Interview with LEGENDARY GOLF COACH PETER COWEN. SEEING RED?.. Seek help with Sports Psychology Dennis shaw Meets Famed course designer DAVE THOMAS. PATRICK BRADY REVEALS THE SECRET OF DRIVING
Free - Issue 2 - Mar/Apr 2006
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MICHELLE WIE HAWAIIAN GOLF SENSATION
Cover image - Michelle Wie © Walter Iooss Jr. / Sports Illustrated Issue 2 - March / April 2006
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Welcome to the second issue of eat GOLF! We would like to thank all those who took the time to send us their thoughts on issue 1. Your feedback and high praise are much appreciated. If there are any subjects you would like to raise or see us cover in future issues, please continue to send in your emails. If you picked up eat GOLF! in the UK, you are holding a limited distribution of the magazine that will see full release in the South East of England with our next issue. From May 2006, a complimentary copy of eat GOLF! will be available in the most prestigious golf clubs and golf resort hotels. GOLF! is produced on the Costa del Sol, which remains an important area for the European Tour. The coast of Spain is the winter home for the PGAs of Europe, and in the last few months we have seen many courses here host high profile golf tournaments. Since our trial issue was launched during the Volvo Masters at Valderrama, San Roque and La Cala have hosted the mens and ladies qualifying schools respectively, whilst La Reserva was home to a Peugeot Tour event. Amongst others, this year will see a return to San Roque on 27th April for the Spanish Open. eat
Michelle Wie is making waves on both the PGA and LPGA Tours. In our feature we discuss the talented 16 year old who aims to take on the men at their level. Her homeland of Hawaii has some of the most beautiful golf courses in the world, and Evan Schiller shares his incredible photography with us. With many more rising stars creating an ever growing interest in women’s golf, these are exciting times for the LPGA and Ladies European Tour, as Bethan Cutler points out in this issue. Peter Cowen is coach to many of the best players on the European Tour and eat GOLF! met with him to try and uncover a few of his secrets. Our interview with sports psychologist Allison Dyer explains that anger management is not the only reason to pay her a visit. In the next few issues Allison will highlight many ways to focus your mind on the golf course, and PGA Professional Patrick Brady steps onto Los Flamingos golf course to shed light on the effects modern technology is having on drivers. If you are an improving player using a closed face driver, this article may well open your eyes to the possibility of change.
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This issues musical companion has been the debut album by Dr Rubberfunk. The First Cut was released in 2003 with its huge mix of modern day mellow soul, funk, jazz and blues. This and subsequent releases attracted much attention throughout the music industry from the likes of Mr Scruff, Groove Armada and David Holmes. His website contains a great selection of free downloads. Visit www.funkydown.com
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12. FASHION LA PERLA
16. MICHELLE WIE HAWAIIAN GOLF SENSATION www.flamingos-golf.com www.gomezymolina.com
Dennis Shaw and the PGAs of Europe www.pgae.com
30. SEEING RED? ANGER MANAGEMENT
36. GOLF TIPS MODERN DRIVERS
Bethan Cutler, Serafin Ibañez Bailey and the Ladies European Tour www.ladieseuropeantour.com
www.valderrama.com www.sponsorship.volvo.com Peter Cowen www.dubaigolf.com
50. LADIES EUROPEAN TOUR WOMEN’S GOLF: THE NEW BREED
58. INTERVIEW PETER COWEN
La Reserva Golf Club www.sotogrande.com
68. PGAs OF EUROPE DAVE THOMAS DESIGN
74. SPANISH GOLF HIGHLIGHTS LA RESERVA DE SOTOGRANDE
Ewen Murray and Sky Sports www.skysports.com
www.golfino.com La Perla Golf www.laperla.com
86. INTERVIEW EWEN MURRAY
92. FASHION GOLFINO
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WINNER The lucky winner of a brand new Rossa Monza Corza Putter courtesy of TaylorMade in our issue 1 competition was Steve Teale.
Golf ‘us Marbella are giving away a brand new Cobra driver to one lucky reader of eat GOLF! in our exclusive competition. HOW TO ENTER Tell us what eat GOLF! PGA Professional, Patrick Brady believes is the foundation of the golf swing - is it? (a) Grip (b) Stance (c) Address The answer can be found within the pages of this issue.
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He answered correctly that the other name for what eat GOLF! PGA Professional, Patrick Brady refers to as ‘the caffeine’ grip is the Claw Grip.
Format Pairs Better Ball Stroke play Maximum Handicap 18 – 3/4 Allowance
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eye on the ball LA PERLA
La Perla is world famous for its range of seductive underwear and provocative beachwear. For 2006 they have brought us a collection that explicitly declares golf as the new fashion, with subtle shapes and outlined silhouettes that maintain a feminine and affectionate look.
La Perla Golf applies colours such as chalk, lavender, yellow and walnut - covered with lace on a white or powder pink background. To be worn with a small low necked cardigan and very habillĂŠ knee length shorts, La Perla Golf is sure to get heads turning. Just remember to keep your eye on the ball! 012
hawaiian golf sensation “The Big Wiesy” must be the richest 16-year-old golfer in history after signing lucrative Foreword by Bethan Cutler, Ladies European Tour
contracts with Sony and Nike (worth a reputed US$10 million) on her move to the paid ranks at the end of last year. At her first pro tournament - the 2005 Samsung World Championship - she was disqualified after a spectator noticed she had taken an illegal ball drop; not quite the start that she might have wanted; but then she certainly made headlines. What Michelle really needs now are titles. She didn’t pick up too many as an amateur, preferring to take on the men, but she certainly has the game to do it and the world excitedly awaits her maiden victory. Expect plenty of drama wherever this young lady goes in the season ahead and some fascinating rivalry with the world’s best players. She may not be a member of any Tour, but she still gets seven players’ exemptions on the LPGA Tour in America and we may even see her tee it up in the men’s Open Championship. This will be a watershed year for Michelle, who follows no-ones agenda but her own.
Golf photos from Michelle Wie’s homeland of Hawaii by Evan Schiller. Evan is a golf professional as well as a professional photographer. He has been invited to photograph hundreds of the finest golf courses around the world. Evan’s photography is exclusively featured in the book, Golf Courses of Hawaii, published by Hugh Lauter Levin in 2001. His unusual combination of experiences as a golf professional and photographer provides a perspective and eye unique among golf photographers today. Evan has also competed in professional golf tournaments around the world and on the PGA Tour, including the U.S. Open.
ÂŠ Walter Iooss Jr. / Sports Illustrated
Launa Hills Country Club, Hole 3 Photographers Note: If you ever want to play a golf course that is truly cut out of a jungle, go to Luana Hills CC. The par 3, 3rd hole, with the back drop of the Koâ€™olau Ridge Mountains is one of the most picturesque I have ever played and photographed. This particular shot took four days to have it looking like this, with the sun shining both on the green and the mountains. Luana Hills is on the windward side of Oahu and tends to get more rain and cloud cover making it much more jungle like than the arid leeward side. 018
“It would be really neat if I could be a Tiger Woods.” Photo by Robert Laberge © Getty Images
Michelle Who? For Tiger Woods to be the golfing idol of a teenager may not be so unusual, but to possess a golfing talent that one day could allow them to compete against him is. That this childhood fantasy belongs to a young girl named Michelle Wie is the primary reason for an understandably great deal of media attention. Born October 11, 1989 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Michelle Wie began playing golf at a little over four years old. Taught by her father B.J. Wie, by age 11, Michelle was regularly winning most of the amateur tournaments she played in. In May of 2001, Michelle won Hawaii’s most prestigious women’s tournament, the ‘Jennie-K’ by nine shots. In June she became the youngest golfer and first female to qualify for the Manoa Cup, a match-play event for men that has been held since the early 1900s. In March 2002, now six feet tall, Wie played in her first LPGA tour event. She failed to make the cut at the Takefuji Classic in Hawaii but still managed to turn some heads with her 280-yard drives and her understanding of the game. In June 2003, Michelle became the youngest winner in the
history of the Women’s Amateur Public Links, with a 1 up victory over Virada Nirapathpongporn at Ocean Hammock. Due to a special exemption, Michelle Wie became the youngest person, and just the fourth female, to play in a PGA tour event when she teed off at the Sony Open on January 15, 2004 missing the half way cut by just one stroke. She came close to making her first cut at a PGA event at the 2005 John Deere Classic but a late collapse in the second round saw her miss the cut by two strokes. What really sets Michelle apart from her peers are her outspoken ambitions: “Tiger has broken down barriers and it would be great if I could help women to compete against men.” But doing that is a personal choice for me and I’m not saying women should play against men.”
“Tiger has broken down barriers and it would be great if I could help women to compete against men.” 019
Big Island Country Club, Hole 5 Photographers Note: This little known Pete Dye gem in the high country of the Big Island has an abundance of beautiful flowers and birds, making it seem as if you are playing golf in a botanical garden. I personally loved it.
Balance and power Bursting onto the golfing scene at such a young age has given the media a new star to latch onto. Promoted like a Hollywood celebrity rather than a golfing heroine is inevitable in a media savvy world ready to grasp any money-making opportunity to come their way. Is it exploitation or seizing the moment to bring a child into the limelight so early? It is nothing new of course; popular culture has traditionally fed on stories of child prodigies from Mozart to Michael Jackson. This is not to say that these tragedies will 020
befall Michelle - but nonetheless it is worth noting the dangers. Whilst comparisons to the greatest golfer of our time are all well and good, Wie is still a young lady with time on her side. eat GOLF! asked Ewen Murray to put Michelle’s ambitious programme into context with Tiger at the same age. Ewen Murray: “Michelle Wie at 15, now 16, shouldn’t be talking about playing the Masters. Woods was 19 when he turned pro and she’s got three years yet before even thinking
about proving herself to the same extent. I understand her decision to turn pro early because she’s so far ahead of the amateur girls... but that’s why I think the next two or three years are so important. If they push her too much, play too much, travel too much, while she’s still growing (and I say that in inverted commas because hopefully she won’t grow much further than the 6 foot she is now!) I just think it’s a very important part of her life. Her development in the next few years is vital and will fashion the future for her.”
Photo by Robert Laberge © Getty Images
“I don’t really think about fame, I don’t see myself as a celebrity. “I’ve met Tiger once and it was really neat. Both him, Ernie Els and Annika Sorenstam are role models to me.” 021
Hualalai Golf Club, Hole 17 Photographers Note: Perched out on a point surrounded by the lava rock, this hole is a must see and play. Quite simply, it is one of the most beautiful spots on a golf course in Hawaii. As are many of the courses on the Big Island - the entire course is carved from the lava. This particular shot was taken just after sunrise from a fourteen foot ladder.
Careering out of control? There is no doubting that Michelle Wie has a bright future ahead of her, indeed she could well win her first professional tournament and fulfill the expectations of her sponsors early. But the fact remains that Michelle is still a young and developing talent, and taking this into account she has much to learn and may well change her outlook on life, as well as her goals. When previously asked how she felt about golf psychologists, she replied: “I’m not really interested in sports psychology. It makes me feel like a crazy person.” Yet after her 3rd place finish at the Fields Open in Hawaii, February 2006, a more mature Wie replied: “The mental part of the game is very important in golf, especially because it’s four and a half, five hours long and you have a lot of breaks in between the shots. And I think the mental part of the game... was a very important part, and hopefully I can get better as I get older and have more experience under my belt.” The sensible approach could be developing a career by learning to compete one level at a time. This would ensure a gradual shift building a more rounded, experienced player. At 16, and with time on her side there really should be no rush to make premature and sensationalist remarks about taking on the men before conquering the LPGA. If Tiger, Ernie and Annika really are her role models, then
“Woods gave up a bit of his education at Stanford, because he was ready and Michelle Wie obviously feels she is ready. I think the general assessment is women mature quicker than men...” Ewen Murray Photo by Robert Laberge © Getty Images
why not take a leaf out of their book and take the time to grow and complete her education? Ewen Murray: “Woods gave up a bit of his education at Stanford, because he was ready and Michelle Wie obviously feels she is ready. I think the general assessment is women mature quicker than men, so that’s another reason. I still think over the next couple of years she needs to be treated with kid gloves.”
In an age where marketing, sponsorship and ultimately money are the main driving forces to gain interest from players and viewers, there are reasons to look beyond the immediate opportunities to cash in on such revenue streams. Attempting to create an overnight sensation to make a swift buck could well be a quick fix at the expense of Michelle’s long term career, and if she fails to succeed this could have a negative effect on both tours. 023
Kauai Lagoons (Kiele Course), Hole 16 Photographers Note: I love the way this hole sits down by the water overlooking Nawiliwili harbour, especially the green that is perched on the lava rock with the crashing waves in the background. This is one of the most popular shots I have taken in Hawaii as it has appeared in many calendars, books and articles. It is one of my favourites as well. The entire course is beautiful in the way it winds through jungle, tropical lagoons as well as the ocean and harbour. Below: Mauna Kea Golf Course, Hole 3 Photographers Note: I used my panoramic camera to take this picture of what is probably the most well known and photographed hole in Hawaii. Nothing between you and the green but the South Pacific! It is also a great place to go at sunset as the light on the water, green and mountains in the background is fantastic.
“I don’t necessarily want to have a long golf career. I definitely don’t want to play until I’m like 60 years old!” How long will this bright star shine? Obtaining the nickname “the Big Wiesy” came about from a comparison by Tom Lehman to the great Ernie Els. Michelle has already gained much respect from fellow professionals. Davis Love III: “She probably has one of the best golf swings I’ve ever seen, period. She’s got a lot going for her. Plus, she’s tall and strong. No telling what she’s going to do when she gets a little older.” Tom Lehman backs this up: “I think there’s a great deal of respect for her talent,” he says. “I think everybody pulls for her. That’s probably the most important thing. I think everybody out here is pulling for her.” It could be said that these are the people more likely to understand the tests she will face as her career progresses, and Michelle obviously feels comfortable taking part in the men’s events. Stating after
becoming the youngest player to take part in a US men’s tournament in Hawaii at the 2004 Sony Open. “I was greeted with open arms and there was no negativity from men that I spoke to.” Since Tiger Woods’ progression through the world rankings began, he has followed a careful and strategic plan to remain faithful to his roots with the aim of becoming number 1. Michelle’s aim to play against the men could be viewed as a vague and naive attempt to cause a stir, and pull in the sponsors. Golf is a career that can last a lifetime, as is proved by the long and fruitful careers of many top professionals such as Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer. Golf has proved it is not a sport requiring gimmicks to survive. Nurturing such a promising talent, and allowing her to grow into a complete golfer would surely bring just as great a reward. 025
“Annika (Sorenstam) is a champion and watching her play was awesome. She is so accomplished. I have only seen Michelle play a little, but she has all the potential in the world to be as good. You see that swing, it’s so powerful and athletic, and you just know she has a great future.” Dean Wilson, who played with Sorenstam at the 2003 Colonial, following the 2004 Sony Open
What about Annika? However you view Michelle’s goals, it is clear that she has a talent for golf that promises more than your average rising star. But let’s not forget that any undertaking of a career to rival that of Tiger Woods raises the question of where world number 1 Annika Sorenstam fits into the equation. The fact that, until Wie came onto the scene, it was Annika who would occasionally take on the men, and it is she who shares a personal rivalry with Tiger on their growing acquisition of titles on their respective tours. Is it possible to be recognised as the greatest female golfer and bypass Annika without challenging her position? Neglecting her own tour suggests an impatience of youth to make it to the top without the need to work. Challenging Annika whilst she remains number 1 must surely be a greater concern than competing against the men. Ko’olau Golf Club, Hole 16 Photographers Note: Wow!!! is the most appropriate way to describe this course and hole that sits just at the edge of the Ko’olau Ridge mountain range. Just down the road from Luana Hills, Ko’olau is similarly carved out of the jungle along with majestic views of the towering cliffs. Being on the windward side of the island and prone to more cloud cover makes for spectacular shows of light playing off the clouds and mountains. Don’t miss it!
Ewen Murray: “It’s going to take more than a couple of years to replace Annika, because Annika has still got another 8, maybe 10, years left at the very top, which makes Wie 24. Now if she’s won, as Annika has, the money list on six consecutive years that makes Michelle Wie 22, still a very young girl. Then, six years down the line, have another look at it and if you’re good enough, then you deserve to have a chance. To do it with a girl who is just into her teens is daft.
I think Michelle’s advisers have to be very careful what they do. We’ve seen Jennifer Capriati in tennis, we’ve seen Martina Hingis. Injuries because they’re maybe pushed too far at a young age. To her credit Capriati’s come back, but it would be awful to lose Wie along the same lines. I think her advisers have to pick her schedule very carefully, and nurse her for the next three or four years. She can’t even join the LPGA tour for two years yet. She can’t be a fully fledged member until she’s 18. So lets see what happens and cut the talk of the Masters, because great as she might be, I don’t think she’s going to take on Woods at Augusta.” Perhaps that is where Michelle’s ambitions are misplaced. In wanting to take on the men prior to conquering the tour that is immediately available to her, she fails to give due respect to her fellow piers. Whilst nobody should stand in the way of Michelle if this is truly what she wants, she is threatening the work that the ladies and mens tours strive to achieve. Ewen Murray: “I think women competing on the men’s tour is nonsense. Because that means if it’s an equality thing, which is what half the argument is about, then John Daly, I suspect, can go on the ladies tour and play there. To me that’s the end of that argument. John Daly is not going to go and play on the ladies tour.” 027
Photo by Robert Laberge © Getty Images
“I don’t think I would say I don’t belong here; I do belong. I belong on the LPGA; I belong on the PGA (Tour). I think I belong in both.”
The future As Fred Couples has noted, you can read about Michelle all you want, but when you see her hit a golf ball, there’s nothing that can prepare you for it. She employs a neutral grip, and uses a wide backswing, a la Davis Love. Michelle stands up straight on her swing, a textbook PGA power stroke, right on plane. The explosive way she releases her hands just before impact reminds many of another precocious golfer, Sergio Garcia. At time of going to press, a new Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking sees Michelle Wie at world number 2. Having only competed in 16 events the system shows her strong performances over the last 13 weeks in particular. Only Michelle can truly know if she can handle the expectations and pressures that rest on her shoulders, and her comments following the Sony Open suggest that she does feel ready. “It’s mostly experience... sometimes you have to go out there and endure the pain.” 028
Poipu Bay Golf Course, Hole 17 Photographers Note: Although the views from the tees and fairways are beautiful, be sure to look back from behind the greens on the 15th – 17th holes, as those may be the more spectacular vantage points with the ocean to your right and mountains to your left. This shot was taken from behind the 17th green with a panoramic camera.
EVAN SCHILLER WORLDWIDE
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anger management Although golf is known as a chivalrous game with numerous rules of etiquette to follow, there are times when it is hard to restrain your emotions. This is a game that can infuriate and frustrate, often bringing out the worst side of your personality. Swearing, throwing clubs, breaking clubs - once ‘golf rage’ takes hold - it is hard to overcome! The triggers of self destruction are clear. We can all play the game of golf, but when things start to fall apart it becomes a personal drama that feels befitting of a lead role in a Shakespearean tragedy. Golf is about rhythm and tempo, not temper and tension. Easier said than done when you miss your fifth tap in from two feet or shank yet another ball off the tee and out of bounds. Unless you possess the most easy going personality you may experience feelings of anger no matter what level of golf you play.
© REUTERS / Pablo Sanchez
Many golf professionals seek help from a golf psychologist to improve their mental toughness. eat GOLF! met with Allison Dyer, a BASES Accredited Sport Psychologist and BPS Chartered Psychologist to find out what assistance she can give and how to get yourself out of the habit of only seeing red. If you can relate to Adam Sandler’s performance in the golfing comedy Happy Gilmore, then keep reading! 031
Allison Dyer is a trained sports psychologist who works with both professional and amateur golfers to help them improve their mental toughness on the golf course. She provides practical and easy to use guidelines that enable the golfer to create effective solutions to deal with their problems on the course and improve their game. 032
Do you find that seeing a sports psychologist carries a certain stigma? No I don’t. In the past it did but public awareness of the direct link between performance success and sport psychology has risen. Most people know that the top golf professionals have a sports psychologist. I don’t think the term “sports psychology” is an unusual term any more. Golfers are used to hearing it. Most golfers who are serious about their golf have a basic understanding of what sports psychology is - they are just not sure how it can help them. You do occasionally come across individuals who ask if I’m going to question them about their childhood or they think I’ll turn up in a white jacket and ask strange
questions or bleat on constantly about positive thinking and being a winner, but that doesn’t happen so much now because people are more clued up about it. Getting started was quite difficult because there were people who didn’t really understand what sports psychology is. They presumed you had to be at your wits end to see a sports psychologist. Slowly but surely I’ve educated people and showed them I can help them. I don’t have a magic wand though! Sometimes I get people coming to see me for literally one hour - and that’s probably my worst kind of client because they come in with unrealistic expectations. Psychology doesn’t work like that. There is no quick fix. I usually
“Public awareness of the direct link between performance success and sports psychology has risen.” “They presumed you had to be at your wits end to see a sports psychologist.”
“Amateur golfers tend to have an untrained swing and an untrained brain. Ideally you want a trained swing and a trained brain.” use the analogy that your mind is a muscle. You wouldn’t go to the gym, ask for an upper body programme, do it once and then expect to walk out feeling buff. It’s exactly the same with your brain. You’ve got to learn the techniques and then you have to practice them and use them regularly. Do you get involved in the physical training side or is it related in any way? When you work with a golfer or an athlete it makes sense to look at them from a holistic perspective as opposed to solely from a mental perspective. Where possible, I like to work in conjunction with the golfers coach. It is all very well the individual coming to me and talking about the mental side of their game
but if I have no idea of what their coach is asking them to do I will have less of an impact. Similarly if the coach is reiterating my messages in his/her sessions then the work I am doing with the golfer is reinforced and the development process is likely to speed up. Physical training is outside of my area of competence. I work on the mental side only. There are overlaps sometimes, for instance if you are overweight you can get tired, and if you are tired you can make bad decisions and lose concentration. It’s not my job to say let’s put a fitness programme together, but I can point them in the right direction of a qualified strength and conditioning coach or dietician. I can help identify their needs and develop appropriate action plans.
Do you find it difficult working with an amateur golfer? They may think they need to see a sports psychologist when in reality there is a fundamental problem with their swing? Amateur golfers tend to have an untrained swing and an untrained brain. Ideally you want a trained swing and a trained brain. More often than not, pros will have a trained swing and an untrained brain. At the end of the day with amateurs, if you haven’t got a trained swing you’ve got to work on that first. That’s the priority. With all the psychology and mental control in the world, if you can’t hit it down the fairway then it doesn’t matter how mentally tough you are, you’re not going to score well.
Is there a figure on a handicap that you would put before somebody should come and see you? That’s quite a tricky question because everybody is so different. I’ve got a guy at the moment who has a 16 handicap. His priority is to work on the technical side of things but he’s using me to help plan his practice sessions, for example. For the past 7 years he has been bashing balls on the driving range. So I ask are these quality practice sessions? No they are not. He is engaging in quantity not quality. He has been bashing balls whereas he needs to work on the quality and content of his practice sessions and place more emphasis on his short game. Working with beginners can be great because you are starting with a blank slate. Before the beginner falls into bad habits I can get in there first. Rather than spending time undoing bad habits, together we can create good ones, right from the start. Although I work predominantly with pros, I can do as good a job with somebody who has just started playing golf. I cant promise to make them the next Tiger or Annika but I can help them to enjoy their golf more and potentially lower their handicap. 033
Do you begin work more on motivation? No not at all. Sometimes motivation is not even an issue. Typically a client will come to see me and we will sit down and complete what is known as a needs analysis. We identify their specific golfing strengths and weaknesses. It might be that they have all the motivation in the world but they haven’t got good concentration or they’re unclear about what their practice plan should be, or they are rubbish at coping with pressure. Basically I’ll do an interview with them to find out from the client what they think they need to work on and build a picture in my mind of what areas of mental toughness they most need to work on. We will then formulate a structured Mental Toughness Programme based on their needs. It’s very individualised. There is no set way of starting work with a client. Do you think golfers in general create their own pressures? Definitely. Typically the individual will focus on the outcome - what they want to achieve. I’ve got to win. I’ve got to get this putt. I must make the cut. Instead of focusing on the outcome it is better that they focus on the process - what they need to do - to achieve that outcome. This way you’ve got smaller, more manageable tasks to focus on so there is less pressure. Yes the score is what you want, and its good to know what you want, but its more important to focus on how you’re going to do it. Do you find that people who are focusing on the outcome rather than playing the game are losing enjoyment because of this? Yes absolutely. The whole point of going out and playing golf is that its supposed to be a challenge and enjoyable and a lot of people get so caught up in the mechanics and the outcome that they lose focus on what they are doing - and that you should be enjoying yourself and taking confidence from the things that have gone well or the things you have achieved. 034
Do you find a lot of people come to see you for that reason? Yes that comes up a lot, especially with the pros. Each and every shot can be a calculation of how much money it is costing them. If they’re thinking about that they are less likely to play the kind of golf they want to play. That is all to do with the state of mind they are in. If you play a casual round with friends for example, you are probably more relaxed and play better. Focusing on money can cause you to tense up and lose your tempo and rhythm and so on. Is thinking of the money a common problem for professional golfers? Oh yes! Especially for the guys on the EuroPro and Challenge Tours because they’ve got the pressure that maybe their parents or friends are helping them with money - to pay for them to be in the tournament. Or they’ve got a sponsor and they’ve got to do well in this tournament in order to get onto the next tournament. To get on the Order of Merit they have to make money. It’s a difficult task to take your focus away from that, but the guys who make it tend to be the ones who are able to do that. What sort of clients do you deal with in the professional section? Do you work with any high profile players on the European Tour? The highest profile tournament I am working with at the moment is the Challenge Tour. I had a couple of guys who didn’t make the European Tour last year. There was one guy who didn’t make it by two, and I felt really sorry for him - he worked really hard. He will be better prepared this year though having had the experience. He learned a lot. Once you get higher up into the rankings and money is not so much of an issue, are the pressures then only wanting to succeed? The costs of entering some of the competitions are so high
now, plus travel, accommodation, your psychologist, dieticians, etc etc, the outgoings are incredible. They say the more money you’ve got the more money you spend, and I would guess that it is still a massive pressure. Temper is something that a large majority of golfers experience at some point, if not everybody. What are some of the worst scenarios you have come across? Out of all the pros I have worked with, I have never worked on a serious anger management issue. I’ve worked with quite a few club level golfers and youngsters on anger management, but not pros, and that for me is quite an important indicator that actually there is no room for anger in top level golf. It’s quite cheesy but anger is one letter away from danger. There is no room for snapping and throwing clubs in top level golf! It does happen though and perhaps it is anger born out of frustration? Yes. I suppose when I do come up against anger issues, typically what we do is sit down and talk about this behavioural pattern. It is important for the golfer to acknowledge that losing their temper is a habit or routine. What they must ask themselves is does this particular habit help them play better golf? If it does then fantastic, and for some golfers they can thrive on this anger, but for the vast majority of people it doesn’t work. So if it doesn’t make you play better golf, then we have to find some way of disrupting the habit.
Another thing we look at is how to control our state. We can control how we are feeling. There are four main areas I tend to look at. First we identify what kinds of things we are thinking - our self talk, secondly what kind of things we are seeing - images in our mind, the third is our breathing patterns and the fourth our body language. If we can control these four areas, then we can control our state. On the thinking side of things, the bottom line is that if you are standing over a putt thinking I can’t believe I’ve just missed that last putt or this hole has been terrible so far - your temper is likely to build. These thoughts will make you feel angry, frustrated and annoyed. These feelings affect your rhythm and your tempo can go. Perfect ingredients for ruining the next shot. A sequence of events has occurred that began with how you were thinking and ended with a negative change in performance. I can’t stop the thoughts coming into your head, but I can help you deal with them effectively. You can take control of your thoughts. Your mind should be your greatest asset, not your worst enemy! Replacement routines can also be effective in this instance. I recommend a four stage routine. Typically when something goes wrong on the course and you feel frustrated, annoyed or angry the first thing I recommend is that you acknowledge your anger - but not dwell on it! Then we must go into the second fix phase. When we are angry we tend to speed up and make knee jerk reactions. I’ll get the golfer to take a nice even breath to help gain control and slow the situation down again. Sometimes I’ll get them to use a physical cue such as snapping a wrist band,
pinching their nose or tweaking their cap. This becomes symbolic of slowing down and taking control of the situation. The third phase is the forget phase. I’ll get the golfer to challenge their rationality and logic. They must acknowledge that the shot is finished and they cannot play it again. There is no benefit in dwelling on a bad shot. The final phase is to choose a constructive focus. Now you have a fresh shot and a fresh opportunity to play the kind of shot you want to play. So you replace your bad anger habit with a new and more helpful habit. Ultimately what we want to achieve is consistent golf, and this new routine will help you to achieve that. To begin with you’ll forget to do the routine, but that goes back to learning and practicing these techniques. Your bad habits have been ingrained for years, and you have to spend time undoing and changing them. Eventually through constantly challenging yourself the new habits will come, and you will gain the composure you are looking for. I will also work on a pre-shot routine. For me that is the anchor to any good golfer. Most people think they have a routine, but usually they haven’t got the psychology side of it. The whole point of the pre-shot routine is to get you physically and mentally ready to take a shot. Physically you might be ready but if you are still dwelling on the last bad shot you are not mentally ready. I help my golfers to develop a signal as they approach a shot that cues them into concentrating on the task at hand. This will help them to focus their attention on the fresh challenge ahead of them, rather than what has gone on in the past.
Another thing I get people to do is to go through what if? scenarios. What if I play three bad shots in a row? What if I stuff up the first two shots? What is going to be my strategy is this happens? I get them to think through these types of scenarios, create an appropriate action plan and then visualise themselves completing this strategy. If you allow yourself to see yourself dealing with the situation effectively then you are more likely to manage should it happen.
Sounds useful to any golfer... Sports psychology can help a golfer play consistently, overcome the yips, increase confidence, cope with pressure effectively. The list goes on and on. Sports psychology techniques and strategies are also useful for life in general. In day to day life, you can get hacked off in the supermarket or with your boss, you can be nervous about an interview, lose concentration in a meeting. I think sports psychology techniques and strategies can work for life, not just golf. To identify your problems on the golf course and work out effective strategies to improve your game or attitude contact: Allison Dyer, British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) Accredited Sports Psychologist and British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered Psychologist works as the consultant sports psychologist at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy (La Cala), El Paraiso Golf Club (Estepona) and Positive Golf at Greenlife (Elviria). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: (+34) 662 070 787 Allison will be making a regular contribution to the magazine, starting next issue with advice on how to create a sound pre shot routine.
...an open shut case By Patrick Brady
The trend amongst modern day drivers is to offer a draw bias with a closed face. Whilst this is helping to introduce many new people to golf, it has removed the need of the key fundamental, which is to hold the club correctly.
Although you may now be able to hit a 200 yard drive down the middle of the
Special thanks to: Patrick Brady for his contributions. You can book private tuition with Patrick by calling 607827021.
fairway, you struggle to hit a 100 yard 9 iron to the green.
Golf â€˜US, Marbella for supplying drivers from their extensive range. www.golf-us.com
I am not saying that modern technology has no place in golf, but to improve we must return focus to
Flamingos Golf Club for the use of their golf course, which as always was in impeccable condition. www.flamingos-golf.com
the foundation of the golf swing, and that is the grip.
Gomez & Molina Joyeros for supplying the Cronomar watch.
spot the... Every good golf swing should start with a good grip. If you are one of these people then you require a neutral, square faced driver. The effect of a closed face in the hands of a good player is well documented by the likes of the great golf instructor, John Jacobs. “Almost every swing fault, in my experience, stems from misalignment of the clubface at impact.” he said back in Golf Digest, October 1975. In my lessons I see golfers of all levels react to the spin and the flight of the ball. Therefore the implications of starting the swing with a closed face (that forces the ball into a right to left arc) are potentially disastrous in the wrong hands. If you are a golfer who wants lessons or is having lessons, starting off with a neutral face is by far the best choice. Because the hands and the clubface are in sync it will encourage you to release the club through impact, and will reward you for holding it correctly. In turn your whole game will become much easier, from sand wedge through to driver. A neutral club face
“Always take great care in selecting a driver. They may all appear the same, but there are many variations.”
Choice can cause confusion! 038
...difference As a beginner the draw bias club is a great way to start as it compensates for a bad grip. Even though you only took the game up 2 minutes ago, you’ve impressed your friends with a perfect draw down the middle of the fairway. For a beginner who initially slices the ball (left to right), a closed face can encourage a better swing path. By trying to stop the ball from hooking (right to left) your natural instinct is to develop the ideal in to out swing path to compensate. If you are somebody who doesn’t have time for lessons, or you are reluctant to change your grip - this type of driver is perfectly suited to you. Whilst I accept that draw bias drivers make golf a lot of fun, it doesn’t do much for the development of your game. Once you are ready to improve, this club will hinder your progress as you begin to over compensate for the closed face. On the following pages I explain the effects of a better player reacting to a closed faced driver, and how to develop a good grip more suited to every club in the bag. A closed face promotes a draw
“There are many adverse reactions to selecting the wrong type of driver.” “If you don’t have time for lessons modern drivers can provide a quick fix.”
Forcing the club from the inside
Coming ‘over the top’ 039
good... Here I demonstrate a player with a good grip and a square clubface. You can see that the shaft of the club is on plane, as a neutral clubface encourages better body positions throughout the swing. The straighter the ball flight, the less compensations you find yourself making. The shaft of the club should cut through the right shoulder, with the butt of the club pointing at the ball to target line. Because the path of the club matches the alignment of the clubface I will soon develop a freer and more powerful swing with a straighter ball flight producing more accurate shots. If I make a bad swing with a square face driver, the resulting flight of the ball should give a clearer indication of where my fault lies. From there myself or my coach can get the club back into the correct positions. In order to be successful at golf, a good grip should allow the clubface to be released square through the ball. As I demonstrate opposite, a closed face driver inhibits this.
A good angle of attack, with the butt of the club pointing at the ball to target line
â€œA driver you trust allows you to get in the right position, with the butt of the club pointing into the ball, and producing a full, confident release...â€?
A good finish with a full release 040
A square face suited to a better player
...and bad This picture shows how a player with a good grip reacts to a closed face driver. I am holding the face off and delivering the club from too far inside and as a result my spine angle has completely straightened. This position has become all too common in the modern game. My problem is that because of a closed clubface, if I put my spine angle into the correct position and swing the club down the correct path, this ball will start left and continue left. Often the reaction to this becomes a severe block (straight right). Hence this is known as a two way miss. You simply cannot underestimate a players natural ability to bring the clubface back to square through impact. Before I start analysing this players swing (which looks like a drunken night in a game of twister!) I need to put a neutral face driver in his hands to determine any problems. The results of using this club is that the golfer cannot decide if they made a good or a bad swing. Because a good swing might produce a bad shot there is a lack of trust, and they are unable to develop a better game. Pure reaction to a hook, with the butt of the club pointing way beyond the ball to target line
â€œYou simply cannot underestimate a players natural ability to bring the clubface back to square through impact. â€?
Closed face forces the ball left
Another one straight right! 041
Let your hands rest naturally by your side
Take your left hand grip from this position
If you are determined to become a better all round golfer and are prepared to work towards using a straight faced driver then you must ensure you grip the club in the correct way.
A good grip leads to a good clubface, straighter ball flight and less compensations making the game much simpler. The biggest problem I see is in the left hand. The thumb should not sit on the middle of the shaft, but slightly right of centre. Instantly this gives the left wrist stability, strength and the ability to hinge and re-hinge through the swing. Similarly I see problems with the right thumb sitting in the middle of the shaft, with the
Left hand on the grip reveals 3 knuckles
palm of the right hand aiming skyward. This will result in a lot of â€˜toppedâ€™ shots off the fairway, which in turn encourages you to place the right hand even more under the shaft leading to hitting the ground before the ball. The right thumb should be to the left of centre of the shaft with minimum pressure. I would encourage everybody, even if you were to have only one golf lesson in your life, to see a professional about your grip.
Right hand is again in the fingers
The club should rest lower in the fingers 042
The back of the hand mirrors the clubface
Rest across and grip lightly
...swing Take the club in your left hand only and make full or half practice swings. If you are not holding the club in the correct way you will find this drill extremely difficult. If your left hand grip is weak, your left forearm will not rotate sufficiently enough for your left wrist to hinge, making the club feel heavy to the point where you need to let go. If the left thumb is in a good position and you have two to three knuckles showing, your left arm will naturally rotate and allow you to hinge the left wrist putting the club into a much lighter position and giving you the ability to swing the club on plane. Here we are aiming to get the butt of the club pointing between the ball to target line and your toe line. The follow through is simply a full release, squaring the left hand up to the ball and allowing the left forearm to fully rotate. This exercise will also help to develop the weaker left sided muscles in the upper forearm. Try and develop a good left hand grip by swinging one handed. (Left arm for right handers)
â€œIf the left thumb is in a good position and you have two to three knuckles showing, your left arm will naturally rotate and allow you to hinge the left wrist...â€?
Swing through the ball... 044
...and allow a full release
Missed a copy? Get all of our back issues online 15
The Big Driver Test; Drive like Alonso; Interview with course architect Cabell Robinson.
County Wicklow - The Garden of Ireland; Interview with Morgan Pressel; Golf & Meditation.
New Horizons for Annika Sorenstam plus an interview with supermodel Inés Sastre.
Interview with Ernie Els; Golf is bigger than Hollywood; Special feature on Justin Rose.
Langer’s Lexicon; Ladies European Tour celebrate 30th anniversary; North by North West Ireland.
Volvo Masters 20th Anniversary; Interview with Fredrik Jacobson; Signature golf designers.
Interview with Anna Rawson; World trick shot champion Paul ‘The Striker’ Barrington.
The Big Driver Test; Drive like Alonso; Interview with course architect Cabell Robinson.
Interviews with Nick Dougherty and Nikki Garrett; What it’s like to play Augusta National.
The Spanish Connection Interviews with Sergio Garcia & Belen Mozo; Ross McMurray.
Interview with Paul McGinley; English elegance on the LET; Robert Trent Jones Snr.
The Ryder Cup at The K Club; Interview with 5 times British Open winner Peter Thomson.
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Interview with US Open Champion Michael Campbell; Grass roots golf.
Hawaiian golf sensation Michelle Wie; Interview with legendary coach Peter Cowen.
Interviews with Ian Poulter, golf course architect Perry Dye and fashion designer J Lindeberg.
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The aim of The R&A and The PGAs of Europe
“We’d like to Teach When the sport of football permeated itself into every part of the world where energetic young people were looking for some physical activity to fill a few empty hours, its very simplicity was the reason for its global growth. Find a flatish area of land, a ball of nondescript size and substance, a pal or pals to compete against, and a makeshift goalmouth… and away you went.
By Dennis Shaw PGAs of Europe
In Brazil, for instance, the ‘flatish area of land’ was the nearest beach, and the seeds of the Pele era and ‘the beautiful game’ were planted. Those beginnings were a century and more ago, during which time football of some sort has been played in jungle clearings, street corners, school playgrounds and even – it is historically reported – in the no-man’s land of World War I battlefields during a break in hostilities. Obviously this modern sporting phenomenon of golf, growing as it is worldwide at an impressive rate, could never match football’s forest fire-like spread. Or could it?
The answer realistically has to be a reluctant “well, probably not”. More open space is needed, more equipment, more knowledge, more patience and more practice to even reach an enjoyable level of expertise. And yet golf is attracting new participants every day of every year in regions of the world where previously the opportunity to expend surplus energy and mental and physical prowess in a sport was confined pretty much to football, or whatever other activity was popular locally. Countries such as the Ivory Coast, Botswana, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, El Salvador, Bolivia, Chile, Peru,
in their World Golf Development Plan?
the World to Swing...” “...Professional Golfers’ Associations of Europe, representing 35 member PGAs across Europe and beyond, the gospel of golf is being spread globally...”
Ecuador, Iran, and Bulgaria do not spring instantly to mind as places where a young person would hurry from school to a nearby driving range or practice ground to wrestle with the complications of a golf swing. Kick a ball across a field, maybe. But not practise his or her pitching and putting. And yet it is happening. Truly. Due to an initiative funded by the The Royal & Ancient of St Andrews – the sport’s original governing body – conducted with the support of the Professional Golfers’ Associations of Europe, representing 35 member PGAs across Europe and beyond,
the gospel of golf is being spread globally in the most practical way possible. The initiative that began in the humblest of fashions some 20 years ago by means of one golf professional visiting one country for a couple of weeks or so to give a few lessons to a handful of students, has now become the World Golf Development Programme. This has led to The R&A providing – from their substantial annual financial surpluses arising from the staging of The Open Championship – appropriate grants to enable World Development Consultants, followed by World Development Tutors, to visit
countries which request such help in order to advise a way forward. The request for aid would normally come from the country’s amateur union or federation asking for a range of advice including that of how to start teaching those who wish to take up the sport in a structured manner. The ‘way forward’ most likely would be, for instance, a three-year programme of visits by an experienced consultant and coach, during which time foundations of a golf education policy would be put down, leading hopefully in the long-term to their being able to train their own professional teachers and coaches.
in the UK named Steve Wildman and who was more than happy to go off on what was then a rare golfing adventure, supported by a grant from The R&A. In those days The R&As income from The Open Championship was little compared to what it is now, with the snowballing of TV rights and other commercial income, but a precedent in terms of future policy was set. During his comparatively short stay there, Wildman found himself required to coach – in addition to the young elite squad – the head of the country’s military regime, General Zia ul-haq, such was the escalating appeal of the sport. Steve, still an active golf professional in Austria where he has worked for many years, recalls feeling slightly daunted by the fact that General Zia arrived for his golf lesson with an armed guard and dressed in his pristine white military uniform. A slightly bizarre start, perhaps, but the World Golf Development Programme was underway…
“...each consultant submits a report to The R&A, copy to the PGAs of Europe, detailing the underdeveloped golfing situation as it exists in that country and suggesting a modus operandi for the future.”
“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow…” is an old English proverb and one that can be related to the blossoming of the World Golf Development Programme. Lawrie Thornton, former general secretary of the PGAs of Europe, recalls what he believes to be the start of it all back in the mid-1980’s when he was secretary of the Midland Region on the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland. The R&A had been asked by the amateur federation of Pakistan if an experienced golf professional could be sent out to coach some of their better young players since their own knowledge of the game at that time was in its infancy. Thornton knew just the very chap, a golf pro who was at that time ‘between jobs’
Now with an advanced administration, under the wing of the Education Committee of the PGAs of Europe and with a wealth of talented and experienced consultants/tutors/coaches from which to choose, the initiative has grown from a kind of ‘golf missionary’ status to that of an established part of The R&As annual grant programme to aid grass roots causes around the world. To the non-golfing, and maybe non-sporting reader, the absolute significance of this will not be immediately evident. The fact is that golf is frequently referred to as the ‘last bastion of good sportsmanship’. Those who take it up are, or should be, taught its etiquette and its rules, along with the importance of respecting all other golfers, opponents and partners equally, and to impose self-discipline at all times. Other than at the very elite end of the sport, there is no referee, often no observer at all. When you infringe a rule you impose the appropriate penalty yourself. Or should do. That has to be a better message for young people in sport than the ‘gamesmanship’ and ‘professional fouls’ that appear to be applauded in some other highly-publicised activities.
“...when he was allowed regularly to teach – unchaperoned – groups of burka-clad muslim ladies, the rudiments of the golf swing...” As a means of crossing international differences and cultural divides, the spread of golf is, likewise, a good news story. Among the World Golf Development successes was a surprising one achieved by Simon Dicksee in Iran, when he was allowed regularly to teach – unchaperoned – groups of burkaclad muslim ladies, the rudiments of the golf swing, having been given special dispensation so to do…an Islamic ‘first’ in that part of the world, it was understood. Dicksee has described the ‘staggering growth’ of the popularity of golf among the Muslim community in Iran, including boys and girls, men and women, after subsequent visits to continue the programme he had begun. After an initial visit each consultant submits a report to The R&A, copy to the PGAs of Europe, detailing the under-developed golfing situation as it exists in that country and suggesting a modus operandi for the future. Extracts from these reports give clues to the enormity of the task and, more importantly, to the high-level of progress to be achieved by the proper planning of a comprehensive education programme.
When Alan Walker, a former Captain of the PGA of GB&I, visited Botswana, he found the contradiction of a nation’s economy diamond-rich but some of the out-of-the-way ‘golf courses’ little more than stretches of sun-baked red dust in the desert. Local youngsters wanted to play but there was no set-up by which they could. On a more positive note, the potential for sponsorship was obvious, by means of the many major companies but, again, the know-how was missing. Walker was confronted by three Botswanan ‘golf professionals’, who were possibly little more than caddies, with a thirst to start a
PGA and from there to kick-start a golfing culture, but with little knowledge of how to go about it. Being a man of action he said to the spokesman: “Right, you be the President”, and to the next one: “You can be Captain”, and to the third: “I know you can type, so you be the secretary.” Mighty oaks from little acorns grow…even in the desert. It is all rather reminiscent of the spread of football all those years ago… and part of The R&A funded process of teaching a troubled world to swing in perfect harmony… on golf courses, if not the political arena. Golf, like football, is a beautiful game.
Women’s golf: By Bethan Cutler, Ladies European Tour
The Ladies’ European Tour had its most successful year in 2005 with the largest prize fund in its history. This has been exceeded in 2006 as a result of sponsors wanting to cash in on the ever-increasing popularity of the game and this year there are 19 events in 15 different countries. Made-for TV events such as the All Star Cup, featuring world famous film stars and celebrities, have enabled golf to reach into the imagination of the viewing public, hence raising the profile of the sport. The fact that you can see ever-glamorous celebrities like Catherine Zeta Jones, Jodi Kidd and Cameron Diaz teeing up on world-renowned courses has only increased interest. In America, the LPGA Tour is also looking forward to a spectacular season with exciting new prospects such as Morgan Pressel, Ai Miyazato and teenage sensation Michelle Wie looking to do battle with the established stars; in particular, Annika Sorenstam and Paula Creamer, the World’s number one and two respectively. Both the Ladies European Tour (LET) and the LPGA Tour will see Annika in action in the coming season and in Europe, she will even host her own tournament: The Scandinavian TPC Hosted by Annika. 050
All photos ©Gareth Gilmour/WWCoG; Anthony Powter and Davide Da Ponte
There are guaranteed to be some epic and tense battles over the next few years. With that in mind, here are some of the personalities who are likely to hit the headlines:
“Annika’s 80th worldwide win was notched up in January’s World Cup and she has now been World no.1 for five years.”
Annika Sorenstam: Golf’s first lady should need no introduction but an article about who is likely to feature in women’s golf in 2006 would not be complete without her. Annika’s 80th worldwide win was notched up in January’s World Cup and she has now been World no.1 for five years. At 35, she remains incredibly driven and is intent on maintaining her premier position despite several young players looking to usurp her. Expect multiple victories, with the ultimate prize being the Season Slam: winning all four of the season’s major Championships.
The Season Slam is the holy grail of professional golf for both the men and Women and it seems less achievable than last season given the incredible rise in talent on both sides of the Atlantic, but that would make the accomplishment all the sweeter for Annika. The final major of the season is the Weetabix Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club where, in 2003, Annika triumphed in front of massive crowds, completing the Career Grand Slam. As the event takes place at Lytham this year, she must surely be the favourite. 051
“This all-American, blue-eyed girl is back in her second season with the LPGA Tour, having burst onto the scene last year, seemingly from nowhere.” Paula Creamer: This all-American, blue-eyed girl is back in her second season with the LPGA Tour, having burst onto the scene last year, seemingly from nowhere. The LPGA Rookie of the Year, Paula secured two LPGA wins in 2005: at the Sybase Classic and the Evian Masters in France; with two more wins in Japan. She was the media darling of The Solheim Cup, (USA versus Europe), earning three-and-a-half points out of five and thrashing Laura Davies in the singles. At the age of 18 years, 9 months, she was the youngest player to win on the LPGA at the Sybase Classic and then, with her second win at the Evian Masters, she was the youngest and fastest to earn US$1 million. The same year she finished second to Annika on the US money list with more than $1.5 million in earnings. Not content to take second place, at 19, Paula is determined to go one better this year and end Annika’s five-year reign of superiority. “My rookie season was very exciting and the Solheim Cup was the best experience of my career,” she said. “But there was still a big hole in my goals. I had wanted to win a major.” With her will to win, that goal is highly possible for Paula. A victory at the US Women’s Open at Newport Country Club at the beginning of July would certainly be a fan-favourite. 052
Natalie Gulbis: Natalie, along with Paula Creamer, is one of the new breed of glamorous players on the women’s pro circuit, who always cuts a figure on the golf course and is attracting a broader fan base to the game. As one of America’s star players, she is even featured on the computer game, ‘Tiger Woods Golf’, had her own swimsuit calendar and a reality TV show on the Golf Channel; all means of attracting new viewers to women’s golf. Aside from the glamour, Natalie is a seriously talented player. She was one of the rookies on the winning US Solheim Cup Team last season and along with Paula Creamer, she also represented the USA in the Women’s World Cup of Golf in South Africa. Despite not yet having won a tournament, (her best finish so far was tied third at both the Michelob ULTRA Open and the State Farm Classic), Natalie posted an additional ten top tens in 2005, hinting that a win on the LPGA Tour is a strong possibility this year. Helen Alfredsson: “Alfie”, as she is known on Tour, will be Captaining The European Solheim Cup Team in her home country of Sweden in 2007, (The Solheim Cup is the female equivalent of the men’s Ryder Cup). There could be no better leader than this non-conformist personality to do the job. Unafraid to speak her mind, Helen is a breath of fresh air in the game of golf and likes to point out that she shares a birthday with Seve Ballesteros. As an 18-year-old, she ran off to Paris to become a model and in her past, she also flew with the ‘Blue Angels’: the all girl Red Devils. Now aged 40, she races dragsters on her days off and instills the virtues of “living every moment” to her young colleagues on Tour.
“As one of America’s star players, she is even featured on the computer game, ‘Tiger Woods Golf’, had her own swimsuit calendar and a reality TV show on the Golf Channel...” She says: “We need to speak out to young kids today and get them hooked on golf – show that it’s fun. We want people to be sitting up and thinking, “Oh my God, golf is a cool game.” Helen made seven consecutive appearances in The Solheim Cup as a player and also has 19 worldwide victories to her credit. The 2007 Solheim Cup countdown has already begun with players earning points from February. Expect Helen to feature heavily this season – and to see her in contention. 053
“We can expect great things from Louise, who could well make an impact at the majors.”
Louise Stahle: Louise, 20, from Sweden is all poised to be the next Annika Sorenstam. Having turned professional in August 2005, this year she makes her competitive debut in America and will be one of the rookies in line for ‘Rookie of the Year’. She has made quite an impact already in her short time as a professional, finishing tied for third in this season’s-starting ANZ Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour as well as tied eighth at the Weetabix British Open last season. Add to that the back-to-back British Amateur titles she claimed in the past two years and you start to get a better insight into the calibre of player in question. At LPGA Q-School, she cruised to a tie for 11th position, earning her unconditional card. We can expect great things from Louise, who could well make an impact at the majors. Helen Alfredsson has already pointed her out as a potential future Solheim Cup rookie, but on the comparisons to her idol Annika, it’s probably fair to say that she’s a little embarrassed: “It’s very flattering and I like it but I want to be my own star. I want to be Louise, but of course I would like to follow Annika’s path.”
Anna Rawson: Tall, blonde Australian Anna, 24, is sure to make an impact on the Ladies European Tour’s fairways in this, her first competitive season. She qualified at the LET’s Q School in November after a season competing on the US Futures Tour, where her best finishes were 5th in Texas and China. She made her LET playing debut at the ANZ Ladies Masters in Queensland in February and in her short time with the Tour, has already caught the attention of several photographers. Anna, golf pro first and foremost, is also a fashion model and perhaps the most glamorous golf pro ever to hit the fairways. Since the age of 16, when she was a finalist in the Australian “Dolly” magazine cover contest, she has modelled on the catwalk, in print ads and on television for companies including Chanel. Originally from Adelaide, she now resides in Los Angeles, California but will be competing on the Ladies European Tour throughout 2006. For more details on Anna, you can check out her website: www.annarawson.com Sarah Kemp: This 20-year-old originally from Sydney is one of the LET’s most promising rookies. She finished tied equal at the LET’s Tour School for the 2006 season and duly followed up on her performance with three consecutive wins in the Pro-Am tournaments on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour. If past performance is an indicator of future success, then Kemp is likely to feature strongly in the race for the LET’s Ryder Cup Wales Rookie of the Year title. Given her credentials, she could even be a first-time winner on the Ladies European Tour. Sophie Sandolo: Italian player Sophie’s 2005 and 2006 glamour calendars have brought her worldwide attention and as a result, in February, she was nominated for ESPN’s “Hottest Female Athlete of the Year” Award. Referred to as ‘Sexy Sophie’ on her own official website, Sophie’s results on Tour have improved since she began her modelling antics, last season. She joined the Tour in 2000 and
has experienced two runners’ up spots and 11 top ten finishes in her six seasons as a professional. She finished 15th on the 2005 Money List and the next logical step is securing her first victory, which would appear to be just around the corner. Sophie, 29, is a member of the Ladies European Tour’s Board of Directors. More information about Sophie is available on her website: www.sophiesandolo.it Laura Davies: A legend of the women’s game; Laura has won at least once every year in her twenty-year career bar last season; and if there’s any justice she’ll win again this year and finally get the last point she needs to make it into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Laura has done more than anybody to increase the profile of women’s golf in Britain and beyond with an astounding 66 career wins in total. If she can secure one more major or two LPGA tournaments she will earn her place in the Hall of Fame automatically - and all of her ardent fans across the globe are willing her to do it!
“Referred to as ‘Sexy Sophie’ on her own official website, her results on Tour have improved since she began her modelling antics, last season.” 055
LADIES EUROPEAN TOUR SCHEDULE 2006 DATE
Jan 20 - 22
SOUTH AFRICA Women’s World Cup of Golf
Feb 2 - 5 AUSTRALIA ANZ Ladies Masters*
VENUE Gary Player Country Club, Sun City, Johannesburg Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland
April 27 - 30
SPAIN Tenerife Ladies Open Abama Golf, Tenerife
May 11- 14
SPAIN Open De España Femenino Panorámica Golf & Country Club San Jorge, Castellon
May 18 - 21
Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open
May 25 - 28
Vediorbis Open de France Le Golf d’Arras, Anzin St Aubin
Jun 2 - 4
NETHERLANDS KLM Ladies Open
June 14 - 17
Jun 23 - 25 PORTUGAL July 7 - 9
Golf Gerre Losone
Eindhovensche Golf, Valkenswaard
BMW Ladies Italian Open
Sheraton Golf Parco De’ Medici, Rome
Estoril Ladies Open of Portugal
Quinta da Marinha Golf Club, Cascais, Estoril
ENGLAND Ladies English Open Chart Hills Golf Club, Kent
July 13 - 15 HUNGARY OTP Bank Ladies Central European Open Old Lake Golf Club, Tata July 21 - 23
SPAIN Catalonia Ladies Masters Club Golf D’Aro, Costa Brava, Girona
July 26 - 29
Aug 3 - 6
ENGLAND WEETABIX WOMEN’S BRITISH OPEN*
Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club
Aug 10 - 13
Bro-Balsta Golf Club, Stockholm
Scandinavian TPC hosted by Annika
Aug 17 - 20 WALES Wales Ladies Championship of Europe
Evian Masters GC, Evian Les Bains
Machynys Peninsula GC, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire
Sept 1 - 3
Finnair Masters Helsinki GC, Helsinki
Sept 7 - 10
Nykredit Masters Odense Eventyr Golf Klub, Odense
Sept 14 - 17 AUSTRIA
Siemens Austrian Ladies Open
Golfclub Föhrenwald-Wiener Neustadt
Majors are indicated in BLOCK CAPITALS.*Joint Sanction event.
“A legend of the women’s game; Laura has won at least once every year in her twenty-year career bar last season...”
The nine-time Solheim Cup player is all fired up for a great season playing in Europe and America and Laura, always a great crowd puller, will be in contention throughout the year. Expect to see her flourish in the majors. A notoriously long hitter, she thrives on the world’s toughest courses and is especially looking forward to the challenge of the British Open at Royal Lytham: her favourite course. Morgan Pressel: The youngest rookie on the LPGA Tour, Pressel tied for sixth at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn exempt status for the 2006 LPGA season. Despite her youth, Pressel knows golf, becoming the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open conducted by the USGA at the age 12 in 2001 and she finished tied for second with fellow rookie Brittany Lang in 2005.
Last year she was a sponsor exemption in six additional LPGA events, always placing in the top 25. She is sure to be well in the running for the US Rookie if the Year title, but it will be a tough battle, with one of the strongest rookie classes this year in the history of women’s golf.
As of 13th February 2006, subject to change.
These players are a fine example of the diverse range of personalities, backgrounds, ages and nationalities that can be found globally in the professional ladies’ game. They do however, all have one common trait: their desire to win. In Europe, we will be lucky enough to witness them all in action at key times throughout the coming year, notably at the British Open and the Evian Masters, the two European majors. If you would like to catch the players in action at any of the 19 Ladies European Tour events this year, which take place from the 27th April (Tenerife Ladies Open) through until 17th September (Siemens Austrian Ladies Open), you can find tournament details on the schedule, which can be found on the official website: www.ladieseuropeantour.com. For more information or to get involved with the Tour, you can contact the Media Manager for the Ladies European Tour at: email@example.com.
the coach behind the players... PeteR Cowen
Peter Cowen is acknowledged as one of the worldâ€™s leading golf coaches. He is recognised for teaching many great tour players including Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Thomas Bjorn, Ian Woosnam, Simon Dyson, Paul McGinley, Henrik Stenson and David Howell... the list goes on.
His straightforward approach is based on recognising that players need consistency which is best achieved through the philosophy of simplifying the fundamentals of the golf swing.
Peter also believes strongly in the importance of the short game and focuses heavily in this area. All of these techniques are reviewed, developed and practiced at his specialist teaching academies. eat GOLF! caught up with him for a chat.
Can you could tell us a bit of your background and how you came into teaching? I have been a pro since 67. I played tour from 70 to 79 with the likes of Seve, Sandy Lyle, Woosie, Bernhard Langar, In the 70’s there wasn’t a lot of money. 1979 was my last season and I finished 54th in the order of merit and I couldn’t make any money. I had a family so I decided to take a club job. As a player I was very interested in technique and the natural progression was that if I couldn’t be the best player in the world then I wanted to be the best coach in the world. People don’t know me because I don’t promote myself. Never have done, never want to. I’m so busy, I couldn’t be any busier. I’ve got 13 pro’s on the European tour and out of the top 125, there are over 50 who have had my information. Players come and go like Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke but they always come back because they know the information they had from me led them to 4th in the world or 8th in the world or whatever it was and they won so many tournaments with me but then go searching to try and move that bit further. But they go backwards rather than forwards, so they tend to come back.
“Gardner Dickinson who used to work with Hogan was giving lessons in America so I went to him and he charged me 200 dollars a lesson an hour, in 1978.”
Do you find that frustrating? Well it is frustrating but I knew that as a player. I was always searching for the perfect golf swing as a player. People think that golf lessons are expensive now. Well in 1978 I tried to get lessons from Ben Hogan which was impossible, but Gardner Dickinson who used to work with Hogan was giving lessons in America. So I went to him in 1978 and he charged me 200 dollars an hour. That was a lot of money nearly 30 years ago... I had 10 lessons off him in a two week period and learned an awful lot. 2,000 dollars was a lot of money. I asked him if I could go and watch Ben Hogan practice and he said he could ring and ask him. But he said if I were you I would stay here - in West Palm Beach - and watch Jack Niklaus be coached by Jack Grabb. So I did that. I watched Niklaus for two weeks which all enhances your knowledge of the game. Were you watching them being coached up close? Right up next to them. I was allowed to because I was getting lessons from Dickinson. He had a special area on the practice ground where only pro’s were allowed to go. But I’ve played with most of the top players. There isn’t a top player I haven’t played with. In 1979 I went to Australia and played alright, ending up 54th in their order of merit. People say “why do you think you didn’t succeed?” when even now I can hit the ball as well as most people. But my attitude was appalling and I didn’t have a good enough short game, not particularly bunkers and chipping, but putting I was really suspect, a bit like Langar. I didn’t work out a way to putt like Langar did. I should have worked out how to do it and then I might have carried on playing a lot longer.
If you could would you prefer to be still be on the tour? Oh yes. Absolutely. There’s nothing like playing. If you’re interested in this game and if you’re going to be a good coach, you’ve got to be able to demonstrate, because these guys on tour want to know it works. If I say “well I read it in a book, it works”, they’ll say, “well anyone can read it in a book, how do you know it works?” “How are those mechanics going to make me a better player?”. “How do you know that system you are asking me to swing works?” How are you going to explain it them? The golf swing is a sequence of events. You’ve got to know the correct sequence for a fade, a draw, straight shot, a low shot, a high shot. It’s like playing music. If there are 10 different tunes, there are different sequences. Golf is the same. If you wanted a bog standard shot, it’s a very simple sequence. But if you’ve got a simple sequence, it’s very easy to move it into the other sequences. If you’ve got an extremely difficult sequence, it’s difficult to make all sequences work. If you understand all that, then the game becomes a lot easier and to tell people how to do it. Of course, I’ve been lucky. When Lee Westwood came to me in 9596, he was going to lose his card, and within 4 years he had gone to number four in the world and won the European order of merit and 25 tournaments, which was phenomenal. Then Darren Clarke came to me, and they became the backbone of the Ryder Cup. And then Paul McGinley came to me, David Howell came to me, all those guys came on the back of Lee and Darren. Then Thomas Bjorn, and Woosnam, Sandy Lyle, Mark James…you name the names, they’ve had my information.
“There’s nothing like playing. If you’re interested in this game and if you’re going to be a good coach, you’ve got to be able to demonstrate, because these guys on tour want to know it works.”
How much improvement would one see spending time with your teaching methods? Massive. I’ve got an academy at home in Sheffield where I employ three staff. I built it myself and its just off the M1 near Meadowhall. I’ve got a place in Dubai where there are three staff all the time. I’ve just been asked to go out to China to the HSBC tournament to look at something there, so why do I need to promote myself? I go on the odd Golf World on Sky and they all know me, and all the
“Its not how good your good shots are in this game, its how good your bad shots are.” people within the game know me. I’m friendly with Butch Harmon, with Leadbetter, all the coaches, but I don’t promote myself like they do, because money is not the important thing to me. It’s the players playing well, and then the players winning. So you don’t need to promote yourself if you know your stuff is good and you know you can change a player. For instance Henrik Stenson four years ago was 600th in the world and he’s now 29th in the world because I’ve worked so hard with the guy. The best players work the hardest and there is no substitute for hard work.
Do you concentrate on any aspect of the game more than another? Simplicity. There is a simple way to swing a golf club and there are a lot of difficult ways. You try to make it as simple as possible. And as you get older your coaching should become simpler. I’ve seen coaches do it, its a learning process. You try to impart too much knowledge on the pupil because you’re trying to impress them with how much you know, and they scratch their heads. I hear people go “why did I slice it?”, and you sliced it because A, B, C, then “why did I hook it?”, well you hooked it because of D, E, F, “why did I hit it too high?”, because of H, I, J, “why did I shank it?”, you go S, O, B, whatever. So he’s going A, B, C, D, E, F, etc and its too much information. Instead of saying, “you know when I hit that good shot, what did I do?”. You did X, Y, Z. What’s X, Y, Z? and then you develop it from there and you come up with a constant, and the more constant you get the more consistence you get. Its not how good your good shots are in this game, its how good your bad shots are. People go for lessons and they don’t realise it’s the bad shots that are getting better but their good shots are looking the same. The improvement is always at the bottom end and they don’t notice it. Its much easier to improve somebody’s bad shot than it is their good shots.
Do you use any of these teaching gimmicks like Dave Pelz? On occasion. Some of them are good, some of them are useless. I use some of them. Do you find them more useful primarily for short game of long game? Short game. But really if people understand the mechanics of how pitching works, bunker shots work, a putting stroke works, it’s not that difficult. It’s how you pressurise the ball, how you hit the sweet spot on the ball and then its repeating, repeating, repeating. You can make yourself good putter. If I knew then what I knew now I would have made myself a good putter. You see the pros out of the bunkers and they are just incredibly accurate. They’ve got fantastic technique and they are perfectly raked, that’s why. People say “I’ve got a bad lie in the bunker,” but there are no bad lies in bunkers because you don’t hit the ball. The sand moves the ball, you’ve got to remember that. The average amateur says “oh that’s a bad lie,” but it isn’t if you’ve got good technique. You’ve got less control with a bad lie but you take that into consideration.
“Everybody can improve their golf on 15 minutes a day. The body is the engine room and the arms and the club are the steering wheel. If the engine is working well it is easier to steer.”
Teaching is a great responsibility. How much pressure do you face? Well there is pressure because it’s them earning their livelihood. Luckily they’ve all done better than they did before I got them.
10 hours a day in Dubai, and they do work hard. And that’s what I demand of them. I’ve got to be as demanding of them as they are of me. How are we going to get this right unless they do the work?
Does the blame come straight back to you if something goes wrong? Oh yes. You’ve got to accept that. You’ve got to have the thickest skin in the world to be a coach. There are people who wouldn’t survive out here. These players would have their coaches in tears. You’ve got to be massively thick skinned and you’ve not got to take it personally. If they’re having a go at you, it’s because they want to get better. And if they start having a go at you, and you start panicking, then you put the wrong information in them. And so it’s the old saying: a great team is built in adversity, not in success. It’s when the adversity sets in that you have to work really hard.
How hard does an amateur need to work to improve their game? Everybody can improve their golf on 15 minutes a day. The body is the engine room and the arms and the club are the steering wheel. If the engine is working well it is easier to steer. It is a combination of the body, arms and club and if you get it right you play well.
You can’t say: “Well, it’s you swinging the club...”? You’d like to sometimes! But I don’t think the players should blame themselves really. If they’re not working hard enough then they should look in the mirror, but if they are working hard enough, and it’s not quite getting there, they’ve got to say it’s not quite working here, something’s not developing. Are there times when you keep your thoughts to yourself and let them get on with it? Yes, if the timing is wrong you would never do it. The best thing is to say nothing sometimes and then work it out later. The best work we do as a coach and a player is away from tournaments. At tournaments you’re there almost as a safety valve. I’m there if they need me. The work you do at tournaments is not as productive as the work you would do at your own range. In Dubai every winter we spend two or three weeks with the players and that gets them ready for the season. They work
It takes approximately one and a half seconds to hit a full golf shot from start to finish. If you play a round of golf in the morning you only hit about 40 full shots. So in a round of 18 holes you have only done 1 minutes work out on the course on what you’re trying to improve. How many good shots did you hit? Most people say five or six. So you’ve done 10 seconds good work and 50 seconds poor work and its taken you 5 hours to do it! Then in the afternoon you’re on the range for five hours and could have hit about 400 balls. But 400 times one and a half seconds is only 10 minutes work. Again how many good shots did you hit? About half? So you’ve had a full day and you’re worse now than when you started. In you’re morning round you’ve had 10 seconds good and 50 seconds bad, and in the afternoon you’ve had 5 minutes good and 5 minutes bad and you’re not improving. So what are you going to do about it? The golf swing is an aerobic exercise. When people go to aerobic classes for the first time they all have two left feet and they don’t know what to do. But at 30 minutes a day, after a month they can do it standing on their head. If you keep doing it - it gets better. Rhythm and timing improve through repetition and exercise. Everything you do in golf is controlled in your brain. So if you put the correct information in, it gives the correct
information out. Body awareness is so important in golf. On 15 minutes a day of the correct exercises you would improve your golf massively. Do people know what these 15 minutes of exercises are? No because I wouldn’t tell them! They have to pay a lot of money for that information! Who has been the biggest influence on your career as a teacher? John Jacobs I think. Because he did it through thick and thin. Probably my biggest regret was that John used to try and help me with my golf swing but unfortunately you were either for John Jacobs or against John Jacobs. Everybody said he ruined more golf swings than he made, but that’s untrue. He is fantastic. He got so much stick and people got standoffish about him but I wish I had just gone, “John, come on, we’ll get it done”, and gone whole hog. And Jacobs would be like Leadbetter now. Leadbetter’s of the same era as me. Hogan and Gary Player were massive influences on me. I was only 19 and got shipped out to Brazil and I got drawn with Gary Player for the first two rounds
“People say I’ve got a bad lie in the bunker, but there’s no bad lies in bunkers, because you don’t hit the ball. The sand moves the ball, you’ve got to remember that.”
of the Brazilian Open. Wow! I’d only started playing golf when I was sixteen and three years later I was playing with Gary Player in the Brazilian Open! You were 16 when you started playing? Yeah, I wanted to play football but I got a very bad injury when I was 15. At 16 I turned pro without a handicap, that wouldn’t happen now. I desperately wanted to be a professional footballer and got this bad injury and they wouldn’t sign me. So I said stuff the football and found something else. I shouldn’t have done because I still like football better than golf! It was Sheffield Wednesday. They’d just lost the FA Cup final to Everton and they wouldn’t sign me and I was mortified! I heard that the guy in the local golf club, Stuart Brown, was looking for an assistant and I saw him in a chip shop in Sheffield. So I went up to him and said “are you looking for an assistant?” and he said yes. I said, “I’ll do it for you”. He asked me what my handicap was and I said “well I’ll work as hard as you want me to”. He replied “okay, for your cheek I’ll give you a six month trial”. After six weeks of being there, he said I might as well play in the local tournament and I was up for it. 109, 100 I shot, and I was 16, but I finished. I lost three new balls out of bounds off the first tee and ended up holing a 40 foot putt for a 10 with my fourth ball. So I worked like hell for the next six months, and I played in the second tournament and I shot 79, 73, so he said, “I’ll keep you on”. I’ve never had a handicap in my life. I’ve never been an amateur. That was 1967, straight from school. By 1970 I was in the Brazilian Open with Gary Player! When I was 21 I slipped a disc and was out for two years which made me change my thoughts on the golf swing. It was bad technique that caused the injury. I used to hit thousands of balls on the local driving range.
I turned the lights out every night. In 1979 when Seve won the Open at Lytham, I think I finished 33rd. I won 650 pounds and lost 200 pounds on the week. So I finished 33rd out of about 2000 people who entered and I lost money! What’s been your lowest round? 59. It was on a par 66 so it was only 7 under, but 59 has been my lowest round. Apart from that in tournament play I had a 61. At one time I held 25 course records. I used to shoot really low, but it was hit and miss. My temperament got the better of me. I can understand these kids who get mad, because I used to get madder than anybody. I’m proof that poor temperament won’t get you anywhere. That and a poor putting stroke! You’ve seen the majority of the great players in recent times, and played with many of greats, but who do you think is the best ball striker you’ve ever seen? Who I’ve played with, at his peak Tom Watson, without a shadow of a doubt. I haven’t played with Tiger, but I would think he’s probably the best. Of that era Tom Watson was just stunning. Seve was great too, but Tom Watson was head and shoulders above the rest. These days, I think Tiger has taken the game to a different level. You wont see many people strike a ball better than Stenson. He has a stunning long game. Are you worth the money that you charge your players? If you wanted to be taught by yourself, would you pay as much? I’d pay twice as much! Seriously. That’s not being modest. The thing is, if they don’t play well, I don’t get paid. I work on commission, so it’s up to me. I like that challenge.
dave thomas DESIGN
By Dennis Shaw, PGAs of Europe
Arranging for teams of workmen, with appropriate machinery, to move hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of soil, and to bulldoze or blast their way through forests and gorges, while also re-routing rivers and roads, may not sound too much like art.
Yet, when applied to the business of golf course architecture and design, an art it undoubtedly is; one that creates jobs, attracts tourism, boosts economies, provides sport and leisure, and provides both satisfaction and frustration in a sport growing in popularity with every generation.
“From the USA to China, from Taiwan to Japan, Turkey, Portugal, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Brazil… his work has taken him across the continents.”
Golf is the sporting phenomenon of the latter years of the 20th century and one that will stretch well into the 21st. Mothers do it, fathers do it, boys do it, girls do it, even grandmothers and great grandfathers in their dotage do it. Folk from every age group, both sexes and all social backgrounds play golf. From among this global golfing community, large numbers enjoy the pleasures of some of the one hundred or so designed by Dave Thomas, a man from the top echelon of golf course architects whose fairways, somewhere in the world are being trodden at this very moment. From the USA
to China, from Taiwan to Japan, Turkey, Portugal, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Brazil… his work has taken him across the continents. Although his base is in Cheshire, UK, this extremely likeable Geordie has a second home near Marbella, Costa del Sol, not far from the dozen or so courses his company has created in Spain, including San Roque Old, Almenara, The Marbella Club, and among his most recent, the superb Hacienda del Alamo on an enormous site not far from the airports at Murcia and Alicante. Dave Thomas is a big man, with matching charisma. That much is instantly obvious when he arrives at the Four Seasons Resort Provence to meet your representative of eat GOLF! magazine to talk about himself and two of his latest creations. Here is a man who has been internationally successful in two golf-related careers and though now a septuagenarian, his journey through the sport continues unchecked. This is Four Seasons’ first such resort in Europe. It had to be special, and it is. The American luxury hotel group whose aim is always to provide a taste of lifestyle par excellence, grasped the opportunity to locate their hotel adjacent to the two Dave Thomas golf courses, Le Chateau and Le Riou. This marriage of five-star accommodation – in the form of
“Dave Thomas is a big man, with matching charisma. That much is instantly obvious...”
self-contained, villa-style guest suites dotted around the hillside that leads to the golf course, sumptuous hotel with Provencal cuisine in the gastronomicallyseductive Faventia Restaurant, and quality golf to rival any in Europe – seems destined to be a happy and long-lasting one. Faventia, the Latin word for Fayence, is the domain of Executive Chef Phillippe Jourdin, previously of La Tour D’Argent in Paris and the nearby Le Moulin de Mougins. Dining there is, as one would expect, a gourmet experience. Our particular menu included Phillippe’s ‘Duck foie gras, two ways’ with its delicacy of taste that I could not begin to describe adequately, and a glass or three of Chateau d’Aurilhac, Cru Bourgeois, Haut-Medoc, 1999. Exquisite. Regretfully, I had to politely turn down the offer of a visit to the hotel’s Spa to benefit from the full treatment, including a recuperative massage from Nadine. Likewise there was insufficient time to sample the locality’s many lifestyle-enhancing opportunities, such as the home of French parfumerie at Grasse. Vineyards and Alpine winter sports are also easily reachable. This, I faithfully report, is an accurate account of the here and the now, and since the sun is shining from a clear blue winter sky, and the temperature rising encouragingly from a frosty break-of-day, there are few places one would rather be.
was also greeted by a response of ‘Merci, messieurs...mais non!’ It was a happy combination of circumstances more recently that provided the breakthrough, though not without further justifiable soulsearching by the local residents and the expenditure of sums of money requiring lines of zeros. Deitmar Hopp, a founding member of the computer software giants SAP, had seen the site and mentally stored it as the ideal situation to one day build his dream golf course. At much the same time he happened to seek a holiday round of golf at La Manga, Spain, and was told that the day’s starting sheet was full. This
convinced him that it was time to stop dreaming and to start working on the idea of his own course. Dave Thomas had by then built a second course for him at Heidelberg, one with which he was more than pleased with, and thus the process that led to the completion, during 2004, of the golfing nirvana that now graces France’s menu of upmarket facilities, was underway. Let it be stressed that the local residents now have no objections to Four Seasons Resort Provence. Why should they? Under the experienced supervision of Dave and his son Paul – the company
“The DT stamp is everywhere. A fair width of green fairway to aim at, the strategically-placed, cleverly-sculptured clusters of rounded bunkers, the well-guarded greens with subtle undulations, the tempting risk-and-rewards shots on offer.”
It was not always like this, however. The wonder of it all is that there is a hotel and golf course at all on the enviable Terre Blanche site, a 45minute drive inland from Nice-Coted’Azur Airport, gateway to French Riviera millionaire playground of Cannes, Monte Carlo and St Tropez. Some 10 or so years ago, when a similar project first reached public consciousness, and Sean Connery and US golfing legend Jack Nicklaus headed the interested consortium, a citizens committee from the ancient villages of Fayence and Tourrettes, manned the ramparts to repel what they feared would be a Hollywood-style assault on their traditional rural tranquillity. In this they succeeded, as this particular 007 assignment failed at the planning permission stage. A similar attempt by a Swedish group 071
managing director – the work was carried out lovingly and carefully, preserving selected trees, protecting wildlife species, and retaining the splendour of the view from the surrounding hills. One of the persuasive elements was to restrict the number of dwellings to be included in the plans to 170 plots, all subtly located. Another was to include a small fire station, manned at all times to eliminate the danger of forest fires. The buildings are ochre-painted with terracotta-tiled roofs, and the area is landscaped with Mediterranean shrubs, all very Provençal in fact, providing an outlook that would have delighted rather than offended artists such as Cezanne and Van Gogh. In practical terms, Four Seasons offer up to 300 jobs for members of the local community. Each of General Manager Dimitrios Zarikos’s employees, it seemed
“...the area is landscaped with Mediterranean shrubs, all very Provençal in fact, providing an outlook that would have delighted rather than offended artists such as Cezanne and Van Gogh.”
to me, possesses a welcoming smile and a cheerful ‘bonjour’. Some of the logistical problems to be overcome along the way have been quite monumental, each of them requiring planning permission, each of them controversial in its own way, and each of them mindblowingly expensive: an overland pipe to relay water from the huge, picturesque local lake; a three-andhalf-kilometre re-routing of the RD56 highway; the building of a new bridge across the Riou Blanc for ease of access; an eleven-anda-half kilometre security fence around the course… all funded by the owner, not the local council. Therein lies a story in itself. Some of the locals rather assumed that the barrier would be manned by stern security guards specifically to keep out the locals. No such thing, of course. The fence is necessary because these hills are alive with wild boar which have no respect for the integrity of the greens, the fairways, the bunkers, the tees – all areas they find ideal for snouting around in search of whatever foodstuff it is that they seek. When allowed to wander indiscriminately, they just love the golf course, but inflict untold damage to it. Again, the message was sensibly communicated to the mayor of Tourrettes who, with matching good sense, assured his villagers that the fence was not offensive. The two golf courses? They are the most expensive created by Dave Thomas Design at 35,000,000 euros. Dave, and son Paul, are very, VERY, proud of them. One
sounder judge than I expressed the view that they will be quickly considered among Europe’s, and certainly France’s, finest. Scenically they are a delight to the eye, framed as they are by the Alpes-Maritimes, home of other ancient villages such as Seillans, Callian and Montauroux. The Le Chateau course, at its fullest, is 6,616 metres, and has attracted a visit from Volvo European Tour inspectors as a possible venue for a future tournament. This is the more ‘classic’ of the two, and one particular high handicapper adored it, playing off forward tees. The DT stamp is everywhere. A fair width of green fairway to aim at, the strategically-placed, cleverly-sculptured clusters of rounded bunkers, the wellguarded greens with subtle undulations, the tempting riskand-rewards shots on offer. The Le Riou Course is shorter at a maximum of 6,005 metres, though it demands more thought off the tees since the fairways are tighter with many doglegs and much pondering over club selection. A spell at Terre Blanche’s David Leadbetter Academy in preparation before attempting either course is advisable. Raphael Jacquelin, one of France’s leading European Tour players, practices there on a regular basis. No need to ask why. Everything about Four Seasons Resort Provence, with all its facilities, is ideal for the discerning golfer who is fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of them.
DAVE THOMAS: The Player Profile. Runner-up in the Open Championship twice. In 1958 he was beaten by the great Australian, Peter Thomson, in a 36-hole play-off after being tied for the lead after 72 holes. Eight years later he was runner-up behind another of golf’s greats, the legendary American, Jack Nicklaus. Represented Great Britain and Ireland four times in the Ryder Cup. Played for Wales 11 times in the World Cup. Won 10 professional tour tournaments between 1961-69.
Cabell B. Robinson is making quite a name for himself on the southern coast of Spain - the list of golf courses he has designed seems to be increasing on a yearly basis. Given the right landscape to work with, there is no question that he is more than capable of creating some of the best course layouts in the world, and his latest offering in Sotogrande is certainly proof of that.
â€œThe rolling hills and abundance of trees close to the sea ensure the backdrop of any hole is as picturesque as can be.â€?
La Reserva is a traditional par 72 private members club which opened in August 2003. Situated next door to Valderrama, Real Club de Sotogrande, San Roque and Almenara may give an idea as to the prestigiousness of its location and the surrounding area. The valleys of Sotogrande seem as though they were put there to build golf courses through. The rolling hills and abundance of trees close to the sea ensure the backdrop of any hole is as picturesque as can be. Whilst San Roque has two courses and with Valderrama
constructing a second, La Reserva will follow suit as soon as its 750 membership spaces for the first are filled. For now it is hard to imagine how the next can come up to the standard set here. Built to USGA guidelines, the course also houses a magnificent 6,000 m2 club house with adjacent driving range, putting and chipping facilities. The quality of the course layout and exceptionally high level of maintenance have already been recognised by the Peugeot Tour. At less than three years old, La Reserva has recently played host to one of their tournaments.
â€œIt is fair to say that every hole has something special, with its own unique characteristics setting it apart from the last.â€?
“ The course features four lakes which also supply the irrigation system and the greens are designed by British ‘mastershaper’ Tom Lamb.”
Built on a plot totalling 72 hectares La Reserva measures 6,959 metres in length. The course features four lakes which also supply the irrigation system and the greens are designed by British ‘master-shaper’ Tom Lamb. The front nine is easily walkable, whilst the back nine is a little more undulating and has some steeper climbs. With all these details taken into consideration, the real test is how it plays.
drive it should not pose too many problems. It is on the second hole that you enter the first of La Reserva’s’ shallow valleys, and here you will begin to realise that this course has something special to offer. A slightly blind tee shot with plenty of fairway to aim at sets up a view to the green. With water to the left, bunkers to the right and a tree line backdrop, this hole perfectly demonstrates the classic challenge Cabell B. Robinson has set out to achieve.
Leading away from the club house the first hole is a straight forward par 4. At 355 metres in length, with a relatively straight
It is fair to say that every hole has something special, with its own unique characteristics setting it apart from the last.
This is a course to be savoured time and again. Every player will find their own favourite hole, and most probably change their mind until all 18 have been mentioned. The par 3, 6th plays 190 meters with a green surrounded by water. The 10th is a fabulous downhill dogleg left (which can be cut) and a hazard protecting the green. The par 4, 12th has a wonderful approach to the green whilst the 17th is a long par 4 with water running down the entire right side.
â€œOn each of the 18 holes, the greens and their approaches fit superbly with the difficulty and length of challenge.â€?
In typical Robinson style, many different tee boxes cater for all levels of golfer. From the standard tee box the par 3â€™s (bar the 6th) all play about a mid iron for the average player. On each of the 18 holes, the greens and their approaches fit superbly with the difficulty and length of challenge.
To find a new course on the coast of Spain which has clearly been designed for members to enjoy repeated play, (as opposed to holiday golf which is more about drama) makes a refreshing change. La Reserva is a course that in time will be recognised as one of the very best Europe has to offer. If you are in the area, ensure you have a tee time booked and see what all the fuss is about for yourself.
La Reserva Golf Club. Avda. de la Reserva, 11310 Sotogrande. Tel.: (+34) 956 785 252. www.sotogrande.com, www.nh-hotels.com 078
La Reserva Golf
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THE NEW COURSE
“This is a round of golf rarely experienced outside of shooting your best score. Here lies a course that puts you in the zone, rather than you having to find it.”
Your head says no, your heart says yes. Waiting for your mind to clear and the double vision to merge into one crystal clear thought, you eventually make your decision and reach for the big stick. Now with a clearer mind you look down and trust your instincts. Make a good solid swing, a full shoulder turn, maintain a smooth tempo and let it rip. This is about understanding your limitations and – should you fail to live up to them – being prepared to deal with the consequences. The driver might not have been the best choice for the job in hand, but the pay off is good – this time.
The San Roque Club C.N. 340 KM 127, 11360 San Roque Tel.: (+34) 956 613 030 Fax: (+34) 956 613 012 Web: www.sanroqueclub.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
OK, so it’s “only a game of golf”, but due to the consequences of not getting it right, the magical design of the holes at San Roque New manage to draw you in and hold you there like in a vivid dream, not waking until the final putt drops in on the 18th green. Requiring the utmost concentration, each hole fills its own space and time, creates its own individual challenge, and asks questions of you with every swing. This is a round of golf rarely experienced outside of shooting your best score. Here lies a course that puts you in the zone, rather than you having to find it.
Perry Dye and Seve Ballesteros have joined forces to bring their vision to life. Carved into the opposite hillside to San Roque Old, it is a very different challenge with a very unique feel. Described by Seve himself as a cross between a “TPC and Links”, this is as tough a course as you will find on the Costa del Sol, leaving the player with many decisions to make and challenges to face. This environment is not for the faint hearted. Pleasure and pain, risk and reward, exhilaration and frustration, stunning and bewildering. Weighing up the odds on every single shot you face soon becomes all encompassing as you strive to beat the challenge of what lies ahead. But as stated before, the blame for any mistakes can only lie with you, your decisions and ultimately – your limitations. From the championship tees this course is beyond anybody above scratch handicap, and without excellent course management from the men’s tees, beyond anybody above a low handicap. But Mr. Dye has introduced tees ahead of these, which not only reduce its length but takes away a lot of the trouble. We would strongly urge anybody struggling with their game to move forward in order to truly become involved with the course the way it was intended.
The many bunkers are visually striking and compelling with no attempt made to make them look natural. Instead they are obviously man made, architectural and modern in shape. Clean, juxtaposed lines are offset against the natural trees and grasses. The various shades of green, wild flowers, the blue of the many lakes and the beige of the bunkers form shapes and colours more representative to works of art than a playing field. Here you can enjoy an incredible blend of traditional meadows, rugged landscape and design flare in an ideal climate with stunning views. You may feel that a golf course should be traditional, always following the trend of what has gone before, but San Roque New paves its own way forward, providing a perfect compliment to the highly respected course it lies adjacent to. Not that different is always better, and we are not saying that all golf courses should be made this way, but San Roque New will generate its own admiration and loyal followers. This course will not only earn your respect – it will demand it.
El Paraiso GOLF CLUB
Opened in 1973, and designed by the legendary South African Gary Player, El Paraiso Golf Club is a well renowned and highly respected course on the Costa del Sol. Suitable for all levels of golfer, the club features excellent practice and teaching facilities, welcoming the beginner through to the professional. 082
El Paraiso Golf Club Urb. El Paraiso, Ctra. de Cรกdiz, KM. 167, Estepona, Mรกlaga, Spain. Tel.: +34 952 88 38 35 Fax: +34 952 88 58 27 email@example.com www.elparaisogolfclub.com
“Its beauty lies in its diversity – always giving an honest, well formulated challenge and always well maintained.” With a real variety to its holes, you will be sure to find a few favourites, but there are no bad holes here. The course begins with a series of four par 4’s which show off some classic design. The 2nd, a dogleg right and uphill, sees a slightly blind approach into a tricky green protected by bunkers at the front, whereas the 3rd stretches its way downhill and to the left. This is a long par 4, and in keeping with the sound design philosophy, gives you plenty of fairway to work with when distance is asked for from the tee. Clever touches abound, with well placed bunkers on fairways and around greens. Questions are asked of your driving, requiring accurate positioning if you are to attack the pins. Of note is that the hazards are generally placed for the lower handicap golfer, leaving the less skilled player to get on with the job of enjoying their golf. With good management you should see your way past the trouble and trying to score points on the greens.
Putting offers plenty of variety too. Some greens are fairly flat, others with steps – but all are relative to the difficulty of the hole being played. The more you visit the course and get to know its intricacies, the more you can appreciate how enjoyable and playable an experience El Paraiso provides.
The 5th is one of four excellent par 3’s, which along with the 17th usually requires a long iron or wood to reach the green, whilst the 7th and 14th are normally a mid to short iron. The 6th is El Paraiso’s signature hole. A par 5 dogleg left where a good drive leaves a modest player a chance to reach the green in two. With a lake running down the right, and plenty of bunkers in play, it certainly is a delightful hole. The back nine again opens with four par 4’s. The 12th is a straightforward scoring
opportunity for most, but this is followed by the long 13th. Featuring a superb view from the tee, with a lake in front and mountain vistas in the distance, the fairway stretches out and around a slight dogleg left. At stroke index 1, par on this hole should leave any player satisfied. The closing 18th is a testing par 4, and if you have a score going this could spoil things! An accurate drive could leave a short iron approach, but with plenty of trouble in the fairway and a well protected two-tier green, this hole may have other ideas. As with the 9th hole, our designer friend obviously believes a strong finish to each half of the course will settle any close matches. The front and back nine are actually so well rounded it is feasible to compete on a full or half round. You get the impression on playing El Paraiso that Gary Player was trying to create a course to suit everybody. This could have created a mix of holes that don’t sit together well, but in fact the opposite is true. Its beauty lies in its diversity – always giving an honest, well formulated challenge and always well maintained. This is a course to be savoured and enjoyed time and again, and for that its members, who are the owners – and especially its designer – should be proud. 083
T5 Estates can be contacted on + 34 952 937 662 or + 34 619 784 778 email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.t5estates.com
By Sarah Drane
The Province of Andalucia is home to a quarter of Spain’s golf courses, 60 in total, 48 of which are located on the Costa del Sol. A figure that will shortly rise to 54 when Calanova Golf, Manzanilla, a trio of courses at Doña Julia and the second course at Santa Maria, are complete. This is officially the area with the highest concentration of golf courses in continental Europe and unsurprisingly the golfers come in their droves. Some get so hooked on the endless sunshine that they simply have to buy a pied-a-terre next to their favourite 18-hole so they can hop on a plane and escape and play as often as work, or indeed, the other half, allows. Business is booming for golf property. Even though there is no substitute for golf’s spiritual home in southern Spain, T5 Estates, a real estate agency based on the Costa del Sol, is aware that the average golfer is an adventurous individual and may have the urge, and indeed the spending power, to look at golf property in other countries. T5 Estates is now able to offer some tasty property options in different spots across the globe. Here’s T5’s top five…
1. La Cala Golf Resort, Costa del Sol. No apologies for beginning with the Costa del Sol. This multifaceted development located just 15 minutes from Marbella has a luxury golf hotel and spa, no less than three 18-hole golf courses, a David Leadbetter Golf Academy and a combination of villas, town houses and apartments available for sale. Everything under the sun for the avid golfer, 320 days of sunshine a year to be precise. Two bedroom town houses from 380,000 euros. Three bedroom town houses from 480,000 euros. 2. Desert Springs, Costa Almeria. Drive north from the Costa del Sol and you reach the Costa Almeria. Interestingly, this region is home to Europe’s one and only desert. The sun-baked Wild West-style scenery has used as the setting for many films including ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, ‘the Good the Bad and the Ugly’, as well as many Spaghetti Westerns. It is also home to Europe’s only true desert golf course at Desert Springs, the 18-hole Indiana Course. Less established so a little more affordable than big brother ‘del Sol’. Two bedroom apartments from 220,000 euros. Three bedroom town houses from 350,000 euros. 3. Cabo Negro Golf Resort, Morocco. Morocco is definitely becoming a trendy place for a holiday home. It’s easily accessible and just 14 km across the water from Spain. Golf
is probably THE most important sport in Morocco. The total number of Moroccan golf courses currently sits at around 30, all set against a backdrop of the Atlas Mountains or flanking the beaches. Cabo Negro offers a superb 18-hole course, long sandy beach and a variety of property that will certainly appreciate in value in years to come. Two bedroom apartments from 121,000 euros. Three bedroom villas from 210,000 euros. 4. Kavarna Hills, Bulgaria. Bulgaria, the press and the overseas property seeker can’t get enough of it. Currently you can count on one hand the number of golf courses in Bulgaria, but this is all about to change. Three are planned in the area surrounding Kavarna on the Black Sea, one already under construction and due for completion by the end of 2006. Kavarna Hills is within five minutes of this trio of courses. Apartments with on-site pools, gymnasium, sauna and restaurant at miniature prices. One bedroom apartments from 50,700 euros. 5. Cocotal Golf and Country Club, Dominican Republic. For the long haul golfer. Cocotal Golf is a Pepe Gancedo designed 27-hole course set in pure paradise. Again a variety of property is available for sale, a dream destination with perfect weather all year-round. Two bedroom apartments from 150,000 euros.
ewen murray Ewen Murray has earned a deserved reputation as a fine TV commentator, but what is sometimes forgotten is that prior to picking up a microphone, he was also a golfer of considerable repute. As a professional he won twice in Africa at the 1980 Zambia Open and the 1984 Nigeria Open. Presently working for Sky Sports, eat GOLF! set out to obtain his views on golf today.
Which events do you look forward to most during the year? Is there a particular one? Not really. I do like the US Open, there’s a good feeling about it. I enjoy doing some of the smaller ones too. I don’t do many of them but I do enjoy doing them because you see people you don’t see at the major tournaments. People who have come through the challenge tour and people through the qualifying school. So its important to go to some of those too. One of the hot topics at the moment is how the game is modernising itself. Do you think it needs to continue modernising or is it in danger of leaving traditions behind and damaging the integrity of the game? It’s very difficult to stop progression, which is what the manufacturers will tell you it is. Tennis has been a bit more careful I think. I mean they could have a ball and a racket that could produce much more speed on the ball which would ruin tennis as a spectacle, so they have been very careful about that. I think now that its happened its very difficult to go back on it.
I think long putters should be banned. There should be a certain circumference of a driver which is smaller than the bigger ones today. 60 degree wedges should be banned because I think they make difficult shots easier. The courses can do something to combat it but they haven’t done it. They put in a bunker at 320 yards, that catches out the 18 handicappers on his second shot. I think they should reduce par to 70 or 69 or 68 and do away with two par 5’s for sure, maybe even three, and all of a sudden you’re not going to hear of par 5’s which can be reached with a drive and a 9 iron. Well that can be the answer can’t it? You have a handicap for the course for a professional and a different handicap for an amateur. Yeah I see no reason why not. For the club members the par of the course is 72. That’s what the handicap is based on. When the tour arrives it can change for the next four days and revert back as it normally is on a Monday morning. I think bunkers should be hazards, on nearly all American courses
“Long putters should be banned. There should be a certain circumference of a driver which is smaller than the bigger ones today. 60 degree wedges should be banned because I think they make difficult shots easier.” 087
“I don’t see anything wrong with 8 or 9 under par (winning tournaments) but I see an awful lot wrong with 20 or 24 under par which is the norm on the easier courses in America.”
they aren’t. Colin Montgomerie introduced Carlton House last year at the Nissan, and that proper bunkers, and it was a terrific spectacle because when you went into the bunker you lost half a shot. They had to maybe play out 20 or 30 yards short of the green and rely on the short game. That’s the way things used to be, but bunkers are now designed by landscape designers, gardeners. Some of the time players are aiming for the bunkers off the tee because it is easier to play the second out of the bunkers than the fairway simply because you can get more spin out of it. That’s nonsense. But we need to return to bunkers being hazards, we need to tighten up fairways... again that can be changed the day after tournaments and put back for the members. Reduce the par by a couple and all of a sudden you’ve got 5 or 6 under winning tournaments. I hate tournaments won by 23 or 24 under par because that means the test is too easy. Do you think it makes a bit of a mockery of the scoring system? Well it does. Not like the USGA where you have to have level par as the winning score at any cost, because they’ve proved that they can be borderline or worse than borderline in the last couple of years. I don’t see anything wrong with 8 or 9 under par but I see an awful lot wrong with 20 or 24 under par which is the norm on the easier courses in America.
There are many things that put people off golf such as the rules etc. Is there enough being done to attract new players? I think Woods has been very good for youngsters across the world, not just in America, and Wie will be very good for girls. So these two things are plusses. There was an event last year, the All Star Cup at Celtic Manor, between celebrities of Europe and celebrities of the United States, and 38,000 people turned out to see them because they were celebrities, not to see them perform as golfers. I would suspect that 75 per cent of the crowd weren’t golfers, but by the end of the week maybe 2 to 3 per cent decided to become golfers, because its fashionable. These celebrities are doing it so why can’t I do it. I think from that point of view its good. I think Nick Faldo’s Junior Series is very important to the game as is Woods’ foundation. And if these icons and heroes of so many younger people, if their name is attached to that then the next generation may well come from these two foundations. There’s another one in South Africa, the Ernie Els Foundation, and Immelman came out of that,
and so did Schwartzel - both winners on the tour. So these foundations are important with the backing of the good names. Would you like to see more American’s coming over to the European Tour, as opposed to it always being about European’s going to the American Tour? Well the European’s go there because the world ranking points are greater and the money is greater. Is it right that it should be balanced that way? It’s a bigger country than Europe I guess you could say. But a tour in itself regardless of size of the country should have the same rights, so to speak? The Americans will never come over here because life is very easy for them in America. And that’s not their fault, it’s just the way it is. They don’t need a passport, and some of them don’t have a passport. Travel is easier. Their tax laws allow them to own private planes, or shares in private planes, because 100 per cent goes against tax. They’re playing for a first prize
“Woods realised that he could have stayed in America and played more tournaments and made more money. But he also realised he needed to get out and move around, and he’s won everything.”
Tiger Woods wins the 17th edition of the Dubai Desert Classic trophy. Image courtesy Tag Heuer
“...if Mickelson did travel I think he’d be a far greater player than he is now. He’s one of the most gifted players I’ve ever seen.” every week of 900,000 dollars. They’re playing for more world ranking points than any of us over here, except for the BMW, which used to be the PGA. So there isn’t any need for them to leave, and they’ve got 45 tournaments or whatever, and each one carries that prize fund, some of them greater. The more of them they play, the more points they acquire, the more chance they have of getting into the top 50 in the world. You get into them you get into the world golf championships. If you do well in them you get into all the majors. So what would be the attraction for them to come over here? Its not their fault they have it so easy, but that’s the way it is. Do you think Tiger Woods would still be world number one if he was primarily based on the European Tour? He would because he would have gone to America! You see three of the four majors are in America. There have been four of the World Golf Championships in America, and only three count for individual, the world cup is obviously a team event. But the NEC has been at Firestone, the American Express has mainly been in America, and the Accenture has been in America from the word go apart from one which was in Australia. So, Tiger would have played in them. He would have played in the four majors. It is possible to be number one in the world playing in America, it’s not possible to be solely playing in Europe.
It makes you wonder what the attraction is to play in Europe? Well they play in different conditions. People like Els, Goosen, Norman before him, they were great golfers because they played everywhere. Woods is a great golfer because he plays everywhere, and would be a great golfer anyway. Mickelson doesn’t travel. So out of his 23 wins or whatever it is now, he’s had one win outside America, and that was an 8 man invitational in France 12 years ago. I think he plays well in America because that’s all he knows. He came over here one week before the Open, thinking that a week’s practice would make him into a great Link’s player. It doesn’t work that way, and if Mickelson did travel I think he’d be a far greater player than he is now. He’s one of the most gifted players I’ve ever seen.
Especially his short game? Yeah, he’s certainly got great variation and he’s got wonderful hand/eye coordination. He’s a natural sportsman. He was good at baseball, strangely enough right handed and everything. He really is a massive talent and he’ll never achieve what he should achieve simply because he plays in America all the time and the examination paper is exactly the same every week. Woods realised that he could have stayed in America and played more tournaments and made more money, but he realised he needed to get out and move around and he’s won everything. Should European players who choose to play solely in America be allowed to play on the European side in the Ryder Cup? I think they have to. America is a
very big part of professional golf. It’s a major percentage. They have to play in 11 events in Europe to qualify to play in the Ryder Cup. But if you take in the four majors, and the three individual world championships, that leaves them four to make up their 11. So the tour is being sympathetic to the players to allow them to do that. Some of them play more than 11. I think the qualifying system is fine the way it is, but if you don’t play in 11 here you don’t qualify, so they do know they have to come back. And they do know it’s their home tour. Els supports his home tour in South Africa. Even though he’s played 27 events, he’ll still go and play two events in South Africa to support his own tour. If you look at the Ryder Cup selection, you don’t really want to change it, because we are doing OK in it!
“If you look at the Ryder Cup selection, you don’t really want to change it, because we are doing OK in it!”
Do you still play a lot of golf yourself? I have done when I’m home. I’m not at home very often. I’m president of the golf club at home and I go there and play with a few friends, but at certain times of the year I don’t have time to do it. I just came off a nine week run and I’ve got a seven week run coming up, so I won’t be playing for a while. Have you played much golf on the Costa del Sol? Yeah I used to have a house in Estepona 20 years ago, and I used to play at Valderrama every afternoon with the club pro. We would take his two Dobermans out and have a game. Hardly anyone played there at that time. It was still fairly exclusive then. I’ve played a lot of the old courses such as Las Brisas and El Paraiso - all the holiday ones of the 80’s and early 90’s, but not many of the newer ones. There’s the new La Reserva designed by Cabell B. Robinson, he is a brilliant designer. In my opinion he’s one of the top three designers in the game. I think he is a fantastic technician, and without question head and shoulders above a lot of other designers.
GOLFINO Innovation through Colour, Function and Fashion
The new Golfino Spring/Summer 2006 collection displays sportive fashion led influences, a colourful, innovative collection with new and interesting functions. Between the modular blocks Golfino combines casual clean-chic with sophistication, ethnic elements with romanticism.
â€œPatterns, embroideries and decorative prints both accentuate and enhance the collection.â€?
Colour remains the driving force for this fashion revival. The wide colour spectrum includes cheerful Sun, Sorbet and Fruit shades. This is complemented by an increasingly important range of natural and classic colours. Patterns, embroideries and decorative prints both accentuate and enhance the collection. Golfino uses Argyles, Paisley and Vichy in brilliant colours. New feminine polo shirts are either wraparound, gathered or casually interpreted.
For Golfino however, it is no less important to combine Function with Fashion. Using technical materials that are breathable and regulate body temperature, quick-dry qualities as well as fabrics with UV-ray protection. Innovation for Windmaster and new production technologies for Rainwear are a sign of future developments. For more information visit www.golfino.com
COSTA CLUB DIRECTORY GOLF! is available in over 50 golf courses, luxury hotels and golf outlets on the Costa del Sol from Alcaidesa to Malaga and Almeria.
COSTA DEL SOL
124,6 San Roque Almenara
Real Club de Sotogrande
133 La Canada
El Cortesin CASARES
Albayt Academy Estepona Golf Valle Romano
ESTEPONA La Resina
162 166 167
RONDA La Quinta
Las Brisas Puerto Banus
Marbella Golf School
Dame de Noche
Monte Paraiso 185
Marbella G&CC Greenlife Golf
Miraflores / Golf Academy El Chapparal La Cala
La Noria 200 206 Mijas
ALMERIA Numbers represent the correct Kilometre markings on road signs
Desert Springs Valle del Este
Note: This is a topological map and does not represent the correct scale or distances between locations. ©Eat Publishing S.L.
1. GIBRALTAR - SOTOGRANDE Alcaidesa Links Golf Course (18) Tel: 956 791 040 Web: www.alcaidesa.com The San Roque Club: Old & New Courses (36) Tel: 956 613 030 Web: www.sanroqueclub.com Almenara Golf (27) Tel: 956 582 054 Web: www.nhalmenara.com La Reserva de Sotogrande Golf Club (18) Tel: 956 785 252 Web: www.sotogrande.es Real Club de Golf Sotogrande (18) Tel: 956 785 014 Web: www.golfsotogrande.com Valderrama (18) Tel: 956 791 200 Web: www.valderrrama.com Club de Golf La Cañada (18) Tel.: 956 794 100 Web: www.lacanadagolf.com 2. SOTOGRANDE - ESTEPONA La Duquesa Golf & Country Club (18) Tel: 952 890 725 Web: www.golfladuquesa.com Albayt Golf Academy Tel: 952 804 702 Web: www.albaytcountryclub.com Estepona Golf (18) Tel: 952 937 605 Web: www.eteponagolf.com 3. ESTEPONA - SAN PEDRO La Resina Golf & Country Club (9) Tel: 952 885 313 Web: www.laresina.net Flamingos Golf (18) Tel: 952 889 157 Web: www.flamingos-golf.com El Paraiso Golf Club (18) Tel: 952 883 835 Web: www.elparaisogolfclub.com Atalaya Golf: Old & New Courses (36) Tel: 952 882 812 Web: www.atalaya-golf.com Guadalmina Golf: North & South Courses (36) Tel: 952 883 455 Web: www.guadalminagolf.org 4. BENEHAVIS / RONDA Monte Mayor Golf Club (18) Tel: 952 937 111 Web: www.montemayorgolf.com Marbella Club Golf Resort (18) Tel: 952 889 101 Web: www.marbellaclub.com Los Arqueros Golf & Country Club (18) Tel: 952 784 600 Web: www.taylorwoodrow.com Club de Campo La Zagaleta (18) Tel: 952 855 453 Web: www.lazagaleta.com 5. NUEVA ANDALUCIA / PUERTO BANUS La Quinta Golf & Country Club (27) Tel: 952 762 390 Web: www.laquintagolf.com Los Naranjos Golf Club (18) Tel: 952 812 428 Web: www.losnaranjos.com Magna Marbella Golf (9) Tel: 952 929 249 Web: www.magnamarbellagolf.com Real Club de Golf Las Brisas (18) Tel: 952 813 021 Web: www.lasbrisasgolf.com Aloha Golf Club (18) Tel: 952 907 085 Web: www.clubdegolfaloha.com Golf La Dama de Noche (9) Tel: 952 818 150 Web: www.golfladamadenoche.com 6. MARBELLA - FUENGIROLA Golf Río Real (18) Tel: 952 765 733 Web: www.rioreal.com Santa Clara Golf (18) Tel: 952 850 111 Web: www.santaclara-golf.com Marbella Golf & Country Club (18) Tel: 952 830 500 Greenlife Golf (9) Tel: 952 839 142 Web: www.greenlife-golf.com Santa Maria Golf (18) Tel: 952 831 036 Web: www. santamariagolfclub.com Cabopino Club de Golf (18) Tel: 952 850 282 Web: www.cabopinogolf.es Miraflores Golf (18) Tel: 952 931 960 Miraflores Golf Academy Tel: 952 939 381 Web: www.sunshine-golf.com El Chaparral Golf Club (18) Tel: 956 794 100 Web: www.golfelchaparral.com 7. FUENGIROLA - MALAGA La Noria Golf Resort (9) Tel: 952 587 653 La Cala: North, South & Europa Courses (52) Tel: 952 669 033 Web: www.lacala.com Santana Golf & Country Club (18) Tel: 951 062 560 Web: www.santanagolf.com Mijas Golf: Los Lagos & Los Olivos (36) Tel: 952 476 843 Web: www.mijasgolf.org Golf Torrequebrada (18) Tel: 952 442 740 Web: www.golftorrequebrada.com Parador Málaga Golf (18) Tel: 951 011 120 Web: www.parador.es 8. MALAGA - COIN Alhaurín Golf (18) Tel: 952 595 800 Web: www.alhauringolf.com Lauro Golf (27) Tel: 952 412 767 Web: www.laurogolf.com 9. ALMERIA Desert Springs - Indiana Course (18) Tel: 637 861 591 Web: www.almanzora.com Golf Valle del Este (18) Tel: 950 3987 43 Web: www.valledeleste.es
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