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Issue 230 | Febuary 2014

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NEW GEAR FOR 2014

IT’S TIME TO HIT THE PRO SHOP!

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February 2014/ Issue 230

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Read the UK’s No.1 Golf Paper online at www.golfnews.co.uk

Issue 230 | Febuary 2014

Golf News, The Studio, 14 Deanway, Hove, East Sussex BN3 6DG. Tel: 01273 556377. email: info@golfnews.co.uk. Website: www.golfnews.co.uk Managing Director Matt Nicholson matt@golfnews.co.uk

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NEW GEAR FOR 2014

Old Thorns

Published by BlueGreen Media Contributors Paul Mahoney, Clive Agran, Ewen Murray, Denis Pugh, Alistair Tait

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IT’S TIME TO HIT THE PRO SHOP!

IT’S A DISTANCE IRON.

DON’T LET THE FORGIVENESS, CONTROL AND SOLID FEEL FOOL YOU. ©2014 PING P.O. BOX 82000 PHOENIX, AZ 85071

ERNIE ELS P30 | CALLAWAY P34 | MARTIN KAYMER P40 | PRO SHOP P46 | SARAH STIRK P55 | ME AND MY TRAVELS P57

© Copyright Golf News 2014. No part of this publication may be copied, photocopied or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in anyway or means, either by recording or otherwise, without permission of the publishers in writing.

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Rain, rain, go away…

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here are outdoor types that never tire of saying that it is ‘never the wrong type of weather, just inappropriate clothing’, whenever indoor types like myself complain about having to go outside in inclement conditions, but anyone working in the golf industry in the UK over the past few months will probably beg to differ. It’s been too wet even for waterproof manufacturers and umbrella sellers to profit from the downpours, given that so many golf courses have had to shut up shop. And even those

that have been able to remain open have had to make do with a meagre diet of diehard members, while those fairweather golfers who have long since given up carrying their clubs have had to stay at home waiting for the trolley bans to be lifted. Following several years of recession, and last spring’s extended winter, the tidal surges and floods that have submerged large swathes of the country, and high winds that have torn down trees, have added injury to insult, and left many clubs facing huge bills to clear up the mess.

Clubs that wisely invested in new drainage systems in recent years will hopefully reap the rewards in the weeks ahead as ‘the big dry out’ takes hold, but those venues based on slow-draining clay soil will, quite literally, have to suck it up and see. Whatever condition your course is in, be sure you pay it a visit, make full use of the facilities, and maybe even just drop in for lunch, check out all the shiny new equipment in the pro shop, or have that long-overdue lesson. And remember, the sunshine is only a day away!

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February 2014/ Issue 230

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Golf fans in the South East can look forward to seeing the game’s top stars in action on home turf later this year, following the announcement that the 2014 Volvo World Match Play (L-R) Charles Fairweather (London Golf Club), George O’Grady Championship will be (European Tour), Per Ericsson (Volvo Event Management) and Guy Kinnings (IMG Head of Golf) at the launch of the 2014 Volvo played on the World Match Play at The Savoy on February 5 International Course at the London Golf Club in Kent, from October heard that the 15-19. International The new destination for Course at the the historic tournament London Golf Club had been the subject is a great track, of much speculation and I’m looking in the months and forward to seeing weeks leading up to the it for myself. I Defending champion Graeme McDowell announcement, with finished third at Wentworth being thought the 2008 European the likeliest venue to stage the tournament Open on the Heritage Course there, and I think thanks to its long history of hosting the event. it will make for a fantastic venue. I’m very much However, the European Tour, Volvo and IMG looking forward to defending my title there in came down in favour of the London Club, October.” which hosted the European Open on its Swede Stenson, who is more than happy Heritage Course in 2008. to support what is a domestic brand for him, Celebrating the 50th anniversary since the said: “I was delighted to qualify for the 2014 inaugural championship, which was won by Volvo World Match Play Championship and Arnold Palmer at Wentworth in 1964, the 2014 am very happy to confirm I will be playing. I renewal will revert to a 16-man field and offer really enjoy the match play format and also I a prize fund of €2.25m, with a first prize of want to support Volvo, not only because they €650,000. The elite field will qualify via revised are Swedish, but because they have been such criteria, and will be split into four groups of great supporters of the European Tour for over four in the group stages, before the leading 25 years.” two players per group proceed to the knockSpeaking on behalf of the host venue, club out phase to be played over the weekend. The chairman Charles Fairweather, added: “We tournament will now be held over five days are very excited to host the prestigious Volvo starting on a Wednesday. World Match Play Championship this October. Endorsing the move to the championship’s We are looking forward to working with Volvo, former traditional October date, as well as a IMG and the European Tour to deliver what we long-awaited return to the United Kingdom, hope will be the best Volvo World Match Play the first two players to qualify were quick Championship to date, and I have no doubt to confirm their participation: defending that the players will find the International champion Graeme McDowell, and Henrik Course at the club ideally suited to match play Stenson, winner of the money lists on the golf.” European and PGA Tour last year. The World Match Play Championship McDowell commented: “I think it is fantastic was begun by Mark McCormack and IMG in that the Volvo World Match Play Championship 1964, and has evolved considerably since will be played in England for this special moving from Wentworth in 2009, successfully anniversary. I enjoyed everything about my securing a world-class field by qualification victory last year at Thracian Cliffs in Bulgaria. on merit and revising the format. Last year the Any event that Volvo is involved in as a championship was the first full European Tour sponsor is always a privilege to win. It seems event to be played in Bulgaria at Thracian Cliffs, right though to celebrate the championship’s with the three previous editions held at Finca anniversary in England, where the tournament Cortesín in Spain. was held for so many years.” Details on tickets for the event will be The Northern Irish star continued: “I have released shortly via the European Tour website. 


February 2014/ Issue 230

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Freehold vote secures Burnham’s future The members of Burnham Beeches Golf Club, the oldest club in Buckinghamshire, are now the proud owners of the land they play their golf on. Having leased the land for 122 years from the Burnham Trust, set up by Lord Burnham, the club has now acquired the freehold covering the course, clubhouse and practice facilities. The club was originally founded in 1891 on land owned by the Corporation of the City of London. The first lease with Lord Burnham was set up in 1908, and although the current lease still has 45 years to run, the opportunity to control its own destiny was too good to miss for the club. The decision to buy the freehold went to an extraordinary general meeting before Christmas, at which the members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposal.

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General manager Patrick Dawson said: “In difficult economic times, with increased pressure on golf clubs, Burnham Beeches is bucking the trend, and the members are looking forward to the next 122 years, safe in the knowledge that this part of Buckinghamshire will always be a golf course.” He added: “With the freehold secured, the future of the club looks very positive. A bunker renovation programme is ongoing, as is an upgrade to the practice facilities, and refurbishment of the locker rooms and other clubhouse areas. The continued investment in both the course and the clubhouse facilities has ensured membership is strong.”

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course was in great shape, with all 18 holes in play. “Playing with hickory clubs offers less choice of both club and shot,” said Walker. “The shots are more crafted, which you wouldn’t normally play with modern equipment, using more running shots and accepting less distance off the tee. It was great to play with both captains – all in all a great experience.” The day concluded in Epsom’s historic clubhouse, where iconic Open

Champions such as Harry Vardon and James Braid, back in the early 1900’s, would have raised a glass or two. All guests then attended an official presentation, followed by an 1889-themed meal and dancing into the small hours. For golfers interested in joining Epsom, there is an exclusive 125th anniversary offer for new members which provides free golf until March 31, giving 15 months’ golf for the price of 12. The club will be holding an open weekend on April 12-13, when local golfers are invited to play the course for £10. To reserve a tee time, or to enquire about membership, call 01372 741867.

Tornado rips through West Malling

West Malling Golf Club in Kent bore the brunt of a mini-tornado that ripped through parts of Surrey, Sussex and Kent last month. The super storm, which took place on January 25, brought chaos to all three counties, with over 100 trees brought down and power

lines cut to thousands of homes in the region. West Malling lost 16 trees as the tornado passed directly through its two layouts, the aptly-named Hurricane course and the Spitfire course. Two trees were uprooted close to the first tees on both courses, but thankfully the storm occurred during the evening when the course was empty of golfers. The huge clear-up operation was helped by a number of members who came in to offer their services, and worked tirelessly alongside the club’s greenkeeping staff to remove the debris from the courses, which were shut for almost a week. Both courses are now open and ready for play.

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Epsom celebrates 125th year in true Edwardian style Members of Epsom Golf Club took a step back in time to the Edwardian era when it held its annual Hickory Golf Day on January 25. The event had a special place in this year’s golfing calendar, as it coincided with the Surrey club’s official Founders Day, with 2014 being its 125th anniversary year. Over 60 members turned out for the medal event, which saw head professional Stuart Walker dressed in plus fours and using hickory-shafted clubs, pitting himself against the testing Downs course, and playing with club captain Bob Heath and ladies’ captain Kay Briggs. Despite the recent storms, the

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Blue Mountain under threat from housing development

February 2014/ Issue 230

The future of Blue Mountain Golf and Conference Centre is under threat, after a local council controversially put in place plans to convert its 18-hole golf course into a housing estate. Bracknell Forest Council, Bracknell Town Council and the then-Berkshire County Council signed an agreement in 1990 that the land which is now used by Blue Mountain would remain a green space for at least the next 125 years. However, 34 of the 40 voting councillors at Bracknell Forest Council have agreed to waive the agreement so that 450 houses, two schools and a football pitch can be built in the golf club’s place. The decision was so unpopular that nearly 2,000 people turned up to protest against the council when the vote was made. The council also received a petition containing over 2,300 names objecting to the plans, along with 322 letters of complaint. Local MP Adam Afriyie said he was bitterly

disappointed with the insensitive decision, and wrote to the council to express his opposition. “There is, of course, a need for some local development, and this is often welcomed by residents, but it is important to ensure that our beautiful area is not under threat. This includes sites such as the Blue Mountain golf course,” he said. Blue Mountain is operated by the Crown Golf group, the UK’s largest owner and operator of golf clubs. Matthew Lynwood, Crown Golf’s property director, issued a statement on behalf of the company which attempted to allay fears that the course was under immediate threat. He said: “Last month over 2,000 local residents staged a protest campaign against the removal of the Section 52 Blue Mountain covenant, and we expect the local community will continue to unite against this proposed development. Realistically, any development – if it proceeds – remains years off. Bracknell Forest Council

Inactive handicap system scrapped The controversial England Golf system that meant some golfers had an ‘inactive handicap’ has been scrapped. Since 2010, all members of all golf clubs affiliated to England Golf have had to submit at least three scores per year from club competitions in order to have an ‘active handicap’. Those that failed to submit at least three have been given an inactive handicap, which has carried penalties such as the prevention from entering some competitions and restrictions on prizes. England Golf said this was the fairest way to ensure that golfers’ handicaps were a true a reflection of their ability, but one in ten golf club managers said they had lost members purely as a result of the system preventing golfers from entering events that require an active handicap to participate in. Part of the problem was that many golfers and clubs incorrectly thought their handicaps were invalid because they were labeled ‘inactive’. England Golf has agreed that the word ‘inactive’ is too unpopular, and will change the system so that, from March 1, golfers will have a ‘competition handicap’ based on the Scottish and Welsh systems. “England Golf recognises that the annotation of ‘i’ – inactive – has proved to be unpopular,” said a statement. “However, many clubs and organisations seek to encourage golfers to play a sufficient number of qualifying competitions to ensure that they hold an accurate handicap. For that reason, England Golf will join with the Scottish and Welsh unions in using the ‘c’ annotation to denote a competition handicap and the ‘i’ annotation will no longer appear.

Camberley thieves leave empty-handed

Camberley Heath Golf Club became the latest victim of a ram-raid attack on its clubhouse over the Christmas holidays. Thieves used a stolen 4x4 to smash their way into the entrance of the clubhouse at the Surrey venue on the night of December 22, but left the scene without managing to steal anything. Camberley’s office manager Stuart Dubber said: “I am extremely saddened by the incident, especially as it was over the Christmas period. We are thankful that nothing was stolen. I would like to thank Surrey Police for their help with the incident, and If anyone has any information please contact the police quoting reference 45130008594.”

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cannot proceed with the development until it has obtained detailed planning approval. It may take several years for them to get into this position, and there is certainly no guarantee that they will succeed. The planning process involves the submitting of formal applications, undertaking consultations with local residents, and placing detailed proposals before the planning committee. Ecology, traffic, infrastructure, design and other surveys will all need to be undertaken to accompany an application.” He added: “There are also several other areas in our neighbourhood which were allocated as areas for potential housing development many years ago, on which no redevelopment work has yet begun. This is just one of the many reasons why Blue Mountain members, customers, suppliers and staff need not be concerned for years to come, and they can rest assured that it is absolutely business as usual.”


February 2014/ Issue 230

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New sponsors back Flying Club Swingers Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Swingers returns for an eleventh season this month, and there’s a real buzz about this year’s competition, with a host of new sponsors on board promising some amazing prizes and giveaways for members. And if that’s not enough, the level of anticipation surrounding the location of this year’s final is at fever pitch. After last year’s memorable Gleneagles

showdown, the rumour is that somewhere hot and sunny is on the cards for the lucky 24 who qualify for the final following a season, which runs until Ryder Cup weekend in September. And the final is not the only event to be taking place with members’ days scheduled at Ashridge, West Hill and venues a little further a field in New York and Los Angeles. The first of the new sponsors is Trendy Golf, the golf apparel retailer that brings the latest designs from the trendiest designers around the world to the forefront of fashion, both on and off the course. Two hundred lucky Swingers who submit six scores will receive a Swingers; goody bag containing a shirt

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courtesy of Trendy Golf. Also on board for Season 11 is SkyCaddie, the No.1 rangefinder in golf, which will be providing the Players of the Month with state-of-the-art GPS watches. Long-time sponsors Cleveland Golf and Srixon continue their support with some fantastic initiatives for the season, including the brand new Swingers ambassador competition and the ever-popular predictions competition, where Swingers can win an exclusive Virgin Atlantic wedge for predicting the winner of 15 professional tournaments throughout the year. In addition, SunDog Eyewear, as sported on the fairways

by Paula Creamer, and Sure Stroke Golf are also joining the Season 11 party. Add into the mix existing partners Stewart Golf, Avis, Level Four Golf and Destination Golf, and that’s quite a team. It all kicks off soon, and with dozens of prizes to give away each month, plus the ultimate chance to make the final, there’s never been a better time to get involved. Register now at www.flyingclubgolfleague. com. Before registering you will be asked to join as a Flying Club member, which is free of charge. As Media Partner, Golf News will continue to feature monthly updates on Flying Club Swingers during Season 11.

Taylor takes Sussex/ Surrey Tour opener The opening event of the 2014 Golf Days UK Surrey/Sussex Tour saw six-handicapper Graham Taylor take the spoils at Worthing Golf Club after winning on countback. A strong field took to the fairways in the glorious winter sunshine, but with a strong wind blowing across the course, conditions were anything but easy. After all players had completed their rounds there was a threeway tie at the top of leaderboard between Taylor, Robert Wilson and Martyn Smith, with all players returning 29 points – seven shots over their respective handicaps. Using a best back-nine countback, Taylor came out on top to get his season off to the best start possible by bagging 100 Order of Merit points and a pair of adidas adizero golf shoes for his efforts. Wilson came second and chose a TaylorMade Tour umbrella and Smith took third place and picked up an adidas shoe bag. The two nearest-the-pin competitions were won by Wilson, who won TaylorMade gloves, and Dave Roth, who selected a dozen TaylorMade Burner balls. Organised by Golf Days UK, Surrey/Sussex Tour 10 events taking place on Fridays throughout the spring and summer, culminating in a grand final at Marriott Hanbury Manor in Hertfordshire in October. Open to all golf club members with active handicaps, the tour visits some of the region’s finest courses, including Crowborough Beacon, Royal Ashdown Forest, Kingswood, West Byfleet and Goodwood’s renowned Downs Course. As well as offering great prizes for the individual events, including TaylorMade equipment and clothing from Loudmouth Golf, the winner of the overall tour will be offered a custom-fitting session for a full set of irons at TaylorMade adidas Golf’s state-of-the-art performance centre at Wentworth, win a TaylorMade Tour golf bag, and be invited to play the iconic West Course with a guest. The tour operates an order of merit points system, with the top 14 players in the points list at the end of 10 events automatically qualifying for all-expenses paid final at Hanbury, while a 15th player will qualify via a 100-yard nearest-the-pin shootout at the final qualifying event. It costs a one-off fee of £20 to enter the order of merit, and each event costs from £39 per person for non-members, or £5 for members of the hosting club. For a full schedule of events and more details visit www.golfdaysuk.co.uk or call 01603 505533.


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February 2014/ Issue 230

News in Brief

FOXHILLS TO HOST SENIOR PGA PROFESSIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

RMS COMPLETES COURSE REVAMP

An exciting era beckons for the popular Senior PGA Professional Championship at its new venue at the Foxhills resort in Surrey. The three-year agreement will mean an increase in the size of the field, with up to 240 players competing over the two courses. In a special tribute to the two-time PGA captain Bernard Hunt, the PGA is also renaming the award – the Bernard Hunt Trophy. Hunt, who was also Ryder Cup captain on two occasions, was synonymous with the venue and has one of its two courses named

Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club in south London has completed the reconstruction of the front nine holes of its Outer course. The project, which was carried out by architect Martin Ebert, who was also responsible for remodeling the back nine in 2009, included the construction of new greens for all the holes. The second, the eighth and ninth greens were particulary challenging, as their surfaces had to be elevated above the level of the Thames floodplain.

COUNCIL PUTS GOLF COURSES UP FOR SALE Swindon Borough Council put Broome Manor Golf Complex, Highworth Golf Course and Moredon Par 3 Golf Course up for sale in a bid to secure their futures. If a buyer is found it will mean that Coate Water Golf will be the only golf venue that will be owned and operated by the council. A spokesman for GVA, which is handling the sale, said that long leaseholds on the golf courses are being offered, but they must be bought either as one package or as two separate portfolios, including the other venues.

GALLACHER LAUNCES DEFIB CAMPAIGN

Former European Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher has launched a nationwide campaign which could help to save the lives of golfers of all ages. Drawing on his own personal experience of suffering a sudden cardiac arrest last summer, the 1995 winning captain was joined by a host of friends and colleagues at Wentworth in December to launch the Bernard Gallacher Defibrillator Campaign 2014. With the Gallachers’ profile and encouragement, allied to a fundraising campaign being run concurrently with the PGA and Arrhythmia Alliance – the Heart Rhythm Charity - an estimated 2,600 golfing venues and around four million club golfers could benefit from the campaign. Currently, less than 30% of golf clubs have access to an automated external defibrillator.

SAUNDERS WINS HINGE TROPHY

Eltham Warren’s Henry Saunders battled through tough conditions at Royal St George’s to win the Hinge Trophy. With high winds and showers, the scratch player shot a two-over par 74 to beat Kings Hill’s Danny Jones on countback.

after him – the other course is the Longcross. PGA chief executive Sandy Jones said: “We are honoured and excited at the prospect of staging the Senior PGA Professional Championship at such an excellent venue as Foxhills. Over the past decade, the tournament has increased in popularity, and with Foxhills

hosting the tournament over both its courses, we are able to meet rising demand from our members to play in it.” He added: “Foxhills is a magnificent venue, and given Bernard Hunt’s long association with the club, and the PGA, we also felt it was appropriate to rename the trophy in his name. Bernard was a fantastic

Course manager dies on course The terrible weather that has affected large parts of the UK this winter led to the death of the course manager at Hinckley Golf Club in Leicestershire. Douglas Johnstone was killed on the course during the atrocious weather at the end of December. A popular and well-respected greenkeeper, Johnstone had been working on storm-damaged trees in the period between Christmas and New Year when he was killed by a falling branch near the club’s 14th hole. His body was discovered several hours later by a member.

Club chairman David Grimley said: “Those who knew Dougie are very shocked by the news. Dougie was a key member of staff and well respected by both the members and his colleagues. He had been the main reason for the vast improvement of the course condition bringing it up to a standard way and above expectations, for which we will be forever indebted to him. At this point all the members, staff and club officials thoughts are with his wife Sue and his family following this tragic event.”

Bearwood drainage investment pays off While scores of courses have taken a battering over the past two months, the relentless downpours have had little impact at Bearwood Lakes Golf Club in Berkshire, following the timely invesment in new drainage at the venue. When the club carried out an architectural review of the course three years ago, improved drainage was put at the top of the action list. And despite the recent deluges, the course has no temporary greens and it has only been closed three times this winter . Daniel Lightfoot, course manager at Bearwood Lakes commented: “We identified several areas of the course during our review that required improved

Tree joins ‘Team Goodwood’

drainage. The work we have carried out has made all the difference and has resulted in greatly improved surfaces and a much more playable course in the winter months. The work we have done has not only improved the condition of the course, but will also result in better conditions in early spring and for the remainder of 2014.”

Golf At Goodwood is continuing to extend its reputation as a centre for the development of young golfers in the region, following the arrival of England international Toby Tree. The 19-year-old amateur from Worthing is one of a host of exciting new talents in the country to take advantage of the training and playing facilities on offer at the West Sussex venue.

Tree, who made his U16 debut for England in 2008, looks destined to join the professional ranks in the very near future. He is already a client of the International Management Group, which handles the business affairs of Ernie Els, Jason Dufner and Matteo Manassero, among other prominent stars. Tree has enjoyed an extremely successful amateur career to date, winning the U15 national

player with a great Ryder Cup pedigree, and was also a proud PGA professional, and it is fitting that his name should adorn the trophy.” The 54-hole tournament will take place from May 14-16, with an increased prize fund of £38,000, and a first prize of £5,250. An added incentive for the top 20 finishers will be entry to the 2014 PGA Seniors Championship, and the chance to compete against stars from the Senior Tour. Foxhills’ general manager, Jason Adams, commented: “It is fantastic that the Senior PGA Professional Championship is coming to Foxhills, especially given the

long association between Bernard Hunt and the PGA. It is also a great opportunity to showcase the resort, and put golf at Foxhills on the map. Foxhills was originally a European Tour venue and staging this prestigious championship will help raise its profile as one of the leading resorts in the UK.” The tournament was won at Northants County last year by Wraith Grant, while reigning Senior Tour Order of Merit winner Paul Wesselingh kicked off his senior career with victory in 2012. Other past winners include Tommy Horton, who won the first four championships ever staged from 1995.

Prince’s unveils Open Week schedule

Prince’s Golf Club in Kent has unveiled the schedule for its ever-popular Open Week. The 2014 event runs from August 3-8, and features competitive open competitions for men, ladies and pairs, across the full range of handicaps. The club is now accepting entries for all its Open competitions in 2014, including the Laddie Lucas Spoon (for 8-13 year olds), which takes place on April 16, and the first event of the year, the Senior Men’s Open on March 11. “The Open Week in August is a very important week for us,” said Rob McGuirk, Prince’s golf director. “It’s our chance to show serious golfers what a great course we have, and while there is stiff competition, the number of repeat visitors is testament to the great

fun atmosphere we create during the week.” Following the opening of The Lodge at Prince’s, Open Week competitors now have the option to stay on site, with 38 bedrooms available in a variety of different formats with either sea or course views. The Lodge, which has AA three-star status, also includes two luxury suites, The Links and The Bay, which offer kingsized beds, two bathrooms and private seating areas. A package for the whole of Open Week, to include six days’ golf and five nights’ accommodation (based on twin occupancy in a standard room) costs £365, or £205 for only the golf. A booklet detailing all the open events is available to download at www. princesgolfclub.co.uk.

championship in 2010, the Sir Henry Cooper Masters in 2011, and earning caps in the England Boys team at the European Team Championship and the Boys Home internationals in the same season. Last year he enjoyed several wins in South Africa, and has been singled out by English Golf Union officials as ‘a star of the future’. The Goodwood youth development programme

is not focused solely on elite players, but aims to encourage all young golfers under the supervision of head professional Ryan Fenwick, who is the official coach for Sussex boys and girls. The longterm plan is to expand the coaching staff at Goodwood and develop a full college programme for young players, covering technical, playing, physical and life skills.


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February 2014/ Issue 230

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“The Swing Plane Perfector has allowed me and my students an accuracy and ease of consistent set-up with alignment sticks that previously had been unavailable. It’s a real bonus that it works on the indoor range as well as it does on grass. The unit is light and compact and is easily carried in a student’s golf bag.” Michael Bannon, PGA pro and long-time coach to Rory McIlroy

SECRET TO THE PERFECT SWING Paul Holland reveals the latest swing plane training aid that top coaches and tour pros are raving about My coaching has taken me all over the world, and I have watched and worked with some of the most influential coaches and best players. The insights I have gained, and the principles that I use in my day to day coaching, are based on all this work and study over 20 years. What this period has highlighted to me as a coach is that despite the technological advances in clubs, ball and coaching, the overall standard of golf has not improved. Statistics show that the average handicap 20-25 years ago was 19 and now, it is still 19. However, during this same period, professional/elite golfers’ scores have improved dramatically. So, what is the difference between them and us? The question this posed was what are the real reasons for this lack of improvement for social/recreational golfers. And a small list of recurring factors kept presenting themselves, of which the following four seemed the most prevalent: 1. Lack of coaching, or the belief that they could do it themselves without help from tried and tested sources. 2. Expense – practise and coaching costs. 3. Lack of time to visit a golf course or driving range for practice or coaching. 4. Inadequate coaching or wrong information. As I mentioned earlier, professional and elite golfers are definitely getting better. They are utilising new technology and it is paying off. They do not teach themselves. They have no issues with time and expense of playing and coaching and the information they are receiving is first-class. Add all these together and it is easy to see why they have improved dramatically over the past 25 years. Question to self: How can I overcome the four restrictions to improvement aforementioned and drastically improve my golf in a short period of time?

I have been searching for years with great angst over the solution to this problem, and believe I have recently stumbled upon the answer. I met an engineer – a non-golfer – who came to me for a lesson. During the lesson, the engineer noticed golfers using alignment sticks. It immediately struck him that laying sticks on the floor and sticking them in the ground was not as accurate as it might be. In addition, he noticed that you could not stick them into a hard surface, such as may be encountered on an indoor practice range. So to cut a long story short, he invented a golf training aid to overcome these problems – The Swing Plane Perfector. The unit has been designed so that it is small and light and easily fits into a golf bag. Its dimensions are 220mm x 90mm, and it weighs half a kilo. It is curently being used by some of the world’s best coaches, including Michael Bannon (coach to Rory Mcilroy), and Alain Alberti (coach to Rafael Jacquelin and head pro at a David Leadbetter Academy in France) to name two from a very long list. So how does this training aid address the four problems mentioned above. 1. Lack of coaching or the belief that they could do it themselves. After an initial set up with a coach, the Swing Plane Perfector gives you a consistent base setting for your ground and swing plane to provide you repeatable and precise feedback at every practice session. 2. Expense. Rather than a coach having to set you up on plane time after time, lesson after lesson, once your coach has set you up with the Swing Plane Perfector, you know the setting for your practice next week, next year, in ten years’ time. The unit is the cost of 2-3 golf lessons. It is manufactured in England from solid aluminium and carries a lifetime guarantee.

3. Lack of time to practise. The Perfector can be set up on any surface – a lawn, patio, kitchen or office floor, as well as indoor and outdoor driving ranges, so you can practise your swing plane anytime anywhere. Thereby increasing your practise with the minimum amount of effort. 4. Inadequate coaching or wrong information. Over the last few years there has been a paradigm change to the generally-held perception of how the clubhead should be delivered to the ball. This has mainly been due to the ball flight monitor Trackman/Flightscope technology that is now available. The belief that the club path determined the initial ball flight direction and the face at impact (open/ shut) the curvature of the ball is now almost unanimously regarded as wrong. While this face/path equation still has massive importance, the new realisation that the clubface determines 80% of the initial ball flight direction has changed the way we need to think about club delivery. For many years the majority of golfers were asked to hit in-to-out to try to rid themselves of a slice or fade, or to try to help them draw the ball from right to left (for a right-handed golfer). What we now have is the need for a clubface at impact that allows the ball to start on an intended line, but, just as importantly, a club path that is more on plane in the latter half of the downswing, and less in-to-out across the target line at impact. The Swing Plane Perfector helps to make these changes occur as soon as you start to practise with it, even without hitting shots the position improves straight away. Look at the images on this page to see the differences it can make. For more information. visit the website www.swingplaneperfector.com

Fine adjustment and compact size makes the Swing Plane Perfector a must-have piece of kit

1

2

GABRIELLA COWLEY +4 handicap, England. 1. Square at parallel to ground backswing. 2. Square at parallel to ground downswing.

1

2

LOUIS LAZARUS +2 handicap, Essex, England. 1. Square at parallel to ground backswing. 2. Square at parallel to ground downswing.

1

2

15 HANDICAP GOLFER 1. Inside the line on backswing. 2. Outside the line on downswing.

1

2

TYPICAL 18 HANDICAP GOLFER 1. Inside the line on backswing. 2. Outside the line on downswing.


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February 2014/ Issue 230

ROEHAMPTON HITS THE MARK

Nick Bayly pays a visit to the Roehampton Club in South West London to find out why it is proving to be such a successful family sporting club and breeding ground for young talent

2014 ROEHAMPTON JUNIOR MASTERS

Last year’s Junior Masters winners Lauren Horsford (Surrey), Andy Brown (Toro), Tom O’Reilly (Middlesex)

The Toro Trophy is a 36-hole invitation scratch competition. It has a maximum field of 54 – 36 boys and 18 girls - who are selected by their county to take part. The following counties are represented: Hampshire, Middlesex, Sussex, Surrey and Kent. Players must be under 16 as of January 1, 2014. This year’s event takes place on 21st September.

Any club with a two-year waiting list in these chastened financial times must be doing something right. But then Roehampton Club isn’t just any club – it’s far more than the sum of its many parts. It’s a bit like calling Harrods a corner shop. Yes, it sells stuff, and yes, it’s located on a corner, but that’s where the comparison with your local newsagent begins and ends. Tucked away off Roehampton Lane, in a leafy corner of SW15, Roehampton Club is a 120-acre sporting oasis surrounded by a sea of concrete and tarmac. Drive through its guarded gates and you enter a world where the drudgery of work-a-day life is left firmly behind, replaced by a myriad of sporting and leisure activities, some relaxing, some rather strenuous, but all of them good for body and soul. Mens sana in corpore sano might not be the club’s motto, but the ethos runs throughout the place. Originally established in 1901 as an officers’ polo and croquet club, the horses’ stables have long since gone – they now serve as storage sheds for the members’ trolleys – and the club now offers an Olympian range of facilities, including 30 tennis courts, five squash courts, four croquet lawns, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gym, fitness studio, sports hall, health and beauty clinic, art studio, bridge room, snooker room, crèche, and, let’s not forget, an 18-hole golf course and an impressive clubhouse. Boasting an annual turnover in excess of £9 million, Roehampton is clearly a pretty big business, all of which is overseen by chief executive Marc Newey, who has been at the helm since 2008. With a joining fee of £3,000, and a full adult annual subscription close to £2,500, it’s fair to say that membership at Roehampton not only comes with its privileges, but also requires a certain level of privilege to begin with. But the well-heeled citizens of West London are literally queuing up to

join what has become one of the most successful outfits of its kind – and it’s not hard to see why. Roehampton is a club for the age, and a club for all ages. During my walk-round with Golf and Games Manager Tristan McIllroy on a chilly weekday January morning, I came across toddlers in the crèche, mums in the pool, grandmothers on the tennis courts and the croquet lawns, men and women of all ages on the golf course, and a great-grandparent or two holding all the aces in the bridge room. The absence of school-age children was not surprising given the day and time, but with 1,400 of the club’s 5,000 members being juniors, I can only imagine that the place is full of eager youths after school, during holidays, and on weekends, dashing between tennis and golf lessons and grabbing a swim in between. While tennis is the most popular activity, golf is at the core of the operation, with 1,000 active members – of which 330 are women and 150 juniors – paying for access to the club’s attractive parkland course. Although short by modern standards, it is a fine example of good things coming in small packages, with the 6,100-yard course providing a solid test for all skill levels, as well as proving an ideal venue for ladies golf and introducing youngsters to the game, more of which later. While it may lack length, Men’s Golf Captain Stuart Loggie points out that the course is certainly no pushover, with the record over the recently refurbished par-71 layout of 66 showing that golf is a game played from 100 yards and in, as well as between the ears. Among the many features are the back-to-back par fives at the 9th and 10th, both of which offer eagle opportunities for long hitters, followed by the consecutive par threes at 13 and 14, which require an altogether more subtle approach. The last three holes provide a suitably challenging finish: a 406-yard par four; a 206-


February 2014/ Issue 230

yard par three; and the 18th, a 393-yard par four current Ladies’ Captain Polly Lewis, is equally requiring an accurate drive between two copses supportive of the way youngsters are brought along of trees to a tight dogleg, and then on to the wellat the club. “We are also intensely proud of our junior guarded green. section, for which the two Fuller girls have blazed a The course has received a significant upgrade in trail,” she says. “Roehampton is a competitive club, recent years, most recently by Ken Brown and Ken but above all it is a friendly one, where the social life Moodie of Creative Golf Design, who renovated the is as nearly as important as the golf!” entire layout in 2010. Besides reconstructing every An equal source of pride is the GolfMark status bunker, building new tees, and resolving some that the club earned in 2009. This is given by drainage issues, some major changes were also England Golf in recognition of a club’s excellence made to the aforementioned 18th, with the green not only in the area of developing and coaching and its surrounds completely remodelled to make junior golf, but also the club’s overall environment, the hole a more fitting finale to the round – which including areas such as child protection and it now certainly is, with a heavily-contoured green duty of care. Last year Roehampton was one of and tricky run-offs presenting an altogether more just five venues in England to be nominated for interesting challenge. the GolfMark Club of the Year Award, which is a The Course and Grounds Manager, John Lockyer, reflection of the hard work that goes on behind the and his team, have done wonders with the scenes by Harrison and his team. presentation of the course. His background with “GolfMark is certainly a tough process to the STRI has seen playing conditions transformed, complete, but we decided to subscribe to it with the greens now not only being among the wholeheartedly, as we have complete faith that it fastest in the country – they have no trouble is the right thing to do when teaching children,” reaching 11 or 12 says Harrison. “As on the stimp for well as ensuring competitions – but the kids receive the also the smoothest, correct coaching in which is even more the best possible “It is refreshing to find a important if you environment, it is want even pace about reassuring club that not only extols the and a true roll. With parents that the club pleasures of membership, state-of-the-art and the coaches fully but pays so much more Toro machinery, and appreciate their duty a brand new £1.5 of care.” than lip service to the needs million maintenance The club is also of the younger generation” building, Lockyer proud to have earned certainly has all a reputation for the tools at his encouraging the disposal – but more development of golf importantly, he has to a much wider the expertise to use them effectively. audience through its staging of the Roehampton The steady stream of talent to emerge from Ladies Gold Cup, a Pro-Am event which is now in the club is a product not only of the course they its 87th year, and the Roehampton Junior Masters, have to play on, but also the professionals that a 36-hole invitational event, where the Home teach them. Led by PGA Fellow Richard Harrison, Counties put forward the best under 16-year-old a dedicated team of four young PGA pros offers a boys and girls. host of group and individual lessons throughout The roll of honour for the Gold Cup includes the year, and provides an all-round mentoring legends such as Pam Barton, Angela Uzielli, programme that start from Tri-Golf through to Golf Beverley New, and Trish Johnson, while more recent Passports and beyond. winners include Georgia Hall and last year’s winner, The club is rightly proud of its youngsters, many Charlotte Ellis. Solheim Cup star Charley Hull was of whom have achieved great things at club, county also a regular in her amateur days, although she and international level. Among the current shining never managed to win it – which reveals something lights are sisters Samantha and Annabel Fuller. In about the quality of players that the event attracts. December, 14-year-old Sammy, who is the best girl This year’s Gold Cup takes place on April 12, and of her age group in England, won the prestigious looks set to be another hotly-contested renewal, Honda Junior Classic at the PGA National in West with increased prize money of £500 for the amateur Palm Beach, while her 11-year-old sister was winner, and £1,500 for the leading professional, runner-up in the 11 and under group. sure to attract another strong field. This year’s Junior Captain, Alice Evans, is looking While these tournaments draw in players from all to take the section to even greater heights, while over the country, Roehampton has also celebrated

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its fair share of county success in recent years, with the ladies section enjoying enviable results in Surrey’s ladies’ competitions, winning the Druce Trophy in 2013, and the Pearson Trophy on seven occasions. Last year, the highlight of the men’s season was Vince Thorne’s runner-up finish in the Surrey Amateur. More silverware looks destined for the club’s already groaning trophy cabinets in the seasons ahead. With the game suffering from declining participation rates and the fickle patronage of a new breed of nomadic golfers, it is refreshing to find a club that only extols the pleasures of membership, but pays so much more than lip service to the needs of the younger generation, while still meeting the demands of its older core membership. With junior membership at Roehampton costing from £375 per year, it is also not beyond the means of parents who want the best sporting start out in life for their children. And who among us blessed with the little blighters can say that they don’t?

2014 ROEHAMPTON LADIES’ OPEN GOLD CHALLENGE CUP Entries are now being accepted for the 87th Ladies Open Gold Cup Challenge, which takes at Roehampton Club on Saturday, April 12. Sponsored by solicitors Russell-Cooke, the 36-hole stroke play event is open to amateur women golfers under the age of 18 with a handicap of eight or less. In addition to the trophy, the leading amateur will win £500, while the leading professional will win £1,500. The event counts towards England Golf order of merit points. For an entry form, please call Tristan McIllroy on 020 8480 4201, email Tristan.McIllroy@roehamptonclub.co.uk, or download a form by visiting www.roehamptonclub.co.uk. The closing date for entries is March 17.

2013 winner Charlotte Ellis (Minchinhampton)

The par-four 18th hole has recently been remodelled to provide a tougher finish to Roehampton’s stunning parkland layout


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February 2014/ Issue 230

COMPETITION FAMILY MEMBERSHIP 2 ADULTS AND TWO CHILDREN FROM £99.50 PER MONTH

SENIOR JOINT MEMBERSHIP 2 AUDLTS FROM £79.50 PER MONTH

MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS TO CHOOSE FROM

• Online Booking Systems, members can book up

to 14 Days in advance • Play at 35 other courses free of charge, Weekdays, and Discounted Green Fees at Weekends for both 5 and 7 day Members • Social golf, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and at Weekends, just turn up and play with other Members, no need to book in advance. • Members can join our internal golf societies, Sunday Early Birds, The Wednesday Chiner, The Monday Members, just take your pick

• Gold 7 Day Members can play anytime, 5 Day • • • •

Members, Monday to Friday, no extra green fees to pay Obtain an official handicap Large Vets Section, Main Day of Play is Friday’s, many competitions and Matches against other clubs Ladies Section meet every Saturday, and Monday mornings, organised competiton’s, knock out matches, and friendly matches against other clubs Gentlemen’s section has a main meeting every Saturday Morning, along with several friendly matches, EKA evening league, The Daily Mail knockout and many others

To JOIN THE CLUB or BOOK A GOLF SOCIETY call free on: 0800 024 8730 THE RIDGE GOLF CLUB, CHARTWAY STREET, SUTTON VALENCE, MAIDSTONE, ME17 3JB. TEL: 01622 844382. WEB: WWW.THERIDGEGOLFCLUB.CO.UK

3 ADAMS GOLF TIGHT LIES FAIRWAY WOODS TO BE WON! GolfNews has teamed up with Adams Golf, makers of the most used hybrids on the PGA Tour, to offer three lucky readers the chance to win a fairway wood of their choice from the brand’s awardwinning Tight Lies range. The original Tight Lies range first put Adams on the golfing map back in the mid-1990s, and the new and improved Tight Lies range will revolutionize the game just as those first clubs did. The playability from every type of lie, and the ease at which golfers can get the ball in the air makes Tight Lies the perfect club to hit those long par-4’s and par-5’s. For the first time in a long time, golfers will love hitting a fairway wood again. The new range is available in four lofts – 14° 16°, 19° and 22° – and is packed with many of the same design elements that made the original such a hit, as well as a host of new ones that boost performance and forgiveness.

making the new Tight Lies twice as hot as the original. Another added benefit of this new slot design is the increased forgiveness across the face. TRI-SOLE DESIGN The unique tri-sole design, which made the original version playable from any lie, will again be a difference maker for golfers playing the new Tight Lies. This sole design reduces turf interaction to increase performance from the fairway, rough, sand - even tight or bare lies. For more information on all of the clubs in Adams Golf’s 2014 line up, visit www.adamsgolf.eu

LOW-PROFILE UPSIDE DOWN DESIGN Offering a club that golfers of all skill levels will be able to use off the fairway, the new-look Tight Lies features a much lower profile than many rival lofted metal woods. Its trademark upside-down appearance creates a low centre of gravity to make easier to get the ball up in the air for more consistent and controllable performance. REFINED CUT-THRU SLOTS Tight Lies features redesigned Cut-Thru Slots in the crown and sole to create maximum face deflection. This increased deflection allows for higher ball speeds, TO ENTER For a chance to win an Adams Golf Tight Lies fairway wood of your choice, simply answer the question below correctly and email your answer, together with your name, address and a contact telephone number to: info@golfnews. co.uk, with the subject line marked ‘Tight Lies Competition’. The closing date for entries is March 15, 2014.

QUESTION How many major titles has Adams Golf staff player Ernie Els won in his career? a) 3 b) 4 c) 5


February 2014/ Issue 230

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FIT FOR PURPOSE Silvermere Golf & Leisure may sell more equipment than any other golf retail shop in the UK, but it is also becoming one of the most high-tech custom-fitting centres in the country, as Nick Bayly found out on a recent visit to the popular Cobhambased venue

The new GC2 launch monitor will be used for custom fitting

There are big changes taking place at Silvermere Golf & Leisure. Always rated as one of the most forwardthinking and proactive venues in the country, as well as being one of the most popular and most accessible golf courses in Surrey, Silvermere is stepping firmly into the 21st century this season with a raft of developments that include the construction of a brand new two-tiered, 48-bay driving range; the opening of a new short game facility; and the complete renovation of the hugely-popular Inn on the Lake restaurant. There is currently a temporary range in place for visitors to use for practice, lessons and custom-fitting sessions, but golfers won’t have to wait long for the state-of-the-art golf academy to be fully open, with the construction already well under way in preparation for a spring unveiling. Ever since it first opened in the mid 70s, Silvermere has refused to stand still, and these latest improvements to the facilities show why it is still widely considered to be the best ‘one-stop shop’ for golfers in the region. Among the key recent advancements has been the opening of a brand new indoor BOOK YOUR custom-fitting studio, which CUSTOM has added a high-tech string to FITTING NOW! the bow of one of the busiest custom-fitting operations in the The cost of an hour-long country. custom-fitting session is The indoor studio not only £40. For Golf News readers, allows fittings to take place Silvermere is offering a full away from the harsher elements £40 refund on the fee, plus a of wind and rain, but it also free goodie bag worth £40, enables the use of the highly for all customers who buy sensitive camera equipment that Callaway’s new Big Bertha is found in the very latest fitting driver. All other purchases technology, namely Foresight come with a £20 refund. Sports’ GC2 HMT swing analysis To book a session, visit software. The GC2 system, which www.silvermere-golf. is used by dozens of the world’s co.uk or call 01932 leading tour players and coaches, 584323. directly measures ball-flight data

A two-tier driving range forms part of a major redevelopment of the practice facilities

at launch using ultra-high-speed cameras. The technology will be familiar to TV viewers who tune in to watch Sky Sports PGA Tour coverage, as it provides the data that drives the Shot Centre. “The level of information obtainable with the GC2 HM2 is as wide-ranging as it is 100% accurate,” says Jason Banting, a PGA Advanced Professional Golf coach who works at Silvermere with players at all levels of the game, from absolute

“The opening of a new indoor studio has added a hightech string to the bow of one of the busiest custom-fitting operations in the country” beginners to tour-level players. As well as a coach, Jason is one of a number of highlyqualified custom-fitting experts working at Silvermere, and he is a huge advocate of having properly fitted clubs. “I see a lot of people using clubs that are hindering them, rather than helping them,” says Jason. “It makes sense that a club that is ideal for someone who is 6ft 3 inches tall with massive hands won’t be ideal for someone who is 5ft 6 inches with small hands. The shaft and its flex, clubhead speed, the launch angle, loft, and the thickness of the grip, are all vital if a player wants to get the best out of their clubs.” As Jason explains: “As we analyse the swing, and we match the player to the club which will work best for them. It doesn’t matter which make it is – we have all the brands here. They can try them all to get the one they like, and which the computer says hits the ball better than the others.” He adds: “The GC2 system is the perfect tool for club fitting, as the technology eliminates any doubt about the process

of hitting the ball. It tells the golfer exactly where the ball went when it left the clubface, and why it went where it did. It records the ball speed as it comes off the clubface, its launch angle, and what sidespin and backspin is imparted on the ball – all measured in frame-by-frame high definition images. By looking at the data, we can see where the club is helping – and where it’s not.” Explaining the fitting process, Jason says: “A player will usually start with their own clubs, and when they have taken a few shots we’ll look at the results. Then we may look at a new club, perhaps from a manufacturer they are comfortable with or have used before. They hit a few balls, can watch the ball fly, and we’ll look at the data together. It may be that after seeing the results, I can suggest a different club with a different shaft and a different flex. I might suggest another make of club that I think will benefit their swing. They can try that, see how they get on, and then we’ll look again at the results. We can put the results into a table, and see how the clubs perform against each other, and which statistically is the better one. With this new technology, amateurs of all skill levels can have the same assistance as the pros to get clubs that suit them and help them improve.” Jason and his team are so confident in the benefits of custom fitting that they offer a refund of the entire £40 cost of a fitting if a client is unable to add at least 20 yards to their drives – which is the kind of win-win offer that few golfers can refuse. The fittings range from one-hour sessions for woods or irons; a two-hour session also involving club distance evaluation; and a three-hour session that takes in fitting for every club in the bag, from woods through to irons, hybrids, wedges and putters. A fitting makes for an ideal present for golfers of all standards, as well as a treat for players looking to take charge of their own game. And if the new custom-fitted clubs don’t bring about the desired results, then it’s back to see the pro. This time for lessons…


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News in Brief COWLEY TAKES SECOND PLACE IN PORTUGAL Hertfordshire’s Gabriella Cowley produced a fine finish to be runner-up in the Portuguese international ladies’ amateur championship at the Montada resort. The 17-year-old from Hanbury Manor was two-under par for the final round and also finished the event at two-under. She was just one stroke behind Spain’s Silvia Bañon Ibañez, who crucially birdied the 17th on her way to the title. Colwey was one of three English players in the top 10 in the championship, ahead of the Wentworth pair, Inci Mehmet and Annabel Dimmock, who finished fourth and seventh respectively.

STRAWBERRY HILL MAKES GOLFMARK SHORTLIST Strawberry Hill Golf Club in Middlesex has been shortlisted with just two other clubs for the prestigious 2014 GolfMark Club of the Year award, supported by Cobra Puma Golf. Already awarded higher achiever status for its commitment to developing junior golf at the club, Strawberry Hill is now in line for the top award, although it is up against strong challenges from Cookridge Hall in Yorkshire and Norwood Park in Nottinghamshire. The winner will be announced at a special awards dinner in April. The three finalists were among 17 nominated clubs selected by a judging panel from the England Golf Partnership.
The other clubs nominated from the South East were Boughton, Blue Mountain, Cuckfield and Ealing.

JUNIORS ON ‘RIGHT TRACK’ A sponsorship deal between a Sussex-based recruitment firm and the Mike Yorke Golf Academy has ignited the growth of junior golf across Surrey and Sussex. Funding from Horshambased company Right Track Recruitment, which started in the spring of last year, has helped the coaching outfit to teach over 1,600 school children in the two counties, as well as attend a series of community events.

February 2014/ Issue 230

Spence to lead Olympic golf team Two-time European Tour winner Jamie Spence has been named as leader of the GB golf team for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The 50-year-old Kent man has been appointed to the voluntary role by the British Golf Association ahead of golf’s long-awaited return to the Olympic Games for the first time since 1904. Spence, who boasts an impressive CV and is wellrespected in golfing circles, is hugely excited at the prospect of leading a team of top-ranked male and female British professionals in Brazil, with a gold medal his ultimate aim. The selection criteria remains to be finalised by the International Olympic Committee, however it is expected to be based on the world rankings, with a maximum of four male and female players per country. This means a host of leading

British players will vie for qualification. Speaking about his new position, Spence said: “I’m honoured to have been chosen for this role. Going to the interview was like the feeling I had being on the first tee of The Open, I still have that same excitement. “It’s very important that golf is back in the Olympics. Our players could make history, as winning an Olympic gold will live with you for the rest of your life. My aim is to go to Rio and help the team win gold.” Spence, who will be

High hopes for loved-up Casey Paul Casey became engaged to long-term girlfriend Pollyana Woodward (pictured) over the Christmas holidays and believes married life will help him to get his game back on track. “Pollyanna’s fantastic and understands me very well,” said Casey, who announced his engagement to the Gadget Show presenter on December 20. “Those that have met her will understand the positivity she carries with her. It’s very infectious and it’s something that’s nice to have around. I’m not that way and I need to be. She is very calm, and I think that’s been a very positive influence on my golf and on my life in general.” The pair met in 2011 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as both were piecing their lives back together after divorces. For his part, Casey was in the midst of a horrid spell on the course, caused not only by the upheaval in his personal life, but also by a snowboarding injury. Last year, after winning the Irish Open, he credited Woodward with helping him to lift his first title in two years. But although that signalled the comeback of the former world No.3, the 36-year-old

was not impressed with his results in the latter part of 2013, when he recorded only one more top 10 in the 12 events he played after Ireland. “I do look at the results and I am still slightly frustrated by them,” Casey said. “I feel like I played better than the results showed. My report card would have said ‘could do better’ or ‘should do better’. So, even though I feel I have turned the corner and I’m loving golf and loving life, there’s no resting on the laurels. Let’s get on with it; I need the results to be better. There’s goals which I want to start ticking off, and I still need to up it a little bit more if I want to start ticking off these goals.”

reporting to the BGA Board and ultimately the British Olympic Association, will draw on his varying experiences to ensure he thrives in his new role. Notably, he was part of the European backroom team for the last two Ryder Cup victories at Celtic Manor and Medinah, assisting with clothing, hotel rooms and team room set-up, as well as motivational work. The Kent resident has also been working with Sky Television since 2005 as a valued studio analyst, has worked as an on-

course commentator for European Tour Productions for the last three years, and also started to coach professionals, helping young Englishman Tommy Fleetwood achieve his maiden Tour win at Gleneagles last August. Spence, who intends to play an increased schedule on the European Senior Tour this year, added: “I think my experience of playing tournament golf for 20 years has got to help really, as I’m going in to it from a perspective of what would I like, what would I need, going out to an event like the Olympics. “I’m in contact with a lot of the male players through my current roles. I do know quite a few of the ladies players as well, but maybe not the younger generation, so I’m looking forward to meeting them and going to some of their events.”

Boughton to represent Kent Boughton Golf Club in Faversham has been selected by the Kent Golf Partnership as the county’s nomination for the National GolfMark Club of the Year Award. Golf Mark is an accreditation that is awarded to clubs that are junior and beginner-friendly; show great initiatives to get more people into the game; and have the relevant and necessary procedures in place to maintain the safeguarding of children and increase retention. The club’s head professional Greg Haenen said: “Its a great honour for Boughton to be selected for such an important award. It shows that the club is recognised for being proactive and that we are doing the right things.” Gary Bason, Kent Golf Development Officer said: “Boughton Golf Club has proven itself as a forward-thinking facility which is keen to maximise all avenues of golf development. Credit must go to Greg, all his staff, and Pentland Golf for all their hard work, and we at the Kent Golf Partnership look forward to continuing to work together in the future. The club has submitted a strong application to become GolfMark Club of the Year, and I wish them all the very best.”

Essendon appoints new head pro

Ian Taylor has been appointed as head professional at Essendon Country Club near Welwyn Garden City. The 26-yearold joins the staff at the Hertfordshire club after spending seven years working at East Herts, most recently as the club’s teaching professional. For the last 12 months Taylor has also been head of coaching at Golf 121, an innovative mobile application providing interactive golf tuition to the worldwide market. He has also been a Hertfordshire County Coach for the last three years, and in this role has worked extensively with some of the country’s most promising young players. The introduction of the new Golf Academy was one of the decisive factors in Taylor’s decision to take the job at Essendon. “The Golf Academy is fantastic and gives me the perfect base from which I can provide structured coaching programmes for golfers of all ages and abilities,” said Taylor. “Every time I have visited the club since the new management took over I have been impressed by how it has been developing and improving,” he added. “It’s clear that it is a club that is moving in the right direction and I look forward to playing a significant role in its continued success.”

Warne ready to put golfers in a spin Golfers who would like to share the fairways with cricket legend Shane Warne are invited to take part in a special golf day being hosted by the Australian leg-spinner at The Grove Resort in Hertfordshire. Organised by Your Golf Travel, in association with 888poker, the Shane Warne Golf Classic takes place at The Grove on March 8, and promises a five-star day of entertainment on and off the course. Guests will join Warne and a group of his

celebrity friends for breakfast at the luxury venue, before having the chance to test their skills on The Grove’s renowned Championship course, host of the 2006 WGC Amex Championship won by

Tiger Woods. On-course refreshments will be provided at a Perrier Jouet and Tanqueray station, along with Malbec wine tasting at a beef masterclass, courtesy of Gaucho restaurants.Players can relax after golf at an evening reception, before enjoying a three-course dinner and prize presentation hosted by Warne. Prices for a team of four cost £1,000 plus VAT, and bookings can be made by emailing katie.burman@ yourgolftravel.com.


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February 2014/ Issue 230

Private clubs prepare for £500m windfall The UK government is preparing to hand out half a billion pounds in VAT rebate to British private members’ golf clubs following a landmark ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The figure comes a month after the court ruled that green fees paid by visitors at British private members’ golf clubs must, like membership subscriptions, be exempt from VAT. It means that all private members’ golf clubs in the UK, in which there are more than a thousand, can claim the VAT paid on green fees from the Treasury, backdated by four years, and in some circumstances, back to 1990. The total amount the Treasury may have to hand back could be as much as half a billion pounds. Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club, which won the CJEU test case, is reportedly seeking £140,000 in a rebate, while other clubs with much higher visitor numbers could be seeking far larger sums.

Government gives green light for VAT rebate on visitor fees

Bridport Golf Club

Gemma Gower, VAT manager at accountant Mitchell Charlesworth, said clubs should waste no time in lodging their claims. “This could see golf clubs claiming hundreds of thousands of pounds back from HMRC,” she said. “Golf clubs should not delay starting the process of claiming back what is rightfully theirs, as the longer they delay, the more VAT they stand to lose. Getting a claim moving now could bring real financial benefits, particularly to small clubs and those which are struggling with a downturn in usage or membership.” While the rebate will be a boon to struggling

Turn your dreams into reality with Xclusive Golf If you harbour dreams of playing some of the world’s top private courses, teeing it up with your favourite player, having a lesson with a famous instructor, or gaining entry into one of the most prestigious Pro-Am tournaments in the world, then it’s time to turn those dreams into reality. Xclusive Golf specialises in delivering bespoke, ‘money can’t buy’ golfing experiences around the world for its discerning clients. With connections with many of the game’s best courses, leading players, and top coaches, the company is able to open doors that simply aren’t available to the average golfer in the street. Whether it’s for business or personal pleasure, Xclusive Golf creates a wide range of customised experiences, including access to tee times on strictly members-only courses; the chance to play

championship venues with golfing heroes and Ryder Cup stars; having a private golf lesson with top coaches such as Hank Haney; taking part in a Pro-Am at a tour event, or an inside-theropes experience at a major championship. All the experiences can be arranged as part of a complete package, including accommodation, chauffeur transfers and private jet/ helicopter transport. The packages can also be combined with other leisure pursuits, such as shooting, fishing and gastronomy. To take the next step towards fulfilling your golfing dreams, visit xclusivegolf.com or call 0844 504 9914.

private clubs, clubs run on a proprietary basis are seeing the playing field being unbalanced even further in the wake of the ruling. Kenneth Logan, head of proprietary Edenmore Golf Club in Northern Ireland, said that even before the ruling someone using his club could pay £118.33 in VAT on their membership, while their neighbour at a members’ golf club pays none. He has called on the government to take action. “This ruling will mean an even bigger differential between members’ and proprietor-owned golf clubs,” he said. “I have nothing against memberowned clubs, we work with and play alongside them all

year round and they have not done anything wrong. We are all having to abide by the rules – all I would like to see is a fairer system across the board. It’s very difficult in these economic times to make a business attractive to customers, and this difference in tax rates does not help. The government needs to take action to narrow this gap.” The chair of the Association of Golf Course Owners, Vivien Saunders, has said that private members’ clubs should hand whatever VAT refund they receive back to golfers who paid green fees at their clubs. Saunders, who is also owner of the

Vivien Saunders

proprietary Abbotsley Golf Hotel and Country Club in Cambridgeshire, has written to eight private clubs in her area and asked them to list green fee payments going back at least six years. She said the money should then be passed back to visitors from her club and that the letter applies to all British private members’ clubs. “The European court has ruled that green fees payable at members’ club should have been treated as VAT exempt from January 1, 1990. This means that VAT was wrongly charged by members’ clubs to their visitors from that period onwards,” she wrote. “Many of the members at Abbotsley have paid green fees at other courses. Those green fees have wrongly included VAT.” The development comes as a spokesman for the Wessex Amateur Golf Tour, which organises golf competitions for green fee-paying golfers, has said that its members should be refunded and that it will boycott members’ clubs that do not reduce their green fees in 2014 by the VAT amount.

Farleigh Court launch Golfexpo

Following a major revamp of the golf course and facilities at Farleigh Golf Club in Surrey, the club is hosting a Golfexpo event on March 23, which is free to attend. The club, which was bought by Foxhills Group is 2012, has recently completed a £1.2 million redevelopment of its clubhouse, as well as a similar investment in its three nine-hole courses. The open day, which takes place from 10am-4pm, will offer visitors a host of entertainment, with lots of competitions to enter and prizes to be won, including the chance to win tickets to the 2014 BMW Championship at Wentworth in May, and a weekend break to sister

property, Foxhills. Talksport presenter Georgie Bingham will be on hand to interview stars of sport, while golfers will be able to take lessons with the club pros, try out new equipment, enjoy food tastings from the clubhouse menu, watch a trick shot show by Jeremy Dale, and take part in crazy golf competitions. The club’s staff will also be available to show prospective members around the facilities, and answer questions about the benefits of being a member at Farleigh. To downlond a free ticket to the open day, visit www.farleighfox.co.uk/golfexpo, or for more information call 01883 627711.

News in Brief KEECH CLAIMS ENGLAND PRIZE English girls’ champion Sophie Keech has won the England Golf Silver Tee Award in recognition of her commitment to continuing her stideus while developing her golf career. The 17-year-old from Parkstone in Dorset is working towards a BTec in sport at Millfield School in Somerset, but she will be leaving in the summer to concentrate on her golfing ambitions. The England girls’ team star plans to play on the women’s amateur circuit for the next two years.

DIMMOCK PICKED FOR NATIONS CUP Wentworth’s Annabel Dimmock has been named in a three-strong England team that will be aiming to win the European Nations Championship at Sotogrande in Spain, from March 5-8. The Surrey teenager has just completed a successful trip to the USA for the Orange Blossom Tour, where she won the matchplay Jones-Doherty Cup and was runner-up in the South Atlantic women’s amateur. Dimmock will be joined in Spain by Hertfordshire’s Gabriella Cowley, and reigning English amateur champion Sarah-Jane Boyd from Cornwall.

ARE YOU UP FOR THE ONE-CLUB CHALLENGE? A new competition that challenges club golfers to play with just one club for 18 holes has been launched. The competition, called One Club Golf UK, will see men, ladies, juniors and pros compete in 18-hole Stableford competition at their own clubs, while raising money for good causes such as skin cancer and MacMillan Nurses. Every golf club in the UK is invited to take part, with the best scores going through to a national final to be held at The Belfry in the autumn. Entry fees will £3 per player. For more details visit www. oneclubgolf.co.uk.

LALEHAM CUT OFF BY FLOODS Golfers were able to get to Laleham Golf Club in Surrey earlier this month, let alone play the course, after floodwaters from the Thames prevented the club being reachable by car or even by foot. A spokesman said: “The access road to the course was under several feet water. Canoes or boats were fine – but wellies were not enough. Much of the course is sodden with many fairways and greens under water, our green staff are busy with preventative maintenance to ensure a rapid recovery once the waters have dropped.”


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February 2014/ Issue 230

News in Brief

PGA Seniors returns to Stoke by Nayland

MAX WILLIAMS WINS IN QATAR

Europe’s leading senior golfers are set to dazzle in East Anglia this year with the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship returning to Stoke by Nayland for a third time. Defending champion Paul Wesselingh, and a clutch of ex-Ryder Cup stars, will take centre stage at the resort, which previously staged the prestigious tournament in 2006 and 2007 when it was won by Sam Torrance and Carl Mason respectively. The 72-hole showpiece, the oldest on the European Senior Tour schedule, dating back to 1957, will take place over Stoke by Nayland’s

Surrey’s Max Williams won the Qatar Open Amateur for the fifth time in his career last month. The defending champion produced his best ever card for a day at the Doha Golf Club, shooting a four-under-par 68 to beat 2013 Amateur Champion Garrick Porteous by a stroke. Along with the win, Williams qualified for the Qatar Masters on the European Tour, where he finished 112th, after shooting five-over par for two rounds. It could be the last time that Williams appears in Qatar as an amateur, as the Cuddington star is planning to turn pro in 2015.

KENT SECRETARY RETIRES Kent Golf Union bids farewell to County Secretary John Young at the end of the month following a successful three-year term in office. Although is leaving his main post, Young will be seconded to chair the Championship Committee in place of Ray Saunders, who has recently become president of England Golf. Young will be succeeded as county secretary by Paul Loman, who takes up the reins on March 1.

Gainsborough course from June 5-8. Reigning Senior Tour order of merit winner Wesselingh will be the man to beat, as he bids to emulate legends Christy O’Connor and Neil Coles by lifting the title for a third successive year, following his triumphs at Slaley Hall and Mottram Hall. Former Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam, who finished third last year, has been a regular competitor in the event, while another Ryder Cup captain, Colin Montgomerie, is eligible to play for the first time, having turned 50 just two weeks after last year’s tournament.

An ISPS spokesman commented: “On behalf of everyone at ISPS, we are thrilled to announce our support of the 2014 ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship. Having supported golf for over 25 years, we feel passionately about the history and heritage of the sport. ISPS is honoured to be involved with one of Europe’s most established and important tournaments and looks forward to Paul Wesselingh going for a hat-trick of titles at a fantastic new venue.” Susanna Rendall, managing director of Stoke by Nayland, added: “We are thrilled to host this prestigious event once again and are particularly pleased to welcome Europe’s best senior golfers back to our hotel and golf course. We feel we have both the experience and enhanced facilities to do justice to such a major European tournament and I am certain that players and spectators alike will have a wonderful few days in this beautiful part of the country.”

Sign up for The Duke of Edinburgh Cup! Entries are being invited from amateur golfers looking to win an exclusive invitation to rub shoulders with royalty and play golf at the Royal Household Golf Club at Windsor Castle. The Duke of Edinburgh Cup is run by children’s charity International Golf for Youth, which is dedicated to raising funds purely for other children’s charities, and offers the leading qualifiers the opportunity to play the exclusive course at the Windsor Castle estate. Each year qualifying tournaments are held in a number of different countries around the world, culminating in the World Finals, which take place in the UK in the autumn. This year’s UK qualifier is being held at Bearwood Lakes Golf Club in Berkshire on June 30. Proceeds will go to DebRA, which supports children suffering with the skin condition Epidermolysis Bullosa. The two top scoring players from each qualifying tournament are invited, expenses paid, to contest the World Finals. Expenses include hotel accommodation, three rounds of golf (one of which will be at the Royal Household Golf Club at Windsor Castle), and a Champagne reception and prizegiving gala dinner held in the state apartments of Windsor Castle, which will be attended by a senior member of the royal family. For more details contact doecup@googlemail. com or visit www.dukeofedinburghcup.com.


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February 2014/ Issue 230

News in Brief

Nevill kicks off centenary celebrations in style The Nevill Golf Club’s three section captains got the Kent-based club’s centenary celebrations off to a suitably stylish start by donning Edwardian dress for the annual captains’ drive-in on January 12. Club captain John Oliver, lady captain Jo Hamer and junior captain Davis Jones (pictured) looked every inch the Edwardian golfers as they took to the course in tweed jackets and ties, caps and boaters, as the club began a year-long series of events to mark the major milestone in the club’s history. The event was attended by the 6th Marquess of Abergavenny, Christopher Nevill, whose greatgrandfather, the 3rd Marquess, had originally leased the land on which the course was built. The club has published a commemorative book on its history called ‘The First

100 Years’, copies of which can be bought directly from the club for £20. The hardback edition has 146 pages packed with over 140 photographs charting the development of the club, and highlighting the achievements of its players, which have included the likes of Jamie Spence, Paul Way, Jamie Harris and, more recently, 2008 English amateur champion Todd Adcock. The book recounts the founding of the club by a group of local tradesmen

who had been turned down for membership by two other clubs, who rented the ground on which the course was built for £50 from the third Marquess of Abergavenny, Henry Nevill. The club was considered to be way ahead of its time in granting its women members full voting rights, which was four years before women were able to vote in a general election. In preparation for it centenary year, the parkland course has undergone some significant improvements following a visit from renowned Sussex-based golf course architect Donald Steel in 2012. On his advice, the course’s trademark gorse has been thinned out, unwanted trees have been cut down, and some of the bunkers have been moved.

THE GREENING OF ENGLAND

PLATT KICKS OFF GOLF SCHEDULE FOR 2014 Former England international footballer David Platt has launched a golf events company that organises and manages unique golf experiences played at some of the best venues in the world. Platt has restructured his company, Major Golf Events, since leaving his post as assistant manager at Manchester City after three successful years. The company organises and manages golf events played at some of the world’s leading golf destinations. This year’s schedule includes tournaments at The Belfry, Muirfield, PGA Catalunya, Arhcerfield Links, and Mere Golf Resort & Spa. “We create events that excite me, and in turn I hope they excite others,” said the 47-year-old former Aston Villa midfielder, who plays off a six handicap. “Our two main initiatives are the Major Golf Amateur Tour, a series of six events with a total of 11 rounds, and The Signature, Europe’s premier celebrity-am golf event.” Major Golf focuses on providing benefits for all participants and is ideal for client entertainment and networking. For more information, contact David Platt on 01625 598084 or email contact@majorgolfevents.co.uk.

Approximately 2% of all the land in England is devoted to its nearly 2,000 golf courses, according to new research. This means there is about twice as much land devoted to golf courses than there is to housing. Merseyside is the English county that is most densely populated with golf courses – more than 18 of its 644 km of land has golf courses on it, representing nearly 3%. Surrey was third with 2.65%.

DMDS OK FOR ELITE AMATEURS

The R&A’s Championship Committee has decided that it will allow the use of distance measuring devices in R&A amateur events in 2014. The use of GPS units and laser range finders have been covered by an optional Local Rule, which has been available under the Rules of Golf since 2006, and the Championship Committee will take up this option for 2014. This Local Rule will be introduced for the R&A’s amateur events only. It will not be introduced for The Open Championship or any local or final qualifying events.

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Stay on course this winter. SP_Winter2014_Golf_News_262x180_R2.3.indd 1

15/01/2014 14:13


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February 2014/ Issue 230

HITMAN HATTON He may not be related to the boxing champion Ricky, but Buckinghamshire’s Tyrrell Hatton is punching well above his weight on his rookie season on the European Tour Words by Paul Mahoney Tyrrell Hatton may sound like a name that belongs on top of the bill for a welterweight title fight, rather than on the leaderboards of the European Tour, andt that’s rather appropriate for the 22-year-old from Buckinghamshire, who has made one of the fastest starts to a professional golfing career by an English golfer in recent years. “Yeah, it’s an unusual name,” says Hatton, speaking from his home in Marlow, just 24 hours after returning from his second-placed finish in the Joburg Open. “And no, I’m not related to Ricky Hatton. People ask me that all the time, and I might start telling them I am. It might scare them off a bit.” Tyrrell is actually his grandfather’s middle name, but there’s also a golfing connection to Hatton’s memorable moniker. His parents play golf – his father, Jeff, has been his coach since he was five – and they love the cult comedy golf movie Caddyshack. The playboy professional played by Chevy Chase is called Ty Webb, so Tyrrell it was. Remember the name. It’s going to be writ large on leaderboards across Europe’s globetrotting tour in the foreseeable future, just as it was at the aforementioned Joburg Open, when he shot a final round 66 to finish tied for second behind George Coetzee. As well as securing a monster €100,000 pay day, the fireworks in South Africa saw him rocket up to 208 in the world rankings – from 800 just 12 months ago – and rise to 31st in the 2014 Race to Dubai. Add in a 10th place at the hugely competitive Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship two weeks earlier, and you have the makings of an impressive rookie season on Europe’s elite tour. In all honesty, Hatton is simply continuing the fine form he displayed on last season’s Challenge Tour, where he finished 10th in the money list to earn his place in the top tier. Although he didn’t quite get his head in front in 2013, two second-placed finishes at the tail end of the season – including one at the cash-rich Khazakstan Open – ensured he had done enough to earn promotion to the big league. The transition to the European Tour has been a notably smooth one, although it hasn’t come as too much of a surprise to Hatton. “Obviously, the standard is high [on the European Tour], but it was on the Challenge Tour too. You have to make a lot of birdies just to stand still, which is why I haven’t struggled to compete. I think I made 68 birdies in my first four weeks on the European Tour. Putting has always been one of my strengths

and now my driving accuracy has improved, too.” His new-found prowess with the big stick is no small thanks to dad, a club custom fitter by trade, who found his son a new driver, a Ping i20, that has given him the accuracy to go with the power that he already had. “I got the new driver half-way through last season, and I finished 10th, second, second in my next three events, so it’s definitely made a real difference to my game.” Hatton, who turned professional in August 2011, is a keen statistics gatherer and keeps a close eye on the breakdown of his game on the European Tour’s website. Not surprising, then, that one of his sponsors is Ark Data Centres. “My finish in Abu Dhabi gave me a lot of confidence,” he adds. “It was a strong field and I think I held my own. I’m extremely happy with my start.” Hatton was in the chasing pack in Abu Dhabi, just behind Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and champion Pablo Larrazabal. Hallowed company indeed. Hatton clearly doesn’t lack confidence. Just as well, as he has some big names to live up to. He was born in High Wycombe, which makes him the town’s second best golfer, after former world No.1 Luke Donald. Hatton also went to the same Marlow secondary school as Sir Steve Redgrave. So, no pressure to become a sporting legend, then? “It would be great to be thought of in the same light as him one day,” he says. But Hatton’s heroes when he was growing up were Colin Montgomerie and Tiger Woods. His father used to take him on the 30-minute drive from their home to Wentworth to watch the PGA Championship and the Volvo World Match Play. “I’m quite shy, so I was never one to shout out for golf balls or autographs,” he says. “I was just happy to enjoy the golf. I used to really like to watch Monty. Probably because he’d won the Order of Merit seven times in a row. But when Tiger was in his prime, you just couldn’t take your eyes off him on TV. He was my idol. I saw him hit a few shots on the range in Dubai, but didn’t get to meet him. I just kept to myself and did my own thing. I’ve played in the same field as him at a couple of Open Championships too, and I’m hopeful our paths will cross at some point.” Hatton qualified for St Andrews in 2010 as an amateur, and again as a professional last year at Muirfield, where he wrote his name down alongside Jimenez on the start sheet and played nine holes of practice with the legendary Spaniard. “It was great to watch someone who has won so many times on tour up close,” Hatton says. “I missed the cut, and finished

Hatton’s amateur days

“I made 68 birdies in my first four weeks on Tour, which is why I haven’t struggled to compete”

nearly last both times, but I’m happy to have had two Opens under my belt before I was 21. To be a part of golf’s greatest tournament was huge experience, and great fun.” The Joburg Open offered him his first chance of booking a third trip, as it was also being used by the R&A as the second of this year’s eight Open qualifying events. But although finishing tied for second with Justin Walters and Jin Jeong, he missed out because of his lower world ranking. While future Opens look assured, Hatton is currently more focused on trying to establish himself alongside the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, Tom Lewis, Paul Waring, Eddie Pepperell and Andy Sullivan as the next generation of 20-something English professionals trying to Justin Rose et al. “Tommy and Tom have already won on tour,” Hatton says. “That’s what I need to do next. Hopefully the next generation will come through to the top in the next few years. Despite missing a win, the rewards for Hatton’s promising start as a pro are coming. He’s already banked more than €150,000 – a decent chunk on the way to regaining his playing rights for 2015 – and he has also secured a hat sponsor, which in some ways is a shame, as Hatton was a rival of Robert Rock for the title of ‘Most Beautiful Hair on Tour’. “I won’t be going bald any time soon,” he laughs. “When I was younger, I lived in a hat, but I just started playing without one. So I’m going to start wearing one again. We’ll see how it goes.” Hatton began playing when he was just three, honing his game at Harleyford Golf Club, located between Marlow and Henley, where was once awarded a mini green jacket for winning a par-three tournament. He set the new course record of 66 there in 2009, and two years earlier had the honour of winning the junior club championship and the men’s championship in the same year. Hatton still has that little green jacket, but is already thinking about winning an adult-sized version to go with it, although of more immediate importance is keeping his playing rights for next year. “Keeping my card is a top priority,” he says. “Last year, €225,000 was not quite good enough and, with this being a Ryder Cup year, it will probably be more like €250,000, but I’ve made a good start. It would be great to get into Europe’s top 60 at the end of the year, and qualify for the Race to Dubai finale.” And down the road there are majors and Ryder Cups to aim for. “That would be nice,” he says. “A dream come true.”


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February 2014/ Issue 230

OBITUARY 1937-2013

RON NOADES

Football and golf lost one of their biggest supporters in December, when Ron Noades, the former chairman of Wimbledon and Crystal Palace, and the owner of five golf clubs in Surrey and Kent, passed away on Christmas Eve, following a year-long battle with lung cancer. The 76-year-old made a considerable, and often controversial, contribution to football throughout the 80s and 90s, first guiding Wimbledon from the Southern League to the Premier League, and then taking Crystal Palace through the most successful period in its history, before combining the roles of chairman and manager with Brentford. Always a shrewd businessman, Ron paid £2,800 for the majority shareholding in Wimbledon in 1976, and 10 years later the club was in the first division, although he had left Plough Lane for Selhurst Park in 1981. Ron’s reign at Palace started inauspiciously, but

after signing Steve Coppell, the league’s youngest manager, the club’s fortunes slowly turned around. The former England winger recruited brilliantly from neighbouring non-League clubs, signing Andy Gray and Ian Wright, who forged a prolific striking duo with Mark Bright, whom Ron bought form Leicester for £75,000.

The holder of an FA coaching badge since 1978, Ron worked closely with his mananger, accompanying him on scouting trips. He reputedly persuaded Coppell to buy Geoff Thomas from Crewe after a sixth viewing. Thomas later represented England – as did Gray and Wright – and captained Palace against United at Wembley. In 1998, after a stint as caretaker manager, Ron sold Crystal Palace to Mark Goldberg for £22.8m. Geoff Thomas tweeted on the day that Ron died: “Not many people invest in a football club and come out with more than they put in.”

Ron spurned an approach from Manchester City, reasoning that they would not accept him as manager, and bought Brentford for £650,000. As chairman and manager, he took them to the fourth-tier title at the first attempt. Named divisional Manager of the Year in 1998, he ended his dual role two years later after an FA Cup defeat to Kingstonian. He sold his majority stake in the club in 2006. After football, Ron turned his attention to his second love, golf. He set up the Altonwood Group in 1997, and, as chairman, spent the last 15 years of his life buying and developing golf clubs. He was very much against the exclusive side of golf, and he built up the business after a run-in with golfing traditionalists. “Novello [his wife] and I were members of a course with a men-only terrace. I was sitting there and Novello came to say hello, but was rudely told she wasn’t welcome. It made me so angry that I adopted the attitude that if I can’t play with your toys, then I’ll get my own,” he once said in an interview with Golf News. Starting off with Westerham, the group now contains five

clubs, with Surrey National, Woldingham, The Addington and Godstone completing the quintet. Ron took great pride in the transition of The Addington, which he bought for £8.2 million in 2006, spending significant sums in upgrading the clubhouse and the historic course, which is now rated well inside the top 100 courses in the UK. Encouraged back into the game by his wife, Ron was a keen golfer, and had a holiday home in La Manga so he could pursue his passion when the weather wasn’t so good in the UK. He also played a significant role in making his clubs more friendly and accessible to the visiting golfer, as well as looking after the interests of valued members. He was also one of the most vehement critics of the government’s stance on VAT being applied to proprietary golf clubs, and paid for lawyers to represent the Association of Golf Course Owners in a tax hearing in 2012. Ron, who lived in Purley, kept the extent of his illness a secret from the public until October last year, and underwent several operations and rounds of chemotherapy before his death on December 24, 2013.

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February 2014/ Issue 230

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West Essex wins GolfMark award West Essex Golf Club has will also begin during the next few become the 25th club in Essex to months with Baron developing his own be awarded England Golf fitness programme to compliment every GolfMark accreditation in recognition golfers’ requirements. of its committment to develop junior Baron added; “A new Trackman launch golf at the venue. monitor has also been installed, which The award is down to the hard work will help assist all golfers improve their of secretary Emma Clifford and head games and help our shop deliver a firstprofessional Chris Baron, who have class custom fitting service. We really worked together to develop junior golf can’t wait to get under way again. at West Essex over the last few years.  Helen Tarttelin, Essex County Speaking about the award, Baron Development Officer, said: “I am very said: “This is a fantastic spring board for happy that West Essex Golf Club can us all at the club to continue the drive now be nationally recognised as a in attracting new golfers as young as junior and beginner friendly golf club. three years old up to our senior golfers. England Golf is fully committed to Our 2014 plans are already well under supporting our GolfMark clubs. I would way, and will like to take this see numerous opportunity activities for to thank every golfer new everybody or established involved in to enjoy what the GolfMark we have on offer process at the here at West club. It has Essex.” been a pleasure  He added: to work with “ The Get into everyone at the Golf programme club both and for all beginner see the great adults is now structures it has up and running, in place. while a brand “I am sure new junior the club will programme continue to be From left to right (Helen Tarttelin - Essex is ready to be successful and County Development officer, Chris Baron - Head launched in produce many Golf Professional, Emma Clifford - Secretary/ Manager West Essex Golf Club, Richard Wigg March.” more happy Chairman West Essex Golf Club.)  Golf Pilates golfers.”

RYDER CUP ACCOMMODATION Luxury Lodge for Rental

Cleveland opens new Centre of Excellence at Studley Wood Cleveland Golf and Srixon has opened its latest Centre of Excellence at Studley Wood Golf Club in Oxfordshire. The new facility, which opened for business on February 17, gives golfers oneon-one tuition with the club’s team of PGA pros, as well as a technology-driven custom fitting for both clubs and golf balls by utilising the same TrackMan software used by many of the world’s best golfers. TrackMan data allows the Cleveland Golf and Srixon team at Studley Wood to analyse golf ball and clubhead speed, launch angle and spin, to ensure every customer gets a bespoke custom-fitting service. Dean Cracknell, Product Manager for Cleveland Golf & Srixon Europe, said: “We’re delighted to be opening our latest Centre of Excellence at Studley Wood. The whole team is incredibly knowledgeable and we believe the whole setup there is the perfect fit for the two brands.” The full custom-fitting package costs £40, and allows golfers to try out balls across the entire Srixon range, as well as tailor their fitting session to specific requirements. To book an appointment call 01844 215400 or email duncan.abgolf@ gmail.com.

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February 2014/ Issue 230

Hillson bids to end Wallis’s winning streak

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Two fine winners emerged from two separate and weather-defying events held at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent, which opened the Winter Series for 2014, supported by Titleist and FootJoy. Walker & Kingsdown ace Richard Wallis showed he is primed to challenge for his fifth PGA South Order of Merit title in a row, while Mark Hillson (Tandridge) proved he could well be one of his strongest rivals. In the first event, Hillson, winner of the Winter Series event at Hankley Common last November, shot a flawless 67 around Prince’s Shore-Dunes course to take the top prize. His score outshone the two-under-par 70 of runner-up Scott Stevens (Staplehurst) on a day when the strong wind made shot-making very challenging. Out in one-under-par, with a birdie at the second, and a string of solid pars through the severe cross winds, Hillson fired off three more birdies at the 10th, 15th and 18th to finish the round in 67 blows. Hillson’s boss at Tandridge, Chris Evans, rates his young protégé highly. “Mark’s got some serious talent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he really starts to make his mark this year in some bigger events,” he said. As Hillson had already bagged his Titleist & FootJoy contract at Hankley, local Royal Cinque Ports assistant Ben Talbot took the valuable leading assistant prize of the ball, glove and shoe contract. Day two saw incessant rain, yet the Sandwich links stood up surprisingly well, although the format was changed to two rounds of nine holes over the Dunes nine, as some tees on the Shore were inaccessible. It made no difference

to Wallis, who showed the field a clean pair of heels, shooting an excellent one-under-par 70 in even tougher conditions than the day before. Wallis’s sub-par performance was too hot for runners up Tom Gamble (Burhill) and man-inform Hillson, who both shot 73s. Gamble took the sponsor’s spoils for the day with its ball, glove and shoe contract for the season ahead. Hillson was full of praise for the Prince’s course, saying: “The course conditions on the first day were amazingly good considering all the rain there had been, especially the greens which were good, firm and fast. I’ve done a lot of work on my game since Hankley, and played really well, with just two greens missed and a couple of good up and downs that I left stone dead.” Hillson’s aiming higher in 2014, commenting: “I’m hoping to qualify in May, and I’m trying to get as much golf in as I can. I’m going to compete in more of the regional and Order of Merit events in 2014, and see if I can give Richard a bit of a run for his money!”

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Just under two-thirds of all UK golf clubs say that British successes in major championships – such as Justin Rose winning the 2013 US Open and Rory McIlroy the 2011 US Open – have no effect on their business performance, according to a new survey. Sixty-four percent of clubs said the recent victories of British golfers in major tournaments had had no impact whatsoever on their businesses, challenging perceptions that successful British golfers boost participation at venues, according to a poll of 254 golf clubs by Sky Sports News. The survey found that the Masters, despite being hosted in America, and not fully screened on terrestrial television, has a bigger impact on business than The Open, the BBCscreened UK event that takes place in July. Nearly 30 per cent of clubs said the Masters had a significant effect on their business, while just 21 per cent of clubs said the Open created an upsurge in rounds played.

A golf day to raise vital funds for a charity that provides assistance dogs for injured service personnel is being held at Three Rivers Golf Club & Country Club in Essex later this year. Former Ladies European Tour member Sarah Bennett, the head PGA professional at the club, will be hosting the day, which will raise funds for national assistance dog charity Canine Partners. Sarah said: “I was invited to attend a charity day in Holland a few years ago and that was where I first saw the positive impact of assistance dogs. I was eager to spread the word and it was pure coincidence I saw the amazing work Canine Partners do by providing assistance dogs to injured service personal and other people who have a physical disability. I really wanted to help raise some funds for such a worthwhile charity.” The event will be held at Three Rivers on July 10, with the day consisting of 18 holes followed by a two-course meal with prizes. The cost per player, which will include a clinic with Sarah and lunch, is £45. For more details visit sarahbennettgolf.co.uk or call 01621 829781.


February 2014/ Issue 230

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Birchwood earns top eco award

Home to the English Amateur 2013 Birchwood Park Golf Centre, near Dartford, has joined an elite group of fewer than 100 European golf facilities to achieve the internationally recognised sustainability award, GEO Certified. Birchwood Park is also one of the first public pay-and-play facilities to have earned golf’s international ecolabel, which demonstrates an commitment to the three core principles of sustainability – planet, people and profit. Located in an area receiving some of the lowest annual rainfall in the UK, Birchwood Park has demonstrated a special focus on sustainable water use, and thanks to a £200,000 investment in a state-of-the-art irrigation water holding reservoir, is totally self-sufficient. Howard Craft, Burhill’s assistant general manager, explained: “To achieve high quality sand-based greens, which Birchwood Park boasts, regulating irrigation is crucial and as water is an increasingly scarce resource, there

is a growing importance on golf facilities to be self-sufficient. Consequently, a lake holding 11 million litres of water was installed, as well as a rainwater harvesting infrastructure, which takes water from the car park and clubhouse and passes it through filters before irrigating greens, tees and approaches over the Main Course, as well as greens on the Short Course.” Richard Allison of GEO, said: “Birchwood Park Golf Centre is an excellent example of sustainability commitment and planning for continual improvement. The club has put great effort into reducing their resource use over the years, while the attention to detail and organisation within the club proves that a wide range of sustainability initiatives are possible, even at the busiest of venues.”  Melanie Drake, Birchwood Park’s general manager, said: “By operating to the standards required of GEO Certified we ensure we can maintain the high standards expected by our members and guests, which they have become accustomed to.”

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ESN to host senior European Masters East Sussex National Resort and Golf Club has been chosen to host the prestigious ESGA European Masters Championship later this year. The Uckfield-based venue will stage the tournament from August 20-22, which will see the top 12 seniors from 22 countries competing for the European Masters title during the three-day event. All the players are over 70 years of age. The ESGA title is currently held by Spain, however playing on home territory, the UK has high hopes of wrestling back the honour, led by Roy Smethurst from Crewe

Golf Club. Tracy Tennant, general manager of East Sussex National, commented; “It is an absolute honour to play host to such an integral event in the 2014 golfing calendar. We’re looking forward to showcasing our fantastic facilities and to welcoming senior golfers from across the globe to the club.” She added: “This announcement tops off a fantastic year for the East Sussex National having joined the De Vere Venues portfolio earlier in the summer, and having seen the venue go from strength to strength during the course of 2013.”

The full Storey at Bearwood Renowned performance coach Jayne Storey will be hosting a series of monthly clinics in Chi-performance Golf at Bearwood Lakes Golf Club in Berkshire, starting in March. For more information on Chi-performance tuition, monthly clinics, online coaching programmes, video downloads and a free newsletter, visit www.chi-performance.com or contact Jayne Storey on 07986 447250.

FRILFORD HEATH GOLF CLUB Frilford Heath I Abingdon I Oxon OX13 5NW I 01865 390864 www.frilfordheath.co.uk events@frilfordheath.co.uk


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February 2014/ Issue 230

NickBayly

GNeditor reveals what has caught his eye in the golfing headlines in recent weeks

A measured response to distance devices Tournaments The recent – or any other club come to relenting think of it – the same distance. in the rules That’s a skill that cannot be governing the bought, except through use of distancelessons with a pro, and time measuring spent on the range (neither of devices in elite amateur which I do). events under R&A The arguments for and jurisdiction will set alarm against DMDs all boil down bells ringing in the ears of to whether you consider the purists who believe that ability to correctly ascertain a distance measuring should yardage with your own eyes is a be left to a golfer’s own central part of the skill of being sense of spatial awareness. a golfer, but given the amount By opting to implement of information that has always a local rule for its been available to golfers – be it competitions, the R&A in the form of marker posts and Professional golfers rely on lasers to measure courses during practice rounds is opening a door that yardage books – then the cat may ultimately see every has long been out of the bag competition in every club up and down the corner of the bunker on the 12th hole. So the and DMDs are only a modern and more usercountry being forced to allow DMDs to be invention of DMDs has been a godsend for friendly version of these tools. used. As someone who can often be found me, and certainly saves me valuable minutes Making distinctions between the rules of on the golf course wearing a GPS watch on leafing through yardage books or searching the amateur and professional game is never my wrist, with a laser rangefinder within easy out for 150 markers and sprinkler heads. ideal, but when a professional is allowed the reach in the golf bag, and a Strokesaver in But while they are fun to use, and have been assistance of a caddy who has mapped every my back pocket, I’m clearly a big fan of using proven to speed up casual and competitive inch of a golf course using a laser or GPS unit, outside agencies to judge distances. rounds, I’m not sure that measuring devices it seems only fair that amateurs – be they As I play a lot of new courses – and by that have resulted in my scores coming tumbling hackers like me, or plus-four handicappers I mean courses new to me, as well as courses down. If truth be told, they’ve never promised playing for the Amateur Championship – new to the world – I can’t always rely on that, and what would really be useful for me should be afforded the same luxury, albeit in experience to tell me that it’s a 6-iron from the would be the ability to consistently hit a 6-iron gadget form.

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are like buses… It’s great news for golf fans in the South East that the Volvo World Match Play is not only returning to England, but to the London Golf Club in Kent, which proved such a successful host for the 2008 European Open. Traditionalists might have liked to have seen it return to Wentworth, where much of the event’s finest moments have been played out, but given that the West Course already hosts the BMW PGA Championship in May, it seems only fair that the Match Play be given to another club. With The Open at Hoylake in July, English golf fans have three home-based tournaments to look forward to this year – three times as many as they did last year. It’s a feast compared to the meagre diet that has been put before us in recent times, so make sure you get yourself down to at least one or two of them. I hope that top British pros do likewise, and support an event on home soil, despite their current postcodes on the other side of the Atlantic. Graeme McDowell, the defending champion, and hot Swede Henrik Stenson have already committed, but Volvo will be hoping that the likes of Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood will also turn up – if they qualify. Let’s also pray that the weather in October is slightly nicer than it is at this moment in time!


February 2014/ Issue 230

/ 29

NEW SWING STUDIO OPENS IN SQUARE MILE A new golf studio has opened in London’s Square Mile, bringing the sport’s most indemand technology and specialised performance coaching to the centre of the capital for the first time. EC2 Sports, based in Citypoint Health Club

in Moorgate, has installed two studio bays complete with golf’s premier teaching, coaching and club-fitting technologies, Foresight Sports GC2 and HMT, and Trackman III, which is used by dozens of the world’s leading tour players and coaches. EC2 Sports’ co-founder, Chris Ingham, a qualified professional, explained: “This is the first ALTNWD_SSP_AD_GN_AW2.qxd

Calling all mothers & daughters!

29/11/13

4:34 am

time this level of technology has been available in central London. This is not simulation game play, which is available elsewhere if you want it; this is the most accurate technology in golf today, which allows us to take specialised performance coaching to a completely new level in this part of the city.” Ingham added: “The level

of data obtainable with this technology is astonishing – and, what’s more, it’s 100% accurate. This isn’t game simulation; this is golf analysis down to the minutest detail. It’s also the perfect tool for club fitting, as it analyses more accurately than ever before.” Ingham’s partner in the business, Elliot Godfrey,

formerly the head professional at Hanbury Manor, added: “This is a world-class facility in the heart of our capital. We’ve already had a lot of visitors who are members of the health club and some others have travelled across the city to use the facility. We’ve even welcomed an England international footballer in for a lesson.”

Page 1

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Mums and daughters who share a love of golf are being urged to enter this year’s Mothers and Daughters Championship, which is once again being held at Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club in Surrey on April 12. The historic tournament, which dates back to 1932, boasts a distinguished list of past winners. Pam Barton, who won with her mother in 1935, went on to become British and United States amateur champion, while former English champion Angela Uzielli is without doubt the most famous winner, claiming an unrepeatable 22 titles with her mother, Peggy Carrick, before she died in 1999. Last year, the honours went to Glenna and Harriet Beasley from Woburn, daughter and granddaughter of former amateur champion Sir Michael Bonallack. It was Glenna’s third victory over four decades, having won with her mother, Lady Angela Bonallack, in 1979 and 2000. After a very close finish, the Beasleys managed to win by a single shot from Gillian and Sarah Attwood of Gog Magog. It proved to be a special family occasion for the Woburn pair, who were partnered withy Glenna’s mother and sister, Sara Stocks. The format of the event is 27-holes of medal foursomes. It is open to all handicaps, but only the top 64 ranked couples are offered spaces. There are scratch and handicap prizes, and a cup is also awarded to the best-placed U16 player. For entry forms visit www. mothersanddaughtersgolf.co.uk or email Sheila Stirling at sheila@ mothersanddaughtersgolf.co.uk.

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February 2014/ Issue 230

JACKET REQUIRED Although he has cut back on his globetrotting schedule, four-time Major winner Ernie Els isn’t ready for his pipe and slippers yet – not when there’s a US Masters to be won Words by David Cox


February 2014/ Issue 230

Ernie Els is in a buoyant mood as he looks ahead to the 2014 season. At 44, the four-time major champion is in the twilight of his career, but after winning the Open in 2012 and a top four finish at the US Open last year, he’s shown that he’s still very much a contender for golf’s biggest crowns. It’s been quite a resurgence for the veteran South African over the past two years. After two decades of entertaining crowds all over the world with his trademark languid swing, the ‘Big Easy’ had been written off in some quarters after a dismal 2011 season. He missed the cut at three of the four majors when his putting disintegrated, and with his ranking heading south, he failed to qualify for the 2012 Masters. But the bitter disappointment of missing out on Augusta for the first time since 1993 proved the catalyst for a remarkable transformation, and just a few months later he clinched his second Open title. It meant he became the eighth player to have won major titles in non-consecutive decades, joining a select club that includes Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. “Eight? I didn’t know that. Thanks!” Els says, sounding genuinely surprised. “Any time you’re mentioned in the same sentence as legends like Jack and Gary, it’s obviously special and, yes, it means a lot to have been successful over a long period. That’s what any athlete hopes for. I really hope I can continue to win majors and winning the Open is about as good as it gets, right! That old Claret Jug is the Holy Grail.” Els admits he’s been driven by a desire to prove the doubters wrong in recent years, but while that can work as an added motivation, he’s also found it can be detrimental to his game, as he’s playing with a little more tension. “Some people think that you’ve played your best golf and you want to prove that you’re still up there,” he says. “It depends on how your year is going. If you’ve had a pretty good year, you kind of just flow with it. When you have had a bit of a tough year, you almost feel like you need to prove stuff to people, so that can add pressure.” Many older sportsmen describe the globetrotting as being the part of their job that they enjoy the least, but Els is the exception. While players in their forties often succumb to the temptation of basing themselves purely in the States and limiting their travel, Els still relishes the opportunity to tour the world. “I think if you ask Gary [Player] or myself, we’ve always been doing that,” he says. “I love it. I try to play a bit more over in North America, but I keep finding myself wanting to play overseas. Once you go to a certain place– the Scottish Open, the Open Championship – whether it’s in Dubai or Australia, whatever, you find that you keep going back there. You make friends, and you have good tournaments, and you feel like you want to go back there. As it turns out, I’ve been having a 23-year career now, and I’ve been doing it a long time. I really don’t think I ever thought I wanted to play one particular place. I’ve always wanted to play around the world.” Els’s love of links golf also contributes to his desire to roam. He’s a master on links courses, having finished in the top ten on no fewer than 12 of his 19 Open appearances, and with recent history showing that experience can be a crucial advantage [Darren Clarke was also over 40 when he won in 2011, while Greg Norman and Tom Watson have come close in recent years at the ages of 53 and 59 respectively], he’s likely to remain a contender for several years to come. As he explains, succeeding on a links course is not about length off the tee, but rather a shot selection and course management nous, which only improves with age. “It’s the variety which I love about links golf,” he says. Ernie at the Masters 2004 “It’s the challenge of moving your golf ball around and hitting different type shots. You can use your imagination, and in that sense it’s the opposite of

/ 31

“Age takes away some things, but it gives you others. I don’t hit the ball as far as I did, but experience can help you, especially in the majors” Els is hoping to add to his Open win

ERNIE’S MASTERS RECORD THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY… 2013 13 2012 DNP 2011 47 2010 18 2009 51 2008 46 2007 66 2006 27 2005 47 2004 2 2003 6 2002 5 2001 6 2000 2 1999 27 1998 16 1997 17 1996 12 1995 56 1994 8

one-dimensional golf – you’ve always got options. That suits the way I like to play the game. I love hitting the ball off that links turf, as well. It’s the best.” Has his psychological approach to the game evolved with age? Els ponders the question. “I guess age takes away some things but gives you others,” he says, eventually. “I don’t hit the ball as far as I did, but on the upside, a bit of age and experience can help you, especially in the majors. When you’re defending champion, you arrive earlier in the week, but other than that you just try to do your own thing – basically, stick to what works best for you. The balancing act is doing enough to be mentally and physically sharp, but not so much that you run down the energy reserves. That’s where a bit of experience comes in handy.” Does that experience make easier to deal with the highs and lows of the sport? “The tough times still hurt, but yeah, maybe you have a bit more perspective. The interesting thing is, the wins in some ways feel more special now than before.” Els’s moment of glory at the 2012 Open Championships came at the expense of his good friend Adam Scott, who spectacularly imploded over the closing holes, having led by four shots with four to play. However in one of golf’s most heart-warming turns, Scott enjoyed his moment of redemption at the Masters last year, and Els was one of the first to congratulate him. “We saw each other, and actually played a few times soon after his win,” Els says. “He deserved that first major, and I couldn’t have been more pleased for him. Scotty’s a good buddy of mine, and of course I felt bad for what happened to him in the Open, but I saw him at the Bridgestone a few weeks later, and although the pain was still there, he was handling it unbelievably well. He’s a classy guy. I said then that I thought he’d bounce back pretty quickly and win a major – and he did.” Els has been chasing his own elusive Green Jacket for two decades now, coming second in 2000 and 2004, and while it’s been nine years since he last finished in the top five, his Open success has

encouraged him that Masters glory is still within reach. “I’ve been trying to win the Masters and the PGA [Els needs those two to complete the full set of major titles] for 20 years, and it obviously doesn’t get any easier, but I like to think I’ve got a little bit left in the tank,” he says. “You have moments in your career when your confidence comes and goes, that’s natural, but even during the tough times, my game never left me. I still felt like I had more wins in me. Lytham gave me a new lease of life, and for the next five years I’m teeing it up in every major. If I’m on my game, I can definitely still win one of these things.” Like many other top players, Els is cutting back his schedule in 2014, gearing his season around the big tournaments, and sidelining those that have less appeal. His decision to skip last month’s Volvo Golf Champions event in his native South Africa, along with the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, won’t have pleased the sponsors, but Els is determined to spend as much time as he can with his family during the school holidays, especially his 12-year-old son Ben, who is profoundly autistic. “It’s always been difficult leaving the house, but now you really see your kids growing up, and it gets more difficult,” he says. “Family life is important and I don’t want to miss out on their best years before they leave home. When guys get to my age, kids get to their teenage years, and it becomes a bit of a different scenario. It’s getting tougher and tougher to go away for long strethces. The younger guys don’t have too many hassles travelling, but things change – as Justin, Luke and all the younger guys with young families are now discovering.” Another sign that Els is turning a new corner in his professional life is his decision to switch equipment sponsors during the off-season, such as it is. After many successful years with Callaway, Els is now sponsored by Adams, an equipment brand that has a strong following on the Seniors Tour on the back of its heritage in hybrid clubs. “In many respects this feels like the start of an exciting new chapter for me,” says Els. “Adams is an ambitious, growing company that wants to expand internationally and is opening offices all over the world, so we’re a pretty good fit, as I still like to play a global schedule. Obviously, I’ve long been aware of its products, but in recent years I’ve noticed a lot of Adams clubs out there on Tour, and it made me curious to try them out for myself. I must say I have enjoyed testing the entire range of products, and feel really comfortable putting the clubs in my bag.” Els has also switched footwear allegiance, and will be wearing Ecco shoes from now on, having worn the Danish brand off the course for a number of years. All of which points to a man who isn’t about to hang up his clubs, let alone his shoes, as he bids for even greater glory. “That’s one of the great things about this game; it doesn’t matter who you are, you never stop wanting to play better,” he adds. “I’m 44 years of age and feel as committed as ever to trying to win another major, maybe two. I just need to stay dedicated and continue to work hard, and then I think we can pull something off again. It’s not going to be easy, but there are some decent opportunities for me in the next few years, and I just need to go out there and grab them.”


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February 2014/ Issue 230

Storybehindthepic Angela Uzielli and Peggy Carrick Mothers & Daughters Cup, Royal Mid Surrey, 1968

A

s Royal Mid Surrey prepares to welcome the top 64 mother and daughter pairings for the 85th renewal of its annual competition for the Judy Cup in April, its appearance on the golfing calendar can’t be featured without making reference to one half of the most successful pairing in its history, and one of the most successful amateur British golfers of all time, Angela Uzielli. Together with her mother, Peggy Carrick, Angela won the title an incredible 21 times in the 30-year period between 1965 and 1995, and then a 22nd time when she

paired up with her daughter, Caroline, in 1996. The pair would no doubt have won it several more times in the following years, but sadly Angela’s life was cut short by cancer in 1999, aged just 59. Her untimely death shocked the amateur golfing world, whose very constituents she epitomised. Although not possessed with a conventional swing, she was a great competitor whose love of the game always bubbled to the surface. Her competitive streak is reflected in her record, which includes becoming British champion in 1977, playing in the 1978 Curtis Cup, taking the English title in 1990 and winning the British Senior Championship

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six times from 1990 – the last time in 1999 at Malone, where she won by a six shots. She was also an England captain and the 1990 Woman Golfer of the Year. Growing up in Norfolk, Angela learned to play golf at Hunstanton, where her parents were members from the 1930s. Her father was a good player, while her mother, Peggy, was Norfolk champion 11 times between 1938 and 1977. Angela later married John Uzielli, who had been captain of golf at Oxford University and is a member of the Royal and Ancient. When the family moved to Ascot in the 1970s, Angela joined the Berkshire Golf

Club, where she served as captain, honorary secretary and a committee member over the following 25 years. She also enjoyed great success at county level, winning the Berkshire ladies’ championship no fewer than 16 times. Her memory is kept alive in golfing circles by a competition, the Angela Uzielli Memorial Trophy – a Stableford Foursomes event which this year is being held at Sonning Golf Club In October – and the Angela Uzielli Bursary, which offers financial assistance to girls who wish to continue to develop their game while studying at college or university.

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MEET THE PRO PGA professional Jon Jones reveals the ins and outs of his role as head pro at Harleyford Golf Club in Buckinghamshire How long have you been a PGA professional? I turned pro in 2002, so coming up for 12 years. What is your day-to-day role at the club? I’m either teaching or running the pro shop. What’s the best thing about your job? Taking money off the members on the golf course! And the worst? Answering the phone – it’s like working in a call centre sometimes! Tell us something about the facilities and the playing experience… The course is built on chalk, so it’s fantastic during the winter and we’re lucky to have some of the best practice facilities in the county. Also, if you can handle our

greens, you can putt anywhere! In a tough economic climate what have you done to keep existing members and attract new ones? We have made sure that our customers get great value for money by keeping our prices competitive, and we are doing everything we can to continually improve customer service. What is the club doing to attract junior golfers? We have a KIDZ Golf programme that runs every weekend for ages 5 to 16. It’s become really popular since one of our juniors, Tyrrell Hatton, secured his European Tour card for 2014. How much time do you spend teaching? I teach most days. I like to be as flexible as possible for the members – after all, they’re paying my wages!

What’s selling well in the pro shop? Motocaddy power trolleys are really popular at the moment, and I’m selling a lot of Nike clothing because of the quality of the product and the low price point. What range of facilities do you have for custom fitting? I have a full swing studio with GC2 technology, which can tell you everything you ever needed to know about your clubs and your swing. It’s been a fantastic addition since it opened in early 2014. What’s the best tip you’ve ever received? When I was a kid I played with my dad at Wentworth, and he said: “See that great big house? Make sure you don’t hit it!” What has been your career highlight as a player? My first professional win at North

Harleyford’s chalky soil makes it a great year-round course

Foreland in Kent. I shot one-under in horizontal rain and wind to be the only person under par. That was a good day. What’s your favourite course in the UK, and in the world? In the UK, it would have to be Hankley Common, and worldwide it would have to be Wolf Creek in Nevada. Google it, you’ll see what I mean! Who is your golfing hero and why? Tiger Woods. He won the Masters in 1997, which was the first tournament I ever watched, and he blew the field away. He was the reason I started playing.

Who inspired you to take up golf? See above! Which three other people would be in your dream fourball? Al Pacino, Robert de Niro, and Polish supermodel Joanna Krupa – I hear she’s very talented! What would you have done if you hadn’t been a pro? I would have carried on playing football probably. I like to think I could have made it big! For more details visit www.harleyfordgolf.co.uk or call 01628 816161.

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February 2014/ Issue 230

BERTHA’S BACK “Big Bertha has meant so much to so many people that we had to make sure we got it right. And I think we’ve done it here, with the right products at the right time.” Dr Alan Hocknell, Callaway Golf’s VP of Research & Design

There was a time, some 20 years ago, when virtually every player in the land had a Callaway Big Bertha driver poking proudly out the top of his or her bag. Its muted grey clubhead, with the distinctive angled sole, was almost badge of honour among club golfers and a large percentage of tour pros. Named after the German gun that was capable of launching a 3,000lb shell over 30 miles during World War I, the original Big Bertha driver – which first hit the shops in 1991 – helped launch thousands of golf balls further than they’d ever been launched before. With a metal head that was 25% bigger than its Persimmon rivals ­– but still only 190cc – the Big Bertha not only looked like something out of this world, all steel and shiny, but also performed like it too, offering the promise of something previously unavailable to the modern golfer: forgiveness – otherwise known as the opportunity to hit a bad one and still get away with it. The Big Bertha helped instill confidence into a generation of golfers who had never known what it felt like to stand on a tee and not be scared out of their wits. Up until then, golfers had been relying on delivering a minuscule sliver of wood to the ball, in the vain hope that some part of the gnarled, screw-filled face would make contact with a scrap of balata. But all that changed with the arrival of the Big Bertha, which, along with its matching fairway woods and irons, went on to dominate the market for well over a decade. However, since those heady days, Callaway’s crown has, even by its own admission, slipped in the face of more aggressive product development and marketing from some its rivals, with a succession of big driver launches failing to resonate with the buying public to quite the same degree as founding father Ely Callaway’s eponymous club. So the reappearance of the Big Bertha brand, which has been lying dormant in the driver sector since 2005, is a real statement of intent from a company that is keen to win back market share. In an age of retro this and vintage that, tugging at the heartstrings of golfers who grew up playing Big Bertha clubs is a clever strategy, but it will also have to capture the imagination of a whole new generation of players that is looking for some genuine innovation in the driver stakes. Callaway’s chief executive since 2012, Chip Brewer, is

clearly hoping to achieve a bit of traction in both camps. Speaking at his office at Callaway’s US headquarters in Carlsbad – which is to golf what Silicon Valley is to the tech industry – Brewer holds his hands up to the mistakes that have been made – although not on his watch – and the work that needs to be done to rebuild lost confidence. “There’s no doubt that Callaway lost some momentum in the market, and that it had lost its focus on making clubs that were superior and different,” he says. “Over a period of time, Big Bertha became a lifestyle brand and the message became a bit confused. Thankfully they let the brand go away for a while, and let people almost forget about it. That has allowed us to bring it back when we had some truly innovative, technologydriven products that would prove a game-changer in the market. All the marketing stuff had to be pushed aside, and it had to be all about the product.” Bringing back brands is a dangerous game, but as Dr Alan Hocknell, Callaway’s English-born senior vice president of research and design says, the company was only prepared to bring it out of retirement for a range of clubs that offered genuine, boundary-pushing innovation. “We did some studies about the value of the Big Bertha name, and we found that if we could bring it back in the right circumstances, with the original values, it would be a good thing,” he says. “Big Bertha has meant so much to so many people, within Callaway, and to golfers all over the world, that we had to make sure we got it right. And I think we’ve done it here, with the right products at the right time.” ‘Dr Hoc’, as he is called within the company, is not known for hyperbole, but he believes that he and his R&D team have achieved some serious technological breakthroughs with the development of the Big Bertha and the Big Bertha Alpha driver, which take adjustability and customised performance to new levels. “Chip told us he wanted all our best ideas, regardless of cost,” he says. “We


February 2014/ Issue 230

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AND SHE MEANS BUSINESS had to make sure the product stood up to the name, and not just because there was some sense of nostalgia or something we did in the past. It was crucial to bring the product into the present, with all our best technology.” Hocknell has been true to his word, and certainly hasn’t held back on bells and whistles. The ‘standard’ Big Bertha is a fully-adjustable forged composite driver that features an 8g sliding weight on a five-inch rail at the rear of the clubhead, which, when combined with Hyper Speed Face technology and an adjustable OptiFit hosel, creates an ‘everyman’ kind of driver which hits the ball long – ‘Big Bertha long’ – while also offering plenty of scope for shot shaping. According to Hocknell, the location of the entire sliding mechanism helps maintain high MOI (resistance to twisting), no matter where a player chooses to move the weight – which is also an industry first. The Big Bertha Alpha driver, on the other hand, is aimed at faster-swinging players who like the idea of a driver that can, for the very first time, independently fine tune spin rates without altering loft. Dispensing with the rail, the Alpha’s game changer is the gravity core, which is essentially a 10g tube of reinforced nylon that connects

Nick Bayly pays a visit to Callaway Golf’s headquaters in California, and finds excitement building around the launch of two new drivers built under the much-loved Big Bertha brand the sole to the crown. By making one end of the tube heavier than the other, golfers can move the centre of gravity independent of all other components. Thus when weight is placed closest to the sole, the Alpha produces a flatter, more penetrating trajectory, with less spin and more roll. Flipping the core 180 degrees results in higher spin and a more controlled ball flight. It’s an ingenious idea that solves a problem few golfers outside the elite knew that they had, which is why it will appeal to low handicappers. While the rail concept has been seen and done before, although in different ways, Dr Hocknell is excited about the potential both drivers, especially the Alpha, have to unlock a player’s true potential. “The Alpha is a great example of putting the golfer first in the design process,” he says. “The performance of golfer is not bounded by the rules, you can unlock combinations of launch angle, spin rate and ball speed that you’ve not seen before, and this all translates into distance.” Of course, all this adjustability means that finding the best combination of settings to get

CALLAWAY BIG BERTHA £349 The Big Bertha is a fully-adjustable forged composite driver that features an 8g sliding weight on a 5-inch rail at the rear of the clubhead, which, when combined with Callaway’s Hyper Speed Face technology and adjustable hosel, creates a driver which hits the ball longer and more accurately than ever before. Golfers can choose from three different lofts (9°, 10.5° and 12°), that can be adjusted by -1° to +2°, giving loft options of 8° to 14°. The lie angle can also be independently altered to draw and neutral settings to adjust directional bias. It comes with a Fubuki Z graphite shaft as standard.

WHO’S IT FOR? Callaway calls the new Big Bertha a ‘total performance driver’ that provides a balance of speed and control. It’s designed for the broadest segment of the player population – those golfers seeking forgiveness and solid performance on off-centre impacts.

Nick Ba yly

tests th e new c lubs

that distance advantage will require an extended fitting process with an expert, but anyone who buys into the concept will hopefully see that as time, and money, well spent. Both Big Bertha drivers are without question eye-catching pieces of kit, with appealing cosmetics to match. Whether they will prove a game changer for Callaway’s fortunes remains to be seen, but Doc Hoc and his team have certainly fulfilled their part of the bargain. The rest, as they say, is up to you.

CALLAWAY BIG BERTHA ALPHA £399 The Big Bertha Alpha is the first driver to allow independent adjustment of loft, lie, shot bias and centre of gravity height to optimise trajectory, control and distance. To enable the latter adjustment, the Alpha comes with a Gravity Core which fits in a carbon tube in the head that connects the crown and sole. It has a glass fibre-reinforced body that weighs 1.5g connected to a tungsten end weighing 10.5g. Either end can be inserted into the clubhead, allowing golfers to raise or lower the centre of gravity and thereby alter spin rates. The head also has weight ports in the heel and toe, and comes with four interchangeable weights of 1, 3, 5, and 7 grammes to provide flexibility in controlling both shot shape and overall head weight. It comes in lofts of 9 and 10.5 degrees, which can be adjusted by -1° to +2°, and its stock shaft is the Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki ZT.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.

WHO’S IT FOR? The Alpha is best suited to players with above-average swing speeds who prefer a low-spinning trajectory to produce flatter drives which typically result in more roll.

CALLAWAYGOLF.COM


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February 2014/ Issue 230

Donald issues plea to speed up play

In a bid to ramp up the excitement at the end of the season, the LPGA Tour in America has introduced a new year-long points list that will pay out $1million to the winner after the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship. The Race to the CME Globe, as it will be known, will see players earn points every time they make the cut in an LPGA Tour event, with the top 72 players qualifying for November’s Tour Championship.

Only the top nine entering the event will have a chance to win the big bonus, while the secondplace finisher on the points list will earn $150,000, and the third $100,000. Only LPGA members are eligible for the $1 million bonus, which is a significant sum considering the leading money winner in 2013, Inbee Park (pictured left), earned $2.5 million. “We wanted to make our season-ending event even more fun and more dramatic,” said LPGA commissioner Michael Whan. “The points will be reset, but not to zero. There is no doubt season leaders will have a significant advantage, but they won’t have it locked up.”

A

M VA A ILA R BL C E H

Luke Donald has warned that slow play by professionals on the European Tour is having a negative impact on youngsters playing golf at club level. “A lot of the juniors who are watching golf are picking up bad habits after seeing us taking our time,” he said during an interview with Sky Sports. “It’s down to the intricacies of the rules or people not being ready when it’s their turn - there are so many different factors, but unfortunately it’s a reasonably big problem in the game.” European Tour chief executive George O’Grady insisted that the game’s governing bodies are doing their best to combat the problem. “I think the Tours take really good leadership - certainly the European Tour does. Last time I checked - at the end of the year - we’d had 400 different cases of players being timed and 12 penalties imposed.” Governing bodies at amateur level do not agree with O’Grady and have stated that the situation needs to be addressed. “It used to be that golf was a half-day activity,” said R&A chief executive Peter Dawson. “You could have breakfast with the family and be back home for lunch. But now it seems to have expanded into something that takes up two-thirds of the day, and I think it’s having a negative effect on participation – it needs speeding up.”

LPGA launches Race to the Globe

THIS IS D.N.A. FEEL ADVANCED

Woods’s niece wins Australian Masters Cheyenne Woods, niece of 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, claimed the first major title of her career when winning the Australian Ladies Masters. The 23-year-old American, who is currently ranked 363rd in the Rolex rankings, shot a final-round 69 at Royal Pines to finish on 16-under-par and win by two shots from local amateur Minjee Lee. Cheyenne, whose father is Tiger’s older half-brother, won more than 30 events during her amateur career, but victory in Australia was her first in the paid ranks. “This is a huge accomplishment for me,” she said. “I’ve been pro for two years and, for the majority of it, people just think of me as Tiger’s niece, so now I have a game of my own and I have a title now, a win, which is exciting. It’s nice now to say to people that I can play and I’m not just a name. Growing up with the last name of Woods, there’s been a lot of expectation and pressure on me, but I always knew that I was able to win. I always knew I’d be able to compete with these ladies, so it’s a weight off my shoulders, because now everybody knows, not just me.” Victory earned Woods a two-year exemption on the Ladies European Tour.

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Westwood joins PGA Tour player council Lee Westwood has been selected to serve on the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council. The 38-year-old, who moved to Florida last year to focus on his preparations for the majors, is among four players who were selected by the players serving on the policy board, although he is the only European. Westwood, with 38 wins worldwide and a No.1 ranking, never served on the tournament committee in all his years on the European Tour, but is looking forward to his new role on the PGA Tour. “I don’t know what they’re expecting,” he said. “I don’t know what to expect. I think I’ll just sit there for a while and listen. Obviously, in 20 years on the tour I’ve

Wise words: Westwood believes he has plenty to offer the PGA Tour

seen a few things, so I might be able to comment a little bit. Occasionally, I have a good idea.” The 16-member council advises and consults with the PGA Tour Policy Board and commissioner Tim Finchem on issues affecting the Tour. Westwood is joined by new appointees Jason Bohn, Charley Hoffman and Kevin Streelman, while the committee already includes a number of former major winners, including Webb Simpson, Stewart Cink, Geoff Ogilvy and Trevor Immelman.

Tour News GALLACHER DOUBLES UP IN THE DESERT Stephen Gallacher retained his Dubai Desert Classic title after shooting a level par final round at the Emirates to hold off Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo by a shot. The 39-yearold held a two-stroke lead over Rory McIlroy with 18 holes to play, but hit four bogeys on the front nine to fall off the pace. But four birdies on the back nine saw him move back to the top, with McIlroy shooting a 74 to finish four shots back. Victory gave Gallacher entry into the Masters for the first time, and moved him up to 40th in the world rankings.

GARCIA WINS IN QATAR

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Sergio Garcia moved into the world’s top 10 after winning his first European Tour title in more than two years at the Qatar Masters. The 34-year-old Spaniard beat Mikko Ilonen in a play-off to win the tournament after both players had finished on 16 under. Garcia hit a final round 65, but missed a five-foot birdie putt at the last that would have won him the tournament in 72 holes.

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American Kevin Stadler won his first PGA Tour title at the Phoenix Open after Bubba Watson missed a five-foot putt on the last to force a play-off. Stadler hit a final round 68 for a one-stroke win over Watson and Graham DeLaet. Victory for Stadler, son of 1982 Masters champion Craig, was his first in 239 PGA Tour starts. He will play alongside his father at Augusta in April.

FOTA TO HOST IRISH OPEN

Paul Casey will be defending his Irish Open trophy at Fota Island after the European Tour announced that the event is returning to the Cork-based venue for the first time since 2002. The tournament takes place from June 19-22. The prize fund has yet to be revealed.

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ROSE SIDELINED

US Open champion Justin Rose’s start to the season has been interrupted because of a shoulder injury. The 33-yearold ruled himself out of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the Farmers Insurance Open following a flare up of the tendinitis he suffered in his right shoulder in the closing weeks of last year.

PGA CATALUNYA TO STAGE SPANISH OPEN

The Stadium Course at PGA Catalunya has been chosen to host this year’s Spanish Open. The Girona-based complex, which last held the tournament in 2009, will host the 2014 renewal from May 15-18.

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February 2014/ Issue 230

EwenMurray’s Desert Swing Diary

PABLO PUTS PHIL IN THE SHADE IN ABU DHABI With Britain suffering its worst weather for centuries, I was most fortunate to enjoy some desert sun in the Middle East and watch some top quality golf. The trio of events that make up the Desert Swing – the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, the Qatar Masters and the Dubai Desert Classic – get the season off to a fine start, with three superb courses, guaranteed great weather, and generous prize funds. Phil Mickelson headlined the field in Abu Dhabi and was in contention right up to the end, after lighting up day three with a 63. Phil is a gambler, but his gamble didn’t pay off at the 13th in the final round. Under some desert flora, he decided to take a risk and play it righthanded. Unfortunately, the ball popped up and he incurred a double hit. The resulting triplebogey seven all but ended his chances. By contrast, Rory McIlroy began the year from where he left off. After his win in Australia it looked like he would start 2014 with a victory, but not for the first time at the HSBC, the rules made the headlines, when Rory was penalised two shots for not taking full relief from a free drop. The winner, Pablo Larazabal, is one of the tour’s bubbly guys. He is a staunch Barcelona fan, as he grew up with a few members of their all -conquering side. As boys, he and Andries Iniesta, Victor Valdez and others would play and talk football. Now they talk golf with Larazabal,

who secured his third win on the European tour. Pablo changed his swing towards the end of last year. He’s shallowed out what was too steep a downswing. One of the joys of this game is getting rewarded for the work you put in, and knowing that you were correct in making the change.

Tiger Woods’s opening two events this season have not been what he would have envisaged, and seeing him in Dubai, he was a far cry from the player who took golf to new levels. His swing was virtually unrecognisable to the one that struck fear into every opponent during his dominating years. His aim is well left of the target and his weight is on the left foot. The squat position at the start of the downswing is greatly accentuated., and because of that, he dramatically loses height. The arms have no room to swing, so the left leg straightens, twists and swivels to make room for them. At impact his feet offer no foundation to support his swing. It’s a steep action which de-lofts the driver – and which explains his wildness and inconsistency off the tee, as well as the indifferent distance control on his mid-to-short irons. His pitching and putting have been unaffected by the needless, and often extensive, changes to his technique, and no doubt many spectators and television viewers still enjoy watching the raw skill that Tiger has,as well as his

Sky Sport’s voice of golf speaks out on issues of the month

Tiger falls on stony ground in the desert

impressive will to survive and his work ethic. From where Tiger’s tee shots finished, no sverage tour professional would have made the halfway cut and, out of the four rounds, none would have been par or better. Tiger finished the final round with three birdies, further evidence that quitting is not part of his make up and, whatever happens in his career from here, that legacy will be handed to the next generation of golfers. As part of his multi milliondollar appearance fee, Tiger gave a clinic on the practice range on the Friday, straight after his second round. I’ve watched him do this many times before, and they are

entertaining, as well as educational. This one was no different, and was conducted with humour and humility, add a sprinkling of brilliance here, a splash of genius there, and you have what Tiger Woods is, a master craftsman. And what a difference in his technique. Talking all the way through his fades, draws, high ones, low ones and straight ones, Woods delivered a mesmerising exhibition. This time, there was no leaning on the left side, there was no loss of height, no lack of space. Just Tiger putting the club on the ball. He is not a scientist and never will be, but if he returns to what nature gave him, he will win, and win again.

Farewell to golf’s Hatton looks a winner-in-waiting man of minds Over the festive period golf lost one of its great characters in Jos Vanstiphout, mind guru to several players over the last 15 years. His most recognisable clients were South Africans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, both of whom flourished under his watchful gaze. The amazing thing about his success was the fact he had no qualifications in the world of sports psychology. His reputation was built on success, and those who had the benefit of his knowledge have lost a man who was years ahead of his time. When Goosen three-putted the 72nd hole in the 2001 US Open at Southern Hills to tie with Mark Brooks, I wouldn’t have given him a prayer on winning the play-off the next day. Having spent some time that evening with Jos, Goosen came out on the Monday as if Sunday had never happened. I enjoyed Jos’s company on several occasions and, like many, I’ll miss him. He was a genius in his field.

One player who caught my eye during the last month was 22-year-old Tyrrell Hatton from Marlow. He started well in Abu Dhabi, and was quickly on the leaderboard. Having finished 10th on last year’s Challenge Tour, he will get a good number of starts on the main tour this year. With daylight short in the Middle East, the fields are small, and with his ranking there is no guarantee of your place in the next event. Having slipped during the first nine on the final day of the HSBC, he birdied four of the closing seven holes to finish 10th and book his ticket for Qatar. Another fine last nine in Qatar gave him a top-25 finish, and he bounced back from missing the cut in Dubai to finish second in the Joburg Open. it’s a very encouraging start to his tournament career, and he is a player I will follow with interest over the coming months.

Sergio returns to winning ways The Qatar Masters had a great climax, with Sergio Garcia returning to winning ways on the European Tour, recording his first victory since the Andalusian Open in 2011. Serenity has returned to Sergio’s world and much of that is down to his charming partner Katherina, who carried his bag to glory in Thailand at the end of last year.

There has never been any doubting the talent and quality Garcia the golfer has, but there has been the odd dark mood, which has occasionally left him in poor places for too long. His record since last autumn is very impressive. After so many close shaves in major championships, maybe this year will see Sergio fulfil his vast potential.

Ryder cup stars missing in action Despite some star attractions, the Desert Swing had a few top names missing. Their was no Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell or through injury, Justin Rose. It’s tough for these players to play in every tournament, but I thought they would include two of the three in the Gulf in their

schedules. Five made it through the world rankings for Paul McGinley’s side at Gleneagles, and four through the European list. For them, in an even number year, it would make sense to play their golf on this tour before the PGA Tour begins its elite events. The west coast of America is an uninspiring

place to play in January, while the Gulf is as good as it gets, and a fast start there helps on both qualification lists, because it offers both European and world ranking points. Let’s hope by the time the team is selected, the nucleus that has performed so well in the past is still in contention.


The moment

you make a once-in-a-lifetime drive along the coast.

WIN

A GOLF BREAK IN DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY & 2 TICKETS TO THE RYDER CUP

VISITSCOTLAND.COM/GOLFNEWSDUMFRIES

Stranraer, Dumfries & Galloway

The moment has come. In 2014, The Ryder Cup will return to Scotland, the Home of Golf, for the first time in over four decades. Amongst Scotland’s golfing regions, Dumfries & Galloway is famed for its selection of great value courses. The superb Gateway to Golf Pass allows you to play discounted rounds at a variety of venues, from the shadow of Castle Douglas to the sands of Brighouse Bay. The region also boasts three golf trails to choose from, including the Little Gems Trail for visitors looking to find Scotland’s best kept golfing secrets. So whether you’re relaxing in the clubhouse at Thornhill or even exploring the 200 mile long coastline, you’ll find plenty of moments to treasure forever. To find out more about our range of courses to suit every kind of budget, go to visitscotland.com/dumfriesgalloway-golf.

Aston Hotel, Dumfries

Dumfries & Galloway. A place of brilliant moments.

visitscotland.com/brilliant #brilliantmoments


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February 2014/ Issue 230

You looked like you were coming back into a bit of form at the end of last season. How do you look back on your overall performance last year? It was bad. People obviously want to be kind to me and say it was an average season, but it was not a good season. We can be honest about that. I had a few good finishes, a few top 10s here and there. But I think the standard has to be higher than top-10s, especially if you’ve won a major, if you have been the number one in the world. Since I turned professional, everything has gone my way, but last year was not my best year golf-wise. But I also learned a lot, and in those terms, off the course it was a very good season, probably the best season off the golf course that I had. So it’s all fine, and I don’t think it will be too long before I’m playing better golf again. So what are your expectations for 2014? I expect myself to play a lot better, and to be in contention more often. I’m more confident in my swing again. It feels the same as when I first came out on tour. I’m a little bit more mature mentally, and I have more experience on the golf course. So it’s not a bad combination. But on the other hand, I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself.  I just want to enjoy the season.

Golf News talks to German star Martin Kaymer about his bid to return to Major-winning form and earn back his place in the Ryder Cup team

What objectives have you set yourself? The goal is to play well in the big tournaments and get myself in contention. It’s always nice to win European Tour events, but every golfer’s career is measured by the big events: the Majors, World Golf Championships, and, of course, the Ryder Cup. I’m already preparing myself for Augusta, and thinking about how my schedule sets up going into the Majors. It doesn’t mean that the other tournaments are not important, but it’s more like a step-by-step thing towards preparing for the big ones. You only have four chances, so they are my main goals this season. To what extent is The Ryder Cup already in your thinking? It’s too early to even think about it, and it’s certainly not my main goal right now. As I said, the goal is to play well in the big events and see where it takes me. If things aren’t working out later on, then I might change my schedule. But right now, it’s about playing well in the big events and the Ryder Cup will take care of itself. Going back to your great year in 2010, you didn’t seem to relish the attention that came

KAYMER CHAMELEON


February 2014/ Issue 230

“I was not playing like the best player on the planet. I certainly didn’t feel like the best player. And therefore I needed to change a few things”

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with winning majors and being world No.1. How do you feel you handled that situation? It was very, very difficult. It’s easier if you’ve been in the spotlight your entire life, but for me it was a big surprise. The expectation and the pressure that comes not only from outside – family, friends, the fans – but also from yourself, is a lot to take on board. But overall, it’s a positive experience from which you can only learn. Did getting to No.1 almost take you by surprise? Yes, there’s no doubt that it was a surprise. I was not playing like the best player on the planet. I certainly didn’t feel like the best player. And therefore, I needed to change a few things. Obviously I dropped down in the rankings, but I didn’t care about that. It was about the feeling that you have. If other people see you as being No.1, but you don’t see yourself as No.1, how can you play like No.1?  That’s not possible. Regardless of the rankings, I know I’m a better player now, than I was then. You surprised a lot of people by tinkering with your swing straight after having the most successful year of your life. Why did you feel you needed to do that? As I said, I didn’t feel like the No.1 in the world. I was, but I didn’t feel like it. I knew I couldn’t play all the shots that I wanted. And for me, if you are the best player in the world, you should be able to hit any shot you like, and I just couldn’t. And just knowing that didn’t make me feel like the number

one, so that’s why I needed to change. I’m not comparing myself to Tiger at all, but I think sometimes you just have to do things that feel right for you. They don’t make sense to other people, but it does to you. I don’t want to look back in ten years time and think that I settled for less than I thought I was capable of. Now, I’m able to hit every shot I want. I was not able to do that when I came on tour in 2010. Now I don’t have any trouble with drawing or fading the ball. I’m more of a complete player. What did you struggle with the most after reaching number one? As I said, the expectation. I just wanted to play golf; that is all I wanted to do. But you get distracted. You get distracted by all the people, the fans, the media. They expect so much all of a sudden – which is fine, and they are right to expect that – but it’s not easy to keep up those expectations. Are you ready to be number one again? Yeah, definitely.  I’m ready to compete against the best. If it’s enough for No.1, we will see. I still have to work on a lot of things and that is the great thing. In everything you achieve, I think the journey is the fun part and I’m right on the journey now. I don’t know where the journey will get me to, if it’s No.1, if it’s No.5, or whatever, we’ll just have to see. We can’t not mention your six-foot putt on 18

at Medinah to win the Ryder Cup. What went through your mind as you were standing over it? The thing was, I didn’t try to block out the importance of the putt. I knew over the last three or four holes that it was down to Francesco [Molinari] and me. So it was probably the best feeling I ever had in my life; to have the responsibility of knowing that you can make something huge happen for the team and for yourself, and knowing that I could handle it. That’s why I enjoyed the last three or four holes as much as I did.  It never crossed my mind that I would miss the putt. I was putting very well; I knew exactly the line; there was no choice – I had to make it. I knew I wouldn’t miss. Did that putt, and that week, give you back some confidence in your own game? It was a good feeling knowing that at least something worked out that year. I worked on a lot of different parts in my game, and nothing really came out of it in my results. Even though I played well, it just didn’t happen. And then something career‑changing happened. And obviously that gives you so much motivation and belief. Knowing that if it comes down to the most important putts, I can make them. So it was a nice feeling. You joined the PGA Tour last year. Why did you finally decide to make the switch? It was just the right time. When I was 23 or 24, it was maybe a little bit too early. But last year I decided that I would like to try it out, and see how it felt. I’ve played in the US many times, in majors, World Golf Championships and other big events. I’ve set up my home in Arizona, and I’ve got to know the culture more, and feel comfortable being there. In the past it was still a little bit unknown, I didn’t feel at ease. Now every time I go I look forward to it. What do you like most about the lifestyle in America? It’s very easy. It’s very comfortable. Sometimes, too comfortable, perhaps. For me, as a German, I like to be very organised, very planned, fairly disciplined. And in the US everything is very relaxed and laidback. It’s a good trait to have, but my character is a little bit different. So I needed to adjust a little bit to this in order to feel more comfortable there. But playing-wise, it was very important for me to get comfortable playing golf courses over there that I’d never played before. So certain things really made a difference to me in the first four or five months last year.  You’ve recently stopped working with Pete Cowen as your short game coach. Why was that? The work with Pete has brought me a great deal and extended my options on the golf course. But looking at the results, I have to be self-critical and say that they were not to my satisfaction. I just needed to change things up, and that is part of change. I’m still working with my main coach, Guenter Kessler, and things are working well.

Cometh the hour: Kaymer nervelessy sank the putt that won the 2012 Ryder Cup

You’ve recently signed up as a corporate ambassador for Mercedes-Benz. You’ve historically not been that keen on having big sponsors, so what’s changed? It’s not a matter of being keen on having big sponsor, as you say – it’s just a matter of having the right fit, working with a company that shares the same interests and goals. I am very happy to have become involved with Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes is a big part of the Majors today, and my main goal for 2014 is to also play a big role at these events. I am also proud to be actively involved in this year’s Mercedes Trophy, the world’s biggest amateur golf tournament, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Golf is truly a global game and I know that Mercedes is committed to promoting it even further.


42 /

fit possible. It’s about studying what our feet need when we walk and then going from there.” Although a lot of golfers have been swept along with the spikeless tide, there are traditionalists who fear that a trainer-style shoe won’t give them the grip they need on the golf course – a concern that Waack is quick to dismiss. “I believe that 80% of golfers don’t need to wear spiked shoes,” he says. “I agree there are some professionals that have footwork issues and feel the need for spikes, but I think spikeless or hybrid shoes are the future for the majority of golfers. You will not slip or slide in our hybrid product. Cleats get clogged up with mud and leaves in the winter, turning them into skates. That will never happen with our hybrid shoe.” Aside from grip, it is what is above the rubber nubs that makes Ecco stand apart from some of its rivals, from the direct injection midsole, which does away with the need for glueing and stitching, to the use of premium grade leathers, which are softer, stronger and more breathable than cheaper leathers and man-made materials. “The leathers are very important,” adds Waack. “I believe that the best shoe is a leather shoe. Today there are a lot of technical fabrics that are good in their own way, but leather is still the best fabric for us to have around our feet. This is where we have an advantage, because we have our own tanneries, so we can develop the leathers especially for golf shoes. This is a huge advantage for us.”

THE ANATOMY OF AN ECCO SHOE 1. COW TO CONSUMER Ecco is the only footwear company that owns the entire production process, from tanneries to shoe factories and retail outlets. While its leather is also used by other brands, its shoes, and the materials used to make them, are under complete control of the company. Dieter Kasprzak and Michael Waack

To check out Ecco’s 2014 range of golf shoes, visit www.eccogolf.co.uk

H EA D

S T E E

S T R A

The landscape of the golf shoe market has changed out of all recognition in the last few years, with spikeless models now accounting for almost 25% of all shoe sales in the UK from a standing start of almost zero five years ago. While cleated shoes will always have a place, a high percentage of regular players, and certainly those who like to play abroad, have some sort of spikeless model in their locker these days, which is nothing short of a revolution. Nobody has played a more important role in this fundamental shift than Ecco, the 50-year-old Danish footwear brand that launched its first golf shoe, the Golf Street, in 2010. With rubber nubs on the soles, colourful leather uppers, and a comfort level that no other shoe had previously offered, the Street range turned the golf shoe business on its head almost overnight, throwing out convention and perceived wisdom, and almost rewriting the rules of golf, to the extent that golf clubs had to rethink the etiquette of what was acceptable to wear on the golf course and in the clubhouse. A key player in the revolution was Fred Couples, who wore a pair of Streets – sockless, too – when contending at the US Masters in 2010. It became an instant global phenomenon, the effects of which continue to this day – with every golf shoe brand now selling a Street-style shoe of its own. Since those heady days, Ecco has expanded its golf range significantly, launching a whole series of spikeless shoes, as well as one or two cleated versions for those who are only happy when they’re walking in spikes. “The Street shoe was born from the simple idea that a golf shoe can be more than a golf shoe,” explains Dieter Kasprzak, Ecco’s chief executive, during my visit to the company’s R&D headquarters in Tonder, southern Denmark. The architect behind Ecco’s move into golf was a latecomer to golf, both as a player and a shoemaker, but he’s got the bit between his teeth now. “I started playing golf late in life, and I discovered that there was no shoe on the market that really fitted the demands of the sport. I played for a couple of years trying different brands, and eventually came to the conclusion that we needed to start making our own golf shoes. Already being shoemakers gave us a great platform to build from. We tested out various concepts for two or three years, and then decided to enter the market with the Street shoe.” From a standing start, Ecco is now the fourth biggest golf shoe brand behind FootJoy, adidas and Nike, according to Ecco’s director of Golf, Michael Waack, and is growing its market share across all continents. While Ecco’s premium price point – the average pair retails for £122 – will prevent it from ever overtaking its rivals in the market in terms of volume – profit is a different matter – there’s no doubting that the company is uncompromising in its search for quality, and its ambition to make walking the golf course more of a pleasure and less of a pain. Ask most Ecco wearers what first springs to mind about their shoes, and most will say ‘comfort’. “We build all of our shoes, and especially our golf shoes, around comfort,” says Waack. “The shoes must follow the feet – that is our guiding philosophy. If you think about how many miles golfers walk during their lives, I think it’s as important as the clubs they use that they have shoes that feel good. Ecco has spent 50 years studying human feet to work out the best

February 2014/ Issue 230

Nick Bayly visits the homeof Danish footwear brand Ecco, whose Street shoes have revolutionised the golf industry

2. DIRECT INJECTION TECHNOLOGY Used to create all ECCO golf shoes, this process involves chemically bonding the upper and outsole unit with injected molten polyurethane, creating a one-piece, watertight construction without the use of glue or stitching. 3. DYNAMIC TRACTION SYSTEM The Dynamic Traction System outsole consists of 100 molded traction bars constructed from TPU – a material that is five times more durable than rubber – which provide 800 angles to offer grip in all conditions. 4. BIOM NATURAL MOTION Borrowed from Ecco’s running shoe designs, Natural Motion brings the wearer more in contact with the ground, with flexible soles and less cushioned heels helping golfers find their own natural balance, as well as allowing the foot to flex more freely, especially around the toe area, which is essential for good balance.

5. YAK LEATHER Tibetan yak hide creates extremely strong leather and offers exceptional abrasion resistance. This makes it possible for the hides to be cut very thin, which results is a lightweight, breathable, and durable leather that is ideal for golf shoes. 6. HYDROMAX An ECCO-developed treatment used to make leather water repellent. This process stops the leather from hardening after repeated wetting and drying, keeping it strong and durable – yet soft and breathable – for the lifetime of the shoe.


February 2014/ Issue 230

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SHORT CUTS TO SHORT GAME RESULTS PGA Professional Stuart Smith’s ground-breaking Core Board provides a unique way of understanding the mechanics of chipping. Here he explains how it works, and how it can improve your short game I have been coaching golf for over 20 years, the last 10 of which I’ve focused on the short game – specifically wedge and chip shots from 100 yards and in – which I believe are the key to good scoring. During my research into the subject, I came across a common fault in all poor short game players, which I believe comes down to three factors: ball position, impact position, and the position of the body’s core in relation to the ball. This led me to create the Core Board, an 18-inch by 6-inch Perspex board that has three coloured pegs to represent these three elements. The position of the pins can be moved back and forward in the stance according to the type of shot you are trying to hit. The Core Board helps golfers quickly and easily understand the correct set up and impact positions for all short game shots, and working with the board has helped transform the games of players of all skill levels. Before I start any lesson, I like to clear up two common misconceptions about chipping. Firstly, I like to ask people what they think a chip shot is. The answer I normally hear is that it’s a shot where the ball flies up to the hole and stops very quickly. No, it’s not! A chip is a shot where the ball lands in a certain position and then rolls up to the hole – so a chip is a shot that is always going to move forwards. As soon as we can put enough spin on the ball to make it stop dead, or spin backwards, it becomes a pitch. That is the only difference between the two shots. The second question I ask pupils is: ‘How does the loft of the club affect a chip shot?’ The answer I usually hear is along the lines of it giving the ball height. Wrong! Loft dictates the amount of energy, or roll, the ball will have after its first bounce. So a chip with a 7-iron will have more roll than a chip with a pitching wedge, as it has less loft. The quicker you understand this way of thinking, the sooner you can start to transform your short game. I will now run through the main aim of the core board, and then look at a variety of chip shots, and what players should be aiming for in their set up and at impact. THE CORE BOARD For all shots, the black vertical line (0) on each row must be set to the centre of your stance. The blue peg shows you where the ball position should be in relation to the centre of your stance; the green peg will show you the set up position for your core (body); and the red peg is to show you where your core should be at impact. CHIP SHOTS One of my most popular short game lessons is teaching how to play a chip in four different ways: the normal chip; checking chip; running chip, and a soft-landing chip. I have four different spins that I can put on the ball when chipping, and I can apply all four ways with every club that I chip with – 7, 8, 9, PW, 52, 58

– which gives me 24 ways of chipping the ball from any position around the green. 1. THE ‘NORMAL’ CHIP: A ‘normal chip’ is where you allow the loft of the club to put the required energy into the ball to make it land on the green and roll up to the hole. As a rough guide, using an 8-iron will land a third of the distance between your ball and the hole, and it will roll out the other two-thirds. With a pitching wedge it’s about 50/50, and with a sand wedge it will be two-thirds through the air and one-third roll. It is important that you learn what your ‘land’ and ‘roll’ distances are for all the clubs you chip with. Whatever type of chip you’re trying to execute, your hands must always be positioned under your chin, so in this case they would be level or slightly to the left of the green and red pegs. At set up you can see 1. NORMAL CHIP It’s vital to keep your weight on the left side during all phases of the swing, and not tilt back at impact.

LEARN MORE MASTERCLASSES

To learn more about the Core Board, visit www. stuartsmithgolfacademy.com, where a number of video tutorials are available on all aspects of chipping. Stuart Smith Golf Academies are located at Heydon Grange Golf & Country Club in Hertfordshire, Old Joes Golf Club in Suffolk, Thetford Golf Club in Norfolk and The Golf Lounge, Cambridge. Stuart’s next Short Game MasterClass takes place at Thetford Golf Club on Friday, March 28, 9am-4pm. The cost is £95pp, to include coffee on arrival, lunch, and your own Core Board to take away. To book a lesson, email stuart@ stuartsmithgolfacademy.com.

that the green peg is plus 1 – this means that at address you will have slightly more weight on your left side (for right-handed golfers) and it must remain there during the shot. The core should be level with the ball here, which will give the ball the normal amount of energy, once landed, that the loft of the club dictates.

the chin, and eyes ahead of the ball, hit the chip. You’ll notice that the balls stay lower and runs three times as far as a normal chip. By moving the blue peg forward, you can adjust the amount of energy that you put on the ball, giving you different running chip options.

2. RUNNING CHIP: A running chip is where you put more energy into the shot, keeping the ball lower, with the intention of making it run further than a normal chip. To do this I move the ball back in my stance, to -4 on the Core Board – which serves to deloft the club. A lot of golfers then move their core back, but in reality the core, the green peg, should be on the left, at +1, with the hands ahead of the ball, but not the body. The red peg, your impact zone, stays where it is at +1. Keeping the leading edge square, your hands under

3. LOB SHOT: The secret to this shot is to really understand what the club is doing through impact, and remember, you are not after height! You simply need the ball to have very little energy once it lands on the green. Working with the Core Board, I put the ball forward in my set up – which is the blue peg +4 – but keep the core and impact (red and green pegs) at +1, as for the other shots. While keeping the clubface square to the target, hit the shot, and watch the ball pop up and land softly. 3. LOB SHOT Don’t be tempted to open the clubface or help the ball up into the air – trust the club’s loft to achieve that.

2. RUNNING SHOT Moving the blue peg forward or back in your stance can adjust thw amount of power you put into a running chip shot.

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So far, more than

February 2014/ Issue 230

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SRIXON STAFF PLAYERS ON SONG Srixon had a highly successful year in 2013, with its staff players winning three of the world’s money lists, as Hideki Matsuyama and Inbee Park ran away with their respective Orders of Merit. Kevin Stadler won the Waste Management Phoenix Open at the start of February to get 2014 off to a fast start for Srixon, while Keegan Bradley made full use of the Spin Skin coating on his Z-STAR to register a hole-in-one in the second round of the Humana Challenge in January. Further to this, Srixon has added Korea’s KJ Choi and America’s JB Holmes to its staff roster for 2014. Srixon staff players have now won over 70 events worldwide since the third generation of the Z-STAR range was launched. With exciting young prospects such as Matsuyama and experienced tour players like Graeme McDowell, don’t be surprised if you see a Srixon player take home a Major title in 2014.


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February 2014/ Issue 230

AD333 TOUR Offering tour-level performance for golfers who don’t generate tour-level swing speeds, Srixon’s new AD333 Tour is the tour ball for the non-tour golfer

Heralding a new era of choice, the AD333 Tour builds on the success of the AD333 brand, the UK’s number one two-piece golf ball since 2007. A tourinspired design with a three-piece construction, the AD333 Tour features a super-soft urethane cover, making it the ideal ball for golfers looking to take their game to the next level by combining distance, control and feel. Control and spin on approach shots is improved further, thanks to a blended highly-resilient soft mid-layer, which offers a superior soft feel on impact. The AD333 Tour also features Srixon’s proprietary coating - Spin Skin Technology, as first produced for their premium Z-STAR range. The Spin Skin coating improves friction between the golf ball and club surface by as much as 20%. for added feel and control on crucial scoring shots, in particular partial wedge shots from greenside rough. To achieve this, Srixon’s R&D developed its own paint with a unique molecular structure. The result is a ball that gives unmatched greenside performance over others in the same category.

A high-repulsion mid-layer, combined with the advanced 344 speed dimple pattern, also helps to promote low driver spin and high iron spin, generating a consistent, penetrating ball flight and unyielding performance in the wind. The engine room that powers distance performance in the AD333 Tour ball is the Energetic Gradient Growth Core. Srixon’s own technology, the Energetic Gradient Growth Core has powered the AD333 ball since it was launched in the UK. This gives the ball’s core a firmer outer region, which becomes progressively softer towards the centre, and has been proven over the years to create explosive ball speeds off the tee with reduced spin for maximum distance. The AD333 Tour is available from mid-March in Pure White only with an RRP of £36. Details of the full range of balls, including the premium Z-STAR, are available on the Srixon website – www.srixon.co.uk – which also features a custom ball selector to help you find the right ball for your game, as well as information on ball-fitting days around the UK.

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February 2014/ Issue 230

SkyCaddie Linx GPS Watch

Wilson Staff FG Tour TC Wedges

RRP: £199 Contact: skycaddie.com

RRP: £79 Contact: wilsonstaff.com

Looking like a watch you’d actually also want to wear, SkyCaddie’s new Linx GPS watch comes pre-loaded with 34,000 courses from around the world. Bluetooth-enabled, it provides distances to the front, centre and back of the green straight from the box, while optional extras for subscription members include up to 40 hazards, carries and layups per hole; a true representation of the shape of the green; and pin placement targeting. For added personalisation, the bezel and band are interchangeable with a variety of colours to suit your style.

Wilson has introduced a new line of Tour-proven FG Tour TC wedges in a dark PVD finish. Available in 52-, 56- and 60-degree loft options, the wedge features two sole options – a standard sole and a Tour version for players looking for extra shot shaping and strikes from tighter lies. The face features a laser-etched pattern within the individual scorelines, which helps to generate extra spin on approach shots into the green, while a new wedge-specific Lamkin 3-Gen grip with imprinted dots helps players grip the club appropriately for different shot lengths.

SHOP

Cleveland 588 Custom Driver

RRP: £279 Contact: clevelandgolf.com

Ping Karsten Hybrid/Irons RRP: £86/£102 (st/gr) Contact: pinggolf.com Although at first glance the new Karsten hybrid-iron combo set looks like a super game improvement range for high handicappers, along the lines of Ping’s K15s, all the evidence from its performance is that this range is about pure, unadulterated distance. A lot of golfers just want to hit the ball as far as possible, with the minimum of fuss, and these are designed to do just that. However, unlike other distanceorientated irons on the market, Ping insists that the Karsten range is engineered to provide ‘predictable distance’, offering levels of forgiveness and feel not usually associated with this category of club. Made from high-grade stainless steel, the irons feature a wide sole design, and a deep centre of gravity. The now familiar polymer custom-tuning port in the cavity helps reinforce the thin face to provide high ball speeds and higher launch, which in turn provide greater distance, and steeper descent angles, producing shots that stop where they land. A progressive centre of gravity design means that lower-lofted irons launch higher and with more spin than their higher lofted counterparts. The three hybrids have a deeper profile, and are designed to blend in perfectly with the irons while maintaining consistent distance gaps. So if you’re looking for uncompromising distance with great feel, the Karsten combo set could be just up your street. The range comprises three hybrids (3, 4, 5) and eight irons (5-9, PW, UW, SW), which can be mixed and matched accordingly.

Following extensive testing and tour validation, Cleveland is confident that its new 588 driver offers the greatest combination of distance, forgiveness and accuracy in any driver it’s made before. An adjustable hosel offers 12 different settings to precisely tune loft, lie and face angle – loft and lie have a total range of 3°, while face angle has a total range of 4.5°. An enhanced variable face thickness face creates high ball speeds on centre strikes and even faster speeds on off-centre hits for maximum forgiveness. Optimal centre of gravity is provided by an advanced wall construction, allowing more weight to be positioned lower in the clubhead for a high, penetrating flight, while the back of the sole has an interchangeable weight screw to optimise swingweight. It is fitted with a 45-5 inch Matrix OZIK 6Q3 shaft, which offers mid-height launch and an all-round combination of speed and stability at impact. The driver comes with a matching set of fairway woods (£159) and hybrids (£129). The former is available in 14°, 15.5°, 18° and 20.5° lofts, while the latter, which are the first Cleveland hybrids to feature variable face thickness technology, have 18°, 20.5°, 23° and 26° loft options.

Ping i25 Driver RRP: £345 Contact: pinggolf.com Ping’s updating of the i20 range is in keeping with the company’s two-year cycle of product development, and also in keeping with the brand’s philosophy than any new bit of kit has to be better than what came before. While the i20 driver was considered to be for better players, or at least players with high swing speeds, Ping has broadly defined the i25 as a club that will appeal to all of those who could benefit from a lower-thanaverage spinning driver. Essentially, if you generate mid-tohigh levels of spin, and aren’t prepared to sacrifice the loss of forgiveness that comes with some of the other low-spinning drivers out there, then the i25 could be the answer to your prayers. The construction sees a lightweight titanium body welded to a variable-thickness titanium face, which combines to create high ball speeds. The sole features high-density tungsten weights to lower the centre of gravity to reduce spin for a flatter ball flight and a landing angle that maximises roll. Ping has traditionally avoided ‘go faster’ stripes on its drivers, but the i25 has just that, although the two parallel lines on the crown are actually there to help with alignment. Like the i20, the i25 can be adjusted for loft, although unlike other adjustable drivers, this can only be changed by half a degree in either direction. The driver is available in 8.5°, 9.5°, and 10.5° heads, so lofts of 8° and 11° are achievable. Of more interest is the use of Ping’s industry-first PWR shaft. The 45.25-inch shaft, available in 55g, 65, and 75g, offers the unique ability to move between different weights, flexes, and profiles without altering the driver’s swingweight, which is a great step forward for all golfers.


February 2014/ Issue 230

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Benross Speed 2 Irons RRP: £269-£399 Contact: benrossgolf.com Benross has introduced a whole new line of clubs under the Speed 2 banner, which offer something for all levels of golfer, from absolute beginner to wannabe tour pro. Leading the new iron range is the RIP Speed 2 (£399.99 4-PW), which boasts a compact profile, minimal offset, narrow sole and top-edge to suit the more accomplished ball striker. Made from soft carbon steel, with a classy cobalt finish, they offer the feel and shot-shaping control that all good players appreciate. The HOT Speed 2 irons (£329.99, 5-SW) incorporate all the features and benefits normally expected in a set of Tour-standard irons, yet packaged in a club that will suit a wide range of handicappers. Featuring Tour lofts, perimeter weighting and a slightly offset hosel, they come with a stunning black anti-glare PVD finish and will look good in anyone’s bag. Rounding out the range is the MAX Speed 2 (£269.99, 6-SW), a highlaunching game improvement iron with oversized heads, wide soles and a low, deep centre of gravity to help golfers launch shots on a powerful high trajectory, increasing flight time and carry distance.

Cobra Baffler XL Combo Set RRP: £549 Contact: cobragolf.co.uk Cobra has launched a full range of clubs that carry the famous Baffler name to celebrate its 40th anniversary this year. The Baffler XL line is characterised by extreme forgiveness, enhanced distance, and sharp cosmetics. The Baffler XL combination set is available with three hybrids (4, 5 and 6) and five irons (7-GW). The irons are extremely easy to hit, thanks to the large faces, extra wide railed soles, and a progressive offset to counteract any tendency to slice. A deep undercut delivers a large free-floating face that generates ball speed for longer explosive shots. An iron-only set costs £399.

Adidas Adizero One RRP: £129.99 Contact: adidasgolf.eu Tipping the scales at just 275g – 10% lighter than the adizero Tour shoe – the adizero one is the lightest cleated shoe the company has ever made. Featuring ultra-light materials, mid-foot and swing plane traction zones, and a low-profile design with bold aesthetics, it’s also one of its most technology-laden models to date. While traditional shoe construction requires the stitching of multiple layers, the adizero one features a one-piece upper that delivers a consistent glove-like fit on the foot.
To further reduce weight while increasing stability, a lighter and thinner seven-cleat outsole has been developed, which is 20% wider than the adizero Tour. The eye-catching cleat is in one located in the centre of the midfoot area, which offers a greater level of surface area contact and provides more cushioning with better grip in all weathers. The upper is also treated with Climaproof protection, so your feet will stay dry when conditions are wet under foot. It is currently available in black, white, silver/grey and aqua blue, with a further colour option being released in May.

TRIED &

TESTED FootJoy DNA Rating: RRP: £150 Contact: footjoy.co.uk DryJoys has never been the most sexy of brand names, but life is about to get a whole lot more exciting for devotees of FootJoy’s most successful shoe category following the launch of its new DNA shoe. For science geeks out there, this does not stand for Deoxyribonucleic Acid, but DryJoys Next Advancement. And boy is this an advancement. FootJoy’s R&D team has thrown the proverbial kitchen sink at these shoes, packing in all of its technological know-how into creating one of the lightest, yet most stable model in its fabled history. For those interested in weight facts, the DNA is 20% lighter than the XPS-1, 19% lighter than the FJ Icon, and 17% lighter than the DryJoys Tour. So yes, it’s light, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that compromises performance. Far from it. Sleek and athletic, yet comfortable and supportive, the DNA offers a balanced platform from which to unleash your swing. Comfort is delivered by elements such as a padded foam collar and a padded tongue, while support comes from a ingenious dual density fitbed, which is firmer around the perimeter for stability, and softer in the heel and forefoot for added comfort. Stability is further enhanced by a new ultra-thin TPU outsole, which allows the foot to be flexed in harmony during the phases of the swing, while still providing the support required to deal with the forces at work. The other main talking point is the cleat configuration on the outsole, which sees nine Stealth cleats pushed to the outer extremity of the sole. While strange at first look, this makes for a very solid launch platform, and a single cleat placed at the front of the toe area helps prevent any potential slippage during the final ‘push off’ phase of the swing. The Pittards leather in the uppers is of the highest quality, and is extremely thin and supple, yet durable and waterproof. Although the DryJoys brand has generally been worn by older golfers, the DNA definitely bridges the generational divide with its contemporary styling, and I can see these being worn by cool kids and, in fact, golfers of all ages and skill levels who appreciate that shoes are as vital a part of the equipment armoury as a putter or a driver. They are available in six different colours, with white, grey and black being the base for various flashes in the heel. A model with BOA’s laceless closing system is also available for £165.

Adams Golf XTD Forged Irons RRP: £699 Contact: adamsgolf.eu Unlike traditional forged irons, the XTD features a multi-piece forging that boasts the category’s firstever Cut-Thru Slot Technology. A floating face and hollow design delivers a consistently faster face, adding forgiveness throughout. Tungsten weights in the sole optimize centre of gravity location. The full seven-piece set is available from 4-PW with KBS C-Taper steel shafts.


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February 2014/ Issue 230

Callaway Speed Regime

Bridgestone B330

RRP: £39.99 for 12 Contact: callawaygolf.com

RRP: £47.99 for 12 Contact: bridgestonegolf.com Bridgestone has updated its B330 Tour range with the new B330 and B330-S. The main point of difference is found in the core structure, which has increased density variation from inner to outer. This has been achieved by adding a drop of water to the core material, which makes the inner core softer and the outer core firmer, and serves to reduce spin and launch the ball faster. The B330 is a four-piece ball designed for players who have a driver clubhead speed over 105mph. Its inner mantle layer is slightly firmer, which reduces spin off the tee. At the same time, the urethane cover has been made about 6% softer for more control around the greens. Like the B330, the 330-S is for those with clubhead speeds over 105mph, but don’t create a lot of spin. This four-piece ball spins more than the B330, and has the softest urethane cover in the range, giving it the most greenside spin. It carries about four yards further than its predecessor because of a firmer inner-mantle layer and the effects of the new core.

Take your pick from the latest range of tour-performance balls

Callaway’s Speed Regime range comes in three models – SR1, SR2 and SR3 – each designed to match driver swing speeds. The SR1 is for 90mph and below, the SR2 for 90-105mph, and the SR3 for speeds in excess of 105mph. The SR1 is a four-piece ball that offers increased lift towards the end of the shot, which extends hang time and generates more distance. The five-piece SR3 is designed to offer minimal drag immediately after impact, so that energy can efficiently transfer from a swing into the shot for maximum distance. Players in this swing-speed range need to avoid creating too much spin, so the SR3 has a lower, more penetrating trajectory. The four-piece SR2 combines the technologies for reducing drag and increasing lift found in the other models, creating a ball that feels a little firmer off the tee than the SR1, but still provides the shot-stopping control around the greens that is a key attribute of the SR3. All three feature urethane covers, which enhances feel and offer a softer sound at impact.

NEW BALLS, PLEASE Nike Speedlock RZN

RRP: £40 for 12 (Platinum/Black) Contact: nikegolfeurope.com Nike has two new tour-level balls in its RZN range, both of which feature a new interlocking core design, which claims to deliver more energy at impact for faster ball speed, longer distance and more stable flight. The Platinum offers tour control and moderate spin, while the Black delivers tour distance with less spin. At the centre of each ball is a new Speedlock RZN core, an interlocking core design that resembles the outer layer of an old Haskell golf ball. This uniformly uneven surface connects with the compression layer to form a tighter bond that helps promote better energy transfer through the layers at impact. The lightweight RZN core, allied to a heavier perimeter, gives the new RZN range an extremely high moment of inertia, which makes it extremely stable in all wind conditions. A new coating on the surface helps grip the grooves for better control on wedge and iron shots, while a softer cover and softer compression in the core provide improved sound and feel.

Srixon AD333 Tour

TaylorMade Tour Preferred

RRP: £36 for 12 Contact: srixon.co.uk Srixon’s all-new AD333 Tour ball is designed specifically for golfers who don’t posses tour level swing speeds, but who are looking for many of the characteristics that a tour ball provides (i.e. distance, control and spin). It features a three-piece construction, with Srixon’s Energetic Gradient Growth Core at its heart, giving the core a firmer outer region, which becomes progressively softer towards the centre. This core structure creates explosive ball speed with reduced spin for maximum distance. A soft mid layer, combined with the 344 dimple pattern, also helps to promote low driver spin and high iron spin, generating a consistent, penetrating ball flight. Unusually for a mid-price ball, the AD333 Tour offers a soft urethane cover, which features Spin Skin Technology – a special outer coating that first appeared on the premium Z-Star range. The coating improves friction by as much as 20%, which is especially useful on partial wedge shots from greenside rough.

RRP: £44.99 Contact: taylormadegolf.eu

Titleist NXT Tour RRP: £34 for 12 Contact: titleist.co.uk Titleist has unveiled new designs for its popular NXT Tour range, with a host of features aimed at providing distance and short game control. The all-new NXT Tour and NXT Tour S models have been improved with a new softer compression dual core and a softer, thinner cover. While both models will feel softer than their predecessors, the Tour S ball offers a softer compression feel than the Tour. Both retain the spherically-tiled octahedral dimple design that produces a piercing and stable ball flight. Each model is available in white and optic yellow colours.

TaylorMade has launched two new tour-level balls for the new season – the four-piece Tour Preferred and the five-piece Tour Preferred X. Both feature a new cast urethane cover that is significantly softer than its predecessor, which translates to more greenside spin and control on shots hit with wedges and short irons. The 322-dimple pattern has been designed to decrease drag and help shots bore through the wind and hold their line more effectively. While both balls are designed to reduce spin off the tee for more distance, the standard TP ball will produce slightly higher long- and midiron shots because it will create more spin. It will also create a slightly higher flight with wedges and short iron shots than the TP X.


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February 2014/ Issue 230

EQUIPMENT NEWS

Callaway strengthens tour presence Callaway Golf has signed a number of high-profile players for the new season, as the brand bids to present a more youthful profile on the professional tours around the world. The company has signed up Matteo Manassero, Harris English, Lydia Ko and Race to Dubai champion Henrik Stenson. Manassero, who is currently ranked 44th in the world and is the current BMW PGA champion,

previously played with Titleist equipment, but will now be playing a full set of Callaway woods, irons and wedges, as well as using an Odyssey putter. Neil Howie, president of Callaway Golf Europe, said: “Matteo is a great signing, and is reflective of the more youthful, contemporary direction we are taking with the brand. We are all hugely excited to welcome him to the Callaway family and feel

Shark returns to Cobra Over 25 years since Greg Norman took a financial stake in Cobra Golf, the man who became known as ‘The Shark’ has once again to the company’s portfolio, but this time as a global ambassador for the brand. The 54-year-old Australian has signed to Cobra’s tour staff, and although his career on the PGA Tour is over, he remains closely associated with several tour events, and is a global sporting icon from which the brand hopes to benefit. “It’s a privilege to once again welcome Greg to our Tour team and the Cobra Golf family,” said Bob Philion, president of Cobra Puma Golf. “Greg is an industry icon and a true promoter of game enjoyment, which is what Cobra has been about from the beginning. It feels right to have him not only back on the course playing our clubs, but also behind the scenes, playing an intricate role in the development of our products and overall business.” Norman, who has won 91 professional tournaments, including two Open Championships, is delighted to be back with the brand that helped launch his career. ”About bloody time!” was his first comment at the official announcement at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. “My golf career has been an incredible journey, and a huge part of that voyage was my relationship with Cobra in the prime of my career,” said Norman. “Cobra continues to enhance the game with cutting-edge technology and products that help golfers of all skill levels play better and enjoy the game, and I’m excited about the future potential of the brand.”

confident he will be able to add to his already impressive portfolio of victories based on the combination of his natural talent and the exciting new products we have for 2014.” Over on the PGA Tour, English is another impressive signing, following a successful rookie season in which he won the FedEx St Jude Classic and the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Currently ranked 48th in the world, he will be using Callaway’s new X2 Hot driver and Callaway irons, although he will continue to use a Ping Scottsdale putter, Ping fairway woods, and play Titleist’s Pro V1 ball. Stenson played with Callaway fairway woods and irons for all of last season, during which he won the money lists on both the European and PGA Tours, and will continue to do under the terms of his new staff contract.

‘Big Easy’ joins Adams family Adams Golf has signed fourtime major champion Ernie Els in a multi-year agreement that will see the 44-year-old South African use a range of the company’s products and showcase the brand’s logo on his bag and headwear. The winner of two US Open and two Open titles, Els has amassed 70 professional victories around the world, including two World Golf Championships and a record seven World Match Play Championship crowns. “As a player, there are many factors in something as fundamentally important as your equipment. Everything about Adams impresses me, starting with the enthusiasm and energy from company leadership and R&D, along with their strong products,” said Els, who left Callaway Golf to join Adams. “I’m partnered with a company where innovation is at the heart of everything they do, where they’re always looking to push the envelope and pursue new ideas that ultimately help players of all skill levels play better.” John Ward, Adams Golf’s president, said: “Ernie is one of the most prolific winners of his generation and a natural match for Adams, with our philosophy of creating the easiest to hit golf equipment.” Maker of the most-used hybrids on the PGA Tour for six seasons, Adams increased its presence to 37% of all hybrids in play in 2013. The company has also topped the Champions Tour hybrid count for the last nine years, as well as the European Tour for the first time in 2013.

Loyalty is hard won in the ball wars A survey of the golf ball playing and buying habits of regular golfers has revealed that most of us are exceptionally disloyal, have long memories, and are touchy-feely when it comes to buying our golfing ammunition. Golf break company Your Golf Travel quizzed over 2,000 of its UK customers on their golf ball preferences, and the results of the survey threw up some intriguing behavioral patterns, as well as confirming some well-known statistics. Areas of questioning in the online poll included purchase preferences, brand appeal, custom fitting and feel. Only half of those who took part in the survey admitted to playing with the same brand and type of ball every time they teed it up. Over 70% based their purchases on past experience, while 40% said that weather conditions played a significant part in the choice of ball for a specific round. Of the leading brands, only two recorded more than

8% market share, with Titleist (39%) and Srixon (29%) leading the way by some distance. Playing a championship course, in a competition, or on a golf holiday spurred some 47% of Your Golf Travel’s customers to upgrade to a more expensive brand of ball, yet few golfers gave much thought to scientific data during the purchasing process, with over 80% never having been custom-fitted for a ball. Threequarters of all those surveyed highlighted ‘feel’ as the most important factor in deciding whether they like a ball or not, with spin and distance being the least important.

Justin Rose re-signs with TaylorMade and Ashworth Justin Rose will continue to play TaylorMade equipment and wear Ashworth clothing and shoes for the next four years, after signing an extension to his contract. The reigning US Open Champion has been with TaylorMade for 14 years, during which time he has won 14 times. Rose will continue to play 14 TaylorMade clubs, use a TaylorMade ball and gloves; and wear Ashworth apparel and footwear – which he has worn since 2012. He will also sport a TaylorMade staff bag and hat. Rose starts the season with the new SLDR driver in his bag, along with an RBZ Stage 2 Tour fairway wood, Tour Preferred irons, ATV wedges, and a Spider Blade putter.

THE GEAR EFFECT WHAT’S IN THE BAGS OF RECENT WINNERS ZACH JOHNSON HYUNDAI CHAMPIONS DRIVER: Titleist 913D2 (8.5) FAIRWAY WOODS: Titleist 913F.d 3-wood (15),Titleist 913F 5-wood (17) HYBRID: Titleist 909H (21) IRONS: Titleist AP1 712 (4), Titleist 714 AP2 (5-9), WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design SM4 (48, 54, 60) PUTTER: SeeMore FGP Black BALL: Titleist Pro V1x JIMMY WALKER SONY OPEN DRIVER: Titleist 913D2 (9.5) FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade SLDR (15.5), Titleist 913 F.d Low Spin (18) IRONS: Titleist MB 714 (49), WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design SM4 (48, 54, 60) PUTTER: Titleist Scotty Cameron Tour Rat BALL: Titleist Pro V1 LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN VOLVO CHAMPIONS DRIVER: Ping Anser (9.5) FAIRWAY WOOD: Ping G5 5-wood (15) IRONS: Ping Rapture driving iron, Ping S56 (3-9), WEDGES: Ping Tour-S (47, 54, 60) PUTTER: Ping Scottsdale TR Anser T BALL: Titleist Pro V1x PATRICK REED HUMANA CHALLENGE DRIVER: Callaway Big Bertha Alpha (9.5) FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway Big Bertha 3-wood (16) IRONS: Callaway X Forged (3-4), Callaway RAZR X MB (5-9) WEDGES: Callaway Mack Daddy 2 (50, 56, 60) PUTTER: Odyssey Metal-X Milled #6 BALL: Callaway Speed Regime 3 PABLO LARRAZABAL ABU DHABI HSBC CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVER: Callaway Big Bertha Alpha Pro (8.5) FAIRWAY WOODS: Callaway H Xot 3 wood, Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme 5-wood IRONS: Callaway X Forged (3-5), Callaway RAZR X MB (6-9) WEDGES: Callaway Forged (50, 54, 60) PUTTER: Odyssey White Hot Pro V-Line BALL: Callaway Speed Regime 3 SERGIO GARCIA QATAR MASTERS DRIVER: TaylorMade SLDR (9.5°) FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade SLDR (15.5, 18.5)
IRONS: TaylorMade TP MC (3-PW)
WEDGES: TaylorMade ATV (50°, 58°)
PUTTER: TaylorMade Spider Mallet
BALL: TaylorMade TP X STEPHEN GALLACHER DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC DRIVER: TaylorMade SLDR (11) FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade SLDR (15, 19) IRONS: TaylorMade RocketBladez Tour WEDGES: TaylorMade ATV PUTTER: Scotty Cameron Studio Select Newport BALL: Titleist Pro V1x


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February 2014/ Issue 230

BREAKS

South Lodge dishes up golf break to savour Five-star golf and fine-dining are very much on the menu at Mannings Heath Golf Club in West Sussex this year, following the launch of its latest stay-and-play packages, which include a chance to sample food prepared by Steven Edwards, winner of last year’s coveted MasterChef: The Professionals’ title. Edwards, who is head chef of The Camellia Restaurant at South Lodge Hotel, Mannings Heath’s sister property, hit the headlines in December when he beat off stiff competition from professional chefs from all over the UK to be crowned champion of the popular show, which is judged by Michel Roux Jnr and Monica Galetti. From £135 per person – based on two people sharing a room – visitors can experience a one-night bed-and-breakfast stay at the luxury hotel in Horsham, West Sussex including two rounds of golf on Mannings Heath’s awardwinning courses. As well as featuring 18 holes each on the club’s Waterfall and

Kingfisher courses and use of the driving range, the breaks also provide the opportunity to sample a three-course meal from the hotel’s daily menu. Edwards’s mouthwatering three-course Masterchef menu comprises a starter of pigeon breast with roasted baby beetroot, followed by a main course of pan-fried stone bass on a bed of tomato and parmesan orzosea bass, finished off with his now legendary honey cake desert, which comes with poached peaches and a pistachio crumb. Steve Slinger, general manager at Mannings Heath, said: “Everyone at Mannings Heath is very proud to be associated with South Lodge and the accolades it is collecting for its food, with a Michelin star in 2011 and now Steve’s fantastic win in Professional MasterChef.

Anyone staying on a golf break with us with a love of fine-dining is certainly in for a treat with the mouth-watering combination of award-winning golf and food to match.” Mannings Heath, which set in 500 acres of Sussex downland, is owned by Exclusive Golf and boasts two 18-hole layouts – the Waterfall Course and Kingfisher Course. The former, a members-only course, hosted the 2013 English Women’s Amateur Strokeplay Championship last August, while the latter flows gracefully through the Sussex countryside, testing the skills and nerve of the most seasoned player and is rated by the ‘Top 100 Golf Courses in England’ as the best pay-andplay course in the county. For full details and prices of Mannings Heath’s stay-and-play packages at South Lodge Hotel, visit www.manningsheath.com.

Prince’s pairs up with London Club to offer world-class break

Two contrasting Kent clubs have joined forces to offer an attractive break for golfers seeking the best of championship links and parkland golf. Prince’s Golf Club in Sandwich and The London Golf Club in Brands Hatch have announced a joint golf package between the two world-class venues. The package, which costs from £130 per person, includes one night’s bed and breakfast at The Lodge at Prince’s, a two-course bar menu dinner, one round of golf at Prince’s, a final

New buggy fleet highlights on-going investment at Dorset Golf Resort As part of its commitment to continue to improve the visitor experience, the owners of the Dorset Golf Resort have invested over £125,000 this winter in upgrading its facilities. This includes the arrival of a brand new fleet of smartly-painted Madison Motors electric golf buggies, which will provide golfers with the necessary transport to whizz around the club’s 27-hole layout, and conserve their energy for all the other leisure activities that the popular Bere Regis-based resort has to offer. The new enlarged fleet will be housed up in a brand new landscaped buggy park that was built over the winter. As well as offering space for more vehicles, the new site considerably opens up views from the clubhouse of the golf courses and the stunning Purbeck Hills. “We look forward to our returning guests seeing and experiencing what we’ve done, and we know they’ll enjoy using our new top-of-the-range buggies,” said the resort’s head PGA Professional Stephen Packer. “For anyone yet to come and stay with us, 2014 promises to be our best ever year. The course is in fantastic condition with all the work we continuously do. Our 27 holes of championship golf are all at the same high standard, including undulating USGA greens and picturesque waterways. We have actually remained fully open this winter on main greens and tees, which is testament to our great drainage. Hopefully our new buggy park and continued investment shows that we are always dedicated to improving your holiday experiences with us.” To book a golf break, visit www.dorsetgolfresort.com or call 01929 472244.

WIN

The moment you find yourself standing in Robert the Bruce’s back yard.

qualifying course for the Open Championship, and one round at the London Club, venue for this October’s Volvo World Match Play Championship. The offer will be available from Sunday to Thursday until March 31, subject to availability, based on two people sharing a standard room at the Lodge. For further enquiries call Prince’s Golf Club on 01304 611118 or email office@ princesgolfclub.co.uk.

A GOLF BREAK IN DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY & 2 TICKETS TO THE RYDER CUP

VISITSCOTLAND.COM/GOLFNEWSDUMFRIES

The moment has come. In 2014, The Ryder Cup will return to Scotland, the Home of Golf, for the first time in over four decades. Amongst Scotland’s golfing regions, Dumfries & Galloway is famed for its selection of courses on the great value Gateway to Golf Pass and three golf trails for visitors looking to find Scotland’s best kept golfing secrets. So whether you’re relaxing in the clubhouse at Thornhill or even exploring the 200 mile long coastline, you’ll find plenty of moments to treasure forever.

To find out more, go to visitscotland.com/dumfriesgalloway-golf Aston Hotel, Dumfries

Lochmaben, Dumfries & Galloway

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February 2014/ Issue 230

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BREAKS

Royal Berkshire Hotel offers gateway to classic courses Stapleford launches residential tuition breaks Golfers looking to sharpen up their games in preparation for the new season should consider booking a golf break to Stapleford Park in Leicestershire, which has recently launched a range of residential tuition breaks. Guests can stay in one of the resort’s exclusive cottages with up to five friends on the two-day golf school, which is hosted by the venue’s PGA professional, Richard Alderson. The coaching courses, which can be full or half days, are tailored to all standards, from beginner to advanced, with the beginner’s course giving newcomers to the game the confidence to venture out onto a golf course. The package price, which costs £250 for two half days and £350 for two full days (based on double occupancy), includes unlimited use of the golf course and driving range. The resort’s championship golf course was designed by Donad Steel and hosted the European Seniors Tour’s Senior Masters in 2010. Laid out in Capability Brown parkland, the course wraps around the heart of the 500-acre estate in two extended loops, never being more than two holes wide, making a round feel similar to that found on many great links courses. For bookings call 01572 787019 or email reservations@stapleford.co.uk.

Golfers are being offered the ideal base to explore the cream of southern England’s golfing heritage with a range of affordable overnight stays within minutes of some of the game’s most famous and iconic venues. With its close proximity to the likes of Wentworth, Sunningdale and The Berkshire, Royal Berkshire offers the perfect place to enjoy a memorable golfing break, with one night’s bed and breakfast available from £99pp. Set in the heart of the Berkshire countryside, in 15 acres of landscaped grounds, the 18th century Queen Anne building – which was originally built for the Churchill family – oozes history and features 63 rooms, with guests offered the choice between old-world charm in the Queen Anne mansion or the contemporary design of the modern wing. Situated just a mile-and-a-half from Ascot train station, 13 miles from Heathrow, and within eight miles of the M25, M4 and M3, Royal Berkshire is part of Exclusive Hotels and Venues and lies within a 20-minute drive of 20-plus golf courses. Tee times

can be arranged at selected venues, while the hotel’s recently-refurbished conference facilities make it the ideal place to hold important business meetings, either before or after a round, or stage a gala dinner. In addition, guests can also take advantage of excellent leisure amenities, including a health and fitness centre, tennis and croquet, and enjoy a meal in the hotel’s Fork restaurant, or afternoon tea in the Polo Bar. Paul Fearon, general manager at Royal Berkshire, said: “With so many good courses on our doorstep it makes perfect sense for people to stay with us, and the hotel is becoming more and more popular with visiting golfers. There are so many advantages to be enjoyed, and our recent refurbishment means we can cater for anyone from individual golfers to large groups looking for modern conference facilities to hold a business meeting before heading out for a round of golf.” For more information or to make a reservation, call 01344 623322 or visit www.ehvenues.com.

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February 2014/ Issue 230

TRAVEL

LUMINE LAUNCHES WINTER GETAWAYS Lumine Golf Club, located on Spain’s Costa Dorada, has launched a trio of stay-andplay packages to suit those looking for a golf break in warmer climes this winter. Catering for short and longer stays, the packages offer travellers the chance to enjoy 45 holes of

xxx

championship golf, as well as the cultural and historical attractions abundant in the surrounding region, including the ancient Roman town of Tarragona and the bustling streets of Barcelona. From now until May 31, packages are available for one night’s bed and breakfast and one round of golf for

€99pp; three nights and three rounds for €295pp; and seven nights and five rounds for €530pp. Accommodation is available across four contemporary four-star hotels, each just a short transfer from the resort. Hotel Estival Park and Hotel Magnolia are situated on

the beach at the seaside town of Salou, while Hotel Tryp Port Cambrils and Hotel Monica are in the heart of the picturesque port of Cambrils. Lumine includes the Greg Norman-designed Lakes Course, which plays host to the European Tour Qualifying School Stage 2, and the more traditional Hills Course,

which runs through pine and olive trees with spectacular views of the nearby coastline. There is also the 9-hole Ruins Course, another Norman design, which weaves its way through Roman archaeological remains. For more information, log on to www.lumine.com or email travel@lumine.com. Santo do Serra

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Thompson Cruises has launched a dedicated Mediteranean golf trip, which is sailing this March. Thomson Cruises’ Colourful Coasts itinerary on Thomson Celebration, sails around the Canary Islands and Morocco, and will be the first to offer holiday golf as an optional extra. The week-long package enables customers to play three courses in three different countries. The trip includes rounds Meloneras Golf Club in Gran Canaria; Santo da Serra Golf Club in Madeira, and Golf du Soleil in Morocco. Free transfers to and from the courses, and free transportation of golf clubs on flights from the UK is also included. Prizes are also up for grabs, with the 18-hole matches played in ‘four ball’ format, with players pitted against each other in pairs. Players must be over 18 and can join as a group or as an individual, with solo golf players assigned a partner on board. Tee times are staggered and the minimum handicap for gentlemen and ladies is 30. As an added extra there will be a number of exclusive on-board activities for customers who purchase the golf package, as well as their non-golf travelling companions. The on-board golf host will provide welcome drinks for golfers to meet their competition, a farewell dinner to celebrate the winners, and exclusive spa treatment offers for non-golfing companions. The cruise, which departs on March 28 and includes return flights from Gatwick or Manchester, costs from £629 per person, based on two adults sharing a deck or inside cabin on a fullboard basis. The golf package costs an additional £299. For more information, visit your local Thomson travel shop, thomson. co.uk/cruise or call 0871 230 2800.


February 2014/ Issue 230

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SarahStirk

Following the opening of three fully grassed 18-hole championship courses, The Sultanate of Oman is joining a growing list of Gulf States embracing golf to enhance its attraction to tourists, says Sarah Stirk

SULTANATE OF SWING Having observed the success of fellow Middle East golfing powerhouses Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it seemed inevitable that Oman would follow suit. Now it’s a case of watch this space – it’s potential really is enormous and the Sultanate’s ambition obvious, without being blatant. There’s a concerted effort to boost international tourism and, as is so often the case, golf provides the perfect vehicle. The striking thing about Oman is its inherent beauty, something that really sets it apart from its more artificially-formed neighbours. The capital, Muscat, is a city on the ocean, but is framed by spectacular mountain ranges. The walled city is home to the Sultan of Oman’s royal palace, which rubs shoulders with back street markets behind the famous Corniche road which runs along the picturesque harbour, where traditional Arab dhows bob in the water alongside cruise ships and huge private yachts. Things are slower here, more measured. It’s raw Arabia, and for all its growth and development there’s clearly no desire to become the new Dubai. It’s playing to its geographical strengths and very proud of a strong cultural history.

 Golf was first played in Oman in the 1970s on sand courses, but now it showcases three 18-hole grass layouts - Almouj Golf, Muscat Hills and Ghala Valley - with many more on the horizon. Interest has been gathering of late due to the recent hosting of the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic on the Challenge Tour at the Greg Norman-designed Almouj Golf, and there’s nothing like a professional tournament to raise profile. The feedback from the players was superb and I give it five years before we see Oman as part of the so-called ‘Desert Swing’ on the European Tour. Almouj Golf is part of The Wave, a prime residential and leisure destination with much to offer. The set-up is very professional, with general manager Simon Duffield having started out at Wentworth, and

Camping out under the stars

FACT BOX Fly: Daily flights from Heathrow to Muscat with Oman Air, (omanair.com). Stay: Shangri La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, (shangri-la.com). Play: Almouj Golf, £80 per round (almoujgolf.com), Muscat Hills, £80 per round (muscathillsgolf.com), Ghala Valley, £40 per round, (ghalavalley.com).

Greg Norman’s Almouj design has significantly raised the profile of Omani golf

Mubarak Hill, the sales and marketing director, the former general manager of Ghala Valley. The Almouj course, which plays to over 7,300 yards off the back tees, is a demanding test presented in pristine condition. One thing that really impressed me was the landscaping – the grass and foliage are always perfectly manicured, giving an attentive feel even amid the extensive construction work. The quality of the courses is no exception. The par threes at Almouj are superb. Standing on the tee box at the second, the ideal shape is a little cut to an elevated green with the ocean just beyond – it’s a beautifullooking hole. In fact, the start will blow you away, with a string of coastal holes providing a real links feel with views over the Arabian Sea. It reminds me a lot of Yas Links, something that Simon admits they’ve heard plenty of times before, but there are worse comparisons than to a Kyle Phillips design. I also loved the 14th, another fabulous short hole, this time with an island green which proved tough to hold with the wind blowing hard off the left – as is often the case on this exposed layout. I tackled Muscat Hills the day after Almouj, and it was an excellent juxtaposition: the coastal course

The Muscat Hills course winds its way through natural wadis and rocky terrain

compared to the inland layout, famous for its rolling hills and generous fairways. That’s without question part of its great appeal – you walk off having enjoyed your round and not feeling beaten up by the course. Ray Stoporth, the affable South African Director of Golf, tells me they are tightening the fairways, so I expect a tougher test on my next visit! The course is beautifully carved into the natural landscape, weaving its way through the wadi beds, and ensuring a couple of daunting tee shots over gaping ravines.
 Making up the Sultanate’s golfing triumvirate is Ghala Valley, which

Muscat’s picturesque harbour

is carved out of a valley, offering a contrasting experience to the other two venues. Ghala Valley was previously a sand course, and has only been converted to grass in the last couple of years. Converting from sand to grass layout is no mean feat, and the course’s playability is testament to a job well done. In fact such a good job, that it was fit to be chosen as a host venue for a MENA Tour event at the end of last year, and will do so again in October this year. It’s a tough test, featuring narrow fairways and some demanding tee shots – notably on the par-five fourth hole and the eighth, where the fairway is largely obscured by a tree just 80 yards or so from the markers. 
 Oman has many things in its favour. Obviously the weather is a huge plus – a gloriously dry mid20’s in January – and there are lots of other leisure activities to enjoy. Those who like a bit of adventure should book a weekend break staying in a Bedouin tent camp in the Wahiba Sands, where activities include 4x4 excursions, quad-biking, dune-bashing, camel riding and

sleeping under the stars. Diving is also a popular holiday activity, with numerous schools operating trips out to wrecks in the Arabian Sea, while hiking and mountain biking are very popular and no, you won’t find skiing here anytime soon! From a golfing perspective the offering is already excellent, with fantastic potential for the future. It’s a good journey time from London – under eight hours direct with the excellent Oman Air – and upon arrival the courses are all in close proximity to the airport, making logistics very easy. The standard of hotels is also superb, with a great range of four and five-star properties. I stayed a little further out of town at the luxurious Shangri La Al Bisson. If you judge hotels by the quality of service and comfort of the beds, as I tend to do, you won’t find many better.
 Oman is an emerging golfing destination, but before long it will be a leading destination, and I’m excited about following its journey to the top!




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February 2014/ Issue 230

Home&Away Golfbreaks.com has selected two great venues for you to consider when thinking about your next golf break. Whether staying at home or heading further afield, there is a stunning range of destinations to choose from

Golfbreaks.com provides a one-stop service that makes booking golf breaks as simple as possible. ABTA and ATOL-bonded, it is the only golf travel company to reward customers for their loyalty through its Breakpoints rewards programme, which earns money off all future bookings made with Golfbreaks.com and sister companies Teeofftimes.co.uk and BookaSpa.com.

ST MELLION: BUILT FOR ENJOYMENT Offering a new luxurious 80-bedroom, 4-star hotel and spa, and two 18-hole golf courses, St Mellion International Resort is one of the UK’s most complete destinations for a golf or leisure break. Situated near Plymouth, in a secluded Cornish valley, St Mellion offers total relaxation, along with a magnificent golfing challenge, in a stunning 450-acre estate. It has two Championship golf courses, both of which have hosted European Tour events. The most famous, the Nicklaus Signature Course, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013, and was the first UK golf course design by the sport’s greatest-ever player, Jack Nicklaus. The Nicklaus is regularly

St Mellion’s four-star hotel overlooks the stunning Nicklaus course

rated in England’s Top 50 courses, and within the UK’s Top 100. As Nicklaus himself says: “To this day, I don’t think there is another golf course like it in the UK. I am pleased that St Mellion continues to offer a first-class golf experience for its members and guests.” Recent accolades for St Mellion include the ‘Best Course – West Of England’ award by Today’s Golfer in its 2013 Travel Awards, and the Gold Award as ‘Best Large Hotel’ in the 2011 Cornwall Tourism Awards. Today’s Golfer also rated St Mellion

MORE FOR YOUR MONEY AT LA MANGA La Manga Club remains one of Europe’s finest leisure destinations, where you can leave the worries of the world firmly behind and concentrate on doing as little, or as much, as you like. The 1,400-acre complex has enough facilities to keep golfers, footballers, tennis players, swimmers, spa lovers and kids happy for a month of Sundays. It’s a veritable sporting oasis locked away in the arid foothills of Spain’s Costa Calida. It is these extensive facilities – mixed with year-round sunshine – that has been attracting the world’s top sports teams, professional golf tournaments and holiday golfers for the past 40 years. The golf offering has evolved hugely since the South and North courses first opened for play in the early 1970s, with the West and

Seve-designed pitch and putt course taking the number of holes on offer to an impressive 63. The South is perhaps regarded as the most prestigious, having hosted the Spanish Open for five years, although these days the focus has moved away from tour golf and switched to hosting corporate and charity events, and looking after the interests of members and holiday golfers alike. Although flanked by villas and finishing next to the resort’s hotel, the South and North layouts are very open, and the presence of many palm trees makes it feel as though you are playing in a giant tropical garden. The North Course is slightly shorter than the South, but makes up for that with tighter fairways and larger greens. The West Course is completely different in character to its sister courses, meandering through

as being among the UK’s top four overall golfing resorts, in 2012. And in 2013, St Mellion is nominated in the World Travel Awards for ‘Best English Golf Resort’. The flagship venue of Crown Golf, the UK’s largest golf club owner and operator, St Mellion offers a fresh, unexpected alternative to the more traditional hotel and resort accommodation found elsewhere in the West Country. Alongside its luxurious room choices, St Mellion’s contemporary four-star hotel

offers guests three very different dining experiences, including fine dining, brasserie-style and a comprehensive bar food menu. An indoor leisure club with three pools, and an Elemis spa health & fitness club, allow guests to be as active or as relaxed as they choose. St Mellion is also one of the West Country’s leading venues for weddings, conferences, exhibitions and other functions, including large gala dinners. Its combination of a tranquil location, world-class golf, facilities

unrivalled in the area, and wonderful hospitality, makes St Mellion perfect for golf breaks, leisure breaks and family holidays. Golfbreaks.com is offering two nights’ dinner, B&B at St Mellion Resort from £144pp, including unlimited golf. One night’s B&B and unlimited golf costs from £79pp. For the latest golf breaks offers, bookings and more information, visit www.golfbreaks.com or call 0845 543 6673.

If you’re looking for all-round entertainment on and off the golf course, there are few better places to take the family than La Manga Club undulating pine-clad hills and following the natural contours of the land. It is a course of two halves, the tighter barranca-guarded front nine giving way to more open fairways on the back nine set among the wooded hills. The practice facilities are no less impressive, with the club having recently opened a Leadbetter Golf Academy and invested in upgrading the driving range and chipping areas, making La Manga an ideal venue for sharpening up your game at any time of year. The centrepiece of the resort is the five-star 189-room Principe Felipe Hotel, which offers all the modern comforts for those who don’t fancy

self-catering. The hotel is home to the flagship Amapola fine dining restaurant, and also houses its own casino. For those that prefer the privacy of a villa and apartment, there is wide choice to rent, with those located within the Las Lomas Village complex being very popular. Where ever you chose to stay, you’re never far away from one of the resort’s 20 restaurants and bars, which offer an international array of cuisines that ensures you will never have to eat from the same continent during a week’s stay here. The facilities for children include a creche, day clubs, kids pools and numerous playgrounds, while a children’s activity centre features

sports academies offering football, tennis, rugby and cricket tuition during the holidays. Non-golf playing adults are equally well catered for, with the 2,000 square-metre Las Lomas Spa – which also features an indoor pool and a gym –providing a perfect place to relax as well as work off those calories. Golfbreaks.com is offering 7 nights’ B&B in an apartment in La Manga Club’s Los Lomas Village from £369pp, including 5 rounds of golf. Three nights’ B&B in the Principe Felipe Hotel and three rounds of golf costs from £299pp. For details visit www.golfbreaks.com or call 0845 543 6673.


February 2014/ Issue 230

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Me&MyTravels with Sir Rocco Forte - The well-travelled luxury hotelier reveals his passion for golf, triathlons and white truffles, whenever his busy schedule allows My most recent holiday was to…the Verdura Golf and Spa Resort in Sicily. We stayed there for a week over New Year. It was 19-20 degrees and I played golf every day. It’s the most relaxing place in the world, and I try to get out there three or four times a year, whether for work or holidays. My favourite golf course in the world is… Sunningdale’s Old Course. The course grows on you, and just gets better the more you understand its subtleties. I enjoy both the Old and the New, but tend to play the Old more, just because it’s the Old. My best score is a 78, which isn’t bad off a 12 handicap. My ideal travelling golf partners are… nobody you’d know! I play with friends and whoever is about. I’ll often play with the pros when I’m at Verdura, as none of my family plays golf. My favourite golf resort is… San Lorenzo. The Forte Group owned it up until the mid-90s, and it was always

other peoples if I’m looking at a new city to open one of our own.

Fishing for sea trout in Argentina

ranked as the top course in Spain. We also owned the Dona Filipa Hotel nearby, and only hotel guests were allowed to play. This filled up the hotel in the winter season, as previously it had been a summer resort. My golfing hero is… Henry Cotton. He once spotted me struggling on a practice ground in Sotogrande, and with his simple advice, I made a passable impression of a professional after only three weeks. I remember seeing him teach women whose first question would be “How do I hold

My favourite city in the world is… London. It’s such a vibrant, Verdura Resort, Sicily cosmopolitan the club?” city. I live in To which Chelsea, and love that fact that you’re his reply never far from the action. If I had to was always choose another city it would be Rome. “How do To live among all that antiquity would Beverly Wilshere Hotel you want be amazing. to hold it?” He didn’t want people to get bogged My favourite holiday meal is… down with technical thoughts. spaghetti alle vongolle – although the clams should always be left in their The best hotel I’ve stayed in is…the shells! I used to have it at a restaurant Beverly Wilshire in Hollywood. It’s got a called the Gambero Rosso (the Red sense of place that is hard to describe. Prawn) in Tuscany. Sadly it is closed The service is superb, too. Much of now. I also like risotto with white my travelling is taken up with visiting truffles. There aren’t many meals that my own hotels, although I do stay in can’t be improved by truffles.

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I’d love to go to… Southern Argentina, to Tierra del Fuego, for a spot of sea trout fishing. I used to fish a lot with my father when I was younger. I went salmon fishing in Iceland every year with him, which was very special.

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February 2014/ Issue 230

News in Brief

BRITTANY FERRIES LAUNCHES LONG-STAY SPANISH BREAKS

THREE TOP TEE TIMES IN TENERIFE

Golfers looking to get away from England’s unrelenting winter for an extended break should check out the variety of options for longer holidays being offered to Spain currently by Brittany Ferries. The company has made it easy for those who want to get away from the awful weather by offering a selection of long stay apartment rentals that represent outstanding value, with a ferry cruise and a month’s stay in the Costa del Sol costing from just £438 per person. The Costa del Sol is renowned for its pleasant winter climate, as well as being the most cosmopolitan of all the Spanish Costas, which is why so many British have relocated or have holiday homes there.

GolfHolidays.com has a five-night break to the Spanish island of Tenerife for £799pp during March. B&B accommodation is offered in a deluxe twin or double bedroom with a resort/citadel view at the five-star Abama Hotel & Resort, with rounds of golf at Abama (including a buggy), Golf del Sur and Costa Adeje. The package also includes one thermal spa treatment, free use of the gym and pool facilities, hire of a Nissan Juke for the duration of the trip, and a £50 voucher off your next holiday. The price is based on two people sharing a twin room. For bookings, visit www.golfholidays.com or call 01277 284284.

BOOK UP YOUR US MASTERS TRIP WITH YGT

Golfers looking to experience the excitement of last two rounds of the US Masters first hand can do so by booking up with Your Golf Travel, which is hosting a three-night trip to Augusta from April 11-14. The package, which costs £3,829pp, includes return flights to Atlanta, three nights’ accommodation in the Augusta Marriott, transfers, and tickets for the weekend action at the Masters. For more details, and the complete range of Masters’ packages, visit www.yourgolftravel.com or call 0800 0436644.

PLAY AND STAY PACKAGES TO PALMARES The four-star Marina Club Lagos Resort in Portugal has joined forces with Onyria Palmares Beach & Golf Resort to offer a range of breaks this summer. Three, four, five and sevennight breaks are now available at the waterfront resort, which include between two and five green fees. Prices start at €254pp, for a three-night B&B break with two green fees, while a sevennight break with five green fees starts from €574pp. The resort offers accommodation in studios to three-bedroom apartments. Facilities include indoor and outdoor pools, a restaurant and a bar. Onyria Palmares offers threenine hole loops - the Alvor, Lagos and Praia courses - which enjoy panoramic views across the Bay of Lagos. All three layouts have recently been re-designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr at a cost of €10 million. To book, or for more details, visit www.onyriapalmares.com.

Estepona Golf Club

The scenery is stunning, with mountains forming the hinterland of the Mediterranean coastline, and the choice of leisure facilities is superb, including the largest concentration of golf courses in Europe. And you don’t have to buy a place in Spain to enjoy all this. Brittany Ferries has

selected some high quality apartments in Estepona (18 miles from Marbella), one of the few resort towns that has succeeded in retaining its traditional charm and character, despite being a place with lots to do. There are two locations to choose from – one right on the beach and the other slightly inland.

The holiday begins and ends with a cruise in a four-berth cabin between either Portsmouth or Plymouth and Santander or Bilbao in Northern Spain. Golfers can save the cost of car hire by taking their own vehicles, which also allows them to pack all they need without having to worry about

excess baggage charges. All utilities, plus a weekly cleaning service and linen change, are included in the monthly rental. Speaking about offering the option for longer holidays, Christiane Barker, Brittany Ferries’ Holidays general manager, said: “Many people yearn for the chance to get away during the dull winter months to sunnier climes, but don’t have the resources or desire to buy a property abroad. Also, if you are staying for a long time, you want to be really sure that you have chosen wisely and booking through us removes any risk. We have all heard stories of disappointed holidaymakers who have been caught out by booking an unsuitable property on the internet.” For more details visit www.brittany-ferries.co.uk or call 0871 244 0633.

It’s going to be another classic in Cyprus!

Learn to train like a pro at Hacienda del Alamo Elite Coaching Golf Academy, renowned for helping elite golfers get the most from their games, has unveiled a new range of golf tuition programmes to help golfers of all abilities to ‘Train Like a Tour Player’. The brainchild of PGA professional Jonathan Wallet, the golf schools take place at Hacienda del Alamo in Spain, and are designed to provide access to the same coaches and training techniques usually reserved for Tour pros. Wallett, an elite performance coach to players on the European, Asian and Ladies European Tours, said: “There has been such a great response to the work we do at our bases in Evian in France and in Spain with elite players, particularly on the back of the success we have had with the likes of David Howell, that we decided to put together programmes for golfers of all ages and abilities keen to get the most out of their game. The schools have been designed to help players lower their handicap and really

become the best players they can be.” The courses, which start from €395, run every month from March to November, and can be tailored to suit the individual golfer. “Our flexible scheduling systems allows golfers to choose from two, three, five and seven-day schools. We anticipate our threeday ‘Perform Like a Tour Player’ school will be the most popular, while we also offer twodays schools: ‘Swing like a Tour Player’, which is based on swing technique, and ‘Score Like a Tour Player’, which is focused on the short game,” added Wallett. All the courses take place at the fivestar Hacienda del Alamo, with group size restricted to between four and six golfers to ensure personal attention. All green fees and unlimited range balls are included in the price. For further information, or to book a place, visit www.elitecoachingspain.com, email info@elitecoachingspain.com or call 00 34 662 540 432.

The idyllic Mediterranean island of Cyprus is the location for the 16th Cyprus Golf Classic, which tees off on April 23 for a week-long festival of golfing and social events. The tournament has grown in stature year after year, and continues to attract players from all over the UK. Cyprus is truly one of the most beautiful islands in Europe and is a mere four hours away from UK, offering over 340 days of sunshine a year. It also remains one of the safest, friendliest and most hospitable places to visit, making it a perfect destination for golfers and non-golfers alike. Not only will players fall in love with the island, but they’re guaranteed to make some lifelong friends out on the golf course too. The format of the event will include four rounds of golf: two stableford singles, a Fourball team event, and a Texas Scramble team event. Golf will be played over all four of Cyprus’s very different courses, the excellent Aphrodite Hills, the Faldo-designed Elea, the much-improved Minthis Hills, and Tony Jacklin’s totally renovated and redesigned Secret Valley. Accommodation is once again offered at the fourstar Alexander the Great Beach Hotel in Paphos, which has recently undergone a major refurbishment. Room upgrades are available. The event is like no other: gala evenings with food; wine and music; excellent silver engraved trophies; generous prizes; luxury golf shirts for all participants, and a few other surprises, all for £1,029 for golfers, and £795 for nongolfers. The price is based on flights on Monarch Airways from Gatwick, although flights on Jet2 from Manchester, Newcastle or Bristol are available for a supplementary fee. For a full itinerary or to book, call Exclusive Golf on 020 8660 9905 or email sales@exclusivegolf.co.uk.


I love this course.

Actually, I love hating this course. It really is a love/hate relationship. Of all the courses I’ve played in South Carolina – from the mountains to the beach – this is one of my favourites. It’s right on the water and it’s beautiful. Every year when we come to golf, I look forward to playing it. And every year, this course owns me from the first tee to the eighteenth green. Owns me. I don’t know what to make of it. I just know I can’t wait to play it again next year.

Harbour Town Golf Links #18, Hilton Head Island


DISTANCE. CONTROL. FORGIVENESS. THE i25’S HAVE IT. ©2014 PING P.O. BOX 82000 PHOENIX, AZ 85071

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Golf News February 2014  

It's time to hit the Pro Shop!

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