Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

The Ryder Cup 2018 arrives in Paris – 25th- 30th Sept…

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Ryder Cup 2018 - The Social Golfer - Paris v7So, with less than a month to go to the biggest spectacle in the golfing calendar commences and we now know who is playing in this year’s Ryder Cup 2018 Teams (well all but one wildcard pick from USA team).

Here we take a look at the history of the competition and some other interesting facts to wow your friends with.

Ever wondered how and where The Ryder Cup came to into being? Read on…


The Ryder Cup – The History…

The home of the Ryder Cup is none other than Verulam Golf Club in St Albans, Hertfordshire where Samuel Ryder played…

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.

Ryder Cup 2018 - The Social Golfer - Paris v1

Although 2018 will see the first time ‘The Ryder Cup’ has been contested on mainland Europe the origins of the tournament can be traced back to a meeting in 1921 – six years before the famous trophy was first contested.

On September 27th 1920, Golf Illustrated wrote a letter to the PGA of America suggesting that a team of US professionals should take part in the British Open with a 12-a-side international warm-up match to be played at Gleneagles.

The USA lost that weekend, but when it really counted a little over six years later in Worcester, Massachusetts, it was a runaway victory for the Stars and Stripes who secured a 9 ½ – 2 ½, victory.

However, it was as captain in 1927 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.

The home team won the first five contests, but with the competition’s resumption after the Second World War, repeated American dominance eventually led to a decision to extend the representation of “Great Britain and Ireland” to include continental Europe from 1979.

The event is jointly administered by the PGA of America and Ryder Cup Europe, the latter a joint venture of the PGA European Tour, the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland, and the PGA of Europe.

The Ryder Cup 2018 – The Venue…Ryder Cup 2018 - The Social Golfer - Paris v2

Although only built in 1990, Le Golf National is a much more established than its age suggests…

Designed by architects Hubert Chesneau and Robert Von Hagge. It’s located in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, southwest of central Paris, just 10k from the world-renowned Palace of Versailles, and only 4 hours’ drive from Calais.

However, Le Golf National differs from any other Ryder Cup venue in that it is a Public course.

This means that there is no ‘club’ as such, and no ‘members’, only Pay & Players.

The course is also unique in the sense that it is owned by the French Golf Federation (FFG). In September 1985 the President – Claude Roger Cartier – with his committee approved the creation and development of a “National Golf” venue and it was quickly completed and opened by the French Minister for Sports by R. Bambuck in October 1990.

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

Paul, who along with his very dedicated team has – over the last four years – This means it now rates among the best in the world.

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

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

The venue has recently undergone a €7 million renovation programme to transform this national golf centre.

The Championship L’Albatros course is now a globally recognised course with slick greens and vast undulating fairways dotted with large and small water hazards and innumerable links-style bunkers.

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

Ryder Cup 2018 - The Social Golfer - Paris v3The Ryder Cup 2018 – The Captains…

The Ryder Cup is a biennial men’s golf competition between teams from Europe and the United States.

The competition is contested every two years with the venue alternating between courses in the United States and Europe.

The Ryder Cup is named after the English businessman Samuel Ryder who donated the trophy – see above.

The inclusion of continental European golfers was partly prompted by the success of a new generation of Spanish golfers, led by Seve Ballesteros and Antonio Garrido.

USA – James Michael Furyk (born May 12, 1970). Furyk was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania. His ancestry is Czech and Polish on his mother’s side and Ukrainian and Hungarian on his father’s side.

His father, Mike, was an assistant pro at Edgmont Country Club.

His early years were spent in the Pittsburgh suburbs learning the game from his father, who was also head pro at Uniontown Country Club. In 2010, he was the Fed-Ex Champion and PGA Tour Player of The Year.

He has won one Major – the US Open in 2003. Furyk also holds the record for the lowest score in PGA Tour history with a 58 which he shot during the final round of the 2016 Traveler Championship.

Furyk played in 9 Ryder Cups as a player winning in 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008. he also played in 2010, 2012, and 2014.

Europe – Thomas Bjørn (born 18 February 1971).  Bjørn is from Denmark.

He is the most successful Danish golfer to have played the game having won fifteen tournaments worldwide on the European Tour.

Bjørn is most remembered for his collapse at The Open at Royal St. George’s in 2003 when he led by two strokes with three holes to play but took three attempts to get out of a greenside bunker on the par three 16th, handing the tournament to Ben Curtis.

In 1997 he also became the first Dane to qualify for a European Ryder Cup team.

Bjørn made the Europe team winning in 1997, 2002 and 2014. In fact, his only defeat came in 2016 not as a player but as Vice-Captain.

The Ryder Cup 2018 – The Format…

Ryder Cup 2018 - The Social Golfer - Paris v7

The Ryder Cup is a match play event, with each match worth one point. The competition format is as follows:

  • Day 1(Friday) – 4 foursomes (alternate shot) matches and 4 fourballs (better ball) matches
  • Day 2(Saturday) – 4 foursomes matches and 4 fourball matches
  • Day 3(Sunday) – 12 singles matches

On the first two days, there are 4 foursome matches and 4 fourball matches with the home captain choosing which are played in the morning and which in the afternoon.

With a total of 28 points available, 14½ points are required to win the Cup, and 14 points are required for the defending champion, Europe, to retain the Cup.

All matches are played to a maximum of 18 holes according to the current format

Ryder Cup 2018 - The Social Golfer - Paris v9The Ryder Cup 2018 – The Teams…

Anticipation has never been higher, The Ryder Cup, the most prestigious and distinguished tournament in golf, is now just a few short weeks away and this year’s event couldn’t be more hotly contested.

Experts are tipping the USA as Ryder Cup favourites this time around following their win in 2016…

Europe’s dominance over the last few decades was diminished at Hazeltine, but the return of Ian Poulter who, renowned for his passion and spectacular under-pressure performances, could give the European’s the edge.

Ryder Cup 2018 - The Social Golfer - Paris v10

Although some may argue that the inclusion of Tiger Woods in this year’s team could inspire them to back to back victories.

2016 has a lot to live up to, but you can guarantee that whatever happens a new chapter in the Cup’s glittering history will be written.

Oh, and if having a flutter is your thing, why not head over to The Ryder Cup betting guide at 888, where you can select your prefer odds of each match from the comfort of your armchair.

The Ryder Cup 2018 – How to Watch & Follow…

As with previous year’s the Ryder Cup 2018 will be broadcast on Sky Sports HD with coverage starting as early Monday the 25th.

In addition, the event will be covered by BBC Radio 5 live and of course, you can also follow the event via social media feeds such as Team Europe on Facebook…

We just can wait now!

#TeamEurope

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By Ian Mullins

Le Golf National – TSG Ryder Cup Course Review

 

The Social Golfer OPEN 2018 – The Winners…

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

The Social Golfer OPEN 2018 ChampionshipOnce again, The Social Golfer online golf club and golf community gathered from all over the UK and with some players flying in from Africa for the 8th The Social Golfer OPEN 2018 (sponsored by Golf News and Golf Escapes).

First held in 2010, this year’s event was held at North Downs Golf Club in South London…

 


The Social Golfer OPEN Championship…

Despite the driest British Summer in 60 years, the heavens decided that it was 29th July that the dry spell was to end.

And didn’t we know about it!

However, this didn’t stop 64 golfers battling 30mph winds, squalling rain and, at times only 200 yards visibility.

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

Furthermore, £5 from every entry fee was donated to British Inclusive Golf.

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

 


The Social Golfer OPEN

The Social Golfer OPEN Championship – The Day…

The day’s events comprised, an Individual 18-hole Stableford Competition (Men & Ladies).

A much enjoyed ‘Yellow Ball’ team event, run concurrently with the Straightest Drive and 2 x Nearest Pins.

The Golf News Guest Trophy, Charity Auction and Raffle also on offer.

This year, the event also hosted an indoor ‘Nearest Pin’ competition on North Downs golf simulator, with the winner receiving 2 nights half board at the Isla Canela Golf Hotel in Spain courtesy of Golf Escapes.

 


The Social Golfer OPEN Championship –  The Winners…

This year’s Men’s winner was Peter Hammond (Hampshire) with 37 Pts and the Women’s winner was Anna Guss (West London & Poland) with 29 Pts. Full results as follows:

The Social Golfer OPEN Men’s Trophy (Halliwell Cup) …

1st – Peter Hammond – 37 Pts (Won on countback)

2nd – Roger Hurcombe – 37 Pts (British Inclusive Golf)

3rd – Speedy Miller – 34 Pts

 

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The Social Golfer OPEN Women’s Trophy…

1st – Anna Guss – 29 Pts (Won on countback)

2nd – Judy Lilley – 29 Pts

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The Social Golfer OPEN

Golf News Guest Trophy…

1st – Jay Penfold (British Inclusive Golf)

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Other winners included…

  • NP (3rd hole) – Michael Hanley
  • NP(9th Hole) – Paul Langford
  • NP in 2(11th hole) – Ian Smith
  • Straightest Drive(18th hole) – Judy Lilley
  • Nearest to the Sim Pin(sponsored by Golf Escapes) winning a 2-day golfing trip to Spain – Tony Moss
  • Yellow Ball Team Winners– Ian Halliwell, Roger Hurcombe, Gary Wilson, Mark Reeves
  • Trevor Sandford Trophy – Chip in Birdie – Steve Hunt
  • Outstanding Contribution to TSG Award– Brigitte Lockwood

 


The Social Golfer OPEN

The Social Golfer OPEN Championship – The Charity…

As with all good golf society days, there is often a secondary purpose.

This year’s championship was no exception.

The Social Golfer have always been big advocates in supporting disability golf and this year the members raised over £1200 for British Inclusive Golf.

These monies will go towards helping young kids with autism and other mental and physical disabilities through the game of golf.

 


 The Social Golfer OPEN The Social Golfer OPEN Championship – What they said…

Speaking to Golf News after the event here’s what some of the attendees said about the day…

On behalf of British Inclusive Golf, may I thank you and The Social Golfer community at the TSG 2018 Open, for the warm welcome we received and of course the considerable financial support through the funds raised on our behalf.”

“We are totally overwhelmed by the level of support! All our guys had a marvellous time despite the inclement weather and many new friendships were forged.”  Ian Halliwell – Chairman – British Inclusive Golf

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

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

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The Social Golfer OPEN

The Social Golfer OPEN

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The Social Golfer OPEN

 

 

 

 

 

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By Ian Mullins

Read about TSG OPEN 2017 Championship – Click Here

PGA Championship – 8th-12th Aug 2018…

Saturday, August 4th, 2018

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 - Bellerive Country ClubThe PGA Championship is almost upon us again and this year’s event is more special as it gives all the tour Pro’s that last minute opportunity on which to stake a claim for the final Ryder Cup place!

This is PGA Championship, also has the added attraction of Tiger Woods returning to form and it’s the last time the vent will be played in August. Yep, that right, as of 2019 the event moves to its new home in the golfing calendar – May.

Finally, this year’s PGA Championship, taking place next week on August 9–12 at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri but it will also mark a landmark year as the event reaches its century.

This will be the second PGA Championship and third major at Bellerive.

It will also be the last held in the month of August; just before the 2017 tournament, the PGA announced that the Championship will move to May in 2019.


The PGA Championship – The Club…

What can we tell you about Bellerive Country Club though is (excerpts from their website) …

“Bellerive Country Club began in 1897 in north St. Louis as a nine-hole course with 166 members. In 1910, the membership incorporated as Bellerive Country Club, naming the club after Louis St. Ange De Bellerive, the last French commander in North America. That same year, Scotsman Robert Foulis designed the “new Bellerive” in Normandy where the club remained for 50 years. Led by Hord Hardin and Clark Gamble, the membership decided to move west in 1955, and allowed renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. to pick a prime farm location for the new site.  In 1965, Bellerive became the “youngest” course to ever host the US Open. The ’65 Open was the first of many national and world championships to be held at Bellerive.

PGA Championship 2018 - bellerive_country_club

“Nick Price captured his first major by winning the PGA Championship here in 1992. Major championship golf returned to Bellerive in 2004 when our club played host to the U.S. Senior Open. The golf course then underwent a year-long renovation and reopened in October 2006. Rees Jones, son of original architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr., was entrusted with this project. In 2008, Bellerive hosted the BMW Championship, as part of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The PGA of America returned to Bellerive with the 74th Senior PGA Championship in the spring of 2013 making Bellerive the third club in history to host all four men’s Major Championships (US Open, PGA Championship, US Senior Open and Senior PGA Championship)”

The PGA Championship – Celebrating 100th Birthday…

In February 1916 the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) was established in New York City. The first PGA Championship was held in October that year at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville in New York. Jim Barnes finished ahead of the field and received $500 and a diamond-studded gold medal donated by department store owner Rodman Wanamaker hence the name of the huge Trophy still being played for today!

The PGA Championship – Winning…

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. However, as mentioned above, the top ten golfers in the field at Bellerive GC will all be looking to add to their Ryder Cup points tally.

As of 1st August 2018, the current European and US players are:

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 - Ryder Cup placings - Europe

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 - Ryder Cup placings - USA

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, who are the favourites and what are the bookmakers predicting who will win in Missouri. With 156 golfers in the mix, it’s it’s 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!

We’re no experts but here are a few players TheSocialGolfer.com Team think to watch out for in this years’ PGA Championship…

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP 2018

Rory McIIroy – Played well at The OPEN and due a good event

Tiger Woods – Now injury free he has won this tournament four times previously

Jordan Spieth – Always in the mix on the last day

Patrick Reed – Current US Masters Champion

Justin Thomas – Defending Champion

Tommy Fleetwood – Yet to win a major but this could be the one!

However, may be better to peek at the ACTUAL betting odds before picking the player you wish to follow, they have a plenty more knowledge than us on who is and isn’t on form. For more up to date information on The PGA Championship betting odds, check a reputable and trusted bookmaker.

The PGA Championship – TV coverage…

Last year saw the BBC host the event for the first time but the 2019 event goes to ‘new kid on the block’ Eleven Sports TV via an app and/or it Facebook page. Eleven Sports won the exclusive rights to the 2018 PGA Championship in the UK.   Coverage will also be available via their website.


By Ian Mullins

 

The Social Golfer Par 3 Championship 2018…

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

The Social Golfer - Par 3 Championship 2018 Slater wins TSG PAR 3 Championship and takes 3rd TSG Major title… and now only requires one more for the TSG Slam!

Once again members of The Social Golfer (Online Golf Club & Golf Society) gathered from all over the South East of England to meet and compete at Kent-based Pedham Place Academy on Saturday 9th June 2018, all hoping to be this year’s TSG Par 3 Championship golfer….


The Social Golfer – Par 3 Championship…

The unique event is played over 27 holes, with the top six players going through to an 18th hole shoot-out!

More than 30 members of the popular online golf club signed up to the day, making for an exciting competition with…..

  • Mark Tucknott (Essex),
  • Gary Cartlidge (Surrey),
  • Mark Crane (Kent),
  • Steve Slater (Essex),
  • Chris Ford (Hertfordshire),
  • Mike Sleeman (London)

Each finalist had two balls to win their place in the Grand Final, with the two players nearest to the pin on the 18th Green qualifying!

The Social Golfer - Par 3 Championship 2018 v4

With only one hitting the green it took a third ball from 5 of the 6 before settling on two finalists Steve Slater (former TSG Masters and TSG Open Champion) and first-time TSG major finalist Mike Sleeman (London).

The Social Golfer – Par 3 Championship – The Winners…

The field ranging from 12 handicappers to 28 and the course (one of the best Par 3 in the South of England) proved to make for a hugely enjoyable contest with Mr Steve Slater winning through!

Other prizes on the day included Wooden Spoon – Ruth Brand, Guest Prize – Val Hammond, NP1 – Peter Hammond, NP2 – Paul Houghton, NP3 – Peter Hammond, NP4 – Chris Ford and Quiz Winner – Peter Hammond

 


The Social Golfer - Par 3 Championship 2018 v4

The Social Golfer – Par 3 Championship – What they said…

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

“ Once again members joined in with our innovative shoot-out format giving an average golfer the taste of what it’s like to play sudden death. I still can’t believe how nervous some of them looked as they stood on the tee.”

“However, I thoroughly enjoy watching grown men turn into jelly.”

“Well done to Steve, I have no doubts his sights are now set on becoming the TSG MatchPlay champion next!”

“Many thanks to Pedham Place and Tim Milford and his team for once again looking after us so well!”

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Read about our TSG Masters 2018 winner…

Crown Golf & The Social Golfer renew partnership …

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

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


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

Crown Golf & The Social Golfer – The new deal…

This year’s agreement sees an addition to their effective partnership, with 2018 seeing ALL TSG PRO account holders receiving a FREE round of golf at Crown Courses (T&C’s apply) as part of their annual £29.98 membership fee*.

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

Crown Golf & The Social Golfer – Shared History…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crown Golf - Pine Ridge - The Social Golfer

Crown Golf & The Social Golfer – What they said…

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

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

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

 


*Increase from £24.99 to £29.98 on 1st April 2018

For more information, please contact: theteam@thesocialgolfer.com

 

TSG Interview – Paul Armitage at Le Golf National…

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Armitage - Le Golf National 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Armitage - Le Golf National 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Armitage - Le Golf National 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Armitage - Le Golf National 1

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

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

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

Paul Armitage was talking to Ian Mullins for TheSocialGolfer.com

 


 

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

 

 

Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review …

Sunday, February 4th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An unforgettable experience…m

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Out of 5!

My recommendation is to go, and go now!

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

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

Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review by Brigitte Lockwood


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For further details email us at info@golf-escapes.com , Click Here or CALL a member of the team on 01342 811 777

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

Countdown to Ryder Cup at Le Golf National begins …

Friday, October 27th, 2017

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

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

The Ryder Cup & Le Golf National …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Europe Director, said…

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

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

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

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

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


By Ian Mullins

The Social Golfer MatchPlay Championship 2017…

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

The Social Golfer MatchPlay Championship v3TheSocialGolfer.com, the online golf club and social golf network website, held its fifth Social Golfer MatchPlay Championship Final (Sponsored by The Altonwood Group) at the prestigious Addington Golf Club, on Sunday 24th September 2017…


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

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

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

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

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

The Social Golfer MatchPlay Championship

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

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

 

The Social Golfer MatchPlay Championship – What they said…

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

Social Golfer MatchPlay Championship

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

 

Other Winners in 2017 include:

TSG Masters 2017

 

TSG Par 3 Championship 2017

 

TSG OPEN Championship 2017


By Ian Mullins

The Social Golfer sponsors Disabled Golfer…

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

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

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

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

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

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer….

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer – The Sponsorship…

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

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

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

Paul Houghton - Disabled Golfer....

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer – What they Said…

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

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

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

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

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


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