As I write this newsletter, the sun is shining in the Algarve and I will endeavour to bring it back with me to the UK! As we all know the winter has been long, wet and cold, and even in the Algarve we have been affected by it. Perhaps by the law of averages, we will have a magnificent summer. The past three weeks have been spent at the always well received 5-star Dona Filipa Hotel, playing the combination of San Lorenzo Golf Club and Pinheiros Altos Golf Club. I really do highly recommend the venue; a superb hotel and two wonderful golf courses, and good value for money relative to the quality that we receive. We will be returning there for Barney’s New Year week and again next April for the established spring weeks.
Congratulations go to Hilary for her Hole in One on the Island green 8th hole at Pinheiros Altos Olivos course on the Sunday of the second week. Well done Hilary, a moment never to be forgotten.
Of course April gave us the first Major of the year and as always we were treated to some wonderful golf from Augusta. It makes great viewing as, unlike other Majors, we know the course and its nuances so well by watching every year instead of every six or seven years as with other Majors. Our predictions didn’t prove successful, although until he missed the almost ‘gimme’ eagle putt on the second green on the final day, McIlroy, looked like he might pull off the Grand Slam. Now we have to wait to see if Mickelson (US Open) or Spieth (USPGA) can become only the sixth player in history to win all four. I thought Patrick Reed was a very worthy Masters winner and showed the steely nerve that he displayed in the Ryder Cup is not just limited to match play. The ever young 68 year old Tom Watson all but stole the show, winning the nine hole par 3 competition on the Wednesday with an incredible 21 shots before the tournament proper started, and even he was upstaged by a ‘new Nicklaus’, when Jacks grandson holed out on the 9th!!
So, the global professional tours are well under way, which keeps us entertained each week. Our UK tour season commences shortly too. Barney is hosting tours in Kent, North Cornwall and Shropshire. I am returning to my home county of Lincolnshire and to Woodhall Spa where this year we will play two rounds each on the Bracken and Championship Hotchkin courses and have just one away day a few miles down the road at the lovely parkland layout of Blankney. You all know my opinion of Woodhall Spa; simply the best! There are some heralded courses on the other tours too though, notably Prince’s in Kent and the fabulous East course at Saunton in North Devon, along with a few hidden gems. You will not regret visiting these areas.
Let us hope that we will now enjoy a summer of sunshine and good golf.
Judging by the fact the Greenkeeper at Mid Herts told me they were cutting the fairways four times in the last week of April, growth is happening, so Spring must he here! Of course, a few 10 degree temperature swings are to be enjoyed from day to day, however that is the joy of the UK. I am really looking forward to our UK events starting with a fun tour of Kent. We are playing a couple of my favourites, Princes and Littlestone and some super golf and scenery at North Foreland and Walmer & Kingsdown. We are finishing off with a course I know we will enjoy, Canterbury GC as it is by the great course designer Harry Colt. He was involved in the design of Sunningdale and was a co-designer of Pine Valley GC voted the number one course in the US in 2017. He clearly was a talented man and played golf at an excellent level, still able to compete in the Amateur Championship in his 40s. I often marvel at how these course designers can look at a piece of land, then mould it into a fascinating golf course that we want to play again and again.
David mentioned the Professional Tours are well underway and I was particularly pleased to see Frenchman, Alexander Levy win the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco to put him 9th in the Ryder Cup points list. I think it will be very important to have a Frenchman in the team, as this will give our support even more volume in Paris. Alex Levy has an all action style of golf, looks good under pressure and is trending well this season with an excellent Desert Swing of Tournaments. European big guns of Poulter, Rose, Stenson, McIlroy and Garcia look like they are cementing places in the team, so some young blood augmenting that experience means we should win hands down!!
My other summer tour of the West Country takes in Cornwall and Devon and looking forward to some history at Royal North Devon and Saunton with some fun challenges at Bowood, Bude and the scenic Perranporth. I am going to stick my neck out and predict a glorious summer, as a) we deserve one and b) law of averages says we are due one. So you should enjoy glorious weather on one of our UK tours. If you can only spare a few days, we can always accommodate you, so just contact Iain and he will see what he can do. I look forward to creating some great golfing memories with many of you this spring / summer.
You know by now that David or I have a sermon on the short (no pun intended) game in the newsletter and here it is…
With the warmer and lighter evenings upon us, short game practice is now appealing. We appreciate when you can’t feel your fingers, negotiating a delicate chip is not easy! The big thing we encourage in coaching sessions is look at the different trajectories your clubs give you and apply to the situation in front of you. All too often we opt for “but I always use an 8 iron” and whilst that is comforting, it’s not always the shot, so have faith in your lofted clubs (and for some vice versa) keep your technique the same and change the club for a different trajectory. Like many old sayings the “let the club head do the work” is all the wisdom you actually need.
Enjoy the light and the heat and look forward to meeting up on a nice golf course soon.
All the best
I trust that you are well and looking forward to a long, hot summer .. it has to be surely?!
Time marches on and we have almost now come to the end of the overseas spring season. David and Barney have ‘blogged’ on the various trips and our thanks to everyone who has booked on one or more of the trips, and we very much hope that the experiences lived up to expectations.
Barney is hosting a week in Lisbon from next weekend, in the Sesimbra region of the City, which should be an excellent combination of golf, cuisine and we hope decent weather!
The UK ‘touring’ season starts in early June with a trip to Kent, followed by Cornwall, Lincolnshire and Shropshire during July, August and September. We have places available on all of the tours, if you wish to attend. Please note that although the trips are four or five nights length, it is never a problem to attend for a shorter duration if you wish to do so, with the tour cost recalculated accordingly.
For the autumn programme, the tour to the Italian Lakes is beginning to fill up and as always Tenerife is proving popular in November. For October, please be aware that we have replaced the first ‘Benalup’ week (6th – 13th Oct) with a Golf Week at the Guadalmina Hotel in Marbella, playing a number of excellent local courses. The Benalup week of the 13th – 20th October continues and it will be very good to be back there after an absence of a few years. The New Zealand tour also still has availability, and with a group size of no more than 10, this will be a holiday to remember, visiting some of the most stunning areas in the Country, as well as playing some of the top courses in the world, let alone New Zealand.
The Festive programme is now live on the web-site too, with the choice of two tours for both the Christmas and New Year weeks. Each week has one ‘on-site’ venue and one ‘touring’ week; the idea being to give you the choice of a relaxing setting on-site, or being able to play a selection of different local courses. The January El Rompido Golf & Coaching week and the Algarve Golf Tour are also now live too.
Within the coming weeks, the February to April 2019 series of events will be launched, which comprise of California, Gran Canaria, Morocco, South Africa and Portugal.
As I have said many times, the events and the tours that we arrange are for you. Great golf, excellent company, experiences to remember; that is what we always aim to achieve. Thank you for your continued interest and bookings and we very much hope that the series of events over the next 12 months or so will be of interest and temptation.
You will note that we have updated our pictures in this month’s newsletter as some of you have requested a change! So for now this is the best I can do from our collection from the last few months. Davids is from Staverton, Barney and Iain from Thailand and mine from New Year at San Lorenzo. We must take more pictures on our trips!!!
Since the last newsletter I have been to a rather soggy San Lorenzo for a 5 day Bespoke Golf and Coaching trip with Barney and my friends, brilliantly organised by Iain. We managed to get two and a half rounds in the dry and although coaching was replaced by lunch one day and shopping the next, we had a super sunny Saturday morning of coaching before we left. Great trip and really looking forward to going back for NY. Not sure what the theme is going to be, but I am sure it will be fabulous.
Until the next Newsletter, enjoy your golf wherever you are.