Wednesday, 8 May 2019

MAY ARTICLE GRAB A CONCH!!!!!!!!!!!

IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRI
Roger Chapman’s sea coconut.

ROGER CHAPMAN’S PRIZE for winning the TCB Seniors Tournament in the Seychelles must be high on the list of  “What am I supposed to do with this” trophies.  Classic examples are the diamond-encrusted dagger which Spain’s Jorge Campillo collected at the Trophee Hassan II, or the 3ft long Viking Sword presented to the winner of the Viking Challenge.  Possibly the gigantic cow bell the Swiss Challenge victor staggered down the mountain with.   For his hole-in-one at the KLM back in 2000 Andy Sullivan was presented with a voucher for a space trip (did he ever go?)  Martin Kaymer received a plaster model of Barclays Head Office when he won the 2009 Scottish Open, but at least there was a bottle of 30 year old Scotch to go with it.
LOCAL BOY TOMMY FLEETWOOD will be playing host at the Betfred British Masters from 9-12thMay at Hillside Golf Club, Southport, Merseyside. Defending Champion Eddie Pepperell said:  “Tommy will be a great host, the local fans love him, and he will be supported massively.”
It will be a hectic week for Tommy.  On 7thMay he will be joining Stephen Gallagher, winner of last month’s Indian Open, LPGA champion Charley Hull and three others at Princes Dock on Liverpool’s World Heritage Site waterfront for the opening event in this year’s Hero Challenge.   The six players stand on a platform in the middle of Liverpool Dock and aim balls at a target on the floodlit dockside.  ‘It’s golf Jim, but not as we know it.’
OFFICIAL EUROPEAN TOUR PARTNER Callaway is launching ‘Tour Tips,’ a series of bi-weekly golf instructional videos.  No.1. features European Tour player Alex Noren, who reveals why alignment, club face position and angle of attack are crucial in his video ”How to hit a Fade.”   The videos use camera technology, tournament archive footage and advice from stars like Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson and Francesco Molinari. Callaway say their Tour Tips will ‘provide invaluable help for amateur golfers from beginners up.
I could do an instructional video: “How to hit a Lake, by Mick the Grip.”
THE GENZON GOLF CLUB will be the venue for the 25th anniversary of the Volvo China Open when the event comes to Longgang, near Hong Kong, on May 2-5.   The tournament returns to the course for the first time since Frenchman Alex Levy won in 2014, the only player to win twice in the history of the event.
One of the players expected to shine is 14 yr. old Kuang Yang, who clinched his place in the tournament by winning the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship, beating Guangdong's 13 yr. old star Wu Dian-chao.   If they get any younger they won’t need golf buggies, they’ll need Maclaren buggies.

ONE OF THE STARS of the British Golf Show from 17-18thMay: the PowaKaddy C2i GPS.  Testers pronounced it sturdy and quiet with a very powerful motor. The full-colour GPS screen, set into the handle, is remarkably accurate, providingdistances to the front, back and middle of the green as well as providing yardages to hazards.   The 2-stage folding mechanism means it fits easily into most car boots, and the Plug ‘n’ Play TM technology in the battery makes connecting to the trolley an easy process.  Compete with the latest slim lithium batteries, USB charging point, scorecard holder and a compartment for balls, tees and pencils.  All for £700.  
IMPRESSING SPECTATORS on the PGA Tour:  the new TaylorMade 22 ton, $1.6 million double-decker Tour Van.  On board are 1,500 shafts, 1,200 golf balls, 1,000 grips and 500 hats and shirts.   Complete with upstairs office, rest room with fridge, LED TV screens and comfy chairs. “The players can hang out here and feel part of the TaylorMade family,” says a spokesman.   
(Probably only if they’ve won at least 2 majors.)   At least if the ‘family’ fall out there are plenty of things to throw at each other, or if rain stops play they can try on 500 hats.

Friday, 19 April 2019

THE GRUESOMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP

WHAT WITH SHOT CLOCKS and Super Six sprints,there is no shortage of attempts to modernise golf tournaments. The European Tour wallahs should perhaps spend a few days at the Sunningdale Foursomes, held in  Berkshire every March anything can be learned from it.

The historic, much-loved event welcomes male and female amateur and pro golfers to one of Britain's finest golf clubs.  The annual Sunningdale Foursomes was first played in 1934, and is open to all golfers through a unique handicap format, which allows pros, amateurs, men and women to compete fairly from the same set of tees. They find out what a leveller alternate shotcan be.
All Professional Golfers (Men) play from a handicap of +1.
All Amateurs (Men) play from a handicap of scratch.
All Professional Golfers (Ladies) play from a handicap of 2.
All Amateurs (Ladies) play from a handicap of 4.


Foursomes is still very much part of golf in England and it showed at last year’s Ryder Cup (Europe won the foursomes matches 6-2.)   Past Sunningdale winners include Max Faulkner, Peter Alliss, Luke Donald, and Ross Fisher.This year two former Open Champions, Sandy Lyle and Paul Lawrie, happily teed it up with the amateurs.  Womens’ Open championGeorgia Hall played in a field that included two mens’ European Tour players.  They allcome and subject themselves to the early spring weather (particularly unfriendly this year) and the likelihood they will be eliminated by some chancers no one has ever heard of in the second round.

TWENTY FOUR YEARS AGO on April 3rd, 1995, Tiger Woods, aged 19, drove through the gate at Augusta National Golf Club for the first time. He was not impressed, commenting: “Magnolia Lane, is that it? — I thought it was a pretty short drive.”  Nick Faldo said after his first practice round with Tiger:  "He hits it long, his shoulders are impressively quick through the ball. That's where he's getting his power from.  He's just a very talented kid."  Woods made the cut and tied for 41st.  Two years later, in 1997 he won the Masters aged 21, with a record 270 (18 under) twelve strokes ahead of Tom Kite.   They lengthened the course after that.
THOSE WERE THE DAYS: In the 1980-90’s the Masters almost became European property with Sandy Lyle (1988), Nick Faldo (1989, 90 and 96), Ian Woosnam (1991), Bernhard Langer (1985 and 93) and Jose-Maria Olazabal (1994 and 99.)  It would be nice to think the European golfers today could start another run, there are some promising contenders. After the recent Players Championship I’ll have a bob on McIlroy.
GOLF LORE SAYS if you win the par 3 tournament before the Masters, you are guaranteed a rotten finish in the real thing. Some players have admitted to throwing the par 3 or skipping it completely to increase their chances.  It will be interesting to see who wins the par 3 this year.
                        LPGA Tour

Before 1982 the local caddies had a hard time of it at Augusta.  The club  was only open for 7 months of the year and members were forbidden to tip them. They lived for the chance of a share in the Masters prize money.

However, in 1982 play ended early on the Thursday due to a storm so tee times were brought forward to the Friday.   Some caddies did not realise this and weren’t on the tee the next morning, and some players found the caddies had not dried their clubs for them. After that it was decided that Augusta could no longer bar tour caddies, although some players kept theirs on.  Jack Nicklaus said he couldn’t lose his faithful Willie Peterson, who was at his side for all his six Masters victories, and who’s dance when Nicklaus holed a 40-footer for birdie on the 16th in 1975  would have won him a place on Strictly.til next time
Another of David Lettermans reasons why golf is better that sex:.When your equipment gets old you can replace it! 
Until next time: Happy Golfing.

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

Up Up and away!!!!!

IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP




WORLD’S HIGHEST GOLF COURSE: La Paz Golf Club, Bolivia, 10,600 feet. Two miles above the ocean the ball flies 20% further, and you can confidently expect to add 30 yds to the average 5 iron shot, as long as you can still breathe in the thin air.   Your ball will also fly straighter.  The view at the 12thchanges from green valleys to a lunar landscape of sandstone canyons.   The closest course to the moon on the planet, La Paz actually resembles it.

AT THE  WGC Chapultepec, Mexico, 7,800 ft above sea level, 10 drives were recorded at over 400 yds, although surprisingly, not by the eventual Tournament winner Dustin Johnson.  Justin Thomas, who hit the green in 415 yds on the par 4 12th and had the longest drive with 457 yds on the par 4 10th said:  “The hardest part is breathing.  You can’t walk and talk at the same time out here.”  Stop whingeing Justin, think of the poor members of La Paz.

THE HIGHEST GOLF ever played was at 16,000 feet in July 1899 by British explorer Captain F. Adair.  In his book, "A Summer in High Asia," he wrote: “Travelling through a Himalayan mountain pass into Tibet I found a lovely spot carpeted with bright green turf. Being a golf enthusiast I had brought with me a driver and putter."  No golfball?
SINGLE-RIDER GOLF TRANSPORT is big in the USA. The hits of the PGA Show were the Finn Scooter, which grips a golf bag on the front, and the Phat Scooter, which holds  a golf bag on the back.   In the gear section top-quality clothier Galvin Green introduced “ShakeDry,” a completely waterproof, impossibly light material. A jacket ($400) weighs just 174 gms, about the same as an iPhone. With matching trousers in 25 sizes!   I’d like to see size 25 trying to get on a scooter.
SEGIO GARCIA APOLOGISED for his recent behaviour saying: “I wasn’t myself, It’s not who I truly am.”  Actually, he’s not been himself quite a lot.  In the World Match Play he threw his shoe into the crowd. In 2007 he spat in the hole.  In Thailand he slung his iron in the lake. At the 2012 US Open he smashed an inoffensive microphone, and in the 2017 Open he attacked a gorse bush but unfortunately for him the bush retaliated.  At the Valero Texas Open Sergio threw his club into the woods then embarrassingly had to go and find it.  This month in the Saudi International he became a one-man sandstorm in the bunker and ended up disqualified after damaging five greens.  But remember folks, it’s not who he truly is.  
 THANKS TO DIETING and intensive workouts Phil Mickelson is still able to beat golfers half his age, winning the Pebble Beach Pro-Am with a 7 under 65.   “It takes a lot more effort to play at this level now,” Mickelson said. “but after nine months of hard training I’m swinging 6 mph faster.”  Mickelson’s grandfather was one of the original caddies at Pebble Beach, and Mickelson carries a silver dollar ballmarker engraved with the year of his birth. “This is a special place for me.” Phil said.  It could get even more special if he wins the US Open there in June, completing his career grand slam.  Worth a few spinach smoothies and  runs round the block.
THE LATEST ADVICE  after a bad shot is ‘take several deep breaths then laugh out loud.’  Apparently it releases tension and gives a positive attitude.   You may be removed from the course in a plain van, and don’t try breathing deeply at Chapultepec, you’d pass out.  Still, perhaps someone should mention it to Sergio.
SUNG HYUN PARK, the current World No. 2, won the HSBC Womens World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore, with an 8 under par 64 after 9 birdies and 1 bogey. S.Korean Park began the final round four shots behind World No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, who dropped to 8thafter 2 double bogeys.  No loud laughs were heard from Ms Jutanugarn.
 Until next time: Happy Golfing.
Contact Mick for regripping and repairs.  638 859 475.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

WELCOME TO THE NEW SEASON. JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2019

JANUARY 2019
IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP

FOUR-TIME MAJOR winner Rory McIlroy says the PGA Tour offers him a lot more incentives than the EuropeanTour.

 “I enjoy America more, the weather, the convenience,” he told reporters.   “Iwant to play against the strongest fields week in and week out,  for the most part of the season that is in America.” 
The European Tour’s CEO Keith Pelley held crisis talks with McIlroy last month, trying to persuade him to commit to four events, the minimum required to retain European Tour membership, but by the look of the picture Rory is saying he will only play in two events.  At least I think that’s what he’s saying.

THE TIMES has cast doubts on the financial stability of the European Tour, which made an operating loss of £9.5 million after tax in 2017. The working capital was also down to £424,000 (after 15 million in 2015.) Keith Pelley’s £2,75 million salary in 2017 also raised a few eyebrows, though judging by his schedule-juggling for this year he does do his best to earn it.

“TWIST FACE” and “FLASH FACE” sound like Batman’s latest rival, but actually represent the technology for Taylor Made and Callaway’s latest drivers.
With “Speed Injected Twist Face”  TaylorMade can now produce the thinnest face to start above the legal limit of COR, before dialling it back by injecting a specific amount of resin into two 'tuning' slots on the driver face to get to within 2-3% of the legal limit and give golfers an extra 2mph of ball speed.  
In addition, TaylorMade’s M5 and M6 irons have the “Speed Bridge.”  A single beam of steel that connects the sole to the crown of the iron, it is designed to stabilize the head at impact. Positioned exactly at the point that vibrates most, it works with the Speed Pocket to improve sound and feel, creating, you guessed it, more ball speed. TaylorMade claims its design is revolutionary, but it sounds suspiciously like Jailbreak Technology. 

Callaway’s ‘Flash’ technology consists of computer-designed ridges behind the driver face which optimise ball speed all across the face, and the thinnest part of the face is now in the centre (unlike previous Callaway drivers.)  The face is forged on the inside then milled on the front in order to get the thickness down so that it is consistently closer to the limit.  And, of course, Jailbreak technology.


 UNFORTUNATELY FOR TAYLORMADE, Justin Rose won’t be showing off their latest gear in 2019 as he has defected to Honma Golf.  In December the premium Japanese brand, famous for 60 years for artisan-style craftsmanship and eye watering prices, signed the FedEx Cup winner to play a minimum of 10 Honma clubs and sport their cap and staff tour bag, but could not announce the deal until the completion of Rose’s contract with TaylorMade.

Rose is expected to play Honma’s TW747 driver, forged irons and wedges, giving them their first outing at the PGA Tour’s Desert Classic in Palm Springs on January 17.


TESTING THE NEW RULES at Kapalua, Justin Thomas said he couldn’t take himself seriously if he left the stick in.   Bryson DeChambeau did the Okey Cokey by alternating between leaving it in and taking it out.   Marc Leishman tapped in his eagle from three-inches with the stick in and laughed at himself.    Winner Xander Shauffele’s caddie took the flag out, but his boss’s stunning final round of 2 eagles and 8 birdies for an 11-under 62 showed Xander wasn’t bothered either way.
       

Advice from Bob Hope: “Arnold Palmer told me how I could cut eight strokes off my score – skip one of the par threes.”

And finally a tip from Dan Marino: “Swing hard in case you hit it.”

FEBRUARY 2019
IN THE BUNKER WITH MICK THE GRIP


 NOISIEST HOLE IN GOLF, the 16that TPC Scottsdale.  The suites and boxes sell out for up to $110,000.   The Waste Management Open, formerly the Phoenix Open, is a main fundraising event and Thunderbirds Charities, started in 1932,  have raised over $100 million for local causes and distressed people in Arizona. After Rickie Fowler struggled round the soggy course from bunker to lake before finally taking the trophy the most distressed people looked like the players.  American golfers really don’t like being rained on.

IN 1993 A YOUNG GOLFER gave a clinic in front of a devoted crowd at Jackson Park, a municipal course on Chicago’s South Side where he learned the game.  25 years later, Tiger Woods is back at Jackson Park, and looking to leave his mark.
Woods, whowon his 80th PGA Tour title at the season-ending Tour Championship, giving him his first victory in over 5 years, is leading the proposed renovation of 18-hole Jackson Park and nine-hole South Shore, two municipal courses at the western edge of Lake Michigan, with views of the Chicago skyline.   Under the plans laid out by TGR Design (Woods’s design firm) the two courses will incorporate a 7,341-yard 18-hole championship course and a shorter family course, and include teaching facilities for youngsters.  Just one problem, they may have to put a roof on it.  Chicago was under 3 feet of snow last week.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU WON his first European Tour title with an 8-under 64 victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. England's Matt Wallace finished second with back-to-back birdies. Dechambeau mixed 7 birdies and an eagle to post the lowest 72-hole total in the tournament's history, finishing at 24 under. 
 In 2018 Dechambeau took three PGA Tour titles in four months, winning the Northern Trust, Dell Technologies Championship and Shriners Hospitals Open. However, he reckons it will take another five years to reach his full potential.   His 66 on the Friday in Dubai worried him:  “I just didn’t have the right proprioception over shots.” (Proprioception, as we all know, is your awareness of the position and movement of your body)“It’s a lot of hard work with my caddie trying to take account of all the variables: air pressure, firmness values, mph on the speed, putts and ball speed, and spin rates.”   Good grief!  You wouldn’t want to be the Mad Scientist’s caddie, even for the $100,000 tip.

THE MYGOLFSPY REVIEW of Callaway’s new Apex irons says they have clean, stylish looks while still offering a bit of help and forgiveness.  “The regular Apex 19 iron is easy to hit but has a lovely forged, blade-like feel at impact.”
Callaway say both Apex models are players distance irons with premium craftsmanship.  The soft feel comes from a mild carbon steel body while the ‘urethane microsphere technology’ incorporates more than one million tiny air pockets that absorb unwanted vibration. The Callaway 360 Face Cup design promotes high ball speeds across the face, while the tungsten-infused, multi-material construction allows precise location of the CG position in each iron.
Better players (the ones who worry about propriowhatsit) might want to fork out for the Pro model.
WORLD NUMBER ONE Justin Rose (38) held off the challenge of Australia’s Adam Scott to win the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines by two shots, with his new Honma equipment.   With three bogeys in his opening five holes he recovered to card a three-under 69 and win on 21 under.  Spain’s Jon Rahm, charging up the fairways like an Andalusian bull, fell away to finish in 5thplace. 
"I haven't won a January tournament for a long time, so this feels great," said Justin.  All right for him.  Some of us would just like to win something, never mind what month it’s in.
WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS has presented the ultimate accolade to Las Colinas Golf: World’s Leading Golf and Villa Resort, 2018.   What can they aspire to next?  There’s only the Universe to go now.