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NEWS THE MIGHTY

Quinn

What started off as a few weeks working alone became a marathon 163 straight days without a day off for Rugby Golf Club head professional David Quinn. David’s assistant had a change of career and the intention was to simply get through the quiet months with some help of his wife to cover lessons and other commitments in the diary. David recalls “December was very quiet with the weather and the obvious cost savings were a help when the course was closed, the idea was to probably advertise in January with a view to starting someone early March, but as the weeks passed by I hadn’t done anything about an advert and although I had some offers, I kept holding off making a decision on staff.” During this time David started posting the odd comment on Facebook documenting each day. “Within a short time the posts were attracting a following of friends interested in what happened each day, I was even getting people reminding me if I had missed a day!” David’s marathon stint had a beneficial effect on all parts of his

job. “Being here so often had a dramatic effect on shop sales which have been smashing previous year’s targets. In December I also took on the role of course manager which I have found very interesting, I’m enjoying having a pro-active role out on the golf course which after all is the clubs largest asset. On reflection the time spent here in the shop has reminded me of my strengths as a club professional especially my sense of duty to the members and guests.” After a gruelling yet successful spell where he managed not only to attract ten new full time members but also boost his green fee targets David eventually succumbed to inevitable family pressure and the heavier spring workload, securing the services of a year 2 trainee meaning that Day 164 in early May was finally spent away from Rugby Golf Club. The club has joined forces with Leam Valley Golf Centre to merge David’s Midas golf academy which was formed in May 2010. The academy will have the backing of 4 coaches and will deliver a high standard of coaching to golfers around Rugby.

Top class Academy Opens to the Public In a move that step-changes the standard of teaching currently available to all UK golfers, The National Golf Centre Academy at Woodhall Spa, a facility that is responsible for consistently developing world-class talent, including Tour stars Luke Donald and Justin Rose has announced it is to open its doors to the public. Under the leadership of newly appointed Head Coach Neil Harvey, visitors will be able to take full advantage of the facilities through a series of new programmes specifically tailored for beginners, juniors, and those seeking 1:1 tuition or residential golf breaks. The most visionary aspect of The National Golf Centre Academy is a four-acre area devoted to the development of short game skills. Its key features are: • Eight target greens to aim at, offering shots of all lengths up to 100 yards • A range of individually styled bunkers with varying grades of sand • A large, high-quality putting green. Neil Harvey said: “This is an important step for The National Golf Centre Academy and fantastic news for people looking to sample the game for the first time or golfers seeking to improve their skills surrounded by some of the best practice facilities in the world.

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“The Academy already has a strong reputation for nurturing great golf talent, now we’ll offer the general public a similar opportunity. We can’t promise to make every visitor a Tour star, but we do guarantee a first-class, highly personal and memorable experience for all.” A floodlit, 18-bay, driving range takes centre stage at The National Golf Centre Academy. Trees and woodland areas have been retained and greens are strategically located to assist and develop a golfer’s shotmaking skills. One of the key objectives for The National Golf Centre Academy is to encourage people interested in the sport to try golf for the first time. In its new Get into Golf programme, visitors will be given the opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of the game, under the expert guidance of Neil and his team, PGA professionals Scott Emery and Alison Johns. The residential golf breaks are key to the success of The National Golf Centre Academy and specifically tailored to give golfers a truly memorable game-improvement experience. They combine time on Woodhall Spa’s Bracken and worldrenowned Hotchkin course.

For further information call 01526 351837 or email Neil Harvey at nharvey@englishgolfunion.org


GolfMark AWARD

The ‘Foresters’ Swinging Action raises £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support A team of golfers ‘The Foresters’ from the Marriott Forest of Arden Golf Club raised around £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support when they put their stamina to the test by taking part in the 2011 Longest Day Challenge on 23rd June. In their bid to complete the sponsored golf marathon, team members, Terry Croxall, Bud Doyle, Alan James and Helen Orton, took to the greens at Marriott Forest of Arden and played a mammoth four rounds of golf in just one day. The challenge started at 6am in the morning and the 72nd hole was completed just before 7pm in the evening. Team member Terry Croxall (who has organised and completed the

AUGUST • 2011 PLAYGOLF

challenge 9 times!) says “Playing 72 holes in just one day was a real challenge and by the end of it we were all feeling rather tired! We’ve had a great day though and would like to thank Macmillan and Marriott Forest of Arden for their support in organising the event. Knowing that every hole we played helped raise more money for such a worthwhile cause really spurred us on”. Macmillan Cancer Support hopes the popular golfing challenge, will raise more than £325,000 to help them continue providing services which help make a real difference to the lives of cancer patients and their families. There is still an opportunity to support the ‘Foresters’ fundraising at http://original. justgiving.com/alanjames28

One of Staffordshire’s oldest golf clubs Brocton Hall has not only been awarded GolfMark for its child-friendly approach to introducing juniors to the sport, it is also the first club in Staffordshire to be credited with High Achiever status, awarded to clubs that go above and beyond the standards set for GolfMark. Brocton Hall junior organiser Christine Davies said: “We are very proud to have achieved this award – and thanks should go to the Management Committee and everyone at the club who has supported our efforts. Head teaching professional Jonathan Watts has also been building strong links with local primary schools through Tri Golf sessions, as well as working in

special needs schools in the area. The club now hopes to forge new ties to neighbouring secondary schools. As well as encouraging junior golf, courses for adult beginners have also been held and it is planned to expand these in the summer. “We believe it is about making golf as accessible as possible and breaking down some of the perceptions of the sport,” said Jonathan, “High Achiever status is a stamp of quality for what is on offer at Brocton Hall.” Junior academy days are to be held in the summer holidays. If you would like to find out more or have a trial session, contact Jonathan in the pro shop on 01785 661485.

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THE NOTICE BOARD

This is what we want, plenty of on course achievements and special moments here to list, I’m sure we’ve missed a fair few as well, please contact us via e-mail or on facebook to be involved in the next Noticeboard in Autumn.

HOLES IN ONES

ALBATROSS WATCH

Simon FARMER

Daniel O’Loughlin

LITTLE ASTON, 9th hole

RUDDINGTON GRANGE, 8th

Peter BEEL, Barry RICHARDSON, Roger SARGEANT

Sandy Kinvig

193 yards

ELSHAM, 9th hole

THE BELFRY, 7th hole

177 yards

Tom Hughes

164 yards

WHITTINGTON HEATH, 4th hole

Frank MILLINGTON ELSHAM, 6th hole

172 yards

Neil Shinebaum

151 yards

HANDSWORTH, 4th hole

Vanessa Humphries

WHITTINGTON HEATH,13th hole

124 yards

145 yards

by holing in one at the 321 yard Par 4 15th hole, Peter who took driver at the undulating downhill hole, didn’t realise his achievement assuming a lost ball until his playing partner holed out and found TWO balls in the hole!

Another 5 wood, this time from 220 yards saw young Jake Blunt repeat the feat at the 7th hole (495 yards) at OXLEY PARK also in May.

In a recent B team match at Rutland County, GREETHAM VALLEY President Martin Boughton played the par four 400 yard eleventh hole a little better than he had ever done in the past. He hit a driver and a seven iron to pop the ball in the hole for a two nett one as he had a shot. He wondered if this counted as a nett albatross?

Peter Brown, a member at CHURCH STRETTON golf club also got himself one during a round in late April, yet went one better and qualifies for both our sections

Ken Leighton

KENWICK PARK, 17th hole

160 yards

Christine Ross

FULFORD HEATH, 5th hole

116 yards

Roland Oliver

FULFORD HEATH, 11th hole

Pauline Francis

FULFORD HEATH, 11th hole

116 yards

175 yards

Rob Welford performed this most rare of feats during the Bogey competition Chamber of Trade at CLEETHORPES Golf Club in May. His 5 wood second shot from 240 yards away found the bottom of the cup at the 504 yards 5th hole.

137 yards

Phil Farr (Mrs)

CLEOBURY MORTIMER, 6th hole

150 yards

Incidentally, the Elsham aces were incredibly all recorded within 10 days of each other, the 9th hole that claimed 3 of them is named ‘Devil’s Alley’, hardly a suitable tag at present!

Ann celebrates her double, but was it doubles all round later?

However the most incredible achievement of this spring surely belongs to Ann Bache a lady member from EDGBASTON Golf Club. During the PING fourball competition Ann aced the 139 yard third hole. A fine start to a tournament for the 21 handicapper but she wasn’t finished yet, just four holes later she did it again, this time at the 119 yards 7th hole. An almost speechless Ann could only exclaim “it was unbelievable!” after her amazing double, we’re not sure how much the bar bill was afterwards.

Two COLLINGTREE PARK GC members have recently returned from an all expenses trip to Dubai as the UK Matchplay Championship 2011 Winners in the men’s section. Andy Billson and Andy Castell who are established members of the CPGC Scratch team beat off competition from 9 other teams from around the UK who had fought their way to the grand final in Dubai in a 54 hole shootout. The pair carded 120 Stableford points on a better ball basis, to win by 2 points in energy sapping heat that hit 47 degrees at one point! After a consistent first 36 holes the pair started the final day in second place but produced a stuttering start to fall behind, however they mounted a stunning and timely back nine fightback to triumph in style with a final hole birdie. “It was a brilliant experience and we were superbly looked after the whole week, pretty much like being a pro for a week, and all for £25 entry fee,” declared a delighted Andy.

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The Collingtree Conquerors (L to R), Messrs Castell & Billston

ROTHLEY PARK Golf Club in Leicestershire is bringing back the Martin Bowl Ladies Amateur Open competition as part of its Centenary year celebrations. Ladies and junior girls from category 1 and category 2 (up to 11.4 handicap with no age limit) will be eligible to enter this prestigious 36 hole competition, which will be held on Sunday 11th September. The competition, which was last staged at the club in 1990, has attracted many of Britain’s top female golfers, and it is expected that ladies from across the country will compete for the centenary title. Closing date for entries is 31st July. Entry fee £25.00 including a light lunch between rounds. Entry forms and conditions of entry are available on the club’ website (www.rothleypark.co.uk)

Congratulations to Cantrell Cup winners Pro Stuart Brown (ORTON MEADOWS) and amateur partner Adrian Firman (PETERBOROUGH MILTON) who took advantage of some home knowledge to lead from start to finish emerging victorious in the annual Northants event. The pair had a resounding 6 shot cushion over another home player Richard Cole and his Pro partner Tom Rastall (SLEAFORD). DECEMBER • 2010


A busy 2011 season is well under way across the region, the 2010 Champion did the Midlands proud at the PGA Championship, an ex Ryder Cup star edged a typically tight PTS Invitational and the Pro-Am scene saw new names high on the leaderboards. WM

HOME WIN CAPS SUCCESSFUL WEEK MATT’S FLYING FINISH

The PTS Invitational at The South Staffordshire Club culminated in a typically tight finish as this years Order of Merit campaign teed off in fine style. The first Midlands ‘Major’ tournament of the season offered a bumper prize purse of £17,000 donated by main sponsor the PTS. The early pace setter on Day One was Wellingborough golfer Simon Lilly, one of the leading lights on tour took a grip on proceedings with a stunning 5 under Par 66, leaving him 5 clear of a tightly bunched chasing pack. Day Two saw a fightback as pressure was applied by Lincoln Golf Centre ace Paul Streeter (68), Leicestershire Golf Club’s Ian Lyner (67) and home Professional, ex Ryder Cup star Peter Baker who shot a superb 66 to move to 4 under. Lilly, who was moving along nicely came to grief at the tricky short Par 4 17th, a double bogey there halved his lead to just two shots.

The final day and Baker produced a devastating birdie blitz around the turn to take a two shot advantage heading into the deciding holes. A tense back nine culminated in yet another PTS Invitational 18th green nail biter, Lilly’s birdie at the 16th had brought him within one, then a curling 12 foot putt for another at the last somehow rolled around the cup leaving a relieved Baker two putts for victory. This he duly did to the delight of the watching home members and spectators for a one shot win over the luckless Lilly with Streeter a further shot back in third. Baker who pocketed the first prize of £2,500 credited an improved putter for his narrow victory, “Wednesday was a frustrating round with a few loose shots out there, but the last two days have been steadier and the putts have dropped nicely too, I’m pleased with the win but even happier with the success of the event, it’s been a great week.”

Matt Morris, last years Midlands Order of Merit Champion did the region proud at the end of May as he took part in the flagship PGA Championship at Wentworth, producing the performance of his career which included a spectacular final flourish. The Walmley director of golf eagled the 610-yard par five 17th for the second time this week and then sank a 12ft putt on the par five 18th to tie for 31st place alongside a group of players including World No. 3 Martin Kaymer. It left him the leading PGA professional for the tournament at four over, earning him a special award at the presentation ceremony and also a pay cheque of £29,000.

“The 17th I hit five wood and four iron to be just short and pitched it straight in from 30 yards again.” He then arrowed in an approach to 12ft to sink a birdie putt in front of a packed grandstand on 18 and admitted it was an unforgettable experience. “It’s amazing as you would expect, it’s not that often that you get to play in an arena like that,” he said. “Lots of the guys from Walmley Golf Club have been following me around here giving me terrific support.”

PRO-AM ROUND UP

Matthew Cort (Rothley Park) and Simon Lilly are the early season pace setters in the Midlands money list, Cort in particular has shown consistent form in the regions Pro-Ams with a victory at Menzies Welcombe GC and two other joint top places. Elsewhere there have been many new and old names on the victory rostrum, Adam Norman won at Shirley, Ian Walley at Walmley and rising star 21 year old John-Paul Banbury prevailed at Stourbridge.

Mids Money List

COUNTY FOCUS (NOTTS) Craig Swinburn shot a new course record at the Norwood Park Pro-Am in late May; his 66 gave him a massive six shot victory margin. John Lines and Adam Wharton both achieved individual and team doubles at Beeston Fields and Worksop GC respectively, however the consistency of Nottinghamshire GC’s Phil Edwards sees him top the Order of Merit table at the present time, with a slim lead over Worksop Pro Kevin Crossland.

“It’s always nice to finish three, four - especially around here,” said Morris.

(as of June 27th) All tournaments incl. PTS

1

Simon Lilly

16

£4,285.00

2

Matthew Cort

20

£3,639.08

3

Peter Baker

4

£2,950.00

4

Paul Streeter

17

£2,538.91

5

John-Paul Banbury

18

£2,463.00

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DECEMBER • 2010


The Future’s Bright Teenage kicks this issue as we feature another one of Lincolnshire’s finest male talents and travel to Northants, the adopted county of a young lady who likes to keep it in the family. The Future’s Bright has now featured 20 of The Midlands finest young golfers, boys and girls, some of whom may be household names in years to come, plenty more out there too, if you wish to get involved let us know all about your junior achievements by contacting editor@playgolfmidlands.co.uk .

MeghanMacLaren Meghan took up the game aged just 4, wishing to follow her golf mad parents around her local Buckinghamshire courses. As recently as this spring she came to our prominence for something quite similar, pulling off a notable double in the Northamptonshire Ladies Championship alongside her mother Mary. Meghan who is now 16 moved to the Midlands aged 10, joining Wellingborough Golf Club where she still plays out of to this day. Her early career in Bucks saw her called up for England birdie training at just 9, she was also a runner up in The Wee Wonders and won the junior open at Wexham Park just before moving to Northants. Taken under the tutelage of Anders Mankert, the coach at Cosby GC, her outstanding progress has continued with further honours ensuing, soon she was representing her

new county and playing a part in securing successes for Northants in county team events. Meghan first represented her country last year in an U16 match against Spain, during a very successful 2010 she became the England Schools Champion and also won the Midlands South Ladies Championship. This year she’s become a member of the England U18 squad and apart from the success at the Northants Ladies Meghan also recorded a top ten finish in the Scottish Ladies Championship. Her sights are now firmly set on the English Girls U18’s coming up at the end of July, the venue back to her old stomping ground, Bucks and Ellesborough GC. Meghan lists home club Wellingborough, Northants County and Hollinwell as her favourite Midlands courses and naturally wishes to continue her progress all the way to the pro ranks in the future.

NathanKimsey At Warwickshire’s Copt Heath Golf Club this springtime, 18 year old Nathan Kimsey produced a record equalling performance to destroy a field full of England’s leading young amateurs in winning the Peter Mcevoy Trophy. His six shot triumph confirmed a burgeoning talent initiated 15 years ago on the fairways of the North Shore course in Skegness, his home town. First equipped with a set of clubs aged just three, Nathan joined his Dad, a member at the club and was soon under the watchful eye of long running pro and coach John Cornelius at North Shore. It wasn’t long before his early promise and dedication was rewarded, at just 8 Nathan won his age group at the Wee Wonders final in Surrey. That win acted as a springboard for future success inspiring him to even greater heights. Nathan moved clubs to become a member at Woodhall Spa, winning the club championship in both 2008 and

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2009. He first represented his county aged 13 and was picked for the Lincolnshire men’s team at just 16. Nathan also made an eye catching debut last year in his first England appearance, winning all five of his matches in the Home Internationals. Now a member of the full England squad he hopes this year to go on to represent GB & Ireland in the Jacques Leglise Trophy. Nathan, who’s other career highlight so far was winning the Henry Cooper Junior Masters title in 2010 has a playing handicap of plus 2 now and hopes to triumph in the English Boys Order of Merit this year. He considers fellow Lincs stars James Burnett and Patrick Kelly as his main rivals plus Nick Newbold from Derbyshire. With the assistance of current coach Keith Williams and Woodhall Spa junior organiser Barry Chapman this consistent young golfer is up for reaching even greater heights this season, we’re looking forward to following his progress.

AUGUST • 2011


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JUNIOR NEWS PlayGolf Midlands has been inundated lately with news of the achievements of many of the talented young golfers across the region, so many that from now on we’ve a page devoted to them. Nice to see too that a good few ex Future’s Bright stars are included in this little lot, highlighted in bold, we know how to spot talent.

Pinehurst Awaits! Cleobury Mortimer Golf Club Junior member Emily Price, aged 11 has just competed in the USKIDS European Championships, held at Gullane Golf Club in Scotland attended by kids from all over the world. Approximately 500+ children took part in the invitational competition; Emily’s age group (under 11’s) had children from Great Britain, France, Germany, Egypt, Switzerland, South Africa, Czech Republic in it. They played 3 rounds of 18 holes between May 31st - June 2nd. The weather was a little mixed with some rain showers, but the main difficulty was the wind as it was constantly 20+mph all week. Emily scored rounds of 81, 76, 81, which placed her 3rd, qualifiying her for the World Championships (only the top 5 from the Europeans qualify), which will be held at Pinehurst, America in August.

Lincolnshire amateur champion crowned! Well done to 15 year old Jordan Wrisdale from Boston Golf Club for becoming a very young Lincolnshire Amateur Champion. Held at Lincoln Golf Club on Sunday 12th June the +1 handicapper shot a 69 and a 70 to win the title with a two shot margin.

Midlands School Chamionships Bradley Moore, a Year 8 pupil at Woodlands School and a member of Kedleston Park Golf Club, emerged as the youngest ever winner of the Midlands Schools’ Championships. The 13 year-old returned rounds of 75 and 71 for a total of 146 on one of the toughest courses in England , at Hollinwell GC in Nottinghamshire, to win by four shots from Cameron Long of Worcs.The Nottinghamshire Champion Lianna Bailey won the girls event, two rounds of 74 gave her a five shot victory margin over Meghan Mclaren from Northants.

It’s a family affair! Mother and daughter Mary and Meghan MacLaren pulled off a remarkable double in the Northamptonshire ladies’ championship at Kettering. Meghan, 16, became the youngestever winner of the overall championship while Mary won the second flight competition for the Swannell Salver. Meghan, who trains with EWGA’s U18 Squad, was top seed for the championship matchplay after leading the eight qualifiers with scores of 76 and two-under 71. During the knockout she beat defending champion Roseann Youngman in the semi-finals with a birdie on the 19th. She took the title with a 5/4 win in the final over another club colleague, Rebecca Gee.

Well done to……. AIMEE WILSON, 15 (Mickleover) for winning the Derbyshire girls Championship at Chesterfield GC for the third year running. SAMANTHA MEESE (Enville), Staffordshire Girls Champion 2011 at Beau Desert GC MELISSA NICOL, 17 (Moor Hall), Warwickshire Girls Champion at Kenilworth GC. INDIA CLYBURN (Woodhall Spa) for retaining the Lincs Girls Championship at Lincoln GC. ROBERT ALDRED (Stourbridge) for his win in the Midland Boys Championship at Mickleover GC, after a 5 boy Play-Off

BELFRY GOLF ACADEMY –

Schools Out!

The Belfry has announced details of their Junior Golf Academy courses for the summer holidays. The one and two day schools cover the full range of skills required for an excellent beginning to the game. The price is just £30 for a single day and £55 for two and includes PGA qualified tuition, equipment hire, lunch and fun competitions with prizes. The courses run throughout the school holidays, for further details and schedules download the form on the Academy page at www. thebelfry.co.uk

Meanwhile, the next eight players in qualifying went through to the Swannell Salver – and Mary MacLaren progressed through the rounds to win the trophy. Last season, Meghan won the English schools’ championship and the EWGA Midlands South ladies’ and girls’ titles.

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An ultra modern Staffordshire golďŹ ng hot spot offering a full array of playing, learning and retail facilities, its centrepiece being an 18 hole short course that has recently undergone quite a transformation.

3

Hammers

Location/Directions: Situated at Coven, just 5 miles away from Wolverhampton just off the A449 Stafford Road and well signposted from there.

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GOLF COMPLEX

Contact Golf Reception on 01902 790428 or visit www.3hammers.co.uk AUGUST • 2011


Staffordshire

Junior golf: The 3 Hammers runs highly successful courses for juniors, over 200 youngsters pass through the doors each week, from ages 4-6 boys and girls get a fun introduction to the game via Tri-

Golf, then from 7+ they graduate to the Junior Golf Passport, a national scheme with the aim of showing them all an early route to future golfing success.

The new layout: Golf at the 3 Hammers is quite well established. Sir Henry Cotton originally designed the 1,384 yard course back in 1964; it has always proved a popular track for all abilities of players looking to brush up on their short games. It’s always been quite a tricky test too, now thanks to a £100,000 remodelling by the world renowned golf architects Hawtree Ltd the 3 Hammers now bears a passing resemblance to a mini Augusta, and plays pretty much as tough. A lovely parkland setting containing many attractive pines, conifers and colourful shrubs which help to retain a mature look and all is beautifully manicured. The 18 holes range in length from just 45 to 122 yards

yet virtually each and every one will demand a precise touch to find the slick putting surfaces which are well guarded by banks, occasional water features and 29 newly sculptured sand traps. To plot a way around all the hazards, putt well and card a good score is deeply satisfying here and with all day tickets at this purely pay and play facility costing from just £5.95 for juniors and £8.95 per adult there’s no reason not to have a few tries. All weather tees and outstanding drainage keep it playable in all weathers, this modestly sized but expertly created area offers a full short game MOT probably like no other 18 hole short course in the Midlands area.

Teaching facilities: The centre has an indoor Golf Performance Studio, air conditioned, with a fitness area and complete with the K-Vest 3D technology, allowing you the chance to take an instant and detailed look at your golf swing. It can be a real eye opener but is a vital tool to iron out flaws and the onsite PGA qualified coaches will soon set you on a path to do

something about them. One final facility is the Learn 2 Play Golf Academy, a 10,000 sq ft fully netted astro turfed practice area catering for all shots in a golfer’s game. Designed especially for popular group sessions with beginners and juniors, there’s even a covered pavilion for parents and spouses to watch.

Practice: Long game issues can be addressed too, by way of the centre’s 23 bay undercover and floodlit range complete with automated Power Tees. Free heaters have now recently been

© PlayGolf Midlands

installed to encourage golfers to continue their practice after dark and in all weathers. The 3 Hammers has in addition an indoor putting green, free for all customers to use.

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The South Staffordshire Club boasts an impressive list of designer credits that mark it down as potentially a little bit special before you’ve entered its leafy entrance lane. Vardon, Colt, Braid and more recently Donald Steel have all played their parts in creating a layout that charms, teases and yields a low score very reluctantly.

SOUTH STAFFS

Golf Club

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AUGUST • 2011


Staffordshire

Location/Directions South Staffordshire GC is situated in the village of Tettenhall, just 3 miles outside Wolverhampton off the A41 on Danescourt Road.

From the very first hole, a sweeping gentle dog leg of a Par 5, just about reachable in two, to the 18th, an uphill short Par 4 with its green fiercely protected by penal pot bunkers there can be nothing but admiration and total respect for this layout. Resembling a classic English country park in looks, the manicured rolling fairways tree lined with rows of mature oaks, pines and conifers are as pretty as a picture yet demand a precise touch to negotiate your way around them for a clear path to distant greens. Head Professional Peter Baker and the greenkeeping team spent the winter and early spring constructing four new back tees, intent on making this already stiff challenge just that little bit tougher still. It seems to have been successful too, the recent PTS Invitational held at the club, the annual flagship event of the PGA Midlands Tour produced a winning score of just 7 under par after 54 holes, and just 3 players out of a field of 90 bettered par after the three day event.

Facilities: Improved teaching and practice facilities to go along with the course changes, with a completed ten bay range and short game area. Indoors the newly refurbished pro shop houses the Indoor Performance Clinic with swing analysis,

© PlayGolf Midlands

launch monitor and putting systems. The delightful practice putting green sits outside a clubhouse traditional in looks with a spacious interior. The comfortable lounge bar, spike bar and restaurant all look out over the 1st and 18th holes.

Wise to adopt a conservative approach for the 8 hole stretch between 7 and 14 where only the short 11th offers any relief from a gruelling spell of 400yard plus Par 4’s. This is where a sound long game really will need to come into play. Birdies are rare occurrences, the fairways can get tight and frequently you can find yourself a little wrong sided for your approach, beautiful but deadly golf holes that play very long and each one capable of damaging anybody’s scorecard. An exciting finish is always a likely prospect at South Staffs, survive the test of the long Par 3 15th with many traps and out of bounds on the right to be watchful of, then use that likely boost in confidence to attack the final three greens. Mercifully just that little bit shorter than what’s gone before although you may find that these could test your putting skills a little more severely. What a setting for a finishing hole too, playing your final approach to the undulating 18th green, with the distinctive clubhouse behind is truly one of the most stunning profiles in West Midlands golf.

Not as much as a puddle in sight for a water hazard but the bunkers are well placed, out of bounds is a frequent consideration and it’s certainly a place to test your short game. A few raised and contoured putting surfaces feature banks and subtle slopes designed to lead your ball toward nasty spots where rescuing pars will be tough. A bit of course knowledge is a useful thing to have, South Staffs specialises in unheralded teasing hazards as opposed to the full in your face effect. Nothing at all is given away too easily here, but if you are to have a successful round you’d best get it underway quickly. The opening holes contain the better birdie prospects especially at the short Par 4 4th, and the following hole, a reachable Par 5. The 6th is a lovely short hole to savour, through a narrow canopy of tall trees to a well protected green that must be found, a birdie chance if you manage it, bogey territory should you slip away from its sanctuary.

PlayGolf Pick: 17th hole 339 yards Par 4 (Yellows)

Time to finally dispense with the driver on this delicious and shorter test, tight and flanked on each side by tall trees, accuracy is the name of the game in order to give yourself the best opportunity to get your approach close to the flag. That would be a wise move as this putting surface is notoriously slippery, keep it below the hole for the best chance to emerge unscathed.

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West Midlands

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A bit of grandeur plus a golfing venue very much out of the ordinary, welcome to Nailcote Hall, a 17th Century Jacobean Country House Hotel. An ideal, easy to reach conference venue, the idyllic wedding location, and in its grounds a Par 3 course that hosts currently the West Midlands most prestigious pro tournament, the British Par 3 Championship. In August its back once again, with a bumper £25,000 purse, its most impressive ever field of competing plus of course a smattering of famous sporting and entertainment figures.

History The British Pro Short Course Championship was first held way back in 1933 in Torquay. Legends such as Ted Ray, Harry Vardon and Henry Cotton graced the tournament in its early years. In 1998, a new era was born as the newly designed Nailcote Hall became the

renamed events host course and in the subsequent years has provided many exciting tournaments, many of them undecided until the last putt has dropped. Nailcote owner Rick Cressman and Ex European Tour stalwart and Head Pro Mark Mouland work tirelessly to improve the layout and present an annual strict examination of everyone’s short game skills. This year they’ve embarked on the most ambitious course changes yet, designed to create a fabulous spectacle for the watching fans during a closing little loop of holes certain to course notable professionals and famous amateurs a good deal of grief.

The Course You only realise Nailcote’s true potential as an important and worthwhile golfing facility by playing it. Modestly measured at just over 1,000 yards and taking no more than an hour to play it can easily

be dismissed from many a golfers schedule. Any pre-conceptions though should be instantly laid to rest by the tee shot view on the very first hole, there’s an instant early example of the tricky task ahead and why many of the British par 3 competitors have struggled over the years. The long narrow and highly elevated green is only 116 yards away but finding its centre is your only chance of joy. Anything off target will leave you either in one of the steep-lipped bunkers that surround it or faced with a chip up a steep bank with the realistic danger of slipping back down the other side too. This is typical of what is to follow, a formidable yet fun test of short game excellence, full of tiny targets, dangerous little pot bunkers and tricky putting surfaces. Enjoy a fabulous tiny terror of a 4th hole and the magical 7th with its practical Sawgrass effect, this hole used to be the finale, now there’s one destined to be even finer.

Facilities The Hotel has 40 bedrooms. Nailcote Hall has a restaurant and a café/bar plus full leisure facilities. The grand old untouched look of the exterior is mirrored by the fixtures, fittings and décor inside. Rather like its Championship Golf Course, everything is done to a very high standard. It’s a well-known fact that we don’t spend enough time honing our short games; Nailcote is the perfect venue for that. Just 9 holes here will put it through a full MOT and no matter what your standard is, shooting anywhere near par is a real achievement. However, the biggest factor here is fun; it’s something different and massively enjoyable. Groups and societies too who haven’t visited here yet should take note of the fact that this little track has the potential to play host to a fun tournament type day, possibly a quick-fire match play event that’s a little bit out of the ordinary. Thrills and spills are guaranteed as part of the package that is Nailcote Hall.

PlayGolf Pick

9th hole, 146 yards This hole used to have just a highly raised upturned saucer of a green to worry about, plus its huge steep lipped bunker right in front of it. It still has those, yet now there’s also water, in front of the tee and along the left. With new trees planted on the opposite side this is set to become one awesome finishing hole, Rick & Co can hardly wait to see how the pros handle it come August.

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East Midlands

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The Perfect Fit

C

ustom fitting is big business these days. Despite tough economical times, players are following the example of their professional idols by visiting specialised centres and suites, putting their faith in the advice of the PGA professionals and the state of the art technology on offer for a solution to hopefully take their games to the next level. Nowhere does it better in The Midlands than at the spiritual home of The Ryder Cup. The Belfry has seen a growth in revenue over the last year for its custom fitting side and promises a professional and enjoyable experience. Assistant shop manager Tom Hughes began his Belfry career as a shop sales assistant at 17. He took over the hardware buying in 2009 and now acts as the custom fit co-ordinator for the PGA National custom fitting centre. Tom visited the main manufacturers fitting centres to research the methods they use and to gain product knowledge to ensure the best possible service and the right results for Belfry customers. “At the booking stage we charge a single £50 fee for the fitting, which is deducted from the price of new clubs should they choose to purchase them from The Belfry”, Tom said. “The customer is then booked in and assigned one of our PGA qualified custom fit specialists to explain and guide them through the custom fit experience.”

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The PGA Academy at The Belfry has 5 purpose built custom fit suites used by the 9 leading brands, within them are the latest FlightScope launch monitors which measure aspects of the customers golf swing and point the way to selecting the very best clubs for their games. “We usually ask the customer what their preferred brands are before commencing the custom fit” explained Tom, “yet the launch monitors might suggest something better suited for them and our professionals are highly knowledgeable and fully product trained and can soon find exactly the right fit for the player. Each player has his/ her own idiosyncrasies; it’s quite an eye opening experience for them” After a 90 minute process for the Custom fitting, the customer has his or her ideal clubs logged in to the system. Once the order is placed, approximately 10-14 working days from then the custom fit administrator will be in contact with the customer, to inform him that his or her bespoke set of custom fitted golf clubs have arrived. The Belfry shop was recently voted the best in Britain & Ireland by Golf World magazine and stocks hardware from all of the 9 leading brands, a vast choice of clubs are on offer including all of the very latest wedges and putters. All of the leading clothing manufacturers have ranges here too, and everything in store is priced more competitively than you might expect. AUGUST • 2011


Custom Fit for success‌ Our renowned Custom Fit Centre offers an enviable choice of five custom fitting suites and a range of the latest golf clubs from nine of the world’s leading brands ,to ensure you get the best from your game. n State-of-the-art launch monitor technology n Flight Scope and nFLIGHT n Quintic Room n Best in Europe n 20+ PGA Golf Professionals n Unrivalled size, choice and experience

To find out more call: 0300 or visit www.TheBelfry.com

500 0405

9 BRANDS ONE RESORT


West Midlands

Shropshire

WALSALL

You wouldn’t think the highly urbanised Birmingham suburb of Walsall would have the room or surroundings for much of a golf course. Not only does it have one in its heart, it has a Dr Alister Mackenzie designed one with over 100 years of history and tradition, a Championship challenge set in a stunningly beautiful setting that comes as a very pleasant surprise. Location/Directions: Junction 9 of the M6, found on the A4148 Walsall ring road on Broadway West. Can also be reached easily from the North via the A34. Walsall isn’t a particularly long lay out, especially at the beginning with some short Par 4’s to ease you in. The apparent generosity though can be balanced out by

the fact that the early holes skirt the edges of the course, meaning there’s a regular out of bounds threat. Accuracy rather than power is the vital element for success then; the driver will get much more use during an inward half where the holes get longer and fairways a little wider. The original Mackenzie design is still in place, however in the 1950’s the club undertook an extensive programme of tree planting, each fairway attractively lined by colourful summer foliage. These combined with an ever present smattering of sizeable sand traps to plot around on almost every shot confirms a decent examination. The putting surfaces are real highlights, some two tiered and gently contoured, great consistency with some subtle borrows. Superb conditioning and a new irrigation system give Walsall quality year round playability.

PlayGolf Pick: 18th hole 521 yards Par 5 (Yellows) Get ready for a long finishing stretch of three holes at Walsall, the climax being here at a long sweeping downhill Par 5 with a real show stopper of a long approach to a well protected green that just has to be attempted for a late chance of glory.

19th hole The clubhouse retains a traditional look and feel and offers a range of catering to members and visitors alike, anything from bar snacks to set menus and A la carte. The club has a partnership with two hotels on its doorstep offering impressive value for 36 hole play and stay packages.

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ASTBURY HALL The region’s newest golfing facility, set amongst miles of rolling, peaceful Shropshire countryside, Astbury Hall is opening its doors for a busy summer of discovery. Location/Directions: Situated on the B4555 road to Highley that runs south from Bridgnorth. Astbury Hall is the brainchild of rock guitarist KK Downing of Judas Priest fame whose long standing love affair with the game has led him to design an 18 hole challenge in amongst the most lovely of surroundings with four very differing tee locations to suit all abilities. The front nine holes are the more recent developments; their youth leaves them a little defenceless on a calm day especially from the tee.

However the lie of the land has been used to good effect in creating a fair few hazards at the business end, with frequent raised targets and tricky run off spots demanding pinpoint approaches. The far corner of the course is bordered by attractive woodland. Tall and mature Oaks dot the landscape during the slightly older back nine which does contain a few dense patches of rough and long grasses to punish wayward driving. The lay out’s undulating nature stays consistent, so too do the standard of the putting surfaces which have to be the highlight of a visit here. Constructed to USGA specifications, they are fast, consistent and receptive throughout, quite outstanding in quality and rather like the rest of the layout, superbly conditioned.

PlayGolf Pick: 18th hole 157 yards Par 3 This is one spectacular closing hole set to become a regional classic. An elevated tee looks down towards a supremely challenging and contoured putting surface made to look that little bit further away by its beautiful but rather menacing lakeside location. A final flourish worthy of confirming Astbury Hall as a bright new star in the firmament of quality Midlands golfing establishments.

Facilities: The 350 year old Georgian Hall has been transformed into the clubhouse; modern amenities include the brand new bar and restaurant added whilst still retaining the original grandeur of the building. The work hasn’t ended just yet either, future plans include another 9 holes and a range of lodges and holiday homes onsite.

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Shropshire

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PlayGolf Pick

6th, Badgers Sett 150 Yards, Par 3 The tee is situated 100 feet above the level of the green. The green is guarded back and sides by a horseshoe shaped lake. The forest provides a stunning backdrop. The swirling winds can cause havoc, you might need a wedge, you may have to take a wood, whatever fate the elements have in store this is an unforgettable hole up there with the very finest in our region.

Cleobury Mortimer Golf Club

Located on the Shropshire and Worcestershire border and bordering the Wyre Forest, Cleobury Mortimer is a club on the rise, with a growing membership, a well conditioned layout, plus a hectic social side. Founded in 1993 and family run, the club boasts 27 holes in three loops of nine, all designed at separate times and each one offering a different type of challenge.

Deer Park

Badgers Sett

Foxes Run

28th Hole

Lots of tests packed into Cleobury’s original loop, room off the tees yet good placement is key to take on a number of challenging approach shots to well-guarded putting surfaces, a couple of which have steep banks at the back, added peril and certain bogey territory if you’re not precise enough. Highlights include a tricky 2nd where you’ll need to thread your second shot around a number of trees as well as avoiding the pond at the rear of the green. Then perhaps the toughest hole at Cleobury Mortimer, the 8th is a 220 yard Par 3 with a glorious view from its tee yet it’s a daunting prospect too with a 170-yard carry over water to reach dry land. Deer Park proves to be a clever examination of your skills.

Situated closest to the Wyre Forest, Badgers Sett is not only the longest of the three loops it’s also the most picturesque. The middle part is tree lined and quite spectacular with a stadium feel in places. Certainly the place to chase some birdies, inviting and receptive greens encourage a bit of target golf. There’s two shortish Par 5s, both will ask questions of your nerve in going for them in two, especially at the 7th, running through the back of it’s pine surrounded green will leave you with a treacherous looking up and down. The 8th too demands some accuracy to stay out of trouble as the closing holes see you return to more open ground as a prelude to Foxes Run.

Many members rate Foxes Run as the toughest loop, good course management skills are crucial here, regular risks of watery graves and out of bounds present themselves in addition to the threat the elements can provide on this exposed ground. The putting surfaces are excellent throughout at Cleobury, a real credit to the groundstaff, good putters will relish their prospects on slick and always consistent surfaces, possibly the highlight of all 27 is the threetiered raised affair at the Par 4, 3rd. Mid round there’s a very difficult 6th hole before it all climaxes with a spectacular risk and reward Par 4 around two lakes, a show stealing signature hole if ever there was one, except at Cleobury Mortimer where it’s merely the runner up.

The clubhouse has everything for all golfers and all sizes of golfing groups looking for after round relaxation. A friendly spike bar, lounge area, conservatory plus a match room with a snooker table next door. Upstairs is the Wyre Suite, catering up to 100 for large golf days with its balcony overlooking the course. The club has a very active social side, practice facilities are excellent and you can find Cleobury Mortimer and its latest goings on by visiting its pages on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube, where you’ll soon find out that this is one golf club that refuses to be ignored.

1993, 3167 yards (White Tees), Par 35

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1996, 3271 Yards (White Tees) Par 36

1998, 2980 Yards (White Tees), Par 34

AUGUST • 2011


Staffordshire

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Beau Desert Golf Club Secluded away deep in the heart of Cannock Forest, a part of one of The Midlands largest and most attractive areas of outstanding natural beauty is one of its finest golf clubs, one which celebrates a worthy centenary in 2011. Beau Desert is a Herbert Fowler inspired heathland gem in a stunning tree clad setting of peace and tranquillity.

Location/Directions: Just outside the small village of Hazel Slade, reached via the A460 road that runs between Rugeley and Cannock. The club is signposted from the adjoining Rugeley Road. Beau Desert is subtitled “The Beautiful Wilderness”, there’s no need for an explanation why. Carved out between rows of majestic tall pines and flanked by firs and spruces with banks of gorse and bracken, splendid isolation reigns. Birds of prey glide the currents above, an occasional deer may poke a nervous nose at your progress, you can hear a pine cone drop, its distraction free golf, purely you against the course, and quite a challenge that is. Beau Desert is not overly long, just less than 6,000 yards from the amateur tees, yet it is a formidable test, the host to many an Open qualifier doesn’t give too much away easily. It will demand pinpoint precision from the tees, often set back in tree clad narrow funnels with much to carry to reach the sanctity of the short grass. The wild and unfettered nature of your surroundings too can guarantee more than a few areas of thick rough well advised to steer clear of. Then at the business end revel in the stunning nature of the greens, large and undulating throughout, fabulously consistent with more than enough subtle borrows about to threaten a few three putts for the average player. Some superb holes to look out for include a wonderfully challenging fifth which could well bamboozle a first time visitor playing this rolling Par 4. So too could the double dog leg at the long twelfth where a bogey would be far from a disaster. Yet each and every challenge has its own charm and merits, Beau Desert consistently excels from start to finish.

PlayGolf Pick: 18th hole 458 yards Par 5 (Yellows) Great courses generally provide great finishing holes, here is no exception. It looks generously helpful in length and should be comfortably reached in two, yet a closing flourish is far from easily attained, the path to the green is a treacherous one and once there you’ll find this putting surface the biggest test of all, massive both in size and contours. Epic stuff.

Facilities: Beau Desert has excellent practice amenities including a 12 bay range and short game areas. The large clubhouse is a two storey affair, the top floors large bar area boasts stunning views of the 18th hole, the ground floors function room can seat up to 120 diners for any occasion. 1102 • YLUJ

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Staffordshire

Cheshire

Whittington Heath On the outskirts of one of Britain’s smallest cities stands one of The Midlands’ oldest golf courses. Established way back in 1886 on land with horse racing and military history, Lichfield’s Whittington Heath is a Harry S. Colt inspired Staffordshire classic. The course wends its way through heather and gorse with attractive woodland as a backdrop. The sheer beauty of the place stands out at every corner, yet that comes with a catch, you need accuracy in abundance to merely appreciate your surroundings rather than risking being a part of them. The

fast running fairways are the only place to be if it’s a low score you’re chasing. Penalties are likely to be severe for slipping off the straight and narrow, especially true on an increasingly demanding closing stretch where long wispy links like grasses make tee shot targets even slimmer. Enjoy the short holes, they are all gems and the probable highlights, beware a very tough final one at the 15th, a little longer and its exposed tee catches the odd breeze or two. Always in fine condition all year long and the slick putting surfaces are some of the best around.

PlayGolf Pick: 4th hole, 158 yards Par 3 (Yellow tees)

Whittington Heath’s very distinctive clubhouse formed part of the grandstand for the Lichfield races in bygone days. Now it’s a busy facility, popular with visitors and societies, as well as being an

A spacious Hawtree design, independent and privately owned, rapidly developing into one of the finer new courses in Cheshire Location: At Wychwood village, Weston, near Crewe and just 3 miles from junction 16 of the M6, Gorsty Hill sits on the other side of the road opposite its neighbour DeVere Wychwood Park. Starting with a long Par 5 usually played into the prevailing breeze and climaxing with a similar challenge, the layout takes golfers on a journey through landscaped, undulating countryside with regular inland links elements included in the mix. Three cuts of rough are omnipresent to threaten offline shots, while you may get away with the first two, the third and

thickest cut of all guarantees trouble. Gorsty Hill will offer decent opportunities for good scoring notably at four shortish Par 4’s around the turn, some which will prove irresistible for the longer hitters. The back nine starts generously, then toughens up for a closing stretch designed to test all parts of your game, as well as providing some memorable highlights. The quality of the quick USGA standard greens and their landscaped surrounds is a permanently outstanding feature here, a great test of your short game guaranteed. This lovely course is well maintained and always well presented. Sand based and with a modern drainage system, only the most extreme of wintery conditions can prevent play occurring at Gorsty Hill.

This begins a run of four superb holes on the front nine. An accurate tee shot required to avoid a host of troublesome spots set around a supremely challenging and fun putting surface, full of undulations. A gorgeous looking Par 3, although soon rivalled by an equally impressive short 7th.

PlayGolf Pick:

important social venue for a plentiful membership. A regular host to many regional amateur championships, Whittington Heath continues to prove itself one of the West Midlands’ finest challenges.

This begins a run of four superb holes on the front nine. An accurate tee shot required to avoid a host of troublesome spots set around a supremely challenging and fun putting surface, full of undulations. A gorgeous looking Par 3, although soon rivalled by an equally impressive short 7th.

13th hole, 176 yards Par 3 (Yellows)

Facilities: The club has a brand new clubhouse with a comfortable lounge and outside terrace overlooking the course. Visitors and societies benefit from a range of packages to suit all tastes.

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East Midlands

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A guaranteed scenic delight for the eyes at Chapelen-le-Frith Golf Club, a Derbyshire location growing in stature, and an ideal spot for a get away from it all golfing treat.

Chapel-en-le-Frith

With the stunning Peak District as its surroundings you could be mistaken for anticipating quite a stiff walking test here, yet that’s not quite the case. The peaks act merely as a beautiful backdrop; the course itself sits on the valley floor between the two small towns and provides a gently rolling parkland examination. The opening nine was remodelled as recently as 2002, its modest length won’t leave you reaching for the driver too often, instead you’ll need plenty of thought, correct club selections and a bit of nerve to get off to a good start. After a fairly generous beginning, all three will be required at the 4th and 5th, two teasing Par 4’s that show Chapel at its best. The short dog leg 4th is driveable but the target is blind, risky and probably more realistically found in two by way of a precise tee shot and a good pitch over the trees and streams that front the elevated green. The tee shot at the longer 5th dares you to draw the ball over and around the trees that block the fairway route for the chance to reach this green in two. A delicious yet potentially deadly duo that typifies the challenge on offer, the stream remains a regular companion, so too the trees that come into play more during a tighter back nine, out of bounds is also a regular threat. Stroke Index One arrives during a testing start to the longer closing half. After perhaps the course’s tightest tee shot at the 10th, the following hole is a superbly demanding Par 4. Fairway centre is the only place to be on the tree lined 11th for the best chance of clearing the stream and deep front bunker to reach a sloping two tiered putting surface that sits right below the clubhouse balcony. Evenly paced and receptive throughout, the greens here are a credit to the club and should inspire confidence. The big hitters will relish three good long driving holes to finish, still tree lined though and there’s one last water hazard to cross in front of the final green.

8th hole

PlayGolf Pick

477 yards Par 5 A definite birdie chance at one of the newer holes that runs attractively along the side of the neighbouring Combs Reservoir. Accuracy is required to avoid fairway pot bunkers and the out of bounds threat, plus the green tucked away in the corner is long and undulating and quite a challenge. For further Information Call 01298 812118 or visit www.chapelgolf.co.uk Location/Directions: One mile outside the town, situated at the side of the B5470 Chapel-en-leFrith/Whaley Bridge road.

JULY • 2011

Facilities: Chapel-en-le-Frith won the prestigious Golf Mark club of the year award in 2009, its commitment to junior and beginner golf is reflected in a healthy membership. The modern clubhouse offers a wide range of catering options; Chapel is a very reasonably priced venue for visitors and societies and post round there are no better sights in The Midlands than the view from the balcony.

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West Midlands

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H OR S E H AY VILLAGE

Golf Centre A new design set in a developing area just south of Telford. The course designed by Howard Swan was opened for play in 1997. Horsehay operates a golf for all policy, with an open membership, no waiting list and no joining fee. The layout is just less than 6,000 yards in length from the White Tees, Par 70 with two halves of contrast on either side of the main road. The first nine has an inland links feel to it with challenging holes nicely designed around the undulating terrain. A good challenge too, the open aspect attracts regular breezes, hazardous spots are frequent, so too are changes of elevation and some tough approach shots await, notably a long iron or fairway wood to a raised putting surface at the long Par 5, 9th, whilst avoiding two ditches and a deep bunker.

The back nine is set on more open ground, a little bit more in way of width on the fairways, the hilly nature remains the same, there’s some well-placed sand traps, yet a spell of holes exists that will suit beginners just that little bit more. However, the trickiness returns fine style for the two closing holes. The 17th is a tight downhill challenge where accuracy off the tee is crucial for a successful approach to a green well below the level of the fairway. Then the finishing hole is a fairly long Par 4 dog leg with a daunting long iron approach to a green guarded by a large bunker and stream on the right. It is a challenging conclusion to an excellent and varied test of golf. The greens are well conditioned and consistent in nature, and at its highest points Horsehay Village offers outstanding panoramic views of the surrounding Shropshire countryside.

Facilities The bright and airy modern clubhouse is really nice with the Nineteenth Hole bar accommodating up to 50. Larger societies and other functions can be catered for, a marquee sits outside and buffet menus are prepared on the premises. First class practice facilities include a 22 bay range, a six hole academy course and short game areas. Pre-conceptions can often exist when the words council and golf go together. Any of those will soon be laid to rest here. Horsehay Village’s combination of an enjoyable test of golf with some stand out holes, a friendly atmosphere and very reasonable green fees make it well worth a visit for all ability golfers in 2011.

PlayGolf Pick: 8th hole 185 yards, Par 3 (Whites) Scenic but deadly, your long iron or fairway wood will need to be on form to find the putting surface across a large lake and two greenside bunkers. If you’re going to miss the target, too long is a lot more desirable than too short.

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AUGUST • 2011


GTOUR – THE RACE TO CYPRUS Watson Wins at Windy Slaley

Two-time order of merit winner Shane Davies was the biggest mover in the rankings. His ninth place was enough to move him to sixth in the table. Gary Bickerstaff was another big mover as his top ten finish was enough to take him into third in the rankings.

Chateauneuf in Vintage Display at Herons Reach

Gtour regular Jayson Liu certainly found himself in a tricky position on the 18th. After finding water Liu decided to take a dip into the lake which certainly made for good viewing. “Very eventful day” said Liu, “the wind was gale force and I had to cope with a impossible water lie on the 18th but another great day as usual on tour and I look forward to the next one.”

Steve Watson won his second Gtour event of the season on what was a very windy day in the north-east. De Vere Slaley Hall played host on what is one of the stand out days on the Gtour calendar. The championship Priestman course was hit by high winds on Saturday as the players found points hard to come by on what is already a challenging course. Watson came home with 34 points which was enough to win by one point from Richard Fuller and enough to take him to the top of the Race to Cyprus order of Merit and all but book his place in the two day semi-final at De Vere Belton Woods in November. His previous win came in the second event of the season at De Vere Oulton Hall.

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The tour moves from the North east to the North West as De Vere Herons reach in Blackpool plays host on Saturday June 4th. The championship course had a year of the tour schedule last season but it should give players another true test of golf with accurate iron shots needed to succeed at this great course.

Patrice Chateauneuf won his first Gtour event in his second start in the latest event at De Vere Herons Reach, Blackpool. The sun was ablaze on the North-West coast on a tight and demanding course where position of the tee was paramount for good scoring. The wind swept across the course from the Irish Sea making shot selection even more important. After a 14th place finish in his first start at De Vere Wychwood Park, Chateauneuf shot 38 points to win by two from Richard Fuller his second runnerup position in two events after falling just short at De Vere Slaley Hall last time out. “It feels great to win especially in only my second start,” said Chateauneuf. “I’ve been working hard on all aspects of my game through the AUGUST • 2011


WM

“I still didn’t expect to win because my thoughts were that if I could do well then I’m sure the better player’s would also score well. “But in the end I was pleased to get my second victory.” The win took Roth to 21st in the Order of Merit - Race to Cyprus and is pretty much certain to make the semi-final in November at De Vere Belton Woods.

Jones ‘Delighted’ after First Tour Win

GTour Order of Merit 2011

Welshman Tom Jones won his first Gtour event with an impressive display at Mannings Heath.

winter and early spring and it’s great to see the time spent on practice greens and at the driving range starting to pay off. “I really enjoyed the day and I’m really impressed by the Gtour. It is well organised, the team make us all feel welcome and we play on great courses at top venues. The relaxed atmosphere is probably the best attribute of the tour; golf can be a little serious sometimes and even in the heat of the battle the Gtour team and the players seems to have good fun with it.” With the tour over half way through the season, order of merit points are becoming increasing valuable in the all important Race to Cyprus. Steve Watson maintained his position on top of the Order of Merit with an 11th place finish but it was Fuller who leaped into second spot with another top-three finish.

Roth Reigns at Moor Allerton David Roth won his first Gtour event of 2011 and the second of his career with a stunning display of golf at Moor Allerton Golf Club. Roth’s performance was on par with the rest of the day as fantastic weather shone above what is one of the best courses in the Gtour calendar. His 42 point total was enough for a four point victory over Phillip Edmondson who was playing on his home course. Edmondson must have thought he’d done enough after playing some superb golf himself.

Playing off three a round of 72 gross gave him the clubhouse lead on 38 points until Roth playing in the final group came in with 20 points and the back-nine to add to his 22 total on the front nine. Roth, who spent eight months out of the game through injury, was just delighted to be back playing and to get the win: “I started off well but was waiting for that moment when it goes horribly wrong. After nine holes and being four over I felt really good. My target at the start of the day was to beat my worst score this season which was 24 points after nice holes, I was on 22 points.

In his rookie year on tour Jones knew he needed a strong performance to claim one of the all important semi-final spots in November. Before the start of play Jones was on the cusp of qualification in the Eagle tier: “I knew semi-finals were fast approaching so a good performance was going to be crucial,” said Jones who along with the packed field battled the weather elements all day. “Unfortunately it followed me over the bridge from South Wales and made the day incredibly challenging for all.” In an attempt to deal with the conditions better Jones drafted in younger brother Alec as a caddie, something he put down to his good performance. “He was fantastic and he enabled me to concentrate on my golf, which proved to be the difference. In all honesty I had no idea I would play so well, form coming into the competition hadn’t been very impressive, but I just had one of those days. “It seemed as though I couldn’t make any mistakes and the birdies came in some great places, my game felt good all day and the guys that accompanied me were encouraging and supportive all the way.” Jones finished ahead of Ted Jasina in second place and Russell Middleton and Ian Hirth who were a in a tie for third. A lot of the players used this event to seal their place in the Order of Merit standings and with only two events left before the top-52 head to De Vere Belton Woods, any points at this stage are crucial.

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Ireland

WM

P ORTMARNOC K Hotel & Golf Links PlayGolf Midlands tees off its Irish coverage in fine style just north of Dublin at The Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links. Not to be confused with its well established near neighbour the Portmarnock Golf Club this newer golfing venue presents a stunning links test and highly renowned play and stay facilities. Location: A beachside setting, overlooking the Irish Sea with the fair city just a bus ride away. Well situated as far as the airport is concerned too, only 8 miles away. At first glance it’s difficult to believe that this beautifully sculptured 18 holes of links land is only 16 years old and it took that long for its potential to be fully realised. It does have partial golfing history, legend has it holes were constructed way back for private use by the original owners, the famous Irish Jameson Whiskey family. Ryder Cup legend Bernhard Langer was brought in to transform The Links Portmarnock into a Championship examination. His creation is a typical slow burner of a task; a reasonably comfortable beginning slowly transforms itself into a formidable and memorable challenge the closer you get to the beach and through the natural dunes and sand hills that surround it. Enjoy the width and relative generosity early doors; even ground and fast running fairways should promote some confidence in long games before tighter tests and course management issues come along.

The 8th marks the turning point and how. A twisting narrow short Par 4 with a ninety degree dog leg and its raised green flanked by trouble spots will catch out the unprepared. From here on in, there are no easy rides, as holes twist and turn around increasingly undulating terrain. Even the shortest hole, the Par 3 11th sees you teeing off from up high in the dunes looking down to a severely bunkered and slick putting surface, wind resistance is highly likely. The highlight though is reserved appropriately for a final four hole stretch, a closing crescendo of traditional links charms, rugged beauty, with no shelter anywhere from the elements and not much room for error either. To plot your way around these windswept gems will take a lot a skill and probably a touch of the luck of the Irish too. Pride in your game can be fully justified if you come away with four pars, delight in the experience is a certainty no matter what. The luxurious 4 star hotel has modern elegance and also the grandeur of its past, parts of the 19th century Jameson estate are retained for a true sense of Irish history within its walls. The hotel has three quality eateries plus a Beauty Salon and treatment rooms, many of its 138 fully ensuite rooms boast sea and golf course views. Not only does it have a superb location, it’s also very handily placed for a further number of quality golfing establishments in the area. Dublin’s coastline is dotted with great layouts, Royal Dublin, St Anne’s and The Island to name but a few, all are easily reached from here.

PlayGolf Pick

16th Hole, 334 yards Par 4 (Green Tees) An elevated tee will naturally attract stiff breezes, it’s a good 150 yard carry over sand banks and dunes to a slim fairway, two pot bunkers will force you to the left side, then uphill to a deceptively dangerous target, club selection will need to be spot on to avoid the greenside traps, and everything up there tends to fall away to the left again, a real teasing challenge.

1102 • TSUGUA

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The Turnberry

The Turnberry is an icon of Scottish hospitality and home of four Open Championships. The hotel has been reborn as part of Starwood`s acclaimed Luxury Collection portfolio following a multi million pound renovation. Based of the West coast of Scotland, approximately one hour from Glasgow and just 30 minutes from Prestwick airport, the resort is located to attract regional and international visitors and trust us it’s well worth the visit! A resort like no other, Turnberry offers spectacular scenery, two

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Championship golf courses, the Ailsa & Kintyre as well as the 9 hole Arran course and the Colin Montgomerie Links Golf Academy. The five star resort also boasts fine Scottish cuisine, a wide range of outdoor activities as well as an award winning spa.

The Ailsa Course The Ailsa course at Turnberry has hosted 4 open championships in 1977, 1986, 1994 and most recently in 2009. The Open has had many remarkable moments in its history but maybe none more so

than the 1977 Open Championship where two of the world’s best Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson battled it out it what became known as the “Duel in the Sun”. The course is named after the distinctive Ailsa Craig, a dramatic rock eleven miles out to sea and it’s easy to see why it is regarded as one of the world’s finest and most beautiful layouts. A number of improvements have been made over the past few years increasing the length to 7211 yards. The new layout features 6 new Championship tees and 21 new bunkers and adds even more character to this historic

par 70. Our favourite addition to the course has to be the stunning new Championship tee on the 10th which is now situated on a steep crag of rock close to the iconic lighthouse and Bruce`s Castle. With a 220 yard carry to the fairway driving straight over Bruce`s cave, this unforgettable challenge has to be one of the most iconic golf holes in the world today. The first three holes pose a tough opening, especially when the wind blows from the direction of the Ailsa Craig. From the short fourth to the short eleventh, the course follows the shoreline, with the fifth to eighth AUGUST • 2011


Scotland

framed by dunes and the tenth and eleventh framed by the craggy rocks it makes for a stunning front nine and start to the inward 9. The scenic grandeur of the Ailsa course, along with the granite dome of the Ailsa Craig, the peaks of Arran and the low form of the tip of Argyll, are to be savoured as part of a truly unforgettable golfing experience.

Kintyre encompasses the historic land of the first golf course at Turnberry, formerly the nine-hole Arran course, as well a new stretch of land known as Bains Hill. The history of the Kintyre dates back to 1909 when the old Arran layout was created. It has been rebuilt on two occasions, both of which followed the end of the two World Wars.

The Kintyre Course

Today the Kintyre offers undulating greens, glorious fairways, magnificent ocean holes and unforgettable views. The Kintyre is a perfect complement to its notable counterpart the Ailsa.

The Championship Kintyre course at Turnberry evokes the sense of a bygone era while offering an exhilarating golfing experience. The Š PlayGolf Midlands

Seven Challenging golf holes have been created on the elevated section of ground adding a fresh dimension to the course and some breathtaking shots for players. As the short ascent is made from the 7th green, the nature of the track dramatically changes, almost as if a theatrical curtain is opened to reveal a stunning set. Widely regarded as the Kintyre`s signature hole, the 8th involves a drive from a further elevated tee creating a dramatic panoramic view and an unforgettable blind second shot to the green set in a gully by the rocks.

Summary Turnberry is truly a special place steeped in history but with the recent modernisation this 5 star resort really does deserve its place at the very top of golfing and leisure breaks in the UK. The chance to walk in the footsteps of greats is a chance that can`t be missed and on the right day the “Duel in the Sun� could be between you and your playing partners. For Further Information on golf at Turnberry please telephone 01655 334 032 or visit www. luxurycollection.com/turnberry

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One of the very finest aspects about playing this beautiful game we love is that unlike other sports we get the chance to perform on the very same stages graced by the top stars. In Wales at present there is no finer example than at Celtic Manor, a 5 star resort complete with luxury hotel, many facilities and 54 holes of golf, the centrepiece being the Twenty-Ten course, still basking in the afterglow of a truly memorable Ryder Cup experience.

Celtic Manor

Location/Directions: Quite simply right by the side of junction 24 of the M4, on the outskirts of Newport, South Wales.

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AUGUST • 2011


South Wales The Twenty Ten: Reserve a bit of extra time to savour the pre round service on offer here, from the luxurious Ryder Cup locker room to the excellent practice facilities on offer, the staff here can’t do enough to make you feel like a tour star right up to tee time. The Usk Valley is the very attractive looking setting for this supreme test of your golfing skills, the TwentyTen offers a contrasting journey, initially testing you out with opening holes of an inland links nature before the major water features that dominate the mid section of the course take over. Naturally a lay out that played host to golf’s biggest team event and is still the Welsh Open venue is lengthy and quite a formidable proposition for the average mid-handicapper, to shoot your handicap here would be a fabulous achievement, but no matter, playing here is all about pure golfing exhilaration and just treading the same turf as Tiger & Co. The obvious key to success is straight long driving and keeping the ball dry yet there are other more subtle defences that become very noticeable with each passing hole. Wrong siding yourself on some of these putting surfaces can lead to disaster, approaches require pinpoint accuracy or some spots you may find yourself stuck in will leave up and downs across the narrow side of slippery greens with the water you missed skilfully in the first place lying in wait on the far side for any thinned chips. The lay out was clearly designed to produce exactly the kind of climax it culminated in back in October, the heat is turned up with a signature 14th featuring two lakes and zero room for error, then there’s a climb and an undulating finishing stretch to remember, equally for its demands on your golf game and the stunning views stretching across the holes you’ve just taken on, over to the hills beyond. 16 & 17 will test severely, so too a very long closing hole with its dangerous and final water hazard placed below another challenging green, a fitting climax to this awesome golf course.

PlayGolf Pick: 15th hole; 359 yards Par 4 (Yellows) The Ryder Cup guys reduced this superb risk and reward hole to no more than a putting contest, yet for amateurs this is a spectacular driving test. It is driveable over a mere 270 yards of woodland, which may seems a little daunting but seeing as how the safer alternative around the corner of the dog leg will see you at best with a tricky pitch over water to a raised putting surface full of undulations, you may as well do as the pros did and have a go, then face an exciting test of your short game skills. © PlayGolf Midlands

The Roman Road: Celtic Manor’s original lay out, designed in 1995 by Robert Trent Jones Snr and named after the many Roman Roads that cross its path. The course played host to the Wales Open for three years until The Twenty Ten took over and takes golfers on a journey through an attractive and rolling woodland/parkland landscape. Beautiful views are never far away of the Severn Estuary and the southern Welsh hills. Accuracy is the name of the game; the track isn’t a long one but extremely challenging with a few blind shots out there plus some testing approaches to tight greens with little room for error. The short holes are outstanding here but our favourite has to be the 350 yard Par 4 14th with a pinpoint approach required over the lake that sits in front of the putting surface, delightful looking yet potentially damaging. The Montgomerie: Completely in contrast to its near neighbours, this course designed by the European Ryder Cup captain himself is as memorable as it gets when it comes to your surroundings and the way the holes are shaped around open countryside with breathtaking elevated tee shots across scenic valleys. Deep links style bunkers and slick running greens give it some links type playability too, yet it’s the up and down nature of the track that provides the real test and gives The Montgomerie unique appeal. The front nine is the highlight; among its collection of heady challenges is the 3rd hole, a Par 5 across the hill with an inspiring sight for a second shot down to a low lying green. Once reaching that, there’s a stunning view in store over the entire Twenty Ten course. Other Activities: The brand new Adventure Golf Course is now open giving all players the chance to brush up on their putting skills in an 18 hole fun challenge. Fishing, tennis, biking, shooting, swimming and even swinging through the trees on ropes are among a vast array of other pastimes on offer at Celtic Manor. Accommodation: Celtic Manor has actually got three hotels; The Manor House is a 19th century historic house, traditionally styled with 70 bedrooms. The Newbridge on Usk is a 200 year old inn in a rural setting just outside the resort. The 5 star resort hotel with 330 luxury rooms and suites is the golfing play and stay residence and a very impressive establishment. A selection of bars and eateries plus full leisure facilities and its own shopping mall are all contained within its mighty walls; check the website for more details on this special place in South Wales where the hospitality and service both on and off course is genuinely second to none.

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Machynys Peninsula

Jack Nicklaus’s only venture so far into Welsh golf club design. Machynys Peninsula opened for play in 2005, it cost £3.5 million for the layout but its rapid rise to fame and outstanding instant reputation already mark it down as money well spent. Within weeks of opening the course was already hosting the Wales Ladies Championship of Europe, an event it still stages.

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he links type setting naturally leaves the layout at the mercy of the elements; handicappers of all standards are catered for with five very differing tee locations. From the championship tees, it’s so tough there’s a standard scratch score of 75, three over par, yet the club and academy tees offer something a little easier going. From wherever you tee it up from an exciting round awaits with water a factor on no less than 15 holes. The shaping of the course

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included the creation of 25 acres of new lakes, these prove to be the highlight, as well as the make or break element for your scorecard. Keeping a dry ball throughout 18 holes here is no mean feat. The lakes are placed either directly in front of the tees demanding some long carries, or in other areas, their tributaries can be a little hidden from view requiring you to be spot on with club selection. The front nine, which is more parkland in style, is highlighted by

the obvious water hazard in front of the Par 3, 2nd, and a more subtle test at the short Par 4, 4th hole where it’s a little more hidden from view, both good examples of the different ways the water plays it’s part in testing your skills here. The first half concludes with a stunning ninth, its green contoured around another lake on the right. The back nine is more links like in appearance especially as you head towards the bay for a magical closing loop of three holes to rank

alongside the very finest in Welsh golf. Before reaching them though, traverse more water and avoid thick clusters of clingy rough. Bunker placing too gets a little more thought provoking the longer the round goes on. Machynys boasts outstanding putting surfaces from start to finish, silky smooth and receptive, a prime reason for confirming its Championship status and ensuring you’re very likely to want to return. AUGUST • 2011


South Wales

Location/Directions Machynys benefits from a superb location, gazing over Carmarthen Bay with the Gower Peninsula as a beautiful backdrop further beyond. Exit at Junction 47 of the M4, take the A484 to Llanelli, the club is signposted to the left, just as you reach the town.

PlayGolf Pick 16th, 411 Yards, Par 4 (Yellow Tees) A classic links hole, water to carry from the tee with craftily placed traps and wispy long grasses increasing the danger. With a likely prevailing breeze blowing towards you from the bay it’s a tough task to reach the uphill green in two, yet when you arrive there, the views across the estuary are awesome.

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19th Hole Contemporary and luxurious facilities. Monks Bar and Brasserie has both restaurant and lounge sections with imaginative, modern menus. A leisure club and spa, plus best of all, the long balcony that stretches around two sides of the large building, breath-taking views so majestic even a bad round will soon be forgotten. Arrive an hour earlier too in order to take advantage of the superb warm up facilities.

Around and About One of the most popular visitor destinations in Britain passes along the border of Machynys Peninsula. The 10-mile long Millennium Coastal Park runs adjacent to the towns of Llanelli and Burry Port, its traffic free cycle/ footpath attracts over one million visitors a year.

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CONWY

Links golf in its truest form comes into its own at Conwy Golf Club. 120 years of history and championship pedigree, situated in an inspiring location just outside one of North Wales’ best loved seaside towns.

Location/Directions Nestled in the shadow of Conwy Mountain, overlooking the estuary towards Llandudno’s Great Orme with the Isle of Anglesey visible to the west. Nice and easy to find, Junction 17 of the A55, immediately after the tunnel, well signposted from there.

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North Wales

The Course The course is set on land known locally for hundreds of years as ‘The Morfa’, its level terrain sits exposed to the regular gusty battering it takes from the North Sea. A fairly gentle start gives a slight false sense of security as by the time you reach the par 3 6th back into the breeze, a spell of holes begins that will stretch your golfing skills to their furthest extremes. It also coincides with the lengthiest stretch too, as all of Conwy’s Par 5’s reside during this exhilarating middle part of the course where no two holes run the same way in succession and the wind swirls around with a mind of its own demanding some links type creativity from the golfer. Following all that and a couple of testing short holes, the closing trio, all par 4s on the fairly short side and positioned furthest away from the sea may come as a welcome relief. Yet nothing is given away easily at Conwy. The pretty little patches of gorse that attractively garnish the

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earlier parts of the course grow into something far more fearsome at the end, shrinking the width of the fairways menacingly to give no room for waywardness on any shot and providing a fittingly challenging climax to a exceptional round of golf at one of Wales’s very finest.

Facilities Large Practice Ground to the side of the 1st hole. Putting and chipping greens are first class. Modern clubhouse facilities consist of two bars, lounge, snooker room, refurbished visitor locker rooms and a 90 seater restaurant. An ideal allyear round society location. Around and About Conwy has one of Wales’s most distinctive castles dating back to Edward I’s reign in the thirteenth century. Its walls are a feature around the whole town, ¾ mile in length with 21 towers. The majestic old suspension bridge marks the gateway to the town which also has a large and busy marina.

PlayGolf Pick: The 13th, 174 yards, Par 3 A raised breezy tee should strike some fear, if that doesn’t, lots of thick gorse and rough on the left should, quite an achievement to reach the right level on this two tiered green. If you’re going to miss it, favour the right side and perhaps a little long, a classic and great looking short links hole.

Contact Details: Tel: 01492 592423 Address: Conwy (Caernarfonshire) Golf Club, Morfa, Conwy, LL32 8ER E-mail: admin@conwygolfclub.com Website: www.conwygolfclub.com

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Aberdovey Genuinely beautiful and natural classic links courses are nicely spaced out in the principality. The irresistible mix of sea breezes and natural rolling terrain should always be on the menu for a golfing trip. Aberdovey Golf Club is a prime example, a course always popular with West Midlanders willing to make the crosscountry trek on a regular basis to sample its raw charms. Designed in 1892 the famous English trio of Colt, Braid and Fowler all played their parts in creating a traditional links challenge, its formidability placed in the hands of the inconsistent elements, no hiding place in breezy conditions rather like its neighbours on the Llyn Peninsula further up the Cambrian Coast line. A narrow strip of land situates Aberdovey Golf Club, nestled in between the railway and the tall sand dunes that in all but one exception block your view of the sparkling blue Cardigan Bay. It’s a classic ‘out and back’ layout, the furthest point at the ninth sits

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some considerable distance from the clubhouse. The shorter length front nine tends to face a prevailing breeze, the extra yardage that the second half possesses is balanced out by the fact that they normally play downwind. It’s not always the case, trickery is often in the air, and things can change quite rapidly at the edge of the Irish Sea. The layout’s modest length ensures that aggression isn’t specifically required; course management is, plus an intuitive sense of the powers of nature. Off the tee on the opening holes, there’s a demanding start in store especially if the elements whip up a lively welcome. Close to the beach, the first two see you deep in sand dune country, there is much obscured from view. As soon as that ball of yours hits orbit it faces an uncertain and fickle fate landing on undulating ground prone to deflecting it towards an undeservedly sticky spot. The 3rd is a Par 3 where only the top of the flagstick is in view from the tee; control is the key for early joy at Aberdovey.

A delightful quirk at Aberdovey is that all of the courses short holes face in a different direction. A superb challenge awaits trying to cover the Par 3’s somewhere near your handicap. Blind targets, large dunes, little pot bunkers, crosswinds, all are

lined up to give you a thorough examination, four holes that collectively are as good a series of short uns that it’s possible to find anywhere. Not that the other holes let the side down either. The archetypal

PlayGolf Pick 12th hole, 131 Yards, Par 3 (Yellow Tees)

This is the one hole whose green is carved out up on high between the sand dunes and affords a beachside view. Gorgeous that it is on the green, from the tee below and looking up it’s a formidable target, made much more frightening if the sea breezes are bending the flagstick. Absolutely nowhere to go as a safe landing spot save for the putting surface, and its unpredictable nature could leave you with anything from a wedge to a driver in your hands. Genuinely . JULY • 2011


Mid Wales

Location/Directions Situated on the edge of the Dyfi Estuary, regarded as the borderline between North and South Wales. From the Midlands, take the M54 to Shrewsbury. Follow the A458 west to Welshpool, Machynlleth and then the A493 coastal road to Aberdovey. The club couldn’t be better placed for taking the train; The Cambrian Coastline runs directly past the course and goes directly to Shrewsbury and on to Birmingham.

seaside layout presents all of the qualities that links golf is renowned for. A wild, wonderful expanse of land with its network of winding ditches as almost invisible hazards around thick wispy rough and indigenous plants. The fairways offer

fluctuating width and as is to be expected, good fortune plays a part in a successful round. Yet if the bounces don’t quite go your way, the large generally flat and friendly greens will give you a chance to claw something back.

Facilities

The clubhouse was rebuilt after a fire in 1998. Large and spacious, two lounges and a sit down restaurant accommodate groups of all sizes. Both bar snack and A La Carte menus are superb with fresh locally sourced ingredients. The club has a modern dormy bungalow onsite for an ideal play and stay option with 4 en-suite twin rooms.

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Forming a part of an enticing trio of closing Par 4’s enjoy the charms of the short and eminently driveable 16th hole. Your control over your game may just face its ultimate examination here. True risk and reward of a spectacular nature, the railway line marks the out of bounds to the left, a right to left sloping fairway narrowing as it gets closer to the green with hazardous spots all around doesn’t make things too easy on the opposite side either. Safest bet is for a mid-iron leaving just a wedge to the tight little green, but the temptation to take driver and hope for a favourable bounce may prove irresistible.

Around and About

The bunkers at Aberdovey during recent times have seen major reconstructions, restoring them to their original raw and natural state. Best to be avoided of course, some of the more tiny traps may demand you to adopt stances more akin to a ballet dancer to escape them, but their shape and the way they’ve blended into the contours of the land have won Aberdovey an ecology award.

Voted 70th in Golf World’s Top 100 courses in the UK and 5th best in Wales, the quality of Aberdovey is never in doubt. It’s the work that’s taken place during the last 15 years in restoring its natural look, preserving nature and the brand new facilities complete with a friendly welcome that gives it superb all around appeal. These days, Aberdovey is more than just a great golf course.

The Cambrian Coast railway line is an attractive way to explore this stunning part of West Wales; it also reaches northbound to many other equally inspiring links locations including Royal St David’s, just 40 miles up the line. Aberdovey itself has a lovely harbour, with the estuary and surrounding Cambrian Mountains making it a busy tourist location. 4 miles of fine sandy beaches attract sun-worshippers and water sports enthusiasts too.

Summary

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Mid Wales

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Builth Wells

Location/Directions To reach Builth Wells join the A44 from Worcester, continue through Leominster and Kington, take the A481 into the town, the golf course is situated one mile outside.

Designed as a 9 hole track in 1923, the newer closing nine hole stretch was added in 1986. Separately they couldn’t differ more greatly in their profile and difficulty, combined it’s the complete examination, a nice mixture of holes where good course management should always prevail over power. The first and older half is the place to make your score, offering width and generosity, the fast running

fairways garnished attractively with lush green foliage. The friendly nature of these opening holes is compromised somewhat by a 230 yard, Par 3, 7th hole that proves to be a seriously stern test.

the way toward a tight, two tiered green tucked away in the corner. The remainder of the layout takes you through undulating terrain full of feature holes, ensuring a stiff test is maintained all the way to the 18th.

Scoring opportunities diminish as you enter the back nine; the meandering River Chewfri presents a picturesque diversion and a redoubtable hazard, notably at the 10th where it demands you to cross it twice on

The clubhouse is a Grade II listed building being a converted 15th century Welsh Long House, featuring oak beams, some of which are original. A large bar area and a new dining room seats up to 50.

16th hole,

300 Yards, Par 4 (Yellows) Classic risk and reward. The courageous will fire a driver over tall trees that block your view of the real hazard, the river that flows through the heart of this hole. Laying up short of the water will require precision, too long off the tee and more trees will block your approach to a well bunkered green.

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PlayGolf Pick

A mid Wales location that is situated just 5 miles from the south western corner of The Midlands. This picturesque riverside location mixes old and new for a quality parkland challenge.

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HOLYHEAD To the western tip of Anglesey, and a 1912 James Braid designed heathland course that twists and turns across a fluctuating landscape, 18 holes that present lots of variety in terms of hazards and especially when it comes to width off the tee. Some holes, notably on the front nine offer friendly wide open fairways, others like the short Par 4’s at 14 and 17 for instance demand

pinpoint accuracy if you are to avoid large clusters of dense gorse and thick rough. The wind whipping off the Irish Sea can be formidable, despite its relative shortness Holyhead is no easy ride, and shooting around your handicap will be very satisfactory. The greens and surrounds are well maintained and attractive; there are a few you can ill afford to wrong side yourself on.

PlayGolf Pick: 2nd, 180 yards Par 3 (White Tees) Not a lot of time to warm up before facing this treacherous looking short hole, long enough as it is, yet when you add the fact its normally into the wind it has to rank from the back tees as one of the toughest holes in North Wales. Taking driver may well be a necessity, an accurate one is a must, missing to the right will send you down a very steep bank, and those bailing out on the left haven’t a lot of room to spare before reaching out of bounds territory.

Facilities A large clubhouse features a restaurant with an A la Carte menu and room for 100, the large bar serves bar snack meals also. Within the grounds is situated a Dormy House with accommodation for up to 14 guests, very attractive 36 hole play

Pwllheli Situated on the Southern side of The Llyn Peninsula and boasting superb views of Snowdonia across Cardigan Bay. Tom Morris and James Braid each designed 9 holes around the turn of the 20th century.

Pwllheli is a charming lay out with a difference, purely parkland at the start and finish, holes 8 through 12 however take you to the coastline for a typically challenging links test synonymous to the region. Its not a particularly long track overall containing no Par 5’s, yet it features no less than 10 Par 4’s over 350 yards in length and there’s trouble a plenty to be had,

especially from the tee where even a slight lack of accuracy can prove fatal. Always in fine condition and the greens are slick affairs. The coastline hugging holes prove to be the highlights, gorse and heather abound, and the wind can really blow around during this stretch. Take note of it as well as admiring the view from the raised tee at the short Par 4 11th, this one is quite a tempter. Pwllheli proves to be another notable example of how good the golf is in The Llyn Peninsula, a great combination of two very different types of challenges will test everything about your games.

PlayGolf Pick: and stay packages are available. With views of Snowdonia and the Irish Sea, Holyhead has some scenic splendour in addition to its testing layout, a tight challenge that’s a little bit out of the norm and pleasantly so. A good walk enjoyed.

10th 197 yards Par 3 (Yellows) A typically testing Pwllheli tee shot to a very well bunkered green with a breeze likely to be around to add extra danger. The two traps at the front are particularly severe, the quaint old cottage at the rear of the green makes this a picturesque hole.

The clubhouse is modern, distinctive and contains two lounge bars with breakfast, bar and carvery menus to choose from in the restaurant. The upstairs balcony looks over the course and Cardigan Bay, roomy and welcoming, a fine 19th hole venue.

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Mid Wales

PENRHOS

Secluded away amongst a picturesque countryside setting in the Wyre Valley of Western Wales discover Penrhos Golf and Country club. This family owned quality golf and holiday destination has many on and off course charms worth checking out this summer. Location: Situated 9 miles south of Aberystwyth on the A487, look for the sign posts on entering the village of Llanrhystud.

It doesn’t take long to discover to your delight that Penrhos is more than capable of holding its own as just a golfing location. It has 27 holes including a useful mid length starter course, a range and good practice facilities. At its heart sits an 18 hole Championship length lay out that proves to be quite a unique challenge. A mixture of parkland and inland links, its no place for faint hearts as the course map requires you to take a steady climb up the side of a hill and eventually back down again, guaranteeing some adventurous tests as well as some amazing views looking over Cardigan Bay. Regular changes of elevation, some blind hitting is

required and raised greens will demand some pinpoint accuracy or there’s some tricky run off areas to contend with. Water hazards pop up frequently, springy moorland type turf gives all weather playability and the receptive putting surfaces are consistently smooth. Look out for a quite demanding and exciting 4th hole, a Par 5 with a 90 degree dog leg and narrow fairway, you can cut the corner and make it much shorter but the direct route takes you straight over the hill and will require a bit of nerve. If not quite typical of the challenge that ensues it’s a significant piece of a unique jigsaw of holes that rarely fail to charm and offer something just that little bit different. A haven for wildlife too, we were accompanied throughout by a pair of low swooping Red Kites, indigenous to the area. The hilltop 16th begins a memorable closing trio of holes, the view from its rolling fairway of the full complex below is quite an eye opener when considering just how far there’s still left to drop down to reach a glorious parkland 18th with many a watery grave in store. The answer lies in the hole in between.

PlayGolf Pick: 17th hole 160 yards Par 3 (Yellows)

Cottrell Park klist Golfers Chec

hip Courses ✔ Two Champions ty Packages cie So ✔ Corporate & es ag ✔ Stay & Play Pack rvice Se l na sio es ✔ Prof e Facilities ✔ Excellent Practic Facility lf Go ✔ New Indoor leys for Hire ✔ Buggies & Trol ✔ Extensive Menu e ✔ Visitors Welcom

Golf RESORT

We invite you to join us at Cottrell Park, to enjoy our breathtaking golf courses. Whether you are an experienced or novice golfer, or part of a golfing group, we have a range of facilities to cater for your specific golfing requirements.

Not sure we’ve ever come across a hole quite like this one. The website doesn’t quite do justice to what feels almost like a sheer vertical drop from tee to green at this signature challenge. You must get a good one away or rows of ferns and gorse plus a couple of oaks will gobble up any mishits, a pond awaits at the rear for too much gas, it’s not that easy to judge club selection, but mercifully the putting surface below is soft and receptive and it feels good to find it, a truly memorable test.

If you wish to book a game or view our special offers and events visit

www.golfwithus.com

Cottrell Park Golf Resort, St Nicholas, Cardiff CF5 6SJ T: 01446 - 781781 E: Sales@golfwithus.com

Facilities: A range of accommodation options includes 15 American style Junior suites complete with mini kitchens. A large range of luxury mobile holiday homes and six brand new hillside log cabins.Full leisure amenities onsite include swimming pool, tennis courts, gym, sauna and spa plus a range of quality eateries. Check out the website www. penrhosgolf.co.uk for full details of all the facilities and special offers. Around and About: The local beach is just a mile away, with historic towns and quaint harbour villages close by. Aberystwyth and the Aberdyfi estuary are just 15 minutes away and just an hours drive south will see you at the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast.



PlayGolf Midlands - August 2011