I am writing my piece for the final newsletter of 2018 from the other side of the world in New Zealand and what a wonderful country it is. They say South Africa is a world in one country, well, whoever coined that phrase obviously hadn’t visited New Zealand although to be fair it lacks a desert! I have yet to complete my blog on this tour but suffice to say it rivals South Africa (I never thought I would be saying that) and were it only twelve hours away, it would have to be an annual visit too.
With the previous newsletter being a little late to accommodate the Ryder Cup result, it seems only yesterday since commenting on the new rules. I am going to have to look into the new handicapping system too, of which, I admit, I have no idea! It appears to me, that it is becoming and will continue to be, more and more difficult to operate within modern golf as less people play regular competitive club golf, especially the men. I know by 2020 the powers that be hope to have a world-wide system that will enable everyone to carry a handicap with them that is a fair reflection of their more recent form, and that handicap, regardless of gender, can be as high as 54 – good luck with all that!!
I have however, had an opportunity to catch up on the amended rules. While I am pleased to see an effort made to speed up play and some common sense employed, I feel they could have been far more radical. Hopefully the new rules will be well received and the ruling body, sooner rather than later, will be brave enough to implement further changes.
Last month I asked you to brush up on your knowledge of the basic rules and as I see it, if we understand some of the new rules and implement them in the spirit with which they are intended, maybe we can reduce the time it takes to play and enjoy the game even more. ‘Ready Golf’ is recommended with forty seconds max to play the shot, although I’m never quite sure when that starts? Three minutes to look for your ball instead of the current five mins and a new local rule option that surely every club will adopt, whereby a lost or out of bounds ball can be dropped on the edge of the fairway for two penalty shots, which equates to playing the current stroke and distance rule without danger of playing five off the tee! (That, by the way, will replace my over generous ‘red stake rule’!). The flag no longer has to be out of the hole for putting, so no waiting for it to be attended or removed.
Other changes include dropping the ball from knee high and the ball now has to remain inside the measured one or two club lengths, no longer allowing it to role a further two club lengths. There will no longer be a penalty for a double hit, accidentally moving the ball (but it must be replaced) or accidentally hitting you or your equipment. One can now remove any loose impediments in bunkers, touch the sand with your hand or club, but not in a way that will improve your lie, and you still can’t ground the club while addressing the ball, or touch the sand in the backswing, although you can now ground your club within other hazards. As mentioned in the previous issue, keeping the flag and ball in line, and for a two-shot penalty, you may now drop the ball out of the bunker. But do be careful not to chip it back in again!!
Let us all make a New Year’s Resolution, ‘to learn the basic rules and get ourselves in position to play ready golf.’
Getting away from all the rules and regulations, congratulations to Brooke’s Koepka on making it to World No.1; three wins in eleven tournaments, two of which are Majors, having just returned from injury, surely deserves that position. However equally justifiable congratulations to Justin Rose for quickly knocking him off his pedestal and returning to No.1 himself. Whilst no major win, he has won three times and has shown remarkable consistency with 16 top ten finishes in his last 17 tournaments. And of course, Francisco Molinari on winning the Race to Dubai. We should also congratulate Sergio for his third successive win at Valderrama, probably demanding the most precise of shot making and the best conditioned course I have ever played.
It seems appropriate at this point to introduce you to Graham Bradley, a PGA Member and a colleague of many years standing. Over the next 15 months, I will be reducing the number of events that I host, as I enter that fabled concept of ‘semi-retirement’. Barney will front much of the program with Graham becoming increasingly involved, to ensure that we present the full programme of ‘Golf & Coaching’ and ‘Escorted Tour’ events. Graham has dedicated most of his professional life to coaching at all levels. Both he and Barney have been long time County coaches (Lincolnshire and Hertfordshire respectively) from junior to ladies and gents first team squads. They have given thousands of lessons to club members and golfers of all abilities. While all three of us have our slant on the game, many years at the ‘coal face’ have taught us there is no one way to play the game and that individual abilities and aspirations are our challenge to help each person enjoy their golf whether it be a coaching event or golfing tour. Whilst Barney will head the main program of events, I know Graham’s program will fit into the David Short Golf philosophy very well and welcome him to the team. Graham is hosting a tour to Morocco in March and then from October next year, through to January 2020, Graham and I will jointly host a series of events as a way to introduce Graham to clients and ensure a seamless transition. I will still be around but taking on a more selective portfolio of events.
As another year draws to a close, I have to thank Barney for taking on and embracing his increasing work load, Jennie for her IT input and how we would cope without that in this day and age, I simply do not know, and Iain for his research, guidance and attention to detail, not to mention his relentless battle with ‘paper work’!
And thank you to all our clients and for your support this year. I shall look forward to seeing some of you in Portugal over the festive period and for the two January events that quickly follow on.
To all clients, old and new, a very Happy Christmas and healthy New Year.
Christmas is well and truly on the horizon and Jennie and I are really looking forward to our spending Xmas at Vilamoura. There are some good courses to look forward to and judging by the last few years we should get some fine weather. Most importantly we have a number of our good clients joining us and David for the festivities on and off the course. I am really looking forward to my present this year of a round of golf on the Royal Course on Christmas Day, playing in what I am convinced will be shorts!
I know David is also feeling the same with his group at the Robinson Club. I was there a few years ago and I was introduced to the phenomenon that is “Dinner for One”. During the Christmas and New Year holidays our German, Austrian and Scandinavian friends sit down to watch this very English comedy sketch. It stars Freddie Frinton and it is so popular it holds the Guiness World Record for the number of times it has been repeated. Frinton performed at seaside theatres and a German director saw it and invited him to record it in front of a studio audience in Germany. Rather than explain the whole story here is a clip and you can see what our friends in Europe find funny. It has been shown on German TV for the past 45 years, so even more times than the UK favourite at Xmas ‘The Great Escape’ which apparently doesn’t get aired over there!!!
New Year will be fun at the lovely Dona Filipa Hotel and looking forward to golf at San Lorenzo and our James Bond themed New Year celebration. I am thinking of shaving all of my hair off (yes there is still some!), find a Sandringham hat and go as Odd Job. Just need to get that idea past Jennie!
Next year promises to be a great one and we have some brilliant venues lined up. Over last weekend I was watching the AfrAsia Open being played at the Ernie Els designed Anahita in Mauritius where we will be in November 2019. Having had the good fortune to visit Mauritius a few times before and play Anahita I can say it is truly magnificent. Biarritz is also going to be an interesting and engaging experience, along with our tried and tested venues in Spain and Portugal and making a return to Morocco, Turkey and Greece. We also have a varied UK diary in 2019 so something for everyone.
Thank you for your support and friendship in 2018 and wishing you all health and happiness this festive season and the coming year.
All the best
December already; where does the time go?! At times it feels like we live in a time warp; the January 2018 events at El Rompido and Tavira seem like last week and yet our advance planning already has events pencilled in for May 2020!
I do hope that the Festive preparations are well underway and that you are looking forward to a restful Festive period or indeed to escape to play golf in warmer climates. We have been so lucky with the weather for the Festive Algarve tours over the years, and may we be so again this year.
Talking of which, as the forecasters mention blizzards and 7 inches of impending snow, if you did want to join one of the Festive tours, we do still have availability on all of them, except the San Lorenzo New Year tour. If January is more on your radar though, we have places available on the Algarve Golf Week, which commences on the 26th January. The ‘Golf & Coaching Week’ that takes place the week before though, is now fully booked.
The European events in February and March are proving very popular this year. We have had a run on bookings for the Gran Canaria’s trip and only now have three places left; hence please let me know if this trip is of interest. The tour to Morocco which commences on the 16th March has also become fully booked. However, as David mentioned in his section, Graham Bradley is hosting a replica week, starting on the 23rd March. If you did want to book for Morocco, but missed out on the first week, there is now the option to book on the second week. The ever popular ‘Tavira Golf & Coaching’ week, which Barney is hosting from the 23rd March, is also beginning to fill up, with only seven places remaining available, if this trip is of interest, please let me know relatively soon. David then takes the baton on the 30th March and 6th April at the Dona Filipa Resort, playing the combination of San Lorenzo and Pinheiros Altos. For clients wishing to travel further afield we still have places available on both the February Southern California tour and the March South African tour. With both of these tours, the trips can either be taken in full, or if you prefer to attend for one or two weeks only, there is absolutely no problem in doing that and I would quote accordingly for your preferred duration of stay.
Heading further into the spring, we have tinkered with the programme slightly. We wanted to have a week in the Azores. However, there was only one direct flight from the UK, which simply made the week impractical. We have therefore replaced the tour with a ‘Golf Week’ at the Aphrodite Hills Hotel in Cyprus, with the trip commencing on the 11th May. It is a few years since we have been to Aphrodite Hills, in which time the already excellent Hotel and golf course, have undergone further enhancements and the Resort really is one of the leading golf destinations in Europe now.
I will focus on the summer events in future newsletter editions, but as David has mentioned, from the autumn of next year, Graham Bradley starts to really get involved in the programme, co-hosting events with David as a period of introduction and transition. The autumn does feature some new destinations with Costa Navarino in Greece, Belek in Turkey and there will be an amended format for the Tenerife Golf Week. Please also keep an eye on the availability for Mauritius too, as we only have a limited number of places available.
May I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has enquired and / or booked a trip with us this year. It is very easy to live in the moment and to look to the immediate future, but it is humbling to know that we have provided our service for coming up to 30 years and that clients remain interested and eager to travel with us. A big thank you!
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.
If you have any queries, require further information or indeed wish to book a place on a trip, please do not hesitate to contact me.