Tuesday, 27 June 2017



COEUR D’ALENE RESORT COURSE, Idaho, claims the world's only floating green, the 14th, which gets pulled in or pushed out each day. Golfers are ferried out and back in a gleaming mahogany and brass motor boat. A massage therapist awaits on the driving range to help them warm-up before they blast floating range balls at floating flags on the lake, afterwards gliding off with their caddies in de-luxe buggies complete with refreshments and heated seats. The course itself, a 6,803 yd par 71, is festooned with thousands of geraniums and carpeted in perfect bent grass. After the round and a 15-setting shower in their suite, the five star restaurant awaits them. Very nice. How much?  If you have to ask, etc.,  
EVEN TOP GOLFERS don’t want to play golf all the time.  Luke Donald majored in art at University and is a whiz with a paintbrush.  Tiger Woods is into spear fishing and scuba diving, Nick Faldo loves a spot of fly fishing and Adam Scott heads for the beach when Surfs Up.  Graeme McDowell has founded a brewery together with Keegan Bradley and Freddie Jacobson. Calling it the Golfbeer Brewing Co, they have each created a craft beer; McDowell’s is called ‘Celtic Pale Ale.’  Sound idea. If you want a hobby a brewery beats stamp collecting every time.

THE OLDEST WINNER of the Open Championship in modern times was Argentinian Roberto de Vicenzo, who captured the title at Hoylake in 1967 aged 44.  Padraig Harrington (45) is hoping to beat that record at Royal Birkdale next month.  In 2008 on the same course he successfully defended the Open title he had won the previous year at Carnoustie, when he beat Sergio Garcia in a playoff. 
Wind and rain had buffeted Royal Birkdale all week, and on the Saturday 50-mph gusts had spectators and players alike struggling to stand upright.   The Dubliner sealed the title with an eagle.  Hitting a five-wood 273 yds on the par-five 17th, the downhill lie gave a low trajectory which would cheat the wind, and his perfect contact left the ball three feet above the pin.
 Oddly enough, Padraig nearly didn’t play in the 2008 Open after injuring his wrist hitting a beanbag the week before, and his participation this year was in doubt after an amateur (one of Sergio’s relations?) clouted him on the elbow with a driver.   Coincidence?  He could be worth an outside bet.

 TWO-TIME MAJOR champion Greg Norman took a shot at golf commentators recently, remarking: “The commentators on TV are boring. The monotonous voices saying everyone’s hit a great shot and everyone’s got the greatest short game in the world.  I turned the sound off with The Masters and just watched.”   Could it be that Greg wasn’t offered the job.

Poor Sir Nick Faldo tweeted:  “I think I need a hug.”

PHIL MICKELSON – “Whether its players, caddies, the media - we all want to build up the game and nobody built it up more than Tiger did.  When I won the Tucson Open in the 90’s the entire purse was $1 million, first place $180,000.  I remember thinking:  ‘I wonder if someday we’ll play for a $1 million first place, probably not in my lifetime.’  Now every week there’s a million-plus first place cheque. That’s due to Tiger.”
 Mickelson has made over $80 million just on the course in his career, which is a lot of first places.  Even his caddie (or ex-caddie) Bones is a millionaire.

THREE WEEKS OF TOP CLASS links golf kicks off on 9th July with the Irish Open at Portstewart, followed by the Scottish Open at Dundonald and The Open at Royal Birkdale.   Portstewart has a spectacular front nine and is called a hidden gem (not another one!) The welcome leaflet tells spectators that ”There is a short walk of about 300m to the Hospitality Tent, if you find it difficult to walk and are in need of assistance let us know.”  The spectators might be able to walk there, but knowing Irish hospitality they may well need assistance walking back.

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs.  638 859 475.

May's Bunker View from Erin Hills


ERIN HILLS WISCONSIN.  The 117th U.S. Open is back in the Midwest on 12th June.   One of only six public courses to hold the US Open, and specifically designed for that purpose, Erin Hills is a wild prairie raked by 30 mph winds, with waving fescue grass, undulating fairways and roughly-cut bunkers.  Golfers who have played it recently ($280 dollars plus caddie) say it’s a long walk.  Seven tee boxes per hole allow the USGA a number of choices so the course can be played anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 yds.
 115 miles from Chicago and the Great Lakes, the course can be on the chilly side, but the Irish contingent who qualify will find a cosy home-from-home at The Lodge, which resembles an old Irish Country Inn complete with Guinness-serving Irish pub.
IN THE RECENT GOLF SIXES  at St. Albans the shot clock used on the fourth hole got the thumbs up from players.  40 seconds were allowed for hitting shots in the first two group matches and 30 seconds for the remaining sessions.   Andy Sullivan said afterwards:  "Everyone was quicker because they knew the consequences.  It shows that you really don't need 40 seconds, everyone can play that quickly when they know they’ll be penalised otherwise.”
On the whole the inaugural Golf Sixes was voted a success, ending with Denmark beating Australia, with Scotland pipping Italy for third place. The next step being considered is floodlit golf in big city venues to attract the crowds. (Can you bear to wait?)
RORY McILROY has signed a 10-year clubs/ball/staff bag deal with TaylorMade  and a 10-year extension to a clothing deal with Nike worth squillions.  Rory (28) had better win something soon although he may not be bothered; a good incentive to winning tournaments is to be hungry, and Rory isn’t even peckish.  What with cracked ribs and his recent nuptuals his appearances this year have been slightly less frequent than those of the Male Passenger Pigeon, and that’s extinct.

SWING COACH PETE COWEN says: “ Louis Oosthuizen was never tempted to change the awesome swing that won him the Open at St. Andrews in 2010. It's the same basic swing that impressed me when he was an amateur.  There's always a voice whispering to players they can be even better if they just change one thing.  It can be disastrous, but thank goodness Louis never heard that voice.   When I began working with Henrik Stenson he had a preset movement with his shoulders I didn't care for.   I decided he should get rid of it and he followed my direction exactly, although it took him a very long time to work through it.  As it turned out, it was worth it, but I decided I should think carefully in future before recommending changes.”   Cowen may be right, Luke Donald’s radical swing change with coach Chuck Cook didn’t turn out too well.

IN 2014 BERNHARD LANGER  secured his second Senior Open Championship title at Royal Porthcawl.   Wales’s first Senior Major Championship was voted a great success.  More than 43,000 spectators lined the fairways in blazing sunshine to watch Langer produce one of the outstanding performances in the history of senior golf, finishing 13 shots clear of 2010 Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomery.
On 27th July Langer will be hoping to repeat the performance and secure a third title.  To hope that he will once again win it in blazing sunshine is pushing his luck.

A DUBLIN PUNTER obviously knew something about 21-year-old Si Woo Kim nobody else did when he placed a €200 bid on the 500-1 South Korean to win the Players Championship. On the Sunday, he demonstrated the luck of the Irish and netted over €60,000!

TAYLORMADE CEO David Abeles sent an emotional email to employees notifying them that Adidas has sold the company. “Today’s announcement marks the next step in our journey together, a stepping stone towards realising our mission and vision, and for all of us, an exciting new chapter.”
  (No mention of a raise so they probably couldn’t give a toss.)

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

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