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New Drivers Go To The Dark Side

INSIDE: Tiger Woods Interview Win A Golf Day For Twelve Travel Feature: Abu Dhabi Adam Gee Exclusive Ewen Murray’s Column



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PROGRESSIVE DESIGN The progressive set design of the i20 Iron allows for high-launching long irons and penetrating short irons. This enables the golfer to execute even the most demanding shots and ultimately get the most from their game. The multi-metal composition aids overall performance, helping golfers to hit precise yardages.

For more information visit

i20ironputter_262x80.indd 1

©2012 PING 82000 PHOENIX, AZ 85071

06/02/2012 15:25




PACKAGE • English Breakfast Muffin with Tea / Coffee

£70 per person

Monday – Thursday

• 18 Holes of Golf on International Course • Soup at Halfway House • Traditional Kentish Main Meal • Inclusive of Range Balls and use of Practice Facilities Available Monday – Thursday from 1st November to 31st March subject to availability. Must be booked in advance. To book, please contact the club on 01474 879899. E: | W: London Golf Club, Stansted Lane, Ash, KENT TN15 7EH

February 2012 / Issue 207

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Winter Specials

Golf News, The Studio, 14 Deanway, Hove, East Sussex BN3 6DG. Tel: 01273 556377. email: Website: Managing Director Matt Nicholson

Marketing Director Andy Martin

Editor Nick Bayly


Advertising Production Kath Perry

Contributors Paul Mahoney, Clive Agran, Ewen Murray, Denis Pugh, Alistair Tait, Luke Donald

Photography Kevin Murray ( Action Images, James Cheadle IN A WORLD OF CLUBS Follow usTHAT on: LOOK BETTER THAN THEY PERFORM, AN EXCEPTION.

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New Drivers Go To The Dark Side

at Singing Hills Golf Course


INSIDE: Tiger Woods Interview Win A Golf Day For Twelve Travel Feature: Abu Dhabi Adam Gee Exclusive Ewen Murray’s Column



PROGRESSIVE DESIGN The progressive set design of the i20 Iron allows for high-launching long irons and penetrating short irons. This enables the golfer to execute even the most demanding shots and ultimately get the most from their game. The multi-metal composition aids overall performance, helping golfers to hit precise yardages.

For more information visit

PRONews SHOP 38 MATTFITTING LE TISSIER 47 || pro ME AND MYp38 TRAVELS 49 | p42 BREAKS 42Le |TIssIer CLUB p47 FITTING 36-37 Dave Lee p16 | Tour p32 | CLuB p36-37 sHop | BreaKs | MaTT | Me aND MY TraveLs p49

Editor’sview email:

Membership has its privileges As many golf club members face the decision of whether to renew their memberships or join the growing mass of nomadic golfers who have no golfing home to call their own, there are more than just simple economics to consider. Of course, being a member of a club is not a small outlay in itself, but for those that have the time and the inclination, it must surely be one of the cheapest activities going in terms of pounds per hours, with perhaps the exception of fishing (which is nothing more than antisocial time wasting). Being a member of a golf club is hard to justify for a lot of wage slaves (i.e. most of us), but justify it we do on the basis that it’s good exercise, it gets you out in the fresh air, and can be quite a lot of fun (especially when the putter is behaving). But above all, it’s an extremely sociable activity that brings together likeminded people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

In our dislocated age of home working and voiceless communication, getting together with people who aren’t colleagues, family members, or sometimes even close friends (those roll ups tend to produce some odd fourballs, don’t they?) is good for the soul. The social benefits of belonging to a club easily outweigh the financial cost, which equates to no more than a nice meal out each month. So when your renewal notice hits the doormat this year, or, more likely, comes via the ether into your inbox, don’t think about your car insurance or other such life-draining outgoings, think about the high fives your mates give you after you eagle the difficult 12th for the first time; think about the barman offering his usual consolations after yet another ruined medal score; and think of the cheery hellos, hiyas and see you next weeks, as you walk through the club car park on a Saturday morning. You can’t put a price on that, can you?

The Singing Hills Winter Fourball Package 1st December 2011 – 31st March 2012 The Singing Hills Winter Fourball package consists of full English breakfast on arrival and 18 holes of golf for 4 people

Monday to Friday £80 Please note this offer is subject to availability

Become a member of Singing Hills Golf Course No joining fee for a limited period only - Saving

up to £500pp! To book or for more information on these Winter offers please call 01273 835353 Singing Hills Golf Course Ltd, Muddleswood Road, Albourne, West Sussex, BN6 9EB

3, 6, or 9 months Free Membership There’s never been a better time to join Shirley Park Golf Club and participate in 50 Club competitions, golf events, monthly and midweek medals, matches, league golf and (unlike other clubs) as a member you don’t need to book your tee time (except Sunday mornings). You just turn up and play whenever you like. We have an arrangement with four neighbouring clubs to play three free games of golf at their clubs every year which is 12 more FREE games of golf. You can join Shirley Park and pay our joining fee over three years if you want, or here’s what you get if you take up our 369 offer: Pay one third of your Joining Fee now (£330) – and we’ll give you 3 months Free Membership Pay two thirds of your Joining Fee now (£660) – and we’ll give you 6 months Free Membership Pay the whole Joining Fee up front now (£960) – and we’ll give you 9 months Free Membership We hold regular social events with a meal or buffet and live entertainment. We have quiz and race nights, parties, 2 snooker tables, a giant screen in our lounge and plasma TV in our Players Bar for golf, cricket, tennis, Ryder Cup, Olympics and World Cup. We really enjoy our golf at Shirley Park but our functions and social evenings are an important part of being a member. Oh and by the way, we celebrate our Centenary in 2014 with loads of extra events which will, of course, be open to all Members – like you?

visit or call 020 8654 1143 and quote ‘369’ offer T H E ‘ 3 6 9 ’ O F F E R I S L I M I T E D TO T H E F I R S T 2 0 S U CC E S S F U L A P P L I C A N TS

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February 2012 / Issue 207

There’s Links at the end of the tunnel

Hayling Golf Links Limited Country Membership - Be a country member of one the truly great links courses in the South East. Hayling Golf Club is even more accessible to country membership with the opening of the new Hindhead tunnel on the A3. The journey from Surrey, Berkshire and South London will only take a short while.

Just think, being a member of a great links course is now a real possibility. With the 50 mile restriction anywhere North of Guildford allows you to join Hayling Golf Club.

For further information call: 02392 464491 or email: Hayling G olf Clu b, Links L ane, H ayling Island, Hants, PO11 OBX

The finest downland course in Sussex...

Buckinghamshire Golf Club, home to the Ladies European Tour’s headquarters, is to host a new event on the Ladies European Tour this summer. The inaugural ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters, which takes place from August 16-18, will have a prize fund of £300,000 and is expected to attract some of the world’s best female golfers to the south of England. Speaking at the launch of the new tournament, Alexandra Armas, executive director of the LET, said: “The Ladies European Tour is delighted to be launching this exciting new event at our headquarters in the UK. Located just 20 minutes from central London, the tournament will bring women’s golf right onto the doorstep of the capital just after The Olympic Games. With a first-class venue and substantial prize money, it will attract a world-class line up of competitors and we encourage all golf fans to come and enjoy watching Europe’s finest women golfers put on a magnificent show.” Buckinghamshire Golf Club, which boasts an 18-hole parkland course designed by John Jacobs, has hosted a number of top amateur and professional tournaments since it first opened in 1992, including The Senior Tournament of Champions from 1996-2000, the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf European Final in 1997, and The Kingdom of Bahrain Trophy in 2007. John O’Leary, who has

Buckinghamshi host Ladies Tou

From left: ISPS Ambassador Laura Davies, Midori Miyazaki, Executive Director of International Affairs at ISPS, John O’Leary, Director of Golf at Buckinghamshire Golf Club and Alexandra Armas, Executive Director of the LET

been golf director at the club for the past 15 years, said: “On behalf of everyone at Buckinghamshire Golf Club, we thank Dr Handa and ISPS for bringing the Ladies British Masters here to us. We look forward to welcoming the players, media, guests and spectators to a world class Ladies European Tour golf event in August.” The chairman of Japanbased sponsor International Sports Promotion Society, is Dr Haruhisa Handa, a wellknown philanthropist who is involved with supporting the development of golf within disabled groups, including the Japanese Blind Golfers’ Society. He said: “The British Ladies Masters occupies a prime summer slot in the 2012 sporting calendar, immediately after the

Green fee visitors welcome Winter Green fees from £27 Winter County Cards £18 Winter 4Ball & Bar Snack £110 For a brochure and more information call Sue on: 01323 892442, e-mail: or visit:

Early Spring Special - £99 on Sunday and Monday nights to book call: 01323 892442


The Buckinghamshire is no

Norfolk cl

Bookings now being taken for our Dormy House open March to November 2012 Twin bed en-suite rooms with a five course dinner, bed & full english breakfast, including two rounds of golf from £80 in March to £143 in high summer per person per night

Olympic Games, and a week before the Paralympic Games, offering an ideal opportunity for ISPS to further promote our mission for golf to become a paralympic sport and to further raise the profile of blind and disabled golf. ISPS does such valuable work in taking golf to this audience, and in actively

Former members buy Kent & Surrey Two former members of a golf club in Kent have achieved almost every golfers’ dream by buying the course they’ve played on for so many years. David Taylor and Richard Thorpe bought The Kent and Surrey Golf and Country Club in December last year. Both are past members of the club and are keen to see it return to its glory days following, what has been an unsettled recent history. The pair have wasted no time in getting their substantial investment plans for the club into action, with the renovation of all the course’s bunkers currently under way, while a total of eight tees are also being rebuilt. In changes off the course, the club’s professional’s shop is being brought back into the main clubhouse, while PGA professional Chris Lightfoot, who joined the club from West Malling last year, has been promoted to the position of head professional. The club is looking to build up its already very strong junior section, and there are plans to launch a series of Pro-Ams later this year. David Taylor told Golf News: “It’s a great opportunity to take the club onto the next level. The course has always had great greens, and with the word out that the club is being invested in, past members are starting to rejoin, and everyone is looking forward to the plans we have for the future.”

In a sign of the difficult economic times facing some rural golf clubs in the UK, a course in Norfolk is to be returned to its former use as farmland after failing to attract enough support from local players. Put on the market for £1.6milion, The Norfolk Golf and Country Club was sold last month for an undisclosed sum, with the new owners planning to revert the 160-

New club

An artist impression of the new clubhouse at Richmond Park

February 2012 / Issue 207

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ire to ur event raising participation in blind and disabled golf across the world.” Ladies European Tour player Laura Davies, who is one of a number of top stars who have already committed to taking part in the latest addition to the LET schedule, said: “I am very happy to be playing in this new tournament and over such a beautiful course as the Buckinghamshire. I am delighted to continue my support for ISPS as an ambassador, and am honoured to support their cause and Paralympic mission.” The Ascot-based player also made no secret of her delight at being able to sleep in her own home between rounds. “It will be a challenging tournament, with a strong field, and I’m extremely pleased to be playing an event so close to home.”

o stranger to hosting top-class golf events

Walk the Woosie this Winter Between 7th November 2011 & 31st March 2012

£25.00 per person Monday to Friday to include Coffee & Bacon Roll, 18 holes of Golf and a One Course Meal Minimum of 4 people and with 12 or more Organiser goes free subject to availability & can’t be used in conjunction with other offers

Grove to host Pelz scoring schools Amateur golfers looking to seriously sharpen up their short games should consider booking into one of the Dave Pelz Scoring Game Schools being held at The Grove this summer. Pelz, who is one of the leading short game coaches in the world, is bringing his renowned three-day short game tuition courses to the five-star resort in Chandlers Cross. The Grove, which hosted the Amex WGC Championship in 2006, will host the courses in April, May, June and July, with places being offered on a strictly first come, first served basis. Pelz has worked with some of the biggest names in the professional game, including wedge wizard Phil Mickelson, and his services are highly sought after the world over.

The intensive courses, which are run by highlytrained coaches picked by Pelz, cost £1,500 per person. They have a student/teacher ratio of just four to one, and early booking is advisable via the Pelz website,, or by calling 00 353 1 689 3030. Each course includes an analysis of each student’s game, classroom theory sessions and outdoor sessions, with students using a variety of high-tech teaching aids to develop their skills. Those wishing to stay at the resort during the courses are being offered a £100 discount off the standard single or double room rate. For more information visit or call 01923 296010.

club to revert to farmland Norfolk Golf & Country Club

acre site to farmland. Kay Griffiths, spokesperson for selling agents Savills

Leisure, said: “The conversion of the golf course back to farmland is a reflection of

pressure that has been faced by some rural golf club owners, who are subject to a lot of competition in a challenging economic climate. In the case of The Norfolk it was concluded that in light of declining income and continually increasing costs, the golf business was no longer viable.” The club, which was owned by Kate and Ray Barlow, shut on Christmas Eve.

bhouse for Richmond Park Richmond Park Golf Course in Surrey, one of the busiest and most popular public facilties in the south east of England, has been given the go-ahead to build a new clubhouse. The new facilities, which include a café area and an enlarged and improved pro shop, are due to open in late 2012. Richmond Park, which offers two 18-hole public golf courses, is managed and run by Glendale Golf, who took on the lease in October 2004. The development of the new clubhouse was part of the initial contract agreement between Glendale and the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, although planning permission for the development was only granted in December last year. The new building will provide golfers with a wide range of facilities, including a large reception area, function rooms, professional’s shop, club rooms, changing facilities and a café with views over the courses. A new car park is also being constructed to provide 164 spaces, and there are plans for a 20-bay driving range and a new academy course.

Dale Hill To book please contact our Golf Office on 01580 201800 or E-mail Dale Hill Hotel & Golf Club

Ticehurst, Wadhurst, East Sussex, TN5 7DQ

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February 2012 / Issue 207

Player adds star quali

Just gets better & better Summer Society Packages from £26 Green Fees from £15 Membership from £64

The Ridge Golf Club, Chartway Street, Sutton Valence, Maidstone, ME17 3JB. Tel: 01622 844382. Web:

South African golfing legend Gary Player will join victorious European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie as part of a star-studded cast being lined up to appear at Golf Live in May. Player, who won nine Major titles during a glittering career that included 165 victories worldwide, will be on hand to display his full array of talents in a variety of clinics and skills challenges when the show is held at London Golf Club from May 18-20. In addition, the 76-yearold, who is the only non-American to have won all four Grand Slam tournaments, will meet and pass on advice to visitors throughout the three-day show. James Goode, Golf Live’s event director, said: “It’s our aim at Golf Live to attract some of the biggest names in golf, and they don’t come much bigger than Gary Player. The word ‘legend’ is often used in the world of sport, but it truly applies to a man who has broken down barriers during his time in the game. He has been responsible for taking golf to a whole new level through first his career, then his work as a golf designer, as well as devoting much of his life

Gary Player is one of a host of big name stars due to attend Golf Live

to philanthropic efforts. We are honoured that he has agreed to attend this year’s event, which we are planning to make the biggest and best yet.” Player said: “The world of golf is evolving all the time and I’m delighted to have been asked to be a part

Love Golf? Treat yourself at Kingswood in 2012... Kingswood Golf and Country Club... Golf Memberships – Innovative membership from £299.00 a year Corporate & Society golf days – Summer packages from £72.50 per person Green Fees – Available 7 days a week & you can book online (Mon – Fri £65.00 | Sat & Sun £72.50 | Twilight from £25.00)

“Wow. Just ‘wow’. What a course! Beautiful fairways, immaculate greens, fantastic facilities, friendly staff – probably the best course I’ve ever played. Truly a wonderful golfing experience” Stuart Crawford, November 2011

Kingswood G&CC, Sandy Lane, Kingswood, Surrey KT20 6NE | Tel No. 01737 832188

Golf Clubs back ‘lighter later’ campaign A government-backed bill to extend the UK’s daylight hours has received wide support by golf clubs. An ongoing survey by the Golf Club Managers’ Association has found that the majority of club managers support the campaign for ‘double summertime’, which would see the UK’s clocks being moved forward by an hour. The poll of over 160 club managers revealed that over 50 per cent of clubs would support what is called the ‘Lighter Later’ campaign, which is also endorsed by England Golf. However, a significant 30% of managers said their club would not support it. Speaking about the results of the survey, Keith Lloyd, chief executive of the GCMA, said: “The effect would be to have more daylight in the evenings and consequently have darkness for longer in the mornings. Advantages cited for golf would be for golfers to have more time to play after work and possibly

increase secondary spend in food and beverage sales, against which would be the opposite for early morning golfers of course, and the added complication of course staff being delayed in the preparation of the course in wintertime.” “The responses from the north of the country were not necessarily all against the change, which was slightly surprising given that the further north one lives, the more impact it has on darker mornings in wintertime,” added Mr Lloyd. Among those vehemently opposed to the Lighter Later campaign is Neil Sjoberg, owner and manager at Epping Golf Club in Essex. He believes that darker mornings would have a negative effect on revenues and not be popular among the legions of golfers who like to tee off early. “All golf courses are busiest in the morning and pretty quiet after 11am,” Mr Sjoberg said. “True, we might benefit slightly from weekday

of Golf Live. I love coming to the UK and to have the opportunity to interact with the crowd is very exciting.” Golf Live offers unrivalled opportunities for visitors to interact with the biggest names in golf and this year’s event – the third time it has been held – promises to be summer evenings, but we will lose one hour of golf every morning from our prime earning time. I can show you my booking sheets for the last 15 years that prove this. Some of my members start at 6.30am throughout the year and use flashing balls for the first few holes when it is still dark. Attractive though it may seem to gain more afternoon daylight, the big earner morning hour loss is very serious indeed.” However, a spokesman for the campaign pointed out the broader issue for the wider community. He said: “An extra hour of daylight in the afternoon and evening is equivalent to a 20 per cent increase in after work/ school capacity of community clubs due to the potential increase in evening use, the most popular part of the day for most activities. The extra hour in the evening would reduce energy costs for clubs and reduce unmet demand for these facilities from activities that could, after the clock change, take place in daylight. Even a conservative 10 per cent increase in activity would result in 750,000 extra sessions of some of our most popular sports.” The Daylight Savings Bill had its third reading in the House of Commons on January 20, but met with strong resistance by many northern MPs, and is therefore unlikely to progress beyond the House of Commons report stage.

February 2012 / Issue 207

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ity to Golf Live no exception. Previous shows have featured Montgomerie, Ian Poulter, Darren Clarke, Paul Casey, Catriona Matthew, Carly Booth and a host of top coaches including David Leadbetter and Denis Pugh. Event ambassador Montgomerie has already signed up to return for 2012, and a strong line up of players from both the men’s and ladies’ Tours is set to be announced to appear alongside him and Player in the run-up to May. The show will also feature the latest equipment from all the major manufacturers when golfers will have the best opportunity this year to test more clubs than anywhere else. Brands including TaylorMade, Callaway, Wilson, Cleveland, Mizuno, Yonex and Cobra have already signed up to the event and will showcase their equipment on the

specially-constructed 30-bay driving range. Other exhibitors already confirmed for the event include Titleist, PUMA, Srixon,, Celtic Manor, Oakley, Trendy Golf and Druh Belts. With so many clubs to try, golfers will want to ensure their swing is in top condition and can do just that with free coaching on offer from a host of fully-qualified professionals, as well as picking up tips from the Tour players throughout the day. In addition, visitors can discover the hottest golfing destinations, latest fairway fashions, cutting-edge gameimprovement gadgets and everything else golf-related. Tickets cost £20 for adults, while under-18s can get free entry when accompanied by a paying adult. For more information, or to buy tickets, visit

Last year’s impressive line-up

Tree on fire in South Africa Sussex amateur Toby Tree (pictured extreme left) enjoyed a stunning start to a six-week stay in South Africa by winning the Gauteng North Open at Pecanwood Golf Club, near Johannesburg. The 17-year-old from Worthing Golf Club, who is a member of the England U18 Squad, finished the four-round tournament on 17-under par to win by two shots from South Africa’s Zander Lombard. Victory looked remote when Tree’s opening 69 left him eight strokes behind Scotsman Paul Shields, who shot a sensational 61 in the first round. But while Shields added a second round 75, Tree secured two eagles, including a two at the 18th hole, to romp round in 66 for 135, leaving him a shot behind the new leader Lombard, who added 68 to his opening 66. Round three saw Tree sign for eight birdies, three coming at the closing three holes, in another 66, which saw him edge a shot in front of Lombard going into the final day. Then, despite an eagle and four birdies, he carded 70 yet increased his advantage over Lombard who returned a 71. Overall, Tree recorded three eagles and 21 birdies in his four rounds.

£ ON 16 L Y

Golding’s gunning for Senior glory London-based former European Tour professional Philip Golding is polishing up his shoes and dusting off his clubs in readiness for a crack at some of the big prizes on offer on the 2012 European Seniors Tour. The Luton-born professional turns 50 on July 25, which, as luck would have it, is the day before the Senior Open Championship gets under way at Turnberry. Golding, who will – obviously – be the youngest player in the field, is desperate to get back into competitive action against his contemporaries after several years spent playing against youngster half his age on the Challenge Tour. Golding’s one and only victory of the European Tour came at the French Open in 2003, when he was already at the tender age of 41. His prize of €416,660 was more than twice as much as he had ever won in a complete season before that year, and he went on to finish the season in a career best 32nd place on the Order of Merit. Golding has been a regular fixture at the European Tour’s qualifying school, and in 2007 he stretched his record to 18 appearances. He finally dropped off the main tour in 2008, and has been competing on the Challenge Tour ever since, where his best placed finish was runner up in the Kenya Open in 2009. Joining Golding for his rookie season are a host of big names from the past, including former Ryder Cup player Phillip Walton, Spaniard Miguel Angel Martin and Scotland’s Stephen McAllister, who can claim a total of eight tour wins between them.

Free Society Guide out now! Complimentary Copy

The Ultimate Guide

Society & Company Golf 2012 Your complete guide to the best Society & Corporate venues

golfguide_2012_(master)andy.indd 1

20/12/11 14:05:19


Golf News’ Ultimate Guide to Society & Company Golf 2012 is now available. This has been a must-have publication for every golf society organiser for many a year, and now it’s even bigger and better than before, with a new look, size and style. Featuring many of the UK’s finest clubs and courses, predominantly located in the South East, this indispensible, handy, full-colour booklet provides all the information you’ll ever need to make your golf day a success. Among details included are up-to-date prices and packages for societies and visitors, information on tee time restrictions, comprehensive directions and local accommodation tips, as well as detailed descriptions of all the courses, with full colour photographs. For your free copy of The Ultimate Guide, please email your Society or Company name to:

FESTIVAL OF G OLF AT MANNINGS HEATH GOLF CLUB MONDAY 26TH MARCH TO THURSDAY 5TH APRIL 2012 Come and play 18 holes on our breathtaking Kingfisher Course at a stunningly reduced price of £16 per person and enjoy a juicy burger and fresh salad in our Spike Bar after your round!


+44 (0) 1403 210228

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

visit our new website

www. rookwoodgolf. including our Golf Society Day Wizard

Golf Society Days March & October Spring and Autumn specials that offer great value for money


A yuletide golfing treat, available from 1st December to 22nd December

• Coffee & bacon roll • 18-holes of golf • Chef’s dish of the day £26.00 per person (midweek) – £23.00 with Pre-Pay £33.50 per person (weekend) – £31.00 with Pre-Pay

• Coffee & bacon roll • 18-holes of golf • Hot toddy at the halfway cabin • Festive turkey dinner £30.50 per person (midweek) – £27.50 with Pre-Pay £40.50 per person (weekend) – £38.00 with Pre-Pay

April to September

August Olympic Saver

Sunshine and golf – there’s no better combination!


THE BRONZE PACKAGE • Coffee & bacon roll • 18-holes of golf £25.50 per person (midweek) – £21.50 with Pre-Pay £30.50 per person (weekend) – £28.00 with Pre-Pay THE SILVER PACKAGE • Coffee & bacon roll • 18-holes of golf • Ham, egg & chips £31.00 per person (midweek) – £27.00 with Pre-Pay £36.00 per person (weekend) – £33.50 with Pre-Pay *Terms and Conditions Apply

Christmas Special

THE GOLD PACKAGE • Coffee & bacon roll • 18-holes of golf • Three course presentation dinner £40.50 per person (midweek) – £36.50 with Pre-Pay £45.00 per person (weekend) – £43.00 with Pre-Pay

Why not try one of our summer BBQ packages this August? • Coffee & bacon roll • 18 holes of golf • Summer BBQ £34.00 per person (midweek) – £26.50 with Pre-Pay £39.00 per person (weekend) – £36.50 with Pre-Pay

Visit our website for more details on these other money saving deals Bulk Buggy Hire Savings

Try before you buy!

Save 25% with our Vouchers

£50 Attendance Bonus

10 buggies Just £190!*

Save on your golf day prizes!*

Call 01403 252123 or visit Rookwood Golf Course, Robin Hood Lane, Warnham, West Sussex. RH12 3RR

And get a refund on your 4-ball green fees* To spend in the bar if your full group turns up*

Great Golf, Great Deals

February 2012 / Issue 207

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Golf News has teamed up with Silvermere Golf Course to offer one lucky reader the chance to invite 11 other friends, colleagues or golf society members for a free golf day at the renowned Surrey venue. Set on a prime site of countryside between Cobham and Byfleet – and just three minutes from the M25 /A3 intersection – Silvermere offers a par 71 course set among both woodland and parkland, and is one of the bestmaintained and most challenging public golf courses in the region. In addition to the quality of the course, the superb practice facilities, the renowned Doug McClelland’s Golf Superstore, and the wonderful hospitality on offer at the famous Inn on the Lake, it is the personal service and attention to detail that makes Silvermere such an attractive destination for golf societies and golfers of all skill levels, from beginners to tour professionals. The lucky winner of the prize draw will be able to choose a midweek date of their choice during the month of August (except Bank Holidays) to play the course with a group of up to 12 people, while further places can be added for an additional charge of £37 per person. Dates are subject to availability and the prize is non-transferable. Your golf day package prize will start with an afternoon round of 18 holes on the stunning championship course, and round off with a three-course evening meal at the Inn on the Lake’s superb bistro. In addition to the prize draw, any golf society organiser who books a golf day at

1st April - 31st October

Package 1

Package 2

Coffee and Bacon Rolls 18th Holes Ham, Egg and Chips

Coffee and Bacon Rolls 18th Holes 2 Course Lunch

per person

per person




Package 3

Silvermere before the end of March 2012 will receive a free box of a dozen Titleist NXT balls. Please quote ‘Golf News’ when making this booking. TO ENTER: To enter the competition, please answer the question below correctly and email your answer to, with ‘Silvermere Competition’ in the subject line, including your name, address and contact telephone number. The closing date for entries is March 31, 2012. Question: What is the name of the pub that overlooks the 18th green at Silvermere?


Coffee and Bacon Rolls Unlimited Golf Ham, Egg and Chips

Coffee and Bacon Rolls Unlimited Golf, Ploughman’s Lunch, 3 Course Evening Meal

per person

per person





For more information please call 01732 844785 or email: West Malling Golf Club,

Trottiscliffe Road, Addington, West Malling, Kent, Me19 5AR.

For bookings and more information, please call: 01932 584305, email or visit

Package 4

Tel: 01732 844785


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February 2012 / Issue 207

News in Brief Carris Trophy The under 18 Championship for the Carris Trophy will return to Moor Park Golf Club in Hertfordshire, its home from 1935 to 1987, in July 2014.

hayling winners Hayling Island Golf Club hosted a round of the British Junior Golf Tour as part of its 2012 Links Challenge on February 14. The event was won by Hayling’s Olly Searle, who fired a nett 70 to win by a single shot from Harry Tebay. The best nett winner was Hayling’s Travis Yung-Hok. who returned a 68 playing off an 11 handicap. The event saw around 40 elite juniors play 18 holes for the opportunity to go to the World Junior Championships in California in July.


The English Seniors County Finals are to be held at Hindhead Golf Club in Surrey in early October. It marks the first time the Surrey venue has hosted an England Golf event.

Hodgson rises to the Challenge Former Walker Cup player Stiggy Hodgson is embarking on a new chapter of his career after winning a place on the Challenge Tour. The 21-year-old from Sunningdale made the step up to the professional game following an amateur career that included back-to-back victories in the Abu Dhabi Junior Championship (2007/2008), the Peter McEvoy Trophy (2008), and two Walker Cup caps, as well as a semi-final appearance in the 2009 British Amateur. Hodgson, who was part of the GB&I team that beat the USA in the Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen last October, missed the Challenge Tour’s opening event in India, the Gujarat Kensville Challenge, but is expected to play in the next tournament, which takes place in Colombia from March 8-11. Hodgson is also able to play in the Alps Tour this year, after finishing joint top in the final qualifying held in Italy in November. The highly-rated youngster has been signed to play Wilson clubs, a brand he has used since the age of 10. Doug Wright, European Business Director at Wilson Golf, said: “Stiggy has been in the public eye ever since his junior days, but especially from 2009, when he was the young star of his first Walker Cup match. We’re delighted he’s decided to continue his relationship with Wilson, and hope he enjoys a successful first year on the Challenge Tour with the FG Tour V2 irons.” Hodgson can expect to come up against a large number of golfers from the South East during his travels around the world, including Seve Benson, Luke Goddard, James Heath, Matt Haines, Adam Gee and Benn Barham, who is looking to get back to the main tour following his recent illness.

Belfry up for The Belfry Golf and Hotel Resort – the four-time home of the Ryder Cup –- has been put up for sale. The iconic venue, which hosted the Ryder Cup in 1985, 1989, 1993 and 2002, and was last year named England’s Leading Golf Resort at the 2011 World Travel Awards, is believed to be valued at about £90million. Nigel Gray, managing director of The Belfry, said: “New owners are being sought for The Belfry and we are extremely confident this will prove to be successful. The Belfry is a highly profitable business that has just enjoyed a successful 2011, with figures up on 2010 levels. The team here is

highly experienced and it has very much been business as usual in the last few months, with a very encouraging pipeline of business for the coming months. We are very confident that a sale will be realised and allow The Belfry to continue to develop and grow.” Located 11 miles from Birmingham, the resort includes a 324-bedroom hotel, three golf courses, extensive corporate conference and meeting facilities, a spa and newlyrefurbished leisure club and on-site nightclub, and is the headquarters of the PGA. The Belfry was bought by the Quinn Group in 2005 for £186m and was owned by Sean Quinn Jnr, son of the

former billionaire tycoon Sean Quinn. Mr Quinn Snr declared himself bankrupt in Belfast in December, only for that to be overturned after the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation appealed the decision. The bank secured a bankruptcy declaration against Mr Quinn in the Dublin courts, where an order barring him from running a company will last 12 years rather than two years if imposed by a UK court. The IBRC is also in dispute with some of the Quinn family over ownership of overseas assets. George Nicholas, spokesman for sales agents Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, said: “The Belfry is an iconic golf destination, combining

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February 2012 / Issue 207

sale an internationally recognised brand with a successfully trading business, and quality sales of this nature rarely come to the market. We expect significant international interest to be attracted among buyers from across the globe, as investors bid to secure this rare opportunity. “We are already seeing interest being expressed from across the globe, particularly from Asia, where investors are seeking to capitalise on the relatively low value of sterling.” The last European Tour event held at The Belfry was the 2008 Quinn British Masters, which was won by Spain’s Gonzalo FernándezCastaño following a play-off with Lee Westwood.

/ 13

Hoebridge Golf Centre is set to receive a major facelift after a £200,000 investment to transform the venue’s bar and restaurant area. The centre, open to everyone including nongolfers and families, will fully reopen its new-look facilities by March 1. Once it is completed, visitors to the public payand-play centre – part of Burhill Golf & Leisure, the UK’s leading golf course owner and operator – will be able to enjoy an even wider variety of food than before, while relaxing in brand new comfortable furniture. The extensive bar and restaurant area will also have new carpets, curtains and patio doors leading to

£200,000 investment set to transform Hoebridge

the large outside patio, ideal for enjoying a summer drink in the sun.

Mike O’Connell, Hoebridge Golf Centre Senior General Manager, said: “This project

will make Hoebridge an even warmer and welcoming destination for eating and socialising. “The doors at Hoebridge are open to everyone even if they’ve never held a golf club in their lives – you do not have to be a golfer to enjoy the atmosphere, food and drink at Hoebridge Golf Centre. We extend a warm welcome to everyone whether it’s a family enjoying a Sunday roast or a business looking for a meeting venue.” For further information visit

Hayling begins major renovation project Hayling Island Golf Club in Hampshire has pushed the button on a new long-term project to return the classic links course to the style that architect Tom Simpson intended when he redesigned parts of the layout during the 1930s. Tom Mackenzie of architects Mackenzie and Ebert recently presented plans to the club to sympathetically update the course in the style of Simpson, whose work can clearly be seen in at least nine of the existing holes. The members have given unanimous support for the five-year project to proceed, subject to a detailed proposal at an AGM in April. Some of the work has already started, with the rebuilding of the greenside bunker at the 12th hole, and the reconstruction of the 17th green and greenside bunkers, well under way. Both holes are expected to be ready for play in April.

News in Brief JASON ON TOP Essex pro Jason Levermore had a field day in the Essex PGA pro-am held at Wildernesse Golf Club in Sevenoaks., winning both the individual and team event The Clacton-based pro won the individual prize with a six-underpar 66 and also brought home the winning team with Thorndon Park amateurs Chris Phillips, Alan Coles and Peter Mutch with 91 points. Levermore contuned his fine form at a frozen Waldringfield Golf Club in Suffolk, where he defied the icy conditions to win the Essex PGA Pro-Am with 34 points. Chris Goddard (Romford) finished second, beating Robin Mann (Southwold) by one point.

a shire thing Paul Hetherington of Great Hadham G&CC won the individual professional prize at the Ron King Trophy meeting held at The Shire Golf Club near Barnet. He fired a level par 72 to beat Laurence Allen (Brookmans Park) into second place by two shots. A team from Whipsnade Park won the Ron King Trophy with 79 points.

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February 2012 / Issue 207

Following its recent acquisition by Playgolf, Leatherhead Golf Club is to benefit from a major investment programme that will see this famous Surrey parkland layout regain its status as one of the most attractive and welcoming venues in the country These are exciting times to be a member at Leatherhead Golf Club. While many clubs are cutting back on their outgoings and mothballing major investment programmes, the new owners of Leatherhead are digging deep into their pockets to resurrect the fortunes of one of Surrey’s oldest and most revered venues. Not that the club is on its last legs. Far from it. In fact, on the Monday morning I visited in early January it wasn’t easy to locate a car parking space, while the first tee in front of the clubhouse was a veritable hive of activity, as golfers took full advantage of the mild winter to get their golfing fix. All the signs are here of a golf club that has a definite spring in its step, especially when you catch sight of the groundstaff at work out on the course and see the plans in the clubhouse entrance revealing how all the course’s holes are going to be renovated over the next three years. Leatherhead was sold last summer to Playgolf, owner of a number of golf clubs throughout the UK, including a 9-hole course in Harrow, an 18-hole course in Bournemouth, and most recently, Lexdon Wood Golf Centre in Essex. Although one of the most established clubs in Surrey may seem like a strange addition to Playgolf’s portfolio, Roger Hyder, the company’s Head of Group Operations, sees it as the ideal venue to put the Playgolf ethos of making the game more accessible into practice. “We thoroughly respect the traditions of the game, and especially

A cross bunker protects approach shots to the 13th green

A sloping raised green awaits at the stunning par-three 12th

the traditions that exist here at Leatherhead,” says Hyder, whose previous management role was at nearby Foxhills Golf & Country Club. “But at the same time, golf needs to open itself up to new people, new generations, and above all, new ideas. Regardless of their age, gender, ability or wealth, golfers shouldn’t feel intimidated to visit a golf club. Our aim is to make golf more welcoming and more affordable, and above all, something that fits into and around your life.” One of the club’s ideas sees the launch of a new membership scheme that is aimed at those golfers who want all the benefits that membership brings (i.e. handicap, ability to play in competitions, and the joy of being able to call yourself a member), without the significant outlay of a full annual membership, which, at Leatherhead, currently stands at a respectable £1,500. The new Levy Membership

will require an upfront cost of £750 per year, which can be put towards any expenditure at the club, including green fees (charged at 50% of the standard fee), buggy hire, food and drink, golf equipment, or even the hire of one of the club’s function rooms. While several clubs operate green fee credit schemes, this is the first I’ve heard of that offers such a flexible way of spending your money. And while that money must be spent within a 12-month period, any further top ups that are put onto the levy card can be rolled over for the following year. The only limitation on this membership is that golfers are restricted to teeing off after 10am at weekends, unless you happen to be playing in one of the club’s many competitions, when you join the draw as normal. As Hyder explains: “There is a huge section of golfers in their mid-30s and 40s who aren’t members of clubs because they can’t justify the expense of a full membership, yet they still want to play once a month, or however often, and want to feel like they belong to a club, and that they have a golfing home-from-home where they are made welcome. The Levy Membership meets that need.” It’s a bold move, and one that may well have several full members making the shift down to Levy Membership, but it also looks certain to attract a whole new generation of golfers for whom full membership has proved too inflexible for their needs in the past. Leatherhead’s star attraction, regardless of whether you’re a member or casual visitor, is undoubtedly its historic parkland layout. First opened in 1903 under the geographically vague title of The Surrey Golf Club, it is actually some distance from the town of Leatherhead, thanks to the M25 motorway, which carved its way between the two venues when it

opened in 1982. The club had to relocate its opening and closing holes to make way for the six lanes of tarmac that now bring golfers to the course with such alarming ease (it’s just a minute’s drive from Junction 9), but little else has changed on the course since the turn of the last century. Thankfully, a swathe of mature woods blocks any view of the motorway, while the noise is barely audible above the tweeting of the birds. In fact, you have to constantly remind yourself that you’re within a well-struck driver of the UK’s busiest highway, such is the peacefulness and serenity of the surroundings. Leatherhead is soaked to the rafters in golfing history. The inaugural match here saw Open Champions James Braid and Harry Vardon go head-to-head, while Alf Perry, who won the Claret Jug in 1935, served as the club’s head professional for 36 years during the

February 2012 / Issue 207

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Leather gets a polish Mature trees guard the fairways at the short par-four 14th

The inviting green at the par-five 8th

The 451-yard 6th is a testing two-shotter

inter-war period. Perry was selected to play in the Ryder Cup team following his Open triumph and brought the entire team – which included Henry Cotton, Reg Whitcombe and Alf Padgham – to play at Leatherhead prior to their departure from Southampton for the boat trip to New York. At 6,200 yards off the back tees, the par 71 course is not long by modern standards, and that, in addition to its wonderful woodland setting, is part of its charm. Big hitters who manage to keep it straight, negotiate the odd dogleg, avoid the many bunkers, ditches and trees, and putt like a demon, will clearly be able to score well here, but the rest of us will still take pleasure from bagging our fair share of pars, and the perhaps the odd birdie, when everything slots into place. In order to reinstate some of the features that were a part of the architect’s original intent, James

Edwards Course Design has been brought in to advise on a three-year programme of renovations that will seesix holes completed each year. Course Manager Peter Goodbun and his staff are currently working on the first, second and sixth holes, which will see the fairways re-shaped, and bunkers enlarged, conjoined and generally bought back into play, while the landing areas for big hitters are being narrowed to increase the challenge as you get nearer to the green. The work will retain the character of the course – without adding yardage –and will really serve to freshen up the challenge of what is an extremely entertaining course to play. As the scorecard reveals, Leatherhead is, quite literally, a game of two halves, with the front nine measuring 3,495 yards, and the back nine ‘just’ 2,727 yards. Of course, not every number tells the full story, with the par being split

37/34, and with handicap golfers just as likely to mess it up with a wedge in their hands as they are a driver, there are no giveaway holes on either stretch. There is a fine variety of holes, with a few really long par fours (4th and 6th), a few driveable par fours, and five short holes, the last of which is the 204-yard 18th, which is a tough one to par with the match all square. Personal favourites include the dog-leg 404-yard third, which requires you to position your drive perfectly off the tee to avoid blocking your shot to the green in front of a tree that guards the elbow. Although the back nine is considerably shorter, it’s both beguiling and, in my humble opinion, slightly more entertaining than the front. The 284-yard 11th is a superb, potentially driveable par four, while the 12th is a delightful par three played across a valley to a raised and angled green. The 300-yard 14th sees a tree standing like a sentry on duty in the middle of the fairway, requiring a careful drive that leaves a wedge to a two-tier green. The par-five 16th is tough to reach in two, as the green is raised, although this hill makes for a lovely drive from the 17th tee. The halfway house, which as the name suggests, is by the 10th tee, is something of an icon in Leatherhead’s folklore, and is a pleasure to stop off at

for something to warm you up or cool you down depending on the season. The clubhouse is also due for a makeover, with plans currently awaiting approval for an internal redevelopment that will see the upstairs transformed into a stunning new bar and restaurant that will enjoy a grandstand view over the course, while the downstairs dining area will be extended to allow events for up to 250 people to be catered for, rather than the existing 100. The investment is considerable and well thought out, and shows that the clubs new owners are serious in their intent to make Leatherhead a showcase for the Playgolf Group. In fact two of the directors have bought properties on the exclusive Pachesham Estate that borders the course, giving a clear indication that they are in this for the long haul. It all adds up to an exciting and attractive mix, both on and off the course, which will ensure that future generations of golfers keep flocking to this most welcoming of clubs. The Leatherhead Golf Club, Kingston Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 0EE. For details of the new Levy Membership, and all other enquiries, please call 01372 849413, visit or email

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February 2012 / Issue 207

Brickendon Grange GOLF CLUB

Brickendon Grange is a mature parkland golf course set in 160 acres of rolling Hertfordshire countryside, south of Hertford. It’s easily accessible from the M25 and other major routes. It offers a good golfing challenge, without being so tough as to ruin your day, together with the peace and tranquility of a truly rural location. We can arrange 18, 27 or 36 holes together with our first class catering to match your requirements. Brickendon Grange Golf Club is the ideal venue for your Society day out! We have a range of Society Packages for you to choose from Starting from £37.00 To find out more about our full range of Society Packages please call Jane or Pat on: 01992 511258 or email:

Pembridge Lane, Brickendon, Nr. Hertford SG13 8PD.

Kent golf mourns d of funnyman Dave L Tributes have come flooding in from the world of golf following the death of legendary Kent comedian Dave Lee. The 64-year-old entertainer, who died from complications brought on by pancreatic cancer on January 16, was a hugely popular figure on the golf club charity circuit, although he was best known for his 30-year career as a stand-up comedian and latterly his starring roles in pantomime productions in his home town of Canterbury. His annual charity golf day, which was held at numerous clubs in the county, including Broome Park, and most recently Chart Hills, was always strongly supported by celebrities of stage, screen and sport. All the proceeds from the golf days went to Dave Lee Happy Holidays, a charity which Lee set up to raise funds to send sick and under-privileged children on holiday. Happy Holidays has raised over £2 million

Much missed: Comedian Dave Lee was a hugely popular figure on the charity golf circuit

since it was launched 15 years ago and has sent more than 45,000 children and their families to places such as Tenerife, Disneyland Paris and Disney World in Florida. Del Burtenshaw, club secretary at Broome Park Golf Club, where a wake was held following Lee’s funeral, said: “Dave will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.

Even though we held the Dave Lee Classic back in 2003 and 2004, people still talk about those days. We used to attract 5000 spectators which just showed the popularity of the man.” Chart Hills sales manager Sarah Sanders, echoes those warm sentiments, adding: “We at Chart Hills were all incredibly saddened to hear about Dave’s passing. He was a lovely man, who worked so hard for the children of the county he loved so much. Although a joke was never far from his lips, he was an extraordinarily compassionate man who had time for everyone. When the golf day came back to Chart Hills he worked tirelessly to make the day a success. At the last golf day back in September, Dave

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The golf course that Lee Westwood grew up playing on as a junior has been damaged by vandals to such an extent that its manager fears for its future as a viable business. Worksop Golf Club in Nottinghamshire is, along with College Pines Golf Club, offering a joint reward of £500 after thousands of pounds-worth of damage was caused to both courses in recent weeks. The criminals drove quadbikes and motorbikes across fairways and greens, causing £20,000 of damage in terms of lost business and repairs at College Pines, while at nearby Worksop, 11 incidents have been reported to police in the last three months. Worksop’s general manager Alan Mansbridge said: “This is definitely the worst it’s ever been. We have got some of

Alan Mansbridge in front of one of Worksop’s damaged greens

the most prestigious courses in the county and they are being damaged to such an extent that members are questioning if they want to continue. If this carries on this could threaten the future of the club and its 25 employees.” College Pines owner Charles Snell added: “They aren’t just driving across the course, but they are spinning round and digging

up the grass. This kind of damage is even harder to repair in the winter. We are offering £500 to anyone who can offer any information that will lead to a conviction. People know this is going on – they need to report it.” Former world No.1 Lee Westwood is a regular visitor to Worksop, where he first learnt to play the game, while fellow tour pro Mark Foster is also a prodigy of the club.

was quite poorly and was in some discomfort, but most people at the event would not have known he was ill, as his dedication to his charity meant a beaming smile on his face all day.” Lee started his career as a drummer and had several records released before joining a comedy show band. From there he launched himself as one of the county’s top stand-up comedians, and went on to appear on many TV shows, including Des O’Connor Tonight, The Generation Game, Big Break, Celebrity Squares, Summertime Special and Live from the Palladium. He also starred in his own programme, ‘The Fat Bloke Show’, and latterly presented his own golf series on Sky called ‘Through the Green’,

Ridge Hosts Open Day The Ridge Golf Club in Kent is holding an Open Day on March 24 that will give potential members the chance to sample the superb facilities at the Maidstone-based venue. Visitors, who must pre-register, will be treated to free coffee and a bacon roll on arrival, followed by a guided tour of the club, which has recently unveiled a completely refurbished clubhouse. There will also be an opportunity to talk to existing members and the club’s staff about the benefits of becoming a member, before guests enjoy a complimentary afternoon round of golf on the club’s wonderful 18hole, 6,242-yard course. Bookings should be made by calling Jemma on 01622 844382 or for more information please visit www.theridgegolf

February 2012 / Issue 207

/ 17

death Lee where his combined passions of golf and jokes came across to the viewers in all its glory. His funeral was held on January 30, when over 2,000 people packed Canterbury Cathedral for a service that mixed tears and laughter. Among the invited guests was Hastings-based PGA professional Roger Hyder, the Director of Group Operations at PlayGolf, who knew Lee for many years. Mr Hyder, who was asked by Lee’s family to speak at the service, told Golf News: “Dave was the nicest person it has been my pleasure to meet, and became one of my closest and dearest friends. He was the consummate professional, a great comedian, and would help any charity if he could. I had the great pleasure of running his annual golf day every year, which was run on a truly original format. Although his passing has left me terribly sad, I know every time I think of him there will be a tear in my eye and a big smile on my face, as I remember all the laughter he spread around him.” As a measure of the high regard in which Lee was held in Kent, Gillingham Football Club held a minute’s applause at a home game last month in his honour, while Canterbury Council is currently considering erecting a statue of him outside the town’s theatre.

‘Great Golf Days’ Leeds Castle provides an inspiring backdrop for golfers

Steve’s still king at Leeds Castle! Leeds Castle Golf Course might not be in the city of Leeds – in fact, it’s a small village in Kent – but it most definitely has a castle, and one that provides a stunning backdrop to arguably one of the prettiest 9-hole public golf courses in the South East. The par 33 course, which is located five miles from Maidstone, first opened in 1924 and was built for the Honorable Lady Baillie, the then owner of Leeds Castle. The Castle and the golf course was opened up to the public in 1976, and since then has been enjoyed by generations of visitors and golfers from all over the country. Known as ‘the loveliest castle in the world’, parts of the iconic building date back to the 12th century. The castle is surrounded by a stunning moat, while its turrets and castellations are all in superb condition, making it a major attraction for visitors to this beautiful corner of Kent. As well as a popular tourist venue in its own right, the castle has hosted all manner of public and private events, including meetings for foreign heads of state, business conferences, open air concerts, and it even served as a dramatic location for the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. It is also a romantic venue for weddings, and famously hosted the nuptials of former US Open champion Retief Goosen. The grounds are also home to a maze, and what maybe the only museum in the world devoted to dog collars! The club’s long-serving professional is Steve Purves (pictured above), who won the PGA National Assistants Championship at Moor Allerton in 1996, and still competes in tournaments on the PGA South Region and Kent PGA circuits. He enjoys coaching golfers of all standards, whether in groups or as individuals, in this most inspiring of settings. Half-hour lessons or 9-hole playing sessions start from £20. With gree fees set at £9.99 for nine holes during the week, and £13 at weekends, it’s an extremely affordable and entertaining round of golf, and being just 2,861 yards long, gives golfers plenty of time for a pleasant stroll inside the castle once they’ve negotiated their way around the course. Turn up and play (subject to availability) or to pre-book up to six days in advance by calling 01622 767828. For more details visit

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Tilgate Forest Golf Centre in West Sussex has been given planning permission to rebuild a new clubhouse on the site of the previous one that was destroyed by fire in May last year. Although no-one was found responsible for starting the fire, police investigators are confident that it was caused deliberately rather than being an accident. Visitors to the popular pay-and-play venue in Crawley have had to make do with Portakabin-style

accommodation for the last nine months, although the pro shop and driving range were unaffected by the fire and have remained open for business. Following planning approval, detailed plans are currently being drawn up in readiness to begin construction of the new clubhouse in April, with a completion date of December. The new single storey building will include a café, shop, function room and a direct link to the existing

Water hazards


New Tilgate clubhouse rises from the ashes driving range. Floor to ceiling windows will give the building a light and airy feel and provide golfers utilising the café with views across the course. Colin Chilvers, manager of Tilgate Forest, said: “This is a really exciting time for us. The new clubhouse is going to be a fantastic facility for the whole community. With a purpose-built function room and café, we hope it will become a community hub, with access to golf for all.” The 18-hole course and driving range will remain open throughout the build phase of the project.  

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February 2012 / Issue 207

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Essex-based PGA professional Chris Baron fired a stunning sixunder par 65 to earned himself the trophy, and the €4,000 top prize, in the Kempinski ‘The Dome’ Pro-Am held in Antalya, Turkey. Baron, who is the head professional at West Essex Golf Club, turned up the heat on the third and final day in Turkey with a round that was perfectly designed for the occasion. He was three under par after just three holes, as the field of pros returned to the par-71 Sultan course for the final shoot-out, and a dropped shot at the fifth proved to be no more than a temporary irritation as he then reeled off some magical scoring. A sequence of birdie-par, birdie-par, par-birdie swept him into the lead – one that he did not intend to waste. Seven pars then took him to the 18th, where his grand finale was a birdie flourish to post a twostroke win over former European Tour player Phil Golding.

An amateur ladies’ tournament that offers the tempting prospect of an all expensespaid trip to Spain for the winners of three qualifying events held in Hertfordshire, Surrey, and Buckinghamshire looks like proving a hit with the ladies this summer. Following on from its successful launch in the UK in 2010, The Pandora Ladies’ Golf Cup offers the chance for the finalists to represent England and take on teams from Spain, Portugal, Malaysia, Germany, Thailand, and South Africa in a European Final that has been held at the stunning Spanish resorts La Torre and La Manga, respectively, over the last two years. The three qualifying events will be taking place at Moor Park on June 27, Burhill Golf Club on July 16-17, and

Brocket Hall on September 6. There are two handicap categories available to play in (0-18 and 19-30), with one winner from each category

Holidays begin Discover the beautifully uncrowded fairways of France and northern Spain with Brittany Ferries. Choose from over 80 courses and a selection of hand-picked hotels. And with a choice of civilised sailings, you’ll arrive refreshed and ready to play the best golf of your life!

from each event going forward to represent England in the final. The competition format is full handicap Stableford. “The event was a huge success last year, and exceeded all expectations,” said Peter Andersen, president of bespoke jewellers Pandora, which is the event’s title sponsor. “We are really looking forward to enjoying another successful year.” Entry fees for the qualifying events are £85 per player, which includes green fees, all food and drink, and a luxury goody

February 2012 / Issue 207

olf Cup

bag. Tournament director Ben Lambourne said: “This event has captured the hearts of so many lady golfers. To receive letters and emails of thanks from so many competitors last year just proves we are doing something right! A golfing experience that caters for all standards of golfers in a relaxed and informal environment seems to be a winning formula.” To register, simply log onto and click ‘register’. For more information please call 01491 412967.

/ 19

The future is looking bright for Mannings Heath Golf Club following the completion of a two-year £300,000 transformation project at the famous West Sussex club. As a result of the improvements, the prestigious 6,683-yard Waterfall Course has been chosen for the 2013 English Women’s Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship, and there are exciting prospects of being a future pre-qualifying venue for the Open Championship. It is an encouraging reward for the owners Exclusive Hotels, who took the bold decision to rebuild 13 sets of tees on the 100-yearold course to modern specifications. The project cost more than £110,000, and was part of a wider plan in which another £180,000 was invested in other facilities, including a new spike bar, lounge and terrace, together with a fleet

Broome Park golf club

Mannings completes major renovation of 46 electric buggies and the restoration of a 19th century cottage that can accommodate eight golfers. Strict emphasis was placed on the style and design of the new tees, as Steve Slinger, Exclusive’s golf manager, explained: “We have a distinctive, 100-year-old golf course, which is originally

thought to have been designed by Harry Colt. We were mindful, therefore, that we wanted the new tees to blend in with the historic layout.” To mark completion of the programme, Mannings Heath is offering a limited number of 50 memberships, with no subs to pay until April 1, 2012.

McDowell takes Redbourn reins Redbourn Golf Club in Hertfordshire has appointed Ian McDowell as its new general manager. He joins the club from Hoebridge Golf Centre in Woking, which is also owned by Burhill Golf & Leisure. McDowell’s previous jobs in golf have included positions at Hampton Court Palace and The Wisley, where he was a sales and marketing executive. Of his new role, 31-year-old McDowell said: “I’m extremely excited about the job. It has come around a lot quicker than I was expecting, but it has been one of my goals to manage a golf club, and now I’m here, it has made the last 10 years of hard work worthwhile.”

Winter tee-time specials Upto and including 29th February 2012

MONDAY TO FRIDAY (excluding Bank Holidays) (4 Balls-max. 2 slots)


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The Broome Park Estate, Barham, Nr Canterbury, Kent CT4 6QX

Play this course: Golf International Barrière La Baule This 45-hole international standard complex neighbours the wonderful national park, La Grande Brière. As well as excellent practice facilities, the thatched roofed clubhouse offers a superb restaurant with terrace overlooking the 18th on the red course.

2 nights and 3 rounds from £314 per person Pack your car and enjoy one of our great value Play and Stay packages, including:

• Overnight sailing from Portsmouth to St Malo with cabin

• 2 nights B&B at the Mercure Majestic, La Baule

• 3 rounds over the following

courses: La Baule (2 rounds) and La Bretesche

• Return afternoon sailing from Caen to Portsmouth

Whatever your group size, just one call to our golf desk, staffed by golfers, is all it takes to arrange everything – your sailings, hotels and even your tee times.

Call 0871 244 1405 or visit

Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras. Price based on 2 sharing, travelling in a standard car. New bookings only, subject to availability. Conditions apply.

20 /

February 2012 / Issue 207

The flags at Wentworth may well be at half-mast in May when course manager Chris Kennedy retires from the job, following more than two decades of dedicated service at the famous Surrey club They’re changing the guard at Wentworth Golf Club. At least they’re changing the guardian of the course, following the announcement that Chris Kennedy, the course manager at the iconic Surrey venue, is retiring from his position after 22 years of unbroken service. Kennedy’s tenure has seen a period of dramatic changes at Wentworth that have been unmatched since the formation of the club in the 1920s. He has also prepared courses for over 50 televised professional tournaments, including 22 stagings of the PGA Championship and 19 renewals of the World Match Play. “I’ve done 50 years of working from early morning to dark, and I think it’s time for a lie-in,” says Kennedy, who is hanging up his walkie-talkie later this spring and retiring to Troon. “I need some quality time with my family, too. My daughter has moved back to Scotland, and she has a two-year-old son. He’s changing every day – he’s kicking a ball around and he’ll soon be wanting to play golf – and I don’t want to miss that. And I need to find more time for Gill and myself.” Kennedy arrived at Wentworth from Haggs Castle in Scotland, where he worked with Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas on a redesign of the course to get it ready to host the Scottish Open. The first tournament director he ever worked with was Ken Schofield who, by the time Kennedy moved to Wentworth, had himself already made the journey south to head up the European Tour. It was a different club then and, initially with a staff of 36, which

Kennedy worked with Ernie Els on the West Course

In the driving seat: Kennedy has overseen more than 50 tournaments during his 22 years at Wentworth

End of the Kennedy Era eventually grew to 50-plus, Kennedy was at the helm for the biggest period of evolution in Wentworth’s history. “The second phase of the renovation of the West was the biggest challenge of my career,” he admits. “Especially as we had to hit it all in one season. But it has also been one of the most rewarding experiences. With Ernie [Els] being a current player, he’s been able to listen to the feedback of the players,

The 18th green on the West Course has seen some major changes on Kennedy’s watch

and obviously we’ve continued to refine it. Ultimately, we’re very proud of what we achieved.” Kennedy, who officially bows out after this year’s BMW PGA Championship in May, says he feels fortunate to have worked for two owners – Elliott Bernerd and Richard Caring – who each shared a passion for the club and were prepared to invest heavily to create the Wentworth of today, which is, in his word,s ‘massively improved on what we had when I first arrived’. Kennedy also has a strong fan base, including former Wentworth club professional Bernard Gallacher, who said: “Thanks to Chris, the members can be proud that their courses are considered three of the best in the world”, while Wentworth’s chief executive, Julian Small, added: “I cannot speak too highly about Chris. Although it can be a difficult and stressful job maintaining three heavily-played

courses in excellent condition for most of the year, while at the same time hosting championships, he always embraced the challenge with alacrity, good humour and complete professionalism.” Recalling the highlights of a career that has involved rubbing shoulders with some of the legends of the game, Kennedy said: I’ve worked alongside some of the game’s greatest players, guys like Seve, Faldo, Langer, Woosnam and Els, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. At the end of the day, we all wanted the same thing; we all wanted the best product for the Tour’s flagship tournament.

I’ve had some wonderful times with the World Matchplay, the PGA Championship, and with the Seniors Masters, too. Bringing the Edinburgh Course in from seed, and holding 10 tournaments on it was very special. Wentworth is such a great place; three wonderful courses, but all very different. I guess you could say it’s the dream job in my business.” The difficult task of following in Chris’s footsteps has been placed in the more than capable hands of another Scot, Kenny Mackay, who has been Director of Golf Courses at The Belfry since 2005. Mackay has gained a wealth of experience in golf course management and professional tournament preparation over the last 18 years, forging an enviable CV the includes roles at The London Golf Club, Hanbury Manor, and The Forest of Arden. He is also a past chairman of the British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association and a Category One golfer. Mackay said: “I am very excited about this new challenge, and realise that I am joining a world class venue with a superb tournament history. I look forward to the professional challenges that come with the events, along with meeting and getting to know the members. Chris Kennedy has achieved much here over the years, and now looking forward, I feel excited for all that lies ahead for me at Wentworth Club.”

“I’ve done 50 years of working from early morning to dark, and I think it’s time for a lie-in.”

February 2012 / Issue 207

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Council rejects Moore Place tennis plan

Chart Hills

Mid Amateur Tour tees off at Chart Hills A new golf tour aimed at offering competitive events for low handicap golfers over the age of 35 has announced its schedule of tournaments for the 2012 season. The Mid Amateur Golf Tour, which was first launched last year, will be visiting a host of top quality venues throughout the UK, including Chart Hills, The Players Club, Old Fold Manor, Saunton, Hankley Common, Royal Cinque Ports, Sunningdale, Berkhamsted, Porters Park and and Liphook. The tour will run from the first event at Chart Hills at the end of March through to September, with most of the events being held over 36 holes. The tournaments, which offer prize funds of up to £1,000, are open to all male golfers over the age of 35 who are in possession of an active handicap of 12 or less. “Following on from the success of our first events in 2011, and the launch of the dedicated website, we felt it time to give the players something to aim for and add a bit of spice to all of the events throughout 2012.” said Jason Morris, Golf Director of Wyncanton Marketing Services, which organises the tour. “Mid-Amateur events are becoming increasingly popular, with some attracting in excess of 65 players, all with handicaps of two or less. We have also added some new events to the schedule that cater for the other golfers who get balloted out of some of the more established tournaments.” For a list of events and details of how to enter, visit

A local authority in Surrey has sided with the members of an historic nine-hole golf club in a dispute with the club’s owner regarding the building of tennis courts. Elmbridge Borough Council has rejected an application from Moore Place Holdings, the owner of Moore Place Golf Club, on behalf of the trustees of Esher Lawn Tennis Club, to build 16 tennis courts and a pavilion on the golf course. Moore Place Golf Course was opened in 1926 by sixtime Open Champion Harry Vardon, and apart from some holes being lengthened, the

course has changed little over the last 85 years. The proposal would have seen four of the course’s holes – on what is only a par 33, 2,103-yard course – reconfigured and the clubhouse replaced. However, members of the 76-year-old club expressed opposition to the development, and the council has agreed with them. Club spokesman John Meade said that the proposal would have killed off the golf club and that the Lawn Tennis Association advises that a tennis club of Esher Lawn’s size only requires 12 courts. “The applicant has not demonstrated evidence

Moore Place has been an eyesore for several years

that the scale of the tennis facilities are essential and genuinely required,” he said. “If adopted, the consequences for our golf club would, quite frankly, be terminal.” He added that the golf club believes there is a compromise, and that both clubs can be accommodated on the site. The council’s planning officer recommended that planning permission be granted, and stated that the redeveloped golf course would still meet England Golf affiliation requirements, but councillors rejected the application. Moore Place Holdings was given planning permission in 2009 to knock down Moore Place, the building that has stood on the land since the 18th century, and develop a 50-bedroom hotel and spa in its place. However those plans have since fallen through, and there are new plans in place to build a 60-bedroom care home. Moore Place was once owned by Lady Byron, but has since been painted purple, and is widely described as an eyesore by local residents.

Trailblazing Junior Golf

Old Thorns to host Trilby qualifiers Golfers who failed to get a place on the 2012 Trilby Tour are being offered second bite of the cherry following the launch of a series of qualifying events at one of the host venues for the coming season. Old Thorns Hotel, Golf and

Country Estate in Hampshire, which is staging a Trilby Tour event in May, has announced that it is to stage three qualifying rounds – March 4, April 9 and April 13, with the winner from each event earning a start in the tournament proper, plus

£250 worth of William Hunt clothing and a Callaway golf bag. Entry to the qualifiers costs £40, to include entry fee, green fee and a light lunch. To enter call 01428 725874 or email golfcoordinator@

The dates and venues for the 2012 Trailblazers Tour have been announced, with a host of new venues joining the tour that is aimed at creating a professional, yet friendly competitive environment for youngsters – including boys and girls – aged between six and 12. Entering its third season of events, following an extremely successful 2011, the tour kicks off its winter series at Sedlescombe in Sussex on March 4, followed by a tournament at Lullingstone Park in Kent on March 24. The Order of Merit schedule begins at Hever Castle on April 22, which will also host the Trailblazers Tour Championship in September. The tour, which is once again being sponsored by Titleist and FootJoy, will hold seven Order of Merit events this year, all of which count towards the tour’s order of merit, with the top 12 players from each event qualifying for the end-of-season Tour Championship. The Power of Golf, an innovative Surrey-based golf training aid company, will also be working alongside the tour this year. Scott Stevens PGA Professional and Founder of the Tour reports: “I am delighted with how the Tour has evolved over the last two seasons. My vision has been to create a Junior Golf Tour that provides young golfers with a truly professional golf tour experience similar to what they see on the European and US Tours. The feedback we have received to date has been fantastic and it proves the tour is heading in a positive direction.” For a full list of venues and details of how to take part in a tournament visit, email or call 0771 6360995.


News in Brief OLDEST WINNER Andrew Stracey braved 40mph winds and biting temperatures to become the oldest ever winner of the Presidents Putter in the final held at Rye on January 8. The former Cambridge graduate had reached the final on three previous occasions over the last 25 years (including losing to Ted Dexter in 1983), but had to wait until he was 58 before eventually claiming the annual knockout matchplay tournament, which has been competed for by members of the Oxford and Cambridge Golfing Society since 1920. Stracey has enjoyed a rich vein of form since qualifying to play seniors golf three years ago. The English international won the Irish Seniors in 2009 and was runner-up in the Welsh Seniors in 2010 and 2011.

Ambridge WINS Moor Park Golf Club’s John Ambridge won the Spanish Senior Mens’ Amateur Championship played at Las Colinas Golf Country Club in Alicante. The 55-year-old fired rounds of 72, 68 and 70 in the rain-shortened event to win by an impressive nine shots.

NEW MOVEs John Hemphrey has been appointed Golf Manager at Park Wood Golf Club in Kent, with James Hobby replacing him in the same role at Sene Valley Golf Club.

GO FOR BROKE Broke Hill Golf Club in Kent has recently received a record influx of members for a single month, Sales Manager Gary Blunden said: “It’s been a great time for the club, we had 22 new golfers sign up with us in January.” If you would like to find out more about the membership packages at Broke Hill contact Gary on 01959 533225 or e-mail him at brokehill-events@

Could your society go all the way to the finals, or even, be the first to have it’s name engraved on the Society Championship Cup? The new Golf Society Championship will be played at Tenterden Golf Club, where the course is challenging, but great fun. There are lots of prizes to be won – but you can’t win if you don’t enter!




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February 2012 / Issue 207

After suffering a career-threatening hip injury in 2011, Surrey tour pro Adam Gee is bidding to get his career back on track following nine months on the sidelines.

gee still believes Words by Nick Bayly

Golf can be a frustrating game at the best of times, but if you want to know what frustration looks like in the flesh, then Surrey pro golfer Adam Gee is the living embodiment of it. Just 14 months ago, Gee was riding the crest of the wave, having fired a final round 65 to finish fourth in the final stage of the European Tour’s qualifying school. With a tour card earned for the 2011 season, Gee was all set to punch on to the next level, following a five-year pro career that had looked in danger of stalling until he sailed through the six-round challenge in Spain. A few weeks later, he earned his first start as a full card-carrying European Tour pro at the South Africa Open, where he finished 49th and began what he thought was going to be the year that he could finally build on the promise that he had shown since his days as a Surrey amateur. But no sooner had the door opened, than it was quickly – and painfully – slammed in his face, as he hobbled off the course in South Africa with pain tearing through his limbs from a suspected hip injury. An MRI scan in January revealed the full extent of the damage, which, to spare the squeamish, involved a bit of bone-on-bone action. Unwilling to give up on his season as soon as it had started, Gee played through the pain for two months, helped by a course of injections, but by April’s Sicilian Open he could take it no longer, and underwent surgery to sort out the problem at source. Following the operation, Gee was on crutches for six weeks and had to be nursed by his long-suffering girlfriend back at his home in Battersea. “I spent an awful lot of time watching telly while I recuperated from the operation,” says Gee, speaking from the comfort of an armchair in the warmth of the clubhouse at The Wisley, the club he uses for practice and play. “It was a very frustrating time, but there was no sense in trying to rush back to the game. I knew it was going to be a long haul. In addition to undergoing physiotherapy, I also spent a lot of time researching the injury itself, understanding why I got it, and how I could avoid having to go through this all again. In some bizarre

way, I almost wish I had suffered this injury 10 years ago, as if I had known then what I know now, I would certainly have changed the way I went about training and practising.” During his enforced lay-off, Gee also watched a lot of golf on the box and found it frustrating to see former Challenge Tour colleagues playing in European Tour events that he could have been competing in. However, he also took heart from watching the likes of Robert Dinwiddie and Scott Jamieson acquitting themselves so well, as he knew that, at his best, he was

the hip properly broke down, and I am now able to really swing through the ball, which gives me a lot of confidence. I’ve just got to make the most of the limited opportunities that my category status is going to give me. Obviously that puts extra pressure on me to perform at those events, but I can only go out there and give it my best shot.” Gee is used to pressure. Three seasons on the Challenge Tour provided a valuable introduction to the vagaries of the golfers’ life, including the endless travelling to far-flung destinations on economy flights, playing unknown

“This is what I have wanted to do since I was a kid. I live the game, I dream the shots, and I push myself to be the best. It’s where I belong.” able to compete alongside these guys. “Of course it was frustrating not to be there, but it was great to see those guys doing well,” says Gee. “To know that they have made the step up, there is no reason why I can’t do the same once I’m back.” For such a late starter – Gee didn’t pick up a golf club until he was 15, and didn’t turn professional until he was 26 – time lost at this part of his career is time he can ill afford. He is back now, but with only a Category 12 medical exemption on which to secure starts, he knows he has to make the most of the limited opportunities that will come his way. So far that has included a return to the Sunshine Tour swing in Africa, where he made the cut at both the Africa Open and the Joburg Open, giving every indication that his game is back to somewhere close to where he would like it. He is now in the middle of a six-week break from the tour, and will hopefully return for a three-week run taking in the Andalucia Open, the Hassan Trophy in Morocco, and April’s Sicilian Open. “I’m over the injury now and am actually feeling a lot more freedom of movement in my swing,” says Gee. “I was obviously protecting myself before

courses, using local caddies, and coming home out of pocket despite finishing inside the top 20. Although Gee has been able to rely on the generous support of Callaway for his equipment during his time on tour, he also owes a huge debt of gratitude to a charitable group of members at The Wisley for helping finance his passion while the prize money hasn’t been pouring in. Although the list of benefactors is long

– take a bow Adrian Langham, Colin Webb, Steve Green, Tom O’Byrne, Nick Squire, Steve Hall, Francis Jago, Jamie Rednapp (yes, the former England footballer) and Andrew Jones (who is also his manager). He also owes a big thank you to former England centre Will Greenwood, who launched a website called Webackyou last year, which helps raise funds for talented sportsmen and women. It’s a measure of Gee’s gratitude that he rifles through his mobile phone while we’re chatting just to make sure he hasn’t missed anybody off the long list of donors. “I can’t thank these guys enough for the support they’ve shown me over the years. I don’t know why they do it – you’d have to ask them – but I never take it for granted, and hopefully I give them something back in return, if it’s only someone to cheer on!” In addition to his off-course supporters, Gee has kept faith with his long-time swing coach Martin Rathbone, who is the head professional at Coombe Wood, and also consults with former tour pro Roger Winchester. The Wisley’s own Denis Pugh, whom Gee has worked with before, is also not averse to passing on a few wise words whenever Gee is working on his game at The Wisley’s tour-quality facilities. In fact, with Ross Fisher, Francesco Molinari, Oliver Wilson and several other high profile tour pros also members, The Wisley is proving something of a breeding ground for the game’s elite. “The facilities here are fantastic,” says Gee, “and the course has never looked better, following the work they’ve done in recent months. It’s obviously an exclusive club, but the members are so friendly, and it feels like one happy family.” Gee grew up playing golf as a junior at nearby Leatherhead Golf Club, but moved to The Wisley in 2005 as his game moved up a level. He grew up playing alongside the likes of Ollie Fisher, Ross McGowan, Sam Osborne and James Heath, all of whom have gone on to varying levels of success as pros, and are also good friends. Despite the knockbacks, Gee still believes he has got the talent to make a success of his own career and is relishing the challenge that lies ahead. “I know I’ve got the skills and the determination,” he says. “This is what I have wanted to do since I was a kid. I live the game, I dream the shots, and I push myself to be the best. It’s where I belong.” If the European Tour handed out prizes for self-belief, then Adam Gee would be among the first in line, but he knows that it takes more than that to pay the bills.

Home on the range: Gee hones his game at The Wisley between events on the European Tour

February 2012 / Issue 207

SURREY Blackwater Valley Bletchingley SURREY Chipstead Blackwater Valley Chobham Clandon Regis Bletchingley Coulsdon Court Chessington Dorking Chipstead Epsom Chobham Gatton Manor Hoebridge Clandon Regis Horton Park Court Coulsdon Merrist Wood Dorking Park Pachesham Epsom Reigate Hill Rusper Farleigh Court Surrey National Gatton Manor Sutton Green Hoebridge Traditions Horton Park Wildwood Wimbledon Malden Common Windlesham Merrist Wood The Woldingham North Downs KENT Pachesham Broome Park Park Canterbury Redhill & Reigate Cherry Lodge Reigate Hill Chestfield Rusper Chislehurst SurreyManor National Cobtree Darenth SuttonValley Green Fawkham Valley Golf Club Traditions Hawkhurst Wildwood Hever Castle Wimbledon Common High Elms The Hythe Imperial Windlesham Leeds Castle The Woldingham London Beach Lullingstone Park KENT Lydd Marriott Tudor Park Broome Park Pedham Place Canterbury Redlibbets Cherry Lodge Sheerness Chestfield Southern Valley Tenterden Chislehurst Walmer andManor Kingsdown 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Upavon Golf Club Northwood Wareham Redbourn Wrag Barn Rickmansworth& HEREFORDSHIRE WORCESTERSHIRE Royston Burghill Valley Stanmore Sapey Stockley Park The Herefordshire Sunbury Wharton Park Wyre Forest Whitewebbs Park WALES Aberystwyth BEDS, NORTHANTS Bala & CAMBS Bryn Morfydd Carmarthen Aylesbury Vale Chirk Chalgrave Manor Dolgellau Hellidon Lakes Holywell Kinsale North Wales

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February 2012 / Issue 207

New Lane, Sutton Green, Nr Guildford, Surrey, GU4 7QF Tel: 01483 747898 email:

The on-going improvements being made at The Addington Golf Club in Surrey have been recognised on the wider stage, following the club’s recent rise up the rankings in the list of the UK’s top 100 courses. The Croydon-based club is now ranked 71st in the list of all UK clubs, and 30th in England. Under the ownership of the Altonwood Golf Group since August 2006, the club has instigated a series of significant steps to improve the quality of the historic JF Abercrombie-designed course. The past winters have seen extensive works on a number of aspects of the course, including the

Addington on the up

complete renovation of all 34 bunkers on the 6338-yard course, which have been rebuilt and reshaped to return them to the original design when they were first

built in 1914. A number of tees have also been rebuilt and others levelled, while new paths have been constructed and an extensive woodland

management plan has been in force for the last five years. The fairways are currently undergoing a ‘green waste’ regeneration programme that will enhance the playing surfaces considerably over the next 12 months. For golfers outside the area looking for a chance to play the course under competitive conditions, the club is hosting a number of Open events this summer, including a Senior Pairs Open on May 15, a Mixed Pairs Open on June 5, and a Men’s Open on August 29. For more details visit

Gavin’s on a mission to China The perfect venue for Society & Company Golf Days Bacon Roll & Coffee, 18 holes, Golfers Special (One course meal) - £37.50 Bacon Roll & Coffee, 18 holes & 3 Course Meal - £49.50 Bacon Roll & Coffee, 18 or 36 holes, 2 Course Lunch & High Tea - £59.50 Bacon Roll & Coffee, 36 holes, Light Lunch & 3 Course Meal - £69.50

Hertfordshire’s Gavin Samuels and Oxfordshire’s Cameron Long will be on a mission next month when the pair join four other European players to challenge for the Faldo Series Asia title being staged at Mission Hills Golf Club in China. Samuels from Leighton Buzzard, and 17-year-old Long (Drayton Park) will be joined by Lancashire’s Brogan Townend, Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan, and Natalia Heckova from Slovakia at the famed Chinese resort, which boasts 12 championship courses. The 54-hole tournament, which takes place from March 14-16, will see host Sir Nick Faldo following the field of 80 competitors for the entire trip. “Winning the Grand Final in Europe was by far my biggest achievement in golf,” said 21-year-old Samuels, who claimed the overall title at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland last September. “The opportunity to compete in China is one of several doors that have been opened for me since my victory. I’m grateful to Sir Nick for all he has done for me and for so many other young golfers around the world.” The five age-group winners from Mission Hills – three boys and two girls – will be exempt for the 16th Europe Grand Final in September 2012 and the overall champions, one boy and one girl, will receive a start in a professional Tour event. Mission Possible: Cameron Long, Brogan Townend, Sir Nick Faldo, Gavin Samuels, Natalia Heckova and Gavin Moynihan.


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February 2012 / Issue 207

/ 25

NickBayly Euro domination is measured in dollars What do points win? Less prizes. That’s the nub of it when you look at the prize money for this year’s Race to Dubai, which, under its new sponsor, DP World, has recently announced a reduction in the fund for the top echelons of the money list. The R2D started out in 2008 offering a headline grabbing $10 million split between the top 15 players. That figure was cut to $7.5m in 2011. That fund has now been slashed to ‘only’ $3.75m, with just the top 10 players sharing the spoils. I say ‘only’ in inverted commas, because it’s still a staggering amount of cash, but it’s a timely reminder that the inexorable growth in prize money cannot go on as it is, and there comes a time – and that time has long since passed – when players are going to have to accept the economic times we live in. To be fair, I’ve heard no public dissension from the players on the fact that there will be less to play for in the pot this year. None would be so crass, in these economically challenged times, to bite the hand that feeds them, let alone issue a muffled whimper. But the facts of the matter are that the level of prize money on offer on week in and week out on PGA Tour still way outstrips that on offer in Europe. Of course the contentious offering of appearance money will continue to ensure the top players show their faces at some of the big European Tour events, but it doesn’t take a crystal ball to know that as long as the prize money imbalance continues –which it will, due to the sheer size of the US economy and the high price paid for TV rights – a steady trickle of European players will continue to slip over to the Dark Side (aka the PGA Tour). European players may well be in the ascendency as far as the world rankings goes, but let’s not forget where the majority of that money was earned.

Hats off to the hatless! Although there are scurrilous rumours that the real reason why Nick Faldo rarely wore a hat during his six major-winning career is because he couldn’t find one to fit his massive head, I am right behind S’nick when it comes to forgoing the ritual of donning a baseball cap every time I get out of bed. I know that I look an absolute **se in a golf cap of any description, but I wear one when the weather dictates that I need to either keep the rain off my glasses or the sun out of my eyes. On those days rare when it’s neither raining or shining, and not too cold (when I turn to the bobble), I am more than happy to step out on to the golf course ‘sans titfer’. But then again I’m not paid a small fortune to wear a hat with a company logo on it (well, not in monetary terms anyway). Robert Rock’s victory in Abu Dhabi last month


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Hair apparent: the capless Robert Rock

was remarkable for many reasons, but most obvious to TV viewers was the absence of a hat of any sort, never mind one strewn with logos and an amusing tour nickname sewn on to the back in case he ever happens to be struck down with amnesia. Although some quarters have suggested his hatlessness is borne from a ‘vain’ attempt

to keep his luscious locks from being flattened by the unfortunate hat-wearing side effect that is ‘hat head’, it may be that with all that hair he just looks wrong in a hat (remember Rory McIlroy when he had all that stuff tumbling out like Otto from The Simpsons). But I’d prefer to believe that Mr Rock is some sort of latter day Olympian who refuses to sell his head for

commercial gain. Let’s hope that his new-found fame doesn’t literally go to his head, and he starts wearing a hat with some shampoo company’s logo on it. Of course, there are some golfers who look like they were born to wear a golf hat, and frankly look a bit scary without one on (think Thomas Bjorn, Jim Furyk, Mark James). For them, the hat has become a central part of their personality. But if you want a full understanding of why wearing a hat is a commercial, rather than sartorial decision for most professional golfers, you only need to look at pictures of the Ryder Cup, a supposedly commercial-free event when it comes to on course branding. How many of the players are wearing hats when they’re not being paid to do so? Not many. I rest my case, or in this instance, lay down my sponsored cap.

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Woods says that he is playing without feeling any pain for the first time in almost 10 years

February 2012 / Issue 207

If the last few weeks on Tour have shown us anything, it’s how hard it can be to play the final round with the lead. You’re historically very good as a frontrunner. Why do you think that is? It’s very hard to win out here. Being a front-runner, everyone’s chasing you. Sometimes you’re in a position where even if you do make a few mistakes, it’s all right because you have shots to play with. But if you get off to a poor start early, you send momentum down the field. Throughout my career I’ve shot some pretty good rounds when I’ve had the lead. There haven’t been too many times when I’ve gone over par on the final round when I’ve had the lead, but that’s one of the great things about having that lead – you have a cushion, however small it might be. But it also depends on how many guys are chasing you. If you’ve got a whole wolf pack behind you or just one or two guys, it’s a totally different deal. I’ve always been excited about being in that position, as I know I must have played well to get there, so it’s just a

matter of trying to do the same things and hopefully it will be enough. Where did it go wrong for you in the final round in Abu Dhabi? Actually, even though I lost, I was very pleased with the way that was my bad day of ball striking, and it wasn’t that bad. I just felt I was just a touch off with my yardages. A couple of the balls were going further than I thought they normally would. A couple of my 3‑woods went about 320 yards and a couple of my iron shots, 8‑iron from 180 and numbers I don’t normally hit. So I’ve got to reassess that and try to figure that out. I think my swing held up fine. I hit the ball beautifully all week. Are you able to take the positives of a strong finish, or do you take away the negatives of not getting a victory? It has to be both, because obviously the ultimate goal is to win, and I didn’t win. I played well enough to win the tournament, but I just didn’t get it done. You said you feel in good shape; are you looking forward to the year with a healthy mind and body?

Actually it’s been quite a few years since I’ve been physically fit. So I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing a full season, which I haven’t done in a while. My body’s feeling explosive again, and consequently I’m hitting the ball further, so I’m having to get used to being able to play at 100% and without feeling any pain.

26, just like I can say at 16 versus 26. I keep learning how to play the game. The game has changed a lot. When I first came out, we still had a balata ball and the ball moved a lot. Some of the guys were still playing persimmon drivers. The game has changed so much since I’ve been out here, and we’ve all had to adapt to that.

When was the last season you went out and felt no pain? I don’t know, probably eight or ten years ago. I had surgery in 2002, and again in 2008. There were a couple of other injuries in there, too, so it’s been a while.

Have you noticed any signs in yourself that you’re ageing? Yeah, there’s no doubt. I don’t recover quite as well as I used. I know that I’m sore quite often, just about every day when I’m playing with my kids. They’re not very tall yet, and bending down and playing with them, building things, and doing all those different things that are pretty low to the ground, isn’t getting any easier. I don’t remember ever being like that. But there are also ways of training. I understand training way better now than I did then. Wearing myself out for no reason at all, which we all do when we’re younger. I just have to train smarter, practise smarter.

In that light, how many tournaments are you going to be playing about this year? It will be my normal full schedule, so whatever that number normally is. It’s somewhere in the 20s. Does the 36-year-old Tiger Woods have a different approach to the game than the 26-year-old version? Probably, yes, because I think I understand how to get my ball around the golf course better. I’m far better at managing my game now than I was at

Given the injuries and the things you’ve gone through over the last few years,

February 2012 / Issue 207

/ 27

In a revealing interview given after his appearance in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, Tiger Woods explains why he’s looking forward to 2012 more than any recent season and discusses how he is dealing with the ageing process

Back from the brink of confidence going forward. Zach wasn’t going to go away and he put a huge amount of heat on me. So to come back on the last couple holes and do what I did felt really good, because I had it done to me the previous year by Graeme [McDowell], so it felt good to kind of reverse it. What is your plan for the year? The game plan is still the same: I want to try and win every event I play in. There’s a number of factors that get in the way of that happening, including how I perform and what the other 155 guys in the field do, but that’s what makes golf so interesting; that it is very difficult to win tournaments. And to do it consistently over a long period of time, it’s not easy to do.

do you appreciate the game more? I appreciate being healthy more. When we’re younger, we feel more bullet-proof or invulnerable in that sense, because we heal so much faster. That’s no longer the case. The more we age, the more time we need to heal. So let’s try not to get hurt. On top of that, throughout all my years of playing, I’ve proven to myself that I can play hurt, as well as injured. So that’s kind of a double‑edged sword, because I can go out there and play like I did at the 2008 Open and not feel my best, but still win a golf tournament. So where’s the line of demarcation I draw between injury and pain? I’ve proven to myself that I can do both. I can win through both. That’s where I’ve always struggled in the past, because I don’t know where that line is, because I can be successful either way. Looking back to December, how important was your win in the Chevron World Challenge in terms of setting you up for 2012? That was big for me, because I hadn’t won in a while. To do it the way I did against Zach [Johnson] gave me a lot

So you’re feeling positive about your game? I’m looking forward to this year, let’s just say that. I’m physically fit and I’ve played really well in my last three events, so I’m really looking forward to this year, and looking forward to continuing and building on what we have done towards the end of last year. You’ve obviously said a year without a major year is not a great year. Do you get a sense that this is going to be a great year, because it’s been a while by your standards? Unless you have a crystal ball and you want to tell me about it, I don’t know. I’m looking forward to it, though. You’ve been credited with inspiring so many other Tour players to play golf, and now these guys have grown up and they’re now competing against you. Has it come back and bitten you a little bit? Well, when I first came out on Tour, I was the only guy in the gym. There was nobody else. Then it was Vijay. We were the only two. We’d see each other each and every week. Now everybody is in the gym. Everyone has their own personal trainer that travels with them or they have a programme that they follow. The game is way more athletic. We’re getting guys who grew up doing

other sports who have transitioned into golf. One day we’re going to get a guy that is going to be like a Bo Jackson, is going to be like a Michael Jordan. They’re going to be that explosive, and that good, but decide to play golf. That’s what’s going to be pretty cool. I guess I’ll be the one shrimping it down the fairway and trying to do it a different way. I’ll be the Corey Pavin of my generation. But the cool thing about the game is that you can do it so many different ways. You don’t have to be a power player. You can hit it shorter and still get the ball in the hole. You just have to be more efficient. That is the neat thing about the game. If you look at the winners on the PGA Tour this year, I think Kyle [Stanley] is the only long guy of the winners so far. So there are many ways of getting the ball in the hole. What’s your view on Luke Donald’s accomplishments and whether he deserves his world No. 1 ranking, despite not having won a major? Well, you don’t have to win a major to become the No. 1 player in the world; you have to be consistent. You have to play well in the big events, and it’s about accumulating points. That’s how the system has developed. Yeah, it’s a

heck of an achievement to play both tours full-time and the travel that that takes, and the consistency that you must have to do that. Luke seemed like he was in the top 10 in just about every tournament he played in, and that’s the only way you’re going to do it. You’ve got to get wins, and you’ve got to get top‑10s every time you tee it up in order to pull something like that off. He was very consistent throughout the year, and he got W’s along the way. He deserved to get it. What it is that you love about golf? I played a lot of other sports growing up. I played baseball, ran track and ran cross-country. I liked doing them, but I didn’t love them. I love golf and I love what it takes to prepare and be successful at it, and I have so many great memories from it. A lot of it stems from the great times I had with my dad; going out there late in the evenings and practicing together. Those are just incredible memories to me, and now as a parent myself, to be able to go out there with my little boy, Charlie, and to do the same things is just so much fun. That’s what I look back on from my childhood, what golf brought to me, and it’s nothing but joy. With a newly built home Wood’s domestic set-up has undergone significant changes following his divorce in 2011, although he is still in regular contact with his young children

28 /

February 2012 / Issue 207

Storybehindthepic Max Faulkner: The Martini, 1969, Queens Park Golf Course, Bournemouth.


ollowing the announcement that Royal Portrush Golf Club is to stage the Irish Open in June for the first time in over 65 years, it seems only fitting that the exploits of one of England’s finest post-war golfers, the late Max Faulkner, whose name is inextricably linked with the famous links venue, should be remembered. Faulkner etched his name in the history books after winning the Open Championship at Portrush in 1951, the one and only time golf’s oldest major has been held in Northern Ireland. His three under par total of 285 saw him win his dream Claret Jug by two shots from Argentina’s Antonio Cerda. An extremely confident character, Faulkner was so certain that he would win at Portrush that he famously signed a cap for a fan ahead of the final round with the words ‘Max Faulkner, 1951 Open Champion’. Faulkner said of his victory: “There was no way I was going to lose. The Open meant everything to me. When I was handed the trophy, I looked at the names on it – Walter Hagen, Bobby

Jones, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Henry Cotton – and thought ‘Wow’! It was marvellous, I was very lucky.”

the years between 1939-45 as PT instructor and was 36 when he won The Open for the one and only time. In addition to his Open triumph, Faulkner won 16 other pro tournaments, including three Spanish Opens, and also won the Portuguese Open at the age of 52 – a European Tour record that still stands today. He also represented Britain and Ireland in five Ryder Cups, including the famous 1957 victory at Lindrick. A huge favourite with the crowds, who nicknamed him the ‘Clown Prince of Golf’ in homage to his entertaining style, Faulkner was one of the most charismatic and colourful personalities during the grey post-war era. A snappy dresser, his trademark outfit was a pair of salmon pink plus-fours, which made him stand out from the ranks of drab professionals. Something of a trick shot specialist, Faulkner was also a mercurial shot maker who was able to fashion shots that few other players could envisage, let alone execute. A skilled clubmaker, he often played with a mismatched set of clubs and was deadly on the greens using a selection of homemade putters.

Like many of his generation, Faulkner’s career was interupted by the Second World War. He spent

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A popular figure on the charity golf circuit during and after his professional career, Faulkner possessed a wicked sense of humour. When presented with first prize at a small local tournament, he is reported to have said: “Ladies and Gentleman, big prize, big speech, small prize, small speech. I thank you” before walking off the stage. Faulkner, who grew up in Bexhill in East Sussex, learnt to play golf on the course at nearby Selsey, which was owned by his father, who was also the club professional. Golf flows through the family, as his son-in-law is former tour professional Brian Barnes. The pair later went on to create West Chiltington Golf Club in West Sussex, which was designed by Barnes. Well into his 80s, Faulkner was able knock it around the ninehole course in even par. He died in 2005, aged 88, having been awarded the OBE just five years earlier in recognition of his services to golf. It was the very least he deserved for a lifetime spent entertaining golf fans and encouraging future generations to take up the game for which he had such an enduring passion.

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Golf News joins the Virgin Swingers Club!

Golf News has become the official UK media partner of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Swingers, the airline’s loyalty golf programme. Now in its ninth season, the unique online golf league provides Flying Club members with the opportunity to test their golfing skills against likeminded golfers on a global platform. Club Golfers from Europe and the Rest of the World compete in their own leagues entering scores from club competitions and matches against other Swingers, with the ultimate aim of climbing the leaderboard and qualifying for either the European or Rest of the World team in an end of season ‘Ryder Cup’ style final. This year the final will once again take place overseas in November, and it will offer qualifiers the ‘money can’t buy’ excitement that team competition provides in abundance - whether it’s holing the winning putt for your team or taking three out of the bunker to cost your team a vital point. What’s more, if you are not a club golfer and don’t have an official handicap, but still like to hit the course when you can, there are additional ‘fun’ leagues where you can earn a Swingers’ handicap and also have the chance to qualify for the Final. Swingers is also a community where members can search for other members on a unique world map and contact them to arrange a game - perfect for

Join now at or call 01273 556377

WINTER sale Now on! those travelling overseas and looking to get a round in, or for extending your local network of golfing friends. In addition, Swingers can create their own minileagues among friends and work colleagues, submit their own course reviews, have the opportunity to chat about golf and get free online tips from the resident pro. There’s also two society days to enter at Beau Desert and North Hants Golf Clubs and there are great prizes on offer throughout the season from both Virgin Atlantic and its partners, including the likes of Cleveland Golf, Srixon, Glenmuir, Sunderland, Marriott , Bushnell, Serengeti, Golfbidder, Stewart Golf and Level 4. Paul Dickinson, Virgin

Atlantic Director of Sales and Marketing said: “The Swingers competition is just one example of the ways in which Virgin Atlantic meets the needs of its golfing customers. We not only fly to some of the world’s top golf destinations, but we also have one of the most generous sporting equipment baggage allowances. There is no other golf programme which provides as much variety and value for its members as Swingers, and we are delighted that our new partnership with Golf News, the UK’s No.1 free golf publication, will see our unique competition promoted to the UK’s amateur golfers.” As media partner, Golf News will be featuring monthly updates on Flying Club Swingers.

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February 2012 / Issue 207

EwenMurray F

or the first time in his career, Tiger Woods chose to begin his season outside the United States and his return to the fairways in Abu Dhabi was eagerly anticipated. For a reputed fee of two million dollars, Woods gave top value, playing his way into the final group with 18 holes to go. Over the first three rounds there was a calmness in his game that has been missing since his self-destruction off the course and his crippling run of knee injuries. After a final round that has become all too common recently, it seems that Tiger has some way to go to completing a full recovery. The intimidation factor for now has gone. The fear he struck into opponents for 12 years has been put on hold. While he has been going through his enforced lay-off, many players have elevated their games and because of their success, their confidence, belief, and expectations have soared. They are closer to Woods than at any time since the Tiger first played a game not many were familiar with. Technically, Tiger has changed a lot during his period away from competition. Sean Folley has gone down the opposite route that Hank Haney chose when he started coaching him back in the early years of this century. Then, Tiger would practice 20-yard hooks with a fiveiron to encourage a swing that was more around his body. His latest swing incarnation is an out-to-in path,

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

Fear factor gone for toothless Tiger

Tiger is some way off being match fit, but he still looks likely to contend in April’s US Masters

favouring the left-to-right shape. The Butch Harmon years had a swing path and plane that was somewhere in between the two. Off the course, Woods’s interaction with the press has changed little, and can only be described as dire. Thirty

minutes of giving little or nothing away led to more speculation than fact. He has a language all of his own, describing wins as ‘W’s, ball flight as ‘my trajs’ and ‘getting the right numbers’ to represent his yardages and scores.

During his stomach-churning ‘mea culpa’ address at the PGA Tour headquarters three years ago, Woods talked of the need for humility and respect and said he would endeavour to achieve that in the years ahead. That has clearly not materialised, as the spitting, club banging, and swearing is still part of his package. Having watched virtually every shot he played in the desert, I would say the signs are still bright for his golfing recovery. I’ve always thought he is a better player when he sees shots from left to right, although I felt his chipping was too steep – something he at least admitted after the tournament. His nerve is healing and his left wrist hinge, with the toe over heel on the through swing, was vintage Woods. Two World Golf Championships will be played in three weeks at the end of the month and into March. He will also play at Bay Hill, so by the time the first major arrives in April, Woods will be match fit. I saw enough in Abu Dhabi to believe that, on familiar ground at Augusta, any player that beats him will win the Masters.

Old rivalry make for unmissable viewing The PGA Tour enjoyed its largest television audience in over 15 years during the final round of the AT&T at Pebble Beach. It was hardly surprising, given that Phil Mickelson was paired with his archrival Tiger Woods, but what a show they put on. Over 37,000 spectators paid to see the spectacle, and it turned out to be not what many would have predicted. Mickelson shot 64 to come from the pack to win, while Woods collapsed to a 75, which left him way down the leaderboard.

Tiger will have jumped on his private jet headed for his home in Isleworth with his tail firmly between his legs, but knowing him, he will use his final round collapse as a spur for the weeks ahead. Mickelson, on the other hand, signalled that he is not yet ready to hang up the clubs and another Masters jacket looks a real possibility. Woods, having showed glimpses of good form in recent months, has flattered to deceive. He will not be

Making sense of the rules

ready to hand over the hallowed land that is Augusta and this might just be the wake-up call that leads him into his new golfing era. While the clash between Woods and Mickelson proved superb viewing, it also highlighted how much the PGA Tour is struggling to find anyone to replace them. Kyle Stanley, Webb Simpson, Rickie Fowler, Gary Woodland and Spencer Levine are the new kids in town, but they cannot hold a candle to a Woods-Mickelson showdown.

One of the big talking points in clubhouses across the country is the Rules of Golf. During the second round in Abu Dhabi, Rory McIlroy was penalised two shots for brushing some sand away from his line as his ball lay on the apron of the green. As soon as he had done the deed, his playing partner and world-ranking rival, Luke Donald, informed him of his mistake. Had McIlroy’s ball been on the green there would not have been a problem, which begs the question, is it right that you can’t move the sand on the apron, yet a matter of inches away, you can? A few years back, Padraig Harrington was standing over a four-foot putt on Augusta’s 15th green when a gust of wind moved the ball as he addressed it. The ensuing penalty took him further away from the leading pack.

Westwood’s inches from perfection The best golf I have seen on either side of the Atlantic in the last few months has come from Lee Westwood. His play from tee to green has been superior to anything I’ve witnessed in recent years. My only wish would be for him to go to a short game coach that has excelled in that department as a player. There are a few to chose from. Should he find some touch around the greens, he will be very difficult to beat. He talked about his poor putting in the final round at the Emirates, but I feel that comes from a lack of ability to pitch, chip and play bunker shots half as well as he excels at the rest of his game. His career deserves a major title. With improvement in his short game, he will succeed. In every four-round tournament, there comes a spell where shot making is not perfect. That is held together by a sure touch on and around the greens. If Lee can unlock that secret, my vision of Woods with another green jacket may be off the mark.

That’s a rule that has now thankfully been revised, and not before time. The player can control himself, but not Mother Nature. Many years ago during the Andy Williams tournament in San Diego, Craig Stadler found his ball under a tree, with kneeling being the only way of playing the shot. He put a towel on the ground so as not to get his trousers dirty. That was deemed as ‘building a stance’ when the whole golfing world knew there was no advantage in him doing that. It just needs a bit of common sense applied, rather than the full weight of the rules’ book. By changing the ‘Harrington rule’, the Royal and Ancient have shown they are willing to make amendments. I think we would all benefit from common sense changes that would simplify the rules, yet still protect the game.

February 2012 / Issue 207

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Joke of the month My boss phoned me today, he said, “Is everything okay at the office?” I said, “Yes, it’s all under control. It’s been a very busy day, I haven’t stopped.” “Can you do me a favour?” he asked. I said, “Of course, what is it?” “Speed it up a little, I’m in the four-ball behind you.”


DESERT SWING: Luke Donald gets some much needed bunker practice ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which teed off a run of three European Tour events in the Middle East. The bunker in question is the start of the Rub Al Khali, which is the world’s largest uninterrupted sand mass. Donald, who is bidding to defend his money list titles on both tours this season, said: “When you spend the vast majority of your time on the golf course, it’s easy to forget that Abu Dhabi is surrounded by such an enchanting desert landscape. Truly, I was awestruck at the gigantic enormity of it all.” Well said, Luke. Anyone got a gigantic, enormous rake?

What do you do now? What if you were playing in the club championship tournament finals and the match was halved at the end of 17 holes. You had the honor and hit your ball a modest two hundred fifty yards to the middle of the fairway, leaving a simple six-iron to the pin. Your opponent then hits his ball, lofting it deep into the woods to the right of the fairway. Being the golfing gentleman that you are, you help your opponent look for his ball. Just before the permitted five minute search period ends, your opponent says: “Go ahead and hit

your second shot and if I don’t find it in time, I’ll concede the match.” You hit your ball, landing it on the green, stopping about ten feet from the pin. About the time your ball comes to rest, you hear your opponent exclaim from deep in the woods: “I found it!”. The second sound you hear is a click, the sound of a club striking a ball and the ball comes sailing out of the woods and lands on the green, stopping no more than six inches from the hole. Now the real “what if” in this story... What if you had your opponent’s ball in your pocket?



a dozen custom fitted Titleist golf balls

uick questions with Graeme McDowell

Golf News has teamed up with No.1 ball brand Titleist to offer one lucky reader a dozen custom-fitted Titleist golf balls in an exclusive competition.

Which Major would you like to win next? Any of them would do, but the Masters would be the toughest for me. What’s your lowest ever round? 59 on the Valley Course at Royal Portrush. What’s your favourite Open venue? Turnberry. What’s the most important club in your bag? My putter. What irons are you currently playing with? Srixon Z TX irons. What’s the hardest hole on the professional circuit? The 12th at Augusta.

What are your top three courses in America? Augusta, Sawgrass, Pebble Beach.

What course did you study at the University of Alabama? Mechanical engineering.

How does it feel to feature in the 2013 EA Sports Tiger Woods game? It’s great to be part of it, although seeing a digitised version of yourself is a little scary!

Are you related to the actress Andie McDowell? She’s my long lost fifth cousin removed.

Favourite TV box set? 24. I’ve watched them all and am thinking about going back to season one again. What’s your highest break in snooker? 121. Red, yellow, red. What would you have been if you hadn’t been a golfer? Broke!

To enter, all you have to do is become a follower of Golf News on Twitter (@golfnewsmag) and tweet the names of all six models in Titleist’s 2012 golf ball line-up, and you could be teeing up with brand new Titleists this season! The winner, whose name will be drawn from followers joining @golfnewsmag before March 15, 2012, and who correctly tweets the name of all the balls in Titleist’s new range, will be able to choose a

dozen balls that best suits their game. This could include the best scoring performance tour validated balls in the game, the Pro V1 and Pro V1x, or the best performance by a nonurethane cover in the brand new NXT Tour and NXT Tour S; the explosive distance of the allnew Velocity, or the softest and longest yet DT SoLo. For more information on Titleist ball fitting, please visit and follow the links. Lower Your Score with the Best Golf Ball for Your Game.

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February 2012 / Issue 207

McIlroy secures Shot of the Year Rory McIlroy’s sublime six-iron to the tenth green during the final round of the US Open has been voted by golf fans as The 2011 European Tour Shot of the Year. The Northern Irishman, who won his first Major Championship at Congressional Country Club last June, dominated The Shot of the Month competitions in 2011, winning three monthly awards (June, July and December) out of 12. But it was that near-perfect, towering six-iron from 216 yards on the par three 10th hole at Congressional, which came to rest just a few inches from the hole, that fans judged to be the outstanding shot of the season. “I had a big lead at that stage, but there was

always the chance that if I had hit it in the water or done something silly, it would have put a bit of pressure on me,” said McIlroy. “As it turned out, the six iron I hit in there worked out perfectly and I could afford to relax a bit on the back nine and try to take in as much of the experience of winning my first Major as I could.” Miguel Angel Jiménez took second place for his second shot into the famous par five 17th at Valderrama in the Andalucía Masters in October, a 250-yard five wood that left the Spaniard with only a ten-foot putt for eagle. McIlroy also took third place for his bunker shot on the 72nd hole of the UBS Hong Kong Open in December that found the bottom of the cup and secured his third career victory.  

Lawrie canters home in Qatar Paul Lawrie shot a final-day 65 to win the 54-hole Qatar Masters by four shots from Jason Day and Peter Hanson. The tournament was reduced to three rounds after strong winds all but cancelled the second day’s play. Lawrie, who won The Open in 1999, has now moved into the world’s top 50 for the first time in eight years, and will earn his first start in the US Masters since 2003 if he can keep his form going into March.

Stanley rises from flames to claim Phoenix Open Billed as ‘The Greatest Show on Grass’, this year’s Phoenix Open will be remembered for the huge turnaround in the personal fortunes of its winner, Kyle Stanley, who went from hero to zero, and back to hero again in the space of just seven days. Stanley led the previous week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines by seven shots at the beginning of the final round, and four shots when standing on the final tee, only to suffer a serious attack of nerves that eventually saw him lose a play-off to Brandt Snedeker. Exactly a week later, it was Spencer Levin’s final-round meltdown that opened the door for Stanley to erase the memory of his dramatic defeat, and win one of the PGA Tour’s biggest events following a final round 65. Stanley overcame an eight-shot deficit to claim the title, and finish a stroke ahead of playing partner Ben Crane and two ahead of the unfortunate Levin, who limped home with a 75. “You go from a very low point to a high point,” Stanley said. “I’m not sure I expected to maybe recover this quickly. I think the biggest challenge was seeing if I could put last week behind me. I think I did. I’m never going to forget that [Torrey Pines],” Stanley said. “But I think it makes this one a lot sweeter, just being able to bounce back. I’m very grateful for the support I’ve had. It’s an unbelievable turnaround.”


Available in play numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 00, 11, 22, 33.

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07/02/2012 10:41

February 2012 / Issue 207

Following a flurry of wins on tour by players from Northern Ireland, The European Tour has announced that the Irish Open will return to the province for the first time in over 60 years. The classic links at Royal Portrush has been chosen to host the event, which begins on June 28, before returning back over the border to County Kildare in 2013, when the tournament will be staged at Carton House. The championship was last staged in Northern Ireland in 1953, when Scotsman Eric Brown won at Belvoir Park in south Belfast, and will be the

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Portrush to stage the Irish Open

tenth time in total, although the first since the birth of The European Tour in 1972. Portrush has staged the Irish Open on three previous occasions, the others being in 1930, 1933 and 1947, while the club also staged The Open Championship in 1951, when Sussex’s Max Faulkner claimed the Claret Jug by two shots from Argentina’s Antonio Cerdá. triumphed. Speaking about the decision to return the Irish Open to his native land, 2011 Open Champion Darren Clarke said: “It is fantastic news that an

event of the calibre of the Irish Open is coming to Portrush. I know every inch of this course and can vouch for its quality. I’m pleased for everybody in this part of the world, and the decision to come here reflects the amazing run this relatively small golf community has had in the last couple of years.” US Open champion Rory McIlroy echoed those sentiments, adding: “Royal Portrush is one of the best courses in the world and to have the Irish Open there and play my first European Tour event in Northern Ireland

in front of home fans will be very special. The course holds great memories for me; from watching my dad play in the North of Ireland Championships there as a toddler, to playing in it myself as a 15 year old and shooting a course record 61. It’s a superb set-up and players new to the course are going to love it.” In a sign that Portrush could possibly in the running to stage the Open Championship once again, the club has also been chosen to host the British Amateur Championship in 2014.

Rocky floors Tiger with desert knockout

Robert Rock belied his also-ran status to cause one of the biggest upsets in recent seasons when he held off the challenges of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy to claim a sensational victory in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. The 34-year-old Midlander, whose only previous win during his 13-year professional career came in last season’s BMW Italian Open, began the final day tied for the lead with Woods, but was a long shot to end the day with the famous Falcon Trophy in his hands. But he confounded the doubters with a superbly controlled performance, containing his nerves to the extent that he could even afford a bogey six at the final hole and still win by a shot over McIlroy. Woods, who struggled with his yardages all day, closed with a level par 72 to share third with Thomas Björn and Graeme McDowell. Rock, who picked up the first prize of €347,024 to move to second on The Race to Dubai, said: “I think that will take a few days to sink in because it was such a high quality field here and I haven’t done particularly well here in the past. But I played great this week and I’m absolutely delighted.”

Amazing Grace bags SA double Join Team Titleist at

GolfNews_TitleistVelocity_DPS.indd 2

07/02/2012 10:41

South Africa’s Branden Grace secured his tour card for 2013 in no uncertain fashion after bagging a brace of titles during the European Tour’s Africa swing. The 23-year-old, who qualified for the Tour via the Qualifying School, wasted no time in breaking his duck, winning the Joburg Open and followed it up by beating two of South Africa’s finest, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, in a three-way play-off to seal the Volvo Golf Champions’ title.

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February 2012 / Issue 207

Ben Clayton, Cleveland Golf and Srixon the importance of selecting the right bo

Bounce yo to lower scores 2-PIECE GOLF BALL*





When looking at the correct wedge set up for your game, there is one key factor that is often over looked, and that is bounce. Bounce is the angle from the club’s leading edge to the trailing edge. If you select a wedge that has too much bounce, you are likely to thin the ball, and if you select a wedge with not enough bounce, it will cause the leading edge to dig into the turf and produce what are generally known as ‘fat’ shots. To become an accomplished wedge player, the middle of the club’s sole needs to be interacting with the turf more than any other part of the club. In this feature, I will give you some quick tips to help you become a better wedge player. Photo 1: To give yourself the best chance of striking the ball correctly the ball should be positioned in the middle of your feet, with your shirt buttons and/or belt buckle aligned with the ball. You should also try to have 55% of your weight on your front foot, which will help you to turn through to the correct finishing position.



Photo 2: A common mistake made by amateurs is to move the ball back in the stance in an attempt to strike the ball first. By decreasing the loft of the club and reducing the bounce, you are then promoting the chances of a deep divot and a low ball flight or, more often than not, heavy contact, resulting in you leaving the ball short of the intended target. Photo 3: If the ball is positioned more towards the back foot, you will see most amateurs attempting to scoop the ball up and over the obstacle that lies between them and the intended target. This causes the trailing edge of the club to hit the ground, which causes it to bounce off the floor and presents the leading edge of the club to the ball, resulting in the ball thinning across the green and a certain double bogey. By having a more central ball position, focus on hitting the ball forwards and not up. Whatever you do, do not attempt to slide the club under the ball, as this will lead to a scooping action that will result in a bad shot. Concentrate on allowing the loft of the club to work the ball into the air, while focusing on making a forward swing into a balanced finish position, with the weight transferring to the front foot. Photo 4: It is incredibly important that you have the right wedge set up in your bag, as this is the part of the game where scores can be won or lost. With this in mind, try remembering these two rules to increase the chance of getting a better score next time you play.



1. Have no more than six degrees of loft in between each wedge. This will give you more consistency with distance control. I personally prefer a four wedge system and have four degree gaps in my Cleveland Golf 588 wedges, creating a consistent distance of 15 yards difference from wedge to wedge. 2. When selecting the right wedges, it is important to take into account the turf conditions of the golf course where you play most of your golf. If your home club is very dry, with firm bunkers, then a lower bounce club will suit best. If you play on a very wet course, with lush fairways and soft bunkers, then a higher bounce club will suit you better. Shot on location at Sandals Emerald Bay, Bahamas. Ben Clayton is based at Hindhead Golf Club in Surrey and is a Cleveland Golf / Srixon Short Game Ambassador. If you want to lower your scores through harnessing your short game skills, contact Ben on 01428 604458 or email

For more information on Cleveland Golf and Srixon, please visit or 7482-Srixon-GolfNewsAD333AdvertArt.indd 1

10/02/2012 09:51

February 2012 / Issue 207



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n’s Short Game Ambassador, explains ounce in your wedges

your way scores 2



“The Cleveland 588s were always the best wedges ever made. And with this next generation, they still are!”


Graeme McDowell


YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A SET OF CUSTOM-FITTED 588 WEDGES To celebrate the opening of the new Cleveland/Srixon Fitting Centre at Magnolia Park Golf Club in Buckinghamshire, Golf News is offering three lucky readers the chance to spend a day at the club being fitted out by Cleveland’s expert fitters for a set of Cleveland’s stunning new 588 wedges. The winners will also receive an Under Armour ColdGear base layer each to wear on the day. To enter the competition, simply answer the question below and email your name, address and contact telephone number to info@golfnews. with ‘Cleveland Competition’ in the subject line. The closing date for entries is March 12, 2012. Competition winners must be available to attend on a mutually convenient day in March. Question: Which Cleveland Golf staff player won last year’s US PGA Championship? 1. Kevin Stadler 2. Bradley Keegan 3. Jeff Overton

Experience the legend, re-born at your Cleveland golf retail stockist.

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February 2012 / Issue 207

Duncan Lennard gets his swing anaylsed at one of Mizuno’s 400 UK custom fitting centres and finds out how three swings can put him on the path to perfection Sergio Garcia, release the club very late,” says Graeme. “They would be towards two or three on this scale. Often, this late release sees big divots taken. Others release the club early; they are more ‘pickers’, taking the ball cleanly. Your figure of seven shows you are more in this camp. You would benefit from a softer-tipped shaft, again to give more energy to your strike, whereas the very late releaser needs a firmer tip.” It does not take long for the Shaft Optimiser software to recommend me three shafts, ranked in order of suitablility. “It’s showing us that you would benefit from a shaft that is lighter and stiffer than the R300 you

What’s your swing DNA?

Mizuno’s DNA swing analysis system is extremely portable, making it ideal for use on driving ranges, as well as indoor fitting centres

It’s a widely known golf industry fact that four out of every five golfers are using the wrong shafts. I confess I have no idea if my own clubs make me one of those four, but I’ve never really thought of myself as being anything out of the ordinary, certainly when it comes to golf. It’s not that I don’t buy into the merits of custom-fitting; it‘s more that, as a 5ft 11in seven-handicapper who plays twice a week, I have classified myself as a bit of a Mr Average – unlikely to need anything special. Taking all this into account, I have arrived at an entirely unscientific conclusion that the regularflexed True Temper Dynamic Gold R300s in my dual-muscle Mizuno M52 irons are probably about right for me. So it is armed with this belief that I accepted an invitation to give Mizuno’s Swing DNA custom fitting system a whirl. A simple search on Mizuno’s website reveals there are no fewer than four regional fitting centres within

15 miles of my home, so I make my booking for the nearest – Long Ashton, just south of Bristol. Besides a fitting cart armed with 40 heads, 55 shafts and more, each Mizuno fitting centre is equipped with the company’s award-winning Shaft Optimiser and Swing DNA software – two clever pieces of technology which, Mizuno claim, will reveal your true swing signature. The system’s genius is in recognising that the essence of your action reveals itself in the stresses you create in the shaft during your swing. Those forces are measured by the Shaft Optimiser - a specially-made 6-iron, complete with sensors along its shaft. Those sensors monitor five key shaft parameters as the club is swung, and send that data to a laptop computer, armed with software to make recommendations for both shaft and clubhead. The system needs just three swings to give you accurate recommendations. They describe the process as getting to know your Swing DNA – handy for an action like mine that can at times resemble a double helix. I am greeted at Long Ashton by Graeme Gorrie, a long-time Mizuno fitter who has made a special trip from Mizuno’s HQ. After some polite golfing chit-chat, we establish my shaft length (a quarter-inch longer than standard) and I get to hit some balls with the Shaft Optimiser – taking me right to the heart of the fitting process. The Optimiser needs a level of consistency on which to make its recommendations. According to Graeme, just three solid swings can achieve this. The great thing here for amateurs is that it’s shaft dynamics

that are being measured – not the ball. “You’d be amazed how similar the shaft loads on your best and worst shots are,” says Gorrie. “So even if you’re not hitting the ball out of the middle, the Optimizer can quickly get a really good reading of how you swing the club.” After just a handful of swings, the Optimiser identifies a pattern in my swing. A digital readout on the device consistently reveals five figures – 86, 5, 4, 2 and 7. Graeme is on hand to interpret. “The 86 is clubhead speed, in mph,” he says, showing me a computer screen that also records the data for Mizuno’s staff tour players. “That is putting you between Luke Donald, at 92, and LPGA star Stacy Lewis who, at 83mph, represents a fairly average figure for the male club golfer. This figure can’t give you a shaft flex on its own – but generally the faster the swing, the stiffer the shaft.” The second figure, a five, relates to my tempo. “Essentially this is a measure of the speed of changeover from backswing to downswing, out of nine,” Graeme explains. “One being very slow, like a David Toms, and nine being fast, like a Nick Price. This affects how and when you load the shaft, and has implications for your best shaft profile. But you are right in the middle there.” My third figure of four – again out of nine – is a measure of what Mizuno term ‘toe down’. “The forces on the shaft created by the downswing cause the shaft to bow,” adds Graeme. “You could think of it like casting a fishing rod, and its far end dipping down. This bowing flattens the lie of the club and is the reason it is generally recommended to have the toe a little off the ground at setup. Again, your figure is in the middle.” The fourth figure refers to kick angle. “During the downswing, shaft flex sees the head lag behind the grip,” Graeme says. “Then, approaching impact, that flex kicks the head through and the shaft bends forwards, towards the target. Kick angle is a measurement of this. In your case, two means there is not a lot of kick going on. We can now look towards a shaft that will kick a little bit more, to give you a bit more energy at impact.” The fifth and final figure is called Release Factor. “Some golfers, like

currently use,” Graeme reports. “The Dynalite Gold XP S300, KVS stiff 120, and NS Pro 1150 are all medium-weight stiff shafts that will assist your action where you need it, and tighten up your dispersion. What the computer can’t do is factor in personal feel or preference, so that’s why it gives you three options to test out.” The fitting cart is armed with all possible swing DNA recommendations, with heads and shafts connectable though a neat and precise interchangeable ferule. With typical Mizuno precision, eight grams have been taken out of the iron heads’ hosels to accommodate the mechanism’s eight-gram screw. Finally, I am ready to hit the suggested club – a MP59 head in the Dynalite shaft. The club feels great – considerably more wieldy and responsive – but what is perhaps more surprising is the instant extra confidence with which I swing it. The fitting process has taught me much about the way I swing the club; knowing I have a tool in my hands that complements that action has instantly encouraged me to swing with assurance. Graeme rounds off the session by explaining the Swing DNA system’s recommendations for my full iron setup. Three and 4-irons are out, with their more forgiving Fli-Hi replacements at 21º and 24º coming in, while three MPR12 wedges – 52º, 56º and 60º – give me the right loft gaps and spin rate. The line-up – and the fitting – is complete. This has certainly been a different type of fitting. The clubs and shafts I currently use are scarcely mentioned, and there is no direct comparison made between the performance of the old and the new. But I like this. This system could in fact reveal that your existing clubs are perfect, and that helps erase any element of the hard sell from the session. Above all, the fitting has shown me how easy it is to move from the fourin-five to the one-in-five. If this is the future of custom fitting, I like it. For details of where to find your nearest Mizuno custom fitting centre visit

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February 2012 / Issue 207

Cobra ZL Encore driver RRP: £319 Contact: Offered in a choice of ‘fashionable’ white or ‘serious’ black head, Cobra’s adjustable ZL Encore is being billed as its longest ever driver. It features a multi-material construction that combines a 5% larger titanium body and face with a carbon fibre crown and sole. The addition of a swing weight screw has moved the club’s centre of gravity and MOI further back to launch the ball higher and longer than ever before. Cobra has kept the faith with E9 Face Technology, which adds more forgiveness thanks to an elliptical sweetspot, while a canted bulge has been added to the dual roll race to further keep miss-hits above and below the centre on track. Adjustable Flight Technology allows golfers to choose from an open, neutral or closed face angle and help dial in the preferred shot shape. Standard shaft options are the Fujikura Motore F1 and F3, while loft options are 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 11.5-degrees in RH and 9.5 and 10.5-degrees in LH, with S, R and L flexes.

TaylorMade R11S driver Plaser Swing Plane Training Aid RRP: £149.99 Contact: Available in right or left-handed versions, the Plaser is a practice club which features two lasers – one mounted in the grip and the other in the hosel – to provide instant feedback on a golfer’s swing plane. It shows how the correct swing plane should feel and trains the body to repeat that swing consistently. Using the Plaser 5 iron instead of a conventional club, the player adopts his or her natural set up above the Plaser swing plane track, which can be placed on the floor, inside or outdoors. As you draw the club back from the address position, the two laser beams track your swing plane progress along the plane track. Then, moving through your swing, you simply have to keep the lasers’ green dot between the track’s two lines and your game is already improving. Practise this regularly and it will become a learned motor skill. The unique Plaser club will train your body and mind to improve your swing for much greater accuracy and consistency. It also helps to position your body correctly at every point of the swing and improve your balance and posture. The pack includes a 5-iron with a head cover and charger, a swing plane track and an instructional DVD, featuring PGA professional Jon Farmer.

RRP: £349 Contact: Sticking to the runway success that was the white of the original R11 series, TaylorMade’s latest addition to the franchise sees the launch of a driver and matching fairway woods that take the adjustability element one stage further. The 460cc driver – which is available in 9, 10.5 and 12-degree lofts – features a 3-degree Flight Control Technology sleeve and a new five-way adjustable sole plate. Combined with the company’s Movable Weight Technology, the R11S can be tuned for up to a dizzying 80 different launch settings. The adjustable sole plate can be rotated to adjust face angle independent of loft setting between neutral, slightly open, open, slightly closed and closed positions. The standard model comes with a 60g Aldila RIP Phenom shaft (X, S, R and M flexes), while a Tour Preferred version (£399) comes with a slightly heavier 65g shaft.

Titleist NXT Tour balls RRP: £34/dozen Contact: Titleist has launched four new balls into its line up for the new season – NXT Tour, NXT Tour S, Velocity and DT SoLo – each of which has been designed to deliver quality and consistency for golfers across every skill level. The new three-piece NXT Tour and NXT Tour S balls deliver the best scoring performance available for balls with a non-urethane cover. A re-worked design in the Tour, which features a dual density core, results in even longer distance, while retaining feel and control. Meanwhile, the NXT Tour S, which features a thin Fusablend cover, offers NXT Tour-like performance with a softer compression feel, for low spin and a piercing trajectory with a driver and long irons, while retaining high spin with short irons. The Velocity ball, which is completely new, provides explosive distance via the fastest solid core of any Titleist ball. High-speed LSX core technology combines with a new NAZ2 cover formulation to deliver high initial ball speed on all full swing shots and playable feel in the short game.

FootJoy Sport shoe RRP: £110 Contact: FootJoy’s upgraded Sport shoe is designed to appeal to golfers looking for a slightly more athletically-styled shoe than traditionally sold by the game’s leading shoe brand. It features all the key technologies found in all premium FJ shoes, including full-grain leather uppers, ProofGuard membrane technology, mesh linings, a lightweight molded EVA fit-bed, and a flexible outsole. The new model sees the addition of BOA closure option, which features a wire lacing design fitted with an all-new dial on the back of the shoe. The dial is less prominent than previous incarnations and is more finely tuned to offer smaller increments of tightening, ensuring a snug, but comfortable fit for the entire foot throughout the round. They are available in variety of colour options, including white/silver/black, white/blue/black, white/red/black, black/charcoal/black and a white/black/silver.

February 2012 / Issue 207

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Callaway Forged Wedges RRP: £99 Contact: The latest performance wedges to emerge from the experienced and skillful hands of Callaway’s chief designer, Roger Cleveland, feature two new finishes – copper and trivalent dark chrome – both of which are offer a touch of class to an already highly-polished product. The dark chrome finish produces a smoky, muted look that helps reduce glare, while the copper finish is designed to oxidize over time for a distinctive look.

Featuring 21 high-spinning Tour CC grooves, these new forged wedges are made from 1020 carbon steel for soft feel, and feature traditional styling with a higher toe and straighter, softer leading edge for a square look at address. “We’ve softened the leading edge to be straighter and smoother,” says Cleveland. “The blended C-Grind sole is a more gradual ‘C’ shape to provide increased versatility by relieving the heel

and reducing the width of the sole. This enables golfers to lay the face open, while effectively reducing the bounce angle, allowing for proper contact and maximum spin and control.” They are available in 52°, 54°, 56°, 58°, 60° and 64° lofts with a True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 steel shaft.

Cleveland Classic driver RRP: £249

Ping i20 irons Cobra AMP irons RRP: £549/£649 (st/gr) 4-PW Contact: Replacing last year’s highly -praised S3 irons, Cobra’s new Advanced Material Placement (AMP) irons feature a progressive face and cavity design and are aimed at ‘any level of golfer looking for improved distance and accuracy’, according to the manufacturer, which in reality means the vast majority of 10+ handicappers. Tinged with orange in the cavity, hosel, shaft and on the grip – in a heavy nod to its new Tour ambassador, Rickie ‘I’ve been Tangoed’ Fowler – the AMP irons claim to improve upon the performance of Cobra’s tried-and-tested E9 Face Technology. This is achieved by plasma welding a thin, high strength steel face to a stainless steel body. This head design, which gets progressively smaller from long irons to the wedge, creates faster ball speeds off the long and mid irons, while offering exceptional feel off the shorter irons.

Ping i20 hybrids RRP: £160 Contact: Geared towards better players looking for more control over ball flight, trajectory and spin, the range of three i20 hybrids – 17°, 20° or 23° – sit neatly alongside the woods of the same name and provides an excellent transition through to the i20 irons – especially for players who are looking to dispense with their 3- and 4-irons. At address, the head is perhaps the most classic looking hybrid Ping has ever produced, with a compact shape, no frills design, and the white scoring lines on the face framing the ball squarely against the matt black finish of the crown. A straight leading edge helps with alignment, while the slightly shorter blade length makes it easier to work the ball. The i20s feature a low and deep centre of gravity that produces a high, yet powerful ball flight, while the high MOI, which is enhanced by tungsten sole plates, builds in an extra element of forgiveness. All three come with either Ping TFC 707F graphite shafts or Project X Black shafts, in a variety of flexes.

Rating: RRP: £90/£110 per club (st/gr). Contact: The i20 is the iron that all fans of the Ping brand, and those that aren’t but would perhaps like to be, have been crying out for. The reason why is plain to see once you have them in your hands, as they look, feel and perform like skilled players’ irons, but possess the forgiving qualities that make them useable by the huge swathe of golfers who felt that their games were better than Ping’s G range, but not quite up to the demands of previous generations of the ‘i’ range, or indeed the S56 or S57 irons. At first glance, the i20s are an obvious departure from the ‘i’ ranges of the past. The most obvious of these changes at address is the appearance of a ferrule where the shaft connects to the head. This is a first for Ping in its irons, and has been introduced to create a more traditional look at address. Equally eye-catching, but more intrinsic to performance, are the vertical custom tuning port and stabilisation bars in the cavity, both of which are carry overs from the S56s. The bars help improve feel along with a thicker face in the impact area, while the vertical CTP construction allows for a lower centre of gravity and different options for weight positioning. As was the case with the i15s, the i20s are noticeably longer heel to toe in the long irons, gradually decreasing in size to the wedges. However, the top rail in the i20s is thicker in the long irons, transitioning towards a thinner topline in the wedges, dramatically increasing the MOI where golfers need it most. Along with the tungsten weighting in the toe, these three features increase the MOI across the horizontal axis by about 3% throughout the set, and between 4% (PW) and 12% (3-iron) more vertical axis forgiveness over the i15 irons. In essence, the i20s provide golfers with a pitching wedge that has almost the same workability as the S56s, and a long irons that are much easier to hit than the i15 equivalents. Also new is the variable cavity pull construction, which sees the centre of gravity dragged down to the front in the wedges to give players a more piercing trajectory, progressively pulling the CG back to elevate ball flight in the long irons. This feature makes for more user- friendly clubs, while maintaining workable distance control throughout the set. The last key design change is the decreased moment of inertia around the shaft axis, which, in simple terms, makes it easier to manipulate the club through rotation, working the ball left or right as needed, while not losing forgiveness off miss-hits. Some purists will say that the cavity is a little busy, but you can’t see it at address, and all that busyness is the reason why the ball launches off the face so solidly, yet feels as soft as butter that has been left out of the fridge all day. Good players will love their powerful flight and workability, while mid handicappers like me will delight in finally being able to hit a decent shot with what looks like a club designed for someone far better than them.

Contact: Don’t be fooled by the old school styling – including a brass-effect sole plate and mahogany crown that is reminiscent an old Persimmon driver – the Classic is no museum piece. In fact, it is positively packed with all the modern material and design features found in many current models. Following Cleveland’s trend for producing drivers with less weight to encourage faster swing speeds, the Classic is available in 270g, 290g and 310g (tour) head options and comes with a Miyazaki C. Kua 39R Special Edition shaft, which weighs less than 55g, and an all-rubber Golf Pride grip that tips the scales at 25g. The face on the 460cc head (440cc in the 310g head) is the deepest ever found in a Cleveland driver, which makes it very forgiving club on the common areas for miss-hits (i.e. high toe, low heel), while still producing a club that allows manipulation of the ball through the air. As an added bonus, it comes with a luxurious retro leather headcover with a huge ‘1’ on top, that slips off with none of the unseemly tugging required with most modern drivers. It is available in 9, 10.5 and 12-degree lofts.

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February 2012 / Issue 207

1. Titleist 910 D2 RRP: £321 Contact:

2. Callaway RAZR Fit


RRP: £329 Contact:

Loft Options: 12°, adjustable from 11.25°-13.5° In a bid to offer more distance for those with slower swing speeds, Titleist has launched a high launch version of the popular D2 driver. Featuring 12 degrees of loft, it offers significant yardage gains for those with ball speeds below 130mph. Combined with a SureFit Tour hosel, which allows both loft and lie to be adjusted, the head can be delofted down to 11.25° and up to 13.5°, creating a wide variety of launch options for golfers with ball speeds between 110130 mph. Faster swing speeds have been made possible by the 50g Bassara W shaft, which is 11g lighter than the next lightest shaft in Titleist’s range.

Loft Options: 8.5° (RH) 9.5°,10.5° and 11.5° (RH)



Callaway may be a little late to the adjustable driver party, but it believes it has got itself on the VIP guest list with the RAZR Fit driver that features the company’s OptiFit system, which is designed to make noticeable changes in trajectory for each of three face settings - open, square and closed - by adjusting the angle of the shaft and head to a golfer’s preferred look at address. This also helps minimise a slice or hook generated by the club’s angle of attack to the ball. A combination of aerodynamics and precise shaping of the clubface has also helped to increase clubhead speed for greater distance.






The new generation of drivers is light on weight, long on distance, and big on black 3. Wilson DXi Superlight 4. Ping i20 RRP: £199 Contact:

RRP: £299 Contact:

Loft Options: 9°, 10.5°, 12°, 14° (women)

Loft Options: 8.5°, 9.5° and 10.5°

The DXi Superlight is Wilson’s lightest ever driver. Weighing just 269g, it is designed to deliver greater clubhead speed. The weight savings made in the head, shaft and grip translate into greater ball speed at impact and significant distance gains for players with average-to-slow swing speeds. A variable thickness face features a 5-Zone Cup-Face design that has expanded the sweet spot in the direction of the heel and toe areas – common areas for miss-hits among handicap golfers. It comes with a 48g Matrix Ozik graphite shaft as standard and a 28g WinnLite Firm grip.

The latest addition to Ping’s ‘i’ franchise is a significant shake up from what came before in both looks and performance. The matt black PVD finish gives it a classy look at address, with no reflection to distract the user, while the head shape inspires confidence. The aerodynamic 460cc head reduces drag, while the introduction of a slightly shorter stock shaft (45.25 inches rather than the 45.75 found in the i15) allows greater levels of control without adversely affecting distance. The head is made from a low-density titanium alloy, while tungsten sole weights increase the MOI and position the centre of gravity for low-spin, penetrating trajectories.

5. Cobra AMP

6. Cleveland CG Black

7. Nike Victory Red S

RRP: £239 Contact:

RRP: £329 Contact:

RRP: £240 Contact:

Loft Options: 8.5° (RH) 9.5°,10.5° and 11.5° (RH)

Loft Options: 8.5°, 9.5° and 10.5°

Loft Options: 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, 11.5, 13

Cobra’s eye-catching AMP driver, which features a black PVD head with orange detailing on the sole, shaft and grip, is the first new driver to roll off the production line since the brand came under Puma’s ownership early in 2011. The design reflects the brand’s youthful image, while retaining many of the features that made Cobra drivers so popular, including E9 Face Technology, which delivers high ball speeds across a wide section of the face. The titanium head features a milled Ti face with canted bulge and roll to give more distance to shots above and below the centreline.

Weighing in at just 265g, the CG Black is the lightest driver Cleveland has ever produced and knocks 5g off last year’s XL270 Ultralite. The head has been resigned to be more aerodynamic, which creates less drag throughout the swing to increase clubhead speed for greater distance. The face varies in thickness too, so ball speeds remain high across more of the surface, which enhances forgiveness on off-centre strikes. The shaft is slightly shorter than last year’s model, giving back more control to golfer with slower swing speeds.

The new Nike VRS features a 460cc head with a deeper club face and more aerodynamic head shape than any previous Nike driver, which creates faster ball speeds and greater swing velocity, while Nike’s NexCOR face technology results in more power and distance for a full range of players. Straight fit driver technology allows the head to be adjusted up to 4 degrees. It sits at 1-degree open in lofts 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5, and at 0.5 degrees open in the HL 13-degree model. The VRS Driver also features a high performance 51g, 45.75 inch Fubuki X4NG shaft.



The New Decade MultiCompound Whiteout grip offers golf’s hottest grip in a new, white color. This innovative hybrid features a high-performance rubber material in the lower hand for comfort and responsiveness, as well as Golf Pride’s exclusive BCT® cord in the upper hand for all-weather control.

Learn more at

42 /

February 2012 / Issue 207

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The Ultimate Guide

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Golf breaks with tuition Day 1

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

Day 2

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

Variety of Spa Treatments available on request

Price £190 per person (based on 2 sharing)  London Beach, Hotel Club & Spa,

Ashford Road, Tenterden, Kent. TN30 6HX. T: 01580 766279 F: 01580 763884 E:

City-based golfers looking for the fast track to the first tee at some of Europe’s finest links courses are set to benefit from a new service from London’s City Airport. Leading golf breaks company Your Golf Travel has forged a partnership with London-based executive airline CityJet to offer a comprehensive range of tailor-made packages to top golf destinations, including St Andrews, Carnoustie and The K Club. With 15-minute check-ins and no charges for taking golf clubs, flying off for quick golf break has never been more convenient. Golfers using YGT’s CityJet

Your Golf has pledged to provide even greater value for money to golfers after unveiling its new brochure for 2012, which includes breaks available from £69. With a choice of almost 200 resort, hotel and golf course destinations in countries including Turkey, Morocco and Tunisia, as well as the traditional favourites of Spain, Portugal, Ireland and the UK, the brochure offers holidays to

The UK’s Largest Golf Resort

Set in the foothills of Dartmoor National Park, Devon. The Ashbury Golf Hotel is the ideal venue for your golf break.

7 x 18 hole course options all on one site!


Par 72 Par 72 Par 71 Par 69 Par 69 Par 67 Par 54

Carnoustie Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa with B&B, flights and three rounds of golf costs £459 per person – including a round on the famed Championship Course. Further afield, there is a wide choice of breaks

YGT tees up great choice and value

FREE GOLF At The Ashbury Golf Hotel

Oakwood 16th 172 yards, Par 3

Golf Breaks can enjoy a twonight stay at the five-star Fairmont St Andrews resort in Scotland, including two rounds of golf and return flights on a B&B basis, from just £379 per person. A two-night package at the

available in Europe, with offers including three nights’ B&B at Hotel du Golf Barriere Deauville, return flights and a round of golf at Deauville and L’Amiraute from £429 per person. Euan Gillon, spokesman for Your Golf, said: “With the present state of the economy, time is of the essence and nowhere does this apply more than in the city. There are many people that would love the chance to enjoy a short golf break and our new link with CityJet provides the perfect solution for time-poor city workers.” For more details go to or call 0800 043 6644.

6528 6400 6140 5804 5765 5502 1939

Oakwood 16th 172 yards, Par 3

suit all tastes and budgets. There is also an expanded promotion of breaks in England, France, Turkey and Morocco, while the operator’s

portfolio continues to feature a selection of its best-selling products with affordable travel options in 13 different countries worldwide. Trips start from just £69 per person, and for that price golfers can enjoy one night’s dinner, bed and breakfast and two rounds of golf at Hawkstone Park Hotel, Golf & Country Club in Shropshire – with one person in 16 travelling free. In Europe, a three-night package including three rounds of golf is available from only £95 per person when staying at the Aroeira Golf Resort near

Lisbon, Portugal. Euan Gillon, head of marketing Your Golf Travel. com, said: “This year we’ve really focused on what makes our resorts special, featuring them with fantastic imagery and quick fact files. We’re also well aware that times are tough for people, so we’ve pulled out the stops to include as many added value offers and free places as possible.” For a copy of the brochure phone free on 0800 043 0360, email info@yourgolftravel. com or go online at

Taverners’ tournament tees off in St Malo

Ashbury 6th 410 yards, Par 4


Bargain Breaks from: 3 Night Weekend £238pp ~ 4 Night Midweek £253pp

Sports Bowls Table Tennis 5-A-Side Basketball

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PLUS unique Craft Centre featuring 17 tutored crafts, including Pottery & Woodwork

0800 389 9892

All rooms en-suite • Full board • Child rates • Party discounts

Brittany Ferries and the wellknown charity The Lord’s Taverners have come together for a fundraising golf tournament in France next month. The tournament, which costs £99 per person, includes an overnight ferry crossing with car from Portsmouth to St Malo on March 19; a round of golf at one of the top-rated courses near St Malo on March 20; followed by an on board prize-giving sponsored by Callaway Golf during the overnight cruise back to Portsmouth.

The Lord’s Taverners is well known for its charitable activities that give young people, particularly those with special needs, a sporting

chance. For more information go to www.brittanyferries. com/golf, email golfdesk@ or call 0871 244 0808.

February 2012 / Issue 207

/ 43

Golfers looking to enjoy a sporting day to remember should take a look at a new series of days out being offered at the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex. The estate, whose facilities include two 18-hole golf courses, a racecourse, motor racing circuit and a hotel, has launched ‘Dawn to Dusk’ days out that combine golf, an evening of horse racing, and music from some of the bestknown DJs in the UK. The days, which take place on June 8, 15 and 22, begin with breakfast in The Kennels, Goodwood’s private members’ clubhouse, followed by nine holes of golf on the Downs Course. After the prizes have been handed out, guests will enjoy lunch in the clubhouse with local produce from Goodwood’s own organic farm, and then go to the famous racecourse for the evening meeting, after which there is music and

Join the all-day party at glorious Goodwood Goodwood’s Downs Course

Awarded 5 Star Gold Award by British Tourist Board

Please visit our new website

27 holes of fantastic golf The Dorset Golf Hotel and Luxury Log homes for rent FREE GOLF Air-conditioned clubhouse facilities l Restaurant offering an extensive menu l On site accommodation in the Dorset Golf Hotel 16 twin rooms l From £62.50 pppn including Dinner, B&B and FREE GOLF l l

DJ Chris Evans in action


Coffee & Bacon Baguette on arrival Basket of Driving Range Balls l 18 Holes of Championship Golf l Two Course Dinner l Coffee & Mints l l

dancing in the parade ring, which last year included DJs Mark Ronson and Chris Evans. The package, which costs £119 per person, all food, green fees, personal lockers, buggies, club cleaning, sessions on the driving range supervised by a qualified golf professional and, at the racecourse there are

race cards and access to the Parade Ring. For those who wish to stay overnight, there is also ideal accommodation at The Goodwood Hotel, with a bed and breakfast rate of £155 per room. For more details and bookings please email: or call 01243 755130.

£29.95pp (min 8 players)

Dorset’s premier golfing venue not to be missed! The Dorset Golf & Country Club, Bere Regis, Nr Poole, Dorset BH20 7NT Website: Website: Email:

Telephone no: 01929 472244


2 NIGHTS B&B at St Mellion or Trevose 3 ROUNDS St Mellion, Perranporth & Trevose

ONLY £225 pp Dinner option: £20pp per night extra






2 NIGHTS B&B at Toorak Hotel, Torquay 3 ROUNDS Churston, Torquay & Teignmouth

2 NIGHTS B&B at either: Marriott Portsmouth or Lythe Hill Hotel & Spa, Haslemere

2 NIGHTS B&B at The Metropole Hotel DAY 1 Cradoc G.C 18 holes DAY 2 Llandrindod Wells G.C 18 holes DAY 3 Builth Wells G.C 18 holes

2 NIGHTS B&B at The Royal Sportsman DAY 1 Porthmadog G.C 18 holes DAY 2 Nefyn & District G.C 18 holes DAY 3 Royal St Davids G.C 18 holes

2 NIGHTS B&B at Woodhall Spa Hotel 3 DAYS 1 x Hotchkin Course*

ONLY £199 pp

ONLY £225 pp

ONLY £249 pp

3 ROUNDS at any of these courses:

Hindhead, Stoneham, Hayling or Liphook

ONLY £199 pp

Dinner Option: £10pp per night extra

ONLY £249 pp

Weekend supplement: £10pp extra

Weekend supplement: £15pp extra

1 x Bracken Course* 1 x Seacroft GC

* Located at Woodhall

Weekend supplement: £17pp extra

To discuss your exclusive golf package call 01822 618181

We have over 15 years experience of organising golf breaks throughout the UK and Europe

44 /

February 2012 / Issue 207

No longer in the shadow of its glamorous neighbour, Dubai, the emirate of Abu Dhabi is already a destination in its own right, thanks in no small part to a trio of stunning golf courses and an abundance of luxury hotels.


Delights Words by Nick Bayly

If you build it, he will come. Those may have been the prophetic words of a disembodied voice speaking to Kevin Costner in the schmaltzy 1989 baseball film ‘Field of Dreams’, but the sentiment could well have been shared by the rulers of Abu Dhabi when they were contemplating what they’d need to do to get Tiger Woods to come and ‘play ball’ there. But rather than fashioning a makeshift baseball pitch from a cornfield, Abu Dhabi’s leaders have aimed altogether higher, first creating an entire city from the desert, and then setting about making it one of the most cosmopolitan metropolis in the world. It may not – yet – have the glamour of its more impetuous neighbour, Dubai, but it is fast catching up, while desperately trying to cling onto the roots of the Arab culture that makes it so unique. Abu Dhabi’s geographical location alone ensures that this tiny island state, which is the capital city of the United Arab Emirates and is home to just over one million people, is a clash of east meets west. Nowhere in the world is this melting pot so easily observable, as giant mosques battle for the skyline with towering financial institutions, shopping mauls, marinas and gravity-defying hotels. Although it holds some ten per cent of the world’s oil reserves, Abu Dhabi, like Dubai, is trying to diversify its economy before the wells run dry – although that’s not going to happen in my children’s lifetime – and is therefore keen to attract inward investment, as well as tourism. In addition to building world-class hotels and a Formula 1 track, the powers that be have judged golf as being a central part of the sales package, only they want it to be better, if not bigger, than what is currently available in Dubai. Truth be told, the two cities may well be fierce rivals, but they are intrinsically linked, and the emergence of one has

helped lift the other. Any visitor to this part of the world should make every effort to visit both cities, as they each have unique attractions and are just an hour’s drive apart, making either destination ideal for a holiday base. The European Tour has been visiting Abu Dhabi since 2006, and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which was won last month by Robert Rock, is widely regarded as the beginning of the golf season by many respected observers. Most of Europe’s leading players begin their competitive year here, and with a prize fund of $2.7m on offer, it dwarfs any of the events on the African swing that precedes it and attracts by far the strongest field of any early season event – including this year, the aforementioned Mr Woods. The tournament has been successfully staged at Abu Dhabi Golf Club since 2006, although the opening of two further championship venues at Yas Links (2010) and Saadiyat Beach (2010) means that the tournament is likely to be switched around in years to come in order to showcase the strength in depth of the golf now on offer here. And what strength it has. Outside of Pinehurst and St Andrews, I can’t think of too many venues that offer such a concentration of contrasting, yet equally compelling golf courses on which to test your skills. Despite, or perhaps because, of their close proximity to one another, there is fierce competition for ‘top dog’ status among the three venues. Golf Digest Middle East’s most recent course rankings list saw Yas crowned the region’s best facility by the expert judging panel, while Abu Dhabi and Saadiyat placed third and sixth, respectively. In a separate readers’ vote, all three ranked in the top four clubs in the Middle East, providing ample evidence that they have mass appeal among golfers who have to pay their way. Having played all three courses during a visit in December, I can testify to the exceptional experience on offer,

A sea of sand awaits players at the stunning Saadiyat Beach

although to compare them would be like rating a bacon roll, a sausage sandwich and steak baguette. There’s a time and place for all of them – although in my case, preferably at the same time. Abu Dhabi Golf Club First up is Abu Dhabi Golf Club, whose iconic falcon-shaped clubhouse has made it an instantly recognisable venue the world over. Rumour has it that when it was first built the falcon was facing the other way, and it took the keen eye of a visiting member of the royal family to gently inform the architect that he would like it rotated through 180 degrees to face the golf course. Regardless of its orientation, the clubhouse provides a stunning backdrop to two Peter Harradinedesigned layouts, the 18-hole National Course and the more forgiving 9-hole floodlit Garden Course. The resort, which is expertly managed by Troon Golf, also offers tour-standard practice facilities, including the Gulf’s longest driving range, which is now overlooked by the brand new 172-bedroom Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, which

opened in December and provides a stunning base for any visit to the region. The National course, which first opened in 1998, presents a superb challenge, with its numerous teeing options stretching it from 6,249 yards off the forward tees, to a whopping 7,440 yards off the backs. Meandering gently through palms and shrubs, the largely flat layout is not a desert course by any stretch of the imagination, thanks to an extensive irrigation system, which also feeds the seven salt-water lakes that form an integral part of the challenge. Good golfers will be happiest off the green tees, which, at 6,900 yards, still presents a stiff test, especially on a handful of lengthy par fours – including the 5th, 9th and 14th – all of which are well over 450 yards. Personal highlights include two holes around the turn – the par-five 10th and the dogleg 11th – both of which have been well bunkered to catch errant tee shots, and are tricked up around the well-framed greens. Other standout holes include two par threes, the 196-yard 7th and the 183-yard 12th. The seventh is one of the most dramatic holes on the course, requiring accuracy

February 2012 / Issue 207

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leave a short pitch into a devilish green, is also up among the best holes. The 646-yard – yes, 646, read it and weep – 18th is a superb finishing hole, somewhat reminiscent of the last at Pebble Beach or Hilton Head. With the lagoon threatening all the way up the left side and bunkers and tall rough stalling the progress of those bailing out too far right, it’s a proper three-shotter – five in my case – to a narrow green that’s angled towards the sea, ensuring no score is safe until the ball has come to rest in the bottom of the cup. Critics, and there will be some, may argue that some of the holes along the sea can feel a little claustrophobic at times, with nowhere obvious to land the ball, especially in a cross wind, while the greens complexes are just that – complex – and could take a lifetime to master. Admittedly it’s a tough test for a hacker, and you should load up with plenty of ammunition, but I dare you not to walk off the 18th with a smile on your face. The characterful clubhouse is an impressive three-storey structure built in the style of a Spanish hacienda. The facilities are second to none, while the view from the lofty bell tower provides a better perspective of what has been achieved during the three years it took to construct this stunning course.

The floodlit 9-hole course at Abu Dhabi Golf Club

The superb Kyle Phillips-designed Yas Links

There’s nothing standard about the bedrooms at the luxurious Yas Viceroy Hotel

superb leisure facilities on offer, which include a swimming pool, tennis and squash courts, and a health club with sauna, spa and Jacuzzi.

and distance control, as it has water from tee to green and again over the back. The 12th is the signature hole, with water to be carried and a landscaped rock wall backdrop. Club selection is critical here, while a half decent execution doesn’t go amiss either. The finish to both nines takes in the classic falcon clubhouse view, which will have the dreamer in you imagining the galleries cheering your name as you walk up to the green with three putts to win the title (mind you, you’ll need them with putting surfaces this big). The 9-hole Garden Course, which has two teeing positions, is also not to be missed, and I can highly recommend playing nine holes under floodlights in the evening. Not only is it cooler – temperature wise – but it’s an entirely different playing experience and a great deal of fun to watch your ball arcing through the night sky. After a round on either course, visitors can relax in the luxury of the extraordinary clubhouse, which features three floors of restaurants and bars and a falcon’s eye view of the course. Non-golfers will enjoy the

Yas Links Golf Club Keeping Abu Dhabi Golf Club on its highly polished toes, Yas Links, which opened in 2010, sums up what is possible when you mix the imagination of a designer of Kyle Phillips’s pedigree with the deep pockets of an ambitious owner. Built on Yas Island, which is also home to the F1 Grand Prix circuit and the Ferrari World theme park, Yas Links offers a rollercoaster ride of its own, with eight of its 18 holes clinging to the edge of a two-mile stretch of man-made coastline. Yes, ‘man-made’. In a unique twist, Phillips was able to design not only the course, but the coastline along which the course runs. That’s because the channel along the western edge of Yas Island had to be dredged to produce the 1.8 million cubic metres of landfill used to construct the course. The result is a ‘coastline’ that overlooks a lagoon, rather than the sea itself, but which lends itself perfectly to hole after hole of heart-in-mouth – or more rather ball-in-water – golf. Although a far from being a natural links, this is arguably golf at its most pure in this part of the world, and makes for a refreshing change from the manicured fairways found elsewhere. Not that the fairways aren’t manicured here, it’s just the bits in between the mown stuff have been left to grow wild, with tall grasses framing the fairways and providing all manner of trouble for those who fail to keep it straight. It’s exhilarating and enjoyable at every turn, with players required to plot their way around every hole, and be at their creative best to score well. Although it measures a kneetrembling 7,414 yards off the back tees, four other tees ensure that it is playable for all handicap categories. Highlights must include the three par threes that are played along the coastline, the 8th, 13th and 17th, while the par four 9th, which requires a carry over water to

Saadiyat Beach A no less impressive newcomer is to be found at the Gary Player-designed Saadiyat Beach, which opened exactly two years ago to almost universal applause. The course, which, like Abu Dhabi GC, is also managed by Troon Golf, is visually stunning – providing you manage to block out the numerous hotels and properties being erected around some of the holes closest to the sea – and presents a significant challenge to all levels of golfer, especially if you want to have a bash off the back tees, which takes the course to a giddy 7,806 yards. Don’t worry, the very forward tees take it down to 5,992 yards. As the name of the course suggests, The Black Knight has made sand a big feature of this layout, either because there was too much of it already there to bother moving it, or he had a line of gap wedges that needed shifting. Either way, bunkers and sizeable waste areas crowd the view from many of the tees, ensuring that no tee shot is a thoughtless smash with the big stick. The most visually stunning holes are undoubtedly those along the shoreline, as well as the par 4 10th – Mousetrap – living up to it’s name with a bevy of bunkers surrounding a small green to capture anything hit offline.After a round, golfers can grab a bite and a

cool drink in the clubhouse’s Hawksbill Restaurant, named after the protected turtle species that use Saadiyat as a hatching spot. Golfers wishing to stay on-course can revel in the luxury of the stunning new 300 bedroom St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort which sits alongside ocean-front 5th and 6th holes. Accommodation There is an embarrassment of hotels to choose from to suit all budgets, from twin rooms in budget hotels, to luxury suites at the Yas Viceroy, where I was lucky enough to stay during my visit. Commanding a stunning view over the Yas Marina and the F1 circuit that winds its way around the island, the Viceroy is hard to miss from afar, with its iconic steel canopy wrapping itself over the building like a metallic veil. The roof top bar, which is open to the elements, is a great place for sundowners and chilling out, while there are six superb restaurants to choose from, each showcasing cuisines from all over the world. The stylish rooms, of which there are 499, are extremely comfortable and fitted with every convenience you’d expect from a luxury hotel – you’ve got to love those Nespresso machines – with each featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies to take in the stunning view of the marina and the F1 circuit below. Golf in Abu Dhabi A new initiative called ‘Golf in Abu Dhabi’ has recently been launched to offer exclusive holiday packages to include flights (national carrier Etihad runs an excellent 7-hour service from Heathrow), hotels, green fees and transfers. Dayne Lim, spokesman for the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, which is behind the initiative, said: “For the last six years the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship has put Abu Dhabi on the golfing map. Our goal now is to entice the world’s amateur players by highlighting the destination’s diversity of playing options and our other multi-faceted tourism assets.” I can safely say that with three stunning courses, superb hotels and welcoming Arabic hospitality, Abu Dhabi is definitely on my golfing map, and deserves to be on yours too. But don’t leave it too late, or you might be faced with a queue! Contact Details Abu Dhabi Golf Club, www.adgolfclub. com; Saddiyat Beach Golf Club,; Yas Links Golf Club,; Yas Viceroy Hotel, For general enquiries and bookings visit or email

The eye-catching superstructure of the Viceroy Hotel lights up the night sky on Yas Island

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February 2012 / Issue 207

Spring opening for the Algarve’s first 6-star hotel

Banish winter blues at Monte da Quinta Portugal’s stunning Monte da Quinta Resort has unveiled a series of enticing discount packages to help golfers banish the winter golfing blues, with savings of over €600 currently on offer. The luxurious Algarve venue is offering golfers the chance to take advantage of extensive savings when staying and playing the three courses on the adjacent prestigious Quinta do Lago estate. Visitors to Monte da Quinta can sample the delights of Quinta do Lago’s North, South and Laranjal courses for a fraction of the cost from

February 23 until the end of next month, with a variety of three, five and seven-night packages available. For as little as €297 per person, golfers can enjoy three nights in one of Monte da Quinta’s impressive suites and a round of golf on Quinta’s South and North courses with a buggy also provided for the latter. For those people looking to stay longer, a five-night break, including a round of golf on each of the three courses can be booked for €99 per person per night, based on four people sharing one

of the resort’s townhouses. Townhouses and villas accommodating six to eight people are also available for €475 each for a similar fivenight break. And there are massive discounts to be enjoyed for golfers choosing the sevennight package with two rounds of golf on the North, one each on the South and Laranjal, plus a free round, available at €623 per person. The offer also includes unlimited house wine and beers in Monte da Quinta’s bar during happy hour every day and is based on two people sharing a one-bedroom suite. For further information, or to book a stay call 00 351 289 000 300, email or go to

Golfers looking to stay in the lap of luxury this summer should book a suite at the new Hilton Resort and Spa in Quinta do Lago, which is being billed as Portugal’s first ever six-star hotel. The luxury development, which is due to open in the spring, offers 158 guest rooms and suites designed to reflect a contemporary Portuguese style. The grounds

include themed gardens, swimming pools and lakes and a 1,500-square metre spa and health club. The

hotel will feature a selection of restaurants offering some of the best Portuguese and international cuisine, together with a wine and cocktail bar with alfresco terrace. The resort also boasts fullyequipped meeting rooms, a 24-hour business centre, as well as a large ballroom. The hotel is 10km from Faro Airport, and is close to some of the regions most famous golf courses. For bookings please visit www.

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February 2012 / Issue 207

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Five Handicapper and former Southampton and England footballer Matt Le Tissier provides a personal account of last month’s 2012 Scottsdale Classic Pro-Am, a week-long festival of golf, which included a day spent watching the Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, followed by a round over the same course Friday: I’ve always really enjoyed taking part in Pro-Am tournaments, as I love the team format and the camaraderie that it offers. The American Golf Holiday offers a range of fantastic destinations for its Pro-Am Tours, and Scottsdale is always one of the most popular. John and Alison Hooper, who host all the events, met myself, and my three friends, Paul Mico, Laurie Parsonage and Ben Johnson, on our arrival in Phoenix. Minutes later we had collected our spacious seven-seater rental car for the short drive to the Scottsdale Plaza Resort, where most of the teams were staying. After checking in, we headed for the hotel bar for a quick beer, where it was great to meet lots of the teams who, like us, were looking forward to a good week. Saturday: It was an early start at Grayhawk Golf Club, where we enjoyed a fantastic warmup round on the Tom Fazio-designed Raptor Course. Grayhawk offers a laid-back ambience, with a magnificent clubhouse, and rock music booming out around the clubhouse and range. After a quick lunch, it was just a short drive to TPC Scottsdale to watch the third round of the PGA Tour’s WM Phoenix Open. Saturday is definitely party day, and by early afternoon the crowd was enormous, and the atmosphere was lively to say the least. I later discovered that this was a record attendance for a Saturday, with 173,000 fans passing through the gates. I reckon 150,000 were partying and only 20,000 odd were watching the golf! That said, the tournament has a unique atmosphere, and the stadium mounding ensures great viewing. The grandstands surrounding the famous 16th reminded me of my old days at The Dell, only with a green in the middle, rather than a football pitch! No pressure, but if you miss the green you get 20,000 fans booing you. Rickie Fowler didn’t seem to mind, he positively encouraged the crowd to make a noise when he played his shot, and he repaid them by making a birdie. By late afternoon the party crowd moved to the famous Bird’s Nest, a huge marquee with live bands and plenty of bars. Sunday: Back to Grayhawk for a breakfast buffet in Phil’s Grill, named after local favourite Phil Mickelson, where there was a chance to meet the other Pro-Am teams. It was great to see my good friend Richard Bland with a team from Remedy Oak Golf Club in Dorset. Richard was enjoying a break from the European Tour and we immediately started some great banter with his team. After registration, we each received a logoed Pro-Am Tour windshirt and then headed out to play the Talon Course for an individual stableford competition. Tournament organiser John Hooper challenged everyone

Playing the famous 16th just after the tournament

Matt and friends are ready for action in their team shirts

tour diary Rimmer from the PGA announced our names, and Team Johnson were off and running. The format is two best nett scores per hole medal play, and 4½ hours later we posted a seven under par total for ninth place. Mid-table respectability! Must try harder.

We Ko Pa

to get 30 points or more and the successful golfers were each rewarded with a gift voucher to spend in Scottsdale’s massive PGA Tour Superstore. My teammate Ben, who is the professional at Stoneham, Paul, and I were all successful and really enjoyed visiting what is certainly the biggest golf shop I have ever seen. Monday: Tournament Round 1 at the exclusive FireRock Country Club, one of the area’s top private clubs. Set in Fountain Hills, the club offers a superb layout with far-reaching views. Players were encouraged to wear team outfits and we arrived on the first tee for our photo in our matching shirts. Tournament official Dawn

Tuesday: Scottsdale sits in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, and just outside the city is the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation, home of the spectacular We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, certainly one of the prettiest golf courses you will ever play. Unfortunately, our performance was nowhere near as good as the Cholla Course and its views. Six over par and we slipped to one under for two rounds and 15th place. Relegation beckons! Unfortunately, Blandy’s team were 12 shots better in seventh, and we were going out to dinner with them – not sure we were going to enjoy the banter later. We chose to go to the Brazilian Steakhouse Fogo de Chao, definitely a great dining experience, a wonderful salad bar followed by a selection of skewered meats served tableside. You simply show the waiter a green card for more food, and a red card when you are full – never had a red card in a restaurant before! Definitely something different and a great evening was enjoyed by all. Wednesday: Although a free day, the organisers offer a variety of golf options. One is a Ryder Cup-style match against the members of Desert Highlands Golf Club. This proved to be very popular, which is not surprising as the course is one of the best in the desert. However Team Johnson and Team Bland had their own challenge out in the desert north of Phoenix at Quintero Golf Club. The two pros had played here before on The Pro-Am Tour, and their recommendation proved to be a huge success. It’s one of the best courses I have ever played, and, like every course we have played, presented in magnificent condition. Another brilliant golfing day and we celebrated our victory over Blandy’s team with dinner in Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse which was just a short walk from our hotel. I could eat there every night!

The 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale has seating for over 25,000 fans

Thursday: Back in tournament mode, and the good news was that the organisers have split

the teams into two divisions, gold and silver, and started a new competition over the last two rounds to give more teams a chance of a prize. This was perfect for us in 15th place, as we now had a new target. Win the silver division and, of course, beat Blandy’s team. Round 3 was staged at another top club, Superstition Mountain, which offers two courses. We were playing Lost Gold. By now we were really taking advantage of the free range balls and it was great to spend time on the range with all the pros. The whole event makes you feel like a tour player, even if our scores didn’t always reflect it! Much better day, ten under and up to 10th, and more importantly we were now leading the Silver Division. Blandy’s team also had a good day, and extended their lead over us to 16 shots. After golf we relax ed in the hotel’s hot tub – the biggest in Arizona, before heading to Houstons for the ‘fall-off-the-bone ribs’ – delicious. Friday: Today was the final round at TPC Scottsdale. Five days on from the WM Phoenix Open and the place was considerably quieter, but the course was presented in mint condition, with most of the grandstands still in place. After breakfast in the clubhouse, we headed for the practice range and for a real PGA Tour experience. The course was magnificent and a great test, and it was really special to play it so soon after some of the world’s top players. Good day again, nine under, and we won the silver division. But Blandy is the star of the day, he shot 66 to win the professional event by one shot from Simon Lilly and John Gallagher. A great bunch of lads from Teignmouth Golf Club won the team event with Billy Hemstock as their pro. Back at the hotel we headed for Remington’s, a fine dining restaurant at the Scottsdale Plaza, where the prize-giving was held. The banter was tremendous as the prizes – top-branded golf equipment and some very nice trophies – were handed out. Saturday: Our departure day - but due to the late flight there was still time for one more round at the second course at Superstition Mountain – The Prospector. Another beauty and none of us want to go home, especially as we heard most of the courses in southern England are closed for snow. To sum up the trip - Scottsdale is by far my favourite golfing destination, offering a wide variety of truly world-class courses, a great winter climate, and a quality ambience, with hundreds of great bars and restaurants. I love living in southern England, but if there was one place in the world I would consider moving to – it would be Scottsdale, Arizona. I cannot speak highly enough about the way the events are run. I have been lucky enough to play in lots of golf events all over the world, but John and Alison Hooper at The Pro-Am Tour run the best. Obviously, all this quality comes at a price, but when you consider the high level of the golf experience on offer, and how much is included in the package, plus the level of service, the events really are incredible value for money. Matt Le Tissier travelled with The American Golf Holiday, which operates The Pro-Am Tour and the Scottsdale Classic Pro-Am. Please visit for further information or telephone 02380 465885.

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February 2012 / Issue 207

Golfbreaks’ video guides prove essential viewing

Golfers looking to book a golf break in 2012 can now make a more informed choice thanks to the introduction of resort video guides on leading golf travel company’s website. Designed to complement the existing brochure and

website descriptions, the 90-second slots feature high-definition footage of the golf course, hotel and leisure facilities at many of the top resorts in the UK and Europe, giving golfers the inside track on the venue and the confidence to try new places.

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A dedicated area of the website already features more than 25 videos, including leading venues such as Celtic Manor, the Belfry and La Manga, with a second phase imminent that will see many more go live from March onwards. “With the arrival of faster broadband speeds and the meteoric rise of video-sharing websites, creating an online bank of video guides seemed like a great way to help our customers decide which venue to visit,” said Guy Proddow, Director of “They give golfers a real feel for the resort that brochures and websites simply can’t provide and we will be producing plenty more in order to make choosing a golf holiday even easier.” has also expanded the opening hours of its customer hotlines, with telephone bookings now being able to be made up u ntil 9pm during the week and until 6pm on Saturdays. Sunday opening has also been introduced, enabling golfers to book holidays at their own convenience. To view the full list of destination videos visit www.

Abama Golf Club

Tee it up at the Tenerife Trophy

Tenerife is to host the 2012 Tenerife Golf Trophy, a friendly tournament aimed at amateur golf players, from April 21-28. Organised by the Association of Golf Courses in Tenerife, the event is designed to offer an informal and fun environment, with the competition being held at three of island’s most pre-eminent championship courses: Abama, Costa Adeje and Golf Las Americas. To take part, guests must book a package, which costs from €677 to €1,000 per person, depending on


the type of accommodation chosen, that includes a seven-night stay at any of the participating hotels, three green fees, transfers to the courses throughout the tournament and a closing awards gala dinner. Discounted packages are also available for partners that do not wish to take part in the golf events. The hotel options,

which are designed to suit a variety of budgets, include Sheraton La Caleta, Iberostar Anthelia, Hotel Jardin Tropical, Arona Gran Hotel, Sandos San Blas Hotel and Compostela Beach Apartments. For further information on the Tenerife Golf Trophy 2012, as well as information on how to book, visit en.tenerifeisladegolf. com/tenerife-golf-trophy.

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Paul McGinley’s off-course business venture ClubstoHire. com has has launched a new pairs competition that is being held on three courses in the Algarve during May. The three-night, threeround event will see golfers play on Onyria Palmares, Quinta do Lago South and Laranjal – while staying at

the Crowne Plaza Vilamoura, from May 24-27. And there is no need to splash out on airline charges to take your golf clubs to the event, as entry includes complimentary hire of a set of clubs – choose from TaylorMade, Callaway, Wilson or MD Golf – from the outlet at Faro

Airport. Entry, which costs €495 per person, includes accommodation, three rounds of golf on three courses, transfers from the airport and to the courses each day and a gala dinner and prize giving on the final night. For further information visit or email

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16 7/2/




February 2012 / Issue 207

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In association with...

with Gary McAllister – The former Motherwell, Leeds, Leicester, Coventry and Liverpool midfielder is a regular visitor to Portugal’s Algarve coast, where he can often be found on the fairways of Pinheiros Altos My first holiday was… a long time ago, when I was an apprentice at Motherwell and we went on tour to Ibiza. I think it was the first time I’d ever been outside Lanarkshire, so it was an eye opener on so many levels!

Pinheiros Altos


My most memorable meal was… at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire. I had dinner there a few years ago and everything was simply perfect.

I always travel with… a toothbrush and my favourite aftershave, which is Acqua di Parma. It’s rather oldfashioned, but I believe it was a favourite of Frank Sinatra’s, so it can’t be too bad. My most recent holiday was to… Quinta do Lago in Portugal. I go there quite frequently and am a member of Pinheiros Altos. Loch Lomond

something new and the place just blows me away. It’s simply stunning.

twice and holed a massive putt from off the green. After that, I was guilty of trying to protect my score, and finished just one under par. No matter where I am… I always look for the football results and check up on all the teams I played for during my career, which is quite a few! My favourite golf course in the world is… Loch Lomond. You can only get on there by invitation and I’m fortunate in having some friends that are members. I like Western Gailes as well, but Loch Lomond is, in my opinion, the most beautiful course in the world.

My ideal travelling golf partners are… who ever I’ve chosen to go away with. It would be hard to organise, but I wouldn’t mind a trip with Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Gary Player. My best ever round was at… Notts Golf Club in Hollinwell, about six or seven years ago. I was five under par after four holes, having had three birdies and an eagle. I chipped in

My favourite golf resort is… Quinta do Lago in Portugal. Everything is on the doorstep, the courses are fun, and the weather is always perfect for golf. The best hotel I’ve ever stayed at was… either The Berkeley in London or the Gleneagles Resort in Scotland. Can they share the honour? My favourite city in the world is… Rome. Every time I go there I discover

I’m planning a trip to… Las Vegas in April. I’ve been before and it’s quite an incredible place, if you like that sort of thing. Which I do! The thing I hate about travel is... delays. They are an inevitable part of international travel, but they’re nonetheless annoying. The worst holiday I’ve ever had was… in Quinta do Lago one year, when I was struck down with severe food poisoning after eating shellfish. I’ll spare the details, but it was grim. My top travel tip is… to spend a wee bit of time thinking about what to take and then pack wisely. Stick to essentials and leave out everything else.

50 /

February 2012 / Issue 207

Korineum Golf Resort

SPECIAL WEEKLY PACKAGES • 7 nights B&B 6pp • 4 rounds of golf £59 • Return flights with in-flight meals • 20 kg checked luggage and 5 kg hand luggage • Local transfers and representative services • No charge for golf bag • Under 100% ATOL protection


Staying in impersonal chain hotels and motels when travelling in America can often leave you short-changed when it comes to getting a true experience of the local culture, which is why an increasing number of independent travelers are choosing to stay in boutiquestyle accommodation, including bed and breakfasts, where a personal service is always guaranteed. One such couple offering such a service are Mark and Sandie Woodier, a husband and wife team from Cheshire, who moved out to Charlotte, South Carolina several years ago to set up their own upmarket B&B. Specifically targeting golf-obsessed tourists from the UK, the Inn on York Street offers four luxury en-suite rooms in a typically stunning Southern Plantation house. Since opening in 2010, the Woodiers have enjoyed an almost constant stream of visitors from the UK and from guests who live closer to home, drawn to Charlotte by its charm and elegance, wonderful climate, and the huge variety of golf courses on the doorstep. Quail Hollow, a regular venue on the PGA Tour, is just one of the top quality tracks

Nothing finer than South Carolina on offer, which also include Windemere, Chester, Oak H ill and Regent Park. Mark, who used to work as a fruit merchant in Manchester, is also a keen golfer, and is able to advise guests on what the local courses are like, as well as book tee times and organise golfing itineraries and competitions. “The choice of golf courses here is amazing – there are 29 within a 35-minute drive,” says Mark. “They’re all in great condition, because of the climate, and reasonably

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cheap too. You can play golf all year round in South Carolina. January and February can be as high as 20 degrees, with very little rainfall, although it can get very hot in July and August.” He adds: “There are four air-conditioned en-suite bedrooms, a swimming pool, large veranda, three-acre garden and plenty of space in which to relax, so we’re perfect for hosting large groups of friends or family, as well as people travelling as couples or as singles,” adds Mark. “We really enjoy ensuring our guests have a fabulous holiday and will happily recommend restaurants, golf courses and other activities to make their stay a memorable one.” Prices for seven nights’ B&B, including four rounds of golf, start from just $750pp (£465). For more information on a holiday to Inn on York Street visit or call 001 803581 8681.

Enjoy 7 nights B&B including 3 rounds of golf for just £349 each + a second consecutive week for just £300 (based on 2 people sharing and assuming rate of £1 to $1.55)




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

An INN on York Street 164 York Street, Chester, SC 29706 Tel: 001- 803- 581- 8681 E: W:

We were planning to spend a few hours on the beach this week.

Right now, I just can’t remember why. I like the beach. We all do. And when we were planning this golf trip, we all talked about spending some time hanging out at the beach. After all, South Carolina has some of the nicest beaches in the world. But then we got here and started playing. Now the only sand I’m interested in is the kind I try to avoid. And the beaches, nice as they may be, are going to have to wait.

Wild Dunes Resort Links Course #18, Isle of Palms

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