Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Crown Golf & The Social Golfer renew partnership …

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Crown Golf & The Social GolferThe Online Golf Club & Golf Society, The Social Golfer have confirmed that Crown Golf will be its official site sponsor for a third year running….

Crown Golf (the UK’s leading Golf Club Operator) and The Social Golfer (TSG) have built an effective and commercial partnership over the last few years which has resulted in driving over £10K of Green Fees to the group in 2017!

Crown Golf & The Social Golfer – The new deal…

This year’s agreement sees an addition to their effective partnership, with 2018 seeing ALL TSG PRO account holders receiving a FREE round of golf at Crown Courses (T&C’s apply) as part of their annual £24.99 membership fee*.

Furthermore, Crown Golf will also replace The Altonwood Group as the Official Sponsor of the TSG MatchPlay Championship that runs throughout the summer months, with the final held at Pine Ridge Golf Club.

Crown Golf & The Social Golfer – Shared History…

The two brands first partnered in 2016 and as a result, Crown Golf saw over 350 rounds booked at Crown Courses by TSGers (their members) that year.

The renewed partnership will include sponsorship of Blogs, Emails, Newsletter Promotions, Advertising and reciprocal Social Media promotions and website linking.

In the last 12 months, The Social Golfer team continue to provide its unique platform for its members, with over 1000 events being organised via the site with more than 5K+ rounds played on the site.

In addition, the site network now holds over 5K Course reviews generated by its members. The online golf community also has over 5K registered users in the UK and 10k+ worldwide.

The agreement negotiated between Crown Golf Group Director of Sales & Marketing, Nikki Blacker and TSG Managing Director, Ian Mullins and will run throughout 2018.

Commenting on the deal, Blacker said “We have thoroughly enjoyed developing this partnership with The Social Golfer over the last few years and its rewarding to see the agreement working on both a commercial and branding perspective.”

Crown Golf - Pine Ridge - The Social Golfer

Crown Golf & The Social Golfer – What they said…

“Ian has created a unique platform for nomadic golfers and we couldn’t be happier to renew our sponsorship. We can only see this partnership growing and their network continuing to provide us with a great platform on which to engage with this audience.”

Mullins went on to say “We were delighted that Nikki and her team has committed to working with us for another year. It’s also incredibly refreshing to work with a group that both understand what we are trying to create with our platform and one that is fun to work with.”

“We believe this renewed sponsorship will provide our members the opportunity to sample some of the great courses Crown has to offer and at some fantastic rates!”


*Rising to £29.98 from 1st April 2018

For more information, please contact:


TSG Interview – Paul Armitage at Le Golf National…

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

Paul Armitage - General Manager at Le Golf National, ParisFollowing our round on L’ Albatros we sat down with Englishmen, Paul Armitage (General Manager of Le Golf National) to discuss his vision for the course and his excitement at being one of the few people in golf to experience, and deliver, the greatest show on earth this September…

Afternoon Paul and thank you for giving up your time for The Social Golfer. Firstly, you don’t need me to tell you, but I think the course playing  superbly. 

The Ryder Cup layout not only provides the event with a natural amphitheater, but I have no doubt that it will also prove a hit with the spectators too. There’s a real sense of theatre about the viewing positions, which will generate a superb atmosphere.

So, what’s an Englishmen doing in Paris running a Ryder up venue, how did you get here and what has been your greatest challenge since taking over the helm in 2014?

“Well, I was born and bred in Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire and whilst I was an avid golfer, I was never good enough to think about being a golf professional and I never wanted to be an assistant pro.

So, I went to Northumbria University and studied international business finance. This included a year in France as part of the Erasmus program, meaning I discovered continental Europe at an early age.

Meanwhile, I was there, I was volunteering at a local golf course at the kid’s school and was later asked if I would be interested taking care of the competitions and events….

I did that job for three years, very happily, developing the turnover, membership programme, when a very exclusive private members club approached me to work for them.

However, as I was only 27, I was really far too young to take it through the change that was needed at that golf course.

As an Englishman, the Continentals assume you know everything about Golf, which of course you don’t but I coped and four years later we had created a Challenge Tour event and many high-end business events.

Paul Armitage - Le Golf National 1

This then became a golf events agency, which turned into a marketing agency.

Later I worked for Le Club Golf, which is a network of 130 clubs (in France there is 700+ golf club with 50% of these belonging to a commercial group).

I was then asked to join the team at Le Golf National.  I started in August 2014 (after the bidding process) – the flagship venue for the French Golf Federation.”

What an opportunity, so what has been the Paul Armitage strategy at putting Le Golf National at the heart of the French Golf network?

“It’s been a creative process but ultimately, we can sum this up in a four-letter word. It’s not the one that you’re thinking of…. It’s LOVE!

It’s been about instilling this in all the staff minds and the visiting public. (Yes, Le Golf National is a PUBLIC course! – Ed.).

We concluded that we must put the customer at the heart of everything we do, and demonstrate to visitors, how much we LOVE the venue too

This follows through from the marketing staff through to the greenkeepers. The current Greenkeeping team is headed up by hugely talented and young man from Spain, who was working there for Jack Nicklaus design.

He also spent long periods in America. He is very passionate about the course and I think he’s brought 15 centimeters of extra sand on both fairways and greens.

We were very good from tee to green before 2014, but you wouldn’t recognize this place compared to today and that Is a credit to the team.”

So as a Public course, what is the business model?

Le Golf National - L' Albatros, Paris - Ryder Cup 2018 v2“When I started there was little difference on price across our three courses, so we immediately invested in L’Albatros (now circa 120 euros), which appealed to a higher end audience with the L’ Aigle (now circa 60 euros) providing visitors with a  more affordable green fee option.

This has allowed us to raise the quality of the flagship course hugely.

Previously the course has hosted more than 20 French Opens, meaning we are top of mind for French visitors but The Ryder Cup will allow us to reach golfers from further afield e.g. the UK.

In addition, the venue will be host to the 2024 Paris Olympics meaning there is a legacy for the course beyond September”

How and why was Le Golf National chosen as this year’s host venue and can you describe the course to potential visitors?

“Well one of the things going for us was the course was both established and proven in hosting big European tour events.

In addition, it’s also a good reward risk or reward golf course meaning that it is much loved by the European tour players, a big help when convincing the ‘powers that be’ to choose us.

Our well-earned reputation was also underpinned by the support from the French government and the French Golf Federation.

There was immediate state support ensuring the event was also secure and credible and not a financial risk.

In addition, all French golfers were part of a crowd-funding project whereby every golfer paid a levy on their membership fee to the tune of 3 euros per year.

Some of these funds were also channeled into the next generation of French academy golfers. The final reason is the proximity to Paris.

This will be the first Ryder Cup to be played in a capital city, meaning transport links, accommodation, are already in place”

Paul Armitage - Le Golf National 1

So, if you had to sum of Le Golf National in one sentence what would you say and how much does it cost to be a member and what level of golfer do I need to be to play here?

“I want Le Golf National to be the MOST exclusive public golf course in the world!”

“We don’t have any members. We have a small number of subscribers who buy different Flexi memberships from around. 200 euros a month.

However, you have a handicap of 28 or below to play L’Albatros” (very reasonable! Ed.) Whilst it’s unfair to compare any golf course to another, we see Bethpage Golf Club as who we can aspire to be.

Bethpage is publicly owned by the Public Parks Council in New York. So, they’re very similar to us.”

Let’s talk about the competition, what are you really looking forward to most and what has been your most memorable moment so far?

“You know, I haven’t thought about this one. Hmmm…Of course, I am really looking forward to welcoming all the players on the first day.

However, I am very excited, about the first day when we will host the BIGGEST ever grandstand on the first tee in the history of the event but there is so much to do between now and then.

I guess the proudest moment of my career to date was to be asked to MC at the ‘One Year to Go’ event and Gala Dinner – a very proud moment indeed!

But now I think about it, I think there are many moments already which would have been amazing. It’s really a massive honour to do this job. I’m not joking.

Paul Armitage - Le Golf National 1

You know, I don’t do it for free obviously, but it is an achievement in life that you look back on with huge pride.

What’s the best so far? Maybe working with the 800 kids in a match between Thomas Bjorn and Jim Furyk.

They didn’t actually play with a Captain of the USA and European teams, but they followed the youngsters in buggies with microphones, interviews, that was fun!

I am also looking forward to seeing how the teams react, The US team have got a young and friendly generation coming up who were changing things a bit American golf and they have built close relationships with each other than before.

Like our guys (European Team) 10, 15 years ago when Rose, Poulter, Westwood, and Rory were coming through, we were a team”.

The feeling we get from Bjorn and Furyk is there will be a friendlier atmosphere at this year’s cup but who is going to win?        

“Hmmm…. I’m going to send that one back to you. You must ask them that. It’s not for me to say. All I can say is they will both want to win!

I don’t mean to suggest that anyone will be unfriendly, but they are both wonderful people and highly motivated.”

Paul Armitage - Le Golf National 1

And finally? What is your message to TSGers who want to come and play L’Albatros?

“Please come! We welcome all golfers to visit and enjoy a great experience. Play both a Ryder Cup AND the 2024 Olympic Games golf course.

And hopefully, you will fall in LOVE with Le Golf National too”.

Paul Armitage was talking to Ian Mullins for



Our TSG Verdict: We couldn’t have been welcomed more by the staff and team at Le Golf National – our thanks to everyone there – we wish Paul Armitage and all his team well for September. We’ll all be glued to our screens cheering you, and European Team on to victory!



Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review …

Sunday, February 4th, 2018

It’s 2018 and that means The Ryder Cup year! As some of you may have read on the TSG Facebook newsfeed, we recently took up the invite to visit Le Golf National – the host venue in Paris. Here’s our special report from Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review…

Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review – The Club…

Although only built in 1990, Le Golf National is a much more established than its age suggests.  Designed by architects Hubert Chesneau and Robert Von Hagge.

It is located in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, southwest of central Paris, just 10k from the world-renowned Palace of Versailles, and only 4 hours drive from Calais.

However, Le Golf National differs from any other Ryder Cup venue in that it is a Public course. This means that there is no ‘club’ as such, and no ‘members’, only Pay & Players. The course is also unique in the sense that it is owned by the French Golf Federation (FFG).

In September 1985 the President – Claude Roger Cartier – with his committee approved the creation and development of a “National Golf” venue and it was quickly completed and opened by the French Minister for Sports by R. Bambuck in October 1990.

Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review – The Team …

The management team is small but effective and is headed up by Englishman Paul Armitage (who has been at the club since 2014).

Paul, who along with his very dedicated team has – over the last four years – put ‘LOVE’ at the heart of everything they do onsite, and its clear this strategy is paying off as everyone you meet including shop personnel bar staff are full of enthusiasm for the club (not always the case in the UK!)

This means it now rates among the best in the world. In addition, the course boasts an incredibly committed team of greenkeepers and advisors from the European Tour (preparing the track for Sept) but high praise was given to Spanish born Head Greenkeeper Alejandro Reyes, who at only 33 years old is the youngest person to ever prepare a Ryder Cup course.

The grounds, which cover 139 hectares, were originally flat and bare having been used as agricultural land since Louis XIV and the Château de Versailles when it was one of the areas where wheat was farmed.

Constructed to give a ‘stadium like’ feel to events and in time for the 1991 Open de France, The Albatros course has been their near-permanent home for the past 25 years.

In the wind and rain of the first day of the aforementioned first Open de France played on The Albatros, Nick Faldo deemed his score of 71 “Tough but fair”.

The Open de France had found its home. Other players from the European Tour also voiced their approval, mentioning The Albatros as one of their favourite courses.

In addition, to the flagship championship course, there is also The Aigle which was opened in September 1991, preceded by the 9 hole, Birdie Academy Course a few months before.

The venue has recently undergone a €7 million renovation programme to transform this national golf centre. The Championship Albatros course is now a globally recognised course with slick greens and vast undulating fairways dotted with large and small water hazards and innumerable links-style bunkers.

The course is consistently ranked in the World’s Top 100 Courses and Europe’s Top 10 by Golf World (UK) magazine.

We spent a long time chatting with GM – Paul Armitage – while in Paris and he shared much of his vision for the club.

This included an insight into the future of French Golf and while all eyes are focused on The Ryder Cup in 2018, it’s worth noting that Paul and his team have been successful at bidding to be the host venue for the Paris Olympics too.

Meaning, not only is there a legacy planned for the course but Le Golf National is also now home to the next generation of French golfers – with many young players to see as you make your way around the campus. More from Paul in the TSG February newsletter.

 Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review – L’ Albatros…

An unforgettable experience…m

As you walk to the 1st Tee, you can sense, you can feel, you can hear the crowd: you realise that The Albatros is the perfect battlefield for one of the greatest duels in Sport.

The spectacular landscape has been created 30 years ago and recently remodelled. You cannot believe that it was constructed on old farmland.

It took more than 1k+ truckloads of rubble from Paris, tons of sand has been laid on the fairways and clever use of rainwater to create majestic lakes, ponds & streams.

Only the best sand has been used for this top European course, home of the French Open since 1991 and a favourite of the European players.

There is a lot of wildlife, from birds of prey to fish, frogs & butterflies, rabbits and many other wild creatures. The Albatros is a public course, so anyone with a minimum 28 handicap may venture and face the challenges ahead.  The experience will be with you for the rest of your life.

Every hole is well conceived, extremely aesthetically presented. At this time of the year, the landscape is bare, so the scenery feels delicate, imagine a very “dainty” ink/pen drawing. Obviously the Spring, Summer & Autumn will be a lot greener. A super space for the avid photographer with a suitable lens & eye for beauty.

We played the course on the 10th of January 2018, after 42 consecutive days of rain, the condition of the course is absolutely immaculate, from Tee boxes (choice of 5 colours), to the large & sweeping & undulating fairways, carpet-like feel, to the slick & well-shaped greens.

All with the very subtle slopes towards the water hazards, to the softest and driest sand I have ever played from and were always nicely raked.

However, don’t venture off the fairways, as the rough will punish you! Many other golf courses in the Paris region were closed due to the wetness but The Albatros stood stoically.

All the paths are tarmac, the signage is good, lovely course planner endorsed by the Greenkeeper at each hole, a ball washer & towel, and bin.

Le Golf National - Ryder Cup Course ReviewThe walk is not too strenuous but there are elevations as we are playing a Links type course.  We did not have much wind on the day but any wind will alter your thinking.

The pins position can be tricky, I believe the 1st hole will have nine pin positions, while the green is sloping towards a large lake, that will come into play on the 2nd hole as well.

There is a toilet at the end of the 6th hole which also serves the golfers need when coming down the 13th,  a water fountain is also located at this point.

Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review – Stand Out Holes…

It is very hard to pick my favourite holes as they all have a special attraction & challenge, the last 4 holes provide the most beautiful layout, water everywhere & bunkers! But here are our selected four holes:

HOLE 1 – Par 4, I was so excited to be at Le Golf National’s Albatros Course, that the 1st hole stole the show & set the tone of what to come, I got a good score too: a dogleg right, slightly downhill, wide fairway narrowing to the green with large expanse of water on the left.  The pin position can be tricky as the green slopes towards the water.

HOLE 7 – Par 4, This was Ian’s favourite hole. The 2nd hardest hole on the course, it begins with an uphill drive to a plateau, leaving a long iron shot over ‘moguls’ to a very well protected and sloping green – this hole could be a real a card-wrecker!

HOLE 13 – Par 4,  A downhill dogleg right, leftish to the green, with a fairly long carry to the fairway sloping to a water hazard on the right, a lake preceding the green.  Must be very pretty in the Springtime with all the foliage on the trees surrounding the approach.

HOLE 16 – Par 3, One of the 4 stunning final holes, short but water on the right and three large bunkers guarding the approach to the green. The day we played I had to shout Fore! as my lovely shot went towards one of the bunkers, lovingly attended by one of the greenkeepers, who kindly allowed me to take a free drop… I was very apologetic, who wants to injure such a great team!

The final four holes provide the most beautiful layout, creating an incredible finish: The 15th & 18th greens are islands.

I had the privilege to accompany Monsieur Mullins on this two-day tour of this extraordinary scene at the Golf National.

There is a nice atmosphere in this very well managed golf venue (there are 2 other courses, The Aigle 18 holes, and The Oiselet, a 9 Academy course), a very large open-air driving range, putting greens, a Clubhouse modernly furnished with bar for drinks & food.

A dedicated team, who understand what a golf course & surroundings need to be like, how to create an image, how to treat its visiting golfers, one can feel it is managed with “LOVE” (see above).

Extremely warm, friendly & relaxed welcome in the chic Pro shop/Reception (it tops Wentworth’s), gorgeous & technical golf clothing with all the other goodies one needs for a good round, lots of the 2018 Ryder Cup memorabilia, a very artistic photo book by Claude Rodriguez that got my eye.

Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review – The Verdict …

5 Out of 5!

My recommendation is to go, and go now!

You will have a very enjoyable experience on one of the Top 10 European golf courses, L’ Albatros will make history in the 2018 golfing world as its only the second time ever the event has been held outside of Great Britain.

For me, it was a proud moment to be on my home ground, I felt spoilt, I hope from the bottom of my heart that many “Social Golfers” will embrace the opportunity to play The Albatros course before end of August (or from October) and remember, if you need a native speaker, think of me….

Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review by Brigitte Lockwood

Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review – How To Get There with Golf Escapes…

Le Golf National Golf PackagesTSG official travel partner Golf Escapes can provide not only the accommodation and tee times at Le Golf National but all the help you will need in booking your Eurotunnel shuttle.

We used these experts to make our booking and it couldn’t have been easier.  Whether you want to play the course OR attend the event itself, Golf escapes can help.

Here are a few tips to remember when traveling to Le Golf National…

1. Le Shuttle Folkestone – arrive 45 minutes before departure to ensure a smooth experience.

2. Don’t forget the one hour time difference if you are planning to play golf on your arrival day.

3. Once you are in France, remember to drive on the right (this may sound obvious but…)

4. Know your obligations when driving in France e.g. warning triangles & high visibility jackets are a legal requirement. As are headlights reflectors, roadside recovery, a spare headlight bulb, your logbook and a copy of your insurance.

Finally, note, the course itself only closes just under a month before the big occasion.

For further details email us at , Click Here or CALL a member of the team on 01342 811 777

 Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review – Find more TSG reviews here…

Countdown to Ryder Cup at Le Golf National begins …

Friday, October 27th, 2017

Ryder Cup 2018-Le Golf-National launchThere is less than a year to go until the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, France (September 28-30, 2018).

As such, golf fans and commuters enjoyed their own rendezvous with one of the world’s most famous sports trophies, when it went on public display at London St Pancras International….

The Ryder Cup & Le Golf National …

Having returned from Paris and the ‘Year to Go’ celebrations, which saw European and the United States Team Captains Thomas Bjørn and Jim Furyk engage in a range of promotional activities including hitting balls off the Eiffel Tower.

However, the trophy was the star attraction at Eurostar’s London terminus on Thursday, October 26th.

Fans were able to sit on the European Captain’s golf car and have ‘selfie’ photographs taken with the trophy (#FeelFranceRC18).

The event also showcased France, next year’s host of the biennial match between Europe and the United States, as the perfect destination for international golfers before, during and after The 2018 Ryder Cup

In 2016, France welcomed 82.6 million international tourists, including 11.9 million from the UK via convenient train, ferry and air links.

Figures for the first half of 2017 indicate a 5% year-on-year increase in the number of visitors to France from the UK.

Among the most popular golf regions for UK golfers, are Normandy, Brittany and Provence, as well as the Paris region. Le Golf National is just 21 miles from the centre of Paris.

The number of golfers travelling to France could be boosted further after Eurostar was announced as Official Supplier of The 2018 Ryder Cup, carrying representatives of the European Team to Paris next September.

Ryder Cup - Le Golf National - Brigitte LockwoodThe Ryder Cup to Le Golf National countdown begins – What they said…

Gwénaëlle Maret-Delos, Managing Director of Atout France UK & Ireland, the France Tourism Development Agency, which hosted the Ryder Cup Rendezvous event, said…

“There are 600 golf courses in France including some of the most beautiful courses in Europe. While France is the most visited country in the world, it remains less well known as a golf destination”

“The 2018 Ryder Cup, broadcasting from Le Golf National to the world, will no doubt encourage more golfers to choose France, our golf courses and, of course, our ‘après-golf’, for their golf holidays.”

Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Europe Director, said…

“Le Golf National, Paris and France is ready for The Ryder Cup and will be a wonderful host for the 42nd edition of this match, which has become one of the greatest sports events in the world.” 

“In just under a year’s time, representatives of the European Team will set off from London St Pancras International and travel by Eurostar train to Paris”.

“I have no doubt fans and golfers will be making their own journeys to France in the coming months, to play on the country’s beautiful courses and support the team next September.”

Le Golf National, France, will host The 2018 Ryder Cup from September 28-30, 2018, when Europe will try to regain the trophy following defeat at Hazeltine National in the United States, last year.

The team, under the captaincy of Thomas Bjørn, will be looking to extend an impressive winning record on home soil which stretches back to 1997.

By Ian Mullins

The Social Golfer MatchPlay Championship 2017…

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

The Social Golfer MatchPlay Championship, the online golf club and social golf network website, held its fifth Social Golfer MatchPlay Championship Final (Sponsored by The Altonwood Group) at the prestigious Addington Golf Club, on Sunday 24th September 2017…

The Social Golfer MatchPlay Championship 2017 – The Matches & Winners…

The TSG MatchPlay Championship ran similarly to an FA Cup style knockout with participants arranging each round of matches at a course of their choice, with The Altonwood Group offering preferential green fees.

These venues including Westerham GC, Woldingham GC and Surrey National GC throughout the summer for TSG members.

The finalists Andy Attard (Kent) and Chris Knight (Surrey) both worked their way through a field of 64 to secure their place at The Addington, having played six matches across the year.

In addition, the two losing Semi-finalists Judy Lilley (Kent) and Ollie McCormack (London) competed in the third-place play-off.

The Social Golfer MatchPlay Championship

The final began with Attard (21 Handicap) going 3 up after four holes, meaning novice MatchPlayer Knight (26 Handicap) had a mountain to climb to get the game back. After a valiant effort, Knight managed to remain within two holes of Attard until the stunning Par 3, 13th but alas it was all in vain and Attard took the 2017 title on the 14th green.

Third place trophy went to fellow Kent TSGer and current TSG OPEN Ladies Champion – Judy Lilley.


The Social Golfer MatchPlay Championship – What they said…

Attard, commenting on his win said Many thanks to The Social Golfer for all the time and energy they put into organising this competition. Chris and I had a great final played in true ‘TSG spirit’ here at The Addington today and I am thrilled to be the new champion. Not sure I would have believed you if you had told me I’d be holding the trophy in March… so, maybe I can play golf after all!

Social Golfer MatchPlay Championship

Ian Mullins, owner of said “As the TSG membership has grown this has become one of our most popular competitions. Big thank you to sponsors The Altonwood Group, lovely course and a worthy champion, what more could we want. Already looking forward to March, when it all starts again!


Other Winners in 2017 include:

TSG Masters 2017


TSG Par 3 Championship 2017


TSG OPEN Championship 2017

By Ian Mullins

The Social Golfer sponsors Disabled Golfer…

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Paul Houghton - Disabled Golfer The online golf club (TSG) has confirmed it will be the ‘official sponsor’ of disabled golfer and TSG member Paul Houghton, as he aims for European glory in 2017!

Having got to know many disabled golfers since its launch, The Social Golfer have made it a priority to promote equality and understanding among golfers of all levels, gender and disability and the team feel this could be the first of many associations with disabled golfers.

In previous years the community has raised over £3k for disabled golfers at their ‘Major’ events.

However, despite this very humble effort to raise the profile of disability sports in the UK, there is still a huge job to do in changing attitudes and want to be at the heart of this initiative.

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer….

Houghton lost his leg suddenly sixteen years ago in a work accident whereby his leg was amputated above the knee.

However, being the gritty character that he is, Paul decided to take up golf.

He bought himself some clubs, an Electrokart (one-seater buggy) some lessons and joined his local nine hole course.

He later joined the Disabled Golf Association and has now represented his country 12 times, playing of a respectable handicap of 16.

He is also a member of the EDGA (European Disabled Golf Association).

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer – The Sponsorship…

As part of their sponsorship, TSG will be hosting a blog with Paul’s experiences on the tour on the website and his progress will also be promoted in their monthly newsletter sent to 5K+ golfers worldwide every month.

In addition, the TSG team will be also distributing this content through their social media channels and beyond.

In July 2017, the Social Golfer donated all the monies raised at the TSG OPEN to Paul Houghton and long term TSGer and fellow disabled golfer, Roger Hurcombe.

Paul Houghton - Disabled Golfer....

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer – What they Said…

Commenting on the sponsorship, Houghton saidI couldn’t have been more excited about playing in my first Spanish Open in February 2017 and to have an official sponsor has given me the support and encouragement to do as well as I can”

“I have also just returned from St Andrews, where I competed in the Scottish Disabled Open, where I finished in the middle of the field of 35 golfers from 17 countries.”

“Since joining the TSG community in 2014, I have been shocked at the welcome and inclusion I have been afforded by its members. I will be doing my best for both disabled golf and TSGers everywhere.”

“A big thank you to everyone at TSG who have helped to highlight our cause. I so hope I can do them proud!” 

Ian Mullins. TSG Managing Director added “Paul is one of the nicest guys you could meet so anything we could do to help him in his desire to play golf on the European stage is both exciting and humbling. Can’t wait to read his first blog posting from behind the tournament ropes and in the locker room!”

Since its launch in 2010, the site has firmly established itself as one of the most useful golfing websites in the South East and the UK with over 1000 evnet5s being organised through the site in 2016. The online golf community currently has over 5,000 registered users in the UK and 10,000+ worldwide.

The Social Golfer OPEN 2017…

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

The Social Golfer OPEN 2017 As the players arrived at Farleigh Golf Club for The Social Golfer OPEN 2017 (sponsored by Golf News and Golf Escapes), it was clear from the smiles on the popular website’s members faces this was a day they had been looking forward to.

The Social Golfer OPEN was first held in 2011, following the launch of the online golf club in 2010. The event is now in its 7th year.

The Social Golfer OPEN 2017 – The Championship…

The event is a great opportunity for TSG members to mingle and ‘be social’ with many of 5k strong UK members (10k+ worldwide) and compete for the much coveted Halliwell Cup donated by Stroke Survivor and British Inclusive Golf Ambassador, Ian Halliwell.

Furthermore, £5 from every entry fee was donated to disabled golf charities.

The Social Golfer OPEN 2017

Despite its humble beginnings, the event is now sold out every year, with 70+ golfers travelling from around London and the UK, and with some from as far afield as Botswana attending.

Golf News was very proud to be the Official Media Partner of the day, as the event included a number of golfing challenges and tests.

The day’s events comprised, an Individual 18 hole Stableford Competition (Men & Ladies), a much enjoyed ‘Yellow Ball’ team event, run concurrently with the Straightest Drive, 2 x Nearest Pins, Putting competition, The Golf News Guest Trophy, Charity Auction and Raffle also on offer.

This year, the event also hosted an indoor ‘Nearest Pin’ competition on Farleigh Golf Club’s state of the art golf simulator, with the winner receiving 3 nights half board at the Il Picciolo Etna Golf Resort & Spa, Sicily, Italy, courtesy of Golf Escapes.

The Social Golfer OPEN 2017

In addition to the format above, there was also a chance for TSGers to play for “A Trevor”, paying homage to a former member who recently passed away, following a brave fight with Cancer.

Trevor Sandford was the man behind “A Month of Madness on the M25’, whereby he played a different golf course at 31 different junctions of the M25’s, over 31 days in the month of August 2011 raising money for Cancer Research, following the loss of his Pairs partner to the disease. He later wrote a book about his adventure.

Well known for his constant pursuit of the ‘Chip-In-Birdie’, anyone achieving this at future official TSG events , will have their name added to The Trevor Sandford Trophy (donated by TSG members Grge Butler).

They will also receive a medal commemorating the moment, which will be known as ‘A Trevor!’ On this particular day, this was achieved by London based member Pete Mayo!

The Social Golfer OPEN 2017 – The Course…

The Social Golfer OPEN 2017Farleigh GC is part of the Foxhills Collection and is set on 350 acres in the North Surrey Downs and offers a 27 hole Championship golf holes.

Set in a valley, the course is well-known for its windy conditions and therefore every shot requires careful consideration.

The Social Golfer OPEN was played across the Yellow and Blue courses; the latter having recently seen over £1m of investment, so no surprise that the course played well.  This combination boasts a Par 72, (6,212 yards) and was designed by John Jacobs Associates.

This combination boasts a Par 72, (6,212 yards) and was designed by John Jacobs Associates.

The greens on the day were running at approx. 12 on the stimp-meter meaning3 putts were common.

The Social Golfer OPEN 2017 – The Winners…

The Social Golfer OPEN 2017This year’s Men’s winner was Roger Ireland (London) with 43 Pts, 2nd place was Greg Butler (Essex) with 41 Pts and 3rd was Phil Boyd (Kent) 37 Pts.

The Women’s Trophy was won by Judy Lilley (Royal Blackheath) with 35 Pts and 2nd place went to African based golfer, Hang Van Den Broeck (Botswana).

There was also Nearest Pin & Straightest Drive competitions. Winners included Lee Benson (Hertfordshire), Ron Woodham (Essex), Simon Lacey (Surrey), Damian Benstead (Surrey) with the Putting Competition going to Phil Boyd (Kent).

The 3-day golfing in Sicily prize was won by disabled golfer Paul Houghton, after putting his ball to within 5ft of the flag at the world famous 7th hole at Pebble Beach in the three man play-off final.

The Social Golfer OPEN 2017 – The Charities…

Paul Houghton - The Social Golfer OPEN 2017As with all good golf society days, there is often a secondary purpose.

This year’s TSG OPEN championship was no exception.

The Social Golfer have always been big advocates in supporting disability golf and this year the members raised over £1k for English Disabled Golfers, Paul Houghton (Disabled Golf Association) and Roger Hurcombe (British Inclusive Golf).

These monies will help pay for their travel expenses and buggy hire fees. In addition, both Houghton and Hurcombe will be competing at this year’s Scottish Disabled Open between 21st-24th August 2017 at St. Andrews, wearing The Social Golfer’s team colours.

The Social Golfer OPEN 2017 – What they said…

The Social Golfer OPEN 2017Speaking to Golf News after the event here’s what some of the attendees said about the day…

“I really look forward to The Social Golfer ‘Majors’ when we all meet up for a superb day. Whether the golf’s good or bad; you cannot walk away from the day without happy memories and a big smile on your face. Thank you to The Social Golfer team; you have completely changed my golfing life!”  Mark Crane (15 H’cap)

“There was definitely camaraderie out on the course and in the clubhouse today. We have made more good friends and always welcome new ones. The Social Golfer always brings us together!” Judy Lilley (20 H’cap)

“What a great day! Perhaps the best TSG Open ever. Great venue, food and company. Such a buzz about the whole day. We were all winners!” Damian Benstead (18 H’cap)

Ian Mullins, Event Director of The Social Golfer OPEN said “Being a golf day organiser can have its trials and tribulations but every year the atmosphere at our events just gets better and better. A big thanks to everyone at Golf News, Golf Escapes, RoboGolf and Golf Deals Group for putting up over £1k’s worth of prizes.”

He went on to say… “We hope to grow the event even further in the next 12 months in the hope we can broaden the appeal of the day beyond just our members and guests but include more golfers from all over the world!

The Social Golfer OPEN 2017






The Majors Part 4 – The PGA Championship…

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

The PGA ChampionshipIn the fourth 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 PGA Championship!

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 PGA Championship…

The PGA Championship - The Wanamaker TrophyIn 1894, two golf events were held in the USA.

The national championships for amateur golfers, held at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island with another at St. Andrew’s Golf Club in New York.

In addition, and at the same time as the amateur event, St. Andrew’s conducted an Open championship for professional golfers.

Later in that year, this led to the formation of the United States Golf Association (USGA), which became the first formal golf organisation in the country. After the formation of the USGA, golf quickly became a popular sport across the country.

After the formation of the USGA, golf quickly became a popular sport across the country.

In February 1916 the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) was established in New York City.

The organisation’s first president was Robert White, one of Wykagyl’s best-known golf professionals.

The first PGA Championship was held in October 1916 at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York.

The winner, Jim Barnes, received $500 and a diamond-studded gold medal donated by department store owner Rodman Wanamaker.

Originally played in MatchPlay Format but was changed to a Strokeplay event in 1958.

Moving to the present day, the 2016 winner, Jimmy Walker received $1.8 million and was presented with the now famous Wanamaker Trophy.

The benefit of winning The PGA Championship means you are automatically invited to play in the other three majors (Masters Tournament, U.S. Open, and The Open Championship) for the next five years.

They are also exempt from qualifying for The PGA Championship for life.

In addition, the winner receives membership on the PGA and European Tours for the following five seasons and invitations to The Players Championship (Played in May) for five years.

However, as the Pro golf calendar gets more and more congested, there is now talk of this event moving to May, with the Players Championship moving back to March to make way.

The idea here is that this leaves more room for the FedEx Cup and more space between this and The Ryder Cup at the end of Sept.

The Majors – Player Qualifications for The PGA Championship 2017…

There are different routes that players can take to qualify for The PGA Championship – Qualification routes as of 2010:

– All former PGA Champions

– Winners of the last five US Opens

– Winners of the last five US Masters

– Winners of the last five OPEN Championships

– The last Senior PGA Champion

– The low 15 scorers and ties in the previous PGA Championship

– The 20 low scorers in the last PGA Professional National Championship

– The 70 leaders in official money standings on the PGA Tour.

– Members of the most recent United States and European Ryder Cup Teams

– Winners of tournaments co-sponsored or approved by the PGA Tour since the previous PGA Championship

The Majors – The PGA Championship 2017…

Quail Hollow Golf ClubThe 58th PGA Championship will take place at Quail Hollow on the East Coast in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The course was originally designed by famed golf course architect George Cobb in 1961 to capture the beauty as well as the challenging terrain of the Piedmont region.

It is considered by some to be one of the finest courses in the southeastern United States.

In the intervening years, the course has undergone a series of improvements, including modifications to several holes by Arnold Palmer in 1986, and a redesign by Tom Fazio in 1997.

The signature hole at Quail Hollow is the par four, 14th is a dog-leg left that can be driven with a good tee shot.

It measures 346 yards from the championship tees.

A 15-acre lake frames the left side of the hole and the rough on that side slopes down to the water.

The narrow landing area measures about 27 yards across and is guarded with two bunkers on each side.

The two-tiered green is long and narrow with about 7,100 square feet of putting surface.

Two more bunkers guard the left front and middle of the green, and a collection area waits just off the right front of the green for short approach shots hit offline or almost perfect drives.

The area immediately left of the green slopes severely down to the lake, so shots hit left have a very good chance of ending up in the hazard.

The Majors – Players to Watch Out For…

This Major event tends to throw up some unexpected winners with only Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy being double winners in the last 20 years, so predicting who may be this year’s winner is no less difficult.

With 156 golfers in the mix, it’s its anybody’s guess.

The list of past champions includes; Davis Love III, Rich Beem, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day and in yesteryear, Nicklaus, Player, Trevino, Snead, Hogan, Hagen, Nelson, Sarazen but interesting, not Palmer!

Some information on key players at the 2017 US Open is listed below….

Henrik Stenson - The PGA ChampionshipHenrik Stenson

He was the first Swedish major champion winning the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon with a record score of 264.

A two-time European Tour Golfer of the Year he has spent 250+ weeks ranked in the OWGR top ten.

In 2013, Stenson won the U.S. PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup and the European Tour’s Race to Dubai in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Stenson won the silver medal…. so he’s no pushover!

Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson is currently still standing at No.1 in the World Rankings, so cannot be dismissed.

OK, so not a great showing at the recent US OPEN, missing the cut but somethings tells us that Johnson is going anywhere anytime soon.

Hideki Matsuyama

He won the Asian Amateur Championship in 2010 and 2011.

He is a four-time PGA Tour winner and an eight-time Japan Golf Tour winner.

On 19 June 2017, Matsuyama became the world No. 2-ranked player on the Official World Golf Ranking after his runner-up finish at the 2017 U.S. Open.

The PGA Championship - Beef Johnston Andrew Johnston

This English golfer is still learning his craft. Hailing from North London has made many friends on tour in the last 12 months and whilst he only has one win on the European Tour, which came at the 2016 Open de España, this could be his kind of course.

Known affectionately as ‘Beef’ since his youth, he has carried the nickname into his professional career and is very popular with the US galleries.

But of course, any player could win the Wanamaker trophy!


The Majors – Betting at The PGA Championship

Having a flutter on Major golfing events is now commonplace for golf lovers and armchair sports fans.

Many Betting firms have developed their product offering, making it very simple and quick to lay a wager.

With websites, apps and multiple bets options now available, billions of £’s and $’s are spent each year on adding another dimension to the sport.

Of course, the odds on this event will swing massively between now and tee-off but here are some of the latest betting odds (26/7/17)…

  • Jordan Spieth: 8/1
  • Rory McIlroy: 7/1
  • Jason Day: 16/1
  • Hideki Matsuyama: 16/1
  • Sergio Garcia: 25/1

The PGA Championship

There are rank outsiders too and in the past, we have sometimes chosen outsiders using an Each-Way bet. This year, these include Danny Willet 80/1,  Matthew Fitzpatrick 100/1, Ross Fisher 150/1 and John Daly 500/1

So as 7th August approaches, keep an eye on the odds as they change. However, please bet responsibly.

We will definitely be enjoying this year’s event for the comfort of an armchair!

By Ian Mullins

For previous articles on golf’s four Majors, click on the links below:


Mayo is victor at The Social Golfer Par 3 Championship…

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

The Social Golfer Par 3 Championship - Alan HaywoodGolfers from all over the South East of England gathered at the Kent-based club Pedham Place on 10th June 2017,  all hoping to be this year’s The Social Golfer Par 3 Championship winning golfer.

Meanwhile, the event celebrated a new format, making for an exciting finish….

The Social Golfer Par 3 Championship – The Day… (TSG), the online social networking community for golfers celebrated its 3rdth annual TSG Par 3 Championship at Pedham Place Golf Club in Kent with East London-based member Pete Mayo lifting the trophy!

The Social Golfer Par 3 Championship – The Format…

The event is normally played over the 36 holes on the Pedham Academy Course.

However, this year, instead of the standard stableford points determining the result, this year the TSG team created a new format whereby the event was played over 27 holes, with the top six points scorers going through to a 18th hole shoot-out!

The six qualifiers made it an exciting competition, with Brigitte Lockwood (Twickenham), Noirin Fitzgerald (Shepperton), Jaspal Ranoo (Woolwich), Noel Loughrey (Berkshire), Steve Slater (Essex) and Pete all making gallant efforts to win through.

Each shoot-out competitor was given two balls in a Nearest Pin competition with Mayo, Ranoo and Slater all making it to the Final.

Slater fell at the first play-off hole but after the second play-off hole, Mayo held his nerve to win over Ranoo.

The field ranging from 10 handicappers to 28 and the course (one of the best Par 3 in the South of England) proved to make for a hugely enjoyable contest.

The Social Golfer Par 3 Championship – What they said…

The Social Golfer Par 3 Championship - Pete MayoPete Mayo, Newly Crowned Champion said…

“A big thanks to Ian and Mark (TSG Team) for organising the day and to everybody else for making it such a great event. I thoroughly approve of the format (I would say that wouldn’t I).”

“On a serious note, TSG is by far the easiest way to play relaxed golf, with a good bunch of people. I have played lots of different courses since joining and you can track my progress and handicap online. I am looking forward to defending my title in 2018!

Speaking after the event Ian Mullins, Managing Director of The Social Golfer said…

It was a huge risk by changing the format of the day but it proved to not only add tension to the day but also gave the finalists a sense of what it might really be like to play in a real competitive event.”

“Let’s face it most golf days end with the reading out of the winners but the new format added additional spice to the day. Many thanks to Pedham Place and Tim Milford and his team for once again looking after us so well!”


By Ian Mullins

New Golf Formats…

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

GolfSixies - New Golf FormatsOver the last few years there have been many initiatives introducing new golf formats to the game, but is all the razzmatazz necessary to get people playing golf?

We asked Emma Ballard, Head of Digital at Medi8 Limited, PR agency to American Golf and many other brands. She is also the UK Ambassador for Womens Golf Day.

New Golf Formats – Why are they here?

In recent times, there has been a real push to get more people, especially women & children, playing the game.

With the number of people playing regular golf over the last 10 years declining, governing bodies, golf organisations and professional tours have tried to come up with ways to reach out and get golf back on peoples’ agenda.

Back in 2006 when numbers were healthier, you’d find the majority of golfers out on a golf course playing 18, 9 holes or pitch & putt, the driving range and of course, the holiday requirement of a bit of adventure golf!

The use of indoor simulators was on the increase and if you lived near the outskirts of London you could make your range sessions much more fun by going to Top Golf.

Oh, and on a slight aside, social media was in its infancy.

Since then, as the numbers declined, golf has had a go at redefining itself by attempting to alter the format and make the game look more fun and appealing to a younger generation.

New Golf Formats – Where did it begin…

It started at club level with the introduction of PowerPlay Golf, 9 holes with 2 flags, and through other initiatives like SPRINT6GOLF, it culminated in the European Tour’s GolfSixes event this May.

They threw lots of new ideas into the tournament, golf got its version of a Hollywood makeover, creating a lot of buzz and excitement amongst spectators.

But what I wonder is whether this is necessary, is this the way forward for golf?

Looking at golf today,  your options to play are endless, there is everything that I have mentioned that was available back in 2006, but now most ranges are also equipped with some indoor golf facilities.

It’s no longer frowned upon to want to play a quick 9 holes, pop-up adventure golf in cities is commonplace and if you don’t fancy hitting a ball you can kick one at the hole in the form of FootGolf.

Considering social media again, it’s now an integral part of our lives, a fabulous tool to promote a golf facility with an ability to be able to target a much larger audience and with the likes of you never have the problem of finding someone to play with!

Golf in itself hasn’t changed, like tennis or badminton, the process and mechanics of hitting a ball is just the same, it’s only the club you are using and the ball you are hitting which have altered over the years due to the vast investment into research and development.

Emma Ballard - New Golf Formats

New Golf Formats – My View…

So why with so many more playing options than 10 years ago and the basic method of swinging a golf club unchanged is there a need to focus so much on the format of the game?

I suggest we don’t mess with the format, the game works perfectly well as it is?

Surely we need to focus time and effort at a local level, low cost marketing the wonderful facilities that are available by making use of some, or all, of the low-cost social media channels on offer.

By driving people through the door, golf clubs/venues can use the pathways into golf that are already available to get more people back playing and gain new recruits along the way.

Essentially golf is fun and has a great social side to it too.

With the ability to make it part of family life, a sport that anyone can play and an ever ageing population – it’s time to ditch the razzmatazz and new golf formats and get back to simple ways when golf sold itself!