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THE UK’S NO.1 GOLF NEWSPAPER

ISSUE 283 | AUTUMN 2019 | TWITTER: @GOLFNEWSMAG | WEB: GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

COMPETITION WIN a golf holiday to Madeira!

TRAVEL Monte Rei Dublin Tour Guide Mark Foster

INTERVIEWS Thomas Bjørn Bryson DeChambeau Niall Horan

EQUIPMENT Find your new favourite fairway woods

Opening Doors SHANE LOWRY REFLECTS ON HIS LIFE-CHANGING OPEN VICTORY

GLORY AT GLENEAGLES COMPLIMENTARY COPY Est 1994

Solheim Cup review


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AUTUMN 2019 | NEWS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

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NEWS | AUTUMN 2019

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GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

EDITOR'S LETTER

NICK BAYLY

MEGA PRICE DROP

455 A SUMMER OF QUICK AND SLOW While it has been very exciting having the Majors coming along like buses this year, the downside is that the game’s most significant tournaments were done and dusted by mid-July, leaving a gaping whole in the competitive – and viewing – schedule. With no Ryder Cup to get worked up about, and no Olympics too – they both come next year – fans of men’s professional golf have had to survive on a diet of tournaments that had a decidedly Sky Bet League One feel to them. With the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup wrapped up by the end of August and the European Tour’s season not reaching its crescendo until early November, it’s been slim pickings. Thankfully, we still had the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth to brighten up the post-summer holiday blues. Moved from its traditional May date in order to make way for the US PGA Championship, its new home in early autumn brought a welcome touch of class to an otherwise fairly moribund autumn schedule. Thanks to a generous prize fund, and the presence of ten members of the 2018 European Ryder Cup team and a handful of Americans, golf fans were treated to one of the strongest fields ever assembled at Wentworth. And then we also had the drama of the Solheim Cup to get stuck into. All but written off before the matches, due to an overwhelming world rankings points tally in favour of Team USA, the European side, led by the magnificent Catriona Matthew, fought like tigers to win 14.5-13.5 in a nail-biting encounter that went down to the very last putt. In nip-and-tuck situations like these, the sporting thing to say is that no-one deserved to lose the matches, and they probably didn’t. But I’m damn glad Europe won.

■ TEAM EUROPE BELIED ITS UNDERDOG STATUS TO SECURE A MEMORABLE WIN AT THE SOLHEIM CUP

Having lost the previous two, and with the Ladies European Tour under pressure due to a lack of events and low prize money, this win couldn’t have come at a better time. Whether it will be enough to revive the LET’s fortunes is questionable, but it will certainly be a shot in the arm for women’s golf in the UK, with the winning team containing four English players – all of whom are great ambassadors for the game. Without wishing to rain on the parade, the Solheim Cup, like the Ryder Cup, seems to have got feistier as the years have gone by, and although the scenes that were witnessed in Germany in 2015 were thankfully not repeated at Gleneagles, there seems to be an edge to these matches that is in danger of falling foul of the basic principles of sportsmanship. After ‘gimme-gate’ at St-Leon-Rot four years ago, it now seems that every putt outside of two inches has to be holed out, whatever the circumstances. With the pace of play already below snail’s pace – both teams were warned for bad times during the event – the requirement to line up a tap-in took up yet more mind-numbing minutes. With fiveand-half-hour rounds commonplace in regular LPGA and LET events, this lack of speed is magnified many times over in a team match play event where there is so much more than money at stake. Given the fall-off in interest in golf from all age groups and genders due to the length of time it takes to play, tour pros at all levels owe it to the spectators, sponsors and TV fans to get a shift on, and not wait for officials to come down with the heavy hand that must surely come crashing down before golf grinds itself to a halt. It's an age-old tale, but enough is enough.

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AUTUMN 2019 | NEWS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

InBrief BROWN WINS SOUTH EAST OF ENGLAND LINKS TITLE ★ Chelmsford’s Jack Brown won the South East of England Links Championship after finishing one-over-par for 72 holes. With rounds shared between Kent’s two finest links, Royal Cinque Ports and Royal St George’s, Brown fired rounds of 73, 67, 72 and 75 to finish one shot ahead of Scotland’s Callum Mackay and Dartford’s Mark Essam. Defending champion Jamie Guppy (Bearsted) won the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup with a score of eight over.

BB&O SQUEAK HOME VTO SEAL SEG FINAL SPOT ★ BB&O beat Hertfordshire 7-5 at Frilford Heath to claim a place in the South Eastern Group final. The home side led 4-0 after the morning foursomes, but the tables were almost turned in the afternoon singles, with BB&O’s only outright wins coming from David Langley (Castle Royle) and Kevin Freeman (Stoke Park), while two other halfpoints from Roy Browne (Feldon Valley) and Tom Lawson (Stoke Park) ensured the win. The SEG final is being held at Millbrook Golf Club in Bedfordshire on October 6.

CAREY CAPTURES MIDDX SENIORS ★ Muswell Hill’s Billy Carey won his first Middlesex Seniors’ Championship after shooting rounds of 73 and 74 at Stanmore. The 56-year-old’s nine-over-par total saw him finish three shots clear of Michael McCormick (West Middlesex) and John Fletcher (Ealing), who both fired a pair of 75s. Matthew Bayford, Sean Donohoe, Peter Edwards and David MacMurray won the team trophy for Hendon with a combined total of 232, pipping Pinner Hill on countback.

Lewis earns PGA Tour card Hertfordshire’s Tom Lewis can look forward to playing on the lucrative PGA Tour for the 20192020 season after he won the Korn Ferry Tour Championship by five shots. Lewis took control of the end-of-season event, which was held at Victoria National Golf Club in Indiana, with a second-round 66, and after supplementing it with another six-under-par round, he took a two-shot lead into the final round. While doubtless focused on winning the tournament, the dual Portugal Masters champion also knew that a top-five finish would guaranteed him a PGA Tour card. In the end, he secured both with the minimum of fuss, closing out with a superb 65 to win with a 23-under-par total. After a dropped shot from Fabian Gomez, his nearest pursuer, Lewis birdied the par-five 15th, and then almost holed his approach to the 16th green as he ultimately completed what could be a lifechanging victory. Securing a PGA Tour card presents a conundrum for the 28-year-old from Welwyn, who may now be tempted to remain in the US for the start of the new season in less than a fortnight and forego opportunities on the European Tour. Lewis would have been expected to defend his

title in Portugal in October, an event which clashes with the Houston Open, while he’s got form in the Dunhill Links, which collides with the Safeway Open. For now Lewis can celebrate the fourth professional victory of a career which had looked to be faltering until he won the Bridgestone Challenge on the Challenge Tour almost exactly a year ago, which in turn provided the springboard for a second victory in Portugal.

Torrance calls time

on golfing career

Former Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance has revealed he no longer plays golf after “losing the love” for the sport. The 65-year-old Scot enjoyed 44 professional wins and played for Europe in eight Ryder Cups, as well as captaining their 2002 win. Torrance had latterly played on the European Senior Tour. “I’ve kind of lost the love for it,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I’m not very good. The hardest thing is that I’m mediocre compared to what I was.” Torrance, who has regularly worked in broadcasting, is joint 10th in the European

Tour’s list of most wins with 21. “I said to my manager, ‘Tell me my scores over the last three years and my finishing positions’,” he explained. “She looked it up and she told me I was 200 over par and my best finish was 35th. So it was time. That was two years ago and I’ve not played since. It was tough to let go, but I’m glad I did it when I did. Even with my mates I’m struggling to find the impetus to get up there and do it.”

Penge powers to EuroPro succes Sussex professional Marco Penge’s longawaited search for his first victory in the paid ranks has ended after the 23-year-old from Horsham clinched the on the PGA EuroPro Tour’s Irish Masters. Penge, who is attached to Golf at Goodwood, finished one shot clear of Chelmsford’s Alisdair Plumb on the final day at Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort with a final round 71 to take the title and move to second spot in the Race To Desert Spring rankings. Penge, who has been knocking on the door for his maiden win on the EuroPro Tour all season, opened up with rounds of 66 and 67 to lead the field by three shots with 18 holes to play. And despite testing windy conditions during the final round, Penge battled bravely to the end, parring the last three holes to win by the minimum margin. Speaking after picking up the trophy, Penge said: “I’m over the moon. A bit emotional, but yeah, I’m buzzing to have finally got the win. I had lot of guys hunting me down, so I’m really proud of the way I managed my game and hung in there. I played this course last year, and I was in a great position to win, but didn’t quite manage to get across the line, so to pull it off this time is amazing. I hit the ball pretty well this week – it’s still not quite where I want it, but my putting saved me in the end.” He added: “There have been a lot of doubters, but I always believed that I could win out here, so it’s been great to prove them wrong. Hopefully, this will give me the confidence to kick on, progress to the Challenge Tour, and win a few more.” Plumb didn’t make life easy for Penge though, with his final round 67, added to earlier rounds of 70 and 68, giving him his first top-three finish on the tour in only his fifth event of the season. Adam Chapman (Windermere), the clubhouse leader from round one, recovered from a bad day on Thursday to post a final round 65 for the best round of the day to finish third.

HIGGINS DOMINATES MIDDX YOUTHS’ CHAMPIONSHIP ★ Ealing’s Connor Higgins continued his fine season with victory in both the U21 and U18 divisions of the Middlesex Youth Championships held at Sudbury. He shot rounds of 71 and 73 to finish four clear of Hendon’s Julia Kerrigan, whose second round 70 included two eagles and three birdies. Both players will represent Middlesex at England Golf’s Champion of Champions at Woodhall Spa.

BYERS BAGS KENT YOUTH TITLE ★ Langley Park’s Connor Byers retained his Kent Youths Championship title after shooting rounds of 73 and 70 at Knole Park. His three-over-par total of 143 saw him finish one shot ahead of the joint runners-up George Dale (West Malling) and Sam Statham (Knole Park).

West Surrey continues course improvements

West Surrey Golf Club is embarking on the penultimate phase of a five-year bunker renovation project this autumn as the Guildfordbased venue continues to invest in its historic parkland course. The bunker renovation project, which is was designed by golf course architect Ken Moodie and overseen by West Surrey’s course manager Alec McIndoe, is entering its fourth phase this autumn, with the last phase expected to be completed next year, with the final bunkers in play by spring 2021. Moodie said: “The initial brief was to update the bunkering to suit today’s golfer, but in keeping with its heritage as a Herbert Fowler design. We used old aerial photograps to map the bunkers present on

the course in the 1940s to develop our proposals. “The project has mainly focused on bunker repositioning and remodeling, but we have also incorporated some areas of new mounding, hollows and swales to add a more interesting variety of hazards and playing strategy. We also extended the green on the par-three 12th to offer a better range of pin positions. This has transformed it into a much fairer and more attractive mid-length par three.” Other changes have seen the two centrally-placed bunkers on the par-four 13th moved further towards the green and set on a slight diagonal to offer more options for the shorter and longer hitter.


NEWS | AUTUMN 2019 GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

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InBrief

Paultons Golf Centre

■ PHILIP PRICE TOOK THE TITLE AT THE LONDON CLUB

set for ‘stellar’ future

LANCASTER LADIES LIFT PAIRS’ TITLE ★ A pair of Lancashire golfers have been crowned as national champions after winning the England Golf Trust National Pairs Stableford Finals at King’s Norton Golf Club in Worcestershire. Lorraine Birch and Julie Norcliffe, from Lancaster Golf Club, combined to score 40 points in the betterball competition which in the last five years has raised £20,000 to support young people who need financial help to play the game. A birdie on the 17th from Birch was enough to see the Lancaster pair finish one shot ahead of Anne Beckett and Shelagh Rafferty (Pavenham Park, Beds), who pipped Libby Harrison and Dawn Gray (Chevin., Derbyshire) for second place on countback.

BEACONSFIELD HOSTS BB&O JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS ★ Beaconsfield Golf Club hosted the BB&O U12 and U14 Championships last month, with both titles going down to the final hole before the winners were decided. There was nothing to separate the top two scores in the U12 Championship, with Billy Wood (Stoke Park) and Daniel Butteriss (Wexham Park) both shooting 80, with Wood winning on countback. In the U14 Championship, Edward Davis (Studley Wood) took an early lead with a gross 77, which saw him top the leaderboard until the very last group, which contained Conor Jacob (Frilford Heath), who shot a one-over-par 73, which included six birdies, to take the title.

Paultons Golf Centre in Hampshire is set to benefit from a range of improvements to its golf course and facilities following its acquisition by Stellar Asset Management from previous owners Crown Golf. Paultons, which is located on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire, boasts a 150-acre site, which includes a 18-hole course, a nine-hole par-three course and a 24-bay driving range. Stellar Asset Management current portfolio of leisure venues includes Murrayshall Country House Hotel and Golf Club and The Marine Hotel in Scotland, as well as a number of Holiday Inn Express properties around the UK. Working in partnership with Ben Blackburn Golf, Paultons will undergo a major refurbishment, with the aim of modernising the clubhouse and upgrading the driving range, including the installation of TopTracer, and the introduction of a full service sports bar and private event space. The new-look range will be open on September 29, with an official launch event planned October 18. Jonathan Gain, chief executive of Stellar Asset Management, said: “We are incredibly excited to welcome Paultons Golf Centre into our portfolio of properties and are looking forward to enhancing the potential of the golf course, clubhouse facilities and driving range for the benefit of our members and visitors.”

GUENT WINS BOYS’ AMATEUR

Price is right

at PGA Seniors Championship

Phillip Price won the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship at London Golf Club to claim his second Staysure Tour title in three years. The 2002 Ryder Cup star recorded rounds of 67-66-71 and a final round of 67, five under par, to win the championship by two-shots ahead of Michael Campbell, James Kingston and Peter Lonard. The Welshman’s first victory on the over-50s circuit came at the 2017 WINSTONgolf Senior Open and after five top tens in 2019, he became a Staysure Tour winner once again with victory the Kent venue. Price began the final round two strokes behind 54-hole leader David McKenzie, but started his surge up the leaderboard with three birdies in his first six holes, including one at the first hole. A bogey on the seventh saw him make the turn at two under par to apply the pressure on the leaders, before he moved swiftly passed them on the back nine. Price shot a blemish-free 33, including an eagle on the 11th and a birdie on the 16th to set the target at 17 under par. With Kingston and Lonard unable to match the Welshman’s total, Price was crowned champion to become the first player from Wales to win the event since Brian Huggett in 1993. “This win is a little nicer than the first one,” he said. “I’ve had my wife and two children here with me, and the children haven’t seen me win anything so that made it special. It’s nice to have them both here and nice to see me win something. I’ve been playing quite well all year with a lot of top ten finishes but without a win, so this was a huge relief for me.”

★ Frenchman Tom Gueant beat Wilmer Ederö of Sweden on the 37th hole to win the Boys’ Amateur Championship at Saunton Golf Club in Devon. Gueant became the first Frenchman to lift the trophy since Patrick Cros in 1960. He will now play in next year’s Amateur Championship, and gains an exemption into Final Qualifying for The Open Championship at Royal St Georges.

NESSLING SECURES SOUTHERN PROS TITLE ★ Cooden Beach professional Paul Nessling won the CK Group PGA Southern Professional Championship after finishing on 13 under par for 72 holes at Kings Hill Golf Club in Kent. Rounds of 70, 65 and 68 saw him finish three shots ahead of Chris Croucher (Cottesmore) and collect the £3,000 first prize. The victory also took him to the top of the Virgin Atlantic PGA South 2019 Order of Merit, the winner of which will be crowned at the conclusion of the Virgin Atlantic PGA Farnham Finale on October 3.

SUPER SEB BAGS WORLD JUNIOR TITLE ★ Surrey-based six-year-old Sebastian Duffield can call himself a world champion after winning the Under 6 category of the US Kids World Junior Golf Championships held at Pinehurst in North Carolina. The youngster, who is a member at Windlesham Golf Club shot rounds of 34, 35 and 35 to win by shot. It topped off a great season which also included finishing third in the U8s section of the European US Kids

ROYAL NORWICH

re-opens at new venue

The next chapter in the history of Royal Norwich Golf Club began this month, as the 125-year-old venue opened the gates to its £10 million new home. The former site of the original club in Hellesdon closed earlier this month to make way for new housing, just as the new site, located in nearby Weston Longville, opened for business on September 16, when Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter was the star guest at a special 18-hole exhibition round for members at the official opening. The new golf course, which was built by European Golf Designs, was completed some time ago, but has been given time to bed in while building work at the club was completed. As well as the new 18-hole course, and six-hole academy course, facilities at the club include a spacious clubhouse with a 200-seat restaurant and conference venue, a microbrewery, bakery and family nature trails. The 18-hole course features six tees on each hole, so that golfers can

choose their challenge, from a 5,000yard, three-hour round, all the way through to a 7,500-yard championship course. The six-hole course is aimed at younger golfers and those without the time to play a full round. As well as seven- and five-day memberships, the club has been successfully selling a new points-based membership to meet the needs of all golfers. Phil Grice, general manager and director of Royal Norwich, said that a golf course on its own is no longer enough for a modern club to maintain a sustainable business. He said: “I am not convinced that golf on its own is enough. You have got to create a community and a reason for people to be part of it. We’ve looked at what youngsters and families want and what fits today, more so than telling them what we offer and hoping they want it. We’ve taken a top-down approach as to what we can do – and a bottom-up approach as to what people actually want. We’re just ensuring the customer is getting exactly what they want.”


NEWS | AUTUMN 2019 GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

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Horam Park unveils

Boundary Lakes raises funds for Peter Alliss wheelchair charity

clubhouse extension Horam Park Golf Club in East Sussex has invested in its off-course facilities with the unveiling of a new clubhouse extension. The renovated building is twice the size of the previous structure and features two new function rooms for up to 100 people, and an 80-cover restaurant and bar, which has also been full refurbished, while a south-facing patio has also been re-landscaped. Club owner Steve Greenfield and son Adam Greenfield oversaw the six-month renovation programme. The family has invested in the on- and off-course facilities since buying Horam Park in 2005, with other developments including the construction of a state-of-the-art driving range and a nine-hole course across the club’s 58 acres. Future plans include the full refurbishment of the changing rooms next year. Steve Greenfield said: “Over the last 14 years, we have continually expanded the business to offer the best facilities for our golfers and other visitors. The extended clubhouse and function rooms have created the perfect venue for summer events, and we look forward to welcoming customers new and old alike.”

■ STEVE AND ADAM GREENFIELD WITH ELAINE ROBINSON FROM NATWEST

■ PETER ALLISS PRESENTED HANDLEY BRISDION WITH A NEW WHEELCHAIR

A charity golf day hosted at Boundary Lakes Golf Club in Southampton has succeeded in raising over £7,000 for the Peter Alliss Wheelchair charity. The day, which was organised by Ian Warwick of the Hampshire PGA, saw teams play 18 holes on the parkland course before enjoying a post-match meal with prizes and a raffle. The money raised on the day went to

financing a powered wheelchair for eightyear-old Handley Brisdion, which was presented to him on the day by Peter Alliss and former LPGA Tour player Judy Rankin. Handley has cerebral palsy, and his new chair will enable him to carry on pursuing his favourite sports, including wheelchair basketball and wheelchair football. Sponsor and generous donations on the day included Gordon Johnston (HJS Solutions), Nick Evans (Viking Garage), Romsey Car Centre, Mark Desmond’s Pro Am team, Natalie Sonn (Enterprise Flexi Rent), Andy Sault, Steve Barter, 59 Club, Hilton Hotel, White Horse Pub, Test Valley Golf Club, Blackmoor Golf Club, Richard Bland, Steve Richardson, The PGA In Hampshire, Jason Neve, Peter Dawson and Gallagher Insurance. The top three prizes in the golf tourament were claimed by Tim Dear, Peter Stevens, Paul Jones, while the team winners Sheena Nicholson, Victoria Ray, Peter Stevens and Alex Marshall. Boundary Lakes also fielded a team for the Peter Alliss Open Tournament hosted at Old Thorns on September 17, which is the annual highlight of the charity’s year, when nearly a dozen chairs will be presented to families.

Morrison “considered quitting golf”

WINDLESHAM pair win Ping pairs title

Two members of Windlesham Golf Club in Surrey have been crowned Ping Women’s Fourball Betterball champions for 2019. Charlotte Legg and Mary Dodds have both only been playing golf for a couple of years, but that did not stop them amassing 46 points over the Thonock Park course at Gainsborough Golf Club in Lincolnshire. Their impressive total saw them finish a point ahead of Bev Allan and Rachael Warner from Branston Golf and Country Club in Staffordshire, with Claire Sims and Rachel Stark from The Bedfordshire Golf Club claiming third place on countback. “We’re thrilled to have won,” said 26-handicapper Legg, who only took up the game at the start of 2018. “When we won our club qualifier we were told we would have a great day here at Gainsborough, but it has exceeded all our expectations. It has been fantastic. We’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” Legg and Dodds registered six three-point holes while accumulating 22 Stableford points over the opening nine, but it was on the second nine where they really made their mark, with a further four three-point holes and a four-pointer at the short 16th where Dodds hit a seven-iron to three-feet and rolled in the putt. “That was probably the key moment in the round for us,” admitted Dodds, who was once Assistant Secretary at West Hill Golf Club in Surrey before taking up the game two years ago. “We had no really bad holes, but it was the two at the 16th that made the difference. I can’t really believe it has happened.” The Ping Fourball Betterball Championship is run by England Golf with the winners coming through from an initial entry of over 15,000 women from more than 870 clubs.

European Tour professional James Morrison has revealed he has considered quitting golf following a series of battles both on and off the course. Surrey-based Morrison, 34, has won twice on the European Tour since graduating to the top flight in 2009, but his last victory came at Spanish Open in 2015. And since progressing to a career-best 80th in the world, the St George’s Hill man has slipped down the ladder to 942nd in the world after missing nine of 17 cuts this season. Back to somewhere near his best with two 66s at last month’s Scandinavian Invitation, where he eventually finished a season’s best 29th, Morrison revealed the extent of his struggles led him to contemplating life away from the game. “It’s my tenth year out here in a row now,” Morrison told Sky Sports. “Tour life’s getting a chore, travelling’s getting hard. But it’s not about the golf. I’ve got a little boy at home, my wife’s been having some

health problems recently, so there’s stuff at home going on that’s taken my attention away from the game. “When I was playing at the Scottish Open in July I really questioned whether that was it. It was close to being my last-ever event, but that’s just the way it goes, that’s life and you’ve got to deal with it.” Morrison has recently changed coaches in a bid to get back to winning ways, and now admits he is in a slightly better place mentally. “I changed coaches in the search for better golf and it hasn’t worked out the last two years,” he said. “I’ve gone back to my old coach Hugh Marr and done some really good work with Justin Buckthorp, my trainer-come-psychologist, best friend, mentor, and stripped everything back and realised why I’m doing it, what I’m doing it for and I’m in a happier place personally. He’s kind of brought me back from the brink of hanging up the boots, so I’m not sure if I’ll thank him for that or not!”


NEWS | AUTUMN 2019 GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

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Woodman’s sweet 63 Guy Woodman birdied the last hole at Cuddington Golf Club to win the PGA Surrey Open Championship with a record-equalling eight-under-par 63 and post a 14-under-par total.

Starting the final round a shot behind playing partner Paul Newman (East Berks), Woodman opened in spectacular style with two eagles against Newman’s par, eagle start. But with both players out in 32, Woodman remained one stroke behind at the turn. But birdies at 11, 12 and 15 saw Woodman edge ahead of his rival after 35 holes, and after a drive and a wedge to four feet on

seals Surrey Open title the 18th green set up another birdie, and a dramatic two-shot victory over Newman, with PGA Southern Open champion Andy Raitt taking third with rounds of 65 and 67. Speaking after collecting the historic Surrey Open trophy and a cheque for £2,000, Woodman said: “I couldn’t be happier. Cuddington was in terrific condition and The PGA in England (South) and home PGA Pro Paul Schunter ensured another great tournament for us all. And after my previous attempts, here it’s great to shoot a 63 and come out on top.”

Wimbledon Common

Izzi gets busy

opens new performance studio

with IMG marketing role

Wimbledon Common Golf Club in south-west London has opened a new indoor performance centre where all aspects of a golfer’s game can be analysed using stateof-the-art technology. Run by the club’s teaching PGA Professional, Charlie Sandison-Woods, the centre is equipped with the latest swing analysis software to improve every aspect of a golfer’s game. Sandison-Woods is a very experienced coach, and has worked with every standard of golfer from beginners to elite golfers, professionals and county level players. A newly renovated pro shop also opened last month, which offers members and visitors a wide range of clothing, accessories and equipment. Wimbledon Common’s General Manager Emma Pope said: ”As well as offering these great new facilities, we have a lot of ideas to encourage men and women of all ages to come and learn and play golf here. From our Academy programme, to the Thursday night Swindle competition, a ‘Return to Golf’ package, and our loyalty card scheme. And our ladies section, which only started in 2005, now represents a third of our membership, so we have something to offer all golfers.”

Leonardo Izzi, the former head of marketing at London Golf Club, has been appointed director of marketing for IMG’s Golf Course Services division. In this role, Izzi will provide IMG’s global portfolio of clubs and resorts with marketing support, with a focus on driving marketing campaigns, public relations and brand awareness. Previously, Izzi spent seven years working at London Golf Club in Kent, taking on the head marketing role for the final three years. During that time, he was involved in the marketing and promotion of several tour events held at the club, including the Volvo World Match Play Championship and the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship. “I’m really excited with this new chapter of my career,” said Izzi. “Having a regional role has been a goal for me for the past few years, so being able to do that with IMG, a company with so much history in golf, is amazing. It was great to be part of London Golf Club for so many years, and I’m now looking forward to working with and supporting IMG’s network of golf course partners around the world.”

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Toot Hill’s Tansley

Fulwell unveils new-look bunkering

takes captain’s title Toot Hill captain Graham Tansley won the England Golf Captain’s Tournament after battling through wet conditions at Woodhall Spa’s Hotchkin course. After securing an impressive 39 points in the opening round, Tansley survived tough scoring conditions in the second round to scramble 32 points and fend off the challenge of Brampton Golf Club’s Lionel Dobson by a single point, with Brian Robinson (Belton Woods) taking third with 69 points. Three sand saves during the final round kept Tansley’s hopes of winning

alive, one of which came about after his ball landed in an animal scraping and the ensuing drop saw the ball roll into a bunker. Speaking after his win, Tansley, who is currently in his third stint as captain at Toot Hill, said: “Having played in the qualifiers for the last eight years, and qualifying for three finals previously, I am ecstatic to win on a very tough golf course, and to beat such a quality field is very satisfying.”

BRITISH GOLF SHOW

to return in 2020

The organisers of the British Golf Show have announced the dates for next year’s show as May 15-16, once again at Wycombe Air Park in Buckinghamshire. Following the successful launch of the first British Golf Show in May, which attracted around 4,000 golfers and an overall combined audience of 6,500, the event is firmly cemented within the golf season calendar for 2020. On the Saturday, in particular, queues were at least 45 minutes long to experience some of the more popular indoor attractions, such as the Zen Green Stage and the ‘Beat The Pro’ experience with Sky Sports on-course commentator John E Morgan in the PGA EuroPro Tour simulator. There were six bays on the outdoor range, with well over 10,000 balls hit, while featured brands in this area included

Callaway, Titleist, Lynx Golf, Vertical Groove, Power Tee and Zen Sports. With over 60 aircraft flying into the show, visitors were treated to a stream of helicopters and planes landing on the nearby runway – many of them carrying visitors to The Elite London, the co-located luxury lifestyle show situated in three hangars adjacent to the British Golf Show, which showcased a range of supercars, aircraft, motor yachts and other luxury goods.

Fulwell Golf Club in Middlesex has unveiled a striking new-look layout following the completion of a major bunker renovation programme. The course renovation project, which began in 2017 and was carried out by Tom Mackenzie of architects MacKenzie and Ebert, focused on the renovation of the course’s bunkering to present a stronger challenge to longer hitters, as well as revives the visual styling and shape of its bunkers of old, with more than a passing tribute to the rugged-edged bunkering from Alister MacKenzie’s input in the 1920s. Some bunkers have been removed, others repositioned, and all renovated and restyled to ensure consistency of design and playing surfaces throughout. Some of the most significant changes to fairway bunkering have taken place on the 3rd, 4th and 8th holes, with bunkers left and right of the 8th fairway now demanding a high degree of accuracy from anyone attempting to take the hole on. Around the greens, some of the most visually striking

changes have been to the 6th and 9th holes, both already very attractive par threes near the clubhouse that are now even easier on the eye. “We set out to place the bunkers in the thick of the action, while also making the holes as strong as possible visually,” Mackenzie explained. “The idea was to make it as challenging as you would want it to be for better players while not making things too difficult for less skilled golfers.” Club Secretary Murray Cook said: “The membership is delighted with the changes carried out to ensure that our bunkers are now consistent throughout and perfectly positioned for modern driving distances. We also are delighted that our bunkering now meets the high standards we set for our other playing surfaces. We are confident that this significant investment will enable us to cement our position as one of the premier clubs in the London area, while helping us to attract more members and visitors as our reputation continues to grow.”

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[12] AUTUMN 2019 | NEWS AUTUMN 2018 | NEWS

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N E W

DRIVE TO Niall Horan, one-fifth of boy band One Direction, is combining his solo singing career with a golf business, following the setting up of Modest! Golf Management in 2016. Here, he explains how he first got into golf, and why he decided to get into player management When did you first get into golf? I started from a really early age back home in Mullingar in Ireland with a group of friends. I loved the sport back then and loved staying up on Masters Sunday watching the final round with my dad. What do you love about the game? Everything. It’s a great way to escape for a bit, to turn my phone off and relax. I enjoy playing and meeting new people and the challenge of working hard to try and improve my game. How much time do you get to work on your own game? My game is doing okay – my handicap is around 8. I’d like to get it down to five, but it’ll take a bit of work to do that. The clubs go everywhere with me on the tour bus, so I always try and find somewhere to play or practice between concerts. What’s the best golf course you’ve played? Augusta National. It’s a truly magical place, and I count myself very lucky to have played there. I loved playing Royal Portrush too, and was so pleased that it got to host The Open this year. The whole week was a huge success, and, of course, it was great to have an Irish winner in Shane Lowry. I’m sure it won’t be too long before it comes back there, the crowds were incredible. Why did you decide to set up Modest! Golf Management? I really

N O I T C E DIR

felt, along with my management company, that we could offer something different for some of the young golfers coming through. My management company has looked after young talent for many years, and then we brought in Mark McDonnell and Ian Watts into the company, who between them have 35 years’ experience in the golf industry. Our focus is 100% on our players. This isn’t about me or anybody else. This is about our players. This is their time, their careers, and we’re there to support them as best we can every step of the way. Long term, we want to develop a small, very talented stable of players across all tours. We’re a boutique company and want to sign a small number of key talents and really support them on their journey. What sets Modest! Golf apart from other management companies out there? We give our players time to flourish over the period of their contract. We give them as much support in year three as we do in year one. It’s important players know they don’t need to panic if it doesn’t happen in year one, although obviously it’s nice if they hit the ground running. Ultimately we can’t teach these guys to play golf, that’s up to them, but we're set up to deal with everything else off the course. We’ve negotiated deals with many top brands; from Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonalds, Mercedes and Honda among others, so we know how to maximise earnings for a golfer off the course, as well on it. We are here to create both commercial and playing opportunities for our players. I also like to think that I can relate to young players making their way in the game, and how to handle ■ NIALL HORAN their public profile. WITH MODEST! GOLF'S LATEST SIGNING TYRELL HATTON

Modest! Golf’s first signing back in 2016 was an Italian amateur called Guido Migliozzi. What attracted you to him? Guido was one of leading amateurs in Italy, and at the time he was a freshfaced 19-year-old talent. He comes

from a really supportive family, works hard, and has a genuine passion for the game. Now aged 22, he got his European Tour card at the end of last year, and has already won twice this season, winning the Kenyan Open in March and the Belgian Knockout in June. He looks like comfortably qualifying for the Race to Dubai’s Final Series and is knocking on the door of the world’s top 100. He’s an incredible talent, and it would be great if he could make the Ryder Cup team in Rome for 2022. We also signed Tyrell Hatton in June. He’s by far our highest profile signing to date, and it’s a sign of how far we’ve come in such a short space of time that a world top 50 player has joined our team. How exciting was it to sign the Maguire sisters, Lisa and Leona, last year? Signing Lisa and Leona Maguire, our first two Irish players, was very exciting. What both girls achieved in the amateur game is unbelievable and it was huge honour for the girls to choose us to represent them. As you would expect, they had a number of choices, so we were very happy that the came with us, and we are looking forward to helping and supporting them in the next chapter of their careers and beyond. We have always wanted a small ladies division, however, we had to wait for the right talent. Leona and Lisa are everything and more in terms of what we look for in a player. Their attitude, ability, work ethic and how they both carry themselves both on and off the course is exactly what we expect in a Modest! Golf player. They’ve been on our radar for a long time, however, with the way the college system in the US works, we’ve had to wait patiently before we were able to make any approach. You’ve played your own part raising the profile of golf in Northern Ireland with Modest! Golf’s management of the Challenge Tour’s NI Open since 2016. This year’s tournament at Galgorm Castle was remodeled as the ISPS World Invitational, and transformed into a mixed event with women and men playing for the same prize money. How did that come about? We always wanted to get involved with the Challenge Tour and put our money where our mouth is, so to speak. I’d also heard what a first-class event the NI Open has been for a number of years. It was described to me as the closest thing you will get to a main European Tour event, and for us that’s exactly what we wanted to be involved with. We’ve been involved with NI Open for the past three years now, and the tournament has got bigger and better every year, woth more top players, bigger crowds, and more sponsors. We got into golf with the aim of developing the next generation of players, whether they be men and women, so by supporting a tournament like the World Invitational we are helping to bring that goal to fruition. We have created the opportunity for women to perform on the same stage as men and compete for the same prize fund, and I was delighted that so many women pros took part in it. It was such a fun week, with lots of events outside of the tournament itself, with live music acts and more. Just by looking at the crowds, it definitely seemed to attract a much younger, new audience. In addition to running events like this, how do you think golf in general can broaden its appeal to younger audiences? I think the game needs at times to be made quicker to encourage younger people into it. The European Tour has kind of led the way with some new tournament formats, and they’ve done a good job with their social media activity, but that needs to feed down more to the club level. Golf’s a great game for all ages and all genders. It requires skill and dedication and also gets you outside meeting new people and keeping you active.


NEWS | AUTUMN 2019 GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

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

Hudson has the

magic teaching touch Golf coaches looking to deepen their understanding of elite training and help more golfers improve their skill levels are being invited to learn from one of the most experienced coaches in the business. Peter Hudson, the head of training and a master golf coach at WGTF, has worked with over 600 coaches, as well as many leading professionals, amateur teams and elite players, during a successful 40-year career in the golf industry. During that time he has developed his own unique insights into the game and helped hundreds of coaches turn their passion into a rewarding career. With a BSc in sports psychology and a qualified NLP trainer, Hudson has develop a comprehensive approach to improving coaching skills that yields instant and longlasting results for both coaches and their pupils.

Whitewebbs on the market

West London Golf Centre rebrands course as ‘The City9’

Jayne Storey, founder of Chi-Power Golf, is one of many clients who have benefitted from Peter’s skills and knowledge. She said: “Peter’s approach to teaching golf is the most comprehensive and fully rounded I’ve come across. I doubt that anyone else comes close to his abilities.” To find out more about how Peter Hudson Golf can take your coaching business forward, call 07939 584010,
 email peter.hudson62@yahoo.com, or visit www.peterhudsongolf.com.

Whitewebbs Park Golf Course in North London has been put up for sale by Enfield Council. The 18-hole course, which first opened in 1932, was previously operated by the council, and is available on a 25-year lease. Located less than two miles from junction 25 of the M25 and Enfield town centre, the club’s 18-hole course

The nine-hole golf course that first opened under the banner of West London Golf Centre when it first opened in 2015 has been rebranded ‘The City9’. Renamed to better reflect its proximity to central London, the 3,037-yard City9 course is less than 30 minutes by tube to Oxford Circus, and seven miles from Heathrow. The course forms part of West London Golf Centre, which also offers an American Golf superstore, Dinosaur Escape Adventure Golf and the Dino Soft Play area. The City9 is part of the Bridgedown Group’s golf portfolio, which also includes The Shire London, which is shortly to be joined by the adjacent West London Links, and also The Dye London, which is also in its construction phase in nearby Edgware. The re-brand of West London Golf Centre has been accompanied by a new marketing campaign, ‘Make Time for 9’, which is aimed at the time-poor golfer who is looking for every opportunity to get the clubs out. Golfers will be able to access the course from Monday to Friday from £12.50 and £14 at the weekends. Tony Menai-Davis, Director of West London Golf Centre, said: “Those who regularly play The City9 have come to appreciate its design, the condition and the convenience. We have planned an enhancement programme for the entire facility, but wanted to start with the golf course to elevate the playing experience for members and visitors."

was designed by JH Taylor. Enfield Council is looking for proposals that will benefit the local community and enhance Whitewebbs Park as a whole. Initial expressions of interest from developers and operators should be submitted by September 27 through golf property specialists Smith Leisure and Knight Frank.

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Benstead bags

Berkhampsted in full bloom

Social Golfer Open

following irrigation upgrade Surrey amateur David Benstead won the 2019 Social Golfer Open after notching up 37 points at Bletchingley Golf Club. He pipped Mark Crane from Kent to the title by a single point, with Chris Knight taking third place with 34 points on countback. The women’s event was won by Surrey golfer Ruth Brand, who scored 35 points to finish five points clear of Judy Lilley. Over £2,000 was raised on the day to support Surrey-based charity Community Golf, which supports children with special needs and dementia patients. The event was also support by Golf Escapes, Golf Deals Group, Crown Golf, as well more as four-ball voucher being donated by Walton Heath, West Hills, The RAC Club, Hever Castle and Limpsfield Chart. Ian Mullins, event director of The Social Golfer Open, said: “I am constantly amazed at the standard of golf played on our days and the friendly spirit in which these golfing nomads compete. In addition, their generosity this year left me speechless. A big thanks to all our sponsors for putting up over £1,000 worth of prizes.”

Boyns meets his Waterloo(ville) Weald of Kent professional Ryan Boyns took the spoils at the Waterlooville Pro-Am, one of the biggest events on the PGA South region calendar. Sponsored by Facilities Management Southern, one of the longest running pro-ams in The PGA in England (South)’s schedule celebrated its 40th anniversary in style, as did Boyns, who came out on top of the 42-strong professional field with a four-under-par 68. The Weald of Kent man finished

Whittington Heath ploughs ahead Whittington Heath Golf Club in Oxfordshire is continuing with the redevelopment of its course, despite the future of the high-speed rail link that is set to cut a swathe through its land coming under renewed scrutiny. Almost ten years after officials at the 130-year-old club were informed that the HS2 railway line would be routed through the centre of the golf course, the club has embarked on a major

MOOR PA R K

two shots ahead James Ford (Robert Rock Academy), with Guy Woodman a further shot back in third. Waterlooville general manager Mark Wycherley commented: “This year is our 40th anniversary, so we were delighted to secure the support of such a generous and proactive sponsor in Facilities Management Southern. The really great news is they intend to support us for a few years, so hopefully this is just the start of our pro-am being one of the biggest and best in the business.”

Members at Berkhamsted Golf Club in Hertfordshire have enjoyed stunning playing conditions over the summer after the club completed a major irrigation upgrade. With over 600 sprinklers now refreshing the turf, the club’s 6,701-yard, James Braiddesigned championship course is already benefitting from the improvements, with the greens team now able to produce beautiful playing surfaces all year round. Largely unchanged design-wise for the last 100 years, Berkhamsted, which is famous for having no bunkers, is set in a 560-acre area of natural Hertfordshire heathland. “Our golf course up here on Berkhamsted Common may be entirely natural, but underneath the soil there is now some extremely powerful 21st-century technology,” said club manager Howard Craft. “Golfers will find that our tees, approaches and greens, in particular, will be more conducive to better golf as the effects of the improved irrigation really take hold over the next couple of seasons."

with re-design despite HS2 enquiry

redesign of its layout. Construction started in January this year, beginning with modifications to the existing holes and the creation of five new holes and practice facilities. with an opening date being expected in spring 2021. The HS2 railway line through the golf course is timetabled to begin in 2022-23, although the government has recently requested a review of the whole project, after it emerged that the

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[16] AUTUMN 2019 | NEWS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

Freeman books Faldo Series Final place Yorkshire’s James Freeman won the second Faldo Series Europe south qualifier after beating Arron Edwards-Hill and Tiger Adams in a play-off at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire. The 54-hole event was played over Brocket Hall’s 7,080yard Palmerston Course, presenting a stern test for the best young golfers in the country. Freeman, from Owston Hall in Doncaster, started the third and final round tied for the lead alongside Chelmsford’s Ben Humphrey, but while Humphrey fell away with a closing 76, Freeman, who made eight birdies across the three rounds, remained in total control, shooting a level-par 72, to match the totals of Edwards-Hill and Adams, who both closed with 71s. Adams was eliminated during the first playoff hole, allowing Edwards-Hill to win the U21 category, while

Freeman won the second hole to secure the U18 category and overall tournament victory, which can with the added prize of a year’s free membership at Brocket Hall. Freeman, who will now tee it up alongside other qualifiers at the Faldo Series Europe Grand Final in Al Ain in November, said: “This is the first year I’ve played in the Series and only my second attempt to get to the Grand Final after finishing 12th at Royal Ashdown Forest in April. The course was in excellent condition and to win membership here for a year is amazing – I can’t wait to make use of the two courses and practice facilities to sharpen up my game before November.” Rohan Miah, from Mannings Heath in Sussex, won U16 category with rounds of 75, 71 and 74, to beat Charlie Gilgenkrantz (W Hove) by a shot, and qualify for the finals.

■ JAMES FREEMAN (CENTRE) BOOKED HIMSELF A PLACE IN THE FALDO SERIES EUROPEAN FINALS

Hendriksen wins English PGA Champs Devonshire golf pro Paul Hendriksen kept a cool head in sweltering conditions to win the English PGA Championship at Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort. Having played red-hot golf to match the sizzling temperatures at the Wiltshire venue in the second round, the PGA Professional from Ivybridge Golf Club opted for a safety-first approach to claim victory. He was 10 under par and three shots clear of the field coming up the parfour 18th, but a rare misjudgment turned what should have been a triumphant and trouble-free stroll to victory into an exercise in course management. Reflecting on what was his solitary moment of real anxiety in the three rounds that saw him post a nine-underpar total, Hendriksen explained: “I tried to show that no lead is big enough! I knew I could make double bogey and still get the job done. I hit a good tee shot then I was left with in-between clubs for my second. I went for the bigger club and it went long into a bunker. That left me with a difficult shot, and I played out at a right-angle to the pin to the middle of the green and then two-putted from 40-foot. I knew I could three-putt to win –but it could have gone horribly wrong if I hadn’t had that cushion.” In addition to the £5,000 winner’s cheque and trophy, victory earned Hendriksen the distinction of being the only person to win the English PGA and the Titleist & FootJoy PGA Professional Championship.

callawayeuropeapparel.com Callaway and the Chevron Device are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Callaway Golf Company. ©2019 Callaway Golf Company. PEI Operating, LLC. is an official licensee of Callaway Golf Company.


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DANNY’S BEST ON THE WEST 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett returned to his very best form to capture the 2019 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth

D

anny Willett enhanced his reputation for saving his best for the big events, when completing a threeshot victory at the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, played in front of packed galleries at Wentworth. Kick-starting his bid to earn a place in next year’s Ryder Cup team in the best possible fashion, Willett, who had only won once since his Masters triumph in 2016, added his second Rolex Series event to his CV in the past 10 months with a superb front-running display over the fabled West Course. Moving into a share of the lead on Friday evening, following opening rounds of 68 and 65, Willett was one shot behind Jon Rahm after a third round 68, with the Spanish star looking a strong favourite to lift the title following his impressive form this season. However, Willett has found some form of his own this year, following a win at the DP World Championship last November, and he took the battle to Rahm from the off. Despite temperatures having dropped by 10 degrees from the previous three days, Willett got off to a hot start in front of a supportive home crowd, making birdies at the second and third holes to take the lead, before Rahm fought back with a birdie of his own at the fourth to see the pair tied on 17 under. After trading pars over the next three holes, Willett regained his two-shot lead with another perfect putt at the eighth, and he did well to scramble a par after a poor drive at the ninth to maintain his advantage, as Rahm carded his eighth par of the front nine.

After sharing birdies at 10, Willett once again displayed his scrambling qualities at 11 when his wayward drive bounded into the trees, one of which he hit with his attempted recovery shot. He hacked his third from the heather into a bunker and knocked his fourth onto the front of the green. Still some 35 feet short of the pin, and seemingly starring at a double bogey at best, Willett sunk his lengthy putt in dramatic fashion to limit the damage to just one dropped shot as Rahm had to settle for another par. Perhaps rattled by Willett’s magical powers of recovery, Rahm drove into a fairway bunker at 12 and, after coming up short with a pitch, ran up a bogey-six, although he remained only two behind when Willett was unable to make his fourth birdie of the week on the par-five hole. After making a birdie at 13 to reduce Willett’s lead to one, Rahm gave the shot straight back at 14 and then saw a 20foot birdie putt on 15 lip out to leave Willett two up with just the two par fives left to play. Willett guaranteed himself another birdie at 17 with a sublime pitch to 18 inches, while Rahm kept his fading hopes alive with a birdie of his own from six feet. Realistically needing an eagle at the last to force a play-off, the Spaniard’s drive drifted a little too far left, costing him at least 20 yards in distance, and his ambitious second failed to make the carry over the stream, while Willett nailed a superb second to the heart of the green, from where he calmly two-putted for his sixth birdie of the day. To his credit, Rahm got up and down from the drop zone to

save par and hang on to outright second in an impressive debut at the West Course. South Africa’s Christian Bezuidenhout won the battle for third, with his closing 68 moving him to 16 under, while American duo Billy Horschel and Patrick Reed, both playing in the BMW for the first time, closing with 65 and 66 respectively share fourth. Title contender Justin Rose dropped into a share of eighth after making a mess of the back nine, while Rory McIlroy, whose opening rounds of 76 and 69 saw him make the cut by the minimum margin, fired weekend rounds of 65 and 67 to jump into a share of ninth with Andrew Johnston. Defending champion Francesco Molinari finished tied for 14th. But this week, the BMW PGA Championship trophy, and the €1,056,662 prize money, belonged to Willett, whose victory moved him back into the world’s top 30 for the first time in two years, having dropped to as low as 462 just 16 months ago. “I had an undying want to get back to the top, and I was willing to change whatever had to be changed,” admitted the winner. “It’s hard to jump full throttle into something that you’re not quite sure if it’s going to work out or not, but I’m proud that I was able to jump in there and do what had to be done. All the work that myself, and my team, has put in, has paid off. To come down the stretch and be able to enjoy it was beautiful. There was a long time where I didn’t enjoy this at all.”


[18] AUTUMN 2019 FEATURE AUTUMN 2018 | NEWS

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

a place in the Tour Championship, but I just missed out by three spots. It was disappointing not to make the top 30, but there are lots of other big events to play for before the end of the season. I’ve got to focus on winning the Race to Dubai title now, which would be amazing, while the points list for next year’s Ryder Cup is just starting up, and I’m going all out to make Padraig’s team. What was going through your mind during those four days at The Open? I didn’t feel too comfortable after the practice rounds, but when I look back now, I was actually playing okay. A lot of players get a little bit uptight about how they’re feeling in the run-up to a big tournament. I had a great conversation with my coach that Wednesday night and I went out Thursday and I felt like I played lovely. Shot a nice score. Got myself right into the tournament, really where I wanted to be. Then, after ten holes on Friday, I was leading the tournament by a couple of shots and I was flying. But I then started to look at the leaderboard, and I let it slip a little bit. I tried to get to the clubhouse quicker than I should have, and didn’t stay in the flow. If anything, that really helped me on Saturday, because when I got going I just put the foot down. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in that place before, but it’s a nice place to be. I felt like I was going to birdie every hole. Obviously Sunday was incredible, to win The Open, but the Saturday was one of the most surreal things that’s ever happened to me on a golf course. The crowds, the singing, everything that was going on – it was unbelievable.

DRIVE “AT LEAST TO NO-ONE’S

Has your life changed since winning? Yeah, it’s changed my life a little bit. I’m definitely getting recognised a lot more now, which, if anything, has made me feel more comfortable out on the golf course, especially when I was playing in America. Fewer people are getting me confused with Beef [Andrew Johnston] or JB Holmes, so that’s been one of the upsides of being better known!

CONFUSING ME WITH BEEF ANY MORE!” Open Champion Shane Lowry talks through his magical week at Royal Portrush and reveals what life has been like after claiming the coveted Claret Jug What have the last few months been like since your Open win? It’s been an amazing time, as you can imagine. I didn’t know whether I would ever get a chance to win something as big as The Open. It was almost an impossible dream, so for it to happen so relatively early in my career is something else. I had to take some time off from golf, not only to celebrate with friends and family, but also to take stock of what I had achieved and to really soak it up. I wasn’t ready to get back on the golf course straight away, so it was good just to take a step back for a few weeks, spend some time on holiday with my family in Portugal, and enjoy it all. So do you feel like the win has truly sunk in? I’m not sure when it will fully sink in. I’ve been introduced as the ‘Champion Golfer of the Year’ a few times in recent weeks and I still have to pinch myself that they’re talking about me. I’m sure it will sink in over the coming months, or however long it takes, but it still feels very surreal. So you took Rory McIlroy’s advice to enjoy the moment? I certainly did. It’s been well catalogued that although my form has been quite good in the last year or so, before that I was really struggling. I lost my PGA Tour card and I was down in the dumps a little bit with golf, so when you come back and get to achieve something like I did at Portrush; to win The Open Championship on the island of Ireland, it is dream stuff, but I wanted to take it all in, and reflect on the highs and the lows. I came back in mid-August for the FedEx Cup’s Northern Trust and the BMW Championship and going into those events was pretty confident of winning

SATURDAY AT THE OPEN WAS ONE OF THE MOST SURREAL THINGS THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO ME ON A GOLF COURSE. THE CROWDS, THE SINGING, EVERYTHING THAT WAS GOING ON, IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE”

■ SHANE LOWRY RODE THE CREST OF IRISH SUPPORT WHEN CAPTURING THE OPEN AT PORTRUSH; HE TOOK DELIGHT IN SHOWING OFF THE CLARET JUG TO 60,000 HURLING FANS AT CROKE PARK IN DUBLIN

What has been the reaction been like in Ireland? The support I’ve got back home has been incredible. Hopefully it’s going to do a little bit to help raise the profile of golf in Ireland, and it’s going to get some more kids playing the game. It does feel like it has had that effect a little bit over the last few weeks, and hopefully I can move forward and become more successful. What is the coolest thing that has happened to you since winning? For me, the coolest thing did I was at Croke Park in Dublin on the Saturday evening after the tournament and got a standing ovation from 60,000 people before the hurling the semi-final between Kilkenny and Limerick. That was pretty cool. Croke Park is kind of sporting mecca. When I was a kid, that’s the only place you wanted to play, so it was pretty cool doing that. How does a win like that change your expectations of yourself? Being a major champion doesn’t give me the God-given right to go out and shoot 65 tomorrow. I still have to go out there and play my own game. I’m going to give every round 100 per cent and shoot the best score I can, and see where it leaves me at the end of each week. I feel the way I’ve been playing all year, and the mental frame of mind I’ve got myself in, has been really good. I just need to keep doing that and see where it take mes. Hopefully I can kick on and become the player that I really feel like I want to be, and go on now and maybe win a few more tournaments and move further up the world tankings. Ultimately, my main goal for the next ten months is to make the Ryder Cup team and to be on the plane to Whistling Straits. Nothing has changed in that respect. I’m in every big tournament, so hopefully I can give it a good run and be on that team. When did you first realise you might be able to make a career out of golf? IWhen I came out of school, I played a lot of amateur golf and was knocking around with Rory and quite a lot of other good players, but I don’t think I’ve ever been the type of person who would think or say that I’m good. I made the Irish team when I was 19, and from then on I kind of thought that I was going to be a professional golfer, but I was young and naïve. When I started to win amateur tournaments, I kind of thought, this is what I want to do and this is what I can do, but you never know how it will pan out.


FEATURE | AUTUMN 2019 GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

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[20] AUTUMN 2019 | NEWS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

Peter Alliss charity day raises £40k The 33rd annual Peter Alliss Invitational Charity Golf Day held at Ferndown Golf Club in Dorset succeeded in raising more than £40,000 for disabled youngsters. Since 1987 the event has raised more than £1.25m for the Peter Alliss Wheelchair Crusade – leading to the purchase of 300plus wheelchairs and walking aids. Twenty-eight teams participated in the event, with the Invatrust team, led by club member David Harris and featuring James Tarbuck emerging as winners. Veteran broadcaster Peter, whose family link with Ferndown stretches back to 1939, said: “I am astounded every year at the amount of money raised by this fine event – and 2019 proved no different. My thanks to everyone who played the event and to and the team who worked so hard behind the scenes to ensure everything runs so smoothly.” The day culminated with a champagne reception and dinner, including a charity auction hosted by comedian Ian Irving, which raised £30,000.

Prince’s

showcases new-look Himalaya holes Prince’s Golf Club has released a new selection of images of its recently redesigned Himalayas nine, following a photo shoot commissioned by the club. The historic Kent club has also recently retained the internationally-recognised GEO Certified status for its outstanding sustainability measures and work supporting the community, despite a significant period of course renovation. In 2018, Prince’s unveiled the newlyredeveloped Himalayas nine, having undertaken a significant redesign by course architects Mackenzie & Ebert. A year on, Prince’s announced further works were underway to the Shore and

Dunes nines to align all 27 holes in quality, playability and aesthetic, due to be completed in Spring next year. With a full winter and season to bed in, the Himalayas nine has matured well, while the sandscrape areas and natural wetlands, which were preserved as natural habitats for rare coastal species of flora and fauna, are also flourishing. Rob McGuirk, general manager of Prince’s Golf Club, said: “We’re extremely proud of the development of the Himalayas and these images capture the culmination of the vision that we had at the beginning of the project. We have always been committed to working sustainably with the environment and now especially throughout the recent period of course changes, so it makes us very proud to have achieved GEO accreditation once again.”

Photography: Jason Livy

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Burhill Golf bucks trend with 25% membership growth Burhill Golf and Leisure, which owns and runs 10 venues in the south east, has reported an average increase in club membership of 25% in the last four years. Bucking a national trend for declining membership, BGL has invested significant sums in its portfolio of clubs over in recent years, with enhanced facilities on and off its golf courses. Recently, the group has undertaken several key projects, including a £5m investment into new health and leisure facilities at Birchwood Park in Kent, and the development of a new driving range at Wycombe Heights Golf Centre in Buckinghamshire. Along with investment into new facilities, the group has prioritised improving customer service. This has been reflected in the awarding of silver medals or higher in the Customer Engagement Academy’s Customer Experience Awards for seven of its ten venues. “I am delighted with the success that we have achieved at each of our venues over the last few years,” said BGL operations director, Guy Riggott. “In addition to substantial investment across the group, we are particularly proud of our customer service performance, which has given us a close ear to the membership and ensures we offer consistent, high-quality customer experiences across the board.”

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■ PORTO SANTO

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ne lucky Golf News reader will win a fabulous three-night golf break for two on the stunning island of Madeira, with up to five rounds of golf included. The Madeira archipelago – just a three-and-a-half-hour flight from London – is home to three breathtaking golf courses. Two of the courses – Palheiro Golf and Santo do Serra – are on Madeira itself, while the third, Porto Santo, lies a short hop away on the island of the same name. The lucky winner will be able to enjoy a game at the stunning Santo da Serra, past host of the Madeira Islands Open, which was redesigned by Robert Trent Jones Snr in 1991 and boasts 27 holes of cliff-top golf, before moving on to Palheiro Golf, a championshipquality venue designed by Cabell B Robinson, which enjoys dramatic views over Funchal. A short, 20-minute flight – or a two-and-a-half hour cruise – will cover the 27 miles between Madeira and the archipelago’s eastern-most island, Porto Santo, home to magical Seve Balleresteros-designed Porto Santo Golfe, which also hosted the Madeira Islands Open between 2009-2011. The best way to enjoy these stunning courses is with a Madeira Golf Passport – available from most hotels and golf clubs – which entitles the bearer to five rounds of golf across the two mainlandbased tracks. And our lucky winner will receive two. The prize also includes three nights’

accommodation for two at the Relais & Châteaux five-star hotel Casa Velha do Palheiro, on a bed-and-breakfast basis, two Madeira Golf Passports and the experience of both a cable car and traditional wicker toboggan ride. Flights are not included. Located within the 200-year-old Palheiro Nature Estate, the 37room Casa Velha do Palheiro borders the famous Palheiro Gardens and the Palheiro Golf course, while the Palheiro Spa features an array of treatments and beauty therapies. To find out more, check out the new Discover Madeira video at https://youtu.be/4fcjjPgoj8Q.

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

GLORY AT GLENEAGLES The 2019 Solheim Cup will go down as the most exciting in its 30-year history, with Europe grabbing a thrilling victory over the USA with the very last putt of the final match IT WASN’T QUITE the Miracle at Medinah, but Europe’s stunning last gasp win in the 16th Solheim Cup was a sporting spectacle from the very top draw, with Catriona Matthew’s brave band of warriors drawing on every ounce of their collective talents to edge out an American team that although short on experience, was stronger on paper and every bit as competitive in practice. The ending, when it finally came on Sunday evening, seemed way beyond the imagination of even the most fanciful of Hollywood scriptwriters, with Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, a controversial wildcard pick who was coming back from an 18-month break from maternity leave, faced with an eight-foot putt to win the cup for Europe for the first time since 2013. Just 20 minutes earlier, all had looked lost for the home side, as USA’s total moved to 13.5 points, just half-a-point shy of retaining the cup, with three matches still out on the course, two of which were tied. But with Anna Nordqvist closing out a 4&3 win over Morgan Pressel, and Bronte Law beating Ally McDonald 2&1 in the final two groups in the minutes preceding, Pettersen and Marina Alex were both on the 18th green and with makeable putts for birdie. Alex’s 10-foot, downhill effort narrowly missed, leaving the stage clear for Pettersen, a veteran of eight previous Solheim

Cups and Europe’s all-time leading points scorer, to re-write her name in the record books. She calmly rolled in the putt, and then let out an almighty Nordic roar. Bedlam ensued, as her European teammates, caddies and backroom staff invaded the final green, while the Americans stood rooted to the spot in shock, neither team quite believing what they had just witnessed. Within minutes of holing the winning putt, which gave the Europe a 14.5-13.5 victory, 38-year-old Pettersen announced her immediate retirement from professional golf. Sparking memories for some of Steve Redgrave’s request to be shot should he ever step into a boat again after winning his fourth Olympic gold medal, it may be a decision she may later reverse, but if it is goodbye then what a way to go out. Pettersen has been painted as something of a villain following an incident at the 2015 Solheim Cup in Germany, where American Alison Lee picked up a putt she thought had been conceded, only for the Norwegian to say that it hadn’t, resulting in an immediate loss of hole. Hopefully this will go some way to repairing the damage of what she admits was a huge error of judgment. But Pettersen would not have been in a position to hole the winning putt were it not for the efforts of her teammates, whose combined efforts secured the required 6.5 points to get them over the line. In a match that was never more than a point in it after each session of foursomes and fourballs, it was always going to be tight, with 14-14 looking a likely scoreline for much of Sunday. The momentum swung either way throughout the final day, with Carlota Ciganda beating Danielle Kang on the last hole in the top group, while Nelly Korda putting some red on the board with a two-hole win over Caroline Headwall in the

second match. The next two points went to Europe, Georgia Hall defeating Lexi Thompson and Celine Boutier seeing off Annie Park 2&1. Devastating as a pair, Hall and Boutier showed they could produce the goods individually too as both secured their fourth point from four matches. The middle order matches all went America’s way, and put them on the brink of a triumph which would have been Juli Inkster’s third in a row as captain. First Angel Yin beat Azahara Munoz in the fifth match, then Meghan Khang won the 18th hole to claim a half from Charley Hull. Next up was Lisette Salas, who downed Anne Van Dam by one hole, and there were easy wins for Jessica Korda, 3&2 against Caroline Masson, and Brittany Altomare, 5&4 over Jodi Ewart Shadoff. European captain Catriona Matthew, who orchestrated the win, said: “It’s a dream come true. All 12 of these players, they played their hearts out. We knew it was going to be close today, but to come down to the last putt and for Suzann to hole it, it’s incredible. She got a lot of stick when I picked her, but it shows it was the right one. “I could barely watch, actually,” she added. “It’s far worse watching. “When you’re playing, you’re kind of in the zone and in the moment, and you’ve got control over things. But watching you just have to have faith in the players. There’s nothing else you can do.” US captain Juli Inkster, who is now standing down after three terms in charge, was philosophical in defeat, saying: “The Europeans played great. You tip your hat. We had a few tears. And I said it’s okay. But the bottom line is we had a great week, the Europeans played great. The sun is going to come up tomorrow, and life goes on.”


NEWS | AUTUMN 2019

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GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

Barton brings back Swan After successfully rescuing part of the golf course from the effects of coastal erosion, Barton-on-Sea Golf Club in Hampshire has called on the services of course architect firm Swan Golf Designs to carry out further renovations to its historic Harry Colt layout. The club is currently entering the sixth-year of a 10-year renovation project, with Swan Golf Designs first carrying out the most time-sensitive work back in 2013, when five holes were in danger of being lost to the sea. Located on a cliff top with stunning views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight, Barton-on-Sea comprises three ninehole courses – Becton, Needles and Stroller – combining 18 designed by Colt in 1932, and nine added by J Hamilton Stutt in 1992. During the last six years, SGD has undertaken work on each of the three nines and has restored one of Colt’s original

to continue course renovations

holes, the par-three eighth on the Becton course. Howard Swan, Swan Golf Design’s lead architect, said: “Our initial challenge was to defend the cliff-top holes from the ingression of the sea into the land of the golf course. The problem was exacerbated because the popular South West Coast Path lies between the cliff top and the course. It meant walkers were getting ever closer to areas of play and safety concerns were increasing annually. “The next phase of our work, beginning in September, will be on another five holes on the Stroller nine, and will include rebunkering, remodelling of green surrounds, new tees and some changes in the overall layout.” The Essex-based practice is not unfamiliar with the effects of coastal erosion on golf courses and is becoming well regarded for its work in that specific area.

■ BARTON-0N SEA

“Work we’ve undertaken at Sheringham in Norfolk, and Nefyn on the Llŷn Peninsula in Wales, has been necessitated either by the pace of erosion on the coastline or, as elsewhere, the close proximity of major public rights of way which creates serious safety concerns,” continued Swan. “Unfortunately, clubs often procrastinate over, or in worst cases, ignore, such potential hazards until it’s too late to take any precautionary measures.” Swan expects the ten-year plan for Barton-on-Sea to be completed in 2022.

Italian designed shoes ON AND OFF

THE GOLF COURSE

Gough wins ENGLISH AMATEUR

Buckinghamshire’s Conor Gough produced a sparkling performance to win the English Men’s Amateur Championship at Hankley Common in Surrey. The 16-year-old from Stoke Park beat 20-year-old Callum Farr from Northamptonshire County 3&2 in the final to add to the McGregor Trophy and the British Boys’ titles he won last year. Gough spent much of the early part of the season studying for his GCSEs, but clearly the enforced break had no detrimental effect on his golf. He began the morning round of the final by hitting a 350-yard drive down the first and then holing out from 12-feet for a birdie, and seven holes later he was three up after a birdie on the 6th and an eagle on the 8th. Farr claimed his first hole of the day when he birdied from just off the front of the green at the 10th, but he could never quite reel in his opponent and he was four down heading into lunch before he won the 18th with a par. Farr started the second round strongly by winning the first with a birdie and the second with a par, but he found himself three down again after dropping shots at both the 4th and the 5th. Thereafter the pair shared eight birdies between them before Gough sealed victory with a testing four-foot downhill putt for a par on the short 16th. “It feels great to win,” said Gough, whose victory earned him in a spot in the Walker Cup team. “I played really well. I love match play, and as soon as I got through the stroke play qualifier I knew I had a good chance. I’m proud of myself.” Gough beat Chelmsford’s Curtis Knipes 3&2 in the quarter-final and St Andrews Links Trophy winner Jake Burnage 4&3 in semis. Farr played both his quarter-final and his semi-final without dropping a single shot to par. He beat Enrique Dimayuga 4&3 in the quarters, and then withstood a dogged challenge from Rochford Hundred’s Bradley Bawden in his semi, before beating him 2&1.

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[24] AUTUMN 2019 FEATURE GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

WRISTY BUS With luxury watches being a must-have accessory for every top tour pro, Nick Bayly takes a closer look

N

o self-respecting tour player steps off the course these days without first dipping into their golf bag to retrieve a chunky watch and slap it on their wrist as the photographers and TV crews move into view vying for the inevitable post-round interview. While some always wear a wristwatch when they’re playing in tournaments – Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson being leading examples – most find that a weighty timepiece messes with their swing tempo and their 90-degree wrist cock, and rely on their caddy – although hopefully not a referee – to keep an eye on the clock when they’re swinging on the links. Professional golf’s commercial link with premium watch brands goes back to the 1960s, when Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus became first golfers of the post-war era to truly capture the imagination of the world at large, and not just the cosy bubble of the pro golf circuit. With the help of ground-breaking sports agent Mark McCormack, and the growth of golf coverage on TV, sponsorship became the primary way for golfers to capitalise on their fame, in an era when prize money was nothing like on the scale that is offered today. Rolex was the first watch brand to make an impact in golf, sponsoring Palmer, Nicklaus and Gary Player, but they have since been joined by the likes of Omega, Tag Heuer, Hublot, Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille. And while having the name of a private jet company on the collar of your polo shirt is all but essential for today’s jet-setting pros, so to is having a free luxury watch on your wrist. Every golfer in the top ranks will hope to nail down a watch sponsorship deal as soon as the ink is dry on their professional contract, while those unfortunate souls that don’t qualify for a free one, a luxury watch is one of the first things on the shopping list after a big win.

■ ROLEX IS GOLF’S BIGGEST SPONSOR AND HAS OVER 30 TOUR AMBASSADORS

Among the many watch brands associated with golf, ROLEX has unquestionably enjoyed the longest and closest relationship, having being linked with the game golf for more than 50 years. It partners with, and sponsors, some of the most important tournaments, including the President’s Cup, and has acted as official timekeeper of The Open for 30 years. It also initiated the European Tour’s Rolex Series, a collection of eight tournaments spread across the season that boast €7m prize funds. The brand has aligned with some of the greatest golfers of all time, including the ‘Big Three’: Arnold Palmer, Gary

Player, and Jack Nicklaus. Its list of brand ambassadors reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ in golf, with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Francesco Molinari and Jon Rahm being among over 30 Rolex ‘testimonees’ on the PGA and European Tour. Woods, who has been with Rolex since 2011, is a big fan of the Deepsea Sea-Dweller (£12,500), while Mickelson wears a Cellini Danaos on the course, which is a slimline dress watch with a manual winding mechanism, plus a host of different Oysters off the course, including the SkyDweller in Everose gold (£36,000). Koepka wore that same watch after his win at the PGA Championship in 2018, but wore a ceramic Daytona model for his first major win at the US Open in 2017. Another major sponsor of golf is OMEGA, which has been an official sponsor of the PGA of America since 2011, and consequently serves as the official timekeeper at its tournaments, including the PGA Championship, and is the headline sponsor at the European Masters in Switzerland and the LET’s Dubai Desert Classic. The brand enjoys a strong following on tour, with Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Tommy Fleetwood all wearing a version of the Seamaster Aqua Terra in recent seasons. However, Rory was spotted wearing Omega’s new Aqua Terra Ultra Light during last month’s Omega European Masters. Designed with his input, the casing is made of gamma titanium – a combination of aluminium and titanium – and the whole watch weighs just 55g – making it three times lighter than the standard Aqua Terra model. It will be available in 2020, priced at £40,000. Although founded in 1881, AUDEMARS PIGUET is a relative newcomer to the golfing scene, but the Swiss brand is building a very decent following on tour, with

THE WORLD’S TOP TEN AND THEIR TIMEPIECES

BROOKS KOEPKA ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL SKY-DWELLER Case: Everose Gold Bezel: Everose Gold Fluted Ring Command Size: 42mm Movement: Rolex 9001, 40 Jewels Power Reserve: 72 hours Glass: Sapphire Crystal (Cyclops lens over date) Water Resistance: 100 Meters Bracelet: Everose Oyster Price: £36,850

RORY MCLLROY OMEGA XSEAMASTER AQUA TERRA 150M CO-AXIAL GMT Case: Stainless Steel Bezel: Stainless Steel, fixed Size: 43mm Movement: Caliber 8605, 38 Jewels Power Reserve: 60 hours Glass: Domed Sapphire Crystal Bracelet: Stainless Steel Water Resistance: 150m Price: £6,500

DUSTIN JOHNSON HUBLOT BIG BANG UNICO GOLF Case: Carbon fiber and grey Texalium upper layer Bezel: Carbon fiber and grey Texalium upper layer with 6 H-shaped polished titanium black PVP screws Size: 45mm Movement: UNICO manufacture self-winding movement Glass: Sapphire with antireflective treatment Power Reserve: 72 Hours Water Resistance: 100m or 10 ATM Bracelet: Black rubber with white calf strap Price: £26,000

JUSTIN ROSE HUBLOT BIG BANG UNICO GOLF Case: Carbon fiber and grey Texalium upper layer Bezel: Carbon fiber and grey Texalium upper layer with 6 H-shaped polished titanium black PVP screws Size: 45mm Movement: UNICO manufacture self-winding movement Glass: Sapphire with antireflective treatment Power Reserve: 72 Hours Water Resistance: 100m or 10 ATM Bracelet: Black rubber with white calf strap Price: £26,000

JUSTIN THOMAS ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL SEA-DWELLER Case: 904L Oystersteel Bezel: Cerachrom Ceramic Size: 43mm Movement: Rolex 3235, 31 Jewels Power Reserve: 70 hours Glass: Sapphire Crystal (Cyclops lens over date) Waterproof: 1,220 Meters (4,000ft) Helium Escape Valve Bracelet: 904L Oystersteel Price: £9,500

JON RAHM ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL SKY-DWELLER Case: Oystersteel 904L Stainless Steel Bezel: White Gold Fluted Ring Command Size: 42mm Movement: Rolex 9001, 40 Jewels Power Reserve: 72 hours Glass: Sapphire Crystal (Cyclops lens over date) Water Resistance: 100 Meters Bracelet: Oystersteel 904L Stainless Steel Oyster Price: £20,000


FEATURE | AUTUMN 2019 [25] GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

SINESS

IN ASSOCIATION WITH WATCHFINDER

at the relationship between golfers and their premium timepieces

■ AUDEMARS PIGUET HAS AMASSED A SIZEABLE FOLLOWING ON TOUR

more the two dozen players currently sporting AP models under sponsorship agreements, including major winners Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett, as well as Ryder Cup legends Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood. Poults has trays of watches stashed in his Orlando mansion, with AP’s Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon (£150,000) being among his favourites. Also on AP’s books are PGA Tour stars Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay, along with a host of European Tour players (see above). The company hosts a golf day every year, where it invites its golf ambassadors to play alongside some of its top customers. Last year they held events at The Els Club in Dubai and Lake Nona in Florida. Popular among rappers and hip-hop artists, and worn by tennis ace Rafa Nadal, and footballer Neymar, RICHARD MILLE has been building a growing following on tour in recent years, with two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson being its highest-profile ambassador. As ever, Bubba went left-field when it game to his choice of

PATRICK CANTLAY AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK SELFWINDING CHRONOGRAPH Case: Stainless steel Size: 41mm across/11mm tall Movement: Caliber 2385 Glass: Glare-proofed sapphire crystal Bracelet: Stainless steel with folding clasp Price: £24,300

TIGER WOODS ROLEX DEEPSEA D-BLUE SEA DWELLER Case: 904L Stainless Steel, Ring Lock System Bezel: Unidirectional rotatable 60-minute in ceramic Size: 44mm Movement: Automatic, Certified Chronometer (COSC) Glass: 5.5mm sapphire crystal Power Reserve: 70 Hours Water Resistance: 3900 Meters Bracelet: Oyster bracelet, Oyster clasp with Glidelock extension system and Fliplock extension link Price: £12,500

timepiece, first opting for the 38-01 Tourbillon in all-white, before switching to one in white with a green ceramic bezel to match the colour of the green jackets hanging up in his wardrobe. The brand’s trademark shock-absorption qualities make them popular with athletes who exert high G forces – which is probably why Watson, whose swing speed often hits 125mph, wears his watch in play. Founded in 1980, Swiss luxury watch brand HUBLOT is also newcomer to the pro golfing scene, having launched its first golf-specific watch in 2017, with the unveiling of the Big Bang Unico Golf. Designed in conjunction with brand ambassador Dustin Johnson, the BBU looks like a traditional timepiece, but features two buttons on the side and two dials on the face for counting strokes per hole and total strokes. The price? £26,000. Last month Hublot unveiled the Big Bang Unico Golf Carbon Blue, which boasts the same features in a casing of that colour.

WHO’S WEARING WHAT?

ROLEX: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Francesco Molinari, Jon Rahm, Adam Scott, Martin Kaymer, Hideki Matsuyama, Bryson DeChambeau, Yani Tseng, Anika Sorenstam

OMEGA: Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Michelle Wie. AUDEMARS PIGUET: Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Wesley Bryan, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Wallace, Paul Dunne, Andy Sullivan, Andrew Johnston, Bernd Weisberger, Renato Paratore, Emiliano Grillo, Branden Grace, Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jimenez.

■ HUBLOT’S BIG BANG UNICO IS WORN BY DUSTIN JOHNSON AND JUSTIN ROSE

XANDER SCHAUFFELE AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK SELFWINDING CHRONOGRAPH Case: Stainless Steel Case Bezel: Screw locked crown Size: 41mm Movement: Powered by Natural movements Glass: Glareproofed sapphire crystal Power Reserve: Water Resistance: 50m Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet with AP folding clasp. Price: £23,700

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU ROLEX SKY DWELLER OYSTER STEEL AND WHITE GOLD Case: 18 ct White Gold Bezel: Bidirectional rotatable fluted Size: 42mm Movement: Self Winding Glass: Sapphire Crystal Power Reserve: 72 hours Water Resistance: Bracelet: Oyster bracelet with folding clasp Price: £11,100

HUBLOT: Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Alex Noren, Alex Levy.

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[26] AUTUMN 2019 | OBITUARY GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

■ BARNES' RELAXED MANNER, WHICH INCLUDED SMOKING A PIPE ON COURSE, BELIED HIS STEELY, COMPETITIVE NATURE

ONE OF A KIND With a pipe in one hand and a putter in the other, and kitted out in a pair of lurid checked shorts and long socks, there was no ignoring Brian Barnes, one of the game’s true legends, who died this month after a short battle with cancer

Words Nick Bayly I Photography Getty Images

T

hey broke the mould when they created Brian Barnes – or at least they had to build a new one. The former Ryder Cup star, who died on September 9, was a larger-than-life character who lived his 74 years to the full. He wore his heart on his sleeve and a smile on his face, and left the golfing world richer for his presence and poorer for his passing. Although a Scotsman by parentage, Barnes was born in Surrey, and lived for much of his life in West Sussex. A pupil – and son-in-law – of the 1951 Open champion Max Faulkner, Barnes would later go on to set up West Chiltington Golf Club in 1988, which was designed by Faulkner. The club closed in 2017, making way for a vineyard, the irony of which would not have been lost on Barnes, who liked the occasional drink. Turning professional in 1964, directly after winning the British Youths Open Amateur Championship, Barnes enjoyed a hugely successful career on the professional circuit, winning a total of 20 tournaments across numerous continents, including Africa, Africa and Australia, and establishing himself as major force on the fledging European Tour, which began in 1972. But it was for his six consecutive appearances in the Ryder Cup between 1969 and 1979 for which he will be largely remembered. Initially representing Great Britain & Ireland and then Europe, Barnes won 10 points from a possible 25, and remained unbeaten in singles – not a bad return when you

consider that America was the dominant force in the Ryder Cup at the time. His finest hour, or day, came in 1975 when he beat reigning Masters and US PGA champion Jack Nicklaus twice in the same day at Laurel Valley in Pennsylvania, taking down The Golden Bear 4&2 in the morning, and 2&1 in the afternoon. “When we went to the press tent after the morning round everybody acted as if I’d beaten Jesus Christ,” Barnes once recalled in an interview. “He was Jesus Christ as far as golf was concerned, but he was still beatable. The Yanks only needed one or two more points to win, and while I was still continuing with the interviews, Jack had gone to Arnold [Palmer, the US captain] and said: ‘Look, there is only one match the punters want to see, and that’s Barnesy and I.’ That was the only time in the history of the Ryder Cup that the match order was changed at that late stage. While that was going on, I was asked ‘Would you like the opportunity to play ‘The Bear’ again this afternoon?’ I replied: ‘Well, lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice.’” Nicklaus started the rematch with two birdies, but Barnes fought back to win 2&1, although GB & Ireland were beaten 21-11 and European players were added to the team by the time of the next contest on American soil in 1979, when Barnes won three of his five matches as the first ever European team lost 17-11. An imposing figure on and off the fairways, Barnes

stood out on the golf course with his trademark shorts and long socks, and would often take a swing with his pipe still in his mouth. A bon viveur of the highest order, he famously marked his ball on the final hole of the 1982 Scottish Professional Championship with a beer can, then putted out for the win. He would regularly tee off with a bottle of vodka and orange juice in his bag and one year – at the Zambia Open – downed three pints in the clubhouse, checked his watch and headed for the door. “I better be going now,” he said. “I’m due on the 10th tee.” Barnes bagged three top-10s in the majors during his career, with fifth place at The Open in 1972 being his best finish. He won successive Scottish PGA Championship titles in the 1980s, and his last European Tour win came in the Tournament Players Championship at Dalmahoy in 1981, where a stunning finalround 62 took him into a play-off against Brian Waites. He became eligible for the European Senior Tour in 1995, and won the British Senior Open at Royal Portrush that year, successfully defending the title at the same venue 12 months later. Portrush played an important part in Barnes’s life, as it was at the Northern Irish venue that his father-in-law Max Faulkner had won the Open Championship in 1951. Barnes also claimed a maiden victory on the Champions Tour in America at the Canada Senior Open in 1998, before arthritis brought his career to an end in 2000 and he moved into TV commentating, working for Sky Sports, where his passion for the game enlightened millions of viewers. Despite his numerous wins, there remains a nagging feeling that Barnes didn’t quite do justice to his prodigious talent. Bernard Gallagher, who played alongside Barnes in the Ryder Cup in 1975, said: “I knew Brian ever since I turned pro back in 1968, and we often played practice rounds together. In some ways they were more enjoyable than the tournaments. He was a terrific driver of the ball – long and straight – and if he had enjoyed travelling more, he had the potential to be one of the best players in the world.”

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FEATURE | AUTUMN 2019

[27]

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

■ JARMO SANDELIN WON THE PRO TITLE AND THE £50,000 FIRST PRIZE

■ KRIS AKABUSI IN ACTION DURING THE PRO-AM

■ INCI MEHMET

■ STRICTLY JUDGE LEN GOODMAN

SANDELIN CALLS THE SHOTS AT PAR 3 CHAMPIONSHIP F ormer European Tour player Jarmo Sandelin won the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship following a dramatic final round at Nailcote Hall in Warwickshire. The 52-year-old Swede took the title – and the £50,000 first prize – with an eight-under-par total for 36 holes on the Cromwell Course, beating last year’s champion Steve Tiley, and former Open champion Paul Lawrie, by a single shot. Tiley began the final 18 holes with a two-stroke lead, but was soon caught, first by Gary Wolstenholme, who scored three consecutive birdies, and then Sandelin, who moved to the top of the leaderboard with an ace at the

eighth hole. Needing birdies at the two closing holes to retain the title, Tiley managed one at the eighth, and only needed a par at the last to force a play-off, but walked off with a bogey to hand the title to Sandelin, whose last win as a professional came at the BMW Asian Open in 2001. Sandelin said: “I’m really pleased with my performance. I managed to hold my nerve and win my first tournament in 18 years, so I’m very happy. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of winning a tournament, at whatever level, and especially over such a strong field that was assembled

here. I’m on top of the world!” The Norma C Herd Silver Salver, which is presented to the event’s best performing amateur, went to Matt James with a score of six over par. In the team competition, Sandelin and Penny Dawson took the title on countback with a score of 14 under, the same as Lawrie and Farmfoods’ CEO Eric Herd. Par 3 Championship veteran Carl Mason won the Super Senior competition for the sixth time in his career with a score of two over, a stroke ahead of Ian Woosnam and Costantino Rocca.

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[28] AUTUMN 2019 | INTERVIEW GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

DIFFERENT

STROKES He wears a flat cap, putts with straight arms, plays single-length irons, and has a degree in physics. Meet Bryson DeChambeau, the 25-year-old Californian whose appliance of science has taken him to the very top of the game in double-quick time, but has also led to accusations of slow play

F

rom very early on in your college and amateur career you applied a very scientific approach to your golf game. How did that first manifest itself, and were you always confident that it was the right way to go about getting the best out of yourself? Golf made me interested in physics, so it helped me gain a love for education as a whole, really. I started to love reading about golf, writing about golf, learning the history of golf, learning about the economics of golf. Just every subject matter I liked because I started to relate it to what I loved doing. I’ve always had an enquiring mind, and the more that you can understand the world around you, the more prepared you’re going to be, especially in a game like golf, which has so many variables. That’s all I try and do. Yes, my game is technical, and people think my swing is goofy and that I putt weird, and what I do is weird, but, honestly, it’s the most comfortable thing for me, because it’s what allows me to repeat things time after time. That’s really what science is about. There’s no true law. It’s all theory until proven, and there’s no way to really prove it. All I know is that it’s starting to reap consistent results, so I must be on to something. So would you put your incredible run of results down to consistency? It’s certainly a big factor – that and a lot of hard work with my caddie, Tim Tucker. We’ve been trying to figure out how to take account of all the variables out there on the golf course, whether it’s air pressure, firmness values, wind speed, ball speed, spin rates. We’re trying to figure out as much as possible, so I can be as successful as possible, and it’s showing in my results.

How far do you think this methodology can take you in the game? I’m not going to predict the future, but I know what we do, and how hard we work, but I really think we’ll figure stuff out that nobody’s figured out before. It makes a difference, it really does. I mean, I can see all the errors that everyone else is making on the golf course when I play with them. They hit a shot, and I’m like, well, it’s going to go long or go short and we just know why it happens before it happens. It’s fun to see that. So it does make an impact. I think more people are going to start taking these factors more seriously and understand that it’s not a joke. This is legitimate science. You enjoyed your widest margin of victory at the Dubai Desert Classic in January, shooting 24 under par to win by seven shots. Was that your best ever performance over four days? It was definitely one of my best weeks, but I still think the best I ever performed was actually at the US Amateur in 2015, when I won pretty much every match by four or five holes. So that was probably the most dominant performance per se, but winning a professional strokeplay event by seven shots is pretty special, especially as it was my first victory outside of America. Bearing in mind what you’ve already achieved in your three years on tour – five PGA Tour wins, a win in Europe, and getting to number five in the world – what goals have you

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set for 2019? Winning outside of the States was a priority for me this year, so now I’ve ticked that box, the next one is going to be a major. I’ve got to get that done. I know I can. I know I’ve got the game for it. It’s just about making the proper adjustments and taking control of the pressure when it comes. Do you feel one of the majors suits your game better than the others? They’re all at different types of venues, of course, and they all have different variables and conditions to consider, but if I can take account of those variables better than others, then I’m going to have a better shot at winning, because I know my game is good enough to win. Last year, I was hitting the ball really well most of the time, but it seemed like at every major my ball striking kind of deserted me. That’s really why I didn’t play as well as I could. I believe if I have better ball striking I can definitely contend in the majors. Is there anything else in your game that you feel is currently missing? I definitely feel I need to better understand the alignment with my eyes and the ball, and how I see lines when reading greens. I haven’t figured that out yet, so I think the next thing is to feel more comfortable with my


INTERVIEW | AUTUMN 2019 [29] GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

■ DECHAMBEAU'S METICULOUS ON-COURSE PREPARATIONS HAS LED TO CRITICISM FOR SLOW PLAY

■ DECHAMBEAU SUFFERED A TOUGH INTRODUCTION TO THE RYDER CUP IN PARIS, LOSING ALL HIS MATCHES WHEN PAIRED WITH TIGER WOODS

■ XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXX XXXXX XXX XXXXX XXX XXXX XXXX XX XXXXX XXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXXXX

■ DECHAMBEAU'S STRAIGHT-ARM PUTTING TECHNIQUE HAS PROVED EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE ■ DECHAMBEAU ALWAYS KEEPS THE FLAG IN FOR PUTTS OF MORE THAN 10 FEET

boom – I’m gone. I don’t take much time over it. You regularly putt with the flag in during tournaments. Is this based on scientific evidence? It’s statistically proven to be a benefit to putt with the flag in for 99% of putts over ten feet. The only time where I’ll pull it out on those length of putts is where if the shadow is right in my line, because the flag is moving, or there’s too much wind and you can hear the flag. But anything outside of ten feet I’m going to leave it in. If I accidentally hit it three feet instead of two feet past the flag, it will stay in the cup. It has a better potential of staying in the cup than with it out.

you are aware of? It’s actually quite impressive that we’re able to get all that stuff done in 40 or 45 seconds. I understand why people have an issue with it, but we’re playing for our livelihoods out here, and this is what we do. I want to play my best and hopefully provide the best entertainment, so I want to get it right, but within the laws of the game. I’m still pretty inexperienced out here, and I’m still getting a feel for the courses, so I know that I can, and I will, get quicker, because I’m certainly not a slow walker. But ultimately this is my job and I want to do it well. I’m not trying to slow anyone down. It’s just a part of the process, and, rightly or wrongly, the Rules of Golf allow for a certain amount of time to take a shot, and I’m using it to its fullest potential.

You’ve risen from 95th to fifth in the world’s rankings in the space of just 12 months. Do you think reaching No.1 is a possibility this season? I hope so. I’ve just got to keep working on my game and focussing on what I can improve on. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it’s no biggy. I’ll just keep working harder. For me, it’s all about understanding the game better and my own game better. The rankings will take care of themselves.

PEOPLE THINK MY SWING IS GOOFY AND THAT I PUTT WEIRD, BUT IT'S THE MOST COMFORTABLE THING FOR ME, AND ALLOWS ME TO REPEAT THINGS alignment on every putt that I stand over. That’s a big piece of the puzzle that I’ve got to find. You’ve had a couple of occasions where you’ve thrown away winning positions with nervy finishes. How much better have you got in dealing with the pressure of those situations? As my game has improved, it’s got easier. That’s why I’ve been able to win. I’ve had plenty of tournaments where I’ve been right there and didn’t win, and I think those moments, and those failures, have actually allowed me a better opportunity to win the next time, because I know what that pressure is like. Now when I get really nervous, I just say to myself: ‘All right, you’ve got to surrender, let it be, just walk past it, walk through that wall’. Once I’m able to do that, I can focus on what I need to do. Every time I’m over a shot, my caddy and I just go through the numbers. Once we get the numbers down, and get into the process, I stop worrying about everything else. It’s all about the shot in hand. Talking about ‘the process’, you’ve been put on the clock several times for slow play. How much of an issue is that for you and is it something that

When you were young did you go up to the ball and whack it, or were you as analytical as you are now? Oh, I just went up to the ball and hit it. I have a video of when I was 13 or 14, and I just go right up and hit it, boom. But there were consequences to that, because I would miss shots and get frustrated, and I wouldn’t understand, when I felt the exact same thing, why didn’t the results produce the exact same thing, and there are reasons for that. With the level of precision out here now, we have to have those factors dialled in. It’s just going to take me longer. But when I get over the ball –

Never great to be on the losing side, but how much did you enjoy your first Ryder Cup? I enjoyed my time thoroughly in Paris and I couldn’t have been more honoured to represent the United States. Overall, I think I played some pretty good golf. I was four under par in my singles match against Alex Noren, and he was five under and made that incredible eagle. I loved the whole atmosphere in Paris, and, when it comes to two years down the road, I think things will be a lot different.

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU FACTFILE AGE: 25 LIVES: Dallas, Texas TURNED PRO: 2016 TOUR APPEARANCES: 87 WORLD RANKING: 10 WINS: 6 (5 PGA Tour, 1 European Tour) TOP 10S: 11 FEDEX CUP: 12th (2019) CAREER EARNINGS: $13.7m DRIVING DISTANCE: 305 yards (25th) DRIVING ACCURACY: 72% (11TH) GREENS IN REG: 77% (10TH) SCORING AVERAGE: 68.94 (1ST)


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

STORY BEHIND THE PIC GORDON BRAND JNR, 28TH RYDER CUP, THE BELFRY • SEPTEMBER 22, 1989

A

lthough widely known and much respected on both sides of the Atlantic, Gordon Brand Jr, who died last month aged 60, was never quite a household name, but playing alongside Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Sam Torrance and Bernhard Langer, the Scotsman helped to win two consecutive Ryder Cups for Europe in 1987 and 1989. The 1987 event in the US is considered one of the greatest Ryder Cups of all time. The American team had never before been beaten on their home soil and were strong odds-on favourites to lift the coveted trophy. But then came the Europeans, led by non-playing captain Jacklin and featuring 29-year-old Brand, a Ryder Cup rookie from Kirkcaldy. The great Jack Nicklaus was the non-playing captain of the opposition. Apart from taking part in his first Ryder Cup, Brand had an added incentive. The event was held at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, a course designed by Nicklaus, a native Ohian. He had named the course after Muirfield Golf Club in East Lothian, where he had won his first Open Championship in 1966. That fact stirred Brand: he wasn’t about to lose at a place called Muirfield in a town called Dublin in a nation on the other side of the Atlantic. What happened that year shifted the golfing balance of power from America to Europe – a balance regularly tilting one way or the other ever since Jacklin’s European team, which also included Sandy Lyle and Ken Brown, beat the Americans 15-13. Two years later, Brand helped to retain Samuel Ryder’s trophy when the Europeans drew 14-14 at The Belfry. Playing alongside his compatriot Sam Torrance, Brand struck a brilliant bunker shot at the 18th in the Friday fourballs to

GORDON’S CHARACTER WAS HIS 15TH CLUB. HE WAS ALWAYS TWISTING A LINE OR ADDING A CHEEKY COMMENT TO HAVE A LAUGH AND RAISE A SMILE beat the American pairing Curtis Stange and Paul Azinger, giving the Europeans a point that would prove crucial. On his own, Brand won eight times on the European Tour during his peak years of 1982-93. He played 18 times in the Open Championship, his highest finish being tied fifth in

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1992 at Muirfield, when his good friend Faldo won the Claret Jug. He played only once in any other major, the US Open at Oakmont, where he finished 39th. But he went on to win twice on the European Seniors Tour, and had just played his practice round for the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship at London Golf Club in Kent on July 31 when he collapsed and died after a suspected heart attack. Born in Kirkcaldy in 1958, Brand added ‘Jnr’ to his name because his father, Gordon Brand, was also a leading golf professional at the time. Gordon Jnr played for the Walker Cup team in 1979, before turning pro in 1981. He won his first European Tour event in 1982, beating Greg Norman in the Coral Classic at the Royal Porthcawl in Wales. He followed that up the same year with victory in the Bob Hope Classic at Moor Park, and his last win came in 1993 when he dominated the field at the East Sussex National and won by seven shots. He made the top 10 in the European Tour Order of Merit six times, and still shares the record for most eagles – four – made in a single round on the European Tour, after he shot a course record 62 at the Jersey Open in 1986. At the time of his death, Brand was combining playing on the Staysure Tour with a career in broadcasting, and was working at Portrush in July as part of the R&A’s live radio service. Sir Nick Faldo was one of many to pay tribute to his friend and former Ryder Cup teammate. “I played lots of tournament golf all across Europe with Gordon back in the day, and his record shows what a good player he was. However, we all agree it was Gordon’s character that was his 15th club. He was always twisting a line or adding a cheeky comment to have a laugh and raise a smile.”

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[31]

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Schmidt claims Carris Trophy Yorkshire’s Ben Schmidt became just the fourth golfer in history to win both the Brabazon Trophy and the Carris Trophy in the same calendar year when he won the English Boys’ Under 18 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Moor Park Golf Club in Hertfordshire.

The 16-year-old from Rotherham Golf Club became the youngest ever winner of the Brabazon at Alwoodley in June and he completed a rare double when he claimed his second national title of the season in the boys’ equivalent in Hertfordshire. Schmidt started the final round as favourite for the Carris

shot into the trees on the right of the fairway and failed to get up and down from the edge of the green. Schmidt hit a wedge to 20 feet and two-putted for a winning par. “I’ve not played my best golf, but I dug in and found something on the back nine to help me get across the line,” said Schmidt. “I got the job done and I’m very pleased to get another win under my belt.” Scotland’s Calum Scott, who finished seventh, won the Hazards Salver for the leading under 16 competitor, while the an Italian squad comprising Luca Civello, Lorenzo Bruzzone and Alessandro Gambetti won the Nations Cup competition held over the first two rounds.

at Moor Park

after opening with rounds of 72, 67 and 72, but in the end he had to battle all the way to the line after dropping three shots over the first five holes before recovering to post a level-par 72 and finish tied with Spain’s Rodrigo Martin on five-under. Martin holed an 18-foot birdie putt on the 72nd green to tie with Schmidt, but on the first extra hole he carved his tee

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Williamson powers home to win Chiberta Grand Prix

69, but carded six birdies in a closing five under par 65 which saw her leapfrog the Frenchwoman and claim a three-shot victory. Chelmsford’s Georgina Blackman, winner of last year’s English women’s championhip, carded a closing 71 to finish tied second with Van Respaille on level par.

English international Amelia Williamson produced the lowest round of the final day to capture the women’s event at the Chiberta Grand Prix in France. The 19-year-old from Royal Cromer in Norfolk, who has just completed her first year at college in the States, started the final round six shots adrift of Laura Van Respaille after opening rounds of 71, 72 and

■ AMELIA WILLIAMSON (RIGHT ) AND GEORGINA BL ACKMAN

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[32] AUTUMN 2019 | NEWS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

and hit the ball straight at the flag. When I came out on tour I’d be aiming 20 yards to the side and letting it drift in. The evolution of equipment has changed the away golf is played. Now it’s about hitting it hard and long. I don’t think this is a massive problem. We sometimes have an overly-romanticised view of what has come before. The game has changed dramatically. The only negative is that some of the older golf courses have become obsolete, as they don’t want professionals shooting 30 under par in a tournament.

DRIVE BJØRN AGAIN TO Twelve months after leading Europe to victory at the 2018 Ryder Cup, Thomas Bjørn returns to Paris with Ecco Golf to try out its latest shoes and relive some Ryder Cup memories

You’ll be able to play the senior tours in 2021, does that excite you? When you’re 28 and someone asks you about seniors golf, you tell them there’s not a chance of you playing it. But when you’re 48 that idea sounds a lot more appealing. It can be soul-destroying to play your abolsoute best and finish 56th. When you look at some of the players who struggled in their last four or five years on tour, and then switch to the seniors and start winning, you start to think ‘I’ll have some of that’. Relationships are important, and these are the guys I’ve played on tour with for years. I don’t have relationships with the young kids out on tour.. I played with Ernie Els recently in the Czech Republic and it was nice, like turning the clock back 20 years. You’ve got stuff in common, so I’m looking forward to the cameraderie, and renewing old friendships, just as much as the golf. You’ve enjoyed a long relationship with Ecco Golf. How did it come about? Back in the 1990’s I got a phone call from Ecco explaining that they wanted to start making golf shoes. The golf shoe market in those days was dominated by only two or three brands, and the shoes were very heavy and pretty rigid. I found it an interesting proposition, and got involved in helping Ecco to develop those early models. It developed into a big success story, first in Northern Europe, and then across the world. Even now, we have great conversations how to move footwear forward and how to develop it. It’s amazing how much fresher my feet feel after a round of golf now than when I first went came out in tour, the comfort levels are through the roof. How involved do you get with Ecco’s current designs? I’m happy to offer my advice when it’s asked for. Shoes must support your feet while swinging the club, and they need to comfortable for a whole round, so they need to be lightweight as well. There are a huge number of demands on a golf shoe, especially when you’re walking 10km a day. There has been a huge shift to hybrid footwear in recent years, much of it lead by Ecco. You just have to look at the youngsters out on tour these days, none of them wear spiked shoes. They’ve grown up with spikeless shoes, and they feel comfortable wearing them on and off the course.

Sat here in the ballroom at the Café Royal in Paris, where you based the European team 12 months ago, what memories does it bring back for you? Walking into the hotel, and to this room, brought back some very special memories. This was our safe place – this is where all the important conversations and decisions happened. Some of them didn’t finish until early into the morning of that final day. It was the most amazing week, and that comes from the relationship with the players. What we did together, that’s something I’ll always be proud of. It’s the greatest feeling I’ve ever had from golf. What has life been like since the win in Paris last September? It’s been a strange year. As captain, you have 20 months to prepare for the Ryder Cup, but as soon as the matches are finished, it’s all over. It’s a shock to the system. The lead up to the Ryder Cup so hectic, you’re constantly busy, and you’re having to manage your time. I had a nine-month period where I was only home for six days. Now close to a year after, you get your life back. I’m enjoying playing out on tour, and enjoying spending time hitting balls on the range without having 15 people coming up to me to chat. First and foremost I am still a player. What did you learn from the whole experience of captaining the team? When I look at man management, that’s something I didn’t know anything about. I’ve managed my own career, and I had people around me to help, but now you are dealing with people that are living in the same world as you, and the reality is a lot of them are probably better than I ever was as a player. You have to deal with those egos, and you soon realise that it doesn’t take any specific personality type to be a good golfer. Every one of them is as different as can be, and it’s remarkable you can have people who are so different, yet their output as golfers is so similar. To deal with the 12 of them individually was an amazing thing. To get a team of people to function, and this applies to a sports team, but life in general too, is to take each person individually and identify their qualities. Maximise their individual strengths, then they will create a team themselves. I didn’t need to stand up in this room and talk about being a team, I had to speak to them individually and help them realise what they were good at. Making them aware that those 11 teammates are different to them, to give them space to be different. Doing what you’re good at yourself will help the team be successful. I asked every individual to do what they need to to do to prepare, and they created the team. Those players walked through those doors as a high-functioning team because they created that themselves, it wasn’t forced onto them. How much has tour golf changed since you turned pro 23 years ago, and how hard it is to compete against the young guys out there now? Golf has changed a lot. Nowadays you could be playing in a 15mph crosswind

■ ROYAL RETREAT: THOMAS BJORN RETURNS TO PARIS HOTEL WHERE HE BASED THE EUROPEAN TEAM AHEAD OF LAST YEAR'S RYDER CUP

What are your specific demands for your footwear? Stability for me is the most important aspect. I want support when I’m hitting the shot. There’s now a great balance of being able to make a shoe light and soft, while still including stability. You need to feel secure in the shoe, and when I look back at some of the earlier soft shoes, you didn’t get that feeling. You’ve co-written book about the secrets of golf’s winners during which you discuss the tough times you had coping with depression. How hard was it to relive those moments in your career? A lot of sportsmen and women go through dark moments that they are not trained to deal with. I went through a season in 2004 where I didn’t want to get out of bed. I had kids, so I had to, but I wanted to hide from the world – and my life. I then had a good stretch, but I had it again about 2010. The first time lasted a long time because I avoided the truth and tried to cut corners. Then I woke up one morning and looked myself in the mirror, and said ‘I have to beat this.’ My tool was having those conversations with the mirror. As I’ve got older I’ve found it easier to deal with, as I’ve been there before and got myself out of it, and It’s easier to see the warning lights. Mind Game: The Secrets of Golf’s Winners by Michael Cavin and Thomas Bjørn, is published by Yellow Jersey (RRP £20).


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

TRIED & TESTED Ping Glide 3.0 wedges + Motocaddy’s S1 Trolley

PRO SHOP Check out the latest launches from Callaway, TaylorMade, Mizuno & Cleveland

FAIRWAY FIREPOWER Reach more par fives in two with the latest lofted woods

SOFT LANDINGS

MEET ECCO GOLF’S NEW BIOM COOL PRO HYBRID


[34] AUTUMN 2019

EQUIPMENT & GEAR GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

THE GEAR EFFECT INSIDES THE BAGS OF RECENT WINNERS ON TOUR PAUL CASEY

PORSCHE EUROPEAN OPEN

EQUIPMENT REVIEWS

DRIVER: TaylorMade M4 (10.5) FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade M1 (15) IRONS: Mizuno MP-25 (3), Mizuno JPX919 Hot Metal Pro (4), Mizuno MP-5 (5-PW) WEDGES: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52, 56), Titleist Vokey Tour Prototype (60) PUTTER: Titleist Scotty Cameron Circle T 350-SSS BALL: Titleist Pro V1

SEBASTIAN SODERBERG EUROPEAN MASTERS

DRIVER: Srixon Z 785 (9.5) FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway Epic Flash (15) UTILITY IRON: Srixon Z U85 (18) IRONS: Srixon Z 765 (4, 5), Srixon Z 965 (6-PW) WEDGES: Cleveland RTX 4 (50, 54, 60) PUTTER: Odyssey Metal-X Milled 7 BALL: Srixon Z Star XV

RORY MCILROY

TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVER: TaylorMade M5 (9) FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade M6 (15), : TaylorMade M5 (19) IRONS: TaylorMade P750 (4), TaylorMade P730 (5-PW) WEDGES: TaylorMade MG (52, 56, 60) PUTTER: TaylorMade Spider X Copper BALL:

ERIK VAN ROOYEN

SCANDINAVIAN INVITATION DRIVER: Callaway Epic Flash (10.5) FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (15) IRONS: Callaway X Forged UT (21), Callaway Apex MB (4-PW) WEDGES: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (50, 54, 58) PUTTER: Odyssey Stroke Lab Marxman BALL: Titleist Pro V1

JUSTIN THOMAS

BMW CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVER: Titleist TS3 (9.5) FAIRWAY WOODS: Titleist TS3 (15), Titleist 915Fd (18) IRONS: Titleist T100 (4), Titleist 718 MB (5-9) WEDGES: Vokey Design SM7 (46, 52, 56), Vokey Design SM6 (60) PUTTER: Scotty Cameron X5 BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

THOMAS PIETERS

D&D REAL CZECH MASTERS DRIVER: Callaway Rogue, (9) FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway Rogue DRIVING IRON: Callaway Apex, (2) IRONS: Callaway Apex Pro, (3-PW) WEDGES: Callaway Mack Daddy 4, (52 ,56, 58) PUTTER: Odyssey Lucky 777 BALL: Callaway Chrome Soft

PATRICK REED

NORTHERN TRUST DRIVER: Ping G400 (9) FARIWAY WOOD: TaylorMade M6 (14) IRONS: Titleist U-500 (3), Callaway X Forged CB 2013 (4), Callaway RAZR MB (5-PW) WEDGES: Artisan Prototype (51), Titleist Vokey Design SM7 (56, 60) PUTTER: Odyssey White Hot Pro 3 BALL: Titleist Pro V1

TESTED

Ping Glide 3.0 Wedges Dan Owen sings the praises of Ping’s latest game improvement wedges, which offer bags of spin in a more forgiving package Ping has quietly been making some of the very best wedges in recent years. The Glide Forged was an unexpected surprise earlier this season, with its small head catering for tour players and the elite. The Glide range has been built around the perfect mix of looks, feel and forgiveness. Even at the short end of the bag, it’s not as if we hitting perfect shots time after time, so why do so many golfers believe they should be playing true bladed wedges? Ping understands this, and while Glide wedges feature traditional head shapes, they are packed full of forgiving technology, including cavity-back designs that offer help without sacrificing feel. The 3.0 is no different. They take their design cues from Ping’s i210 irons, with a larger custom tuning port which gives the wedge a softer feel. But this being bigger piece of lightweight elastomer allows them to increase forgiveness by moving the saved weight to the perimeter of the head. These wedges feel soft. It’s not quite Japanese one-piece-forged soft, but you will be hard-pressed to find a ball that feels too hard using them. Forgiveness is where these wedges shine. Everyone talks

about the feel of a bladed wedge, but that is no good when you miss-hit your approach, and end up short siding yourself or leave your ball in the bunker. Take that extra forgiveness and run. These are the wedges played by many of Ping’s tour staff. They don’t mind that extra forgiveness. A recent trend on tour is the high toe wedge, as made popular by Phil Mickelson. But where did he get that idea? The Ping Eye2 wedges he used when he was younger. Ping has included an Eye2 grind option that looks just like that throwback wedge at address. Spin is the other improvement here. Under test conditions, I was staggered by a couple of my approach shots. One shot in particular dug into its pitch mark, while a tap-in up and down from 100 yards to save par following a trip to the water was another highlight. The wedges have been designed with different grooves for different lofts, with the lofted wedges featuring an extra half groove to grab the ball on feel shots around the greens. If you’re playing a previous Glide wedge that has fresh grooves, it’s hard to justify a change. But if you are using any other model, I’d highly recommend giving the Glide 3.0s a shot. £130, ping.com

MOTOCADDY S1 ELECTRIC TROLLEY Different golfers look for different things from an electric trolley. Some want the most compact model on the market, others want a Swiss Army knife of a trolley that offers GPS, downhill breaking, phone charging, and any other gizmo you can think off. But some golfers are looking for a no-frills trolley that is simple to use. And despite being the cheapest trolley in the the Motocaddy range, we definitely wouldn’t call the S1 cheap, but it’s simple and offers outstanding value. The styling has been updated this year and I really like the white-and-red wheels, which give it a younger look than many electric trolleys. Other improvements, such as the new high resolution, glare-free screen, which indicates the trolley’s nine speeds, a battery meter and speed indicator, cover everything you actually need from a trolley display. It comes with an 18-hole lithium battery that gets the job done on the course with ease. It’s easy to forget the hell that was lead acid batteries, but the modern trolley battery

is so much lighter, more efficient, and all round easier to handle, and is one of the main reasons electric trolleys have grown so much in popularity. The nine-speed gear box is controlled by a single dial, and anything around 5-6 offers a comfortable walking speed on the flat. Folding the trolley up and down is a breeze with the Quikfold mechanism, and it collapses into a manageable size, with no need to remove the battery. This isn’t the most feature-heavy trolley on the market, but it’s simplicity and it’s all round ease of use is its selling point. And when you boil it down, that’s exactly what most of us want from an electric golf trolley, and the Motocaddy S1 delivers that in spades. £499, motocaddy.com

TESTED

■ THE SIMPLE AND EFFICIENT S1 TROLLEY WILL MEET THE NEEDS OF MOST POWER TROLLEY USERS


EQUIPMENT & GEAR AUTUMN 2019

[35]

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“STABLE, SUPPORTIVE AND SUPER COOL” Dan Owen gives his verdict on Ecco’s Biom Cool Pro shoes following a round at 2018 Ryder Cup venue Le Golf National in Paris

M

GOING TO SCHOOL

ON COOL

Golf News equipment editor Dan Owen takes a closer look at Ecco Golf’s new Biom Cool Pro shoes – the first to combine all of the Danish brand’s trademark technology, as well as those offered by Gore-Tex

E

cco revolutionised the golf shoe market by instigating the switch into spikeless designs back in 2006. The Danish brand has also been at the forefront of introducing Gore-Tex into its golf shoe collection, with almost its entire range now featuring the waterproof membrane technology. They’ve also taken a keen interest in breathability, as shown by the previous Ecco Cool golf shoes. And they’ve also made advancements in the fit of golf footwear with its unique Biom last, which is designed to let your foot move as naturally as possible. The Ecco Biom Cool Pro is the first golf shoe to combine all these technologies into one piece of footwear. Starting from the ground up, the shoes feature Ecco’s Tri-Fi Grip outsole. Divided into three sections – one to help stability, one to improve durability, and one to add rotational support through the golf swing – the outsole is made from TPU which is ultra-durable and super flexible. Gore-Tex Surround, a technology pioneered in partnership by Ecco and Gore-Tex, paired with the Exhaust Grid that’s built into

the midsole, allows fresh air to directly access the sole of your foot, while simultaneously allowing heat and moisture to escape. This combination provides 360° breathability, while also being totally waterproof. The Biom last, based on scans of more than 1,000 athletes’ feet, mirrors the contours of the foot, enabling it to move more naturally, closer to the ground, and forms like a second-skin around the foot. We’ve found shoes tend to be a little snugger in the heel, and a little wider in the toes. The removable inner sole is useful if you need to find half-a-size of extra room for your feet. We’ve all heard the term ‘farm-to-table’, but Ecco should employ ‘farm-to-feet’. Unlike most shoe manufacturers, Ecco is in control of the supply chain, all the way back to the animals that the hides come from. In this case Nepalese Yak. Yak leather is used for its unique properties. It’s soft, hardwearing, and lightweight. The leather on the Biom Cool Pro goes through a further perforation process that helps improve breathability even further, while giving the shoes a distinctive look. Ecco Golf Biom Cool Pro, £210, golf.ecco.com

■ THE BIOM COOL PROS FEATURE ECCO'S FLEXIBLE BUT HARD-WEARING TRI-FI GRIP OUTSOLE

easuing over 7,000 yards long, and with high dunes and mounds spearating almost every fairway, and no shortage of water, Le Golf National not only proved a severe test for the two Ryder Cup teams last September, but they also proved the ideal stomping grounds for testing out Ecco’s new Ecco Biom Cool Pro golf shoes for the first time. With the temperature hitting 34 degrees, the conditions above ground, as well as those under my feet, were perfect for testing out the Biom Cool Pro’s shoe’s breathability claims, as well as their comfort and stability properties. Looks, of course, are in the eyes of the beholder, but for me the Cool Pro is bestlooking golf shoe Ecco has ever produced. With visible technology in the midsole, and with the premium leather up top, it still retains simple sneaker lines and you could easily wear away these from the golf course if necessary. Ecco shoes don’t always have that slipper-like feel straight outside of the box, but as soon as you put these on, and take a few steps, they feel instantly stable and supportive. It’s so easy to be sucked in by that super soft feel underfoot when trying on golf shoes, but my feet feel better for it after the round when they are supported like these. One of the biggest advantages of the Gore-Tex Surround technology is your feet don’t smell like a ripe Camembert after the round, as sweat can escape without letting moisture get in. A couple of times during the round I found myself in spots I really didn’t want to be. While the mounds that made this course a fantastic amphitheatre for the Ryder Cup, they weren’t ideal for walking on when searching for errant tee shots. But at no point did I feel like I would slip over. When swinging a club, the shoes were totally secure and kept me balanced and locked in to the stroke. While at the pricey the end of the market, the Biom Cool Pros will prove great value if you play a lot. With the combination of breathability, waterproofing and comfort, plus the hardwearing Yak leather, these are truly an all-year round shoe. And while I don’t play 36 holes in a day that often, these would be the perfect shoes for the job.


[36] AUTUMN 2019

EQUIPMENT & GEAR GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

TAYLORMADE P790 IRONS £1,299/£1,399 (ST/GR) Offering a combination of distance and forgiveness in what looks like a players’ club, the second generation P790 irons suit a suprisingly wide range of players. The face on the new models is 7% thinner for higher ball speeds. The tungsten weight in the head is 15% bigger and placed to lower the centre of gravity and increase launch angle. A progressive Inverted Cone design moves TaylorMade’s ball speed protection technology towards the toe in the longer irons to prevent unwanted leaks to the right. The irons look even cleaner than before, and the head shape has been refined her an even better look at address.

CALLAWAY EPIC FORGED IRONS £1,999 In a year of epic releases for Callaway, the new Epic Forged irons might be the most epic yet. It's the ultimate combination of distance, forgiveness and feel. Let's start at the clubface and then work backwards. A thin 360-degree face cup produces plenty of ball speed. Behind the face, Callaway has introduced a Suspended Tungsten Core design for the first time in a forged iron. This positions the tungsten weight exactly where it needs to be in the clubhead, supported and secured by urethane microspheres. The body is formed from carbon steel, which gives them a supersoft feel at impact. While they are not aggressively thin players’ irons, they are smaller than other heads in this category of iron.

PRO SHOP

YOUR GUIDE TO THE LATEST GEAR

CALLAWAY EPIC FLASH HYBRIDS

£279 The lack of a hybrid was a glaring omission when Callaway launched its Epic Flash range earlier this year, but that has now been rectified. Where the Apex hybrids were for the better player, Epic Flash is designed to slot into anyone's bag. Designed for high ball speeds, Jailbreak technology and an ultra-thin face cup make this is a hot hybrid. Tungsten weight is used to optimise launch, as well as a second weight for fine-tuning swingweight. For the first time in the hybrid Callaway has used T2C Triaxial carbon in the crown, which saves weight to be used elsewhere in the design. The biggest advantage is that it features a fullyadjustable OptiFit 3 hosel, something that when used properly by clubfitters can really help to eliminate the dreaded hybrid hook.

CALLAWAY APPAREL STORMGUARD WATERPROOF JACKET

£154.99 Callaway Apparel have been hard at work improving their outer wear. A key piece for them this autumn winter is their Stormguard Waterproof Jacket. A fully waterproof, three layer, seam sealed design, it’ll keep you dry however bad the rain gets. With a 15k waterproof rating, you could walk through a monsoon and stay dry. The jacket features their proprietary Swing Tech technology. Every seam, zipper, and fabric used is designed to be effortless to swing the club in. And at £154.99 is good value compared to a lot of waterproof jacket options out there.


EQUIPMENT & GEAR AUTUMN 2019

[37]

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

PING NORSE VEST SRIXON AD333 £24 FOR 12, SRIXON.CO.UK The ninth generation of Srixon’s two-piece AD333 ball features an all-new FastLayer Core, which starts soft in the centre and gradually becomes firmer around its outer edge. FastLayer helps generate maximum distance without sacrificing feel at impact, and works in tandem with the ball’s 338 speed dimple pattern, which reduces drag for a more penetrating ball flight, to help deliver more distance off the tee. The updated ball also features Srixon’s Spin Skin technology with Slide-Ring Material, a urethane compound that coats the cover and increases friction at impact for more stopping power on every shot. It is available in Pure White and Tour Yellow.

MIZUNO MP20 HMB IRONS £180 PER IRON Everyone would love to play a club that looks like a Mizuno a blade. And now just everyone might be able to. The HMB irons boast mimimum offset and a relatively thin topline, but feature a hollow construction with the same Chromaloy material in the face that has proved so popular in Mizuno’s Hot Metal irons. The strong metal can be made very thin to produce faster balls speeds. Dual tungsten weights from the 2-7 iron increase forgiveness and help raise launch, while the 9-PW are made from Pure Select Mild Carbon steel for a softer feel.

£110, PINGCOLLECTION.CO.UK Ping’s new range of autumn/winter apparel features revolutionary PrimalLoft Gold insulation. Featured in the Norse PrimaLoft Vest, PrimaLoft Gold Insulation with CrossCore Technology is a fusion of PrimaLoft microfibres with aerogel that delivers previously unattainable levels of warmth. Acclaimed for its ultra-lightweight and insulating properties, aerogel was originally developed by NASA for use in aeronautical applications. It is composed of more than 95% air and is the lightest solid material known to man, forming a temperature barrier that delivers a higher warmth-toweight ratio than any garment Ping has ever engineered. The Norse vest is reversible, so you can rock it in black or blue depending on your mood. It also has a water-resistant finish, while for the spaceconscious golfer, it can be folded down to fit in a pocket. Other key products in the range include the waterproof SensorDry 2.5 jacket (£200) and trousers (£140), which are designed to layer with the Norse Vest.

CALLAWAY DADDY 5 JAWS WEDGE £149, CALLAWAYGOLF.COM Shaped by legendary wedge designer Roger Cleveland, the new Mack Daddy 5 Jaws wedges range offers a new, sharp-edged groove configuration that combines with the brand’s groove-in-groove face technology for superior spin and precise control. Groove-inGroove Technology places a milled ‘Micro-Positive’ surface texture in-between each main groove. This, combined with the new, aggressive JAWS groove, helps grab the ball’s cover more effectively and significantly increases spin on a variety of shots. While the Mack Daddy 4 wedges had a 5-degree groove wall angle on lofts from 54 to 60 degrees, the Mack Daddy 5 is 37 degrees, which generates 11% more spin (+500rpm) with a lower, more controlled launch angle, especially on shots from 30-40 yards. Constructed from mild carbon steel for maximum feel, MD5 wedges are available in lofts from 46°-64° in platinum chrome or a tour grey finish and five different bounce configurations.

VOLVIK V1 RANGEFINDER £199 Competitively priced, Volvik’s first rangefinder offers x6 magnification and is designed to measure distances from five to 1,200 yards to within one yard. The water-resistant V1 offers ‘Slope Compensation’ mode – which can be turned off for use in tournaments – that takes into account elevation changes to provide precise distances from every location. Other features includes ‘Priority First Goal’, which allows the user to quickly measure the distance to their desired object, such as a bunker, while once the laser locks onto the target it emits a short vibration.

ADIDAS TOUR360 XT BOA £179.95 Adidas is the first company to release a golf shoe featuring two Boa dials to the European market. Commonly used in cycling, it allows for fit adjustability in two parts of the shoe. The top dial secures the fit around the collar and tongue, while the lower dial provides micro-adjustability from the middle to the bottom of the instep for a customised fit, feel and support. Featuring a Boost midsole, the XT BOA should not only be secure and stable, but extremely comfortable too.


[38] AUTUMN 2019

EQUIPMENT & GEAR GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

CALLAWAY EPIC FLASH

CLEVELAND LAUNCHER HB TURBO

TAYLORMADE M5

£199, CLEVELANDGOLF.CO.UK Cleveland’s metalwoods are designed to be super easy to use, with its stepped crown design lowering the centre of gravity, while the new Turbocharged Cup Face offers a unique variable thickness pattern that delivers more speed across the entire face. The design stretches along the crown and sole, flexing at impact and reflecting that energy back into the ball for increased ball speeds. Weight is also saved in the shaft, putting more weight in the head and the grip end to generate more clubhead speed.

Made from titanium rather than steel, the saved weight from the lighter material hasn’t gone into making a bigger head, instead it’s been used to save weight. Along with the carbon crown, it’s allowed the engineers to add a 65g steel weight in the head that can be adjusted for draw and fade bias. No brand has ever produced a movable weight of this size before and it significantly alters the ball flight. It’s placed right in the bottom of the head and essentially works as the soleplate, making the club incredibly easy to launch the ball with off the deck.

MIZUNO ST190

PING G410

£315/£279 (TS, STANDARD), GOLF.MIZUNOEUROPE.COM

£275, PING.COM

Mizuno’s ST190 driver is the brand’s best big dog in years, and the matching fairway is another unsung hero. Featuring a classic look at address, a carbon crown that saves weight that can be redistributed to lower the centre of gravity, and an Amplified Wave sole design that helps increase ball speed on miss hits. The 3- and 5-wood come with a traditional bonded hosel. The TS is an adjustable head that can move from 13-17 degrees and features a slightly deeper face to help control excessive spin.

The G410 fairway woods address the biggest criticism of the G400, that it wasn’t hot enough, and tackle it head on. This fairway wood is seriously hot. The C300 maraging steel in the face, is super strong and flexible, and Ping’s engineers have seen it flex as much as the face is thick, which is huge in golf club terms. The centre of gravity is slightly forward of the G400, which helps return more energy to the ball at impact. To retain the forgiveness levels, the G410 features a shallower face and a slightly bigger head at address.

PXG 0341X GEN 2

COBRA F9 SPEEDBACK

SRIXON Z F85

£425, PXG.COM

£219, COBRAGOLF.CO.UK

£199, SRIXON.CO.UK

The head features a Hot Rod carbon crown. Inspired by American muscle cars, the raised centre section of the crown doubles up, stiffening the head for better energy transfer, but also helping with alignment. The heads feature Variable Face Technology to increase ball speed on miss hits, and also a honeycomb TPE insert. The lightweight material fine-tunes the sound and feel, but does this without adding too much weight to the clubhead. Eight adjustable weights mean the club can be fine tuned for swingweight and shape bias.

With RRPs creeping up, it’s good to see that Cobra is still offering a great product at a decent price. The key difference with Cobra fairways are their Baffler rails, which are designed to help the sole glide over the turf rather than get stuck in it. For any golfer with a steep angle of attack who struggles with fairways, this feature could be an absolute godsend. The carbon crown helps drop the centre of gravity even lower, while the adjustable hosel is perfect for dialling in launch trajectory.

Srixon doesn’t shout from the rooftops with their equipment, they just let the clubs do the work. At this price, with this performance, the Z F85 is a winner. The centre of gravity is super low in the head, a combination of the lightweight crown, and its stepped design that is physically lower than a standard crown. This makes the club super easy to get airborne. A cup face design moves any welding away from the impact zone, which enables it to flex more and hit longer shots across the face.

£269, CALLAWAYGOLF.COM Of all the fairway woods we’ve tested this year, the Epic Flash has been the hottest off the face. Don’t let the classic head shapes fool you – all the technology is hidden inside the head. The Flash face, designed by a super computer, has a totally unique design, much more organic looking than typical variable face technology. Combined with Jailbreak technology, a lightweight carbon crown, and the typically well-engineered Callaway sole, these are some of the longest, easiest to hit fairway woods you could ever want to try.

FAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

£369, TAYLORMADEGOLF.COM

Shorten those par fives with the next generation of punchy fairway woods


NEWS | AUTUMN 2019 [39] GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

AUTUMN 2019 | WWW.GOLFNEWS.CO.UK/TRAVEL

UNTOUCHED, UNSPOILT AND V E R Y S P E C I A L KORINEUM, NORTH CYPURS

DUBLIN UP

YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST GOLFING ACTION IN AND AROUND THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND’S CAPITAL

JACK OF CLUBS

GOLF NEWS GETS A ROYAL WELCOME AT MONTE REI, JACK NICKLAUS’S PORTUGUESE MASTERPIECE

SWIMMING IN BIRDIES

FORMER 50M WORLD FREESTYLE CHAMPION MARK FOSTER REVEALS HIS FAVOURITE GOLF HOLIDAY HOTSPOTS

WINTER GETAWAYS

OUR PICK OF THE BEST AUTUMN/WINTER BREAKS AT HOME AND ABROAD


[40] AUTUMN 2019

TRAVEL & BREAKS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

DORSET RESORT SERVES UP TEMPTING WINTER BREAKS The Dorset Golf Resort in Bere Regis has long held a reputation for being a top quality golf break destination, thanks to its 27 holes of championship golf combined with its wide range of five-star accommodation. The choice of quality accommodation, which includes 14 five-star eco lodge homes, two luxury cottages, and a 16-bedroom hotel, has been attracting stay-andplay golfers for many years, while the condition of the courses, and superb catering and hospitality, is clearly a winning combination for visitors. The Woodland Course, which is cut through a forest of rhododendrons, boasts banks of pink, red and purple flowers through the summer, sparking thoughts of Augusta. The Lakeland and Parkland nine

■ THE DORSET RESORT BOASTS 27 HOLE

are also blessed with flourishes of rhododendron and cherry blossom, and the views across the huge lakes are spectacular. With a promise of no winter tees or temporary greens, and excellent drainage, the courses are always presented in great condition all year round. A two-night stay in a luxury lodge this winter starts from £95pp/pn in November, and £74.95 in December and January (except Xmas week and New Year), with three rounds of golf, three-course dinners and breakfast. For more details, visit www.dorsetgolfresort.com.

MAKE A DATE WITH DE VERE FOR YOUR NEXT GOLFING BREAK De Vere is tempting golfers to take a trip to their range of golf venues across the UK with a range of great value autumn and winter packages. Golfers can take their pick from Wokefield, Selsdon and Staverton, all of which boast championship golf courses and quality off-course facilities. Wokefield, near Reading, has recently undergone a £20 million refurbishment, and in addition to the golf course, facilities include the new 1560 Restaurant & Bar and Whiskey Lounge. Selsdon in Croydon, has an 18hole course which designed by British open champion JH Taylor in the 1920s. The resort’s 1042 Restaurant & Bar and the Orangery both overlook the 200-acre estate. Surrounded by 150-acres of parkland, Staverton, in Northamptonshire, boasts an 18-hole European Tour standard course, while after a round guests can enjoy The Steam, Bake & Grill restaurant, and a contemporary

bar which has just undergone a major refurbishment. One-night breaks taken on Sundays in October start from £89, while breaks in Nov-Feb start from £79pp. The packages include two rounds of golf, dinner, B&B. For more details and bookings, visit www.devere.co.uk.

NEW WINTER DEALS AT OLD THORNS Golfers can enjoy the excellent facilities on offer at Old Thorns Manor Hotel Golf & Country Estate in Hampshire for as little as £99 this winter, when booking directly with the resort. Tucked away in 400 acres of stunning countryside just off the A3, Old Thorns offers luxury accommodation in 160 bedrooms, relaxing health spa facilities, fantastic cuisine, and an outstanding 6,581-yard, 18-hole championship course, designed by Peter Allliss, who is also the club’s president. With notoriously fast greens and plenty of natural hazards, the par-72 design is a challenging layout, while the typography of the course creates wonderful views over the Hampshire countryside from several elevated tees. Old Thorns has wide range of dining options, including the 250-seater Kings Brasserie where the hotel’s carvery is served alongside a sumptuous a la carte menu, while more relaxed pub-style food is available in the Sports Bar. Residential breaks can be booked for just £99 per person, offering one night’s bed and breakfast, and unlimited golf on the championship course. Guests will receive a free two-course dinner for stays in November. For details of the latest packages, visit www.oldthorns.com or call 01428 724555.

■ DEVERE SELSDON IN SURREY

2019 08 Golf News QP Golf Breaks.qxp_160mm h x 136mm w 19/08/2019 14:05 Page 1

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£125.00 per person

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TRAVEL & BREAKS

AUTUMN 2019

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

WYCHWOOD PARK RAISES THE BAR FOR GOLF BREAKS Wychwood Park Hotel and Golf Club in Cheshire has unveiled the first phase of a multi-million pound refurbishment programme that is set to make it an even more attractive destination for golf breaks. The Crewe-based venue, which is operated by Legacy Hotels and Resorts, is undergoing a £3 million makeover, with its bedrooms, bar, restaurant and public areas all set for a major transformation. The first phase of refurbishment works comprised a modern makeover of all 110 bedrooms, incorporating sleek, brightlycoloured interiors to inject a touch of luxury. Robert Glashan, general manager at Wychwood Park, said: “We’re very pleased to be unveiling the first phase of our

transformation to the public and mark the start of this exciting new chapter for Wychwood Park. Our vision is to create a special place for all of our guests – whether you’re staying with us as part of a business trip or a short break, we want to create a fresh and modern space for all guests to enjoy.” Set in 200 acres of Cheshire countryside, Wychwood Park’s 7,213-yard, 18-hole championship course presents a serious test for golfers of all standards. Opened in 2002, the Martin Hawtree-designed course has matured into a parkland gem, with numerous lakes and streams adding to the interest. There is a choice of five tees to suit a wide range of handicaps. Holes of note, include the par-five 7th, a daunting 500-yard hole that offer with a split fairway and a 150-yard carry over an environmentally protected area; and the par threes at the 6 and 17 are both memorable, with the latter requiring a 200yard carry over water to reach the relative safety of the green. For details, visit www.legacy-hotels.co.uk

■ WYCHWOOD PARK

The Manor & Ashbury Hotels

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Ashbury Hotel, Devon

0800 781 9713 ashburygolfhotel.com

[41]


[42] AUTUMN 2019 | NEWS GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

LOOKING TO BO • D E TA I L E D D E S C R I P T I O N O N E A C H C LU B • T H E L AT E S T PA C K A G E S • G R E AT I M A G E R Y • V I D E O F O O TA G E ( O N S E L E C T E D C LU B S ) • EVERY THING YOU NEED TO KNOW


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O K A G O L F D AY ? FOR THE BEST SOCIETY & C O R P O R AT E D AY V E N U E S


[44] AUTUMN 2019

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Golfin’ in Dublin

Clive Agran hits the high seas before embarking on a golfing tour around the Republic of Ireland's capital city

P

erhaps it’s because I have a fondness for Guinness, but don’t understand what a single malt whisky is all about, that Ireland just edges it over Scotland as my favourite golf destination. And with my game slipping further south as my body protests ever more loudly at having to make the effort to swing a club, the generally more relaxed attitude of the Irish to double bogeys and worse chimes with my own limited ambition. So, in short, I leapt like a leprechaun at the opportunity to go with Club Choice Ireland to play four of the finest courses in and around Dublin. Club Choice Ireland, I should explain, is a unique alliance of courses, resorts and hotels around the south-east and along the east coast of Ireland that offers outstandingly good value all-inclusive golf packages. Taking the Stena ferry over the Irish Sea avoids the queues, hassle and mayhem that is airports these days. Holyhead is heaven compared with the hell that is Heathrow. And throwing the clubs in the boot is both cheaper and less cumbersome than schlepping them around terminals in search of ‘Outsize Baggage’. After a little over three hours after slipping our moorings, we were cruising up the Liffey and docking in downtown Dublin. From there it was roughly half an hour’s drive south to Druids Glen Hotel and Golf Resort in County Wicklow. Squeezed between the Wicklow Mountains and the Irish Sea, and set in 360-acres of glorious countryside in the heart of Ballykissangel country, this fabulous five-star hotel with its 144 rooms and top-notch suites is pure comfort and joy. Although you can stroll the few hundred yards to the two attached courses, nearly everyone takes the shuttlebus to save energy so that they can walk around possibly the prettiest parkland layout on the planet. Sadly, there wasn’t time to play Druids Heath, but Druids Glen, a former venue of the Irish Open, is the more famous of the pair and is simply stunning. Fortunate to have been to Augusta, I can honestly say that comparing the two is not nearly as fanciful as it sounds. Both are breathtakingly beautiful, magnificently manicured and

enjoy sufficient elevation to provide those wonderful ‘wow’ moments. The par threes are gorgeous and, coincidentally, it’s the 12th at both that are the stand-out stunners. Flowers, too, are common to both while the magnificent water features at Druid’s Glen are simply magical. Don’t tell anyone I said this because I’ll never be invited back to Augusta but, because it has a more natural feel, Druid’s Glen edges it for me. Rather like stepping onto the tee after your playing partner has belted a 340-yard drive down the centre of the fairway, what a ridiculously difficult act Druids Glen is to follow.

■ THE ISLAND GOLF CLUB

■ POWERSCOURT BOASTS TWO CHAMPIONSHIP LAYOUTS

Remarkably, Powerscourt pulled it off. Just 15 minutes down the road and similarly blessed with two terrific courses, Powerscourt rose to meet the impossible challenge. With similar striking views up to the mountains and occasional rare glimpses of the sea, the East course is a lot more rugged than Druids Glen but is no less of a challenge. Designed by Walker Cup player Peter McEvoy, it has a traditional mix of four par threes and fives and 14 par fours. There’s not a weak hole among them and the distinctive feel of mature parkland bestowed upon them all by the striking specimen trees adds to the grandeur. Having tackled, if not quite tamed, two inland tracks the time had come to drop down to sea level and test my game among the mighty dunes. Links golf has a majesty and authenticity that sets the pulse racing at the first whiff of salty sea air and the clutch of courses around Dublin Bay are superb. Having previously been beaten up by both Portmarnock Links and Royal Dublin, I opted for a couple of fresh challenges with no mental scar tissue to worry about. The Island Golf Club isn’t an island at all but it looks like it could be and that’s good enough in this part of the world where the line between fact and fantasy is thoroughly blurred. Overlooked by the village of Malahide, the links is located in some of the most stunning dunes on the east coast of Ireland. Founded in 1890, it is also one of the oldest golf courses in Ireland and was recently ranked 13th in Golf Digest Ireland’s Top 100. It enjoys an enviable international reputation and currently hosts regional qualifying for The Open Championship and this year co-hosted the strokeplay qualifying for the British Amateur. It’s fabulous and no matter how hard you struggle, you will want to come back for more. Unlike The Island, St Anne’s is actually on an island and is a lot less threatening. An immediate neighbour of Royal Dublin, it was founded in 1921, but was only extended to 18 holes about 30 years ago. It underwent a redesign in 2003 and an impressive new clubhouse was opened in the same year. Plateau greens are something of a feature on a course which adjoins a nature reserve and where the views out to sea and up to the mountains are magnificent. For more details on this trip, and many other tailor-made golf packages to Ireland, visit www.clubchoiceireland.com, email info@clubchoiceireland.com or call 0800 285 1490.


TRAVEL & BREAKS

AUTUMN 2019 [45]

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

■ THE RETREAT AT THE BLUE LAGOON

LUXURY ICELANDIC RETREAT LAUNCHES GOLF PACKAGE

YOUR GOLF TRAVEL UNVEILS 2020 MASTERS’ PACKAGES GOLFERS LOOKING TO JOIN THE PATRONS AT AUGUSTA for next year’s Masters Tournament can secure their booking with just a £200 deposit with Your Golf Travel. With over 13 years’ experience of taking UK golf fans to Augusta, YGT took over 1,000 clients to attend last month’s Masters, where Tiger Woods claimed his 15th major title. Customers are able to select a range of holidays which include both practice day and weekend tickets, the Ladies Amateur event, plus experiences including direct return flights, accommodation, new five-star luxury hospitality, star-studded parties and flawless on-site concierge services with access to all local courses. YGT customers can now also choose from five host destinations, completing their Masters experience by playing some of the USA’s finest golf destinations such as Kiawah Island, TPC Sawgrass, Pinehurst North Carolina and Harbour Town Golf Links, where the PGA Tour visits the week after the Masters. Your Golf Travel packages for the Masters 2020 start from just £1,895. For further information, visit www. yourgolftravel.com/us-masters, email info@yourgolftravel.com or call 0800 043 6644.

ICELAND’S FIRST LUXURY HOTEL, The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, has launched a new golf holiday package, giving golfers the opportunity to experience golf in a volcanic landscape. This brand new package will run from spring to autumn, and includes a stay in a luxury suite at the Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland, which opened 18 months ago. Located on a private inlet of the UNESCO Global Geopark, The Retreat offers direct access to a private area of the Blue Lagoon – one of the 25 wonders of the world. Just a 10-minute drive away is the stunning Grindavik Golf Course, home to a unique 18-hole layout which spans the two tectonic plates of Eurasia and North America. The scenic course offers the unique opportunity to tee off among lava fields, as well as affording views of the crashing waves of the North Atlantic. Golfers visiting in the summer months will have the opportunity to play through the night under Iceland’s midnight sun. The golf package includes green fees at Grindavik and club hire, plus a daily breakfast, high tea and a complimentary bottle of Champagne. Golfers will also be treated to a seven-course chef’s

■ GRINDAVIK GOLF COURSE

table dining experience at Moss restaurant, with wine pairings included. Away from the golf course, guests will be able to enjoy the hotel’s subterranean spa, swim in the private lagoon, or explore more of the surrounding area at their leisure. Suites start from £1,029 per night, with guests required to stay a minimum of two nights. For further information, or to book, visit www.bluelagoon.com.

DRIVE SOMEWHERE DIFFERENT

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save up to


[46] SEPTEMBER 2019

EQUIPMENT & GEAR GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

N

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golf holiday experts for 24 years www.chakatravel.com

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Incl. flights & transfers with golf buggy

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ITALY

from £1,395 PP

4* Golf & Gastronomy in Emilia Romagna

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from £2,295 PP Cape Town & Fancourt Classic Garden Route

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

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Magical Monte From its stunning Jack Nicklaus-designed championship course and world-class practice facilities, to its sumptuous clubhouse and its quality on-site accommodation, there’s plenty to get excited about staying and playing at Monte Rei in Portugal’s Eastern Algarve, says Matt Nicholson

M

onte Rei Golf & Country Club is one of that rare breed of golf courses that simply reeks of class. Located in the hills just a few miles to the northeast of the pretty town of Tavira in Portugal’s eastern Algarve, the place lets you know that you have arrived somewhere special the very moment you pass through the impressive entrance. Just as you’d expect from Portugal’s most consistently top-ranked course, everything at Monte Rei oozes quality, and the remarkable attention to detail verges on the obsessive. All this quality comes at a price, of course, but it’s well worth paying if you’re looking to create golfing memories that will last a lot longer than most. Before you head down to the first tee on your mandatory buggy, be sure to hit a few balls on the Tour-standard driving range, where neat pyramids of Tour-quality balls wait to be smacked over an enormous area that can comfortably accommodate the full range of shots. With a practice putting green and bunker, it’s the ideal preparation for the challenge that awaits on the stunning Jack Nicklaus layout – the only one that the great man has ever built in Portugal. Allegedly armed with a sizeable budget, and a lot of earth-moving equipment, the North Course, which first opened in 2006, is without question one of Nicklaus’s finest layouts outside of America, with the quality of the challenge mirrored perfectly by the pristine condition in which it is presented. Each hole is delightfully self-contained, and even knowing that the Serra do Caldeirao mountains are to the north and the Atlantic Ocean is to the south doesn’t help you maintain your bearings as you weave your way around the vast 70-hectare site. Fortunately, the imposing hilltop clubhouse looms reassuringly as you play up the ninth and 18th. With tee times spread 12 minutes apart, it’s quite likely that you will play the whole round without spotting another group, let alone be held up. It’s millionaire’s golf for non-millionaires, so you won’t

feel rushed as you take on the eight par 4s, five par 3s and five par 5s. Although the course measures significantly more than 7,000 yards off the back tees, the course is progressively less daunting off the three other tees – Championship, Signature and Forward – but whichever tee you play off, it’s hard to avoid noticing the extensive bunkering that is such a key feature of the course. The only upside of landing in one of these many traps is that the sand is made from crushed limestone, which resists plugging and means that your ball will almost always end up in the flat part of the trap. Talking of hazards, the water that comes into play on 11 of the holes is altogether less forgiving, and rarely do balls that are hit into the numerous ponds, streams and lakes ever reappear. What does make a welcome appearance from time to time, however, is the drinks’ cart, which administers much-welcomed iced towels, as well as a range of cooling beverages and snacks. There isn’t a weak hole among the 18 on offer, kicking off the par-four opener which plays off an elevated tee down to fairway that dog legs to the right. Bunkers must be avoided to set up an approach to the green, as they must on almost every hole. Other highlights include the 13th, another downhill two-shotter that features a lake protecting a wickedly undulating green, while the 14th is pretty par three, where another water feature must also be negotiated to find the putting surface. The 18th is a cracking closing par five, with the longest drives setting up a heart-in-mouth shot to the green that must take on the water all the way up the right-hand side of the fairway to the front of the green. As you come off the last, you will be presented with a commemorative Monte Rei bag tag with your name engraved on it, which is another nice touch. The pleasure, however, is far from over,

■ THERE ARE A WIDE RANGE OF LUXURY VILLAS AND APARTMENTS TO RENT ON SITE, WHILE FOR THOSE THAT DON'T FANCY COOKING THERE IS A CHOICE OF QUALITY RESTAURANTS

as you haven’t yet explored the spectacular Mediterranean-style clubhouse that is home to the club’s superb Vistas restaurant, which overlooks the course. The food is easily up to Michelin-starred standards, and well worth booking in advance to ensure you get a table. For more relaxed dining, the clubhouse also offers the excellent Monte Rei Grill and the Academy Café. And after a suitably indulgent lunch or dinner, golfers can hop on a buggy and make the short drive to one of the numerous luxury villas that are dotted around the estate and available for rent. Ideal for families, small groups and couples, the three- and four-bedroom villas boast their own swimming pools, while the one and two-bed apartments also boast outdoor BBQ areas and are kitted out to the same luxury standards. They are located just a few steps away from Veranda, the social focal point of the village, which houses a restaurant and bar, and features tennis courts and swimming pools, plus gym and spa facilities. Although slightly off the beaten track when it comes to the main bulk of other golf courses in the region, I can’t recommend strongly enough that you make the extra effort to stay and play at Monte Rei. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. STAY & PLAY AT MONTE REI Among the current range of packages includes a three-night stay in a luxury one-bedroom villa with two rounds of golf, including buggy, unlimited range balls and daily breakfast, which costs from €671pp from November to March. To book, visit www.monte-rei.com, call 00 351 281 950 950 or email reservas@monterei.com.


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NORTHERN BEAUTY If you’re looking for a winter golf break under warm Mediterranean skies, then Korineum Golf & Beach Resort in Northern Cyprus offers five-star facilities and service on and off the course, all at affordable rates

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orthern Cyprus has always been a popular holiday destination with UK travellers, but an absence of world-class golf facilities prevented it from becoming a destination for British golfers, until, that is, the arrival of the Korineum Golf & Beach Resort in 2007. Located in a lush green oasis on the way to Esentepe, Korineum is tucked away in the foothills of the Beşparmak Mountain Range and enjoys the prestige of being north Cyprus’s first championshipstandard golf facility, ranking 36th in Golf World’s Top 100 European Golf Resorts. The entire landscape has been shaped and sculpted to perfection and features an 18-hole, 6,232-metre championship layout, a three-hole academy course, and a 34-bay driving range. The course has been laid with a special type of genetically-engineered grass called Seashore Paspalum, which is designed to withstand the

■ KORINEUM'S CHAMPIONSHIP COURSE ENJOYS FABULOUS VIEWS TO THE BESPARNAK MOUNTAIN RANGE

hot Cyprus climate and ensures perfect year-round playing conditions. Five tees give players of all abilities the opportunity to play to their handicap on this challenging 6,232-metre layout – although with narrow fairways and vast canyons, it’s well worth stocking up with plenty of balls before you leave home or the resort’s pro shop. Players not in peak physical health are also advised to make use of the large buggy fleet and save their energy for playing shots and for absorbing the stunning natural beauty of the moutains and sea views that dominate the landscape. The first hole, Mountain Rise, is as testing an opener as you’ll find, with the 379-metre par four climbing steeply up the hillside to an elevated green. Precision iron-play is required to find the putting surface on the third, a testing uphill par three which measures anything from 220 yards to 140, depending which tee you play from. With out-ofbounds left, right-handers will need to draw one in over the bunkers to find the long, but narrow green. The fifth is a dramatic uphill par five with a 90-degree dogleg at its elbow. The bold can try and cut off some of the leg by playing over the out-ofbounds on the left to leave a shorter shot into the green, but most will chose to play safely up the middle and then hope to chip on with their third

and attempt a single-putt birdie. The seventh, the appositely named ‘Sandy Island’, is another tough par three, with the green on this 158-metre hole almost entirely surrounded by bunkers, with no fewer than five traps protecting the putting surface. Water is scarce in such hot climates, so it’s no surprise that it comes into play on only one hole at Korineum, with the 350-metre par-four 16th hole featuring a lake short right of the green that will happily swallow any approach shots that wander off line on this excellent two-shotter. Off the golf course, facilties at the resort include a 86-room hotel – including four junior suites – a choice of bars, three restaurants, swimming pool, live evening entertainment, spa and fitness centre, as well as a 70m private beach, which is 3km from the resort, but is free for hotel guests to use. The rooms are spacious, and feature wellstocked minibar, LED televisions with a wide range of international channels and free WiFI, although those guests with sea views will spend most of their evenings taking in the glorious sunsets that can be viewed from the balcony, rather than tuning into the world news. For details on the latest golf packages to Korineum Golf & Beach Resort, visit www.korineumgolf.com.


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■ CHAKA TRAVEL IS NOW OFFERING HOLIDAYS TO A WIDE RANGE OF TOP-CLASS COURSES IN IRELAND INCLUDING LAHINCH

CHAKA TRAVEL LAUNCHES LUXURY IRISH HOLIDAYS BESPOKE GOLF HOLIDAY COMPANY CHAKA TRAVEL has expanded its portfolio of destinations to include VIP tours of Ireland, following a commercial partnership with G Golf Ireland. Chaka, which has built up a reputation as a luxury holiday specialist in Mauritius over the last 25 years, has previously expanded to include personalised trips to South Africa, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Oman and wide range of long-haul destinations. However, with this new partnership with G Golf

SET SAIL FOR A BARGAIN BREAK WITH BRITTANY FERRIES THE 2020 BRITTANY FERRIES GOLF BROCHURE is packed with great value breaks to golf courses and resorts all over Northern and Western France and Northern Spain. Featuring packages to France and Spain’s most popular destinations, the brochure has all the details you need to plan a golfing holiday to remember. And with Brittany Ferries, getting there is very much part of the holiday, and with no luggage limitations to worry about, golfers can make the most of their precious time by crossing the channel overnight. With a fleet of luxury cruise-ferries, offering en-suite cabins, fine French restaurants and stylish bars, they provide a uniquely relaxing way of travelling. Getting to the continent couldn’t be easier, with five routes from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth to western France, as well as two to northern Spain, including services to Bilbao and Santander. For seaside golf in Brittanny, there’s the stunning links at Dinard and the pretty seaside holes at Golf de Cornouaille. Inland, discover the forest and lake setting of Golf de St Malo or the pretty parkland courses at Val Queven and St Laurent. There’s also a choice of excellent courses along Normandy’s coast, such as those at Omaha Beach, Houlgate and Cabourg, and near to Caen there’s the undulating holes at Clécy to the south. There are 10% savings to be made on early bird bookings for 2020 made before October 31. For more information, visit www.brittanyferries.com/golf, call 0330 159 5418 or email golfdesk@brittanyferries.com.

Ireland it will be able to offer exclusive golf holidays to the Emerald Isle’s finest courses. Golfers can now book a golf holiday in Ireland with Chaka Travel to include a G Golf ambassador, an elite level golfer who will act as full-time concierge on- and off-course guide, hosting clinics and delivering a highly personalised service. Commenting on the new partnership, Mark Marais, Chaka Travel’s managing director, said: “I am delighted to welcome G Golf Ireland as a commercial partner to Chaka Travel. I am particularly excited to have added G Golf Ireland’s decades of golf expertise in the British Isles to the Chaka Travel Group. I have no doubt that G Golf Ireland’s unique offering will be of tremendous benefit in developing our golf business within the British Isles and Europe.” To find out the latest range of Irish golf trips, visit www.chakatravel.com.


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Mark Foster Former Olympic 50m swimmer Mark Foster tnever leaves home without his clubs in tow and can often be found swinging them in southern Spain

I always travel with... my golf clubs!

■ THE GROVE

Back when I was competing I’d always take my own my pillow. I needed to have a good night’s sleep the night before a race and some hotels have terribly uncomfortable pillows.

The best hotel I’ve ever stayed in was... Hope Springs Resort in Palm Springs, California. It’s a minimalist motel in the San Jacinto mountains that has its own springfed geo-thermal pools. It’s the perfect retreat from the stresses of the world.

My first ever golf holiday was to… La Cala in Spain. Eight of us go away every year and we do a North v South Ryder Cup competition, although most of them are from the North, so I’m not sure how that works out! But we have a lot of fun and play some competitive, if not always great, golf. We went to La Quinta last year, and La Cala before that. I’m not sure where we’re going this year – we might try Portugal.

My favourite holiday destination is... Santa Monica, up to let amateurs get around without embarrassing themselves too much, and the condition of the greens, and the course in general, is top notch.

My most recent golf holiday was to… Almenara in southern Spain. We played Finca Cortesin, Valderrama and a few others. It was a really top notch, although the courses were tough.

■ HOPE SPRINGS RESORT IN PALM SPRINGS

The favourite course in the UK is… The Grove in Hertfordshire. It’s a championship course which can be set

California. I also love a city break and am a big fan of Barcelona and Rome, because there is so much to see, so much history, and so much great food to eat.

My next golf trip is to… Pebble Beach in California. Myself and seven friends are going there for my 50th birthday in April next year. We are staying there for the week. It should be amazing.

My most memorable holiday meal was at…The Good Earth, a Chinese restaurant in

My ideal holiday fourball would include... Martin O’Neill, Bradley Walsh and

at a hotel that will remain nameless in Lanzarote, where my room was full of cockroaches!

Chelsea which serves the best crispy duck pancakes in the business.

My worst holiday experience was...

My favourite golf course abroad is... Finca Cortesin. There’s not a weak hole, and the views are spectacular, as is the service off the golf course.

Travel with

Brendan O’Carroll, from Mrs Brown’s Boys. That was the funniest four-ball I’ve ever played in. I’ve also got three good mates who I enjoy playing with, but that’s more of a grudge match.

My top travel tip is...if you are going somewhere hot, make sure you take a sunblock with a high factor.

■ HORIZON

GOLF AT LA

CALA

■ LA FLORES TA SU

FIND YOUR LUXURY SPANISH HOME BESIDES THE FAIRWAYS WITH TAYLOR WIMPEY ESPAÑA GOLFERS LOOKING TO ENJOY the sunshine golfing life offered in southern Spain are being invited to take a look at range of new properties that have been built on some of the country’s most famous golf resorts. Leading Spanish housebuilder Taylor Wimpey España has launched a stunning range of brand new homes located next to some of Europe’s top golf courses. At La Floresta Sur, located by the beautiful Elviria Beach in

Marbella, the apartments deliver outstanding sea views from their spacious terraces. Residents also benefit from lush communal gardens and a communal pool. The development is just a 10-minute drive from two of the best-known courses on the Costa del Sol – La Cala and Santa Maria Golf. In addition, it boasts direct access to El Soto Golf Club, the facilities of which all La Floresta Sur residents can access free of charge. Prices here start from €222,000 plus VAT. Green Golf at Estepona is ideally positioned to play some of Malaga’s top tracks. Within this booming area, Green Golf delivers high-specification homes to families looking to be at the heart of the golfing action. With panoramic views over the course at Estepona Golf and out to sea, the properties enjoy an incredibly picturesque setting. Natural light is maximised through their south/ southwest positioning and sophisticated design. Prices here start from €280,000 plus VAT.

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Gated communities in popular areas such as Horizon Golf at La Cala Golf Resort in Mijas provide homes that are ideal for those holidaying on their own, as well as family groups. Key-ready, threebedroom townhouses offer luxury finishes, fully equipped kitchens and designer bathrooms, as well as an impressive combination of private outdoor space and communal gardens and swimming pools. Prices start from €435,000 plus VAT. Marc Pritchard, sales and marketing director of Taylor Wimpey España, said: “The Mediterranean coast has been a popular holiday destination for decades, with golf playing a major role in driving that. We’re delighted to be building on this history of success by presenting contemporary homes for holidaymakers looking to experience Spain’s unique brand of relaxation and enjoyment.” For more information call 08000 121 020 or visit www.taylorwimpeyspain.com.


NEWS | AUTUMN 2019 GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

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