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FACELIFT: Turn the pages and enjoy the brand-new look of SGB Golf! April 2017

“Connecting the Golf Industry”

Muirfield joins 21st century New rules for discussion Bandit handicaps targeted National Golf Month plans Sandy Jones steps aside Poulter apparel winds up

INSIDE: Balls Showcase

BUBBA GOES GREEN AT AUGUSTA WITH VOLVIK

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29/03/2017 17:54


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28/03/2017 11:30


First Words Paul Trow

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o the proposed rule changes unveiled by the R&A are designed to speed up play and make the game more attractive to newcomers. Attempts to demystify the labyrinthine nuances of golf’s convoluted rubric, not to mention its arcane case law of precedents, are to be applauded. But will play really speed up once these interventions come into force in 2019? In no particular order, let’s discuss... Reducing the time spent looking for a ball from five minutes to three? In my experience, at least half of all elusive balls are found during those last two minutes. Also, this will trigger a flurry of provisionals, especially on medal days. If it doesn’t, then the number of players trudging back to the tee will double, much to the irritation of those behind. And friendships will surely be strained if, upon reaching the vicinity of a missing ball, a playing partner announces the search is on the clock. In reality, how often will that happen? The group behind, champing at the bit, might time them, but that could lead to a row in the clubhouse afterwards. Another bold suggestion is to take no longer than 40 seconds to play a shot. Admirable, but unworkable! After all, when will the clock start ticking? When the player arrives at his/her ball? Or when he/she actually addresses it having checked the wind, lie and pin position, selected a club, taken a couple of practice swings, and waited out of courtesy for playing partners to execute their shots? And what about putting with the flag unattended? One can see the point of it in soggy conditions when hoof-prints around the cup should be kept to a minimum. But the ball still has to be retrieved from the hole, so footmarks will be inevitable. Then we have repairing spike marks on the greens. It was

always unfair that clodhoppers dragging their feet could disadvantage other players. But I can see many players – amateurs as well as pros – spending an age rectifying every perceived blemish on their lines. In addition, ready golf is being encouraged. That is totally against the spirit of the game. We all know the greyhound types who race around the course in a pointless attempt to complete 18 holes in less than three hours for bragging rights at the bar. But when they play out of turn it causes problems. Apart from having no place in match play, it pressurises playing partners and impacts unfairly on their games – with the probable effect that they’ll slow down and take more shots. More for Tour players, we have the recommendation that caddies lining players up, especially for putts, should be banned. LPGA star Brittany Lincicombe voiced the perfect riposte to this idea: “I’ve got 40 seconds to play my shot, so what I do during that time is surely my business. If I want my caddie to line me up and I don’t exceed 40 seconds, what’s the problem?” One sensible idea concerns moving impediments in hazards. This will never be an issue for Tour players on pristine layouts, but club golfers in bunkers full of autumn leaves or arboreal debris following high winds will be delighted. And reducing penalty or relief drops to an inch off the ground should at least eliminate the chances of plugging or toppling into a divot. Personally, I’d just allow relief by placing on a spot not nearer the hole. All in all, we’ve only scratched the surface with these observations. The full list of proposals is on the website: www.randa.org Enjoy the read!

Editor: Paul Trow n Tel: 07973 862747 n email: ptrow76780@aol.com Advertising: Pete Simmons n Tel: 07827 995 080 n email: simmogolf@icloud.com

Contents / April 2017 04 News

Bandit handicaps under focus

06 News

10 Apparel News

Poulter calls time on IJP

11 Q&A

Muirfield members’ volte-face

Callaway Apparel

08 Company News

16 Equipment News

Foresight seminar series

09 Grow the Game National Golf Month

Look at latest launches

20 Q&A

G-RIP Golf Grips

20 Travel News

Portugal, Spain, et alia

21 Governing Bodies

Radical rule changes proposed

22 People News

Prize for Shot Scope’s Hunter

24 Showcase

Ball choices for 2017

12 PGA and PGAE News

26 Mulligan

PUBLISHED BY: Silverback Publishing Ltd Publisher: Tom Saunders Managing Director: Andrew Crispin

DESIGN BY: Keith Wood, Hype Creative SUBSCRIBE: subscriptions@sgbgolf.co.uk

Sandy Jones steps down

Luxury golfing

Whilst every care is taken in the preparation of SGB Golf, the editor or publisher do not accept any liability for inaccuracies. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor. Publication of advertisements and information does not imply recommendation. Publication of submitted items will be at the discretion of the editor. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the permission of the directors of the company

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29/03/2017 17:39


NEWS

JOHN JACOBS REMEMBERED

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ack of space meant SGB Golf could not publish some of the tributes paid to the late John Jacobs in last month’s issue. Naturally, we are happy to set the record straight with the following selection... “He was a legend of the game and his name will sit at the top table with all the golfing greats.” – Sandy Jones, PGA chief executive “He is widely acknowledged as the father of modern golf coaching.” – Dr Kyle Phillpots, PGA executive director (education and global development) “There’s not a teacher out here who doesn’t owe him something.” – Butch Harmon

“John has quite properly been defined as the father of European golf.” – Ken Schofield, former European Tour CEO

“John Jacobs is the best golf teacher that has ever been.” – Hank Haney “John Jacobs was one of the big four, along with Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros and Tiger Woods... the most influential golfing figures ever.” – Colin Jenkins, chairman of the Organisation of Golf and Range Operators “John inspired many thousands of young people and children to take up the sport. Thanks to his wisdom, kindness, humour and

SIXES AT CENTURION

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he European Tour’s next flirtation with Golf Sixes will take place at the prestigious Centurion Club in Hertfordshire from May 6-7. Unlike the recent tournament in Perth, which featured 54 holes of conventional strokeplay followed by six-hole knock-out matches within a round-robin format, this event will be contested by two-man teams from 16 nations. The matches will be staged over six holes around a centrally-located fan zone with spectators watching from amphitheatre-style stands while the tees and greens reverberate with music, pyrotechnics and player

interaction. “We are immensely proud the European Tour has chosen Centurion Club as the place to launch this new and exciting tournament format that should prove popular with golf fans of all ages,” said Michael Duffy, the club’s sales and marketing manager. European Tour CEO Keith Pelley said: “I encourage everyone, golf fans or not, to come along to Centurion Club in May and immerse yourselves in an occasion that will be unlike anything you have experienced on a golf course before.” www.europeantour.com www.centurionclub.co.uk

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generosity, they learned to play golf in the true spirit.” – Stephen Lewis, chairman of the Golf Foundation * A memorial service for John Jacobs will take place at Winchester Cathedral on Monday, May 22 at 2.30pm. Due to limited capacity, anyone wishing to attend should apply in writing by Monday, May 8 to Charlotte Duffain, PGA European Tour, Wentworth Drive, Virginia Water, Surrey, GU25 4LX or cduffain@europeantour.com

ITALY SEEKS RYDER CUP FUNDING

taly’s hosting of the 2022 Ryder Cup remains in doubt until the country can deliver guarantees worth €97m (£84m). The required funding for the event, due to be held at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club on the outskirts of Rome, was blocked by Italian Senate president Pietro Grasso earlier this month. “If we don’t provide the guarantees requested we will lose it,” tournament director Gian Paolo Montali said. “I do not mean to issue an ultimatum, but we no longer have much time and we have to indicate the path we intend to follow.” Ryder Cup Europe says it

retains its commitment to Marco Simone despite Italian opposition parties arguing the tournament was a waste of resources which could be spent on other priorities. “Our discussions with the Italian Golf Federation are confidential so there is nothing to say publicly at this time,” a Ryder Cup Europe spokesperson said. “However our common goal, of staging a successful Ryder Cup in Italy in 2022, remains.” Rome’s bid for the 2024 Olympic Games faced similar opposition before it was withdrawn. Italy was awarded the 2022 Ryder Cup despite fierce competition from Austria, Germany and Spain.

NOOSE TIGHTENS ROUND BANDIT HANDICAPS

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ngland Golf has raised the stakes in its campaign to eliminate bandit handicaps by requiring members to return their scores to their home clubs after playing away. A clause has been added to CONGU’s handicapping system to stop rogue golfers manipulating the system to their advantage and unfairly winning prizes. “Over recent years there have been a number of cases of players who protect inflated handicaps and repeatedly

collect high-value rewards when playing in competitions away from home,” said a statement. “England Golf has introduced this clause to provide clubs with evidence to support handicap reviews.” The new system, which applies to all strokeplay and team scores, targets players who take part in as many home competitions as possible so their handicaps can creep up 0.1 each time along with players who mark as few cards as possible. “We’re not talking about a

sleeve of balls,” said Gemma Hunter, England Golf’s handicap and course rating manager. “These are big prizes including luxury trips overseas, sets of clubs and electric trolleys. It’s essential to do this to protect the integrity of the system. We can’t sit back and let people manipulate the system, but without evidence clubs can’t take any action. “It’s not about recording every score in a fourball betterball, but returning the team score. If the same individuals or teams keep on

winning or coming near the top of leaderboards at events away from home, that should at least indicate to their clubs’ handicapping officials that further investigations are required – and the only way to achieve that is by asking for all scores to be reported.” Social golf is not affected, but clubs are advised to take performances in swindles into account at the annual review. England Golf also wants clubs hosting non-qualifying open events to inform the winners’ home clubs of their scores.

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31/03/2017 14:25 09:23 30/03/2017


NEWS PUTTING COMBO STEALS IRISH SHOW

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isitors to the 2017 Irish Golf Expo at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin last month queued throughout the show to sample the Zen Green Stage/PuttView experience. And the adjustable Zen Green Stage putting platform, guided by overhead visual ads from PuttView, met with the approval of coaches and ordinary golfers. “The Zen Green Stage with integrated PuttView was a major attraction at this year’s show” said Irish Golf Expo director Paul Shaw. “People were amazed by the experience and it was an unquestionable star of the week!” At the touch of an icon in an app, the Zen Green Stage can recreate virtually every putt

on the planet up to 20 feet, including double-breakers. Then PuttView shows you how to hole it using a host of visual aids. The combined system can also create a series of putting games of varying difficulty featuring animated targets. Paul Dyer, director of the David Leadbetter Golf Academy in Europe, said: “From the golf coach’s point of view, this system can enhance virtually any indoor putting lesson. It helps you to teach both pace and green reading – two vital keys to successful putting – and its instant adjustability means your flow is not interrupted while teaching.” Zen Green Stage co-designer Nick Middleton said: “People’s reactions to Green Stage have been even more remarkable

BRIDGESTONE’S PRO-AM PROMISE

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ighteen places are available for club golfers in a European Challenge Tour pro-am thanks to Bridgestone Tyres and England Golf. The annual Bridgestone Chase your Dream Trophy, open to members of England Golf’s 1,900 affiliated clubs, features separate competitions for men and women. Ultimately, the best nine men and nine women will play in six teams in the pro-am curtain-raiser for the Bridgestone

Challenge at Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire on September 6. And the best team from that day will qualify for the British Masters supported by Sky Sports Pro-Am at Close House in north-east England on September 27. Golfers with the best medal score at their clubs over the season will qualify for regional finals followed by a national final to be staged at Woodhall Spa in August. www.englandgolf.org and www.bridgestonegolf.com

Above: Graeme McDowell with Bridgestone’s 2016 amateur winners, Peter Carr, Carl Broomfield and Zack Rosen

since the addition of PuttView. For the first time golfers can see the perfect line to the hole.” PuttView co-founder Lukas Posniak said: “Kids love it, adults love it, and nobody wants to leave until they’ve holed a putt on it. Absolute beginners improve astonishingly quickly on it, and

golf coaches enthuse about the visualisation. This is gamechanging technology.” The Zen Green Stage with PuttView will also exhibit at this year’s Scottish Golf Show at the SEC in Glasgow from March 24-26. www.ZenGreenStage.com and www.puttview.com

ALISON NINE TO REOPEN SOON

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he second phase in a three-year course renovation project at the iconic Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel in Buckinghamshire will be unveiled to members on Friday, April 21. Following the reopening of the nine-hole Colt Course at the five-star venue last spring, work started on the nine-hole Alison Course in October and is virtually finished. Director of golf Stuart Collier said: “The changes to the front nine saw a marked improvement in the definition

and aesthetics of the bunkering, and the playability and shape of the course. The work on the Alison will do likewise for holes 10 to 18 and, arguably, raise the quality level of the course to the best it’s been since its early days, 100-odd years ago.” The Alison refurbishment includes improving the definition of the bunkering, adding new tees and reworking the water features on holes 12, 16 and 17. The Lane Jackson Course, the third nine at the 27-hole resort, will be worked on next winter. www.stokepark.com

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28/03/2017 12:48


MUIRFIELD OPENS ITS DOORS TO LADIES

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uirfield was instantly restored to the Open Championship rota after confirming its members had voted in favour of women being allowed to join the club. The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers’ postal ballot resulted in 498 votes (80.2 per cent) being cast in favour of the change and 123 votes (19.8 per cent) against. Club captain Henry Fairweather said: “This is a significant decision for a club which was founded in 1744 and retains many of the values and aspirations of its founding members. We look forward to welcoming women as members who will enjoy and benefit from the great traditions and friendly spirit of this remarkable club.”

The current waiting list at Muirfield suggests that new candidates for membership, men or women, can expect to wait three years or longer to become members. R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: “We can confirm that Muirfield will become a venue for the Open once again. Muirfield has a long and important history of hosting the Open and that will continue. It is extremely important for us in staging one of the world’s great sporting events that women can become members at all of our host clubs.” Doug Poole, project director for National Golf Month, said: “Muirfield’s decision sends the right signal to women that the game is becoming more open

and less stuffy. We can’t grow the game as long as it is seen as a male-only bastion. This May, National Golf Month is making a substantial effort to get women and girls to try the sport. If this decision had gone the other way it would have been a disastrous ‘scenesetter’ for the campaign, so I’m delighted.” Ladies European Tour CEO Ivan Khodabakhsh said: “(This) will begin to restore the reputation of the club following the disappointing ballot result last May. Sports reflect the values of the society in which we live and today men and women have equal rights. We believe this should be reflected not only in international tournaments but also at club level.”

Dr Lesley Sawers, the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Scotland commissioner, said: “Not allowing women to play at a golf club is clearly an outdated idea. But this isn’t just about old-fashioned attitudes; the local economy stood to lose £40m as a result of the Open not being staged at Muirfield. They have clearly made the right decision for women and Scotland.” With the Open likely to be held at St Andrews in 2021 (its 150th staging), the earliest Muirfield can return to the roster is 2022. Waiting lists notwithstanding, hopefully a few women will have made it into the members’ ranks by then.

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP

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he property group that bought Chart Hills Golf Club in Kent five months ago has now bought The Buckinghamshire, home to the Ladies European Tour for the last nine years. Buckinghamshire Park Resort

KOREA MOVE

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olf Datatech, LLC, and Yano Research Institute, golf’s two leading independent research and data firms, introduced their joint World Golf Report 2017 during the recent PGA Merchandise Show. Their focus was golf’s worldwide $8.05bn equipment and $4.50bn apparel markets.   Among their key findings was that the top five world golf markets are still (in order) the US, Japan, South Korea, the UK and Canada. They also found that the US and Japan control over two-thirds of the world golf equipment market and that Korean golfers spend more per capita on golf equipment and apparel than any other nationality.  www.golfdatatech.com and www.yanoresearch.com

(Holdings), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eagleresort, also owns Old Thorns Golf & Country Estate in Hampshire, Tracy Park Golf & Country Hotel in Bath, Lythe Hill Hotel & Spa in Surrey and Castlemartyr Resort in Ireland.

The Buckinghamshire was owned by Asahi Group Holdings for almost 25 years following the Japanese brewery’s acquisition of the Denham Court Estate in the late 1980s. The club opened in 1992 after the late John Jacobs had designed an 18-hole golf

course and the Grade II listed mansion house on site had been converted into a clubhouse. Since the end of 2015, Asahi has invested £2m in irrigation work, bunker renovation and cart-path rebuilding. www.buckinghamshiregc.com

SHOT SCOPE APP REALITEE VISION WITHIN REACH

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oth iOS and Android versions of the Shot Scope app are now available to download. The new apps will enable users to upload data from their Shot Scope wristbands immediately after play directly to their mobile devices via Bluetooth.  Providing instant access to more than 100 types of statistic, a shot-by-shot overview and other insights, golfers can analyse their performances

on both mobile and tablet after each round. Both apps, available from the Apple and Google Play app stores, break the game down into sections, including club distances, tee shots, approaches, short game and putting.  Shot Scope is available to buy from ShotScope. com and the apps can be downloaded from bit.ly/ ShotScopeiOS (iOS) and bit.ly/ ShotScopeAndroid (Android). www.shotscope.com

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his stunning night-time impression of a wideopen space using ceilingmounted laser light beams and a wrap-around video wall is one of many backdrops that can be made available for indoor golfers by US start-up REALiTEE Golf. REALiTEE Golf combines long-game simulator play with short-game live play in purpose-built indoor arenas. Industry leaders TruGolf and Robert Trent Jones II will supply simulator and coursedesign services respectively. www.realiteegolf.com

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28/03/2017 12:48


NEWS EDUCATION FROM FORESIGHT

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oresight Sports is to teach club professionals how to use and apply data from its launch monitors. Liam Mucklow, the PGA of Canada’s instructor of the year in 2014, will present three PEAK seminars – at Bromsgrove Golf Centre near Birmingham on March 27, Moor Allerton Golf Club in Leeds on March 28 and The Drift Golf Club in Surrey on March 29 – about Foresight Sports’ GC2, GC2+HMT and

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PEAK (Performance, Education, Analysis and Knowledge) has been developed to elevate understanding and standards within the teaching profession. “Foresight Sports’ technology is widely regarded as the best in the industry and we want to teach professionals not only why this is the case but how best to use it for their individual gains,” said Mucklow. www.foresightsports.eu

Germany makes Epton and Cart Care a good fit and with these territories,” Bjoern Girrbach, Club Car’s business development manager for central and eastern Europe, said. A country with high environmental awareness, Norway appears to be the ideal fit for the zero-emission, electric Club Car fleet. “Norway is very open to green technologies and electric mobility,” Epton owner and CEO Jonas Eriksson (pictured) said. “This, plus the demand from golf clubs and businesses, gives us

great optimism.” Cart Care Company will operate in Denmark through a subsidiary, Cart Care Danmark ApS. “With our headquarters and warehouse in Hamburg, we are well prepared to take on the Danish market and build strong relationships with Danish customers,” owner Frank Ockens said. Club Car’s current fleet includes the Precedent i3 cart and the zero-emission Carryall low speed vehicle. www.clubcar.tv

LYNX STOCKISTS TO BENEFIT

lub professionals benefited directly from sales of Lynx equipment during the recent Scottish Golf Show at the SECC Glasgow. While most other brands at the show sold their goods through retail partner American Golf, Lynx retailed directly

to consumers from its stand, and then shared the profits among its local trade accounts. Every customer was asked for their address so their nearest Lynx stockist could receive a share of any profit from the sale. Murray Tonry, Lynx Golf UK and European sales manager,

MITSUBISHI NAME CHANGE

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launch-monitor use – from fitting, coaching and training programmes to in-depth analysis of ball and clubhead performance data. “These seminars are a perfect opportunity for professionals to develop their understanding of how each of our GC family of launch monitors can be used to maximum potential,” Tom Jarrett-Kerr, marketing manager of Foresight Sports Europe, said.

CLUB CAR SALES DRIVE

lub Car has expanded the territories of two of its key European distributors. The current supplier in Sweden – Epton Trading AB – will extend into Norway while Cart Care Company, its German distributor, will take responsibility for Denmark. Both suppliers received Club Car’s ‘black and gold distributor’ status last year in recognition of exceptional sales performance. “The proximity of Norway to Sweden and Denmark to

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GCQuad smart-camera systems. PGA professionals will be credited with CPD points by the PGA for attending the courses which were developed in conjunction with leading coaches like Butch Harmon, Peter Kostis and Martin Hall. The seminars, which include classroom learning and hands-on practical experience, will cover every aspect of

haft manufacturer Mitsubishi Rayon is officially changing its name to Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation following its integration with parent company Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, which officially acquired the company seven years ago. Mitsubishi’s global golf shaft

division will start the rebranding process next month, but there will be no changes to products, operations or personnel.    Retailers keen to know more about stocking or purchasing Mitsubishi golf shafts in the UK should contact Diamond Golf (01903-726999 or sales@ diamondgolf.co.uk). www.diamondgolf.co.uk

said: “We don’t retail through American Golf. At last year’s show, despite a lot of interest from people wanting to buy Lynx equipment, we had to tell many disappointed consumers we couldn’t sell them anything. “This year we’ve decided to sell direct at the show. However,

we’ve always said we firmly want to protect our green-grass pro accounts, so a share of profits from all sales will be fed back to those golf pros who have accounts with us. Effectively, every sale we make will be like a local pro making the sale.” www.lynxgolf.co.uk

AMERICAN GOLF’S ONLINE ACCOLADE

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merican Golf is in the top-50 of Internet Retailing UK’s 2017 roll call of the leading 500 companies. The report, now in its third year, takes into consideration the customer experience as well as the ability of traders to uncover how the best retailers excel.

Daniel Gathercole, American Golf’s director of marketing and communications, said: “We are delighted. Our whole business is driven by the mantra ‘here to improve your game’. That desire improves the customer’s experience, delivers the best product and increases our overall brand engagement.” www.americangolf.co.uk

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28/03/2017 14:27


GROWING THE GAME

TOP PLAYERS SUPPORT NATIONAL GOLF MONTH

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aul McGinley, Charley Hull and Mel Reid are once again helping to spearhead National Golf Month which will take place throughout the UK and Ireland in May. The star trio are calling on clubs, golf centres, pros and sponsors to make the most of the campaign by planning activities that will appeal to new (and lapsed) female golfers. These activities can be logged on the nationalgolfmonth.com website which is being promoted via advertising, PR, radio, print and social media, predominantly by Bauer Media. The provision of 50,000 free one-hour taster sessions offered exclusively for women will be a core element of

National Golf Month. The British Golf Industry Association is calling on clubs and pros to commit to offering a minimum of two of these sessions during the month. In addition, they are encouraged to develop their own initiatives, all of which will be showcased on the website. Currently, only 14 per cent of UK golfers are female compared to one in four throughout Europe. Hull, the 21-year old Ladies European Tour player who competed for Team GB at last year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, said: “It’s clear that girls’ golf is an untapped market in this country compared to the rest of Europe. National Golf Month presents a real opportunity to

BGIA FUNDING FOR EXSERVICE PERSONNEL

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he BGIA is to cover the cost of four two-day skills and employment courses organised by the On Course Foundation, which helps rehabilitate wounded, injured and sick ex-service personnel through golf. The events will be held at personnel recovery centres in Edinburgh, Colchester,

Tedworth House in Wiltshire and Catterick in Yorkshire. Bob Smith, chair of the BGIA’s grow golf fund, said: “The work of the On Course Foundation allow service personnel and veterans to explore how golf can help them on the road to recovery, and how the industry can provide employment.” www.bgia.org.uk/growgolf

exploit this participation gap and come up with new and engaging ways to grow the sport.” The website, managed by online business tool fibodo, aims to provide a better understanding of how clubs and pros can capitalize on attracting more women. From the beginning of April, new participants will be able to use the website to search for a range of opportunities across the country, including free-trial sessions. Doug Poole, project director of National Golf Month, said: ‘There is a real business case for golf pros and clubs to help girls get golfing. That’s why we want to break down the barriers to ensure as many women and girls as possible are introduced to the

NEWS

game in May. “Whether pros want to host free evening group sessions or clubs want to promote special deals on social media, this is all about ensuring we open up the family market by promoting the health and social benefits of the sport.” As part of the push, clubs and pros are also being encouraged to use the hashtag #GirlsGetGolfing across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. *Poole has welcomed the R&A’s decision to modernize some of the Rules of Golf. “Golf is often perceived as complex and ‘rule bound’,” he said. “This is a signal to people who have been put off in the past to get golfing.” www.nationalgolfmonth.com

WESTWOOD TO HOST JUNIORS

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lose House, venue for the 2017 British Masters in north-east England, will stage a Junior Masters, hosted by Lee Westwood, on Tuesday, September 26. “The Junior Masters will be a great way to involve youngsters in the tournament that week and promote golf in the north of England,” Westwood said.

“We want to see kids getting excited about the game, and what better way to do this than offer them a chance to actually be a part of the tournament and play with some of the best golfers in the world?” The overall winner will play in the British Masters Pro-Am the next day. closehouse.com/british-masters

September 7. Through qualifying events across the UK and Ireland, the TGI Golf-backed series will deliver a range of prizes from Srixon’s 2017 ball and accessories range. To take part, golf clubs must designate a monthly medal as a Srixon Amateur Championship qualifier and send in the winner’s details. The leading 20 competitors will contest the final where a Srixon tour truck will be on-site. TGI Golf will supply all participating partners with posters. www.srixon.co.uk

of specialist golf magazines continue to plummet. The three main monthlies, each of which achieved six-figure sales figures not so long ago, now barely sell 100,000 copies per month between them, according to the 2016 results recently declared by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC). In no particular order, the latest numbers are: Golf Monthly (39,614), Golf World (23,836) and Today’s Golfer (45,688). Provincially, sales are holding up for Bunkered in Scotland (20,566) and Irish Golfer (11,336) while National Club Golfer (58,136) and English Club Golfer (50,545) deliver the sort of figures to be expected of titles that are distributed free via golf clubs.

TAP INS n TV personality Denise van Outen and Ladies European Tour players Carly Booth, Amy Boulden, Sophie Walker and Elizabeth Mallett will all join in the fun at the American Golf show at ExCeL in London on Friday, April 7. Visitors to the show, presented in association with the European Tour and Sky Sports, will be admitted free. Also due to take part are world trick shot champion Geoff Swain, coaches Rob Bluck and John Cheetham from the 3Hammers’ Golf Complex Academy in Wolverhampton, and leading European Tour coach Damian Taylor. To register for free tickets, visit: http://www.americangolf.co.uk/ free-shows/free-shows.html

n Rockliffe Hall near Darlington in north-east England will play host to the grand final of the 2017 Srixon Amateur Championship on Thursday,

n Despite the pathetically poor and terse coverage golf receives in the national daily press, sales

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29/03/2017 15:26


APPAREL

NEWS

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an Poulter’s golf and lifestyle apparel company – IJP Design – is to cease trading. Poulter said: “It is with great sadness that I am announcing the closure of the IJP Design online shop, the golf clothing business I started with my business partners in 2006. The business will cease to trade from its website (www. ijpdesign.com) on April 2, 2017. “It has always been our aim to run a unique and high-quality

POULTER’S IJP DESIGN CEASES TRADING product business that reflected my personality and passion for the game of golf, and my love of fashion both on and off the course. “Ultimately, however, we have been unable to justify its continuation after many years of investing in the business and a number of attempts to reshape it against an ever increasingly competitive landscape.” Before turning pro at 16,

Poulter, now 41, worked in a golf club shop in Bedfordshire. Once established on the European Tour, he soon became known for his extrovert fashion sense – most notably at the 2004 Open at Royal Troon where he sported a pair of Union Jack trousers. Poulter, who plays with Titleist clubs and wears FootJoy shoes, has not yet announced what he will wear on the course from now on.

LOWDOWN ON GOLF UNDERWEAR

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ollowing a successful PGA show in Orlando, 2UNDR is about to hit the UK golf market with its innovative men’s underwear. Combining the support of high-performance athletic underwear with the comfort of everyday briefs, 2UNDR is already selling in sports and golf shops across the US.

Modelled on the kangaroo’s Joey pouch, the breathable design has been crafted from soft, skin-friendly materials. It lifts and separates to avoid the skin-on-skin contact which can cause chafing and discomfort during exercise. Features include a moisturecontrol layer to keep skin cool and dry, cooling crushed

jade minerals to reduce body temperature, a roll-resistant waistband and a vertical fly. 2UNDR’s EU CEO Paul Hendry said: “We set out to create high-performing athletic underwear that was versatile enough for everyday use. The result has exceeded our expectations.” www.2undr.eu

COMFORT CONTOURS FROM FOOTJOY

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ootJoy has radically upgraded its comfortorientated Contour Series of golf shoes. “With a successful category like Contour, the tendency is to implement minor enhancements over the life of the product, but that’s not something we subscribe to,”

said Doug Robinson, vicepresident of golf footwear worldwide. “From the moment a product is created, we start looking for ways to enhance every detail – from the overall design and materials, to every stitch and groove, to the laces and cleats.” The key features include a

flexible and durable outsole, a soft, light midsole and a full rounded toe character with a standard instep and heel. The U-Throat lacing system provides a more generous fit and the shoes also come with an Achilles pad and greenfriendly Pulsar cleats. www.FootJoy.co.uk

n Bunker Mentality has created a series of three golf events to diversify its communications with consumers. The Bunker ‘Blue Jacket’ Masters was held at The Nottinghamshire Golf and Country Club on March 28 while the other two events will be the Bunker Open in July and Bunkerfest, the brand’s own twoday festival of golf, in September. Robert Hart, Bunker Mentality’s creative director, said: “For some time, our Club Bunker members have been asking us to create our own unique events, BunkerStyle. These will enable us to create our own news stories and promote our brand more effectively to golfers than through traditional channels.” www.bunker-mentality.com

n In addition to recording a 20 per cent rise in year-on-year sales last year, Stuburt is reporting record pre-book sales for 2017. “The figures show Stuburt is delivering desirable products that appeal to the golf market in the UK and Europe,” said managing director Graeme Stevens. In recent years, the brand has branched out into golf apparel, outerwear and accessories. For SS17, Stuburt has produced footwear featuring its eVent waterproof membrane system and garments constructed from highperforming fabrics and golf-specific technologies, many featuring DRIback moisture transfer technology to keep golfers cool and dry. www.stuburt.com

IN BRIEF… n PING’s latest polo-shirt range has been designed with input from South African Tour players Louis Oosthuizen and Brandon Stone. The flagship Brett and Harris designs incorporate COOLMAX all-season fabric technology. This transports moisture away from the body to keep the wearer cool and dry on hot days while the fibre structure provides insulation in colder conditions. Other standout designs in the collection include Ronan and Easton polos which benefit from an aesthetic and modern fit. The new collection (RRPs: £5060) features several new colour stories, including Mercury Rising infused with a rich red. www.pingcollection.co.uk

n Masters champion Danny Willett has become a global ambassador for Japanese luxury sportswear brand DESCENTE. “I really like the style,” said the 29-year-old Yorkshireman. “My family and I have also been using the skiwear.” DESCENTE, which distributes modern performance sportswear for men and women, is the official supplier to the Swiss national skiing team, British and Swiss triathlon teams, and German bobsleigh, luge and skeleton teams. In 2015, the brand launched its first golf collection, which is available in Japan, Korea and DESCENTE’S flagship shop in London’s Carnaby Street. www.descente.com

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PEOPLE PEOPLE tional base colours of caviar, peacoat and asphalt. The ladies’ collection also sees the addition of ‘Limpet Shell’ lifting the contemporary winter colours and delivering a fashion perspective.

Jonathan Dowdell, EMEA marketing and Tour manager for Callaway Apparel, talks about the brand’s positioning and plans for AW17 What separates Callaway Apparel from its competition? Callaway Apparel is one of the select few remaining authentic golf apparel brands in an ever-growing and evolving industry. This puts the brand in a niche but advantageous position to focus on what really matters to golfers as they confront the elements. Callaway apparel offers technologically advanced, high performing products and a keen attention to detail, thus meeting the specific needs of the golfer. How extensive is Callaway’s apparel market penetration? We continue to see growth on growth in EMEA, which we believe is a positive KPI (key performance indicator) considering the competitive nature of the industry and the number of apparel brands that exist. We have strong distribution and penetration both in the UK and Europe and are opening new accounts year on year. As an authentic golf apparel brand, we need to stay true to our USP (unique selling proposition) while recognising the impact that non-golf endemic apparel brands are having on the marketplace. We offer a point of difference for a mixture of reasons, including high-quality product authentic to golf, dedicated marketing support and more Tour players wanting to wear our products after benefiting from their performance.

What is the over-arching theme for AW17? For Autumn Winter 2017, Callaway Apparel offers its most comprehensive collection to date, featuring more layers and styles with innovative and performance fabrics. All Callaway’s garments are designed to combine the latest technologies and materials, allowing golfers to feel unrestricted while protected from the cold, wind or rain, or all three – meaning maximum performance. The AW17 collection’s focus is to increase the choice of layering garments to provide more solutions dependent on the weather. Our layering portfolio has increased threefold to over 20 different garments. What are the key pieces? The men’s collection features a comprehensive series of technical garments starting with lighter pieces (long-sleeve heathered knit pullover) building in weight and resistance to the cold and harsh elements (Ottoman 1\4 zip fleece) while still enabling an unrestricted swing. The ladies’ collection includes technical introductions such as the ‘asymmetrical 1/4 zip mock’ and ‘ladies stretch waffle jacket’. The men’s range continues to evolve with the introduction of fashion colours: ‘HolyHock’ and ‘Surf the Web’. These add splashes of bright colour across the range which mingle with the more tradi-

What are the key design features to benefit the golfer? Every piece is designed and constructed with playability in mind. For example, we have drop-tail hems on specific garments to protect the lower back during the swing. Where relevant and beneficial, we have added stretch panels through the garments’s sides and under the arm to ensure maximum movement in the swing regardless of the weight of the garment. In certain pieces, we have four-way stretch fabrics to provide optimum movement. Selected fabrics offer wind and water resistance in order to give the maximum amount of protection without compromising the swing. How important is Opti technology to the pieces? Our Opti-series technology is our way of conveying the technology and materials in each product to help golfers choose the correct garment, dependent on what they are looking for. We have 10 Opti-series technologies, each with their unique features and benefits. We have denoted them on each piece via our hang tags and labels. For example, our Opti-therm fabrics were chosen to provide thermal protection to withstand the cold by trapping heat within the fabric construction. Details and videos of each Opti-series, explaining the technology, can be found on our website.

Q&A

including Peter Cowen, Mike Walker, Dennis Pugh and Phil Kenyon. We also dress the world long drive champion Joe Miller. Our brand ambassadors’ feedback is vital when developing and designing the range. What are your main objectives for 2017? We want to continue to increase our reach and distribution at retail. We are seeing growth on growth but there is so much more opportunity out there – especially with the momentum and strength of the Callaway brand. We will continue to educate the trade about why our brand and products are golfer-centric, why we focus on detailed designs and fabrics, and what margin opportunities are available to retailers. As well as continue our trade engagement and communication, we will be much more aggressive with our consumer activities through the marketing mix to ensure golfers are more aware of our apparel collection, who wears it on Tour and our product quality. We want to create even more demand for our products and thus support the retailer to sell through. www.callawayapparel.com

What players endorse the brand on tour? We have a plethora of players at all levels endorsing Callaway Apparel – Patrick Reed and Emiliano Grillo on the PGA Tour; Thomas Bjorn, Marc Warren, Pablo Larrazabal, Sebatien Gros, David Horsey, Thomas Linard, Stuart Manley and Niclas Fasth on the European Tour; and Georgia Hall, Gemma Dryburgh and Stacey Keating on the Ladies European Tour. A number of high-profile coaches are also brand ambassadors,

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PGA

NEWS

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andy Jones, who stepped down as chief executive of the PGA at the end of March, has been appointed executive president and will be retained as a consultant and ambassador. Jones, who has been succeeded by Robert Maxfield, will retain his additional roles as president of the Golf Foundation, chairman of the PGAs of Europe and chairman of the Ryder Cup Trust. This latest appointment adds up to an even busier retirement, yet Jones said: “I am delighted to be asked. I will remain a Trustee of the PGA Benevolent Fund, supporting the fundraising in particular through the annual lunches. Another responsibility will be helping to look after our Heritage Collection. We intend to create a virtual Heritage room so the collection can be viewed around the world and I

JONES ERA IS NOT QUITE OVER look forward to working on this project very shortly. “I will be available to Rob as and when he feels I can be of assistance and certainly in and around Ryder Cup matters.” Jones’ association with the PGA began in 1980 when he was appointed Scottish region secretary. During the decade he fulfilled that role, Jones quadrupled the Tartan Tour’s prize money to almost £1m. He became chief executive in December 1991 and during the subsequent 25 years the PGA has played a significant role in the development of the game, with more than 1,400 of its (just under) 8,000 members working in 79 countries worldwide. His initiative saw the evolution of The Belfry into the PGA National Training Academy and European Centre of Excellence for Golf. This, in conjunction with

GOLF PRIDE PROUD TO RENEW PGA STATUS

Birmingham University, now offers a foundation degree in professional golf studies and an honours degree in applied golf management studies. In addition, a partnership with the University of Highlands & Islands offers an honours degree in professional golf and a higher-education diploma in professional golf. More recently, a diploma in golf club management in partnership with the Golf Course Managers’ Association (GCMA) and British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association (BIGGA) was created. During Jones’ time as chief executive, thousands of students have graduated, some from as far afield as China, India, the Middle East and Far East as well as most European countries along with Great Britain and Ireland. It is thus no surprise that in 2009 Jones was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Birmingham for outstanding services to sport and golf.

TROON TO MANAGE PRAGUE GEM

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roon has been appointed to provide golf-course management services to the new, Kyle Phillipsdesigned Oaks PGA National just outside Prague. The partnership is Troon’s first in the Czech Republic and its third European Privé venue following Aloha Golf Club in Spain and

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olf Pride has extended its status as a PGA official supplier for another three years. The brand helps to educate PGA assistants in regripping and supplies the PGA’s National Training Academy with more than 1,000 grips annually for this purpose. In addition, Golf Pride makes an annual award to the top PGA assistant in the equipment technology exams. EMEA regional manager Conor Dillon (pictured left with PGA

His initiative to form the PGA World Alliance is another example of the influence he has had on the game. PGA chairman David Murchie said: “Sandy has dedicated most of his working life to the PGA and its members. As chief executive he has taken the association forward in every aspect of the business and has enhanced its reputation and standing across the golfing world. “We’re delighted he has accepted the invitation to become our executive president and we will still be able to call on his expertise and experience.” Maxfield added: “During his time at the PGA, Sandy has achieved many things. As the incoming chief executive I am extremely fortunate I will be taking over the leadership of an association that is respected the world over thanks to Sandy’s vision, dedication and hard work.  “I am pleased I will still be able to draw on Sandy’s experience as he takes on his new position.”

Centurion Club in Hertfordshire. The course, which winds its way around the newlyrenovated Chateau Nebrenice, is part of a development that will include 250 residential properties, a country club, tennis and golf academies and a horse riding centre. www.theoaksprague.cz/en/

commercial director Hamish Ferguson) said: “Our relationship with PGA professionals is integral to our success. Helping them educate their customers about the importance of regripping is beneficial not only to us, but also to them in terms of maximising revenue.” The clubs of more than 80 per cent of the world’s Tour players are equipped with Golf Pride grips and that number is expected to rise following the recent launch of its ALIGN Technology.

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TOURNAMENT ROUND-UP n Garry Houston, who is attached to Carden Park Golf Club near Chester, took the fourth World Club Pro-Am supported by the PGA of South Africa at Durban Country Club by six clear Stableford points. “To break par every round was quite an achievement,” said the 45-year-old Welshman, who carded a final round of 37 points to finish with a five-round total of 190. “Some weeks you can play really well and not score well, but this was one of those weeks where I really didn’t play like I can yet ground out a score every single day for five rounds.” Second behind Houston, who scooped $15,850, were defending champion Julien Gressier (Golf du Chateau de Raray, near Paris) and South Africa’s Pierre van Vuuren, who led three members of Johannesburg club Serengeti to a wire-to-wire success in the four-round team competition. n Italy’s Federico Elli won the inaugural Messinia Pro-Am organised by Costa Navarino in north-west Greece with an eight-under-par, threeround total of 205. Chasing the winner all the way to finish only two shots back was Dutchbased Ralph Miller with another Italian, Lorenzo Gagli, in third place. The pro-am competition was won by Wentworth professional Stuart Boyle and his team of amateurs – Haris Papadopoulos, Georgios Kyvernitis and Daniele Bovio. n Mikael Lundberg, a three-time European Tour winner, won the first of two back-to-back Nordic Golf League SGT Winter Series pro-ams at Lumine Mediterránea Beach & Golf Community on eastern Spain’s Costa Daurada. Lundberg carded a 14-under-par, three-round total of 202 over the Greg Norman-designed Lakes Course to win by one shot from fellow Swede, Christopher Feldborg Neilsen. The following week over the club’s Hills Course, another Swede, Oscar Lengden, led from the outset to card 204 and complete a three-shot victory over Denmark’s Victor Osterby. The top five ranked players at the end of the 2017 Nordic Golf League season will earn cards on next year’s European Challenge Tour. n Professionals from Royal Aberdeen Golf Club secured two of the top three spots at the 2017 TGI Golf Team

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Challenge over the Pines and Dunes course at the Sueno Deluxe Resort in Belek, southern Turkey. Senior assistant Joel Hopwood led his team to victory while head pro David Ross and his partners finished third. The event – sponsored by TaylorMadeadidas, PowaKaddy, Maui Jim and YOB Golf – was played throughout in unseasonal heavy rain. Hopwood and his team of amateurs – Mark Hay, Jeff Strachan and Adam De Carli – compiled 166 Stableford points over the two rounds.  TaylorMade-adidas Golf director Sean Brady said: “We are extremely proud to be part of the TGI Golf Team Challenge for the eighth consecutive year and are looking forward to supporting it again in 2018.”  Adele McLean, TGI Golf group services manager, said: “We faced all sorts of challenges this year, not least the rainfall and storms, but the commitment of competitors and the organisational skills of those running the event ensured that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.”

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n Craig Shave produced a dominant display to win the fourth edition La Manga Club International Pro-Am in southern Spain by seven shots. Shave, the club pro at Whetstone Golf Club near Leicester and last year’s runner-up, opened with a six-under-par 67 en route to a threeround total of 210. Second place went to Polish professional Lukasz Szadny from the Golf Swing Józefów centre near Warsaw who also won the pro-am with 257 points – 16 points ahead of Shave’s team. Completing the top three a further two shots back was Joost Steenkamer from Holland. n Sam Little, completed a dominant wire-to-wire success at the Golfbreaks. com Pinehurst Pro-Am at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. The 41-year-old Londoner carded a seven-under-par total of 281 to finish 12 shots clear of a tie for second – between fellow Londoner Darren Bragg and American Troy Helseth, who won the team competition by 19 points. Bragg carded the best round of the final day, a 68 which included an ace on the par-3 17th. “I’m completely speechless,” said Bragg. “To get a hole-in-one on Pinehurst No.2 is an unbelievable feeling.”

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partnership

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Marketing Advice > First Class Events

PARTNERSHIP “ Joining the TGI Golf Partnership was the best business decision I have made since becoming a PGA Professional.” Bernard Quigley, Tullamore Golf Club

The TGI Golf Partnership is owned wholly by PGA Professionals who pay no monthly or annual subscriptions and benefit from guaranteed best UK & Ireland buying terms, free in-store retail and marketing assistance and a whole host of other features. More than 480 of the country’s leading PGA Professionals are part of the group, which exists to assist them in running successful and profitable businesses. Contact us today to find out how we can help you. tgigolf.com

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THE TGI GOLF PARTNERSHIP IS A GOLF RETAIL SERVICES GROUP, OWNED BY PGA PROFESSIONALS.

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Since joining TGI Golf in 2011 I have found many of the services of huge benefit to my business. Including the free in-store advice from Retail Consultants supporting my business, the best terms negotiated on our behalf, the opportunity to meet with like-minded professionals at various TGI Golf events throughout the year and entry to the annual Business Conference with educational seminars, perfect for my business. The list of benefits increases each year with new initiatives from the team. David Fleming, Prestwick Golf Club

Over the course of the year TGI Golf stages a number of events, which not only satisfy our needs as professional golfers, but are also vital to us as businessmen. Being able to spend time with my fellow PGA Professionals at events like the Business Conference allows me to pick up on new ideas and best practices as well as learning from speakers who are experts in their fields. Rob Glazier, Dartmouth Golf & Country Club

Since becoming a TGI Golf Partner I have been able to tap into a number of services through the group’s partnerships, which have helped me take my business to the next level. Utilising the relationship with Crossover Technologies I was able to enhance my business through a new EPOS machine and valuable training. Matthew Holland, Rye Golf Club

The help, assistance and expert advice from my dedicated Retail Consultant has been invaluable to me and my business. Having a second pair of eyes, with so much retail experience behind them, available to visit me in store at no cost is something that has benefitted me throughout my time as a TGI Golf Partner. Michael McCrudden, Roe Park Resort

Joining TGI Golf has been an incredible investment in my business. After paying a joining fee and purchasing shares I pay nothing else to be a Partner and receive money back each year through a cash distribution scheme. The tools available to us to help us run successful businesses, such as the Enewsletter are simple to use and look great. Anthony Haste, Hinckley Golf Club

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EQUIPMENT

NEWS

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undreds of Titleist custom-fitting events will take place at partner golf clubs across the UK in 2017. The brand will also introduce Titleist Thursdays, from the Masters (April 6) to the Open (July 20), for which golfers can book 45-minute appointments online at participating locations. During Titleist Thursdays,

TITLEIST THURSDAYS GOING NATIONWIDE golfers will undergo complimentary club fittings, using a TrackMan launch monitor and Pro V1 or Pro V1x balls. Golfers unable to book online can still attend the Titleist Thursday of their choice to trial clubs with a fitting partner and receive a ball recommendation based on their shot characteristics and

playing preferences. Chris Beaumont, Titleist’s golf club marketing manager, said: “Whether they would like to trial our club range or be fully fitted for their choice of clubs by a Titleist product specialist or fitting partner, golfers will be provided with an abundance of opportunities to find the right equipment for their game. “Titleist Thursdays is a

particularly exciting initiative for 2017, giving brand fans the knowledge that there will be fitting opportunities in key locations around the UK every Thursday during the peak golfing season.” Events will also be devoted to specialist Vokey wedge and Scott Cameron putter fitting. titleist.co.uk/golf-club-fitting

HANEY FASHIONS NEW CALLAWAY WEDGE

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allaway’s new Sure Out wedge has been created in collaboration with leading instructor Hank Haney to provide optimal performance on greenside shots from bunkers or the rough. The wedge’s Sure Out sole, which has an enhanced camber and high bounce, enables the club to glide smoothly through sand and thick grass without

the need to open the face. Haney said: “For many golfers who struggle around the green, the Sure Out wedge could be exactly what they’re looking for. The design helps simplify troublesome greenside shots and make scoring that much easier.” The Sure Out’s key features include a wider sole and larger face to promote solid contact for optimal distance control

and 17 full-face grooves to promote fast, shot-stopping spin even from off-centre hits. The wedges are equipped with a choice of two premium shafts – a KBS 90 steel or a lightweight 65gm graphite option from UST – and are available in two lofts: 58° and 64°. RRP: £99 www.callawaygolf.com

WEDGE ANALYSER FROM CLEVELAND

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leveland Golf has introduced a Wedge Analyser powered by Swingbyte so golfers can be custom-fitted for the precise wedge bounce and sole grind to suit their games, in as little as two golf swings. The intuitive system focuses on the delivery of the club to the ball just before impact. Using key metrics such as attack angle and shaft lean at impact, the Wedge

Analyser then recommends the optimal bounce and sole grind configuration for various turf conditions. Fully integrated software also includes database information to help determine the correct lofts throughout a wedge set for consistency in gapping. Dean Cracknell, UK marketing manager of Srixon/Cleveland Golf, said: “The Wedge Analyser is an unbelievably simple piece of

equipment to use and offers precise results to help golfers improve in the most important area of the game. Visiting your local Cleveland Golf stockist and getting fitted correctly using the Wedge Analsyer will become a no-brainer.” The Wedge Analyser can be used virtually anywhere, not just on a golf course or driving range. www.clevelandgolf.co.uk

BETTINARDI HITS THE UK

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ettinardi Golf’s new putters and head covers from its Studio Stock and Queen B series are available in the UK from distributors JS International. Consisting of 15 premium models across four ranges, each putter is hand-crafted from one piece of milled carbon steel. The Studio Stock (SS) putters all feature a mercury grey

finish while the Queen B Series is characterised by a microhoneycomb face (both RRP £309). Meanwhile, the iNOVAi 3.0, released last year, has an RRP of £269 for the standard and centre shaft option and £279 for counterbalance. Still going strong is the BB Series (RRP £269), finished in midnight black with a brushed nickel shaft. Left-handed putters

are available in BB1, SS3, and iNOVAi 3.0. To mark the start of the 2017 PGA Tour season in Hawaii, Bettinardi’s limited-edition BB1 Tikiputter putter with a Hawaiian design is now available in the UK (RRP £550). An engraved Tiki totem has been added to the sole and Polynesian-inspired decorative waves to the face. www.jsint.com

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SOUND BITES n Foresight Sports’ GCQuad launch monitor delivers ball and club data for everyday use by club fitters, instructors, players and coaches. Four high-speed cameras matched with optical sensors generate a spectrum of precise, real-time data and can even respond to weather changes and different altitude conditions. Pricing is available on request. www.foresightsports.com n Weighing just 110gm, Callaway’s 200 Laser Rangefinder can measure distances up to 800 yards away and lock onto pins using Pin Acquisition Technology (PAT) up to 275

yards away. It can also scan the landscape for multiple targets with superior accuracy to within just one yard. RRP: £199. www. callawaygolf.com n MacGregor has unveiled its latest DCT elite driver (RRP £79.99), fairway woods and hybrids (RRP £49.99 each). The driver has a 460CC titanium head and expanded sweet spot while the fairway woods have loft options of 15º and 18º and the hybrids 21º and 24º. www.macgregor-golf.co.uk n The KBS Tour S-Taper shaft is available

from 3-PW with a .355 taper tip diameter. As well as the classic chrome steel look, the shaft is available in a Black PVD finish in five flex options (X, S+, S, R and R+) with weights ranging from 110-130gm. Installation RRP: £58.30+VAT at leading custom-fit centres like Diamond Golf. www.kbsgolfshafts.com n Bushnell Golf’s new Pro X2 laser rangefinder (RRP £449) features SlopeSwitch technology, which adjusts distance numbers according to the gradient, and a fully-waterproof rubber armoured-metal housing. www.bushnellgolf.co.uk

HOLE MORE PUTTS IN MORE OUTLETS

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ole More Putts has struck deals with two of the UK’s biggest retail operations – Foremost Golf and American Golf. Kevin Burke, the Irish-based game-improvement brand’s managing director, said: “Foremost Golf is the largest green-grass professional retail and marketing group in Europe. Their communication programme to members will give

us a fantastic reach. “American Golf is the UK’s biggest high-street golf retailer. They have a dedicated, loyal following and their communication and engagement with followers in second to none.”  Paul Hedges, Foremost’s CEO, said: “At Foremost Golf we are determined to offer products to our golf professionals and golf-club members that are at the

cutting edge of golf technology.” John Cheeseborough, e-commerce buying manager for American Golf, said: “It’s always good to find a product that is unique and has immediate appeal to golfers of all levels.”  Featuring an iPad-style tablet and patented infrared technology, Hole More Putts measures the five key elements of the putting stroke as defined by the PGA – face angle, impact

PRACTISE TO SECOND CHANCE DISTRIBUTING PERFECTION PUTTOUT WITH VC GOLF

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X-Sport’s VC Golf headphones give a psychological insight into how to practise and improve on-course energy and overall golf fitness. The patented sport headphones are lightweight, water-resistant and fit wire-free ‘on the ear’. Complete with an integrated 8GB premium mp3 player, it arrives preloaded with many hours of mental preparation, practice drills and workouts from psychologists, coaches and trainers. FX-Sport founder Duncan Walsh said: “The VC Golf is a device that not only motivates a user to practise more, but also provides guidance on how best to practise. In addition, the VC Golf offers workouts in many other categories, appreciating the golfer as a ‘whole person’.” Users can choose to have their own music play or silence between instruction messages. The VC Golf has a rechargeable five hours of battery life and retails at £159. Visit www.fx-sport.co.uk/product/ products/vc-golf or call +44 1158457046

point, path, angle of attack and speed – and provides instant feedback on a screen. After just five putts, it can calculate a player’s ‘Putting Index’ – their putting performance score.  When synchronized with the Tablet, Hole More Putts’ app and website visualise each putt, analyse a putting stroke in detail and personalise its video instruction into an easy-to-follow format. www.holemoreputts.com

A LIGHT GRIP WITH G-RIP

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lackpool-based Second Chance has secured the distribution rights for the PuttOUT training aid. PuttOUT is a pressure putting training device and has a scientifically shaped target with a parabolic curve which rejects bad putts and returns good ones seamlessly. Each successful putt is returned the same distance it would have gone past the hole if it had missed – great feedback for getting the pace just right. PuttOUT is designed to accustom golfers to holing pressure putts and the ball will only hold the micro-target from the perfect putt. PuttOUT is ergonomically designed to fold and to fit easily into a golf bag and can be used anytime, anywhere, on the livingroom carpet or a putting green. Since its launch, PuttOUT has proved popular and Second Chance has been inundated with orders from pros, sports shops and online retailers. At this year’s PGA Show in Orlando, golf guru Mark Crossfield picked PuttOUT as one of his top three gadgets. www.secondchance.co.uk

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-RIP’s triangular-shaped, oversized lightweight (55gm) FL-1 not only encourages a light grip pressure on the putter but also promotes a smooth stroke. Fitting neatly into the palms, the V-shape at the back of this new grip helps golfers put their hands consistently into the correct position.   The microfibre cover features hundreds of tiny, fast-drying silicone buds on the surface, which create more points of contact with the hands.  The FL-1 comes in five colour options – black, red, blue, burnt orange and apple green – and is available from Diamond Golf (sales@diamondgolf.co.uk; +44 (0)1903 726999) or Brand Fusion (www. brandfusionltd.co.uk; +44 (0)1372 373237).

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PEOPLE

Q&A

op. More ideas are going into production – we have three new grips for 2017 and another in the pipeline.

SGB Golf meets industry veteran Paul Steels, managing director of G-Rip Golf Grips Tell us about your background I set up Golf Pride UK from a small base and expanded the business over 23 years, establishing a network of European distributors, building a significant business in the UK and working on the European Tour. After Golf Pride, I had a similar role with Aldila Graphite shafts. Six years ago, I started G-Rip with no loans or financial backing. It was a slow start, with the profits reinvested. To help cash flow, I set up a consultancy. I have a lot of contacts and it wasn’t long before I was working for brands like Champ Spikes, Ogio, Wired Energy Bars, Sunice and Realxgear cooling products. I’m still out on Tour with KBS Steel shafts, which enables G-Rip to grow without paying me a wage. Why did you set up your own grips company? I felt there was a gap in the putter market with most grips being black and not very interesting. No brands were making much effort with putter grips, so I decided to add some colour and went for the oversize market which was becoming popular. The challenge with oversize grips is they’re usually heavy which removes or reduces feel from the head. G-Rip makes lightweight oversize and jumbo grips that come in around 55gm. They’re 10-15gm lighter than standard grips which puts the feel back where it should be – into the putter head.

What’s different about G-Rip grips? My thinking is to offer something different to what’s already on the market. We develop new looks, designs and surface textures while adding some bright colours. All our grips work well in damp or wet conditions and this separates us from other brands’ products. What are they made of, and where are they made? G-Rip grips are made of different compounds and materials. For example, the A-Tac grip is made of TPO, a Japanese polymer blend. This compound gives us flexibility to make grips in whatever colours we like. When the grip gets wet, it feels even tackier – what you need when the heavens open. Coloured rubber grips don’t work or last as long because rubber needs carbon black added to give it traction and durability. This is why we drive around in cars with black tyres rather than some other colour. A-Tac grips don’t contain carbon black because they’re not rubber, so we can make grips any colour we like without losing performance. My grips are made in China, Taiwan and Thailand.

What’s the development process – from idea to product? It takes time for something to work. Scaled drawings are made and eventually printed in 3D to check size and feel. All grips must conform to the Rules of Golf, so I work closely with the R&A. The next stage is where the money’s spent! After the tooling, we look at different surface textures and patterns. The surface gives the grip its unique feel. All in all, this process can take 18 months to two years from concept to finished product. How often should regular golfers change their club/putter grips? A golfer playing twice a week should re-grip every year and someone who plays once a week every 18 months. Many leave it way too long, so it’s well worth a pro reminding his members to check their grips. Why don’t golfers change their grips? They just get used to how the worn grip feels. When your tyres wear out you must change them but with golf grips you can keep playing with them till holes develop. Your game suffers but it’s so gradual it’s difficult to notice. It’s not unusual for golfers to go six or seven years before changing. A lot won’t even think of looking at their grips when their game starts to falter – yet it could be the easiest and quickest solution to their woes. A good pro can give members a checklist – are they gripping the clubs tighter or not releasing their hands at impact because

of gripping too tightly? What are the signs that a grip needs attention? The sign all golfers can read is the need for increased grip pressure to hold on to the club. The easiest way is to compare your clubs with new ones in the pro shop – if the difference is significant it’s time to re-grip. If you’re still not sure, try re-gripping one club in the bag and if it makes a difference then perhaps the rest should be done too. Is there money in the re-grip market? Absolutely, there’s probably more profit in re-gripping a set of clubs than selling a new set. If 150 of the average golf club’s 500 members re-grip each year, the revenue generated is significant. Incentivising assistants at 50p per grip fitted can also reap dividends. Are pros missing out by not concentrating on re-gripping? Many pros could do more. Most offer re-gripping but perhaps could get the ball rolling with a start-of-season promotion. They could publicise offers on notice boards or in changing rooms. If cost is an issue for a member, the pro could offer to re-grip one or two clubs per month until the set is re-gripped. Vouchers for birthdays and Christmas are other ideas. Most golfers have everything they need so why not get them a present they’ll use every time they play? Where can pros get G-Rip product? Our distributors are Diamond Golf International +44 (0) 1903 72699 or sales@ diamondgolf.co.uk Brand Fusion International +44 (0)1372 37323 or sales@ brandfusionltd.co.uk

Where do you get your ideas for a new grip? Most have been in my head for years, but it takes money to develop them. Now we’re better established and sales are growing there’s a little money in the pot for the range to devel-

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28/03/2017 11:31


TRAVEL

NEWS

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SUMMER OPENING IN PORTUGAL

new golf course, less than an hour’s drive north of Lisbon, will open on Portugal’s Silver Coast in June. West Cliffs, designed by Pete Dye’s niece Cynthia on a 500-acre oceanside site, will be a par-72 layout stretching to 7,003 yards. “With the Atlantic visible from every hole, West Cliffs is the most natural course imaginable,” Cynthia Dye said. “One of its most impressive characteristics is how anchored it is to the native coastal environment. The terrain is amazing. On most

of the holes, it was only necessary to site the green complexes with a bit of shaping and then define the limits of grassing. For the most part, the course was already there waiting for us.” The course, at the heart of a new resort with real-estate possibilities and a future five-star hotel, will be managed by the prestigious Praia d’El Rey resort, less than 10 minutes’ drive away. www.westcliffs.com or www.praia-del-rey.com

BESPOKE ALGARVE SCOTS

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tour operator specialising in bespoke golf packages for groups visiting the Algarve has been launched by a Scottish couple. Brian and Fiona Reid, originally from Aberdeen, have relocated to Portugal and set up Golfers Algarve to provide tailored, multi-night holidays.  Operating from Ferreiras

near Albufeira, Golfers Algarve aims to provide end-to-end itineraries including accommodation, course bookings, hire clubs, transfers and sightseeing trips, or simple stay and play packages. Apart from the golf packages, Golfers Algarve can organise non-golfer programmes with wineries, cookery schools, spas,

mountain safaris, horseback and walking tours, hot-air balloon trips and water sports all on the agenda. “Having organised group golfing holidays to the Algarve for a number of years, it was clear there was an opportunity in the market for an in-country provider of bespoke packages for visiting groups,” Brian Reid

said. “With Golfers Algarve we want to take the hassle out of organising a group golf holiday, offer a personalised service that takes care of all the small details and ensure a stressfree trip.”  www.golfersalgarve.com

SPANISH DOUBLE FOR CLUBSTOHIRE.COM

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lubstoHire.com is to open outlets in the airport terminals at Alicante on the east coast of Spain and Palma in Mallorca over the next few weeks. The club rental company, which operates in 23 separate locations, is making a six-figure investment to add to its existing airport terminal shops in Mala-

ga, Faro and Lisbon. “Alicante has been one of our most popular club rental destinations in recent years and Palma proved exceptionally busy last year,” Tony Judge, CEO of the Dublin-based company, said. “No other club rental company is investing in locations at the same level as ClubstoHire.com and the new

shops will create up to ten jobs to boost the local economy.” The ClubstoHire shop at Faro, where the company began its service in 2010, is also about to benefit from a major refurbishment as part of a redevelopment of the airport terminal. With rental sets available from as little as €35 per set per week, ClubstoHire.com is esti-

BARKER IS WILLING

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olfbreaks.com has welcomed back former employee Richard Barker as commercial director. A PGA professional, Barker spent five years with Golfbreaks.com as general manager to Teeofftimes.co.uk before it was sold in May 2015 to BRS GolfNow where he then served 18 months as director of international sales. His new role will involve improving the concierge booking service at Golfbreaks.com for strategic partners, including the PGA and the European Tour Travel Club. He will also oversee the

Xclusive Collection – Golfbreaks.com’s premium offering, acquired from Sky Sports presenter Sarah Stirk last year. Golfbreaks.com’s managing director Steve Hemsworth said: “We had a close working relationship with Richard prior to his move to BRS GolfNow and with the business continuing to expand he has the profile and experience we’re looking for in our senior leadership team.” Barker said: “Coming back to a record month, with over 30,000 golfers booking breaks, made it easy to hit the ground running.” www.golfbreaks.com

mated to have saved travelling golfers more than €4.5million in baggage fees since its inception. It has also recently invested €150,000 in a new-look website to handle 25,000 monthly rental enquiries for sets of clubs from manufacturers like TaylorMade, Callaway and Wilson Staff. www.ClubstoHire.com

NEW MURCIA SERVICE FROM BA

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A has launched a twice-weekly summer service from Heathrow to Murcia-San Javier airport, offering easy access to La Manga Club and several other luxury golf developments. Official figures confirm that

overseas visitors to Murcia rose by 45.3 per cent this winter compared to last year, with the number travelling from the UK increasing by more than 11 per cent in January alone. www.britishairways.com and www.lamangaclub.com

YORKSHIRE TOURISM VIDEOS

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olf Tourism England has launched the third in a series of five videos showcasing the Yorkshire Ryder Cup Experience.

The mix of coastal and inland courses featured includes Ganton, Lindrick and Moortown, all former Ryder Cup venues. www.GolfTourismEngland.com

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29/03/2017 15:28


NEWS

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Fits like a second skin

RADICAL RULE CHANGES ON THE HORIZON

he R&A and USGA have unveiled several proposed changes in a bid to make the game’s rules easier to understand and apply. The changes are set to come into force in 2019, 35 years after the last fundamental review of the rules. The proposed changes include: no penalty for accidentally moving a ball, taking a drop an inch off the ground instead of from shoulder height, lost-ball searching reduced from five to three minutes, players to take no longer than 40 seconds to complete a shot, repairing spikemarks on greens, unattended flagsticks for putts on greens, ready golf, DMDs to be allowed unless prohibited by a local rule, no penalties for moving impediments in hazards, relaxed rules for water hazards and maximum hole scores for all players. “Our aim is to make the rules easier to understand and to apply for all golfers,” David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, said. “We have looked at every rule to try to find ways to make them more intuitive and straightforward and we

believe we have identified many significant improvements. “It is important that the rules evolve and remain in tune with the way the modern game is played, but we have been careful not to change golf’s longstanding principles.” The proposed changes will also reduce the number of rules from 34 to 24 and deliver userfriendly descriptions with shorter sentences, commonly used phrases, bulleted lists and explanatory headings. Golfers and other governing bodies have until August 31 to submit their observations to www.randa.org or www.usga.org/rules *Jacqui Surman, SkyGolf’s senior vicepresident international sales and marketing, said: “GPS devices help to speed up play and SkyCaddie unequivocally supports the R&A and USGA’s call for golfers to be ready to play their shots at all times. Golfers have always sought help with distance-measurement – whether from sprinkler heads, yardage books or marker posts – so we feel the use of electronic DMDs is consistent with the principles of the game.” 

CHARLEY GETS HER WISH

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o sooner had Charley Hull expressed the hope that women would be granted equal membership rights to men at Kasumigaseki Country Club, which is due to host the golf competitions during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, than her wish was granted. The private club, which did not allow women to become full members or play on Sundays, unanimously overturned that rule during a recent meeting of its Board. The club was warned by both the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese organising committee that another venue could be found if its rules were not changed. Hull, who represented Britain at the Rio

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GOLF FOUNDATION ONLINE FACELIFT

he new Golf Foundation website – www.golf-foundation.org – offers easy navigation in all subject areas including ‘Golf for All’, schools, community, clubs, fundraising and news. Golf Foundation marketing manager Sarah Sorrell said: “The new websitehas more visual appeal and is more userfriendly than our former site. With these

21_News.indd 3

2016 Olympics, said: “If they want to have a place like that in the Olympics as a venue, then they have to change.” Hull was speaking at the launch of Bridgestone’s ‘Chase Your Dream, No Matter What’ worldwide campaign, having been named as one of the brand’s three UK ambassadors along with double decathlon gold medallist Daley Thompson and Olympic diving champion Chris Mears.

changes, we also expect more contact from golf lovers who wish to find out how they can support our programmes. Fundraising is a very important aspect of our work as a charity and the new site offers clear signposting to a range of opportunities which may be of interest to golfers and golf clubs everywhere.” www.golf-foundation.org

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29/03/2017 15:29


PEOPLE

NEWS

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HUNTER SCOOPS ENTREPRENEUR AWARD

hot Scope CEO David Hunter was named Scottish emerging entrepreneur of the year at the recent BQ Live Awards in Newcastle. Hunter founded Shot Scope after several years of developing products across medical, military and industrial markets. Launched to market just over

a year ago, Shot Scope is the first performance tracking system that collects data automatically without disrupting play to tag or sync with a phone. “This award is fantastic recognition for three years of hard work by all the Shot Scope team, helping me reach my goal of bringing automated performance tracking to the golf market,” he said. “2016 was

a fantastic year for the business. The product was sold into 27 countries and made its debut on the European Tour. Going into 2017, we’re rolling out to over a hundred pro shops in the UK and we’re working with international retailers to set up new routes to market around the world. It’s an exciting time for the business.” www.shotscope.com

AZALEA BRANCHING OUT

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arcomms agency Azalea has recruited three staff members to work for its golf and tourism clients. After picking up five new clients since the turn of the year, the company hired ex-Sun sports reporter Nick Ive, former Foremost Golf executive Matt Lacey and recent journalism graduate James Robbins. Azalea managing director Sean Noble said: “We are delighted to secure the services of Nick, Matt and James, and have no doubt they will be

quick to make their mark. Our core areas of business remain golf and tourism, though we are seeing an increased appetite from the market for involvement with wider sports and leisure remits.” www.theazaleagroup.com

Noble, second right, with, from left, Ive, Lacey and Robbins

TOP BILLING FOR REEVE

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hris Reeve has joined The Belfry Hotel & Resort as director of golf. Reeve, who has just stepped down as director of golf at Foxhills Club & Resort in Surrey, has been a professional since 1994 and previously worked as golf academy manager across the Burhill Group’s 22 courses. Reeve, who has also run the Marbella golf coaching programme in southern Spain, will report to The Belfry’s resort director James Stewart. “I’m really excited to be joining at a time when the resort is going from strength to strength,” said Reeve. “The Belfry is steeped in tournament history and is a place that golfers worldwide aspire to visit. The Brabazon is, of course, the main attraction, but when you add two other top courses, a PGA Academy with all the latest technology, a superb hotel, bars, restaurants and spa facilities, you have one of the finest environments to work in.” www.thebelfry.co.uk

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SAINT HELEN

woman who spent 60 years helping to develop golf in Fife has received honorary membership of the AllParty Parliamentary Golf Group. Helen Melville, who moved to Lundin Links in 1956, was presented with a certificate by the group’s co-chair and North East Fife MP, Stephen Gethins, at an event attended by many club members and friends. Gethins said: “The Group was impressed by Helen’s years of commitment to the development of golf for women and children.”

AMERICAN GOLF BACKS MALLETT

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Hunter (left) receives his award from We Are Boutique director Simon Bollon

lizabeth Mallett is the beneficiary of American Golf’s first Tour player sponsorship. On her ninth birthday, the Ladies European Tour rookie picked up a golf club for the first time in an American Golf store. After an impressive amateur career, she turned professional and still works at the company’s Sutton Coldfield store when not playing. “Elizabeth is a great ambassador for the ladies game and shares our spirit and drive for creating a positive image for golf,” Daniel Gathercole, American Golf’s head of marketing and communications, said. Mallett, who took the individual honours at the 2012 European Girls Team Championship, went on to captain the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill team in 2015 and 2016. “American Golf has been with me from the very first step of my golfing journey so I’m really pleased they have agreed to support me as my schoolgirl dreams finally become a reality,” the 22-year-old said.

Melville said “I’ve been involved with golf ever since I went along to my first Lundin Ladies GC AGM, aged 18, and ended up on the committee. Over the years I’ve made so many friends and seen so many people take up and love golf; that’s what it’s been all about.”

Left to right: Melville, Gethins and Lundin Ladies captain Sue Nicholson

MIGUEL MOVES SOUTH

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iguel Girbés is the new director of golf at the prestigious Finca Cortesin golf resort near Estepona in southern Spain. Girbés who has spent the last sevenand-a-half years at PGA Catalunya Resort in north-east Spain, takes over as Finca Cortesin undergoes extensive course improvements and an upgrade to its Jack Nicklaus Golf Academy. Girbés said: “Finca Cortesin has a deserved reputation for delivering outstanding facilities and service, and I believe the improvements over the coming months will elevate the customer experience to an even higher level.” Opened eight years ago on a 532-acre estate, Finca Cortesin hosted the Volvo World Match Play Championship in 2009, 2011 and 2012. It has a 67-suite hotel, a 6,000 square-metre beach club, four restaurants, a spa with a snow cave and a selection of villas available for purchase or rental. www.fincacortesin.com

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31/03/2017 09:26


BALLS

SHOWCASE

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VOVIK BUBBLING COLOURFULLY WITH BUBBA

orean brand Volvik, the choice of double Masters winner Bubba Watson, has released five of its multi-coloured balls through UK distributors Brand Fusion this spring. The initial sales emphasis will be on the premium-priced S4 and the matte-finished Vivid range. On the PGA Tour, Watson has already used pink, green and white versions of the four-piece S4 which is aimed at golfers with fast swing speeds. Its Tour Urethane cover and dual core are designed to enhance accuracy, prolong ascending distance and provide an optimal spin rate. Meanwhile, the Vivid three-

piece ball is aimed at golfers with slower swing speeds and comes in seven colour options: red, orange, pink, green, lime, blue and white. Other Volvik balls soon to be available in the UK are the soft S3 aimed at advanced golfers in pink, orange and white; the Vibe for golfers seeking soft feel and easy control in yellow, pink and white; and the Crystal that offers mid-handicappers improved distance and visibility in sherbet, green, ruby red, yellow and pink. RRPs (per dozen): S4 £49; Vivid £39 www.brandfusionltd.co.uk and www.volvik.com

SRIXON SUPPORTS PROSTATE CHARITY

GROOVY BABIES FROM

TAYLORMADE

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rixon’s fifth-generation Z-STAR and Z-STAR XV balls have a core that is softer in the middle and becomes harder towards the outer edge, an ultra-thin coating and a 338-dimple pattern. In addition to donating £1.50 for every dozen balls sold at trade to Prostate Cancer UK, Srixon has also released some limited-edition 15-ball ‘Z-STAR and Z-STAR XV boxes which include an additional free sleeve. Now in its seventh generation, Srixon’s AD333, the UK’s best selling two-piece ball, also has a new dimple pattern to add feel and control from 30 yards in. Featuring a thin urethane cover, the new AD333 Tour ball delivers 20 per cent more friction off the club face. SRPs (per dozen): Z-STAR and Z-STAR XV £44.99; AD333 £25; AD333 Tour £34. www.srixon.co.uk

e6 Soft: This high-performance ball has a soft fee and is designed to produce low driver and longiron spin. The advance mantle and cover work together to provide approach and greenside control. RRP (per dozen): £28 www.bridgestonegolf.com and www.benrossgolf.com

CALLAWAY PUTS HEX ON NEW BALLS

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aylorMade has brought two new balls to market – the TP5 and TP5x – with the aim of increasing distance and improving control and spin. Both balls have a five-layer construction which enables the decoupling of driver and iron speed from iron and wedge spin. This construction includes a low compression TriFast core and a dual-spin cover consisting of a soft urethane outer and rigid inner. This system promotes greenside control as the rigid inner forces the urethane cover into wedge grooves for maximum spin generation. The TP5x is slightly firmer and launches higher while the TP5 has a softer feel with midlaunch. RRP (per dozen): £49.99 www.TaylorMadeGolf.com.

Bridgestone B330-S: The choice of Tiger Woods, the BB330-S features a firmer Tour core designed to increase ball speed for longer distance. The patented SlipRes cover also produces higher friction for more spin from the rough and less spin off the driver. RRP (per dozen): £40

allaway latest golf balls are powered by HEX aerodynamics which is designed to reduce drag and enhance lift. Both the new Chrome Soft X and the established Chrome Soft have a four-piece construction consisting of a two-layer core, a spin-regulating sub-mantle and an ultra-soft urethane cover. Chrome Soft X has a firmer core and cover to promote more speed off the tee, more spin through-the-bag, and a piercing, workable flight. Supersoft, Callaway’s lowest compression ball, features an ultralow compression core to promote faster ball speeds for longer, straighter shots and a soft cover that increases wedge spin. Completing the 2017 line-up, the Warbird ball, benefiting from a highenergy core, is aimed at players seeking greater speed off the tee, more hang-time and more yards. All balls are available in white and yellow colour options. RRPs (per dozen): Chrome Soft X and Chrome Soft £32.99; Supersoft £19.99; Warbird £16.99. www.callawaygolf.com

Wilson Staff DX2 Soft The low-compression DX2 Soft has a soft rubber-rich core with two-piece construction to minimise spin yet maintain playability around the greens. Its 302-dimple design also encourages a higher trajectory on approach shots. RRP (per dozen): £19.99 DX3 Spin This soft multilayer ball enables similar distance and feel to the DX2 Soft, but offers more greenside control and spin. The three-piece construction includes an inner cover that promotes spin on mid-to-short irons. RRP (per dozen): £24.99 DX3 Urethane This three-piece construction reduces the spin from a driver face to deliver maximum distance and accuracy off the tee. It has a seamless 362-dimple pattern and soft, thin-cast urethane outer cover. RRP (per dozen): £29.99 www.wilsonstaff.com

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TITLEIST GALLERY Pro V1 and Pro V1x Titleist has tweaked the core, dimple design and urethane elastomer cover of its Pro V1 and Pro V1x balls to stretch distance while maintaining soft feel. With 352 and 328 dimples respectively, the new Pro V1 and Pro V1x are serving differing needs. The Pro V1 flies lower and feels softer while the Pro V1x has a firmer feel and spins more on iron shots. SRP (per dozen): £52 *Golfers who buy threedozen Pro V1 or Pro V1x balls before April 24 will receive an additional dozen free. They will also have the option to put a free personal message and play number of choice – from 00 through 1-99 – on all balls purchased. NXT Tour and NXT Tour S Both the NXT Tour and NXT Tour S balls deliver low-driver and long-iron spin along with shot-stopping control. The NXT Tour features a large dual core with a soft centre, soft cover and 302-octahedral dimple design while the NXT Tour S has a softer compression core. SRP (per dozen): £35 Velocity Velocity’s proprietary core technology delivers faster ball speeds for more distance on all full swing shots. The low-spin construction with leadingedge aerodynamics produces a soaring trajectory while the thinner cover feels more playable in the short game. SRP (per dozen): £26 DT TruSoft The DT TruSoft provides Titleist’s softest compression feel. The new core and cover deliver both low spin in the long game and short-game playability. SRP (per dozen): £22 Pinnacle Rush Designed with proprietary high-energy core technology that produces fast ball speed on full swing shots, the Rush utilises a 332-dimple design and soft, durable ionomer cover. Available in both white and optic yellow SRP (per dozen): £16.50

Pinnacle Soft Engineered with a high-energy, low-compression core, Soft is available in three colour options: white with black number, white with pink number) and pink with black number. SRP (per dozen): £16.50 www.titleist.co.uk

MacGregor DCT Tour This two-piece ball features a lithium surlyn cut-proof cover for long-term durability and maximum spin control and an aerodynamic dimple design to provide distance with added spin and control around the greens. RRPs: £9.99 (per dozen) and £19.99 (24-ball pack) www.macgregor-golf.co.uk Mizuno JPX-S The JPX-S is a soft-compression edition of Mizuno’s three-piece ball – producing a balanced performance for a wider range of swing speeds. Softening the core has not only improved the feel at impact, but also increased initial ball speed for most players. RRP (per dozen): £35 MPS-S Dubbed ‘the ball that loves to spin’, the MP-S is Mizuno’s softest, most responsive ball. This edition features a larger inner core and thinner urethane cover (just 0.5mm) to add yards to the long game of mid-high swing speeds. RRP (per dozen): £50 MP-X The MP-X is designed for the next generation of Tour players and elite amateurs. The fourpiece construction features a dual-core design that reduces spin from the driver. A thinner urethane cover (0.5mm) enhances initial ball speed. RRP (per dozen): £50 JPX The JPX’s dimple-cluster design is the result of a threeyear study into the descent phase of ball flight. The dimple performance in the descent phase effectively extends airtime and overall distance. The smaller, micro-dimples take effect at slower speeds. RRP (per dozen): £35 www.golf.mizunoeurope.com

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29/03/2017 15:30


MULLIGAN

THE INDEPENDENT VOICE

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ne of the perks of being a golf writer is the occasional invitation one receives to somewhere sumptuously exotic or beyond the confines of the average domestic budget. Last autumn, Mulligan joined a small group of media folk from across Europe in the upmarket Swiss skiing resort of Gstaad. And in February, yours truly was part of a select gathering on the romantic mid-Atlantic island of Bermuda. These are two of the most luxurious, and expensive, locations on the planet. Yet both are keen to promote themselves to British golfers – Gstaad because there’s no skiing in the summer and its hostelries and facilities are therefore underused, and Bermuda

because it has year-round sunshine and a warm affection for its mother country. But in the Brexit climate, with sterling rapidly disappearing south and the belt of austerity ominously tightening, how can I possibly sing these places’ praises as must-visits? The honest answer is, very easily. Having a holiday is essentially an exercise in escapism, something for which we all must save up, in good times or bad. Gstaad out of season is the ideal short-break destination. We were there for three nights, played two rounds on the only golf course for a radius of 30 miles (4,500 feet above sea level and aerobically challenging), attended a country & western festival (long story) and lunched atop the highest local peak (about 9,500 feet). It’s a lovely place to visit – its verdant mountainsides and bracing fresh air resounding with cow bells and trains running on time. Bermuda, ringed by pink-sand beaches and oozing twee colonial bonhomie, is equally sublime. My partners in crime, as we tucked into the chowders and dark ‘n’ stormies, included several journalists, the actors Kevin Whately and Philip Glenister,

former Tottenham and England footballer Darren Anderton and victorious Super Bowl quarterback Jim McMahon. We took part in a Ryder Cup-style match against the US called the Hackers’ Cup. Founded in the memory of the late journalist Peter Tory by his half-brother Mike Winfield (more of whom later), the Hackers Cup is played annually over Mid Ocean and Port Royal – the best of the island’s six courses. After decades of driving John Thaw in Morse, Sergeant Lewis (aka Whately) found himself being carted round Mid Ocean by Mulligan in a buggy (the pair are pictured above in the hotel bar). Through no fault of Kevin’s, we failed to beat our American opponents, one of whom, John Layfield, is a former WWE star turned share tipster and youth rugby coach. Layfield is also a member of Mid-Ocean with a house beside the 5th green, so to say he enjoyed the benefits of local knowledge is far from an exaggeration. Mid Ocean, laid out in 1921 by Charles Blair Macdonald, was modified in 1953 by Robert Trent Jones Sr and is discreetly private. By contrast, Port Royal, which Trent Jones designed in 1965, is a public course owned by the Bermuda government. Between them, they boast two of golf’s most photographed holes – the aforementioned 5th at Mid Ocean, a right-to-left dogleg par-4 round a mangrove bay from a raised tee, and the cliff-top par-3 16th at Port Royal (pictured left) where errant shots succumb to either an ocean grave to the left or death by dunes to the right. But back to Mike Winfield, our host, who is up to his neck in organising the America’s Cup, the world’s premier yacht event involving six nations and billions of dollars of boating R&D. In late May, Bermuda will host the race-offs between five challengers – the UK, masterminded by Sir Ben Ainslie, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and France. The winners will then take on the holders, the US, in June. With TV crews pitching up on a daily basis, the island’s 2,500 hotel rooms already fully booked and airbnb in full flow throughout the residential property base, Bermuda is suddenly waking up to the possibilities of a tourist invasion. Winfield, who initially battled to persuade the government to host the event, believes it will be a turning point in the island’s history. But when the super-yachts have left the harbour, Bermuda’s unique selling point, leaving aside the triangular words ‘tax haven’, ‘investment funds’ and ‘reinsurance’, will once again be golf.

Mulligan

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