Archive for the ‘Clubs/Courses’ Category

Stoke Park renovations…

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Stoke Park renovationsBACK-NINE BOOST FOR STOKE PARK’S HISTORIC COURSE!

Stoke Park renovations…

Following a widely acclaimed renovation of its first nine holes last winter, Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel, in Buckinghamshire, is to follow suit on holes 10 to 18 from November.

In keeping with the work undertaken on the Colt course last winter, the scheduled refurbishment of the Alison course, comprising holes 10 to 18, will see every bunker fully renovated.

In addition, there will be new tees and an extensive reworking of the water features on holes 12 and 17, plus some cosmetic tweaks to the water hazard on 16.

The Alison will, consequently, be closed until the spring, but 18 holes will remain open throughout as members and visitors can combine the nines of the Colt (holes one to nine) and Lane Jackson (holes 19-27) courses.

Stoke Park renovations – What they said…

Stoke Park renovationsStoke Park’s director of golf, Stuart Collier, explained: “When we began the renovation last year it was always a three-year plan, with one of each of the nine holes being refurbished each winter.”

“The work on the Colt course has been a spectacular success and we’re now looking to bring the second nine holes in line with the first, both in terms of design consistency and playability.”

Additionally, we’re looking to create a truly world-class finish on holes 16 to 18, without losing the feel and aesthetic that Harry Colt was kind enough to leave us. And, in doing that, we need to also ensure the course can be played and enjoyed by golfers of all levels.

He went on to say, “We achieved that aim on the Colt nine and firmly believe we will, ultimately, attain the same high level of design aesthetic and playability on the Alison, to ensure the course is at peak condition for the 21st century golfer.”

Stoke Park renovations – What about the ‘James Bond’ hole…

Included in the Stoke Park renovations are the holes famously recorded for posterity in the 1964 James Bond classic Goldfinger – the 17th and 18th – when the eponymous ‘baddie’ was beaten by Sean Connery’s 007, in front of the clubhouse. So the legend remains!

The stunning course is laid out across 300 acres of parkland created by the celebrated Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown – the 300th anniversary of whose birth is currently being celebrated nationwide – and was designed by the equally revered golf architect Harry Colt, 1908.

Stoke Park renovations – How much is it costing…

This winter’s Stoke Park renovations, the middle section of a three-part project, is the latest instalment of a seven-figure investment in a facelift of the whole course by owners the King family.

The work begins on November 1 and the Alison course will be reopened to members on April 21, 2017.

Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel is one of just two five-AA Red Star golf clubs in England and the historic land on which it stands is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.

It was awarded the accolade of ‘Ultimate Members Club’ at the fifth annual 59Club Service Excellence Awards, held earlier this year.

The historic course played host to the PGA Matchplay in 1910 and has a thriving golf club with around 800 active members.

For more information go to www.stokepark.com

By Dave Bowers

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Golf returns to the 2016 Olympics…

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Golf returns to the 2016 OlympicsIs it really 1461 days ago since the great British public were all sitting on our sofa’s preparing for the greatest show on earth to descend upon London?

Good as it was, there was always one thing missing for the London 2012 Olympic games?

But what? Fast forward four years and we have the answer – golf returns to the 2016 Olympics!

Forget the Zika virus, forget those players not travelling to Rio, forget  the problems that have plagued the course forget the debates about whether the format should be individual or team based…

…GOLF is back on terrestrial TV and that can only be a good thing for the game!

Golf returns to the 2016 Olympics – The Dates…

It’s been over 100 years since golf last appeared in the Olympics and it was St. Louis, USA, that hosted the event that year.

This year the tournament will take place at the ‘The Rio’ course purpose built for the event in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood in western Rio.

The Men’s quest for gold will begin on Thu 11th and run through to the Sun 14th, much the same as all PGA/European tournaments. The Ladies quest will begin on Wed 17th and finish on Sat 20th – check TV listings for more details.

Golf returns to the 2016 Olympics – The Venue… 

Olympic golf course, Reserva de Marapendi, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The new Olympic golf course was built by Hanse Golf Course Design, who was chosen from eight contenders to build the course.

The President of the Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Rio 2016 Carlos Arthur Nuzman said: “As the 2016 Games marks the return of golf to the Olympic Games after over a century of absence, this course represents the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the sport.”

He went on to say…“It will enable Rio to host important events in the international calendar and it will be an example of sustainability and preservation of an environmentally protected area.

“This course will be an excellent facility for the practice and development of golf and will inspire millions of youth across Brazil and the globe. We look forward to welcoming the athletes and spectators to the course in 2016.”

After the games, the course will become a public facility and will be used to enhance golf’s profile within Brazil and, according to the organising committee, this would represent “one of the most important Olympic Games legacies for sport development in the country.”

Golf returns to the 2016 Olympics – Qualification…

Qualification to Rio is based on world ranking as of 11 July 2016, with a total of 60 players qualifying in each of the men’s and women’s events.

The top 15 players of each event (Men’s and Ladies) will qualify, with a maximum of four golfers allowed to enter.

Once all countries have selected their players any remaining spots will go the highest-ranked players from countries that do not already have two golfers qualified.

Furthermore, at least one golfer from the host nation and each geographical region (Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania) will play.

Golf returns to the 2016 Olympics – The favourites…

Unfortunately, many of the world’s best golfers are sitting out the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio due to the threat of the Zika virus, there will be a limited field for those who like a flutter  when the games get underway.

As always we have visited a number of betting sites to gauge the market, this time we have taken our lead from 888sport

Among the biggest names competing for the gold medal in men’s golf for the first time in the Olympics since 1904 is favourite Henrik Stenson of Sweden.

Stenson won the 2016 British Open at Royal Troon in Scotland last month, it was his first major victory of his career, and he now hopes to repeat the feat at the new Olympic Golf Course in Barra da Tijuca.

Stenson placed seventh at the PGA Championship last weekend and is expected to battle Sergio Garcia of Spain for the gold. Garcia is the second choice on the Rio Olympics odds and missed the cut at the PGA Championship following fifth-place in each of the previous events: the British Open and U.S. Open.

The other contenders for gold include Justin Rose of England, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar of the United States, along with Martin Kaymer of Germany.

Of those golfers, Rose, Watson and Kaymer have won majors while Reed, Fowler and Kuchar have all yet to prove themselves on major events, although maybe the Olympics will change that.

To be considered as well, reigning Masters winner Danny Willett of England.

The Olympic format will be a 72-hole individual stroke play tournament in accordance with PGA rules. A three-hole playoff will then take place if there are any ties for the first three places in order to award gold, silver and bronze medals.

Golf returns to the 2016 Olympics – TSG Prediction…

OK, we may be a tad bias, but  as golf returns to the 2016 Olympics, we think it’s going to be Justin Rose’s year – remember where you heard it first!

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By Ian Mullins

 

London Golf Show 2016 visitors in 2m+ giveaway…

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

London Golf Show 2016 - Chart HillsWith the return of the London Golf Show only a few weeks away now, the popular consumer show has teamed up with golf clubs in London’s Home Counties to give away more than £2million-worth of golf rounds to visitors of the show this August…

London Golf Show 2016 – The Offer…

Every visitor to the show – which takes place at Glow, Bluewater, in Kent, from August 26-28th – can claim nine free rounds of golf worth more than £300, simply by visiting the stands of each of nine clubs.

London Golf Show 2016 – The Clubs…

Each of the clubs – The Addington, Croydon; Bletchingly, Surrey; Chart Hills, KentCherry Lodge, Biggin Hill; Farleigh GC, Selsdon, Surrey; Surrey National, near Coulsdon; Weald of Kent, in Headcorn; Westerham, Kent; and Woldingham, near Whyteleafe – will give a FREE green fee to every visitor to their stand.

The London Golf Show 2016 – The background…

Launched in 2005, the London Golf Show is the UK’s longest-running consumer golf show and was designed to appeal to golfers – and potential golfers – of all ages and abilities.

With myriad interactive stands – including nearest-the-pin, long-drive and Long-Putt contests; free PGA tuition; a massive indoor driving range featuring the majority of golf’s best-known club brands.

They’ll be custom fitting; club testing; trick-shot displays; simulators; the latest golf gadgets; extensive retail; and the opportunity to win everything from a packet of tees to an exotic golf holiday, it is the ultimate day out for any golf enthusiast.

The London Golf Show’s Events Director, Simon Jones, said…

When we sat down at our initial planning meeting for the show, our first topic of conversation was how we could work together with our exhibitors to get more people playing golf – because that’s a major talking point in the golf industry currently. And we have been delighted by the response from exhibitors to our initiative to give away free round”.

Members are most likely to play at their own club, but occasional golfers – or people who may not have played for a while – are much more likely to play if it’s not going to cost them. And now they can with each show visitor able to walk away with more than £300-worth of free golf.”

“The London Golf Show is the longest-running consumer golf show in the UK – and this constitutes our best ticket offer ever. No question. It’s extraordinary value thanks to the generosity of our exhibitors.”

London Golf Show 2016 – How do I buy tickets…

Tickets to the London Golf Show 2016 are FREE for accompanied under-16s, and also for lady golfers, until August 25.

Tickets cost just £7.50 – until July 31 – for everybody else.

Entry will cost £15 on the door

www.londongolfshow.com

The London Golf Show takes place at Glow, Bluewater, in Kent, from August 26-28, 2016. Tickets can be purchased from www.londongolfshow.com/buy-tickets/

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By Ian Mullins

Ashdown West Golf Club – TSG Review…

Monday, July 4th, 2016

Ashdown West Golf ClubIt’s always a pleasure to review new golf courses, so I felt very excited about visiting  Ashdown West Golf Club at Forest Row, East Grinstead to give it the once over.

Previously known as the West Course at  Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club, there’s a lot enjoy…

Ashdown West Golf Club – The Clubhouse/Shop…

Situated only 20 minutes from the M25, the club is very accessible from all directions and is well worth visiting!

Newer than its sister course, on paper you could be forgiven for assuming Ashdown West Golf Club is the “poor relation” to  the “Old Course” but then you would be very much mistaken.

We arrived at lunchtime and met at the West Course clubhouse, a 2004 extension to the main clubhouse, but by no means overshadowed.

A short walk upstairs led to a bar area that was pleasant and very welcoming with two  outside terraces that overlooked the 1st tee & 18th green and the range.

We ordered sandwiches from the lady at the bar (who was very nice indeed); the sandwiches were plentiful, attractive to the eye and, most important, very tasty.

If the rest of the menu reached these standards, which I’m sure they do, then, no one will be disappointed with their choices.

A quick visit to the well-stocked pro shop to collect our cards from the young Pro (they’re all younger than me these days!) a quick practice on the driving range and at the chipping area, and we were on our way.

Ashdown West Golf Club – The History…

Ashdown West Golf ClubFounded in 1888, the Old Clubhouse was built five years later and parts of it still remain remarkably unchanged today. The bestowal of the title “Royal” came in 1893 after a visit from the then Duke of Cambridge.

Very few golf clubs boast two 18-hole courses, both over 100 years old, especially those that differ as much as the Ashdown West and the Old Course.

Ashdown West snakes its way through the heart of the Ashdown Forest that spreads for over 20 square miles in this most beautiful part of Sussex. The ‘West’ was once the longest ladies’ golf club in England.

It was originally founded as the Ashdown Forest & Tunbridge Wells Ladies Golf Club in 1889, barely six months after the formation of the main club and was only the second of its type to be formed in Great Britain, after Sunningdale Ladies.

In 1932 the course was lengthened to 18 holes, the same year that the ladies’ club was awarded Royal status in own right.

Since then it has gone through a number of alterations and now welcomes players of both sexes yet still remains of sufficient quality to be awarded Golf World magazine’s prestigious accolade as the UK’s best course under 6,000 yards.

Ashdown West Golf Club – The Course…

The 1st was a straight, tight, par 4, but a great opening hole to look at.

The fairway and green were in great condition (all them are at West Ashdown Golf Club), even though the previous day had seen torrential downpours; you wouldn’t even have known there had been any rain here.

The first six holes include the only Par 5 on the course which crosses a road mainly used walkers and some cars.

However, as there were not many golfers out this afternoon, I guess that the dog walkers know this and take advantage of the fact.  Whilst unusual and slightly distracting, it is public land so don’t let it  put you off your game.

If you can accept you will see others as you make your way, then you’re in for a real treat for the rest of the round.

The next six holes were tough, even though you are hitting only short irons.

There are no run-up areas to the raised greens from the fairways, meaning no pitch and runs allowed here but instead having to land directly onto the greens.

This was because of having very bumpy, rough, natural raised areas just in front of the greens which compensated for not having a single bunker on the course.

Yes, I’ll say it again – NOT A SINGLE BUNKER ON THE COURSE!

Strange, you may think, but it made the play no less challenging at all.

Included in this six was the 240 yard par 3 eleventh hole. I defy any mid to high handicapper to get down in three shots, What A Hole!!

The last six holes are a real joy, beautiful views, sweeping tree lined fairways and wonderfully true but tricky greens, there was even some water to avoid.

My most memorable shot of the day came at the 14th (index 1), a 450-yard par 4 right to left dogleg. Now, I can’t draw the ball, but I can certainly fade it (some say Slice), with great regularity…

I took on the trees to the left, with my driver and managed to clear them with that familiar shape on the shot.

Only problem was, I couldn’t see the end result; a ramble down the fairway allayed all my fears as, there it was, in the middle of the fairway, oh happy days!

There’s a beautiful downhill par 3 at the 16th which is only 122 yards, but still very tricky. It’s a dream hole to have a hole in one, you look down on the green with a brook just short, and giant oaks and pines for a backdrop.

It’s a dream hole to have a hole in one, you look down on the green with a brook just short, and giant oaks and pines for a backdrop.

You finish on the par 4, 435 yard 18th which has two streams running across the second half of the fairway, even if you have a great drive, take these on at your peril.

You may end up in them, AS I DID!!

Ashdown West Golf ClubAshdown West Golf Club – The Verdict…

This is a fantastic short course in great condition that will test your game to the max…

However, why should this game always be easy?

The beautiful scenery at West Ashdown Golf Club alone is enough just to pay the green fee and, if you play at the right time, you could be going round for just £20 on a lovely Summer’s afternoon with hardly anyone out there to spoil your game.

I will be back many more times in the very near future!

TSG Verdict: 4 out of 5


By Mark Crane

The Social Golfer Polo Shirts – ON SALE…

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

The Social Golfer Polo Shirt It’s always nice to look stylish these days on the fairways and now you have the opportunity to model the TSG team colours yourself by purchasing one of The Social Golfer Polo Shirts …

The Social Golfer Polo Shirt – The Design…

After receiving many samples from lots of different Polo shirt companies, we were clear on the look and feel of the shirts we wanted.

We had five key criteria;

    – Good quality breathable material

    – Comfort and design

    – Affordability

    – Appeal to both sexes

    – Availability in The Social Golfer brand colours

The shirt we have chosen and are all 100% cotton and comes in two variations for men and women

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The Social Golfer Polo Shirt – Our Selection…

– Super long chunky placket details with matching buttons

– Contrast piping detail on collar, cuff and placket

– Twin needle hem provides added strength to the garment and improves durability

– Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) Certified Production

– Fabric: 96% Cotton, 4% Elastane stretch micro pique.

– Weight: 200 gsm

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The Social Golfer Polo Shirt – Costs/Ordering…

– Single Shirt with Embroidered TSG Logo – Left Breast

– We have sourced a very reputable provider of branded merchandise

Cost = £25 (including free delivery)

PLEASE NOTE: In order to keep costs down, will we ONLY be making orders on a bi-monthly basis OR when we reach the minimum order of TEN shirts.

NEXT ORDER BEING PLACED –  Feb 2017

Unfortunately, due to the nature of embroidery, once the shirt has been made up, the shirt cannot be sold again, so please be very careful when choosing the sizing.

However, there is a quality guarantee and if you are not satisfied with your order, you have 14 days in which to return the product. Contact us on 01277 – 200207

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The Social Golfer Polo Shirt – Sizing…

 

TSG Polo shirt sizing MEN

The Social Golfer Polo Shirt - Mens

 

 

 

 

TSG Polo shirt sizing LADIES

 The Social Golfer Polo Shirt - Ladies

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The Social Golfer Polo Shirt – How do I buy one…

That’s the easy bit.

Just click on any of the following links and pay using a credit card/ debit card or via PayPal account via the PayPal gateway.

So what you waiting for….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Golfing in the Algarve turns 50…

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

golfing in the algarveThe Algarve – Europe’s number one golf destination – has reported a record-breaking start to its golden year of golf, marking 50 years of golfing in the Algarve, since the birth of the game in the sunshine region.

Golfing in the Algarve turns 50 – Europe’s number 1 Golf Destination…

It’s hard to imagine the Algarve without thinking of golf, yet golf wasn’t born on this sunshine coastal area until 1966 when Henry Cotton first laid out the Championship course at Penina.

Fast-forward half a century and our alluring region has not only become one of Europe’s premier holiday spots, but also an award-winning golf destination.

With a staggering 40+ courses/layouts that can be played all-year-round, it’s no wonder the Algarve draws hundreds of thousands of golfers to its fairways each year.

The Algarve is the southernmost region of mainland Portugal, and more than half of its courses decorate the 150-mile coastline, which also boasts spectacular beaches, picturesque rocky coves, quaint fishing villages and a rich cultural heritage.

Golfing in the Algarve turns 50 – The stats…

The southern Portuguese coastline boasts 43 fabulous courses and fresh from celebrating its record year in 2015 when more than 1.2m rounds were played.

However, there was more good news with the release of results for the first four months of 2016 showing a huge increase of 17 per cent.

Figures for January to April showed more than 458,000 rounds of golf played – a staggering 68,000 more than the same period last year.

In real terms, that is more than 563 extra rounds played per day, as golfers flocked to the fairways.

Golf in Portugals' Algarve turns 50

Golf in the Algarve turns 50 – what they said…

Maria Manuel Delgado e Silva, ATA golf product manager, said: “What an amazing start to our landmark year for golf! As they say with a good wine or cheese – one gets better with age – and these results give us confidence that the Algarve continues to grow in popularity, attracting golfers from around the world”

“It has been a fantastic team effort from the thousands of people who work so hard and have shown such dedication throughout the Algarve’s golf industry.

“We believe we provide the best blend of golf, accommodation and hospitality, combined with climate, access and value for everyone.”

He added, “We would like to thank all golfers who have already visited and we are ready to extend a warm welcome to many more guests as our golden year continues.”

It’s a significant milestone for the region and it’s also fitting that the cream of European golf will be welcomed in October for the 10th edition of the Portugal Masters.

Thinking of golfing in the Algarve? Portugal is the perfect destination for golfers of all ages and abilities, with something to suit every taste and budget.

For more information visit: www.visitgolfalgarve.com or www.visitgolfalgarve50years.com

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Associação Turismo do Algarve (Algarve Tourism Association) is the official entity, appointed by the Portuguese Tourism Board, responsible for defining strategies and to promote golfing in the Algarve abroad.

ATA is a non-profitable association, a joint-venture between the public and private sector.

My Golf Obsession – Confessions of a Golf Addict Pt 2…

Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Paul Houghton - My Golf ObsessionLet me introduce myself, my name is Paul and I’m a golf addict!

My Golf Obsession – When did my golf addiction really start?

Someone once said, “The key is to learn from failures and then keep going!”

Well back in the late 90’s Scuba diving was my thing. I loved nothing more than hauling on a dry suit and submerging myself into the murky waters of Stoney Cove or Gildenborough water.

In the summer, I’d brave the Channel and other exotic destinations….

As life does it throws you a curve ball. I picked up an infection at work, (remember I was a roofer) the long and the short of it was I was diagnosed with Necrotising Fasciitis (the Flesh eating Bug).

However, after what I like to refer to as ‘my lost weekend’ I emerged from hospital minus 5 stones in weight… and my right leg above the knee.

What’s all this golf to do with golf you say? Bear with me….

Paul Houghton - My Golf ObsessionMy Golf Obsession – What I did next…

After my amputation, I did return to scuba diving but it’s a tough sport with two legs, let alone one. I did do a three and a half mile charity swim for McMillan but my love of this adventure had waned somewhat.

I needed a different challenge…

Enter Amputee Football. This started but I met the England national team amputee goalkeeper (as you do), he  only had one arm!

He put me in touch with the Southend United Amputee Football team manager and I was part of this circus for three years.

Amputee football is seen as too dangerous to be included as a Paralympic sport, so right up my street.

Over the next  three years; I rose to the heady heights of Chairman of the club but again life made some changes and it was time to move on….

Paul Houghton - My Golf ObsessionMy Golf Obsession – You look like a golfer!

A colleague of mine at work used to shout out; “You look like a golfer!” every time I limped past his desk.

He was recruiting for the Council’s golf society. “How can I play golf I’d answer?

Plenty of one-legged golfers out there he’d retort“.

This went on for some time, one day he made his usual demand; I stopped looked him in the eye, and said, “OK, put me down for your next event“.  It turned out to be Manor of Groves, Hertfordshire.

Now, ‘time’ had moved on in golf club technology, the Slazenger XTC’s were no longer state of the art equipment.

In fact, when I dug them out from the back of the garage, they were not exactly in what you would call in tip top condition either.

But they will have to do I thought. It had been roughly 12 years since I have hit a golf ball, so off to The range I went.

Paul Houghton - My Golf ObsessionMy Golf Obsession – Starting again…

Earlier I mentioned a quotation, which actually came from Sir Ranulph Fiennes. A man I deeply admire. So learning to swing a golf club with a bit missing can’t be that hard….can it?

Memories of those eventful outings with CT came flooding back.  This time around, I intended keeping the ball in play a bit more.

Life on a prosthetic leg can be kind of interesting.  The opportunity of crashing down onto terra firma is never too far away. Balance and stability are key to standing upright and keeping your remaining limbs unbroken.

Introduce the golf club, and life for the leg amputee gets slightly trickier.

I had a little over a week to nurture my swing into a competitive stroke, allowing me not  to look too foolish at the society bash.

The basic principles to hitting a golf ball on one leg are the same as with two.

Obviously over swinging is going to cause loss of balance, so having a more conservative swing with more focus on ball contact makes a lot of sense.

So with a few basic fundamentals in place I turned up at Manor of Groves anxious that I would not make a complete fool of myself.

What a day it was it was! It was a scorcher as the temperature rose into the 90’s, the other society members gathered. I knew a few from work to say hello but none you would call friends.

I was introduced to the captain, given a card “What’s your handicap?” said the secretary discreetly looking at my prosthesis which gleamed from my shorts.

I don’t have one!” I exclaimed. In the past CT and I had played off 18 but that was wishful thinking even then).

“OK how about we try you off 32!”

Seemed fair to me (although I didn’t think I could be more than 28?!).

Paul Houghton - EDGA - TheSocialGolfer.com

My Golf Obsession – It’s the leg, honest…

I was introduced to the four-ball I was playing with….

As you all know, Social golf is a great way of meeting new friends but being the new boy and being half robot does make you feel slightly apprehensive.

A suction socket on Prosthesis is sufficient in everyday life but for sporting activity and on a hot day, air expands and the stump gets sweaty.

So you tend to let out a fart like sound every time you get up from a chair especially getting out of a golf cart – what would these guys make of me?

I shared a bacon roll with my four-ball partners and made my excuses so as to collect my golf bag and get a buggy.

Thrupp off went my leg… charming the lady member of the four-ball exclaimed, my face reddened.

On the tee, I joined my colleagues, hit a scruffy shot down the fairway and took a big sigh of relief.

Thrupp went the leg; my female playing partner looked at me with disdain.

After a few holes, I was getting exceedingly hot, I had secured a few points and the two chaps I was playing with were nice enough, but the lady was a bit fierce.  She was a good player and very competitive.

On one hole she hit her ball into the rough; I thought she had given it up, so returned to my ball in front on the fairway.

She was very hot and bothered and hollered that she could still score if only she could find her ball.

I returned to help her search…Thrupp went the leg “That’s not nice” she exclaimed, “It’s very undignified“.

I can’t help it!” I offered…Thrupp! We played on.

Now this lady was very well-endowed and she was perspiring heavily. Her shirt had become very sweaty in the chest area and was becoming a bit see through.

About this time the others players arrived to help in the search. Hands on her hips she ripped into them (one of them must have stared, a bit too intently at her now semi-transparent shirt on course etiquette).

Are you looking at my chest she demanded!”  Thrupp! I tried to move uncomfortably away from the now intense debacle …only to hear her shout again “Will you stop farting, you rude man!” she screamed!

Needless to say, the rest of the round was a little tense, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Paul Houghton - EDGA 2015

Paul Houghton – EDGA 2015

My Golf Obsession – Back at the Clubhouse…

Shooting well over a 100 I was pleased to contribute a few points into the match even if I was last.

I declined the club cleaning service offered, as I feared the rust and dirt were holding the clubs together.

I left early from the meal careful only to let my stump give out a gentle ‘Thrupp’ as I got up from the table.

I saw my male playing colleagues look over smiling, my female companion was not.

Is that your leg making that noise?” someone asked…

You’ll never know I replied!” and hastily made my exit.

My golf obsession had begun!

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Paul Houghton is a member at Riverhall Hall Golf Centre where he plays off 17. He’s also a member of the Disabled Golf Association and European Disabled Golf Association; he has represented England nine times in tournaments.

South Moor Golf Club – Augusta of the North…

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

South Moor Golf ClubThere have been many famous golf course designers who have made a name for themselves around the world but are there any more celebrated than South Moor Golf Club designer, Dr Alister MacKenzie?

He is probably most well known for being the designer of Augusta (home of the US Masters), Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne.

However, not so much is known of South Moor Golf Club in County Durham, England.

South Moor Golf Club – The Architect…

Nicknamed “The Course Doctor“, Alister MacKenzie was born in Yorkshire to Scottish parents in 1870.

He studied at Cambridge and Leeds Universities with degrees in Chemistry, Medicine and Science, joining his father’s medical practice in Leeds.

Away from work, he was an active member of the Leeds Golf Club. He went on to serve in the Boer War 1900-01.

After WWI he joined the Royal Engineers as Second Lieutenant in order to teach camouflage techniques at the Army Camouflage School in London.

Dr Alister MacKenzieHe later took up medicine again but then abandoned his medical practice in favour of golf course architecture.

His decision to do this was in part down to his strong conviction that golf had very real benefits for patients, and he was quoted as saying…

How frequently have I, with great difficulty, persuaded patients who were never off my doorstep to take up golf, and how rarely, if ever, have I seen them in my consulting rooms again!

He then emigrated to the United States and nine years after his work in County Durham, his fabulous Augusta creation staged its first Masters.

He died in January 1934 in California, the year the US Masters was inaugurated.

South Moor Golf Club – The Club…

Over the years the club has always been extremely well supported but in 2015, the club decided is was time to promote this little known gem to a wider audience.

The club originally started life as a miners only National Coal Board golf club in 1923.

MacKenzie was a friend of Basil Sadler, managing director of Holmside & South Moor Collieries and MacKenzie started work on the course two years after its opening to redesign its layout and his work is the bedrock of the course today.

Following the redesign, the club adopted the club motto ‘nil nisi optimum‘, roughly translated from the Latin meaning Nothing but the Best!”.

In 2011 The Daily Express portrayed the “Made by MacKenzie” stamp on our course when South Moor hosted the England Boys Open, the McGregor Trophy.

South Moor Golf Club – The Course…

South Moor Golf ClubThe layout of the course is as good as any the TSG team have played in recently. Each and every hole is different and you can certainly see where some of the Augusta layout was born.

The course starts with a simple Par 3, but don’t assume it’s an easy start. The green has more breaks and borrows than you can see.

Once away, the course meanders through parkland and undulating fairways but none of the inclines will leave you gasping for breath.

However, you will get to enjoy some great views across the Durham countryside.

All of the fairways are beautifully cut and the remains of the originally ploughed fields the fairways were built on just add to the attraction of the course.

Credit should go to the greenkeepers, who clearly love the course. All the tee boxes were immaculate and the yellow gorse (in full bloom on our visit) make the place a delight to walk around.

So, to the stand-out holes. The 4th is a challenging Par 4, dog-leg left finishing to a tiny green protected by bunkers – a real treat to play. The 7th is a perfectly straight downhill Par 4,  but you will need a measured shot to ensure you hold the green.

South Moor Golf Club

The 10th is again a testing downhill hole which requires a conservative drive (in fact most holes do), allowing you top plan your second and third shots to the green, over a ditch and a bunker protected green.

However, could there be a better finishing hole?

A 450 yards right to left terrain, your second shot to the green in front of the clubhouse will either win you the match or have you heading for the bar to drown your sorrows.

Finally, we mention the Par 3’s, as everyone requires a different club! Ranging between 140 yards and 180 yards, you will enjoy every one.

Did we like the course? No, we LOVED it!

In addition, all the staff were incredibly welcoming and all the members we met were very keen to know what we thought of the course.

Which tells you, just how much they do!

TSG Verdict: 5 out of 5

South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club – Where to stay…

If you require accommodation in the area, look no further than  Hill Top View Guest House in Meadowfield.

As good as any 5-star hotel we’ve stayed in and very reasonably priced rooms from £55 per night.

South Moor Golf Club – And finally…

Not many of us will ever get the chance to play at The Augusta National but if you want to get a flavour of what it’s like, you could do a lot worse than heading to County Durham.

Visit South Moor Golf Club, you will not be disappointed!

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For more information on South Moor Golf Club, the history and green fees information, visit the club website or contact the club direct on 01207 283 525.

By Ian Mullins

Essex Golfer makes it back to back major victories at TSG Masters 2016…

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

TSG Masters 2016 - Steve Slater.jpg 2

TheSocialGolfer.com, the online social networking community for golfers celebrated its 3rd annual TSG Masters Championship at Warley Park Golf Club on 23rd April 2016…

30+ Golfers from all over the South East of England gathered at the Essex-based club, all hoping to be TSG Masters 2016 Champion golfer.

The TSG Masters 2016 – How they qualified…

The members of the online social network had all qualified via a number of different means, some via the website’s monthly leaderboard.

Some via other TSG Major events with the remaining spaces snapped up via the ballot and/or by special invitation with no one wishing to miss out on the first TSG ‘Major’ of the year.

This made for an exciting competition and while some TSGers were familiar with the course layout, most were totally new to it.

The field ranging from 6 handicappers to 30 (men and women) played the Childerditch and the Warley ’1 to 9′ loop, two very different layouts offering their own challenges.

The latter including the superb 17th Par 3 signature hole across the water.

The TSG Masters 2016 – The Winners…

The event was won by Essex based golfer (Harlow) Steve Slater, who also won the TSG OPEN at Bletchingley GC (Surrey) in July 2015.

Slater is the first TSG golfer to hold two Major titles at the same time on the popular website.

After 18 holes, Slater scored a hard earned 32 Pts off his 17-handicap but still needed to rely on the count-back to seal victory. Michael Moos 2nd (Herts – 32 Pts) and 3rd Brian Scott (Essex – 31 Pts).

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There was also some fun to be had with 2 x Nearest Pins and a ‘Straightest Drive’ keeping the day alive for those that were not troubling the leaderboard and a Par 3 Competition to add to the drama on the day.

Other winners included popular ‘TSGer’ Denis Conway (Middlesex) with Slater also collecting the ‘Nearest Pin in Two’ and Moos also adding the Par 3 Trophy to his haul.

TSG Masters 2016The TSG Masters 2016 – What they said…

We’ll leave the final words to our new TSG Masters Champion: What a way to start my golfing year and I can’t quite believe I now hold two TSG Major Trophies. I’d like to thank all the TSG team and the Warley Park staff for putting on a great day. Winning is always a pleasure but to beat some of the great golfers from The Social Golfer twice in the same calendar year is a dream. I look forward to coming back and defending the Trophy next year!”

Kevin Smith, Director of Golf at the venue said:“We were delighted to host the TSG Masters 2016 event for the third consecutive year. It’s like we’re becoming the Augusta of TSG! The TSG members are always very respectful to us and our members and they are always fun to have around. We welcome events like this at the course and look forward to having them back again in 2016!”

WATCH VIDEO NOW!

 

National Golf Month – May 2016

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

National Golf Month 2016

Last week saw the start of the third annual National Golf Month

The initiative, created by golf event specialist Doug Poole and the British Golf Industry Association (BGIA) aims to increase the participation in golf getting the 100,000 new or lapsed golfers to try golf in May 2016.

Funded by the ‘Grow Golf’ Trustees and in partnership with amongst others Bauer Media (Today’s Golfer & Golf World)  + all the major Golf Unions and Associations, Golf Clubs, Driving Ranges, Golf Manufacturers and PGA Professionals – the aim is to reverse the trend and get more people playing golf and having fun …

National Golf Month – What’s it all about?

Firstly, there is a new National Golf Month website promoting the month hosted by newly launched activity booking site – www.fibodo.com. This will host all the offers available at your nearest club/range.

Secondly, free coaching will be available at selected venues. And finally, there will be plenty of other golf discounts to take advantage of.

In order to get this event in the public psyche, there will also be a media campaign combining radio, magazine and social media hitting over 25 million people, creating customers who wish to return to golf or learn to play.

However, there are also some heavyweights putting their names behind the cause, including Paul McGinley, Ian Poulter and new kid on the block Charley Hull.

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National Golf Month – Here’s what some of them had to say:

Paul McGinley – Ryder Cup Winning Captain

“I am delighted to be supporting National Golf Month of May 2016. Golf faces many challenges in these times as competition with other sport and social activities intensifies. Golf is a game that has given me, and my family, great pleasure, health benefits and opportunities to meet some amazing people. I would encourage everybody to get behind this”

Ian Poulter – Pro Golfer

““I’m fully behind the great initiative that is National Golf Month. The more people we can get out playing, the better, and hopefully this will help people realise that it’s a fun, healthy and sociable thing to do!”.”

Georgie Bingham – Sports Presenter

“I’ve always been quite sporty but I didn’t find my match until I found golf – I am now a complete addict! Golf is the ultimate leveller; a sport that caters for all abilities – a sport you’ll never be good enough at to be satisfied AND one that is sociable, outdoors and as much about playing against.”  

Charley Hull – Pro Golfer

“I am delighted to be able to support National Golf Month (NGM2016) again this year. It is great to be a part of an event which raises awareness and participation of golf across the UK. I hope to inspire more people to try golf this year. Keep an eye out for all the deals on offer and enjoy getting out on the course!

Melissa Reid – Pro Golfer

“National Golf Month is a great initiative and I am excited to support it in 2016. Golf is an incredibly rewarding sport and I have been lucky enough to travel the world and make lifelong friends through it. I look forward to being a part of NGM2016 and introducing more people to this great game.”

 

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