Barney's May 2017 Newsletter
And that old saying of "ne'er cast a clout till May be out" was never truer than for May 2017! I have had thermals, roll necks and woolly hats on this month as well as applying sun screen and looking out my deck chairs! It now looks like our waterproofs will not be required for the foreseeable, although courses everywhere are in real need of some water.
Speaking of golf courses, I have been fortunate enough to play at some super venues recently with Woburn & The Buckinghamshire top of the list. I also had a very pleasing experience at Mannings Heath, down in West Sussex, where I was conducting a clinic for a company golf day. From literally getting out of my car the welcome and assistance we received was first class. It was great chatting to some of their members and staff who were clearly very proud of their club and rightly so. The unique feature there is that it is also a wine estate, so in their excellent and friendly Pro Shop you can buy a box of Pro V's and a bottle of the local wine. Who knew golf and wine went together? As I was packing up to leave a couple of members came over to ask how we had enjoyed our day and after my glowing response, they made a really nice comment "That's good as we really want golfers that play here to feel that they are members for the day!"
On the Professional scene, I thought the recent 6s tournament at the superb Centurion was really good and had bags of innovation. The concept of playing two man teams in matches over six holes was different and you could say it was a six-cess (sorry couldn't resist). There were parallels to one day cricket and certainly golf needs to speed up and start appealing to a wider audience and judging by the number of youngsters I saw there, this event is definitely onto something. There were fireworks, golfers being announced along the lines of darts and snooker players, music, a spot of pantomime booing for the Scottish team, a person dressed up as a "six" who England's Andy Sullivan took every opportunity to chest bump.
Andy's partner the super tall, super swinging Chris Wood looked a tad apprehensive about all the hubbub and reminded me of someone who goes to a party and on arrival finds everyone around four drinks ahead of them and all having a great time and they are then wondering just how quickly they can catch up! Have a look at the video of the Top 6 Shots of the Sixes
The new European Tour Director, Keith Pelly is aware that the consumption among sports fans is changing and golf needs to acknowledge the new era. With a nod to this in a social game with three friends recently we played 3 x 6 hole matchplay, changing partners each 6 holes and it was fun. Two games were all square and the other 1 up, so a good close format. I think even at club level, the seeming need to play four ball better ball stablefords all the time perhaps needs a review. Match play is a forgotten game and it's speedy and as in the 6s event the odd spot of greensome's golf is well worth trying.
The Tournament Players Championship at the fiendishly difficult Sawgrass was entertaining as always. When Jennie and I were fortunate enough to play there in February, we found this out too. As we all deposited a ball or two into the water on the 17th. I was heartened to hear that on average at the event 10% of the field go in too. Always good to know you can do something as good as a PGA Tour Player!
The winner in the shape of the youthfull Si Woo Kim, calmly navigated his way round this treacherous course and at 21 became the events youngest winner. The course took its full toll on the illustrious field, on the last day luminaries Jason Day, Sergio and JB Holmes scoring 80, 78 and 85 respectively and Jordan Spieth missed the cut for the third year in a row. It was great to see former local hero Ian Poulter back on form and contending and his excellent runner up placing, I'm sure will be the springboard for continued success this season.
Enjoy your golf whilst the sun is shining!
All the best