Barney's September 2019 Newsletter
All in all a good summer I feel this year. On a recent David Short Golf trip that my wife Jennie and I were hosting in Scotland, we had a first (certainly in my lifetime) of seven days wall to wall sunshine, which is unheard of north of the border! We played the wonderful Blairgowrie courses, which if you ever find yourself up there are well worth visiting along with Pitlochry and Creiff. The welcome we received was terrific and we had a member assigned to our group to show us where everything was and make us feel right at home, which was a thoughtful touch I felt.
On the Professional Tours, this year the USPGA has moved to May. This has had the knock on effect on our own PGA at Wentworth which is now later this month and for me this is a winner. Usually the weather this month is good and because the PGA Tour is winding down, three top Americans in the shape of Tony Finau, Patrick Reed and Billy Horschel are playing in the event. It is a long time since a top American played in our PGA Championship. We probably need to go back to 1970 something when Arnold Palmer was a regular on our shores.
A great friend of mine had his first visit to a Pro Tournament as a youngster back in 1975, the PGA Championship at Sandwich. His dad said the first player we need to see is the great Arnie, so they dutifully found him in the middle of the 2nd fairway facing a 180 yards shot into the ever present breeze that you can find by the seaside. He did his trade mark hitch up of the trousers, gave the ball a mighty thump and it went into the hole! Needless to say my friend Graham was hooked on golf and went on to become a Professional himself.
With all the gloom and doom surrounding dropping memberships at clubs, some rays of light have broken through. In a recent survey they stated that there had been a 25% increase in golf participation as the amount of rounds played in the first half of 2019 is significantly up on the same period last year. Interestingly there are over 3 million players who are full course users and around 12 million who do 9 hole, pitch and putt, adventure golf and foot golf. Several reports have also been published on the mental and health benefits of our wonderful game. A round of golf has many therapeutic ingredients - exercise - probably north of 15,000 steps each round, time spent in the outdoors (communing with nature), the fostering of new and existing relationships and managing our stress. I think the relationships we make are my favourite takeaway. Over the years at Golf Clubs that I have worked at and during my playing days and golf trips I do with David Short Golf, I have met so many great people and forged long lasting friendships.
I think for golf clubs to thrive once more we need to promote all the benefits playing the game gives us. It is hopefully more than somewhere where you put a few pounds into a sweep once a week. The after golf drink discussing how great we were and the anticipation of the next event at the club and the joy of seeing youngsters take up golf are all part of why we join. In these uncertain times there is something reassuring about arriving at the golf club knowing no matter how we play we will feel uplifted by the experience.
I had a tremendous example of how golf helps the ageing process from my long tern student and friend Wallace Russell. He wanted to tune his game up in preparation for a competition he is playing at the wonderful Portstewart in Northern Ireland. As we put the finishing touches to his swing he let on it will be his birthday just prior to the event.
Have a look at his swing on the video clip below
When I enquired as to the number he said "Well if you multiply the second number of my age by three, you will get the first number". With maths not being a strong point for me, it took me a while to realise it was of course a 3 which with the multiplying makes 9 therefore he will be 93!
I hope you enjoy the upcoming golf on TV, at your club or on a trip with us!
Enjoy your golf wherever you are.
All the best
Fellow of the PGA