Archive for the ‘Golf History’ Category

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

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 >>

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…

Best Winter Golf Events…

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

Best Winter Golf Events v1 Finding the Best Winter Golf Events in the world to play can be a difficult exercise. Furthermore, as winter approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, many golfers put their golf bags and clubs away until spring.

However, there are many intrepid golfers around the world who find the winter months a challenge and like to participate in the snow and ice!

Best Winter Golf Events – The History…

According to historians, there was a short game in Holland called “Kolf” which was played on frozen canals and ponds around the 17th century.

It is also rumoured that a form of snow golf was played in Scotland around the same time.

In 1892 the renowned English Author & Poet Rudyard Kipling (famous for the Jungle Book stories) married American lady, Carolyn Balestier.

They both later settled in Brattleboro, Vermont, in America with Kipling’s very good friend Sir Arthur Conon Doyle joining them.

Kipling who lived a great deal of his life in India was not a great lover of the hot temperatures, however, he revelled in the cooler climate.

One cold winter’s day in a snow-covered paddock Kipling was seen to be hitting something with a white birch branch, this became a very familiar site for the local people around the area.

One day he came out dressed in black boots, knee-high socks, green knicker- like pants, a red plaid cap, carrying a bag with a few mixed clubs in it.

He then proceeded to make a small mound out of the snow and placed his red ball(he had painted)on the top of the mound and thus winter golf was invented (#Discuss).

Best Winter Golf Events v2

 

Best Winter Golf Events – The Courses…

The Chivas Snow golf Championship took place in January 2007 in St Moritz, with the victorious Ryder Cup winner Sam Torrance, winning the Chivas Snow Golf Championship.

Not to be outdone, in March of 2010, the famous French Champagne House of Boerl & Kroff held the 1st Boerl & Kroff  Snow Golf Cup in Gstaad in Switzerland.

The Drambuie Ice Golf Championship was first held in Greenland in 1997 and was the brainchild of Mr Arnie Neiman, who asked Mr Rolf Henning-Jenson to design an 18 hole golf course.

So began a great golfing experience with golfers from all over the world coming to participate in this unique frozen golf tournament.

The Megeve BMW Winter Golf Cup was a crazy idea created by an avid and passionate golf enthusiast by the name of Philippe Guilhem in 2000.

This tournament has been now running for 18 years, set in the Mont D’Arbois Domain, which belongs to the Rothchild’s family.

Phlippe Guilhem was also involved with the famous Swiss watch designer Vacheron Constantin in organizing “The Vacheron Constantin Snow Golf Cup” which was held in St Moritz Switzerland.

However, something a little bit riskier and dangerous, there is also The Snow Golf Championship held on The Aletsch Glacier on the Jungfrau Mountain in the Swiss Alps.

You tee-off at an altitude of 3465 metres with many Swiss sporting personalities taking part in this truly unique tournament.

 

Best Winter Golf Events v3Best Winter Golf Events – And there’s more…

These are just some of the best winter golf events in the world I have found and there are many more Snow Golf Tournaments and Championships taking place.

In places like Argentina, Austria, Germany, Italy, Canada, America, Sweden, Finland as well as the UK.

A great many of these tournaments are arranged to raise funds for needy charities all around the world.

One of my favourite Tournaments was The 2010 Utukkuu Snow Golf Challenge which was held in Anchorage, Alaska, Canada.

The great sum of $36,500 was raised by the local people for the Aqqaluk Trust, which preserves the culture, language, and dignity of the local Inupiat people.

While there are so many more I could mention, I will finish with the Rockwell Police Department in Texas, who organise The Santa Snow Flight Golf. 

Here, they fly in Santa to play golf in the snow!

All of the money that is raised by these great people is used to buy toys for the underprivileged children in the local area.

These, along with many related snow & ice golf stories, are just a small sample of work (and kindness) that is carried out by golfing fraternities all over the world.

But unfortunately, so often we never get to hear about their fantastic achievements and the people who run them.

 

Best Winter Golf Events – And Finally…

I would like to wish all the staff & readers everywhere of The Social Golfer a VERY Merry Christmas and a wonderful and safe 2019.

And I would love to hear from anyone about any snow golf tournaments held in the UK.

Email me at justus96@bigpond.com

Til next time

“Scottish (Santa) Bob” 

 

More articles from Scottish Bob… Christmas-island

Phoenix Cup 2018 – Europe wins against all odds…

Saturday, December 8th, 2018

Phoenix Cup 2018 - British Inclusive GolfThe Phoenix Cup 2018…

USA v Europe

Long Marsh Golf Club, Florida, USA  – October 15th—17th

Team Europe win Disabled Ryder Cup following a hurricane scare and despite tragically losing one of there team the day before event…

The Phoenix Cup 2108 is a “RYDER CUP” style competition played between disabled golfers from the USA & Europe.

It was played over 3 days the format being 6 x foursomes on day 1, 6 x 4 ball better ball on day 2 and finally on day 3, 12 x singles.

This event was the idea of Mr Jim Gales MBE of the Scottish Disability Golf & Curling (SDGC) and Mr Ian Halliwell, Chairman of British Inclusive Golf (BIG)…


Phoenix Cup 2018 - British Inclusive GolfThe Phoenix Cup 2018 – The Tragedy…

Each team for Inclusivity had to field players with a variety of disabilities and showcase all golf handicaps by having 4 players with handicaps in each range 0 –10, 11-20 & 21 plus. This proved successful as 80% of the games went to the 17th & 18th Hole.

The inaugural Phoenix Cup was a great success and was enjoyed by all participant’s, however, the financial support for the USA team was evident to see.

Team Europe’s aptly named “Dads Army” all made the trip at their own cost. However, tragedy struck the Europe team the day before the event.

Sadly, Mr Billy Cairns from Kilmarnock suddenly had a heart attack in his hotel room and passed away.

This sad event devastated the team, it was unanimous that we would continue and win it for Billy #doitforbilly.

Billy was a very cheerful funny guy and brought a smile to most faces at any event he attended he will be sadly missed and both SDGC & BIG are planning to have an award in his memory in the future.

 


Phoenix Cup 2018 - British Inclusive GolfThe Phoenix Cup 2018 – The Match – Captains Diary…

Thurs 11th OCTOBER… arrive in hotel…. terrible journey from Orlando and our team already have issues…. Celtic contingent, transfer issues at Tampa…our German player delayed by the hurricane in Atlanta, not exactly the start I had hoped for…

…all the past Ryder Cup players had stressed the overriding importance of team spirit and camaraderie, hardly an auspicious start.

Friday 12th October optional practice day…. again not a great start, missed lifts, changing tee times, the team all over the place, but all this paled into insignificance as we heard the devastating, tragic news that our popular charismatic colleague Billy Cairns had sadly passed away whilst chilling at the hotel.

That evening many a tear was shed but equally many a humorous anecdote about our fallen hero.

It was this evening that this rambling, ragtag dads army collection of guys became a team…. #doingitforbilly… even then more hassle the boss Jim Gales arrives minus clubs.

Saturday 13th October… Florida open day, surprisingly all the team elect to play but its clear golf is the last thing on everybody’s mind…only 3 of the side break par, but as the news about billy has broken back in the UK, we are overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and encouragement, particularly from Billy’s family.

Sunday 14th October… meet the teams and draw for foursomes.

If we were in any doubt about the challenge ahead, we soon realised it as our USA opposition turned out superbly attired, well kitted out and clearly a very young and extremely talented bunch of golfers…but we had billy looking down on us and that night our Team again joined together as billy’s team and we were clearly ready to rumble…. The team, wives and supporters clearly up for the battle ahead.

Phoenix Cup 2018 - British Inclusive GolfMonday 15th October… the opening ceremony and foursomes…. sounds of bagpipes, a moving ceremony and fitting tribute to Billy started this Ryder cup style-match.

First tee following opening ceremony and there’s a minute silence for billy…

I was really emotional and chocked up but mighty proud of my opening shot cracked down the middle.

Personally, I still don’t know how I hit the first opening tee shot but it set the tone for a magnificent effort by all the Team Europe players…the strains of ‘Ole Ole Ole, billy, billy’ strained around the course as we took the session 5 points to 1…. we where #doingitforbilly

Tuesday 16th October… we expected a backlash and got it, in the fourballs, we were beaten 5 to 1, levelling the tie 6 each….. not that we played badly 3 games went to last and we could have had a lead going into last day.

There was some good news, the boss clubs and the case turned up and Mr Gales, at last, had some clean clothes and more importantly body spray.

That night the whole team met and partied just for billy and despite our huge underdog status, I personally, at last, felt quite confident of success, indeed I felt it was inevitable we would #doitforbilly

Wednesday 17th October the final 12 singles…

Two players notify us they aren’t feeling up for it… it had been 42 degrees each day on a long dry course and it was beginning to take its toll on our Dads Army.

This honesty was to play a big part in our teams’ success on the day along with some inspirational Team Placings by the gaffer Jim Gales…

To the strains of ‘ole ole’ ALL the guys played out their skins…. it was even hotter today, but not as hot as our golf out on the course and the rest is history.

Phoenix Cup 2018 Result:

Team Europe 7.5 –  Team USA 4.5

…. and the Phoenix Cup is coming back to Europe… we had #doneitforbilly.

 


Phoenix Cup 2018 - British Inclusive GolfThe Phoenix Cup 2018 – In Summary…

I was delighted and proud to lead this magnificent collection of gentlemen…

we will be comrades in arms forevermore.

The Cairns family, your support and encouragement in your darkest hour was a significant contribution. Billy Cairns RIP, teammate, friend, gone but will never EVER be forgotten.

FROM DEVASTATION AND DESPAIR TO ELATION AND JOY!

 


Phoenix Cup 2018 – The Presentation…

A great meal and celebration followed, our hosts maintain dignity despite their defeat and there were so many friendships made…

Ian Halliwell – Receiving ‘The Phoenix Cup’ from USA Captain Tracy Ramin

Phoenix Cup 2018 - British Inclusive Golf

And Finally…

Team Europe fought and played hard against a much younger USA team, every team member playing their part in the victory, some even forfeiting their place in the singles for the better of the team.

The winning putt was sunk by our oldest team member Jim Thompson, however, it was sadly missed by most, as we were watching the captain close out his match, we all thought this was the match that would win it for EUROPE.

However, without the camaraderie and losing Billy, I doubt the result would have been the same, each player digging into inner strength to ‘DO IT FOR BILLY’.  The whole team are so proud to have won for our lost comrade.

New friends were made across the pond and sure that people will be making many trips both ways to compete in each other competitions in the future

 


Phoenix Cup 2018 – The Legacy…

This competition is NOT ABOUT ELITE GOLFERS it’s about “INCLUSIVITY” and getting more disabled people playing golf at the highest level they can achieve.

The competition, the format was a total success however if this event is to grow we need more financial support to get younger people involved in the future. This competition is NOT ABOUT ELITE GOLFERS it’s about “INCLUSIVITY” and getting more disabled people playing golf at the highest level they can achieve.

Thanks to all Team Europe Sponsors

Phoenix Cup 2018 - British Inclusive Golf

 

 

Anyone wishing to get involved please contact www.scottishdgc.org.uk or www.britishinclusivegolf.org reports and videos can be found on both websites and Facebook pages of both organisations.

 


Pheonix Cup 2018 – OFFICIAL MATCH RESULTS

Day 1 Foursomes

Booth & Halliwell bt Aldrich & Shipelski 7 & 6
Irvine & McNeily bt Clay & Holland 3 & 2
Hilleen & Ross bt Bizer & Fairclough 2up
Riordan & Thomson lst Miller & Hooks 2 dwn
Jones & Sorber bt Canezi & Ramin 4 & 3 4 & 3
Clifford & Milne bt Snyder & Bell 2up

Europe 5 USA 1


Day 2 Fourballs

Booth & Halliwell bt Bizer & Ford 3 & 1
Hilleen & Milne lst Snyder & Hooper 2 down
Riordan & Ross lst Aldrich & Hooks 1 down
Clifford & Thomson lst Clay & Holland 3 & 2
Jones & Sorber lst Bell & Shipelski 1 down
Irvine & McNeily lst Ramin & Rojas 1 down

EUROPE 1 USA 5

Match score Europe 6. USA 6


Day 3 SINGLES

Booth bt Bell 2 & 1
Gales lst Hooper 5 & 4
Irvine halve Shipelski
Jones bt Hooks 1up
Munoz lst Canezi 6 & 5Ross lst Bizer 2 & 1
Riordan lst Ford 1 down
Sorber bt Clay 5 & 4
McNeily bt. Fairclough 3 & 2
Thomson bt Miller 2 up
Halliwell bt Holland 3 & 2
Milne bt Snyder 8 & 7

Europe 7.5 USA 4.5


British Inclusive Golf is the chosen TSG Charity for 2018…

Phoenix Cup 2018 - British Inclusive Golf

Phoenix Cup 2018 - British Inclusive Golf

Phoenix Cup 2018 - British Inclusive Golf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phoenix Cup 2018 - British Inclusive Golf