Sunday, 28 January 2018



PALM DESERT’S BIGHORN Golf Club, near to posh Palm Springs, California, opened it’s new $70 million clubhouse in November.  The 80,000 square ft clubhouse, with stunning views of both the Mountains and Canyons courses, has limestone floors from Peru and  travertine walls from Portugal.  A 16-foot cascading chandelier hangs in the bar area.  Residents are accommodated in penthouses with private lifts.   Amenities include 5 star restaurant, spa, pools and pickleball courts. Pickleball?   Dread to think what they’ve put the membership fees up to, and reviews say the prices are eye-watering, but if you live in Palm Springs that’s probably the least of your worries. 
ADAM ROLSTON ended a 1250 mile journey when he finally sunk a 7ft putt on the Mt. Bogd Golf Club in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.   Ex-rugby internationals Adam, from Ireland, and his Australian caddie Ron Rutland, decided to play the world’s longest hole of golf  (20,093 shots) from one end of Mongolia to the other.   They calculated that par for the hole - across deserts, frozen rivers and swamps - would be 14,000.
Rutland pulled a 100kg cart loaded with their supplies and Rolston hit the shots, around 250 per day.   A wild dog accompanied them and they adopted it.  Extreme rain and snow in the mountains at the start was followed by the 40 degree heat of the Gobi Desert.    The pair set a world record, and raised £20,000 for charity, finishing after 80 days on Mongolia’s only golf course.  Adam had  lost untold golfballs and Ron narrowly avoided a sticky end when the cart fell on him in a bog.  The Mongolians they met en route left off hunting and hawking to have a go at this strange game.   “The worst part was putting on soaking freezing shoes in the mornings,” Adam said, “ but we had a great time.”    As my old Dad used to say: “There are more out than in.” 

IN CASE YOU THINK Twistface and Hammerhead are two muscle-bound thugs from the latest James Bond movie,  they are actually features of Taylor Made’s new M4 driver.  After getting over their sulk at being beaten in sales by Calloway’s Epic, Taylor Made decided that a High Launch and Low Spin combination with ample forgiveness would be their aim, rather than distance.   Twistface is used in other drivers, notably Cobra’s F8, but Taylor Made insist the M4 is even twistier.  Hammerhead is just another slot, their answer to Calloway’s Jailbreak technology.  The silver matte finish adds a touch of class, but Golfspy say “If you have an M2 you probably don’t need to change, although If your driver is a few years old the M4 is an impressive performer for its ‘modest’ price tag.” (£369.00).  Dustin Johnson splashed out his savings on an M4 and won at Kapalua recently, so if you want to produce 433 yd drives make for your nearest golf shop.
SPAINS BEST GOLF COURSE”,  Las Colinas, run by Troon International, took the title for the third consecutive year at the World Golf awards in November, adding to their titles of Spain’s and Europe’s Leading Villa Resort.   Nominees in the Best Course category included La Manga’s South course, Sotogrande and Valderrama, so the competition was hot.  La Manga must have been gnashing their teeth but their hotel Principe Felipe did win Best Golf Hotel so they had some consolation. 

RORY MCILROY’S THIRD PLACE prize money in the HSBC at Abu Dhabi will help to pay for his latest house purchase, and if his six bedroom Florida mansion sells for the asking price of $13m he will make a tidy profit, having bought it five years ago for 9.5 million.  Rory and his other half are moving to Jack Nicklaus’s exclusive Bears Club, where Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler & Co. put in a spot of practice between globe-trotting.   Rory’s new house formerly belonged to Ernie Els, who has relocated to nearby Old Palm Golf Club where fellow S. African Louis Oosthuizen owns a modest pad and they can reminisce over a Carling Black Label.  It’s one jolly game of musical houses at the top.

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018




RECOMMENDED FOR CHRISTMAS VIEWING: “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” the 2005 film telling the story of amateur golfer Francis Ouimet’s historic US Open win in 1913 at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass.  20 yr.old Ouimet was accompanied by his caddie, 10 yr.old Eddie Lowery, who was playing truant from school.  Francis won the 18-hole playoff, beating England’s Harry Vardon by 5 strokes and Ted Ray by 6.  His victory was a stunning upset for the strongly favoured British, who were regarded as the world’s top two golfers.
 The first amateur to win the U.S. Open, Ouimet’s achievement on that soaking wet weekend, in his woollen suit and squelching shoes, made front-page news.  Francis Ouimet grew up in a rundown house across the street from the course, and could see from his bedroom window the most important holes he would ever play. Even allowing for Disney’s poetic licence, it’s a great story.  Suggest watching it after the evening news, these days enough to make anyone reach for the jolly juice.

DURING HIS FIRST trip to Japan, Donald Trump played a round of golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Hideki Matsuyama at the Kasumigaseki Country Club, proposed site of the 2020 Olympic golf tournament.  A local television station captured Prime Minister Abe’s shot from a fairway bunker.  Trump and Matsuyama were walking off as Abe charged up the side of the bunker after them — even getting one foot on the top before losing his balance, tumbling backwards in a half-somersault and landing flat on his back at the bottom of the bunker.  It’s not often Donald is upstaged at getting a laugh.

JUSTIN ROSE just missed the Race to Dubai, but he did win back-to-back tournaments in China and Turkey, and received  £2,000.000 to put in his Christmas stocking.  Last week he strolled home eight shots clear in the Indonesian Open with his second 62 of the week, and added a few rupiahs to the haul.  Well done Justin, it’ll be a very Merry Christmas in the Bahamas.

TOMMY FLEETWOOD, who won the Race to Dubai, is back with his old coach Alan Thompson.  He says: “In 2015 I decided I wanted to hit like Henrik Stenson, so I switched coaches and asked Pete Cowen to help me, but I couldn’t get my body to swing the way we wanted, and lost my rhythm.  Pete taught me a lot anyway, but I hadn’t realised how difficult and dangerous it would be to try and change my swing.” 
If it ain’t broke etc.,

THE CUSTOM-MADE sunglasses worn by Henrik Stenson were designed by his very own company, named, amazingly:  “Henrik Stenson Eyewear.”  The company produces everyday glasses as well.  If they don’t help you hit a ball like Henrik at least they can help you see where it’s gone.

RG GOLF TIP FOR BUNKER SHOTS: If you just open the club face up, you’re not adding more loft, just pointing it further right. To hit this shot you need to drop the butt end all the way down to actually create some loft.  Merely opening the club face won’t do it. Take a wider stance with the butt end low and club flat, that will help you to hit a shallower shot which actually gives more elevation.

RORY MCILROY intends to begin his PGA TOUR season with the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Feb. 8-11, followed by the Genesis Open on Feb. 15-18 and The Honda Classic on Feb. 22-25.   Rory, who will be making his Pebble Beach debut, is scheduled to play alongside his father, Gerry.  Hope he can remember which end of his club to hold, or Pop may upstage him.

WHILE ON HOLIDAY, Frank went into a golf shop, and selected some new clubs. He walked to the checkout, pulling out his wallet. The pretty blonde cashier said: “Strip down, facing me.”
Not quite sure what was going on Frank did as she asked. When the hysterical shrieks of laughter finally subsided he asked, “What’s so funny?”
“I was telling you how to hold your credit card,” the cashier responded.

A very Merry Christmas to all, and Happy Golfing in 2018.


LUKE DONALD  unfortunately missed the cut at the Valero Texas Open, but the previous week, thanks to his sublime short game, he came second by one stroke to Wesley Bryan at Harbour Town.   Local boy Bryan rallied from four-shots down to win the RBC Heritage with a 4-under 67.
 Actually, seeing Wesley afterwards in the Plaid Jacket, Luke was probably quite relieved he didn’t win.
THE EUROPEAN TOUR’S  new 6-hole event ‘GolfSixes’ takes place from 6th-7th May at St. Albans Centurion Club, with 2-man teams from 16 different nations competing.   Shown on Sky Sports, the first day will see the teams split into four groups of four similar to the UEFA Champions League stages, before the top two teams from each group progress to quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.  The format is Greensomes Matchplay.   “It will be a fun-packed event, with everyone involved,” enthuses CEO Keith Pelley, sounding like Maplins’ Gladys Pugh rounding up contestants for the knobbly knees contest;  “There’s sure to be a great atmosphere as they battle for national pride, players will wear microphones and interact with the fans.”  (Oh joy)

BELGIUM’S THOMAS PIETERS won three European Tour titles before turning 25.  Coming 4th in the Rio Olympics earned him one of the 2016 Ryder Cup wildcard picks and at Hazeltine he played a blinder, finishing 4-1-0.
 Thomas, however, is a frustrated Belgian.  He feels he should have won at least three majors by now.  His patient coach Pete Cowen says: “Thomas is hungry.”  One day Thomas will look back and appreciate coming 4th in his first Masters.  Just not right now.

JON RAHM RODRIGUEZ (22) from the Basque country, another hungry player, has a touch of Seve about him.   Ballesteros learned the game with a second hand 3 iron on the beaches of Pedrena,  Rahm honed his skills on a run-down local range.  He shares Seve’s typically Spanish swashbuckling character, (and a tendency to self-detonate.)   He learned English by rapping  along to Eminem, which must make it interesting for anyone interviewing him.

In the WGC Matchplay, 6’ 4” Rahm pushed Dustin Johnson to the brink, matching him yard for yard off the tee to miss out by one shot.  He won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in January.  Now he only needs to win a championship via the clubhouse roof and the car park.

PING’S PLD2 Ketch putter has a unique design – camouflage.  Thanks to permodizing - incorporating photo-realistic 3D images onto metallic surfaces - Ping can now put different designs on their putters.  Not sure camouflage is such a good idea.   If you throw a camouflaged putter in the bushes in frustration you’ll have a hell of a job finding it again.  

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS Dye Designs are planning a new 18 hole course near Edgeware, N. London.  Perry Dye, the eldest son in the dynasty which designed the Stadium course at Sawgrass, Whistling Straights, and Harbour Town golf links among others, says plans include an island green on the 7th hole similar to the 17th at Sawgrass.  The 7,000 yd course will offer multiple tees and reasonable prices.  If you can’t make Florida for the TPC don’t despair, ‘Dye London’ will be ready in about three years.

TITLEIST HAVE GONE “One step beyond.”  With their Footjoy Boditrak test you are wired up to a contraption with pressure sensors and a mat which highlights where you put pressure on the ground during the swing and determines whether you need a more stable or more mobile shoe.
Nike have gone one step further.  They have come up     
with a shirt that improves your swing.  Apparently the tight elastic material in certain key areas helps guide correct repetitive movements like a golf swing, and activates muscle stimulation to boost performance.  
Even better, the shirt doesn’t charge for coaching.  I think I need to go and lie down.