Much has happened in the golfing world since our September newsletter, a quite enthralling finish to the FedEx Cup, the Ryder Cup and a thrilling one hole victory by Ronnie and Hazel in the Isle of Wight 4 BBB Ladies Championship!
Congratulations To Ronnie and Hazel on winning the Isle of Wight 4BBB Ladies Championship. I don’t have full details but a last hole victory must have felt like their Ryder Cup!
Rory’s Fedex Cup Wasn’t it good to see Rory with a hot putter in hand? I don’t think there is anybody better when that is working and what wonderful timing leading up to the Ryder Cup. During September he climbed above and defeated the whole USA team in their own back yard! He is one of the rare ones who can play the most wonderful shots under white hot pressure. Maybe the $13 million dollars he won over those three weeks will compensate for any reduction in his Nike contract now they have pulled out of the hardware side of golf!
Ryder Cup Make no mistake the USA deserved their win. Europe had their back to the wall from the first morning foursome whitewash and in the singles the putting separated the teams. Regardless of the excitement and golf being played at the highest level under the most intense pressure, which one can only marvel at, I really don’t like the football crowd like behaviour of the American crowds. Whilst I’m sure it doesn’t apply to the majority and I don’t condone him for saying it, but maybe Danny Willett’s brother was not far off the mark with a certain element of US fans! I have no problem with a partisan crowd and it cuts both ways when the return match is in Europe, but golf was never meant to played in that environment. Whilst the Ryder Cup is probably the number one contest in golf, I thought the hostile atmosphere detracted from this epic bi-annual match and certainly less enjoyable viewing for me. Maybe one or two of the players need to take a look at themselves too. Getting the crowd on your side is one thing, inciting them another. As I said though, the best team won and probably with the best match play golf ever witnessed.
September Tours During all the September excitement at the pinnacle of the game we ran our Irish Tour in Wexford and a second Swedish Tour, to Gothenburg, Sweden’s second city. A report of both are on the blog section of the website, I have to say Ireland, as usual, ticked the boxes and we travel a little further south next year to Cork. Sweden again proved absolutely first class. A surprisingly good destination for all the right reasons and don’t let the prospect of poor weather in a northerly country put you off in September, shirt sleeve golf in the main and a light sweater walking out in the evening was the order of the day both years!
Lost Phone Somewhere in transit from Ireland to Sweden I lost my phone along with all my contact numbers. I would be grateful to receive an email from anyone who is happy for me to restore their number to my new one.
Ping Club Fitting I recently headed off to the Ping club fitting centre at Gainsborough having decided that in my more senior years and the vast advancement in technology during my lifetime, I should take advantage and bring myself up to date with the latest technology and ensure that I can only blame my incompetence and not my equipment for poor shots!
I have never been one for changing my golf clubs regularly, especially my set of irons (3 sets in the last 35 years). Woods I have changed more often with the innovations over the years affecting their development more. The improvement of lightweight materials has made graphite shafts the norm, in longer clubs, with driver and fairway “wood” heads changing from wooden persimmon and strata block to metal which has allowed the size of driver heads to become enormous. Now limited to 460cc in size, I remember going to a trade show where a new larger metal driver had been introduced at 275cc and asking how large they thought they may finish up. The consensus was that 275 was too large and it would settle around 235 – and we thought that was large!
Iron heads changed from blades to cavity backed game improvement design, Ping being at the forefront of that innovation and the first to bring custom fitting to the mass market. It is vital for consistent ball striking that the club head sits on the ground at the correct angle and the shaft length suits your height and arm length. For years professional golfers had adjusted their clubs and we as club professionals would adjust the length and lie of clubs for some members, especially those of taller or shorter stature. This was done in a rather crude but effective way with a hammer and vice!
When being fitted for my new clubs, length and lie was a pretty straightforward calculation and of course similar to what I have used for the past 45 years. However, it was trying the now, much larger selection of shafts, that was fascinating. I thought it really good that, while everything was calculated on the computer, I was hitting the ball down a range for real and not against a net or indoor screen. The consistency of length, ball flight, strike and dispersion were clearly seen on the computerised screen as was the angle of attack and swing path. Following my first few shots, Paul, my fitter of many years experience, was able to call the shots I was likely to hit with the various shafts before I hit them! Stiff steel shafts in irons, graphite in hybrid, driver and three wood, interestingly all stiff but of different weights. And finally, a putter fitting. I think I could pretty much have got very close to selecting all the other specs myself through feel, trial and error but the putter, never. Of all the clubs, that is the one I am most fascinated to see the results of.
I could say much more about this subject but I am not the technical expert, however, I will finish by saying this. You will not improve your golf by buying the latest clubs on the market, but by getting properly fitted you will know the clubs you have are giving you the best chance, albeit they cannot improve poor or erratic technique. Especially after my recent experience, I would always recommend being fitted for new clubs and if you are of a mind, Barney can arrange Ping fittings and supply your choice, whether that be for a full set or a single club.
2017 Winter Season I complete my 2016 season with a couple of weeks in Portugal, the Sri Lanka Tour and Festive season, all but fully booked. I then commence 2017 on January 14th with a Golf & Coaching week at La Quinta, a first class coaching facility and 27 holes of good and varied golf, usually found in great condition. Accommodation is in the very well received Melia Marbella Banus Hotel within easy walking distance to the famous port. From Marbella we move down the coast a few kilometres on 21st January for our annual season opening Golf Week based in Fuengirola, playing the two fine Mijas courses and my and many others favourite along this coast, Santana. The 1st April San Lorenzo Golf Week with Clinics sold out immediately and we managed to secure rooms at the Dona Filipa Hotel for a second week commencing March 25th. Our ever popular golf week with clinics at La Cala Resort follows 29th April, these weeks being interspersed by Easter Golf & Coaching at Staverton Park jointly hosted by Barney and myself. All the events involving coaching are strictly limited in numbers and if recent history is anything to go by early reservations are recommended.
I look forward to seeing you somewhere during the following months and please remember my team and I are always here to offer advice and answer your questions.
As David said much has happened on the golfing landscape in the past month. The Ryder Cup as always provided some amazing golf and tension and really the form team that is at home will usually triumph, as proved at Hazeltine. On the subject of crowds, I think we need to take a leaf out of David and I’s other favourite sport Rugby. The supporters are fully behind their team and respectful of the opposition, both players and fans. Of course we want our team to win, but the ultimate winner always needs to be the sport.
The American team also gained energy from wanting to honour Arnold Palmer, who sadly passed away at the beginning of Ryder Cup week. Arnold single handedly changed the perception of golf and really turned it into a sport for everyone. I thought his biographer James Dobson summed him up beautifully “He represented everything that is great about golf. The friendship, the fellowship, the laughter, the impossibility of golf, the sudden rapture that brings you back, a moment you never forget, that is Arnold Palmer in Spades. He’s the defining figure in golf”.The weather has been very kind of late and generally our UK programme was very fortunate in the amount of sunshine hours. I am pretty certain that by November that won’t be the case, so feeling very grateful that Jennie and I will be in Tenerife with a great group of clients for DSG. The courses look fabulous and I am pretty sure the apres golf will be lively too. The following week our “golf on the lovely islands” continues with a Golf with Clinics on the picturesque Madeira. The golf is fun there and we really enjoyed the food last year and after a glass of wine I may be persuaded to join in the local dancing again! We have some spaces remaining on this trip, so if you fancy some golfing pearls of wisdom, nice courses and a lovely setting this is the event for you.
Jennie and I are also looking forward to hosting our first New Year trip in Vilamoura, Portugal. There can’t be a better way of starting the year than with some golf in the sun.
I am really glad that we could organise a fitting for David with our friends at Ping. In David’s case I feel we are arming a golfing Leonardo da Vinci, with a new set of paint brushes! These customised clubs aligned with David’s rhythmical swing will be a thing of beauty and now he has a customised putter look out… if you fancy doing the same or wanted to chat about your equipment, we are always happy to give you some impartial advice. Of course, with modern technology I can answer from anywhere in the world where life or DSG takes me!
I trust that you are well and that the disappointment of last Sunday evening is now easing! Another great fight back appeared to be on the cards, but alas it was not to be. We live in interesting, fascinating and turbulent times, and yes, it all affects the golf industry too! I announced last month that the Robinson Club had become rather starry eyed and had introduced a policy to essentially reduce the number of single occupancy rooms and drive up their room rates by concentrating on achieving double occupancy income.
It was not the most well thought out strategy, and after a dramatic fall in bookings, and numerous cancellations, they changed their minds and withdrew the policy entirely! I can now happily report that the ‘Golf & Coaching Weeks’ are once again back at the Robinson Club in 2017, as indeed is the Christmas 2017 golf tour.
Exchange rates are also the theme of the moment and trying to price the trips for next year is proving a challenge. With the Pound having devalued against the Euro now by 20% since June, we are looking at venues that still provide the usual quality, but which are sensitive to the purse and wallet. As I say, interesting times!
Looking ahead at the coming weeks, we still have places available on the Sri Lanka tours. The tour really does offer a wonderful blend of colonial history, Indian Ocean beaches, three wonderful golf courses and some super inland destinations. The Madeira week too has places available, should November in the sunshine (we hope!) be a more attractive proposition than November at home. The Madeira weeks that we have run in the past, both Golf Weeks and Golf & Coaching weeks, have always proved immensely popular, due to the quality of the courses, the good quality hotels and the charming ambience of the island as a whole.
For the Festive period, David has one space available on his Christmas week, whilst Barney and Jennie have spaces available on their Vilamoura New Year week. There are some super courses being played during the course of the week, if you are tempted by the warmer climate of the Algarve.
Moving into the New Year, there are six places available for the second and third weeks of the South African tour in February.
Our March programme has been greatly affected by the situation at the Robinson Club in Tavira, but with that now resolved, the details of the March events will be appearing on the website in the next few weeks. Please also note that the Easter Golf & Coaching weekend is now available for bookings, as is the Dorset Golf Tour, which proved so popular this year. Looking much further forward the itinerary for the Arizona Tour in November 2017 is also being finalised, and we will be launching the programme soon to provide clients with as much time as possible to plan for the trip.
Please keep an eye on the web-site, because there will be a lot of updates occurring in the week and months ahead.
All the best
Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to comment on David and Barney’s blog re the events you have attended. It makes so much difference to potential clients and other clients to hear how enjoyable the golf trips are.
BT and emails We have been experiencing difficulties with sending emails to clients with btinternet and btconnect email addresses. If you have these addresses can you mark info at davidshortgolf.co.uk as a safe address please, thank you.
The weather has been so glorious this week in the UK that I have been out golfing most of the time. My thoughts are going out to people in the Caribbean and Florida who are either avoiding or planning for the hurricane that is hurtling around.
Keep giving us your feedback on the events and enjoy your golf.
With kind regards,
David and the team
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