Archive for the ‘Golf Articles’ Category

Top Tips for Golf Holidays (courtesy of Golf Escapes) …

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Top Tips for Golf Holidays

We all love to get away on a golf holiday but given the number of options available, what can help you decide when and where to go? We asked Stuart Ridley of Golf Escapes what his five Top Tips for making a good golf holiday, a great one…

1. Top Tips for Golf Holidays – Location, Location, Location…

Choosing your location is obviously one of the most important parts in ensuring your golf escape is the trip you have been hoping for.

There are a few things to consider when deciding where to take your partner, friends, colleagues or golf society/group.

Firstly, are you looking for peace and quiet or are you after a few lively nights out?

If it is a quiet weekend/week away you are looking for, then maybe base yourself at one of the many wonderful ‘Golf Resorts’ around Europe…

Golf resorts such as Aphrodite Hills in Cyprus, La Finca Golf Resort in the Costa Blanca and PGA Catalunya in the Costa Brava, all offer a unique holiday of high-end luxury with fantastic golf on site.

Normally, this type of location will appeal to someone looking for total relaxation without having to leave the resort, or spend too much time travelling whilst on holiday.

However, if you like the ‘party’ side of your golf trips, then there are plenty of towns that can fulfil your expectations;

Spanish towns such as Benalmadena Fuengirola in the Costa del Sol, Benidorm in the Costa Blanca and Los Alcazares in Murcia fit this bill.

Meanwhile, in Portugal, there are destinations such as Vilamoura & Alvor in the Algarve, all of which have plenty of nightlife to compliment your day’s golf.

 

Top tips for golf holidays - PGA-Catalunya

2. Top Tips for Golf Holidays – Try something new…

There are so many fantastic golf courses, hotels, and golf resorts around the world that it is always worth trying something new every now and then.

It is very easy for people to stick to the things they know and love, and I am guilty of it myself.

That is where a golf specialist like ourselves can help (other brands are available!)…

At Golf Escapes, there is always someone in the office who has visited a destination that you may not be aware of.

If you are used to going to Alvor, why not try heading further east in the Algarve to Tavira?

It is a stunning Portuguese town with plenty of bars and restaurants for you to enjoy in the evening.

Not to mention the fact you have the best golf course in Portugal – Monte Rei – just 15 minutes down the road.

However, for those looking for Winter sun, it is not just the Canary Islands that offer you the perfect golfing destination.

In recent years, new golfing locations in countries such as Morocco, Cyprus and Turkey have become available with courses such as Assoufid & Samanah in Morocco, Aphrodite HillsElea in Cyprus and Carya Montgomerie in Turkey.

In addition, there are a number of world-class golf courses to try.

For instance, if you like Marbella, try Prague or Girona.

If you want the best golf, go and visit the Silver Coast north of Lisbon.

With so many superb places to explore, there no reason to keep going back to the same places each year.

 

Top tips for golf holidays - Albatross

3. Top Tips for Golf Holidays –  Book early…

It is a bit of a myth that the best deals are only available when booking last minute!

Of course, there are often last minute deals to be had, but the best ones are always when booking early.

The majority of hotels offer early booking discounts when booking a certain amount of time before a travel date.The earlier you book, the higher the reduction.

We would always advise groups to try and get their trip booked 10 – 12 months before they travel.

Not only do you get the best prices, you also get the pick of the tee times.

With resorts getting busier, year on year, the tee times and hotel availability becomes limited a lot earlier than they used to, so get in there early!

 

Top tips for golf holidays - Aphrodite

4.Top Tips for Golf Holidays – The Flights…

When choosing your Golf Escape, don’t forget about the flights.

It is very easy to get carried away with getting prices together for lots of lovely golf resorts and packages, but if you can’t physically get there on time and in the budget, it can ruin all the plans you have made.

Although we would always advise people to book the hotel and golf package first, don’t forget to check the flights in advance.

www.skyscanner.net is a fantastic tool to help you do this, as is www.kayak.co.uk.

On sites such as these, you can easily search your preferred departure airport, dates and times, and literally search the whole globe for the cheapest flights around there are.

So if flights to Alicante, Faro, or Malaga come up with the best deals, then why not try golfing there?

It is a great way of starting your search, knowing that you already have the cheapest flights available.

However… do act quickly, as flight costs fluctuate every day.

 

Top tips for golf holidays - Assoufid

5. Top 5 Tips for Golf Holidays – Budget…

Make sure you go into the process of organising a holiday with a budget in mind.

Everybody has a budget they need to work too (even the most affluent) and we recommend you stick to it as closely as possible.

If you don’t, costs can soon spiral out of control.

And the last thing you want is for your trip to begin with a debate with your fellow golf travellers, arguing about how….“ We could have got the deal cheaper somewhere else”. 

Yep, we all know who they are.

Furthermore, it is very easy to find the cheapest hotel and the cheapest golf course only to find out that your flight then pushes you over budget.


Finally, feel free to call us (even if you just want advice), we love helping golfers find the best golf holiday, for them!

By Stuart Ridley (Golf Blogger at Golf Escapes).

Macdonald Hotels – Golf World Top 100 Golf Resorts …

Friday, December 8th, 2017
Macdonald Hotels & Resorts

One of the UK’s  leading networks of golf venues, Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, has further reinforced its status as Golf World magazine publishes its first ranking of the Top 100 Golf Resorts in the Uk & Ireland …

The UK’s largest independent hotel group saw all five of its golf resorts feature within the new list, which was compiled by an international panel of experts who considered the quality of a venue’s golf course(s), accommodation, amenities and setting to establish the standings.

European Challenge Tour venue, Macdonald Aviemore Resort, located in the Highlands of Scotland, which underwent a £1 million investment programme to develop its new clubhouse in 2013, was the highest ranked Macdonald venue, finishing 23rd in the inaugural classification.

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts – The accolades…

– Macdonald Portal Hotel, Golf & Spa, Cheshire, was ranked 53rd

– Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Spa, Peebles, was 64th

– Macdonald Hill Valley Hotel, Golf & Spa, Shropshire, was 73rd

– Macdonald Linden Hall Golf & Country Club, Northumberland finished 86th

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts – What they said…

Keith Pickard, Group Director of Golf, Leisure & Spa at Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, said: “Our prominence in this influential Golf World listing is the ideal endorsement of the significant investment we have completed over the last four years to further enhance the quality of our golf resorts and ensure we are able to meet the exacting demands of today’s modern golfer.”

The success in the Top 100 ranking follows an investment programme, which included a course renovation project across the five venues and the refurbishment of the hotels as part of a wider £10 million project in 2015, designed to further enhance playing conditions and customer experience.

Commenting on the 2018 rankings, Golf World’s Top 100 Editor, Chris Bertram, said:“The UK undoubtedly has some of the best golf resorts in the world and this inaugural list, which was compiled by a panel of Golf World readers, aims to provide a definitive classification. The five Macdonald Hotels & Resorts golf venues all offer golfers the opportunity to play consistently good and varied courses, as well as provide a number of accommodation options designed to ensure a first-class golf break.”

Macdonald Hotels

Macdonald Aviemore Resort, home of the Spey Valley championship course, was the highest ranked Macdonald venue in the inaugural Golf World Top 100 Golf Resorts in the UK and Ireland, finishing 23rd in the classification
Macdonald Hotels
All five Macdonald Hotels & Resorts’ venues were included in Golf World magazine’s ranking of the Top 100 Golf Resorts in the UK and Ireland

 

 

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts – More information…

– Established in 1990 by Donald Macdonald and colleagues, over the past 25 years Macdonald Hotels & Resorts has successfully expanded from its beginnings in Aberdeenshire to become the UK’s largest privately owned hotel group.

– Operating 55 hotels throughout the UK, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, the group continues to invest and now employs over 4,000 staff and operates in excess of 4,500 hotel rooms.

– Macdonald Hotels & Resorts is proud of its promise to serve only the finest and freshest produce, with flavoursome dishes always prepared from whole raw ingredients.

– A forward-thinking, environmentally responsible hotel group, through its ‘Room 20’ programme led by internal ‘green teams’, Macdonald Hotels & Resorts continues to focus on achieving ambitious, self-imposed energy saving targets.

– This unwavering commitment to achieving the highest quality standards in every aspect of the business has seen Macdonald Hotels & Resorts receive numerous prestigious accolades.

– This has included named 2012-2013 AA Eco-Hotel Group of the Year, receiving the MIDAS award for the Best Breakfast 2011/12, a 2012 Good Egg Award by Compassion for World Farming, the National Customer Service Awards for Leisure and Tourism and the coveted 2013 Carbon Trust Standard.


Oldest Golf Club in Australia…

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Oldest Golf Club in Australia - Ratho Golf ClubIn the last in our series of the World’s Oldest Golf Clubs, this time we turn to Bob’s new home i.e.  the oldest golf club in Australia?

The Oldest Golf Club in Australia…

The continent of Australia is the smallest continent by land mass but the 6th largest country in the world and consists of 6 states, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia, & Tasmania, and the Northern Territory, all with their own unique and beautiful golf courses and of course local history.

However, in order to locate the oldest club, we have to travel to Tasmania…In the very early 1800’s, the new colony was then called Van Diemen’s Land and was being colonised and good farmland was being sought, especially by the Scots English, Welsh & the Irish farmers.

The Reid family was one of many famil that set sail from Scotland on the ship “The Castle Forbes”, in search for a better life and future for his family.

After being granted land on the Upper Clyde River north of Hobart in The Highland Wilderness, they and other Scottish families that had travelled with them from East Scotland, settled in a small village called Bothwell and thus in 1822 Ratho Farm was established.

Four generations of the Reid family worked and improved The Ratho farm and golf links until 1932 when Alexander III, sold the farm to another Scottish Businessman named Alexander Stenhouse, who bought the farm for the security of his granddaughters.

After the death of their grandfather Richard & Mary Ramsey, they took over the farm in 1982 and the Ramsay family have continued to upgrade the farm right up until today.

The Oldest Golf Club in Australia – The course…

The Ratho Golf Links is a unique course, as it has sheep that graze on the playing area that keep the grass nice and short, & fences are put up to stop the sheep grazing on the ‘square’ greens, there is also a unique statue of old Tom Morris carved out of a tree stump with a chainsaw.

Many of the Scottish settlers also built golf courses in the surrounding area and one of those golf courses was Bothwell Golf Club. Greg Ramsay and his family have done an excellent job in bringing the Ratho Farm Golf Links into the 21 century.

Not only can you play a round of golf on Australia’s oldest golf course but you can also go Fly fishing on the River Clyde that runs through the property, as well as staying overnight in cottages built by the convicts.

Scottish Bob

N.B. Finally, as a footnote to this series of articles, my wife and I had the pleasure in staying overnight at Ratho Farm Golf Links in one of the small cottages built by the convicts in the 1800s.

After playing the course with hickory golf sticks, after a great meal in the evening and whilst sitting outside our cottage with a cold beer, we watched the River Clyde flow by, the peace and tranquillity was so amazing.

What an unbelievable experience having walked and played golf where so many had played before me, and for which I thank Greg Ramsay and his family for making us so welcome!

OLDEST GOLF CLUB in Antartica…

Srixon and Prostate Cancer raise £42,999…

Friday, November 17th, 2017

Srixon and Prostate Cancer and Graeme McDowellMany brands talk about helping people but very refreshing to hear that Srixon and Prostate Cancer have worked to together in 2017 to raise an impressive £42,999…

Srixon and Prostate Cancer working together…

The sizeable donation comes on the back of another successful year for the brand in the UK, as demand for its 5th generation, Z-STAR / Z-STAR XVgolf ball continues to grow.

Brand ambassador, Graeme McDowell joined Srixon Europe’s Tour Manager, Iain Steele to pose for the cameras with a cheque showcasing the impressive final donation during a recent European Tour event.

The Ryder Cup star and former U.S. Open champion personally played a key part in the multi-platform promotional campaign that spiked media exposure and drove sales.

The ground-breaking partnership saw Srixon donate £1.50 for every dozen Z-STAR and Z-STAR XV golf balls sold at trade to Prostate Cancer UK, helping to raise funds as well as awareness of the life-threatening male-specific disease.

To enhance awareness of the campaign and give its loyal customers more value, Srixon introduced a limited edition 15 ball ‘Z-STAR/ Z-STAR XV Bonus Pack’.

This included an additional free sleeve of the new Z-STAR / Z-STAR XV, decorated with the iconic Prostate Cancer UK logo.

Srixon and Prostate Cancer

Srixon and Prostate Cancer – What they said…

Commenting on behalf of Srixon Sports Europe, the company’s UK & Ireland President, Leslie Hepsworth said, “2017 has been a fantastic year for the Srixon brand in the UK market and we are really proud that we have been able to raise such a significant amount of money, that we know will be put to great use in fighting such a devastating disease.”

The partnership delivered on all levels and provided the perfect complement to the launch of the latest iteration of Srixon’sperformance-packed Z-STAR / Z-STAR XV golf ball,” he added.

IMPORTANT FACT –  One man dies every hour from prostate cancer!

Astark statistic, given that the average length of a round of golf is five hours. The charity’s aim is simple: to stop men dying from prostate cancer. This will be done by shifting the science over the next 10 years to focus on radical improvements in diagnosis, treatment, prevention and support.


For further information on the Srixon and Prostate Cancer and the Z-STAR and all of the brand’s products visit www.srixon.co.uk

Read about TSG Charities…

 

Golfing in Northern Ireland…

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Golfing in Northern IrelandThere are numerous destinations around the world to visit and play golf but closer to home, have you ever consider golfing in Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland may be famed for its championship links golf but it also possesses glorious parkland courses.

Beyond capital Belfast’s five parkland beauties there’s a wealth of inland courses for golfers to play throughout the region.

Some of them are at golf resorts where the fairways are just steps away from your room, while others are unsung jewels just waiting to be discovered by visitors.

Golfing in Northern Ireland – The Resorts…

There are three main golfing resorts in Northern Ireland, all of them offering extensive golf facilities as well as accommodation, bars, restaurants, recreational activities – and full-service spas with massage treatments, to help ease those aching muscles after a round or prepare the body for the next golfing foray.

Just 20 minutes from Belfast, and only 10 minutes from Belfast International Airport, the Hilton Belfast Templepatrick Golf & Country Club incorporates a 129-room four-star hotel and a par-72 golf course that stretches to over 7,000 yards.

Designed by former European Tour pros David Jones and David Feherty, it opened in 1999 and challenges golfers with a mix of lakes and mature trees. Other golf facilities include a floodlit driving range, short game practice area and two practice putting greens.

The resort also has a spa and health club, both of which were refurbished in 2014.

Located on a 600-acre peninsula between Lower Lough Erne and Castle Hume Lough in the Fermanagh Lakelands, Lough Erne Resort comprises a five-star hotel and the Faldo Championship Course – six-time Major winner Sir Nick Faldo’s first design in Ireland – that opened in 2009, as well as a second 18-hole course, the Castle Hume.

The resort also has a golf academy featuring a private golf studio equipped with video and ball-tracking analysis.
Lough Erne Resort opened in 2010 and has 120 rooms, suites and loughside lodges.

Its Thai Spa offers a dual treatment room ideal for couples, with treatments including a two-hour Golfers Tonic massage.

The resort’s Catalina Restaurant is named after the World War II flying boats that were based on Lough Erne.

Lough Erne Resort welcomed world leaders including Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and David Cameron when it hosted the G8 summit in 2013.

The Roe Park Resort lies in the beautiful surroundings of the Roe Valley Country Park. It is just a short drive from 2019 Open Championship venue Royal Portrush and other top links layouts as well as the Causeway Coast’s world-class visitor attractions, among them the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The 18-hole parkland course gives golfers views of the Sperrin Mountains and Lough Foyle from elevated holes. Its par-3 6th hole recently underwent extensive work including a new two-tier green as part of £1 million renovations to the course. Facilities also include an academy
and high-tech indoor teaching studio.

Formerly a stately country house dating to 1729, Roe Park Resort’s four-star hotel opened in 1995 and offers 118 rooms and suites, two restaurants, including its restored 18th century Coach House, and a spa that is a teaching academy for Elemis. The resort offers a Couples Escape package that includes dinner, bed and breakfast plus a mud skin treatment for two followed by a couples massage.

Although not connected, Galgorm Resort & Spa is close by for those playing golf at Galgorm Castle Golf Club and it features a new riverside Thermal Village. A couples package includes bubbly and truffles on arrival, use of the Thermal Village and a Deluxe Duo treatment, with optional four-course meal and a cocktail or glass of wine. The resort was the host hotel for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
in 2017, played at Portstewart Golf Club.

Golfing in Northern IrelandGolfing in Northern Ireland – Other clubs in the Area…

Galgorm Castle Golf Club is laid-out through mature wooded grounds in the heart of the 220-acre Galgorm Castle Estate, alongside its 17th-century castle.

It stages the annual Northern Ireland Open, part of the European Tour’s Challenge Tour.

More than 40,000 people watched the free-to-enter the tournament in 2017, a record for the tour.

A new Fun Golf Area at Galgorm is aimed at families and features a six-hole pitch and putt course and the Himalayas putting green, a scaled replica of the famous St Andrews attraction.

Among Northern Ireland’s best-kept golfing secrets, Kilkeel Golf Club is a picturesque parkland layout at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in the far south-west that has played host to qualifiers for the British Amateur and Senior British Open events.

When golfing in Northern Ireland, the region also boasts several centenarians outside of Belfast.

They include: Massereene Golf Club, established in 1895 and offering a challenging course on the shore of Lough Neagh; Newtownstewart Golf Club, founded in 1914 and laid out through venerable oaks and beech trees in the Baronscourt Estate, home of the Duke of Abercorn; Tandragee Golf Club, dating back to 1911 on the Duke of Manchester’s Estate with bunkers including some resembling America’s Great Lakes that were designed by the Cincinnati-born Duchess of Manchester; and Omagh Golf Club, which was extended from a nine-hole course built in 1910 to 18 holes in 1983.

Other gems include County Down golf clubs Rockmount, St Patrick’s, Warrenpoint, Edenmore and 36-hole Clandeboye, County Antrim’s Lisburn Golf Club and Country Tyrone’s Dungannon Golf Club.

Golfing in Northern Ireland

Golfing in Northern Ireland – The seaside courses…

Several excellent seaside courses lie in the shadows of renowned venues.

Just around the coast from the celebrated Royal County Down, the short but spectacular Ardglass Golf Club links hugs the rocky shore and cliffs, with several holes offering views across the bay to Coney Island.

Golfers can enjoy the craic after their round in the bar of the oldest clubhouse in the world, originally built as a castle over 600 years ago and with cannons pointing out over the fairways just in front.

Kirkistown Castle Golf Club, on the Ards Peninsula, is the closest links course to Belfast and was designed by legendary architect James Braid, while Ballycastle Golf Club, a mix of parkland and links, lies opposite Rathlin Island on the Causeway Coast alongside the ruins of 500-year-old Bonamargy Friary.

Cairndhu Golf Club is a parkland course with several holes right by the sea, its signature, par-3 2nd hole ending in a green perched on a rocky headland.

However, few courses can match the historic connection enjoyed by Foyle Golf Centre, on the outskirts of Derry below the Donegal Hills.

Its championship parkland course is named after aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

She made an emergency landing at the end of her historic flight in 1932 on what is now the 6th green of the Earhart Course.

Whatever your preference, golfing in Northern Ireland is a hit!


By Ian Mullins

Golf Events in Ireland…

Golfing in Antarctica …

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Golfing in AntarcticaNo doubt you will all be aware that there aren’t any ‘traditional’ golf courses at the South Pole but can you go golfing in Antarctica?

Rest assured, golf is played on this cold and wind-torn continent, more frequently than you think!

Golfing in Antarctica – McMurdo Station…

The residents of McMurdo Station (if the weather permits) improvise and build themselves a make-shift golf course, around all the huts and buildings of their surrounding area.

In the freezing conditions (which is most of the time!) they hold their golf tournaments, like the “The Winter’s End Classic”. 

The McMurdo Station is built on the bare volcanic rock on Ross Island and it is the farthest south solid ground that is accessible by ship, and it was built in 1956.

In 2009 I was lucky enough to make friends with a couple of workers based there via email and they were kind enough to send me one of their scorecards which I have in my special scorecard collection.

Which is the Oldest Golf Club in Antarctica – Scott Base Sation…

The same applies to the residents and workers at Scott Base Station where they hold their own golf tournaments, including the 2007 “Ross Island Masters International Invitational”.

Unfortunately, I do not know when golf first started being played on this part of the Antarctica but I am sure it was well before 2006.

I will try and do my best to find this out, and who knows maybe any of the readers of The Social Golfer might be able to let me know if they have any knowledge of golf being plated before these dates?

Til next time…

Scottish Bob

Next – The Oldest Golf Course in Asia…

How to write a good golf club review…

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

how to write a golf club reviewAs the way we consume media and buy products and services changes, it is now becoming commonplace for internet users to leave a golf club review for other consumers.

So much so, that 78% of consumers now say they DO NOT make a purchase before doing research. We asked Ian Mullins (MD of TheSocialGolfer.com), what makes for a good review?

————————————————————————————-

When writing a golf club review it is important that you are both object and fair in your judging criteria.

In addition, it is important that your review is not based on the quality of the golf you played on the day but on the club and course itself.

There are four main criteria that we at the socialgolfer.com believe you should consider in your testimonial and here are some suggestions of the topics you should cover in your golf club reviews

Clubhouse & Catering – Was the course easy to find? What is the history and provenance of the club? Is the Clubhouse clean and welcoming? Were the staff friendly? Was the food to your satisfaction? How were you treated by the staff in the Proshop? Were the changing facilities clean and tidy?

Quality of the Course – Describe the layout of the course e.g. Parkland, Woodland, Links? What condition were the tee boxes, the fairways? Were the Greens well maintained? Was there good signage between the holes? Was there a particularly memorable hole you liked?

Practice Facilities – Were there designated areas for Putting, Chipping etc. Was there a range? Do they offer tuition packages? Were the Pro’s on hand to advise you about the set-up and course? Is there information on club and course available?

Value For Money – Give an account of the cost of your round. Did you take advantage of any offers? Was the overall experience matched by the Green Fee? Were you treated as a welcome visitor or an interloper?

how to write a golf club reviewAs we look ahead, like many other industries, golf club and golf centres around the UK and beyond, will have to start taking notice of their visitors, as well as their members.

Leaving a golf club review after you have visited a course, not only allows you to remember your experience before returning to the club again but this is also a valuable service for your fellow golfing “nomads”.

Finally, as golf courses become more and more reliant on visitors rather than members, we believe this will force all golf clubs to improve their service for all.

So next time you sit down to write a golf club review, either on thesocialgolfer.com or rival golf platform, think about who else may be reading it, and what information you would like to know, before booking a tee time.

#goodluck


By Ian Mullins

The Social Golfer Website Review – Ladies have their say…

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

Ruth Brand - The Social Golfer Website Review

The online golf club The Social Golfer (TSG) has been growing steadily since its official launch back in 2010 and much of that is down to the continued support we have from our lady golfers.

However, as a pro-active promoter of women’s golf, we asked long term TSG member Ruth Brand for her comments regarding her TSG experience since joining our community.

N.B. These are Ruth’s words, not ours….!!


The Social Golfer Website Review – Why TSG?

As a keen (obsessed) golfer and having arrived back in the UK from living overseas for 12 years, I was looking to find a local golf club, which wasn’t very expensive.

As with most things these days, the first place to start was with my computer.

On my internet travels, I came across The Social Golfer.

I went onto their site and read what they were all about and it was perfect (or so it seemed), and I had found what I was looking for.

I signed up there and then and paid my £25 annual membership fee.

Essentially, TSG is no different to any other golf club.

Its front door just happens to be on my PC/iPad rather than a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ club.

It’s a golf club for golfers of all levels; members post a game/tee time in their area and, if spaces are available, you join the game by clicking on the link invitation.

If any changes are made to the game or if more people join up then you are advised by email so you are always kept informed.

After returning from the game, you then enter your scorecard and keep a handicap – brilliant!

The Social Golfer Website Review – Is it safe and female friendly?Ruth Brand - TSG Masters 2017 Champion

Now, I will mention here that I am a lady of a certain age and the very thought of meeting a bunch of totally new people was a tad daunting but I bit the bullet and put my name down for my very first game at Lingfield Park in Surrey.

I arrived on a dreary Saturday morning not really quite knowing what to expect but it was very straightforward and it was where I first met Ian – the chief honcho of TSG!

Jump forward six years and I have played many courses I would never have played, met people I definitely wouldn’t have met and it is one of the best decisions I have EVER made by joining!!

The Social Golfer Website Review – Is it overly competitive or cliquey?

One of the best parts about using this website is the ‘official’ TSG competitions that Ian arranges throughout the year.

These are entered straight into my diary and family holidays have to be arranged around them!

They are fabulous days where you meet up with old friends and make new ones and there is a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, especially for new members

This year’s event was sponsored by Golf News and Golf Escapes and there were prizes also to be won and titles to win or retain.

However, most of the TSG events I join are no more than a friendly game of golf with other members and the best bit, there are no petty politics to be found or heard anywhere.

I will also just put it out there, that I have on many occasions been the only lady golfer playing but not once have I felt uncomfortable – we are just there to play golf.

The Social Golfer Website Review – In summary…

Ruth Brand - The Social Golfer Website Review

It really is a club for like-minded, relaxed and fun golfers, who enjoy the flexibility of playing at lots of different clubs and generally, at discounted rates.

I also know Ian is very active at encouraging more women to take up the game, so everyone is welcomed, whether you’re an experienced player or just starting out.

So for any ladies out there reading this, I urge you to go and have a look at the site, sign up and come and meet lots of lovely new people and experience golf as it should be – a truly social day out!!!


By Ruth Brand

The Social Golfer sponsors Disabled Golfer…

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Paul Houghton - Disabled Golfer The online golf club TheSocialGolfer.com (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 thesocialgolfer.com 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 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: