We get a great insight into the world of professional golf on Sky TV. We heard quite a few gems and words of wisdom listening to their commentary of the Open Championship, and while there will only ever be one Peter Alliss, I think the way the Open Championship is covered by Sky is quite extraordinary. Carnoustie didn’t quite show its teeth this year with the relatively benign conditions, but my favourite quote came from Richard Boxhall, who said of the 250 yard par three; “If you look up the word evil in the dictionary, you get 16th hole at Carnoustie.”
What an amazing few weeks for Francesco Molinari and what a truly wonderful Open Championship it was. A couple of years ago we were treated to a great shoot out between Stenson and Mickelson that produced amazing head to head scoring. This year a completely different, but equally mesmerising scenario, where any one of eight or ten could have carried off the Claret Jug, playing their way into, out of and back into contention throughout an enthralling last day. Tiger, showing glimpses of his past greatness, Rory, finishing second, but frustrating us (not as much as himself I’m sure) by not appearing to be able to get out of third gear. And Rose, showing incredible tenacity to make the cut never mind his 64, 67 weekend. It looked like a USA victory was a forgone conclusion, especially when Woods hit the front, however, the exemplary ball striking of Molinari was for once, overshadowed by his short game on the final round. Looking at the leader board starting the final day and the final result, it makes my mouth water at the possibilities at the Ryder Cup! I can’t think of a better place to be than an Italian clubhouse by the Lakes and watching Francesco hole the winning putt – and we will be there – come and join us!!
As at Carnoustie, I’m sure you are experiencing a different kind of golf this summer. Your driving distance stats are off the charts, fairways are running faster than greens and pitching is a nightmare! You can sometimes reach long par fours and some par fives in two and I suspect those who have always preferred the chip and run game have adjusted to the conditions quickly, while those wedge at all times players are still scratching their heads? You need to keep a lofted club in your bag for obvious reasons, but from almost any distance, seven and eight irons, feet closer than normal, ball slightly back, hands and weight to the left and a smooth, same distance back and through swing, will keep the ball trundling towards your target. You will soon get a feel for distance. Around the greens, even up and down quite steep slopes, use a putter or try a straight faced hi-brid or five wood using your putting stroke. It’s very much a game of percentages and anything coming down from a height is so unpredictable and impossible to judge the bounce. This advice is probably a bit late, but with the hot summer due to continue and global warming, maybe a skill worth learning?!
My blog on our tour to Bermuda is on the web site. Those that travelled with us are asking for more! In addition a repeat of the Vancouver/Victoria Island tours are often requested. If these venues appeal, with no commitment whatsoever, please register an interest with Iain and we will look at them for 2019/20. When planning the tours, and especially the long-haul ones, Iain has to try and gauge likely demand for a tour. If you do have an interest in a particular destination, be it one that we have been to before, or a new destination, please let Iain know, as the more client feedback he has, the easier it is to plan a portfolio of events that meet your requirements. In the meantime if looking for the exotic, there is still a place or two available for New Zealand this November.
Ok, I’m going to practice what I’ve preached at Woodhall Spa, I wonder whether it works out of heather and six foot bunkers!
I agree with David that this year’s Open lived up to expectation and the added excitement of Tiger contending certainly raised awareness. Viewing figures in the US were the biggest for 18 years and attendance at Carnoustie was at record levels. Jennie and I really enjoyed going to the 3rd round and we saw some incredible golf. From a logistical point of view my hat is off to the R&A for how seamless the organisation of the spectators is. Once parked up, you are bussed in (nice old fashioned double deckers btw!) and then walk through to the superb tented village to the golf course. Plenty of viewing ponts, although we sat by the third green for a while as it is always nice to see as many players as possible.
We had an excellent lunch in the PGA tent and then some more golf. The humble Molinari was a wonderful winner and it is great for our Ryder Cup team to have a current Major winner in the side. Let’s hope our favourite, Rory can win the US PGA giving the Europeans even more momentum going into the match.
For us it was a tale of two Opens as we then pottered down the road to St Andrews to take in the Seniors Open and play a bit of golf ourselves. Our plans changed slightly when a friend of mine, Spanish Professional Pedro Linhart, qualified for the tournament and he very kindly offered me a caddying role. Seeing St Andrews from inside the ropes was a fantastic opportunity. We had some fun on the practice day and I will let Jennie expand on that in her piece below. Unfortunately, Pedro missed the 36 hole cut although he gave a good account of himself and a birdie on the iconic 18th was a great highlight. Although it was a shame not to make the final 36, my back was grateful not to have any more carrying to do. Full respect to the full time caddies and God bless their backs!
The quality of the golf was excellent and if you get a chance do go along to a Seniors event. The crowds are generally smaller, so it is easier to see the action and the players are on the whole very affable. For me, being on the range so close to all the greats like Langer, Watson, VJ Singh and one of my all time favourites Hale Irwin, three time US Open Champion (the first of them in 1974!) at age 73 his swing is still rhythmical and he has beaten his age several times on the senior circuit this year.
The winner was the charismatic Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, who still hits the ball the same as he did 20 years ago. It was great to have such an iconic winner at such an iconic venue. His ever relaxed air was evident on the morning of the final round where he chose to spend it on the “Visit Andalucia” stand in the tented village, helping to promote his beloved homeland. I was thinking as he is of an age in reflecting on his win, you could say he had a señor moment!
I have to say golf in Scotland has a flavour all of its own, so I am really excited about revisiting for our DSG trip next summer. We are finalising details so keep your eyes peeled. Looking forward to Staverton this August for our Golf and Coaching and meeting up with David and our clients a nice mix of regulars and new.
All the best
It’s almost tempting to arrange a tour event to a cooler climate to escape the heat … but we’ll pass on that idea for now!
What wonderful weather though and for such a decent stretch of time as well. I do hope that you have been able to play frequently and enjoy the conditions, albeit as David has said, one’s technique has to adapt to the firmer fairways.
In terms of our summer availability, we do still have a few places left available on the August Bank Holiday Golf & Coaching weekend and on the Shropshire Golf Tour too in September. At the end of September David heads to Italy for the Italian Lakes tour, based in Stresa on the banks of Lake Maggiore. Although the week coincides with the finale of the Ryder Cup, the flights to Malpensa are little over an hour and with a morning flight, most of Saturday afternoons play can be watched and likewise most of the singles matches will be watched on the Sunday afternoon.
Barney takes the reins in October, with firstly a Spanish Golf Week, based at the Guadalmina Resort near Marbella, before the long awaited return to the Fairplay Resort in Benalup. We have places available for both weeks. For November, David is heading to New Zealand to a host a tour that not only features the must play courses of the North and South Islands, but also the must see attractions of this stunning Country. We still have a few places left if anyone is tempted. Barney is hosting the Tenerife Golf & Coaching week and the Tenerife Golf Week. We have availability for both, but the places on the Golf Week are now beginning to diminish. The same is true of the Festive weeks, with a handful of places available on the two Christmas Tour weeks, and likewise a few places available on David’s New Year Vilamoura week. Barney’s New Year week at the Dona Filipa Resort is fully booked.
Moving in to 2019, the full programme is now available up until June, with the odd exception. The Azores week is yet to launch on the web-site, but at the time of writing, the accommodation and golf for the week have now been booked, and the details of the event will appear very shortly. Similarly the UK Golf & Coaching events and the first UK tour, which will be to north Somerset, will be launched imminently. If I could draw attention to both the Morocco Golf Week in March and the Biarritz Golf Week in June; both of these events have already proved very popular and if you did want to book them, please do so relatively soon, as I suspect that the respective tours will fill quite quickly.
I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but keep an eye out for Costa Navarino in Greece for next September, voted Europe’s best golf resort, a return to La Cala next October and 10 nights in Mauritius in November 2019.
Just to follow up on David’s point about future venues. If there is anywhere that you particularly want to travel to, please do let me know. You will be amazed how the tour programme is shaped by conversations with clients. Both the Azores week and the week at the Costa Navarino Resort for example, have resulted directly from conversations that I had with two different clients in recent months.
For now, enjoy the sunshine, the warmth and the great golfing weather, and if you wish to book any of the events, please do not hesitate to contact us.
As Barney said, we had a fabulous week in Scotland with unseasonably good weather which was an absolute bonus. I had a great time watching the golf at Carnoustie and when Barney picked up Pedro’s bag (quite literally) at The Seniors Open, I enjoyed myself swanning around in the Players Lounge trying to recognise the who was who of golf. On practice day, it was my plan to see them off the first tee and then to wander around St Andrews, but imagine my face when Fred Couples “sauntered” up to Pedro and asked if he could play his practice round with him!!! All of my Christmas’s came at once. Freddie is my all time favourite having seen him at Bay Hill about 12 years ago and I have been besotted ever since. Needless to say, I walked 18 holes with them (inside the ropes) and enjoyed every moment of it. Also, speaking to Freddie’s caddy Mark, we found out that he lives in Temecula (second week of our California Tour) and he has recommended restaurants and vineyards for us to visit. I am still amazed and what a great experience it was.
Until the next Newsletter, enjoy your golf wherever you are.