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ISSUE 261 | FEBRUARY 2017 | TWITTER: @GOLFNEWSMAG | WEB: GOLFNEWS.CO.UK
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017 promises to be one of the most fascinating years in recent times. There are so many questions that demand answers. Will Rory return to Major-winning ways? Will Tiger return at all? Will Hideki Matsuyama become Japan's first ever Masters winner? Will Donald Trump sell all his golf resorts and donate the proceeds to charity? It's hard to predict what's going to happen this year, on or off the golf course, but one thing is for sure is that the problem of slow play isn’t going to go away. Indeed, the only thing more consistent than slow play in golf is the regularity with which people waffle on about it – me included. But the fact remains that one of the key elements that has lessened golf’s attraction today is pace of play. It's a matter of fact that the time taken for a round provides all the excuses for some people not to bother. Part of that, it should be noted, is societal rather than specific to golf; everything has to be done faster these days. The flip side? Hours spent on a course can be highly relaxing – a complete antidote to the scary pace of life in the ‘real world’. However, while we look to the game’s elite – tour pros – for lessons on how to knock the ball around a course in the fewest number of shots, we should not, it seems, look to them for tips on how to do it quickly. While plenty of those who play for high stakes do so with good speed, it appears that attempts by the authorities to get pros to get a shift on have largely fallen on deaf ears. With few players ever put on the clock, and even fewer ever penalised, tournament officials are powerless to prevent the tour’s habitual slowcoaches from changing up a gear. World No.1 Jason Day, who will never take one practice swing when five will do, came out fighting when questioned on the subject of pace of play last month. The 29-year-old Australian went so far as to say that the pressure of trying to speed up had adversely affected his game in 2016, and that he planned on being a lot more ‘deliberate’ in 2017. “I don’t care so much about speeding up my game, I’ve got to get back to what makes me good,” Day said. “If that means I have to back off five times before I hit a shot, then I’m going to back off five times.” While that is not such an enticing prospect for viewers, or those that play alongside him, Day was quick to distance himself from the rest of the golfing world, for whom the rewards of winning might only be
Seniors Spring Open ■ JASON DAY'S PEDESTRIAN PACE OF PLAY IS TURNING OFF VIEWERS
a free pint off your mate in the clubhouse. “For recreational golfers, I understand the need to speed up,” Day said. “But for golfers that are trying to win and that one shot that could take you out of a play-off, that’s important, and you need to make sure that you get everything correct. We’re driven by results; we want to be the best and we want to do everything, but the average Joe just doesn’t get it.” Yes, that’s you, Average Joe. What don’t you get? That these chaps are paid entertainers or that they exist in some sort of existential bubble where time is meaningless construct? Either way, the more that top golfers are allowed to get away with shuffling around rather than hitting shots, the more people will switch off. It doesn’t seem to concern Day that he might one day be watched by one man and his dog, as long as he gets complete freedom to take as long as he wants. Of course, no-one wants to force these guys to whizz round in three hours and shoot 85. We do that every day of the week. But there must be a happier medium to be found, where players finish a round before the sun sets. Day is by no means an isolated case, and it’s probably unfair to pick on him, but when you’re the top-ranked player in the world and is seemingly so at odds with how the rest of the game is trying to rebrand itself as being fast and slightly furious, then it’s no wonder that he gets called out. So don’t look to him, or any other tour pros, for lessons in the way you should go about your game. Just be ready to hit your shot when it’s your turn, and don’t take any more time over it than is strictly necessary. If you end up with a birdie, so much the better. Just remember, it’s not life or death.
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FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS
ROSE TARGETS MORE MAJOR SUCCESS AFTER GOLDEN YEAR
ustin Rose has admitted that being awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List has capped off a year that he will remember for the rest of his life. Rose emerged victorious as golf officially featured at the Olympic Games for the first time since 1904, where besides winning a gold medal for Team GB, he also became the first player to make a hole-in-one in Olympic history. Rose says that the landmark victory has re-energised him, and he is keen to challenge again at key tournaments, and build on one and only major success, which he achieved at the US Open in 2013. "It's something you are maybe hoping for after the Olympics, but definitely not expecting,” Rose said of his MBE. "It has really capped off the whole Olympic experience for
MID SUSSEX TO HOST VERA LYNN GOLF DAY Mid Sussex Golf Club in Ditchling is to host the annual Dame Vera Lynn charity golf day on September 22. The day, which costs £240 for a team of four, comprises 18 holes followed by a three-course dinner and prizes. All proceeds will go towards the Special Care Bay unit at Princess Royal Hospital. To enter, email stratford.m@ hotmail.co.uk or call 01903 884204.
STOKE PARK LADIES RAISE £20K FOR CHILDREN’S CHARITY A cheque for more than £20,000 was handed over to a children’s charity when the Stoke Park Golf Club’s ladies held their end-of-year trophy presentation and annual meeting. Fiona Devine, the founder of the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service, based in Maidenhead, accepted £20,671.63 from 2016 captain Julie Cunnah – a sum raised by the ladies’ section throughout the year. At the awards presentation, Edwina Acheson was voted as the club’s ladies’ player of the year.
MICHAEL’S IN THE HUNT AT EASTHAMPSTEAD Easthampstead Golf Club captain Michael Hunt got his New Year off to a flying start when he shot a gross 65 around his home course. It might not sound such an impressive feat for a five handicapper until you realise that he achieved his nett 60 round in a three-club challenge, using just a driver, 8-iron and a putter.
SHIRE TO HOST SICK CHILDRENS GOLF DAY The Sick Childrens’ Trust is to host its annual fundraising golf day at The Shire London on March 24. The programme for the day includes breakfast, a shotgun start on the Seve Ballesteros-designed 18-hole course, with refreshments on the course, followed by a three-course meal and post-match entertainment. There are prizes for the top scores, plus nearest the pin and longest drive competitions. Entries are invited for teams or four, costing £400. For bookings, call 020 7283 4854 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MOOR PARK TO SUPPORT PEACE HOSPICE CARE Incoming Moor Park Golf Club captain Mark Highfield has named his charity for his year in office as Peace Hospice Care in Watford, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life for patients and families facing a life limiting illness. Highfield said: “It is important to support our local charities and help them to gain recognition. The support Peace Hospice Care gives our local community is invaluable. Every penny we can raise during my captaincy year will help those in need.”
■ JUSTIN ROSE: LOOKING FORWARD TO 2017
me. Whenever you have your work recognised, whatever field you are in, it's just a great feeling." The 36 year old, who is currently 15th in the world, says his focus was always on making the Rio Olympics and, having achieved success in 2016, he is keen to keep the momentum going into the new season. "I had a few injuries to deal with, so I really set my eyes on Rio, trying to make sure I was 100 per cent, and I really put all my energy into peaking for the Olympic Games," he added. "It was the one tournament I won during the year and made 2016 a year I will always remember. “But I'm now looking forward to 2017. I want to get back to winning titles and major championships. It was 2013 the last time I was able to win a major championship, and I feel ready to get back in the winner's circle."
GROVE TO EXTEND CLUBHOUSE WITH NEW PLAYERS' LOUNGE
he Grove in Hertfordshire has unveiled plans to expand its clubhouse facilities with the opening of a new players’ lounge in May. The purpose-built extension will sit at the heart of The Stables complex and will become a focal point for the many golf functions, golf society bookings and corporate golf days that take place at the five-star Watford-based venue each year. Designed to bring ‘the outside in’, the walls of the players’ lounge will feature floor-to-ceiling glass panels, with the centre panels on each side sliding back during the summer months to allow guests access to The Stables’ courtyard area. Commenting on the development, Anna Darnell, the resort’s director of golf, said: “This significant investment will undoubtedly enhance the positive experience our golf-playing guests will have when they visit The Grove. The Players’ Lounge will create a space that will perfectly service the needs of our golf day, society and corporate golf guests, but it will also become an area that celebrates the traditions
BECKENHAM PLACE CLOSURE CONFIRMED
ny final hope that Beckenham Place Park Golf Course might earn a last-minute reprieve from permanent closure was dealt a death blow last month, following the announcement that the Heritage Lottery Fund had given a £4.9m grant for Lewisham Council to redevelop the site for other public amenities. Beckenham Place was founded in 1908, and was the first public
golf course in England, and the only public course in central London. It was closed by Lewisham Council on October 31, ahead of proposed improvements to the park using
of the game, presented in keeping with The Grove’s ‘modern twist’.” She added: “Our recent staging of the British Masters allowed us to collect a host of great memorabilia, images, messages and comments from Tour players, and many of these will take pride of place in the Players’ Lounge, including a personal message from Alex Noren, who won the tournament.”
Heritage Lottery Fund money, which was finally secured on December 14. Proposals for activities to replace the golf course, which took up one-third of the park, include a 5km cross-country course, a BMX track, skate park, and a playground. Shortly after the course closed, campaign group ‘Lewisham People before Profit’ occupied the course and the clubhouse for 24 hours in protest against its closure. Campaigners offered people the chance to have a free round of golf and ran a free café on the steps of
the manor house. They said that a petition signed by over 8,000 residents to retain the golf facilities had been ignored by the council. People Before Profit spokesman Raymond Woolford said: “The consultation on this was not fair, as it did not ask if people would like the golf course to stay open. The occupation was not just about the course, we also want to raise the issue that parks in inner London are not protected in the same way as those in outer London which form part of the Green Belt.”
PRESIDENT PINSENT MAKES WAY FOR STRAUSS AT STOKE PARK
toke Park’s penchant for appointing sporting legends to the role of honorary president has continued into 2017, with four-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Matthew Pinsent making way for former England cricket captain Andrew Strauss. Pinsent had held the honour at the Buckinghamshire club since 2011, and in that time had witnessed numerous changes, most recently the renovation of the venue’s 27 holes, which is currently nearing completion. He recalled: "I first came to Stoke Park as a guest for Tim Henman’s charity day in 2001, and since then have got to know the place well. It was a huge honour when Chester King asked me to be president of the club. I was delighted to accept. You look at the board of past presidents and see the others who have done it and think ‘wow!'. It's been a wonderful time, and I can think of no better replacement for me than Andrew – one strokemaker replacing another!” Stoke Park's director of golf, Stuart Collier, said: "It's been an absolute delight to have Sir Matthew as club president for the last five years. As a sports fan, it's
■ CALLING THE SHOTS: ANDREW STRAUSS IS STOKE PARK'S NEW PRESIDENT
always been a thrill to be in the presence of an Olympic legend – but it's also a joy knowing him and his family on a personal level. He's been a very active president, immersing himself in the many events we have here at Stoke Park, and has been hugely popular with the members."
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FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS
■ THE 'ACE OF HERTS' 17TH HOLE AT BRICKENDON GRANGE
WICKS HAS GEORGIA ON HIS MIIND Sussex Amateur Champion David Wicks is to represent England in the 2017 Jones Cup Invitational in the USA. The prestigious 54-hole event takes place at Ocean Forest Golf Club, Georgia in February, and is contested by 84 top amateurs from the US and around the world. Previous players include Luke Donald, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson, while Patrick Reed is among the past champions.
SANDFORD SPRING’S GENEROUS DONATION Sandford Springs Golf Club managed to raise £9,200 for local charity Basingstoke Foodbank following a year’s worth of events at the Hampshire club. Paula Vallance, operations manager from the foodbank, said that donation was the single largest amount that the charity has ever received.
SPRING DATE FOR 2021 WALKER CUP Seminole Golf Club in Florida and Cypress Point in California have been chosen to host the Walker Cup in 2021 and 2025 respectively. The 48th renewal of the biennial team competition in 2021 will be played in the spring for the first time on US soil, with the dates for the two-day competition scheduled for May 8-9 at Seminole. The dates of the 50th Walker Cup at Cypress Point, which last held the tournament in 1981, are September 6-7, 2025.
BRICKENDON B GRANGE BAGS TOP HOLE AWARD
rickendon Grange Golf Club in Hertfordshire has beaten nine of Britain’s most picturesque and challenging golf holes to be crowned the UK’s Greatest Amateur Hole 2016. The winning club received a high number of public votes and impressed an independent judging panel in the national ‘Grass Roots’ golf competition organised by BusinessInsuranceFor.com, which
provides insurance services for sports clubs. The initiative aimed to shine the spotlight on lesser-known clubs across the UK, with Brickendon Grange claiming the top spot, closely followed by Robin Hood in Solihull and Murrayfield in Edinburgh. The winning hole, the 17th, ‘Ace of Herts’, is a 417-yard par four, which is described on Brickendon Grange’s website by head professional Andy Clapp as being ‘not for the faint hearted’, requiring golfers to negotiate ‘a narrow tee shot’ before being faced with ‘a stunning view of the green from the top of the hill’. The fairway then sweeps down towards a ‘sizeable pond’, before climbing back up the slope to the green, which is cut into the landscape. The judging panel for the competition comprised Brendon Pyle, chief executive of the Golf Foundation, and Michael Coffey, publisher of Golf Club Secretary magazine. The winning club received a commemorative plaque, while the sponsor donated £500 on behalf of the club to the Golf Foundation. The top 10 holes in the list were Brickendon Grange, Hertford (17th); Robin Hood, Solihull (16th); Murrayfield, Edinburgh (10th); Easingwold, York (18th); Langley Park, London (10th); Epping, Essex (12th); Toft Country House, Lincs (18th); Merchants of Edinburgh, Edinburgh (13th); Rusper Golf Course, Dorking (14th); Bruntsfield Links, Edinburgh (16th).
GOLF COLLEGE CELEBRATES HORSFORD’S Q SCHOOL SUCCESS
education studies with a comprehensive golf tuition programme. Last May she was part of the Golf College team that won the Golf School and Colleges' Final at Trevose, where she shot rounds of 69 and 70 to also win the individual title. Based at Lindfield Golf Club, near Haywards Heath, urrey’s Lauren Horsford can look forward to playing a the Golf College has seen many success stories since full schedule on this season’s Ladies European Tour after it was established in 2004, with players improving winning her place at Qualifying School in Morocco. their handicaps while working towards a career in golf, The 19-year-old amateur from Wimbledon Park shot rounds whether it be the European Tour, the Ladies European of 67, 70, 70, 71 and 75 for a five round score of seven under par, ■ LAUREN HORSFORD IS TOUR BOUND Tour, coaching or becoming a PGA club professional. and a share of 12th place, to book her ticket to the LET. Run by ex-European Tour pro Paul Lyons, in partnership with respected Horsford’s rise to the top rank of women’s golf has been nothing short tour coach Dennis Pugh, the Golf College gives 16-19 year olds the chance of meteoric. Just five years ago she was a junior club amateur playing to improve all aspects of their golf, while also ensuring further education off a handicap of 9.4, but now she is playing off scratch and preparing to qualifications. compete alongside some of the best professionals in the world. The Golf College has recently announced a degree-level course to A former Surrey Junior U15 champion, and a two-time Telegraph BMW be introduced from September 2017. For more information, visit www. Junior finalist, Horsford has been a student at the Golf College in West thegolfcollege.com or call 01444 484467. Sussex for the past three years, where she has combined her further
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NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017
DAW AMONG THE PRIZES AT PRINCE’S
wo Titleist & FootJoy Winter Series events at Prince's launched the PGA in England South’s 2017 season, with Effingham’s Robert Daw, Calcot Park’s Alex Lodge, and Littlestone’s Charlie Wilson ascending the winners' podium. Based on two rounds on consecutive days over different combinations of Prince’s 27 holes, day one saw Daw and Lodge revel in the calm conditions, both shooting five-under-par 67s to tie for victory. With Lodge in the group behind Daw, it was a battle royal from the start. Daw set a furious pace going birdie, eagle at the two opening holes, and made a birdie at the fourth to go four-under. Lodge managed to stay in sight by making his own birdies on the fourth, the sixth and seventh. Daw bogeyed the sixth, but deuced the par-three eighth to stay one shot ahead of Lodge at the turn. Lodge then birdied the 12th and 13th to go one shot ahead, but a birdie two at the 16th from Daw levelled the game. Pars down the last two holes left them tied and two shots clear of the pack. Everything changed on day two, with misty and blowy conditions, and it was Littlestone’s Charlie Wilson who came out on top with a two-under-par 69. He picked up the £300 first prize, edging Canterbury’s former four-time Order of Merit champion Richard Wallis into second place by a stroke. One-under at the turn, Wilson eagled the 16th and despite bogeying the 17th, he stayed in front of Wallis whose bogey at the same hole cost him a share of the lead. When it came to the leading assistants’ prizes, Lodge’s flawless round of five birdies earned him the ball, glove and shoe contract with Titleist & FootJoy. Wilson’s eagle proved equally valuable, and thanks to the sponsors, both players are now set up nicely for 2017.
MANNINGS HEATH TO HOST EUROPRO TOUR EVENT
annings Heath Golf Club & Wine Estate in West Sussex is among a host of new venues staging tournaments on this year’s HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour. The Horsham-based venue will be hosting its first ever tournament on Europe’s top development tour from August 2-4, when competitors will take on the challenge of the club’s recently renovated Waterfall Course.
It will also be one of six courses across the UK hosting First Stage qualifying for the EuroPro Tour in March. Open to all professional golfers, as well as amateurs with a handicap of two or less, initial qualifying will take place on March 29-30 at Caversham Heath, Chart Hills, Haggs Castle, Players Club, Formby Hall and Mannings Heath. Official practice at all six venues will take place on March 28.
Those who are successful will advance to play in final qualifying at Frilford Heath in Oxfordshire between April 5-7, where one round will be played on both the Red and Blue courses, before the top 80 and ties from the 240-man field play a final round on the Blue Course. The 2017 EuroPro Tour schedule begins on April 26, with Close House in Newcastle hosting the opening event. Frilford Heath is staging its regular EuroPro Tour event on May 17-19, while nearby Studley Wood will be the venue for a tournament in June 21-23. Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa (July 26-28) makes its EuroPro debut for the tour’s ninth event of the year, before Mannings Heath takes centre stage from August 2-4.
DAVIES JOINS BURHILL PRO STAFF ICKLESHAM FC PLANS 80-HOLE CHALLENGE FOR CHARITY
urhill Golf Club in Surrey has appointed Lucinda Davies to its team of PGA Professionals. Davies, who attended Western Carolina University in America on a golf scholarship, and completed her PGA training at Birmingham University, boasts a strong background in coaching, and was the first female professional to teach in Egypt, after accepting the role of head teaching professional at Taba Heights Golf Resort in 2008. She then returned to the UK to take on a teaching position at Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club in London, where she spent five years building a strong ladies' following, and also set up a coaching school that specialises in hosting overseas training camps for women. Her previous role before joining Burhill was at Dukes Meadows Golf & Tennis in Chiswick, where she also increased female participation. Davies is keen to teach all levels of players, from absolute beginners through to competitive amateurs, and aspiring tour professionals. To book a lesson, or enquire about future coaching trips, visit www.lucindadaviesgolf.com or call 07899 955024.
A group of members of Icklesham Football Club in Kent are planning to play 80 holes in five different countries over three days later this summer. The marathon effort, which takes place from June 25-27, will aim to raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease Association, the Alzheimer’s Society and a fund to help build a new clubhouse for the club, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. Bob Baker, Steve Beale, Adam Forrest, Steve Fuller, David Mayne and Nicky Sparks will play the equalivent of four-and-half rounds in 40 hours, taking in game in England France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. The travels plans have been organised by 19th Hole Golf Getaways, whose owner, John Cooper, will be accompanying the team on the trip. Anyone wishing to support the challenge by making a donation can do so by visiting Icklesham Casuals Football Club’s page on uk.virginmoneygiving.com.
FRILFORD HEATH APPOINTS NEW GM Frilford Heath Golf Club in Oxfordshire has appointed Russell Stebbings as its new general manager. Formerly at Farleigh Golf Club in Surrey, Stebbings boasts an impressive track record in golf club management, having previously worked for the Burhill Golf Group and American Golf UK Ltd, now operating as Crown Golf, also in Surrey, where he was voted General Manager of the year in 2011. The Abingdonbased club, which boasts three 18-hole courses, has also appointed a new golf manager who will start in March.
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FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS
HEVER OPENS ‘GREEN’ COURSE TO SUIT SHORTER HITTERS
Sunrise Golf Society-£40 pp To include 18 holes and full English breakfast. Minimum numbers of 8. Valid until 28th Feb 2017. SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY
To book please email email@example.com or call 01844278505
ever Castle Golf Club in Kent has unveiled a new shorter version of its championship course that is designed to broaden its appeal to new golfers, seniors and juniors. The Edenbridge-based club’s fulllength layout measures over 7,000 yards, and while that is an appealing challenge to long-hitters and low handicappers, it does not always suit less proficient or older players. While the club already has white, yellow and red tees, the new Green Course measures just 6,000 yards, and has an SSS rating of 69. A club spokesman said: “Whilst it’s great that Hever can be played at over 7,000 yards, the fact remains that the game continues to attract many senior golfers who play for enjoyment and a fair challenge, not to mention the fact that the UK often
endures long, wet winters where a more friendly course is a good option for many. The Green Course has now been assessed and awarded an SSS rating, which means it is available for competitive play. Men’s competitions remain unaffected, with play off the yellow tees in winter, whites in the summer, and blues as before.” Whichever length course golfers choose to play from, all will enjoy a significant improvement in the quality of the playing surfaces at Hever, following an extensive investment in the course maintenance over recent seasons. A strict regime of tining and top dressing, combined with an extensive ‘drill and fill’ programme, has resulted in better-draining greens and healthier and more robust grass plants. Members have reported that
the greens are now more receptive to a good shot, and are more consistent to chip and putt on. The greens improvement programme is to be extended to surrounds and the wooded areas over the coming months, work on which has been aided by the employment of a new greenkeeper, taking the total number in the team to nine. Away from the golf course, a new ball dispenser has been purchased for the club’s driving range, while a new matting system will soon provide an even more realistic practice experience. A new and upgraded fleet of buggies is also on order for the spring, while a new levy card system is being introduced that will allow members to top up their cards online.
Winter Warmer Golf Offer: £25pp to include 18 Holes of Golf, Coffee & Bacon Roll £30pp to include 18 Holes of Golf, Coffee & Full English Breakfast. Available until 31st March 2017. To book call 01635 296 800 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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uckinghamshire rising star Conor Gough is targeting national level success in 2017 after emerging as one of the stars of 2016. The Stoke Park scholar turned his focus back onto the sport in 2016, after dabbling with football, and the rewards
have been remarkable. He won the Reid Trophy for the English Boys Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship, the Douglas Johns Trophy, and was the youngest of eight players to represent England in the Home Nations match against Wales. The 14 year old has now been selected for the England Under-16 Thames Valley regional squad training programme, and he has big ambitions for the future. “I would say that most of my success has been down to hard work,” said Gough. “Last year, and throughout the winter, I was playing football a lot and not really concentrating on golf. I didn’t really like to go out and play, because of the cold weather. Last winter I was actually practising quite hard, and that really helped me throughout the whole year. It helped me to perform well and keep it up.” Commenting on the challenge of combining golf commitments with schoolwork, Gough said: “You need to manage your time because some competitions come in school weeks, so you have to take a week off. When you get back you have bundles of work you need to catch up on, but I suppose that is okay. The teachers at school are quite nice, they know me, and always help me to catch up on everything.” He added: “I don’t want to just compete at national level, but try to win U18 competition. Quite a few wins would be nice.”
MIZUNO OPENS NEW FITTING CENTRE IN SOMERSET
yder Cup player Chris Wood returned to his native West Country earlier this month to open a new fitting centre at Burnham and Berrow Golf Club run by his equipment sponsor, Mizuno. It is the Japaneseowned brand’s 14th such venue in the UK & Ireland,
and underlines the company’s commitment to ensure every golfer can reap the maximum performance benefits from its range of golf clubs. All 14 Mizuno performance centres – which also include Gleneagles, Celtic Manor,
Royal Birkdale and Woburn – feature an indoor/outdoor fitting suite and launch monitor technology, plus at least two PGA Pro qualified fitters who can identify optimum clubs using Mizuno’s market-leading swing DNA fitting software.
NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017
HEATH AGREES NEW MANAGEMENT DEAL
■ JAMES HEATH PICKED UP A WIN ON THE CHALLENGE TOUR IN 2016
ormer England Amateur champion James Heath has set out his stall for the new season by signing a contract with Buckinghamshire-based player management company Jenahura. The agreement will see Jenahura, which is owned and run by former PGA Professional Martyn Norris, manage and sponsor Heath, who will play a combined schedule on the European Tour and Challenge Tour in 2017. In addition, Jenahura’s logo will be embroidered on Heath’s tour bag for the current season. The company, which was founded in 2004, also looks after a small stable of players, including Jamie Elson, Harry Casey and Richard McEvoy. Last year was an emotional rollercoaster for 30-year-old Heath, who plays and practises at The Wisley in Surrey when he is not out on tour. Following the death of his mother
early in 2016, he experienced the joy of becoming a father for the first time in May. The mix of emotions inspired Heath to an impressive victory in the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge, with an outstanding winning score of 21 under par, which included a second round 62. Two weeks later his good form continued when he claimed a prize spot in the 145th Open at Royal Troon, for what was his first major championship appearance. Although Heath failed to gain his full playing rights on the European Tour, finishing just outside the automatic qualification places in the Challenge Tour’s Road to Oman rankings (20th), and missing out by just one shot at the European Tour’s Qualifying School in December, he is excited with his progress, and can’t wait to get under way in 2017. “The last 12 months have been full of ups and downs, but I am delighted that Jenahura is prepared ■ HEATH WITH JENAHURA'S MD MARTYN NORRIS
to invest and help me to take my game to the next level,” said Heath, who won his first professional event at the Ecco Challenge back in 2006. “When you have been in the wilderness for a while, you naturally have doubts, but I have worked hard and I have made really great progress with my game. When I first met Martyn, it was clear that he has a passion to really support his players. We spoke at Qualifying School in November. and it didn’t take us long to agree terms, I’m excited to be working with Jenahura.” Norris commented: “We are absolutely delighted James has agreed to join our stable. He is a first class person, on and off the course, and there is no doubting his predigious talent. I have absolutely no doubt that James’s career is heading in the right direction, and he will become a regular name on European Tour leaderboards very soon. To have a player of James’s talent sign for us is a not only a great thrill, but also signals our intention to commit and invest in a small pool of elite, hard-working golfers.”
COPTHORNE TO HOST SUSSEX AMATEUR
ussex County Golf has released its schedule of events for the 2017 season, which sees the top events shared around some of the county’s most revered venues. Copthorne Golf Club has been chosen to host the 36-hole Sussex Amateur Championship from June 2-4, which will see the top ■ COPTHORNE GOLF CLUB 16 players move through the knockout rounds, while Golf At Goodwood is to stage the Colts Championship on June 14. The 36-hole medal event, which was won last year by Toby Graves, is open to under 21s with handicaps of nine or less. Piltdown Golf Club will host the Sussex Veterans Championship and the Sussex Veterans Foursomes Championship on July 27-28 for those aged over 60, while the Mid Age Championship, which is open to over 35s, is to
Last year saw the first major overhaul of the software and data that drives Mizuno Swing DNA since its introduction in 2009. Based on five years of studying Swing DNA and individual shaft characteristics, the rebuilt software adds a level of accuracy and transparency. Golfers can now see every available shaft ranked in order of suitability for their
be staged at Crowborough Beacon on June 27. The first major men’s tournament of the season, the Sussex Seniors Championship, takes place at Ham Manor Golf Club on May 11. The 36-hole medal event, which offers scratch and handicap prizes, is open to players over the age of 55 with a handicap of 12 or less. For entry forms, visit www.sussexgolf.org.
swings. The previous version used a more basic algorithm to display just the three best-matched shafts. Each centre carries a full Mizuno fitting cart, with 68 different shaft options, plus an extended wood and wedge fitting pack, and premium Mizuno balls for indoor fittings. There is no obligation to buy, and golfers will leave with
a full set of prescribed club specifications. All equipment ordered following a fitting is delivered is sent to the customer within a week. Visitors to the Performance Centre at Burnham & Berrow will be able to test out the brand’s very latest irons and woods, including the JPX900 Series irons that hit the shelves last September.
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 FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS
PRINCE’S TO HOST NEW SENIOR SERIES OPEN SEASON AT THE NEVILL Nevill Golf Club in Kent has unveiled the dates for its Open competitions for 2017, which tee off with the Men's Amateur on May 21 for the Churchill Bowl (scratch) & MacNicol Cup (handicap). Youngsters take centre stage with the Junior Open on May 27. The tournament is a qualifying round of the Daily Telegraph Junior Golf Championship. The ladies get their turn on September 5, with a pairs competition. Last year’s event attracted 86 players from 30 clubs, so early entry is advised. And the season wraps up with the Mixed Open on July 9, where Mark Groombridge and Jackie Chisholm from Boars Head are the defending champions. For entry forms, visit www.nevillgolfclub.co.uk.
JUNIOR ASSESSMENT DAYS Kent Golf is hosting a series of assessment days in March for junior golfers aged between five and 18. The sessions, which are being held at
RARE CLUBS TO GO UNDER THE HAMMER O
ne of the world’s finest private collections of early golf clubs is to be offered for sale by Bonhams in Los Angeles on 29 March. The Roberto Family Trust Golf Collection comprises more than 130 clubs that span the history of clubmaking, from spur irons of the 17th century to spoons and clubs of the late 19th century. The collection is estimated to be worth up to $1m, although competing bidders could take the final sale figure much higher. Will Roberto, curator of the collection, started collecting golf memorabilia in the 1960s, and over the past 50 years has gradually refined the collection to concentrate on his passion for early golf clubs, which have been
gathered from trips to Scotland and England, as well as in America. One of the oldest and rarest items from the collection is a lefthanded light spur toe iron, which dates back to 1690. Estimated at $75,000-100,000, it is one of only eight such clubs known to exist, most of which are in institutional collections. Missing a shaft, now replaced, the toe iron lay overlooked in a box of tools for 50 years. Other important clubs include a Bowmaker’s long nose play club circa 1750-1780, which has been valued at $40,000-60,000; while the Duke of Atholl’s Heavy Iron, which is dated around 1780, is expected to fetch up to ¢25,000. This blacksmith-made club has an exceptionally large face and
ngland Golf has launched a new series of amateur tournaments open to men and women aged over 45. The Senior Series will be made up of six 18-hole stableford tournaments, played off full handicap. The leading players at each event will qualify for the grand final at Golf Week on August 16, when they’ll play on the Bracken course at Woodhall Spa. The players who win through to Golf Week will arrive on August 15 for a practice round and a gala dinner, when trophies will be presented to the regional winners. They’ll stay overnight as the guests of England Golf before playing the final. The six qualifying tournaments will be held at Woodcote Park, Surrey, on 11 May; Huddersfield, Yorkshire, 1 June; Wilmslow, Cheshire, 15 June; Teignmouth, Devon, 28 June; Longcliffe, Leics, 14 July; and Princes, Kent, 25 July. It costs £47.50 to enter each event, which includes bacon roll and coffee on arrival and a two-course meal after the round. For entry forms, visit www.englandgolf.org/ championships.
imposing hosel, and the original sheepskin grip is inscribed in ink, ‘Heavy iron’. The club was owned by John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl, whose family seat was at Blair Castle in Scotland. Bonhams Golf Specialist, Kevin McGimpsey said, “The Roberto Family Trust’s outstanding collection ranks among the top five in the world. It represents a lifetime of enthusiasm and provides an unrivalled opportunity to acquire pieces of great historical significance and rarity.” Will Roberto said: “Putting together this collection has been a wonderful, absorbing hobby which has given me decades of pleasure. The time has now come for a new generation of collectors to enjoy these fascinating objects.”
Chelsfield Lakes Golf Club on March 18 and Boughton Golf Club on March 19, will consist of fun games and challenges, and will give children and parents the opportunity to meet Kent coaches and officials and discuss academy initiatives,
WOLDINGHAM HITS THE GOLFMARK
oldingham Golf Club in Surrey has been awarded GolfMark status by England Golf.
The popular North Downs venue is the latest
The GolfMark award was developed by England Golf and also integrates Sport England’s Clubmark award – a national standard
Chris Madden, general manager of Woldingham, who led the club’s push to GolfMark, said: “Woldingham is a great club; it’s very friendly,
tournaments and competitions which
of the Altonwood Group’s five clubs to receive
for quality sports clubs recognised across the
may be available to them throughout
the award, which recognises clubs that have
country. GolfMark brings a number of benefits
the season. The four-hour sessions are
promoted playing and coaching opportunities,
to clubs, including raising awareness, access to
free to attend and start at 10am. To
while ensuring health and safety policies are in
funding, business and marketing support and
that children are safe and secure here and that we
register email email@example.com.
training opportunities for staff and volunteers.
understand about beginner golfers.”
welcoming and forward-thinking. This award helps us to spread that message and to tell people
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NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017
TOUR CADDY EXPERIENCE IN HIGH DEMAND
n experienced tour caddy has started a business that offers professional caddying services to amateur golfers looking to sharpen up their course management skills has proved a huge hit. European Tour caddy Steve Brotherhood launched Tour Caddy Experience in December, and has been inundated with calls from amateur golfers interested in getting a professional insight into their game. Backed by leading golf club rental firm ClubstoHire.com, Brotherhood is part of a team of 20 caddies located all around the UK that are offering their services. These include Adam Marrow, who is based in Sunbury and has caddied for the likes of Ross Fisher and Oliver Wilson, and Eddie Pepperrell’s caddie, Oxfordshirebased Jamie Herbert. The sessions, which start from £120 for one player for 9 holes, include an on-course tips and advice on club selection, strategy, decisionmaking, practice structure and
■ TOUR CADDY STEVE BROTHERTON IS PASSING ON HIS KNOWLEDGE TO AMATEURS
customers will receive a follow-up written report on the day. Brotherhood has already shared his tour-quality knowledge during 17 rounds through the busy festive period, as well as preparing for the new Tour season with David Howell. “I managed to squeeze in 17 rounds with clients over Christmas and New Year, alongside preparing for the 2017 season, so it’s been an extremely busy few weeks,” said Brotherhood. “I’ve been inundated with calls, texts and emails regarding availability for this year, with enquiries from all over the UK and even an email from a golfer in Italy,” he added. “I’m delighted with the level of interest and bookings in such a short space of time.” Brotherhood has been caddying for 12 years on the world’s top courses and helped to win both the Italian Open and prestigious Alfred Dunhill Links Championship during his time on the bag with players such as Steve Webster, Paul Broadhurst
GOLFSTREAM ROLLS OUT SUPPORT FOR KENT VETERANS GOLF LEAGUE The Kent Veteran’s Golf League, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2017, will once again enjoy the support of leading golf trolley brand Golfstream, which is putting its weight behind the popular series of tournaments that pits the county’s top senior players against each other. To celebrate the league reaching its ruby anniversary, Golfstream is sponsoring a brand new pairs competition - The Golfstream 40th and Anthony Wall. Having previously spent three years as a touring professional himself, he can relate to the need for personalised coaching. “I’ve really enjoyed the experiences that I’ve given so far, and it’s been great to share some of my tips and skills with golfers who
normally wouldn’t have access to anybody with Tour experience,” he added. “I’ll be looking to fit in as many rounds as my schedule allows and will happily travel to any course in the UK.” For more information, visit www.tourcaddyexperience.co.uk.
Anniversary Trophy – for which a crystal trophy is on offer to the winning team, together with a new Golfstream Vision trolley for each winning player. The tournament is being held at Boughton Golf Club on October 5, and follows shortly after the KVGL singles competition, which takes place at Dartford on September 18, and the team competition, which is being
HENNERTON LAUNCHES NEW INDOOR SIMULATOR
ennerton Golf Club in Berkshire has become one the first few clubs in the South East to take delivery of Foresight Sports’ new GC2 launch monitor. The Henley-based club, which also boasts an 18-hole course, has housed the state-of-theart swing analysis technology in a purpose-built golf studio, which makes it ideal for hosting lessons and custom fittings, as well as enjoying a round of golf on one of the dozens of the world’s top courses – all without having to step outside. The GC2 boasts unmatched accuracy, and, with its high-resolution cameras capable of capturing up to 10,000 frames per second, it is the only launch monitor that properly measures player performance. As well as being ideal for coaching and fitting new equipment, the studio can be hired out for £25 per hour for groups to enjoy simulator rounds featuring stunning 4K graphics. To book a session, or for more details, call the pro shop on 0118 9401000 or email info@ hennertongolfclub.co.uk.
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staged at Shooters Hill on September 25.
NEVILL LAUNCHES JAMIE SPENCE JUNIOR ACADEMY The Nevill Golf Club in Kent has launched a new junior academy programme aimed at bringing on youngsters that are new to the game or have a handicap of 25 or over. The Jamie Spence Junior Academy will offer structured lessons delivered by PGA Professional coaches every Saturday between 1pm-2.30pm. The academy runs in three 15-week terms. To enroll, call 01892 532941 or email proshop@ nevillgolfclub.co.uk.
 FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS
DESIGN Home Golf Design’s artificial putting and chipping greens are an affordable addition to every serious golfer’s back garden. Just don’t tell the neighbours, otherwise they’ll all want a go. WORDS BY NICK BAYLY
■ A CHALLENGING GREEN CAN FIT INTO THE SMALLEST OF BACK GARDENS. THIS ONE COST £8,000 IN INSTALL
f you’re one of those nosey types who likes to look on Google Earth to see what celebrities’ back gardens look like, you’ll more often than not discover that part of the vast acreage has been astro-turfed over for a helicopter landing pad, kids’ play area, five-aside football pitch or, as is often the case these days, a combination of all three, plus a nine-hole putting course. While a high percentage of Tour players have converted their enormous estates into full-scale replicas of the greens at Augusta, there are also plenty of regular golfers out there that are choosing to dig up their somewhat smaller domestic lawns and replace them with something altogether more interesting to look at and fun to play on. Thanks to the UK’s rain-soaked winters and football-ridden summers, keeping a lawn looking tidy at any time of the year is a tough job, but even when it does resemble the Centre Court at Wimbledon, grass is just, well, grass at the end of the day, and good for very little except looking at, interspersed with the tedious jobs
of weeding and cutting. Which is another reason why more of us are choosing to give up our obsession with firing up the Flymo every Sunday afternoon in favour of pulling out the putter for a spot of practice on the latest generation of artificial greens. Thanks to massive leaps in technology, the current ‘crop’ of artificial golf greens is far removed from the stuff you used to see behind the apples and pears in your local greengrocers, and more akin to the finely-chiselled swards you’ll find on a championship golf course. While a tour-standard surface boasting seven different lengths of fake Bermuda, a water feature, and a replica of the Road Hole bunker, can set you back the prize money earned from a top-five place in a World Golf Championship event, a more simple design, featuring a few carefully-constructed holes next to the barbeque area, can be a much more affordable, yet equally effective option, for the amateur golfer. This is the type of customer that Home Golf Designs is currently working with to fulfill domestic dream layouts. Set up 10 years ago
NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017
by experienced greenkeeper Andy Brown, who enjoyed spells at Nizels and Croham Hurst, Kent-based Home Golf Greens aims to meet the needs of the keen golfer looking to sharpen up their short game skills in the comfort of their own home. Rather than trudging off to their local club every time they want to put in a bit of work on their lag putting or greenside chipping, owners of a Home Golf Design green can simply open the back door and, hey presto, they’re on the first hole and sinking putts for fun. One of Home Golf Design’s earliest customers was three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan, who had a five-hole course built in his back garden in the Midlands. While the company can’t take full responsibility for Sullivan’s impressive performances on tour this season, having somewhere to practise his putting stroke at home can’t have harmed his chances of glory. And while HGD recently installed a nine-hole putting course at a private house on the exclusive Wentworth Estate in Surrey, the company’s traditional customer base is generally on a much tighter budget, where a few interesting, well-designed holes
■ HOME GOLF DESIGNS PRIDES ITSELF ON ITS ATTENTION TO FINE DETAIL
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS…. How much space do I need to put in a four- or five-hole putting course? There is no minimum space, as it depends on how far apart or how long the client wants the holes to be. Generally speaking, a comfortable five-hole course could fit into around 100 square metres. Can artificial greens have contours like a real putting green? Absolutely. We can build in very subtle slopes that are barely noticeable to the eye, or more severe contours, depending on what the customer wants. Most clients like one or two completely flat putts mixed in with an uphill and downhill one, which helps with practising pace, and maybe one with a side slope. Can you alter the speed of an artificial green? The speed can be adjusted by brushing or rolling them. How long will it take to install? Most domestic greens can be installed in about a week, depending on the amount of site preparation and clean up required. A client might be putting and chipping the weekend after we start, but it obviously depends on the overall size and scope of the project.
“I LOVE PRACTICING ON MY HOME GOLF DESIGN GREEN, THANKS SO MUCH” ANDY SULLIVAN EUROPEAN TOUR PLAYER
on a small plot are all that is required. “While it’s nice to work with tour players, and those with sizeable budgets, most of our projects are on a much smaller scale, where customers are looking for a few straightforward holes to practice on,” says Andy Brown. “But no matter how big or small the project is, our attention to detail is exactly the same. We work closely with the client through every step of the process to make sure they get exactly what they want, and work within their budgets to achieve their ambitions.” The son of a golf professional, and with experience as a greenkeeper,
Brown prides himself on knowing the demands golfers have when it comes to replicating greens, as well as what is required to landscape holes into a domestic setting, where greens are often competing with other requirements of a traditional garden. “Home owners don’t want a green just to be simply plonked down in the back garden,” says Andy. “So we work closely with the client to make sure it blends in with that is already there, and, if required, carry out sympathetic landscaping to ensure that it doesn’t dominate the setting.” Requiring next to no maintenance, other than brushing off the
leaves in autumn, and capable of withstanding the heaviest of downpours, a Home Golf Design green is a great addition to any golfer’s garden. And with chippinglength surfaces and customdesigned bunkers available to surround your putting green, as well as full-size practice driving nets, golfers can work on all aspects of their game at any time of year, and any time of the day. So whether you’re looking to win next year’s club championship, set your children on the road to Open glory, or simply want to have somewhere to challenge your mates to a few holes over a drink, a Home Golf Design putting green holds all the answers. Prices range from £2000 onwards.
For more details on Home Golf Designs range of artificial putting and chipping greens, or to book a site visit, call freephone 0800 7837188 or email email@example.com or visit homegolfdesigns.co.uk
■ THIS PUTTING GREEN, WITH PRACTICE HITTING NET, COST £8,500 TO INSTALL
How much does it cost? It depends on lots of factors, including how much groundwork, landscaping and drainage needs doing, and other factors such as edging and the level of finish around the green that is required, but we generally suggest a figure of £90-100 per square metre. How long will my green last? The turf used in our putting greens features fibres that are designed to resist the harmful effects of rain, snow, ice, and sun. Depending on how much your use it, an artificial green can last 15 years or more.
HOME GOLF DESIGN CLIENT TESTIMONIALS “Clean and professional. Not only can I hone my game at home, but it’s great fun when we have friends around.” Mr L.Scott, Bexley “Polite, friendly, professional. My son is out there all hours practicing and playing with his friends.” Mr N.Bulgin, Chiddingstone, Kent
■ THIS STUNNING INSTALLATION, WHICH ALSO INCLUDES A BUNKER, COST £10,00
“The work was carried out according to plan, and the site was left clean and tidy when the job was finished.” Iain Nicholson, PGA Head Professional
 FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS
1. 27 HOLES FIT FOR ROYALTY Situated in 250 acres of stunning Kent Weald countryside, Hever Castle is just a short drive from junction 5 or 6 of the M25 and less than an hour from London. A former host of the Kent PGA Championship and Kent Open on numerous occasions since opening in 1992, Hever Castle’s superbly-presented Kings and Queens nines combine to produce a championship course of over 7,000 yards. With water hazards, numerous bunkers, small greens, and some narrow tree-lined fairways, it places an emphasis on accuracy, although there are plenty of opportunities to open the shoulders. The 644-yard 17th is a good place to do so, while short third and sixth holes, both of which are played over water, require rather more precision than power. Later on, it’s the trio of holes from the 11th to the 13th – Hever's very own ‘Amen Corner’ – that stand out, with carries over and beside water to small, well-protected targets. Visitors can also test their course management skills on the excellent 2,784-yard Prince's nine, which combine with the Kings Course to create the 6,076yard Boleyn course.
HEVER CASTLE GOLF CLUB
5. INDOOR GOLF STUDIO & GOLF SCHOOL Hever Castle is also the ideal place to brush up on all aspects of your game. Home to the Castle Golf School, its members can take advantage of the outdoor range and short game practice areas, with lessons and clinics available with a team of four experienced PGA-qualified professionals, lead by Director of Golf Peter Parks. Last year saw the opening of a new indoor golf studio, which offers the very latest coaching, custom-fitting and gaming technology, including a Swing Catalyst Board and Sky Trak launch monitor, and a golf simulator. There is also an indoor putting track, while the professional’s shop stocks all the very latest equipment and accessories.
2. MEMBERSHIPS TO SUIT ALL There are membership opportunities to suit all, including seven- and five-day categories, intermediate (under 35), flexible, and junior memberships. With no joining fee, all full adult members receive a host of benefits, including two free junior memberships; complimentary range balls; exclusive members-only tee times; annual passes for Hever Castle; and a member’s discount card offering savings in the bar and pro shop, and a voucher booklet. Flexi membership offers green fee credits up to a value of £500, with full membership rights, including an official handicap, access to club competitions, and a voucher book of discounts.
Lounge & Restaurant, as well as the new 19th Bar, evokes the style and elegance of the Hever Estate’s previous opulent owners, the Astor family. There’s no roast swan on the menu, but there are plenty of other home-cooked treats to savour, while the large terrace provides wonderful views over the course for enjoying a well-earned drink.
6. STAY AND PLAY
MEMBERSHIP PACKAGE: 7 DAY = £1495 5 DAY = £995 INTERMEDIATE = £580 - £1095 FLEXI = £500 PRINCES = £425 ALL MEMBERSHIPS ARE SUBJECT TO £46.25 REGISTRATION FEE.
Overnight accommodation is available in Hever Castle itself. The Astor Wing offers 28 luxurious bedrooms set within private areas of the castle. Given a five star gold award by Visit England, the spacious rooms offer a combination of old world charm and modern comforts, with huge beds and marble-tiled bathrooms, complete with free-standing baths and Molton Brown toiletries. One night B&B in a deluxe room starts from £113.75pp, including 18 holes on the Kings/Queens and entrance to the castle and gardens.
3. FRIENDLY COMPETITION
7. HISTORIC CASTLE & GARDENS
The club runs a busy competition diary, ensuring all sections have regular access to a variety of competitions, while offering social golfers plenty of opportunities to enjoy their golf. As well as formal medals and stablefords, there are plenty of fun events often run in partnership with men’s and ladies' captains, featuring food and a social gatherings after play, while there is a active social scene where friendship and fun are at the top of the agenda.
Members enjoy free and unlimited access to the historic Hever Castl – once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn – whose oak-panelled rooms house fine furniture, tapestries, antiques and collections of Tudor portraits. More recently, William Astor used his fortune to restore and extend the castle in the early 20th century. Don’t miss the award-winning gardens, which are a visual treat at all times of the year, while there is also a Yew-tree maze and a boating lake to discover.
4. LIVE LIKE A KING A Tudor-style clubhouse, part of which dates back to the 13th century, provides the perfect place to relax before, during and after your round. The refurbished Astor
FOR FURTHER INFORMATON ON HEVER CASTLE GOLF CLUB, VISIT WWW.HEVER.CO.UK OR TEL 01732 701004/700771
NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017
■ DAVIS BOOTE WILL BE PLAYING A FULL SCHEDULE OF AMATEUR EVENTS IN 2017, WITH A PLACE IN THE WALKER CUP TEAM BEING THE ULTIMATE PRIZE
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BOOTE EYES UP TOP AMATEUR PRIZES AHEAD OF PRO CAREER
-year-old Welshman David Boote, who is a member at Walton Heath and Kingswood Golf Clubs in Surrey, has come a long way since he burst onto the international scene by winning the 2011 Welsh Boys title and captaining Great Britain & Ireland to victory against the Continent of Europe in the Jacques Leglise Trophy in Spain. In the intervening years, he has won his national men's title and spent four years at Stanford University in the States, from where he graduated last summer with a degree in human biology. A longstanding member of Surrey’s men’s team, he also played pivotal roles in helping both Europe win the Arnold Palmer Cup at Formby and GB&I retain the 51 Andrews Trophy at Prince's, and now his eyes are fixed on an even bigger prize as he begins what will be his last season in the amateur ranks. "It has been a great few months since I graduated from Stanford," Boote said. "The one disappointment was losing out on a place in the final European Tour Qualifying School [after a play-off in Stage 2 at Las Colinas], but that shows just how small the margins are between success and failure. It was a really cool experience, and it wasn’t the end of the world. I didn't decide to enter until early August, and I did it primarily for the experience. I knew I was playing well, and felt I had the chance of getting some sort Tour card, but the primary motive was to see how I could perform at that sort of level.” Boote's failure to earn a tour card means he can commit to playing the full European amateur circuit for the first time in his career. “It's certainly going to be a bit different to what I’ve been used to,” he admitted. “Normally. I would have gone back to Stanford at the beginning of January and wouldn't play much here until the summer. But this season I’m going to play in most of the big events and I’m really looking forward to it.” The Welshman started his 2017 season with his first-ever trip to Australia, where he opened with a 41st-place finish at the Master of the Amateurs' event at Royal Melbourne and the Australian Amateur Championship at Yarra Yarra. He will then return to Europe to play in a string of events, including the Portuguese and Spanish Amateurs, the European Nations Cup, the Lytham Trophy, the Welsh Open Stroke Play, the Irish Amateur, the St Andrews Links Trophy,
IT ISN’T GOING TO BE EASY, BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF GOOD PLAYERS, BUT MAKING THE WALKER CUP WOULD BE REALLY COOL, ESPECIALLY AS L KNOW LOS ANGELES COUNTRY CLUB WELL
the Amateur and the European Amateur. And he will head across the Atlantic later in the year to play a series of events around the US Amateur. "It's going to be hectic, but I've always played a lot of golf," he said. "I enjoy playing and competing. I used to play 10-12 events at college and then 9-10 over here in the summer, so it's not as if it's something I'm not used to. "One of the features this year is that we're playing so many great courses," he added. "The European Amateur is at Walton Heath, where I have been a member for years and where I'm sure I'll get lots of local support." Boote has high hopes of notching a win or two during that sequence, but his main goal for the 2017 season is the Walker Cup, to be played at Los Angeles Country Club in early September. "I've played in just about every team event I've wanted to be part of, with the exception of the Walker Cup, and that's something l want to sort out," he confirmed. "It’s the best of the lot, and it's something I desperately want to be part of. It isn’t going to be easy, because there are a lot of good players, but making the Walker Cup would be really cool, especially as l know Los Angeles Country Club well. We played there a few times at college, and it's an amazing course. It's the perfect venue for the Walker Cup.” Boote believes his time at Stanford has given him the skills required to compete at the top level, and his love for the American way of life may sway his next decision come the end of the year. “Right now, things are pretty fluid,“ he admitted. “The chances are that I will go back to Qualifying School, but I'm still not fully decided whether to try here or in the States. That's a decision for the future.”
■ WELSH WIZARD: BOOTE HAS WON THE WELSH AMATEUR
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 FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS
BAG YOUR VERY OWN HOME BY THE GREEN
COVEY COLLECTS VOLUNTEER COACH AWARD ■ ALAN COVEY
BEAVERBROOK HOSTS FIRST HOTEL GUESTS The first phase of the hotel at Beaverbrook Golf Club opened last month. Eleven rooms opened in the Garden Hotel as part of a soft launch, with a further 18 rooms in the Main House expected to open in the spring. The exclusive Leatherhead-based resort has also opened its 55-seater Garden House Restaurant, which boasts an Anglo-Italian inspired menu and is available for lunch, tea and dinner. A spa, with indoor and outdoor swimming pools and six treatment rooms, is currently in the final phases of construction, while a deli, featuring a wood-fired pizza oven.
MOD REJECTS FAREHAM GOLF COURSE PLAN A proposal by the Ministry of Defence to builld a golf course and other recreational facilities for the navy on land near Fareham in Hampshire has been rejected by the Southern Divisional Planning Committee. The proposed facilities, which would have been used by staff at HMS Dryad, were rejected on the grounds that they would have resulted in the loss of 125 acres of good farming land.
olfers looking to sharpen up their short game, and enjoy a slice of country life, should consider putting in a bid for a stunning four-bedroom house in rural Herefordshire, which comes with its own nine-hole course. The 16th century thatched property, which is located in the picture postcard village of Bosbury, is on the market for £695,000. Owned by a family of golfing enthusiasts for more than 50 years, the house dates back to 1580, although the pitch and putt course was created in the early 1980s. The home, which is on the market with estate agents Knight Frank, also includes two summerhouses, a bowling green, which can also be used a lawn tennis court, a clubhouse, and a
OLD COURSE HOTEL SHUTS The Old Course Hotel in Scotland has been closed while it undergoes a major refurbishment. The iconic St Andrews-based resort, which overlooks the Old Course, closed on January 2, and is expected to reopen in the middle of April, while a wide range of construction works and interior renovations are carried out. Among the plans include bedroom upgrades, with new interiors, new windows, lighting and air conditioning; while the spa is being expanded with new lap pool and a gym.
■ YOURS FOR £695,000, WITH A 9-HOLE COURSE
woodland walk by the stream. Peter and Cheryl Hughes bought the house from Mrs Hughes’s parents 20 years ago so it wouldn’t leave the family, after her parents bought it in 1964. At the time there was no power or running water, just a stream that runs through the property, but it has seen extensive renovation over the last five decades. Mr Hughes, 65, a businessman who runs three companies, said: ‘My wife’s father was a keen golfer, so he got a professional golfer called Frank Miller to design a nine-hole reversible pitch and putt course. That was built in 1982. It needs a full-time gardener to maintain it – we have more lawnmowers than the average garden centre – but it works really well.’ He admitted: “My wife is a golfer, but I’m not quite so keen. It’s a tricky course, when I play I lose about five balls a round, which the gardener normally finds. There’s also a bowling green carved out of the slope with a dry stone wall around it, but it could be used for a grass tennis court too. We don’t really want to sell it, but we’re getting close to retirement age, so we’d rather sell it when we can than wait until we have to. But I will be very sad to see it go.” For details, visit www.knightfrank.com
ussex junior manager Alan Covey has had such an impact on junior golf that he received three separate nominations for the award of Volunteer Manager of the Year, which he duly picked up at England Golf’s annual awards dinner. Covey, who is also an England Golf regional manager, helps to organise coaching development for young players who wish to progress, and works with the county squads for players from U12 to U18 age groups. As an England Golf regional manager he is generous in sharing his knowledge and experience with other managers. He organises many events, including a national start-of-season championship for U16 boys and girls – and he also took an England team to the 2016 Canadian International Junior Challenge and encouraged them to victory. One of his proposers summed him up: “One major factor of his success is that all the juniors like him. His encouragement and dedication to them is very evident and rewarded by their respect for him. I know many players who are now over 18 that keep in regular contact with him letting him know how they are progressing.” Covey commented on his award: “This isn’t just about me, it’s about every manager out there, and all of us want to make a difference.”
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NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017
WOODCOTE PARK TO HOST TEAMWORK TROPHY
The PGA in Surrey is launching a new Pro-Am event that aims to reinforce the value that comes from golf club managers and PGA head professionals working together. The Teamwork Trophy will be held at Woodcote Park Golf Club on March 23, and is being sponsored by club software specialist MHS Group. Golf clubs in the county are invited to enter a team comprising their secretary and their head professional. The format is a fourball better ball, with prizes on offer for the top three pairs. Among the strong favourites for the title will be Woodcote Park’s secretary Adrian Dawson, who will be playing alongside Surrey PGA Captain Wraith Grant on their home course. Dawson said the new event is designed to promote and celebrate a closer working relationship between the two professions.
“Wraith and I have been working together very successfully for some 14 years now,” said Dawson. “He’s the ideas man, and I’m the one who makes those ideas happen. To prove our point, for the first time in a decade Woodcote Park’s membership is now full, and that’s the direct result of Wraith’s idea to create an academy many years ago, now run by Ben St John, which has generated at least 50% of all our new members. “Consequently our bottom line is in great shape. We’re generating profits ■ WRAITH GRANT on both bar and catering, and revenues from green fees and societies are all up. promote and celebrate this approach to golf club The club’s always invested in the course, management, we’re delighted to be hosting the but more recently we’ve been able to spend half a inaugural Teamwork Trophy for the PGA in Surrey, million pounds on refurbishing the clubhouse.” and the two of us are going to work with each other Dawson added: “Wraith and I enjoy a great to make sure it’s a great success.” working relationship, and when I speak to his To enter a team, email Adrian Dawson at info@ PGA colleagues and mine at the GCMA, they all woodcotepgc.com or call 020 8668 2788. agree that this is the way forward. That’s why to
LESSONS PROVE A STICKING POINT FOR LONG-SUFFERING MEMBERS
■ PGA PRO GEORGE PORTER (LEFT) WITH MIKE BROWN
ecent research has revealed that club members who receive a golf lesson up to six months before their annual subs are due are far more likely to remain a member than those who practice on their own. It’s a statistic that certainly rings true at North Hants Golf Club in Hampshire, where PGA Head Pro George Porter has succeeded in turning around the fortunes of several members who were considering quitting the game. At the end of last summer, longstanding member Mike Brown was so dispirited with his golf that he was ready to retire from the game – and the club. Fortunately he went to his club professional to ask for help. Some weeks later he won a club competition with 39 points. Instead of quitting the game, with just four lessons he now loves playing again, and that includes paying his annual subscription of over £1,500, buying more drinks and food at the club, and investing more in his game. Porter explained: “Mike’s been a member for many years. His driver and short game were
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robbing him of any enjoyment and for any golfer, when both ends of the bag are compromised, trying to play in your buffer zone can seem impossible. Mike was suffering from the dreaded ‘yips’ and his drives ended up anywhere but on the fairway. Once off 12, he was now off 24 and playing golf was miserable. The first two lessons addressed his short game. To try and overcome the yips I suggested he tried something completely different with which to change the outcome for the better. I showed him the saw grip, and straightaway it felt comfortable to both his sense of feel and in his mind. The results were immediate, and for the first time Mike was doing something that worked.” Porter added: “Every golfer should improve within the first five minutes of a lesson. Many think a lesson means they have to get worse before they get better. But lessons that deliver immediate results put life back into a golfer’s game. It enhances their enjoyment and their appetite to invest in their golf, and that’s great for the game as a whole.”
SPORT ENGLAND AWARDS ENGLAND GOLF PARTNERSHIP £8.5M TO GROW THE GAME Sport England has announced an £8.5m award to the England Golf Partnership to support talented players and encourage regular golfers to continue playing. The EGP is a joint partnership between England Golf and the Professional Golfers’ Association to grow the game with the support of the Golf Foundation and Sport England National Lottery funding. The partnership’s Whole Sport Plan for golf aims to increase and widen participation in golf, from grass roots to elite level. EGP Chairman, Nic Coward, said: “Our main aim is for all involved in the sport to work together in partnership, to put golfers first and to give everyone the best possible experience within the sport. Now we know the level of award from Sport England, we will consider our next steps, taking time to look at how best to deliver with the resources available to us."
SCOTLAND CASHES IN ON OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP Last year’s hosting of The Open Championship at Royal Troon delivered more than £110 million worth of benefit to Scotland, according to an independent study. The tournament, which attracted 173,000 spectators to the Ayrshire coastline last July, delivered an economic impact of more than £64 million according to the study compiled by Sheffield Hallam University’s sport industry research centre. Almost half of the spectators who attended The Open travelled from outside Scotland, while two-thirds of Scots spectators came from outside Ayrshire.
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 FEBRUARY 2017 | COURSE REVIEW
■ EFFINGHAM'S STUNNING GEORGIAN MANSION IS HOME TO ONE OF THE FINEST CLUBHOUSES IN ENGLAND
COURSE REVIEW EFFINGHAM
EFFINGHAM GOLF CLUB
Located high on Surrey’s North Downs, Effingham Golf Club occupies a stunning spot from which to enjoy glorious views of the London skyline while playing one of Harry Colt’s gems that is simply not to be missed
urrey boasts such an embarrassment of riches when it comes to championship golf courses that even the residents of the county could be forgiven for not having played all of them during a lifetime in the game. Effingham, a club that boasts a rich and lively history that dates back to 1927, is arguably one such club. Widely known and highly touted among the locality, it’s one of Surrey's best-kept secrets. And that’s despite the fact that it has hosted Open Qualifying in recent years (2006-2010), and has been host to numerous top amateur events over the years. Effingham’s layout is untypical of your standard Surrey track – it’s a downland course rather than heathland, offering open country and expansive views. Effingham is located virtually in the centre of Surrey and is just four miles from the M25, and yet it offers such appealing tranquility. The membership – for which there is currently a healthy waiting list – might be quite content for the course to continue to hide its light
under a bushel, but judging by my recent visit, it deserves to be enjoyed by a much wider audience. Having said that, from outward appearances it’s not hard to see why the visiting golfer might feel a little intimidated by the impressively high walls at the entrance, or by the imposing Georgian two-storey clubhouse. All white pillars and huge bay windows, it’s the epitome of country manor house style, and a quite magnificent place from which to start and end your round. But looks can be deceiving. Step inside the main entrance and you’re straight into the 21st century. In fact, straight into 2016 to be precise, as this is when the pro shop was re-opened following a major refit. Alongside all the new equipment, and rails of smart club-branded clothing, is a brand new extension that hosts a state-of-the-art indoor golf studio. Kitted out with the latest GC2 simulator, a practice putting green, and a chill-out area, members can enjoy 18 holes at Congressional (or 13 other world class venues), be fitted out for new clubs, or have a lesson from one of the club’s
■ A BUNKER RENOVATION PROGRAMME HAS ADDED A MODERN TOUCH TO HARRY COLT’S ORIGINAL DESIGN
PGA professionals, all in complete comfort. Opened last April, the studio was booked out during the latest cold snap, while it has enjoyed a steady stream of members booking lessons, custom fittings and simulator rounds at all times of the year. Not only is it an added source of revenue for the club’s teaching staff, but it’s also facility of which all members are rightfully proud. Leaving the bright lights of the pro shop and indoor studio behind, you soon step back in time into the heart of the original building, the oldest parts of which date back to the 1770s. Once the family seat of the Howard family, its final private owner was Charles Lambert of Lambert & Butler cigarette fame, who used it as country retreat up until his death in 1910, shortly after which it was requisitioned for clubhouse duties in the 1920s. The main part of the clubhouse
offers suitably old-school surroundings, with a huge woodpanelled dining room used for formal occasions, while there is a large bar and lounge for more relaxed dining, and a light and airy conservatory for afternoon teas and snacks. Upstairs, there are a variety of private rooms that are ideal for meetings and corporate golf days. There’s also a snooker room – where Steve Davis played last year to celebrate its refurbishment – and there’s a fabulous meeting room that overlooks the 18th green. Outside, the land on which Harry Colt built the golf course was once used by Henry VIII for hunting deer, although the only animals sought these days are birdies and eagles. Colt routed the layout in two distinct nine-hole loops, with the ninth handily returning to the clubhouse for those looking for a quick golfing fix. The course measures a lengthy 6,800 yards from the very back markers, but the white tees (6,597), and the yellows (6,165) still prove an honest test for a wide range of handicaps. Although Effingham may be a club that was fashioned in the spirit of the Golden Age of course design, the club’s council and management are not resting on their laurels in that department. The course is currently in the midst of a significant redesign, with course architects Tom Mackenzie and Martin Ebert – whose recent work includes the impressive redesign of Turnberry’s Ailsa Course – already having completed renovations to two-thirds of the holes, with just the 6th, 7th, 8th, 15th, 16th, and 17th holes left do over the next two winters. Of the holes that have been renovated, it’s clear to see that Mackenzie has stayed faithful to Colt’s design philosophy, while ensuring that the course remains a suitable challenge to the modern
COURSE REVIEW | FEBRUARY 2017
■ THE HEAVILY-GUARDED 13TH IS ONE OF FOUR EXCELLENT SHORT HOLES
ALTHOUGH EFFINGHAM WAS FASHIONED IN THE SPIRIT OF THE GOLDEN AGE, IT IS A CLUB THAT IS LOOKING FIRMLY TOWARDS THE FUTURE fours on the front nine; four recentlyrenovated cross bunkers placed diagonally across the fairway at 190 yards to 250 yards ask serious questions, then the approach has a slight left turn to the green. Highlights on the back nine include the spectacular 15th, a 470-yard par four that is eminently reachable in two thanks to its downhill design and far reaching views of the London skyline, while the 17th is a truly stunning par five from the back two tees, with four well-placed bunkers around 125 yards from the green keeping your second shot honest. The best is arguably kept until last at the 450-yard 18th, a twisty-turny par four, which was redesigned in entirety in 2013 to great effect. With trees and bunkers to negotiate halfway to the hole, there are three ball-hungry bunkers on the left of the green, while there is a closeknit grass run off to the right. With the elegant clubhouse and terrace sitting just behind the green, and
the impressive cedar tree which gave rise to the club’s emblem to the right, it’s one of the finest closing holes around. There is so much to enjoy at Effingham, with its excellent drainage, firm and fast surfaces, rolling topography and pleasant short walks between greens and tees. In January, the course is dry but soft, the rough is down, and you can shoot at the pins – but come the summer, I’m told the rough is up, the ball runs into trouble, and having the right line in to the greens is paramount. It is a course that is very playable throughout the year, and, according to members, is like belonging to three different clubs for the price of one. The essence of Effingham is that it is fun to play, and you’re guaranteed a warm and friendly welcome. And whether you’re visiting as a casual green fee player or as part of a corporate or society day, a day out here will live long in the memory.
■ THE NEW INDOOR STUDIO FEATURES A GOLF SIMULATOR AND FACILITIES FOR CUSTOM FITTING AND COACHING
golfer with modern equipment. This has essentially required relocating a number of fairway bunkers, adding others, and crucially returning their character and associated challenge to that reflecting the course origins of 90 years ago. Speaking about the project, Mackenzie said: "Effingham is another fine example of Harry Colt's skills at laying out holes on hilly ground in a way that golfers find themselves at the top of the Downs without feeling like they have played an uphill hole. The downland turf also makes it a true 12-month-ofthe-year course." That was certainly case on my visit on a chilly mid-January day, when the fairways and greens were in great shape considering the time of year, without a patch of mud or casual water in sight. And while the views from the seventh and eighth are well worth tarrying over – with Wembley’s arches viewable on a clear day – there is never a feeling that you’ve climbed a mountain to get there. Mature trees line many of the fairways, however rarely do
these woody obstacles obstruct the line of play, and the club has completed a bold woodland management programme to protect the integrity of the putting surfaces, as well as open up the shot options off the tees. With many strong holes, it's hard to single out one or two, but I particularly liked the first par three, the 169-yard 4th, which is only a mid-iron downhill, but with four bunkers protecting both sides and the front, is a real tester. The 458yard fifth lives up to its stroke index of two, requiring two lusty blows to get up in regulation, while the parfour 6th is a more manageable twoshotter, with a slightly blind drive which needs to favour the right-side in order to avoid having to negotiate your way around a lone walnut tree that protects the left side of the fairway. Super views at the tee on the 7th are worth a good look before taking on another par three, which is protected by no fewer than six bunkers. The ninth is the pick of the par
■ THE RECENTLY-REDESIGNED PAR-4 18TH PROVIDES A SUITABLY MEMORABLE FINISH TO THE ROUND
EFFINGHAM GOLF CLUB Guildford Road, Effingham, Surrey, KT24 5PZ. www.effinghamgolfclub.com For membership enquiries, call general manager Steve Slinger on 01372 414139 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For green fee enquiries, and swing studio bookings, call PGA Professional James Gunning on 01372 414133. For society and corporate golf days, call Gary Collins on 01372 414130.
 FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS
CRANLEIGH LAUNCHES ACADEMY MEMBERSHIP Cranleigh Golf & Country Club is hoping to breaking down the barriers for novice golfers with the launch of a new academy membership. The Surrey club boasts a 5,644-yard, par-68 parkland course, with a focus on strategy and accuracy, and is seen as an ideal venue for beginners to make the journey from non-golfers to club members. Academy membership costs £45 per month, and includes seven-day access to the course, a monthly lesson with the resident PGA professional Karl Morgan, free range tokens, an assigned full member ‘buddy’, rules clinics, and several other benefits. The new scheme – which comes with a six-month minimum commitment – is open to all ages and Academy members can upgrade to full membership at any time, when they will receive an official handicap.
RUTH BLOWS AWAY SPANISH RIVALS James Ruth and Paul Hendriksen overcame blustery conditions to blow the field away at Lumine Mediterránea Beach & Golf Club In Spain’s win The PGAs of Europe Fourball Championship. Despite having to combat gusts of wind approaching 30mph, the West Country pair negotiated the Lakes Course in 64 shots to post an overall return of 17 under par and claim the €6,150 first prize. Ruth, who is attached to China Fleet in Cornwall, said: “We knew we were going to have to play well to catch the leaders, and that the wind would be a good thing as if we could shoot a low score then it was going to be tough for everybody to get past it.”
HASSOCKS WINS APPROVAL FOR NEW HOMES AND 9-HOLE COURSE
n 18-hole Sussex golf club that has suffered ‘significant financial loss’ in recent years has been given the green light to convert to nine holes and build 130 houses on the other nine in order to secure its future. Hassocks Golf Club, which is located nine miles north of Brighton and first opened in 1995, has had its planning application approved to replace and reposition the clubhouse and build a new driving range and
RANK HEADS UP TO THE HEREFORDSHIRE
■ HASSOCKS WILL BE REDUCED FROM 18 HOLES TO NINE
golf course. Half of the course’s 18 holes will be closed, with the space given over to the new homes, which will be a mixed tenure scheme, including starter homes and affordable homes for rent. The site will feature new public open spaces, new footpath and cycle links, and substantial new tree planting. The new clubhouse will incorporate a bar, restaurant, pro shop, and function rooms that will be available for events.
The club’s owner, Denys Cole, said the course would have closed if the housing plans had not been approved. “The club has only continued because of funds I have injected myself,” Ms Cole said. “It would have to had closed if the project had not been given the go-ahead, which would have meant a loss of 21 jobs, as well as a much-loved local amenity. Now, it has the potential to become one of the best clubs of its type in the region."
HARLEYFORD TEMPTS NEW MEMBERS WITH CALLAWAY CLUBS GIVEAWAY
arleyford Golf Club in Buckinghamshire is looking to tempt new players to sign up for annual memberships with a promise of a brand new set of golf clubs. The Thames-side club, which boasts an 18-hole, 6,714-yard championship course designed by Donald Steel, is offering all new members that join the club this year a brand new set of Callaway clubs. And the club is not ignoring visiting golfers either, with a free sleeve of Callaway golf balls on offer for everyone who pays a green fee between now and the end of August. Rob Marsh, managing director at the Harleyford, awhose mebers include European Tour star Tyrrell Hatton, said: “We are always looking at ways to break down the barriers associated with starting a new sport such as golf. A set of free Callaway clubs is a great way of helping out new members and we believe we are the only club in the country to be offering such an enticing joining incentive. Callaway is a premium, global brand, and we are delighted that they are
supporting our newest initiative to bring people into the sport we love so much.” In addition to the free equipment offer, and unlimited use of the course, clubhouse and practice facilities, new members are entitled to discounted green fees for up to three guests at one time, and preferential rates at local hotels, including Danefield House and Cliveden House. For more details, call 01628 816 161 or email sales@ harleyfordgolf.co.uk.
■ STUART RANK
he Herefordshire Golf Club has strengthened its golf and coaching team with the appointment of PGA Professional Stuart Rank. Rank has joined the 120-year-old Wormsleybased club as its director of golf after moving from Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire. He is only the third professional to hold the post at The Herefordshire in the past 50 years. The 39 year old is the former head of instruction at Stoke Park, which is among only five clubs in the UK holding the coveted five red star rating for service. Rank developed his skills, expertise and reputation there, with Sir Matthew Pinsent one of his most famous students. He also managed the club’s successful youth scholarship programme from inception, taking youngsters through to the England regional team and international levels. With an emphasis on engaging and developing ties with club members at every level, Rank will put his teaching skills to good use at The Herefordshire. Originally from North Yorkshire, Rank lives with his wife Kate and two young children in Worcester. “Stuart will be well placed to devote his skills to advance and develop the alreadybusy programme and competition schedule at the club,” said a spokesman.
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NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017
FLEXIBLE SCHEME BOOSTS WYCOMBE MEMBERSHIP
ycombe Heights Golf Centre in Buckinghamshire has reported that the flexible membership policy it introduced last year has led to 150 people joining the club. Flexible memberships, in which golfers pay a relatively small amount of money to join the golf club, and then little or nothing every time they play rounds of golf, have become a popular alternative to traditional memberships – in which golfers pay one lump sump for unlimited golf – in the last five years. According to England Golf, 36 per cent of golf clubs now offer this policy; a rise from almost none in under 10 years. Wycombe Heights introduced the policy at the start of 2016, and it signed up its 150th member in December. Most of them are aged
■ WYCOMBE HEIGHTS BOOSTED ITS MEMBERSHIP NUMBERS IN 2016
between 25 and 45. The category provides customers with all the benefits of a traditional membership, but with a low cost-base enabling them to use the facility as much or as little as they desire. General manager, Howard Craft, puts the growth down to the attractions of being able to balance the demands of a fast-paced modern life. “Young professionals have so much going on with family and work, that they can’t always justify a traditional club membership,” he said. “As a modern, forward-thinking golf club, we needed to show them that golf is still accessible for them at Wycombe Heights. We therefore decided to offer bespoke packages to cater for a person’s individual golfing needs.”
PALMER’S MASTERS’ TROPHY SELLS FOR RECORD PRICE ■ PALMER’S MASTERS TROPHY FETCHED $444,000 AT AUCTION
HAINAULT FOREST BIDS FAREWELL TO FROST Eddie Frost, the former long-serving PGA Professional at Hainault Forest Golf Club, died on January 2, aged 89. Frost had a lifelong association with the Essex-bsed club, having be born in a cottage on the course when his father was the resident club professional. He took over the head pro’s job in 1952 and remained in it The 150th ‘flexible member’, Michael Woodford, explained why the package works so well for him. “I have a busy job and an active social life. Therefore, at this juncture, I wouldn’t get full value for money out of a traditional
membership,” he said. “The Flexible Membership category allowed me to structure a package that suited my needs perfectly. I can now stay competitive, and enjoy my golf at a very reasonable price.”
trophy presented to Arnold Palmer has sold for more than £350,000 in America, becoming the second-most valuable item of golf memorabilia in history. The sterling silver trophy, which was given to Palmer by Augusta in 1993, in recognition of his four Masters’ wins, was sold by a private collector at auction for $444,012. Having won the Masters four times in 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964, Palmer was retrospectively awarded the clubhouse trophy bearing these dates in 1993. Palmer himself arranged for the trophy to be the centrepiece for the proposed Bay Creek Hall of Champions museum in Virginia. However, plans to build the museum were scrapped during the recent financial crisis, and the assembled collection of exhibits was liquidated, including the trophy, which was sold to a private collector. The sale of the trophy caused controversy, and had been opposed by Palmer's family, who stated the trophy had only ever been intended for public display. "It was always Arnold's intention that this trophy would be placed in an appropriate museum or institution with which he was personally associated," said the family in a statement. "We hope that the winning bidder in this auction will allow the trophy to be publicly displayed, so that it can be appreciated by fans of Arnold Palmer for years to come."
for 40 years until his retirement in 1992. Dave Cope, Hainault Forest’s secretary, said: “Eddie was a member for us for many years, he was our pro and an honorary member for the last 25 years, and he will be missed by everyone at the club.”
DISABLED GOLFERS’ TOUR GROWS The European Disabled Golf Association, which organises tournaments for competitive golfers with disabilities, has unveiled its schedule of international events for 2017. Nine tournaments have been confirmed to date, with Spain, Czech Republic, Sweden, Scotland, Austria, Portugal and France all hosting events, while discussions are taking place to stage further tournaments in Italy, Finland, Switzerland and Germany. Highlights include the European Team Championship at Quinta do Lago in Portugal in June, and the Scottish Open, which is being staged at Fairmont St Andrews in August.
Waterlooville GOLF CLUB
Welwyn Garden City Golf Club
“If you haven’t played it, put it on your bucket list! The friendliness of the welcome, the presentation of the course and the quality of the greens were all outstanding.” –
... the best kept course in Hertfordshire
ANDRA, GLOUCESTERSHIRE TEAM CAPTAIN
Waterlooville Golf Club has continued to receive similar feedback all year and was very proud to host the English Women’s County Finals in September 2016. We would be delighted to welcome your golf society to Waterlooville Golf Club. Although dates are filling up fast for 2017, there are some still available.
PAR - £31.50 Coffee & Bacon Roll on arrival ◆ 18 holes of golf on our championship course ◆
EAGLE - £47
BIRDIE - £38 Coffee and Bacon Roll on arrival ◆ 18 holes of golf on our championship course ◆ One course lunch ◆
Tel: 023 9226 3388
Coffee & Bacon Roll on arrival ◆ 27 holes of golf on our championship course ◆ One course lunch ◆
Waterlooville Golf Club, Cherry Tree Ave, Cowplain, Waterlooville, Hampshire, PO8 8AP
● Excellent year-round course with superb drainage and greens ● Friendly welcome awaits all visitors ● Now booking summer 2017
● Winter Packages available November to March ● Play the course where Sir Nick Faldo and Tom Lewis learnt their golf ● Quote GOLFNEWS17 for special green fee oﬀer
Office: 01707 325243 Pro Shop: 01707 325525 Web: www.wgcgc.co.uk Email: email@example.com Mannicotts, High Oaks Road, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire AL8 7BP
 FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS
FULLER HITS FORM IN FLORIDA
S DUGDALE PREVAILS IN PRESIDENT'S PUTTER The Oxford and Cambridge Golfing Society’s 90th President’s Putter was won by former Cambridge blue Will Dugdale. A member at Sunningdale, and a former Challenge Tour player, Dugdale, who plays off plus one, defeated Peter Jackson 2&1 in the final held at Rye Golf Club in East Sussex.
BRAMSHAW CAPTAIN'S CHARITY DAY The captains of Bramshaw Golf Club in Hampshire are hosting a charity day on April 26 and are inviting teams of four to take part. The charity being supported at the club for 2017 by Dave Porter and Bernice Kemp is the Breast Cancer Haven (Wessex branch), a national charity with a centre in Titchfield, which provides breast cancer patients in the area with both practical and emotional support. The day, which costs £290 per team, comprises breakfast on arrival, 18 holes on the Manor Course, followed by a two-course dinner and prizes. A brand new £20,000 Honda HRV is up for grabs for the first hole-in-one on the fourth hole, courtesy of August Motors in Salisbury. To enter a team, visit www.bramshaw.co.uk/ bgcopens or call 07711 150060.
BROMLEY HIGHLIGHTS THE EXPRESS WAY TO PLAY B
romley Golf Centre is leading the way for the national campaign aimed at introducing shorter formats of the game. The South London venue, which is managed by Mytime Active, has just become the first golf complex in the country to be branded as a Golf Express Centre, backing England Golf’s campaign to promote 9-hole golf and shorter formats to busy people and show ‘it’s all the game in half the time.’ The tee markers, flags, and hole cups on the popular 9-hole course all bear the Golf Express logo, while there are banners and posters at the driving range and in the clubhouse. The centre has also been featured in a video in which players talk about their
pleasure in playing 9-hole golf. Golfers at Bromley already play over 28,000 9-hole rounds each year, and that number is expected to rapidly increase as the Golf Express message is driven home. Rob Lucas, golf operations manager at Bromley Golf Centre, said: “We felt we were the perfect match for the Golf Express brand, not only for shorter format golf on the course, but also by offering baskets of 25 or 50 balls on the driving range for a quick fix of golf at the customer’s convenience. Our nine-hole green fee starts from just £9 midweek and £16 at peak times at the weekend, so it’s also extremely affordable.” Bromley is one of 16 payand-play courses operated by Mytime Active and members
are able to play at all of them. Local Mytime Active members are now playing at Bromley to enjoy the shorter format as well as playing traditional 18-hole courses such as High Elms Golf Club and Orpington Golf Centre. It also appeals to the centre’s many multisport users, who play golf as their second sport. Lucas added: “Because we have removed any dress code restrictions, these players feel comfortable wearing their normal sports clothing, and the relaxed environment really helps us reach new golfers who would otherwise not have a club in their hands.” For more details on nine-hole green fees being offered at venues across the country, visit www.golfexpress9.org.
urrey’s Annabell Fuller finished second at the 62nd Harder Hall Women's Invitational at the Harder Hall Golf Club in Florida. The 14-yearold England Girls' squad member from Roehampton put together rounds of 74, 71, 73 and 73 in difficult conditions to finish five shots behind America’s Emmy Martin, a junior at Texas Christian University, had finished second in the same event last year, but went one better with rounds of 72, 71, 69 and 74. The tournament attracted a strong English entry, with 18-year-old British Ladies Stroke Play champion Sophie Lamb finishing tied 10th, and Cornwall’s Georgia Price claiming a share of 15th. Cheshire’s Gemma Clews started off well with rounds of 73 and 76, but signed for a wrong score in the third round and was subsequently disqualified. The Harder Hall tournament is part of Florida's popular Orange Blossom Tour and has been played since 1956. Former winners include Cristie Kerr (1995), Natalie Gulbis (2001), Morgan Pressel (2005), Stacy Lewis (2006), and Charley Hull (2012).
NEW DEVIZES RANGE HITS THE TARGET
n entrepreneurial Wiltshire farmer has opened a brand new driving range in Devizes to meet the demands of the local golfing community. Stephen Oram gave up a small parcel of his 200acre farm to create Sleight Valley Golf Range after recognising there was a gap in the market for a hightech practice facility in the area. The 12-bay covered range offers a wide range of target nets and markers, and golfers hit off multitextured mats from a choice of manual and automatic tees. There is a PGA Professional on hand to give private and group lessons, while an all-day café serves
CHOBHAM GOLF CLUB GOLF COURSE AND ACADEMY
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ACROSS ALL MEMBERSHIP CATERGORIES, YOU WILL ENJOY: Full Social Club membership giving access to the Clubhouse 7 days a week A levy card granting 15% discount on food and drinks Gain a CONGU Handicap & access to competitions, including social golfing events Reciprocal tee times at seven other Golf Clubs... ...and many more fantastic benefits for you and your family!
Tel: 01276 855584 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.chobhamgolfclub.co.uk
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Tel: 01753 643332 Web: thesouthbuckinghamshire.co.uk Email: email@example.com The South Buckinghamshire, Park Road, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire. SL2 4PJ
NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017
COLLINGTREE LAUNCHES COURSE APP
isitors to Collingtree Park Golf Club in Northamptonshire can enhance their experience by downloading a new app created by the club that provides a plethora of useful information. The app, which is downloadable for iPhone and Android platforms, features a hole-by-hole course guide, a live scorecard, photos of the course, and an online tee booking service, as well as links to special promotions, food and beverage options, events, and the local weather. The scorecard element is particularly handy for large team events, as the scores that players input are beamed directly back to a live leaderboard in the clubhouse, so players who have finished early can find out how their rivals are faring out on the course. Collingtree Park boasts a rich history of tournament golf. First opened in 1990, it was designed by the dual major winner Johnny Miller, and enjoys a unique reputation of being one of the
a variety of home-cooked hot and cold food. There are plans to extend the driving range to include a putting green and crazy golf course, and introduce further eating and drinking options to make it a more family-friendly attraction. “We did our research and realised there was nothing locally to serve golf enthusiasts in the area,” said Mr
“FAR AND AWAY THE BEST LAUNCH MONITOR I’VE EVER USED”
few golf courses in the UK that was built as part of a housing development. The quality of Miller’s work soon caught the attention of the professional tours, and just two years after opening it hosted the European Senior Tour’s Collingtree Homes Seniors Classic, which was won by Neil Coles. Two further editions of that event were then followed by the arrival of the European Tour, which brought the British Masters to the venue in 1995 and 1996, where Sam Torrance and Robert Allenby took the titles. Since then it has been a regular host to the PGA EuroPro Tour, and the 6,776-yard layout enjoys a solid reputation for providing tour-standard conditions for golfers of all abilities. Featuring water on no less than 10 holes, including the signature par-five 18th with its Sawgrass-inspired island green, this American-style parkland course is very playable for the average handicapper, providing you stay out of the water and the numerous fairway bunkers. Following a round, golfers can relax in the spacious clubhouse, where a wide variety of home-cooked food is available to choose from the competitively-priced new menu at Green’s Restaurant.
Oram. “We open long hours, seven days a week, so we are attracting a broad spectrum of customers, from retirees, to young families, and working professionals looking to polish up their skills ahead of competitions. We realise the family market is an area we want to promote. We have the space and would like to use this to keep kids entertained and create a fun day out.”
■ GOLF AT GOODWOOD NOW BASE FOR G4L IN THE SOUTH. MARCO PENGE (PICTURED BELOW) A G4L PLAYER IS ATTACHED TO THE CLU
GOODWOOD JOINS FORCES WITH GOLFING4LIFE
olf At Goodwood has formed a partnership with Golfing4Life, the recently-launched organisation set up to help the development of talented young golfers that have demonstrated the ability to compete at the highest level. The new partnership will mean that Goodwood will become a base for the G4L golfers based in the south of England. While these players will remain loyal to their home golf clubs, Goodwood will give them the opportunity to utilise its facilities to help further develop their golfing aspirations. James Byers, the founder of G4L, who is a member at Goodwood, said; “We are so happy that Golf At Goodwood has become our home in the south. This G4L hub will provide the perfect platform for our players. The use of Trackman and national standard practice facilities will be invaluable. Everything about Goodwood displays class and excellence and the championship-standard Downs course will provide the perfect challenge for our players.”
Recent improvements to the Downs course have been well received and the course is a stiff test for any golfer, providing an ideal training location for young golfers as they prepare for major championships. Alongside the Park course and Academy, Goodwood’s facilities lend themselves to the development of talent. Stuart Gillett, Golf At Goodwood General Manager, added: “We have been involved with G4L since its inception through their support of Golf At Goodwood ambassador Marco Penge (above), and so this is a natural transition for us. The work and support put in by the G4L team is fantastic and is really beneficial to these young golfers. This gives them the opportunity to play in events that they wouldn’t normally be able to and also, most importantly, be able to concentrate on their golf rather than worry about the cost.” G4L players will have access to the Academy facilities, which, as well as a fully equipped driving range and six-hole pitch and putt course, offers state-of-the-art Trackman technology and a SAM Putt Lab studio.
Sky Spos use it for shot analysis, Tiger has one at home – now play ours
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Great Yarmouth & Caister Golf Club, Beach House, Yarmouth Road, Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk, NR30 5TD
Henneon Golf Club
 FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS
Last year, Nick Dougherty, the one-time golden boy of the European Tour, announced that the 2016 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship would be his final event. The game, which had once come so easily, had just as quickly deserted him from 2010 onwards, ultimately prompting his early retirement at just 34. Now, he is to be found the other side of the lens, working as a presenter and analyst for Sky Sports. Here, he talks about his former career on the course, and his new career off it…
ell us about your success as a junior and how you got to know Nick Faldo… I won the first Faldo Junior Series in 1997 when I was 15, then got to know Nick through it. He gave me some lessons, then I went on a bit of a winning run, which worked very well for me, but also for Nick as he was really giving back to the game and seeing some fruit for his labours. Nick played a big part in my early career. I think the biggest thing he gave me was confidence. I went out there with the feeling that I had Nick behind me. That was a big part of my early development, and my first few years on tour were great. in there. But I got rid of the coach I was working with, I changed caddie, I did all sorts. The things that worked, I changed. It wasn't the event that caused this to happen, it was the irrational decisions I made because of it. Your last win came in the 2009 BMW International in Germany… Yes, I trailed Retief Goosen by three shots going into the final round and closed with a 64. It was phenomenal. It wasn’t my favourite win, although the field was very strong, but in terms of the quality golf, it was far and away the best I'd ever played in a tournament. I look back now and think that was a great win, and I enjoyed that last day. But it was more about reflecting on where I was, and what it meant, and it didn't mean anything. It hadn't changed anything, which, of course, it hadn't in real life.
■ SCREEN TEAM: NICK AND DI DOUGHERTY HAVE BOTH FORGED SUCCESSFUL TV CAREERS
Your first win came in Singapore in 2005… Yes, and the next few years were strong – 2006 was decent, and 2007 was my best year on tour. I had a lot of top 10s that year, and a lot of chances to win. I think I led tournaments ten times, and it was the last one that I ended up winning. But I had some great chances that I gave away too. You led early on in the US Open in 2007 too… And if I had finished well, I would have had a good chance, as I think I was only three or four back going into the back nine on Sunday. I played great and shot one over on the last day – which was a superb score in the conditions – to finish seventh. I played with Tiger in the third round, so it was a very special week. He was very friendly and called me ‘mate’ all day – it’s quite weird when Americans call you mate. But meeting my hero, he didn't let me down. I got onto the first tee early, and there were so many people there. When I heard him coming, I got goosebumps, but I wasn't scared. I loved it! Sadly, your mother died in 2008. How did that affect your golf? My game dipped a bit, but there were hints of it still
It all became a bit of a struggle after that, didn’t it? I battled a little bit after that. I had gone back to Damian Taylor, who had helped me with one of my other wins, but started to struggle a bit again and a month or two later I finished with Damian again. I was just in a bad place with decisions. I had to bottom out, and I absolutely bottomed out. I kept hitting it offline, I was trying so hard thinking about my game. My putting was fine – I putted alright through all of it – then I started hitting a few iffy shots off the tee, this massive block. Before, I would just stand there and back myself, but then it became, ‘Oh you can't go there, and you can't go there’. How is your game now, having stepped away from the tour? When I hit good shots, they're still really good. Stuart Cartwright, my coach, got me back to that stage. When it got really bad, I thought I just don't want to play anymore, because I didn't want to go out there. I'd be terrified about what might happen, what score I might shoot. Stuart helped me with that by going back to basics, and working more on getting me to a place where I could enjoy the game again.
How does your Sky work compare to playing tournament golf? The pressure of Sky – live TV and the buzz of it – is very much like being in contention. It’s ironic that the only thing I've spent my whole life doing is the only thing where I actually doubt myself now! But get me to stand up in front of anybody, no problem – I can do it. At first with the TV side, there was a little part of me saying, ‘Don't make a fool of yourself. What happens if you do this? You won't get another chance if you make that mistake’. But I immediately backed away from that, and thought, ‘That's nonsense! People will always make mistakes, whatever line of work they do’. And now you’re a contented family man… Yes, when Di [Dougherty] came into my life in 2009, I was relatively low, but it was only a couple of months after I’d won. Looking back now, as much as it was a horrible experience for a few years on the golf side, I was in a really good place in everything else – getting married, having children. I think some of it was getting used to Mum being gone too, which is something everyone has to deal with eventually. But I think I'm more built for being that family guy and being part of a team. I like being responsible for other people, and I like working together towards something. Do you think your career was too short relative to your talent? David Duval was like that, but there are no guarantees how long it will last. You also get guys like Richard Bland, who are better now in their 40s than ever. There's no pattern to it. When you say how long it lasted relative to my talent, I don't really buy into talent. I think it's a great way of biting away at what people put into the sport. I worked my backside off and had no childhood, in that I played golf, ate my dinner, then went to bed until I was old enough to leave home. Then I went out on tour, and learned my trade, but I was always a golfer. I missed out on all the normal things, so I think I earned that right to be that good at that age.
Sunday* - Thursday www.londongolf.co.uk London Golf Club, Stansted Lane, Ash, Kent TN15 7EH
Sausage and Bacon Muffin with Tea or Coffee
LGC Welcome Gift
Inclusive of Range Balls and use of Practice Facilities
18 Holes on the International Course
2 Course Meal after Golf
Available Sunday – Thursday (*Sunday limited tee-times only), from 1st November to 30th March, subject to availability. Must be booked in advance. Driving range closed on Mondays from 10am for maintenance. To book, please contact the Club on 01474 879 899.
 FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS
SOUTHERN TRIO MAKE WALKER CUP SHORTLIST H CHIPSTEAD MEMBERSHIP OFFER PROVES A HIT Chipstead Golf Club in Surrey has enjoyed a surge in new members in the New Year following the launch of a great value membership deal. Over 25 new members have joined the club in the last few weeks following the unveiling of a 12-month trial membership for £750. Open to only the first 50 applicants, the club has just 25 left to sell. Anyone interested in finding out more should call Gary Torbett on 01737 555781 or email email@example.com.
MAN ON TRIAL OVER GOLF AD SCAM A man who supplied advertising screens to 31 golf clubs throughout the UK between 2005 and 2009 has been put on trial for fraud at Warwick Crown Court. Kevin Clarke, 48, is said to have persuaded dozens of golf clubs to invest in advertising screen systems that were fitted to golf buggies, with the promise of a guaranteed income. The company went bust, owing £6 million, and leaving lots of clubs out of pocket. Clarke has pleaded not guilty to charges of contravening a disqualification undertaking, fraudulent trading, obtaining money transfers by deception, participating in a fraudulent business and fraud. The trial is expected to last 10 weeks.
ampshire’s Scott Gregory, Sussex’s Marco Penge, and Kent’s Alfie Plant have been named in an initial 19-man squad for the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team to face the United States in the autumn. The 46th Walker Cup match will be played from September 9-10 at Los Angeles Country Club, where GB&I will bid to retain the historic trophy after a record 16½-9½ victory over the USA at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2015. Craig Watson, who will captain the GB&I team for the first time, said: “We have identified a strong group of players who are all in contention for a place on the team and we will be monitoring their performance and results over the coming season. “We will also pay close attention to the progress and form of players who have not been included in this current squad as they also have the opportunity to play their way into contention for the team selected to play the USA in September.”
Gregory, the 2016 Amateur Champion, leads a strong English contingent which includes current Lytham Trophy champion Alfie Plant and English Amateur Champion Daniel Brown. Fellow Englishmen Bradley Moore, Marco Penge and James Walker have also been selected. Robert MacIntyre, who was defeated by Gregory in the final of the Amateur at Royal Porthcawl, joins Craig Howie, Sandy Scott and Connor Syme, his teammates in Scotland’s successful defence of the 2016 European Amateur Team Championship in the squad alongside compatriots Barry Hume and Craig Ross. Hume is a reinstated amateur following a spell in the professional ranks. Colm Campbell, the current Irish Amateur Open champion, is joined by Paul McBride, Conor O’Rourke and R&A Foundation scholars Alex Gleeson and Stuart Grehan from Ireland. Gleeson is the Irish Amateur Close Champion, while O’Rourke triumphed in the St Andrews Links Trophy last season.
Two Welshmen have been selected for the squad – David Boote and Owen Edwards. Stanford University graduate Boote excelled for GB&I against the Continent of Europe in the St Andrews Trophy and made significant contributions to the winning European teams in the Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy and the Arnold Palmer Cup. The final ten-man GB&I team will be announced in August.
THETFORD MEMBERS BACK BUYOUT PLAN
he members of Thetford Golf Club in Norfolk have agreed to buy the club from its owner, Crown Estate. Club members gave over-
whelming support for the move at an EGM held in January, and there are hopes that the purchase could be concluded by April. Following the vote to buy back
the club, the committee is currently considering various options to finance the purchase, including the possibility of offering debentures to members or straightforward loans or mortgages. The membership committee has launched a first-year reduced subscription scheme, which has boosted applications from new members. Club manager Malcolm Grubb said: “It is going to be an exciting year for the club. We have built up funds over the past couple of years, which means we can make a downpayment, and then it will be a matter of making repayments on borrowing rather than paying rent. A number of members have
already offered to support the venture and our treasurer, Chris White, is drawing up a debenture offer which has already attracted interest.” It has been quite a turnaround from five years ago, when the Norfolk club had great difficulty paying the rent. An agreement to revise the terms of the lease, accompanied by a cost-cutting exercise, overcame the problems of 2012, and since then the club has gone from strength to strength. Membership is back up to near maximum levels, and income from visitors is up, while members say that the course is in great condition thanks to the efforts of course manager Paul Gould and his team.
Salisbury & South Wilts Golf Club
GOLF DAYS AND SOCIETIES Set in the tranquil Surrey countryside between Woking and Guildford, Sutton Green is an exceptional golf club. Co designed by former world no.1 Laura Davies Sutton Green GC is the perfect venue for golf days, societies and days out with friends. We have various golf day options available and can tailor the day to your specific requirements. For golf with friends Book Online at www.suttongreengc.co.uk to play 18 holes at competitive rates and golf buggy’s can be pre booked at the pro shop.
Golf Day Packages start from just £25.00 For more information please call Alex MacDonald or Bernie White on 01483 747898 or email firstname.lastname@example.org New Lane, Sutton Green, Nr Guildford, Surrey, GU4 7QF.
27 holes of challenging and free draining downland golf, set in the glorious Wiltshire countryside with lovely views of the Cathedral City of Salisbury
Golf Societies Welcome 18 holes from only £23 Winter and £28 Summer Let us build a package especially for you We also host Meetings, Parties and Weddings Memberships available – no joining fee for 2017 Visit www.salisburygolf.co.uk Call 01722 742645 option 5 Salisbury & South Wilts Golf Club, Netherhampton, Salisbury, SP2 8PR
NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017
Frilford Few golf clubs in the UK are able to boast 54 holes of golf, let alone compete with the three championship-level 18-hole layouts that are on offer at FRILFORD HEATH in Oxfordshire, where quality and quantity go hand in hand
long with Woburn and Wentworth, Frilford Heath Golf Club is one of very few clubs in the country that is able to lay claim to being home to three championship standard golf courses. The Red, Blue and Green courses each offer their own unique challenges, providing a variety of classic or modern challenge to suit all standards of golfers, including Abingdon-based European Tour player Eddie Pepperell, who has been fortunate enough to call the club ‘home’ since his early days as a junior. Situated on 500 acres of naturally undulating heathland seven miles south of the dreaming spires of Oxford, Frilford Heath enjoys a glorious tranquil spot, away from the hustle of city life, yet within easy reach of transport links. It’s three courses have been built on free-draining sandy soil that dominates the landscape around these parts, which, when combined with the latest turfcare equipment and modern maintenance methods, enables the club to present its courses in tournament-standard condition all year round. Designed in 1908 by five-time Open champion JH Taylor, whose other famous layouts include Royal Birkdale and Royal Mid-Surrey, Frilford’s showcase Red Course was once described by legendary golf writer Bernard Darwin as ‘both good and difficult’, and it still lives up to this rather brief, but apt description today. The layout has remained little changed since Darwin’s day, save some modifications by Frilford’s own professional, JH Turner, in the 1920s, and some alterations to the second, third and fourth holes during the creation of the club’s Blue course in the 1990s. An authentic championship challenge, measuring just over 7,000 yards from the black tees, the Red offers a traditional heathland golfing experience with pushed-up greens that run fast and true, and fairways that demand accurate driving if low numbers are to feature on the scorecard. The stretch between holes five and nine is especially strong, with four hefty two-shot holes, followed by a pretty 180-yard par-3 that many will vote the most memorable on the course. The tee shot must carry a pond, and the elevated green is further protected by out of bounds to the rear. Seven consecutive par-4s to close the round are a testing finishing stretch matched by very few courses. The Red Course’s demanding, but fair layout makes it an obvious choice to test the game’s best. Just three years ago, in tandem with the Blue course, it hosted the English Amateur, which saw Callum Shinkwin and Matt Fitzpatrick go ahead to head in the 36-hole final, while the Red course has been the setting for European Tour First Stage Qualifying since 2011, and welcomed
■ THE RED, BLUE AND GREEN COURSES OFFER A UNIQUELY CONSTRASTING CHALLENGE
■ FREE-DRAINNG SOILS ENSURE EXCELLENT YEAR-ROUND PLAYING CONDITIONS ON ALL THREE COURSES
Regional Open Qualifying in 2016. For five days every spring the Blue is coupled with the Red Course as the home of the EuroPro Tour Qualifying School. The Green Course may be the shortest of Frilford’s three fabulous courses, at just over 6,000 yards, but playing to a stiff par of 69, it is by no means a pushover. As at the legendary Rye links in Kent, the Green’s only par-5 is the opening hole, and from then on birdie opportunities can be few and far between. Likened to classics such as the Sunningdale Old and Swinley Forest, the Green Course is more than a nosey neighbour, with its original features, including small undulating greens and sharp-faced bunkers, awaiting the errant shot, as tested by the Brabazon Southern region qualifier in 2010. The newest addition, the Blue Course, was designed by Simon Gidman and opened in 1994, this par-72 offers a more modern links feel with a notably stern test on the early holes, where you will not need reminding about the card threatening water. From the black tees at over 6,700 yards, the course meanders through a number of par-4 dog legs and four par-5s that face in all compass directions, seemingly getting the best of the prevailing westerly. The subtle greens are more undulating than on the two older courses, and offer a number of interesting and challenging flag positions. The question everybody asks is which course is the best at Frilford, so why not join the debate and find out for yourself.
TO BOOK A GAME AT FRILFORD HEATH, VISIT WWW.FRILFORDHEATH.CO.UK OR CALL 01865 390887. A WINTER PACKAGE, COMPRISING COFFEE & BACON ROLL ON ARRIVAL, UNLIMITED GOLF, AND A ONECOURSE MEAL, COSTS £55PP ON WEEKDAYS, AND £65 AT WEEKENDS, UNTIL MARCH 31.
 FEBRUARY 2017 | GOLF TUITION HOLIDAY
■ GOLF NEWS PROFESSIONAL STUART SMITH
■ VALLE DEL ESTE RESORT
HEAD ‘ESTE’ FOR TOP TUITION & A GREAT HOLIDAY A fter sell-out trips to Costa Ballena in Spain in October 2016 and another scheduled for March 2017, Golf News PGA coach Stuart Smith is hosting a further Golf News Tuition Holiday at the stunning Spanish resort of Valle del Este Resort in Almeria in May, where a select group will enjoy week of world-class tuition and top quality hospitality under the warm skies of Spain’s east coast.
■ GOLFERS ON THE MOST RECENT TRIP ENJOYED TUITION IN THE MORNINGS FOLLOWED BY AFTERNOONS ON THE GOLF COURSE
Smith, a qualified PGA professional with over 20 years’ experience of working with all levels of players, will host the trip, which will see just 28 golfers, of varying ages and handicaps, enjoy a seven-night tuition break at the superb Valle del Este Resort in Almeria. The trip, which takes place from May 4-11, will feature morning and afternoon tuition sessions with Smith, as well as five rounds of golf on the superb 18-hole Valle del Este championship course.
Golfers can alternate between sessions in the morning and afternoon, and play as little or as much golf as they like, while guests will also have access to unlimited balls on the driving range, and enjoy a range of fun competitions alongside likeminded golfers.
The trip will cover all aspects of the short game, from putting and chipping, to bunker play and pitching, and there will also be a full session devoted to driving. All students will come away with personal report on areas for future development, along with a free short game booklet explaining the drills, how to practice, and advice on developing pre-shot routines. The next Golf News Tuition Holiday is scheduled for May 4-11, so if you’re looking to sharpen up your all aspects of your game ahead of the new golfing season, then make sure you book up today!
ITINERARY, VALLE DEL ESTE, ALMERIA, SPAIN MAY 4-11, 2017
THE PACKAGE INCLUDES:
Thurs 4th 3pm - Meet and greet, followed by short game Q&A
◆ 7 nights’ half-board accommodation at
10am - Chipping; 2.30pm - Pitching
10am - Pitching; 2.30pm - Chipping
◆ 5 rounds at Valle del Este; free pull trolley
10am - Chipping & Pitching via Core Board; 2.30pm -
◆ All tuition provided by Stuart Smith
Chipping & Pitching via Core Board
◆ Use of the driving range with unlimited
10am - 15 min slots using the GC2 to improve your driving
balls and free use of the Tour-standard
10am - Bunkers & putting; 2.30pm - bunkers & putting
the 4-star Valle del Este Resort in Almeria
Weds 10th 10am - Chipping and pitching recap/practice;
◆ Return flights on Monarch from Gatwick to
2.30pm - chipping and pitching recap/practice
Almeria, plus all transfers
The total cost for the trip is £795pp for two people sharing a twin room, and £935 for a single room. Prices are subject to change according to flight availability and exchange rates.
Spaces are limited to just 28 for this great value tuition break, so for bookings and all other enquiries, visit www.stuartsmithgolfacademy.com, email email@example.com or call 07799 088786.
COMPETITION | FEBRUARY 2017 
Golf News has teamed up with Big Max, Europe’s most-owned push cart brand, to offer the chance to WIN the brand new BIG MAX AUTOFOLD FF golf trolley AND a Big Max Aqua Sport cart bag. With a value of over £400, this great prize is guaranteed to get the new golf season off and running in style for one lucky winner!
BIG MAX AUTOFOLD FF –
BIG MAX AQUA –
Big Max pioneered FOLD FLAT technology with its best selling Autofold model, and that gamechanging technology is now available in the all-new premium Autofold FF trolley (£239).
BIG MAX’S AQUA range of golf bags is completely waterproof, with sealed seams and waterproof zips as standard. All of the bags are manufactured from a lightweight, tear-resistant fabric that makes the range robust and functional, as well as weatherproof.
THE FUTURE IS FLAT
This premium push cart folds flat in one swift movement, with its three wheels automatically folding under the body of the cart and fixing in place with Auto-Fix technology. This leaves the cart ready to fit into a car boot, with room for a full golf bag on top. In cases where there really is no extra room, the Autofold FF will also lie flat on the parcel shelf of virtually any car. The Autofold FF, which boasts an adjustable cradle and straps to contain all makes of golf bag, benefits from a host of handy features, including an organiser panel with secure storage compartment; two QuickLok bases for a range of BIG MAX accessories, including umbrella and GPS holders; a footbrake for secure stops; and a height adjustable handle. Available in a choice of four colour-accented frames – white, white-cobalt, black-red, black – the BIG MAX AutoFold FF can be matched with any of golf bag in the BIG MAX AQUA waterproof range to complete the stylish look.
GOLF BAGS FOR ALL WEATHERS
The Aqua range is available in three models designed specifically for trolleys – TOUR, SPORT and DRIVE. All have a plethora of pockets to house accessories, and come with 14-way dividers (including an oversized putter well) as standard, to ensure your clubs are transported in total comfort. The TOUR (£219) is the largest of all of the new cart bag designs. Despite its heavyweight performance, it weighs just 2.8kg, and features an 10-inch top, eight pockets, including valuable and cool pockets, and has more than ample capacity to neatly store and carry all of your kit, clubs and accessories. The SPORT (£199.99), which weighs 2.4kg and has an 9.5-inch top, has 14 full-length dividers, including a separate putter well, and offer all of the same features in a bolder design, with brightly-coloured zippers and matching heat-transfer logo treatments making it a sporty, stylish bag for the golfer who like to stand out from the crowd. The 2.5kg DRIVE (£189.99) comes with all of the same features as the Sport, but is aimed at the electric golf trolley market, and features a special battery pocket amongst its eight pockets.
For details on the complete range of Big Max push trolleys, golf bags and accessories, visit www.bigmaxgolf.com TO ENTER: To be in with a chance of winning this great prize, simply answer the question below correctly and email your name, address and contact telephone number to firstname.lastname@example.org, using ‘Big Max Competition’ in the subject line. The closing date for entries is March 15, 2017. No alternative cash prize is offered.
QUESTION: What do the letters ‘FF’ stand for in Big Max’s AutoFold FF? a) Front Fold b) Fold Flat c) Four Fold
 FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS
AHEAD OF HIS
TIME Player; captain; coach; course designer; author; mentor; friend. John Jacobs, who died in January aged 91, was many things to many people, and his wise words and gentle sense of humour left a lasting memory on all who met him
ohn Jacobs's legacy is that of a true sporting visionary – a player, a teacher, an innovator – all borne out of a passion for golf that consumed his life. To this day, his influence can be felt in every aspect of golf and across the globe. From beginners picking up a club for the very first time, to the stars of the European and PGA Tours, few golfers have not been touched by Jacobs’s genius and his overwhelming desire to ensure everyone loved the game and had as much fun playing it as he did. A tour player of some reknown, Jacobs competed in 14 Open Championships, and played in the 1955 Ryder Cup, where he won his singles match over thenMasters champion Cary Middlecoff. In a tour playing career that spanned 15 years, he won twice – the 1957 South African Matchplay Masters and the Dutch Open in the same year. Jacobs would later captain our Ryder Cup team, in 1979 and 1981, the first time fittingly being when European players competed for the very first time, after half a century solely being comprised GB&I players. Always prepared to push boundaries and break conventions, Jacobs spent nearly two decades from 1954 battling to revolutionise the sport, calling for larger prize funds and a tournament schedule outside of the British Isles. Given the role of Tournament Director-General of the PGA Executive Committee that governed British Golf in 1971, Jacobs established a ‘Continental Swing’, with the French and German Opens, while the Spanish Open became the first official European Tour event on April 12, 1972. By the time Jacobs stepped down from the role in 1975, and was replaced by Ken Schofield, he had laid down the foundations that enabled the European Tour to continue to grow and flourish over the next four decades. From a handful of tournaments and a total prize fund of £500,000 in 1972, the European Tour now has 48 events in 26 different countries with prize money of nearly €200m. However, it was on the practice ground, and in the game’s corridors of power, where Jacobs had the biggest impact with his innovative thinking. As a coach, he transformed the fundamentals of how the game was taught, with his revolutionary philosophies based on ball flight, clubface alignment and swing path. Through coaching schools,
HIS ABILITY IN COACHING WAS UNSURPASSED. WHEN WE WERE HITTING BALLS, HE WOULD TURN AWAY AND TELL ME WHERE THE BALL WENT. HE COULD TELL WHETHER THE SWING WAS TOO STEEP OR TOO SHALLOW, WHETHER THE PATH OF THE SWING WAS INSIDE OR OUTSIDE JUST BY THE NOISE OF THE STRIKE best-selling books, videos, and television series, his methods became known in the UK, across America, and around the world. Everyone, from tour pro to complete novice, could understand his teaching. “Make it do-able,” he insisted. “Keep it simple.” In his popular book, Play Better Golf, Jacobs hammered home his singular philosophy. ‘The golf swing has only one purpose: to deliver the head of the club to the ball correctly, and to achieve such impact repeatedly,' he wrote. ‘If golf was about getting into correct positions throughout the swing, then the greatest players in the world have had it wrong. The only position that matters is the club's at impact, which is determined by the clubface alignment, the path of the swing, the angle of attack, and the speed of the clubhead. The biggest step in becoming a good player is understanding how the flight of the ball teaches the correct geometry of impact.' A PGA Master Professional, Jacobs wrote the PGA’s first training manual, and, decades later, his principles are still at the core of every professional’s education. Jacobs, who lived in Lyndhurst, Hampshire, was also the visionary behind the growth of driving ranges, realising their value for both professionals and students who wanted to learn and improve day or
NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017
From everyday people to princes and kings, from beginners to tour players, Jacobs taught everyone. He touched lives, changed golf, innovated teaching, made the European Tour thrive, but most importantly – he ensured people of all ages and all abilities enjoyed swinging a club. Ewen Murray, who was one of Jacobs's early pupils, remembers a man who always had a sixth sense about players. “His ability in coaching was unsurpassed. When we were hitting balls, he would turn away and tell me where the ball went. He could tell whether the swing was too steep or too shallow, whether the path of the swing was inside or outside, just by the noise of the strike. His remedies usually produced immediate improvement. Often I would meet up with him despondent and disappointed with the way I was playing. When I left him, after what were often short sessions, confidence had returned, as I had total belief in his knowledgeable and eloquent words. I have never known John charge any tournament player for the time he spent with them. He did it because he loved doing it, and those players he helped to become top professionals adored the time they spent with him.” Jacobs’s contribution to golf was recognised by the wider world in 1997, when he was made an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours, and three years later, at the age of 75, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Jacobs also enjoyed a career as a golf course architect, with his company, John Jacobs Golf Associates, creating numerous courses in the UK, including Wentworth’s Edinburgh course, The Buckinghamshire, Sandown Park and Hoebridge. Jacobs is also credited with the design of Aprèmont in France and Playa De Las Américas in Tenerife. But whether it was as a course designer, a coach, a writer, or a golf administrator, John Jacobs left a lasting legacy for which all golfers owe him a debt of gratitude.
TRIBUTES “John was a legend of the game and his name will sit at the top table with all the golfing greats.” SANDY JONES, PGA CHIEF EXECUTIVE
"John’s outstanding contribution to golf will leave an indelible mark on the game. He was widely respected as a founding father of the European Tour and was a proud honourary member of the R&A. A light has gone out in the world of golf." MARTIN SLUMBERS, R&A CHIEF EXECUTIVE
“John is widely acknowledged as the father
of modern golf coaching. He had a huge understanding of the golf swing and was always a great source of support to me and the training academy.” DR KYLE PHILLPOTS, PGA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
“John did so much for golf and golfers. He was a peerless coach, a great communicator, and both charming and kind.” KEN BROWN, FORMER RYDER CUP PLAYER AND COMMENTATOR
“John was like a second father to me. My father Jimmy, who was club professional at Baberton in Edinburgh,
passed away at a young age, and part of my love for the game died with him. John took me under his wing and offered not just coaching, but deep personal friendship that lasted a lifetime and will cherished forever.” EWEN MURRAY, FORMER EUROPEAN TOUR PLAYER AND COMMENTATOR
“John Jacobs changed my whole golfing game in 1996 with the one line: ‘Open the door, and close the door early’. I gained 20 yards and a big draw.” PADRAIG HARRINGTON, THREE-TIME MAJOR CHAMPION
JACOBS ON JACOBS I explain well because I was a dunce in school. I've never been so miserable ■ JACOBS CAPTAINED THE RYDER CUP TEAM TWICE, FIRSTLY AS GB&I, AND SECONDLY AS A FULL EUROPEAN TEAM
night, all year round. “Golf can be an expensive sport,” he reasoned. “Golf ranges were an inexpensive way to get more people playing the game and enjoying it.” But home for Jacobs was the practice ground – particularly his golf schools where every day there were new faces, new challenges, and different people to help, improve and make happy. Jacobs was a friendly face for pros on tour, who would queue up for his advice – which he gave out freely and without charge – and, thanks to his books, videos, clinics and television appearances, he was a household name on both sides of the Atlantic. All of which was a long way from his early years growing up at Lindrick Golf Club in Yorkshire in the 1930s, where his father was the professional, and understanding the golf swing was simply to ‘stop myself hooking into the gorse on the left’.
in my life as I was on the first day of class after the glorious summer break. But it's why I became a good teacher. I was always so bored and confused in the classroom, so I know exactly what it's like to not understand. I make sure to give people a careful, logical explanation, along with some fun. I don't want their time with me to remind them of school. But I want them to understand.”
“I wish I'd been given Peter Thomson's talent for competition and winning, but my talent turned out to be teaching. Peter had all those Open Championships, and I sometimes think I'd trade all the teaching for one of those. But, in the end, I don't think I would. People love when you help them hit it better. You make a million friends among the hackers and choppers.
 FEBRUARY 2017 | FEATURE
Have you ever been at the seaside when you were a kid and skimmed a pebble across the water. Works for me every time!
Top golf clubs know their qualit y wines - Benguela Cove w w w.benguelacove.co.uk
What is your career highlight as a player? When I qualified for the South African Open in 2002. What’s your favourite course in the UK, and the world? I always enjoy playing Sunningdale Old in the UK. Outside that it would have to be Augusta.
James Marshall spills the beans on life as Head PGA Professional at The Addington Golf Club in Surrey
How long have you been a PGA professional? 25 years. What is your day-to-day role at the club? Making sure we maintain a high level of service to the members as well at the visitors to the club, working closely with the general manager and staff involved in running the pro shop. Our team is here to help on any matter, big or small. We also help run the members’ competitions and pride ourselves on this service. I also provide a high-level teaching programme.
■ THE ADDINGTON'S SIGNATURE PAR-3 13TH HOLE
What’s the best thing about your job? Working in a friendly and professional environment and working closely with a range of different people. I also like the variety of work the job has to offer. And the worst? Having to work weekends, and the long hours in peak season. I would love to spend more time with the family, but I know I’m not alone. Tell us something about the facilities and the playing experience…
The Addington is an ‘old school’ type of club, but one that has kept up with the times. The welcoming clubhouse has a wellstocked pro shop, along with a lounge featuring bar, sofas and an open log fire. Folding doors open out on to the patio area, and there is also a dining area, which is ideal for events and golf days. A large changing room, completes the excellent facilities you would expect at a top members’ club. Practice-wise, we have a large putting green next to the patio area, along with a warm-up net. There is a chipping green and 350-yard long practice hole, which features a green with two bunkers. Members use their own balls and enjoy practising from the grass. In a tough economic
LYDD GOLF CLUB
climate what have you done to keep existing members and attract new ones? We are lucky enough to have such an amazing course, currently ranked inside the top 100 in the UK, which attracts people to the club. We do not have a joining fee, and our policy is not to exceed 350 members, which ensures that it’s not too crowded at peak times. Altonwood, the company that owns The Addington, also owns four other clubs in the area – Westerham, Woldingham, Surrey National, and the nine-hole course at Godstone – which members can also play. For new members, we are currently offering 15 months’ membership for the price of 12, but only up until the end of February.
What is the club doing to attract junior golfers? With every full adult membership we offer a free a junior membership. How much time do you spend teaching? Between 10-20 hours a week. What’s selling well in the pro shop at the moment? We sell across the board, but FJ clothing is proving very popular. What range of facilities do you have for customfitting? A Flightscope launch monitor. £50 gets you an hour’s fit. Using real balls and hitting from grass, we are a Callaway and Ping certified fitting venue. What’s the best swing tip you’ve ever received?
Who is your golfing hero and why? Gary Player, how can you not admire his work-rate. Even today, he still hits the gym and scores lower than his age. He’s a great role model for any junior golfer and you never hear him talk negatively – his glass is always half full. I like that in a person. Who inspired you to take up golf? My dad. Which three other people would be in your dream fourball? Gary Player, Thierry Henry and Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Conor McGregor. What would you have done if you hadn’t been a pro? Being Tiger Woods’s caddy would have been a profitable option.
COBTREE MANOR PARK GOLF COURSE
Let us host your next Society Day
WELCOME TO LYDD GOLF CLUB Lydd Golf Club is a classic risk and reward course, with its links style and breath-taking lakes, this really is an undiscovered gem on the south coast. Each group will have the day personally tailored to suit all their golfing needs to enrich the day and make it fabulous. We look forward to giving you a warm and friendly welcome here at Lydd Golf Club.
We host golf days seven days a week (after 10am at weekends). Take advantage of great offers on buggy hire, prizes from our pro shop, and green fees. The Society Organiser goes free with 16 players or more.
PACKAGES PAR: Coffee, bacon rolls and 18 holes for £28 weekdays / £34 weekends BIRDIE: Coffee, bacon rolls, 18 holes and one-course lunch for £35 weekdays / £41 weekends EAGLE: Coffee, bacon roll, 27 holes and one-course lunch for £47 weekdays / £56 weekends ALBATROSS: Coffee, bacon roll, 36 holes and two-course dinner for £50 weekdays / £59 weekends
OPTIONAL EXTRAS ◆ ◆ ◆
GOLF DAY OFFERS ◆ ◆
LYDD GOLF CLUB & DRIVING RANGE Romney Road, Lydd, Kent TN29 9LS
Tel: 01797 320808 Email: email@example.com www.lyddgolfclub.co.uk
Upgrade to a full English breakfast with coffee for £2 Upgrade to two-course meal from our dinner menu for £3 Upgrade to a three-course meal from our dinner menu for £6
Society organiser goes free with 16 players or more Book and pay for 5 or more buggies and get £6 off each buggy (subject to availability) Spend £50 or more on pro shop prizes and receive a complimentary 2 ball voucher Receive another 2 ball voucher for complete golf day registration
Menus are available on request. Please call Ian on 01622 753 276 All golf day bookings made are provisional for 14 days and a deposit of £100 is required to secure your date. Confirmed numbers are required 7 days before your day and full balance is required on the day. Terms and conditions are sent with bookings and must be agreed and signed accordingly.
NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017
ADDINGTON TEES UP COURSE RENOVATIONS D
espite 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 the 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 in the last 10 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 rebuilding of nine new tees on the 18-hole layout, while six green
■ NINE NEW TEES HAVE BEEN INSTALLED AS PART OF A £250,00 RENOVATION PROGRAMME
ICONIC ST ANDREWS HOTEL FALLS INTO AMERICAN HANDS The Dunvegan Hotel, one of the most iconic 19th holes in the golfing world, has been sold to Forth Bridge Capital , a consortium of golfing enthusiasts from North America. Former owners Jack and Sheena Willoughby, who owned and managed the business for the past 23 years, will maintain an interest in the Hotel and, as partners, assist the new owners going forward. The hotel’s Golfers Corner Pub is a popular meeting place for golfers, with the walls and ceilings lined with over 150 pictures of famous golfers, including 27 Major champions, many of which have been signed by the players.
have been fitted with a new passive capillary drainage system under the supervision of leading agronomist Cameron MacMillan. The £250,00 investment has also seen a tree clearance programme to expose some the magnificent pine trees that are a feature of the JF Abercrombie-designed course. 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 14, while the club is also hosting the Ronnie Corbett Memorial Classic in June 8. If you’d like to enter a team for either of these events, call 0208 7771055 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
LADIES TOUR ANNOUNCES THREE NEW TOURNAMENTS
FOREST OF ARDEN TO HOST INAUGURAL SENIOR MASTERS
orest of Arden Hotel and Country Club, Marriott Golf UK’s flagship venue in Birmingham, will be welcoming the European Senior Tour to its fairways this October with the inaugural English Senior Masters. The tournament, which takes place over the resort’s famed Arden Course from October 20-22, will see some of the game’s top senior golfers battling it out at the elegant West Midlands resort. Home-grown hero Peter Baker, who was part of the European Ryder Cup team in 1993, will be making his over-50s' debut at the tournament, while it will also be an emotional return to the Forest of Arden for fellow Englishman and former Ryder Cup player Barry Lane, who won the British Masters at the venue back in 2004.
Players on the 2017 Ladies European Tour are to visit three new tournaments following the unveiling of the new schedule. The season started with the first new event at the Oates Vic Open at Bellarine Peninsula from February 9-12, The tournament is currently the only professional event that stages both men’s and women’s championships concurrently on the same golf course. The second new event is the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open, to be played at Club de Golf Terramar in near Barcelona, on April 20-23, while the third sees the return of the Turkish Ladies Open in Antalya in late June. There will be 11 tournaments with purses of at least €500,000, including the Scottish Open on July 27-30, at Dundonald Links, which is now a cosanctioned event between the LET and LPGA, with a significantly increased purse of US$1.5m.
The Herefordshire Golf Club James Braid’s Rural Delight “Play the Gleneagles of The Midlands”
Coffee on arrival 9 Holes on the Water Garden Course Or free range balls 18 Holes on the Codrington Course 1 Course Lunch or Dinner Based on 4 or more players
Join the New Era and Play the Course in February and March 2017 from
£15 per head
The ultimate reason for a golfing day out in 2017 and only an hour away from Birmingham City centre
pp Summer Midweek Stay Overs One night & Two rounds of Golf Stay @ Canons Court mews 1 round on The Codrington course 1 round on The Stranahan course includes coffee and breakfast includes range balls both days £83 each based on 12 or more £99 each based for a 4 ball
Societies Welcome - 7 days a week Discover Braid’s unspoilt charm and book your society in April from
£20 per head
Contact New Director of Golf, Stuart Rank on 01432 830219 www.herefordshiregolfclub.co.uk
The Herefordshire Golf Club, Raven’s Causeway, Wormsley, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR4 8LY.
2 nights & 3 Rounds Stay @ Canons Court Mews Play @ The Players Club Cumberwell Park The Kendleshire
Based on 2 sharing. Full details on The Players Club website.
 FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS
CHINA’S GOLF COURSE BOOM GRINDS TO A HALT AMID CLAIMS OF CORRRUPTION AND OVERSUPPLY T
he growth of golf in China has hit the buffers after the ruling Communist Party decided that the hundreds of new courses were proving a drain on limited water resources. The government has shut down more than 100 golf courses in the last five years, while dozens of others have been forced to return to agricultural use. It has also ordered construction of up to 50 further courses to be stopped. The building of new golf courses was banned in China in 2004, after developers of the were found to have been using large amounts of
nature reserve areas, or extracting groundwater illegally – but demand from the growing ranks of wealthy elite has seen course numbers rocket from fewer than 200 to almost 700 in the last decade. The crackdown largely failed because local governments have encouraged the building of golf clubs to boost tourism and increase development opportunities. They are often submitted to planners as parks or other green areas, before they are later transformed into golf clubs. Golf is popular among local bureaucrats, but
the Communist Party has previously attempted to distance its members from the sport, banning officials in the southern province of Guangdong from playing during working hours in 2014. Last year, central government
SCOTLAND CASHES IN ON OPEN AT TROON
ast year’s hosting of The Open Championship at Royal Troon delivered more than £110 million worth of benefit to Scotland, according to an independent study. The Open, which attracted 173,000 spectators to the Ayrshire coastline last July, delivered an economic impact of more than £64 million, according to the study compiled by Sheffield Hallam University’s sport industry research centre.
In addition, the country benefited from an additional £46 million in destination marketing benefit, thanks to the exposure afforded to Scotland from the championship, which was broadcast on television in 193 territories to more than 600 million households worldwide. The report concluded that Ayrshire alone benefited from spending by event -pecific visitors and on event infrastructure amounting to £23
million in economic impact. Almost half of the spectators who
told state officials they were prohibited from receiving membership to clubs as gifts, but subsequently said that the sport was not illegal – as long as officials paid for it. The party has fired local leaders for accepting free rounds.
FRESH FORMAT FOR SENIOR WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS
attended The Open travelled from outside Scotland, while two-thirds of Scots spectators came from outside Ayrshire. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who attended the Championship in July, said: “Hosting The Open is a chance to see one of the world’s most popular sports return to the country where it all started, so these are brilliant figures which highlight the huge economic benefit that bringing home such a prestigious championship has for Scotland. Troon is a fantastic course enjoyed by players and spectators alike, both for the quality and challenge of the course, and the remarkable scenery. However, it’s much more wide-ranging than that - it showcases Scotland’s ability to host world class events, it has benefits for local businesses and hotels - and it also inspires the next generation of players. We look forward to welcoming the world to Carnoustie in 2018 for the 147th Open Championship.”
ngland Golf has launched a new format for the 2017 English Senior Women’s Championship, which takes place at South Staffordshire Golf Club from May 15-19. The tournament is to include a new match play flight for players aged 60 and over. The event will start, as usual, with two rounds of stroke play to decide who goes forward to the match play flights. The top 32 players will then compete in the championship matches for the Wendy Taylor Salver. The leading 16 players aged 60 and over will play for the Ann Howard Trophy. Competitors can choose which flight they would like to play in, but will have to state their decision when registering at the event. The change in format was agreed by a working group of competitors, tournament officials and members of England Golf’s championship department. Entries for all men’s, women’s and senior events opened online on February 1 at www.englandgolf.org/championships.
Seaford Head Golf Course WE ARE OFFERING SOME GREAT SOCIETY AND GOLF DAY PACKAGES.
NO B W UG jec t t AV G IE o we A at IL S he r c AB on LE di tio ! n
PAR ● ●
Full English Breakfast,Coffee &18 holes £26.00 pp Midweek ● £29.00 Weekend & Bank Holidays
BIRDIE ● ● ●
Coffee, Bacon Roll &18 Holes Selection from Society lunch menu £30.00 pp Midweek ● £33.00 pp Weekend & Bank Holidays
EAGLE ● ● ●
Full English Breakfast, Coffee &18 Holes Selection from Society lunch menu £32.50 pp Midweek ● £36.50 pp Weekend & Bank Holidays
ALBATROSS ● ● ● ●
Coffee, Bacon Roll & 9/18 holes Selection from Society lunch menu &18 holes Selection from Society dinner menu £50.00 pp Midweek ● £53.00 pp Weekend & Bank Hols
MEMBERSHIPS 7 DAY
Adult .................................. £585.00
Intermediate 2 (Age 30-39) .......................................£500.00 (first year) £600 there aer
Over 60’s. .......................... £520.00
Intermediate 1 (Age 22-29)........................................£356.00 Youth (18-21 yrs)..............................£203.00 Junior (12-17) ....................................£69.00 Junior (11 and under) FREE (must have their own suitable clubs and be accompanied by an adult on the course)
Direct Debit payments are available. There is a £25 charge and these are taken as first payment upfront, then 5 fuher monthly payments from May 1st onwards. Payable by Cheque or Debit Card preferred. 2.5% charge for Credit Cards.
All society packages can be tailored to meet your own specifications. Minimum 12 people. Please call the Pro Shop on 01323 890139.
The View at Seaford Head Golf Course oﬀers more than just golﬁng occasions. Available for weddings, paies and business meetings. It really is the place to hold any function. With over 100 possible covers for large groups and a smaller separate room for a more personal gathering.
Call 01323 890139 for more details
Seaford Head Golf Course Southdown Road, Seaford, BN25 4JS Tel: 01323 890139 www.seafordheadgolfcourse.co.uk
NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017
BURNHAM BEECHES PICKS UP TOP GREENKEEPING AWARD
ENGLISH PAIR FLY THE FLAG DOWN UNDER
greenkeeping team that took on the worst the weather could throw at them during last year’s English senior women’s open stroke play championship has won a top award from the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association. Burnham Beeches Golf Club’s Lee Bishop and his team were named as winners of the Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year Award. During the tournament, the weather ranged from hot sunshine to thunder, lightning and torrential downpours, which flooded the Buckinghamshire course. The greenkeeping team’s reaction to the conditions proved a winner at the awards ceremony at BTME 2017 in Harrogate, the largest turf management exhibition in Europe. BIGGA Chief Executive Jim Croxton said: “This is an unheralded venue, with a small team who overcame substantial weather problems. Despite this, the golf course was in fantastic condition and England Golf, who hosted the event, said that if they could take that greenkeeping team around the country with them, they would do.”
In another category, the BIGGA Greenkeeping Achievement of the Year was won by Wimbledon Park Golf Club, whose head greenkeeper David Langheim and his team were praised for the way they consistently manage to keep the course in peak condition, despite having to contend with thousands of cars parking on its fairways during the fortnight of Wimbledon’s tennis championships.
SENIORS SNUBBED IN RUSH FOR NEW MEMBERS
ith a variety of efforts to make golf more accessible and affordable to the younger generations, it seems that many golf clubs have forgotten about the older generation, with many over-50s reporting that they are being left out from special membership discounts and incentives. A recent report commissioned by GolfSupport.com revealed that over 80 per cent of golf clubs in the UK do not include seniors in their membership price structures. The research was carried out at 244 golf clubs located in towns and cities across the entire UK. London was found to have the lowest proportion of golf clubs with specific senior membership discounts/incentives, with only 6.8%. Above London were Bristol and Cambridge with 7.1% and 9.1%. With 41.7%, Leicester had the
highest proportion of golf clubs offering membership discounts or incentives exclusively for seniors. Other areas with a high proportion of golf clubs offering seniors discounts included Manchester (36.8%) and Oxford (35.7%). A nationwide survey of golfers, which received 520 responses, found that 92% of seniors believe they should get some sort of incentive or discount on golf club membership fees, however only 18% of clubs surveyed currently offer discounts for senior golfers. Mick, a 68 year old from Coventry, said: “I love watching golf and it’s a fascination which I only developed when I retired three years ago. I have been keen to transition my sofa enthusiasm onto an actual golf course. I have
kept my eye on the membership prices of those clubs accessible to me, but unfortunately their rates have consistently remained too high for me to be tempted. It’s a huge shame they don’t offer any discounted rates for seniors as they do with other age categories.” Reginald, a 73-year-old from Bristol, commented: “I used to be part of a golf club in Bristol up until my late 50’s, but due to numerous commitments constraining my time, I couldn’t justify renewing. I am in my 70’s now, and with more time than ever. I have been looking to re-join a golf club, but prices in comparison to when I was a member in the past are significantly higher, hence I am finding it
difficult to convince myself to join. I personally believe that golf clubs should be making more of an effort to offer incentives entirely for seniors. It will not only ease my intention to join, but also other seniors facing the same dilemma.” Gary Swift from GolfSupport. com, which commissioned the research, expressed surprise at how little was being done to make golf more affordable for older players. “Seniors have always been the backbone of golf, thus to engage and appeal more to the younger generations, golf clubs have seemingly forgotten to pay equal attention to the older generation. With so many discounts, incentives, deals and offers available to the younger generations – one would expect the same for seniors.”
orset’s Jack Singh Brar and Derbyshire’s Bradley Moore flew the flag for England when they took second and third places in the prestigious Avondale Amateur in Sydney, Australia. Singh Brar, from Remedy Oak Golf Club near Bournemouth, was runner-up on 10 under par, just one shot behind the champion, Australia’s Josh Armstrong. Moore, from Kedleston Park, birdied the last hole to snatch third place on his own on eight under. Both players started the event with rounds of four-under 67, with Moore adding level par 71 in the second round while Singh Brar shot 72. Singh Brar then shot up the leaderboard with a superb eight-under-par 64, going out in 33 and coming home in 31. It moved him into second place with a round to play, while Moore scored 69 and was tied eighth. In the final round Singh Brar, a former England boy international, returned a steady level par, with two bogeys on the way out and a pair of birdies on the inward half, while Moore, a member of the England Men's Squad, signed off with 69 to improve his final placing. Amateur champion Scott Gregory from Hampshire also made the cut and finished 21st.
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“THAT WAS THE WORST YEAR OF MY LIFE” BY DEREK LAWRENSON
SARAH STIRK VISITS DUBAI GOLF IN MICHIGAN WIN A LINKS GOLF BREAK CELEBRITY ME & MY TRAVELS
“I WILL WIN AGAIN IN 2017, I WILL BE IN THE NEXT RYDER CUP TEAM IN 2018, AND WE WILL WIN THE TROPHY BACK” After being out of action for four months last year with a toe injury, Ian Poulter is looking to get his career back on track in 2017 and put himself in contention for one last Ryder Cup hurrah in Paris INTERVIEW BY DEREK LAWRENSON, GOLF CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL
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IAN POULTER | FEBRUARY 2017
iger Woods was not the only celebrated golfer eager to slam the door on 2016 in the hope of launching a spectacular New Year comeback. “It was the worst year of my life, no question,” says Ian Poulter, who was born 11 days after the American, and turned 41 on January 10. Like Woods, Poulter has endured a rough 18 months on and off the course, including five months when he could not play at allowing to a painful arthritic toe. His enforced injury absence saw him slip down to 186th in the world rankings. Just six years ago he was as high as fifth, following his victory over Paul Casey in the final of the 2010 WGC-Accenture Match Play. The anguish was compounded by the helplessness he felt watching from the sidelines as Europe suffered a crushing defeat at the Ryder Cup. Just before Christmas, Poulter received a special recognition award from the Professional Golfers Association. More than 1,000 people turned up to hear some typically colourful tales of his amazing journey from the assistant’s shop to the top of the world game. Towards the end, he came up with a classic Poulter line. “I will win again in 2017, I will be in the next Ryder Cup team in 2018, and we will win the trophy back,” he said, to a rousing ovation. Yet behind the characteristic bombast lies a man whose renowned powers of mental strength have been truly tested. He begins this year in a more vulnerable position than at any time since he first came to fame, with no status to play in any of the four majors and his worst world since his early days as a pro. Even his privileges to play on the PGA Tour in the US are dependent on at least one good finish in his next three events. “It has been a very challenging time, there’s no getting away from it,” he says. “My toe got so painful in the early part of last year, I was walking on the side of my foot at one tournament, and you can’t play golf like that, so I had to take the time off. Away from the course we’ve had issues with our house in the UK that I won’t elaborate on, we’ve had my mum’s aneurysm, so even when I was playing, it was a bit more complicated than simply not playing well. Now thankfully, we’ve reached the point where my foot is fine and we’re nearly sorted off the course as well, so hopefully I can clear the rubbish out of my brain and start playing well again.” With five months off from the game, Poulter has had plenty of time to reflect on his career, what he has achieved, and what the future holds. He also had some valuable time to enjoy the fruits of his labours and spent time with his family, with whom he lives in Florida. “In some respects, it's been the best five months off I've ever had in my life, because I've spent more time with the family than I ever have before,” he says. “So to do some great family stuff – be back in the UK, seeing family and friends – was a real bonus. But from a professional perspective, it was a difficult experience to be at the Ryder Cup on the other side of the ropes, looking in as a vice-captain, rather than as a player. To come back and find myself right back in the mix, and try and be competitive, that's been tough. You can hit as many balls as you want, but to be under the pressure of making a score, holing putts at the right time, getting yourself in contention, is tough.” Poulter made his comeback with a few starts at the back end of last year, but it was symptomatic of a too-cluttered mind that he would throw in an odd, ugly hole from nowhere and lose all momentum. In Hong Kong in December he was nicely placed in the top 10 in the second round, before a quadruple bogey led to an altercation with a cameraman and a dramatic dive down the leaderboard. “Loss of concentration, frustration, all those mental things are holding me back,” he admits. “It’s annoying that I’m allowing myself to get distracted, and all the good play goes unrewarded.” Those same frailties emerged during his performances in the recent Desert Swing in the Middle East – to which he made a rare sortie in order to try and rediscover his form. At the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship he shot rounds of 67, 71 and 67 to set himself up for a comfortable top-20 finish, but then threw in a 74, and ended up 37th. Even more
■ POULTER RECIEVES HIS SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD FROM THE PGA
THE CONFIDENCE LEVEL IS ALWAYS THERE. I'M NOT A HALF-EMPTY GUY. I'M A HALF-FULL GUY. THAT'S NEVER GOING TO LEAVE ME
disappointment was to come in Dubai, where he shot the exact same scores in the first 54 holes, and found himself out in the last group on Sunday alongside Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson. But while his former Ryder Cup teammates both shot 69s to finish first and second respectively, Poulter slipped to a 76, and dropped back from third down to tied 15th. Taking the positives from a tournament that included a shank during the first round, Poulter certainly found his form with the putter – a piece of equipment that has not always been his best friend – in the desert, and at one point during the third round enjoyed nine consecutive one-putts. “It’s the first time I’ve played in Dubai for almost a decade, so I was still kid of finding my feet,” he says. “There were still a couple of miss-hits in there, so I would say that I’ve not hit my stride yet, but it’s getting there. It’s not quite my A game, but we’re still working on it.” Asked if he still has the swagger and the bubbling self-confidence that once set him apart from players of his era that were blessed with slightly more talent, Poulter is, not surprisingly, forthcoming. “The confidence level is always there. I'm not a half-empty guy. I'm a half-full guy. So that's never going to leave me. Yeah, I'm as ambitious as I've always been. I always look to perform well. I always want to put pressure on myself, and I always demand big things. So that will never change.” What has to change, and change fast, is Poulter’s world ranking, if he is to get back into Major reckoning. He now heads back to America where he is playing on a medical extension and needs to make about $220,000 (£178,000) from six tournaments to keep his tour card. “To be honest, my overwhelming focus is simply on getting out there and enjoying it, rather than worrying about my status or whether I’m in the Majors,” he says. “The hunger’s still there. In fact, I’m probably more hungry now to show that I can still play and get back up the rankings. I do think my good shots now are better than they have ever been, but I’m eager to prove that’s the case, rather than talk about it.” The big bonus during his time away was all the extra days he got to spend with his wife Katie and their four children. The great dampener was the Ryder Cup. As you would expect from a consummate team player, Poulter, who was a vice-captain at Hazeltine, remains unstinting in his support of skipper Darren Clarke. “Who could have predicted that Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer wouldn’t play well, that Danny Willett would clearly be badly affected [by his brother’s infamous article on the eve of the match] and we’d get one point from the three of them,” he says. “How can you blame the captain for that? Darren poured his heart and soul into it, and it’s badly affected him that we didn’t win. I know it’s still bothering him, and the ‘what ifs’ are still swirling in his head. I got on a long-haul plane with him the following week ,and I don’t think he slept at all.” Not that it’s put Poulter off wanting to have a go himself one day. “I think you have to take the rough with the smooth,” he says. “We lost, and so you know in those circumstances there’s going to be lots of analysis in the papers as to what went wrong, even if you don’t agree with it." While Poulter was powerless to affect the result as a player, his enforced week on the sidelines as vice captain certainly opened his eyes to what the job might entail should the captaincy ever come his way in the years ahead. “It was difficult to be at the Ryder Cup, on the other side of the ropes, looking in as a vice captain, but It was a great week for me to gain some experience of what goes on behind the scenes,” he says. “I've played in five Ryder Cups now, but I'd only ever seen it from a player's perspective, and you're kind of sheltered away from the day-to-day antics and what goes on. So to see how much time and effort actually goes in to making sure the team play well that week was a real insight for me.” We move on to the other big name who was sidelined that week, but is now thankfully back playing again, albeit infrequently due to missed cuts and withdrawls. How does he think Tiger will fare in 2017? “Do you know, I haven’t met a golfer yet who didn’t tune in to watch his comeback in the Bahamas,” says Poulter. “I was in Australia and got up early one morning to watch it. He looked great, didn’t he? The fact he made more birdies than anyone in the field, including Hideki Matsuyama, who ran away with the event, is incredible. “Tiger holing 40-footers again and looking happy? That has to be ominous for everyone else. ‘I saw enough to think for sure he will win again, and if he does that, why not more majors? Augusta’s as wide as anything, and he knows that place better than anybody.” Poults and Tiger. It will be good to have them both back in 2017.
 FEBRUARY 2017 | FEATURE
DISTINCTIVE TIMEPIECES FOR GOLFERS
E T I Q U S . C O . U K
A LOOK BACK IN TIME JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL • 27TH RYDER CUP • MUIRFIELD VILLAGE, OHIO • SEPTEMBER 27, 1987
ONE OF THE ABIDING IMAGES OF THE RYDER CUP – and there have been many over the years – is José María Olazábal’s impromptu cha-cha-cha at the side of the green as Europe celebrated victory over the United States at Muirfield Village in 1987. Ask him about it now, and the Spaniard, who turned 50 last year, hangs his head in embarrassment – but at the time it seemed the perfectly way for a 20 year old to express the elation felt by the entire continent of Europe after we’d secured an ‘away win’ for the first time in the 60-year history of the Ryder Cup. Watching the young maestro shaking his hips 30 years later on YouTube still makes for uncomfortable viewing, but it can’t help but raise a smile to know that it was done to acknowledge that Europe had finally stuck one over the Yanks on home soil. And just to rub salt into the wound, the long-awaited win had been achieved on a course that Jack Nicklaus, who captained the USA that year, had designed himself, and that had been set up fast and narrow to suit the home players’ games. Choosing to fly first class on Concorde, European captain Tony Jacklin – kept on following the heroic win at The Belfry in 1985, which was a first for Europe in 28 years – left no stone unturned in his bid to turn the tide of history. And with a team that boasted six players who were, or would become, major champions, there was a quiet confidence that 1987 could be the year. On the opening day’s play, the morning foursomes were
shared, with two wins for either side, but there was better to follow for Europe in the afternoon. All four fourballs were victorious, including the pairing of Seve Ballesteros and Olazabal, and the visitors went into day two with a commanding 6-2 lead. That was extended to 8.5-3.5 after the second morning’s foursomes, where Seve and Ollie continued their brilliant form by beating Payne Stewart and Ben Crenshaw, with the other full point coming from Sandy Lyle and Bernhard Langer’s defeat of Lanny Wadkins and Larry Nelson.
And with honours shared 2-2 in the afternoon fourballs, where the Spanish duo suffered their only defeat of the week, Europe held a five-point lead going into Sunday’s singles. The Americans, determined not to be embarrassed on home soil, claimed five of the first seven matches on Sunday, and, with the result in the balance, nerves were jangling in both camps. An increasingly tense game between Eamonn Darcy and Ben Crenshaw, the eighth match on the course, exploded on the sixth green when Crenshaw, already two holes down, snapped his own putter in a fit of rage. He had to complete his round putting with either a one-iron or his sand wedge, but amazingly bounced back, only to lose to the Irishman on the 18th. Seve sealed the historic win by beating Curtis Strange on the 17th hole to take the scores to 15-13. And amid wild scenes of jubilation, Olazabal broke out the unscripted cha-cha-cha routine, and unknowingly sealed his future in Ryder Cup folklore. Just eight years earlier, the Ryder Cup had seemed in danger of dying in the face of America domination. But victory in 1985, and then again in 1987, turned all that around. And since that year, Europe has won nine of the last 14 matches, with victories at Kiawah Island (‘91), The Belfry (’93), Brookline (‘99), Valhalla (’08) and, of course, Hazeltine last year, being the only times ‘Team USA’ has had cause to celebrate – although never in quite the same spontaneous style shown by Ollie those three decades ago.
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NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017 
EDEN MILL’S GOLF GIN HITS THE MARK
long, cool gin and tonic has long been a favourite golfer’s tipple in clubhouses up and down the country. And while the intoxicating mixture of botanicals served over ‘ice and a slice’ has always enjoyed a strong following among the older male golfing community, gin is currently enjoying a huge rise in popularity across all generations and genders, thanks, in part, to the growth, of more locally made hand-crafted gins that introduce new twists on an old favourite. One such producer is Eden Mill, a single site distillery located just a few miles from the first tee of the Old Course at St Andrews, which has been producing a range of gins – along with whiskies and beers – inspired by the botanicals that grow in and around Scotland’s coastal region since 2012. Its Golf Gin is also influenced by the ancient methods used by makers of golf clubs, as it contains hickory wood - a botanical that gives the taste a bit of extra spice in the follow through. Tasting notes for Golf Gin, which is 42% volume, describe ‘sweet lemongrass notes left on the palate with bursts of mild pepperiness, strong hints of coriander and aromatic spice’, and it suggests that it is best served with a twist of orange, or a slice of lime, rather than traditional lemon. Packaged in a classy 50cl ceramic bottle, and priced at £35, Eden Mill Golf Gin can be ordered online via the Eden Mill website or at John Lewis stores nationwide.
ENGLAND FALLS SHORT IN SPAIN
ngland fell just a half point short of successfully defending their title at the Costa Ballena Quadrangular tournament in Spain. They halved the final day’s match with the hosts, Spain, after an extremely close singles session in which, three of the individual games were halved. Had they managed to squeeze out the extra half point needed to beat Spain they would have tied with Italy and Germany – and retained the trophy by virtue of winning most game points. However, the honours went to Italy, the newcomers in the tournament who replaced Finland in the line-up. Following the narrow defeat, England coach Paul Ashwell commented: “We have had an incredibly exciting afternoon and witnessed lots of good golf. As a team we are deeply disappointed at not winning the final half point required to
■ PAUL ASHWELL
take home the trophy, but congratulate Italy on their victory. Our team who gave 100%, and I hope this will be a great learning experience for each of them.” Yorkshire’s Will Whiteoak was England’s ‘man of the match’, winning all six of his games in the tournament. His fellow team members, were Ben Amor (Wiltshire), George Bloor (Derbyshire), Tom Gandy (Isle of Man), Matthew Jordan (Cheshire) and Josh McMahon (Cheshire).
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GREGORY PIPS PENGE TO NEW SOUTH WALES TITLE
ampshire’s Scott Gregory claimed the second biggest title of his amateur career by landing the New South Wales Amateur crown following a titanic tussle with England teammate Marco Penge in the 36-hole final. Gregory got off to a flier in the final at Sydney’s Terrey Hills Golf & Country Club, and led Penge by four holes at the halfway mark. And that advantage was still four when the pair reached the 27th hole, with a early handshake on the cards. However, Penge used his 20-yard advantage off the tee to put Gregory under pressure on the back nine, and the Goodwood player battled back to take the 10th, 11th and 12th and 14th holes to make it all square with four holes to play. With the next two holes halved, Gregory’s gambled on the 17th hole by going for the flag, with Penge in the fairway bunker forced to lay up. But when Marco missed his par putt from some nine feet, Scott knew he needed to find the fairway and green in regulation to force the 20-year-old to make birdie to take the match into sudden death. Scott said: “I should have been closing it out, but I was playing against a great player in Marco - someone who knows my game very well. When it was all-square with two to go, I had to win the 17th. I flagged it from 225 yards and thought it was going to be nice putt for birdie. But the ball ended up very close to a drain and I didn’t think it was right to take a drop as it did not interfere with my stance. I am a bit superstitious and I don’t think I would have holed the par putt from 15 feet otherwise.” Although not in the same league as his victory in last year’s British Amateur, Gregory was thrilled to win a trophy that bears the names of numerous top players, including 2005 US Open winner Michael Campbell, and European Tour winners Peter O’Malley, Lucas Parson and Jack Newton. “Any win is a good win,” He said. “It was good to go out to Australia and get one early in the season, and hopefully use it as a springboard going forward. It was a real battle in the final. Marco and I traded shots all day. I had a bit of a wobble in the middle of the second round, but I holed a couple of crucial putts in the end.”
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 FEBRUARY 2017 | CHUBBY CHANDLER
CHUBBY CALLS THE SHOTS Sports agent Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler has looked after some of the game’s biggest names, from Major champions such as Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, to reigning Masters’ champion Danny Willett. But how did the former European Tour player come to set up International Sports Management, and how has he been so successful in backing so many good players?
ou are renowned for having a nononsense approach to life. Is that down to your upbringing or your personality? I was born in Southport in Lancashire, close to Birkdale, and then moved to Horwich when I was 18 months old. I spent the next 25 years there. I guess people from Bolton are probably fairly straight. Although Sam Allardyce is a Brummie, he spent a lot of time in Bolton, and I think I’m not too far away from what he’s like. I grew up thinking it was easier to be straight talking than fluffy. Where did you play your first round of golf and what attracted you to the game? Bolton Municipal with my dad. I started playing when I was about 12, and only had a four-iron. I caddied for my dad to earn a bit of cash. I was happy to play golf on my own, whereas I needed a few pals to play cricket. I was a good cricketer, but golf took over when I was about 15.
■ CHANDLER PLAYED ON THE EUROPEAN TOUR FOR 15 YEARS
You turned pro in 1974 and played on the European Tour for 15 years. Why did you pack it in and switch to player management? I figured that the younger guys were improving quicker than I was, and I never had the necessary focus and dedication to be a really top player, although I probably had the talent. I got an opportunity in 1989 from a friend of mine who wanted to sponsor me, but I wasn’t playing enough, and I decided he would be better off sponsoring somebody else, so I went and found that somebody else. You started your sports management company in 1989 with a small office at Mere Golf Club. How big a step was that, and how did you get the company off the ground? I got a lot of advice form the late Stephen Boler, who owned Mere and sponsored me in the late 1970s and early 1980s. When he bought Mere in 1984, I became the tournament pro there and my idea was to sell 10 lots of five per cent of the company and keep 50 per cent myself, because all I knew was sponsorship. He advised me to go to the NatWest Small Businesses people and get myself a £10,000 overdraft, and that was enough to get us started – even though Mr Boler was charging me £5,000 a year rent for 100 square
feet! We stayed at Mere until 1997, by which time we’d outgrown it. Among the first players you signed up were Derek Cooper, Denis Durnian, Phil Harrison and Carl Mason, the latter of whom went on to become the most successful European Senior Tour golfer of all time. How did it work? It was a little bit like managing my great mates who I played with on the European Tour, but there weren’t many alternatives. When we sent two or three guys out with new logos, we became flavour of the month quite quickly. But all that changed in August 1990, when I got a call from Dougie Heather, an Irish international golfer and lawyer. All the kids went to him for advice, and he wanted me to go over and talk to a young guy about whether he should turn pro or not, not about managing him. That young guy happened to be Darren Clarke, and he was the first golfer I managed who wasn’t someone I’d played golf with. The first day I played with him at Mere, I knew we had a business. ISM took off in the 1990s, when Westwood was world No.1 and Els won the US Open in 1994, and major winners such as Oosthuizen, Schwartzel, and of
CHUBBY CHANDLER | FEBRUARY 2017
that you’ve got a future Westwood or Clarke on your hands? You can’t be sure of anything in this business. Growing up on tour is a very difficult thing, and some guys find the transition – not just from amateur to pro, but from being a young lad to being a man, quite tough to adjust to. We created The Class of 2016 last year [see box] to help them mature, not just as players, but as people as well. The players get funding and they pay 25 per cent of their winnings into the pot until they reach break even. So they can’t lose. There’s no guarantee that any of them ■ CHANDLER’S EARLY PLAYER RECRUITS INCLUDED LEE WESTWOOD AND DARREN CLARKE will become world-class players, but we‘re going to give them the chance, if they work hard and do the right things. It’s a case of giving them the right advice and What’s the difference between managing a player and looking after a incentives, such as good habits, working hard, treating sponsors correctly, player? and understanding the media and PR part of golf. We can give them all the It’s not all about the cash. It’s about looking after them as people and not just as help and support they need – the rest is up to them. players. Sometimes we’ll advise players to go for a deal that may not put money in their pocket straight away, but be better for their long term game, where the You’ve had so many highs, with magical Major wins and Ryder Cup proceeds come later. It’s not all about the here and now. heroics, but which moments do you remember most? Royal St George’s in 2011, when Darren won The Open. Also, odd though it Danny Willett is the latest of your Major winners to burst through. What might sound, the Indonesian Masters in 2011. Lee won the tournament on his did you see in him as a player in his late twenties? birthday to go back to world number one, and Bolton beat Arsenal in the FA His career was delayed by having to take two years off with a bad back, but Cup on the same day – so I certainly remember that day. Danny’s Masters win when you talk to Danny, you realise there’s a huge belief inside him, and a huge was huge, and probably the other big thing was Lee and Darren’s Ryder Cup natural confidence. As soon as I sat down and talked with him, I realised we debut in 1997. were dealing with someone slightly different. I wasn’t surprised to see Danny win the Masters. I’d been saying he would win one of the next six Majors for the You’ve also had great success in managing cricket stars like Andrew previous few months. He’s got a game that is suited to every course. He slides Flintoff and Neil Fairbrother, who now works for ISM. How did you come the ball left-to-right and he’s won at Augusta – that tells you everything. He’s to diversify the business? got good nerve, good desire and tremendous belief. We went into cricket in 1998, and were very fortunate that Andrew Flintoff was our first client, so we started right at the top and, with the help of Neil You had a 1-2 at Augusta with Lee [Westwood] finishing second. Fairbrother and former England captain Michael Vaughan, we’ve managed to How much pleasure did it give you to see him back competing in the stay there. Cricket is a great love of mine. To be involved in cricket at the highest majors again? level is brilliant, and it’s given us so many proud moments. Lee looked on second place as a completely positive thing, although we were smart enough to get him out of Augusta on Sunday night though. He didn’t You have always championed the European Tour, but although the Tour need to be there watching Danny celebrate. He got home and sent me a selfie and the PGA Tour create a full schedule throughout the year, is there still – which he does about three times a week – on which he looked really happy. a danger that the Americans could achieve their own World Tour? I asked him if that was correct. And he said he was, for the first time in maybe In the future there will be a World Tour, but not with the Americans running two years. That said a lot to me. It was great to see him play so well, but I wasn’t it. It may be under the guise of the European Tour, and it will encompass surprised. This is a guy who arrived on the back of five top-11 finishes at Augusta tournaments all over the world. in the last six years. He plays really well there. Yes, he was a bit rusty, but he went there with a bit of game in the locker. The regular clash of fixtures between the two Tours shows that there is little co-operation between the two organisations – will this relationship How did you feel when Rory [McIlroy] left ISM in 2011 and moved to Horizon? always be a problem? Everybody’s different and everyone’s got different needs. Rory left for the same It’s really interesting that the new European Tour chief executive, Keith Pelley, reason that Graeme [McDowell] did – they both said they wanted to be much is prepared to take on the PGA Tour to a certain degree. It’s healthy for the more personally handled. We like to think we handle all our players personally, game that the European Tour will be a viable alternative and give the European but I’ve had longstanding relationships with lots of players on my books, so it’s players more opportunities to play big tournaments outside America. hard to give someone your undivided attention, which perhaps both Rory and Graeme felt like they deserved. Do you think the future of golf is healthy? Losing players is part of business life. I’m fairly pragmatic when it comes to The future of golf is looking really good at the moment, because the young that. We had three years where everybody who walked in won a Major. Then we players give so much back to the fans and to the media. People like Jordan had six months where it seemed like every phone call was telling me another Spieth, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Rory all have something to say, as guy had left. But being a golfer, I understood. You get good bounces and bad opposed to some of the earlier generations, who generally didn’t really engage bounces. And over time they tend to even out. So yes, we have lost a few good with the fans. They’re tending to make the game look more fun and enjoyable players in the last few years – David Howell, Chris Wood, Matthew Baldwin, Charl again by having a chat on the course, and there are a good few more smiles Schwartzel, Branden Grace and Matt Fitzpatrick. out there – and if they can play a bit quicker it will be cool. You’ve signed up a handful of new players over the last few seasons, This interview first appeared in Worldwide Golf magazine. including Garrick Porteous and Callum Shinkwin. How confident of you course McIlroy. ISM was flying, but how had you achieved such success? The business grew because the guys who signed with us became very good players, such as Andrew Coltart, Paul McGinley, Lee, Darren, David Howell, Simon Dyson, and we became accustomed to having a lot of guys winning tournaments and regularly playing in the Ryder Cup. We were very lucky with the players we signed. Not only were we fortunate to have a lot of very good golfers, but they were all good people, and the good people attracted more good people, and success bred success. It’s a little bit like what’s happening right now.
CHUBBY’S CLASS OF 2016/7 THRISTON LAWRENCE, 19 A two-time South African Amateur champion, Lawrence made his pro debut at the Scottish Hydro Challenge in 2014 and picked up his first win in the Ras Al Khaimah Classic on the MENA Tour in November 2015. Finishing sixth at the Tour Championship the following week, he comfortably won the MENA Tour’s Order of Merit for 2015. He has played three European Tour tournaments so far this year, including the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, and finished second in the Bridgestone Challenge at Heythrop Park in August. HAYDN MCCULLEN The Manchester-based youngster secured his first win as a professional at September’s HotelPlanner.com Championship on the EuroPro Tour. He won the prestigious McEvoy Trophy in
2014, having become the first player to win both Lancashire’s county and boys’ championships in the same season in 2013. BILLY SPOONER, 18 Lincolnshire-born Spooner turned professional at the start of 2016, having represented his country throughout his teenage years. He played for England U16 against Spain, Wales and Scotland in 2012 and went on to play for England in the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters. GARRICK PORTEOUS, 26 Porteous is the most senior member of the Class of 2016. The 2013 British Amateur champion has established himself inside the top 500 in the world and finished second at the Red Sea Egyptian Challenge Presented by Hassan
■ FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: THRISTEN LAWRENCE, HAYDN MCCULLEN, BILLY SPOONER, GARRICK PORTEOUS AND JACK MCDONALD
Allam Properties in April. He will focus on the Challenge Tour this year. JACK MCDONALD, 23 Having wrapped up his amateur career by winning two-and-a-half points from a possible
three in GB & Ireland’s Walker Cup win last year, Jack turned professional in March. As well as a host of individual titles, he helped Scotland win the European Nations Cup and Europe take the Palmer Cup in 2014, and the European Men’s Team Championship victory in 2015.
 FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS
TRUMP RENOVATIONS PUT TURNBERRY BACK IN THE BLACK PLAYGOLF BUYS THE HERTFORDSHIRE Golf club operator Playgolf has added to its portfolio with the purchase of The Hertfordshire Golf & Country Club. The Broxbourne-based venue, which comprises an 18-hole Nicklaus Design course set in 186 acres, was on the market for £8m. Other facilities include a Grade II-listed 18th century mansion, which incorporates the clubhouse and a health club, and a 27-bay driving range.
HITCHCOCK BAGS TOP COACHING AWARD Stoke by Nayland Golf Club’s Roly Hitchcock has joined an elite group of PGA Professionals to been awarded the PGA Level 4 UK Sports Coaching certificate. Hitchcock, who is England Golf’s East Region Girls U16 coach and County Boys’ coach, studied for five years of study at Birmingham University to gain the qualification, which is only held by half a dozen golf coaches in Great Britain and Ireland. He said: “It was a lot of work, but I am really glad that I hung in there and completed level three and four, because the benefits are definitely worth it. I learned so much, and I’m looking forward to putting my knowledge into practice to help our members and young players move forward with their golf, at whatever level they are.”
rump Turnberry, the Ayrshire golf resort owned by US president Donald Trump, is set to report the most profitable year in its history following an increase in hotel guests and visiting golfers over the last six months. Interest in the iconic Open Championship venue is up by 40% on 2015, and 20% on its previous best year, 2007, after the re-opening of the Ailsa Course following a major re-design, while the renovation of the hotel, which is only half completed, has also succeeded in drawing in extra business. Trump said that the resort, which he bought for £34m in 2014, had also benefitted from increased visitor numbers from America on the back of the fall in the value of the pound against the dollar, following Britain’s referendum decision to leave the European Union. Ralph Porciani, Turnberry’s general manager for the last 14 years, said that the resort was on course to have its best ever trading period following years of losses. “From the business we have on the books so far, the pace is telling me that Turnberry will have its best year of revenue in 100 years,” he said. “Revenue this year will be 15% to 20% higher than the £16.2m it collected in 2007 – the club’s best year so far. I would be over the moon if we could beat that year, especially considering half of the hotel is still closed for renovation.”
According to its latest set of accounts, Turnberry lost £1.37m in 2015, but Porciani said that it will show a profit in 2017. Trump has invested £140m in the resort to date, however the investment has not come without cost to the golf club’s membership, which has recently been hit with a 38% increase in subscriptions. This takes the new annual fee to £2,500, while a round on the Ailsa Course for golfers not staying at the hotel currently costs £350. Porciani said: “The £700 increase might seem expensive, but membership fees have been frozen for the last three to four years, and the new fees reflect the improvements that have been made to the facilities.”
WHITTLEBURY GOLF CLUB BUYS LOCAL HOTEL FOR £20M
36-hole golf club in Northamptonshire has merged with a local hotel in order to make both businesses stronger. Whittlebury Park Golf and
Country Club and Whittlebury Hall & Spa are now operating as one organisation. Husband and wife Jeff and Carol Sargeant, who have owned Whittlebury Park since 1984,
PING AMONG THE PRIZES AT TGI GOLF AWARDS PGA Professional Stephen Nicholls walked off with the coveted Partner of the Year title at the fifth annual TGI Golf Awards. The Rossendale Golf Club pro, who joined golf’s leading retail services group back in 2003, was honoured at the ceremony, which sees the leading figures from the golf industry join TGI partners and partner suppliers at the glitzy event. Ping enjoyed a double celebration, winning the main Supplier of the Year gong, alongside the Product of the Year for its G Range, the second consecutive year it has won both awards, and the third time it has been crowned top supplier.
18 HOLES WITH FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST
bought the 254-bedroom hotel and conference centre, which is adjacent to the Silverstone motor racing circuit, last month with a £20 million loan. It had been owned and operated by a financial specialist for the previous five years, after it fell into administration. Mr Sargeant said: “I am very much looking forward to leading the combined organisation in this exciting period of expansion. We have one of the largest independent, multi award-winning hotels in the country, one of the best golf courses
in the UK, and a team of over 400 exceptional people. “By combining world-class facilities with the personal touch that only a family business can provide, we are in the unique position to deliver long-term investment that will result in the very best service to our customers.” The new united venue has announced discounts on bookings up until the end of March.
NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017 
CELTIC MANOR BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF £80 MILLION CONFERENCE CENTRE
ork is due to begin next month on a £83.5million conference centre at Celtic Manor Resort in Wales, venue for the 2010 Ryder Cup. Planning permission for the new venue was given over 18 months ago, but it has taken that time for the resort’s owner, Sir Terry Matthews, to arrange the necessary financial backing that has allowed the project to go ahead. Last month saw Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates, Sir Terry and senior officers from Nat West Bank shake hands on the final agreements. NatWest is providing a £51.5m loan facility to the joint venture company
which will construct and manage the new convention centre as a joint partnership between the Welsh Government and the Celtic Manor Resort. To be known as the Wales International Convention Centre, the 26,000-square foot venue is expected to open in June 2019, and will be capable of accommodating up to 5,000 delegates. The centre will house a 1,500-seat auditorium and separate exhibition hall, which, at 4,000 square metres, will provide the largest pillar-free ballroom in Europe, capable of hosting 2,400 people for a gala dinner. There will also be underground parking for 700 cars. Sir Terry Matthews said: “This International Convention Centre has been many years in the planning and I am delighted that we are now in a position to build and deliver this facility that will be such an asset to Wales. Celtic Manor has already established a reputation as the
UK’s No.1 conference hotel, but this new centre will be a real gamechanger. In the past, we’ve been forced to turn away hundreds of millions of pounds of business because we did not have the capacity to hold the largest conferences. Not any longer. “This International Convention Centre will allow us to attract the biggest and most lucrative business events to Wales, as well as highprofile summits and party political conferences. ICC Wales will rival any convention facility in Europe and will act as a magnet for major events, bringing huge benefits to the Welsh economy.” As well as the auditorium and main hall, included in the detailed designs are five divisible meeting rooms that will create a further 12 flexible spaces, breakouts at all levels to outdoor networking spaces, state-of-the-art technology, with fully integrated audio visual facilities and fully serviced client offices, green rooms and production facilities.
UFFORD PARK UNVEILS HOTEL RENOVATIONS
fford Park Hotel, Golf & Spa in Suffolk has unveiled a brand new look to its popular Park Restaurant in readiness for the new golfing season. The Woodbridge-based resort, which is under family ownership, boasts a 90-bedroom hotel and an 18-hole golf course set in 120 acres of historic parkland. The hotel has doubled in size since it first opened in 1992 and now employs up to 150 staff. Following extensive refurbishment of a number of its bedrooms over the past two years, the hotel has now transformed the public spaces, including a bold new design to its main restaurant. Tarnia Robertson, Ufford
Park Hotel’s Managing Director, worked alongside Concept Textiles to produce a contemporary design for the 80-cover dining area, with new furniture, upholstery, curtains and carpets. The restaurant’s existing chairs have been either reupholstered or replaced,
and two booths, designed to seat larger groups for either breakfast or dinner, have been created. On the wall above the booth seating, an original piece of art has been transposed onto vinyl in the shape of an abstract wave – appropriate given
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the hotel’s proximity to the Suffolk coast. The restaurant’s original suspended ceiling has been totally renovated by the addition of four huge, eye-catching lighting panels, from which are suspended 80 drop lights. Robertson said: “We have been delighted by the feedback we have already received from customers and members. The work was undertaken over a threemonth period, and seeing it
slowly transform made seeing the final result even more exciting. We are confident that this significant investment will build the Park Restaurant’s reputation as a destination for good food and great ambience, and will attract even more local residents who enjoy dining out, as well as hotel guests to dine in.” Just 10 miles from Ipswich, the family-friendly hotel offers guests an 18-hole championship par-71 course
with the only two–tier floodlit driving range in Suffolk, health club with thermal suite spa and beauty treatments, a restaurant and bar and function and wedding room hire. All facilities are open to non-members and nonresidents. For details of the latest stay-and-play golf breaks to Ufford Park, visit www.uffordpark.co.uk or call 01394 383555.
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 FEBRUARY 2017 | FEATURE
FOR WHOM THE BELLS TOLL With a big win in Dubai in the bag, and a wedding on the way, SERGIO GARCIA is back in his happy place and he ain’t afraid to show it
■ HAPPY COUPLE: GARCIA IS ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED TO GOLF CHANNEL REPORTER ANGELA AKINS
ow good was it to get an early season win under your belt, and to come off best against someone as good as Henrik Stenson? It felt great. Henrik always makes it difficult, and we both played hard, so I was very happy that I was able to come out on top. It all changed on the 15th, when he had got within two shots and was putting pressure on me. Then I hit that 6-iron to a few feet for a kick-in birdie and his tee shot flew the green. I knew that it was going to be very difficult for him to get up-and-down from there because I've been there in the past and it's very, very tricky. So I got back to four-up, and from then on it was just a matter of staying calm.
on and wins a major. How do you respond to that sort of expectation? It's simple. Whenever I go to Augusta, the US Open, the Open Championship, or the PGA, I just want to do the best I can – just like I try any other week. So that's not going to change. Some weeks I'm really good – like this week – and some weeks are not quite as good. But it doesn't mean that I'm not trying. So at the end of the day the only thing I can do is give my best out there and leave the course feeling like I gave it everything. You know, golf is tough – it’s really tough. I try to play as well as I can every single week, and I'm going to keep trying, and give myself more chances at majors, and we’ll see what happens.
majors, and just give the best that I have got in me.
You led the ‘greens in regulation’ stats and were second in ‘fairways hit’ in Dubai. As far as the performance goes, at 19 under par for 72 holes, where would you rank it among all your wins? It was definitely one of my best tournaments in terms of ball striking. I felt like my iron play was really, really good. Obviously my driver was very good – a couple of shots missed here and there – but it was definitely a week where I felt very comfortable with all elements of my game. I felt like I was in control of what I wanted to do with my ball flight, and I guess it showed up in my scores – which isn’t always the case.
Has getting engaged brought a new serenity to your life? It has obviously helped. I've always said it – I think that when things are going well off the golf course it's much easier to feel comfortable on the golf course, because there are no worries, and you can concentrate on what you're doing out there on the course. Angela and I are both very excited about the future.
Judging by your schedule in America at the end of last year, the FedEx Cup is perhaps something that doesn’t appeal to you in quite the way that it does for others. Is that a fair assessment? Don't get me wrong, the FedExCup is very important to me. But I've learned through all these years on tour that I can't really go out of my way to try to win something extra if it is going to put me in a bad position going forward for the rest of the year. There are a lot of tournaments in the summer, and I know that mentally, for me, playing more than three tournaments in a row is a lot. And to tell you the truth, my way of thinking is that if I play well enough, playing three of the four FedEx Cup events should be enough. If I don't play well enough, even if I play a fourth, it's really not going to help me that much. And also mentally, I'm not going to be as sharp, and I'm probably not going to play as well, anyway. I would love to play all four, but with all the travelling I do back and forth, it's not that easy to be there for that long and play every single week. I'd love to win it – I'm not going to lie to you – but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it if I don't.
Every time you win a big tournament people start saying that this might be the year that Sergio kicks
Marriage tends to send men in one of two directions. One is that they get too comfortable and take their foot off the pedal, and the second is that perhaps they want to show off a bit. Which way do you see yourself going? Well, I think that obviously it's something nice to have, and to have that opportunity and what brings with getting married. I tend to think that being comfortable is a good thing, especially when you're still hungry and you still want to achieve things. If you get too comfortable, you stop practicing and things like that, then it can be dangerous. But I still love playing the game as much as I have ever done and I still get driven by it, so I'm sure that won't be the case. And even if I tried to ease off, Angela wouldn't allow let, so I don't have a problem on that front. So you still have the hunger to get yourself up for another long season? The hunger is still there. I still want to keep achieving things. I still want to keep becoming a better golfer. I'm still in good shape. Physically I'm still doing well. I've been able to avoid injuries for pretty much my whole career, so that's always a positive. I'm excited to keep improving, keep giving myself chances at winning tournaments, winning
The top players seem to be cutting down their schedules these days and focusing more on the majors and top events. Is this how you see your own schedule panning out? I'd love to play every week, but unfortunately I can't. I'm 37, and I'm not getting any younger. I’m old enough now to know what works for me and what doesn't. I know that I have had some criticism in the past about not playing in certain events, but I have to do what I feel works for me. I don't see my schedule changing that much, especially in the build up to the Majors.
Finally, Tiger Woods’s return to action has obviously caused quite a stir. Do you think he’ll ever get back to winning Majors again? If you mean like the way he played like in early 2000 and stuff like that, it is difficult. I think that he obviously has a lot of qualities and he can get to a high level, but I think to get to back that level is very difficult, even for him, because he's 40 now. His body doesn't move the way it used to move when he was 20, 25. There are question marks how he is going to respond physically, but we'll just have to see how things pan out over the next few months.
EQUIPMENT | FEBRUARY 2017 
TOUR NEWS IN BRIEF
BJORN SHAKES UP RYDER CUP QUALIFICATION
FLEETWOOD FLIES HIGH IN ABU DHABI
uropean Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn is to have four wildcard selections at his disposal for the matches in Paris in 2018, as part of a raft of changes made to boost the strength of the team. Following a major review of the qualification criteria for the European team after the defeat at Hazeltine, the European Ryder Cup committee has raised the number of captain’s picks from three to four, in order to ensure that Europe can compete on a level playing field with the American team, which also includes four wildcards. And, in a further effort to ensure the captain has more in-form players in the team, more Ryder Cup points will be on offer at tournaments held in the latter stages of the qualification process. Race to Dubai points and world ranking points earned in events from May through to September 2018 will be multiplied by 1.5, with the first to count being the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May, which is four months before the Ryder Cup matches take place in Paris. And in a bid to ensure more top European players take part in the new Rolex Series, no Ryder Cup points will be on offer at tournaments staged anywhere else in the world played in the same week as these events in both 2017 and 2018. In a direct move to make it easier for Europeans who play almost exclusively in America to make the team, the European Tour has also changed its membership regulations
for the 2018 season, with players only required to compete in a minimum of four European Tour events outside the Majors and World Golf Championships. Last season, players were required to play a minimum of five. The Ryder Cup committee has also introduced a new rule that prevents players from becoming a Ryder Cup captain or vice-captain if they decline membership of the European Tour or fail to fulfill their minimum event obligation in any season, from 2018 onwards. Speaking about the changes, Bjørn said: “I am delighted that the Tournament Committee passed these regulations, which I believe will considerably benefit the European Ryder Cup team in 2018 without compromising the strength or importance of the European Tour. Part of the reason for my appointment last month was to begin the process required to regain the Ryder Cup, and these changes are the first step on that journey. Hopefully they will help me to have the 12 best European players available in 20 months’ time.” The starting point for qualification for the 2018 Ryder Cup is the D+D Real Czech Masters, which begins on August 31.
BROADHURST BAGS JOHN JACOBS TROPHY
at Carnoustie in July moved him to the top of the money list, where he remained for the rest of the season. He was presented with the John Jacobs Trophy after his second-placed finish at the MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius in December, where he said: “I set out a few goals when I turned 50, to win tournaments and the Order of Merit, and I’ve achieved those. It has been a great 18 months since turning 50."
enior Open champion Paul Broadhurst won the John Jacobs Trophy after topping the European Senior Tour Order of Merit in his first full season. The 51-yearold Midlander accumulated earnings of €399,285 in 2016, almost twice as much as his closest rival, Magnus Atlevi, who finished on €211,557. Broadhurst’s victory at the Senior Open
MATSUYAMA RISES AT THE PHOENIX
apan's Hideki Matsuyama retained his Phoenix Open title with a dramatic playoff win over 2012 US Open champion Webb Simpson. The 24 year old had left a putt to win on the 18th hole just half an inch short as he shot a five-
under-par 66 to finish 17 under alongside Simpson, who fired a closing 64. Neither player was able break the deadlock until the fourth extra hole, where Matsuyama held a 10-foot putt to claim a fourth PGA Tour win. Twelve months ago, Matsuyama had beaten Rickie Fowler, also at the fourth extra hole, at the same tournament. "It was a struggle, but
ROLEX SERIES TAKES CENTRE STAGE ON NEWLOOK EUROPEAN SCHEDULE
I was delighted to win," said Matsuyama, who won four times last year and is now fifth in the world rankings and leads the FedEx Cup standings. Korea's Byeong-hun An, who led Scotland's Martin Laird by one shot going into the final round, was three shots clear at the halfway point of the final round. But his challenge crumbled over the final nine holes with
back-to-back bogeys at the 10th and 11th, before he dropped more shots at the last two holes to finish in sixth place after a 73. The tournament drew an estimated 58,654 fans on Sunday to shatter the weekly record with a total of 655,434. The previous mark of 618,365 was set last year. A record 204,906 packed the course on Saturday.
he European Tour schedule for the 2017 season will feature a minimum of 48 tournaments, one more than in 2016. The season will be headlined by the new Rolex Series, a group of tournaments that each promises a minimum prize fund of $7million, which comprises the BMW PGA Championship (May 25-28); the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation (July 6-9); the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open (July 13-16); the Italian Open (Oct 12-15); the Turkish Airlines Open (Nov 2-5); the Nedbank Golf Challenge (Nov 9-12), and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai (Nov 16-19), where the 2017 Race to Dubai champion will be crowned. The 2017 schedule also features the return of three tournaments in new guises, with the Open de Portugal from May 11-14; the Rocco Forte Open in Sicily from May 18-21; and the Andalucía Valderrama Masters from October 19-22.
FURYK US RYDER CUP CAPTAIN
im Furyk has been named as the USA captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National. The 46 year old succeeds Davis Love III, who guided the USA to a 17-11 victory at Hazeltine last autumn. Furyk featured in nine consecutive Ryder Cups as a player between 1997 and 2014, before acting as one of Love's five vicecaptains in Minnesota. Furyk said: "I've said many times that the Ryder Cup is part of my DNA, so this opportunity was a privilege to accept. The whole atmosphere in Paris is going to provide a very difficult challenge for Team USA, and we haven't won on foreign soil since 1993. We've got our work cut out, but I'm looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting started." European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn, said: "I have known Jim for many years, and as well as being a worthy opponent and a tremendous competitor, I know he shares my passion for the Ryder Cup, which ensures it will be a fantastic contest."
STORM TAKES DOWN MCILROY AT SOUTH AFRICAN OPEN
raeme Storm beat Rory McIlroy in a play-off to win the BMW South African Open just two months after he thought he had lost his European Tour card. The Englishman missed a par putt on the 18th green at the Portugal Masters in November to lose his playing privileges by just 100 euros, but was handed a reprieve when Patrick Reed opted not to play the Final Series. He made the very most of his second chance at Glendower Golf Club, overcoming McIlroy on the third extra hole after an enthralling closing round. Storm hit his approach to the heart of the 18th, and made his par three times in the play-off, with McIlroy missing the green at the third attempt, and leaving himself an eight-foot putt for par that missed on the low side. The win is Storm's second on the European Tour, and first since the Open de France nine years ago.
Lancashire’s Tommy Fleetwood held off Dustin Johnson and Pablo Larrazábal to win his second European Tour title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. The Southport man’s birdie on the par five closing hole proved decisive, sealing a final round of 67 and a winning total of 17 under par. Third round leader Martin Kaymer, bidding for a fourth win in the event, dropped two shots in four holes on the back nine to finish in a share for fourth place.
THOMAS SHOOTS 59 America’s Justin Thomas won the Sony Open with the lowest 72-hole score in PGA Tour history. The 23 year old from Kentucky capped off his week at Waialae that began with a 59 with his second straight victory. He two-putted birdie from 60 feet on the par-5 18th and closed with a 5-under 65 to set the record at 253 – beating Tommy Armour III’s 254 set at the 2003 Texas Open. Thomas, who is now ranked eighth in the world, won the previous week’s SBS Tournament of Champions at Kapalua by three shots, then destroyed the field at the Sony Open to win by seven shots.
RAHM BAGS FARMERS OPEN Spain’s Jon Rahm won the Farmer Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in California. The 22 year old, who only turned professional last summer, made two eagles over the final six holes for final round 67 and a three-shot victory over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan of Taiwan. Rahm, who is a graduate of Arizona State, spent almost 14 months as the world’s top-ranked amateur before he joined the professional ranks.
CHALLENGE TOUR ADDS MATCHPLAY EVENT The Challenge Tour has added two new events to its schedule in 2017. The first is a new matchplay tournament, the Match Play 9, which will feature a 36-hole stroke play tournament in Spain followed by a series of nine-hole match play battles during the weekend. The second new event sees the Challenge Tour join forces with the European Tour at the Open de Portugal, which is being held at Morgado Golf Resort in May. The full schedule comprises 26 events, beginning in Kenya in April and ending in Oman in November.
HOWELL HEADS UP TOUR COMMITTEE David Howell has been chosen to succeed Thomas Bjorn as chairman of the European Tour’s Tournament Committee. Bjorn, who held the position since 2007, stood down so that he can devote more time to his duties as Ryder Cup captain. Howell, who has been a member of the tour since 1996, heads the 14-strong players’ committee, which also includes Paul Lawrie, Paul McGinley, Henrik Stenson, Anthony Wall and Bernd Weisberger.
 FEBRUARY 2017 | BRANDON STONE
ROCK STEADY Twice a winner on the European Tour in 2016, BRANDON STONE is another young South African making a bold bid to break into the top ranks on the world stage
IF I HAD TO EVALUATE 2016, I would give myself a pass. A good pass. I achieved a lot of goals I had set out for myself at the start of the season, winning early in the year, and playing in a couple of Majors. But as soon as you achieve those goals, it’s important to raise the bar a little and keep improving. I think I’m 69th in the world currently, so I’d like to make a push for the top 50, and try to get into the Masters. I’ve got a lot to do, but all I can control is taking the fewest amount of shots over the next three of four months and hope it’s good enough. It all went a bit nuts after I won the South African Open at Glendower last year. When I got home on Sunday night, there were about 150 people at the house. All my friends and family had come over. The party went on until three o'clock in the morning and then I had a 6am interview, so I only got a few hours sleep. It was pretty much the same the night after. It was great fun being the defending champion at Glendower last month. Parking was certainly a lot easier, as the previous year’s winner gets the first parking spot outside the clubhouse, so I didn’t have to walk too far. Last year, every day was a struggle to find a place to park, so being defending champion certainly had its perks. Sadly, I didn’t play that well, but I got to play with Rory [McIlroy] for the first two rounds, which was awesome. I also played with Rory in the third round at the Open de France. We had a lot of fun on the co–– rse – we both played well, the fans were incredible, and it was just a special day. Rory obviously hits the ball miles and while I’m not long, I’m not short. I might be close to him pound-for-pound, but so long as I have my feet on the ground, I’m not going to out-drive him. The key when you play with guys like that is managing your game and concentrating on your own strengths. Often if you’ve got the adrenaline of a big group ,or a big
atmosphere you hit the ball five or ten yards further. It’s
was an incredible experience. Whatever expectations I had
important to be aware of that.
about it were blown out of the water when I got there. Having Gary Player captain our team was also a very special
Ernie Els was a huge hero for me growing up as a golfer
experience. I also got to see a few other sports. The tennis
in South Africa. He started out playing alongside my
courts were near where we were staying and I watched
father, Kevin, who is also a tour pro, so I have known him
Novak Djokovic hitting balls with Boris Becker, and sat a few
since I was a kid. He’s always given me lots of support
seats away from Michael Phelps. It was surreal.
and was there when I came off the last green when I won at Glendower. We both had a tear in our eye that day.
I did absolutely nothing over Christmas. I just stayed at home, worked on my house a little bit, watched a lot of
I was in the same year at Texas University as Jordan Speith.
movies, and spent a lot of time on my couch. It was nice
He’s such a good friend. He was the first the person to text
to relax after such a busy 2016.
me when I won the SA Open. He’s a frighteningly good golfer and will only get better.
I love social media, and sharing some of the places I get to go to. Anytime I’m bored, I’m on Instagram or Twitter just seeing
I’ve always been a good ball striker. I find lots of greens
what’s going on. What you see on my feeds is what I’m like.
in regulation, so my scores mainly depend on how well
I’m a massive car enthusiast, I love my dogs, hanging out with
I’m putting. If I’m putting well, I can go really low.
my friends, having a good BBQ every now and then. It’s fun to interact with people on social media, and it’s important not
Representing South Africa for golf’s return to the Olympics
to take yourself too seriously.
WHAT’S IN STONE’S BAG?
STONE BY NUMBERS
DRIVER PING G (9)
TOURAMENTS PLAYED: 53
FAIRWAY PING G (14.5)
TOP 10s: 9 (not including wins)
(TO END OF 2016 SEASON)
HYBRID PING RAPTURE 2
CAREER EARNINGS: €1,117,057
IRONS PING I200 (3-PW)
WORLD RANKING: 69
RACE TO DUBAI RANKING: 50 STROKE AVERAGE: 71.69
WEDGES PING GLIDE (52, 58)
DRIVING DISTANCE:306 yards
PUTTER PING SIGMA G PIPER 3
GREENS IN REG: 69%
BALL TITLEIST PRO V1X
FAIRWAYS HIT: 60% PUTTS PER ROUND: 30.12 SAND SAVES: 56%
EQUIPMENT & GEAR
FEBRUARY 2017 WEB: GOLFNEWS.CO.UK/EQUIPMENT
TRANSFER WINDOW 2017 WHOSE CLUBS ARE IN WHOSE BAG FOR
CONTENTS 10 MINS WITH THE MAN BEHIND PING'S i200 IRONS EQUIPMENT NEWS INTERVIEW WITH BETTINARDI PUTTERS
PING i200 IRONS TRIED & TESTED
CALLAWAY EPIC DRIVER PREVIEWED
 FEBRUARY 2017 | NEW IRONS
Where do the i200 irons sit within the overall Ping iron family?
set gapping. With the G-iron, because of the wider sole, deeper
The i200 lives right between our G iron and iBlade. It has wide
center of gravity, 5/8” progressive shaft lengths, and dynamic Cor-
appeal, ranging from high level Tour players, such as Lee Westwood,
Eye face flexing, the lofts are several degrees stronger – resulting
to the mid-teen handicap player looking for compact power with
in more distance but with a similar peak height of trajectory. With
i200, we are excited to launch a custom loft spec for iBlade, i200, G, or G Max, called ‘Power Spec’, which is a custom-designed loft
Do you feel you have all the bases covered as far as irons go now,
configuration that delivers a full set power boost, and spin reduction,
especially with the Crossover irons also in the mix?
without sacrificing the integrity of the club’s design.
Our customers have found that our strategy of having two irons under the ‘i' umbrella (iBlade and i200) and two irons under the
There’s some strong styling on the clubheads, with larger numbers
‘G’ umbrella (G and G Max) is very easy to understand, and fits the
and slick graphics. Is shelf appeal something that you have
wide breadth of the marketplace, and the variety of skill and swing
specifically worked on with this set?
characteristics. The Crossover, and our latest hybrid,s helps bridge
Yes, with the i200 iron we set out to design an iron that
the gap into the top part of the bag.
complimented the iBlade while speaking power, and a bold simplicity. The precision-machined cavity, highlighted loft numbers,
What are the key technological features in the i200’s design
and removal of any badges or medallions create this slick identity
construction over the i-Series iron that they replace?
that players have loved.
The activated elastomer dynamic face design, which powers a 30% thinner face, gives the iron a buttery-soft feel that players love – and
The shorter irons seem to offer a seamless transition into Ping’s
the weight savings produce a 7% boost in stability through more
new Glide 2.0 wedges. Is that an important consideration when
heel-toe weighting. Major enhancements also come from combining
designing a set of irons?
the performance-enhancing HydroPearl chrome finish, refined face
We’ve always focused on looking at set configuration and product
profiles, and re-contoured sole and lead edge designs for remarkable
offering holistically, and indeed we made a concerted effort to
turf interaction and a bold, powerful design language.
ensure players can pair the Glide 2.0 well with either the iBlade, i200, or even the G iron. The sizes, shapes, lofts, gapping, lead edge
MARTY JERTSON, PING’S SENIOR CLUB DESIGNER, W H O TA L K S A B O U T T H E CO M PA N Y ’ S NEW i200 IRONS
What type of player do you envisage getting the most benefit
and sole designs, and wide offering of sole grinds with the Glide 2.0
ensure we have great options, regardless of which iron set you’re
The i200 is phenomenal for aspiring players – someone who wants
the ultimate combination of power, feel, and stability – and an iron that speaks confidence in the bag. It is an iron for the aspiring blade
What is the standard shaft option, and what other after-market
player who loves the game, but can appreciate more distance, high
shafts are available through your custom-fitting programme?
powerful long irons, and heel-toe weighting and turf engagement
Shaft fitting in irons is crucial, both for ball flight optimization, but
that gives some insurance when you don’t make a perfect swing.
also the feel, weight and balance. The Ping proprietary AWT 2.0 is the standard shaft, and we’re excited to add the KBS Tour shaft as a
What performance trade offs might golfers experience between
new no-upcharge option with the launch of i200. It joins the NS Pro
playing the i200 over the iBlade and the G irons?
Modus 3, XP95, Project X, and Dynamic Gold as aftermarket options.
The iBlade iron gives the ultimate in sports car-like control. The i200 gives a major upgrade in forgiveness, but at a small sacrifice in
What has been the general reaction to the i200 among Ping’s tour
shotmaking and workability compared to the iBlade. Relative to the
staff? Has anyone put them straight in the bag?
G-iron, players will see more workability, because of the size and sole
The reaction has been exceptional. Our players have been very
width, and softer impact feel. The G-iron delivers ample forgiveness,
excited about the amazing impact experience and feel through the
and power with precision, while the i200 delivers precision with
turf, and the added distance and power of the mid and long irons.
power – and a soft impact feel.
In the first week on Tour, both Tyrrell Hatton and Lee Westwood contended for the title in Abu Dhabi. Others such as Andy Sullivan
How strong are the lofts on the i200 compared to those
(long irons), Brooke Henderson, and Brandon Stone have also put
them straight in the bag. One of our longest-standing players, Kirk
The i200 lofts are one degree stronger than the iBlade – both specs
Triplet, who has played nearly every iron we’ve ever made, said it’s
are based closely on what our Tour players use to establish optimal
our best iron yet.
EQUIPMENT NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017 
THE GEAR EFFECT WHAT THE WINNERS WERE PLAYING ON TOUR SERGIO GARCIA
MAKE THE SWITCH TO LITHIUM WITH NEW EXTENDED BATTERY WARRANTIES THE TWO BIGGEST BRANDS in the power trolley market, Motocaddy and PowaKaddy, have extended the warranties on their new lithium batteries from three to five years. Since January 1 onwards, both brands have been offering standalone lithium batteries, and those bought with a new electric trolley, with an extended warranty. Both companies are seeking to encourage golfers to give up using leadacid batteries and switch to lithium, which, although more expensive, are considered to be safer, more reliable, and longer lasting. Motocaddy, which launched its ‘Time To Go Lithium’ campaign three years ago, has seen demand for its electric trolleys sold with a lithium battery reach a record high, accounting for more than 90% of overall sales last year –
DRIVER: TaylorMade 2017 M2 (9.5°) FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade M1 (15°, 19°) IRONS: TaylorMade P750 (3-PW)
compared with 63% in 2015, and 24% in 2014. Powakaddy also enjoyed significant growth in sales of its lithium-powered models in 2016, with the company reporting a 14% increase in sales of its Plug'n'Play lithium batteries and universal lithium battery, which now make up 80% of the brand’s trolley sales. Motocaddy’s lithium trolley range starts from £449. Lithium batteries are also available in both S-Series and M-Series options, costing £219 for the standard, and £269.99 for the extended range versions. PowaKaddy Plug ‘n’ Play lithium batteries are available in both 18-hole and 36-hole models at a cost of £199 and £249 respectively. The Universal Lithium battery costs £199 for the 18-hole model, and £249 for the 36-hole equivalent.
DECHAMBEAU’S PUTTER FALLS FOUL OF THE RULES BRYSON DECHAMBEAU is struggling to find his form on the greens after having to change putters not once, but twice. The 23-year-old American has adopted a new sidesaddle putting style which requires a different design of putter. And although he used the new centreshafted model at the Sony Open with the USGA’s backing, a further review of the club saw officials subsequently deem it non-conforming and banned him from using it at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and the following week’s Farmers Insurance Open, where he missed the cut with rounds of 78 and 74. Following the change in the ruling, DeChambeau continued to putt sidesaddle, but used a putter with the shaft near the back of the clubhead, meeting USGA requirements. Speaking about the USGA’s double standards, De Chambeau said: "I was very disappointed with the way they handled it. They've said that they don't like the way I'm doing it. But it's within the rules, and I don't know why they don't like it. As a consequence, I’m missing a lot more
DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC
DALY GOES STRAIGHT WITH VERTICAL GROOVE DRIVER
putts, and not playing great golf." He added: "The new putter is not as efficient. The shaft is in the back of the head, and the MOl is not as stable. I can't get it to start on line, because the face moves when I try to apply force. There’s no loft on the putter as well – it's hitting into the ground every time, and the ball just pops up. Honestly, it would be better to chip it. It's a bit frustrating.”
TWO-TIME MAJOR CHAMPION John Daly is playing on the Champions Tour this season with a new driver that features vertical grooves on the face. While most drivers boast horizontal grooves, Daly’s Vertical Groove driver, as the names suggests, features grooves that run vertically from the crown to the sole. The makers of the driver, which conforms to the Rules of Golf, says that its unique design reduces side spin at impact, and claims to make shots 40% straighter on average, while also generating greater energy at impact, resulting in a stronger forward roll and increased distance. “I’ve been hitting the ball further and straighter off the tee since putting the Vertical Groove Driver in my bag,” said Daly. “I’m hitting more fairways since switching to this driver, and the sound of the club at impact is terrific." Talking about the unique design, Vertical Groove Golf's head of research and development, Mike Rossi, said: “We’re on our fourth generation of VG drivers, to get the right centre of gravity position, bulge and roll, clubhead size and shape. All those things are combining to get the results we’re seeing in our testing. From what we see, the grooves really are the tiebreaker in making the club work.”
GOLF BIDS FAREWELL TO HAROLD SWASH
THE MAN WHO PUT THE GROOVE BACK INTO PUTTING AMIDST ALL THE CELEBRITY DEATHS announced over Christmas, one that slipped past the headlines was the passing of Harold Swash, an engineer from Merseyside who made a unique and lasting contribution to golf. Birmingham-born Swash, who died in Liverpool on December 8 at the age of 83, pioneered the grooved-faced putter in a home workshop, and his C-Groove club-face concept left a mark on the game that still represents a paradigm shift in putter design all over the world. A systems engineer by profession, Swash was a primary architect for General Motors/Vauxhall plant in Teeside. He distinguished himself as a footballer during his National Service in Egypt, but his great passion was golf. And it was his instinct for precision and perfection that led him to the business of putting. Based in his workshop at home, he conceived and hand-worked the first groove faced putter –
‘The Swashbuckler’ – that went on to gift many Open and Masters winners all over the world as the concept behind Yes! Golf and the C-Groove Putter. The C Groove, which Retief Goosen used to win the US Open in 2001, achieved a forward roll sooner than any other putter on the market, and it soon revolutionised the way that golfers understood topspin and ball roll-dynamics. In the 1990s, Yes! Golf putters made it to number two behind Odyssey as the most used putter on Tour, all without the leverage of paid sponsorships or player endorsements. Models bearing girls’ names, such as Heather, Tracy, Emma and Callie, made their way into countless tour bags, with the likes of Darren Clarke, Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Padraig Harrington, David Howell and Henrik Stenson all using a C-Groove model at one time or another, as well as benefitting from Swash’s coaching prowess. A regular visitor to practice greens around the
WEDGES: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52°, 58°) PUTTER: TaylorMade TP Collection Juno BALL: TaylorMade TP5
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA PHOENIX OPEN
DRIVER: Callaway Great Big Bertha (9°) FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade M2 (15°) IRONS: TaylorMade M2 Tour (3); Srixon Z 945 (4-PW) WEDGES: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Forged (52°, 56°, 60°) PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Timeless BALL: Srixon Z-Star XV
JUSTIN THOMAS SONY OPEN
DRIVER: Titleist 917D3 (9.5°) FAIRWAY WOODS: Titleist 917F3 (15°), Titleist 717Fd (18°) IRONS: Titleist 716 MB (4-9) WEDGES: Titleist Vokey SM6 (48°, 52°, 56°, 60°) PUTTER: Scotty Cameron by Titleist Futura X5 BALL: Titleist Pro V1x
ABU DHABI GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVER: Nike Vapor Fly Pro (9.5°) FAIRWAY WOODS: Nike Vapor Fly (15°, 19°) IRONS: Nike VR Pro Combo (4), VR Pro blades (5-9) WEDGES: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged (48°, 52°, 56° and 60°) PUTTER: Odyssey #2 White Hot Pro BALL: Titleist Pro V1x
FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN DRIVER: TaylorMade M2 2017 (10.5) FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade M1 (15), TaylorMade M1 (19) IRONS: TaylorMade RSi TP UDI (4), TaylorMade P750 (5-PW) WEDGES: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56, 60) PUTTER: TaylorMade Spider Ltd BALL: TaylorMade TP5x
■ SWASH WAS A POPULAR PUTTING COACH ON TOUR
world tours in his latter years, Swash also had a strong following with the new generation of pros, with tour winners Matt Fitzpatrick and Chris Wood and Tommy Fleetwood among his latter disciples, while he also worked with a wide range of golf unions, federations and national squads, including the EGU, as well as Dutch, Austrian, Swiss, Swedish and Finnish amateur teams. He also founded the Harold Swash School of Putting, which he directed for many years alongside renowned coach Phil Kenyon, and was responsible for designing over a dozen different putting training aids and gadgets, including the Eyeline Putting Mirror, the Putting Laser, Perfecta Putt, Putt, Puttronome, The Green Reader, and the Putting Action Track.
DRIVER: TaylorMade M1 (10.5°) FAIRWAY WOODS: Ping i25 (14°, 18°) IRONS: PING S55 (4-9), WEDGES: Titleist Vokey SM6 (48°, 52°, 56°, 60°) PUTTER: Odyssey Versa 2-Ball BALL: Bridgestone Tour B330
JEUNGHUN WANG QATAR MASTERS
DRIVER: Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic Sub Zero (8.5°) FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic (14°) UTILITY: Callaway Apex (2) IRONS: Callaway X Forged (3-9) WEDGES: Titleist Vokey SM6 (48°, 54°, 60°) PUTTER: Odyssey Works #1 BALL: Titleist Pro V1x
 FEBRUARY 2017 | NEWS EQUIPMENT
■ JAILBREAK TECHNOLOGY - TWO 3G TITANIUM BARS LOCATED DIRECTLY BEHIND THE CLUBFACE CONNECT THE CROWN AND SOLE. THIS MAKES THE FACE MORE EFFICIENT, TAKING ON MORE OF THE LOAD CREATED AT IMPACT, AND FORCING IT TO REBOUND ENERGY OUTWARDS TO INCREASE BALL SPEEDS AND OVERALL DISTANCE.
AN EPIC TALE
When you launch a driver with the name ‘EPIC’, you’d better be sure that it lives up to its name. Callaway believes its latest Big Bertha driver does just that and here’s why
ome 15 years after launching the game-changing ERC II – a £500
tested some of the early prototypes, and measured its performance across the full
driver that offered huge distance gains for all types of golfer, but
spectrum of golfers, the name stuck.
also slightly bent the Rules of Golf – Callaway has unveiled its latest
Early testing by some of Callaway’s tour professionals saw distance gains of up to
ball-bashing beast – the Great Big Bertha Epic, a £465 driver that
21 yards over previous Callaway drivers, including the XR 16, while amateur golfers
promises to deliver ERC-style distance gains while staying firmly
of all standards have reported swing speed increases of between 2-5mph, leading
within the laws of the game.
to significantly increased yardage.
While the ERC II was judged to have had too much spring in its face, which
For higher-speed swingers, there is an Epic Sub Zero version that has two fixed
contravened the rules governing the co-efficient of restitution, Callaway’s Epic driver
weight ports in the sole that can be switched between a 12g and a 2g screw
has a face the comes close to the legal limit, while at the same time harnessing the
instead of the sliding weight. The taller head looks more compact at address and
energy that is lost through the crown and the sole of other drivers, through the
this is the one that Rory McIlroy started the season using to impressive effect
introduction of two titanium bars that connect that latter to the former directly
before being sidelined with a rib injury.
behind the clubface.
According to Callaway’s head of research and product development, Alan
'Jailbreak Technology' sees two titanium bars connect the crown to the sole
Hocknell, the Epic driver is an amalgamation of all the most successful elements of
directly behind the impact area to produce increased ball speeds across the entire
previous Callaway drivers, along with a number of completely new technologies
face. The titanium bars – which weigh 3g each – stand parallel to each other and
and manufacturing processes that combine to deliver what he describes as a
are connected at either end to the crown and sole. The size, strength and position
‘paradigm shift in power, speed and distance’.
of each bar work together to reduce how much the crown and sole deflect at
“Epic represents the bringing together of all the best elements of current
impact, forcing the face to take on more of the load created than ever before. This
Callaway driver development and marries it to Jailbreak Technology, to give every
results in faster ball speeds across the entire face, promoting more distance for all
golfer a clear and consistent ball speed advantage,” says Hocknell. “By putting
ranges of swing speeds.
all the ingredients together, Epic drivers address the needs of a great number
The ‘Epic’ name was originally just a title given to the project by Callaway’s design team when they were drawing up plans for a new driver, but once they had
of golfers because they can control ball flight and unlock distance, while also maintaining forgiveness.”
AVAILABLE IN RH 9.5°, 10.5° AND 13.5° LOFTS AND IN 9°, 10.5° AND IN 13.5° LH (CUSTOM ORDERS ONLY), THE GBB EPIC AND GBB EPIC SUB ZERO DRIVERS HAVE AN RRP OF £469.
FOR MORE DETAILS VISIT CALLAWAYGOLF.COM
NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017 EQUIPMENT
EPIC BY NUMBERS
■ NEW WEIGHT TRACK – A REDESIGNED SLIDING WEIGHT TRACK FEATURES A SHORTER TRACK WITH A HEAVIER SLIDING WEIGHT. BOTH INNOVATIONS INCREASE MOI, AS WELL AS DELIVER UP TO 21 YARDS OF SHOT-SHAPE CORRECTION. AN OPTIFIT HOSEL ALSO ALLOWS FOR FURTHER FINE-TUNING OF LOFT AND FACE ANGLE.
THE PERCENTAGE OF CALLAWAY STAFF PRO'S WHO PUT AN EPIC OR EPIC SUB ZERO INTO PLAY AT THE SONY OPEN, THE FIRST FULL FIELD EVENT OF 2017. IT WAS THE HIGHEST INITIAL CONVERSION EVER FOR A NEW CALLAWAY DRIVER.
THE SCORE PGA TOUR PLAYER ADAM HADWIN SHOT IN THE CAREERBUILD CHALLENGE IN HIS VERY FIRST EVENT WITH THE EPIC. HE BECAME JUST THE EIGHTH PLAYER EVER TO SHOOT 59 OR LOWER ON THE PGA TOUR.
KEVIN KISNER’S SCORE IN HIS FIRST WEEK WITH THE EPIC DRIVER AT THE SONY OPEN. HE GAINED 3MPH IN BALL SPEED.
THE NUMBER OF EPIC DRIVERS IN PLAY AT
■ LIGHTWEIGHT MATERIALS - THE EPIC’S 460CC CLUBHEAD CONSISTS OF AN EXOCAGE COMBINED WITH CROWN AND SOLE PANELS MADE OF TRIAXIAL CARBON, A LIGHT AND STRONG COMPOSITE MATERIAL DEVELOPED BY CALLAWAY. DESPITE THE CROWN WEIGHING JUST 9.7G AND THE SOLE ONLY 5.8G, THE STRUCTURE IS INCREDIBLY LIGHT AND STRONG, WITH EXCEPTIONAL MOI AND A LOW CENTRE OF GRAVITY THAT MAKES IT EASY TO LAUNCH THE BALL HIGH WITH LOW SPIN.
■ REDESIGNED SPEED STEP CROWN - THE CROWN FEATURES AN UPDATED VERSION OF THE SPEED STEP TECHNOLOGY FOUND IN THE XR 16 DRIVER. ORIGINALLY DEVELOPED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH BOEING, THE SPEED STEP IMPROVES AIRFLOW TO ENCOURAGE MORE SWING SPEED AND DISTANCE WITHOUT EXTRA EFFORT. RATHER THAN BEING CAST ONTO THE CROWN, THE NEW SPEED STEP IS 3D PRINTED FOR EVEN MORE PRECISE WEIGHT AND SHAPE CONTROL.
■ MORE SHAFT OPTIONS THE STANDARD SHAFT OPTIONS ARE THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE OFFERED IN CALLAWAY’S HISTORY, WITH FOUR BRANDS TO CHOOSE FROM IN A WIDE VARIETY OF WEIGHTS, FLEXES AND TORQUES. GOLFERS CAN CHOOSE FROM DIAMANA M+ GREEN, PROJECT X HZRDUS, FUJIKURA PRO GREEN AND ALDILA ROGUE MAX IN FIVE WEIGHT CLASSES: 40G, 50G, 60G, 70G, 80G.
THE CAREERBUILD CHALLENGE. THAT LIST INCLUDED PHIL MICKELSON, DANIEL BERGER, MARC LEISHMAN, EMILIANO GRILLO, DANNY LEE AND PATRICK RODGERS.
THE NUMBER OF EPIC DRIVERS IN PLAY AT THE FIRST EUROPEAN TOUR EVENT OF 2017. DANNY WILLETT, BRANDEN GRACE, ALEX NOREN, KIRADECH APHIBARNRAT AND THOMAS BJORN ALL
■ THE STANDARD EPIC DRIVER DELIVERS A HIGH, SOARING BALL FLIGHT WITH MID LEVELS OF SPIN
■ THE EPIC SUB ZERO IS A LOWER-SPINNING OPTION WITH A MORE PENETRATING TRAJECTORY
PUT IT STRAIGHT INTO THE BAG.
 FEBRUARY 2017 | EQUIPMENT
■ FAMILY AFFAIR: SAM AND BOB BETTINARDI
BETTINARDI BY DESIGN Golf News talks to Sam Bettinardi, son of putter guru Bob Bettinardi, about the eponymous brand’s latest range and why grooves aren’t necessarily the key to holing more putts
or those that don’t know, can you give us a little background into how your family got into the putter business? My father, Robert Bettinardi, first got the idea to start making putters in the early 1990’s after walking into a golf store on a cold December in Chicago. He saw an ad on the wall for a putter that was milled on an old Bridgeport milling machine and wondered why they were still using this technology, when at the time he owned a machine shop with CNC machines (computer numerical control). He called the person in the ad to talk about his capabilities with new technology and they collaborated to make putters for a variety of brands, including Callaway and Titliest, from 1991-1997. My father started Bettinardi Golf in 1998. He carried on making putters for other companies such as Ben Hogan and then Mizuno, but finally began producing putters under his own name alone, and not under license, in 2008. You played golf at college, and harboured ambitions to turn pro, but did you always think that you’d follow your father into the putter business? I definitely did think of playing professionally, but I soon realised that I was never going to make a career out of my game, and had a better future in business. I joined the company in 2013, shortly after graduating from university with a degree in business. I was planning on working somewhere else for a few years, but Brian Gay won with one of putters at the beginning of 2013, just before the PGA Show, and there was a big spike in interest in the brand, and they needed someone to help out with dealing with that at the show. Then Matt [Kuchar] won the WGC Accenture Matchplay in February with one, and we kind of took off from there. Working with my dad is a dream job. It has been amazing the last four years to see our business grow the way it has, and also sell and promote something you care so much about, because our name is on it. You’re involved in the sales and marketing side of the company. What is your typical day? A typical day includes talking to our domestic sales team, skyping with our international distributors, making changes to our website and posting on social media. I’m also learning about the manufacturing process as much as I can. Milling a putter start to finish is a time-
consuming business, and our machines are currently working 20 hours a day keeping up with demand. How important is it that your products are made at your headquarters in Chicago? To be able to sit at my desk and look out a window onto our shop floor is very cool. It’s a 40,000 square foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, and being there continues to remind me of our high quality control standards, and the fact that I can walk 20 feet away and pick up a putter and check out all aspects of manufacturing. Not many golf companies make their products in the USA, and we will continue to be different in that regard. Kuchar famously uses a Bettinardi armlock putter. How did that design come about and how influential was he in its design? Matt has a long history with our company, going back to 2002 when he won his first PGA Tour event with our putter. Matt knew what our machining capabilities were and to create the arm lock putter to his specific standards was a fun project for us. We must have sent him over 20 prototypes in 2012 until in January 2013 he finally made the switch to the one he liked. Who else is uses a Bettinardi putter on tour? There are lots of players out there using them, but most aren’t contracted to us, so we can’t shout about it. There were nine in play at the US Open last year. Apart from Matt, Keegan Bradley is using one, so is Darren Clarke and Fred Couples, and Lexi Thompson is using one on the LPGA Tour. We can make them literally anything they want. How did the ban of anchored putting at the beginning of 2016 affect your business? Do you agree with the ban? The ban has helped our brand because Matt [Kuchar] is a Bettinardi advocate. He is on our putting staff, and uses the armlock putter, which is the best alternative to the anchored
■ MATT KUCHAR SWITCHED TO USING BETTINARDI'S ARMLOCK PUTTER WHEN THE LONGHANDLED PUTTER WAS BANNED
putting stroke. We engineered his putter to contain seven degrees of loft in the face, and a 2.5-degree shaft offset, which are now known as the Kuchar Signature Models. I think the ban definitely has merit after the resurgence of players putting well and winning majors with the belly/long putter. Do I think it was an unfair competitive advantage? Not necessarily. You still need to get the ball in the hole. I use an armlock putter, and it works for me. You’ve just released a new range of putters in the Studio Stock and Queen B series. Can you tell us a bit about what technological features these boast? We have refined the range for this season, adding more new models while continuing to use the best face milling technology in the game. The new Studio Stock designs are the mallet-style 3 and 3 counterbalance, along with the blade-like 8. The Studio Stock 28 is a smallish, square mallet that also is available in Arm Lock and centre-shaft versions. All of the new putters feature a grey finish and a blue-black colour scheme as well as our F.I.T. Face technology, where material is removed from the face in order to produce a softer feel at impact. The Queen B8 is an entirely new design based on feedback from tour players. The compact, mid-size mix of blade and mallet features weighting around the edge and a quarter-toe hang, favouring golfers with a slight arcing stroke. Bettinardi’s signature design feature used to be the honeycomb face, but the latest models feature horizontal grooves instead – what’s the thinking behind this? Thanks to advances in technology we’ve been able to come up with a tool that allows us to machine the putters without creating a concave face, so we don’t need to honeycomb the face to such an extent to make it flat. Some people thought that the honeycomb put bumps onto the face of the putter, even though you can see under the microscope that it doesn’t, so as we no longer needed honeycomb to such an extent to make it flat we could make it less pronounced to remove that.
Do you think that grooves on the face have any impact on spin or roll? I personally don’t, but I know that other putter companies may tell you that their grooves get the ball rolling sooner or faster and therefore it will go on a truer line, but I just don’t see that. At our studio here we have a camera and a laser set up system we use to fit people to our putters and we have used putters with the grooved F.I.T. face, with the honeycomb pattern, or plain fly milled faces and we don’t see any advantage in terms of the ball rolling faster from the face. We see zero effect. How important is it for a golfer to get fit for a putter and what are some of the important specs that need to get customised: lie angle, swing weight, look? Over 40% of your strokes in a round come from the putting green, so getting fit is critically important. Hitting a little white ball into a 4.25inch diametre hole takes precision, and getting fit will help dial you in to be more precise, and in return, lower your scores. We have just spent a couple of hundred thousand dollars revamping our own putter-fitting studio at our offices in Chicago. It’s called Studio B and it’s kitted out with all the latest putting analysis technology. Our tour staff often drop by where they’re in town, and we also do fittings for regular customers. It’s a cool place. What is one tip all golfers should use to sink more putts? Find a putter that suits your game, and stick with it! I am a victim of switching putters to whatever the flavour of the month is. I think this does not help your game in the long-term, and would be best to stick with the same putter and grind it out. The 2017 Bettinardi range of putters is available from selected UK retailers this month, with prices starting at £269. For more information, visit www.jsint.com
EQUIPMENT NEWS | FEBRUARY 2017
EQUIPMENT TRANSFER NEWS It’s been a busy few months for tour pros looking to shake up their equipment in readiness for the new season, and this year’s transfer window has been more active than most, following Nike’s decision to withdraw from the equipment business and concentrate on clothing and footwear
o longer tied down to a club deal, Rory McIlroy put a whole range of new gear into his bag for 2017, although he fell short of signing a contract with any single brand. Instead, he will be using Callaway’s new Epic driver and fairway woods, Callaway Apex MB irons, Titleist wedges, an Odyssey putter, and the latest version of Titleist’s Pro V1x. A sextet of other Nike players were also picked up by TaylorMade, with Paul Casey, Nick Watney, Smylie Kaufman, Seung-Yul Noh, Kyle Stanley and Jon Curran all signing up to play the brand’s latest M1 and M2 clubs, while world No.1 Jason Day left adidas for a head-to-toe deal with Nike, although he will still be using TaylorMade clubs. Other leading players signing new Nike clothing and shoe deals include eight-time European Tour winner Alex Noren and Ryder Cup star Thomas Pieters, while Frenchman Alexander Levy and Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg are also on board with the Swoosh. The demise of Nike’s club and ball division also led Tiger Woods to announce a switch to using TaylorMade woods, irons and wedges. The 650th ranked player in the world is using last year’s M2 driver, the new M2 3-wood and M1 5-wood. Tiger’s yet to find his ideal irons set up, so will be sticking with his old Nikes for now. However, he had better luck finding a new ball he likes, and is currently gaming Bridgestone’s B330-S ball. Staying in the ball market, Bubba Watson changed from Titleist in favour of new golf brand Volvik, which has built its reputation among the long driving community. Volvik makes a lurid pink ball – which Watson put into play at the Phoenix Open – and others in bright shades of green and orange, although the 38-year-old dual Masters champion will mainly be playing with the brand’s white S4 ball.
Rising US star Daniel Berger, winner of the PGA Tour’s rookie of the year award in 2015, has been snapped up by Callaway to play its clubs, balls, gloves and an Odyssey putter, while fellow American Smylie Kaufman has joined Ecco Golf as an staff player. The 25 year old will be wearing the Danish company’s Classic Lux shoe this season. Talking of footwear, long-time Ecco wearer Graeme McDowell has moved over to Under Armour, and was seen steeping out in the brand’s Drive One shoes at the Qatar Masters. Masters champion Danny Willett has ditched his Callaway clothing contract in favour of a new deal with Japanese luxury sportswear company Descente, which is better known for its skiwear. Over in the women’s game, world No.1 Lydia Ko has changed her entire sponsorship line up for 2017, signing a contract to play with PXG’s pricey clubs, while also slipping on a pair of Ecco’s Biom 2 shoes as part of a new deal. Ko has also taken on the services of a new coach and a new caddy. Michelle Wie has joined Callaway following Nike’s equipment exit, and will be playing with the brand’s new Epic driver and fairway woods, a pair of Big Bertha Alpha hybrids, Apex Pro 16 irons, Mack Daddy Forged wedges and an Odyssey Works Versa 2-Ball Fang putter. Wie is still sponsored by Nike to wear its clothes and shoes. Lower down the rankings, Scotland’s Carly Booth has signed a club, clothing and footwear contract with Cobra-Puma, while Wales’ Becky Brewerton is to represent Lynx Golf on tour, where she will join Lydia Hall and Laura Davies in putting equipment from the British brand’s Black Cat range into play. Another Welsh LET star, Amy Boulden, will be sporting a pair of Skecher’s Go Golf shoes after signing a deal with the US-based company, which is launching its own apparel range later this year, which Boulden will also be showcasing on tour.
 FEBRUARY 2017 | EQUIPMENT
CALLAWAY CHROME SOFT X £32.99 FOR 12 CALLAWAYGOLF.COM The all-new Chrome Soft X has been designed to offer a lower spinning, slightly firmer feeling alternative to the Chrome Soft. Boasting a four-piece design, it features a Dual SoftFast core that increases speed for improved distance, while HEX dimples reduce drag to help it stay in the air longer. A soft urethane cover increases spin control and feedback for better chipping and putting feel. A higher compression than the standard Chrome Soft gives the X a slightly firmer feel and a lower flight that faster swingers will benefit from. It comes in white, yellow and TruVis colour options.
ECCO CAGE PRO £160, GOLF.ECCO.COM Ecco’s Cage Pro is a brand new spikeless model that boasts a unique sole design, which boosts traction while reducing its impact on greens. A new ‘Spydr-Grip’ outsole features a polyurethane webbing positioned on the foot’s natural pivot points, which provides grip in all conditions. The sole is injection moulded to make it feel incredibly light, yet highly durable and flexible, allowing it to move in unison with the foot’s essential ligaments and muscles. The cleat-less design also stops dirt from clogging in the sole and reducing grip. It also features a direct injected heel cage that wraps from the heel through the midsole and across the toe box to hold the foot in place and provide a powerful platform from which to swing. The heel has a snug fit, while the toe section is roomier to allow the toes to move naturally, aiding balance. The uppers are made from soft dritton leather, which has been treated with Ecco’s Hydromax technology, and comes with a one-year waterproof warranty.
With its extendable legs and pivoting caster wheels, the Clubglider allows clubs to travel effortlessly across the floors of airport terminals and hotel lobbies the world over. This new model has been strengthened in all the key areas to make it an even more robust workhorse for the travelling golfer. Made from a heavy-duty ballistic-style nylon, it boasts thick foam padding in the top section to protect clubheads, while other areas have been reinforced to ensure it can withstand the rigours of repeated wear and tear. The two-way zips and internal straps have been strengthened, while a recessed moulded tray secures the legs during travel. It weighs just over 5kg and is available in three colours – navy/gunmetal, black/ cobalt and black/red.
SUN MOUNTAIN MERIDIAN CLUBGLIDER
PING GLIDE 2.0 WEDGES £130/£140 (ST/GR), PING.COM The Glide 2.0 wedges boast sharper grooves than any previous wedge Ping has produced, which creates more friction at impact to increase spin rates and trajectory control. The grooves have also been moved closer together, with the lower-lofted models featuring one more groove than the original Glide wedge, while the higher lofts feature two more grooves. In testing, Tour players have reported increases of 1,000-1,500rpm on partial shots (40 to 70 yards), and gains of more than 500rpm on full shots when compared to their current wedges. The stainless steel heads feature a hydropearl chrome finish, which repels moisture, while the leading edges have been designed to move easily through the turf and enable creative shot making. It is offered in four sole grinds to match a player’s angle of attack and most common turf conditions. It is also fitted with a Dyla-wedge grip, which is ¾-inch longer and features a reduced taper, to allow golfers to grip down for more versatility and trajectory control.
WILSON STAFF D300 DRIVER £279, WILSONSTAFF.COM Incorporating SuperLight technology, the D300 Driver is one of the lightest and fastest adjustable drivers on the market. A new aerodynamically-designed head shape, coupled with visible Micro Vortex Generators, reduces drag force to increase clubhead speed and deliver enhanced distance. Green Means Go! Fast Fit technology enables players to make quick adjustments by eliminating the need to remove the clubhead from the shaft, while Right Light Technology, with an interchangeable weight, permits golfers to swing faster with the same effort. A six-way adjustable hosel (including three draw options) covers loft settings from 8° to 14° in half degree increments, and three adjustable sole weights allow players to attain their ideal launch angle, ball speed and spin rate. Loft options are 9, 10.5 and 13, and it comes with Matrix Speed Rulz A-Type 44 and 65 graphite shafts with Golf Pride Tour 25 grips.
TAYLORMADE M1 DRIVER £479, TAYLORMADE.EU The new M1 driver boasts 43% more carbon in the head than the original model, which is spread between the crown, toe and sole to optimise launch conditions by generating higher inertia, leading to greater consistency on shots hit high or low on the face. The crown features six rather than seven layers of carbon in the crown, which makes it 10% thinner than its predecessor, positioning weight lower in the head for a lower centre of gravity. This, combined with the 3g savings from the use of a lower density titanium alloy, results in a total of 11g savings compared to a conventional titanium head, and more than twice the weight savings than the first generation M1. The T-shaped track along the sole is 20% longer and has a heavier (12g) sliding weight, letting CG position shift 64% more from front to back. That translates to 300rpm more spin and 1° more loft when the weight is positioned at the very back, compared to the extreme front position. The heel-toe track has a 15g plug to promote a draw or fade.
EQUIPMENT | FEBRUARY 2017 
CALLAWAY MACK DADDY FORGED WEDGE £139, CALLAWAYGOLF.COM The latest iteration of Callaway's Mack Daddy family of wedges boasts a host of new design features, including less offset, a squarer toe, and a straighter leading edge. Created by wedge guru Roger Cleveland, the MD wedges offer the clean, traditional appearance that tour pros prefer, but their versatile design ensures they can be used by a wide variety of players. Forged from soft 1025c steel for added feel and consistency, extra spin is created via a new 16-groove configuration that incorporates an added groove at the bottom, close to the leading edge, to promote added stopping power, especially on pitches and chips. The face features three different groove patterns to further to increase spin as the loft increases. Added control comes from progressive centre of gravity positioning, in which the centre of gravity gradually moves up as the loft of each wedge increases. This promotes a lower and easier-to-control flight in the higher lofts, without sacrificing spin. A new R sole grind offers the versatility necessary to play shots from a broad range of grasses and lies, with the defined crescent sole and mid bounce makes it easy to play a wide variety of greenside shots. They are available in a choice of two finishes – nickel chrome with copper strike for a refined look, or brushed slate for a raw look. Lofts/ Bounce options: 50°/10°, 52°/10°, 54°/10°, 56°/10°, 58°/8° and 60°/8°.
FOOTJOY HYPERFLEX II £145/£160 BOA, FOOTJOY.CO.UK The second generation Hyperflex shoe features a unique ‘BioMorph’ upper that is designed to mimic the ligaments of the foot for more natural movement through the swing, while delivering the required lateral stability. Made from the same lightweight mesh as the original, it is waterproof, as well as being breathable. The distinctive white Fine Tune Foam 2.0 base provides the walking comfort for the shoe, while the sole continues the pods system for the spikes that protrude beyond the edge of the shoe to give the HyperFlex II great lateral stability in a toned down version of the ultrastable XPS-1 shoe. Each of the nine Pulsar Tornado spikes is surrounded by a cluster of moulded sole spikes to spread the load and increase grip. The removable insole uses a familiar FootJoy design and combines with the sole to provide running shoelike comfort. It is available in blue/silver, grey/silver, black, and navy/orange.
ODYSSEY WORKS PUTTER £179, ODYSSEYGOLF.COM Odyssey’s new range of O Works putters benefits from a new type of insert that contains hundreds of individual stainless steel ‘microhinges’ which flex on impact, lifting the ball out of its impression to produce topspin for a smoother roll and improved distance control. The range comprises five blade models (#1, #1 Tank, #1 Wide, #2 and #9) and six mallets, #7, #7 Tank, R-Line, R-Line CS, V-Line Fang CH and a 2-Ball. They all feature an updated version of Odyssey’s high contrast Versa alignment system, which highlights the proper face angle throughout the stroke. A new red highlight lines provides an additional aid to make sure the clubhead is lined up exactly to the target. There are two Tank counterbalance option in the range that feature heavier heads and shafts, which serve to quieten the hands and engage the big muscles to deliver more stability at impact and promote a more consistent stroke.
tried + tested
PING I200 IRONS £120/£130 PER CLUB (ST/GR), PING.COM
TITLEIST PRO V1/PRO V1X £52 FOR 12, TITLEIST.CO.UK The 10th-generation Pro V1 and eighth-generation Pro V1x feature of number of key changes to both the core and the cover to improve overall performance. The new Pro V1 has a new core formulation that produces faster ball speeds and less spin on full shots, resulting in significantly more distance than with the previous model, making it on par with the Pro V1x. Shots spin less off the driver than with its predecessor, while spin and short-game performance remain largely the same. The 352 dimples are more efficiently arranged in a tetrahedral geometric pattern. Combined with less variation in dimple diameter, this gives improved flight consistency from shot to shot. The four-piece Pro V1x is a higher-compression ball (by eight to 10 points) and feels firmer than the Pro V1. It also flies higher, in part because of its spherically tiled, 328-dimple pattern. Players deciding between the Pro V1 and Pro V1x should consider feel – the Pro V1 is softer; flight – the Pro V1 launches lower and has a more penetrating trajectory; and spin – the Pro V1 spins less from tee to green.
The i200 irons feature a number of new design innovations that make the face more flexible to achieve faster ball speeds and offer unprecedented levels of forgiveness for an iron of its size. Already in the bags of a number of tour players, the i200 boasts a new soft elastomer insert, which activates at impact to increase the flexibility of the face for faster ball speeds, while also serving to dampen down vibrations. The new insert, which is concealed inside the cavity, is nearly double the size of the insert found in the previous model, which increases face contact by 300%. The stainless steel head has a hydropearl chrome finish which repels moisture for more control and helps minimise ‘fliers’ from wet conditions and lies in the rough, while the thin
face - 30% thinner than the i iron - and tuning port structure produce weight savings that have been moved to the toe and hosel areas to increase forgiveness across a wider section of the face. The soles feature added bounce and a more contoured lead edge to help the clubhead move easily through the turf without digging or bouncing, while minimal offset and a sharper face radius produces a slim head profile that will appeal to a wide range of players. All told, the i200 is without doubt one of the nicest looking irons that Ping has ever produced. The head is a thing of beauty and, backed up by its impressive performance, it should convert a large percentage of golfers who might previously have baulked at the idea of playing a Ping iron.
 FEBRUARY 2017 | IRONS
MAX POWER If you’re looking to crank out some extra yards with your irons this season, then try these big bad boys for size
LYNX PREDATOR £275, LYNXGOLF.CO.UK
The stainless steel Predator oversized cavity back irons feature a low centre of gravity and high moment of inertia for long distance, high flight. Offering plenty of forgiveness on off-centre hits for the game improver, they boasts a mid-width topline for added confidence at address, while progressive offset through the set aids release of the clubhead and keep lofts higher. The soles are beveled to prevent digging in at impact, and a smooth transition through the turf. They have a chrome finish and are available in four different colour options – black, orange, green and yellow. They are available in 5-SW with A lightweight steel shaft promotes accuracy and distance control and is ideal a moderate to fast swing speeds.
TITLEIST 716 AP1
£93/£107 PER CLUB (ST/GR), TITLEIST.CO.UK The most forgiving of Titleist’s irons is whole lot more forgiving thanks to several design elements. Foremost is the introduction of an average of 42g of high-density tungsten that wraps around the toe in the long and middle irons. Because the tungsten drives the centre of gravity down, the lofts are one degree stronger to crank out extra yardage. An extreme 360-degree undercut cavity helps the 2.4mm face to flex more at impact, generating additional speed and higher launch. A pre-worn leading edge and cambered sole allows for smoother entry into the back of the ball.
CALLAWAY XR STEELHEAD
£649/£829 (ST/GR), CALLAWAYGOLF.COM The XR Steelhead irons feature a new face cup design which wraps around the sole, topline and toe section, thinning out the perimeter to create a larger, more flexible face area in the centre, providing a spring-like effect that goes to the legal limits. The weight saved through the thin face is repositioned in the head in order to match the needs of each iron in the set. That means it sits lower and farther back in the long irons, but moves higher in the short irons to produce more spin and a lower trajectory for better control. A steel-infused urethane layer within the lower part of the cavity controls the vibration of the thin face to enhance feel, while the steel adds weight to influence centre of gravity.
MIZUNO JPX-900 HOT METAL
£105/£120 PER CLUB, GOLF.MIZUNOEUROPE.COM One of three irons in the JPX900 range, the others being Tour and Forged, the Hot Metal iron features Mizuno’s newest material, Chomoly 4140M, which combines high ball speeds with the pliability of a forged iron. The secret to this new material is its versatility, which has not only resulted in Mizuno’s thinnest ever cup face, but also remains soft and bendable in the hosel for precise lie angle adjustments. The wedges are made from a different material – a softer grade of steel – that offers the necessary feel around the greens that all golfers demand.
WILSON STAFF D300
£579/£659, WILSONSTAFF.COM The D300 is all about distance and forgiveness. Among its defining features is FLX Face Technology, which minimises contact points between the face and clubhead to generate greater swing speeds and longer distance. Only 26% of the face is connected to the body, while 74% of the face perimeter is taken up by ‘power holes’, a design element that has been refined from Wilson’s C200 iron. Filled with urethane, the power holes extend through and around the face to provide a distinctive feel and sound. Special heel and toe weight pods, with a combined weight of 60g on the extreme perimeter of the clubhead, increase moment of inertia for extra forgiveness. KBS Tour 80 steel and Matrix Rulz A-Type 54 graphite shafts are available as standard.
The second generation M2 irons combine technologies from previous TaylorMade irons to produce more distance and forgiveness, while maintaining playability. Despite adding face slots, the club features a lower centre of gravity than its predecessor. It also has a 33% thinner topline, 7% shallower blade height, a 20% deeper speed pocket, and a 33% thinner front wall for even more flexibility. A new thinner six-sided hosel saves 5g, allowing for the repositioning of 2g lower in the clubhead. The new hosel bend slot also allows up to 30% more bend for custom fitting. The fins of the badge have been positioned behind the face slots and integrated into the back bar to help dissipate energy and further dampen sound created by the clubhead’s 360-degree undercut face.
The GMax promises ball speeds of up to 3mph faster than any previous Ping iron, courtesy of COR-Eye technology, which simultaneously activates the sole, face, and top rail to create faster ball speeds across the entire face. A concealed custom tuning port connects to the sole and moves the CG lower and further back to increase forgiveness, accuracy and consistency. The faces on the long and mid irons have been heat treated to create an alloy that is 40% stronger, which allows the faces to be thinner for greater flexing and faster ball speeds. Longer blade lengths and increased offset maximise forgiveness, while a leading edge with more trailing relief helps the iron cut through the turf.
£96/£108 PER CLUB (GR/ST), PING.COM
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TRAVEL AND BREAKS
FEBRUARY 2017 WEB: GOLFNEWS.CO.UK/TRAVEL
GREAT LAKES, GREAT GOLF SPOTLIGHT ON MICHIGAN
ALSO IN THIS MONTH'S TRAVEL: SARAH STIRK VISITS DUBAI WIN A LINKS BREAK IN KENT ME & MY TRAVELS WITH KRISS AKABUSI TRAVEL & UK BREAK NEWS LATEST PACKAGES
 FEBRUARY 2017 | TRAVEL
TRAVEL REVIEW MICHIGAN
MICHIGAN With more new course openings last year than any other US state, Michigan is a summer mecca for holiday golfers looking for quality and quantity along the picturesque shores and hills of the Great Lakes State
he Midwestern state of Michigan is consistently named among the best places in the USA to play golf. Top designers have coaxed championship courses out of the woods and farmlands, incorporating hills and valleys, natural water features and incredible views – including some of the Great Lakes. With more than 650 public golf courses and nationally acclaimed golf resort destinations, Michigan offers the perfect getaway for all levels of golfers. The state has recently experienced a surge in new course openings for the first time in more than 10 years. Last year saw the opening of the first truly reversible course design in the US – The Loop at Forest Dunes in Roscommon. This course can played in one direction one day and another direction the next using the same 18 greens and fairways. The designer, Tom Doak, owner of Renaissance Golf Design in Traverse City, borrowed some ideas for the design from the links courses in the UK, including the Old Course at St Andrews. The Loop, with its revolutionary reversible design, is a walking-only experience featuring the option of caddies. The two different layouts alternate directions on a daily basis and allow golfers a unique golfing experience.
Both Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine recognised the new layout as the Best New Public course in America in 2016. Forest Dunes (forestdunesgolf. com) in northern Michigan has quickly elevated itself as one of the premier golf destinations in America. Nestled among 1,300 acres of heavily wooded land within the Huron National Forest, former Open Champion Tom Weiskopf designed the original course at Forest Dunes, which he often refers to as one of his top layouts. With the addition of The Loop, Forest Dunes now offers a 54-hole experience, along with the beautiful Adirondack style clubhouse, Sangomore’s restaurant, Lake AuSable Lodge with 14-rooms, new golf villas, and cottages. Also new in 2016, Stoatin Brae in southwest Michigan, is a dramatic departure from the other five courses that are part of Gull Lake View Resort (gulllakeview.com) near Kalamazoo. Stoatin Brae, which means ‘grand hill’ in Scottish Gaelic, cuts through the trees and hills on the area’s natural rolling land and sits atop an open grassland bluff overlooking the Kalamazoo River valley. It plays to par 71 over 6,800 yards. While greens on the par threes are framed by large sand bunkers, the fairways are wide and maintain the natural contour of the land. Putting surfaces on many
■ ARCADIA BLUFFS SITS RIGHT ON THE SHORES OF LAKE MICHIGAN
■ TOM FAZIO’S PREMIER COURSE AT THE TREETOPS RESORT IN NORTH MICHIGAN
THE LOOP IS A REVERSIBLE COURSE THAT CAN PLAYED IN ONE DIRECTION ONE DAY AND ANOTHER DIRECTION THE NEXT USING THE SAME 18 GREENS AND FAIRWAYS
of the longer par fours are large and unencumbered by hazards to allow players to fire directly at the pin. Gull Lake View serves up virtually every attribute that defines a premier golf experience: majestic landscapes, spectacularly rolling topography, and design features that challenge players but does not overwhelm them. Gull Lake now offers 108 holes on six courses, as well as overnight lodging of luxury cottages, deluxe suites and fairway villages, practice facilities and restaurants. With 162 holes, Boyne Resorts (boyne. com) is a dominant player in the resort industry in Michigan. On the Lake Michigan shoreline, west of Petoskey, the Inn at Bay Harbor and Bay Harbor Golf Club are the premier high-end luxury properties situated on the site of an old limestone quarry and cement factory. Bay Harbor offers 27-holes on the acclaimed Links, Quarry and Preserve courses. The Links nine features six challenging holes along a high bluff overlooking scenic Little Traverse Bay. Miles of shoreline frame an Irish links-style course accented with towering dunes 200 feet or more above the Great Lake. The Quarry nine presents a different golfing challenge as it climbs in and out of an old rock quarry. Dramatic surprises abound, including a 40-foot gorge with shale cliffs, ponds, a waterfall and fairways along the bay. Meandering through acres of the state’s
TRAVEL | FEBRUARY 2017 
■ SHEPHERD’S HOLLOW IS ONE OF MICHIGAN’S TOP PUBLIC COURSES
■ BELVEDERE GOLF CLUB
■ BAY HARBOR OFFERS 27 HOLES ALONG THE SHORES OF LAKE MICHIGAN
■ FOREST DUNES IS ONE OF AMERICA’S PREMIER GOLF DESTINATIONS
■ THE LOOP AT FOREST DUNES, DESIGNED BY TOM DOAK, BOASTS A ‘REVERSIBLE' DESIGN
celebrated hardwood forests and natural wetlands, The Preserve nine exemplifies what Northern Michigan golf is all about. Just down the road from Boyne is the historic Belvedere Golf Club (belvederegolfclub.com) designed by Willie Watson (Interlachen in Minneapolis, and The Olympic Club in San Francisco), and host of 40 Michigan Amateur Championships. The course has long been a favourite of many golf greats, including legend Walter Hagen, who won the first Great Lakes Open at Belvedere, and fivetime British Open winner Tom Watson, who as a youngster honed his game playing summers at Belvedere. The course has recently undertone a restoration
project bringing it back to its original design. Treetops Resort (treetops.com) is an award-winning complex long known for exciting and memorable golf. It is perched high above the Pigeon River Valley and offers majestic views of Northern Michigan as you play 81 holes of golf. Treetop's inventory of four championship courses began back in 1986, when Robert Trent Jones Sr designed one of his final layouts, The Masterpiece. A few years later, Tom Fazio was commissioned to design the player-friendly Premier course to compliment to Jones’s demanding, but spectacular layout. Premier is the only Fazio-designed course in Michigan. Add
in two more courses, and the No.1 rated par-3 Threetops course, and you have a top buddy trip destination. Forest Dunes, Boyne Resorts, the Inn at Bay Harbor and Treetops are part of America’s Summer Golf Capital (americassummergolfcapital. com), stretching from Manistee National, up to Grand Traverse Resort and across to Forest Dunes. Featuring bent grass fairways and greens, America’s Golf Capital tours will overwhelm and impress with their beauty and playability. Nowhere else in America can you find so many resort destinations, with world class golf and amenities, in such a close proximity to each other. One of the leading golf experiences in Michigan or anywhere in the country is Arcadia Bluffs (arcadiabluffs.com). Set along 245-acres of Lake Michigan coastline, this golf experience features spectacular views from all 18-holes that meander through rugged dunes, fescue grasses, and along the cliffs. Following the round, dinner and drinks in the beautiful clubhouse and lodge is a must. Be on the lookout for a second golf course designed by Dana Fry opening in 2018. A trip across the Mackinac Bridge into the remote Upper Peninsula has its own golf escape with top courses like Greywalls in Marquette, Timberstone near Iron Mountain, and Sweetgrass (sweetgrassgolfclub.com). at the Island Resort & Casino in Escanaba. The resort will also be opening a new course, Sage Run, in 2018. As the largest city in Michigan, Detroit is
SET ALONG 245-ACRES OF LAKE MICHIGAN COASTLINE, THIS GOLF EXPERIENCE FEATURES SPECTACULAR VIEWS FROM ALL 18-HOLES THAT MEANDER THROUGH RUGGED DUNES, FESCUE GRASSES, AND ALONG THE CLIFFS best known for its automotive heritage and Motown music. This vibrant city also has one of Michigan’s top public golf courses, Shepherd's Hollow (shepherdshollow.com), a 27-hole Arthur Hills design located on dramatically rolling and wooded land 40 miles north of Detroit. Built in on a 420-acre parcel of land owned by the Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus - commonly known as the Jesuits - Shepherd's Hollow is one true heavenly place to play golf. Designed by Art Hills, the dramatic layout is located on one of the highest points in Oakland County. The clubhouse feels like it came directly out of the South Carolina low country with its Victorian charm. Bordered by four of the five Great Lakes, Michigan offers golfers plenty to do when not playing a round. The shoreline has more than 100 public beaches, some of the highest freshwater sand dunes in the world, stunning multi-coloured sandstone cliffs, shipwreck diving preserves and attractions, such as Sleeping Bear Dunes, Pictured Rocks, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, The Henry Ford and Hitsville USA, found nowhere else in the world.
CONTACT DETAILS FREE TOURIST GUIDES CALL 01295 722816 EMAIL: INFO@CELLET.CO.UK FOR MORE DETAILS OF WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO GO ON YOUR GOLF HOLIDAY TO THE GREAT LAKES STATE OF MICHIGAN, VISIT WWW.MICHIGAN.ORG
 FEBRUARY 2017 | UK BREAKS
TAKE A BREAK AT
et in the stunning surroundings of the New Forest, Bramshaw Golf Club boasts two memorable courses, and a comfortable boutique hotel, The Bell Inn, in which to rest up between rounds. Bramshaw boasts two completely contrasting 18-hole courses, the undulating fairways of the Manor course and the open heathland of the Forest Course, the latter holding the honour of being Hampshire's oldest golf course. Falling within the confines of the New Forest National Park means animals have the right to roam
across the courses – and roam they do, even if it means ambling across a fairway while you’re in midbackswing. This is certainly the case on the club’s historic Forest Course, a 5,574-yard layout that is built on common land. It’s golf at its most natural, with only the tees and greens being managed, while the fairways are left to take nature’s course, barring a bi-annual cut to keep them playable. While the greens are partially fenced off in order to preserve the sanctity of the putting surfaces, grazing cattle,
■ THE BELL INN OFFERS 26 COMFORTABLE DOUBLE AND TWIN ROOMS
HEATHLAND GOLF TOURS
deer and ponies are left free to leave the odd loose impediment for golfers to contend with. With stunning countryside views, and some challenging topography below your feet, it’s safe to say that a round on the Forest Course will linger long in the memory. While the Forest Course makes for a fun round, more serious golfers will focus their attentions on the 6,400-yard Manor Course, which opened for play in 1972, and occupies land on the other side of the Bell Inn. With over 40 years under its belt, the Manor has matured into a fine parkland layout, which, while not long by modern standards, features a significant number of tight, tree-lined holes, which makes the course a challenge for all handicap levels. And although there are just 30 bunkers to navigate, they are particularly well placed, especially around the smaller-than-average greens, where only the slightest misjudgment can leave you reaching for your most lofted club. With two courses to play, and lots of other things to see and do in the area, an overnight stay is all but essential for the visiting golfer, with the Bell Inn providing the perfect
place in which to hole up between rounds. Under the same family ownership of the golf club, the grade II-listed building boasts plenty of rustic charm. With flagstone floors, open fireplaces, and beamed reception rooms, it offers 26 extremely comfortable rooms – and two more besides the clubhouse – all boasting en-suite facilities and offering the very essence of country house hotel chic. The spacious restaurant serves up an excellent range of home-cooked food, many of it sourced from the estate and other local farms, while there is a wide choice of locally brewed ales to sample from the bar during the inevitable post-round analysis. Stay-and-play packages comprising one round on the Manor Course, one round on the Forest Course, and overnight accommodation in the Bell Inn, with dinner, breakfast and a free pint, start from just £99pp (SundayFriday). For more information or to book, visit www.bellinn-newforest.co.uk, call 023 80812214 or email bell@ bramshaw.co.uk.
To enquire call:
01822 618181 Website:
Five of England’s finest heathland courses have joined forces as Southern Counties Heathland Golf Tour Blackmoor, Hankley Common, Hindhead, Liphook and West Sussex Staying at top quality hotels and Inns.
Packages start from just £339 playing three rounds of golf and two nights B&B at a top venue
UK BREAKS | FEBRUARY 2017
SPRING INTO FLOWER FILLED ACTION AT
designing several Open Championship courses and more recently the design of Trump International Links in Aberdeen. Hawtree is renowned for his tricky clovershaped bunkers and large, deceptively undulating greens, both of which are much in evidence on the
Woodland, Lakeland and Parkland nines. He also designed lots of run-ins and run-offs around the greens, so they play like links during the summer, while the soft greens in winter require a more aerial approach. The club’s general manager said: “The course is looking in great condition for the time of year, and we haven’t even needed to put a trolley ban in place. There is no great secret to our success. We undertake new work every winter to improve the course in general; we’re not fighting to maintain standards, we’re always increasing them. Each year the course looks better and that
carries through into the winter. Having been rated as one of the top 150 courses in England, I’d say we’re achieving that.” The resort has always been a popular golf breaks destination, with its 14 five-star Gold Award Scandanavian lodges providing a luxury retreat. Capable of sleeping up to eight people, each lodge boasts a fully-fitted kitchen, a large lounge with a wood burning stove, a sauna, a veranda, and an integral shed for secure club and trolley storage.
are all included in the promotion, which is valid for new bookings only, with prices starting from only £79 per person for one night’s dinner, bed and breakfast and 36 holes of golf.
Named AA Hotel Group of the Year in 2014/15, the multiaward-winning four-star QHotels golf group offers tournament and championship-standard courses in 10 unique
resort locations across England and Scotland. For more details, visit www.QHotels.co.uk/ earlybird or call 0113 289970, quoting ‘EARLYBIRD17’ at the time of booking.
olfers seeking a UK-based winter golfing break without the winter playing conditions should head for the Dorset Golf & Country Club, which promises year-round golf thanks to its continued investment in drainage and irrigation, and its underlying chalky subsoil. The 27-hole Bere Regis-based resort enjoyed another year of uninterrupted golf in 2016, and is promising more of the same in 2017, despite large
swathes of the country being sodden by recent rains. Despite the downpours, all three nine-hole loops of the Woodland, Parkland and Lakeland courses have remained fully open at the popular South Coast venue, with grass tees and main greens in action throughout the winter, without a temporary playing surface in sight. And as winter gives way to spring, the club’s thre stunning championship layouts
QHOTELS OFFER GROUP BENEFITS GALORE
Hotels, the UK’s largest golf resort operator, is offering golf groups exceptional value
when booking a onenight, two-round break at any of its golf venues in 2017 – with packages
■ FOREST PINES
■ THE COURSE IS A RIOT OF COLOUR IN THE SPRING AND SUMMER
will soon be blessed with flourishes of rhododendron, azaleas and cherry blossom, reminiscent of Augusta National, while the views and reflections across the huge lakes are spectacular at this time of year. Golf fans will also welcome the club’s elevation in the list of
starting from just £79 per person. Golfers across the UK can enjoy an array of savings and benefits, with free places, drinks discounts and retail vouchers all available with its ‘2016 Group Golf Breaks Early Bird’ promotion. Bookable until February 28 for groups of 12 or more, the breaks feature free golf for one in every 10 golfers on available dates, as well as a 20 per cent discount off all drinks and pro shop purchases, while individual guests can
the UK’s top clubs, with the most recent rankings seeing the club rise inside England’s top 150 for the first time in its history. It’s certainly long overdue recognition for the three layouts, which were designed by Martin Hawtree, whose already high reputation has risen following his excellent work in re-
Stay and play packages start from just £61.95pp/ pn. For bookings call 01929 472244 or visit dorsetgolfresort.com.
■ SLALEY HALL
take advantage of an additional 10 per cent saving when booking any future break directly with QHotels. The likes of Slaley Hall, Forest Pines, Belton Woods and Mottram Hall
2017 Golf Breaks from £85
STRADEY PARK HOTEL & SPA
The ideal base for your perfect golfing break Easy access to Machynys, Ashburnham & Glyn Abbey Golf Clubs, also Gower golf clubs Stay in our luxury 4 star hotel, with fine dining Samphires Restaurant and private rooftop lounge. Treat yourself to a relaxing massage in our award winning Parc Spa.
CORNWALL GOLF BREAKS Summer 2017
1 Night Golf Break including B&Bplus 2 Rounds of Golf starts from just £85pp!! Book NOW for 2017 and secure with only a 10% deposit For further information, please call Club Reception on 01566 86903 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trethorne Golf Club Kennards House Launceston Cornwall PL15 8QE
Unwind in our comfortable Parc bar area with a range of beers, ales and wines and treat yourself to a delcious meal from our mouthwatering bar menu.
Stradey Park Hotel & Spa, Llanelli, SA15 4HA | T: 01554 758171 E: email@example.com | W: www.stradeyparkhotel.com
 FEBRUARY 2017 | UK BREAKS
LOOK OUT FOR OUR SPECIAL REGIONAL GOLF BREAK GUIDES 
DEC/JAN 2017 | NEWS
OUT H C MAR
WEST COUNTRY 2017
GUIDE TO GOLF
ENJOY A ROYAL RETREAT AT
he Lodge at Kingswood Golf Club is proving a real hit with golfers visiting the popular Tadworth-based club. The attractive facility offers 18 stylish guest rooms, which are ideal for visiting groups and societies, as well as golfers travelling to take part in the numerous high profile events that the club stages on a regular basis. Featuring en suite facilities, and a chic and contemporary design, the luxury lodge offers four-star equivalent boutique hotel accommodation located in the peaceful surroundings of the Surrey countryside. The twin and double rooms feature everything you’d expect to find in a top-class hotel, including Sky TV, Wi-Fi, mini bar and espresso machines, as well as 24-hour room service. After a restful night’s sleep and a full English breakfast in the clubhouse, guests can head to the first tee of the championship golf course. Built in 1927, and designed by
■ KINGSWOOD BOASTS SMART NEW BUNKERING
■ THE SPACIOUS ROOMS ENJOY LUXURY FITTINGS
legendary architect James Braid, Kingswood has benefitted form a major renovation programme that has seen the course updated to maintain its status as being one of the finest courses in the region. The result is a 6,916-yard layout that is now punctuated with exciting risk-and-reward tee shots and daunting approaches, making the course both memorable and challenging. Located just three miles from junction 8 of the M25, Kingswood is easily accessible from all parts of south and west London and the Home Counties, and makes for a wonderful venue whatever the occasion. Stay-and-play packages are currently available from as little as £85pp (until March 31), including 27 holes of golf, overnight accommodation and breakfast, based on two people sharing a twin or double room. For enquiries, visit www.kingswood-golf.co.uk or call 01737 832188.
REACHING 400,000 GOLFERS THE AREA’S NO.1 GUIDE GREAT FEATURES ON ALL COUNTIES TOP QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHY GUEST WRITERS AND TOUR PRO COLUMNS
DEVON CORNWALL SOMERSET
There will be special features on the West Country in March, Scotland in April, Ireland in May and Wales in June. Each will offer a handy full colour A3 guide, packed with information on where to play, where to stay, what to do, and top tips from some famous golfing locals. Make sure you pick up a copy at your local golf club or driving range, and get booking your next golfing getaway. You can also read them online at www. golfnews.co.uk.
Ufford Park Woodbridge
Looking for the perfect all year round venue for your golf break? Set in the heart of Suffolk and located just off the A12, our 18 hole, par 71 course is ideal for the beginner or the experienced player. Book your tee time online, visit the on-site AmericanGolf superstore and practice your swing on our 2 tier floodlit driving range, all before you even set foot on the lovingly cared for, award-winning, top winter course.
1 night Golf & Spa Breaks from only £95* per person
includes complimentary use of the Health Club with it’s gym and pool. *Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability.
t 0844 847 9408 (local rate) w www.uffordpark.co.uk Yarmouth Road| Woodbridge | Suffolk | IP12 1QW
GLOUCS & BRISTOL
Golfers looking to plan their next domestic golf break should look out for a series of special regional golf guides that will be appearing in GolfNews over the coming months.
2017 02 Golf News - Golf Breaks.qxp_163mm h x 142mm w 30/01/2017 14:21 Page 1
Wish you were here
WHERE TO STAY & PLAY
test of golf test of golf
Nestling in the hotel’s 220 acres of private grounds, Hellidon Lakes Golf & Spa Hotel’s championship 27 hole, 72 par course offers challenges aplenty for beginners and scratch golfers alike, and was recently awarded the 59 Club award for most improved retail experience. Nestling in the hotel’s 220 acres of private grounds, Hellidon Lakes Golf & Hellidon Lakes Golf and Spa Hotel is an ideal venue for your society day, Spa Hotel’s championship 27 hole, 72 par course offers challenges aplenty corporate day and golf break. Additionally, this course is perfect for a challenging for beginners and scratch golfers alike, and was recently awarded the 59 Club round of golf or indeed ideal to become your home golf course. award for most improved retail experience. Lakesyet Golf and Spatest Hotel is aninideal venueundulating for your society day, “Hellidon A challenging, rewarding of golf beautiful, corporate day and golf break. Additionally, this course is perfect for a challenging natural surroundings’’ round golf or– Club indeed ideal to become course. MalcolmofBodfish President, Hellidon Lakesyour Golf home and Spagolf Hotel “A challenging, yet rewarding test of golf in beautiful, undulating natural surroundings’’
01327 262 551 hellidonlakesgolf@QHotels.co.uk QHotels.co.uk 01327 262 551
Malcolm Bodfish – Club President, Hellidon Lakes Golf and Spa Hotel
UK BREAKS | FEBRUARY 2017 
HAVE A BALL AT
■ THE PAR-4 6TH HOLE IS A HIGHLIGHT ON THE BAINBRIDGE COURSE
and a clever use of the topography has ating back to 1710, Heythrop Park is a created some superb holes that will test every quintessential English country estate part of your game and require every club which seamlessly combines elegance with in the bag, especially if you decide to play style. Boasting two individual hotels, the off the very back of the five teeing options elegant Heythrop Park Hotel and the stylish that are available to guests. The 314-yard, Crowne Plaza Hotel, the resort also offers a par-4 6th will be many players’ highlight, championship 18-hole course, health club presenting a driveable par-4 over water that and spa, together with state-of-the-art offers genuine reward, but plenty of risk. conference facilities. The last three holes are less dramatic, but no Located 30 minutes west of Oxford, less demanding, with the par=four 18th, with Heythrop Park has long been a stopping its gun-barrel straight fairway bordered by point for tourists on the Cotswold heritage trees on either side, offering a challenge that is trail – Blenheim Palace is only a few miles unique to Heythrop. Looking straight down to away – but only came on the map as a the majestic house in the distance, it definitely golfing destination in 2009, with the opening leaves its mark on your memory – and on your of the 7,008-yard Bainbridge course, which card should you happen to fade or slice. was designed by Tom Mackenzie. A single storey clubhouse, built a few Despite its youth, the 440-acre course is hundred yards away from the main building, blessed with maturity beyond its years, with keeps golfers out of sight from weddings and 300 years of majestic woodland providing a stunning canvas on which MacKenzie has worked wonders. Although the opening four holes are slightly pedestrian as you move away from the house, the course really gets into its stride in a superb stretch which starts from the dramatic downhill par-four fifth and runs all the way through to the challenging 203yard par-3 13th. Lakes, streams, ■ THE 18TH GREEN SITS IN FRONT OF THE MAIN HOUSE huge rises and drops in elevation
& Ashbury Hotels
- The Only Sport, Craft & Spa Hotels in the UK
Golf breaks start from just £99pp for the Sunday Driver package, which includes overnight accommodation in the Crowne Plaza Hotel or the Archer bedrooms; a three-course meal in the Brassey restaurant; full English breakfast and two rounds of golf. For bookings call 01608 673488 or go to heythropparkresort.com.
FREE GOLF at
“I’ve never played such fantastic courses”
The UK’s Largest Golf Resort
Stephen W - Trip Advisor
Set in the foothills of Dartmoor National Park, Devon. The Ashbury Hotel is the ideal venue for your golf break. At least 27 holes of FREE golf with each night of stay! Pines 17th 442 yards, Par 4
Oakwood 16th 172 yards, Par 3
NOW - 26/04/17 • FREE Golf • ½ Price Buggies - £8 • 10% OFF Health & Beauty
Autumn to Spring
conference goers, while providing a luxurious haven for spa and pool users and a relaxing place to have a drink and a meal before or after a round. Despite its impressive proportions, the main Grade II-listed house offers just 17 bedrooms, but they are definitely worth booking if you’re staying with a partner or want to push the boat out for a special occasion. Alternatively, the four-star Crown Plaza Hotel has 197 en-suite rooms, while Heythrop Park, located on either side of the mansion house, offers a choice of rooms in the Shrewsbury and Archer wings. The latter has 61 stylish bedrooms that have been finished to a very high standard. A variety of dining experiences await at Heythrop Park, from tempting afternoon teas on the sunlit terrace overlooking the south lawns, to elegant dining in the contemporary and stylish black and white Brassey restaurant.
Oakwood 4th 321 yards, Par 4
Multi Sport Simulators
May 2017 Full Board Breaks from: 3night Weekends £195pp • 4night Midweeks £240pp
0800 389 9892
6528 6400 5803 5502 5775 6111 1939
PLUS unique Craft Centre featuring 17 tutored crafts, including Pottery, Woodwork, Glass Engraving & Hot Press Printing
Par 72 Par 72 Par 69 Par 68 Par 69 Par 71 Par 54
Sports Racket Sports Leisure Ranges Family Bowls Swimming Funhouse Tennis Archery Table Tennis Badminton Spa & Sauna Gamezone Air Pistols 5-A-Side Snooker Waterslides Air Rifles Squash Basketball Short Tennis Ten-Pin Lasers Play Area
Kigbeare Pines Beeches Oakwood Ashbury 9 + Pines Front 9 Ashbury 9 + Pines Back 9 Willows
Additional Facilities FREE to residents of our hotels
All Weather Sports Pitch & Running Track
• All prices per person • All rooms en-suite • Full board • Party discounts •
 FEBRUARY 2017 | UK BREAKS
GREAT VALUE BREAKS AT
THE VALE W
hile 2010 Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor is justifiably one of the most popular destinations for a golf break in Wales, there are plenty of other quality resorts in the Principality that are well worth a visit. Top of the list of alternatives should be The Vale, a luxury hotel, golf and spa resort nestled in over 650 acres of beautiful Welsh countryside just a few miles west of Cardiff. Featuring 143 bedrooms, two championship golf courses, and a spa that has just been voted the best in Wales, The Vale has all the right ingredients for a golf break to remember. The National course has been considered good enough to stage several top-flight tournament of its own, with the European Senior Tour, Challenge Tour and EuroPro Tour all having held events here since it first opened in 2003. This swiftly maturing inland championship layout has developed a fearsome reputation, mainly due to it measuring 7,433 yards from the back tees, although there are forward tees to make it playable for club golfers. Despite the 600-yard second hole being the longest par five in Wales, the course isn’t all about big hitting, with a selection of superb par threes and a reachable par four providing
■ THE 7,433-YARD WALES NATIONAL COURSE IS A HAVEN FOR BIG HITTERS
a welcome change of pace. The Lake Course lives up to its name, with water coming into play on 12 holes, although its shorter length makes it more playable for the higher handicapper, while still being a serious challenge for better players. Away from golf, The Vale Spa – which was voted the best spa in Wales at the 2015 World Travel Awards – offers a range of more than 50 treatments, with 19 treatment rooms, six bespoke relaxation zones, a 20-metre swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. In addition, the spa has doubles suites so that two people can share a spa experience together.
Food is never far from a golfer’s mind, and the resort’s AA Rosette Vale Grill is the perfect place to enjoy a post-round meal, while those with something to celebrate should head for the Salamanza Champagne Bar, where a lengthy cocktail list and live music provide the background to an evening’s entertainment. The resort has a range of great value golf breaks available, starting with one night’s B&B and 18 holes of golf from just £69pp. For bookings and more details, visit www.vale-hotel.com or call 01443 667800.
TAKE ON THE WONDERS OF
THE WIRRAL F
■ WALLASEY GOLF CLUB
our of the Wirral’s top links courses are once again set to host an amateur tournament open to adult male and female golfers. The Wirral Golf Classic, a 72-hole stableford competition, is open to golfers of all abilities, and will be played on Hoylake and three other links courses from September 18-22. The three other links, overlooking the rivers Dee and Mersey are Caldy, a qualifying venue for the 2012 Ricoh Women’s Open; Wallasey, final qualifying venue for the 2014 Open Championship; and Heswall, venue of The R&A’s Junior Championships. The entry fee is £269 per person for bookings made before May 1, which represents just over half the green fees of these clubs, and includes the opportunity to win over £3,000 worth of prizes from Titleist, as well as enjoy two social events. Started five years ago, the Wirral Classic regularly attracts over 200 golfers from the UK and abroad. For bookings and more details, visit www.wirralgolfclassic.co.uk.
1 in 12 play FREE The Vale Resort is the ideal society golf venue. Two championship courses – both with memorable and challenging holes you will want to play again and again.
OUR DAYS INCLUDE:
2017 society days at 2016 prices (when booked by 28 February 2017)
• • • • •
Tea/coffee and bacon roll 18 holes of championship golf Extensive menu choices FREE parking Pro-shop discount for prize purchases
Additional services available: • Full event management • Reserved buggies • Reserved lockers with towels • 3 course menu options • Driving range group tuition
01443 667957 | www.vale-hotel.com Hensol Park, Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan, CF72 8JY *Monday – Thursday, 1st April – 31st October 2017. Minimum 12 players.
TRAVEL COMPETITION | FEBRUARY 2017 
WIN A KENT LINKS GOLF BREAK! Golf News has teamed up with Golf in Kent to offer one lucky reader a two-night break to play a trio of Kent’s finest links courses. The winner and a partner will enjoy two night’s bed & breakfast accommodation at Prince’s Golf Club’s luxury Lodge, and then challenge themselves on the Open Qualifying championship links at Prince’s, Littlestone and North Foreland. With free-draining fairways guaranteed, and a trio of top links tracks to tackle, it’s the ultimate winter golfing break STAY
The Lodge at Prince’s, situated adjacent to the championship links of Prince’s, offers stunning views over Sandwich Bay and Kent’s White Cliffs. A range of accommodation is available that includes individual bedrooms, suites and apartments, all with en-suite facilities and modern essentials, such as an area for club storage and battery charging. The well-appointed rooms are ideal for a golfing break with a few friends or family, a small group or large societies. On-site facilities include a fully-equipped gym, snooker room, a lounge bar, sundowner terrace overlooking the golf course, and the modern, contemporary Brasserie on the Bay, 2 AA Rosette Star Restaurant, which serves seasonal produce and, wherever possible, Kentish suppliers are used to ensure a truly local dining experience of the highest quality.
PLAY The east coast of Kent, one of the premier golfing destinations in England, is home to some of the country’s finest golf courses, and you will be playing three of these. Prince’s offers all that is best in modern golf, with its 27 holes of championship links golf and its extensive practice facilities. Dating back to 1906, Prince’s has a rich golfing heritage, which includes the hosting of The Open Championship in 1932, when it was won by the legendary Gene Sarazen. North Foreland, established back in 1903, is ■ NORTH FORELAND a spectacular challenging cliff top course near
Broadstairs, with its panoramic sea views from every single hole; and finally, the hidden gem at Littlestone, dating back to 1888, which is an atmospheric championship links laid out on natural undulating land between Romney Marsh and the English Channel, that plays across fairly flat links land and its own set of sand dunes.
■ PRINCE'S GOLF CLUB
A host of other excellent golf courses and accommodation can be found in Kent, which is recognised as ‘A Golfer’s Paradise in the Garden of England’.
For more information on Golf in Kent, visit www.golfinkent.co.uk
TO ENTER Answer the question below and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, with ‘Kent Break Competition' in the subject line, together with your name, address and telephone number, and please include where you picked up your copy of Golf News. The prize, which must be taken before April 30, 2017, includes two nights’ B&B accommodation for two in a twin room between Monday to Thursday at The Lodge at Prince’s, and courtesy rounds at Prince’s, Littlestone and North Foreland. All tee times must be booked in advance. Both the room and the tee times are subject to availability. The closing date for entries is March 15, 2017. QUESTION: WHO WON THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP WHEN IT WAS HELD AT PRINCE’S GOLF CLUB IN 1932?
SOCIETY/ CORPORATE GOLF FROM
STAY & PLAY AT THE FOREST OF ARDEN IN 2017
FREE £100 VOUCHER
TO BE SPENT ON PRIZES IN THE GOLF SHOP WITH BOOKINGS OVER 20 GOLFERS*
CALL NOW TO BOOK 01554 744888 www.machynys.com Machynys Peninsula Golf Club & Premier Spa, Nicklaus Avenue, Machynys Llanelli. SA15 2DG
Call 01676 526 335, pop in or visit MarriottGolf.co.uk Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club Maxstoke Lane, Meriden, CV7 7HR
All prices per person. Terms & Conditions apply. Weekend Supplement of £5.00 per person* Applies to full seasonal rate only
subject to availability; prices vary throughout the year
1 NIGHT 2 ROUNDS, DINNER, BED & BREAKFAST FROM JUST £109 Follow in the footsteps of champions on the Championship Arden (British Masters & English Open) and play its more forgiving sister course, The Aylesford during your overnight stay, which also includes a hearty buffet dinner and a filling English breakfast. Options also available for 2 Night 3 rounds
 FEBRUARY 2017 | TRAVEL
BAGSOLO TAKES THE STRAIN OUT OF PLAYING AWAY
bags – 5kg more than British Airways, and 8kg more than most budget airlines. Already popular with club golfers throughout the UK, BagSOLO has recently joined forces with England Golf’s Member Benefits Programme, which has resulted in members enjoying a 10% discount on all BAGSolo bookings, making it even more cost-effective than renting clubs or paying excess baggage on flights. This means that MBP membership, which is free to join, allows travellers to have their clubs taken on a round trip to Scotland for as little as £51, or to Spain or Portugal for £70. Booking the service involves a simple fourstep process through the company’s website, and can be done up to two days before arrival date at the destination, if booking the express service. Bags are collected from a pick up address from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and delivered to the accommodation provider one day before arrival if required.
olfers can say goodbye to hassles at the airport, excess baggage fees, and worries over poor quality sets of hire clubs, thanks to BagSOLO, a golf equipment travel service that provides the ultimate convenience for holiday golfers. Launched last summer, BagSOLO couriers golf clubs around the world from door to door, removing the stress of travelling with your clubs. Working in partnership with world-leading courier services Fedex and UPS, BagSOLO offer golfers the luxury of personal delivery of their clubs. The service costs as little as £29 each way, and covers destinations in the UK, Europe, and the USA, amongst others. Prices to mainland Europe are on a par with the budget airlines, but have the added advantage of a generous weight allowance of 28kg for golf
For bookings, visit www.bagsolo.com.
SAVINGS FOR EARLY SUMMER BOOKINGS AT
LA MANGA C
ouples and families are being urged to snap up a last-minute bargain and enjoy savings of up to 10 per cent on sunshine breaks at Spain’s La Manga Cub throughout the year. Guests can take advantage of an array of discounts and other benefits when booking a holiday of five nights or more at the award-winning Murcia resort. Available from March 1 until the end of October, the discounted breaks are available at both La Manga’s five-star Hotel Principe Felipe and four-star Las Lomas Village apartments and townhouses.
In addition to outstanding sports facilities, the resort’s amenities include a 2,000sqm spa and fitness centre and new high performance sports centre. It also offers the choice of a five-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and townhouses, and more than 20 bars and restaurants. Five-night breaks for a family of four, staying in
a two-bedroom townhouse in Las Lomas Village, are available at La Manga Club from March 1 from only €702 (approx £615) inclusive of a 10 per cent discount. For more information, go to www.lamangaclub.com.
As well as offering resort credits of up to €75, special rates on a range of sports and activities are available, including golf, tennis, diving, cycling and watersports, while the resort’s new Golf Training Centre and 28-court tennis centre are ideal for those interested in improving their golf and tennis skills. All packages include complimentary use of La Manga Club’s fitness centre, indoor pool, saunas and steam rooms, free shuttle bus service and entry to the resort’s Junior Club for children aged five to 12 from Monday to Friday. Breaks are based on two people sharing a room.
Specialist Golf Travel Insurance from Holidaysafe.co.uk Cover for lost or damaged equipment up to £3,000 European and Worldwide policies available Cover for delayed equipment up to £1,000 Cover for pre-paid green fees up to £500 Single and Multi Trip policies available Cover starts from as little as £4.96 Visi t Ho lida ysa fe.c ‘GN o.uk/Go to s lf & ave 1617 ent 20% ’ er * on line
Holidaysafe is a trading name of Infinity Insurance Solutions Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the FCA: FRN 528912 © Reg Office: 1 Tower View, Kings Hill, West Malling, ME19 4UY. Company Reg: 4319592. *Please note, our online prices automatically include a 15% online discount. Entering code ‘GN1617’ gives you an extra 5% discount, making a total saving of 20% against our Customer Service Centre prices.
IT’S ADULTS-ONLY AT TENERIFE’S
MELIÁ HACIENDA DEL CONDE I
f the sound of kids splashing in the pool or babies screaming for more ice cream at dinner tends to put a dampener on your holiday, then you might want to consider booking your next golf break to Meliá Hacienda del Conde, a luxury boutique resort on Tenerife’s north coast that only caters for adults. Situated along the cliffs of Teno in the North West of Tenerife, Meliá Hacienda del Conde is located right next to Buenavista Golf Course, an 18-hole layout designed by the late Seve Ballesteros. Surrounded by a protected nature reserve, the adults-only retreat also overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, and makes for a romantic getaway at any time of year. Couples can enjoy quality time together over a game of golf, spa treatments, sunset dinners, coastal walks, or cultural excursions to nearby villages. Designed to replicate a luxury hacienda, Meliá Hacienda del Conde’s traditional Canary Islands colonial decor has been recently refreshed. The resort’s 77 rooms and 40 suites have an authentic design with local terracota tiles, dark wood and chocolate accents, offset against neutral tones. All rooms boast views of the golf course or the gardens and the ocean, and feature comfy beds, walk-in dressing room, lounge area and bathroom with an alcove bath and separate hydro massage shower. Buenavista, which opened in 2003, was recently rated as the leading golf course in Tenerife, and being the only links course on the island, offers a unique challenge. Golfers play between the striking Teno cliffs and the rocky Atlantic coast, while the ever-changing wind ensures that the course can play very differently from
day to day. Enticing elevated tee shots to wide fairways are among the course’s signature features, while large greens with clever undulations are also set to test your imagination. After a round, guests can relax in a large lagoon or infinity pool overlooking the ocean, as well as taking a dip in a saltwater pool on the edge of the Atlantic, located right next to the 16th hole. The YHI Spa boasts a range of hydrotherapy facilities, from a heated dynamic pool to Turkish bath, ice and bithermal showers, hydro massage and sauna. Eight treatment cabins are also available for guests to indulge in a variety of massages that use exclusive Pevonia products. Meliá Hacienda del Conde’s à la carte restaurant, Salazar, combines local tradition with more international flavours, while the Buffet Market serves an extensive range of cuisines. Guests can also unwind at the pool bar, sampling light snacks, and in the evening they can watch the sun go down on IKKO Bar’s terrace, which also features a fire pit. Double rooms, with breakfast included, cost from €160 in low season; and from €210 in high. For details of the latest packages, visit www.melia.com.
TRAVEL | FEBRUARY 2017
■ BUENAVISTA GOLF CLUB IS LOCATED RIGHT NEXT TO THE HOTEL
 FEBRUARY 2017 | TRAVEL COLUMN
OLD FAVOURITES AND NEW CLASSICS After covering this year’s Desert Classic, Sky Sport’s Sarah Stirk enjoys a mini-break in Dubai, revisiting some old friends and making a new one
IT'S A FUN TEST, EXTREMELY PLAYABLE, CHALLENGES YOUR CREATIVITY, AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY FOR ANY GOLF COURSE DESIGN, MAKES YOU WANT TO GO BACK FOR MORE
TEMPERATURES IN THE MID-20S and a quick direct flight time – what's not to love about Dubai in February? I stayed on after this year's Dubai Desert Classic to get my sunshine golfing fix. First up was the Majlis course at the Emirates Golf Club, which I played the day after the tournament. It's always a treat to cover an event and then follow in the pros’ footsteps, although I'm not sure following in Sergio's size nines is quite the right description for my game! The Majlis opened in 1988 and, at the time, was the only 18-hole grass course in the Middle East. It has more than stood the test of time, and is still without question one of the premier layouts in the region. It's renowned for its large, slick greens, which proved a real test. As well as being quick, I found them tough to read, but that's probably more of an indication of my performance with the flat stick than anything else. Still, more respect to Garcia, having witnessed first hand their trickery. The top pros have the brute strength to make mincemeat of the rough, but for us mere mortals, it's severely punishing. There are many photogenic holes on the course. I particularly love the view from the 8th tee, with the Manhattan-style skyline of the Middle East as the backdrop, while the 18th is a brilliant closing hole. A dogleft left gives you the option of reaching in two if you're long enough with your tee shot, or you can lay up, leaving about 100 yards for your third. Come up short with any sort of backspin, and you'll suffer Tiger's fate – a watery end! There has been plenty of hype surrounding the new Trump International course at Akoya by DAMAC. Don't let the ‘T’ word taint your view, as whatever your political persuasions, from a purely golfing viewpoint, it's a course you need to add to your bucket list. It's an absolute gem, and like nothing else in Dubai. It has the feel of Yas Links down the road in Abu Dhabi, another layout I'm a big fan of. Surrounded by desert, it has a strong links feel, with firm Bermuda fairways and plenty of undulations. It was designed by Gil Hanse, the man behind the Olympic layout in Rio, who spent time in the desert prior to construction to draw inspiration on how to shape the land. It has a very natural feel, is subtle, but not contrived, and is unique in its topography for this part of the world. Hanse also co-designed Castle Stuart in Scotland and Streamsong Black, the Red and Blue at the Floridian resort have been the subject of one of my previous columns. A few of the pros spent time practising there during the Desert swing, and the likes of Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Thomas Pieters and Tyrell Hatton were all forthcoming in
their praise. McDowell used the word 'authentic', a very apt description. I had the same feeling walking off the aforementioned Castle Stuart course as at Trump International. It's a fun test, extremely playable, challenges your creativity, and, most importantly for any golf course design, makes you want to go back for more. I'm so over playing courses that beat you up when you're not firing on all cylinders! The fairways are generous, there's minimal rough, and landing in the sandy waste areas doesn't necessarily lead to a dropped shot. The real test is on and around the greens, as it's a course that demands a sharp short game. The putting surfaces are pure and quick without being frightening. Hanse doesn't designate signature holes on his layouts – he wisely leaves the golfer to make their own mind up. I was a big fan of the par threes, notably the 5th and the 17th, and I loved the 7th – a strong par four with a barranca down the left – and the drivable par-4 12th. I also really enjoyed the challenge of the 18th. Again, generous off the tee, it demands a long and accurate second shot and with the 30,000 square-foot clubhouse as the backdrop, it's a sight to behold. Talking of which, Trump International is proud of its catering standards. The Italian executive chef, Fernando Galbiati, makes all his own bread and pasta and, take it from me, the coconut cheesecake and cappuccino sauce will put a smile on your face, whatever your score! Last on my list on this all-too-brief golfing sojourn was Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. As with the Emirates, it's been a firm fixture on the city's golfing landscape for many years, and is still a wonderful experience. It even hosted the Dubai Desert Classic for two years back in 1999 and 2000. When golfers play here they talk about the condition of the course and the setting, and I would definitely agree. It also has a lovely, intimate feel and with the splendour of the iconic sail-shaped clubhouse, it's the perfect place for a sundowner following your golfing exertions. The course is tricky, use your driver sparingly, and don't be upset if your ball gets wet! Get through 17 and 18 unscathed and you'll more than deserve a cold beer. I stayed at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, opposite the golf course, which is one of 12 Jumeirah properties in Dubai. It offers great access in and out of the city and features CU-BA, a sumptuous roof top bar, and the iconic Aviation Club, one of the original fitness clubs in Dubai, with a superb timetable of high-energy classes. There are plenty of luxury hotels in this Middle Eastern metropolis, but the Jumeirah’s customer service is always tough to beat. Roll on the DP World Tour Championship in November – Dubai, I'll be seeing you again soon!
PLAY EMIRATES GOLF CLUB, WWW.DUBAIGOLF.COM TRUMP INTERNATIONAL, WWW.TRUMPGOLFDUBAI.COM DUBAI CREEK GOLF & YACHT CLUB, WWW.DUBAIGOLF.COM
STAY ■ TRUMP INTERNATIONAL
JUMEIRAH CREEKSIDE HOTEL, WWW.JUMEIRAH.COM
TRAVEL | FEBRUARY 2017 
ROLLS OUT RED CARPET FOR LADIES WEEK
loria Hotels & Resorts will be rolling out the red carpet to welcome women golfers in 2017 as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations. The s five-star luxury resort in Belek on the Turkish Riviera celebrates 20 years since it opened its doors in 1997, and is hosting a series of exciting events to mark the occasion. One is the Gloria Ladies Open Week (April 23-30), including five tournament rounds on the New and the Old Courses – two rounds in a pairs format and three rounds for an individual Stableford competition. As well as the golf, there will also be a special celebration dinner and prize-giving events, 20% discounts on all spa treatments, a special gift for participants, and plenty of extra touches to make the most of the seven-night offer. Gloria's director of golf, David Clare, said: "It promises to be an excellent event. It's a fun and relaxing holiday environment at a special place on two fabulous golf courses. We hope women golfers across Europe will be keen to get involved and enjoy everything we have to offer here." Aside from the two 18-hole championship courses, there is also a nine-hole course and excellent practice facilities. The resort also boasts restaurants across the three hotels, as well as a range of spa and leisure facilities. The package includes seven nights' allinclusive accommodation; five rounds on Gloria Championship courses; room upgrade; free buggy or trolley and range balls on tournament days; celebration dinner; prizegiving and party; free food and beverages on tournament days at Gloria Golf Club; special gifts for tournament participants, and 20% discount on spa treatments. It is priced at €699 for golfers, and €549 for non-golfers. For further information or to make a reservation, contact Esra Arici at earici@ gloria.com.tr or call 0090 555 821 42 33.
DESTINATION DAYTONA FOR GOLFING FUN IN THE SUN
ith great weather, great beaches and world-class golf courses, it’s not surprising that Daytona Beach is one of Florida’s fastest growing golf destinations. The area is famous for its fairways designed by the legends of the sport, where golf lovers will discover over 20 outstanding courses to challenge every skill level. Located on the East coast of the Orange State, an easy hour’s easy drive from Orlando and central Florida’s numerous attractions, Daytona makes for a great beach and golfing escape. Daytona is home to the LPGA International, which runs events throughout the year, as well as offering two championship courses, the signature Rees Jones course, which offers 7,088 yards of links-style play, and the Arthur Hills designed course which challenges golfers with generous water and sand hazards. Other area courses also offer pro-worthy play, such as Indigo Lakes, consistently ranked as one of Florida's top 10 courses. Tee off surrounded by majestic live oaks and see a wealth of wildlife at the DeBary Golf & Country Club, or revel in the scenic fairways of the Pelican Bay Golf Club. Destination Golf offers packages from the UK starting from £829 per person, which include return flights from Gatwick to Orlando with Virgin Atlantic, seven nights’ accommodation at the Daytona Beach Resort based on two sharing, plus seven days’ compact car rental. In addition, the golf package includes four rounds at four different courses for £150 per person.
To book your next Daytona Beach golf holiday, visit www.destinationgolf.co.uk or call 01737 771613.
Tee & Trophy Tournament
LUXURY GOLF HOLIDAY SPECIALIST CHAKA TRAVEL invite you to enjoy this golf and gastronomy holiday on the wonderful island of Mauritius. Staying at Long Beach Golf & Spa Resort you will be treated to a catamaran lobster lunch among other culinary treats by chef Chef Jean-Pierre Vigato of Apicius restaurant in Paris. Former European Tour Player Christophe Ravetto will lead the tournament starting with your first round of golf at Ile Aux Cerfs, the unique golf course which is located on its’ own island. This tournament will run from the 4th – 12th March 2017.
Flights from the UK 7 nights at Long Beach Golf & Spa Resort Half Board 2 tournament rounds Ile Aux Cerfs and 2 at Anahita Golf Course Buggies, range balls and prize giving ceremony Departs 3rd March – extra nights available
Long Beach Golf & Spa Resort, Mauritius
To enquire about this holiday please contact Chaka Travel – T: 02890 232112 or email@example.com
 FEBRUARY 2017 | TRAVEL
LUXURY LODGINGS ON OFFER AT
ocated 30 minutes west of Lisbon, on Portugal’s Estoril Coast, Oitavos is a familyowned resort set among the natural dunes of the stunning Sintra Cascais National Park. A four-time host of the Portuguese Open since it opened in 2001, Oitavos’s dramatic coastal location provides the backdrop to a superbly entertaining 6,300-metre, par 71 course. Designed by American architect Arthur Hills, the layout is a rare mixture of woodland and links-style golf, with the first half dozen holes played among the trees, before opening out to the more dramatic holes besides the sea, and then returning to the woods for the last two holes. The signature hole is the parthree 14th, a scary-looking 165-yarder played across a deep storm ravine. Practice facilities include a 300m double-ended driving range, and two putting greens. The golf offering is backed up by a stylish
five-star hotel, set within the national park, which opened in 2010. Designed with sleek lines and elegant interiors, the hotel offers 142 spacious rooms, two suites, and for those looking for the ultimate escape, a onebedroom private villa that stands apart from the resort, which features its own pool and comes with a personal butler. Other facilities include four restaurants, three bars, an organic spa, equestrian centre, and a tennis and squash club. There’s also a surf school. For culture vultures, the cobbled streets of Cascais are a short walk along the coast, while the UNESCO World Heritage town of Sintra is a 10-minute drive from the resort.
■ OITAVOS DUNES OFFERS A MIX OF PARKLAND, LINKS AND WOODLAND GOLF
Three nights’ B&B with two rounds of golf at Oitavos Dunes costs from £285pp. For details of the latest golf packages, visit www.yourgolftravel.com.
GASTRO GOLF OFFERS TASTE OF THE GOOD LIFE N ew golf travel company Gastro Golf offers golfers with a passion for stunning courses and exceptional food, the opportunity to book their most memorable ever-golfing holiday. The Cheshire-based tour operator, which is a member of IAGTO, provides golf holidays with a ‘gastronomic twist’ – combining the opportunity to play on some of the world's finest golf courses, and stay in luxury hotels, and enjoy memorable culinary and cultural experiences. Gastro Golf's tailor-made breaks are perfect for those who want to expand their overall golfing experience by sampling the best local food and wines found in destinations such as the Algarve, Lisbon and Porto in Portugal; the Costa Brava, Costa Dorada and Barcelona regions of Catalonia; as well as other golf and gastronomically rich regions of France, Italy and Spain.
Company founder John Sullivan said: "Gastro Golf combines all the right ingredients for a truly memorable golf break, including personal service both here in the UK and in the destination. Great locations, first class accommodation, and the chance to relax and enjoy great golf, food, wine and traditional culture is what we are all about.” Gastro Golf can build any combination of golf experience that clients require, at the same time providing off-the-shelf packages and the opportunity for guests to play in Open amateur and pro-am events throughout Europe. In 2017, Gastro Golf will be including a number of featured Gastro Golf Tours, some of which will include PGA professional coaching or tournaments. For more information, visit www.gastrogolf.co.uk, call 0161 612 3319, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Golf Holidays in the Luxury Golf Travel & Event Specialists
MYRTLE BEACH from £440pp! ORLANDO from £420pp! ARIZONA from £470pp! PINEHURST from £480pp! HILTON HEAD from £460pp!
Stay & Play Packages Mayakoba El Camaleon Golf Course,
Front 9 Bermuda South Africa Mauritius Mexico St Kitts & Nevis USA Oman Dominican Republic Dubai
available on request. +44(0)1494 875 165 www.agolfingexperience.co.uk
Prices include - 7 nights in 3* hotel or self-catering, 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 - PEBBLE BEACH - SAWGRASS - CHARLESTON
Europe and South Africa please call:
EAGLE GOLF TOURS 01273 419111
or go to: www.eaglegolftours.com
TRAVEL | FEBRUARY 2017
Former Olympic 400m hurdler Kriss Akabusi loves hitting the fairways of the Algarve and the beaches in LA
get them on the grill, have a few beers, and play cards. Happy days.
My worst holiday experience was... ■ THE PESTANA PALACE HOTEL IN LISBON
■ WOBURN GOLF CLUB'S MARQUESS COURSE
My first ever holiday was to…Butlins in Minehead. I was brought up in a children’s home in the 1960s, and we used to get taken on trips to places like Clacton, Skegness and Bognor. A whole load of us from the home would tear around the place for a week. I remember lots of candyfloss, sticks of rock, fish and chips, and plenty of activities to try and tire us all out. My most recent holiday was to… France and Spain. I took the family on a road trip last summer, driving all the way from Calais through France, and then into
Spain. We stopped off in Biarritz for a few days and then drove on to Madrid, and then on to La Manga. We had a week down there, relaxing, playing golf, football, and swimming, and then drove all the way back. We had a great time, and got to see all of the sights that you miss when you fly somewhere.
the driver I can spend a lot of time in the trees - they call me the ‘Woburn Woodpecker’.
My favourite golf course in the UK is... the Marquess Course at Woburn. I’ve been a member at Woburn for ages, and love all three courses to varying degrees, although the Duchess is tough. I play off 18, and if I’m having a bad day with
My favourite golf resort is...Royal Westmoreland in Barbados. I’ve only played the course once – with Gary Lineker – but I was blown away by the whole place. I also like the resorts on the Algarve in Portugal
The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island
My ideal holiday fourball would include...John Regis and Brian Whittle, my two best mates from my athletics’ days, and Tiger Woods could make up the numbers just to see who he’d turn up with!
I love all the Quinta courses, and I’m a big fan of Laranjal. The weather’s always great down there. The whole place is set up for golf. You can a play a different course every day for two weeks, and there’s always a buzz, with lots of great restaurant and bars.
I always travel with...my technology. When I’m away on business, I always have my iPad and iPhone to hand, and my Kindle. I don’t read novels, I prefer business books. The nicest hotel I've ever stayed in was... the Pestana Palace in Lisbon. Although it’s not what I would call ‘luxury’, the service was superb from check-in to departure. I was there on business, but everything was
very personal and it felt like a home from home. My favourite city in the world is... Los Angeles. I used to go there every winter for training in Irvine, which is near Newport Beach. It became a second home for me. I love everything about it – the climate, the beaches, the food. You can play golf, go surfing – there’s so much entertainment. I’ve been back with the family, and done Disneyland and all that. My most memorable holiday meal was… a beach BBQ in LA back in my competing days. Daley Thompson used to hire a private beach house and we’d all get together, bring along some steaks, fresh fish,
hard to say. I’m not really one for dwelling on the negative side of things, so I’ll always look to remember the good times. I’ve had my luggage go missing a few times, but nothing dramatic.
it was very forgettable, and all for $500. I much preferred Spyglass Hill – that was beautiful.
I'm planning a golf trip to... the Algarve. I’m going out there twice this year. First with a group of mates, and then later with some business connections. I do at least four or five golf trips a year. Life’s too short not to. I’m 58,
■ ROYAL WESTMORELAND, BARBADOS
The golf course I’d most like to play is… Augusta National. I know I never will, but I’ll put it out there in case someone knows someone! I played Pebble Beach last year and was totally underwhelmed by it. A few good holes by the sea, but the rest of
so I might not have too many golfing summers left in me.
My top travel tip is ...to leave your work worries at home. Holidays are about ‘recreation’ – don’t bring your work stresses with you – switch off and relax.
Kriss Akabussi is a motivational speaker and business consultant. For more details visit www.akabusi.com.
The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island
Oak Point Golf Course, Kiawah Island
Wild Dunes Links Course, Isle of Palms
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