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Issue 198 | APRIL 2011

Masters champion Charl Schwartzel to play at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth

GREEN

GIANT Special 4 -page BMW pull-out - see pages 35-38

© PING 2011

PADRAIG HARRINGTON p24 | COMPETITION p26 | EWEN MURRAY p39 | NICK DOUGHERTY p44 | Pro Shop p58 | ME & MY TravelS p69


THE

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Editor’s Comment 0

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Rory’s day of reckoning

W

ith less than 24 hours having elapsed since Rory’s McIlroy’s dramatic implosion during the last round of the Masters, I’m still not sure whether I should feel deep sympathy or green envy for the young man from Northern Ireland. Of course, I feel a little sad that he wasn’t able to get the job done, and plainly crumbled under the pressure of attempting to win one of golf’s greatest prizes, but I also feel rather envious of the fact that he had, and still has, the natural, god-given talent to get himself into contention in the game’s toughest events. But the question remains: Is there something missing in Mcllroy’s mental make-up that is going to make it hard for him to close out big tournaments like the Masters when leading from the front? Tiger Woods, who has never won a major when coming from behind, is golf’s No.1 frontrunner. He was just a few weeks younger than Mcllroy when he lifted his first Masters title, so to place all the blame on Mcllroy’s lack

of experience and his ‘rabbit-in-the-headlights’ reaction to missing the fairway on the 10th hole doesn’t hold too much water with me. He was jauntily jigging around the fairways, seemingly without a care in the world, for the first 54 holes – so where were the nerves then? As a 21-year-old playing in only his second Masters, surely he had every right to be as nervous on the first round as he was for the second, or the third? Or do these rounds not count, and all tournaments these days simply involve a casual trudge for three circuits before a final, mad sprint down the back straight? It’s too early to tell whether Rory will learn anything from this experience, or whether it’s come too early in his career to really count against him at all – but there’s no doubting that his reaction to the situation that he found himself in has revealed a weakness not just to himself, but to the rest of the golfers out there. And, just as with Woods, what ‘fear factor’ he might have had is now gone – for time being at least.

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The Standard Society Package

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1st March - 30th October 2011

The Standard Society Package includes coffee and bacon rolls on arrival, 18 holes of golf and 2 course meal

The Standard Society Package includes coffee and bacon rolls on arrival, 18 holes of golf and 2 course meal

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Monday to Friday £46.00 pp Weekends £53.50 pp

Minimum 12 players. We will be happy to bespoke packages to suit your societies.

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See page 19

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www.hortonparkgolf.com Horton Park Golf Club, Hook Road, Epsom, Surrey, KT19 8QG


0 News

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Evans dusts off his clubs for another shot at glory

brief news in

Gary Evans, the colourful Worthing-born golfer who went so close to winning The Open at Muirfield in 2002, is trying to relaunch his career. Evans, 42, hung up his clubs four years ago to start a player management agency, but after struggling to get new sponsorship deals for his players in the economic recession, he is now trying to rejoin the European Tour himself. His highest profile client has been USbased Brian Davis, who last year was praised for his sportsmanship, after calling a penalty

Aces high at The Weald The senior golfers at the Weald of Kent Golf Club near Maidstone seem to be getting better with age as three holes-in-one were recorded by vets members at the Headcorn-based club in as many weeks. Tony Staples aced the 16th on March 1, Jim Mace repeated the feat at the 13th hole seven days later, while a week later Vets captain Terry Thorpe completed a memorable treble when he bagged his hole-in-one at the tricky 16th.

on himself within sight of victory at the US Tour’s Verizon Heritage tournament. “I have decided go back to my old way of making money,” said Evans, who joined the European Tour in 1992 and made his last appearance in 2006. Although famous for never having won in tournament during his 14-year career, he grabbed the headlines in 2002 when he was in contention on the final day of The Open Championship, where he missed out on a play-off by a single shot.

Woodman cuts down PGA rivals East Berkshire’s Guy Woodman returned to winning ways, with a four-under-par total in the 36-hole PGA South Region Winter Series event held at The Berkshire and Swinley Forest. The two-time Powerade PGA Assistants’ champion shot a four-under 68 over the red course at The Berkshire and followed that up with a level par 68 at Swinley.

Golfers should check if their distance measuring devices are legal for competition

which have a secondary function of measuring length of shots and air temperature. To avoid incurring a breach of Rule 14-3, the penalty for which is disqualification, golfers using these particular devices should ensure these functions are switched off, or the display screen covered with tape.

With many compass applications pre-installed in smart phones, members must either delete them prior to the competition or simply not use, to avoid risk of disqualification. Simon Higginbottom, PGA head of golf operations, said: “Over the last few years we have received some very positive feedback from

Tributes have been flooding in for David Thornham, the former Sundridge Park Golf Club captain, who died from a heart attack mid-way through a round at the Kent course last month. The 73-year-old retired banker from Beckenham was on the fourth fairway when he collapsed. Police and ambulance services were called to the course, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Club chief executive Luke Edgcumbe said: “David’s death was a shock to the golf course and its members. We will work with the family to see if a memorial can be put up.” Mr Thornham joined Sundridge in 1970 and was club captain from 1997 to 1998. Owing to his background, he also served the club’s financial committee.

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W

ith smart phones, power trolleys and numerous types of gadgets being able to perform the function of a GPS system, golf club members are being urged not to fall foul of technology while competing in tournaments. It follows advice from the R&A, the rules governing body, that some products, including certain rangefinders and trolleys, if used in competition, may breach local rules regarding the use of distance measuring devices. Examples include certain models of laser rangefinder that are able to calculate the effects of gradient on distances, along with certain brands of digital electric trolley

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News 0

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embers the membership in terms of being able to use digital measuring devices in PGA events, but the advance of modern technology can cause some very confusing situations, and in the worst case, some very unpleasant rule breaches which ultimately result in disqualification. Happily there are plenty of devices available for purchase which fit fully within the Local Rule, SkyCaddie, the PGA’s official rangefinder, being a prime example of a company who chooses not to build non-conforming attributes into its range.�

Senior moments to savour at Walton Heath

Former Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance took the historic trophy back to Walton Heath Golf Club last month, 30 years after making his debut in golf’s greatest team contest at the Surrey heathland venue. The 2002 winning captain was launching The 2011 Senior Open Championship, which will be played over the composite course used for The 1981 Ryder Cup, when a team from the Continent of European took on the United States on home soil for the first time. Several of the European and American players from that contest are expected to return for the 25th edition of The Senior Open Championship from July 21-24, including Torrance and defending champion Bernhard Langer. Torrance, who has won the European Senior Tour Order of Merit three times, also got his hands on The Senior Open trophy at Walton Heath, a prize which he will attempt to capture for the first time in July. Discounted advance tickets to watch the Senior stars in action are now on sale priced at ÂŁ60 for a season pass and ÂŁ16.50 for any one-day pass booked before July 1. “This year’s Senior Open promises to be a fantastic competition,â€? said Torrance. “To return to Walton Heath, where I made my Ryder Cup debut in 1981, will bring back some special memories for me, even if we lost to probably the greatest ever American team. We got our revenge a few years later though!â€? Tickets can be booked now in advance either via www.europeantourtickets.com or by calling 0800 023 2557.

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Treat Yourself...

ulti-million pound plans to build an 84-bedroom hotel and 40 lodges at Wildwood Golf and Country Club in Surrey have been given the go-ahead. The £30 million pound investment, which will also see the 27-hole club become the southern regional headquarters for the Professional Golfers Association, received overwhelming backing at a planning meeting held in March. The plans will make Wildwood a centre of excellence for junior golf in the region and create over 200 jobs. There were fears that the major boost for sport, tourism and employment would be lost, after local planning officers had advised that the scheme should be turned down because of conflicts with countryside and historic building policies. However, at the meeting of the borough council’s joint planning committee, speaker after speaker called for the ‘exciting’ opportunity not to be lost, acknowledging the outstanding economic benefits of the scheme to the local community. More than 240 letters had been written in favour of the plans, further showing the considerable local support for the project. Wildwood’s managing director, Phil Harrison, said the PGA was committed to

moving to Wildwood, while the Hilton group would operate the hotel and lodge development. Pointing to major golf developments at places like The Belfry, Gleneagles and Celtic Manor, Mr Harrison said: “None of these facilities would have been built if they had not had the support of the local councils to overcome planning issues because of their

location. Each one of these facilities has revitalised the local economy, and at the same time protected their countryside location.” The £30 million investment proposed would, he said, ‘provide jobs both permanent and during construction, a lifeline to local pubs and restaurants and much needed accommodation for the huge number of

Foxhills to host Seve Foundation Pro-Am Special Midweek Four ball Offer

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...more than just a golf club Chislehurst Golf Club, Camden Place, Camden Park Road, Chislehurst, Kent BR7 5HJ Tel: 020 8467 2782 | www.chislehurstgolfclub.co.uk

Last year’s inaugural Seve Ballesteros Foundation Pro-Am at Foxhills Club & Resort raised over £60,000 for Cancer Research UK, and the organisers are hoping to break that record when the tournament returns to the popular Surrey resort later this year. The 2011 Seve Ballesteros Foundation Pro-Am is set for September 19, and will include breakfast, 18 holes of golf with a PGA Southern Region professional, dinner and a raffle. Last year guests were treated to Spanish wines and tapas during the round, while the day’s special guest was Seve’s elder brother, Manuel. Teams of three cost £900. To book a place, email Liam Greasley at liam.greasley@pga.org.uk.


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wood development An artist’s impression of what the new hotel will look like at Wildwood

visitors to the area’. Many speakers agreed the economic, sporting, and educational opportunities presented by the scheme outweighed any environmental concerns, with much emphasis given to the need for hotel accommodation. “I think this is stunning – I think the buildings are stunning, and I think whole concept of this is just what the area needs,” said councillor

Carole Cockburn, adding: “It’s almost a no-brainer.” Wildwood, which is located near the village of Alfold, 10 miles south of Guildford, boasts a 27-hole championship course, which has hosted numerous top-class events since it opened in 1992, including many PGA-backed events. It also has an excellent par 3 course and superb practice facilities, with European

Tour coach Clive Tucker heading up the team of dedicated professionals. With such exciting plans in the pipeline, there has never been a better time to join Wildwood before prices inevitably rise to reflect the quality of the new facilities. Memberships are currently available in all categories, with five-day rates available from as little as £650 per year, with no joining fees.

The Dyke Golf Club

(Est 1906)

Tarchetti full of praise for Prince’s Prince’s Golf Club’s Anthony Tarchetti fired a two-under-par 70 at his home club to win the latest PGA South Region Winter Series. Defying blustery conditions, Tarchetti made the most of his local knowledge to snatch victory by one stroke from JD Lombard. Playing around the Shore and Dunes nines, the same layout that will be played in Final Qualifying for this year’s Open, Tarchetti was full of praise for the changes and improvements made to the historic links course. He said: “Prince’s always was a good layout, with the three nines creating some fearsome 18-hole combinations. Over the last 12 months all the bunkers have

been revetted and several new ones have been created, some at around 280-290 yards for the longer hitters, and some around certain greens to strengthen their defences. The net result is now a superb test of links golf, and even in the depths of winter the conditions are terrific, with greens as good as you’ll find anywhere. Playing fast and true, they undoubtedly helped me sink a few score-making – and saving – putts! This win has put me in the right frame of mind to make a real effort for the South Region’s Order of Merit.” read the U K’s

no.1 go lf pap er on line at golfn ews.co .uk

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

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3 months Trial Membership for £250 (no joining fee) If you decide to join as a full member after your trial period this £250 will be deducted from your first year. For more information contact Megan/Anna on 01273 857296 or email: manager@dykegolfclub.co.uk Quote: (offer-GolfNews)

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Rules ace reveals major ambition

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Audi revs up for Worthing Masters The PGA South Region’s newest Order of Merit tournament has received the backing of a local car dealership. The Caffyns PGA Worthing Masters, which takes place on Worthing’s Lower Course from May 19-20, is being sponsored by Worthing Audi, and opens the 2011 Virgin Atlantic PGA South Region Order of Merit season.

New website for Sweetwoods Sweetwoods Park Golf Club in Edenbridge, Kent has launched a new website designed to reflect the recent investments it has made in key areas such as the new clubhouse and new equipment. The website includes editable members’ profiles, a club calendar and the facility to sign up to club competitions and events online. The site – www.sweetwoodspark.com – also includes a fly-by virtual course, offering a hole-by-hole guide and tips.

A Kent PGA professional has set his sights on making the Ryder Cup and major championships, not as player, but as a referee. Ashley Weller, golf operations manager at Nizels Golf & Country Club, revealed his ambitions after becoming the latest PGA professional Ashley Weller to pass the rigorous examination set by the game’s governing body, the R&A. It has taken the 46-year-old just two years to go from his first refereeing course through to passing the top test with a distinction – with only the top two from the PGA’s own examination accorded the honour of attending the annual R&A Referees School. That success will enable him to be considered as a tournament referee not only for national PGA tournaments and Europro Tour events, but also European Tour events in due course. It could also open the doors to the highest echelons of the game and see him officiate at majors and the Ryder Cup – a status enjoyed by just a handful of PGA professionals since the formation of the PGA Rules Panel. “Since I took my first course I have developed a real passion and enthusiasm for the rules, as there is just so much you think you know but don’t,” said Weller. “Passing the R&A exam with a distinction is incredible. It was a great experience, and now I can start looking at ‘what next’, as this will really open doors. I will be attending national PGA tournaments, starting with the Senior PGA Championship in May, then PGA Europro Tour events, but my ultimate ambition has to be to officiate at Ryder Cup and majors. Ian Taylor, who has been on the Rules Panel about 10 years, did that last year, and I know a few others who have too. That has to be the pinnacle.”

Bullock in charge a

E

ddie Bullock, Woburn Golf Club’s former managing director, has been awarded one of the highest honours in the game following his appointment as captain of the Professional Golfers Association for the next three years. Bullock, an advanced fellow of the PGA, whose club duties now involve being a non-executive director of the Golf@ Goodwood in West Sussex, was one of the first professionals to make the transition from pro shop to full-time club management. He began his career in 1971 as an assistant professional at Roundhay Golf Club in Leeds, progressing to full professional status in 1977 at Bedford and County Club, before taking over as general manager of the entire complex for ten years. He gained an international reputation during his time as managing director of the prestigious Woburn Golf Club, one of the

Master in charge: Eddie Bullock’s first job as captain of the PGA was to go to Augusta

best-known tournament venues in the world, where he controlled the administration of three championship courses – the Duke’s, the Duchess and the Marquess – all rated among the 100 Best Courses in the UK. He was also involved in the organisation of a number of tour events, including the British Masters, the European Seniors Masters and the Women’s British Open. As PGA Captain,

Bullock’s duties will involve attending all the major championships, as well as the 2012 Ryder Cup matches in Medinah. “I am very proud of my association with the PGA. I was delighted to accept the role as captain, and honoured by the fact that my fellow professionals offered me the role,” he said. Sandy Jones, Chief Executive of the PGA, said: “Eddie brings wide and valued experience

9

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from not only golf, but associated business skills from the golf world. We are fortunate he will now bring all those skills and abilities to the Association.”  Previous holders of this position include James Braid, JH Taylor, Harry Vardon, Henry Cotton, Max Faulkner, and Peter Alliss, who all served in the ambassadorial role for an organisation that has 7,500 members, including 1,500 working overseas in 60 countries.    

Despite being consistently rated inside the UK’s top 100 courses, The Addington Golf Club in Surrey has never been one to rest on its laurels, especially since it came under the ownership of Ron Noades’s Altonwood Group in 2006. The historic Croydon-based venue, which first opened for play in 1906, has been on the receiving end of considerable investment of the last five years, and is undoubtedly the flagship venue in Altonwood’s portfolio of four clubs in the South East. The past winter has seen extensive works on a number of aspects of the course, including the complete re-shaping and renovation of 17 bunkers, including all seven that surround the signature par-three 11th hole. In addition, a number of new paths and steps have been built around the tees, including the world famous par-3 13th. A tree and heather-planting programme has also been

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Addington adds polish with new bunkers completed between the 9th and 10th holes, which gives more definition to both. The pace of development will be continuing and work has already been scheduled for this winter to complete the remaining bunkers. A number of other tees will also be addressed. Some of the South East’s top professionals will be able to test out

the changes for themselves when the club stages its first South Region PGA Pro-Am event on July 8. The club is also hosting the annual Ronnie Corbett Classic in June, and the Footballers’ Classic in September. If you’d like to enter a team for any of these events, call Oliver Peel on 0208 7771055 or email oliver.peel@addingtongolf.com.

Young star Proctor chips in for charity A 13-year-old from Berkshire raised £450 for Children In Need last month after tackling a tricky golf challenge at the popular Bracknell Forest Council-run facility. Scott Proctor, who plays off 11 and is a junior member at Easthampstead Golf Club and East Berkshire, set himself the challenge to land as many balls as possible, out of 100, into an upturned golf umbrella 60 yards away. With the expert help of the Downshire’s head professional Wayne Owers, who is also Scott’s coach, Scott managed to get 20 balls into the umbrella and raised £450 for his efforts. Downshire’s manager, Paul Stanwick, was one of many impressed with Scott’s efforts, saying: “Scott’s challenge was a really tough one and I’m really impressed that he managed to get 20 balls into the umbrella. Our team here was more than happy to help Scott out, and our coaches offered him some top tips to sharpen up his chipping.”

‘Trick-shot teen’ Scott Proctor with Paul Stanwick

Blown away by Bonmont Lindfield professional Tim Spence used his local knowledge to master gale force winds and torrential rain around Club de Golf Bonmont in Spain to win The Golf College Challenge with a four-over par 76. Spence, who is one of the coaches at the Sussex Golf College, which is based at Bonmont over the winter, tied for first place with Chris Hudson (Southwood).

Thomas bolts in at Nayland Brocket Hall’s Tom Shadbolt topped the leaderboard at the regional qualifying event for the PGA EuroPro Tour, after carding rounds of 69 and 71 at Stoke by Nayland. He finished two shots clear of Hendon’s Luke Goddard and became one of 240 players who made it through to final qualifying for a chance to earn a place on this season’s EuroPro Tour, which gets underway at Wensum Valley on May 3 with the YourGolfTravel.com European Championship.

SUSSEX BY THE SEA Experience breathtaking views from Seaford Head Golf Course

Summer Sizzler Mid week offer:

n

Coffee & Bacon Sandwich on arrival n 18 holes n Ploughmans or Ham, Egg and Chips after.

£24.00

per head

Price above is for a minimum of 12 people

Please contact The Professional shop for more details, booking forms & quote Golf News Advert for extra special offer. Please see the website for booking forms and terms & conditions

Seaford Head Season Tickets from 1st April 2011 Excellent Value Golf all year round

Price for: 7 Day Adult Price for: 5 Day Adult Price for: 5 Day Senior Price for: Intermediate 2 (26-29) Price for: Intermediate 1 (22-25) Price for: Youth (18-21) Price for: Junior

£470 £358 £312 £300 £200 £100 £60

Direct Debit available

Seaford Head Golf Club, Southdown Road, Seaford, BN25 4JS.  Tel: 01323 890139. Website: www.seafordheadgolfcourse.co.uk


12 Interview

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After having one of his kidneys removed Barham might be forgiven for being a b in remarkably good spirits, as he bids to

Back from the brink

F

orever optimistic and irrepressibly cheerful, Benn Barham laughs and smiles a lot. Even when the Austrian Open was cruelly snatched from his grasp a couple of years ago, when Rafael Cabrera-Bello’s astonishing final round 60 edged him out by a single shot, the 35-yearold from Ashford managed a smile, albeit a wry one. More than either the money or the glory, missing out on the two-year Tour exemption must have been a bitter blow. Because he thinks it’s a privilege to be playing professional golf, Barham believes he has a duty to help others who are less fortunate. Even though he lost his full card, he continued to raise huge sums for Demelza, a charity that offers hospice care to children and support to their families. Although playing mostly on the Challenge Tour last year, Barham was doing well enough before being struck down by stomach pains just before a tournament in Germany. He didn’t feel any better the following week at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles and, after seeing the Tour doctor, was admitted to Stirling Royal Infirmary, where he was kept in overnight. “While I was having an endoscopy in hospital, my partner Jo and daughter Honor were living it up in the Gleneagles Hotel,” he recalls. “And the endoscopist seemed more worried about the tickets to the golf that I promised him, than whether I’d survive.” Survive he did, and shot one under for the first round. “I don’t know how I did that, as I just completely ran out of energy.” Although the endoscopy indicated that his stomach was ‘pristine’, the Tour doctor advised Barham to have an ultrasound examination when he returned home, which he did. The next day he was at his beloved Chart Hills when the doctor rang and told him to come and see him immediately. For once, the smile evaporated, as 35-year-old Barham was told in direct terms that he had a shadow on his right kidney. “I don’t mind telling you, I was very scared, ” he admits. After a scan, he played the following

“Obviously I’ll have to manage my expectations, but I’m determined to enjoy it, because I feel like I’ve been given a second chance, at life and also at my career” week in the Kazakhstan Open, but his mind was elsewhere. The day after he returned, he saw a specialist who confirmed there was a small tumour on the kidney and an operation would be necessary. With his mind in a spin, he flew to Austria and played surprisingly well in the Vivendi Cup. “I made the cut,” he jokes, conscious of the allusion to knives and surgery. The next tournament, the Dunhill Links Championship, was to be his last before an operation on October 12. A keen football fan, and passionate Chelsea supporter,


Interview 13

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d in November, Kent Tour pro Benn bit down. But Clive Agran finds the man o rebuild his career on the Challenge Tour

£ on 15 l

MANNINGS HEATH GOLF CLUB

y

Barham enjoyed the company of Sir Bobby Charlton, Johan Cruyff, Ruud Gullitt and Alan Hansen at St Andrews. “All things considered, I played pretty well. But this was only a couple of days before the operation, and it suddenly hit me as I was coming up the final hole at St Andrews on Saturday that this was the last round I was ever going to play with two kidneys!” He continues: “As I said goodbye to Jo and Honor at Canterbury General Hospital, I did wonder if this was it. Would I wake up? The anaesthetist told me to imagine that I was on the tee of a par three. I was still trying to decide which club to take when I went under. I never did hit that tee shot. “I thought it was going to be keyhole surgery, but there was quite a long wound,” says Barham, lifting his shirt to reveal a significant scar. “And so I asked the surgeon, ‘How big is your door?’” Barely able to shuffle across the ward, he reflected on life’s unpredictability. “One minute it was nothing to play a couple of rounds of golf in a day, and the next it was taking me half the morning to walk 20 yards to the toilet.” A biopsy of the affected kidney confirmed the tumour was cancerous and vindicated the decision to have the whole organ removed rather than just the tumour. Overwhelmed with cards, emails, texts, cakes and biscuits, Barham expressed his deep gratitude for all the support he received from wellwishers. And he also thanked Hugo Boss, who informed him of its wish to continue its sponsorship of him. “Amidst all the bad news, it was marvellous to hear something good. They’re a wonderful company. I’m proud to wear their superb clothing and shall always be grateful to them.”

It wasn’t until early December that he was back hitting balls again, and he accepted an invitation to participate in the Ponte Vecchio Golf Challenge just before Christmas. It’s an event where a dozen or so pros hit balls off the famous old Florence bridge at a couple of floating greens. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t win, but the Barham family were extremely well looked after, and enjoyed a badly-needed break after all the turmoil of the previous few months. Since the New Year, Barham has spent most of his time either in the lovely swimming pool and superb gym at the London Beach Hotel, which is just around the corner from his home in Tenterden, or practising at the supernb facilities at Chart Hills, the club to which he is attached. Recently appointed an ambassador for the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer that raises money and highlights the importance of early diagnosis, he is extremely confident about the future. “My top priority this year is to get my full card back by doing well on the Challenge Tour. I hope to play in a few main Tour events, and would very much appreciate any sponsors’ invites that come my way, but I don’t want to miss any Challenge Tour events.” He made his competitive comeback at the Kenya Open last month, where, after starting brightly with a three-under par 69, he tailed off with a 73 and two 74s over the weekend to finish 63rd. It wasn’t a great start, but it was a start. “I was obviously a bit nervous on the first tee, because it almost felt like I was starting out again,” says Barham. “Obviously I’ll have to manage my expectations, but I’m determined to enjoy it because I feel like I’ve been given a second chance – at life and also at my career.”

FESTIVAL OF G OLF AT MANNINGS HEATH GOLF CLUB Monday 18th April to Sunday 1st May 2011 Play 18 holes on the Kingfisher Course at a reduced green fee of £15 and enjoy a sandwich after your round… PLUS… join in our action packed fortnight of golf fun including free golf clinics, beat the Pro competition, parent and child tournament, Golfer/Non-Golfer challenge, Golden Easter Egg Hunt and daily opportunities to win exciting prizes. Find out more at www.manningsheath.com/festival book a tee time by calling us on

+44 (0) 1403 210228

or book online at www.manningsheath.com

Mannings Heath Golf Club, Hammerpond Road, Mannings Heath, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 6PG


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Course Review 15

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After successfully hosting two professional events last year, Gatton Manor Golf & Country Club is firmly on the map as a championship venue of rare quality

The par-3 4th hole

Champions walk in the footsteps of

The par-four 10th hole

T

here’s a detectable air of pride buzzing around the clubhouse at Gatton Manor these days, following the popular Surrey club’s triumphant elevation to true championship status as a consequence of hosting the PGA Surrey Open and a Jamega Tour event last year. The South Region PGA’s decision to stage its most prestigious championships at this highly-regarded parkland course was thoroughly vindicated, with both the tournament committee and many of the players providing positive endorsements regarding the quality of the overall venue and the course. Former European Tour player Mark Mouland, who has become well accustomed to playing on quality courses during his 30year career, was happy to have it on record that he believed the putting surfaces at Gatton were among the best he had ever played on, while many of the players in the field expressed similar sentiments. High praise indeed, for the Ockley-based club that has, up until now, been quietly flying under the radar. The Surrey Open is one of the oldest tournaments on the PGA South Region’s calendar, and boasts an impressive roll call of previous champions, including Neil Coles, Max Faulkner, Dai Rees, and now Andrew Raitt, who carried off the title last summer. The St George’s Hill pro was so enamoured with the resort that he returned for a break with his partner just a week after his finest hour. Talk about a busman’s holiday! With a prize fund of £15,000 on offer once again, the 2011 Surrey Open looks sure to attract another strong entry, with the field limited to 132 players. A pre-tournament Pro-Am takes place on July 4, with the main event concluding on July 6. Lager brand Kronenbourg is once again the headline sponsor, entering the second year of a threeyear commitment to the tournament. The staging of the Surrey Open for a threeyear period is a major feather in the cap of Gatton’s enthusiastic owners, Patrick and Belinda Kiely, an affable couple who have spent significant sums of money over the last six years to take the condition of the course and the facilities up to tournament-level standards. It’s heartening that the

Looking back to the clubhouse from behind the first green

The entrance to the 18th green is deceptively narrow

Kielys’ passion for customer service and unstinting investment in the facilities is beginning to pay dividends for everyone connected to the club – most importantly, its members and visiting guests. Central to Gatton’s success has been the development of the ‘Gatton brand’. Based on a set of values that include key qualities like ‘warmth’, ‘welcoming’, ‘contemporary’ and ‘inclusive’, a complete identity was created and implemented with professional attention to detail. From the entrance signage to the scorecard, from the website to the members’ newsletter, you know you’re somewhere special. The Gatton brand values have also been translated into a customer care strategy and staff training programme that many clubs would do well to learn from. Besides the growing numbers of highly satisfied customers for golf days, functions, societies and weddings, it has also earned Gatton three major business awards in the last two years, and a reputation for excellence when it comes to hospitality. Gatton’s brand goes to the core of the offering, and it shows.

TAKE A TEST DRIVE AT GATTON Anyone wishing to sample what Gatton Manor has to offer should call the club directly to register for a trial membership round. Guests should quote ’GOLF NEWS’ when making their booking. To book a team for the Surrey Open Pro-Am on July 4 call 01306 627555. Teams of three, plus a pro, cost £350.

One of the main reasons for the PGA deciding to move the Surrey Open to Gatton was the quality of the course, which has come on significantly with a massive investment in new drainage, course machinery, and above all, staff. The course improved dramatically under the stewardship of Paul Hobden, one of the most experienced course managers in the game, but his skills didn’t go unnoticed, and last year saw him lured away to the New Zealand Club. Taking his place was Rob Sebbage, who joined from nearby Rusper, and brought a wealth of experience with which to take the club forward. He has seamlessly continued Paul’s legacy, and has overseen further improvements to the overall quality of the playing surfaces, with particular attention paid to drainage on and around the greens. As the pros have already discovered, the 6,629-yard, par-72 layout presents an enjoyable, yet testing challenge. The management was slightly concerned that the current generation of big-hitting pros would bring the course to its knees last year, but that proved to be far from the case, with Raitt’s winning score of eight under par for 54 holes showing that the course is no pushover. Hampshire pro James Ablett, who led the Surrey Open after the first round, summed up the challenge perfectly. “I’d never played Gatton before, and I found the course really tricky to play,” he said. “The holes I thought I could be aggressive at turned out to be the ones I needed to treat with more respect, and then some that I played safe on proved to be the ones for a more aggressive approach! The greens were in great condition, but they’re fast and sloping, and you can three-putt in a heart beat if you get on the wrong side of the hole.” That statement will ring true with many members and recent visitors who have seen the transformation of the course from a somewhat boggy winter experience to a much more consistent year-round playing surface, with those sloping greens becoming fearsomely quick in the summer. Designed by Commander John Harris, who

worked closely with Harry Colt and Mackenzie during their heyday, Gatton’s undulating greens closely follow the styles of these particular geniuses of golf course design. Harris made the most of the architectural and environmental opportunities, with signature holes like the sixth. Harris also created Gatton’s famous USP, and at 645 yards, the par-five 17th is the longest in the South East. Yet while the other 17 holes have locally-sourced names like ‘Holden Wood’ and ‘Gatton Copse’, Kiely called the 17th ‘Tipperary’, partly because he’s from that very place, and partly because as the song goes, ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary.’ Throughout the course, tree-lined fairways offer an ever-changing narrowness that helps concentrate the mind, while a multitude of natural hazards, including lakes, ponds, streams and ditches, place a further emphasis on accuracy and comprehensive course management. Add to that some notoriously small greens – many of which are tilted and contoured to varying punishing angles – and you have a course to quicken the pulse at every turn. Bagging a tee time couldn’t be easier, with online booking available for both members and guests. Green fees for the summer period have been set at £35 during weekdays and £45 at weekends, while annual seven-day membership costs £1,029, with no joining fee. For those who can’t commit to an annual membership, but want to play here on a regular basis, the club has a ‘Friends of Gatton’ loyalty scheme which costs nothing to join and offers up to £10 off advanced green fee bookings, as well as preferential rates at the hotel, and free room upgrades. Over 170 people became ‘Friends’ last year, with a good number subsequently going on to full membership. Gatton’s popularity as a golf break destination continues apace, with the 12 bedrooms in the Manor House and six suites in the clubhouse creating the ideal getaway for a golf break for groups of all sizes. Each ensuite room has its own design and layout, with quality touches that set it well apart from rivals in the golf market, including flat screen TVs and wireless broadband. The hotel also boasts extensive business and conference facilities, along with function rooms for weddings and private family events. So whether you are looking for somewhere to join, to bring a society, or simply turn up for a casual game with a friend, or even host a wedding, Gatton Manor has truly championship credentials. Gattom Manor, Standon Lane, Ockley, Surrey RH5 5PQ. Tel 01306 627555. www.gattonmanor.co.uk


16 News

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See the stars in action at Golf Live NOW OPEN! The NEW Palmerston Golf Academy at Brocket Hall Book now for game improvement courses hosted by short game guru and Golf Monthly columnist Barney Puttick and European & Asian Tour winners

Sam and Jo Head

For more information please call Louis Matamala on 01707 368740 or email palmerstonacademy@brocket-hall.co.uk Brocket Hall, Welwyn, Hertfordshire, AL8 7XG

After a successful launch in 2010 at Stoke Park, public golf show Golf LIVE returns to the south east next month, but this time with the London Golf Club in Kent playing as host venue to the ground-breaking consumer golf event

R

yder Cup winning Captain Colin Montgomerie will once again be headlining Golf LIVE, which takes place between May 20-22, and promises to give guests an authentic ‘inside the ropes’ experience with some of the biggest names in European golf. This year’s line up includes some of the most popular figures in the modern game, including Darren Clarke, Retief Goosen, Paul McGinley, Ian Woosnam, Thomas Bjorn, Thomas Levet, David Howell and Michael Campbell, as well as two up and coming stars in Welshman Rhys Davies and Spanish sensation Pablo Larrazabal. After hearing about last year’s inaugural event, which was attended by over 11,000 golf fans, Ryder Cup hero Clarke is predicting an even more exciting experience for golf fans in 2011. “I’m sure everyone will have a great time and will enjoy getting involved in the banter between the players and spectators. It’s brilliant to see that the fans can get so close to the professionals, and I’m sure we can pass on a few tips to help improve their game and ensure a memorable experience for everyone.” Other famous faces helping out with presenting some of the action will include Sky Sports golf presenter Di Dougherty (née Stewart), and BBC commentating trio Peter Alliss, Iain Carter and Andrew Cotter. Over the course of three action-packed days, attendees at the event will be witness to a feast of golf, including a range of masterclasses from the pros, giving expert tips on how to improve all aspects of the

game, from tee to green and a three-hole Pro Celebrity challenge. There will also be the chance to see trick shot star Jeremy Dale performing some of his most outrageous shots, and a host of golf exhibitors offering one-off deals to Golf LIVE visitors. There are plenty of new additions to Golf LIVE 2011, including the Driving Range Theatre and the dedicated Growing the Game Junior Golf area, which will be hosted by the Golf Foundation, the Lee Westwood Golf Academy and the Kent County Golf Partnership. Junior golfers will be able to participate in a host of activities, including masterclass sessions with Westwood Academy coaches, expert tuition from PGA Professionals, a unique Tri-Golf game and the Golf Roots Challenge. And one lucky junior will win an exclusive prize to play with World No.2 Lee Westwood, while plenty more golf goodies will be given away throughout the actionpacked weekend in Kent. Rhys Davies, who was last year’s European Tour Rookie of the Year, and 19-year-old Pablo Larrazabal, winner of the French Open in 2008, will be appearing in the ‘Growing the Game’ area during the event to pass on tips and their Tour experiences to youngsters hoping to emulate the talented duo one day. All of this will take place at the stunning London Golf Club, near Brands Hatch, host of the 2008 European

Open. Tickets to the event gives visitors exclusive access to the highlyacclaimed Jack Nicklausdesigned Heritage Course, the driving range, putting green and other facilities. Chris Hughes, chief executive of show organiser’s Brand Events, said: “Golf LIVE is an event unlike any other, and after the success of last year inaugural show, we are delighted about the prospects for this year. Golf LIVE is the only event that really breaks down the barriers between players and the audience, allowing them to fully interact with each other. The London Golf Club will be a wonderful host and the line-up is truly world class.” Tickets to next month’s event start from £45, while VIP tickets cost £75, which offer entry to the event, access to the masterclass theatres and hub, exclusive access to VIP tent overlooking the 18th hole and Monty’s Masterclass; a glass of Champagne on arrival, private bar, and a player Q&A session. All juniors under 16 are free with a paying adult. No tickets are being sold on the gate.

For all ticket information and sales please visit www.golfliveevent.com or call 0844 847 2407.


Play a Piece of History... April and May prices start from £55 per person, for 18 holes including Coffee and Bacon Roll A top-class field assembled in the desert playground of Contact us today on: 01304 611118 or email: office@princesgolfclub.co.uk Scottsdale, Arizona, to compete in The Scottsdale Classic Pro-Am, one of the PGA’s premier winter pro-am events, which immediately follows the PGA Tour’s WM Phoenix Open. The week-long event climaxed with European Challenge Tour Player Craig Lee shooting a superb 64 a We-Ko-Pa to claim his first Pro-Am Tour title. Lee opened with a 66 at the exclusive FireRock Country Club, and followed it with rounds of 70 at both Quintero and Superstition Mountain. Pro-Am Tour regular Simon Lilly (pictured) briefly threatened after a third round 69, but had to settle for second place after Craig Lee’s magnificent last round set up a twelve shot victory. Darren Prosser was third and James Ablett fourth. Lee also won the mid-week Challenge Day at TPC Scottsdale, which was presented in magnificent condition with the grandstands still in place from the previous week’s PGA Tour event.

The Lodge at Prince’s will be available from late 2011, please visit www.thelodgeatprinces.co.uk for further details

Prince’s Golf Club is managed by Troon Golf ® the leader in upscale golf course management.

Princes Golf Club, Sandwich Bay, Sandwich, Kent CT13 9QB

Visit our website www.princesgolfclub.co.uk


18 Course Review

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Boasting a beautifully-presented 18-hole parkland course and an on-site lodge hotel, The Weald of Kent is the perfect venue for a quick round or an extended golf break

O

ne golf club that seems to have benefitted more than most from the recent economic slowdown, is The Weald of Kent, a handily-placed 18hole course situated 10 minutes south of Maidstone, in what is geographically known as the Low Weald. The Weald’s success is in large part down to the fact that it perfectly meets the demands of golfers who are in search of nothing more or less than an entertaining round of golf in pleasant surroundings, at a club where everyone, regardless of age or skill level is met with a warm welcome. And, perhaps more pertinently, in these difficult financial times, it’s also excellent value for money. The club was built in 1991, at the height of the last economic boom, when farmers all over the country were converting their surplus land into pay-and-play venues in response to the R&A’s request for 700 more courses to meet the demand. Located within an easy drive for a large swathe of the population of Mid Kent, it was a success from the outset, but has become even more so since it was leased from the farmer in 2003 and came under the stewardship of local businessman Paul Street, whose company, Weald Golf Course Ltd, has run the club for the past eight years, investing both business acumen and significant sums of money into making it one of the most popular proprietary-owned clubs in the area. The star of any club’s show should always be its golf course, and The Weald’s par 70, 6,310-yard parkland layout is quite rightly regarded to punch way above its £23 weekday green fee (£30 at weekends). Set in rolling Kent countryside with farreaching views of The Weald, the course is superbly maintained, while its many changes in elevation, combined with numerous lakes, ditches and well-placed hazards make it a challenge for even the most confident of players. Thankfully, the fairways are wide enough to be forgiving enough for higher handicappers, while the numerous bunkers, although cleverly placed, are generally shallow enough to extricate yourself from without too much trouble. The course has earned an enviable reputation for the speed and consistency of its putting surfaces – another great selling point for a club with such a modest green fee. Despite being based on clay, the course is open all year round – snow excepted – and the management prides itself on ensuring that golfers never have to endure the joyless experience of playing on temporary greens or all-weather mats. There are thrills and spills a plenty to be enjoyed during any round at The Weald, with the notorious par-five ninth and parfour 18th holes, featuring water in front and behind their respective greens. The nines were switched around a few years ago, with the result that the 18th now finishes directly in front of the clubhouse, ensuring a grandstand finish to any round. Last year a The 9th hole features a testing water carry

Welcome to

The Weald Headcorn Lodge

There are 19 comfortable rooms for guests to stay in

diver fished out over 13,000 balls from the lake that figures on these two holes, so you won’t be alone if your ball finds trouble here. With ditches of varying sizes coming into play on over two-thirds of the holes, accurate placement off the tee is vital, while laying up or going for the green offers numerous risk and reward options for all levels of player. The short holes are particularly challenging, with the 151-yard eighth requiring pinpoint shot execution to

miss the bunkers that guard the front and avoid slipping over the back into no-man’s land. The 170-yard 16th presents an even stiffer test, with a 160-yard carry over water to a green backed by three separate bunkers to catch out the overly-aggressive tee shot, and presenting a nervy trap shot back towards the water for your second. The two par-fives, which are the downhill 9th and the uphill opening hole, are not long, but prevailing cross winds, and the aforementioned ditches, make par a perfectly acceptable result on either. All told, the course is fast maturing for its relative youth, and presents a challenge that few golfers will ever tire of taking on, which is the true benchmark of a welldesigned course. Other golf facilities include a 275-yard driving range, a practice putting green, and a full-length practice par three hole, with it own USGA-specification green and two bunkers on which to hone your short game skills. This is used by the head professional Jacques Gous and his team of PGAqualified assistants for lessons. The light and airy clubhouse, with its superb views over the lakes and golf course, features a bar, restaurant, function suites, conference rooms and a large patio area from which to watch the action unfold on the ninth and 18th holes, as it always has a habit of doing. A choice of excellent homecooked food and snacks are served all day, every day, and the Sunday carvery and Wednesday night curries are firm favourites with golfers and non-golfers alike. The clubhouse is also home to the well-stocked pro shop, which has recently undergone a total refit. Offering a wide selection of hardware and soft goods, there

are custom-fitting services for many of the major brands, including Cleveland, Srixon, Mizuno and Benross. Another bonus for the visiting golfer is the Headcorn Lodge, a 19-room hotel located just 100 metres from the clubhouse, which makes The Weald an ideal venue for golf breaks, societies, weddings, conferences and charity events. All the rooms have en suite bathrooms, radio, digital TV, free WiFi, and tea and coffee-making facilities. Summer rates start at just £69pp for a midweek three-course dinner, bed and full English breakfast, and a round of golf, rising to £95pp on Saturdays. With such a great array of facilities, the club not surprisingly boasts a healthy membership, with some 450 golfers spread across no fewer than eight categories. These include traditional seven- and fiveday memberships, as well as a number of credit-based options, which offer pre-paid green fees with discounts related to the number of rounds played. The entry level price for the credit option is £199, which offers up to 10 mid-week rounds – ideal for the time-pressed golfer who wants to hold a handicap and play in club competitions, but can’t commit to weekly games. Although members get three days’ head start on advanced bookings as well as regular competitions, visitors and societies are welcome at all times, including weekends. There is also a very attractive twilight summer green fee of just £14.50 during weekdays, which starts at 2.30pm during the summer, giving plenty of time for later starters to fit in a complete round and enjoy a meal afterwards. All in all, The Weald offers a truly flexible, friendly and fun place to play your golf, whether it be as a member, walk-on green fee or society guest, and you can’t ask for more than that in these tough times. The Weald of Kent Golf Course, Hotel and Business Centre, Maidstone Road, Headcorn, Kent. For bookings call 01622 890866 or visit www.weald-of-kent.co.uk.


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News 21

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here’s a spring in the step of everyone at Lingfield Park Golf Club in Surrey, following the opening of a state-ofthe-art golf academy and the imminent arrival of a EuroPro Tour event. The Right-Sided Golf Academy, which was opened by former heavyweight boxing champion Sir Henry Cooper in November, is already proving a hit with golfers looking to sharpen up their game, with the facility being in high demand over the winter when so many courses closed due to snow. The new academy comprises three practice putting greens, a six-hole practice green, a bunker practice area, a nine-bay outdoor driving range, a covered area for lessons, and a video coaching facility. Located just a few yards from the first tee of the club’s 18-hole course, and opposite the entrance to the recently opened Marriott Hotel and Country Club at Lingfield Park, the new academy is part of a £30 million re-development of the Surrey leisure venue, which includes the famous all-weather racecourse. Chris Morley, PGA Senior Golf Pro at Lingfield, said: “The new facilities provide everything we need for teaching, and will give players extensive

New-look Lingfield under starter’s order

brief news in

Eight men went to mow: Lingfield Park’s greenkeeping team is all set for a busy season with the help of new equipment

practice areas. It also provides us with endless opportunities to attract new people locally at all levels, including beginners or corporate hotel guests who may want a teambuilding type of event.” As well as a newlycreated Golf Academy membership, the new facilities will be open to annual golf club members, day golfers and hotel guests. The club has also recently

You can fool some people... some of the time

Golf News passes on its humblest apologies to the numerous golf societies and individual golfers who had set their hearts on playing the island green located off the north coast of Devon that was featured on page six of the March issue. Although it looked a tempting prospect indeed, sadly the image had been digitally doctored and was but a figment of someone’s over-fertile imagination, and was our idea of an April Fool. We didn’t receive quite as many requests to play it as we did a few years back, when we featured a US aircraft carrier that had supposedly been converted into a three-hole course – but enough to think that when it comes to playing great golf holes, most of us are willing to suspend our disbelief, if only for a few minutes. We have no intention of naming and shaming those who fell for the fool – you know who you are (and so do we)!

benefitted from the arrival of £235,000 worth of new groundskeeping machinery, which has further strengthened the equipment armoury available to both the racecourse and the greenkeeping teams. An ambitious development has seen the reconstruction of the first two holes, among other improvements, and the building of the golf academy with a new Last year’s Disabled British Open held at East Sussex National Golf Resort & Spa proved so popular that it has spawned an additional event for junior golfers when it returns later this year. The first youngster to sign up for the inaugural Junior Disabled British Open is a 16-year-old with cerebral palsy, for whom the event will be the culmination of a year’s lobbying. Richard Warren, a 28handicapper from Ascot, was so enthused with last year’s Disabled British Open golf championship that he immediately contacted organisers to enquire why there wasn’t a junior event. And the event’s organisers were so impressed with the teenager’s enthusiasm and dynamism that they worked with him to launch this year’s inaugural Junior Disabled British Open. Richard is a member at Mill Ride, where he gained a junior scholarship

dual-level putting and chipping area. Head greenkeeper Kevin Weller, who heads up a team of eight staff, is delighted with the progress being made out on the course, which has to match up to those throughout the Marriott group of country clubs. “We have made a lot of changes to our equipment, and the high specification of John Deere machinery helps us to meet the more demanding workload involved with a busier course – whether that is lighting kits for earlier starts or mowers that can cut cleanly in heavy dew.” The high standards have already reaped rewards – in August, Lingfield is to host a round of the

PGA EuroPro Tour, which will see many of the country’s leading young professionals take on the 6,457-yard layout. There is a wide range of packages available for golfers, including those that offer an afternoon or evening at the races following a round of golf. Guests wishing to make a break of it can opt to stay in the award-winning fourstar Marriott Hotel, which was opened last May. It offers 116 bedrooms, a selection of private and hospitality suites, a spa and a restaurant. The hotel also incorporates a new clubhouse, pro shop, changing facilities and dedicated golf lounge. For details call 01342 831761 or email cmorley@ lingfieldpark.co.uk.

Disabled Open returns to ESN to help fund his game. “There are very few junior disabled golfers, and even fewer opportunities to bring young disabled golfers together, so I am hoping the Junior Disabled British Open will encourage other young disabled kids to come and play and be inspired by their peer group. “With the possibility of golf entering the Paralympics in the future I feel it is the right time to introduce disabled junior golf into the public domain and to encourage more disabled young people to enjoy the sport. Through the development of the

first Junior Disabled British Open, I hope to inspire and encourage other young disabled juniors to pursue their passion and realise their potential.” The event, for disabled youngsters aged between 12 and 18, will run alongside the third annual Disabled British Open from August 20-21. The 2010 event – the first to be played at the current venue – attracted a full field of 72, with ages ranging from 16-71, and travelling from as far afield as South Africa, Pakistan, Spain, Ireland and Germany, in addition to a strong UK contingent.

Rider to host charity day at Richmond Former BBC TV sports presenter Steve Rider is to host a golf day on behalf of the national disability charity United Response at Richmond Golf Club in Surrey on July 18. The day, which costs £600 for a team of four or £175 per person, includes breakfast, 18 holes of golf, and a three-course lunch followed by an auction and a Q&A session with the former BBC golf coverage presenter. To book a team, visit www. unitedresponse.org.uk or call 020 8246 5200.

Cornish bags contract from Callaway Kent PGA Professional James Cornish can look forward to the backing of one of the biggest brands in golf after being awarded a staff player contract with Callaway Golf for the coming season. Cornish, who is the Director of Golf at Chart Hills Golf Club, has been given a full set of Callaway woods and irons, and will be carrying a Callaway staff bag and wearing its latest range of branded clothing. “I have played with Callaway clubs and balls for the past three years and have great confidence in this new equipment, which has been custom fitted to suit my game,” said James. Chart Hills is an officially-recognised Callaway Golf Fitting Centre and has just taken delivery of the latest range of woods and irons, including the new RAZR Hawk driver.


22 News

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Party at the park!

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orton Park Golf Club’s open weekend, which coincided with the Masters, proved a swinging success, with over the one thousand golfers from the area flocking to sample the facilities at the popular Epsom-based venue. Big crowds gathered to watch the pro’s grudge match, a Ryder Cup-style event where two teams of pros played head-to-head. In the end, faces were saved as an honourable half was negotiated, but not without birdies on no fewer than four of the last five holes, almost mirroring the efforts of newly-crowned Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel. Guests were royally entertained by trick shot specialist Paul Barrington, who put on a great show with stunts such as driving over 200 yards with a putter, hitting golf balls off

Rookies at the ready Young golfers in Surrey wishing to take part in this season’s Rookie Golf Tour need to get their entries in quickly, as places are filling up fast, with spaces only available at events being held at Goal Farm and Foxhills. This season’s tour, which is open to U12 and U14 year-olds, includes 11 tournaments, and began at West Byfleet on April 11.

Claridge’s class act Sam Claridge, a member of England’s A squad, has become the second successive Hertfordshire player to win the Berkhamsted Trophy. The 20-year-old from Harpenden Common blitzed the field with an opening six-under-par 65, then stayed ahead with a second round 73 to win by four shots from Berkhamsted’s own Sam Cutting.

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Redbourn Golf Club in Hertfordshire has embraced the world of modern-day communications by becoming the first club in the country to host a competition based around the social media revolution. The Twitter Pairs Cup – a better-ball Stableford competition – is designed to celebrate the launch of the St Albans club’s new Twitter account. The competition will be played on May 13, and is open to members and non-members, the only criteria being that players must be followers of Redbourn on Twitter – through which application details will be posted. A number of prizes will be up for grabs, including one for ‘Tweet of the Day’.

Paul Barrington wows the crowd at Horton Park with his trick shot show

five-foot high tees, using clubs as bendy as a piece of rubber, and hitting shots with a driver that was at least 10 feet long. There was plenty of more conventional golf tuition on hand, with dozens of children enjoying lessons with Horton Park’s team of professionals in

Kids coaching proved a big draw over the weekend

Redbourn launches Twitter Cup... in 139 words

glorious sunshine. Horton Park’s owner, Richard Haygarth, who has invested significant sums in upgrading the facilities at the club since buying it in 2009, was delighted with the turnout. “It was great to see so many people, including lots of new faces, enjoying the facilities here. We’ve done an awful lot of work over the past two years, but there are always things to do. We decided the changing rooms and driving range needed a lick of paint and we only managed to finish them on the evening before the open day!”

Bankers go for broke at Brocket

Teams are now able to enter the sixth annual Banks and Brokers Golf Championship, which culminates with a grand final in Spain in October. The event, which is being sponsored by Extrabet, provides golfers from the financial services sector with the chance to battle for golfing supremacy among their peers. A maximum of 18 teams of four will scrap it out in two qualifying events being held at Brocket Hall on June 6 and East Sussex National on July 1, with the top teams winning the right to jet off to Antequera, near Malaga, for a two-day final, where guests will enjoy free flights and transfers, two rounds of golf and five-star accommodation at the Hotel La Magdelena. For entry details visit www. banksandbrokersgolf.com.

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News 23

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London Club wins hotel approval

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The new hotel will increase the London Club’s attractiveness as a future tour venue

he London Golf Club has been given a massive boost in its ambitious plans to become one of Europe’s major golf desintation after winning planning approval to build a five-star hotel and accompanying leisure and conference facilities on the site of the Brands Hatch-based club. Following a 15-month consultation process with Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, the project has finally been given the go-ahead. The government’s green belt policy has come under severe pressure in recent years, with planners being pushed to approve schemes to attract business growth and create new employment. The club

says the hotel could create up to 300 jobs, as well as attract future tournaments, following its successful staging of the European Open in 2008 and 2009. Austen Gravestock, general manager at the London Club, said: “We are delighted with the result of the planning meeting, although there is still a lot more to do. Some of the planning requirements were quite lengthy and until the council had those they weren’t willing to put it live as a received decision. It did slow the process down, but in a way it’s good they wanted it in advance, because it shows the application was being taken seriously.” The new 130-bedroom hotel is to be located 450 metres from the clubhouse,

Reading launch new academy membership

Exclusive celebrates 30 years in golf

Golfers looking to try out the facilities at Reading Golf Club before committing to full membership are being offered the opportunity to join up as academy members. The Academy Membership is the ideal way to start playing golf, as it gives beginners the chance to try the game before making any investment in equipment or annual fees. Academy members have access to the clubhouse, and the new practice ground and putting green, at anytime during the course of their membership, and access to the golf course anytime between Monday and Thursday and after 4pm at the weekend, subject to availability. Other benefits include special prices for further individual tuition and discounts on range balls at the Leaderboard Golf Centre in Reading. Academy members who subsequently take up full playing membership will receive a loyalty card credit of £50. For full details call on 01189 472909.

and will boast a health spa, swimming pool, gym, function rooms, shops, meeting rooms, and 20 staff bedrooms. There will be parking for over 250 cars, including 48 underground. Though parts of the hotel will reach four storeys high, they will be hidden in valleys so as to reduce their impact on the environment. The European Tour and the English Golf Union were among several influential golfing bodies to lend their support to the club’s hotel bid, with John Petrie, chief executive of the English Golf Union, saying: “I have no doubt this hotel would enhance the ability of London Golf Club to bid for and host events of the highest calibre.”

One of the most successful family-owned hotel and golf groups in the UK is celebrating 30 years since it foundation. The business began in 1981, when founder Giuseppe Pecorelli, a former director of the Trusthouse Forte Group, purchased Pennyhill Park Hotel in Bagshot. Over the next ten years, the family added three more hotels and two golf clubs – Mannings Heath in Sussex and the Manor House in Wiltshire – to its portfolio. All four hotels are now ranked among the AA’s Top 200 and hold four or five star ratings. Exclusive Hotel’s managing director Danny Pecorelli (pictured left) has carried on the high standards set by his father, who is now chairman of the group. He said: “A core strategy for us is operational excellence. If the product is good, people will still spend that money – but your product, your service offering, your food offering, the whole package must be spot on.” As part of the 30th year celebrations, Exclusive’s golf operations manager, Steve Slinger, is joining over 200 cyclists on a marathon 300-mile sponsored cycle ride in a bid to raise more than £30,000 for cancer research. He will be joined part of the way by staff, guests and supporters, as he faces the daunting task of completing the entire route between the five hotel venues over four days. The four-day challenge begins at Fanhams Hall Hotel in Hertfordshire on July 20 and ends with a gala diner at South Lodge Hotel in West Sussex on July 24.


24 Interview

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by Alistair Tait

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any people in golf are asking the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” question about Padraig Harrington these days. Why would the Irishman make major swing changes after winning three majors? Why change a winning formula? To ask these questions is not to know Padraig Harrington. Harrington spent four weeks of a six-week winter break revamping the swing that won him two Open Championships and the USPGA Championship in the space of just over a year. Under the tutelage of swing coach Bob Torrance and biomechanics expert Dr Paul Hurrion, Harrington made at least eight major swing changes. “We’re going to have a while for this one,” says Harrington, when asked about the changes he had made. “Probably the biggest change I’ve made is I’ve changed my trigger to take the club away in my routine. I used to take the club away from a moving position. I now take the club away from a static position. I used to have a big squat to take the club away, so that’s gone. I’m taking the club away without my hips so there’s a much smaller hip turn – a much bigger coil but a smaller hip turn.” That’s just his golf swing. Harrington has changed his putting routine, too. He felt he needed to improve that part of his game, because he wasn’t holing enough short putts. “From seven feet out, I probably was ranked 150th, so I’ve changed my putting routine. I’m not standing off the ball when I’m taking my practice putts. I’m practice putting over the ball. When you see a raw beginner, they often do that. When they take a practice putt, they lift it up and do it over the top of the ball. I’m doing that, so when I put the putter back down, I’m not adjusting anything.” Anyone surprised by these massive changes shouldn’t be. Just ask Bob Torrance. “He never stops thinking about his swing,” Torrance says. “He’s always thinking of ways to improve, always asking me questions. Sometimes I have to tell him to stop thinking.” Harrington never seems to shutdown, even when he is not at a tournament. Several years ago, a representative of Wilson Golf, Harrington’s long-time equipment sponsor, enjoyed an overnight stay at Harrington’s Dublin home. The visitor awoke at 2.30am and heard a strange clicking noise. He wandered through the hallways of the Harrington household to try to discover the source of the noise, and

“The competition for me is always with myself. Always, always it’s a battle with myself”


Interview 25

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Not content with bagging three majors and millions of euros, Padraig Harrington has gone back to basics this winter to try and rediscover the magic that took him to being the hottest player in the world just three years ago

Paddy’s Progress Harrington is bidding to recapture the form that saw him win three majors in 18 months

eventually stumbled upon Padraig’s indoor practice facility to find him hitting golf balls in his pyjamas. So Harrington’s swing changes are all part of the psyche of a man who is always trying to better himself. That’s not surprising considering we’re talking about a player who has planned his career carefully. “I always believe you should steadily progress,” Harrington says. “You should always feel very comfortable in your surroundings before you move on. Once you get to that stage where you feel there is greater progress to be made by moving on, then you should go.” The Dubliner has lived by this credo throughout his career. He has always made sure he’s paid his dues, before he’s tried to move to the next level. Harrington played in three Walker Cups before he turned professional. He made sure he had done everything he needed to do in the amateur game before he climbed into the pro ranks. “I realised at that time that everybody I had played against in amateur golf and beaten had turned pro. My decision basically came down to this: I had played six straight Home Internationals from 1990 to 1995, and I played European Championships in between, and I never lost

a singles match. I played the best players on the opposing teams and they never beat me. That was the only reason I turned pro. I beat guys that were being hyped up as going to be the next great player. I decided that if they were good enough, then I was too, since I had beaten them all.” It took him only one attempt to get his Tour card, but he did not start out looking to set the European Tour on fire in that first year. “I had hoped to make it as a journeyman pro on the European Tour. That was my goal. I felt if I could get inside the top 100 then that would be an achievement. I set my targets at 75-100 for my first couple of years and felt that if I could achieve that then I could perhaps boost myself up to between 50-75. That was my outlook – that maybe I could plod along and get to the next level.” Although Harrington turned pro with a certain amount of trepidation, it didn’t take him long to realise he had the right stuff to make it. In fact, it only took one tournament for Harrington to see the mountain he had set out to climb was more foothill than Everest. He journeyed to the FNB Player’s Championship in February 1996, more in hope than expectation. He only got into the field because the six players above him on the alternate list refused to take the 12-hour

flight to Durban, South Africa. It turned out to be a major turning point in his life. “I made the cut, and I made £1,865.59, and I remember ringing my mother and saying: ‘Mom, they’re just giving money away out here’. I didn’t think I could have played worse, yet I won what I thought was a fortune. From then on I just put my head down and kept playing. In no time I had three top tens, and then I won the Spanish Open, and all I was doing was trying to learn. I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t to this day.” Such was his disbelief that Harrington would turn up at the start of each year wondering if he could still play the game. That doubt has dissipated as the years have gone by. Three major championships are enough to do wonders for anyone’s confidence. Maybe that’s why he has made the changes he’s made now. Or maybe it’s all part of his grand plan. “You always want to get better. I was world No.3 when I won three Majors, and I didn’t think I would get to world No.1. I wanted to improve and try and get there. So I felt I had plateaued at that stage. I had been working before that on trying to change things. A lot of this work is coming from two, three years prior to me winning the majors. So I just haven’t been able to really get to grips with it. I do feel like it’s coming around now.” Harrington reaches a big milestone this year when he turns 40 in August. He hasn’t really been a factor in the majors since winning the 2008 USPGA Championship. Maybe that’s another reason why he’s made the changes he’s made. Rest assured, though, that the Dubliner still feels he can get back on top of the world. “I’m probably closer to world No.1 than I was when I was third in the world [he is currently 34th]. So the incentive is out there for any of us to have a bumper year. If I get out of the blocks this year and win half a dozen times, come the end of the year, I’ll be world No.1. It’s a great situation to be in.” Not many would agree with that statement given the massive changes he’s made over the winter and the barren spell he’s been through in recent years. Harrington won’t be worried though. “The competition for me is always with myself. Always, always it’s a battle with myself.” He’s always won those battles. No reason to think he won’t win this one, too.


26 Competition

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The format is Better-Ball or Individual matchplay with a maximum of 4 rounds before the Regional Finals. Matches are played regionally with minimum traveling and on a mutually convenient date and time with up to five weeks to play each round. Complimentary or reduced green fees. Courtesy of the course is often granted, but any green fees payable will be charged at the member’s guest rate and shared between competitors.

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Course Review 29

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Pedham’s the place to be!

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or many long-standing visitors to Pedham Place, the disappearance of the collection of Portakabin huts that once housed the clubhouse facilities will be the cause of much heartache. The ‘temporary’ structures have stood there ever since the centre first opened in 1996, and had become part of the furniture – in fact, the furniture – of the place for many a member. OK, so it was no palace, but it had soul and it had warmth, thanks to the staff that ran it, rather than anything so fancy as underfloor heating. However, nothing in this life is forever, and if the new and somewhat more solid structure that now replaces those much-loved sheds has been a long time coming, it has definitely been worth the wait. Such has been the euphoria surrounding the opening of the new £1.3 million clubhouse at the popular Swanley-based centre, that a two-day celebration was held last month to mark its arrival. The resulting 48-hour jamboree included a trick show by world long drive champion Paul Barrington, a charity golf day and a gala dinner, where all those connected with the club enjoyed a great evening’s entertainment, which was rounded off in fine style by comedian Adjer Brown. The golf day that followed the gala dinner opening was a huge success, attracting more than 150 golfers from across the country, as well as London Irish rugby professionals Bob Casey and Brian Blaney. There was plenty to play for, with a BMW (for a hole-in-one) and golfing holidays up for grabs as prizes. The money raised over the two days – the impressive sum of £1,500 – was donated to the local Demelza children’s hospice. Johnathan Callister, chief executive of Pentland Golf and operator of Pedham Place, announced he is to continue raising money for the charity throughout the year, including taking part in a sponsored climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in October, when he hopes to

Following the opening of a brand new £1.3 million clubhouse, Pedham Place Golf Centre in Kent has put itself firmly on the map as an all-round golfing destination raise a further £12,000. Speaking about the open day and the new facilities, he commented: “I’m overjoyed at the turnout for our launch, and the amount we raised for Demelza. We’re all absolutely thrilled with the results of our 10-month development plan, which will provide local people and golfers with superb new golfing and leisure facilities. We’ve worked hard to make Pedham Place a centre not just for golfers, but also for local people to come and enjoy themselves too, and I think we’ve achieved that and more.” The Oast House, the apt name given to the new clubhouse, is a truly magnificent structure and, from the outside at least, quite unlike any clubhouse you’ve ever seen, with its typical Kentish conical-shaped roof making it hard to miss as you pull off the A20. However, on the inside, it has got all you’d expect from a modern-day clubhouse. The main building is occupied by a light and airy dining room and lounge, which, as the gala dinner proved, is easily capable of hosting over 120 people. The adjacent Malt Room offers a smart conference facility and private dining venue, while the sparkling changing rooms are a world away from the rather basic facilities that came before it. The outside terrace will be a popular haunt in the summer months, while the bar and lounge are of a quality hard to find at most private golf clubs, let along public facilties. With free wi-fi throughout, it will also be somewhere where guests can hold business meetings and keep in touch with the office, should they need to. Before this stunning new edifice was built, the star of Pedham’s show was always the

Pedham Place’s links-like design presents a refreshing change to many inland parkland courses

The dining room in The Oast House can seat up to 150 guests

course, but The Oast House will certainly give the 18-hole links-style layout a good run for its money, with visiting golfers and societies now blessed with somewhere comfortable and inviting to reminisce over their missed putts and shanked tee shots. Existing facilities at the venue also include a superb nine-hole academy course and 30-bay floodlit covered driving range, which gives golfers the opportunity to further hone their skills, while the PGolf coaching academy provides the infrastructure to take your game to the next level whatever your starting point. The 18-hole Championship Course, which was designed by John Fortune, is best described as being the closest you’ll find to a links course without having to make a trip to the seaside. With firm, fast-running fairways and receptive, undulating greens – many of which are raised – course management is always at a premium at Pedham. Although the fairways are wide and free from trees, there are several blind tee shots and approaches, as well as tricky dog-legs which place a big emphasis on positioning yourself well off the tee. The second cut of

rough is penal, and there are plenty of wellpositioned bunkers to ensure you can’t just rip it off the tee without thought. Pedham offers one of the toughest finishes around; the 15th is a 413-yard par four, which turns sharply left at its half way point; the 16th is a 200-yard par three with an elevated green; the par 4 17th has a blind tee shot at the start of its 419 yards; while the 18th, a 136-yard par three over water, provides some relief, but by then your card might well be beyond repair. All in all, it’s a challenging, but exceptionally fun course to play, and makes a refreshing change from the diet of inland parkland courses that we are all too familiar with. And what does all this excitement and entertainment cost? Just £22 during the week, and a mere £30 at weekends. A bargain if ever there was one, especially given that quality of the off-course facilities now match the oncourse experience. Late starters during April can tee off after 2pm for just £15, and £10 after 5pm, while society packages start from just £28 for breakfast and 18 holes, rising to £56 for 36 holes, breakfast, lunch and a twocourse dinner. If you’ve been here before, or if you’ve never had the pleasure, it’s definitely time to look at Pedham Place in a different light.

To find out more about the new facilities, visit www.ppgc.co.uk or call 01322 867 000.


30 News

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Dyson in the hunt for more Trilby glory

New beginnings at Mid Sussex

It’s looking like turning into a battle of the hats at Goodwood later this embers at summer, when the Trilby Mid Sussex Tour visits the spiritual Golf Club can home of the Panama, look forward which is the hat of choice to a series during the Sussex sporting of major improvements to estate’s horseracing the club and its facilities season. Golf At Goodwood following the purchase of member Chris Dyson is set the popular Ditchling-based to defend the prestigious venue over the winter. Trilby Tour Amateur The new owners, a Championship title he consortium led by Mike won last year, and has the Henning, the former head best possible chance of professional at Haywards doing so after Goodwood Heath Golf Club, are was announced as one of investing considerable sums several new host venues in raising the standards at the club, which was bought for the 2011 season. for just over £1.5 million from Dyson clinched the previous owners, The victory in the 2010 Country Club Group. tournament from a Although a number of field of more than 1,000 members drifted away during competitors from recent years, that drain across England, has been rapidly reversed Ireland and following the change of Scotland. ownership, with the new The seven management reporting over handicapper 135 new members signing up scored 40 since January, with sevenpoints in the day membership category final held at The close to being full. Buckinghamshire, Henning and his team have and then fought off wasted no time in making marriot_light_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;’,./ ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:”<>? intense competition changes, with the spacious å∫ç∂´ƒ©˙ˆ∆˚¬µ˜øπœ®ß†¨√∑≈¥Ω`¡™£¢∞§¶•ªº–≠“‘«…æ≤≥÷ ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜Ø∏Œ‰Íˇ¨◊„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿ Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±"'»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ ”“’‘ '" in a four-man playlounge, bar and dining marriot_light_italic_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;’,./ off to be crowned ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:”<>? area already having been å∫ç∂´ƒ©˙ˆ∆˚¬µ˜øπœ®ß†¨√∑≈¥Ω`¡™£¢∞§¶•ªº–≠“‘«…æ≤≥÷ ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜Ø∏Œ‰Íˇ¨◊„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿ Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ ”“’‘ '" champion. redecorated, while planning

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Chart Hills donates £23k to cancer charity Chart Hill Golf Club’s outgoing club captains, Keith Sinclair and Angela Reece, raised the princely sum of £12,170 for their chosen charity, Macmillan Cancer Support, during their year in office. The sizeable sum is being added to the £11,000 raised by club members Steve Hill, Ian Milner, Simon Wilding, Cormac McCarthy, Martin Pawley and Ian Rutland, who all took part in the Macmillan Longest Day challenge, the latter four being the overall winners of the event. The club raffled and auctioned many generous donations from members, as well as fining anyone who found the water on the course’s infamous island 17th hole. Keith Sinclair, said: “We are constantly astounded at the generosity of some people, who dig very deeply into their pockets for charity year after year. This year has been exceptional, and given the economic cloud we are all under, it’s even more astonishing. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that so many people have had some sort of brush with cancer, and so it becomes a very personal charity to be involved with. “

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Take your game to the next level with a 5 day membership at Lingfield Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club. The par 72, 18 hole course is 6511 FUEL yards andYOUR offers a PERFORMANCE. state of the art academy and training facility. Take your game to the next level with a 5 day membership at Lingfield Park Marriott Hotel & Exclusive membership benefits include: priority tee times • Country Club. The par 72, 18 hole course is 6511 food & beverage discount • preferential accommodation yards and offers a state of the art academy and rates • pro-shop discount training facility.

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permission has recently been granted to double the square footage of the current pro shop, which will create one of the largest club-based golf retail operations in the region. Henning, a well-known figure in the Sussex golf industry, has brought his entire team of seven professionals with him from Haywards Heath, making Mid Sussex one of the most wellstaffed clubs in the country. He has also brought with him some state-of-the-art custom-fitting technology, and has opened up four covered bays and two fixed bays on the driving range, which will be used for custom fitting and for providing lessons. Members are now entitled to unlimited free range balls, ideal for practising and preround warm ups. The 18-hole, 6,462-yard

parkland course, which was designed by David Williams and opened in 1995, is also to benefit from significant investment, with new machinery brought in to improve the quality of the playing surfaces. As Mike Henning said: “The course and the club as a whole has suffered from a serious lack of investment in the last few years, so we are trying to get the course back into the shape that members came to expect from the beginning, while at the same time taking the whole club forward. Once the new pro shop has been built, we will have one of the biggest and best custom-fitting and retail operations in the region, and I’m confident we’ll be having to close several categories of membership before too long.”

CREWS HILL GOLF CLUB

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Doug McClelland

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Column News 33

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NickBayly

Golf News’ editor reveals what has caught his eye in the golfing headlines in recent weeks email: editor@golfnews.co.uk

For whom the bells toll... If you’re Appy

M

arriage and golf, in my experience, have thankfully been pretty happy bedfellows. So far. Without the latter, I wouldn’t be able to afford the former, and without the former I’d probably be a tour pro by now with all that spare time and spare money to waste on lessons and practice. There’s a widely held belief that, for the professional golfer at least, marriage is good for business. OK, so not all of them make the cut, or even reach the turn in the opening round, but a good marriage can provide a stable platform from which to launch a stellar career. I’ll admit that Messrs Woods, Faldo and Norman aren’t great examples of monogamous icons, but in terms of general health and happiness, surveys show that those who tie the knot, and keep it tied, are likely to live longer and more contented lives. Coming home to a friendly face, some home cooking and talking to

Ball and chain: Marriage suits some pro golfers better than others

someone not obsessed with golf, must be a blessed relief for the itinerant golf pro who exists on a diet of room service and Sky Sports II for most of the year. With this year being a royal wedding year and all that, it seems that plenty of pros have decided to get in there early before Wills and Kate and ‘do the decent thing’. Heading the list of current tour players to walk down the fairway-shaped aisle is Nick Dougherty, who married the delightful and de-lovely Sky Sports golf presenter Di Stewart

on New Year’s Eve. The couple pledged their troth in St Andrews, scene of Nick’s most lucrative victory in the Dunhill Links three years ago. If I had applied the same principle to my own wedding, I’d have to have got married at Oak Park Golf Club in south London, venue for my best ever medal round – a majestic six-over par 78 -– back in 2001. As it is, I got married at Moor Park Golf Club in Hertfordshire, but sadly the round that preceded the ceremony was only memorable for the cups on the High Course being

full of water before we reached the second green. Inauspicious or what? Other newly-weds on tour this season include habitual bridesmaid Oliver Wilson (did he act as his own bridesmaid?), Simon Dyson, and Surrey’s James Morrison, who had to venture as far as Australia to find his new wife. Scotland’s Marc Warren found wedded bliss much closer to home, while another sad loss to bachelorhood is Swedish heartthrob Johan Edfors, who got hitched in December. Among the older generation, Darren Clarke is expected to remarry later this year following the announcement of his engagement to Alison Campbell during the Christmas break. Boy wonder Rory MciIroy, meanwhile, is probably about as far from getting married as anyone on tour right now, having recently split up with his childhood sweetheart, Holly Sweeney, but we’ll no doubt find out soon enough if he’s re-boarded the love train via his Twitter account.

and you know it...

All of you Apple iPhone users out there – and I include myself in this merry brigade of time wasters – have no doubt been using up hours of your precious time downloading all manner of pointless Applications to help pass the time before the Grim Reaper (also available as an 3D App) comes to delete us from life. I’m now on Angry Birds level four billion, and still gain some deepseated satisfaction from seeing my tiny feathered friends launched unerringly towards their porcine targets. I have similarly wasted countless hours on the equally addictive – and free -– Let’s Golf, and the 59p version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2010. I’ve not really bothered with all the other golf-related apps out there, although one of my regular Sunday partners swears by, and often at, his GolfShot GPS app (£17.99), which has a habit of losing signal just as he’s sizing up the distance of a match-winning approach shot. There are a plethora of swing videos, coaching tips and techniques out there in ‘App world’ for the golf hacker, but also, it seems, for the tour professional who is trying to get his game back on track.

Last month saw Anthony Wall come within a whisker of winning his first tour event since 1999, with only an errant approach to the last green costing him victory in the Sicilian Open. His performance over the week was a vast improvement on recent results, and seemed to come from nowhere. Only later did we learn that he put his improvement on the putting greens down to an iPhone app he’d downloaded during one of the practice days. Having gone almost 12 years since his last European Tour victory, 37-year-old Wall was at the point in his career where he probably would have taken advice from anybody – and that includes an app, which in this case was one produced by short game guru Dave Stockton. “That was the best 59 pence I have ever spent in my life, because his tips have really simplified a few things for me,” Wall said, after his second round. “I have just been looking at the low side of every putt for the last two days, really concentrating on the last third of the putt as opposed to the whole putt, and that has definitely helped me. It was a bargain, I have to say, as you don’t get many valuable lessons for 59 pence these days!” So there you have it, one ‘Appy customer.

The Kent and Surrey Golf Club Edenbridge Are your Golf Subscriptions due for renewal? Thinking of Changing Clubs for 2011? Why not join us here at The Kent and Surrey Golf Club? Fantastic Offer!!! If two or more people join you can enjoy half price membership, £425.00 until March 2012, for a full 7 day unlimited membership…. That's just £35.41 PER MONTH! Joining on your own? You can join for £50.00 pcm until March 2012 *This offer IS NOT open to golfers that have been a member of this club for the previous 12 months. When you join us you will be required to be a member until March 2012

The Kent and Surrey Golf Club, Crouch House Road, EDENBRIDGE, Kent, TN8 5LQ. T: 01732 867381, E:info@thekentandsurrey.com www.thekentandsurreygolf.com


34 News

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Nailcote rings the changes for British Par 3 Championship

N sp for we Se ec m bs e ia o it l nt e o h ff ly er s

Join now at www.golfnews.co.uk/greensaver or call 01273 556377

‘Welcomes all golfers’ Membership & Society golf available Kings Hill Golf Club, Fortune Way, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4GF. Tel: 01732 875040

website: www.kingshillgolf.co.uk

ever one to sit still, the owner of Nailcote Hall Hotel, Rick Cressman, is currently undertaking a number of alterations to the Cromwell Course in preparation for this year’s British Par 3 Championship. He said: “After last year’s event, we decided to plan the course layout to finish on the longest hole which in normal playing use is the seventh. At this year’s championship it will be played as the ninth, swapping places with the traditional 9th hole. This will give spectators a much better opportunity to enjoy the excitement and the great view provided by the grandstand which overlooks the hole.” It has also meant that the finishing hole will be even more spectacular for competitors, spectators and the Sky Sports cameras which will be covering the event from August 9-12. A new water feature, stretching all but 16 yards short of the centre of the

The new water feature will ensure an exciting finish to the Par 3 Championship

green, means 130 yards of the 146-yard hole is threatened by the new pond which has narrowed the safe fairway area by a third. At the same time it has wrapped water around the left hand portion of the 8th green, and any hooked tee shot will also run the risk of finding the new stretch of water. It all looks really attractive, but Cressman adds that the change will add even more bite to a course that is already the most challenging and tough short course in the UK. Spectators will also find some improved viewing areas, so that the superb short game skills of the top pro’s and the celebrities

can really be appreciated and enjoyed. It will be a great challenge and lots of fun for all of the family to enjoy in August, when Tony Jacklin will be leading the star players, along with the past US Senior Open Champion Larry Laoretti. For more information about the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship, visit www.britishpar3.com or call Champions (UK) Plc on 08453 313031. Visitors can also play the Cromwell Course at Nailcote Hall for just £10 for adults and £5 juniors. Call Nailcote Hall on 02476 466174 to check availability of tee times or visit www.nailcotehall.co.uk.

Dale’s skills on show at Sandy Lodge

Talented trick-shot golfer Jeremy Dale will be showing off his skills at the Epilepsy Society’s annual charity golf day held at Sandy Lodge Golf Club in Hertfordshire on May 12. The day includes a late breakfast, putting competition, a team Stableford competition and an evening dinner, prize presentation and raffle. Individual or team places are available at a cost of £400 for a team of four, which includes green fees, on course drinks and meals. To reserve a place, email jo.wengler@epilepsysociety.org.uk or call 01494 601450.

Crowborough offers flexible membership Crowborough Beacon Golf Club in East Sussex has come up with an innovative idea to keep golfers’ costs down, while still allowing the benefits of membership at one of the region’s most historic clubs. The club has launched a new annual

membership category that offers a limited number of rounds of golf for a flat fee of £495. The price of the rounds will vary according to the time of the day, week and month that the round is played, with afternoon

weekdays, for example, being cheaper than a weekend morning, making it ideal for the occasional golfer. The new scheme is to be introduced on May 1, with a strictly limited number of memberships available under this format. Last year, the club introduced a County Membership that offers unlimited golf to those living more than 15 miles from the club for just £599, which attracted golfers from as far away as Eastbourne and Bexhill. For more details on this, and other offers, visit www.cbgc.co.uk or call 01892 661511.


SPECIAL 4-PAGE bmw pga Championship Preview PULLOUT

Wentworth Club, Surrey, May 26th-29th, 2011

l Khan

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l Ernie

Els takes you round the stunning West Course

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Don’t miss you chance to see the world’s four major title holders battle it out for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth

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36

BMW PGA Championship

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Next month’s BMW PGA Championship, which takes place between May 26-29 at Wentworth Club, sees the cream of European golf – including all the current majors winners and the majority of the Ryder Cup team – assembled for four days of top-class competition

Heroes welcome!

T

he BMW PGA Championship has always been judged to be one of the crown jewels of England’s sporting schedule, with Wentworth’s stunning West Course sparkling in the early summer sunshine, and this year’s renewal promises to shine even brighter, with arguably one of the strongest fields in recent history due to line up for the European Tour’s flagship event. With Europeans dominating the official world rankings – including holding six of the top 10 places – many of the world’s top performers will be collectively on show for the first time in the UK outside of a major championship or the Ryder Cup. Thanks to the generous backing of BMW, which is now entering its seventh year as title sponsor, the PGA Championship is always a highly anticipated event in the European Tour’s season – but next month’s tournament

brings together all four current major winners in US PGA champion – and current world No.1 – Martin Kaymer, US Open Champion Graeme McDowell, Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen and last month’s US Masters winner Charl Schwartzel. Sandwiched in between these four titans are World Nos 2 and 3 in Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. Following its £6.5 million renovation in 2009, the historic West Course has been transformed into one of the most majestic inland layouts in championship golf. And with further alterations having been made over the winter to take into account comments made by players at last year’s championship, the 2011 West Course will provide an equally testing, yet fairer challenge. With every bunker and green having been renovated, there’s no doubting that the test the layout presents has been significantly ramped up. And while the course’s overall yardage remains the same, deeper and more

1

st – 473 yards, par 4 A long opening hole for the pros, which requires an accurate tee shot between the fairway bunkers, allowing an iron shot over the deep valley to a green protected by deep bunkers at the front and on both sides. The green, which was made slightly smaller last year, has many subtle borrows. 3rd – 465 yards, par 4 This long, uphill par four takes no prisoners. A straight drive between the four fairway bunkers is required, while the rebuilt tiered green will test the putting ability of any player if the second shot does not finish on the same level as the flag. 8th – 391 yards, par 4 An accurate tee shot played to the right side of the fairway or over the bunker is needed at this demanding par four. Any second shot coming up short will find the pond, which has been extended so that the green sits on the water’s edge. The green itself has been flattened and widened over the winter to make it more receptive to shots, while the greenside bunker has been made significantly shallower. 9th – 449 yards, par 4 A tough hole with the railway line running down the left, it demands a long straight drive. An under-hit shot may find one of the front bunkers and with swales and a ditch to the right and out of bounds to the left, finding the green is the

Ernie ELS’s guide to the west course

The seven-time World Matchplay champion takes Golf News round the highlights of the West Course, picking out some of the key strategic challenges that the pros will face at the 2011 BMW PGA Championship


BMW PGA Championship

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Major claims: World No.1 Martin Kaymer will be one of the four current major title holders to compete at Wentworth

WENTWORTH BY NUMBERS 88,623 3 92 637,000 360 12 Simon Khan will have his work cut out to defend the title he won so thrillingly last year

Rory McIlroy will hope to erase his Masters collapse with a strong showing over the West Course

strategically-positioned bunkers, tougher pin positions, run-offs and more undulating putting surfaces will ensure that whoever wins the coveted title will have to be at the very top of their game. Last year, over 25,000 fans packed the redesigned West Course on the final day to witness self-proclaimed Essex journeyman Simon Khan bely his world ranking of 471 to take the £667,093 first prize. The 37-year-old from Romford bravely fought off the challenge of Luke Donald to take the prestigious title, changing his life in the process. His stunning five-under-par 66 final round, which he later described as ‘the round of his life’, also moved him up to 106 in the world rankings. Along with the victory, Khan also bagged a five-year exemption to the European Tour, and invites to the Open Championship for 2011 and 2012. Although the crowds were happy to have a home winner, it wasn’t the

key to making a good score here. The green is tilted slightly towards the player. 10th – 184 yards, par 3 An attractive par-3 made tricky by the green, which sits at an angle. Two front bunkers protect anything under-hit, although a raised lip at the back will prevent anything too strong from rolling onto the 11th tee. 12th – 490 yards, par 4 Normally a 531-yard par-five for members, during the tournament this will play as a 490-yard par four. Bunkers on the right side of the fairway at 280 and 310 yards will swallow up anything leaked off the tee. The putting surface was raised by five feet and given more significant contouring, while the greenside bunkers were also deepened. The green at the 8th hole has been redesigned to make pins more accessible

37

one that most had expected, with Donald seemingly poised for his first win on home soil in many a year. But all that ended with an uncharacteristically errant drive on the treacherous 17th, which resulted in him needing to eagle the last to tie. He almost did it, with a superb wedge to eight feet for birdie, but it wasn’t enough. He’ll be back this year to put the record straight, but he will be challenged by the cream of European golf, including many of his Ryder Cup teammates. The likes of Kaymer, Westwood, Rory McIroy, Ian Poulter and 2009 winner Paul Casey, all look strong contenders, but there are a host of household names who have plenty still to prove, including 2008 runner-up Justin Rose. A win here could change all that for him, but whoever emerges triumphant in this most coveted event on May 29 should prepare themselves for some life-changing consequences.

Spectators at the 2010 BMW PGA Championship PGA Championship titles won by Colin Montgomerie Bunkers on the West Course This year’s prize money for the winner Price of a West Course visitor’s green fee (June-Oct) European 2010 Ryder Cup players expected in this year’s field

SPECTATOR INFORMATION TICKETS: The prices are for tickets bought before May 22. Tickets, which include free parking, can also be bought on the day (see price in brackets).

Unaccompanied Juniors £35 (£40). Weekend Ticket (Sat 28 – Sun 29 May). Adults £45 (£55). Senior Citizens, Disabled & Unaccompanied Juniors £27 (£30)

Season Ticket (Thurs 26 – Sun 29 May). Adults £55 (£65). Seniors, Disabled &

Daily Ticket - Adult. Wed 19 May - Pro-Am Day/ Practice Day (free entry on

Book online at www.europeantour.com/ tickets or telephone 0800 023 2557

Directions: By car: From London follow the M4 west, taking exit 4B to the M25 heading towards Gatwick. At exit 13, A30 Staines, follow the A30 towards Egham and Bagshot. Turn left into the Wentworth Club entrance – opposite the

A329 junction to Ascot. By train: Virginia Water is served by regular trains from London Waterloo, which take 41 minutes. A free on-course bus shuttle service will be operating from the station during tournament days.

the gate). Adult Single Day (Thurs 26 – Sun 29 May) £30 (£35). Seniors, Disabled & Unaccompanied Juniors £17 (£20).

CORPORATE HOSPITALITY: Corporate hospitality tables can be booked by calling The European Tour’s Hospitality Department on 01344 840483. Prices start from £75pp for the Moet Brasserie package, which includes breakfast, a glass of Champagne and a twocourse lunch. Start Times: Play starts at 7am on May 26-27. Other times are subject to numbers making the cut. A free programme, including a daily draw sheet, will be available on all tournament days. There will also be free grandstands at the 2nd, 14th, 16th and 18th holes.

15th – 489 yards, par 4 A good tee shot down the left-hand side is essential for this tough par four, as it will give a clear view of the green and avoid the meandering ditch to the righthand side of the fairway. An accurate iron shot is then required, as the flag on this sloping green is usually positioned on the right behind a deep bunker.

17th – 610 yards, par 5 The tee shot on the course’s longest hole must be directed down the left with the ball breaking to the right, off a sloping fairway and away from neighbouring gardens. The green is reachable in two for the longer hitters, but the entrance to the front is so tight now that many choose to lay up short right and hope to one-putt to make their birdie.

16th – 383 yards, par 4 A deceptive par-four which demands plenty of respect. The tee-shot, often with a 3-wood or a long iron, is played to the right of the fairway, avoiding the bunkers. The remodelled green is now surrounded by deep bunkers, while the putting surface is more contoured to take into account that the approach is just a flick with wedge.

18th – 539 yards, par 5 A long sweeping dog-leg right that demands an accurate tee shot between the fairway bunkers. The smallest green on the course, which has been lowered several feet since 2010, requires a high, soft landing shot from around 240-230 yards out to fly the brook and hold the green, so expect to see plenty of players lay up and hope to get up and down with a wedge for their birdie.

SEVE BALLESTEROS FOUNDATION PRO-AM To mark the 40th anniversary of the birth of The European Tour and the 20th anniversary of Seve Ballesteros’s last successes in both the PGA Championship and the World Match Play events at Wentworth, the Seve Ballesteros Invitational Pro-Am is taking place on May 23. There will be a limited field of 18 professionals, each joined by three amateurs, with all proceeds being donated to the Seve Ballesteros Foundation’s activities on behalf of Cancer Research UK. Entry is free for spectators. This is separate from the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am, which takes place on May 25, and is also free to watch.


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Column 39

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Ewen’sMasters

M

onday, April 4 I left my home on the Sussex Downs at midday on Monday, bound for Augusta National, as for the first time The Masters would be broadcast on Sky. After a bumpy flight across the Atlantic, we arrived in Atlanta, an airport you should avoid at all costs. Two hours after landing, myself and Colin Montgomerie were still struggling through immigration before facing the two-and-a-half hour drive to Augusta. Sleep came easy when we finally made it to the hotel. Tuesday, April 5 Getting up early was easy after travelling West, and the whole Sky commentating team was eager to pass through the gates and take a wonder up Magnolia Lane, which leads to the enchanting Augusta National clubhouse. Having strolled passed the iconic building, you get your first view of the course that was the brainchild of Bobby Jones, who put it all together with Alistair McKenzie. The view from the top of the hill makes the hairs on your neck stand on end, conjuring up visions in your mind of all the great moments this tournament has delivered. Every legend of the game has stepped onto the hallowed ground, and every one of them has grown to love Augusta. This tournament has always had its own rules and its own way of doing things, and they are strictly adhered to by all. There is no running at any time, spectators are called ‘patrons’, and there no buggies to take you from A and B. Just like in the old days, Shank’s Pony is the only form of travel. After a production meeting with the producer and director, I took a first look at the par three course, and then ambled around the grounds that make up some of the most famous holes in golf. As always, the condition of the course takes your breathe away, and by the time you get to Amen Corner the calmness of the lakes and the beauty of the Azaleas leave you alone with your thoughts for a touch longer than a moment. Wednesday, April 6 After a production meeting in the morning we took to the air and Diana Dougherty opened up the programme with Monty making his debut in front of camera. It looked like they had done it for years, with Di’s enthusiasm providing a perfect foil to Colin’s considerable knowledge and experience of Augusta. Positioned between the 8th and 9th holes, their highlight of the day came when Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player stopped for a chat. They were named ‘The Big Three’ in the 60s and were responsible for so many people taking up the game. A lot of what we enjoy today is down to their emergence, and between them they managed to

Sky Sports’ voice of golf gives you his personal diary of the US Masters email: ewen@golfnews.co.uk Masters history there were no Americans in the top five going into the last round. That is not a criticism of American golf, but praise for the international players who have improved so much during the last few years. The PGA Tour has opened up its events in the last decade and the international players are benefitting from that. Today the game is truly global, and a world tour I don’t think is far away. It would definitely be a step in the right direction. With 18 holes to go at Augusta, seven Europeans have held the lead after 54 holes, with five going onto win. The last round is one of the sporting highlights of the year, and 13 players were within seven shots of Rory’s lead.

Suits you, sir: Charl Schwartzel emerged a deserving Masters champion after a stunning final round 66, while Rory McIlroy will surely have his day in the sun sooner rather than later

– the arrival of the next generation of superstars. But later in the day, Tiger Woods reminded us of the standard of play he expects, if not demands, from himself. His 66 was a compilation of brilliance, masterful escapes and the kind of deadaim putting that we have come to expect from him over the years. Nine birdies in 17 holes took him from tied 24th into the top three. It was no surprise that when we awoke on Saturday, the Augusta Chronicle’s front page went with ‘New guard, old threats!’ Perfectly put. Friday was good, Saturday would be even better. win 13 Masters. I had been looking forward to the par three competition immensely, but I felt let down in the end, as I imagined it would be a lot more competitive. It was lovely to see the players with their families, lettings sons, daughters, and even mothers take putts, but I wanted to see some competitive golf played in a relaxed manner, with some fun along the way. Nevertheless, it was a good start to what lay ahead, although it put the mockers on Luke Donald winning the main event, as no-one has ever ‘done the double’. Thursday, April 7 I spent a few hours in the golf shop getting some souvenirs for friends and family back home, and the atmosphere around the clubhouse was as you would expect. Arnold and Jack got the tournament under way with two lovely drives off the first tee. Rory McIroy’s opening 65 was magical, and it was good to see ‘one of ours’ at the top of the leaderboard. As we went on air, I must admit I was a little nervous, and going into the first break, my words: “You’re watching the Masters on Sky Sports, live from Augusta National” did little to calm me down! It is, of course, a great privilege and honour to put the words over such emotive pictures, yet it was only when my rookie co-

commentator, Colin Montgomerie, moved alongside me that I felt relaxed. Colin has been a good friend for close on 20 years, and he picked up the pace of live television effortlessly. His experience of 15 years of playing at Augusta enabled him to tell the viewers exactly what the players faced, the correct decisions they made, along with the wrong ones. It was an impressive debut on air for Europe’s most recent Ryder Cup Captain. The evenings were short, as the play does not end until 7pm, but if I’m honest, you can’t wait for the next day to start. Friday was to become one of the best days in Masters history. Friday, April 8 The headline in the morning papers said it all: ‘The world comes calling’, reflecting the international status of the leaderboard after 18 holes. The young triumvirate of McIIroy, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler blazed an impressive trail, and in the end enjoyed the best of day two. A 64 from the young Australian was just one outside the tournament record shared by Nick Price and Greg Norman, while McIlroy continued to pepper the pin, and Fowler confirmed to us that he will be around for some time to come. As they came off the last green, it seemed to me, and many of those watching, that we were witnessing a changing of the guard

Saturday, April 9 For a handful of years after the turn of the century, the Masters lost its magic on the fabled back nine. The greens became too firm and rather than see players take on the par 5s, 13 and 15, they laid up and took their chances with a wedge. When Billy Payne, the chairman of the club took over, he gave us the Masters back, and once again the roars reverberated around the course. The Saturday roars were not for Tiger, however, who slipped down the field after a 74 – they were for our own little ‘Rors’, McIlroy. The 21-year-old displayed a maturity beyond his years with a devastating burst of peerless iron play. Distance control over the first three days had been the foundation of Rory’s success, and he would go to bed on Saturday with a handsome four-shot lead. I stress he would go to bed – but whether he could sleep is another issue. Sunday would be the biggest and most important day of his young life, and he and everyone else knew the pressure cooker would be turned up on high. For the first time in

Sunday, April 10 I arrived at the course at 10am, and already Augusta was buzzing ahead of the final day’s play. Our production team deliver the programme running order, and its heads down until the final putt was struck. And what a final round it turned out to be! The lead changed seven times in the first two hours. The demise of Rory was sad to watch and tough to put into words. He is 21 years old and the next time he finds himself in that position he will not only be older, but wiser. Tiger’s golf was the best it has been since 2000, but his putter betrayed him. His off-course distractions have affected his nerve, but we saw enough in the final round to expect him back to his best in the near future. Australia is still waiting for its first Masters champion, but 50 years after Gary Player became the inaugural international winner at Augusta, South Africa embraces a new era. They hold two of the majors, and Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel are their future. I can honestly say, the final round in Georgia was the hardest day I’ve experienced during my career in television – yet it was also the most rewarding. As we took the journey back to the hotel, there were some very tired minds, as well as bodies. Next spring in Augusta, we will do it all over again. I can’t wait.


40 Feature

www.golfnews.co.uk

Storybehindthepicture

H

ere’s something you don’t see every day in south London. A legendary Ryder Cup golfer dressed as an Indian chief surveying the horizon with a faithful squaw caddy by his side. Professional golfers are asked to do a lot of silly things in the name of publicity these days, often involving hitting shots from unlikely locations in order to promote some new Tour event or other – but Peter Alliss appears to have embraced the role with rare aplomb in this rather amusing snapshot, which was taken as part of a campaign to promote Slazenger Golf’s new Injun driver (geddit?). Aged 37, and coming towards the back end of his illustrious playing career – he won his last tournament in 1969 – Alliss can be forgiven for wanting to cash in on his

Peter Alliss Croham Hurst Golf Club, Surrey 1968

celebrity status, despite the somewhat dubious name of the aforementioned piece of equipment. Although he had already won 22 of the 23 events he was to collect during his 28year career, Alliss, along with most players of his generation, didn’t get rich playing golf, certainly not in the way the current crop would regard the term. Most pros in the immediate post-war era held down jobs at their golf clubs, and often had to rush back to the pro shop after major championships to re-grip a member’s pitching wedge. Today’s professionals rarely get too personally involved with promoting specific products. These days, most equipment brands tend to focus on the technology story

as a way of selling clubs, rather than obsessing with personality (mainly because there aren’t many personality to obsess with). Associating your brand too closely with one player can often lead to problems down the line – just ask Nike. But unlike Mr Woods, Alliss has the human touch, and was a natural in front of the camera long before he made

it his second profession, so it’s easy to see why Slazenger signed him up. With his ready wit and honey-toned voice, Alliss has been the backing track for many generations of golfers. We’ve grown up listening to his gentle musings, entertaining stories, and occasional foot-in-mouth moments with the kind of leeway given to a favourite, if slightly mad, uncle.

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42 Feature

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Nick Bayly joins the underground London cult that is City Golf, a subterranean bunker for well-heeled golfers who enjoy playing Pebble Beach and sharpening up their game without having to leave the comfort of the Square Mile three 18-hole rounds) and two lessons. For those who just want to practice rather than play, a practice-only membership costs £105. Golfers can also simply walk in off the street and play a round, but the £90 per hour peak rate makes it rather expensive when stacked up against membership rates. Like most leisure facilities, there are off-peak and peak rates to factor in. The club provides all the necessary equipment, with Cleveland being the brand of choice in both right and left-hand sets, although some members like to keep a spare set of their own clubs to give them an advantage when it comes to taking part in the popular monthly medals and numerous competitions that are

Swiniging in style: City Golf’s simulators are ideal for both occasional and serious golfers

City Swingers

A

s someone who has just spent the last three months confined to an indoor swing studio measuring 15ft by 25ft at my local club, I am fully signed up to the concept of being able to improve your game without having to step foot on an actual golf course. In many ways, a real live course is an unnecessary distraction when you’re trying to improve your technique. Rather than worrying about where the flag is or where the bunkers are, honing your swing in a room with a wall only 15 feet in front of you really helps to focus the mind on the task in hand. It has certainly worked wonders for my game – helped in large part by the services of a PGA-qualified Tour coach – and I’ve begun the new ‘outdoor’ season with a renewed sense of belief in my indoor-crafted swing. Hence my affinity with the legions of golfers who, while choosing to play most of their golf on real courses with real grass, also like to play virtual courses with a bit of green carpet under their feet. Indoor golf, in all its various forms, is changing the way millions of golfers play and learn the game across the world – especially in countries such as ours, where daylight is in short supply for half the year, and where snow and ice leave golfers kicking their heals when the temperatures drop. With no stuffy dress codes, no equipment required and extended opening hours, indoor golf centres are the ideal places to perfect your swing or to play a fun round without having to worry about the weather. City Golf is currently one of half a dozen indoor simulator venues scattered around central London, although that number has diminished in recent months as the chill wind of the recession has seen a contraction of the corporate hospitality market on which these businesses rely so heavily. City Golf has survived, and indeed thrived, for several reasons. Not just because of its dream location just a lob wedge from Moorgate and Bank, within easy reach of thousands of golf-obsessed city boys (and girls), but also because it has set its stall out as a luxurious sanctuary not just for virtual

golfers, but also as a destination for business meetings, lunches, product launches, team building events, parties and even something so simple as watching a bit of sport on the telly with your mates. It also works because of the collective experience of its staff. Elliot Lake, the co-director and general manager, boasts an extensive CV in the leisure market, and before working in the health club business was previously on the sales team at Hampton Court Palace Golf Club. He also knows a thing or two about database management and marketing, and has done a fine job in not only building contacts with golfers and businesses within the Square Mile, but also in forging relationships with golf clubs around London, which provide some excellent fringe benefits for City Golf members. The club currently boasts a healthy 500 members, who fall into various categories of golf and gym membership – there is also a state-of-the-art health and fitness suite on the premises – with many choosing to tag on the gym element simply because it only costs an extra £21 a month to do so on top of a £147 golf-only membership. The connection between fitness and golf is made stronger by the fact the gym’s instructors are able to offer golf-specific training programmes that aid golfing flexibility and help develop core muscle groups required for an athletic swing. Although the majority of golf members simply want to come in with a few friends – only one person has to be a member in order to sign in a group – and shoot the lights out at Pebble Beach, St Andrews, Bay Hill or one of the 47 other courses that are available

to play on the six Full Swing simulators, there are plenty who want to use the golf facilities to fine-tune their games, either on their own or with the help of City Golf’s two in-house professionals, Ian Holloway and Arthur Bates. The club also benefits from a new outdoor all-weather putting green, with five holes of varying distances providing space to work on your putting or receive tuition. Visitors can book the simulators by the hour, with a 9-hole two-ball round capable of being completed in that time, making it ideal for a lunchtime visit or a cheeky nine after work. Full 18-hole rounds with a group of four take up to two hours, depending on skill levels and how often you stop for drinks in the adjacent bar. A £200 per month ‘gold’ membership offers unlimited simulator use and two lessons a month, while standard membership gives five hours of simulator time (which is enough for

held throughout the season. City Golf has also built up excellent relations with a number of clubs on the outskirts of London, with members and their guests enjoying free rounds at The Shire, Farleigh Court and Foxhills, and discounted fees at Moor Park and Wanstead among others, which is a significant perk. However, City Golf is more than just a place to swing a club, as its comfortable members’ lounge benefits from natural daylight, and features a long back-lit bar with an extensive drinks lists and a delicious menu, making it an ideal pitstop for lunch or a snack after work. The caterers can arrange breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, all of which can be adapted to suit requirements, making it an ideal venue to entertain clients on any scale. The six state-of-the-art simulators feature high definition 12-feet screens and can be used for various activities beyond golf, including F1, rally driving and flight simulators, and games for Nintendo Wii and PlayStation consoles. They can also be used to present live sports, product presentations and film screenings. The club tends to get busy during major sporting events like the Ryder Cup and the majors, as it boasts 14 plasma TV screens around the club, with surround sound creating a great atmosphere for big sporting occasions. So whether you’re looking for a fun night out with colleagues, want to catch a match and have a beer after a tough day in the office, work out in the gym or get that handicap down, City Golf has all the answers. City Golf, 40 Coleman Street, London EC2R 5EH For membership enquiries call 020 7796 5960, email info@citygolfclubs.com or visit www.citygolfclubs.com.

competition & RE ADER OFFER COMPETITION AND READER City Golf is offering five people who answer the question below correctly a free two-hour session on one of the Full Swing Simulators (for up to four people) and a free 30-minute swing assessment from one of City Golf’s PGA professionals. All Golf News readers who quote this article when making a booking can claim a free 30-minute simulator session. Call 020 7796 5960 to make your booking, quoting ‘GOLF NEWS OFFER’. This offer ends on Tuesday 31st May, 2011. To enter the prize draw competition, email your answer with your name, address and contact telephone number to info@golfnews.co.uk, with ‘City Golf Competition’ in the subject line. The closing date for entries is May 16, 2011. Question: How many Full Swing simulators does City Golf have?


London Golf Club Jack’s Inspiration

Jack Nicklaus’ success and vision as the greatest golfer in history is peerless, and was the inspiration for his two championship courses at London Golf Club. Jack’s vision demands the best in tournament golf, which is why we are excited to be part of the oldest Championship of all – this year proudly hosted by Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, only 1 hour from us. Welcome to London Golf Club, host to The Open Championship Regional Qualifying.

To find out more call 01474 879899, or email us at info@londongolf.co.uk www.londongolf.co.uk

London Golf Club, Stansted Lane, Ash, Nr Brands Hatch, Kent TN15 7EH


44 Interview

www.golfnews.co.uk

After dropping like a stone down the world rankings following a pers is bidding to get his career back on the rails with the support of his n

N Doughty Doughert ick Dougherty is ready to turn back the clock. Just four years ago, the Liverpool-born golfer had reached the top 50 in the world and had the world, quite literally, at his feet, with invites to the US Masters and automatic entry into the World Golf Championships events. But the loss of form that followed the tragic death of his mother in 2008 saw him tumble down to 427th. Many a player has come back from such lows, including Lee Westwood, but it remains to be seen what kind of stuff Dougherty is made of. His start to the 2011 season has been nothing short of disastrous. After his first five appearances, he is yet to make a cut or to register a single euro on the Race to Dubai rankings. Only the two-year exemption he gained from winning the BMW International Open in 2009 meant he kept his playing rights for this season, after he finished 121st on the European Tour money list last year. However all is not doom and gloom in the Dougherty camp. A reunion with former coach Damian Taylor – part of the team that helped him win three European Tour titles – is offering new hope that the golfing problems that have unsettled the 2002 Rookie of the Year can be consigned to the past. “Sometimes your bum has got to hit the floor before you realise you have reached rock bottom,” says Dougherty. “What I have been through has not been much fun. It has been heart-breaking and has constantly niggled me. I have played some hideous golf and that has shown up a flawed technique. Sometimes I wonder how I came to make such bad decisions on my swing – they are not the actions of a rational man. “I have done disturbing things that I thought I would never do, but now I want to put the hard yards in to get my confidence back and start climbing the rankings. I have got to forget about what has gone before, where I was in the game. I’ve been through the emotions of watching events like the Masters on TV, of

Building bridges: Dougherty married Sky Sports’ golf presenter Di Stewart following a whirlwind romance

by Nick Bayly

being jealous, angry, frustrated, thinking I was once there. I am the 427th ranked golfer in the world. I’ve got to accept where I am and move forward from there. The only way is up for me. “I want to get back to where I think I should be. Players like Lee have done it. I am a confidence player, and I think once the scores start improving things will start to snowball.” Dougherty’s stock was perhaps at its highest in 2007, with a top-ten finish at the US Open, and victory in the moneyfest that is the Alfred Dunhill Links at St Andrews. A debut in the US Masters came the following year with a Ryder Cup place tantalisingly in sight. The following year, at the Verizon Heritage tournament in Hilton Head, Dougherty was even closing in on a maiden win on the US PGA Tour, until a late three-putt on the last green in the third round undermined his chances. “When I came off I was fuming at possibly missing out on what would have been my best moment career-wise,” he says. “I felt so comfortable, played so well, was disappointed even though I was in contention for a PGA win. But 20 minutes later my world was turned upside down.” His mother, Ennis, such a huge influence

Inspiration from above: Dougherty pays tribute to his late mother following his emotional win at the BMW Championship in 2009

on Dougherty’s golfing career and life, had suffered a heart attack during a family holiday and died at the age of just 61. While the death of a parent is a massive ordeal for any son or daughter to deal with, only a few have to cope with their personal grief while trying to continue a high-profile career under the gaze of millions. And Dougherty admits that as he struggled to come to terms with his personal loss, he took his confusion out on his golf game, chopping and changing a winning strategy with disastrous consequences. Dougherty’s biggest problem has been his form from the tee, with his wayward drives often leaving him in a position where he is scrambling to just make par, let alone pick up birdies. It has led to some card-wrecking holes, with his performance at Februarys’ Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, where he shot two rounds in the 80s for a 19-over par total, being the humiliating result for the man with three tour wins to his name. But the work he is putting in with coach Taylor is already giving him cause for optimism. “Damian showed me some videos of my swing when I was winning, and it was like seeing a different man,” explains

Dougherty. “My posture was nowhere near as good now as it was then. That meant I was swinging the club totally differently, much flatter, and letting my arms drop so that the club was getting stuck as I tried to drive the ball. I have gone back to a much higher backswing, which means when my arms drop they are in the correct plane.” In a bid to get his game back on track Dougherty even worked for a time with Sean Foley – Tiger Woods’s new coach. “Sean’s a great coach, whom I have a lot of respect for, but it simply wasn’t me,” confesses Dougherty. “I’m now back with Damian, who knows my swing, knows me. He knows I can get impatient or carried away with things. It is the right thing to do, working together again. “It is very easy to make the golf swing over complicated, when what you want is a swing that you can repeat again and again. Jim Furyk may not have a classic golf swing, but it is one of the most dependable around.” Dougherty’s road to recovery was hindered somewhat last month when a slip in a hotel shower resulted in a broken hand that put him out for three weeks


www.golfnews.co.uk

sonal tragedy, Nick Dougherty new wife and a new coach

y erty

just as the season was getting under way. “There were two hairline fractures, but there was no displacement of the bone, so I am recovering well,” says Dougherty, who believes the enforced break allowed him to take stock. “I needed to make some hard decisions,” he says. “But I feel in a much better place now. I want to get back to that exciting feeling about my golf that I had when I first started.” Even during his darkest hours, Dougherty has been overwhelmed by the support he has received. “It has been a very humbling experience,” say Dougherty, who has re-launched his own website and takes pride in the fact that he personally replies to any e-mails that are sent in. “It is incredible to think that people care about what happens, even people I have never met. I’ve always had a lot of support, which I am very grateful for. “In the past I was just not ready to deal with things, but I took the way I was feeling to mean that there was something wrong with my golf. I have now learnt I have to let things go, so I can get back to competing against the

best in the world, as I have shown I can do in the past.” There are signs that Dougherty, who gained a reputation of being something of a lad a few years ago, with late night antics and drink-fuelled scrapes, is beginning to mature as both a player and a person. His marriage at the end of last year to Sky Sports golf presenter Di Stewart, can only help with the maturing process, with the responsibility of having to look after someone else’s interests other than his own. The couple married on New Year’s Eve – after an eight-month romance – at the appropriate venue of St Andrews, scene of the biggest payday of his 10-year professional career. The wedding was attended by a glittering cast of celebrities and royalty, which included Zara Phillips and Prince Harry, giving an insight into the glamourous circles in which golf’s most beautiful couple mix. Given Dougherty’s form of late, he hasn’t been interviewed professionally by his now wife that often on TV, but the pair were required to chat during last year’s Moroccan Open, when Dougherty led after the first round. “My only thought when I had to do the TV interview was not to call her any of the pet names I have for her. So I just kept saying to myself, ‘Whatever you say, just don’t call her honey’. It was a strange situation for us to be in, but then I guess with what she is doing with Sky Sports, there are going to be situations where this will happen from time to time – at least I hope so! Di is very professional – she’s a very inspirational woman and she brings out the best in me.” For Dougherty, and his many supporters, one can only hope that the best is yet to come for this most likeable of characters. “It’s how you respond to setbacks and challenges that truly matters in the long run,” he says. “I’ve had a tough run of it for two years, and I firmly believe that I’m going to come out of it, if not this week, then very, very soon. I’m optimistic and I feel positive about what I am doing, I’m positive with all aspects of my life and things off the course are superb. It’s time to move on.”

Interview 45


46 News

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Colin Montogomerie and Paul Casey at the launch of PowerPlay Golf’s live TV events at Celtic Manor

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yder Cup winning captain Colin Montgomerie, US Open champion Graeme McDowell, and multiple winners Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, are among a host of big-name tour players to sign up to play in a series of live made-for-TV golf events that will be broadcast live on television in 2011. The three-hour PowerPlay Golf tournaments will each feature 12 professional golfers, of all ages and both sexes, in a series of events to be shown on Sky Sports, the first of which is to be played at Celtic Manor on May 30th. Powerplay Golf: Ignition, the title given to the opening event of the Saabsponsored series, will see, among others, women’s US Open champion Paula Creamer, two-time major winner John Daly, former masters winner

Major stars ‘ignite’ PowerPlay series Ian Woosnam and former Solheim Cup captain Helen Alfredsson take part in this specially shortened format of the game. PowerPlay Golf is a shortened form of the game that was introduced several years ago in a bid to make golf more attractive for those who don’t have the time for five-hour rounds, as well providing a more exciting alternative game format. Played over nine holes, with two flags on every green, golfers can score extra points by taking a limited number of ‘PowerPlays’ to the harder black flag, creating exciting risk-and-reward decisions on each tee.

Montgomerie, who will make his PowerPlay debut in the autumn, is passionate about developing new ways to fuel demand for golf and is enthusiastic about the part PowerPlay can play. “PowerPlay Golf is exactly what golf has been looking for. I am really looking forward to playing in some of the live TV events and hope that PowerPlay Golf can play its part in generating more interest in our game.” Casey will tee-up in the inaugural event next month and, like Montgomerie, can see the wider benefits of a new short form of the game. “I really hope PowerPlay Golf catches on

at grass roots level and gets people out playing more often. I am sure we can put on a great show in the first event to kick-start the two flag game and do for golf what Twenty20 has done for cricket.” The winner of the ninehole tournament in May will receive £100,000 from a £350,000 prize fund, and PowerPlay Golf will also donate a further 20% of each player’s prize money to the charity of their choice. Look out for further news on this exciting event in May’s edition of Golf News. For more information visit www. powerplay-golf.com.

Captain Carnell calls the shots! Golfing prodigy Adam Carnell has been made junior captain of Rochester & Cobham Golf Club at the age of just 12. It’s quite an achievement for somebody who is five years younger than some of his contemporaries. However, it won’t come as too much of a surprise to those familiar with him, as he has shown a natural bent for fast-tracking his golfing career, having completed the Young Masters Golf coaching programme in just three years. YMG director Chris Smith said: “The structured nature of the YMG programme seems to really help youngsters mature into the game quickly. By including both rules and etiquette, alongside learning to play, it provides a very rounded experience. Not everybody

can go on to become a captain, but naturally we’re hugely proud of anybody who achieves as a result of attending our courses.” Carnell, who lives in Rochester and attends Sir Joseph Williamson’s

Mathematical School, currently plays off 6.3 – just six years after starting to learn the game at his first club, Southern Valley. He continued his golfing education at Rochester & Cobham and

then Thamesview Golf Centre, after his coach left Southern Valley. He returned to Rochester as a member in 2007 after completing the YMG course. He made his debut for the Kent county side at under-13 level last year and has retained his place in the under-14 set-up. And only last month he came fourth in a field of 92 in the club’s adult monthly Stableford competition, a single point behind the winner. Smith added: “Adam’s success is admirable, and we are very proud that YMG has been able to lay the foundations for what could be a long and successful golfing career. Adam is a real ambassador for the programme and a great example to all youngsters, whether they play golf or not.”


News 47

www.golfnews.co.uk

Fathers & Sons event launch

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new tournament designed to encourage families to come together and play golf in a fun format has been launched. The British Father and Son Golf Championship tees off at De Vere Belton Woods on July 31. The format is a 36-hole Betterball Stableford played off three-quarters

handicap, with tournament open to both professional and amateur golfers. The overall winning pairs will receive an invitation to the European Father and Son Golf Championship at El Rompido Golf Resort in Spain on October 24-29, with the prize including five night’s B&B accommodation, dinner and

four rounds of golf. Entry to the UK tournament costs £149 for juniors and £249 for adults. The price includes one night’s accommodation, dinner, B&B at Belton Woods, two rounds of golf, tournament entry and prizes. To book a place please call 01702 680180 or email info@fatherandsongolf.co.uk.

Crown hits the mark with free coaching places Golf course operator Crown Golf is giving away 360 free places on its recently launched ‘Discover Golf’ scheme following receipt of a grant from the English Golf Union. Following the awarding of GolfMark status to 15 of its clubs, Crown has received £600 for each venue to help cover the costs of a month of free coaching for juniors. Crown Golf has price-matched this figure at each club to take the combined sum available to £18,000, which translates to 360 free places on the Discover Golf programme. Discover Golf enables golfers to pay a monthly subscription, rather than buying a set package of lessons. They then qualify for unlimited access to group coaching sessions during their subscription, with a minimum of 20 hours of coaching available each month.

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Golf News’ Ultimate Guide to Society & Company Golf 2011 is now available. This has been a must-have publication for every golf society organiser for many a year and now its even bigger and better than before with a new look, size and style. Featuring many of the regions finest clubs and courses, predominantly located in the South East, this indispensible handy full-colour booklet provides all the information you’ll ever need to make your golf day a success. Among details included are upto-date prices and packages for societies and visitors, information on tee time restrictions, comprehensive directions and local accommodation tips, as well as detailed descriptions of all the courses, with full colour photographs. For your free copy of The Ultimate Guide please email your Society or Company name to: info@golfnews.co.uk.

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48 US Masters Review

www.golfnews.co.uk

After a spellbinding final round at Augusta, which saw the lead change no fewer than seven times, South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel emerged from the shadows to take the US Masters’ fabled Green Jacket

Charl W King

hile the record books will show that 26-yearold Charl Schwartzel won the 2011 US Masters by two shots, with a 72-hole total of 14 under par, the bare figures do no justice whatsoever to the enthralling drama that unfolded during the final four hours’ play of the 75th renewal of this magical tournament. With Rory McIlroy holding a four-shot lead and seemingly with Augusta at his mercy, all looked set fair for the 21-year-old to enjoy a triumphant procession around the final 18 holes. But leading the US Masters has a history of doing strange things to men far more experienced than young Rory, who had never been anything close to facing this kind pressure before. What transpired over the next hour or so would have been a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions if someone had actually died – as it was, it was only a sporting demise, with arguably the most talented player of his generation imploding in such

sudden and such dramatic fashion, that many people were left rubbing their eyes in disbelief. As Wayne Grady said, after the Irishman had clattered his drive into the houses besides the 10th fairway, “Who needs reality television when you’ve got sport like this?” But reality it was, and McIlroy’s flimsy grip on the green jacket was wrestled from his hands in just a few crazy moments on the 10th hole, where a triple bogey seven saw his dreams turned to dust. His eventual tally of 80 was humiliation heaped on torment, but there’s no doubting he’ll be back for revenge. Unaware of the carnage that was taking place a few holes behind them, the chasing posse suddenly became the leading protagonists, with a roll call of new

Can’t see Woods in the trees: McIlroy’s Master’s hopes came unstuck at the 10th hole, while Tiger left his final-round charge too late

faces and old names dramatically thrust into a grim battle over Augusta’s legendary back nine, scene of so many titanic struggles over the years.

Two previous winners, Angel Cabrera and Tiger Woods, looked likely winners, but then so did Schwartzel, Jason Day, KJ Choi, Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy, Luke Donald, and at one point, Bo Van Pelt, who tied the lead with four

other players for a brief moment. It was madness out there, with players throwing themselves out of contention as quickly as they were in it. Meanwhile, Schwartzel rode the luck of his opening holes – which included a chip-in birdie on the first and an outrageous holed-wedge eagle on the third – calmly saving pars while all around him were dropping shots at inopportune moments, robbing them of forward momentum as the winning post came in sight. For many, like Woods and Ogilvy, the charge came too little and way too late, but Schwartzel, like a true Grand National type, timed his run to perfection, making birdies at each of the last four holes in almost unnoticeable fashion, to claim a surprising, if thoroughly well deserved and graciously received victory. The crowd didn’t want it to end, but end it did, with Phil Mickelson slipping the somewhat unfashionably garish garment over the winner’s slim shoulders in the time-honoured tradition. It was fitting that his victory should come exactly 50 years to the day that Gary Player, the patriach of South Africa’s rich golfing tradition, became the first non-American to win the Masters. And now with Louis Oosthuizen drinking from the Claret Jug, and Charl Schwartzel wearing the Green Jacket, we have two twenty-something South African’s with impossible to spell names holding golf’s most coveted prizes. Who would have thought it?

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The Titleist NXT Tour with its advanced multilayer technology, gives players even higher performance. It provides consistent short game control, soft feel, and is now even longer. All adding up to more low numbers on the scorecard.

Playing the NXT is another way to take shots off your game. It delivers extreme distance and straight ball flight, along with outstanding durability. To find out which is best for your game, go to Titleist.co.uk and prepare to go low.

Titleist, St Ives, Cambs PE27 3LU titleist.co.uk Sign up to In The Swing, our free e-newsletter, at intheswing.info


Equipment News 51

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If you want to regain control of your equipment, then it’s time for a new set of grips

W

hen did you last change the grips on your clubs? Come on now, be honest. Have you ever done it? Like most people, you probably end up buying a new set of clubs before you ever get around to replacing the old grips. It needn’t be this way. A few hours with your pro and a minimal outlay are all that stands in the way of revitalising your clubs – and your game – as the new season gets under way. It is generally accepted that golf grips should be replaced once a season if they are to be operating at their full potential. Of course, most club golfers, who play a couple of times a month, are never going to manage this, mainly out of laziness, but it’s still a fact that never ceases to surprise. How often you should change them depends on many factors, such as how often you play, how firmly you grip the club, and the moisture conditions in your golf bag, and the kind of golf bag you have. Regardless of all these variables, there is a sure sign that it’s time to invest in a new set. Cracks. Whether they are just starting to crack, or have crevices big enough to stick a tee in, it’s high time for a new set. And don’t be tempted to change just the 9-iron, because that’s the club you use the most. If you change one, change them all. When checking out new grips, pay close attention to material, pattern and texture. There is a wealth of different options and it takes a bit of experimentation to find the one that feels best in your

That’s why it’s so important to select the right sized grip. As a rule of thumb, your grip size should correspond to your glove size. Shape: Grips come in two distinct shapes – round and reminder. Round are, well, round, while the less common reminder grip features a slight bulge on the back that guides your fingers around the centre of the grip.

Get ahead, get a

GRIP hand. There is no one grip that is right for all golfers, and grip selection varies widely with individual needs and preferences. Golf Pride has a useful online Grip Selection Tool that offers four criteria for choosing the right grip, which include moisture management, responsiveness, surface texture and hand size. Moisture management: When choosing a grip you should factor in moisture conditions for where you play or if your hands perspire a lot. Whether you play in arid climates or hot and humid areas, having

a grip that absorbs moisture well, can improve your game and consistency. Responsiveness: Grip material and construction can also have big influence on the amount of vibration transferred to your hands from ball contact. A softer grip will absorb the vibration, while a firmer grip will provide more feedback, something that better players often prefer. Texture: Grip material and surface design are responsible for how a grip feels in your hands. Tacky grips have a smooth surface and are usually made of softer materials. Grips that are less tacky combine detailed surface design with firm, high-traction materials. Hand size: Grip size has a huge influence on your swing and ball-striking ability.

The cost of a typical rubber grip can range from under a pound for some of the economical models to over £3 for some of the full and half-cord models. A combination of materials is also possible, as with Golf Pride’s bestselling New Decade MultiCompound, which fuses the performance of black velvet cord in the upper hand area for firm allweather control, with a soft, white rubber material in the lower hand for ultimate feel and responsiveness. The

On! w o N tar SaleIXON Z 9s.50 doz

grip is available in red, blue, shamrock, orange, pink, yellow, sky blue, and white. The full cord versions are more expensive due to their method of manufacture; they provide a firm feel and tend to last longer than noncord versions. Golf Pride’s Tour Velvet BCT cord grip is among the most popular on the pro tours, with its tight-weave cotton twill fibre construction offering the levels of traction and feel demanded by the world’s best players. Aside from materials, the major grip manufacturers are constantly seeking to improve grip designs through textures, and among the latest innovations is Golf Pride’s new Patriot grip, which features a uniquely textured surface pattern that includes strategically-placed black pebbled bands. These bands, along with a supple red, white and blue rubber construction, provide extra traction. Aimed at golfers

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of all skill levels, it is also extremely durable. A new grip can also be the answer to your putting problems. If you find that your hands are over-active in the swing, why not consider switching to a thicker grip, or even one of the new 2Thumb grips? However, if you prefer a more wristdriven putting action, then one of the skinny pistol grips may suit your game better. Changing grips can be a messy business, and tempting though it is to have a go yourself with a sharp knife and a pot of glue, it’s advisable to take your clubs to your local professional to do the job. Not only will they not make a mess of your living room carpet, but they’ll fit them correctly and also be able to advise you on the right style and size of grip to help get the best out of your game – which will be a free lesson in itself. For more information on the latest grips visit www.golfpride.com.

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Golf News Readers Offer Readers have a unique opportunity to experience a Qi Smart Loft set fit with the club designer PGA Golf Professional Gavin Lingard. Set fits take place at Poult Wood Golf Centre, Tonbridge.

All Golf News readers will also receive a 10% discount from any purchase. To book call 01732 364 039 or take a look on line at www.discountgolfdirect.co.uk


52 Equipment News

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Poult Wood pros brief mind the gaps news in

McDowell revamps bag

Graeme McDowell won the US Open at Pebble Beach last June while using Callaway clubs, but he is now playing with a full complement of Srixon equipment, having signed a multi-year contract with the Japanese brand at the beginning of the year. The 31year-old from Portrush is now using Srixon irons, Cleveland wedges and the new Srixon Z-STAR XV ball. The only club he retains in the bag from 2010 is the Odyssey White Hot putter that he used to sink the winning putt in the Ryder Cup. McDowell has also switched his shoe sponsors, leaving Stuburt to join Ecco in a deal that sees him wearing the company’s new Comfort Classic shoes.

Westwood’s gold standard Lee Westwood was reunited last month with 40 goldplated Ping putters that were made to honour his professional victories – 33 of which were achieved with 11 different Ping models. The world No.2 visited Ping’s infamous putter vault at its headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona following his appearance at the Accenture World Match Play, where the 37-year-old’s 17-week reign as the world No.1 came to an end following his second round defeat against Nick Watney. Westwood’s current putter of choice is a Redwood Anser.

Willett joins Callaway Former world No.1 amateur Danny Willet has joined Callaway Golf’s team of professionals. After just two full seasons on the European Tour, Willett has climbed the rankings, and finished 23rd in the 2010 Race to Dubai. The 23 year-old Sheffieldbased pro will play a full complement of Callaway equipment, including Razr Hawk Tour driver; Diablo Octane fairway wood, RAZR Tour hybrid, X Forged Irons, X Forged vintage wedges and the Tour i(z) ball.

Two inventive club professionals boasting many years’ experience in the golf industry have successfully developed their own range of clubs that they believe fill a massive gap in the market

G

avin Lingard and David Copsey, the PGA professionals based at Poult Wood Golf Centre in Kent, have spent the last two years developing a new range of Qi Smart Loft clubs, which went on sale exclusively at the Tonbridge-based club last month. The pair have been working closely with Weybridge-based equipment company Benross Golf, and its chief designer Simon Daddow, to come up with the range of clubs that provide more consistent yardage gaps throughout the set than is currently available through many of the mainstream brands. As Gavin explains: “Many of the big golf brands have been strengthening the lofts of their short irons in recent years, meaning that a pitching wedge, which was once 48 degrees is now as low as 45 degrees. This will obviously help increase yardage with these clubs, but at the same time creates wider gaps through the bag. Essentially this means that one person’s 9-iron could be exactly the same as someone else’s 8iron, and because there are

no set standards, golfer’s are left in the dark.” The new Qi Smart Loft set, which includes irons, wedges, hybrids and woods, is designed with both the number of the club and its specific loft marked in degrees clearly on the sole of the club. Each club is separated by an equal margin of four degrees, ensuring there are no yardage gaps. As Gavin explains: “A lot of golfers are unknowingly playing with clubs that perform the same function, whether it be a hybrid and a fairway wood, or a longiron and a hybrid. The QI system sees the iron set

go from PW (48 degrees) to 6-iron (32), moving into three hybrids (20, 24 and 28), only one fairway wood (16), and a choice of two drivers (12, 14). There are also three wedges – 52, 56 and 60 – which all feature a special grind on the sole that makes them easier to use from a variety of lies. “Taken as a whole, the set ensures that there are no crossovers and each club performs a specific function. It eliminates inconsistencies and ensures that each club propels the ball further and shorter by a predictable amount.” Another major selling point of the Qi clubs, which

are designed to appeal to mid-to-high handicappers, is the price. As Gavin continues: “I felt that there was a massive gap in the market between the big name brands, whose irons sets alone sell for well over £500, and the high street brands that sell box sets for a lot less, but offer little in the way of quality components. Benross has always focused on offering quality heads, shafts and grips, and invests a lot of money in R&D and technology, rather than spending it on developing a tour presence. The five-piece iron set retails for £149, while the wedges come in at £39.99 each, and the hybrids £49.99, making them extremely affordable.” The IQ Smart Loft clubs are available to buy at the pro shop at Poult Wood and other Benross Outlet stores, as well as online at www.discountgolf direct.co.uk. Gavin Lingard is offering a free half-hour set fitting session for the first five Golf News readers to call him on 01732 36403, quoting this article.

Foremost offers free custom fit sessions Selected Foremost professionals throughout the UK have teamed up with some the game’s biggest equipment suppliers to offer golfers a ‘Complete Equipment Solution’ this summer. This unbeatable offer includes a free custom fitting session and aftersale lesson on any Ping, Callaway, TaylorMade, Wilson Staff or Tour Edge iron set. The fitting service will include a follow-up lesson, again free of charge, to ensure complete customer satisfaction. There will also be product promotions available on related purchases such as bags, lesson packages and golf ball fitting. The promotion is open during June or July for Callaway, TaylorMade, Wilson Staff and Tour Edge fitting. Ping has also agreed to participate during May. To find your nearest participating store log onto www.foremostgolf.com.

Trade-in your trolley and save some lolly! Golfers looking to trade in and trade up their old golf equipment for the very latest products have a new place to go, following the launch of a new online business called Golftrolleyshop. Set up by PGA Professional Steve Harden, the former head professional at Bearwood Lakes Golf Club in Berkshire, the website allows customers to trade-in their old golf trolley or GPS unit against the

purchase of new products. The site currently trades in new and used PowaKaddy, Hill Billy and Motocaddy trollies, SkyCaddie GPS systems, Bushnell rangefinders, and accessories such as cart bags, batteries and umbrellas. Golfers can email in descriptions of the equipment for an online quote and one of Golftrolleyshop’s staff will come and take the product

away from your club or home. Golfers can choose to take the money, or use it as credit against buying new or reconditioned products. “This scheme provides golfers with a hassle-free way of disposing of their old equipment and getting money off the very latest launches,” says Harden, who operates out of a workshop in Wokingham. For more details visit www.golftrolleyshop.com.

Wilson unveils new tour truck for 2011 Wilson Golf’s team of European Tour professionals can look forward to even more pampering and tampering with their golf equipment following the arrival of a new British-made Tour truck at the company’s Frimley headquarters. The 18-ton Mercedes truck is nearly twice the size of the previous model at over 11 metres long, and houses all the latest club-making technology and custom-fitting facilities needed for its line up of Tour players, which includes three-time Major champion Padraig Harrington, recent winner Paul Lawrie, Steve Webster, Anthony Wall and new signing Andreas Hartø, who has recently been promoted from the Challenge Tour. Branded in Wilson’s eye-catching red, grey and white livery, the truck will make its first appearance at the start of April and is expected to the visit up to 18 stops on the European Tour’s schedule in 2011. It will also be used extensively for demonstration days around the UK, some of which will allow customers to test out Wilson’s range of clubs and have a set made up for them on the same day.


People in golf 53

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Torrance dropped by the Beeb

F

ormer Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance was a noticeable absentee from the BBC commentary box at this month’s US Masters. The 56-year-old Scot, who has been working with the public broadcaster for six years, was axed from the coverage from Augusta on economic grounds. The arrival of Sky cameras for the first time this year diminished the BBC’s output, forcing a share of the broadcast rights and a

Monty for president The Golf Foundation has announced that eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie is to be its next president. The 47-year-old former Ryder Cup captain officially starts his new role on May 5, during the Golf Foundation’s AGM, when he will take over the presidency from Ken Schofield, who is standing down from the post after five years. He first engagement as president will be to host the annual Golf Foundation awards during the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on May 25. Montgomerie said: “I have long admired the work of the Golf Foundation and feel very honoured to be taking up this position. Golf has played such an important part in my life and I look forward to working with the Golf Foundation to inspire as many youngsters as possible to take up this great game.”

reduction in the programme’s budget. Torrance said: “I felt I was becoming a fixture, but they just said, ‘look Sam we have two days live and two days recording. We can’t afford to take you’.” And it looks like it is the last TV viewers will see of Torrance on the BBC, following his decision to withdraw his services from the BBC’s coverage of the Open Championships at Royal St George’s in July. “Because the only other event I do

for them, with no Ryder Cup this year, is the Open, I felt I had to pull out of that. They wanted me to do the Open. I wanted to do it, but I can’t build a commentating career on one event a year. I felt I had to stand up for myself.” In another change to this year’s Masters coverage by the BBC, Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans was brought in to host Radio Five Live’s coverage of the tournament, although he was not directly involved with commentating on the live action.

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Oh I say, it’s the Dan Maskell golf day!

Golf enthusiasts with a penchant for celebrity spotting are in for a treat, as well as supporting a very good cause, when signing up for the 2011 Dan Maskell Tennis Trust Celebrity Golf Challenge, which is being held over Wentworth’s East Course on June 14. The charity golf day, which is now in its 12th year, is one of the main fund-raising events of the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust, which raises funds for tennis players with disabilities. The event is open to teams of three, who will be matched up with a celebrity. Celebrities who have regularly supported the event include Rory Bremner, Harry Redknapp, Virginia Wade, Glenn Hoddle and Chris Hollins. For an entry form visit www. danmaskelltennistrust.org.uk. IUHGGLHVZLQJLQBDLQGG




54 Tour News

brief news in

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Life honour for Westwood Lee Westwood has been awarded Honorary Life Membership of The European Tour. The 37-year-old from Worksop deposed Tiger Woods at the top of the world rankings last year after a run of consistent performances in the majors. Westwood, who is in his 18th year on the European Tour, has won 20 of the 388 events he has played in. He is third in the all-time career money list behind Ernie Els and Colin Montgomerie, with tournament winnings of €23,911,692. Westwood said: “I have always loved The European Tour, from the moment I first teed up in Madeira to this day. I’ve had a few ups and downs in that time, but I have always loved The Tour and the people surrounding it. It has played a huge part in my life and I will cherish this honour for the rest of my life.”

That’ll do nicely: Lee Westwood has jonied a select group of players to have been awarded life membership of the European Tour

Lyle lands first win since 1992

Two-time Major Champion Sandy Lyle captured an emotional first tournament victory in 19 years with a hard fought win in the inaugural Senior World Championship at Mission Hills in China. Lyle had been without a victory since winning the last of his 18 European Tour titles in the 1992 Volvo Masters, but the Scot brought that barren run to a commanding end with a flawless final round 70 over the World Cup Course to finish on 12 under par, three strokes clear of Australian Peter Fowler.

Olazabal to have two captain’s picks

Rose throws treble chance Justin Rose threw away a golden opportunity to record another win on the PGA Tour when shooting a closing round 74 in the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook. His Sunday slip left the door open for American Gary Woodland to claim his maiden PGA Tour triumph on Sunday. Rose, seeking his third US title, took a one-shot advantage into the final round and was tied for the lead until four straight bogeys from the seventh hole dropped him back. He finished five shots behind world no. 591 Woodland, whose four-under-par finalround 67 moved him to 15 under overall and booked him a place at the Masters.

Lawrie turns back the clock

Former Open champion Paul Lawrie won his first tournament since 2002 with a one-shot victory at the Andalucia Open in Malaga.The 1999 Open champion began the final day with a one-shot lead over Kenneth Ferrie and Mark Foster, but was soon three behind. He then recovered strongly with birdies at the 10th, 11th, 12th and 14th to move back into control, affording himself a bogey five at the last for a narrow win over Sweden’s Johan Edfors.

E Laird lords it at Bay Hill Scotland’s Martin Laird made it a day of double celebration for his native country after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill to match Paul Lawrie’s earlier victory in Spain. Laird began the final day two strokes clear and saw his playing partner, Spencer Levin, fall away early on as the Scot’s putting kept him in front. However, he began to falter around the midpoint of his round, and appeared to have squandered his chance when he found the water en route to a double bogey at the 11th. Laird recovered with birdies at the 12th and the 16th and then two-putted from close on 90 feet to record his second PGA Tour win, adding to the Justin Timberlake Open he won in 2009. “I thought in the morning that I’ve let a few tournaments go and I came thinking this was going to be my tournament to win, and I felt comfortable,” said the Scot. “At three down I didn’t have a choice, I had to make birdies – Steve was playing so well and he wasn’t going to drop all the way back to where I was. That was the focus – not a place finish – I was out there trying to get this trophy.”

uropean Ryder Cup captain José Maria Olazabal will only have two wildcard picks when he selects his team for the 2012 match – down from the three that Colin Montgomerie had at Celtic Manor. In another change, the European money list will now count ahead of the world points list for automatic qualifying. Olazabal asked for the changes and said he was ‘very pleased’ the tournament committee had agreed to his request. “I just felt this would give the team the best chance to keep the Ryder Cup. That’s what we all want,” he said. Olazabal feels reverting to the old system of two picks and giving the European Tour money list primacy over the world list is the best way to select the 12-man team. “I looked over the last few

qualification processes, going back to 2004, and was satisfied that my proposal would give me the strongest team on paper,” he said. The decision to count the European points list ahead of the world points list is a reversal of the previous criteria. In 2010, qualification went to the top four players in the world rankings, with the next five spots going to the European Tour. If the

European points list had been given primacy for 2010, Padraig Harrington and Justin Rose would have made the team, while Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel Jimenez would not have qualified. The qualification period will begin with the Omega European Masters at Crans-Sur-Sierre in September, ending at the conclusion of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in 2012.

R&A and USGA revises disqualification laws In a bid to end the somewhat embarrassing disqualifications of players who have unknowingly broken the rules, the R&A and the USGA have announced a new interpretation to apply in circumstances where disqualifications have been caused by scorecard errors identified as the result of advances in video technology. This revision to Decision 33-7/4.5 addresses

the situation where a player breaks a rule he could not reasonably have discovered prior to

returning his scorecard. Under this revised decision and at the discretion of the committee, the player

still receives the penalty associated with the breach of the rule, but is not disqualified. This rule would have meant that Padraig Harrington would not have been disqualified from this year’s Abu Dhabi Championship when he moved his ball without him noticing, but which was subsequently reported by a TV viewer watching the incident in slow motion.

At the time of his aberration, Harrington said he was helpless. “In slow motion it’s pretty clear the ball has moved three dimples forward and it’s come back maybe a dimple and a half,” he said. “If I’d called a referee over it would have been pointless because if he’d asked me where my ball was I’d have said it was there. As far as I was concerned it didn’t move.”


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56 Product Review

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Core values kee E T A M I T L U E TH E C N A M R O F R UR PE

TO

PONSIV R ATION, RES E L E C C A Y, R SPIN, TRA JECTO

ENESS

The all-conquering range of Srixon t offers tangible performance benefits

A

s amateur golfers of all standards embark on yet another competitive season, there is already one player who is placed at the top of leaderboards in golf clubs all over the UK. Srixon has been the UK’s number one two-piece ball brand since 2009, and its AD333 ball is firmly established as the UK’s best selling two-piece ball. Srixon’s success in this most competitive section of the ball market is all down to its Energetic Gradient Growth Core technology. This is a patented Srixon design that features in the core of every one of its golf balls. It allows the stiffness of the core configuration to be varied to produce high ball speed and low driver spin for all levels of golfer.

Graeme ‘G-Mac’

McDowell

PIECE

4

PIECE

3

Soft, long and very strong!

ALSO AVAILABLE IN TOUR YELLOW

* S N I TOUR W S Z-STAR SERIE

HE IN 2010 FOR T

* AS OF 1st DECEMBER 2010

47

AL INTERNATION

In addition to the AD333, Srixon boasts three other high performance balls in their two-piece range, all aimed at different players with different needs. The Srixon Soft Feel golf ball is designed to deliver golfers with moderate swing speeds a penetrating, high trajectory for greater carry and distance. The high launch angle and low spin deliver great directional stability, while delivering superb soft feel on all shots from tee to green. The Soft Feel has a 71 compression core formulation, while superior new aerodynamics give golfers with moderate swing speeds exceptional distance and soft feel. Similar in construction to the Soft Feel, the Soft Feel Lady is engineered with a highly resilient 58 compression core formulation and the 328 dimple aerodynamics makes this Srixon’s softest golf ball ever, yet even longer. Both Soft Feel balls also have ‘Hit Straight’ alignment aids on the side to improve accuracy off the tee and on the green.

Something for everyone: The Srixon range of two-p golfer and full details can be found by visiting the new 7011-Srixon-GolfNewsAdvertArt.indd 1

09/02/2011 11:16


Product Review 57

www.golfnews.co.uk

ep rivals at bay

two-piece golf balls for every level of golfer ONE WEDGE IS A START, TWO IS BETTER, BUT THREE IS A

SCORING SYSTEM

G-MAC

‘Three’ is the magic number

Go the distance The Srixon Distance ball has higher initial velocity and a penetrating ball flight for greater distance. A responsive, light feel and exceptional cut-proof durability make it ideal for those with a swing speed of 80mph or greater. Incorporating an energetic gradient growth core that features a firm periphery and a soft centre, the Distance ball also has a softer compression to give a high launch angle with lower spin to increase carry distances. The cover is made of highly resilient ionomer for exceptional durability and the 420 dimples offer a more penetrating trajectory.

piece balls certainly has something for every level of w Srixon website at www.srixon.co.uk.

Cleveland and the CG logo are registered trademarks of Cleveland Golf / Srixon, CG16 and Zip Grooves are trademarks of Cleveland Golf/Srixon

The AD333 provides a higher ball speed, with a higher launch angle and a lower spin rate, in turn giving it optimum performance off the tee. This, combined with its thinner cover to improve feel around the greens, makes it an attractive choice for all levels of club golfers, whether they be higher handicappers looking for more distance, or lower handicappers looking for better short game performance. The thought of Srixon being recognised as the most played twopiece golf ball brand in the UK just a mere five years ago would have certainly raised a few eyebrows, so the fact that the AD333 has overtaken the competition is a compliment to Srixon and its constant pursuit of making life easier for the amateur golfer. The AD333 is available not only in white, but also in orange, should someone wish to make it even clearer as to who has hit it closest to the flag or furthest off the tee!

MY LOFTS ARE 48°, 52°, 58°

TO FIND OUT WHAT WEDGES YOU SHOULD PLAY, GO TO YOUR LOCAL PRO SHOP AND

TELL THEM G-MAC SENT YOU! WWW.CLEVELANDGOLF.COM


58 Pro Shop

www.golfnews.co.uk

John Letters T9+ woods RRP: £199.99 Contact: www.johnletters.com John Letters’s latest woods launch incorporates ‘Feel Cell Technology’, which is designed to improve feel and feedback. A rubber-like material in the back of the head dampens bad vibrations when the club is hit off centre, so it still feels like a relatively solid strike. The driver is a forgiving 460cc design, with weight positioned in the heel and toe to increase Moment of Inertia (MOI). The face is constructed of Beta Titanium to offer improved ball speed and more distance. The low profile fairway woods (£99 each) are designed to be as forgiving as possible, so golfers feel confident using them off the tee, fairway and even the rough. All the woods have a number of shaft options, including Aldila’s Tour Gold, Grafalloy ProLaunch Red and Blue or the new Project X.

Srixon Z-Star driver Stuburt Helium Tour windstopper RRP: £39.99 Contact: www.stuburt.com Stuburt’s new range of windstoppers offers the ultimate in styling, superior wind and showerproof protection. Manufactured from 100% polyester ripstop fabric effect, with a polyester mesh lining for added breathability, the lightweight tops offer great versatility, making them ideal throughout the year. The tops feature drawstring adjustable hems, funnel neck half zips and reverse nylon zips on all pockets for added protection from the elements. Available in short and long designs in red/black, blue/black, black/green colour options.

RRP: £299 Contact: www.srixon.com Srixon has joined the adjustable driver revolution with its latest Z-STAR range of woods, which also include two models of fairway metal. With the twist of a key, both weight and face angle can be fine-tuned to fit an individual golfer’s preferred flight and shot-shape, by independently adjusting the face angle and internal head weighting. The STAR (Speed, Trajectory, Alignment, Responsiveness) fitting system allows for up to 84 different configurations for either the nine or 10.5degree loft model of driver. Available in a right-hand version only, the 460cc Z-STAR driver also features a bigger area of forgiveness on the face to also promote more distance and a Miyazaki Dromos graphite shaft, specifically design for clubs with adjustable heads. The fairway woods (£199) are available in 15 and 18-degree lofts and have similar adjustable features, with a Starburst variable face design to generate higher ball speed and increased distance.

Nike Zoom Advance RRP: £200 Contact: www.nikegolfeurope.com A Tour-level shoe that features a midfoot harness that extends from the midsole up through to the laces, resulting in more power and control. The Zoom Air heel offers responsive cushioning, while the Power Platform outsole incorporates an additional second channel, which allows for smoother weight transfer. They are available in white/ metallic silver-white; black/metallic silver-black; white/ bronze-brown with a two-year waterproof guarantee.

Callaway Golf Jaws CC Wedges

Srixon Z-Star ball

RRP: £79

RRP: £45 for 12

Contact: www.callawaygolf.com Created by Callaway’s in-house wedge guru Roger Cleveland, the new Jaws wedges see the debut of Callaway’s Tour CC grooves. The result of more than four years’ research, the face of the Jaws wedge features 21 tightly-spaced grooves that provide the maximum crosssectional area to ensure that moisture and debris are swept away in order to ensure the cleanest of contacts. Forged from carbon steel for a soft feel and feedback at impact on approach shots, the Jaws wedges feature new zero bounce options on the most lofted models, making them ideal for playing in firm conditions and tight lies, while the C Grind soles relieves the heel and toe bounce and reduces the sole width, enabling golfers to lay the face open while keeping the leading edge down. The wedges come in 50°, 52°, 54°, 56°, 58°, 60° and 64° lofts and are available in two new finishes, slate or a brushed chrome.

Contact: www.srixon.co.uk Srixon has relaunched its popular Z-STAR range with two new models for 2011, including the new four-piece Z Star XV. Designed to offer more distance than the Z Star, the XV features an ultra-thin urethane cover, an ionomer mid layer and a dual Energetic Gradient Growth Core. The XV feels slightly firmer off the face than the standard three-piece Z Star and offers a more penetrating flight. The latter places an emphasis on spin and control without sacrificing distance, and produces more spin from the rough than the XV and offers more feel around the greens. The XV has a compression of 100, compared to the Z Star’s 90, making the XV a better choice for golfers with swing speeds in excess of 95mph.


Pro Shop 59

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Wilson Staff DXi woods/hybrids RRP: £149/£129 Contact: www.wilsonstaff.com Wilson’s new DXi woods and hybrids were produced following two years of consultation with Padraif Harrington - the threetime major champion who carried a DXi, 19-degree hybrid in his bag during the Ryder Cup. The fairway woods are available with a low-profile head design and large radius sole in a 3-wood (13- and 15-degree), 5-wood (18) and 7-wood (21). The DXi hybrid options include a 16-, 19-, 22- and 25-degree loft options. All feature a large radius sole that allows the head to sit flush on flat lies, but allow manipulation on uneven lies. Heavier soles keep the centre of gravity low for a higher launch angle. The clubs are fitted with the Global Aldila VooDoo VS6 shaft with stiff, regular and light flex options.

Ping DLX Trolley bag

ECCO Casual Cool II RRP: £120 Contact: www.ecco.com/golf ECCO has expanded its Casual Cool II range with the introduction of new styles for the 2011 season. The athletic-looking Casual Cool II is designed to live up to its name, featuring luxurious handcrafted uppers made from distressed leather, with addition rubber detailing for enhanced weather resistance. All shoes in the range benefit from Ecco’s Hydromax waterproof technology, which guarantees ultimate protection in all conditions. Other benefits include a removable anatomical insole and a low-profile midsole which offers support and stability. They are available in three colour options: white/chili red/black, black/buffed silver/white and bison/ fire/black, in European sizes 39-47.

RRP: £179 Contact: www.ping.com

S3 Cobra Max iron RRP: £399(st), £479 (gr) 4-SW Contact: www.cobragolf.com

I

f you’re looking for a set of sticks that offers versatility, then these might just be the ticket. Like an increasing number of irons, the Max S3s almost defy the description, as you can switch out all the long irons to hybrids if you’re willing to stump up an extra £200 for the privilege. The Baffler-style S3 Max hybrids have a railed sole and are available in 23, 26 or 29degree lofts, offering direct replacements for your 3, 4 and 5-irons. The multi-material irons are designed for golfers that want maximum forgiveness with a high launch – which, in not so many words, means they’re ideal for high handicappers. It is easy to see at address how they offer the less assured ball striker the confidence to give these a good thrash without fear of catching one thin, or feeling shooting pains up your arm when you miss the centre of the clubface. The undercut cavity design utilises lightweight polymer materials that allow weight to be pushed low in the heel and toe, which results in high, soft-landing shots in the short irons, and plenty of carry with the mid irons. The wide sole, which features hybrid-style rails, prevents the irons from digging in from the fairway, although it makes it tough to nip one off the top if face with a bare lie. A graphite shaft might be a good choice for those with slower swing speeds, as this will help increase clubhead speed and distance too. All in all, these represent a solid choice for those who struggle with their irons, and want to put a bit of oomph back into this part of their game. Think carefully about the gaps in your bag, and where your strengths and weaknesses lie before deciding on possible hybrid options.

Cobra White S3 Driver RRP: £299 Contact: www.cobragolf.com After selling out of its limited edition XL white driver last year, Cobra has returned to the market with its second all-white big stick in the shape of the new S3. In addition to its eye-catching styling, the S3 is packed with all the same technologies found in the black version, including E9 Face Technology, which expands the sweet spot diagonally across the face by up to 30%, and Adjustable Flight Technology, which offers open, neutral and closed face angle settings for optimal launch conditions. It comes with Aldila’s premium RIP all-white shaft as standard in lofts of 9.5° (S flex) and 10.5° (R flex) in men’s RH only. The package is completed with Golf Pride’s white Tour Wrap 2G grip, a white headcover, plus a torque wrench, which is also white and comes in – yes, you’ve guessed it – a white pouch.

RATING

You can never have enough space in your bag to store all those golfing essentials (chocolate, mainly) and with the new DLX trolley bag, golfers can now venture out on to the course safe in the knowledge that they are equipped to cope with every eventuality. Crafted from vinyl, perforated leatherette and nylon twill, the DLX is the perfect accompaniment for both trolleys and golf carts and provides the organisation and function expected from a highend bag, but with the added quality of a tour bag. Weighing just 10.5lbs, the DLX’s features include a 14-way mesh covered top with external putter well, moulded top handle and integrated lower base handle, and nine pockets (including large cooler pocket, velour lined valuables pocket, range finder pocket, two large apparel pockets and an external hood sleeve.) It is available in white/black/red or black.


60 Product Showcase

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Peak Performance Golf Rider RRP: £25 Contact: www.trendygolf.com

Druh Belts Diamante

Casual yet stylish, the Golf Rider is a 100% polyester webbing belt with a metal ‘P’ logo buckle on the front and Peak Performance text etched into the entire length of the belt. It is fully adjustable to fit all size waists.

Tommy Hilfiger Denton

RRP: £80-£160 Contact: www.druhbeltsandbuckles.com

RRP: £35 Contact: www.trendygolf.com

Handmade in leather, Druh belts can be custom built to suit your style, with a choice of buckle designs made from brushed nickel, polished silver, gold, diamante and enamel finishes on a choice of leather belts in a wide variety of colours and patterns, including crocodile and snakeskin.

A slightly more understated leather belt for the less showy golfer, the Denton comes in brown, black and white and features a subtle TH logo and a chrome pin buckle, making it an ideal belt to be worn on and off the course. Available in three sizes.

If you’re not wearing a designer golf belt, you’re just not hip! Hugo Boss Terforo RRP: £75 Contact: www.trendygolf.com Elegant 100% cowskin leather belt with embossed geometric pattern and a narrow, curved pin buckle with a brushed silver finish. The belt is 35mm wide.

Nike Golf Swoosh

BELT UP, BOYS

J Lindeberg Bridger Pro RRP: £60 Contact: www.trendygolf.com Ideal for wear on and off the golf course, the Bridger Pro is made from 100% premium leather and features a classic JL buckle in brushed steel. Available in black or white, it is 100cm long and 3.5cm wide.

RRP: £40 Contact: www.nikegolfeurope.com With a face made from 100% cow leather backed by polyurethane, Nike’s signature belt features the trademark Swoosh cut-out buckle with epoxy inlay. It is fully adjustable, and measures 35mm in width.

Druh Flower

Puma Golf Enamel

RRP: £65-130 Contact: www.thegolfbusiness.com

RRP: £30 Contact: www.trendygolf.com

Designed specifically for women, the flower motif is encrusted with a sparkling diamante ‘db’ set off by a variety of enamel in-fills in pink, purple, red and yellow, as well as the more traditional white and black.

Made from 100% leather, the stylish extra wide belt features a shiny silver buckle with an enamel surface and silver Puma Cat logo. Available in black and white, the belt is 40mm wide, so check your loops can take it before ordering.

Puma Golf Cat

Adidas Trophy 2.0

RRP: £30 Contact: www.trendygolf.com

RRP: £34.99 Contact: www.adidasgolf.com

Another classic Puma design, with a prominent metal Puma Cat logo buckle in an enamel finish. The belt is made from 100% leather, is 4cm wide and comes in M, X and XL sizes.

Made from full-grain leather, the Trophy 2.0 belt features an interchangeable buckle, with three different colour adidas stripes to chose from – black, white and red. The extra buckles cost £14.99 each.


62 Breaks

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It pays to play at Patshull Park

Tenterden

Golf breaks with tuition

Day 1

Swing Health Check with Pro (1hr) l 18 Holes of Golf l Full Unlimited use of Golf Facilities l Full Use of our Luxury Spa l 2-Course Dinner l Accommodation l

Day 2

Breakfast l 9 Hole Playing Lesson with the Pro l 18 Holes of Golf l Full Use of Golf Facilities l Full Use of our Luxury Spa (up to 5pm) l

Variety of Spa Treatments available on request at an additional cost

Price £190 per person (based on 2 sharing)

 London Beach, Hotel Club & Spa, Ashford Road, Tenterden, Kent. TN30 6HX. Tel: 01580 766279. Fax: 01580 763884. Email: offers@londonbeach.com

www.londonbeach.com

Join now at www.golfnews.co.uk/greensaver or call 01273 556377

P

atshull Park Hotel, Golf and Country Club, situated in secluded Shropshire countryside, has long been a favourite for golf and leisure breaks. And with summer golf breaks starting from just £84.50 per person based on a two-night stay, you can see why. The three-star hotel sits in a magnificent setting amongst wonderfully mature trees, rolling parkland and expansive lakes that was designed by the renowned 18th century landscaper Capability Brown and

Play where the stars have played From e30 (£27)

1996-2009

...Arras Golf Club Hotel & Golf Club l 18-Hole Championship Course Par 72 - 6692 yards l Societies and visitors welcome reservation advisable

some of the views from the hotel are stunning. For golfers, the beautifully mature par-72 parkland course that was designed by the legendry John Jacobs is an enjoyable challenge that will test the

best as they wind their way through majestic old oaks, elms and cedars, and try to avoid the perils of The Great Pool. Health and fitness facilities include a large indoor pool, Jacuzzi, steam

New deals at Old Thorns Golfers can enjoy the fabulous facilities at Old Thorns Manor Hotel Golf & Country Estate in Hampshire for as little as £99 when booking a package through Golfbreaks.com. Tucked away in 400 acres of Hampshire countryside just off the A3, Old Thorns is one of southern England’s most picturesque country-housestyle hotels, and offers luxury accommodation in 82 bedrooms, relaxing health

spa facilities, fantastic cuisine and an outstanding 6,581-yard, 18-hole championship golf course, designed by the BBC’s ‘voice of golf’ and the club president, Peter Alliss. The par-72 course has an illustrious history, as in

Stay & play in the

Garden of England

l Luxurious 3 stars Hotel 64 rooms and 4 suites l Cosy Clubhouse with Bar and Brasserie l Driving range and Practice facilities l Golf Shop l Buggy and Trolley Hire

special summer offer

Green fee & meal @ 50€ Includes main course, 1/4 wine or beer, coffee & dessert

l Easy access from Calais by motorway A26

(Calais/Reims) l 5 mins drive from the centre of historic town

of Arras (Pas de Calais) l Special rates for parties of 12 or more l Societies packages and Stay and Play

packages on request Arras Golf Club rue Briquet Taillandier, 62 223 Anzin Saint Aubin-France Tel: 00 33 3 21 50 24 24. email: golf@golf-arras.com www.golf-arras.com

For more information please contact us Tel: 00 33 3 21 50 24 24. Fax 00 33 3 21 50 29 71 email: golf@golf-arras.com or visit our website

www.golf-arras.com

rooms, saunas, solarium, beauty treatments and a well-equipped gymnasium. The hotel’s 49 wellappointed bedrooms are all tastefully furnished, with many looking out over the golf course, while those with a lake-view also benefit from having a balcony or patio. Less formal meals are available throughout the day in Earl’s Brasserie, where you can choose from a range of tasty snacks and bar meals, and for dining, The Lakeside Restaurant with its panoramic views over the trout lake serves imaginative dishes made from local produce and offers an excellent choice of wines. Patshull Park is easy to get to, being just 10 minutes from Junction 3 of the M54, and only two hours from the M25. So if you are looking for a venue for a golf break in a beautiful country setting, why not give Patshull Park a try? You can be sure of a friendly welcome and a thoroughly enjoyable experience. To book, call 01902 700100 or for further information on the latest stay-and-play breaks and offers, please visit www.patshull-park.co.uk.

Play one of the best courses in Kent while enjoying the very comfortable 4 star Ramada Hotel 1 night Bed & Breakfast, 2 Rounds of Golf

£85 £129

per person

2 nights Bed & Breakfast, 3 Rounds of Golf

per person

1 night dinner, Bed & Breakfast, 2 Rounds of Golf

£98 £155

per person

2 nights dinner, Bed & Breakfast, 3 Rounds of Golf

per person

Contact us today on: 01622 844382 www.theridgegolfclub.co.uk The Ridge Golf Club, Chartway Street, Sutton Valence, Maidstone, Kent ME17 3JB

1982 its official inauguration saw Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus, Isao Aoki and the then reigning Open champion, Bill Rogers, play a competitive four ball. Aoki won with a round of 69. Their scorecards can still be viewed today in the Sports Bar. With notoriously fast greens and plenty of natural hazards, it’s a challenging layout, while the typography of the course creates some wonderful views over the rolling Hampshire countryside from the elevated tees, but also makes a buggy a worthwhile investment. Sunday savers at the Liphook-based resort throughout the year can be booked for just £99 per person, offering one night’s dinner, bed and breakfast, and two rounds of golf on the magnificent championship course. The same package for Monday-Thursday stays during May can be booked for £109pp, while two-night packages with three rounds of golf cost £179. For reservations call 0800 2797988 or visit www. golfbreaks.com.


Breaks 63

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Dorset resort reaches gold standard

S

ituated within striking distance of the popular coastal resorts of Poole and Bournemouth, The Dorset Golf & Country Club offers two quality golf courses and superb on-site accommodation, making it the ideal destination for anybody who fancies a ‘stay and play’ break this summer. The resort boasts a dozen Scandinavianstyle log homes that are ideal for families and groups of golfers wanting short break holidays. The luxury lodges, which have recently received a Visit Britain Gold Award to go with their five-star status, are made entirely from trees grown in the Nordic forests of Finland, and combine simplicity with luxury. Available to rent from two days to four weeks, each house sleeps up to eight people and features a fully-fitted kitchen, wood burning stoves, saunas, verandahs, and golf trolley

sheds. The houses are set in a 300 acres of quiet glade surrounded by fir trees and over 75 acres of private woodlands a nature trails. For smaller groups and one-night stays, The Dorset Golf Hotel, located opposite the clubhouse, offers 16 twin rooms, all of which have en-suite facilities. The club also offers two excellent golf courses, with The Lakeland, which was designed by the renowned architect Martin Hawtree, on record as being the longest in Dorset. It measures

over 7,000 yards off the championship tees, but that is reduced to a more manageable 6,580 yards off the whites. Among the notable features of the course are a series of connected waster features and lots of strategically-placed bunkers. With generous fairways and undulating greens, The Lakeland is an excellent test of golf and will have players of all abilities scratching their heads trying to work out the best way to score well.

Marriott ‘goes live’ with rounds and rooms deals Hanbury Manor

Marriott Golf is launching an online booking service that will enable golfers to book both hotel and golf simultaneously. The Rounds and Rooms system, which goes live at the start of May, allows golfers to book a 1 night/2 round, 2 night/3 round or Sunday Driver package at any Marriott Golf UK resort. As an added incentive, for a limited period Marriott Golf is offering a £50 ‘resort credit’ to each couple purchasing a 1 night/2 round break, and £100 for customers who select

a 2 night/3 round break. Marriott’s UK portfolio of clubs, which includes former European Tour venues such as the Forest of Arden, Hanbury Manor, St Pierre and Dalmahoy, offers customers a wide choice of luxury single, twin and double rooms. “Rounds and Rooms will revolutionise the way golfers book their golf breaks, and Marriott Golf is very excited to be the architect of such a simple, yet brilliant system,” said Alison Ainsworth, Senior Director of Golf, Leisure and

Spa Operations at Marriott UK. “It’s straightforward and it gives you immediate access to 11 magnificent British golf resorts.” This introductory offer is valid for all customers who book and take their golf break on or before February 29, 2012. The resort credits are redeemable against food and drink purchased during a visit and can also be used in the resort’s golf shop or spa. To book a golf break online using the new system visit www.marriott golf.co.uk.

The nine hole, par 66 Woodland Course is shorter – being just 5,032 yards long – but is equally demanding. Accuracy in driving is essential if you want to play anywhere near your handicap as the fairways are lined with rhododendrons and tall trees. After golf, guests can enjoy the superb clubhouse, which has a fully airconditioned restaurant that offers lovely views over the Purbeck Hills and a large patio area for alfresco eating. Visitors can also enjoy the use of three coarse fishing lakes, which offer the perfect way to relax and unwind, while the resort is situated in a wonderful area near to the best attractions that Dorset has to offer, including the towns of Poole and Swanage, with their superb beaches, while Bovington Tank Museum and Monkey World are also only a few minutes drive away for those travelling with young children. ‘Stay and Play’ packages start from £60 pp/pn, based on four people sharing a house for a minmum of two nights, with dinner, breakfast and all golf included. Three-night packages, with three rounds of golf, cost from £187.50 per person. For bookings call 01929 472244 or visit www.dorsetgolfresort.com.

Just awarded British Tourist Board Gold Award

FREE GOLF Air-conditioned clubhouse facilities l Restaurant offering an extensive menu l On site accommodation in the Dorset Golf Hotel 16 twin rooms l From £55.95 pppn including Dinner, Bed and Breakfast and FREE GOLF l One Day Society Packages from £25.00pp l l

Telephone No: 01929 472244


64 Travel

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As the southernmost island in the Mediterranean, with transparent waters, fabulous beaches, excellent golf courses and year-round sunny skies, there are many reasons why Cyprus is often described as a jewel

Jewel the

of the Mediterranean

T

his peaceful, stress-free island oasis has a long tradition of hospitality towards travellers that makes it among the most welcoming of holiday destinations. Of course, it helps that Cyprus offers great value for money and that everybody speaks English and drives on the left-hand side of the road! But for those who want more than two weeks lounging in the sun, Cyprus has few peers when it comes to variety. Some of the country’s 2.2 million annual visitors head straight out on tours to the magnificent monasteries and exquisite Byzantine churches. Others embark on bacchanalian wine tours, gourmet trails or bird watching in the mountains. The activities on offer are as varied as the landscape, which switches between rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, rocky hills and forest covered mountains. With so much to do and so little time to do it, it is no wonder that families return year after year to the same converted farmhouse in the same old sleepy village or to one of Cyprus’s many first class hotels. With a bewildering legacy of more than 10,000 years of history, Cyprus has spectacular theatres, Roman mosaics, Crusader bridges and Venetian fortresses. The culture

calendar buzzes with year-round live performances attended by tourists and locals alike. While the hotels offer cuisine from all over the world, it would be a mistake to leave Cyprus without having sampled the local food at one of the many tavernas and restaurants which offer authentic Cypriot cooking. Cyprus boasts four championship golf courses designed by some of the best golf architects including Donald Steel’s course situated 1,800 feet above sea level, the completely refurbished 6,650 yard par 72 course lies on the grounds of a 12th century monastery.

The second course built near Aphrodite’s Rock is 6,780 yards and lies in a beautiful valley surrounded by dramatic red rock formation. In 2003, Cabell Robinson designed a superb course, also located minutes from Aphrodite’s Rock. The 7,330 yard course lies on an American style resort surrounded by a 5* hotel and villas. The newly opened excellent course designed by 6 times major champion, Sir Nick Faldo is a magnificent 6,890 yard Par-71 Mediterranean golf course, this is a must to play and already gaining a reputation with a

ranking from Golf.com as one of the 10 best new courses. Cyprus has developed into an attractive golfing destination with more courses in the pipeline expected to open in the next few years.

ENQUIRIES For further information call Cyprus Tourist Office on 020 7569 8800 or visit: www.visitcyprus.com For golf enquiries call Exclusive Golf on 020 8660 9905 or visit: www.exclusivegolf.co.uk


020 8660 9905

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7 nights in 3 bed Villa/daily golf from £485

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Total financial security when booking a package with us Beware if companies that are not ATOL bonded

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Call our offices as some date restrictions may apply to the holidays, above are only a few offers available.


66 Travel

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Oh Carolina!

When the chance of a golf break to South Carolina landed on it sounded tempting, but when he found out the trip was taking Island, he packed his bags faster than you could say ‘Bernhar Day One, Saturday

I

left Gatwick on a very chilly morning bound for Charlotte then a connecting flight to Savannah, where I would meet up with the rest of my fellow golfers. After picking up our rental minivan, we headed to Hilton Head Island, where we soon arrived at our first point of call, The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa. It was about 10.30pm, and with the five hours time difference, we were all quite tired, but managed a night cap before retiring to our luxurious bedrooms, where the sound of the waves crashing against the shore sent me instantly off to sleep.

Day Two, Sunday As with many trips across the pond, your body clock takes a little time to adjust. The benefit of my self-imposed early wake-up call was to be able to watch the sun rise from my balcony. It was already 68 degrees at six in the morning, and the frost from home seemed a distant memory. We all then met for breakfast and wondered what the first round at Palmetto Hall on the Arthur Hills Course would bring us. After a 10-minute journey from our hotel we arrived at the Plantation. Opened in 1991, this Arthur Hills course was instantly named a classic by Golf Digest Magazine, which rated it among America’s Top 10 New Courses. We had a great round, with the course having towering pines and moss-draped oaks. There are also some

Shoot the lights out: A good drive still leaves you a demanding approach shot at Harbor Town Golf Links’ famous 18th hole

For more information visit: www.discoversouthcarolina.com | www.explorecharleston.com

Golf Tour Operators: Eagle Golf Tours. www.eaglegolfto


Travel 67

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th 7 1 s ou ddie m a f e my ca h t n r o ken by o t a g lli ta The aKiawah, at

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n Matt Nicholson’s desk over the winter, g in Harbor Town Golf Links and Kiawah rd Langer’s yipped putt’ Cougar Point at Kiawah Island

lakes, and it was in one of these lakes that I saw my first alligator. We then went back to our hotel to look forward to an evening out at the Jazz Corner Restaurant in Hilton Head. The place was buzzing and is a must-visit for anybody coming to Hilton Head, as the music was fabulous and the service and food were outstanding. One of my colleagues went for the house burger, with ‘house’ being the operative word – all three storeys of it.

Day Three, Monday This was one round of golf I had been looking forward to – Harbor Town Golf Links. I’ve seen it so many times on TV, with the iconic red and white lighthouse and the tiny greens on this Pete Dye classic design. I wasn’t disappointed, it’s an absolute gem, and the whole experience is something else. Off the back tees it measures only 6,916 yards, which is short by modern standards for a Tour venue, but don’t let that fool you. It has minute greens and narrow fairways, so you need to bring your ‘A game’ to score well, although if you bring your B or your C, you’ll still have a great time. The famous finishing holes lived up to their billing, and coming off the 18th made me realise just how good the top pros are. After reflecting on our rounds with a club sandwich slighter bigger than some of the greens, it was off to Charleston, a two-hour journey away, while taking in some factory outlet shopping on the way. We soon arrived at our hotel in Charleston,

The Harbourview Inn, which was to be home for the next four nights.

Day Four, Tuesday There’s no better way to see arguably America’s most historic city than on a horse and carriage, this one-hour tour of Charleston is full of interest and a must for any visitor, covering over two miles and 30 blocks. After our history lesson is over, we were off to play The Links at Wild Dunes about 45 minutes away. As the name suggests, we were right on the coast, with the finishing holes played along the shore. It was Fazio’s first links design, and he didn’t do a bad job either. Having been buffeted by the wind, we built up an appetite and a steak house back in Charleston offered the best solution, followed by a few drinks and a bit of famed Charleston nightlife.

Day Five, Wednesday After breakfast we travelled 50 minutes to the first of our two stops at the Kiawah Island Resort, tomorrow would be the special one: The Ocean Course, home of the famous ‘War on the Shore’ Ryder Cup in 1991 and venue for next year’s PGA Championship. But that would have to wait, as today we played Cougar Point, one of the five courses on the island. The quality of this parkland layout astonished me, and it subsequently came as no surprise to learn that it was recently

rated Golf Course of the Year by the South Carolina Golf Course Owners. Redeisgned by Gary Player in 1996, it offers some stunning views, with the sixth hole being the most spectacular, while the 17th is considered by many to be one of the prettiest and most challenging golf holes on the island. It was another great day’s golfing. We headed back to Charleston to experience dinner at the famous Poogan’s Porch. I say famous, due to the amount of photographs of celebrities that hang on the wall throughout the restaurant, where we enjoyed some good old-fashioned Carolina cooking.

Day Six, Thursday The big day had arrived, our final round at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. Even though located on the island, it took an extra 20 minutes to reach the course that sits at the tip. The place is pure class. I was greeted by my caddie, Tom, who was dressed in an Augusta-style white boiler suit. He had caddied for George Clooney only the day before, and had plenty of stories to tell. We were the last group off, and had plenty of time to practice while we waited for the moment to tee off in near perfect conditions. Quite simply, it was the best course I’ve ever played – and the hardest. It’s no surprise that the Ocean Course is ranked by Golf Digest as the most difficult course in America. Measuring 7,296 yards from the championship tees, it has a nearly unthinkable

standard scratch of 79.6. The amazing thing is, Dye didn’t have to do much to reach this level of difficulty, as he took care to design around the landscape, letting nature do most of the talking. What sets the Ocean Course apart is the aesthetics of the layout – the sheer raw beauty of Pete Dye’s design is in stark contrast to its difficulty. It’s like getting slapped around by Sienna Miller. Off the back tees it measures an amazing 7,937 yards. The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island will forever be famous for a Ryder Cup battle that went down to the last putt, on the last hole, of the last match, on the last day. When Bernhard Langer’s six-footer for par slid just by the right lip, the most gut-wrenching Ryder Cup in history came to a dramatic and emotional end with the United States posting a onepoint victory. I didn’t play great, but managed a couple of birdies, and even lipped out on the famous 17th par three, where Mark Calcavecchia had a meltdown against Monty in 1991. Mind you, I couldn’t hit my tee shot quick enough after my caddie warned me of an alligator located only a few feet away. After our round was finished, it was time to take some photographs of our amazing day and sample some shrimp on the clubhouse veranda while watching the waves crash against the shore, as it did a few days ago back down at Hilton Head. After one last meal at Magnolias Restaurant, it was time to reflect on a trip of a lifetime, before retreating back to our hotel and departing the next day back to Gatwick via Charlotte.

ours.com. Tel: 01273 419111 | Yourgolftravel.com. www.yourgolftravel.com. Tel: 0800 043 6644. | Golfbreaks.com. www.golfbreaks.com. Tel: 0800 279 7988


68 Travel

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Take advantage of the exchange rate and the buyer’s market in the United States and purchase your golf vacation home in beautiful Hilton Head Island, SC. Many beautiful homes available to fit every budget. For more information or to schedule your private tour please visit our website at:

www.MyHiltonHeadRealtor.com or phone us on: 001 843 298-3940

Carolina calls for Eagle-eyed golfers

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SA golf holiday specialists Eagle Golf Tours, which is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary, has sent around 30,000 satisfied clients on golf holidays to the most well-known golf holiday destinations in America. Without doubt the most popular of these is South Carolina, where Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Hilton Head – better known as ‘Coastal South Carolina’ offer a choice of destinations to suit everyone’s tastes and needs. Myrtle Beach, with over 100 courses, can quite rightly be labelled the golf resort that has it all, with hundreds of hotels and resorts, over 1,000 restaurants and

An INN on York Street 10-DAY SPECIAL FOR £499

Enjoy 10 nights B&B including 5 rounds of golf with buggy for just £499 each (based on 2 people sharing and assuming exchange rate of £1 to $1.55)

Stay in a historic Southern Plantation, English run B&B Never more than 4 pampered couples Play leisurely golf on fabulous conditions courses Experience the slow pace and charm of "small-town mid America" Relax and unwind after golf by the pool by sipping "Mint Juleps" Luxury en-suite rooms with gourmet breakfasts and concierge services Golf booked and arranged to your liking Choice of more than 20 courses within a 35 minutes drive Find us a 50 minutes drive south of Charlotte Airport Check out our guest reviews at www.tripadvisor.com

bars, nightclubs by the score, and over 100 wonderful golf courses to choose from. Recently voted one of the top three cities to take a holiday in the USA, Charleston is a city

rich in history, tradition and southern charm. With some of the best restaurants in the states, historic inns, luxury resorts and over 20 great golf courses, including the Ocean Course at Kiawah

More for your money at Montecastillo The popular CS hotel chain in the Algarve has just opened a brand new hotel on the Morgado/Alamos 36hole complex in the Western Algarve near Alvor. At the CS Morgado Golf Hotel, Golf Escapes is offering seven-night packages with seven rounds of golf on site, half board with drinks, free

trolleys and driving range tokens for £485 per person from April to September.

Normandy Golf www.normandygolf.com

British company based in France, specialising in tailor made golfing breaks in Normandy and the whole of France, for Corporate entertaining, Golf societies or special family trips.

To suit every taste and budget

An INN on York Street 164 York Street, Chester, SC 29706 Tel: 001- 803- 581- 8681 E-mail: info@innonyorkstreet.com Website: www.innonyorkstreet.com

Island, Charleston offers a unique holiday experience second to none. The third destination that helps make ‘Coastal Carolina’ the popular golfing Mecca it has become is the spectacularly beautiful Hilton Head Island. With miles of exquisite sandy beaches, top class hotels and resorts and around 30 of the finest golf courses you could wish for, it is easy to see why Hilton Head is one of America’s most renowned golf holiday destinations. For more details on golf holidays in Coastal Carolina and other destinations in the USA and worldwide, visit www.eaglegolftours. com or call 01273 419111 to discuss your holiday requirements.

March and October prices are £535 per person. The world famous Montecastillo Resort (previous host of the Volvo Masters) also has some great offers for the autumn. A seven-night, all-inclusive stay with unlimited golf on Montecastillo Golf Course will cost £425 per person in September and October. For more details visit www. golf-escapes.com or call 01342 811777.

For full details call Jonathan Lloyd

0800 0835 330 (Free service) France: 0033 2 32 97 1256

Holidays begin Discover the beautifully uncrowded fairways of France and northern Spain with Brittany Ferries.

Play & Stay in France 1 night plus golf from

10th hole at Pléneuf Val André

For our latest offers call the golf desk on 0871 244 0668 or visit brittanyferries.com/golf Prices are per person based on 4 passengers travelling in one car for travel in April. Selected sailings, exclusions and conditions apply. See website for full details.

2 nights plus golf from

£154 £233 where holidays begin

Clubstohire expands equipment Golfers using the burgeoning ClubstoHire. com service at Dublin, Faro and Malaga airports are now able to try out golf’s most talked-about new driver – the TaylorMade R11. The R11 has been a major buzzword since it was launched in late 2010, with glowing praise from tour professionals and amateurs, and strong recognition from the golf industry. There is plenty of technology lurking beneath the driver’s stylish white crown, with options to adjust loft and face-angle for maximum flight control. Accompanying the driver is a full set of R11 Burner woods and irons – complete with a white R11 stand-bag – are available for hire at all locations for only €55 for a full week.


Travel 69

www.golfnews.co.uk In association with...

meandmytravels with Gavin Hastings Scotland’s record-breaking full back is happiest when hoofing a howitzer down the fairways at Turnberry’s Ailsa Course My most memorable meal abroad was… in Hong Kong. It was fantastic, but I’m afraid I can’t remember the name of the restaurant.

My first holiday was to… the lovely island of Majorca. I always travel with… lots of happy memories of previous trips. My most recent holiday was to… Spain. The Superbowl

No matter where I am… I try hard to enjoy myself

My ideal travelling golf partners are… people who respect the traditions of golf, whoever they are.

My favourite place when touring was… New Zealand. I am a great fan of the place, and I’ve always felt an affinity with the Kiwis. I toured a lot in New Zealand and it is the Edinburgh

The Ailsa at Turnberry

heartbeat of the rugby world. I captained the Lions there, and we might have won the series had it not been for a dubious refereeing decision in the deciding test. My favourite golf course in the world is… the Ailsa at Turnberry. I could happily play there for the

rest of my life. The atmosphere at St Andrews is fabulous, but I think I prefer playing at Turnberry. My best ever round was at… you’ve guessed it, Turnberry. The first time I ever played the Ailsa I shot 76. My caddy was called ‘Goose’ and I’ll never forget it.

Exotic�Golf�Holidays Mauritius

Mauritius�Mixed Pairs 12�nights�at�Belle�Mare�Plage�Resort 5�competition�rounds unlimited�free�greenfees�throughout 25�Sep�-�8�Oct�2011

The best hotel I’ve ever stayed at… is the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong. It’s absolutely magnificent.

Gavin Hastings will be playing in the Wooden Spoon Celebrity Rugby Golf Classic at La Manga from May 19-23. To a book a place go to www.woodenspoonlamanga.com or call 0117 9681745.

My favourite city in the world is… Edinburgh.

My top travel tip is… to travel light.

Golf Holidays in the

USA

Fantastic Value in

includes�unlimited�golf�on 2�championship�courses

Tournament

The worst holiday I’ve ever had was… sorry, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad holiday. They’ve all been good.

£260pp!

incl.�12�nights�halfboard�accom. flights�&�transfers “best�golf�resort�in�the�world!”

The thing I hate about travel is… airport security. What a pain.

My favourite golf resort… is La Manga in Spain. I’ve played in the Wooden Spoon Celebrity Rugby Golf Classic there in recent years and we always have a cracking time.

from only

5*�Belle Mare Plage 2�weeks�from�£1,495

I’m planning a trip to… next year’s NFL Superbowl final in Indianapolis. I love American Football, and it’s always been an ambition of mine to go to a Superbowl.

Tu r k e y 5*�LykiaWorld�&�LinksGolf 7�nights�all-Inclusive with�unlimited�golf�(excl.�flights)

from�only�£475�pp

£1,845�pp�incl.�flights

South Africa

Madeira

Tailor�made�holidays�by�the

5*�Meliã�Madeira�Mare

South�African�golf�specialists Visit�our�dedicated�website

7�nights�bb with�4�rounds�golf�(excl.�flights)

Golf Holidays in South Africa.com

from�only�£490�pp

MYRTLE BEACH, SC - 2011/12 Sept/Oct 2011 from only Nov 2011 - Feb 2012 from only March 2012 from only April 2012 from only May/June 2012 from only -

£349pp! £329pp! £409pp! £445pp! £355pp!

Prices include - 7 nights in 3* hotel with b/fast, 4 great rounds of golf including carts! and a 7 seat people carrier with inclusive car insurance based on 4 sharing. (FLIGHTS NOT INCLUDED, PLEASE CALL FOR LATEST PRICES AND GROUP DISCOUNTS). 

For the BEST PRICES in - MYRTLE BEACH - FLORIDA - LAS VEGAS CALIFORNIA - Arizona - HILTON HEAD - CHARLESTON

Europe and South Africa please call: enquiries@chakatravel.com

Tel:�028�9023�2112 www.chakatravel.com

EAGLE GOLF TOURS 01273 419111

or go to: www.eaglegolftours.com


70 Travel

www.golfnews.co.uk

With holiday time so precious, finding a travel company you can trust to deliver a memorable experience has never been so important. Golf News editor Nick Bayly visits Golf Escapes, a Sussex-based business which has been doing just that for over 10 years

Escape to the sun...

E

nsuring competitive prices for clients, while still managing to secure a workable profit margin, is a fine balancing act, and one that Jon Ruben, the co-owner of Golf Escapes, a Sussex-based golf travel company which is approaching its tenth year in business, is all too aware. “We’re all after cheap holiday deals,” say Ruben, who is based with his team in offices in a small village near Haywards Heath. “But there comes a time when if everything is driven down by costs, quality will suffer. We may not always offer the cheapest holidays – although there are plenty of times when we do – but price is rarely the defining factor in whether you have a good holiday or not, is it? I’m more interested in questions like ‘what are the courses, hotels, nightlife like?” These aren’t always considered in the headline price.” While many of us are eschewing the traditional fortnight in the sun, a good number are choosing to take more short breaks. “For most people, a golf holiday is their second or even third holiday of the year, not their main holiday,” says Jon. “So although plenty of our bookings are for a week or more, we’ve noticed a big increase in customers booking two or three short breaks throughout the year – mainly either three or five nights.” Although the web has opened up opportunities for the independent traveller who wants to manage everything themselves, the traditional tour operator is still the most popular way of booking a golf holiday. “Most golfers want an all-inclusive price for their holiday – everything in, even food and drink,” says Jon. “They don’t want extras and the hassle of liaising with overseas hotels, courses and car or transfer companies. We can take care of all of these things, and leave the customer to enjoy their holiday.” Golf Escapes has been sending golfers on holiday for almost a decade, and is one of the longest established outfits operating in the golf market. Specialising in the traditional hotspots of Spain and Portugal, the company books 4,500+ golfers each year. By focusing on these destinations, Jon and his team have built up a close network of contacts with their

Spain and Portugal remain the most popular destinations for UK golfers

The dedicated team at Golf Escapes

suppliers, allowing them to secure the most competitive rates. What Golf Escapes may lack in sheer size – Jon employs just three full-time and two part-time staff – it more than makes up for in the quality of its service. Jon works alongside Mike Bryant (Jon’s PGA-qualified co-director), who runs the website and liaises with clients, and Nick Mulgrew, who deals directly with client bookings. “It’s not simply a question of taking the booking and banking the money,” he says. “We’re with our customers from the beginning to the end of their holiday. And they know that if they have any problems, they can rely on us to sort things out. It’s not a common occurrence by any means, but we take pride in offering a total customer service, and we’re not happy unless they’re happy.” As if on cue, a customer in Portugal rings in with a complaint about a lack of buggies available for his group to use. A persuasive phone call from Jon to his contact at the club later, and four buggies

Golf escapes’ deal of the month Seven nights during September and October at the five-star Montecastillo Resort in Jerez costs just £429 per person on an all-inclusive basis sharing a twin room, with unlimited golf on the course that hosted the European Tour’s Volvo Masters.

are spirited from thin air to help get his customer’s holiday back on track. Mission accomplished, Jon explains the secret behind Golf Escape’s success. “Our team has over 60 years’ experience in travel and 40 years in golf travel, and between us we have visited all of the resorts and courses, so when we sell a holiday, we’re putting our own reputation on the line.” He continues: “Over 60% of our customers are repeat business. Some of them have been using us since we began, and before that, when Mike and I worked for The Golf Holiday Company. We have got to know their requirements, which helps considerably when advising on courses to play, resorts and hotels to stay in, and generally with making sure that they have a good time.” Although having focused almost exclusively on the Iberian Peninsular from the beginning, in 2008 Golf Escapes started a programme in Turkey, which has grown into something of a golfing Mecca in recent years. With a host of five-star, beach-fronted hotels, a dozen championship courses, and only four hours’ flying time from the UK, it is proving an increasingly popular venue for British golfers. Other potential golfing hotspots for Golf Escapes in the future are Tunisia and Morocco. Any particularly unusual needs, I casually enquire? “No really strange ones spring to mind,” says Jon, looking a bit guarded. “But I do remember a customer once ringing to ask whether I could book tee times for him at some Crazy Golf

courses in America. I politely declined, expecting there to be a wind-up message at the end. I am still not sure if it was a joke, but he sounded serious!” Although the team at Golf Escapes prides itself on offering personal advice, an increasing number of customers are choosing to book their holidays through the company’s well-designed website. Despite the new site having ‘gone live’ less than a year ago, over 10 per cent of bookings are made online. “Some people have a strong idea about what they want and just want to book something,” says Jon. “It says something about the quality of the website, and their confidence in our business, that our clients are willing to hand over quite large sums of money without having spoken to a human being.” That confidence not only comes from Golf Escapes’ well-earned reputation after 10 years in the business, but also from it being members of IAGTO, ABTA and ATOL, the latter two ensuring that customers can book their holidays safe in the knowledge that their money is protected. The one thing Jon and his team can’t ensure is the weather, which for most travelling golfers has a significant impact on their holiday experience. “It’s always disappointing when you find someone a great deal at a great resort only for it to pour down for four days, but we can only hope that they don’t hold us personally responsible – although some have tried!” admits Jon. “Having said that, we do advise our customers that certain times of the year can be almost too hot for golf, especially in places like Turkey and southern Spain, but knowing when and where it’s going to rain is not something we can do much about.” Mind you, wouldn’t life be boring if we knew what the weather was going to be like every day? Hold on, let me go and check the Golf Escapes website…

To book your next golf holiday please visit www.golf-escapes.com, email info@golf-escapes.com or call 01342 811777.


LA S TO T CHANCE ENTER

71 News

Win one of 10 places on the ultimate golf trip to

Mauritius

Play at seven of the best championship resort courses for an experience you will never forget! The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and Tourism Partners are offering this incredible opportunity for you to play in the Mauritius Golf Challenge 2011.  Majestic mountains, breathtaking waterfalls and a lush interior are the backdrops to Mauritius’ superb championship courses, designed by some of the game’s greatest names such as Ernie Els, Bernhard Langer and Peter Alliss.  All this before we even mention the miles of beautiful unspoilt white sandy beaches or the warm turquoise lagoons of this tropical paradise. And if adventure, sightseeing and watersports are too much for you, relax in one of our world-class resorts and be pampered in the luxurious spas. To enter the competition: Go to: www.mauritiusgolfcollection.co.uk  and click on the competition page to answer the 3 questions and register to win. The Travel dates are 29th May to 8th June 2011.


HOT LIST GOLD WINNER 2 YEARS IN A ROW

The longest driver in golf is also one of the most popular. Bubba Watson, armed with his award-winning G15 Driver, continues to lead the PGA Tour in driving distance while leaving his competitors and fans in awe of his shot-making skills. Visit a PING Fitting Specialist or ping.com to find out which PING driver fits your game.

Š 2011 PING

Source: PGA Tour Statistics through 3/20/11


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