THE STRAIGHTEST DRIVERS EVER? NEW TAYLORMADE M3 & M4 HAVE A TWISTY FACE... YES, TWISTY!
MARCH 2018 ISSUE 370 JAN 18-FEB 14 £4.70
TIGER’S NEW SWING!
And what you can learn from it
s ip t r a e g ’s p m a h c Q M a s te rs e v o r p im o t s y a w t Q 14 bes ls il r d e m a g t r o h s Q Pelz’s hots’ s 9 y b n w o d e m Q ‘I ca ! E R O M H C U M , + MUCH
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Choose your driver like Sergio
re you in the market for some new gear? A driver, woods, irons, wedges or a putter (I’ll ignore balls for now)? If you are, I don’t envy your decision; this year sees some of the best kit I can ever remember going on sale. Even just going back ﬁve years – the average age of a driver – I can’t recall quite so much tech on offer from the top brands. There were more manufacturers then, admittedly, but fundamentally they all offered the same kind of products. How things have moved on. This issue highlights two of the biggest launches in 2018 from two of the biggest names in golf, Callaway and TaylorMade. We’ve seen them all. We’ve hit them all. And so have the Tour pros who’ll use them this year – including Callaway’s newest signing, and our exclusive cover star, Sergio Garcia. The Masters champion has spent the last few months going through a process many of you will go through this year – choosing the best new clubs that will help him win Major
Championships. Your Major might be that weekly wager with your regular fourball, or just getting your handicap down. But your 2018 goals – and Garcia’s – are fundamentally the same; shooting lower scores. We were the ﬁrst media outlet in the world to get access to Sergio as he went through the process of choosing his new bag, which includes all 14 clubs and his ball. After a photoshoot in which he was using his new Rogue Sub Zero driver for the ﬁrst time, we spoke at length to the man who’s compiled a 30-page dossier on Garcia’s ﬁtting, Callaway’s Senior Manager Tour Operations/Player Performance, Dean Teykl. Find out how they settled on his ﬁnal set on page 46, and discover how you can go about choosing your perfect bag.
SUBSCRIBE Have the magazine delivered straight to your door or download the digital edition AND receive 24 Callaway balls. Turn to page 38 for our latest offer
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Full details of these hot new 2018 drivers.
55 PLAY GREAT IN 2018
...and have more fun! Tips on how to improve, where to play, new things to do and new events to watch.
FEATURES 8 First Tee Rebuilding Rory, gear launch Major preview and The Golf
20 Opinion The views of our columnists Dougherty and Andrew Cott
69 ‘I played 878 rounds in a One man’s incredible story o setting a new playing world record.
Storm force Graeme Storm on the fragile existence as a Tour pro. 4 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
81 TG Undercover Four golfers give us their verdict on South Wales gem Pyle & Kenﬁg.
84 My Life in Golf With singer Tom Chaplin.
Pick your perfect bag With help from Callaway’s new star, Sergio Garcia.
the best club worst conditions PXG 0311X DRIVING IRONS Get fitted.
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Contents MARCH 2018
23 Play Better
Our expert team of Top 50 teachers will help you save shots.
PLAY BETTER 24 Learn a new shot The hooky chaser will get you out of trouble.
26 Get me out of here! What to do if your ball is partially submerged in greenside water.
29 Role model Tiger’s new swing moves, and what you can learn from them.
30 Four steps to... Creating the perfect grip, every time you hold the club.
35 My gear reveals... What the tee marks on your driver say about your swing.
36 You v Martin Kaymer How a 7-handicapper compares. 6 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
EQUIPMENT 87 New TaylorMade woods Full details of the M3 and M4 drivers... with “twisty” faces.
92 New TaylorMade irons M3 and M4 feature a new structure to boost distance.
94 It’s not just a sweater... Today’s high-tech tops are designed to keep you warm.
96 Reader test Four regular golfers rate Bushnell’s new GPS watch.
97 Competiton Win a year’s supply of Mizuno JPX golf balls.
98 TG Top 10s Our pick of the best gear.
SUBSCRIBE GET 13 ISSUES OF TG AND TWO DOZEN CALLAWAY BALLS FROM JUST £39.99 TURN TO PAGE 38
COURSES 74 TG Travel Awards The best places to play and stay, as chosen by our readers.
104 Regional guide Some superb courses to start 2018 in seven GB&I regions.
118 Competition Win a four-night trip for two to Turkey, with four rounds of golf.
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Edited by Michael Catling
RULES IS RULES
The end of the armchair rules offic
Looking forward to th biggest events of 201
You’ll be amazed how mu players earn than PGA To
Playing with fire
Nothing gets in the way of 18 holes. Not even a raging inferno
ildﬁres are raging, and wreaking havoc all down America’s west coast. From Washington in the north to San Diego in the south, thousands of acres have been decimated by dozens of bush and forest ﬁres. Lives have been lost and homes and businesses have been destroyed. Golf courses included. Some have had a lucky escape, such as this one
in Portland, Oregon. A 33,000-acre blaze encroached on Beacon Rock Golf Club to create a fearsome and dangerous backdrop against the tree-lined fairways. Luckily, the course remained unscathed, and around 100 golfers even felt safe enough to ﬁnish their rounds. Brandon Crawford, who identiﬁed himself as the man putting in the photograph,
told us: “When we ﬁrst started there was a ﬁre maybe the size of a grocery store. By the end of hole two, it was just crazy. The big one you’re seeing on the internet was on hole nine.” By the time he completed his round, Crawford said ash the size of soccer balls was falling around him. Winter golf has never sounded more appealing!
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The of Ro McIlroy’sfive“great career
ast year was one to forget for Rory tell his wife that. Tying the knot in t one of few highs amid a series of ﬁtn and near-misses on the course. He ditch slipped outside the world’s top-10 and ﬁ without a victory for the ﬁrst time since the last three months off in a bid to get hi again, and has already announced an a end a 20-month winless streak. It’s all p plan to add to his Major tally and help E Ryder Cup...
#1 PLAY MORE, WIN MORE Rory’s hoping to make up for lost time by playing eight times in the build-up to the Masters (right). That could increase to nine events in 10 weeks if he adds the WGC-Mexico Championship to his schedule at the start of March. Whether he does or not, he intends to play more events in 2018 than he’s done since his rookie year. “I think the Ryder Cup is going to be my 26th event of the year,” he told us. “The more I play, the more chances I give myself to win. I want to take advantage of that while I can.”
#2 FIND A NEW RIGHT-HAND MAN JP Fitzgerald is gone, Harry Diamond is in. Rory’s best man impressed enough as a temporary bagman last year to get the job full-time. The duo have been friends since childhood, so that should make up for Diamond’s lack of experience. Or so Rory hopes.
#3 DITCH THE NAUGHTY STUFF Since winning his last Major title, Rory has said goodbye to the puppy fat and dropped his body fat from 24 per cent to 10 per cent. Now standing at 160lb of lean muscle, you’d think 10 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
MASTERS BUILD-UP January 18-21 Abu Dhabi Championship January 25-28 Dubai Desert Classic February 8-11 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am February 15-18 Genesis Open February 22-25 The Honda Classic March 8-11 Valspar Championship March 15-18 Arnold Palmer Invitational March 21-25 WGC-Dell Match Play April 5-8 The Masters
he would be in pretty good shape. Or mayb not. Apparently, he’s married a “great bak which isn’t good wh you have a weaknes for “dark chocolate He’s also admitted indulging on red wine, burgers, fries… the kind of caloriﬁc stuff your average golfer eats and an athlete shouldn’t. “I would be the ﬁrst one to say my diet hasn’t been the best over the past year-and-a-half,” he says. “When you travel a lot, it’s hard to get into a routine where you eat right. You’re always eating out at restaurants and sometimes you don’t make the best choices. Like a dog, whatever you put in front of me, it’s going to be eaten, whether I want it or not. I need to be more disciplined.”
#4 STAY INJURY-FREE He’s got to wait another 12 years until he’s eligible for a free NHS health check, but that hasn’t stopped him from undergoing a full-body MOT, including a food intolerance test. Speaking in September, he explained: “There’s been a couple of things this
year where my joints have been inﬂamed or I just haven’t had the right energy levels. So, I want to use this time to delve deeper, to see where I can get better.” Sources close to the Irishman say his rib is now fully healed and he recently spent four weeks swinging freely in Dubai under the watchful eye of lifelong coach Michael Bannon.
#5 AIM HIGHER It’s no secret he grew up wanting to emulate Tiger Woods, and now he’s after one of his most impressive records. “If you look at strokes gained from when they started to collect the ShotLink data , the only guy that has ever averaged three strokes gained on the ﬁeld in a year is Tiger [Woods], and he did it eight seasons,” Rory says. “That’s my goal. I want to be the only other player to get to three strokes gained-total average. If I can do that, you’ll win ﬁve or six times a year, at least.” He’s even met with Mark Broadie, the brains behind the PGA Tour’s strokes gained statistics, to analyse which areas of his game need the most improvement.
THAT’S PRICEY! John Daly’s Cobra driver, which he used to win the 1991 US PGA Championship, was auctioned off for $14,417 last month.
When to try the latest gear
Excited by the new launches? This is when you can actually hit it
his issue is packed to the rafters with two of the biggest launches of 2018; Callaway’s Rogue range and TaylorMade’s M3 and M4 families. But all we can do is whet your appetite with all this talk of Jailbreak bars and Twist Faces... because you won’t be able to hit any it for a few more weeks. If you’re interested in trying any of these clubs – as well as the latest launches
Wilson Staff C300 driver, fairwa hybrids & irons x2
from Cobra and Wilson Staff – the dates below are the ones to note. Most shops will have demo clubs to try, and if you’re serious about buying, get on a launch monitor and compare it to your current clubs. And this is just the start – next month will see a new Ping driver, plus more putters, wedges and balls. Keep up to date via all our channels (see page three for details).
Callawa Mack Dad 4 wedge
ASK THE EXPERT
Steven Tiley Challenge Tour pro and TG Top 50 coach
Switch to a heavier putter or one with a ﬁrmer face. Whenever the greens slow up due to colder conditions, putts need to be hit harder than usual. This can lead to excessive wrist movement and a stabby stroke. A heavier putter will get the head moving like a pendulum and produce a smoother tempo.
Use a ﬁrmer ball. Although you may sacriﬁce a little feel, changing to a harder model makes it easier to get the ball to the hole. That way you can put the same stroke on it as you would do in the summer, which will help with consistency and conﬁdence.
Callaway X Forged Utility irons
Callaway Rogue driver, fairways, hybrids & irons
Callaway Rogue Sub Zero driver and woods
Make sure the f clean and free from any debris. Even the smallest piece of mud can affect distance or direction.
d b ll
Practice your fundamentals indoors, either at work or at home. Work on starting the ball online more frequently and experiment with different putting arcs to ﬁnd the right path for you.
Cobra F8 drivers x2, fairways x2, hybrids x2 (inc One Length) & irons (inc One Length
Lower your expectations. When greens are super slow and bobbly, don’t get down on yourself for missing putts. You need to be realistic and accept that some things are outside of your control.
4 driver, fairways, hybrids and irons
Callaway Rogue X hybrids & irons
Callaway Rogue Pro irons
Lee Westwood has a Ping Vault putter in the bag.
Give the practice green a miss if poor conditioning causes putts to miss. In the winter, I tend stick to indoor putting greens so my conﬁdence doesn’t suffer.
Callaway Rogue Draw driver
COMING SOON... Ping G400 Max driver, Ping G700 irons, Ping Glide Stealth 2.0 wedges, Ping Vault 2.0 putters TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 11
Armchair police switched off Rules revamp means TV viewer call-ins will go unanswered
he power to penalise is no longer in your hands. In a move that will delight many pros, golf’s criminal justice system has put an end to trials by TV. Effective immediately, the R&A and USGA will no longer consider call-ins or emails from couch crusaders and will instead revert to the sport’s own version of TMO. Just like rugby, one or more qualiﬁed officials will be assigned
WHAT THEY SAY?
HOW YOU VOTED ON TWITTER Are you in favour of or against the new rules?
94% 6% FOR AGAINST
to monitor the video broadcast of a competition to help identify and resolve any rules issues as and when they arise. In addition, a Local Rule is also available for a committee to eliminate the additional two-stroke penalty for an incorrect scorecard, provided the player was not aware of a rules violation when they signed their card. Maybe they should call this the Lexi Rule…
DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN? BOOM, BABY! Jeff Overton’s still got it. The one-time Ryder Cup star, who coined the ‘Boom, Baby’ catchphrase at Celtic Manor in 2010, has been sidelined since March due to a spinal infection that resulted from a herniated disc surgery. But it ll i well with his putti drained a 94-foo during half-time college basketba game to send a family of four to Myrtle Beach. Everyone needs a friend like him.
“When it comes to the administration of the rules, those things lie with the players and the committee. If someone at home sees it, we’ve seen it as well. We don’t need that outside assistance from the viewers. We want you to be fans, enjoy watching the competition and have confidence in those who are in charge of the event.” Thomas Pagel, USGA senior director of the Rules of Golf
Dylan Frittelli wasn’t leaving anything to chance at the Mauritius Open. He whipped out a compass to gauge the wind direction on his penultimate hole. Whether all the pros carry one is anyone’s guess, but using it is completely legit according to Rule 14-3/4 and helped Frittelli win his second European Tour title. Q. A player uses a compass during a stipulated round to help determine the direction of the wind or the direction of the grain in the greens. Is the player in breach of Rule 14-3? A. No. A compass only provides directional information and does not gauge or measure variable conditions or assist the player in his play.
DON’T TRY THIS AT WORK Lexi Thompson, Ana Inspiration 2017 The American had a three-shot lead in the ﬁnal round when she was informed that a viewer had emailed rules officials, notifying them that she had improperly replaced her golf ball on the green 24 hours earlier. She was penalised two shots for the infraction, and two more for the scorecard now being rendered incorrect. She went on to lose the tournament in a play-off.
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Padraig Harrington, Abu Dhabi Championship 2011 After opening with a 65, the three-time Major champ was disqualiﬁed after an eagle-eyed viewer spotted on a slowmotion replay that his ﬁnger had brushed the back of his ball after he had replaced it in front of his marker. It should have been a two-stroke penalty but because the offence was discovered after the round, the Irishman was kicked out for signing for the wrong score.
Tiger Woods, Masters 2013 Tiger took a dodgy drop from the water but was only called up on it by David Eger, a former tournament director, watching at home. He should have been DQd for signing an incorrect scorecard but that penalty was waived under Rule 33 as the committee had initially determined, prior to the competition of his round, that there was no violation. Realising their mistake, he was assessed a two-shot penalty the next day.
Tom Collela, a 60-year-old electrician, came up with an ingenious way to play golf at work, and racked up ‘at least 140 rounds in two years’ before he was foiled – quite literally – and lost his job. Australia’s Fair Work Commission heard that Collela had used an empty foil packet of crisps to block the signals that enabled his PDA to track his movements. Unsurprisingly, a tribunal ruled that he had deliberate deceived his employer and was fairly sacked.
HOW MUCH? A private lesson with Tiger Woods was auctioned off for $210,000 at a charity pro-am last month.
‘I hope Bjorn bears up to theresponsibility’ &
BernardGallacherstillhasthescarsfrom hisbrushwithdeath,butthey’renottheonly thinghewantstogetoffhischest...
ernard Gallacher knows what it takes to win a Ryder Cup. He experienced heartache eight times as a player, and another two as a captain before he ﬁnally got his hands on the Ryder Cup. Few would want to relieve 25 years of losses, but Gallacher is just grateful that he’s even able to do it. It’s been nearly ﬁve years since he suffered a cardiac arrest and was declared medically dead. Not once, but three times. The 68-year-old spent a week in a coma, and was told that he wouldn’t be able to play golf again. But with an internal deﬁbrillator ﬁtted in his chest, he’s back playing every week at Wentworth .He admits he still misses the thrill of competition, but isn’t so wistful about the job facing Thomas Bjorn at Le National.
How did playing in the Ryder Cup and then captaining the team compare? The biggest difference was that I never really felt nervous as a player. Provided I was swinging well, I always felt under control. Whereas, when I was captain, there were always so many different pressures and once the players were on the course, I couldn’t really do anything except become
THIRD TIME LUCKY Bernard Gallacher led Europe to only its second-ever victory on American soil at the 1995 Ryder Cup.
Bernard Gallacher is a brand Ambassador for Golf Care
a chief supporter. Trust me, it was far more nerve-racking watching.
How much did you rely on your vice-captain? There’s a lot more emphasis on vice captains now, and I can’t get my head around it. I don’t think people would know who my vice captain was. I had Manuel Pinero, but I really had him to bridge the communication channel with the continental players. People said I was Tony Jacklin’s vice captain,
Six things you didn’t know about Bernard Gallacher… HewasaPGApro atWentworthfor 25years. Formerlythe youngestmanto representEurope intheRyderCup, aged20. Neverplayed intheUS OpenorPGA Championship. MadeanOBEin 1996. Won10times ontheEuropean Tour,includingthe FrenchOpenand SpanishOpen. Stephen,his nephew,isa formerRyderCup player,whilehis daughter,Kirsty,
but I considered myself a helper. When Tony was with the players in the room, I was never involved. He was the captain and his job was to make the important decisions. I just hope Thomas Bjorn bears up to the responsibility of a captain.
Did you enjoy the captaincy more than competing? Playing in the Ryder Cup was a lot more important, to me, than captaining the team. It was still a great honour at the end of my career to be given the captaincy, but I spent my whole life trying to play in the Ryder Cup and played more events during a Ryder Cup year because I wanted to pit myself against the Americans and be part of a team.
Even now, is it hard to accept not being able to perform at the top level? That’s why playing on the Senior Tour is so difficult, because you can become very frustrated. A herniated disk stopped me playing earlier than I would’ve liked, and I don’t have the same passion for golf now because there’s no competition. But I still enjoy playing from a recreation point of view. If I watch myself swing, I can see I’m not as loose as I used to be but I can live with that. I’m still annoyed if I’m over par.
Were you worried that you were never going to be able to play golf again after what happened in 2012? When I came out of Royal Aberdeen Inﬁrmary, the doctors told my wife I wouldn’t be able to play golf again. When I had a cardiac arrest, it came out of the blue. Only about 10 per cent of people survive, and I was lucky that I was at a hotel function where they had a deﬁbrillator and there were two accident emergency nurses in the audience who performed CPR. I was in a coma for a week and can’t remember anything. The ﬁrst thing my wife said was: “The doctors didn’t think you were going to make it.”
So, are you defying doctors’ orders by playing every week? Luckily, my family doctor sent me to a consultant in London who is a golfer and he said: “Oh no, you can play golf again. The deﬁbrillator won’t affect your swing at all.” So far, he’s been proven right. I don’t putt as well as I used to, but that’s probably because I am deprived of my broom handle putter. I think I need to get a golf lesson off Bernhard Langer! TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 13
FIRST T Hedoe Kaymer w making a few a tennis b string a n
he Golf Test
t how much do you have in common with the world’s top golfers? On the tee this month… two-time Major winner Martin Kaymer
Have you ever rushed on to the 1st tee just before your tee time?
At the South African Open, I almost missed my tee time because there was a break and they said we weren’t going to play today. I went to the gym and a player told me we’re going to play in ﬁve minutes. I didn’t hear the announcement and ended up four-putting the second hole.
TG SCORE BIRDIE
Have you ever had a hole-inone?
I’ve had two regular ones and one weird one at the Masters, a skipper on 16. I was playing a practice round with Tom Watson. That’s probably h best way to get one, skimming it over the water.
TG SCORE BIRDIE
Have you ever shot a 59 or better?
Yes, I have. In 2006, I shot a 59 at the Habsburg Classic in Germany. That’s why I have a 59 on my golf ball. The interesting thing is I started par bogey, and then shot 14-under in the last 16 holes.
TG SCORE EAGLE
Have you ever missed a putt less than two feet?
Absolutely. Many times actually. On my ﬁrst year on tour, I was still kind of arrogant and thought I was one of the best amateurs in the world. I thought I could ﬁnish off holes quickly with a weird stance just to knock it in. I would say at least 10 or 15 times.
TG SCORE BIRDIE
Have you ever ﬁve-putted?
I think in my second tournament on the European Tour. I played in Huntingdale in A t l and ﬁve-putted the ﬁfth or sixth hole. I was just an amateur and wasn’t d to greens like that.
TG SCORE PAR
It was in a cup once. I’ve also found my ball in a trashcan. I was playing Arizona and pulled my tee shot. I thought I was in the desert, but it was the middle of some trashcans. Typically, the guy behind the ropes said ‘that was a trashy shot!’
TG SCORE BIRDIE
Have you ever found your ball in an unusual place? Have you ever broken a club in anger?
Three times. The ﬁrst time was in China, the second wa Africa at the Nedbank on 17 with a pitching wedge and time was in South Africa… at the Nedbank… on the 17th my putter.
TG SCORE BIRDIE
Have you ever played a prank on a fellow golfer?
There are a couple of things, but the public should neve know. Once you start, they all get you back. But Danny L is brilli t uff to, because he doesn’t get you bac locker and never knows who it is.
TG SCORE BIRDIE
Have you ever be disqualiﬁed from a tournament? Have you ever won or lost a match 10&8?
n amateur, I was 13 and signed for the wrong score. I had hit so s and couldn’t care less. I just wrote down anything and didn’t rly. That was the ﬁrst and last time because my dad was really ad at me. It’s a respect thing and that’s what golf teaches you. No, that’s ridiculous. My biggest win was 7&6 against Seung-yul Noh in 2011 in Arizona. He had just gone to Butch Harmon and changed his grip. I didn’t mind that; it was a short day. The biggest loss was against Dustin Johnson in the 2010 Ryder Cup 6&4.
A record tying score by the German, who was also two balls away from running out at the Scottish Open. Next month, four-time PGA Tour winner Aaron Baddeley bids to go one better as he takes the hotseat. 14 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
TG SCORE PAR
TG SCORE PAR
DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT THEM! Scottish rock band Simple Minds will bring the BMW PGA Championship to a close when they perform at Wentworth on Sunday, May 27, 2018.
Hideki Matsuyama is defending champion of the Phoenix Open.
story? Pen it and you could become an award-winning author and win a bunch of prices, including $125 in Amazon vouchers. The International Golf Story Writing Contest, which is free to enter, is accepting submissions – ﬁction or non-ﬁction – until February 1. Over 18s only; max 700 words. Submit your story to email@example.com
See it, play it, do it
GottheJanuaryblues?Herearesixwaystogetyourgolffixthisspring professional and amateur game at the Royal Lancaster Hotel London on February 22, 2018. Categories include Club of the Year, Coach of the Year and Lifetime Service Award. Tickets are £85 each. www.englandgolfawards.org
SEE IT The ‘Greatest Show on Grass’ Forget the Super Bowl. The Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona is home to the largest crowds on the PGA Tour. The par-3 16th, nicknamed the Coliseum, is surrounded by a 20,000-seat grandstand. Expect plenty of hooting and hollering once Phil Mickelson gets on the tee. From February 1-4, live on Sky Sports.
PLAY IT The Range The name is hardly original but the concept is. Based in Manchester city centre, The Range is decked out with ﬁve Foresight Sports GC2 launch monitors and simulators, which
DO IT can recreate more than 100 famous courses. Open from 11am until late, Mon to Sat. A simulator session costs £75 per hour. www.therange.uk.com 0161 325 4444
Golfwell International Golf Story Writing Contest Do you have an interesting golf
SEE IT England Golf Awards Join celebrities and golf and sports stars to celebrate the achievements in the
WIN TomWatson:Lessons ofaLifetime II We’ve teamed up with Good Guys Media to offer 10 lucky readers the chance to receive a three-and-a-halfhour lesson from an eight-time Major
New club launches Two of the biggest club launches of the year drop this month – and you’ll be able to try them in February. You can see Callaway’s Rogue range and TaylorMade’s M3 and M4 family from page 87, and hit them both at your local pro shop from February.
winner. And all from the comfort of your living room. We’re giving away 10 copies of Tom Watson’s ‘Lessons of a LifeTime II’ DVD, which covers everything from the
grip and alignment to distance control and shot shaping across 64 chapters. Also included is a tip from Tiger’s dad, plus a 21page booklet summarising each
HOW TO ENTER For your chance to win, log on to www. todaysgolfer.co.uk/ TomWatsonDVD and answer the following question.
DO IT The Irish Golf Expo Fancy a weekend getaway before Easter? Head to Belfast on the ﬁrst weekend in March and you can visit the twoday Golf Expo at the Titanic Exhibition Centre. Look out for the washing machine challenge, a golf dart board and a trick shot show. Pre-book tickets from £7 per person; open 10am-5pm. www.irishgolfexpo.com
How many Open Championships has Tom Watson won? A) Three B) Four C) Five Entries close at midnight on February 23, 2018. Full terms and conditions online.
TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 15
FIRST TEE DID YOU KNOW? The last three Opens at Carnoustie were all won in play-offs.
Are you ready for Major mania?
Tiger’s back, Rory’s fit and Sergio’s going for the double. Here’s your guide to the 2018 Majors THE MASTERS
Date: April 5-8 Course: Augusta National Defending champion: Sergio Garcia
Date: June 14-17 Course: Shinnecock Hills Defending champion: Brooks Koepka
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW The broadcasting rights are yet to be conﬁrmed, but Sky Sports are close to agreeing a new deal to cover every day live. Free-to-air coverage is expected to be shown live on the BBC at the weekend, with highlights in the evenings. No excuse then for missing Tiger’s Major comeback and Rory’s tilt at the grand slam.
WHAT THE HISTORY BOOKS SAY That Jordan Spieth loves the place, but maybe not Amen Corner. Were it not for his collapse in 2016, his record of one win and two runner up ﬁnishes in four appearances would be even better. Sergio Garcia fans may be interested to know that only three players have ever defended the Green Jacket. One of them – Tiger Woods – has failed to ﬁnish in the top-25 once in his last 18 starts at Augusta. It’ll be his ﬁrst Major since the 2015 Masters. On the par 5s. Only two champions in the last decade made up fewer than 50 per cent of their scoring on the 2nd, 8th, 13th and 15th holes. Even Zach Johnson took them apart in 2007 with his wedges. 16 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
US PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
Date: July 19-22 Course: Carnoustie Defending champion: Jordan Spieth
Date: August 9-12 Course: Bellerive CC Defending champion: Justin Thomas
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Accuracy will be a key component, according to the USGA, with the conversion of seven acres of short grass into fescue adding to the links feel. The tighter landing areas are designed to ensure the par-70 course isn’t overrun, with longcarry bunkers and kick slopes coming into play off 10 new back tees.
A 156-strong ﬁeld will descend on the east coast of Scotland for the eighth time, but the ﬁrst since 2007 when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff. At 7,421 yards, Carnoustie is the longest on the Open rota and, according to amateur legend Sir Michael Bonallack, the toughest course in Britain.
Tom Watson wasn’t kidding when he said “you’ve got to hit some long shots, very precisely” around Bellerive. Routed around a winding creak, the par-71 layout features six par 4s over 450 yards, 11 water holes and some of the biggest, undulating greens you’ll ever see. This will be Spieth’s grand slam chance, too.
WHAT THE HISTORY BOOKS SAY
WHAT THE HISTORY BOOKS SAY
WHAT THE HISTORY BOOKS SAY
Shinnecock will be the ﬁrst course to host the US Open across three different centuries. Retief Goosen won the ﬁfth and most recent edition in 2004, which was marred by the decision to stop watering the greens after 36 holes. Even the USGA conceded they lost control, with the ﬁnal round yielding the second highest stroke average of all time (78.7). Phil Mickelson doubled the 71st hole to lose by two.
Plenty about the 1999 Open, and Jean van de Velde’s meltdown on the 72nd hole. Lesser known is the story of a 19-year-old, who went running into his mother’s arms in tears after shooting 89 and 83 in the ﬁrst two rounds. His name? Sergio Garcia.
Bellerive’s Major pedigree is conﬁned to one US Open and one US PGA. The former is perhaps the most memorable, with Gary Player completing the career grand slam in 1965. This year, the 7,547-yard course will host the centenary edition of the ﬁnal Major of the year, so expect plenty of famous faces to make an appearance.
WHERE IT WILL BE WON OR LOST WHERE IT WILL BE WON OR LOST
Around the greens. Like Augusta, there are a bunch of false fronts and shaved collars which put a premium on the short game. It’s no coincidence then that Mickelson has twice ﬁnished inside the top ﬁve at Shinnecock.
WHERE IT WILL BE WON OR LOST Ernie Els once described the last three as “the toughest stretch” in an Open and he’s not wrong. It starts with the 248-yard 16th, the “hardest par 3 in the world” according to Jack Nicklaus. Next up is a brutal par-4 where the Barry Burn criss-crosses the hole three times. And for those who need reminding about 18, just type Jean van de Velde into YouTube.
WHERE IT WILL BE WON OR LOST The closing stretch may be home to a 235-yard par 3 and a 600-yard par 5, but the 6th is a potential card wrecker and retains one of the highest stroke averages on a par 3 in US Open history. It doesn’t get any easier on the 10th, which Vijay Singh once branded as “one of the hardest par 4s” on Tour.
QUICK BUCK! Seven months spent caddieing for Rory McIlroy in 2017 earned Fitzgerald $1.65 million, which would have put him fourth on the LPGA money
PGA Tour stars earn four times more than the leading LPGA pros
GRAHAM DAVIES When we grow old, we want to be just like him. The 87-year-old member at Ashburnham Golf Club in Wales was honoured with the ‘2017 Summer League Shield’ for being the most consistent scorer between March and September. Maybe you do get better with age…
But are they four times better? The stats seem to suggest not...
t’s no secret that the PGA Tour can make you a millionaire overnight. But what we never realised was how much Lexi Thompson & Co are being short-changed on the LPGA Tour. Last year, the top-10 money earners on the PGA Tour pocketed four times more than the leading LPGA pros. Even Mac Hughes, who ﬁnished
took home more than every single female golfer. Equality? Hardly! There’s no denying that men hit it further, but they were well beaten for fairways hit and greens in regulation by the ladies in 2017. More putts were taken on the LPGA Tour as a consequence, but the scoring between the two sexes was still pretty close. ve us? See for yourself.
It pays to have friends, especially when one of them is a Major winner. Harr Diamond, who owns a string of bars in Belfast, was Rory McIlroy’s best man and is now set to pocket a small fortune as his full-time caddie. No word yet on who’ll buy the drinks if they win.
Greens in regulation... PGA Tour 67.2% LPGA Tour 74.7%
SALE GOLF CLUB Too many managers are all talk and no action, but not John Jackson. After recognising that Sale’s junior section was dwindling, he did something about it. The club has now delivered Tri Golf sessions in six schools and introduced over 800 children to golf since October.
Shots per round PGA Tour 69.6 LPGA Tour 69.8 Average driving distance PGA Tour 301.88 yards
LPGA Tour 260.11 yards Driving accuracy PGA Tour 59.75%
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN So much for being the headline act at the Joburg Open. The South African didn’t even make he first tee after amming his fingers between two airport trolleys. You’d think being nicknamed Shrek, he’d be made of sterner stuff.
LPGA Tour 74.87% Putts per round PGA Tour 28.62 Total Earnings (combined top 10)
LPGA Tour 29.57
PGA Tour $69,326,557
The 15-handicapper claims to have recorded 80 holes-in-one, including 60 between 2015 and 2016. Unbelievable, right? The Golf Channel seemed to think so, and even ran a documentary on the 75-year-old’s feats called AceHole. Subtle, hey?
LPGA Tour $16,326,557 TOP-10 PGA TOUR EARNERS (2017)
1. Sung Hyun Park $2,335,883
1. Justin Thomas $9,921,560
2. So Yeon Ryu $1,981,593
2. Jordan Spieth $9,433,033
3. Lexi Thompson $1,877,181
3. Dustin Johnson $8,732,193
4. Shanshan Feng $1,728,191
4. Hideki Matsuyama $8,380,570
5. Ariya Jutanugarn $1,549,858
5. Jon Rahm $6,123,248
6. Brooke Henderson $1,504,869
6. Rickie Fowler $6,083,197
7. Cristie Kerr $1,414,752
7. Mark Leishman $5,866,391
8. Anna Nordqvist $1,335,164
8. Brooks Koepka $5,612,397
9. Moriya Jutanugarn $1,320,900
9. Kevin Kisner $4,766,936
10. Sei Young Kim $1,278,166
10. Brian Harman $4,396,470
The Australian has been suspended by the PGA Tour until October for failing to provide a sample for drug testing Hensby tried to defend his actions by issuing a statement which read: “Call me stupid, but don’t call me a cheater.”
Stats courtesy of Noob Norm
TOP-10 LPGA EARNERS (2017)
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CATCHING THE BUG! Yourchosenspecialist subjectis…allthingsgolf. 1
Who won the 2017 Ladies European Tour order of merit?
Which actress did Sam Torrance marry in 1988?
True or false: Brian Harman was the only left-handed golfer to win on the PGA Tour in 2017?
Who am I? A former world No.2, I have 17 PGA Tour titles to my name, including the US Open. I also won the FedEx Cup in 2010.
Tyrrell Hatton was one of two players to successfully defend a European Tour title last year. Can you name the other?
Which former Ryder Cup captain made the ﬁrst televised hole-in-one in 1967?
Who holds the course record on the Championship course at Carnoustie?
Who was the biggest mover up the world rankings in 2017, rising from 1,866th to 42nd by the end of December?
According to the Guinness World Records, the oldest golf course is located in East Lothian, Scotland. What is it called? Who became only the third player to win both the Amateur Championship and the English Amateur in 2017?
1 Georgia Hall 2 Suzanne Danielle 3 True 4 Jim Furyk 5 S.S.P. Chawrasia 6 Tony Jacklin
7 Tommy Fleetwood (63) 8 Xander Schauffele 9 Musselburgh Links (Old) 10 Harry Ellis
18 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
LETTER OF THE MONTH
Almost ﬁve years ago my son, Oliver, received six golf lessons with the local pro as a Christmas present from his auntie. Though I am not a golfer in any way, I do love sport and have always actively encouraged my son to try his hand at anything he’s interested in. It turns out he picked it up quite quickly and now nine-years-old, it’s fair to say he’s caught the bug. He plays regularly at Lancaster Golf Club and still has his weekly lessons. Even when he isn’t playing, he likes to watch it on TV and we were lucky enough to go and attend the 2016 Open and the 2017 British Masters.
Paul Owens received an early Christmas present with this hole-in-one.
I thought you might like to know about my hole-in-one in December. I’m a member at Oulton Hall, Leeds, and the course was frozen, making it impossible to stop a ball on the green. On the par-3 14th, which measures 212 yards, I hit a 4-iron and the ball ﬂew straight into the hole. There was no bounce; it just made a bit of a racket as the ball cracked the ﬂagstick and made a mess of the back of the hole. I’m sure my Christmas hat and elf ears helped. PAUL OWENS
SMART GOLF? I’VE NEVER BEEN VERY GOOD AT THAT!
I felt compelled to write to you after reading the brilliant ‘Editor’s comment’ in the January issue (368) of Today’s Golfer. Your words resonated with me immediately. I am the golfer who can destroy a decent round with poor shot selection or downright
‘I HIT A 4-IRON AND THE BALL FLEW STRAIGHT INTO THE HOLE. THERE WAS NO BOUNCE; IT JUST MADE A BIT OF A RACKET AS THE BALL CRACKED THE FLAGSTICK AND MADE A MESS OF THE BACK OF THE HOLE’
Last Christmas, he asked for a subscription to Today’s Golfer and every month he reads the tips and looks at ways to improve his game. Despite all of the above, the bit I ﬁnd most enjoyable is the time I get to spend with him, whether it be out on the course, on the range, at an event, or simply reading the magazine. In today’s world of modern technology and limited social interaction, that quality time with my son is priceless. I’ve even taken some clubs with me the last couple of times we’ve gone to the course. It seems I may have caught the bug, too! JOE TOULMIN, LANCASTER
greed. I’m a gambler; an eternal optimist. I’ve got to give it a go! Admittedly, I haven’t played properly for about three years after previously working my way down to a competitive (among friends) 18 handicap. I’ve since married and had two kids, and now I’m ready to start again. I had been thinking about rekindling my game for a while, but after a few whacks here and there and a long night of overtime at work, my brain ﬁnally kicked into action. I was a former TG subscriber but hadn’t read an issue for years so when I went to my local newsagents and picked your magazine off the shelf for my lunch-break perusal, it must have been fate. The issue really brought home to me how much I enjoyed the game and the magazine itself, with great tips and equipment reviews that are right up my street. Once I’m fully kitted out – Braintree American Golf here I come – I am certainly going to pay strict attention to your articles on being a smart golfer so I thank you in advance for my new, low handicap. JAMESWILLIAMSBOXFORD,SUFFOLK
DO SOMETHING BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!
Following on from Barry Graham’s letter in (TG, issue 369) about the rising number of golfers who don’t shout fore, I am beginning to think it’s going to take a serious injury before anything is done about this unacceptable trait. I’d like to propose a marshal being assigned to every group, who is tasked with physically shouting fore if, in his opinion, there is a risk of injury to the paying masses. Pros can like or lump it because this joke of pointing left or right from nearly 300 yards is farcical. DAVID CRAWFORD, GLASGOW
THE BIG QUESTION
DOYOUPROTECTYOUR HANDICAPOVERTHEWINTER BYGIVINGCLUBCOMPSAMISS?
HOW YOU VOTED 27% Yes, I hate the cold! 73% Never, I’m glad to be out playing
LETTER OF THE WINS
By post... Today’s Golfer, Media House, Lynchwood, Peterborough Business Park, Peterborough, PE2 6EA. By phone... 01733 468000 By email... firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITORIAL Editor Chris Jones Courses Editor Kevin Brown Equipment Editor Simon Daddow Staff Writer Michael Catling Group Art Director Hakan Simsek Senior Production Editor Rob Jerram Art Director Paul Ridley Art Editor Calum Booth Digital Editor Camilla Tait Senior Digital Marketing Executive Sarah Pyett Editorial Assistant Stephanie Etchells
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TIME FOR A BAG RETHINK?
I’d like to respond to Gerry Campbell’s point about increasing the maximum of 14 clubs so he can carry his 6 & 8 irons (TG, issue 369). Without knowing the exact make and models of his irons, rescues and fairways, it appears that he may have certain clubs in his bag that are close to, if not the same, in lofts. I note that his Callaway 46° wedge is similar to a Wilson Staff PW (43°), so surely it makes sense to remove one and put the 6-iron in? He is also carrying a 25° rescue and a Wilson 5-iron (24°), which could easily be swapped out for an 8-iron or vice versa. I do think having too much choice removes the ability to learn to shape shots and hit half/ three-quarter shots. During my amateur career, I was always told to practise with a half set of clubs (alternate weekly) to develop feel and shot making. I feel 14 clubs is more than enough to carry and has been for many years. CHRIS BIBBY, LANCASHIRE
BLINDED BY THE RULES
A golfer took a pre-warmed ball from his pocket and placed it on the first tee,
Rules are rules, however complex.
which was a par 5 (see D14-3/13.5). He then placed his driver on the ground to line himself up, before picking it up and using it to launch his drive straight into a bush (see Rule 8-2/a). He then took an unplayable lie from the bush and dropped the ball within two club lengths and no nearer the hole (see Rule 28-c), but without marking the point at which the ball lay (see Rule 20-1). It rolled almost two club lengths further from the hole and rested under the branch of a tree. The golfer took a few practice swings (knocking off three tiny leaves from the branch), and then smashed the ball back into the fairway (see D13-2/0.5). The ball came to rest near a bunker. The green was occupied so the golfer took the chance to take a couple of practice swings in the bunker (then raked it) while waiting to play (see Rule 13-4). He then played his next shot, which ended up against a stake which was attached to a small tree. There was no Local Rule in place regarding staked trees, but he still took a drop within one club length of the nearest point of relief (see D13-2/16). He was 20 yards from the green and could see sand around the side of the hole. He went on to the green to carefully remove the sand with a towel (see D 23-1/1). He then played his next shot, which bounced past the hole, hit a fellow player’s ball and was deﬂected back into the hole (see Rule 19-5a). The player put himself down for a ﬁve, causing much confusion (and arguments) in his fourball. The question is, would you believe that a ﬁve was indeed the correct score? No wonder we are all so confused by the rules when they are so very complicated!
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BACK ISSUES £4.70 (overseas £6.15). 01858 438 884 or +44 1858 438 884 (overseas). Today’s Golfer is published 13 times a year in the UK by Bauer Consumer Media Ltd, registered address Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA. Registered number 01176085. No part of the magazine maybe reproduced in any form in whole or in part, without prior permission of the publisher. All material published remains the copyright of Bauer Consumer Media Ltd. We reserve the right to edit letters, copy or images submitted to the magazine without further consent. The submission of material to Bauer Media whether unsolicited or requested, is taken as permission to publish in the magazine, including any licensed editions throughout the world. Any fees paid in the UK include remuneration for any use in any other licensed editions. We cannot accept any responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, images or materials lost or damaged in the post. Whilst every reasonable care is taken to ensure accuracy, the publisher is not responsible for any errors or omissions nor do we accept any liability for any loss or damage, howsoever caused, resulting from the use of the magazine. Complaints: Bauer Consumer Media Limited is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (www.ipso.co.uk) and endeavours to respond to and resolve your concerns quickly. Our Editorial Complaints Policy (including full details of how to contact us about editorial complaints and IPSO’s contact details) can be found at www.bauermediacomplaints.co.uk. Our email address for editorial complaints covered by the Editorial Complaints Policy is email@example.com.
TERRY BRIDGER MemberofAudit BureauofCirculation
FIRST TEE NICK DOUGHERTY
Knowledge is power, but only if you use it correctly
nyone who follows me on Instagram will know I’ve been keeping busy over Christmas. Any free time I’ve had has been spent on the golf course, ﬁlming a bunch of 60-second videos as part of my ‘Tee Time Tip’ series. Ever since I retired, I’ve wanted to share my experiences and provide an alternative to some of those overly-technical, instruction videos doing the rounds on YouTube. Everything I do is based around what I consider to be the best coaching philosophy. It’s called simplicity. Whenever I’m presenting in the Sky Zone, I interview the best players in the world and hear on a daily basis how uncomplicated they make the golf swing. Some have little understanding what they are even doing; others will look at TrackMan data and say: “I have no idea what that means.” One of the ﬁrst masterclasses I did with Lee Westwood was on driving and he said things which were so incredibly basic. He made a point of stating that he doesn’t clutter his mind with too many swing thoughts, which is the genius behind many top players. I only realise that now because I did the complete opposite when my game started to unravel. The answer was to do nothing and accept it for what it was – just a bad patch – but I couldn’t help myself. After I lost my mum at the age of 26, I needed to regain control in my life and taking a spanner and wrench to my golf swing seemed like an easy way to do it. I went down the road of actively and passively acquiring coaches. Eventually, I started taking tips off people on the range or in magazines. I would go online, ﬁnd a tip and try to put it into practice the next day. I was desperate and became so lost in my technique that I added to my mental baggage and had no conﬁdence in what I was doing or trying to do. Now, I couldn’t even tell you what my natural swing is. I can’t even imagine what it used to feel like. I once went to David Leadbetter, and he said to me that I had a great ability to digest information and make changes to my golf swing. Unfortunately, it also meant that I could quickly make changes in a bad way as well. I don’t doubt there are many top amateurs who are destined to follow the same, debilitating path because they think they understand something when they actually don’t. Knowledge is power, but only if you use it correctly. Rory McIlroy once told me that he tries to feel like the clubface looks at the ball for longer in his takeaway, which helps to keep his arms and hands quieter and forces him to use the lower body more in the downswing. It’s quite a simple swing thought, but not
Nick Dougherty is a three-time European Tour winner and now a presenter on Sky Sports’ golf coverage. Follow him on Twitter @NickDougherty5 and Instagram @nickdougherty5 (#TeeTimeTip)
an easy thing to implement. Even for someone as good as Rory. He’s still working at it and he hits hundreds of balls every day. The biggest lesson I took away was when he said: “If I copy Dustin Johnson’s swing, I probably wouldn’t even make contact with the ball. The position he gets in at the top of the backswing (the strong, bowed wrist) would be such a change that it could be devastating to my game. But I am inching that way.” Clearly, he’s seen something he likes, but is disciplined and clever enough to know that he can’t fast-track the process. Too many amateurs don’t know their limitations, try to change something for the ﬁrst time on the ﬁrst tee, and revert to type when they don’t see immediate improvements in their game or score. It’s hard to accept, but it’s almost impossible to play well when your swing feels completely foreign to you. You need to put some reps in beforehand and focus on one thing at a time, rather than a dozen different swing thoughts which will just leave you confused and overwhelmed. The motivation behind ‘Tee Time Tip’ is to tap into those debilitating feelings and provide supersimple nuggets of information which anyone can relate to and apply, whether or not they play every day, once a week or once a month. If someone wants me to explain the science behind a tip, I can do that because that’s one of the reasons I am sharing these videos. But what I’m really aiming for is to make th lf i i l i This g hard enough withou getting down technique; so why make it mor difficult for yourself? My one r that I didn’t realise this 10 year
‘I INTERVIEW THE BEST PLAYERS IN THE WORLD AND HEAR ON A DAILY BASIS HOW UNCOMPLICATED THEY MAKE THE GOLF SWING’
20 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
Seve taught me to take spin off chip shots and to get the ball running like a putt.
My New Year’s #TeeTimeT Prior to meeting Seve, I alway being able to impart a bit of sp the ball made a good chipper. T Seve pointed out that putting s especially side spin – made it h Of course, Seve was always th that. He was a big advocate of spin off the ball and would do that by using lower-lofted club and a smoother stroke. That w enhance the chances of the bal running out like a putt. So clev
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FIRST TEE ANDREW COTTER
‘I hope the obsession with the youth market doesn’t neglect older golfers’
appy New Year! Yes, I am well aware that this greeting may well be out of date by the time you read this. But this is not unusual for me, since I never quite know when to stop saying it anyway. Indeed I tend to start most emails or texts with ‘Happy New Year’ until somebody tells me that’s probably enough around early March. But as I write, we are in the dog days of 2017 and, like most people at this time of year, I ﬁnd myself saying “Hang on a minute.... where did that go?” So here I am, considering the passage of time – a cheery matter to be sure for a light-hearted golf column, but one that has probably been brought on by watching ‘On Golden Pond’ and drinking two glasses of mulled wine. In 2018 I will (according to the deﬁnition in the Oxford English Dictionary) enter middle-age. It doesn’t speciﬁcally mention me, but it says that middle-age begins at 45, which I can’t deny will happen some time in the summer. I suppose I should be thankful that I’m not living in the 13th Century, where living past 40 would stand you a very good chance of being burned as a witch. I know things won’t change overnight. I won’t suddenly become a miserable curmudgeon, railing against the world and most of the things in it, mostly because I’ve been doing that since the age of seven. But it’s a sobering thought nonetheless: I will be a middle-aged man. In golﬁng terms, of course, this makes me very normal. As a white, middle-aged man who likes golf I will be a walking, talking, slicing cliché. And while I like to think that I’m still down with the kids (I say that I’ve heard of Stormzy and pretend I know what Snapchat is) I know that I’m not the target demographic in the current drive to get people into golf. In many ways, golf ha more vibrant – the avera dropping and while Rick not be part of the major c could easily see a young the game wanting to be l dress like him, to do a Sn him (did I get that right? But I also hope that the with the youth market do older golfers. Don’t get m almost everything that h
Part of the BBC commentary team, Andrew Cotter grew up tackling Ayrshire’s links and plays off 3. Follow him on Twitter @MrAndrewCotter
done to make our game more energetic and appealing should be applauded. I started playing at three and barely put a club down as a child. I made friends through golf and learned much about myself and about life. The best things to have changed in the game have been the attitudes to juniors and the loosening of strange and stuffy rules and regulations. Many of them seemed odd to me then and still do now. But one of golf’s great strengths and attractions has always been that it is a sport which older people can play and enjoy well into their dotage. A lot of sports disappear from our radar as the years roll by – rugby, football, running, ultimateﬁghting. It seems that going for a swim or playing bridge are all that might be left. So, for many people, golf is the sporting answer as they get older. It provides exercise. It gets them outside for a few hours. It helps them meet up with friends, while still offering the fun aspect of sport and the excitement of competition – something which we never lose, no matter how ancient we get. It is also worth saying – though not fashionable to do so – that as golf desperately tries to adapt to be part of the modern world, it can provide a blessed escape from it. A lot of people are very happy to arrive at a golf club and for the pace of life to slow down and for things to get a bit quieter. For them that is part of its very attraction. The drive to get younger people into golf is admirable because we see falling playing numbers, but maybe that isn’t the demographic to be chasing after all. Someone who comes to the sport later in life is just as important. Perhaps we like to focus on trying to be a young and dynamic sport because age is something that we fear. Or all aspects of society we tend n as people whose views is strange, as we’re all
‘FOR MANY PEOPLE, GOLF IS THE SPORTING ANSWER AS THEY GET OLDER’
Rickie Fowler is at the forefront of golf’s young movement.
y the 2030s almost a quarter will be over 65. Medical that we are living longer but n active in later life. of looking to the older ung. ff to wash the car and look up Possibly while listening to not quite middle-aged yet.
22 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLF
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INSIDE THIS NEW-LOOK SECTION...
CUT IT OUT!
How to fix a slice-inducing swing path
MAKE A MARK
Lines on your ball will help your putting
How to get out of a watery grave
A timeless way to feel your grip pressure
Watch more shot tips at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk
Learn a new shot...
THE HOOKY CHASER
WHICH CLUB? This is a shot that works best with a 6- or 7-iron, clubs with enough loft to get the ball airborne, but straight-faced enough to apply hookspin. Use it when the ball is sitting down, your direct route is blocked and there is an unobstructed run in to the front of the green.
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TOP 50 TEACHER Adrian Fryer Fellow of the PGA based at Liverpool Golf Centre, www.liverpoolgolfcentre.co.uk
f you are a right-hander golfer, missing the fairway to the left creates a headache. Typically you’ll ﬁnd your route to the green is blocked, your lie is poor and your chances of reaching the green dramatically reduced. But there is a shot that works perfectly in this situation, and we can
call it the hooky chaser. And yes, the clue is in the name; you are going to create a hot, low, right-to-left ﬂight that swings around the trouble in front of you and skips up the fairway to the green. With these tips and a little practice, you can add a genuinely useful shot to your bag.
STRONG GRIP Hold the club in front of you, its leading edge vertical. Place your hands on the grip in a ‘strong’ position, trail hand under the grip and gloved hand more on top. This holds promotes the clubface rotation and closure you need to get the ball hooking.
AIM RIGHT Align your body well to the right of the green. This helps you deliver the club from inside the ball-to-hole line, assisting a shot shape that sends the ball right before drawing back towards the target. Play the ball centrally, and aim the face a hair left of your start line.
TOE THE LINE It’s vital you use your body aim as a reference for the swing, not the ball-to-hole line. So swing the club back along the line of your toes. On your practice swing, swing to hip height and check the shaft mirrors your toes and the butt points right of the green (I’ve added an aid to the end of the shaft here to illustrate).
MAINTAIN SHAFT LEAN Deliver a slightly descending blow, making sure your hands pass the ball before the clubhead. The shaft lean this creates delofts the clubface, allowing the ball to come out low and hot. It also allows you to maintain a stable relationship of the slightly closed clubface to the swing path.
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PLAY BETTER Get me out of here!
SPLASH OUT! Y
our approach has found water… but that does not necessarily mean a penalty drop. Follow these steps to ascertain whether it’s worth taking the shot on… and if so, how to play it.
TG TOP 50 Simon Payne UKCC Level 3 coach and PGA Fellow pro at Cowglen GC, Glasgow.
1 IS THE SHOT ON? Look carefully at the ball. Is at least half of it above the water? Is the path to the ball clear of significant stones or rocks? And is it on the side of the hazard nearest the green, with just the bank in front of you? If you can say “yes” to all three, it could be worth taking the shot on.
2 IS THE REWARD WORTH THE RISK? Remember, a penalty drop and an up-and-down scores you the same as an heroic escape and two putts. That makes this always-risky shot more of an option if your chances of that up-and down are limited. So work out where you’d have to drop, and how easy getting down in two is from there.
3 CAN YOU GET STABLE? These shots can make a balanced stance tricky – and note you cannot use your club as a depth gauge, build a stance or remove lose impediments. If you are on an upslope, match your shoulders to the slope you’re hitting up and don’t be afraid to take a super wide stance, your lead leg up on top of the bank.
4 BUNKER STYLE If you are still go, apply the rules of bunker play. Open the face as you would in sand, and aim to hit the water slightly behind the ball while maintaining a very still body. Don’t be afraid to hit hard; the only way this ball is coming out is through full commitment. You might get a bit of a hairwash, but with a little luck you’ll have a makeable putt for par… and a great story to tell!
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TOP 50 TEACHER Kristian Baker Has coached four European Tour winners. Visit www.kristianbaker.com
HOLE MORE PAR-SAVERS W
ith face aim at impact contributing up to 90% to the ball’s starting line, your shortest route to holing more of those six- to eight-foot par-savers is blade alignment. And one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve this is by marking up your ball.
1 CREATE YOUR RIGHT ANGLE Before you play, use a Sharpie or other indelible marker to draw a circle round the middle of the ball. Then draw a semicircle at right angles to the first circle. Use a different colour if you like.
2 SQUARE STRIKE That squarer set-up alignment will help accuracy on its own; but during the stroke itself, the blue line remains a great reference for impact – simply match the blade to the mark. Give this a try; you’ll discover how much easier it is to send the ball out on line on a regular basis.
Afterreadingtheputtforpace andline,aligntheballbyaimingthe semi-circle–inthiscasethepinkmark –downyourchosenstartline.Nowall youhavetodotoguaranteeasquare bladeispositionitparalleltothe blueline.
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TOP 50 TEACHER Ian Clark World of Golf, New Malden. Advanced Fellow of the PGA. Master Professional at World of Golf.
USE GRAVITY TO HIT O PERFECT PITCHES
ne of the key reasons we struggle to control distance on part-swing shots is poor rhythm. A common pattern is making too short a backswing for the length of shot, then rushing the
club through to an extended ﬁnish. This slow-fast action makes it so much harder to time release and control speed and shot length. Instead, let the consistent force of gravity take control. Here’s a drill to help.
1 SWING BACK Set up for a 40/50-yard pitch. Play the ball centrally in a narrow stance. Make a smooth and controlled backswing, taking the club back until the shaft is around horizontal.
2 DROP LINK From this short backswing, simply let go of the club and watch it fall to the ground. Observing this will give you a great idea of just how effective gravity is as an accelerator. Even over this short distance, the club hits the ground firmly; you don’t need to apply your own force to speed the club up.
Repeatthisdrillandyou’llalso appreciatetheconsistencywithwhich theclubhitstheturf–that9.8m/s2 doesn’tchange!Whenyouusegravity to controlyouraction’sacceleration, you createaultra-reliablerelationship betweenbackswinglengthand impactclubspeed.
3 THROUGHSWING CHECK Now hit six pitch shots with the sole intention of letting gravity sweep the club down and through. Counting “one” to start the swing, “two” to finish the backswing and “one” again for impact will help give you the ideal two-to-one ratio. Your finish position will feel shorter, but that’s fine; for more power simply make a longer backswing and keep the same gravity-fuelled rhythm.
TOP 50 TEACHER Ian Clark World of Golf, New Malden. Advanced Fellow of the PGA. Master Professional at World of Golf.
TIGER WOODS: MARK VI
iger Woods may have only ﬁnished tied-9th out of 18 players in his comeback tournament, December’s Hero World Challenge. But as a ﬁrst step back to tournament golf, his week could hardly have gone better. In only his third tournament in two years he looked ﬁtter and stronger than many believed possible, a perception backed up by an average driver ball speed of around 180mph – fast enough to put him within the top 20 on the PGA Tour.
CLUBFACE LOOKS AT BALL FOR LONGER For years golfers have been told that when the clubshaft is horizontal, the leading edge of the face should be vertical. But look at Tiger’s face and note how the leading edge is in fact parallel to his spine angle. This is a truly square clubface, and a great position for slicers to copy. You will sense the clubface stays looking at the golf ball for longer on the takeaway.
What a pleasure it was to see him swinging without pain and with freedom again. In recent times he has referred to himself as an “Old Man”; this tournament showed us this 41-year-old still has the ﬁrepower to compete. Tiger also earned plaudits for an improved technique that seemed simpler and more ﬂuent. Here, we take a look at what was so impressive, and discover what you can learn from an action that no longer seems an obstacle to Tiger’s return to greatness.
ARMS AND BODY CONNECTED Just look at the connection between Tiger’s left bicep and his left chest. He has achieved this because he is working the club in behind him, which it has to do to make sure it can attack the ball from the inside. This also helps him create great connection between his armswing and body turn. Check you have no gap when your lead arm is parallel to the ground.
CLUB MOVES ON PERFECT PLANE FREE HIP TURN See how Tiger’s belt is tilted, the belt buckle looking down towards the ball. This is a good guide to forming correct posture. It also sees his hips rotate on a tilt, which causes the trail leg to straighten slightly from its address position as the backswing progresses. This allows his hips to turn freely, enabling the full and free pivot that created such impressive hitting and ball speeds.
Look how the clubshaft is starting to work up Tiger’s right forearm. This shows the club is working back, up and in the correct amount, meaning he is moving the club on a great plane. How can you ﬁnd a similarly online position? Swing the club back to a three-quarter position and picture a line drawn down through the clubshaft toward the ﬂoor; the line should point directly at the golf ball.
TIGER’S HERO WORLD CHALLENGE BY NUMBERS
Finished: Tied 9th (69-68-75-68, -8) Eagles: 2 Birdies: 17 Bogeys: 11 D-bogeys: 1 Stroke av: 70 World ranking: 668th (he rose over 500 places).
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PLAY BETTER Four steps to…
A PERFECT GRIP
TG TOP 50 Adrian Fryer Fellow of the PGA based at Liverpool Golf Centre, www. liverpoolgolfcentre.co.uk. More tips at solidgolf.co.uk
FORM A QUESTION MARK Now place your lower hand to the side of the grip. Make sure the palm of the hand is looking at your target and create a question mark-like shape with the index finger; doing so arranges the fingers ideally for how they need to go on the club.
PRE-KINK THE WRIST Place your gloved hand to the side of the grip, the badge looking slightly right of target (right-handers). Push your knuckles towards your target to create a noticeable kink in the wrist. This helps you run the club through the correct part of the hand.
HEEL PAD TO INDEX CREASE That kink of the wrist creates a neat handle-sized zone between the heel pad and the little finger. Slot the grip into that zone, under the heel, and angle the handle so it runs against the first joint of the index finger. Fold the fingers around the grip.
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UNITE THE HANDS Keepthat‘questionmark’intact as you introduce your hand to the club. Feel the gloved thumb fitintothefleshypartofyour trail palm, and let your trail hand’s little finger sit in the groove betweenglovedindexandmiddle fingers. Keep your grip pressure light - no more than 4/10.
TOP 50 TEACHER Jon Wa Has coached seven European Tour players and is Direct the Elite Coaching Golf Academy. www.elitecoaching
or a truly effective way to picture how ﬁrmly you need to grip the club around the green, imagine you are holding a tube of toothpaste with its lid off. Perfect pressure sees you hold the tube securely, but without any toothpaste actually coming out. Fixing this image into your head will help you ﬁnd the softer hold that gives you a better awareness of the clubface and adds feel to your short game shots.
SOFT SELL Thisamountofpressuremightseemtoolight toyou,butthenmostclubgolfersholdtheclub tootightly.Excessivegrippressurecanleadto awholeraftofproblemsincludingasnatchy takeaway,overactivehands,poorrhythm throughoutyouraction,andapoorreleaseofthe clubhead. TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 31
Watch more ﬁtness tips at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk
Get golf fit...
BUILD STABILITY AND POWER
hen we swing a club, we are basically asking our body to rotate in balance. This places considerable physical demands on both hips, which need mobility and strength to permit and stabilise that
twisting motion back and through. If your hip region is weak and/or stiff, you invite a series of technical issues with your swing. Most common are excessive lateral movement – swaying or sliding – poor weight shift as your
hips refuse to take the load, and standing up out of posture. But how do you know if you have adequate hip strength and mobility? This test will help you ﬁnd out… and if you should fail it, there’s a plan to help.
BUILD A 60º ANGLE Lie your 6-iron on the ground in front of you, its face showing to the sky. Place a second iron along the sole of the 6-iron, as shown. This sets up a 60º angle between the shafts, which becomes a key part of the test. Place a third club across your belt, in line with the 6-iron on the ground.
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REPEAT FOR THE FRONT LEG MATCH THE ANGLES Withdraw your lead foot, balancing yourself on your trail foot and lead toe cap as shown. Now, keeping the club in line with your belt, rotate back; can you get the club across your hips to match the angle of the second shaft on the turf?
Create a mirror image set-up with the clubs and perform the same test for your lead leg and hip. Again, you are looking to get the shaft across your belt at least in line with the club on the ground. Failure to achieve this indicates you will have difficulty posting up properly onto the lead leg… which can lead to standing up and hanging back through the ball.
TOP 50 TEACHER Ben Emerson Elite PGA Teaching Professional based at Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort in Wiltshire. AdvancedTPI.
HOW TO IMPROVE HIP ROTATION
If you passed that test, congratulations – 60º of rotation back and through reveals you have enough mobility to rotate through your core without the need to sway or straighten up. If you couldn’t quite get the shafts to match, the best advice is to repeat this test three or four times a week. It doubles as a stretch, and in time will increase your range of movement. But in the meantime, here is one other thing you can try.
WITHDRAW YOUR TRAIL FOOT Take your regular stance. Typically we’d like to see feet, hips and shoulders all in line with each other, aiming parallel left of your target. On this occasion though, we are going to pull the trail foot back by half the length of the lead foot.
MAINTAIN YOUR ALIGNMENT As you do this, take care not to pull your shoulders and hips out of their initial alignment. By pulling the trail foot back we are simply going to give that trail hip a little more freedom to rotate. You can also flare the toe a little to improve mobility.
TOP 50 TEACHER Karl Morris Karl has worked with three major winners. Check out his Mind Factor Podcasts for free on iTunes
REWRITE YOUR STORY FOR 2018
f you’re tempted to set yourself some new year’s resolutions for 2018 that might improve your game, let me save you some time. Don’t bother. As gyms across Britain will testify, a new “commitment” based solely on an arbitrary square on the calendar is no basis for long-term progress. Yet at this time of year our thoughts inevitably turn to the golf we’ve played in 2017 and how we might improve on it in 2018. So instead, let me introduce to you a far more effective and durable concept: story-editing. Every one of you reading this will carry around with you a story of yourself as a golfer. Yours might be that you would be a darned sight better if you just had a bit more time to practise; it might be that you are a good striker let down by a twitchy short game. Perhaps you consider yourself stuck at your handicap level, or great at matchplay, but iffy with the scorecard. In terms of performance, your story is signiﬁcant because it has the power to become a self-fulﬁlling prophecy. That’s because our brains are constantly working to conﬁrm our thoughts. Inside our heads we have what I call a Thinker and a Prover. The Thinker is the part of your brain that decides you are a poor putter; the Prover then seeks evidence to support the Thinker. The notion you are a poor putter might have come from only one bad round, but from then onwards the Prover will treat every bad putt as conﬁrmation of that conclusion; it will also interpret a good putt as a surprise, an exception. Before you know it you are expecting to deliver a shoddy performance on the greens… with predictably poor results. However, story editing – a concept created by American social psychologist Timothy Wilson – gives you a chance to redress this stealthy self-sabotage. The process is a simple one: make yourself aware of your story, decide if it is helping or hindering you, and if it’s the latter take appropriate steps to rewrite it.
2 Help or hindrance? Ultimately, stories are just made-up versions of reality that can either serve you or work against you. Not every golfer’s story is a negative one; yours might be that you are a strong, competitive player, or that you perform near your optimum most times. But in my experience, most club players will have developed a narrative that accounts for poor performance or scores – lack of time to practise, lessons that never work, missing short putts, succumbing to nerves and limited talent are just a few of the most common stories I hear. 3 Rewrite the story Once you’ve identiﬁed your story and grasped how it might be limiting you, your next step is to write down how you might re-work it in a way that will get you closer to the golfer you want to be in 2018. As with any story editing, for it to be effective it has to be credible; bad putters can’t of course simply re-label themselves good ones. But what you can do is create the story that you are learning or discovering how to become a better putter. With that as your new story, the Prover in your brain will start to suggest ways of conﬁrming it – perhaps a new putter ﬁtting, a session with a putting expert, some extra time spent on the practice green. And suddenly, that holed 20-footer is no longer a ﬂuke, but evidence of your growing competence. Similarly, a golfer whose story is lack of time to practise could reinvent himself as a very efficient practiser; after all, working on the right things for just 15 minutes a day can transform your game.
‘A GOLFER WHOSE STORY IS LACK OF TIME TO PRACTISE COULD REINVENT HIMSELF AS A VERY EFFICIENT PRACTISER’
1 What’s your story? Make 20 minutes for yourself some time this week to sit down and think through the stories you tell yourself about yourself as a golfer. For some of you this might be a fairly easy exercise; others will ﬁnd it a little harder. But dig deep to get to the bottom of how you portray yourself.
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I have observed story editing to be one of the most powerful and effective ways of improving performance. We are after all culturally conditioned to respond to stories as children, and as we progress into adulthood stories continue to play a key role in shaping our perceptions of ourselves and the world. The changing golf season is the perfect time for you to work on this… and make sure that when spring rolls around, you are telling yourself a much healthier and far more useful story about yourself and your golf.
TOP 50 TEACHER Richard Lambert PGA Advanced Professional and head professional at Crosland Heath GC
My gear revealsâ€Ś
I CUT ACROSS THE BALL
ooden tee pegs are of course painted, and impact can see that paint leave a mark on the sole of your club. With narrowersoled irons, that mark can be a useful indicator of toe or heel strikes; but with the wide-soled driver the streak is often long enough show you exactly the path the club was taking through the ball.
SLICE PATH The most common paint mark runs at an angle from the centre of the face towards the toe. Trace that angle over an upright tee peg and you can see how the mark was caused by an out-to-in path that cuts across the ball at impact. This is the path that causes slice pain for 85% of club players.
SET-UP CHECK Straightening out those tee streaks starts with address. Make sure the ball is not too far forward; under your lead shoulder is a good guide. From here ask a friend to check your alignment â€“ feet, hips, knees and shoulders should be parallel to each other and parallel to your ball-target line.
STRAIGHTEN YOUR PATH Place a soft object, perhaps a headcover, practice ball bag or even a bottle of water, a foot or so behind the ball, with just enough room for the toe of the club to swing back past it. Go ahead and hit the ball. The simple need to avoid the obstacle on the way down will encourage you to attack the ball from the inside, promoting a more neutral path. TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 35
Watch daily video tips at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk
Your swing versus…
A 7-HANDICAPPER v MARTIN KAYMER
1: SET-UP Look carefully at Svein’s address and you’ll see he is not square –his knees are closed relative to his shoulders. Martin on the other hand is very square, and this will assist in the sequencing of his takeaway – his address sets him up to make an ‘in sync’ move away with all parts moving together on the same route.
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ith a seven handicap, this month’s amateur is a strong and consistent hitter and certainly a little better than average; yet even at single-ﬁgure handicap level the comparisons with an elite action are both intriguing and valuable. “We’re using Martin Kaymer as a comparison because these two
3: TOP OF BACKSWING The results of those alignments become clear h Martin’s knees and hips are clearly active even early on, a great example of moving as one. In c Svein’s lower half is too passive and I’d describ action as a tad armsy This is likely to lead to a r lac
re’s a massive difference here the rotation and
Name: Svein Intelhus Handicap: 7 Recently said: “My goal is to get my hips more engaged during the downswing.”
build,” says former European Tour winner Andrew Murray. “Svein is a very steady player, but the biggest difference between his action and Martin’s is in the power he is able to generate. With a little work on set-up
TOP 50 TEACHER Andrew Murray Former European Open champion specialises in one-on-one or group coaching and corporate golf events. andrewmurraygolf.com
Name: Martin Kaymer Handicap: Pro Recently said: “My goal is to get back into the world top 50.”
4: CHANGE OF DIRECTION
5: THROUGH THE BALL
From that position at the top Svein inevitably creates
Throughout the swing Svein has looked rather stricted through his mid chest and it shows here in s rather static hit, at least in comparison to Martin’s plosive extension down the line. Some specific spine obilisation advice would free up his swing and lead to
Two well-balanced finishes, but while Martin’slooks likeanaturalprogressionSvein’sseemsmorecontrived. A telltale sign here is the fact his right hand has been unable to maintaincontact with his gloved thumb. This really is a sign of thoracic spine stiffness If he can work
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STORM IS BREWING GraemeStormthoughthiswinlessstreakwouldnever end.ButafterbeatingRoryinSouthAfrica,theﬁnancial worrieshavegoneandhe’sintentonprovingthattheold guardcanstillcompeteagainsttheyoungguns
W O R D S M I C H A E L C AT L I N G P I C T U R E S H O WA R D B O Y L A N ; G E T T Y
raeme Storm can still remember those sleepless nights spent worrying where his next pay check was coming from. Thirteen missed cuts from 27 events in 2016 meant he ﬁnished $100 short of retaining his European Tour card, or so he thought. The 39-year-old earned it back at the 11th hour after Patrick Reed failed to meet the minimum start requirements to keep his. Worries gone, Storm ﬁnished fourth in his next tournament and then won the South African Open six weeks later. He had to beat Rory McIlroy in a play-off to do it, and took home more than half of what he’d earned for the whole of the 2016 season. Little wonder he calls it the “greatest achievement” of his career. Twelve months on and the Rockliffe Hall pro admits he’s a changed man. He’s started working with a ﬁtness trainer, and has no intention of vetoing on his no goals policy. It’s a simple formula designed to relieve any mental or physical strain, and it’s already yielded his most successful year on the European Tour to date.
again? Probably not. I had been waiting a long time. I had spent the last two or three seasons struggling to keep my card. It started becoming more unlikely that I would ever win again. Then all of a sudden… boom!
Did it come as even more of a surprise after the events leading up to the South African Open? To say I wasn’t expecting it would be a massive understatement. At the end of the Portugal Masters in 2016, I didn’t really know what the future held. I was all set to go to Q School. I had entered and then I heard a whisper Patrick Reed wasn’t going to play in Turkey. Everything was up in the air for a good couple of weeks and it was hard to plan. I still kept practising in case it didn’t go my way. Obviously, I was given a reprieve and I didn’t need to go. I then ﬁnished fourth in South Africa which gave me a great start to the season, and went back there after Christmas where I played against one of the greatest – if not the greatest – players in the world in Rory McIlroy and managed to come through and win.
Did you ever think it would take you nearly a decade to repeat your victory at the French Open?
Do you think the uncertainty surrounding your future on the European Tour made you more relaxed at the start of the 2017?
I never doubted my ability to win again, but was I expecting to win
Maybe. I was in a zone that week [at the South African Open]. It was TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 41
BIG INTERVIEW strange. I had led a tournament going into the ﬁnal day, but never by three shots. I was nervous but really relaxed at the same time. What helped was playing in a three ball; it wasn’t just Rory and I. Jordan Smith was there as well so I wasn’t just thinking about what Rory was doing. It was the ﬁrst time I had ever played with Rory, but you want to play against the best players, don’t you? It was an unbelievable experience.
You ﬁnished last season with six top 10s to your name – the most you’ve ever had in your career. What did you do differently? The year before, I sat down with Lee Crombleholme, my psychologist and I set goals and targets. But the problem was, I felt as though as I was putting pressure on myself. In the end, I nearly lost my card because of it. Before the start of last season, I sat down with Lee and said I didn’t want to do that again. My targets back then were to win again; get into the top 100 in the world; get into the top 60 in the Order of Merit and qualify for the Majors. Keeping my Tour card wasn’t one of them; that was a prerequisite. I just created added pressure for myself and the more I wasn’t performing, the more I was thinking about it. Last year, I decided to take every week as it came and to enjoy things as much as I could. Straight away, the pressure was taken away and I started to play a lot better.
The pressure you were feeling, was that ﬁnancially driven? Deﬁnitely. I have a young family, bills to pay and a mortgage. When you start struggling, you do start thinking about the ﬁnancial side of it and that’s when it can get out of control. When you are missing cut after cut after cut, you do wonder where your next pay check is going to come from.
Did you lose sleep over it? Oh yeah! It has been a difficult time over the last few years. This job is very rewarding, but it’s also very difficult at the same time when things
‘I SHOT A 79 IN MY FIRST ROUND AND LOST MY DAD THAT NIGHT. I THEN PLAYED THE NEXT DAY’ aren’t going your way. Golf isn’t like any other sport where you are guaranteed a pay check at the end of the week. If you get knocked out in the ﬁrst round of a tennis tournament, you still get paid which covers your expenses. Whereas, in this game you are shelling out between two and a half/three grand a week. That covers hotel costs, travel, ﬂights, your caddie etc. If you don’t make a cut for four weeks, it soon adds up. Some players don’t think about it but I’m somebody who does. There are other players who are fortunate to have big endorsements whereas I don’t. It was a difficult period to go through.
STORM ON... Growing the game “I’ve been involved with Dyke House College in Hartlepool for over four years, and I’ve also got my own Junior Open. Last year, we had 166 players competing at Hartlepool Golf Club across three age categories. We do it all for a children’s charity so every £10 entry fee goes to the Finlay Cooper Fund. There’s no profit making involved and I absolutely love being part of it.
Did it help having gone through hardships earlier in your career? I was certainly able to draw on past experiences. When I turned pro in 2000, I was British Amateur champion and had all these expectations. To be fair, I got my card straight away at Q School but then it all went the other way. That’s when I had nothing. In 2002, I had to work in a cake factory and make a few quid so I could enter the likes of the Zambia Open on the Challenge Tour. I remember competing in a regional qualiﬁer at Wynyard [Hall] to get back on the EuroPro [Tour]. The big thing that happened there in 2003 was I shot a 79 in my ﬁrst round and
Shot a courserecord 62 at his home club of Hartlepool, aged 19.
Holed the winning putt fo GB&I to win the Walker C alongside Paul Casey and Luke Donald.
Lost his European Tou membership after earning just €148,883 from 28 events.
Celebrated his ﬁrst pro victory at the Ryder Cup Wales Challenge.
STORM’S HIGHS AND LOWS ON TOU June1999
Won the British Amateur Championship, hammering fellow Englishman Aran Wainwright 7& in the ﬁnal at Royal County Down
Turned pro after making his Masters debut.
Started a part-time job at a cake factory, using a jet spray to clean steel baking trays.
Won the Moroccan Classic – his second title of the year – and regained his European Tour card.
42 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
won at before, it would be unbelievable. The problem is there are so many great players. It might be a bit too late for me, which is why it’s not a goal.
Do you feel like one of the old guard on Tour now? When I played against Rory last January, I did feel a lot older. What is he, 28? I’m nearly 40. I just don’t have the same power game. But if you look at someone like Miguel [Angel Jimenez], he’s over 50 now and still competing against these guys. It just shows if you keep yourself ﬁt, you can really prolong your career. That’s what I want to do. I’ve started with a ﬁtness trainer to try and stay supple and get a bit stronger. I suffered a wrist injury last season so I’m keen to prevent a re-occurrence and strengthen that area.
Do you ﬁnd it intimidating when you give up 30 yards in distance against the twenty-somethings?
lost my dad that night. I then played the next day, which was one of the hardest things I had to do. In my mind, I knew my dad would have wanted me to play. I shot a 69 and that’s still an experience I draw on when I’m down. They were difficult times but it puts things into perspective.
Did you surprise yourself last year? A little bit, I would say I did. I’ve never doubted my ability or talent, but sometimes I’ve had to see my psychologist or coach to talk things out. I can be hard on myself but everyone is very supportive, including other players as well. That’s the one really good thing about the European Tour. People root for you and there’s no real jealously or egos, unlike a lot of sports.
How much of a relief was it to join the winner’s circle again? It was huge. More so because I didn’t have to worry about keeping my card at the end of last year. Obviously, I’ve got to return my card at the end of 2018 so it’s a fresh challenge now and hopefully it’ll be as successful as 2017. I just don’t want to put myself in a position where I need to go to Q School again. It feels like one of the longest weeks of your life. If you don’t make the grade, there are no second chances. It’s a lot harder than competing in a Major or any other tournament.
Apart from keeping your card, do you have any other ambitions for 2018?
CLOCKWISE (FROM LEFT) Teeing off at the South African Open. The Englishman averaged 284.6 yards in driving distance in 2017, bettered by 157 golfers on the European Tour. Rory – who’s looking on – averaged 317.6. A delighted and relieved Storm shows off his European Tour membership badge. He went head-to-head with then world No.2 Rory McIlroy in South Africa and came out on top.
I’ve got dreams, not goals. I dream of playing in the Ryder Cup and if that came true this year, at a course I’ve
It would have been more intimidating 10 years ago if it was happening, but I know that I’ve just got to stick to my game plan and do what I did against Rory in the play-off in South Africa. I know I can’t blaze it over that bunker which is 290 to carry. I can only play to my strengths.
Have you had to adapt your game as you’ve grown older? I was injured in 2016 and that really made me more aware of my body and how I’m not going to heal as quick. Basically, I can’t hit as many balls as I used to and stand on a range for hours on end. I’ve had to limit that, and it’s actually helped. I’m getting quality practice in rather than quantity.
Do you still get the same buzz from competition? It’s difficult now because I’m getting older. The travel is getting harder because I’m away from my kids a lot. They don’t want me to go away so it’s a difficult job in that respect. But equally rewarding when you do well, like I did last year.
Netted his ﬁrs European Tou victory at the French Open.
Beat Thomas Bjorn 7&5 in the singles to help GB&I retain the Seve trophy.
Finished 112th in the European Tour standings, one spot and €100 short of retaining his Tour card. He would get it back two weeks later.
Won the South African Open, beating Rory McIlroy in a play-off on the third extra hole.
Led by two shots after round of the US PGA Championship. He eve ﬁnished in a tie for 62n
Qualiﬁed for the Open after shooting a record-breaking, eight-under 62 on the New Course at Sunningdale.
Lost out by a shot to ﬁnish runner-up behind Thongcha Jaidee at the European Masters.
Novembe 2017 Finished 39 in the Race Dubai. TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 43
Insider’s guide to…
You’ll find many reasons to visit the magical Caribbean island besides the superb golf
arbados is the gem of the Caribbean, a true paradise island. In many ways it’s the ultimate golf holiday destination. Barbados has it all, including stunning beaches, amazing accommodation options, world-class facilities and activities and wonderful year-round weather. Most activities naturally involve the sea with the most popular being swimming, scuba diving, windsurﬁng, kite-surﬁng and all kinds of boat trips. In recent years, it has cemented its reputation as the region’s most popular island by hosting several world-class
events including the annual Barbados Food & Rum Festival, the Sentebale Charity Polo match starring Prince Harry, and the ﬁnals of both the ICC Cricket World Cup and the ICC Twenty20. Accommodation ranges from picturesque plantation houses and villas to quaint guest houses and ﬁve-star resorts including the legendary Sandy Lane and Royal Westmoreland. The former staged the 2006 Golf World Cup, won by Germany’s Bernhard Langer and Marcel Siem, and is the home of three magical courses – the Old Nine,
Royal Westmoreland The championship course is routed through a luxury estate.
Apes Hill: Enjoy stunning sea views from this modern new design.
Royal Westmoreland: Palm trees are a constant feature, along with lots of water.
ADVERTISING FEATURE The Country Club and the Green Monkey, a Tom Fazio creation carved from an old stone quarry and exclusive to guests. More fantastic golf is on offer at Royal Westmoreland – a wonderful estate with exceptional facilities, including the world-class championship course, while in the centre of the island you’ll ﬁnd Apes Hill, which opened in 2009 and is plotted 1,000 feet above sea level. You’ll also relish the linksy challenge posed by the well-established par-72 Barbados GC – water features on ﬁve holes – and the fun, easy-walking nine-holer at Rockley.
Need to know...
When to go, where to go and how you can sample Barbados for yourself with Your Golf Travel When to go While Barbados basks in balmy year-round weather, we’d give the crowds a miss and travel off-peak any time from May to October. Getting there British Airways ﬂy direct from London to capital Bridgetown and the ﬂight time is about eight-and-a-half hours. Time difference Four hours behind the UK. Did you know Barbados is not only the birthplace of pop superstar Rihanna but of rum, too. It was ﬁrst made in the mid-1630s when it was then called Kill Devil.
Sandy Lane: Home to the legendary Green Monkey layout.
Top ﬁve off-course attractions 1 Bathsheba Beach on the west coast, is a photographer’s and surfer’s paradise. 2 The charming rum distillery at St Nicholas Abbey also features a 350-year-old plantation home and museum. 3 Harrison’s Cave limestone cavern features spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. 4 Hunte’s Gardens in St Joseph parish offers an array of plants and wildlife picturesquely plotted within a valley. 5 Bridgetown’s Cheapside Market is a fascinating place to
browse local produce in a grand old setting.
EXPERIENCEITYOURSELF Cobblers Cove Seven nights B&B at Cobblers Cove and three rounds at Apes Hill costs from £2,325pp. The price includes return British Airways ﬂights, free golf carriage and a free TaylorMade travel bag. Book by November 30 for travel on selected dates in Apr-Jul 2018. Turtle Beach Seven nights all-inclusive at Turtle Beach and five rounds at Barbados GC costs from £1,795pp. The price includes return British Airways flights, free golf carriage and a free TaylorMade travel bag. Book by Nov 30 for travel on selected dates Apr-Jul, 2018. Royal Westmoreland Seven nights room-only at Royal Westmoreland and seven rounds at Royal Westmoreland costs from £1,295pp. The price includes return British Airways ﬂights, free golf carriage and a free TaylorMade travel bag. Price based on selected dates in May, June or Sep 2018 (based on four people sharing a threebedroom unit).
Barbados is the birthplace of rum
There’s a vibe on the island like nowhere else
Enjoy white sandy beaches and turquoise water
For more information speak to a Your Golf Travel expert on 0800 193 6617, or visit yourgolftravel.com/tg-barbados Terms and conditions: Flights all based on British Airways economy cabin, travel dates as stated. Free golf carriage is only available on BA ﬂights. Package prices are subject to change and promotional offers can be removed at any time.
‘AFTER TESTING DIFFERENT BRANDS I REALISED CALLAWAY’S TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION WILL HELP ME MAXIMISE MY GAME’ W O R D S S I M O N D A D D O W P I C T U R E S C A L L AWAY G O L F
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PICK YOUR PERFECT BAG With Callaway’s new superstar, Sergio Garcia In 2018 the Spaniard will play an entirely new set of clubs and ball. This is how he chose them all
here have been a handful of mega player equipment moves in the last few years. Rory, Tiger and Lydia Ko are three huge names who’ve made a wholesale switch to a new manufacturer, and the latest superstar to make a move is Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard had been with TaylorMade for 15 years, winning the 2017 Masters, a Players Championship and 19 other titles worldwide. But last October the two parted company, with Garcia saying: “All companies change and the politics with TaylorMade have changed after leaving adidas. We couldn’t come to an agreement.” Almost immediately Garcia was spotted testing Callaway’s Epic driver, plus their Apex MB irons and Mack Daddy wedges. He ﬁnished third in the Race to Dubai, helped by a T4 at the season-ending event in Dubai using Callaway clubs. On January 2, it became official – Garcia was conﬁrmed as a Callaway staffer, saying: “I’m really excited to
WHAT’S IN HIS BAG
Driver: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (9°) Page 48 Fairway woods: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (13.5°, 18°); Page 50 Irons: Callaway Apex MB (3-9); Page 52 Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (47°, 54° and 58°, all in S grind) Putter: Toulon/ Odyssey Atlanta Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X 18
switch to Callaway. After testing different brands I realised Callaway’s technology and innovation will help me maximise my game and perform to the best of my ability.” He’d spent the last two months doing what club golfers do all the time, choosing 14 new clubs and a ball based on how they will help his game. He will use Callaway’s newfor-2018 Rogue Sub Zero driver, along with Apex MB irons, Mack Daddy 4 wedges and the latest Chrome Soft X ball. He is still testing an Odyssey Toulon putter. To ﬁnd out more about the process he’s gone through, how he’s made his decisions and reveal
what you can learn from the process, we spoke to Dean Teykl, Senior Manager Tour Operations/Player Performance at Callaway, who’s been working closely with Sergio to ﬁnd his perfect 2018 bag. The pair have been ﬁnetuning Garcia’s set, and Teykl dived into 30 pages of notes to tell us what they went through to get Sergio’s ideal set-up, including driver, woods, irons, wedges, putter and ball. It’s a fascinating insight into how one of the world’s best players goes about choosing his equipment. We know you won’t have your own tour rep to hand if you’re buying new gear this year. But the way Sergio went about it will help you make better buying decisions.
‘SERGIO’S OLD SCHOOL… HE SHAPES ALMOST EVERY SHOT’
Dean Teykl Senior Manager Tour Operations/Player Performance at Callaway, who ﬁtted Sergio Garcia What does Callaway bring to Sergio’s game? Three things. Service, and attention to detail worldwide, is second to none. The products are at the cutting edge of innovation and the team atmosphere – player/instructor/family/caddie/Callaway. They were all important factors.
How long has he been testing the new gear and what has he been most impressed with?
Sergio’s been on record saying the ball is the hardest thing to change; has that been the case?
We started working on product together last October. Our Chrome Soft X ball got his attention ﬁrst, and then when he ﬁrst hit our new Rogue driver he saw increased ball speed and forgiveness.
Not in this case, no. The Chrome Soft X provided a much softer feel, which he liked immediately. He plays from the green to the tee. He can bounce a ball on his wedge and almost be able to tell you whether or not he can play that ball. He plays the game more “old school” than most of today’s players. He shapes almost every shot depending on the situation. The Chrome Soft X allows him to hit a variety of shots while gaining yardage from the tee.
Is Sergio a tinkerer with his gear – did he try lots of options? Not so much. I provided our complete line made to his specs and he chose each product by how it looked to his eye. Once he said he liked a product, he told me to make it perform. All of his Callaway product transitioned into the shafts and grips he was already using. He just wanted to try a different set of shafts for his irons, just to have a different feel. But in the end he stayed with his original iron shaft.
What have been the most surprising results from the new clubs? His new ball/club combination has resulted in more consistency. Being able to hit shots and each one is in the “window” of where he feels it should be gives him conﬁdence to be more aggressive. Watching this evolution as the conﬁdence grows, an aggressive Sergio will provide an exciting year!
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HOW SERGIO PICKED HIS...
ollowing up an epic success is a tricky thing to do. Just look at ﬁlms – has there ever been a sequel that was better than the original? Very, very few. Callaway has been wrestling with that issue after a record-breaking 2017, a year in which they’ve smashed their sales forecasts and become the top-selling brand in many of the world’s major golf markets. A lot of that success was down to the Epic driver (and, to be fair, their Odyssey O-Works putters and Chrome Soft ball). The new “Jailbreak” technology in the Epic drivers really resonated with consumers, and delivered distance gains in ﬁtting bays all over the world. So how do you improve on it? Callaway says its Rogue line – with new drivers, fairways, hybrids and multiple iron offerings – does exactly that, and over the next few pages we’ll reveal how.
2018 ROGUE DRIVER
Sergio will play the Sub Zero
Shaping shots with little effort
We’ve worked with Sergio since he left TaylorMade, so he was playing Epic before we got together to ﬁt him for Rogue. For 2018 he’s going to play the 9° Rogue Sub Zero, and I’m really surprised how quick and straightforward his ﬁt was. Literally we hit 15 or 20 balls on Trackman from tees on a golf course and he was ready to put it straight in his bag.
Sergio rarely hits a straight shot. When he sees a shot that requires a little cut, that’s what he wants to hit, and he’s comfortable shaping shots both ways. What he found with Rogue was that it was easier to hit the shots he saw, especially to turn shots over from right to left. With his M2 he felt he had to manipulate the club more to get the same result.
How the club looks on the turf is really important
Big improvement is dispersion
More so than many players I’ve worked with (during my 17 years in the business) how the club looks at address is really important to Sergio. He reckoned Rogue looked friendly which instilled conﬁdence. The numbers then obviously need to stack up, but if he doesn’t like how the club sits on the turf he doesn’t want to give a try.
Ball speed, carry and total distance gains are signiﬁcant Coming from his TaylorMade M2 Sergio saw gains across the board by putting Epic in play. Ball speed was up by 3mph, and both carry and total distance were a further six yards down the fairway. Initial tests from Epic to Rogue saw further gains in ball speed and carry, along with a jump of 1° in launch, and that was without any tinkering. 48 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
After we tested we walked down the fairway to retrieve the balls Sergio had hit during the ﬁtting, and we were both surprised how tight his dispersion was with the Rogue. Sergio’s a great driver of the ball anyway, but the high MOI nature of Rogue Sub Zero helps keep his heel miss in play and he felt shots ﬂew through a very consistent launch window, which translates to ﬁnding even more fairways.
We change one component at a time We haven’t even looked at driver shafts yet with Sergio. We wanted a direct comparison between old and new models to get a true reﬂection of how the new Rogue performs for him. Further down the line, if Sergio wants to we can explore shafts much more deeply to see if there’s further gains to be made.
Price: £469 Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 13.5° Stock shaft: Aldila Quaranta (40g), Aldila Synergy (50g), Project X EvenFlow (60g), Project X HZRDUS (70g/80g) Adjustable hosel: Yes How much loft change: -1°/+2°
ROGUE www.callawaygolf.com By removing the sliding weight track at the back of the head, Rogue has a 15g weight saving over Epic. Repositioning that weight delivers more forgiveness and a 16% tighter shot dispersion. Along with an improved aero package, Callaway says Rogue produces 1.52mph faster ball speeds than Epic.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR PERFECT... DRIVER
All-out forgiveness or less spin/more adjustability?
Most brands have wider body all-out forgiving drivers in their 2018 range; they’re speciﬁcally designed to maintain stability, ball speed and accuracy when hit off-centre the power and forgiveness combo on offer ke in play more often and results in more fairwa they usually cost less, too. But if you want to dial in a particular shot shape, or manage spi more carefully, adjustable or lower spin models can help. Just be aware low spin or
Callaway’s Senior Vice President of R&D Alan Hocknell explains the tech in the Rogue drivers Carbon composite At Callaway we’ve pioneered carbon ﬁbre in drivers. The tech’s now so good the Rogue’s crown is 63% lighter than an equivalent titanium crown. All that weight saving is redistributed to raise MOI and protect ball speed and distance.
Price: £469 Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 13.5° Stock shaft: Aldila Quaranta (40g), Aldila Synergy (50g), Project X EvenFlow (60g), Project X HZRDUS (70g/80g) Adjustable hosel: Yes How much loft change: -1°/+2°
Price: £469 Lofts: 9°, 10.5° Stock shaft: Aldila Quaranta (40g), Aldila Synergy (50g), Project X EvenFlow (60g), Project X HZRDUS (70g/80g) Adjustable hosel: Yes How much loft change: -1°/+2°
ROGUE DRAW www.callawaygolf.com Draw drivers have come a long way over the last 18 months and from looks alone most golfers wouldn’t know the Draw isn’t a standard Rogue. Callaway say there’s seven yards more draw bias than the Epic, which helps keep shots away from the right side of the course, and improves ball speed for heel strikers.
ROGUE SUB ZERO www.callawaygolf.com The Sub Zero’s lower spinning than the standard Rogue. Removable 2g and 14g weights can be switched between forward and back ports to increase/decrease launch and/or spin for higher spin or fast swing speed players. Callaway say the Sub Zero has more of a player’s proﬁle (than the Epic); expect it to be in Sergio’s bag for 2018.
adjustable drivers are rarely the most forgiving drivers available, meaning you’re putting fairway ﬁnding performance on the line for the indulgence of personalising your personal spin/launch numbers and/or shot shape bias.
Have an idea of where you typically impact shots on the face
Brands openly admit if your impact’s in line with the centre of gravity, you gain ball speed. So if you tend to hit shots out of the heel it makes sense to look at draw-style drivers as the CG’s on the heel side of
Rogue is bigger Both Rogue and Epic are 460cc drivers, but Rogue is stretched from face to back and slightly from toe to heel. To get this look in a conforming driver we used a ﬂatter crown compared to the Epic.
Hourglass-shaped Jailbreak bars Since Epic we’ve run an exhaustive amount of experiments on Jailbreak (not only on vertical rods, either) and looked speciﬁcally at how the tech performs with our new X-Face and Variable Face Thickness. New hourglass shaped rods give a giant leap from Epic to Rogue.
New aerodynamics We knew we wanted Rogue to be larger, but that ampliﬁes drag issues in the downswing. By working with Boeing we better understood the transitions from face to driver crown. These have a softer, more generous radius, so air effectively stays closer to the driver’s surfaces for longer, reducing drag.
centre. It means the head deﬂects and twists less at impact improving energy transfer and accuracy.
Get the right shaft
There’s a reason why Callaway’s new Rogue drivers are available with shaft weights from 40g to 80g. It’s to suit different swing speeds and offer golfers a full range of launch proﬁles and spin characteristics. We’ve seen gains of 5mph+ of ball speed and up to 27 yards of carry just by getting the right shaft set-up. So it’s well worth taking the time to ﬁnd the best one in a ﬁtting.
Shaft choice In recent times we’ve gone from offering a single stock shaft option to sometimes 20. It’s led to confusion, so for Rogue the offering is more manageable (with a premium offering in key weight ranges) and easier to understand.
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HOW SERGIO PICKED HIS...
allaway’s “Jailbreak” tech in its Epic drivers was the biggest golf equipment story of 2017, and one of the biggest developments in driver design for a decade. But the two bars behind the face – which stiffen the whole head so that more energy is transferred back to the ball – never made into Callaway’s woods and hybrids… until now.
2018 ROGUE FAIRWAYS
ROGUE FAIRWAY www.callawaygolf.com Jailbreak makes an appearance in a fairway wood for the ﬁrst time. Combined with a new ultra-thin and springy carpenter 455 steel face, Callaway says this is the most effective speed-boosting package they’ve ever made. A carbon composite crown and glued hosel free up weight, which is repositioned to create an ultra-low CG, high MOI package. According to Callaway’s lab rats it’s ultra-easy to launch from the turf, extremely versatile and the total package when it comes to fairways. A Sub Zero version boasts all the same Jailbreak, fast-face, composite crown and aero tech, but the sole weight’s moved towards the face. That creates a low and forward CG which lowers spin and maximises distance for fast swing speed players.
Decisions, decisions, decisions During the test session we hit both the Rogue 3+ (13.5° loft) and Rogue Sub Zero 3+ (13.5°) – and as we stand Sergio is still deciding between the pair. As far as how they perform for Sergio they’re very similar, but the looks give two different appearances; the slightly smaller Sub Zero shape is his preference. The shafts are exactly the same as the driver – Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver.
Sub Zero fairways are the way forward Because the Sub Zero has more weight forward in the head, spin is reduced. Sergio particularly likes how his cut shots don’t overspin, and are more manageable. We didn’t have to go through lots of product to ﬁnd the right ﬁt either. Just like the driver Sergio knows what he likes, so there’s very little tinkering. Tour pros often like to alter paint lines on the top edge of woods to suit their own eye (and make it look more open than it actually is), but we had nothing like that with Sergio.
5-wood or utility iron? Sergio has been ﬁtted for both a Rogue Sub Zero 5-wood (18°) and a new X Forged utility iron (of the same loft). He will swap them in and out of his bag depending on 50 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
Price: £269 Lofts: 3+/13.5°, 3/15°, 4/17°, 5/19°, 7/21°, 9/23°, 11/25°, 20° Heavenwood Stock shaft: Aldila Quranta 50, Aldila Synergy 60, Project X Evenflow
the course he’s playing. The utility has a lower, more boring ﬂight for him. His planning involves analysing the par 5s and par 3s at each course and deciding whether shots needs to be run up to the green, or ﬂown all the way to the front edge.
Daily weather conditions also inﬂuence the decision The decision to use the 5-wood or utility iron changes daily as well. If it’s windy, he’ll look to keep approach shots lower and run them up if possible. But when it’s wet he might need to ﬂy shots further through the air. He travels with both in his bag, so it literally it is a daily decision on which is best suited to the conditions.
The Rogue woods weren’t the only eye opener We started testing the Chrome Soft X golf ball by chipping and pitching on to greens. By the time we’d made our way back to hit fairways and drivers from the tee, Sergio realised the Chrome Soft went further than his old ball, so he was a bit confused. He said “how can a golf ball go further, yet spin more around the green?” Right there the switch became a no-brainer.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR PERFECT FAIRWAYS
Trust us, you need fast face t
Investing in a fairway wood witho of fast face tech in 2018 is simply a economy. New super thin, strong bu alloy faces when combined with “Ja bars”, “speed pockets” or similar thi tech are unbeatable for rinsing out e speed and distance from a swing. If fairway woods are more than ﬁve ye you’ll see an immediate jump in perf
Callaway’s Senior Vice President of R&D Alan Hocknell explains the tech in the Rogue woods Jailbreak performs differently
Jailbreak for fairways and hybrids was a huge design challenge. Impacts on fairways and hybrids tend to be lower on the face, not out of the centre like a driver. Rogue fairways and hybrids launch higher, without adding spin, creating a ﬂatter overall ﬂight.
Higher launch, lower spin
Both Rogue and Rogue Sub Zero fairways offer higher launch angles and reduced spin, but the Sub Zero really stands out for me technically. The centre of gravity is substantially further forward, so it launches higher but doesn’t add spin.
Hybrids are different shapes
ROGUE HYBRID www.callawaygolf.com THE DETAILS
Price: £229 Lofts: 3H/18°, 4H/20°, 5H/23°, 6H/26°, 7H/29° Stock shaft: Aldila Synergy 50 Adjustable hosel: No
New hybrids accompany most new iron launches nowadays, as they’re such an integral part of buying a new set for club golfers. Both Rogue and Rogue X are the ﬁrst hybrids to feature Jailbreak tech, and to maximise their impact in a smaller head Callaway has increased the face depth. It means every shot gets the full force of the clubface loading and rebounding energy back to the ball. An X version has a wider head which creates a very low CG and high MOI design, with et of X irons.
Do you really ne
Adjustability, whe hosels or sole weights, comes to fairway wood realised golfers use adjus fairways (and it has less im heavier heads), it’s costly a weight which can be positio inﬂuence forgiveness. Lack o does mean though taking the the right model and lofts suited the outset.
Lofts, ofts, lofts al rule the slower d the more he new Rogue 3.5º to 25º, oft gaps between get the numbers 0 to 15 yard gaps way woods ) ﬂy higher and are
The standard Rogue shape is a slightly enlarged version of the Apex hybrid. It’s low spinning and offers an excellent blend of forgiveness, workability and versatility. Rogue X is unashamedly shaped like a miniature fairway wood; we call it a super-hybrid, dialled in for maximum distance.
More loft options
We listened to insight from our ﬁtters and created a larger number of fairway woods. It helps with ﬁtting options and effectively means we have ﬁve 3-wood options all with slightly different loft and trajectory characteristics.
No adjustable hosels
We decided the weight saving of not having an adjustable hosel beneﬁts positioning the CG and, maximising Rogue’s MOI for forgiveness. With more weight already positioned low in the hybrid heads there’s also no need for carbon crowns either.
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HOW SERGIO PICKED HIS...
t’s only January, but 2018 is already shaping up to be a bumper year for irons. Why? Because the market’s changing so quickly and dramatically. While Sergio – one of the world’s best ball strikers – has gone for a classic set of muscleback blades this season, for the average golfer there are more tech options than ever before. Callaway’s four new Rogue models cover all the bases, catering for every level of ability and every swing speed with a brand new material inside the head and some clever engineering...
APEX MB IRONS
The lure of blades I spent two sessions with Sergio looking at irons and he naturally gravitated towards the appearance of the Apex MBs. They’re a bit different from his TaylorMade player cavity backs (P750), but he feels he can shape shots and control trajectory with them, which made the ﬁt a very simple process. The only difference between Sergio’s set and a standard off-the-shelf set will be the “SG” logo on the back.
X Forged was an option He did have a look at the X Forged irons (cavity-backs) as we built a set to exactly the same specs as his TaylorMade irons. He just felt he didn’t need the added forgiveness that came from of a bit more offset and the slightly thicker topline.
New shafts were on the table We looked at potentially using some new shafts. Sergio put in the True Temper Project X Load Zone (7.0) shafts when he played at the back end of 2017. He felt after trialling them in a couple of events when he was under the gun, dispersion just wasn’t quite as tight as the Nippon Tour 130 he usually plays.
We looked at wedges, too We showed him some more exotic grinds, but he was keen to stick with the standard S-grind sole. He 52 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
likes to keep things simple, and he feels he can open up the SW and LW without any issues with turf interaction. By keeping it simple he also thinks it’s easier to get exact replacements when he needs fresh new grooves. 47°, 54° and 58° lofts cover off his gapping.
Give me spin There’s two schools of thought when it comes to wedge spin. You get guys that can control spin, and guys that can’t. Guys that can’t need less spin, but the guys that can want as much as they can get. Sergio is most deﬁnitely in the “can” category – he sees spin as control. He gets it from face manipulation, club selection and whether he hits hard or soft shots. With his old ball he felt he needed to use trajectory to stop shots, he can now use spin – hitting low spinners is a preference.
Sergio is seriously good I’ve been ﬁtting pros for 17 years and Sergio is one of the most incredible ball strikers I’ve ever seen. To watch him call a draw with his irons and land the shot 10 feet left of the target is really special. Even off the tee golfers that can shape shots usually aim at the right side of the fairway and end up 25 yards left, but with Sergio he is literally moving tee shots four yards, which is so impressive.
This sponge-like material inside the Rogue’s cavity absorbs shock and vibration, improving sound and feel.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR PERFECT... IRONS
Match the set to your ability
Golf’s a tough game at the best of times, and we’re ﬁrm believers in not making it harder than it needs to be. If you’re looking for new irons in 2018 be honest about your ability, it’s the only way to ensure you get a set which enhances and doesn’t hamper your scoring. In a recent TG test we saw a 24-yard difference in 7-iron carry distance between a set of blades and cavity-back irons, which shows what golfers put on the line by plumping for a set which looks brilliant, but cost shots.
ROGUE PRO www.callawaygolf.com Ball speed boost
Variable thickness faces maximise ball speeds on off-centre hits. It’s thicker in the centre and narrower around the edges.
Designed to target the needs of better players. It has a compact head, narrower top edges, thinner soles and a shallower cavity, plus less offset. You get all the beneﬁts of a variable thickness cup face to maximise ball speeds, and tungsten-infused internal standing wave to optimise ball ﬂight and control. Callaway’s urethane microsphere technology in the cavity also dampens vibration, improving sound and feel, without compromising face ﬂex or bounce back.
HOCKNELL’S Price: £849 (s) for seven irons Availability: 3-AW Stock shaft: True Temper XP-105 Stepless 7-iron loft and length: 31°/37”
ROGUE www.callawaygolf.com The standard Rogue is expected to make up 50% of their iron sales as it’s designed for the everyday golfer. The head is bigger than the Pro, but smaller than the X, and it’s packed full of forgiveness. Callaway says it’s the hottest iron face they’ve ever created, with the same levels of ﬂex as a driver over a larger area than ever before. The new microsphere material in the internal cavity acts like a sponge, offering improved sound, feel and feedback in a cavity-back iron.
Price: £849 (s) £1,049 (g) for seven irons Availability: 3-LW Stock shaft: True Temper XP 95 (s) Aldila Synergy 60 (g) 7-iron loft and length: 30°/ 37.25”
ROGUE X www.callawaygolf.com Rogue X are an all-out assault on distance. The lofts are strong, the shafts are longer and they’re lighter than the standard iron. The 7-iron is 27°, which is only half-adegree from a 6-iron in other brands! Callaway says the lighter, stronger, longer trend has spread over from Japan, so Rogue X are speciﬁcally designed to perform at average and above-average swing speeds. They’re unashamedly aimed at golfers who just want more iron distance… so lots of us.
Price: £849 (s) £1,049 (g) for seven irons Availability: 4-SW Stock shaft: KBS MAX 90 (s) Aldila Synergy 50 (g) 7-iron loft and length: 27°/37.5”
ROGUE W www.callawaygolf.com Brands are wising up to the fact that lots of committed golfers are getting older, and their swings are getting slower – and Rogue W is directly aimed at those players; golfers who now need to hit their 6-iron instead of the 7. There’s all the same speed face tech as the other Rogue irons, but the Ws also have weaker lofts, wider soles and a lighter swing weight to ensure they’re easy to launch and very forgiving in the hands of slower-swinging club golfers.
Callaway’s Senior Vice President of R&D Alan Hocknell explains the technology in the Rogue irons Four new models Rogue irons all feature a multimaterial construction, and a combination of our best new and existing technologies. The family of four models each feature a suite of technologies that work together to heighten performance for different golfers.
Microsphere technology Thin, fast face irons promote faster ball speeds, but they experience a signiﬁcant amount of vibration, which can result in a harsh, clicky sound and feel. We’ve solved this problem with something I’ve called the ‘Swiss cheese’ effect. By infusing thousands of tiny air pockets (microspheres) into a new urethane material we dampen vibration without slowing the club face.
Standing wave tech By injection-moulding dense tungsten into intricate shapes, we positioned the centre of gravity carefully and individually for each Rogue iron. The tech also helps control impact vibration, improving feel and sound and giving an optimum launch to each set.
Seven yards further Price: £1,049 (g) Availability: 4-SW Stock shaft: Aldila Quaranta 7-iron loft and length: 31.5°/37”
Our testing saw a seven-yard increase for Rogue X irons over the standard iron. The distance gain is consistent throughout the set, and it’s very noticeable.
Thin, faster faces
It’s OK to sit on the fence
Irons usually slot into neat player categories. But that meant it always felt like a giant leap between game improvement and better player models. That gap has been bridged by a number of recent crossover iron launches, which bring together the looks of better player irons with the playability of game improvement models. If you’ve been looking for sleeker game improvement irons for years, there couldn’t be a better time to take the plunge.
Lighter, stronger, longer
Not many golfers complain about having too much distance. Which makes Callaway’s new lighter, stronger, longer Rogue X iron an interesting introduction. We’d be doing you a disservice to not highlight how powerful they are (albeit from a very strong loft), but because shots launch and ﬂy as high as a normal set, they’re playable for golfers with average and above swing speeds. Just remember once a launch monitor conﬁrms they gain you 10 yards, a purchase is difficult to resist.
The Rogue’s Face Cup employs a shallow, ﬂexible rim around the perimeter that ﬂexes and releases at impact to increase ball speed. Variable Face Thickness (VFT) technology dramatically expands the portion of the face that delivers fast ball speed, giving you more distance on off-centre hits.
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THE ESSENTIALS This is what the pros know And is what all amateurs need to know To Watch
FREE SAMPLE CLIPS GO TO
chad2golf.com To be a good golfer every single person needs to have the 6th ESSENTIAL POINT in the golf swing. The 6th ESSENTIAL POINT for the golf swing is hand eye ball co-ordination.
To see a FREE sample clip from the
6th ESSENTIAL POINT GO TO
THE ESSENTIALS for Â£10 GO TO chad2golf.com
PL .. .A MO
etmoreout th 17 pages new events
Prepare for a round like Spieth Y
ou might not be able to play like the Open champion, but there’s no reason you can’t copy his pre-round routine. The PGA Tour studied how the three-time major winner prepares for a round. The 21-step answer is below. While we
appreciate you won’t be doing this for the Sunday morning roll-up, it could come in handy for a big game on a special course, or the club champs. Read it, copy it and prepare to feel more ready for a round than you’ve ever felt before.
Hit 12 four-foot putts
TO THE TTING
ARRIVE AT THE COURSE 1 HOUR AND 15 MINUTES BEFORE YOUR TEE TIME
Hit 12 seven-foot putts MOVE TO THE RANGE
Hit 8 6-irons
4 rs N TO PING N
Hit 9 chip shots
Hit 8 bunker shots
GO BACK TO THE PUTTING GREEN
Hit 21 more putts from a variety of distances.
Put yourself on the clock W
hen it comes to the future of golf, the most important event of the year could well be the European Tour’s 2018 Shot Clock Masters. This innovative event is attempting to cut 45 minutes off a round by giving the ﬁrst player in each group to play any given shot a maximum of 50 seconds to hit the ball, and the other players 40 seconds. Anyone who records a bad time will be penalised a shot and have a red card placed against their name on the
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leaderboard. “The game of golf should deﬁnitely be faster and therefore this is a step in the right direction,” says Bernd Wiesberger and we agree. So we are setting you a challenge. Take a watch or stopwatch on to the course and record the length of time it takes you to play each shot. If all your times are under 30 seconds, congratulations, your pace of play has the TG seal of approval. If they aren’t, you’re too slow and need to speed up. Which will make you play better...
PLAY BETTER IN 2018
Go on a Ryder Cup odyssey
our mission, should you choose to accept it, is to celebrate the greatest golf event taking place in 2018 by playing a selection of the wonderful courses that have held the tournament in the past. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
COMPARE YOUR STATS AGAINST A FRIEND’S
Southport & Ainsdale, Merseyside
If you can stay out of this Yorkshire course’s deep bunkers, savage rough and impenetrable gorse, then you have a chance of carding a good score around the only inland course to host the Ryder Cup, Walker Cup and Curtis Cup. Ryder Cup year: 1949 Score: United States 7-5 Great Britain Green fees: From £55 gantongolfclub.com
Heather, gorse, pot bunkers and the wind are the main challenges at this stunning links course, which is regularly ranked among the top 50 courses in Great Britain & Ireland. Ryder Cup years: 1933 & 1937 Scores: 1933: Great Britain 6.5-5.5 United States; 1937: United States 8-4 Great Britain Green fees: From £65 sandagolfclub.co.uk
You think you hit it further than all your friends. And you’re pretty sure you’ve got one of the best short games out of your golﬁng group. But how can you ﬁnd out for deﬁnite? The answer is by studying your stats using the ‘compare against friends’ feature that Shot Scope is preparing to launch on the iOS, Android and desktop apps that accompany its excellent V2 GPS watch. The watch costs £225. And the ‘compare against friends’ feature launches in June. shotscope.com
PUT ANOTHER WEDGE IN YOUR BAG Walton Heath (Old), Surrey
It’s hard to pick a section of this wonderful Surrey heathland course that rises above the rest. But, if pushed, we’d agree with 1973 Open champion Tom Weiskopf’s view that the run of holes from the 13th to the 18th is “as good as any” in the world. Ryder Cup year: 1981 Score: United States 18.5-9.5 Europe Green fees: From £75 waltonheath.com
A recent redesign has stiffened the test presented by this impressively conditioned layout. Look out for the greens, which are among the purest in the country, and the 17th hole, where Greg Norman once carded a 14. Ryder Cup year: 1957 Score: Great Britain 7.5-4.5 United States Green fees: From £50 lindrickgolfclub.co.uk
We are going to hand entry straight over to the world’s foremost short game guru. “I really believe it will help high handicappers if they get more wedges,” says Dave Pelz. “I personally carry ﬁve. I have a 46° pitching wedge, a 50° gap wedge, a 55° sand wedge, a 60° wedge and a 64° wedge, as this means that no matter where I am from 100 yards in I always have the perfect club for the shot.” How many have you got in your bag?
Moortown, West Yorkshire The ﬁrst Ryder Cup on British soil was held over this inland masterpiece that’s situated in a suburb of Leeds, and was designed by the course architect who crafted Augusta and Royal Melbourne, Dr Alister MacKenzie. Ryder Cup year: 1929 Score: Great Britain 7-5 United States Green fees: From £50 moortown-golf-club.co.uk
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Play Sawgrass, Pebble and Augusta… in Cornwall
nfortunately, we don’t know a friend of a friend who can get you on two of America’s most famous courses anytime you happen to be in the vicinity. Fortunately, we do know an alternative. Each of the holes on The Famous Nine at Cornwall’s Gwel an Mor Resort has been inspired by great holes from around the globe, including the 12th at Augusta, the 17th at TPC Sawgrass and the 17th at Pebble Beach. Whoa, does mean there is water everywhere? Not quite.
The holes are more translations rather than replicas, so although the par 3 that’s based on the 17th at TPC Sawgrass features an island green, it’s surrounded by a lake of Cornish granite rather than a pond of Florida aqua. But don’t let that put you off. The course opened to rave reviews last September, while its all-weather greens and tees mean it can be played all year round and it costs from just £15 a round. Gwelanmor.com
Recreate th victory me
orget trying to copy Sergio Gar Champions Dinner from Augu If you want a celebratory golf me can really get your teeth into in 2 why not try one of these slightly m cut-priced options?
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How do you celebrate your ﬁrst European Tour title? If your name’s Matt Fitzpatrick, the answer is stopping off at a motorway service station for a Subway. Menu details are vague, but given the distance of his winning tap in at the 2015 British Masters, we imagine it involved a foot long.
The Hatton After his back-to-back victories in this year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and Italian Open, Tyrrell Hatton was over £1 million richer. But if you think that
meant he’d forgotten what it was like to be one of the people, think again. The 26-year-old marked his achievements with a Double Whopper from the Burger King at Milan Airport.
The Mickelson Phil Mickelson is a man of his word. So if he tells his kids that he’s going to take them for Krispy Kreme doughnuts the day after the Masters that’s exactly what he is going to do. And if, like in 2010, he happens to have won the event and been given a Green Jacket, then that is exactly what he is going to wear.
PLAY BETTER IN 2018
Find the best ball for you… Y
ou can either get one of the major manufacturers to do this for you at an upcoming demo/ﬁtting day (dates available on their websites), or follow top custom ﬁtter Richard Kempton’s advice. “I believe the ball that ﬂies a little further, but is impossible to control around the greens is no use,” reveals Kempton (theclubdoctor.co.uk). “Subsequently, whenever I think about changing balls, I work from the green backwards rather than the tee forwards. I start by choosing a bunch of balls that I have heard good things about. I’ll take these to a putting green and see how they feel. If any of them jump
off the putter face, I’ll eliminate them right away. Next, I’ll move on and study how I can control the remaining contenders when chipping the ball. Then I’ll start pitching, and go down through my irons. At all stages any ball I feel like I can’t control, will be rejected. If I do all this and still have two balls in the running when I get to the driver, then I will study how they ﬂy and use the one that goes further and straighter.”
Stop obsessing over clubhead speed
e’re not saying clubhead speed isn’t important. But we are saying it’s not the be all and end all. “I’ve seen people improve their clubhead speed and lose distance,” explains top club ﬁtter Richard Kempton (theclubdoctor.co.uk). This may sound implausible, but allow us to provide a simple mathematical explanation that proves Kempton’s point. “If your driver is set up properly and you consistently middle the ball your smash factor will be about 1.5,” explains Kempton. “But if it isn’t, your smash factor can drop to around 1.3, and this will result in a slower ball speed and lower driving distance.” It’s for this reason Kempton implores you to study your smash factor as closely as your ball speed. “If you go on a launch monitor and discover your smash factor is lower than 1.4 you are losing distance and a custom ﬁtter can deﬁnitely help you,” he says.
GET GOLF INSURANCE
We know the odds are against your wayward drive smashing a car windscreen or hitting someone in the head. But we also know a) that windscreens cost quite a lot to replace and b) that a British golfer who lost an eye after being struck by a stray ball was awarded a whopping £397,000 in damages. Thus we consider paying as little as £24.95 a year to protect yourself pretty good value. golfcare.co.uk
I WILL SPRUCE UP MY HOUSE The dream – decorating your house with a selection of items that highlight your love of golf. The nightmare – most golf memorabilia either looks ridiculous or tacky or both. The solution: these stunning vintage posters. posterclassics.com/ vintage-sports-poster.html www.allposters.co.uk
WATCH GOLF’S MOST EXCITING NEW EVENT
There are several reasons to be excited about the inaugural European Golf Team Championships. The ﬁrst is that it’s going to be played over the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles. The second is that it will involve both strokeplay and matchplay. The third is that is it being supported by both the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour. The fourth is that in addition to the male and female teams events, there will also be a groundbreaking mixed event. And the ﬁfth is that this mixed event will ﬁnally answer the question concerning what scores the world’s best male and female golfers would shoot if they played the same course at the same time. We can’t wait. https://www. glasgow2018.com/sports/golf
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Back the fireman who’s playing in the Masters and US Open
ooking for a plucky underdog story that will tug at your heartstrings? Step forward Matt Parziale. After winning the 2017 US Mid-Amateur Championship, the 30-year-old ﬁreﬁghter received invitations to play in this year’s US Masters and US Open, meaning he could very well become the ﬁrst person to ﬁght a ﬁre the day after lighting up Augusta or Shinnecock Hills. Cool, huh? It really is and here, in his own words, are ﬁve more things you need to know about the man we should all be rooting for at this year’s ﬁrst two majors. “I don’t view golf as a leisure activity, I play to compete. I turned professional and played some mini tours after graduating from college, but now I am really enjoying having my amateur status back. The Mid Am circuit is great to play in and I am able to combine it with a career I love.” “Fireﬁghting and golf are two totally separate elements of my life. When I am ﬁghting a ﬁre it is absolute chaos. It is uncontrolled and you don’t know what is going to happen. Golf is the complete opposite. You might not know what is going to happen, but you are always in control.” “I was in work at 7am after I won the US Mid Amateur. That was a tough
PITCH YOUR BIG GOLF IDEA
In a recent interview, Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones revealed that he loves our sport and is looking to invest in a golf business. So if you’ve got an idea for the next generation of golf hats, a robot caddie or a ball that ﬁnds itself, don’t delay. Now is the time to pitch it for the 2018 series. http://www.bbc.co.uk/ programmes/b006vq92
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day to get through, but it all worked out well. I think I was still running on adrenalin.” “My goal is to go to the Masters and to compete the best that I can. For me, this means playing in events in the lead up, so I can get in to the process of playing tournament golf, competing and trying to get into contention. It does not mean thinking about how last year’s US Mid Amateur champion made the cut or what anyone else has done in the past. They are just made up thoughts that would not get me anywhere.” “I’m friends with a few tour players. Keegan Bradley would be the most famous, but I’m also close to Jon Curran, who I used to travel with on the mini tours, and Jim Renner, who recently won the Web.com Tour Qualifying School. We all grew up playing junior golf together, so to see them doing well is awesome.”
I will support the Ladies
e include this entry partly because you can learn loads from studying the way Europe’s top female golfers hit the ball and manoeuvre their way around the golf course. But also because the Ladies European Tour had a really bad year in 2017 and could very much do with your support.
ET EVENTS deen Asset Management Ladies tish Open, Gullane: July 26-29 h Women’s British Open, Royal am and St Annes: August 2-5 pean Golf Championships, eagles: August 8-12
PLAY BETTER IN 2018
If you improve just one thing in 2018, make it…
Lower scores need not mean blistered hands on the range. Here are five things you can improve easily, by our Top 50 teachers Your address position
Hit more greens with your wedge Ian Clark, World of Golf, Surrey Hitting greens with a wedge is well within the compass of most club players and makes a massive difference on the scorecard; yet too many greens get missed, mostly because of sending the ball the wrong distance. So practise hitting wedge shots various distances by changing length of swing only; focus on keeping a constant pace to your swing, and a constant acceleration rather than a sudden rush at the ball. Your distance control will dramatically improve.
Improve from 6ft and in
Andrew Murray andrewmurraygolf.com
Your set-up basics of grip, aim, stance and posture all dictate the quality of the action that follows; it’s no coincidence that the one common denominator for all elite players is an excellent address position. And the great thing is that you don’t need Rory’s skill or athletic ability to set up like him! All it takes is a commitment to work with your coach on creating your best swing platform possible. Make this your priority in 2018.
Hugh Marr, Hugh Marr Performance Systems, Surrey If you want to target one aspect of your performance in 2018, make it your holing out from inside six feet. This is one of the easiest ways for club players to reduce their score… and it can be achieved with relatively little practice. The blade aim at impact controls 92% of the ball’s start line, so prioritise face aim as a place to start.
Fuel your body better Simon Payne, Cowglen GC, Glasgow Eat a proper, nutritious breakfast combining protein and slow-release carbs prior to playing rather than running onto the tee with nothing or at best a bacon roll. Then hydrate and continue to ‘graze’ throughout the round. Take ﬂuid (preferably something isotonic) and snacks like fruit/nuts etc regularly rather than eating a chocolate bar and having a drink at the turn.
Hit the ball straighter, not further Adrian Fryer, Liverpool Golf Centre, Merseyside TV commentators, and the world’s leading players, often focus on the massive distance golfers now hit the ball. But believe me, most amateur golfers could reduce their handicap without hitting it one yard further. Understanding the relationship of the clubface to the swing path and creating a more centred strike would develop more ball control and see you hit more fairways and greens. Your high scores are generally a result of hitting the ball offline rather than not far enough. And the bonus is the better your swing path becomes, the further you’ll hit it as a by-product.
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Improve your pace putting Gary Nicol, TPEGS ArcherďŹ eld, East Lothian All too often I see golfers of all standards struggling on the greens, especially in competitions or pressure situations. This is because they spend a disproportionate amount of time and attention trying to get the line spot-on at the expense of getting the
Focus on short-game distance over direction Gary Casey, Thorpe Wood GC, Cambridgeshire For 2018, work on your distance control around the green including putting... to do this I would prioritise the King (weight/distance) over the Queen (direction). Both are important but the King should be respected more. And remember, only use loft when necessary.
Your balance Darren Parris, North Foreland GC, Kent Place an alignment stick old shaft parallel to your all-target target line and and on it, making sure it under the centre of both et. Address a ball with a mid/short iron and check your balance at set-up; e stick will tell you if you are too much in the toes r heels. From here hit 10 s, again focusing on your alance; the stick reveals toe/heel tendencies and ly highlights where your nce should be. Finally hit ormal shots without the to feel the improvement your balance. Lots of my students have improved distance and accuracy through this drill. 62 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
pace right. Pace determines line; in fact I would go so far as to say the line does not or cannot exist without the appropriate or relevant pace. Pay more focused attention to pace and you will hole more putts, shoot lower scores and have more fun.
PLAY BETTER IN 2018 Your post-shot routine Karl Morris, themindfactor.net
Learn your physical capabilities Ben Emerson, Bowood GC, Wiltshire Get a better understanding of what your body is physically capable of doing and improve your swing based on those facts. Stop trying to compare yourself to tour players and build your own swing, which will always be the most effective. When you understand what limitations could be holding you back, you can then choose to work on them or work within them; either way, this knowledge can really separate you from the rest. Learn what works best for you, and play your best golf based on that.
It isn’t so much the bad shots we hit at golf that are the problem; it’s our reaction to them. While the bad shot you hit will just affect the score on that hole, your reaction to it has the capacity to ruin the rest of your round. Many people play the game one poor shot from collapse. So for 2018 make a commitment that you will accept and deal with the bad shots you hit and move on. Your scores will beneﬁt.
Improve your ability to read your shots Kristian Baker, The Wentworth Club, Surrey In 2018 work with a PGA pro on your grasp of ball ﬂight laws. Every ball ﬂight is the result of a combination of face angle, club path and attack angle at impact. When you truly understand what combination produces which ﬂight, you can begin to apply that knowledge to your shots. From here you can target the ‘ﬁx’ much more quickly and be far more effective in your resolution.
Improve your skill Chris Ryan, HIT Golf Academy, Forest of Arden, Warwickshire Golfers often want to change their technique to improve, but we can improve simply by developing our skill level. A great way to do this is to add plenty of experimental practice to your sessions. For example take a mid-iron and strive to hit the biggest hook, slice, lowest and highest shots possible. Then you could look to move the ball position forward and back and try to still hit your target. This type of practice doesn’t involve technical thoughts, but really helps the golfer gain awareness and control of the clubface, the swing’s low point and, ultimately, the ball.
Your ﬁtness! Master your pitching Kevin Hale, HIT Golf Academy, Forest of Arden, Warwickshire If you improve your pitching, your scoring will drop into a new level for 2018. Think of all the opportunities you have on short par 4s and lay-up par 5s! To do this, master three length of swings. Keep your rhythm the same and work the clock face arm swing, perfect your own 09:30, 10:00 and 10:30 swing to control the distance. Measure what distance they go and repeat. Repeat a lot! When you add in a gap wedge and a sand wedge you now have nine different distances you can hit your wedges with deadly accuracy. Also, head out to your local par 3 course every couple of weeks – and watch how sharp your game gets.
Richard Lambert, Crosland Heath GC, West Yorkshire Most golfers focus on technique to improve, but the body moves the club! Want to hit if further? Get faster and get stronger. The perfect role model here is Justin Thomas, who attributed his 2017 US PGA win to improved ﬁtness. Look into HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) classes; they are a great way to improve your speed and strength, So, call up the local gym and make 2018 th
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DO YOU NEED A 4-WOOD
A 4-wood? Surely that’s preposterous? Everyone knows that the standard set goes driver, 3-wood, 5-wood. It does indeed, but that does not necessarily mean that this is the right set-up for you. “Most people assume that a 3-wood should be the longest fairway wood in their bag, but this is not always the case,” reveals custom fitter Richard Kempton. “If you have a severely downward angle of attack or a slow swing speed, then you may well find that you are able to hit a 4-wood with a much better ball flight than your current 3-wood.”
Impro your by go
PUTT AROUND THE CLOCK
Don’t panic, we’re not sentencing you to 12 hours of short stick labour. We’re suggesting you improve your ability to hole out from any angle by undertaking this drill. “Measure a three-foot circle around the hole and place 12 balls around this circle at every hour hand of the clock,” instructs shortgame legend Dave Pelz (pelzgolf. com). “Now, starting wherever you like, try to make all 12 putts in a row. If you miss one, set the balls out and start again. If you hole all 12, it means you are deﬁnitely not pushing or pulling the ball and can be conﬁdent about your stroke from all putting angles.”
GET A LESSON
Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose all have swing coaches. So here’s an idea – why don’t you take a leaf out of their major-winning books and lay the foundations for a brilliant 2018 by asking your local pro to give your action the once over?
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’d far rather put than putt from Dave Pelz (pelzgo get your chip sho of shooting a low improving chipp reveals Pelz. “Jus and, with any clu the hole as you p a row, move on to Nailed that one to another spot. An
Play in The St Andrews Golf Week
ot a special birthday coming up? Then boy do we have a bucket list trip for you. The St Andrews Golf Week takes places twice a year and features rounds on The Old Course, The New Course, The Jubilee Course, The Castle Course and Kingsbarns. It’s been running (bar Kingsbarns) since 1974, it features different competitions each day and it’s open to men with a handicap of 24 or under and women with a handicap of 36 or under. April’s golf week is already sold out. But happily, there are spaces available in the event that runs from October 14-20. Packages begin from £2,515 and include your ﬁve rounds of golf, six nights’ B&B accommodation, transfers from your hotel to the courses and all your dinners. standrewsgolfweek.com
More great multi-day golf events Southport Coast Links Championship, August 6-10 Test yourself against classic links including Southport & Ainsdale, Formby, West Lancashire and Hillside. southportcoastchampionship.co.uk North Devon Links Open, October 30-November 1 Play Royal North Devon, Saunton East and Saunton West over the course of three days. squarepegevents.co.uk/north-devon-links-open/ Tenby Open Week 2018, June 3-8 This golf week only features one course, but what a links course Tenby is. Pick and choose the competitions you want to play in, or play in all six days for £120. www.tenbygolf.co.uk
PLAY BETTER IN 2018
Keep it simple from sand Many of us have problems in sand. Master these bunker basics and you won’t fat it/thin it/duff it/shank it again
hen club golfers step down into a bunker, they seem to pass into an alternate reality where the basics of the game are totally different. Simple concepts like aiming at the target disappear, replaced by creative and needlessly complicated paths, alignments and deliveries. I believe this comes from a fundamental belief that bunker
shots are different, and need a different approach. In fact there is only one key difference – you strike the sand instead of the ball – and that really doesn’t warrant the kind of fundamental changes I typically see. So follow this guide to keeping bunker shots simple, and your performance from sand will quickly improve.
TOP 50 TEACHER Gareth Johnston Calcot Park, Berkshire PGA Professional and Director of Golf at Calcot Park
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ADDRESS: KEEP CHANGES TO A MINIMUM There is no reason not to treat a bunker shot as if you were pitching from grass. That means your regular grip, alignment and ball position (just forward of centre). However, differences with surface, strike point and attack angle mean there are three changes you should be making:
Change #1: Widen your stance In bunkers you are certainly less sure-footed than on grass, so spread your feet to ensure a stable base. As a guide, place your lead instep just ahead of your lead shoulder and your trail instep just behind your trail shoulder. Place 55% of your weight on to your lead foot and keep your knees evenly ﬂexed.
SWING: THINK ‘SHOULDERTHUMP-SHOULDER’ If you are looking for a unifying bunker thought that’s easy to grasp and implement, ‘shoulder-thump-shoulder’ is all you need. As a thought it helps you control the twin sand essentials of acceleration and strike point. Let’s go through it and see how it works:
Change #2: Avoid shaft lean With a mid-to-short iron you’d generally be looking for a straight line between your lead shoulder and the clubhead. That creates some shaft lean and promotes a downward strike. But when we need to strike the sand before the ball, we need a more level blow. Encourage that by keeping the hands above the clubhead. This also promotes face loft and helps the curved sole engage the sand.
Change #3: Hover the club As we’ve mentioned, the key difference in sand is your strike point; instead of a clean strike on the ball, you need the club to enter the sand an inch or so behind the ball. Set this up by hovering the club (of course the rules don’t allow you to ground it) over your entry point, and ﬁx your eyes here. Keep the face square to your target.
Stay square Unless you are under a steep lip, forget all you have heard about aiming left (right-handers) and cutting the ball up; it simply creates a harder-tocontrol glancing blow and problems with ball position. Keeping things simple means keeping things square – so as for a normal shot, align feet, hips and shoulders parallel to the ball-hole line.
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Backswing: Shoulder length Your one key thought should be to swing back until your hands reach shoulder height. This guarantees enough power while stopping you overswinging. This compact swing length also allows you to avoid lateral movement, helping you control the club’s entry point in the sand. Keep your eyes glued to that entry point.
PLAY BETTER IN 2018 Impact: Think ‘thump’! Your impact needs to trap sand between ball and face, the ball rising on the cushion you create. To help you achieve that impact, you need to feel the sole of your sand wedge hitting into the sand behind the ball. Great bunker players all make a distinctive thumping sound as the club meets sand.
Earlier release To ﬁnd this ‘thump’ impact, focus on that entry point an inch behind the ball as you swing down. Feel your wrists release a little earlier than normal to send the clubhead down to strike that point. You might even feel the clubhead overtaking the hands through the sand but that’s ﬁne; the important part is to strike the sand with speed and commitment.
Vertical shaft at impact To help you deliver this level ‘thump’ impact, picture the clubhead and the handle arriving at the ball at the same time, the shaft vertical. This will help you avoid the forward shaft lean that can lead to a more downward blow and the risk of clean contact on the ball.
Finish: shoulder length again Commit to getting your hands back up to shoulder height and you guarantee good acceleration through the sand; anything short of this full ﬁnish risks the clubhead getting snagged in the sand. Check too that your body has contributed to the strike by rotating through until your chest faces the ﬂag. TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 67
“Dehydration impairs concentration and decision-making,” says European Tour Golf Nutritionist Professor Graeme Close (closenutrition.com). “Because of this, I encourage all the golfers I work with to get into the habit of pulling out their bottle of water when they put their putter in their bag, and then sipping on it during the walk to the next tee. This might sound like a little thing, but if you can get into this habit, it will ensure that you never get dehydrated.” And Close is not ﬁnished there. “On very hot days, I’d also encourage recreational golfers to add some electrolyte salts to their water. You can buy these online or from a chemist or supermarket, or, if you have time, you can make your own electrolyte drink. Simply ﬁll a bottle 2/3 of the way up with water, ﬁll the rest of the bottle with fresh pineapple juice and then add a pinch of salt.”
IMPROVE YOUR LAG PUTTING
Enough is enough. The time has come. This is the year you are ﬁnally going to give your lag putting the Dave Pelz treatment. “This is a really good drill for helping you get your putts the right speed,” reveals the putting expert, who is running Golf Schools at Stoke Park and Killeen Castle in 2018 (pelzgolf.com). “Pick a hole on the practice putting green, walk 20 feet uphill and put a tee in the ground. Return to the hole, walk 20 feet downhill and put a second tee in the ground. Now, place three balls beside one of the tees and begin putting with the aim of getting each ball to go 17 inches past the hole. If you leave one of the three short or run it more than a putter length past the hole, you need to start again. If you manage to get all three balls either in the hole or within a putter length past it, move to the other tee and attempt to do the same thing from the opposite side of the hole. Again, if you leave one short or go long, you go back to zero and restart. If you get all of them past or in the hole, then you move back to the original tee and attempt three more. at it until you manag to get 10 putts in a row in the desired location. It will improve your touch and distance control and you will make more putts.”
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PER SLICE NUTRITION
Fuel your body properly
his entry is going to tell you what you need to eat and drink during a round of golf. Boring! Possibly, but it turns out it’s also very important. “Taking in the proper nutrition is key from both a general hunger and concentration perspective,” reveals European Tour Golf Nutritionist Professor Graeme Close (closenutrition.com). “The professional golfers I work with have an eating plan that involves them taking on some nutrition at the 4th, 9th and 14th holes. This is a bit over the top for recreational golfers, but I would recommend that you take in some protein and carbohydrates around
Calories 152 kcals Carbohydrates 19g Protein 3.5g Fats 6g
the halfway mark, as the protein will help you feel full and the carbohydrates will help you to maintain your energy levels and concentration.” So what kind of stuff is the professor talking about – a chocolate bar and a 500ml ﬁzzy drink? Sadly not. “A chicken wrap is a great option and extremely easy to make,” says Close. “But if you’re not keen on that option you could make your own energy ﬂapjack.” Not sure when to start with this concept? Fear not, Professor Close has provided us with the recipe for his carb-packed No Bake Energy Flapjacks.
pjacks Energy Fla e k a B o N ition’s Metho d Close Nutr add all the nana, then s Ingredient t) ts oa 0g • 16 y drie d frui isins (or an ut an pe • 100g of ra of s tablespo on • 3 heaped er almon d butt or er tt bu na na ba • 1 ripe ts oppe d walnu PQSR HW • 30g of ch E IH EO À SV TI H • KGLST y ne • 50g ho salt • Pinch of
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I will watch Tiger Woods do his thing I
f you’ve seen Tiger Woods play in the ﬂesh you will know how special an experience it is. If you haven’t, then we suggest you rectify this situation before it’s too late by going to watch him play in this year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie. tickets.theopen.com
PLAY BETTER IN 2018
Play more golf... and watch your handicap come down
W O R D S M I C H A E L C AT L I N G P I C T U R E S B O B AT K I N S ; CYNTHIA HOFF
Although you might struggle to beat Barry Gibbons’ record-breaking 878 rounds in a year
arry Gibbons has one request before agreeing to meet us. He wants to play some golf. He hasn’t done so in more than a week, and his wife says he’s already suffering from withdrawal symptoms. He’s used to playing twice, sometimes three times a day. His record, he says, is ﬁve. But that’s only half his story. In 2016, he went through 19 pairs of golf shoes after walking 6,401 miles – the equivalent of doing 244 marathons. In doing so, he played 878 rounds of golf and set a new Guinness World Record. But while the walking and carrying took its toll on his body, his handicap has reaped the beneﬁts since. He now plays off 0.3, down from nine at the start of 2016. He admits he won’t be happy until he’s playing off scratch. Even if it means breaking another world record to do so.
I’ve always liked to pushed myself and test myself in different ways. At school or work, I never wanted to miss a day because of illness. When my wife Joy was pregnant, I quit drinking for nine months. It’s always been part of my makeup I think. This was a way to get back in good, physical condition. I retired at the age of 55 and I thought if I don’t get in shape now, I never will. Once I got going, I became consumed by it. Getting to 850 was my target originally, which I didn’t share with anybody. The hardest part was when the alarm went off in the morning. For a couple of minutes, I would lie there and think, god, I would love to have a lie in today. But I had to get up before 7am every day. That’s
‘HE NOW PLAYS OFF 0.3, DOWN FROM NINE AT THE START OF 2016’
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when the tee-time window opens, so I needed to get on the computer and book a good tee time in advance. Before I decided to take on the challenge, we booked a vacation to Hawaii in February so that was 13 days where I didn’t play. There were another eight days when I couldn’t because of the weather or other travel plans. But when I did play, it was extremely rare that I didn’t play more than once. I have a spreadsheet detailing every round and every hole. The best score I shot was 69 on a par-72 course. I think I played at about 21 courses in total. I’m a member at The Hills in Austin, Texas, so I played most of my golf there and at Ridgeﬁeld in Connecticut, which is where we have our summer home. One of the best courses I played was Austin Country Club where they hold the [WGC]-Dell Match Play. I also got to play at Colonial in Texas. I’ve played with Ben Hogan irons for the last 15 years and that’s the course he was a member at. They’ve got a big shrine and a museum in memory of him, so that was a special day.
Gibbons pla 878th and f of 2016 wit
is ound family.
Gibbons recorded a hole-in-one on round No.726.
People often asked me, weren’t you tired of playing golf every day? But the answer, honestly, was no. Every round was different. There were times when it got really slow. But I got tired of waiting; not playing golf. A lot of time I played on my own and then joined up with some other members. But I never wanted to receive special privileges and for people to wave me through just because I was trying to achieve something. I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s round. Once the membership found out what I was doing, they were really supportive and encouraging. I would go past someone’s house and they would yell out asking, how many rounds have you played today, Barry? There was one guy who would meet me with a beer along the way, so it gave people a reason to engage with me. It was nice that so many people started keeping track of what I was doing, but it did mean that I couldn’t quit. The most severe conditions I played in came when I was playing with one of my classmates in Houston. The wind was blowing incredibly hard, about 80mph I reckon. Literally, branches were snapping off trees. I still played two rounds that day. One time, I thought I might get washed away. I was crossing one part of my course and there had been so much rain that lakes had formed in places where there is no water. I was actually the only one on the course at the time. I didn’t play as much during the summer months, despite the fact the days are longer. I just struggled to get a tee time. I made up for it in October, though. I played 89 or 90 times so I averaged three rounds a day nearly. The most I played in one day was ﬁve rounds. That was on October 4, the day Arnold Palmer was buried. I wanted to do something special to commemorate him and intended to play 87 holes – one for each year of his life. Once I did that, I thought I can’t not play the last three holes. So, I played 16, 17 and 18 when it was nearly pitch black. I had one hole-in-one all year. It was on the 14th at the Hills course. I was playing on my own, but one of the assistant pros drove up right behind me in a buggy when I was ready to hit, which was a bit distracting at the time, so I had a witness. He radioed the club shop and they took my picture. But I had a lot of close ones. I hit the pin and about a dozen ended up within two or three inches of the hole. The previous record holder – Richard Lewis – played and walked 611 rounds in 2010. Originally, I wanted to 70 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
“My wife is a saint,” admits Gibbons. play the record-breaking round with him. But I ended up sharing that milestone moment with my father on the course where I grew up playing in Colorado. My dad was 82 at the time and starting to have a few health issues, so it was fantastic to share that with him.
THESE GUYSARE BONKERS!
Gibbonsisn’tthe onlygolferwho takescompulsive obsessive behaviourtoa wholenewlevel. Therewasoncea GolfNut’sSociety whichcelebrated golferswhowentto ridiculouslengths toplay18holes. Here’sthebestof thebunchwhowon thetitleofGolfNut oftheYear…
I played two rounds in one day with Richard in Dallas. I did wonder how he was going to react, taking his record, but there was no resentment at all. He was actually really encouraging. He wanted me to beat a guy called Chris Adam who lives in Hawaii and used a cart to play a record number of holes [in 2012]. I had to beat 14,625 holes and ended up surpassing him. I felt healthy playing golf every day, but like I had been hit by a bus at the same time. Muscularly, I felt sore. I probably weighed 210 pounds when I retired. I then weighed myself after leaving Connecticut in the summer of 2016 and I had lost about 33 pounds. Everybody was saying I looked too thin; and when I look back at some pictures now I did look pretty gaunt. I didn’t really eat; I had a terrible diet doing it. I would grab a candy bar or something to keep me going, and then eat loads when I got home.
1992 CHAMPION MERLE BALL, FLORIDA The retired builder managed to play in all 50 US states right-handed in 1988, before doing it all again lefthanded in 1989. 1995 CHAMPION BRAD BASTOW, MICHIGAN Brad Bastow went to extreme lengths to get his handicap down by buying a
My reward after I retired was that I could have ice cream at night if I had walked 18 holes, so I ate a lot of ice cream. A half gallon tub would last about three days. It kept my bones strong, all that calcium. There’s an ice cream company in Texas who heard about what I was doing, and sponsored me by sending coupons for free ice cream. That was pretty cool.
One thing I didn’t have to spend money on was golf balls. I think I had a couple of dozen Titleist balls on the shelf when I started and they’re probably still there. I found about 4,000 balls along the way.
PLAY BETTER IN 2018
HIS YEAR IN NUMBERS
67,840 15,804 STROKES HOLESPLAYED
Rounds played and walked carrying a full bag. That’s the equivalent of playing more than 40 times for the next 20 years
HOLES AVERAGED PER DAY
DIFFERENT COURSES PLAYED
GOLF SHOES WORN THROUGH
43 THREE GOLFBAGSRENDEREDUNUSABLE 21 19 FIVE 371 SUB-80 ROUNDS 125 Rounds completed in one day – a new personal record
THESE GUYSARE BONKERS CONT...
$36,000 golf simulator for his home and hiring a live-in golf pro during the winter. He even made bi-weekly trips to Florida, playing at least 36 holes each day. His handicap didn’t change.
1999 CHAMPION NOBBY ORENS, CALIFORNIA The 1999 champion made history by playing 18 holes in London, New York and Los Angeles on the same day, earning a Guinness World Record.
HOLES FINISHED WITH THE SAME BALL
FootJoy heard what I was doing and wanted me to test four or ﬁve different pairs of shoes. They ended up ﬁlming my last round and used it for one of their sales meetings. As a thank you, they invited Joy and I to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. But I didn’t do the challenge for freebies or any notoriety. If I could have kept it under the radar, I would have been happ I had intended to play 876 r out a note saying I was going to on the 31st of December. I had t two rounds in the space of ﬁve The last round was pretty spec and three of my four kids with really emotional. We went rou ﬁve ball and there were a few fr who played a few holes on the b nine. One of the guys who joine was so nervous that he couldn up because there were about 12 When the end came, I was re nearly as much as people woul have gone out the next day and might have taken a cart. The w harder than the golf. It was like York City to Los Angeles, Calif then two thirds to Los Angeles I was a little concerned I ha damage to my body, particu were pretty decimated; I even h upstairs. I also had a problem w when I went to the PGA Show few swings in the driving rang getting stabbed with a knife. W
day, it keeps you loose but that was frightening. I didn’t play for the ﬁrst two months of 2017. I’ve been telling people that I did this as a public service to all the male golfers out there who can now tell their wives honey you think I play a lot? How would you kily, my wife is a saint. She anted to do last year, so I only
llenges which I put rs ago. One of them was to be My handicap now is 0.3, so re but not quite. Most people hat the handicap system in erent to the UK. Basically, your handicap on the ﬁrst and month and take your 10 best r last 20 rounds. For me, that f golf. Sometimes I played 40 0 of those were never factored ere was a lot of volatility in s. Now, I tend to play 20 ery score counts, which gives easure of how I’m performing. om my 2016 adventure t raise any money for someone holds a record for layed in a year, so there might ecord, ﬁnd famous people to wo other spots in a foursome. I ying all the courses on the top 10 courses in every state. ve crossed my mind. That nge...
2003 CHAMPION BOB FAGAN, CALIFORNIA Bob Fagan, a highly-acclaimed golf author, reckons he has played at more golf courses than any living person. His crowning achievement is a toss-up between playing six different 18-hole courses in Palm Springs in 24 hours or completing the ‘Golf Nut Slam’ by playing on Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, his Spouse’s Birthday and his wedding anniversary in a single year. 2006 CHAMPION STEVE THORWALD, CAROLINA The retired ad man played golf with his future father-inlaw on his wedding day then played 36 holes on each of the first three days of his honeymoon. The marriage didn’t last.
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We all know that running on to the 1st tee with untied shoes isn’t the best way of getting physically prepared to play a round of golf. But what is? Nigel Tilley, a Consultant Physiotherapist at the European Tour Performance Institute, reveals all. “In its simplest form a warm up should involve a short period of light exercise that features a variety of different exercises and movements suitable for the activity you are about to undertake,” he reveals. “The aim of the following three-step, 10-15 minute programme is to increase your body’s blood ﬂow and heart rate reduce your risk of injury and dy to perform at your the ﬁrst shot.”
Play the 2018 Ryder Cup venue during a cruise down the River Seine S
ometimes you deserve to live the good life. And there is no denying that taking a seven-night cruise around France, where the wine is free-ﬂowing with lunch and dinner and the golf includes rounds at Golf Hotel de Saint Saens, Golf d’Etretat, Golf de Deauville Saint-Gatien AND Ryder Cup venue Le Golf National is living the good life. The ship sails from Paris on October 25 (four weeks after Europe have played America) and prices begin from £2,299 per person, including return ﬂights and transfers. www.iglucruise.com
Play in a pairs comp
NE -5 minutes getting rt rate elevated by n the spot, doing s or performing steps on a staircase or able raised surface.
ewsﬂash: golf doesn’t always have to be an individual game. If you have a handicap, you can get together with a mate and travel the country playing pairs competitions on fantastic courses. “Pairs is a really fun format”, says Jordan Spieth, and he’s right. All these events are well run and most offer great prizes. golfempire.co.uk
STEP TWO Spend 3-5 minute stretching the key areas of your back
STEP THREE Grab a club and pend 3-5 minutes g exercises that your leg, back and ders, as these are y areas of the body golf swing.
INVEST IN SOME ALMOST GOLF BALLS
“These balls are perfect for working on your chipping indoors,” explains short game guru Dave Pelz. “They have dimples, so they launch, bounce and roll like real golf balls, but they are really light, so don’t break anything. Place a laundry basket or waste paper bin somewhere in the house, and then try to get your Almost Golf balls in or close to it using every chip you can think of, from chip and runs to lob shots over the sofa.” amazon.co.uk
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I will look at my club’s loft specs
hen is your 5-iron not a 5-iron? The answer is when it’s the length and loft of a 3-iron. “In Jack Nicklaus’ era, the loft of a 5-iron used to be 32°,” explains leading club ﬁtter Richard Kempton (theclubdoctor.co.uk). “Now, if you look at some of the new sets that are coming out, the loft of the 5-iron is just 21.5° or 22°.” This loft strengthening has gone on all the way through your set of irons and could explain why you’re struggling to hit your new clubs. “People need to make sure they look at the loft specs rather than the numbers on the bottom,” concludes Kempton.
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Pick the best of the best in 2018
housands of us will go on a golf break in 2018 – Your Golf Travel says 83 per cent of their customers will go on more golf trips this year than last.
ENGLAND North Best Course Royal Birkdale Another deserved victory for the England’s Golf Coast superstar, which hosted another memorable Open Championship last summer. Brilliant Birkdale has been around since 1889 – it was extensively re-designed in 1922 by Fred Hawtree and JH Taylor – and meanders through giant sand dunes making it one of the most aesthetically pleasing layouts in the land. It hasn’t looked back since staging its ﬁrst Open in 1954 and has 74 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
If you’re in the market for a weekend away or a longer golf holiday, but you’ve still not decided where to go, we can help – or rather the thousands of readers who voted in the TG
Travel Awards can. Those votes have been counted. The results are in. So here are the winners in 22 categories, covering the whole of the UK and Ireland and further aﬁeld.
now hosted the tussle for the Claret Jug 10 times. It’s always playable, always in immaculate condition and always memorable.
are the two sensational courses (Hunting and Priestman), which have both seen European Tour action.
Best Hotel/Resort Slaley Hall Like Birkdale, a repeat winner – and justiﬁably so. Slaley Hall is the ﬂagship QHotels resort and has been the golﬁng Angel of the North for many years. It is set in 1,000 acres of exquisite moorland and forest, with a luxury Edwardian mansion hotel with superb amenities. Stars of the show, though,
ENGLAND South Best Course Woburn (Marquess’ & Duke’s) Play the Marquess’ and Duke’s, sandwiched between a tasty lunch, and you’ve got the perfect golf day out. Woburn is England’s own ‘Cathedral in the Pines’ and has loads of pedigree – its staged the British Masters 17 times plus the Women’s British Open and
PLAY BETTER IN 2018 European Senior events. Being densely treelined, both provide serious tests and, if you’re lucky, you might even spot Ian Poulter or Charley Hull, who represent the club on Tour. You’ll also love the refurbished clubhouse and world-class short game area.
Best Hotel/Resort The Grove ‘London’s country estate’ includes a worldclass hotel and a beautifully presented course, which has hosted a WGC and the 2016 British Masters. It’s within comfortable striking distance of the capital, provides luxury accommodation, sumptuous spa and facilities, ﬁne dining, great service and, most notably, a Kyle Phillips-designed course with a terriﬁc combination of holes that are guaranteed to be in pristine condition.
ENGLAND West Best Course Best Hotel/Resort St Mellion International No wonder this outstanding venue is so hugely popular. It has it all, including two superb contrasting 18-hole layouts (Nicklaus and Kernow) along with spacious accommodation, a spa and a number of eating options. Chief attraction, though, is
the Nicklaus course, the Golden Bear’s ﬁrst UK course and arguably our most demanding inland layout. The resort celebrates its 30th birthday in 2018.
ENGLAND Midlands Best Course Forest Pines A ﬁrst-time winner, the modern masterpiece nestles in 190 acres of woodland with 27 holes of quality tree-lined golf. In fact it’s known as the ‘Woburn of the North’ with John Morgan’s handiwork demanding precision with every club in your bag and is impressively supported by a smart on-site hotel. Another major plus is the great valuefor-money green fees, which saw it out-rank better-known rivals.
Best Hotel/Resort The Belfry This famous resort is synonymous with the Ryder Cup which it has staged four times – more than any other venue – on its classic parkland layout, the Brabazon. But there’s much more to The Belfry than the ‘Brab’, including the PGA National and Derby courses, top-drawer practice facilities and a vastly improved hotel with excellent
accommodation and dining. There are also incredible deals on stay and play breaks available, too.
SCOTLAND Best Course Old Course, St Andrews The most famous course in golf has hosted more Opens (29) than anywhere. The game was ﬁrst played here 600 years ago. It’s unique, a ‘must play’ for any golfer. When you’re standing on the 1st tee overlooked by the R&A clubhouse you’ll be shaking like a leaf with nervous anticipation at following in the footsteps of all the game’s legends. What more can you ask for?
Best Hotel/Resort Gleneagles The ‘Palace in the Glens’ just about adequately sums up this legendary resort, which has recently been ranked as the No.1 golf resort in GB&I. With three stunning 18hole courses (Ryder Cup’s PGA Centenary, King’s and Queen’s), a nine-hole academy course, the wonderful hotel, an awardwinning spa, ﬁne and casual dining options plus a range of outdoor activities, Gleneagles truly is a class act.
Royal County Down
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IRELAND Best Course Royal County Down
The Grove St Andrews
If you can’t enjoy a round on this regal layout, you’re playing the wrong game. Admittedly it’s not cheap – class never is – but we can guarantee that you’ll walk off the 18th green wanting to do it all over again! Sitting next to the Irish Sea and overlooked by the Mountains of Mourne, it is, after all, one of the world’s leading and most spectacular links with many holes being framed by towering dunes.
Best Hotel/Resort The K Club It’s more than a decade now since Ian Woosnam’s side crushed the Americans in the 2006 Ryder Cup at this ﬁve-star golﬁng paradise plotted within 550 idyllic acres beside the Liffey, just 30 minutes from Dublin. You can stay in style thanks to luxurious accommodation and unwind in the stunning spa, but obviously you’ll be eager to follow in the footsteps of Woosie’s heroes on the Palmer course, probably warming-up on the neighbouring Smurﬁt layout. Both are parland-woodland courses.
WALES Best Course Best Hotel/Resort Celtic Manor Celtic Manor is the pride of Wales and it’s
remained that way since the resort’s successful staging of the 2010 Ryder Cup. Once again, it convincingly emerged on top in both categories, probably due to the fact it provides some unbelievable value-for-money deals as well as three quality 18-hole courses (Twenty Ten, Roman Road and Montgomerie), luxury accommodation in two hotels and a range of fun-for-all-thefamily activities.
SPAIN Best Course Valderrama A serial winner of this particular title, Valderrama is still the Spanish course everyone wants to play and now thankfully those dreams can be fulﬁlled – not so long back it was ultra-private, with visitors not getting a chance to play the course made famous by Europe’s Seve-inspired Ryder Cup success. It always prominently features near the summit of most European Top 100 rankings and is in pristine condition, as competitors in the 2017 Andalucia Masters discovered.
Best Hotel/Resort La Manga Club Legendary La Manga Club held off stiff competition to celebrate its 45th birthday in style. With three 18-hole courses (North, South & West) and a 28-court tennis centre, it is a sporting paradise with the other extensive facilities including a huge spa. In addition, ➔
‘WITH THREE 18-HOLERS AND 28 TENNIS COURTS, LA MANGA CLUB IS A SPORTING PARADISE ’ 76 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
Murcia · Spain
If there is one thing that deﬁnes La Manga Club, it is our unparalleled sports facilities. Covering an area of around 1,400 acres, the resort’s award-winning facilities include three 18-hole golf courses, a 28-court tennis centre, eight FIFA-approved football pitches and modern cricket amenities. If that wasn’t enough, La Manga Club boasts an array of four and ﬁve-star accommodation, a luxury spa and more than 15 bars and restaurants – plus one of the best climates in Europe to enjoy. THE END RESULT, A TRULY UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE.
Tel. +34 968 17 5577 email@example.com lamangaclub.com
there’s a ﬁve-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and townhouses and 20-plus bars and restaurants catering for all tastes, families or groups.
PORTUGAL Best Course Vilamoura Old Frank Pennick’s revered Old Course has been thrilling and challenging golfers from all over Europe since opening in 1969, and is an absolute joy to play as it manoeuvres across gently rolling terrain ﬂanked by rows of umbrella pines. It’s not long, but it’s tight and, make no mistake, wayward strikes will be punished. Great fun.
Best Hotel/Resort Vale do Lobo & Dom Pedro Vilamoura These two venues couldn’t be separated so share the spoils with Vale do Lobo over halfa-century old and the Algarve’s ﬁrst and largest resort. It boasts two outstanding 18hole courses (Royal and Ocean), lots of accommodation and superb facilities
including spa, tennis centre and private beach and swimming pool. Dom Pedro Vilamoura meanwhile is a golf-friendly four star hotel with excellent facilities just a short walk from the beach and Vilamoura’s many other attractions.
FRANCE Best Course Le Golf National All eyes will be on this stunning venue later in the year with the ultra-challenging Albatross course guaranteed to provide plenty of Ryder Cup thrills and spills. A modern masterpiece of a layout created by Hubert Chesneau and Robert Von Hagge, it really is the perfect matchplay course with numerous water hazards, strategicallyplaced bunkers and huge well protected (and quick) greens.
Best Hotel/Resort Le Manoir, Le Touquet The three-star 20th century Anglo-Norman country house hotel is the perfect base for a
golﬁng break in this corner of northern France, with its great location under an hour away from Calais and a ﬁve-minute drive from the centre of chic Le Touquet, known as ‘Paris by the Sea’. Plus it has its own nine-hole course enabling you to warm-up for the stiffer tests ahead on the brilliant Le Touquet courses (Sea and Forest) nearby.
CONTINENTAL EUROPE Best Golf Destination & Best Value Destination The Algarve The awesome Algarve is celebrating a magical double triumph and, as far as TG readers/travellers are concerned, is THE place to go. Golf in the Algarve started at Penina in 1966 and has been growing ever since. Wherever you go in the region, east, central or west, a great golﬁng experience will be around the corner. Most visitors head for the central collection of courses sprinkled around Vilamoura and the nearby resorts of Vale do Lobo and Quinta da Lago. But you need to head east to play Algarve’s ﬁnest, Monte Rei, and west to experience 27-hole Palmares.
‘VALE DO LOBO BOASTS TWO OUTSTANDING 18-HOLE COURSES AND SUPERB FACILITIES’
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Stay at Le Manoir Hotel, voted Best Golf Hotel/Resort in France 2018
Experience La Mer at Le Touquet Golf Resort, France’s No.1 Links Course The new clubhouse at Le Touquet Golf Resort
MARCH SPECIAL OFFER 3 rounds 2 nights B&B 1 dinner From: € 239 per person* *Based on two sharing a twin room. Terms & Conditions apply.
Play Les Pins at Golf d’Hardelot, ranked No.24 course in Continental Europe
Experience France’s No.1 Links Course & Best Golf Hotel ENQUIRE NOW Stay at Le Manoir Hotel*** and play three rounds at Le Touquet Golf Resort and Golf d’Hardelot. For more information call +33 3 21 06 28 28 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information and special offers, visit www.manoirhotel.com/en Quote reference TG03.18 when booking.
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Four regular experience ygolfers head to South W ou can expec t from histoarles to see what sort of ic links Pyle & Kenfig
yle and K that it v enﬁg is somew irtually hat unfo sit Porthca r wl, argu s in the shado tunate in and sha ws of R a bly Wa P&K is res the oyal les sa Howev contras no ordinary li er, P&K me glorious s ’ ﬁnest links, tin nk tr , as it is s etch of affectio on the r g loops of nin s; it is laid out co na im e – you elatively right an tely known, is ply and more astline. can ma in two the bac d a ke k nine, open original more d on the back nin top links in its o c utward a score h d ie u ra ﬂy play nesland o e n e , d neighbo matic holes th , dare we say wn is b a e tween to ine, but comple ways th an its es it, boas ur. te w a ly ts n ering te d o e iffere ne. G med P&K h challen ge, espe reat fun and a nt test in mor it’s com as plenty of his e cia se holes, a in to ll length lly the deman rious humble g up to a centu ry and pedigr d y in p A ee ry ar 4 g ﬁnal th n ll this p until th ine-hole layou old having se , too – ree lus won s. mount t in re to derful ain vie course. e years later th 1922, though ut as a c o astal an ws , a s e among In 2017 at it bec it wasn d t of th it ’t a the Sen drive o e best around greens repute ior Ope was the qualify me a full 18-ho f d to be a t h le n n at Por e d in M w g venue 4. ithin a think o thcawl. for sh f Wales But what did our fou ort ’ unsun to emer rball g links ge from h Porthc t i it rea awl? he shadows o dy
Downes Name: Richard cap: 20 Age: 57 Handi nd, Kent Lives: Gravese ent: t golﬁng mom rs on the pa ur fo ishing with ews and dr An St at e le bi Jigger Inn. asting it in the
Name: Joe Down es Age: 28 Handicap : 16 Lives: Gravesend, Kent Best golﬁng mom points at Crail – th ent: 42 7th oldest club – e world’s pla blue skies with th yed under ree mates.
Name: David Larkby Age: 28 Handicap: 14 Lives: Tooting, South London Best golﬁng moment: A hole in one during university team rn trials – enjoyable until a retu to the clubhouse!
Name : Chris Larkby Age: 5 9 Han d icap: Lives 16 : Colch ester, Best g E s s ex mid-h olﬁng mom a n e d n t: As a back n icapper, three ine at Walt playing the over w on He a as a b it spec th in ial.
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Tees & greens
Pristine, despite lots of summer rain. Three teeing options make the course enjoyable for all handicaps and there are hole outlines at every one. The large greens ran true and were a fun challenge with subtle borrows.
In excellent condition, among the best courses I’ve played on. The detailed hole outlines on every tee were welcome on our ﬁrst visit.
Little touches go a long way. Every bunker rake is propped up on a stand, there were containers for broken tees, and paths and walkways were clean. It’s clearly loved by the members and greenkeepers alike.
Beautifully presented, even the rough, which adds deﬁnition and character without being frightening. No excuses for not getting out of these bunkers, whose rakes are placed on special holders.
Variety of holes & challenge
The barren front nine and towering back nine could hardly look more different, but the challenge of negotiating the rolling hills and dunes is constant. With more blind shots and stronger winds, the inward half is tougher, but you’re having too much fun to care.
Despite the hollows and valleys, this is a very fair test and deﬁnitely not a lottery. Make your score going out, though. The closing stretch is tough with accuracy imperative around the monstrous dunes.
A short stroll from the 1st tee is a large practice putting green with three nets tucked just behind it. There is also a simulator inside the pro shop which staff were happy for us to use.
A quick hop across the road from the car park and 1st tee there is a large practice green and a couple of nets. That is more than adequate.
Easy to ﬁnd as the two nines are separated by a main road. Surprisingly quiet despite that, with great views across the Bristol Channel and Gower Peninsula.
Close proximity to the M4 makes for easy access and a quick getaway. Use the sat nav to negotiate the last mile or so down winding country lanes. Great views on the back nine.
Good selection of main meals and light bites. The bar is well stocked with guest ales and an extensive wine list.
The spike bar had a good choice of beers on draught to quench our thirst post-round. Main meals served in the spacious lounge looked good.
Staff were friendly and welcoming. The main lounge is bright and modern with access to a patio, while the spike bar has a more traditional feel with pictures of past captains and famous visitors, including Rory McIlroy, adorning the walls. The large locker room was spotlessly clean.
Large changing room was clean and there were plenty of lockers available. Traditional feel to the clubhouse with past champions proudly listed on the walls of the members’ and visitors’ bars.
Food and drink
Value for money?
Yes, particularly in the winter (November to March) when you can get on from £30. A steal for an Open qualifying venue.
Great welcome, great condition, great value. I could never tire of playing – or taking photos of – the back nine. A pure and magniﬁcent stretch of links holes that every golfer should experience.
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The back nine alone makes the summer weekday green fee of £60 good value.
A very enjoyable visit where nothing was too much trouble for the staff or members we met. The back nine is stunning – make sure you pause on the lofty 14th tee to take it all in.
David Larkby In great condition for late summer with some steep undulations on the greens which were particularly challenging on the holes more exposed to the elements.
Superb, which makes it a fair test. Despite being exposed to some strong winds on the south Wales coast, good shots are rewarded.
Chris Larkby Lots of raised tees and the quick greens are difficult to read. Your putting game needs to be in full ﬂow to score well.
All very well kept and holding up well despite strong winds and lots of summer time rain.
A great mix of traditional links with a few holes that wouldn’t look out of place at a parkland. Holes 11-15 are a fantastic stretch and some of the best I’ve played. Longer holes are tough when the wind is blowing.
Two contrasting nines with the front having more of a parkland feel and the back characterised by dunes and pot bunkers that will test even the best players. Some narrow fairways and you need to hit them as the rough is perilous in places.
The practice facilities were well located next to the clubhouse and just a short walk to the 1st and 10th tees. The putting green was in good condition.
Nothing out of the ordinary, although I was impressed with the putting green just over the small road from the clubhouse – it was in good nick.
Nicely situated near the busy golﬁng town of Porthcawl. Great views throughout the round.
This coastline is terriﬁc for golf and, as at Royal Porthcawl just down the coast, the Bristol Channel can be seen from numerous elevated tees and greens.
A good selection of drinks and the food was reasonably priced. Friendly staff.
More than adequate thanks to a well-stocked bar with plenty of good beers as well as an enticing food menu.
Spacious clubhouse with lots of pictures and memorabilia to look at. The changing facilities were well kept and the pro shop was well stocked.
Good pro shop with everything you need and the staff were excellent, making us feel welcome. Two bars with lots of memorabilia on display.
Toward the top end, but this is a reﬂection of the course. Should be saved for golﬁng pilgrimages so you can take home some fantastic memories. You won’t be disappointed.
It’s not cheap but overall it’s deﬁnitely good value. The staff and members were great and the course is the star – a good fun test.
Plenty of great courses along this stretch of coast and this is right up there. Friendly and welcoming, the course has plenty of holes you’ll be talking about for a while.
Loved it. Lots of memories and photographs to take away, although I’ll be having nightmares about a few of those pot bunkers for a while!
Founded: 1919. Architect: Harry Colt. Vital statistics: 6,194-6,860-yards, par 71. Star hole: Several candidates on the back nine, but for us the stand-out was the challenging par-4 14th where you’re blessed with breathtaking Gower Peninsula views from the dramatic elevated tee. Famous for: P&K has twice co-hosted the Amateur Championship with Royal Porthcawl, most recently in 2002 when Spain’s Alejandro Larrazabal won. In 2006 P&K staged the Men’s Home Internationals with an up-andcoming Rory McIlroy representing Ireland. Green fees: Until February 28 - £30 midweek, £50 Saturdays & Bank Holidays. Contact: 01656 783093, www.pandkgolfclub. co.uk
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MY LIFE IN GOLF
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outdoors and you can play the courses you see on the TV, where your heroes play. And the handicap system means I can play Tiger Woods and we can have a great game and a great laugh.
‘I can’t find enough excuses to get out on to the golf course’ Former Keane frontman Tom Chaplin on getting to scratch, learning on a hand-made course and missing the widest fairway in the world
WORDS KEVIN BROWN
om Chaplin is back on track and enjoying life again following the success of his ﬁrst solo album, The Wave, and the tour that followed its release. It’s a world away from a decade ago when he suffered drug abuse problems and spent time in rehab. From being on top of the world following Brit Awards triumphs and a string of hit albums led by his band Keane’s ﬁrst, ‘Hopes and Fears’ – the UK’s 11th best-selling album of the 2000s – it all went horribly wrong for the fresh-faced frontman with soaring vocals. But to his credit he’s bounced back from his demons. His debut solo record proved his salvation, with Chaplin saying: “It’s a story of me hitting rock bottom in life and losing nearly everything I had. I’ve had problems with drugs over the years and the album is about coming to terms with that and ﬁnally coming out of that place. It’s a personal record and I’m delighted that I got to make it because there was a time when I thought that would never happen.” I got into golf through my grandad, who created a little nine-hole course at a prep school he used to run. It had 60 acres of amazing parkland in the middle of Sussex. My grandad was a complete golf nut and created the course as much for his own beneﬁt as for the pupils! It was pretty unusual for a prep school to have its own course and though it wasn’t particularly fancy, it was in lovely grounds… and as a kid I used to pick up a golf club or two and hit the ball around it. I never really had any proper lessons. I learnt by instinct. As a kid
P I C T U R E S H OWA RD B OY L A N
I played a lot of cricket, which doesn’t help if you want to learn how to swing a golf club properly. So throughout my adult life I’ve been trying to unlearn the cover drive…. golf has now taken over from cricket as my main sport. I can’t ﬁnd enough excuses to get out on the course. I’m playing off ﬁve these days and play down at Rye on the Sussex coast. Again my grandad was involved with this as he put me and my brother down when we were kids as cadet members. But to be honest I found it too difficult as a track when I was young. I found it a bit souldestroying, so I fell out of love with the game for a long time and it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I decided it was something I needed to start again. I was so thankful that my grandfather put us down as members at Rye because once you’re in there and get to play it, it has an old fashioned quality to it. In midweek, it’s virtually empty and in winter it’s just stunning to play as in summer. My standout experience so far was playing in the 2015 Dunhill Links. A mate of mine and regular golﬁng partner, Ben Evans – who plays on the European Tour – didn’t have full playing rights at the time. He challenged me to get into the Dunhill and said he’d apply at the same time for a wildcard pick. As it turned out, we both got invitations and I think he ﬁnished tied 15th and made a massive pay cheque contributed to him getting h for 2016. It was lovely to wat mix it with the big boys and such a good account of hims I love playing with the rea players. Golf is a unique ga because it puts you in the
MORE SINGERS& SWINGERS… ALICE COOPER Plays six times a week in Phoenix, Arizona, off a five handicap. The former alcoholic says golf saved his life. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE Loves golf to bits, plays off six and has even put on his own tournament on the PGA Tour. TICO TORRES The Bon Jovi drummer regularly plays to his 12 handicap in the Dunhill Links. KK DOWNING The co-founder of Judas Priest is a self-confessed golf nut who until built his own course, The Astbury in Shropshire. ROGER WATERS Pink Floyd’s co-founder is a long-time member at Sunningdale, where he plays off a steady 12 handicap.
Iron play is my biggest strength since I’ve been trying to work the ball on a more neutral path. When I was a kid, hitting it from the inside, I genuinely drove the ball better, but nowadays I’m trying to work it more down the line so my iron play is generally solid. I tend to get a bit steep with my driver – if I drive it well, I generally play good golf. My handicap has been steadily improving and I’m going in the right direction. My goal one day is to get down to scratch. But to get close to achieving that I’ve got to have a good run of playing regularly in competitions and I’m realistic to know that is unlikely to happen when I’m making records. One of the biggest problems for amateurs is that they’ve got a job, family and ﬁnd it hard to ﬁnd time to play consistently and work at their game. I keep getting spells where I’ve got two or three months of free time when I can knuckle down and play. But that scenario is quite rare. I played pretty nicely in this year’s pro-am at the BMW Championship considering I hadn’t had any real practice in the lead up – I was busy making my new record so my golf was a bit sparse. It was a shotgun start and my ﬁrst hole was the par-3 2nd – I managed to stick it to within six feet with a little baby fade and won nearest the pin! I won a hotel break which I gave to my friend Nick, who caddied for me. He’s actually my golf teacher, so he was a good man to have on the bag. It’s interesting talking to the pros because I’m out there shaking over a 3ft putt so I’m asking them ‘how do you control your nerves?’ I remember David Howell saying to me ‘just feel like you’re going on the stage – once you get used to that environment, it’s just your day job really.’ But for us amateurs, it’s still terrifying. I played in the Dunhill Links the previous year and without any got on the range and striped it. So I thought I o blitz it out there. I stood tee at St Andrews in the with the biggest fairway ont of me, and what only hit it right, out of xt time I’m just going to bface and hit it miles left!
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NEW LAUNCHES TESTS TG TOP 10s BUYING ADVICE COMPETITIONS
The new face of 2018 drivers?
TaylorMade reveals radical new thinking
INSIDE THIS NEW-LOOK SECTION...
11 new sweaters perfect for winter golf
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Win a year’s supply of Mizuno JPX balls
TG TOP 10S
EQUIPMENT NEW LAUNCH TAYLORMADE
Watch ﬁrst-hit M3 & M4 videos at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk
Twisty-faced TaylorMades go 11 yards... straighter
They’ve ripped up the driver design rulebook with the new M3 and M4
Thisisa magniﬁedimageofthe face;the“twist”isonly reallynoticeablewhen yourunyourﬁngeracross it.Youcan’tseeitat address.
aylorMade has had some pretty huge innovations when it comes to drivers. They pioneered adjustability in the very ﬁrst r7. They gave us Speed Pockets in the RBZ. They even made a driver white. But they’re saying the headline new tech for 2018 – featuring on the all-new M3 and M4 drivers (see page 90 for the full specs on each) is the biggest leap forward in driver face design for 130 years. “Twist Face is a radical departure from traditional driver-face design,” says Brian Bazzel, Vice President, Product Creation. “It’s engineered to correct inherent human swing tendencies in real-time, giving golfers a tangible competitive advantage.” Sounds exciting – but what exactly is it? Well, after studying half-a-million shots from a vast range of players, TaylorMade discovered our most common driver misses result from high-toe (2) and
low-heel (3) impacts. To counteract the high-toe miss (which can cause a hook), the driver face has been “twisted” – loft increased, face opened high on the toe to help straighten ball ﬂight. To counteract the low-heel miss (which can cause a slice) the face has been twisted the other way, de-lofting and closing the face in the low heel area. “The average high toe shot ends up eight yards left and spins really low,” added Bazzel. “Same thing on a low heel impact – shots spin too much and end up on average six yards right; so 14 yards from high toe to low heel is the mean difference between all shots hit in those zones. If bulge and roll is working properly, those should be zero. With Twist Face, you’re going to go from 14 yards from low heel to high toe to essentially three yards. It’s a game-changing innovation.”
What was the ‘eureka’ moment’?
What are the main benefits?
Vice President, Product Creation
The problem is the same with every golf company, and every driver that’s made, you bring heads in through the development cycle, and put them on a robot, you hit shots all over the face, and create the right curvature to bring those shots back to the centre. The problem in the real world is that golfers don’t swing the head on a square path like a robot does every time they hit a drive. Golfers’ face angles change relative to the swing path, and because of that we see the problem that shots hit on the toe end up more left, and low heel shots end up right.
We’re trying to counteract what’s happening in the head and the effect that’s created. With Twist Face, you’re going from 14 yards from low heel to high toe misses to essentially three yards. From a spin perspective, if you increase spin on that toe shot a little more and bring down the spin on the heel shot, spin deviation across the face is going to be much more consistent, and you’re going to hit a lot more fairways.
How would you sum up Twist Face? This is what we call our Mount Rushmore of innovations in TaylorMade drivers, going back to the original metalwood in 1979. We’ve broken tradition more than once, and we feel like Twist Face is deserving of being on that list. If you think about it, nothing has changed when it comes to driver face curvature for 130 years. Twist Face is an incredible breakthrough and one that will provide performance to all golfers.
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Do you still need fitting? Absolutely. This is not going to correct all swing ﬂaws (and the M3 has a new weight track set-up, see page 90).
M MAKES THE FAIRWAY WIDER TaylorMade has touted distance gains for years... but with wist Face, they’re saying your drives will be straighter, too.
EXPLAINED: HOW TWIST FACE WORKS 1
1 LGE & ROLL (ROBOT)
TWIST FACE (HUMAN)
BULGE & ROLL (HUMAN)
TWIST FACE v THE TRADITIONAL BULGE & ROLL FACE
The face of every current driver is slightly curved. That curve from heel to toe (horizontal) is called bulge, while the curve from top to bottom is called roll. Bulge compensates for the spin imparted by toe and heel hits. For instance, a shot hit off the toe will have left sidespin; bulge makes the ball start further right than a shot hit dead centre. Conversely, a heel shot will spin right; bulge makes it start left. Roll affects the launch and spin of shots hit above or below the centre. A ball hit high on the face launches higher and spins less than a centre strike, while shots hit low on the face launch lower and spin more. Got that? Good. By studying the results from thousands of shots hit in each quadrant across the face while drivers were in the hands of real golfers (who, unlike a test robot, don’t always have a square swing path), TaylorMade decided current bulge and roll designs could be improved.
WHAT HAPPENS TO A HIGH TOE SHOT WITH TWIST FACE
“This common shot spins really low and it ends up left of the target,” says Bazzel. “So we twisted the toe back, slightly open, to add a little more loft so shots go a little less left.” Twist Face means these impacts have a bit more spin, stay in the air longer and go less far left. It’s the typical miss Dustin Johnson tries to avoid; by improving the result of DJ’s misses his conﬁdence is higher so he can hit shots even harder.
3 WHAT THE PLAYERS SAY... RORY McILROY
“Brian said high off the toe shots are low spin and go left, low off the heel im acts are hi h spin and go right. T twist in the face wh counteracts typical hits makes sense. W you see something your ﬁrst thought is hasn’t someone thought of this before? It seems so simple, but it’s actually a great bit of innovation.”
“On the range I noticed when I caught one off the heel, in a dead left-to-right wind, it ﬂew straighter. Even my toe strike misses weren’t hooking. Usually those shots nose dive out of the air, but with Twist Face they were still ﬂying. If I can hit one more fairway that’s huge. I’d rather hit driver on every hole if I could. So if I’ve got more conﬁdence it can go straighter that’s even more drivers I can hit.”
WHAT HAPPENS TO A LOW HEEL SHOT WITH TWIST FACE
“We’re trying to kill some of the spin,” added Bazzel, “so we de-lofted the face a little in this low heel area. This counteracts the shots golfers hit, but because of a square swing path a robot can’t. If you up the spin up a little on toe shots and reduce it on the heel, spin deviation across the face is much more consistent. The sweet spot is still centre. This is where Rory typically misses with a driver; it’s a scary thought but by cutting spin we improve his accuracy, spin and distance deviation.”
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EQUIPMENT NEW LAUNCH TAYLORMADE
Watch ﬁrst-hit M3 & M4 videos at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk
‘Hammerhead’ sl the M drivers mo
Funky face, more adjustability and new crowns are big changes
i s it
aylorMade’s radical Twist Face will grab all the headlines on the 2018 M3 and M4 drivers. But both models feature a whole raft of new tech to improve things over the out-going M1 and M2 clubs, though both retain the “M” DNA; ultimate adjustability (M3) v simple distance and accuracy (M4). “Hammerhead” face slots, a Y-shaped weight track on the M3 and improved crown designs are new, along with different graphics including a silver (not white) top edge on the crown. Aside from the face, this is what’s new...
FITTING DJ FOR HIS M3 By Keith Sbarbaro TaylorMade’s VP of Tour Operations “We know where Dustin needs to start for loft and everything, so it was pretty easy really. Step one is to get the launch and spin correct (180mph, 2,000rpm, 11°. We’re looking at around 2,000rpm for his low spin rate and 2,300rpm for his high spin shots. “We started in a standard loft and it was a little spinny, so I took the two weights and moved them forward to take the spin off, it came down from 2,500 to 2,200. “DJ is the third guy I’d worked with. We did Rory, Tiger and then Dustin, and you start to see
By dividing the old Speed Pocket into three zones, TaylorMade was able to increase its overall length from 82mm to 100mm – a 22% increase. Additionally, it allowed for the creation of a larger ﬂexible centre, designed to increase ball speed on low impacts and drop unwanted backspin. By using ne either end of the slot engineers decreased thickness and weight allowing for a more ﬂexible face.
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trends in the heads. With Tiger, when we took both weights and moved them forward, his ball speed went up a good 1.5mph. Because we’d seen that we moved the loft down and the weights forward for DJ and he got over 187/188mph. “Last year, the highest DJ got on the range was 183mph. He was clearly 3-4 mph faster than I saw him last year.”
Only used on the M3 460cc and 440cc, the new Y-Track uses two 11g weights to inﬂuence shot bias control, as well as front to back centre of gravity adjustment. The Y-Track gives more precise CG adjustability than ever before (and an 83% increase in MOI over the M1 with both weights at the back ith over 1,000 unique set-ups — more than double he number of tions in the M1.
This is the thinnest, strongest and lightest composite crown ever seen on a TaylorMade driver. It’s made from ﬁve layers of carbon-ﬁbre (down from seven on the M1), and it helps absorb vibration, improving sound and freeing up every last gram of inefficient weight. The white front on the M1 and M2 has been replaced by a silver strip.
Price: £479 Lofts: 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° & 12° Stock shafts: Tensei CK Red (high launch), Blue (mid launch), White (low launch). Adjustable hosel: Yes Loft change: +/- 2°
Driver heads with low/back centre of gravity locations typically generate lower sound frequencies as they have fairly flat soles. The M’s Geocoustic sole shaping allows for a low CG and larger head size, but with a more curved sole which has inherently higher frequencies, leading to better sound and feel.
FEEL THE FORCE The code names for the new woods were Star Wars characters; M4 was Skywalker, while M3 was Jedi.
THE NEW FAIRWAYS AND RESCUES M3 FAIRWAY WOODS Made with a 450 stainless steel body, strong Ni-Co C300 face and a new, thinner ﬁve-layer carbon crown (same as the drivers). An improved track system that houses more moveable weight (29g compared to 25g in the M1) allows for more shot shape adjustment – from fade to draw – than ever before. Details: £279. 15° (3), 17° (3HL) and 19° (5). Shafts: Mitsubishi Tensei Blue shaft in A, R & S ﬂexes (65g) and X ﬂex (75g).
M3 RESCUE A moderate sized, Tour-proven shape first seen in the 2017 M1, but with more moveable weight – 30g compared to 27g – a re-engineered sole and two-tone crown that mimics the drivers. Details: £239. 17° (2), 19° (3), 21° (4) and 24° (5). Shafts: MCA Tensei Blue hybrid 80g shaft in R, S & X flexes as well as a 70g.
Price: £369 Lofts: 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° & 12° Stock shafts: Fujikura Atmos Red Adjustable hosel: Yes Loft change: +/- 2°
TaylorMade says 41g of weight (up from 22g in the M2 and a rise of 86%) is housed in the weight pad at the back of the M4’s head, which improves stability and helps protect ball speed when shots are hit off centre. Also new is a redesigned face that is both thinner and lighter. The mass of the face has been reduced from 45.5g to 37.6g.
Last year’s D-Type M2 was one of our favourite drivers, featuring slice-busting tech in a head that didn’t scream “I’m a slicer!” The M4 D-Type (D stands for draw) has all the tech of the standard model, but it is more heel-weighted (41g), has slight offset and uses subtle visual cues to promote a square face at address and a more draw-biased head at impact.
TaylorMade calls this their ultimate distance fairway. A multi-material construction, Speed Pocket and split-weight mass pad separates weight at the outward extremities of the head to preserve ball speed on offcentre shots. An M4 Tour fairway features a smaller head size (156cc versus 175cc). Details: £229 (£279 Tour). 15° (3), 16.5° (3HL) & 18° (5), 21° (5HL) and 24° (7HL) Shafts: Fujikura Atmos Red.
M4 RESCUE The low-proﬁle M4 Rescue has a tiered two-tone crown with the same look as the driver. A short ﬂuted hosel frees up mass and works with the Geocoustic tech to improve sound. A cut-through Speed Pocket increases launch and maximizes ball speed on shots hit low on the face. Details: £199. 19° (3), 22° (4), 25° (5) and 28° (6). Shafts: Fujikura Atmos Red.
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EQUIPMENT NEW LAUNCH TAYLORMADE
Watch M3 and M4 iron videos at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk
Hotter to the RIBCOR!
TaylorMade’s M3 and M4 irons boast ultra-forgiving head design
aylorMade has a really solid iron line-up for 2018, from the super game-improver M CGBs to the lovely P790s and the tour-only P730 blades. The M3 and M4 irons sit towards the gameimprovement end of the spectrum, but with a new internal support system designed speciﬁcally for these irons to work with the Face Slots to boost ball speed across the entire face. It’s called RIBCOR, and works with face slots to stiffen the area outside the hitting
TOMO BYSTEDT Director, Product Creation (metalwoods)
Sum up RIBCOR? Like Twist Face, it’s a revolution in terms of providing straighter distance. The centre of the face retains ﬂexibility right up to the COR limit with a lot of speed, but we’re getting a stiff region in the heel/toe that we didn’t have before.
How did you get the idea? Irons used to be really rigid structures. Fast forward to an M2, where everything was hollowed out and the face was super thin. But if you don’t hit shots in the centre, you see a lot of energy loss in the head. Our
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zone, while retaining ﬂexibility between the slots. With the two bits of tech working together, the outer structure of the iron remains stiff, while the face is free to ﬂex during impact – boosting energy transfer for more ball speed. The design also adds extra mass in the heel and toe areas, resulting in far more inertia (MOI) than last year’s irons.
team started to work on technologies that would essentially counteract this problem without sacriﬁcing distance or playability.
Where did you start? The anchoring point for us was around the face slots, which are so unique in terms of how they generate speed on the club face. We isolated the centre part of the face from the rest of the face. The slots are all the way through, so whatever happens outside those slots doesn’t affect the amount of speed in the centre.
which puts stresses on the back of the top line, giving a low frequency vibration that sounds bad at impact. In RIBCOR the high toe isn’t ﬂexing, which makes sounds a lot better.
What it’s biggest benefit? RIBCOR really helps forgiveness all across the face, up to the point where the Speed Pocket comes into play; it completes the sweep of technologies to produce consistent distance across the face.
How do the M3 and M4 differ? Have you sacrificed feel for distance? From a feel standpoint one of the things we struggle with on distance irons is that there’s lots of deﬂection in the top line,
The main difference between M3 and the M4 is in the spin. The CG is not as low in the M3 as M4, so expect a little bit more spin. You’ll be able to work the ball a bit more with the M3.
‘NO INVOLVEMENT’ FROM BMW There is no tech tie-up between TaylorMade and BMW,who make M3 and M4 sports cars. The name’s just a coincidence.
‘CARPET CUP’ PORTABLE HOLE
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE IRONS AT A GLANCE... M3 CLUB M4 Low-to-mid-handicap players looking for distance, feel and control.
TaylorMade’s new RIBCOR internal ribbing structure works to stiffen the iron body while directing maximum energy to the ball during impact. Additionally, a multi-material dampening badge works in tandem with the RIBCOR technology to efficiently dampen undesirable vibrations during impact, producing major improvements in sound and feel.
THE KEY TECH
A thinner topline than last year’s M1 and a straighter leading edge for a cleaner look at address.
15g of high-density tungsten has been added to the sole. It allows engineers to create a more compact head shape, while maintaining the desired mass properties in a high-performing iron; low centre of gravity and high MOI. Face Slots, a Speed Pocket and a redesigned off-centre Inverted Cone – all optimised to provide distance, height, forgiveness and accuracy. M3’s 180° ﬂuted hosel saves weight, and doesn’t spoil cosmetics at address. 30.5° Available as 3-PW, GW, SW.
7i LOFT SET
A choice of True Temper’s XP100 steel shafts (S300, R300) or Mitsubishi Tensei graphite shafts (80S / 70R) in addition to numerous additional custom shaft options. All M3 irons are equipped with Lamkin UTx NC grips.
£849 (s), £1,049 (g)
‘DOUGHNUT’ HOLE REDUCER
Players looking for extra distance, forgiveness. TaylorMade went to great lengths to achieve a forgiving, high-MOI design. Optimised mass distribution (towards the heel and toe) results in a high resistance to twisting during off-centre impacts, which translates to preserved ball speeds and improved forgiveness across the face. With a high-MOI head design (24% higher than the ’17 M2), M4 achieves faster ball speeds.
‘RIGHT ANGLE’ PUTTING ALIGNMENT
Very much a conﬁdence inspiring, game improvement shape. An internal channel inside the top edge means the top line is just 1mm thick. TaylorMade say the M4s also have the company’s thinnest-ever leading edge, allowing extra hinging at impact. Face Slots, a Speed Pocket and a redesigned off-centre Inverted Cone – all optimised to provide distance, height, forgiveness and accuracy. M4 has a 360° ﬂuted hosel to save weight.
‘PURE PUTT” PUTTING GATE
28.5° Available as 4-W, AW, SW, LW. Players have a choice of the KBS MAX 85 steel shafts (S, R) or Fujikura ATMOS graphite shafts (7S, 6R, 5A) in addition to numerous additional custom shaft options. All M4 irons come with a TM Dual Feel grip.
February 16. £749 (s), £849 (g)
020 8240 0527
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1000s of gear reviews at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk
And you think it’s just a sweater... Today’s tops are tech-laden with clever fabrics to keep you warm, dry and comfy
Galvin Green Danny £100 Galvin Green have done more than any other brand to trumpet the beneﬁts of performance man-made materials over lambswool. The Danny is breathable, snug and thermally insulated. www.galvingreen.com
Glenmuir Diamond Intarsia £79.95 A classic patterned golf sweater from a brand who’ve been making knitwear since 1891. Naturally soft and breathable with a dirt repellent ﬁnish. www.glenmuir.com
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PULL THE WOOL OVER YOUR EYES Sheep’s wool is the most used fabric for sweaters, behind cotton. There are many different types which all havevarying degrees of softness and warmth. Merino, Shetland, and lambswool (from the first sheering of a sheep) are the mostcommon.
Ping Collection Knight £85
Callaway Jacquard Merino £65
Under Armour Sweater Fleece £60
A fully lined sweater that’s capable of keeping out the wind. A water resistant ﬁnish will also see off a light shower. www.pingcollection.co.uk
A classy modern sweater with an athletic cut. A merino and acrylic mix fabric offer a good degree of insulation as well as a lovely luxurious feel. www.callawayeuropeapparel.com
The fuller cut is ideal for bigger frames. A soft, warm ﬂeece inner lining keeps the cold at bay, an Under Armour treatment repels water. www.underamour.co.uk
adidas 3-Stripes V-neck £49.95
FootJoy lambswool V-neck £70
Glenmuir Cardigan £74.95
Perfect for keeping muscles warm for early morning tee-times. Created from a cotton rich fabric for a soft, quality feel. www.adidas.co.uk
A traditional lambswool sweater, available in nine colours – some of which are anything but classic! www.footjoy.co.uk
Justin Thomas rocked a cardigan and tie at The Open last year, and looked surprisingly smart. If only a cardy could make us all play like him. www.glenmuir.com
Puma Heather ¼-zip popover £64.95
Hugo Boss Zelchior Pro £169
Mizuno Breath Thermo £80
Designed to preserve your core temperature both on and off the course. Features soft, lightweight material and a bio-based wicking ﬁnish www.cobragolf.co.uk/pumagolf
A favourite of Henrik Stenson. The modern ¼-zip design and soft cotton mix fabric are just as home on the course as they are off it. www.golfposer.com
A lightweight second layer for cold-weather golf. Thermo tech absorbs moisture released by the body and turns it into heat. Ingenious. golf.mizunoeurope.com TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 95
EQUIPMENT THE TEST
Looking for a new GPS or laser? Reviews at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk
‘My old watch has already been binned’ Four regular golfers put Bushnell’s new £199 app-enabled Excel GPS watches to the test
here’s serious competition in golf GPS nowadays, as free yardage apps have popped up all over the place. But they all need you to have a phone on the golf course. Bushnell say their new Excel GPS watches and app offer more and out-performs any free service. We asked four TG readers to put them to the test and see if they agreed.
TONY HANSON Handicap: 17
PETER MCVAY Handicap: Scratch
Q How does the Excel compare to other GPS devices you’ve used before? What did you think to the size, design and styling? TH: I’ve only ever used GPS on my smart phone before, the Excel was less cumbersome and I liked how yardages were so accessible on the wrist. PM: I’ve not used GPS before as I usually use a rangeﬁnder. I liked the slim, lightweight design of the Excel it was really comfortable to wear, and didn’t affect my golf at all. JE: I usually use a phone app for yardages, but always wear a normal watch on the golf course. The GPS watch killed two birds with one stone, it’s a real bonus. MR: My old GPS watch rubbed my wrist, the softer strap and lightweight, quality feel of the Excel was far better. Q How about the yardages were they accurate? Did you have any niggles? TH: It took me a while to get used to all the buttons and features, but basic yardages were spot on. My only niggle would be it takes a while to initially find a GPS signal. Using Bluetooth to connect to the app also cut the battery life in half. PM: There’s a yard of difference between my Bushnell rangeﬁnder and the Excel watch; it’s not a problem and probably comes down to tolerances. I got the Bushnell app on my Samsung S8 phone, but couldn’t connect it to the watch, which was a bit disappointing. JE: On my home course yardages were very accurate, I didn’t have any niggles, the watch was simple to use. MR: The yardages were sound. I liked how via the app every course you’ll ever need is available for hole ﬂyovers, too, which really help with shot planning. It’s a no-niggles thumbs up from me. Q Bushnell say their app offers plenty of features to help on and of the golf course; how useful was it in reality? TH: I tried the app on a course I was unfamiliar with, and the information it gave was absolutely invaluable. The hole ﬂyovers are a lovely touch and highlight where you should be going. It’s 96 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
MICK ROLLASON Handicap: 26 JOHN EVANS Handicap: 16
something a rangeﬁnder can’t do. PM: I’m struggling to comment as I couldn’t get my phone and watch to connect, but the other guys seemed to have fun using theirs. JE: Following the instructions to set the app us was easy, the info and data it gives will help with my golf. It’s far better than the other apps I’ve used before. MR: There’s tons of stuff you can do on the app. I particularly like the book tee times and keep score features, the hole graphics and ﬂyovers are good, too. It’s really useful.
Q Is £199 a fair price, would you recommend it to other golfers? TH: The Excel does what it says on the
tin. £199 is hefty, but it’s the first thing I now put on when heading out for a round, it’s that useful. Yes, I’d recommend it. PM: I’d recommend the watch to other golfers; knowing the correct yardages is vital if you’re to hit accurate shots and lower your score. Once you can access the app there’s tons of further features, too. JE: The price isn’t excessive, the Excel is a godsend for me, it’s taking the guesswork out of which club I need for my next shot. I’d recommend it to all golfers. MR: The Excel is one piece of kit I won’t be parting with, I highly recommend it. My old watch has already been binned.
WO RT H £600!
Win a year’s supply of Mizuno balls We’ve teamed up with Mizuno to offer two lucky readers the chance to win 12 dozen JPX balls each
izuno says the JPX has been speciﬁcally optimised to deliver extra ball speed for low to mid swing speed players. The two-piece ball has a larger, softer compression core and multi-blend polymer cover, which provides explosive tee-shot distance as well as soft feel for delicate shots on and around a green. A new aerodynamic cover has been optimised with micro-dimples to sustain hang-time for longer meaning even lower swing speed players add distance to their game. The story doesn’t end there either. Mizuno reckons two-piece ball tech has come so far, a majority of golfers can’t now tell the difference between the JPX and a tourtype ball. At £25 a dozen, what’s to lose?
Mizunosaysthese add lift togiveaverageplayers morehangtime.
HOW TO ENTER Visit www. todaysgolfer. co.uk/win click on the Mizuno option and enter your email address. Entries close at midnight on February 14. Full terms and are on the TG website.
E N T E R N O W AT W W W.T O D AY S G O L F E R . C O . U K / W I N
P98 / FAIRWAYS P99 / GI IRONS P100 / RANGEFINDERS P101 / GRIPS P102 / ELECTRIC TROLLEYS
Our no-nonsense verdicts on the best clubs of 2017. More at todaysgolfer.co.uk TOP 10 FAIRWAY WOODS
Callaway GBB Epic £279 I www.callawaygolf.com Our verdict: Epic fairways don’t have the same “jailbreak” tech as the drivers, but that doesn’t mean they’re a slouch when it comes to power. A ball speed 2mph quicker and carry 10 yards further than our test average is seriously impressive.
Lofts: 3+/14°; 3/14°; 5/18°; H’wood/ 20.5°; 7/21°, 9/24° Stock shaft: Project X HZRDUS, Fujikura Pro, Diamana M+ Green, Aldila Rogue Adjustable hosel: Yes
Callaway XR 16 £189 I www.callawaygolf.com Our verdict: A very good fairway with a face depth that’s just as useful from the tee as it is the fairway. Thanks to the forgiveness you don’t need to be the world’s best ball-striker to get a decent performance from its well-engineered head.
Lofts: 3+/14°; 3/15°; 4/17°; 5/19°; 7/21°; 9/23°; 11/25° Stock shaft: Fujikura Speeder Evolution 565 Adjustable hosel: No
Cobra King F8 £199 I www.cobragolf.co.uk Our verdict: Cobra’s ﬁrst carbon crown fairway wood. Baffler sole rails get deeper as lofts increase, helping launch shots from challenging lies. Aero trips maximise club speed, and an Arccos sensor in the grip tarcks where you hit every shot.
Lofts: 3-4/13-16°; 5-6/17°-20°; 7-8/21°-24° Stock shaft: Aldila NV 2KXV Adjustable hosel: Yes How much loft change: 3° (three draw settings)
Mizuno JPX900 £279 I Golf.mizunoeurope.com Our verdict: A really nice fairway that will perform at its best in the hands of mid to fast swing speeds. In the hands of a serious golfer, and with the right set-up, it’s workable and versatile off fairway or tee.
Lofts: 3/15°; 5/18°; 7/21° Stock shaft: Fujikura Speeder Evolution 2 Adjustable hosel: Yes How much loft change: +/-2°
IN MY BAG EUROPE’S NO.1 TOMMYFLEETWOOD The Englishman enjoyed a meteoric rise through the world rankings (to 18th) in 2017 and won the coveted season-ending Race to Dubai title – this is what he had in his bag. Driver: Nike Vapor Fly Pro (8.5°, Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage XT70 TX shaft). 3-wood: Nike Vapor Fly (13°, UST Mamiya ProForce VTS 7X shaft). 5-wood: Nike Vapor Fly (19°, Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Limited Edition 80 TX shaft). Irons: 3 and 4: Nike VR Forged 5 to 9: Nike VR Pro (True Temper Project X 6.5 shafts). Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged (48° / 52° / 56° / 60°, True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts). Putter: Odyssey White Hot Pro #3
Ping G400 £240 I www.ping.com Our verdict: Extra ball speed boosting tech over the previous G model thanks to a new maraging steel face. If you’re not a fan of hybrids the 7 and 9 wood ﬁll loft gaps to a set of irons really nicely. A powerful and forgiving fairway wood.
Lofts: 3/14.5°; 5/17.5°; 7/20.5°; 9/23.5° plus 13° Stretch Stock shaft: Alta CB High Balance Point Adjustable hosel: Yes How much loft change: +/-1°
Ping G400 SFT £240 I www.ping.com Our verdict: Higher lofts and slightly lighter swingweights help launch shots higher and further. Extra heel weighting helps if you struggle to stay away from the right side of the course. Doesn’t look like an all out game-improvement model either.
Lofts: 3/16°; 5/19°; 7/22° Stock shafts: Alta CB High Balance Point Adjustable hosel: Yes How much loft change: +/- 1°
Srixon Z F65 £229 I www.srixon.co.uk Our verdict: The F65 is more punishing on off-centre hits than some of the competition, but we can’t take anything away from its powerful performance. If you only carry one fairway the 17° 4-wood would be an excellent option.
Lofts: 3+/13.5°, 3/15°, 4/17°, 5/19° Stock shaft: Miyazaki Kaula Mizu 6 Adjustable hosel: No
TaylorMade M1 £279 I www.taylormadegolf.com Our verdict: The M1 was an absolutely top performer in our test in the hands of our pro. It is 25cc smaller (150cc) than the M2 and as much as that makes for a cute little head sat behind the ball, it does mean slightly less forgiveness.
Lofts: 3/15°; 3HL/17°; 5/19° Stock shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage TiNi Adjustable hosel: Yes How much loft change: +/- 2°
TaylorMade M2 £229 I www.taylormadegolf.com Our verdict: The M2 really is pimped for distance and forgiveness in the hands of the club golfer. Both amateurs found it a much better ﬁt than M1, so it was no surprise it delivered the longest carry – 12 yards further than average.
Lofts: 3/15°, 3HL/16.5°, 5/18°, 5HL/21°, 7HL/24° Stock shaft: TM REAX Adjustable hosel: No
Titleist 917 F2 £280 I www.titleist.co.uk Our verdict: It’s really simple and unfussy, which slightly better golfers often prefer. If you’re going to pay this much for a fairway make sure you get properly ﬁtted, Titleist offers an excellent shaft choice at no extra cost.
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Lofts: 13.5°/15°/16.5°/ 18°/21° Stock shafts: Aldila Rogue Max, Fujikura Speeder Pro TS 84, Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 70/Red 60 Adjustable hosel: Yes
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FEELING PATRIOTIC? Multi-coloured golf ball brand Volvik have introduced red, white and blue Vivid Patriot balls (£32.99 for a nine-ball pack).
S TAT S
TOP 10 GAME IMPROVEMENT IRONS BenrossHTXCompressorTypeR£420(s) £490(g) I www.benrossgolf.com Availability: 4-GW Stock shaft: KBS Tour 90 (s) Kuro Kage (g) 7i loft/length: 30° / 37in
Our verdict: The cup face is clearly doing a job, though remember the loft’s pretty strong, too. KBS shafts and Golf Pride grips are components you’ll ﬁnd in other top brands.
WHAT THE BEST PUTTERS ON THE PGA TOUR CHOOSE FOR THEIR BAGS
Callaway Apex CF 16 £879 (s) £1,099 (g) I www.callawaygolf.com Our verdict: If how irons look is important to you, but your game demands good forgiveness, you must look at the Apex. They are a beautiful set and prove game improvement tech doesn’t have to mean irons look like shovels.
Cobra King F8 £649 (s) £749 (g) I
Availability: 3-SW inc AW (stock set 4-PW) Stock shaft: True Temper XP 95 (s) UST Mamiya Recoil (g) 7i loft/length: 31° / 37in
Our verdict: A progressive set (TECFLO) construction means each iron’s engineered as an individual. Hollow body long-irons, half hollow mid-irons, cavity back short-irons and blade wedges are designed to maximise distance, feel and forgiveness.
Availability: 5-PW, GW, Stock shaft: True Temper XP-90 (s) Aldila RoguePro 65 (g) 7i loft/length: 30° / 37.25in
MD Golf Superstrong STR £299 (s) £399 (g) I
Mizuno JPX900 Forged £120 per club
Availability: 4-GW Stock shafts: Project X LZ 5.5 (s) Project X LZ (g) 7i loft/length: 31° / 36.75in
Our verdict: A cracking looking iron that sits beautifully between a GI and better player model. You’ll need to be a more consistent ball-striker to hit them as well as some of our other favourite game improvement models.
Ping G400 £110 (s) £120 (g) per club
www.ping.com Availability: 4-LW Stock shaft: Ping AWT2.0 (s) Ping Alta CB (g) 5 upgrades at no cost. 7i loft/length: 30° / 37in
Our verdict: A stunning set of game improvement irons, which Ping has made feel really premium. Our testing backs up Ping’s performance claims, by hitting shots higher they ﬂy further and increase accuracy.
Srixon Z 565 £770
Availability: 4-PW Stock shaft: Precision Riﬂe (s) Mitsubishi Rayn JAVLN (g) 7i loft/length: 30° / 37in
Our verdict: MD are not as widely available as they once were and they’re not quite as keen to offer custom ﬁtting on their 2017 line-up, either. But that doesn’t take away from the STR being a decent proposition, especially at this price.
www.srixon.co.uk Availability: 4-PW (stock set 4-PW) Stock shaft: Nippon NS Pro 980 (s) Miyazaki Kaula 8 (g). 7i loft/length: 31° / 37in
Our verdict: Srixon makes some very solid forged irons right now, and if your game demands the extra feel and control they offer, the 565s are one of a handful that legitimately can be called “forgiving”.
TaylorMade M1 £849 (s) £1,049 (g)
Our verdict: Iron designers will tell you that combining good forgiveness in a more compact head is a real challenge. So while the M1 is more compact than the M2, it wasn’t quite as long. But it didn’t stop gear ed Simon really wanting a set.
Wilson Staff C200 £525 (s) £609 (g)
2 RICKIE FOWLER Gains: 0.761 strokes per round on the ﬁeld. Using: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS Prototype (blade) 3 LUKE DONALD Gains: 0.704 strokes per round on the ﬁeld. Using: Odyssey Works Versa #7H CS (MOI style) 4 GRAHAM MCDOWELL Gains: 0.576 strokes per round on the ﬁeld. Using: Odyssey White #7 (mallet) 5 BRIAN HARMAN (BELOW) Gains: 0.542 strokes per round on the ﬁeld. Using: TaylorMade Spider OS CB (MOI style)
Availability: 3-PW, AW, SW Stock shaft: True Temper XP 95 (s) Mitsubishi Kuro Kage (g). 7i loft/length: 30.5° / 36.75in
www.wilson.com Availability: 4-PW Stock shaft: KBS Tour 90 (s) Aldila Rogue Pro (g) 7i loft/length: 32° / 37.50in
Our verdict: The C200 did absolutely ﬁne, without being exceptional. If you’re attracted to the tech, have a good look at Wilson’s D300, too. Their stronger lofts meant a decent increase in ball speed and carry over the 200s.
Yonex EZONE Elite £399 (s) £559 (g)
1 MICHAEL THOMPSON (ABOVE) Gains: 0.840 strokes per round on the ﬁeld. Using: Ping Anser (blade)
Our verdict: Even if the Elite is a bit plain, it’s well worth a look, particularly if you consider the price. There might not be lots of visible tech, but across the board it’s solid and will do a good job for a club golfer.
Availability: 5-SW Stock shaft: FST 115 (s). Yonex M60 (g) 7i loft/length: 29° / 37.25in
5CROSSOVER IRONS THAT SIT BETWEEN BETTER PLAYER AND GAMEIMPROVEMENTSETS
Mizuno MP-18 MMC £150 per club golf.mizunoeurope.com
TaylorMade P790 £1049 (s) £1,299 (g) www.taylormadegolf.com
Wilson Staff C300 Forged £699 (s) £799 (g) www.wilson.com
Titleist 718 AP3 £150 (s) £175 (g) per club www.titleist.co.uk
Ping i200 £120 (s) £130 (g) per club www.ping.com
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EQUIPMENT TOP 10s
Hundreds more gear reviews at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk
C O M PA R I S O N
TOP 5 LASER RANGEFINDERS Bushnell Tour V4 Shift £339 I www.bushnellgolf.eu Our verdict: Tech moves at a slower pace when it comes to rangeﬁnders, but Bushnell insists the Tour Shift’s a giant leap forward as it produces slope adjusted distances at the ﬂick of a switch. With the slope function turned off its legal for competition use. It’s also 30% smaller and faster than the previous Tour V3.
HOW DIFFERENT ARE BLADES COMPARED TO CAVITY-BACK IRONS?
Bushnell Pro X2 £449 I www.bushnellgolf.eu Our verdict: Waterprooﬁng isn’t the ﬁrst thing most golfers think about when buying a rangeﬁnder. That’s until you pull yours from its case after a downpour and its viewﬁnder is misted and unusable. Bushnell says the X2 metal casing is completely waterproof, and it’s capable of toggling between slope adjusted and standard distances, which is invaluable for practice rounds.
Callaway Hybrid £329 I www.brandfusionltd.co.uk Our verdict: Having a GPS for longer shots and rangeﬁnder for accurate approaches sounds like the perfect GPS/rangeﬁnder set-up, but it’s expensive buying two systems. Callaway’s Hybrid gets over the issue by combining a GPS inside the rangeﬁnder, giving you the best of both worlds. Genius.
Golf Buddy LR7 £249.99 I www.gpsgolfbuddy.eu Our verdict: If like most golfers you primarily use a rangeﬁnder inside 150 yards you don’t have to spend a fortune to get your distances. The LR7 is a simple no nonsense affair. It’s water resistant, legal for tournament play (as there’s no slope function) and its soft, ergonomic body is designed to provide a stable grip.
Nikon Coolshot 80 VR £379.99 I www.europe-nikon.com Our verdict: Nikon are experts when it comes to lenses and optics, so it’s no surprise their latest rangeﬁnder features “vibration reduction” to reduce hand shake when you’re trying to pinpoint the ﬂag. The 80 doesn’t give slope adjusted distances (the 80i does for £419.99), which means it’s legal for tournament play. It’s also a compact and reliable unit.
TOP 5 MICRO GPS UNITS SkyCaddie SR1 £129.95 I www.skygolf.com Our verdict: The SR1 is laden with tech, but SkyCaddie reckon it’s the lightest and most compact micro on the market. You get green distances, layup targets, shot distance measurement, digital scoring, hole stats (fairways hit), ﬁtness tracking and calories burnt as well a clock and access to 35,000 worldwide courses.
Golf Buddy CT2 £129.99 I www.gpsgolfbuddy.eu Our verdict: Designed to be clipped onto almost anything. You get all the usual distances plus lay-up and hazard yardages, an odometer and a clock. The CT2 comes with a lanyard so it can be secured to the towel ring on a golf bag too. Access 40,000 measured courses for free.
Bushnell Neo Ghost £99 I www.bushnellgolf.com Our verdict: GPS don’t come much more straightforward than the Ghost. Distances are shown to the back, centre and front of each green and up to four hazards per hole, which is just about all you really need. Each unit comes with an attachable clip and Bushnell reckon its battery life is so good you can play 3 rounds before it needs recharging.
Our recent blades v cavities test threw up how glaringly different muscleback blades and cavity irons perform. Most golfers understand, blades, with their slimmed down soles and narrow top edges, are only for better golfers. Most players, though, have no idea that on average there’s 7mph of ball speed and 14 yards of carry distance difference between the two categories. That’s massive. Throw in how blades have less offset, which makes them more difficult to get airborne, and factor in the lack of perimeter weighting and you soon realise how much less forgiving they are for the average player. BEHIND THE NUMBERS Blades 125mph ball speed 181 yards carry distance Cavities 132mph ball speed 195 yards carry distance
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Golf Buddy Voice 2 £114.95 I www.gpsgolfbuddy.eu Our verdict: Walk anywhere on the golf course and push the Voice’s front button and it reels off how far you have to the front, centre and back of a green. Dynamic green views show distances from the golfer’s perspective. You get a choice of either a male or female voice, 11 languages and it can be clipped onto a cap or worn with a wristband (sold separately) as a watch.
Garmin Approach G10 £129.99 I www.garmin.com Our verdict: Distances are limited to front, back and middle of greens, along with hazards, but there is a view to show the shape of the green and you can manually position the pin. The screen is just 1.3in square, an odometer means you can track how far you’ve gone and there’s a digital scorecard function, too.
Galvin Green Delta £25 www.galvingreen.com 100 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
Ping £16.99 www.ping.com
Callaway £13.95 www.callawaygolf.com
J Lindeberg Micro-Fleece £19.99 www.scottsdalegolf.co.uk
Titleist Performance £14.95 www.titleist.co.uk
FIRST AID AT YOUR FINGER TIP Motocaddy have introduced a “First Aid” button to their free GPS app. Each club in the database is supplying defibrillator location infoandan number to call for help in an emergency. Heart attack survival rates increase to 50% when a defibrillator is used within fiveminutes.
S TAT S
TOP 10 GRIPS Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 £6 I www.golfpride.com Our verdict: The most popular grip in golf and favoured by more tour players than any other. It’s an excellent blend of all-weather performance with a soft feel and feedback as well as high levels of traction.
Weight: 50g (Tour Velvet standard is 45g) Colours: Black. Bee standard Sizes: Standard (Tour Velvet is available in Standard, Midsize, Jumbo and Junior)
Unlike us regular golfers tour players don’t pay for their equipment. But if they did who’d get the biggest bang for their buck (in terms of distance off the tee) when we factor in the cost of their chosen driver and golf ball? Let’s ﬁnd out.
Golf Pride MCC Align £16 I www.golfpride.com Our verdict: The Align is Golf Pride’s latest grip and it has a ﬁrmer, slightly raised strip along the back to heighten the sensation in your hands and give you a more consistent hold. Delivers brilliant feel and all-weather control.
WHOGETSTHE BIGGESTBANGFOR THEIRBUCK?
Weight: 51g (Midsize is 62g) Colours: One only. Sizes: Standard or Midsize.
Golf Pride MCC £14 I www.golfpride.com Our verdict: Rory McIlroy’s grip of choice. This hybrid blends brushed cord in the upper hand for ﬁrm all-weather control with a softer rubber in the lower hand for ultimate feel and responsiveness. A slightly ﬁrmer feel than a typical cordless grip.
Weight: 46.5g Colours: Five Sizes: Standard or Midsize
Lamkin UTx Cord £13 I www.lamkin.co.uk Our verdict: You’ll ﬁnd these on everything from TaylorMade’s M1 irons to Callaway’s Mack Daddy forged wedges. They’re an excellent blend of tacky rubber with a ﬁrm feel and thanks to a light cord layer they’re great at wicking moisture away.
Weight: 52g Colours: Five Sizes: Standard and Midsize
Lamkin Z5 £13 I www.lamkin.co.uk Our verdict: New for 2017, with multiple zones and rubber compounds to create lots of traction, without inhibiting comfort and control. Different patterns on the upper, middle and lower sections reﬂect how each hand works during the swing.
Weight: 50g Colours: Seven Sizes: Standard and Midsize
1. RORY MCILROY 317 YARDS TaylorMade M2 driver (2017): £369 TaylorMade TP5x ball: £49.99 a dozen £1.32 for every yard he gets down the fairway
Weight: 50g Colours: Ten Sizes: Standard and Midsize
2. DUSTIN JOHNSON 315 YARDS TaylorMade M1 driver (2017): £479 TaylorMade TP5x ball: £49.99 a dozen £1.68 for every yard he gets down the fairway
Iomic Sticky 2.3 £12 I www.iomicgrips.com Our verdict: The Sticky is made from an elastomer compound so the designers reckon it doesn’t go hard, shiny or brittle over time like a conventional rubber grip. It’s an excellent performer in the wet, too.
SuperStroke S-Tech £9 I www.brandfusionltd.co.uk Our verdict: Sergio Garcia won the Masters using these and Jordan Spieth swears by his. They have a soft, tacky feel for heightened feedback and control. The cross-traction surface provides non-slip all weather performance, too.
Weight: 52g Colours: Four Sizes: Standard and Midsize
3. BRANDON HAGY 313 YARDS Ping G LS Tec driver: £299 (from American Golf) Titleist Pro V1: £52 a dozen £1.21 for every yard he gets down the fairway
SuperStroke TX1 Tour £15 I www.brandfusionltd.co.uk Our verdict: Combines premium rubbers and a corded upper section for control. Corded grips usually mean higher prices so we reckon if you don’t speciﬁcally need them it’s worth sticking to rubber only models as they can deliver a slightly softer feel.
Weight: 52g Colours: Five Sizes: Standard and Midsize
4= RYAN BREHM 312 YARDS TaylorMade M1 driver (2017): £479 Srixon Z-Star XV: £45 a dozen £1.68 for every yard he gets down the fairway
G-Rip A-Tac £6 I www.g-rip.com Our verdict: You won’t ﬁnd many grips that get tackier in the wet or when your hands are clammy, but that’s exactly what the A-Tac does. Give the wet grip a rub over with a towel and it becomes stickier, great if you play regularly in rain.
4= LUKE LIST 312 YARDS TaylorMade M2 driver (2016): £249 (from Golfbidder) Titleist Pro V1x: £52 a dozen £0.96 for every yard he gets down the fairway
Weight: 50g Colours: Six Sizes: Standard only.
Winn Dri-Tac £10 I www.adoregolfgrips.com Our verdict: The Dri-Tac is particularly well suited to golfers who demand the softest-feeling grip with a good degree of shock dampening (which is easy on the joints), but still demand inclement weather performance.
Weight: 48g Colours: Three Sizes: Standard, Midsize, Oversize, Ladies and Juniors.
Interestingly, if Luke List used a Callaway Chrome Soft ball (the least expensive Tour ball on sale) he’d spend just £0.91 for every yard covered.
TaylorMade TP Red Collection Ardmore (Centre shaft) £239
Bettinardi Inovai 5.0 (Centre shaft) £279
Odyssey O-Works Black #2M CS £179
SeeMore X3 £224.99
Ping Sigma G Kinloch C from £175
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EQUIPMENT TOP 10s
Hundreds more gear reviews at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk
TOP 10 ELECTRIC TROLLEYS Motocaddy S1 £349-£499 I www.motocaddy.com Weight: 8.9kg Folded size: 850mm x 595mm x 355mm Our verdict: Over the last 10 years the S1 has been the most widely sold golf trolley on the market. We love the sleek styling, how the life expectancy is longer than an elephants memory and of course the slender price tag. A brilliant entry level trolley, which is also available as a DHC model (down hill speed control) from £499, which means better on-course control.
PowaKaddy FW3i £449-£499 I www.powakaddy.co.uk Weight: 9.4kg Folded size: 385mm x 860mm x 570mm Our verdict: PowaKaddy’s entry-level trolley which for us is very much on a level with the Motocaddy S1. A ﬁve-year warranty and lithium battery will keep you going on the golf course, while the sleek styling (PowaKaddy trolleys are designed by an ex-Dyson engineer) means you’ll look the part, too.
A N D F I N A L LY… SLOW-SWING FRIENDS Golfers are an ageing breed, and brands are starting to wise up to how lighter head, shaft and grip combinations can help maximise club speed and carry distance. Here’s ﬁve products which are especially good for lower swing-speed golfers. COBRA F-MAX CLUBS
Weight: 13.5kg Folded size: 700mm x 55mm x 32mm Our verdict: It’s not often four on a golf course is better than three, but Big Max reckon in terms of stability the Hunter’s four wheels increase stability over any three-wheel models. Both front wheels turn through 360° making for great manoeuvrability. It’s not the lightest, but thanks to some German engineering you can expect it to last.
Driver £229; Fa £169; Hybrid £ Irons £449-£6 A whole range lightweight d biased forgiv clubs. Heel w and offset h square the f lower speed
GoKart £349 I www.gokart.co.uk
YONEX EZONE XPG HD DRIVER
Weight: 8.2kg Folded size: 260mm x 590mm x 61mm Our verdict: You won’t ﬁnd many golf products, let alone electric trolleys, made in the UK, but GOKart design, make and assemble every trolley on these shores. A really straightforward, nothrills-and-spills trolley which can do a solid job for a very reasonable cost.
£289 A counterbalanced driver. It means golfers use the same amount of effort but the club travels faster, adding ball speed and carry distance. The HD’s set up to hit high draws to keep you away from the right rough.
Big Max Hunter Quad £699 I www.bigmaxgolf.com
Hill Billy £359 I www.hillbilly.co.uk Weight: 8.3kg Folded size: 920mm x 560mm x 335mm Our verdict: Hill Billy only sell direct to end consumers (cutting out the retailer) so you won’t ﬁnd them in golf shops. There’s only one model available and it comes in six colours, with the choice of either a lead acid (£259) or lithium battery. A basic rotating speed wheel keeps operation really simple.
TAYLORMAD M CGB IRONS
Motocaddy M1 Pro £399-£549 I www.motocaddy.com Weight: 10.5kg Folded size: 497mm x 560mm x 336mm Our verdict: Motocaddy took it upon themselves to invent the “compact trolley” category. The M1 is the perfect trolley for golfers who are space conscious either in the car or at home, as it folds down 40% smaller than a traditional trolley. A DHC (downhill speed control) is available from £549, both have USB ports so you can charge a phone or GPS unit as you go.
Motocaddy S5 Connect £549-£599 I www.motocaddy.com Weight: 9kg Folded size: 850mm x 595mm x 355mm Our verdict: The world’s ﬁrst smart cart. A GPS module and screen in the handle display distances to the front, centre and back of each green. The system is powered by your smartphone, and comes with a free, fully functioning GPS app. A DHC model (downhill speed control) is also available from £599.
PowaKaddy Compact C2 £549-£599 I www.powakaddy.co.uk Weight: 9.8kg Folded size: 514mm x 349mm x 560mm Our verdict: A brilliantly simple and beautifully designed compact trolley. The two-fold chassis can be set up in seconds and we particularly like how it stands up when stowed away, taking up less ﬂoor space. Ideal for golfers who want to free up space in the boot of a car or garage.
PowaKaddy FW7s GPS £749 I www.powakaddy.co.uk Weight: 9.4kg Folded size: 385mm x 860mm x 570mm Our verdict: Combining an electric trolley and GP system into a single unit seems like common sense, but it’s only really this year that the idea has hit the market. The FW7s GPS is £200 more expensive than the Motocaddy S5 Connect, but because the GPS chip is built into the handle, your phone doesn’t power the system. A brilliant if pricey option.
Stewart Golf X9 Follow £1,699 I www.stewartgolf.com Weight: 14.1kg Folded size: 320mm x 660mm x 820mm Our verdict: The X9 Follow is a big, bulky machine so make sure you’ve got a decent sized boot to put it in. Built-in Bluetooth tech means you can walk the fairways and the trolley will follow behind you, when you reach the green simply turn the Bluetooth handset into a remote control and guide the trolley towards the next tee. Genius.
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£849 (s) Every iro delivers t same am of face fl a driver, w TaylorMa says help for longe game. CLEVELAND CBX WEDGES
www.clevela £109 More closel matched to back irons tour-style wedge. T also has shaft spe to optimi hands of
MIZUNO JPX BALL
golf.mizunoeurope.com £25 per dozen Designed to perform at low and mid swing speeds the JPX is a two-piece ball. Micro dim air for longer, and a soft compression core means it feels more like a tour level ba say Mizuno.
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HE T O H ER E YOU C L P B E T TH O O S E ER
THE PLAYLIST COURSE REVIEWS GREEN FEE DEALS STAY & PLAYS HOLIDAY IDEAS
THE REGIONS South-west 104 South-east 106 The Midlands 108 The North 110 Scotland 112 Ireland 114 Wales 116
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THE PLAYLIST SOUTH WEST
Architect: Jack Nicklaus (1988). Yardage: 6,369-7,008 (par 72). Green fees: Nov-Feb – from £30 (from £35 weekends). In a nutshell… Inland courses don’t come better, or more demanding, than the mighty Nicklaus, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2018. It’s tested the game’s best in six Benson & Hedges Opens, is aesthetically pleasing and even has its own Amen Corner after the turn. To play well you need to… Show up with your A game: the Nicklaus is formidable in places, with some lengthy carries – so you need to be solid with every club in the bag. In many ways, it’s the ultimate inland test of golf… You’ll love the… Challenge it presents. One memorable hole follows another before signing off with a nervejangling par 4, the ﬁnal green closely guarded by water in clear view of the balconies of hotel guests. It’s always in superb nick too despite the extensive ‘traffic’ it receives. 01579 352004 www.st-mellion.co.uk
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TAKE ON ENGLAND’S OLDEST COURSE Until February, groups of 8+ can play England’s oldest links, Royal North Devon, for £40 including a bacon roll and coffee and post-round meal.
Architect: J.H. Taylor/Fred Hawtree (1923). Yardage: 5,846-6,014 (par 70). Green fees: Until Feb 28 - £21. In a nutshell… Well-established Devon clifftop course with generous fairways and fairly fast greens. Although just over 6,000 yards, it’s excellent holiday golf. You’ll love the… Idyllic coastal location and amazing views over to Burgh Island. Plus it’s almost always playable. Stay in the on-site self-catering cottage overlooking the course and you’ll receive unlimited golf. 01548 810 557 www.bigburygolfclub.co.uk
Architect: Old Tom Morris (1864). Yardage: 6,424-7,000 (par 72). Green fees: £30-£75. In a nutshell… Draped across commonland at Westward Ho! you’ll discover England’s oldest links. You’ll love the… Chance to putt on some of the slickest greens around, dicing with the giant Cape bunker dominating the 4th hole, checking out the fascinating clubhouse museum and, above all, stepping back in golﬁng time at England’s St Andrews equivalent. 01237 473817 royalnorthdevongolfclub.co.uk
BUDOCK VEAN, CORNWALL
Architect: James Braid (1935). Yardage: 5,255 yards (par 68). Green fees: Midweek - £16 for nine holes, £25 per day; Weekends - £30 a day. In a nutshell… Mature rolling nine-hole parkland with 18 tees. The 7th is one of the county’s longest par 5s while the round ends in style with a splendid par 3. You’ll love the… Variety – and challenge – and that you can enjoy a ‘quick nine’ before retiring to the cosy bar in the charming hotel just yards from the 1st tee. 01326 252102 www.budockvean.co.uk
Architect: Tim Lobb (redesign 2014). Yardage: 5,945-6,274 (par 72). Green fees: Until Mar 18 - £25. In a nutshell… Formerly Roserrow G&CC, the undulating parkland has had a major upgrade by Tim Lobb, to make it one of Cornwall’s leading inland courses. You’ll love the… Fact it’s a pleasure for either a round or a short break. Golfers can now enjoy a ﬁne course, a range of quality accommodation options and excellent facilities, all within a short walk from Polzeath beach. 01208 864601 www.thepointatpolzeath.co.uk
Architect: Peter Alliss/Clive Clark (1992). Yardage: 5,800-6,500 (par 71). Green fees: Winter - £35 midweek, £37.50 weekends. In a nutshell… Parkland sits in 365 acres of Cotswold countryside on the edge of the medieval village of Castle Combe. Over 80 bunkers and water to avoid. You’ll love… That it’s based on limestone so has wonderful natural drainage all year round. The best of the ﬁne par 3s is the 17th, with the green surrounded by a brook 120ft below. Simply sensational. 01249 783101 www.exclusive.co.uk
Architect: Unknown (1893). Yardage: 5,700-6,004 (par 70). Green fees: £20-£30. In a nutshell… A rollercoaster of a woodland plotted on two distinct levels. The 2nd to the 11th circles the hills and offers breathtaking views. You’ll love the… Awesome panoramic views, starring glorious Glastonbury Tor, the cathedral and the Mendip hills and the short dog-leg par-4 12th hole played from an elevated tee to a double green next to the clubhouse. 01749 675005 www.wellsgolfclub.co.uk TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 105
THE PLAYLIST SOUTH EAST FOXHILLS (LONGCROSS), SURREY
Architect: Fred Hawtree (1975). Yardage: 6,197-6,750 (par 72). Green fees: From Nov 1; £60 Mon-Thurs, £80 Fri-Sun. In a nutshell… Classy resort with two 18-hole layouts and a fun short course with luxury accommodation and superb amenities. The Longcross is the star of the show and was the summer scene of GB&I’s PGA Cup victory over America. To play well you need to… Keep it straight, especially off the tee. Unlike the neighbouring Bernard Hunt, most fairways are densely tree-lined so it’s imperative to keep it on the short stuff but take into account some wickedly-sloping fairways. You’ll love the… Variety of holes starting with the downhill sloping par-4 opener. The stand-out hole is undoubtedly the par-5 14th played from an elevated tee and ﬁring into the double 18th green (shared with the Bernard Hunt). Both courses have cracking halfway houses, too. 01932 704465 www.foxhills.co.uk
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IMPROVE WITH INNOVATIVE SYSTEM Hever Castle is the only Kent course to use the innovative Bull 3D motion capture system as part of its golf lessons! Cost is £6 p/h. Visit hevercastle.co.uk/golf
ISLE OF PURBECK, DORSET
WALMER&KINGSDOWN,KENT Architect: James Braid (1909). Yardage:6,301-6,471 (par 72). Green fees: Winter – £40 midweek, £50 weekends. In a nutshell… Perched atop the famous White Cliffs of Dover, W&K sits on chalky downland turf so is in great year-round condition. You’ll love the… Stunning Channel views from every hole – this is our closest course to mainland Europe and one of a few in the world where you can see another country! It’s great value, too. 01304 363017 www.kingsdowngolf.co.uk
Architect: Modiﬁed by Harry Colt in early 1900s (1892) Yardage: 5,986-6,295 (par 70). Green fees: Winter £25 Mon-Thurs, £30 Fri-Sun. In a nutshell… Home of a historic – Noddy author Enid Blyton is among its previous owners – heathland plotted within a wonderful nature reserve and ably supported by the nine-hole par-30 Dene course… a nice warm-up for the main test. A Top 100 England-ranked course – and with some investment, could be even higher in the list. You’ll love the… Everything about the place has an abundance of class, charm and character. But you’ll particularly enjoy the awesome Channel views from the elevated par-4 5th tee. They’ll blow you away as will the following thrilling tee shot. 01929 450361 www.purbeckgolf.co.uk
Architect: Jack Nicklaus II (front nine), Harry Vardon (back nine). 1991/early 1900s. Yardage: 6,124-7,052 (par 72). Green fees: Until Mar 31 - £55. In a nutshell… A hybrid test of nerve and concentration. The front-nine is open and undulating, while the back is tighter and loaded with water hazards. You’ll love the… History attached to the venue. The course hosted the English Open between 1997 and 1999 and Colin Montgomerie is a big fan. 01920 885000 www.marriott.co.uk
Architect: Peter Alliss and Clive Clark, European Golf Design (Ross McMurray) and Alex Hay (2000). Yardage: 6,329-7,214 (par 72). Green fees: Until Feb 28 - £115 inc breakfast roll, lunch. In a nutshell…. An Open qualifying venue since 2014, this is for the big hitters. Unforgiving slopes and overhanging trees punish, as do the closing six holes. You’ll love the… Signature par-5 7th. There’s a choice of two fairways divided by a copse of pines. The righthand strip is harder to ﬁnd, but worth the risk. 01908 626881 www.woburngolf.co.uk
Architect: Unknown (1903), James Edwards (2012). Yardage: 5,795-6,203 (par 70). Green fees: Until Mar 31 – From £21 In a nutshell… A parkland layout with a handful of holes reminding you you’re in the glorious Surrey sandbelt collection of courses. Just off the M25, too. You’ll love the… Back nine is short by modern standards, but with two par 3s over 200 yards in the last four and a 510-yard par 5, it will test you all the way. Our favourite, though, is the beautiful 302-yard 14th. 01372 849413 www.leatherheadgolfclub.com
MEYRICKPARK,DORSET Architect: Tom Dunn (1894). Yardage: 5,540-5,802 (par 69) Green fees: From £16 (online). In a nutshell… Mature layout in the heart of the seaside town of Bournemouth and set within 120 acres of undulating picturesque parkland. It may be a tad on the short side at under 6,000 yards, but underestimate it at your peril. Amazing value, too. You’ll love the… Immediate challenge of the opening tee shot on the 244yard par-3 1st… what a start! Plus the wonderful par-5 14th that is played to an elevated green and was described by the great Sir Henry Cotton as the “ﬁnest of holes”. It’s also part of an excellent all-round complex with places to eat, stay and enjoy some leisure time. So this is a good spot for a golf break playing in Bournemouth. 01202 786 000 www.theclubatmeyrickpark.com
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THE PLAYLIST MIDLANDS & EAST GREAT VIEWS
ROYALCROMER,NORFOLK Architect: Old Tom Morris (1891). Yardage: 6,290-6,528 (par 72). Green fees: Winter £35 midweek, £40 weekends. In a nutshell… This clifftop classic towers 300ft above the beach and is one of Norfolk’s ﬁnest courses. You’ll love the… Signiﬁcant improvements in recent times, the addition of new pot bunkering providing a more linksy feel and after a fairly innocuous opening, it steadily cranks up and ﬁnishes strongly, starting from the signature 14th hole with a lighthouse by the green. 01263 512884 www.royalcromergolfclub.com
SLEAFORD,LINCOLNSHIRE Architect: Nine-holer designed by Tom Williamson in 1906 and extended to 18 holes ﬁve years later. Yardage: 6,215-6,526 (par 72). Green fees: Winter £20 (Mon-Fri). In a nutshell… This inland links – it neatly sits on fastdraining sandy subsoil beside the River Slea – has been challenging golfers for well over a century. You’ll love the… Par-3 12th with the green being guarded by tall pine trees. It’s ﬂat and easy walking and is playable year-round, too. 01529 488273 www.sleafordgolfclub.co.uk
RUTLANDCOUNTY,RUTLAND Architect: Cameron Sinclair (1992) Yardage: 6,020-6,450 (par 71). Green fees: £17 midweek, £20 weekends. In a nutshell… Modern inland links just off the A1 in England’s smallest county; soft touch in ideal conditions, but a completely different ball game when the wind is blowing, which it often does. You’ll love the… Fact it rarely closes and the challenging par-4 ﬁnale. Excellent facilities including a 20-bay ﬂoodlit driving range. Good value-for-money. 01780 460330 www.rutlandcountygolf.co.uk 108 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
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ROYAL NORWICH ON MOVE Ross McMurray of Celtic Manor TwentyTen fame is laying out Royal Norwich’s new course at Weston Longville after 125 years at Hellesdon.
MORLEY HAYES, DERBYSHIRE Architect: Ray Baldwin (1988) Yardage: 6,492-6,726 (par 72). Green fees: £30. In a nutshell… One of the region’s best stay and play venues. Maturing main Manor parkland is supported by a smart hotel and impressive practice facilities. You’ll love the… The demanding par-4 10th with water virtually surrounding the green, the nine-hole par-30 Tower layout and the 17-bay covered ﬂoodlit driving range with its automated Powertee tee system. 01332 780480 www.morleyhayes.com
COXMOOR, NOTTS Architect: Rowland Tunbridge (1913). Yardage: 6,224-6,719 (par 73). Green fees: Winter package (Dec-Feb), £45 & includes food and hot drinks (midweek). In a nutshell… Century-old heathland in the same league as neighbouring Notts aces Hollinwell and Sherwood Forest. You’ll love the… Terriﬁc condition. Fast-draining Coxmoor is always looking to improve, with Ken Brown being consulted on the latest changes. 01623 557359 www.coxmoorgolfclub.co.uk
STAY & PLAY THE BELFRY (BRABAZON), WEST MIDLANDS
Architect: Dave Thomas/Peter Alliss (1977). Yardage: 6,449-7,253 (par 72). Green fees: Nov-Feb - £80. In a nutshell… Arguably the most famous inland course in the country, the brilliant Brabazon – a parkland classic – has not only staged more Ryder Cups (four) than any other venue, but hosted countless other prestigious tournaments. With two other 18-hole layouts, it’s a golﬁng mecca just outside Birmingham. To play well you need to… Turn up with your A-game; the Brabazon is a formidable foe and poor and wayward shots will be punished, especially at the long and watery 9th and 18th holes. You’ll love the… Immaculate conditioning, much improved in recent years, following in the footsteps of the game’s greats and having a crack at the par-4 10th green and the nerve-jangling shot over water into the three-tiered ﬁnal green. 01675 238600 www.thebelfry.co.uk
HEACHAMMANOR,NORFOLK Architect: Paul Searle (2009). Yardage: 6,057-6,786 (par 72). Green fees: Winter £20 midweek, £25 weekends. In a nutshell… A modern coastal layout with a difference – it features a number of lakes and a river that features on the closing holes. You’ll love the… Overall condition and playability, plus a range of on-site accommodation options that make it the ideal base to discover Norfolk’s ﬁnest, including King’s Lynn and Hunstanton. 01485 579825 www.heacham-manor.co.uk TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 109
THE PLAYLIST NORTH
More northern courses at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk
Architect: John Morgan (1992). Yardage: 6,461-6,872 (Championship Morgan’s course, par 73). Green fees: Until February 28, £25. In a nutshell… This venue probably doesn’t get the attention it deserves, but with 29 holes of parkland and clifftop action, all the handiwork of former European Senior Tour player John Morgan, it’s well worth a visit. To play well you need to… Keep your ball under the wind which is almost certain to be blowing and make sure you don’t get too distracted by the glorious views all around you, especially at the Imperial layout’s 4th, with views across Hummersea Bay and Boulby Cliffs. You’ll love the… Variety and value on offer with the 29 holes giving golfers ﬁve different playing combinations. The Imperial’s 4th is the star turn followed by the 8th, a short par 3 over water. 01287 677444 www.hunleyhotel.co.uk
Architect: Marc Westenborg (2009). Yardage: 6,455-7 ,879 (par 72) Green fees: Winter midweek, £35 for 18 holes, coffee & bacon roll and £40 at the weekends. In a nutshell… A modern masterpiece with stunning bunkering and water, including a virtual island green. You’ll love the… Challenge; it’s one of the longest in the UK and is a great place to play whatever time of the year – winter tees and greens don’t exist here and the above deal is an absolute bargain. Top place to stay, too. 01325 729980 www.rockliffehall.com
Architect: James Braid (1894). Yardage: 6,467-6,803 (par 69). Green fees: Winter £30. In a nutshell… Known as ‘Goswick’, this leading links is widely regarded as the county’s No.1 layout and will once again be staging Open qualifying in 2018. You’ll love the… It’s rarely adversely affected by the elements and is playable year-round on normal tees and greens. Also, it is set in the most stunning coastal scenery in Northumberland. 01289 387256 www.goswicklinksgc.co.uk
Architect: Robert Trent Jones (1970) Yardage: High – 6,300-6,841 (par 72); Blackmoor – 6,102-6,673 (71); Lakes – 5,940-6,470 (71). Green fees: Winter £25. In a nutshell… Modern Robert Trent Jones classic – his ﬁrst UK course – that offers 27 holes of pure parkland. You’ll love the… Contrasting nines that weave across 220 acres of undulating terrain, although they all start and end in front of the clubhouse. It’s a former European Tour venue, too. 0113 266 1154 www.moorallertongolfclub.co.uk
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RAMSIDE HALL Durham’s only 36-hole resort – is investing £200,000 in restoring and upgrading all 80-plus bunkers on its championship Prince Bishops’ course.
STAY & PLAY
Architect: Martin Hawtree (1995). Yardage: 6,295-6,883 (par 72). Green fees: From £16. In a nutshell… Outstanding all-round venue with the mature Hawtree course the chief attraction as it weaves around the 200-year-old Repton Park. You’ll love the… Wonderful location just outside the spa town of Harrogate, the combination of holes on the main course, the quality practice facilities, the magical six-hole par-3 course and luxury on-site hotel. 01423 872100 www.ruddingpark.co.uk
Architect: James Braid (1934). Yardage: 6,330-6,882 (par 73). Green fees: Winter from £30. In a nutshell… Home of an undulating parkland layout overlooked by a luxury hotel. A memorable round ﬁnishes with a thrilling par-5 with the 18th green perilously perched next to the mere. You’ll love the… Immaculate condition of the course, the charming halfway house and that you can warm-up on the range by hitting ﬂoating balls into the mere. 01565 830155 www.themereresort.co.uk
Architect: Jack & Steve Nicklaus (1998). Yardage: 5,906-7,044 (par 72). Green fees: Until Mar 31 – From £20. In a nutshell… An outstanding Nicklaus layout parading a number of risk-reward options and backed-up by the Cheshire, a ﬁne layout in its own right. You’ll love the… It’s a great spot to stay and play in comfort, though experiencing the Nicklaus course will undoubtedly be the highlight including the cracking par3 16th and the scary penultimate hole around a lake. 01829 731002 www.cardenpark.co.uk TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 111
THE PLAYLIST SCOTLAND TRUMP INTERNATIONAL GOLF LINKS, ABERDEENSHIRE
Architect: Martin Hawtree (2012). Yardage: 5,215-7,428 (par 72). Green fees: £195-£265 (closed until April 1). In a nutshell… Probably the best new course built in Britain in the this century. It weaves through towering dunes, with a stunning variety of holes playing in all directions, right next to the sea. Pricey, but a wonderful experience with some beautiful par 3s, long and short par 4s, reachable par 5s and some real brutes. To play well you need to… Pick the right tees for your game (from six sets) and use every club in the bag. There’s no point trying to be brave – we played the par-5 18th from the dramatic back tee (651 into the wind) just for fun and didn’t even reach the fairway! You’ll need to get creative on the greens, too – there are some massive slopes. You’ll love the… Setting, conditioning, views, welcome, practice facilities, sense of tranquility… the whole experience, from the drive into the estate to the whisky reception on 18, is right up there with Britain’s best. If you just take the course on its own, it lives up to the hype, and the attention to detail makes it looks like it’s been here for centuries. Also, the local rule that lets you drop for three if you knock it in the marram grass off the tee is very handy (and time saving)! 01358 743300 www.trumpgolfscotland.com
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More Scottish courses at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk
COMMEMORATING AN OPEN WINNER Permission has been granted for a headstone at the St Andrews grave of three-times Open winner Jamie Anderson and his father Auld Daw. Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jamieanderson to help
MONIFIETH (MEDAL), ANGUS
Architect: Originally Alan Robertson and Alexander Pirie, but their nine was extended to 18 in 1880. Yardage: 6,420-6,655 (par 71). Green fees: Winter £25-£35 (mats in play to Feb 28). In a nutshell… Ancient links just down the coast from Carnoustie. A fair but zesty test with rollicking ground and always a breezy accompaniment. Open Q course. You’ll love the… Wonderfully fast and consistent greens on which Tom Watson had his ﬁrst taste of links golf. He celebrated his ﬁrst Open success a week later! 01382 532767 www.moniﬁethgolf.co.uk
Architect: Dave Thomas (1996). Yardage: 6,472-6,956 (par 73). Green fees: Until March 18, £15 midweek, £20 w/e. In a nutshell… A decent inland foil for the area’s links course. Water comes into play on several holes. You’ll love the… Idyllic rolling Fife countryside and the fact you’re within comfortable striking distance of the Home of Golf. It’s cheap as chips while there’s great value on-site accommodation, too. Full of surprises, on and off the course, and in a good way… 01382 541800 www.drumoiggolfhotel.com
PRESTWICK ST CUTHBERT, AYRSHIRE
Architect: J.R. Stutt (1963). Yardage: 5,993-6,356 (par 70). Green fees: Winter £19. In a nutshell… Impressive, established parkland which, like Drumoig, makes it a solid alternative for the nearby great links layouts – last year it co-hosted the Scottish Amateur Championships with Prestwick. You’ll love the… Strategy; you need to put your ball in the right place, especially off the tee, to combat nine doglegs. And many of the greens are two tier. 01292 477404 www.stcuthbert.co.uk
MUSSELBURGH OLD LINKS, EAST LOTHIAN
Architect: Unknown (1870). Yardage: 5,336-5,942 (par 68). Green fees: Until Mar 31; £14.70 midweek, £15.70 w/e. In a nutshell… Home of the oldest nine-hole course in golf. This layout, plotted within the town’s race course, hosted six Opens between 1874 and 1889. You’ll love the… Incredible history. Golf was ﬁrst played here in 1672, and you’re in the footsteps of Old Tom, Braid and all the other early golﬁng greats. Ambitious plans are afoot to restore it to its glory days. 0131 6535122 www.musselburgholdlinks.co.uk
Architect: Old Tom Morris (1879). Yardage: 6,300-6,580 (par 71). Green fees: From £55 midweek, from £65 weekends. In a nutshell… Inland from the great links of St Andrews, this is a gorgeous woodland course that is by no means a monster but requires careful plotting between the tall pines. You’ll love the… Tranquility of the course and also the fabulous turf. You can deﬁnitely score well if you can keep it straight off the tee. 01337 830814 www.ladybankgolf.co.uk
STAY & PLAY
Architect: Dave Thomas (2001) Yardage: 6,139-7,010. Green fees: From £12 In a nutshell… Fast, maturing parkland layout set amid beautiful Borders Hills, skirted by the Tweed. It’s pretty long and pretty tough, but it’s a resort course so make sure you play from the right tees for your game. You’ll love the… Recently renovated and better draining bunkers, the peace and serenity of the Borders’ most attractive scenery and the big, undulating USGA greens. 0344 879 9024 www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 113
THE PLAYLIST IRELAND ROYAL COUNTY DOWN, COUNTY DOWN
More Irish course reviews at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk
Architect: Old Tom Morris (1889). Yardage: 6,675-7,186 (par 71). Green fees: Nov-Feb £70. In a nutshell… Beautiful and brutal. A classic links layout that has hosted some of golf’s biggest tournaments, including the Irish Open, Walker Cup and Curtis Cup, and is undoubtedly one of the best golf courses on the planet. To play well you need to… Study the devilishly difficult layout beforehand and then pick your targets as you’re required to hit several blind tee shots. Stay calm and avoid the menacingly deep pot bunkers at all costs. You’ll love the… Towering sand dunes next to the Irish Sea, and the scenic backdrop dominated by the mystical mountains of Mourne. Add, in season, a sprinkling of purple heather and golden gorse and you’ve got a photographer’s dream. 028 43723314 www.royalcountydown.org
CASTLEMARTYR, COUNTYCORK Architect: Ron Kirby (2008). Yardage: 6,728 (par 72). Green fees: Winter rates €40. midweek, €50 weekends. In a nutshell… A modern resort course ﬂowing over low, open terrain which wraps around the ﬁve-star hotel. Designed to resemble a links, this inland course has hosts of high fescue rippling over the mounds that ﬂank fairways, while dense gorse surrounds several greens. You’ll love the… Five-star hotel, the ‘pod’ clubhouse, the green complexes and a course which is designed to be enjoyed… not endured. The par-3 5th, hitting at the 13th century castle ruins, is the best of the short holes, while the curling par-5 11th is cleverly designed, challenging and great fun to play. 00353 21 421 9001 www.castlemartyrresort.ie 114 IS SUE 370 TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK
WESTPORT,COUNTYMAYO Architect: Fred Hawtree & Sons (1973). Yardage: 6,417-7,015 (par 73). Green fees: Winter €50. In a nutshell… Cavorting seaside golf on the edge of Clew Blay. There are some surprising climbs on the back nine and this is where you’ll ﬁnd the sea gets close. You’ll love the… Relaxed atmosphere, the views and the entire back nine. The par-3 13th hits straight at Ireland’s holiest mountain (there’s a chapel on top) while the par-5 15th requires a good hit to clear an inlet. 00353 98 28262 www.westportgolfclub.ie
RCD’S SUPERB SECOND OFFERING Feted architect Martin Ebert has been working on Royal County Down’s second course the Annesley to impressive extent. It is now superb.
PORTARLINGTON, COUNTY LAOIS
Architect: Eddie Hackett (early 1990s). Yardage: 6,074-6,535 (par 71). Green fees: €20 midweek, €25 weekends. In a nutshell… Tree-lined glory. The land is mostly ﬂat but the trees are big and cast long shadows, especially near the river Barrow, where Portarlington’s strongest holes are to be found. You’ll love the… Greens which sit up and lean towards you, making delicious targets. The closing stretch is excellent and holes 15 to 17 play alongside the river. 00353 57862 3115 www.portarlingtongolfclub.ie
MOUNT JULIET, COUNTY KILKENNY
Architect: Jack Nicklaus (1991). Yardage: 6,554-7,264 (par 72). Green fees: From €50 (booked online). In a nutshell… Ireland’s premier parkland course has hosted numerous tournaments (including the 2002 WGC, won by Tiger), and is now back to its absolute best under new ownership. You’ll love the… Space, where you’ll rarely hear shouts of ‘fore’. The vast estate has one of the most embracing 18 holes you’ll ﬁnd with towering trees and water. 00353 56 7773071 www.mountjuliet.ie
STRANDHILL, COUNTY SLIGO
Architect: Club members (1973). Yardage: 5,369-5,804 (par 70). Green fees: From €30. In a nutshell… One of Ireland’s unsung links heroes and a course possessing character and quirkiness. Sea and beaches squeeze in from two sides as holes are pushed upwards to a central point. You’ll rarely have time to get into a rhythm as the dune shapes and sizes vary constantly, which means very different holes at every turn. You’ll love the… New bunkering that is giving this course extra ﬁzz. The views are fabulous, several holes (5th, 6th, 13th, 15th) are unforgettable and there are few better welcomes in Irish golf. A charming links where you’ll want to go straight back to the 1st tee after walking off 18. 00353 71 916 8188 www.strandhillgolfclub.com
Architect: Harry Colt (1895). Yardage: 5,144m-5,278m (par 69). Green fees: €45 (check for availability). In a nutshell… A tree-lined parkland inspired by Harry Colt and the home club of Paul Dunne. The course comprises two very different nines: one laid out on mostly level terrain and the other wrapped around a hill. You’ll love the… Stand-out hole is the par-4 6th, which ambles around a tight, gorse-drenched dogleg to a green well below your feet. 003531 287 4136 www.greystonesgc.com TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 115
THE PLAYLIST WALES ROYAL ST DAVID’S, NORTH WALES
Architect: Harold Finch-Hatton/William Henry More (1894). Yardage: 6,226-6,629 (par 69). Green fees: Winter rates - £42 Sun-Fri, £47 Sat. In a nutshell… While Royal Porthcawl rules in the south, St David’s is king in the north. The legendary links is overlooked by Harlech Castle and stretches across fairly ﬂat terrain. It’s always interesting even though you only brieﬂy manage to get glimpses of the sea lurking beyond the giant dunes. To play well you need to… As always on links courses, keep patient, be prepared to take the rough with the smooth regards the bounces and be able to cope and make the necessary adjustments for the wind which is likely to be blowing. With some demanding holes down the stretch, it’s imperative to stay fully focussed throughout. You’ll love the… You’ll be tackling one of the best and most historic courses not only in Wales but in the UK, with ﬁrm, undulating fairways and fast, true greens. 01766 780361 www.royalstdavids.co.uk
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More Welsh courses at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk
TWO COUNTRIES, ONE HOLE Llanmynech GC has an English address, but on the 4th hole you tee off in Wales and putt out in England. It’s also where Ian Woosnam started to play.
STAY & PLAY
CELTIC MANOR (TWENTY TEN), NEWPORT
Architect: Ross McMurray (European Golf Design, 2007). Yardage: 6,570-7,493 (par 71). Green fees: From £88 (Mon-Thurs), £98 (Fri-Sun). In a nutshell… A beautiful brute of a course built for matchplay drama. Water features on nine holes and there are countless risk-reward opportunities. You’ll love the… Experience! From the TwentyTen clubhouse full of Ryder Cup memorabilia, to the original Ryder Cup hoardings that surround the 1st tee trying to recreat G-Mac’s putt on the 16th green. A must-play. 01633 410 263 www.celtic-manor.com
Architect: JH Taylor (1894). Yardage: 6,200-6,945 (par 72). Green fees: To Feb 28, £30 midweek, £40 weekends. In a nutshell… Six-times Open champion Harry Vardon rated Ashburnham as his favourite Welsh course. You’ll love the… This magical ancient links merits being right up there among Wales’ best. It’s a wonderful natural links separated from the sea by a line of towering dunes regularly featuring on the back nine. Great value for a course of this stature. 01554 832269 www.ashburnhamgolfclub.co.uk
Architect: JHS Morris (1908). Yardage: 5,395-5,726 (par 69). Green fees: £15 midweek, £20 weekends. In a nutshell… This little-known heathland course is well worth visiting, especially for its panoramic views. You’ll love the… Besides the scenery it drains extremely well so is bound to be open and playable. Despite lacking overall yardage, it should be treated with respect – especially the demanding par-4 opener. Good, fun golf and great value. 01443 479459 www.mountainashgc.co.uk
THE VALE RESORT (WALES NATIONAL), VALE OF GLAMORGAN
TENBY,PEMBROKESHIRE Architect: James Braid (1907). Yardage: 6,050-6,528 (par 72). Green fees: Winter from £25. In a nutshell… This was the birthplace of Welsh golf; the ancient Braid links was one of the founding members of the Welsh Golﬁng Union and our beautiful game has been played on this spectacular strip of land for 125 years, the original nineholer being turned into 18 holes in 1907. You’ll love that… It’s such a lovely, quirky links – the par-4 4th, known as ‘The Bell’, majestically runs alongside South Beach - and like nearly all seaside layouts Tenby is playable year-round. The course is blessed with exquisite views across to Caldey Island and there’s cheap and cheerful on-site accommodation available, too. 01834 842978 www.tenbygolf.co.uk
Architect: Peter Johnson (2003). Yardage: 6,617-7,433 (par 73). Green fees: Until March - Mon-Thurs £20, Fri-Sun £25. In a nutshell…. The main attraction at this outstanding resort presents a severe all-round test and challenge but probably best to avoid the back tips (7,400 yards-plus). It’s maturing well after opening nearly 15 years ago and has proved a worthy Challenge, Europro and Senior Tour venue. You’ll love the… Impressive collection and variety of holes, with the 2nd being one of the toughest par 5s you’re ever likely to play. You’ll also face some cracking short holes and a go-for-it-or-not decision on the tee of the short par-4 downhill 6th. 01443 665899 www.valeresort.com
ABERGELE,CONWY Architect: Fred Hawtree (1968). Yardage: 6,049-6,547 (par 72/71). Green fees: Nov-Feb - £20. In a nutshell… Underrated parkland layout within the historic grounds of Gwrych Castle. A memorable round ﬁnishes in style with a superb, undulating par-5. You’ll love the… Wonderful castle backdrop and coastal views – on a clear day you can see Blackpool Pleasure Beach and the Isle of Man. The USGA-spec greens are pretty special too as are the quartet of inviting par 3s. 01745 824034 www.abergelegolfclub.co.uk TODAYSGOLFER .CO.UK IS SUE 370 117
Win a tasty Turkey break
Four-night all-inclusive stay for two plus four rounds of golf up for grabs
e have teamed up with the PGA National Turkey to offer you the opportunity to win a fabulous four-night all-inclusive holiday for two people at the magical resort – the ﬁrst in Turkey to feature 36 holes – and the chance to experience its full array of world-class golf and lifestyle facilities. The stunning venue has hosted some of the biggest names in the game, and is deservedly regarded as one of Europe’s premier golﬁng venues. Situated in Belek, in the heart of the Turkish golf riviera, the resort has staged numerous high-proﬁle tournaments including the 2012 Turkish Airlines World Golf Final, starring the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and eventual winner Justin Rose. As well as including four rounds of golf per person on a choice of the resort’s two spectacular 18-hole golf courses – the PGA Sultan and The Pasha – the prize also
includes four nights’ all-inclusive luxury accommodation at the nearby Kempinski Hotel The Dome with full access to its numerous sports and leisure facilities and restaurants, access to the practice facilities including complimentary range balls, free shuttle service to the courses and free WiFi in the hotel. Flights are not included. The par-71 PGA Sultan course opened in 2003 and measures 7,083 yards from the back tees and players must negotiate a number of hazards to score well on the narrow, challenging layout littered with a dozen lakes and 122 bunkers! The neighbouring Pasha, which was also designed by David Jones in association with European Golf Design, is wider and more inviting as it meanders through a mixture of towering pine trees and woodland, while complementing the courses are extensive practice facilities including a 300-metre driving range.
HOW TO ENTER Log on to www. todaysgolfer. co.uk/win, click on the PGA National Turkey option and enter your email address. Entries close at midnight on February 14. Full terms and conditions on the website. The prize is valid from September 1 to October 31, 2018 and is subject to availability. For more information visit www.agc.com.tr
PGA Sultan has tested the world’s best players.
Kempinski Hotel The Dome is a stunning hotel.
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LAST WORD and I’ve hit so many good shots with it.
10 Favourite sports team? The Seattle Seahawks who unfortunately lost to Atlanta in the NFL play-offs early last year.
11 Sportsman you most admire?
US Ryder Cup hero with a penchant for Disneyland and snow, Ryan Moore reflects on a costly missed putt… 1 How old were you when you ﬁrst broke par? For nine holes I was about 12 and for 18 I probably achieved it around a year later.
2 Highlight of your career so far? Being on the winning US Ryder Cup team at Hazeltine in 2016 and earning the point that sealed victory.
3 Best shot to date? At that Ryder Cup, I was two down with three to play in the Sunday singles (against Lee Westwood) when at the 16th hole I hit a hybrid from 245 yards to about 8ft and made eagle (he went on to win 1-up).
4 One mulligan you could have? I had about an eight or nine footer that would have won the 2016 Tour Championship, but unfortunately it lipped out on the right edge. That made a $3-4m difference in my bank account!
5 Favourite individual hole? Let’s go with the par-3 16th at Augusta – I made a hole-in-one there on the Sunday of the 2010 Masters which was phenomenal. A lot can happen at that hole…
6 Favourite course worldwide? I’m going to go with Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. It’s phenomenal.
7 Favourite course in UK? Royal Birkdale, which I played as an amateur a long time ago and it was good to go back there for the 2017 Open.
‘I HAD EIGHT OR NINE FEET TO WIN BUT IT LIPPED OUT. THAT MADE A $3-4M DIFFERENCE IN MY BANK ACCOUNT!’
can look down those holes and right across the golf course. It’s pretty incredible to see the whole scope of the course.
Being a golfer, it’s got to be Jack Nicklaus – probably the greatest player of all-time, as well as being a great husband and dad.
12 And sportswoman? To be honest, I’m really struggling with this one.
13 Favourite movie? Nothing speciﬁc though anything sci-ﬁ would be right up my alley.
9 Favourite club in the bag?
14 Not to be missed TV show?
My PXG 0317 hybrid; it’s 22-degrees
‘Stranger Things’ – a Netﬂix original drama and it was absolutely fantastic.
15 Favourite musician or band? I’m on iTunes radio all the time and listen to alternative music or alternative hits. That would be my genre… usually while I’m working out in the gym.
16 Best mate on Tour? Andres Gonzalez, who was my college team-mate and room-mate for three years and it’s been great to have him out here on Tour these past few years.
17 Favourite holiday destination? I’ve got kids and we live in Vegas so we go to Disneyland quite a few times a year. I also like the snow and we have a cabin up in the middle of nowhere in Utah.
18 Who would be in your dream celebrity fourball? I’m a family guy so it would have to be my dad and two brothers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen too much these days.
19 And your ideal Tour fourball? To be honest, I’m not that bothered: anybody who plays fast!
20 Any superstitions? 8 Best view in golf? The putting green at Augusta where you’re near the 10th tee, 9th and 18th greens – you
I’m a routine sort of person though if I ate somewhere and played well, I might well return there the next day.
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Published on Jan 18, 2018