Posted on

IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP

QUOTED AS the ‘Billionaire’s favourite Caribbean course,’ the ultra exclusive Bakers Bay, favourite of Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, is not looking quite so pristine at the moment, after hurricane Dorian visited the Bahamas.

The luxury resort was only damaged, not destroyed, but there is no-one to carry out repairs, and the shanty towns that housed the local workers were completely flattened.  “We still have a few workers, they are sleeping on the floor in the hotel, their homes are gone,” said Harvey Moss, the ‘Guest Experience Manager.’

Justin Rose, who lives on neighbouring island Albany, and Sean Connery, who lives on New Providence, barricaded themselves into their homes and reported slight damage.  Sir Sean was said to be shaken not stirred.

WALTER HAGEN liked to live like a millionaire even though golf professionals didn’t earn much.  In fact they weren’t even allowed in the clubhouse. At the 1920 Open, Hagen used his hired chauffer-driven Daimler as his dressing room in the car park at Royal Cinque Ports golf club.

A big man in every sense, he gave the entire £100 winners cheque for the 1929 Open to his 16 yr. old caddie. Hagen won so often and in such style that he single-handedly ushered in the entry of the playing pro to the socially exclusive world of golf.  As Arnold Palmer once said at a dinner honouring Hagen: “If not for you Walter, this dinner tonight would be downstairs in the pro shop, not in the ballroom.”

SAD TO HEAR Brian Barnes passed away.  A colourful character, who puffed on his pipe and swigged the odd can of beer as he played, he is chiefly remembered for having beaten Jack Nicklaus twice in one day during the 1975 Ryder Cup, winning 4&2 in the morning and 2&1 in the afternoon session.   Barnes also won twice on the Champions’ Tour.

When he won the Senior British Open at Portrush in 1995 he holed a 60-foot putt for eagle at the old 17th and his Father-in-Law Max Faulkner, another colourful character who won the Open there in 1951, was there to see it.   His friend Sky Sports presenter Ewen Murray says: The prizes on the Champions’ Tour in the mid ’90s were $300,000 and once Brian had made his money he decided: “That’ll do me, I’ll go fly fishing.”

THIS YEAR IT’S ALL BEEN about ‘Flash Face.’   In order to improve their drivers and fairway woods Callaway employed a $5 million Super Computer which used AI and machine learning. Head of R & D Alan Hocknell said:  “To learn more about the performance of the clubface than humans could, we programmed our computer and then let it interrogate its own answers, with the sole purpose of creating a clubface that got better and better in terms of ball speed performance.

It cycled through 15,000 face iterations, learning from each one, before arriving at Flash Face.”  Callaway could have physically built 15,000 versions of the driver to arrive at the final design.  The computer took around four weeks, as opposed to about 34 years on a laptop.  The result; an average of 3-6mph ball speed gain.  Callaway obviously think it’s worth it.  Their $499 Epic Flash Sub Zero Driver was voted MyGolfspy 2019 Most Wanted driver of the year.

As I’ve said before, the time is coming when we just sit in the clubhouse and watch our clubs play each other.  Who’s round is it?

“THE ZOZO CHALLENGE”: Japan Skins” will see four top golfers from the four continents: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama in an exhibition event which kicks off Japan’s inaugural PGA Tour Championship at the Narashino Country Club, near Tokyo, on October 21st.

Each hole is assigned an increasing value and players need to win a hole outright to take a ‘skin.’   A spokesman called it  “ The first in a thrilling series of annual Challenge events that’ are going to thrill audiences around the globe.”   Try to keep awake.

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

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

The post IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP appeared first on The Leader Newspaper.

Posted on

In The Bunker With Mick The Grip

THERE ARE ONE OR TWO risks associated with playing at Greg Norman’s El Camaleón Golf Course at the Mayakoba Resort, Mexico.  Like the chameleon from which it takes it’s name, the 7,024 yd. course is ever-changing.

Designed to enhance the area’s unique natural features, it has three distinct eco systems, Mangrove forest, Caribbean beach and Mayan jungle (don’t look for your ball.)  The bunker on the 7th leads into a subterranean cavern from which golfballs (and possibly players) never return!

Golfers can step out of their rooms and into a boat, which will ferry them directly across the lagoons to the clubhouse or the first tee  (don’t fall overboard, there are alligators.)   I’ll stick to La Serena.

RYDER CUP STARS from both sides of the Atlantic can tee up and snarl at each other in the BMW PGA Championship to be held 19th-22nd September on Wentworth’s West Course.  Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood will be joined by Patrick Reed, Billy Horschel and Tony Finau, who are fully paid up members of the European Tour and will be making their debut in the 4th event of the 2019 Rolex Series Race to Dubai.

A host of celebrities will join them for the Pro Am on Wednesday.  Shane Lowry is the current leader of the Race.   Francesco Molinari is this year’s defending champion.

In 2000 Colin Montgomerie became the first player to win three years in a row.  They were probably the only times Colin didn’t complain about the marshalls, the weather or the course.

CATRIONA MATTHEW will be hoping her European Womens team will trounce the USA in the 16th Solheim Cup on the Centenary Course at Gleneagles from 13th-15th September.  The USA have won 10 of the previous 15 Solheim Cups, and are probably going to win this time as well.

AT THE ROYAL LIVERPOOL Golf Club, Hoylake, Merseyside from 7th-9th September.  Captain Craig Watson will be hoping his amateur team can lift the Walker Cup, reversing the 2017 result when the USA   won by 19 points to 7.  The USA has won 36 out of 47 Walker Cups and are favourites to win again.

Never say die.  Remember the England cricket team!

ON “PHIRESIDE WITH PHIL,”  Mickelson’s weekly social media golfing chat, Padraig Harrington recounted the time at the Singapore Open when he lost what he thought was a simple loser-buys-dinner wager to the five-time major champ.   Padraig ended up paying for a five-figure meal – plus drinks – for Phil and his friends  “and even some random kid who was celebrating his 18th birthday.”

JUSTIN THOMAS WON the 2019 USA PGA Championship with a final round 68, 25 under par.  92% of players finished under par at 7,504 yd. Medinah.  Interviewed afterwards Adam Scott commented:  “We need smarter courses, not longer.  Adding length to courses isn’t working, they haven’t figured out yet that ‘long’ means nothing to us. They can’t build them long enough.

The driver is the most forgiving club in the bag now, It doesn’t matter what course it is, if you give us soft greens, soft fairways and no wind, we’re going to tear it apart.”   It’s not quite the game Old Tom Morris would recognize now.

THE 2019 BRITISH Open Speedgolf Championships took place again last month on the  Longcross  Course at Foxhills, Surrey.  Players competing individually were set off at 6 minute intervals with the customary running start and finish, to complete 18 holes with the lowest score.   Winner was Jamie Reid from New Zealand who shot 81 in a blistering 40 minutes and 57 seconds.   I’d like to see him do it out here in August.

PATRICK REED has been given the nickname “Captain America” by fans.   They must be kidding.  If Thor suddenly appeared on the course, what would Reed the Avenger do?  Put his finger to his lips and say “Shhhh?”

WELL DONE RORY for winning the Tour Championship and Fedex Cup.  Unfortunately, they pay the prize money out in instalments, he was hoping to pay off his mortgage.

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. 638 859 475.

The post In The Bunker With Mick The Grip appeared first on The Leader Newspaper.

Posted on

In The Bunker With Mick The Grip

THE WOMENS’ BRITISH OPEN takes place from 1st August on the Marquess Course at Woburn.

Not to be outdone, Trump Turnberry is holding a Ladies Open on August 22nd on the King Robert the Bruce course.   Prizes range from fourball vouchers to an overnight B&B stay at Donald’s place.  Nervous ladies are assured Mr.Trump will not be in residence.

WHEN MAX FAULKER won the Open in 1951, people asked Bernard Darwin if he had managed to get a word with the Champion. “My readers,” said Darwin, “are interested in what I think about his win, not what he thinks.”

WHEN GENE SARAZEN’s BALL landed in a bunker at the 1932 Open Championship at Prince’s Golf Club, Sandwich he pulled out a club hidden in his bag that he designed himself. Inspired by how air travels over an aeroplane wing, Sarazen built a lofted club with a flange lower than the leading edge so the club would “bounce” through the sand and produce more consistent shots.  It’s known today as the sand wedge, but after  Sarazen’s win his competitors dubbed it “The Weapon.”

ROYAL LYTHAM & ST. ANNES will host the 33rd edition of the Senior Open Championship from 25-28 July.  Miguel Angel Jimenez is defending champion, having had a one-stroke victory over Bernhard Langer last year at St. Andrews.

Puffing on his Opus X Arturo Fuento cigar, he explains in a video what was in his bag on the day, including his Ping Sigma Fetch putter with a hole in the middle to pick up the ball.  Unfortunately, as his English makes Sevvy sound like Sir Laurence Olivier we have to guess why he only uses 10 clubs.

BERND WIESBERGER  finally sunk his three foot putt and Benjamin Hebert three-putted to end the Scottish Open playoff.   The two protagonists had to go down the 18th three times after both parring and bogeying the hole on the first two trips and missing putts like 36 handicappers, while the onlookers put on more jumpers and hoped the pair would wrap it up before the pubs shut.

NO CHANCE of the pubs shutting in Portrush on the Open Sunday.  The clubhouse ran out of beer at around 9.00 p.m.   Lowry and family, complete with Claret Jug in the back, headed for Dublin, where the odd drop of Guiness could still be found.

A GOLFSPY REVIEW on the Honma TW747 VX irons:  “This classy-looking forged steel iron packs a real punch. The extra forgiveness will be welcome news for those pondering a first switch to a forged iron.”   Justin Rose uses them, but at over  £1,000 for six, pondering is all most of us will ever do.

Justin also uses an Axis 1 Rose Proto putter made from 303 stainless steel and carbon fibre, with wing-like extensions.  From 2012 to 2017, Justin was giving away shots on the green.  Then, in 2018 he dedicated himself to improving his stroke.  The hard work paid off and he won twice, collected eleven top-10 finishes and took home the FedEx Cup.   On the PGA Tour this year he is the Most Improved Putter.   Just goes to show there’s nothing like practice.

LEE WESTWOOD chatting to Radio 5 Live:  “One of the main reasons youngsters dont take up golf is it’s too hard.  We should be trying to make it easier, perhaps different formats where maybe the hole is bigger, and theres not so much rough on the courses so people are not out there looking for their golf balls all the time.  I think that’s part of the problem, that it is a hard game to play.”   I know the answer Lee, attach elastic to the ball!

Why didn’t someone tell us golf was hard when we started?  Knowing that would have put us right off and saved us years of misery.

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. 638 859 475.

The post In The Bunker With Mick The Grip appeared first on The Leader Newspaper.

Posted on

IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP

THE DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN takes place at Lahinch from 4-7th July.  Host Paul McGinley, who used to caddy for his father there says:  “Everybody falls in love with the place.  It’s the sense of real rural Ireland that people are attracted to.  The course is close to the village and the idea is to create a festival atmosphere, with live music, people having a few drinks in the streets, a bit of craic, it will be amazing.”

They can also watch Europe’s top golfers playing hide and seek among the dunes.  On Lahinch’s Old Course two holes especially stand out, the par-5 Klondyke and par-3 Dell, originally designed by Old Tom Morris. The 475-yd. Klondyke requires a blind second shot, a flag man stands atop the dune, signalling to groups behind when it’s safe to hit.   The 154-yd. Dell has a sunken green surrounded by dunes and a strategically placed rock provides the only hint to finding the flag.

The little town of Port Stewart, C. Antrim (pop 7000) will welcome 190,000 fans on 18th July as the 148th Open commences on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush.  A Park and Ride will be laid on and a new train station has been constructed. There is a local bus to the course but as the route passes the Old Bushmills Whiskey Distillery it is possible some may not make it to the Open.

Graeme McDowell, whose U.S. Open victory at Pebble Beach in 2010 kickstarted the movement to bring the Open back to N. Ireland,  and who was born in Portrush, heaved a huge sigh of relief when he qualified last month.  “Sure I’m not that bothered either way,” he said beforehand, trying to hide his lengthening nose.

RORY, TIGER and pals may be flying over in their Lear Jets but there was no five star treatment for Open contenders in the old days.  Peter Alliss recalls: “For club professionals tournaments were almost an aside. They played on Friday because they had to get back to their pro shop on the Saturday.   We all travelled together, and shared rooms.  No en-suite for us, you trotted down the corridor to the bathroom with a piece of soap in a tin.  We’d play two rounds on the Friday, and drive right through the night. We had to phone the AA beforehand, to find out if any petrol stations were open!”

JEONGEUN Lee6 (so called because she is the sixth player called Lee on the LPGA Tour) won the Womens US Open in Charleston with a final round six-under 70.   Jeongeun said afterwards:   “Some of the KLPGA players are very severely competitive, so I don’t really enjoy playing with them much.”  Poor Lee6, It must be nerve- racking, having Lees No’s 1-5 breathing down her neck.

When Tiger Woods former coach Hank Haney said on TV that if asked to name the winner of the LPGA US Open:  “I’d go with Lee, if I didn’t have to give a first name at least I’d get a bunch of them right” it caused an outraged Twitterstorm!

KEVIN NA WON his third PGA Tour title by four shots at the Charles Schwab Challenge, beginning the final round with a two shot lead and remaining alone at the top of the Sunday leaderboard at Colonial CC.   His final hole birdie gave him a four-under 66 and 13-under-par.   As Na is known to be one of the slowest players on Tour, it’s possible the other competitors had simply gone to sleep.

PHIL MICKELSON has decided to broadcast his golfing memories on Youtube: anyone interested can curl up with their cocoa to watch his videos entitled  “Phireside with Phil.”   What next? “Bedtime with Bubba?”

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. 638 859 475

Posted on

IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP

FOR LAUGHS ON THE LINKS and titters on the tee: two of the best in the business:  Bing and Bob.

Harry Crosby and Leslie Hope were born 26 days apart; Crosby on May 3, 1903 in Washington USA, Hope on May 29 in Eltham, S. London.  Bob’s family emigrated to Cleveland, Ohio when he was four.

Both became good enough golfers to compete in the Amateur Championship, Bing in 1950 at St Andrews, Bob in 1951 at Royal Porthcawl.   “Bing was a two-handicapper at best,” Bob would say,  “I was mostly a six. Bing took it seriously, I played it for laughs.”

The pair helped put the PGA on the map.  Bing founded a Pro Am at Rancho Fe in San Diego, in 1937 which eventually became the Pebble Beach Pro Am, and Bob founded the Bob Hope Classic at Palm Springs and the British Bob Hope Classic, held at Moor Park.

Bing Crosby died in 1977, aged 74, after a round of golf in Spain. (What a way to go)  His youngest son Nathaniel inherited his passion for the game, winning the US Amateur aged nineteen.

Bob died in 2003, aged 100.  His golf jokes about President Ford who he called ‘the most dangerous driver since Ben Hur’ are legendary:   “There are 51 courses in Palm Springs, and Gerald never decides which one he’s going to play until after his first tee shot.”

STEPHEN GALLAGHER (45) said after his Hero Indian Open victory: “I’m really proud of this, when you’re my age you’re in the sort of twilight, so it’s a big win for me.”  Poor old chap.

If Stephen’s in the twilight at 45 it’s a wonder the Seniors were able to stagger round the course at Oak Hill, N.Y.  for the US Senior PGA, especially as it was wet and windy, and  Ken Tanigawa, the 51 yr. old winner, probably  needed artificial respiration.  What’s Phil Mickelson thinking of, entering the US Open this year at 48?  Hope his insurance is paid up.

AnOtHer old-timer, Graeme McDowell (39) ended his near four-year title drought with a 3-under 69 in the Puntacana Championship.  Even though the Puntacana, in the Dominican Republic, isn’t exactly the Masters, it’s on the PGA Tour, and was an extremely welcome comeback for McDowell, not least because it brings him back full playing privileges on the US circuit.

Once 4th in the world, he entered the tournament outside the world’s top 250.  “It’s been a rough few years.” he said, “ this is going to go a long way towards getting me back to where I want to be, in the top 100, competing against the best.”

McDowell won the US Open at Pebble Beach in 2010, just one of the outstanding performances on the Monterey Bay course, among them Nicklaus knocking the flag out on the 17th in 1972 with a one iron, and Tiger lapping the field in 2000.

The course, celebrating it’s centenary this year and hosting the US Open later this month, is a sacred spot for golfing pilgrims, even more than Augusta, probably because Pebble Beach is a public course, although the $495- $525 greens fees mean it’s usually the same old billionaires bumbling round in buggies.  Players will be hoping the weather is kinder than it has been lately, nearly every tournament in America so far this year has been rained on.

.THE IDEA IS SIMPLE- by improving aerodynamics, you swing at the same speed but the club head travels quicker, equalling more yards.   Cobra has designed their King F9 Speedback like a plane’s wing, inspired by  the world’s fastest objects with advanced aerodynamics.

Golf Monthly says: ‘With a face 3% thinner and 10% lighter to increase efficiency and with Cobra Connect shot tracking, the stunning yellow Speedback with changeable sole weights and adjustable loft offers performance to match premium drivers without their eye-watering price.’

Bob again:  “It’s wonderful how you can start out with three strangers in the morning, play 18 holes, and by the time the day is over you have three solid enemies.”

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs.  638 859 475.

Posted on

IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP

ROGER CHAPMAN’S PRIZE for winning the TCB Seniors Tournament in the Seychelles must be high on the list of  “What am I supposed to do with this” trophies.  Classic examples are the diamond-encrusted dagger which Spain’s Jorge Campillo collected at the Trophee Hassan II, or the 3ft long Viking Sword presented to the winner of the Viking Challenge.  Possibly the gigantic cow bell the Swiss Challenge victor staggered down the mountain with.   

For his hole-in-one at the KLM back in 2000  Andy Sullivan was presented with a voucher for a space trip (did he ever go?)  Martin Kaymer received a plaster model of Barclays Head Office when he won the 2009 Scottish Open, but at least there was a bottle of 30 year old Scotch to go with it.

LOCAL BOY TOMMY FLEETWOOD will be playing host at the Betfred British Masters from 9-12th May at Hillside Golf Club, Southport, Merseyside.  Defending Champion Eddie Pepperell said:  “Tommy will be a great host, the local fans love him, and he will be supported massively.”

It will be a hectic week for Tommy.  On 7th May he will be joining Stephen Gallagher, winner of last month’s Indian Open, LPGA champion Charley Hull and three others at Princes Dock on Liverpool’s World Heritage Site waterfront for the opening event in this year’s Hero Challenge.   The six players stand on a platform in the middle of Liverpool Dock and aim balls at a target on the floodlit dockside.  ‘It’s golf Jim, but not as we know it.’

OFFICIAL EUROPEAN TOUR PARTNER Callaway is launching ‘Tour Tips,’ a series of bi-weekly golf instructional videos.  No.1. features European Tour player Alex Noren, who reveals why alignment, club face position and angle of attack are crucial in his video ”How to hit a Fade.”   The videos use camera technology, tournament archive footage and advice from stars like Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson and Francesco Molinari. Callaway say their Tour Tips will ‘provide invaluable help for amateur golfers from beginners up.

I could do an instructional video: “How to hit a Lake, by Mick the Grip.”

THE GENZON GOLF CLUB will be the venue for the 25th anniversary of the Volvo China Open when the event comes to Longgang, near Hong Kong, on May 2-5.   The tournament returns to the course for the first time since Frenchman Alex Levy won in 2014, the only player to win twice in the history of the event.

One of the players expected to shine is 14 yr. old Kuang Yang, who clinched his place in the tournament by winning the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship, beating Guangdong’s 13 yr. old star Wu Dian-chao.   If they get any younger they won’t need golf buggies, they’ll need Maclaren buggies.

ONE OF THE STARS of the British Golf Show from 17-18th May: the PowaKaddy C2i GPS.  Testers pronounced it sturdy and quiet with a very powerful motor. The full-colour GPS screen, set into the handle, is remarkably accurate, providing distances to the front, back and middle of the green as well as providing yardages to hazards.  

The 2-stage folding mechanism means it fits easily into most car boots, and the Plug ‘n’ Play TM technology in the battery makes connecting to the trolley an easy process.  Compete with the latest slim lithium batteries, USB charging point, scorecard holder and a compartment for balls, tees and pencils.  All for £700.  

IMPRESSING SPECTATORS on the PGA Tour:  the new TaylorMade 22 ton, $1.6 million double-decker Tour Van.   On board are 1,500 shafts, 1,200 golf balls, 1,000 grips and 500 hats and shirts.   Complete with upstairs office, rest room with fridge, LED TV screens and comfy chairs. “The players can hang out here and feel part of the TaylorMade family,” says a spokesman.  

(Probably only if they’ve won at least 2 majors.)   At least if the ‘family’ fall out there are plenty of things to throw at each other, or if rain stops play they can try on 500 hats.

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs: 638 859 475.

 

 

The post IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP appeared first on The Leader Newspaper.

Posted on

IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP

WORLD’S HIGHEST GOLF COURSE: La Paz Golf Club, Bolivia, 10,600 feet. Two miles above the ocean the ball flies 20% further, and you can confidently expect to add 30 yds to the average 5 iron shot, as long as you can still breathe in the thin air.   

Your ball will also fly straighter.  The view at the 12th changes from green valleys to a lunar landscape of sandstone canyons.   The closest course to the moon on the planet, La Paz actually resembles it.

AT THE  WGC Chapultepec, Mexico, 7,800 ft above sea level, 10 drives were recorded at over 400 yds, although surprisingly, not by the eventual Tournament winner Dustin Johnson.  Justin Thomas, who hit the green in 415 yds on the par 4 12th  and had the longest drive with 457 yds on the par 4 10th said:  “The hardest part is breathing.  You can’t walk and talk at the same time out here.”  Stop whingeing Justin, think of the poor members of La Paz.

THE HIGHEST GOLF ever played was at 16,000 feet in July 1899 by British explorer Captain F. Adair.  In his book, “A Summer in High Asia,” he wrote: “Travelling through a Himalayan mountain pass into Tibet I found a lovely spot carpeted with bright green turf. Being a golf enthusiast I had brought with me a driver and putter.”  No golfball?

SINGLE-RIDER GOLF TRANSPORT is big in the USA. The hits of the PGA Show were the Finn Scooter, which grips a golf bag on the front, and the Phat Scooter, which holds  a golf bag on the back.   In the gear section top-quality clothier Galvin Green introduced “ShakeDry,” a completely waterproof, impossibly light material.  A jacket ($400) weighs just 174 gms, about the same as an iPhone. With matching trousers in 25 sizes!   I’d like to see size 25 trying to get on a scooter.

SERGIO GARCIA APOLOGISED for his recent behaviour saying: “I wasn’t myself, It’s not who I truly am.”  Actually, he’s not been himself quite a lot.  In the World Match Play he threw his shoe into the crowd.  In 2007 he spat in the hole.  In Thailand he slung his iron in the lake. 

At the 2012 US Open he smashed an inoffensive microphone, and in the 2017 Open he attacked a gorse bush but unfortunately for him the bush retaliated.  At the Valero Texas Open Sergio threw his club into the woods then embarrassingly had to go and find it.  This month in the Saudi International he became a one-man sandstorm in the bunker and ended up disqualified after damaging five greens.  But remember folks, it’s not who he truly is. 

THANKS TO DIETING and intensive workouts Phil Mickelson is still able to beat golfers half his age, winning the Pebble Beach Pro-Am with a 7 under 65.   “It takes a lot more effort to play at this level now,” Mickelson said. “but after nine months of hard training I’m swinging 6 mph faster.”  Mickelson’s grandfather was one of the original caddies at Pebble Beach, and Mickelson carries a silver dollar ballmarker engraved with the year of his birth.

“This is a special place for me.” Phil said.  It could get even more special if he wins the US Open there in June, completing his career grand slam.  Worth a few spinach smoothies and  runs round the block.

THE LATEST ADVICE  after a bad shot is ‘take several deep breaths then laugh out loud.’  Apparently it releases tension and gives a positive attitude.   You may be removed from the course in a plain van, and don’t try breathing deeply at Chapultepec, you’d pass out.  Still, perhaps someone should mention it to Sergio.

SUNG HYUN PARK, the current World No. 2, won the HSBC Womens World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore, with an 8 under par 64 after 9 birdies and 1 bogey.  S.Korean Park began the final round four shots behind World No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, who dropped to 8th after 2 double bogeys.  No loud laughs were heard from Ms Jutanugarn.

 Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs.  638 859 475.

The post IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP appeared first on The Leader Newspaper.

Posted on

IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP

THE NOISIEST HOLE IN GOLF, the 16th at TPC Scottsdale.  The suites and boxes sell out for up to $110,000.   The Waste Management Open, formerly the Phoenix Open, is a main fundraising event and Thunderbirds Charities, started in 1932, have raised over $100 million for local causes and distressed people in Arizona. 

After Rickie Fowler struggled round the soggy course from bunker to lake before finally taking the trophy the most distressed people looked like the players.  American golfers really don’t like being rained on.

IN 1993 A YOUNG GOLFER gave a clinic in front of a devoted crowd at Jackson Park, a municipal course on Chicago’s South Side where he learned the game.  25 years later, Tiger Woods is back at Jackson Park, and looking to leave his mark.

Woods, who won his 80th PGA Tour title at the season-ending Tour Championship, giving him his first victory in over 5 years, is leading the proposed renovation of 18-hole Jackson Park and nine-hole South Shore, two municipal courses at the western edge of Lake Michigan, with views of the Chicago skyline.  

Under the plans laid out by TGR Design (Woods’s design firm) the two courses will incorporate a 7,341-yard 18-hole championship course and a shorter family course, and include teaching facilities for youngsters.  Just one problem, they may have to put a roof on it.  Chicago was under 3 feet of snow last week.

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU WON his first European Tour title with an 8-under 64 victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. England’s Matt Wallace finished second with back-to-back birdies.  Dechambeau mixed 7 birdies and an eagle to post the lowest 72-hole total in the tournament’s history, finishing at 24 under.

 In 2018 Dechambeau took three PGA Tour titles in four months, winning the Northern Trust, Dell Technologies Championship and Shriners Hospitals Open.  However, he reckons it will take another five years to reach his full potential.   His 66 on the Friday in Dubai worried him:  “I just didn’t have the right proprioception over shots.” (Proprioception, as we all know, is your awareness of the position and movement of your body) “It’s a lot of hard work with my caddie trying to take account of all the variables: air pressure, firmness values, mph on the speed, putts and ball speed, and spin rates.”   Good grief!  You wouldn’t want to be the Mad Scientist’s caddie, even for the $100,000 tip.

THE MYGOLFSPY REVIEW of Callaway’s new Apex irons says they have clean, stylish looks while still offering a bit of help and forgiveness.  “The regular Apex 19 iron is easy to hit but has a lovely forged, blade-like feel at impact.”

Callaway say both Apex models are players distance irons with premium craftsmanship.  The soft feel comes from a mild carbon steel body while the ‘urethane microsphere technology’ incorporates more than one million tiny air pockets that absorb unwanted vibration. The Callaway 360 Face Cup design promotes high ball speeds across the face, while the tungsten-infused, multi-material construction allows precise location of the CG position in each iron.

Better players (the ones who worry about propriowhatsit) might want to fork out for the Pro model.

WORLD NUMBER ONE Justin Rose (38) held off the challenge of Australia’s Adam Scott to win the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines by two shots, with his new Honma equipment.   With three bogeys in his opening five holes he recovered to card a three-under 69 and win on 21 under.  Spain’s Jon Rahm, charging up the fairways like an Andalusian bull, fell away to finish in 5th place.

“I haven’t won a January tournament for a long time, so this feels great,” said Justin.  All right for him.  Some of us would just like to win something, never mind what month it’s in.

WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS has presented the ultimate accolade to Las Colinas Golf: World’s Leading Golf and Villa Resort, 2018.    What can they aspire to next?   There’s only the Universe to go now.

Until next time, Happy Golfing.

 

Contact Mick for repairs and regripping.  638 859 475.

The post IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP appeared first on The Leader Newspaper.

Posted on

In The Bunker With Mick The Grip

FOUR-TIME MAJOR winner Rory McIlroy says the PGA Tour offers him a lot more incentives than the European Tour.

 “I enjoy America more, the weather, the convenience,” he told reporters.   “I want to play against the strongest fields week in and week out,  for the most part of the season that is in America.”

The European Tour’s CEO Keith Pelley held crisis talks with McIlroy last month, trying to persuade him to commit to four events, the minimum required to retain European Tour membership, but by the look of the picture Rory is saying he will only play in two events.  At least I think that’s what he’s saying.

THE TIMES has cast doubts on the financial stability of the European Tour, which made an operating loss of £9.5 million after tax in 2017. The working capital was also down to £424,000 (after 15 million in 2015.) Keith Pelley’s £2,75 million salary in 2017 also raised a few eyebrows, though judging by his schedule-juggling for this year he does do his best to earn it.

“TWIST FACE” and “FLASH FACE” sound like Batman’s latest rival, but actually represent the technology for Taylor Made and Callaway’s latest drivers.

With “Speed Injected Twist Face”  TaylorMade can now produce the thinnest face to start above the legal limit of COR, before dialling it back by injecting a specific amount of resin into two ‘tuning’ slots on the driver face to get to within 2-3% of the legal limit and give golfers an extra 2mph of ball speed.   

In addition, TaylorMade’s M5 and M6 irons have the “Speed Bridge.”  A single beam of steel that connects the sole to the crown of the iron, it is designed to stabilize the head at impact. Positioned exactly at the point that vibrates most, it works with the Speed Pocket to improve sound and feel, creating, you guessed it, more ball speed. TaylorMade claims its design is revolutionary, but it sounds suspiciously like Jailbreak Technology.

Callaway’s ‘Flash’ technology consists of computer-designed ridges behind the driver face which optimise ball speed all across the face, and the thinnest part of the face is now in the centre (unlike previous Callaway drivers.)  The face is forged on the inside then milled on the front in order to get the thickness down so that it is consistently closer to the limit.  And, of course, Jailbreak technology.

UNFORTUNATELY FOR TAYLORMADE, Justin Rose won’t be showing off their latest gear in 2019 as he has defected to Honma Golf.  In December the premium Japanese brand, famous for 60 years for artisan-style craftsmanship and eye watering prices, signed the FedEx Cup winner to play a minimum of 10 Honma clubs and sport their cap and staff tour bag, but could not announce the deal until the completion of Rose’s contract with TaylorMade.

Rose is expected to play Honma’s TW747 driver, forged irons and wedges, giving them their first outing at the PGA Tour’s Desert Classic in Palm Springs on January 17.

TESTING THE NEW RULES at Kapalua, Justin Thomas said he couldn’t take himself seriously if he left the stick in.   Bryson DeChambeau did the Okey Cokey by alternating between leaving it in and taking it out.   Marc Leishman tapped in his eagle from three-inches with the stick in and laughed at himself.    Winner Xander Shauffele’s caddie took the flag out, but his boss’s stunning final round of 2 eagles and 8 birdies for an 11-under 62 showed Xander wasn’t bothered either way.

Advice from Bob Hope: “Arnold Palmer told me how I could cut eight strokes off my score – skip one of the par threes.”
And finally a tip from Dan Marino: “Swing hard in case you hit it.”

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs.  638 859 475.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post In The Bunker With Mick The Grip appeared first on The Leader Newspaper.

Posted on

IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP

THE ILE AUX CERFS Golf Club, Mauritius, a combination of golf course and paradise. On an island separated from the mainland by a turquoise lagoon, it boasts a luxurious hotel voted one of the world’s best.  Designed by Bernhard Langer, the course features volcanic outcrops, lakes and gullies, with some tee shots across sea inlets.  Unfortunately, the Indian Ocean is rising and it may not be long before golfers are issued with an inflatable buggy and a mask and snorkel.

YOU HAVE TO FEEL SORRY for these golf superstars who slave away designing courses on unspoilt tropical islands.  Also spare a thought for Masa Nishijima, International Consultant for Top 100 Golf Courses.  It is his melancholy duty to play on every contender for ‘World’s Top Courses’ and help to rate them accordingly.  Masa has played everywhere from Royal Melbourne to Ballybunion while compiling his list.  I suppose somebody has to do it.

HAVING GROWN UP in Merseyside, Tommy Fleetwood will be very much the home-town hero when he hosts the 2019 British Masters at Hillside golf club, near Southport.  The tournament, which has been moved to May and is at present without a sponsor, will mark the European Tour’s first visit to Hillside since Tony Jacklin won the Sun Alliance PGA – the precursor to the BMW PGA Championship – in 1982. 

THE EUROPEAN TOUR’S exhausting 2019 schedule features 48 tournaments in 31 countries spanning 5 continents.  The Tour’s efforts to make golf more inclusive and FUN will see the return of GolfSixes, to be played in Portugal, World Super Six Perth, the Shot Clock Challenge and the Belgian Knockout . 

January’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be added to the Rolex Series and the prize fund increased to €7m to bring it in line with the other Rolex Series events (Irish Open, Scottish Open, BMW PGA Championship, Italian Open, Turkish Airlines Open, Nedbank Golf Challenge and the DP World Tour Championship.) The French Open has been dropped from the series, which will do nothing to improve the Entente Cordiale.

WAS GOLF HARDER 25 years ago?  Roger Chapman, European Tour golfer in the 80’s says:

“If you were behind a tree you could manoeuvre the ball 30-40 yards. These days it just reaches its peak and then falls out of the air. The old ball would carry on bending. I was in the top third of driving distances on the European Tour in the Persimmon days with about 260 yards, now I’m 25 years older and hitting it 25 yards further. Everyone has to go with technology but I preferred it before, the sound of Persimmon was just a great noise. Now it is just ‘get it in the air quickly and let it fly.’  The combination of club and ball means they can hit it 340 yards which seems all wrong.”

LEE WESTWOOD’S GIRLFRIEND Helen Storey was on the bag when he won the Nedbank Challenge.  She will now be a permanent fixture, replacing his caddie of ten years, Billy Foster, who’s last pairing with Westwood was at the Turkish Airlines Open the week before, when Westwood tied for 35th place.  Foster said he and Westwood have parted on good terms, “Although he might have waited more than a week before winning a million dollars!”

ALONGSIDE THE updated R & A and USPGA Official Rules of Golf book, a printed and digital copy of the Players Edition has been introduced as a more user-friendly version, with illustrations and easy to follow diagrams and charts.   Access via the R&A website and app. 

My opinion of the new rules in force from January is as follows:

Like: Drop from knee height.  

Like: Can repair damage including spike marks on greens.

Dislike:  Putting with the pin in. 

Can’t understand why they didn’t consult me first.

WHAT A TWIT:  Bubba Watson had to show off his chip shot despite bring 41,000 ft up in a private plane, sending a golfball straight down the aisle.  The applause would have been short-lived if it had gone through the windscreen.   

Until next time, Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. 638 859 475. 

 

 

 

The post IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP appeared first on The Leader Newspaper.