Barney's May Newsletter
It is incredible to think how quickly our courses go from being a quagmire to hard and fast running. With our recent dry spell (back to back days in UK speak!) the fairways finally have some run, as do our chips coming onto the greens. Along with the warmer air encouraging our balls to fly further, a definite review on the clubs we use and landing points of shots is a good idea. The good news is that the approach to the greens are now predictable in terms of what the ball will do on landing, as many approach shots now need to land there rather than on the putting surface.
I really enjoyed the recent Tour Players Championship from the fiendishly difficult Sawgrass, won in some style by Webb Simpson. Interestingly he lead the driving accuracy (82% of the fairways) but was last in distance (still a solid 280yards btw). On the greens he holed well over 100ft of putts per day and this was the cornerstone of him winning the event, pulling away from the field. Tiger Woods continues his renaissance and from being 15 shots behind the lead, at one point he got within three, so I feel he is back on the prowl. I thought on the vagaries of course design what Pete Dye world famous course designer and Sawgrass architect had to say "Golf is not a fair game, so why build a course fair? The ardent golfer would play Mount Everest if someone put a flag stick on top" was very apt.
This week another fan favourite the PGA Championship is being played at Wentworth. There is a stellar field with McIlroy, Fleetwood, Casey, Poulter and the big easy himself Ernie Els. I thought I would include an article and a Youtube of the great man's swing. These are well worth looking at and taking the time to emulate. If you get a chance go along and enjoy the spectacle, if not enjoy the TV coverage of what is always an exciting event.
On Sunday I had a super day with the Hertfordshire U-14 Boys team at a superbly presented South Herts Golf Club. The welcome and catering were first class and the course especially the greens were outstanding. I was invited along to provide some thoughts on putting and found the team very receptive and fun to work with. They are a real credit to the Head Coach Ian Parker, and orchestrating the whole operation Manager Lee Duncan and Mid Herts dynamo Alan Green.
The day marked a milestone of 25 consecutive years of my involvement with County Coaching with either Boys, Girls, Men or Ladies. It is such a privilege to spend time and share ideas with such good players and I can honestly say after over 150 sessions, I was as keen to be part of it as on my first one at Letchworth all those years ago. Hertfordshire has a terrific Coaching and support structure for its up and coming players. Over the years I have seen some of our players go on to represent their country, play in the Walker and Curtis Cups, compete on the Professional Tours and at Elite Amateur level.
As well as the ever ebullient Alan Green, Mid Herts member Chris James does a monumental amount of work for the juniors in the County. Their never ending enthusiasm and patience (believe me organising teenage boys presents one or two challenges!) has helped to bring on generation after generation of well turned out young golfers playing the game with respect and above all enjoyment.
Our game is indeed blessed that around the Country we have so many top quality people helping to grow the game.
I am looking forward to being here for the summer and the good weather looks set fair for the foreseeable, so slap on the sunscreen, break out some new golf balls and enjoy the game.
All the best