fluids and salts (electrolytes) due to perspiration. I think if you would like to drink an energy drink, remember that not all energy drinks are created equal. Try and avoid drinks filled with preservatives, colourants, high fructose corn starch, dextrose and caffeine as none of these ingredients are good for your health. If your nutrition levels are adequate some good mineral water and low GI fruit such as an pear will be all you require during your break.

Dear Rudolph, Fatigue and a lack of energy are a result of a combination of factors. In order to maintain one’s energy levels and focus right until the 18th hole requires a holistic approach. Maintaining adequate blood sugar levels throughout the game is important. Ensure that you are hydrated and that nutritionally you are consuming enough (good) calories and all the vitamins and minerals you require. For this reason I recommend a good multivitamin and mineral complex such as Solgar VM 2000 as well as chromium picolinate to assist in maintaining balanced blood sugar levels. Additionally there are other nutraceuticals that help to manufacture ATP (energy) within the body such as LCarnitine and Coenzyme Q-10 that you may wish to try. Please remember to consult your healthcare practitioner before starting a new supplement regime.

What can I use to hydrate my skin after a long day in the sun? Do you know of a vitamin that can assist with some internal rejuvenation? Helen Franckel, PE

There is a standing joke about the first tee shot following the half way break being the “hamburger shot”. My game often falls apart for a few holes after half way. Is a big meal cause for a drop in performance or is this a myth? How should I handle the half way break if so? Frank Burger, JHB

I love playing in golf days and when they have drink promotions on course they’re even better. It does seem to affect my game even though I am not necessarily intoxicated. Can I drink alcohol during a round and still maintain my game? George Alexander, Cowies Hill: Dear George, The reality is that alcohol, even in small quantities affects brain chemistry. It does this by increasing the activity of certain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) like GABA which decreases the amount of electrical activity in the brain thus slowing down thought processes as well as reaction time. Another chemical, glutamate, is inhibited in alcohol consumption. When this chemical is lacking, all physiological responses of the body slow down. This means that muscles are slower to react, eyes take longer to respond to light and concentration is poor. As you can tell, drinking alcohol, even if you are

needs nutrients to kick-start your metabolism and provide your muscles and brain with energy to perform optimally. I suggest you have a simple high protein shake (such as Solgar Whey To Go Protein Powder) that mixes easily with water or your favourite milk. You could mix this and sip it in the car on the way to your club. If a liquid breakfast is not for you, try a handful of raw mixed nuts and a few fresh strawberries or blueberries.

not intoxicated, will definitely influence the outcome of your golf game negatively. So, rather save the drink for a victory celebration at the 19th hole! I regularly play the first available tee off slot early in the morning. It’s not always possible to eat breakfast before. What can I eat on the fly or can I leave it and have breakfast at half time? Cobus van Deventer, CPT Dear Cobus, Skipping breakfast is not a good idea, especially if you would like to have a successful round of golf. After 6- 8 hours of sleep, you body

Dear Frank, Although having a lunch break is important, rather than quantity it is best to focus on lighter, smaller meals that are nutritionally dense. Starchy and sugary foods tend to spike your blood glucose levels quickly and then shortly after that, one experiences a drop in blood sugar levels that may hinder your game after lunch by making you less focused and energetic. I would suggest you consider a fresh salad with lean protein like fish or chicken as a healthier alternative to a hamburger or starchy meal. Your game will improve after lunch and your heart will thank you too.

Dear Helen The first thing to consider is ensuring that your skin is protected from UVA and UVB light by a good sunscreen that you re-apply regularly. Supplements that may help to improve the hydration of your skin as well as protect against free radical damage caused by radiation from the sun include essential fatty acids (EFAs) and astaxanthin. I suggest an omega-3 essential fatty acids derived from wild salmon to improve skin health as well as a product that contains the carotenoid astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a particularly good antioxidant and studies have shown that it helps to protect the skin and retina from the harmful effects of sunlight. Solgar Wild Alaskan Full Spectrum Omega is rich in omega-3 from salmon and also contains astaxanthin. Please remember to consult your healthcare practitioner before starting a new supplement regime. Send though your health related queries to teetogreen@ ballyhoomedia.co.za. The winning letter will receive a Solgar Product Hamper.


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academies

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tee to Green

gary player golf experience

Tee to Green spoke to Danny Baleson, Head of Operations at the Gary Player Golf Experience at the World of Golf in Woodmead, Gauteng The current world number one is 23 years old and leading players have becoming younger throughout the last few years. Have you seen an increase in interest from youngsters that want to make a life out of playing golf? We have noticed an increase in numbers of serious young golfers in the 7 year existence of the Gary Player School For Champions. One of our star performers this year, Jason Froneman, turned 16 in 2012, whilst Haydn Porteous, SA no. 1 and our superstar performer, turned 18 this year.

on the right course

The raymond ackerman golf academy

A lifelong golfer, Pick n Pay founder Raymond Ackerman is an advocate of sport as a tool for developing the physical, social and emotional aspects in children. The Raymond Ackerman Golf Academy is based at the Clovelly Golf Club in Cape Town and was officially founded in 2008.The programme started with 10 pupils and today has 27 – 14 girls and 13 boys - enrolled. The Academy, grown from Mr Ackerman’s desire to see the elite game of golf become more inclusive, nurtures and educates high school pupils from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to assist them in becoming valued members of society and able to succeed in their chosen careers. Each year, there are hundreds of applicants for the programme, who must have a keen interest and enthusiasm for sport, education and show willingness for selfimprovement. The youngest pupil is 12-year-old Aidan Valayadum. Currently at Simons Town Junior School, Aidan has “a determination to excel at anything I do”. Grade 11 pupil Siphuxolo Melamane from Masiphumele recently went on his first ever flight (to Port Elizabeth ) and returned on board the SA Agulhas II research vessel , assisting with gathering samples of sea water and testing the samples for the presence plankton.

What does the gpge offer young people as far as a career in golf in concerned? Apart from offering what we believe is the ultimate game improvement program, graduates who stand out have excellent employment opportunties in the golf industry if their tour hopes don’t pan out. We are a member of the Moregolf Group, connected with range, retail, teaching & travel sectors. What sets you apart from the various other academies or even the local golf pro that offers lessons?

The face of golf has changed. call iT The charge of The youTh brigade if you wanT buT guys like maTTeo manassero, ryo ishikawa, john huh, ricky fowler, rory mcilroy, jason day and co. are Taking over The reigns aT much younger ages Than The guys from previous generaTions did. sTarTing This monTh we have a look aT The academies and Training faciliTies ThaT are allowing youngsTers To Take Their game To The nexT level when They are barely ouT of diapers. The trip was Melamane’s prize from the Environmental Affairs and Tourism department for having the top Science project in his region. Apart from being coached in the game of golf and participating in regional and national tournaments, they also benefit from additional tutoring. The Academy employs an academic and a life skills facilitator to oversee these areas. Academy Director Pete Jones: “Golf makes up about 30% of the programme, but in saying this the sport is like life in itself - each day presents a new and exciting challenge where mistakes are not made but rather lessons learnt. The lowest handicapped golfer is Lauren Sobotker, a Western Province senior ladies representative, currently playing off a four handicap. Parents and schools are very supportive of the Academy, as the programme has positive benefits on academic results – with some pupils’ marks rising as much 30 percent. Luke Delcarme, an Ocean View High School pupil in his third year at the Academy, achieved first place in his grade in

2011 and is continuing with this feat in 2012. This is why the selection process is rigorous – good golfing skills alone do not mean acceptance into the Academy. School reports, in addition to letters of recommendation from principals accompany applications. All activity is performed at the Academy building and practice range, and takes place daily, including night classes if pupils require such. All necessary golfing equipment is supplied to the youngsters. The Academy gives pupils exposure to art and cultural events, excursions and activities based on team building and leadership. It builds self esteem and confidence, gives a sense of responsibility, broadens their horizons and creates a champion mentality needed to succeed in the future. On completion of their schooling, pupils continue to hold a membership at Clovelly Golf Club, in the hope that they will continue to

enjoy the game of golf. The success of the Academy can be witnessed in its past pupils, some of whom have turned dreams into reality. Bulelani Cekiso from Masiphumelele is in his second year of Chemical Engineering at the Cape Peninsula University, as is his former peer, Siyamobona Ngqalo. Kelly Ann Wolfaardt, a 2011 RAGA graduate starts her sports psychology degree through UNISA in January 2013 after having taken a gap year to gain work experience. Tel: 021 782 1120 www.ragaclovelly.co.za


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tee to Green We have a philosophy of “the more ways we teach, the more people we reach” and our major advantage is being able to offer a broad array of expertise via our team of PGA experts (Moregolf employs more qualified PGA members than any other organisation in SA). We have collective experience in performance golf exceeding 100 years and we boast the foremost expert in the field of golf fitness in SA. We teach at the most comprehensive practice facility in the country and our students play rounds 3 times per week at some of Jhb’s finest courses as part of their 30 hours of tuition per week. We do not rely on one teacher - we are able to draw on the expertise of at least 6 top class pros as mentors to our SFC students. To become one of the best players in the world requires special talent, tireless commitment, world-class coaching etc. What would you add to this list of things to consider before a youngster gives it a go? A great support system is essential. This comes from friends & girlfriends, family, community and, of course, the teaching team. Our pros do not act as teachers alone - their portfolio includes comprehensive mentorship. It is not unusual for our mentors to take calls from students after hours, and we actively interact with parents on a regular basis to assist in

ACADEMIES

creating the most harmonious circumstances possible for our students. We understand what it takes, having produced 3 SA no.1 amateurs and many tour cards. We witness aspiring talent being told to pursue different careers by influential people in the business on the countless number of reality shows to much disappointment, surprise and horror. How do you convey the message that someone simply isn’t good enough? When is someone not good enough? A lot depends on the expectations of the student and his/her parents. Every student is good enough to improve, it just depends to what level. Our job is to help students to align their goals realistically. Do you offer scholarships? We certainly do. The Moregolf Foundation has been fantastic over the past 7 years, allocating funds for previously disadvantaged golfers, two of whom are now in the top 20 on SAGA’s national amateur rankings - Sipho Bujela (#7) and Musi Nethunzwi (#17). The Central Gauteng Golf Union has been identifying talent in the region for us over the past 6 years and play a vital role in supporting these golfers with entry fees and travel/accommodation costs. We have managed to secure a generous sponsor ship from Total SA to continue the good work next year.

We have already secured Musi & Sipho for 2013 (as pros, hopefully, as they will be playing at q-school in Jan) and central have identified two more development players. However, we do consider partial bursaries for worthy causes upon application. What is your take on the age-old challenge of athletes neglecting their academic responsibilities? We do not believe academics should be neglected. However, there is no harm in taking a gap year or two to pursue one’s dream. We have a mix of students who are studying whilst

attending our “school” and those who dedicate the entire year to game improvement. It depends on individual circumstances. What is the best piece of advice you could offer any aspiring golfer? By this I’m sure you mean “aspiring champion golfer”? We would advise the student to be open to holistic mentorship and to be sure to have a solid support system in place. Tel: 011 545 8645 www.gpge.co.za

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HANDSOME IS AS DOES

GOLF ATTIRE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A CUT ABOVE OTHER SPORTS. GENTLEMEN OF BYGONE ERAS DONNED TIES, CARDIGANS AND KNICKERBOCKERS. GOLF’S MORE FASHIONABLE PERSONALITIES LIKE PAYNE STEWART AND IAN POULTER PAVED THE WAY FOR THE NEW GENERATION OF BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS LIKE RICKEY FOWLER AND RYAN MOORE AND HAVE CAST A LOT MORE ATTENTION ON THE FASHIONABLE SIDE OF THE SPORT. WE ASKED CALLUM SCOTT FROM LEADING BRAND PRINGLE OF SCOTLAND, TO TELL US MORE ABOUT TOP-END GOLF APPAREL.


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33

FASHION

Dean Burmester

MORE ABOUT PRINGLE OF SCOTLAND Apart from being an established fashion brand for men’s and women’s wear, Pringle of Scotland has been closely linked to the golf market since the 1950’s when the brand first dressed the European Ryder Cup team. Today Pringle is proud to be the clothing sponsor of the Sunshine Tour and dresses four young South African golf tour professionals: Matthew Carvell, Irvin Mazibuko, Ryan Cairns and Dean Burmester. The company has dressed a number of the world’s top golfers in the past including Colin Montgomerie and Nick Faldo, who partnered with Pringle in the 1990’s to create the Faldo Collection which had a big impact on golf fashion trends with bold designs and colours in knitwear and golf shirts. Golfers of this stature demand the latest technology for their equipment as well as for their clothing. Advanced technology in fabrics assist with maintaining body temperature and keeping players dry and like all technology, is evolving all the time. Pringle offers a specific golf range made from fabrics designed to performance in all weather conditions. The quality of these fabrics has been tried and tested over a considerable period of time and is constantly evolving at the UK design centre. It is a process that is lengthy and costly exercise but undoubtedly adds great value to the products. The advanced

technology and quality of the fabrics is also apparent in the longevity of the product. Pringle not only designs golf wear that performs well, it’s also very stylish and can be worn on or off the golf course. Discerning golfers prefer to buy international brands and pay the premium knowing that they are wearing a garment of quality and style. In the past the average golfer was not known for his or her golf appearance but is today, following the international trend of looking good before, during and after golf, we’re seeing a new style emerging from the golf course as well as an increase in the number of ladies seen today on our golf courses. The latest style trend in golf wear for men and women is to have a slimmer and styled silhouette in both tops and bottoms. On the sunny golf courses of Southern Africa bright colours are always on display but the trend this year is a solid colour shirt with patterned shorts or trousers. One needs to look no further than the zany designs of trousers and shorts offered by Hazard Golf Clothing (see www.hazardgolfclothing.com). It is a very popular trend at the moment to make a fashion statement and stand out on the golf course. One of this year’s most sought after styles is a very brightly coloured check short. These shorts have been spotted on both dads and lads at some of South Africa’s most trendy golf clubs.

Pringle of Scotland is internationally known as a clothing brand of quality and style. The brand was founded in Hawick, a small knitwear town in the Borders of Scotland in 1815. With nearly 200 years of history comes the experience and knowledge of producing iconic fashion garments. Pringle is proud to stand alone in the industry as clothing brand with heritage and tradition. It is synonymous with beautiful cashmere and lambs wool knitwear but over the past four decades, it has introduced a full range of both men’s and women’s wear pieces to offer a full lifestyle collection. Currently on offer is a luxurious range of garments that can only be described as colourful, bright and lively. One of this year’s most sought after styles is a very brightly coloured check short. These shorts have been spotted on both dads and lads at some of South Africa’s most trendy golf clubs. This is a result of the recent launch of Pringle Little Ones. Having added ‘Little Ones’ to our range offer means Pringle of Scotland is a brand for life. Style, along with a good swing, is something that can never be learned too early. Callum Scott (Marketing Director of The Scottish Knitwear Group that distributes Pringle of Scotland in Sub-Saharan Africa) has been in the clothing industry for 30 years. Callum and his brothers Rory and Hamish were all born in Hawick, Scotland, took over the reins of Pringle from their father Charlie who came to represent the brand in South Africa in 1969.


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EQUIPMENT

HAPPY, DRIVING, SWINGING,

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SWINGING, PUTTING HOLIDAYS! CG BLACK DRIVER

The CG Black driver weighs only 265 grams, making it the lightest driver on the market to help players generate measurable increases in swing speed and distance with the same swing effort. A high-density weight screw at the rear of the sole plate positions the center of gravity lower and deeper to promote a high, draw-biased trajectory with optimal launch conditions for effortless distance. The CG Black driver features a Miyazaki C. Kua 39 Limited Edition graphite shaft and a Golf Pride Ultralite grip, a combination that decreases overall club weight for faster swing speed. R3 999.99

PING i20 DRIVER

The crown is engineered to be highly aerodynamic to reduce drag for maximising clubhead speed and ball velocity for greater distance. The tungsten weighting adds to forgiveness and positions the CG for low spin, penetrating trajectories and longer, more accurate drives. R3 799

RAZR FIT XTREME DRIVER

The new adjustable RAZR FIT Xtreme driver replaces Callaway’s highly successful RAZR FIT driver, enhancing the overall performance and realising distance gains over its predecessor. R4 399


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EQUIPMENT

CLEVELAND 588 RTX WEDGES

588 RTX CB Wedges combine the legendary performance of 588 with added forgiveness and the breakthrough Rotex Face – Cleveland Golf’s most advanced spin technology ever. Developed closely with tour players, the milled U-Grooves are more precise and 16% larger to maximize spin on critical scoring shots especially out of the rough, sand and in wet conditions. Advanced surface roughness technology is now more durable and dimensionally optimized for even more friction at impact. R1 199.99

PING ANSER IRON

The stabilising bars angle out wider and are thinner in the long irons to locate the CG low for higher ball speed and initial launch angle. The bars get more vertical and thicker in the short irons for more penetrating ball flight with optimal spin. At impact the Anser delivers a solid, compressed feel, in part due to the multiple machined back cavities, which also increase forgiveness. R15 999

PING i20 IRON

The combination of stabilising bars and a thicker face ensures a solid feel and precise distance control. The progressive set design makes the longer irons slightly larger allowing for a higher launch and greater MOI, while the smaller short irons provide exceptional control. R8 699

ADAMS TECH V4 IRONS

In both Hybrid and forged sets. Steel R8 799.99. Graphite R9 899.99

CLEVELAND 588 ALTITUDE IRONS

With this hybrid-iron set, hitting the ball longer and higher has never been easier. 588 Altitude irons feature Full Hollow Construction for maximum forgiveness and Face Forged Technology for enhanced ball speed and feel. The 588 Altitude irons are also the first hybrid irons in golf designed for in-shop/lie adjustment as fitting is the key to better golf. The irons are available both in graphite and steel shaft options (4- SW). (4-SW) R6 999.99 Steel and (4- SW) R7 999.99 Graphite


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CLEVELAND CLASSIC COLLECTION HB PUTTERS

Exceptional performance and exceptional value. The Classic Collection HB Putters range combines traditional designs with softer, more responsive feel than ever before. A slightly deeper CNC milling pattern on the face promotes a softer feel at impact for more control. The Classic Collection has five traditional designs proven to inspire confidence among tour professionals and amateurs alike. Belly (43”), Almost Belly™ (39”) and ladies options are also available. R899.99 (35”) and R999.99 (39” & 43”)

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EQUIPMENT

T-FRAME BELLY PUTTER Advanced putting performance now comes in the stability of a belly model. The T-Frame Belly Putter is designed with high MOI for maximum forgiveness and a dominant “T” on the crown for easy alignment. R1 299

PING NOME PUTTERS

SOFT FEEL 8

This exceptionally soft feeling ball is designed to launch high with low spin to create amazing distance and control. The low compression design of this golf ball delivers a high Moment Of Inertia, which leads to greater accuracy on off-center shots. The Soft Feel is also available in both Pure White™ and Tour Yellow ™ R20.99 per ball

The black alignment bar and white contrasting sightline make aiming at the target much easier. The 3 different shaft bends fit for straight, slight and strong arc putting strokes. The adjustable shaft technology in the belly and long putters allow for golfers to optimize the length of their putter to fit their body characteristics, stroke style and posture. Standard length R2 749, adjustable belly R3 249


38

HUMOUR

the lighter side Playing with the pro “You surely don’t want me to hole that?” the pompous amateur blustered. His ball was about thirty centimetres from but his opponent, the club professional, answered quietly. “No”. The amateur picked up and walked on next tee. He was about to take honour when he was interrupted by his opponent. “My honour, I think,” said the professional. I won last hole, as you didn’t putt out. “But you said you didn’t want me to hole out,” spluttered the amateur. “That’s right. I didn’t, and you didn’t”

golf’s The mosT fun i’ve ever had wiTh my cloThes on – Lee Trevino Green Fees For months the archaeologists had been tolling deep in the Amazon jungle, clearing creepers and rampant, choking undergrowth from the faint traces of a Lost City. Their excitement mounted as the place`s extraordinary purpose became evident. Broad, winding avenues of giant flagstones had deep, narrow, perfectly circular

GolfinG truths, sayinGs and cliches

• A lways concede the fourth putt. • Bunkers have the unnerving habit of rushing out to meet your ball. • Curly, downhill, left-to-right putts are usually followed by curly, uphill, right-to-left putts. • Delicate chip shots over bunkers always catch the top of the bank and fall back. • Golf is like sex: afterwards you feel you should have scored at little better. • Golf is the only game in which you fail to win 99 per cent of the time. • If a golfer wishes to give you a blow-by-blow account of his round, ask him to start with his final putt on the 18th green.

The love of your life eiTher haTes golf or is a beTTer player Than you

The begginer A retiree was given a set of golf clubs by his co-workers. Thinking he’d try the game, he asked the local pro for lessons, explaining that he knew nothing whatever of the game. The pro showed him the stance and swing, then said, “Just hit the ball toward the flag on the first green.” The novice teed up and smacked the ball straight down the fairway and onto the green, where it stopped inches from the hole. “Now what ?” the fellow asked the speechless pro. “Uh... you’re supposed to hit the ball into the cup.” the pro finally said, after he was able to speak again. “Oh great ! so NOW you tell me.” said the beginner in a disgusted tone. Green golf balls Bill and Ralph were approaching the first tee. Ralph goes into his golf bag to get a ball and says to his friend, “Hey, why don’t you try this ball.” He draws a green golf ball out of his bag. “You can’t lose it.” Bill replies, “What do you mean you can’t lose it?” Ralph replies, “I’m serious, you can’t lose it. If you hit it into the woods, it makes a beeping sound, if you hit it into the water it produces bubbles, and if you hit it on the fairway, smoke comes up in order for you to find it.” Obviously, Bill doesn’t believe him, but Ralph shows him all the possibilities until he is convinced. Bill says, “Wow! That’s incredible! Where did you get that ball!” Ralph replies, “I found it.”

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the gorilla’s revenge

The pro at the country club was rude. When he beat you on the golf course he not only took your money he then told you everything you did wrong and suggested that you would never be able to hit the ball out of your own shadow. One of the members had enough, so he bought a gorilla and trained it to play golf. He then set up a game with the pro – $1000 a side with automatics. The day of the match arrived and all parties were ready. The first hole was a par five of 575 yards. The pro teed off splitting the fairway some 270 yards out. The gorilla lumbered up to the tee. Placed the ball on the ground and made a mighty swing. The ball rocketed off the clubface 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 575 yards and stopped 5 inches from the cup. The pro just about fell out of his pants. If this was an indication of the way things were going to go then he would never live it down. He immediately settled the bet, remembering that he had urgent business across town. As they walked from the tee the pro asked, “How does he putt?” The same as he drives, 575 yards, was the answer. holes every few hundred yards. It had to be .... a golf course! Any doubt was dispelled by the discovery of stone panels depicting human figures using primitive prototypes of irons or putters. Next step was to interrogate local Indian tribesmen about traditions associated with the prehistoric golf club. And yes, the tribes did have legends of Old Ones who followed a daily ritual with the clubs and balls, until routed by tragedy.

Watching a particularly wrinkled, aged elder chattering to the interpreter, a Professor murmured wistfully. “If only we knew why they gave up golf, making it vanish for centuries before rediscovery.” The interpreter nodded eagerly and relayed the query. The elder, surprised, made a sweeping gesture at the jungle, and replied tersely. “Simple,” was the translation, “they couldn`t afford the green fees.”

• I f a good course is one where you play to your handicap or better and a bad course is one where you struggle to break 100, why are there so many bad courses ? • If there is one solitary tree located on a hole, your ball will find it with unerring accuracy. • If you are giving strokes in a match it’s always too many: if you are receiving them it’s never enough. • If you have a hole-in-one in a competition you are in the last group and the bar is packed when you come in. • If you’re out in 39 and home in 45 you’re playing wartime golf. • Lagging a putt from three feet means you’ve got the yips. • While unloading your golf bag from the car, the golf balls fall out all over the tarmac car park and roll under the other cars. • Your best drive of the day finishes in a divot hole. The visiting aliens An alien spaceship hovered over a golf course. Two aliens were watching a solitary golfer practising on a golf course. This was a new golfer and they watched in amazement. The golfer duff his tee shot, shanked his second into the rough, took three to get out of the rough into the fairway, slice the next shot into the bushes, took a putter to get it out on the fairway again. Meanwhile, one alien told the other that he must be playing some sort of game and they continued to observe the golfer. Hit a great shot into a bunker by the green. He took several shots to get out of the bunker and finally on to the green. He putted several times until he finally got into the hole. At this stage, the other alien told his partner, “Wow, now he is in serious trouble”.


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Tee to Green Dec-Jan 2012-13  

Golf news, views and reviews for the serious golfer. Southern Africa's largest golf publication, freely available at more than 400 golf club...

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