Monday, 31 December 2012

A Happy Golfing New Year To Everyone

Just as a matter of interest I have listed below all the European Tour Dates so far notified for the 2013 season so you can plan holidays, TV schedules etc.!!!!!

Have a great time this New Year's Eve and a fabulous 2013. 

European Tour Dates 2013 

Jan. 10-13 Volvo Champions, Durban CC, S.Africa
Jan. 17-20: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, United Arab Emirates
Jan. 23-26: Commercialbank Qatar Masters, Doha
Jan. 31-Feb. 3: Omega Dubai Desert Classic, United Arab Emirates
Feb. 7-10: Joburg Open, Royal Jo'burg & Kensington, South Africa
Feb. 14-17: Africa Open, East London, South Africa
Feb. 21-24: WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Arizona, U.S.
Feb. 28-March 3: Mar Tshwane Open, Copperleaf Centurion, South Africa
March 7-10: WGC-Cadillac Championship, Doral, Florida, U.S.
March 14-17: Avantha Masters, Jaypee Greens Delhi, India
March 21-24: Maybank Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur
March 28-31: Trophée Hassan II. Royal, Agadir, Morocco
April 11-14: Masters Tournament, Augusta National, U.S.
April 18-21: Reale Seguros Open de Espana (course to be decided)
April 25-28: Ballantine's Championship, Blackstone, Seoul, South Korea
May 2-5: Volvo China Open, Binhai Lake, China
May 16-19: Volvo World Match Play Championship, Thracian Cliffs, Bulgaria
May 23-26: BMW PGA Championship, Wentworth, England
May 30-June 2: Jun Nordea Masters, Bro Hof Slott, Stockholm, Sweden
June 6-9: Lyoness Open, Diamond, Austria
June 13-16: U.S. Open, Merion, Pennsylvania, U.S.
June 13-16: Open Najeti Hotels, Aa Saint Omer, France
June 20-23: BMW International Open, Eichenried, Munich, Germany
June 27-30: Irish Open, Carton House, Co Kildare, Ireland
July 4-7: Alstom Open de France, Le Golf National, France
July 11-14: Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, Castle Stuart, Scotland
July 18-21: The Open Championship, Muirfield, Scotland
July 25-28: Russian Masters (course to be decided)
Aug. 1-4: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Firestone, Ohio, U.S.
Aug. 8-11: PGA Championship, Oak Hill, New York, U.S.
Aug. 22-25: Johnnie Walker Championship, Gleneagles, Scotland
Aug. 29-Sept. 1: ISPS Handa Wales Open, Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales
Sept. 5-8: Omega European Masters, Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland
Sept. 12-15: KLM Open, Kennemer, Zandvoort, Netherlands
Sept. 19-22: Italian Open (course to be decided)
Sept. 26-29: Alfred Dunhill Links Ch'ship, St Andrews (host), Scotland
Oct. 3-6: Vivendi Save Trophy (location to be decided)
Oct. 10-13: Portugal Masters (course to be decided)
Oct. 17-20: Perth International, Lake Karrinyup, Australia
Oct. 24-27: BMW Masters, Lake Malaren, Shanghai, China
Oct. 31-Nov. 3: WGC-HSBC Champions, Sheshan, China
Nov. 7-10: Turkish Open, Montgomerie Maxx Royal, Antalya

Sunday, 30 December 2012

A load of balls

I came across this today, I'm sure it will strike a chord with everyone!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Paddy's Point 1. The Bog Road 0.

Yesterday was the inaugural Christmas golf match between +Paddy's Point and +The Bog Road.

Looking out over the 18th

Played at Las Colinas in glorious sunshine and with a great but friendly rivalry the team from Paddy's Point won a crushing victory! by just one point. It was then back to Paddys for some grub and the presentation.

Chairman Mick doing the MC'ing
Captain David McBride from Paddy's Point receiving the trophy from Richie Walsh The Bog Road Captain
This will now become an annual event so if you are here next year get signed up in good time to play.

Grateful thanks are due to Hazel and all the staff at Paddy's Point for the grub (they were working whilst we were enjoying ourselves (apart from your humble scribe who was rubbish)

Just some of the most wanted (sorry competitors) on the day


The last Review of 2012. What a great year. Here's to 2013


A LITTLE BIT of golfing history:  Musselburgh Links Old Course, East Lothian  is officially recognised as the oldest golf course in the world.  Mary Queen of Scots is said to have been beaten at Musselburgh by Lady Seton while staying at Seton House, close by, but the earliest official record of golf being played there is from Sir John Foulis in 1672.  He “Lost at golfe at Musselburgh; £3.5s.0d.”  In  1728 one Duncan Forbes played golf at Musselburgh with his son.  He recorded: “Got the better of my son at the Gouf,  if he was as good at any other thing as he is at that there might be some hopes for him.”  Today Dad would have been caddying for him at the Open.

 At the fourth hole stood Mrs Foreman’s Inn, with a hatch in the wall through which many a wee dram would have been passed.   The course  originally consisted of seven holes, becoming nine holes in 1870.  When Musselburgh golfers sliced their shots onto the road they would play back to the links using brass soled clubs, and the metal plate on the ‘brassie’ wooden club was invented there in 1885 for this purpose.  If you ever wondered why the golf hole measures  four and a quarter inches it   happened to be the width of the implement used to cut the holes at Musselburgh. In 1893 the R & A made the size mandatory.
The 18 hole  6725 yds championship course was designed by 5 times Open Champion James Braid and officially opened by a fourball of Percy Alliss, Henry Cotton, Alf Padgham and himself on 10th May 1938.
THE CAPTAIN OF this year’s American Ryder Cup team, Davis Love III, is to receive the Bob Jones Award, presented annually by the U.S.G.A. to those who best uphold the spirit of the game. 
 “Davis is a great role model and ambassador on and off the course,” says Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.  “He epitomizes everything that Bob Jones stood for with his integrity and displays of sportsmanship.”  At Medinah the poor chap needed all the sportsmanship he could lay his hands on.

EX. US. SECRETARY of State Condoleeza Rice and Financier Darla Moore have become the first green jacketed women members of  Augusta.   Chairman Billy Payne, who strenuously resisted admitting women members says  “This is a joyous occasion, we enthusiastically welcome the ladies.”    Sure you do!

THE FORTUNATE  golfing friends of Jack Nicklaus need never worry about finding somewhere to practice.  The Bears Club in South Florida, inaugurated by Jack and his wife Barbara in 1999, is the result of his dream to create a world class golf course and premier private club where members and their guests can enjoy all the luxuries multi millionaires expect.   McIlroy and other Tour players spend hours on the course.  Luke Donald’s chipping and putting practice follows a strict routine.   Three balls are struck every three yards to leave a divot pattern. After 30 balls, he counts how many shots stop inside a six-foot ring placed around each hole. He does this for hours, changing the distance and the style of shot, before recording the results in a performance diary.   Perfection doesn’t come by chance.  And they still miss two footers.

ONE SATURDAY in 1965, Lee Trevino was mowing the lawn in front of his house in Dallas when a woman driving an expensive car stopped in front of his house. She asked him if he spoke English.
"Yes, ma'am, I do. How can I help you?"   “How much do you charge for yard work?"  she enquired.  Trevino, scratched his head and smiled. "The lady in this house lets me sleep with her."  The woman put her foot on the accelerator.
A very Happy Christmas to everyone, and Happy Golfing in 2013.
 Contact Mick for all your re-gripping and repair requirements: 638 859 475,  and check his special offers on Facebook and Google+ in January.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Remember The Duel In The Sun? November in the review of the year


THE  ‘DUEL IN THE SUN’  was an epic contest between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson on the  Ailsa course at Turnberry in 1977, when Watson secured the second of his 5 British Open titles.    He returned to Turnberry last month for a ceremony in which a plaque honouring his feat was installed on the 18th fairway.   He remembered turning to Nicklaus at the sixteenth hole on that hot afternoon and saying over the ecstatic crowds: “This is what it’s all about isn’t it?” and Nicklaus smilingly answering: “You bet it is.”  Victor and vanquished walked off the 18th green arm in arm.  Watson's 268 total broke the Open record by eight shots. Nicklaus himself broke it by seven. Hubert Green, third, was a further 10 shots behind. "I won this golf tournament," commented Green, "I don't know what game those other two guys were playing.”
AFTER A FALL at the European Masters last year, when she tripped over a gallery rope, injuring her back, Fanny Sunesson has announced that she is hanging up the golf bag.   For the past five years she has caddied for Henrik Stenson, whom she helped to win the 2009 Players Championship.  In between caddying for Nick Faldo during his run of four majors in the 1990’s she caddied for Fred Funk and Sergio Garcia. She intends to concentrate on player coaching.

RORY MCILROY’S shaky start to the season is ending on a high with him winning the money titles on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as PGA of America Player of the year award and the Vardon Trophy.   He doesn’t pop home to the Belfast suburb of Moneyreagh often these days, so the luxury home complete with gym that he bought in 2009 has gone on the market for £2 million.   “I don’t need the place now,” says Rory, “When I’m home I can always stay with Mum and Dad.”  They can put him up on the sofa.

THE TYCO GOLF SKILLS Challenge, a made for TV event held on a breezy day in Palm Beach, consisted of a six skills contest and a reverse scramble (having to play from where the worst shot, rather than the best shot, lands.)  The six skills were: long drive, mid iron, bunker shot, chip shot, trouble shot, and short iron.  Out of the four pairs Justin Rose and Peter Hanson won the bunker shot, Zach Johnson and Kyle Stanley the long drive (270 yds) mid iron and chip shot. The veteran pairing of Calcavecchia and O'Meara won the trouble shot and short iron.  Rose and Hanson beat Ryder Cup rivals Dustin Johnson and Keegan Bradley to win the reverse scramble prize of $285.000 dollars.
''The biggest skill today was survival,'' Rose said. ''The weather was kind of tough.''A breezy day?  He’s gone native.
WHEN Luke Donald won the World No. 1. title last year he paid for champagne for the entire press tent, including his critics.  Better get your wallet out Rory.

TAYLOR MADE are about to launch another “Once in a Lifetime Innovation.”  The Speed Pocket which was such a hit with their Rocketballz woods has been incorporated into their irons and filled with polymer to dampen vibrations and give “freakishly long” distance.  Testing shows that Irons with the Speed Pocket produce a higher trajectory and steeper landing angle for more control when attacking greens and tight pins.   According to Taylor Made: “If your iron doesn’t have a Speed Pocket your iron is outdated.” 
Not to be outdone, Nike’s  “game changing innovation”  is the VR-S cavity back Covert driver with FlexLoft adjustability system, and Callaway’s  RAZR Fit Xtreme fully adjustable driver has Optifit Technology: the face angle and weight can be adjusted.
It won’t be long before these clever clubs play by themselves while we sit in the clubhouse.
Until next time: happy golfing.
Contact Mick for all your regripping and repair requirements.
 638 859 475.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Those Ryder Cup Memories and Glory. August and September in the review of the year


The Clash of Titans will be held at Medinah from September 28th – 30th.  On the U.S. Ryder Cup team the qualifiers so far are Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson, who is the last automatic choice and desperately wants to qualify rather than be picked. Hot on their heels will be contenders like Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler and Jim Furyk, hoping to receive a phone call from captain Davis Love III.  
Jose Maria Olazabal must also be burning the midnight oil. Contenders for his team have been going from hero to zero and back all season.    The results of the USPGA will have helped with six European players finishing in the top seven places.  Both captains will need to make some inspired choices. 
Olazabal will have four Vice Captains to help him during the championship.  “You need extra eyes to follow players in practice rounds and gather information on how they are shaping up.”  he told interviewers.  “It is also important to have someone watching every match because you have to hand in your pairings for afternoon matches while the players are still out on the course.” 
FRED COUPLES, 52, commented on winning the 2012 Senior British Open at Turnberry last month:  “This means I get to play in next year’s Open at Muirfield, which is great!”   The result is particularly gratifying for Couples because the Open eluded him, although he finished nine times in the top ten, and four times in the top five. Sounds like he still hasn’t given up hope.

PETER ALLISS’S father Percy, one of the finest golfers of his generation who played in several Ryder Cups, had a great many pals in the business.  Young Peter would listen wide-eyed when Open champions like Alf Perry (1935) and Reg Whitcombe (1938) popped in to have a chat and a cuppa with his Dad.   
“Open winners all become superstars now, but the champions of 70 years ago were club pros,” remembers Peter,  “and although it was nice to win the Open, their club members didn't really care that much. They'd say, 'Well done, Reggie, you won the championship, well done. Bloody awful weather down at Sandwich, wasn't it? Now then, when can you fix my wife up with a lesson?  Have you put those new studs in my shoes yet?  I could do with a new umbrella, anything nice in the shop?  That's why the final 36 holes of the Open were played on a Friday, so the new Open Champion could be back behind the counter of his pro shop on the Saturday morning when the members turned up to play."
THE R & A has warned the BBC that coverage Of the Open could be handed to a rival if it continues to cut live coverage of golf.  The BEEB holds the rights to show the British Open until 2016, but from next year will screen just six days of men’s golf live a year, a quarter of it’s previous screening time.  They have now lost the rights to screen the PGA at Wentworth and the Scottish Open.  The Ryder Cup is currently shown live exclusively on Sky.  Six million viewers watched Darren Clarke lift the Claret Jug last year, so it’s hardly a minority sport.

ERNIE ELS wasn’t the only one to cash in on the Open.  A reckless punter in America put $70 on Ernie to win the Open at 469-to-1  when Adam Scott had a four-shot lead with four holes to play.  When Scott came unglued the gambler, who placed the wager through a site that allows betting during the round, cashed in and walked away with a tidy $32,830.


IF YOU have never heard of Came Down Golf Club, then you won’t be aware that this is where the Ryder Cup was first conceived.   Set high on the Ridgeway above the County town of Dorchester, often buffeted  by sea breezes, the club is steeped in history, particularly relating  to Samuel Ryder and the trophy that bears his name.

Records show that there was a nine hole course on the site in 1896, though it was believed golf had been played there much earlier. The mayor of Weymouth, inspired by the success of golf courses around Bournemouth, sought to establish an 18 hole course in his own area.  Renowned golfer and course architect J.H. Taylor was 
appointed to the task, and he decided to extend the course up on the downs.

The ‘Weymouth Dorchester and County Golf Club,’ as it was first known,  opened to a fanfare in 1906, with an exhibition match between Taylor and another five times Open Champion: James Braid.   In 1910 the club appointed Earnest Whitcombe as club professional, a very significant move, for shortly afterwards his mother Bessie was appointed Club Stewardess, and she brought along her other two sons Charles and Reginald.  They stayed for seventeen glorious years.

All three brothers were brilliant golfers, a glance through the record books will reveal their achievements, particularly in national tournaments.    They put the club on the map, and when Samuel Ryder, a Hertfordshire seed merchant and keen golfer who had made his fortune selling Penny Packet seeds, came to Dorset on holiday he  played at the course with Earnest Whitcombe.

 Ryder became a country member, and while playing one day asked Earnest if the brothers ever played in international tournaments.  Earnest told him they could rarely afford the unpaid time or travel costs.  “The Americans come over backed by wealthy supporters,” he said, “not like the poor Britisher.”  Ryder decided to try to remedy the situation by setting up a contest between Britain and America, and  consulted his friend and personal golf tutor Abe Mitchell (whose photograph provided the image for the statue atop the Ryder Cup. )   He purchased a gold cup from Mappin and Webb, and the rest is history.

In 1924 the club was re-named Came Down Golf Club, and re-designed by Harry Colt.   The fame of the brothers attracted top players.   Earnest won the News of the World Matchplay, and Reg  won the British Open  at Royal St. Georges in 1938.   Charles won the British PGA Matchplay  twice.  All three brothers played in the 1935 Ryder Cup, Charles took part in six, from 1927 to 1937, and he captained the team four times.
When the Ryder Cup comes around, it’s worth remembering Came Down golf club,  one of the ‘Hidden Gems’ of Dorset, and  the three brothers who  played here all those years ago. (Not to mention a certain seed merchant from Hertfordshire.)
JAVIER Ballesteros, son of the late great Seve, won the amateur Madrid Open on 16th September.  The 22-year-old  dedicated the win to his father, who died in May 2011 at the age of 54.      Javier finished the three-round tournament at 6 under to win by four strokes.  His Dad would have been proud of him.
DURING THE  2002 Ryder cup at the Belfry the TV cameras zoomed in on the Barbie doll - like wives and girlfriends of the American players, then closed in on the players marking their golfballs.

Peter Alliss explained to viewers unfamiliar with golf ritual that the players did this so they could tell them apart, then added:  “I expect they’ll have to start doing something similar with their ladies.”   (Nervous twitches from the U.S. Network.)
Wishing the European  team the best of luck. 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Memories of Seve July in the review of the year

In The Bunker With Mick The Grip

ROSS Marshall and his team teed off at Royal Lytham on Thursday, after a 300 mile “Walk for Seve” which has so far raised 20,000 for the Seve Ballesteros Foundation and Cancer Research UK.  Starting from London on July 10th the team walked more than 40 miles per day carrying golf bags, stopping off en route to tee off at several prestigious golf courses including Wentworth and The Belfry, where Ballesteros won fame in the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup respectively. The impressive trek was also to increase awareness of Seve Day, a Europe-wide golf tournament being backed by European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal, Peter Alliss, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter – allowing competitors to play a round of golf anywhere in Europe and register their scores on the website.

A grand final will then be held at The Belfry in October, where the top 72 stableford score entrants will play for big prizes and the Seve 2012 Trophy.

AFTER Seve’s 1979 Open win at Royal Lytham which included his famous 16th hole ‘car park shot, plus hay field, grandstand, and just about everywhere else shot, one R & A official observed: “He chose not to use the official course, but preferred his own.”   Incidentally, all the past Lytham Open champions have become World No.1.

KEEGAN Bradley walked off the Pete Dye- designed Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in April calling it “Brutal.”  The wild and blustery 7,606 yd course, constructed for the 1991 Ryder Cup,  has a  combination of swirling winds, sand dunes and  marshes  that brought the game's best players at the time to their knees. 86 year old Dye joked: “I didn’t think it was that hard today.”  He will be on hand to make sure his masterpiece is in first-class shape when Bradley defends his title there in August.

 AN anti-counterfeiting working group, co-ordinated by a number of the leading manufacturers including Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade and Ping has seized more than 7,500 fake golf clubs in Shanghai, bringing the total intercepted in the last eighteen months to 110,000.

AT the BMW Open in Cologne, Spaniard Jose Manuel Lara’s playing partners discovered his caddie trying to dispose of a fifteenth club in a bush.   A penalty of two shots for the first hole and two for the second was imposed. Without those Lara would have returned a three-under 69 and been in contention, but on the 18th hole a referee was summoned.  Although he was cleared of involvement in the incident, Lara was disqualified because he was held responsible for his caddie’s behaviour.  The caddie was asked not to come back.
ROB Watts, T.G. Pro, says:  Just a reminder: keep right foot square on at address but turn left foot out slightly to allow left side to turn into the ball.  If the left foot is square on it restricts the amount the hips can turn into the ball, preventing a smooth swing.  Hips should be open at point of impact, so open up that left foot!

COLIN Montgomerie has warned European players to expect hectoring and abuse from the U.S. crowds at Medinah, Chicago, when the Ryder Cup is held there in September.   “American golfing fans are not as knowledgeable about golf etiquette as those in Europe,” commented Monty, recalling his infamous run-in with the crowd when he was leading the 1997 Open and swore at a jibing spectator;  “It’s not easy but the lads will have to try and close their ears.”

U.S. Country singer Willie Nelson’s electric golf cart is going up for auction next month.  The bright red and white cart features a Rolls Royce grille and fixtures, and a bar with buttons for bourbon, gin, vodka, and scotch. It’s a wonder he’s ever finished a round.