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IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP

WHAT WITH SHOT CLOCKS and Super Six sprints, there is no shortage of attempts to modernise golf tournaments. The European Tour wallahs should perhaps spend a few days at the Sunningdale Foursomes, held in Berkshire every March, and see if anything can be learned from it.

The historic, much-loved event welcomes male and female amateur and pro golfers to one of Britain’s finest golf clubs.  The annual Sunningdale Foursomes was first played in 1934, and is open to all golfers through a unique handicap format, which allows pros, amateurs, men and women to compete fairly from the same set of tees. They find out what a leveller alternate shots can be.

All Professional Golfers (Men) play from a handicap of +1.

All Amateurs (Men) play from a handicap of scratch.

All Professional Golfers (Ladies) play from a handicap of 2.

All Amateurs (Ladies) play from a handicap of 4.

Foursomes is still very much part of golf in England and it showed at last year’s Ryder Cup (Europe won the foursomes matches 6-2.)   Past Sunningdale winners include Max Faulkner, Peter Alliss, Luke Donald, and Ross Fisher. This year two former Open Champions, Sandy Lyle and Paul Lawrie, happily teed it up with the amateurs. 

Womens’ Open champion Georgia Hall played in a field that included two mens’ European Tour players.  They all come and subject themselves to the early spring weather (particularly unfriendly this year) and the likelihood they will be eliminated by some chancers no one has ever heard of in the second round

TWENTY FOUR YEARS AGO on April 3rd, 1995, Tiger Woods, aged 19, drove through the gate at Augusta National Golf Club for the first time. He was not impressed, commenting: “Magnolia Lane, is that it? — I thought it was a pretty short drive.”   Nick Faldo said after his first practice round with Tiger:  “He hits it long, his shoulders are impressively quick through the ball. That’s where he’s getting his power from.  He’s just a very talented kid.”  Woods made the cut and tied for 41st.  Two years later, in 1997 he won the Masters aged 21, with a record 270 (18 under) twelve strokes ahead of Tom Kite.   They lengthened the course after that.

THOSE WERE THE DAYS: In the 1980-90’s the Masters almost became European property with Sandy Lyle (1988), Nick Faldo (1989, 90 and 96), Ian Woosnam (1991), Bernhard Langer (1985 and 93) and Jose-Maria Olazabal (1994 and 99.)  It would be nice to think the European golfers today could start another run, there are some promising contenders.  After the recent Players Championship I’ll have a bob on McIlroy.

GOLF LORE SAYS if you win the par 3 tournament before the Masters, you are guaranteed a rotten finish in the real thing. Some players have admitted to throwing the par 3 or skipping it completely to increase their chances.  It will be interesting to see who wins the par 3 this year.                          

Before 1982 the local caddies had a hard time of it at Augusta.  The club  was only open for 7 months of the year and members were forbidden to tip them. They lived for the chance of a share in the Masters prize money.

However, in 1982 play ended early on the Thursday due to a storm so tee times were brought forward to the Friday.   Some caddies did not realise this and weren’t on the tee the next morning, and some players found the caddies had not dried their clubs for them. After that it was decided that Augusta could no longer bar tour caddies, although some players kept theirs on.  

Jack Nicklaus said he couldn’t lose his faithful Willie Peterson, who was at his side for all his  six Masters victories, and who’s dance when Nicklaus holed a 40-footer for birdie on the 16th in 1975  would have won him a place on Strictly.til next time

Another of David Lettermans reasons why golf is better that sex:.
When your equipment gets old you can replace it! 

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for your regripping and repairs: 638 859 475.

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In the bunker with Mick the Grip

THE CONVERTED foxhound kennels at Goodwood House in Sussex, make an impressive clubhouse for the members of Goodwood Golf Club. The buggies, called Woodies, (designed by the 9th Duke) boast a mohair roof, as used on Jaguar E-type convertibles, and a cool box inside a willow basket.  Complete with bottle of bubbly no doubt.   Very John Steed and Emma Peel.

On 7th September, the James Braid-designed Downs Course was transformed back to a bygone era, as golfers donned tweeds and plus fours to take on the Annual Revival Golf Challenge.  Five-times Open winner Braid was always admired for his elegance:  Norfolk jacket, collar and tie.   

Each participant had a pencil thin golf bag and hickory shafted clubs comprising Brassies, Mid-Irons, Mashies, Mashie Niblicks, Niblicks and Spoons.  These proved far less forgiving than their modern counterparts, so the ‘wee dram’ handed out at the half way house was very welcome. After lunch the players watched vintage car racing on the Motor Circuit.  As Bertie Wooster would say: “A perfectly fruity day!”

DOUG McLELLAND, owner of a golf superstore in Chobham, Surrey, was once contacted about giving golf lessons to the Queen’s second son.   The phone rang in Doug’s house and his young son answered it.  “Could I speak to Doug?” came a voice, “Whose calling?” asked the lad.  “The Duke of York,” came the reply.  “Ok, hang on a minute,” said the chirpy youngster, shouting over his shoulder, “Dad, it’s the pub on the phone.”

IN 1933, SAMUEL RYDER of Ryder Cup fame, and captain of Verulam G.C. Herts, was asked by his daughter Marjorie, living in the then Rhodesia, to send over a trophy for the local club to play for.  Ryder sent a small silver replica of the Ryder Cup. The Zimbabwe Ryder Cup was intermittently played for by the locals up to 1980 when politics got in the way, but in 2014  a friendly tournament took place between local Zimbabweans and an amateur team from Hampstead G.C. who all paid their own passage. 

After a three-day tournament in strict Ryder Cup format the home team won 17-11 in torrential rain.  This month a match was held between Verulam G.C. and Hillside G.C. a four-hour drive from Harare, but the results have not yet arrived.  The players may still be up a tree with lions circling at it’s foot.

JUSTIN ROSE will be remembering his 2002 triumph at Walton Heath when he hosts the British Masters there from October 10th – 14th.   In a nail-biting final round he edged out his mate Ian Poulter by one stroke to finish on 65.  Poulter said: “I put him up and fed him all week, and then he wins the trophy. I even fed him on the Sunday night!”

Poor old Justin might have been invisible at East Lake with crowds clambering over him to get to Tiger, but he didn’t look too disappointed with his FedEx Cup winner’s cheque.  I’d jokingly comment that his wife can have her new kitchen now.  But perhaps better not. 

BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU was spotted on the East Lake range, preparing for potential morning dew on the golf ball by having a member of his team spray each golf ball between practice shots.  No wonder they call him the Mad Scientist.

IF YOU’RE LUCKY ENOUGH to be blessed with the skills of a pro golfer you get to play the world’s best courses regularly, but at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship (4th-7th October) you get it with knobs on.  

The pride of Scotland: St. Andrews Old Course, KIngsbarns and Carnoustie await you, with celebrity amateurs providing added entertainment, and the only possible downside being the weather.  Two-time winner Tyrrell Hatton will be hoping for a hat trick, but as he seems to have modelled more than just his swing on Colin Montgomerie there may well be tantrums if he comes unstuck.

One of David Letterman’s Top Reasons Why Golf is Better then Sex:
You can stop in the middle and have a beer and a burger.

Until next time – Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. 638 859 475.

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In the Bunker with Mick the Grip

DESPITE MELTING in 38 degrees Justin Rose triumphed at the Fort Worth Invitational, then smiled gamely after being presented with a hot tartan jacket and a two-ton cake stand.  His eight birdies in a 6-under par 64 gave him a 20-under par victory and a 9th U.S. PGA Tour title, matching Sir Nick Faldo’s record.  His wife no doubt said as he staggered in with the trophy: ”If you think I’m polishing that thing ….”

When Justin won the Turkish Airlines Open the (mercifully smaller) trophy was flown in on a drone.  Very trendy.  Will we see the Captain of the esteemed R & A descending on a drone at the Open with the Claret Jug?  Probably not. 

PLACING THE JOHN DEERE CLASSIC, Illinois, on the PGA Tour schedule just before the Open caused some whingeing (sorry, criticism) from U.S. pro golfers.    Illinois is six time zones behind the UK.  In addition, Bob Harig, golf columnist commented:  “ Our golfers feel they don’t get enough time to acclimatize themselves and practice on a type of course they are not able to play regularly.”  Who’s stopping them?

The John Deere Classic now sponsors a charter flight that leaves on Sunday night and arrives in Britain the next morning, so the golfers can head straight for the nearest links.  There, happy now?

BEN HOGAN’S 1953 victory at the home of this year’s Open, Carnoustie, was his only appearance at the Open.   Always a perfectionist, he travelled to Scotland two weeks previously to acquaint himself both with Carnoustie and with the smaller golfball used in England. The victory was his fifth win in six starts that season, including three majors.  He couldn’t have a shot at the PGA as in those days it clashed with the Open.

Australia’s Peter Thomson, five times Open champion who died this month aged 88, tied for second place behind Ben Hogan, before going on to win the next three consecutive Opens in 1954, 5 and 6 at Royal Birkdale (with a set of borrowed John Letters irons)  St. Andrews and Hoylake.   Thomson dominated on the British links between 1952 and 1959, never finishing lower than 1st or 2nd.   Critics frequently suggested he was winning in an era when the world’s top players avoided the Open because there wasn’t enough prize money, but Thomson silenced them by winning the 1965 Open at Royal Birkdale, in competition with Nicklaus, Palmer and Player.  A worthy member of the Hall of Fame.

Another lasting memory of Carnoustie:  Jean Van de Velde’s eight on the 18th in 1999, with the famous image of him paddling in the Barrie Burn now written in Open folklore.  Needing only a double bogey to win, he made a triple bogey and lost the playoff to Paul Lawrie.

Incidentally, Tommy Fleetwood waltzed around Carnoustie last October with nine birdies and nine pars, including a three on the 18th where the Frenchman came unstuck.  Tommy must be worth an outside bet for the Open.

ALL FOUR MAJOR trophies currently belong to Americans, all aged under 30.   U.S. Open: Brooks Koepka,  Masters: Patrick Reed,  PGA: Justin Thomas, Open: Jordan Spieth.  Let’s hope a European wins the Open, or our cousins from over the pond may get delusions of grandeur before the Ryder Cup.

THAILAND’s ARIYA JUTANUGARN claimed ‘thinking happy thoughts’ helped her get back on top after her collapse at the U.S. Women’s Open.  After losing  a seven-shot lead on the back nine she prevailed on the fourth hole of a playoff against S. Korea’s H.J. Kim  to win her 2nd major championship.

TODAY’S GOLFER says:   “Poor reaction to bad play can turn one bad hole into three or four.  Try using facts rather than opinions.  Say to yourself: ‘I left the face open,’ or ‘I looked up.’   Instead of thinking: ‘I’m hopeless’ think of something definite (no, not  I’m definitely hopeless!)   A positive reaction will make you more confident that your next shot will be better.”   Failing that, like Ms. Jutanugarn, think happy thoughts.

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. 638 859 475.

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In the Bunker with Mick the Grip

PALM DESERT’S BIGHORN Golf Club, near to posh Palm Springs, California, opened it’s new $70 million clubhouse in November.  The 80,000 square ft clubhouse, with stunning views of both the Mountains and Canyons courses, has limestone floors from Peru and  travertine walls from Portugal. 

A 16-foot cascading chandelier hangs in the bar area.  Residents are accommodated in penthouses with private lifts.   Amenities include 5 star restaurant, spa, pools and pickleball courts. Pickleball?   Dread to think what they’ve put the membership fees up to, and reviews say the prices are eye-watering, but if you live in Palm Springs that’s probably the least of your worries. 

ADAM ROLSTON ended a 1250 mile journey when he finally sunk a 7ft putt on the Mt. Bogd Golf Club in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.   Ex-rugby internationals Adam, from Ireland, and his Australian caddie Ron Rutland, decided to play the world’s longest hole of golf  (20,093 shots) from one end of Mongolia to the other.   They calculated that par for the hole – across deserts, frozen rivers and swamps – would be 14,000.

Rutland pulled a 100kg cart loaded with their supplies and Rolston hit the shots, around 250 per day.   A wild dog accompanied them and they adopted it.  Extreme rain and snow in the mountains at the start was followed by the 40 degree heat of the Gobi Desert.    The pair set a world record, and raised £20,000 for charity, finishing after 80 days on Mongolia’s only golf course.  Adam had  lost untold golfballs and Ron narrowly avoided a sticky end when the cart fell on him in a bog.  

The Mongolians they met en route left off hunting and hawking to have a go at this strange game.   “The worst part was putting on soaking freezing shoes in the mornings,” Adam said, “ but we had a great time.”    As my old Dad used to say: “There are more out than in.” 

IN CASE YOU THINK Twistface and Hammerhead are two muscle-bound thugs from the latest James Bond movie,  they are actually features of Taylor Made’s new M4 driver.  After getting over their sulk at being beaten in sales by Calloway’s Epic, Taylor Made decided that a High Launch and Low Spin combination with ample forgiveness would be their aim, rather than distance.   Twistface is used in other drivers, notably Cobra’s F8, but Taylor Made insist the M4 is even twistier.  

Hammerhead is just another slot, their answer to Calloway’s Jailbreak technology.  The silver matte finish adds a touch of class, but Golfspy say “If you have an M2 you probably don’t need to change, although If your driver is a few years old the M4 is an impressive performer for its ‘modest’ price tag.” (£369.00).  Dustin Johnson splashed out his savings on an M4 and won at Kapalua recently, so if you want to produce 433 yd drives make for your nearest golf shop.

“SPAINS BEST GOLF COURSE”,  Las Colinas, run by Troon International, took the title for the third consecutive year at the World Golf awards in November, adding to their titles of Spain’s and Europe’s Leading Villa Resort.   Nominees in the Best Course category included La Manga’s South course, Sotogrande and Valderrama, so the competition was hot.  La Manga must have been gnashing their teeth but their hotel Principe Felipe did win Best Golf Hotel so they had some consolation. 

RORY MCILROY’S THIRD PLACE prize money in the HSBC at Abu Dhabi will help to pay for his latest house purchase, and if his six bedroom Florida mansion sells for the asking price of $13m he will make a tidy profit, having bought it five years ago for 9.5 million.  Rory and his other half are moving to Jack Nicklaus’s exclusive Bears Club, where Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler & Co. put in a spot of practice between globe-trotting.  

Rory’s new house formerly belonged to Ernie Els, who has relocated to nearby Old Palm Golf Club where fellow S. African Louis Oosthuizen owns a modest pad and they can reminisce over a Carling Black Label.  It’s one jolly game of musical houses at the top.

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for your regripping and reshafts.  638 859 475.

 

 

 

 

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In The Bunker With Mick The Grip – November 2017

AS THE 2018 RYDER CUP will be held for the first time in France, Ryder Cup Captains Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn visited Paris to initiate the countdown, and then popped up the Eiffel Tower to recreate the memorable occasion in 1976 when Arnold Palmer hit a golf ball off the tower into the gardens below.  

The captains were invited to dinner at Versailles and breakfast at the President’s palacial pad, although as M. Macron’s knowledge of golf is probably on a par (excuse the pun) with his English the conversation over the croissants must have been a bit one-sided.

ON THE PGA TOUR schedule next year the Asia swing in October will have as many tournaments as the Florida swing in March.  The CJ Cup, won last week in South Korea by Justin Thomas, offers $9.25 million in prize money. Only the four majors, The Players and the World Golf Championship have higher purses. 

Not all Tour pros are thrilled at the prospect, what with jet lag, no decent cheeseburgers, and the possibility of a North Korean missile landing on the green.   Kevin Kisner said:  “It’s great that there’s a tournament with a  $9.25 million purse in South Korea, but we’re not all keen to get on a plane and fly over there.”

Unfortunately the American economy isn’t up to sponsoring limitless multi-million dollar tournaments; the PGA Tour is simply recognizing where the growth is.  They can’t afford to ignore it.

REMEMBERING A HERO.  In 1931,  21 yr. old Douglas Bader lost both legs following a crash while attempting a low level flying manoeuvre over Reading airfield.   Refusing to permit his injuries to rule his life, he fought in the Battle of Britain, shooting down over 20 German aircraft, and was eventually captured and imprisoned in Colditz.  

After the war he threw himself into golf to keep active, quickly getting down to single figures, after a shaky start when “Every time I swung a club I fell over.”  He became a fixture on the golf circuit, frequently appearing in the pro-celebrity series on television.   Outspoken and with little patience with whingers, Sir Douglas was only upstaged once, according to Peter Alliss, and that was by Henry Cotton after a pouring wet day at the Berkshire, when everyone came in off the course absolutely sodden.  

Bader said: “Moan moan moan, I don’’t know what you’re complaining about Cotton,” to which Cotton replied: “It’s all right for you Douglas, your feet don’t get wet.”

Group Captain Bader, CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar,  founded the Bader Cup, which was held annually, and raised over £20,000 a year for the disabled.  The last Bader Cup was held at the Berkshire in 2013, players included Sir Bruce Forsyth. 

Now the good work is carried on by the English Disability Open, held this August at The Warwickshire Golf Club, the British Disabled Open, held at Ufford Park, Suffolk, in September, and the On Course Foundation which supports disabled ex servicemen and helps them obtain employment in the golfing industry. 

Sir Douglas Bader died, aged 72, in1982, but his legacy lives on.

A TRIUMPHANT SERGIO GARCIA won the Andalucia Masters at Valderrama, after battling the elements.  Coming in after Day 2 he groaned:  “I found it really tough out there this afternoon. It was a little bit breezy, the fairways were starting to firm up, and the rain had made the greens a tiny bit bumpy.”   Poor soul, it must have been hell.

WILL LAS COLINAS win Spain’s Best Golf Course award for the 3rd year running?  La Manga Club and Resort will play host from 23-26th November to the most prestigious awards programme in the golf tourism industry:  ‘The World Golf Awards.’  

The organisers say that “Luminaries” will be ferried by limo from the airport to a 3-day jolly packed with exclusive golf activities, followed by a red-carpet Gala Ceremony.   According to the dictionary, ‘Luminaries’ are “heavenly bodies giving off light” so  shouldn’t they arrive in their own Fiery Chariots?

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for your club regripping and repairs, 638 859 475.

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In The Bunker With Mick The Grip

NOTHING WAS GOING to make these chaps at Beacon Rock golf course near Portland, Oregon call off their round. (see main image)

THE BRITISH ARMY in the 19th century needed a base, and after a survey the sleepy village of Aldershot Heath in Hampshire was selected.  It soon became a large military town.  In 1883 the Royal Aldershot Officers golf club was formed, prospective members were instructed to contact Lt. Colonel Sartorious, VC.  One of it’s distinguished members was Freddie Tait, a noted amateur who finished 3rd in the Open twice and won the Amateur in 1896 and 1898, before being killed in the Boer war.    Being a military base, one of the competitions played against the course was christened a Colonel Bogey, which gave rise to the name.

Another famous army course is one of my personal favourites; Tidworth Garrison, overlooking Salisbury Plain.  Originally constructed in 1908 by soldiers and locals as a 9-hole course it was re-designed as an 18-hole course by Harry Colt after the first World War, the work being carried out by German P.O.W.’s.

Sadly, both courses have now mostly lost their link with the military.  We would have known where to get hold of our much-reduced army in an emergency if it was playing in a foursomes at Aldershot.

TEAM CAPTAIN ALBERT MACKENZIE said after Great Britain and Ireland won the PGA Cup:  “It was a team effort, there was no individual glory here.”   After winning the foursomes, America’s hopes of taking home the LLandudno Trophy vanished in the singles as the tournament became a 7.5-2.5 rout.   Great result against our old rivals, but to paraphrase Basil Fawlty: “Don’t mention the Walker Cup!”

SOUTH AFRICAN HOME FAVOURITE Brandon Stone claimed his 2nd European Tour title with a 7 shot victory at Leopard Creek Country Club in the Alfred Dunhill Championship.   Leopard Creek, on the border of Kruger National Park, is set in spectacular surroundings.  Although the course is fenced off so elephants and larger animals can’t come through, Darren Clarke did circumnavigate a leopard in a tree as he drove back to his lodge.

Snakes are another hazard, rarely seen on the course during the day, although maintenance director Derek Muggeridge did have one close call.  “I was driving along the cart path with my foot hanging out of the golf cart when I felt something on my leg,” he recalled,  “I looked down and saw that I had hooked onto a Black Mamba and it was hanging on my foot.  I swerved and fortunately it fell off and was left spinning on the path!”

THE 2017 PRESIDENTS CUP (USA vs Rest of the World) is taking place in New Jersey.  America has won 9 of the 11 previous biennial matches, so in similar vein to England vs Germany soccer matches there will probably be a close fought battle between the two teams, then America will take home the trophy.

THE SITE OF THE ITALIAN OPEN on 12th October has been moved for the second time.  The prestigious European Tour event will now be held at the Golf Club Milano in Monza, once the royal hunting park of the king of Italy.  In January, the site was switched from the Olgiata club in Rome to the Royal Park I Roveri club outside Turin.  However, Turin, like Rome, failed to come up with the necessary funding.  If Milano can’t stump up the cash for the tournament it will probably be held on waste ground behind the Naples Industrial Estate.

THE SERGIO GARCIA FOUNDATION is hosting the third Andalucia  Masters at Real Club Valderrama from October 19-21st,  the last European Tour stop in Europe before it heads to China, Turkey, South Africa and Dubai.  Sergio, 2nd in the Dubai Rankings, will be defending his 2011 title, but Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm currently 1st and 3rd  will be snorting and pawing the ground behind him.

THE PILOT of Ricky Fowler’s private jet attempting to put down in hurricane-force winds in Hawaii:  “We will shortly be landing at Oahu airport, or near it anyway!”

Until next time – Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for your regripping and repairs.  638 859 475.

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In The Bunker with Mick The Grip

LOCATED AT CRANS-MONTANA in the heart of the Swiss Alps, the spectacular Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club will play host from September 9-10th to the Omega European Masters.  

The tournament gives the 30 best Asian players the opportunity to challenge their European counterparts, and gives them all the chance to run round a mountain top singing “The hills are Alive!”

“CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN” would have been the song for Jordan Spieth on the Sunday at Royal Birkdale, as he leapt up and down the hill on the 13th.   For those last five holes, and for his round on Friday he earned the Claret Jug.   Butch Harmon’s advice when the wind is off the Beaufort scale is to swing at 75 per cent, resist any temptation to try backspin and instead hit down on the ball, effectively trapping it against the turf.  In the second round Spieth demonstrated this technique to perfection, despite looking as though he’d walked into a carwash.  

FOR NEARLY 50 YEARS, from 1946 until 1994, with only 5 exceptions, every U.S. Ladies Open Championship was won by an American.  At this year’s Women’s U.S. Open no American finished inside the top 10.    South Korea took 1st and 2nd places, as well as 3rd 4th 7th 8th 9th and 10th.

South Korea have now won 7 of the last 10 U.S. Women’s Opens and taken 5 British Open titles. Why?  Probably intense competition.  Their coaches make sure they know if they don’t quite make the grade another 10 yr. old prodigy will step into their place. They will have set their sights on the Women’s Open at Kingsbarns on 3rd August, to regain the trophy lost last year to Thailand.  The words of Confucius, (patience and persistence) still rule their lives, and Confucius obviously said somewhere: “You will go out and beat the pants off everybody.”

AROUND 2000 TONS OF ROCK fell from the cliffs at West Bay, Dorset, just seven yards from a green-side bunker on the 15th at the Bridport and W. Dorset Golf Club.   The South West Coastal path is likely to be closed for some time.  However, the club remains open for play.  That’s the spirit!

NEVER MIND THE USPGA Championship on August 10thth at Quail Hollow.   The Clash of Titans takes place on the Longcross course at Foxhills Resort, Surrey from September 15/17thth, when Gt. Britain & Ireland clash with the USA in the Ryder-Cup style PGA Cup.  GB&I will be bidding to retain the Llandudno Trophy following their thrilling first triumph at CordeValle, California in 2015, when they grabbed victory on the last hole.

 “Longcross is a very British course, great from a risk and reward point of view” says Captain Albert Mackenzie, head pro at Saunton Sands, Devon.   “Plenty of trees and with huge emphasis on precision.   Length won’t be an advantage, players will need to be tactically astute, which I think will favour the home side.”   Never underestimate the Yanks’ tactical astuteness Albert.

TWELVE PGA TOUR PLAYERS put the new Ping G400 driver in their bag at the U.S. Open.  Ping say they have combined everything they know about forgiveness and distance in the G400, which has a smaller head than usual and, thanks to extended dragonfly technology, the lightest crown ever used on a Ping driver.  It also has  improved aerodynamics and better acoustics.  Acoustics? 

Apparently the sound frequency has been tuned to sound like a luxury car door closing, because, according to Ping, some drivers can sound like a crying baby.  You couldn’t make it up.  That crying sound was most likely a golfer who had just jumped on his driver after ending up in a bunker.   The G400 didn’t help win the U.S. Open anyway, Brooks Koepka used a Taylor Made M2.

A GOLFER SLICED a ball into a field of chickens, killing one of them instantly.  Feeling guilty, he sought out the farmer. 

“I’m sorry,” he said, “my terrible tee-shot hit one of your hens and killed it. Can I replace the hen?”

“I don’t really know,” replied the farmer, mulling it over. “How many eggs a day do you lay?”

Until next time, Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. 638 859 475.

 

 

 

 

 

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IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP

COEUR D’ALENE RESORT COURSE, Idaho, claims the world’s only floating green, the 14th, which gets pulled in or pushed out each day. Golfers are ferried out and back in a gleaming mahogany and brass motor boat.

A massage therapist awaits on the driving range to help them warm-up before they blast floating range balls at floating flags on the lake, afterwards gliding off with their caddies in de-luxe buggies complete with refreshments and heated seats. The course itself, a 6,803 yd par 71, is festooned with thousands of geraniums and carpeted in perfect bent grass. After the round and a 15-setting shower in their suite, the five star restaurant awaits them. Very nice. How much?  If you have to ask, etc.,  

Coeur D’Alene

EVEN TOP GOLFERS don’t want to play golf all the time.  Luke Donald majored in art at University and is a whiz with a paintbrush.  Tiger Woods is into spear fishing and scuba diving, Nick Faldo loves a spot of fly fishing and Adam Scott heads for the beach when Surfs Up.  Graeme McDowell has founded a brewery together with Keegan Bradley and Freddie Jacobson. Calling it the Golfbeer Brewing Co, they have each created a craft beer; McDowell’s is called ‘Celtic Pale Ale.’  Sound idea. If you want a hobby a brewery beats stamp collecting every time.

THE OLDEST WINNER of the Open Championship in modern times was Argentinian Roberto de Vicenzo, who captured the title at Hoylake in 1967 aged 44.  Padraig Harrington (45) is hoping to beat that record at Royal Birkdale next month.  In 2008 on the same course he successfully defended the Open title he had won the previous year at Carnoustie, when he beat Sergio Garcia in a playoff. 

Wind and rain had buffeted Royal Birkdale all week, and on the Saturday 50-mph gusts had spectators and players alike struggling to stand upright.   The Dubliner sealed the title with an eagle.  Hitting a five-wood 273 yds on the par-five 17th, the downhill lie gave a low trajectory which would cheat the wind, and his perfect contact left the ball three feet above the pin.

 Oddly enough, Padraig nearly didn’t play in the 2008 Open after injuring his wrist hitting a beanbag the week before, and his participation this year was in doubt after an amateur (one of Sergio’s relations?) clouted him on the elbow with a driver.   Coincidence?  He could be worth an outside bet.

 TWO-TIME MAJOR champion Greg Norman took a shot at golf commentators recently, remarking: “The commentators on TV are boring. The monotonous voices saying everyone’s hit a great shot and everyone’s got the greatest short game in the world.  I turned the sound off with The Masters and just watched.”   Could it be that Greg wasn’t offered the job.

Poor Sir Nick Faldo tweeted:  “I think I need a hug.”

PHIL MICKELSON – “Whether its players, caddies, the media – we all want to build up the game and nobody built it up more than Tiger did.  When I won the Tucson Open in the 90’s the entire purse was $1 million, first place $180,000.  I remember thinking:  ‘I wonder if someday we’ll play for a $1 million first place, probably not in my lifetime.’  Now every week there’s a million-plus first place cheque. That’s due to Tiger.”

 Mickelson has made over $80 million just on the course in his career, which is a lot of first places.  Even his caddie (or ex-caddie) Bones is a millionaire.

THREE WEEKS OF TOP CLASS links golf kicks off on 9th July with the Irish Open at Portstewart, followed by the Scottish Open at Dundonald and The Open at Royal Birkdale.   Portstewart has a spectacular front nine and is called a hidden gem (not another one!) The welcome leaflet tells spectators that ”There is a short walk of about 300m to the Hospitality Tent, if you find it difficult to walk and are in need of assistance let us know.”  The spectators might be able to walk there, but knowing Irish hospitality they may well need assistance walking back.

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs.  638 859 475.

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