ups W ing T H E W I S L E Y G O L F M A G A Z I N E | S P R I N G 2 02 0
CAROLINE MOHR FACING THE UNKNOWN page 14
RTJ TRAIL PLAYING THE ROBERT TRENT JONES TRAIL IN ALABAMA page 6
ST ANDREWS IN REVERSE THE WORLDâ€™S MOST FAMOUS LINKS COURSE PLAYED BACKWARDS page 40
WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY TECH GADGETS TO HELP IMPROVE YOUR GOLF GAME page 52
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CONTRIBUTORS Robin Barwick is a sports writer and Managing Editor of Kingdom magazine, the quarterly golf & lifestyle title founded by Arnold Palmer in the United States. Robin has contributed to newspapers and magazines internationally and has been a regular contributor to Golf Monthly in the UK for nearly 20 years.
6 The Robert Trent Jones trail in Alabama No matter what part of Alabama you visit, there’s likely a Robert Trent Jones golf course nearby.
Louis Blattler is a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach and writer. His latest venture is focusing on helping golfers achieve physical peak. He writes predominantly about sport, health and fitness.
14 Facing the unknown Swedish professional golfer Caroline Mohr fought her way back onto the course after she had to have one of her legs amputated.
Matt Cooper is a golf journalist who works for ESPN, Golf365 and NBC Rotoworld among others. He has covered many Ryder Cups and Open Championships, but his favourite stories have emerged in the sport's furthest outposts such as Kazakhstan and the Seychelles. Sarah Forrest is an established freelance golf travel journalist. Being truly passionate about golf, her knowledge and enthusiasm about the game shine through her lively articles. Sarah is also a golf travel consultant to enhance club membership experiences through global golf travel. Simon Holmes is a golf pro and instructor to all levels of player from total beginner to tournament professionals. Besides holding seminars on elite performance and habits, he also teaches at The Wisley.
20 A future star in a dream car We take up-and-coming basketball talent Josh Uduje for a spin in the Aston Martin DB11. 26 Walk this way Every golfer wants to have the best gear for the game and golf shoes are no exception. 30 Travelling with Oliver Wilson Getting from A to B as a professional golfer isn’t always as glamorous as you may think. 36 Inspired by the great game From adventure golf to golf cross and ice golf – there are many variations of the great game to be explored.
Conrad Jones is a writer and comedian from Dublin, Ireland. He enjoys writing creative pieces and articles as well as scripts and advertising copy. His latest contributions can be read on the NextUp comedy blog, Stellar Underground, and now Upswing.
40 St Andrews Old Course in Reverse Ben Sargent travelled to St Andrews to play The Old Course, the world’s most famous links course, in reverse – the way it was regularly played in the 19th century.
Sam Oliver is a PGA professional and Membership Director at The Wisley. In his role, he is responsible for marketing, building brand partnerships and ensuring members and their guests enjoy the ultimate golfing experience.
44 The rise of vintage From Mille Miglia, the Hickory Open or L’Eroica, the vintage movement is one that pulls at the heartstrings of many people across the globe.
Tanesha Prior is a recent graduate from the University of Winchester, where she studied media, communication and advertising. She is captivated by all things media, always on trend and has a passion for sharing her perspective through writing and photography.
50 Move & improve It’s time to get your core and glutes working. Simple exercises to get you ready for the game.
Alison Root is the Editor of Women & Golf, a bi-monthly magazine and website that provides female golfers with the latest news and features, instruction, fashion, equipment, travel and lifestyle.
Ben Sargent is a PGA professional and Retail Manager at The Wisley. He contributes to Golf World and National Club Golfer magazine, specifically their Top 100 course ranking lists. He is passionate about all things golf, especially its history, course architecture and golf travel within the British Isles.
EDITORIAL & DESIGN
The Ad Store UK +44 2071 510 180 firstname.lastname@example.org
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52 Head to toe All about wearable tech that can track golf shots, analyse swings and even measure stress levels in real time. 56 What’s the rush? Membership Director Sam Oliver’s take on slow play and how to enjoy a game of golf. 58 Simon says Golf pro-Simon Holmes is contemplating the pandemic in and around the world of golf.
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DE AR RE ADER Welcome to our second issue of Upswing. Of course, our magazine has long been in the planning, and indeed we intended to publish it a few weeks sooner than we now have. The current situation makes our cover story ‘Facing the unknown’ all the more appropriate to the times we live in. Indeed, it’s a challenge that we’ve all become more familiar with. Caroline Mohr is an inspiring young woman who has experienced more challenges than most of us ever will. It is incredible how she has dealt with all the obstacles thrown in her way. Her positivity is remarkable, and we can certainly learn a thing or two from her. Like everyone else in the golf industry, The Wisley has also been affected by the lockdown. We have been busy thinking about life after lockdown, what the new normal will be like and how we can ensure our members can play as much golf as possible and enjoy hospitality safely. We are working on the assumption that it will take some time for things to go back to how they used to be. So our team is working hard to create the new normal – whatever this may look like. One thing is for sure, our love of golf has not changed, and we will enjoy the game again! In the meantime, we have created Upswing online as some of you may have seen. This platform allows you to read all the articles and interviews from the Upswing magazines, and eventually, we’ll also have audio and video content from our contributors and partners. There will be a constant trickle of content added to the platform for your enjoyment. We hope you enjoy issue 02 of Upswing in its printed form and get a chance to explore upswing.golf – our online platform for more golf and lifestyle content. Stay well and be patient. It won’t be long before you are able to enjoy club life again. Upswing magazine is published once a year for The Wisley Golf Club plc. by The Ad Store UK. Please email all magazine enquiries, comments or complaints to email@example.com. The Ad Store UK believes in upholding the highest standards in journalistic integrity. © 2020 The Wisley Golf Club plc. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. The articles appearing within this publication reflect the opinion of their respective authors and not necessarily those of the publishers. The contents of advertisements and advertorials are entirely the responsibility of the advertiser. No responsibility is taken for unsolicited submissions and manuscripts. © Front cover: Emelie Spjuth Svärd Upswing is printed on FSC certified paper that has been carbon balanced. The printer is FSC and ISO 14001 certified, the internationally recognised standard for best practice on the environment. The energy used in the production has been carbon offset.
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JOHN GLENDINNING, Chief Executive of The Wisley Golf Club
Web: upswing.golf Facebook: facebook.com/upswingonline Twitter: twitter.com/upswingonline Instagram: instagram.com/upswingonline The Wisley | Golf Mag azine | 5
The Robert Trent Jones trail in Alabama Words Sarah For rest
A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H.
Grand National Capitol Hill Ross Bridge Oxmoor Valley The Shoals Magnolia Grove The Lakewood Club Cambrian Ridge
What crazy person risks their reputation and other people’s pensions on building golf facilities?
he idea seems simple enough: devise a golf trail across the state of Alabama, and you’ll not only create a sound investment for the ‘Retirement Systems of Alabama’ – the pension fund for employees of this US state – but also provide stimulus for the local economy. This is exactly what pension fund executive Dr David Bonner set out to do, together with his right-hand man, Robert Vaughn.
ROBERT TRENT JONES TRAIL
During the 1990s, their vision began to take shape as they were focussing on the first four courses: Hampton Cove in the north, Magnolia Grove in the south-west, Oxmoor Valley in the middle and Grand National in the east of Alabama. Instead of pursuing a lengthy interview process to find a golf course designer, Bonner was convinced he knew the right man for the job. He just had to persuade him to come out of retirement: Robert Trent Jones, one of the world’s most prominent golf course designers. Originally from Wigan, UK, the Jones family moved to the US when Robert was just five or six years old. He became a golf professional and carded the best amateur score at the 1927 Canadian Open, and set the course record at Rochester. He studied golf course design and worked alongside Bobby Jones who requested his knowledge to redesign holes 11 and 16 at Augusta. As the two were not related, Robert Jones added his middle name of Trent for ease of identification between these two men of golf. Later becoming Robert Trent Jones Senior with the birth of his two sons, Robert and Rees; themselves now highly regarded in the golf design industry of today. The trail was right up his street. With 500 designs or redesigns over 50 years, coupled with a solid global reputation and many golf courses dotted around the world bearing his name, it didn’t take much to persuade Robert Trent Jones to come out of retirement. He appointed Roger Rulewich as his cohort, a course designer himself. He could interpret and implement Robert Trent Jones’s unique designs of big contoured greens, plenty of water and a large greenside bunker menacing in its positioning, not to mention a ‘signature hole’ being prevalent throughout the trail. Together, they set about making the field of dreams a reality. On the other side of the pond, just one year earlier in 1991, Robert Trent Jones Junior had just completed his first golf course design in the UK, the beautiful 27-hole golf course at The Wisley. Dubbed as the father of environmental golf course design, Robert Trent Jones Junior was embarking on his career, as his father was nearing an end to his.
My trip to discover the Robert Trent Jones trail took me west from my arrival airport in Atlanta, out of Georgia and into Alabama; looping around the state to experience some of the 11 Robert Trent Jones trail sites and playing some of the 468 holes along the way. Just an hour and a half transfer from Atlanta and I arrived safe and sound, albeit a little jaded at the Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel at Grand National. After a good night’s rest at this lakeside resort, I was ready to embark on my golf adventures around this beautiful state. The 600 acre Lake Saugahatchee dominates the Grand National trio of courses; The Lakes, the Links and the Short course, with no less than 32 of the 54 holes bringing water into play at some point. All three courses present some amazing views and some challenging shots. The tree-lined lush green fairways, open inviting greens and infamous bunkering set the bar high. According to Robert Trent Jones himself, the Grand National site is the single best site for a golf complex. Auburn Opelika country has a lot to offer. During a visit to the colonialstyle towns with their coffee shops, and relaxing atmosphere, you’ll soak up the true Southern sunshine and welcoming hospitality. If American football is your thing, you’ll find this is home to the Auburn Tigers. Sport is intrinsically entwined within the State of Alabama. The Montgomery Marriott Prattville Hotel at Capitol Hill was my next stop. The hotel overlooks the Capitol Hill golf courses. Someone had a sense of humour when calling the golf courses The Legislator, The Senator and The Judge. Before playing The Judge, I noticed something quite unique. A concrete plaque with clear instructions to play the tee position depending on your handicap was prominently displayed at the first tee. I learned that this is a trademark of the Robert Trent Jones trail golf courses and, in my view, a great idea as it takes out any bravado or guesswork when deciding which tee to play from. The elevated first tee of The Judge gives you a sense of how the course with its steep hills is set in the backwaters of the River Alabama.
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The carefully-designed skywalks enable you to leisurely take in the swamp-like water, while allowing the trees to grow unhindered. The Senator has been designed to emulate a Scottish links with pothole bunkers and cartoon-like mounds to match. The Legislator is a more traditional course design, but The Judge is the one course that gives those elevated vista views. Next stop: the Renaissance Hotel at Ross Bridge. There I played Ross Bridge in Hoover, the newest addition to the Robert Trent Jones Trail which was completed in 2005. It sits neatly within its surroundings and remains an equal challenge to visiting golfers with cleverly undulating fairways and large enticing greens. A former mining site with lakes reflecting the established trees and gristmill paying homage to its history, the course meanders around two lakes and an 80-foot drop waterfall adds to the charm of this course. Next stop - Birmingham. Little known is the Vulcan Statue, sited atop the Red Mountain overlooking Birmingham as a nod of respect to the history of the former iron and steel industry. This 56-foot tall
Back on the road around Alabama, Muscle Shoals in the North West of the State was my next stop. I was due to play Fighting Joe. Completed in 2004, Fighting Joe was the first of the trail courses to exceed 8000 yards. A long links-style course is a dream for big hitters and visually the course has much to offer too, with the closing hole overlooking Wilson Lake on the Tennessee River. Situated between Wilson and Wheeler dam, whose namesake General Joseph ‘Fighting Joe’ Wheeler was the only confederate General to retain the same rank in the US army. The second course - the Schoolmaster course - is named after President Woodrow Wilson, aka the ‘Schoolmaster’ of politics, which opened slightly later in the summer of 2005. Both are a good test of golfers ability with The Schoolmaster being considered the harder of the two courses with its tree-lined narrow fairways and inviting greens. I played Fighting Joe because the name appealed to me and I could only play one of them in the time I had! A links-style too, but no walk in the park as I found it difficult to put a good score together on the front nine with water in play once again, despite it being less hilly than other courses on the trail. The par 5, 17th is considered the signature hole with water in front of the sloping (towards the water) green, but the 18th is still worth pondering this challenging par 3 with
statue depicting the Roman God Vulcan; god of fire and forge, it is the largest cast-iron statue in the world and is today the symbol of Birmingham, Alabama. The Tutweiler Hotel, a characterful place of days gone by still remains, 100 years later, the place to stay when visiting Birmingham. There is no shortage of things to see and do in Birmingham outside of golf. Steeped in history, southern charm, and let’s not forget the excellent cuisine, it is well worth exploring. Even if you are not into cars and motorbikes, the Barber Vintage museum is a gem. I was taken aback by the sheer magnitude of the place with beautifully restored bikes stacked floor to ceiling along the walkways. There is even a race track outside with a pedestrian bridge leading to a ‘garden’ naturally dedicated to cars and bikes.
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the Tennessee River guarding one side as you take your tee shot trying not to be distracted by the views! Back on the road heading south, I arrived in Mobile (mo-bee-ull) - a carnival town with so much character, sitting on the edge of the water at the point where Alabama meets the Gulf of Mexico. A relatively small part of the state actually touches the ocean, so capitalise on the fresh sea and an abundance of seafood. Replicating the success of Mardi Gras, the town is known for its fun and friendly atmosphere. The Battle House Renaissance Hotel with its old style but lush comfort for a couple of nights, was a real treat. Everything was within walking distance, and as you stroll out of the hotel and up the main street at night, live music follows you from street corner to street corner. The
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ROBERT TRENT JONES TRAIL
musicians entertain the locals and visitors alike who enjoy the evening dancing in the streets. There are plenty of restaurants and our choice for that night’s dinner was at a cafe-style restaurant which served the best Southern fried fish. No airs and graces were put on here, the tables at best had a paper placemat, but this made it easy to relax and soak up the atmosphere. Walking back to the hotel at night, listening to the music playing, dodging dancers, I noticed an over the top ice cream parlour; you name it, they had it, every flavour and colour under the rainbow on offer, a great way to end a good night and a good day. Based out of the Battlehouse Renaissance Hotel, the next golf game was scheduled at Magnolia Grove. It’s the most southerly location of all the Robert Trent Jones courses in Alabama and there are 54 holes to play. I played the Crossings Course. The other courses featured here are the Falls and the Short courses. Host to the LPGA tour, the Crossings Course is a great parkland course, with the landscape offering marshland, creeks and lakes set amidst indigenous hardwood and pine trees. Opening in 1992, as one in the first wave of golf courses to be completed on this incredible trail, still, enticing golfers to take on one of its challenging courses. The Short Course has previously been named the best par 3 course in America. Despite the early completion of these courses compared to others on the trail, there is a level of consistency with regards to quality and challenge, with the topography dictating their design, giving so many different options when playing the trail. After a good night’s rest, I checked out of the Battlehouse Renaissance as my next round awaited me at Lakewood Golf Club at Point Clear in the south-west of the State.
demanding par 5 14th hole on the Azalea lined fairway of The Azalea course. Just playing 9 holes the sharp doglegs and established trees lend the appearance of a solid parkland course. Canopies of trees offering welcome shade at times, and with water once again in play at strategically menacing places, make you reconsider your choice of club off the tee. Undulating greens and in places narrow fairways add to the excitement of playing The Azalea course; sadly I didn’t get the chance to play The Lakes course. That afternoon, in an attempt to maximise my time, I jumped in the car and drove 3 hours north to play a further 9 holes at Cambrian Ridge, in Greenville - not something I would recommend, but a relatively easy route along I65. Known as one of the most challenging courses on the trail, I was happy only to be playing 9 holes after that schedule! The nine-hole courses are called the Sherling, the one I played, the Canyon and the Loblolly with the short course once again being imaginatively named, The Short course. With fairly recent renovations in 2016 of the three loops of 9 holes plus The Short course offering a further 9 holes, it’s a great stopover to see some open views across this beautiful trail and a challenging end to this quick scoot around Alabama. The original first four courses were completed in 1992. Now over a quarter of a century later and a total of eleven sites and 468 holes spread over 8 resorts and half a million rounds played per annum, the assets have grown from $8 billion to over $37 billion, not entirely credited to the golf trail, but a credit to Bonner’s investments and foresight.
Walking in the footsteps of President Gerald Ford and Bob Hope, Lakewood was first built in 1947. After a series of enforced renovations due to hurricanes and through regular restorations incorporating or increasing up to ten lakes, the Lakewood courses reopened in 2004. A feature was made of the 200-year-old oaks lining the fairways of the two courses at the Grand Hotel. The 36 holes on offer are the Azalea and Dogwood courses with a four-acre lake coming into play on the
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A DREAM HOUSE ON THE RIVER THAMES
T H E U LT I M AT E DESIGN
Anna and Jake had a long-term plan to build their dream house on the River Thames. But it took some time to find the plot, acquire planning permission to knock down an existing dwelling, to then build a new home to their exact specification.
BUILD Five years ago, they found the perfect location – a 2/3 acre plot with uninterrupted views of a pleasant stretch of the Thames, complete with its own pontoon. The couple and their two children moved onto the plot, living in the existing property, and started to think about creating their new dream home. Working with Exedra Architects, they drew up initial plans with firm, clear cut ideas about living areas,
leisure and most essential, touches of unexpected drama. One of the biggest challenges was finding the right company to translate their blueprint plans into magnificent reality, and after checking the credentials of half a dozen top end housebuilders, they selected Octagon Bespoke. Anna comments, “With over 40 years’ continuous experience in the luxury property market, along with reassurances from friends who owned
Octagon homes, we felt we could entrust our lifelong dream of building the perfect house to the Octagon team, a decision we have never regretted from day one.” The front of the house has all the classical good looks expected for an imposing house flanking the Thames. Set well back from the road behind period style iron railings, the white rendered exterior walls, large sash windows, elegant portico entrance, and resin graveled drive emit a timeless quality, paying deference to the original villas nearby. Walking through the front door, after taking in a most dramatic trompe l’oeil decorated entrance hall, visitors discover a contemporary, light flooded open plan interior. A specially commissioned digital mural extends from the front door, around the vast swathe of walls, and descends via a circular sweep of marble stairs to the lower ground leisure and fitness suites. “We fell in love with the mural artist Adam Ellis’ work, after discovering some of his earlier work at The Ivy in Richmond. He creates bold, colour rich wall coverings to order, and will incorporate features that have a special significance for the client. For us, it was important to include the flora and fauna we grew up with, and because my husband is passionate about Greek mythology, ancient temples and figures were woven into the brief. Adam and his artists install the mural, and then embellish on site with their own palettes and paintbrushes.”
On the first floor are five substantial double bedrooms, three en-suites plus a separate family bathroom, and Anna’s own study, with rough-hewn African rosewood ‘work bench’ facing out of a wide internal window into the lower living levels of the house – the perfect matriarch look out post. The second floor is devoted to the Master Suite. As well as their passion for the river where the family take regular kayaking trips, when not relaxing in their new waterside summer house, the family are seriously into sport – indoor leisure and not least, fitness. The home is finished with a gym of gargantuan proportions and a playroom with full size pool table, cinema screen wall, and long 90-degree angle cocktail bar.
At Octagon, we have over 40 years experience and an unrivalled reputation for building spectacular, one-of-a kind homes to the highest standard of luxury. Our discreet bespoke service takes clients on a journey from planning stages through to handing over the keys, with our in-house experts on hand every step of the way. Octagon Bespoke can help you transform your vision into something truly unique. Bespoke projects start from £1m.
Anna concludes; “We were ambitious with our vision for design and specification and our team of architects, suppliers, and not least Octagon have been there every step of the way. We all absolutely love our new home, so it has been worth it, and if we had to do it all over again, we would – as long as Octagon was at the helm.”
Octagon Bespoke undertakes projects from £1m. Visit www.octagonbespoke.co.uk or call 0208 481 7500.
0208 481 7500 | OCTAGONBESPOKE.CO.UK
Facing the unknown Caroline Mohr may fit the stereotypes of a typical Swede - blonde and blue-eyed with an outgoing personality. She is also an extraordinary talented golfer. But it is her optimism and mental resilience that are truly remarkable. Words Matt Cooper
ÂŠ Emelie Spjuth SvĂ¤rd
Caroline Mohr, left, pictured with her sister and fellow golfer, Louise, has continued to compete in disabled tournaments around the world.
he headache when telling the story of Caroline Mohr is knowing where to start. Is it with the first neardeath experience or the second? With the remarkable weekend she spent in London ahead of having her leg amputated or with her astonishing response to waking up with the loss? The time she started swinging a golf club, just days after the operation, or the moment, a few months later, when she birdied her first hole back on the course? Perhaps it’s best to keep it simple and start at the beginning.
In February 2011 Mohr was 22 years old and caddying for her sister Louise, then a rookie on the Ladies European Tour, at the New Zealand Open. Her aims for that year were simple: she would continue to spend a few weeks on the bag, but the real work would take place when she was swinging the clubs herself because she hoped to join Louise on Tour in 2012. Ahead of their flight home from Christchurch, the two girls made a straightforward, but unwitting lunch choice that saved their lives because the restaurant they selected withstood the devastating earthquake, which hit the city during their meal. The buildings around it, however, didn’t. “The streets were bobbing and weaving like the sea,” Caroline remembers. “Sometimes they even cracked beneath us, opening wide like huge chasms. People were running, screaming and crying. Debris from collapsed and lurching buildings was falling to earth with ear-splitting crashes.” “We were led to an open area, away from buildings. There was this great mass of people stood in complete silence, staring at the city, which was a totally devastated landscape.” The aftermath of the earthquake was no less frightening – a 72-hour nightmare of cowering in their hire car, encountering terrifying aftershocks and being involved in a panicked evacuation of the airport before
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© LET / Tristan Jones
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The relief did not last long. In March she made a precautionary visit to a doctor about a long-term knee problem and in April he called her back. Everything seemed fine until a nurse entered the room with a glass of water and a handkerchief. “I was immediately alerted to danger,” says Mohr. “Then the doctor said ‘Chondrosarcoma’, the word which shattered my world.” She was informed that amputation of her right leg was not just a possibility, but the only course of action. “I felt the blood in my veins sting and burn as my anger spread,” she says, but the rage faded with time and ahead of the operation Mohr undertook a weekend break in London with one startling detail. “I decided not to buy a card for public transport,” she explains. “I wanted to walk and walk and walk – walk everywhere. I did everything on two legs one last time.”
© Bernd Ducke
In 2016, Caroline finished her golf career and decided to pursue her career to be a full-time speaker, a profession she’s already started in 2012. She also started a fundraising project to support education for a school in South Africa and managed to raise enough money to sponsor a school for three years.
finally escaping back home to Sweden. The earthquake killed 185 people and over 2,000 were injured. “We were in shock,” Mohr says. “But we knew we had been so lucky.”
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Back home in Sweden Mohr wrote a blog to calm her thoughts ahead of, and after, the operation. She wrote: “My gut feeling was calm. I did a little meditation exercise which helped me appreciate what was in front of me. I will not delve into it deeper, but I felt such peace. I felt I could handle it, that everything will be fine. Yes, I felt it 100%. I understand that people might perceive me as ‘positive’ or suspect I am repressing bad thoughts every day and dare not be sad, but it really is not so.” She was also not only encouraged but emboldened by the results. “The news was good,” she says. “The cancer hadn’t spread. If it had, then the amputation would have been pointless. But I had a golden chance to live on. I’d paid a price, but what an opportunity. In those first days after the operation, there was no limit to my happiness. I was so thirsty for the world.”
Within a week of surgery, she spotted a golf club in the gym during rehab. The physio was reluctant to let her swing it, but she was having none of it. In fact, she already had her eyes on a remarkable aim. “Taking that club was pure happiness, I was like the 8-year-old who first played golf again,” she says. “And I knew what I wanted to do. It was two and a half months until the national championship, and I wanted to defend the fourball title with my sister.”
“It wasn’t that the doubters were wise about my misery, they were the cause of it,” she explains. “I couldn’t take the negativity.” After that, Mohr hit an obstacle she was not prepared for. While she had come to terms with her new life, others remained sceptical. Moreover, their downbeat take was threatening to overwhelm her. It was my loneliest moment and then my mom came into the room to show me a magazine article about another amputee who had embraced life. It rebuilt my self-belief.” She reiterated her determination to return to competitive action. “But I don’t think anyone believed I would make it,” she says with a laugh. “My family, coach, friends, they just thought it was a good target and I’d eventually realise it wasn’t going to happen.” Few of them had yet to come to terms with Mohr’s unconventionally new-found strength. She never hid from the difficulties, yet neither did she forget the opportunities. “It was tough,” she admits. “The surgery and the cruel pain were a real struggle, but there were positives because I dared to see
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the problems, dared to feel the pain, dared to ask for help.” Her mother once told Mohr that she dearly wished it had been her leg. She replied: “Mom, you wouldn’t have coped, and I have, so it’s fine.”
Her summer was powered by a self-penned mantra (“Fear less, live more”) and just two and a half months after the operation she was ready to tee it up alongside Louise against the Hedwall sisters, Caroline and Jacqueline. At the time, the former was the number one ranked player on the Ladies European Tour and she would make her Solheim Cup debut the following month, helping her team defeat the Americans. On this day, however, she was no match for the other Caroline whose performance was little short of outrageous. Hitting on one leg because she was yet to have a sports prosthesis fitted she not only gave herself a long look at a birdie on the first hole but, with Swedish television in attendance, she drained it. The other three made par and Mohr laughs at the outrageousness of it: “I think Caroline Hedwall missed her putt because there were tears in her eyes.” Incredibly Caroline and her sister retained their title. The following year, and again in 2014, Mohr won the European Disabled Golf Championship.
– but increasingly her life has moved in another direction. Her story has changed the lives of others, not just her own. Indeed, in late 2011 a mystery benefactor purchased an expensive Genium prosthetic leg for her, attaching a note which read: “I want you to have the chance to achieve your dreams. My wish is that you might have the opportunity to help someone else in the future.” The enthusiasm, positivity and purpose which drove
her are now refocused into new tasks and projects. “I’m a motivational and keynote speaker,” she explains. “I inspire the employees of companies to transform challenges into opportunities. Because when there is change, there will also always be resistance. Often it is from employees who may be fearful of adjusting or who preferred old and familiar ways.” She has been hired by the likes of KPMG, Capital Group, BMW and Allianz. “My role is to help employees in these situations to discover a new perspective. Sometimes I talk for an hour, maybe with questions afterwards, sometimes we workshop. I use my life as a metaphor. Because my life and challenge might seem very intense, but it’s really not that different to anybody else.” Mohr uses a few words, to sum up what happened to her, and it is hard to argue with them. “They took my leg,” she says, “but they gave me life.” www.carolinemohr.eu/en
She has continued to play golf – and was involved with the launch of the European Tour’s Golfers with Disability programme during the 2019 British Masters at Hillside Caroline got married in 2018 and changed her last name from Larsson to Mohr. During the same year, Caroline raised more money for the school in South Africa and secured education for 350 kids until 2023.
© Emelie Spjuth Svärd
A FUTURE STAR IN A DREAM CAR Up-and-coming basketball talent Josh Uduje meets the Aston Martin DB11. Words Conrad Jones
6.5 foot tall Josh moved to New York in 2019 to follow his dreams of becoming a professional basketballer.
rawling along the streets of a residential estate in South London, we are looking for the address of Josh Uduje, a 17-year-old basketball hopeful, and we can’t help but stand out. We are picking him up in an Aston Martin DB11 which is more likely to be seen adorning the charming streets of Chelsea, Knightsbridge or Mayfair.
The engine’s low growl gets curtains twitching. Those prying eyes are not disappointed when the sleek athletic lines of the Aston glide past their houses. This car clearly has a magnetic presence, and as Josh comes bounding out of his front door, basketball in hand, it is obvious that he possesses similar qualities. 17 years old and standing at 6.5 foot, his frame alone is commanding. He greets us enthusiastically with his disarming smile before we all join in admiring the effortless beauty of the Aston Martin. We take a lap of the car and marvel at everything from the distinctive DB11 radiator grille and the iconic clamshell hood, right to the signature tail lights. It’s time to jump in, and to my relief, Josh’s substantial frame fits comfortably in the Aston Martin’s elegant cabin. There’s a spontaneous pause in conversation when the Aston engine starts with its distinctive purr. As we pull away and head for The Wisley, Josh begins to tell us of his own journey, which has taken him from the very streets we weave through to ones much further afield. Josh is currently
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studying at a high school in New York, which has long been synonymous with basketball. As we switch from the small winding back streets to the surprisingly empty motorway, we finally get the opportunity to tease the Aston out of crawl mode. A nudge on the accelerator and the DB11’s twin-turbo engine graciously obliges to demonstrate the power it has at its disposal. Accelerating from 40 to 70 mph has never sounded this satisfying. Sadly, it only takes a few seconds before we have to pull back from the throttle to avoid breaking the law.
As we glide along the motorway, Josh tells us about his meteoric rise, even though it has not been as smooth as you might expect. In the beginning, his pursuit of basketball was met with resistance. Josh was a promising rugby player, but in truth, like many young athletes, his mix of speed, strength, coordination and competitiveness could translate to many sports. His interest in basketball was sparked by the popular video game ‘NBA 2K’. “I bought a game of 2K while I was on a rugby tour in Spain,” he tells us, “that was the first experience I’d ever had of really playing a basketball game. I was about 14.” Inspired by the video game, he thought: “This is really cool, and it can’t be that difficult.” He was right. While he began to find his feet on the basketball court, Josh
continued playing rugby. His interest and ability in basketball increased and so did the demands of juggling both sports. He would play a rugby match in the morning and run straight to a basketball game afterwards. Josh became aware that playing both sports was not conducive to his development, and so his rugby career was to be the casualty in his pursuit of his newfound love for basketball. His rugby coaches initially didn’t approve, and Josh had to continue the juggling act, but eventually, as his stock on the basketball court rose, there was little they could do to keep him on the rugby pitch. His strong work ethic and natural talents did not go unnoticed: “Towards the end of year 11, I was selected to play in the Team GB under 16s, and I went to the European Championship. By the end of the tournament I was playing really well, and I got some interest from American High Schools in places like Louisville, Kentucky and North Carolina. The European Championship finished around August 24th, so when I got home, that’s when all the offers came in. I basically had three or four days to decide whether I was going to stay in England or leave for America. At that point, I was pretty overwhelmed. I knew I wanted to go to America. This was my dream. And when all the offers came in, I asked myself ‘am I ready for this?’ ” Most 16-year olds would probably have jumped at the opportunity. But Josh made a
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A FUTURE STAR IN A DREAM CAR
Membership Director warmly welcomes us to remarkably mature decision and decided to of the perfect golf swing. Josh is hitting a the club. Over a fabulous and healthy lunch, stay and continue his development here in the few golf balls himself and you can see the Josh speaks more about his new life in New UK. Having spent some time with Josh, we enthusiasm which he is taking to a new York, the friends he has made and how he sport. His only previous exposure to golf was get the sense that this polite, well-articulated enjoys exploring New York on weekends. After a trip to the driving range with a friend. His and engaging young man is fully aware of his lunch, Sam takes Josh over to the Performance eagerness to learn is palpable and could very achievements and yet, he remains unfazed. Centre for a chance to swing a golf club. On well be the reason, along with his natural Josh attributes his ability to stay grounded ability, he has managed to adapt to new the short walk there, we pass a superstar in and level-headed to his family. Having only sports so quickly. the shape of 2018 British Open Champion just returned the day before our interview from visiting family in Ghana, “There’s always someone at a basketball Before we leave The Wisley and the Josh tells us of the importance of court, whether it ’s a 10-year-old kid or a Aston behind, we want to capture family and friends in his life and 25-year-old man, I’m not going to say I’m a few photos. With the Aston that he is blessed to be surrounded g o i n g t o g o a l l o u t o n a 1 0 - y e a r - o l d k i d , b u t gleaming in the sunlight, we find by such a supportive group. The I c a n s t i l l s h o o t a f e w h o o p s w i t h t h e m .” a backdrop for the photoshoot decision to remain in the UK seems and Josh steps into frame, clearly to have been a good one. Josh Francesco Molinari who just finished his at ease. It seems that being in the limelight has been selected for another GB European mornings’ work in the Performance Centre. comes naturally to him. Even though there Championship, this time for under 18s. His As they walk past each other, a nod of heads may be many pieces that need to fall into talents were recognised by NIKE who scouted is exchanged as if, although unaware of the place, we can’t help but feel that Josh has a him for the hugely successful ‘Nothing Beats a other’s achievements, they each saw the very bright future ahead of him. Londoner’ advertising campaign that features aura of dedication and determination most a host of stars and athletes alongside aspiring athletes naturally emit. Josh approaches the young talents hoping to become the stars of Many thanks to Josh Uduje for giving us an insight Performance Centre excited, wanting to see the future in their respective fields. Later, Josh into his life as a basketballer. Thanks also to Aston how his skills on the court could possibly competed in the DENG 2019 camp for the top Martin Walton-on-Thames for providing us with the translate to swinging a golf club. His 50 basketball prospects in the country. His dream car, the truly stunning DB 11, and of course, attentiveness and desire to learn is evident talent and determination shone again, and he thanks to The Wisley for hosting us! as he observes Sam’s simple demonstration earned himself the number 1 ranking.
After all these successes, accolades and a year of strong personal development, Josh felt ready to continue his development in the US, where basketball is obviously a much bigger sport and with that comes a much larger competitive field. Being thrust into a new country, a new school far from home, without the supportive network of family and friends would be a challenge for any young person. Josh seems to have adjusted well to not only the bigger pond but also to the bigger fish he now finds himself measuring up against.
As we pull in to The Wisley and we drive past the manicured greenery, talk turns to the future. Josh informs us that he already has offers from US colleges and he weighs up his options. Prioritising sport and education, Josh gives away no indication of where he wants to go, other than his remark of “somewhere sunny and warm” delivered with a trademark cheeky smile. Parked up at The Wisley, we walk to the restaurant to feed our hungry, future star. Sam Oliver, the
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WALK THIS WAY The golf shoe has come a long way since the mid-1800s when gentleman hammered nails into the leather soles of their boots to improve traction and prevent slippage. It was a clever idea at the time, but there was often a cry of ‘ouch’ as nails would become loose, move upwards and pierce into golfers’ feet. Needless to say, the introduction of screw-in metal spikes in the late 1800s was welcome progress. Words Alison Root
n the 1920s Spalding introduced the saddle Oxford shoe that was originally designed for racquet sports players. However, it was golfers that embraced the classic two-toned leather shoe and Gene Sarazen, one of the world’s top golfers during this period, first wore a pair. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the saddle shoe became immensely popular with men, women and teenagers, and even to this
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day its distinctive design is synonymous with golf fashion. During the decades that followed, the clickety-clack sound of replaceable metal spikes on pathways meant that golfers were hardly seen before they were heard. Still, with growing concerns about the damage metal spikes were causing to the greens,
they were generally on their way out by the late 1990s and replaceable plastic cleats took their place. FootJoy, the official shoe for the American Ryder Cup team in 1927, is a company that dominated the golf shoe market for a number of years and it was the go-to brand for anyone starting out in golf. FootJoy is still a leading
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WALK THIS WAY
ECCO BIOM G3 combines low-to-the-ground stability with a glove-like fit. Uncompromising traction is provided through ZARMA-TOUR spikes, while the BOA performance fit system allows for a customisable fit. RRP: £225 (men) £210 (women)
brand with the most counts on the PGA tour, but over the last twenty years or so, companies like ECCO, PUMA, adidas, Duca del Cosma and Skechers have made their mark on what is now a hugely competitive business. Danish brand ECCO has over 50 years of experience designing and manufacturing premium footwear and it was in 1996 that the company launched its first golf shoe. One of the biggest golf shoe revolutions came in 2010 when Fred Couples wore a pair of non-traditional golf shoes, ECCO’s Golf Street, en route to a stunning Masters finish. Without realising, the laid-back American launched the next generation of golf shoes – the hybrid. There has since been an explosion of the athletic-looking hybrid shoe, which is ideal for today’s fast-moving lifestyles. The irreplaceable moulded rubber dimples or so-called nubs on the sole provide stability and traction, and there are plenty of fun and fashionable men and women’s styles to choose from. To name just a few brands: last year ECCO launched the S-Lite, the lightest hybrid the company has ever made; FootJoy introduced a new FJ Flex category of hybrid shoes, while PUMA offered enhanced spikeless performance with its IGNITE NXT collection. Professional and amateur golfers alike recognise the comfort and convenience of spikeless shoes, as they can be worn straight from home, to the course, to carpeted areas in the clubhouse and beyond. Nevertheless, a
upsWing | spring 2020
common question is: Should I wear spiked or spikeless shoes? Indeed, spikeless shoes are generally most suited to firm and dry conditions during spring and summer months, whereas spiked shoes are likely to provide more lateral stability overall than spikeless in soft and wet conditions, or when playing on a particularly hilly golf course. Therefore, golfers might want to rotate two pairs of shoes depending on weather conditions and the type of course they regularly play. That said, the continual advancements in traction design and durability means that nowadays many golfers are satisfied with the performance of the latest spikeless shoes year-round, so perhaps as we look to the future, replaceable cleats could well become a thing of the past. The outsole is just one feature of a golf shoe, and as companies continue to push the boundaries of golf shoe innovation, there are several other elements that play a vital role to provide golfers with the greatest comfort and enhance performance.
It’s essential to keep your feet warm and dry to focus on the shot in hand rather than the prospect of wet feet and ultimately an unpleasant round. It was back in 1989 that FootJoy launched the first waterproof shoe – DryJoys - and it is now the longestrunning performance golf shoe franchise in the world.
ECCO, PUMA, adidas and Under Armour, are a few brands that have collaborated with Gore, the leader in long-lasting waterproof protection, by incorporating the 100% waterproof GORE-TEX membrane between a shoe’s upper and lining. Skechers is proud of its own H2GO Shield waterproof protection technology, and similarly, a key feature of Duca del Cosma shoes is their waterproof Bootie System. The good news is that most come with a waterproof guarantee. To coin a phrase, they fit like a glove, is what golfers are hoping for - straight out of the box for 18 holes. Happily, this has largely become the norm and instant comfort is achieved through an array of fascinating technological developments.
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WALK THIS WAY
ECCO’s S-LITE hybrid shoe which breaks boundaries as the lightest leather shoe ECCO has ever made: lightweight two-tone YAK leather uppers, lined with a soft textile, and with a groundbreaking E-DTS LITE outsole. RRP: £160 (men) £150 (women)
For example, ECCO incorporates its highly respected NATURAL MOTION technology, which allows the foot to move naturally. Through its ZONAL FLUIDFORM technology, a moulded midsole ensures the right balance of cushioning and stability exactly where golfers need it. Duca Del Cosma’s breathable and anti-bacterial ARNEFLEX memory foam insole is designed to keep feet fresh and comfortable; FootJoy’s TruFit system includes an inner fit sleeve to provide a snug and secure fit along with a custom fit bed generated by Ortholites Impressions; the Forgefiber technology from adidas utilises TPU-coated yarn that helps improve stability in areas of the upper when stitched at various angles and in layers, while PUMA’s foam midsole that’s incorporated for added
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comfort also has the benefit of being wrapped in SOLESHIELD, a microthin film that’s vacuumformed to make cleaning off dirt and debris a breeze. Last but not least, golf shoe styling has come on leaps and bounds and with a variety of designs and colours; there are shoes to suit every outfit and personality that transfer effortlessly to the current off-course sneaker and trainer trend. It’s a popular fashion that encouraged US lifestyle company Skechers to enter the golf market less than a decade ago. This year the fast-growing brand, shoe sponsor of the 2019 European Solheim Cup team, is extending its men’s and women’s range to juniors and also expanding shoe widths and sizes to help golfers find the perfect fit.
cross-over shoes that are suitable for sports and business. The ultra-fashionable designs are bold and eye-catching, bringing Italian dolce vita to the fairways. Remember that your feet are the basis of your swing so the quality of your shoes can make a significant difference. Whether you prefer spikes or spikeless, traditional two-tone or metallic-looking leather uppers, slip-ons, different coloured laces, or a BOA dial-in to fit fastening system, today’s golfers are spoilt for choice. The only comparison with the boots worn by the gentlemen in the 1800s is that it seems like the golf shoe market has nailed it!
Duca del Cosma’s Vogue golf shoes for women is made from nappa leather with reptile patent leather effect. It features a breathable internal bootie system with a memory foam leather insole, ensuring your feet will remain dry and comfortable on or off the golf course. RRP: £179.95
Likewise, in 2004 husband and wife team Baldovino and Antje Elle-Mattiazzo applied their design and fashion skills to establish Duca del Cosma, creating a collection of
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TRAVELLING WITH OLIVER WILSON
TRAVELLING THE WORLD Words Matt Cooper
here was a time when the professional golf circuit really was a tour. In the 1970s, before the likes of Severiano Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam transformed the fortunes of European golf, those same players would sometimes travel the continent less like world-class sportsmen and more like gap year students. Camper-vans were common, road trips the norm and the notion that their successors would one day stay at five-star hotels in the desert would have seemed completely unbelievable.
Oliver Wilson is an Alfred Dunhill Links Champion and tentime runner-up with over 100 weeks in the Worldâ€™s top 50.
TRAVELLING WITH OLIVER WILSON
Oliver Wilson, winner of the 2014 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and a European Ryder Cup team member in 2008, has been a fortunate beneficiary of the influence of those superstars but also experienced echoes of the past in his 17 years on tour. “Oh yeah, I made my way back from the Irish Open in the back of a transit van once,” he laughs. “Not very glamorous, but it was an adventure!”
It’s simple, if somewhat complacent, to conclude that the modern golfer has it easy, not just in contrast to the past, but also with the man-in-the-street for whom a lifestyle of top-class hotels and airport lounges sounds more like a blessing than a burden. In reality, the ability to withstand the rigours of travel can make the difference between a successful career and an unfulfilled one. “Travelling is the worst aspect of the job and reducing the stress is so important,” explains Wilson. “The simple details of travel are just so wearing: getting to the airport, checking in, queueing, passport control, security, noise, crowds, more queueing, more waiting. If you alleviate as much of it as possible, the mental
value is huge because we’re in a performance sport and marginal gains matter come Thursday morning on the first tee.” The various balancing acts forced upon a touring golfer begin with the schedule and arranging flights. “Nowadays I book a lot of my flights myself and that’s definitely the case within Europe,” he says. “As soon as I head further afield, unless it’s a direct flight maybe, I’ll go through European Tour Travel. They’ve been doing it for years so have all the expertise and know my preferences.” “When we’re in Europe you want to be away as soon as possible on a Sunday. It can be a mad rush, but it’s worth it because a day with the family is so good for you. I’m spoilt living between Gatwick and Heathrow because it gives me so many flight options.” The nature of tournament golf further complicates matters, throwing missed cuts and unknown Sunday afternoon tee times into an already complex equation. “Changing dates and times of flights has become so expensive and inflexible,” Wilson laughs ruefully. “You end up gauging a lot of factors:
How far is the course from the airport? What’s the predicted finish time? Am I likely to play well? Is it a city that is expensive to fly in and out of? Sometimes you book a return, sometimes just the outbound sector. Some guys will even book multiple return options and cancel the ones they don’t need. Others, especially if they don’t live near a major hub, will just fly onto the next tournament because it’s a lot cheaper.” Inevitably some players find such minutiae a distraction. “They just don’t want the hassle and leave it to their management,” Wilson explains. “It depends on how particular you are. And I am quite particular. I’ve been doing it long enough to know the score pretty well.” Like most pros, Wilson tends to fly economy around Europe and business when travelling long haul. A worthwhile expense? “Oh, massively so. On a flight coming home, it’s not a big deal, but you need to arrive in the best possible shape and to sit for 12 hours is terrible for the body. Some players can sleep in the economy class but I can’t and even a six-hour sleep on a flat bed has you ahead of the game. Business is a luxury, and it’s getting more and more expensive, but it’s definitely worth it.” “There’s a bit of ego in there too. My first European Tour event was the Hong Kong Open. When I boarded the plane, I watched other players and a couple of caddies go left while I went right. It sucked! I thought ‘I’m not having that.’ It made me want to play well enough to be able to afford it!”
Airport niggles continue on arrival and no tour golfer is without tales of luggage woe. “I’ve had bags turn up with a broken driver, holes in my bag and even clubs hanging out,” he sighs. “It’s more stress so you take that into consideration because you can get very cheap flights out to the far east, but you’ve got to weigh up the
Oliver currently lives in Bookham, Surrey, with his wife Lauren and son Levi.
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TRAVELLING WITH OLIVER WILSON
quality of the aircraft, the service and the chances of losing luggage. It’s often worth paying more and also avoiding airports like Charles de Gaulle in Paris helps!”
laundry in the bath. You’re thrown right in there and not earning enough to cover costs unless you finish top ten. The flip side is that everyone travels together. It’s good craic, it breeds friendships and toughens you up.”
Travel know-how also proves crucial with accommodation. “Pretty much every week, there will be two tournament hotels with a special rate that might not actually be very good. But the transfers to the course will go from there, so it’s another balancing act. It helps to have a feel for the best options after a couple of visits. Often we might stay at a cheaper or favourite hotel across the road. Dubai is a good example. We’ve been there so often and the hotels are probably the best in the World. I like staying on Walk at JBR. It’s got a great atmosphere and I’ve even found a great laundry that’s been doing my clothes for years – £20 instead of £200 in the hotel!”
Not that the European Tour is without surprises. “Me and Oli Fisher once took a taxi in Thailand which got lost and just dumped us!” he laughs. “We had to get a tuk-tuk back to the hotel in our golf gear! And when I first went to China, the courtesy car went the wrong way down a four-lane highway. We were terrified, but those are one-offs. Mostly the administration and organisation are seamless.”
Increasingly players take greater care of their health while on the road, helped by the European Tour Performance Institute which utilises sports science to manage conditioning. Its advice goes beyond physiotherapy and fitness, advocating the use of compression socks and nasal sprays to avoid flight-related health problems and also promoting healthy fuelling. “The tour has done an excellent job at making on-site food more nutritious. We go to many different countries, but there’s a blueprint of basics on offer that we can rely on. Airport and aeroplane food is poor, so I often travel with snacks to navigate that time. A typical day starts with a one-hour warm-up, followed by five hours on the course, a couple of hours practising and a gym session. You need three or four thousand calories for that. It’s hard to achieve with good food, but worth the effort.”
Like many who have made it to the top of the game, Wilson began his career on the second-tier Challenge Tour and the circuit is well named. “It’s harder than the main tour,” he says. “The events are never in major cities, so you’re on connecting flights to odd airports with awkward times, then long drives to the middle of nowhere, with no gyms, often poor food and doing your
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Ultimately Wilson has come to appreciate the benefits of good habits and his successes in China (three times a runner-up there) typify that. “I quickly understood that arriving a day early, on Sunday morning, was good for me. To combat jetlag, you need to get your body moving and the blood pumping. So I’ll go for a swim, workout, massage or physio, food and a good night’s sleep. It sets me up for being early for everything – waking, eating, playing, sleeping – but it’s a good rhythm and the energy levels are good. Getting a travel routine that works for you, one that prepares you as quickly as possible, is not just important on the road – it’s invaluable.”
Oliver Wilson Born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England, on 14th September 1980, Oli’s golfing career began as a junior at Oakmere Park GC and later Coxmoor GC, competing at county and then international level for England boys. This earnt him a scholarship at Augusta State University where he went on to become the No.1 ranked collegiate player in the US, turning professional in 2003 after victory with Great Britain and Ireland at the Walker Cup. Having ranked 15th on the Challenge Tour in his first year as a pro, Oli joined the European Tour in 2005, posting three top-ten finishes during his rookie season. A runner-up on three occasions over the next two years, he enjoyed victory at the Seve Trophy for Great Britain and Ireland in 2007. Four more runner-up spots, including the BMW PGA Championship, and an 11th place finish on the European Tour in 2008 earned Oli a place on the European Ryder Cup team, the first person in history to qualify for either team without a professional victory. He came back from four down with
Oliver Wilson has been a member of The Wisley since 2007.
partner Henrik Stenson to beat Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson. In 2009, Oli ranked 33rd in the World. Another victory for Great Britain and Ireland at the Seve Trophy and six top-ten finishes, including two in WGC events, as well as two more runner-up spots at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and the HSBC Champions. Oliver finished the season ranked 7th on the European Tour. In 2014, Oliver celebrated an emotional maiden Tour victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the ‘Home of Golf’, St Andrews, Scotland.
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Inspired by the great game Words Matt Cooper
Golfing adventurer Luke Willett climbed up the three highest mountains in the UK with a round of golf at each base.
The game of golf is a passion for many. It is also the inspiration for a few to explore the game in different forms. From speed golf to golf cross, adventure golf, disc golf and foot golf to name just a few. The aim of the game is always to hit an object into a target with as few shots as possible. Beyond that, the rules of the games vary significantly.
n the earliest years of golf’s growth as a competitive sport, rather than a leisure pastime, when tournaments and championships were still rudimentary in nature, the greatest draw for players and spectators (not to mention monetary backers, who were heavily invested in the outcome) were challenge matches. Of those, the most famous involved Old and Young Tom Morris, of St Andrews, whose journeys to engage in battle with the likes of Willie and Mungo Park, of North Berwick, would require arduous journeys that involved steam trains, ferry boats and also, on occasion, the trusty horse and trap. It was golf in the raw, played on wild courses that the modern golfer would scarcely recognise, and with travel that was the equivalent of expeditions. It’s a notion that Luke Willett, a PGA professional from North London, has unwittingly brought back to life. Willett is otherwise known as ‘The Iron Golfer’ and he specialises in adventure golf, a concept he defines as: “a lifelong pursuit, an art form, a creative expression.” He believes that golfers limit themselves if they don’t look beyond one sport, so he encourages a multi-disciplinary approach that has seen him venture far beyond the confines of the tree-lined fairways of any country club. He has, for example, chipped and putted his way around the streets of London and attempted a speed golf world record (shots were taken and minutes required are accumulated in a brutal test of stamina) but his speciality is to undertake endurance challenges with a set of clubs on his back. He has climbed the three highest peaks in the United Kingdom, ran 60 miles along the River Thames, and in October 2019 he cycled from Carnoustie into Royal St Georges, via every course on The Open rota. Throughout all of these challenges, he also played golf – lots of it. What to many sounds like a needless distraction from his ball-striking is, in fact, a determined effort to escape his comfort
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INSPIRED BY THE GREAT GAME Developed by Burton Silver in New Zealand, golf cross uses an oval ball and suspended goal nets replace the holes.
only resembled putting but also ice hockey and even curling. (In a neat rounding of the circle, Great Britain’s Olympic curling star Eve Muirhead is a very fine golfer who plays off scratch). Many other golfing variations have been introduced in recent years, in an attempt to simplify the sport and to welcome newcomers. Japan is fond of park golf, a version of pitch and putt which is popular with pensioners. It has much in common with swingolf, a mostly European pastime, which utilises a bigger and softer ball and is played with just the one club. In New Zealand, the nation’s love of rugby has prompted the creation of golf cross, a remarkable hybrid which uses a small oval ball and nets instead of holes (they held up by smaller versions of rugby posts). It has struggled to take off, but it was one of the first innovations to recognise that value of not needing manicured fairways and greens. © GolfCross Europe
zone for the long term benefit of his golf. “I’ve discovered that in concentrating on golf I haven’t come close to touching my limits,” he explains. “That’s not a criticism of the sport, it’s just a reality in any chosen pursuit. Once I stepped outside my world, into all that pain and threat, I discovered how much more was available to me. Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable is an integral life skill and must on the golf course.” Willett is an extreme example of golfers taking their sport away from conventional fairways and greens. Still, he is very far from being alone in seeing the possibilities of extending the game’s reach beyond the traditional format. One of the alternatives shares something with Willett’s in that it has taken a step back in order to hurry forwards to a new future. The World Ice Golf Championship has been held on the small island of Uummannaq in Greenland for 20 years. The course, just like the original links layouts, is at the behest of nature, needing to be sculpted from the ice pack and snowfall before every round;
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the players use red balls and putt on whites rather than greens. But the historical links go further because the Dutch take issue with Scotland’s notion of being the home of golf. Instead, they claim to trace ‘colf’ all the way back to the 12th century, a game which has more than a name vaguely in common with golf. Colf was played in open areas, but also on the ice which covered the lakes, canals and rivers of the Netherlands and, as such, it not
Foot golf has rather overtaken golf cross, especially with youngsters, and clubs across the UK have been quick to create their own nine hole courses or designate days when the real golf course is transformed, with bigger holes, but shorter yardages. The concept is simple: football instead of golf ball, leg and foot instead of club, everything else stays the same. It is in America that two of the most dynamic varieties have emerged. On the streets of Manhattan, it is possibe to bump into the extraordinary ‘Tiger Hood’, who spends hours each day hitting empty milk
Ice golf is played over ice instead of grass. The ‘greens’ are called ‘whites’ and have a maintained ice or snow surface.
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INSPIRED BY THE GREAT GAME
cartons with his clubs. It’s a remarkable trick, discovering in the trash can a vessel which allows him to play golf with a full swing without risking damage to man, beast or building. Real name Patrick Barr, a photographer, he has a genuine love of the sport and has become a New York legend. But the current king of the alternate format is disc golf. To fully appreciate the enormity
of this sport simply type this variation into YouTube and find yourself introduced to a world both curiously familiar and wildly baffling. The sport is played with a frisbee, but instead of a hole, heavy chains are dangling on a pole. The frisbee is flung into this target, the chains grab hold of the disc and it falls into a basket.
Initially popular in parks and on waste ground, YouTube reveals just how astonishing the growth has become. At major tournaments, the fairways are lined by thousands of fans. Television commentators earnestly discuss technique and strategy complete with slow-motion replays, while many of the players are not only professional, but they earn huge sums of money through prize money and sponsorship. Its resemblance to the original sport is both extraordinary and bewildering. In that respect, it mirrors the equally outlandish world of minigolf – better known as crazy golf in the UK and putt-putt in the US. Once viewed as a simple method to distract fractious children on a day out at the seaside, this sport has exploded in Europe and was the focus of a wonderful book by the journalist Andy Miller called ‘Tilting at Windmills’. Miller discovered that the sport has long since outgrown Britain’s resorts and is now beloved in Finland and Latvia. He found himself competing in the European Championship and meeting many serious competitors who didn’t take too kindly to his impression of the sport as a fun way to fill an hour between the beach and a fish and chip supper. It is, of course, very easy to mock and belittle these variations, but it is also possible to take a different perspective. There is a powerful sense that we’re witnessing the development of an idea that the word ‘golf’ does not describe the distinct sport of hitting a ball from point A to point B with 14 different sticks, but rather it outlines the act of completing that journey. Some might prefer to kick a ball, others to throw a frisbee. It’s a funny old world and a funny old game – some things change and others stay the same.
Disc golf is a flying disc sport in which players throw a disc at a target; usually played on a course with 9 or 18 holes.
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St Andrews Old Course in Reverse Words Ben Sargent PLAYING THE OLD COURSE IN REVERSE – A HISTORICAL JOURNEY THAT COULD TAKE YOU BACK TO THE FUTURE.
here was a golden time, literally referred to as the Golden Age of Golf Course Architecture, in roughly the first third of the 20th century, when the vast majority of the world’s greatest courses were created. Courses like Pine Valley, National Golf Links of America, Royal Melbourne, Royal County Down, Cypress Point, Pinehurst and Winged Foot to name but a few. The architects of these greats were all disciples of the Old Course. They had all spent time specifically studying the features of the Old Course and also in most cases learning from the man who had by far the most significant input in its design, Old Tom Morris. Some of the most famous and influential course designers, names like A.W Tillinghast, CB MacDonald, Alistair Mackenzie, Harry Colt and Donald Ross, all studied The Old, and exchanged ideas with Old Tom. It’s no exaggeration to say that the vast majority of golf courses in the world today will have a bloodline that on some level traces back to the two Old’s – Tom and the Old Course.
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R and A Clubhouse Old Pavilion 40 | upsWing | spring 2020
Links Clubhouse In more recent times, Old Course disciples like Doak, Hanse and Coore & Crenshaw have invigorated their own current designs with an even purer version of the Old Course. Streamsong in USA or Tara Iti in New Zealand (all featuring the above designers) have pushed the boundaries (quite literally) of maximum width and strategy through angles and ground contours, just like the Old Course. But what virtually nobody has ever sought to recreate is what St Andrews did for around
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500 years, and that is to play a reversible course. Even through into the mid 20th century the Old Course in Reverse was still in regular use. How could nobody take notice and try to recreate this feature elsewhere? It essentially allows for two courses in one. WHAT’S IT LIKE TO PLAY THE OLD COURSE ‘BACKWARDS’. DISORIENTATING FOR SURE. Much of what you know and have experienced on these hallowed grounds is suddenly redundant. It feels like you have just made a wrong turn into a one way street. Sure, the drive from the first tee isn’t too different. The atmosphere remains as strong as ever as you try desperately to keep a lid on nerves while also trying to ignore the feeling that it’s not just locals that are watching you, but perhaps Tom Morris himself is also casting his regal eye over the swing you are about to unleash. Next comes the moment where your golfing senses are well and truly reversed. Your first approach shot of the day, from that ever so tight St Andrews fescue, is to the Road Hole green – and it’s arguably a harder approach than on the standard route. You may well be starting your round with a triple
that “it should serve as a model for course designers looking to counter the adverse effects of equipment technology”. He goes on to reason that the hole is “brought to life by simple things, namely the firmness of the ground and the rippling undulations of the Old Course”. The truth is, this view could apply to any hole on the Old Course and links golf in general. Unfortunately, much of those rippling undulations are, on this Reverse 2nd hole, hidden under thick rough. Reason being, when played as the usual 17th hole this area of the course is not in play and has been left to its own devices. It’s a shame as it makes the hole play somewhat awkwardly. With the shock of the 1st hole and the slight awkwardness of the 2nd behind us, the course now literally opens up in front of us, and we begin a run, with the possible exception of the 6th, of nine excellent holes in a row. Most of these holes now feel like proper golf holes. Why? Partly because they play away from the iconic scenery, we are all used to on the holes close to the town. But equally, because they have room to breathe, a greater sense of identity
the non existence of an iconic hole such as the Road Hole and the Reverse’s opening hole. No. We were now simply enjoying playing some bloody good golf holes – all with proper fairways, well-placed hazards and open approaches to the greens. The 6th hole was a slight anomaly and broke the hysteria that was building up. Quite literally, as with the second hole, there was almost no fairway. The tiny sliver purporting to be a fairway abruptly ended at around 190 yards out. We felt compelled, nay forced, to attack the hole from the far-right hand side again – the regular route. Being forced so far right on this left-hand route, the approach felt awkward. That was a shame as the 6th green (or the 12th on the normal course) is one of the finest in golf. The run of fine holes continues with the 7th – many a people’s favourite on this Reverse route. This is in many ways the ‘signature’ hole of the Reverse. Anyone who has played, or is familiar with the Old Course, is aware of the normal 12th hole and the collection of blind bunkers
11 bogie – just like I did. Rest assured, that won’t have been the highest score of the day on that hole, for the Reverse 1st hole is somewhat of a brutal opener. Time for focus once more as we are quickly confronted with another sturdy par four. On the usual right-hand route, the 2nd hole is revered by many as one of the great two shotters in the game. Renowned course architect Tom Doak goes so far as to state
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9 10 and point of difference of their own. Playing the 3rd, 4th and 5th holes rumblings were growing amongst us that perhaps the Reverse could be better than the normal. We were not now judging holes by the fact that their existence meant
that are dotted around the fairway. Played in Reverse, these bunkers are now visible and arguably better placed. The approach to what is usually the 11th green is also somewhat of an iconic feeling moment for the Reverse Course as you play up to what is now an infinity green with the
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vast Eden Estuary backdrop. Standing at this far end of the course, the furthest point from the town, you can’t help but feel, if just for a moment, that the line between our created world of human existence and the elemental world of the natural links is blurring slightly. As Nan Shepherd once remarked, “it’s a grand thing, to get leave to live”. High of this transient moment, our attention turns to the par-three 8th hole, our first transient golf hole of the round. A fine, short hole that more than sustains this excellent run of holes. The 9th and 10th play out in a very similar fashion to their normal siblings. The Reverse 9th even plays to the same green as the 9th on the normal course, in a similar way to how the 18th will when we complete our round in nine holes time.
par-threes on the Reverse is that they play along an almost east-west axis, whereas their counterparts play north-south. I would argue that this adds a much needed subtle change of direction in what is one of the world’s most linear golf courses. This nuance is a definite win for the Reverse over the normal route! Just when the course is hitting its stride again during this run of good holes comes a non-hole. The Reverse 12th is a mess. It derails the Reverse just when it needs it most. The Old Course’s normal route has, in my opinion, the best back nine in golf. And the normal 12th is a great risk-reward short par-four. Not so on the Reverse. The problem of rough ground arises once more. The best play would be a 140 yard shot off the tee followed by a 200+ yard approach over rough ground and gorse bushes. Not good. However, most of the remaining holes are all pretty good, apart from the 17th hole. Here, the problem of rough ground in the wrong place arises one last time to spoil what could be a great hole. Overall the Reverse Course is a great experience, with an abundance of good holes. With the relatively simple act of reinstating fairway areas on the 2nd, 6th, 12th and 17th holes, the course would be fantastic.
Next comes the second and final par 3 of the course. The 11th hole, over on the normal routes 9th tee. The slight curiosity of the two
I’d love for the St Andrews Links Trust to make playing the Reverse Course a regular occurrence, perhaps for a week twice a year.
A brief history of the Reverse Course
further changes widening greens and the narrow playing corridors. Also instigated the red and white flag system (white flags on the front nine, red flags on the inward nine).
Up to 1760’s – The course was 11 holes out and 11 back on the same golfing ground to make a 22 hole course. The land on which this course lay was essentially where the modern back nine currently resides. 1764 – Couple of the opening holes deemed too short for modern ‘big hitters’ and so they were amalgamated into one. The course was now 9 holes out and 9 back. This is important as when later the Old Course and the R&A become more influential it leads to 18 holes being adopted as the accepted standard for a round of golf. 1830 – 1860 Allan Robertson instigated two holes being cut in each green instead of one. Later made
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1865 – 1900 Tom Morris makes further and even more significant changes, namely separate teeing areas. prior to this golfers would tee up within a few club lengths of the hole. He also conceived and built the new first green (it was formerly a double green with the 17th). He spent years, nay decades, widening the course through gorse removal. This virtually doubled the playing area of the course and allowed the course to expand into the space we now play on the current front nine. It also enabled the course to be played in the counterclockwise ‘right-hand’ route we play today. This essentially leads to the birth of the
That would then warrant putting some time into making a few changes to the four holes mentioned that don’t quite work. With that in place, the Reverse would be a fantastic course and more than that, it could stand as not just an impressive historical monument but also could serve as a template for future golf course designs. Tom Doak, the course architect I mentioned earlier, has recently put the finishing touches on a reversible course at Forest Dunes in Michigan, USA. It remains to be seen how this course, known as ‘The Loop’, will be received. If the rest of his portfolio is anything to go by, I would predict The Loop will be in for some critical acclaim and may even help to push reversible courses into the mainstream. What a perfect time for St Andrews to do a little tweaking and reinstate The Original Reversible Loop.
Reverse Course, circa 1870 when the new first green is completed. Confusingly this new counterclockwise route would probably have been referred to as the Reverse Course in Old Tom’s day as prior to that their usual course was the clockwise left-hand route! 1870 – 1940 They played it alternating week by week (right-hand route one week, left-hand route the next). After WW2 the left course was rarely used as it had more crossovers and was thus more dangerous as the course was steadily getting busier each year. 1896 – British Amateur played on the Reverse route – is this the only ever ‘major’ played on a Reverse Course? 1970’s – Left-hand route used rarely, perhaps once a year thru 2009 when it ceased to be used altogether.
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The Old Course in Reverse is a juxtapose of then and now. A palimpsest where todayâ€™s iteration is manicured to perfection. Peel away the high gloss on the Strokesaver and leaf through the raw manuscript that lays beneath. From a time lost, but not yet forgotten.
© 1000 Miglia Srl.
The Rise of Vintage
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TODAY, PASSION FOR THE PAST COMES IN MANY GUISES, WHETHER IT’S SPENDING A WEEKEND IN A REPLICA VILLAGE DRESSED AS A VIKING, JOINING A DRUID CONVENTION, OR RE-ENACTING BATTLES IN FULL ARMOUR. BUT THAT’S NOT QUITE WHAT THE VINTAGE TREND IS ALL ABOUT. Words Tanesha Prior
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The final race took place in 1957, following safety concerns. 20 years later, in 1977, the famous rally was reborn and has taken place every year since. It grew phenomenally during these 20 years, and today, it enjoys more visitors and attention than ever before. This celebration of classic and vintage cars not only draws huge crowds, but it has also become a significant commercial undertaking. The race attracts many classic car owners and celebrities. It’s the perfect occasion to polish up their beautiful machines and to show them off to the world while reliving the thrill original racing drivers must have felt. While the Italians clearly dominated the medals, both from a driver’s and manufacturer’s point of view, most famously, in 1955, Sterling Moss and his co-driver and navigator Denis Jenkinson took the podium. It was the only time a British team won the race.
© 1000 Miglia Srl.
very year, this movement attracts new followers, emerging from every corner of the world to embrace all things vintage. Which is not just a celebration of a bygone era. It’s equally a recognition of the quality craftsmanship and skills of the past. There is something about this passion that seems to connect with people on a much larger scale, and we were curious to learn more.
Today, only cars entered in the original 30-year life span of the race are allowed to enter. Standing on the podium is, of course, a privilege, but most drivers are not racing to win. They want to experience the essence and the nostalgia of the Mille Miglia, which is widely regarded as the most stunning race route in the world.
Motor Mania Ever since cars were invented, people marvelled at them, admiring their beauty and performance. Motor racing has been around since 1895, in various forms. Today, the vintage racing world celebrates the achievements of motorsport pioneers, perhaps best encapsulated in the Mille Miglia, one of the most famous classic car rallies. The race of a thousand miles, from Brescia to Rome and back, first took place in 1927. In the 30 years that followed, it was an annual spectacle. © 1000 Miglia Srl.
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© Timewarp Golf
The popularity of vintage and classic cars is immense. These beautiful machines attract massive crowds all over the world, at car shows like the supremely popular Goodwood Revival, the only race meeting where participants and spectators dress in period costumes. Both the Mille Miglia and the Goodwood Revival create a unique atmosphere of stepping back in time.
Bow-tie and plus fours Authentic period clothing also plays an
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important role in golf’s vintage movement – Hickory golf. Like vintage cars, Hickory golf is celebrating the origins of the game using Hickory clubs and playing in accordance with the rules from back in the day – complete with tweeds, bow-ties and plus fours. Most of us obsess over the latest golf equipment hoping for better accuracy, extra forgiveness or distance from our clubs. Hickory golf takes a different approach. The original wooden-shafted clubs give the players a truly unique chance to experience
the sport in the way that made the forefathers appreciate it. The unforgiving nature of the golf clubs challenges the player’s skill even more than the modern game. The simple trading-in of today’s state-of-the-art driver can give the player a fresh appreciation for a golf course played many times before. It certainly increases our respect for the players who pioneered the wonderful game. Hickory golf enjoys a growing global following. The World Hickory Open Championship draws in players from over
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highland hills and the players step out onto the first tee, you feel yourself transported back to the early 20th century. It looks to me like Hickory golf is not only here to stay but to grow in popularity. Along with all of these vintage activities comes the need to keep the original equipment used in good working order. This requires skilled craftsmen and women to learn the trade from the very few people who still know how it’s done. Surely that alone is worth supporting the sport, as in my view it is always a real shame if these skills are lost.
tens of thousands of cyclists of all ages and from all around the world who gather on the beautiful mountainous landscapes of Italy. The cyclists that journey through the stunning but challenging routes of Gaiole in Chianti regard the event as a homage to the pioneers of the sport, in particular Eddy Merckx, Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi, who faced the 209 kilometres with incredible
© Timewarp Golf
13 countries to play some of Scotland’s most prestigious courses. Inaugurated in 2004, it continues as part of the festival of Hickory Golf and is said to be one of the sports’ most attended events. There is no better place than the Highlands, to experience golf in this rudimentary and original form. The unspoiled and rugged landscape emphasises what the players and the impressive crowds are seeking. With players and some spectators dressed in period clothing, this tournament offers a spectacle to be enjoyed by the whole family. As the sun rises over the
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Two wheels to freedom Often described as a challenger activity to golf, cycling also celebrates its own vintage movement. Similar to classic cars, the beauty of a classic steel frame bike is appreciated by many. The Italians and the French were masters, and brands like Bianchi or Peugeot have featured in many races of the past. British cycling has seen its popularity grow steadily, but since the Olympic Games in London, the sport has virtually exploded. And with more people cycling to work, urban cycling has been growing equally fast. With that, cycling fashion has changed. Yes, there are the Lycra cyclists in their skin-tight jerseys and shorts, but many prefer a casual, stylish look which often is modelled on the clothing worn by cyclists in the 60s and 70s. Merino wool has been the fabric of choice for cyclists since back in the 1920s. A smart merino wool polo shirt is equally at home on a bicycle as it is in a meeting room in the city. At L’Eroica, which is probably the most famous of vintage cycling events, there isn’t a Lycra jersey in sight. L’Eroica Gaiole is part of the global movement that celebrates vintage cycling, attracting
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tenacity and stamina. As the cyclists ride their vintage bikes along the winding gravel routes, they’re able to imagine exactly how it felt all those years ago and, unrestrained by all but a few rules, they’re captivated not just by the challenge they’re facing but also by a deep sense of adventure.
It comes as no surprise that more and more people flock to this event every year. Cycling through the richly diverse Italian countryside and stopping to sample the local cuisine,
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including its famous red wines, fresh bread and mouth-wateringly delicious olives is enough to persuade anyone to cycle the tracks. That’s just it, the sheer sense of freedom created by the inclusive experience is felt by the cyclists, as they find comfort in knowing they can go at their own pace, their preferred distance and experience as much culture as their heart desires. Whether it is the Mille Miglia, the Hickory Open or L’Eroica, they all share many common qualities. Of course, there is always a competitive element to these events, but unlike meetings and tournaments
in modern sports, they all feel like celebrations rather than competitions. It explains why the atmosphere is infectiously happy and joyous for participants and spectators alike. Add delicious food and wine to this mix, and good times are guaranteed when celebrating all things vintage.
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MOVE & IMPROVE core and glutes Words Louis Blattler
t’s tough at the top, they say. That certainly applies to sport, and golf is no exception. It is, of course, a game of small margins, and at the pinnacle of the professional game, there is little separating players. Tour professionals are all looking for an edge to help them push their game that extra one percent. This explains why the physical aspect of the game has become more and more important. Consequently, on the roster of support staff for virtually every tour pro, you will find a personal trainer or a performance coach. Whatever their title, it will be someone to coach and guide them through exercises, to push their physical fitness and mobility to achieve that peak performance. The stresses on the golfer’s body are considerable and injuries are a real threat to a career. A trainer who understands the individual needs of a client is invaluable to increase performance and longevity of their game, as I’m sure any tour pro will agree. Conditioning your body in order to get more out of golf is not only crucial for tour pros but for every golfer. Most of us have physical limitations, whether that is structural, mobility, or strength imbalances. Working on these aspects will help to improve your game, as well as your durability, longevity and enjoyment of the great game. The golf swing is an extremely complex movement calling on virtually every muscle in the body. There is plenty of rotation through the hip and
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throughout the thoracic spine. These movements are primarily controlled by the trunk or core muscles and the glutes. We often see golfers with hip and lower back problems whose issues stem from weak core muscles and glutes. Since golf is an explosive activity, it is not surprising that the movement is causing stress on our bodies which, without training will most likely result in stress injuries. Any form of exercise is positive. However, as a golfer, it is vital to include core strengthening exercises into your fitness regime to try and keep those lower back and hip problems at bay. Of course, when increasing your core strength, you might just see an increase in speed of rotation and control, resulting in increased distance and accuracy of your game. As with most things, best results are achieved when training on a one-on-one basis with an experienced coach or trainer. Everybody is different and a good trainer will quickly establish the areas to focus on to achieve quick and lasting results. However, in this article, I will share two exercises with you that are simple to do, don’t require any equipment and can be done literally anywhere. When done correctly, even the simplest of exercises are surprisingly effective. Therefore, it is crucial to always remind yourself to observe the correct form when carrying out these – or indeed any – exercises.
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HEALTH & FITNESS
Core: These are the muscles that help to support your spine and will help you maintain control and power throughout your swing. They also play a significant role in balancing and stabilising the body. Let’s look at a core exercise that is going to increase your core strength and stability.
Glutes: These group of muscles are major players in your hip drive and will help to maintain stability. If you’re looking to increase power and balance through your swing, these are the muscles to focus on. A good way to build up those glutes is an exercise called ‘glute bridge’.
THE DEAD BUG You must maintain constant contact and pressure between the floor and your lower back.
GLUTE BRIDGE It is essential to keep your core muscles engaged throughout the entire exercise.
Set up: Lay on your back with both legs up in the air, knees bent 90 degrees and hands pointing to the ceiling. Stretch out your right leg and lower it to just above the floor (or until you feel your back coming off the floor, whichever comes first). Bring your leg back to the starting position and repeat with your left leg.
Repeat this move with each leg 12 to 15 times to complete a set. After a 30 second rest, repeat the entire set twice.
Starting from the same position, you can increase the difficulty of the exercise by lowering both legs together. However, please ensure you are not losing contact between your lower back and the floor. You can view these exercises on www.upswing.golf Please remember that exercises carried out incorrectly can do more harm than good.
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Set up: Lay on your back, heels flat on the floor and close to your hips. Arms at the sides flat on the floor with the palms facing down. Drive the hips towards the ceiling – make sure to concentrate on squeezing the glutes – until you are in a straight line from the shoulders, through the hips, to the knees. Ensure you engage your core in order to maintain that straight line and stop any over-extension of the back and control the descent. If you are able, try to stop just before you touch the floor to increase the time under tension on the target muscles.
Repeat these 12 - 15 times to complete a set. After a 30 second rest, repeat the entire set twice.
To increase the difficulty of this exercise, raise one leg off the floor to perform a single leg glute bridge with alternating legs. Repeat these 12-15 times for each leg to complete a set. After a 30-second rest, repeat the entire set twice.
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HEAD TO TOE Words Robin Bar wick
WEARABLE GOLF TECHNOLOGY
As a new decade of golf gets underway, Robin Barwick goes in search of some kind of technological advantage – anything that works as long as he can wear it.
he biggest sales pitch bonanza in golf is the PGA Merchandise Show every January at the vast Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando, Florida. The major brands try to eclipse one another with duplex show stands. They bring in security teams to guard the stand entrances to raise the sense of exclusivity and to persuade their rivals and customers alike that their latest unreleased technology is so ground-breaking that it requires military-grade protection. The show floor is loud, bright and bustling a marketing cacophony. Yet, every year at the PGA Show, the most engaging enclosure is stuck in the corner, stripped of the marketing millions. Sitting timidly behind by a plain black curtain, the Inventors’ Spotlight Forum is where start-up firms and whacky inventors each stand by a fold-up table in their allocated space of 12 square feet, filled with hope and desperate for just a pinch of the attention sucked up by the big boys and their four-way video towers. The Inventor’s Forum might feature a cup that never lets a cold drink get warm, training aids to strap to one limb or another, a glove that never rips, a grip that never slips. You never
The Dragonfly Golf system by Guided Knowledge is an 18-sensor smart suit and digital coaching app that delivers golf professionals the benefits of a personal sports science studio to their fingertips, anytime and anywhere.
know what you will uncover behind the black curtain, and once in a while, like in the old California gold rush, you get something really precious. Back in January 2019 in the show’s Inventors’ Forum, an English company called Guided Knowledge introduced its new product – Dragonfly Golf – which brings 3D motion capture technology to golf through a baselayer suit and 18 sensors. So striking is the technology and its ease of use that Guided Knowledge left the PGA Show with the Pinnacle Award for the best product in the Inventors’ Forum. “We are taking the power of a motion capture studio and putting it into the palm of your hand,” starts Trine Hindklev, chief marketing officer for Guided Knowledge, which returned to Orlando this year to take its place on the main exhibition floor. “We are taking the technology of a motion capture studio and making it more accessible, more mobile and far more affordable.” After five years in development, for wearable technology in golf, this feels like the leading edge.
The Dragonfly Golf sensors feed into a pocket pod which processes the data and from there, a 3D, 360-degree replication of the golfer’s swing appears immediately on a smartphone or tablet via the Dragonfly app. From every golf swing Dragonfly picks up 360,000 pieces
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swing of today with a previous swing and exactly identify what the differences are. This is a game-changer for golf coaching.”
Arccos Caddie is golf’s first Artificial Intelligence platform for any hole on earth to help golfers of all skill levels make smarter decisions and shoot lower scores.
of data to ensure peerless accuracy and to allow a golfer or coach to analyse each swing with a level of detail not previously seen. Dragonfly enables a golfer to record their unique golf swing signature which can then act as a performance benchmark. Golfers can then compare swings in 3D motion and pinpoint changes between one swing and another. “I was blown away when I saw what Dragonfly Golf can do,” starts former Walker Cup and European Tour golfer Sam Hutsby, who is now an ambassador for Dragonfly Golf. “Where Trackman gives golfers the ability to analyse data around a golf shot and the ball, Dragonfly enables golfers to track their own physical performance with incredible accuracy.” “All golfers slip into bad habits from time to time. It’s an inevitable part of the game. With Dragonfly, you can have all of your swings captured, which allows you to compare your
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With a price tag of $15,000 for the first year in the United States, followed by an annual $3,000 subscription fee, an early adoption programme is currently available in the UK with a 50% discount. Dragonfly Golf is presently aimed primarily at elite-level golfers with a mass-market, more affordable version in development. “I wish we could have had this technology 20 years ago when Tiger Woods was in his prime,” adds Hutsby. “It would have been fascinating to have got Tiger into the suit back in his prime around 2000, and then compare and contrast his golf swing in later years as he got older and injured and his swing had to change.” Dragonfly Golf is not the first product to offer golfers a 3D swing replay, but it takes 3D motion capture in golf to a new level.
Other impressive 3D modelling systems in golf include the HackMotion Wrist Sensor, which
HackMotion is the first specialist wrist motion detection device on the market that analyses your movement and then provides feedback on how to improve performance on the golf course. A fantastic tool for coaches and players alike.
is distributed in the UK by Sheffield-based MIA Sports Technology. As the product name implies, HackMotion is designed for coaches and golfers who want to zoom in on the wrist action of a golf swing. The Wrist Sensor unit is as comfortable to wear as a wristwatch – very light but just bulkier – and after every golf swing, it delivers 3D wrist movement data to a digital device via a Bluetooth connection. HackMotion has modes for the full swing, short game swing and putting stroke. The app provides data tables with session averages on wrist angles and motion; it organises the data into graphs and can show golfers replays of their wrist action through a 3D model. It also compares the golfer’s wrist action with data from elite players.
Improve your game on golf courses around the world. This Connected Modular Golf Limited Edition timepiece embraces the true golfing spirit and enables you to play the perfect round with 3D mapping, green yardage calculation, shot tracking and more.
As it focuses on wrist action alone, HackMotion offers a fraction of the data of the full-swing capability of Dragonfly Golf, but then it comes at a fraction of the price too, with a UK price of £635 including VAT and shipping.
The MIA Sports Technology product range is a mine of fascinating gadgets. Extending the theme of wearable tech is FocusBand, which is a brain-sensing system that trains the golfer to find a calmer state when playing golf shots. The brain emits different frequencies as people perform various tasks. When a golfer wears FocusBand around their head, it picks up these frequencies and transmits them to an avatar display on a mobile device. To help golfers cope with occasions when frequencies indicate too much activity, FocusBand provides quick steps to help return the brain to the optimum state of calm. It might sound far-fetched, but FocusBand does work. The process just takes some practice and practice takes time. The biggest obstacle for FocusBand in terms of availability in the UK is that it only comes as an optional extra with the Flightscope radar tracking system, which measures data including shot distance, launch angle, club and ball speed. It is ideal for coaching and custom-fitting golf clubs. The theory is that golfers can receive split-screen feedback via Flightscope, with real-time, audio-visual neurofeedback from FocusBand on one side
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of the screen, with the radar shot data on the other side.
Stepping away from brain frequencies and moving on to the realm of wearable GPS, there are two products for 2020 that particularly catch the eye. There is a different golf-specific GPS watch for every hour of the day but perhaps none that matches the chic appeal of the Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition from Tag Heuer. Pairing with the Tag Heuer Golf app, golfers can access three-dimensional holeby-hole maps for more than 39,000 golf courses worldwide, while the smartwatch collects performance data such as shot distance (accurate to within a metre) and can keep score. The touchscreen of the smartwatch is coated with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal while the sandblasted case and case back are made from black PVD titanium. Tag Heuer promises a battery life of 25 hours and 4GB of data storage, while this Golf Edition has the same additional functionality of other Tag Heuer Connected watches, in terms of sending messages, receiving notifications, playing music and utilising other apps. The second GPS item to consider is the latest development from Arccos Caddie, a golf GPS app with sensors that fit onto the end of each grip in a golfer’s bag, to measure the distance of each shot played. After a breakthrough year in 2019 which saw Arccos surpass 300,000 registered users and four million rounds played, for 2020 the
company has introduced connectivity with smartwatches, meaning golfers can receive GPS and shot data through their watch.
Arccos Caddie has taken a step beyond conventional golf GPS offerings to bring artificial intelligence to the golf course. Once a golfer has completed five rounds of golf with the Arccos sensors installed, Arccos combines the collected shot data with GPS golf course information to make club recommendations on each shot. New Precision Pin Positioning capability for this year is also improving the Arccos support for approach shots, chipping and putting. Club suggestions are not the only way the Arccos Caddie behaves like a real caddie. For instance, if a golfer takes the club selection advice, fluffs the shot and then verbally abuses the smartwatch, it will display admirable restraint and ignore its boss. That is what you call tour-level performance.
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WHAT’S THE RUSH? Words Sam Oliver
Slow play on the golf course is and has been a hot topic for a long time now and is often seen as one of the main detractors from the participation of the game.
ost of the new Rules of Golf that came into effect on 1 January 2019 were a welcome introduction, some of which created to try and tackle the slow play issue and help us get around the golf course quicker.
People’s time seems to be more precious than ever. Cycling has seen a huge increase in popularity; many believe this is due to the flexibility and freedom to tailor time spent out on the bike to the individual’s needs. Golf is a little less flexible although there have been shorter/quicker versions of the game created. We have seen more success of condensed versions of sports in cricket and rugby with 20/20 cricket and Rugby 7’s proving hugely popular. While these bite-sized formats surely broaden the appeal of the game, the traditional formats of Cricket, Rugby and
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golf played over a full 18 holes will always be the best and purest format of the game! But why is there an obsession from many golfers to rush around as fast as possible? Most golfers will have invested in a membership, in the latest equipment, a wardrobe full of the best clothing, sit in their office daydreaming of smashing drives, flushing irons and sinking putts in the monthly medal on a Saturday morning. Then Saturday comes they arrive at the club in their finest clothing, with their prized golfing equipment and try and get around the golf course as fast as possible getting angry and agitated by anyone who gets in their way! A little like road rage there seems to be a default impatient and sometimes aggressive reaction of some golfers when it comes to pace of play out on the course. There are of course the dawdlers, the slow play specialist who take 4 or 5 practice swings, toss a wisp of grass into the air, pace out a yardage, a final twitch of the shirt sleeve, a couple of waggles then duff their shot ten yards in front of them only to go through the whole laborious process again. This does need to be addressed. The ‘ready golf’ rule makes a huge difference. New technology, such as range finders and GPS, is giving golfers instant information. The ability to leave the
upsWing | spring 2020
flagstick in while putting helps to keep up the pace – as long as all of your fourball can agree on ‘in’ or ‘out’. I’ve still not decided what my preference is! The world’s top players need to lead by example also. Many of us will watch on TV the tour professionals spending an insubordinate amount of time over a 10ft putt, looking from all angles, pulling out notebooks and lengthy discussions with their caddy. Now I appreciate they are out there making a living and any information that gives them the edge over their rivals is key, but there is still definitely a balance to be found. While the majority of us play to a reasonable pace by appropriately utilising technology, adopting the new rules additions and a sprinkling of common sense we should all be able to enjoy a game of golf in a reasonable time. But remember: enjoy your time out there. When play is a little slower, stop and enjoy the moment, enjoy the fresh air, enjoy the game, chat to your friends and appreciate where you are because when Monday morning arrives, you will almost certainly be wishing you were back on the course. And to the dawdlers – small adjustments to your game can make all the difference: maybe just the one practice swing, leave your bag on the correct side of the green and be ready to play. Let common sense kick in if you are struggling and simply step aside to let the group behind you play through.
Originally from Stocksfield, Northumberland, Sam was introduced to golf by his grandfather, a former Stocksfield captain/champion. Sam represented England schoolboys, after becoming the youngest Stocksfield club champion at just 18 years old. He was part of a talented crop of youngsters to have since emerged from the club, including former County Champion (and now PGA Professional) Andy Paisley, European Tour Player Chris Paisley, and 2017 PGA Cup Professional Chris McDonnell. Sam spent the first few years of his career at the International Championship Golf Resort Slaley Hall, located in his home county of Northumberland. During his time there he gained valuable exposure to everything resort golf has to offer including the running of a number of European Tour, Seniors Tour and Europe Tour events. He then went on to progress his career as Director of Golf at another top north east venue, Linden Hall. Thereafter, he spent a number of successful years in sales management roles with marquee brands TaylorMade and Alfred Dunhill, the latter submerging him fully into the luxury brand industry and the levels of service and customer expectation that come with that world. Missing the mayhem of running a golf operation, Sam eventually moved back into club management in 2017 as Director of Golf & Leisure at worldrenowned and former Solheim Cup venue Dalmahoy on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The experiences gained to this point lead to Sam joining The Wisley in December 2019 as Membership Director, bringing with him his broad knowledge of golf and luxury to the Wisley team.
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SIMON HOLMES IS A GOLF PRO AND INSTRUCTOR TO ALL LEVELS OF PLAYER FROM TOTAL BEGINNER TO TOURNAMENT PROFESSIONALS. SIMON HAS COACHED OVER 80 TOURNAMENT PROFESSIONALS AND WON TOGETHER OVER 50 TITLES AND TWO MAJORS. HE HOLDS SEMINARS ON ELITE PERFORMANCE AND HABITS AS WELL AS APPEARING ON SKY SPORTS PGA TOUR GOLF COVERAGE EACH WEEKEND AS THE RESIDENT SWING EXPERT. SIMON HOLMES TEACHES AT THE WISLEY.
S I M O N S AYS Well, that was unexpected! COVID-19 arrived, and the world stopped. I had initially written about my thoughts on what we should expect from the world of golf and the majors with potential champions. Golf competitions and sports events became very suddenly insignificant as health agencies and Governments battled the spread of a deadly virus. We were told to stay at home, not mingle, and as a nation, we did to avoid a potentially massive and lethal viral spread. The health workers in the NHS and from other administrations became the current champions. They were similarly applauded by the nation as National teams or Olympic stars as they risked their lives to save ours from the deadly virus. Lives have been lost, and for many, it’s still a grim reality. Sports and golf, faded from headlines into reruns on Sky Sports as we sort to connect to our hobbies given the block on participating in outdoor activities. With the world severely wounded, with many people still fighting for life and with an unknown and unpredictable enemy golf has returned. Small TV events raising funds for charity efforts, our own courses open and with The Wisley functioning magnificently thanks to our great teams we are back but under new circumstances. The PGA Tour cancelled the Players Championship after one round on March 13th, and for the professional tours as of May 27th, the pause remains. What will we see for the rest of the year? I don’t know, we don’t know. The PGA Tour is restarting with a series of events starting on June 8th. This is very much a work in progress, subject to many scenarios which could change rapidly but we will have golf on TV without fans. We have rarely seen golf played behind closed doors and if you watched the match at Seminole and the Tiger/ Phil event as I did, then I would argue that to watch live sports fans matter. Three majors are planned for the year, and the FedEx with other significant events are going to be played. I think the players have really got to step up to fill the void of atmosphere and hopefully recognise this and if they are miked up really take the opportunity to educate us, entertain us and show our sport in the best light.
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I loved hearing Phil Mickelson chat through his thought process on some of his shots in the match at The Medalist. I would never argue that the competition doesn’t matter because we have to believe we are seeing the players best effort. An educational element, a new insight into the decision-making process, the self chat that a lead player has in his head, would give us all a great insight into performing shots under pressure. Something we could all relate to and absorb into our own games. Banter is really way overrated! The Masters has been pushed back to a later date, and it’s going to be my favourite to watch. In April the course is in amazing condition, like playing in a perfect garden. In November, the weather is going to play a significant factor, and all those beautiful trees drop their leaves, and it can be cold and wet and should be a really fantastic spectacle. Tiger and Rory still look like they have game and entertainment value, I will be supporting them both. I’m not sure about a Ryder Cup without fans, I’d be sad if my favourite event to watch damaged the product by playing just to play and I can see that getting pushed back to 2021. Enjoy your golf season, we are lucky to have one. Delight in your great shots and smile at the rest, if a bad swing is your biggest problem you’re in good shape.
The Wisley | Golf Mag azine
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