Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Leader Article February 2012


In The Bunker With Mick The Grip

Sign of the times:  According to ‘USA Today’ Americans don’t have the time, money or interest in golf that their parents did. The number of golfers in the U.S. has fallen by 13% in the past five years, and golf club membership has dropped by a million since the 1990s. Six-figure membership fees have been slashed by up to 70%.  Fewer courses will be designed by top golfers in future.  Non-Residents will be allowed to pay by the round, and greater focus will be placed on fitness and health programmes, which don’t need so much land and maintenance.

Paulson & Co, owners of five luxury golf resorts in California, Miami and Arizona filed for bankruptcy last year, citing an economic downturn that caused them to lose more than two-thirds of their annual operating revenue.  Residents baulked at paying 50% higher fees while amenities were cut  (Sounds familiar?. The recession has exposed the vulnerability of the business model that created the link between golf and real estate, and in  Palm Springs, where presidents, Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra swung the clubs the ‘For Sale’ signs are going up. 

After Phil Mickelson shot an impressive eight under par 64 to win the AT&T National at Pebble Beach he told interviewers that it felt great to win on the course where his grandfather caddied for 25 cents a bag.  He had just played four rounds to win 1.1 million dollars.  This is the American Dream!

 The Belfry - four-time venue for the Ryder Cup and currently up for sale - has reported an increase both in the number of golfers playing its three championship courses and using its PGA National Golf Academy during 2011.

The number of rounds played over the Brabazon, PGA National and Derby courses increased by 10%, while the number of custom-fit sessions undertaken in the PGA National Golf Academy exceeded 2,000 for the year, as more golfers took advantage of the largest dedicated custom-fit venue in Europe, and the special Stay & Play deals.  At the 2011 World Travel Awards ceremony The Belfry was chosen by over 200,000 travel agents and members of the public as England’s ‘Leading Golf Resort’.

Keegan Bradley became the first major winner to use one at last year’s PGA Championship,  but  the USGA and R&A  said last week that they were taking a "fresh look"  at long putters and bellyputters with  a view to  implementing an anti-anchoring rule.  It is potentially bad news for the growing number of players who use them.   Tiger Woods has said that he is opposed to any club anchored against a player’s body, and has discussed with the R & A  how to tackle the tricky wording involved in enforcing the rule.  “My suggestion is that the putter should be equal to or less than the shortest club in your bag," said Woods.   I’ve never been a fan of these putters.”  That was before last week’s dismal showing at Pebble Beach; he may be considering using one himself now.

A tip from TG Pro Rob Watts  for more accurate approach shots:    A way to add control to your iron shots is to grip the club down slightly, swing the club at a smoother tempo and really try to hold the finish position. This should improve the consistency of your strike and distance control.

In the immortal words of  Bullseye host Jim Bowen: “This is what you could have won!”  Kyle Stanley's lead in the Farmers Insurance Open grew so large - seven shots -  that tournament organizers made out the obligatory oversized winner's check for $1.08 million in his name. Unfortunately for Stanley, he neglected to do the one thing necessary to pocket the cheque, and the name was hurriedly changed to Brandt Snedeker.  Wonder if Kyle will keep the photo as a souvenir.

“Well, caddie, how do you like my game?"
It’s terrific.  Mind you, I still prefer golf.”

Till next time, Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for all your grip and repair requirements.  638 859 475. Email: mickthegrip@googlemail.com