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THE UK’S NO.1 GOLF NEWSPAPER

ISSUE 280 | MARCH 2019

TWITTER: @GOLFNEWSMAG WEB: GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

FEATURE

INTERVIEWS Justin Rose Jordan Smith Steven Brown

Digging around JCB GN visits the UK’s latest Super Club

TRAVEL

EQUIPMENT

CHARLESTON MADEIRA BOB CHAMPION

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GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

EDITORS LETTER

NICK BAYLY

MORE SPEED, MORE HASTE G

olf, let’s face it, can be – I’ll rephrase that – is, a very difficult and frustrating game to play. Asking someone to hit a 1.68-inch ball into a 4.5-inch hole across acres of land that has been specifically designed to hinder the task is the very epitome of madness. It’s the reason why most professional golfers lose the plot in their mid-40s. The same happens to darts and snooker players. While there are no real physical reasons why players entering their fifth decade can’t carry on competing at the highest level, the mental stress that comes with spending the majority of your life missing treble 20s, corner pockets, and, in the case of the pro golfer, sixfoot putts for par, eventually turns a high percentage them into gibbering wrecks. They become afraid to let go of the dart, incapable of releasing the cue, or, as with golfers, end up spending what seems like hours analysing the break of a putt, before a nervous twitch of the blade once again sends the ball millimetres wide of its intended target. Oh the agony. It’s no wonder that some of us, even when we’re not playing for money, have a slightly

PACING OUT THE YARDAGE OF AN APPROACH SHOT WITH A SLIDE RULE DOES NOT MAKE FOR GREAT ENTERTAINMENT, HOWEVER CLOSE THEY HIT IT TO THE PIN Jekyll and Hyde approach to the game. All sweetness and light one moment, possessed by the devil the next. Playing for money – and there seems to be a lot of it swooshing around on the top tours these days – is clearly resulting in a heavy application of the breaks, with five-and-a-half hour rounds becoming the norm rather than the exception at tournaments where the winners are made millionaires overnight – if they weren’t already. I hate to single out individual players – but hey, JB Holmes and Bryson DeChambeau, please pay attention – professional golf is meant to be entertainment. It wouldn’t exist in a vacuum, so please try and make it entertaining, and not the backdrop for a Sunday afternoon/evening snooze in front of the box.

■ PLUMBING THE DEPTHS: JB HOLMES HAS GONE UNPUNISHED FOR CONSISTENT SLOW PLAY

Watching Holmes endlessly plumb-bobbing three-foot putts, or Mr DeChambeau pacing out the yardage of an approach shot with a slide rule, does not make for great viewing, however few shots they take to achieve their wins. If they were paid in shots per hour – which, by my estimate, is currently around 13 – they would be heading for the poor house. To be fair to the European Tour, officials at the Dubai Desert Classic did ask DeChambeau to get a chivvy on – which he railed against in no uncertain terms in his post-round interview – but the PGA Tour didn’t utter a word of admonishment to Holmes during his viewer stamina-sapping effort at the Genesis Open. It leaves the casual observer – if there are any of those left – wondering quite what a professional golfer has to do to earn any sort of sanction these days. Lots of groups are ‘put on the clock’ during tournaments, but they are rarely, if ever, issued penalty shots. At a time when professional golf, and indeed golf in general, needs to do all it can to make itself an attractive proposition to fans, viewers, sponsors and future players, unless the golfing authorities can rein in this lack of respect for the laws of the game and its oft-quoted ‘etiquette’, and get them to shift up a gear or three, then, as Private Frazer used to say during every episode of Dad’s Army, ‘We’re all doomed!’

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TEL: 01273 381794 EMAIL: info@golfnews.co.uk WEBSITE: golfnews.co.uk FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @golfnewsmag INSTAGRAM: golfnewsmagazine MANAGING DIRECTOR Matt Nicholson matt@golfnews.co.uk

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[4]

MARCH 2019 FEATURE

DIGGING FOR VICTORY Built by excavators made just yards from the course, JCB GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB is home to one of the most exciting new golf courses to open in the UK in the last 20 years. Adam Lawrence went to the Staffordshire venue find out why

D

on’t be alarmed if you’re a keen golfer and have never heard of JCB Golf & Country Club. It’s soft opening last summer wasn’t attended by celebrity vloggers or a fanfare of publicity. Instead, there were a handful of top executives and staff from the construction equipment giant’s global HQ located just across the road, key members of the course design and construction team, and, of course, the staff working at the club itself. Sadly, for us regular golfers at least, JCB Golf and Country Club is essentially a corporate facility. Much in the same way as many city banks have private gyms and sports clubs for the sole use of their staff, JCB has got a golf club. So unless you work for the company, know someone that does, or are a commercial partner, it is unlikely that you’ll ever get to play there. More’s the pity, as it’s an absolute belter, and worth every penny of the £60 green fee charged to staff at weekends. JCB Chairman Lord Bamford – though not a golfer – came up with the idea to build the course as a tool to promote the company’s brand. He realised that having such a facility on hand could be very valuable when important customers and prospects visit JCB, as many do – the company maintains a small fleet of aeroplanes and helicopters known as ‘JCB Air’ to facilitate such travel. Also, as with rival John Deere’s PGA Tour event at the TPC Deere Run near its own HQ in Illinois, it would be a perfect venue for a professional tournament that would spread the JCB name further. Such an event is expected to make its debut in 2020, JCB’s 75th anniversary, and the company is known to have aspirations for a WGC event. The build, which took four years, was tremendously complicated – the site is large, occupying some of the old park of Woodseat Hall, as well as surrounding farmland, and the soil, extremely heavy clay, demanded amelioration with sand, as well as a huge drainage network. Thankfully, JCB had the tools to do it. A total of ten of the company’s diggers were used to help shift over half a million tonnes of earth during the initial phases of the construction project, with Lord Bamford taking the controls of a 36-tonne JCB JS360 tracked excavator to mark the start of the project back in 2014. Measuring 7,308 yards from the championship

TEN JCB DIGGERS WERE USED TO SHIFT OVER HALF-A-MILLION TONNES OF EARTH DURING THE INITIAL PHASE OF CONSTRUCTION tees, the tour-standard course is designed to test the very best, but multiple teeing areas make it playable for a wide range of handicaps, with the forward tees reducing the overall length to just over 5,000 yards. Architect Robin Hiseman of European Golf Design, who led the project, has built a big and brawny modern course, but with a lot of subtlety and opportunities for clever play to cut a corner. The 10th and 13th holes, for example, are both massive par fives of more than 600 yards, but each offers a ‘speed slot’ which the brave and strong can use to bring the green within – or at least close to within – range in two hefty blows. Hiseman, though he has a reputation for building challenging greens, has throttled back on the putting surfaces at JCB. That’s not to say they are flat, far from it, and when the course is fully up to speed, there will be plenty of short game challenge. All elements of a golfer’s skills are put under stress from beginning to end; the first hole, from the two back sets of tees, demands a water carry on both tee shot and approach, as well as avoiding a central bunker in the fairway. The excellent bunkerless par-four fourth has a green inspired by one of Willie Park Jr’s at Huntercombe

■ TOP: WITH ITS STUNNING ISLAND GREEN, THE PAR-3 17TH PROVIDES A DRAMATIC CLIMAX TO A ROUND AT JCB

in Oxfordshire. The uphill eighth might seem a bit bland from the tee, but once in the fairway, the approach shot is much more interesting, with the green tucked into a mound. The par-three ninth, a late addition to the routing, sits in a former arboretum close to the ruined hall; it is a fine short hole across a valley to an extremely well protected green. The greens of the 11th and 12th are protected by the same stream, which runs across in front of the former, while a quite beautiful dry stone wall holds up the right side of the latter above the watercourse. But it’s the finish that will, as it should, live longest in the memory. The 16th, a mid-length par four, doglegs to the right around a deep crater filled with trees, but the 17th is the hole that will get all those lucky enough to get a game here talking over post-match drinks. A severely downhill par three, playing to an island green in the South Lake, it measures over 250 yards from the championship tee. Normal golfers, of course, won’t be playing from that far back; combine the shorter distance with the drop-shot element and the very large green built on a pre-existing island, and it isn’t quite as scary as it looks at first. The huge home hole is a 462-yard uphill dogleg left with a wide split fairway and a Lion’s Mouth bunker cut into the front of the green. It will be a three-shot hole for the majority, and a suitably stiff finish for professional events. In addition to the golf course, the club is also be home to a pro shop and golf academy, where a team of PGA Pros, led by head pro John Howells, will be on hand to offer lessons to members and clients on a purpose-built range, which boasts covered bays and an indoor coaching and custom-fitting studio. In time there will also be a hotel, where visiting executives can check in for the night before or after their game. It is perhaps fitting that JCB’s course manager, Euan Grant, should have the last word. “It’s truly remarkable to see how the course has come to life in the last four years, going from rolling Staffordshire countryside to what we believe is one of the best layouts in the country. I’m so grateful to have been able to be a part of the journey and I am so excited to see what the future holds for us – we believe the sky’s the limit in what we can achieve as a golf venue.”


[6]

MARCH 2019 | NEWS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

InBrief FRILFORD HEATH IN LINE FOR TOP VENUE AWARD ★ Frilford Heath has been shortlisted for England Golf’s Championship Venue of the Year Award for 2018. The Oxfordshire club is one of four venues in the country in the running for the title, the winner of which will be announced at the England Golf Awards in London on March 21. The other three clubs are Kedleston Park, Sherwood Forest and Stanton-on-the-Wolds. Frilford Heath hosted three England Golf tournaments last year, including the Brabazon Trophy, the County Champion of Champions events for women, girls and senior women, and England Golf Week, when all three of its 18-hole courses were used during the national finals of handicap and team events.

Ferndown

calls on ‘royal’ connection to open new entrance ‘King of the Jungle’ Harry Redknapp swung into action to officially open new entry gates at Ferndown Golf Club in Dorset. The former football manager, who won ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!’ Show last year, took to the wheel of a buggy at the historic club. The club’s new entrance was funded anonymously by two club members and is part of a five-year improvement programme costing more than £500,000. Redknapp, who joined Ferndown last year, described the new entrance as ‘terrific’. He added: “Nice people, good atmosphere, iconic golf course and now an impressive new entrance. What more could you ask?” Future projects at the club, which has over 800 members, include a new car park, a new covered driving range, and on-going improvements to the course and clubhouse. Matt Fleming, Ferndown’s new club captain, said: “The new entrance is a clear

statement of our future ambitions for Ferndown. We already consider ourselves to be one of the top golf clubs in Dorset, but through a programme of planned improvements our intention is to become one of the leading clubs in the country. It’s a tough time for golf clubs and, ultimately, only the best will survive. We’re determined that Ferndown will be one of those clubs.” Ferndown boasts a 27-hole heathland course, which is currently ranked 88th in the current Golf Monthly UK & Ireland Top 100 courses. Prestigious tournaments hosted at the club include the Hennessy Cognac Cup, featuring leading players from the European Tour; the European Ladies’ Championship and the Women’s British Open. Current British Women’s Open champion Georgia Hall joined the club as a nine-yearold when she had a 36 handicap. By the age of ten she got it down to 10 and then set the course record of a five-under 67, when she was 11 – a record that still stands today.

HAMPSHIRE TO ROLL OUT GIRLS GOLF ROCKS ★ Female-focused golf programme Girls Golf Rocks is being launched across another five counties in England – Cornwall, Hampshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire and Worcestershire – to add to the 26 counties that offered programmes in 2018. Last year, over 1,650 girls attended Girls Golf Rocks taster sessions and 1,200 went on to take coaching courses with PGA professionals. As before, clubs in these counties will offer free taster sessions, starting in May, followed by coaching courses with PGA professionals. Leading club and county players will also be trained as ambassadors to inspire the new girls coming into the game.

EDWARDS TO LEAD TEAM GB IN TOYKO ★ Former Walker Cup captain Nigel Edwards has been selected to captain Team GB’s golf team for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The 50-year-old Welshman, who is England Golf’s Performance Director, was been appointed to the voluntary role by the British Golf Association and will lead a team of British professionals to Japan aiming to repeat Justin Rose’s golf medal triumph in Rio 2016.

WOOTTON’S ON TARGET AT TOPGOLF ★ Oxford Golf Centre pro Adam Wootton is the new champion of the Topgolf PGA Pairs ProAm after edging out Charlie Wilson (Prince’s) by a single point at Topgolf’s Addlestone venue in Surrey. Wootton took the winner’s cheque for £350 by scoring 394 points to Wilson’s 393, with Topgolf’s own Joe Tinsley taking third with 373 points. The event attracted a full field of 32 PGA Professionals and their amateur partners from all around the South East.

Bowood joins PGA property portfolio Bowood Hotel Spa and Golf Resort in Wiltshire has joined the PGA’s growing portfolio of branded properties worldwide as a PGA Golf Course and PGA Golf Academy. The Calne-based venue, which forms part of the historic Bowood Estate, joins an elite group of PGA branded properties around the world, including past Ryder Cup venues The Belfry and Gleneagles, together with resorts such as Aphrodite Hills as the PGA National Cyprus and Antalya Golf Club as the

■ LADDIE LUCAS

PGA National Turkey. As part of its new relationship with the PGA, Bowood will also become the home of the English PGA Championship for the next three years and will provide a testing examination of the 144 players playing in the iconic event at this quintessentially English venue. Established in 1992, and set amongst 1,500 acres of parkland, the Dave Thomas-designed 7,309-yard championship course is renowned as one of the finest layouts in the south-west. Lord Lansdowne, owner of the Bowood Estate, said: “We are delighted to have been endorsed by The PGA as an accredited golf course and academy, and we are proud that our course has reached the high standard required to bear the PGA name.”

Prince’s offers free entry to Laddie Lucas Spoon

Prince’s Golf Club in Kent is offering free entry into this year’s Laddie Lucas Spoon junior open. The distinguished competition takes place on April 10 at the historic Sandwich-based links and entry is open to all boys and girls aged between 8 to 13 years old on the day of the event. Laddie Lucas, whose father co-founded the club in 1906, was an avid patron of junior golf and set up the event more than 25 years ago. Junior golfers from around the country compete for the hickory-shafted Spoon, the club that Laddie used as a boy to win a competition aged six and make a hole-in-one aged nine. The Laddie Lucas Spoon is one of the most

Southern Stars Earn Augusta Invite

Three England internationals have received prized invitations to compete in the first Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April. “It’s amazing,” said Lily May Humphreys who, like Annabell Fuller and Alice Hewson, took to social media to express delight. “Can’t believe it,” posted Fuller, while Hewson told her Twitter followers: “Growing up I never thought it was possible to receive a little green and gold letter in the post… Augusta National here I come!” The championship was announced at last year’s Masters Tournament and will be played by an international field of 72. They will all play the first two rounds at Champions Retreat Golf Club, then have a practice round at Augusta National before the top 30 players play the final round there. “This was one of my goals for the year,” said Humphreys (pictured). “It will be amazing and such a good field. I never imagined I would play at Augusta – and the invitation is cool.” The initial field for the new championship includes the winners of six events and leading players from the world rankings. Hewson is 39th, Humphreys is 53rd and Fuller 55th. All three are Curtis Cup players. Humphreys, 16, from Stoke by Nayland Golf Club in Essex, also won the Helen Holm Scottish amateur open last year and represented Team GB in the Youth Olympics. Hewson, from Berkhamsted, and Fuller, from Roehampton, are both currently studying in the USA. All three players are in the initial GB&I Vagliano Trophy squad.

Jeff Condliffe, general manager of Bowood Hotel, added: “We could not have had a more positive and exciting start to the New Year ahead. The value and global recognition of the PGA brand is enormous and will really put Bowood on the map as a centre of golfing excellence.”

prestigious events for junior golfers Rob McGuirk, General Manager at Prince’s, commented: “The Laddie Lucas Spoon is an extremely important event to us and is a big part of the history and legacy of Prince’s Golf Club. By providing free entry, we aim to continue Laddie’s vision for this event as open to all, regardless of background, and played in the spirit of the rules and etiquette of the game.” Free entry to the event, via a ballot, includes lunch, and although primarily an 18-hole scratch stableford competition, there are various handicap competitions and prizes to be won based on age. There is also an adult and junior pairs competition on April 9. For more details, call 01304 695 569. To enter the Laddie Lucas Spoon, visit www.golfgenius.com/pages/1688289.


[10] MARCH 2019 | NEWS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

InBrief

■ FOXHILLS' NEW SHORT GAME PRACTICE FACILITY

Murray honoured by life membership at Walton Heath

ENGLAND GOLF PUBLISHES GUIDE TO ATTRACTING JUNIOR MEMBERS ★ England Golf has publishes at guide that aims to help golf clubs grow their junior membership numbers. The guide, ‘Understanding Your Junior Market’, which comes with a supporting video and online training, highlights ways to find out what young people want from golf and golf clubs – and what could put them off. To download the booklet, visit www.englandgolf.org.

EALING PRO WILLISON WINS LIFETIME AWARD ★ Ealing Golf Club’s head professional Ricky Willison was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Middlesex Golf Awards held on February 16. Willison, who joined Ealing as a junior member in 1976, enjoyed a hugely successful amateur and professional career – including playing for England 38 times and competing on the European Tour for seven years – before returning to the club as head professional, during which time has worked closely with various Middlesex County teams.

GOLFSIXES JUNIOR LEAGUE TARGETS 100 MORE CLUBS ★ The GolfSixes League is set to expand significantly in 2019 after encouraging more young people into the sport last year. The initiative reached over 100 clubs in 2018, and will be enjoyed by more than 200 this year. Golf Foundation CEO Brendon Pyle added: “Parents, PGA pros and club organisers are saying that GolfSixes League has helped build confidence in their new young players and the interest from all, including from the County Golf Unions, has been amazing.”

LILLY SERVES IT UP IN SCOTTSDALE ★ Wellingborough pro Simon Lilly recorded a three-shot victory in the 19th staging of the Scottsdale Classic Pro-Am, which once again served up an action-packed week in the Arizona desert. There were five players all within a shot of Lilly after rounds at FireRock Country Club and We-Ko-Pa Golf Club’s Cholla and Saguaro courses. Billy Hemstock, Darren Prosser, Paul Nessling and Adam Hickling all battled hard, but it was Lilly who won the 72hole tournament courtesy of a one-under-par 70 at TPC Scottsdale, which included a birdie at the infamous par-three 16th, to claim victory by three shots. The Pro-Am event resulted in victory for Bruce Whipham’s team of Ian Bullions, Simon Bullions and James Rock.

Foxhills to host Dave Pelz golf schools Golfers eager to sharpen their short-game skills can enjoy state-of-the-art facilities and a worldrenowned coaching progamme, thanks to a new link-up between Foxhills Country Club & Resort in Surrey and Dave Pelz Golf Schools. The Ottershaw-based venue’s new short game practice area, which opens this spring, will host an initial series of three Dave Pelz 3-Day Scoring Game Schools (April 12-14; May 3-5 and May 31June 2), which can provide huge improvements to golfers of all abilities. More dates are also expected to be added later in the year. The first of the three Dave Pelz Scoring Schools takes place on Masters weekend, and it’s fitting that defending champion Patrick Reed is among the many students of the Pelz methods, which played such a pivotal role in his success at Augusta last year. The programme, which costs £1,300 for the three days, incorporates tailored tuition for small groups as they benefit from Pelz Golf Institute’s scientific approach and attention on distance wedges, pitching, chipping bunkers and putting. Every Pelz school includes an analysis of each student’s game, classroom theory sessions and outdoor execution sessions with one instructor to four students. The finishing touches are being added to the new short-game facility at Foxhills (pictured above),

which features two practice bunkers, synthetic hitting areas and a 650-square metre green. And Foxhills’ director of golf, Chris Fitt, believes the Dave Pelz Golf Schools is a welcome addition which underlines the club’s commitment to quality coaching and practice. Fitt said: “Every golfer understands how vital it is to find the right method with their short game, and Dave Pelz Golf Schools can make a massive difference. We now have these fantastic new practice facilities available at Foxhills,and it’s a great way to put them through their paces. Anyone who attends these programmes will see major benefits to their game.” A former NASA scientist with a unique analytical approach to the game, Pelz founded his schools in the late 1980s, and structured the programme to meet the needs of all handicap levels with trained instructors providing the hands-on expertise. Pelz said: “Foxhills’ new short-game facility is the perfect location to put our methods into practice. For golfers, it’s important to note that 80 per cent of shots lost to par occur inside of 100 yards, and two thirds of the shots in any given round will be in that range. Our students leave our schools with a working plan and very useful skills to continue their practice after the course.” For more information, visit www.foxhills.co.uk.

Woodman

Royal Blackheath renovation

cuts down rivals at PGA’s ‘Berkshire Swing’ West Hill’s Guy Woodman came out on top in a trio of Titleist & FootJoy Winter Series tournaments held at Swinley Forest and The Berkshire. The three-day swing saw 174 PGA Professionals and Assistants play the two Berkshire gems in dry and chilly sunshine. On the first day at Swinley Forest, there was a four-way tie on 36 points involving Warren Harmston (Sunningdale Heath), Michael Bullen (Rustington), Alistair MacGregor (Addington Court) and David Copsey (Poult Wood). Day two went down the road to The Berkshire’s Red course, where Woodman fired six birdies and an eagle en route to flawless 64. An impressive 44 points saw the West Hill man finish three ahead of runners up Chris Rodgers (Richings Park) and Max Brackley (Manston Golf Centre). Back at Swinley for the final round, Woodman was pipped by a point to the winner’s post by Alex Lodge (Calcot Park) with 38 points, with Jordan Miles (Ben Blackburn Golf) capturing of leading Trainee’s prize.

Former European Tour player turned TV commetator Ewen Murray has been award honorary life membership of Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey. The award recognises Murray’s outstanding contribution to golf, and Walton Heath in particular, during a lifetime devoted to the game both on and off the course. Edinburgh-born Murray worked at Walton Heath with for 16 years, firstly as assistant professional under the tutelage of Harry Busson, and then as Tournament Professional, before switching careers in the 1990s by joining Sky Sports’ fledgling golf coverage. Murray was elected unanimously at the club’s AGM in January, and Walton Heath chairman, Dr Alastair Wells, spoke on behalf of the membership, saying: “Since arriving from Scotland in 1973 to take up his post, Ewen has been a great ambassador for Walton Heath and we it remains very close to his heart and we look forward to welcoming Ewen back as a distinguished Honorary Life Member.” Murray said: “I spent a quarter of my life at Walton Heath and the club still feels very much like home. It is a great honour to be made an Honorary Life Member. I would like to thank everyone at Walton Heath for recognising me in this way and I feel very proud and humble.” He added: “The two courses speak for themselves, but it is the members who make a great golf club and, in that respect, Walton Heath has no equal. I have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the membership and it was a very sad day when I left in 1989, having lost my playing rights on the European Tour. Sadly I can’t play much these days due to a bad back, but I look forward to enjoying being one of the members rather than one of the staff this time around!”

remains on course A five-year plan to renovate the historic course at Royal Blackheath Golf Club in London has moved a step nearer to its completion. Construction firm MJ Abbott finished the penultimate phase of a plan first developed by course architect Ken Moodie back in 2014 to renovate the parkland course, which was originally designed by Tom Dunn in 1892 and subsequently redesigned by James Braid in 1926. Moodie looked at the history of the course, the way the layout had been developed, the balance of yardage and par, and a hole-by-hole analysis with proposals for improvement. A construction and tree management programme commenced later in 2014, starting with a pilot project on holes two, 17 and 18, and then developing into a five-year programme of course improvements. “The work involves the building or remodelling of 77 bunkers, the construction of two new greens, the extension of five greens, and the building of four new tees,” said Moodie. “There have been plenty of changes during the course of the project thus far,

including the new green on the first to extend the hole to a par five; new diagonal drive bunkers on the second hole, which offer different lengths of carry from the tee; and the new green on the par-three 16th to provide a better range of pin positions.” He added: ‘’The course owes more to James Braid than Tom Dunn, so we used his design style as inspiration for the new and remodeled features. To create definition in the fairways, fine fescue rough is being introduced to give the course an older and more rustic character in keeping with the origins of the club on the heath.” MJ Abbott completed the fourth phase of construction work in August last year, with one more phase this August to complete the programme. The course has remained open during the work with two to three holes, or parts of holes, closed at a time to allow golfers to play the course.


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[12] WINTER MARCH 2019 2018/19 | NEWS | NEWS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

InBrief ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

PGA EAST REGION OFFERS ACTIONPACKED SCHEDULE ★ The PGA in England East has confirmed a busy playing schedule for 2019, including four Order of Merit tournaments, three long-established Classics, and more than 30 Pro-Am events. Jason Levermore (Little Channels) will start the defense of both his Order of Merit crown and The London Open title at West Essex on June 11. Already a prominent tournament in the schedule, the London Open promises to be even bigger in 2019 when it will be held in partnership with the PGA South region. lngrebourne Links will stage the second Order of Merit event on August 6, while the East Region Championship will once again be staged at Bishop's Stortford from September 4-5. And, as in 2018, the race to finish in the top three will conclude with the KJW Millbrook Masters, incorporating the East Anglia Open, at Millbrook on September 18-19. The traditional seasonal curtain raiser, the Searles PGA Spring Classic, is scheduled for April 2425 at King's Lynn and Hunstanton. The Summer Classic will be staged at Royal Cromer and Sheringham on July 2-3, while the Marston's Beer Autumn Classic takes place at Felixstowe Ferry and Woodbridge from September 26-27.

KENT GOLF PAYS TRIBUTE TO EVANS ★ Kent Golf lost one of its most long-standing supporters last month following the death of Brian Evans, aged 84. A former manager of Lydd Golf Club, Evans also served as captain and secretary of the Kent County Golf Union, and designed the Warren Course at Littlestone Golf Club. He also founded the UK Senior Golf Association 1999. Lifelong friend Mike Couzens, current national secretary of the UKSGA, said: “Brian will be remembered for his sheer knowledge of the game, its people and its places. A progressive thinker, he was always trying to keep the association moving forward.”

Highflying Hall eyes up world No.1 By Nick Bayly BRITISH WOMEN’S OPEN CHAMPION Georgia Hall is focusing her attentions on moving up the world rankings this season following her breakthrough Major triumph in 2018. The 22-year-old from Golf at Goodwood will be plying her trade on both the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour in 2019, as she bids to rack up the points required to move up the rankings from her current tenth position, and make a bid for the top spot currently occupied by Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn. Last year, Hall became the first British player to win a major championship since Catriona Matthew’s triumph in the British Open at Sunningdale in 2009, and also the youngest player to win back-to-back Ladies European Tour Order of Merit titles. Speaking ahead of the new season, Hall said: “Last year I set myself five targets. I wrote them down and signed them. The first was to just win an LPGA tournament. The second was to do really well in The Open. I covered two ticks by winning it. I also wanted to break into the world’s top 50 and then the top 20.

I thought that was maybe too big a goal. But I’ve done that, and am now in the top ten. I also wanted to be rookie of the year on the LPGA, but I lost out [to Ko Jin-young], but that’s ok – four big ticks isn’t bad.” As for this year, Hall has raised her sights even further, targeting to the top spot in the rankings. “World No.1 is my next big thing on the list,” she said. “That’s the dream, anyway.” Her previous dream, of winning the Open, has already come true. “I spent 15 years where winning the Open was pretty much my only dream. I never thought it would happen this quickly, but everything came together perfectly. I wasn’t nervous, or scared. I felt relaxed. It was in England and it was on a tough links course, which I like. So when I was in a position to win I thought: ‘I can’t give this away now because this might be my only opportunity to win it.’” In addition to the all the prize money she is bringing in – which included £350,000 for winning the Open – Hall’s new status as a major champion is starting to reap its own rewards off the golf course too, with the Dorset star having signed several new sponsorship deals in the wake of her victory at Royal Lytham. Leading global channel services provider Agilitas IT Solutions is the latest company to sign up English golf’s new star, with Hall taking on the role of brand ambassador for the Nottinghamshire-based IT company, which has partners in 60 different countries. Shaun Lynn, CEO of Agilitas, commented: “We are genuinely excited to welcome Georgia into the Agilitas family, and I am sure she will be a fantastic brand ambassador for us. Georgia’s global profile is very much aligned with our international business and we look forward to building a long-lasting alliance as she continues to represent Britain on the world stage.” Hall said: “I am excited to be a brand ambassador of such an innovative and dynamic company as Agilitas. From our initial discussions it was clear to see that the ambitions I have in sport are shared by Agilitas, in terms of a desire to succeed and continuously raise the bar as innovators in our respective fields. As part of this newly formed partnership I look forward to building a strong relationship with the Agilitas team as we embark on this new chapter together.”

■ HILLSIDE GOLF CLUB

Betfred Backs British Masters The British Masters has a new sponsor after bookmaking firm Betfred stepped in at the last minute to back the tournament for the next two years. The tournament returned to the tour’s schedule in 2015, following a seven-year absence, and had been sponsored by Sky Sports. This year’s tournament takes place at Hillside in Southport from May 9-12, when local favourite Tommy Fleetwood will be acting as tournament host, following in the footsteps of previous hosts Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose. Fred Done, owner of Betfred, whose headquarters are based in Warrington, said: ““I’ve been looking at golf sponsorship for some time so when the British Masters, with Tommy Fleetwood hosting in the North West, was put to me it seemed the perfect opportunity to get involved. I am absolutely delighted to see the Betfred brand alongside such a high profile event in golf.” Fleetwood said: “It’s great to have Betfred on board, making it the Betfred British Masters. For me, as host, one of my key messages was to push the North West, and they are a North West-based company, so it fits perfectly.”

■ GEORGIA HALL IS HOPING TO ADD TO HER MAJOR TALLY IN 2019

■ TOMMY FLEETWOOD IS HOSTING THE BETFRED BRITISH MASTERS AT HILLSIDE


NEWS | MARCH 2019

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InBrief

Berkhamsted Trophy celebrates 60th anniversary ENTRIES HAVE OPENED for the year’s first key domestic men’s elite amateur event, the 72-hole Berkhamsted Trophy in association with Bushnell Golf, which takes place from April 4-6 at Berkhamsted Golf Club in Hertfordshire. This year the classic heathland venue near St Albans is celebrating the trophy’s 60th anniversary by inviting past winners to a lunch on the event’s final day. With 1997 Masters champion Sandy Lyle and former World No.1 Luke Donald among former winners, and with European Tour stars Tom Lewis and Andy Sullivan both lifting the Trophy in the last decade, many view the Berkhamsted Trophy as the perfect early-season test for male amateurs with Tour aspirations. The prestigious tournament, which became a 72-hole event in 2016 after almost six decades played over 36 holes, is an R&A World Amateur Golf Rankings qualifying event, and it sis also the season’s first top-class domestic event on England Golf’s crucial Men’s Order of Merit. And with average winning scores in the trophy rising, not falling, over the last 20 years, bunkerless Berkhamsted’s subtle and natural challenges are still a match for everything that today’s elite players can throw at it. “The Berkhamsted Trophy helps the England selectors to see whose early-season game is truly in shape,” said Stephen Burnett, Performance Manager at England Golf. “As we approach the Lytham Trophy in May and the rest of the season’s amateur ‘majors’, it’s a key indicator of who is in form. And let’s not forget that 2019 is also a home Walker Cup year.”

JUNIOR GOLF INVESTMENT INCREASE

■ THE BERKHAMSTED TROPHY IS CELEBRATING ITS 60TH ANNIVERSARY

Last year’s winner, Matt Wilcox, will be back again in April and is looking to defending the title he won by three shots. “As it’s the first big one of the year, The Berkhamsted Trophy sometimes doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. But I’ve loved the golf course since I was a junior, and I am not alone in rating it – and the Trophy itself – so highly,” said former tour pro Wilcox, who aged 44, will also likely to be the oldest player in the field. Berkhamsted’s course manager Gerald Bruce is confident that the players will be able to produce their best early-season golf on what is a free-draining course. “In 2018 the greens were as good as I have seen them in my 30 years here, so we’re a terrific test of putting for elite golfers,” said Bruce. “Berkhamsted is also a superb winter golf course, almost mud-free and very free-draining, so we have no problem hosting a big event in early April.”

★ The R&A has pledged £2 million towards developing junior golf over the next four years and has set an ambitious target of getting 15,000 young people to become golf club members in that period. The Golf Foundation is set to give over two million youngsters the chance to try golf for the first time using its Tri-Golf and Street Golf participation initiatives, which take adapted versions of the sport to young people at schools, sports centres, parks and multi-use games facilities in GB and Ireland. Around 180,000 youngsters will also be introduced to coaching through the Golf Foundation's HBSC Golf Roots Centres, a large network of juniorfriendly golf clubs that provide taster sessions in local schools and coaching delivered by PGA Professionals.

DISABILITY OPEN DATE

■ THE MELBOURNE CLUB

Europro tees it up at Melbourne Club

THE PGA EUROPRO TOUR has announced its tournament schedule for 2019 and is back at Mannings Heath, with five new stunning venues bolstering the highly anticipated line up. The 2019 season tees off on May 22 as the PGA EuroPro Tour heads to the Melbourne Club at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, as some of the sport’s best up-and-coming talent compete for promotion on to the Challenge Tour in 2020 with more than £850,000 in prize money this season. The Tour goes to Mannings Heath Golf Club & Wine Estate in West Sussex from August 8-10, where 2018 Order of Merit winner Dave Coupland narrowly missed out on a third title win of the season in a thrilling playoff against eventual champion Billy Hemstock. Completing the 15-venue schedule is Newmachar Golf Club in Aberdeen, which had the same honour last year. Billy Spooner won a tense playoff against Thomas Robson to clinch his second title of

the season, ultimately securing Challenge Tour status for the 2019 season. The season concludes with the Tour’s top 60 players contending the Tour Championship. Players qualify to play on the HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour either through a two-stage Qualifying School in the spring, or courtesy of their 2018 achievements.

★ Entries are now being invited for the 2019 English Disability Open, which is being held at Stoke by Nayland Golf Club in Essex from Sept 7-8. The championship is being run by England Golf and is open to anyone with a visual, hearing or intellectual impairment, as well as players holding a European Disabled Golf Association Access or World Rankings Pass. Competitors will play for the overall prize, and a handicap competition or Stableford event, depending on their handicap. For details, visit www.englandgolf.org.

Pluck leaves lasting legacy for Sussex golf CLIFF PLUCK, the secretary of the Sussex Professional Golfers Union Secretary for over 40 years, sadly passed away last month. Dedicated to his job and raising the profile of Sussex professional golf, Pluck and worked tirelessly for the SPGU between 1979 right up until his death on February 12. He also served as captain of the Sussex PGA from 1982-83. Thanks to his efforts with sponsors in the early 1990s, Sussex Professionals played for prize funds unrivalled by any other county golf union. He ran over 75 overseas Pro-Ams over the years, and in that time and all the competitors that went on these trips put their success down to Cliff’s behind-the-scenes organisation. Charles Giddins, SPGU chairman, said: “Cliff had a razor sharp wit and a great sense of humour, but he also had great organisational skills. His enduring legacy is that he has left a large group of amateur and professional golfers who enjoy friendships and camaraderie over a game of golf, while creating playing opportunities for the club professionals and assistants in Sussex.” Giddens added: “Since stepping into Cliff’s role, the messages of support from our members and sponsors has been quite unbelievable and again I attribute this to Cliff and all he did.”

REAL BALL SPEED


[14] MARCH 2019 | NEWS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

Sky Sports

Frankish signs for Jenahura

to show Us PGA Championship

Ahead of rookie season on European Tour

■ BETHPAGE BLACK IS HOSTING MAY'S US PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE REAL BALL SPEED

■ CLOE FRANKSIH

KENT PROFESSIONAL CLOE FRANKISH is looking forward to testing herself against the game top players after earning playing rights on the Ladies European Tour for the 2019 season. The 19-year-old from Maidstone in Kent earned her LET playing privileges after enjoying a successful season on the LET Access Series last year, where she finished fifth in the order of merit. He season included three top-fives, with a tie for fourth in the Santander Golf Tour LETAS El Prat being her best result. Frankish, who turned professional in 2016, also qualified for the Women’s British Open last year, where she made the cut, eventually finishing in a tie for 64th place in her first major championship. During an impressive amateur career, she won the English Girls Championship two years in a row, including a recordbreaking 12-shot win in 2015. In the same year she also won the Scottish Ladies Open by seven shots. Following her elevation to the top flight, Frankish has signed a player management contract with Jenahura, a growing UKbased company, whose ranks include European Tour winner Richard McEvoy, Jamie Elson and Ben Amor. Martyn Norris, Managing Director at Jenahura, said: “I only needed to watch Cloe hit half a dozen shots to see that she possesses a special talent.  Cloe’s coach, Paul Holland, who has also guided Richard McEvoy to European Tour success, cannot speak highly enough about Cloe, describing her as ‘completely fearless’. Norris added: "You just cannot teach fearlessness and this quality combined with her powerful swing will give her a great chance to succeed at the very highest level of the Ladies professional game. We believe she will do just that and are equally excited to have her join our outstanding team of talented, hard working individuals.” The management agreement will see Jenahura manage Cloe and also provide her with sponsorship via the Jenahura Tour Academy, which launched last month. She will also wear the Jenahura Tour Academy logo on her apparel.

SKY SPORTS VIEWERS will be able to watch live coverage of this year’s US PGA Championship after the satellite broadcaster confirmed that it secured the TV rights to what will be the season’s second major in 2019. Sky had missed out on the rights for the previous two years, with Eleven Sports live streaming the tournament in 2018, but it will be screening all four days of the tournament, which takes places at Bethpage Black Golf Course in New York from May 16-19. Sky also has the rights to all five women’s Majors in 2019, including the Women’s British Open, which is being held at Woburn in August. Sky Sports will show over 100 tournaments in 2019, including the Solheim Cup, all four World Golf Championships and events each week from the European and PGA Tours.

This is Callaway’s first Driver ever to be engineered using breakthrough Artificial Intelligence. Designed by harnessing the power of machine learning, Flash Face incorporates a variable face thickness ripple design that maximizes ball speed across the face. This is a transformative shift in technology. Born from over 15,000 virtual prototypes, this face design goes beyond the realm of current thinking and is the longest driver from Callaway.

©2019 Callaway Golf Company. Callaway, the Chevron Device, Epic Flash and Flash Face Technology are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Callaway Golf Company. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

■ PARLEY'S NIGHT GOLF GAMES HAVE ATTRACTED PLENTY OF INTEREST

Parley golfers like to

do it in the dark! GOLFERS KEEN TO HIDE THEIR FACES when they mishit a shot can now do so at Parley Golf Centre in Dorset – by playing at night. Parley is one of the very few clubs in the country that has invested in LED equipment to illuminate the balls, fairways, greens and flags. It has been running six-hole competitions on Saturday and Thursday evenings throughout the winter, which are open to members and non-members alike.


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Hoylake to host Open in 2022

The 151st Open Championship is to played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club (Hoylake) in 2022. The occasion will mark the 13th time that golf’s oldest major has been played over the Merseyside links, where many of the greatest names in the sport have lifted the iconic Claret Jug. The tournament was last played there in 2014, when Rory McIlroy completed a wire-to-wire victory, while more than 230,000 fans turned out to

watch Tiger Woods take the title there in 2006. Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said: “Following the success of the Championship at Royal Birkdale two years ago, we know that there will be tremendous excitement among golf fans at the prospect of its return to Royal Liverpool. Its famous links has a cherished history and it will be fascinating to see who will emerge from the world class field to lift the Claret Jug in three year’s time.”

■ NORTH DOWNS IS UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP ■ ROYAL LIVERPOOL

Chipstead greenkeeper receives special award For helping homeless

A GREENKEEPER at Chipstead Golf Club received a standing ovation from attendees at the annual BIGGA Awards in recognition of his selfless efforts in helping the homeless near the Surrey-based club.

Surrey greenkeeper Jack Percival received the Outstanding Contribution of the Year at the BIGGA Awards held in Harrogate. The 24-year-old, who was himself homeless for six months when he was 17, put out an appeal on social media for donations, with a huge number from within the golf industry and the wider world responding. The project was a huge success, but is just one example of Percival’s efforts to support the homeless. In the past, he made sandwiches and soup every Christmas and travelled on the bus to Croydon to give out food to the homeless. He also volunteers weekly with Croydon Nightwatch, which is where a member of staff encouraged him to seek support for the aid he provides at Christmas. Since then, he has received vanloads of sleeping bags, hygiene essentials and warm clothes, in addition to donations of food, raising national awareness of his campaign. Percival said: “This is unbelievable. I didn’t do this for an award, I was homeless myself when I was 17 and I did six months on the street. I turned my life around, met my partner, and this is just the start for me.”

Organised by Parley Court Golf Club, the competitions at the Bournemouth-based venue are meant as a bit of fun and a way of getting more golf in over the winter months, where daylight is at a premium. The balls have coloured LED lights inside them, which also makes them easier to find in the rough than a standard golf ball, while the fairways are illuminated like runways, and the greens and flags are also lit up. Dan Murphy, vice-captain of Parley Court Golf Club, said: “We’ve tried this before, but the lights and the equipment weren’t as good. The new LED balls are like hitting a normal golf ball, which makes them unlike any other LED ball on the market. They can be switched on and

off via a torch, so there’s no rush to find your ball before the light goes out. These ones are brilliant – literally – and we’re one of the only places in the country to have them.” First opened in 1991 as a six-hole course, Parley is set within an 800-acre farming estate next to the River Stour, near Bournemouth. The centre has a dedicated short-game practice area and a large practice green, to accompany the smaller pre-game practice green. Two academy holes are also available for warm-ups and there is a state-of-the-art indoor coaching area as well as a simulator and pro shop. For more details on night golf at Parley Golf Centre, which costs £25 for non-members, call 01202 591600.

■ CHIPSTEAD GC'S JACK PERCIVAL RECEIVED HIS AWARD AT BIGGA'S ANNUAL CONFERENCE IN HARROGATE


SIX REASONS TO PLAY

WALTON HEATH GOLF CLUB If you are seeking a memorable golfing experience, don’t look further than Walton Heath Golf Club. With two world renown heathland courses, an historic, traditional clubhouse, a reputation for fine dining and an unbeatable ambience, the Surrey venue is a perfect fit.

1

STEEPED IN HISTORY

Founded by wealthy local businessman and Member of Parliament, Sir Cosmo Bonsor, in 1903, Walton Heath Golf Club projects a refreshing mix of history, tradition, elegance and charm. Located near Walton-on-the-Hill in Tadworth, Walton Heath has enjoyed a rich and varied history, most notably in the early decades of the 20th century, attracting an eclectic mix of Members which has included the ruling classes and prominent politicians of the age. In 1935, Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, became the only reigning British monarch to take office as a golf club Captain, while the Club also enjoyed the patronage of four Prime Ministers as Members, namely Lloyd George, Bonar Law, Arthur Balfour and Winston Churchill. The legendary golf course architect and fivetime Open Champion, James Braid, was Club Professional for 46 ½ years.

2

QUALITY COUNTS

As its name suggest, Walton Heath occupies a vast swathe of glorious heathland, encompassing two internationally acclaimed golf courses, the Old and the New, which is something of a contradiction since they were constructed and opened only four years apart, in 1903 and 1907 respectively. Both courses are of the highest quality and were designed by first-time architect, Herbert Fowler, whose initial creation weaved a delightful 18-hole layout among the plentiful heather, gorse and bracken. Four years later, Fowler laid down the New Course, which was opened as a nine-hole layout but soon extended to a full 18 holes and ready for play by 1913. The par-72 Old Course stretches to 7331 yards (6703 metres) from the purple tees and 6364 yards (5819 metres) from the green (or Club) tees. The New Course is also a par-72 and measures 7199 yards (6582 metres) from the purple tees and 6278 yards (5740 metres) from the green tees.

3

A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE

Walton Heath prides itself on being a warm, hospitable and welcoming Golf Club. Whether a Member or Visitor, the Club’s ethos has always been to ensure that the golfing and social experiences are memorable. Members can enjoy a feeling of relaxation,

escaping from the strains and stresses of everyday life. Meanwhile Visitors, who can enjoy the challenge of both courses, are encouraged to embrace the overall ‘Walton Heath Experience’ and to feel like ‘A Member for the Day’. The two Championship courses are full of charm and character, displaying traditional heathland golf at its finest. Visitors are urged to select the challenge which best suits their game by playing off the tees of their choice.

4

PRIME LOCATION

Situated within the south London commuter belt, Walton Heath is highly accessible from a number of transport hubs, such as Gatwick Airport (18 miles) and Heathrow (36 miles). London’s major railway stations are also easily accessed while the major motorway arteries can be reached via the M25, the capital’s orbital road system, which runs adjacent to the Golf Club. Central London, with all its famous tourist attractions, is within convenient reach, while Epsom Racecourse, home of the world renown Derby for three-year-old thoroughbreds, is a |short 15-minute hop by car from Walton Heath.

5

ICONIC TOURNAMENT VENUE

Tournament golf, at both amateur and professional levels, has been integral to Walton Heath’s illustrious history, dating back to 1905. Over the subsequent decades, the Club has hosted a wide variety of match play and stroke play events, culminating in The Ryder Cup

■ WALTON HEATH’S OLD AND NEW COURSES ARE AMONG THE HIGHEST-RATED CHAMPIONSHIP LAYOUTS IN ENGLAND

between Europe and the United States in 1981. Walton Heath has also staged five European Opens between 1978 and 1991, The Senior Open in 2011 and the British Masters last October. Since 2005, the Club has staged the only European Qualifier for the U.S. Open Championship. In the first year, one of the qualifiers, New Zealand’s Michael Campbell went on to win the U.S. Open from Tiger Woods at Pinehurst No.2 just two weeks after booking his ticket at Walton Heath. That same year saw the first edition of a tournament for elite amateurs. Formerly known as the South of England Open Amateur Championship, the event was re-branded in 2018 as the Walton Heath Trophy. Among a distinguished list of winners is Danny Willett of England, who claimed the title in 2007 and went on to win the U.S. Masters at Augusta National as a professional in 2016.

6

SOAK UP THE ATMOSPHERE

The atmosphere surrounding a visit to Walton Heath is second to none, with a relaxed ambience in which to savour a visit to the Club. The traditional old clubhouse transports the Visitors back through the ages, with the walls and corridors adorned with memorabilia underlining the famous individuals who have enjoyed ‘The Walton Heath Experience’. The James Braid Museum affords a fascinating glimpse into the life of Walton Heath’s most celebrated Professional while the terrace overlooks a wonderful and neatly manicured putting green, adjacent to the well-stocked Professional’s Shop. Walton Heath prides itself on the quality and variety of Food and Beverages on offer in the spacious dining room, where Members and Visitors can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner in comfort. Alternatively, a wide choice of snacks are available on the bar menu.

U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIER Monday, June 3, 2019 WALTON HEATH EXPERIENCE DAY Thursday, June 6, 2019 WALTON HEATH TROPHY Tuesday to Thursday, July 23-25 2019 Telephone: 01737 812060 Email: reception@waltonheath.com Web: www.waltonheath.com

@waltonheathgc @waltonheath_gc @WaltonHeathGolfClub ■ PTIS A VOLUPIDE VOLESTIIS SEQUIS


[18] MARCH 2019 | NEWS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

Buckinghamshire APPOINTS NEW MANAGER

appoints new manager

Ben Ludwell, the former assistant general manager at Queenwood Golf Club in Surrey, has been named as the new general manager of The Buckinghamshire Golf Club.

The appointment was announced by Arora Hotels, which acquired the club three months ago. A spokesman said it was part of the hotel group’s drive to provide an enhanced member experience at the club. Lovell, who was based at Queenwood for seven years, has a degree in golf business management from Bournemouth University, and has held roles as assistant golf operations manager at The Breakers Ocean Golf Course in Florida, and golf and leisure

resort manager at the Cape Cornwall Golf Leisure Resort. Sanjay Arora, director at the Arora Group, commented: “I am delighted to announce Ben’s appointment as general manager. With his extensive knowledge and experience of golf management, as well as his servicedriven approach, he is well placed to lead the team in providing a great club and course experience for all our members.” Lovell commented: “I am excited to be joining the team at The Buckinghamshire, and am looking forward to getting to know the course and its members. I am keen to ensure that we provide an exceptional experience for all our members, while continuing to improve all areas of the club.”

Slinfold ladies Celebrate quarter of aces

Summer Golf Breaks From 1 May 2019 to 31 October 2019

Aces came along like buses for the good ladies of Slinfold Golf & Country Club in West Sussex last year, after not one, but four of the venue’s female members managed to defy the odds and secure a coveted hole-in-one during the course of the season. Ann Grain and Pat Taylor bagged their aces on the club’s short 16th hole, while Maggie Jowett hit hers on the second. The scorer of the fourth hole-in-one has steered clear of the media limelight and decided to remain anonymous. Jeanne Coker, Slinfold’s lady captain in 2018, said: “It has been a number of years since one of our ladies made a hole-in-one at Slinfold, and yet last year we had four, which is unprecedented. Four aces in a pack is the norm for card games, but for golf it is remarkable. She added: "It was certainly one of the highlights of an amazing year as captain. Also at the top of the list was the £1,400 raised by the ladies section for my chosen charity, Chestnut Tree House. I’d like to give my best wishes to our incoming captain, Jenny Wise, and I am confident that our ladies will give her and her chosen charity, St Catherine’s Hospice, their full support.”

■ SLINFOLD GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB SAW MORE THAN ITS FAIR SHARE OF ACES LAST YEAR

Prince’s Golf Club, Sandwich Bay, Sandwich, Kent CT13 9QB


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Ford’s too hot to handle at Sunshine Pro-Am

European Tour star Matt Ford showed his class when capturing the 12th Invitational Sunshine Pro-Am with a blistering score of 17 under par over rounds in Quinta do Lago in Portugal.

The Maidstone pro opened up with 44 points at Quinta do Lago’s Laranjal Course, which included five birdies on the trot, and he kept the opposition at bay with three more rounds of 39 points, one at Quinta Do Lago’s North course and then two more over the South, to win by seven. Pushing Ford as hard as he could was PGA Cup star Andy Raitt (St George’s

Hill), who was seven points behind, with Oscar Granstrom-Livesey (Royal MidSurrey) a further three back in third. Raitt’s performance helped drive his amateurs to the team event trophy and prizes with 361 points, well clear of Louis Savill’s Tandridge team, who took second. The success of the event was, as ever, down to the enthusiasm and organisation of PGA Professionals Chris Evans (Tandridge) and Matthew Paget (Royal Mid Surrey), who laid on a great week for all the competitors. Over £13,000 was raised for Demelza House Children’s Hospices in one evening, taking the total raised by the Sunshiners over the 12 years of the event to over £100,000.

■ SUNSHINE PRO-AM FORDNEW WITH HIS TEAM ■ NORTHWINNER DOWNSMATT IS UNDER OWNERSHIP

Clandon cries foul over canine carnage

Clandon Golf Club in Surrey is asking dog owners to be more responsible when it comes to walking their dogs on its land, after a series of incidents have left the club angered at inconsiderate behaviour. Geoff Legouix, the director of golf at the Surrey venue, has reported several cases of vandalism of fencing surrounding the course, while there have been a number of incidents involving dog walkers trespassing on the fairways, allowing their pets to foul on the course, and scare wildlife, while putting themselves at risk of being hit by flying golf balls. According to Legouix, fencing has been repeatedly cut by the second and third fairways with a pair of wire clippers. Last year a young deer had to be put down after it was attacked by two dogs at the course, which club officials claimed had been let off their leads by their owner. “Breaking down fences allows the dog walkers to trespass on the course to exercise their animals without picking up after them – even when there are golfers on the course about to tee off,” Legouix said. “It seems it’s an acceptable form of vandalism in the middle-class enclave that is Merrow.” In a separate incident, the club was targeted by vandals in mid-January, when four of the course’s greens suffered damage and several flags were stolen. The indtruders then made their way over to the clubhouse and broke the water supply pipe, leaving the club's kitchen without water and flooding its car park.

STAY | PLAY | DINE

from £140.00pp 27 holes of the finest Championship Links Golf Wonderful Lodge Accommodation onsite 2AA Rosette Restaurant

Contact the Golf Office on:

T: 01304 611118 E: office@princesgolfclub.co.uk W: www.princesgolfclub.co.uk ■ VANDALS CUT DOWN FENCING TO ENTER THE COURSE AT CLANDON @Princesgolfclub


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■ ROSE IS FOCUSING ON WINNING MORE MAJORS AFTER REACHING WORLD NO.1 AT THE START OF THE YEAR

exactly what I wanted, and that was the key – what I wanted. I was going to be able to have a lot of input into the look, the design, the feel of my equipment, especially my irons, which gave me a lot of confidence. I’ve been working on this since last summer, but even so it was nice to come out and be able to play with confidence in my clubs, and my game, and hopefully answer a few questions.

LOOKING AFTER NO.1

After scaling the heights of the world rankings, it is adding to his major tally that is driving Justin Rose ever forwards

When you look at last year’s performances, what are Starting off the year ranked No.1 in the world, did you the specific areas you feel that you can improve on? feel any added pressure to keep the train rolling down I think my wedge play from 160 yards is the key area. the track, so to speak, and what did it feel like when My mid-to-long iron play has always been a strength of you finally reached that No.1 spot last year? mine, but I would say my wedge game is where I feel I can I’d always hoped and believed that one day I’d get improve most this year. there, but it wasn’t really on my radar until perhaps May last year, at the Players Championship, where there You put 11 new clubs in the bag over the winter was one of those unlikely scenarios that it might be a following your joining Honma Golf. How much has possibility if I won the tournament and Dustin that helped refocus your mind on your [Johnson] finished 45th or worse. And I was overall game? like, ‘Wow, I’m getting close’. Well, of course, there were a few Once it’s on the radar it becomes a goal. unknowns to begin with, and there’s But obviously you only get to No.1 by always a settling in period when you playing consistently good golf, and that’s A LOT OF make these kinds of changes. But I believe always been my goal – to try to get the PEOPLE WERE that I’ve made some good decisions, and best out of my game week-in week-out. QUESTIONING MY some good changes, and I feel confident But once it presented itself it became a big DECISIONS, about things. So equipment-wise I’m in a goal and it’s been a fantastic milestone in SO IT WAS GOOD great spot, now it’s just about going out my career to have got there. But I feel like TO PUT AN END and playing and getting comfortable having got there now it’s about sort of TO ANY DOUBTS with it. letting it go a little bit, in the sense that I to THAT I'D need to focus on other goals now, and if I SUDDENLY LOSE IT How delighted were you to come out achieve those other goals then I’ll remain ALL for your first event of the year and win at the top. But I’m delighted I was able to at Torrey Pines? get there. Yeah, it was great to get that win under my How difficult has it been to belt as early as I did. A lot of people maintain that level of play? were questioning my decisions, so it Yeah, you have to keep looking forward. You have to was good to put an end to any doubts keep trying to improve. I can’t control whether I win a that I’d suddenly lose it all. I mean, listen, tournament or not, but you can control the variables at to outside observers I’d changed from your disposal. So when I look at my game, I‘m always playing probably one of the biggest looking at where I can I fill the gaps. There are statistics equipment brands in the sport to a you can use to locate your areas of weaknesses or you can fairly unheard of brand, certainly in just use gut feel about where can you get better. the western world, but I had a lot of I always put a lot of hard work in areas that I can get confidence in where I was going and better. Last year, I put in a lot of time on my putting. how I was going about it. That turned around and that really helped me play the I always knew Honma had a great clubconsistent golf that got me to No.1. making pedigree. They’ve made wonderful You also need to understand what’s working, clubs for half a century, and I always knew and then when things line up, and you have a little bit of they were going to be able to build me luck as well, those are the weeks that you typically win.

Obviously the majors are going to be a huge focus for you in 2019. How do you think that the new schedule with them coming in a four-month stretch from April will suit you, especially given your current form? I said to my caddie, Fooch, that I think I’m ready for a big year in 2019, and he looked at me, like, ‘Was 2018 not big enough?’. I was sort of half-serious. With all the changes that have been going on, I’ve definitely got a second wind, if you like, a renewed enthusiasm about my whole game. It’s freshened me up as well, and given me incentive to work harder, and really try and improve. All the changes that I have made have been around pushing myself to become an even better player, and looking for the sort of small ways in which I can do that. At 37, do you feel like you are just entering the prime of your career? Yeah, I really do. I feel fit. I feel strong. I’m hitting the ball really well. I have the benefit of many years of experience under my belt now, so, yes, it’s the best of both worlds. Now is a time for me to really go on and achieve what I hope are my dreams. There are times in your career where you can chalk it up to experience, and there are times in your career where you have to just go and do it. I’m definitely in the ‘do-it phase’ for sure. How much do you think what you went through in the very early part of your professional career – with all those well documented missed cuts – helped shape you into the player you are today? Very few careers, whether in sport or any other line of work, are simply a straight line to the top. There are going to be ebbs and flows, but if you track it over time, as long as there’s a progression going forward, as long as I’m improving, I’m going to get there eventually. Talent plus hard work has to equal something good in the end. Perseverance is I think one of the key words in all of sport. I don’t think you get to the top without perseverance. There’s no real secret. There’s no one piece of advice they can give, but you’ve got to be on your own journey. I would say, don’t compare yourself to other players at certain ages. For me, I think I had the talent, but I suppose but it’s taken me a long time to believe in it myself. It’s all very well for someone to tell you, oh, you should believe in yourself, but that has to come from within for it to be authentic and for it to mean something. My journey, such that it is, has taken awhile and there was a lot of scar tissue, too, from those 21 missed cuts, but it definitely added a few layers of skin that helped protect myself. My advice to young players is play at the lowest level you can, provided you’re still improving. I think that that, confidence-wise, you’re always just able to protect yourself and be able to move forward. But you know, if you do turn pro too soon, and if you have tough, tough experiences too soon, yeah, it’s hard to come back from.


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[22] MARCH 2019 | NEWS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

InBrief

Simmons wins

BUXTON IN CHARGE AT COPTHORNE

Kent-based Simmons, 18, who is a member at both West Kent and Sundridge Park, has been rising steadily up the amateur golfing ranks ever since she first picked up a golf club just over ten years ago at the Magpie Golf Centre in Bromley. Playing off a four handicap, she has been a member of England Golf’s U18 squad for the last two seasons, and has won numerous

club, country, national and international tournaments along the way. Simmons is looking forward to her four-year course in the States, which will enable her to devote more time to her golfing career, and allow her to gain vital experience competing against America’s leading college players, as well as practising and playing in a climate that offers superb year-round conditions. Simmons, who hails from Bromley, and has played for Kent since she was eight, told GolfNews: “It feels great to have been given this amazing opportunity to study and play golf in the States. It’s another massive new chapter in my life. I know I still have so much to learn, and I know it’s not going to be easy, but I am determined to be the best I can be and learn from every experience.” She added: “It’s not been easy to get to this point in my career, travelling and competing all

Burhill Golf Club’s junior team returned home from Portugal as champions last month after claiming a hard-earned triumph in the Home Nations Inter-Club Junior Team Golf Championship at Morgado Golf & Country Club in the Algarve.

The Surrey team held their nerve over four days of competitive match play to claim the club’s first international victory, beating off competition from the best junior teams from England, Wales and Scotland. Qualifying for the event as runners-up in the England National finals, Burhill’s victory represents the culmination of months of hard work and dedication from the talented young players and their coaches. The championship final was an all-English affair, with Burhill prevailing with a 3.5-2.5 win against their compatriots from Huddersfield who had previously pipped them to top spot in the England National finals. The full team comprised Sasha Crockett, David Gurr, Jess Adams, Matthew Hawke, Thomas Hawke, Harley Yates, Elliot MacGregor and Ben Wilson. Speaking about the team’s performance, Burhill Junior Organiser, Angie Crockett said: “The team were a credit all week to their parents, to Burhill and to the game of golf. I had so many compliments about the way they played the game, their professionalism,

US college scholarship

★ Popular West Sussex-based PGA Professional Russell Buxton has been promoted to head professional at Copthorne Golf Club following the retirement of Joe Burrell after 36 years in the job. Having previously worked at Goodwood and Hassocks, Buxton moved to Copthorne as an assistant and took over from Burrell in January.

Rising amateur star Megan Simmons is looking forward to continuing the next stage of her golfing education, after winning a full scholarship to study at NorthEastern State University in Oklahoma, USA.

HERTS GOLF HUNTS FOR DEVELOPMENT OFFICER

■ MEGAN SIMMONS

★ Hertfordshire Golf is looking to take on a new full-time County Development Officer. Based at the county’s offices at Chesfield Downs, the position is for an initial 18-month contract. The role will involve weekend activities and a large level of travel around the county. For applications, email secretary@ hertfordshiregolf.org. The closing date is March 29.

GOLDIE ELECTED ESSEX PGA PRESIDENT ★ Veteran Essex Professional Gordon Goldie has been elected President of the Essex PGA. Having founded Chingford Golf Range in 1974, Goldie is still working harder than ever and playing with the Essex PGA in the two major championships each year. Speaking at the Essex PGA’s AGM held at Maylands Golf & Country Club, Goldie expressed honour at becoming President and looked forward to the celebration of 100 years of Essex professional golf at the centenary Essex Open in 2020.

Burhill

claims Home Nations title

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[23]

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over the country year after year, combined with so many trips to tournaments abroad. I’ve managed to get a few wins under my belt, but it’s been very testing at times. Hopefully that resilience will serve me well out in the States.” As well as focusing on furthering her own career, Megan, who is coached by experienced England coach Ryan Fenwick from West Hove, is also playing her part in encouraging more young girls to take up golf, and was one of several talented young England Golf players to take on an ambassadorial role tor Girls Golf Rocks, a national campaign which aims to get more young women into the game. “I love every minute of trying to get as many young girls as possible into this fantastic sport and passing on all of my experience and knowledge,” said Megan.

sportsmanship and etiquette on and off the course.” Team captain Sasha Crockett was awarded the Paul Casey Award for the best category 1 player after she remained unbeaten all week with three wins and a halve from her four matches. The Steve Redgrave Award for the best Category 2 player went to Ben Wilson, and Jess Adams was also recognised for her performances with the trophy for Best Performing Girl. After the awards presentation, the Burhill juniors also each received a Cleveland wedge, balls, towels and trophies. Dubravka Griffiths, general manager at Burhill, said: “We are so proud of the performance of our young players. We invest significant amounts into our Junior Development Programme each year, which is essential for us to help grow and promote the game, and it’s brilliant to see that this investment is paying off and leading to fantastic success stories such as this.”

MOOR PA R K

InBrief

Centurion club to host golfsixes qualifier final Amateur golfers from more than 100 clubs across England will be given the opportunity to qualify for a once-in-alifetime luxury trip to represent their country in the pro-am ahead of this year’s GolfSixes Cascais in Portugal. Club members nationwide will take part in individual qualifying tournaments at their home courses, hoping to earn the right to compete at England Golf’s GolfSixes National Final at Centurion Club in Hertfordshire on May 2. The competition will be held at the St Albans venue - which hosted the first two editions of GolfSixes - and the winning pair will be handed the honour of representing England in the 2019 GolfSixes event to be held at Oitavos Dunes near Lisbon.

The qualifiers will play alongside the stars of the European Tour and the women’s game as part of the build-up to the event. After representing England in the pro-am, the duo will enjoy full VIP treatment for the two-day event, which takes place from June 7-8. The qualifiers will also receive return flights to Lisbon, three nights’ accommodation and a GolfSixes gift pack. In order to qualify, clubs need to stage a GolfSixes event and send the names of their two winners by email to championships@englandgolf.org by April 12. Players must be aged 18 and above to qualify for the trip to Portugal. The six-hole national qualifying event will follow the same format as the 2018 GolfSixes, with any ties being decided by a play-off hole.

HERTS BOYS TAKE DOWN ASHRIDGE SCRATCH TEAM ★ Hertfordshires Boys’ warmed up for the competitive season ahead with a convincing 8-4 win over Ashridge Golf Club men’s scratch team in their annual match held at Ashridge on March 2. There were wins for Boys captain Dominic Clemons and Jack Bigham, Matthew Gauntlett and Oliver Brunt, and Reis Suart and George Durkan in the morning foursomes matches to give the boys a 3-1 lead, while 8&6 wins from Suart and Sam Caney were the highlight of the afternoon singles, which the boys won 5-3.

HORTON PARK UP FOR WELCOME AWARD ★ Horton Park Golf Club in Surrey has been shortlisted for England Golf’s Most Welcoming Club of the Year award. The Epsom-based venue is one of four clubs to have been nominated for the award, the overall winner of which will be announced at the England Golf Awards 2019. The judging panel highlighted the impressive array of facilities on offer at Horton Park, including an 18-hole course, a ninehole academy course, an 18-hole adventure course and two footgolf courses. Toptracer and Cosmic Golf are among the attractions on offer, while a £1.5m investment has extended the clubhouse with a contemporary café bar which has become a hub for the whole community, not just golfers. The other three clubs in the running for the coveted title are Branston Golf and Country Club, Staffordshire; Burghill Valley Golf Club in Herefordshire, and Exeter Golf and Country Club in Devon.

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[24] MARCH 2019 | NEWS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

InBrief COLES AND PARKER ON TARGET AT ORSETT ★ Robert Coles and Darren Parker from Maylands Golf & Country Club won the Essex PGA’s Joe Crumpen Memorial Tournament with a better ball score of 45 points at Orsett Golf Club. The winning pair’s impressive score was helped by Coles’s seven birdies and an eagle. Three pairs, Jason Levermore and Chris Cutchie, Darren Turner and Daniel Gibbs, and Jack Nicholls with partner Ben Wyatt, shared second place with 42 points. The Pro/Am category was won by Michael Vandenberg and Steve Farrell from Rochford Hundred on countback from Steve Cipa from South Essex Golf Centre and amateur partner Glen Langenberg both pairs scoring 43 points. The winning amateur pair was Peter Cumberworth and Ron Ryall from Chelmsford with 43 points.

FARLEIGH AND FRILFORD CLUB MANAGERS EARN CERTIFIED STATUS ★ Farleigh Golf Club’s general manager Adam Walsh and Frilford Heath Golf Club’s general manager Russell Stebbings have joined an elite group of industry professionals to achieve the globally-recognised Certified Club Manager status, following five years of study and an eighthour exam. The pair join a group of just 49 other managers to have earned the CCM qualification through the Club Managers’ Association of Europe.

■ REDHILL & REIGATE IS TO CLOSE AT THE END OF MARCH

Redhill & reigate

Redhill and Reigate Golf Club in Surrey is to close it gates to golfers for the final time at the end of March after the club’s owners decided it is no longer a viable business as a golf club. The club, which first opened in the 1880s, is the second oldest in Surrey, but has been struggling financially

to close following ‘unsustainable losses’

over the last two decades. Redhill and Reigate’s clubhouse, which is privately owned and run as a separate entity, will continue to operate as a venue. Club chairman Tony Hallett said: “I and the trustees appreciate all the help and support the council has given over several years whilst we have kept the club open in adverse trading conditions. Sadly, the club is no longer financially viable and the time has come to accept our combined efforts have been in vain and the club must close.” He added: “Relations between the club and Reigate & Banstead Borough Council remain very positive, and it is to be hoped they ultimately succeed in finding a long-term solution that will enable golf to return to the site. I’d also like to express my thanks to staff and members of the club for their support and understanding.” The council had been in discussions with other potential operators to run a ‘pay and play’ course as an interim solution, but efforts failed. A council spokesperson said the club was given a reduced rate when a 10-year-licence was granted in 2009, which was further cut in 2014 and in 2017. Cllr Alex Horwood, the council’s executive member for neighbourhood services, said: “Our intention is to keep the site as a golf course for community use in future and we’re investigating options and potential operators to allow this to happen, but this will take time. In the meantime, the council will take on the day to day upkeep of the site as common land, as it will be too costly for us to run and maintain the site as a golf course without the support and expertise of an experienced commercial operator.”

■ JOE PEPPERELL AND MARTIN WOODBRIDGE

OXFORD

opens new short game academy

Oxford Golf Club is to open a Short Game Academy next month under the expert tutelage of head professional Joe Pepperell.

Pepperell, who is the brother European Tour star Eddie, is to launch the new academy with the help of fellow PGA Assistant Professional Martin Woodbridge. The Academy will be open to members and visitors of all ages and abilities and will offer professional tuition on all aspects of the short game, including pitching, chipping and putting, with a specially-designed practice area where golfers can work on their skills, either as part of a group or individual lesson or on their own. Pepperell said the Academy aims to ‘bring the artistry back to golf’, and will combine traditional coaching methods with state-of-the-art technology. A first-class practice facility has been created at the golf course in Hilltop Road, Oxford, to host the Academy coaching sessions and short game clinics.    “The Short Game Academy will be a first-class practice facility that will benefit the club, members and visitors and have a lasting impact on the next generation of golfers,” said Pepperell. “Modern golf has seen a focus on power but through the Academy, Martin and I will reintroduce the creative side of the game. Our philosophy will combine the artistry of golf with technology to help golfers improve their short game. “The practice area has been designed to focus on shots from 20 to 150 yards, with dedicated targets, bunkers and greens. There are very few short game academies in the UK, so over time we are aiming to make the Oxford Golf Club the go-to place for tuition on pitching, chipping and putting.” Pepperell joined Oxford GC in 2009 and became head professional in 2015, becoming only the third professional to occupy the position since 1923. The club boasts the oldest course in Oxfordshire and features a Harry Colt-designed 18-hole course  For lesson bookings, and more details, call Joe Pepperell on 01865 244258 or email joepepgolf@gmail.com.

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INTERVIEW | AUTUMN 2018

[27] MARCH 2019 | INTERVIEW

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GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

RISING UP THE RANKS Having enjoyed a solid start to his European Tour career in 2018, Surrey’s Steven Brown is ready to kick on in Season Two You earned your European Tour card at qualifying school in 2017. How did you rate your first season on tour last year? My goal at the start of the season was simply to keep hold of my card, so in that respect I achieved that by finishing 97th in the Race to Dubai rankings. Beyond that, it was rather an up-and-down year, with some good results mixed in with some bad ones. We’re all after consistency out here, and my game lacked that last year, so that’s what I’m looking to improve on most in 2019. You got into a play-off at the Made in Denmark tournament last September, losing out to the in-form Matt Wallace. What do you remember about that week, and what did it do for your confidence? It was a strange week really, as I didn’t think I’d played my best stuff, but I scored well and holed some good putts and found myself in a four-way playoff with Matt, Lee Westwood and Jonathan Thompson. Matt and I birdied the first extra hole to make it into a straight shootout, and there was a brief moment when I allowed myself to think that I might win the thing, but it wasn’t to be. It felt good to know that I had the game to compete at this level, and to know that I wasn’t overawed by the situation. Hopefully, if I get into another playoff, I’ll come out on the right side of the result. What was the transition like from the Challenge Tour to the European Tour? It was probably harder moving up from the Alps Tour to the Challenge Tour, than to the European Tour, but obviously the strength in depth out on the European Tour is huge, and there are really fine margins between making the cut and missing it. The courses are set up a little harder, but the course conditions are so much better, and the whole set up around the tournaments is on another level altogether – as is the prize money, of course. It’s been a tough start to the year with four missed cuts, how are you feeling about your game right now? I feel like I’m swinging it pretty well, and my ball-striking is coming back to its best, so it’s just a question of it all

I'VE GAINED AROUND 5MPH OF BALL SPEED WITH THE EPIC FLASH DRIVER AND I'M NOW HITTING ITOVER 285 YARDS THROUGH THE AIR

clicking together at the same time. I feel like we’re not too far away. I’m certainly not pressing the panic button yet. I played in the worst of the weather in Oman, and felt unlucky to miss the cut by one. I’ve got a good run of tournaments now, including events out in Kenya and India, so hopefully I’ll be able to get something out of those, before heading back to the UK for the British Masters at Hillside and some of the bigger events back in Europe. Did you play many rounds at Hillside as an amateur? Yes, I did. In fact, I’ve had some good results there, so I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to have a good week. I always enjoyed links golf, and it’ll be good to be back playing in the UK, so fingers crossed that we’ll have a good week. What parts of your game do you feel like you need to improve most to compete consistently at this level? Historically I’ve always been a pretty good driver of the ball, but funnily enough it was my putting that kind of saved me last season. It’s hard to put my finger on what needs most work on, but every element of your game needs to be spot on to do well out here, so I work on everything. It’s tough playing new courses and facing new conditions each week, so I’m hoping that as I get more familiar with the venues, I’ll see some improvements in my results. Talking about drivers, you’ve got some new clubs in the bag after signing a club contract with Callaway earlier this year. How are you getting on with them? I’ve not had a club contract before, so have been tinkering around with a variety of brands, including Callaway, but it’s great to have settled on one brand and have the support of

Callaway’s fitting experts and support on tour. Ian Dryden, Callaway’s tour supervisor, was kind enough to let me try the new driver at the Scottish Open last year, and I really got on well with it and it’s sort of progressed from there. Ian’s got a great eye for my game, and he’s really helped nail down my set up with launch conditions and spin rates. I’ve had the X Forged irons in the bag for a season now, and am sticking with them, but I’ve added in the new Epic Flash driver and a matching 4-wood, and I’m really happy with them. I’ve gained around 5mph of ball speed with the driver, up to 170mph, and am now hitting it 285-290 yards on the fly, and around 310 total, so I can’t complain about that. I’ve also got some Mack Daddy wedges, and a custom Odyssey Versa Jailbird putter. I’m also enjoying using Callaway’s Chrome Soft Diamond ball and couldn’t be happier with my equipment set up. You’ve had a long association with Wentworth Club. Can you talk about how that came about and how important a role it played in your development as an amateur in your younger days, and now as a professional? Yes, my dad was a member there, and I joined as a junior when I was 12. It was something like £150 a year as a junior, so it wasn’t megabucks. Dad injured his back and had to give up his membership, but they let me keep mine, and I have stayed there ever since. I played in all the junior teams, and eventually got into the county squads, and then the England set up. Having such incredible practice facilities and tourstandard golf courses to play on was obviously massively helpful to my career, and I’m hugely grateful for all the support the club has given me over the years. Things have obviously changed at the club in recent years, but the investment in the facilities has been amazing, and the courses have never looked better. How much are you looking forward to going back there to compete at the BMW PGA in September? Yes, it’s going to be great to be back in familiar surroundings, but I felt that last year, when I played in the PGA for the first time and missed the cut. They put me first out, as I was the home pro, but it poured down for the entire round, and I had a shocker. Playing well in front of your family and friends is great, but when you’re playing badly you just want the ground to open up! Hopefully I’ll put on a better show this year, as I’m really looking forward to it. I think the September date will suit the course much better too.


[28] MARCH 2019 FEATURE GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

DEVONSHIRE DELIGHT Significant investment in new course machinery and the application of the latest turf management techniques have ensured that The Manor House and Ashbury Golf Hotel in Devon, which boast no fewer than 99 holes, remains the ideal place for great value golf breaks at any time of year

I

f you’re looking for living proof that not all good things come in small packages, then you need only pay a visit to The Manor House & Ashbury Golf Hotel in Devon, which lays claim to being the World's 9th largest golf resort. With its spanning two spacious sites, which combine to cover over 600 acres of breathtaking Dartmoor countryside, you would be wise to consider hiring out one of the resort’s golf buggies for the duration of your stay just to get around the place. Starting out life in 1978 as a humble bed & breakfast offering just ten bedrooms, the Manor House Hotel has expanded and diversified from

■ BEECHES 2ND

a conference and meetings hotel to the impressive multi-activity resort that it is today. The Ashbury Golf Hotel was purchased in 1991 to create a dual-site resort that currently offers 424 rooms and no fewer than six 18-hole courses.

99 holes to enjoy

well placed hazards, providing a true test for even the most proficient of golfers. Among the signature holes are the par-three third, a 205-yard hole which drops 50 feet from tee to green, with a brook protecting the front edge of the putting surface. The par-five 16th is another showstopper, with the 550-yard hole swooping downhill like a rollercoaster from tee to green. The Pines Course, the second longest track, has also matured into a very attractive and challenging test following its opening in 1999. The front nine, with its wide fairways and gentle slopes, offers the opportunity for early red numbers, while the back nine, with its tall, mature tree-lined fairways, is a much tougher prospect that requires respect and accuracy to maintain a strong score. The signature hole is arguably the short par-four 4th, requiring an uphill tee shot to a narrow fairway, protected by three ponds on the right. The safer option is to take an iron or a hybrid off the tee, leaving a short iron to this long and narrow three-tiered green.

THE COURSES ALL OFFER STUNNING VIEWS ACROSS DARTMOOR AND THE ROLLING DEVON COUNTRYSIDE, MAKING THE MOST OF MATURE TREES, HEDGEROWS AND PONDS TO PROVIDE TRULY BREATHTAKING HOLIDAY GOLF

The golf courses are all located at the Ashbury site, with layouts including the 6,528-yard Kigbeare; 6,400-yard Pines; 5,803yard Beeches; 5,502-yard Oakwood; 2,743-yard Ashbury; and the 18-hole par-three Willows Course. There are 99 holes in total, with differing combinations of nines creating even greater variety of playing options. The courses all offer stunning views across Dartmoor and the rolling Devon countryside, and utilise the natural features of the landscape, making the most of mature trees, hedgerows and ponds to provide truly breathtaking holiday golf. The Kigbeare Course, which is the longest of the layouts on offer, has matured into a quite stunning test, offering a delightful blend of challenging par 3s, with some over 200 yards. Many of the testing par 4s and 5s have rolling fairways, large undulating greens and

On-going Course Investment Built on fast-draining soil, and with excellent drainage systems, all the courses are presented in superb condition all year round. There are no temporary greens, even after the heaviest downpours, while purpose-built cart paths enable the fleet of 450 buggies – including 100 enclosed buggies – to be hired throughout the year. A staff of 30 experienced greenkeepers and on-going investment in course machinery –


FEATURE | MARCH 2019 [29] GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

■ THE RESORT HAS INVESTED £210K OVER THE LAST 12 MONTHSTO ENSURE THE BEST YEAR-ROUND GOLF

■ OAKWOOD 17TH

also available every night, with tribute bands and cabaret acts. Children’s entertainers are also part of an extensive programme designed to keep all members of the family amused.

Free fun for all the family

■ BEECHES 5TH

including new Toro Procore tractors, cylinder mowers, aerators, sand slitters and air injection probes – ensure improved playing conditions year on year. Hollow tining and vertidrain programmes over the most recent winter will also aid the long-term quality of the fairways and greens. Other recent investments have included the replacement, where practical, of the wooden sleeper steps around tees with more userfriendly, non-slip concrete slopes or artificial turf, both of which makes access safer and easier for all; the construction of a new series of walkways to greens made from 3G carpet ensure areas of high traffic remain accessible and safe; and an extension of the concrete buggy paths ease golfers’ movement around the courses. On the back of all this investment, this year has seen a winter golf strategy put in place to enable golfers to get out on the course even during the wettest of weathers and when daylight is short. This included placing pins on the driest areas of the green, shortening holes when the ball isn’t running out as far, offering four-tee starts to maximise playing time, and always ensuring two of the long courses are open at all times, as well as the 18-hole, par-three course.

Full board stay-and-play packages All golf breaks include a minimum of 27 free holes of golf per night of stay, so there are no extra costs involved above the full board package. Every resident also enjoys free, unlimited use of the extensive sports and leisure facilities (see below), plus full board catering.

One-night breaks start from just £54.95pp, including 27 holes of golf, while society packages for groups of 12 or more start from £29.50pp. Peak season buggy hire costs £16 for 18 holes or £22 for all day, although they are available for just £8 for 18 holes for eight months of the year. There is a wide variety of practice facilities, including an eight-bay covered practice range, where a bucket of 50 balls costs just £1; a 150yard par-3 practice hole; six practice nets; four practice greens; a chipping green, and an indoor golf simulator, where free swing analysis sessions are offered, along with a choice of worldfamous courses to play. There is a total of 424 rooms available for guests to stay in across the two sites (Ashbury 222, Manor 202), all of which feature TVs, tea and coffee-making facilities, hair dryers, free Wi-Fi and telephones. Full board catering is offered, ensuring three square meals a day, including a buffet breakfast with cooked and continental options, hot and cold lunch options, and a four-course evening buffet meal with additional a la carte choices. Guests receive a complimentary bottle of wine with dinner on Sundays. Elsewhere, there is a choice of bars and lounge areas, including the Coach House Bar, which offers Sky TV and BT Sports for watching live sporting events, while evening entertainment is

Other facilities available to all residents free of charge include three swimming pools with water slides; ten lanes of ■ REFURBISHED STEPS USING ten-pin bowling; 28 snooker 3G ARTIFICIAL GLASS AND tables; 11 tennis courts; CONCRETE WALKWAYS 12 badminton courts; and five target ranges featuring archery, air pistols, air rifles and laser shooting. Free spa facilities include saunas, steam rooms and hydro pools, while there is a choice of over 20 health and beauty treatments, including hot stone massages, facials and manicures. There are also two extensive craft centres offering 20 tutored crafts, including pottery, glass engraving, jewellery making, ceramic painting, fabric printing, candle making and woodwork. Guests only pay for materials, and there are experienced tutors on hand to offer advice and guidance. For younger guests, there are a number of play areas, including a three-level soft adventure zone, two games rooms (featuring pool, table football, air hockey and games consoles), an artificial ice-skating rink, and pedal carts. Outdoors, there is an impressive 18-hole adventure golf course, the holes of which have been modelled on those found out on the real golf courses at the resort, and a nine-hole mini golf course. All told, the Manor and Ashbury Hotels combine to offer the ultimate multigenerational, multi-functional leisure destination, where value for money and great service come in hand-in-hand. ■ A FANTASTIC RANGE OF SPORTS AND LEISURE FACILITIES ARE ALL OFFERED FREE OF CHARGE, INCLUDING ADVENTURE GOLF, TEN PIN BOWLING AND RACKET SPORTS

During June and July, three-night weekend breaks cost from £65pppn. For the latest golf break packages, bookings and enquiries, call 0800 389 9892, email enquiries@manorhousehotel.co.uk or visit www.ashburygolfhotel.com.


[30] AUTUMN 2018 | NEWS

DRIVEN TO SUCCEED Since turning professional in 2014, Jordan Smith has risen through the ranks of the EuroPro Tour and the Challenge Tour, before breaking onto the European Tour in 2017, where he won the European Open just six months into his rookie season. Now in his third year at the top level, the 26-year-old from Wiltshire is looking to continue his upward curve

Y

ou won four tournaments in your first four years as a professional, winning at every level from the Algarve Tour, to the EuroPro Tour, Challenge Tour and the European Tour. Have you always had a knack for winning? I guess winning on the EuroPro Tour and the Algarve Tour helped my confidence. Getting in that situation of being in contention is great at whatever level you’re playing in. I was ready to go when I arrived on the Challenge Tour. It was a bit of a bigger stage, but I won the second event of the season, so it was really nice to get that one in early. And then winning on the European Tour was another huge hurdle.

That was a big step up, even more so than from the Challenge Tour to the European Tour. Obviously there was a lot more travelling involved, playing in a different country each week, and playing in different climates and course conditions. It was a steep learning curve. Thankfully I don’t mind the travelling, and quite enjoy being away from home. The step up to the European Tour in 2017 was more of a mental leap – accepting that I was good enough to play alongside some of my heroes that I had grown up watching on TV. I felt a bit star struck at first, and didn’t know what to say to all these legends of the game who were coming up and chatting to me!

on holiday and came back feeling refreshed and ready to go. I feel like my game is in good shape, and I am excited for the year, as I have changed club manufacturers, joining Callaway Golf, and I have been working hard on little bits and pieces. I am feeling good for the year. What does it mean to have big brands like Callaway knocking on your door? Callaway is a huge brand in the world of golf and has a rich pedigree of successfully supporting the careers of young players on the European Tour. The 2019 product line is fantastic and I’m genuinely excited to see how my game develops this year and beyond.

Driver: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero Driver (9°)

What do you remember of that week at the Porsche European Open? Sleeping on an overnight lead is never easy, even more so when you’re trying to win your first European Tour event. I was a little nervous and that showed over the front nine on Sunday, but I pulled myself together on the back nine and really battled hard, and was really pleased with the up-and-down on 18, which at least gave me an outside chance. Once Alex [Levy] missed his putt on the 18th, I knew we had to start again, regroup, and just go with it. The whole week, tee to green, was probably the best I played all year, so it was amazing to come away with the win.

Although you didn’t win in 2018, you had a pretty consistent season, with four top-10s and finished inside the top 50 in the Race to Dubai. How did you rate your performance overall? Coming off such a good season in 2017, I came out expecting too much, rather than going out and just enjoying it and letting things happen. Looking back, I put too much pressure on myself, and it kind of backfired. So I sort of eased off in the second half of the season and the results started to turn around. I finished third in China and then third in the British Masters at Walton Heath. I put myself into a really good position to win the DP World Championship in Dubai, as I was just one off the lead after 54 holes, so it was disappointing to throw in a 74 on Sunday. Still, it was a decent end to the year, and I know that the more I put myself into these sorts of positions in the big events, the better I’ll be able to handle it in the future.

It must have been pleasing to get off to such a solid start in Abu Dhabi, especially given that it was a Rolex Series event. Yeah, I played pretty well out there. I have always liked the course, and I got myself into a good position after shooting 66 in the second round. It was slightly disappointing not to go low over the weekend, but 11th was a decent start for my first event of the year.

Irons: Callaway Apex MB (3-PW)

What are your goals for 2019? Just to keep on doing the basics well, not trying to force things too much, and see what happens. I obviously want to keep on improving, and hopefully get into the big events and test myself against the world’s best players. That’s what it’s all about.

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X

You started out on the EuroPro Tour in 2014. What was life like in the lower leagues? I really enjoyed it. I was driving all around the UK, and staying with players that I’d played a lot of amateur golf with. The standard is very good. You have 15 or 20 guys who are always up there at the top. You’re not playing on immaculate courses every week, and the weather isn’t always the best, but the standard is good, and it teaches you how to grind out a score. What was the step up to the Challenge Tour like?

Did you manage to recharge the batteries over Christmas? I played in Mauritius in December, and then I took the best part of six weeks off. The schedule is almost non-stop now, so you’ve got to take the breaks when they come. So I went

Finally, how often do people confuse you with Jordan Spieth when they hear your name? I don’t look anything like him, but there have been a few cases of mistaken identity because of the similarity of our names. The best was in Oman at the Challenge Tour Grand Final in 2016. I won the rankings and the guy that announced me on the first tee called me ‘Jordan Spieth’, so that wasn’t the best of starts. Still, there are worse players to be confused with.

WHAT’S IN JORDAN’S BAG?

Fairway: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (13.5°) Utility: Callaway, X Forged UT (18°)

Wedges: Callaway MD4 (52°), Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind (58°) Putter: Odyssey Toulon Palm Beach


NEWS | MARCH 2019

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InBrief

■ CANTERBURY GOLF CLUB

MAYLANDS TO HOST JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPS QUALIFIER

Hever Castle

Hever Castle Golf Club is opening a brand new Health & Wellbeing Centre next month, which will enhance the club’s offering to members, visiting golfers and the general public. Known as Hever Castle Wellbeing, the state-of-the-art venue will offer osteopathy, physiotherapy and massages across five launches Health & treatment rooms, as well as a range of yoga and Wellbeing Centre pilates classes. While osteopathy and massage have been available at the club since 2017, building works and refurbishment are being undertaken to create a new centre that will offer more treatments to a wider range of people. During their visit, members and guests will also be able to enjoy the club’s bar and restaurant, which will both be serving up an extended choice of healthy menu options. Hever Castle Golf Club General Manager Jon Wittenberg said: “We are currently building a bespoke five-room treatment centre and studio in order to provide Hever Castle Wellbeing with a smart new home. Working closely with our new partner, Hever Health Ltd, we aim to deliver inspiring and life enriching wellbeing services to our existing members and our local community.” Hever Castle also looks set for a busy start to the golfing season, as the club’s championship course has been chosen to host a regional qualifier for the England Golf Club Team Championship on May 12. The event is open to teams of four amateurs with a combined handicap of between 24 and 96. Teams need to include at least one man and one woman, but can be from different clubs. Those qualifying will go through to the national final at Woodall Spa. Entry, which costs £25 per player, can be made via the England Golf website.

★ Maylands Golf Club in Essex will host arguably the most hotly contested event on the British Junior Golf Tour calendar, when 120 players tee it up for the IMG Academy Junior World Championships qualifier at the end of March. The winners from every division, ranging from ages six and under up to 18, will form the 2019 BJGT team that will travel to San Diego, California, in July, for this year’s tournament. With the 7-8 and 9-10 divisions having been settled at Cambridge Meridian GC at the end of 2018, and the youngest age group having has their qualifier on March 10 at Oak Park in Surrey, this leaves the 11-12,13-14 and 15-18 age groups to battle it out in Essex. March 30 sees the 11-12 Boys and the 11-12 and 13-14 Girls take to the fairways, while the 13-14 Boys and 1518 Boys & Girls play the following day.

Canterbury joins golf in Kent partnership

Canterbury Golf Club is gearing up for the staging of The Open Championship in 2020 at nearby Royal St George’s by linking up with fellow Kent golf clubs in Visit Kent’s Golf in Kent Partnership. With the golfing spotlight set to shine on the county over the next 18 months, Canterbury has seized upon an opportune moment to join Golf in Kent, whose other members include Royal St George’s, Prince’s, Royal Cinque Ports, Littlestone, North Foreland, Walmer & Kingsdown, London Golf Club, Hever Castle and Leeds Castle. Located on the outskirts of Kent’s medieval cathedral city, Canterbury was founded in 1927 and is considered to be one of the finest examples of Harry Colt design in England. In addition to hosting the Open Championship in 2020, there are a host of other big tournaments being staged in Kent next year, including the Seniors Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports, the Junior Open at Littlestone and the World One-Armed Golf Championships at Walmer & Kingsdown.

ASCOT VOLUNTEERS SHORTLISTED FOR ENGLAND GOLF AWARD

Whittlebury reveals rebrand The resort and golf club businesses operated at Whittlebury Hall & Spa and Whittlebury Park in Northamptonshire have been rebranded under the collective name of Whittlebury Park. The resort, which is located next to Silverstone, boasts two 18-hole golf courses, while the hotel has undergone a major upgrade in the last 12 months, with renovated guest bedrooms and over £500,000 spent on improved leisure facilities, including a new gym. Marc Webster, Whittlebury Park’s Commercial Director, commented: “This is a very exciting time for our business, our colleagues and our guests, as we continue to grow and develop. Whittlebury Park is a one-of-a-kind destination, and our foundations are formed within the heart of the Northamptonshire countryside. We thrive on the promise of excellence and variety and our willingness to provide this strengthens our capabilities, offering a truly memorable experience for all.”

★ Two members from Royal Ascot Golf Club in Berkshire have been shortlisted for England Golf’s Volunteer of the Year award. Susanne Lesley and Owen Lewis were nominated for the award on the back of more than three years of unpaid work in the recruitment and retention of members at the club. The pair set up a Buddy Scheme in 2015, with the aim of helping new members to settle into club life at Royal Ascot, and since that time, with the help of fellow club members, have smoothed the way for over 200 new members. The pair are up against volunteers from three other clubs in the country, including Mark Feeney, the junior organiser at West Derby; Judith Sandford at Cheadle Golf Club; and Marcella Tuttle from Newmarket Golf Club. The winner will be announced at the England Golf Awards 2019, which are being held in London on March 21.

BU

Seaford Head Golf Course

G ub GIE jec S t to NO we W A ath V er AIL co nd ABL itio E ns )

(S

We are offering some great society and golf day packages PAR • Full English Breakfast & Unlimited Coffee • 18 Holes • £28pp Midweek • £31pp Weekend & Bank Holidays BIRDIE • Bacon Sandwich & Unlimited Coffee • 18 Holes • Selection from Main Course Society Menu • £33pp Midweek • £36pp Weekend & Bank Holidays

EAGLE • Full English Breakfast & Unlimited Coffee • 18 Holes • Selection from Main Course Society Menu • £36.50pp Midweek • £39.50pp Weekend & Bank Holidays ALBATROSS • Bacon Sandwich & Unlimited Coffee • 9/18 Holes • 18 Holes• Selection from Main Course Society Menu • £55.50pp Midweek • £60.50pp Weekend & Bank Holidays

All Society packages can be tailored to meet your own needs. £5 extra per person for starter or dessert. Please call the Pro Shop on 01323 890139 ext 1

AMAZING MEMBERSHIP DEALS AVAILABLE SEE WEBSITE FOR MORE DETAILS

T: 01323 890139 | E: seafordheadproshop@hotmail.co.uk | W: www.seafordheadgolfcourse.co.uk Seaford Head Golf Course, Southdown Road, Seaford, BN25 4JS


[32] MARCH 2019 | INTERVIEW GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

BETTER BY DESIGN Francesco Molinari’s brilliant 2018 season, the highlight of which was a stunning victory at The Open Championship, was achieved through sheer hard work and a dedicated team of coaches who have brought out the very best in their supremely talented pupil

How are you approaching the new season, given all that you achieved last year? What goals have you set? I’m feeling great. Obviously, it’s different to show up this year as the Race to Dubai champion, and a major champion, but I’ll try to put up a good defense of those titles, and I’m looking forward to the season. I know it’s not going to be easy to repeat, but it’s a long season and I’m glad to finally get started, as I’ve had quite a bit of time off over the winter. I think the only way to follow up last year is to focus on my own improvements, and try not to get too outcome-focused. We all know in golf there are a lot of good players, and the margins are very small, so I might play as well as last year but not win any tournaments. I need to be aware of that. I need to measure myself not so much on the wins, but on how I feel on the course, how I play, and that’s going to be the goal for the season, to try and improve what I feel like I can still improve and maintain what I was doing well last year.

What do you think were the key factors behind your success last year and your all-round improvement? There certainly wasn’t any kind of magic wand, that’s for sure. It’s been a lot of hard work over a number of years from myself, and the team around me, and eventually it all came together. I worked out a long time ago that I needed to play to my strengths to succeed on tour. Although I’m not a short hitter off the tee, I’ve never been that long, so if you can’t be long, you need to be accurate, and have good course management. So I don’t try to hit the ball too hard. It is better for me to be further back in the fairway than further up in the rough, so I work hard on finding the right line from each tee. I try to focus on a really small target. In golf, you need to make the margin of error as wide as you possibly can, and the best way of doing this is to aim for a specific spot, rather than a general area. Other than that, like I said, I’ve worked really hard on all aspect of my game, especially my short game, and that seemed to pay off.

You’ve definitely added some yardage to your long game in recent seasons. How have you achieved that, and how much has that helped you compete on the long courses you face on tour? It’s been a combination of physical and mental factors really, and it’s certainly not happened overnight. Physically, I’ve been worked really hard with my strength and conditioning coach, Rob Goldup. There’s not too much science behind it – if you want to hit it longer, you need to be stronger, so I definitely spend a lot more time in the gym than I did ten years ago. It’s about creating clubhead speed and for that you need muscles and you need flexibility. I’ve gained about 10mph in ball speed in the last couple of seasons, which has given me an extra 20 yards.


INTERVIEW | MARCH 2019

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GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

■ MOLINARI FORMED AN UNBEATABLE PARTNERSHIP WITH TOMMY FLEETWOOD AT LAST SEPTEMBER'S RYDER CUP

hundreds of golf balls is not the answer. Mentally it’s not very challenging and your brain isn’t really engaged. Dave introduced lots of drills, whether it be for putting, chipping or driving, where I have to complete a certain challenge and stay there until I do it. Say, for instance, it might involve holing ten consecutive three-foot putts. Some days I might do it in ten putts, some days it might take a lot more, but it adds an element of competition to practice that is vital to stop it from becoming boring.

That takes care of the mechanics, but how do you cope with the pressure? You always look so calm on the golf course. Even when you were leading at The Open and during the Ryder Cup, you seemed to have this serenity about you.

THE WHOLE 'MOLIWOOD' THING AT THE RYDER CUP WAS SLIGHTLY SURREAL, BUT WE SEEMED TO JUST FEED OFF EACH OTHER AS A PARTNERSHIP

WHAT’S IN FRANCESCO’S BAG? DRIVER: CALLAWAY EPIC FLASH SUB ZERO (9) FAIRWAY WOOD: CALLAWAY EPIC FLASH SUB ZERO (13.5) UTILITY: X-FORGED (3) IRONS: CALLAWAY APEX 19 (4), CALLAWAY APEX MB (5-PW) WEDGES: CALLAWAY MACK DADDY 4 (50, 56, 60) PUTTER: ODYSSEY TOULON MADISON BALL: CALLAWAY CHROME SOFT X

It’s also been a mental challenge, as sometimes you tighten up when you're staring down at a narrow fairway with a driver in your hand, and it’s hard for your brain to let go and allow yourself to hit it as hard as you can, rather than just try and place it in the fairway. It’s about trusting your swing and your process.

Your relationship with your swing coach, Denis Pugh, goes back a long way. Can you describe how he has helped you and your game? Denis is by far the longest-serving member of my team. We started working together in 2003, when I was still only an amateur. He’s been a massive influence over those 15 years, not only on my golf game, but also as a friend. He has helped me in so many different ways. Hopefully we can carry on together until the end of my career and we can both retire happily!

You’ve been working with Dave Aldred, one of the UK’s foremost sports coaches in recent years. Can you describe what the impact of working with him has had on your game? Dave has been a great addition to the team. He’s probably a personality and a figure that I was missing, and the whole team was missing. So I think he has pushed us all a little bit more. You can see the results, the difference that he’s made. He’s worked on a lot of things mentally, and on all aspects of my game, especially my practice routine. Before he came in, I felt my practice lacked a bit of direction, and one of Dave’s main principles is to make practice less repetitive and more relevant to what I’m trying to do on the course under tournament conditions. Spending hours on the driving range hitting

I think you can learn to cope with these situations if you’re prepared for it. Of course, a weekend hacker probably isn’t going to cope very well if he’s leading The Open, but we, as pros, build through different stages of our career to get there, and, for me, the way to deal with it is to simply focus on my process and the things that I’ve prepared for at home, and not to get sucked into what is going on around you. I had to really do that when I was playing with Tiger at Carnoustie, as there was naturally a lot of excitement around him, and I just had to focus on doing my own thing.

In addition to winning the Race to Dubai, winning back the Ryder Cup in Paris obviously topped off a magical year for you. What was that week like, and what was it like being part of ‘Moliwood’? It may sound strange, given what else happened in 2018, but winning the Ryder Cup was the highlight of my season, and it was a week that I’ll remember for the rest of my life – along with the other two Ryder Cups I’ve played in. There was an incredible atmosphere in the team room in Paris, and it was amazing to be a part of. Tommy and I had a lot of fun – the whole Moliwood thing was slightly surreal, but we seemed to just feed off each other as a partnership. It was great to get those points on the board for Europe.

You’ve put a whole new set of clubs in the bag for this season, and signed an equipment contract with Callaway. How have you settled into the new clubs? I joined Callaway because I’ve been so impressed by all of its equipment. The ball speed gains that I’m getting from the Epic Flash driver are unbelievable, while the switch to the Chrome Soft X ball was also a really easy decision to make. The ball speed was up with the driver, while the performance from tee-to-green, especially the improved feel and control, is exactly what I want. Around the greens the Chrome Soft X felt a little bit softer than my previous ball, so it was a bit of a no-brainer for me. I’ve also got Odyssey’s Toulon Madison putter in the bag, which features a new Stroke Lab shaft. It’s really stable, and I’m getting more consistency in the rhythm and the tempo of my stroke, so hopefully that’s a combination that’s going to help me make a lot of big putts.

You’ve announced plans to focus your schedule playing more on the PGA Tour this season. When will we see you back in Europe again? If I learnt one thing last season, it is to be a bit flexible with the schedule when playing two tours. I would like to play the British Masters in May, especially with Tommy [Fleetwood] being the host, but it depends probably on the first couple of months of the season. The BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth always used to be the first tournament for me in Europe, but that tournament moving to September has kind of thrown things out a bit.

■ MOLINARI HAS WORKED WITH SWING COACH DENIS PUGH FOR OVER 15 YEARS


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STORY BEHIND THE PIC MASTERS TOURNAMENT, AUGUSTA NATIONAL • APRIL 10, 1994

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HERE WAS A TIME, NOT LONG AGO, when European golfers won the Masters for fun. By fun, I mean they won it a lot – although they also probably had a lot of fun doing it, too. Beating the Americans in their own backyard has always added an extra frisson to any Major win, and it became even more fun during a period that Europe was also dominating the Ryder Cup. Twenty-five years ago – yes, a full quarter of a century – José Maria Olazabal’s two-shot victory at Augusta followed an incredible run of wins for European golfers that stretched bacwk to Sandy Lyle in ‘88, Nick Faldo in ‘89 and ‘90, Ian Woosnam in ’91, and Bernhard Langer – seen here handing over the green jacket – in ‘93. Only Fred Couples’s popular win in ‘92 spoiled the Euro party that went on for much of the decade. Ollie was known throughout his career as a great scrambler, much like his fellow Spaniard and friend, Seve Ballesteros, and, in 1994, the 28-year-old joined his compadre as a Masters champion by giving a masterclass in scrambling ability – along with one of the hottest putters in Masters’ history. During the 72 holes, he had 30 one-putts, chipped in twice, and got up and down from every single one of the six greenside bunkers he happened to find himself in. They are extraordinary stats by any standards, and gave him the platform for a two-shot win over Tom Lehman, after he fired a final round 69 to come from one shot back after 54 holes. An eagle at the 15th clinched the deal, and he closed it out with three pars to claim the first of his two Masters' victories. The second green jacket came in 1999, when he went headto-head with Greg Norman over Augusta’s fabled back nine and came out on top by three shots after ‘The Shark’ once again folded under the white heat of competition, as he had done so spectacularly against Faldo in 1996. Almost unbelievably, Olazabal’s victory in 1999 was followed by a 17-year barren spell for Europe that was only broken

when Danny Willlett upset the odds when triumphing in 2016, while Sergio Garcia’s emotional victory 12 months later showed that the Euros still know how to get their head in front at the season’s first major. Following Patrick Reed’s win last year – which was met with a universal cold shoulder barring Bubba Watson’s – a win for Europe in 2019 looks very much on the cards, with world No.1 Justin Rose, Open champion Francesco Molinari and, of course, Rory McIlroy, gunning for his major grand slam, being among the leading contenders. Let’s hope they can all channel a little bit of their inner Ollie.

DURING THE 72 HOLES, HE HAD 30 ONE-PUTTS AND GOT UP-AND-DOWN FROM EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE SIX BUNKERS HE HAPPENED TO FIND HIMSELF IN

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HERTFORDSHIRE

NEWS | FEBRUARY 2018

MIDDLESEX

[35]

CLUB WHERE TO PLAY

THE MELBOURNE CLUB AT BROCKET HALL

BUSH HILL PARK GOLF CLUB

Boasting two 18-hole championship courses set in a stunning 540-acre parkland, The Melbourne Club is the perfect setting for your golf day. With PGA Professionals on hand to host golf clinics, individual tuition, you and your guests are assured unrivalled service, incredible facilities, and an unforgettable experience. For all enquiries, email Paul Hawkins at paula.hawkins@brockethall.co.uk  or call 01707 368700.

Bush Hill Park Golf Club is set in a beautiful parkland location in North London, and easily accessible from both the city and the M25. The club plays host to many societies every year and has a high rate of returning visitors, all of whom are keen to experience the fantastic course and facilities again. For enquries, call 020 3146 9898, email enquiries@bhpgc.com, or visit www.bhpgc.com.  

GLAMORGAN

KENT

GUIDE AYRSHIRE

COTTRELL PARK GOLF CLUB

BOUGHTON GOLF CLUB

GAILES LINKS (GLASGOW GC)

Nestled in over 400 acres of spectacular Vale of Glamorgan countryside, just seven miles from Cardiff, Cottrell Park Golf Resort is an award-winning 36-hole venue with on-site accommodation and excellent golf and leisure facilities to ensure your society or corporate event is truly memorable.

Set in the picturesque Kent countryside, Boughton's 6,591-yard course comprises of four par-threes, ten par-fours and four parfives arranged in two loops of nine holes, starting and finishing close to the traditional Kentish clubhouse. With a covered driving range, putting green and short game practice area, we are designed to challenge golfers of every standard. 

Gailes Links, a classic Ayrshire links course, has hosted 32 championships since 1927, including Open Final Qualifying from 2014-2017. The course, which was designed by Willie Park Jnr, is available for play all year round, while other facilities include a practice range with complimentary golf balls, pro shop and homecooked food in its superb dining room. April fourball rate: £200, Singles £55; May-Sept fourball rate £380, Singles £100.

Tel: 01446 781781 Email: sales@cottrellpark.com Website: www.cottrellpark.com

HERTFORDSHIRE

Email: reception.boughton@pentlandgolf.co.uk Website: www.boughtongolf.co.uk. Tel: 01227 752277

SURREY

For bookings, call 01294 311561 or visit www.gaileslinks.co.uk

HERTFORDSHIRE

LITTLE HAY GOLF COMPLEX

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Located in the village of Bovingdon, just outside Hemel Hempstead, Little Hay Golf Complex is widely regarded as one of the finest pay-and-play golf facilities in the south-east of England. Flexible packages are available to suit all of your needs. Society packages are available with 'golf-only' from just £16pp.

Royal Mid-Surrey in Richmond offers 36 holes of challenging golf within an hour of the City. With a modern clubhouse, extensive practice facilities, and award-winning catering, it’s the perfect venue for corporate golf days and events. Tailored packages are available from £125 for golf and a three-course meal. Individual visitor green fees are also available on weekdays.

The home club of Sir Nick Faldo and double European Tour winner Tom Lewis, Welwyn provides a true test to all standards of golfer on an excellent year-round course. Societies and casual green fees are given a warm welcome to enjoy the fantastic facilities on the course and in the clubhouse. Society packages from £24pp NovMar and £34 Apr-Oct; Casual green fees: £45 Mon-Thurs, £50 Fri, £55 weekend (£30 County Card Mon-Fri). Tel: 01707 325243 Email: david@wgcgc.co.uk.

Tel: 01442 952444 Email: littlehayenquiry@sportspace.co.uk Website: www.littlehaygolf.co.uk

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Email: recp@rmsgc.co.uk Website: www.rmsgc.co.uk

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LEWES GC

Torwoodlee Golf Club welcomes visitors from around the world to sample its majestic course and experience the warmest of Scottish Borders hospitality. Bronze Package: £36pp; Silver Package: £42pp; Gold Package: £50pp. Contact the club for further details.

Hockley is built on free-draining chalk downland, which means it remains playable all year round. The James Braid-designed course course meanders gently up a valley before reaching the top with stunning views across the city of Winchester and south towards the coast. Society packages from £39pp. Visitor green fees from £29pp. Membership Packages Available. Tel: 01962 713165 | Email: admin@hockleygolfclub.com Website: www.hockleygolfclub.com

Listed in Fine Golf's top 200 'running' golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland, and voted sixth best course in Sussex, you are assured of gorgeous scenery and top-class golf when you play at Lewes, which offers bespoke packages for societies.

Tel: 01896 752260 Email: torwoodleegolfclub@torwoodleegolfclub.com Website: www.torwoodleegolfclub.co.uk

Society Packages: (April-October 2018) 18 holes £25; 36 holes £40; weekend 18-holes £30. Tel: 01273 483474 | email: secretary@ lewesgolfclub.Co.Uk web: www.lewesgolfclub.Co.Uk


[36] MARCH 2019 | NEWS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

entering our qualifying tournaments. It’s arguably one of the only professional tournaments that offers a truly level playing field for men and women, so there’s really no reason not to give it a go. We host two qualifiers in June, which cost £95 to enter, with the top five winning in a place in the championship, where you have a chance of winning £50,000 – why wouldn’t you give it a go? With the help of title sponsor Farmfoods, the total prize fund has been £150,000 for three years now, and last year’s winner, Steve Tiley, picked up £50,000, so the money is certainly a draw – but that has never been the only reason that the top players have been so supportive of the tournament. They find it a testing challenge and they want to beat it.

■ NAILCOTE HALL'S DELIGHTFUL PAR-3 CROMWELL COURSE WAS CREATED BY RICK CRESSMAN (LEFT)

SHORT, BUT VERY SWEET Golf News talks to Rick Cressman, owner of Nailcote Hall Hotel and Golf Club in Warwickshire, home of the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship, about his 21-year association with the tournament and its impact on the wider game

T

his year marks the 21st anniversary of the British Par 3 Championship being held at Nailcote Hall. What attracted you to reviving the tournament back in 1998? Shortly after I bought NaiIcote Hall in 1991, I was introduced to Sid Mouland – a six-time Welsh champion and father of Tour player Mark. Sid’s enthusiasm for the short course was infectious, and he told me stories about the old Professional Short Course Championship, which started at the Palace Hotel in Torquay in 1933 and ran until 1973. He won the title three times. When I bought Nailcote Hall, there were no leisure facilities, but there was very scruffy field in front of the hotel, which provided the ideal space to put three golf holes for guests to enjoy. The nine-hole Cromwell Course that now exists was developed in 1993-4 after I acquired five acres from a neighbouring farmer. By 1997, Sid thought the course was ready to host it, and that’s when the real work started. Why are you so passionate about the short form of the game? I think the most important thing is that holes of between 90 and 150 yards can be played by anyone from five years old to 95, which allows people to enjoy the game of golf for all their life in a way that few other sports can. The big 7,000-yard courses are geared towards low handicappers and really don’t give the majority of regular amateurs something to enjoy playing. Golf needs players of both genders and all ages to enjoy it. Quality short courses give players a challenging, but fun experience that is affordable and takes up less time to play than fullsize, 18-hole layouts. They are enjoyable for corporate, society and charity days too. It’s fast ‘n’ fun golf for all! What do you need to design a great par-three course? Around 10-15 acres of land and plenty of imagination! I’ve always

said about the Cromwell Course that it’s a case of ‘Honey, I shrunk the golf course’ design. By that, I mean that to make a good parthree course you need a combination of big hazards surrounding greens that are half the normal size, which creates a fun challenge for those 90-150 yard shots. Our shortest holes, the 4th and 5th around 95 yards and the longest is the 7th, which is 146 yards. As Tony Jacklin, our tournament host, says, ‘Winning is all about the fiddly parts of the game approaching the green, around the green, and on the green’. Par threes are the toughest holes to play on any golf course, and we’ve got nine of them. You’ve certainly managed to pull in some big names for the Par 3 Championship down the years. Yes, that’s been one of the most satisfying elements to staging the tournament – seeing some up and coming stars, as well as legends of the game, all competing on the same course. It’s amazing to think that the likes of Tommy Fleetwood and Eddie Pepperell came and won here earlier in their careers, and to look at what they have achieved in the game since. Charley Hull has been taking part in the Par 3 since she was just a kid, and now she’s one of the best female golfers in the world. Having Tony [Jacklin] on board as event host also really lifted the interest of more and more top players, and we’ve had major champions such as Ian Woosnam, Paul Lawrie, Michael Campbell, Danny Willett, and so many other great names such as Sam Torrance, Ronan Rafferty and Des Smyth.

Do you think the tournament has sparked an interest in other new formats that we’ve seen on tour such as GolfSixes? It’s hard to say really, but our friends from the European Tour visited the Par 3 Championship several times, and if they took something away from that, all well and good. The game desperately needs to introduce new blood, and new, shorter, more engaging formats to attract the interest of the next generation, as well as those with less time on their hands. At Nailcote, we’re all about creating a relaxed, welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, and there are no distinctions made between ages, genders, or skill levels. It’s also extremely affordable, quick, and, above all, great fun. Have you made any changes to the layout since it first opened? We introduced a couple of water features seven or eight years ago, which proved a great addition to the challenge. Given the size of the plot of land, there is very limited scope for major alterations, but we’re always to looking to improve the playing surfaces, especially the quality of the greens. We’ve significantly improved the drainage of the whole site now, and, even after heavy downpours, the course dries out very quickly. What have you got planned for the 2019 Championship? In addition to our 21st anniversary, we’ve got a few other milestones to celebrate this year, including the 50th anniversary of Tony Jacklin’s Open Championship win in 1969. We’re hoping to have strong support from our usual mix of pros from all the main tours, as well as top celebrities for the Pro-Am. We’re also hoping that Javier Ballesteros, Seve’s son, will come over and play, but it’s still early days and there’s still lots of planning to do! The 2019 Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship takes place from August 6-9. To register for free tickets, visit www.britishpar3.com. To book a round at Nailcote Hall, visit www.nailcotehall.co.uk or call 02476 466174.

■ TOMMY FLEETWOOD IS ONE OF MANY PAST WINNERS OF THE PAR -3 CHAMPIONSHIP WHO HAS GONE ON TO GREATER SUCCESS

How popular has the tournament been with women golfers? We’ve also had some great support from the game’s top women, including Dame Laura Davies, Trish Johnson, and Charley [Hull], of course. Two years ago, Meghan McLaren came fourth, but I would really like to see more women professionals taking part and

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MARCH 2019 | WWW.GOLFNEWS.CO.UK/EQUIPMENT

IT’S EPIC & IT’S FLASHY MEET CALLAWAY’S NEW RANGE-BUSTING BIG STICK

HELLO HONMA! Golf News goes big in Japan to discover how Honma makes its stunning clubs

HITTING THE G SPOT G410: Ping’s hottest ever range of woods & irons

KINGS OF DISTANCE The latest drivers reviewed

APPAREL SHOWCASE Polo or a jacket? It must be Spring


[38] MARCH 2019

EQUIPMENT & GEAR GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

THE GEAR EFFECT INSIDES THE BAGS OF RECENT WINNERS ON TOUR KEITH MITCHELL HONDA CLASSIC

EQUIPMENT NEWS

DRIVER: Mizuno ST190 (9.5 degrees) FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), Titleist TS2, 21 degrees IRONS: Mizuno MP-18 (4-PW) WEDGES: Vokey SM7 (50, 54, 59 degrees) PUTTER: TaylorMade Spider Tour X BALL: Titleist Pro V1

KURT KITAYAMA OMAN OPEN

DRIVER: TaylorMade M5 (9) FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade M2 (16.5) DRIVING IRON: TaylorMade GAPR Mid 3 IRONS: TaylorMade P750 (4), TaylorMade P730 (5-PW) WEDGES: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56), TaylorMade Hi-Toe (60) PUTTER: Toulon Design Atlanta Stroke Lab BALL: TaylorMade TP5x

DUSTIN JOHNSON

WGC-MEXICO CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVER: TaylorMade M5 (10.5) FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade M5 (15) IRONS: TaylorMade P790 (3-iron), TaylorMade P730 DJ Proto (4-PW) WEDGES: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 60 degrees), TaylorMade Hi-Toe (64 degrees) PUTTER: TaylorMade Spider Tour Black BALL: 2019 TaylorMade TP5x

RYAN FOX

ISPS HANDA WORLD SUPER 6 PERTH DRIVER: Srixon Z 785 (10.5) FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway Epic Flash (15) DRIVING IRON: Srixon Z U85 (20) IRONS: Srixon Z 785 (4-PW) WEDGES: Cleveland RTX 4 (51º, 54º, 60º) PUTTER: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red BALL: Srixon Z Star XV

JB HOLMES

GENESIS OPEN DRIVER: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (10.5) FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade M2 HL (16.5) IRONS: Srixon Z U85 (3), Srixon Z-785 (4-PW) WEDGES: Cleveland RTX 4 (50, 54, 60 degrees) PUTTER: Scotty Cameron 009M BALL: Srixon Z-Star XV

DAVID LAW

ISPS HANDA VIC OPEN DRIVER: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (10.5˚) FAIRWAY WOODS: Titleist TS3 (15˚, 18˚) UTILITY IRON: Wilson Staff FG Tour V4 (3) IRONS: Wilson Staff C300 (4-6), Wilson Staff FG Tour V6 (7-PW) WEDGES: Wilson Staff PMP RAW (52˚), Titleist Vokey SM7 (58˚) PUTTER: Odyssey Versa 2-Ball Red BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

PHIL MICKELSON

PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM DRIVER: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (9°) FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (13.5°) UTILITY: Callaway X Forged UT (3) IRONS: Callaway Epic Pro (4); Callaway X Forged 18 (5); Callaway Apex MB (6-PW) WEDGES: Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind 19 (54°, 60°, 64°) PUTTER: Odyssey Versa #9 White BALL: Callaway Chrome Soft X

GET A SCOOT ON WITH FINNCYCLE The golf industry is constantly looking at ways to speed up and it seems to have found another fun method to do just that with the launch of the FinnCycle. Developed by Sun Mountain Motor Sports, the FinnCycle is an electrically-powered single rider scooter that is capable of speeds of up to 15mph. Fitted with a lithium battery

with enough juice for 36 holes, it holds a golf bag between its seat and handlebars to enable easy club access and aid stability. Front and rear suspension provide a comfortable ride, while a hydraulic disc brake system brings the scooter to a gentle stop. It operates via an app that unlocks the scooter for use and then collects the rental fee.

CALLAWAY BECOMES EUROPEAN TOUR EQUIPMENT PARTNER The European Tour has announced that Callaway has become an official partner for the next five years. As part of the deal, Callaway becomes the official driver, golf ball, shoe and golf bag brand of the European Tour; Odyssey

and OGIO become the official putter and luggage brands respectively; while Callaway Apparel and Travis Mathew, will be the official on-course apparel. Callaway will also supply its Chrome Soft golf balls to driving ranges at European

The FinnCycle is light enough to not cause any damage to the golf course, and recent testing has seen four-ball groups whizz around 18 holes in just two hours, while a single player has even managed to get round in 60 minutes. The FinnCycle will be on sale from this spring, and will be available to hire at selected golf courses worldwide.

■ CALLAWAY’S NEIL HOWIE (LEFT) PRESIDENT AND MANAGING DIRECTOR CALLAWAY GOLF EMEA WITH KEITH PELLEY CEO OF THE PGA EUROPEAN TOUR

Tour events. The company will also drive awareness of Odyssey through a ‘putting leaderboard’ on TV broadcasts, which will showcase a new range of performance statistics at each European Tour event.


EQUIPMENT & GEAR GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

PING PLAYS IT COOL WITH NEW APPAREL RANGE

TIGER’S OLD FLATSTICK SELLS FOR $22,000

Ping’s Spring/Summer men’s apparel range takes its inspiration from the company’s heritage in Arizona, and for the first time features innovative ‘Sensor Cool’ cotton to deliver enhanced comfort and feel. The polo shirts, including the Karsten III, Raymond, Gradient and Ridge, all feature Sensor Cool technology. The Kartsten and Raymond shirts (£60) are blended with technologically advanced CoolMax fabric to deliver the exceptional softness and comfort expected from a cotton-based polo. CoolMax fibres also move moisture away from the body, keeping the skin temperature low and enabling the wearer to feel cooler. For players looking to add layers, the Herman pullover (£75) and Fracture midlayer (£65), deliver year-round usability. The Herman is quarter-zip pullover engineered with performance blended fabric and soft-cotton touch, while the Fracture is a yarn-dyed mid-layer with zip-neck opening. Moisture-moving and stretch qualities make it a perfect lightweight piece for all seasons.

One of Tiger Woods’ old Scotty Cameron putters sold for over $22,000 (£17,250) at an online auction last month. The Scotty Cameron Newport Xperimental prototype Teryllium was used by Woods in 1996, prior to him switching to a different Teryllium model to win his first major at the 1997 Masters. The putter had been given to Randy Peterson, the current Director of Fitting & Instruction for Callaway in the US by Woods, back when they were regular playing partners.

CLUBS TO HIRE OFFERS TITLEIST CLUBS Leading golf club rental agency Clubs to Hire is now offering Titleist equipment for the first time. The Dublin-based company hires sets of clubs in 29 popular golfing regions around the world and is now stocking Titleist’s range of TS woods, 718 AP1 irons, Vokey SM7 wedges and Scotty Cameron putters. The clubs are already available to book, with a full set costing €85 for a week’s rental. Clubs to Hire co-founder Tony Judge said: “We always strive to offer our clients excellent product and service and the arrival of Titleist product is great news for all concerned. The introduction of Vokey wedges and Scotty Cameron putters is also very exciting.” Clubs to Hire handles more than 300,000 annual visits to its website and more than 80,000 bookings for rental clubs at 29 locations worldwide, including popular golfing regions in the USA, Thailand, Australia, South Africa and five countries across the Mediterranean. Clients can also add shoe rental, balls, tees and hats to their order.

Sold by Green Jacket Auctions, the putter could be considered a bargain. Previous back-up putters built for the 14time major champion that he never used on the golf course have sold for $53,146 and $44,401 respectively. The putter had ‘TIGER’ stamped on the face, and XXX on the rear bumpers. Its Certificate of Authenticity number also spelled out TIger on a phone keypad.

MARCH 2019 [39]


FLASH BY NAME, FLASH BY NATURE How Callaway’s latest driver, the Epic Flash, revolutionised the future of driver design CALLAWAY GOLF’S new Epic Flash driver is already one of the hottest equipment launches of the year, and it’s only March. With multiple tour wins from both Callaway professionals and non-staff players, its eyecatching green-and-yellow design is hard to miss on TV and in the pro shops. Callaway has combined the best technologies from previous generations of driver with their latest Flash Face design. And this driver is dominating professional golf this year, leading the driver usage stats worldwide, and already picking up nine victories – eight by uncontracted players.

WHAT IS FLASH FACE? Callaway engineers have used Variable Face Thickness designs in its drivers for over a decade. They knew that having a thicker centre of the club, with a thinner area around it, helps generate more ball speed across the face, without going over the legal limit. Every time Callaway designs a new driver it looks to refine this part of the design, and, on average, during the design process, the face will go though around six iterations before a new driver comes to market. Significant improvements have been found, such as Jailbreak, but Callaway wanted to push the boundaries.

And they weren’t man enough to do it on their own. Using a supercomputer, Callaway engineers fed it the parameters for what they wanted a new driver face to do, which was essentially higher ball speed across the face, without going over the legal limit. Whereas Callaway engineers could put six face designs together, the Artificial Intelligence of the super computer simulated 15,000 different designs before coming up with the Flash Face design. The face design looks organic, and Callaway engineers have said they don’t totally understand it. One of the engineering team's concerns was that if the design hadn’t worked, they wouldn’t know how to tweak it. But testing with their tour players showed ball speed increases of up to 6mph and distance gains of up to 10 yards. The AI-designed face extends the ability of the face to flex more efficiently, whilst Jailbreak retains the head stiffness, generating increased ball speeds and further distance gains compared to previous Callaway designs. Both drivers, and both fairway models, feature different face designs too. Rather than using one design, the super computer designed specific faces for the two driver head shapes, while the fairway woods design differs to increase ball speed on hits low on the face.

WORDS BY GOLF NEWS EQUIPMENT EDITOR DAN OWEN


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CALLAWAY EPIC FLASH The Epic Flash is a 46cc driver, but at address it is smaller front to back than last year's Rogue, yet bigger than the original Epic. Designed to fit golfers who need more help with launch, the Epic Flash is still a relatively low spin design. Both Epic Flash drivers feature a TC2 carbon crown which is lighter to save weight to be redistributed elsewhere in the head. The 16g movable weight track in the rear is used to fine-tune ball flight, while the OptiFit hosel is adjustable for both loft and face angle.

BETTER BY DESIGN Dr Alan Hocknell, head of research and development at Callaway Golf, explains some of the science behind the revolutionary Flash Face design

Lofts: 9°, 10.5° and 12°HT Shafts: Project X EvenFlow, Project X HZRDUS Smoke and Mitsubishi Tensei AV Graphite Shafts. RRP: £499.

How long would it have taken to discover Flash Face design if A.I. hadn't been used? We simply don’t know – maybe never? Even if we ran 15,000 iterations over x number of years, we never would have come up with anything close to this design. So, the honest answer is that it is unlikely that we would have ever arrived at this design without AI.

THEY HIT IT, THEY LIKED IT TOUR PLAYER REACTIONS TO THE EPIC FLASH DRIVER

"CALLAWAY CAME TO ME AND SAID, ‘THIS IS GOING TO BE A CLUB YOU’RE REALLY GOING TO LIKE’. AFTER THREE SWINGS I WAS READY TO BELIEVE THEM, AND AFTER 15 I WAS READY TO PUT THE CLUB IN MY BAG.” XANDER SCHAUFFELE

"MORE THAN ANYTHING, I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING THE NEW EPIC FLASH DRIVER. THE BALL SPEED GAINS THAT I’M GETTING ARE UNBELIEVABLE.” FRANCESCO MOLINARI

CALLAWAY EPIC FLASH SUB ZERO The Sub Zero has traditionally been the less forgiving design. And while that is true to a degree, the Epic Flash Sub Zero is significantly more forgiving than previous Sub Zero designs. There is a much smaller compromise on forgiveness to achieve that low spin than with previous Sub Zero designs. At address, with the squat head, and white seam line, this reminds us a lot of the classic and hugely successful FT Tour and FT5. For the first time Callaway have included a weight track design to fine-tune shot shape, rather than adjustable weights for spin. In a fitting process, these weights can be adjusted to put a heavier weight in the front of the head, if an extra reduction in spin is needed. Lofts: 9°and 10.5°. Shafts: Project X HZRDUS Smoke and Mitsubishi Tensei AV graphite shafts. RRP: £499

What does this super-computer look like? It is roughly the size of a domestic refrigerator, and is installed in our data centre at Carlsbad in a highly air-conditioned facility with special shielding and an uninterrupted power supply. You walk into this room and you feel like you have stepped into a spaceship, with bright white lights and fans recirculating the air. It sits in a special cabinet and features a dozen layers of computer, each wired to one another. So where does AI stop and human design start? We told the computer that its design space was only the face. Design elements like the shape of the head, where the mass was in the head, the presence of Jailbreak Technology, the use of the OptiFit hosel, and the proximity of these technologies to one another, were all fixed before we let the computer loose on the design of the face. In a future world, we could explore how we use AI to design more than just the face by broadening the design space in which the computer works, but this is hugely complex, we are still learning, and it is definitely further down the road. Can you see a scenario where AI design completely overtakes traditional product design? Although we have given high priority to AI initiatives, we are not going to stop our other forms of product development; the huge amount of consumer insights we collect; the decisions we make as a team out on the golf course with ‘grass under our feet’; impact sound testing; understanding golfers’ emotional connections with their equipment, the list goes on. The designs we are creating are hugely challenging to our manufacturing processes, and we have a large team focusing on this area to ensure our computer designs can actually be created without them breaking. The R&D team will probably grow in the future, because we are undertaking projects that are so much more challenging and time-consuming than ever before. Is this a genuine ‘breakthrough’ technology for Callaway? If we can develop this learning into other parts of the driver, or other products, then it truly will be a breakthrough that all golfers are going to enjoy. It is down to us how creative we can be with it, while also staying true to the goals of what people want to achieve with their golf clubs. It has tremendous potential and we are only scratching the surface at the moment.


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EQUIPMENT & GEAR GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

PING GRADIENT POLO

PUMA FUSIONYARN VERDANT POLO

£55, PINGCOLLECTION.CO.UK Ping apparel is designed in the UK, but the Gradient Polo feels like it has come straight from a Californian beach club. It features a nice change from traditional colour blocking without being OTT. The shirt boasts a concealed buttondown collar and is designed to keep you cool and dry through its quick-dry construction. It also comes with 50+ UPF rating, so you won’t burn under your golf shirt.

£55, COBRAGOLF.CO.UK Availble in blue or grey, this eye-catching polo features a mixture of feathers and flowers for a bold look on the fairways this summer. The Fusionyarn fabric offers four-way stretch and blends the softness and breathability of cotton with the moisture-wicking properties and durability of polyester, delivering a high performance fusion of synthetic and natural fibres that dries fast, looks stylish, and adds comfort.

n o i h s a F &

CALLAWAY GOLF SWING-TECH POLO CALLAWAYAPPAREL.COM Golfers wearing Callaway’s new range of Swing-Tech polos will experience greater flexibility through the shoulders through a combination of a new seam construction and pliable blended materials. Available in gingham, jacquard and fine line colour block styles, the SwingTech polos provide noticeably less restriction and more stretch to maximize your range of motion on every swing.

ADIDAS FUTURE CRAFT MELTAWAY JACKET £109.95, ADIDAS.CO.UK/GOLF Adidas has been doing a great job blending performance products with an off-course appeal. The Future Craft Meltaway Jacket is a perfect example of that, with its modern off-course look, but designed for total performance. Made from a blend of soft nylon and polyester, the jacket features some stretch to allow for a full backswing.

These fashionable pieces feature hi-tech fabrics and innovative construction to help keep you swinging in comfort and style

FUNCTION

GALVIN GREEN ASHTON GORE-TEX SHAKEDRY JACKET

ORIGINAL PENGUIN GOLF PETE ON A TRIP POLO

£280, GALVINGREEN.COM The Ashton ShakeDry tips the scales at just 174g and boasts a new Gore-Tex fabrication used for the first time in golf that features a waterproof membrane on the outside of the jacket, so there is no extra third layer of fabric. Water instantly beads off the surface, so you shouldn’t get the chilling effect that you might find with other waterproofs. The jacket is as thin as a plastic bag and packs up to virtually nothing, which makes it super comfortable to swing in, and easy to store away.

£59.99, ORIGINALPENGUIN.COM/GOLF A big hit with Arnie, Jack and the Rat Pack, the timeless style of Original Penguin polos dominated the fairways of America back in the 60s and 70s. Finally, after years of popularity off the course, the iconic Pete the Penguin logo is coming back to golf. We love the retro style of this Pete on a Trip Polo, with its travel-inspired print making us want to jump on a plane somewhere sunny to test the shirt’s moisture-wicking properties.


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ECCO BIOM FOOTWEAR Ecco is the only shoe company that produces its own leathers. It uses yak leather because of its strength, soft feel, breathability and fit. Yak leather also boasts excellent abrasion resistance and its strength is at least three times that of standard cowhide, which allows Ecco to cut hides thinner to reduce weight, but also makes them more scuff-resistant. It also uses a technology called Fluidform, which connects the leather to the soles without the need for either stitching or glue.

BUILT TO LAST

BOA The BOA fit system is the perfect lace alternative for golf and is an option for the Biom G3. Crucially, it tightens the shoe evenly around the foot for better stability. As a bonus, the BOA-equipped shoes look better for longer, as they avoid the problem of a loose white lace getting covered in mud on the course.

Ten years after Ecco first launched the Biom brand, the Danish shoemaker has released its most technologically advanced version to date. Meet the Biom G3.

Sam Snead often talked about practising barefoot. “It feels good out there, wiggling your toes,” he said. “When you step up to the ball, you’re connected with the earth and you almost feel the roots go down. Besides, you don’t swing so hard.” It’s hard to argue with Slammin’ Sam, and the design team at Ecco hasn’t tried to with the Biom G3, their new flagship shoe built on a Biom Natural Movement last. The Danish company is still owned by the family that started the company back in 1963, and it prides itself on making the finest footwear, golf or otherwise, on the market. The initial philosophy from founder Karl Toosbuy was to produce shoes that were comfortable straight out of the box. It’s a philosohy that’s still the basis for every pair of shoes that Ecco releases today, and why Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Thomas Bjørn and Lydia Ko are among many leading tour pros who trust them with their footwear.

THE BIOM CONCEPT

GORE-TEX Ecco uses Gore-Tex in nearly all its golf shoes. The best-known waterproofing brand, the Gore-Tex membrane stops water from getting in, but allows moisture to escape. With the shoes being breathable, you’re not going to have sweaty feet at the end of the round, whatever the weather.

Ecco first launched the Biom back in 2009, and it was the first golf shoe that encouraged natural movement for your feet. While it has evolved, the general principle remains the same. A glove-like fit for your foot, that keeps your feet closer to the ground, allowing the muscles in your feet to help power the golf swing like they should. Biom models have more room around the forefoot to let the toes move and are more fitted in the heel to keep the foot from sliding inside.

CLEATS The Biom G3 shoes use the latest Champ Zarma Tour cleats. The six legged anti-clogging cleat has been designed for superior traction, while also being green friendly. The Biom G3 also features an Ortholite foam inlay which adds comfort but can also be removed to fine-tune for half sizes. RRP £210 www.eccogolf.com


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EQUIPMENT & GEAR GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

PING G410

Fast, forgiving and seriously fun to hit – Ping’s new G410 range will have you whistling your way to the first tee

PING ENJOYED HUGE SUCCESS at the tills with its G400 range, so good that the brand was the top-selling club manufacturer when combined across all categories in the UK in 2018. But as good as that range was, G410 sees some significant improvements Ping is known for being an engineering company first and foremost. And any change they make will only because they have managed

to improve performance. There are some additions to this year's equipment that other brands may have been doing a while, but Ping’s counter-argument is that they've only introduced it now when they can improve a product without being detrimental to the overall performance. It’s not hyperbole to say this is Ping’s best range of equipment ever, as it covers the broadest range of golfers.

G410 SFT £450 As well as the standard G410 Plus driver, there is an accompanying G410 SFT. Straight Flight Technology is Ping’s way of helping the slicer. However rather than making it look out of the ordinary, with offset, or unusual shaping, doing most of the work internally. “When we pioneered Straight Flight Technology several years ago, we wanted to provide a ‘slice-fixing’ driver without adding huge offset or just closing the face. The G410 SFT sits visually square at address and delivers all the performance benefits of the G410 Plus while ensuring a consistently straight ball flight.”A fixed weight in the heel of the club gives a 50% more increase to the draw weighting, and the head is built to a lighter D1 swing weight to help square the clubface at impact. The loft option is 10.5 degrees.

G410 PLUS DRIVER

PING G410 FAIRWAY WOODS

£450

£275

The G410 Plus is Ping's first-ever adjustable weighted driver. This isn't new technology, but Ping have never felt they were able to offer it without it being detrimental to overall performance. A 16-gram weight can be placed in three predetermined positions, to influence the ball flight, heel for a draw, back for a neutral flight, and in the toe to encourage a fade. Ping state there is 20 yards of ball flight adjustability with the design. The MOI on this head is 1% higher than the G400 it replaces, and it manages this by placing the wights as far back as they could possibly be in the head, keeping that centre of gravity low and back. At 455cc the G410 Plus is 10cc larger than the driver it replaces and keeps the high performance TS9+ thin forged face design that gave the G400 such high ball speeds. And it’s a much cleaner looking driver. The aerodynamic Turbulators at the front of the head remain and are a little more aggressive, but the Dragonfly crown has been moved out of sight to the inside of the head. The rear of the head now features a creased crown that stiffens the head from flexing too much, helping the face retain more energy and ball speed at impact. While not having a dedicated alignment aid, the Turbulators and crease work together to make this very easy to aim at your intended target. The other major change is with the Trajectory Tuning 2.0 adjustable hosel. Ping has used the same design since 2012, and it only introduced that when it felt it could do it without adding additional weight in the heel of the head. The new hosel adds significantly to the level of adjustability, providing three new flat settings, for eight in total. This is really useful for golfers who tend to hook the ball. Offered in 9⁰, 10.5⁰ & 12⁰ lofts, the range of no-upcharge shafts include the PING Alta CB, PING Tour 65, 75, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Orange 60, and Project X Evenflow Black 75.

The G400 was one of the easiest to use fairway woods on the market. However, it wasn’t one of the longest, with it being a higher spin design than many of its competitors. With the G410 Ping have addressed that and this fairway wood is seriously hot. C300 maraging steel used in the face is super strong and flexible – Ping engineers have seen it flex as much as the face is thick, which is huge in golf club terms. The centre of gravity is slightly forward of the G400, which helps return more energy to the ball at impact. To retain the forgiveness levels, the G410 features a shallower face and a slightly bigger head at address. The SFT fairways are designed to help square the face at impact and feature a bigger head with more weight in the heel. They also come with 1.5 degrees more loft to make them easy to get in the air. The LST model features a smaller head, with a further forward centre of gravity. The club launches higher than the standard fairway but with significantly less spin. Many high spin and high swing speed players will get more distance and control from this design. Loft options: t14.5⁰, 17.5⁰,20.5⁰, 23.5⁰, 3 LST 14.5⁰, 3 SFT 16⁰, 5 SFT 19⁰, 7 SFT 22⁰

THE NEW HOSEL ADDS SIGNIFICANTLY TO THE LEVEL OF ADJUSTABILITY AND WILL BE REALLY USEFUL FOR GOLFERS WHO TEND TO HOOK THE BALL


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PING G410 IRONS £126/£136 (ST/GR), 4-LW Ping PresidentJohn K Solheim sums up the thinking behind the new G410 iron. “Our engineers challenged the idea that you can’t make an iron smaller and increase the forgiveness at the same time. They’ve developed a clean, highly appealing design with less offset and a significantly higher MOI when compared to the G400 iron.” We can’t argue with that. These are the best-looking Ping G irons ever when sat behind the ball. Introducing the super forgiving G700 has allowed the engineers to make this iron more refined. From heel to toe the iron is shorter, while there is 10% less offset than the G400 iron. Yet the head has an 8% higher MOI. The face is thinner, and the saved weight has been put out to the heel and toe using high-density tungsten weights. The face has been made thinner by removing the Custom Tuning Port hat features in most Ping iron designs. Without that structure behind the face it can flex more for faster ball speeds. Combined with the COR-eye variable face thickness design, the deep undercut on the top line, plus Ping’s cascading sole design, these Ping irons are seriously fast right across the face. And the club makers as Gainsborough can still make sure the club has the correct swing weight by adjusting the toe weight port. One thing the CTP helped with massively was sound and feel. So Ping has used a co-molded aluminium and elastomer badge in the cavity to soften the feel and sound, and reduce unwanted vibrations.

■ TONY FINAU IS ONE OF MANY PING STAFF TOUR PLAYERS TO MAKE THE SWTICH TO THE G410

THE CROSSOVER WILL HELP GOLFERS WHO STRUGGLE WITH HYBRIDS, HIGHER LOFTED FAIRWAY WOODS AND WANT MORE HELP THAN THEIR IRONS

PING G410 HYBRIDS £225 When golf manufacturers release a new range of clubs, hybrids can often be forgotten. They aren’t sexy like drivers and irons, nor are there normally huge performance gains with new models. But we’ve hit these and they are something special. At address, they look very similar to the G400 hybrids, but they are a fraction larger. Turbulators are used, however, in the smaller heads for a familiar look and to help frame the ball at address. They use the same C300 maraging steel in the face as the fairway woods and Crossover. Offering slightly lower spin, the biggest improvement has been the addition of an adjustable hosel. Five standard settings and three flat settings can be set to address any shot shape and dial in the correct distance gap. But it’s the flat settings that will really help. Many better players struggle with hooking hybrids. By flattening the lie, that becomes a much more difficult proposition. From our own testing, we truly think that this is a hybrid that will see significant use by every standard of golfer. Lofts: 17⁰, 19⁰, 22⁰, 26⁰, 30⁰

PING G410 CROSSOVER £225 The Crossover does exactly what it says, taking design cues from Ping irons and woods to create a club that will benefit golfers who istruggle with hybrids, but also higher-lofted fairway woods, and want more help than their irons. Taking the C300 face from the fairways and hybrids, they’ve been added to an iron-like head. Shorter heel-to-toe than the comparable G410 iron, and with a narrower sole, they feature a hollow design and internal ribs to give them a powerful feel. A huge 30-gram tungsten weight out on the toe significantly raises the MOI of the design. These are great clubs, but probably better suited to golfers playing the i500 or i210 than players using the G410 irons. Lofts: 17, 20, 23


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EQUIPMENT & GEAR GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

POWAKADDY C2I GPS

EVNROLL ER PUTTERS £309, ER5B £349 WWW.EVNROLL.COM Evnroll is on to something with its sweet face design. The grooves are wider in the middle and narrower towards the edges of the face, the idea being that the same amount of energy is imparted on the ball wherever the putt is struck. Miss-hits go the same distance as perfectly struck putts, which really aids consistency. This year there are four new models. The new ER1TS places the hosel an inch in front of the face to produce an effective MOI of 20,000, and encourage a shoulder-based stroke. ER2.2 is a new plumber-neck version of the ER2 MidBlade. The ER5B is an all-black version of the Hatchback mallet, and the ER8.3 is a heel-shafted mallet for the golfer with a strong arc stroke.

£699 WWW.POWAKADDY.COM Compact electric trolleys are a godsend for the space-afflicted golfer. The C2i folds so small it can fit in a passenger footwell if needed. But just being compact isn’t enough, so PowaKaddy has added a GPS system to its popular compact design. The new full-colour Memory in Pixel screen is fantastically clear, even when the sun is at its brightest, and clearer than most mobile phones. The display shows off front, middle, and back distances, and comes preloaded with 37,000 courses worldwide that can be updated easily through the free PowaKaddy app. And for golfers at hilly courses, there is an optional electronic braking system.

PRO SHOP

YOUR GUIDE TO THE LATEST GEAR TITLEIST PRO V1 £52 WWW.TITLEIST.CO.UK The new Pro V1 and Pro V1X are designed to be the longest tour balls the brand have ever produced. A new cast urethane cover is 17% thinner than previous balls, allowing the Titleist engineers to produce bigger, faster core designs. The Pro V1 is a three-piece design, with a softer feel a lower flight with low driver spin; while the Pro V1X is a four-piece design that flies higher and spins just a fraction more, while feeling firmer. And, for the first time ever, Titleist is offering its tour balls in a yellow option.

BUSHNELL PRO XE £449.99, WWW.BUSHNELLGOLF.COM The most accurate rangefinder Bushnell has ever produced, the Pro XE takes more factors into account than any other laser model on the market. We’re used to Slope, where the range finder accounts for incline and decline. The new ‘Slope with elements’ adds temperature and altitude into its calculations. Other big benefits are the new visual Jolt design that shows you when you’re locked onto the flagstick, and 7X zoom, which gives accurate measurements over 500 yards away. Maybe the most useful addition is the time-

saving, extra-strong Bite magnet, which allows the device to be placed on the frame of a trolley or buggy, so you don’t have to put it away after every use.

TAYLORMADE M6 £849/£999 (ST/GR) WWW.TAYLORMADEGOLF.COM The TaylorMade M6 irons are the company’s latest game improvement design. It features an oversized head, a weight-saving fluted hosel design, a 360-degree undercut cavity, and Inverted Cone Technology behind the face for fast ball speed on miss hits. But the big improvement is the new Speed bridge. A beam of steel connects the sole to the top of the iron, and is designed to stabilise the head at impact. Positioned exactly at the point that vibrates most at impact, it works with the Speed Pocket to improve sound and feel, as well as increase ball speed. The design stiffens the face, allowing for more energy transfer at impact. With the extra support of the SpeedBridge, TaylorMade engineers have been able to use the full cut-through slot to create faster ballspeeds, especially from shots struck low on the face.


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HONMA TW-X GOLF BALLS £26 FOR 12, HONMAGOLFEUROPE.COM Honma Golf, the premium Japanese brand that recently signed Justin Rose to use its clubs, has added a new golf ball to its extensive range. The Honma TW-X is a three-piece urethane distance and spin ball aimed at golfers with swing speeds of around 90mph. The ball features the high initial velocity core, designed to produce greater ball speed, as well as exceptional control. A newly developed high repulsion mid-layer inside the ball ensures low spin off the driver for extra distance off the tee, while a soft urethane cover provides extreme spin on greenside shots. A 326-dimple pattern cover design provides a low, penetrating ball flight, which is ideal for playing in windy conditions.

MOTOCADDY AQUAFLEX HYBRID BAG £199.99 WWW.MOTOCADDY.COM If you use a trolley, but also carry sometimes, it’s a pain switching clubs from one bag to another. Hybrid bags have been released before, but the AquaFlex is the best execution we’ve seen. Lightweight and totally waterproof, one of the standout features is the quick-release carry strap. If the bag is used with a Motocaddy, you can take advantage of the Easilock bag-to-trolley connector, and the rear stand lock that holds the legs in place when on a trolley. Crucially, this bag looks great as a carry bag, as well as when on the trolley, with the charcoal base colours giving them a fresh and modern look.

KBS CT TOUR PUTTER SHAFT WWW.KBSGOLFSHAFTS.COM The CT Tour is designed to be stiffer than a traditional putter shaft, reinforced throughout the length of the shaft to reduce torque. The aim is to stop the shaft twisting on miss hits, increasing the chance of making a putt on a less than perfect stroke. The shaft is available in a variety of options, including a stunning glare resistant matte black and both single and double bend options.

CALLAWAY APEX 19 IRONS £1,299 STEEL, £1,399 GRAPHITE WWW.CALLAWAYGOLF.COM The Apex CF16 was one of the most popular Callaway irons in years, staying in the line three years, which is almost unheard of these days. The formula hasn’t been changed too much with the Apex 2019. A forged carbon steel body is used for a soft feel and allows easy adjustability, while 360 Face Cup features a shallow, flexible rim around the perimeter that flexes at impact to promote fast ball speed on centre and off-centre hits. A urethane microsphere insert absorbs unwanted vibration without slowing down the cup face design. Super easy to hit and great feeling, these could be the best Apex irons yet.

BETTINARDI QUEEN B ADIDAS TOUR360 XT SL £139.95 WWW.ADIDAS.COM The Tour360 is the most popular adidas golf shoe model ever, but this is its first spikeless version. With its full-length Boost midsole, it is ultracomfortable and should leave your fet feeling a little fresher after 18 holes. The shoes are designed to be totally stable due to the X-Torsion design that connects the heel and forefoot. The X-Traxion lug design gives the comfort of a spikeless shoe, with the grip and traction of a high-performance golf shoe.

£329 WWW.BETTINARDI.COM Bettinardi is one of the last family-owned equipment manufacturers, owned and run by Bob Bettinardi and his son Sam. CNCmilled, these are some of the most beautiful putters on the market, and definitely among the most precisely made. The Queen B range is made from soft carbon steel and feature Bettinardi‘s unique micro-honeycomb face milling for a perfectly flat face and totally distinctive look. We love the wide, high-toed Anser styling of the 6; its the perfect blend of blade and mallet putter that will appeal to a broad selection of golfers.


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EQUIPMENT & GEAR GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

HERE COMES HONMA! REPORT BY NICK BAYLY

■ HONMA HAS ITS OWN R&D TEST FACILITY AT ITS SAKATA HEADQUARTERS IN JAPAN

With its unrivalled reputation for quality craftsmanship, and its recent signing of global star Justin Rose, the future looks bright for premium Japanese equipment brand Honma Golf

M

Y FIRST EXPERIENCE of Honma golf equipment came about 20 years ago, when I was working as an equipment editor for another golf publication and I was asked to review a set of irons that I’d previously only ever heard about in folklore. The clubs duly arrived, and, as is the norm, I was asked to sign a form to say that I’d received them and that I would return them a few weeks later. My heart skipped a beat when a quick scan of the receipt revealed that the irons in questions were valued at over £20,000, and that if they should be lost, damaged or stolen during my temporary ownership, I’d be the one footing the bill for their replacement. For these were not just any old irons, they

■ HONMA OFFERS 16 DIFFERENT PAINT FINISHES FOR ITS RANGE OF WOODS

were Honma’s infamous gold-plated, fivestar irons. The Rolls Royce, Bugatti Veyron and Lamborghini Gallardo of irons all rolled into one. Needless to say, I didn’t leave them in the boot of my Ford Escort overnight in a back street in Peckham, but kept them under strict surveillance throughout the time that they remained in my care. Although the irons were fun to test, I was mightily relieved when I finally handed them back, all present and correct, and with the gold plating still intact. Things have moved on at Honma in the last two decades, and while it is still possible to have your irons gold-plated – Honma is currently embarking on a new phase in its 60-year history, having recently signed world No.1 Justin Rose and unveiled a whole new range of equipment that everyone from the game’s top tour players, to mere mortals like you and I, can afford. To find out more about the brand, and its global ambitions, I jumped on a plane to Tokyo, and then boarded another to reach the company’s manufacturing headquarters in Sakata, a small provincial town 360 miles north west of Japan’s capital. Here, over the course of 12 hours, I discovered what makes Honma so unique, and what made a player of Rose’s calibre switch brands while at the height of his golfing powers. Speaking at the beginning of the year, following the announcement of his move from TaylorMade to Honma, Rose said: “Coming off one of my best years professionally, I wanted to make it a point to get better. I believe that Honma

craftsmanship can help make me better.” And indeed it has. Playing in his second tournament of the season, the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, with ten Honma clubs in the bag, including the TWorld 747 driver and a set of prototype TWorld 747 irons and wedges, Rose secured his 10th PGA Tour win, taking down the likes of Adam Scott, Hideki Matusyama and Jon Rahm, and leaving Rory and Tiger well and truly in his wake. Rose’s 21-under-par wining score not only helped cement his position as world No.1, but also confirmed that the decision to make the switch to Honma had indeed been a good one. The stats also bore out the improvement in performance, with the new driver adding five yards onto Rose’s average driving distance – up to 308 yards from 303 in 2018 – and his ball speed up from 179mph to 186mph. He also hit 78% of the greens in regulation, highlighting confidence in his new irons and wedges – as well as the accuracy of his driving. “I really felt comfortable with the clubs immediately,” said Rose. “It’s a whole new look for me, but I don’t mind if it’s going to produce golf like that.” A tour of the 500,000-square metre facility at Sakata, where Honma’s 350 loyal staff, including generations of engineers and master craftsmen, draw upon decades of experience to produce finely-tuned equipment, only served to back up Rose’s hunch that the people at Honma really know what they’re doing when it comes to producing clubs that perform as exquisitely as they look.


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MARCH 2019 [49]

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We began our tour by perusing the stunning showroom, which is packed with rows upon rows of shiny clubheads belonging to past champions. A household name in the Far East since the 1960s, Honma has racked up 40 worldwide wins in the last three years alone, and is played by LPGA Tour stars Shanshan Feng and So-Yeon Ryu, as well as rising European Tour player Hideto Tanihura, who has 14 wins in Japan to his name. We then met up with Honma’s Head of R&D, Hiroshi Suwa, the man who personally fitted Rose’s clubs out in the Bahamas, and who oversees the design and creation of every club to come out of the Sakata HQ over the last 40 years. Suwa guided us into the beating heart of the factory, where experienced craftsmen sat hunched over persimmon moulds, chiselling away at the next generation of wood and iron heads, while others made sparks fly as they ground away at irons and wedges seeking the perfect finish. A dizzying 100 pairs of hands are involved in the making of every Honma club, with up to 156 different processes before the finished product is created. A highlight of the tour was seeing Honma’s hand-rolled Vizard shafts in production. A skill that apparently takes eight years to master, Honma’s shafts are unique in that the spine is always placed in exactly the same position – 6 o’clock from the address position – which creates consistent performance with each club and through the set. Honma’s clubs fairway woods were equally powerful, are also assembled by putting the grip on the performing as well from the turf as from shaft first, rather than the head – a point of the tee. difference that allows for more precise weight As a 14-handicapper, the TWorld 747P irons control when the head is added. It’s attention were the ideal set for me, offering that vital to these small, but significant, details than element of forgiveness in what makes Honma stand apart. is still a reasonably compact This was also readily head for a game improvement apparent in the paint shop, model. With the weight placed where craftsmen were HONMA low and deep, it was easy to seen hand-painting driver REALLY KNOW pop the ball up, and distance clubheads in one of Honma’s WHAT THEY’RE was impressive too. The Vx 16 bespoke colour options, DOING WHEN irons boast a more compact while shafts were also handIT COMES TO head and are ideally suited to painted with meticulous care. single-figure handicappers Having seen first hand PRODUCING who demand more shothow the clubs are made, the CLUBS THAT shaping potential. next step was to put them to PERFORM AS It’s easy to get quite cynical the test, and we did this at EXQUISITELY about manufacturer’s claims Honma’s superb R&D facility AS THEY LOOK regarding performance, which is located a close to but Honma is making no the factory. Here, we saw an outrageous promises with ‘Iron Byron’ robot smashing the new TWorld 747 range. In balls into the distance on fact, they were at pains to suggest that this a 400-yard range. Although blessed with a set offers ‘real distance’, unlocking your true slightly less repeatable swing, I was mightily potential as a player, rather than making any impressed with the new TWorld 747 range, superhuman improvement. After all, they’re with the driver being long and straight, with not miracle workers, are they? Justin Rose a nice arcing ball flight offering a balanced might disagree…. combination of carry and roll, while the

REPAYING THE FAITH It took two trips out to the Bahamas, and plenty of tweaks along the way, but JUSTIN ROSE is delighted with his new set of hand-made Honma clubs “It was around about July last year that I knew that I would be moving on from TaylorMade, and needed to find another equipment sponsor. Honma came into the mix, and the more I explored it, and started to test it, and saw what they were capable of, the more I began to see it as a huge opportunity. It was about working with a company that was able to work with me in a bespoke way to create clubs that are pleasing to my eye with a quality of materials that is second to none. “Honma is able to do that, and. after an extended period of testing over the winter, we made little tweaks to the clubs, including the tiniest

refinements to the shape of the toe, groove length and offset, to create the perfect set of clubs. Japanese steel makes the clubs feel and perform amazingly well, so overall it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience. “The performance of the TW747 driver has been even more impressive, as that is where I thought it might be hardest to settle into something new. In fact, that’s been a revelation and the increase in ball speed and distance has been a real game changer. “As a European golfer, it’s also a real honour to have been chosen by Honma to help spearheard the brand’s international growth. Their market share in Asia is amazing, but they have a huge opportunity to grow in Europe and the US and it’s a huge honour to play a part in that. Honma has put a lot of faith in me and hopefully I can reward them with my performances on the golf course.”

MEET THE TWORLD 747 RANGE DRIVER: Available in two models, the TWorld747 455 and 460 drivers help to create your desired shot shape, improve your ball flight and distance courtesy of the proprietary adjustability system. The crown is made from a lightweight ET40 carbon with a ribbed grooving. Behind the clubface, Honma’s 4 Fang Technology deploys four metal studs that boost ball speeds and distance. The 455cc model uses a weight system to maximise MOI to generate higher ball speeds, while the 460cc is slightly more forgiving and uses interchangeable weights to create the desired shot shape. RRP: £559 FAIRWAY WOODS: The TWorld747 fairway wood is designed to provide a high trajectory and maximum distance. A 9g outer weight combined with an inner 20g weight creates a low and deep centre of gravity that enables you to launch the ball high with low spin for maximum carry. RRP: £309

■ OVER 100 PAIRS OF HANDS ARE INVOLVED IN THE MAKING OF EVERY HONMA CLUB, WITH UP TO 156 DIFFERENT MANUFACTURING PROCESSES

HYBRID: The TWorld747 hybrid features a stable head shape with a well-balanced outline to provide confidence at address. It provides a high-launch and moderate spin rate for consistent shots from all lies. RRP: £269 IRONS: There are four TWorld747 irons to choose from - the Vx, V P and Rose Proto. The P game improvement irons are made from high-strength stainless steel and feature a 20g tungsten weight on the sole for maximum forgiveness on off-centre strikes. They also feature stronger lofts and deliver high ball speed to offer a powerful trajectory and distance. The Vx Forged irons provide solid feel as well as explosive distance, while the V irons are a forged cavity/blade with a player preferred profile. The Rose Proto irons are a pure forged blade for ultiimate control and feel. RRP: £969 (six irons).

WHAT’S IN JUSTIN’S BAG DRIVER: HONMA TW747 460 (9.5° ADJUSTED TO 8.5°, VIZARD FD-7X SHAFT) IRONS: HONMA TW-U III (2), TW747 ROSE PROTO IRONS (4-9, KBS C-TAPER 125 SHAFTS) WEDGES: HONMA ‘ROSE PROTO’ (48°, 52°, 56°), KBS HI-REV 2.0 SHAFTS.


2018| EQUIPMENT EQUIPMENT & GEAR [50] [50] AUTUMN MARCH 2018 GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

DISTANCE MONSTERS This year’s crop of drivers is genuinely the longest hitting we’ve ever tried. It’s time to make those second shots shorter

PING G410 PLUS £ 450, ping.com

Ping had a tough ask to follow the G400 range of drivers, but its done it with the new G410 Plus. Taking most of the elements from the G400 – turbulators for aerodynamics, forged TS9 face for ball speed, dragonfly crown to save weight (although now hidden under the hood) – it's added a movable weight system. Located on the rear skirt for maximum effect, the adjustable 16g weight can be used in the heel, toe, or back of the clubhead to fine-tune ball flight. Another major change is the hosel adaptor that now enables eight levels of adjustment, including three flat lie angles, which can be useful for straightening out a hook. Despite all the added adjustability, the G410 Plus has a higher MOI than the G400 driver it replaces.


EQUIPMENT & GEAR

MARCH 2018

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

PXG 0811X GEN 2

TAYLORMADE M5

COBRA F9 SPEEDBACK

£550 WWW.PXG.COM

£499 WWW.TAYLORMADEGOLF.COM

£349 WWW.COBRAGOLF.CO.UK

PXG offers the meanest looking drivers on the market, but now it also offers one of the best. The head features a Hot Rod carbon crown design. Inspired by American muscle cars, the raised centre section of the crown doubles up, stiffening the head for better energy transfer, but also helping with alignment. The 0811X Gen 2 features variable face technology to increase ball speed on miss-hits. A lightweight honeycomb TPE insert fine-tunes the sound and feel, but does it without adding too much weight to the clubhead. The 0811X is a low spin design, with a deepface. The X features a weight forward design for low spin and ball speed. There are nine interchangeable weights, so shot shape and trajectory can really be influenced, with weight ports in the front and back of the head, plus towards the heel to add some draw bias if needed.

The TaylorMade M5 is one of the most adjustable drivers on the market, and if you’re looking to control excessive launch and spin, may just be the best option this year. The big technology this season is the Speed Injected Twist Face. The face is built to be faster than the legal limit and is then dialled back right to the limit by filling two pockets behind the face with resin. A significant benefit of the thinner, faster face design is that it provides the M5 and M6 drivers with faster off-centre COR, effectively increasing forgiveness. The driver features a 66% larger sweet spot than the M5 it replaces, and more than 100% larger than the original M1 from 2015. And we’ve not even talked about the T-Track, with its two weights, the driver is one of the most adjustable out there, front to back to change spin, and left to right to control shot shape.

The Speedback F9 is set to get the pro shop tills ringing in 2019, with lots of testing indicating it is the fastest driver for ball speed on the market this year. What makes it so quick off the mark? Aerodynamics, carbon fibre, and low centre of gravity is the short answer. Cobra has rounded the face area and raised the body of the driver to make it more aerodynamic, as well as added 360Aero trips which reduce drag. Carbon fibre wraps around the crown and body of the club, 12% more than in previous models, saving 10g of weight. Then that weight is put as low and as far back as possible to lower the centre of gravity and increase MOI. Withs it CNC-milled face for consistency and ball speed, plus the adjustable weight and hosel, this is one of the longest drivers out there this season if you take the trouble to get custom fit.

LYNX BLACK CAT

WILSON D7

TITLEIST TS2

£329 WWW.LYNXGOLF.CO.UK

£269 WWW.WILSON.COM

£499 WWW.TITLEIST.CO.UK

The Lynx Black Cat driver features the Lynx Spin Control System – a removable and reversible weight bar which repositions weight either further forward, or further back, in the clubhead. It is clearly marked with HW/LW options, positioning the High Weight (HW) setting closer to the clubface moves the weight forwards, reducing spin and keeping the flight lower, with a more penetrating flight and control; positioning the Low Weight (LW) setting closer to the clubface moves more weight to the rear of club, increasing spin for a higher launch. The 460cc two-piece titanium driver features a cup-face design with face hardening treatment applied to help generate faster ball speeds and reduced spin, while full adjustability from 9-12 degrees is on offer and includes draw and fade bias settings for those players looking to eliminate slicing or hooking.

The Cortex driver may be the star of Driver Vs Driver show, but it’s the D7 that offers the best combination of performance and value. While it doesn’t offer any level of adjustability, it boasts all the other technology advantages of other drivers on the market. By forgoing an adjustable hosel, and adding a carbon crown, Wilson was able to save 25g that can be used elsewhere in the head. Each loft features a Dynamic Launch Control design, the 9-degree model features weight towards the front of the head for lower launch and spin; the 10.5 features its weight in the middle; while the 13-degree head moves the weight back and in the heel to encourage a draw. The driver comes as stock with the super lightweight UST Mamiya Helium shaft that weighs just 46g in the regular flex.

Recent drivers from Titleist have not been known for its distance, with a tendency to spin more than their competitors. The TS drivers totally change that as a result of the Titleist Speed Project. Rather than one huge gain, the driver has been improved with lots of small changes. A 20 percent lighter crown allows the weight to be shifted low in the head, while a streamlined aerodynamic head shape reduces drag by 20 percent. A radial variable thickness face is thinner than anything Titleist has produced before, so thin that the grooves have had to be laser etched onto the face. All this combines to make a driver with a 12% higher MOI than the 917 D2 it replaces, but that produces considerably longer drives.

HONMA TOUR WORLD 747 460

CALLAWAY EPIC FLASH

MIZUNO ST190

£499 WWW.CALLAWAYGOLF.COM

£399 GOLF.MIZUNOEUROPE.COM

£559 WWW.HONMAGOLFEUROPE.COM

A first for a golf club, the face on the Epic Flash has been designed using artificial intelligence. The supercomputer designed 15,000 different faces before settling on this as the preferred design, coming up with a design with serious performance that human engineers don’t fully understand. Ball speeds are some of the fastest ever seen from a driver. Elsewhere, the head brings back the adjustable weight last seen on the original Epic and now weighing 16g that can be used to fine-tune shot shape. Jailbreak returns, the two rods connecting the crown and hosel, reducing the amount the flex at impact and allowing the face to return more energy to the ball.

This is the best driver Mizuno has made in years, and might just be the best-looking driver on the market in 2019. No longer blue, the ST190 features a carbon fibre crown that saves 7g of weight compared to previous titanium models from the Japanese brand. The face is made from SP700 titanium, a higher grade material that is stronger, and more elastic, allowing engineers to utilise a new Cortech face design. Unlike many of these changes, it doesn’t only help golfers with high swing speeds, as those who swing 90-100mph are also seeing yardage gains compared to the 6-4 titanium used in many designs.

Justin Rose has made an immediate impact with Honma, winning with the Tour World 747 driver in just his second week after the switch. The 460cc head is one of the most attractive on the market, with its gloss black crown that is totally free of the graphics that adorn so many drivers. Don’t think that it is lacking in tech however. Honma uses arguably the most advanced adjustable hosel in the game as the shaft doesn’t rotate when the hosel is adjusted. The 4 Fang face design puts four metal studs in strategic positions behind the face to help return more energy to the ball at impact, while a lightweight carbon crown saves weight which is used in the two adjustable weights on the sole which can be used for fine tuning spin rates.

[51]


[52] MARCH 2018

EQUIPMENT & GEAR GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

EQUIPMENT NEWS WILSON LAYS DOWN D7 CHALLENGE Wilson Golf has laid down a challenge to golfers to put their own 7-iron up against its new Wilson Staff D7 model to see how much more distance they can achieve. The D7 Challenge, which will run for the next five months, requires golfers to hit three shots with both their current 7-iron and the Wilson D7 to see which one gains the most yardage. A random draw will take place each month for golfers who gained yardage for a chance to win a year’s supply of Wilson Staff DX2 Soft golf balls. Recently trialled at the PGA Show in Orlando, more than 97% of the 295 golfers who took up the D7 Challenge gained an

back mallet shape offer players high MOI, forgiveness, and easy alignment. Boasting a hand-polished platinum finish, it features a single-bend shaft with minimal toe hang. It comes with a 15-inch Deep Etched Cord Grip by Lamkin and a matching headcover. “The Beauty of the Armlock style of putting is that it takes out any unwanted wrist and hand motion in the putting stroke, and putts an emphasis on the upper body in order to swing it more consistently under pressure when it matters most,” said Sam Bettinardi, vice president of Bettinardi Golf.

EPIC FLASH WINS BATTLE OF THE BIG STICKS

Puma Golf’s new Ignite Proadapt shoes, which are on sale now, were designed in conjunction with the brand’s headline tour ambassador Rickie Fowler, who wore them during his recent victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Boasting Tour-proven stability, unparalleled traction and extreme comfort, the Proadapt shoe has full-grain leather uppers, while the outsole features Dual-Durometer Tornado cleats, which deliver excellent traction, along with torsional stability provided from the full-length TPU outsole. The Ignite Proadapt comes with a one-year waterproof warranty, and is offered in three colour options – White/Grey Violet, Black/ Dark Shadow and Grey Violet/White – and has an RRP of £150.

Callaway’s new Epic Flash driver won the bragging rights following a driver test held at American Golf stores across the UK last month. A total of 934 American Golf customers took on the ‘Battle of the Brands’ driver test and found the Epic Flash to be the winner, with on average a 8.3-yard gain over each golfer’s own driver. The testers' net gain was 26,220 yards of extra distance from all drivers hit. Callaway took top spot, but each of the other drivers on test – TaylorMade M5/ M6, Cobra F9 Speedback and Wilson D7 – showed a significant increase from the testers’ current drivers. The biggest individual gain was an astonishing 67 yards, using a TaylorMade M6. “This has to be one of the largest ever sample sizes for a head to head driver test,” explained Conrad Edkins, director of parketing at American Golf. “The results were fantastic too, with virtually every tester making significant distance gains with the fantastic new technology ."

WEBUYANYGOLFCLUB WE ARE THE COUNTRIES LEADING BUYER OF USED GOLF CLUBS We will consider the clubs the other guys will not

you and pay cash ➽ Anywhere else, you can send us your clubs get paid by PayPal ➽ Bring your clubs to RG42 3DH for cash ➽ We can clear pro shop old stock & oddments

Premium putter brand Bettinardi Golf has extended its Studio Stock range to include the new Studio Stock 38 Armlock. The SS38 Armlock, milled from a solid block of stainless steel, will now offer golfers a high-performing, compact mallet in an Armlock-style putter. It joins the SS28 Slotback as the second Armlock option in the current Studio Stock Series. The SS38 Armlock is made from a single block of stainless steel, which is precision milled to a 400g head with Bettinardi’s patented F.I.T. Face Milling. Its rounded, compact, cavity-

average yardage increase of 15% using the D7 iron. Dates and venues where the challenge will take place can be found on the D7 Challenge page via Wilson’s website, www.wilson. com. To take part, can text the figure of their average gain to a number provided by a Wilson representative on the day.

FOLLOW IN FOWLER’S FOOTSTEPS WITH PUMA’S PROADAPT

➽ South East, we can come to

BETTINARDI ADDS MALLET TO ARMLOCK RANGE

➽ We can hold regular bring

and sell days at your club giving members cash to spend in your shop ➽ Available every Monday,

throughout the year. Please call in advance to make an appointment

GOLF UNIT, NESTINGS, JIGS LANE, N. BRACKNELL. RG42 3DH We are the opposite side of the roundabout at TESCO, Warfield Email: graham@webuyanygolfclub.com Tel: 07880 706308

Strike it Rite!

PING DEMO CENTRE G410, i210 & i500 In stock & demo’s BUBBA PINK DRIVER at only £419

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C.T. Golf, 1 Stanley Way, St. Mary’s Cray, Orpington, Kent, BR5 2HE Website: www.ctgolf.co.uk | Email: enquiries@ctgolf.co.uk


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CALLING NEW DIRECT FLIGHT FROM LONDON BRINGS THE GOLFING RICHES OF CHARLESTON AND SOUTH CAROLINA WITHIN EASY REACH

SWEET TEMPTATION TAKE A SWIG OF MADEIRA'S GOLFING DELIGHTS VINTAGE GOLF ON OFFER WITH GREENS & GRAPES ME & MY TRAVELS WITH BOB CHAMPION


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GREAT VALUE SPRING BREAKS ON OFFER AT DE VERE VENUES

group or society. And groups of at least 12 ensure that one player goes free. There are savings to be had on breaks to Boundary Lakes in Hampshire, where prices start from just £97pp for an overnight stay in the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl and two rounds of golf, before the end of March. The 171-bedroom hotel houses Boundary Lakes’ state-of-the-art clubhouse and American Golf pro shop, as well as a luxury eforea spa, Sir Ian Botham-inspired restaurant, Beef’s, and the Lakeview Sports Bar, which overlooks the 18th hole. The Marriott hotel group has built up an enviable portfolio of properties throughout the UK, and golfers can take their choice from Hanbury Manor, Tudor Park and Lingfield, Meon Valley and the Forest of Arden, to name but a few. A one-night stay with two rounds of golf at Hanbury Manor, venue for the European Senior Tour’s Willow Classic, costs from just £137pp, while two nights and two rounds at Forest of Arden, which boasts two 18-hole championship courses costs from £109pp. For the latest UK & Ireland golf break deals, and for golf holidays throughout Europe, North America, South Africa and the Far East, visit www.golf-escapes.com or call 01342 811777.

■ BOUNDARY LAKES

HIT THE BOUNDARY WITH GOLF ESCAPES SUSSEX-BASED GOLF TRAVEL COMPANY Golf Escapes has quickly built up relationships with a host of top quality resorts, hotels and golf clubs throughout the country, and is able to offer a extremely competitive rates for range of bespoke breaks to golfers, whether they be travelling as a two-ball, or as part of a much larger

■ DE VERE SELSDON PARK

De Vere is offering an early booking package for golf lovers: two rounds of championship golf; overnight stay; 20% off all drinks at the hotel’s bar; free attendance for the organiser; and a hearty breakfast the following morning, all from just £79pp. The offer, which ends on April 1, is available at a range of De Vere venues, including Wokefield, Selsdon and Staverton, all of which boast championship golf courses and quality off-course facilities. De Vere Wokefield, near Reading, has recently undergone a £20 million refurbishment, and in addition to the golf course, facilities include the new 1560 Restaurant & Bar and Whiskey Lounge. De Vere Selsdon in Croydon, has an 18-hole course which was designed by British open champion JH Taylor in the 1920s. The resort’s 1042 Restaurant & Bar and the Orangery both overlook the 200-acre estate. Surrounded by 150-acres of parkland, De Vere Staverton, in Northamptonshire, boasts an 18-hole European Tour standard course, while after a round guests can enjoy The Steam, Bake & Grill restaurant, and a contemporary bar which has just undergone a major refurbishment. To redeem the offer, quote DVGolf19 when booking. To book, call 01189 334013.

Meaning ‘view of the sea’ in Cornish, Gwel an Mor is situated near the beach town of Portreath, and offers a selection of 90 luxury lodges and extensive leisure facilities, including the Famous Nine par-three golf course, which was officially opened by three-time Ryder Cup Bernard Gallacher last autumn. The Famous Nine course, which boasts spectacular coastal views, is the largest course in the country fitted out with all-weather greens and tees, ensuring consistent year-round playing conditions. The course, which costs £15 a round to play, pays tribute to some of the best holes from around the world, with holes taking inspiration from St Andrews, Augusta, Royal Troon, Sawgrass, Pebble Beach and Carnoustie. With a range of five-star accommodation options, visitors can choose to stay in a contemporary Residence retreat or a classic Scandinavian-style lodges. With a relaxed, but high-end style, the two- and three-bedroom lodges boast open plan living areas, with wood burners for cosy nights in and private patios with hot tubs for outdoor living. For the latest packages, visit www.gwelanmor.com.

GWEL AN MOR OFFERS CREAM OF CORNISH GOLF GOLFERS LOOKING TO ENJOY superb year-round playing conditions, stay in luxury accommodation, and experience the best that the West Country has to offer, should book a golf break at Landal Gwel an Mor, an award-winning resort located on Cornwall’s stunning north coast.

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Golf

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Club Choice Ireland are the experts at personalised golfing to Club Choice Ireland arebreaks the experts at East & South Eastbreaks of Ireland to East personalised golfing

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MARCH 2019 [55]

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GLENEAGLES OFFERS 4-BALL SPECIAL AHEAD OF SOLHEIM SHOWDOWN GLENEAGLES, the world-famous Scottish hotel and sporting estate, is giving all golfers the chance to celebrate its hosting of the Solheim Cup this September with the launch of a special green fee deal that runs until the end of April. Four-ball groups can play any of the three championship golf courses at the 850-acre Perthshire estate for £201.90, a money-saving nod to this very special year in which Gleneagles also celebrates the centenary of its world-famous King’s and Queen’s golf courses, both designed by James Braid. The King’s, a consistent feature in all leading UK Top 100 Course rankings, and The Queen’s, arguably the finest par-68 course in the UK, have both undergone careful restorations, bringing them back to Braid’s original vision of 1919.

Golfers can also choose to play The PGA Centenary Course, designed by 18-time Major winner, Jack Nicklaus, and the course that will host the Solheim Cup in the autumn. It was also the course that witnessed an emphatic European Ryder Cup victory in 2014. Golfers looking to take advantage of the £201.90 four-ball price should call 0800 389 3737 or visit www.gleneagles.com.

BOWOOD LODGE OFFERS ROYAL RETREAT

■ BOWOOD'S PRIVATE LODGE SLEEPS EIGHT

DISCERNING GOLFERS looking to add an extra element of privacy and luxury to a golf trip away with family or friends should take a closer look at Bowood Golf & Country Club in Wiltshire, where a private lodge offers the perfect retreat for a weekend golfing break. Queenwood is a private Georgian lodge, which offers a very special bolt hole, where at least two days of topnotch golfing can be blended with a boutique country house hotel. Each of the four bedrooms offers en-suite facilities, and are individually-decorated. After a restful night’s sleep it’s time to tackle the Dave Thomasdesigned Championship course, which is widely recognised as one of the finest layouts in the South West. Measuring 7,317 yards off the back tees, it represents a serious test for

professionals, although forward tees can reduce its length to a more manageable 5,682 yards, making it suitable for golfers of all standards. There are also great practice facilities, including a three-hole academy course, an undercover floodlit driving range and two putting greens. Three PGA-qualified teaching pros are also on

SPRING BREAKS AT OLD THORNS

Golfers can enjoy the fabulous facilities on offer at Old Thorns Manor Hotel Golf & Country Estate in Hampshire for as little as £99 this Spring, when booking directly with the resort. Tucked away in 400 acres of stunning countryside just off the A3, Old Thorns is one of southern England’s most picturesque country-house-style hotels, and offers luxury accommodation in 160 bedrooms, relaxing health spa facilities, fantastic cuisine, and an outstanding 6,581-yard, 18-hole championship course, designed by the legendary Peter Allliss, who is also the club’s president. With notoriously fast greens and plenty of natural hazards, the par-72 design is a challenging layout, while the typography of the course creates some wonderful views over the rolling

■ ETO TENIS QUATE EXERUM QUATI INT AS MAXIMPO RROVIT E

Hampshire countryside from several elevated tees. Old Thorns has a great range of dining options, including the 250-seater Kings Brasserie where the hotel’s legendary carvery is served alongside a sumptuous a la carte menu, while more relaxed pub-style food is available in the Sports Bar, where golfers can enjoy a beer and delicious pub-style food in more informal surroundings, while catching live sporting events on TV. For late night drinks, guests can head to the Atrium Champagne and Cocktail Bar, which is open every evening. Residential breaks at the Liphookbased resort from now until the end of April can be booked for just £99 per person, offering one night’s dinner, bed and breakfast, and two rounds of golf on the championship course. For details of the latest residential and green-fee only packages, visit www. oldthorns.com or call 01428 724555.

hand, while a former farmhouse has been converted into a smart clubhouse, with a pro shop and a tempting restaurant and bar. One night breaks staying at Queenwood Lodge, including two rounds of golf, dinner and full English breakfast, are available from £215 per person. For reservations call 01249 822228 or visit www.bowood.org.


[56] MARCH 2019

TRAVEL & BREAKS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

CHARMED BY CH A R LE S TO N

■ THE STUNNING CLUBHOUSE AT KIAWAH’S OCEAN COURSE AWAITS YOU AFTER YOUR ROUND.

If you’re looking for a Stateside holiday with authentic Southern hospitality, a dose of American history, and a collection of some of the world’s finest golf courses, then the charming city of Charleston, South Carolina, with its new direct flight from London Heathrow, ticks all the boxes

T

here is good reason that cars carrying South Carolina licence plates are emblazoned with the slogan ‘First in Golf’. The first golf club, golf course, and golf clubs imported into the United States all originated in its oldest city, Charleston, and it’s hard to drive a few miles in any direction without seeing a sign post for a country club or a golf resort. Today, the Charleston area boasts more than 24 courses, including many designed by some of the game’s most notable architects, such as Pete Dye, Tom Fazio and Jack Nicklaus. Visitors to the city are spoilt for choice for golfing experiences in a region that is generically called the ‘Lowcountry’, and which takes in the coastal counties of Charleston, Berkley and Dorchester. Thousands of golfers make the pilgrimage to the region’s showcase resort, Kiawah Island, where the Ocean Course and no fewer than five other world-class tracks could occupy the first week of any vacation, but there are plenty of other quality tracks on which to test your skills. The two stunning layouts at Seabrook Island – Ocean Winds and Crooked Oaks – should definitely be on your checklist, while there are two more stunners to be played at Wild Dunes, where the Fazio-designed Links and Harbor courses continue to earn rave reviews. Elsewhere, and at more affordable rates, there are tee times to be booked at Dunes West, Patriots Point Links, RiverTowne Country Club, Shadowmoss

■ SEABROOK ISLAND

THE CHARLESTON AREA BOASTS MORE THAN 24 COURSES, MANY DESIGNED BY SOME OF THE GAME'S MOST NOTABLE ARCHITECTS, INCLUDING JACK NICKLAUS, PETE DYE AND TOM FAZIO Plantation, Wescott Plantation, and, for those with a taste for American history, The Links at Stono Ferry, which is sprinkled with relics from the Revolutionary War, many of whose battles were fought around this region. For followers of top-flight tournament golf,

this summer sees the historic Country Club of Charleston host the 74th US Women’s Open (May 31-June 3), which will offer fans the chance to see the world’s best female professionals in action over the club’s stunning Seth Raynor-designed course. With the course located close to the city centre, it presents the ideal opportunity for visitors and locals to drop in to catch the action. Between rounds, the area has much to offer visitors, including Charleston itself, which was recently voted the best small city in North America. Boasting a rich history and a vibrant contemporary culture, Charleston is awash with great restaurants, lively bars, and a buzzing nightlife. It’s a place to savour smoky, slowcooked BBQ, sample a legendary oyster Po’ Boy sandwich, or sip on Bourbon-laced cocktails or locally-brewed craft ales at the numerous rooftop bars on King Street and all over the city. Shoppers can hunt out bargains at the infamous Charleston City Market, soak up the city’s culture on a carriage ride through the historic district, or perhaps learn the dance which got its name from the city where it all began. Music is central to Charleston culture, and there are no shortage of jazz clubs and bars in wvhich to listen to live bands and gigs, while architecture fans can marvel at the unique design of the multicoloured stucco houses that line the city’s streets and avenues. The city is bike-friendly, and easy to walk, so you’ll only need a car when heading out of town for golf. And what golf awaits.


TRAVEL & BREAKS

MARCH 2019

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

■ KIAWAH’S OCEAN COURSE

PLACES TO VISIT CHARLESTON CITY MARKET Despite a recent renovation, the city’s 220-year-old market, which is built in a Greek-revival style, remains an iconic building in Charleston history. Home to the Confederate Museum, the main section is occupied by an eclectic mix of stallholders selling anything from hats and handbags to jewelry and arts and crafts.

Ocean Course, Kiawah Island (KIAWAHRESORT.COM, GREEN FEES: $281-$387) Since its hosting of the 1991 Ryder Cup, the Ocean Course has been on every golfer’s bucket list, blowing away visitors with its lethal blend of tidal marshland carries, scrub-covered coastal dunes and wildly undulating greens. While toned down from the nearly unplayable version that hosted the 2012 US PGA Championship – which it will do again in 2021 – the 7,356-yard layout is still relentlessly tough, yet it reels you in with its tranquil Lowcountry environment, and a finishing stretch of holes along the Atlantic that offers a second-to-none mix of beauty and brawn.

Wild Dunes, Links Course (WILDDUNES.COM, $145-$155) The hole and course that put Charleston on the golf map was the 18th at Wild Dunes Resort, on the Isle of Palms north of the city. The year was 1980, and Tom Fazio’s first major solo design set tongues wagging, thanks to a rolling landscape draped with marshes, ancient oaks and scrubcovered dunes that Fazio called ‘an architect’s dream’. Its par-5 18th hole, the Atlantic hard by the left edge, quickly became one of the most photographed in golf. Also on the same resort, the Harbor Course, another Fazio design, measures up pretty well with its older sibling, with nearly every hole encountering lakes, salt marshes or the Intracoastal Waterway.

Turtle Point (KIAWAHRESORT.COM, $130-$221) At most resorts this layout would take centre stage, but on Kiawah Island it’s just a terrific test that’s understandably overshadowed. Designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1981, and refurbished a couple of years ago, Turtle Point is a treat, with tight fairways and shallow greens – often set on the diagonal and usually fronted by trouble – making it a solid test. Holes zigzag through lush

■ COUGAR POINT GOLF COURSE ON KIAWAH ISLAND

vegetation and meander along marshes and out to the ocean. The most memorable holes are in the stretch from 14-16, which are closer to the Atlantic than any on the Ocean Course.

HISTORIC DISTRICT These cobblestoned streets are lined with row houses, and you’re likely to spot more horse-drawn carriages and cruiser bikes than cars.

Osprey Point (KIAWAHRESORT.COM, $130-$221) This Fazio creation makes a compelling case for a No.2 ranking at Kiawah Island Resort. Opened in 1988, it starts with its own clubhouse, then tosses into the mix four large natural lakes, inlets of saltwater marsh and maritime forests of old live oaks, pines, palmettos and magnolias. Short, strategic par 4s, water on 15 holes, and a network of wooden bridges that link one hole to the next, mark out Osprey Point as another ‘must-play’.

FOLLY BEACH The 12-mile island south of downtown is known for its surf-worthy waves, seafood outlets, and live-music bars

Cougar Point (KIAWAHRESORT.COM, $130-$221) Arguably Charleston’s most underrated track, Cougar Point is a reworking of an original Gary Player design. Stretching to 6,875 yards, it boasts a handful of holes routed along the Kiawah River, with graceful shaping, along with beautiful woods and marsh backdrops, making for a very entertaining round.

Charleston National (CHARLESTONNATIONALGOLF.COM, $62-$81) Plenty of forced carries over marsh characterise this Rees Jones design in Mt. Pleasant, just north of Charleston, but handsome Lowcountry vistas of Hamlin Sound, Bulls Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway will make the sting of losing a few balls somewhat more palatable.

WATERFRONT PARK Elegantly landscaped with fountains and boardwalks, the park leads out to White Point Garden, by the Battery on the tip of the peninsula, where the flower-filled lawns offer fine views across the water.

Dunes West (DUNESWESTGOLFCLUB.COM, $52-$96) Arthur Hills carved out this 6,859-yard course in 1991 from land that was once part of the historic Lexington Plantation. Ancient oaks, tidal marshlands and Bermuda-topped dunes are all part of the challenge and beauty that serve as powerful enticements. The unusual closing hole is a 456-yard par four that skirts the marsh.

The Links at Stono Ferry (STONOFERRYGOLF.COM, $55-$88) This Ron Garl design is sprinkled with relics from the Revolutionary War. An appealing front nine twists through the forests, but things heat up on the back nine, owing to a handful of scenic holes along the Intracoastal Waterway. The all-carry, 159-yard par-3 14th and the 343-yard, par-4 18th, with an island green, are standouts. For more information on holidays to the Charleston area, visit www.explorecharleston. co.uk or call 800 774 4444.

GETTING THERE British Airways is launching a new and exclusive direct flight from Heathrow T5 to Charleston, starting from April 4. With two flights per week (Thurs/Sun) on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, return fares in World Traveller start from £600, World Traveller Plus from £928, and from £1,920 in Club World. To book, visit www.ba.com.

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[58] MARCH 2019

TRAVEL & BREAKS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

TASTE THE BEST OF BORDEAUX WITH GREENS & GRAPES

■ GOLF DU MEDOC

G

olfers with a love of fine wine and top-class links are invited to experience the best of both of these worlds with a Bordeaux-based travel agency that aims to introduce the golfing and wine-orientated pleasures that are on tap in the south-west of France. Greens & Grapes is run by well-travelled husband-and-wife team Lucius and Sylvie McPhilemy, who hail from Ireland and France respectively, but now live in Bordeaux. Lucius is the golf nut, with expertise on the clubs and courses in the region, while French-born Sylvie has the specialist local knowledge, and together their extensive network of connections in the golf and wine world gives them the ability to provide visiting golfers with a truly unique golf holiday. Green & Grapes offers a wide range of bespoke ‘all-in-one’ golf, wine and gastronomy packages, with all of the golf courses, restaurants and wineries having been personally visited and tested to ensure they meet the McPhilemys' own high standards. They can take care of guests’ every need, from a meet-and-greet service at the airport to a full chauffeuring service; hotel and golf courses transfers, golf club rentals, and tee bookings on a range of courses, including such top-rated tracks as Golf du Medoc, Moliets, Hossegor, Biarritz and Grand Saint-Emilionnais. Wine buffs will enjoy meeting some of Bordeaux’s leading wine producers, and tasting the latest vintages in the region’s finest chateaux, while they will even have the chance to blend their own wines, while chatting to the people who make the magic happen. Guests can choose from a wide range of hand-picked accommodation options, ranging from three- to five-star hotels, to self-contained apartments and luxury chateaux accommodation. Sample packages include four nights’ B&B in a four-star apartment in Bordeaux, with golf at three courses in the area, and wine tastings in the Medoc and Saint-Emilion, from €528 per person. Golf News readers can take advantage of a complimentary château visit and wine tasting at a top winery in the Bordeaux region for bookings made before the end of March, and holidays taken during 2019. This exclusive offer applies to any package booked for a minimum of four days and three nights. For details of the offer, visit www.greensandgrapes.com/ golfnewsRC, and use the code ‘FREE WINE TASTING’. For more details, visit www.greensandgrapes.com, email lucius@greensandgrapes.com or call +33 (0)672846660.

■ BORDEAUX BOASTS SOME OF THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS WINERIES

CHAKA TRAVEL EXPANDS HOLIDAY OPTIONS IN MIDDLE EAST SPECIALIST GOLF TRAVEL AGENCY Chaka Travel, which boasts 24 years of experience in selling luxury packages to destinations such as Mauritius and South Africa, has recently ■ DUBAI IS A POPULAR WINTER GOLFING DESTINATION expanded its portfolio of golf holidays offered in the Middle East. Following the development of a number of new leading destination management company championship golf courses and luxury hotels all over the based in Dubai, and this provided me with region, Chaka Travel has appointed a new member of staff, some amazing insight into the world of former tour professional Richard Mason, to look after this Middle East golf travel, and given me the growing section of the company’s business. personal experience to help consumers get Chaka Travel’s Managing Director Mark Marais, said: the very best out of their golf holidays.” ‘’We’re delighted to announce the addition of Richard into He added: “Whether it be Dubai, Abu Dhabi, ■ RICHARD MASON the Chaka Travel team. He brings a wealth of experience Ras Al Khaimah, Oman, or further afield, I am from the Middle East to us and we’re excited for our future excited to compliment the vast experience developments within the region.’’ at Chaka Travel to create the very best value and experience, by London-based Mason, who enjoyed stints on the PGA EuroPro adding those unique aspects to the trip that only a local to the Tour, has also plenty of travel industry experience, having destination would know to explore.’’ worked within various leading resort and travel chains both The magical surroundings of the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai, internationally and within the UK. home to the Desert Classic; the stunning coral reefs of Oman, home to Al Mouj golf; or the superb seaside course at Saadiyat Speaking about his new role, Mason said: ‘’I’m delighted to join Beach in Abu Dhabi, are just a few of the region's gems that are Mark and the team at Chaka Travel. Their drive to offer the very waiting to be discovered with Chaka Travel. best service and excellence in luxury golf travel is evident and something that matches my own work ethic. I’ve spent the past To find out about the latest breaks, email richard@ four years heading up the inbound sports travel division at a chakatravel.com or visit www.chakatravel.com.

TAKE YOUR GAME TO NEW HEIGHTS AT TERRE BLANCHE TERRE BLANCHE RESORT in southern France has opened a new state-of theart golf academy designed to meet the needs of tour professionals and visiting amateurs. The resort’s brand new campus and fitness centre offers a host of newly curated programmes that range from four to ten weeks. Each provides an unparalleled combination of biomechanical analysis, physical and mental coaching, giving players a unique opportunity to improve their skills and performance using the very latest facilities. The Albatros Golf Performance Centre, the only European Tour Performance Institute certified in Europe, houses the prestigious Biomecaswing Centre, headed by the renowned Jean-Jacques Rivet. Utilising

the latest biomechanical technology, the Biomecaswing concept provides customised programmes based on kinetic analysis of the body – a physical assessment and a precise analysis of a player’s balance and gestures that allows players to refine and optimise their games. To date, it is unique to the resort and there is no equivalent in Europe. A Leading Hotel of the World, the five-star Terre Blanche resort is home to two 18-hole championship courses, Le Château and Le Riou, both of which were designed by Dave Thomas to incorporate the natural Provençal terrain and stunning water features. Off the course, guests can experience Michelin-starred dining at restaurant Le Faventia, relax at the awardwinning spa, andenjoy the azure

■ THE NEW ACADEM Y

infinity pool with panoramic views over the surrounding landscape, and a myriad of activities within and around the resort. These include visits to the local medieval villages, tasting Provençal wines and olive oils, horse riding, mountain biking, cooking lessons, pottery and hiking. For more details on golf breaks to Terre Blanche, visit www.terre-blanche.com.


TRAVEL & BREAKS

MARCH 2018 [59]

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

UNLIMITED GOLF IN THE BAHAMAS WITH SANDALS GUESTS STAYING at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis & Spa Resort in the Bahamas can benefit from free unlimited golf at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Club on all bookings made before mid-April. Guests can enjoy free unlimited rounds of golf at Emerald Bay’s award-winning 18-hole course, which was designed by Greg Norman. The promotion applies to all bookings made before April 16 when staying seven nights or more in any room category and for travel dates up to December 26, 2019. Golf carts are mandatory, but not

SPRING TO IT TO BAG A BARGAIN LISBON BREAK

RENOWNED FOR ITS outstanding mixture of history, culture and gastronomy, Lisbon also provides access to a plethora of first-class golf courses, and players can experience some of its finest this spring with ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf’s new stay-and-play breaks. Portugal’s largest golf course management company is offering a combination of three and four-night deals, with four nights’ hotel, bed-andbreakfast and three rounds of golf bookable from £295pp. Available from March 1 until the end of May (excluding March 2-4), the eye-catching ‘Sesimbra’ packages feature golf at Quinta do Peru Golf & Country Club and Aroeira – both regularly ranked among Europe’s top 100 golfing venues. Bedand-breakfast accommodation is provided at the four-star Sana Sesimbra Hotel in the picturesque coastal village of Sesimbra. Package prices, which are based on two people sharing a room, start from €232 per person (approx £205) for a three-night, two-round stay including 18 holes each at Quinta do Peru and Aroeira, which features two courses. Four-night breaks featuring three rounds of golf include an additional 18 holes at Aroeira, with lunch at Aroeira also included. Other courses available to play as part of a package include the two layouts at Ribagolfe – regarded as one of the finest in the Lisbon region and was once described as the ‘Valderrama of Portugal’. For bookings, email info@orizontegolf.com or visit www.orizontegolf.com.

included in the package price, although they can be hired for $35. Those staying for less than seven nights can still qualify for other offers. Couples can enjoy unlimited golf if staying in a Butler suite for four nights or more. Alternatively, those staying three nights or more in any Club level room can enjoy two free rounds of golf per room. To book, or for more information, visit www.sandals.co.uk, call 0800 597 0002.

■ THE STUNNING COURSE AT SANDALS EMERALDS BAY WAS DESIGNED BY GREG NORMAN


Golf all year Madeira Golf Passport The Madeira Island Golf Passport offers five rounds of golf at Palheiro Golf or Santo da Serra. Plus, the courses will supply free transfers to and from your hotel. It is available to purchase from your hotel reception or

Palheiro

at any of the participating golf clubs.

madeiraallyear.com


FEATURE | JUNE 2018

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SWING WITH SCENERY With the average winter temperature a balmy 19-20°c, it’s easy to understand why Madeira’s tourism website uses the address madeiraallyear.com

M

ild climate is just one reason why the Portuguese archipelago is now attracting visitors of all ages, after seemingly being pigeon-holed previously as a destination for the grey of hair. Word has spread of Madeira’s many other attractions: its varied and dramatic landscape; its opportunities for active holidays – including mountain biking, paragliding, diving and trekking; and its breathtaking vistas. It still retains the myriad charms that attract those approaching their dotage, but they are no longer the sole preserve of the senior: beautiful gardens and UNESCO World Heritage Site countryside, wine, wonderful food, friendly natives, easy navigation, and, of course, golf. The islands boast three excellent courses, each offering the sort of milieu that would have TV directors ordering cameramen to linger long away from the action on the fairways. With the island covering an area of just 286 square miles, and with the capital Funchal its hub, it’s easy to get around – so much so, that if you book a tee time, the club may very well send a shuttle to pick you up. Two of the courses – Palheiro Golf and Santo do Serra – are on Madeira, while the third, Porto Santo, lies a short hop away on the island of the same name, one of four comprising the Madeira archipelago. The best way to enjoy them is by purchasing a Madeira Golf Passport – available from most hotels and the golf clubs – which entitles the bearer to five rounds across the two ‘mainland’ tracks.

If you need a testimonial to the quality of the layouts, just take a look at who designed them: Robert Trent Jones Snr, Cabell B Robinson and Severiano Ballesteros. RTJ’s 1991 redesign of Santo da Serra – which dates originally from 1937 – created a spectacular 27-hole complex in a beautiful natural landscape, with views of Porto Santo and the bay of Machico, where Portuguese navigators first landed in 1419. The Machico and Desertas nines form the 6,825-yard championship course, on which the European Tour’s Madeira Islands Open has been held on ten occasions – Mark James winning the inaugural 1993 tournament. The third and fourth on the Machico are regarded as the signature holes, sitting atop cliffs more than 2,200ft above the Atlantic. If that’s likely to bring on an attack of acrophobia, either keep it on the short stuff or try the 3,193-yard Serras course, a delightful alternative, with lakes and mountain views along flatter terrain. The Robinson-designed Palheiro Golf opened in 1993 and sits within the magnificent Palheiro Estate, which is more than 200 years old and was owned in the 19th century by the Blandy family – more of whom later. The course borders the five-star Hotel Casa Velha do Palheiro and meanders through a pristine environment of maritime pine and botanical woodland, garnished with lush, sub-tropical vegetation. And, at nearly 1,640ft above sea level, the location enjoys similarly dramatic views of Madeira’s mountainous skyline and the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the island’s capital which is just ten minutes away. The 6,656-yard course takes full advantage of Madeira’s terrain, with abrupt ridges and deep valleys. It is listed inside continental Europe’s top 200 in one benchmark course

■ SANTO DA SERRA

ranking, and the presence of a splendid hotel, secured a spot for Palheiro in the top 80 in two recent ‘best European golf resort’ lists. A short, 20-minute flight – or a two-and-a-half hour cruise – will cover the 27 miles between Madeira and the archipelago’s easternmost island, Porto Santo, home to Porto Santo Golfe, which hosted the Madeira Islands Open between 2009-11. Laid out by Seve, the 7,036-yard course comprises two distinct nines, spanning an area from sand dunes to basalt cliffs. The US-style southern route is dotted with lakes, requiring a precise game; while the northern route MADEIRA IS LESS THAN A is atop yet more cliffs, near a stunning FOUR-HOUR FLIGHT FROM beach, also called Porto Santo. The MOST UK AIRPORTS, WITH signature hole is undoubtedly the 200BOTH BRITISH AIRWAYS yard, par-three 13th, which requires a (WWW.BA.COM) AND EASYJET shot over a gorge to reach a clifftop (WWW.EASYJET.COM) AMONG green. AIRLINES OFFERING DIRECT There’s no real need to stress the FLIGHTS TO FUNCHAL. quality of the views from these three courses – their location means you take PALHEIRO GOLF that as a ‘given’, as the young people WWW.PALHEIRONATURE say. Each will also happily sell you a ESTATE.COM/PALHEIRO-GOLF glass of Madeira, the famous fortified wine which has been produced on the PORTO SANTO GOLFE island by the Blandy family for more WWW.PORTOSANTO than 200 years. A visit to Blandy’s Wine GOLFE.COM Lodge in Funchal is one of many ‘must dos’ while staying here. SANTO DO SERRA As my hair gets more snowy than merely salt ‘n’ pepper, I can see why WWW.SANTODASERRA the more mature among us wanted to GOLF.COM keep the paradise of Madeira a close secret. But the genie’s out of the bottle VISIT THE DISCOVER MADEIRA and word is spreading faster than the WEBSITE AT 2km toboggan ride from Monte to WWW.MADEIRAALLYEAR.COM Funchal. Did I not mention that?

FACTFILE

■ PALHEIRO GOLF


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EW

golf holiday experts for 23 years www.chakatravel.com

DUBAI

from £2,495 PP

5* Jumeirah Al Naseem

7 nights Bed & Breakfast 4 rounds of golf on 4 different courses

Incl. flights, transfers plus a sunset desert safari

ITALY

from £1,395 PP

4* Golf & Gastronomy in Emilia Romagna

7 nights Bed & Breakfast with 5 rounds of golf on 5 courses Incl. business class flights, car hire, spa & wine tasting

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

5* Casa De Campo

from £2,585 PP

7 nights All Inclusive, 5 rounds golf, shared cart & range balls Incl. flights, transfers & Pete Dye Golf Lodge room

MAURITIUS

from £2,295 PP

5* Constance Belle Mare Plage

12 nights Full Board Incl. flights, transfers & golf aprox £13 per round

All Inclusive supplement from £760 pp with golf buggy

SOUTH AFRICA

from £2,295 PP Cape Town & Fancourt Classic Garden Route 10 nights Bed & Breakfast with 6 rounds of golf on 6 courses Incl. flights, transfers & hire car

THAILAND

Bangkok & Hua Hin

from £2,695 PP

14 nights Bed & Breakfast with 5 rounds of golf Incl. flights, transfers & caddie included per round

ESCORTED GOLF TOURS WITH PGA PRO JACQUES GOUS

INCLUDING ONE TO ONE & GROUP TUITION Join us on one of our popular escorted tours. Suitable for golfers and non-golfers alike, our PGA pro will be your guide throughout.

South Africa, Mauritius, Bulgaria, Brazil... TO SEE OUR RANGE OF GOLF HOLIDAYS, ESCORTED TOURS AND GOLF TOURNAMENTS VISIT OUR WEBSITE


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MARCH 2019 [63]

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

Bob Champion After a career spent jumping fences on top of a racehorse at 35mph, former jockey Bob Champion prefers to get his kicks on the relative safety of the golf course these days in India. I was out filming with the BBC there last year for The Real Marigold Hotel, and we had lots of memorable meals in Udaipur, where the series was based. They were not always pleasant, but they were certainly memorable!

■ PGA NATIONAL, FLORIDA

My first ever golf holiday was to… I don’t think I’ve ever been on a golf holiday per se, but I’ve been on plenty of holidays and then played golf. Whenever I go to Florida I always manage to squeeze in one or two games.

My worst holiday experience was... eating food in India! I’m a meat-and -two-veg kind of guy. Simple English food is what I like most.

My favourite golf course is... Wentworth’s West Course. Unfortunately, my first time there was not long after I had taken up the game and I was terrible. I must have gone around in about 285 – how the hell they let me on the course in the first place, let alone stay on it, I don’t know!

My top golfing travel tip is... to tee off either very

My ideal golf holiday fourball would include... my best friend, Derek Thompson,

I always travel with... my phone. It’s a necessary evil these days.

my brother, Howard, and former jockey and TV presenter John Francombe. The golf would be terrible, but we’d have a lot of laughs.

The best hotel I’ve ever stayed in was...The Savoy in

To make a donation to the Bob Champion Cancer Trust, visit www.bobchampion.org.uk

London. It was only the once, but I’ll never forget it. Pure luxury.

My favourite golf holiday destination is... Florida. I usually go out there in the winter. It’s usually cold here in the UK, so it’s great to get some sun on your face, and the courses are superb – providing you don’t mind water and the occasional crocodile!

early or very late – I like it best when there’s no-one else on the golf course!

■ THE SAVOY HOTEL IN LONDON

My favourite city in the world is ...London, just because I love England, and it’s got so much going on. Paris is far more beautiful from a tourist perspective though.

When I go on holiday I never…ride horses. My most memorable holiday meal was…

It’s a holiday, after all.

Please see our website or call for more information| www.vidagopalace.com | + 351 276 990 980

Feel like a King at Vidago Palace In 1908 King Carlos I wanted to build a luxurious space, to match his ambitions, in order to accommodate visitors, tourists, and the royalmily, who were coming in search of the therapeutic effects of the famous mineral waters. With the assassination of King Carlos I and the start of the revolution, the monarch never got to know the hotel, until the fall of the monarchy on 5 October 1910. In the beginning of the last century, under King Carlos I, the project was begun for the Vidago Palace Hotel. The northern region of Portugal has numerous natural springs, and the thermal cures and well-being spaces were very much appreciated by the aristocratic society of the Belle Époque. King Carlos I wanted to build a luxurious space, at an international level, to match his ambitions, in order to accommodate visitors, tourists, and the royal family, who were coming in search of the therapeutic effects of the famous mineral waters. The waters that made the town of Vidago a centre of national interest. With the assassination of King Carlos I and the start of the revolution, the monarch never got to know the hotel, but after his death he was replaced by King Manuel II, until the fall of the monarchy on 5 October 1910. The Vidago Palace continued its history and opened on 6 October 1910, a time when the First Portuguese Republic came into power. The hotel never hosted a king, but the Portuguese and European aristocracy stay frequently in the hotel, considering it one of the most luxurious hotels on the Iberian Peninsula. Architect Miguel Ventura Terra began the project, which was completed by

architect António Rodrigues da Silva Júnior. In 1936, the Vidago Palace was enhanced by the opening of a 9-hole golf course, designed by a famous golf course architect, Philip Mackenzie Ross. The combination of a palace with thermal care and a luxurious golf course places Vidago Palace among the most prestigious European spa destinations, including during the period of World War II. During the post-war period, the fame of Vidago Palace remained intact and intensified, in the 1950s and 1960s, as the preferred site for wealthy families who stayed at the hotel, enjoying the parties organised there and the long walks in the surrounding forest. Although the fame of Vidago Palace remained intact in Portugal, throughout the following decades, its splendour began to fade away and its international standing decayed with the appearance of an international, more diversified, supply and higher luxury standards. Vidago Palace would end up removing itself from the scene before closing in 2006, keeping on file valuable documents that testify to the splendour of its past. The reopening of the hotel in 2010, one hundred years after its first inauguration in 1910, is a masterstroke, an unexpected turnaround. A substantial investment and massive amounts of work enabled this historic location to achieve new life and perform the leading role in the hotel market with the criteria of comfort and luxury of the 21st Century, without sacrificing its architectural heritage and identity.


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© 2019

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Golf News March 2019  

The March issue features Interviews with Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Jordan Smith and Tour Rookie Steven Brown. There's also the chance...

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Profile for golfnews