Wednesday, 25 October 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.

Monday, 9 October 2017

July-August and September Summer Round Up 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?”


CAPE KIDNAPPERS golf course, New Zealand, is named after an attempt by the local Maori to kidnap a crew member from Captain Cook’s ship, the Endeavour, in 1769.   Situated on the Hawkes Bay peninsula, the front nine is set amid rolling farmland, the back nine juts out over the Pacific Ocean.  At the 12th and 15th holes golfers have to play right out to the edge, and leap from the end of one ridge to the next. The headland is a breeding site for 3,000 pairs of gannets, and players are reminded nesting birds do not like loud noises, so if you fell off the 140 metre cliffs you would be permitted only a whispered “Bother.”

THE WALKER CUP was introduced after WW1 to strengthen ‘Understanding and Friendship’ between the British and American golf associations.   Named after the then USGA President George Herbert Walker (George Dubya’s great grandpappy) the first ten-man amateur biennial tournament took place in 1922 at National Golf Links of America, New York.  The US won, 8-4.
  This year’s tournament will be held from September 9-11th at the exclusive Los Angeles Country Club, Beverly Hills, which sits on the 2nd most expensive piece of land in America after Central Park.  Captained by Craig Watson, the GB&I team  includes 2016 Amateur Champion Scott Gregory, English Amateur Champion Dan Brown and Lytham Trophy winner Alfie Plant.  The U.S. team are captained by John “Spider” Miller, who also led them at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 2015.  The USA lost 16.5-9.5 to an inspired GB&I team, so this year Understanding and Friendship may not be the top priority.

THE FIRST DAY of the Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl was no place for old men, especially if suffering from laryngitis like the eventual winner Bernhard Langer.  “I should be in bed but I couldn’t miss this,” he croaked.  Tom Watson holed a 90 footer on the 1st and a 60 footer on the 14TH in 30 mph crosswinds.  Cascading water, he spluttered:  “Bring it on, this is true links golf!”  You can’t beat the old-uns.  With 46 scores in the 80s and three in the 90s, one chap signed for a 96 to finish on 37-over.   He should probably have withdrawn, although in the gloom and driving rain he probably couldn’t plot a path back to the clubhouse.

 HIDEKI MATSUYAMA announced after the PGA Championship that he has been married since January and his wife had a little girl last month.  Leading with nine holes to play at Quail Hollow he nearly became the first Japanese to win a major but after three consecutive bogeys on the back nine he finished equal fifth.  (Probably been up all night with the baby.)

A ‘HANDY’ TIP:  To create a bit of draw on the ball as you swing through the impact zone turn the hands so that by the time they are waist high, if you opened your left hand it would be perfectly horizontal with the ground, i.e. a falling raindrop would land on the palm of your hand.  In other words imagine yourself ‘catching the raindrop.’’
LET’S HOPE JUSTIN THOMAS takes better care of the PGA trophy than Walter Hagen did.  Hagen won four consecutive PGA Championships, but he lost the trophy after his first win, leaving it in a taxi.  Each year he was meant to bring it back but just kept saying: "I knew I would win so I didn't see the point of dragging the trophy back and forth."   It wasn't until he finally lost that he had to confess that he had mislaid the trophy three years earlier.

PARK SUNG HYUN, also known as Sung Hyun Park, is the new Canadian Pacific Women’s Open champion after finishing two strokes ahead of fellow South Korean Mirim Lee at the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club.   Park (or Sung) added the title to her U.S. Women’s Open crown with a 13-under par 271.  Chun In-Gee, or possibly Gee-in Chun, tied for third.  I can’t keep up with this, it’s goodnight from Grip the Mick. 

In The Bunker With Mick The Grip (September)

Even a forest fire raging behind them didn’t make these chaps at Beacon Rock golf course near Portland, Oregon call off their round.

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.

Monday, 10 July 2017




Golf Day In Support of these Great Charities
@ Vistabella Golf Thursday 21st September 2017
Two Shotgun Starts 8-15am and 2-15pm
The Format is 4 Man Team Stableford. All scores to count
Prizes for 1st and 2nd Team in each start

Dear Secretary/Captain/Golf Society Members and all Fellow Athletes.

Please find detailed on the next pages a team competition being organized in support of both The Royal British Legion and The On Course Foundation. We would be most grateful if you would like to participate.

Please enter in teams and indicate your preference for the am or pm start and what, if any, choice of food. In addition if you can bring along any prizes for the raffle that would be fantastic.

For those that can only enter in pairs do not worry as you will be paired up with another pair for the competition

It will be a great help to me and my fellow organisers if you can be flexible with your choice of am or pm so that a balanced number can be established for both starts. With only 60 places for each start please get your names down early on the attached forms and return them asap.

Food,prize giving and raffle together with an auction of green fees for local courses will be performed after both the AM and PM starts.

Kindest Regards,
Mick the Grip: 638 859 475,  Richie Morgan:  696 854 802
Mick Gossage:   697 127 364,  Mike Probert: 661 345 931

Please contact any of the above for more information and/or to sign up.

                For The British Legion & On Course Foundation

              VISTABELLA GOLF Thursday 21st September 2017
          Format = 4 Man Team Stableford All Scores To Count
     Cost Per Player €48 (€43 Walking) to include Golf, 
                                   Raffle, Buggy and Charitable Donation
                                     Optional 2's Sweep €2
                       Optional Snack Baguette and Chips €5
          Choice of Ham/Cheese-Cheese/Onion-Tuna/Mayonaise
                   Trophies for 1st and 2nd Each Shotgun Start
                                Shotgun Starts 8:15 & 2:15
                       Please arrive 45 mins before your start time

For your information
The On Course Foundation is a relatively new charity that supports rehabilitation of injured service personnel through golf.

This may be by just getting them playing or finding them work in the golf industry.

Through this programme some have gone onto become golf professionals and others have made a success of greenkeeping.

This is a very worthwhile programme and we are delighted to support it with this year’s charity day.

2017 Charity Day at Vistabella Golf
Web Site Details

We started the annual charity day to raise funds for the Royal British Legion and associated charities in 2014.

From the €700 raised in 2014 this event has grown and grown and last year it culminated in raising over €3000.

This amount cannot be raised with out the participation of you the golfers and we are very grateful for your continued support.

In addition we receive great support from our sponsors without whom this event would not be the great success it has become.

This year’s event is taking place on Thursday 21st September and we look forward to your participation once again.

We have set up a dedicated site so that you can see pictures from last year’s event together with our list of sponsors and donors and also sign up to play in this year’s competition.

This can be found by using the following link.