Archive for the ‘Golf Articles’ Category

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?

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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 review…

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:

 

Oldest Golf Club in Asia….

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Oldest Golf Club in Asia - royal-calcutta-golf-clubThere more than 40,000 golf clubs established across the world but which is the oldest Golf Club in Asia?

TSG member Scottish Bob is an amateur golf historian who also collects golf scorecards from around the world wanted to know.

In a series of articles about the oldest golf clubs around the world here’s what he found out…

Which is the Oldest Golf Club in Asia?

Golf Clubs were well established and being played in both Scotland and England in the 1700’s with golf clubs like St Andrews, Royal Blackheath, Royal Perth & Musselburgh just to mention a few.

However, golf was also being established by the British on different continents all over the British Empire.

Asia is the largest continent with 48 countries and covers about 9 percent of the Earth’s surface and also is the most populated.

I know that at least 45 of those countries have golf courses and just maybe it might be more.

Which is the Oldest Golf Club in Asia – The Answer?

 

Which is the Oldest Golf Club in Asia?

I believe that there are over 300 golf courses in India and a large amount are run by the Military.

The East India Company who were the British government’s administrative & military authority in the 17th& 18th centuries decided to set up an administrative centre in Calcutta, and many of the British gentlemen who were based there loved their golf.

After a short period of time, they decided to create their own golf course and named it the Calcutta Golf Club which was located close the Calcutta airport. In 1910 the course was relocated to its present location at Tollygunge.

The club was meant for the use, exclusively by the gentlemen.

However, ladies were very reluctantly admitted to the club in 1886. The committee voted 43 for and 13 against and on the condition, the ladies be allowed to use the course in the mornings only.

Following a visit by King George V and Queen Mary in 1911, the golf club was granted Royal Status and named The Royal Calcutta Golf Club, which is fondly known today, by the locals as “The Royal”.

The club is oldest Golf Club in India and the oldest Golf Club in Asia.

Til next time…

Scottish Bob

Scottish Bob - Bob Davies

 

 

 


N.B. To any golf historians reading this I apologise for any mistakes that I may have made, I have tried to ensure sure that my facts about the history were correct at the time of going to press.

 

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 TheSocialGolfer.com 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!