Page 1

THE UK’S NO.1 GOLF NEWSPAPER INTERVIEWS

ANDREW 'BEEF' JOHNSTON DANNY WILLETT JAMIE ELSON ALFIE PLANT ALICE COOPER

COMPLIMENTARY COPY

ISSUE 272 | FEBRUARY 2018 | TWITTER: @GOLFNEWSMAG | WEB: GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

EQUIPMENT

TRAVEL

FOCUS ON ARIZONA COSTA BRAVA WEST CLIFFS SARAH STIRK COLUMN WIN A DORSET BREAK

EUROPE'S NO.1 SETS HIS TARGETS FOR 2018

Est 1994

HONMA BACK IN EUROPE PING G400 MAX TRIED & TESTED TAYLORMADE NEW DRIVERS DISTANCE IRONS SHOWCASE


Eye Appeal The Stealth finish inspires confidence and improves ball interaction for added spin.

Tour Look and Feel. Combining the soft, responsive feel of 8620 carbon steel, sharper grooves and a distinguished dark finish, the Glide 2.0 Stealth wedges will fit the game and the eye of players for whom performance and appearance go hand in hand. Visit a PING Fitting Specialist or PING.com today.

Š PING 2018

Find Your Grind Four sole options (SS, WS, TS & ES) to fit your game.

PRECISION-

MILLED GROOVES

Face Innovation Precision-milled ½ groove low on the face improves engagement with the ball to greatly increase spin for precise control.


Summer Golf Breaks from £140pp in 2018

BY

NICK BAYLY

TIGER 3.0: OUT OF THE WOODS OR STILL IN THE LONG ROUGH? B arring his running for president or, worst case scenario, dying in a freak holiday skiing accident, I thought I had written my last editor’s letter about Tiger Eldrick Woods back in February last year. Plagued with a persistent back injury, and seemingly addicted to painkillers, he looked set to lay down his clubs for the final time when he dropped out of the Dubai Desert Classic after just one round. Crippling sciatica and immense discomfort down his spine had haunted the former world number one since 2010, but having pulled out of his fifth tournament in 19 appearances, this time the career prognosis seemed terminal. Woods’s detractors asked why the loss of a 41-yearold golfer past his prime mattered, and tournament organisers and TV broadcasters rued the inevitable decline in interest that would follow. When a modern great chooses, or, in this case, is forced, to turn his or her back on competitive sport, the vacuum is rarely plugged easily – and so it has proved in this case. In spite of the undoubted talents of Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day et al, none of them comes close to the fear Woods could strike into a field at his pomp. And the golfer we’re all still most excited to read about is Tiger Woods – currently the world’s 1,116th best golfer. The stats give one side of the story of our continued obsession with all things TW. Fourteen Majors, 79 PGA Tour titles, and, in a sport almost unhealthily focused on money, $1.7bn in career earnings to date. But it was the manner of those wins – the physicality of his choke full-out swing, the outrageous fist pumps, and the style in which he regularly dismantled the opposition – which proved such an intoxicating and enticing mix for a new generation of players who were used to watching men in slacks and brogues gently tapping it about the links. Over a decade of near perfect golf, Woods singlehandedly changed the face of the game for good. Courses were ‘Tiger proofed’ to accommodate the game’s most powerful player; competitors copied his rigorous training regime; and virtually everyone connected with the man got rich on the back of his achievements. And then it all went wrong. Injuring his knee during the 2008 US Open, he hasn’t won a Major since, and has been fighting a long and painful battle to not only compete, but to even be able to swing a club. Many thought that fight was over last February, yet in this most Shakespearean of dramas, it seems we haven’t quite

reached the final act. In April last year, Woods underwent his fourth back surgery. The anterior lumbar fusion was a risky procedure – fusing one vertebrae to the other limits movement in the spine – but, Woods attested, for the first time in a long time he was pain free. There was life in the old dog yet, or was there? Four months after surgery, Woods released snippets of him chipping and hitting gentle iron shots, but it wasn’t until a video was uploaded in October last year that the golfing world really stood up and took notice. ‘Return of the Stinger’ the caption read,accompanying a healthy, aggressive Woods executing a perfect example of his drilled iron shot in slow motion. Two months later, Woods teed it up at December’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, an invitation-only event hosted by Woods himself. Although ranked 1,199th in the world, he ended up finishing ninth, and showed enough of his old brilliance to suggest that The Tiger Woods Story may well have another chapter to run. And then last month, Tiger teed it up at Torrey Pines – one of his favoured hunting grounds – to compete in the Farmers Insurance Open. Not only did he make the cut – making a birdie at the 36th hole to keep up the tension – but he held it together over a windy weekend to finished inside the top 25. It was the first time he had completed 72 holes in a full field competition in almost three years. While it was far from vintage Tiger – he only found nine fairways over the last 54 holes – it was definitely Tiger 3.0, or was it 5.0? The comebacks have been too many to recall. The swing looked smoother and more controlled, yet the power was there – not Dustin power, but strong enough – and he played with something all too rarely seen in the Woods camp over the last decade or so – a smile. If ever a picture spoke a thousands words this was it. Woods laughing and joking on a golf course, while still playing some half decent golf. OK, it wasn’t the Masters, but it was competitive, and so, for the first time in ages, was Tiger. Question marks will remain about his ability to sustain anything like a full schedule, but should he managed to put a string of performances together, speculation over that elusive 15th Major – a decade after winning his last – would be unavoidable. Although we all love a good ending, so few sporting stories end well, but maybe, just maybe, Woods has a chance to change that script and go out with a bang, rather than a whimper. Stay tuned.

Open Competitions 2018

Men’s Spring Senior Open ...................................................... 10/04 - Adult & Junior 4BBB ...................................................... 11/04 - Laddie Lucas Spoon (8-13 yrs) ...................................................... 15/04 - Spring Cup - FULL ...................................................... 06/05 - Men’s Open (Prince of Wales 36 holes) ...................................................... 25/07- Summer Junior Open ...................................................... 27/07 - Ladies Open 4BBB ...................................................... 06/08 - Prince’s Open Week ...................................................... 22/09 - Shingle End Mixed Festival ...................................................... 23/09 - Silver Salvers Mixed Festival ...................................................... 09/10 - Men’s Autumn Senior Open 06/03 -

ENTER ONLINE Overnight accommodation available - ask for details

Maple House, The Spinney, Hove, BN3 6QT TEL: 01273 381794 EMAIL: info@golfnews.co.uk WEBSITE: golfnews.co.uk FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @golfnewsmag INSTAGRAM: golfnewsmagazine MANAGING DIRECTOR Matt Nicholson matt@golfnews.co.uk EDITOR Nick Bayly editor@golfnews.co.uk ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Richard Maunder richard@golfnews.co.uk ART DIRECTOR Darren Kirk darren-kirk@btconnect.com PRODUCTION Kath Perry ads@golfnews.co.uk

Contact Pro Shop for details:

FOR ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT Richard Maunder richard@golfnews.co.uk or 07843 566907

T: 01304 695569 E: proshop@princesgolfclub.co.uk W: www.princesgolfclub.co.uk

SALES REPRESENTATIVE Colin Wilson colin@golfnews.co.uk PHOTOGRAPHY Getty Images, Kevin Murray PUBLISHED BY BlueGreen Media REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Sarah Stirk, Clive Agran

© Copyright 2018. No part of this publication may be copied, photocopied or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in anyway or means, either by recording or otherwise, without permission of the publishers in writing.

Prince’s Golf Club, Sandwich Bay, Sandwich, Kent CT13 9QB

@Princesgolfclub


[4]

FEBRUARY 2018 | NEWS

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

2018. “I might play more times this year than ever before,” McIlroy said. “I played 28 times in 2008, and I’m on track to beat that. I definitely want to play at Walton Heath. It’s a great course, and we can stay in London, which is a huge bonus.” The tournament, which takes place from October 11-14, is expected to attract a strong field, with Rose sure to use his influence to sign up a large contingent of Europe’s Ryder Cup players – who will have been in action in Paris just 10 days earlier – as well as other high ranking players. The tournament is sandwiched between the Dunhill Links in Scotland and the Valderamma Masters in Spain. Rose, who won the British Masters in 2002, said: I went back to Walton Heath last summer, just to ensure I wanted to take the tournament there, and I had forgotten how good a golf course it is. It has got real teeth, but it is classic heathland course, and

WILDERNESSE HOSTS DISABLED RIDING SCHOOL FUNDRAISER Kent golfers wishing to help raise money for a local disabled riding school are invited to enter a team for a charity tournament being held at The Wildernesse on March 23. All proceeds from the day, which comprises breakfast, an 18-hole team Stableford competition and lunch, will be given to the Bradbourne Riding School for the Disabled in Sevenoaks. Teams of four cost £400. For entries, please email golfday@bradbournerda.org.uk or call 07803 231723.

KENT’S HINGE TROPHY LOST TO FROST Kent Golf’s Hinge Trophy had to be cancelled last month, after a heavy frost resulted in the closure of Royal St George’s with just one round to play. Under the rules of the competition, the event will not be rescheduled. The qualifier for the trophy, which was held at Prince’s two weeks earlier, was won by Robert Osmond (Rochester & Cobham) and Daniel Brown (Littlestone), who led the field on the day with gross 79s, with Sam Stedman (Chart Hills) one shot behind in third.

TRIBUTES PAID TO COULSDON GOLFER Tributes have been paid to a Surrey golfer who died last month at the grand age of 103. James Leggett, who was born in Sanderstead in 1914, lived in the area almost all his life and played his golf at Coulsdon Court Golf Club. His son-in-law, Peter Cann, described Mr Leggett as a much-loved man, adding: "Jim was quite a busy man right up until his later years. He played golf until the age of 99 and was a regular at Coulsdon Court, where he would play every week. He'd been involved in pretty much all the sports since he was young, including football and tennis, but golf was his lasting love."

MCILROY SET TO BOOST BRITISH MASTERS CROWDS AT WALTON HEATH T

his year’s British Masters, which is being held at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, has received an early shot in the arm following the announcement that world No.8 Rory McIlroy has committed to play in the £3 million tournament. After a 100-day break from competition, the 28-year-old from Northern Ireland has declared himself fit and ready to embark on one of the busiest seasons of his professional career, as he bids to finally put the injuries which effectively ruined his 2017 season behind him, and get back to the top of golf’s world order. After finishing third in Abu Dhabi and second in Dubai, McIlroy is currently focusing on the PGA Tour and his build-up for the Masters, where, for the fourth year running, he will attempt to complete the career grand slam.

CONSUL CLAIMS PRESIDENT'S PUTTER The Oxford and Cambridge Golfing Society’s 91st President's Putter at Rye Golf Club was won by Claudio Consul, who defeated Ben Keogh in 3&2 in final held on January 7. The four-day singles match play tournament attracted a field of 142 players, all of whom were past or current students at Oxford or Cambridge University. Consul had previously been a beaten finalist and semi-finalist.

■ WALTON HEATH IS CLOSE TO LONDON

hopefully the players will really enjoy it. I am sure we will assemble a strong field, get some good weather, and we can host an amazing tournament in October. He added: “It’s a huge honour to host the British Masters and to follow in the footsteps of three friends of mine: Ian, Luke and Lee. I’ve known for a while that I was next in line to host in 2018, so I’ve been watching carefully to see how the boys have done the hosting role. They’ve all done a great job and put their own stamp on it, and their own personality on it. They’ve all been very successful, and the crowds have been great. This tournament has really created its own identify on the European Tour. The guys have left a pretty good blueprint for me. Hopefully I can put some of my own touches here and there, and continue that success.”

SINGH BRAR EARNS ALPS TOUR CARD

H

ampshire’s Jack Singh Brar was one of 37 players to earn full playing rights on this season’s Alps Tour after taking part in final qualifying at La Cala Resort in Spain. The 21-year-old from Bournemouth, who turned professional after September’s Walker Cup, finished in fifth place after shooting rounds of 70, 67 and 71 at the Malaga venue. Singh Brar has already got some top-flight experience under his belt this season, having received an invitation to play in last month’s Dubai Desert Classic, where he missed the cut by five shots after shooting 73 and 72. He has also accepted a place in the Challenge Tour’s Northern Ireland Open, which is being held at Galgorm Castle in August. The 54-hole Alps Tour final qualifier was won by 21-year-old South African Albert Venter who finished on 12 under par in Malaga. Other English players to earn their cards for the Europe-based tour’s 2018 season included Luke Groves, Piers Berrington, Andrew Scrimshaw, Paul Nessling, Tom Coulson, Sam Cutting, Steve Jones, Mikiel Tchobanian, Ashley Mason and Tom Hayward.

ESSEX GOLF LAUNCHES ESTUARY TROPHY Essex Golf has unveiled a brand new 72-hole stroke play competition for 2018 called the Estuary Trophy. It will be played at two venues, with the first two rounds taking place at Orsett on May 4, where players will compete for the Threadgill Trophy, followed by two rounds at Boyce Hill on May 10, where the field will play for the Boyce Hill Challenge Bowl. The player with the best score over 72 holes will be crowned the winner of the Estuary Trophy. Entry costs £45 per event or £80 for both. Both events carry points for the Essex Order of Merit and the WAGR.

The four-time major champion is set to play one of his busiest schedules since 2008, and his season’s tally may well reach 30 tournaments if all goes to plan. Among the events he has already committed to later in the season is the British Masters, which is being held at Walton Heath in October and hosted by his Ryder Cup teammate Justin Rose. McIlroy’s presence at last year’s event at Close House in Newcastle led to record crowds as he finished second to fellow Irishman Paul Dunne, and despite the tournament coming towards the end of a hectic schedule, he is set to boost the gate again. McIlroy’s appearance will also be a big boost for golf fans in the UK, who could get to see him play in as many as five tournaments on home soil in

STOKE PARK BEGINS RENOVATION OF LANE JACKSON NINE

W

ork is underway on the third loop of nine holes at Stoke Park Country Club & Hotel in Buckinghamshire to complete a three-year renovation of the 27-hole course. The owners of Stoke Park, the King family, will have overseen a complete overhaul of the Sloughbased venue across three successive winters, with the work carried out on the Colt (1-9) and Alison (10 -18) courses, which were reopened in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Work commenced recently on holes 19 to 27, the Lane Jackson course, with an anticipated official opening date of April 20 – although members will receive exclusive access in a series of nine-hole competitions the week before. The Lane Jackson course – named after the creator of the Stoke Park Club, Nick ‘Pa’ Lane Jackson – dates from 1927, and much of it was

■ ALL 27 HOLES AT STOKE PARK WILL HAVE BEEN FULLY RENOVATED BY THE END OF APRIL

turned over to farmland during World War II, for the purpose of growing potatoes. The loop of holes was subsequently not fully restored until 1998, under the auspices of the King family, which took possession of the estate a decade earlier. Stoke Park’s director of golf, Stuart Collier, explained: “The work on the Lane Jackson course is the culmination of a three-year plan of improvements and enhancements to the golf courses. The bunkers needed to be redesigned and rebuilt in keeping with Colt’s original concept,

but also to ensure they are suitable for play in the 21st century. The first two nines look stunning and play really well – and this final winter of work will improve the final nine holes in a similar way.” The work will once again be carried out by course construction specialist John Greasley Ltd, and Collier added: “We’ve worked very closely with Charlie Greasley and his team over the past couple of years and have been delighted with the results, so it made sense for them to complete the job they started.”


[6]

FEBRUARY 2018 | NEWS

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

HALL TARGETS AMERICAN SUCCESS

PETROZZI WINS NSW TITLE WITH 50-FOOT EAGLE PUTT England international Gian-Marco Petrozzi holed a 50-foot eagle putt to win the New South Wales Amateur in Australia on the 37th hole of the final. The 20-year-old from Trentham Golf Club in Staffordshire beat Australia’s Jed Morgan. He was four up after just six holes but was pegged back on the 35th hole and managed to bag a half at 36th hole to take the match into extra holes. At the par five 18th he hit a 260-yard 3-iron into the green and then holed from 50 feet to take the title. “The Australians can have the Ashes but not the NSW trophy!” said Petrozzi, alluding to earlier English wins by Scott Gregory in 2017 and Paul Howard in 2015.

WARDLE WINS PLAY OFF TO CLAIM PORTUGUESE TITLE England’s Bel Wardle came from five shots off the pace to win the Portuguese women’s amateur championship held at West Cliffs. The 18-year-old international shot a final round 77 in windy conditions to tie with fellow England player Annabell Fuller on 18 over par, and then beat her on the first play-off hole to take the title. Fuller, 15, had a three-shot lead going into the final round but struggled in the conditions, and bogeyed the final hole en route to a closing 82. Sophie Lamb finished six shots behind in eighth.

MIDDLESEX IN THE FRAME FOR COUNTY AWARD Middlesex and Cheshire are going head to head in a bid to win England Golf’s County of Year Award. The counties are the two finalists for the prestigious prize, which will be presented at the England Golf Awards at the Royal Lancaster London on February 22. Middlesex merged its men’s and women’s county organisations last year, with men and women working together to run all the county competitions, referees of both genders officiate, and young golfers are offered mixed academy and intermediate coaching and playing opportunities. There are orders of merits for men, women and juniors and lots of encouragement for club golfers to enter non-elite events.

D

GOLFSIXES RETURNS TO CENTURION T

ickets for the second edition of GolfSixes, the European Tour’s new shorter format team matchplay tournament, are on sale now. Taking place once again at Centurion Club in St Albans, from May 5-6, the event will see two-player teams, representing 16 countries, competing for a prize fund of €1 million, as they bid to follow in the footsteps of inaugural winners Lucas Bjerregaard and Thorbjørn Olesen. Representing Denmark, the pair defeated Australia in a thrilling finale over the unique six-hole layout. Once again there will be amphitheatrestyle stands around tees and greens, music and pyrotechnics on the first tee, and player engagement across the course, bringing fans closer to the action. In addition to watching world-class golf, specatators can enjoy an array of entertainment outside the ropes in the centrallylocated fan zone. Nathan Homer, chief commercial officer of the European Tour, said: “GolfSixes offers a fantastic opportunity for families to watch world-class golf in a unique setting at the Centurion Club. Combining team golf, it pitches nation against nation, with the intensity of a shorter format, we are delighted with the success of last year’s event, and plan on bringing more fan engagement and new concepts to this year’s GolfSixes.”

Ticket prices have been kept the same as last year, with a family of four able to enjoy a day out at the Hertfordshire venue for under £20, with children’s tickets (10-17) available for £3 and free entry for under 10s. To buy tickets, visit www.eventbrite.co.uk and follow the links.

CAMERON HOUSE REMAINS CLOSED FOLLOWING TRAGIC FIRE

C

ameron House Hotel in Scotland remains closed to guests almost two months after a fire ripped through the luxury golf resort. Two guests, Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson, lost their lives in the fire, which engulfed the five-star resort on the banks of Loch Lomond on December 18, and police and the fire service are still investigating the cause of the blaze, which caused significant damage to the hotel’s roof and required 200 guests to be evacuated. The hotel, which employs around 450 staff, is closed while repairs are carried out, although the resort’s private lodges, golf course and Boathouse restaurant remain open. Around 300 hotel workers are currently involved in a consultation with management over future employment, as it is understood that 155 staff on zero hours contracts have been paid until the middle of January with no current work available.

BOUNDARY LAKES TO HOST NEW ELITE GOLF COLLEGE Boundary Lakes Golf Club in Southampton is to be the base for a new golf college aimed at 16-18 year olds looking to make a career in the game and gain educational qualifications. Students at the Elite International Sports Academy will study a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport. The two-year, full-time programme is fully funded for successful candidates, with no tuition or training fees. Students will have full access to the golf course and practice facilities at Boundary Lakes. For more details, visit www.wearescl.co.uk/elite-golf or call 0345 6445747.

He added: “Nearly 20 per cent of all those who came in 2017 had never been to a European Tour event before, and we hope that GolfSixes will go some way to attracting new fans of all ages to the sport.” Scott Evans, Centurion Club’s managing director, said: “We’re hugely excited to be part of this innovation in the game, helping to influence and shape the future of golf. As the venue last year we received terrific feedback from spectators and players alike, so building on this success is incredibly important to us. From our golf course to the facilities on offer, we’re committed to being the perfect stage for this revolutionary golf concept.” The tournament format will see the teams split into four groups of four, with the top two from each group progressing to the knockout stages. The quarter-finals, semi-finals, third/fourth place play-off match, and the final will all be played on May 6. Three points will be given for winning a match, and one point for a draw. The matches will be played in a greensomes match play format.

orset’s Georgia Hall has set her sights on conquering America this season, after dominating the Ladies European Tour in 2017. The 21-year-old from Bournemouth wrapped up the LET Order of Merit in December with earnings of €368,934.60 from ten tournaments. She rounded off the season by finishing 21st at the Dubai Ladies Classic – one of only three events in the entire year where she ended up outside of the top ten. Her impressive run of results also earned her the Ladies European Tour’s Players’ Player of the Year Award, along with the prize of a diamond encrusted Omega watch and a cheque for €20,000. Hall recorded seven top-10s on the LET in 2017, two of those in Major Championships, including tied third in the British Open at Kingsbarns. Her debut as a rookie in the Solheim Cup, where she played in all five matches at Des Moines Country Club proved her class on a global stage. Reflecting on her season, Hall said: “I think I’ve played great and I’ve had some really good results. It was one of my targets at the start of the year to win the Order of Merit and I’m over the moon to have achieved that. The Solheim Cup was also huge for me, and to finish third at the British Open was also a big step up. I hope I can take this form forward into 2018, and push on to greater things.” Hall, who is now ranked inside the world’s top 40, will only be playing a handful events in Europe this season as she focuses her attentions on playing on the LPGA Tour in America. After finishing tied seventh at the LPGA Tour qualifying school, Hall has already set himself some tough targets for the season ahead. “I’d really like to win the LPGA Rookie of the Year award, and, if I can, get a couple of wins in the States and maybe one in Europe under my belt,” she said. “I’d also like to get inside the top 20 in the world. To that end, I’ll be playing maybe only three or four times on the LET, and will be focusing my efforts on the LPGA Tour.”

MID KENT CONSIDERS MOVE

M

id-Kent Golf Club in Gravesend is considering selling off its course for housing and moving to a new site. The club held an extraordinary general meeting for its members in December to discuss the idea of selling the 88-acre plot to property developers and using the money to build a new golf course on green

belt land elsewhere in the borough. However, there are other options on the table. Steve Armstrong, the club’s general manager, said: “We’ve got problems with the clubhouse roof. One option is to stay exactly where we are and repair it. Another option

is to apply for a new clubhouse on the same site. The third option is to move. We had been approached by one of the big property developers, but, through an agent, we’ve been told there are two other developers who would be interested in developing the site.” The idea is still in the early stages and if the building plan went ahead, it is not known how many homes would be built. The club, which offers an 18-hole course and a driving range, currently has 860 members, although only 200 turned up to the meeting.

Cllr Anthony Pritchard, the Conservative cabinet member for housing at Gravesham council, said: “There is a certain part of me that is quite alarmed that someone is proposing to build all over a great green area of Gravesham. We are committed to preventing the inappropriate development of green belt land. I’m not necessarily sure that the number of houses you could get on a golf course could be deemed appropriate. I am totally against any building on any green space.”


[8]

FEBRUARY 2018 | NEWS

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

PLANT HOPES FOR SILVER LININGS AS HE TEES OFF PRO CAREER K

ent professional Alfie Plant is hoping to make the most of the invitations he receives to play on the European Tour in what will be his first full season as a professional. The 25-year-old from Bexleyheath, who turned professional after playing in September’s Walker Cup, will be relying on the generosity of sponsors and tournament organisers in order to play on the main tour this season, after failing to win a place at the top tier tour at the European Tour Qualifying School. Plant came to the wider golfing world’s attention when he won the Silver Medal as the leading amateur at last year’s Open Championship at Royal Birdale, where he shot rounds of 71, 73, 69 and 73. He qualified for his first Major after winning the European Amateur Championship at Walton Heath earlier in the season. “Despite playing off invites, I’m really looking forward to the new season,” said Plant, who is a member at Sundridge Park Golf Club. “It’s going to be tough, but with a few good results I should be able to sneak my way through. I put quite a bit of expectation on myself, but hopefully I can overcome that and just play my game.” Plant had an early taster of the kind of competition he can expect when receiving invites to play in the Portugal

is made up of family and friends – cheering him every step of the way. They’ll certainly be out in force if Plant finds himself playing alongside any of the big names this year – a prospect with excites him. “I watch guys like Sergio Garcia every week on the TV, and I want to be in their situation, and would love to follow in their footsteps and achieve what they’ve achieved,” he said. “I’d love to win a Major one day – the list of what I want to achieve in the game is endless, but in the short term I just want to make the cuts on the European Tour.” To help him on his professional journey, Plant has signed a player management contract with Lagardère Sports, a US-based agency that currently represents over 50 players

Masters, the Dunhill Links and the Spanish Open in the autumn. He made his first cut, and picked up his first professional pay cheque, at Valderamma, when he won €10,400 after finishing 46th. While the talented Kent man will have to make the most of his limited opportunities in order to progress his career, he certainly won’t be short of support, with the now legendary ‘Alfie Army’ – his 150-strong group of fans which

■ ALFIE PLANT HITS HIS TEE SHOT ON THE 15TH HOLE DURING THE FINAL ROUND OF THE 146TH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

FENWICK WINS ‘LIFETIME CONTRIBUTION’ AWARD

S

ussex PGA Professional Ryan Fenwick has been awarded the Tony Jones Putter by Sussex Golf in recognition of his contribution to the county’s golf scene over the last 25 years. Fenwick, who is the head professional at West Hove, where he runs the Ryan Fenwick Golf Academy, was presented with the award by Sussex County president Gerry Honeysett

■ 'TEAM ALFIE' CELEBRATE PLANT'S SILVER MEDAL SUCCESS AT LAST YEAR'S OPEN

at the SGCU’s annual general meeting held at Seaford Golf Club. After moving from London to Sussex aged 10, Fenwick began his golf career at Bognor Regis Golf Club, where he went on to be selected for Sussex Boys, Colts and the Men’s teams. He won the Sussex Colts Championship in 1997 and turned professional in 2000. Despite winning on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa, Fenwick’s tour career failed to take off and he came off the Challenge Tour in 2005. The tour’s loss was coaching’s gain, however, and after joining Ifield Golf Club as an assistant in 2005, his services as a coach have been in high demand ever

I MIGHT GET A CALL ON THE WEDNESDAY AND BE PLAYING ON THE THURSDAY, SO I CAN’T EVEN BOOK FLIGHTS OR HOTELS. I’VE PROBABLY ONLY GOT FOUR STARTS TO MAKE AN IMPACT. I NEED TO BE STRATEGIC ABOUT WHERE I PLAY, BUT I CAN’T BE CHOOSY on the PGA Tour, including Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickleson. Plant is the company’s first signing in Europe, as it expands its business overseas. Lagardere’s connections will no doubt help with invitations and sponsorships, and Plant has recently signed a contract to become a staff player for Srixon and Cleveland, and another to wear Peak Performance clothing. He is raring to go, but just needs the starts. “After missing out at tour school, all of a sudden I was thinking that I had nothing to play for this year,” he said. “It’s all up in the air. I might get a call on the Wednesday and be playing on the Thursday, so I can’t even book flights or hotels. I’m hoping to get to the Oman Open in March, which is a new tournament, but I’ve probably only got four starts to make an impact. I need to be strategic about where I play, but I can’t be choosy.” If things don’t go to plan on the European Tour, a full Challenge Tour season awaits, although the schedule doesn’t begin until April. “It kind of reminds me of my amateur days, when I used to sit around all winter waiting for things to get going again,” Plant said. “I realise I’m at the bottom of the ladder, but come 2019 I’ll hopefully have some sort of status on tour – and hopefully a card.“

since. He has been attached to several other clubs in the county over the last decade, including Slinfold and Golf At Goodwood, before arriving at West Hove in 2015. He was the England Golf Regional Coach from 2009, and has also coached the Boys, Colts and Men’s Teams for Sussex since 2005. He also received an Outstanding Achievement in Coaching Award from England Golf in 2015. He currently coaches a number of players on the mens’ and ladies’ professional tours, including South Africa’s Justin Walters, who recently regained his European Tour card. He also enjoyed plenty of success on the county circuit, winning the Sussex Open in 2006 and 2007, and the Sussex PGA in 2012.


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

NEWS | FEBRUARY 2018

[9]

NEW HANDICAP RULES COME INTO PLAY A

series of changes have been made to the CONGU handicap system which look set to shake up the competition scene at club and national level. Among the most significant amendments to the current system is that men and women are now able to play off a handicap of up to 54, with the buffer zone and downward adjustment being 6 and 0.6. Before this year, men could only enter competitions with a handicap up to 28, with women up to 36. The new category 5 for men and category 6 handicaps for both men and women are now in play. The changes were made due to ‘Club and Disability Handicaps’ being retired. A statement on CONGU’s website read: "Players will be able to maintain a competition handicap in all six categories. Upward adjustment for all categories will remain at 0.1 and downward adjustments for net differentials below buffer zones will

be 0.5 for category 5 and 0.6 for category 6. Handicap committees can increase handicaps above the current limits of 28 and 36, and they will also increase above those limits automatically as a result of above buffer zone returns in qualifying competitions and supplementary score submissions." Before the changes, men and women who did not have the ability to play off either 28 or 36 respectively, could own a higher handicap but they would not be able to play off them in competitions. Other changes to the handicap system, which all came into play on January 1, include supplementary scores being relaxed. This means that players above category 1 can submit an unlimited number per year. The rule for one per week has also been scrapped. Category 1 players, with a handicap of 5.4 or lower, can only return supplementary cards between

September 1 and December 31 if they haven’t met the required amount of qualifying rounds. Mixed tee competitions will now have a single CSS, meaning that all scores from a mixed tee competition will be entered into one competition, to gain the overall CSS, and then the scores will be separated into the different competitions. Nine-hole medal and nine-hole open competitions have also been introduced, and then for the handicap purposes scores will be converted to stableford and will appear as stableford on the golfer’s handicap record. Another addition is in regards to the annual review. The adherence to Appendix M (which is in regards of the annual review and general play reviews) is now mandatory for all members. For a comprehensive review of the changes to the handicap system, visit, www.congu.co.uk.

1 Hold & 1 Hand Luggage

RUDIMENTAL AND SIMPLE MINDS SET TO ROCK WENTWORTH

L

ondon band Rudimental and Scottish rock legends Simple Minds will headline the BMW Show Stage at Wentworth Club over the weekend of May 26-27, bringing a suitably spectacular close to the third and fourth days of the 2018 BMW PGA Championship. Ahead of their upcoming third album, the band released the hit single ‘When The Sun Comes Up’ featuring James Arthur in 2017, and their performance in May will be one of the band’s first UK outings in 2018, joining Simple Minds – who will take the stage on Sunday night – as one of the headline acts at this year’s Championship. Rudimental’s DJ and frontman Leon Rolle said: “We’re excited to take the stage at the BMW PGA Championship in May. We think it’s a great idea to combine a world-class sporting event with a live gig to cap off a great day out for the fans, so I’m sure the atmosphere on Saturday night will be awesome.” General admission tickets for all six days of the tournament, including practice days and the pro-am day, are currently on sale. Afternoon-only tickets are also available on both Saturday and Sunday. These allow general admission to Wentworth from 1pm to enjoy an afternoon of golf followed by the live concerts.

SANDFORD MOURNS DEATH OF DIRECTOR OF GOLF

S

taff and members at Sandford Springs in Hampshire are mourning the death of Anthony Dillon, the club’s director of golf, who died in November at the age of 48 following a cancer-related illness.

Dillon started and ended his career at Sandford Springs, having first joined the club as a PGA Professional in 1990, before returning in 2015 to take on the role of director of golf. In

between he worked at several clubs in the region, including Weybrook Park in Basingstoke, where he spent 15 years from 1997 until 2012. Sandford Springs’ general manager Tom Moran said: “There has been a huge shock to staff and members alike here at the club. Anthony will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with his wife Denise and his family. The messages of support have been overwhelming, and are testament to the impact he had on everyone he met.”

Call our offer hotline

Visit our website now

020 3150 1017 CyprusParadise.com/golfnews Prices are per person based on 2 adults sharing from London on selected dates only. For prices from other airports please inquire. *FREE Carriage of Golf Bag applies to Ercan airport arrivals only.**Fly, stay & play for free offer applies to Ercan airport arrivals only. All offers are subject to availability. Terms & Condiions apply.


[10] FEBRUARY 2018 | NEWS

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

BROADHURST DOUBLES UP IN THE DESERT

F ENGLAND GOLF UNVEILS GIRL AMBASSADORS Ysobel Lush from Langdon Hills in Essex, and 12-year-old Jessica Pilgrim of Harewood Downs in Buckinghamshire, are two of 11 girls who have been selected to become ambassadors for England Golf. The ambassadors range in age from 10 to 22, and include school pupils, students, a volunteer coach, a trainee PGA professional, a wouldbe PE teacher and a trainee doctor. Part of their role will be to get more people talking about and playing the game, whether it be through speaking at meetings, blogging or vlogging, getting involved with national campaigns or helping to organise events. Lush, 16, who has helped to recruit girl golfers for three years with Girls Golf Rocks in Essex, said: “I’ve been playing golf since I was little and I’ve made all my best friends through golf. It’s made me what I am and what I want to be.”

GOLFERS ASKED TO ‘SHOOT 4 PINK’ Registered charity the Pink Ribbon Foundation is asking golfers to help fund research into breast cancer treatment by taking part in a range of competitions under its new Shoot4Pink campaign. Clubs and individual golfers wishing to host an event, can download an event pack at www.shoot4pink.com, where all the equipment required to market the event, including posters, bucket raps and t-shirts.

TOPGOLF WATFORD LAUNCHES TOPTRACER Topgolf’s revolutionary ball-tracking technology, Toptracer, is now available at its Watford branch. Toptracer uses camera-based technology and in-bay monitors to display shot-shape and trajectory, as well as distance, height and ball speed. Widely used to show ball flight on TV golf coverage, the technology allows users to play a variety of games, as well play simulated versions of the world’s top courses.

GATTON UNVEILS NEW MEMBERSHIP PACKAGES Gatton Manor Golf & Country Club in Surrey has announced new membership rates following its change of ownership at the end of last year. The Ockley-based club was shut for several months after the previous owner was unable to get planning permission to build houses on the site. The new owner has unveiled a range of new membership rates, with seven-day membership costing £999, while five-day is set at £799. There are also three new categories of flexi-membership, which offer a limited number of weekend and weekday rounds, costing £400, £600 and £800. There will be just 30 flexi memberships offered in 2018. Green fees are £35 for weekday rounds and £40 at weekends.

■ ACES HIGH: ALAN GREEN, MICHAEL BIDMEAD AND MILOS BILIC WERE THE TOAST OF OXFORD GOLF CLUB AFTER BAGGING ACES AT THE SAME HOLE ON THE SAME DAY

OXFORD TRIO CELEBRATE TRIPLE ACE AT LUCKY 15TH T

he odds checkers were sent scurrying to their record books last month when three amateurs bagged hole-in-ones at Oxford Golf Club on the same day, with two of the aces achieved consecutively in the same group on the same hole. Michael Bidmead and Milos Bilic achieved their 17 million-to-one feat at the club’s 201-yard 15th hole. Bilic teed off first, and struck his ball with a six-iron, but because the green is located in a dip, he was unable to see where his ball had ended up. Bidmead then struck a six-iron straight at the flag, and, similarly unaware of his feat, walked up the fairway after the third player in their group had taken his shot. It was only when they reached the green that the group was surprised to find only one ball on the putting surface. After a brief search behind the green, Bilic hesitantly walked towards the pin, only to find not one, but two Callaway golf balls nestled at the bottom of the cup. "I was buzzing," said Bilic, who plays off ten. "It's a bit of a blur, but we punched the air with delight, hugged and shook each other's hands. Some guys on the next tee, who saw it, came over and congratulated us. I've been playing golf for 18 years and it was my first hole-in-one." Bidmead, who plays off seven, added: "We both hit our shots right at the flag, and knew we were close - but we didn't expect to see both our balls in the hole. “

Remarkably, it was Bidmead’s tenth ace since he took up the game in 1978. "This one was probably the best one - it was brilliant to share that magical feeling with Milos." After completing their round, the pair went into the clubhouse to get the drinks in - only to discover that fellow member Alan Green had already been lining them up, having aced the same hole earlier in the day. "The barman couldn't believe it when we walked in and told him," said Bidmead. "It's tradition at Oxford to buy a bottle of spirits if you get a hole-in-one, and Alan had already got a bottle of whisky in by the time we arrived, although he had left for the day.” Green, who also used a six-iron, said: "It was my first hole-in-one and I've been playing 38 years. When I went back to the club the following week, I couldn't believe it when some of the boys told me that Michael and Milos had also aced the 15th!" Green was playing in a competition and won a £250 Hugo Boss watch for his hole-in-one. Bilic bought a bottle of port, and the party at the 19th hole continued long into the evening. "We're still waiting for Michael to buy his bottle – we won't let him forget," said Bilic. The club's general manager, Stephen Nicholson, said: "A hole-in-one is what we all dream of, so to have three members achieve it on the same day and on the same hole will go down in folklore at Oxford Golf Club."

ormer Ryder Cup star Paul Broadhurst showed that class is permanent when winning the 24th California Classic Pro-Am by an impressive nine shots. The 52-year-old former British Senior Open champion led a strong field a merry dance over four rounds over the desert courses in Palm Springs, shooting a stunning 24-under-par total over four rounds. The tournament’s defending champion finished well clear of the chasing pack, with Lee-onSolent’s James Ablett finishing a distant runner up, despite closing out the week with a superb 64. The California Classic Pro-Am, which is the longest running in the American Golf Holiday’s pro-am series, was staged over four of the region’s best courses, including two former PGA Tour venues, PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course and the Classic Club, along with La Quinta Dunes Course and the Celebrity Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort. Fresh from completing his second season on the PGA Champions Tour, Broadhurst shot an opening

■ PAUL BROADHURST WITH ORGANISER JOHN HOOPER

67 at La Quinta Dunes for a one shot lead over St George's Hill's Andy Raitt, with Ablett one shot further back in third. However, sensational back-toback rounds of 65 at PGA West Nicklaus Course and the Classic Club allowed Broadhurst to blow the field away for the second year running. With one round remaining at the Clive Clarkdesigned Celebrity Course, Broadhurst was really just left targeting his tournament scoring record of 25 under par. However, having reached 26 under on the 71st green, a rare double bogey at the last frustrated him, and saw him finish on 24 under. Despite missing the professional individual scoring record, Broadhurst's dominant performance powered his team of Alan Kennedy, Mike Morris and Philip Smith to victory with a record team score of 72 under. Martin Woodbridge's team won an exciting battle for second, just pipping Ablett's team by a single shot.

NEVILL AND CROWBOROUGH JOIN BRAID TRAIL

T

he Nevill Golf Club in Kent and Crowborough Beacon in East Sussex have become the latest clubs to join the Association of James Braid Courses. The association now boasts a worldwide membership of 300 clubs, following the acceptance of Disley, Forres, Hornsea, Oxford, along with Crowborough and The Nevill, into its ranks in 2017. Crowborough’s links to Braid, who combined his role as a golf course architect while serving as the head professional at Walton Heath in Surrey, is rather slight, as he is understood to have visited the club only once, in August 1931, to carry out some minor alterations to the course’s bunkering, for which he charged the princely sum of £3 and a shilling. He had slightly more involvement in The Nevill’s history, having been commissioned by the Kent-based club to modify its existing nine-hole layout in

1919, and add a further nine holes to take it up to 18. Braid is understood to have been involved in the design of 422 courses around the world, including 147 in England, 120 in Scotland, 22 in Wales, ten in Ireland and one in the USA. Of these, seven were only plans and never built, while 43 are no longer open, with the majority lost to housing. The members of the clubs that have joined the Association of James Braid Courses enjoy special green fee rates at all the other member clubs, either as individuals or in groups, while many clubs belong to various James Braid Trails, which allow golfers to play a group of Braid-designed courses as part of a golf break package. To find out more, visit braidgolftrail.co.uk.

HOWELL DETERMINED TO FIGHT BACK AFTER POOR SEASON

D

avid Howell insists he needs to improve his game otherwise he will consider his future at the end of the 2018 season. The 42-yearold Weybridge-based player, who represented Europe twice in the Ryder Cup and has

won five times on the European Tour during his 20-year career, has only made the cut in four of his last 24 tournaments. Currently ranked 730th in the world, his best finish last year came at the BMW PGA Championship at

Wentworth, when he finished 48th. He has struggled with a string of injuries over the last two seasons, which have forced to him to withdraw or retire from a handful of event over the last 12 months. His return to competitive golf in

2018 got off to bad start when he had to pull out of the South African Open after a shoulder injury picked up over the Christmas period flared up just five holes into the pre-tournament pro-am. The Swindon-born player admits he has been through tough times with his form and with injuries. “Last year was a shocker, my worst

by a long way,” he said. “It’s been two years of hell really. In 2016, my foot was poor, and after I seemed to sort things out with that, last year it was my back. It was just one thing after another really. If I have another season like that this year, my mindset will be, ‘well this isn’t much fun’, and I might start to look for other ways to earn a living within golf."


Millfield Golf Taster Day Wednesday 10 October 2018, 11am-5pm For 10-16 year olds with an established handicap To book a place or to find out more please contact our Admissions team on 01458 444296 or email admissions@millfieldschool.com


[12] FEBRUARY 2018 | NEWS

HERTS UNIONS MERGE As of January 1, the bodies of the Hertfordshire Golf Union and the Hertfordshire County Ladies Golf Association have officially merged to form Hertfordshire Golf, an incorporated company to administer amateur golf in the county for both male and female golf. Each previously affiliated club has been sent an invitation to formally affiliate to the new entity, while a new website for the merged body – hertfordshiregolf.org – is scheduled to go live on April 1.

FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR MIDDLESEX GOLF AWARDS The shortlist of finalists for the Middlesex Golf Awards 2018 has been announced, with the winners to be revealed at the county’s annual dinner at the Copthorne Tara Hotel in London on February 17. The Club of the Year award is between Highgate and Pinner; the Junior Organiser award is a match up between Margaret Bedford (Strawberry Hill) and Kathryn and Phil Tiddy (Enfield). The Club Steward award is down to either John Billings (Sudbury) or John Wilson (West Middlesex), while the Lifetime Achievement award is between Lloyd Millwood (Pinner Hill) and Jennifer Winn (Highgate).

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

FARLEIGH AND FOXHILLS FEATURE IN PACKED PGA SCHEDULE

T

he revival of the English PGA Championship is part of a packed 2018 National PGA tournament schedule for 2018 that promises more playing opportunities for PGA Professionals. The English PGA Championship, which was contested for the only time at Goodwood in 2010, has been restored to the calendar and will be staged on Saunton’s challenging West Course in Devon from June 27-29. The 2018 season begins with the Silversea Senior PGA Professional Championship in May at Foxhills Club & Resort, the stage of the 2017 PGA Cup. It will be the fifth year in succession the Surrey venue has hosted the £42,000 event and defending champion Scotland’s Fraser Mann will be seeking a hat-trick of wins from May 16-18. Farleigh in Surrey will also host a PGA national

final for the first time when the PGA Assistants’ Championship is staged there from July 3-5. The 2017 champion, Matthew Fieldsend, has qualified as a PGA Professional and will not be defending his title. Later in July the Association’s premier event, the Titleist & FootJoy PGA Professional Championship, which carries a £78,000 prize fund, will be contested from July 24-27 at Little Aston. Defending champion Paul O’Hara will be looking to become only the third player to win back-to-back titles. A busy summer continues with the Welsh PGA

National Championship from August 22-23, which again will be sponsored by Asbri. Ashburnham will host the event for a fourth time and it was Jason Powell who was crowned winner the last time it was played at the south Wales venue in 2009. The Belfry will once again stage the PGA in England & Wales Inter-County Championship next autumn from October 10-11, while the PGA Play-Offs return to Turkey's Antalya Golf Club, where 24 of the top players will do battle from November 21-23 in a bid to win a chunk of the £15,000 prize fund.

JACKLIN TO REPRISE ROLE AS PAR 3 CHAMPIONSHIP HOST

R

ACE WITH A DRIVER AT SELSDON PARK Katsuhiko Kawakita had a hole in one on the 192 yard, 6th hole with a driver into the wind, whilst playing in the Braeside medal at Selsdon last month. The Braeside Golf Club (Formerly Beckenham Place Park) is now based at Selsdon Park.

■ FARLEIGH WILL HOST THE PGA ASSISTANT'S CHAMPIONSHIP IN JULY

■ TONY JACKLIN

yder Cup hero Tony Jacklin is to return as tournament host for the 2018 Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship, whose 85th edition returns to Nailcote Hall in Warwickshire from August 7-10. Event organisers Champions (UK) plc is running the event for the 12th consecutive year, and managing director

Matthew Hayes is delighted to see Jacklin remain in the driving seat for the popular event, which was won last year by Cornwall's Richard O'Hanlon. “It’s great to have Tony Jacklin CBE return to the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship for his eleventh year as tournament host. Tony had a big part

to play in making the Ryder Cup the fiercely contested competition it is today, so it is fantastic to see him back at Nailcote Hall.” Jacklin, 73, said: “It gives me great pleasure to host another year of the British Par 3, I’m looking forward to returning to Nailcote Hall this August, and

to seeing some old friends.” Headline sponsor Farmfoods has donated €150,000 to this year’s prize fund for the professional competition, with €50,000 heading to the winning professional. To register for free tickets, visit britishpar3.com/ booking/eventticket/2018.

Start the New Year in style at The Weald of Kent

A beautifully maintained 18 hole parkland golf course and hotel set in rolling Kent countryside

Golf Breaks from

Societies from

£65 £17

.50pp

Maidstone Road, Headcorn, Kent TN27 9PT Tel: 01622 891671

We never use Winter tees or temporary greens

www.weald-of-kent.co.uk


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

NEWS | FEBRUARY 2018

EUROPEAN SENIOR TOUR REBRANDED ‘STAYSURE TOUR’

BELFRY APPOINTS NEW HEAD COACH

N

T

orthampton-based travel insurance provider Staysure has become the first-ever headline title sponsor of the European Senior Tour. The ten-year agreement has seen the European Senior Tour rebranded ‘The Staysure Tour’ and includes the incorporation of a new headline event, The Staysure PGA Seniors Championship, which will be held at a yet-to-be-announced venue in the UK in August. Staysure, which offers specialist insurance for the over-50s market, was founded ten years ago by chairman Ryan Howsam, and currently has two call centres in Northampton and Coventry, along with an underwriting head office in Gibraltar. Howsam commented: “We're delighted to have signed this landmark deal with the European Tour to create The Staysure Tour. Becoming title sponsor of such a well-respected tour makes us extremely proud. Many of our customers share our love of golf, and this is the perfect opportunity for us to engage with them on a new level.” The schedule for the 2018 Staysure Tour

KENT APPOINTS FIRST FEMALE COUNTY SECRETARY

A

county golf union that England Golf describes as a ‘very traditional men’s county golf union’ has appointed a woman as its county secretary for the first time. Kent Golf Union has appointed Sarah McDonald for the role – and reorganised her job so that the union can be more supportive of the 85 clubs it represents. Kent county chairman

■ SARAH MCDONALD

Peter Long commented: “It’s going to be quite different. We are trying to get away from the old style approach and the view that golf is just a

currently comprises 17 tournaments, not including the three major championships. The season tees off in Sharjah on March 8 and concludes in Mauritius on December 9. In addition to the new Staysure PGA Seniors Championship, there are two further new tournaments in the 2018 calendar – the Shipco Masters, which is being held at Simon’s Golf Club in Denmark from June 1-3, and the Costa Blanca Benidorm Senior Masters, which is being hosted at Meliã Villaitana in Spain at the end of November. The tour will be in the UK over the summer for the Willow Senior Classic at Hanbury Manor in August, which is immediately followed by the Travis Perkins Masters at Woburn. It returns again in September for the Farmfoods European Senior Masters at Forest of Arden in Warwickshire.

male-led club – it isn’t.” The union has also set out to appoint a golf manager to look after all the county’s tournaments and playing activities and support golf development. This will allow McDonald to spend more time working directly with clubs. "The intention is to send a message to clubs that the county union is a forward-thinking organisation that is responding to their needs. We are changing the way we deal with clubs and with our

members,” added Long. McDonald is already a familiar face within the Kent golfing community. As a seven-handicap member at Wildernesse and Littlestone, she plays for the county women’s second team, and was the secretary of the County Ladies’ Association for six years. Speaking about her appointment, McDonald said: “This job appealed as a way to help move golf forward. I want to listen to clubs, find out what they want from the county and work with them to help them achieve their aims.”

he Belfry has announced Matthew Galley as its new Head PGA Coach, joining a team of world-class teaching professionals based within the resort’s PGA National Golf Academy. Previously Head of Instruction at Gleneagles, Galley is a UK CC Level 3 and Trackman certified coach, highly experienced in all coaching environments from individual lessons to large corporate groups. As well as previously setting up a Junior Foundation, he has also coached three Scotland internationals and runs regular golf schools throughout the year covering all aspects of the game.

[13]

HEATH RISES TO HAYLING’S SOLSTICE CHALLENGE Hayling Golf Club member Moira Heath helped raise over £800 for Help the Heroes after taking part in a Winter Solstice Challenge at the Hampshire club on December 31. Moira set out at the crack of dawn on the shortest day of the year in an attempt to play as many holes as possible before dusk, raising funds for Lady Captain Pam Mullins’ charity. She managed to play 45 holes before sunset, taking over 36,000 steps and managing to score 71 Stableford points.

KURDI RECEIVES QATAR OPEN CALL UP

Galley, who completed a Sport & Exercise Science degree before turning Professional, begins his role as The Belfry’s Head PGA Coach alongside other leading golf instructors based within the PGA National Golf Academy. He said: “I’m proud to have joined what is a sensational team of coaches here at The Belfry and I can’t wait to get started. With five individual custom-fitting suites, 34 bays and pristine short game facilities, the PGA National Golf Academy is an incredible facility that any young aspiring golf coach would want to be part of.”

Surrey teenager Shergo Kurdi has been given the opportunity to play alongside some of the world’s best players after receiving an invitation to play in the European Tour’s Qatar Masters, which takes place at Doha Golf Club from February 22-25. The 13-year-old, who plays off one and is a member at The Wilsey, is no stranger taking on top class opposition, having taken part in pro-ams at the British Masters and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championships in recent seasons. Kurdi, who won last year’s U15 Pan Arab Junior Championship, is supported by the Jordanian Golf Federation.

HAMPSHIRE EXPANDS JUNIOR TOUR Junior Opens at Corhampton and Meon Valley have been added to the list of qualifying events for the 2018 Hampshire Golf Junior Tour Order of Merit. The Corhampton Junior Open, which takes place on April 5, will be the first in the 14-event series, while Meon Valley will stage it junior open on August 7.

Surrey’s leading Golf Destination welcomes societies

burhillgolf-club.co.uk | 01932 227345 info@burhillgolf-club.co.uk Burhill Golf Club, Burwood Road, Walton on Thames, Surrey, KT12 4BX


[14] FEBRUARY 2018 | INTERVIEW

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

SURREY-BASED TOUR PRO JAMIE ELSON, WHO EARNED THREE EARLY EUROPEAN TOUR STARTS THIS SEASON AFTER WINNING LAST YEAR’S MENA TOUR INTERVIEW BY JEREMY ELLWOOD

H

ow exciting was is it to be back in the big time in Dubai? Well, it was lovely. I worked pretty hard last year to get myself this opportunity and had a great time doing it. The MENA Tour is just a really enjoyable tour to play. It’s almost too hot sometimes, but we play in buggies and shorts – it’s just very relaxing. Of all the mini-tours I’ve played on, it’s by far and away the best. It’s good value for money, you’re playing good golf courses all the time, and it’s good competition.

as playing the Challenge Tour is very expensive, and at my age that’s a big commitment. How would you say your pro career has panned out relative to your hopes when you started out? I was obviously hoping to do better than I have. I had glimpses of playing some really good golf from time to time, but I never really produced the consistency. I had flashes of feeling like I could compete at any level, but it would only really last for a couple of weeks at a time, and then I would drift off again and have no idea what I was doing for another couple of years, hoping it might come back again!

Could you have seen yourself doing this ten years ago? Obviously I’d like to have played on tour a little bit longer, and still my goal is to get back out on tour. But it’s getting harder and harder, so it just suits me really well playing on the MENA Tour and hopefully I can capitalise on these opportunities – three starts in Europe [Dubai, Malaysia and Morocco] and then the one in the States remains to be seen, because I think the sponsor– Dean & Deluca – might be pulling out of The Colonial. It would have been great, but they’re unforeseen circumstances, so what can you do? I’m just trying to prepare as well as possible for each invitation I get, and we’ll see what we can do. It’s obviously a big step up in standard, but I’ve been here before, so I know what to expect.

Do you ever allow yourself to think what might have been if one of your three runner-up finishes had been a victory? Yeah, absolutely. I’ve had a couple of great opportunities - the one in Saint Omer especially. I regret that, because I finished poorly, but that was my first real opportunity, and it’s hard to take it first time. When I turned pro, initially I got off to a good start and played really well in my first year on the Challenge Tour, but when I made the step up to the main tour the following year, I was a little boy lost, really.

Is it possible to make a living on the MENA Tour? I topped the Order or Merit last year and still didn’t really do that. No, it’s not really a money-making tour – it’s still a stepping stone, but what it does do is give you these opportunities to play the big time. Whilst you might get a step up to the Challenge Tour from other tours, it’s not really a very good category when you study it closely. So for me, at this stage of my career, it’s a greater prize really

Are you able to pinpoint what wasn’t there? Well, my long game. I wasn’t strong enough physically, I wasn’t strong enough mentally, and my technique wasn’t good enough. I just got beaten to death, really, the first year and it took me a few years after that to rebuild my game and get it to a level where I could compete. Then, when I did get a chance, I was in a much better position to make a go of it, and like I said, I had a few good

results. But the consistency just wasn’t there. I suppose I changed my game a lot, so it wasn’t quite natural to me – it came maybe a little bit too late. But I’ve kept going. I’m 36 now, and I’m still enjoying the game. The MENA Tour is growing – do you think it’s going to grow more? I certainly hope so. It’s seven years old now, I think, and it’s grown every year. A lot of people probably think it’s a lot of travel, but the way it’s structured, it’s really not. Last year we did three weeks in a row in Thailand, and three weeks in a row in South Africa. You look at it on paper, and it looks expensive, but it’s really not because you’re only paying one air fare for three weeks, and in places like South Africa and Thailand, the cost of living is so cheap. It’s a good tour. I’ve really enjoyed it. There are quite a few British boys out here, aren’t there? Yes, there are quite a few. I think Zane Scotland is an ambassador now for the MENA Tour. He does a good job, and does some coaching with the younger lads. So I think it’s got legs and it’s going to grow. Do you still dream about making it on the European Tour? Yeah, absolutely I do. I know how fickle this game is, and if you hit form at the right time, overnight your opportunity seemingly goes from nothing to having the world at your feet. It’s just nice living with that hope, to be honest. Most people working nine to five know what they’re getting each month, but, in our job, there’s always that hope of ‘what if?’ or ‘maybe something might happen’. It’s just nice to live with that dream in your head, I suppose.

Seaford Head Golf Course

(s

NO W BU jec G t t AV G o we A IE at IL S he r c AB on LE di t !

ub

io

ns

WE ARE OFFERING SOME GREAT SOCIETY AND GOLF DAY PACKAGES PAR ● ●

Full English Breakfast,Coffee &18 holes £26pp Midweek ● £29pp Weekend & Bank Holidays

BIRDIE ● ● ●

Coffee, Bacon Roll &18 Holes Selection from Society lunch menu £30pp Midweek ● £33pp Weekend & Bank Holidays

EAGLE ● ● ●

Full English Breakfast, Coffee & 18 Holes Selection from Society lunch menu £32.50pp Midweek ● £36.50pp Weekend & Bank Holidays

ALBATROSS ● ● ● ●

Coffee, Bacon Roll & 9/18 holes Selection from Society lunch menu &18 holes Selection from Society dinner menu £50pp Midweek ● £53pp Weekend & Bank Hols

WINTER WARMER SOCIETY SPECIAL ● ● ● ●

Full English or Ham, Egg and Chips & 18 Holes £20 Midweek ● £24 Weekend Minimum 4 people. Must be booked in advance From November 1st to 29th February 2018

All society packages can be tailored to meet your own specifications. Minimum 12 people. Please call the Pro Shop on 01323 890139.

)

NEW MEMBERS

AMAZING OFFER JOIN NOW AND DON’T RENEW UNTIL THE END OF MARCH 2019 TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY

Call 01323890139 or email

seafordheadproshop@hotmail.co.uk

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


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

NEWS | FEBRUARY 2018

[15]

THIEVES TARGET UK GOLF CLUBS T here has been an increasing number of burglaries taking place at UK golf clubs over the last two months, according to police reports. On January 10, a thief broke into Saffron Walden Golf Club in Essex and stole golf clubs and equipment worth over £15,000. Rob McNicholas, the head professional at the club, said the cameras had caught a man snooping around the previous week. “We are certain that this guy is connected with the break-in. He was seen walking around the shop, sussing us out,” he said. He added that this was the first time the club had been broken into and security at the club was being reviewed. Thieves also hit Knole Park Golf Club in Kent twice in the

space of two weeks during January. Among the various items of equipment taken were a power trolley and a full set of clubs. And Haverhill Golf Club in East Anglia was broken into twice in two days on January 16 and 17. Some of the items stolen, including golf clubs, have been recovered, because a police community support officer followed a report of a stolen vehicle, and found a large amount of golf equipment in the garage where it was parked. In December, police forces across the country warned golf clubs to be vigilant about thefts of golf buggy batteries after a number of venues, including Oakmere in Nottinghamshire, Seckford in Suffolk, Sene Valley in Kent, South Lakes in Cumbria and Barnham Broom in Norfolk, were all targeted by battery thieves.

■ HAVERHILL GOLF CLUB WAS HIT TWICE BY THEIVES IN JANUARY

■ RYAN KING

DACHET CROWNS YOUNGEST CAPTAIN

D

achet Golf Club in Berkshire has announced its youngest ever club captain, following the appointment of 30-year-old Ryan King at last month’s official driving-in ceremony. King hit his first ball as captain of the club on New Year’s Day of a year that promises to be packed with new initiatives and events to help raise the profile of the club and funds for his chosen charity. King said: “In addition to a number of initiatives during my tenure as captain in 2018, one of my first major tasks is to help organise an Open Day, scheduled for April 15. This will be targeted at a family audience with the aim of attracting visitors and new members across all categories.” He added: “We have a superb secretary manager in Mark Grieve, who has already had a positive impact at the club. He too is very keen to attract new members and is helping to re-establish a junior golf academy alongside our PGA golf professional Paul Cook. “Datchet is now an official HSBC Golf Roots Centre, which aims to deliver excellent programmes for Junior Golf, awarded by the Golf Foundation. We’ve also been awarded the status of an official Berks, Bucks & Oxon County Hub for Junior Golf.” The new captain continued: “We’re also introducing new competitions in 2018, including a nine-hole monthly stableford event, which will help members with limited leisure time to obtain or have existing handicaps modified. “Fun events will also be introduced into the club’s calendar. On January 19, we held our second ‘Night-time’ golf event, where special illuminated golf balls were used during a team Texas scramble competition.”

UP TO 18 MONTHS GOLF FOR THE PRICE OF 12 Join us at Shirley Park Golf Club, one of the finest courses in the area, renowned for fantastic greens, a friendly welcome, and just a great place to be a member

Pay the 2018/19 subscription now (held at 2016/17 prices) and enjoy free golf until 31st May 2018 Your subscription can be paid in one “up front” amount, or splitover two Installments. Full details can be provided on request

CALL: 02086 541143 OR E M A I L : S T E V E . M U R P H Y @ S H I R L E Y PA R K G O L F C LU B . C O . U K V I S I T: S H I R L E Y PA R K G O L F C LU B . C O . U K S H I R L E Y PA R K G O L F C LU B LT D , A D D I S C O M B E R D , C R O Y D O N C R 0 7 L B


[16] FEBRUARY 2018 | COURSE REVIEW

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

COURSE REVIEW COURSE REVIEW

GOLF AS IT SHOULD BE Set in the stunning surroundings of the New Forest, BRAMSHAW GOLF CLUB’S FOREST COURSE is not only the oldest 18-hole layout in Hampshire, but offers a truly unique golfing experience, courtesy of its naturally-grazed fairways and roaming livestock

I

t didn’t take me long to discover that they do things differently in the New Forest, when I turned a corner just a mile or so off the M27 near Lyndhurst, and came across a pig nonchalantly trotting over the road. And then, around the very next bend, I had to slow down to pass two donkeys that were happily chewing at the hedgerow, seemingly oblivious as I tried to give them a wide berth on what was a narrow stretch of road. Such scenes are common for golfers at Bramshaw Golf Club, whose members all but share the land on which its two 18-hole golf courses are built. As the oldest golf course in Hampshire – it was established in the 1880s – the relationship between man and beast goes back many generations, with the Royal & Ancient game first having been played on Brook Common back in the 1860s. Under the private ownership of the Crosthwaite Eyres family since 1953, whose current generation lives on

the estate, The Forest Course is a fine example of a golf course living in harmony with its surroundings. With the club falling within the confines of the New Forest National Park, animals have the right to roam – and roam they do, even if it means ambling across a fairway while you’re in mid-backswing. This is especially the case on the club’s historic Forest Course, an 18-hole, 5,757-yard layout that is almost unique to these shores. Built on common land, it’s golf at its most natural, with only the tees and greens being managed, while the fairways are left to take nature’s course, barring a bi-annual cut to keep them playable. While the small, but excellent greens are partially fenced off in order to preserve the sanctity of the putting surfaces, grazing cattle, pigs, deer and ponies are left free to leave the odd ‘loose impediment’ for golfers to contend with, although there are lots of Local Rules to overcome any sticky situations. With stunning countryside views, and

■ THE FOREST COURSE OFFERS A TRULY UNIQUE GOLFING EXPERIENCE THAT WILL LIVE LONG IN THE MEMORY

some challenging topography below your feet, it’s safe to say that a round on the Forest Course will linger long in the memory. And, at just £20-£30 for a round, it’s an absolute bargain providing you enter into the spirit of it all, and don’t mind having to extract your golf ball from the occasional cow dung or roll it out of a rabbit scrapping. The greens are also unique on the Forest Course, with several of them completely surrounded by wooden fencing to keep the livestock from chewing the putting surfaces and leaving heavy hoofprints all over them – golfers enter via a zig-zag style gate – while others are guarded by less severe defences, seemingly enough to scare all but the most determined grazer from venturing onto the short stuff. And while the National Park is quite rightly very strict about changes that can be made – the land is designated an SSSI – the club has, through highly diplomatic discussions and the negotiation of a lot of red tape, recently been allowed to partially redesign the course, ■ THE GREENS ARE FENCED OFF TO PROTECT THE EXCELLENT PUTTING SURFACES FROM HOOF PRINTS altering the layout in order to better accommodate the twin demands of golf and grazing. To avoid golfers being greeted on the first tee by a fairway that is constantly trampled by a herd of cows from the neighbouring farm, the layout has been slightly rejigged to make the old first hole the 4th, which has changed from a short par four into a long par three. Elsewhere, a ■ GOLFERS CAN ENJOY OVERNIGHT STAYS IN THE BELL INN, WHICH BOASTS A MIXTURE OF TWIN AND DOUBLE ROOMS AND A RESTAURANT

GOLFERS ENTER MANY GREENS VIA ZIG-ZAG STYLE GATES, WHILE OTHERS ARE GUARDED BY LESS SEVERE DEFENCES – SEEMINGLY ENOUGH TO SCARE ALL BUT THE MOST DETERMINED GRAZERS FROM VENTURING ON TO THE SHORT STUFF

completely new 15th hole has been built, replacing the old 200-yard, par three with a 318-yard par four. The latter change, which comes into play in April, will see the course’s par remain at 69 for men and 71 for ladies. Taking into account the awkward lies and tight playing surfaces, a round on the Forest Course is no pushover, despite the generous fairways. There are plenty of changes in elevation to consider, and a few blind approaches, while a babbling brook bisects many of the holes – often at inconvenient times – with forced lay-ups and carries adding to the difficulty. Among the many highlights is the par-five sixth, a 476-yarder that requires a slight draw off the tee for right-handers to set up a lengthy shot over a water-filled gully to a raised green. Shorter hitters will lay up a sensible distance short of the stream to set up a still less-thanstraightforward 80-yard chip. Peter Alliss, who spent much of his early days around these parts, is said to be particularly fond of the 340-yard ninth, a testing par four, which requires an accurate tee shot to set up a sight at the green, which is placed at an angle close to the tree-line and tucked in hard behind the brook. The late John Jacobs, who lived in Lyndhurst, was also a big fan of the Forest Course – and one-time president of the club – and he spent many happy days playing the course before age caught up with him. The round closes with the tricky 160-yard, par-three 17th, which requires a carry over a stream, with anything under-hit destined for a watery grave. Finally, the par-four 18th, which climbs back up the hill to the highest part of the golf course, demands a strong tee shot to set up one final chance of a birdie.


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

COURSE REVIEW | FEBRUARY 2018

much of it sourced from the estate and other local farms, while there is a wide choice of locally brewed ales to sample from the bar during the inevitable postround analysis. So whether you’re looking to test your game on one of the UK’s most unique courses, book your next golfing break, or plan a society outing, Bramshaw Golf Club really does tick all the boxes.

■ LIVESTOCK AND NEW FOREST PONIES HAVE FREEDOM TO ROAM THE FOREST COURSE

All in all, it’s hard not to walk off the Forest Course’s final green with a great big smile on your face, and the feeling that you’ve ticked a very significant box on your golfing bucket list. Yes, it’s a little rough around the edges, and, yes, you may need to give your shoes an extra clean after your round, but it’s golf as the Good Lord intended, and is all the better for it in this era of identikit courses where there’s barely a blade of grass out of place. It’ll certainly test all the elements of your game – and your imagination – but it will live much longer in the memory than virtually all but the Open Championship layouts that you have to save up for years to play. The revamped configuration is set to be open on March 30 – shortly before the 2018 season officially gets under way – with a special preview day, which is open to all golfers, followed on April 1 by the Bramshaw Easter Meet, a 36-hole Open Pairs competition which will be played across the Forest and Manor Courses (see box below for entry details). While the Forest Course is what

makes Bramshaw unique, golfers visiting the club should not miss the opportunity to play the 6,400-yard Manor Course, which opened for play in 1972. It has since matured into a fine parkland layout, and, while not long by modern standards, features a significant number of tight, treelined holes, making it a challenge for all skill levels. And although there are just 30 bunkers to navigate, they are particularly well placed, especially around the small greens, where only the slightest misjudgment can leave you reaching for your most lofted club. With two courses to play, and lots of other things to see and do in the area, an overnight stay is all but essential for the visiting golfer, with the Bell Inn providing the perfect place in which to hole up between rounds. Under the same family ownership as the golf club, it offers 28 extremely comfortable rooms – and two more beside the clubhouse – all boasting en-suite facilities and offering the very essence of country house hotel chic. The spacious restaurant serves up an excellent range of home-cooked food,

FOREST COURSE PREVIEW COMPETITION, MARCH 30 A special Preview Opening Day competition is being held to mark the opening of the new-look Forest Course. Entry costs just £15pp, and includes an 18-hole individual Stableford

[17]

competition, refreshments, and a discount voucher for The Bell Inn. Tee times will be between 10am-3pm. BRAMSHAW OPEN PAIRS COMPETITION, APRIL 1 On Easter Sunday, the club will host the Bramshaw Easter Meet, an open pairs competition played over the Forest and Manor Courses. Limited to 120 pairs, it will feature 18 holes on each course, pre-match breakfast, and prizes, with the overall winners receiving the Sir Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre Trophy. To book your place in either of these events, call 023 8081 3433, or email golf@bramshaw.co.uk.

BOOK YOUR BRAMSHAW BREAK STAY-AND-PLAY PACKAGES COMPRISING ONE ROUND ON THE MANOR COURSE AND ONE ON THE FOREST COURSE, PLUS OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATION IN THE BELL INN, WITH DINNER, BED AND BREAKFAST, START FROM JUST £124PP (SUNDAYS), WHILE TWONIGHT, TWO-ROUND STAYS BEGIN AT £164 BETWEEN NOV-MARCH. THERE ARE SPECIAL OFFERS FOR GROUPS, WITH ONE IN 12 STAYING FREE. TO BOOK, CALL 023 8081 2214, EMAIL BELL@BRAMSHAW.CO.UK, OR VISIT WWW.BELLINN-NEWFOREST.CO.UK

NEW AFFORDABLE MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS BRAMSHAW HAS ADDED THREE NEW MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES TO COMPLEMENT ITS RANGE OF MEMBERSHIPS, ALL OF WHICH COME WITH A HOST OF BENEFITS, INCLUDING DISCOUNTS ON FOOD AND DRINK, AND REQUIRE NO JOINING FEE.

FOREST LEGACY/COUNTRY MEMBERSHIP (£295) OPEN TO THOSE AGED BETWEEN 22 AND 35, THIS ALLOWS UNLIMITED PLAY ON THE FOREST COURSE, PLUS THE ABILITY TO GAIN A RECOGNISED HANDICAP AND PLAY IN CLUB COMPETITIONS. THIS MEMBERSHIP IS ALSO OPEN TO ANYONE WHO LIVES MORE THAN 50 MILES AWAY AND IS ALREADY A FULL MEMBER OF ANOTHER UK GOLF CLUB.

INTERMEDIATE+ (£895) OPEN TO GOLFERS AGED BETWEEN 31 AND 35, THE INTERMEDIATE+ MEMBERSHIP OFFERS UNLIMITED ANNUAL PLAY ON BOTH THE MANOR AND FOREST COURSES.

EMERGENCY SERVICES & ARMED FORCES (£895) OPEN TO GOLFERS OF ALL AGES WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE EMERGENCY SERVICES, NHS OR THE ARMED FORCES, IT OFFERS UNLIMITED ANNUAL PLAY ON BOTH THE MANOR AND FOREST COURSES. VISIT WWW.BRAMSHAW.CO.UK FOR MORE INFORMATION OR CALL 023 8081 3433


[18] FEBRUARY 2018 | FEATURE

BEEF BITES BACK

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

After suffering a slump in form last season and facing questions about his professional attitude on tour, ANDREW JOHNSTON is looking to rebuild his career and silence the critics in 2018

I

t’s something of an understatement to say that 2017 was not the year that Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston was looking for. Following his breakout 2016 season, which included his first European Tour win at the Valderrama Masters, and a career high ranking of 74, the 28-year-old from North London decided to chance his arm, like so many up-and-coming players had done before him, and play a dual schedule in America and Europe. Having signed a sponsorship deal with US burger restaurant chain D’Arbys, there was no doubt a certain amount of pressure to bring his unique brand of selfeffacing optimism to the States, where the company has all of its outlets, but the plan didn’t quite come off. Flitting backwards and forwards across the Atlantic took its toll on his performances on both tours, and saw his world ranking drop from 85th at the end of 2016 to its current low of 161st. Limiting himself to just 19 starts in 2017, he managed only one top-ten finish, which came at the Puerto Rico Open, and missed a total of seven cuts. He ended the season 116th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings – only keeping his full card because of his win in Spain – and 189th in the PGA Tour’s FedExCup standings. He ended the year hurling his 3-wood into a lake at the RMC Classic in Georgia after shooting rounds of 75 and 77. The sudden drop in form led to criticisms in the media that he was just a flash in the pan, and that he had taken his eye off the golf ball in an attempt to cash in on his new-found fame off the fairways. Johnston is the first to admit that

■ BEEF HAS AN ARMY OF FANS

things ‘got a little crazy’ last year, and that he found it hard to not only adjust to his transatlantic schedule, and the variety of course conditions he faced, but also the demands being placed on him as a sponsors and fans’ favourite. “Last year was a bit nuts, and it was too easy for me to get distracted,” he said ahead of his return to European Tour action at last month’s Abu Dhabi Championship, where he finished tied ninth - his best result in over 16 months. “I simply didn’t put the work in and I got the results I deserved. I was burning the candle at both ends, and when I got to the end of the season I had to sit down and think about what had just happened.” After talking to his closest friends, and having had the time to reflect on the decisions he had made, Johnston gave himself a strong dressing down. “After finishing last season back in November, I had time to reflect on everything over the Christmas break, and I sort of said to myself, you know, you’ve got to keep quiet, keep disciplined and get on with your work,” he says. “I’m a social person. If I go out with friends or I get invited to something, I’ll have a beer, but I probably had a few too many beers, to be honest, and it reflected in my golf, and I was disappointed looking back at it. I want to turn that around now, get back to doing the basics right, knuckle down and practice, and hopefully I’ll have a good season.” Johnston was particularly stung by a poll that aired on talkSPORT Radio midway through last year’s Open Championship that asked the question: “Is Andrew Johnston an inspiration or a clown?”

The results came back 60% in favour of him being seen as an inspiration, but it still meant that 40% viewed him as a clown. TalkSPORT host Mike Parry said it was 'disgraceful' that Johnston - whom he labelled 'a grinning jabbernacker' - should be allowed to detract 'from the dignity of golf' with his behaviour, and added that “He [Johnston] forms himself like a clown, looks like a clown, performs like a clown, and is referred to as a clown'. Johnston, quite naturally, reacted angrily to the suggestion that he was somehow playing the role of a pantomine fool, or that his willingness to engage with fans on the course and on social media made him any less serious a player. He was also upset by personal comments aimed at the way he looked, with Parry calling him a ‘bushy big-teethed clown’. “It annoyed me. It really did,” says Johnston, who currently has a following of over 143,000 on his Twitter feed @BeefGolf. “If I’m a clown for enjoying my work, then so be it. I had a few people message me who said, ‘You should listen to the show’. So I did, and it was actually worse listening to it. I don't

I SIMPLY DIDN’T PUT THE WORK IN AND I GOT THE RESULTS I DESERVED. I WAS BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS, AND I WHEN I GOT TO THE END OF THE SEASON I HAD TO SIT DOWN AND THINK ABOUT WHAT HAD JUST HAPPENED mind being criticised for my golf – I think it's good to listen to people's opinions, to see what you can do better, you know – and if they put a poll out saying maybe if I didn’t spend so much time with the fans would I play better, I'd understand that, I'd totally get that. But when they took the p*** out of my face, my teeth, and stuff like that, I thought it was bang out of order.” So will the Beef of 2018 be all straight-faced and boring? “No. That’s not who I am,” he says. “I’m not going to change in that respect. I’ll always just walk around with a big smile on my face, because I never dreamt of being in this position and having this kind of life, and the kind of support that I’ve got. I’ve always fed off the energy that the crowd provides, and love holing putts and hitting good shots to get the fans going. Golf is how I make my living, but it’s also an entertainment business.” The early signs for Beef 2.0 are good. Three tournaments in and he’s yet to miss a cut, and on top of his top ten in Abu Dhabi, he finished 45th in Dubai and 27th at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia. It’s perhaps too soon to talk of a turnaround, but the man himself feels like things are falling back into place. “I came out to Dubai a week early, and put in some solid practice and it really paid off,” he says. “I feel so much more at home out here, and I’m in a much better place generally. I’m happy, I’m relaxed and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.” That sounds more like the Beef we know and love. Relaxing and chilling, while also being pretty good at chasing a small white ball around a field.


SPRING/SUMMER 2018 AVAILABLE AT TRENDYGOLF.COM


[20] FEBRUARY 2018 | NEWS

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

NEW INDOOR GOLF FACILITY OPENS IN CENTRAL LONDON

L

MUSWELL HILL CELEBRATES 125 YEARS M

uswell Hill Golf Club is marking its 125th anniversary this year with a packed schedule of golfing and social events. The club is hosting its annual 36-hole Scratch Open on August 3. Widely regarded as boasting one of North London’s premier 18hole parkland courses, the club started out life in December 1893, following a meeting in the Green Man pub in the village. Five months later, in May 1894, Muswell Hill Golf Course opened with a 12-hole layout. The inaugural meeting confirmed membership for both men and women, making Muswell Hill one of the oldest

ladies golf clubs in the British Isles. By 1905, the course had grown to 18 holes, but, after the First World War, some of the land was sold to build the houses and schools that today adjoin the club. In 1922, renowned player and architect James Braid made numerous alterations to the course, including designing a number of new holes. In 1929, the ladies’ captaincy and committee were introduced, and today the club boasts a thriving academy for beginners, along with the largest juniors’ section it has ever had. By the end of 1931, with the acquisition of new land, the club’s

social arm had been established with the building of a new clubhouse, which in 1940 survived a German bomb that landed just 40 yards away. Fast-forward to the mid-1990s, and members welcomed a new and muchneeded extension to the clubhouse. In 2016, a halfway house opened by the 10th tee, while last year saw a number of modifications made to the course and

clubhouse as part of the club’s continued investment. Muswell Hill prides itself on its range of flexible and beneficial membership packages, and its thriving Academy for beginners. The Pathway into Golf offers a flexible and enjoyable route for newcomers to progress at their own pace, with a professional team who provide first class coaching, and a wellstocked pro shop.

ondon-based golfers looking to sharpen up their games in the luxurious surroundings of SW1 can now do so following the opening of a brand new private members club called 3 St James’s Square. The plush facility features a fully equipped gym and spa, alongside a state-of-the-art golf academy, which boasts a GolfZon T1 simulator system. The club also boasts a champagne and juice bar, relaxation zones, a library, and a number of private meeting rooms. The golf side of the operation is being managed by Jeremy Kavanagh, a 38-year-old former tour professional with over 15 years’ experience as a player and a coach. Offering individual and group lessons, Buckinghamshire-based Kavanagh has a track record for accelerated learning, improving

player’s all-round game and experience from a holistic perspective. The club gym boasts the UK’s first ever 3D bodyscanner and DNA swab testing to help create bespoke and personalised training and nutritional packages, while it also feature the UK’s only Somadome meditation experience.

WYCHWOOD PARK SOLD TO BAHRAIN HOTEL GROUP

O

ne of the premier golf resorts in northern England, Wychwood Park Hotel and Golf Course in Crewe, has been sold for more than £8 million. The former De Vere venue was bought by US investment firm Starwood Capital Group in 2014, owner of Principal Hotel Company, which has operated Wychwood Park ever since. Now, Bahrain-operated Mokan Hotels Company has bought the venue from a guide price of £8 million. Legacy Hotels & Resorts will manage the hotel on behalf of the company. Set on the rolling countryside of the Cheshire plains, the 108-room property has an 18-hole, 7,191-yard championship course with its own dedicated clubhouse. The US-style parkland layout has been a regular venue for EuroPro Tour events since opening in 2002, as well as early rounds of the European Tour’s Qualifying School.

Andy Townsend, chief executive of Legacy Hotels & Resorts, said: “We are delighted to welcome Wychwood Park and the team to our portfolio. The property has been on the market for a little while, and I am pleased to be able to provide clarity and stability to the team as we set out our investor's approach in developing

Waterlooville GOLF CLUB

“If you haven’t played it, put it on your bucket list! The friendliness of the welcome, the presentation of the course and the quality of the greens were all outstanding.” –

The Perfect Venue for Golf Days & Societies, set in the Surrey Countryside

ANDRA, GLOUCESTERSHIRE TEAM CAPTAIN

Waterlooville Golf Club has continued to receive similar feedback all year and was very proud to host the English Women’s County Finals in September 2016. We would be delighted to welcome your golf society to Waterlooville Golf Club. Contact us today to book your next golf day.

Our impeccable 18 hole golf course, with stunning countryside views, is an ideal venue to host a golf day.

PAR - £31.50 Coffee & Bacon Roll on arrival ◆ 18 holes of golf on our championship course ◆

EAGLE - £47

BIRDIE - £38 Coffee and Bacon Roll on arrival ◆ 18 holes of golf on our championship course ◆ One course lunch ◆

Tel: 023 9226 3388

Coffee & Bacon Roll on arrival ◆ 27 holes of golf on our championship course ◆ One course lunch ◆

From golf societies and corporate hospitality to team building and personal celebrations, we love nothing more than laying on a golf day to remember and offer a range of flexible options.

Summer Packages from £30.00 Sutton Green Golf Club, New Lane, Sutton Green, Nr Guildford, Surrey GU4 7QF. Telephone: 01483 747898 Email: admin@suttongreengc.co.uk

Web: waterloovillegolfclub.com

Waterlooville Golf Club, Cherry Tree Ave, Cowplain, Waterlooville, Hampshire, PO8 8AP

www.suttongreengc.co.uk


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

SAND MARTINS SUPPORTS BLIND GOLF PROGRAMME

E

ight blind and visually impaired people have taken up golf thanks to a partnership between Sand Martins Golf Club and Berkshire Vision charity. The players received lessons at the Wokinghambased course over eight weeks from PGA professional Symon O’Keefe, ending with a ninehole Texas scramble. Sand Martins is now looking at plans to hold similar events in the year ahead to cement its links with Berkshire Vision. Volunteers for the project included club member Stan Bembenek, an amputee golfer involved with the Disabled Golf Association. The club already runs a successful junior academy that engages with local special educational needs schools and units, with scholarships offered to young disabled people.

NEWS | FEBRUARY 2018

EFFINGHAM PLANS PRO-AM TO CELEBRATE OPENING OF ‘NEW-LOOK’ COURSE

HUMPHREYS AND HEWSON IN CURTIS CUP SQUAD

E

ffingham Golf Club in Surrey is to host a special pro-am tournament in May in order to mark the opening of its new-look course, which has been undergoing major renovations over the last 18 months. The club has invested huge sums in transforming its historic parkland layout in recent years, working with renowned golf course architect Tom Mackenzie of Mackenzie & Ebert to enhance the original course laid out by Harry Colt in the 1920’s. Despite the original intention to take two more years to finish the bunker renovations, the club’s council and management took the decision last spring to forge ahead and complete the project a year early. With the construction work expertly carried out by MJ Abbott Ltd during late 2017, the new-look course will be fully open in April, ready to welcome golfers for the new season. Commenting on the course enhancements, Effingham’s general manager, Steve Slinger, said:

“Tom should be congratulated for his vision, which has brought what has always been an excellent course layout to life, embracing the styles and design patterns of generations before us, while importantly creating a test of golf thoroughly in keeping with the requirements of the 21st century.” To celebrate the completion of the renovation, the club is hosting a Pro-Am on May 21, with a selection of professionals from the European Tour, Ladies European Tour and European Seniors Tour invited to play, along with members of the PGA England (South), joining teams of amateurs and playing for the Mackenzie Quaich. The event will also include a celebration dinner and charity auction, and to help raise funds for the School of Hard Knocks, the chosen charity of Effingham’s new club captain, Graeme Simpson. For details, visit www.effinghamgolfclub.com or call 01372 452203.

REIGATE HEATH’S 3-WAY DAY RAISES £17K

I

the property over the coming months. “I believe the hotel holds extensive opportunities to improve and enhance its overall offering, our team, with the backing of our investors are convinced that we can establish the hotel as one of the regions premier resorts.”

t may only boast a nine-hole course, but Reigate Heath Golf Club is never short when it comes to digging deep for charity. The popular Surrey venue’s second 3 Way Charity Golf Day, which was held last autumn, succeeded in raising over £17,000 for the club captains’ three chosen charities – Chestnut Tree House, the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust, and Home-Start. Club captain John Lindley said: “The club showed its support for good causes back in 2012, and now five years later, we’ve managed to

[21]

repeat the performance. It goes to show that we’re not only a genuinely friendly family-oriented golf club, but one whose members go the extra mile for other people, other families, and their children.” He added: “Reigate Heath is widely regarded as the one of the best nine-hole course in the UK, but with an achievement like this I believe it can also claim to be a real asset of the local community.” Ladies’ Captain Claire Gallagher commented: “The amount raised

PAY AND PLAY AT ITS FINEST

is a testimony to the sort of club Reigate Heath really is. As members we all come from all sorts of different backgrounds, but for something like the 3-Way Charity Golf Day, we’re all of the same mind when it comes to helping others.”

■ LILY MAY HUMPHREYS

A

n initial Great Britain & Ireland squad of 14 players has been announced by the R&A ahead of this summer’s Curtis Cup matches at Quaker Ridge, New York. The 40th Curtis Cup match will be played from June 8-10, with GB&I attempting to retain the historic trophy after an 11½-8½ win over the United States at Dun Laoghaire in Ireland in 2016. Leona Maguire, who is currently number one in the world amateur golf ranking, leads a group from Ireland which also includes Paula Grant, Olivia Mehaffey and Annabel Wilson. Essex’s Lily May Humphreys features in a strong English contingent of eight players. Hertfordshire’s Alice Hewson is in contention to make her second Curtis Cup appearance after playing in the winning GB&I side in 2016 and Sophie Lamb is also included. The final eight-player team will be announced on April 26.

GREAT SOCIETY GOLF AT

COODEN BEACH GOLF CLUB

HARRY COLT/HAWTREE DESIGN

GOLF COURSE AND ACADEMY A golfing experience that will exceed your expectations, set in 130 acres of attractive mature wooded parkland Home of the South Buckinghamshire Golf Club and Farnham Park Golf Club.

WINTER FOURBALL OFFER

Cooden Beach Golf Club offer visiting Societies a warm welcome and wish you an enjoyable visit to our club.

(valid until 31st March)

Fourball with Bacon Rolls and Coffee PLUS 18 holes of golf Weekday £80.00 Weekend £100.00 Book 7 days in advance quote GOLF NEWS FOURBALL

Tel: 01753 643332 Web: thesouthbuckinghamshire.co.uk Email: golfenquiries@southbucks.gov.uk THE SOUTH BUCKINGHAMSHIRE PARK ROAD, STOKE POGES, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE. SL2 4PJ

Summer Society Packages available from 1st April 2018 Par package: 18 holes golf only £35.00 Birdie package: 18 holes with tea/coffee & bacon roll on arrival £40.00 Eagle package: 18 holes with tea/coffee & bacon roll on arrival with a one course golfers meal after golf £48.00

Albatross package: 18 holes with tea/coffee & bacon roll on arrival with a two course golfers meal after golf £52.00 The “Hole” package 27/36 holes with tea/coffee & bacon roll on arrival, light lunch and a two course golfers meal £68.00

UPGRADES: Upgrade to a Full English Breakfast for an extra £4.00 pp Upgrade from our golfers menu to our main menu for an extra £5.00 pp

Tel: 01424 842040 Email: secretary@coodenbeachgc.com Web: www.coodenbeachgc.com


[22] FEBRUARY 2018 | NEWS

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

WOODCOTE PARK TO REPRISE TEAMWORK TROPHY

T

RAITT SHINES IN PORTUGAL PRO-AM St George’s Hill professional Andy Raitt shot an 11-under-par total to win the Sunshine Pro-Am in the Algarve by a stroke to claim the £1,100 first prize. The Pro-Am, now in its 11th year, saw the 24 teams play five rounds at Quinta Do Lago’s North, South and Laranjal courses, and San Lorenzo, with competitors dropping their worst of the first four rounds. But at the end of the week it was Raitt, a member of the victorious 2017 GB & Ireland PGA Cup team, who outshone the field with a flawless final round of 68. That performance edged last year’s winner, Louis Savill (Tandridge), into second spot, with Craig Sutherland (Cherry Lodge), a stroke behind in third.

HEMSTOCK HOLDS SWAY AT PRINCE’S Roehampton’s Billy Hemstock tops the PGA South Winter Series, supported by Titleist & FootJoy, after the 2018 PGA South schedule kicked off with a two-day test at Open venue Prince’s in Kent. Hemstock enjoyed a second place in the first event by shooting 40 points, two behind winner Manston’s Max Brackley, whose six-under-par 66 gave him 42 points. As the wind picked up on the second day, Hemstock was two-under after 13 holes, but dropped two shots on the 14th to finish one under the card with 37 points. Rival Gus Mottershead (Hampton Court) was on course for victory, but dropped a shot on the final hole to settle for a tie with Hemstock, although he had the consolation of winning the leading assistant’s prize of the sponsor’s ball, glove and shoe contract thanks to a count back that came down to the last six holes.

SANDOWN PARK TO OPEN 12-HOLE MINI GOLF COURSE Sandown Park Golf Course is to open a new 12-hole mini golf course in the spring. The Esher-based venue is expected to open the horse racingthemed course, which is aimed at families and children, in time for Easter.

EVANS PICKS UP MANAGEMENT AWARD Scott Evans, the managing director and co-owner of the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire, has been awarded the 2017 5-Star Professional Award by the PGAs of Europe, in recognition of his outstanding work in various areas of golf. The 53-year-old Scot has worked in many of the world’s leading resorts and clubs over the past 30 years, including Troon Golf and Country Club in Scottsdale, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, La Quinta Resort in Marbella, Loch Lomand in Soctland, and the London Golf Club in Kent. Evans, who has been at Centurion since 2010, received the award at the 2017 Annual Congress Gala Awards at Costa Navarino in Greece.

■ OVER 154,000 ATTENDED THE OPEN, WHEN LAST HELD AT CARNOUSTIE IN 2007

R&A SELLS OPEN TICKETS ON AMAZON T

he R&A has announced a new commercial partnership which will make official tickets and hospitality packages for the Open Championship at Carnoustie available for sale on Amazon Tickets in the UK, as well as from its own website, TheOpen.com. The Open, which takes place from July 19-22, is one of Amazon’s first ticketing partnerships in sport, and its launch coincided with the busy festive season when millions of shoppers were expected to visit the online retailer’s website. A range of official ticket options are available,

including weekly and daily tickets, as well as a new weekend bundle, which enables fans to enjoy the final two days’ play for one price. There is also a range of official hospitality packages available to purchase, which offer exclusive access to the Champions Club and the Claret Jug Pavilion, Amazon Tickets was launched in the UK in 2015, and offers event-goers quick and easy booking, and all-inclusive pricing, for tickets to the most popular music, theatre, comedy and live events across the UK. To buy your advance Open tickets, visit www.tickets.amazon.co.uk.

ASHLEY WOOD CAPTAINS TO SUPPORT AIR AMBULANCE

T

he incoming captains at Ashley Wood Golf Club in Dorset have some big footsteps to follow in for 2018, after outgoing club captain Clive Jones managed to raise over £11,000 for his chosen charity, Prostate Cancer UK, after 12 months of

solid fundraising. At least the new captain at the Dorsetbased club, Steve Sanger, has plenty of experience in the role, as he captained the club in 2006, when aged just 32. Sanger has been a member at Ashley Wood since he was 10, when

his father Ken was captain in 1981. He first visited the 122-yearold course when it a 9-holer, before it was expanded to 18 holes in 1994. Having chosen to raise funds for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Sanger has a lot of events planned

for club’s 400 members throughout the year, including the Spring Open on May 18, and a Pro Am tournament on October 5. All entries for open events can be found by visiting www. ashleywoodgolfclub. com or by calling 01258 452253.

he Teamwork Trophy will be up for grabs again when the popular PGA Professional & Secretary Challenge event returns in 2018 following its success last year. Golf clubs are invited to enter a pair comprising their Club Manager/Secretary and PGA Professional in this year’s event, which will take place on April 12 at Woodcote Park. An afternoon multi-tee start will see the pairs competing in a Team Only Fourball Betterball with prizes for the top three pairs, while the top club will be taking home the Teamwork Trophy. Supported by business solution provider Open Solutions, the PGA Professional & Secretary Challenge is the brainchild of Woodcote Park Golf Club’s Head PGA Professional Wraith Grant and club secretary Adrian Dawson. “Adrian and I have always worked closely together to improve and drive Woodcote Park forwards,” said

Grant. “Every week we find time to play nine holes and discuss the latest issues and ideas. The benefits to the club’s membership, numbers and bottom line are massive and 2017 has been our best year ever.” He added: “We both agreed an event like this was the most obvious way to get the two key people in any golf club spending some time getting to know each other better, and all to the benefit of their own clubs.” Open Solutions’ CEO Ed Beale and Group Operations Director Tony Jones both expressed their enthusiasm for supporting the event again, especially as it will help improve golf club management. All entries should be sent to info@woodcotepgc.com or by calling 0208 6682788.

COUNCIL REVEALS SHORTLIST TO REDEVELOP MAIDENHEAD GOLF CLUB

T

he names of five potential developers who may build the controversial 2,000 new homes on the site of Maidenhead Golf Club have been revealed. The Royal Borough's plans for the new homes, a school, sports facilities and a health centre on the green belt site have caused strong reactions. Councillors were jeered by protesters when they voted overwhelmingly in October to go ahead with the plan, putting £20 million aside to cover potential compulsory purchase orders. The freehold of the golf club site is owned by the Royal Borough. It covers 132 acres, although only 77 are proposed for the development, leaving room for public green spaces and woodland. The golf club has agreed to surrender its lease in return for a substantional payout, and is currently looking for a new home.

ENGLAND BOUNCE BACK TO FINISH THIRD

E

ngland bounced back from disappointment to beat Finland 6.5-2.5 and secure the bronze medal position at the first Costa Ballena Octagonal Match in Spain. On the penultimate day England was in the unhappy situation

of completing three matches unbeaten – only to miss out on a

place in the final and the chance to play for gold. The tournament,

The named developers on the shortlist are Cala Homes - in a joint bid with Home Group Housing Association; Countryside - in a joint bid with London & Quadrant Housing Association; Crest Nicholson, Redrow Homes and Taylor Wimpey. The project will be worth hundreds of millions of pounds, and the council says that 30 per cent of the new homes will be affordable to meet its commitment to getting young people on the housing ladder. It is expected a final decision on which developer to use will be made in July.

played with eight teams for the first time this year, featured two groups of four playing a round robin. The winner of each group met in the final and England looked odds-on to qualify after two wins and a half. But Spain equalled their match record and pipped them by one game point after beating Iceland 8-1. They went on to beat the

Netherlands 6-3 today to secure the gold. In the bronze medal play-off, England edged ahead early with a 2-1 lead after the foursomes, thanks to the pairings of Ben Jones and Tom Sloman and of George Bloor and Josh McMahon. They set out with great determination in the singles, with Bloor winning 6/5, followed by Jones, who won 3/2.

Sloman confirmed the team’s victory when he claimed his point on the last and Bailey Gill extended the winning margin when he won 4/3. England coach Paul Ashwell said: “After the disappointment of missing out on a place in the final I am very proud of the way our players bounced back with an excellent performance to win the third place."


MEMBERSHIP

In a world where the finest details matter... London Golf club have created membership options designed to complement your needs.

There isn’t a better club of which to be a member. www.londongolf.co.uk | 01474 875752 JOIN THE CONVERSATION


[24] FEBRUARY 2018 | FEATURE

DANNY WILLETT MY STORY

“I JUST DIDN’T WANT TO PLAY GOLF” Since winning the Masters in 2016, very little has gone right for DANNY WILLETT, with the 30-year-old Yorkshireman suffering a loss of form and a series of injuries that have seen him tumble from world no.15 to his current position of 148. Writing in a candid blog for EuropeanTour.com, Willett shares the pressures of living up to being a Masters' champion, and how it all spiralled into a loss of confidence and back problems caused by over-practicing

T

here’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about winning the Masters. I can remember almost every shot I hit, and I remember how I felt at each point throughout the week. It’s amazing how you get the same feelings on weeks when you win or do well. Clearly it’s not easy to replicate that feeling, but that week in April was unforgettable, to say the least. What’s funny is that we, as golfers, spend so much time practising for those moments, but nothing ever really prepares you for what happens next, after you achieve greatness like that. Ultimately, I’ll be able to look back on that day and be thankful for all that it has given me, but it has not been easy dealing with the aftermath. Before Augusta, I was a good, but ‘normal’ Tour pro. I was able to go about my business, getting a practice round in, doing my work, and preparing quietly for each tournament. After the Masters, every time I went to the range, every time I was on a putting green or in a practice round, there were cameras on me, and everything was being filmed and recorded. That magnifies everything to the nth degree. People that know me, know that I wear my heart on my sleeve, and if I’m having a bad day on the course, I’ll show it, and if I’m playing well and everything’s great in the world, you can tell. That’s just who I am. When the spotlight was on me constantly, I felt I had to dull that side of me down a little. It’s much harder to show some of that emotion, good or bad, when everyone’s eyes are on you. But the truth is very few people know the sacrifices I make to try and be the best golfer I can be. They don’t know that I’ll get up at 5am to get some practice in or hit the gym before my son wakes up at 6.30am, and I need to help my wife with him. They don’t know that I’m still working my nuts off in the gym and on the range, only to go out and shoot a 75. They think I should be able to shoot 72 just showing up for my tee time, but it’s not that easy and there’s so much that goes on behind-the-scenes to get you to that first tee that it’s often easy just to rank or rate a player’s round based on the score they shoot, but that’s not always how players view their craft. Golf is a strange sport. When you’re playing well, it seems very easy, but when you’re struggling, it feels like all the time on the range makes no difference out on the course. That can be a hard challenge to deal with mentally, especially when you’re trying to find that form against some of the best players and toughest courses in the world. That said, I’m very lucky to have friends and family off the course that do what they can to keep me on that path to success, and help put things in perspective. There have been quite a few low points over the last few months. At the

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

FEATURE | FEBRUARY 2018 [25]

■ WILLETT ADMITS TO BEING UNPREPARED FOR THE ADDED PUBLIC AND MEDIA SCRUTINY THAT CAME WITH WINNING THE MASTERS

end of 2016, I was in contention in the Race to Dubai, and I just didn’t want to play golf. Think about that. It’s utterly ridiculous. I had entered the HSBC Champions in China, Turkey, Nedbank and Dubai – four of the biggest tournaments of the year – and I didn’t want to play. I just didn’t feel good enough to compete. So I had a few options. I could withdraw and pass up the chance to win the Race to Dubai, or I could play and work my butt off to try and find some form. It was hard, and I didn’t play great, but I finished 11th at Nedbank, and ultimately finished runner-up in the Race to Dubai, for the second straight year. After I had finished in Dubai, I just wanted to put the clubs away and take time off. I needed time off. However, earlier in the year I had committed to playing in Hong Kong two weeks after Dubai. People don’t realise just how golfers' schedules are created, and you often commit to events months ahead of time, when you’re playing well, then turn up six months later as a completely different golfer. When you win events and win Majors, sponsors and events want to sign you up and announce that you’re coming to play. You feel an obligation to then show up and put on a show. However, ahead of Hong Kong, I needed a break and put the clubs away for two weeks. I spent ten days with my family, with my feet up, and tried not to even think about golf.

ULTIMATELY, I’M A HUSBAND, I’M A FATHER TO TWO GREAT KIDS, AND I HAVE A GREEN JACKET HANGING UP AT HOME. I’M PRETTY LUCKY AND I NEVER FORGET THAT

And what do you know? I went to Hong Kong and played well. My expectations were lower, I was refreshed mentally, and I was able to play some good golf and get into contention. It was a course that suited me, as it didn’t require too many drivers, which had been my biggest weakness – but I actually enjoyed playing again. I only finished sixth, but it gave me a big boost over the winter break that it was possible to both play well and like what I was doing again. By the time 2017 rolled around, my goal was to build towards Augusta, so that a) I was playing well and could put up a good defence; and b) I could enjoy everything that came with returning to Augusta and driving down Magnolia Lane with a green jacket on. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but the champions' dinner on the Tuesday night was a real eye opener for me. Sitting around a table full of these legends of the game, all telling stories of Arnold Palmer and Augusta, it really inspired me and gave me the boost I needed to look for help. After Augusta, I began opening up to friends and people around me and trying to take a look at what I could do to improve. It wouldn’t be an easy few months, but I still look back on that dinner and tell myself there was a reason I had a name card and a place at that table. I had earned an invitation, and I often find myself remembering that meal. A low point came in Akron at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Firestone is a course where you have to drive the ball well, and hit it straight off the tee. Sadly, I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t even hit the golf course. It’s a field with the best players in the world, and you have to earn a place in the field, and yet I was there, looking at those fairways and not seeing a way I could hit the ball straight. Luckily for me I had my dad out there that week. Whilst he doesn’t know everything about golf or my swing, he knows me as a person. We spoke every night that week. Not about golf or what was happening in my game, but more about my character, and the lessons he had taught me growing up. He told me that I seemed unsure. I had always asked a lot of questions growing up, and wanted to understand things about myself and about golf, and he said I looked and seemed unsure. That’s when I decided to change coach. The funny thing about the spotlight I’ve experienced is you eventually begin to question what it is you’re doing and whether you’re doing the right things. After time, we came to the conclusion that perhaps things weren’t working as they had been with Mike [Walker] and Pete [Cowen] for the previous two years. It was a big decision to decide to change my coaches, and move to Sean Foley, but I felt like it was my best chance to get back to what I was doing so well when I achieved the success I had in 2015 and 2016. When things weren’t going well, I was always searching for answers. I’d find myself watching YouTube videos. The number of times I’ve watched clips of my final round at Augusta is ridiculous, but I’m always looking for those keys to getting better. I found I was watching other players' swings that I liked, and I came to the conclusion that the things that Sean Foley was doing would be a good fit for me,

both professionally and personally. I started working with Sean at the PGA Championship in August and approached it like an open book. I said I would change whatever he thought I needed to change to get better. For two or three months now we’ve looked at everything in my game and worked endlessly on getting better. I didn’t play great at Quail Hollow, but I had spells during that week, and hit one or two shots, which showed me that what I am doing is working. It’s hard when you’re on the range before a round in a Major and your swing feels strange. It feels new and uncomfortable. To take that to the course and try and commit to it is hard, but I saw enough there to want to keep working on it and I feel I’m on a really good path now. The important thing is that I can see and feel the changes. It might just be a shot here and there, or a ball flight on a certain shot, but I can feel the changes, and it’s made me happier on the course and off it too. When I swing good, I feel good. Both mentally and physically. It’s not breaking news that I’ve had back issues. The truth is that when I was swinging badly, I was putting strain on my back, and it became an issue. I had to pull out of a couple of events, and it became a problem. It was annoying, as working out didn’t hurt it, drills didn’t hurt it, but firing into the ball at full speed, and just being a little off, could cause a lot of pain. It ended up taking over my game, as I’d be taking painkillers in the morning after waking up in pain, getting an hour of physio before each round, playing the round with a swing that hurt, then needing an hour of physio after the round. I was just knackered. Honestly, the injury became a self-fulfilling issue, as I wasn’t playing well, which hurt my back, but I would go home and hit balls for five hours at home in a position that was aggravating my back even more. I knew it needed some swing changes and changes in the way I prepared to allow me to get healthy again and starting getting back to the form I know I’m capable of. Nic, my wife, has been huge in this journey as well. I know, for a while there, I wasn’t a great person to be around. I’d spend ten hours in a day working hard on my game, and not getting the results, and I’d come home in a bad mood and I just wouldn’t be the person I wanted to be. Luckily, we have a great and honest relationship, and she knows when to tell me to wind my neck in and get on with things, and when to just give me space. Again, through everything over the last couple of years, the good and bad, my family have been amazing. Another key person in this recent journey has been my best friend Sam. He’s on the bag now, and I’ve known him for years. We played boys golf together back in Sheffield, and basically grew up together. We play a lot at home together, and he could see that I wasn’t quite myself and agreed to come on board when I asked him. It’s been nice walking the fairways with a close friend and seeing how that dynamic works. No matter how I’m playing now, or how my form is, I’m lucky in that I’ve got a memory of performing down the stretch under the biggest pressure possible. That Sunday afternoon at Augusta was incredible, and it still drives me today. It’s amazing that when you get in contention in a golf tournament, nothing else matters other than winning. When things are going badly, you start to widen your focus, and take in a lot of negative thoughts or comments. However, when things are going well, you feel like you have a force-field around you. It’s impossible to describe the feeling. I don’t care what drugs people might take, or things people might do to seek pleasure and joy, it honestly can’t match stiffing a long iron or making a crucial putt on a Sunday when you're in contention in a golf tournament. The opposite side to those nerves for me came at the Ryder Cup. Obviously that week didn’t go the way I wanted, and that was due in part to the way I dealt with the pressure, based on the fact I wasn’t hitting it as well. I wasn’t able to match those nerves with the confidence that I could pull off the shots under pressure. It was difficult. I have relied on the help of some of my closest friends on Tour as well. I’m good friends with the likes of Sergio, Henrik and Lee and they are clearly great players in the sport, but each have had dips in form and it’s been useful for me to chat with them and understand how they approached those times when confidence was perhaps waning somewhat. What I’ve learnt is that professional golf can be a 30-year career and it’s impossible to think you’re going to be able to go through that without dips in form. It’s a rollercoaster ride. But would I change it? No. Never. So where do things go from here? All I can say is I’m working hard to ensure they go up. I know I’ve achieved something that 99 percent of players will never get to experience, but there is still a lot I want to do. I’ve never won the Race to Dubai ,having come close twice. That’s something I want to do. But ultimately, I want to know that every day I spent working on this game I was working to get better and never gave up. It’s not easy, but that’s golf and that’s why I'll always love it.


[26] FEBRUARY 2018 | NEWS

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

At home it has to be the West Course at Wentworth. I don’t think it has a bad hole. Further afield, Cedar Rapids Country Club in Iowa, USA, has some very special memories for me.

TIM OWERS, HEAD PGA PROFESSIONAL, WYKE GREEN GOLF CLUB, SURREY

H

ow long have you been a PGA professional? I turned professional in 2011 – it’s been seven fantastic years. What has your career path been to date? I began as an assistant at Hampton Court Palace Golf Club in Surrey. That was a very sales-focused role. I quickly progressed to become general manager before getting the opportunity to return to Wkye Green – where I was a junior member – as head professional and director of golf. What is your day-to-day role? It covers just about everything, really. I could be arranging a new membership programme, or running a golf society. The next day, I could be on the range helping members with their game, then it could be tournament organisation or even a greens meeting. It’s a lot of fun. What’s the best thing about your job? The variety of tasks and responsibilities that it provides – no two days are ever the same. I must say, though, that there is no better feeling than when a member can’t wait to tell you how well they have

played after a lesson – I love that. And the worst? There isn’t one really, but working a lot of weekends is probably the only downside. I have three children, and I miss a lot of their activities due to work commitments. What three words would your colleagues use to describe you? Busy, energetic, organised. Tell us something about the facilities and the playing experience… It’s a tough course. Members’ handicaps always travel well away from Wyke Green. We have just the one par five and some long par fours. I’m biased, but our facilities are fantastic. Not just the golf course, but the relaxing clubhouse,

■ WYKE GREEN GOLF CLUB

and also the practice range too. The course drains really well, so we rarely suffer due to bad weather. What is the club doing to attract juniors and women golfers? We have recently appointed an academy manager to help with the influx of new junior and female members that we are getting. We have tried to make the path from beginner to full member a simple and fun one. Weekly classes and the ability to play golf with people of a similar standard have been two keys to succeeding here. We really try to ensure that anyone who walks through our gates feels relaxed and welcome. Golf needs to be fun. How much time do you spend teaching? It varies from week to week. With such a varied role, I guess the real answer is not as much as I would like!

■ NICK FALDO

at the moment? FootJoy shoes are always popular with our members, while Under Armour clothing is selling well across all ages and genders. It has a great range of outerwear. What’s the best swing tip you’ve ever received? Maintain the angle in your right wrist at impact. There is a bit more to it than that, but this always seems to be at the heart of any good round I play. What is your career highlight as a player? I shot a seven-under-par 62 to win the Milford Golf Club Pro Am a few years ago. I’ve been trying to rediscover that form ever since. If you could change one rule in golf, which one would it be? Getting a free drop when landing in a divot in the fairway.

What’s selling well in the pro shop

What’s your favourite course in the UK, and the world?

Who is your golfing hero and why? Nick Faldo. I loved his golf swing and his determination to succeed. I even named my son after him. Although I have to say, his golf is a lot better than his commentary. Who inspired you to take up golf? A guy called Geoff Hancock. He is still a member here at Wyke Green, and I get to see him two or three times a week. His son Craig and I were best pals growing up, and when Craig started to play, I couldn’t wait to get involved. Geoff was a real help, and continues to be so today. Which three other people would be in your dream fourball? My three children, Nicholas, Lauren and Chloe. Of course, I would need to get Lauren and Chloe to start playing first! What would you have done if you hadn’t have been a pro? I have been told that I could sell snow to an Eskimo, so I guess I’d have been in sales somewhere. To book a tee time at Wyke Green Golf Club, visit www.wykegreengolfclub.co.uk or call 020 8560 8777.

STEVENAGE GOLF & C O N FER EN C E C EN T R E

Golf Societies 2017

St Mellons Golf Club St Mellons, Cardiff, CF3 2XS Tel: 01633 680 408 Email: secretary@stmellonsgolfclub.co.uk

EXCLUSIVE GOLF DAY Shotgun Start Coffee, Tea and a Bacon Roll 18 Holes of Golf Two Course Evening Meal for 72 people From £1995

Book a Society this summer at Stevenage Golf and Conference Centre and receive a free pair of FJ Shoes worth up to £50!*

Free F J Shoes

with an

*Terms and conditions apply.

y so

ciety* *minim um 16 playe number of rs requ ired

Call us today for more information 01438 880 424 Aston Lane, Stevenage, Herts SG2 7EL | enquiries.golf@sll.co.uk | www.sll.co.uk

Find us online www.sll.co.uk

/StevenageGolfConferenceCentre

@stevenagegolf

ULTIMATE GOLF DAY Coffee, Tea and a Bacon Roll 18 Holes of Golf Two Course Meal 1 x Free Beer Per Person £32 per Person * Subject to availability & date restrictions apply


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

[27]

LOOKING TO BOOK A G O LF DAY I N 2018 F O R T H E B E S T S O C I E T Y & C O R P O R AT E D A Y V E N U E S D E TA I L E D D E S C R I P T I O N O N E A C H C LU B T H E L AT E S T PA C K A G E S G R E AT I M A G E R Y V I D E O F O OTA G E ( O N S E L E C T E D C LU B S ) E V E R Y T H I N G YO U N E E D TO K N O W

golfdayguide.com


[28] FEBRUARY 2018 | NEWS

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

TAKE YOUR GAME TO NEW HEIGHTS AT LEWES V isiting Lewes Golf Club for the first time takes you on a magical mystery tour – up a single lane with passing places, past picturesque houses reminiscent of a trip to Cornwall, and then up and up to the top of the chalk cliffs – to arrive to spectacular views over the South Downs and the historic town of Lewes with its Norman castle standing proud. Golf has been played at Lewes since 1896, and the Sussex-based venue is proud of its tradition of being a

friendly club, and whether you are interested in membership, society golf or playing as a green fee player, you can be assured of a warm welcome. To top it all, the views from every hole are unsurpassable. From the 8th green, the highest point on the 6,253-yard course, there is a 360-degree view to the North Downs and south to the Channel. With no two holes alike, and boasting a stunning collection of par threes, Lewes offers golf at its natural and elemental best.

■ THERE ARE STUNNING VIEWS TO BE ENJOYED FROM THE TOP OF LEWES GOLF CLUB

Although a parkland layout by design, its lofty location of the chalky South Downs ensures excellent natural drainage and year-round play, with no requirements for

temporary tees or greens, or trolley bans; while professional maintenance guarantees the course is always presented in tip-top condition, with smooth, quick greens and

manicured tees. A warm welcome also awaits in the clubhouse, where vistors are treated to a home-cooked menu of traditional golfing fayre, and an excellent selection

HASTE HILL BATTLES COUNCIL OVER HONOURS BOARDS REMOVAL

Y

ears of history and golfing achievement have been erased at Haste Hill Golf Course in Middlesex, after the council that owns the course and clubhouse decided to remove the club’s honours boards. Haste Hill Golf Club has played its competitions at the Northwood venue since the 1930s, and celebrated the success of its members and commemorated its past captains on a number of honours boards, as is traditional at golf clubs all over the world. But Hillingdon Council, which owns the clubhouse, removed all 26 of them over the Christmas period, following a major renovation of the building. A spokesperson for the council said that the honours boards had been removed to create a more neutral environment that would make it more suitable for hiring out as a venue for private parties and weddings. “We recently invested more than £250,000

■ ALL THESE BOARDS HAVE BEEN TAKEN DOWN

into renovating the clubhouse, which now benefits from an improved bar area, toilets and car parking facilities for all our customers to enjoy,” said the spokesperson. "The golf course and its clubhouse is open to everyone, and the venue is also hired out to the public for events and weddings to increase revenue. Haste Hill Golf Club is a separately organised members' group that uses the course, but does not contribute financially to the building or its

WINTER GOLF DAYS November to March golf days - Coffee and Full English followed by 18 holes (minimum 8 people) from £17.50 per person*

upkeep, and their 26 wooden honours boards displayed in the function rooms were dissuading people from hiring the venue. The boards were removed during the refurbishment, and the council offered to replace them with a digital board instead.” The club’s membership was officially informed of the council’s decision at an AGM held last month. Many have reacted angrily to the decision to wipe out decades of golfing history in one fell swoop, but all representations to the council have so far had no effect in overturning the decision. “The club has attempted to explain to the

of local ales. To book a tee time or a society day, or enquire about membership, visit www. lewesgolfclub.co.uk or call 01273 473823.

council how important the retention and visibility of these wooden boards are - both to current and past members whose names appear on those boards – but unfortunately, our appeals have fallen on deaf ears,” said John Paterson, president of Haste Hill Golf Club, who has been a member there since 1980. “I’m devastated. They’ve taken away the history of our club.” He added: “Golf clubs up and down the country regularly let their premises for a variety of reasons, and there is little evidence that any club has been asked to remove their boards for a letting. Indeed, it is rare that any club has found the existence of these boards has prevented them from achieving whatever extra income they wanted from letting their premises. In fact, many people choose to host events at golf clubs and other similar establishments because of the history on show." Haste Hill Golf Course was designed by Harry Colt in 1926, while a club has been in existence since 1930. The current membership stands at 240 - 170 men and 70 women, with ages ranging from eight to 80.

Membership Packages Membership Categories all incl. vat

Per Annum

7 day championship membership

£995.00

5 day championship membership

£595.00

Junior membership

£200.00

Corporate membership fee

£2500.00

7 day golf & leisure membership

£1400.00

5 day golf & leisure membership

£840.00

Golf Package Coffee & Bacon Baps, 18 Holes Golf One-Course dinner

£33.00 per person

Organisers goes free on groups of 12 or more

Be Driven...

Call to check availability and to book:

01344 354381 Downshire Golf Complex, Easthampstead Park, Wokingham, Berkshire RG40 3DH Tel: 01344 302030 Fax: 01344 301020 E: downshiregc@bracknell-forest.gov.uk W: www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/downshiregolf www.facebook.com/downshiregolf * Seniors, aged 64 and over. Adult rate is £21.00 per person.

For more information please call Caroline Screene, Golf Manager on 0208 768 3113 www.selsdonparkcroydon.co.uk • Addington Road, Sanderstead, Surrey, CR2 8YA


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

NEWS | FEBRUARY 2018 [29]

BENECTA EXCEEDS GOLFERS’ EXPECTATIONS

DEANGATE RIDGE SET TO CLOSE FOR HOUSING

T

M

ore than four in five UK golfers participating in a survey of a new natural food supplement claimed they had fewer aches and pains, and more energy and stamina since using Benecta. The golfers, aged 50-plus, were all golf club members who played regularly, with two thirds of them believing Benecta – made from short-chain chitosan – helped them to perform better on the course. The survey, undertaken by Sports Marketing Surveys Inc, observed the performance and physical condition of 465 UK golfers over the age of 50, who took the supplement every day for two months. Of those surveyed, 81 per cent had fewer aches and pains, while 99 per cent of individuals said they had felt better – both physically and mentally – since taking Benecta, and had also noticed benefits in endurance, energy and stamina. And 69 per cent believed their general mood and health had improved as well as having fewer aches and pains from taking the Icelandic supplement. Susan Walker, a 60-year-old golfer who took part in the trial, said: "I am definitely feeling more flexible and less achy after taking Benecta, and it has really helped my golf. When something hurts, I am more hesitant in my golf swing, particularly the drive, but

■ BENECTA TRIALS HAVE SHOWN IT TO INCREASE ENERGY LEVELS

without this worry, I enjoy golf more and play better." Michael Andrews, 56, said that taking the supplement, which costs £40 for a 30-day supply, had given him a much-needed energy boost. "I certainly feel more positive and have noticed that I have more energy throughout my round of golf,” he said. Benecta’s healing powers also work off the golf course, as 60-year-old Bryan Haylett testified ”I hate gardening, but I was recently required to remove a small tree, roots and all; normally that would have been a nightmare, but this time around, no problem. I played golf the next day, and played my best round for a while, with no aches or pains. Down to Benecta, I would like to think."

C

■ CHIARA CADEI FROM STEP BY STEP WITH NEW CAMBERLEY HEATH CAPTAINS DEBORAH WARNER AND KEVIN WARNER

marking the first time in the club’s history that a married couple have taken on the roles simulataneously. The Warners have been members of the club for eight

relatively small number of members. There is a range of alternative affordable provision within and outside the area, with seven courses within a 20-minute drive from Deangate Ridge. Many of these offer golf on a pay-andplay basis, for non-members, at comparable prices." The report concluded: “Taking into account the financial situation of the golf

been valued at around £35 million. A council report discussing the future of the club stated: “Due to falling participation rates in golf, owners and operators finding it increasingly difficult to sustain the operation in the face of falling membership numbers and revenues. There is no evidence of need for increased golf provision in the area. Indeed, the council should consider the long-term sustainability of the golf facilities it operates, in particular Deangate Ridge, which operates at a deficit and provides for a

facility at Deangate Ridge, and the opportunity to consider a new sports facility, it is recommended that the golf course is closed on March 31.” David Williams, 57, from Rochester, who uses the course frequently, said: “Golf is one of the few competitive sports played by people of all ages. With an aging population, the loss of the golf course will have an adverse impact on the health and wellbeing of those who wish to remain active in middle age and in later life.” It is estimated that closing the course will save the council just over £78,000 a year.

Benecta is currently not available in the shops and can only be bought directly via its online store. For details, visit www.benecta.co.uk.

CAPTAINS COUPLE MAKE HISTORY AT CAMBERLEY amberley Heath Golf Club has started another chapter in its already impressive 105-year history by appointing its first ever husband-and-wife members to the role of club captains in the same year. Kevin and Deborah Warner have been elected captain and lady captain at the Surrey-based venue for the coming year,

he future of Deangate Ridge Golf Course in Kent is hanging in the balance, after Medway Council revealed that it is currently considering plans to turn the loss-making course over to a new housing development. A vote is due to take place shortly on whether to keep the club open or close it with a view to selling off the land for development, which has

years and are both looking forward to a busy schedule of official club competitions, matches and social events. “It is a great honour and privilege for Deborah and I to

take on the captaincy roles at Camberley Health,” said Kevin, who has chosen the Aldershotbased Step by Step, which empowers young people and prevents homelessness, as the couple’s chosen charity for 2018. “We were both keen to select a charity that helps local young people,” said Deborah. “After visiting Step by Step and learning more about its fantastic work, we decided that we would like it to be this year’s charity.” The captains’ year officially began on February 1 with a drive-in ceremony, while the first competition takes place on February 25.

LYDD GOLF CLUB

WELCOME TO LYDD GOLF CLUB Lydd Golf Club is an undiscovered gem on the South Coast. It combines classic risk and reward golf with breath-taking lakes and links style, making this an extremely enjoyable test of skill and control.

FREE 6 MONTH MEMBERSHIP TO THE WINNER * MIN 16 FULL PAYING PLAYERS

Lydd Golf Club welcomes visitors and societies to come and experience our wonderful venue, practice facilities and golf course. Our Society Package is available until Jan 1st 2018 and includes a weekday round of 18 holes of golf including a coffee and bacon roll for just £20 per player.

For just £30 per player, you can enjoy a golfers breakfast, (including tea or coffee), 18 holes golf, and a one course lunch. Lydd Golf Club is the ideal golf venue for you and your guests to visit. We have a friendly and welcoming team and our pro shop can accommodate your every requirement and provide all your essential golfing needs, including trollies and buggies. After your round, relax and unwind in our superb clubhouse in the capable hands of our experienced catering team. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Just mention this on your booking form to make sure you receive this amazing prize

Early Tee Times from 9am | Play from the Back tees!! Driving Range balls | Coffee & Bacon rolls 18 holes on the Oaks | Homemade Steak & Ale Pie & Chips

From £27pp Packages can be tailored to your needs.

Tel: 01604 764036 option 1 or delapregolf@gmail.com Delapre Golf Centre, Eagle Drive, Northampton. NN4 7DU

www.delapregolfcentre.co.uk

LYDD GOLF CLUB & DRIVING RANGE Romney Road, Lydd, Kent TN29 9LS

Tel: 01797 320808 Email: golf@lyddgolfclub.co.uk www.lyddgolfclub.co.uk


[30] FEBRUARY 2018 | INTERVIEW

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

COVER STORY

LOOKING AFTER

Two months after winning the 2017 Race to Dubai and becoming top dog in Europe, TOMMY FLEETWOOD was back to his winning ways in Abu Dhabi, putting a world-class field to the sword in thrilling fashion. Golf News catches up with the 27-year-old from Southport, who is looking to strut his stuff on the global stage in 2018

A

fter such a breakout season last year, how important was it for you to draw a line in the sand on 2017 and come out all guns blazing again?

After having the year of my life by a long, long way last year, I really wanted to come out and keep it going, and prove to myself that I still had it. Over the winter break, I talked with my team about the need to keep progressing, keep improving. And while I celebrated winning the Race to Dubai, I also recognised that if Justin [Rose] had shot level par for the final nine holes in the final tournament, I wouldn’t have won it. It might sound odd, but I kind of wanted to have the feeling of having had it snatched away from me, and feel that hurt. That gave me the desire to come out and validate my position as European number one. Defending my Abu Dhabi Championship title was hugely satisfying, not only in the manner of the win, but also under the microscope of what happened last year, and the expectations that are now placed on me. I just really wanted to win this one. It's a weird feeling coming to defend a trophy, because it's yours and you don't want to give it away. So keeping hold of it for another year is very nice.

to make the Ryder Cup team’, but you have to remember to keep progressing. I know how easy it is to go off-track, and I also know what it takes to stay on track, and I know I am surrounded by the right people that are going to keep me going in the right direction. Where do you see the most room for improvement in your game? I made so many big strides from where I was, so, as I just said, I have to keep in perspective that the next strides aren't going to be as big. Game-wise, I’m pretty happy with my driving and general iron play, so I’m focusing a bit more on improving my short game – wedge play, putting. Off the course, I have a wife and a baby now, so time management has become so much more important. I'm not going to be spending 12 hours a day working on my game and improving it that way, so I’m going to have to work smarter, and make better use of my practice time. Will you be playing on both tours this year?

Shooting 30 over the back nine on that course, and in those conditions, to win the tournament: was that as close to perfect golf as you’ve come? Yeah, I think without going over all the tournaments in my head or rounds I’ve played, I think that back nine will definitely be at the top of the list. It's funny, because when you're out there you're so in the moment that you're not thinking about how well you're playing, or what your score is. I wouldn't have known I shot 30 on the back nine when I came in. Scoring was tough, and we had to keep going. It’s a cliché, I guess, but it was simply a case of taking each shot as it came. When conditions are that difficult and that windy, it actually helps that you have to focus so hard on executing each shot, because there are never any ‘gimmie’ shots. After ticking so many boxes last year, what goals have you set for yourself this season?

Yes, the schedule for the season is all mapped out, and I'll be playing in Europe and on the PGA Tour. I can't remember how many tournaments I'll be playing, but, either way, the family will be travelling with me or I'll be at home. My family comes first and that's it, so I'll make sure I get the timings right.

AFTER HAVING THE YEAR OF MY LIFE BY A LONG, LONG WAY LAST YEAR, I REALLY WANTED TO COME OUT AND KEEP IT GOING, AND PROVE TO MYSELF THAT I STILL HAD IT

I started this year in a very different place to where I was last year, that’s for sure. I came out last year just looking to try and win a tournament again. Anything beyond that was going to be a bonus. The win in Abu Dhabi 12 months ago came out of nowhere really. I hadn’t done much over the winter, and it was a course where I had not had much previous joy, and suddenly I found myself up there on the last day, and then winning the tournament. It couldn’t have come at a better time for me. It was just the confidence boost I needed, and started what turned out to be a great run for me. This year, I’m obviously starting out with a lot more expectation. I'm in a much higher place in the world ranking, so the goals have had to shift a bit, but, then again, finding the little improvements that are going to take me up another notch is that much harder. You have to put a lot more extra work in to get smaller gains, but generally, the goals are simply to keep progressing and hopefully win some more tournaments. It's easy to say, ‘Oh, I want to win a major, I want

There are obviously going to be times when you don’t play well, or maybe miss the odd cut. How well are you able to cope with the fact that you can’t always bring your ‘A game’ to the table?

I think the hardest thing about it is, the better you get, and the higher your expectations get, the less leeway you give yourself when you don't play very well. It can get frustrating very quickly and very easily. You might not play well one week. Nobody is going to make the cut every week. So you've just got to take it in your stride and recognise that that's the game of golf. I feel like I have a good mind-set about the ups and downs. I feel like I put the hours in, and I do the right things to make myself a better player, and I just have to go out and trust that I've done the work, and if it doesn't go right, you have to go onto the next week and try again. So I welcome the new challenges and new experiences that will come along, and we'll see how we go. You obviously had a good week in the EuroAsia Cup last month, winning all three of your matches – how much has that whetted your appetite for the Ryder Cup? The whole thing was just such a great experience. Funnily enough, I was the most nervous I had been in a while, with it being a team event, but I had great partners in Paul [Casey] and Henrik [Stenson] for the first two days, and thankfully we won both our matches. And then to come out in the singles and get an early point on the board for the team was such a relief. We all wanted to win so badly, especially for Thomas, and for the European Tour, it was great to get the win. The whole team


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

INTERVIEW | FEBRUARY 2018

[31]

atmosphere was great, and the feeling of winning as a team was brilliant. I really, really enjoyed it, and if I’m lucky enough to make the team in Paris, I’ll love that too. Have you made any equipment changes from the end of last season?

That it was voted for by the players makes it so special, and perhaps more meaningful than any one tournament win. It reflects the accumulation of what you’ve achieved over the course of a year. It was very flattering and very humbling.

I have experimented with a few new bits of kit, but I'll only change if I feel 100 per cent comfortable with what it is, and if I feel it's working right. At the end of the day, your golf is the most important thing. I'm not a tinkerer or one to change things for changes sake. I've had my Nike irons for a long time now, and I will eventually have to use something else, but there's no timeframe on it. It will happen when it happens.

It’s obviously a bit early to be talking about the Open Championship, but, given the 63 you shot at Carnoustie in the Dunhill Links last year, how much are you looking forward to competing for the Claret Jug there?

How much an honour was it to win the Seve Ballesteros Award, which is given to the European Tour’s players’ player? Of all the trophies I’ve won, receiving that award made me feel the most emotional.

Yeah, Carnoustie is a course that I like. I've had a lot of good scores there. To be fair, I found a couple of spots that day that you probably wouldn't have broken 70 for an Open set-up, but I do like the course, and I like how the holes set up. We'll see where my game is at in July. The hype and expectation around my appearance at last year Open at Birkdale was amazing, and I did well in the end to make the cut, so it will be interesting to see how we get on.


[32] FEBRUARY 2018 | NEWS

THE BIGGER PICTURE

PHOENIX RISING

The biggest party on Tour keeps getting bigger. This year’s Phoenix Open welcomed 719,179 people through its gates at TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course, the largest number for any PGA Tour event in history and smashing last year's record of 655,434. The tournament punched on through the 200,000 barrier on Saturday alone for the third consecutive year, as a record 216,818 spectators watched this year's third round. Year after year, the rather innocuous par-three 16th captures the imagination of the golfing public like no other, with over 16,000 fans cramming the stands and 275 corporate hospitality boxes. PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

NEWS | FEBRUARY 2018

[33]


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

Ultimate

CLUB WHERE TO PLAY

GUIDE

UFFORD PARK GC SUFFOLK

Set in the beautiful Suffolk countryside, between Ipswich and Aldeburgh, Ufford Park is one of Suffolk’s premier golf clubs and an ideal venue to hold a truly memorable society or corporate golf day all year round. The course never closes, and for some time now has operated off full greens and tees 365 days a year. Winter packages (Nov-Feb) start from £29pp. Summer packages (Mar-Oct) start from £39pp.

LEWES GC EAST SUSSEX

Listed in Fine Golf's top 200 'running' golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland, and voted sixth best course in Sussex, you are assured of gorgeous scenery and top-class golf when you play at Lewes, which offesr bespoke packages for societies. Society Packages: (April-October 2018) 18 holes £25; 36 holes £40; weekend 18-holes £30.

TEL: 01394 382836 | EMAIL: GOLF@UFFORDPARK.CO.UK WEB: WWW.UFFORDPARK.CO.UK

TEL: 01273 483474 | EMAIL: SECRETARY@LEWESGOLFCLUB.CO.UK WEB: WWW.LEWESGOLFCLUB.CO.UK

WOOLSTON MANOR GC ESSEX

SALISBURY & SOUTH WILTS GC WILTSHIRE

HOCKLEY GC HAMPSHIRE

PINNER HILL GC MIDDLESEX

THE BRADFORD GC WEST YORKSHIRE

GEORGE WASHINGTON GOLF HOTEL TYNE & WEAR

Designed by renowned course architect Neil Coles, the par-72 championship course is recognised as one of the most challenging in Essex. It measures 6,510 yards and offers a truly unforgettable experience. Only a stone's throw away from central London, with easy access from the M25 and M11, Woolston Manor prides itself on being much more than just a golf club. As host to several regional PGAl championships and Essex county amateur events, the location, quality of the course, and superb dining options, makes Woolston Manor a firm favourite for many. TEL: 020 8500 2549 | EMAIL: INFO@WOOLSTONMANOR.CO.UK WEB: WWW.WOOLSTONMANOR.CO.UK

Laid out in the rolling Wiltshire countryside, close to the medieval city of Salisbury, our two downland courses offer great golf and magnificent views for miles around. The challenging, but fair, 18-hole Cathedral Course has been in play since 1991, carefully combining holes from the Old Course (1920) and a newer nine built in 1989. The easier-going Bibury nine-hole course is from an 1894 design by J H Taylor. 9 holes Bibury Course from £10, 18 holes Cathedral Course from £25 (twilight). Please enquire for society packages. TEL: 01722 742645 | EMAIL: MAIL@SALISBURYGOLF.CO.UK WEB: WWW.SALISBURYGOLF.CO.UK

Hockley is built on free-draining chalk downland, which means it remains playable all year round. We are naturally gifted with a James Braid course founded in 1914, on a beautiful piece of land set within the South Downs National Park. It meanders gently up a valley before reaching the top with stunning views across the city of Winchester and south towards the coast. Society packages from £39pp. Visitor green fees from £29pp. Membership Packages Available. TEL: 01962 713165 | EMAIL: ADMIN@HOCKLEYGOLFCLUB.COM WEB: WWW.HOCKLEYGOLFCLUB.COM

A true championship golf course in the North East, with all the facilities for an excellent round of golf, the George Washington Golf Club is set in picturesque County Durham and is one of the most challenging courses in the region.

Widely regarded as London’s most social and friendliest golf club, Pinner Hill was formed in 1928. The course was designed in 1927 by J H Taylor and, apart from minor alterations since that time the layout of the course, is still that of the renowned golf architect. Pinner Hill society packages offer 18, 27 or 36 holes of golf, together with catering from just a bacon roll on arrival, to the complete package of lunch and/or evening meal.

Founded in 1891, and at its present site since 1899, and redesigned by W. Herbert Fowler in 1923, The Bradford has embarked on a thoughtful re-discovery of its Fowler heritage, with the trees now forming more natural groups and five holes now re-modelled. One of the very best courses in the region ,and a real challenge for golfers of all abilities, with a range of packages tailored to meet the needs of individuals and visiting golfing parties.

TEL: 020 8866 0963 | EMAIL: PHGC@PINNERHILLGC.COM WEB: WWW.PINNERHILLGC.CO.UK

TEL: 01943 875570 | EMAIL: SECRETARY@BRADFORDGOLFCLUB.CO.UK WEB: WWW.BRADFORDGOLFCLUB.CO.UK

TEL: 0191 417 8346 | EMAIL: GSD@GEORGEWASHINGTON.CO.UK WEB: WWW.GEORGEWASHINGTON.CO.UK

LONGNIDDRY GC EAST LOTHIAN

TORWOODLEE GC SCOTTISH BORDERS

BURNHAM BEECHES GC BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

Longniddry is located on the south shore of the Firth of Forth at the start to what is arguably the finest stretch of golfing coastline in the world, Scotland’s Golf Coast. This Harry S Colt design offers a traditional test of golf over its unique combination of links and woodland, many holes having spectacular views towards Edinburgh City Centre. Winter packages (Nov-Mar) from £25pp. Summer packages (Apr-Sep) from £50pp.

Torwoodlee Golf Club welcomes visitors from around the world to sample its majestic course and experience the warmest of Scottish Borders hospitality.

TEL: 01875 852141 | EMAIL: SECRETARY@LONGNIDDRYGOLFCLUB.CO.UK WEB: WWW.LONGNIDDRYGOLFCLUB.CO.UK

TEL: 01896 752260 | EMAIL: TORWOODLEEGOLFCLUB@TORWOODLEEGOLFCLUB.COM WEB: WWW.TORWOODLEEGOLFCLUB.CO.UK

Bronze Package: £36pp; Silver Package: £42pp; Gold Package: £50pp. Contact the club for further details.

Multiple package options are available from £25pp. Contact the club for further details.

Established in 1891, Burnham Beeches is a private members club that provides a challenging course in a beautiful setting on the edge of the historic Burnham Beeches. An England Golf Championship venue in 2016, and winner of the Championship Greenkeeping Team of the year. Societies and casual green fees are very welcome to enjoy the splendid facilities offered both on and off the course. Society Packages from £52pp Nov-Mar and £70 pp Apr-Oct Casual Green Fees : £65 per round Mon – Fri ( £35 County card ) TEL: 01628 661448 | EMAIL: ENQUIRIES@BBGC.CO.UK WEB: WWW.BBGC.CO.UK


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

NEWS | FEBRUARY 2018

FOXHILLS ON THE HUNT FOR FUTURE STARS

C

oaches at Foxhills Club & Resort in Surrey are convinced the booming success of the FoxStars Junior Golf Programme will unearth a new Paul Casey. The Ottershaw-based venue is playing a vital role in producing a new generation of golfing superstars with its innovative ten-week coaching programme aimed at young golfers from the ages of five to 16.

■ PAUL CASEY

Foxhills, with its two Championship courses and par-three nine-hole course, was the venue where Casey took his first steps in the sport at the

age of 11, and his career has since blossomed with three appearances in the Ryder Cup and 19 professional victories on his CV. Senior PGA professional Pedro Lemos, who oversees the FoxStars Junior Golf Progamme alongside former Sunshine Ladies Tour player Lauren Blease, believes the opportunity is there for others to follow in Casey's illustrious footsteps. Lemos, who has also played on the European Tour, said: "We aim to give the young players the quality of coaching to help them achieve their ambitions in golf, whatever they are. The FoxStars Junior

■ APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN FOR THE FOXSTARS JUNIOR PROGRAMME

Golf Programme had 25 members in Septembe,r and now we have already grown to 65. But we want to see this continue to grow and flourish.

LITTLESTONE APPOINTS NEW DIRECTOR OF GOLF

SILVERMERE UNVEILS NEW LAUNCH MONITORS

L

S

ittlestone has appointed renowned golf coach and PGA Professional James Cunliffe, as its new Director of Golf. Describing his new role as “a PGA Professional’s dream job”, James brings with him a wealth of experience in coaching and retail. Most recently he worked at the golf academy at Q Hotels Dunston Hall in Norwich, where he spent the last year developing golf operations whilst increasing the levels of coaching activity with members and guests alike. Despite enjoying his time at Dunston Hall, he felt he could not miss the opportunity of applying for the role at Littlestone. “Littlestone is unique to say the least,” said Cunliffe. “Not only is the championship links course magnificent, but the club – which is celebrating 130 years this year – has embraced changed without losing its identity. The membership and visitor numbers have increased substantially over the past

three years, and yet still the majority of golf played is two-ball. It is without doubt a traditional members’ club but the welcome the members give their visitors is fantastic. "I thought that joining the team in January, the club would be fairly quiet, but my feet haven’t touched the ground since I joined, as golfers from all over Kent and further afield flock to Littlestone as its so dry for this time of year.” One of Cunliffe’s first major tasks is to oversee the construction of a brand new professional’s shop, which is set to open in early summer.

ilvermere Golf & Leisure Complex in Surrey, one of the country’s most popular golfing facilities, has strengthened its custom-fitting operation following the installation of four new launch monitors at its driving range. The Cobham-based venue has invested in a quartet of Foresight Sports’ new GCQuad systems, which offers the very latest technology for club fitting and swing analysis. Having previously used the company’s FGC2+HMT launch monitors for the past four years, Silvermere has recently switched to the ground-breaking GCQuad and has seen an immediate return on its investment in its advanced fitting and coaching studios. “Upgrading to the GCQuad has been another significant change and improvement for us in continuing to invest in the best equipment

for the custom-fitting service we offer,” said Silvermere’s managing director Terry Sims. “We’ve been able to continue to increase the numbers of custom fit sessions completed on average 80-100 a week, further enhanced with the efficiency and accuracy of GCQuad.” “Our team of eight custom fitters continues to offer customers a comprehensive and improved fitting service that illustrates the facts about their swing and why they should be fitted with the clubs we recommend. Silvermere is also home to regional and advanced fitting centres of many of the leading equipment manufacturers, so, with this investment, we will continue to offer one of the best coaching and custom fit experiences available in the UK allyear round,” he added. Along with the four dedicated custom fit studios, Silvermere is home to a two-tier, 52-bay ■ ONE OF FOUR BAYS FITTED OUT WITH THE NEW GCQUAD SYSTEM range, includes specialised wedge bays for short game practice; a new all-weather putting green; and an 18-hole, par-71 parkland course. Custom fit prices start at £20 for a putting consultation; £30 for a wedge custom fit; £40 for a wood fitting; £60 for an iron fitting; and £100 for a full bag custom fit.

WEBUYANYGOLFCLUB WE ARE THE COUNTRIES LEADING BUYER OF USED GOLF CLUBS We will consider the clubs the other guys will not ➽ South East, we can come to

you and pay cash ➽ Anywhere else, you can send us your clubs get paid by PayPal ➽ Bring your clubs to RG42 3DH for cash ➽ We can clear pro shop old stock & oddments

We want to see more junior golfers learning the skills and developing their passion for the game. For some of them, we hope that could mean a

➽ We can hold regular bring

and sell days at your club giving members cash to spend in your shop ➽ Available every Monday,

throughout the year. Please call in advance to make an appointment

GOLF UNIT, NESTINGS, JIGS LANE, N. BRACKNELL. RG42 3DH We are the opposite side of the roundabout at TESCO, Warfield Email: graham@webuyanygolfclub.com Tel: 07880 706308

Strike it Rite! ®

[35]

career as a future professional. "Of course, the first objective is to make the session fun and engaging for everyone because if it isn't, they won't come back. But there is a progression to make sure players develop at a rate which is comfortable for them." The course starts at £120 per person, and sessions are held on both Saturdays and Sundays, with each player given a free assessment before starting the course to ensure they receive the correct level of tuition. For more information, visit www.foxhills.co.uk or call 01932 704468.

WALKER’S DOUBLE ACE PROVES EXPENSIVE

E

psom Golf Club’s PGA Professional Stuart Walker was left heavily out of pocket last month after he bagged two hole-inones within the space of a week at the Surrey club. The second of the aces was particularly costly, as it was achieved during a golf day held by The Golf Barmy, a large society that has a reputation for building up a bit of a thirst after a game of golf. Despite his holein-one, Walker still lost his match 2&1.

PING DEMO CENTRE

G400 & i200

STEELHEAD

in stock & demo’s BUBBA PINK DRIVER at only £419!

ROGUE IN STOCK & DEMO`S

SRIXON ad333 2016/17 4 doz only £55

2017 CHROME SOFT 2 DOZ £52.00 WHITE, YELLOW & TRUVIS G30 on special offer!!!

COMPONENT CLUB MAKING AT REALISTIC PRICES Mens, ladies and juniors left and right handed made to measure or ex stock

RE-GRIPPING WHILE-U-WAIT! PING, CALLAWAY, WINN, GOLFPRIDE, LAMKIN, AVON, TOUR MATCH – STOCKED – FROM £3.00 NEW SHAFTS FITTED IN 24 HOURS! FROM £12 Honest and unbiased expert advice call now on:

01689 890077

C.T. Golf, 1 Stanley Way, St. Mary’s Cray, Orpington, Kent BR5 2HE website: www.ctgolf.co.uk email: enquiries@ctgolf.co.uk


[36] FEBRUARY 2018 | FEATURE

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

STORY BEHIND THE PIC BERNHARD DARWIN • PRESIDENT’S PUTTER • RYE GOLF CLUB, EAST SUSSEX • JANUARY 8, 1932

LAST MONTH saw 140-odd brave souls head down to Rye Golf Club on the East Sussex coast to take part in the traditional winter golfing pilgrimage that is the President’s Putter. Organised by the Oxford & Cambridge Golfing Society – which was founded in 1898 and is the oldest golf society in the world – the historic singles match play tournament is open to anyone who earned a golf blue while attending Oxford or Cambridge University. Most players are low single figures and many play off scratch – so competition is fierce and no quarter is given. First held in 1920, ‘the Putter’ has been staged over Rye’s stunning links every year since, barring eight cancellations – seven due to World War II, and one due to heavy snow in 1979. Played in the depths of winter, it is not uncommon for frost to delay proceedings, but the balmy temperature of the English Channel soon burns off the worst of it. The prize for the winner is the President’s Putter, which legendary golf writer Bernard Darwin, who won it in 1924, is pictured here clutching at the 1932 tournament. Tradition has it that the champion attaches his winning golf ball to a silver chain and dangles it from the shaft of an old wooden putter. The current putter is the third, purchased in 1983 and made by none other than four-time Open Champion Willie Park Snr, which enjoys pride of place in Rye’s clubhouse alongside the other two putters. Darwin famously described the tournament as "a little red glowing jewel set in the cold waste of winter", and called Rye’s cosy clubhouse ‘a fairy citadel’. While the main event lasts four days – with the winner required to win six matches – there are numerous

subsidiary competitions, such as the Croome Shield and the Secretary's Niblick, to give those knocked out early something to keep them occupied between all the social events, which culminate in a black tie dinner in the clubhouse on the Saturday night. Although the 1920 tournament attracted just 15 players, more recent renewals draw a field of between 120-150 competitors, with many coming back year after year to renew old rivalries and friendships. PBK Graced played in 57 consecutive renewals between 1948 and 2005, while Michael Grint has played in 40. That it takes place in the first week of January ensures few other golfing diary clashes, while most

Southern Counties

HEATHLAND GOLF TOURS

competitors, including the current university students, are still on their Christmas holidays. The President’s Putter’s most prolific winners are Roger Wethered and Sir E Holderness, who both won it five times; while golf course architect Donald Steel is among a handful of three-time champions. Former England cricket captain Ted Dexter is a dual winner, while this year’s winner was Claudio Consul, a graduate of Worcester College, who beat fellows Oxford man Ben Keogh to take the title at the fourth attempt, having previously made the final and the semi-final, losing just three of his 23 matches over the last four years. While the Presidents Putter is a time to renew old friendships, Oxford and Cambridge rivalry runs deep, and most will have earned their blue by playing in the annual University Golf Match. The match, which first began in 1878, when it was played at Wimbldeon Common, rotates around the country, with this year’s renewal being held at Royal Porthcawl, although it returns to Rye every fifth year, much like the Open Championship does to St Andrews. Oxford is currently on a run of eight straight wins following a 10-5.4-5 rout at Ganton last year, so Cambridge will be eager to gain revenge when the matches return to Rye next year, which will give current blues two opportunities to return to this most beguiling of links.

To enquire call:

01822 618181 Website:

Email:

schgt.co.uk

info@exclusivegolfbreaks.com

Five of England’s finest heathland courses have joined forces as Southern Counties Heathland Golf Tour Blackmoor, Hankley Common, Hindhead, Liphook and West Sussex Staying at top quality hotels and Inns.

Packages start from just £339 playing three rounds of golf and two nights B&B at a top venue


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

NEWS | FEBRUARY 2018

MILLFIELD RELIES ON GIRL POWER TO BOOK NATIONAL FINALS PLACE

■ MIMI RHODES, EMILY PRICE AND MORGAN THOMAS

M

illfield School will be sending an all-girl team to the Independent Schools

Golf Association National Finals, after Emily Price, Morgan Thomas and Mimi

Rhodes combined to beat an all-boys’ team from Truro School in the regional final held at Saunton Golf Club. The girls completed a whitewash of their rivals at the Devonshire links, winning 3-0 to book their place in the finals, where they will compete against 21 other schools from across the UK at St Mellion at the end of April. Millfield’s Golf programme is led by Director of Golf Karen Nicholls, aided by PGA Professional Stuart Wells. Nicholls has previously worked with the British Army Ladies squad, and both coaches have experience with the Somerset Ladies

County squad. Millfield currently has nine girls playing fulltime golf alongside their studies, with handicaps ranging from plus three to six. These include Price and Rhodes, who have both played for England in their age groups. Price has also recently been offered a golf scholarship to the University of South Carolina in America. Millfield boasts a wide range of practice facilities on site, including a nine-hole pitch and putt course, two large putting greens, and a ninebay covered driving range. Pupils can take individual lessons, group

sessions and strength and conditioning sessions while at school; they can also play at a number of local courses, including Burnham & Berrow, Enmore Park and Yeovil. Recent graduates of the programme include current professionals Ben Taylor, who has just competed at the Panama Championship, and Ben Evans, who has recently regained his European Tour card. Other past pupils include Sophie Keech, who is playing on the Access Tour after a successful amateur career, and Joanna Klatten, who plays on the LPGA Tour.

ETIQUS LAUNCHES CHARITY CHALLENGE TO RAISE FUNDS FOR GOLF FOUNDATION

T

he Golf Foundation is teaming up with British golf watch company Etiqus to raise funds to create more junior members in golf clubs. The new partnership will see the launch of the ‘The Etiqus Charity Challenge’, which will offer club players two chances of winning a voucher for an Etiqus watch worth £199 by taking part in a nearest-thepin or a hole-in-one competition on a regulation par-three hole in club competition. Proceeds will go to encouraging young people to enjoy all the benefits of the sport in golf clubs. Clubs can now incorporate the Charity Challenge into regular competition, providing they pledge to raise at least £350 for the Golf Foundation. Letters and information packs on the challenge are being sent to all golf clubs. Etiqus founder Gary Butler said: “This is a superb opportunity to add an exciting feature and charitable flavour to a club event, offering two chances to your members to win a desirable golf timepiece, while raising valuable funds for the Golf Foundation to support the next generation of golfers. The Charity Challenge is always well received by

For

club members as a brilliant bonus to their day, while the straightforward format is a proven winner with competition organisers.” Etiqus has already raised more than £23,000 for the Golf Foundation, including giving donations for every watch sold and encouraging all customers to consider supporting junior golf with donations. If you would like to support the Golf Foundation and host an ETIQUS Charity Challenge, register by March 31, by emailing fundraising@golffoundation.org, or by calling 01992 449830.

[37]

WEST ESSEX COMES UNDER FIRE OVER GEESE CONTROL

T

he perennial issue of how to safely and humanely deal with Canada geese causing disruption on golf courses has resulted in an Essex golf club facing criticism from many quarters. West Essex Golf Club has instructed pest control experts to cull a small percentage of the Canada geese population, which was damaging the greens and fairways at the Chingford-based venue. However, the decision to shoot some of the migrating birds drew strong criticism from local residents and some members of the club, who objected to marksmen being employed to shoot the geese ‘in the name of golf’. Alan Kerby, club secretary at West Essex, said the geese have visited the club for the past three years, but this season has been ‘horrendous’. He said: “Most golf courses like us do employ pest control firearms experts. They have all the licences and it is a perfectly legal practice.” Some members have expressed concern that the humane culling guidelines won’t be met. One said: “I certainly don’t want these birds killed in the name of golf. I love the sport – but it’s not that important. This is just a seasonal problem.” Government guidelines say that a ‘humane cull’ is permitted under licence, and that Canada geese can be caught alive or killed by the landowner, or anyone authorised by the occupier or local authority, in the interest of public health or public safety. Their nests can also be taken, damaged or destroyed along with the birds’ eggs.

one looking to drive somewhere different

Discover the delights of golf in France including The 2018 Ryder Cup course With Brittany Ferries Golf you can play some fine links or beautiful park-land courses, staying at comfortable hotels – and all an easy drive from our arrival ports in France. The Ryder Cup heads to Le Golf National at Versailles from 25 - 30 September 2018, so why not play the course ahead of the big match play competition? If you fancy being at the event itself, as an Approved Operator of Ryder Cup Travel Services travel partner we can arrange all aspects of your trip.

Call 0330 159 5418 email golfdesk@brittanyferries.com or visit brittanyferries.com/golf

Why choose golf with Brittany Ferries?

✓ Great value, including sailings, golf and hotel ✓ Award-wining service and top-class facilities on board ✓ Pack the clubs in the car at no extra cost ✓ Expert Golf Desk advice


[38] FEBRUARY 2018 | NEWS

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

TOURNEWS... FLYING FLEETWOOD DOUBLES UP IN ABU DHABI T

ommy Fleetwood fired a brilliant closing 65 to become only the second player to successfully defend the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. The 2017 Race to Dubai champion won the title by one shot 12 months ago – a victory which sparked a sensational

2017 campaign – and he doubled his victory margin this time, finishing two strokes clear of Ross Fisher. Fleetwood made light of the windy conditions coming down the stretch, completing his final nine holes in 30 shots, and sealing the title with a 40-

RAHM MOVES TO WORLD NO.2

S

pain’s Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole to beat Andrew Landry and clinch his second PGA Tour victory at the CareerBuilder Challenge in California. The 23-year-old holed put from ten feet on the 18th green at the third time of asking to earn his fourth win since

yard chip onto the 18th green, before holing from four feet for a closing birdie. His winning total of 22 under par was just two shots shy of the tournament’s record low score of 24 under set by Martin Kaymer in 2011, and he joins the German as the only other player to retain the title. Rory McIlroy, returning from a 100day break from the game, finished in third place alongside Matt Fitzpatrick, after shooting a closing 70 to finish four shots behind Fleetwood.

turning professional less than 20 months ago, lifting him to second in the world rankings. Rahm had earlier set the clubhouse target at 22 under par after carding a

final round 67 on the Stadium Course, reaching the turn in 34 before making three birdies in five holes on the back nine. Landry emerged as the biggest threat when he birdied the 13th, although a run of four pars left him needing to birdie the 72nd hole to join Rahm at the top of the leaderboard. He held his nerve to find the centre of the cup with his perfect putt for a three, but he could not repeat the feat four holes later, as Rahm celebrated moving above Jordan Spieth in the world rankings.

WOODS ‘PLEASED’ AFTER COMPLETING FOUR PAIN-FREE ROUNDS AT TORREY PINES

T

iger Woods’s return to competitive golf after a year out through injury resulted in a tie for the 23rd at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. The former world No.1 made the cut by just one shot, making a birdie on the final hole to squeeze into the weekend with rounds of 72 and 71, and then followed it up with rounds of 70 and 72 for a three-under-par total for the week. Woods was wayward with the driver throughout the week, finding only nine fairways over the final three rounds in windy conditions at the California course, but his short game remained in good order and his scrambling was good enough for an encouraging top-30 finish. Despite his woeful driving stats, Woods was proud of his fighting spirit throughout the week, and

declared himself happy with his overall performance as he looks to put together a positive build-up towards the Masters in April. "I'm very pleased,” he said. “After not playing for a couple of years, to come out here on the Tour and really play a solid four days, I fought hard for these scores and I'm excited to get this one under my belt." Woods underwent spinal fusion surgery last year, his fourth major operation on his back, and he was delighted with how his body held up

S

ome of the world’s top pro golfers were panicked by a false report of an incoming ballistic missile in Hawaii on January 13, with one hiding under a mattress and another fleeing to the basement of his Honolulu hotel. The alert, issued shortly after 8am, was sent mistakenly some three hours before the start of the third round of the PGA Tour’s Sony Open. “So......this can’t be good. Everyone is freaking out in the hotel,” Steve Wheatcroft tweeted. Another player, J.J. Spaun, took refuge in his hotel basement. “Barely any service. Can you send confirmed message over radio or tv,” he said in a tweet. Two minutes after that, John Peterson revealed the evasive steps he had taken. “Under mattresses in the bathtub with my wife, baby and in-laws. Please lord let this bomb threat not be real,” he tweeted, having tied for second place halfway through the tournament. Peterson and Spaun evidently took longer than Justin Thomas to receive word the warning had been sent out by mistake. “To all that just received the warning along with me this morning ... apparently it was a ‘mistake’ - hell of a mistake!! Ha, ha. Glad to know we’ll all be safe,” Thomas, the defending champion tweeted.

PAISLEY BAGS FIRST EUROPEAN TOUR TITLE

LI HOLDS OFF MCILROY TO WIN DUEL IN THE DESERT

E

C

hina’s Li Haotong defied expectations to hold off the challenge of Rory McIlroy and win his second European Tour title after a thrilling final day battle at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The 22-year-old from Hunan entered the final day a shot clear of McIlroy, but trailed by two after ten holes, as the four-time Major winner looked on track for a third victory at Emirates Golf Club and his 14th European Tour title.
 Li then birdied four of his last six holes to sign for a closing 69 to beat the

over the tournament. "Overall I thought I did pretty well this week," he added. "For some of the shots I had to hit out of the rough and out of the trees, I had to jack up the speed and had no physical issues at all. I hadn't played out of rye grass since last year, but I hit some really good ones out of there. Unfortunately I put myself in there a lot. These are some of the narrowest fairways on tour, and when I don't have my best stuff, and when it's so windy, it compounded it. It made it very difficult for me."

HAWAII MISSILE CRISIS CAUSES PANIC ON PGA TOUR

Northern Irishman by a single stroke, and record a record low total of 23 under par for this tournament, beating the 22-under-par score set by Thomas Bjørn in 2001. The win moves him alongside Ashun Wu as China's most prominent winners on the European Tour, and he becomes the first Chinese player to break into the top 50 in the workd ranking.

ngland’s Chris Paisley won his first European Tour title with an impressive three-stroke victory at the BMW SA Open. The 31 year old from Hexham carded a six-under-par 66 at Glendower Golf Club to pull away from nearest challenger Branden Grace. Paisley, playing alongside Grace, was made to work for the victory by the eight-time European Tour winner, who picked up four shots in four-hole stretch on the back nine to put the pressure back on the Englishman, who fought back with birdies at the 13th and 15th to secure the title, which came with a first prize of Paisely was also full of praise for his caddie, wife Keri, who carried his bag for the week while his usual caddie was unavailable. "I can't say enough about how good a job she did. It is her first time as a caddie, and although she doesn’t know too much about golf, she didn't put a foot wrong. I can't thank her enough."

TOUR NEWS IN BRIEF

ELS RECEIVES MASTERS INVITE

Four-time major champion Ernie Els has received an invitation to play in this year’s Masters despite his exemption running out in 2017. The 48-year-old South African received a five-year invitation to all the majors after winning the Open Championship in 2012, so he teed it up at Augusta National last year knowing that in all likelihood that it would be his last appearance at Masters. But Els announced on Christmas Eve via social media that he has received a special exemption to play at Augusta in April from the Masters’ committee. It is the first special exemption issued for the tournament since Ryo Ishikawa received one in 2013. Assuming he takes up the offer, Els will be making his 24th appearance at Augusta, where he will be seeking to continue his impressive form at the season’s first major, which includes two runner-up finishes and six top-10s.

GARCIA ON SONG IN SINGAPORE

Sergio Garcia made a winning start to the new season after securing a five-shot victory in the Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club. The Masters champion played 27 holes on the final day without dropping a shot in the weather-hit tournament, and showed his class as he pulled clear of the field to finish on 14 under par after a closing 68. "I played nicely, but it wasn't easy," said Garcia, who was using a new Callaway Rogue driver and fairway woods following his switch to the brand from TaylorMade in the off-season. "There were some very challenging holes, but I played very well, and then was just steady on the back nine to make sure I wasn't making any bogeys. It was a great week overall. You still need to hit a lot of good shots to do well here and I was able to do that. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum."

DJ CALLS THE TUNE IN HAWAII

Dustin Johnson coasted to an eight-shot victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. Johnson opened up with 69, 68 and 66 at Kapalua to begin the final day with a two-shot lead over playing partner Brian Harman, and the world No.1 matched the low round of the week, a seven-under 65, to give him a winning score of 24 under par. Johnson took control of the tournament with a flawless outward 32. He suffered his only dropped shot at the 11th, but then came within six inches of making an albatross holein-one at the 12th with a 433-yard drive. The resulting tap-in for eagle was followed by a run of three birdies from the 14th, although a 12-foot putt at the last hole, for what would have been his eighth birdie of the round, just missed.


WEB: GOLFNEWS.CO.UK/EQUIPMENT

CONTENTS TRIED & TESTED PING G400 MAX DRIVER PRO SHOP NEW GEAR FROM CALLAWAY, TAYLORMADE & CLEVELAND SHOWCASE NEW IRONS FOR LONGER DISTANCE TAYLORMADE'S NEW TWIST M3 & M4 DRIVERS

EQUIPMENT & GEAR

FEBRUARY 2018

DRESSED TO THRILL J.LINDEBERG'S NEW CREATIVE DIRECTOR ON THE BRAND'S NEW RETRO RANGE

HONMA'S BACK IN EUROPE PREMIUM JAPANESE BRAND UNVEILS NEW RANGE


[40] FEBRUARY 2018 | EQUIPMENT

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

EQUIPMENT NEWS

■ PAUL LAWRIE STAYS LOTAL TO WILSON

Other signings and re-signings include England’s Andy Sullivan inking a clothing deal with Ping to go with his existing equipment contract, while Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, who mainly plies his trade on the PGA Tour, has joined forces with fashion brand JLindberg.

GARCIA JOINS CALLAWAY AS TRANSFER MARKET HOTS UP

Wilson Staff will have one of its strongest teams on tour this season, following the re-signing of Paul Lawrie, who stays on board with the brand alongside Padraig Harrington, Marcel Siem, Anthony Wall, and new signing Joakim Lagergren from Sweden. Lawrie, who turns 50 this year, will be gaming the company’s V6 FG Tour irons and the new C300 driver and fairway woods.

IT’S BEEN A BUSY OFF-SEASON as far as equipment transfer moves go, with the fall out from Nike’s exit from the golf hardwear business and TaylorMade’s separation from Adidas continuing to make waves in terms of what the game’s leading pros will be playing and wearing on tour. The biggest move was undoubtedly reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia’s decision to leave TaylorMade and sign an equipment deal with Callaway. The 37-year-old Spaniard tested a number of different brands before settling on Callaway, and after winning last October’s ■ SERGO IS NOW A CALLAWAY PLAYER Valderrama Masters with a Mack Daddy 4 wedge and a Toulon putter in the bag, he will now carry a full complement of Callaway clubs, play the Chrome Soft ball, and wear a adidas cap with Callaway logo on the side. Garcia wasted no time in chalking up his first win with the new gear, securing victory in the Singapore Open on his seasonal debut. Meanwhile, Nike Golf has widened the net with regards to clothing contracts, and has added to its already sizeable list of staff pros with the addition of PGA Tour players Patrick Reed, Cameron Champ and Jimmy Stanger, while over in Europe it signed up Alex Noren to a head-to-toe deal, and Ryder Cup player Chris Wood to a clothing-only contract. Fellow Ryder Cupper Lee Westwood has signed a shoe-only deal, as has Korea’s Si Woo Kim.

One-time Nike staff player Francesco Molinari will be holing out with a Bettinardi putter this season after signing a contract with the Chicago-based brand whose products are distributed in Europe by JS International. The company has just launched a new range of BB putters, and Molinari will be using the BB56 mallet in his quest to improve on his runner-up finish in last year’s US PGA Championship.

There’s clearly mileage in supporting the older generation of top-class players, especially ones with four majors to their name such as Ernie Els, who has recently become a global ambassador for premium Japanese brand XXIO. The 48-yearold South African will carry the brand’s bag on tour, and use of a variety of its equipment, along with those of sister brands Srixon and Cleveland. Another new member of the Srixon/Cleveland staff team announced this month was Kent tour professional Alfie Plant, who has signed a multiyear agreement to represent the brands on tour. The 25-year-old from Bexleyheath, who won the Silver Medal at last year's Open, will be carrying ■ JONAS BLIXT WILL WEAR J.LINDEBERG a Srixon bag and playing with a variety of both brands' equipment, including a combination of Srixon’s Z 565 and Z 965 irons, Cleveland RTX-3 wedges (54, 60) and Srixon’s Z-Star XV golf ball. Plant, who only turned professioal after competing in last September's Walker Cup, will be playing a mixture of Challenge Tour and European Tour events in 2018.

■ ANDY SULLIVAN HAS RENEWED HIS CONTRACT WITH PING

■ LEE WESTWOOD HAS RESIGNED WITH PING, CONTINUING AN AFFILIATION THAT GOES BACK TO HIS TEEN YEARS

■ ALFIE PLANT (ABOVE) WILL BE REPRESNTING SRIXON ON TOUR

TRIED & TESTED:

PING G400 MAX DRIVER £389, PINGGOLF.COM HAVING USED PING’S ORIGINAL G400 DRIVER on and off over the last six months, I was very interested to find out what performance differences I’d notice with the new G400 Max, which, for want of a better description, is the G400 on steroids. For the more technically minded, the Max version boasts a larger footprint – its total volume is 460cc compared to the G400's miserly 445cc – with the geometry stretched from

front-to-back and soleto-crown, to give a much more confidence-inspiring look to the whole club. The increased frontto-back dimension has allowed Ping’s designers to place a large tungsten weight (15g compared to the 7.5g in the G400) at the very rear portion of the sole, which not only stabilises the entire head, and increases its MOI (resistance to twisting) but also lowers the centre of gravity. To put these

words into quantifiable numbers, the G400 had a heel/toe MOI of 5300, while the G400 Max’s is cranked up to a hefty 5700. That’s the highest MOI of any driver currently on the market, and is only 200 points short of the legal limit. All things being equal, that figure alone should make it one of the most forgiving drivers out there, but add in the G400 Max’s sole-to-crown MOI, and the clubhead’s overall MOI is a giddy 9900. That’s

one forgiving club. And I’m relieved, and somewhat pleased, to say that all those numbers add up to clear and measurable improvements out on the driving range and the golf course.

While the overall carry yardages for the G400 and the G400 Max were comparable, where I really noticed the difference was in the consistency of both the trajectory and the dispersion. Whereas

with the G400 my-all-tooregular bad swings result in fades and draws – OK, slices and hooks – with the G400 Max I was barely able to hit anything other than straight. So repetitive and predictable was it in its


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

EQUIPMENT | FEBRUARY 2018

ECCO UNVEILS NEW PLATFORM FOR BIOM HYBRID 3

[41]

THE GEAR EFFECT WHAT THE WINNERS WERE PLAYING ON TOUR

ECCO has long been at the forefront of hybrid golf footwear and it is again pushing the boundaries of traction and stability with the Biom Hybrid 3 golf shoe, which features a groundbreaking new Tri-Fi-Grip outsole.

PATTON KIZZIRE SONY OPEN

With three different zones, one for stability, one for durability and the other for rotation, it will assist the wearer from the back swing to the follow through. As with previous Biom models, its offer ‘freedom fit’ which gives a snug heel setting with a roomier forefoot area, as well as Biom Natural Motion technology that brings the player closer to the ground while offering an anatomical last shape with added cushioning and support. Additional features include breathable and durable Yak leather uppers, while a GoreTex 100% waterproof protection system is guaranteed for three years. They come in a choice of white, white/ black and black/blue colour schemes, and cost £190 with laces and £200 with the BOA closure system.

DRIVER: Titleist 917 D3 (10.5˚) FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 917 F2 (16.5˚) HYBRID: Titleist 913H (19˚) IRONS: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), Titleist 718 CB (5-6), Titleist 718 MB (7-9) WEDGES: Titleist Vokey SM7 (46˚, 52˚, 56˚, 60˚) PUTTER: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

DUSTIN JOHNSON

TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

ENJOY PAIN-FREE GOLF WITH PAINPOD

DRIVER: TaylorMade M4 (9.5°) FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade M4 3HL (16.5°) IRONS: TaylorMade P790 (3), TaylorMade P730 (4-PW) WEDGES: TaylorMade MG (52°, 60°), TaylorMade Hi-Toe (64°) PUTTER: TaylorMade Spider Tour Black Putter BALL: TaylorMade TP5x

GOLFERS SUFFERING from the common ailments of back pain, neck soreness, tendinitis, and joint pain in the wrists, arms, shoulders and knees, are being offered a road to recovery following the launch of a non-invasive device that promises to result in pain-free golf. The PainPod 3, which first launched in Australia, is now available in the UK, and claims to offer effective pain relief against the most common injuries suffered by golfers. By combining the latest waveform and microcurrent technology with the latest neurological understandings, PainPod 3 is not only proven for effective pain relief, but also claims to speed recovery and increase performance.

Painpod 3 has a range of 12 treatments with 20 intensity settings, including acupuncture and massage modes. It is also designed to allow simultaneous treatments. It costs £319 and comes with a three-year warranty. For more information, or to place an order, visit www.painfreegolf.co.uk.

CALLAWAY JOINS GPS WATCH MARKET

DRIVER: Callaway Rogue (10.5°) FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway Rogue (15°) UTILITY: Callaway X Forged UT (24°) IRONS: Callaway X Forged ’18 (5-PW) WEDGES: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (52°, 56°, 60°) PUTTER: Odyssey Works Versa Tank #1 BALL: Callaway Chrome Soft X

CAREER BUILDER CHALLENGE DRIVER: TaylorMade M4 (9.5°) FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade M3 (19°) IRONS: TaylorMade P790 (3), TaylorMade P750 (4-PW) WEDGES: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52°, 56°, Hi-Toe 60°) PUTTER: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red BALL: TaylorMade TP5X

The watch can be synced via Bluetooth to a free Callaway app, where golfers can view their stats and also choose their settings - such as whether they want call and text alerts on their watch. The product is water resistant, and can also measure shot distances. The battery life is between 8-12 hours, and the device uses a magnetic charger.

SERGIO GARCIA SINGAPORE OPEN

Priced at £179, it is available in black or green with a white trim.

Max I’m now hitting my second shots from this strange place known as ‘the fairway’. It’s a paradise where the grass is short and the lies are even, and I, for one, am happy with that. Ping has mitigated the added dynamic loft by offering the Max in a 9-degree model, rather than the traditional lower loft of 9.5, as well as the 10.5 – both of which can be adjusted plus or minus

SOUTH AFRICAN OPEN

JON RAHM

CALLAWAY HAS LAUNCHED A GPS AND FITNESS TRACKER WATCH called the Golfit Sports Band. The device offers distances to the front, middle and back of greens, while also tracking heart rate, measuring steps, counting calories burned and monitoring sleeping patterns.

performance that it almost became boring – only in good way. The trade-offs – there have to be compromises for all this accuracy – are that the ball launches slightly higher than the G400 and comes off the face a little slower. And, in order to make way for the tungsten weight, the dragreducing Vortec Cavity offered in the G400 has had to be removed, which, along with the bigger head, further reduces aerodynamic efficiency. For medium-paced swingers like myself, neither of these factors are big issues, and whereas I might have been reloading from the tee with the G400, or playing from the rough, with the

CHRIS PAISLEY

one degree. So providing you’re custom fitted with the right shaft – the Alta CB, Tour 65, or Alta Distanza 40 are offered as standard – there is no danger of giving up too many yards through a ballooning ball flight. While the Max won’t be for everybody – certainly not for those who prefer a lower, penetrating trajectory or like to shape the ball off the tee – it’s hugely forgiving nature will make it a popular choice for those players who live for long and straight. Quite why Ping didn’t bring it out six months ago, along with the rest of the G400 range, is a mystery, but however late it is to the party, I’m glad it has finally arrived.

DRIVER: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (9°) FAIRWAY WOODS: Callaway Rogue 3+ (13.5°), Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (18°) IRONS: Callaway Apex Pro ’16 (3-4), Callaway Apex MB ’18 (5-9) WEDGES: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (48°, 54°, 60°) PUTTER: Odyssey Toulon Design Azalea BALL: Callaway Chrome Soft X

TOMMY FLEETWOOD ABU DHABI HSBC CHAMPIONSHIP

DRIVER: TaylorMade M3 (9.5°) FAIRWAY WOODS: Nike Vapor Fly (13°, 19°) IRONS: Nike VR Forged (4), Nike VR Pro (5-9) WEDGES: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (48°, 52°, 56°, 60°) PUTTER: Odyssey #3 White Hot Pro putter BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

HAOTONG LI

DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC DRIVER: TaylorMade M2 2017 (9.5) FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway Rogue HYBRID: Callaway Epic IRONS: TaylorMade P750 (4-9) WEDGES: TaylorMade Milled Grind (48, 54, 58) PUTTER: Bettinardi Custom Studio Stock 3 Tour BALL: Titleist Pro V1


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

EQUIPMENT | FEBRUARY 2018 [43]

HONMA GOLF: PERFORMANCE WITHOUT COMPROMISE

With its emphasis on using the very best materials and ground-breaking technology, coupled with generations of clubmaking expertise, it is no wonder HONMA GOLF leads the way in the premium equipment market

A

lthough it’s not a name that UK golfers will be overly familiar with, Honma has been making some of the sport’s most coveted equipment for 60 years. Founded in 1959, the company’s headquarters is in Sakata on the west coast of Japan, where more than 400 skilled clubmakers combine superior materials with fine craftsmanship to produce some of the most highly sought after and best performing golf clubs in the world. Honma prides itself on a meticulous approach to manufacturing, with at least 100 craftsmen handling each and every golf club before it finds its way into the hands of the end user. The use of premium materials, expensive production methods, and extreme attention to detail doesn’t come cheap, but rather than working back from a price point that the market can tolerate, Honma sets out to design the best performing products that their research, technology and craftsmanship allow. Only once the product is as good as they can possibly make it, do they work out what they need to charge. This uncompromising approach may not help it sell millions of sets of golf clubs, but it explains why they are consistently the best performing.

WHAT MAKES HONMA DIFFERENT? Honma has complete control over all elements of its manufacturing and production processes, with all its club components built in Honma-owned factories. Its shafts are handrolled in its Sakata headquarters and are only used in Honma products, while its clubheads are also produced in-house and designed specifically to work in harmony with the shafts, which results in unparalleled performance. Honma's eight-layer carbon graphite shafts are so strong and stable that the shaft is able to maintain its integrity through impact better than any other lightweight shaft. In short, this means higher clubhead speed and more control, which translates into more distance and greater accuracy. Honma’s clubs are ranked by its own grading system, starting at two stars and going up to five stars. The star system allows golfers to choose their ideal grade of carbon graphite shaft, along with other premium bespoke customisation options, such as gold or platinum plating – a premium finish that no other golf company offers. All sets can be custom fitted for lie, length, loft, face angle and finish.

HONMA’S 2018 EQUIPMENT RANGE Honma currently offers three distinct club ranges – BERES, TOUR WORLD and BEZEAL, all of which feature drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons and wedges. Honma also offers the HP putter range, as well as a wide selection of golf balls and accessories. All ranges include models specifically designed for women. Honma clubs are played on tour by many leading professionals, including Hideto Tanihara, who has won 14 times on the Japan Tour and was ranked inside the world’s top 50 in 2017, while LPGA Tour player Shan-Shan Feng, who became the first Chinese player to top the women’s world ranking last year, is also a Honma staff player.

TOUR WORLD 737 There are four models to choose from in the TW737 driver range, with the main difference being the head sizes, which comes in at 445cc, 450cc, 455cc and 460cc. All boast a pearshaped profile, and feature titanium cup faces, with the grain flowing in the vertical direction to produce the maximum initial launch speed. Each clubhead hass a slightly different centre of gravity, with the smallest head size producing a low-spinning, piercing trajectory, while the larger heads boast a lower centre of gravity for higher launch and longer carry with plenty of forgiveness. There are matching fairway woods offered in 3 (15), 5 (18) and 7 (21), along with three confidence-inspiring hybrids (19, 22 and 25), while there is a comprehensive range of forged wedges – the TW737 W – which are precision milled for high levels of spin and feel, and are available in six lofts from 48-60 degrees with a variety of bounce options. There are five models in the 737 irons range, each with slight variations in loft and head shape that are designed to fit the specific needs. The 737 BM is a forged muscleback blade aimed at skilled players that are looking for high, powerful trajectories and greater distance without sacrificing control; the 737-Vn is also forged and made for players who like the shape and workability of a blade, but want a little more forgiveness; the 737-V has a small forged cavity-back head, but adds a little more forgiveness and distance than the Vn. The 737-Vs has a slightly larger head and the strongest lofts, making it slightly longer and more forgiving than the V, while the 737 P is the most forgiving of the five models, with a large, cast cavity back that features a deep pocket design which lowers the centre of gravity for easy launch and long carry distance. Each model includes Honma’s unified face progression and centre of gravity design, which allow for slight changes in sole width, face thickness, and head size based on loft, while keeping the same offset. The forged models are made using Honma’s proprietary two-stage forging process that mixes hot and cold forging. This creates more density in the face, especially in the upper extremities, which increases ball speed and forgiveness.

BERES S-06 As well as featuring high quality materials and forgiving technology, Beres clubs are renowned for their premium styling, with golfers able to upgrade to gold or platinum-plated finishes for that extra special look. The S-O6 driver is one if the lightest drivers on the market, weighing just 280g. It boasts a longer face, and a flatter sole

and crown than its predecessor to improve forgiveness. The centre of gravity has been moved back and down to improve the performance on miss-hits, while a slightly bigger face expands the effective sweet spot and provides confidence at address. It is available in 9.5 and 10.5 lofts with Honma’s Vizard shaft, which boasts progressive kick point positions, and is stiffer on the gripside to increase power to the ball. The Beres O6 irons are a forged set of cavity backs designed to offer increased forgiveness while delivering solid distance even on miss-hits. The 4-8 irons feature maraging steel faces that wrap under the sole. Three internal channels are cut into the sole flange of the insert to provide more face flex, while the 9-SW boast a flat face structure for improved control and durability.

BEZEAL 535 The BeZeal range is designed to provide ultimate distance and forgiveness for a wide range of golfers, and comprises driver, fairway woods, utility woods and irons. The BeZeal 535 driver features a channel in the sole that is wider and deeper in both heel and toe to provide greater flex and less ball speed loss compared to its predecessor, the BeZeal 525. A 7g weight in the heel aims to counteract slice tendencies, while the revised shape lowers the centre of gravity compared to the 525 for higher launch. The driver features a titanium face and body, while the stainless steel 535 fairway woods (15, 18, 21) and hybrids (19, 22, 25) include versions of the sole channel design. The BeZeal 535 irons are Honma’s most forgiving ever set of irons, with the multi-material heads packed with design features that make getting the ball airborne easier than ever. The ultra-thin faces are made of titanium that is unique to Honma, which is lighter and stronger, while creating a trampoline effect across a wider surface area for explosive distance even on slight miss-hits. Four slots placed in the sole, toe, heel and top of blade increase ball speed, while two tungsten weights either side of the sole lower the centre of gravity for easy launch. They are fitted with 48g Vizard graphite shafts or Nippon NS PRO950 steel shafts. For more on Honma Golf’s range of products, and to find details of stockists in the UK, please visit www.honmagolfeurope.com.


[44] FEBRUARY 2018 | EQUIPMENT

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

SUN MOUNTAIN H2NO2 SUPERLITE

CALLAWAY RIBBED MERINO SWEATER

£225, BRANDFUSIONLTD.CO.UK Ideal for those wet winter rounds, the waterproof H2N0 Superlite weighs just 1.9kg and keeps its contents dry with the help of YKK zips protecting four accessory pockets, including a fulllength clothing pocket. An effective rain hood ensures clubs receive 100% protection from the elements, while a dual strap system makes for a comfortable carry. It is available in four colour combinations, including black/cobalt blue and black/red/white.

£74.99, CALLAWAYAPPAREL.COM Ideal for chilly winter rounds, this stylish 100% merino wool sweater features a ¼-zip and Callaway’s chevron logo on the right sleeve and the back of the neck. It is available in S-XXL in a choice of black, grey, raspberry, granite heather, peacoat, powder blue and royal blue.

PRO SHOP

YOUR GUIDE TO THE LATEST GEAR TAYLORMADE M3 IRONS £849/£1,049 (ST/GR) Featuring a thinner topline than last year’s M1 irons, and a straighter leading edge, the cast, cavity back M3 irons distance while retaining the accuracy and workability in a compact head shape. Designed to appeal to the eye of the low-to-mid-handicap golfer with a refined, confidence-inspiring shape, the M3 delivers powerful, high-MOI performance that boasts shot-shaping ability not typically found in game-improvement irons. They maximize ball speed across the clubface through the same RibCor technology, which stiffens the iron’s body outside of the scoreline areas, while retaining flexibility in the area inside the face slots, so that more energy is transferred back to the ball. A multi-material damping badge works to reduce vibrations during impact to provide a clean, crisp sound and feel, while 15g of tungsten has been added to the sole to create a lower centre of gravity and higher MOI. The mid and long irons (3-7) incorporate several proven TaylorMade technologies, including Face Slots, Speed Pocket, and a redesigned off-centre Inverted Cone – all of which combine to deliver distance, height, forgiveness and straightness.

TAYLORMADE HI-TOE WEDGE

£139, TAYLORMADEGOLF.EU Already in the bags of Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, the Milled Grind Hi-Toe wedge features a higher, more centrally-located centre of gravity, which launches the ball lower while generating more spin and control from a variety of lies. Full-face grooves ensure consistent ball contact out of the rough, while the high-bounce leading edge and channel-cut midsole help it slip through the turf with ease. Enhanced heel and toe relief enables a wide array of shots to be played without the club digging in, while the sole cavity features three pockets that optimise weight distribution and improve feel. Made from soft carbon steel, the Hi-Toe boasts an aged copper finish and is available in 58°, 60° and 64° lofts.

CALLAWAY CHROME SOFT £38 FOR 12, CALLAWAYGOLF.EU The latest version of the Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X features a new core construction that contains graphene, the strongest and thinnest material known to man. Two hundred times stronger than steel, but flexible enough to be twisted and stretched without breaking, graphene has added strength to the outer core, transforming performance from tee to green. Nanoparticles of graphene, in the form of a thin, flat two-dimensional arrangement of carbon atoms in a HEX pattern, have been added to the outer core to act as a reinforcing agent. The soft inner core now deforms more under larger forces, so shots with a driver, fairway wood or long iron suppresses spin, translating into more speed and longer distance, while on shorter shots, the firm graphene-infused outer core helps the ball retain its shape better, generating high levels of spin – perfect for shot-stopping control in and around the green. It also features a new, softer urethane cover to ‘grip’ the outer core, generating more short-iron spin. The Chrome Soft X is designed for players with high swing speeds (105mph+) who prefer a slightly firmer feel, while the standard model will appeal to a wide spectrum swing speeds who prefer a softer feel. The X is available in white only, while the Soft is available in white or yellow.


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

EQUIPMENT | FEBRUARY 2018 [45]

PING GLIDE 2.0 STEALTH WEDGES £130/£140 PER CLUB (ST/GR), PING.COM Ping’s new Glide 2.0 Stealth wedges are made from carbon steel and feature precision-milled grooves to deliver a softer feel and higher-spinning shots. A wheel-cut milling process creates grooves with a sharper edge radius, which increases interaction with the cover of the ball, creating more friction for improved spin and trajectory control. The grooves in the lower-lofted wedges (46°, 50° and 52°) are milled with a 20° sidewall and a .005" edge radius for optimal full-shot performance. The higher-lofted versions (54°, 56°, 58° and 60°) are milled to a .004" edge radius and a 28° sidewall to impart more spin, especially around the greens. A half groove near the leading edge on the 56⁰, 58⁰ and 60⁰ improves spin on those shots hit low on the face. It is offered in four sole grinds (SS, WS, ES and TS) to match a golfer’s divot depth or attack angle, and most common turf conditions. The Stealth finish reduces glare and makes the head appear smaller at address.

CLEVELAND TFI 2135 SATIN PUTTERS £119-£149, CLEVELANDGOLF.CO.UK Available in six different models, Cleveland’s TFi 2135 Satin putters offer a host of new technologies that aid speed control and alignment. Among the new design features is the variable-depth milled face, which boasts different groove thicknesses that adjusts ball speed so that every putt rolls the same distance regardless of where it is struck on the face. The heel and toe area has fewer grooves than the centre, so offcentre hits will come off faster to compensate for speed lost due to there being less weight behind the ball at impact. The heads also boast a polymer insert behind the face that dampens vibrations and enhances soft feel, while colourcontrasting sightlines are raised 21.35mm off the ground – the exact radius of a golf ball – to encourage accurate alignment. The range, which comes with a choice of a mid-sized pistol grip or a 63g oversized flat front grip, comprises the Blade 1.0 (£119); Blade 8.0 Counter Balanced (£139); Mallet - Rho, Cero, Elevado (£139); and Mallet Elevado Counter Balanced (£149).

CALLAWAY ROGUE DRIVERS £469, CALLAWAYGOLF.EU Callaway has borrowed some of the features from its best-selling Epic range of drivers – notably Jailbreak Technology – and added a number of new design elements to create the new Rogue range. The Epic produces high ball speeds courtesy of two vertical titanium bars that connect the crown to the sole to increase the stiffness of the face and enhance the rebound effect at impact. The new Rogue drivers - which are available in Standard, Sub Zero and Draw options – feature a redesigned version of these bars which sees the previously uniformly thick bars turned into a hour-glass shape, with the central part of the bar thinned out to reduce weight by 25% without affecting their ability to minimize crown and sole deflection at impact. This allows for a thinner face and better energy transfer to the ball, to promote faster ball speed. Distance is further enhanced by a new X-Face VFT design, which thickens and thins areas of the face to promote higher ball speeds on slight miss-hits. The Standard model boasts a 460cc head, which offers a significantly differently shaped footprint than the Epic, with the head stretched from front to back and from heel to toe to offer a more forgiving look at address. A lightweight carbon crown is slightly flatter than in the Epic, which keeps the head volume at 460cc, and allows more weight to be distributed into the head’s perimeter to increase stability. MOI is 7% higher than the Epic and 16% more than the XR16. Unlike Epic, the Rogue drivers do not have a sliding weight rail to adjust ball flight, but instead offer a different weighting feature, both in the shape of weight pads and internal design elements to effect trajectories. The Sub Zero’s head shape positions the centre of gravity low and deep with a more neutral bias, which promotes higher launch and low spin. Two interchangeable weights (2g and 14g) in the front and back of the sole allow spin rates to be adjusted by 200rpm up or down. The Draw model features all the same technologies found in the Standard, with the addition of a 5g screw in the sole near the heel and substantial internal weighting at the heel. This pulls the centre of gravity location towards the heel, which minimises slice-spin when the face is open at impact. All three models boast an OptiFit hosel for loft adjustments.

VOLVIK VIVID LITE £39.95, VOLVIK.COM Colourful golf ball brand Volvik has expanded its Vivid range with the introduction of the Lite and Soft balls. The Lite (orange, yellow, pink and blue) is a three-piece, 85-compression ball and is aimed at golfers with a 50-80mph swing speed. It encourages a mid-high trajectory and offers straighter ball flight and tighter dispersion off the tee. The Vivid Soft (pink, green and white) is an ultra-soft model (70 compression) designed for 75-95mph swing speed players looking for more shot control around the greens. It boasts a urethane cover and a soft feel coating.

GALVIN GREEN BRUCE JACKET £260, GALVINGREEN.COM The Bruce jacket is made from a Gore Windstopper fabric that is totally windproof and highly breathable. The upper body and sleeves feature a light and soft polyamide fabric with PrimaLoft padding and Gore Windstopper lining to keep out the windchill. The lower front and back is made in lightweight three-layer fabric to sustain core body temperature. Available in black (S-3XL).


[46] FEBRUARY 2018 | EQUIPMENT

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

GO THE DISTANCE IRONS THAT DELIVER YARDAGE AND FORGIVENESS IN EQUAL MEASURE PING G400 £110/£120 per iron, ping.com

CALLAWAY ROGUE £849/£1049, callawaygolf.com

The G400 offers tour-level distance combined with forgiveness and control. COR-Eye technology combines with a new top rail undercut to increase face flexing in a catapult-like fashion for faster ball speeds that launch shots higher and farther with low spin for a strong flight. Hyper stainless steel makes the face 40% stronger than traditional steel and allows for a thinner face and 18% more flexibility. A composite badge over the COR-Eye dampens vibrations to refine the sound at impact, while a tuning port is concealed in the trailing edge of the cavity from where it modifies the swing weight. A silver Hydropearl Chrome finish reduces turf friction by 40% and repels water to improve spin in wet conditions.

The Rogue irons are designed for distance and feature a multi-material construction to deliver the best combination of power, accuracy and playability. The large, confidence-inspiring head features a medium topline, medium sole-width and progressive offset. They boast a variable thickness cup face, which comprises a shallow, flexible rim around the perimeter that flexes over a wider area at impact to increase ball speed on all shots, including off-centre hits. Tungsten weights are strategically positioned in each of the long irons to promote optimum launch and control, while new elastic-urethane material in the cavity dampens vibration to improve sound and feel without compromising COR or ball speed.

HONMA BEZEAL 535 £1,119/£1,095 (gr/st, 5-SW)

TITLEIST 718 AP1 £699/£749, titleist.co.uk

Premium Japanese brand Honma’s new BeZEAL 535 irons are its most forgiving set yet, with the multi-material heads packed with design features that make getting the ball airborne easier than ever. The ultra-thin faces are made of titanium that it unique to Honma, which is lighter and stronger, while creating a trampoline effect across a wider surface area for explosive distance even on slight miss-hits. Four slots placed in the sole, toe, heel and top of blade increase ball speed, while two tungsten weights either side of the sole lower the centre of gravity for easy launch. Each iron comes with either a 48g Vizard graphite shaft, which boast progressive kickpoint positions to increase power to the ball, or Nippon NS PRO950 steel shafts.

The latest model of the ‘Advanced Performance’ iron takes the range in a new direction, with the 4- and 5-irons now featuring a hollow construction rather than a large cavity back. The appearance of 52g of high-density tungsten in the toe (up from 42g in the previous model) makes them the company’s most forgiving set of irons yet. The tungsten weights works with the rest of the head design to create a large unsupported face with weight placed around the edges to maximise forgiveness. The cast stainless steel hollow body has a high strength steel face insert welded on to it and the leading edge has been ground off in order to help it move through the turf more easily.

CLEVELAND LAUNCHER CBX IRONS £570/£648 (4-PW)

WILSON STAFF C300 £515/£599 (5-PW, st/gr), wilsonstaff.com

The CBX irons are a progressive cavity back set whose long irons feature a low-profile shape to help keep the centre of gravity low for higher launches, while the narrow profile also gets extra power from a cupface design (4-7 iron), which provides better face flexing for more ball speed and higher spring-like effect. The set gets progressively more compact from long to short irons to add playability. They feature the same ‘Tour Zip’ grooves found in the brand’s wedges, which also boast laser-milled lines between each groove to maximise spin. A V-shaped sole, which features more bounce towards the leading edge and less in the trailing edge, provides smoother interaction with the turf.

The eye-catching feature in the latest irons in Wilson’s C range is undoubtedly the two rows of ‘power holes’ located around the perimeter of the clubface. Their aim is to minimise contact between the main body of the clubhead and the face, which results in more flex at impact for greater distance. Three holes feature on the topline, while two appear on the sole, which Wilson says increases distance by seven yards. FLX Face Power Hole technology also results in less distance lost on those rare times that you don’t find the centre of the clubface. As with the previous C200 model, 76% of the iron’s face is free from the body of the club, and is filled with a soft urethane material for better feel.

TAYLORMADE MCGB £849/£1,099, taylormadegolf.eu

LYNX BOOM BOOM OFFSET £499/£549, lynxgolf.co.uk

The re-invention of the Centre of Gravity Back iron has been given all of TaylorMade’s iron technology in a bid to create the ultimate power tool for the golfer who values distance above all other factors. With a sub-2mm thick face, the cast stainless steel heads feature four tungsten weights in the toe, which creates a highly stable clubhead, while a speed slot in the sole, and face slots either side of the grooves, provide forgiveness where it is needed most and increase ball speeds on heel and toe miss-hits. Inverted Cone Technology moves progressively nearer to the toe as the set progresses from short to long irons, while ultra-low centre of gravity placement produces a combination of high trajectory and spin rates to produce maximum carry and distance.

The Boom Boom Offset irons benefit from Lynx’s twin slot technology and variable face thickness. The one-piece steel cast heads feature two cavities - the first, a muscle-back cutout design which distributes weight effectively around the clubhead for forgiveness; the second, a narrower deep ‘power channel’ immediately behind the face which propels the ball off a high speeds. High handicappers will appreciate the Offset model, which feature a confidence-inspiring topline, wide soles that help get the ball airborne, and progressive offset which helps to square the face at impact, leading to straighter shots. The heads are finished in a black PVC coating, and come with True Temper steel or Aldila RIP graphite shafts.


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

EQUIPMENT | FEBRUARY 2018

[47]

PUTTING A NEW

TWIST ON STRAIGHT HITTING

TaylorMade’s new M3 and M4 drivers feature a new technology – Twist Face – that reduces the effects of hooks and slices to help you find more fairways

A

ll golfers, whether they’re tour pros or 24 handicappers, sometimes miss the centre of the clubface, even with the biggest club in the bag in their hands. The most common ‘misses’ with a driver, regardless of skill level, are either shots hit low on the heel or high on the toe. Low-heel impacts tend to create a fade/ slice, while high-toe strikes lead to a draw/hook, the degree of which depends on the extent of the miss, swing path and face angle. Regardless, both misses will lead to fewer fairways being found and scores going up. To counteract the worse affects of these misses on trajectory and dispersion, TaylorMade has reshaped the face of its two latest drivers, the M3 and the M4, so that the low-heel area is twisted inwards to deloft and close the face, while the high toe area has been opened to increase loft and open the face. Welcome to Twist Face Technology – the key to hitting straighter, longer drives. To understand the technology, you first must understand that the face geometry – or what’s commonly referred to as ‘bulge and roll’ – of the traditional driver design is slightly curved – bulge is the curvature on the horizontal axis and roll is curvature on the vertical axis. The key for promoting straighter shots is bulge, which uses gear effect to correct shots struck away from the centre of the clubface. Tee shots that connect on the toe will then start further right to compensate for the higher degree of hook spin on a toe shot, while shots struck on the heel will start further left to compensate for slice spin. Roll also matters in that it helps correct loft imparted on the shot. The basic design that engineers and manufacturers use for driver clubface geometry hasn’t changed as long anyone can remember, more or less because it appeared not to need changing. When manufacturers tested the geometry on ballhitting robots, it worked nicely. But then TaylorMade engineers studied their own driver data, which consisted of more than 500,000 shots by real golfers, they found that the existing design didn’t actually direct miss-hits toward the centre of the fairway. That’s because a robot delivers the club to the ball squarely every time, regardless of where on the face the ball is struck, while real golfers naturally manipulate the face angle of the club at impact on miss-hits: closed on toe hits and open on heel hits. This causes the ball to move further left on toe shots and further right on heel shots, often causing the ball to completely miss the fairway. Hence the need for Twist Face. The twist isn’t noticeable to the naked eye, but blown-up images of the clubface reveal its pronounced curve.

TAYLORMADE M3 DRIVER

■ THE NEW M3 AND M4 DRIVERS OFFER TWO DISTINCT CHOICES FOR GOLFERS LOOKING FOR SPECIFIC SHOT TRAJECTORIES AND SPIN RATES

In addition to Twist Face technology, the M3 driver, which is available with 440cc and 460cc heads, features a new Y-Track weight adjustability system that offers more precise centre of gravity adjustability, with more than 1,000 possible configurations. Unlike the T-track on the M1 driver, the heel-to-toe track and front-to-back track are connected, allowing all 22g (two 11g weights) to be used for both the benefit of heel to toe control, as well as front-to-back adjustment. It also boasts a 12-position, 4-degree aluminum loft sleeve for further flight control. A new slot, called the Hammerhead, is housed in the sole and works in combination with Twist Face and Inverted Cone technologies, a central speed pocket the face to deliver maximum ball speed across a larger area of the face. By dividing the Speed Pocket into zones, its overall length has been increased from 82mm to 100mm — a 22% increase. Additionally, it allowed for the creation of a larger flexible centre zone, designed to increase ball speed on low face impacts and drop unwanted backspin. By using the new ribs, engineers were able to decrease the thickness and weight of the face, allowing for a more flexible face designed to deliver higher ball speeds across a larger area of the face. The M3 also sports a new look, dispensing with the traditional white front section of

lighter, more flexible face, which results in a larger sweet spot. The centre portion of the slot increases ball speed low on the face and drops unwanted spin for straighter distance. To increase stability, the rear weight pad has been increased from 22g to 41g, while ball speed has been enhanced thanks to a redesigned face that is both thinner and lighter. The maximum thickness has been reduced from 4.47mm to 3.6mm and the heel/toe perimeter thickness has been trimmed from 2mm to 1.92mm. In addition, the mass of the face has been reduced from 45.5g in the ’17 M2 to 37.6g. LOFTS: RH: 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° & 12°; LH: 9.5° and 10.5°. RRP: £369 the crown and introducing a new matte silver finish, while a raised, aerodynamic five-layer carbon composite crown – which is the thinnest, strongest and lightest in the industry – serves to further enhance performance. The 440cc model features a slightly smaller head and deeper face than the 460cc. Both come with MCA’s Tensei CK Red (high launch), Blue (mid launch) or White (low launch) shafts in R, S and X flexes – other premium shaft options are available at no extra costs – along with a Lamkin UTx cord grip. LOFTS: 460cc: RH 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° and 12°; LH: 9.5° and 10.5°. 440cc: (RH only) 9° and 10°. RRP: £479

TAYLORMADE M4 D-TYPE DRIVER The D-Type is a higher-launching, more draw-biased driver which has the weight positioned more towards the heel in order to close the face at impact and create up to 20 yards more draw bias than the standard model. In addition to the multi-material construction, Twist Face technology and Hammerhead Speed Pocket, the D-Type has slight offset, and uses visual cues to promote a square face at address. LOFTS: RH: 9.5°, 10.5° & 12°; LH: 9.5° and 10.5°. RRP: £369

TAYLORMADE M4 DRIVER The M4 driver is offered in 460cc head only, and dispenses with the Y-track adjustability system, but features a 41g rear tungsten weight (up from the 22g in the M1), plus all of the other performance-enhancing technologies found in the M3. It differentiates itself from the M3 by focusing more on forgiveness with straight distance. It features both Twist Face and Hammerhead technologies, and also incorporates Geocoustic engineering – which combines geometry and acoustical engineering to unlock more forgiveness and improve the sound at impact. Similar to the M3, the M4’s Hammerhead slot features reinforced outer portions for a

■ DUSTIN JOHNSON IS AN M4 MAN

Both the M3 and M4 drivers are on sale now. For more details, visit www.taylormadegolf.eu. To check out the reaction to the new drivers from some of TaylorMade’s top tour players, including Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm and Jason Day, visit www.youtube.com/ watch?v=Q5cZgguIa8U.


[48] FEBRUARY 2018 | EQUIPMENT

JLINDEBERG: LOOKING SHARP FOR THE SUMMER

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

EQUIPMENT NEWS

Golf News talks to at J.LINDEBERG CREATIVE DIRECTOR JENS WERNER about the Swedish golf fashion brand’s return to its classic roots for its latest collection What are the main trends in terms of materials, designs and colour palettes for the 2018 JL collection? This season we’ve focused on bringing back some of the brand’s heritage, looking at archives and re-interpreting some iconic pieces. Our heritage is to be a bit daring and progressive, so we wanted to bring that energy back in updated classic pieces, and some new ones. There are new designs of iconic logo belts, caps and wristbands coming; we took some of the archive polo shirts back in range; and updated designs in our tops and bottoms, with attention to detail. Piping and contrast colour panels are the main design details for this season. The spring palette plays with 70s’ inspired faded shades of blue, red, and as a highlight colour, a pale yellow, on tops and bottoms. The collection features a hand-drawn, windowpane print in black and white on various men’s and women’s bottoms, knit sweaters and more. Our new materials include a very breathable, high-vent mesh fabric, which is stretchy and durable for some of our classic mens’ bottoms; and a seamless fabric concept that includes a fully engineered tech polo shirt, that is cooling, moisture wicking and super breathable, with various functional mesh textures, while also featuring a bold JL logo. What are your favourite pieces in the spring/summer golf catalogue? I really like the yellow Ellott Micro Stretch Tight pants, and hope to see them on a lot of players this summer. Another of my favourites is the seamless Ash polo shirt, which comes in black and racing red. It’s a sharp, modern, technical take on the classic polo. Also the Cliff polo, with officer-inspired shoulder epaulettes – it’s a JL archive piece and fitted perfectly into the collection. You’ve just signed Jonas Blixt as staff player for the new season. What do you look for when signing up new players? Jonas joined JL just a few weeks ago, and he is a great match for us; he has the right attitude, mindset and ambitions. He’s Swedish, he’s on the PGA Tour, and is serious about the game. But at JL we are also looking for personalities that we can relate to, that fit the lifestyle. JL is about a modern, entrepreneurial, international outlook; it’s about creativity and passion; it’s someone active and engaged; travelling, working, working out, playing, so in that respect Jonas is a great fit. For details of the 2018 Spring/Summer collection from J.Lindeberg, visit www.JLindberg.com.

KBS LAUNCHES GRAPHITE IRON SHAFT

SRIXON ROLLS OUT LOWER COMPRESSION AD333 TOUR THE THIRD GENERATION of the AD333 Tour is a low compression ball that is designed to help slower swinging golfers with distance, while maintaining spin and feel. Its key features include a newly formulated core, which is easier to compress with lower driver spin for impressive distance and accuracy on full shots. “The AD333 Tour was designed primarily for good players with moderate swing speeds,” said Michael

Ross, Srixon’s senior product manager. “The problem we identified is that these golfers aren’t optimising their performance by playing a highcompression tour ball because they aren’t able to compress it, so they end up sacrificing distance off the tee and with their irons. That’s why we developed the lower-compression Srixon AD333 Tour.” The new Srixon AD333 Tour has an RRP of £29.99 for 12.

LEADING SHAFT BRAND KBS has launched a new iron, the Tour Graphite, which offers the same bend profile as the pioneering KBS Tour steel shaft and performs like a steel equivalent. It features optimised weight and flex choices to provide maximum playability and performance, producing a mid-high launch angle with low spin for ultimate control. It is available in regular, regular plus, stiff, stiff plus and x-flex in a .370 parallel tip in 50g-80g weights, with a mixed matte/gloss finish and a .355 Taper tip, in 90g-110g weights in a matte finish. Custom fitting is available at selected dealers for an RRP starting at £28 per shaft.

HIT THE RANGE WITH SNUGFITTING SNUGS IT’S A COMMON SIGHT on driving ranges and practice putting greens around the world to see tour pros wearing a pair of headphones. Whether they’re listening to motivational speeches from their sports psychologist or just trying to blank out the outside world with the latest garage beats, the modern golf pro is never too far from their ‘phones. While the Dr Dre-style over-the-ear cans offer great sound quality, they are too bulky and cumbersome to wear while working on your short game, while a pair of the standard-issue earphones that come with a smartphone don’t have the quality or the stayingin power that is required when you’re swinging at 110mph. Which is why custom-fitted earphones, such as those offered by Snugs, are proving popular among golfers. Custom moulded to perfectly fit the contours of your inner and outer ear, Snug headphones are guaranteed to seal in the sounds, so that you don’t disturb your fellow range users, and that they never fall out mid-swing. The fittings are carried out by a qualified audiologist, who uses a digital scanner to measure the contour of your ears. That scan is then sent off to Snugs, which makes the final custom-fitted headphones using a 3D printer. The whole process, from having the scan to receiving the finished product, takes around 10 days. Available in a range of 15 colours, wires or wireless Snugs cost £199.95, while Snug True Wireless costs £299.95. Your existing preferred earbud headphones can also be remodelled for £199.95. For more details, visit www.snugs.com.

CLUBS TO HIRE EXPANDS DOWN UNDER TOUR PROS WHO LOSE THEIR EQUIPMENT in transit, or long-haul amateurs heading Down Under for a bit a winter golf, can now take advantage of three new golf equipment rental outlets that have recently been opened in Australia by Clubs to Hire. The company currently handles over 80,000 requests for rental clubs in popular golfing regions in the United States, Thailand, South Africa and five countries across the Mediterranean, and the opening of the new outlets in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne will allow travelling golfers to book highend sets at 26 International locations across the world. Sets of premium brand clubs can be rented from between €35 and €70

per week, and golfers can go online to pre-select sets and pick their putter of choice on arrival, which are then either collected from shops in airport terminal buildings, or delivered direct to hotels or golf courses for even greater convenience. “We are delighted to add three locations in Australia to our network,” said Clubs to Hire’s chief executive Tony Judge. “With over 150,000 international golfers going to Australia annually, and over half of them travelling from Europe, we believe that there will be a strong uptake in our service. “Our research has told us that

taking clubs on long haul flights is extremely inconvenient and expensive. Clients often forget about the internal flights they encounter and the club costs just keeps adding up. Our long haul destinations are proving extremely popular and demand into all locations is growing.”


YOUR GUIDE TO GOLFING TRIPS AT HOME AND ABROAD

ARIZONA ROCKS

TRAVEL AND BREAKS

FEBRUARY 2018 WEB: GOLFNEWS.CO.UK/TRAVEL

GOLFNEWS SAMPLES THE GRAND CANYON STATE'S FINEST DESERT COURSES

ALSO IN THIS MONTH'S TRAVEL: ME & MY TRAVELS WITH ALICE COOPER SARAH STIRK'S HOT ON HAWAII THE NEW TOP 100 IN EUROPE SEVEN REASONS TO PLAY WEST CLIFFS COSTA BRAVA UNCOVERED ALL THE LATEST TRAVEL AND GOLF BREAK DEALS


[50] FEBRUARY 2018 | TRAVEL

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

STAY AT THE MARINE TO SAMPLE THE BEST OF EAST LOTHIAN Victorian building that has been sympathetically renovated to provide a luxurious home from home, with 83 bedrooms and suites to choose from, many of which offer sea views. All of the rooms are classically furnished, each one boasting original Victorian features such as high ceilings and large windows. Each is bursting with traditional comforts, including large, comfortable beds and luxurious en-suite bathrooms. There are a variety of stay-and-play packages to choose from, starting at £435pp for two nights’ bed and breakfast and rounds of golf at North Berwick, Muirfield and Gullane No.1; while an extra night, and further rounds of golf at Gullane No.2 and The Glen, but not including Muirfield, costs from £440pp, based on two people

sharing a double or twin room. All prices apply to bookings made for travel before March 31. The price also includes complimentary use of the hotel’s spa and swimming pool. For reservations call 0344 879 9130, or visit www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk.

BREAK FOR THE BOUNDARY WITH GOLF ESCAPES S

ussex-based golf travel company Golf Escapes launched into the domestic golf market just two years ago, but since that time has grown to offer a wide range of great value golf breaks across the UK and Ireland. The company has quickly built up relationships with a host of top quality resorts,

hotels and golf clubs throughout the country, and is able to offer a extremely competitive rates for range of bespoke breaks to golfers, whether they be travelling as a two-ball, or as part of a much larger group or society. And groups of at least 12 ensure that one player goes free. Among its standout offers

for a winter golf break include a one-night break to The Oxfordshire Golf Hotel & Spa, where £149pp will secure two rounds of golf on the former European Tour host course, and a midweek overnight stay in the on-site hotel for bookings taken before March 31. Sunday

night stays cost just £139. There are savings to be had on breaks to the recentlyopened Boundary Lakes Course in Hampshire, where £125pp will secure you an overnight stay in the Hilton at The Ageas Bowl and two rounds of golf for breaks taken

between October 1-31. The 171-bedroom hotel houses Boundary Lakes’ state-of-theart clubhouse and American Golf pro shop, as well as a luxury eforea spa, Sir Ian Botham-inspired restaurant, Beef’s, and the Lakeview Sports Bar, which overlooks

the 18th hole. The Marriott hotel group has built up an enviable portfolio of properties throughout the UK, and golfers can take their choice from Hanbury Manor, Tudor Park and Lingfield, Meon Valley and the Forest of Arden, to name but a few. A one-night stay with two rounds of golf at Hanbury Manor, venue for the European Senior Tour’s Willow Classic, costs just £139pp for Sunday night stays, while two nights and two rounds at Forest of Arden, which boasts two 18-hole championship courses costs from £109pp. For the latest UK & Ireland golf break deals, and for golf holidays throughout Europe, North America, South Africa and the Far East, visit www. golf-escapes.com or call 01342 811777.

2018 01 Golf News - Golf Breaks QP.qxp_166mm h x 145mm w 08/02/2018 10:39 Page 1

Wish you were here

Ufford Park Woodbridge

1 night Golf & Spa Breaks from only £98* per person includes complimentary use of the swimming pool and gym.

Looking for the perfect all year round venue for your golf break? Set in the heart of Suffolk and located just off the A12, our 18 hole, par 71 course is ideal for the beginner or the experienced player. Book your tee time online, visit the on-site AmericanGolf superstore and practice your swing on our 2 tier floodlit driving range, all before you even set foot on the lovingly cared for, award-winning, top winter course. *Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability.

t 0844 847 9408 (local rate) w www.uffordpark.co.uk Yarmouth Road| Woodbridge | Suffolk | IP12 1QW

CELEBRATING

YEARS 17

T

he Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa in North Berwick is ideally placed to provide a luxurious base for anyone looking to play the stunning variety of links courses to be found on Scotland’s East Lothian golf coast. With North Berwick Golf Club located on the doorstep, golfers don’t have travel too far to take in rounds at Muirfield, arguably the Open’s finest course, while Gullane’s three layouts, or the equally renowned tracks at Craigelaw and Kilspindie, are also all within half-a-dozen miles. The historic Macdonald Marine Hotel occupies an iconic

1992-2

0


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

TRAVEL | FEBRUARY 2018

■ BOVEY CASTLE

DISCOVER DARTMOOR’S GOLFING DELIGHTS A s well as being home to one of the UK’s most scenic National Parks, Dartmoor is also the venue for a handful of stunning moorland golf courses, each of which enjoys its own unique and stunning setting. Exclusive Golf Breaks has put together a great value short break packages that give golfers the chance to choose from the delightful layouts to be found at Yelverton, Tavistock and Bovey Castle. The magnificent Bovey Castle, located in Moretonhampstead, is fast gaining a reputation as a challenging tournament venue, having hosted several EuroPro Tour events in recent years. Designed to rival its sister courses at Gleneagles and Turnberry,

[51]

the JF Abercombie-designed course at Bovey meanders through the undulating estate, with winding streams and large Dartmoor rocks adding to the challenge at every turn. Tavistock and nearby Yelverton are both classic moorland tracks, with golfers required to share the generous fairways with herds of grazing sheep and native Dartmoor ponies, while enjoying fine views over the stunning Devon landscape. Yelverton staged the Men’s Senior Amateur Championships in 2006, and presents a serious test of golf, although it remains playable for all skill levels providing you don’t mind chipping out from the gorse bushes and bracken from time to time. The fastdraining Dartmoor soil not only provides tight, links-style lies, and quick putting surfaces, but it also ensures year-round play. There is a choice of accommodation options, including the comfortable Bedford Hotel in the historic market town of Tavistock, which has earned a reputation as a foodie’s paradise, following the launch of its Food & Drink Festival, weekly markets, and its superb range of restaurants and gastro pubs. The Apple Tree Bed & Breakfast, a Grade II Victorian house also located in Tavistock, is also a recommended venue for travelling golfers. Packages start from £210 per person, for two nights’ B&B and three rounds of golf. For bookings, and details of all the tours on offer, visit www.exclusivegolfbreaks.com or call 01822 618181.

LIVE THE HIGH LIFE AT LUTON HOO G olfers looking to enjoy a weekend’s golfing in the rarefied surroundings of a Grade I-listed hotel and Capability Brown-designed parkland should consider booking a break at Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort in Bedfordshire. The historic building only re-opened as a hotel ten years ago, following a £60m renovation project by owners Elite Hotels, who employed skilled craftsmen to painstakingly restore many of the original features and furnishings to bring it back to

TheManor House

& Ashbury Hotels

- The Only Sport, Craft & Spa Hotels in the UK

Autumn to Spring

the quality befitting a five-star establishment. Guests can stay in one of 39 bedrooms within the main house, which offer four-poster beds, huge sitting rooms, and boast many original features and views over the estate, while there are 144 other rooms in separate annexes, including above the clubhouse, which is a five-minute walk from the house in a converted stable block. Luton Hoo’s 7,100-yard course, built partly in the Capability Brown-designed park, was built under quite

heavy constraints, with little in the way of earth moving – and nothing in the way of bunkers – allowed on the opening and closing stretch. While there is no sand to contend with, there are plenty of trees to block your route to the green, as is evident on the first hole, a 440-yard par four, which the card has it as

the most difficult on the course. Luton Hoo's five par-fives are a strong collection, although the hole that attracts the most attention is the 13th. Nominally a par three, it plays up to 26 yards from the back tee, and 245 yards from the yellow tees. To make par here requires a phenomenal tee shot, or a fine

up and down. After your round, a rub down in the spa or a swim in the 18-metre swimming pool is an option, while there is tennis, cycling, clay pigeon shooting, and miles of walks around the estate on offer.

FREE GOLF at

Sunday night stays in a Country Club room, with two rounds of golf, cost from £110pp, including a full English breakfast, and full use of the spa and leisure facilities. To book, call 01582 698888 or visit www.lutonhoo.co.uk.

“I’ve never played such fantastic courses”

The UK’s Largest Golf Resort

Stephen W - Trip Advisor

Set in the foothills of Dartmoor National Park, Devon. The Ashbury Hotel is the ideal venue for your golf break. At least 27 holes of FREE golf with each night of stay! Pines 17th 442 yards, Par 4

Oakwood 16th 172 yards, Par 3

NOW - 25/04/18 • FREE Golf • ½ Price Buggies - £8 & So Much More!

Oakwood 4th 321 yards, Par 4

Multi Sport Simulators

April / May Bargain Breaks from: 4nts Midweek £240pp • 3nts Weekend £195pp Full Board!

0800 389 9892

6528 6400 5803 5502 5775 6111 1939

!

PLUS unique Craft Centre featuring 18 tutored crafts, including Pottery, Woodwork, Glass Engraving & Hot Press Printing

Par 72 Par 72 Par 69 Par 68 Par 69 Par 71 Par 54

EW

Sports Racket Sports Leisure Ranges Family Bowls Swimming Funhouse Tennis Archery Table Tennis Badminton Spa & Sauna Gamezone Air Pistols 5-A-Side Snooker Waterslides Air Rifles Squash Basketball Short Tennis Ten-Pin Lasers Play Area

Kigbeare Pines Beeches Oakwood Ashbury 9 + Pines Front 9 Ashbury 9 + Pines Back 9 Willows

N

Additional Facilities FREE to residents of our hotels

NEW 3G Sports Pitch & MUGA Pitch

ashburygolfhotel.com

• All prices per person • All rooms en-suite • Full board • Party discounts •


[52] FEBRUARY 2018 | TRAVEL

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

HUNT OUT CELTIC MANOR’S HUNTER LODGES G

roups of golfers looking to make a stay at Celtic Manor even more memorable should consider booking one of the luxury lodges that overlook the Twenty Ten Course at the popular Welsh resort. The luxury lodges provide the best of both worlds – a private home-from-home in the peace and tranquility of the South Wales countryside, yet with Celtic Manor’s five-star amenities on their doorstep. The Hunter Lodges enjoy views of the Twenty Ten Ryder Cup course and the Usk Valley beyond. Sleeping up to 10 people, the large Scandinavian-style log lodges all have four double or twin bedrooms, spacious dining and living areas, and fitted kitchens. They also boast outdoor hot tubs and indoor saunas. Hosting three, four or seven-night stays for guests, the lodges are primarily aimed at the family and leisure market, which is filling Celtic Manor’s 400-bedroom hotel on weekends and during school holidays. The lodges are also designed to appeal to golf groups playing Celtic Manor’s three championship courses, friends on spa breaks, and corporate incentive trips. Prices start from £1,544 (£193 per person for a group of eight) for a two- or three-night stay in a four-bed lodge with rounds on both the Montgomerie and Roman Road courses. For more information visit www.celtic-manor.com or call 01633 410262. ■ CELTIC MANOR'S LODGES OVERLOOK THE 2010 COURSE

PUSH THE BOAT OUT AT NEWQUAY L ocated with putting distance from Fistral Beach and one of the finest golf courses on the north Cornish coast, the Pentire Hotel in Newquay offers contemporary accommodation with unrivalled Atlantic views, state-of-the art facilities and a relaxed, coastal vibe. Many of the 75 rooms come with a beautiful sea view and can accommodate almost any group size. Residents also get access to the onsite pool and steam room, allowing you to unwind after a day on the

course. In the evening you can get a bite to eat in the hotel’s restaurant and bistro, whose menu is sourced from seasonal local ingredients. Located just two minutes drive from Newquay Golf Club – with its series of demanding greenside

bunkers and breathtaking vista - the hotel also has links with many of Cornwall’s other top courses, including nearby Perranporth and St Austell, making it the perfect launch pad for a golfing holiday full of variation, challenge and natural beauty.

Golf packages during February start from £180 for two nights’ B&B accommodation, and rounds of golf at Newquay, Perranporth and St Austell. For more information, call 0117 256 5966 or visit www.ngolfsouthwest.co.uk.

IT PAYS TO STAY-ANDPLAY AT PRINCE’S T

he luxury golf lodge at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent is proving a huge hit with golfers looking to play some of Kent’s finest links courses, including Prince’s itself, neighbouring Royal St George’s, Royal Cinque Ports, and many others along the coast. Capable of hosting up to 48 guests, the lodge is located by the fifth green at Prince’s and enjoys fantastic views over the 27-hole facility, St George’s, and Pegwell Bay to the white cliffs at Ramsgate. It is separated into 12 individual apartments, with each featuring two twin bedrooms, plus en-suite bathroom facilities and a shared lounge. It also boasts its own on-site bar and restaurant, the Brasserie on the Bay, where locally-sourced and expertly-cooked seasonal menus are available throughout the week. There are a number of winter stay-and-play packages on offer, starting from £109pp for one night’s dinner, B&B and two midweek

■ PRINCE'S ACCOMDATION DIRECTLY OVERLOOKS THE COURSE

rounds for two people sharing a twin or double room. The rate rises to £130pp for Fri/Sat bookings. For reservations, visit www. princesgolfclub.co.uk or call 01304 611118.

Bowood Park Hotel and Golf Club “This Cornish cracker is a must visit – superb” John E. Morgan , Former PGA & European Tour Professional and Sky Sports Golf Commentator

Hotel | Golf | Events | Hospitality 2 DAY GOLF BREAK

3 DAY GOLF BREAK

4 DAY GOLF BREAK

1 Night; to include dinner, bed, breakfast & 2 rounds of golf – from £80 per person

2 Nights; to include dinner, bed, breakfast & 3 rounds of golf – from £130 per person

3 Nights; to include dinner, bed, breakfast & 4 rounds of golf – from £180 per person

For all enquiries, to check availability or make a reservation, please call the reservations team on 01840 213017.

BOWOOD PARK HOTEL AND GOLF CLUB, LANTEGLOS, CORNWALL, PL32 9RF. TEL: 01840 213017. EMAIL: GOLF@BOWOODPARK.COM. WEB: WWW.BOWOODPARK.COM


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

TRAVEL | FEBRUARY 2018

[53]

■ THE DORSET RESORT'S COURSES ARE A RIOT OF COLOUR IN THE SPRING AND SUMMER MONTHS

■ THE 12 LUXURY LODGES ARE LOCATED IN A DELIGHTFUL WOODED GLADE

MAKE A BREAK FOR DORSET’S DELIGHTS

The Dorset Golf Resort offers two quality courses and superb on-site accommodation in 350 acres of private woodland, making it the ideal destination for anybody who fancies a ‘stay and play’ break at any time of the year

S

ituated within striking distance of the popular coastal towns of Poole and Bournemouth, The Dorset Golf Resort has long been a popular destination for golfers looking to get away from it all and enjoy their favourite pastime in relaxing surroundings. With its stunning golf courses, and unique and affordable accommodation options, as well as its great location on the doorstep of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, it's no wonder that groups of golfers keep coming back to The Dorset Golf Resort year after year.

THE COURSES The club offers 27 holes of championship golf, divided between the 18-hole Lakeland course and the 9-hole Woodland Course. Both were designed by the renowned British architect Martin Hawtree, whose trademark features – large, clover-shaped bunkers and huge, undulating greens – are much in evidence throughout the stunning layout. A regular host of top-flight county and regional championships over the years, the Lakeland Course is on record as being the longest in Dorset, with its back tees stretching the layout to a challenging 7,000 yards. Most golfers will prefer the slightly less formidable white tees at 6,580 yards, while the forward tees take it down to altogether more friendly 6,182 yards. Whichever tees you choose to play off, the beauty of the easywalking landscape is hard to ignore, while a series of connected waster features and strategically-placed bunkers will also cause you sit up and take notice. With generous fairways and undulating greens, the Lakeland is an excellent test of golf and will have players of all abilities scratching their heads trying to work out the

■ THE LAKELAND AND WOODLAND COURSES COMBINE TO CREATE 27 HOLES OF TOP QUALITY GOLF

best way to score well. The nine-hole, par-66 Woodland Course is shorter – being just 5,032 yards long – but no less demanding. Accuracy off the tee is essential if you want to play anywhere near your handicap, as the fairways are lined with ball-hungry rhododendron bushes and tall trees. On-going investment in course machinery and maintenance has resulted in better-than-ever playing conditions, with improved irrigation, additional pathways and numerous cosmetic enhancements ensuring the course is not only presented in superb year-round condition, but that it stays open during even the coldest and wettest spells. Great grass coverage on tees means that mats or temporary tees are never required. For those looking to hone their skills away from the pressures of the golf course, the resort offers excellent practice facilities, including a 16-bay floodlit undercover driving range, a huge practice green, bunker and short game area, pitching green and practice nets.

ACCOMMODATION The resort prides itself on its unique accommodation offering, with its 12 luxury Scandinavian-style lodges, which are situated in a quiet wooded glade opposite the golf courses, an ideal choice for families and groups of golfers. The lodges, which are made entirely from trees grown in the Nordic forests of Finland, combine simplicity with luxury. Available to rent from two days to four weeks, each house sleeps up to eight people and features a fully-fitted kitchen, wood burning stove, sauna, verandah, and a golf trolley shed. Guests also have to option of renting one of two five-star

cottages on site, both of which are comfortably able to accommodate 8-10, while for smaller groups and one-night stays, The Dorset Golf Hotel, located opposite the clubhouse, offers 16 twin rooms, all of which have en-suite facilities. ■ INSIDE ONE OF THE LODGES

WINING & DINING Guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to catering, with the substantial clubhouse, which offers lovely views over the Purbeck Hills, boasting a full-service restaurant which serves a menu packed with freshly-cooked classics, while there is a large patio area for alfresco eating and drinking.

LEISURE FACILITIES The resort offers plenty more besides golf, including a championship-level bowls centre with three rinks, and a stateof-the-art gym with fitness suite and a sauna, while for those like to fish, there are three lakes fully stocked with carp, roach, tench, rudd and perch. The resort is also within easy reach of one of the UK’s best shooting schools and a gliding club, while the bright lights and beaches of Bournemouth, and the popular attractions of Monkey World and Bovington’s Tank Museum, are also on the doorstep.

BOOK YOUR GOLFING BREAK Stay and Play packages start from £61.95 pp/pn, based on four people sharing a house, with dinner, breakfast and all golf included. Three-night packages, with three rounds of golf, cost from £175 per person. For bookings call 01929 472244 or visit www.dorsetgolfresort.com.

COMPETITION

WIN A TWO-NIGHT GOLF BREAK! Golf News has teamed up with The Dorset Golf Resort to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a summer golf break to the resort. Staying for two nights in one of the resort’s luxury Scandanavian-style lodges, you and three friends will be able to enjoy three rounds of golf, and make use of all the facilities at the resort. Dinner is included for both nights in the clubhouse restaurant, and breakfast on both mornings.

TO ENTER To be in with a chance of winning this great prize, simply answer the question below correctly, and email your name,

address and contact details to info@golfnews. co.uk with ‘Dorset Golf Resort Competition’ in the subject line. Please include where you picked up your copy of Golf News. Normal competition rules apply, and no cash alternative is available. The closing date for entries is March 30, 2018. The booking must be for stays between July 1 - August 31, 2018, between Sundays and Thursdays only (not Fri/Sat). All bookings are subject to availability and cannot be used alongside any current bookings.

QUESTION: What is the name of the Dorset Golf Resort’s 18-hole championship layout? 1) Parkland 2) Woodland 3) Lakeland


[54] FEBRUARY 2018 | TRAVEL

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

■ GOLF DE PALSDE FEATURES PLATJA PALS TIGHT PINE-TREE LINED FAIRWAYS ■ GOLF CLUB D'ARO MAS NOU

■ PGA CATALUNYA'S STADIUM COURSE

CATALONIA’S CALLING Nick Bayly takes his clubs to the COSTA BRAVA, one of Spain’s most beautiful and unspoilt coastal regions, which boasts a small, but memorable selection of golf courses that will test all parts of your game

A

wnyone with a passing interest in current affairs can’t fail to have noticed that Catalonia has been grabbing the news headlines of late. This north-east region of Spain has been a hotbed of political unrest for many decades, but things came to a head in October last year, when Catalonia’s leaders held a referendum on whether the region should remain part of Spain or become a fully independent state. My trip to the region coincided with the vote, and while there were plenty of Catalan flags hanging from the balconies of city apartments in Barcelona and Girona – Catalonia’s two biggest cities – there was no evidence to suggest that tourists, and in this case, golfing tourists, should be put off from travelling to this beautiful part of the Iberian Peninsula while the various factions sort out a workable way forward. All the political machinations certainly provided a suitable backdrop to our own trip, which matched 21 representatives from the UK, German and Scandanavian golf press in a seven-a-side stroke

play event that was grandly titled ‘The European Media Cup’. With three competition rounds, and the best five scores from each team counting towards the total, this was Eurovision revisited, only with golf clubs and dodgy handicaps, rather than glittery jumpsuits and even dodgier voting systems. With Brexit jokes ringing in our ears, Team GB climbed aboard the battle bus at Barcelona airport determined to bring the trophy back to Blighty. Barcelona clearly hogs the limelight as far as visitors to Catalonia are concerned, with the city made famous by the artistic endeavours of Gaudi; while the exploits of an artist of a different kind, Lionel Messi, ensure huge numbers of visitors flock to this bustling metropolis by the sea. Few weekend trippers manage to find time to escape the city limits, which is a great pity given the delights on offer for the more adventurous explorer. Thankfully, we did, as with no golf courses of merit to speak of within the confines of the Catalonian capital, we soon found ourselves speeding north up the coastal motorway, and heading towards the region’s second city,

Girona, which is an hour’s drive away, and the ideal base for a golfing itinerary to the area. Fresh off the 7am EasyJet flight from Gatwick, and still finding our land legs, our first golfing port of call was Pals, the oldest of the eight courses located on the Costa Brava. Opened in 1966 – an auspicious year, our team thought – Pals was designed by Fred Hawtree, and occupies a flat stretch of pine forest close to the Mediterranean – although not close or elevated enough to actually see it – and is best described as a woodland/links hybrid. The woodland holes have been carved out of dense forest, with slivers of fairway winding their way through the thick canopy of umbrella pines to greens that are heavily protected by yet more pines and deep bunkers. The more linksy holes have a more open feel to them, with undulating fairways, although St Andrews it ain’t. Water, too, plays a part in the design, with two irrigation lakes to negotiate, most notably at the eighth, an unfeasibly tight 530-yard par five with a 200-yard stretch of water guarding the left side of the fairway right up to the edge of the

PGA CATALUNYA REMAINS A WORLD-CLASS TOURNAMENT VENUE THAT IS AS HIGHLY RATED BY THE PROS AS IT IS WITH THOUSANDS OF LESS PROFICIENT AMATEURS

■ GOLF CLUB D'ARO MAS NOU

green; while the very next hole, the par-3 ninth, requires a lengthy iron over water to reach a narrow green protected by deep bunkers on either side. After the round, we returned to the charming clubhouse to tot up the scores, while supping a well-earned beer on the spacious terrace that overlooks the first tee. Deaf to calls from our Euro rivals for the slope system to be taken into calculations, my 33 points helped Team GB take a narrow lead, although with 36 holes still to play, bragging rights were far from secure. Our first overnight stop was in Girona, at the Hotel Carlemany, a pleasant city centre venue within walking distance of the old town. Meeting for drinks downstairs, we found ourselves jostling for space at the bar with 40 golfers from the UK who were taking part in the grand finals of the European Amateur Golf Tour, which was being held at nearby PGA Cataluyna – venue for our final competition round. Girona itself is a beautiful walled city built on a small scale, with a majestic hill-top Gothic cathedral, and a fascinating old quarter –

which is navigated through a myriad of narrow cobbled streets. With rows of colourful terraced houses packed up against the edge of the river that divides it in two, Girona is packed with photo opportunities, as well as cafés and restaurants to simply sit and watch the world go by. After not much in the way of sleep, day two started earl as we headed to Emporda, a resort venue 40km east of Girona, which boasts two courses designed by Robert von Haage – the Links and the Forest. Our round was over the Links, which is stretching the definition of the term somewhat, but no less enjoyable for it. Having been split into three-balls with our cup rivals – to avoid collusion I imagine – my German 4-handicapper seemed out of sorts from the off, and started muttering untranslatable swear words in his mother tongue as early as the second hole, while I started par, birdie, par to get the GB points train rolling out of the station. The course features vast waste bunkers and small, but heavily undulating greens. However, unlike most links, there is water to contend


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

TRAVEL | FEBRUARY 2018 [55]

BOOK YOUR COSTA BRAVA GOLF PASS THE COSTA BRAVA GOLF PASS COSTS €210 FOR THREE ROUNDS FROM THE CHOICE OF NINE COURSES, AND €355 FOR FIVE ROUNDS. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT GOLF.COSTABRAVA.ORG AND GOLFINCOSTABRAVA.ORG.

■ PARK HOTEL SAN JORGE

■ GOLF DE PALS

FOR DETAILS ON THE SILKEN PARK HOTEL, VISIT WWW.PARKHOTELSANJORGE.COM, AND FOR THE HOTEL CARLEMANY IN GIRONA, VISIT WWW.HOTELCARLEMANYGIRONA.COM.

with on several holes, and the turf lacks the springiness that you’d associate with a links. All told, it’s well maintained, and there is an interesting mix of short par fours and lengthy fives, and with the stunning backdrop of the Pyrenees, it adds up to a great holiday round. The resort also boasts a Double Tree Hilton Hotel on site, while there is an excellent restaurant and bar in the adjoining clubhouse. After totting up the scores, Team GB moved into a narrow nine-point lead over Germany, with the Scandis losing touch in third. A steady 31 points got me on the score sheet again, but five blobs cost me dearly, and I vowed to knuckle down for the final round at PGA Catalunya, the launch pad – and burial ground – for many a tour pro’s career. After golf, we drove 30km south to the Silken Park San Jorge, a fourstar hotel that occupies a stunning cliff-top location overlooking the Mediterranean in the village of Calonge. Boasting dazzling white interiors, and spacious rooms with

■ EMPORDA LINKS

private terraces, it’s an idyllic spot, with easy access to the beach below. After an enjoyable dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, where we tucked into the Catalan staples of ham croquettes, salt cod fritters and seafood paella, washed down with local wines from Emporda, we retired to our quarters to mentally prepare for the final push to victory. Day three found us heading to the jewel in Costa Brava’s golfing crown – PGA Catalyuna – whose Stadium and Tour courses have been tormenting Europe’s best golfers ever since they came into being 18 years ago. With fastrunning greens, pristine fairways, and a marvellous mix of natural and man-made hazards, the two courses are both entertaining and challenging. Sadly, it proved a test too far for this weary hack, with the combination of long carries, magnetic water hazards, tree-lined fairways and punishing rough, ripping my scorecard to shreds on the front nine, before leaving it in

complete tatters on the back nine. Fifteen points says all you need to know about my performance, although that’s not to say it was without joyous highlights. The conditioning is on another level, while the holes are strategically interesting and endlessly challenging. Each GB player was greeted in the clubhouse like a World War Two fighter pilot coming back from a particularly daring raid over Berlin, grateful just to be alive, but knowing that many good men – or, in this case, new golf balls - had been lost. Still, my teammates had thankfully fared a good deal better than I had, and hopes of maintaining our lead, and returning home as conquering heroes, still

hung in the balance as we headed to our farewell dinner and prize giving ceremony later that evening. It was held at Espai del Peix – translated as ‘the space of the fish’ – a contemporary cookery school located on a pier in the fishing town of Palamos, where traditional Catalan culinary skills and techniques are passed on through masterclasses that showcase the role that seafood plays in the local society and economy. After tasting an incredible variety of fresh and tasty fish dishes, cooked in front of us in an open kitchen – all matched with local wines – the moment we’d all been waiting for arrived. The trophy presentation. Announcing the scores in reverse order, our host ramped up the tension to X Factor levels, with interminable pauses and unnecessary deviations. “In third, with 120 points, and very well played, Team Scandi.” Cue commiseratory clapping and a few ironic cheers. Team GB, still agonising over all those missed putts and late-night beers, still believed. The Germans looked unfazed, and frankly disinterested, but deep down we knew they wanted it. “And, in second place…... with a score of 131 points, it is Team… G……..B!” Oh no. It had all gone wrong. This wasn’t the script. Shurely shum mishtake ref? Sadly not. Our German counterparts had done what they always do when it comes to matters sporting. They had beaten us through sheer willpower and grindingly consistent play. And it didn’t even go down to penalties. Being a vaguely sporting lot, we applauded their seven-point victory, while muttering ‘Brexit means Brexit’ under our breaths, and talking of a return match in 2019, once all the trade treaties had been annulled. Bitter losers? Maybe. The following day, our final round, although not part of the competition, was arguably the

most eagerly anticipated of the four, as the views from the hilltop course at Golf D’Aro are legendary. Designed by Ramon Espinosa and opened in 1992, the course sits in the Gavarres Mountains, 300 metres above the tourist resort of Platja d'Aro, overlooking the Costa Brava coastline. Encircled by a mix of pine, cork oak and olive trees, the course is routed along ridges and deep ravines in a clockwise circle around the hilltop, resulting in anything straying left being lost forever. Fortunately, a local rule allows such hazards to be considered as lateral water, improving the playability of the course for those who find hitting the short stuff a challenge. The layout can be stretched out to 6,800 yards off the back tees, but we were grateful to be off the yellows at a slightly more friendly 6,500. Distance, however, is not the main obstacle to scoring well on this spectacular layout, which requires you to plot your way round to have any hope of losing just the one sleeve of balls. Amazingly, I managed to lose just one, and between blobs played some of my best golf of the week. Back playing amongst my fellow UK hacks, myself and my 20-hadncapper partner managed to take our foursomes match down to the 18th hole, before losing 2&1 to our slightly better, if significantly more hungover, rivals. Back in the charmingly rustic clubhouse, we downed more Estrellas – the locally-brewed lager – while tucking into home-cooked jamon and patatas bravas, while pondering where it all went wrong 24 hours earlier. And with that, our whistlestop tour of the Costa Brava was over. OK, so I lost 12 balls and a pair of sunglasses, but I gained some new friends, rediscovered my love for crème catalan, and have vowed to return to wreak my revenge on the Stadium Course – and the Germans – in this life or the next.


[56] FEBRUARY 2018 | TRAVEL

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

EURO REVISION CONTEST

The eagerly-awaited new TOP 100 GOLF COURSES IN CONTINENTAL EUROPE list, which was published last month, threw up a large number of climbers and fallers following the opening of a host of new venues, along with some major renovations

U

nlike past years, where there’s been little movement in the upper reaches of the Top 100 for Continental Europe chart, the 2018 list is positively bristling with volatility, such is the nature of the two-year re-ranking process in this part of the golfing world, which encompasses no fewer than 48 countries. Only six courses remain in the same position, and four of those appear within the top six. Fifteen have dropped out of the standings altogether, with two of their replacements arriving in the top half of the hundred. The European Top 100 is, as ever, dominated by courses from Spain, France and Portugal, with these three nations accounting for almost half the entries. Taking the top spot in 2018 for the fifth time since the ranking was established in

2008, is Morfontaine In Paris, whose stunning Tom Simpson-designed parkland course is currently being refined by Kyle Phillips. Three more French courses reside within the top ten, two of which are also Simpson layouts – the Vineuil at Chantilly (still at No.5) and Fontainebleau (still at No.6) – along with Robert von Hagge’s Les Bordes (down four to No.8), providing further evidence that this year’s Ryder Cup host nation has depth to match its strength when it comes to classic courses. Royal Hague in The Netherlands held on to the runner-up spot, having risen seven places in 2016; while one place behind, and soaring six places to No.3, was Utrecht de Pan, another Dutch design that has enjoyed a sensational progress ever since it debuted at No.85 in 2008. Three other Dutch

■ FINCA CORTESIN ROSE UP THE RANKINGS FOLLOWING A RECENT GREEN RE-SEEDING PROGRAMME

■ WEST CLIFFS IN PORTUGAL WAS THE HIGHEST NEW ENTRY AT 16

TOP 20 COURSES IN CONTINENTAL EUROPE COURSE COUNTRY 1 Morfontaine France 2 Koninklijke Haagsche Netherlands 3 Utrecht de Pan Netherlands 4 PGA de Catalunya (Stadium) Spain 5 Chantilly (Vineuil) France 6 Fontainebleau France 7 Real Valderrama Spain 8 Les Bordes France 9 Monte Rei (North) Portugal 10 Real Sotogrande Spain

COURSE 11 El Saler 12 Kennemer 13 Hamburger Falkenstein 14 Prince de Provence 15 St Germain 16 West Cliffs 17 Noordwijkse 18 Bro Hof Slott 19 Finca Cortesin 20 Oitavos Dunes

COUNTRY Spain Netherlands Germany France France Portugal Netherlands Sweden Spain Portugal

■ MORFONTAINE IN PARIS RETAINED ITS STATUS AS CONTINENTAL EUROPE'S BEST COURSE

■ ITHE SPECTACULAR GREAT NORTHERN COURSE IN DENMARK IS ONE OF THE HIGHEST NEW ENTRIES AT 27

■ LOFOTEN LINKS IN NORWAY IS EXTREMELY REMOTE, BUT WELL WORTH THE JOURNEY

masters also made strong upward moves, with the two Harry Colt layouts at Eindhovensche (up 16 to 29) and Hilversumsche (up 20 to 34), together with Frank Pennink’s Rosendaelsche (up 26 to 46), proving that the Low Countries are moving up in the world of golf. Spain boasts three courses ranked inside the top 10, but the big Iberian story is about El Saler, which just missed out on a place in the top tier, climbing 13 places to number 11. Three more Spanish tracks made big strides up the top half of the table. Two of these courses are located along the famous golfing playground of Costa del Sol: Finca Cortesin (up six to 19), which has recently relaid its greens with Bermuda grass; Real las Brisas (up ten to 37), and Son Gual (up nine to 42), which is situated in Majorca and continues to attract positive reviews. The first of the new entries arrives in at No.16, and it’s the Cynthia Dye-designed West Cliffs course on Portugal’s spectacular Silver Coast, which was unveiled last summer to rave reviews. West Cliffs isn’t the highest ranked Portuguese course in the listings, however, as that accolade belongs to Monte Rei (North) in the eastern Algarve, with Jack Nicklaus’s layout easing up one position to ninth. Other honourable mentions for courses in mainland Europe’s westernmost country include Troia (up 14 to 22), the much-loved San Lorenzo (up 11 to 32), Palmares (Praia & Lagos) (up 26 to 41), and Praia D’El Rey (up 25 to 48). The second-highest-placed newcomer was the Great Northern course in Denmark, which

snuck in at 27. This 27-hole facility is funded by Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, vice chairman of LEGO, and no expense has been spared when constructing the course and its infrastructure. Another Nordic entry appearing for the first time, in at number 51, is Lofoten Links in Norway. One reviewer called this remote outpost “a spectacular course with fantastic views”, while another said “the views are just gorgeous to the extent that the golf is almost incidental”. There was a prodigious surge up the table from a couple of courses in France’s Côte d’Opale region – the Les Pins course at Hardelot (up 36 to 23) and La Mer course at Le Touquet (up 21 to 35), which are both managed by Open Golf Club. Both courses have benefitted from a substantial investment, involving tree removal, green enlargement, fairway widening and bunker reconstruction, and their efforts are reflected in their vastly improved ranking. A couple of Turkish tracks also lept up the listings. Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, currently host venue for the Turkish Airlines Open, advanced 20 places to 40, while Nick Faldo’s Prince layout at the 27-hole Cornlia Resort jumped up from number 75 to 59. Among the interesting newcomers from non-traditional golfing countries are the Dunes course at Costa Navarino in Greece, which squeezed in at 98, the King’s course at Royal Bled (96) in Solvenia, and the Parnu Bay Golf Links in Estonia (94). To see the full list, visit www.top100golfcourses.com


Championship golf courses, nationally acclaimed restaurants and Southern hospitality. The Charleston area is home to 20 of the finest golf courses in the United States, including The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Every hole features unique designs that test one’s ability and challenge the will. But most significantly, Charleston golf will remind you of why you play the game.

CharlestonAreaGolf.com


[58] FEBRUARY 2018 | TRAVEL

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

■ DESERT HIGHLANDS WAS IN PERFECT CONDITION

■ MEETING JON RAHM AT KIERLAND COMMONS

■ GUY WOODMAN

■ GRAYHAWK’S RAPTOR COURSE

■ SPECTACULAR SUNSET OVER SCOTTSDALE

■ AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE FLYING OVER THE ROCKS AT SEDONA ON OUR DAY OFF

■ A TOUGH OPENING HOLE AWAITS AT DESERT HIGHLANDS

■ PLAYING UNDER PINNACLE PEAK


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

TRAVEL | FEBRUARY 2018 [59]

Matt Nicholson recounts his experience of playing in the American Golf Holiday’s Arizona Classic Pro-Am, a week long festival of golf which takes in rounds at some of the Grand Canyon State’s finest desert courses

’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 Company offers a range of fantastic destinations for its Pro-Am Tours, and the Arizona Classic, which takes place in November, is always one of the most popular. My amateur teammates and I flew to Phoenix on the direct British Airways service, and it wasn’t long before boarded the flight that we recognised some familiar friendly faces, many of whom sign up for the trip every year. After a smooth ten-hour flight we were met at the airport by the American Golf Holiday’s owners, John and Alison Hooper. After collecting our spacious seven-seater minivan, it was just a 25-minute drive to our hotel – the Scottsdale Plaza Resort – which was ideally located close to the many bars and restaurants, including those of the popular entertainment districts of the Old Town, Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter. After a good night’s rest, we were up early on Sunday to drive to the spectacular Troon North Golf Club, where the teams met up for a breakfast buffet in the clubhouse, prior to taking part in a Welcome Challenge Day. Although most teams bring their PGA Professional out with them from the UK, we had arranged to play with Jamie Harris, a popular professional from Kent, who had recently moved out to Arizona. The tournament format was individual stableford, and the day provided a perfect introduction to desert golf, with the Pinnacle Course at Troon North presented in magnificent condition. The fact that the event is staged in November every year pretty much guarantees superb course conditions, and this, combined with typical sunny skies and temperatures of around 25 degrees, makes it a fantastic time to visit the desert. Monday saw the start of the 72-hole Arizona Classic Pro-Am tournament at the magnificent Jack Nicklaus-designed Desert Highlands Golf Club, one of the area's top private clubs. If you ever wanted to start a golf tournament with the wow factor, this is it. The organisers have a special arrangement that provides exclusive access to the course on the Monday for their Pro-Am competitors, and the experience is off the charts. From the moment you arrive, it’s five-star treatment all the way. Staff are there to greet you on arrival and to help unload your golf clubs, prior to valet parking your rental minivan, and the next time you see your clubs they are on your golf buggy. But before then there is time to savour the clubhouse facilities, the magnificent locker rooms and the golf shop, where each competitor is given a voucher to spend, before heading outside

to where free coffee and pastries are provided for you to take to the practice range. The way everything is organised allows for interaction with the other teams, and already there is a very special atmosphere and a shared feeling of being privileged to be able to experience one of the top private golf clubs in America. Many consider Desert Highlands to be the course where Nicklaus invented ‘target style desert golf’, and the course grabs your attention immediately from the elevated tee of the drivable short par-four first hole. So, with the distraction of being able to see for over 60 miles across ‘The Valley of the Sun’, as the Scottsdale area is known, and after having our names announced on the tee, we were on our way. The Pro-Am team format of best two net scores from four is fantastic for team bonding, with everyone encouraging everybody else, and I love it – especially if you have a great professional like Jamie on your side, whose score is likely to count towards the team on most holes. In all my years of golfing travels, Desert Highlands is up there with the very best, and after a strong opening round, and the team tied for second, we savoured the atmosphere and surroundings of the clubhouse, where the organisers had laid on a superb BBQ on the patio, where competitors lingered to watch a spectacular sunset at the end of a perfect golfing day. Tuesday was Tournament Round 2 - it was always going to be difficult to follow Desert Highlands, but Blackstone Country Club comes pretty close. Once again, that magic combination of a top private golf club, with a mint condition golf course and a luxurious clubhouse, provided us with another memorable day in the desert as our team charged into the lead. On Wednesday most teams elected to play the optional Challenge Day at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course - the host course for the PGA Tour's WM Phoenix Open. However, a few teams, including ours, wanted a rest day from golf and a chance to explore the spectacular desert scenery. A number of tours were offered, with one team flying over the Grand Canyon in an aeroplane, while we elected to drive to Sedona where we then took a helicopter tour over the famous red rocks. Now we were not just competing on the golf

course, everyone was competing for who had the most scenic photograph on their phone. On Thursday, Round 3 took place at the Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club, another former PGA Tour venue, and famed for its laid-back atmosphere and the rock music which is played around the clubhouse and driving range. This has to be the coolest golf club in the world. As it was Thanksgiving Day in America, the event organisers put on a barbeque cookout after play on the patio, and competitors were encouraged to wear cowboy hats and denims. With temperatures close to record levels for the time of year, this made for another special afternoon of banter and camaraderie, especially as the tournament was now wide open, and our lead was only one shot. For the final tournament round on Friday, we headed out to the nearby Indian Reservation to play the spectacular We-Ko-Pa Golf Club’s Cholla Course. With a background of the Superstition Mountains and the Four Peaks, and stunning wild west views at every turn, this venue really shouts Arizona golf like no other. On the day, the leading professional for the week, Guy Woodman, inspired his team to a final round charge to take first place, with us dropping into second. But there was no time to dwell on disappointment, as we headed back to the hotel for the prize-giving drinks reception and dinner, where the atmosphere reflected an incredible week of tournament golf. Without doubt, the Scottsdale area ticks all the boxes for arguably being the finest mid-winter golf destination on the planet, with a superb winter climate, over 300 nearby courses, and a wide choice of restaurants, bars and nightlife. The American Golf Holiday has built an annual event offering six of the best courses in the area, and complemented this with superb hospitality and an attention to detail which has deservedly given them an unrivalled reputation in the niche market of tournament golf holidays. It was an absolute pleasure to be in the company of every one of the competitors, and I can’t wait to come back again – and hopefully take the top team prize!

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE AMERICAN GOLF HOLIDAY’S PRO AM TOUR, CALL 023 8046 5885, OR VISIT WWW.PRO-AMTOUR.COM


[60] FEBRUARY 2018 | TRAVEL

GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

SAY ‘ALOHA’ TO HAWAII Sarah Stirk picks her favourite tracks in America’s 50th state – the beautiful islands of Hawaii, which are a regular pit stop for the PGA Tour

APART FROM BROKEN RESOLUTIONS, the start of January – at least as far the PGA Tour is concerned – is all about Hawaii, and quite frankly it should be for every golfer on the planet. Watching the tour pros shake off their winter rust at the Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open, against the backdrop of blue skies and turquoise waters, is enough to make everything seem right with the world – either that or cause you to enter a deep state of envy. With verdant fairways beneath your feet, palm trees swaying in the breeze, and the glistening Pacific Ocean in plain sight from almost every tee and green, it’s easy to see why Hawaii is the golf resort capital of the world. America’s 50th state is divided into six islands, with Hawaii Island, known as the big island, being just a 30-minute flight from Honolulu, and boasting many of the best courses in Hawaii, designed by some of the greatest names in golf. Here is my pick of the huge variety of holiday golfing options that are available.

■ THE ROBERT TRENT JONES SNR DESIGNED COURSE AT MAUNA KEA ENJOYS A STUNNING LOCATION ON THE KOHALA COAST

the water that whale spotting, especially from the 12th tee, is a popular pastime in between finding the fairways. Green Fees: $145-$175, waileagolf.com

a destination worthy of high praise. Green Fees: Palmer: $120-$195, Fazio: $85-$120, turtlebayresort.com

HAPUNA, ISLAND OF HAWAII TURTLE BAY RESORT, OAHU

BLUE COURSE AT WAILEA, MAUI The flagship of the three courses at Wailea Golf Club on Maui, the Blue layout is a classic Arthur Jack Snyder design built in 1972. The course sits at the foot of Mount Haleakala, a dormant volcano that dominates the skyline. This scenic Hawaiian resort-style course features both Pacific Ocean and volcano views and plays 6,545 yards from the championship tees, although each hole has three tee boxes making it accessible for all standards. The Blue course is close enough to

There are two great courses here, and the Arnold Palmer layout gives you a taste of Scotland and a splash of jungle, all wrapped into one beautiful Hawaiian beachfront delight. Only 45 minutes from Honolulu, the resort immerses guests in the natural beauty of Oahu, and ocean views are standard in every one of the resort's rooms. The signature hole is the 17th; it has nine bunkers leading up to a green that sits on a plateau 100 feet from the ocean. The only George Fazio-designed golf course in Hawaii, the Fazio Course at Turtle Bay Resort is popular with visitors and pros alike. The course features lengthy fairways, deep bunkers, and sculpted greens, and is also the popular home of the LPGA Tour's Hawaiian Open. The practice facilities are second to none here, and with two fabulous courses, it’s

Hapuna Golf Course stretches along the beautiful Kohala coastline before rising to over 700 feet above sea level. The snowtopped Mauna Kea volcano serves as a dramatic backdrop and there are seemingly endless views of the Pacific. Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay collaborated to create a visually stunning links course that utilises the natural contours of the landscape and silky fescue grasses. The design team has received praise for not only the challenge of the design, but also for how seamlessly it blends into the existing environment. Green Fees: $99-$139, hapunabeachresort.com

KAHILI, MAUI For visitors to the West Maui Mountains, Kahili is a must-play layout, a picturesque course with views of the Pacific Ocean. The 6,554-yard, par-72 course is a challenge, with severe elevation changes, visually dramatic par threes and long, testing par fives. Kahili is positioned on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains, offering picturesque views of the regal Haleakala and the Pacific Ocean. Green Fees: $99-$129, kahiligolf.com

MAUNA KEA, ISLAND OF HAWAII

■ TURTLE BAY RESORT BOASTS TWO SUPERB LAYOUTS DESIGNED BY PALMER AND FAZIO RESPECTIVELY

Mauna Kea's signature third hole is as scary as it is beautiful. This legendary par three requires a dramatic carry across a rocky shoreline; don’t lose your ball where thousands of others before you have. Those looking to stay and play should check into the five-star Westin Hapuna Beach Hotel, which has recently undergone a $46 million upgrade to all its bedrooms, as well as a new spa, restaurants and bars, and re-opens next month. Green Fees: $140-$195, maunakeabeachhotel.com

With Mauna Kea Golf Course, Robert Trent Jones Sr. transformed what was seemingly a barren lava field into what is now one of Hawaii's most popular courses. The challenging layout features holes that run right along the coast, carved into the seaside cliffs and offering panoramic views of the beautiful Kohala Coast. The elevated, undulating greens and prevailing coastal winds demand accuracy.

THE OCEAN COURSE AT HOKUALA, KAUAI The Ocean Course was formerly the 27-hole Kauai Lagoons course, but the Jack Nicklaus Signature design received a major update in 2015 and now features a challenging stretch of holes known as Amen Corner. The resort's aptly chosen new name, Hokuala, is Hawaiian for ‘rising star.’ Known for having the longest stretch of continuous oceanfront holes in all of Hawaii, the Ocean Course meanders through forests of mango and guava trees, and then skirts along the Pacific. Located on the southeastern coast of Kauai, the course is conveniently situated near Lihue Airport and next to Nawiliwili Harbour. Green Fees: $126-$198, hokualakauai.com Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahSkySports


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

TRAVEL | FEBRUARY 2018

[61]

REASONS 1. WORLD’S BEST NEW GOLF COURSE West Cliffs may be a new name in the golfing world, but it has wasted no time in becoming the most talked-about new golf course project in the game. The clifftop seaside links is well on the way to establishing itself as the new number one in Portugal, and has

TO

PLAY

WEST CLIFFS GOLF LINKS PORTUGAL

than with the magnificent final three holes, while Dye also pays homage to her family’s design heritage and famous uncle, with parts of the course being inspired by Pete Dye’s two acclaimed courses at Whistling Straits.

5. GREAT VALUE GREEN FEES

already won a host of leading global accolades –

West Cliffs may be making the headlines across the

including being named as the ‘World’s Best New Golf

globe but, refreshingly, it won’t cost golfers the price

Course’ at the 2017 World Golf Awards.

of a second mortgage to play it. Featuring a choice

2. DYE DESIGN HERITAGE Designing great golf courses quite clearly runs in the Dye family’s blood. Niece of the legendary golf architect Pete, Cynthia Dye took 14 years to create West Cliffs from start to finish, and her first layout in Portugal has been well worth the wait. “This has been an incredible project to be involved in, right from the moment when I first visited the site and saw what was

of several tees, the 7,003-yard layout is accessible to

VOTED ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING NEW COURSE OPENINGS OF 2017, THE STUNNING LINKS AT WEST CLIFFS, LOCATED ON PORTUGAL’S DRAMATIC SILVER COAST, DESERVES TO BE ON EVERYONE’S LIST OF MUST-PLAY COURSES IN 2018

Adjoining an exclusive 2.5km stretch of Atlantic coastline, one of West Cliffs’ many joys is the way

local government to ensure minimum disruption to

course anywhere. My family all love coming here. It was

the environment, and to create a harmonious and

very exciting at the beginning, and it’s just as exciting

sustainable links. West Cliffs’ commitment to nature

today.”

is reflected in the design of its stylish, eco-friendly

3. SWEEPING VIEWS OF THE ATLANTIC

clubhouse, which was built using natural and certified materials, and offers exclusive panoramic views of the course and the Atlantic from three sides of the

Situated less than an hour north of Lisbon, on

incredible setting. Occupying a privileged location high

6. ECO-FRIENDLY CLUBHOUSE IN A NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

her team worked in close collaboration with the

and the most incredible setting I’ve seen for a golf

first things that catches the eye at West Cliffs is its

€80 per person.

that it fits seamlessly into its surroundings. Dye and

possible,” said Dye. “It’s an amazing piece of property

Portugal’s magnificent Silver Coast, one of the

golfers of all abilities, with green fees starting from

glass-fronted building.

STAY & PLAY AT THE PRAIA D’EL REY MARRIOTT GOLF & BEACH RESORT THIS SPRING.

7. PRAIA D’EL REY AND CHOICE OF ACCOMMODATION

above the sea, the spectacular par-72 clifftop links has

FOUR NIGHTS’ BB / 3 ROUNDS ON A CHOICE

been created over 200 hectares of natural landscape,

OF WEST CLIFFS AND PRAIA D’EL REY,

rolling sand dunes and coastal vegetation, and offers

STARTS FROM €410 PER PERSON,

West Cliffs is managed by Praia D’El Rey Marriott

sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean from each hole.

BASED ON SHARING A ROOM. IT INCLUDES

Golf & Beach Resort, which is situated less than a

BREAKFAST AND COMPLIMENTARY TRANSFERS

10-minute drive away and provides the ideal base

TO WEST CLIFFS.

for a golfing break. As well as boasting an 18-hole

4. VARIETY OF HOLES By modern-day standards, West Cliffs is not overly long – it measures barely 7,000 yards off the back tees – but its clever design features a number of carries and an array of outstanding holes that have to be negotiated if you’re to score well. Nowhere is this more evident

FOR MORE DETAILS VISIT VISIT WWW.WESTCLIFFS.COM OR CALL +351 262 249 880

championship course designed by Cabell Robinson – which is also rated inside Europe’s top 30 layouts – Praia D’El Rey offers an ever-growing range of sports and leisure services and activities, and a choice of five-star hotel and self-catering accommodation.


EW

EXCLUSIVE GOLF PARTNER

N

N

EW

golf holiday experts for 22 years www.chakatravel.com travel

SRI LANKA

from £2,745 PP

MAURITIUS

Luxury Golf & Safari Holiday

5* C Palmar by Constance

Incl. flights, car & driver throughout with 9 excursions

(Winter 2017 / 2018 from £2,595 pp)

13 nights Bed & Breakfast 6 rounds of golf on 6 courses

ITALY

from £1,395 PP

4* Golf & Gastronomy in Emilia Romagna

7 nights Bed & Breakfast with 5 rounds of golf on 5 courses Incl. business class flights, car hire, spa & wine tasting

ABU DHABI

from £1,695 PP

5* Crowne Plaza, Yas Island

7 nights Bed & Breakfast with 4 rounds golf Incl. flights, transfers & municipality fees

from £1,995 PP

12 nights All Inclusive - Newly opened! Free green fees + golf buggies, incl. flights & transfers

SOUTH AFRICA Cape Town & Fancourt

from £2,695 PP

10 nights Bed & Breakfast with 6 rounds of golf on 6 courses Incl. flights & hire car

THAILAND

Bangkok & Chang Mai

from £2,625 PP

14 nights Bed & Breakfast with 5 rounds of golf Incl. flights, transfers & selected excursions

ESCORTED GOLF TOURS AND NEW GOLF CRUISES ROMANTIC DANUBE GOLF RIVER TOUR

10 NIGHTS FROM £4,543 PP Includes: • 3 nights Prague • 7 nights cruise • 5 rounds of golf • Chauffeur & luxury van transfers • Welcome packet • Club cleaning

A winning combination...

ESCORTED GOLF TOURS

PGA PRO GUIDE WITH TUITION Join us on one of our popular escorted tours. Suitable for golfers and non-golfers alike, our PGA pro will be your guide throughout.

South Africa, Mauritius, Bulgaria, Turkey...

TO SEE OUR RANGE OF GOLF HOLIDAYS, ESCORTED TOURS AND GOLF CRUISES PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE


GOLFNEWS.CO.UK

TRAVEL | FEBRUARY 2018 [63]

ME&MYTRAVELS

Alice Cooper, the 70-year-old rocker, has only two requirements for a successful holiday: his golf clubs and his long-suffering wife, Sheryl

My best ever holiday… was when my wife Sheryl and I went to Jamaica a couple of years back after we'd been on tour for two years staying in a different Holiday Inn every night. We travelled with no luggage – we just jumped on a flight that showed up, and that was it. We bought a couple of pairs of shorts when we arrived, and just set off. We rented a car, and just found motels as we drove around the island – and did the same thing again the next day and then the next day, and it was really liberating, a real adventure. Sometimes the best holidays aren’t planned.

My ideal holiday resort… has got to be adjacent to a great golf course. I’ve got to play every day. I’m also one of those people who don't like peace and quiet. I enjoy going into the city and having something

■ THE SAVOY HOTEL, LONDON

to do at night – so the perfect place for me is a place like Hawaii.

She's an essential.

I always pack...

Nicklaus' Muirfield Village in Ohio . I don't know why, it just seems to fit my eye. It's just one of those courses where every single shot is a postcard. I’m a member at Phoenix Country Club in Arizona, so I play there when I’m at home. I'm also a member at Legends Trail in Scottsdale, King Kamehameha in Maui, a club in Germany, another in England, as well as several honorary memberships all over the world. Wherever I am I just get up every morning and play golf.

my golf clubs. I took up the game over 35 years ago and once played 36 holes every day for a year. I got my handicap down to five back then and now play off around nine, aged 70. I still play most days, even when I'm on the road. We get up early and tee off around 7.30am. I must play 250 rounds a year on average.

My ideal holiday partner is… my wife, Sheryl. We've been married 41 years, and she is my best friend. We hang out together, we have the same sense of humour, the same everything.

The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island

My favourite golf course is… Jack

■ MUIRFIELD VILLAGE, OHIO

The best hotel I've stayed in is… The Savoy in London. Back in the day it was a little bit snooty, but it was this traditional, old British institution, and I really liked staying there. I also loved the Peninsula in Bangkok, which was unbelievably luxurious, and the Meridian in Cyprus, where our suite had its own swimming pool. You opened the door to the patio and it overlooked the

Mediterranean.

My best piece of travel advice is… to throw your watch away if you're going to go some place where it's going to be a huge time change. The whole idea behind a holiday is to not worry about time.

My worst holiday… was in Barbados. Sheryl and I once went there and not only did we lose all the luggage en route, but as soon as we

arrived we caught a hurricane, so we spent five days in the hotel room watching the trees blow away. We were trapped. It was a total waste of time.

When on holiday I always…. drink bottled water, even when I brush my teeth. If you drink tap water everywhere you're going to end up with so many microbes in your system that it's inevitable that you're

The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island

going to get dysentery.

The thing I hate about holidays… are timetables. I refuse to go on tourist packages where they give you a schedule. That to me is like being on tour. That's not a holiday. Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock 'n' Roller's 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict is available from www.amazon.co.uk priced £10.99.

Oak Point Golf Course, Kiawah Island

Wild Dunes Links Course, Isle of Palms

Travel to a place where there’s always something new to discover. Bask in Southern sunshine all year long, wander through a picturesque tea plantation or tee off amid mountaintops and rolling sand dunes all in the same day. Start planning your trip today and find out why South Carolina is Just Right for holidays.

SouthCarolinaGolf.co.uk


MAX MAX

Faster Face Faster Face Engineered to

Engineered to increase flexing increase flexing and deliver a and deliver a powerful sound powerful sound and feel, the and feel, the forged T9S+ face forged T9S+ face produces hotter produces hotter ball speeds for ball speeds for more distance. more distance.

G400 G400 G400 MAX G400 MAX

G400 MAX G400 MAX A great fit for

A great fit for players looking to players looking to add distance add distance through stability through stability and forgiveness. and forgiveness. Š PING 2018 Š PING 2018

7,474 7,474

7,832 7,832

6,587 6,587

7,636 7,636

6,000 6,000

7,720 7,720

8,000 8,000

9,263 9,263

10,000 10,000

9,902 9,902

Both the G400 Max and Both the G400 Max and G400 drivers have combined G400 drivers have combined moment-of-inertia ( MOI ) moment-of-inertia ( MOI ) measurements exceeding measurements exceeding 9,200 [G-CM 22 ], elevating 9,200 [G-CM ], elevating forgiveness levels to new forgiveness levels to new heights and resulting in the heights and resulting in the tightest dispersion in golf. tightest dispersion in golf. That means more consistent That means more consistent distance and accuracy, round distance and accuracy, round after round. Visit a PING Fitting after round. Visit a PING Fitting Specialist or PING.com today. Specialist or PING.com today.

Moment-of-inertia Moment-of-inertia(MOI) (MOI)

* MOI to the MAX MOI to the MAX *

Competitors Competitors

* MOI comparisons as of January 1, 2018 * MOI comparisons as of January 1, 2018

G400 G400 Streamlined shape

Streamlined shape increases speed increases speed throughout swing. throughout swing. Also available in Also available in G400 LST and G400 LST and G400 SFT. G400 SFT.

G400 Max (460cc) G400 Max (460cc) compared to compared to G400 (445cc) G400 (445cc)

Golf News February 2018  
Golf News February 2018