Archive for the ‘Golf Articles’ Category

Mongolian Golf (you couldn’t make it up!)…

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Mongolian Golf v3 - The Social GolferThis story is not only about our great game of golf and golf courses around the world and more specifically, Mongolian Golf!

However, it’s also about the two young men, Anthony Millet (English) and Patrick Colquhoun (Scottish) who both wanted to do something different.

As such, they set about trying to help others less fortunate and make a difference to lives on the other side of the world…


Mongolian Golf – You want to do what?

Anthony & Patrick decided to form a team and enter the 2015 Mongol Rally.

This rally first started in 2004 with just 6 teams, & by 2015 the rally had grown to 250 teams with between 2-4 people in each team.

The Rally starts in London and ends in Mongolia, and covering over 11,000 miles over mountains, desserts, & the Steppes of Europe & Asia.

The car that the two young men were driving in the rally was a 1986 Porsche 944, which they bought from a scrap yard for just $7000.

They proceeded to ensure that the car would meet the rigorous obstacles and very rough terrain, not to mention the difficulties they would have to overcome through the numerous border crossings.

Note: There is no backup system if you happen to break down you have to use your own initiative to rectify any problems that occur.

The whole idea of entering the rally was to raise money for their chosen charity which was The St Georges School in Ethiopia.

This had a huge impact on changing the lives of the local children at St Georges School for the better.

Anthony & Patrick had decided before they left that they would both have a bit of fun on the way by playing a round of golf in every one of the 17 countries on their route.

Mongolian Golf – Turkmeni-where?

Mongolian Golf v2 - The Social Golfer

However, after arriving in Turkmenistan and already knowing that there was no golf course there, the two men set about finding a good location to build a 9 hole course.

They found a very suitable spot called Derweze, which is also home to the infamous “Door to Hell” Gas crater and it is about 69 metres in diameter and 30 metres deep and it has been burning for over 40 years.

This live gas crater came about in 1971 when this natural gas field collapsed into a very large cavern which was venting a large amount of gas, the geologists decided to set the gas alight to try and stop the spread of the methane gas, and they thought that it would burn out in a couple of weeks.

However, it has been burning ever since and the locals gave it the name “Doors to Hell”.

Anthony & Patrick set about building their 9 hole golf course, making sure that four of the holes skirted near the dangerous gas crater.

The ground as you could imagine was very hard & rough and eventually after making their “Brown” greens and the holes they put in the flags that they had brought from home.

They used the roof of their car which was named “Shirley” to tee-off, four of the holes had to clear the gas-crater and they never tried to retrieve their lost balls which might have been “Hot Dots” and if there weren’t, they certainly are now.

Anthony and Patrick have left their hand-built 9-hole golf course intact so that any of the many visitors to the location can play a round of golf in what must be an amazing & unique experience.

Shortly after their game of golf their car (called “Shirley”) caught fire and was totally destroyed.

Mongolian Golf v1 - The Social Golfer

They both lost a lot of their personal equipment and belongings including their beloved golf clubs, it was a sad effort to their epic adventure as they could not continue to the finish.

However, to their credit, the two men raised over £26k pounds for their chosen charity.  “Well Done Lads!”

Ok, so it’s not really an article on Mongolian Golf but I would like to take the time to thank both Anthony & Patrick for their help and co-operation in helping me to write about this unique golfing experience.

Anthony designed their own golf club scorecards and he was kind enough to send me one of them which has taken a special place in my collection.

As a footnote, Anthony and his wife have now moved to Australia and live in Sydney.

Til next time TSGers…

 

‘Scottish Bob Davies’

 

Scottish Bob - TheSocialGolfer.com

 

 

 

 


Read other stories by Scottish Bob including the March 2019 article on golf in Singapore

Golf in The City: Golf Singapore…

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Golf in the city - Golf Singapore - The Social Golfer v3

In a new series of articles, this month sees Scottish Bob turns his attention to explore golf in the city with the first focus on the south-east Asian in ‘Golf Singapore!’

Over to Bob…


Golf Singapore – The City…

So in a change to the usual focus on just one golf club per feature, I am starting this collection with the beautiful country (and city) of Singapore.

Singapore  is made up of a number of islands with the city being the largest island in the country as well as being the capital

There are a few of the smaller islands including Sentosa, Palau, Ubin, Palua Semakau, Sisters island plus few more.

All these islands can all be reached from the mainland by boat or ferry.

Golf has had a big influence in Singapore for over one hundred years starting with the founding of the Singapore Golf Club on the 17th of June 1891, and many clubs were formed shortly after.

However, while researching this article, I came across some interesting facts and figures which made me think…

Singapore Island is approx. 721sq kilometres and whilst land is at a premium.

The City now has 19 golf courses, including some of the most beautiful and interesting courses you could wish to play.

Most of these golf courses are approx. just around half an hour’s drive from one another.

The changing face of golf in Singapore could affect other golf clubs in towns & cities around the world too.

With a population of just under six and a half million people, there are approx only 36k golfers in the country which is less than 1% of the population.

Golf in the city - Golf Singapore - RafflesThis beautiful city of Singapore is a bustling & exciting city to live in.

Golf Singapore – The Clubs…

Unfortunately the Jurong Country Club which was founded in the early 70s was the first to close its doors on 31st of December 2016.

Alas, with over 40 years of history and fond memories, this beautiful Country Club was renowned for its hospitality and friendliness to all who came to play golf there.

The Raffles Country Club which only opened in 1988 and was one of Singapore’s oldest clubs, closed on 31 July 2018 soon due to the new High-Speed rail link project between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

This project has seen the acquisition of the entire Raffles Country Club.

However, I am glad to say that the Famous Raffles Hotel which was established in 1887 by Armenian Hoteliers, the Sarkies Brothers, and named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles the founder of Singapore is still operating.

New refurbished, the hotel will reopen sometime in 2019 after major renovations, needless to say, you will still be able to enjoy the famous Singapore Sling which is widely regarded as the national drink of the country.

The drink was created by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon in 1915, and I must admit I had the pleasure of indulging myself with one in 2011 and most enjoyable it was.

Rumours have it that by 2021 The Keppel Golf club with over 100 years of golfing history may also be gone.

But with other golf clubs like The Beautiful Tanah Merah Country Club and The Singapore Golf & Country Club also due to lose some of their prime lands, its a tough time for golf in Singapore.

Golf in The City –  The Future…

It is sad to say that both time and people’s attitudes are changing.

Some of the people are no longer in favour of the sport being played by an exclusive group, using so much land.

And sadly, while I am sorry to see the closure of these wonderful golf courses, I fully understand the reason why it had to happen.

There are still quite a good number of beautiful & prestigious golf courses open for business in Singapore though.

These include Sentosa Islands Serapong Course, which was ranked at 79th among the World’s greatest golf courses by Golf Digest 2018.

There is also The Singapore Island golf clubs “New Course”, The Laguna Nationals “Masters” & “Championships” courses.

The golf course – I was going to feature in this article –  The Changi Golf Course with plenty of its own history is only 5 kilometres from the infamous Changi Prison.

The institution still remains open today and would be well known to many allied soldiers, but that will require a whole new article!

that is a story for another day.

I hate to say it but Its “Bye Bye Birdie” from me and sorry to say from many of these golf courses.


Til Next Time…

Scottish Bob - TheSocialGolfer.com

Scottish Bob
Read more articles by Scottish Bob…

Golfing in New Zealand >>

Begin playing golf – FIVE reasons to start in 2019…

Friday, March 8th, 2019

begin playing golfGolf is one of the oldest sports out there, yet a ton of people have a hard time with it because of the steep learning curve but why should you begin playing golf?

However, you can’t just pick up a set of clubs, head out on the course and shoot ‘Par’ on the day.

But there are some important upsides to the practice of golf.

So, for all of you out there who are looking into doing something different this summer, golf might just be the solution for you.

Here are five reasons why you begin playing golf in 2019:

Begin playing golf – 1. The great outdoors…

One of the major perks of golfing is enjoying the scenery and the sun beaming down on the luscious grass.

This winter was rough on everyone and there is no better way to fully take in the gorgeous weather than going out there.

Even on a bad day on the fairways, you can rejoice in the fact that you are breathing in some fresh air while taking in the best that mother nature has to offer.

You can opt for the fast cart ride to make your round a short and sweet one. But you can also go the healthy way and march the length of the course to admire your surroundings.

Begin playing golf – 2. Perfect for a healthy lifestyle…

But there are more than visual benefits to walking the course.

You also get a great deal of physical activity when you choose to go cartless for your 18 holes.

The average golfer will walk a total of 6 miles (9.6 kilometres!!) when they decide to leave the cart at the clubhouse.

But for our cart friends, do not despair, you can also get a good workout from using your explosive hip movement when striking the ball.

An 18-hole round will take 4-5 hours, but it will also become a great way to get some decent active time for your body and your mind.

begin playing golfBegin playing golf – 3. Fun for the whole family…

When you begin playing golf, one of the greatest perks of golf is that it can be played by everyone.

Golfers of all ages are welcome to most golf clubs allowing for a superb family activity on weekends.

Most of all getting started early is the key to becoming successful in golf. Starting early with the family will ensure a prosperous development through the years.

Best of all, you can find some pre-owned golf clubs in order to set up everyone’s equipment for a reasonable budget.

Begin playing golf – 4. Top of the chain equipment…

Talking about golf equipment, one of the greatest perks of golf is to use the newest and keep up to date with the most revolutionary technologies.

Technologies like adjustment weights twist face and the speed injected face have all revolutionized the sport in the last few years.

These innovations were created with the idea of helping golfers get into the game and make better contact on the ball.

It is the perfect time for you to get into the sport and take advantage of the best clubs in the world.

Begin playing golf – 5. Stay safe…

One of the most underrated advantages of golf is the conservation of the mind and the body.

Most physical team sports will expose the body to head trauma and possible severe physical injuries.

But golf will almost entirely shelter you from those dangers.

Of course, injuries are not entirely avoidable.

But if you make sure to stretch out properly, as you should always do before going out on the field, you will most likely never experience any pain from the sport.

As for head trauma, simply make sure to look out while you are on the course and open your ears to the “FORE!” calls of other golfers.

Finally, the only real enemy you’ll have on the course will be the sun.

Make sure to apply a good amount of sunscreen before heading out for the weekly round.

Begin playing golf – And finally…

Hopefully, this has convinced you to pick up the great sport that is golf.

It is the ultimate sport for the summer as you get to enjoy the beautiful weather.

You can also keep the legs fresh while walking around on the course.

Moreover, it is a great opportunity to bring the whole family together for an afternoon activity.

Finally, you get to benefit from the best engineering in the world while having the peace of mind that you are not slowly grinding your health away.

 

By Ian Mullins

Golfing in New Zealand…

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

In his series of Unique Golf Courses of the World, this month Scottish Bob turns his sights on Golfing in New Zealand!

Over to Bob…


Golfing in New Zealand – The Course…

Kia ora tatau & Nau Mai to Aotearoa” (that’s hello to everyone & welcome to the land of the Long White Cloud)

Today there are approximately 390 golf courses in New Zealand which puts it second in the world for golf courses per capita, from a population of only 4 million.

Only Scotland with approximately 543 golf courses per capita of around 5 million has more courses.

Golf has been played in New Zealand since 1871 when the Otago Golf Club was formed with many golf clubs forming shortly after.

However, I would like to bring what I myself would call, a unique golf course which was founded in 1906 and it is The Rotorua Golf Club and the Arikikapakapa course.

Rotorua-golf-Club-view-from-above

This means ‘The Gentle Sound of Plopping Mud’!

The Rotorua Golf Club is the only Geothermal golf course in New Zealand.

The Rotorua Golf Club and the Arikikapakapa course…

The course has 18 holes and is a par 70, each hole is played over and around both dormant and very active thermal areas.

This provides each golfer with a great variety and a very challenging round of golf.

The geothermal uniqueness of this golf course has earned it, an international reputation which you should not miss if you are golfing in New Zealand.

Whilst playing this golf course there are a number of bubbling hot mud pools & hot steam vents that are to be avoided, especially on the left of the 9th green.

In addition, there is a strange sulphur mound on the right side of the same green.

This unique golf hole was featured on a New Zealand stamp and has been written about by my many golf writers from around the world.

However, there is a Monster geothermal crater which guards the left side of the 14th hole and descending into the crater hole is forbidden.

This hole has also become the signature hole of  the Rotorua Golf Club

Among many of the other holes here, are the 14th 15th & 16th which are played alongside & across a lake.

Apart from the added danger of water, on a cold & chilly winters morning watching the steam rise from the lake into the air is something special to behold.

There is also no room for wayward shots on these three holes also known as “Amen Corner” by the locals where so many matches are won & lost by the smallest of errors.

The unique pumice ground of this golf course allows for rapid drainage even after heavy rainfall, where the course and greens recover in only a few minutes making it very rare for golfers to lose any time playing their game of golf.

The entire golf course was rebuilt in 1996 with new bunkers and undulating greens, there are four tees on every hole.

Red, Yellow, White, & Blue, to test the abilities of each & every golfer.

That’s it for now, more next month…

E Noho Ra & Whai I te ra pai

(Farewell & have a good day in Maori).

Scottish Bob - TheSocialGolfer.com

 

 

 

 

 

Scottish ‘Bob’ Davies

 


N.B. Facts & figures are as reliable at the time of writing.

More Unique Golf Course of The World From Bob…

Unique Golf Courses of The World – The Green Zone…

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

Unique Golf Courses of The World - The Green Zone Golf Club - Torino Golf ClubUnique Golf Courses of The World – Two countries, One Golf Course…

In his latest blog, Scottish Bob investigates the phenomenon that you can pass through two times zones in one round of Golf…

The Green Zone Golf Club (also known as The Torino Golf Club) is roamed by beautiful reindeer was built & designed by Ake Persson in 1987 and is only an hour away from the Arctic Circle.

This 18 hole golf course (par 72) straddles two different countries and two different time zones, with nine holes in Finland & nine holes in Sweden!

With the river Torino (which is the border) running through the golf course, we believe this is the ONLY two nation golf course in the world…


Unique Golf Courses of The World – The course…

The river Torino requires crossing four times via footbridges, however, be aware that there is an additional factor of time zones to navigate too, as ‘technically’ you will gain & lose time while playing your round of golf!

The Signature Hole which is on the 6th hole and it is a par 3 of approximately 132 yards with two very deep bunkers of either side of the green.

When you tee-off in Sweden you have the opportunity to do the most memorable and longest ‘Hole in One’ in the world, and if the flag pin is positioned in its trickiest place, your ball will reach the putting green in Finland 1 hour later.

On the 7th Par 4 hole at 325m, your tee shot will have to be ‘up the middle’ of the fairway as you have a large body of water on both sides to trap a wayward shot but this expanse of water is a big feature on most of the holes on this golf course.

Due to the golf clubs unique location, it is possible to play golf at any time of the day or night in full sunshine during the summer, all due to the midnight sun which does not go down for months.

However, you can still play golf on this beautiful golf course in the winter but it will be on snow.

The Golf Club also hold the ‘Midnight Sun 90 hole’ Golf Event that is several days & nights of non-stop golf each year in late June & July.

I think this golf club is well and truly one of the unique golf courses of the world!

Til Next Time…

Scottish Bob - TheSocialGolfer.com

Scottish Bob
xx

Read more Unique Golf Courses of The World -by Scottish Bob…

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Crown Golf News – Greenkeepers Off to TPC Sawgrass…

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Crown Golf News - TPC Sawgrass.png v2Every now and again we hear about a fantastic ‘good news’ golfing story and this time its the turn of the UK’s best Greenkeepers and it’s also TSG partner Crown Golf News...

TPC Sawgrass GC is in the southeastern United States located in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

It is the HQ for the PGA America and annually hosts The Players Championships.

Each year BIGGA members can apply for the opportunity of a lifetime, joining the golf course maintenance team at TPC Sawgrass.

Greenkeepers from around the world get the chance to be part of ‘The Players’ backroom team and BIGGA (The British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association) has revealed the first two members who have been selected to take part in the John Deere TPC Sawgrass Volunteer Programme for 2019.

In total, six BIGGA members will be selected to take part in the event, with one selected from each of BIGGA’s five regions and a sixth being selected from the ranks of international members.

Following the final day’s play, before heading home, the greenkeepers will get the opportunity to hit the 17th hole’s famous island green.

Each of the members underwent a rigorous application process, consisting of an online application, submission of a short video and an interview with BIGGA and John Deere representatives.

But why is this Crown Golf News?

Crown Golf News – Greenkeepers Off to TPC Sawgrass…

One BIGGA member selected from over 5,000 applicants, is Andy Copeland (above left) from Chesfield Downs in Hertfordshire.

Andy recently had an up-close look at course preparations for another massive tournament, being invited along with other greenkeepers to visit Le Golf National ahead of the Ryder Cup.

Andy will be out there volunteering for the full duration of the tournament helping to set up the golf course for play.

Since his arrival in June 2016 to Chesfield Downs GC, the course has seen vast improvements under his leadership of the course conditions.

And the Greens that have been quoted as ‘Best in the Area’ with nothing but positive comments coming from all that play the course.

Andy has created a team around him that share his passion and are striving for the same goals as Andy sets himself.

In 2019 The Players Championship will return to its former March date, necessitated by the shift of the PGA Championship from August to May.

Crown Golf News – Greenkeepers Off to TPC Sawgrass – and we know some others going…

However, with another link to The Social Golfer, head greenkeeper at Cleethorpes Golf Club (and Event Director at this year’s TSG Charity British Inclusive Golf) Matthew Shaul (above right) has also been selected to take part.

TSGers also wish both well…

#GoodLuckGuys


By Ian Mullins

For more Crown Golf NewsClick Here

World of Golf London sees Ryder Cup bounce…

Friday, October 12th, 2018

World of Golf London 2Following the success of the Ryder Cup in Paris last month, the world of golf (literally) is reporting a mini-boom in participation!

World of Golf London, one of the busiest driving ranges in Europe with an average of 13 million balls hit each year, is enjoying a record period and has seen its business boosted by Ryder Cup fever following Europe’s victory in Paris…

Already 20% up on the same period last year, the floodlit facility at New Malden in south-west London was packed during the week following the winning performance by the European Team with queues forming to access many of its 60 bays.

Visiting golfers can now have a haircut or take a lesson, as well as drive the balls from a two-tier setup and play virtual courses such as Pebble Beach with Toptracer technology to define each shot.

“We’ve bucked an industry trend with business booming in recent months and it was topped off by golfers turning out after the thrilling Ryder Cup contest said Tom Roberts, Marketing Manager at World of Golf London.

There has been an exceptional rate of return on the range this year as we’ve also ventured into new business opportunities to provide the ultimate customer experience.”

He added, “Virtual golf is constantly growing thanks to modern-day technology. It’s a fun way to enjoy the sport, while still staying in the warm and spending much less time than you would if you were out on the course

World of Golf - LondonAs well as the state-of-the-art driving range, World of Golf London offers golfers an in-depth analysis of their game at the Performance Centre, where top-of-the-range launch monitors are used to analyse swings with verifiable accuracy.

Group lessons have also played a key role in golf participation at the busy facility with its exclusive ‘Learn to Play Golf Free’ offering popular with beginners – 40% of which are women.

These lessons are conducted by fully qualified PGA Professionals, including teaching guru Jon Woodroffe who recently returned to the facility by popular request.

We deliver around 2,200 hours of free coaching to beginners and juniors every year,” said fellow PGA Teaching Professional Kevin McDonald.

We firmly believe that everyone no matter what age or ability, should have the opportunity to learn the basic skills to get started in this wonderful sport and what we offer here is far less intimidating than stepping straight onto a golf course.”

“Following the European success at the Ryder Cup, more and more people are taking an interest in golf and we’re so proud that the World of Golf can be a part of their journey and offer the very best in coaching and facilities,” he added.

World of Golf London also incorporates one of the biggest golf retail stores in the UK.

In addition, as well as an 18-hole Jurassic Adventure miniature golf course; a Costa Coffee shop; a Jacks of London barbers; and nine brand-new fully serviced offices available to rent.


By Ian Mullins

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

 

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer & TSGer sues Brentwood Council…

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

Paul Houghton on buggy

TSGer Paul Houghton and his case against Brentwood Borough Council for discrimination on account of him not being allowed to use his buggy at Hartswood Golf Club have now been taken on by top lawyer Chris Fry…

The BBC interviewed Paul on 3rd September 2018 and all the major news organisations have picked up on the story we first highlighted in 2016…

Dec 2016 – Discrimination-in-Golf…

Paul joined The Social Golfer in 2014 and has been an active and welcomed member ever since.

In 2017, The Social Golfer sponsored Paul and fellow disabled golfer Roger Hurcombe, helping them to fund their competitive golf.

Here’s what the BBC wrote about Paul Houghton’s case….

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Golfer Paul Houghton who is disabled and who uses a prosthetic leg is suing a local council for refusing to let him play on its course using a buggy.

Paul Houghton’s right leg was amputated in 2000 after he was affected by a lethal tissue-eating bacteria.

Mr Houghton learned to walk again – and golf became an important part of life but he still also uses crutches and a wheelchair.

He claims Brentwood Council in Essex discriminated against him but the council is defending the legal action.

Paul is lucky to be alive.

In November 2000, while working as a roofer, he knelt in contaminated water and contracted the deadly flesh-eating bug necrotizing fasciitis. It consumes muscle and body tissue at a rate of 0.75in (2cm) an hour.

“The surgeon told me he had to operate immediately,” Paul told the BBC.

“He said that he had no choice but to continue cutting until he was certain he had removed all the infected tissue.

“I had just two hours to prepare myself for an operation that at best I would survive with a leg missing, but at worst I would not survive at all.”

His right leg was amputated above the knee, and he received the last rites in hospital.

In all he had five operations, some for skin grafts because his amputation was very rushed and the perfect stump could not be formed.

Paul could not continue to work as a roofer and his business was wound up.

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer – Represented England…

He requalified and now works for Chelmsford Council as its access officer in building control.

He learned to walk with a prosthetic limb and switches between it, wheelchairs and crutches.

However, overuse of the crutches causes shoulder injuries, while the prosthetic leg can cause pressure sores that are difficult to cure.

Paul has represented England at disability golf 13 times, with a handicap of 14, and has played on courses across Europe.

Because of his disability, he needs a buggy in order to play an 18-hole course.

In August 2016, Paul had booked to play a round with a friend at Hartswood Golf Course in Essex.

It is owned and operated by Brentwood Council.

Paul Houghton sues Brentwood Council - Hartswood Golf club

On his way to the first tee, he claims he was told he would not be allowed on to the course without a letter from his doctor justifying the medical need for a buggy.

If he obtained such a letter he was told he would be given a certificate allowing him to use his buggy.

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer – What he said…

“I was gobsmacked he told the BBC.

“I’ve played over 100 courses around England, I’ve played all around the world and I’ve not been treated in this way before.”

Paul says he explained that he had his own insurance, a European Disabled Golf Association card, and a medical exemption, but the club insisted that he needed a letter from a doctor to justify the use of a buggy.

It sends the message that disabled people aren’t welcome, that we are not part of society, not included, but are segregated and can’t join in a sport that’s accessible to everybody, because we need to use other equipment to play the game,” Paul says.

In his legal claim, Paul argues that by refusing to allow him to use a buggy without a doctor’s letter, the council discriminated against him because of his inability to walk around the golf course.

In effect, he claims the council was applying a policy that indirectly discriminates against all disabled people who need a buggy to play golf.

Brentwood Council denies any discrimination and is defending the legal action.

The council said it was “committed to ensuring safe access for everyone to all its facilities” and would issue a full statement when legal action had concluded.

Paul Houghton – Disabled Golfer – Lawyer’s view…

Paul Houghton’s solicitor, Chris Fry from the firm Fry Law, said: “This case is more than just about making a service more accessible; it’s a reminder of the importance of the benefits which sport brings to social inclusion, together with physical and mental health.”

“This is especially important for people with a range of disabilities, and not least mobility impairments.”

“A simple adjustment in this case will benefit Paul, and thousands of others in a multitude of ways.”

In its “Buggy Use Policy”, England Golf, the governing body of amateur golf, says it “wishes to encourage the participation in golf of all players regardless of disabilities”.

This, it says, is in accordance with its obligations under the Equality Act.

Cae Menai-Davis, co-founder of the Golf Trust, a charity that works with disabled groups to make golf more inclusive, commented: “Golf is a sport for everyone.”

“Making it difficult for a disabled golfer to use a buggy isn’t just bad policy, it is bad business.”

“There is a huge untapped group of people with learning and physical disabilities that want to play the game and will benefit hugely from it.”


Paul with trophies

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Just some of the new outlets that have covered Paul Houghton in the last 24 hours…

The BBC

The Times

The Sun

The Telegraph

The Independent

The Week

The Daily Mail

The Metro

Epping Guardian

 

Thorpeness Golf Club – TSG Review…

Monday, August 13th, 2018

Thorpeness Golf Club & Hotel v1Thorpeness Golf Club is set on the Suffolk coast, a few miles south of Southwold and is most famous for its unique landmark, the ‘House in the Clouds’. Located just off the A12, it is within easy reach of Ipswich and Lowestoft.

We sent TSG course reviewer Ian Mullins to check out the course and share with his fellow TSGers, his view on the set-up….


Thorpeness Golf Club – The Hotel, Clubhouse & Shop…

The entrance to Thorpeness Golf Club & Hotel is welcoming and the long drive up to the main hotel gives you a real sense of anticipation that you are about to have a good day.

The Clubhouse and hotel are combined meaning that you are likely to encounter walkers, runners, cyclists, as well as those the favour the little white ball.

However, whilst the hotel is modern, light and airy (as you would expect) once you enter the bar area you get a sense of the club’s history.

The idea for the golf club was first conceived in 1910 by the Scottish Barrister Stuart Ogilvie but the first world war postponed the building of the course until James Braid was invited to design the layout in 1922.

Widley accepted as one of the great golf course architects he went on to design over 200 golf courses in the UK.

By July 1922 ten holes were finished, with the remaining 8 completed in 1923.

Some of the trophies on display in the bar area are the oldest in British golf club history, including the ‘silver Frigate’, a replica ship cast in the purest silver.

The Pro-shop is situated by the putting green and we were welcomed with a big smile (some clubs could learn from this!) from Senior Club Professional Christine Langford.

Thorpeness Golf Club & Hotel v4Christine is from good pedigree, having turned professional in 1976 to pursue a career as a tournament player, she was one of the first players to qualify to play on the US LPGA Tour she is a founder member of the Ladies European Tour where she won 5 tournaments.

With over 40 years working in her sport Christine has been recognised by the PGA twice, once by being awarded Advanced Fellow status and earlier this year she was made an Honorary Life Member of the Association.

Membership starts from as little as £51.50 a year for juniors, with Adult membership around the £1200 mark. Special concessions are in place for Seniors over 80 too.

Thorpeness is not the cheapest course to play for visitors BUT it is good value.

Rates for 18 holes is £60 before 12pm, £40 after 12pm with twilight rates also available.  The Shop is stocked with all the usual bits and pieces and their embroidered club wear is very smart.

All the staff were friendly and very laid back (we are in Suffolk) and whilst I do object to being asked to pay £14 for breakfast (in the main hotel), a simple bacon roll can be bought at the bar for much much less.

Thorpeness Golf Club – The ‘House in the Clouds’…

Arguably, Thorpeness Golf club is most well-known and quirky landmark – The House in the Clouds.

Thorpeness Golf Club & Hotel v2

Originally a water tower, it was built in 1923 to receive water pumped from Thorpeness Windmill and was designed to improve the looks of the water tower, disguising its tank with the appearance of a weatherboarded building more in keeping with Thorpeness’s mock-Tudor and Jacobean style village.

The original capacity of the water tank was 50,000 imperial gallons (230,000 l) but during the Second World War, the House in the Clouds was hit by gunfire from anti-aircraft guns based at Thorpeness.

In 1977 the water tower was made redundant by a mains water supply to the village, and additional living space was created. In 1979 the main water tank was removed to fully convert the building into a house.

The building currently has five bedrooms and three bathrooms; it contains a total of 85 steps from top to bottom and is around 70 ft high and can be rented out by anyone

Thorpeness Golf Club – The Course…

As mentioned above, designed and built by James Braid, the course is an interesting mix of heathland, linkland, parkland and woodland.

Oh yes, and its narrow! I was warned before teeing off (on an immaculately presented first tee box) I would lose golf balls at this course and with my game, I didn’t disappoint them.

However, don’t be afraid, if you play this course conservatively and straight, it can be beaten.

The course is 6,421 yards but feels much less as most holes as on flat ground but watch out for the bunkers, they are all perfectly placed to catch your ball.

I played here at the height of the dry summer of 2018, so we got plenty of ‘run’ but I suspect the course can turn on you in Winter.

All the Greens were what you would expect from a Top 100 golf courses (no.83) and with every hole presenting a different challenge from the last, it requires playing a few times before you will score well.

However, golf isn’t supposed to be easy and there is a real sense of authenticity to this layout.

The stand-out holes as I recall:

Thorpeness Golf Club & Hotel v3

7th – Par 3, 139 yards over water to sloping green

9th – Par 4, 469 yards, dog-leg left to raised green

15th – Par 4, 405 yards dog-leg left to flat protected green

18th – Par 4, 408 yards, dog-leg right finishing under ‘House in the Clouds’

 

All in all, Thorpeness Golf Club is a pretty and welcoming club and course and is a delight to play.

I would highly recommend this course to any local people, or, like me from further afield (or in my case, only the neighbouring county of Essex).

A pretty course full of fauna and mature parkland and I can’t think of anything to criticise.

Thorpeness Golf Club – And Finally…

Christine explained that they were very keen on providing golf and hotel packages for all standards of player, whilst also catering to Mixed Couples, Women’s Golf and Juniors.

More information can be found on their website.

TSG Verdict: 4.5 out of 5!

Thorpeness Golf Club & Hotel v5

 

 

 


By Ian Mullins

More Course Reviews from The Social Golfer