Archive for the ‘Golf History’ Category

Golf the West Coast of Scotland…

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

Golf the West Coast of Scotland…

There’s no doubt about it, some of the best links golf courses in the world can be found on the West Coast of Scotland!

And if you’re interested in following in the footsteps of some of the greatest golfers of all time, you can’t go far wrong booking a Golf Experience tour on the coast of Ayrshire.

Trump Turnberry, Royal Troon and Old Prestwick, all within a stone’s throw of one another, not to mention Glasgow Gailes, Dundonald Links, Kilmarnock Barassie to name but a few. PLUS some of the most challenging courses you will ever play, among the many Hidden Jewels you can unearth on your heady trip around the iconic Scottish coast.

Then there’s the whole flavour of Scotland to be experienced both on and off the course.  

Whether it is battling the sea breeze, undulating heather-clad fairways and greens flanked by strategically-placed bunkers typical of many of the links courses, or deciding which Scotch whisky to savour next from your well-stocked hotel bar, Scotland has as much atmosphere as you can handle and more besides.

Golf the West Coast of Scotland- The Social Golfer
Golf the West Coast of Scotland- The Social Golfer

Trump Turnberry Hotel & Resort

Golf the West Coast of Scotland – Unique Hosted Golf Experiences in the Home of Golf

Of course, there are many other places to visit in the UK and abroad.

In addition, with so many golf tour companies out there offering multiple travel options, it’s easy to feel bombarded, which can make it difficult to choose between them.

However, golfing the West Coast of Scotland is a bit different as Friya at www.westcoastgolf.co.uk explains …

“We understand that going on a Golf Tour isn’t just about taking a holiday, it’s about the experience of a lifetime. Playing the game you love on iconic courses, taking in the same spectacular views as the golfing stars of yesteryear have, breathing the same fresh sea air, walking the same fairways, negotiating the same tricky lies as your heroes!”

So literally, ‘following in the footsteps of greatness’.

She went on to say “We also understand that arriving in a strange place with nobody to meet you, trying to find your hotel, wondering if you will be able to get a taxi to the course in the morning and where to go to get something decent to eat in the local area can make your trip of a lifetime seem daunting and, frankly, a bit of an anticlimax.”

“Plus there’s the worry of whether the package you’ve booked ‘does what it says on the tin’. Especially if you’re the one responsible for booking for a group and everyone’s relying on you to get them value for their money. At West Coast Golf we know what your holiday means to you. That’s why we want to get it right”.

Having spoken at length with Friya, it’s clear that their level of expertise could be invaluable to the nomadic golfer. 

They are not a big impersonal company with customer service staff, who are more interested in their sales commission than whether you, the customer, has a memorable and enjoyable time. 

On the contary, they are a family-run organisation that is large enough to handle your booking but small enough to care. 

That’s why all their Golf Experiences are Hosted.

And why they provide ‘extras’ such as competitions, trophies and a presentation meal as standard, as well as optional add-ons such as whisky tasting and golf lessons with their ‘resident’ professional Golf Coach.

 

Royal Troon - The Clubhouse - Scottish golf- The Social Golfer

Royal Troon

Visit the west coast of scotland- The Social Golfer - Trump Turnberry

Trump Turnberry Hotel & Resort

Golf The West Coast of Scotland – Unique Hosted Golf Experiences

When you arrive in Ayrshire, Scotland you will be met by a dedicated coach company and taken to your accommodation. 

Fresh from a good night’s sleep, you will be greeted by your Host the following morning.

You will be given all the information you need for your first day’s golfing.

PLUS information on eating out, local attractions and anything else you will need to make the start of your break go smoothly.

You’ll also be given details of fun golf competitions to take part in, including the opportunity to ‘Beat the Host’ on the practice ground.

Your Host will ‘touch base’ with you every day of your trip to make sure your holiday is running smoothly. 

On the last day of your holiday your Host, who is also an award-winning Compère, will be there at your Presentation Meal; 

– Presenting you with your prizes

– Challenging you to a Golf Quiz 

and generally making sure everyone in your group enjoys the craic.

As well as enjoying the delicious food and drink at the South Beach Hotel

Golf the West Coast of Scotland- The Social Golfer

Whisky tasting at The Jar, Troon

Golf the West Coast of Scotland- The Social Golfer

Your Host Award-Winning Compere, Graham Walker

Golf The West Coast of Scotland – Smaller Groups and Lone Golfers

West Coast Golf specialise in Golf Experiences for smaller groups of 2-8 golfers and also golfers who are going on holiday alone. 

They feel smaller groups and individuals are not always considered by larger tour operators.

Furthermore, they recognise that Golf ‘clubs’ within Clubs are often made up of a small number of golfers.

In addition, even if your golf society is larger, not everyone wants to go on holiday together.

Sometimes you may want to go golfing on your own and Scotland is the ideal place to go to escape from it all.

For Lone Golfers they offer just the same Hosted Golf Experiences as for groups, but tailored to you.

If you wish, your Host can come out on the course with you, or accompany you as your caddy.

You will receive just as much care and attention as a group of golfers would, with just as much opportunity to experience some of the best links courses Scotland has to offer.

10% OFF YOUR HOLIDAY FOR TSG MEMBERS…

To find out more about the ‘mouth-watering’ West Coast Links courses, or to see the kind of unforgettable Golf Experience tours Friya and her team can offer, such as the Open Glory Experience or the Precious Links package, simply visit www.westcoastgolf.co.uk 

Details of Hotel accommodation, whisky tasting, coaching sessions and the Presentation Meal can all be found on their website, as well as an introduction to their Host, and more.

Simply complete an online enquiry form if you want to know a little bit more about West Coast Golf and what they offer, or email them direct at info.westcoastgolf@gmail.com

Don’t forget to let them know you’re a TSG member to claim a 10% discount on your unique Golf Experience break. (Terms & Conditions apply)

 

Golf the West Coast of Scotland- The Social Golfer

Why golfers can carry 14 golf clubs in their bag…

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

14 golf clubs - The Rules and The Penalties - The Social GoflerEver wondered why you are allowed to carry up to 14 clubs in your golf bag?

And who made this rule? And why?

Here we look at some of the history and rationale as to why 14 is the magic number…

 


The reasons why golfers carry 14 golf clubs in one bag – The History…

It doesn’t matter if you use a golf carry bag or a golf stand bag, Callaway, Sun Mountain or Ping golf bags, most golfers know that you can have up to 14 golf clubs in it.

However, it’s not so common for people to know why, and they don’t really ask.

The truth is, it hasn’t always been like this – the rule of carrying up to 14 clubs was first introduced in 1938.

Before that time, golfers could bring as many clubs as they wanted.

Did you want 20 or 30?

Well, as long as your caddie could carry it, it was alright.

Before the 1920s the number of carried clubs hadn’t even been an issue, but in 1924 the first player in the golf history decided to use a steel-shafted club in the US Open.

This new club could ensure a longer flight without making a golfer give up control over it.

However, many players didn’t want to drop the hickory-shafted clubs that they knew so well so they simply decided to bring them all to the tournaments.

So why did The USGA (the United States Golf Association) and the PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) decided to regulate it?

There were several reasons, though all of them related…

 


Four reasons why golfers carry 14 golf clubs in one bag – When and why…

 

1.    To Unburden caddies…

The average number of golf clubs brought by a single player to the US Open and Amateur in 1935 was 18.

The highest total record was set in the same year when one golfer carried 35 clubs with him (a right-handed set and a left-handed set, just in case).

Or, to be precise, had his caddie carry them for him.

After that, the USGA decided that something needs to be done to limit the number of clubs a single player can bring to one match.

The caddies being overloaded and simply exhausted were one of the reasons for finally regulating it.

2.  To down-skill the game…

Since the very beginning, golf was primarily about the skills and the idea was to keep it that way.

The USGA and the PGA didn’t want some players to seem better than others simply because they may have had many various clubs.

The goal was to keep the game as challenging as possible and not to leave all the answers to technology and gear.

3.  To avoid inequality…

Apart from the caddies’ health, the USGA and the PGA also worried that too many different clubs carried by a single player can make him or her unjustly superior to those who couldn’t afford all kinds of different sets of clubs.

They wanted to avoid inequality based on social and financial background.

4.  Apparently, 14 is enough to have the whole set…

Steel-shafted clubs were much easier to customize than hickory-shafted ones, so when the steel finally appeared, matching sets were introduced to the market.

The very first set was created by a Scottish manufacturer, George Nicoll, who decided to number the clubs from one to nine – and other producers followed shortly after.

Then, all nine were traditionally played along with one putter and four wooden clubs. All that made up 14 clubs that we are allowed to use up until this day.

 


14 golf clubs - The Rules and The Penalties - The Social GoflerThe reasons why golfers carry 14 golf clubs in one bag – The Penalities…

Well, of course. If there’s an official rule, there must be a penalty for breaking it.

In this case, it’s two strokes for each hole where there were too many clubs in a golf bag.

It means that, even if you don’t know that you have too many clubs and you don’t realize until you’re playing the second hole, you will get penalized for both of them.

However, it’s the maximum penalty, so you won’t ever get more than four strokes.

If you realize in the middle of playing one hole, it will be assessed at the end of it, and to the last one if you’re between holes.

It’s a bit different during the Match Play where the penalty is one hole, and the total match score is changed, not only the hole you’re currently playing.

 


The reasons why golfers carry 14 golf clubs in one bag – Does the type of clubs matter…

No. As long as you keep the overall number of clubs up to 14 and they all conform to other regulations, it doesn’t matter how many of each type you have.

Choosing the types accordingly to the game, to your skills and preferences is the whole other thing that you should sacrifice your time to.

A lot of golfers still stick to the traditional set of nine irons, four kinds of wood or Hybrid and one putter.

 


 The bottom line…

It’s also worth noting that there’s no minimum as to the number of clubs you can carry in your bag.

But still, the bottom line is that, if you want to succeed, you don’t just have to be good at what you’re doing – you need to know all the rules.

Something, not all golfer seem to know!

 


By Haper Stanbridge

Read about the new rules of golf launched in 2019 >>

 

The US Masters 2020 Golf Tournament…

Friday, February 28th, 2020

The US Masters 2020 Golf Tournament…

YES, it’s less than six weeks until the biggest and best names in golf descend on Augusta National in Georgia.

We look here at who’s in form, who’s the bookie’s favourites and who’s due a win…


US Masters 2020 – The History…

The Masters Tournament is, as always, the first men’s major of the golfing year as 87 top golfers compete to get their hands on the coveted green jacket.

It’s arguably, one of the most recognisable prizes in golf.

The famous Augusta green jacket has been awarded to every winner of the Masters Tournament since 1949.

Last year, it was Tiger Woods who won his fifth jacket and the American is one of the favourites to become the first player to win two consecutive Masters titles since, well, Tiger Woods back in 2002.

US Masters 2020 – The current Champion…

Golf has been notoriously difficult to predict in the last few years. T

Tiger Woods may have grabbed his 15th major at Augusta last year but it’s a long time since he dominated men’s golf.

The American won an incredible 14 major titles in the space of just nine years, the first golfer since Jack Nicklaus to win 10+ titles.

Go back to 2008 and nobody it would have been ridiculous to suggest that we’d have to wait over a decade for Woods’ next win.

But that’s exactly what happened as Woods put an end to his almost 11-year wait for his 15th major in 2019.

It’s not long to go until Woods has to go back out and defend his title but not before we enjoy some of the famous traditions of the Masters Tournament.

Since the 1950s, it’s been customary for the previous year’s winner to host the Champions Dinner in the run-up to the tournament proper.

Woods is no stranger to this after securing his fifth jacket and has already decided on his menu for the dinner. For 2020, he’s going back to the same menu he requested in 1998: steak, chicken fajitas, sushi, and sashimi with a milkshake for dessert.

“One of the greatest memories was to see Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead having milkshakes that night in ‘98”  Woods said in a Masters media teleconference before thinking back to his emotional win last year.

“Seeing the number of reactions and people who were riveted by the Masters” he went on.

“The number of emotion people were showing. That’s what blew my mind. I didn’t think that many people would be moved that way.”

But they certainly were and as we head into the 2020 majors season, it’s hard to bet against something similar this time around.


US Masters 2020 – The Favorites for this best know Golf Major this year are:

Tiger Woods is amongst the favourites to win again in Augusta this year at 12/1 on Betway as of 27th February.

But as previously mentioned men’s golf is notoriously difficult to predict right now.

Rory McIlroy is the favourite to win his first green jacket at 15/2 and complete a career grand slam of majors.

He won the US Open, PGA Championship, and the Open Championship in a dominant three-year spell.

The Northern Irishman returned to the top of the Official World Golf Rankings earlier in the year and will be eager to stay there.

He finished tied for 21st last year at Augusta National but finished in the top ten for the five years before that.

Jon Rahm has climbed to second in the world rankings and notched up his best-ever finish in a major at Augusta last year finishing fourth.

He’s joint-second at 12/1 alongside a man aiming to win his fifth major in five years.

US Masters 2020 Golf TournamentBruce Koepka is a man who has a far better record in the majors than he does in the regular tour events.

“I think sometimes the majors are the easiest ones to win”. he said during the 2019 PGA Championships, a tournament he won.

“There’s 156 in the field, so you figure at least 80 of them I’m just going to beat.

You figure about half of them won’t play well from there, so you’re down to about maybe 35.

And then from 35, for these, the pressure is going to get to them.

“It only leaves you with a few more, and you’ve just got to beat those guys.”

It’s a fascinating series of quotes with Koepka, a man who cannot be counted out in any major tournament he takes part in.

But there are plenty of other talented golfers who are in contention to get their own green jacket fitted in 2020.

Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, and Xander Schauffele are all in contention and priced 25/1 or lower as of 27 February.

It promises to be an exciting tournament and come this time next year we’ll be finding out what exciting dishes are on the menu for the 2021 Champions Dinner.


By Ian Mullins

Read more about the other Golf Major’s happening in 2020 >>

Golf Trivia at Xmas….

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

Golf Trivia - TheSocialGolfer.com - Golfing Facts v2So with the Xmas season upon us, we thought we would give you some golf trivia on which to impress your friends this Christmas!

As such, we turned to regular TSG Newsletter columnist ‘Scottish Bob’ to share with us some great golf trivia nuggets he’s been researching in 2019…


‘Scottish Bobs’ Golf Trivia – The Rules of golf…

In the few short years that I have been playing golf, and trying to come to terms with my inadequate knowledge of the rules.

I decided to delve a little deeper into how these rules came about.

The Earliest known rules of golf were drafted in Edinburgh in March 1744 for the worlds first “Open “ golf competition at Leith, by the Gentlemen Golfers of Edinburgh.

Who would later go on to become, The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, the draft consisted of only 13 rules.

John Rattray Captain 1744-1747 said…

Golf Trivia –  The First Set of Rules of Golf from 1744

  1. You must Tee your Ball within a Clubs length of the Hole.
  2. Your Tee must be upon the ground.
  3. You are not to change the Ball which you Strike of the Tee.
  4. You are not to remove, Stones, Bones, or any break Club, for the sake of playing your Ball, Except upon the fair green and that only/ within a Clubs length of your Ball.
  5. If your Ball comes among water or any watery filth, you are at liberty to take out your Ball & bringing it behind the hazard and Teeing it, you may play it with any Club and allow your Adversary a Stroke for so getting out your Ball.
  6. If your Balls be found anywhere touching one another, You are to lift the first Ball, till you play the Last.
  7. At Holling, you are to play your Ball, honestly for the hole, and not to play upon your Adversary’s ball, not lying in your way to the hole..
  8. If you should lose your Ball, by it’s taken up, or any other way, you are to go back to the Spot, where you struck last, and drop another ball, and allow your adversary a Stroke for the misfortune.
  9. No man at Holling his Ball is allowed, to mark his way to the hole with his club, or anything else.
  10. If a Ball is stopp’d by any person, Horse, Dog, or anything else, The Ball so stopp’d, must be played where it lyes.
  11. If you draw your club in Order to Strike, & proceed so far in the Stroke as to be e Accounted a Stroke.
  12. He whose Ball lyes farthest from the hole is obliged to play first.
  13. Neither Trench, Ditch, or Dyke, made for the preservation of the links, nor the Scholar’s Hole’s, or the Soldier’s Lines, Shall be accounted a Hazard, But the Ball is to be taken out teed/and played with any iron club.

Golf Trivia – Today’s Rules of Golf…

For many years there were two sets of rules golf, codified by the U.S.G.A. and the R.&.A., beginning in 1952 the two groups standardized the rules, publishing a new set every two years with minor changes.

However, it was not until 1990 that the two sets of Rules truly became one, as both groups settled upon a standard set of rules for the game of golf.

The biggest difference for many years was that the R.&.A. allowed play with a 1.62 inch diameter ball, while the U.S.G.A ball was standardized at 1.68 inches.

There are 3 basic premises governing the Rule of Golf 1) Play the ball as it lies. 2) Play the course as you find it. 3) If you are unable to do either 1 or 2 ,do what is fair.

Since these set of rules were set over 375 years ago there have been many changes, and today there are 34 rules of golf with many sub-rules, and sub-sub rules, and far to many to mention here today and you can see the original set of rules in the National Library of Scotland.

Golf Trivia - TheSocialGolfer.com - Golfing FactsGolf Trivia – Unique Golf Rules…

Many of you fellow golfers who are reading this have no doubt played golf in different parts Europe and other part of the world, and may have come across some different rules on your scorecard for that particular golf club and some of them can be quite unique and humorous.

While collecting scorecards for my collection I come across quite a few unique golf courses with some very humorous rules which I would like to share one with you all.

My first golf course Royal Toberua is on the beautiful island of Toberua in the Fijian Islands, it is quoted as the South Pacific’ s most exclusive club.

This 9 hole par 3, beach golf course was founded in 1985 by celebrated Australian artist Ken Done and is only playable at low tide.

Course rules include:

  1. Air swings are not counted.
  2. On the line is considered in the circle.
  3. The player with the lowest score is the winner.

‘Local’ rules include:

  1. Sea snakes may be lifted and dropped two club-lengths without penalty.
  2. It is absolutely forbidden to wear long socks with shorts.
  3. Guest out walking shall be treated as hazards.
  4. The sea shall be treated as casual water, and a ball may be retrieved and dropped no nearer to the hole without penalty.
  5. Taking the game to seriously shall incur a “Shout at the bar “

I hope that many of you fellow golfers find these local golf rules as amusing as I did.

However, it is a fact is that there are THREE species of sea snakes that are found along the waters of the rugged Fijian coastline

These include the highly venomous black & white banded sea krait.

While their venom is 20 times stronger than any land snake, it is reported that their little mouths are very small and cannot open them very wide.

In addition,  the sea snake is very docile. BUT be careful when & if you decide to pick one up to remove it.

“Til next time Happy Golfing”


 “Scottish Bob Davies”

    Golf Trivia - The Social golfer

The Golf Majors in 2020…

Friday, November 29th, 2019

Golf Majors in 2020

As this year’s tour comes to end and with John Rahm winning the Race to Dubai, we asked our friends at Freebets to look at the favourites for the Men’s Golf Majors in 2020.

So, with 2019 was a memorable year for men’s golf, if not for one reason only, Tiger roared back! The major championships, in particular, brought about some other great moments for the game.

We had some moments which truly upset the bookmakers’ predictions for what was going to happen like Gary Woodland’s success in the US Open. The American hadn’t finished in the top 5 of any prior major.

However, as the record books show, Golf is typically unpredictable these days.

Here is the schedule and dates, with a hint to who may be in the running based in the latest odds and see whether we can expect some more of the same…


Golf Majors in 2020 – The Masters – 9th-13th April 2020

As always, the Masters will kick-off this year of men’s majors.

The 2019 Masters saw one of the unlikeliest comeback stories in the sport’s history.

Tiger Woods – the 14-time major winner – secured his first victory in one of the big four since 2008.

It was perhaps the greatest sporting moment of 2019 as Woods overcame crippling injuries and a loss of form to secure his first green jacket for 14 years.

It would be a surprise to see Woods lift the trophy at Augusta again in 2020 but after his remarkable win in 2019, who’s to say?

Rory McIlroy is also in the running with the Northern Irishman eager to win his first green jacket and secure the career grand slam.

Current Odds…

Brook Koepka – 9/1
Rory Mcllroy – 9/1
Dustin Johnson – 10/1
Tiger Woods – 10/1


Golf Majors in 2020 – The PGA Championship – 14th – 17th May 2020

In the middle of May, we’ll turn our attentions to TPC Harding Park in California for the 2020 PGA Championship.

The Irishman Shane Lowry came out on top of the leaderboard in 2019 for this, the most unpredictable of men’s majors.

12 different men have lifted the Wanamaker Trophy in the last 13 years with McIlroy being the only player to win two titles in that time.

This year’s tournament promises to be just as unpredictable.

Current Odds…

Brooks Koepka – 9/1
Dustin Johnson – 9/1
Rory Mcllroy – 10/1
Tiger Woods – 12/1


Golf Majors in 2020 – The US Open – 18th – 21st June 2020

The 2020 US Open is being held on more familiar ground this time.

Winged Foot Golf Club will host this year’s edition of the tournament in the middle of June with all eyes of the golfing world directing their focus towards the New York course.

The tournament has been held at this course before, way back in 2006 when the Australian Geoff Ogilvy came out on top.

Brooks Koepka is the man to beat here.

The American has won two of the last three US Open titles and will be looking to make it three out of four in June. He’s the standout candidate to do just that.

Current Odds…

Brooks Koepka – 9/1
Dustin Johnson – 9/1
Rory Mcllroy – 10/1
Justin Thomas – 16/1


Golf Majors in 2020 – The OPEN – 16th – 19th July 2020

As is tradition, the majors conclude with the trip across the Atlantic to contest the Claret Jug.

The Open Championship is the oldest of the four majors and it is heading to the Royal St George’s for the first time since 2011.

That edition of the tournament saw an unlikely win for Northern Irishman Darren Clarke but you won’t find many people expecting a similar result this time.

Current Odds…

Brooks Koepka – 10/1
Rory Mcllroy – 10/1
Dustin Johnson – 12/1
Jon Rahm – 16/1


And Finally…

So, a dozen different players can win a major on any given day so punters have their work cut out when it comes to picking a favourite.

However, that could play into your hands. When the field is open, the betting odds are often in your favour.

Punters can pick winners for certain events and many bookies will payout for anything above a top-five finish.

But that can go even further, picking one or a couple of unlikely candidates across the various majors will lead to some huge odds and bigger wins.

Learn how to build your bets with freebets.com to make sure you get the best odds for your men’s golf major picks.

 


By Ian Mullins

Golf in Australia…

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Golf in Austrailia - Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Resort - The Social Golfer v2For the last couple of years or so of being a member of The Social Golfer and writing about all the beautiful & interesting golf clubs and golf courses around the world, I thought I would tell you a little more about Golf in Australia…

More specifically my own club here in New South Wales!


My wife Judy and I recently relocated from Melbourne to Yarrawonga in Victoria because the warmer climate suits us both, and since Judy has relatives and family living here, it made settling in that much easier.

I knew that for me the best way to make new friends would be to get involved with some sort of sport whether it be football, cricket, fishing or golf and I decided on playing golf…

Unlike a lot of Scotsman, I don’t drink whiskey and I never touched a golf club until I was 55 years old.

I played golf with a social golf club on the North East Coast of New South Wales for 10 years, however, it was only a very small golf course with a par 31.

But, on reaching our new home, I decided it was time for me to ‘take’ the game more seriously, so I joined the Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Resort, which is just over the border in neighbouring New South Wales.

Golf In Australia – The Region…

Since 1886 the Yarrawonga golfers had graduated from a 3-hole course in the centre of town, to a 9 hole course laid out around the local racecourse.

Latterly, it was relocated to the site of an old dairy farm in Mulwala.

Here it has been now for the last 90 years, and just like cream rising to the top, so has this beautiful golf resort.

The two nearby towns are separated by the Mighty Murray river which is approx 2500 Kilometres long.

It is the 3rd longest navigatable river on the planet with only the Amazon & Nile ahead of it.

The river starts in the Southern Alps of New South Wales and Victoria, it flows in a westerly direction before reaching its outlet near the town of Goolwa on the South Australian coast.

The Mighty Murray river (also the state border between N.S.W & Victoria) is approx 1880 Km long and there are approx 37 golf clubs lining the historic banks of this river.

The Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Resort - The Social GolferGolf In Australia – The Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf ‘club’…

The Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Resort has grown to be the largest public access golf resort in Australia, boasting 45 holes.

It consists of 3 golf courses, the 9-hole Executive Course, the 18-hole Lakes course and the mighty 18-hole Murray Course.

They hold 9-hole & 18-hole competitions which are played on Tuesdays & Thursdays.

The Classic Golfers play on Fridays, The Morning Glory Golfers also play a 9-hole comp, and there is separate Competition for the ladies.

The Golf Resort also has a driving range, extra putting greens to practice on, bunkers to master getting out of.

In addition, the resort also caters to other sports with its own Tennis Courts, Croquet,  movie theatre, restaurants, bars and much much more.

I would like to mention a very special group of golfers Bill Brear, Jack Elliot, Des Miller & Jack Corboy, who all used to play golf regularly on a Friday Chicken Run Comp.

However, in their wisdom, they decided to abandon this and try and expand their group to include more golfing members.

Which they did, and the group of golfers grew very rapidly under their supervision to now include over 50 members and still growing

The group became officially known as “The Friday Classic Golfers”, however, I believe that there was another name that was bandied about for a short time being called “The Dun Rootin Golfers” which is not used much now.

I also heard a rumour that quite a few of the golfers were keen gardeners, who used to tease the roots of Rose Bushes before they were dun planting them, hence the name!

I am very fortunate to be a member of this illustrious group of senior golfers.

They play golf by the rules whilst at the same time laughing & joking with plenty of friendly banter between one another.

And most of all having a very enjoyable game of golf.

At 75 years of age, I am one of the younger members of the group and must say far behind them in their golfing skills.

The Classic Golfers are a very social group where we have B.B.Q’s every so often weather permitting.

Golf in Austrailia - Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Resort - The Social Golfer v3

At Christmas, we have the Christmas presentation as well as The Annual Awards night.

One of the awards which I think is very interesting was formally known as “The Order of the Skirt” and is now known as “The Belle of the Fairway”.

Winning this prestigious award entails the ”lucky or unlucky” golfer who, when teeing off must hit his golf ball PAST the ladies tee.

If he fails to do this he could & would be a contender for the title of ‘Belle of the Ball’ Award.

Unfortunately  I am in the running for this award” (I might go away for my Christmas vacation.)

Every one of The Classic Golfers including the staff of the Yarrawonga- Mulwala Golf Resort has made me more than welcome to their golf club.

This is due to two gentlemen Captain Travis of the Paradise Queen pleasure boat, who was kind enough to tell me about the Classic Golfers playing golf on Fridays.

On being introduced, Jock Healy nominated me to become a member of the Classic Golfers which was happily granted.

Golf In Australia – The Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Courses…

At this point, I will explain more about the course using the clubs own words…

– LAKE COURSE (18 holes)

With spectacular views across beautiful Lake Mulwala, the Lake Course has strategically placed lakes, undulating greens, 56 bunkers and is designed to test the keenest player, requiring precision around the greens to make par. 18 Holes / Par 72 / ACR 71 – 5957m – Par 72 / AWCR 73 / 5158m

MURRAY COURSE (18 holes)

The finest in Murray river golf courses and packages – Favouring the straight hitter, the popular Murray Course sits adjacent to the Murray River and meanders through towering river gums and sandy river flats where numerous lakes and lagoons are ready to swallow an errant shot. One of the most popular golf courses in all our packages. 18 Holes / Par 72 / ACR 72 -6095m – Par 72 / AWCR 73 / 5197m

EXECUTIVE COURSE (9 Holes)

yarrwonga golf resort - the social golferThe shorter and picturesque Executive Course is kinder to the beginner whilst providing a worthy and enjoyable challenge for golfers of all levels in a natural parkland setting. 9 Holes / Par 33 / ACR 32 – 2248m – Par 33 / 1940m

Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Club caters to golfers of all abilities, from beginners and social golfers to professionals”

“Our courses have something for everyone and in order to really experience all that we have to offer, we have several packages available that allow you to have the golf resort holiday of your dreams.”

“Located alongside the Murray River, Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort is the largest of the public access golf resorts in Australia”

“Less than 3 hours drive from Melbourne, it is also an elegant alternative to Victorian golf resorts providing a luxury vacation close to home!”

I hope to play many happy rounds of golf with my new found friends at The Yarrawonga -Mulwala Golf Resort.

“Til next time “Scottish Bob” Davies

Scottish Bob - TheSocialGolfer.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Enjoyed this article – Now read Golf in Africa…

Golfing in South Africa – The Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland)…

Saturday, July 6th, 2019

Golf in south Africa - Eswatini Kingdon - The Social GolferWhile searching the countries around the world that play golf, TSG regular columnist Scottish Bob took at another look at Golfing in South Africa and came across a country called The Kingdom of Eswatini!


As TSGers who read my golf articles know, I am always on the hunt for rare and exclusive places to play golf.

Now I have to admit I had not heard of this country under that name, so I decided to look a little bit deeper into its origin…

Golfing in South Africa – The Kingdom of Eswatini…

Up until April the 19th 2018 the country was formally known as Swaziland, however, King Mswati III decided that he would change the name of his country to The Kingdom of Eswatini.

In fact, unlike a lot of other countries around the world that completely changed their name, he named Eswatini in their spoken native name for “Swaziland.”

Of course, I then recognised the country in question.

Eswantini has a population of just under 1.5 million people as of 2019, it is approximately  17,364 sq kilometres and no larger than 200km from North to East & 130 across from East to West.

It is the smallest country in Africa as well as the Southern Hemisphere, I believe that it is also the last monarchy in sub-Saharan Africa.

However, while being a small country it has a very diverse and wide variety of landscapes, from the mountains along the border with Mozambique to the Savannah’s of the North East and the rain forest to the North West.

The Capital of Eswatini is Mbabane.

It is the largest city in the country with a population of just under 95,000 people in 2010.

Golf was first played in Mbabane in about 1923, the golf course had no prepared fairways, the veld grass was kept short and the greens were made of stamped earth as were the golfing tees.

The course still existed into the early thirties until the outbreak of the 2nd world war.

Interest in golf was revived in Mbabane following the 1939/45 war and the re-opening of the main club in 1947, to which the United Kingdom Government donated 3000.00 rand.

A subcommittee was formed to construct a golf course of which Bob Rankin (R.I.P.) and many other members contributed their time and passion for the love of golf.

The golf course took 18 months to finish with many members of the community helping out in many ways.

The 9 hole golf course was opened in 1949 which, I believe, is the oldest golf club in The Kingdom of Eswantini.

Meanwhile, several rivers also run through this beautiful country including the Great Usutu River and there are quite a few wildlife reserves & big game parks.

these have a wide variety of flora, fauna and of course, there are the Lions, Elephants, Hippos and the endangered Black-faced Rhino.

Golfing in south Africa - Eswatini Kingdon - The Social Golfer

It is also known that there are 507 bird species in the country of Eswatini.

Needless to say, I think we might be more interested in the golfing birdies.

And there is always someone wanting to “hog the greens”

Golfing in South Africa – The Kingdom of Eswatini – The Golf Clubs…

I knew a little bit about the varying options of Golfing in South Africa and I had heard of the Royal Swazi Sun Hotel Golf Club, founded in 1965.

This epic 18 hole par 72 sprawls out onto the dramatic slopes of the Lebombo Range.

An 800 kilometre stretch of narrow mountainous highland, before curving gracefully down into the lush valley where the Swazi Sun Hotels are set in the Ezulwini Valley (Valley of Heaven).

The first 9 holes of this spectacular golf course are comparatively level, however, the back 9 holes take full advantage of the imposing mountainous terrain.

There are many challenging features on this course including glossy lakes, rustic gullies and wickedly sited bunkers dot the landscape.

One of which is so deep that they had to incorporate railway sleeper steps.

Nkonyeni Lodge & Golf Estate is another one of those spectacular golfing experiences you can only dream about, set in 1200 hectares of the African bush and overlooking the Great Usutu river and surrounded by mountains.

The 18 hole championship course, with the spectacular Golden Eagle Links Course and the Bush-veld Course, are in absolutely pristine condition.

Thus making your round of golf an absolute pleasure with their very own game reserve right at your doorstep.

Golfing in south Africa - Eswatini Kingdon - The Social Golfer

There are many more fantastic golf courses in this wonderful & very diverse country including The Big Bend Golf Club, The Simunye Country Club, The Mananga Golf Club, The Manzini Golf Club, The Usutu Forest Golf Club, The Ubombo Country Club… and I could go on.

I never realised when starting this small article just how many beautiful & exciting golf courses there were and this also applies to the wildlife game reserves.

I had always thought of Kenya, South Africa & Tanzania as the haven for those, however, I can now add The Kingdom of Eswatini to that list.

I would like especially to thank Dorrie & Martin Litschka and their many friends from other Golf Clubs in Eswatini for supplying me with information on the area.

In addition, there’s a special mention to the personnel of the Mbabane Golf Club & The Nkonyeni Lodge & Golf Estate.

These clubs were very kind in helping me with a lot of local knowledge, which helped me in many ways to find out more about the country and its surrounds but a lot about this new fledgeling country itself.

Ngiyabonga & Salani Kahle (Thank you & Goodbye!).

Til next time from Scottish Bob

Scottish Bob - TheSocialGolfer.com

 

 

 

 

 

 


More From Bob…

Unique Golf Courses of the World – Kilimanjaro Golf…

The Open 2019 – Will American’s continue to dominate…

Friday, June 28th, 2019

Brooks Koepka - the Open 2019 - The Social GolferWith only a few weeks until The Open 2019, we look at the continued domination of Golf Majors by the Americans and discuss if the trend is set to continue into this year’s tournament…


Looking ahead to The Open 2019 – The stats…

When Gary Woodland birdied the 18th at Pebble Beach a few weeks ago he did more than secure his first career major.

Woodland’s lengthy putt brought all four men’s majors back into American hands.

It’s a quite unusual spell of dominance from the US players which hasn’t been repeated for several decades.

A victory for an American at The Open 2019 Championship in July will make history but will it happen?

Not since 1982 have all four men’s golf majors in a calendar year been won by players from the same country.

Craig Stadler, Raymond Floyd, and two Tom Watson titles secured American dominance that year.

The game is very different over 35 years later but it seems as if the US superiority has returned.

It caps an unusual run of wins which was continued by 35-year-old Gary Woodland who secured his first major.

It was an impressive final round for Woodland.

The Kansas-born golfer hadn’t made the top ten of a major championship prior to his weekend at Pebble Beach.

A second-round 65 gave him the lead over his rivals which held out until Sunday morning.

Englishman Justin Rose teed off in second-place with PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka not too far behind.

Koepka birdied four of the first five holes to go joint-second with Rose at -11.

The 12th proved an important hole with Koepka failing to take advantage of Woodland’s bogey and remaining one behind.

The eventual winner survived this mid-round stumble to push clear of the pack with a birdie on 14.

A lengthy cross-green pitch gave him confidence on 17 before Woodland sealed the win on the final hole.

“Once the putt on 18 went in, I let it come out of me, it’s special to win here at Pebble Beach

“I probably feel more nervous now than I was all day today”

“I really felt good all week”.

We’ve been preparing for this, we’ve worked hard”

“It’s obviously uncomfortable to be in the lead at a major, but I am trying to enjoy being uncomfortable! I tried to enjoy the pressure and really thrived on it”.

“Rosey’s a good buddy, so playing with him helped me. And Koepka, what he’s done lately is unbelievable. He got off to a hot start, and I was just trying to keep that cushion”

Woodland is right about Koepka.

His countryman has been on an incredible run of results in majors lately.

Koepka has won the last two US Open Championships.

The last man to do that was Curtis Strange back in the 1980s and a time of American dominance.

Some things remain the same as we enter another round of US superiority in men’s majors, with 9 of the last 11 men’s major titles have been won by Americans.

Koepka has four of them but the variety is impressive.

Woodland joined Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, and Tiger Woods in that list of recent winners.

Francesco Molinari’s 2018 Open win and Sergio Garcia’s success in the 2017 Masters at Augusta National were the sole successes for the rest of the world.

Gary Woodland - the Open 2019 - The Social GolferLooking ahead to The Open 2019 – The Favourites…

But will that continue in July?

The tour heads to the United Kingdom and the Open 2019 Championship in July.

The 148th edition of the tournament will take place at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

Taking into account the above, its no surprise that Koepka is the early favourite to lift the Claret Jug at 15/2 on Betway as of 25 June.

Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy is in second at 9/1 and cannot be counted out on home soil.

The recent major winners will continue to threaten.

Tiger Woods cannot be dismissed after his US Masters victory but the American dominance goes beyond that.

Seven of the top ten ranked men’s golfers are American with Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele joining their countrymen.

The pair turned pro this decade but both are already challenging the leaderboard.

Schauffele looks on the cusp of his first major with three top-five finishes in his last five.

The 148th Open 2019 Championship will be as fiercely contested as ever.

Recent history suggests the Claret Jug is heading back across the Atlantic with a spell of real American dominance.

Nine of the last 11 men’s majors have been won by golfers from the United States.

Gary Woodland will want to add to his victory on Pebble Beach but he faces a tough field dominated by countrymen.

Brooks Koepka, Tiger Woods, and Dustin Johnson won’t be far behind, as will Rory McIlroy on home soil.

If this continues then the Americans should have a decent Ryder Cup team next year!


By Ian Mullins

 

Pebble Beach Golf Club – US Open 2019…

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Pebble Beach Golf Club - The Social GolferToday the third of 2019’s Golf’s major begins, with this year seeing the tournament return to Pebble Beach Golf Club for the first time since 2010.

Back then Tiger was about to enter the wilderness and it was Graeme McDowell who ended the week victorious!

However, let us take a closer look at the club and the course!

Pebble Beach Golf Club – The History…

Universally heralded as one of the finest and premier Public Course in the US.

Pebble Beach has hosted the US Open event on five previous occasions.

Previous winners include…

2010 – Graeme McDowell

2000 – Tiger Woods

1992 – Tom Kite

1982 – Tom Watson

1972 – Jack Nicklaus


However, here’s what the Pebble Beach Golf Club website said about its own history…

Pebble Beach Golf Club – The 20th Century…

February 1919 – In the early part of the 20th century, Samuel F.B. Morse is challenged with making the Pebble Beach area an attractive real estate investment in order to find a buyer.

He decides to create a one-of-a-kind golf course with unsurpassed beauty and an element of difficulty that will always be challenging.

Morse utilizes the extraordinary talent and vision of two great amateurs, Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, to design the course, and Pebble Beach Golf Club officially opens on February 22 1919.

Making 2019 its 100th birthday!

December 1926 – Del Monte hosts the 1926 Monterey Peninsula Open on Pebble Beach Golf Links, putting up a $5,000 purse and attracting most of the top golfers—professionals and amateurs (However, we’re not sure if there were any high handicappers involved!)

Harry “Light Horse” Cooper of Texas wins with a 72-hole score of 293, five over par.

September 1929 – Pebble Beach hosts its first “Major”: the U.S. Amateur.

Field favourite Bobby Jones ties for medalist honours but loses his first 18-hole match.

Minnesota’s Jimmy Johnston beats the field with a 4 & 3 win in the final 36-hole match against Oscar Willing.

August 1935 – In the heart of the Depression, Pebble Beach Golf Club hosts the California State Open after a long hiatus.

Pebble Beach head professional Cam Puget wins the event on his home course, pocketing the $300 first place money.

Pebble Beach hosts the event again in 1936 and 1948.

September 1940 – The USGA returns to Pebble Beach for the 1940 U.S. Women’s Amateur, which is won by defending champion Betty Jameson.

The USGA also schedules the 1942 U.S.

Men’s Amateur for Pebble Beach Golf Links, but it was cancelled due to World War II.

January 1947 – The Bing Crosby National Pro-Am golf tournament is played for the first time at Pebble Beach (after being played for six years at Rancho Santa Fe before World War II).

September 1947 – The U.S. Amateur returns to Pebble Beach and is won by Skee Riegel.

September 1948 – The U.S. Women’s Amateur returns to Pebble Beach. It is won by Grace Lenczyk.

April 1950 – Among the first of the tournaments of the newly formed LPGA is the Weathervane Transcontinental Women’s Open, which is won by Babe Zaharias at Pebble Beach in 1950.

It returns in 1951 and is won by Patty Berg.

Pebble Beach Golf Club - The Social Golfer v2

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January 1958 – For the first time, television covers the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am.

Bing Crosby hosts the broadcast of the final round live from the 18th green.

September 1961 – Pebble Beach again hosts the U.S. Amateur, attracting one of the top international showings to date, as it follows just weeks after the Walker Cup is held in Seattle.

Jack Nicklaus sees Pebble Beach Golf Links for the first time and decides he likes it—defeating Dudley Wysong 8 & 6 in the final match.

June 1972 – Pebble Beach Golf Links hosts its first U.S. Open golf championship.

After defeating Johnny Miller in the 1972 Crosby, Jack Nicklaus returns to Pebble Beach and wins the U.S.

Open by 3 strokes with a 2-over par 290.

August 1977 – The Company hosts its first PGA Championship tournament. Lanny Wadkins wins on the third hole of sudden death.

June 1982 – The U.S. Open is held at Pebble Beach Golf Links for the second time.

It features the battle between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus and the most talked about shot in golf.

Watson needs birdie to win but completely misses the 17th green.

To accomplish his mission, he sinks his legendary chip shot. He also birdies 18 and defeats Nicklaus by two strokes with a 6-under par 282.

January 1986 – The Crosby Clambake becomes the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament.

November 1988 -The 2nd Annual Nabisco Golf Championships—which in 1991 became The Tour Championship—brings the top 30 golfers to Pebble Beach.

A rain-delayed final round ends with Curtis Strange and Tom Kite tied; Strange wins on the second playoff hole and becomes the first golfer to win more than $1,000,000 (lifetime) on the PGA Tour.

June 1992 – Pebble Beach Resorts hosts the U.S. Open for the third time.

Under brutal winds, Tom Kite shoots an incredible par round and wins his first major with a 3-under 285.

November 1998 – Pebble Beach Company constructs the new 5th hole of Pebble Beach Golf Links, as designed by Jack Nicklaus.

August 1999 – The 99th U.S. Amateur Championship becomes the ninth USGA championship held on Pebble Beach Golf Links and the first to also use Spyglass Hill for the medal-qualifying rounds.

In the final, Tennessee’s David Gossett defeats South Korea’s Sung Yoon Kim 9 and 8.

Pebble Beach Golf Club – The 21st Century…

June 2000 – The U.S. Open returns for the 100th playing of the championship.

Tiger Woods captures the trophy, besting his nearest competitor by 15 strokes and tying the lowest 72-hole score ever in the national championship.

July 2001Golf Digest ranks Pebble Beach Golf Links as the No. 1 Golf Course in America—the first time a public course has been so honoured.

June 2010 – The U.S. Open Championship returns for the fifth time to Pebble Beach Golf Club.

Furthermore, a number of course enhancements—all under the direction of legendary Arnold Palmer—are completed to strengthen player appreciation, heighten the challenge and exceed guest and championship expectations.

In a championship where a score of par is the most meaningful, the then 30-year-old McDowell posts an even-par 284 for the 72 holes.

He becomes the first European winner since England’s Tony Jacklin in 1970.

Pebble Beach Golf Club – The Future…

Regardless of who comes out top this weekend, you can be sure Pebble Beach Golf Club will continue to be at the forefront of world golf with future events including a first U.S. Women’s Open in 2023.

In addition, it will host a seventh U.S. Open in 2027.

Furthermore, every February, the PGA Tour visits for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, a tradition that began in 1947.

 


Pebble Beach Golf Club US Open – Who’s your money on…

As with previous TSG articles on Golf’s majors, it’s always good to see who the favourites are and this year we have Tiger back in the mix!

Whilst his odds are much improved since his win at The Masters and given he has won here before, it could be argued he should be the favourite.

However, the betting at the time of going to press is as follows…

  • Johnson, Dustin – 7/1
  • McIlroy, Rory – 8/1
  • Koepka, Brooks – 10/1
  • Woods, Tiger – 11/1
  • Cantlay, Patrick – 18/1
  • Fowler, Rickie – 20/1
  • Spieth, Jordan – 20/1
  • Rose, Justin – 25/1
  • Schauffele, Xander – 25/1
  • Thomas, Justin – 25/1

Obviously, these odds are pre-tournament but there are many providers of live betting odds too, just search Google.

In the meantime, we look forward to watching the field compete on some of the best greens in the world!

UK TV coverage is available via Sky Sports.

Enjoy!


By Ian Mullins

 

Golf Participation in the UK in 2019 – Who’s to blame…

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

Golf participation in the uk, The Social Golfer 5Golf participation in the UK in 2019 – Who’s to blame?

As many people have reported over the last few years, golf in the UK has seen a decline both in rounds played and in membership.

So, is the game in terminal decline or is there a renaissance around the corner?

Here, Ian Mullins (Managing Director of The Social Golfer) gives us his view…


Golf participation in the UK in 2019 – The stats…

Golf participation has been declining since its last heyday in the 1990s when you couldn’t move for new golf clubs being built at a rapid rate. But let’s look at the stats in the cold light of day…

There are approx. 3.9m* golfers in the UK and approx. 1.3m of those belong to a golf club.

This means 2.6m people that play the game DON’T belong to a golf club.

Meanwhile, according to data from Statista (the statistics portal regarding golf participation in England from 2007 to 2016), the conclusion is that, as of September 2016, approx. 1.1 million adults in England play golf on a monthly basis.

Since 2007, the number of golf players has thus been decreasing from about 1.5m players. This makes a decrease of about 27 per cent over eight years.

The biennial survey (by Sports Marketing Surveys) tries to paint a very positive picture for golf club membership in England, declaring since the 2016 survey, that club membership numbers on average, are up by 24 members.

In 2016, the average number was 460, in 2018 that was up to 484.

However, that doesn’t take into account the number of golf clubs that have closed, so it’s hardly a trend.Golf participation in the uk, The Social Golfer

Meanwhile, you don’t need statistics to know many of the golf clubs I know, are empty after 12 noon on a weekend.

And I’m not on my own: www.telegraph.co.uk/golf/2018/09/25/golf-needs-modernised-halt-steady-decline-experts-have-say/

Golf participation in the UK in 2019 – What’s changed…

Well, of course, no one can deny that there has been a seismic shift in our lifestyle and habits in the last 20 years.

Life is no longer lived in our local community and people are much keener to venture out and have new experiences.

However, Golf clubs have not only failed to move with the times, but some have even gone backwards.

Coupled with the ‘Global financial meltdown’ in 2008, it has become harder and harder for golfers to justify £1k a year in membership fees and that’s before they’ve even hit a ball.

Furthermore, clubs (and England Golf) have blindly and stubbornly failed to address the sexist and racist attitudes that still exist in many of these white middle-class fiefdoms.

And the professional game hardly covers itself in glory.

Yes, that’s right, despite having a black golfer at the helm of our professional game for over 20 years, how many of you can name another black golfer on the tour?

Vijay? (Asian), Tony Finau? (Asian). Steve Curry – yes!

But where is the BAME (Black, Asian or Minority Ethic) golfer from the UK? Sadly, in this respect, once again our governing bodies have failed us!

Coupled with the fact that in 2018, Georgia Hall won The Open Women’s Championship and yet no one outside of golf in the UK would know who she is.

So, while all other forms of sport have addressed the issues (or at least tried), Golf has at best ignored the change in attitudes.

As such, Golf Clubs are not seen as diverse places. On the contrary, that is deemed as unwelcoming and inaccessible by many.

Lastly, golf is still an expensive game to take up – e.g. A set of clubs, shoes, bags etc, start from £500.

Then I need to pay every time I play. Yet, I can buy a bike for £500 and be on the road, for free, within a few minutes.

Yet, to compete fairly, the industry says I HAVE to join a ‘bricks & mortar’ golf club to track my handicap.

Golf participation in the uk, The Social Golfer 2

A typical golf club committee in 2019!

Golf participation in the UK in 2019 – They just don’t get it…

I presented The Social Golfer concept to a panel of England Golf bigwigs back in 2014.

I am still in disbelief that the response to our innovative approach to making golf accessible was only met with mild interest, not to mention a little arrogance.

Why don’t you have more members I was asked?

“I’m sorry, we’ve just built a platform of 6,500 members (now over 10K) in over 140 countries without any help from anyone and with our own money… I thought we’d done pretty well.” 

The response I wanted to give would have been “What the hell have any of you done!”

But experience told me it would not be a professional response, after all, we’re here to make friends not enemies.

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to leave the room, and, if anything, it made me more determined that we could, and would, do it without them.

So, despite issuing a brief to find commercial partners to help them ‘grow the game’, they finally settled on a partnership with Your Golf Travel.

Surely, they take people AWAY from the UK to play golf, rather than encourage people to take up the game in the UK?

In addition, given this was 2014, I was shocked to be introduced to a self-serving, blazer-wearing, back slapping brigade of executives.

Who shockingly, even 10 years after the invention of Facebook (now 15 years), couldn’t see the changing world around them. But they are not the only ones…

Oh no, their friends in the marketing department were busy pretending to the world they were forward-thinking when they commissioned a new ad campaign to promote the game aimed almost solely on increasing golf participation in the UK.

Just because you invest in a marketing campaign using diverse characters, doesn’t mean they will be welcomed with open arms.

Golf participation in the uk, The Social Golfer

This message is not effective unless it is backed up by action!

When the lumberjack shirt or pink leather jacket wearing Millennials turn up at a club, he or she is more likely to be sent away with a book of rules on golf attire.

How will this increase Golf participation in the UK?

My point is, the left arm doesn’t know what the right arm is doing – or if it’s even connected to the same body!

Golf participation in the UK in 2019 – The Media…

And another thing, (now you’ve got me started), why oh why is golf not being supported by terrestrial TV?

If Tiger’s Wood’s win at Augusta last weekend told us anything, it’s that golfers, and even non-golfers, will watch if the game if accessible.

So why do they keep doing deals with SKY TV, when they could be promoting golf to the next generation via the BBC or even ITV or Channel Four.

Why is there not even so much as a ‘highlights show’ of the European Tour on a Monday night?

That would keep the game ‘front of mind’ and encourage new audiences to find the game.

I have no doubts that this Easter weekend will see many kids pretending to be Tiger in their back garden, just like I pretended to be Seve in 1978, but I suspect few will make it to a course or range.

Furthermore, I have given up counting the number of times I have contacted a golf club to discuss them hosting one of our Major events (70 people + green fees) and often, I never even get my calls returned.

In short, having spent 25 years in the Advertising and Marketing industry before taking the helm at The Social Golfer, that’s nearly 9 years in the sector, I am still in shock at the lack of professionalism in the golf industry.

Golf participation in the UK in 2019 – What else has changed?

Well, whether the R&A or England Golf acknowledge it or not, the world has moved on around them.

We are now competing for consumers’ time against a whole plethora of other sports and pastimes.

Yes, traditional sports like football and cricket are still played but now there are others, like Basketball, NFL and Gaming (yes, I’m talking Sony Playstations), and then there’s Box Sets, Netflix and Experience days – think Adventure Golf – which is the modern-day equivalent of the Crazy Golf courses, I remember for my day trips to the seaside as a kid.

As well as online betting, casino websites and other 21st century distractions to amuse us.

Meanwhile, I can book a flight to Australia on my smartphone from the comfort of my sofa, yet at some golf clubs, I have to phone the club landline to book a tee time.

In addition, we are now living in the ‘Review Culture’, whereby many will not purchase anything before consulting other people’s views and experiences.

As such, it would seem no one has the expertise to lead golf out of the doldrums, and very few clubs have a clue about marketing.

Ask them what their current R.O.I (Return On Investment) is, or what the value of retweet versus an online banner campaign is and watch the bead of sweat appear on their forehead.

All I hear from golf club managers and industry figures (who should know better) is that it’s all about ‘social media’ these days.

Well, relying on a 22-year old with no experience in media, promotion or PR (except posting stuff on their Instagram feed), does not make them an expert in marketing.

As someone who has spent over £100m for my clients (including Emirates Airlines, the London Golf Show and others), if you think Social Media is the answer to your membership woes – you’re 15 years behind the curve.

I suspect most of them wouldn’t even know what a paid-for campaign on Facebook even looked like!

Golf participation in the UK in 2019 – So what’s the answer?

Firstly, the ‘powers that be’ need to put their egos and job titles to one side, and look at the game from the consumers’ point of view.

– Modern consumers want Choice, Experience, Value and Respect. Period.

– They don’t want gimmicks, they want equality and accessibility.

– Golf clubs need to relax dress codes and start treating visitors as customers, not interlopers

– They should invest in good photography before they invest in a new graduate with plenty of opinions but no experience.

– They need to up their game in terms of customer service

– The game MUST be on Terrestrial TV, reaching new audiences rather than preaching to the converted

Furthermore, a ‘Like’ is not ‘Engagement’.

Golf participation in the uk, The Social Golfer 4

A link to the club website from a like-minded golf website (a backlink), written in language consumers understand (not just the golf Pros) is much more valuable to your marketing.

And if you think a so-called ‘Social Media Influencer’ wearing ‘Jazzy’ leggings are going to save the game, you are deluded.

Yes, they might encourage a few, but it’s hardly a game changer.

Sadly, it seems to me that golf is so desperate that they’ll jump on any bandwagon that comes along, rather than taking a planned and rational approach to growing the game.

In my humble opinion, in the next 20 years, golf will move almost completely away from the membership model and be solely reliant on ‘Pay & Players’.

Which is when many golf clubs will be held to ransom by their lack of good course and service reviews.

The industry will become more akin to the restaurant industry too, whereby reviews on Trip Advisor make or break them.

Meanwhile, the clubs that recognise this shift in lifestyles and attitudes will thrive and prosper.

However, in the meantime, here at The Social Golfer we will continue to be a challenger to the traditional golf model.

Even if it’s only a small token effort to increase golf participation in the  UK, we’re doing something to provide an innovative and useful platform for golfers to enjoy their sport.

We are democratising the game, and we hope others follow!


By Ian Mullins

*Source: TGI

The Social Golfer is an Online Golf Club with over 5K golfers in the UK and over 10K worldwide.

Over 1,000 events and games were arranged by our members in 2018.

The site has over 4K Golf Club and course reviews and over 25K scorecard submissions.

Visit us at www.thesocialgolfer.com