Archive for the ‘Golf History’ Category

Chateau Des Vigiers is better than ever…

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

Chateau des Vigiers Golf ClubOne of France’s leading golf resorts Chateau des Vigiers has prepared for the country’s first Ryder Cup year by making a wide range of improvements…

Chateau des Vigiers – The Resort…

Chateau des Vigiers, the 27-hole golf resort in the heart of the Dordogne wine region of south-west France, now promises ‘visiting golfers’ an even better experience.

With upgraded golf & leisure facilities, renovated bedrooms, and a sumptuous new wine cellar in the chateau’s Michelin Star restaurant, “Les Fresques”.

Known as ‘Petit Versailles’, the resort’s 16th-century chateau forms an enchanting backdrop when you check into one of the hotel’s 65 four-star rooms.

And if you’re a golfer you will find new-look changing rooms, a much more comprehensive pro shop and upgraded golf buggy tracks this season, as well as improved bunkers out on the golf course.

The latest Callaway and Titleist golf equipment is now available to test and buy from the Chateau des Vigiers pro shop, with the 2018 range of FootJoy golf shoes plus golf apparel from Under Armour, Adidas, Glenmuir, Rohnisch and Brax all on show.

Chateau des Vigiers Golf ClubChateau des Vigiers Golf Club – Property…

For those looking for a more permanent ‘home away from home’ in beautiful south-west France, Chateau des Vigiers also now has five brand-new golf homes for sale overlooking the 7th and 8th greens, each individually-designed by French architect Didier Griffoul.

The one, two and three-bedroom properties come complete with their own golf buggy, and give owners direct access both to 27 holes of French resort golf and to the estate’s many facilities, right on the doorstep.

If you are seeking to relax as well as play golf, the newly-renovated Spa at Chateau des Vigiers will reopen in May 2018 with a new hydrotherapy pool.

Three new treatment rooms and a new team of beauticians on hand with the 2018 range of Sothys Paris beauty products.

Chateau des Vigiers Golf Club – What They Said…

2018 is a significant year for golf in France, with the eyes of the world upon us when The Ryder Cup visits our country this September, and we are expecting to welcome record numbers of golfers to our wonderful facility.” said Niels Koetsier, Managing Director at Chateau des Vigiers.

Our goal is to end 2018 ranked well inside Europe’s Top 50 golf resorts, and among the top five places to stay & play golf in France.”

“Our enchanting location, our beautiful accommodation, our gourmet dining and of course our majestic golf course and chateau all make Chateau des Vigiers a unique experience, and these recent improvements will make your memories even more magical.”

Director of Golf Matthew Storm said: “Alongside the other golf facility improvements which we have made over the winter, we have also recently invested in our greenkeeping team. “

“As a result, all 27 holes will be in stunning condition for the new season. Our greens, tees and fairways offer truly wonderful playing surfaces, and golfers will find one of France’s best-maintained golf courses when they come here in 2018.”

New shareholders took a controlling interest in Chateau des Vigiers in July 2017, and have already spent in excess of one million Euros on improvements.

The resort is now under new management, headed by Niels Koetsier who took over as the resort’s new Managing Director, also in July 2017.

Visit to book your next trip to Chateau des Vigiers, or call the resort on +33 (0)553 61 5000.



Unique Golf Courses – Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club …

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club

Following on from Scottish Bob’s blog series on the Oldest Golf Courses of the World by continent in 2017, Bob now turns his attention to some of the lesser known courses around the world, this time its the turn of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club…

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club –  Golfing China…

This magnificent golf course set in the bottom of a valley which faces the famous Snow Dragon Mountains which stands at 18,360 feet in the Yunnan Province of China.

The course was designed by renowned golf course architects Robin Nelson & Neil Hawthorn.

This 18 hole par 72 golf course was opened in 2001 and is the longest regulation golf course in the world, measuring 8548 yards from the pro tees & earning themselves a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Situated at a height of over 10,000 feet above sea level making it the highest golf course in China and the second highest in the world after La Paz in Bolivia standing at 10,964 feet.

However, when playing Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club, at this height, the ball is known to travel 20 percent further due to the thinness of the mountain air.

The front nine of this golf course has a Scottish feel to it, while the back nine is undulating and mountainous, the back nine couldn’t be more contrasting.

The two sets of nine have completely different characteristics, with the Par 5, 5th hole, standing at 711 yards which is the longest par 5 in the world (Seriously!!).

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club – The Locals …

The caddies are from the Local “Naxi” people who have lived in the area for generations and who wear their traditional costumes.

And no matter where you are playing your shot from you will have spectacular views of the snow -capped mountains.

The 13 peaks of the Snow -covered and sometimes fog-enlaced mountain resembles a Jade Dragon, lying in the clouds, hence the name “Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club”.

In addition, this is also the Southern Most Glacier in the Northern Hemisphere, the mountain range stretches for 22 miles and has a width of 13 miles.

This beautiful place is not just for golfer’s, but with an abundance of different plant species on show and wildlife.

No matter what part of the Snow Capped Mountain you visit, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club is a truly unique place.

Till Next Time…

Scottish Bob -







Scottish Bob’ Davies

More articles from Bob… Golfing in The Antartica …


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 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.


The Social Golfer Monthly Newsletters…

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

The Social Golfer Monthly Newsletter v2

Welcome to The Social Golfer Monthly Newsletters…. plus catch up on the latest developments on the website.or look back at TSG history…

In addition, you can look back at The Social Golfer Monthly Newsletters history, find out who won what and who played who….


Have you signed up to The Social Golfer Monthly Newsletters?

Rest assured, this is not a vehicle for us to send you unsolicited promotional offers like some sites but a great coffee time update on all site goings on and the winner of TSG monthly leaderboard along with tips and advice from our own PGA Pro contributors!

Click the link below then tick “Send me The Social Golfer monthly newsletters” (N.B. You can unsubscribe at any time!)

Ps. Got a story you’d like us to feature? Fancy having a go at writing something yourself? We’re always keen to hear from TSG members. Send us your stories to

Modify your subscription to the email newsletter


The Majors Part 3 – The US OPEN…

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

the majors golf trophies 2In the third in our series of articles on golf’s Major events, this time we turn our attention to the second oldest event in the golfing diary – The US OPEN!

Every year we get excited about the upcoming golfing calendar with some enthusiasm. The ‘Grand Slam’ events in golf include:

– The US Masters (Augusta National) April

– The US Open (Various) June

– The OPEN (Various) July

– The PGA Championship (Various) August

This is then now complemented but The Olympics every four years (from 2016) with the host city supplying the venue.

The Majors – The US OPEN…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Winners of the US Open for the past 10 years

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

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

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

– Winner of The Masters Tournament for the past 5 years

– Winner of the Open Championship for the past 5 years

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

– Winners of the Players Championship for the past 3 years

– Winner of the 2017 European Tour BMW PGA Championship

– Winner of the 2016 US Senior Open Championship

– Gold medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games

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

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

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

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

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


The Majors – US Open 2017…

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

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

The Majors – The Erin Hills Course…

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

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

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

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

The Majors – Players to Watch Out For…

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

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

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

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

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

Dustin JohnsonDustin Johnson - The US Open

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

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

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

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

BMW Wentworth

Rory McIlroy

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

Jordan Spieth

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

Hideki Matsuyama

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

Justin Rose

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

Sergio Garcia

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

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

The Majors – Betting at the US Open…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Ian Mullins



Thomas Bjorn made Honorary Captain of The Shire…

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Thomas Bjorn - The Shire

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

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

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

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

Thomas Bjorn – What he said…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thomas Bjorn – Ryder Cup Captain 2018…

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

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

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

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

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


Discover more about The Shire London at, and about its sister venue The West London Golf Centre at


The Majors Part 2 – The US Masters…

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

the US Masters In the second in our series of articles on golf’s Major events, this time we turn our attention to the second oldest event in the golfing diary – The US Masters!

Every year we get excited about the upcoming golfing calendar with some enthusiasm.

Each year there are different players in contention and no one golf tournament is ever the same!

The ‘Grand Slam’ events in golf include:

– The US Masters (Augusta National) April

– The US Open (Various) June

– The OPEN (Various) July

– The PGA Championship (Various) August

This is then now complemented but The Olympics every four years (from 2016) with the host city supplying the venue.

The US Masters…

the US Masters Universally seen as the curtain opener to the golfing season, The US Masters began in 1934 and is the only Major that is always at the same venue each year – the glorious Augusta National in the US southern state of Georgia.

The idea for Augusta National was the brainchild of Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones. Jones wanted to build a golf course after his retirement from the game. He sought advice from Roberts, who went on to become the Chairman of the club.

He sought advice from Roberts, who went on to become the Chairman of the club.

They found a piece of land in Augusta of which Jones is reported to have said: “Perfect! And to think this ground has been lying here all these years waiting for someone to come along and lay a golf course upon it!”

The land had been an indigo plantation in the early nineteenth century and a plant nursery since 1857. Jones hired Alister MacKenzie to help design the course, and work began in 1931.

The course formally opened in 1933, but sadly MacKenzie died before the first Masters Tournament was played.

However, MacKenzie was also the architect of other famous courses such as; Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne. (see South Moor GC)

The Championship is full of history and abides by some long-standing traditions….

Since 1949, a green jacket has been awarded to the champion, who must return it to the clubhouse one year after his victory.

Although it remains his personal property and is stored with other champions’ jackets in a specially designated cloakroom.

In most instances, only a first-time and currently reigning champion may remove his jacket from the club grounds.

A golfer who wins the event multiple times uses the same green jacket awarded upon his initial win (unless he needs to be re-fitted with a new jacket).the US Masters

The Champions Dinner, inaugurated by Ben Hogan in 1952, is held on the Tuesday before each tournament and is open only to past champions and certain board members of the Augusta National Golf Club.

Beginning in 1963, legendary golfers, usually past champions, have hit an honorary tee shot on the morning of the first round to commence play.

However, this honour was given up to the BIG three in Arnie, Jack and Gary but sadly this is no longer possible following the death of Mr.Palmer in 2016.

Other that have had the privilege of this honour include Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead and Byron Nelson.

Finally, the newest event at The US Masters is probably the best loved – The Par 3 Championship started in 1960, but it’s no indication of who will win the main event…. the winner of this Par 3 contest has never won the main event!

The US Masters – Qualifying…

The Masters has the smallest field of the major championships with around 100 players.

Unlike other majors, there are no alternates or qualifying tournaments.

It is an invitational event, with invitations largely issued on an automatic basis to players who meet published criteria.

The top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are all invited.

Past champions are always eligible, but since 2002 the Augusta National Golf Club has discouraged them from continuing to participate at an advanced age….

Who is eligible for that all important invitation…

– Masters Tournament Champions (lifetime)

– US. Open champions(five years)

– The Open champions(five years)

– PGA champions(five years)

– Winners of the Players Championship (three years)

– The Current US Amateur champion and runner-up

– Current British Amateur champion

– Current Asia-Pacific Amateur champion

– Current US Mid-Amateur champion

– Current Latin America Amateur champion

– The first 12 players, including ties, in the previous year’s Masters Tournament

– The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year’s U.S. Open

– The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year’s Open Championship

– The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year’s PGA Championship

– Winners of PGA Tour & playoff events that award a full-point allocation for the FedEx Cup

– Those qualifying for the previous year’s Tour Championship(top 30 in FedEx Cup)

– The 50 leaders on the Final Official World Golf Ranking for the previous calendar year

– The 50 leaders on the Official World Golf Ranking published a week prior to the Tournament

– Most of the top current players will meet the criteria of multiple categories for an invitation.

– The US Masters Committee, at its discretion, can also invite any golfer not otherwise qualified.

The US Masters – Previous Winners…

the US Masters The first winner of the Masters Tournament was Horton Smith in 1934. He repeated his win in 1936.

The player with the most Masters victories is Jack Nicklaus, who won six times between 1963 and 1986.

Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods have each won four, and Jimmy Demaret, Gary Player, Sam Snead, Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson have three titles to their name.

Player also became the tournament’s first overseas winner with his first victory in 1961.

Other notable winners include Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Tom Watson, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Ben Crenshaw, José María Olazábal and Bubba Watson, who have all won the Masters twice

The US Masters – Who’s our tip for 2017…

It’s very difficult to predict the outcome of these events.

We all remember Jordan Speith’s now infamous collapse in 2016 allowing Brit Danny Willett to come up on the inside and steal the day.

As with many sports, modern technology now allows us to make a bet on our favourite players, even once the tournament has started.

However, if you are thinking of getting in on the action this year be sure you are using as respected and established company….

You can also now gamble on who finishes last, who takes the most putts across the week and even on who’s scores the most birdies but one of the recent innovations in picking the winner of The Major Championship is LIVE betting. E.g.  Betting on Live Golf Events*

* Bet responsibly (like the ad says, When The Fun Stops, STOP!)

There’s are plenty of reputable betting companies available on which to place a bet but ensure you are only using a recognised bookmaker who is also regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.

The US Masters – Our favourites…

US Masters GolfAs we write this article we are still some weeks away from the US Masters, so its probably too early to predict our winner but this year could be a vintage year.

Tiger is back, Rory wants to add this Major to his portfolio, Henrik Stenson is hungry for more Majors but as last year showed it could be anyone.

Maybe we should look to Official World Golf Ranking for inspiration….

1 1 Jason Day AUS 10.60
2 2 Rory McIlroy NIR 9.59
3 3 Dustin Johnson USA 9.19
4 4 Henrik Stenson SWE 8.42
5 5 Jordan Spieth USA 8.19
6 6 Hideki Matsuyama JPN 7.95
7 7 Adam Scott AUS 6.34
8 12 Justin Thomas USA 5.78
9 8 Patrick Reed USA 5.40
10 9 Alex Noren SWE 5.24

But, that’s about it for our tips!

The US Masters – And finally…

With the US Masters no longer just one of Golf’s big events but also one of Sport’s great annual spectacles, and as such we will again be parked in front of the TV come 6th April….and we can’t wait!

By Ian Mullins


The Majors Part 1 – The OPEN…

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

the majors golf trophies 2

Every year we look forward to the start of the new golfing season, which is traditionally marked by the first of the Majors, with tee shot being hit at The US Masters…..and 2017 will be no exception!

This event is quickly followed by the remaining ‘Grand Slam’ events including:

  • 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.

However, most of the discussion around these events in dominated each January by the talk of the pundits and on who will build on the success of the previous season and who is expected to break though into the top 50 and even the Top 10 and even win one of the above.

Predicting who the glory and trophies will go to isn’t as easy as you think!

In a series of article regarding The Majors in golf, we start with the first official event….

The-Open-Championship-The MajorsThe Majors – The Open Championship…

Golf’s Majors began with the introduction of The OPEN (only played in the UK) in 1860.

The Open was first played on 17 October 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland.

The Open Championship is the only major hosted in the UK (Great Britain & Northern Ireland) and not at a course in the United States.

The oldest and arguably the most prestigious of all the Majors, players compete for the now famous Claret Jug – first presented in 1873 – is one of the most iconic trophies in all of sport, but originally they players competed for the Challenge Belt.

The inaugural tournament was restricted to professionals and attracted a field of eight golfers who played three rounds of Prestwick’s twelve-hole course in a single day.

The event was won with a score of 174 by Willie Park Sr. who beat one of golf’s original luminaries in the game.

The following year the tournament was opened to amateurs; eight of them joined ten professionals in the field.

However, when Old Tom Morris won this for the third time in 1864, he was allowed to keep The Challenge Belt and thus the Claret Jug was commissioned!

In 1871, it agreed to organise it jointly with The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.

In 1892 the event was doubled in length from 36 to 72 holes, four rounds of what was by then the standard complement of 18 holes.

The 1894 Open was the first held outside Scotland, at the Royal St George’s Golf Club in England.

Other key dates include:

  • 1898 – Cut introduced after 36 holes. Those 20 or more strokes behind the leader were excluded
  • 1904 – Extended to a third day with 18 holes on each of the first two days. Cut rule unchanged
  • 1905 – Cut rule changed to exclude those 15 or more strokes behind the leader
  • 1907 – Qualifying introduced, replacing the 36-hole cut and the contest reduced again to two days
  • 1910 – Cut reintroduced instead of qualifying, play extended to 3 days again. Top 60 and ties made the cut.
  • 1911 – An increase in the no. of entries, the first 2 rounds were spread over 3 days, with 36 holes on 4th day
  • 1912 – Qualifying reintroduced to replace the cut. Contest reduced again to two days
  • 1926 – Cut reintroduced. First Open with both qualifying and a cut. Extended again to a third day with 18 holes on the first two days. Those 15 or more strokes behind the leader were excluded from the final day. Days standardised as Wednesday to Friday
  • 1929 – Cut rule changed to ensure that at least 60 made the cut even if 15 or more strokes behind the leader
  • 1937 – Cut rule changed to top 40 and ties
  • 1946 – Cut rule changed to be a maximum of 40 players. Ties for 40th place did not make the cut
  • 1951 – Cut rule changed to be a maximum of 50 players. Ties for 50th place did not make the cut
  • 1957 – Leaders after 36 holes go off last, replacing the random draw
  • 1963 – Cut rule changed to top 45 and ties
  • 1964 – Playoff reduced from 36 holes to 18, followed by sudden-death if still level
  • 1966 – Play extended to four days, 18 holes per day from Wed to Sat. Cut rule changed to top 55 and ties
  • 1971 – Cut rule changed to top 80 and ties after 36 holes and then top 60 and ties after 54 holes
  • 1973 – Play in groups of three introduced for the first two rounds
  • 1974 – Use of “bigger ball” (1.68 in, 42.67 mm) made compulsory
  • 1978 – 10-shot rule introduced so that players within 10 shots of the leader make the cut even if outside the top 80/60
  • 1980 – Play changed to Thursday to Sunday
  • 1986 – 54-hole cut discontinued. Cut rule changed to top 70 and ties after 36 holes. 4 hole playoff introduced
  • 1996 – 10-shot rule dropped


Royal Birkdale 2017 - The MajorsThe Majors – Present Day…

Since the inaugural championship, the tournament has gone from strength to strength and journeyed to numerous locations in the UK but surprisingly has still only been hosted by ONLY 14 venues.

However, whilst the R&A look to add new venues to the list, in 2019, the event returns to Northern Ireland at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Not part of the roster since 1951.

In 2017, The OPEN Championship will be held on the Royal Birkdale course that is located in the town of Southport, just north of Liverpool.

This is the 146th Open Championship and the 10th time it will be hosted at the Royal Birkdale.

It has hosted the men’s championship nine times, first in 1954 and most recently in July 2008.

It is scheduled to host the 2017 Open Championship.

Previous winners of the Open at Royal Birkdale ionclude: Pádraig Harrington, Mark O’Meara, Ian Baker-Finch, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer and Peter Thomson (twice).

It hosted the women’s tournament for the sixth time in 2014, and was the site of the Senior Open Championship in 2013. Royal Birkdale has also hosted the

Royal Birkdale has also hosted the Ryder Cup (19651969), the Walker Cup (1951), and the Curtis Cup (1948).

The Majors – Making your own predictions…

With golf’s Majors generating a huge audience from around the globe (even when Tiger isn’t playing!) it creates a lot of column inches and conjecture.

So, choosing your winner is going to be difficult…I picked Danny Willet last year but didn’t place a bet!!

If you are thinking of getting in on the action this year here is some of what you need to know The Open and how best to place a bet.

Interestingly, as of November 2016, the Commission announced that online betting had overtaken localised betting in shops and casinos.

There are plenty of high street options but with smart phones now allowing us to predict winners from our armchair, it can only add to the viewing experience knowing you may get lucky.

However, before taking advantage of some of the advertised TV offers, check out the many great offers available online available e.g. Ladbrokes £50 free bet offer.

Something to consider given the additional value you can get from some of offers online gambling sites give, even providing you with the chance to bet heavier on your favourites.

Of course, like the Grand National, this may be your only bet of the year…. but who should you register with?

The Majors – How Best to Place a Bet…

Firstly, there’s never been an easier time than to place a bet but ensure you are only using a recognised bookmaker who is also regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.

Secondly, study the form…. many a bet has been wasted by not checking the recent form of the field.

A schoolboy error some would say, so also ways look for advice and help before committing to your bet.

There are plenty of pundits available via national press and on social media but we would also recommend you do your own research.

The Majors – Our favourites…

The Claret Jug - The Majors

One of the most difficult things for new betters to wrap their heads around is the fact that there will be few if any, new faces on the course because, most qualified for being previous 10 years of winners of the Open Championship and 30 from the European and PGA tours.

Then there are another 50 who are considered to be global greats who are not included in that number above so that only leaves a little over 60 golfers, many of whom are just making it to the limelight.

Some of the names we are tipping for honours for the first time or those looking to add a second or third major to their portfolio (15th in Tiger’s case!):

– Mark Fitzpatrick (New kid on the block with a win at Wentworth and Dubai in 2016)

– Andrew ‘BEEF’ Johnstone (Won Spanish Open in 2016 and a crowd favourite)

– Alex Noren (Winner at British Masters & Nedbank Challenge)

– Rory McIlroy (Tipped to be a multiple Major winner, he’s now in his prime!)

– Lee Westwood (Could he finally break his duck after numerous Top 3 finishes)

– Tiger (Yes, we still rate him and he’s got some people to prove wrong!)

But, that’s about it for our tips!

The Majors – And finally…

It’s probably now easier to bet online than ever before, so if you want to step into the world of gambling on your favourite sporting events, begin watching possible entrants as early as possible.

By the time July rolls around, you’ll be ready to place your bet and then just sit back and watch the fun.

Lastly, we always recommend betting responsibly (like the ad says, When The Fun Stops, STOP!) but equally, when played properly, there’s a real incentive to bet online, for sure!


By Ian Mullins