IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP
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.