ISSUE 274 | APRIL 2018 | TWITTER: @GOLFNEWSMAG | WEB: GOLFNEWS.CO.UK
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WHY THE GRASS ISN’T ALWAYS GREENER
macking a drive out of sight down the middle of the fairway is surely one of the most satisfying shots in golf. OK, it’s great to hit one close with a wedge, or hole a snaking 30-foot putt, but for a pure shot of adrenalin, connecting with the centre of the clubface and watching your ball soar towards the green yonder is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on. Course managers and head greenkeepers in the UK must dread the Masters. While for us golfers it signals the beginning of a new season, and the prospect of warm spring days and longer evenings enticing us out on to the course, for the world-weary greenkeeper it spells nothing but trouble from members and visitors with unrealistic expectations. It’s as predictable as a Man Utd comeback that club golfers tuning into this month’s coverage from Augusta will return to their clubs and wonder why their course isn’t quite so picture perfect. With the stimp running at 13, and fairways smoother a Gary Linker Match of the Day sign off, comparing Augusta to almost any other course in the UK at this time of the year is like putting a polished apple up against an avocado that’s on the turn (i.e. not very similar). It’s long been known that the groundsmen at Augusta dye the ponds blue to hide the algae, and spray paint the grass green to disguise the occasional lack of spring growth, but these are not steps the average course manager can take when looking to smarten up their golf course. Never mind the 25 gang mowers, hundreds of staff, and limitless maintenance budget. So please don’t give your hard-working greenkeepers any lip about why your course isn’t up to Tour-standard conditions in April or May – especially given the awful winter we’ve just endured. By all means have a pop if there are stones coming up through the bunkers, or if the flag has been put two inches from the front bunker at the short 4th, but the quality, or otherwise, of the sward is usually down to Mother Nature at this time of year, not human error. On the flip side, I would encourage course managers to open up better lines of communication with the members,
The International Course is the proud host of the 2018 Staysure PGA Seniors Championship posting regular updates about course conditions on club websites and on clubhouse noticeboards, explaining why things are the way they are, and what members can expect in the future. Many have done just that, and the power of social media has allowed even more instant channels of chat, ensuring that no-one should arrive at a club without knowing that there are temporary greens or half the course is under water. Talking of Augusta, it would be remiss of me not to hand out congratulations, if not very warm or hearty ones, to Patrick Reed for adding a 44-inch green jacket to his already jam-packed golfing wardrobe. While from a British and golfing history point of view, I was cheering on Rory McIlroy, and from a betting angle was rather hoping that Jordan Spieth would have added three more birdies to his paltry tally of 21 over the week, I take my hat off to anyone who can get his head in front on Friday afternoon at Augusta and stay there until Sunday evening. With a short but notable history of wavering when hitting the front, Reed showed remarkably few nerves over the weekend, and, when required to par the last in front of a crowd that seemed to be largely made up of Rickie Fowler fans, the 28-year-old Texan came up with the goods when it mattered most. Rory, meanwhile, will live to fight another day, but days when you’re in the final group on Sunday at Augusta don’t come around very often, and I hope it’s not one he comes to rue as his search for the elusive grand slam continues.
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From 2-5 August www.londongolf.co.uk
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APRIL 2018 | NEWS
GET YOUR STOPWATCHES OUT – IT’S GOLFSIXES TIME! G
olf fans will have to be quick off the mark to catch the return of GolfSixes to UK shores this year, as the speeded-up format takes place over just two days at Centurion Club in St Albans next month. The fast-paced competition, which is being held over the weekend of May 5-6, will see 16 two-player teams battle it out for a prize fund of €1 million, with the winners receiving €100,000 each. The teams will compete over six holes in a group stage comprised of four groups of four, before the top two from each group progress to the knockout stages – then the quarter-finals, semi-finals, third/fourth place play-off match, and the final. In the group stages, three points will be given for victory, with one point awarded for a draw. The matches will be played in a greensomes match play format. Once again the six holes will be themed, with the 'shot clock' hole returning - with a penalty imposed if players take longer than 30 seconds per shot - alongside the long drive and closest-to-the-pin holes. Matt Wallace and Eddie Pepperell can expect full support from the home crowd when they tee it up for England, the highest ranked
WORLD OF GOLF NEW MALDEN SOLD TO HOLMES INVESTMENT
property firm that is creating a number of adventure parks around the UK has bought the World of Golf driving range and adventure golf course in New Malden, Surrey for £500,000. Holmes Investment Properties (HIP), which last year teamed up with leisure entrepreneur David Lloyd to build four £7m, 60,000-square foot sites each year over the next five years, has purchased the south London facility, creating the company’s first open leisure venue. Facilities at the Beverly Way-based site currently comprise a 24-bay, floodlit driving range, and an 18-hole
dinosaur-themed adventure golf course. There is also an American Golf retail outlet on site. The site was owned by Ashtour Ltd, who purchased the venue in 2012 for an estimated £9m. Grant Wright, now managing director of Holmes Investment Properties Entertainment, owned Ashtour. The management of the New Malden site will be integrated into the company’s HIP Entertainment subsidiary. Speaking about the sale, Wright said: “I am very excited about this synergistic opportunity. This purchase allows HIP
■ DENMARK WILL BE DEFENDING THE GOLFSIXES TITLE, WHILE EDDIE PEPPERELL AND MATT WALLACE WILL REPRESENT ENGLAND
team of the eleven qualifying teams who join defending champions Denmark and four wildcard entries to form the 16-team field in the second staging of the six-hole competition. The confirmed qualified teams from around the world are: England, France, Australia, Thailand, Italy, South Korea, South Africa, USA, Spain, Scotland and Sweden. The England duo will come to the tournament in good form. Pepperell claimed his maiden European Tour victory at the Qatar Masters in February, while Wallace won a play-off against countryman Andrew Johnston to win the Hero Indian Open earlier this month, and is now looking forward to teeing it up in the unique
■ GRANT WRIGHT, MD OF HOLMES INVESTMENT PROPERTIES
GolfSixes event for the first time. The-27 year-old Londoner said: “Playing in front of a home crowd is an exciting prospect and something I’ve always looked forward to. Last year, it looked as if there were a lot of kids enjoying the whole experience, so it should be a lot of fun to play in front of so many young fans and hopefully get them excited about golf.” He added: “I think it’s a great idea to have new and different formats like this on the European Tour, and, with the wildcard teams in the mix this year, there could be some intriguing match ups. Eddie and I have both had good starts to the year, and the chance
to merge its activities with Ashtour, bringing experience, expertise, cash flow and profit. The purchase of Ashtour brings HIP its first fully functioning leisure site and ensures the venue roll out schedule is on plan. We have ambitious plans for the site, and we aim to invest in an effort to boost revenue for future years.” Martin Helme, HIP'S CEO said: “Ashtour is the perfect fit for HIP. Firstly, we have bought a going concern with cash flow and on-going profit. Secondly, we are bringing on board a professional team of leisure specialists, who will help us expand our current business. Thirdly, some of the elements of the Ashtour site – in particular, the adventure golf activity – will now be expanded into many of our forthcoming leisure centres."
NEWS | APRIL 2018
FRILFORD HEATH TO HOST REGIONAL OPEN QUALIFYING
F to team up to represent England is really exciting. I’m sure we’ll have a good laugh on the course and hopefully give the home fans plenty to cheer about.” European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn and Solheim Cup Captain Catriona Matthew will become the first male and female professionals to play together in a competitive match play format on the European Tour when they form the ‘Captains' Team’ as one of the four wildcard entries. An ‘England Women’s Team’ comprising Charley Hull and Georgia Hall will be joined by a ‘European Women’s Team’ of Norwegian Suzann Pettersen and England’s Mel Reid, with the final wildcard team to be confirmed shortly. Tickets for GolfSixes, costing for £16 for adults and £5 for children, are available to buy online from www.eventbrite.com.
GOODWOOD SIGNS GEORGIA HALL AS CLUB AMBASSADOR
olf At Goodwood has announced the signing of 2017 Ladies European Tour Order of Merit winner player Georgia Hall as a club ambassador. Recently voted England’s Most Welcoming Club, Golf At Goodwood has always been keen to nurture and encourage talent in the game and will provide a UK base from which Hall will compete on the LPGA Tour in 2018. Hall’s rise to the highest level of the women’s game has been exceptional, and her performance in the 2017 Solheim Cup really made the golfing world stand up and take notice. She has very quickly embraced the ethos of Golf At Goodwood and the club is thrilled that she has taken on the ambassador role. She said: “I have been made to feel so welcome at Goodwood since moving into the area. I can see
rilford Heath Golf Club is to host regional qualifying for the Open Championship this summer for the third consecutive year. The 110-year old club, with is set among 500 acres of heathland just south of Oxford, boasts three courses, but Open qualifiers will compete over the Red Course on June 25. Club chairman Alistair Booth said: "We've held a few R&A events in the past, but to secure Regional Open Qualifying in 2016 was obviously a great thrill to us all at the club. We've worked hard to ensure the club is at a level that would be acceptable to the R&A to be able to host an event like this for the most prestigious
tournament in the world.” He added: "The Open is the ultimate event, and it is important that we put on an event that is not only acceptable to the R&A, but to give the players the feeling that they've played on a good quality course. The Red Course, which was orginally designed by JH Taylor, is now over 7,000 yards off the championship tees and will test all areas of a player’s game. You can't just simply take a driver out on every par four or five and blast it – it does
require a little bit of strategic thinking.” Frilford’s membership is always keen to get involved in the event, with many volunteering to help ensure the tournament runs smoothly. Booth said: "The members do still get excited. People want to know what volunteering positions they can help with, whether it's out on the driving range or marshalling out on the course. We've got some excellent people who absolutely love doing the starting at these events.”
■ FRILFORD HEATH'S RED COURSE WILL HOST OPEN QUALIFYING IN JUNE
why the club was voted Most Welcoming Club at the recent England Golf Awards. It will be the perfect base for me when I am home.” She added: “The Downs Course is a superb test, the academy provides great practice facilities, and the health club has a perfect gym for me to make sure I can work on all the facets of my game when I’m not on tour. It’s great to see first-hand all the work going on in terms of growing the game with both the juniors and women’s Get Into Golf programmes, and I look forward to helping the team with this vision.” Stuart Gillett, Golf at Goodwood’s general manager, said; “Georgia has always had an association with the south coast, and with her move further east we are delighted she has chosen Goodwood to be her home club. We are thrilled she has felt at home so quickly at Goodwood; the challenge of the Downs Course and our other facilities will provide her with a suitable training ground where she can hone her skills and continue her rise to the top of the women’s game. She has become a global player and I am sure she will be challenging for Major honours this year and, who knows, we may have our second Major champion after Justin Rose’s win at Merion in 2013.”
APRIL 2018 | NEWS
EUROPEAN TOUR BOSS CALLS ON CLUBS TO
■ KEITH PELLEY
‘INNOVATE’ TO HELP GROW THE GAME T
he chief executive of the European Tour has called on all golf clubs to share ideas and create new and innovative competition formats in order to help grow the game at all levels. Speaking at the European Tour Properties Conference, held at the London Golf Club in Kent last month, Keith Pelley’s keynote speech to delegates outlined ways for golf to attract new audiences. Pelley said: “I believe bringing venues together and sharing ideas is absolutely critical to grow the game. We know that golf needs to modify itself and extend the demographic – and the best way to do this is to share ideas. Those ideas are not only coming from the European Tour; it is a time for us to listen and hear what is going on out there in the market place, and then we can adapt.” Pelley emphasised the importance of new, entertaining formats to
reach and engage larger audiences, highlighting GolfSixes, the shortformat competition that is being held at the Centurion Club next month, and the opportunity for clubs to adapt the format for their own competitions. He also encouraged venues to embrace ‘customer-centric innovation’, specifically referencing Topgolf, golf simulators, and innovative apps such as eGull Pay, a new payment system that enables golfers to play-and-pay by the hole.
HILUTA BOOSTS ROYAL MID-SURREY’S PRO TEAM
oyal Mid-Surrey Golf Club has strengthened it team of PGA professionals with the appointment of Alice Hiluta. She joins the club as an assistant professional after completing a degree in social behavioural science at Mount San Jacinto College in America, where she was awarded AllConference honours two years running. Originally from Essex, where she was a member at Chelmsford Golf Club as a junior and represented the county at junior and ladies level, Hiluta’s new role at Royal Mid-Surrey will
see her working alongside seven other professionals at the teaching academy, providing lessons for beginners and longstanding members. The Richmond-based club has a thriving women’s section, with over 300 female members across the various categories. Speaking about her new role, Hiluta said: “After spending some time studying in the States and working in the City, I couldn’t ignore my desire to coach any longer and decided to pursue a career in golf. Since turning pro, I haven’t looked back, and I’m really looking
■ ALICE HILUTA
Tournament hosting was also a key topic during the conference. Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Europe director, and Paul Armitage, general manager of Le Golf National, presented insights on preparations for the 2018 Ryder Cup and the Open de France, a Rolex Series event. Stephen Follett, chief executive of London Golf Club, also spoke about the benefits of tournament hosting, from the European Masters and the Volvo World Match Play to the inaugural Staysure PGA Seniors Championship, which will take place at the club this August.
WESTERHAM’S NEW CLUBHOUSE SET FOR SUMMER OPENING
forward to encouraging members to play and enjoy the game more – especially juniors – at what is a very special club.” Head Professional Matthew Paget added: “We’re delighted to welcome Alice to our team of teaching professionals,
and proud to be one of the few clubs in the UK to have a full-time female professional. "Royal Mid-Surrey has the largest ladies’ section in England, and we believe the addition of Alice will help maintain the high standards of play here.”
he construction of an extension to Westerham Golf Club’s clubhouse is well under way, with the new section of the building on course to open in June. The two-storey extension, which is being carried out by Westerham-based builders Bisley Contracting, will provide valuable extra space at the Kent-based club to host events for members and visiting groups. The ground floor sports lounge, which is adjacent to the existing spike bar, will offer a private dining facility and terrace for golf groups, while bi-fold doors will open onto an extended patio to provide the perfect setting to watch golfers play over the lake into the 18th green. The new lounge will be fitted with state-of-the-art AV equipment to show live sporting events. On the first floor, the Eleanor Suite boasts its own private terrace and entrance, providing the ideal setting for civil ceremonies or drinks receptions, with bi-fold doors and large windows offering stunning views over the lakes and golf course beyond.
NEWS | APRIL 2018
AMERICAN GOLF LONG DRIVE CHAMPS GOES ROGUE
he search is on once again to find the biggest hitters in the amateur game, with the launch of the 2018 American Golf Long Drive Championship. The event, which is now in its fourth year, aims to uncover the very best Long Drive talent in the under 45, over 45 and ladies categories, with the overall winners earning the chance to compete in the World Long Drive Championships in America. First stage qualifying will take place in every American Golf store in the UK between April 9 and May 4, giving golfers plenty of opportunity to qualify for the regional stages. Once through regionals, competitors will have the chance to challenge current champions Dan Konyk (under 45), Ilona Stubley (ladies) and Charles Seo (over 45) at the Grand Final for a place on the plane to the USA to compete in the World Long Drive Championships.
■ QUALIFIERS FOR THE AMERICAN GOLF LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP ARE BEING HELD IN-STORE UNTIL MAY 4
This year’s championship is being sponsored by Callaway Golf, which will be offering a range of great prizes to the winners, while every competitor will be given the chance to hit three shots with the company’s new Rogue driver, as well as three shots with their own driver. Callaway will be giving away a Rogue driver to
the person who gains the most yards using a Rogue compared to their own driver, plus there will be a weekly prize draw for anyone entering the competition. “Callaway have invested heavily in Long Drive over the last five years with multiple world European and World Champions winning with
Callaway product,” said Nick McInally, marketing director for Callaway Europe. “With American Golf taking the lead on Long Drive here in Europe, it was the natural fit for both brands to work together on this exciting event.” Matt Bacon, head of events at American Golf, added: “Every Long Drive competition throws up a new name from the ranks of the UK’s big hitting golfers, so we want people of all golfing abilities to vist it our stores, tee it high and let it fly. With the extended entry period, more shots to qualify, and more chances to win, this is set to be the most exciting year we’ve ever had.” To locate your nearest American Golf store, and find conditions of entry, visit americangolf.co.uk.
INVESTMENT PAYS DIVIDENDS AT COTTESMORE
ottesmore Golf & Country Club has teed off the new golfing season in style, following a host of investments on and off the golf courses that have enabled the popular West Sussex-based club to grow its membership. Last season saw significant time and resources spent on the Pease Pottage venue’s two parkland courses, the 18-hole Griffin and the nine-hole Phoenix, with the result being that they have never been in better condition. And the decision to change the Phoenix Course from an 18-hole layout to a shorter nine-hole course several seasons ago has also proved a successful one, with sales of the club's GolfLite membership, which offers unlimited use of the Phoenix course for just £299 per year, proving
a popular option for golfers who might not the time to play the full 18. Membership numbers are up five per cent year-on-year, as more and more golfers in the region have heard about the improvements that have taken place at the venue since it was brought back under family ownership several years ago. Last year also saw the full refurbishment of the pro shop, allowing treble the amount of retail space, while the summer marked the opening of the club’s new swing studio, which is equipped with stateof-the-art simulator technology. The hotel side of the resort has also received plenty of attention, with four new bedrooms being added this year, to take the total number of rooms available up to 24. Elsewhere, the hotel’s 15-metre
■ COTTESMORE HAS BENEFITTED FROM SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT IN ITS GOLF COURSES, PRO SHOP AND HOTEL
swimming pool has also been refurbished to give it a smart new look, while a new lift is being installed in the hotel to enable easier access.
General manager Johnny Porter said: “We are always looking to add more value to our member and visitor experience at Cottesmore. Everyone has worked so hard at the
club to make our vision a reality. I must thank our members, who have been so patient while all the improvements has been taking place.”
 APRIL 2018 | NEWS
BROTHERS CALLED TO ARMS AT CHISLEHURST Chislehurst Golf Club is hosting the 40th renewal of its Brothers’ Annual Amateur Foursomes on June 7-8. The two-day format will see pairs knock out for a chance to play in the final on the Friday afternoon. Those eliminated will still enjoy two days’ of golf, as they compete in the parallel element of the competition. To enter a team, which costs £180 per pair, visit www.chislehurstgolf.co.uk.
WOMEN’S GOLF DAY SET FOR JUNE 5 Women’s Golf Day, the global celebration of women and girls in golf, is returning for 2018, with all golfers and golf clubs being asking to do something to mark the occasion on Monday, June 5. The one-day event, which was first launched in 2016, aims to engage more women and girls in the game than ever before. Last year saw over 700 eventS take place in 46 countries, with the WomensGolfDay hashtag receiving more than 15 million impressions across Twitter and Instagram. To register to host a Women’s Golf Day event, visit womensgolfday. com/location-registration.
WENTWORTH RECEIVES AWARD FOR WEST COURSE OVERHAUL The greenkeeping team at Wentworth Club won the 2017 BIGGA Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year Award in recognition of the work carried out preparing the course for the BMW PGA Championship. The re-design of the Surrey club’s West Course was undertaken by European Tour Golf Design, with the support of Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn, and the Ernie Els Design group. But it was the club’s Director of Estates and Golf Courses Kenny Mackay and his team that were responsible for ensuring the changes were implemented ahead of the championship in May last year. All 18 greens were stripped of the old turf and re-seeded with a new creeping bent grass, while four greens were completely rebuilt. A sub-air system was also installed, while new drainage and irrigation was introduced, while all the bunkers were redesigned and reconstructed, with 29 completely removed.
CLOUGH’S IN CHARGE AT KINGS HILL Pedham Place professional Adam Clough shot a stunning eight-underpar 64 at Kings Hill to win the PGA Kent Closed Championship by five strokes. Taking home the winner’s cheque for £500, Clough asserted his dominance over a strong field comprising 84 of the county’s top PGA Professional and amateur golfers. Trailing behind in second was Knole Park’s Andrew Butterfield on 69, with amateur Wildernesse’s Charles Hickling’s 70 enough for third place and the leading amateur prize.
EDWARDS ON TOP AT KINGSWOOD QUALIFIER Portsmouth Golf Centre’s Rob Edwards and Manston’s Keely Chiericato topped the overall billing after winning their respective events in the Virgin Atlantic PGA South Order of Merit Qualifying School. Edwards had the lowest round in the third of three qualifying events, with a five-under par 67 at Kingswood, while Chiericato produced a winning 68 at Mid Kent. Back in mid-March at Sand Martins, Lewis Atkinson (Gerrards Cross) and Michael Bullen (Rustington) shared top honours with a pair of 69s.
FIELD ANSWERS CAPTAIN’S CALL E
ast Herts head professional Daniel Field is planning to make his mark during his year as the captain for the PGA in England East. Field was appointed onto the regional committee three years ago and is a long-serving committee member of the Hertfordshire PGA. He has been at East Herts since 2006, where he has been instrumental in developing a number of initiatives, including a well-attended pro-am. Field said: “I was very pleased to be asked to be captain. I feel like I’ve made an impact as part of the East region committee and that’s all I really want to do as the captain. My aim is to be available for all the members in our region if they’ve got any problems and want to come to me.”
■ THE ARSENAL V SPURS MATCH TAKES PLACE IN JUNE
■ DAN FIELD
As well as taking on a full set of responsibilities for the annual East Herts Pro-Am on June 29, Field will also be busy preparing for the 10th staging of the Arsenal v Spurs golf match. This has become a keenly anticipated fixture between the famous North London rivals and raises a lot of money for the Willow Foundation. Field added: “We have 11 Arsenal legends play 11
CAVERSHAM DRAWS UP PLANS TO KEEP IT AHEAD OF THE GAME
aversham Heath Golf Club in Berkshire is to develop a five-year strategic plan that will deliver continued improvement to its golf course and the whole membership experience. The Reading-based club’s management is taking six months to prepare and publish the blueprint for the club’s future. Caversham Heath’s 6,5400-yard parkland layout was designed by respected architect golf course David Williams and first opened for play in 2000. As part of the review process, Williams has carried out an evaluation of the course and produced a report to see if any changes or upgrades are needed. A £250,000 investment in new course machinery, which is due for delivery this month, will aid the renovation works. “The aim is to prepare the club for the coming years – not just to survive, but thrive,” said estates manager Robert Wytchard. “Included in our long-term plan is course development; clubhouse and facility development; machinery requirements; membership integration and stability; course utilization; food and beverage offering; social events; staff development, sales and marketing plans, alternative revenue streams and future budget requirements. We want to break down the plan into bite-size chunks which can be achieved." To that end, the club has recently appointed Rob Gumbrell, who has already worked on the review process, and has a proven track record of delivering results across a number of clubs, to oversee the management of the club on a part-time basis. His first focus will be on improving customer service both on and off the course, and developing the membership. He will also work with Wytchard and the club’s trustees on delivering the strategic direction for the future of the club and its members.
ROYAL NORWICH’S NEW HOME TAKES SHAPE
£10 million project to create one of East Anglia’s premier golf destinations is beginning to take shape at the former Weston Park Golf Club, which will be home to Royal Norwich Golf Club when it officially opens next summer. The two-year project began last year, when diggers moved in to begin a major renovation of the 18-hole layout, with the new design drawn up by Ross McMurray of architects European Golf Designs. Royal Norwich sold its home for the past 125 years in nearby Hellesdon to property developers Persimmon for £17m last year, and is using a large percentage of the proceeds to upgrade its new site at Weston Park. The club remains fully operational and will do so until the official switchover next year. The new location will include an extended clubhouse,
with a 200-seat restaurant and conference venue and revamped practice area, in addition to the 18-hole championship course and a sixhole academy course. Royal Norwich’s general manager, Phil Grice, said: “The aim is that this is the benchmark in East Anglia. That’s why we are working so hard to deliver something incredibly special. The tree corridors and draining that we have got allow us to create something that will have a very modern foundation, but on a piece of land that makes you think it’s been here for 200 years.”
The club’s 550-plus members voted to form a limited company to mastermind the move, rather than managing it themselves by committee. Weston Park’s staff and members have moved over to Hellesdon, and will transfer back when construction is complete. Seeding of the fairways on at least nine greens and four fairways took place on the 7,500-yard championship course last September, with the remainder completed earlier this year, giving the course the full season it needs to bed in before golfers tee off in 2019.
Spurs legends, alongside teams of three amateurs each. So it’s a 22-team Arsenal v Spurs match for a big trophy. We get former Arsenal players like Ian Wright, David Seaman. Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn and Bob Wilson, while Spurs normally calls upon the services of Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardilles, Darren Anderton and Martin Chivers.” As well as being busy organising events, Field is still hoping to carry on a full competitive schedule. He said: “I’m going to Open Qualifying for the first time in 15 years. The members are all behind me and I'm looking forward to giving it a good go."
COWDRAY UNVEILS NEWLOOK CLUBHOUSE
■ COWDRAY PARK’S CLUBHOUSE HAS UNDERGONE A MAJOR REFURBISHMENT
party was held at Cowdray Park Golf Club in West Sussex last month to celebrate the reopening of the venue’s clubhouse bar following a five-week refurbishment. Despite the snowy weather, a large group of Cowdray members and staff gathered in the newly redecorated bar at the Midhurst-based venue to toasts its re-opening with canapés and Prosecco. Alongside Cowdray members, the party was attended by Cowdray Park’s chief executive Jonathan Russell, director of golf Tim Allen, head chef Jon Lander, food and beverage manager Tony Dark, and bar manager Chris Strudwick. Following the renovations, the club now boasts a dedicated dining area in the bar, a casual seating area, where visitors can relax and enjoy food and drink, and a soft seating area. In the bar area there is a new trophy cabinet enabling all the club’s trophies to be on display together for the first time. Lady Cowdray oversaw the interior design of the clubhouse, ensuring that the room is stylish, modern and welcoming. On the bar’s walls are stunning new images of the golf course and the clubhouse by local photographer and club member Chris Orange. Speaking at the launch, Tim Allen said: “We are delighted with the improvements, and hope that everyone – members, visitors and families - will come and enjoy these smart new surroundings.” The club’s pro shop has also been refurbished, with a new display area for shoes, clothing and equipment. The shop, which is run by Shaun Clarke, has recently joined Foremost Golf, the largest golf retail group in the UK, and members are now able to order golf products at very competitive prices from top suppliers. In order to celebrate the new-look facilities the club is hosting an open day on Saturday, May 5 from 10-am-3pm, where all are welcome to experience what the club has to offer. To find out more, visit www.cowdray.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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■ MATT WALLACE SHOWS OFF HIS INDIAN OPEN TROPHY AT MOOR PARK GOLF CLUB
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 APRIL 2018 | NEWS
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WALLACE RETURNS TO WINNING WAYS H
ertfordshire’s Matt Wallace has given himself an outside shot at Ryder Cup selection after capturing his second European Tour title at last month’s Indian Open. The Moor Park man doubled his tally of wins on professional golf’s elite circuit when beating fellow Englishman Andrew Johnston in a dramatic playoff at Delhi’s DLF Golf and Country Club. The 27-year-old Londoner, who won the Portugal Open last May, fired a closing 68 to finish the Indian Open on 11 under par, a total that was matched by compatriot
Johnston, who recorded an impressive final round 66. The pair replayed the par-five 18th hole in the playoff, with Wallace hitting his tee shot 80 yards past Johnston to give himself an early advantage. Wallace then found the green in two with a brilliant four-iron from over 200 yards, while Johnston was forced to lay up. And when Johnston’s 20-foot birdie putt lipped out, Wallace calmly twoputted from 15 feet to take the title. Speaking after the win, Wallace said: “I'm ecstatic. I played some amazing golf this week. Beef really had a great round today, because
I was playing fantastic, and thought I might have been a few more clear. I hit some really good shots in that play-off. I pumped it down there on the last, and then the four iron went even further than I thought it would, so I was jacked up a bit. To hit two shots like that is exactly why I play the game and I am so happy to get my name on the trophy.” Victory moved Wallace up to 14th in the Race to Dubai rankings, and also jumped him into the world’s top 100 for the first time, moving to 93rd from 151st. With two wins to his name after only 32 tour appearances, Wallace has enjoyed a stunning start to his European Tour career. After turning pro aged 22, he spent four years trying to scratch a living on the Alps Tour, a satellite circuit that offers just €5,000 to
its winners. After finishing 28th, 23rd and 11th on the money list in his first three seasons, he rocketed into the limelight when winning six Alps Tour events in 2016, and then continued his hot form when bagging his European Tour card through qualifying school. In the last 18 months, Wallace has won close to a million pounds in prize money, and is well on the way to becoming one of the tour’s most consistent performers. “I still have to pinch myself sometimes that this is really happening,” says Wallace. “I’m trying to enjoy every minute, and not get carried away with what may or may not happen. Ryder Cups, and things like that, are a long way from my mind right now. I just want to carry on playing the best golf that I can, and see where it takes me.”
DAVIES ROLLS BACK THE YEARS TO SECURE BEST FINISH FOR A DECADE
aura Davies says she hopes people will stop asking about her retirement plans after she recorded her best finish since 2007 at the LPGA Founders Cup in Arizona. The 54-year-old from Surrey finished joint second on 14 under par with American Marina Alex and Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand. They were all five shots behind winner Inbee Park of South Korea. "At 54, I still feel like I can hit the ball as well as most of the really good players out here," Davies said. "I know I've been playing really well, and I haven't had the results to reflect that." Davies, in her 32nd year on Tour, carded a three-underpar 69 in her final round for her first top-10 finish since 2014. Her last Tour win came in 2001. She would have become the oldest champion in LPGA Tour history had she won. "I'm just delighted the way the week has turned out," added
the four-time major winner, who has 84 professional wins to her name. "This is incredible, really. I was four-over after six holes and now I've finished tied second. Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire – that's the best thing about it. "I can just go and play and see if I can get a few more top-10 finishes this year, because the more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again." Davies is a brand ambassador for Lynx Golf, and was playing with a Lynx Black Cat driver, Lynx Parallax irons and Lynx Prowler wedges. Lynx Golf CEO Steve Elford said: “This was a magnificent performance and everyone at Lynx was so excited watching Laura take on the youngsters and show she still has what it takes to compete at the very highest level. To see Laura flying the Lynx flag so proudly on the LPGA Tour, and proving that our products are up with the very best, was so exciting for all of our team.”
NEWS | APRIL 2018
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 BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW
STARS REV UP FOR BMW ACTION
STARS OF SPORT & MUSIC SET TO ROCK THE WENTWORTH CROWDS THE BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP offers fun for all the family on and off the golf course, with a star-studded ProAm, five-star hospitality in the tented village, and evening entertainment from top music acts. In addition to the four tournament days, Wednesday’s Celebrity Pro-Am has become something of a hot ticket in itself, with stars from stage, screen and sport queuing up to join the game’s top players to take on the West Course. With shotgun starts at 8am and 1.15pm, the Pro-Am
Europe’s top players will be back in action at next month’s BMW PGA Championship, where a coveted trophy, €7m in prize money, and vital Ryder Cup points, will all be up for grabs at Wentworth Club
hile the Masters is often regarded as ‘where the season starts’, it is the first tee shot at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club that signals the true beginning of the golfing year as far as UK golf fans are concerned. I don’t know whether it’s the familiarity of the iconic West Course, or the fact that it’s often one of the first weeks of the year when jumpers are no longer required, but the BMW PGA Championship is the tournament that really signals the beginning of the golf season proper. The competition for this year’s Championship certainly looks as hot as ever, with the cream of the European Tour converging on ‘headquarters’ to battle it out for one of the oldest and most valuable titles on the circuit. This year marks the 64th renewal of the tournament, and promises to offer up one of the strongest fields in recent times, as the top players gather to earn some vital Race to Dubai and Ryder Cup points as competition hots up for places in Thomas Bjorn’s team in Paris in September.
IT'S ALWAYS A GOOD WEEK. IF WENTWORTH GETS GOOD WEATHER, AND HOPEFULLY WE DO, THE CROWDS ARE AWESOME, THE GOLF COURSE IS GREAT, AND THE AREA IS BEAUTIFUL RORY MCILROY
This year’s Championship also marks the first tournament in the European Tour’s Rolex Series, a schedule of eight tournaments across the season that are supported by the Swiss watchmaker, along with the tournament’s headline sponsor, to guarantee a minimum prize fund of €7million at each event. The headline star of the Wentworth show will undoubtedly be Rory McIlroy, who won the event in 2014, but missed last year's tournament due to a rib injury, and will be returning to the Surrey venue for what will be his first appearance in Europe in 2018. McIlroy, who has committed to playing in the first of the eight Rolex Series events, has enjoyed a positive start to his 11th season on tour, securing top-three finishes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA Tour only last month. His tilt at the completing the grand slam at the Masters fell sadly short, and the world No.7 will no doubt be keen to put that disappointment behind him as he embarks on the next phase of his tour schedule.
■ SIMPLE MINDS
provides a great chance to get up close to your favourite personalities. This year’s event will feature 60 sporting celebrities, including former Manchester United legends Paul Scholes, Peter Schmeichel and Michael Carrick.
Speaking about his return to the PGA Championship, McIlroy said: "I'm looking forward to going back to Wentworth. I haven't played there in a couple of years, but from what I've seen, with the new grass that they've put in, it looks a much better golf course, and a much more playable golf course. "It was always a great track, but sometimes it could get very tricky with some of the lies you could get. For Wentworth to re-grass the place, and for it to look as good as it does, is great, and I'm looking forward to playing it. The four-time Major winner added: "It's always a good week. If Wentworth gets good weather, and hopefully we do, the crowds are awesome, the golf course is great, and the area is beautiful. “I've had a weird relationship with Wentworth. I had the win there back in 2014, but I haven't really done much else. I think I had a top-five back in 2009, but it's been a place of high frustration for me, so I'm looking forward to going back and trying to solve the puzzle again. At least I do have good memories there." Among other players bidding for PGA glory will be defending champion Alex Noren, who blitzed the field with a final round 62 to take the title 12 months ago, while 2017 Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood will also be looking to add the title to his already impressive golfing CV. Paul Casey, who lifted the PGA title in 2009, is making a rare appearance on the European Tour as he bids to seal his place in Thomas Bjorn’s Ryder Cup team. The 40-year-old from Surrey, who used to come to watch the tournament with his dad back in the 1980s, rejoined the European Tour this year, but only has to play in one other event in Europe besides Wentworth in order to meet the new Ryder Cup qualifying criteria. “To have played in the PGA Championship as many times as I have, and to have won it, and then having taken a little bit of a break, means I have so many wonderful memories,” said Casey, who has risen to 13th in the world rankings following his recent PGA Tour win. “I am truly, genuinely excited about making my return. Wentworth has a special place in my heart. I love the course and love everything about it, and I would love to win another one.” The BMW PGA Championship marks the start of a critical point in the Ryder Cup qualification campaign, with points earned at European Tour events from Wentworth until the end of August multiplied by one-and-a-half on both the world and the European points lists in order to ensure Bjørn has in-form players in his squad. Last year, over 113,000 fans flowed through the turnstiles during the week to watch the action unfold, and that number looks set to be matched as golf fans flock to see Europe’s finest golfers fight it out for the honour of being crowned BMW PGA Champion. Who will emerge triumphant remains to be seen, but it’s guaranteed to be an enthralling contest.
BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW | APRIL 2018
The entertainment doesn’t stop after the golf has finished either, with London band Rudimental and Scottish rock legends Simple Minds headlining the BMW Show Stage over the weekend, bringing a suitably spectacular close to the third and fourth day of the championship. Ahead of their upcoming third album, Simple Minds 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. Simple Minds’ frontman Jim Kerr said: “We’re very excited to bring the curtain down on what promises to be an enthralling week on the golf course. Bringing music
to a golf event is a fantastic idea, and we are relishing the chance to be part of it.” For golf and music fans, an afternoon session ticket is available (see below), which allows general admission from 1pm onwards on Saturday or Sunday. For tickets, visit www.europeantour.com/
tickets or call 01344 840550.
Tuesday 22 May, Practice Day................................£10 Wednesday 23 May, Celebrity Pro-Am............£25 Thursday 24 May..............................................................£35 Friday 25 May.....................................................................£47 Saturday 26 May, Rd 3..................................................£47 Sunday 27 May, Rd 4.....................................................£50
CONCESSIONS Thurs/Fri: £25/£35; Sat: £35; Sun: £40 Allows admission to blue badge holders, customers 60 and over and students on production of a valid student ID. All under 16s go free with a paying adult (max 4 per adult)
SEASON TICKET (MAY 22-27, TUES-SUN) Adults £105; Concessions £85
WEEKEND TICKET (MAY 26-27, SAT & SUN) Adults £80; Concessions £60 All prices are valid until May 20th.
THE AFTERNOON SESSION (May 26-27, Sat & Sun) Saturday: £40; Sunday: £45 The Afternoon Session Saturday or Sunday Ticket is valid from 1pm onwards only. These also include access to the evening concerts which begin at approximately 6.15pm.
GRANDSTAND SEATING ■ EUROPEAN NO.1 TOMMY FLEETWOOD
Reserved seating in the 18th green grandstand is available for pre-booking. Tickets are priced at £10 for Thursday, £13 for Friday and £15 for Saturday. Sunday seating is already sold out. There are free grandstands at the 14th and 16th holes.
Book online at www.europeantour.com or call 01344 840550.
Play starts at 7am on May 24-25. Other times are subject to numbers making the cut. The Celebrity Pro-Am on May 23 consists of two shotgun starts at 8am and 1.15pm.
A limited amount of on-site parking, at a cost of £13 on Sunday and £12 for all other days, is available for customers who pre-book tickets online. There will be no parking charge for BMW owners and official badge holders. A free Park & Ride system will operate between 6.30am-9pm from two locations – one near Sunningdale, carrying traffic from the West (M3 and M4) and one at Ascot Racecourse. Both parks will operate a free shuttle bus service to Wentworth every five minutes, with the journey taking 15-20 minutes.
TRAIN ■ DEFENDING BMW PGA CHAMPION ALEX NOREN
Virginia Water is served by regular trains from London Waterloo, which take 41 minutes. A free bus shuttle service will be operating from the station to the course during tournament days. ■ RORY MCILROY WILL BE AMONG THE TOP-CLASS FIELD ASSEMBLED AT WENTWORTH
 APRIL 2018 | NEWS
GOLF ACCESS OPENS UP GAME FOR ALL RICHMOND RAISES £50K FOR RAINBOW TRUST Richmond Golf Club succeeded in raising £51,000 for the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity after a year of fundraising events at the Surrey club. The Trust helps families who have a child with a life-threatening illness make the most of their time together, and the money will be enough to fund a family support worker for over a year. Richmond Club captains Club captains Grant Elner and Gill Howell said: “This is the largest total we have raised in many years and we had many favourable comments from our members with regards to the presentations and literature given at our charity days, together with a good understanding of how our donations will be used.”
OLD FOLD DIGS DEEP FOR EQUINE CHARITY Old Fold Manor Golf Club raised £10,374 for the Stables Horse Activity Centre in Barnet after a year of fundraising activities. The centre works disadvantaged people in the Barnet area, giving riding lessons and work experience. The sum was raised through a variety of championships, including the Faldo Junior Series, the Hertfordshire Ladies County Championship and the Hertfordshire Colts Championship.
BRACKLEY WINS Manston’s Max Brackley shot a fourunder-par 68 around The London Golf Club’s International course to win the eighth PGA South Winter Series event. Taking home the £500 winner’s cheque, Brackley pipped Wexham Park’s Craig Ainsley by one shot. The leading assistant’s prize for the ball, glove and shoe contract with Titleist & FootJoy went to Stoke Park’s Jon White who tied for third spot on two under par.
new UK-wide initiative aimed at combating one of the main barriers to entry for young golfers to the game has been launched. Created by PGA Professional Simon Wood, and launched last autumn, Golf Access is essentially a short course format of the game with a new scoring system. Golfers play from a shortened version of a club’s main course, with the maximum length hole being 250 yards, and a set of permanent tees set out over nine holes. There are nine different coloured scoring levels for players to attain, with each level represented by a wristband, and certificates for juniors and a poker chip ball marker for adults. “The central concept of Golf Access is to create a golf course and to create a first impression of golf,” said Wood, who has held teaching posts at Selsdon Park, Yelverton and Elfordleigh, as well as being a County Development Officer in Cornwall. “Learning the game through playing on a real golf course gives a much more enjoyable experience to the new participants than practising on a driving range. Golf Access provides beginners a step-by-step map of their progress in the game. It also offers incentives to improve their scores until they are ready to attain an official club handicap and progress to the standard tees.” In the short time since its inception, almost 50 clubs and short courses have signed up to become Golf Access Centres. Currently mainly located in the South of
■ GOLF ACCESS IN ACTION AT TEIGNMOUTH
England, the clubs that have joined the initiative are already seeing the benefits of introducing this new format. “Golf Access came at a really good time for us as a club,” said Teignmouth Golf Club’s Director of Golf Rob Selley. “We were struggling to convert the juniors from the Saturday morning coaching into becoming regular players with handicaps. We now organise a junior night every Monday evening off the forward tees using the Golf Access process.” Selley continued: “The Golf Access structure gives the juniors the motivation to improve through learning the game on the golf course, and all they talk about is progressing to the next level! We will have some juniors that will attain a CONGU handicap this summer that started Golf Access at the beginning of the year.” The cost of a golf club signing up to Golf Access starts from £210 and this includes a support pack, promotional material, and Golf Access products for up to 15 adults and 15 juniors. For more information, call Simon Wood on 01752 847600, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.golfaccess.co.uk.
TRICK-SHOT ARTIST DEAN DAVIS TEAMS UP WITH LEADERBOARD
orld-renowned trick-shot artist Dean Davis has been appointed an ambassador for the Leaderboard Group, owner of three golf resorts in the South East. Davis has delighted golfers all over the UK, and the rest of the golfing globe, for many years with his finely-honed trick shot display. Ideal for corporate events, golf club anniversaries and product launches, Davis’s entertaining show provides a suitably inspiring beginning or end to any day on the golf course. The Leaderboard Group portfolio of venues
■ DEAN DAVIS (RIGHT) WITH CARL RUNDGREN
comprises Dale Hill in East Sussex, Sandford Springs in Hampshire and The Oxfordshire Golf Club in Thame, which Davis, who is also a qualified PGA professional, will use as his base for providing tuition to clients. Speaking about the new partnership, Davis said: ’I am thrilled and delighted to become an ambassador for the Leaderboard Group, which
has some of the finest courses in the south of the country. I will be based at The Oxfordshire, where I will also be undertaking my lessons and practising my new golf tricks. I am looking forward to showcasing the Leaderboard brand at the many events I attend throughout the year with my golf trick shot show both in the UK and Europe.” Carl Rundgren, general manager at The Oxfordshire, added: ‘I am delighted that Dean has joined the teaching team at The Oxfordshire and will be a Leaderboard brand ambassador when travelling the UK and abroad with his golf trick shot show. Dean brings to the club over 20 years of teaching experience, along with the quirkier side of his business, his trick shot show, which I know our members will find most interesting when he is practicing these shots on the range. I would like wish him all the very best as his journey with The Oxfordshire and Leaderboard begins.”
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COMPETITION | APRIL 2018
FIVE PAIRS OF SEASON TICKETS FOR THE BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP TO BE WON! Golf News is delighted to offer five lucky readers the opportunity to win a pair of season tickets for the 2018 BMW PGA Championship, played over the famous West Course at Wentworth Club, Surrey, on May 24-27
The season tickets are worth £210 a pair, and the lucky winners will be able to attend all six days of the championship, including the practice day, the Pro-Am day, both of the weekend evening rock concerts, and four rounds of the tournament itself. With a prize fund of €7 million, the BMW PGA Championship is the Rolex Series event on the European Tour and always attracts the cream of European golf. Last year saw Sweden’s Alex Noren bag the title in thrilling style, and this year he will be bidding for further glory at Wentworth alongside a stellar cast list of stars of the European game, including four-time Major champion
Rory McIlroy, European No.1 Tommy Fleetwood, and former BMW PGA champion Paul Casey to name but a few. To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets, all you need to do is answer the question below correctly, and email your answer to: firstname.lastname@example.org, with ‘BMW PGA Competition’ in the subject line, including your name, address and contact telephone number. Please state where you picked up your copy of Golf News.
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WHAT DID SCORE DID ALEX NOREN SHOOT IN THE FINAL ROUND TO WIN LAST YEAR’S BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP?
The closing date for entries is May 8, 2018. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is available. Entrants must be aged 18 years or over.
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 APRIL 2018 | COURSE REVIEW
1. HISTORIC VENUE First opened in 1913, The Addington is one of Surrey’s oldest and most established clubs. The 6,300-yard, par-69 Old Course was designed by JF Abercromby, who not only built the course, but was the club’s founding member and long-serving club president. Although he only ever built a handful of courses – including Worplesdon, Coombe Hill and Bovey Castle – The Addington is widely regarded as his finest work. King George V was a patron from 1937-52, while PG Wodehouse was also a member, and the club quickly established itself as one of London’s most fashionable. In the 1930s, a quarter of its 800 membership were women, while 1933 saw the US Ryder Cup team use the course to practise on before the matches at Southport & Ainsdale. Family owned for four decades from 1964, the club was purchased by the late Ron Noades in 2006, whose Altonwood Golf Group currently boasts a portfolio of five courses in the South East.
2. QUALITY OF COURSE Following extensive investment in the course and clubhouse, The Addington has consistently been rated inside the top 50 golf courses in England, and has recently risen to 27th in Golf’s World’s list and 32nd in Top100golfcourses.com’s charts. The traditional heathland layout boasts six superb par threes, ranging from the 140-yard 11th to the par-3 230-yard 13th, while there are three excellent par fives. The course is short by modern standards, but is characterised by tight, treelined fairways, challenging dog-legs, some significant changes in elevation, and a number of carries over heather- filled ravines, which are spanned by a series of wooden bridges. The par 3 230-yard 13th is the signature hole, which Henry Longhurst described as ‘with the exception of the 5th hole at Pine Valley, the greatest one-shot hole in inland golf.’ There are wonderful views of London to be enjoyed from the high points, with the Shard and the Gherkin in full view from the 14th tee, along with a wide panorama of the city skyline.
3. RECENT IMPROVEMENTS The course has been subject to ongoing improvements that have significantly enhanced the playing experience. Recent winters have seen ten new tee complexes constructed around the course, offering larger and better quality surfaces to play from. Working closely with Cameron MacMillan, their agronomist, the club has had passive capillary drainage systems installed in half of the greens, which
REASONS TO PLAY
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to join or a superb day’s golf, The Addington Golf Club in Surrey ticks all the right boxes
has resulted in much improved putting surfaces all year round. Cameron has also overseen a more intense maintenance programme on the greens, which the course is beginning to see the benefits of. The club is also concentrating on a woodland management programme, so that golfers can experience the course as it was originally meant to be played. Much of the course strategy had been removed over the years, with tree ingress on many holes. A heather regeneration programme has also been instigated to return the course to its original heathland design. A halfway hut is now in operation after the 10th hole, with hot food and cold beverages available on a daily basis. The club have ambitions to build a new clubhouse.
4. ACCESSIBILITY & AFFORDABILITY While access to the course was limited to members and their guests under its former ownership, since its purchase by Altonwood the club and course now are now accessible to all, with visitors’ tee times available throughout week and after midday at weekends, while societies and corporate groups are also welcomed from Monday to Friday, with packages starting from £50pp. There is no joining fee for new members, a discounted rate is available for those aged under 35, and there are free junior memberships for children of adult members. Altonwood owns four other clubs in the region – Westerham, Surrey National, Godstone, and Woldingham – and Addington members enjoy full playing rights at all four venues.
5. LOCATION Located just 13 miles from the centre of London, The Addington is easily accessible for golfers travelling from inside the capital and perfectly located for corporate golf days.
EXCLUSIVE GOLF SOCIETY OFFER All society bookings made for July or August 2018 will receive a 25% discount when quoting ‘Golf News Offer'.
EXCLUSIVE TRIAL MEMBERSHIP OFFER Golf News readers can take advantage of a special twomonth trial membership, costing £400. For more information, visit www.addingtongolf.com, call 0208 777 1055 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
 APRIL 2018 | COURSE REVIEW
COURSE REVIEW COURSE REVIEW
HEVER CASTLE GOLF CLUB, KENT
With 27 holes of top-class championship golf and a stylish clubhouse, and one of England’s most historic estates just a pitching wedge away, HEVER CASTLE GOLF CLUB offers a truly unique experience for its loyal membership and growing number of visitors
■ HEVER CASTLE AND GARDENS
■ BOTTOM LEFT:
PRINCES COURSE 5TH HOLE ■ BOTTOM RIGHT: QUEENS COURSE 11TH HOLE
ever Castle is a name that will ring many bells with those with a passing interest in English history. For it was to here, in 1525, on the leafy borders of Kent and Surrey, that Henry VIII rode down from Hampton Court to win the heart of Anne Boleyn, whose family seat was at Hever. Sadly, things didn’t work out for Anne – or indeed for many of Henry’s subsequent wives – but that didn’t stop Hever Castle earning its place in English history – a history that is very much alive today. The golf club that adjoins the Hever estate can’t claim such a storied past – it was only founded in 1992 – but being under the same ownership as the castle, the two entities have combined to create an attractive leisure proposition for those whose interests lie in golf and history. Starting out life as Hever Golf Club,
■ THE VIEW FROM BEHIND THE GREEN AT THE PAR-4 16TH
the 250-acre venue, which commands stunning views over the Kent Weald, has long enjoyed a fine reputation for the quality of the design, presentation and maintenance of its golf courses. The club boasts 27 holes, with members and guests being able to choose between the 18-hole Championship layout, comprising the Kings and Queens; and the nine-hole 2,784-yard Princes Course, which, when combined with the Kings nine, is called the Boleyn Course. The recently-opened Express Course, which is set within the boundaries of the Princes course, provides a more elementary nine-hole layout that is a fun challenge for all players. ‘A fair test’ is perhaps the best description of the Championship course, as, although it is sometimes talked of as being one of the toughest parkland courses in Kent, it still rewards
STARTING OUT LIFE AS HEVER GOLF CLUB, THE 250-ACRES VENUE, WHICH COMMANDS STUNNING VIEWS OVER THE KENT WEALD, HAS LONG ENJOYED A FINE REPUTATION FOR THE QUALITY OF THE DESIGN, PRESENTATION AND MAINTENANCE OF ITS GOLF COURSES good play, and doesn’t unfairly penalise less-than-perfect shots. Host of numerous Kent PGA Championships and Kent Opens over the last 25 years – not to mention the PGA EuroPro Tour – the 7,000-yard layout is designed to test the best. Some would argue that length is its greatest defence, but that would be to ignore the copious amount of water, numerous astutely placed bunkers, tiered greens and some narrow, treelined fairways that place a real emphasis
on accuracy. Having said that, it does open out in places, and there are plenty of opportunities to open the shoulders without being overly punished, especially on the front nine. Multiple teeing options ensure it’s playable for all skill levels, with the yardage reduced to 6,761 from the whites; 6,502 from the yellows; 6,023 off the green tees; and 5,716 from the reds. The green tees, which were only recently introduced, are proving particularly popular with older members, with regular competitions held on this shortened version of the layout, while they are also ideal for those starting out in the game. While much of the talk will be about how you negotiated the notorious 644-yard 17th, few clubs can boast such an array of interesting holes, with the short third and sixth holes – both of which are played over water – being early highlights. On the Prince’s course, it’s the trio of stunning holes from 11 to 13 that stand out, not only for their beauty, but for their difficulty, with
COURSE REVIEW | APRIL 2018
HEVER HAS ALWAYS PROVED AN ATTRACTIVE VENUE FOR SOCIETIES, CORPORATE DAYS, GREEN FEE PLAYERS, AND GOLF BREAK GUESTS ALIKE ■ ASTOR BAR
carries over and beside water to small, well-protected targets. Keeping the courses in tip-top condition is a constant drain on resources, but Hever’s owner, and its management team, has always had a policy to constantly invest and improve the playing experience. A major overhaul of the drainage and irrigation systems has resulted in improvements to the condition of the fairways – and the course remaining open throughout the winter – while significant sums have been spent enlarging a number of tee boxes to reduce wear and tear, as well as creating a number of new raised tees to change up the angles on some of the holes.
2018 sees new course signage installed on all 27 holes, which coincides with the renaming of each hole to reflect its historical links with the Hever Estate. Maps from the mid1700s have given rise to hole names such as ‘Bogey Plat’ and ‘Cleeves Walk’ (the second and third on the Kings), while the 11th on the Queens is the dangerous-sounding Great Pond. Course manager Rob Peers and his committed team of greenstaff have been hard at work on the course this winter, and following the recent arrival of four new gang mowers and a new tractor, are well placed to ensure the continued improvement of the playing experience.
■ KINGS COURSE, 5TH HOLE
■ HEVER CASTLE'S ASTOR WING MAKES FOR A STUNNING GOLF BREAK STAY
Off the course, much of Hever’s appeal lies in the superb Tudor-style clubhouse, part of which dates back to the 13th century, and which provides the perfect place for members and guest to relax before and after a day’s golf. The spacious and elegant Astor Bar & Restaurant boasts a light and airy feel, with a 20-foot bi-folding glass partition separating the two rooms, enabling the space to be opened up when required. New flooring across both rooms gives a very stylish, contemporary feel to what is a very convivial space to enjoy the club’s superb hospitality. Elsewhere on the ground floor, golfers can enjoy the more intimate 19th Bar, while the sizeable outside patio area is always busy when the sun comes out. Upstairs there is a room to host weddings and private functions, which are proving increasingly popular at Hever due to its idyllic location, which is only 20 minutes from the M25. Although proprietary-owned, Hever gives its members high priority, especially when it comes to accessing the courses, with priority tee times offered seven days a week, and an online booking system that allows 14-day advance reservations (visitors can book up to seven days ahead). There are plenty of other benefits for new and existing seven-day members, including two free junior memberships for the children or grandchildren of adult members; 10,000 free range balls for the club’s excellent academy; discounted green fee vouchers for up to three guests; a member’s discount card with savings in the bar and pro shop; and free entry to the castle and its grounds. It all adds up to a healthy haul, and makes the £1,585 full annual membership seem great value. Hever also operates a five-day membership (£1,055), as well as an Flexi membership, which allows golfers to buy up to £500 worth of
credits, which are used towards green fees, and makes it the ideal choice for those who have limited opportunities to play but still want the benefits of membership. For younger golfers (18-35s) there is an intermediate membership, which starts at £610 for 18-22, and rises progressively to £1,125 for those aged 31-35. There is also a Prince’s course membership for £465, which is ideal for those looking for an introduction to the game, or seniors who enjoy playing just nine holes. Hever has always proved an attractive venue for societies, corporate days, green fee players, and golf break guests alike. Not surprisingly, many choose to make a proper day of it, warming up on the delightful Princes course, before tackling the Kings and Queens. With 18-hole summer season society packages starting from £42, and tailormade packages, with extra golf and a full range of bespoke catering options, available on request, a day out at Hever represents tremendous value. Summer green rates start from £35 on the Championship course (£40 at weekends), while there are nine-hole green fee options on the Kings Course for those short on time. Golf break guests are royally looked after at Hever, with visitors having the choice to stay in luxury bed and breakfast accommodation in the 28 five-star gold-rated rooms offered in the castle’s Astor and Anne Boleyn Wings – some of which boast four-poster beds – or Medley Court, a luxurious four-bedroom cottage which has its own private entrance and fabulous views of the castle. The latter is offered for a minimum of two nights and is ideal for small golf groups and couples celebrating those special occasions, but whichever option you chose, both offer a truly memorable place to stay and play. It’s fair to say that Hever Castle offers a unique experience, on and off the fairways, and with an array of membership benefits and tempting introductory offers, there has never been a better time to join the Hever family. For more information and details of memberships, green fee bookings, golf breaks and society days, visit www.hevercastle.co.uk/golf or call 01732 700771.
 APRIL 2018 | NEWS
CRANBROOK SHUTS UP SHOP AFTER 50 YEARS
COOK SET TO SCORE AT HEYTHROP PARK
ranbrook Golf Club in Kent shut its doors for the final time after almost 50 years last month, after its owners suffered unsustainable losses. The club, which is located between Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, was formerly known as Hemsted Forest. It was founded in 1969 and boasted a 6,300-yard, par-70 course, set in a picturesque park of the Weald of Kent. The club had suffered a gradual decline, with the clubhouse sold off several years ago for a private dwelling, which resulted in the course being reconfigured in order to enable the construction of a more basic clubhouse to satisfying the needs of members and visitors. By the time of its closure on March 31, the club had fewer than
250 members, and, with annual membership costing around £600, was no longer economically viable due to the VAT costs required of proprietary-owned clubs. Unusually, the course was always closed for maintenance on Mondays, with the exception of bank holidays. This allowed it to be prepared and repaired without any golfers present, but also restricted the club’s potential sources of income.
eythrop Park Resort in Oxfordshire bagged its very own top flight signing during the January transfer window, with the appointment of former Oxford United striker Jamie Cook as its new golf manager. Oxford-born Cook played 300 games of professional football during an 18-year career that started at Oxford United in 1997. He moved on after four seasons, but, after eight years, which included spells at Boston United, Stevenage and Crawley Town, he returned to Oxford to help the club win promotion from the Conference. He played his last game for non-league side North Leigh at the end of last season, calling time on a career that had yielded over 125 goals. Always a talented golfer, 38-year-old Cook swapped his
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LYTHAM TO HOST
oyal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club in Lancashire has been chosen to host next year’s Senior Open for the first time in 25 years when the championship returns there from July 25-28. The Senior Open was last held at Lytham in 1994, after the club had hosted the championship for four consecutive years. Tom Wargo was the last winner of the Senior Claret Jug on the Lancashire links, and he is joined by Bob Charles, John Fourie and Bobby Verwey as victors at the historic club. Three-time senior major champion Tom Lehman won the Open there in 1996. Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, executive director of championships at the R&A, said: “Royal Lytham & St Annes has a prestigious reputation as a world class championship
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n the March issue of Golf News, a news item appeared on p16 headlined ‘Orida Group snaps up Surrey Downs and Chipstead’. This story was subsequently discovered to be incorrect, in that while Surrey Downs has been bought by the Orida Group, Chipstead Golf Club had not. All other details relating to the sale of Chipstead were also incorrect, and Golf News would like to apologise to Chipstead Golf Club’s board of trustees, its management and its membership, and the Orida Group, for any upset caused by this story.
NEWS | APRIL 2018 
football boots for a pair of golfing spikes five years ago, when he went part-time and set out on a new challenge of becoming a PGA golf professional. Working at the pro shop at Heythrop Park, he started a threeyear distance-learning course with the PGA to gain a degree in golf studies. That proved well within his capabilities, and his form on the golf course has been equally impressive, with last season seeing the scratch player win three events on the regional PGA circuit. Cook is now looking forward to his latest promotion following his appointment as the golf manager at Heythrop Park. Cook, whose connection with Heythrop goes back to 2010, when he won a BBO amateur tournament there by four shots, said: ‘’I’m delighted to have been offered the position of golf manager. It is a great opportunity to take the resort to a new level of service with a completely fresh team on and off the course. We already know the Tom MacKenzie design is one that
really excites golfers, and we plan to significantly upgrade the condition this year. Our aim is for Heythrop to climb into the top 100 in the UK.” He added: ‘’I instantly fell in love with the course, and the setting, when I first played it in 2010. It is a classic design, and there are some really exciting risk reward holes. Winning the tournament there was a huge buzz, so when I turned professional this was the obvious place to work!’’ In the intervening time, Cook has been assistant to the club’s resident PGA coach Jeremy Dale, who has overseen his PGA training. ‘’I never saw Jamie play football, but he is a superb golfer and has been dedicated in learning everything he can about being a PGA golf professional,” said Dale. “We do much more than just hit a ball, and, as golf manager, Jamie will use his new knowledge to make Heythrop Park a must-play destination for all golfers.’’
2019 SENIOR OPEN venue and a number of the greatest golfers in the history of the game have won the Open on these famous links. We look forward to the Senior Open returning to the club for the first time in 25 years in 2019 and welcoming a strong field to compete for the Senior Claret Jug.” Darren Clarke, who turns 50 this August, and fellow former major champions Michael Campbell, Paul Lawrie and Retief Goosen will all be eligible to make their Senior Open debuts in 2019. This year’s Senior Open Championship is being held on the Old Course at St Andrews from July 26-29. Bernhard Langer is the current holder of the senior claret jug, following his three-shot victory at Royal Porthcawl last year.
SIDCUP FAMILY GOLF UNVEILS NEW RANGE
idcup Family Golf, formerly World Of Golf, has refurbished its popular driving range ahead of the new season. The South-East London-based range now boasts 46 floodlit-bays across two tiers, which include five spacious group bays on the top level. The new-look range features the latest Power Tee technology, new mats, LED lighting, new range targets, while a new waiter service will provide food and beverages for golfers from the Coffee Shop, which opened last spring. The venue also offers a 36-hole outdoor adventure golf course – Mr Mulligan’s Dino Golf, which is ideal for family days out. The venue is hosting an open weekend on April 28-29, For more details, visit www.sidcupfamilygolf.com.
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 APRIL 2018 | INTERVIEW
They say golf is a game played between the ears. How much importance do you place on the mental side over the physical? For me, 80% of golf is mental and 20% is physical, like practice, course management and gym work. At the moment, I don't have a mental coach, but I am interested in how the mind copes with stressful situations, and have read up quite a bit on the power of thinking positively. I’m not really interested in lying on a couch with someone asking me how I feel today. You gave up a promising ice hockey career to focus on golf. How difficult a decision was that at the time? It was quite a hard decision to make at 15, because at the time I was equally good at both, but not long after I realised that I was going to be better at golf than I was hockey, so the decision kind of made itself in the end. It was a pretty natural transition from one game to the other, as they are quite similar sports in many ways.
JONAS BLIXT GOLF NEWS CATCHES UP WITH SWEDEN’S JONAS BLIXT, WHO HAS WON THREE TIMES SINCE JOINING THE PGA TOUR IN 2012 AND IS NOW LOOKING TO BREAK BACK INTO THE WORLD’S TOP 50
hat are you goals for the coming season? To win another tournament is, of course, a standard goal. And if you win one, you want to win another. But it would be really fun to win a big tournament, and to get back into the top 50 in the world. Beyond that, I’d like to play get into the Tour Championship in Atlanta, and be among the top 30 in the Fedex Cup. What’s been your proudest moment on the golf course so far? Winning the Frys.com Open in 2012, with my family and friends present – that is something I will never forget. When they came running to me, my brother lifted me up, and then my best friend accidentally poured champagne in my eyes and it stung for at least 30 minutes afterwards. I had all these cameras in front of me, and journalists asking me questions about how I felt, and all I could think about was the Champagne that was stinging my eyes. But to celebrate that win together with everyone was huge. Especially after being away from my family for so long, as I live in the US now. My family is the most precious thing in my life. You finished second behind Bubba Watson in the Masters in 2014. What do you remember about that week?
It was a great week, and it felt rather surreal. It was my first appearance at the Masters, and to be in the hunt for the green jacket on the back nine at Augusta on Sunday was incredible. I shot 71 in the final round, but just didn’t hit it close enough to give myself enough decent birdie chances. I tried a little bit too hard at times, but I don’t feel like the occasion got to me at all. I felt pretty calm, and I really learned a lot that week. The atmosphere was incredible all week, and I enjoyed every minute of it. You teamed up with Australia’s Cameron Smith to win the Zurich Classic last year, in a new pairs format for the tournament. What was that like? It was certainly a lot different to my first two wins, which I did on my own. It’s always fun to play as a team, and Cameron and I really gelled that week and had a lot of fun on and off the golf course with our partners and our caddies. I don’t know why Swedes and Aussies should get along well together, but
something just clicked that week and we played with a lot of freedom and made a lot of birdies. I played a lot of team sports as a kid, so it was nice to play again as a team, and have another player rooting for you out on the golf course. What’s your routine like during a typical tournament week? It is pretty similar every week. I’ll generally play nine holes on Tuesday and then go to the gym, and then if I’m playing in the pro-am on Wednesday, the day will be taken up with that, but I might still go to the gym afterwards. But not so much that I am tired, as I still need to be rested for Thursday. If there’s time, I always like to get out and about and see what there is to do in the area. It depends on where you are. If I'm in California, say, maybe I’ll go to a wine tasting or a nice restaurant, or, If I’m New York, I might take in a show or go to a sports game, but more often than not you’ll be somewhere totally remote and just spend your time watching TV in your hotel.
Seaford Head Golf Course
You’ve just signed up to be a staff tour ambassador for clothing brand J.Lindberg. Being a Swede, it must have been an obvious fit. I like the clothes first and foremost. Both on and off the golf course. To represent a Swedish brand on the PGA Tour will certainly make me stick out from the rest of the guys. That will be fun. If I feel that I look good on the course, I have more confidence in terms of playing, and in the long run might make me become a better player. If I play well I will represent J.LIndeberg in a good way. What things to do you like to get up to away from the golf course? Watch ice hockey, go to the beach, catch up with friends. I’m a homeowner now, so there’s always a lot of things that need fixing or sorting out around the house, especially because I’m away so often.
WHAT’S IN THE BLIXT BAG? DRIVER: TAYLORMADE 2016 M2 (9.5°) FAIRWAY WOODS: COBRA KING F6 (14.5°) COBRA KING F6 BAFFLER (18°) IRONS: MIZUNO MP-25 (3-8), MIZUNO MP-5 (9, PW) WEDGES: TITLEIST VOKEY SM6 (54°, 60°) PUTTER: TAYLORMADE SPIDER TOUR RED BALL: TITLEIST PRO V1X
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Full English Breakfast, Coffee & 18 Holes Selection from Society lunch menu £33.50pp Midweek ● £36.50pp Weekend & Bank Holidays
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All society packages can be tailored to meet your own specifications. Minimum 12 people. Please call the Pro Shop on 01323 890139.
Seaford Head Golf Course Southdown Road, Seaford, BN25 4JS Tel: 01323 890139 www.seafordheadgolfcourse.co.uk
GOG MAGOG PREPARES TO HOST 44TH LAGONDA TROPHY
NEWS | APRIL 2018
■ LAGONDA TROPHY SPONSOR CLIVE SMITH WITH 2017 WINNER DAVID HAGUE
any of England’s top male amateur talents will once again be descending on Gog Magog Golf Club in Cambridgeshire next month for the 44th renewal of the Lagonda Trophy. The highly-prized 72-hole amateur stroke play tournament, which was set up by golfing entrepreneur Clive Smith in 1975, was played at Camberley Heath from its inception until 1989, before moving to Gog Magog in 1990, where it has been played ever since. Smith’s 1930 Vintage Lagonda Tourer, from which the tournament gets its name, will once again occupy pride of place behind the Old Course’s 18th green. Always attracting strong fields – the handicap limit is 1.4 – the tournament has been won by a host of players that
have gone on to achieve success at the very top levels of the game. Past winners include Ryder Cup players David Gilford (’86), Lee Westwood (’92), Luke Donald (’97), and Andy Sullivan (2010), while Jamie Spence, Kenneth Ferrie, Shaun Webster and Oliver Fisher have all gone on to enjoy successful careers in the pro ranks. Among the most recent winners is Harry Ellis (2016), who went on to capture last year’s Amateur Championship to earn himself a place in this month’s Masters' tournament
BRAMSHAW CAPTURES JUNIOR TEAM TITLE
at Augusta, while the current holder is Yorkshireman David Hague, who fired stunning rounds of 62 and 63 on the final day last year to win by ten shots. This year’s renewal takes place from May 23-24, with a courtesy practice day on May 22. As well as the famous Lagonda Trophy, and a gold-plated goblet, the winner will receive a voucher for £500, and there are prizes all the way down to eighth place. To download an entry form, visit www.gogmagog.co.uk.
VIRGIN SWINGERS FINAL HEADS TO VEGAS
1 Hold & 1 Hand Luggage
ramshaw Golf Club's junior team struck a blow for the Home Counties after winning the British Junior Team Championship at Morgado Golf Resort in Portugal. The squad of eight boys battled it out in unseasonably wet and windy weather with other junior teams from England, lreland, Scotland and Wales, having sailed through a series of qualifications rounds during 2017. The Hampshire club’s win at the England Finals last October booked them a place in the championship, which took place from March 6-11, where they faced teams from Whitley Bay, New Club, Thirsk & Northallerton, Llanwern, Lundin Links, Murrayfield and Radyr. Since qualification for the final, everyone involved with Bramshaw pulled together to help the team prepare, while a number of fundraising events, and sponsorship from Blue Star buses, helped get the boys out to Portugal. The Bramshaw squad, which comprised Elliot Thomas, Billy Lightfoot, Joe Buenfeld, Ryan Archer, Anthony Sweeney and Ciaran Simpkin, was unbeaten throughout the three pool matches, after which it faced Welsh team Llanwern, who had also progressed through the group stage with a 100% winning record. In a closely fought final, Llanwern took the early advantage with wins from Daniel Bearcroft, who beat Buenfeld 3up, and Peter Malpas, who enjoyed a similar margin of victory over Simpkin; but from there on in it was all Bramshaw, as Lightfoot won his match against Michael Powell 3up, while Thomas secured a wide margin 9up win over Dafydd Roberry. Sweeny was also in dominant form, winning his match against Luke Bearcroft 8up, while Ryan Archer rounded off the match with a comfortable 3up triumph over George White to give Bramshaw a 4-2 win and the title of British Junior Team Champions. The Brawshaw squad also included Sam Talbot, Declan Mason and Danny Coombes, who played in regional qualifiers.
his year’s Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Swingers Final will be heading out to Las Vegas in November, with members of Virgin Atlantic’s innovative loyalty golf programme getting to the chance to play two of the top-five golf courses in Nevada as part of a luxury four-night trip to America’s gambling capital. The final begins with the first round foursomes at Southern Highlands Golf Club, an ultra-exclusive private members club that boasts the third best course in Nevada. Nestled in the foothills of the Las Vegas valley, Southern Highlands is one of only four courses co-designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr and his son, Robert Trent Jones Jr. From the rugged, natural beauty of the desert, the family design team took full advantage of the 225 acres of mountainous terrain to create sweeping elevation changes, beautiful ponds and waterfalls, deep-faced bunkers, and challenging bent grass greens.
The fourballs and singles rounds will see the final move to Nevada’s largest privately-owned lake, Lake Las Vegas, home to the unique and stunning SouthShore Golf Club, ranked number four in Nevada. The award-winning private members’ club is the first Jack Nicklaus Signature Course in Nevada. The 6,925-yard course draws upon Lake Las Vegas Resort's unique topography to provide a one-of-a-kind golfing experience. Nicklaus has carved out a dramatic layout, creating a course with elevations ranging from 1,410 to 1,750 feet. With some amazing matchplay holes, it’s the fitting setting for the climax for what promises to be a very special final. And when the golf is done, the finalists can relax at the luxurious Cosmopolitan Hotel on the strip. With rooms consisting of residential-styled living spaces, private terraces and breathtaking skyline views, it really is the place to see and be seen. To give yourselves a chance of winning a spot in this amazing final, sign up for free at www.flyingclubgolfleague.com.
Call our oﬀer hotline
020 3150 1017 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.
 APRIL 2018 | COURSE REVIEW
COURSE REVIEW COURSE REVIEW
SILVERMERE GOLF & LEISURE SURREY
With its stunning 18-hole golf course, top-class practice facilities, cavernous retail outlet, and superb hospitality, Silvermere Golf & Leisure in Surrey is the perfect all-round golfing venue for a member or visitor
ccupying a leafy spot half way between Cobham and Byfleet, Silvermere has been part of the golfing landscape in this corner of the country for almost three decades. Regardless of where you’re from, and what level of golfer you are, it prides itself on being a place where everyone is welcome. Offering a superb 18-hole course set among mature woodland and parkland, Silvermere is one of the best-maintained and most challenging public courses in the country. In addition to the quality of the layout, the superb practice facilities, ■ BOTTOM LEFT: SILVERMERE'S GOLF the renowned Golf Superstore, and STORE IS PACKED the wonderful hospitality on offer at WITH THE LATEST EQUIPMENT, CLOTHING the famous Inn on the Lake, it is the AND ACCESSORIES ■ BOTTOM RIGHT: THE personal service and attention to detail PAR-3 17TH HOLE that make Silvermere such an attractive
■ THE 18TH GREEN PROVIDES A STUNNING FINISH TO YOUR ROUND AT SILVERMERE
destination for golf societies and golfers of all skill levels, from beginners to tour professionals. If it’s been a while since you’ve played here, you’ll be surprised at how much the challenging 6,406-yard layout has matured since Neil Coles and Brian Hugget first designed it over 30 years ago. The trees that were little more than a nuisance back then are now extremely mature, and make for a solid, yet fair, test of all aspects of your game. High handicappers often find the first six holes quite tough, as distance and accuracy off the tee are crucial, and although the fairways are quite generous, the rough and the rhododendrons are not so forgiving. The first tee has recently been raised to give players a better view of this tricky opening par five, whilst the first half dozen holes have benefitted from a
IT IS THE PERSONAL SERVICE AND ATTENTION TO DETAIL THAT MAKES SILVERMERE SUCH AN ATTRACTIVE DESTINATION FOR GOLF SOCIETIES AND GOLFERS OF ALL SKILL LEVELS, FROM BEGINNERS TO TOUR PROFESSIONALS bunker remodelling programme, which not only makes them more visually appealing, but also makes them more visible from the tees. As you cross the road, the holes open out a bit, but still require a good long game to score well here, especially on the par fours, such as the 8th and the 10th, both of which are over 440 yards off the back tees. The two finishing holes are legendary. Both feature water, and both have the potential to make or break a round. The par-three 17th, which, at 175 yards
off the whites, looks further that it is; and the notorious 18th, which requires little more than a mid-to-long iron for placement, but your approach shot has to carry the water to the famous island green. Once the lake has been safely negotiated, you can breathe a sigh of relief and hope to two-putt for a well-deserved drink and a bite to eat at Silvermere's Inn on the Lake. Offering the quality of food and service that you’d expect of a gastro pub, along with a variety of private function rooms – including the recentlyrenovated ground floor Waterside Suite – the Inn on the Lake provides the perfect setting to relax, unwind and celebrate, whether it be with golfing partners, family or business colleagues. And with a number of meeting rooms and conference facilities, it also makes an ideal venue for a business meeting or company away day. As well as its golf course and catering, Silvermere also attracts plenty of golfers for the quality of its practice and coaching facilities, which have been the subject of continued investment in recent years. The superb
two-tier, 52-bay driving range is one of the best in the country, with the well kept outfield providing plenty of targets to aim at for focused practice. The range, which offers Srixon two-piece balls, is floodlit, and is open early every day and up until 9.45pm at night, making it ideal for practise before or after work. For regular visitors, Silvermere operates a Privilege loyalty card system, which offers up to 45% extra credit on range balls, as well as discounts on a host of other goods and services. Technology is at the forefront of the latest improvements, with 32 bays now fitted with the latest TopTracer systems, which, as viewers of Sky Sports' golf
COURSE REVIEW | APRIL 2018 
coverage will know, tracks the ball in flight for real-time feedback. The technology has now been adapted for driving ranges, with a highspecification digital screen located inside each of the bays enabling golfers to see the flight of every ball they hit, and receive instant feedback on distance and trajectory. A recently launched app also lets users store their data on a smartphone for later analysis. The TopTracer system additionally offers a variety of game formats, where golfers can challenge each other to hit targets which reward shots hit closer to the flag at different distances. Since installing the system, Nigel Potter, Silvermere’s Golf Services
■ THE NEW RAISED TEE AT THE OPENING HOLE
■ THE 9-HOLE ASTROTURF PUTTING GREEN
Manager, has noticed a significant change in the way golfers use the range, as well as the type of golfer visiting the complex. “It is easy to fall into the trap of simply hitting lots of balls and believing that it’s helping your game, but when you have technology that gives you feedback and detailed statistical information about how you are performing, it can keep the player more focused,” he said. “When you can gain more knowledge about your play from driving range practice, you can be more confident when you go out on to the golf course. I’ve seen a lot of people using the point scoring game when practicing, because it gives that little competitive edge to score your progress, which helps you practise better.” Besides being a place to practise, Silvermere provides the opportunity to enjoy first-class teaching, with the facility’s team of 25 PGA-trained professionals on hand to offer a range of bespoke coaching programmes either in groups or one-on-one. Golfers can also enjoy executive coaching in one of four indoor technology studios, which not only allow lessons and custom fittings to take place away from the elements, but also take advantage of the very latest fitting technology, including Foresight Sports’ new GC Quad swing analysis software – used by dozens of the world's leading tour players and coaches – which directly measures ball-flight data at launch using ultrahigh-speed cameras. Golfers looking to hone their putting skills can head over to the club’s new nine-hole astroturf putting course that is laid out in front of the clubhouse. It’s free to use, although customers are encouraged to make a donation in aid of Cancer Research, with over £1,000 raised to date from players of all ages. There is also an excellent grass practice putting green besides the first tee, an expanded version of which – twice the size of
TECHNOLOGY IS AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE LATEST IMPROVEMENTS, WITH 32 BAYS NOW FITTED WITH THE LATEST TOP TRACER SYSTEMS, WHICH, AS VIEWERS OF SKY SPORTS' GOLF COVERAGE WILL KNOW, TRACKS THE BALL IN FLIGHT FOR REAL-TIME FEEDBACK the original – is due to open in the next month or two. And if you’re after new some clubs, or looking to splash out on a fresh golfing wardrobe, there’s no better place to shop than the legendary Silvermere Golf Superstore – a 8,500 square feet retail space which stocks all the major equipment brands, as well as some of the more hard to find ones, such as Honma and PXG. The clothing rails are filled with all the latest apparel collections, including recent additions such as Ted Baker and Lacoste, while Planet FootJoy stocks the largest range of shoes in Europe from golf’s leading footwear company. If you want to make Silvermere your home, the current range of membership packages remains extremely competitive. Seven-day membership, costing £1,395, offers unlimited golf, while there is a whole range of memberships available to suit how often and when you’d like to play, as well as memberships for those below 35 (£1,040), and a pay-and-play membership for £200, which provides an official handicap and offers access to competitions, advanced bookings, and reduced green fee rates, as well as discounts in the golf store and restaurant. Green fees are a very reasonable £35 during the week and £45 at weekends, while Silvermere is the perfect location for groups and societies, with summer packages designed to cater for all sizes of golf days starting from just £27.50 per person. With spring finally upon us, and the longer, warmer days of summer just around the corner, there really has never been a better time to pay a visit to Silvermere. For tee bookings and membership enquiries, call 01932 584300 or for online bookings and further details on the latest offers, society packages and other news, visit www.silvermere-golf.co.uk. Follow on Twitter @silvermeregc
 APRIL 2018 | INTERVIEW
MICK TAYLOR, HEAD PGA PROFESSIONAL, SHIRLEY PARK GOLF CLUB, SURREY
ow long have you been a PGA professional? I qualified in 1996, so coming up to 22 years. What has your career path been to date? I started off as an assistant pro at Langley Park in Beckenham, before moving on to Edenbridge, and then Shortlands. I was promoted to head professional at Shortlands in 2000, and then moved to Shirley Park in 2002. What is your day-to-day role at the club? Retailing, tee booking, club fitting, a bit of teaching, and listening to members talk about their latest rounds! What’s the best thing about your job? Largely making my own decisions regarding my daily schedule, and the direction the business is taking. And the worst? Definitely the winter weather, and the precariousness nature of the business at this time of the year. What three words would your colleagues use to describe you? Fair, relaxed, patient.
Tell us something about the facilities and the playing experience… The best feature of our course is our greens, which are really good all year round, and we never have temporary greens in the winter. Shirley Park is renowned for being a sociable club, and new members fit in very readily. On the teaching front, we have had an indoor studio with Trackman for seven years now, and a superb grass practice area – so we offer excellent coaching facilities. What is the club doing to attract juniors and women golfers? We have had several taster days for women, and we currently offer a membership deal whereby if someone joins, their partner joins free of charge. Hopefully this will attract women and men to come and learn. We also have an Academy category, which includes free coaching. We have offered free membership and coaching for juniors and also held our own X Factor-style auditions for junior
■ SHIRLEY PARK GOLF CLUB
academy membership. What’s selling well in the pro shop at the moment? I have been a Callaway ambassador and stockist for years, and that is always my best selling brand. What is your career highlight as a player? The first time I was picked to play for Kent was the most satisfying moment. It gave me the feeling that I could compete with my peers. Kent had some really good players back then. If you could change one rule in golf, which one would it be? Get rid of penalties for taking relief from a flooded bunker. What’s your favourite course in the UK, and the world? My favourite in the UK would be The Berkshire – a day’s golfing there takes some beating.
I played a course near Boston in the States called the International many years ago, which is a fabulous course in a very pretty setting. I recall it was a par 77 off the back tees, which measured over 8,300 yards, but it’s a par 72 now. Who is your golfing hero and why? Greg Norman (left) was so exciting to watch, while Nick Faldo was the player I always cheered on. Who inspired you to take up golf? My dad used to play at Beckenham Place Park on
a Saturday afternoon in the summer, and I used to love caddying for him. Sadly Lewisham Council have closed it down now, but it was a place where thousands of people learned to play. Which three other people would be in your dream fourball? My brother, Tony, because the worse he plays the funnier it gets; Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters – he could bring his guitar along and keep us entertained – and Jack Nicklaus, as he could bring some decorum to proceedings.
GREAT SOCIETY GOLF AT
COODEN BEACH GOLF CLUB SUNNINGDALE HEATH GOLF CLUB Home of Sunningdale Ladies
Sunningdale Heath Golf Club Cooden Beach Golf Club offer visiting Societies a warm welcome and wish you an enjoyable visit to our club.
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: email@example.com Web: www.coodenbeachgc.com
“Quite Magical” – Peter Alliss An 18-hole course, measuring just over 3700 yards with a mixture of Par 3’s and 4’s. Sunningdale Heath Do not be deceived by the Golf Club length, shooting your handicap is a real achievement.
“Quite Magical” – Peter Alliss
An 18-hole course, measuring Email: firstname.lastname@example.org just over 3700 yards with a Tel: 01344 620 507 mixture of Par 3’s and 4’s. Sunningdale Heath Cross Road,by the DoGolf notClub, be deceived Sunningdale,length, Ascot, Berkshire. SL5 9RX handicap shooting your www.sunningdaleheathgolf.co.uk is a real achievement.
Package 1 £31.00
Package 2 £38.50
Package 3 £64.00
Coffee & Bacon Sandwich on arrival
Coffee on arrival
Coffee & Bacon Sandwich on arrival
18 holes of golf Sandwiches, tea and cake
18 holes of golf 2-course lunch BOOK YOUR SOCIETY DAY TODAY
18 holes of golf 2-course lunch 12 or 18 holes of golf Tea & cake
Email: email@example.com Tel: 01344 620 507 Sunningdale Heath Golf Club, Cross Road, Sunningdale, Ascot, Berkshire. SL5 9RX www.sunningdaleheathgolf.co.uk
NEWS | APRIL 2018
BEGOVIC TO HOST CHARITY DAY AT BURHILL
ournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is hosting a charity golf day at Burhill Golf Club in Surrey on May 14 to raise funds for the foundation that the 30-year-old Bosnian set up to provide sports facilities for underprivileged and disabled children. The inaugural Asmir Begovic Foundation Golf Classic took place at the Surrey venue last year, and will return to the club’s Old Course next month, for what promises to be a star-studded day. Last year’s event was a sell-out, with Begovic welcoming friends and colleagues from the footballing world, including John Terry, David James, Roberto Di Matteo and Jamie Redknapp, amongst many others. Proceeds from the day will help to
fund the building and improvement of recreational facilities both in the UK and Bosnia-Herzegovina, encouraging kids to be active and providing them with the opportunity to get involved in sports. “I set up the foundation in 2013 with the aim of making a difference to the lives of children in Bosnia and the UK by providing them with the facilities to lead a purposeful and active life through sport,“ said Begovic. “Our Golf Classic is an important fundraiser and allows athletes and sports personalities to make a difference.” Funds raised for the foundation have provided a wide range of sports-related facilities in Bosnia, including the construction of an all-weather surface at a school for
ROYAL ST GEORGE'S TO HOST EUROPEAN CHAMPS IN 2022
disabled children in Mjedenica, the renovation of a multi-sports pitch at the School for Children with Special Needs in Tuzla, and, most recently, the co-funding of a new football pitch at the Sports Complex in Srebrenica. In the UK, the foundation has made donations to Redgate Clayton Football Club to refurbish their shower and changing room facilities, while the Mary Hare School for Deaf
Children and Stepgates Community School in Chertsey, Surrey have been given funding for a new swimming pool. There are still a small number of places available for the 2018 Asmir Begovic Golf Classic, so those looking to enter a team should email events@ asmirbegovicfoundation.com. To enter a team of three, to include one celebrity, costs £1,500, and includes breakfast, 18 holes, lunch and prizes.
UNSUSTAINABLE LOSSES’ FORCE BUSHEY CLOSURE
he final ever rounds were played at Bushey Country Club in Hertfordshire on March 31, after the club was closed following years of continuous losses. The club’s nine-hole course was operated by Hertsmere Borough Council, which gave notice to close it at the end of January, with the doors finally being
shut in April 1. The golf club shared its clubhouse with a local community centre, which is to remain open, although its future is also in doubt. The golf club lost £685,000 in the last financial year, and with leisure budgets already squeezed, the Hertsmere Leisure Trust was left with no option to end its management contract. David Brame, HLT’s chief executive, said: “Hertsmere Leisure Trust have worked extremely hard to improve the performance of Bushey Country Club and the golf course. However, despite making numerous investments and improvements, it is with extreme disappointment that the difficult decision has been made to end the arrangement to operate these facilities.” Councillor Morris Bright, leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, said: “Whilst we are disappointed that Bushey Country Club has had to close, we are working with Hertsmere Leisure Trust to ensure there are adequate leisure facilities in Bushey and the surrounding area. We are currently considering the best use of the golf course and its buildings, although no decision has yet been made.”
PAY AND PLAY AT ITS FINEST 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.
England Golf has announced that Royal St George’s is to host the 2022 European men’s team championship. The tournament will see the finest amateurs from across Europe playing in national teams over the famous Kent links, which is also scheduled to host the Open Championship in 2020.
BANSTEAD TO HOST GOLF DAY FOR CYSTIC FIBROSIS TRUST Banstead Downs Golf Club in Surrey is hosting a charity golf day on May 24 to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. The day comprises a shotgun start for an 18-hole team Stableford competition, followed by a barbeque and prize giving, plus live music from Tristan Mackay. To book a place, and for details on offering sponsorship or prizes, call 01372 703001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WATT’S THE STORY AT ESSENDON Kingsway Golf Centre’s James Watts made the perfect start to life in the PGA East Region with a convincing win at Essendon in the first of two spring Qualifying Schools. The 30-year-old first-year trainee finished on seven under par for 36 holes to pull four shots clear of a group of five players – James Mynott (St Ives), Luke Goddard (Hendon), Phil Abbott (John O’Gaunt) and Mitch Kierstenson (Beadlow Manor). The second Qualifying School takes place at Essex Golf and Country Club on April 19-20. After it has been completed all players that have competed in the two Q Schools will be given a ranking status ahead of the region’s five Order of Merit tournaments.
EPSOM GOLF CLUB Experience Golf ’s Heritage, founded 1889
Play a unique downland course in Surrey, with excellent year-round greens and stunning panoramic views.
MASTERS FOURBALL OFFER (valid until 31st May)
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
Full English Breakfast, Coffee & Golf Tuesday-Thursday £35 Friday-Sunday £40
Bacon Rolls, Coffee, Golf & Light Lunch Tuesday-Thursday £40 Friday-Sunday £45
Golf & 2 Course Dinner Tuesday-Thursday £43 Friday-Sunday £48
All Society bookings include a FREE nearest-the-pin golf simulator competition. Special rates from £22.50 available Mondays after 11am, excludes Bank Holidays.
Tel: 01753 643332 Web: thesouthbuckinghamshire.co.uk Email: email@example.com THE SOUTH BUCKINGHAMSHIRE PARK ROAD, STOKE POGES, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE. SL2 4PJ
Organisers of societies with 16 or more players plays free on the day and receives a complimentary 2 ball voucher.
www.epsomgolfclub.co.uk - 01372 741867
EPSOM GOLF CLUB Longdown Lane South, Epsom Downs, Surrey KT17 4JR T: 01372 741867 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
CLUB WHERE TO PLAY
LAUNCESTON GC CORNWALL
PINNER HILL GC MIDDLESEX
Launceston Golf Club is a friendly members club and a great venue for a day’s golf for green fee players or societies . The elevated levels of our Golf course offer spectacular countryside vistas of both Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, with majestic views of the historic town of Launceston, the ancient County capital and its Norman castle. The course is 18 holes over parkland and offers something for every standard of golfer. We offer value for money packages for golf with excellent catering facilities, friendly staff and deals suitable for parties of all sizes.
Widely regarded as London’s friendliest and most soicalable 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 a wide range of catering options from just a bacon roll on arrival to the complete package of lunch and/or evening meal.
TEL: 01566773442 (CLUB) 01566775359 (PRO SHOP) | EMAIL: SECRETARY@ LAUNCESTONGOLFCLUB.CO.UK | WEB: WWW.LAUNCESTONGOLFCLUB.CO.UK
TEL: 020 8866 0963 | EMAIL: PHGC@PINNERHILLGC.COM WEB: WWW.PINNERHILLGC.CO.UK
LEWES GC EAST SUSSEX
WEST MALLING GC KENT
LONGNIDDRY GC EAST LOTHIAN
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.
The two 18 Hole courses, Spitfire and Hurricane, named in honour of the iconic fighter planes that flew out of the nearby airfield during the Second World War, are a challenge for all standards of golfer. The courses are surrounded by beautiful undulating countryside, with many mature trees and panoramic views overlooking the North Downs. Winter society packages start from £22pp.
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.
TEL: 01273 483474 | EMAIL: SECRETARY@LEWESGOLFCLUB.CO.UK WEB: WWW.LEWESGOLFCLUB.CO.UK
TEL: 01732 844785 | EMAIL: INFO@WESTMALLINGGOLF.COM WEB: WWW.WESTMALLINGGOLF.COM
TEL: 01875 852141 | EMAIL: SECRETARY@LONGNIDDRYGOLFCLUB.CO.UK WEB: WWW.LONGNIDDRYGOLFCLUB.CO.UK
The Perfect Venue for Golf Days & Societies, set in the Surrey Countryside
Membership Packages Membership Categories all incl. vat
7 day championship membership
5 day championship membership
Corporate membership fee
Golf Package Coffee & Bacon Baps, 18 Holes Golf One-Course dinner
£33.00 per person
Organisers goes free on groups of 12 or more
Our impeccable 18 hole golf course, with stunning countryside views, is an ideal venue to host a golf day. 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: email@example.com
For more information please call Caroline Screene, Golf Manager on 0208 768 3113 www.devere.com/DeVereSelsdonEstate • Addington Road, Sanderstead, Surrey, CR2 8YA
NEWS | APRIL 2018
READING CONSIDERS RELOCATION TO MAKE WAY FOR NEW HOUSING
eading Golf Club may become the next housing casualty in the South of England as pressure builds on local councils to make more land available for private accomodation. The potential sale comes as Reading Borough Council’s draft local plan identified the site on which the club is built at Emmer Green as a possible location for up to 130 new homes. Reading Golf Club’s chairman, Colin Reed, confirmed that the club’s management is “actively exploring options to relocate the club” amid a decline in memberships and revenues. In a statement sent out to members, Reed
wrote: “Reading Golf Club has not entered into any agreements with developers. There is no planning permission in place – nor has planning permission been sought – for any part of our site. However, we have taken what we regard as a prudent precaution of attempting to get our site included in the local plans for possible future development.” It went on: “As other local clubs will testify, golf clubs nationwide are facing challenging times with declining memberships and revenues. We are not immune from these threats to our future. In the light of this, and with some large
capital expenditure projects on the horizon, we have been considering all options to secure our financial security, and we are actively exploring options to relocate the club. Such a move would allow the club to provide the sort of golfing and additional leisure facilities required to provide a
sustainable business model for the future.” If the sale were it to go ahead, a large percentage of the current 600-strong membership would be due a significant financial windfall, although no estimates on what that figure might be have been released.
Cottrell Park GOLF RESORT
■ JEAN HOOPER RECEIVES HER AWARD FROM MORTEN BISGAARD, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF PLAYERS 1ST.
HOOPER SCOOPS ENGLAND GOLF VOLUNTEER AWARD
ramley Golf Club’s junior organiser has won England Golf’s Volunteer of the Year Award. Jean Hooper picked up the prestigious title at the England Golf Awards held at the Royal Lancaster in London last month. Hooper, who is a retired teacher, has built up a 70-strong junior section at Bramley, which is located a few miles south of Guildford in Surrey, and gives up countless hours to get them on the course, involve them in competitions, organise matches, and act as team chauffeur. “This award came as such a shock,” said Hooper, who has been involved with the juniors at Bramley for over a decade, following her son’s good experience at the club. “I do all this because I like doing it, but this is a lovely bonus – and one that I just didn’t see coming.” Hooper had many nominations from fellow club members who spoke of her tireless devotion, outstanding organisation, and her passion, drive and enthusiasm. One member told how her interest transformed him from being in trouble at school to becoming junior captain and ‘the person I am today’. The judges agreed with them, commenting: “Jean is an exceptional person, whose contribution to the club and members is immeasurable. She goes above and beyond in everything she does, and clearly makes a significant impact on people’s lives for the better.” Hooper has also managed to fit in a term as ladies’ captain alongside her junior duties and she’s an active member, playing off 23 and enjoying the club matches. “The golf club is a large part of my life,” she said. “I’ll keep going until they throw me out! I just love it.”
M E MOR A BL E G OL F DAYS & BR E A K S We invite you to sample the unique charm of Cottrell Park Golf Resort. Nestled in over 400 acres of beautiful parkland, this award winning 36 hole golf venue offers unrivalled facilities for groups of all sizes. A selection of packages are available or a bespoke option can be created.
Golf Days from £26.00pp Golf Breaks from £79.00pp GOLF DAY BENEFITS
1 in 12 Green Fees Free • Free use of Sports Simulators • Free use of Snooker & Pool Tables For further details please contact the Sales Team
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01446 781781, Opt 2 www.cottrellpark.com/societies/ T&C’S APPLY
 APRIL 2018 | NEWS
SOCIAL GOLFER EXTENDS CROWN PARTNERSHIP
nline golf network The Social Golfer has renewed its sponsorship with Crown Golf, the UK’s leading golf club operator, ahead of the new season. The Social Golfer has built an effective partnership over the last few years with Crown, which has resulted in driving over £10,000 worth green fees to the group in 2017. However, this year’s agreement sees an addition to the deal, with all TSG Pro account holders receiving a free round at one of Crown’s 22 venues as part of their annual £29.98 membership fee. Crown Golf has also become the official sponsor of the TSG MatchPlay Championship that runs throughout the summer months. Commenting on the deal, TSG Managing Director Ian Mullins: said: “It’s incredibly refreshing to work with a group that both understands
what we are trying to create with our platform, and one that is fun to work with. We believe this renewed ■ 2017 TSG MASTERS WINNER RUTH BRAND sponsorship will provide our members the opportunity to sample some of the great courses Crown have to offer and at some fantastic rates.” Nikki Blacker, Crown Golf’s director of sales and marketing said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed developing this partnership with The Social Golfer over the last few years. Ian has created a unique platform for nomadic golfers and we couldn’t be happier to renew our sponsorship.”
‘GET INTO GOLF’ RELAUNCHED TO APPEAL TO GENERATION X
et into Golf, a campaign created by England Golf to increase participation, has undergone a major rebranding in order to boost awareness of the game at grassroots level. A new website has been launched, and the campaign is partnering with non-golfers who have large social media followings in order to spread the word more widely. Get into Golf has enlisted a group of social influencers from other sports, who will be trying the game and reporting back to hundreds of thousands of followers on their various media platforms. They include health and well-being blogger Madeleine Shaw; yoga influencers Cat Meffan and Jessica Skye; cycling blogger
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BUILT TO ENHANCE
ean Graham is determined to add a touch of first-class service at Foxhill’s following his recent appointment as golf operations and retail manager at the popular Surrey-based resort. Graham, who took over the new role at the Ottershaw-based club in February, recently returned to the UK after a three-year stint at Safaa Golf Club, a luxury private members facility inside the grounds of King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, in Jedda, Saudi Arabia. The 25-year-old, who is PGA qualified and has a degree in Applied Golf Management Studies from a Birmingham University, has previously held roles at Marriott Forest of Arden and Machynys Peninsula in Wales. But after swapping the desert climate for the unpredictable British weather, Graham is eager to put his stamp on the new role, which has been created to oversee all aspects of the golf business. Graham said: “The temperature is a bit different, But it’s great to finally be here and to be able to jump head-first into the role. We want to continue to raise the bar for service and not just meet the expectations of our members and guests – we want to exceed them. “Working overseas at such a high level club gave me a few ideas on what is possible in terms of a golf operation and I’m hoping to implement a few of those ideas to take the Foxhills experience and level of service to an even higher standard. “Foxhills is already a fantastic venue, which has established an outstanding reputation, so it’s about building on that. But I feel there is always room for improvement, so it’s exciting and I’m relishing the challenge ahead.”
Alec Briggs, and runner Marcus Brown. They will be filmed as they take part in the Get into Golf experience and will push out the clips on their own channels, taking golf to new audiences. England Golf chief executive Nick Pink said: “With the Masters grabbing headlines in mainstream media, this is the perfect time to talk about Get into Golf, and we’re very excited about the new campaign and the impact it will have on the sport. “We’re presenting golf in a completely new way, which will appeal to younger people who’ve never thought of playing, or have been put off by the old image of the game. Clubs across the country have been getting behind the campaign and adding their activities to the Get into Golf website. Now it’s time to invite new players and improvers to come and try
BRYANT RISES TO UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE
eorge Bryant, a student from Hartbury College in Gloucester, won the British University and College Sports English and Welsh Championships after coming through a playoff at Southport and Ainsdale in Lancashire. After found rounds at the Open qualifying venue, Bryant was tied on level par with Loughborough’s James Hamilton, but the Hartbury man prevailed at the second extra hole to capture his first BUCS event. Bryant, who is studying for a degree in Sports Business Management, and whose home club is Staddon Heights in Plymouth, said: “It means a lot to be able to win the first BUCS event for Hartpury. It is a great start to the year for me, and gives me a lot of confidence to be able to win a tournament against such a strong field.” He added: “Hartpury has helped me a huge amount in the last three years. It has allowed me to improve as a golfer in every way possible. Every kind of help has been available to me from nutritional help to psychology and many other areas. There's been no limit to the amount I've been able to improve.”
NEWS | APRIL 2018
golf – and open up a whole new way of life.” Lyndsey Hewison, a marketing executive at England Golf, added: “Bright colours, casual clothing, and the thumbs-up from social influencers will combine to show golf as fun, friendly – and welcoming to beginners and improvers. It refreshes and modernises the image of the game and sets out to inspire people to give golf a go. The new website offers taster sessions and courses for beginners and improvers with features which make it easy for customers to find a session, book activities, and pay online. It now has a bold, modern look, which is designed to be noticed and shake up ideas about the sport.”
■ GET INTO GOLF'S NEW BRANDING
To find and book Get Into Golf activities, visit www. getintogolf.org.
The best of both worlds ITALIAN STYLE BOTH ON AND OFF THE GOLF COURSE
COMING TO A PRO SHOP NEAR YOU THIS SPRING
NORTH DOWNS PUT UP FOR SALE
orth Down Golf Club in Surrey has been put up for sale with a guide price of £1.5 million. The private members’ club, which is claimed to be the highest in Southern England, at over 850 feet above sea level, was established 1899. It boasts a 5,815-yard, 18-hole course, extensive practice facilities, and a 7,000-square foot clubhouse. The Woldingham-based club currently has an annual turnover of £650,000 excluding catering, and, according to selling agent HMH Golf & Leisure, has the ‘potential for commercialisation’.
email@example.com Tel: 01564 711623 View the complete range at www.ducadelcosma.com
 APRIL 2018 | INTERVIEW
ICE COLD ALEX Golf News catches up with Swedish star ALEX NOREN to talk about his stunning start to the season on the PGA Tour, his upcoming defence of the BMW PGA Championship, and his hopes of making a Ryder Cup debut in September
You’ve had a fantastic start to 2018, with a playoff defeat to Jason Day at the Farmers Insurance, a third in the Honda Classic, a third at the WCG Match Play, and a move up to in the world rankings. Barring a win, things couldn’t be going much better, could they? Yeah, definitely. I’m really happy with how things are going. I went over to the States to play some more American-style courses, get firmer greens, more rough, and to improve my driving and my long game. I’ve managed to improve all areas of my game, so it's been great. The second place at Torrey Pines was a highlight, even though I was disappointed not to win. I feel like I maybe beat myself there a little bit in the final round, whereas at the Honda I just came up against a couple of stronger finishers. My goal coming into the season was to compete with the best players on the best courses, and to prove to myself that I could do it. I feel like I’m in a position to do that now, so we’re having a lot of fun, and I just need to continue to push on.
Do you feel like you’ve got a better understanding of what’s required to compete and win on the PGA Tour? A lot of people kept telling me that I was ready to play well at US-style golf courses, but, in all honesty, I didn’t think my long game was good enough. My strength has always been my putting and chipping. But this year my long game stats are so much better. And therefore, I’ve been able to compete better. That’s given me a real confidence boost. As far as getting comfortable goes, I spend the winters in Florida, so I’m used to the conditions – especially playing in the wind on firm courses, and the target-golf style of play. When it’s firm, you've often got to land the ball very short when playing downwind, and hit a lot of good iron shots coming into the greens. You’ve to hit the right spots, because if you short side yourself in a bunker when the greens are firm, you're not going to get inside six feet. It’s all about fairway and greens on the PGA Tour, and not trying to force it too much.
How are you finding playing both tours? This is the first year that I’ve really had the opportunity to play both, so it’s still a bit of a learning curve. I want to get used to playing in the States and get more familiar with the courses, so I’ve only played in the US so far this season. I don’t want to keep flying back and forth, so I’ve put in a good stretch of tournaments in the US in the early part of the season, and will head back to Europe in the summer for all the big events.
You’ve had a good run in the Dell Match Play, losing to Dustin Johnson in the quarters last year and making the semi-finals last month. What is it about match play that suits your game? I think it is the intensity. When it’s a straightforward 18-hole shootout, every round, every hole, and every shot is so important – it really gets the adrenalin going. You can't make up ground. If you shoot an average score on Thursday in a stroke play event, you know you have got three more rounds ahead of you to get back into it. But in match play, you have got to step it up from the off. I think all players get a bit more intense in match play. You want to beat the other guy so much. You want that win, however it's done. Normally, if a guy makes birdie, you are happy for him, but in match play it’s about trying to win every hole. Maybe that's the kind of attitude I need to bring into stroke play events as well, and maybe be a little bit more aggressive in those early rounds.
Losing a semi-final is never fun, but how pleased were you to beat Justin Thomas in the third-placed play-off? I was very angry after losing the semi-final. I thought I had some great opportunities on the back nine to take the lead, but it didn't happen. And then Kevin [Kisner] rolled in some good putts, and that was that. I was devastated – it was one of the hardest losses probably ever for me. The third-placed play-off was a weird one, as we were both upset about losing our semis, but there is still a lot to play for. I’m happy with the way I played, and to beat one of the game’s hottest players felt good, but it wasn’t much consolation for losing the semi.
You suffered tendonitis in both your wrists in 2014, which put your career pretty much on hold for a year. How are you feeling physically now, and how has it changed the way you practise? I’m feeling great. I don’t have as much time to practise now, so I’m less likely to get repetitive strain injuries. I’m trying to practise better now, rather than more. I also find that it’s better to play a regular schedule, and to keep playing, rather than taking four or five weeks offer in the middle of the season to practise. Last year, I took six weeks off and tried to improve by just practising, but this year I'm going to be playing a bit more often.
INTERVIEW | APRIL 2018
You’re coming back to Wentworth next month to defend your PGA title. Where does your tournament-winning final round 62 rank in your list of career rounds? It’s probably my best ever. Wentworth is a tough course coming down the stretch, both mentally and technically. It’s not super narrow, but if you’re a little bit wayward it can cost you. I putted the best I’ve ever putted that day – everything dropped.
What else do you remember about that week, and what did the win do for your confidence? I remember coming off the course after the third round in a really bad mood, as I’d chipped it into the water on 18 and made a double bogey. I pretty much thought I was out of the tournament. I was seven shots behind the leaders and was something like 20th, so I didn’t have any expectations about the final round, other than shooting the best score that I could and trying to take some confidence into the following week’s tournament. Even after I birdied three of the first five holes, I thought I was playing well, but I was still hoping for a top ten at best. In fact, even after coming off the course, having shot 62, I thought it wouldn’t be enough to win, so I kind of felt quite relaxed. The whole week was very special – the PGA Championship is a very special tournament and, as European Tour players, we all like to come back to Wentworth, the tour’s headquarters. I’ve always liked the West Course, and, although the weather isn’t always great, it’s just a nice place to come and play golf. The crowds are great, and I always seem to get lots of support from British fans. To win on such a tough course, against a world-class field, gave me a lot of confidence going forward.
What do you remember about your eagle at the 18th hole? Well, sometimes you like the yardage, and you like the hole where the wind is, how the lie is, and things like that, and everything about the shot set up nicely in my mind. I had around 230 yards to the pin, but I needed only to pitch it about 210, and let it roll out. I knew a 5-iron would carry the front, and I couldn't hit it over the green, even if I tried, so that kind of gives you a lot of confidence in a shot. So when I stood over the ball, I was kind of nervous, but I knew that if I caught it cleanly, and didn’t hook it, it would be ok. Then it came off really nicely and went straight at the flag, and that was it.
As ever, there is some pretty stiff competition for places in the European Ryder Cup team. What are your thoughts on potentially making the team? I’m currently ninth in the European points list and seventh in the world list, so with only the top four from each list being selected, and four wild card picks, I’ve still got plenty of work to do. I’d love to be in the team and will be trying my hardest to get there.
Looking back to 2016, how upset were you not to receive one of Darren Clarke’s captain’s picks for the matches at Hazletine? Of course it was disappointing, but I didn’t get enough points to make the team, so it was out of my hands. A lot of people came up to me saying, ‘Don’t you wish you were at the Ryder Cup? I’m like, ‘Maybe zero.’ I don’t ever dwell on it.
You’ve put the new Callaway Rogue driver and fairway wood in the bag this year. How are they performing for you? I first put the Rogue Sub Zero driver and Rogue fairway wood into play at Torrey Pines at the end of January. I finished second there, so they performed right out of the gate. I had tested the driver during the off-season, and at Torrey Pines I worked with Callaway’s tour guys to dial in the weights on the head to add a little spin. This increased my carry distance, but also created a tighter dispersion off the tee, which has helped me find a lot more fairways this season. I’ve got it set up with a neutral bias, and the shaft is cut down to 443/4-inches, which helps with control.
Finally, you became a father for the first time 18 months ago; how has that affected your golf and your general outlook on life? It has been a wonderful experience. I find that I am a lot more relaxed. You realise that there are far more important things in life, which I find helps centre me when I’m out on tour. My daughter Iris and my wife Jennifer are the stability that my life needs. Before, when I was on my own, my whole life was golf. If I played badly, I was sad. If I played well, I was really happy. My entire mood was dependent on my golf game. Now it’s a combination of knowing where you are with your golf, and having something else that’s really important in your life. That makes the wins less fun, but the losses less bad.
NOREN BY NUMBERS AGE:
2005 WORLD RANKING: 17 TURNED PRO:
EUROPEAN TOUR APPEARANCES: WINS:
(EUROPEAN TOUR) RACE TO DUBAI RANKING:
5TH (2018) 8TH (2017) 3RD (2016) BEST MAJOR FINISH:
(2017 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP) DRIVING
302YARDS % FAIRWAYS IN REG: 65 DISTANCE:
GREENS IN REG:
WHAT’S IN ALEX’S BAG? DRIVER: CALLAWAY ROGUE SUB ZERO (9°) FAIRWAY WOOD: CALLAWAY ROGUE 3+ (15°) HYBRID: CALLAWAY APEX (18°) IRONS: CALLAWAY APEX PRO 16 (4-9 IRONS) WEDGES: CALLAWAY MACK DADDY 4 (46°, 50°, 56°, 60°) PUTTER: ODYSSEY O-WORKS 1W BALL: CALLAWAY CHROME SOFT X
 APRIL 2018 | COURSE REVIEW
COURSE REVIEW COURSE REVIEW
HEYTHROP PARK HOTEL & GOLF RESORT OXFORDSHIRE With its stunning championship course and choice of quality on-site accommodation, HEYTHROP PARK is the perfect destination for discerning golfers, writes Nick Bayly
■ THE PAR-4 6TH OFFERS A RISK-AND-REWARD OPTION OVER WATER OFF THE TEE
venue of such pedigree. Young, who previously worked at The Grove in Hertfordshire, has already made giant strides at Heythrop, and is confident that the course will soon be back to the kind of condition that made it worthy of hosting a Challenge Tour event just over 18 months ago. ‘’It is fair to say that the course needs a bit of superficial attention,’’ says Young, ‘’but it is an awesome layout, and it won’t take us long to set it up correctly, and restore the greens, so these beautifully undulating putting surfaces can be a real talking point again.’’ Young also plans to widen the fairways and remove secondary cuts of rough in order to allow better golfers to find the right angles to attack tight pins, while enabling less accurate players to find their golf balls should they miss the short stuff. “We have some amazing holes that tempt heroic tee shots over water and around doglegs, and we want to put the fun back into the player experience at Heythrop,” ahe explains. “Golf should not just be an exercise in straight hitting. There should be exciting decisions to make during the round to challenge a player mentally – that way they’ll want to come back to try it all again.'' Oxford-born PGA professional Cook – who recently gained in a degree in golf studies following an 18-year career as a professional footballer – is similarly upbeat about the club’s future. “We have a great opportunity to take Heythrop Park to a new level of service, with a completely fresh team on and off the course,” he said. “We already know the design is one that really excites golfers, and we plan to significantly upgrade the condition this year. Our aim is for Heythrop to climb into the top 100 in the UK.” With two such ambitious men running the show, it can only be a matter of time before Heythrop begins to carve out a reputation that its stunning design and location merits, and bring golfers flocking back. Another string to Heythrop’s bow is the presence of PGA professional Jeremy Dale, the renowned trick shot artist and tour coach, who is based the resort’s academy, where he regularly
ocated 30 minutes west of Oxford, Heythrop Park has long been a stopping point for tourists on the Cotswold heritage trail – Blenheim Palace is only a few miles away – but only came on the map as a golfing destination just over ten years ago, with the opening of the 7,008-yard Bainbridge course. Bought by local businessman Firoz Kassam back in 1999, the Heythrop Estate was converted from a corporate training facility into a fully-fledged leisure resort over the next decade, and the golf course, which opened in 2010, now forms part of a wide range of top-class facilities on offer here, which includes two hotels and a spa and gym complex, all of which are built around the impressive 18th century mansion house that provides the focal point of the estate. In pure golfing terms, the Bainbridge Course is still very much in its infancy, but, despite its youth, the parkland layout is blessed with maturity beyond its age, with 300 years of majestic woodland providing a stunning canvas on which course architect Tom MacKenzie worked his magic. The opening three or four holes provide a gentle introduction as you move away from the mansion, but the course really gets into its stride in a superb stretch which starts from the dramatic downhill par-four fifth, and runs all the way through to the challenging 203-yard par-three 13th and the dogleg 14th. Lakes, streams, huge rises and drops in elevation, and a clever use of the topography has created some superb holes that will test every part of your game, especially if you decide to play off the very back of the five teeing options available. The 296-yard sixth will be many players’ highlight, presenting a driveable par-four over water that offers genuine reward, but plenty of risk. The par-five 11th is another cracker that will require all of your concentration to score well on. The
■ THE MANSION PROVIDES A STUNNING BACKDROP TO THE 18TH GREEN ■ HEYTHROP PARK’S NEW COURSE MANAGER PAUL YOUNG
imposing mansion provides a stunning backdrop as you tee off down the hill towards the fairway, while your third shot requires a pinpoint iron to a small green tucked to the side of a pond. The par-three 13th is another showstopper, with water in front of the green, and a natural amphitheatre of grass behind, serving to frame the hole superbly. In addition to the stunning holes, there are plenty of interesting distractions throughout your round, including numerous Cotswold stone walls, which come into play on several holes, while a carp lake, a Victorian skating pond, and even a Jesuit cemetery all add to the mix. The last three holes are slightly less dramatic, but no less demanding, with the par-four 18th, with its arrow-straight fairway bordered by an avenue of trees, offering a test of power and accuracy. The general condition of the course has undeniably suffered in recent years, but the recent appointment of two key personnel – Jamie Cook as golf manager and Paul Young as course manager – looks set to ensure that playing surfaces are raised to the high levels that are fitting for a championship
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hosts One Day Scoring Schools, as well as his exceptionally popular trick shot show, which is an ideal addition to any corporate golf day. There are currently opportunities to join Heythrop in all membership categories at very competitive rates, while there are a wide range of bespoke society and corporate packages to choose from, as well as great value green fee offers that can be booked in advance online. Golfers looking to make a break of it are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation. The main house offers just 17 bedrooms, but they are definitely worth booking if you want to push the boat out for a special occasion, while the four-star Crown Plaza offers a further 120 rooms of luxurious accommodation, with an excellent choice of food and drinking venues on-site. So if you haven’t been to Heythrop Park before, or if you have and are interested in finding out about all the changes that have been made at the resort since your last visit, then I strongly advise dropping in at your earliest convenience. You’re sure to be in for a treat.
NEWS | APRIL 2018 
STORY BEHIND THE PIC ERNEST JONES • KENT • 1916
WHILE AMERICAN GOLFING LEGEND BOBBY JONES is widely regarded to have one of the finest swings of the postwar era, there was another golfer born much closer to home who shared the same surname, but arguably had a greater long-term impact on the way the golf swing was taught all over the world. Ernest Jones, who was born in Manchester in 1887, is not a name that many modern golfers would have heard of – he won no majors, and made little impact in the professional ranks – but he had a huge influence on how golf was taught and played. Jones, who came from a solidly working class background in suburban Manchester, started out his golfing journey as an apprentice clubmaker aged just 12. He quickly showed an aptitude not just for making clubs, but swinging them too, and after taking over the running of the shop aged 16, his love of playing the game soon took over, and he moved to South-East London in 1906, where he came the assistant professional at Chislehurst Golf Club in Kent. Serving under head professional Jack Youlds, Jones thought he had been hired exclusively for his clubmaking and playing skills – he broke the course record of 62 in his first year at the club – however, he soon learned that he was expected to give golf lessons to the members as well. Having had no previous experience of teaching, he frenziedly set out to learn all he could about the golf swing, reading Sir Walter Simpson’s instruction book The Art of Golf, which led him to see the swing as a simple movement of the clubhead with the hands and fingers, rather than of body parts. Although teaching was part of his role at Chislehurst, Jones’s heart was still set on making a name for himself as a player, and, after succeeding Youlds as head professional in 1910, he quickly established himself at county circuit level, winning the Kent Open in 1914, and then moved onto the national level, where he enjoyed several high finishes in the Open Championship. Following the outbreak of the First World War, Jones enlisted in
the army, and at the end of 1915 found himself in the trenches of Northern France. In March 1916 he was badly injured at the Battle of Vimy Bridge, and returned to England without most of his right leg, which had been amputated below the knee. But Jones was not about to give up on golf. Four months after his discharge, and still awaiting delivery of his new false leg, he visited his old friend and fellow professional Arthur Havers at Royal Norwich Golf Club. With Jones still learning to use crutches, and essentially hopping on one leg, they decided to play 18 holes, with Havers offering Jones a stroke a hole. This proved to be a generous handicap to say the least, as Jones completed the front nine in 38, and, understandably tiring slightly, came home in 45, to win the match by a wide margin. After being fitted with an artificial limb, Jones was regularly able to play sub-par golf – he broke the Chislehurst course record twice in 1919, shooting scores of 63 and 62 – and won the Kent Presidents Cup in 1920. Although playing 18 holes was possible with one good leg, putting together four rounds in four
days proved too much, and his career at the elite level was over. He turned his attentions to studying the mechanics of the swing, and, after publishing his first instruction book in 1920, soon found his services as a teacher in high demand. So much so that in 1924, then aged 37, he was headhunted to become the head professional at the exclusive Women’s National Golf Tennis Club in New York. In addition to teaching at the club, Jones also set up an indoor swing studio on Fifth Avenue, in the heart of Manhattan, where he would give lessons in what may be considered to be the first indoor range. Jones’s fame spread, and he was invited to coach some of America’s top women golfers, including Virginia Van Wie – who won three consecutive US Women's Amateur titles in 1932-34 under his tutelage – Glenna Collett Vare, Lawson Little, and other top players of the era. At the height of his fame, Jones was giving 3,000 lessons a year, working from dawn to dusk, after which he would take a stiff whisky in a local bar, which he always downed in one. Jones was one of the first instructors to use golf magazines to disseminate his theories. He was a contributor to The American Golfer for many years, and wrote two more instruction books: Swing The Clubhead, which was first published in 1937, and Swinging Into Golf, which came out in 1957. Both books embody all his thinking on the golf swing. Jones died in New York in 1965, aged 78, after a 60-year career playing and teaching. Twelve years after his death, in 1977, he became one of only seven golf instructors to be inducted in the World Golf Hall of Fame – a fitting honour for a man who had given so much to a game that he loved as much as life itself.
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 APRIL 2018 | NEWS
TILGATE OPENS NEW PERFORMANCE STUDIO
MUIRFIELD AWAITS FIRST FEMALE MEMBER
ilgate Forest Golf Centre in West Sussex teed off the new season in style with the opening of a new indoor performance studio. The new addition to the Crawley-based venue’s academy was unveiled by European Tour professional Mikael Lundberg,
with the talented young Swede hosting a clinic for invited guests and members at the official opening ceremony. Converted from three outdoor range bays, the new studio offers a wide range of coaching and custom-fitting facilities, including an indoor putting green with laser custom fitting, stateof-the-art ball flight tracking systems, and a Callaway Golf fitting cart for all of its latest equipment. Lundberg, who also held a special clinic with the club’s juniors, ■ LUNDBERG WITH THE COACHING TEAM AT TILGATE said: “Tilgate Forest
Golf Centre is a great facility, and, with the new studio the academy, is now a fantastic place to coach, and a great place for people to love and enjoy learning golf.” Dan Lucking, Tilgate Park’s manager, added: “The addition of the new performance studio, and the partnership with respected coaches Lea Cooper and Luke
Ringrose, is another example of Tilgate Forest Golf Centre’s forward thinking and continued investment into one of the best golf facilities in the south. We have a very passionate and dedicated team at the centre, and we are always looking for new and exciting ways to develop and grow the game we all love.”
ST ANDREWS TO HOST OPEN IN 2021
istory will be made once again at the home of golf in 2021, when the 150th Open is played at St Andrews from July 15-18. It will be the 30th time that The Open has been played over the Old Course, where many of the greatest names in the history of golf have lifted the famous Claret Jug and been crowned Champion Golfer of the Year. The Open was last played in St Andrews in 2015, when Zach Johnson beat Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen in a four-hole play-off to land his second major title. Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A, said: “The Open holds a very special place in the hearts of golf and sports fans around the world. The championship enjoys a historic and celebrated relationship with the Old Course in St Andrews, and we are excited to be marking the occasion of the 150th Championship at the home of golf in 2021.” He added: “St Andrews has produced a revered group of outstanding champion golfers since the Open was first played on the Old Course in 1873. Once again, we look forward to seeing the greatest players take on the challenge
of the world’s most iconic links course in their pursuit of the Claret Jug.” The Old Course has also been chosen to host the 49th Walker Cup in 2023. It will be the first time the international amateur match between Great Britain and Ireland and the United States has been held at the Home of Golf since 1975, when the home side lost 15½ -8½.
uirfield Golf Club is still waiting to enrol its first female member, over a year after an historic vote vowed to admit them. After an initial ballot narrowly failed to achieve the two-thirds majority required in May 2016, the R&A immediately announced that the East Lothian course would no longer be considered to host the Open. That decision was instantly reversed when a second vote in March last year saw members opt to admit women members by 498 votes to 123 in a turnout of more than 90 per cent. However, change to the make-up of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which owns and runs the course, has not happened quite so quickly. A statement released by the club said: “We are very pleased to say that we have had a number of women proposed to be members and the process is well under way.” Speaking after the result of the second ballot, club captain Henry Fairweather said fast-tracking women was not an option. “Our members were quite clear that they wanted women to be treated, not in any artificial way, but to go through the same admissions process as men,” he said. “That means it will take a little time for women to become members. We've got quite a complicated admissions process and we have a waiting list. They don't apply, they have to be proposed and seconded by members'.” It is understood that it could take up to another two years before the first female member joins the club. Muirfield last staged the Open in 2013, and the earliest it could do so again is 2022.
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NEWS | APRIL 2018
RADICAL RULES SHAKE-UP SET TO DRAG GOLF INTO 21ST CENTURY
A major rewriting of the RULES OF GOLF is set to bring the game into the 21st century when it comes into force next year. Golf News editor Nick Bayly outlines the most significant changes – and, no, you still won’t be able to call it a gimme from five feet in the monthly medal
■ GOLFERS WILL ONLY HAVE THREE MINUTES TO LOOK FOR A LOST BALL FROM NEXT YEAR
olf at club and elite level – and laws by which it is played – is set to undergo one of its most dramatic changes since the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield laid down the first 13 rules in 1744. A year after the new proposed changes to the rules were first unveiled, and, following wide consultation with thousands of golfers and organisations, the R&A, and its American counterpart, the USGA, have unveiled the final Rules of Golf that will come into force in January next year. The central tenet of these changes is about simplification, flexibility and speed – not the first three words that traditionally spring to mind when you think about golf’s byelaws. As well as speeding up the pace of play and making the game more approachable with the use of plainer English, many of the changes – which includes the reduction in the number of rules from 34 to 24 – are also a reaction to a litany of minor infringements that have occurred in tournament play in recent years and which have resulted in harsh punishments. With the advent of high-definition cameras and slow-motion replays, inadvertent mistakes
have often led to accusations of foul play and the retrospective issuing of penalties, all of which has served to show the rules to be too much open to outside influence and misinterpretation. The professional game has now reached a point where players are reluctant to make a decision for themselves, or other players, on the slightest of issues, asking for rulings from referees, many of whom might not be on hand, leading to long delays on already lengthy rounds. “We need our rules to be more accessible and to be easy to apply and understand,” said David Rickman, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club’s Executive Director of Governance. “And we believe that the new rules are more in tune with what golfers would like, and are easier to understand for everyone who wants to enjoy playing this great game. There is enough flexibility so that they can encourage and be inclusive to anybody who wants to play golf, wherever they want to play it.” Right is a brief summary of the changes that will have most impact in general play, club competitions, and, in some cases, professional and elite tournaments, eight months from now.
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RULES CHANGES FOR 2019 BALL IN MOTION ACCIDENTALLY DEFLECTED
There will no longer be a penalty if your ball hits you, your equipment, your caddie, or a flagstick left in the hole. For example, if a ball bounces off the face of a bunker and hits you, you simply play the shot from where it landed with no penalty.
BALL AT REST ACCIDENTALLY MOVES
There will no longer be a penalty for accidentally moving a ball on the green or when searching for a ball. So, if the ball moves on the green without interference from you or your putter, simply replace it on its original spot. The same goes if you accidently move your ball while searching in the rough or elsewhere on the golf course. A player is not to be deemed responsible for causing a ball to move unless it is “virtually certain” that he or she did so.
able to play from outside the bunker with a two-stroke penalty.
The time allowed for looking for a lost ball will be reduced from five to three minutes. Ready Golf – playing when you’re ready and it’s safe – will be encouraged in strokeplay. It will be recommended that a shot take no more than 40 seconds.
There will be no penalty for touching or lifting loose impediments such as stones, leaves, twigs, pine cones, or anything that shouldn’t normally be found in a bunker – i.e. sand. For an unplayable ball in the sand, you’ll be
ALTERNATIVE TO STROKE AND DISTANCE A local rule will permit committees to give players the option of dropping the ball ‘in the vicinity of where the ball is lost or out of bounds’ (including the nearest fairway area), under a two-stroke penalty. This rule is designed to speed up play when a player would normally be required to go back to the tee under stroke and distance. It won’t apply to professional and elite level competitions.
All damage to greens – including spike marks and animal damage – can now be repaired on the spot. Previously only ball-marks or old hole plugs could be repaired. Players will also be able to touch the line of a putt.
A golfer’s relief area will be measured by using the longest club in their bag for a one or two club length relief, depending on the situation. Golfers can drop the ball from knee height when taking relief.
DOUBLE HITS BUNKER PLAY
their putting stroke in order to aid with alignment.
A player who hits the ball twice in the same stoke will no longer be penalised an extra stroke. Players will just count the stroke they made.
LINING UP PUTTS
Caddies will no longer be allowed to stand behind their player during the course of
DISTANCEMEASURING DEVICES Players may use lasers or GPS devices to measure distance, except when prohibited by a local rule. This requires clubs to opt out of the general rule if it is to ban DMDs, rather than having to opt in if it is to allow them, as is currently the case.
PLAYER INTEGRITY Players will no longer need to announce when lifting a ball to identify it or check that it is damaged. ‘Reasonable judgment’ will be allowed to measure a spot, point, line, area or distance – even if it is later found to be wrong with video evidence.
A digital text-based version of the rules is already available on the R&A website, but a Player’s Edition of the Rules, the full edition, and an Official Guide to the Rules of Golf, which replaces the Decisions on the Rules of Golf book, will be published in September.
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 APRIL 2018 | EQUIPMENT
TOURNEWS... POULTER UNLEASHES ‘SPIRIT OF MEDINAH’ TO WIN HOUSTON OPEN
an Poulter won his first stroke play tournament on the PGA Tour after a dramatic play-off victory at the Houston Open in Texas. The 42-year-old had forced a sudden death play-off with American Beau Hossler after he sunk a lengthy birdie putt at the 18th to finish at 19 under par. The pair replayed the parfour final hole, where Hossler chipped out of a bunker into the water, leaving Poulter with a simple two-putt par to secure victory, which also earned him a place in the following week’s Masters. Poulter's win came in the wake of a recent decision to use the same putter
that he used to such effect at the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah. He was tied with Hossler at 14 under going into the final round and had led after four birdies and a bogey in the front nine. However, he was unable to replicate that in the back nine, where Hossler made four birdies to have a one-shot lead heading into the final hole. Hossler's putt for a birdie missed the hole by millimetres to leave Poulter with the chance to take the match to a playoff. Poulter, who had been tied for 123rd after a one-over 73 in the first round, kept his nerve as he
INSPIRED LINDBERG WINS FIRST MAJOR TITLE
putted from 20 feet which prompted a passionate show of emotion, as he beat his chest in celebration. A week earlier Poulter had been told he had already qualified for the season’s first major, having reached the last eight at the World Golf Championships Match Play. However, he was then informed 10 minutes before his quarter-final match against
Kevin Kisner that he actually needed to reach the semi-finals to earn his Masters place - and he subsequently lost 8&6 to the American. "Last week was painful,” Poulter said. “I came here tired and frustrated, but I was patient, and I bidded my time. I haven't won a stroke play event in the United States before, and to do it this week is amazing.”
CASEY CALLS THE SHOTS AT VALSPAR
aul Casey secured his first victory on the PGA Tour for almost a decade when shooting a final round 65 at Innisbrook Resort to win the Valspar Championship by a shot from Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods. Casey, whose last win on the PGA Tour came in 2009, set the clubhouse lead of ten under par by shooting six birdies and dropping just one shot on the final day at the Copperhead Course. The 40-year-old Englishman watched on as Reed, who needed a par at the last to win, failed to get his birdie putt from just off the 18th green to make it up the slope, and ended up making a bogey and slipping back into a share of second alongside Woods, who closed with a 70 to secure his best PGA Tour finish since 2013. Casey made his move up the leaderboard when posting three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the fourth, before back-to-back gains from the 11th moved him alongside Rose.
RORY RETURNS TO WINNING WAYS AT BAY HILL
ory McIlroy staged a spectacular back nine charge to claim a three-shot victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida, collecting his first win in 18 months. Two shots behind overnight leader Henrik Stenson when the final day’s play at Bay Hill began, McIlroy overhauled the Swede with a brilliant eight-under-par 64. The Northern Irishman bagged five birdies over his last six holes, including a 25-foot birdie at the 18th, to clinch his first PGA Tour title since the 2016 Tour Championship.
TOUR NEWS IN BRIEF Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg won the first women’s major of the season - the ANA Inspiration – when beating former world no.1 Inbee Park and America’s Jennifer following a marathon eight-hole playoff at Mission Hills Country Club in California. After all three players tied on 15 under par, the playoff Song saw eliminated at the first extra hole. Three further holes were unable to separate Lindberg and Park before darkness fell, requiring both to return the following day. It took a further four holes, before the Swede two-putted from 70 feet for birdie to capture her first professional title and the $420,000 first prize.
HAZELTINE TO HOST RYDER CUP Hazeltine National in Minnesota is to become the first American golf club to host two Ryder Cups, after it was chosen by the PGA of America to stage the 47th renewal in 2028. The site of the US Ryder Cup team’s 17-11 victory in 2016 will become the first American venue to host a second Ryder Cup. Four English courses the Belfry, Royal Lytham & St Annes, Royal Birkdale, and Southport & Ainsdale – have hosted more than one Ryder Cup.
WIRACHANT SECURES SECOND SENIOR TITLE
Reed holed a 20-footer at the eighth to join the tie at the top, only for Casey to move ahead by holing a monster putt from off the 13th green and making a string of pars along the closing stretch. Rose's challenge faded with backto-back bogeys from the 12th, as Reed produced a stunning approach at the parfive 14th to set up a two-putt birdie and join Casey two clear of the chasing pack. Needing a final-hole birdie for victory, or a par to force a play-off, Reed elected to putt from a tricky position on the green and saw his ball roll back down the slope
McIlroy strung together four consistent sub-par rounds for an 18-under 270 total and a three-shot victory over Bryson DeChambeau, who closed with a 68. Justin Rose, who was playing alongside McIlroy, finished alone in third, while Stenson faded to fourth with a closing 71. Tiger Woods, an eight-time winner at Bay Hill, had threatened to bag a ninth title when closing to within one of the lead early in the back nine, but bogeys at 16 and 17 saw him drop down into a tie for fifth with Ryan Moore. “I’ve been saying over the last few weeks that I wasn’t that far away, and it just takes something to click into place,” said McIlroy, whose victory moved him six places up the world rankings to seventh. “Something
to his feet on his way to a closing bogey. Woods, who was playing in the penultimate group, struggled to make inroads during the final round, but set up a grandstand finish by draining a stunning 44-foot birdie on the penultimate hole, but was unable to replicate it at the last. Casey, whose victory took him to 13th in the world rankings, said: “I’ve won a few times in Europe, but to get my second victory on the PGA Tour is emotional. I've worked hard for it, and hopefully I can keep it going.”
clicked into place with my game, especially my putting, and this is the result. It’s so nice to see everything come together finally.”
WATSON IN THE PINK AFTER MATCH PLAY SUCCESS
ubba Watson took another impressive step back on the comeback trail after winning the WGC-Dell Match Play in Texas. The 39-year-old left-hander beat a succession of higher-ranked players at Austin Country Club, before ending with his easiest match, a one-sided 7&6 victory over fellow American Kevin Kisner. The result of the final was never in doubt after Watson won six of the first seven holes en route to his second victory of the season, and the 11th of his career. Watson, who also won the Genesis Open in February and finished tied fifth at the Masters, has moved back inside the world’s top 20 following a lengthy period in the doldrums. “Last year was a really low point in my life mentally and physically,” the 2012 and 2014 Masters champion said. “But a couple of wins has cheered me up, and made me feel a whole lot better. "I’m 39 now, but I’m still just a kid playing golf and having fun with it. Somehow I keep getting trophies and I don’t know how. It’s just a dream.”
The former European Senior Tour began its new life as the Staysure Tour with a thrilling finish at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club in the United Arab Emirates. Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant emerged triumphant in the seasonopening Sharjah Senior Masters, following a four-hole playoff played under floodlights at the nine-hole course. Wiratchant, who won final event of 2017 in Mauritius, completed back-to-back wins after beating Clark Dennis and Peter Fowler in a play-off. With the light fading fast, the floodlights had to be turned to allow play to continue. Fowler was knocked out after a bogey on the first extra hole, while Dennis kept pace with the Thai for three more holes, before a bogey at the 18th handed the title to Wiratchant.
EUROPRO TARGETS PLASTIC WASTE Competitors on this season’s PGA EuroPro Tour will no longer offer free bottled water during tournaments as the tour attempts to reduce its plastic waste. Last year, over 5,500 plastic water bottles were handed out to players during the season, but this year players are being offered re-useable EuroPro Tour-branded bottles, with several water stations offered around each course for players to fill up.
AUGUSTA TO HOST WOMEN’S EVENT Augusta National is to break with years of tradition by hosting a women’s golf tournament at the Georgia-based club next year. The 54-hole stroke play tournament will feature 72 players from around the world and will include winners of big amateur events and the highest rated player in the World Amateur Ranking.
EQUIPMENT | APRIL 2018 
CASEY’S COMING HOME
Almost a decade after winning the BMW PGA Championship, Surrey star PAUL CASEY is coming back to Wentworth for what the 40-year-old hopes will be a profitable return to European golf as he bids to regain his place in the Ryder Cup team
ou used to come to watch the PGA with your dad in your youth; what do remember of those days? Watching the likes of Faldo, Seve and Woosie play round Wentworth in the 1980s was really what first sparked my interest in the game – so coming to the PGA had a huge impact on my future career. It was amazing to get up close with these legends of the game, hear the sound of the ball whistling over your head, and seeing their skills first hand. What do you remember about your win in 2009? Winning at the PGA at Wentworth was really one of the finest moments of my career. There is something about the fact that it is the home of European Tour golf, and the fact that it was in front of a home crowd, and in front of my family, made it even more special. The whole tournament has a special place in my heart. There are some great names on the trophy, and to have my name alongside them means an awful lot. I love the West Course and I love everything about the tournament, and I would love to win it again. It’s been five years since you played at Wentworth. Have you had a chance to check out the changes to the course? Yeah, it feels like a lifetime ago, but I’m glad to be coming back. I’ve read all about the changes, but not had a chance to check them out for myself first hand. I guess I’ll just have to get there early and put in some solid practise rounds. Johnnie, my caddy, knows Wentworth better than most, so I’m sure we’ll be fine. Somewhat unbelievably, it’s been ten years since you played in the Ryder Cup. What would it mean to you to get a place on the team in September? I desperately want to be part of a Ryder Cup again. I feel like I’ve missed out, and while I haven't always been in a position to make the team, watching the matches at Medinah, Gleneagles and, most recently, Hazeltine, certainly made me want to be play in it again. And not just be part of it, but a real solid team player and a leader in the team room, which I know I can be. When I play my best golf I think I can certainly play that kind of role. I have played against guys like Tiger and Phil [Mickelson], and now there is a whole different generation of American players, with the likes of Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Playing with a different generation of team mates as well, young guys like Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton, would be really cool, to be able to span those generations. I really want to be part of the team and to contribute points for Europe.
What does the Ryder Cup mean to you? For me it provides great memories – the battles, the pressure, the stress, the fun away from the course. There are moments I will cherish forever. I love match play golf. I love the psychology of it. It’s often about the guy who makes the fewest mistakes. I don’t make a lot of bogeys, so I guess that’s why it suits me better as a format than some other players. The guy that just keeps bogeys off his card is always in the hole, and someone who is always putting for birdie is incredibly tough to beat. Have the recent changes to the team selection made it possible for you to put the Ryder Cup back on your radar? The changes to the qualification criteria, including dropping the number of events from five to four, have certainly made it a lot easier to play a schedule on both tours. Thomas [Bjørn] and Keith Pelley worked me very hard to rejoin the European Tour last year, and they’re both hard men to say no to. But Thomas has also been hugely supportive, and he assisted in me making the decision with his confidence and his backing of me, and my game. But at the same time, he’s made no promises about my selection, and I know I’m going to have to carry on playing great golf in order to earn my place on that team. You played in the EurAsia Cup in January. What did you take away from that experience? It was a really great week. It almost felt like being back at school. It was great fun to be part of a team, and playing alongside a whole generation of talented young European players. From a personal point of view it was good to get two wins under my belt, and, of course, the European team won, so it was just a really fun week.
■ CASEY WON THE BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2009
You’ve certainly done your chances of making the team no harm with your form over the last year or so, especially with your recent win at the Valspar Championship. How much of a relief was it to a get another win under your belt? Getting the win was very satisfying, rather than a feeling of relief. I’ve won enough tournaments not to be worried about whether I ever win another. It meant even more to have Tiger in the mix. If I hadn’t have won, I would have wanted him to, but I’m glad it was me! There was a real buzz about the whole
tournament, and I couldn’t have been happier with the result. Waiting in the clubhouse for the others to finish was pretty tortuous, but it was worth the wait. The level of golf I'm currently playing has been some of the highest I've ever played. You know, I'm not the highest world ranking I've ever been, but my consistency, my confidence on the golf course, and my shot-making ability have probably never been better. What parts of your game have most improved to get you from making cuts to winning tournaments? My putting – pure and simple. I've worked hard on the technical elements of my putting stroke, because it wasn't good. I was basically delofting the face and shutting it on the way back. Very simply, I'm trying not to do that now, opening the putter face on the way back and allowing it to close and rotate on the way down. It’s a much more carefree stroke, if that makes sense, and feels much more natural. I had 21 putts in the final round of the Valspar. If I can keep that going, it could be a good year. How big a role has your caddy, John McLaren, played in turning around your fortunes? Put it this way, I’ve got a lot to thank Luke Donald for. Johnnie’s been on the bag for over two years now, and we’ve formed a really good partnership. I think we’ve worked out a good strategy for playing our way around a golf course. We're always questioning whether we're being aggressive enough or overly aggressive, and generally we manage to strike the right balance. He’s been very good at quietening me down between shots, as I have a tendency to over analyse things and talk too much. How many years do you think you’ve got left out on tour? It’s hard to put a number on it, but I’d like to think I’ve got three or more good years left in me. It's not about strength – it's about health. It's about eliminating injuries and staying fit. I'm never going to shift it out there as far as these young guys can, but if I can at least stay somewhat in touch, and play the golf courses that best suit my game, I've shown that I can be there or thereabouts. And if I can carry on putting the way I have in recent weeks, there’s no reason why I can't be even more of a threat.
 APRIL 2018 | COURSE REVIEW
COURSE REVIEW COURSE REVIEW
SANDY LODGE GOLF CLUB HERTFORDSHIRE
Tucked away on the Moor Park Estate, on the outskirts of Watford, Sandy Lodge boasts a stunning links-style parkland course that is set to rise in the rankings following recent investment
andy Lodge is one of those rare golf clubs whose name provides a very solid guide as to the kind of playing experience you can expect. Founded in 1910, and designed by six-time Open champion Harry Vardon, the club’s championship course is often described as an inland links, which makes it somewhat unique in this corner of Hertfordshire, where free-draining soil is often hard to come by. Bernard Darwin, writing in The Golf Courses of the British Isles, might have been guilty of stating the bleeding obvious when he said that the club ‘deserves its name in that it is wonderfully sandy’, but he got it right when he also described it as ‘a fine training-ground for the driver, and also for the putter, for there are no better greens near London’. More than one hundred years later, Darwin's comments still hold true today – and perhaps somewhat undersell the playing experience, given the recent improvements to the course and the practice facilities, more of which later. The club’s expertly written centenary book, In Arena Virtus (which, according to Google, translates as ‘The Arena of Power’) records that Sandy Lodge was founded by a frustrated London geologist called James Markes, who was tired of playing golf on the muddy parks around the capital. Using his expertise in all things soil-related, Markes soon realised that the land at Sandy Lodge Farm was perfect golfing country, and he enlisted Vardon, who was a close friend, to construct a golf course. The result was a wide-open, windswept, inland course that resembled a seaside links. The course remained that way until the outbreak of the Second World War, when it was turned over to grazing. Fortunately, the course was restored after hostilities ended, although large sandy waste areas were grassed over with tree and shrub growth ensuing, changing the look and feel of the layout. Despite its outwardly altered appearance, the course, which underwent a further redevelopment in 2000, remains true to its original roots. It may not be the longest in the region - measuring 6,505 yards from the back tees – but it's still a fair and enjoyable challenge for golfers of all levels.
The professionals and elite amateurs that have taken part in Open Qualifying over the last three years have certainly found it no pushover, with a three-under-par 67 being the best score recorded at this year’s tournament in June giving some idea as to the challenge presented off the blue tees. With six par threes and five par fives, there is no shortage of variety, and, in an age where time is money, it’s certainly refreshing to be able to nip round here in three-and-a-half hours, while the easy-walking nature of the land ensures that you can do so without breaking sweat – unless your match happens to be particularly tense or the sun should dare to come out. Teeing off a suitable distance from the prying eyes in the clubhouse, the golfer is eased into the round with a gentle 488-yard par five – or a par four off the back tees – but the pace soon quickens up at the second, ‘Sleepers’, a mid-length par four which features an attractive timber-faced bunker some 40 yards short of a raised green. A new back tee gives big hitters more to think about, as it brings the bunker in range with a driver; while most high-handicap players hope to get a straight one away and come in with a short iron. After the first of the six short holes, and another potentially reachable par five, the course really begins to bare its teeth at the fifth
■ THE PAR-4 SECOND HOLE FEATURES A TIMBER-LINED BUNKER
WITH SIX PAR THREES AND FIVE PAR FIVES, THERE IS CERTAINLY NO SHORTAGE OF VARIATION, AND IN AN AGE WHERE ‘TIME IS MONEY’, IT’S REFRESHING TO BE ABLE TO NIP ROUND HERE IN THREEAND-A-HALF HOURS
■ THE NEW PRACTISE BUNKER AND CHIPPING GREEN
and sixth, both of which are lengthy par fours. The 454yard fifth, Long Carry, features a heavily-bunkered fairway with a tricky two-tiered green, while the 461-yard sixth more than lives up to its stroke one index billing, with out of bounds down the left off the tee, a fairway that slopes to the left, and a significantly gradiented green. The seventh, Laddie's Cockpit, is a cracking 190-yard par three which doesn't feature any bunkers, but is beautifully framed by a number of mounds, while a new raised tee provides a good view of the test that awaits. Back-to-back par threes are a rarity these days, but Sandy Lodge serves up at the eighth, Wee One, which is only 100 yards long, yet yields up surprisingly few birdies due to the putting surface’s wicked contours. After yet another good short hole at ten, complete with plateau green, we come to the par-five 11th, Torrance, a 554-yard hole which features a phalanx of cross bunkers 50 yards out to provide a thought provoking risk-and-reward second shot, followed by a downhill approach to an attractive green located in an amphitheatre of trees. The 398-yard 12th is a testing dogleg par four where you must drive over two large mounds – hence its rather risqué name of Mae West – to a sharply left-to-right turning fairway, presenting a long second shot to
COURSE REVIEW | APRIL 2018 
ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END, AND THEY COME TO A PARTICULARLY MEMORABLE ONE AT SANDY LODGE, WITH MANY A MATCH DECIDED ON THIS TRICKY 160-YARD PAR THREE, WHICH OFFERS AN UPHILL TEE SHOT OVER A PIT TO A RAISED GREEN FLANKED BY MATURE TREES. Richard Elderfield, the club, under the stewardship of general manager David Griffin, is constantly looking at ways of improving the experience for its loyal membership, as well as visiting golfers. Walking back towards the clubhouse you’ll come across the club’s new practice chipping green, which is due to open next spring. Designed by the in-demand agronomist team of Greg Evans and Ricky Willison, the heavily contoured clovershaped green features four pins, and boasts a deep, riveted bunker for practising those demanding sand saves that are a part of any round here. With the 12-bay driving range and 18-hole putting green, which are also located directly in front of the clubhouse, Sandy Lodge now boasts some truly top-notch practice facilities to match the credentials of its championship course. They certainly prove useful to the club’s team of PGA Professionals, led by longstanding head professional Jeff Pinsent, who provide expert coaching services to the membership, as well as running a wellstocked pro shop and valuable club customfitting service. The clubhouse, which overlooks the course, leans nicely on the side of ‘traditional’, and is a spacious and comfortable spot in which to heavily guarded green. The 15th is a beautiful, but difficult, 200-yard downhill par three, which has remained largely unchanged over the years, with the hole framed by mature trees, and a green surrounded by bunkers to catch anything marginally offline. The final par five, the 17th, is many a member’s favourite, with bunkers narrowing the landing area from the tee as the fairway gently rises and curves left to a wonderfully positioned green. Finding the correct part of the putting surface is vital here, as a large tier divides the front from the much lower back half. All good things must come to an end, and they come to a particularly memorable one at Sandy Lodge, with many a match decided on this tricky 160-yard par three, which offers an uphill tee shot over a pit to a raised green flanked by mature trees. A par here might be good enough to win the day, but a birdie will make a post-round drink slip down even better – especially if the loser’s buying! With several new tees currently under construction, most notably at the final hole, there’s no sense that Sandy Lodge is resting on its laurels, and the active team of eight fulltime greenkeepers, led by course manager
relax before or after a round. A welcoming bar opens out into a large dining area for catering for the regular functions that the club lays on as part of a varied and busy social calendar. The changing rooms have recently undergone a refit, and the clubhouse is set to benefit from further enhancements over the coming months, all of which will add to the attraction of this delightful venue. As you’d expect for such a historic and reputable club, the membership stands at a healthy 700-strong, including 160 lady members, 80 juniors, and an active seniors' section. In order to encourage the younger generation to stick with the game, the club has recently launched an intermediate membership, with the joining fee element being reduced to £500 from £1,500 for those aged 18-30, while juniors get a free half-hour lesson each month as part of their £223 annual membership, as well as free weekend roll-up coaching sessions. All told, Sandy Lodge is a club where the sum of its parts adds up to something really rather special, and is thoroughly deserving of much higher and wider recognition. But, then again, the members might like it the way it is, so if you do make the sensible decision to book a round here, please don’t tell them I sent you!
SANDY GUESTS AND SOCIETIES WELCOME ‘SANDY GUESTS’ ARE WELCOME AT SANDY LODGE ON WEEKDAYS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, WITH THE SUMMER GREEN FEE SET AT £65 ON MON-THURS. PLEASE CALL 01923 825429 IN ADVANCE TO BOOK YOUR TEE TIME. SOCIETIES ARE WELCOME ON MONDAY AND THURSDAYS, WITH PACKAGES FOR GROUPS OF 12 OR MORE STARTING FROM JUST £65. FOR BOOKINGS AND FURTHER DETAILS ON BESPOKE PACKAGES, CALL 01923 825429, EMAIL INFO@SANDYLODGE. CO.UK, OR VISIT WWW.SANDYLODGE.CO.UK.
 APRIL 2018 | MASTERS REVIEW
REED WRITES OWN CHAPTER IN MASTERS’ HISTORY Billed as the ‘Masters of the Ages’, the season’s first Major saw yet another debut major winner, Patrick Reed, take the green jacket from under the noses of his more vaunted rivals. WORDS BY NICK BAYLY
he 2018 Masters Tournament almost lived up to its pre-tournament. Almost. While the leaderboard was packed with the majority of the world’s top 20 for much of the week, it was the man ranked 24th, Patrick Reed, who walked away with the green jacket, after four thrilling days' action at Augusta National. With only one top-ten finish in a major to his name, 27-year-old Reed was not part of the script in the weeks and days leading up to what was billed as one of the most exciting tournaments in years. With so many different threads around Tiger Woods (major comeback), Rory McIlroy (grand slam), Sergio Garcia (defending champion), Jordan Spieth (Augusta specialist), and whether world no.1 Dustin Johnson might ‘slip up’ again, it was easy to forget that there were four rounds of golf yet to be played around one of the most challenging golf courses in the world. And, as ever, sport rarely listens to scriptwriters. The final round promised a titanic battle between two former Ryder Cup foes, with McIlroy looking to gain revenge for his onehole defeat at Hazeltine 18 months ago at the hands of Reed. Paired in the last group – from which the Masters’ winner invariably comes – the early signs of a ding dong battle looked good, when Reed dropped a shot at the first to close the gap to two shots. And when McIlroy stuffed his second shot to four feet at the par-five second for a potential eagle, the game was definitely on. But the North Irishman missed, settling for a birdie, while Reed made par to keep a one-shot lead which he was never to relinquish. McIlroy looked out of sorts from his very first drive, which found the trees, and he spent most of the afternoon out of position, having to manufacture rescue shots just to save par, while others around him were tearing up the course. His grand slam race was run as early as the eighth, when a third bogey of the round at the par-five hole left him four shots back, and struggling to keep tabs on his rival. Further bogeys at 11 and 14 saw him eventually slip into
MASTERS LEADERBOARD TOP 10 -15
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70 72 65 67
66 74 71 64
75 68 65 69
69 71 65 74
69 70 70 70
73 69 68 69
71 72 70 66
M LEISHMAN 70 67 73 70
73 68 71 69
68 74 73 66
I KNEW IT WAS GOING TO BE A DOGFIGHT. IT WAS BASICALLY GOD’S WAY OF SAYING: ‘LET’S SEE IF YOU HAVE IT PATRICK REED, MASTERS CHAMPION a share of fifth – an ignominious end to a day that promised to deliver golfing history. Elsewhere, thankfully, things were hotting up. With Reed treading water over the front nine, with two birdies and two pars, the chasing pack started hunting down their prey. Hunter-in-chief was Jordan Spieth, who was nine shots off the lead when he started his Sunday round, and seemingly out of contention. But the champion of 2015 reeled off three birdies in his first five holes, and then made further gains at the eighth and ninth, to make the turn in just 31 shots. With his tail up, Spieth went on a back nine charge for which Sundays at Augusta are renowned. The 24 year old – yes, he’s still that young – birdied the 12th and 13th, to close within two of Reed, and then repeated the dose at 15 and 16 to tie for the lead on 14 under. A birdie attempt from 20 feet at 17 grazed the lip. Meanwhile, Reed, sensing his chance at a first major title slipping from his grasp, birdied the 12th and the 14th to move to 15 under. Spieth, needing to birdie the last to tie for the lead, went for broke, and hit the trees off the tee, with
■ CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR: JORDAN SPEITH AND RICKIE FOWLER
the ball ricocheting back into the fairway, leaving him over 300 yards to the green. A bogey ensued to leave him on 13 under, and his race, not only for the green jacket, but also for a course record 62, was run. Not many players come away from a final round 64 feeling disappointed, but Spieth will be one. His time will surely come again. But Reed was far from safe. Rickie Fowler, that perennial major might-have-been, was making his own charge for green jacket glory. Five shots off the pace at the start of the round, he made the turn in 35 to close the gap on Reed to four, and then reeled off birdies at 12, 13 and 15 to narrow the margin to two. With the partisan crowd cheering him on, he hit his approach to 18 to seven feet and holed the putt to take the clubhouse lead on 14 under. After parring 15, 16 and 17, Reed reached Augusta’s final hole needing one more par for the win. A solid, 290-yard drive just short of the bunkers set up a mid-iron approach, which he bravely hit over the flag to 24 feet. The fast, downhill putt rolled four feet past, but he made no mistake on the one back, and the green jacket was his. Reed closed with a 71, the worst final round score of the top 15 finishers bar McIlroy, but earlier rounds of 69, 66 and 67 had given the Texan, who has five PGA Tour wins to his name, a comfortable cushion for that to be enough. “To win your first major is never going to be easy,” said Reed. “And it definitely wasn’t easy today. I knew it was going to be a dogfight. It’s God's way of basically saying, ‘Let’s see if you have it.’ Everyone knows you have it physically with the talent, but do you have it mentally? Can you handle the ups and downs throughout the round? I didn’t get up or too down during the round. It was a steady round, but it got the job done.” The holders of all four major titles are now aged under 29. The new kids are definitely on the block.
EQUIPMENT & GEAR
WITH TOUR WINNER MATT WALLACE
CONTENTS CUSTOM FITTING AT PING HQ HISTORY OF THE GOLF BALL ALL THE LATEST GEAR LAUNCHES EQUIPMENT NEWS CALLAWAY'S CHROME SOFT BALL IN PROFILE PLAYERS' IRONS SHOWCASE TRIED & TESTED: SHOT SCOPE V2
GOLF NEWS READERS TEST CALLAWAY'S NEW ROGUE IRONS
 APRIL 2018 | EQUIPMENT
EQUIPMENT NEWS TAYLORMADE AND TITLEIST REJECT MOVES TO CURB DISTANCE GAINS TAYLORMADE AND TITLEIST have reacted to the publication of the USGA and R&A’s report on driver distances by firmly objecting to any plans to either reduce the distance achieveable with modern clubs and balls, as well as any moves to create separate equipment rules for the professional and amateur game.
■ DAVID MAHER
The 2017 Distance Report, which was jointly published last month by the game’s two rules bodies, called the distance gains on the professional tours over the last year, which were claimed to be between two and three yards with a driver, ‘unusual and concerning, and requiring closer inspection and monitoring to fully understand the causes and effects’. Although no immediate plans were announced in terms of changes to equipment rules, the report asserted that the issue of distance gains would be subject to ‘an extensive review’.
The USGA and R&A released the distance figures from seven professional tours which saw a threeyard gain in average driving distance, a dramatic jump from the 0.2-yards-per-year gain seen for the preceding decade. TaylorMade chief executive David Abeles said: “TaylorMade firmly opposes any potential rollback of product performance or bifurcation of the rules, as we believe these movements will be detrimental to the game at every level.” David Maher, chief executive of Acushnet, which owns Titleist, said: "In any given year there are variables that impact distance, and any movement, as in 2017, is not suddenly indicative of a harmful trend. We continue to believe equipment innovation has benefitTed golfers at all levels, and our analysis of the 2017 Distance Report affirms that the USGA and the R&A have effective regulations in place to ensure the game's health and sustainability."
SPRING INTO ACTION WITH PING POLOS PING’S NEW SPRING/ SUMMER men’s apparel range includes a performancepacked range of polo shirts boasting three new colour palettes – ‘Disruption’, ‘Drift Away’ and ‘Purple Haze’. Punchy and bold, Disruption pairs vibrant imperial blue with pops of orange burst, with core navy and white, to create
a striking on-course statement. Drift Away features a cool seafoam green as the lead colour, creating a modern and contemporary collection, while Purple Haze combines shades of rich plum with cool blue and navy, promoting a versatile collection. Incorporating Sensor Cool technology, the collection is showcased by the Harper (£55), Quinn (£35) and Theodore (£50) polo shirts. These designs combine moisture movement
performance, quick drying, stretch and crease resistant properties, with a tailored fit and attention to detail throughout. This results in a range of comfortable, stylish and performance driven designs for the golfer, both on and off the course.
SHOT SCOPE V2 £225 WWW.SHOTSCOPE.COM
FOLLOWING HOT ON THE HEELS OF SHOT SCOPE, comes Shot Scope V2, which does all that the previous model did, but with the handy addition of a watch-based screen with a built-in GPS. The V1 featured a plain, faceless wristband that connected via Bluetooth to sensors screwed into the butt of your grips in order to record the GPS positions of your shots as you moved around the golf course. While it performed the job of recording your shots admirably, the lack of GPS meant that those already in possession of a watch-based GPS would effectively have had to wear two watches. Not ideal. Hence V2, which performs both functions in
the one device. What makes Shot Scope different from other similar data-tracking systems is that the only time you need to interact with it is on the green, where you have to input the number of putts taken by pressing a button on the watch while standing next to the flag. So, there is no ‘tagging’ required. The V2 measures up to three putts, so any more than this, you’ll need to add them in later when you upload the round onto a laptop or computer. The unit itself, although slightly chunkier than its predecessor given its extra functionality, is still remarkably light, and it is easy to forget that you’re wearing it, as the rubber strap is extremely comfortable. It is very clear, simple and easy to read distances, which can be given in metres or yards. Once the device has located the course – 36,000 free-to-download courses are contained in its virtual library – the mono display screen offers yardages to the front, middle and back of greens, as well as distances to hazards. Distances are very accurate – when compared to yardages on a laser, they matched perfectly, giving great
EQUIPMENT | APRIL 2018
MCILROY FINDS HIS TOUCH WITH COPPER-PLATED PUTTER
THE GEAR EFFECT INSIDES THE BAGS OF RECENT WINNERS ON TOUR
TAYLORMADE received a timely boost to its potential putter sales when Rory McIlroy rediscovered his touch on the greens last month with the help of one of its soon-to-belaunched TP Collection putters.
HERO INDIAN OPEN DRIVER: Ping G400 LST (8.5°)
McIlroy used the brand’s new Black Copper Soto during the Arnold Palmer Invitational, displaying a deft touch around the greens at Bay Hill to capture his first tour title for over 18 months.
FAIRWAY WOOD: Ping G400 (14.5°)
In his first four events on the PGA Tour in 2018, the Northern Irishman ranked 124th in the averageputts-per-round statistics, but was nine strokes better than the field average at Bay Hill, with his total of 100 putts for 72 holes his lowest ever total on the PGA Tour.
PUTTER: Ping Sigma G Darby
The Black Copper Soto putter is part of TaylorMade’s new TP Collection Black Copper range, which hits pro shops this month. The putters have gone through a triple-plating process to produce a
HYBRID: Ping G400 (18°) IRONS: Ping i200 (3-5), Ping iBlade (6-9) WEDGES: Ping Glide/Stealth (46°, 52°, 58°) BALL: Titleist Pro V1x
dark finish, while each head is hand-polished to reveal copper accents along the edges. The heads feature adjustable sole weights, and are fitted with TaylorMade’s PureRoll insert – an aluminium insert which offers a firmer feel. There are four models to choose from – Juno, Soto LC, Ardmore 3L and Mullen 2 DB – and they retail at £219.
ARNOLD PALMER INVIVATIONAL DRIVER: TaylorMade M3 460 (8.5°) FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade M3 (15°, 19°) IRONS: TaylorMade P750 (4), TaylorMade P730 (3-9)
LYNX TO DISTRIBUTE OUUL BAGS
WEDGES: TaylorMade Milled Grind (48°, 52°, 58°, 60°)
LYNX GOLF UK has become the sole distributor of deluxe-quality golf bag brand Ouul.
BALL: TaylorMade TP5x
PUTTER: TaylorMade TP Collection Copper Soto
Ouul already produces Lynx’s new range of Prowler cart and stand bags, all of which carry Lynx branding. But Lynx owners Steve Elford and Stephanie Zinser were so impressed by the quality of the entire Ouul collection that, following discussions at the PGA Merchandise Show in Florida earlier this year, they decided to add the brand to their Lynx product range. Now 14 Ouul men’s and ladies’ bags will sit alongside Lynx’s own bag range. Announcing the partnership, Elford said: “Ouul owns its entire manufacturing process. Unlike other bag factories, they’re not buying in components made elsewhere – it makes every part on its own site. The end result is the best golf bags in the business. Their stand bags are stress tested 35,000 times for breakages, and this attention to quality and detail is what impressed us so much, not only in choosing them to manufacture for Lynx, but also in deciding to distribute Ouul branded bags.” Among the standout bags in the Ouul range is the Alligator cart bag (£229), which boasts an alligator-effect outer in various colours. It features a ten-inch, 15-way top with full-length individual dividers, and eight pockets with metal zippers. For those looking for a stand bag, the Python Superlight (£119) is one of the lightest carry bags on the market. Among its many features is a ‘foot flex’ angled base, which makes it easy to put the bag down and engage the leg stands.
VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVER: TaylorMade M4 10.5° FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade M1 2017 15° HYBRID: TaylorMade M3 21° IRONS: Mizuno MP-25 (3), Mizuno MP-5 (4-PW) WEDGES: Titleist Vokey SM6 (52°, 56°, 60°) PUTTER: Titleist Scotty Cameron Circle T BALL: Titleist Pro V1
WCG WORLD MATCH PLAY DRIVER: Ping G400 LST (8.5°) FAIRWAY WOOD: Ping G (13°) IRONS: Ping iBlade (2), Ping S55 (4-PW) WEDGES: Ping Glide 2.0 (52°, 56°, 60°) PUTTER: Ping PLD BALL: Titleist Pro V1x
HOUSTON OPEN DRIVER: Titleist 917D2 (9.5°) FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 917F2 (16.5°) HYBRID: Titleist 816 H2 (21°) IRONS: Titleist 716 T-MB (4), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW) WEDGES: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52°, 56°, 60°) PUTTER: Odyssey No. 7 BALL: Titleist Pro V1x
PATRICK REED US MASTERS
DRIVER: Ping G400 LST (10°) FAIRWAY WOOD: Nike VR Pro (15°) UTILITY: Titleist 716 T-MB (18°) IRONS: Callaway 2013 X Forged (4), Callaway MB-1 (5-PW) WEDGES: Artisan Golf (51°, 56°,) Titleist Vokey SM5 (60°)
confidence in the numbers. Once the round is finished, the data is then synced to your online account via Bluetooth using the free Shot Scope app on your smartphone. It takes 10-15 minutes to check and edit the data after each round if you opt to track your shots, as well as get distance information. From there you can use the web-based account or app to analyse your round, with stats on distances for all the clubs in your bag; fairways and greens hit percentages; scrambling stats; putting stats, as well as how often you use each club. Everything is very easy to set up, and very easy to use. Over time, it will generate a solid picture of not only how you perform with each club, but also the general
pattern of your shots, which are shown on an aerial view of each hole. It will also help you gain a better understanding of which parts of your game need the most attention. Overall, the V2 is a considerable step forward from the V1, not only in its functionality, but also in ease of use. For golfers who want to know more about their game, it will prove a valuable tool when looking into the finer details of their play with a view to upping their performance and hopefully lowering their scores. Shot Scope V2 costs £225 and can be purchased online at www.shotscope.com.
PUTTER: Odyssey White Hot Pro 3 BALL: Titleist Pro V1
PERNILLA LINDBERG ANA INSPIRATION
DRIVER: Ping GLe (11.5°) FAIRWAY WOOD: Ping G400 (15°) HYBRID: Ping G (19°) IRONS: Ping i200 (4-PW) WEDGES: Ping Glide 2.0 wedges (50°, 54°, 58°) PUTTER: Ping Cadence TR Rustler BALL: Titleist Pro V1
 APRIL 2018 | EQUIPMENT
CLUB TEST Callaway Golf’s new range of ROGUE irons boast four different models to suit a wide spectrum of players. We invited four club golfers, with handicaps ranging from seven to 26, to test out a different set against their current irons to find out if ‘going Rogue’ would raise their game
HEAD PGA PROFESSIONAL MID SUSSEX GOLF CLUB
Mark has been a fully qualified PGA professional for 15 years, and has vast experience in club fitting and a wide knowledge of equipment technology. He has also played to a high standard on various tours and has held a professional world ranking and has won many Pro-Ams.
CALLAWAY ROGUE STANDARD
TECH & SPECS: The standard Rogue irons boast a medium-width topline and sole, and feature progressive offset. Technology features – which are found in all four models – include a face cup with variable thickness, progressive tungsten weighting, and a urethane insert to manage impact sound and feel. The face cup features a shallow rim around the perimeter that flexes at impact to increase ball speed. The VFT pattern is thinner in the area low on the face to promote more speed on off-centre hits. The insert is infused with air pockets which allow the urethane to flex to increase ball speed and reduce vibration.
AGE: 22 HANDICAP: 10 CURRENT IRONS: Mizuno JPX 800 Pro CLUBHEAD/BALL SPEED (mph): 85/106 CARRY/DISTANCE (7-iron): 148/163 yards SHOT SHAPE: High fade
ROGUE STANDARD (KBS 90, regular flex) CLUBHEAD/BALL SPEED (mph): 85/110 (–/+4) CARRY/TOTAL DISTANCE (yards): 160/172 (+5/+12) SMASH FACTOR: 1.30 LAUNCH ANGLE: 12.9 degrees SHOT SHAPE: Straight/draw
MATT SAYS: I really liked the look of the Rogue iron, as although it has a slightly larger profile than my current set, they’re not at all chunky and sit neatly behind the ball. Shots hit off the toe still carried a good distance, and the ones hit out the middle really felt like they jumped off the face without having to make any extra effort. The flight was slightly higher than I’m used to, without ballooning. The KBS 90 shaft kept my spin rates down, and gave me a very consistent trajectory, with my high fade turning into a straighter shot shape. I normally hit my 7-iron around 150-155, so to see the Rogue getting it out to over 165 was impressive, although you clearly have to factor in any loft difference between the sets. I would seriously consider buying a set – so I’ll need to start saving.
CALLAWAY ROGUE PRO
TECHS & SPECS: Aimed at single figure players looking for a combination of distance and workability, the Rogue Pro model features the full complement of Rogue technologies, but caters to the preferences of better players with a more compact head, thinner top line, thinner sole, shallower cavity and minimal offset, to increase workability, trajectory control and impact feedback. It also has slightly weaker lofts (+1 degree) than Rogue Standard.
AGE: 37 HANDICAP: 7 CURRENT IRONS: Titleist 716 AP2 CLUBHEAD/BALL SPEED (mph): 92/104 CARRY/DISTANCE (7-iron): 151/158 yards SHOT SHAPE: Slight fade
ROGUE PRO (XP 105, regular flex) CLUBHEAD/BALL SPEED (mph): 97/120 (+5/+16) CARRY/TOTAL DISTANCE (yards): 162/178 (+11/+20) SMASH FACTOR: 1.24 LAUNCH ANGLE: 15.8 degrees SHOT SHAPE: Straight MIKE SAYS: The Rogue Pros aren’t forged, so I was slightly worried that I’d lose a bit of feel, but that didn’t prove to be the case, and they gave me plenty of feedback wherever I struck them on the face. They have a compact look at address, and offered that element of forgiveness that I prefer. My standard shot is a high fade, so I was pleased to see these going a lot straighter, and the distance was at least a club longer than I’d normally expect with a 7-iron. This could be down to relative lofts, but shots hit off the centre really seemed to fly, and even the slight miss-hit wasn’t overly punished. Switching from an XP95 shaft to a slightly heavier XP105 shaft resulted in a more penetrating and consistent shot shape. Overall, I was really impressed with the Rogue Pros, and would seriously consider them when I’m next in the market for a new set.
■ ROGUE STANDARD: MATT SADDLER
EQUIPMENT | APRIL 2018
■ ROGUE PRO: MIKE ABBOTT
CALLAWAY ROGUE X
TECHS & SPECS: Aimed at mid to high handicap golfers looking for extra distance, the Rogue X has a slightly longer blade length compared to the standard model, as well as a wider sole, stronger lofts, and slightly more offset. Despite that, the overall weight is lighter, and the stock shaft is also slightly longer and lighter, which launches the ball at the same angle as the standard model, but generates less spin, more ball speed and more distance.
AGE: 64 HANDICAP: 11 CURRENT IRONS: Callaway X2 HOT CLUBHEAD/BALL SPEED (mph): 72/88 CARRY/DISTANCE (7-iron): 116/137 yards SHOT SHAPE: Straight/draw
■ ROGUE X: PETER RIDDEN
■ ROGUE WOMEN’S: HEATHER BISH
CALLAWAY ROGUE W
TECHS & SPECS: The Women’s model enjoys all the benefits of Rogue technologies, combining an ultra-lightweight design with wide sole, large cavity and low centre of gravity to help slower swingers build more head speed and launch the ball higher for longer carry and more distance. The lofts are 1.5-2 degrees weaker than the standard irons, to encourage more carry distance and easy launch. They come with graphite shafts only.
■ THE ROGUE IRONS ARE PACKED WITH PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING TECHNOLOGY INCLUDING URETHANE MICROSPHERES WHICH IMPROVE SOUND AND FEEL
HANDICAP: 26 CURRENT IRONS: Yonex EZone GT CLUBHEAD/BALL SPEED (mph): 60/80 CARRY/DISTANCE (7-iron): 97/125 yards SHOT SHAPE: SLIGHT DRAW
ROGUE X (Aldila Synergy, Lite flex)
ROGUE W (Quaranta 40g women’s flex)
CLUBHEAD SPEED/BALL SPEED (mph): 75/97(+3/+9) CARRY/TOTAL DISTANCE (yards): 135/160 (+17/+23) SMASH FACTOR: 1.29 LAUNCH ANGLE: 15.8 degrees SHOT SHAPE: Straight/draw
HEAD/BALL SPEED (mph): 64/84 (+4/+4) CARRY/TOTAL DISTANCE (yards): 111/137 (+14/+12) SMASH FACTOR: 1.31 LAUNCH ANGLE: 16.5 degrees SHOT SHAPE: Straight/draw
PETER SAYS: I’ve had my X2 hot irons for three years, and I’m pretty happy with them, although as I’ve got older I’m finding I’m losing a bit of clubhead speed, so anything that can give me a few extra yards would be useful. The Rogue X irons look quite similar to my X2s, with a large, forgiving head and fairly pronounced cavity and topline. Yet they felt a bit lighter, which, when combined with the lighter graphite shaft, allowed me to swing a bit faster without any extra effort. After starting out with a regular flex shaft, Mark switched me to a Lite flex. I was delighted to get an extra 5-7mph ball speed, and upwards of 20 yards more distance than my current irons, especially as I didn’t have to swing any harder. I liked the sound off the face, which felt soft yet solid, and the extra carry will really help when playing in soft conditions, when there’s not much roll on the ball.
HEATHER SAYS: I’ve only been playing for two years, since retiring, but I play several times a week and enjoy getting out on the course in between lessons. I bought my Yonex irons from new, and I like their look and feel, but haven’t really had the chance to compare them with anything else. After hitting around 20 shots with the Rogue irons, I was really impressed with how soft they felt off the middle of the clubface, and also how my miss-hits still seemed to go a good distance, and there were no vibrations up the shaft when I didn’t quite catch one. It was easy to get the ball up in the air, and I was really pleased to get an extra ten yards distance, as that’s a big difference when you’re a beginner. It’s hard to justify buying new equipment when you’re just starting out in the game, but these just might appear on a future shopping list!
BOOK YOUR CUSTOM FITTING AT MID SUSSEX GC The test was carried out at Mid Sussex Golf Club in East Sussex, where custom fittings by PGA-trained professionals for many of the major equipment brands can be booked at its two indoor fitting bays using Flightscope technology. Prices start from £30 for a one-hour session. To book, call 01273 846567 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details, visit www.midsussexgolfclub.co.uk.
 APRIL 2018 | EQUIPMENT
POWAKADDY COMPACT C2I
ADIDAS TOUR360 SPECIAL EDITION £149.95, ADIDAS.CO.UKM Adidas has unveiled a special edition of its Tour 360, Tour 360 Knit and Crossknit 2.0 shoes that features a black Boost midsole to give the black version of the shoes an all-black finish. The traditionally white midsole that players are used to seeing in adidas footwear is coated black, and, with the addition of a black sole, will give the shoes a uniform monotone appearance. Boost technology provides cushioning in the form of highly elastic urethane pellets that are fused together with heat and moulded into the midsole shape for each specific model. The special edition will only be featured in the TOUR360 (£149.95) and TOUR360 Knit (£149.95), and Crossknit 2.0 (£119.95).
£599, POWAKADDY.COM PowaKaddy has raised the bar in the increasingly competitive market for minimalist golf trolleys with the new Compact C2i – an electric trolley that folds down to such tiny dimensions that you could almost fit it in your golf club locker. Designed to be packed away in two simple folds, the C2i features a 2.8-inch colour screen, a USB charging port, compartments for balls, tees and pencils, a scorecard holder, and a soft touch handle which can be adjusted to three different positions to fit the golfer’s preferred height. There is also an automatic distance control function, which can send the trolley off for pre-determined distances. The trolley comes with a three-year warranty, while the battery, which is offered in 18- or 36hole models, is has a five-year guarantee.
YOUR GUIDE TO THE LATEST GEAR
CALLAWAY ROGUE X IRONS
RRP: £849/£1,049 (ST/GR, 4-PW), CALLAWAYGOLF.EU Callaway has thrown all of its technology at its distance-orientated Rogue X irons. Headline features include a face cup which boasts a shallow, flexible rim around the perimeter that flexes at impact to increase ball speed. The variable face thickness pattern is thinner than previous models in the area low on the face which enhances ball speed on off-centre hits. The internal weight is placed low in the long irons to promote easier launch and high, long flight; and progressively higher as loft increases to encourage a lower flight in the short irons for added control. A new insert material is infused with thousands of tiny ‘microsphere’ air pockets, which flatten to create room for the urethane to flex to prevent slowing the face, while also serving to reduce vibration. Compared to the standard Rogue iron, the X is lighter, and features a longer blade length, stronger lofts, a wider sole, and slightly more offset. The stock shaft is also slightly longer and lighter, which launches the ball at the same angle as the standard model, but generates less spin and a lot more ball speed, resulting, on average, in a seven-yard increase in distance through the bag.
TAYLORMADE P790 UDI
CALLAWAY XFER FUSION £129.99, CALLAWAYGOLF.COM The new spikeless Xfer Fusion is a tour performance level shoe that combines the world's first TPU hybrid outsole with a full-grain leather upper. The Fusion outsole mixes cleats with spikeless traction, resulting in the comfort of a spikeless shoe without sacrificing the performance of cleats. It is available with laces or with the BOA fastening system. Located on the top of the tongue, BOA provides a uniform closure for a comfortable and secure fit.
£199, TAYLORMADEGOLF.EU Already played by Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day this season, the P790 UDI is an extension of TaylorMade’s forged P790 irons, which offer a combination of distance and playability in a medium-compact head design with a thinner topline. Available only in a 2-iron, with 17° of loft, the UDI features a hollow carbon steel body combined with high-strength forged carbon steel wrapped-face. The head is injected with a foam material that serves a dual purpose of supporting the face to generate increased ball speed, and managing sound and feel. A reworking of the company’s Inverted Cone Technology reduces face thickness at the edges, increasing flexibility from heel to toe and low on the clubface, resulting in more ball speed across the entire face. An internal tungsten weight offers precise centre of gravity placement and higher moment of inertia to encourage the face to close at impact. It comes with Project X’s 40-inch HZRDUS Black shaft (85g) as standard, which is designed for low launch and low spin, although there is a wide range of alternative custom-fit options to choose from.
EQUIPMENT | APRIL 2018 
HONMA BERES E-06 LADIES IRONS £350 PER IRON, HONMAGOLFEUROPE.COM Premium Japanese brand Honma’s new Beres E-06 cavity back irons combine high quality materials and handcrafted graphite shafts to deliver tangible performance benefits for all women golfers. The over-sized clubhead design provides plenty of confidence at address, while the wide sole, which features a 20g tungsten weight, helps to get the ball airborne with ease, even at slower swing speeds, as well as improving turf interaction from any lie. Boasting a maraging stainless steel face, they offer exceptional feel, control and distance, and high levels of forgiveness, even on miss-hits. Eye-catching designs and colour combinations give the E-O6 irons a distinctive look, while those aiming to stand out even more from the crowd can have the cavity section plated with gold or platinum for that super-premium finish. They are available in 5-iron to 56-degree sand wedge.
ZOOM AQUA CONTROL GLOVE £19.99, ZOOMGLOVES.DE/EN Boasting Zoom’s unique one-size-fits-all technology, the new Aqua Control glove features an ingenious combination of flex zones to fit the contours of a golfer’s hand. Developed with input from Austrian Tour player Marcus Brier, Zoom gloves provide high levels of grip and feedback due to their ‘second skin’ characteristics. The Aqua Control combines a breathable Lycra material with premium kangaroo leather to provide a glove that is twice as durable, fits all sizes, and will maintain a strong grip over the club in both dry and wet conditions. The blend of materials also helps maintain its shape over time. It is available in white/black/red, charcoal/fuchsia, black/charcoal/lime and black/red.
BUSHNELL HYBRID RANGEFINDER
DUCA DEL COSMA KUBA £199, DUCADELCOSMA.COM Italian fashion brand Duca del Cosma has launched an eye-catching new range of golf shoes that can be worn both on and off the course. Leading styles for men include Camelot (white/lemon), Kuba (white/red/green), and La Spezia (white/orange); while the women’s collection includes Palm Springs (white/taupe), Porto Ercole (white/sand), as well as Olbia (gold). Technological features across the range include a waterproof microfibre membrane, which acts like a breathable protective ‘sock’ within the shoe. The membrane keeps the foot dry during play and is supported by a soft PU insert sole to provide extra comfort. The outsole is built around an ergonomic design that provides grip during the downswing for a stable strike, while special channels allow the shoe to bend and flex with the natural rolling motion of the foot.
MOTOCADDY CUBE CONNECT £219.99, MOTOCADDY.COM Motocaddy has broken new ground in the trolley market by introducing the world’s first push trolley to feature built-in GPS technology. Based on the electric Cube trolley launched last summer, the Cube Connect boasts a digital display unit which provides front, middle and back distances to the green for more than 40,000 courses worldwide, plus shot measurements, smartphone alerts, and a clock and timer – all of which can be controlled directly from the trolley’s handle. The battery-powered screen can be tilted up and down for easy viewing, and is attached to a height-adjustable handle – and, when synced to Motocaddy’s GPS app via a Bluetooth connection on any compatible smartphone, it can be pre-set to receive notifications alerting golfers to a missed call, text, email or range of app alerts. Other features include a two-step assembly system that allows it to quickly fold down; a foot-operated brake; quickrelease oversized wheels; a folding lock; adjustable bag supports; and a bag-to-trolley connection system that removes the need for a lower bag strap. It also boasts an under-handle net, an integrated accessory compartment, and holes for carrying tees and balls. It comes with a graphitecoloured frame with a blue trim.
£399, BUSHNELLGOLF.EU Bushnell’s new Hybrid rangefinder measures distances to the pin, and other prominent course features and hazards, through its laser function, while a GPS display on the side delivers front, middle and back yardages, and provides distances when players are faced blind shots or need quicker, more general information. As with Bushnell’s other lasers, the Hybrid boasts PinSeeker with Jolt Technology, which provies short, vibrating bursts to isolate the target and lock onto the flag. The laser is accurate to within one yard up to a range of 400 yards, and the lens offers five-times magnification. The unit has two power sources – a CR2 battery for the laser and a USB rechargeable lithium ion battery for the GPS element – so if one dies on you, you’ll still be able to dial in your distances.
 APRIL 2018 | EQUIPMENT
SOFT, STRONG & VERY LONG If you’re looking for a soft feeling golf ball that goes the distance, then it’s got to be Callaway’s new Chrome Soft, which has been infused with graphene to offer unparalleled all-round performance
■ DAVE BARTELS
GOLFERS SHOULD NOTICE HIGHER BALL SPEEDS FROM THE DRIVER, AND SIFNIFICANTLY BETTER DISTANCE WITH MID-IRONS AND APPROACH SHOTS
THE LATEST VERSIONS of Callaway’s Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X balls probably won't be candidates for winning this year’s Nobel Prize for science, but they may be benefiting from one. The key behind the unique performance of both balls is the use of graphene, a mind-bogglingly thin layer of carbon – it’s one million times thinner than paper –that is part of the new Chrome Soft’s dual-core construction. Discovered by Russian scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov – for which they were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 – graphene has 200 times the tensile strength of steel, yet is extremely pliable, with the material needed for a single ball capable of being stretched to cover half the surface of football pitch. Already a feature of aircraft wings, food packaging and even the process of desalinating seawater, graphene's mainstream uses are becoming more common, powering some of the latest developments in sports equipment, including tennis rackets, cycling helmets, running shoes, and now, golf balls. Callaway’s product development team saw this unique material as ‘a gamechanger’ as far as ball technology is concerned, with Dave Bartels, Callaway’s senior director of golf balls, was determined to find a way to make use of graphene to enhance performance for the widest number of golfers. “Our R&D team keep their eyes and ears open for material opportunities all the time,” he said. “One of our polymer chemists had read a number of papers on graphene and opened a dialogue with a small number of suppliers who are able to deal with it. We looked at various parts of the golf ball, and the functions of each, and we quickly decided that if we were going to use a
material that made any part of our ball substantially stronger, it would be in the outer core, because its role is partly to allow the inner core to be soft. What we wanted to produce was an outer core that was much stronger – effectively a ‘crash helmet’ for the inner core that would allow us to make the inner core much bigger.” Bartels added: “The Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X are multi-layer urethane cover balls that feature a dual core. The graphene is incorporated into the outer core layer to increase the difference in compression between the outer core
and the inner core. That increase means the inner core can be larger and softer than it has been with previous Chrome Soft balls to help full shots launch higher with less spin, but it also helps the soft urethane cover compress against a firm mantle and higher compression outer core for better short shot spin.” The graphene-infused outer core also improves sound and feel, while the softer compression makes the balls more forgiving. Alan Hocknell, Callaway’s senior vice president of research and development, says: “When you don’t hit the centre of the face, the softer balls still compress and
therefore still convert head speed to ball speed more efficiently than harder balls. It’s why golfers see a shot creep over the lip of a bunker and get on the green when they know they didn’t quite hit it well enough.” He adds: “Golfers should also notice higher ball speeds from the driver with both balls, and significantly better distance with mid-irons and approach shots. Off the driver there is a reduction in spin, relative to the original Chrome Soft, and an increase in speed, without giving up any launch angle – and that’s a recipe for greater overall distance.” The Chrome Soft (75 compression) is softer than the firmer feeling Chrome Soft X (90 compression), which is designed for higher swing speed players (105mph driver swing speeds and higher) who are looking for less spin on full shots, including not just the driver, but the long and middle irons, as well. The Chrome Soft X’s firmer construction converts more speed to the ball when swing speeds are higher. As well as transforming performance benefits for millions of amateur golfers across the world, the new Chrome Soft balls are already being played on the PGA Tour and European Tour by Masters champions Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Danny Willett. The Spaniard, who picked up 19 yards of distance over last season, said: "I love this ball as it allows me to hit a greater variety of shots, while still gaining yardage from the tee. When I first tried it, I thought 'How can this ball go further than my old one, yet spin more around the green?' From there the switch for me was a no-brainer." The Callaway Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X are available in white and optic yellow. They have an RRP of £38 per dozen.
CHROME SOFT PLAYERS ON TOUR CHROME SOFT X KIRADECH APHIBARNRAT DANIEL BERGER NICOLAS COLSAERTS SERGIO GARCIA LYDIA KO PABLO LARRAZABAL MARK LEISHMAN PHIL MICKELSON JAMES MORRISON
CHROME SOFT ALEX NOREN CHRIS PAISLEY HAYDN PORTEOUS THOMAS PIETERS XANDER SCHAUFFELE MARCEL SIEM MARC WARREN MICHELLE WIE DANNY WILLETT
THOMAS BJØRN JIM FURYK ADAM HADWIN MATTEO MANASSERO “I COULDN’T ASK FOR A BETTER START TO THE YEAR THAN WINNING THE #SINGOPEN2018 WITH MY NEW @CALLAWAYGOLF EQUIPMENT! EXCITED FOR WHAT COMES NEXT! I LOVE THE GOLF BALL – IT IS AMAZING.” SERGIO GARCIA (CHROME SOFT X)
EQUIPMENT | APRIL 2018
CHROME SOFT BY NUMBERS
THE NUMBER OF MACHINES CALLAWAY NOW HAS AT ITS BALL MANUFACTURING PLANT PRODUCING TRUVIS BALLS. THREE YEARS AGO IT HAD ONE.
USING GRAPHENE IN THE NEW CHROME SOFT HAS ENABLED THE INNER CORE TO BE 80% LARGER THAN LAST YEAR’S MODEL.
THE NUMBER OF TIMES GRAPHENE IS STRONGER THAN STEEL.
“WHEN THE ORIGINAL CHROME SOFT GOLF BALL WAS LAUNCHED IN 2014, IT WAS THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2000 THAT I FELT WE HAD A REVOLUTION IN GOLF BALL DESIGN RATHER THAN AN EVOLUTION. IT WAS NOTICEABLY LONGER ON ALL CLUBS, YET HAD THIS INCREDIBLY SOFT FEEL, AND OFFERED PERFORMANCE GAINS FOR ALL GOLFERS, FROM TOUR PLAYERS DOWN TO SLOW SWINGING CLUB GOLFERS.” PHIL MICKELSON (CHROME SOFT X)
THE CHROME SOFT IS CURRENTLY BEING PLAYED BY OVER 100 PROFESSIONALS ON THE PGA, LPGA, CHAMPIONS, WEB.COM AND EUROPEAN TOURS.
THE NUMBER OF YARDS SERGIO GARCIA HAS INCREASED HIS AVERAGE DRIVING DISTANCE SINCE PLAYING THE NEW CHROME SOFT X.
THE NEW CHROME SOFT HAS SEVEN WINS SO FAR IN 2018 ACROSS THE WORLDWIDE TOURS, WITH VICTORIES POSTED BY SERGIO GARCIA, PHIL MICKELSON, MICHELLE WIE AND CHRIS PAISLEY, AMONG OTHERS.
IN 2016, JIM FURYK USED A CHROME SOFT TO SHOOT THE FIRST EVER 58 IN PGA TOUR HISTORY AT THE TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP.
THE PERCENTAGE INCREASE IN BALL MARKET SHARE THAT CALLAWAY HAS ENJOYED SINCE THE CHROME SOFT WAS LAUNCHED IN DECEMBER 2014.
 APRIL 2018 | EQUIPMENT
THE EVOLUTION OF THE
T ■ WOODEN BALL (1400-1700)
he history of the golf ball stretches back over 500 years, from the first wooden balls of the 1400s, to the featheries of the 17th century, the gutties of the mid-18th century, and the Haskell of the early 19th century, through to invention of the solid core ball in the 1960s, and today’s multi-layer, multi-core balls which are capable of travelling over 400 yards. At every step of the way, technology was the driving force behind the changes, yet each new design was met with fierce opposition before becoming the accepted norm. Today, the modern golf ball is still a source of great debate and controversy, with many people blaming it for bringing our most historic links to their knees, and fuelling the need to build longer and longer courses; while others suggest that the modern ball’s aerodynamics and spinenhancing properties have taken some of the skill out of the game. Whatever the debates, the golf ball will never stand still, as new materials, new manufacturing processes, and ever more creative designers, continue to produce new ways of making it fly further, spin more and last longer.
FEATHERIE ■ THE FEATHERIE (1700-1850)
■ SMOOTH GUTTA PERCHA (1850-1860)
■ LINED GUTTA PERCHA (1850-1900)
■ THE HASKELL (1900-1960)
There must have been many hand-jarring moments when the old style wooden club came into contact with the wooden ball, so no doubt it was a very welcome and exciting time when the ‘featherie’ ball was introduced to the game during the early part of the 17th century, becoming the ball of choice for over 150 years. The featherie was a handsewn pouch, most commonly made from cowhide, which was stuffed with chicken or goose feathers, and then painted. The feathers were boiled and stuffed into the wet cowhide bag, the bag shrunk as it dried out and the feathers expanded as they dried out, forming a hard object. Stitching was used to close the bag and then the object was hammered into a round ball ready for play. These balls were not only expensive to produce, but they were quite fragile and did not last long when being struck with irons and heavy wooden-headed clubs, or when used in wet weather. Initially, the cover of the ball was smooth, and only after use did the leather skuff up. It was soon found that a used ball travelled further and straighter through the air, and players quickly began cutting patterns into the new leather to gain an advantage. Unbeknownst to them they were giving the ball aerodynamic qualities in the same way that dimples give the modern ball today. By the end of the 18th century, the featherie became more or less standardised. It was 1½-inches in diameter and weighed 1.5 ounces, which largely corresponds to the size and weight of a modern ball, and was typically treated with chalk to increase its visibility.
GUTTA PERCHA (1850-1900)
■ MULTI-LAYER SOLID CORE (2000-PRESENT DAY)
Gutta Percha is the sap (latex) produced by various tropical trees mainly found in south-east Asia. The word comes from the plant’s name in Malay, getah perca, which translated means ‘percha sap’. There are numerous stories as to who invented the ‘Gutty’ ball, but most golf historians believe that Dr Robert
Paterson, a young clergyman from St Andrews, was the first person to produce a Gutty ball made from gutta percha, which had been used as packaging material for a gift his father had received from the Far East, in the 1850s. Paterson was a keen golfer and quickly realised that this substance could be moulded when heated, and, after a few crude trials, he tested the new ball on the Old Course at St Andrews. The result was positive, and although numerous improvements were necessary, the gutty ball was now a serious threat to the featherie, because it was far more durable and considerably cheaper to produce. As with the featherie, players soon discovered that when you hit a nicked guttie it had a more consistent flight path than a smooth, new one, so ball manufacturers began chiseling different textures into the surfaces, trying to find the pattern most conducive to stable flight. For all its initial popularity, the gutta percha lasted just a short while by golf standards – just over half a century – before it was superseded by the ‘rubber’ ball invented in 1898.
(1900-1960) On April 11 1899, the American businessman and inventor Coburn Haskell got a patent for the rubber-wound ball which would soon lead to another revolution in golf. Widely regarded as the first modern golf ball, Haskell’s ball was made of a solid rubber-wound core that was covered by gutta percha. But the thing that ensured it was to become the next ball of choice was its performance; bringing control and feel to a whole new level. In addition, it was exceptionally forgiving to miss-hits and flew over 20 yards further than the 100% gutta percha ball. When ballmakers adopted the dimple pattern, which was patented by Englishman William Taylor in 1908, the rubber wound ball achieved even greater distances. Taylor patented his ‘Dympl’ ball, and sold the rights to Spalding, which, for seven years, had an advantage over its competitors, because even
though they tried to mimic the dimple using circles and other patterns, their balls were just not as good in flight. Players in America immediately started to use the new rubber ball, but there was opposition from the R&A, because links courses had been designed and laid out for the gutta percha. However, rulings were overturned and by 1904 the rubber ball, also commonly known as ‘the Haskell’, was being used with a number of British rubber manufacturers and ball makers turning their attention to producing this new style ball, which inevitably saw the end of the gutty.
(1960-PRESENT DAY) By the mid-1960s, Balata and rubber was largely replaced with urethane skins and synthetic resin cores, which paved the way for the multilayer, solid core balls that we play with today. Spalding introduced the Unicore ball in 1967, while in the same year Ram launched the first ball featuring a Surlyn ionomer resin cover, which would eventually became the most popular cover. Spalding’s two-piece TopFlite ball took the design still further, introducing a ball that was not also exceedingly durable, but capable of great distance, but it wasn’t until 2000, with the invention of Titleist’s Pro V1 and Nike’s Tour Accuracy, that the multilayer three-piece ball came into existence – versions of which – some with as many as five layers – are the ball of choice today. Almost 20 years on from the launch of the first threepiece balls, ball technology continues to advance, with new materials and new manufacturing procecess taking performance levels to new heights. For example, Callaway Golf's new Chrome Soft ball uses a material called Graphene, which is 200 times stronger than steel yet is seven times lighter than air. Used in the outer core, its incredible properties are helping to propel the Chrome Soft further down the fairway, while keeping spin rates down, and maintaining the soft feel that all golfers prefer.
EQUIPMENT | APRIL 2018 
EQUIPMENT NEWS GEAR TALK MATT WALLACE
Ultra flat design Wheels fold in automatically One-fold system
Hertfordshire tour pro Matt Wallace, winner of last month’s Indian Open, talks about his long-standing relationship with Ping, and gives the lowdown on the clubs that helped him capture his second European Tour title I FIRST STARTED USING PING CLUBS when I represented England as an amateur. I was playing off plus four when I turned pro in 2011. I’ve been with Ping ever since, and they feel like a part of my extended family now. I put Ping’s G400 driver in the bag last year, and there’s no question that it’s the best driver I’ve ever had, as my driving stats have improved immensely since I put it in play. I’ve got the LS model, which has a smaller 440cc head, and gives me the penetrating flight, with less spin, that I like. I’ve got it set at 8.9 degrees. I like to hit a fade off the tee, and the current set up works perfectly for me. I’ve got a mixed set of Ping irons, with the i200s from 2-iron to 5-iron, and the iBlades from six to nine. The i200s, which I put into play at the beginning of the year, offer bags of forgiveness and plenty of distance, and they go slightly higher, so I can get the ball to stop more quickly on long shots into greens. I love the clean look of the iBlades at address, and they provide all the shotshaping options I need, and are ideal for drawing shots into tight pins. I’m really happy with my current wedge set up. I’ve got Ping’s Glide 2.0 wedges in 46 degrees – which is actually 47 – and 52
degrees, and a 58-degree Ping Stealth lob wedge. The lower lofted wedges have a chrome finish, while the lob wedge has a black finish, which I really love. It feels really soft off the face and has a few more grooves for extra spin. I chipped in twice during the final round in India, so I’m not going to be changing these any time soon. I’ve got Ping’s Sigma G Darby putter in the bag, which is working great for me at the moment, and feels really comfortable. It’s fitted with a 2-Thumb grip, with helps me with alignment, and I’ve recently had the shaft shortened from 34-5 inches to 33.5, which has given me a little more control.
WHAT’S IN MATT’S BAG DRIVER: PING G400 LST (8.5°) FAIRWAY WOOD: PING G400 (14.5°) HYBRID: PING G400 (18°) IRONS: PING I200 (3-5), PING IBLADE (6-9) WEDGES: PING GLIDE/STEALTH (46°, 52°, 58°) PUTTER: PING SIGMA G DARBY BALL: TITLEIST PRO V1X
ALL NEW - BLADE IP
NIPPON LAUNCHES WORLD’S LIGHTEST STEEL IRON SHAFT
The new BLADE IP from BIG MAX is now even easier and faster to fold thanks to a revolutionary new flat-fold technology. The wheels fold in automatically, as if by magic, taking you half the time to assemble and disassemble.
NIPPON HAS UNVEILED the world’s lightest constant weight steel shaft, the N.S.PRO Zelos 6, which tips the scales at just 68.5g. The shaft is aimed at golfers who have driver swing speeds in the 75mph range, and whose drives travel 175 yards or less.
The most compact trolley on the Golf market is now even easier and faster to use. BLADE IP - now flat AND fast.
Unlike similarly weighted graphite shafts, the Zelos 6 features a proprietary spring steel that gives it the stability characteristic of steel. It also promotes ease of launch, high trajectory, and excellent spin, which helps shots hold the green.
all profiles,” said Hiro Fukuda, head of sales and marketing for the Japan-based company. “The Zelos family of shafts grew out of our Nippon Shaft philosophy that we want our customers to 'Play Steel for Life'.”
“As the lightest steel shaft ever made, the N.S. PRO Zelos 6 showcases Nippon Shaft’s unique design and engineering ability and our continuous effort to design shafts for golfers of
Nippon Shaft products are available as stock or custom shafts in many of the world’s top iron brands. They are also available through the company’s network of club fitters.
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 APRIL 2018 | EQUIPMENT
FIT FOR PURPOSE
With so many customisation options available for modern equipment, it has never been more important to get properly fitted for any new clubs you buy. Nick Bayly catches up with MIKE LEA, Ping Golf’s fitting, event and education manager, to discuss why custom fitting is such an important part of the company’s way of doing things
irst and foremost, why is it so important to get custom fitted for a new set of clubs? No two people swing the golf club the same way, which is why no two people should have ‘off the rack’ clubs. Custom fitting is proven to generate the optimal ball flights and consistency required to shoot lower scores. At Ping, we’ve earned the reputation as the club-fitting leader, a title that’s been earned through decades of research and experience in the field. Our methodology has been adopted by thousands of club fitters around the world to guide golfers in finding the specifications that help produce their desired ball flight. What does a Ping fitting entail? Ping offers the most time-tested and precise custom-fitting process in golf, and to personalise the fitting experience, we offer both a level 1 or a level 2 fitting, which is more in-depth. With either option, players come away with the exact club specifications that fit their individual swing to deliver the results they’re looking for. We recommend golfers visit their local Ping fitter to determine which level of fitting best suits their needs. How many golfers do you see at Ping’s European Fitting Centre in Gainsborough every year? We offer 15 appointments a day, five days a week. From complete beginners to tour players, we see all types of golfers. One of the most frustrating myths I hear is that people think they are not good enough to be custom fit. Custom fit clubs, regardless of your ability, will give you the best possible chance to play your best golf. What are golfers most surprised about when they come to a fitting? I think the whole experience of a custom fit session throws many surprises at a player, especially if it is their first time
being properly fitted. One of the most common surprises I see is when the player realises how many millions of combinations there are when it comes to getting fitted for Ping equipment. You still can’t beat the smile you see on a player’s face when they see how much properly fitted clubs can help their performance. Can you explain Ping’s famous colour coding chart? Our colour code system is designed to fit a golfer to the correct iron set-up in terms of lie angle. As a rule of thumb, taller golfers are generally more suited to more upright irons, while shorter players are typically more suited to flatter irons. We use a chart that maps out a suggested colour code, or lie angle, based on a golfer’s wrist to floor measurement and iron length. Colours represent increments of 1°, with blue (1°), green (2°), white (3°), silver (4°), and maroon (5°) representing more upright than standard lie angles, and red (1°), orange (2°), brown (3°), and gold (4°) representing flatter than standard lie angles. Having the correct colour code is imperative, as having too upright a lie usually causes a draw, hook or pull, while having irons with too flat a lie generally causes a fade, slice or push.
technology, we’re able to fine-tune the loft of drivers and fairway woods by adding or subtracting up to 1° of loft to dial in the optimal trajectory.
OUR COLOUR CODE SYSTEM IS DESIGNED TO FIT A GOLFER TO THE CORRECT IRON SET-UP IN TERMS OF LIE ANGLE
A lot of today’s drivers and fairway woods feature some degree of built-in adjustability. How has this impacted on custom fitting? Our commitment to fitting begins long before we manufacture a golf club. Engineering is the crucial first step, and with our patented adjustable-hosel
■ GOLFERS CAN BE FITTED WITH A WIDE RANGE OF PREMIUM SHAFTS
■ CLUBS CAN BE ADJUSTED ON SITE TO ENSURE A PERFECT FIT
Putter fitting has become a huge growth market in recent years, what does Ping offer with regards to custom fitting in this area? A properly fitted putter can have a dramatic effect on a player’s consistency, accuracy and distance control, which ultimately leads to increased confidence, giving the player the opportunity for optimal results. A Ping putter fitting involves an interview and observation process, followed by a systematic approach to establish optimal putter characteristics. How many Ping-approved custom fitting centres are there in the UK, and how long does it take for a customer to receive their clubs from a fitting undertaken with a local pro? We have over a thousand approved custom-fitting accounts across the UK, where you can get expert advice and trial specialist Ping fitting equipment at your convenience. Our European Fitting Centre is located in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. At Ping, we don’t have a factory full of equipment that we box up and ship out. All our orders are assembled at our headquarters in Lincolnshire and delivered directly to the account. We aim to have the clubs built
and shipped to customers within three working days. Bubba Watson is known for his pinkheaded G400 driver, but what level of customisation are you able to offer in terms of cosmetics, engravings, finishes and paint in-fills, to regular golfers? Product dependent, there is opportunity to personalise your clubs with engraving and paint in-fills. We also offer a range of custom grinds for your wedges. These come at an upcharge, but it can be a great addition to really personalise your clubs. How often do your fitters have to politely tell customers that they should perhaps consider getting some lessons before they consider buying some new clubs? Ping is a family owned business, and we build our relationships on trust. I educate all my team to not be afraid to advise a customer that a lesson would be beneficial if suitable. However, one of the great things about fitting and coaching is that they go hand in hand. I would always recommend it is imperative to go and get custom fitted for Ping clubs from an approved stockist. To book a fitting at Ping’s European Fitting Centre in Lincolnshire, call 01427 613088 or visit ping.com, where you can also find your nearest Pingapproved fitting centre.
■ THE PUTTER FITTING STUDIO AT PING'S EUROPEAN HQ
EQUIPMENT | APRIL 2018
AQUA Sport 2 The new BIG MAX AQUA Sport 2 combines practical organisation and modern design with ultimate waterproof performance, available in 9 colour options. All BIG MAX AQUA Bags have a 10,000mm waterproof rating, so that even the most ambitious golfers can expect their golf equipment to be dry after 18 holes. The innovative twin strap and umbrella positions give you the freedom to use the bag in your own way. The New DROP-STOP System by BIG MAX guarantees 100% waterproof material, sealed seams and waterproof zips. Play with optimal protection and modern style.
CALLAWAY ROGUE DRIVER WHEN I FIRST HEARD THAT CALLAWAY was launching a whole new premium line of woods and irons just 12 months after unveiling the excellent Epic range, my heart sank just a little. Not because I don’t like shiny, new gear, but because it seemed like too much, too soon. But such is the product cycle of virtually all consumer goods these days, from smartphones to TVs, from chocolate bars to cars – there is always something newer and better around the corner. So why should golf equipment be any different? And drivers, if nothing else, are fast moving goods – ergonomically speaking. Callaway has thankfully kept the Epic range in its line up, and is keen to stress that the new Rogue family is not a direct replacement – yet a good number of its tour staff players, including Sergio Garcia, have sided with Rogue, at least when it comes to the driver and fairway woods. And with good reason, it turns out. Billed as offering a higher level of forgiveness than Epic, and doing away with an element of Epic’s flight adjustability, the Rogue driver promises to deliver up to five yards more distance and 16% tighter dispersion, courtesy of a range of subtle design tweaks. Chief amongst those are a reworking of the ‘Jailbreak’ bars located behind the clubface, which serve to stiffen the connection between sole and crown to increase ball speed. The new bars are 25% lighter, while weight has also been shaved off the crown, thickness trimmed off the face, and the sliding weight track dispensed with, to create a more strippeddown, go-faster clubhead. The head itself, while still 460cc, is shallower and longer from front to back, and makes for a more streamlined appearance, despite its larger footprint. At address, the Standard model that I tested – there are also a 440cc Sub Zero and a 460cc Draw model – certainly looks more forgiving, and gives the
impression of offering more margin for error. The shape of the head, which features a slightly less prominent stepped crown, has enabled internal weights to be placed lower and deeper, and this is backed up by the MOI figures, which, at 8,600 for combined vertical and horizontal MOI, is 7.5% higher than the Epic.
WATERPROOF UNDER TOUGHEST CONDITIONS!
So does it all work? Well, for me, a 14 handicapper who needs every conceivable bell and whistle to get more yardage, it did the job. The head coped better with my regular ‘misses’ than Epic, leading to less distance lost on those toe and heel connections; while those hit squarely off the centre of the clubface travelled between five and seven yards further, thanks to a combination of a slightly higher ball flight and that hotter face. The sound and feel at impact is solid and not too loud, and it’s a very appealing clubhead when nestled behind the ball, with little to distract from the task at hand. Overall, if you didn’t buy an Epic, then this could be the Callaway driver for you. For those who need to reduce spin by more than a customised shaft will produce, the Sub Zero is a solid bet, while those who are fighting a fade will appreciate the Draw version. So my advice is get down to your nearest club fitter, and find out what kind of dastardly Rogue you are. You might be surprised. Loft options: Standard: 9°, 10.5° and 13.5° HT (RH/LH); Sub Zero: 9° and 10.5°; Draw: 9°, 10.5° and 13.5° HT (RH/LH) Shafts: Aldila Quaranta, Aldila Synergy, Project X EvenFlow, and Project X HZRDUS Yellow (40g-80g) RRP: £469
BIG MAX BLADE PUSHES TROLLEY PERFORMANCE BIG MAX is hoping to flatten its competitors in the push trolley market with the launch of its new Blade IP model. Boasting a folded down size of 88cm x 62cm, and a depth of just 12.5cm, the Blade IP is easy to carry and, in its folded state, will easily fit into most car boots with a full golf bag placed on top, although it can also slide neatly onto a parcel shelf or behind the front seats. It comes with a separately sold carry case to keep everything clean. While the Blade IP matches the flattest of Big Max’s current trolleys, the IP boasts a new folding mechanism, which enables users to fold the frame flat and lift it to see the back wheels automatically flip under the body. With a push of the front wheel, the whole cart folds in on itself and is ready to be packed away. Other features include adjustable bag brackets; a double foot brake; an integrated drinks holder; a storage compartment in the handle; and a ball, tee and double scorecard holder. It costs £299.99, comes with a five-year warranty, and is available in black, black/lime, white, white/ lime, or phantom/red.
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 APRIL 2018 | EQUIPMENT
CALLAWAY ROGUE PRO
HONMA TW737 VN
£849/£1,049 (ST/GR), CALLAWAYGOLF.COM
£965 (4-10 IRON), HONMAGOLFEUROPE.COM
Aimed at mid-to-high single figure players who prefer greater shot-shaping ability, the Rogue Pro features all the same technologies found in the standard Rogue iron – including a 360-degree cupface with variable face thickness and a cavity packed with urethane microspheres – in a more compact head design, with a thinner topline and sole, and less offset. With weaker lofts than the standard model, to offset the effect of the narrower sole, the Rogue Pro is noticeably chunkier than the Epic Pro iron, and is only marginally less forgiving the standard Rogue. It boasts a classy chrome finish, and monontone graphics, both of which will appeal to better players.
There are three models in the 737 irons range that are aimed at low handicappers, with each boasting slight variations in loft and head shape to fit specific needs. The 737-Vn sits in the middle and offers a forged mid-cavity blade for those who like the shape and workability of a blade, but want a little more forgiveness. With sleek top lines, narrow soles and rolled leading edges, they are precision tools. Each iron features slight changes in sole width, face thickness and head size based on loft, while keeping the same offset. They are made using Honma’s two-stage, hot and cold forging process, which creates more density in the face, especially in the upper extremities, to increase ball speed and forgiveness.
LYNX PROWLER CB
MIZUNO MP-18 SC
£135-£150 PER CLUB, GOLF.MIZUNOEUROPE.COM
£120/£130 PER CLUB (ST/GR), PING.COM
The new Prowler CB irons are a set of cavity backs forged from soft carbon steel for responsive feedback. They feature narrow soles, thin toplines, and minimal offset to enhance workability for players who like to shape their shots and control their trajectory. The addition of perimeter weighting enables slight off-centre hits to still carry impressive distances. The faces feature U-shaped grooves for high levels of spin control from all lies. They are offered in a chrome or gun metal finish, and come with KBS Tour shafts in regualr or stiff flex and Lamkin Crossline grips.
Available in a forged muscle-back, a split cavity-back, and a more forgiving multi-material construction iron, the MP-18 range is designed to be mixed and matched to suit the needs of the better golfer from the long irons through to the wedges. The MB features a progressively shorter blade length, a thin, cambered top line, and steep progression into sharp, compact wedges. The Split Cavity model is a compact cavity back featuring a slightly wider, camber sole, although thin, tapered toplines, short head lengths, and smaller wedges. The MMC boasts a forgiving, multi-metal construction, which combines 8g of titanium and 20g of tungsten sealed within a carbon steel head.
The i200 boasts a new elastomer insert, which increases the flexibility of the face for faster ball speeds, while also serving to dampen vibrations. The insert is nearly double the size of the previous model, which increases face contact by 300%. The stainless steel head has a hydropearl chrome finish to repel moisture, while the thin face and tuning port structure produce weight savings that have been moved to the toe and hosel areas to increase forgiveness. The soles feature added bounce and a more contoured lead edge to help the clubhead move easily through the turf without digging or bouncing, while minimal offset and a sharper face radius produces a slim head profile.
PXG 0311 P
£250 PER CLUB, PXG.COM
£600/£699 (ST/GR), SRIXON.CO.UK
£849/£1,049 (ST/GR), TAYLORMADEGOLF.EU
Part of a new range of four irons from PXG, the 0311 P irons – P stands for ‘players’ – are designed for single figure handicappers, although they are also played on Tour by a handful of players who enjoy the high levels of workability mixed in with an element of forgiveness. So what do you get for £250 for a single club? Well, you get a thin, maraging steel clubface; a forged carbon steel head with a mid-length blade, and a slight amount of offset; a polymer insert; and adjustable tungsten and titanium weights. Add that together and you get an iron that offers soft feel and forgiveness across the entire face, explosive distance, and the wherewithal to dial in your ideal ball flight through weight shifts and custom-fitted shaft options.
Forged from premium carbon steel, the 3-6 irons feature a tungsten weight in the toe to help tune the sweet spot for a longer and more forgiving flight. They also benefit from a Tour V.T. sole, which improves turf interaction by increasing leading bounce and decreasing trailing bounce, a ‘V’ is created in the sole profile that helps tighten shot dispersion. Shot control is further enhanced by the use of double laser milled faces, which places two different patterns on the face to stable spin performance, while the grooves all five percent larger than the previous 745s for increased spin, especially in wet conditions.
Featuring a thinner topline than last year’s M1 irons, and a straighter leading edge, the cast, cavity-back M3 irons offer bags of distance while retaining the workability associated iwith a compact head shape. They maximize ball speed across the face through the same RibCor technology found in the M4 irons, 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. 15g of tungsten in the sole creates a lower centre of gravity and higher MOI. The mid and long irons (3-7) feature Face Slots, a Speed Pocket, and a redesigned off-centre Inverted Cone – all of which combine to deliver distance, height, forgiveness and straightness.
If you’re looking to raise your game in 2018, then try these new PLAYERS’ IRONS for size
YOUR GUIDE TO GOLFING TRIPS AT HOME AND ABROAD
TRAVEL AND BREAKS
APRIL 2018 WEB: GOLFNEWS.CO.UK/TRAVEL
ME & MY TRAVELS WITH
EWEN MURRAY ALSO IN THIS MONTH'S TRAVEL: • THE BEST HOLES AT WEST CLIFFS • WIN A GOLF BREAK WITH QHOTELS • TRAVEL NEWS
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at The UK’s Largest Golf Resort
Set in the foothills of Dartmoor National Park, Devon. The Ashbury Hotel is the ideal venue for your golf break.
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TRAVEL | APRIL 2018 
WIN A QHOTELS GOLF BREAK FOR TWO!
Golf News has teamed up with QHOTELS GOLF RESORT to offer one lucky reader a two-night golf break to any one of its ten venues in the UK.
ne lucky winner and a guest of their choice will win a two-night, dinner, bedand-breakfast stay with 36 holes of golf, for two people at any of the ten UK QHotels golf resorts – managed by Redefine|BDL Hotels (RBH), the UK’s leading hotel management company and largest golf resort operator. The multi-award-winning, four-star hotels offer championship-standard courses in ten unique resort locations, including four tournament venues: Slaley Hall; Oulton Hall; Mottram Hall, in Cheshire; and Forest Pines Hotel & Golf Resort, north Lincolnshire. Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie and ■ SLAYLEY HALL Retief Goosen are just some of the stars to have enjoyed golfing success on the Dave Thomasdesigned Hunting course at Slaley Hall, in Northumberland, which has hosted 18 European Tour and European Seniors Tour events. Thomas also designed all 27 holes at Oulton Hall, near Leeds, while the great Seve Ballesteros teamed up with Thomas for the track at the Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort, near Glasgow. And each of the courses at the remaining venues – Aldwark Manor Golf & Spa Hotel, York; Belton Woods Hotel, Grantham; Dunston Hall, Norwich; Hellidon Lakes Hotel & Golf Resort, Northamptonshire; and Telford Hotel & Golf Resort, Shropshire – sit in delightful
locations and present a strategic and enjoyable test. QHotels also offers the points-based QFairway, the country’s most flexible seven-day golf membership which costs from £375. It comes with 100 points which may be exchanged for golf, buggy hire, driving range tokens and spa treatments. And, among the scheme’s many benefits, players can hold a handicap and playing rights for club competitions, enjoy discounts on food and drink, shop purchases, tuition and hotel bed-andbreakfast rates.
■ FOREST PINES
• TWO NIGHTS’ FOUR-STAR ACCOMMODATION IN A DOUBLE OR TWIN ROOM • BUFFET BREAKFAST • DINNER • 36 HOLES OF GOLF If you’re not lucky enough to be the winner, a two-night DB&B break at with 36 holes of golf, costs from just £139 per person, based on two sharing, at a QHotels resort. Call 0845 034 5777 or visit www.qhotels.co.uk/make-a-booking for more details or to book.
TO ENTER To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the question below correctly, and email your name, address and contact details to info@ golfnews.co.uk with ‘QHotels 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 May 30, 2018. Question: Who designed Slaley Hall’s Hunting Course? a) Mickey Thomas b) Dave Thomas c) Thomas Bjørn
2018 01 Golf News - Golf Breaks QP.qxp_166mm h x 145mm w 08/02/2018 10:39 Page 1
DORSET RESORT CELEBRATES 40 YEARS AT THE TOP OF ITS GAME luxury cottages, and a 16-bedroom hotel, has been attracting stay-and-play golfers for many years, while the condition of the golf courses, and superb catering and hospitality, is clearly a winning combination for visitors, with the resort boasting a 65 per cent repeat booking rate. The Woodland Course, which is cut through a forest of rhododendrons, bpasts banks of pink, red and purple flowers, sparking thoughts of Augusta. The Lakeland and Parkland nine are also blessed with flourishes of rhododendron and cherry blossom, and the views across the huge lakes are spectacular. Ideally located to explore Poole and Bournemouth, as well as the wilder parts of the Jurassic Coast, there plenty to do within just a few miles of the resort, including, clay pigeon shooting, Bovington Tank Museum and Monkey World. Stay-and-play packages this July and August start from £179pp for two-night breaks, with dinner, breakfast and all golf included. Threenight packages, with three rounds, cost from £259 per person. For more details, call 01929 472244 or visit www. dorsetgolfresort.com.
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
he Dorset Golf Resort is enjoying a double celebration after reaching its 40th year in business, while at the same time being recognised as one of the top golf resorts in the UK. The Bere Regis-based venue has long held a reputation for being a top quality golf break destination, thanks to its 27 holes of championship golf spread across its acclaimed Lakeland, Parkland and Woodland Courses, combined with its wide range of five-star accommodation. And with its recent inclusion in Today’s Golfer’s Top 100 UK Golf Resorts, the East Dorset-based resort’s status has been further elevated. The choice of quality accommodation, which includes 14 five-star eco lodge homes, two
 APRIL 2018 | TRAVEL
■ 7TH HOLE
■ APPROACH TO 17TH GREEN
■ 18TH HOLE
■ 5TH GREEN
THE BEST OF THE
HOLE 5 – PAR 3, 173M Golfers won’t fail to be impressed by the fifth, the first of a memorable group of short holes at West Cliffs. Located on top of a massive sand dune, the hole plays directly towards the ocean, so take a moment to enjoy the view before hitting your tee shot. Surrounded by native heather and dune grass, the long redan-style green slopes severely from front to back and, when the full force of the prevailing wind is a factor, choosing the right club is vital. If failing to find the putting surface, it pays to miss short or right, as large, deep bunkers await on the left.
HOLE 7 – PAR 5, 537M The longest hole at West Cliffs, the par-five seventh is designed a true three-shotter and plays every yard of its 537 metres due to its clever design. Located in the same valley as the preceding hole, both par fives are influenced by the same wind patterns, meaning that when the sixth plays short, the seventh will play long. Featuring spectacular views of the seaside cliffs and breaking surf of the Silver Coast, tee shots should be hit right of centre to avoid the large sand dunes on the left. Long hitters will be tempted to open their shoulders off the tee, but must be careful to avoid a severe downhill lie or the large native sandy waste area crossing the fairway at the bottom. The second landing area is on the high ground leading to the green between a series of lower valleys. The putting surface straddles a third ridge with a large dune on the left. Although the approach is wide, the green is long and lies at an angle so third shots must be precise to avoid being kicked off the green to the left or right. There’s also a collection area at the back for any approaches that are over-hit, and par is a great score any day of the week.
HOLE 10 – PAR 4, 338M A picture-postcard par four, the 10th provides a fitting start to a magnificent back nine, with the hole offering incredible views of the Atlantic from tee to green. Birdies beckon if you play the hole well, but plenty of problems lie in store for any shots hit offline. Teeing up in front of the clubhouse, players drive slightly downhill directly into the prevailing wind coming off the ocean. The fairway is generous at the landing area, but players are partially blinded by a sand dune from the tee that has to be carried. The ideal shot is to play right of centre, avoiding the deep hollow on the left, and a well-hit drive will lead to a more straightforward approach to a small green set up below a native sand dune. This short hole is surrounded by native coastal vegetation, so the premium is on club selection to make sure the ball finds the short stuff.
WEST Situated an hour from Lisbon, on Portugal’s Silver Coast, WEST CLIFFS GOLF LINKS has been the talk of world golf since opening to widespread acclaim last summer. Voted the World’s Best New Course at the 2017 World Golf Awards, Cynthia Dye’s course is tipped to become Portugal’s new number one. Here are some of the key holes that make it a must-play course for every golfer ■ 10TH HOLE
FOR MORE DETAILS, VISIT WESTCLIFFS.COM OR CALL +351 262 249 880.
HOLE 16 – PAR 3, 166M Played from the tips, the final short hole at West Cliffs is likely to be unlike any other par three you’ll have encountered, and signals the start of a fantastic finale to your round. This spectacular hole is laid into a natural sand dune at the highest point of the property, and players will marvel at the breathtaking panoramic views of the course and coastal reaches from the tee. The tees complexes have also been ‘nested’ into the dunes. Players on the back tees must thread their tee shot between the dune on the right and the pines forest on the left. The large bail-out area on the right offers a chance to chip on and save par, but going left is not an option, with shots finding the native bunkers below the green’s left side leaving an up-and-down that will challenge the very best.
HOLE 17 – PAR 4, 409M The penultimate hole features the greatest elevation change on the course, and its dogleg-right design presents golfers with a conundrum to solve from the tee if they’re to walk off with a score of par or better. Drives must carry a wide, deep valley which makes the elevated fairway appear far away, while there’s a massive sand dune on the right that must be avoided to have a clear second shot into the green. The putting surface is nestled in the pine forest at the bottom of the hill. The tiger line off the tee is to find the ‘speed slot’ just left of the dune and hitting that line will advance the ball halfway down the slope to an area setting up a short iron into the green, which is protected by a bunker and trees on the right.
HOLE 18 – PAR 4, 409M The spectacular final hole at West Cliffs will live long in the memory and provides a fitting climax to a round, with the tee shot framed by the backdrop of the glistening waters of the Atlantic. From the variety of elevated tees, players are offered a choice of several different routes to take on their way to a green which lies adjacent to a lake which dominates the second part of the hole. Golfers electing to play to the right side of the fairway from the tee will be faced with an approach directly across water to the narrow green. Aiming your drive to the left-hand side of the fairway is more demanding and requires a bigger carry off the tee, but the rewards are significant, as playing to the left leaves a longer, but more direct shot into a long green sloping from back to front.
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 APRIL 2018 | TRAVEL
FOLLOW IN SEVE’S VERDURA FOOTSTEPS WITH LAUNCHES VIP ROCCO FORTE OPEN LEISURELINK Golfers now have the chance to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Seve Ballesteros after LeisureLink Golf Holidays unveiled a unique seven-night break.
■ LLANES LINKS
THE SEVE EXPERIENCE is a week-long tour to Spain's Costa Verde, which allows golfers to pay homage to the late Ryder Cup star with a trip to the region where he initially honed his extraordinary skills, and then went on to design some memorable golf courses during his later years. As part of the trip, golfers will even be able to meet one of Ballesteros' relatives - his cousin Gabriel Sota, who is a Spanish PGA professional ■ GABRIEL SOTA and club maker. Sota said: "My father Ramon and my cousin Seve would be proud of the tour to our new golf region. The British public adored Seve and equally my father adored playing in the UK as a Pro in the 1960s. I'm proud their legacies will live on through our Seve Experience golf trip, and we will welcome the British golfers to Seve's home of golf, just as they welcomed Seve with smiles and open arms." The trip to Ballesteros' home turf will include a stay in the five-star Hotel Real spa in the historic city of Santander, and also features a guided historical tour, giving a rare insight into his life, and a series of other Seve-related excursions in the Costa Verde region. After arriving at the palatial hill-top Real Hotel, which overlooks Santander Bay and El Sardinero Beach, guests will be treated to a Seve movie night, while tucking into wine and tapas. Day two kicks off with the Seve homage boat trip, where golfers can experience playing a shot from the bow of a boat in Pedreña Bay, before being whisked off to play 18 holes at the Harry Colt-designed Real Pedreña Golf course - Ballesteros' childhood club, where he turned pro at 16. On day three, guests will play the nine-hole Ballesterosdesigned Club de Golf Ramon Sota, named after his late uncle, before an opportunity to meet his cousin, who will join a relaxing afternoon at one of Pedreña's beaches, using the same sand where Ballesteros famously mastered his bunker technique as a boy. ■ SEVE AT HOME IN CANTABRIA ON PEDRENA BEACH Day four gives golfers the chance to play Llanes Links, an 18-hole course boasting spectacular sea views, which was designed by Manuel Pinero - Ballesteros's great friend and former Ryder Cup partner. The Ballesteros-designed Santa Marina is the destination on day five - his homeland signature course, which is complete with a remarkable 17th-century club house. The layout is in an area of outstanding natural beauty and there will also be picture opportunities with the three-metre bronze statue of the icon, as well as a Spanish PGA Memorial Stone. The penultimate day offers the chance to return to Ramon Sota and play in the Seve Shot Tournament, while the final day is a fun nine-hole challenge at Real Pedreña - another of Seve's designs - before a Champagne farewell toast in the Seve Lounge and flight home. LeisureLink director Tracy Aslam said: "Seve is one of golf's most naturallytalented players and was much-loved around the world. This amazing trip will enable fans to play the courses where he grew, as well as those he designed, as well as get to chat to some of those closest to him and hear some of the most amazing stories. This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a break we are very excited about." The break, which is being hosted on two dates – May 20-26 and September 16-22 – costs £1,150 per person, not including flights. For more details and bookings, visit www.leisurelinkgolf.com or call 01708 339229.
he 2018 Rocco Forte Open takes place at Sicily’s Verdura Resort from May 10-13, and there is an array of VIP packages available for visiting golfers – including the chance to tee it up alongside the continent’s best players. The ‘Rocco Forte Open Experience’ packages start from €361 per person, per night, and feature a host of five-star privileges, including the opportunity to play the special composite course being used for the tournament – either by participating in the Rocco Forte Open ProAm, alongside Europe’s top stars, or playing the course just 24 hours after the professionals on May 14. Available to book on a minimum two or three-night stay between May 9-15, the breaks also offer access to the resort’s private Torre Bar lounge area, with champagne reception and unlimited buffet and many other golf benefits. Daily bed-and-breakfast accommodation is provided in a deluxe room, including a free bottle of Prosecco, while the packages also feature free entry to Verdura’s spa facilities. The tournament will be staged on a composite course combining the best holes from the venue’s two 18-hole championship courses,
■ LAST YEAR’S ROCCO FORTE OPEN WAS WON BY ALVARO QUIROS
the East and West. Measuring 7,352 yards, the par-72 lay-out comprises nine holes from each of the two Kyle Phillips-designed layouts, with the final six holes running adjacent to the coast and set against the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea. Verdura’s golf offering also includes a nine-hole, par-three layout, a double-ended driving range, and an academy. Guests can also make use of numerous other sports and leisure facilities, including six tennis courts, a 170sqm fully-equipped gym, and a 4,000sqm spa complex with thalassotherapy pools. Situated on Sicily’s southern coast, between Agrigento and the fishing city of Sciacca, Verdura features 203 rooms and suites, all with a sea view, as well as three new villas, which are ideal for family holidays, each with its own private swimming pool. For more details, visit www.roccofortehotels.com.
SPRING INTO GOLFING ACTION WITH VACATION MARBELLA
olfers looking to play in the Marbella region will have a spring in their step after Vacation Marbella unveiled a range of incredible stay-and-play deals for visitors over the next few months. The Marbella region, dubbed ‘Golf Valley’, has long been popular with travellers from the UK thanks to its superb choice of more than 30 courses in the Costa del Sol region, and 15 alone in Marbella, together with its fantastic all-year
■ LOS NARANJOS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
round climate, array of superb restaurant and famed nightlife. And Vacation Marbella’s partnerships with some of the best golf clubs in the area, giving access to discounted green fees, coupled with its multitude of highend accommodation options, is certain to boost visitor interest this spring. A unique partnership with the highly acclaimed Los Naranjos, situated just three miles from Puerto Banus, ensures Vacation Marbella guests get the best green fee rate when booking one of its stay-and-play packages. Five nights and three green fees at Los Naranjos, staying in one of the refurbished luxury two-bedroom apartments on the
doorstep of Puerto Banus in April, May, September and October is just £333 (€378) per person based on four sharing or £465 (€525) per person based on two sharing. A seven-night break and five green fees at Los Naranjos costs from just £519 (€588) per person based on four sharing, or £662 (€750) for two sharing a two-bedroom apartment. Vacation Marbella places a strong emphasis on guest services, such as organising green fees, car rentals, fishing charters, airport transfers, baby-sitting services, and boasts a state-of-the-art app called Virtual Concierge, an easyto-use touch-screen tablet that gives visitors access to detailed information on the available services in the local area, as well as instructions on how to use any appliance in its apartments. For more details about Vacation Marbella, visit vacationmarbella.com.
LIFE’S A BEACH AT SOTOGRANDE’S LUXURIOUS LA RESERVA CLUB
olfers visiting the luxury Spanish ■ LA RESERVA CLUB golfing resort at La Reserva can CLUBHOUSE AT SUNSET look forward to enjoying a host of new leisure facilities when its state-of-the-art beach development opens this summer. Activities at The Beach at La Reserva Club will focus on various water-based amenities all set around a beach club located within the hills of La Reserva, Sotogrande’s latest luxury and gated residential community. The Beach Club will include Europe’s first full sandy pool, which will weave its way through the relaxation areas to provide an authentic seaside feel, as well as a full-service restaurant. A sports lagoon, contained in a landscaped park, will host a variety of water sports and activities, and a new boathouse, featuring its own slipway and jetty, lagoon island and beach, and summer café will surround the 17,000 square metres of lagoon. In addition, a new tennis pavilion will complement the existing courts, as well as a lap pool for swimmers, which for now will be dedicated as an adult-only area for those seeking calm and privacy. Marc Topiol, Sotogrande SA CEO, said: “The Beach will provide members, guests and residents with a truly world-class leisure experience. Our vision for La Reserva Club is to provide a deluxe
facility offering a unique set of amenities for families to enjoy. The sandy pool is the first of its kind to be designed in Southern Europe, and we look forward to its opening this summer.” In addition to its excellent leisure facilities, La Reserva Club is also known for its stunning the Cabell B. Robinson-designed championship golf course, which first opened in 2003. The 7,400-yard course has benefitted from significant investment in recent season, and that is reflected in its most recent rise up the ranking of respected website top100golfcourses.com. In the latest re-ranking, which was announced in January, the course has risen 20 places, and now sits at 63rd in the Continental Europe Top 100. A European Tour tournament host, La Reserva is widely acclaimed for its stunning vistas of the Mediterranean Sea and sweeping fairways carved into the Sotogrande hillside. For further information and reservations, e-mail lareserva. email@example.com or call +34 956 785 252.
SAVE 20% ON ACCOMMODATION COSTS*
Trust your luxury holiday to the Indian Ocean specialists Magical Mauritius is a golfer’s paradise, and the best way to make the most of it is by staying at one of our superb Beachcomber golf resorts. You’ll enjoy glorious golf in truly spectacular settings, with added perks to enhance your stay, such as privileged tee-times and reduced green fees.
When its time to unwind, the island’s stunning palm-fringed beaches, crystal lagoons, verdant peaks and exotic mixture of cultures and cuisines are all waiting to be discovered. And with our exceptional luxury, idyllic beach locations, and impeccable attention to detail, you can make the most of every moment.
• Four great golf resorts • VIP access to both Paradis and Mont Choisy golf courses • Free green fees from May to September* • Outstanding all-inclusive option • Soothing spas • Luxury family options
Start planning your Mauritius golf holiday today. Call us on 01483 445 632 or visit www.beachcombertours.uk * 20% saving applies to accommodation costs at the Beachcomber Hotels, when booked 60 days in advance and with travel by 31 October 2019. Free green fees at Paradis and Mont Choisy Golf courses apply to guests staying at the Beachcomber golf resorts listed (cart charge applies at Mont Choisy).
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TO SEE OUR RANGE OF GOLF HOLIDAYS, ESCORTED TOURS AND GOLF CRUISES PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE
TRAVEL | APRIL 2018
Ewen Murray The Sky Sports golf commentator never stops travelling, but when he does he can often be found fly fishing in Scotland or enjoying a few holes at a highland gem
My first holiday memory… is playing on the beaches on the Isle of Lewis when I was a young boy growing up in Scotland. My parents, Jim and Joan, were from Arbroath and Stornoway, so our holidays were spent there. Golf came into my life very early, and I grew up playing golf courses in the county of Angus, like Edzell, Kirriemuir, Carnoustie and Montrose. My best holidays… are spent at home, as I travel around so much for work. Having said that, it’s hard to beat a few days at Skibo Castle in Sutherlandshire, by the shores of the Dornoch Firth. The golf course, which has recently been transformed, looks like it's been there for centuries and the views are breathtaking. The hotel at the castle is the ultimate in luxury, yet wonderfully understated. A few days there is like stopping the clock. My favourite destination in the UK… is the River Deveron in Aberdeenshire, where I’ve enjoyed many hours flying fishing for salmon, and the odd game of golf at nearby Duff House Royal. The course was designed by James Braid and Alistair McKenzie. The small towns of the Highlands remain largely unchanged and have thankfully retained their charm.
■ SKIBO CASTLE, SCOTLAND ■ RIGHT: SALMON FISHING IN SCOTLAND
My favourite UK golf course… is so hard to choose, as we are blessed with so many great ones. I love links golf and, politics aside, what President Donald Trump has done to Turnberry is outstanding. I also have huge respect Carnoustie, the toughest yet fairest of all the courses on the Open rota. Closer to home, Walton Heath, where I spent 16 happy years, is high up there, along with West Sussex Golf Club, which is near where I live. I'm also a member of Liphook Golf Club, which I find enchanting.
My ideal travelling companion… is Bruce Critchley, who is great company and a wonderful friend and colleague for over 20 years. Before his retirement last year, we made many journeys together and he made some awful ones manageable. These days I tend to travel on my own, as my Sky colleagues often arrive at the venue ahead of me. I always pack… my Bose headphones. I'm 60% deaf, so noisecancelling headphones allow me to hear music and films more clearly. I used to read a lot of hardback books, but these days I tend to download them onto an iPad, as it saves a lot of space. My favourite golf course abroad is… Les Bordes in the Loire Valley, which was designed by Robert Von Hagge, who was influential in putting together this year's Ryder Cup venue, Le Golf National in Paris. The River Club in Johannesburg, the Prince of Wales in Santiago, Royal Harare in Zimbabwe, and Lusaka in Zambia, are also right up there.
■ LES BORDES, FRANCE
wouldn't be the shortest hitter! Otherwise, Rich Beem, Butch Harmon and Tiger Woods would make another entertaining foursome. The favourite hotel… in the UK is Lainston House in Winchester, while abroad it would have to be the Meikles Hotel in Harare, Zimbabwe, which I stayed at many times during the 1980s.
■ LAINSTON HOUSE, WINCHESTER
My favourite city… is Buenos Aires. I love South America and have visited many times as a player and a commentator. I've just returned from Mexico City and was hugely impressed, but with over 27 million people and seven million cars, it would not be on your list for a relaxing holiday. There are many places I would like to visit in South America, as it’s one of the few places left that has retained its identity.
My favourite holiday meal… would be a simple fish and chip supper from the Anstruther fish bar in Fife. When I’m away with work, Howard Clark and I have enjoyed some memorable meals, with the Casa Botin in Madrid being a particular highlight. When I’m working in the States, the Ruth’s Chris steakhouse chain can be relied on for a good meal. My bucket list golf course… would be Royal Melbourne. I'm told it’s golfing heaven. Maybe at the President's Cup next year... My next holiday will be… to somewhere north of Hadrian's Wall. I went fishing last year on the Helmsdale and the River Bogie, and would like to go back. It's a long way from civilisation, with just the sheep for company!
My greatest travel luxury… is a first-class ticket. I've not had many, but there is a certain calmness and anticipation about having a boarding pass with 1A printed on it. I had one recently from Shanghai to Dubai on the new Airbus A380. Having a shower on board above India was quite novel!
My dream holiday… would be to Sandy Lane in Barbados. I had dinner there once and it is luxury personified. It's expensive in anybody's world, but the experience would be remembered long after the price is forgotten.
My ideal holiday four ball… if I was playing in South Africa, would include the late Simon Hobday, who had the best swing I've seen in my years of playing and commentating, and was a great storyteller; John Bland, for his sense of humour; and Tony Johnstone, so I
My top travel tip is… to never rush. Too often I've been tearing around various places trying to catch flights. Holidays are not for that – they're a reward to you for working throughout the year. A time to slow down and do what you want to do in your own time.
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