WHEN THE KO’OLAU GOLF CLUB opened on Oahu, Hawaii, the local branch of the PGA sent representatives to rate the difficulty of the course, carved out of tropical rain forest with winding ravines. They gave it a slope rating of 162. The upper limit for difficulty is normally 155, so the PGA HQ sent their own delegation to check. They ranked it even higher, at 172.
The course has since been altered and is now rated 153, but Ko’olau is still considered the USA’s most challenging golf course with long carries off the back tees and impenetrable rough, and from the more forgiving forward tees ten forced carries of over 110 yards. At $165 a round, why pay to torture yourself?
ACES ON PAR FOURS are rare, but at the CJ Cup in Korea this month Phil Mickelson’s tee shot hit the flagstick on the 353 yd. par-4 14th before spinning back. In 2018 Robert Garrigus’s tee shot did the same on the 17th at TPC Scottsdale during the WM Phoenix Open.
But in 2001 PGA Tour history was made on the same hole at the Phoenix Open. Andrew Magee made the first ever Tour ace on a par four with his driver on the 332 yd hole. A plaque is there to record it. Magee would probably have preferred a Porsche.
RICKIE FOWLER said recently he needed to work on his putting, but he did take time off to marry his long-time girlfriend, US Olympic pole-vaulter Allison Stokke, on a stunning white beach somewhere in Mexico. They spent the honeymoon at a secret location as well, presumably to practice their putting and pole-vaulting.
78 EUROPEAN TOUR players and 78 Ladies European Tour players will compete next June in the €1.5 million “Scandinavian Mixed” hosted by Henrik Stenson & Annika Sorenstam at Bro Hof Slott Club in Stockholm. It will be the first time Europe’s top male and female players go head to head for the same prize money on the same course. European Tour CEO Keith Pelley said he intended to make the Tour innovative and inclusive and it’s going to be innovative and inclusive if it kills him.
THE FALDO SERIES, the only global amateur series for boys and girls with handicaps from +4 to 12, was conceived in 1996, after Sir Nick Faldo’s sixth major triumph. A non profit-making concept designed to introduce youngsters to the game, the Faldo Series consists of 40 events though 30 countries worldwide (Faldo Series Asia joined in 2006) and was a stepping stone in the careers of Rory McIlroy, Eddie Pepperell and Danny Willett. “We divided the UK into regions, playing on great courses like Royal St. Georges,” said Faldo, “the first Grand Final was won by Nick Dougherty.”
Faldo attends as many events as he can. although his son Matthew now runs the Series. This year’s Europe Grand Final will be held on the 12th-14th November, at the Al Ain Club, UAE, where 65 of the world’s best young golfers will compete for one of the biggest crowns in Junior Golf.
JUSTIN ROSE is hoping for a hat trick when he defends his Turkish Airlines Open title at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal Resort, Antalya, on November 7-10. He’s won three out of four events in the country and earned more than £3 million of Turkish Delight in the process. “I love playing in Turkey” he said, unsurprisingly.
The top 50 players in the Race to Dubai Rankings will contest the season-ending DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai from November 21-24 with prize money totalling $8million, making it the richest prize in world golf. No wonder so many boys would rather join the Faldo Series than become a train driver.
THE LANGUAGE OF Victorian golf reporters was rather different from those today: Old Tom Morris defeated 33 players to win the 1893 St Andrews Club Makers’ Medal. He was reported as: “Like Odysseus among the Phaecians at the court of Alcinous.”
Wayne Gretzky couldn’t have put it better.
Until next time: Happy Golfing.
Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. Tel. 638 859 475.