Hello from Bermuda! For the first time ever we have embarked on a tour to the Island, which I am sure is going to create many positive memories for all concerned. I will write the usual blog report on the tour in due course, but certainly from the first day or two, it is a venue that I highly recommend.
Although this is a personal statement, I have to share it with you. For the first time in over 30 years, I’ve had eight weeks off from hosting events, and yet have been as busy as ever! Now, I fully appreciate why retirees always say that their lives get busier after retirement, albeit that I haven’t retired yet!
Well, the US Open was rather fascinating, wasn’t it?! What will Phil do next, or rather, what will the USGA do next?! I couldn’t believe what happened in the third round. Firstly, it has to be said, that the course set up was rather ridiculous. Phil Michelson so frustrated by it, having hit a putt far too hard, ran after his ball and while still moving at a pace, hit it back towards the hole. He claiming he knew it was a two shot penalty for hitting a moving ball and was happy to accept that. Whatever happened to the rule of deliberately stopping or deflecting the ball? In truth, he and the USGA must have realised the correct decision was disqualification. It’s a shame that the USGA didn’t have the courage to do the right thing, and equally that Phil, having realised the wider implication of his actions, didn’t withdraw. The balance between an acceptable challenge and the etiquette of the game is a fine one, but the rules are the rules…well supposedly!
The rules of golf are in fact far too complex for general play and I do hope, having dipped their toes in the water with a few changes due from January 2019, the governing bodies have the courage to make some far more radical changes and simplify them drastically for club golf. In the meantime I encourage everyone to look up the rules that occur everyday regarding lost balls, out of bounds, unplayable lies, water hazards (red and yellow stakes differ) and free drops. Basically, there are three rules to understand that apply in different circumstances and a correct procedure of how and where to drop the ball. The one rule I don’t see players use enough is the unplayable lie. Remember, at anytime, you are the sole judge, and for a one shot penalty you can lift and drop ball. There are many occasions where you can guarantee to extricate yourself from trouble rather than risk the consequences of hitting it; drop it or hit it, they both count one shot. The rules can help as well as penalise, but don’t ask Phil or the USGA!!
Anyway, off my high horse and back to the future. The longest day and two of the Majors have passed. The Open, at what is generally regarded as the toughest Open venue, Carnoustie, in less than a month away, whilst the build up to the FedX Cup in August and probably the most intense arena of all, The Ryder Cup at the end of September is well underway. Add to that, Wimbledon, World Cup Football, cricket, and we are all in sporting heaven – is there time to play golf? Of course there is!
Barney and I will be hosting two Golf & Coaching weekends at Staverton for those who like to brush up or improve their game during August. I am at Woodhall Spa again from the 29th July and Barney is in Shropshire from 5 September for a five day golf tour with friendly competitions. Although the UK is currently sizzling, and how wonderful it is to have an extended period of good weather, now is also a good time to look a bit further afield and extend your summer golf into the autumn and winter months. Please see Iain’s section below and the website for more details of Golf & Coaching, Golf Weeks and fabulous Long Haul overseas events during those months. The Italian Lakes, New Zealand, Canary Islands, California, South Africa, as well as the usual and always popular Algarve, are all on the menu!
The Great British summer really is happening this year and as the temperature is rising, so it seems are our sporting aspirations. England now into the knock out stages of the World Cup and clearly destined for great things. The England one day cricket teams trouncing the Australians (don’t get to say that too often!) and Tommy Fleetwood flying the flag with his brilliant runner up display in the US Open. Perhaps a homegrown winner is on the cards for this years Open at Carnoustie in Justin Rose? It is always good to admire his rhythmical golf swing, which you can have a look at here. That would certainly be a fillip to Thomas Bjorn and the European team as it’s always great to have a current Major Champion in the team.
Jennie and I are going to be there to cheer on the players and then staying on for a few days to take in some of the Senior Open at St Andrews (sadly I know more of the players in this event!).
Talking of teams I am really looking forward to teaming up with David for our two Golf and Coaching events at Staverton in August. It is always great to get together as with our schedules we are rather like Clark Kent and Superman, in that you very rarely see us in the same place. Before anyone asks, I am Clark in this relationship! I am also looking forward to playing some new courses in Shropshire in September, which is always such a nice month to play golf.
On the subject of new courses, I have been following the progress of the proposed course in the Highlands, Coul Links. It is in the Dornoch region and has some of the best land for building links couses certainly in Britain if not the world. The American developers have been very sensitive to the environmental aspects of this project and as such garnered local support, so the development will become reality probably in 2020. Clearly economically it is a significant boost to the economy there and a trip playing Dornoch, the beautiful Brora and Coul will be on everyone’s wish list. I am already pestering Iain to slot in a DSG trip there for 2021 so watch this space. The designers are the highly respected duo of former Masters Champion Ben Crenshaw and course designer Bill Coore who have worked together for 30 years. I did smile when reading an American article about the pair which said “Bill and Ben show great empathy and intelligence to any project they undertake”. Those of us of a certain vintage will not be able to immediately think of the Flower Pot Men although pretty sure the new amazing course will not be featuring Little Weed. I have heard on the back of this alliance leading designer Tom Doak is seeking his Jerry.
All the best
I trust that you are well and enjoying the glorious weather. After the long winter, I think it’s only fair that the County should enjoy a long, balmy summer!
With David currently hosting the Bermuda tour and Barney about to commence the West Country tour, it does make such a difference when the trips are complimented by good weather.
With regards to the coming months, we still have places available on the two August ‘Golf & Coaching’ weekends, although both are now beginning to fill up. There are also places remaining on both David’s Lincolnshire tour at the end of July and Barney’s Shropshire tour in September.
For the autumn period, the Italian Lakes tour still has places available, as do the two weeks in Spain in October, at the Guadalmina Golf Resort, followed by the Benalup Golf Week with Clinics. The two Tenerife weeks in November, which are of a ‘Golf & Coaching’ and ‘Golf Week’ nature respectively, are always popular; hence please keep an eye on the availability of these if you are interested in attending one or both of them.
The Festive tours have as ever proved very popular, so much so that the New Year Dona Filipa week is already fully booked, and the Christmas Vilamoura week is heading that way too. However, there are places available on David’s Christmas week at the Robinson Club and the New Year Vilamoura week.
Moving into 2019, the early season programme is now available on the website, with January featuring a ‘Golf & Coaching Week’ at the El Rompido Golf Resort and the traditional ‘Algarve Golf Week’ in Tavira, the week after, Barney is hosting the tour to Southern California in February, whilst David is slightly closer to home with a week in the Canary Islands. In March David is long-haul in South Africa, whilst Barney makes a very welcome return to Morocco for a ‘Golf Week’. For regular visitors to the ever popular Dona Filipa Resort, please keep an eye on the web-site for two ‘San Lorenzo Golf Weeks,’ one which commences on the 30th March and one a week later, commencing the 6th April. We also have a Tavira ‘Golf & Coaching Week’ taking place the week commencing the 23rd March. Last but not least, have a look at next June and the Golf week in Biarritz, which Barney will be hosting. Staying in the old town and playing some of the best courses in the area, it will be both a week to look forward to and one to remember.
Thank you as always for your interest in the events and we very much hope that they may prove to be of temptation!
Enjoy the sublime weather and also the feast of sport that is currently in our midst!
Currently on our way to Bude for the West Country Golf Tour and really hoping that the lovely weather holds for the week. Personally looking forward to Saunton Sands as much for the brilliant golf course as for the Pro Shop which is one of the few that has a great range of ladies clothing! Home for a few days and then as Barney says off to The Open and The Senior Open and staying in St Andrews which is superb. Last time we visited in June and it was torrential rain and a bracing wind, so I will be taking both summer and winter garb to watch the golf.
Until the next Newsletter, enjoy your golf wherever you are.
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