Wednesday, 28 December 2016

December 2016 Article


A ROUND OF GOLF at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Pacifico course at the Punta Mita Resort, Mexico, would be a pleasant way of spending $245.   With the Sierra Madre mountains as a backdrop, the choice is either to play the standard third hole or attempt the 170 yd. 3B; the world’s only natural island green, known as “Tail of the Whale.”  You can have a paddle at the same time.

AFTER THE Japan Open, the HSBC Champions, the Taiheiyo Masters, and now the Bahamas Hero World Challenge, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama (24) is on a winning streak, although until recently his putting tended to let him down.  Fellow golfer Hiroshi Iwata introduced him to the "Pelz Putting Tutor," a small metal plate with two tiny steel balls at the end just over the width of a golf ball apart, designed to help players line up putts.  Iwata's drill is to make 10 short putts in a row using first the left hand and then the right hand.  It obviously worked for Hideki.  I’ll ask Santa to bring me one.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM 2016: Danny Willett winning the Masters,  Henrik Stenson’s  thrilling tussle with Phil Mickelson at Troon in the Open, Dustin Johnson’s first Major at Oakmont in the U.S. Open, and the Ryder Cup.  Perhaps best forgotten, that one.  Best of all our own Justin Woods’s Olympic Gold Medal at Rio.  Bet that will be hanging on his Christmas tree.

PLAYERS’ SUPERSTITIONS:  Before teeing off Jack Nicklaus would check to see that he had exactly three coins in his pocket. The denomination did not matter as long as he had three.  Rumour says that’s the only time he ever did put his hand in his pocket.

Every time Ernie Els birdies a hole he starts the next hole with a new  ball. Apparently he believes that making a birdie uses all the mojo in the ball.  All right when you have unlimited Pro V1’s. 

Keegan Bradley is seriously weird.  He does the cha-cha before every tee shot, the samba before every putt, and performs what looks like the Viennese waltz before bunker shots. He’s got to be next for American Strictly.

THE HISTORIC RED LION, Prestwick, on the South Ayrshire coast has been going for almost 200 years and was the meeting place of a group of golfers who in 1851 decided to form a club, building a course with the help of greenkeeper Old Tom Morris. They then hosted the first Open Championship in 1860.  Extensively restored recently in a way that keeps much of it’s original character, if you fancy a pop at pub keeping, it’s on the market for £1.1m.

TODAY’S GOLFER suggests trying this drill to practice a smooth takeaway:  Take your stance, put both arms out in front, then put the back of your right hand on the back of your left hand, and push with your right arm as though taking the club away. (Then do the Hokey Cokey?)

FOUR GOLFING FRIENDS have been going on the same trip to St Andrews for many years. This time, however, Jack’s wife puts her foot down and tells him he isn’t going.  Jack’s mates are very sorry for him, but two days later the three get to St Andrews to find Jack sitting at the bar.
“Wow, Jack, how did you talk ‘Er Indoors into letting you go?”
“Well, yesterday evening I was sitting in my armchair and my wife appeared in the bedroom doorway wearing a glamorous nightie,” says Jack.   “She pulled me into the bedroom, and on the bed she had handcuffs, and ropes! She told me to tie her up and cuff her to the bed, so I did.  And then she said, ‘Do whatever you want.’
So… here I am!”

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and Happy Golfing in the New Year.

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

November 2016 Article

In The Bunker With Mick The Grip

WHAT WITH baboons, spidermonkeys and other exotic species, it only needed a herd of wildebeeste pursuing the players down the fairway to make the Nedbank Challenge rival Planet Earth for interest.  David Attenborough should have been at Sun City.  Luckily the mongooses were familiar with the Rules of Golf and didn’t touch the ball. 

AFTER WINNING the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai with a 17 under par 67, Matt Fitzpatrick (22) became the youngest Englishman to claim three European Tour titles, a record previously held by Nick Faldo.
Matt, who lives with his parents, has now traded his Ford Mondeo in for a BMW X4, although he returned the brand new X5 the dealers sent him after his win.
“Apparently BMW X5’s get stolen a lot, and Mum and Dad weren’t keen on having one in front of the house,” he explained.  Matt did win over a million, perhaps they should splash out on a garage.

 Henrik Stenson was also celebrating after his Race to Dubai win, which also confirmed his status as the European Tour’s Order of Merit winner. That carries a £986,000 bonus.  Should be worth a Skoda.

JOHN DALY obviously angling for an invitation to the White House:  "Donald hits it good, he's a decent player.  Bill Clinton’s Mr. Mulligan. If he doesn't like the shot, he just throws another one down, hits it and says: 'I'm just practicing.'  There’s a range for that. Donald will actually finish a hole and write his score down. Bill won’t even finish a hole, you can't hit seven shots and say it was a par!"

Actually, this is not what most people who have played with Trump say about his game.  He may write the scores down, but, as Eric Morecambe would say, not necessarily in the right order.

Donald Trump’s golf empire began in 1990 when he won a parcel of land in Florida and turned it into Trump West Palm Beach.  Since then he has acquired a portfolio of 17 clubs, including Trump Aberdeen and Turnberry.   Donald says his children will take over the golf empire now.  Perhaps he means 10 yr. old Barron, he’s said to be keen on golf.

 It’s a wonder Trump didn’t put in a bid for the site of the 2017 Scottish Open when it came up for sale.  It’s Dundonald. 

20 TEAMS WILL take part in the PNC Father/Son Challenge  at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Grande Lakes, Orlando, from December 8-11th.   Lanny and Tucker Wadkins will be defending their title.   Nick and Matthew Faldo, Lee and Daniel Trevino and Bernhard and Christina Langer will also be teeing up, and John Daly and his son John Daly Jnr (aged 13) will be taking part for the first time.  Oh please, not two pairs of psychedelic trousers!

A TODAY’S GOLFER tip for good chipping: get most of your weight on the front foot at address and keep it there throughout the swing.  If you’re shifting your weight from front to back you won’t make solid contact. Keep your foot down!

NEXT YEAR’S Zurich Classic of New Orleans (April 24-30th) will be the PGA Tour’s first team event in nearly 40 years, featuring two rounds each of Foursomes and Four-Ball.

 The event will feature 80 teams of two, each winning player receiving FedEx Cup points and a two year exemption. The top 80 qualifiers will be allowed to choose their own teammate.  Jason Day/Rickie Fowler, and Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson have already signed up.

AT THE TURKISH AIRLINES OPEN, Lee Westwood, “Beef” Johnston and Danny Willett took to the roof at the Golf and Spa Resort in Antalya to try out Drone Golf.  The idea consisted of flying a drone carrying a golf ball from the tee through obstacles to the green, and then dropping the ball as close as possible to the hole.  Kept them amused for hours. They just never grow up.
Until next time, Happy Golfing.  

PS. I would just like to express my thanks to all the golf societies who once again contributed so generously to the Poppy Appeal, raising over €10.000 in the process!

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

October 2016 Article


THIS IS ASKERNISH GOLF CLUB, a real “Hidden Gem” on the little island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides.   Lost for decades, it’s holes hidden by sand, and now restored.   In 1891 wealthy landowner Lady Cathcart requested Old Tom Morris to create an 18 hole course on South Uist to impress her high society guests.  The 6.080 yd. par 72 course was laid out in a traditional loop system, it’s fairways formed from the natural contours of the dramatic dunes.   Over the years Askernish was maintained by the local crofters, but in the 1920s, it was allowed to go back to the wild, with cows grazing on the fairways. However, in 2005 the islanders decided to enlist the help of expert advisors, and the course was re-opened in 2008 to great acclaim, a true links course that gives breathtaking views of Barra and other islands.  The Clubhouse is now closed for the season. However the course is very much open for play and visitors are ‘kindly asked to use the honesty box for Green Fees.’  Apparently it can be ‘a bit breezy,’ but worth hanging over the side of the boat over and back for.

AS NIKE NO LONGER sells golf equipment, Rory McIlroy can choose the clubs best suited to his game.  According to reports, he’s planning to use TaylorMade’s M2 driver and fairway metals at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.  That means he, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day, the worlds’ top 3, could all be using TaylorMade (or would be if Jason was fit). Allegedly Trackman testing by Rory gave the M2 a 330 yd. carry and a total drive distance of 357 yds.  The courses will need to get longer.  And longer.
THRILLA IN MANILLA?  Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson will square off in an 18 hole medal play exhibition match in the Philippines on November 29th in golf’s version of Ali vs. Frazier. “Dustin vs Rory, Battle for a Cause” will be held at the new Pradera Verde Golf Course, provided the course survived super typhoon Haima, the second to hit the Philippines this month, and proceeds from the event will benefit Jason Day’s foundation.  Day, who’s mother is from the Philippines, was originally due to compete, but has had to withdraw due to a back injury.

THE EUROPEAN TOUR is due to play the Turkish Airlines Open on Nov. 3rd in Antalya, one leg of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. The tournament could now be in doubt after the Tour said it was urgently investigating recent attacks in Antalya, where two rockets were fired, apparently aimed at a fuel tanker.

The Turkish Open is scheduled to feature Europe’s top players, but some are apparently having second thoughts.   If they didn’t fancy being chased by a mosquito they definitely won’t fancy being chased by a rocket.

AT THE CIMB CLASSIC at TPC Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a  six-foot python appeared on the green as players were about to putt.  Thankfully, the uninvited spectator was removed by the course staff and no harm was done.  According to locals it was a juvenile.  Good job it’s Dad didn’t come looking for it.
Anirban Lahiri entered the Sunday round of the CIMB Classic with a 4 shot lead and scenting his first PGA Tour victory, but disaster struck on the par-5 third when his drive lodged high up in a palm tree, forcing him to take another tee shot.  Hitting three off of the tee, Lahiri ended with a quadruple-bogey 9 that scuppered his hopes, and he finished tied in 3rd place behind defending champion and eventual winner Justin Thomas.  Everyone agreed it was a poor performance.  Even the snake hissed.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON lifted his first European Tour trophy in eight years at the Portugal Masters with a final round 65 and a one-shot victory over 2015 champion Andy Sullivan.  Not bad for a 45 yr. old. Well done Padraig. There’s hope for us GOG’s (grumpy old golfers) yet!

Until next time, Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. 638 859 475.

September Article 2016


JACK NICKLAUS could be as ruthless a destroyer as any in his day, but he does believe in sporting tradition.  At Royal Birkdale in 1969, the Ryder Cup came down to the last hole of the last match between Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin.  On the 17th, Nicklaus led by one shot, until Jacklin sank a 50-ft eagle putt to square it.  On the 18th Nicklaus sank a 4ft putt, leaving his opponent a 3ft putt for a draw. If he missed it the USA would win the cup outright.  Nicklaus then bent and picked up Jacklin’s ball marker rather than forcing him to putt out.
He said: "I don't think you would have missed that, Tony, but I didn't want to give you the chance."  The Ryder Cup ended with 16 points to each team, the USA retaining the cup.

Most of Nicklaus’s teammates were furious, Sam Snead growled: ”We came over here to win, not to be good old boys.” British skipper Eric Brown had earlier instructed his players not to look for American balls if they landed in the rough, and during a fourball on the second day the captains had to come out and calm the warring players down.

 Nicklaus and Jacklin became friends, and went on to design the Concession Golf Club in Florida together.  Nicklaus says now: “Of course everyone wants to win but the important thing is the game.  There’s a lot of nice things about the Ryder Cup, but I wish we wouldn’t make such a war out of it.”  So we definitely won’t be seeing Jack streaking across the 18th green draped only in a USA flag.

 Despite the £200 million facelift lavished on it by it’s owner, Trump Turnberry will probably be blackballed from hosting future Open Championships after Donald Trump’s controversial comments about Muslims etc.  In America the USPGA relocated next year’s WGC from Trump Doral Florida to Mexico City for the same reason.  If The Donald gets the keys to the White House the R & A and USPGA had better ignore his future controversial comments.  Any more blackballs and their Head Offices could be flattened by a drone strike.

WATCHING RORY MCILROY beat him to the Tour Championship and Fedex Cup after Rory had trailed behind him for three days Dustin Johnson must have muttered a few controversial comments of his own.

“I never felt that I didn’t have a chance to win.”  Arnold Palmer. 1929-2016.  The King is dead.  Long live the King?

The CALLAWAY X-14 IRONS, launched back in 2000, were apparently Callaway’s most successful ever, and their new XR Steelhead irons, just launched, contain the X-14’s  best features combined with the latest innovations:  Face Cup technology for increased ball speed, a bar of steel-infused polyurethane positioned behind the face to absorb vibration and add weight for even faster ball speed, and the Hollow Bore-Thru hosel, for more forgiveness and easier launch. 
Aimed at the game improver, the irons received a 5* rating in reviews.    Start dropping hints for Christmas.

THIS YEAR’S BRITISH MASTERS at the Grove, Hertfordshire, will get off to a lively start on October 11th with the ‘Hero Challenge,’ a fast-paced one-hole knockout contest on the Tuesday evening under floodlights.

Eight players, including Justin  Rose and Lee Westwood (assuming they survive the Ryder Cup) will go head to head in seven straight knockout matches, the last man standing will be crowned champion.  The hour-long contest will be shown on Sky Sports. The more sedate British Masters will commence on the Wednesday, with Matt Fitzpatrick defending the title he won last year at Woburn.

GOLFERS HAVE the happiest marriages - fact.
500 golfers and non-golfers’ wives were asked to rate their marriages on a scale of one up to five.
Nearly 80% of the golfers’ wives rated their satisfaction as five, compared to 59% of non-golfers' wives. So you can head off to the tee with the blessing of ‘er indoors.’  (But maybe not on your wedding anniversary.)

Until next time, Happy Golfing.

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