Barney's February 2017 Newsletter
Good fortune and family ties take my wife and I to Florida at this time of year and I am sure you will all be glad to know the region is enjoying unseasonably warm weather. Temperatures consistently in the 70's (they prefer fahrenheit over here) have made our trip even more fun. We attended the mind boggling PGA show in Orlando, which to give you an idea on size, boasts "ten miles of aisles". Basically everything pertaining to golf is there and some things you didn't know you might need are on display. This link shows the strangest and goofiest products on display.
There were some really interesting seminars and interviews. We particularly enjoyed Colin Montgomerie, who I have to say was in great form talking about Ryder Cups, the modern game, Tiger and of course himself.
Bubba Watson was entertaining and the highlight here was when two delightful girls aged 7 and 9 came on stage to talk about their golf and the participation in the Drive, Chip & Putt competition now held at the The Masters each year. Bubba posed the question as to what they were best at in these three disciplines and they both returned quizzical looks and replied "all of it's good". The great man raised his eyebrows, as did the adult audience and all of us thought "wish we were!"
Jennie got to meet the legend that is Annika Sorenstam who was absolutely charming.
I have also been doing some professional development out here, so I am up to date for my students this year. I spent a day with Mike Bender, who is Zach Johnson's coach and works with many top players. It is always interesting to hear his take on the game and he has written a really interesting book on our pre swing routines when playing. In my next newsletter I will go over some of the pointers, as he he done some excellent research on the subjects.
On the PGA Tour last weekend was the rather well attended Phoenix Open (650,000 people for the week!) Of course the favourite hole is the Par 3 16th where basically it is like a football stadium with a 22,000 capacity. Similar in size in fact to Vicarage Road, home of my beloved Watford FC, although I can't say I'd fancy hitting a golf shot there.
As the day wears on and the liquor (as they quaintly call it out here) begins to take effect, the noise becomes enormous. Any player missing the green gets boo'd, in fact any ball not within 10ft gets the crowds' cold shoulder. As you can imagine, Andrew "Beef" Johnson is fitting right in on the PGA Tour and is quickly becoming a firm favourite. The organisers of upcoming tournaments will not be able to resist the urge to pair "Beef" with Daniel Berger and perhaps Emiliano Grillo (Just for a bit of irony, Grillo's first win was in the Frys.com Open!)
Our best golfing treat on this visit was a trip to the amazing TPC Sawgrass to play the stadium course with our dear friends Ron and Kevin Craig who organised our grand day out. Needless to say it was a terrific golf course and much more European
in its' feel as fast running fairways, undulating and small target greens were the order of the day.
We all had some good holes and felt very bullish approaching the small (trust me, it's smaller than you think) island green on the 17th. All of us went swimming, however the caddy consoled us with the fact that at each tournament approximately 50 shots go in the water over the 4 days and over a year they dredge 100,000 out of the lake. Watch out for the event in May.
Here's hoping that if you face any water over the next few weeks it will be just to go over, rather than coming from the sky.
Enjoy your golf, all the best