THE ILE AUX CERFS Golf Club, Mauritius, a combination of golf course and paradise. On an island separated from the mainland by a turquoise lagoon, it boasts a luxurious hotel voted one of the world’s best. Designed by Bernhard Langer, the course features volcanic outcrops, lakes and gullies, with some tee shots across sea inlets. Unfortunately, the Indian Ocean is rising and it may not be long before golfers are issued with an inflatable buggy and a mask and snorkel.
YOU HAVE TO FEEL SORRY for these golf superstars who slave away designing courses on unspoilt tropical islands. Also spare a thought for Masa Nishijima, International Consultant for Top 100 Golf Courses. It is his melancholy duty to play on every contender for ‘World’s Top Courses’ and help to rate them accordingly. Masa has played everywhere from Royal Melbourne to Ballybunion while compiling his list. I suppose somebody has to do it.
HAVING GROWN UP in Merseyside, Tommy Fleetwood will be very much the home-town hero when he hosts the 2019 British Masters at Hillside golf club, near Southport. The tournament, which has been moved to May and is at present without a sponsor, will mark the European Tour’s first visit to Hillside since Tony Jacklin won the Sun Alliance PGA – the precursor to the BMW PGA Championship – in 1982.
THE EUROPEAN TOUR’S exhausting 2019 schedule features 48 tournaments in 31 countries spanning 5 continents. The Tour’s efforts to make golf more inclusive and FUN will see the return of GolfSixes, to be played in Portugal, World Super Six Perth, the Shot Clock Challenge and the Belgian Knockout .
January’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be added to the Rolex Series and the prize fund increased to €7m to bring it in line with the other Rolex Series events (Irish Open, Scottish Open, BMW PGA Championship, Italian Open, Turkish Airlines Open, Nedbank Golf Challenge and the DP World Tour Championship.) The French Open has been dropped from the series, which will do nothing to improve the Entente Cordiale.
WAS GOLF HARDER 25 years ago? Roger Chapman, European Tour golfer in the 80’s says:
“If you were behind a tree you could manoeuvre the ball 30-40 yards. These days it just reaches its peak and then falls out of the air. The old ball would carry on bending. I was in the top third of driving distances on the European Tour in the Persimmon days with about 260 yards, now I’m 25 years older and hitting it 25 yards further. Everyone has to go with technology but I preferred it before, the sound of Persimmon was just a great noise. Now it is just ‘get it in the air quickly and let it fly.’ The combination of club and ball means they can hit it 340 yards which seems all wrong.”
LEE WESTWOOD’S GIRLFRIEND Helen Storey was on the bag when he won the Nedbank Challenge. She will now be a permanent fixture, replacing his caddie of ten years, Billy Foster, who’s last pairing with Westwood was at the Turkish Airlines Open the week before, when Westwood tied for 35th place. Foster said he and Westwood have parted on good terms, “Although he might have waited more than a week before winning a million dollars!”
ALONGSIDE THE updated R & A and USPGA Official Rules of Golf book, a printed and digital copy of the Players Edition has been introduced as a more user-friendly version, with illustrations and easy to follow diagrams and charts. Access via the R&A website and app.
My opinion of the new rules in force from January is as follows:
Like: Drop from knee height.
Like: Can repair damage including spike marks on greens.
Dislike: Putting with the pin in.
Can’t understand why they didn’t consult me first.
WHAT A TWIT: Bubba Watson had to show off his chip shot despite bring 41,000 ft up in a private plane, sending a golfball straight down the aisle. The applause would have been short-lived if it had gone through the windscreen.
Until next time, Happy Golfing.
Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. 638 859 475.