NOT MANY GOLFERS have the chance to play at Augusta National. However, Covid permitting, you could always head for Buxton in Derbyshire instead. The Cavendish Golf Club, designed by Dr. Alister McKenzie, offers the next best thing. Regarded as the inspiration for Augusta, many holes mirror those of the hallowed Masters course.

Opened in 1925, eight years before Augusta, it plays over undulating moorland terrain, with valleys, deep hollows and well thought-out hazards.  The river Wye flows across both the 10th and 11th holes and winds it’s way towards the Georgian spa town of Buxton.   Senior course architect Jonathan Gaunt says: “Much of what golfers love about Augusta can be discovered at Cavendish, almost untouched for 90 years, and still a challenge.”  No magnolias, but at least you could afford a drink in the clubhouse.

THE FATHER/SON CHALLENGE started as an annual golf tournament for pro golfers and their sons, but after several daughters entered they renamed it the PNC Championship. Played over two days, the 20 teams compete for the Willie Park Trophy.  The fathers need to have won either a Major or The Players to be eligible for entry. The juniors range from school age up.

In December last year Bernhard Langer and son Jason fired a second consecutive round of 60 (- 12) before clinching victory over Team Goosen and Team Lehman with a 16ft eagle by Jason on the first hole of the playoff at the Ritz Carlton Club, Orlando.  Sons and daughters fight over who should play.  Jack Nicklaus’s sons used to take it in turns.  Gary Player’s grandson was so keen he offered to pay his own fare, but then found he had spent all his pocket money so Gramps had to cough up.

ALLAN ROBERTSON, who died in 1859, was regarded as the finest golfer in Scotland.   ‘A Brief History of The Open reveals:  “When Robertson  died no one knew who the best golfer was, so  The Open Championship was held to find the Champion Golfer of the Year, and  perhaps as a memorial to Allan Robertson himself, the first man to break 80 around the Old Course at St Andrews.”

Willie Park, Sr. and Jr. were the first father and son Open Champions.    Willie Park Snr. started out as a caddie and entered the inaugural Open Championship at Prestwick in 1860.  The crowd favourite in the field of eight was obviously the home club’s professional, Tom Morris, Sr.  However, Park won the Championship by two strokes.

Park won the British Open four times, his brother Mungo won in 1874, and his son Willie Park, Jr.  won twice, in 1887 and 1889.   Young Willie also wrote the first book on golfing by a professional, which is still in print.   He was noted for his amazing putting skill.  Combined with Young Tom Morris’s unrivalled feat of four straight Open Championships, the Park and Morris families won 13 of the first 15 Opens ever played.

WHEN JOEL DAHMEN’S PUTT on the 18th at the 2019 Wells Fargo put him in 2nd place with an additional $158,000 towards his $853,200 runner-up cheque Joel said: “It’s ridiculous what I won today, it’s just silly.”

The DP World Tour Championship, December 13-20 on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates is the final tournament of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai and hosts the top 60 golfers on the European Tour. This year it will still carry a bonus pool for the most successful player, but the prize pot will be smaller. Smaller means a $5 million cheque for 2nd place. It just gets sillier.

2nd place at the Masters only gets about $800,000, but they do throw in a jacket.

AS IS CUSTOMARY, 2019 Masters winner Tiger Woods chooses the menu for this year’s Masters Dinner and his fellow golfers will doubtless applaud his choice of steak and chicken fajitas, whatever they are, although deciding on Milkshakes for the beverage will probably get him banned for life in Scotland. 

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs.  638 859 475.


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