Archive for February, 2017

The Open Championship 2020 returns to Kent…

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

The Open Championship 2020Its official, The Open Championship 2020 will be played at Royal St George’s Golf Club…

In the build-up to the 149th staging of The Open Championship 2020, the golfing world will turn its attention on Royal St George’s – also known simply as Sandwich – as well as the many other fine golf courses in Kent, putting the county in the media spotlight.

The Open Championship – Royal St George’s…

The Open Championship 2020 sees the competition return to the county after an absence of nine years; its last staging, also at Sandwich, was in 2011 when it was won by former Ryder Cup captain, Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland.

Royal St George’s, recognised as one of the top 10 golf courses in England, remains the only course in southern England to feature on The Open Championship roster.

Royal St George’s is honoured to be chosen to host The Open Championship once again and it will be a fantastic opportunity to show the world what a tremendous golf offering Kent has in terms of top quality courses, excellent accommodation and a range of historic and cultural off-course attractions,” commented Tim Checketts, Secretary at Royal St George’s.

The Open Championship has a longstanding association with Kent. When it returns in three years time, it will mark the 18th time that the county has hosted the tournament.

Indeed 2020 will be the 15th occasion that Royal St George’s has staged the event, with the first time dating back to 1894.

Neighbouring Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club, another of England’s most revered championship links, was the venue for The Open in 1909 and 1920 whilst Prince’s Golf Club, adjacent to Sandwich, hosted the tournament in 1932 when it was won by Gene Sarazen.

The east coast of the county is also the location of another championship links gem at Littlestone and the challenging clifftop course at North Foreland, both of which have hosted Final Open Qualifying events for The Open Championship as recently as 2011.

The Open Championship 2020  – Other Kent Courses…

Kent also has an abundance of highly-regarded inland courses such as the two downland layouts at London Golf Club that were designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus.

In Edenbridge, Hever Castle Golf Club offers 27 holes in picturesque parkland, with its very own ‘Amen Corner’ from the 11th to the 13th of the championship course made up of the King’s and Queen’s nines.

Not far away in Lenham, an exquisite nine holes at Leeds Castle Golf Club overlooks what is said to be ‘the loveliest castle in the world’.

In addition, Pentland Golf’s downland courses at Boughton and Etchinghill are built on typical Kent terrain.

Boughton, near Canterbury, has taken advantage of the county’s naturally undulating landscape whilst with Etchinghill, close to Folkestone has been expertly carved out of the hillside overlooking the Elham Valley.

Golf in Kent is a partnership set up between Visit Kent and some of the county’s leading golf clubs and hotel providers to promote the county as one of England’s premier golfing destinations.

Known as ‘a golfer’s paradise in the Garden of England’, Kent offers a wide variety of golf breaks which are easily accessible from the international airports of London and from Europe via Eurotunnel le Shuttle and the ferry port of Dover.

For more about Golf in Kent and its partners, go to www.golfinkent.co.uk

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The Majors Part2 – The US Masters…

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

the US Masters In the second in our series of articles on golf’s Major events, this time we turn our attention to the second oldest event in the golfing diary – The US Masters!

Every year we get excited about the upcoming golfing calendar with some enthusiasm.

Each year there are different players in contention and no one golf tournament is ever the same!

The ‘Grand Slam’ events in golf include:

– The US Masters (Augusta National) April

– The US Open (Various) June

– The OPEN (Various) July

– The PGA Championship (Various) August

This is then now complemented but The Olympics every four years (from 2016) with the host city supplying the venue.


The US Masters…

the US Masters Universally seen as the curtain opener to the golfing season, The US Masters began in 1934 and is the only Major that is always at the same venue each year – the glorious Augusta National in the US southern state of Georgia.

The idea for Augusta National was the brainchild of Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones. Jones wanted to build a golf course after his retirement from the game. He sought advice from Roberts, who went on to become the Chairman of the club.

He sought advice from Roberts, who went on to become the Chairman of the club.

They found a piece of land in Augusta of which Jones is reported to have said: “Perfect! And to think this ground has been lying here all these years waiting for someone to come along and lay a golf course upon it!”

The land had been an indigo plantation in the early nineteenth century and a plant nursery since 1857. Jones hired Alister MacKenzie to help design the course, and work began in 1931.

The course formally opened in 1933, but sadly MacKenzie died before the first Masters Tournament was played.

However, MacKenzie was also the architect of other famous courses such as; Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne. (see South Moor GC)

The Championship is full of history and abides by some long-standing traditions….

Since 1949, a green jacket has been awarded to the champion, who must return it to the clubhouse one year after his victory.

Although it remains his personal property and is stored with other champions’ jackets in a specially designated cloakroom.

In most instances, only a first-time and currently reigning champion may remove his jacket from the club grounds.

A golfer who wins the event multiple times uses the same green jacket awarded upon his initial win (unless he needs to be re-fitted with a new jacket).the US Masters

The Champions Dinner, inaugurated by Ben Hogan in 1952, is held on the Tuesday before each tournament and is open only to past champions and certain board members of the Augusta National Golf Club.

Beginning in 1963, legendary golfers, usually past champions, have hit an honorary tee shot on the morning of the first round to commence play.

However, this honour was given up to the BIG three in Arnie, Jack and Gary but sadly this is no longer possible following the death of Mr.Palmer in 2016.

Other that have had the privilege of this honour include Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead and Byron Nelson.

Finally, the newest event at The US Masters is probably the best loved – The Par 3 Championship started in 1960, but it’s no indication of who will win the main event…. the winner of this Par 3 contest has never won the main event!

The US Masters – Qualifying…

The Masters has the smallest field of the major championships with around 100 players.

Unlike other majors, there are no alternates or qualifying tournaments.

It is an invitational event, with invitations largely issued on an automatic basis to players who meet published criteria.

The top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are all invited.

Past champions are always eligible, but since 2002 the Augusta National Golf Club has discouraged them from continuing to participate at an advanced age….

Who is eligible for that all important invitation…

– Masters Tournament Champions (lifetime)

– US. Open champions(five years)

– The Open champions(five years)

– PGA champions(five years)

– Winners of the Players Championship (three years)

– The Current US Amateur champion and runner-up

– Current British Amateur champion

– Current Asia-Pacific Amateur champion

– Current US Mid-Amateur champion

– Current Latin America Amateur champion

– The first 12 players, including ties, in the previous year’s Masters Tournament

– The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year’s U.S. Open

– The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year’s Open Championship

– The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year’s PGA Championship

– Winners of PGA Tour & playoff events that award a full-point allocation for the FedEx Cup

– Those qualifying for the previous year’s Tour Championship(top 30 in FedEx Cup)

– The 50 leaders on the Final Official World Golf Ranking for the previous calendar year

– The 50 leaders on the Official World Golf Ranking published a week prior to the Tournament

– Most of the top current players will meet the criteria of multiple categories for an invitation.

– The US Masters Committee, at its discretion, can also invite any golfer not otherwise qualified.

The US Masters – Previous Winners…

the US Masters The first winner of the Masters Tournament was Horton Smith in 1934. He repeated his win in 1936.

The player with the most Masters victories is Jack Nicklaus, who won six times between 1963 and 1986.

Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods have each won four, and Jimmy Demaret, Gary Player, Sam Snead, Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson have three titles to their name.

Player also became the tournament’s first overseas winner with his first victory in 1961.

Other notable winners include Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Tom Watson, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Ben Crenshaw, José María Olazábal and Bubba Watson, who have all won the Masters twice

The US Masters – Who’s our tip for 2017…

It’s very difficult to predict the outcome of these events.

We all remember Jordan Speith’s now infamous collapse in 2016 allowing Brit Danny Willett to come up on the inside and steal the day.

As with many sports, modern technology now allows us to make a bet on our favourite players, even once the tournament has started.

However, if you are thinking of getting in on the action this year be sure you are using as respected and established company….

You can also now gamble on who finishes last, who takes the most putts across the week and even on who’s scores the most birdies but one of the recent innovations in picking the winner of The Major Championship is LIVE betting. E.g.  Betting on Live Golf Events*

* Bet responsibly (like the ad says, When The Fun Stops, STOP!)

There’s are plenty of reputable betting companies available on which to place a bet but ensure you are only using a recognised bookmaker who is also regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.

The US Masters – Our favourites…

US Masters GolfAs we write this article we are still some weeks away from the US Masters, so its probably too early to predict our winner but this year could be a vintage year.

Tiger is back, Rory wants to add this Major to his portfolio, Henrik Stenson is hungry for more Majors but as last year showed it could be anyone.

Maybe we should look to Official World Golf Ranking for inspiration….

1 1 Jason Day AUS 10.60
2 2 Rory McIlroy NIR 9.59
3 3 Dustin Johnson USA 9.19
4 4 Henrik Stenson SWE 8.42
5 5 Jordan Spieth USA 8.19
6 6 Hideki Matsuyama JPN 7.95
7 7 Adam Scott AUS 6.34
8 12 Justin Thomas USA 5.78
9 8 Patrick Reed USA 5.40
10 9 Alex Noren SWE 5.24

But, that’s about it for our tips!

The US Masters – And finally…

With the US Masters no longer just one of Golf’s big events but also one of Sport’s great annual spectacles, and as such we will again be parked in front of the TV come 6th April….and we can’t wait!


By Ian Mullins

 

Is technology good for golf?

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Is technology good for golf?Golf is among the most popular sports in the world with an estimated 390 million fans worldwide, according to Sporteology

So it comes as no surprise that companies are looking to the digital landscape to release new innovative golf-themed apps, games and training tools to sell to such a vast market.

And these products aren’t just aimed at novice golfers, some are targeting at professional players.

Unlike other sports, golf (as you know) is a non-contact sport and for the most part isn’t as physically demanding as say, rugby or football.

However, while it may not be as demanding on the body, the margin for error on a golf course is psychologically draining, meaning you need to be on top of your game at all times.

If you’re a beginner you can consider taking golf lessons to improve your game or venture to the driving range as much as possible to improve your ball striking.

But if you want to sharpen your technique without having the luxury of a course professional at your beck and call, alternatively you cab use many of the new digital aids now available on the market.

Is technology good for golf?

In the digital age, as well as mobile apps that can support players in terms of technique and collect useful data and stats on things such as swing speeds, impact angle.

One of the most impressive pieces of technology we have seen to date has to be The Robot, recently installed in state of the art golf studio in Camberley Surrey.

However, at over £150k per unit this will be out of most golfer budget.

Here are just some of the latest (affordable) technology available on the market in 2017…

Is Technology good for golf – SKY PRO…

Is technology good for golf?SkyPro is an app which focuses on one important skill – a player’s golf swing.

Combined with a small device (the size of a thumb drive) that can be attached to your golf club, SkyPro analyses your swing and identifies faults which you can then fix and/or improve upon.

This nifty little gadget will cost you around £200 (App is free) and is reasonably priced considering that a Golf Coach will probably cost you around £40+ per hour.

SkyPro has been around for a couple of years now, with the app getting regular updates. One of its main supporters is Hank Haney, the former coach of Tiger Woods, who stated on twitter that SkyPro is revolutionising the way teachers help golfers.

SkyPro allows you to be your own coach if you’re unable to get professional guidance.

Is Technology good for golf?  Zepp Golf 2…

Unlike other golf gadgets, Zepp Golf 2 doesn’t attach to your club – instead, it fits on your glove.

Utilising a synchronous connection with your mobile through Bluetooth, the app can render your movements in a series of 3D still shots or a video, which you can then view on your phone giving you instantaneous data to work with.

Is technology good for golf?The makers have specified the six mechanics measured by the device, namely: club speed, club plane, hand plane, hand speed, backswing position and tempo.

You also have the option to follow a preset required number of swings per week and get a detailed report from the app afterwards, complete with tips for further enhancing your performance.

The device retails at around £130, while the app is free.

Is Technology good for golf? Hole19…

Hole19 is a different kind of tool because it’s main function is to help golfers familiarise themselves with around 40,000 golf courses, which is roughly 95% of the world’s courses.

But Hole19 can do so much more, as it can assist players in gathering course data such as GPS yardages, hole map imagery, stat tracking and other key statistics which will aid players in making quick decisions and adjustments – while playing.

The free app is also compatible with smart watches, which brings more convenience to players especially in the middle of a game.

In 2016, Hole19 acquired more than 800,000 active users from all over the world.

Is Technology good for golf? Away from the course…

Is technology good for golf?Having these three trainer aids in your arsenal (or in today’s parlance your smartphone) is a good start, but there are plenty of other digital tools that can help develop your golf skills.

With the continuous development of mobile technology, there is sure to be more apps and devices in the coming 12 months that will break new ground in helping golfers hone their skills.

However, there has also been some evolution in the way we play golf away from the course….

For example, Phone Arena revealed that the World Golf Tour Mobile app provide updates with the latest Pro tournaments and now includes the 2016 Virtual US Open in its database, mainly due to requests from players of varying abilities.

We’ve also witnessed the evolution of PGA Golf on the PlayStation, originally made famous by Tiger but now endorsed by Rory McIlroy on the cover.

Another notable game that has been released in honour of the sport is the slot game Golden Tour, which was brought to the market by online gaming platform Betfair.

While the last couple of examples of the sport’s popularity in the gaming world cannot help you improve your golf swing, they certainly represent golf’s popularity as the sport breaks new ground in digital entertainment, giving fans alternative options to pursue their love for the game away from their local course.

Is Technology good for golf? The Future…

Is technology good for golf?We can only speculate where this form of the golf industry go next but one thing for sure is that whether it be a Swing App, a GPS Tool or a gaming activity – technology is set to develop more and quicker than ever before over the next few years….

The best thing about digital age is you longer have any excuses for improving your game or indeed for enjoying the game more than ever before.

Ps The TSG Team will be at the PGA Golf Show in Jan 2017, bringing you more updates on the latest technology product available in the company season…


Follow us @TSGers

By Ian Mullins