Archive for the ‘Clubs/Courses’ Category

The Majors Part 3 – The US OPEN…

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

the majors golf trophies 2In the third 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 OPEN!

Every year we get excited about the upcoming golfing calendar with some enthusiasm. 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 Majors – The US OPEN…

The golfing calendar is on and we have already got past the US Masters in April 2017, with maverick Sergio Garcia holding off Justin Rose in a dramatic and nerve-wracking play-off to emerge as the winner.

As the dust settles, everyone is waiting with bated breath for June 12, 2017.

That is the day that one of the most prestigious golfing events in the US, the 117th edition of the United States Open Championship, popularly referred to as The US Open, kicks off at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin.

The US Open has a rich history spanning 117 years from the time it was held for the first time on October 4, 1895, at Newport Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island.

From fielding 10 professionals and one amateur in the day-long competition across 36 holes back then to its present avatar, to be held in Erin Hills, Erin, Wisconsin, this event has come a long way.

The 2017 edition will feature 156 players and comes with a prize fund of $12 million and is the first major with a winner’s prize in excess of $2 million.

US Open Trophy The Majors – Player Qualifications for the US Open 2017…

There are different routes that players can take to qualify for the US Open. For the 2017 event, there are a number of qualifiers that players can use to get to Erin Hills come June 12, 2017. These include:

– Local qualifiers:  held across the US. For this year’s US Open, currently 8979 players are competing for 525 spots

– Sectional qualifiers: held in Japan, England, and the US, with the first one being held at Ono Golf Club, Japan,

There are also 16 categories of exemptions available for players to use to participate in US Open 2017. These include…

– Winners of the US Open for the past 10 years

– Winner and Runner-up of 2015 US Amateur Championship – he must still be an amateur

– Winner of the 2016 Amateur Championship conducted by the R&A – he must still be an amateur

– Winner of the 2016 Mark H. McCormack Medal – he must still be an amateur

– Winner of The Masters Tournament for the past 5 years

– Winner of the Open Championship for the past 5 years

– Winners of the PGA of America Championship for the past 5 years

– Winners of the Players Championship for the past 3 years

– Winner of the 2017 European Tour BMW PGA Championship

– Winner of the 2016 US Senior Open Championship

– Gold medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games

– The lowest 10 scorers and ties in the US Open 2016

– 30 qualifiers for the 2016 season-ending Tour Championship of the PGA Tour

– Top 60 Point leaders in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) as of May 22, 2017

– Top 60 point leaders in the OWGR as of June 12, 2017

– Special exemptions as selected by the United States Golf Association (USGA)

 


The Majors – US Open 2017…

Erin Hill Golf Club - The US OPENThe US Open is the 5th major championship to be held in the state of Wisconsin – it has held 4 other PGA championships earlier apart from the US Amateur Championship in 2011.

Erin Hills is the venue of a major for the first time, which means the first thing to look out for is the course itself.

The Majors – The Erin Hills Course…

The course at Erin Hills is spread across 650 acres and the huge slopes all across it, together with the unpredictable weather, can make it quite an intimidating place to play at.

It can play up to 8100 yards, which makes it longer than Hazeltine National Golf Club where the 1991 edition of the Open was held.

This course will also be the first one in US Open history to play as a par-72.

Given the dry conditions, it is very likely that we will see some relatively low scores.

The Majors – Players to Watch Out For…

The 2017 US Open is a showcase event and the focus of the entire media – print, electronic, online and social – is squarely on golf and its players.

It is interesting to note that between 2000 and 2016 Americans have won the US Open 8 times.

Entering the US Open this year is quite easy – all you need is a 1.4 handicap and a $200 entry fee, after which you have to go through the qualifying grind.

This year, 9,485 players have entered the event, the fifth-highest number: the highest was 10,127 in 2014 at Pinehurst.

A galaxy of past champions will be part of the playing field this year including; Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Angel Cabrera, Graeme McDowell, Lucas Grover, Martin Kaymer, Webb Simpson. Some information on key players at the 2017 US Open is listed below….

Dustin JohnsonDustin Johnson - The US Open

Dustin Johnson is a big name to watch out for at the US Open this year, for a number of reasons. The first of course, is the fact that he is the current No.1 ranked player in the world.

And then there is the other little detail to consider: he is also the defending champion, having won a grueling battle at the Oakmont Country Club last year.

Out of the US Masters in April with a freak back injury, he is now back and in roaring form.

He will have an advantage at Erin Hills because of his length and the fact that this is an 8000+-yards course.

BMW Wentworth

Rory McIlroy

Currently ranked No.2 in the world, the Irishman went through a drought of titles in 2016. However, he bounced back with wins at the FedEx Cup and also the Tour Championships that year. He is one player who is a constant threat to all others when it comes to winning. He had had the distinction of holding the No.1 ranking for 95 weeks and is a 4-time Major champion. He is also a member of both the US and European PGA Tours.

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth is a former No.1 ranking player in the OWGR and a 2-time Major champion. He is the youngest player to win the US Open, after Bobby Jones in 1923, and also the youngest runner-up in Masters history when he came second to Bubba Watson at The Masters in 2014. He has also tied the 72-hole record that had been set by Tiger Woods back in 1997, apart from being the 2015 FedEx Cup Champion.

Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama is a 24-year golfing prodigy from Japan who won four of his last five tournaments last year. This includes the Hero World Challenge and also a WGC event in China. He is a 4-time PGA Tour winner and 8-time Japan Golf Tour winner. His most recent win was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he defended his title against Webb Simpson.

Justin Rose

Justin Rose is an English professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour. He is also a member on the European Tour. He was the first Englishman to win a Major since 1996, the year Nick Faldo won. He is also the first Englishman to win the US Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970. Rose has also tasted Olympic glory, having won gold at the men’s individual event in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He has been in top form, despite losing out dramatically to Sergio Garcia at the US Masters this year. He is one player to watch out for.

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia has been an enigma. He has played on the PGA as well as the European Tour on the PGA. A brilliant golfer who had a stunning 0 wins when it came to the majors, he broke the jinx at Augusta this year by winning the US Masters. He defeated Justin Rose in dramatic fashion in a sudden-death playoff, pulling off the win at the first hole.

Of course any player could win the trophy, but we think these players above are the ones to watch out for.


The Majors – Betting at the US Open…

Betting on golf has exploded in recent times because of easy access to the game – be it watching it on TV or following online – and also the opinions of golfing pundits.

Another major reason for this explosion is the wealth of licensed betting sites available to followers of the game and even to casual punters.

Millions of pounds are wagered almost daily at the various golfing events around the world, and the money only grows bigger when the event is something like the US Open.

The odds-on favourite of course is the No.1 ranked player in the world currently, Dustin Johnson; every sportsbook has seen money wagered on him. Leading bookmaker William Hill has the odds listed at 6/1 for Johnson.

The following are the odds on some of the other players winning, as per William Hill:

  • Jordan Spieth: 7/1
  • Rory McIlroy: 8/1
  • Jason Day: 10/1
  • Hideki Matsuyama: 14/1
  • Sergio Garcia: 20/1

There are rank outsiders as per the bookmakers too. These include Billy Horschel, Jason Dufner, Scott Piercy and Marc Leishman, all at 100/1, while Daniel Summerhays brings up the rear at 125/1.

So as 12th June approaches, you could get incredibly busy if you are into golf and also making some good money placing the right bets.

There are lots of guidelines that can help you decide whom you want to bet on, including form books, the official player profiles at the USPGA website and more.

However, regardless of who wins, this year’s winner is guaranteed the distinction of being the one with the biggest US Open paycheck ever!


By Ian Mullins

 

 

Brand lifts TSG Masters 2017 title at Warley Park…

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Ruth Brand - TSG Masters Champion 2017TheSocialGolfer.com (TSG), the online social networking community for golfers celebrated its 4th annual TSG Masters 2017 Championship at Warley Park Golf Club on 22nd April.

 The TSG Masters 2017 – The Day…

Golfers from all over the South East of England gathered at the Essex-based club, all hoping to be this year’s TSG Masters 2017 Champion golfer.

Thirty-two members of the Online Golf Club 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 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 new course layout, most were totally alien to it.

The field ranging from 11 handicappers to 26, played the Childerditch and the Warley ’1 to 9′ loop, two very different layouts offering their own challenges, the latter including some superb water features.

Ruth Brand - TSG Masters 2017 ChampionThe TSG Masters 2017 – The Result…

As always, it was the greens at Warley that proved the real test, with only seven players reaching 30 pts but after 18 holes, it was Ruth Brand (Sussex) who scored 32 pts and became the first outright female winner of a TSG Major!

2nd was John Barber (Hertfordshire) on count-back with a close 31 Pts, with Dave Allchorne 3rd (Hertfordshire) just missing by a point too.

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. Winners on the day included popular ‘TSGers’,

Winners on the day included popular ‘TSGers’, Carlos Ramos (Kent), Judy Lilley (Kent), Ron Woodham (Essex) and Gary Tonge (Essex). However, we’ll leave the final words to our new TSG Masters Champion…

However, we’ll leave the final words to our new TSG Masters Champion…

 The TSG Masters 2017 – What they said…

From the moment I drove through the gates at Warley Park and saw all The Social Golfer Flags on display I knew it was going to be a fun day and winning just made it all the sweeter and doing it for the girls was even better! The TSG team always put on a great day and this was no different. Friendly people, testing course and great chips (with plenty of salt) enjoyed by all after! “

“The venue was a great choice and I’m sure everyone would agree, a real challenge, those greens were fast. My playing partners were fun and it was great to meet all the new and old TSG faces after the round…. TheSocialGolfer.com epitomises the spirit of the game of golf and it’s great to know that whenever I play with someone through the site, they’ll be like minded and great company. “

She went on to say...”I must thank TSG for making it one of  the golfing days of my life and I can’t wait to see everyone again for the TSG OPEN Championship event at Farleigh GC in July!“.

Ian Mullins, Director of Golf Events at TSG said“In a year when everyone is trying to encourage more Women to take up the game, I couldn’t be more thrilled that Ruth has shown us that the girls can beat the men on their day. We will do all we can to encourage more and more women to participate in our events! #thisgirlreallydoesgolf. ”


For more information contact us at theteam@thesocialgolfer.com OR visit www.thesocialgolfer.com

 

Women & Golf Magazine PUMA & COBRA – Reader Day…

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Women & Golf Magazine PUMA & COBRA – Reader Day – The Course…Women & Golf Magazine

The tree-lined golf course at Silvermere is a true test of golf located in the heart of Surrey. The first six holes are sure to get the pulse racing with tight fairways, challenging approaches and great views.

However, the course is probably most renowned for the 17th and 18th holes which are played over Silvermere Lake.

The 18th hole finishes into a semi-island green that has been recently re-built, offering a spectacular finishing hole.

For players, there is the thrill of hitting over the lake onto the island target. For the visitors enjoying the ‘Inn on the Lake’ there is always the hope of watching another ball confined to a watery grave.

The course was designed by Neil Coles and Brian Hugget and opened for play in 1976.
Whilst it is not a long course by modern standards, the combination of tree lined fairways and the succession of water holes makes it a particularly challenging course. Playing to your handicap is a real achievement at Silvermere.

Silvermere, however, really should be better known for its former use as the site where Barnes Wallis tested his famous Dambuster bouncing bomb.

In the film and more recent TV documentaries, you may recall scenes where Barnes Wallis used a huge catapult to fire mini prototypes across a lake to test whether they should use forward or back spin, a spherical or cylindrical shape or a smooth or dimpled surface.

Women & Golf MagazineThese tests were all conducted on Silvermere Lake, so if you stick the ball in the drink on the 17th or 18th just put it down to scientific endeavour and be consoled by the thought that your ball has joined other valuable objects in the water…

Silvermere is also well known for its extensive Golf Store situated at the club.

Want to play in the Women & Golf Magazine PUMA & COBRA – Reader Day?

To book a place, email kim.wild@womenandgolf.com. If you have any queries, please call 0207 434 0995


*Offer available on Thursday 6th July only. Discount excludes the purchase of waterproofs, accessories, headwear, shoes and golf equipment. Excludes sale items.

Farleigh Golf Club named TSG OPEN venue…

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Farleigh Golf ClubOrganisers of The TSG Open are delighted to announce Farleigh Golf Club has been chosen as the host venue for this year’s event, following a competitive tender….

The flagship event of popular Nomadic golfer community, TheSocialGolfer.com, is now in its 7th year.

Due to attract over 70 golfers from around London and the Home Counties – with some from as far afield as Botswana! – this year’s TSG Open will take place on Sunday 30 July 2017.

TSG Open 2017 – The Event…

The event is a good “social” opportunity to meet many of 5k strong UK TSG members, with prize giving and the presentation of the now much coveted Halliwell Cup (donated by Stroke Survivor and British Inclusive Golf Ambassador, Ian Halliwell).

Farleigh Golf Club 3The day will consist of an Individual 18 hole Stableford Competition (Men & Ladies), a ‘Yellow Ball’ team event, Straightest Drive, 2 x Nearest Pins, a Guest Trophy and Charity Auction & Raffle.

There will be plenty of prizes on offer for all of the above winners and runners-up, with £5 from every entry fee donated to the winners’ charities.

Watch video of last year’s event here – TSG OPEN 2016.

This year, the event will also host an indoor nearest pin competition on Farleigh Golf Club’s state of the art golf simulator – adding yet another dimension to the day!

TSG Open 2017 – Farleigh Golf Club…

Farleigh Golf Club is located just moments from London, close to junction 6 of the M25. Part of the Foxhills Collection, the Club celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2017 and is renowned for its lively Clubhouse, friendly staff and quality 27 hole course.

Farleigh Golf ClubIan Mullins, Managing Director of The Social Golfer, speaking on why the venue was chosen said: “It has always been our intention to grow the event beyond the core membership and the fact that this year we will be visiting Farleigh is a compliment to how the event has grown. Farleigh clearly demonstrated that they have both the course and a professional team to put on our flagship event and we look forward to working with Adam and his team to put on a great day.”

Adam Walsh, General Manager at Farleigh Golf Club, said: “We are delighted to be hosting 2017’s TSG OPEN. The Social Golfer embodies all that is great about golf: playing in a group and challenging yourself to improve in a fun environment. Our ambition at Farleigh is to help put a club in every hand, and teaming up with TSG is a perfect way to encourage more people to play more often. We look forward to welcoming all their golfers this Summer.”

For more information, visit www.thesocialgolfer.com or www.farleighfox.co.uk


 

Gourmet Golf Classic – Open Event…

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Gourmet Golf Classic

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Enter the Gourmet Golf Classic – 10th to 13th September 2017…

Following sold out events in 2015 & 2016, The Gourmet Golf Classic is back with its unique combination of great golf, great food and great fun.

Guests of the Gourmet Golf Classic will be treated to 3 nights bed and breakfast in the luxury Clayton Whites Hotel, which is situated in the heart of Wexford Town leaving you only minutes walking distance from all the shops, pubs and cafes.

Each day you will tee it up at a different golf course not more than 20 mins drive from the hotel. The courses are Wexford Golf Club, Enniscorthy Golf Club and Rosslare Golf Links.

The Club Choice Stena Line Gourmet Golf Classic Package includes:

– 3 nights B&B in Clayton Whites Hotel, Wexford

– 3 rounds of tournament golf: Rosslare Golf Club, Wexford Golf Club, Enniscorthy Golf Club

– 2 Evening Meals in award-winning local restaurants

– Return coach transfers to restaurants

– Return Ferry (car + 4 passengers)

– Presentation dinner in Clayton Whites Hotel

– Daily and overall prizes

Price: €399 per person sharing*.

BOOK NOW

 

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The Gourmet Golf Classic – more info…

This is a ‘Team Event’ with a social twist… each team will consist of 4 players, male or female, in any combination.

Each day your team will be split into pairs and then play in consecutive tee times opposite another pair from a different team.
For those wishing to enter in couples or three balls, we will do our utmost to allocate you into teams, if you wish.

In the evening time, you will be treated to three different dining experiences in some of Wexford’s finest award winning restaurants.

The first two evenings guests will dine at two of our partner restaurants; La Marine Bistro, Greenacres Restaurant and The Lobster Pot.
On the final evening, everyone will gather together for a four-course Presentation Dinner at Clayton Whites Hotel.

The package includes return coach transfers to the restaurants so no need to worry about who’s driving!

There are Daily prizes, Overall Prizes and prizes for Ladies & Senior Teams.

Club Choice IrelandTo book, call Club Choice Ireland on 0800 285 1490

Email info@clubchoiceireland.com or use our contact form.

* Pricing is based on teams of 4 sharing a single car and includes return ferry. Terms and conditions apply.


Gourmet Golf Classic – Irish Entrants…

Golfers from Ireland will be pleased to know that they too can be a part of the Club Choice Gourmet Golf Classic Event. Irish players will enjoy:

  • 2 nights B&B in Clayton Whites Hotel, Wexford
  • 3 rounds of tournament golf:
    Rosslare Golf Club
    Enniscorthy Golf Club
    Wexford Golf Club
  • 2 Evening Meals in award-winning local restaurants
  • Return coach transfers to restaurants
  • Presentation dinner in Clayton Whites Hotel
  • Daily and overall prizes

Price: €265 per person sharing. Pricing is based on teams of 4. Terms and conditions apply.


 

 

Thomas Bjorn made Honorary Captain of The Shire…

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Thomas Bjorn - The Shire

Thomas Bjorn accepts invitation to be Honorary Captain at Seve Ballesteros course – The Shire…

Denmark’s most successful golfer, Thomas Bjorn’s stellar career has included 15 wins and 94 top ten finishes to date on the European Tour.

Twice runner-up in The Open Championship, and a three-time Ryder Cup player – always on the winning side – he was appointed Chairman of the European Tour’s Tournament Committee in 2007.

He is a four-time Vice-Captain to the European Ryder Cup team, picked for the role by winning captains Bernhard Langer (2004), Colin Montgomerie (2010) and José-María Olazábal (2012), as well as by great friend Darren Clarke for the 2016 match at Hazeltine, Minnesota.

Thomas Bjorn – What he said…

The 46-year old Dane will represent the golf club, which is located near Barnet in Hertfordshire, as momentum builds towards the 2018 Ryder Cup, due to be held from 28-30 September 2018 at Le Golf National close to Paris, France.

Speaking at The Shire London, Thomas Bjorn said:I am very honoured to have been appointed Honorary Captain and to become an ambassador for The Shire London.

“It is the perfect golfing base for me in the UK with great practice facilities and the fantastic Ballesteros Masters Course. “

“The Club has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and the Menai-Davis family are not only great hosts, but they are also passionate supporters of growing the game of golf.”

During his two-year Honorary Captaincy at The Shire London, Thomas Bjorn will each year host a new event, The Thomas Bjorn Trophy, the first of which will take place in September 2017.

He will also use the club’s practice facilities and gym, as well as playing at the club’s spectacular 7,028 yard Ballesteros Masters Course, the UK’s only golf course fully designed by Severiano Ballesteros.

The Shire London, which has no traditional committees or club captains, has become one of the capital city’s most popular golfing venues in the ten years since it opened.

We could not be more proud that Thomas Bjorn is joining us here at The Shire London to make it his home club” said The Shire London’s Tony Menai-Davis.

“It is a huge thrill for all of us connected with the club that such a successful and influential figure from world golf will be representing us for the next two years, and we look forward to seeing him around the club.

“To have the European Ryder Cup Captain based at The Shire London will be incredibly exciting, and like all golf fans we will be backing Thomas all the way as he builds his team in preparation for Paris in 2018. Go Team Europe!

Thomas Bjorn – Ryder Cup Captain 2018…

In 2018 Thomas Bjorn will become the first Dane, and the first Scandinavian to lead Europe when it returns to mainland Europe for the second time at Le Golf National.

The Ryder Cup’s first appearance in mainland Europe also marked Bjørn’s debut as a player in the event, at Valderrama in Spain in 1997, where he went unbeaten for the weekend as Europe secured a thrilling victory.

His Team Captain that year was the charismatic Severiano Ballesteros, designer of the Ballesteros Masters Course at The Shire London. “It means a lot to me that my hero Seve designed the golf course at The Shire London” he said.

“His legacy is everywhere in the world of golf, and with this year being the 20th anniversary of the European victory at Valderrama, which was also my Rookie appearance, the timing could not be more fitting. Being based at Seve’s course will inspire me in the build-up to my own captaincy.”

The Shire London will shortly announce details of The Thomas Bjorn Trophy 2017, which the Dane will personally host, and which will be open to all golfers.

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Discover more about The Shire London at www.theshirelondon.com, and about its sister venue The West London Golf Centre at www.westlondongolfcentre.com.

 

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 Part 2 – 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

 

Joining a Golf Club – Confessions of a Golf Addict Pt 4….

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Joining a golf clubLet me introduce myself, my name is Paul and I’m a golf addict!

So at this stage, I have been playing golf for roughly for three years, my ‘Society handicap’ was 25 (before I knew about The Social Golfer) and I still wanted to improve.

Fuelled with the comments made to me by other society golfers (that I have to play more) I decided it was time to be joining a golf club….

Now this is a big commitment as golf took up only about 10 days a year…not only was there the financial implications but also the commitment to playing the game every weekend. “My club would be a great place for you to start Paul” says one of my social buddies. 

They have a special offer on, of 18 months for the price of 12”  So I join, seconded by the fella that has recommended me the club.

Joining a Golf Club – Getting Started…

Off I go to meet the Secretary at the club. Now this club has/had no buggies so I have to buy my own. 

This is another financial outlay and getting the right machine to fit in my car is not an easy task.

Anyhow I find a machine for sale on e-bay; I put in an offer and win the thing! At the weekend I shoot over to Kent to pick the item up.

The machine is only a couple of months old and looks brand new, the guy selling the buggy only used it to watch his grandson playing he was not even a golfer.

He shows me how to dismantle the machine and I load it up in my Land Rover. 

Off I go, back to Essex with my newly acquired golf transport. On getting it home I reassemble it.This takes about 15 minutes and park the buggy in my garage.

I’d seen other buggy owners leave their machines complete using ramps to load and unload their ride-on’s. So back to ebay… I purchase a sturdy pair of ramps, that look as if they were built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel…they weigh a ton.

My then driveway was on a slope, I wait for my ex to go shopping then reverse the Land Rover in position, the rake of the slope is shortened by the ramps and I feel confident that the machine will almost roll unaided into the boot with ease.

I line up the wheels of the contraption and free wheel the buggy onto the ramps.

Creaks emerge from the ramps but they are so sturdy, I have nothing to worry about but what I had not anticipated was the weight of the buggy and the tyres gripping the ramps jagged surface. So I try and push the buggy, no joy though, the brute is stuck.

I have a light bulb moment, why do I not just turn the machine on and use the motors to locate the buggy in the boot.

I switch on the device turn the throttle and the buggy shoots forward wheels spinning up the ramp, the tyres are gripping like no tomorrow, the ramps start to shift and I am hanging onto the throttle for dear life.

The buggy lurches from the ramps precariously perched with two wheels in the boot, the others, one spinning furiously in mid-air one still on the ramp, I let go of the throttle and try to heave the machine the last three feet.

Crash one ramp hits the concrete, I am now the only thing hold the buggy up, I lose my footing (did I mention I only have one leg!) and the other remaining ramp gives way, we all fall to the floor. 

I am now pinned to the concrete driveway by a ramp and the buggy which is on top of the ramp; I am half under the car and can’t move an inch.

I try to bench press the machine but it slides further on top of me, I can’t reach my phone which is in my pocket…I am facing death by golf buggy on my own drive! 

There is no one in the house, help I shout weakly, half humiliated by the embarrassment but now also now starting to panic. 

“Help!” much louder this time, I hear footsteps. My neighbour’s (who had been washing his car) face appears grinning above the wreckage that is pinning me to the floor, ‘do you need a hand old chap’ yes I squeak I’m getting crushed.

After a few brief grunts and groans I am free from the carnage and thanking my neighbour profusely for saving my life.

After a few more dry runs, I mastered the buggy into the boot without any more mishaps and set off to my new Golf club the day after.

Joining a Golf Club – My first game…

joining a golf clubOn joining the golf club, I was told that the Saturday swindle would be a good way to introduce myself. 

So I pitch up at 7.30 am on a chilly October morning.  There are about a dozen or so men milling around in the car park. 

I introduce myself, balls are placed in a hat and drawn, and I am allocated a four-ball.

On reintroducing me to my playing partners, one announces ‘I’ve already said good morning to you once’ another says ‘do you work for the council?“Yes!” I retort. Are they going to build an F****** Mosque in Chelmsford?” he asks

Is this what people discuss on the course these days?… I think to myself!

I must confess, the round was not my best but after a few holes, I settled down and showed my partners that a one legged player could actually hit the ball.

On arrival at the 18th I was starting to feel a little more confident. I drove the ball just off the fairway but still in reach of the green that was about 160 yards away.

Grabbing my 6 iron, I fancied the approach shot. I lined up feeling one good blow would allow a possible par on the last; I had not got one yet.

Swoosh… I smashed into the ball which set off straight but then reared right, tuening into an almighty slice.

The ball clattered onto the club house roof and disappeared down the other side. “That’s OB” a member indicated, so I played a provisional (this time straight) but nowhere near the green.

I set off to retrieve my ball which when I got in the car park sat in the Lady captains parking bay next to her car. 

As I approached she got out of her car. ‘Well that shot was a bit wayward wasn’t it’ ‘yes’ I sliced it ‘never mind’ she replied bending down picking up the ball and offering it to me, I was still sat in my buggy.

I reached out to take the ball…but she held onto it with the grip of a steeple jack, I looked into her face which had been smiling, it now turned to thunder. 

She let go of the ball and announced ‘and don’t drive your buggy over the tee next time!’ to my horror I had done just that, in haste to fetch my ball. I returned to my provisional ball and promptly took an 8.

A game under my belt and only two more cards to go I would have my CONGU handicap…god help me I was now a Club Member….and clearly had some way to go before I had endeared myself to “the committee”.

By Paul Houghton

———————————————-

Paul Houghton is a member at Riverhall Hall Golf Centre where he plays off 15 (on TSG). He’s also a member of the Disabled Golf Association and European Disabled Golf Association; he has represented England nine times in tournaments.

Golfing in Sicily …

Monday, November 7th, 2016

golfing-in-sicily-verdura-resortFirst thing that gets mentioned when people think of Sicily is the Mafia, quickly followed by the movie The Godfather, aka Al Pacino and Marlon Brando… however, when it comes to golfing in Sicily, all the talk is about the Verdura Resort!

And for those that have visited this ancient Mediterranean island, the discussion refers to beautiful coastlines, a temperate climate and the passionate locals – who’s love of fresh food and excellent wines are second to none.

Golfing in Sicily – The Location…

The infamous island of Sicily is found just off the South West coast of Italy’s mainland.

At its closest point it is less than 10 miles, however, the locals see themselves as very different from their mainland cousins.

Famous for its volcano (Etna), the rock that stands tall in the heart of the Mediterranean. The resort is located on the southern coast of Sicily between Agrigento and the fishing city of Sciacca, a 80-minute drive from Trapani and Palermo airports.

Golfing in Sicily – The Resort‎

Since opening in 2009, Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte hotel has quickly established itself amongst Europe’s premier contemporary luxury golf and lifestyle destinations.

The resort is set in 230 hectares of stunning landscape with 1.8km of private coastline, and offers golfing guests and families a very modern five-star experience.

golfing-in-sicily-verdura-resort-7Verdura features 203 rooms and suites, all with sea view, and is built with the golfer in mind.

Golfers can enjoy the two 18-hole championship courses and a nine-hole par-three course, all designed by world-renowned golf architect Kyle Phillips and playable all-year-round.

Verdura was the host venue for the European Tour’s 2012 Sicilian Open and its three links-style layouts have been built to the highest specifications.

The resort’s Par 72 East Course is ranked as one of the finest in continental Europe.

While the West Course (also Par 72) provides the ideal complement and features one of the most memorable finishes anywhere in the world, with the final four holes set alongside the Mediterranean.

The courses are also supported by an on resort golf academy.

There is even a Par 3 course which is more than a good test, even for the seasoned Pro.

Verdura’s other sports facilities include six tennis courts; a 60m two-tiered infinity pool; numerous watersports, one football pitch,  fully-equipped gym and a collection of running trails through olive and lemon groves.

golfing-in-sicily-verdura-resortThe resort’s award-winning 4,000sqm SPA complex includes 11 treatment rooms, gym, yoga studio, a 25-metre indoor lap pool, four outdoor Thalassotherapy pools, a double-height steam room, male and female saunas and a SPA bar for healthy alternatives.

Guests can sample an authentic taste of traditional Sicily with an array of dishes at one of the resort’s four restaurants and five bars – with  fresh, organic produce sourced straight from Verdura’s own garden.

I enjoyed beautifully cooked steaks and marinated Tuna salads, all with the lashings of Olive Oil made on site.

You can even have Sicilian cooking lessons, which I did and managed to surprise my playing partners and even myself with a fine attempt at the local pasta dish – Pasta Alla Norma!

Verdura Resort has received widespread international recognition and won numerous awards since opening.

Among its most recent honours, it was ranked fourth in Golf World’s inaugural list of the ‘Top 100 Golf Resorts in Continental Europe’ and named by Golf Digest as a recipient of an ‘Editors’ Choice Award’ for Best International Resorts 2016.

Golfing in Sicily – The Accommodation…

Verdura Resort fuses strong, modernist, environmentally-sensitive architecture with design that is firmly rooted in Sicilian culture and inspired by this superb setting.

In keeping with the raw, rugged scenery beyond the property, the architect, Flavio Albanese of Vicenza and Palermo, applied minimalist, contemporary lines to the construction of Verdura‟s accommodation, spa, restaurants and outdoor entertainment arena.

In fact, one of the things you first notice is how low rise everything is.

Rooms are generous and simply designed and each room is self-contained in such a way that you would be forgiven if you thought you were the only people staying.

On numerous occasions we remarked on the peace and quiet to be found around the resort. This is complimented by the common use of bgolfing-in-sicily-verdura-resortikes by all the visitors, thus keeping down noise.

Each room has a private terrace with views of both the sea and the golf courses, the orange, lemon and olive groves, to the mountains in the distance.

In addition, Verdura Resort has green credentials at the heart of its design.

In 2014, in collaboration with the Botany Department of Palermo University, they committed to the creation and naturalization of wetlands, which are a stopping point for migratory birds and nestling waterfowl.

The project entailed the re-naturalization of the land by restoring over 70,000 native Sicilian plants and scrubs species

The East Course – 6200yards – Par 72…

The first tee on the East course is a 360 yard dog-legged Par 4 right with bunkers positioned on either side of the fairway at the turn.

By all means take on the pin with a high fade leaving you a short iron in to the raised green but over cook it and you’ll find yourself heading back to the tee. This hole sets the tone for the rest of your round.

golfing-in-sicily-verdura-resortThe front nine is mostly flat‎ but their are many undulations and protected greens that mean accuracy (not length) and  patience is required to score well.

The signature holes going out are the challenging 450 yard Par 4 with a tee required to clear water and your second needing to avoid the 30 yard turfed gully protecting the raised green  over looking the sea.

This quickly followed by the Par 3 6th, a 110 yard hole with the green surround by the pebbled beach of the ‎south Sicily coastline.

A flat circular green rewards the brave but you will find this a tough if a sea breeze is prevailing.

Finally, I’ll tip my cap to the Par 4 7th but only as a piece of unashamed self-indulgence, as this hole produced the greatest golf shot of my golf life.

A 175-yard end shot into a protected green, one bounce and in the cup for my maiden Eagle! (sorry Ed.)

The beginning of the back nine almost  mirrors the starting hole only this time it’s a dog-leg par 4 and your turning left. Following this, the course opens up.

Expansive fairways, soft sand filled bunkers,  a challenging Par 3’s (200+ yards uphill) but more chances to get a few pars on your card.

Holes 13, 14 and 15 lined by orange trees and sumptuous fairways all test the mid handicapper but once again it’s the 125 yard Par 3‎ where a Mediterranean sea backdrop stays in the memory.

The 17th and 18th also fail to disappoint. The penultimate,  a 400 yard Par 4, framed by roughly terrained hilltop shadowing the green.

The last, a 430 yard Par 4 that suggests a low fade but don’t cut it or you’ll be in the deep blue. The course finishes back at the rusty orange fort like clubhouse with a wide a sloping green that is asking to be birdied.

A comfortable and relaxed four hour round, a beautiful sunset, followed by some excellent local pasta. Bellissimo!

The West course – 6750 yards – Par 72…

Here you start your round by heading away from the shore inland.

The 1st hole is a 495 yard Par 5 that slowly bears left for your approach shot.

The green has a gentle incline moving from front to back meaning you can’t leave it short or you’ll be making bogey.

The stand out holes on this course are evenly spread but the 4th hole (also a Par 5) is a delight.

golfing-in-sicily-verdura-resortFairway bunkers to the right suggest staying on the left is the sensible option and a well placed second shot (again left) should leave you with a simple putt up the apron of the green to an immense green.

However, if you’re at the front, and the pin is at the back, you could find yourself with a 40ft putt, this course clearly needs some strategy.

Quickly followed by the 5th, a very challenging Par 4 with a 30ft drop in the middle of the fairway and up again, to the raised green.

‎As you head back south, the superb 424 yard Par 4 8th will invite you take on the green but be prepared to lay up and putt your way up to the elevated green the accept the bogey, as a wayward shot will leave you in the left side bunker with 8ft face to overcome.

Go long and you could find yourself on the beach earlier in the day than you’d planned.

As the heat of the day builds and given this course can be attacked by some strong winds (it is a links course after all) it’s important to keep abreast with speed of the greens.

They can vary in pace greatly‎.

As you pass the turn‎ hole 11 offers you a chance to open your shoulders and crack your best drive down a 511 yard fairway downhill.

The right side is a wall of reeds for the first 250 yards so stay left.

Two good shots are then needed as the green stand guarded by mogul like mounds. If you make Par, you’ve done well.

As you reach the end of your round, you are then met by arguably three of the best placed finishing holes in Europe.

15, 16, 17 and 18, are all flanked by the rocky coastline, you are challenged by a two shortest Par 3’s and two longish Par 4’s – the last finishing right underneath the clubhouse terrace where many enjoying a chilled beer or more likely a cocktail will clap you in.

Verdura Resort – Other things in the area‎

golfing-in-sicily-verdura-resortGolfing in Sicily is not the only pastime and on any golfing holiday, it’s important to go beyond the fairways and in this instance there is plenty to see and do locally.

Whether it’s visiting the ancient caves (Greek Temples dating back to 12,000 BC) in Syracuse or the regional wineries, which is a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon, tasting and appreciating the local vine culture.

We visited the much awarded Planeta winery in nearby Menfi, less than an hour from Verdura.

Golfing in Sicily – The Verdict…

This is truly fantastic place to visit and perfect for golfers of all levels.

If you are considering golfing in Sicily, this is a superb destination for those seeking Autumn and Winter golf (it would be wise to avoid the hot summer months as it can reach as high as 45C in July) as this is a place I would happily return to, and not just for the golf…

If someone offers to take you to the  golfing in Sicily at the Verdura Resort, to paraphrase Mr.Pacino and Mr.Brando …. it’s an offer you can’t refuse!!!!

TSG Verdict: 5 out of 5


By Ian Mullins