Hopefully the reoccurring snow and cold weather has finally left us, and we can look forward to the new golf season and some spring like weather to compliment it. As I write, I’m remembering an Easter Golf & Coaching event the third week of March a few years ago, when a few balls were lost in snow filled bunkers! Of course our British climate, much like golf, is so unpredictable that we should not be surprised by that; just like we should not be surprised that a fit again (hopefully)Tiger Woods is back, strong, competitive and with a putting stroke not dissimilar to the one that dominated for so long. Could he really win the Masters?!
Love him or hate him, and I love him, Tiger brings an excitement to the game rarely, if ever, seen before. Perhaps Arnie and Seve came close and it made super television viewing watching the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Tiger, following a runners up spot to Paul Casey the week before, in contention throughout, until his pull hook went out of bounds (who does that remind you of) on the 16th hole of the final round. It was also wonderful to see McIlroy in full flow once again. With a friendly putter in hand, to my mind, he is all but unbeatable and his final round was majestic. Give him an opportunity and he knows how to capitalise on it, as five birdies in the last six holes in a closing 64 proves.
Europe has four of its best players in form as The Masters approaches, McIlroy and Casey, winners of the last two PGA Tour events with a fortnight to go, Stenson, looking very strong and who seems to have found his putting stroke. While Rose, who has won three times and not been out the top 5 or 6 for months, has a score to settle following last years’ runners up spot where he and Garcia, the defending champion and not playing at all badly, fought it out to the very last putt. Then we have Fleetwood, Race to Dubai champion and already a winner this year, Hatton, Fitzpatrick, Noren, Cabrera-Bello …. the list of Europeans goes on, and I’ve not mentioned world no.3 John Rahm!
Of course I could look at America and Asia and make a good case for them too, but I’m going to stay patriotic. My heart says McIlroy, who I would love to see become only the sixth player in history to win the Grand Slam, but I’m going to plump for Casey to deservedly win his first Major. Is an American win in Paris in September a foregone conclusion as many predict? I don’t think so, but another spectacular battle to be had I am sure!
I saw golf was voted the most boring sport to watch on TV and can understand that at times, especially if viewing as a non-golfer. However, Sky’s coverage is excellent and I particularly like some of the interviews with the players discussing how they practice and how they see the game. Listening to these extraordinarily good players while viewing recently, three things struck me:-
Firstly, they always talk about set up, as being the bedrock of consistency. GASP we were always taught; Grip, Alignment, Stance, Posture. I know we harp on about it, but from putter to driver if you are not in a good position to start your stroke, what chance do you have?
Secondly, when asked about common mistakes of Pro Am partners, under clubbing is one of their biggest issues.
Thirdly, even they, the best in the business, admit there are one or two shots they struggle with. Shots that don’t suit their eye or their swing shape. Rarely do they mention swing technique to score better!
Work on those address positions. Always take the longest club you can talk yourself into and then add another! And don’t try and play shots you know you struggle with until you have sorted them out on the practice range. You never know, your scores might improve even if your technique doesn’t!
I look forward to seeing some of you in the coming months at various events of which I’m sure Iain will have some news below. If I don’t, I wish you a very successful season on the golf
I appreciate many of you had to bear the brunt of the “beast from the east” recently and I felt very privileged to watch the mayhem from the far east on our brilliant Thailand DSG trip. While the UK was suffering icy winds from Siberia, we were enjoying our golf accompanied by warm feathering breezes from the Andaman Sea. We really enjoyed the weather, golf, culture and food. Golfing highlight for me was playing Red Mountain GC which has vaulted into my top five courses I have been lucky enough to play. The lady caddies were brilliant, their lines off the tee, suggestions on the fairways and directions on the putts, first class. All were also blessed with lovely natures and a great sense of fun.
Echoing David’s thoughts on focusing on the basics, the big thing I found with a caddie is they made you think about the shot with a positive intent. All too often, left to our own devices we can fall into “don’t hit it there, don’t thin it and whatever you do don’t go in the water! Simply by having a plan of attack, focusing the mind and body. Most of the time we have to be our own inner caddie, so cultivating this “route one” thought process will I believe help your game. Have a look at this piece I wrote for Golf Monthly Magazine
After our East golf and hopefully a few chocolate eggs, time to turn our attention to The Masters. As ever the list of probable winners is a long one and like David, I think our European contingent is a strong one and in super form too. However, based on his two previous Masters wins and the fact he wins in even numbered years, I think Bubba Watson will triumph this year. But I am sure Tiger, Phil and Sergio will have other ideas.
Although only a few days into BST, I am really enjoying the extra light in the evenings and thought (if not the feel yet!) that Spring / Summer is about to kick in. We have a super UK programme and looking forward to our playing trips in Kent, Cornwall and Shropshire with some interesting courses. If you fancy any of these weeks, then it would be great to see you there.
All the best
I trust that you are well and looking forward to the Easter weekend and spring, that surely has to follow on thereafter.
Myself and my wife had the great privilege to meet those of you who were on the recent Thailand tour. Whilst I feel I know clients, given the extensive email and telephone correspondence that takes place each year, it was absolutely wonderful to meet everyone in person, and indeed to show them a little of our world here in South East Asia. The golf, the weather, socks, the cuisine, caddies, shopping, massages and lychee juice cocktails all played a prominent role in what was a super three weeks. It is always great to meet up with Barney, Jennie, David and Liz, when the opportunities arise and on this occasion we were able to spend some good time with Barney and Jennie.
Where oh where does the time go. It seems like five minutes ago that we were all saying ‘Happy New Year’ and now we are saying ‘Happy Easter!’. We have a busy few weeks ahead, with both David and Barney camped in Portugal for much of April. If the continuation of the poor weather at home is proving too much, we do still have three places available on the ’21st April San Lorenzo Golf Week‘ and seven places available on the 5th May Sesimbra Golf Week, which is the south side of Lisbon.
Between June and mid-September, we focus on the UK golf tours, with the exception of David’s exciting trip to Bermuda, for which there are still four places available. The UK golf tours feature Kent from 3rd June, Cornwall and North Devon, 1st July, two Lincolnshire trips spanning the end of July and beginning of August and a tour to Shropshire starting 10th September. Under my Countrywide Golf Holidays programme, I send many clients each year to these destinations and they are always extremely well received. I would therefore highly recommend each of these trips, which involve a variety of different course layouts and settings and some super character hotel properties too.
For the Autumn, the trip to the Italian Lakes is proving popular, as are both Tenerife weeks in November. We also have the two weeks in October at the Fairplay Resort in Benalup, Spain, and it is certainly good to be back there again. And then we have the very exclusive long-haul trip to New Zealand, which features some of the best golf courses in the world, complimented by stunning scenery and great settings.
We have also just launched the Festive programme, with two Christmas tours and two New Years. The concept this year is to provide one ‘on-site’ tour and one tour playing a variety of different courses, for each week. The Christmas tours therefore feature the Robinson Club in Tavria as the on-site option and the Hilton Vilamoura hotel as the option for playing different courses. And for New Year, the Dona Filipa Resort as the on-site option (although there will be some dinners outside of the hotel) and the Tivoli Marina Hotel as the venue to play the local Vilamoura courses. The details for the two January events will also be on-line imminently.
Many clients are also requesting the dates for the Southern California tour and the South African tour next year. The Southern California tour will commence on the 9th February 2019 and will be of a three week duration and South Africa on the 2nd March 2019, again for three weeks. The programmes for both tours are almost finished and will be launched very shortly.
I wish you all an excellent Easter, enjoy the Masters thereafter and hopefully a period of prolonged good weather at home!
What a super start to 2018 for us. We really enjoyed our time in Thailand and I nearly broke the website with the pictures in the blog. It was brilliant to see Bangkok with Iain and his wife giving us the residents tour and where to shop, eat and get massages! I have managed to play two rounds of golf since I got back, but it isn’t the same without a caddy 🙂
I am off to Portugal in April for 5 days with Barney and some of the ladies from my golf club for Golf and Coaching. This is our third year of Iain organising our trip, so contact Iain if you would like a bespoke trip with your golfing buddies.
Until the next Newsletter, enjoy your golf wherever you are.