Friday, 6 March 2020


In The Bunker with Mick the Grip

The DLF Golf and Country Club.

THE (HERO) INDIAN OPEN will be held on March 18th at the DLF Golf Club near Delhi. The first Indian Open was won in 1964 by Peter Thomson, who had inaugurated it after realising India's potential as a golfing destination. Thompson won again in 1966 and 1976, and in 1970 the Indian Open joined the Asia Golf Circuit. The field increased in strength with notable winners such as three time major champion Payne Stewart. Defending Champion this year is Stephen Gallacher. 
The DLF Golf Club was originally designed by Arnold Palmer, but in 2015 a new course, designed by Gary Player was opened, incorporating some of the original holes. The result has been called 'The most bizarre course in golf,' with waterfalls, an island green, sheer bunkers and a rock quarry. It is also known as one of the most challenging, especially the 14th, which was originally a 550-yard dogleg par four with a 250-yard carry to a narrow fairway. The players could not play it (poor lambs) so the European Tour was forced to move the tee up to 461-yards. 
THE FIRST GOLF CLUB IN INDIA was founded in 1829 and named the Dum Dum Golf Club, later the Royal Calcutta Golf Club. The Amateur Golf Championship of India, the 2nd oldest in the world after the Open, was first held there in 1892, players came from Ceylon, Burma, Penang & Singapore. At the RCGC Colonel Bufton-Tufton could have a round of golf in the morning before a spot of pig-sticking in the afternoon. Life must have seemed flat back in Budleigh-Salterton after that.

LOCAL EUROPEAN TOUR PLAYER Bradley Dredge, who is based at La Finca, retained his tour card at Q school at Lumine in Southern Spain, being one of 125 players hoping to finish in the top 25. He eagled the 18th in style to qualify by one point. Whoever said golf was relaxing?

GRAEME MCDOWELL, who recently claimed his first European Tour title since 2014 by winning the Saudi International, will host the Irish Open on May 18th at Mount Juliet, County Kilkenny. Rory McIlroy and several other PGA Tour players say they will definitely be playing, but as the organisers have threatened to make everyone wear masks if the Coronavirus continues it will be a hell of a job to know who's winning.

WHEN RORY MCILROY asked Brad Faxon for a putting lesson, Brad told him to try putting from 8 ft with his putter, a sand wedge and a 5-wood. Out of nine putts Rory holed one with the putter, two with the sand wedge and three with the 5 wood. Brad told him: “These days they will tell you that you must have the right length putter with the correct lie and correct loft. Your 5-wood has 19 degrees of loft and is 10 inches too long and you've just holed three in a row, so you need to get back to playing instinctively." McIlroy said afterwards: "Unbelievable, after that one session I went to Bay Hill and had the best putting week of my career." This month his patchy back nine at Riviera included a triple -bogey. Back to the drawing board.

TAYLOR MADE SAY their new Truss putters are revolutionary, although Callaway have tried something similar before.  The mallet and blade putters connect both front and rear of the putter head to the shaft,  supporting the putter in the same way roof trusses support and strengthen a roof. This improves stability, especially on short putts. Perhaps Rory needs a Truss

Until next time, Happy Golfing.
Contact Mick for re-gripping and repairs. Tel. 638 859 475.



Clint Eastwood and his caddy Sir Nick Faldo.

THE PEBBLE BEACH ProAm on February 6th is preceded by two “fun attractions;” the Chevron Shootout on the Tuesday, where past ProAm champions are paired with top athletes in a competition on the putting green, and the Whiskey Run, on the Wednesday, with celebrities representing Team (Clint) Eastwood or Team (Bill) Murray playing holes 1, 2, 3, 17 & 18 followed by a “wacky awards ceremony” on the 18th green. Prizes go to the winners' favourite charity.

AFTER THE INAUGURAL Saudi International Golf Tournament in 2019 with four of the world’s top-ranked golfers lured by lavish appearance fees, European Tour CEO Keith Pelley announced that it would return in January, 2020, saying:  We believe our role will help the evolution of the country.”  Pelley can't really believe a country with a human rights record like Saudi Arabia is going to suddenly change because Tour golfers turn up for a few days, ask if the country could perhaps put a hold on the murders while the tournament is on, tuck gigantic cheques in their wallets and go home again. It was the right decision for our tour,” he told interviewers. Which translates as “We took the money.”

The competition was the first European Tour event to be played in formerly closed Saudi Arabia.  Ernie Els said: “I’ve won three times on great courses from Dubai to Qatar to Abu Dhabi, but bringing world class players to Saudi Arabia is going to be a game-changer.” However, the British government issued warnings to those travelling to the peninsula this year, and some players including Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods declined to compete, Rory declaring that apart from human rights issues he preferred playing in the US. Henrik Stenson however, said: “The Middle East has been my home for a number of years and the way you are welcomed is second to none.” Depends on how much money you've got Henrik.
After warnings that Saudi Arabia's water will run out in the next 25 years, building golf courses wouldn't seem such a good idea. However, Saudi is ploughing on into the 21st century, and the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club will host its first ever tournament for women in March. No, they won't be wearing Burkhas.
TO BOAST TO YOUR FRIENDS that you beat the Worlds' No. 1. golfer must be the dream of every golf-loving schoolboy, so when 15 yr.old Josh Hill from Surrey beat Brooks Koepka in an 8 hole practice match for the Abu Dhabi Championship he was understandably cock-a-hoop. The teenage amateur, who competes on the Middle East-based MENA Tour, said happily:  “I learned a lot from Brooks, he's so nice, you can ask him anything,” oblivious to the sound of teeth grinding behind him.

RENOWNED COURSE DESIGNER PETE DYE, who died last month aged 94, played from an early age on the 9-hole golf course designed by his father at their home in Ohio. Together with his wife Alice, like him an accomplished amateur golfer, Pete designed over 100 golf courses in countries including Britain, Italy, Switzerland, China and naturally the USA. TPC Sawgrass and Kiawah Island are two of his triumphs, and Whistling Straights will play host to the Ryder Cup in September.  Many of his course designs were inspired by his travels; his use of pot bunkers and double greens were as a result of his visits to Scotland. Pete Dye was called by Greg Norman “The Picasso of Course Design,” though having seen some Picassos I wouldn't take that as a compliment.

ELVIS PRESLEY'S golf buggy is up for sale, estimated price: $60,000. It will be auctioned online by the Graceland Foundation. Elvis was not a golfer, he bought the 3-wheeled white Harley-Davidson buggy, number plate 1.ELVIS, in 1967, and used it to travel around his 14 acre home in Graceland, Memphis. Described as having: ‘slightly worn tyres and scratches to the exterior, and needs some servicing to become operational.' (In other words it won't go.)
Until next time: Happy Golfing.
Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. 638 859 475.


In The Bunker With Mick The Grip

DO THE GREENLANDERS complain when there is no grass on their course? No, they put a flag in the ice, use orange balls and get on with it. Ice golf, which takes it's roots back to 17th century Holland, is very much alive and well in the Arctic Circle. The World Ice Golf Championship has been played since 1999 and draws an international field. Played in April on a small island called Uummannaq, off Greenland, the 36 hole tournament (promoted by Drambuie, it goes well with ice) sees golfers hitting the course in -50 degree temperatures. The greens are “whites” with smoothed down surfaces. Icebergs feature in the background, along with the odd strolling polar bear.
Because the course is built on a moving glacier the “whites” can only be cut a few days before the tournament in case they crack, The playing surface could be described as variable, with 2cm of frozen powder snow lying on an ice sheet. It's advisable to shallow out your angle of attack, to avoid broken wrists. As my old gran used to say, there are definitely more out than in.

THE FALDO SERIES Europe 2019 took place on the Al Ain course, Abu Dhabi. The champion was Arron Edwards-Hill (20) from Chelmsford Golf Course, who overcame a 4-shot deficit on the final day to win the trophy by 2 shots from S. Africa's Dylan Melville, who also won the under 16 trophy. Showing experience beyond his years Edwards-Hill shot 3 rounds in the 60's on the tricky Al Ain course, and started his final back nine with 5 straight birdies to finish with a 64. Sir Nick, who presented the trophy, said: “I am proud the Faldo Series has grown in 23 years to be the standard event in junior golf, and I am so impressed by the quality of these guys.”

TOP OF MY CHRISTMAS LIST was “Now for the Back Nine” written by former Ryder Cup Player and renowned coach Peter Dawson, who at 69 has seen it all and done a fair amount of it. Suffering from arthritis, and having had two knee replacements, he decided golfers who weren't quite as nimble as they used to be could do with a book to help them get the most out of their game. “I couldn't do now what half the youngsters are being taught, I can't swing the way I used to in the 70's. I realised I had to adapt my swing to work within my limitations,” said Peter. The book has tips and advice to seniors on how to rediscover some of those yards lost over the years. With photographs and anecdotes from his career, and contributions from Peter Alliss and Tony Jacklin, Peter Dawson's book makes enjoyable reading, and helps us Grumpy old Golfers still enjoy our beloved game. Hopefully it will help the still-keen players who, to paraphrase Mr. Morecambe, are playing all the right shots but not necessarily in the right order.

THE NEW WORLD HANDICAP SYSTEM will be introduced this year, and England Golf are touring the UK with a road show to explain how it will work. The new system being launched in several countries under the R & A's jurisdiction will unite the six current handicap indexes operating around the world into one global system. It aims to provide a fairer way of calculating players' handicaps by taking their best 8 rounds from 20. These can include scores from competitions or social games played over 9 or 18 holes, taking into account the slope index and course rating. Spain, never a country to rush things, estimates their Royal Golf Federation will have the system up and running sometime this year!

IT's BEEN ANOTHER GREAT YEAR for golf. Tiger Woods's memorable win at the 83rd Masters in April, Rory winning the Tour Championship and Fedex Cup at Eastlake in August and of course Shane Lowry's unforgettable British Open at Royal Portrush in July all made for some terrific golf-viewing. Here's to more great golf in 2020.

Until next time: Happy New Year and Happy Golfing.
Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. Tel 638 859 475.