Archive for the ‘Golf History’ Category

Ashdown West Golf Club – TSG Review…

Monday, July 4th, 2016

Ashdown West Golf ClubIt’s always a pleasure to review new golf courses, so I felt very excited about visiting  Ashdown West Golf Club at Forest Row, East Grinstead to give it the once over.

Previously known as the West Course at  Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club, there’s a lot enjoy…

Ashdown West Golf Club – The Clubhouse/Shop…

Situated only 20 minutes from the M25, the club is very accessible from all directions and is well worth visiting!

Newer than its sister course, on paper you could be forgiven for assuming Ashdown West Golf Club is the “poor relation” to  the “Old Course” but then you would be very much mistaken.

We arrived at lunchtime and met at the West Course clubhouse, a 2004 extension to the main clubhouse, but by no means overshadowed.

A short walk upstairs led to a bar area that was pleasant and very welcoming with two  outside terraces that overlooked the 1st tee & 18th green and the range.

We ordered sandwiches from the lady at the bar (who was very nice indeed); the sandwiches were plentiful, attractive to the eye and, most important, very tasty.

If the rest of the menu reached these standards, which I’m sure they do, then, no one will be disappointed with their choices.

A quick visit to the well-stocked pro shop to collect our cards from the young Pro (they’re all younger than me these days!) a quick practice on the driving range and at the chipping area, and we were on our way.

Ashdown West Golf Club – The History…

Ashdown West Golf ClubFounded in 1888, the Old Clubhouse was built five years later and parts of it still remain remarkably unchanged today. The bestowal of the title “Royal” came in 1893 after a visit from the then Duke of Cambridge.

Very few golf clubs boast two 18-hole courses, both over 100 years old, especially those that differ as much as the Ashdown West and the Old Course.

Ashdown West snakes its way through the heart of the Ashdown Forest that spreads for over 20 square miles in this most beautiful part of Sussex. The ‘West’ was once the longest ladies’ golf club in England.

It was originally founded as the Ashdown Forest & Tunbridge Wells Ladies Golf Club in 1889, barely six months after the formation of the main club and was only the second of its type to be formed in Great Britain, after Sunningdale Ladies.

In 1932 the course was lengthened to 18 holes, the same year that the ladies’ club was awarded Royal status in own right.

Since then it has gone through a number of alterations and now welcomes players of both sexes yet still remains of sufficient quality to be awarded Golf World magazine’s prestigious accolade as the UK’s best course under 6,000 yards.

Ashdown West Golf Club – The Course…

The 1st was a straight, tight, par 4, but a great opening hole to look at.

The fairway and green were in great condition (all them are at West Ashdown Golf Club), even though the previous day had seen torrential downpours; you wouldn’t even have known there had been any rain here.

The first six holes include the only Par 5 on the course which crosses a road mainly used walkers and some cars.

However, as there were not many golfers out this afternoon, I guess that the dog walkers know this and take advantage of the fact.  Whilst unusual and slightly distracting, it is public land so don’t let it  put you off your game.

If you can accept you will see others as you make your way, then you’re in for a real treat for the rest of the round.

The next six holes were tough, even though you are hitting only short irons.

There are no run-up areas to the raised greens from the fairways, meaning no pitch and runs allowed here but instead having to land directly onto the greens.

This was because of having very bumpy, rough, natural raised areas just in front of the greens which compensated for not having a single bunker on the course.

Yes, I’ll say it again – NOT A SINGLE BUNKER ON THE COURSE!

Strange, you may think, but it made the play no less challenging at all.

Included in this six was the 240 yard par 3 eleventh hole. I defy any mid to high handicapper to get down in three shots, What A Hole!!

The last six holes are a real joy, beautiful views, sweeping tree lined fairways and wonderfully true but tricky greens, there was even some water to avoid.

My most memorable shot of the day came at the 14th (index 1), a 450-yard par 4 right to left dogleg. Now, I can’t draw the ball, but I can certainly fade it (some say Slice), with great regularity…

I took on the trees to the left, with my driver and managed to clear them with that familiar shape on the shot.

Only problem was, I couldn’t see the end result; a ramble down the fairway allayed all my fears as, there it was, in the middle of the fairway, oh happy days!

There’s a beautiful downhill par 3 at the 16th which is only 122 yards, but still very tricky. It’s a dream hole to have a hole in one, you look down on the green with a brook just short, and giant oaks and pines for a backdrop.

It’s a dream hole to have a hole in one, you look down on the green with a brook just short, and giant oaks and pines for a backdrop.

You finish on the par 4, 435 yard 18th which has two streams running across the second half of the fairway, even if you have a great drive, take these on at your peril.

You may end up in them, AS I DID!!

Ashdown West Golf ClubAshdown West Golf Club – The Verdict…

This is a fantastic short course in great condition that will test your game to the max…

However, why should this game always be easy?

The beautiful scenery at West Ashdown Golf Club alone is enough just to pay the green fee and, if you play at the right time, you could be going round for just £20 on a lovely Summer’s afternoon with hardly anyone out there to spoil your game.

I will be back many more times in the very near future!

TSG Verdict: 4 out of 5


By Mark Crane

Golfing in the Algarve turns 50…

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

golfing in the algarveThe Algarve – Europe’s number one golf destination – has reported a record-breaking start to its golden year of golf, marking 50 years of golfing in the Algarve, since the birth of the game in the sunshine region.

Golfing in the Algarve turns 50 – Europe’s number 1 Golf Destination…

It’s hard to imagine the Algarve without thinking of golf, yet golf wasn’t born on this sunshine coastal area until 1966 when Henry Cotton first laid out the Championship course at Penina.

Fast-forward half a century and our alluring region has not only become one of Europe’s premier holiday spots, but also an award-winning golf destination.

With a staggering 40+ courses/layouts that can be played all-year-round, it’s no wonder the Algarve draws hundreds of thousands of golfers to its fairways each year.

The Algarve is the southernmost region of mainland Portugal, and more than half of its courses decorate the 150-mile coastline, which also boasts spectacular beaches, picturesque rocky coves, quaint fishing villages and a rich cultural heritage.

Golfing in the Algarve turns 50 – The stats…

The southern Portuguese coastline boasts 43 fabulous courses and fresh from celebrating its record year in 2015 when more than 1.2m rounds were played.

However, there was more good news with the release of results for the first four months of 2016 showing a huge increase of 17 per cent.

Figures for January to April showed more than 458,000 rounds of golf played – a staggering 68,000 more than the same period last year.

In real terms, that is more than 563 extra rounds played per day, as golfers flocked to the fairways.

Golf in Portugals' Algarve turns 50

Golf in the Algarve turns 50 – what they said…

Maria Manuel Delgado e Silva, ATA golf product manager, said: “What an amazing start to our landmark year for golf! As they say with a good wine or cheese – one gets better with age – and these results give us confidence that the Algarve continues to grow in popularity, attracting golfers from around the world”

“It has been a fantastic team effort from the thousands of people who work so hard and have shown such dedication throughout the Algarve’s golf industry.

“We believe we provide the best blend of golf, accommodation and hospitality, combined with climate, access and value for everyone.”

He added, “We would like to thank all golfers who have already visited and we are ready to extend a warm welcome to many more guests as our golden year continues.”

It’s a significant milestone for the region and it’s also fitting that the cream of European golf will be welcomed in October for the 10th edition of the Portugal Masters.

Thinking of golfing in the Algarve? Portugal is the perfect destination for golfers of all ages and abilities, with something to suit every taste and budget.

For more information visit: www.visitgolfalgarve.com or www.visitgolfalgarve50years.com

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Associação Turismo do Algarve (Algarve Tourism Association) is the official entity, appointed by the Portuguese Tourism Board, responsible for defining strategies and to promote golfing in the Algarve abroad.

ATA is a non-profitable association, a joint-venture between the public and private sector.

South Moor Golf Club – Augusta of the North…

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

South Moor Golf ClubThere have been many famous golf course designers who have made a name for themselves around the world but are there any more celebrated than South Moor Golf Club designer, Dr Alister MacKenzie?

He is probably most well known for being the designer of Augusta (home of the US Masters), Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne.

However, not so much is known of South Moor Golf Club in County Durham, England.

South Moor Golf Club – The Architect…

Nicknamed “The Course Doctor“, Alister MacKenzie was born in Yorkshire to Scottish parents in 1870.

He studied at Cambridge and Leeds Universities with degrees in Chemistry, Medicine and Science, joining his father’s medical practice in Leeds.

Away from work, he was an active member of the Leeds Golf Club. He went on to serve in the Boer War 1900-01.

After WWI he joined the Royal Engineers as Second Lieutenant in order to teach camouflage techniques at the Army Camouflage School in London.

Dr Alister MacKenzieHe later took up medicine again but then abandoned his medical practice in favour of golf course architecture.

His decision to do this was in part down to his strong conviction that golf had very real benefits for patients, and he was quoted as saying…

How frequently have I, with great difficulty, persuaded patients who were never off my doorstep to take up golf, and how rarely, if ever, have I seen them in my consulting rooms again!

He then emigrated to the United States and nine years after his work in County Durham, his fabulous Augusta creation staged its first Masters.

He died in January 1934 in California, the year the US Masters was inaugurated.

South Moor Golf Club – The Club…

Over the years the club has always been extremely well supported but in 2015, the club decided is was time to promote this little known gem to a wider audience.

The club originally started life as a miners only National Coal Board golf club in 1923.

MacKenzie was a friend of Basil Sadler, managing director of Holmside & South Moor Collieries and MacKenzie started work on the course two years after its opening to redesign its layout and his work is the bedrock of the course today.

Following the redesign, the club adopted the club motto ‘nil nisi optimum‘, roughly translated from the Latin meaning Nothing but the Best!”.

In 2011 The Daily Express portrayed the “Made by MacKenzie” stamp on our course when South Moor hosted the England Boys Open, the McGregor Trophy.

South Moor Golf Club – The Course…

South Moor Golf ClubThe layout of the course is as good as any the TSG team have played in recently. Each and every hole is different and you can certainly see where some of the Augusta layout was born.

The course starts with a simple Par 3, but don’t assume it’s an easy start. The green has more breaks and borrows than you can see.

Once away, the course meanders through parkland and undulating fairways but none of the inclines will leave you gasping for breath.

However, you will get to enjoy some great views across the Durham countryside.

All of the fairways are beautifully cut and the remains of the originally ploughed fields the fairways were built on just add to the attraction of the course.

Credit should go to the greenkeepers, who clearly love the course. All the tee boxes were immaculate and the yellow gorse (in full bloom on our visit) make the place a delight to walk around.

So, to the stand-out holes. The 4th is a challenging Par 4, dog-leg left finishing to a tiny green protected by bunkers – a real treat to play. The 7th is a perfectly straight downhill Par 4,  but you will need a measured shot to ensure you hold the green.

South Moor Golf Club

The 10th is again a testing downhill hole which requires a conservative drive (in fact most holes do), allowing you top plan your second and third shots to the green, over a ditch and a bunker protected green.

However, could there be a better finishing hole?

A 450 yards right to left terrain, your second shot to the green in front of the clubhouse will either win you the match or have you heading for the bar to drown your sorrows.

Finally, we mention the Par 3’s, as everyone requires a different club! Ranging between 140 yards and 180 yards, you will enjoy every one.

Did we like the course? No, we LOVED it!

In addition, all the staff were incredibly welcoming and all the members we met were very keen to know what we thought of the course.

Which tells you, just how much they do!

TSG Verdict: 5 out of 5

South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club – Where to stay…

If you require accommodation in the area, look no further than  Hill Top View Guest House in Meadowfield.

As good as any 5-star hotel we’ve stayed in and very reasonably priced rooms from £55 per night.

South Moor Golf Club – And finally…

Not many of us will ever get the chance to play at The Augusta National but if you want to get a flavour of what it’s like, you could do a lot worse than heading to County Durham.

Visit South Moor Golf Club, you will not be disappointed!

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For more information on South Moor Golf Club, the history and green fees information, visit the club website or contact the club direct on 01207 283 525.

By Ian Mullins

North of England OPEN…

Friday, April 29th, 2016
South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club

Regional and national events have been around for several decades but the 54-hole North of England Open (Under-14) will go into only its third year at County Durham club South Moor in mid-August….

An old hand who played a part in the development of US Masters champion Danny Willett has succeeded with a relatively new tournament helping promising golfers to achieve competitive tournament focus at a younger age

North of England Open – Under 14’s…

Founded and organised by a former chairman of the England Golf junior selectors, Roy Case, the tournament has quickly become so popular the 90-strong field for 2016 is almost half full with three months to go.

Of the 44 boys and girls entered so far – over twice as many as this time last year – 18 have single figure handicaps.

Between 1994 and 2007, Case helped to guide the England junior team to two world titles plus victories in four European championships and eight home internationals.

He managed golfers such as Willett and Justin Rose, who went on to become the 2013 US Open champion.

South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club

North of England Open – What they said…

The first winner of Case’s Under-14 regional event, in 2014, was Sheffield’s Barclay Brown, an England Boys international from the Hallamshire club who shared the title last year.

Brown’s father Seb, who like his son is a single figure golfer, said: “Barclay is too old for the event this year but the tournament will go from strength to strength. This is thanks to the expertise of Roy Case and the enormous effort South Moor Golf Club put into organising the event, which would be a vast drain on any club’s resources.

 He went on to say: “As a three-round tournament, it improves the concentration factor of youngsters who would only otherwise compete over 18 holes. I particularly like the way there is a re-draw after rounds one and two so golfers doing well can play with others who are in contention, not the norm in most junior tournaments.”

Now lead partner in the Nottinghamshire firm Golf Concepts LP, Case formed a bond with South Moor five years ago when the club hosted the McGregor Trophy, the England Boys Under-16 Open.

Dr Alister MacKenzie, the designer who enabled Bobby Jones Junior to bring his beloved Augusta National into existence, also created the course at South Moor.

*THE 2016 North of England Under-14 tournament will be played at South Moor on August 10-11-12.

To enter, and to see who has entered so far, visit www.northofenglandu14golf.co.uk

There is a separate section for Under-12s plus handicap competitions for the whole field. Players as young as nine compete.

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By Tim Taylor

Golf Ball Dimples – Why do golf balls have them?

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Ever wondered how or why the golf ball dimples came about?

We did. So we did some research into both the history and science behind the reasons…

Wooden golf balls dimples not in sight

Wooden golf balls dimples not in sight

Golf Ball Dimples – The history…

The reason why golf balls have dimples is based on both science and evolution.

Originally, all golf balls were completely smooth.

However, once the ball had been used a few times and they were peppered with cuts and nicks.

Then Golfers started to notice these ‘damaged balls’ travelled further than new ones.

Those little bumps and cuts while not looking good ‘on the eye’, meant there was an advantage to be had….

Golfers naturally gravitate toward anything that gives them the edge on the golf course, so old golf balls became the norm.

However, Golf Ball dimples really started to take off after English engineer and manufacturer William Taylor, co-founder of the Taylor-Hobson company, registered a patent for a dimple design in 1905.

Golf Ball Dimples

Image courtesy of www.aerospaceweb.org

Golf Ball Dimples – The science…

With all things aerodynamic, it takes a little knowledge to understand the core principles.

When a golf ball is hit, the impact, which lasts less than a millisecond, determines the ball’s velocity, launch angle and spin rate.

In turn, this influences its trajectory (and its behaviour when it hits the ground).

Essentially, the nick and cuts in the ball make the balls ‘oscillate‘ in flight.

This allows the smoothly flowing air to follow the ball’s surface a little farther around the back side of the ball.

As such, a layer of air acts as a ‘turbulator’, otherwise known as the “boundary layer”.

The benefit is that a turbulent boundary layer reduces drag.

And naturally, the less drag, the quicker the ball travels and the closer you are to the hole after your shot!

Golf Ball Dimples – The design…

Most golf balls on sale today have about 250–450 dimples though there have been balls with more than 1000 dimples.

The record holder was a ball with 1,070 dimples—414 larger ones (in four different sizes) and 656 pinhead-sized ones

The two balls shown on the right are disclosed in U.S. Patent 4,560,168. They are both easily made with a two-piece mould.

Golf Ball Dimples - designs

Golf Ball Dimples – designs

Officially sanctioned balls are designed to be as symmetrical as possible.

This symmetry is the result of a dispute that stemmed from the Polara Golf Ball

This ball sold in the late 1970s that had six rows of normal dimples on its equator but very shallow dimples elsewhere.

This asymmetrical design helped the ball self-adjust its spin axis during the flight.

The USGA refused to sanction it for tournament play and, in 1981, changed the rules to ban aerodynamic asymmetrical balls.

Golf Ball Dimples – The Movie

Anyway, enough of our ramblings, there are plenty of great videos to watch on the subject, here’s one we found earlier….Golf Ball Dimples Video

So now you know!

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By Ian Mullins

 

US Masters 2016 – TSG Tips Fowler, Mickleson & Rose…

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016
US Masters 2016 - Green Jacket

US Masters 2016 – Green Jacket

Come Thursday, April 7th 2016 we’ll all be sitting down to watch the now infamous ceremonial tee shots of the US Masters 2016.

As the world’s best golfers begin their way down the first fairway at Augusta (assuming they hit the opening hole fairway that is) all the competing players will be looking to don the famous Green Jacket at the end of the tournament …

In 2015 Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer kick-started one of the most remarkable performances from a young man Augusta National has ever seen.

A man who has since projected himself to the top of the world, reaching peaks that can only be compared to the two most successful players in history; Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

The new wonder kid of golf now has seven titles on the PGA Tour, and has finished in the top ten, 34 times in the past 3 years; let’s not forget he has only played in 79!

That young man was Mr.Jordan Spieth.

After winning by 4 shots last year we know that Spieth will be battling whoever decides to turn up for the first Major of the year with his best golf.

However, the last few weeks, we have witnessed some issues with his swing, inconsistency and those putts have not been dropping.

Therefore, Jordan Spieth, may not be passing the US Masters 2016 title and green jacket back to himself this April.

US Masters 2016 – TSG Predictions…

So who is going to win? We asked TSG blogger, Craig Murray on his favorites for the US Masters 2016…

US Masters 2016 - Mickleson

US Masters 2016 – Mickleson

Phil Mickleson?

One of the sport’s most loved players of all time has found his mojo!

After ditching Butch Harmon in the autumn, Phil has hired a new swing coach in Andrew Getson. A fairly unknown character in the world of golf, Getson’s first few months have supplied big Phil with some superb results.

Slumping to his lowest overall world golf ranking (OWR) since 1995 last year, Phil has already knocked up a 2nd, 3rd and 11th spot in just 4 starts this calendar year.

This 3 times masters champion chased Jordan to the end last season, finishing 2nd, and definitely has another major left!

If the putts drop, Phil could easily bag himself a 4th green jacket.

US Masters 2016 - Rickie Fowler

US Masters 2016 – Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler?

Once voted, ‘The most overrated golfer on tour’, this young heartthrob has found himself sitting just 3 spots away from the best player in the world.

Not a bad year for Rickie with 4 victories including the Players Championship in 2015.

Known for his eccentric clothing, he is now one of the most feared players on tour with an ‘incredible’ short game, just what Augusta asks for.

T12th in 2015 and T5th in 2014 this guy knows what is needed here and could well find his first Major. Augusta could be Orange come April 10th.

Justin Rose?

US Masters 2016 - Justin Rose

US Masters 2016 – Justin Rose

With one of the best swings on tour, one major in the bag and a solid start to the new season, Justin could be the man to follow around Augusta.

In 10 appearances at The Masters, Justin has only finished outside the top 25 twice, including a tied 2nd place last year behind Jordan Spieth.

A couple of poor putting performances have cost him a title or two this year however he has a few weeks to get this sorted.

If you are looking at following a Brit, here’s your man!

There you go, there’s the three tips for the US Masters 2016, Good luck!

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by Craig Murray

Peter Alliss returns to St.Mellion…

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Peter Alliss, the legendary ‘Voice of Golf’ will be making a welcome return to St Mellion in April to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the iconic Cornish Golf resort…

Crown Golf February Offer

Crown Golf February Offer

As part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations taking place throughout 2016 on Friday 29th April, St Mellion are hosting “An Evening with Peter Alliss” where he will relay some golfing anecdotes of his time as a top class golfer, his 40-years as the ‘Voice of Golf’ and of course, a few memories from his visits to St Mellion.

Alliss said, “Having spent many happy hours at St Mellion, both playing and working for the BBC, it’s with great anticipation that I look forward to revisiting and meeting up with old friends and having a very enjoyable evening to celebrate 40 wonderful years of golf”.

Peter Alliss’s first of many visits to St Mellion was in the late 1980’s when the Bond Brothers had the vision to contact the greatest ever golfer, Jack Nicklaus, and asked him to design a world-class golf course.

In 1987, the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course was officially opened to rave reviews with a unique ‘USA versus Great Britain’ match that pitted four multi Major winning golfing Legends.

For the USA the course designer Jack Nicklaus was accompanied by Tom Watson, playing against the British duo of Nick Faldo & Sandy Lyle.

This match was broadcast by the BBC Golf and was so successful it was played again the following year.

After playing the golf course for the first time, Nicklaus was so proud of the golf course he created he was quoted “potentially St Mellion is the finest golf course in Europe”.

In 1990, the first of six Benson & Hedges International Opens were played on the Nicklaus Course, all of which were broadcast live by the BBC with Peter Alliss at the helm in the commentary box.

These tournaments proved to be a great showcase for the golf course, with so many people watching all over the UK getting a chance to view so many unique and beautiful holes.

During those six years some of golf’s greatest ever players including Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal and Bernhard Langer played down the famous 18th finishing hole to win the prestigious European Tour event.

David Moon Golf Manager at St Mellion said, “We are delighted to be welcoming Peter Alliss back to St Mellion, the BBC and the wonderful commentaries of Peter Alliss were instrumental in getting St Mellion on the golfing map. Many of our Members, who are still here today, were such an integral part of those tournaments and they are delighted to have a true golfing icon here, to join with them to celebrate 40 very memorable years”.

St Mellion has continued to be a “golfing mecca” with a thriving Golf Membership and a new 4* star Hotel, Health Club and Spa, which attracts visitors from around the UK and abroad.

The accolades have also continued to be bestowed for both the golf course and the resort….

The Nicklaus Course is regularly featured in the Top 100 and has won “Best golf course in the West of England” on numerous occasions and the Resort has won Large Hotel of the Year and The South West Golf Resort awards.

Crown Golf February Offer

Best golf courses in London…

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Although living the UK’s capital can have many benefits, it’s always a good feeling to get out on the fairways and refresh the mind with a good game of golf. However, as space in this global city is always at a premium, finding a great golf course requires some know how…

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best golf courses in London for you to check out.

The Grove

The Grove

Best golf courses in London – The Grove…

Tucked just inside the M25 north of Watford is the luxurious golf course, The Grove.

This 7,152-yard championship golf course offers all of the premium golfing opportunities that you could wish for, but what makes it all the more inviting is the fact that it doesn’t have a restrictive membership system, so anyone can play whenever they choose.

Set in the 300-acre grounds of an 18th-century mansion, it’s definitely one of the best-looking golf courses in the London area. And with a string of tournaments being held throughout the year, it’s definitely one of the most highly recommended courses out there.

What differentiates The Grove from other courses, is that there is no membership and it is only open to ‘Pay and Play’ and corporate golfer.

And The Grove has recently been named as the host of the 2016 British Masters.

Now whilst its way too early to start thinking about the potential winners of this event, there are plenty of places to find the latest golfing odds. Betway is just one of the sites where you can get all of the latest news, tips, and sporting information including the current Turkish Airline Open.

 

The-ShireBest golf courses in London – The Shire…

Located just outside of Barnet, the Shire golf course offers another great treat to all golf enthusiasts who are looking for something a little extra.

At the turn of the Millennium, the Menai-Davis family invited Severiano Ballesteros to visit England to look at a large piece of land north of London, on which they planned to create a spectacular golf course.

In 2001, just 72 hours after Seve’s first visit, a deal was agreed. Shortly afterwards, the Spanish maestro and his Trajectory team set about creating what would become The Shire London.

Several key principles of golf course design, honed by the Spaniard at over 20 previous locations around the world, were applied: Seve’s insistence that there should be an even mix of par threes, fours and fives, and that no two consecutive holes should play to the same par, being but two examples.

As such, the course is unique in the sense that it has 6 x Par 3’s, 6x Par 5’s and 6 x Par 4’s.

The course has a fantastic layout with many water features that can cause the occasional upset for the amateur, and the separation between the fairways means that it never feels too crowded.

As the course was the only course developed by golfing legend Seve Ballesteros in the UK, it provides the perfect opportunity to try and play like a pro.

The clubhouse itself is also very fresh and modern and the food is very reasonably priced and to a great standard.

 

Best golf courses in London – Walton Heath…

Walton Heath Golf Club

Walton Heath Golf Club

If you’re looking to play on one of London’s most iconic courses, then take a trip to the Walton Heath which is located just within the southern edge of the M25.

Walton Heath is one of the world’s most famous and prestigious clubs.

The members are delighted to share the outstanding facilities with visitors from all over the world.

Established in 1903, the two courses at Walton Health provide some interesting playing options with the rough heather features making play particularly stimulating.

The course was opened in May 1904, with an exhibition match between the legendary Triumvirate of Harry Vardon, J.H.Taylor and James Braid.

The course was laid out by W. Herbert Fowler, a leading amateur golfer. It was his first golf course venture and he went on to become one of the leading golf course architects of his era, both in the U.K. and America.

It is a tribute to his genius that he created one of the finest examples of heathland golf, which so closely resembles the traditional seaside links courses, out of a jungle of heather, gorse and bracken.

Likewise, it is a testament of his creativity that, what became known as, the Old course is still, today, ranked as one of the top 100 courses in the world.

Although the entry fee might be a little extravagant, the sheer peace and tranquillity offered on the golfing greens more than makes up for the cost.

Known for its wild heather and tricky greens, this venue has hosted some great competitions including The Walker Cup.

And with the historic clubhouse offering unparalleled levels of luxurious hospitality, Walton Heath provides the perfect way to play and relax like a professional and truly is one of the best course in London.

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By Ian Mullins

The Home of the Ryder Cup…

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Ever wonder how and where the Ryder Cup came to into being. The home of the Ryder Cup is none other than Verulam Golf Club, St.Albans, where Samuel Ryder played…

The Home of the Ryder Cup…

It’s a little-known fact but the official home of the Ryder Cup is not St.Andrews, The Belfry or any other well-known clubs in the UK. But it is at the club where Samuel Ryder was a member along with his coach Abe Micthell.

It was as captain in 1926 that Ryder presented ‘a cup’ to promote matches between the USA and Great Britain. It is of course, a matter of history that the cup was named after this great man.

His first stint as Club captain was actually in 1911. the course was originally designed as a 9 hole course by civil engineer Earnest Phillips. However, six years later James Braid extended the course to 18 holes.

Other members at the course included members of the “Great Triumvirate” including John Henry Taylor and Harry Vardon. While Ryder’s coach Abe Micthell and Henry Cotton also enjoyed the course.

Samuel Ryder & Abe Mitchell

Samuel Ryder & Abe Mitchell

Inside the Home of the Ryder Cup…

It’s refreshing that when you enter the clubhouse, you could be forgiven for not knowing where you are?! The way the club present this history is very understated and I can’t help feeling if this were America, this would be a shrine to the sport we all love.

However, once you look beyond the old style decor, you soon notice little references, like the portrait of Ryder, The named Ryder Cup room, the back and white images on the walls but most inspiringly, a copy of the actually agreement drawn up by Ryder and his associates, outlining how this international competition should be played!

The Home of The Ryder Cup – The Trophy Cabinet…

There are two other key points to note as you walk around, there is an ‘almost’ replica trophy of the world famous cup sitting behind the glass cabinet… is it the Ryder Cup? It looked like The Ryder Cup? No, it’s a similar design, that was given to Abe Micthell as a thank you from Samuel Ryder.

Which brings as to one of the rare facts, that most are unaware of…. who is the figure that sits on the top of The Ryder Cup?

Mr.Samuel Ryder himself? No, it is Abe Mitchell, his coach.

The Home of The Ryder Cup – The course & members…

Unfortunately, on visiting the club, I did not get to play as I was there for a meeting but I was superbly greeted by ex-captain Geoff, who could have been more courteous and welcoming. He was very keen to share the history of the club and was quick to ask me to be his guest for a game, next time I am in the area.

I will take Geoff up on this offer and judging by how well looked after the 1st tee box was, I am looking forward to stretching my legs around this hidden gem.

I’ll leave the final comment to one of the TSGers who played there earlier in 21015…

“I decided to have a crack at Veralum after working out that it’s the closest course to me, located in the chalk belt just north of London… which means it ought to drain better than my local courses. Unfortunately, the first time I played here, it was below freezing and the ground was completely solid, so it wasn’t possible to test the drainage theory. Anything that landed on a green bounced 30 feet into the air and off the back. Quite entertaining but not good golf.

The course was interesting enough though for me to go back a week later and it’s a really attractive course, with no duff holes and a couple of really standout features (such as the chasm on the 15th). There are two ranges, a chipping area and a practice green.

The staff are the friendliest I’ve ever encountered at a golf club. The bacon baguettes are amazing, the bread is still warm from the oven. The Pro and his staff were in the bar chatting to us after the game and the members we met were all very smiley and welcoming. The total opposite to some clubs, where their first reaction to visitors is to check for dress code infractions first and ask questions later. At £20 a round this is great value. Oh, and the Ryder Cup was born here!Steve Rawlinson – Jan 2015

You see, this really is the Home of The Ryder Cup!

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By Ian Mullins

The TSG OPEN Championship 2015 – The Winners…

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

TSG OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

TheSocialGolfer.com, the online social networking community for golfers celebrated its annual TSG OPEN Championship (in association with londongolfshow.com) at Bletchingley Golf Club in Surrey on 11th July 2015….

Celebrating its 5th year, the now much coveted Halliwell Cup (donated by stroke victim Ian Halliwell) was won by Harlow & Essex based TSG member Steve Slater, with the Ladies Trophy won by Blackheath & Kent member Judy Lilley.

The TSG OPEN Championship 2015…

The day was attended by over 40+ able-bodied and disabled golfers from all over the South East of England and from as far away as Poland and New Zealand. The winners on the day also donated all the monies raised on the day to their two selected charities; Grangewaters Outdoor Education Centre, providing activity-based ‘fun’ for 8-16yr olds in Essex and Bromley Sparks, a self-advocacy group run by people in Kent with a learning difficulties.

TSG OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

The silverware…

The tournament began with the usual briefing and course orientation but as well as the individual Stableford competition; there was a Yellow Ball event, Straightest Drive, 2 x Nearest Pins, Beat The Pro, a Putting Comp and Team Event. The event was sponsored by the London Golf Show.

The day’s events continued into the early evening with a dinner and raffle and we are very grateful to Alan Haywood and Steve Slater for their help on the day. Of course, we must also thank Anna Guss and Brigitte Lockwood for their wonderful donation of a day with them at Wentworth.

What our winners said;

Just a brief note to thank the guys at Bletchingley for taking good care of the TSGers again. Always made to feel welcome here, hospitality always top notch.  In the words of Steve Cookson the Head Pro, greens were ‘sporty’, is a bit of an understatement and proved much more of a challenge than usual. Dry and hard – good for long drives, not quite so good for short putts – Congratulations to winners in all categories!” Men’s winner – Steve Slater

“Heartfelt thanks to The Social Golfer for a wonderful day and all the organisation and time put into making it such a success…many thanks to Bletchingley for their hospitality and to Beat The Pro Ben for a cheery welcome and showing most of us how it should be done. I would like to nominate Bromley Sparks as my chosen charity. They are small and every little helps. I know they will be so grateful for the donation….hope to see a good turnout at the TSG Par 3 Championship at Pedham Place in August –  Bring it on!” Ladies winner – Judy Lilley

TSG OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

Some of the Winners…

The other results off 3/4 Handicap:

Mens – 2nd – Martyn Miller – 27 Pts, 3rd – Roger Hurcombe – 24 Pts

Ladies – 2nd – Ruth Brand – 24 Pts

Guest Trophy – John Benstead – 27 Pts

Other winners on the day included:

Nearest Pin – Barry Hill

Nearest Pin 2nd shot – No winners

Straightest Drive – Anna Guss

Putting Champion – Tom Hurcombe

Yellow Ball Comp – Steve Duffy, Martyn Miller & Judy Lilley

Team Event – Steve Duffy, Martyn Miller & Judy Lilley

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Other comments regarding the day included:

Ian Mullins, Managing Director of TheSocialGolfer.com said;“The event is now well established and whilst it wasn’t intended, Bletchingley is fast becoming the Augusta of the TSG OPEN Championship. As always we were hugely impressed with the way the club supported the event. It is key that we do we can also raise the profile of disabled golfers and this is the TSGers doing their little bit for the cause!”

“Would like to echo what Steve has said. It was a great day, well organised and thoroughly enjoyable. The course was very nice with some challenging greens which we were all tested on. Thanks Ian for organising this and I look forward to entering many more of these days and meeting up with the fabulous TSG members…..” – Martyn ‘Speedy’ Miller

“The  sunniest TSG OPEN Championship yet, the most challenging greens, a great crowd, an excellent organisation from Mr Mullins and as always a most pleasant welcome from Bletchingley staff. Lovely to see some new faces (and not so new), some friendly guests and a record attendance from TSG Ladies. Warm congratulations to the worthy winners, thank you to all those who contributed to making this a great day to remember. Vive Le TSG!”  – Brigitte Lockwood

“What a special event it was! Beautiful sunny weather, great crowd, great company for the game, good money raised for charities. And all very well organised….THANK YOU VERY MUCH 🙂 Congratulations to all the winners especially to Judy and Steve. Well done guys. See you all again next year!” – Anna Guss

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By Ian Mullins