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Read the UK’s No.1 Golf Paper online at

Issue 218 | Febuary 2013



2013 Equipment Special


©2013 PING 82000 PHOENIX, AZ 85071




B R I N G . I T. O N . A LV A R O Q U I R O S

LO N G E ST D R I V E R O N T H E E U R O P E A N TO U R 2 0 1 1


Introducing the XHot Family from Callaway. The new standard in distance from every club in the bag and from every lie on the course. See how at

Š2013 Callaway Golf Company. Callaway, the Chevron Device, OptiFit, X Hot, Hyperbolic Face and Speed Frame and VFT are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Callaway Golf Company. Alvaro Quiros averaged 310.9 yards on the European PGA Tour 2011 (Genworth Statistics).

In a world where the finest details matter, London Golf Club continues to raise the bar. As a European Tour Destination we promise a warm welcome, first-class service and a relaxing environment from the moment you arrive. Our two championship courses, designed by Jack Nicklaus are maintained in pristine condition all year-round and have some of the finest putting surfaces in the country.



per person Monday – Thursday

• English breakfast muffin with tea/coffee • 18 holes of golf on International Course • No temporary greens • Soup at halfway house • Traditional Kentish main meal • Inclusive of range balls and use of practise facilities Available Monday – Thursday from 1st November to 31st March subject to availability. Must be booked in advance.


STANSTED LANE | ASH | KENT | TN15 7EH | 01474 879899 | |

Febuary 2013 / Issue 218




Read the UK’s No.1 Golf Paper online at

Issue 218 | Febuary 2013


Golf News, The Studio, 14 Deanway, Hove, East Sussex BN3 6DG. Tel: 01273 556377. email: Website: For Advertising enquiries please call 01273 556377-07885 673258 or

Editor Nick Bayly


Advertising Production Kath Perry

Photography Kevin Murray ( Action Images, James Cheadle


Published by BlueGreen Media



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

Equipment Special P32-39


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Managing Director Matt Nicholson


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On Par Rates…


Corporate Golf Days

Flexibility is the future


or many club members who didn’t get out on the course much last year, the sound of the subs letter landing on the mat (or more likely pinging into an inbox) is going to be a particularly painful one this year. The non-existent summer, coupled with one of the harshest winters, has seen the figures for average rounds played plummet over the last 12 months, with the knock-on effect being felt in all corners of the golf industry (with the obvious exception of tour operators, which have enjoyed a mini-boom as golfers have gone in search of some sun). Stumping up four-figure sums, as is the requirement

for most golf clubs in the South East, is going to create a lot of financial headaches for members, many of whom will find that their poundsper-round-played stat falls on the wrong side of the visitors’ green fee. While there is obviously a lot more to being a member of a club than pure financials, its clear that changing nature of our work/ life balance requires that golf membership is offered in a more flexible format. According to a recent survey by England Golf, just under 10% of clubs currently offer a flexible membership system, or variations of it. With no huge up front costs, and a payment system based on

how often the member use the facilities, clubs that go down the flexible route can draw upon a wider pool of new members, while retaining those existing members who might well feel like they’ve not had their money’s worth and risk drifting away from the game. Those hardest hit will be those who virtually live at the club during the week, and scuttle home at the weekends, but they’ve had it good for far too long, and need to pay their way like the rest of us. It might be a painful transition for some, but golf needs to move with the times if it is to remain viable in the long term.

Set in a magnificent 543 acre country estate, Brocket Hall is home to one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the world. Entertain colleagues and clients whilst enjoying some exceptional golf on two championship courses, of which the Palmerston course has been voted one of the Top 100 Golf Courses in England. Enjoy a Brocket bacon roll on arrival, followed by unlimited warm-up at the Palmerston Golf Academy. The Corporate Golf Day package also includes management of Nearest the Pin and Longest Drive competitions, 18 holes of golf and a delicious 3-course meal served in one of our private dining suites.

Rates from £99.00 per person Terms & Conditions apply. Package is subject to availability and is available on selected dates. Minimum of 12 golfers. Please contact us for further details or to make a reservation 01707 335241 |


Links and Lodges Experience one of the UK’s most treasured links golf courses in all new Lodge accommodation. Overlooking the stunning 27 hole links golf course and the English Channel, The Lodge at Prince’s is the perfect option for golfers looking for a weekend getaway trip from the city. Don’t forget, Prince’s also offers great prices on your society golf day, contact us today for our green fee prices. Text ‘Princes’ to 60006 to find out all our latest offers and prices Visit our website Call 01304 898652 or email Princes Golf Club is managed by Troon Golf © the leader in upscale course management

Golf and Accommodation from £110.00 per person

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

6/ Golf News 1/4pp Advert:Layout 1

Febuary 2013 / Issue 218 22/1/13


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Burnham Beeches Golf Club Over 100 Years of Quality and Tradition Looking for a new society venue – why not try Burnham Beeches Golf Club. Located adjacent to the historic Burnham Beeches ancient woodland our parkland course is laid out in a beautifully tranquil setting yet only 10 mins off the M4 (jct 7) and M40 (jct 2). We offer superb value golf day packages aimed at the discerning society golfer looking for a quality day out at a quality club. For more details please visit our website or call 01628 661448.

Burnham Beeches Golf Club, Green Lane, Burnham, Bucks, SL1 8EG

The finest downland course in Sussex... Bookings now being taken for 2013, in our Dormy House, open March to November Twin bed en-suite rooms with a five course dinner, bed & full english breakfast, including two rounds of golf from £80 per person per night

Trophy thieves on the rampage in South East Bramley in Surrey and Mannings Heath in West Sussex have become the latest golf clubs in the South East to have its trophies stolen in latenight raids. At least a dozen golf clubs in the Sussex and Surrey region have experienced a break-in since last September, in which silver trophies or cups worth tens of thousands of pounds have been taken. Police believe each haul is then sold for scrap, which is proving to be lucrative, as the price of silver has risen by more than 700 per cent in the last decade. As in most of the other raids, three men broke into Bramley, near Guildford, on January 18, breaking down doors in the clubhouse lounge and stealing up to £40,000 worth of silverware. Nine trophies were discarded as the thieves hurriedly left. Mannings Heath was attacked at midnight on January 28, with thieves forcing the clubhouse’s main entrance door with a sledgehammer before making off with a haul of over 50 trophies, which have been valued at over £50,000. The thieves even went so far as to cut down trees in the roads leading to the club so that police cars couldn’t get through. The latest attacks follow similar raids on clubs throughout the south during the last five months, including Farnham, Windlesham, Laleham, Hindhead, The Dyke and West Sussex. One of the worst hit was Seaford Golf Club in East Sussex, which had 20 trophies dating back to the mid-1800s taken, with most of the £40,000 haul later found destroyed in a burnt out car. In December, burglars forced open a locked wooden trophy cabinet at Tandridge Golf Club in Oxted and got away with 35 trophies. Detective Constable Mike Taylor, who is co-ordinating the hunt for the thieves, said: “This is a burglary in which a high value haul of trophies appears to have been specifically

targeted. This type of crime not only affects the golf club owners, but the community of members and players who enjoy competing to win these awards.” Many clubs have reacted by placing their silverware in locked vaults until the thieves are caught. Adam Bodimeade, general manager at Guildford Golf Club, said the club hid its trophies away as soon as the police raised the alert. “At the moment we are not putting anything on display because there is no question that golf clubs are targets,” he said. “It’s a sad state of affairs because the trophies and their associated histories are an important facet of a golf club. They are often antiques and are engraved with names. They are the history of the clubs. When these thieves steal them they don’t know the worth of what they have. They are worth tens of thousands, but they can’t sell them for that price, so it gets melted down for scrap. It’s a tragic waste. We would love to be able to have the club back as it was before, but right now it is a case of waiting until they find a new target.” Gary Simmons, secretary manager at Puttenham Golf Club, said they were so concerned about a break-in that valuable trophies were not even being stored on site. He said: “I think clubs just have to ride it out right now. It’s very upsetting, but you can’t have anything there on display because people will try and take it. It’s as simple as that.” Th empty trophy cabinet at Mannings Heath

Kent on the hunt for new Senior talent

GREEN FEE VISITORS CAN NOW BOOK ONLINE AT SPECIAL PRICES go to and follow the visitor tee booking link For a brochure and more information call Sue on: 01323 892442, e-mail: or visit:


Golfers approaching the age of 55 who are lucky enough to have a handicap of four or less, are being asked to take part in trials for Kent’s men’s senior team. Senior golf generally starts at 55 on the county circuit, but Kent golfers can play in the Seniors Trial from the age of 53, providing they have a handicap of seven or less. This year’s Kent Senior trial is being held at Royal St. George’s on March 20, where those wishing to enter the trials can play the famous Open links venue for £33, and put

down an early marker for potential team selection. “Kent boasts a rich pedigree in Seniors golf, having been English County Seniors Champions four times in the last seven years, including three times in a row,” said team manager Mark Singfield. “But we are continually on the look-out for new additions to our squad, so if there’s anyone out there who thinks they are up for the challenge, please feel free to join us at our trial or to make contact with the county office.”

Febuary 2013 / Issue 218


New Society Packages from £35.00pp

Dale Hill

Dead aim: Pros are being offered good deals on Nikon rangefinders

NIKON TO SPONSOR PGA SOUTH REGION Rangefinder manufacturer Nikon is to become one of the headline sponsors of The PGA in England (South) for the new season. The deal cements Nikon’s commitment to supporting PGA Pros across the UK, after the company recently launched the Nikon Coolshot Ambassador Scheme. Nikon has produced a

number of special deals and offers for PGA Professionals on its Coolshot model, which is tournament legal for golfers, subject to local rules. Roger Wolfe, managing director of Yumax, which has the UK licence for Nikon rangefinders, said: “We are very excited about this relationship. We believe that the best people to sell the Nikon Coolshot lasers

are PGA Professionals. This relationship marks the start of our commitment to give back.” As a PGA in England (South) Associate, Nikon will now become the title sponsor of The PGA in England (South) Assistants & Trainees Order of Merit, the Assistants Championship and the Assistants Match Play Championship in 2013.

Coffee & Bacon Roll, 18 Holes of Golf and a One Course Meal

To book call the Golf Office on 01580 201800 or e-mail Coffee Coffee & Bacon & Bacon Roll, Roll, 18 Holes 18 Holes of Golf of Golf and aand Onea One Course Course MealMeal

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To book To book call the callGolf the Golf Office Office on 01580 on 01580 201800 201800 or e-mail or e-mail

Choose from the three new society packages – • Woosnam • Faldo • Montgomerie. From £35.00 to include Coffee & Bacon Roll, 18 Holes on the Woosnam followed by a 1 Course Meal. Please contact the Golf Office for further information 01580 201800 Package to include One or roundemail of golf on the Nick Faldo designed course at Chart Hills

Mill Ride changes hands Mill Ride Golf & Country Club in Berkshire has been sold by the Country Club Group (CCG) for an undisclosed sum. The popular Ascot-based private members club, which first opened in 1990, has been bought by Jeffrey & Hillary UK Ltd, whose majority shareholder is Chinese businessman Jeffrey Chao, who is chairman of IT networking giants TP-Link. Mill Ride’s general manager, Robin Greenwood, said: “This is an exciting time for all those connected with Mill Ride. We will remain a member-focused club and the new owners are committed to providing a facility that the membership can continue

to be proud of. We are committed to developing the facilities here, and further updates will be forthcoming when the new owners are a position to elaborate on their aspirations.” The 6,885-yard, par 72 course at Mill Ride was designed by Donald Steel, and has appeared in the UK’s Top 100 Courses ever since it was built. It has previously hosted the European Tour and most recently was used as a qualifying venue for the 2009 Senior Open Championship. The club has changed hands several times in its 22-year history, and was bought by the Country Club Group in 2003.

Shared Twin or Double room at the 4 star award winning Dale Hill Hotel including Breakfast One round of golf on the Ian Woosnam designed course at Dale Hill PackagePackage to include to include One round Oneofround golf on of the golfNick on the Faldo Nick designed Faldo designed course atcourse ChartatHills Chart Hills Shared Twin Shared or Twin Double or room Double at room the 4 star at the award 4 starwinning award winning Dale HillDale HotelHill including Hotel including BreakfastBreakfast One round Oneofround golf on the golfIan on Woosnam the Ian Woosnam designeddesigned course atcourse Dale Hill at Dale Hill

that anyone will ever tire of playing at Chart Hills.” Sir Nick Faldo “I doubt

Come & play Chart Hills this winter on one of our amazing winter deals. For individuals, play Chart Hills on any Tuesday,Thursday or Friday morning from as little as £40pp (Fridays £50pp)and enjoy a full English breakfast before you play. For societies of 12 or more, our winter society rates start at just £49pp (includes breakfast roll,18 holes and single course meal) Both offers run till the end of April 2013. Call us on 01580 292222 to check availability. Mill Ride is under new ownership

Tree defends South African title Sussex amateur Toby Tree has won the Gauteng North Amateur Open in South Africa for the second year running. The 18-yearold from Worthing fired rounds of 72, 67, 71 and 71 at Wingate Park Country Club to win by a single shot from local players Jason Smith, Haydn Porteous and Zander Lombard. The following week, Tree was part of a four-man team that represented England in the 10 Nations Cup at Kingswood Golf Estate in George. He shots rounds of 69, 71, 67 and 68 to finish on 13-under par and tie for fourth place. His performance helped England finish third behind Australia and New Zealand. Tree is staying with Haydn Porteous’s family during his monthlong trip to South Africa, which took in three tournaments, including the South African Stroke Play Championship.

www. Chart Hills Golf Club, Weeks Lane, Biddenden, Kent TN27 8JX T:01580 292222 E:


News in Brief BARTLETT STARS FOR ENGLAND A Sussex youngster Jack Bartlett earned his first cap for England while playing in the quadrangular matches against teams from Finland, Germany and Spain on January. England were beaten into second by Spain by just half a point, with Bartlett earning 4.5 points from a possible six to be the top scorer in the England squad.

Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

Barham joins Kings Hill academy Former European Tour professional Benn Barham is to add a new string to his bow as a specialist coach for club golfers, elite amateurs and aspiring pros, following his decision to take a step back from his playing career. After playing on tour for more than 15 years, the 36-year-old has joined Kings Hill Golf Club in Kent, where, from March 1, he will be working with the club’s existing teaching staff, who are headed up by UK and Ireland Top 100 coach Ben Blackburn. Barham, who played on the Challenge Tour last year following a year-long lay-off after he was diagnosed with a kidney tumour, has decided to concentrate on coaching tour players of the future, and has put his own ambitions as a player on hold for the time being. “I’m very excited to be joining the team at Kings Hill,” said Barham, who lives in Tenterden with his

RIDGE OFFERS MEMBER DEAL Golfers looking to play more golf for less in the new season should take up The Ridge Golf Club’s limited offer of half-priced membership. The club is offering its gold sevenday membership for £43 a month, following an initial payment of £85. There is no joining fee and no green fee charges. Members also have the opportunity to join the Golf Network and play 27 other clubs for free. For more details visit www.

WILSON WINS THE HINGE Littlestone’s Charlie Wilson won the Kent Golf Union’s prestigious Hinge Trophy for the second time after braving the bitingly cold conditions at Royal St George’s to shoot a oneover par 73. He beat James Smith (Sundridge Park) by two shots.

PETERS FOR PRESIDENT John Peters has been elected president of the Essex Golf Union followIing the annual general meeting held at Upminster Golf Club. Peters takes over from Mike Spall, while Mike Hart will succeed Peters in the role in 2014.

SIGN UP FOR LYDD OPEN Lydd Golf Club in Kent is staging its Men’s Open competition on April 27 and is inviting golfers with active handicaps from the region to enter. The fee for the tournament is £35, with the closing date for entries being April 3. To enter, please call 01797 321201.

BELL IN TUNE AT WENTWORTH Talented Wentworth Club junior member Jack Bell completed a clean sweep of aces over the Surrey club’s four courses when he aced the second hole of the Edinburgh course during the Christmas holidays.

Barham is joining Kings Hill in March

wife, young daughter and with a new arrival Barham is on the way. “While I will continue to play putting his playing career in the South Region and maybe the odd on hold Challenge Tour event, my main focus will be building a client base for golf coaching aimed at all ages and ability.” He added: “I like the set up at Kings Hill, and the drive and ambition of the club and its staff is very refreshing. I would like to play a part in building up the academy and making it a centre of excellence for all levels working closely with local schools and mentoring of golfer, from young kids right the way through some of the young talent that is coming through.” to aspiring tour professionals. I’d like to think that Barham’s arrival at Kings Hill also brings an end after 20-odd years as a pro I have something to to a 20-year relationship with Chart Hills Golf Club, offer all golfers, whether it be related to course where he was the attached touring pro since the management or swing technique, through to the Leaderboard Group took over the club’s ownership. mental aspects of the game utilising the latest “I can’t thank Chart Hills, and especially its owners, coaching and custom-fitting technology.” Paul and Jennifer Gibbons, enough for the support Following his illness, Barham had a tough year and encouragement they’ve given me over the on the Challenge Tour last year, and failed to make years. It’s definitely going to be a wrench to leave it through the European Tour’s final qualifying in there, but it is time for me think of the next stage of November, which is part of the reason why he my career.” wanted to switch his attention to coaching. As well as looking forward to spending more “The decision has been a tough one, but with a time with his growing family, Barham is also hoping young family and no real progress with my golf that his new career will allow him to focus on since the surgery, I feel it’s the right thing to do,” he organising fundraising events for the James Whale said. “I also believe a slight shift in outlook could Fund for Kidney Cancer and Kings Hills club charity help my golf game, and hopefully get my card Demelza, a Kent-based charity that offers hospice back through the qualifying school at the end of care to children and support to their families. this year or next. But in the meantime I want to The Kings Hill Academy has an open day on April focus on building up a client base at Kings Hill and 6. For more information or to book a lesson with seeing where that takes me. Kent golf has given Benn, call Kings Hill pro shop on 01732 842121 me so much to help develop my own career, so or visit or it’s important to give something back. I’ll also be

PUTTS STAY UP AT RUNDOWN ROTTINGDEAN! Golf is a hard game at the best of times, but posting a decent score at a pitch and putt course in East Sussex has become even harder after the local council decided to fill in the holes with concrete. The Windmill Pitch & Putt Course in Rottingdean was closed at the end of last year, when the current operator decided not to renew the lease with Brighton & Hove Council. However, because the course is located on open land, local golfers continued to make use of the facilities. In order to deter players from using the venue, which is no longer being maintained and is not able to charge a green fee, the council ordered the holes to be filled in with concrete at the beginning of January. Local golfers, many of whom had played at the picturesque spot for years, were upset that such drastic measures had been take, and spoiled what was essentially a bit of harmless fun. Pensioner Dave Walker, a regular player at the 3,600-yard, 9-hole course, said: “My friends and I have enjoyed playing the Windmill course once a week for several years, enjoying the regular exercise while we put the world to rights. When the lease expired and the course closed a couple of months ago, we continued using what we thought was a piece of public land owned by council taxpayers. So imagine our surprise at the petty-mindedness when they dispatched a workman to fill the holes

Chislehurst digs deep for children’s charity All holes are barred at Rottingdean

with concrete while we were playing. It’s a wonderful spot up here, and the course will be sorely missed.” The players have continued unperturbed, however, with putts now being conceded when the ball flies over the filled-in cups. Defending the decision to fill in the holes, a council spokesman said: “The tenant’s lease has expired and we’re currently negotiating with them on the next move. The holes were filled in at their request, as it is currently not available for play, as it cannot be supervised. The course is always closed for winter, so local people would generally be aware it is not available for official play.” Rottingdean ward councillor Lynda Hyde attacked the move, claiming that it was denying local taxpayers a valuable leisure resource. She said: “I think it is a disgrace. A lot of people use that course. The Government is advising us all to get out and take exercise – well, the course is used by residents who put a lot of money into the council tax coffers, and they get this in return.” The course is currently available for rent, and several operators have expressed an interest in taking on the lease, which incurs maintenance costs of £23,500 per year.

Chipstead open weekend

Children’s charity Variety has had its coffers swollen by the generous sum of £23,000 following a year-long series of fund-raising events organised by Chislehurst Golf Club’s men’s and ladies captains. Bill Edwards and Jean Walker presented the cheque to former radio and TV presenter David ‘Diddy’ Hamilton at a special ceremony held in the club’s Camden Place clubhouse on February 1. Speaking at the presentation, Edwards said: “Fundraising is an integral part of club activity, as it means we can give back whilst enjoying the sport we love. We were particularly keen to support Variety, and its Wheelchair Programme in particular, as its work focuses on transforming the lives of, and giving independence to disadvantaged children and young adults in the area.” In order to raise funds, the club hosted numerous events, including a captains’ golf day, a bridge day – which attracted 148 players – a Summer Ball, and a New Year’s Eve Ball.

Golfers looking to get an insight into what it would like to be a member at Chipstead Golf Club in Surrey are invited to attend an Open Weekend being held on March 23-24. For £10, guests will be able to play the challenging 18-hole parkland course, make use of all the club’s facilities, talk to club pros and members, and have their name entered into a prize draw to win a free year’s membership. Chipstead’s Director of Golf, Gary Torbett, said: “We are always looking to encourage new golfers

to our club with new initiatives. We know that today’s golfers have an opportunity to experience quality golf at affordable prices and here at Chipstead we provide both. We have affordable membership packages, competitive green fee rates, and society and corporate packages to suit all budgets. As an added incentive to attend our Open Weekend, we will be giving away one year’s free membership to one lucky customer.” To book a place on the Open Weekend, call 01737 554939 or email



W E E K D AY B R E A K S • Monday to Thursday with two rounds of golf • Available at Macdonald Hotel golf venues • 1 in 16 goes free! • £10 drinks voucher for groups of 12 or more

WEEKEND BREAKS • Two rounds of golf • Available at Macdonald Hotel golf venues • 1 in 16 goes free! • £10 drinks voucher for groups of 12 or more

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A fairway from your usual hotel. With access to our ten celebrated golf courses across the UK, we are ‘driven’ to deliver your perfect golfing break. From Macdonald Botley Park Championship Golf Course in Southampton to Macdonald Spey Valley Championship Golf Course in the Highlands of Scotland, your only distraction should be the panoramic scenery and choosing your next club. Breaks must be booked by 31st March 2013 to qualify for these special rates. Call today

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

News in Brief

Roe opens Pachesham putting studio


World-renowned short game coach Mark Roe has opened his first state-of-the-art indoor putting studio at Pachesham Golf Centre in Surrey. The new studio offers club golfers the chance to experience high-class indoor technical coaching usually only available to Tour pros from Roe himself, or one the Pachesham coaching team. The former European Tour player, turned leading short game coach, has worked with many of the world’s top stars, including Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari. He already has a Short Game Academy at Pachesham, but wanted an indoor facility where he and members of the coaching team could help golfers improve their putting stroke all year round, no matter what the outdoor conditions. “The weather in the UK isn’t very conducive to working on your game in the winter,” said Roe. “By opening my first indoor putting studio I now have a facility where I can coach golfers all year round on a perfect putting surface. I personally oversaw the design and build of the green, and have incorporated a couple of tricky sloping putts, as well as one long straight putt, so that golfers can work on all facets of their technique. I’ve already had Francesco Molinari practising in my studio and he loved it.” The studio contains a USGA-specification putting green, and is also one of only 15 sites in England to be fitted with a SAM Puttlab camera system. This system captures the intricate movements of the putting stroke, such as face aim, path, rotation, timing and the impact spot in incredible detail.

Garon Park Golf Club in Essex has been awarded the title of GolfMark Club of the Year at England Golf’s development conference. The awards, which are sponsored by Cobra-Puma, recognises GolfMark clubs that have shown an outstanding contribution to junior and beginner golf. Garon Park, which was bought from administration in 2010 by past PGA captain Alan Walker, has grown its junior section from just five players three years ago to today’s figure of 115, after launching a series of ‘get into golf’ programmes.

CRONDON TO HOST RULES SEMINAR As part of its drive to encourage better application of the Rules of Golf at club and county level, the Essex Golf Union is running a seminar for potential rules officials at Crondon Park Golf Club on April 8. The seminar, which costs £30, will be conducted by EGU officials, with an exam to follow on May 13.

Kingswood’s recently-redesigned layout

Aces high at Kingswood! Francesco Molinari in action at the studio

The Pachesham Academy offers a two-hour putting lesson, which includes a full assessment of the golfer’s current putter, its performance and its suitability to their style. Instruction topics such as eye dominance, visualisation tests, green reading skills, depth perception and ball roll performance are all explained. The golfer then leaves with a printout of their performance, lesson notes, and a memory stick with a voiceover of the main points covered. The studio also contains a wide selection of putters from the leading manufacturers, which golfers can then have custom-fitted to their specifications following a lesson. To book a session call 01372 843453 or email

It will be eyes down for a full house at Kingswood Golf Club in April, after the club announced that it is to host a Golf & Poker Challenge. Members and guests at the popular Surrey venue can test their skills with a golf club in hand in an afternoon 9-hole shoot-out, and then see if they can transfer their luck to the green baize of the card table in the evening, when a game of Texas Hold’em will decide who the overall winners are on the day. The Golf & Poker Challenge, which takes place on April 12, is being sponsored by TaylorMade Golf and costs £45 for visitors and £25 for Kingswood members. The event will see players given a bank of chips at the start of the day, which can be added to with every Stableford point they score on the course, with bonus chips being awarded to winners of the longest drive and nearest-the-pin competitions. After a break for a meal and a drink, they can then take their winnings forward to the card game, where experienced croupiers will be on hand to guide those unfamiliar with the dark arts of poker. Visors are optional, but advisable. For bookings, email or call 01737 832188.

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

The Shire to host Disabled London Open The inaugural London Disabled Open is to be staged on July 29 at The Shire in Hertfordshire. The tournament is part of a season-long series of tournaments organised by the Disabled Golf Association (DGA), which includes a complete pathway from beginner to practice events, through to international events. The DSG also runs an Order of Merit to reward the most consistent performers during the year. The Shire has been at

the forefront of raising awareness and opening up opportunities for disabled people to get involved in golf. Last October it hosted The Golf Trust Unity Day, which saw able-bodied club members play alongside Special Olympics Team GB golfers, DGA members and local schoolchildren. The club has subsequently announced a package of measures to encourage golfers with disabilities to play its Seve Ballesterosdesigned golf course. “We wanted to bring

together some of the inspirational people involved in disabled golf in the UK,” said event organiser Cae Menai Davis, who set up The Golf Trust as a vehicle to promote inclusivity in

the sport. “We created The Golf Trust Unity Day to get these key people together,” he added. “There are a lot of shared objectives across the organisations involved in UK disabled golf, and it

was good to see our guests on the day find areas of common ground which they can work on together. We hope that it will inspire other golf clubs to run similar allability events in the future.” Among the other highlights of the DGA season is the Auld Enemies Cup, a matchplay event between England and Scotland. This year’s encounter will take place at Kinross in Scotland from June 14-16. For more details about disabled open events visit www.

Wentworth profits from leisure boom

Feldon up for sale Feldon Valley Golf Club in Oxfordshire, which boasts an 18-hole golf course and a membership close to 500, is up for sale. The club, which first opened in 1991, is on the market through HLL Humberts for a guide price of £475,000 on a 97-year leasehold basis, although the freehold price is open to offers in excess of £1.5m. Facilities at the club, which is located between Banbury and Stratford, include a 6,034-yard, par-71 course, and a recently refurbished 6,932 sq ft clubhouse. Charlie Cox, one of Feldon Valley’s directors, said: “The golf course has matured well over the last 20 years and now presents an enjoyable test for all levels of golfer. The twostorey clubhouse has been refurbished in the last two years, and benefits from function and meeting rooms, along with a feature landscaped sun terrace, which overlooks the course.”

Wentworth Club has seen a large increase in its operating profits, although not as a direct result of its famous golf offerings. Profits at the renowned Surrey resort, which is home to the BMW PGA Championship, nearly quadrupled to £2.5m from £674,000 in the year ending March 2012, with turnover at the club growing from £16.8m to £19m, while pre-tax losses, which date back to an adjustment relating to membership subscriptions when the West Course was closed in 2009 and 2010 for a £6.5m overhaul, fell. However, Julian Small, chief executive, said the strong performance was due to its health club, which means the majority of members at the golf club now do not even play golf. “We have more members here now who don’t play golf than do,” he said. “Wentworth is far more than a golf club.”

News in Brief WHALLEY WINS LIFETIME AWARD Kevin Whalley of Mill Green Golf Club in Hertfordshire has given a Lifetime Achievement Award for Services to Golf at England Golf’s Volunteer of the Year Awards. Deaf since birth, Whalley received the award in recognition of his contribution to deaf golf in England and around the world. He has organised over 100 deaf golf events over the last 30 years, and set up the World Deaf Golf Championship in 1995. A director of the British Deaf Sports Council, he is currently president of the English Deaf Golf Association.

COVEY COLLECTS COUNTY AWARD Wentworth is more than just a golf club

He said that there has been strong demand for its spa, tennis and health club offerings. Facilities at the leisure club include 13 outdoor tennis courts, indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools, gym, a fitness and dance studio, spa, crèche, and a café and terrace for outdoor dining. Small added that the dry weather that ended the financial year encouraged more casual golfers onto the club’s three courses, but said that the wet weather experienced last summer had made things ‘slightly tougher’.

Sussex County captain Alan Covey has been recognised as one of England’s top volunteers after spending seven years as County Boys’ Manager. Alan, from Ifield Golf Club, received the County Development Award at the England Golf’s Volunteer of the Year Awards. Alan, who retired as county manager last year, has worked closely with PGA professional Ryan Fenwick, who is the lead coach for the Sussex boys.


Golf’s best kept secret

(we’d like to keep it that way)

Sweetwoods Park is a truly exceptional 18 hole golf course, perfectly maintained and set in breathtaking landscape. Once you play it, you’ll want to keep it to yourself.

SECRET GOLF OFFER FOR TWO – £39 18 holes for 2 people, 7 days a week (after 10am at weekends) until April 30th 2013. Quote secret24 when you phone to book a tee time on 01342 850 729 Ext 1. Or visit for more info. You can find us tucked away between Tunbridge Wells and East Grinstead on the A264. Visitor green fees and Memberships available. Sweetwoods Park Golf Club, Cowden, Edenbridge Kent TN8 7JN.

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218


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GolfNews has teamed up with Europe’s leading golf performance clothing brand, PING Collection, to give one lucky reader a full wardrobe makeover from its new Spring/Summer 2013 range. The eye-catching new collection offers an excellent array of golf-specific garments, gathered from years of research dedicated to obtaining simply the best performing fabrics available. PING Collection has long been established as a market leader in hybridfabric innovation, and this heritage is continued through a soft, poly-cotton material found in several new garments, including the Cruz polo shirt. The 70% polyester – 30% cotton mix delivers superb ‘cotton comfort’ with all the performance and moisture movement characteristics of a pure polyester garment. These, and other polo shirts, are available in colours complementing the collection’s two stories; Ocean Drive and Mandarin Burst. From a design perspective, this is PING Collection’s most varied range yet. Exciting new developments have been included, such as the Bodmin soft shell gilet, which is sure to turn heads on the fairways this spring. This and every other garment in the collection is guaranteed to offer supreme comfort, performance and freedom of movement. Another standout garment is the Toledo trouser, available in black, white, ash and ocean blue. This five-pocket trouser is precisely designed to hold everything you require to play your best on the course. Aesthetically pleasing and technologically advanced, Toledo utilises Dry Fibre Dynamics technology, which makes it a comfortable garment, even in the searing heat of summer. Furthermore, Toledo has a discrete expandable waistband. PING Collection has also stepped up its already impressive men’s accessory range for spring/summer 2013. Headlining the collection of socks, belts and box sets is the Maximo belt. Elevated by a distinct multi-coloured striped buckle, this design is available in either white, ocean blue or black with bespoke buckles designed

to suit outfit opportunities and specific garments across the range, such as the Vigo polo shirt. Elsewhere, PING Collection has catered for the unpredictable European summer with designs such as the Hydro Playing Top. Featuring high-performance Hydro Pro Dynamics technology, this short-sleeved offering comes with a three-year 100% waterproof guarantee. THE PRIZE The prize for the winner comprises two polo shirts, two pairs of trousers, a belt, a gilet, and a hydro playing top. TO ENTER To be in with a chance of winning this great prize, simply answer the question below, and email your answer, together with your name, address, contact telephone number to, with ‘Ping Collection Competition’ in the subject line. The winner will be drawn from the correct entries received by March 31, 2013. Usual competition entry rules apply. QUESTION How many pockets does the Toledo trouser have? a) 2 b) 3 c) 5

Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

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BOOK BOTH VENUES AND RECEIVE A Nailcote Hall’s stunning short course

The tournament always attracts top pros

Par 3 champs doubles prize fund A prize fund of £100,000 will be on offer to professionals competing in this year’s Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship, which takes place at Nailcote Hall in August. As Europe’s most prestigious Par 3 tournament celebrates its 80th anniversary, organiser Champions UK, event hosts Nailcote Hall and sponsors Farmfoods continue to take the tournament to a new level each year, and by increasing the prize fund to £100,000, they have doubled the amount on offer to competitors. Already one of the most lucrative golf events on the UK circuit, the last few years have seen the tournament attract a world class field, incuding major winners, Ryder Cup players and European Tour stars. Champions UK managing director Matthew Hayes: said:

“We are delighted to be able to announce this dramatic increase in the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship prize fund. The event has become one of the most successful golfing events in the UK and we would like to thank all of our sponsors for their ongoing commitment to making this event truly special, and we are committed to continue making it bigger and better every year.” Golfing legend Tony Jacklin will once again host the event, which takes place from August 6-9. Taking place either side of the championship are two CelebAm days that regularly attract some of the country’s biggest celebrities, including Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Charlton, Len Goodman, Peter Shilton, Peter Schmeichel, Jasper Carrot, Johnny Herbert and William Roache. Televised on Sky Sports and Challenge TV, the

championship provides great sporting entertainment for spectators and home viewers alike. Rick Cressman, owner of Nailcote Hall, is excited by the increased prize fund and the ongoing development of the event. He said: “It’s 80 years since the championship was first played, and it is fantastic to see that the tournament continues to go from strength to strength. With an international field represented each year, it is truly a global celebration of par-three golf.” Last year’s event was attended by over 10,000 spectators, who packed the course to see former European Tour player DJ Russell win the main event with record-breaking score of eight-under par, while former Ryder Cup star Brian Barnes won the Super Senior tournament with a level par total.

HALL SET FOR FIRST MAJOR Bournemouth’s Georgia Hall has been invited to compete in her first major – the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Golf Club in April. Hall, 16, is the European women’s number one amateur and is ranked fourth in the world. She is one of nine amateurs to receive an invitation. This will be her first professional tournament and the first time she will have played in the USA. “It’s the biggest major in the world - what a way to start,” said Hall, who is attached to the Remedy Oak Golf Club in Dorset. “My first aim is to make the cut and also to see how other people play and what I can learn from them. I want to see if I’m doing anything wrong, or right. I didn’t expect the invitation and it’s just amazing. I’ve always wanted to go to America to play.” Hall is the British girls’ champion and has

Individual Winner Dan Thorpe (right) with Club Captain Paul Wallace-Stock (left) and professional player James Wade


Enjoy a fabulous

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just started her 2013 campaign by winning two gold medals at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival. Among the other amateurs who have received invitations are world leading amateur Lydia Ko of New Zealand, who has just won her third professional title, and Curtis Cup player Stephanie Meadow of Ireland. Hall added: “It’s a great honour and I can’t wait – I’m over the moon.”

Puttenham hits charity bullseye! Professional darts player James Wade was the star of the show at the annual darts match held at Puttenham Golf Club in Kent on January 25. The club traditionally hosts the match, which is contested by the village’s four sports clubs (golf, bowls, cricket and


village), with the proceeds divided between local charities. Wade, who is currently third in the Professional Darts Corporation rankings, agreed to take part as a guest of the golf club team, but played a 1001 match rather than the normal 301 against the cricket club’s leading player, Mark Budd. Mark had a dart at double 16 to win, but missed and the professional duly checked out for the win to help seal a 6-2 for the golf club in the final. A three dart shoot-out for the individual trophy was eventually won by Puttenham Golf Club’s assistant greenkeeper, Dan Thorpe. Wade very kindly donated two items to the auction, including the darts he used in his world semi-final, ­which took the money raised on the night to almost £500.


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News in Brief UPCOTT’S 50 YEARS AS A PRO A Berkshire PGA professional based at Maidenhead Golf Centre is celebrating half a century of teaching golf. Sixty-six year old Mike Upcott, who has been the manager at Maidenhead since 1986, has been a qualified member of the PGA since 1963 and has been playing the game since he was four. “It is a very rewarding profession I am in,” said Mike. “What particularly pleases me is that so many people that were new to the game have gone on and become captains in private clubs around the area.”

SHINKWIN WINS IN SOUTH AMERICA Hertfordshire amateur Callum Shinkwin overcame the inconvenience of a delayed flight to win the South American Amateur Championship in Columbia. The 19-year-old England International from Moor Park Golf Club, who was also coming back from a five-month injury lay-off, finished on five-over par for 72 holes at Rincón de Cajica Golf Club in Bogota, closing with a 78 to beat Erik Myllymaki of Finland by a single shot.

Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

New-look Prince’s proves championship calibre Prince’s Golf Club showed the south’s top professionals why it is one of the best venues in the UK after successfully staging New bunkering at Prince’s two concurrent events that marked the return to the PGA Winter Series. Shore and Dunes course, very In the first event, played strong winds made the Prince’s in relatively calm conditions, challenge a very different affair. four players fired one-underIn spite of that, Michael Lowe par rounds of 71 to share the (Leatherhead) still managed winnings. Recent Winter Series to produce a superb round of winner Matthew Ford, Daniel one-under-par 71, shooting four Young (Woldingham), Jack birdies to counter three bogeys Harrison (Wildwood) and 2012 as he fought against the weather. Order of Merit champion Richard Lowe celebrated his special Wallis (Walmer & Kingsdown) all win by combining it with the had scores that could have been leading assistant’s prize of the even better, with plenty of birdies Titleist & FootJoy shoe, glove marred by bogeys. and ball contract. Mark Hillson This was especially true (Tandridge) and Wallis were of Harrison and Wallis, who pipped to the winning post, both had five birdies each, but carding otherwise excellent par stumbled over the challenges scores, although the usually that now lie in wait at the consistent Wallis notched up renovated Shore and Dunes four birdies only to match them course. Young’s performance with four dropped shots. as the leading assistant earned Prince’s Director of Golf, Rob him the valuable Titleist & McGuirk, was full of praise FootJoy shoe, glove and ball for the performances on the contract, while Callum Haughey second day. He said: “Conditions (Orpington) was one shot behind on the day were very tough with a 72. and in my opinion the scoring In the second event, played on was exceptional under the the following day over the same circumstances.”

Walton Heath to host Palmer Cup

The Old Course at Walton Heath

Walton Heath Golf Club is to play host to the 2014 Palmer Cup, an annual Ryder Cup-style competition that is competed for by top college golfers from the United States and Europe. The eight-a-side teams will be tackling the 110-year-old Surrey heathland club’s Old Course from June 26-28 next year. The Palmer Cup, which is named after seven-time Major winner Arnold Palmer, began in 1997 and has been played every year since, with the current score standing at 8.5-7.5 in favour of the United States. Europe won last year’s encounter at Royal County Down 13.5-10.5, with this year’s match being held at Wilmington Country Club in Delaware. Walton Heath is no stranger to

holding elite events, having staged the Ryder Cup itself in 1981, and nearly 90 other amateur and professional championships since it opened in 1903. “Walton Heath continues the Palmer Cup tradition of competing on the finest golf courses in the world,” said Palmer Cup Chairman Jim Awtrey. “The elite events the club has hosted and the testimonials from some of the world’s greatest players is a tribute to its excellence. We look forward to the Palmer Cup’s first visit to the South of England and one of the finest examples of heathland golf.” “Walton Heath Golf Club is delighted to host the 2014 Palmer Cup,” said Club Secretary Stuart Christie. “Our membership is looking forward to welcoming golfers of their calibre.”

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

Goodwood Ken’s silver service! A diminishing number of golf clubs offer a halfway house these days, so when one celebrates being run by the same person for 25 years, it’s a milestone worth marking. The members of Golf at Goodwood in West Sussex certainly have reason to raise a glass to the man they know simply as ‘Half-way house Ken’, who has manned the hut that sits between the 7th and 15th holes on the club’s Downs Course for a quarter of a century. Ken has provided members and visitors with a warm welcome and a selection of hot and cold snacks and drinks since 1988 – the year Seve Ballesteros won the Open Championship at Royal Lytham. While the bacon and sausage sandwiches remain the favoured mid-round meal, Ken also provides a fine line in pies, and is happy to add a nip of brandy to a mug of Bovril on a cold winter’s morning. The mobile-owning generation of

members now call ahead to pre-order their sandwiches, One man and his hut which cuts down on waiting time, and being a dog-friendly course, Ken also keeps a stack of cold sausages for them in his fridge. The shutters of the hut are adorned with dozens photographs of Ken with a castlist of celebrities from the world of showbusiness and sport, and there’s even a section given over to displaying his regular canine visitors. “Coming to work, is like being on holiday”, said Ken, who has no immediate plans to give up what he regards as ‘the greatest job in the world’. Has your club got a half-way hut with an interesting history? Email editor@golfnews. and we’ll share your story!


News in Brief

Marcus Groombridge, the head teaching professional at Singing Hills Golf Club near Brighton, led his team to victory in the recent Sussex Professional Golf Union Pro-Am tournament for third win in as many years. Groombridge and his teammates, Fred Stenning, Stuart Neate and Stuart Sibley, won the week-long tournament, which was held in Portugal’s Algarve coast, by an impressive 16 shots, with the team combining for a total of 67 under par. The tournament venues included a trio of


Vilamoura’s top courses, comprising Victoria, Pinhal and the Old Course. “It was a great week of golf, fantastic courses, and nice to be able to compete with players I have helped to teach,” said Marcus, who finished fifth in the individual event. “I’m thrilled to have led a team to the top spot again this year.” The individual 72-hole event was won by Pease Pottage’s David Mills, who fired rounds of 70, 67, 71 and 69 to win by five shots from Paul Nessling (Cooden).

Hanbury to host society open day Hanbury Manor Hotel and Country Club is hosting a special open day this spring aimed at giving golf society organisers the opportunity to sample the facilities at the five-star Hertfordshire resort. The open day, which is to be held on April 10, will involve coffee and bacon rolls on arrival, a 10am shotgun start on the

Jack Nicklaus-designed championship course, followed by a buffet lunch. There will be prizes for the top five scores. The day costs £55 per person, with anyone making a booking for a society outing on the day being offered a £100 discount. To book a place on the day, visit www. marriotthanburymanor.

A grant given to golf clubs by England Golf has led to more than 4,000 women and girls taking up golf last year. Nearly 550 of them are now members of golf clubs. The ‘Women and Girls’ Grant’, funded by the former English Women’s Golf Association, saw an increase in participation by more than 1,000 compared to 2010. The money led to 4,017 people taking up golf in 2011, of whom 67 per cent were girls and 33 per cent women.


Europe’s largest pay and play course operator has been running a golf club ‘amnesty’ during January in which golfers donated unwanted clubs to beginners. Mytime Golf’s ‘Clubs 4 All’ initiative saw clubs handed in at the operator’s 19 courses across southern England and Birmingham, which will then given to new golfers, especially young adults. The launch was given a helping hand by former Chelsea defender Paul Elliot, who donated a club at High Elms Golf Course in Bromley.

Golf open day Saturday 16th March 2013 Discover golf’s hidden gem at Sweetwoods Park. Sweetwoods Park Golf Club are opening their doors for a special Visitor and Membership open day. Please join us for complimentary tea, coffee and cake, a tour of the facilities and to enquire about our special offers for 2013. Complimentary golf tutorial clinics will take place at 11am and 2pm.

To celebrate our open day, green fees are at a special rate of £15 on Friday 15th March – Sunday 17th March 2013*. Call or email now to book your tee time. *All day Friday 15th March and Sunday 17th March. From 12 noon on Saturday 16th March.

The first 25 people to register their interest in attending the open day will receive a golf goodie bag and money off vouchers. Simply email or call 01342 850 729 Ext. 1 to register. Sweetwoods Park Golf Club, Cowden, Edenbridge Kent TN8 7JN.

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KNOCKING ON WOOD After bagging a long overdue first European Tour win in Qatar last month, Bristol’s Chris Wood feels the floodgates are finally ready to open. Words by Paul Mahoney When Chris Wood tried to enter the United States for the first time in 2009, he was escorted to a detention room and left to stew for two hours. The immigration officers wouldn’t believe he was a professional golfer on his way to the US PGA Championship at Hazeltine. Wood’s soft, rambling Bristol accent, which sounds like a surf dude speaking at half speed, probably didn’t help his cause. And he doesn’t exactly fit the American profile of an athlete. With his wispy ginger beard and lanky frame, he looked more like Shaggy from Scooby Do as he lollopped through security in flip-flops. But Wood took it all in his lengthy, laid back stride. “I remember being taken away by a sheriff, quite an intimidating looking guy,” Wood says. “I was 21 and on my own. I didn’t really know what to do. But it’s part of travelling I suppose,” he grins. Wood’s travels took him to Qatar at the end of January, where he eagled the final hole to beat Sergio Garcia by one stroke and win his first tournament on the European Tour. US Immigration has been informed of his impending return. “My dad was watching on TV at home and jumped up and smacked his head on the ceiling,” Wood says. “He had more of a sore head in the morning than I did by all accounts!” It’s fact of life for any sportsman or woman that getting your first win is the hardest thing to achieve. It’s perhaps even harder for golfers, who have to go up against 150 rivals every week. Few young golfers knowthis better than 25-year-old Wood, who had seen a succession of potential wins slip agonisingly from his grasp as last-round nerves took their inescapable hold. He suffered very public collapses at the BMW PGA Championship in 2010 – where he threw in a final round 77 – and again at the 2011 Iberdrola Open, where he let slip a four-shot lead with a closing 76. It takes time to recover from those sort of implosions, but thankfully Wood bounced back to bag his first professional win at last year’s Thailand Open –not a European Tour event – and then, just a few weeks ago, confirmed his status as one of most talented players of his

generation with victory in Qatar. To say that it was a cakewalk would be slightly misrepresenting the facts, as Wood, who led by three shots with 18 holes to play, once again succumbed to the dreaded nerves and found himself two shots behind the leaders with nine holes to play. However, rather than fold up and tamely fade away, Wood showed that he had learned from his previous defeats and battled back bravely, securing his long-awaited win in thrilling fashion by eagling the par-five last. As the pictures taken on the 18th green showed, the relief on his face was palpable, as Wood felt the weight of the last five years of selfimposed expectation finally lifted. “Blimey!” was the first word that he was capable of uttering as the impact of his win began to sink in. “I’ve seen a few mates picking up trophies in recent months, and I’ve been waiting patiently for my time. I felt like I was due a win for a couple of years, so to finally do it feels like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders,” he said. “I knew it was going to be hard no matter how I played winning on The European Tour is not easy. I’ve been knocking on the door and it’s not happened. So I’m proud of the way I stayed patient and believed in myself.”
 Wood has had to have plenty of patience and self-belief over the last 18 months, during which time he has been plagued by a bulging disk in his back, only now returning to something resembling full fitness. At 6ft 5in, Wood is among the tallest players on tour, and has always been troubled by his back, resulting in hours spent on the physio’s table and many more in the gym trying to strengthen his body to meet the demands of the modern golf swing. “I’m a bit of a gym rat,” Wood admits. “I like working out, and I put in plenty of hours over the winter to get me back to where I wanted to be in terms of fitness. My golf has really stepped up to a new consistency, and a lot of that I put down to the team I work with. My coach Paul Mitchell, my trainer Andy Wadsworth, my physio Rich Bricknell, and my putting coach Phil Kenyon.” Asked to nail down what part of his game has seen the most improvement, Wood flashes back:

“My putting has certainly improved. I like the way Phil [Kenyon] approaches putting. It’s very scientific. He tells you exactly what the putter’s doing. Everything he does is based on facts, so it’s not guesswork. I’ve certainly put a bit more time into my putting, and it has paid off. I work with these four guys closely and having Paul, Andy and Rich five minutes from my flat in Bristol is great.” Wood first came to public prominence as an amateur, finishing fifth at The Open at Birkdale in 2008, and winning the Silver Medal for low amateur. He turned pro and then, for an encore, came third at The Open at Turnberry in 2009. He walked down the 18th needing a par to force a play-off with Tom Watson and Stewart Cink. After missing the fairway off the tee, he took a 9-iron and proceeded to hit the sort of shot that makes hackers’ minds boggle. He nailed it 210 yards and through the green, leading to a bogey. A 210-yard nine-iron? How it that possible? “I was trying to land it 20 yards short of the green and run it up, but it pitched on the green,” explains Wood. “I was in the semi-rough, so the ball flew slightly downwind and with rock-hard greens it bounded through. Even three or four yards less and I’d have had an easy chip, but it ran into two-foot-thick rough. Would I do anything differently? Probably not. I had 200 yards to the pin – it’s not a wedge! So I would have hit exactly the same shot.” With his first European Tour win now banked, Wood is focused breaking into that all-important

world top 50. He’s currently 64th and has qualified for this month’s Accenture World Chris Wood is looking for more titles Matchplay. He also has one eye on qualifying for the 2014 Ryder Cup, the same side as Rory McIlroy and which he watched from the sofa Graeme McDowell under McGinley’s last September with more than an captaincy, and was undefeated, envious eye. winning twice with Anthony Wall, “It helps to get into the top 50 twice with Ross Fisher, and halving going into a Ryder Cup year, as it his singles match against Peter gives you the chance to play in Hanson. Wood wants an upgrade, a lot of the big tournaments,” he and few would bet against it says. “The Ryder Cup is something I happening. definitely don’t want to be missing, “He could do a Colsaerts,” says so qualifying for 2014 is one of my Wood’s manager Chubby Chandler, main targets.” referring to the virtually unknown Wood’s sole Ryder Cup experience Belgian who stamped his authority came as a 14-year-old spectator on the European Tour in 2011 and during Friday’s matches at the Belfry went on to play such an important in 2002. “I was completely inspired role at Medinah. “He could suddenly by everyone,” he says, of having just get the idea and go ‘bosh’. His watched Westwood and Garcia beat game is good enough, so if the first Duval and Love in fourballs and belief and the head match, which is then Woods and Calcavecchia in obviously what has happened with foursomes, “and I would love to be a Nicolas, then Chris could do the part of that next year.” same thing. The penny will drop.” Wood has already tasted team Thankfully, the penny seems to matchplay success at the 2009 Seve have well and truly dropped, and the Trophy when GB & Ireland defeated euros and dollars will hopefully soon Continental Europe. He played on come raining down.

Win a FREE Golf Society Day For Up To 20 Players At Any Of Our Three Great Courses

Come enjoy a spectacular day of golf at one of our three courses‌ The peace and tranquility of Horton Park Golf Club, located on the edge of Epsom, is a convenient treat for golfers across London, with easy access from the A3 and M25. The course is better than ever having just completed a £500,000 redesign, including 3 new holes on the Millennium Course and a completely revamped driving range, clubhouse and fully stocked pro shop. The beautiful parkland layout features a wide variety of holes, elevation change, mature trees, streams and picturesque ponds. With its two 18-hole championship courses, driving range and a 9-hole short course, Chichester Golf Club offers the finest, friendliest, golf and practice facility in the South of England. Ideally situated for easy

access, just two miles south of Chichester and close to the A27, Portsmouth and the A3. Conveniently located just off the A-27 near Worthing, Hill Barn Golf Club is a spectacular 75-year old course designed by the legendary Fred Hawtree. The club has a long and enviable history having hosted many professional tournaments and been graced by names such as Peter Alliss and Tony Jacklin. The 18-hole course nestles in the rolling hills of the South Downs National Park and provides sweeping panoramic views out over the English Channel. As the course is built on the South Downs it is free draining, so you can play year round without the mud which plagues many other courses, making us an ideal choice for golf societies.

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Discover Lingfield Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club Golf Course – after a period of substantial investment, our facilities are amongst the best in the area. Set amongst 200 acres of breath-taking Surrey Parkland, we offer a championship level 18-hole course, comprehensive practice areas and a state of the art teaching academy including:

• three putting greens • ‘chip n run’ green • bunker practice green

JOLF drives up Eastbourne numbers Royal Eastbourne Golf Club is experiencing a valuable dual benefit from supporting its youngsters through JOLF – a pioneering golf coaching programme. Not only are juniors at the club benefiting from improving their skills in a fun environment, but there has also been an impressive rise in adult membership since the JOLF programme was launched. Four adult members have joined since the programme began. Family members have a crucial role to play in the JOLF coaching programme, and they are invited to be involved in all aspects and stages of their child’s development. As parents take part in the sessions and follow their children’s progress in golf, they take an interest in the game. Coaches and clubs report that parents then begin to play, take lessons and purchase equipment. JOLF is a coaching programme

• driving range with covered teaching bays. Become a member from as little as £31 per month and benefit from discounts across Lingfield Park and beyond – including free use of nine other Marriott Golf courses across the UK. Call now for more information on any of our golf packages and our membership options.

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for children of all ages, and provides children with a great learning experience in a supportive group environment, in which their individual needs are the main priority. In addition to improving golf skills, the programme also promotes children’s development in movement and mindset skills. Children are given a personal journal, which they use to record their progress and peronnal targets. JOLF’s seven caps – white, red, yellow, green, blue, brown and black – mark a child’s improvement through the programme. Royal Eastbourne Golf Club, along with 14 other English clubs, and over 400 children each week, are currently pioneering this innovative programme. For further information about JOLF contact Neil Plimmer on 07713 646988 or Eastbourne juniors in Jolfing action

The new golf complex at Ingrebourne Links in Essex is to host the first-ever par-three championship to be organised by the PGA of England East later this year. The Winner Takes All! Ingrebourne Links Par Three Championship will be played over one round of the 876-yard par-3 course on August 5. The course, whose holes measure between 66 yards and 124 yards, was designed by former PGA captain Alan Walker, and has a links feel to it, with rolling hills, pot bunkers, heather, gorse and small USGAspecification greens. As the title of the competition suggests, the winner will take all of the £2,000 prize fund, as well as earn an invitation to play in the prestigious £100,000 British Par Three Championship over the Cromwell course at Nailcote Hall between August 6-9. Ingrebourne Links is located on a 350-acre site near Rainham, where, in addition to

J o i n t h e C o u n t ry • • • • • • • • • •

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

MONTY ENTERS HALL OF FAME Eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie is be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame at a special ceremony in Florida in May. The 49-year-old former Ryder Cup captain is one of a rare number of players to be invited into the Hall of Fame who has not won a major. However, his eight money list titles between 1993 and 2005, and his extraordinary success in the Ryder Cup, in which he has never lost a singles match, proved the deciding factor in being invited to join the Hall of


Fame, which honours those who have contributed to the game. “I know I am very fortunate to have enjoyed such a successful career playing the game I love, and it makes me feel very proud that my achievements have been recognised in this way,” said Montgomerie. “While my eight Order of Merit wins were very special, as everyone knows, my Ryder Cup experiences have provided the very best moments in my career and receiving this great honour is the icing on the cake.”

Ingrebourne launches Par 3 Coming to a range new you: 60 60 Golf Champs the 9-hole course, facilities include a 30-bay floodlit driving range and a state-of-the-art coaching studio, which is staffed by head pro Nick Moncur, who has recently joined from North Weald, with fellow PGA professionals Glen Brown and James Law. The nine-hole mini links course, which opened last September, is already proving extremely popular with local golfers, while a further 27 holes of full-length championship golf is currently being built, with a scheduled opening date of 2015. The complex is staging a number of open competitions linked around this year’s majors, which will also involve an order of merit over the season. The Mini Links Masters takes place on April 14, and the Mini Links US Open on June 15. Ingrebourne Links has also agreed to sponsor the well-established PGA of England (East) Autumn Classic to be played at Aldeburgh and Thorpeness in October.

Golfers looking to ramp up the competitive element involved with a trip to their local driving range are being asked to try out a new rangebased game called 60 60 Golf. The founders of the new game are currently embarking on a series of more than 40 demo day roadshows at driving ranges all over the British Isles, with the first having taken place at Stonelees Golf Club in Ramsgate on January 14. The format of 6060 Golf is designed to be quick and affordable, and gets its name from the fact that participants can hit 60 shots in the space of an hour. It offers multiple game options, but the basic idea involves hitting shots at a series of different targets which 60 60 Golf provides when a range installs the concept. Among the current venues in the South East are Sandown

Park in Esher, Hilden Park in Tonbridge, World of Golf in Sidcup and Haddon Hill in Oxfordshire. Hadden Hill’s general manager, Michael Morley, said: “I believe 60 60 Golf will prove popular with local players of all abilities. As well as being fun, our golf professionals are already finding it a great teaching aid, as the targets are very visible and will improve all golfers playing ability. The concept works because it’s quick, and free, and doesn’t suffer from the stuffiness, that sometimes puts people off trying the game or practicing.”

The roadshows are being managed by senior 60 60 Golf staff, who will ensure the demo pitch is installed to exact specifications and will also help with organising a series of competitions testing long game, short game and scrambling skills. The competitions will be divided into separate categories for men, ladies, seniors, junior boys, junior girls, mini-hitters and the disabled, with prizes being awarded to the winners at each venue, and also for the players who achieve the highest score during the course of the 20 roadshows. The overall winner at the end of the series will be awarded a trophy proclaiming them as the UK’s Best Range Players and will also receive tickets to the BMW PGA Championship. To find the latest list of 60 60 Golf venues, visit

Surrey professional Craig Cowper was celebrating this month after winning the annual Scottsdale Classic Pro-Am, one of the PGA’s premier winter pro-am events, which immediately follows the PGA Tour’s WM Phoenix Open. Cowper opened up a big lead on the field in the 72-hole event with a superb second round 65 at Quintero Golf Club, and he continued his fantastic form for an eightshot victory, with Darren Prosser finishing second and The Neville’s Jamie Harris third. In the team event, Kirby Muxloe’s Matt Stephens and his team of Dave Mitchell, Steve Fellows and Mike Chapman put in a strong finish over the last two days to secure victory. Former European No.1 Ronan Rafferty’s team were second, and Anthony Sproston’s team third. In his winner’s speech, Cowper was full of praise for the Scottsdale Classic Pro-Am. He said: “I have played in many of The American Golf Holiday’s Pro-Am Tour events – they are all fantastic, but this week has been unbelievably good. Amazing golf courses, perfect weather, great company and brilliant organisation throughout.” For details of future AGH Pro-Am events, visit

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218


OPEN WEEKEND Visit one of Surrey’s hidden gems... Our Open Weekend will be taking place on

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

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The 2014 Ryder Cup venue will play host to the Flying Club final

Gleneagles awaits Flying Club finalists Flying Club Swingers, Virgin Atlantic’s innovative loyalty golf programme, has just launched its 10th anniversary season with news that this year’s final will be hosted at Gleneagles, next year’s Ryder Cup venue. After last year’s triumph for the European team in Miami, the Rest of the World team will be hoping to show their professional counterparts how to tackle the PGA Centenary Course come September. The road to Gleneagles starts now, with thousands of amateur golfers worldwide competing across various handicap divisions to stake their claim on one of the 24 coveted spots in the Ryder Cup-style tournament. The finalists will fly into Edinburgh via Virgin Atlantic’s new UK domestic service – which will operate daily out

of Heathrow to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen from March 31. The final is unlike anything else most amateur golfers will have ever experienced. Team captains chosen from within each team host meetings each night, where the all-important pairings are announced for each day’s play and tactics are decided. Hearing your name read out over the PA on the first tee ‘Representing Europe’ or ‘Representing Rest of the World’ sends a tingle down your spine. Every putt and every shot are not just for you, but for your team and the Swingers it represents at home who didn’t make the final. There’s nothing like the pressure and excitement of the Swingers’ final, as players get to play foursomes on day one, fourball matches on day two and singles matches on day three to decide

the winners of the title. By the end of it, finalists have not only had a truly memorable experience, they have also made new life-long friendships. Register now to start your Flying Club Swingers journey. The first 100 European Swingers to enter three scores will win a goody bag containing an exclusive Q’aja golf shirt, Srixon balls and other fabulous gifts from the club’s partners. To join or for more information, visit Before registering, golfers will be asked to join as a Flying Club member, which is free of charge. Golf News will be featuring monthly updates on Flying Club Swingers. To find out more about Virgin Atlantic’s new domestic routes to Manchester and Scotland, visit

Singh-Brar on a mission in China

Prestatyn loses private status

Hampshire’s Jack Singh-Brar is among handful of youngsters from the UK who will be heading to China next month to take part in the Faldo Series Asia Final at Mission Hills Golf Club. The 16-year-old from Brockenhurst won the European Jack Singh-Brar with Sir Nick Faldo leg of the 2012 Faldo Series at Lough Erne in Ireland last September, and will now face some of the best young players from the Far East at the Hong Kong-based mega resort, which boasts 12 courses. Singh-Brar will be joined in China by four other UK-based players: Robert Busher (Salisbury and South Wilts), Ewan Scott (St Andrews), Sophie Keech Lyme Regis), and 17-year-old Rochelle Morris (Huddersfield), who won the girls’ title in Northern Ireland and was rewarded with her first professional Tour start as an amateur in October. “Winning the Grand Final in Europe has really changed the way I feel about my life and career as a golfer,” said Singh-Brar. “The Faldo Series experience has made me appreciate Sir Nick’s dedication to helping young golfers achieve their best and now we have an amazing opportunity to compete in China.” The Faldo Series Asia Grand Final takes place from March 13-15.

One of the oldest golf clubs in Wales has agreed to hand its ownership over from its members to a commercial entity. Prestatyn Golf Club, which was established as a private members club in 1905, has been put up for sale with a guide price of £1million. The club, which runs alongside the dunes of Barkby Beach, is regarded as one of the finest championship links golf courses in North Wales, and regularly hosts the Welsh Open Strokeplay Championship, the Welsh Amateur Championship, the Welsh Ladies Championship, and other regional professional events. Ben Allen, director at GVA, which is handling the sale, said: “Prestatyn Golf Club provides the market with a great opportunity to commercialise this private members’ golf club and to build on the established reputation of this true championship links golf course. Championship links of this type are rarely available to the market. The members will give their full support to the new owner and are looking forward to a bright future.”

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Prestatyn is to become a proprietary-owned club

HICKORY HOLDS SWAY WITH DORSET GOLFERS A group of twenty members turned back the clock at Dorset Golf and Country Club recently to take part in a special hickory golf day at the Wareham-based resort. With equipment of the era provided by South of England Hickory Golf, the club staged a competition on its Lakeland and Parkland Courses, with a Texas Scramble format ensuring that most of the shots were played from the fairway, rather than the sand with such hard-to-hit clubs.


The Hickory Open was strongly supported by the club’s hierarchy, including president Derek Dovey, captain Howard Parkin and club champion Terry Falck, as well as other members,

including five women. The scores at the end of the match were even across the five teams, but Howard Parkin, Tony Key, Terry Falck and Sue Gibbons edged clear to take the title, while Vicky Kardas won the nearest-thepin competition on the 15th hole and was given a hickory putter. The club now plans to host an annual hickory golf day, and to enlarge it to include more players.

Bespoke packages on request To book please call Debbie or Lizzie on

01959 522944 Darenth Valley Golf Course, Shoreham, Kent, TN14 7SA

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

JOY FOR ENGLAND GOLF Experienced sports administrator David Joy has been appointed as the new chief executive of England Golf. A director of Derbyshire Sport for the last eight years, Joy brings over 25 years of management experience within national and local sports organisations with him, including six years as the CEO of Scottish Athletics. He begins his new role on April 22. Joy, who hails from Stoke on Trent, is understood to be a keen golfer and until recently was a member of Trentham Park Golf Club. Speaking about his appointment, he said: “This is a really exciting time for amateur golf following the merger of the men’s and women’s game. I am delighted to be given the opportunity to join England Golf and to work with the board, the staff team, the volunteers at national, county and club level, and our key partners, as we seek to take advantage of the many opportunities for golf development throughout England.”

Tee off at Tudor for less than a tenner! Marriott Tudor Park Golf Club in Kent is celebrating its 25th anniversary by offering a daily four-ball tee time during the remainder of February for just £25. This special tee time promotion, which began at the beginning of January and runs until the end of February, enables four players to play 18 holes for £6.25 each. The tee time is available at 11am, and is only bookable online via on a first come, first served basis. The special promotion is just one of the activities arranged to mark the popular four-star Kent resort’s 25th celebrations. Located in a picturesque 220-acre estate on the outskirts of Maidstone, Tudor Park features a 6,189-yard championship course designed by renowned architect Donald Steel, plus a wide range other of state-of-the-art leisure facilities.

CHIPSTEAD’S CHARITY HAUL Over the Christmas period Chipstead Golf Club’s captain John Casserley and past lady captain Gillian Maynard made the short trip to the Children’s Unit at the Royal Marsden, where they presented Janet Tobin head of fundrasing with two cheques – one for £5,000 generated through the club’s charity activities – and

a second cheque for £600, which will be divided equally between the prostate and bowel departments, which was raised through our efforts during Movember. Since 2006, when then centenary captain Reg Seales chose the children’s ward at the Marsden as the club’s charity, they have raised an impressive £16,000.


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Visit one of Surrey’s hidden gems… How Lane, Coulsdon, Chipstead Surrey CR5 3LN

Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

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GNeditor reveals what has caught his eye in the golfing headlines in recent weeks

Is 18 holes too many?

There have been no shortage of hare-brained schemes bandied about over the years to make golf appear more attractive/affordable/ exciting/quicker, and combinations of all or some of these elements. For reasons too many to mention, none have come remotely close to replacing the traditional ’18-hole, four-and-a half-hour game’ that we all know and love to varying degrees. We’ve seen two flags, no flags, shorter holes, shorter balls, running between shots, threeclub challenges, night golf, and all manner of driving range-based excitements, but none of them match up to the one true game. Nine holes, which is often cited as being the best alternative, has gained a certain level of devotion,

especially among older members of the community for whom a full round is a bit of a slog, but there are too few clubs, in their current form, where this a genuine option. Many existing 9-hole clubs, and you’ll have to forgive the massive generalisation here (i.e don’t bombard me with letters of indignation), weren’t built with the same ambition that their fellow 18-hole courses were, and don’t offer the same level of design quality, variety, or challenges that ‘full-size’ layouts. There are, of course, plenty of exceptions to this non-rule, especially when your market is tailored specifically to juniors and/or seniors, but nine holes leaves most moderately skilled, grown-up golfers with the same feeling that you have after a day on the new 5:2 fasting diet – wanting a bit more. Which is why the R&A’s recent plea for golf clubs to come up with ways of making their courses more attractive to time-pressed golfers will raise some headlines for a few weeks, and then most probably disappear until the next time golf wonders where its next generation

of players is coming from. The new cry is for courses with six loops of three, so that golfers can choose to play six, 12 or 18, or layouts where the 14th finishes by the car park. All sensible measures, but they all miss the point about golf. It’s not a ‘good walk spoilt’. The walk is part of the game, otherwise you may as well stay on the driving range hitting balls. Like a good wine, a round of golf takes time to savour. It’s not a quick-fix vodka shot. OK, some clubs could reconfigure their layouts slightly, do away with silly pin positions on Saturdays, spread out the tee time intervals a bit more, cut down the rough, and ensure that visitors (and members) play off tees that are commensurate with their ability, but shortened versions of the game are not the same, and never will be. Just as cricket has 20/20, 40/40 and five-day tests, golf too should be adaptable to the changing demands of its customers, but it’s not something that needs to be formalised or have new sets of rules or formats drawn up. Amateur golfers have been creating their own shortened versions of the game for years – it’s called walking in.

Tackling‘Antlergate’ head on With almost all professional sports having developed strong antidoping policies in recent times – with perhaps the exception of cycling – cracking down on those who cross the line is paramount if the integrity of the sport, and its players, is to be maintained. So while Vijay Singh (pictured right, with added on antlers) doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who was deliberately looking to gain an advantage with his use of deer antler spray, he deserves the full weight of the PGA Tour’s legal system to come crashing down on his horns – if he’s grown any since he started liberally dousing himself in the stuff. Ignorance is no defense of the law, and Singh’s admission that he was unaware that the aforementioned spray contained a banned substance will not be a mitigating factor in his sentence. Professional athletes have been checking the ingredients on cough sweets and cold remedies for years, so to use a spray which is specifically aimed at improving muscle bulk – and which the Champions Tour had banned Mark Calcavecchia from using in 2011 – should have set off alarm bells in the Singh camp a long time ago.

I’d be happy for the ban to be as long as the period that Singh was using the stuff, but at least no shorter than the entire 2013 season, as it would send out the strongest possible message that drugs, however soft or hard they might be, have no place in golf. Of course, let’s not pretend that Singh is the only current player to have taken – or to be taking – something dodgy in the pursuit of success. Performance-enhancing drugs are used in all sports, and to believe that golf doesn’t have its fair share of miscreants is pure head-inthe-sand thinking. So while poor old Vijay will rightly suffer the full force of public and media disapproval, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

THE PLAYER’S CHOICE Paul McGinley, Europe’s next Ryder Cup captain, reveals the pressures he felt in the run-up to the announcement and pledges to keep the spirit of Seve alive and well at Gleneagles in 2014

Ryder Cup captain – how excited are you to have that on your CV? I’m absolutely delighted to have been given this honour, and to lead arguably the strongest crop of players that we’ve had for the history of The European Tour is a real thrill. The selection process has been a very humbling experience, so now I’m really, really looking forward to getting on with the job. It will be a whole new experience for me. I’ve been there many times as a player, and also as a vicecaptain, and I’m really looking forward to this opportunity. Did you ever dare dream that one day you would become a Ryder Cup captain?  At the first Seve Trophy I was chosen by Colin Montgomerie to be one of the vice-captains. I didn’t know if a) I was going to be any good, and b) if I was going to enjoy it. I was very fortunate – I inherited a young fellow called Rory McIlroy on my team, along with Graeme, who were the backbone of my team. I came away from that week having had an absolute blast, as

much as I did when I played. And it obviously went very well for me, too. So that was the first time the seed was sown that maybe I did have an aptitude for captaining and organising a team. You kept up a wall of silence in the run-up to the announcement. Was that all part of the plan? It’s amazing what you can learn when you just listen and don’t talk! I knew I had the support of the players. I thought my hand was very strong, and if it was meant to be, it was meant to be. I felt that the more I said, the more my chances would lessen. So keeping quiet felt like it was the right thing to do. My chances seemed to go up and down like a yo-yo, but I’m very pleased with the outcome. I can’t wait to get into the role of being the captain, and working with the players that have shown such huge support for me in the last few weeks. Rory McIlroy was one of your biggest fans, saying that you’re ‘the best captain he’s ever played under’. What does that mean to you going forward as a captain? Well, that means a lot to me. There

were a couple of things that went in my favour in terms of getting the captaincy, and one of them was the fact that Rory and Graeme [McDowell] played in the first Seve Trophy, which was my first captaincy as well. Rory was not the star then that he is now. I think it might have been his second year on Tour. I had the opportunity of captaining him, and I knew GB&I was a very weakened team, compared to how strong the Europeans were in the world rankings. But we played the role of underdog there extremely well, and Rory and Graeme were huge for me that week. I really enjoyed playing with them, and I think they enjoyed it, as well. So I think I was fortunate that I had that situation where Rory had played underneath me, and that’s why I think he spoke with such authority on the subject. Do you know why you’re so popular with the players? It’s not a question that I can really answer – you’ll have to ask the players. As I say, I’ve been very fortunate that Rory, Graeme, and Ian [Poulter] have already played underneath me as captain. The Seve

Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

Trophy – which is now the Vivendi – has been pivotal in giving players and future captains the chance to experience matchplay competition, and I would love to see that tournament grow from strength to strength. It is very much a part of Seve’s legacy. How strongly will Seve feature in the way you go about your captaincy? I can assure you one of the things I want to do as captain is to continue his legacy. I don’t know how I’m going to go about that yet. I’ll leave that for discussions later on, but I will be continuing that legacy. I have a vast amount of experience of playing under a who’s who of European golf over the last decade and more, so I’m sure I’ll pick up a lot of tips from all of the captains I’ve played under and worked alongside. You obviously haven’t had the individual playing career that past captains have enjoyed, but you always rise to the challenge in team events. Do you enjoy team games more? If you look at my career, it’s been quite modest compared to the past captains that we’ve had in Ryder Cups, and that’s very humbling for me; that I am now in this position. I obviously don’t match the record that they have in terms of what they have achieved in major championships and whatnot, but I have always performed well when I was part of a team. I don’t know why. I wish I could have done the same as an individual. But I certainly went to another level when I played team golf. My heart ticks a bit faster and my adrenaline pumps a bit more, and I just love the environment of being in a team. I love the team meetings, I love everything that goes with it. I don’t know what that X Factor is, but I seem to go to another level when I’m involved in team golf.

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What sort of interaction with the players are you planning over the next few months? I won’t be getting involved too much, to be honest. I’ll let them do their own thing. I’ll obviously be speaking to players as and when I see them, but it’s not something that I’m going to get stuck into tomorrow and call up 20 guys and talk to them about the Ryder Cup. I want to let things evolve at their own speed, like we have always done. I’ve learned a lot from watching other captains, and I’ll try to take a little bit from all of the captains that I’ve played under and observed. Was an Irish captain long overdue? We’ve had great success on Tour over the last decade or so, led by Pádraig [Harrington] with his major wins and Darren [Clarke] following it up, and obviously Rory and Graeme as well, but I’m perhaps the first one to hit the age where the Ryder Cup captaincy has been a possibility. I know we’ve had great players in the past, like Des Smyth, Eamonn Darcy and Philip Walton, and right back to the O’Connors, but for one reason or another they were up against some serious contenders when their chance of captaincy came along, and that’s why it didn’t happen for them. I’m just delighted that it’s obviously happened for me and all of the cards have fallen into the right place. Have you given any consideration to your vice-captains? I have some broad ideas, but I need to evolve those over time, and there will be no announcements on vice-captains in the near future, but I should have a good idea towards the end of the season. Do you rule out playing in it? I think if you’d have seen me today play a practice round, you’d rule me out from playing! But yeah, the chances are slim. I’m 46 now, and coming into the twilight of my

Rory McIIroy was one of McGinley’s most vociferous supporters for the captaincy

career. I still enjoy playing, and I’m still capable of playing well. I think it’s very important that we have a Ryder Cup captain who is still competitive on Tour, and that’s what I intend to be over the next two years. You obviously would have loved to do the job in Ireland, but what does it mean to do it in Scotland, the Home of Golf? Absolute thrill. I can assure all of the people of Scotland that I’ll have very much a Scottish theme to what I’m going to do that week. I’ll try to evolve some ideas over the next 12 months, but I would like to certainly have very much a Scottish and a Seve theme to what we are going to do.

How are you relishing going up against Tom Watson? Tom is one of my great golfing heroes, but I never had the opportunity of going up against him as a player, so to have an opportunity to do that as a captain is going to be a real thrill. He stands for everything that is good about the game of golf, and I think I will learn a lot from him as well. I’m looking forward to being in his company, but most of all I’m looking forward to leading the 12 players that will represent Europe against a very strong American team in Gleneagles in two years’ time, and trying to somehow match what we did at Medinah.

Up for the Cup: McGinley celebrates holing the putt that won the Ryder Cup for Europe in 2002

“I don’t know what that X‑factor is, but I seem to go to another level when I’m involved in team golf”

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

EwenMurray Woods and McIlroy received substantial rewards for playing in Abu Dhabi



The subject of appearance money was a hot topic of conversation during the three-week Desert Swing, with Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy reportedly receiving vast sums as inducements to play in Abu Dhabi. Four million dollars for the pair was mentioned, and my guess is that wouldn’t be far from the truth. In a world where so many people are working longer hours to provide the basics in life, I find it all rather distasteful. I don’t blame the players totally, because if it is offered, why would they turn it down? But my opinion is that everyone involved in tournaments should take a step back and have a good look at what these payments are doing to the sport. The agents are pressuring sponsors, as they try to justify their fees, and if this continues the game will be in trouble. The same is happening in football and, of course, the bubble will eventually burst. The total prize money in Abu Dhabi was €2.7m. Assuming the reported fees to Tiger and Rory were correct, and adding the money paid to Jason Dufner, Justin Rose and Ernie Els, the prize fund would have

been around €8m if all the appearance fees had been routed to the tournament rather the players. Dufner, Rose and Els were joined in Qatar by Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen, which involved another considerable outlay. There was more of the same in Dubai. If you put the fees in the prize fund, the three-week swing would be worth close to €14m, as opposed to €7.7 million. If the sponsors did that, would they get the fields they had? My guess is that they would, although probably not Tiger. If the tournament organisers joined forces and stopped large appearance fees, they would win in the end. If three tournaments worth a total €12 million was on offer on excellent courses in guaranteed perfect weather in January, would the big names stay at home and watch lower-ranked players take the cash? No they wouldn’t. Some players with PGA Tour cards might choose to stay in America, but what is the attraction of playing in the Sony and Humana Opens? You can’t change the system in a week. Maybe the way ahead is performance-related bonuses for the big names, rather than guaranteed fees, but with €4 million purses, is that really necessary in today’s climate?

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

New order in the Desert as stars fail to shine Although the phoney war of the European Tour’s pre-Xmas events have been raging for some weeks, the season only really crackled into life at the Desert Swing, when the world’s best players came out of their winter hibernation to play under cloudless skies in the Gulf. The swing comprises three strong courses in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai, all in tip-top condition, and with high quality fields, which, in turn, offers handsome world ranking points. The National course in Abu Dhabi boasted the world’s top two players in Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. The week began with the glitzy announcement of the new alliance between McIlroy and Nike, 16 years after Woods had formed his own partnership with the giant sports conglomerate. The week, however, finished all too early for both players after they missed the cut, serving to underline the fact that this game has little respect for reputations. The focus was very much on the young Irishman and his new tools, and the question of how he would handle the transition. The way he swung the club was the problem, not the clubs themselves. ‘It was the Indian and not the arrow’, as Rory so eloquently described it. Having had five weeks off since then, he will be better prepared when he returns to the PGA Tour. For Woods, it was a tale that has become all too familiar. Wild driving made the approaches troublesome and put pressure on his short game. There were some less than modest shots, none more so than the tee shot he hit off the first in round one. Not often in his career he has struggled to reach the ladies tee and along with that, a complete duff off the 13th. One thing that never let’s Woods down is his instinct for survival, and that’s one of the reasons he will continue to win tournaments and, dare I say it, majors. Whether leading or not, every shot gets the same attention. His

eighth win, in a canter at La Jolla the following week, illustrates how quickly golf can change. He has no issues with his temperament, because it never alters. Seventy-five wins in 292 events is nothing short of phenomenal. While the big names found it tough in Abu Dhabi, Jamie Donaldson played some impressive golf to take the title, while the Qatar Masters enjoyed one of the best finishes in the history of the European Tour, with Chris Woods enjoying the breakthrough win he so richly deserved following a string of near misses. The following week, in Dubai, another overdue success was earned by a man who has more than served his apprenticeship. Stephen Gallacher has always been something of an enigma to me, as he possesses such wonderful natural talent, yet until Dubai, had won just once. His tournament record-equalling 22-under-par total confirmed his capabilities. During the four days, he holed four shots from off the green, and amassed five eagles and 19 birdies. Down the years I’ve heard him and those close to him say ‘if only he could putt’. For the record, he took just 70 putts over the first three rounds and had less than 100 for the 72 holes. Stephen will be 39 in November, but he still has time to add to his win tally. By the time we converse next month, there will have been two World Golf Championships, the Accenture in Tucson and the Cadillac in Florida. The form of the top players will give us an idea of who might play well at Augusta. With Tiger and Phil back to winning ways, I hope two of ours find victory in the next month. Predicting anything in this game is difficult and sometimes foolish, but I have a feeling this year will be a vintage one. It seems that Woods and Mickelson are uncomfortable with a 23-year-old at the helm, and they have responded as only they know how.

Stephen Gallacher bagged an overdue victory in Dubai

PLAYERS RALLY BEHIND MCGINLEY’S CALL The week’s leading up the announcement of a new European Ryder Cup captain are beginning to resemble a political campaign prior to a general election, and last month’s saga was no different. For a while it looked like it was a straight contest between Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke, but as the announcement grew nearer, Sandy Lyle’s name was being mentioned, as was Miguel Angel Jimenez’s, and, of course, 2010 captain Colin Montgomerie. After Darren Clarke declared Gleneagles would come too soon for him, and sadly too late for the likeable Lyle, it turned into a shootout between McGinley and Montgomerie. The deciding factor was that the majority of the committee believed that the captaincy should only be a one-off appointment, and quite rightly so. In his heart

of hearts, Montgomerie knew that too. The other factor was the respect shown from the current team towards McGinley. Poulter, Rose, Donald, McDowell and McIlroy all voiced there support from the Irishman, as did others, many having played under him in the Seve/Vivendi Trophy, and all having witnessed the input he has had as a Ryder Cup vice-captain. The vote, in the end, was unanimous, and it was the correct decision. The fact that McGinley enjoyed these waves of support will only help him in his quest to hang on to the cup at Gleneagles. There was talk of needing a bigger name to take on US captain Tom Watson, which I believe was wrong. Any European captain can only manage his team as best he can and rest assured, McGinley will do that. He cannot control anything the Americans do. He will

prepare his team meticulously, for that is his nature. He will have gleaned much from the captains he has worked under as a player and assistant. He will retain the good ideas and discard the bad. He will converse with those he trusts, and digest their thoughts, but when the team is picked, McGinley will rely his own instincts and have total belief in them. That strength, and his leadership, will filter through to his players and form a harmonious camp like it has been for the majority of the last 30 years. My only hope is that when the time comes for McGinley to select his vice-captains that he should give some consideration to Lyle. A two-time major winner of his quality deserved a crack at leading Europe, but it was not to be, so to be made a vice-captain on home soil would be some recompense.

Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

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World of Golf opens new-look range

IAN RICHARDS Comedian & After Dinner Speaker Specialising in Golf Dinners, Corporate Golf Days, Hosting Charity Golf Events Past Captain of The Comedians Golfing Society

One of the most popular driving ranges in the South East has re-opened its doors following the completion of a major renovation programme. The World of Golf in New Malden, Surrey, which is the best attended driving range in the UK, with 14 million balls hit each year, has received a total overhaul and now offers golfers state-of-the-art facilities. The range now boasts 60 covered and heated bays located over two tiers, each with new automated power tees, as well as new fairway and light-rough effect outfield. The venue has also built new target greens that are made from a material that closely matches the effect that grass has when a ball lands, giving golfers better feedback on their shot execution. Range users can also tackle water hazards, which now feature in front of three of the six new target greens. The range is staffed by a team of six PGA-qualified Instructors and three master professionals, and

offers a wide choice of individual or group lessons, using state-of-the-art coaching technology, including a new video coaching studio. Grant Wright, chief executive officer at the site, said: “Everyone on the team here is incredibly excited to be opening the doors to the all-new range, with its fantastic facilities. We have worked really hard to make sure the range is designed to offer an exceptional golfing experience to all players, whether they have a low handicap or are just starting to hit their first few balls. By bringing together all of the latest technologies and facilities, we really have created a ‘whole new ball game’ for golfers.” The World of Golf range forms part of a full service golf centre experience for the whole family, with a Platinum Club for VIP members and an 18hole adventure golf course, Jurassic Encounter, which sees life-sized dinosaurs move and roar. Additional facilities include an American Golf superstore and a branch of Costa Coffee.

Golfers will enjoy state-of-the-art facilities at the new-look range


is being run alongside the regional events, with the leading 36 players invited to compete in the 36-hole Tiger Cub Tour National Final, which is to be held at the Newark Golf Club in Nottinghamshire in October. The Tiger Cub Tour is the brainchild of a former president of England Golf, Roy Case, whose contribution to the development of junior golf in England

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The Hertfordshire town of St Albans is laying the foundations for the memory of Samuel Ryder, the founding father of the Ryder Cup, to be set in stone. The Samuel Ryder Foundation is in the process of lobbying St Albans Council to build a statue of Ryder in the town in which he lived and worked for a large part of his life. The Foundation - which lists Jack Nicklaus, Tony Jacklin and Peter Alliss among its patrons – is applying for planning permission from the local authority, as has already received significant public support, as well as the backing of golf’s governing bodies. A spokesman for the Foundation said: “As well as providing a fitting tribute to one of the town’s most famous and influential former residents, a statue would give St Albans a new form of identity, in that when people think of Samuel Ryder they will think of St Albans. It will also provide a focal point for Ryder Cup enthusiasts, and provide another stop off on the Samuel Ryder Trail, which already includes more than a dozen locations around the town.” Ryder, who was a seed merchant by trade, served as a councillor in St Albans for many years and was mayor in 1905. He joined Verulam GC in 1910, and served as captain the following year. A keen sponsor of professional golf, he donated The Ryder Cup for the biannual contest between Europe and USA in 1927. He attended the first two home matches played at Moortown in 1929 and Southport in 1933, and presented the cup to Britain’s successful captain George Duncan in 1929. He died in 1936, aged 78, and was buried at Hatfield Road Ryder’s grave Cemetery.

Tiger Cub Tour unveils dates The Tiger Cub Tour, which organises 36-hole open competitions for junior golfers aged 12 and under, has unveiled its tournament schedule for the 2013 season. The series, which was launched last year, covers nine regions in the UK, and is limited to 60 players in each event, with each field encompassing a number of age caetgories. An order of merit based on gross scores

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

Singh faces ban after drugs alert Donaldson digs deep in the desert

Triple major winner Vjiay Singh faces the prospect of a suspension from professional golf after he admitted taking a substance that was on the PGA Tour’s banned list. The 48-year-old Fijian has confirmed to PGA officials that he has been using a muscle growth supplement called deer antler spray for the last few years, although he said that at the time he was unaware that it contravened the sport’s antidoping rules. The spray contains IGF-1, described in promotional material as a ‘natural anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth’. Singh was quoted as saying he used the substance ‘every couple of hours, every day’ and was ‘looking forward to some change in my body’. He added: “While I have used

deer antler spray, at no time was I aware that it may contain a substance that is banned under the PGA Tour anti-doping policy. In fact, when I first received the product, I reviewed the list of ingredients and did not see any prohibited substances. I am absolutely shocked that it contains a banned substance and am angry that I have put myself in this position. “ The PGA Tour is conducting an enquiry into the suspected rule breach, and Singh, who is without a win since 2008, faces the prospect of a lengthy ban from the tour should he be found guilty of breaking the Tour’s strict anti-drug rules. Following the announcement, Singh withdrew from the Phoenix Open, although he played in the following week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Singh admitted to taking a banned substance

Despite the world’s top two players missing the cut, and robbing the Abu Dhabi Championship of its headline acts, there were no complaints from Welshman Jamie Donaldson, who bagged his second career title after overhauling Justin Rose’s two-stroke lead to win by one shot. Rose and Thorbjorn Olesen both narrowly missed putts to force a play-off, after Donaldson bogeyed the final hole,

but the Welshman held on to add to his win in last year’s Irish Open. The tournament lost its two highest ranked players after the second round, when Rory McIIroy and Tiger Woods both missed the cut. The former missed the mark by four shots, while the latter looked to have made the cut with a second round 71, but a two-shot penalty incurred at the fifth hole saw the world No.2 knocked out of the tournament. Woods had no complaints after he failed to call a referee over to rule over a plugged ball, which turned out to have been in waste bunker, which meant it could not be lifted.







KO BREAKS LADIES’ TOUR RECORD AT NZ OPEN Fifteen-year-old Lydia Ko created history at the New Zealand Women’s Open by becoming the youngest player to ever win a Ladies European Tour event. The Korean-born New Zealander made a threefoot putt on the final hole at Clearwater Golf Club in Christchurch to win by a single shot from American Amelia Lewis, and claim her third professional win from only 12 events. Ko, who finished on 10-under par at the 54-hole tournament, also became the first player from New Zealand to win the national open. The previous youngest player to win on the Ladies European Tour was South Korea’s Amy Yang, who was 16 when she won the ANZ Ladies Masters as an amateur in 2006. Ko is 10 months younger. The teen sensation broke down in tears on the 18th green, and said: “This is by far the most important win of my career. It is our national open, so to win means a lot. I don’t tend to show my feelings on the golf course, but I guess the tears showed how much it means to me.” After winning professional events at the New South Wales Open and the Canadian Open in 2012, Ko is now 30th in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, and has been given a special invitation to play in the Women’s US Open. As Golf News went to press, Ko was leading the Australian Women’s Open after shooting an opening 10-under par round of 63.



Performance drives all of us at Titleist. We are inspired to design and make the most consistent and best performing golf balls in the game even better. The 2013 Pro V1 and Pro V1x have undergone rigorous machine and player testing. Our process of listening to players’ needs, testing prototypes and further refining ensures that a new Titleist golf ball delivers meaningful performance improvements for players at every level of the game.

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

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LET unveils global schedule This year’s Ladies European Tour will feature a minimum of 23 tournaments, with more to be confirmed. Starting this month, the Tour will travel through Australasia, Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States, before ending back in Dubai with the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters in December. As well as a new tournament in Sweden, new venues include Royal Canberra in Australia, Southbroom in South Africa, The International in the Netherlands, and Plzeň in the Czech Republic. One of the highlights of the year will be the Solheim Cup at Colorado Golf Club in August, where Europe will attempt to retain the cup by winning for the first time on US soil. The Ricoh Women’s British Open will be played for only the second time on the Old Course at St Andrews from August 1-4. The qualification process to make the Solheim Cup team will finish here, with both the European and US teams to be announced after the final round.


The Solheim Cup takes place in August

The Evian Championship in France, which will be considered a major for the first time, will be played from September 12-15. The season ends with four tournaments in Asia and the Middle East, comprising the Sanya Ladies Open, China Open, Indian Open and the Dubai Masters.

Win number eight for Tiger at Torrey Pines


Tiger Woods secured the 75th PGA Tour title of his career with a four-shot win at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. The 37-year-old World No.2 came into the final day’s play with a six-shot lead over his nearest challengers, Brandt Snedeker and Nick Watney, and despite a nervy finish, which included four dropped shots in the last four holes, he completed his eighth win at Torrey Pines with a level par 72 and a 14-under par total. “It got a little ugly towards the end,” admitted Woods. “I started losing patience with the slow play, and I just lost my concentration a little bit.” Asked whether ‘he was back’, Woods replied, “I didn’t know I’d been away”.

Five minutes with…

Adam Scott Were you always going to be a golfer? By the time I was in my early teens I knew that golf was all I wanted to do. Your dad was in the golf business. What did he do? He made wooden drivers, fairway woods and putters under the name Mascot Golf. He put corporate logos on the faces of the clubs. Today he designs courses. What has been the highlight of your career to date? My first tournament win was special, winning the Australian Open was special...being successful I guess is the highlight, but there’s more to come! Which is your favourite course and why? Cypress Point in Monterey Peninsula - beautiful, strategic, classic and fair...a perfect combination. It’s a golfing architectural masterpiece, really clever. I wish I could’ve played it when the sand dunes were exposed with less grass. How do you unwind after a competition? Forget golf...I listen to music, read, perhaps a little gym session, watch a movie. What kind of music do you listen to? I’m a rock guy. I like a lot of older stuff like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana. What is your ideal day off? Good weather, surfing, friends, BBQ. What’s your surfing handicap? I’m probably a 10.



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What car do you drive? I’ve actually eliminated a lot of cars recently. I have a Land Rover Discovery, the new one, that I drive to the beach. I also have the 1973 Porsche Carrera that I bought in mint condition a couple of years ago. If you could play a round of golf with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why? I’ve played with all the living greats so, a golfer...Ben Hogan, non-golfer...Roger Federer, and I’ll take my dad, because he’ll be annoyed if I don’t!

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Where do you live now? I have a home on Australia’s Gold Coast and another in Switzerland that I’ve owned for eight years. Right next to Sergio Garcia in Crans-sur-Sierre.

04/02/2013 10:04

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

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Custom-fitting wedges to your preferred specifications will take your short game to the next level, says Cleveland Golf’s fitting manager Dean Cracknell


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Golfers can now make sure the wedges they carry are tuned specifically to their game thanks to Cleveland Golf. The brand has added interchangeable wedges to its custom fit carts for 2013 to become the only manufacturer to offer custom-fitted wedges from the new 588 RTX range. The vast majority of shots are played within 120 yards of the green, and the right wedges will help every player achieve better results on critical shots. A wedge fitting for the new 588 RTX wedges comprises three steps – Model Selection, Distance Gapping and Bounce. After this, other aspects such as the shaft’s length, flex and weight, as well as the club’s lie should be addressed during a fitting. “The first, and most important, step is to select the right model for the particular player’s game. Blade wedges, such as the 588 RTX, have a more compact profile and sole, designed for versatility. Cavity back wedges, like the 588 RTX CB, have a wider sole with a more consistent sole width that is more forgiving for the average golfer. The CB’s perimeter weighting and slightly larger profile also add forgiveness. The individual player’s needs should be taken into account when helping to decide. As with any Cleveland Golf custom fitting, you will be able to try out the different head types from the range and see the differences for yourself. Step two of the custom fit is distance gapping. It’s critical to have the right wedge lofts, because it will help the player hit more full shots into greens, which in turn leads to increased accuracy. Carrying wedges with varying lofts also adds versatility around the greens for an improved short game. Golfers should be looking at a 12-16 yards distance gap between their wedges. Lofts of four to six degrees apart typically produce this.   The key to this step is to build the wedge lofts based around your pitching wedge. The four- to six-degree gaps should start with the pitching wedge, which is typically 43-45 degrees for game improvement iron sets, and closer to 46 degrees for better player iron sets. Step three is choosing the proper bounce. Bounce, along with the sole width and shape, affects how the club slides through the turf and how much it digs in or lifts out of the turf. The standard

Febuary 2013 / Issue 218


Graeme McDowell with yet another up and down, with his Cleveland Wedge


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bounce was designed to fit the most player types and course conditions, so it offers the most variety. For 54-60 degree wedges, however, players also have the option to go with lower or higher bounce. Low bounce is beneficial for firm conditions, or if the player frequently opens the face. The lower bounce wedge will keep the leading edge closer the ground. A wedge with high bounce is ideal for very soft course conditions, or if the player struggles with taking very deep divots.  The important thing to note about bounce is that it doesn’t have to be the same for all the wedges in a bag. Sometimes it may be useful to carry a lower bounce wedge in the loft a player most likes to open the face with, and then adding more bounce to the wedges in lofts they would be likely to use from the sand or rough.  This offers the versatility to hit the right shot from any lie or course condition. Wedges are often used from many of the poorer lies you can find on a golf course – so it’s important that proper attention is paid to signs of wear. As wedges are regularly used within close proximity to the hole, it is important to have adequate control of the ball, which is why we rely on friction and the spin it creates. Worn grooves and clubfaces will not create consistent spin or sufficient control. Golfers who play a lot shots from the sand shots should be aware of the abrasion that sand can cause to the club’s face. Most Tour players will change their wedges at least two or three times a season to cope with the demands of regular use, but club golfers should also keep a close eye pay on the wear and tear on their wedges to make sure they are getting the most from their wedges.” Keep an eye out for next month’s issue of Golf News, which will feature a promotion for Cleveland Golf’s 588 wedges range. For more information, or to find out the nearest Cleveland Golf custom fit venue, visit


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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218






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Head sizes: 460cc Lofts: 9.5, 10.5, 12, 13.5. Shaft: 45.5” Fujikura Orochi Blue (40g, 55g)

Head sizes: 460cc, 440cc Lofts: 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 11.5 Shaft: 45.75’ Fujikura Fuel, 65g Mitsubishi Rayon Kurokage

Mizuno says the 825 is ‘powered by the dark side’ and it’s hard to argue with that judged on its looks, as its tapered head does have a slight look of Darth Vader’s helmet about it. Built for comfort and speed, the JPX825 driver performs as menacingly as it looks, offering uncompromising straight line distance. The sole profile keeps the clubhead low to the ground and is designed to enhance swing speeds, while the use of a thinner crown has allowed weight to be fixed deep in the head to launch the ball high with low backspin – although Mizuno warns that this is not a club for those that like to work the ball, as its overall aim was to create a club that hits it high, long and straight.

Available in standard, draw and pro models, the AMP Cell driver allows golfers to select six different loft/trajectory settings to dial in preferred performance. Using a wrench, you can adjust the loft from 8.5 to 11.5 degrees (7.5-10.0 in the pro version, with two fade bias options), to offer a wide variety of launch parameters. Unlike some other drivers, which require golfers to adjust the sole plate after adjusting loft for a square face, Cobra’s SmartPad technology delivers a square face at address regardless of the loft setting, and allows for workability to slightly open or close the face as desired. The ovalshaped titanium face features E9 technology, which widens the effective hitting area. The standard model is available in blue, red, orange and silver, which feature as a solid block on the crown and a band across the sole.

3. BENROSS RIP RRP: £149.99 Contact: Head sizes: 460cc Lofts: 10, 12, 14. Shafts: 45.25” Aldila RIP Phenom, 44.75” Aldila RIP Beta/Sigma


Benross has introduced three new drivers for 2013, the RIP Speed, Hot Speed and Max Speed. They are being marketed with the tag lines of ‘rip it’, ‘hit it’ and ‘sweep it’ in order to differentiate the different type of player they will appeal to. Designed for different swing speeds (75-85, 85-95, 95-105), each offers different launch conditions (low/mid/high), which are produced with respective lofts of 10, 12 and 14 degrees matched against specialist Aldila shafts. All feature a matt black PVD nano finish, with head shapes to match their relative forgiveness and shot-shaping abilities.

4 4. CALLAWAY X HOT RRP: £249 Contact: Head sizes: 435cc, 460cc Lofts: 8.5, 9.5 (LH), 10.5 (LH), 11.5 and 13. Adjustability: 460cc: Open +2.5, Closed -1.5. 435cc: Open +3.0, Closed -1.0. Shafts: 46” Project X Velocity (53-58g), 45.75” Project X Velocity (64-76g). Callaway has engineered a new Speed Frame Face design on the X Hot drivers that combines the technologies of its VFT and Hyperbolic to optimise stiffness distribution across the face to improve ball speed. Available in two versions, the regular model features a longer, lighter shaft (46 inches and sub-60g) with built in draw bias, while the Pro features a more compact 440cc head with a shorter, heavier shaft. Both models also specifically tailor face curvature to better match the typical impacts for players using certain lofts. Both feature three-way face angle adjustability, with the Pro’s three face angles half-a-degree more open than the X Hot. The 460cc crown is matt silver with subtle graphics and a chevron alignment aid, while the Pro version has no markings.

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5. TITLEIST 913 D2 & D3 RRP: £345 Contact:


Head sizes: 460cc (D2), 445cc (D3) Lofts: 7.5, 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12. Shafts: Mitsubishi Diamana Blue/White, Titleist Bassara 50, Aldila RIP Phenom 70.

Although there are ‘just’ two models in the 913 range – the D2 and D3 – there are, in effect, dozens of different models contained within the two heads, thanks to the adjustable Surefit Tour hosel, which offers the ability to open and close the face. This means that while there are four lofts available, the highest loft can be cranked up to 14 degrees, and the lowest taken down to 6.5. The club retains the dark finish of it predecessor – the 910 – but features an entirely re-designed face insert that has been developed to improve ball speed (upwards of 11%). With a thinner crown and a lower sole profile, its centre of gravity has also been placed slightly lower to encourage less spin. The D2 has a slight draw bias, while the D3 offers better players a chance to shape the ball.



RRP: £249.99/£349.99 (Tour) Contact:

RRP: £239 Contact: Head Size: 460cc Lofts: 9, 10.5, 12. Shaft: Miyazaki B. Asha

Head sizes: 460cc, 430cc Lofts: 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12. Shafts: Mitsubishi Rayon Kurokage (50g or 60g) The Covert is the first driver to feature a cavity in the sole. While eye-catching on the shelves, it’s not viewable at address, and it serves to enhance forgiveness and increase ball speeds on off-centre shots. The cavity also allows weight to be moved to the heel and toe, raising the head’s moment of inertia. Combined with Nike’s NexCOR variable thickness face – which creates higher ball speeds from a larger area of the face – and the new FlexLoft adjustability system – which allows lofts to be altered from 8.5 to 12.5 degrees without effecting the face angle – Nike has produced a driver that promises a combination of length, forgiveness and workable control. Featuring a red crown with a white Swoosh, there are standard and Tour models to chose from.

Building on the buzz created by last year’s eye-catching Classic driver, Cleveland has launched two new drivers – one adjustable, one not. Featuring the largest, deepest face of any driver on the market, both the XL and XL Custom use variable face thickness technology to create incredibly fast ball speeds off a wide section of the clubface. The centre of gravity has been moved deeper in the head in to promote higher launch and offer a more penetrating flight, while weight has been removed from the grip and shaft for a higher balance point, which delivers even more speed through impact. The Custom (£269) features a fully adjustable hosel, which can be moved to 12 different settings for face angle and flight, while an interchangeable weight allows swingweight to be altered to suit the player’s preference. Both drivers have dispensed with the retro-burgundy paint job in favour of a classier black finish.



RRP: £249 Contact:

RRP: £349 Contact: Head sizes: 460cc, 440cc Lofts: 8-12 (12 lofts with the same head). Shaft: 45.5” Aldila RIP Phenom (53-65g) The R1 continues TaylorMade’s love affair with adjustability by offering the greatest number of set up positions of any driver in the brand’s history. The 12 loft settings (seven standard, five upright), seven face angles, and two movable weights allow it to be tuned 168 ways to dial in distance and direction while using just one head. Normally increasing loft closes the face angle and decreasing loft opens it, however the adjustable soleplate offers settings that can independently alter face angle to the desired position. The crown features a white matte finish, while a black, orange and grey graphic helps frame the remaining white area, producing a V shape. The standard shaft weighs 55g, but is balanced to produce the feel of a shaft 10g heavier. The TP version has a wider choice of custom shaft options.

10. WILSON D-100

Head size: 460cc Lofts: 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 Shaft: 45.75” Ping TFC 189D (48-64g) Ping’s G series of woods has long been about forgiveness, and the sixth generation G25 follows that same path, with the added bonus of bringing adjustability to its entry-level driver for the first time. It features the same three-way adjustability found in the Anser driver, but comes in four lofts, each of which can be adjusted by half a degree. Like the Anser, the adjustable hosel is the same diameter and mass as the hosel found on Ping’s non-adjustable drivers, giving it clean lines at address. The centre of gravity is the lowest and deepest Ping has ever produced, and boasts a moment of inertia measurement that is 10% higher than the G20. The design benefits from an ultra-thin crown – which retains the stealth-like matt black finish – a titanium body and a variable-thickness titanium face insert for improved off-centre ball speeds.


RRP: £199 Contact: Head size: 460cc Lofts: 9, 10.5 and 12. Shaft: Matrix OZIK HD4.1 Wilson’s second-generation SuperLight driver weighs the same as its predecessor, the DXI SuperLight, tipping the scales at just 269g. However, this lightness is combined with a high strength titanium head to help increase swing speeds for greater overall distances. Despite its lack of weight, the 190g head still manages to register a D1 swingweight thanks to optimising the weight distribution between the head, shaft and grip to achieve the best performance for each club. The D100 also features a variable thickness cup face design, which fires the ball 9% faster than its predecessor, and features a large, forgiving sweet spot.



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Padraig Harrington has re-signed with Wilson Golf in a multi-year deal that will see him continue to play with the Wilson Staff FG Tour V2 irons that helped him shoot an 11-under par 61 at this year’s Transitions Championship. The three-time major winner will also be using the new FG Tour TC wedges and the new D-100 hybrids, while continuing to feature the Wilson logo on his headwear.


Broberg is one of Callaway’s new signings

Callaway Golf has signed a host of new staff players for the new season, with Ryo Ishikawa as the headline act. The 21-year-old Japanese star, who has won nine pro events, will play the new RAZR Fit Xtreme Driver and will continue using an Odyssey putter. He will also wear Callaway-branded apparel, caps, gloves and footwear. Ishikawa was just 15 years old when he became the youngest golfer to win a men’s tournament on the Japan Golf Tour, after capturing the 2007 Munsingwear Open KSB Cup. He turned pro in 2008 and became the youngest player in the world’s top 100 during the same year. Callaway has also signed Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsearts, big-hitting PGA Tour player Gary Woodland, and Swedish rising star Kris Broberg. Broberg earned his place on the European Tour after taking part in just seven events on the Challenge Tour last year, during which time he won four times and finished second in the money list. The 23-year-old will be playing a full set of RAZR Fit Xtreme woods and hybrids, X Hot
irons, X Forged wedges, Odyssey Versa putter,
and the Hex Black Tour ball. He will also be wearing Callaway apparel, in which a range of ‘slim fit’ shirts will be a feature of the Spring/Summer 2013 collection.

Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

Mickelson in love with new Xtreme driver Phil Mickelson showed his appreciation for his new Callaway driver by giving it a kiss during the second round of the Phoenix Open, which he won by four shots. The three-time Major winner first tested the RAZR Fit Xtreme driver on the driving range just two days before the tournament began, but had no hesitation in putting it straight into his bag. After belting a drive on TPC Scottsdale’s 10th hole 319 yards down the right-centre of the fairway, Mickelson put the new club to his lips and gave it a kiss. “I did give it a little peck,” Mickelson sheepishly admitted after the round. “I didn’t miss a fairway until the 18th – and even that was right on the edge. I had four first cuts, but I count those as fairways too! The ease with which I feel I can hit it and the misses, how minuscule they are, is amazing. That drive on 10 has always been difficult to take it over those bunkers. I’ve been out of bounds on the

range to the right, I’ve been in the desert left, and I stood up and just hit the easiest little high draw over that bunker around the corner into the middle of the fairway, and it just felt easy to do. I’m really ecstatic about the way I’m driving it this week, but also about the long-term effects that this driver can have on my game.” Mickelson’s RAZR Fit Xtreme driver has an actual loft of 8.1 degrees, and is set up with 5g of weight in the heel and 3g in the toe. It is fitted with a 45inch Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki K 059 70X shaft. The driver went on sale in the UK this month, and is widely available for £319.

COBRA POUNCES ON PARVENIK Stylish Swede Jesper Parnevik has signed up with Cobra-Puma Golf to play Cobra clubs and wear Puma clothing. The 47-year-old former Ryder Cup star, who made his comeback on the PGA Tour this month following a year-long injury lay-off, will be playing with the AMP Cell Pro diver, Amp Forged irons and Trusty Rusty wedge. He will be wearing clothes from Puma’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection, along with shoes from Puma’s Lux range. “I’m thrilled to be part of the Cobra Puma Golf team; they’re not afraid to do things a little differently,” said Parnevik, whose career was almost ended last year after a boating accident. “I’ve played Cobra and worn Puma in the past. Both brands provide top performing gear that shakes things up on the course. I’m so excited to have the new gear ready to go and add my style to the line at the same time.” Parnevik has won 14 times since turning professional in 1998. A runnerup in The Open in both 1994 and 1997, he also played in the Ryder Cup in 1997, 1999 and 2002.

Hybrid proves heavenly for straight hitting While most golfers have at least one or two hybrids in the bag, t eHeavenly Hybrid set is entirely made up of them on the basis that many players will benefit from their distanceenhancing and forgiveness qualities through the bag. Designed by experienced golf pro Stuart Smith, Heavenly Hybrid’s give golfers of all abilities greater distance, improved ball flight, and better control. Tests have shown that the clubs hit the ball 9% further than equivalent irons, and are 10% more accurate from inside 20 yards. The unique design of the pitching wedge make those scorecard-wrecking shots from around the edge of the green as simple as putting, while the sand wedge makes escaping from bunkers similarly easy.

One happy customer is 71-year-old Joe Barnett, the vice-captain at Ashford Golf Club, who has plays off eight. “Having gone up from six in the past two years, my game wasn’t as reliable as before,” says Joe. “My mid-to-long iron play was by far the worst aspect of my game, but these hybrids have really helped get my confidence back. They’re impossible to shank and they hit the ball dead straight, which is ideal on our treelined course – and are about a club longer than my old set, and I look forward to playing with them for a long time.” The 9-piece Heavenly Hybrid range comprises 3-9 iron, plus a hybrid pitching wedge and sand wedge. The set costs £300, and clubs can also be bought individually for £40. For details visit

Stamp your mark on Mizuno wedges Mizuno has launched a new personalisation service on all new custom orders for its best-selling range of MP wedges. Just like Mizuno’s Tour players, club golfers can now add six characters in any one of 12 different colours to an MP wedge. Each stamp is a unique, as stamp depth and alignment may vary slightly. The custom stamping complements Mizuno’s existing customisation service for wedges - including 50 different shaft options and adjustments for shaft length, lie angle and grip. Mizuno’s tour operations manager Andy Kikidas said: “Since we started to post pictures of our Tour players’ gear on our blog, we’ve had a lot of demand for personalised stampings. We’ve had all sorts of requests, from simple initials to names of girlfriends, children and favourite football teams. It will be interesting to see what amateurs ask for when faced with that choice.” The cost per wedge on new orders is £15, regardless of the number of characters, and is the service available through all official stockists for MP R12 and MP T4 wedges.

Luke Donald means business with Mizuno Luke Donald has cemented his career-long relationship with Mizuno by signing another extension to his club contract. Donald has played with Mizuno clubs since he was eight years old, and has been a staff player since 2003. Now, aged 34, the world No.3 will be using a full set of MP-64 irons and MP-T4 wedges in the new season. “I feel as if I am playing as well as ever,” said Donald, who held the world No.1 spot for 56 weeks during the 2011-2012 seasons. “Over the next few years I want to be in a position to win majors and to continue to improve each year. We’ve refined my Mizuno equipment in the last couple of seasons, and I’m really happy with what I have in the bag right now. Mizuno is the most precise, incredible club-maker out there, and I’m honoured to represent this quality brand.”

Zero hour for ‘high-flying’ Sergio Sergio Garcia is no stranger to taking part in publicity stunts to launch golf tournaments and new products, so it was perhaps no surprise to see the fearless Spaniard throw himself out of an aeroplane to promote the launch of the lightest golf shoe his footwear sponsor has ever produced. Hang on a minute. No he didn’t. In an impressive bit of camera trickery, the Ryder Cup hero appeared to be floating down to earth before performing a foot-perfect landing in front of an expectant crowd. In

reality, he had borrowed a parachute from the skydiver who had just hand-delivered his new Adizero Tour shoes, and was jumping up in the air, rather than falling, as if to prove how light his new spats were. Weighing just 10 ounces, the Adizero is indeed a light shoe, and it also features an outsole that is just over 1mm thick, making it almost 40% lighter than the Adidas Tour 360 shoe. They go on sale this month, in four different colours, priced £119.

“I’m always looking to add comfort and lightweight elements to my game, rounds on the course get long and it’s vital to have footwear that helps you perform,” said Garcia, sporting a pair in his now trademark canary yellow. “The adizero shoe gives me the tools to stay light on my feet and feel closer to the ground through each step and swing.” Few would ever accuse Sergio of being ‘light on his feet’, but we know what he meant.

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218




RRP: £499/£599 Contact:

RRP: £449 Contact:

RRP: £449 Contact:

The family of three new 588 irons is designed to offer different levels of feel, forgiveness and flight across three distinct head designs. The Altitude, Mid Trajectory and Tour Trajectory irons can be mixed and matched in order to create a customised a set to suit performance needs. The Altitude irons are a blended hybrid-iron set which feature hollow construction heads with internal weighting for extra forgiveness and a deeper centre of gravity for high launch and distance. The MT irons feature progressively bigger blade heights, with easy-to-hit long irons blended with more traditional short irons, all of which feature a multi-material insert to dampen vibration. The TT irons feature forged faces with a small undercut cavity to provide a more penetrating trajectory, yet still offer high levels of forgiveness.

Reengineering the face of an iron to make it behave with the same flexibility seen in drivers is a common theme with the new breed of iron, and Callaway has embraced this idea with its new X Hot and X Hot Pro irons, both of which feature a flexible, thinner face design. By varying the levels of stiffness across the face, engineers have been able to increase energy efficiency and ball speeds. A undercut cavity also lowers the area of the face that is most flexible in an effort to put it in line with where most iron shot impacts occur, resulting in shots hit low on the face still firing the ball a long way. The X Hot features more offset and a wider sole than the Pro, and the latter features a more compact size and blade length. The Pro version also features 20-degree Close Spaced V Grooves, which offer more backspin from the rough.

The new Super S irons feature a half hollow construction to make them perform like a hybrid, while still having the look and feel of an iron, giving golfers the best of both worlds, with better stability at impact for less clubhead rotation during impact. Featuring a thinner face for increased ball speed, and improved shaping to give the clubs better balance, an undercut design provides better feel and performance, making it extremely easy to hit the ball long and straight.

4. BENROSS RIP SPEED RRP: £379/£429 (4-PW) Contact: One of three new irons from Benross, the RIP Speed is aimed at the lower end of the handicap spectrum courtesy of its compact head shape, narrow topline and sole, strong lofts and small cavity. Made from soft, responsive carbon steel, the head features a small cavity which provides maximum distance and consistent control across the set, while offering an element of forgiveness that even good players will appreciate. A classy cobalt finish completes the package, which also includes True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts for low-launching control.


5. MIZUNO JPX 825 RRP: £110/£80 per club (gr/st) Contact:



The 825s pack both extreme ball speed and a high level of forgiveness with a profile that is neither too bulky nor overly offset. In the longer irons there’s a pocket cavity design with a thin, responsive ‘hot face’ for high speed, soft landing flights, while from 8-PW they’re more compact for greater feel and precision. Harmonic Impact Technology ensures plenty of feedback without overly punishing off-centre strikes. Better players will gravitate towards the JPX825 Pro irons, which have been built for soft feel and exceptional feedback.


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8. PING G25

RRP: £449/£549 Contact:

RRP: £549/£649 (st/gr) Contact:

RRP: £80/£100 (st/gr) Contact:

Like its driver of the same name, the driving force behind the Covert irons is a high speed cavity back combined with Nike NEXCOR face technology, which increases forgiveness and adds even more distance to off-center shots. The cavity back technology is hidden, giving the iron a sleeker look at address with the performance advantages of a highly-forgiving distance iron. A new variable is the 1.6mm sole thickness, which is designed to deliver faster ball speeds and longer shots from a wider area of the face. A dual bevel sole allows the club to sit low to the ball, preventing digging and leading to cleaner impacts off a wide variety of lies. They are available in 4-AW, with True Temper Dynalite steel shafts.

TaylorMade claims the new RocketBlades irons are its first distance-orientated set that will appeal to elite players. The eye-catching feature is a speed pocket: a 2mm-wide slot in the sole that flexes at impact like a trampoline, promoting faster ball speeds, higher launch angles, and a stronger ball flight that lands at a steep descent angle. The speed pocket is particularly effective for shots made low on the face, where the majority of miss-hits are made. Each club is tailored in size, shape and features in order to maximise distance, control and feel. The faces are 11% thinner than previous TaylorMade irons, while shortened hosels have resulted in the C of G being lowered to improve launch conditions.

It’s taken several years of fine tuning the G series, but Ping looks to have come up with the ultimate game improvement iron that will genuinely appeal to tour players and mid-handicappers alike. While a handful of tour players have used G irons over the years, the G25 could be a real gamechanger for those who have found previous models a little too chunky for their liking. A sleeker design, featuring thinner top lines and moderate offset, has been combined with a stabilising weight pad – which is half the size of previous weights – placed low in the shallow cavity to create a club with progressive sole widths, which are close to those of the i20s, and provides higher-launching, more-forgiving long irons, and short irons with added playability and control. A non-glare matte finish completes the package.





RRP: £449/£549 (st/gr) Contact:

RRP: £449/£549 Contact:

The Baffler Hybrid irons take key technology from Cobra’s Baffler hybrids to create an easy-to-hit iron that delivers maximum forgiveness, higher launch and improved distance. They feature a railed sole, influenced by the Baffler, but designed specifically for irons, to reduce turf drag, while a progressive, oversized face provides high MOI for superior forgiveness, as well as a low centre of gravity for a better launch. E9 Face Technology brings a variable thickness face that progresses from short to long irons, providing faster ball speeds and greater distance on off-centre hits, while a full back cavity TPU tunes vibrations to improve sound and feel. The irons are also available in a Baffler Hybrid Iron Combo set (4-5h, 6-SW, £599/£699), where the long irons are replaced with hybrids.

Following the trend towards lighter, fasterswinging clubs, Wilson’s new D-100 irons (which are 10-15g lighter than the Di11s they replace) are all about weight, or should that be the lack of it. The one-piece, cast, stainless steel heads are built for speed, which in golfing terms translates into increased distance for the majority of players. The thin faces (7% thinner than the D11s) have a large unsupported face area, which creates more of a trampoline effect, while a 50g exoskeleton positioned lower and more toward the heel and toe to boosts forgiveness. The standard shaft options include a True Temper 85g steel shaft, and the Half & Half shaft, although Wilson’s trademark Fat Shaft has been dispensed with in this model.


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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

Golf Swing Shirt RRP: £40 ($59) Contact: This bizarre swing training aid is worth tracking down off the internet, if only for the comedy value. Endorsed by three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington, who has been playing like he belongs in a straight jacket in recent seasons, its principle aim is to keep the elbows connected and close to the body throughout the swing, as was once recommended by Ben Hogan, who knew a thing or two about swinging the club correctly. You could save yourself the money and try swinging with a ball wedged between your elbows, but it wouldn’t make you look half as silly.

SkyCaddie Watch RRP: £149.99 Contact: SkyCaddie has launched a raft of new entry-level GPS devices for the new season, with the Aire, Gimme, Voice and Watch models. The latter joins the growing trend for wrist-based systems and provides distances to front, centre and back of green, as well as additional features, including a pedometer, calorie counter, alarm clock, calendar and stopwatch. All four models are available to use straight from the box and have free acccess to maps of over 30,000 courses worldwide.

FootJoy M:Project RRP: £95 Contact: FootJoy has taken the trend towards making golf shoes lighter and more flexibleto the next level with the launch of its new M:Project shoe, which, as the name suggests, is almost a scientific test in biomechanical and material design. This stripped-down, racehorse of a shoe adheres to FootJoy’s stated philosophy of offering ‘minimum construction and maximum feel’ throughout all phases of the golf swing. Made from an exclusive Pittards leather, which is very thin, yet incredibly strong, the M:Project upper wraps itself around the contours of the foot to offer both support and a complete range of movement. The toe-end is far more generous than standard golf shoes, which allows the toes to spread out for better balance and grip, while SoftSpike’s new low-profile Stealth spikes help players get closer to the ground than previously possible with a cleated shoe. Available in both cleated (£105) and spikeless (£95) versions, there is also a BOA closure option (£115), and they come with a one-year waterproof guarantee in a range of eyecatching colours.

SHOP Cleveland 588 RTX wedge RRP: £109 Contact: There are two models in Cleveland’s latest range of peformance wedges – the 588 RTX CB and the Tour-ready 588 RTX. Both benefit from the unique Rotex pattern on the face, which features Tour Zip Grooves that are 16 per cent larger than the 2010 model and a rougher, more durable laser milling for greater friction and spin. The U-Groove design also helps deliver more control in wet conditions and sand. The CB version features a structural cavity that adds a touch of forgiveness, while the other has been engineered from a soft carbon steel for greater feel off the face, which will appeal to better players. An S-shaped sole, which is wider near the heel and narrower at the toe end, also improves performance from bunkers without sacrificing versatility. Available in eight lofts from 46 to 60 degrees, the 588 RTX can be custom fitted at any of Cleveland’s Centres of Excellence or custom fit venues.

FootJoy Apparel Contact: Banish the winter blues by casting your eyes over FootJoy’s Spring/Summer apparel collection, which builds on the promising debut made by the brand in the ultra-competitive golf clothing market last year. Offering a balance of comfort, style and performance, the 2013 collection features a core range of essentials, from polo shirts and trousers to sweaters and pullovers. There are four colour stories in the men’s collection: Discovery (Navy, Kelly Green, Pink & White), Cove (Black, Steel Blue, Khaki & Cream), Horizon (Periwinkle, Peach, Stone &White) and Harbour (Cobalt, Flame, Spa Blue & White). All will be available in selected pro shops and stores from the beginning of March.

Mizuno Line 90 RRP: £110 Contact: Line 90 putters help golfers visualise their path to their target line. Lines that are parallel to the putter face make it easier for amateur golfers to visualise alignment, while a new bevel-top edge helps square the face at impact. As with the original Line 90s, Mizuno claims the heavy weight design initiates a rhythmic motion to breed confidence and consistency of strike, while the thicker, softer grip eliminates unnecessary hand action. The new Line 90 is available in five shapes, each with 33.5 and 34.5-inch shaft options. For left-handers, only the K-02 is available.

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Ping G25 hybrid RRP: £170 Contact: There has never been much a problem with the performance of Ping’s G series hybrids in recent years, but then again they were never objects of beauty either, which became an issue for a club that not all golfers were entirely comfortable hitting in the first place. The G15 and G20 versions were slightly bulbous iron-type affairs that, although immensely forgiving, weren’t precision tools. The G25 addresses those concerns on all fronts, offering a more eye-pleasing head shape, that both looks and performs well from all manner of lies. It sits square at address, sounds solid off the face, and delivers a high, soaring flight, with a shallow angle of descent, resulting in excellent yardage. This has been achieved by positioning the weight in the head lower and farther back in the lowerlofted hybrids and progressing slightly forward in the higher lofts to help minimise spin and prevent the ballooning that was a feature of the old G designs. Featuring the same matt black crown found in the rest of the G25 range, and a cambered sole for all-round playability, the G25 is available in 17, 20, 23, 27 and 31 lofts, with TFC 189H graphite shafts as standard in Soft R, R, S, Tour-Stiff, and Tour X-Stiff flexes.


TESTED Odyssey Versa putter Rating: RRP: £107 Contact: Being rather partial to a wodge of butter cream sandwiched between two round chunks of black biscuit, I knew before I’d hit a shot in anger that I was going to get on with Odyssey’s latest range of putters. Nicknamed ‘Project Oreo’ by Odyssey’s design team, thanks to its similarity to the calorie-laden biscuit so loved by generations of American kids (and widely available in UK supermarkets since 2008), the new Versa range of putters is, like the Oreo, all about contrasts. Whether you’re a black-white-black or a white-black-white kind of player comes down to personal preference, but the logic between the colour sandwich design is to help with one of the essential elements of successful putting: squaring the clubface. The contrasting colours serve to accentuate the face angle of the putter at address, providing the necessary visual feedback throughout the swing to keep your putter square at impact and, with any luck, on the target line. It certainly worked for me, with the black-white-black No.2 model – which has the smallest, but chunkiest head – being the most successful. The wing tip models switch the alignment aid through 90 degrees, so the stripes are aiming at the target, rather than parallel with the clubface, which helps to focus more on developing the correct swing path. Such an in-your-face alignment aid might not appeal to purists, but for those of you, like me, who like a little bit of help in the set-up department, then this model is heaven sent, and takes a lot of the guesswork out of keeping your clubhead moving towards the target. The Versa collection features seven models – which include blade, mallet, high MOI wingtip designs, and even a black 2-Ball, each in black/ white or white/black – and also boasts a new White Hot insert, which is softer and more responsive than previous models, yet sounds more solid off the face.

Titleist Pro V1 RRP: £51 per dozen Contact: The arrival of a new box of Pro V1s always generates a little bit of excitement in these quarters, even more so when it happens to be a brand new version. The newest generation of the game’s best selling tour-level ball promises the holy triumvirate of ‘more distance, softer feel and longer durability’, all of which will be greatly welcomed by those who can afford to play them. Making the best-in-class better is always a tall order, but those Titleist ball boffins have worked their magic again by tweaking both the core and the outer cover. The dual core has been made slightly softer than before and now produces less spin off the driver and a shallower landing trajectory to provide more distance, while a new urethane cover not only makes the ball feel and sound softer, but prevents it from scuffing up to same degree as previous models. Performance-wise, the X model is designed to fly slightly higher than the Pro V1 (although lower than the previous X model), while both feature a brighter, whiter and more durable paint job. Both balls go on sale on March 1. No jostling in the queue now.

Somax Power Hip Trainer RRP: £175 Contact: Are you slightly envious of the hip speed generated by some of the world’s top professional golfers? Well, be envious no more. With the Somax Power Hip Trainer, club golfers can turn their hips faster and drive further, making them more than a match for Rory and his pals. Made from a solid steel frame with a black enamel finish, the Power Hip Trainer supplies an aerobic workout – one golfer lost four inches off his waist – while offering dramatic increases in hip speed. The golfer is locked into a padded steel hip cinch, which is connected to special steel spring at the base that provides resitance to rotation. Just a 1kmh increase in hip speed produces a 25kmh increase in swing speed, leading to longer shots from every club in the bag. One amateur golfer who practiced with the Somax trainer for six months now averages 350 yards off the tee. For videos of the Power Hip Trainer in action, and to order it online ($275, with a free 90-minute instruction video), visit

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218


Golfers can enjoy the perfect start to one of the country’s biggest sporting events with the Cheltenham Festival ‘Fairway to Furlong’ Golf Day, which is being organised by Your Golf for the second successive year. The event takes place on March 11, the day before the Cheltenham Festival begins, and includes 18 holes of golf on either the Roman Road or Twenty Ten Course, along with complimentary buggies, Cleveland/Srixon goody bags, a three-course gala dinner and prize giving, and overnight accommodation at the five-star Celtic Manor Resort. Last year more than 200 golfers took to Celtic Manor’s fairways for the inaugural event, with competitions taking place on the Twenty Ten and Roman Road courses, before even more race fans joined the evening’s festivities. Channel 4 Racing’s Derek Thompson headed up a panel of horseracing pundits and ex-jockeys who guided guests through the coming week’s races, and this expert advice will once more be up for grabs alongside a three-course meal, live music and entertainment, and a charity auction in aid of Wings for Life and Iron Spine Challenge. Packages to play golf on the Roman Road course, attend the gala dinner and a night at Celtic Manor cost just £250 per person, while those looking for a VIP Ryder Cup experience can play the Twenty Ten Course, enjoy the gala dinner, stay one night at the resort and get tickets to club enclosure at the Cheltenham Festival for only £1,500 per team of four. For more information, or to book, call 0207 336 5346, email lee.barham@ or visit Host Derek Thompson

The Cheltenham Festival is the highlight of the jumping calandar

Hawtree fans head for Dorset Fans of highly-respected golf course architect Martin Hawtree are being invited to come and sample one of the lesser known examples of his work at Dorset Golf & Country Club near Dorset. Hawtree’s reputation as a master designer has risen considerably in recent years, most notably following the opening of Trump International Links in Aberdeen, while last year he was appointed by the R&A to implement changes to the St Andrew’s iconic Old Course. The 27-hole layout at Dorset Golf & Country Club was redesigned in 1990 by Hawtree, who was given licence to create the best holes of golf that he could on the stunning heathland site that the club enjoys. Hawtree completely remodelled the Woodland, Lakeland and Parkland nines, adding his signature style of clovershaped bunkers and building some of the largest and most

There are 12 luxury lodges

undulating USGA-standard greens in the country. The course has matured superbly over the intervening 23 years, and has hosted many professional tour and county events, including the MasterCard Tour, South West PGA Championship and the West of England Amateur. In addition to the superb golf on offer, the club boasts a 16-bedroom hotel and 12 fivestar eco-friendly log houses, all of which can be rented on a fully-inclusive package and come with free golf. Stay and Play packages in the lodges this summer start from £95pp/ pn, based on four people sharing, with dinner, breakfast and all golf included. Threenight packages, with three rounds of golf, cost from £282 per person. For more details call 01929 472244 or visit www. for the latest offers.

Martin Hawtree re-designed Dorset’s 27-hole layout

Celtic Manor Resort


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

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

Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

/ 41

Awarded 5 Star Gold Award by British Tourist Board

Please visit our new website

27 holes of fantastic golf THE DORSET GOLF HOTEL AND LUXURY LOG HOMES FOR RENT FREE GOLF Air-conditioned clubhouse facilities ● Restaurant offering an extensive menu ● On site accommodation in the Dorset Golf Hotel 16 twin rooms ● From £59.95 pppn including Dinner, B&B and FREE GOLF ● ●

Wallasey Golf Club

Take on the wonders of the Wirral Four of the Wirral’s top links courses are once again set to host an amateur tournament open to adult male and female golfers. The Wirral Golf Classic, a 72hole stableford competition, is open to golfers of all abilities, and will be played on Hoylake and three other links courses from September 23-27. The three other links, overlooking the rivers Dee and Mersey are Caldy, a qualifying venue for the 2012 Ricoh Women’s Open; Wallasey, final qualifying venue for the 2014 Open

Championship; and Heswall, venue of The R&A’s Junior Championships. The entry fee is £229 per person, which represents just over half the green fees of these clubs, and includes the opportunity to win over £3,000 worth of prizes from Titleist, as well as enjoy two social events. Started three years ago, the Wirral Classic has attracted over 200 golfers from the UK and abroad. For bookings and more details visit www.


Hoylake Golf Club

Coffee & Bacon Baguettes on arrival

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Bag a bargain break at The Belfry Time is running out to take up a range of exclusive winter golf breakson offer at fourtime Ryder Cup host venue The De Vere Belfry. With two championship golf courses, the world-famous Brabazon Course and PGA National Course, plus a further 18-hole course known as The Derby, as well as Europe’s largest custom-fitting centre and PGA National Golf Academy, The Belfry has something to offer players of all ability and budget. The 324-bedroom resort is supplemented by a host of enviable off-course amenities, such as a relaxing spa, diverse food and beverage outlets, plus an award-winning pro shop. A range of options is available, depending on the length of stay and preferred golf course. For example, starting from just £79, golfers can enjoy one night bed and breakfast and two rounds of golf (PGA National Course and The Derby). Prices are based on two people sharing, Sunday through Friday. Golfers looking to experience championship golf at its finest can play both the PGA National and The Brabazon for £139 per person, including bed & breakfast. Both deals are available until the end of February. De Vere has a range of short golf breaks at

its other quality venues which include dinner, bed and breakfast, plus two rounds of golf, starting from £89pp at Oulton Hall, £99 at Slaley Hall in Northumberland, and £109 at Wokefield Park in Reading. De Vere, which operates 12 venues comprising 19 golf courses, has recently signed up Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie to be an ambassador for the company. The eight-time Order of Merit winner said: “I am really proud to be working with De Vere. Over the years their courses have held some magical moments in my own golfing career, particularly The Belfry. De Vere provides great experiences to all golfers, from young to the old and beginner to professional, across their broad range of facilities. I’ve heard great things about the De Vere Club membership, and I’m fully behind any initiative that encourages people to get out and play more golf. Flexibility and affordability are important in helping our sport grow, and with their twelve fantastic venues around the country, it’s no surprise to me that this has been a resounding success.” For bookings visit or call 0844 980 8060.

Oakwood 16th 172 yards, Par 3

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There are few short golf breaks that comes close to beating a few days playing in and around the Republic of Ireland’s capital city. Words by Matt Nicholson

It’s fair to say that Dublin has changed quite a bit since I first started visiting it some 20 years ago. What was once a somewhat rough-aroundthe-edges provincial city has transformed itself into a truly cosmopolitan European destination, attracting huge investment from many of the word’s biggest businesses, as well as becoming one of the most popular places for a weekend break. While the Celtic Tiger isn’t quite as rampant as it once was, the new infrastructure very much remains in place, with a wide choice of great hotels, restaurants, clubs, shops and bars to keep visitors entertained for many a day (and, perhaps more importantly, night). The golfing landscape in and around Dublin has also changed quite dramatically in the intervening years, with a host of new venues opening up to cater for the economic gold rush. Irish tour players from both sides of the border are also in the ascendency, and seem to have been mopping up the majors for fun over the last five or six years – helping to attract even more interest in golf throughout the Emerald Isle. The hosting of the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club was a watershed in the region’s golfing history, helping to focus attention on a part of the world that was previously famous for its somewhat remote links courses. That was backed up by the staging of the 2011 Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle – which also confirmed Dublin’s status as a city that does championship golf and championship partying in equal measure. These inland gems aside, it is Dublin’s most famous links, Portmarnock and Royal Dublin, that often garner most headlines in any golfing review of the area. And while they don’t offer the volcanic dunes of

Ballybunion, Lahinch and Doonbeg, Malahide Estuary, while the fairway they line up like dominoes along the of the par-4 14th hole, where the old coast north of the city centre, making clubhouse once stood, is a mere 12 them easy pickings on a short break, yards wide with out of bounds on the and within touching distance of the right. The round climaxes at the par-5 bright lights of the capital. 15th, where the green hides in an We begin our journey at Malahide, amphitheatre of dunes. just three miles north of the city, Perhaps the most underwhere the twin joys of Portmarnock appreciated links in all of Ireland sits Golf Club and Portmarnock Golf north of the city across the Boyne Links are to be found. Sometimes River. County Louth Golf Club (also called the Old and the New to avoid called Baltray) was established in confusion, Portmarnock Golf Club 1892, but it wasn’t until 1938 that is the most revered Dublin links, architect Tom Simpson perfected its ranking among the top 100 courses routing. In 1993, architect Donald in the world. It has hosted 13 Irish Steel upgraded the design to 7,031 Opens in the modern era, crowning yards, sturdy enough to host the 2004 champions from Ben Crenshaw in and 2009 Irish Opens. County Louth 1976, to Michael Campbell in 2003. has an uncanny ability to forgive the The 7,466-yard championship course sins of high-handicappers, yet punish won’t wow visitors with its views or the pros. terrain. It just pummels them with If links golf isn’t your thing, strong holes. The extra nine, added parkland golf doesn’t get much in the 1950s, is just as good, even better than that found at The K Club, offering two surprises the other 18 venue for the 2006 Ryder Cup. The holes can’t: a scenic walk along the River Liffey creates much of the shore and an outstanding drivable dramatic theatre on the 7,350-yard par 4. The neighbouring Portmarnock Palmer Course, with water coming Links, designed by Bernhard Langer, into play on 14 holes. The 7,277-yard is a younger, more playable, and Smurfit Course hosted 13 European more affordable links. Opens from 1995-2007, and the pros Just five miles up the coast Royal can attest that that it plays several Dublin lacks the scenery and dunes shots tougher than the older Ryder of Dublin’s other A-list seaside tracks, Cup course. Water, gorse and large but the second oldest links in Ireland bunkers with extended fingers can rip is still a fine example of its type, with your round to shreds. recent work done by Martin Hawtree Staying inland, the aforementioned bringing the course up to modern standards (and length), with its subtleties designed to punish any scorecard. Farther north, we come to The Island, a 120-year-old club with a wonderful links. A quirky layout starts with eight par 4s, ending the front nine with a par 3. The back nine ups the ante in scenery and difficulty. The par-3 13th overlooks the Portmarnock Golf Club

The Montgomerie Course at Carton House

Killeen Castle is an unabashedly American-style Jack Nicklausdesigned course that opened in 2009, and played such a fine host to the Solheim Cup, produced a thrilling victory for the home side. As a tournament layout – it has also hosted three Ladies Irish Opens – Killeen is golf on a big scale, with the 18 holes sprawling across 350 acres – roughly twice the land used for a typical course. Set in natural woodlands and parkland, water features prominently on no fewer than nine holes, offering plenty of risk/reward strategies, while Nicklaus’s trademark bunkering can give the impression of a sea of sand off many of the tees. With more stunning championship golf to be found west of Dublin at the Colin Montgomerie-designed Carton House, and to the south at Druids Glen, the Dublin-bound golfer is literally spoilt for choice when it comes to top quality tracks. And with no shortage of excellent resorts and hotels to cater for your off-course needs, it’s just a question of booking off the time and booking up your dream golfing break to Dublin. For details of the current golf packages to Ireland visit, or call 0800 313 4000 to order your free Ireland Golf Guide.

Killeen Castle proved a stunning Solheim Cup venue

Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

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April offers at Alcanada Avoid the UK’s notorious April showers – and most of the months either side of it – by heading to Mallorca this Spring to take advantage of three new four-star golf-break packages which include Club de Golf Alcanada – voted the best on the island in a recent survey of travelling golfers. With an average of nearly eight hours sunshine each day during April, Mallorca provides the ideal respite from the damp UK. The four-star Aparthotel Viva Tropic, situated just 200m from the beach at Puerto de Alcudia, has two three-night April packages available, each offering two rounds of golf at Alcanada. A half-board deal, staying in a premium apartment costs €355pp, or €330pp in a studio – both based on double occupancy, and both including free TaylorMade club hire. The comfortable Aparthotel Viva Tropic offers spacious rooms; three swimming pools; a spa with indoor pool, sauna, Turkish bath and Jacuzzi; as well as sports grounds and delicious food in each of its buffet, snack and à la carte restaurants. The adult-only Vanity Hotel Golf, another four-star establishment, is offering the same three-night, two-round package for €375pp, again based on double occupancy and including free club hire. Its privileged beachfront location in the heart of Puerto de Alcudia offers breathtaking views over the bay. Class and comfort are the hotel’s hallmarks,

from its garden area with swimming pool, sun terrace and Balinese sun loungers, to its elegant bar and restaurants. The hotel also features a gym, sauna and Jacuzzi. The golf course also maintains the high standards set by the two hotels. Club de Golf Alcanada swept the board in the recent annual customer satisfaction survey carried out by golf holiday specialist Simply Mallorca Golf. Situated in a breathtaking location overlooking the Bay of Alcudia, Alcanada’s 18-hole championship course blends naturally into the typical Mallorcan terrain and takes its name from an island with a lighthouse which can be seen from most of the holes. To book any of the packages call 0034 971 897 008, or email

Club de Golf Alcanda

by the St Regis Saadiyat, which overlooks Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, one of the three world class courses the city offers. The St. Regis Championship package consists of three options to suit all; Play and Stay for a daily room and golf option, starting from AED1566 (£270); Golf Escape for three nights and two rounds, starting from AED 1744 (£300) per night, and the Ultimate Golf Experience of five nights and four rounds, which starts from at AED 2088 (£360). All rates include a

daily breakfast buffet. Golfers will experience Abu Dhabi Golf Club, and the stunning scenery of the Gary Playerdesigned Saadiyat Beach. Away from the golf courses, guests can enjoy a wealth of leisure attractions – from thrills and spills of Ferrari World, the newly-opened Yas Waterworld, to the bespoke touches within the resort that includes the Iridium Spa, an indoor lap-pool, and and turquoise blue waters of Saadiyat Beach. For bookings visit www.

CLUB CHOICE PUTS IRISH GOLF ON THE MAP UK Golfers are being offered the chance to discover some of the best-kept golfing secrets in Ireland at a fraction of the cost, following the launch of a new initiative aimed at delivering quality golf packages at great value prices. Established by a group of golf clubs, resorts, hotels and travel operators, Club Choice Ireland has been set up to raise awareness of Ireland’s south, east and midlands regions

Golfers looking to combine their twin passions for golf and the grape are being invited to take part in the inaugural Saint-Emilion Crus Classés Trophy, which is being held at Château des Vigiers in Bergerac from May 31-June 2. The two-day Pro-Am tournament, which is being staged on Château des Vigiers’ 27-hole Donald Steel-designed course, is a unique opportunity for amateur golfers to not only play alongside expert golfers, but to sample some of the finest wine and gastronomy from this world famous region. The highlight of the event will be the prizegiving ceremony and cocktail dinner, which will be held in the beautiful courtyard at Château des Vigiers, and where the Association of SaintEmilion Grands Crus Classés will award the overall winner with a custom-made leather case that will hold 18 bottles of their famous wines. All players, including non-playing partners, have free access to all the facilities at the resort,

Chateau des Vigiers

including tennis courts, swimming pool and the gym. The package also includes a companions’ excursion to the historic town of Saint-Emilion, including a picnic, wine tasting and guided tour. The trip includes accommodation for three nights, breakfast and evening meals, welcome wine gift on arrival, polo shirts and gift towel, tournament green fees, prizes, trolleys, golf lessons for companions who want to learn more and, of course, various wines from the region throughout the stay. The cost per person is €845, with non-golfers paying €645. To enter visit or email Cedric Plessis at

Last chance for Abama Pro-Am

Follow the stars at Saadiyat

Holidaying golfers looking to explore the desert delights of Abu Dhabi are being invited to follow in the footsteps of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy by staying at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, the hotel that put up the world’s top two players during the recent HSBC Abu Dhabi World Golf Championships. Although neither player was able to stay as long as they would have hoped – both missed the half-way cut – guests can stay as long as they like through one of the many packages being offered

Vintage event for wine lovers

as premier golfing locations by providing a one-stop shop for golfers booking Irish golf breaks from the south-west and midlands areas of England and Wales. Packages can be tailored to suit the needs of any group including golf, accommodation, food and ferry travel, accessing Club Choice Ireland’s attractive list

of venues couldn’t be easier with travel partner Stena Line providing ferry links to Dublin and Rosslare Port, along with exclusive rates for all customers. Among the 15 clubs on board with the scheme are Druids Glen, Wexford, West Waterford, Tipperary and Carlow, while there are 14 hotels involved, including Faithlegg House in Waterford and St Druids Glen Helens Bay Resort in Wexford. For details, see www. clubchoiceireland. com or call 0800 285 1490.

Amateur golfers have just a short time to reserve their place in the 4th annual Abama Pro-Am in Tenerife. Hosted at the exclusive fivestar Abama Golf & Spa Resort, the Pro-Am, which takes place from March 14-17, is now in its fourth year, and has proving a popular event with amateurs looking for competitive action in stunning surroundings. The event will see pros and amateurs compete in a 36-hole tournament on Abama’s Dave Thomas-designed 6,232-metre course, with its spectacular cliff-top setting overlooking the Atlantic. The three-night trip, which includes accommodation in a double deluxe room, includes two rounds of golf, breakfast, lunch and two dinners, including a gala dinner and awards ceremony on the final night, costs €1195 per person, based on twin occupancy. To register call 00 34 922 126 528 or email

Golf Escapes is delighted to offer some fantastic packages to Morocco. Great value and superb golf courses greet you in this fascinating, beautiful and magical country...

Palmeraie Golf




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5 Nights – Twin Room – B&B 3 Rounds – 1 x Palmeraie, 1 x Amelkis, 1 x Al Maaden. Return airport and golf course transfers.

VALID 13 FEB – 29 MAR 2013

VALID 01 MAR – 31 MAY 2013

£409pp Amelkis



5 Nights – Twin Room – All Inclusive, 3 Rounds – 1 x Golf du Soleil, 1 x Golf Les Dunes, 1 x Golf L’Ocean. Return airport and golf course transfers.

3 Nights - Twin Room – B&B – 1 Free Dinner 2 Rounds at Palmeraie Golf Course. Return airport transfers

£499pp £375pp


Golf du Soleil


VALID 01 MAY – 24 JUN 2013

£315pp VALID 03 JAN – 28 MAR 2013

Different durations, additional rounds of golf, room upgrades and single room supplements available on request – please ask for further details. Prices shown are based on an exchange rate of 13.4 MAD to the Pound. Flights are not included, please enquire for further details.

For more information please email:, call: 01342 811777 or visit: ww


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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

We’re the golfing holiday experts.


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SOUTH AFRICA from £1,695 PP 2 weeks Garden Route 12 nights b&b with 5 rounds golf incl. flights, golf & car hire

from £1,925 PP THAILAND 5* Cape Nidhra Hua Hin 12 nights b&b with 5 rounds golf incl. flights, transfers



Book an escorted golf holiday in South Africa with Jacques Gous, PGA pro.

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ALL ROUTES LEAD TO LAGO Boasting three championship courses, and a new Paul McGinley Golf Academy, Quinta do Lago’s reputation as Europe’s premier golfing destination has never been stronger, writes Ben Lambourne

An INN on York Street 7-DAY SPECIAL FOR ONLY £349 Enjoy 7 nights B&B including 3 rounds of golf for just £349 each + a second consecutive week for just £300 (based on 2 people sharing and assuming rate of £1 to $1.55)


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

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

Portugal’s Algarve coast is blessed with some of the best courses in the world, and although there have been plenty of newcomers in recent years, which have helped raise the bar on this golden stretch of golfing coastline, none have been able to knock Quinta do Lago from its lofty position as the godfather of European golf resorts. Offering three stunning courses and tour-standard practice facilities, Quinta has attracted travelling golfers from the UK for many a year, all drawn by the quality and variety of golf on offer, as well as the first-class accommodation and virtually guaranteed sunshine. The trio of courses, Laranjal, South and North, are without doubt the main attraction for golf fans, with Laranjal, which was voted ‘Best Course’ at the 2011 Portuguese Travel Awards, proving a huge hit with visitors following its opening in 2009. Despite its relative youth, it has already matured into a much-loved layout, with its luscious rolling fairways, five large lakes, and numerous clover-shaped bunkers providing a challenging test for golfers of all skill levels. Comprising five par fives and five par threes, the 6,480-metre layout places an equal emphasis on big hitting off the tee and accurate iron play to the greens, while Bermuda mix fairways and USGA standard greens ensure high quality playing surfaces all year round. Proving a suitable co-star is the iconic South Course, which has hosted the Portuguese Open eight times and was

Quinta do Lago’s three championship courses – Laranjal, North and South – offer a stunning range of challenges for holiday golfers

included in Golf World’s Top 100 Golf Courses in Europe in 2012. First opened in 1974, its reputation of one of Europe’s flagship courses remains to this day, with it’s 6,500-metre layout set among pines, lakes and overlooking the beautiful Ria Formosa National Park. It’s a tough driving course, with several tricky dog legs to negotiate. The North Course – which was formerly know as the Ria Formosa – is no poor relation to its illustrious neighbours, with its woodland setting providing an excellent contrast. At 6,125 metres, it is slightly shorter, but a canopy of umbrella pines lining the narrow fairways ensures that golfers need to be straight off the tee if they are to take advantage of the course’s length, especially on the four par-fives. In addition to the three courses, the Paul McGinley Golf Academy, which opened in 2011, continues to go from strength to strength. Open throughout the year, the Academy aims to cultivate and improve golfers’ play by offering expert tuition from fully trained professionals emulating McGinley’s teaching philosophy. Group clinics are always in high demand and the new Ryder Cup captain will be visiting the resort over four days in 2013, providing visitors with an exclusive opportunity to learn with one of Europe’s best golfers. So whether you’re looking to improve you game or just want to enjoy a few rounds of five-star holiday golf with the sun on your back, there can’t be too many better places a golfer would rather be than Quinta.

My plan was to make this a working holiday.

Winds up that plan had a few holes in it. I packed my laptop and my smartphone and planned on spending a fair amount of this holiday working. But my buddies put a few holes in that plan – 36 a day, to be precise. So now, instead of working on work I’m working on my game and my tan playing on courses from the beaches to the mountains – all right here in South Carolina. As for the work, it’ll get done. Eventually.

Kiawah Ocean Course #18, Kiawah Island

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

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Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh are just two of Devon’s famous mariner sons, striking off to explore, discover and colonise from the county’s shores. You wonder, though, if Dartmouth Golf and Country Club had been in existence in the heady days of the late sixteenth century, perhaps they would just have stayed at home…



A touch fanciful you might say, but in truth, many of the great explorers of days gone were in search of the kind of civilisation, luxury and wealth that a weekend at this wonderful resort provides. And as for comparing the rations from the galley after months at sea with the locally sourced, expertly crafted food onsite at Dartmouth – there’s only one winner. We’ll never know if Sirs Walter or Francis were handy with a pitching wedge, but we do know that it’s hard to beat a retreat to Devon’s best kept golfing secret. Beat a hasty path down to Dartmouth, like we did, and what will you find? Well, what we hope you find is the same attention to detail, comfort and laid back ambience that made our stay so enjoyable. And what we know you will find is a natural setting to rival just about any other golf resort in England. Some 225 acres of wonderful Devonshire countryside will form the backdrop for your stay, and also serve as the basis for the club’s two wonderful golf courses. You could be Rory McIlroy or you could be relatively new to the game

and Dartmouth would serve up a challenge to suit. That’s because it has a pair of courses – the Championship and the Dartmouth – that are completely different in almost every way possible. The Championship is the resort’s crowning glory, a majestic par72 layout that truly lives up to its title. Lodged firmly in the rankings of the best 100 courses in Great Britain and Ireland, Jeremy Penn’s 7,200-yard design has also served as multiple host to the West Region PGA Championships. No doubt who’s topping the bill at Dartmouth then, but that’s not to underplay the quality of the undercard; the nine-hole Dartmouth Course itself is a gem, and is as much a part of any trip to the Devon resort as its more muscle-bound brother. Sweeping greens and more than a few water hazards will be lasting memories of the par-33 journey, but what you also likely take away from the experience is the quality of the course’s condition. Credit here to Dartmouth’s Course Manager, whose perfectly crimped fairways and silky smooth greens saw him represent England and Ireland in the finals of the Toro

Green Keeping Excellence Awards. And it is here that the resort’s two courses are allied; wonderful preparation and presentation of the courses, built in line with USGA specifications, makes the golfing experience at Dartmouth so much more rewarding. True putting surfaces, immaculate tee boxes and not a dodgy lie in site – something every golfer will appreciate in equal measure. Stay one night or two and many of our packages will afford you the chance to play unlimited (yes, unlimited) golf across the two courses. What a treat, and the fun doesn’t stop there. The threestar hotel punches well above its weight, providing lodging that is tailor-made for the golfing guest, while the emphasis is on local produce in the bistro. The coastal village of Dartmouth itself is just a couple of miles down the hill and well worth a visit for a meal or a couple of drinks. In the spirit of the greatest Devonian explorers, we were rewarded for our travels with wonderful discoveries at Dartmouth and one of the best all-round breaks we can remember. You should discover it too.

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Febuary 2013 / Issue 218

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Me&MyTravels with Chris Hollins - The former BBC sports presenter models his swing on Faldo and heads for the links of Scotland and Ireland whenever his schedule allows My last golf trip was to… Ireland on a stag do. We played Ballybunion – which was absolutely beautiful. If I had to play one course for the rest of my life, it would be… either The Oxfordshire, which is a real test for a proper golfer, or Pennard in South Wales, which is a quirky cliff-top links. My parents have a flat in Caswell Bay, which is nearby, so I’ve grown up playing it.   My dream fourball would include…Rory Mcllroy, Seve Ballesteros and Bob Hope.   My usual fourball includes…. my dad, brother-in-law, and an old mate.   My most memorable ever round was…the day I played with Rory Mcllroy at Wentworth in the BMW PGA Championship Pro Am in 2010. Rory’s a great player and a thoroughly nice man, too.    My most embarrassing moment on a golf course... was topping a ball in the same event the following year, when playing with

Pennard Golf Club

Sir Bruce Forsyth and Anton Du Beke. There was a big crowd, and I just wanted the ground to swallow me up. My favourite golf resort is... Loch Lomond in Scotland. It’s not open to the public as a hotel or a golf course, but the rooms were incredible, as is the golf course. My favourite city is…Tokyo. I think it’s mostly because of the relationships I’ve built up there through work, but it was the most extraordinary experience having

to learn about their customs and culture. My worst travel experience was….being ill on a flight back from South Africa. I’d been filming non-stop for four days ahead of the last World Cup. I felt fine when boarding, then we took off and I suddenly felt really unwell. There’s no escape on flights. My golfing hero is… still the late, great Seve. I also love watching Luke Donald playing – effortless grace.

Loch Lomond

I’ve modelled my swing on... Nick Faldo. He was actually the reason I started playing. However, he is over 6ft 3, and I’m 5ft 8, so it looks nothing like it! I should have watched Ian Woosnam instead!   My best gross score was…72 at The Oxfordshire, which is the only par round I’ve managed so far.    The best piece of golf advice I’ve ever received was from…Tom Watson, who told me to use my legs when chipping.     I’m planning a golf trip to… Scotland. I just love it up there. I would love to play St Andrews again, but you have got to go a long way to beat Loch Lomond.   Chris Hollins in president of The Oxfordshire Golf Club (www.the

Golf News February 2013  

Golf News February 2013

Golf News February 2013  

Golf News February 2013