Ian Woosnam, Peter Baker, Jean Van de Velde and Thomas Levet gives their views on the 2018 Ryder Cup
It's not often that you are in the presence of golfing greatness. We were invited to a special round table discussion with Ian Woosman, Peter Baker, Jean Van De Velde and Thomas Levet. These Ryder Cup legends gave their full analysis on Europe's emphatic victory at Le Golf National.
Sit back, relax and see what the legends thought about Team USA, the course and Bjorn's captaincy.
The European Senior Masters returns to the Forest of Arden this week so we thought it would be a good idea to have a chat with three of the StaySure Tour's biggest stars. However, this is not just your normal interview. Instead, we handed the questioning duty over to LET star, Sophie Walker to find out more.
We all remember our times playing crazy golf whilst on holiday. Usually, the obstacle was an old wooden windmill that had seen better days. For many of us, it was moments like these that helped us pick up a club for the first time and for some, it was these moments that made us take the game one stage further. Whatever the outcome, we all had fun and took away these precious memories. However, back then, we were kids and for a long the world of crazy golf has become something nostalgic. That was until things changed.
Now crazy golf has become urbanised. Far away from the seaside resorts, we have seen them pop up in places like London, Birmingham and Manchester. From Dinosaur themed courses to things like Ghetto Golf in Liverpool. However, Ghetto Golf is not for the kids. This one is purely for the adults with its imposing bar and graffiti-based art. Situated in the Cains Brewery Village in Liverpool, you very quickly get a sense of what Ghetto Golf is all about.
Loud urban music greets you as you head to the bar to wait for your tee time. It’s while waiting that you can fully take it all in. The walls are full of graffiti art including a lovable minion swiftly extending his middle finger. It pretty much sums up the attitude here. You are here to have fun however you intend to do it. Take your beers around the course and enjoy yourselves.
Everywhere I look I see people doing just that. Selfies, laughter and all in your far from your usual golfing attire. Instead, the weekend is here and the revellers are dressed for a night on the tiles. From young students enjoying a round before heading out for some snakebite, to couples on their first dates. We even bumped into hip OAPS refusing to let their age prevent them from having a laugh. If this is the future of crazy golf, then count me in.
This 18 hole course should take about an hour to complete with each hole being completely unique in it own way. The first hole is in a caravan, the second has a library feel to it and the third takes you to a skate park slope. Yet it was the fifth hole that was completely different to anything I have ever seen. The aim was to get the ball into the toilet. Now that was somewhere I never thought I’d retrieve my golf ball from.
I may have seen golf’s finest perform and had the pleasure to interview many but I would give my right arm to see them at a place like this. To see them enjoying themselves rather than have their game faces on.
As we approached the arcade machine phase of the course the artwork perfectly blended Sonic the Hedgehog and Space Invaders to create a pinball hole. Along each hole, I thought to myself, “This is harder than it looks!” The scorecard reflected that but really the idea of keeping score wasn’t what was important. I don’t think I have enjoyed a round of golf like this in a long time. If anything, it took me back to those days playing crazy golf on holiday. I may have entered as an adult but I found my inner child once again...only slightly more inebriated.
It was only on the way home that the thinking fully began. Whilst everyone had fun, how many would consider actually playing golf properly? My guess is not many. Perhaps there is a valid reason for this. Golf is often seen as a boring game yet Ghetto Golf was the complete opposite. It was fun, vibrate and full of energy. Perhaps golf itself should start taking a hard look at itself to see if there are lessons that can be learnt. After all, we talk continuously about attracting younger players from both sexes. Ghetto Golf doesn’t have that problem at all. That is why it should be embraced by the golfing community. It may not golf as we know it, but it is still golf and if some of the those we played alongside were to try a traditional golf course in the future, then it will be the likes of Ghetto Golf that helped in growing the game.
Cains Brewery Village
£10 for 18 holes.
The last round has been completed and the final ball has been putted. Marking the end of the 2018 Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship. In what was once again an incredibly successful week, Nailcote Hall in Warwickshire played host to the four-day event that saw Challenge Tour star, Steven Tiley crowned champion.
His score of -6 saw him scoop the title and the €50,000 prize that comes with it. This year’s Pro-Am was fiercely contested, taking place on Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 August. Tiley was the standout player from the start and his score of -3 on the first day gave him the edge, seeing him become the overnight leader.
In what ended up being a straight shootout between him and EuroPro star, Andrew Marshall for the title, Tiley won it by the narrowest of margins with just one stroke in it. He only needed par on the final hole to secure victory, which he secured with ease.
Some of the other stars who competed this year included European Tour rookie, Aaron Rai, Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour star Charley Hull, 1991 Masters winner, Ian Woosnam OBE and The Open star Sam Locke.
Other highlights of the day saw Staysure Tour star, Gary Wolstenholme MBE, score the week’s first hole-in-one. The day also saw wins for Mark McNulty in the Super Senior Category, and Andrew Marshall and Jeff Sverdlow win the team aspect of the event.
The Norma C Herd Silver Salver, which is presented to the best scoring amateur player, was awarded to David Nelson, with Monday’s Junior Qualifier winner, 15 year-old Nick Matthews, in second place.
Two time Major winner and event host, Tony Jacklin CBE, explained why this year’s event is so special: “Each year the Farmfoods British Par 3 gets bigger and better, and this year has been no different. We’ve welcomed a whole host of stars of the game to Nailcote Hall this week but one of the standout moments for me was seeing our Junior Qualifier winner, Nick Matthews, in action. His second round paired him with 1991 Masters winner and former world number one, Ian Woosnam OBE, and this is what our event is all about. It is something I hope we can carry on doing long into the future, uncovering more and more future stars of the game.”
The week doesn’t only see Ryder Cup winners, European Tour stars and Staysure Tour legends take to the Cromwell Course, but the event is also bookended with two Celeb-Ams. Tuesday 7 August saw the first one take place with the likes of former Strictly Come Dancing judge, Len Goodman, England rugby legend, Mike Tindall MBE, Irish boyband star, Brian McFadden and Harry Potter actors, James and Oliver Phelps in action.
The event was won by ex-Liverpool defender Steve Staunton with a score of +1 enough to claim victory.
The curtain came down on the event on Friday 10 August in the second Celeb-Am which saw Geordie Shore star Gaz Beadle, Coronation Street legend, William Roache MBE, BBC Sport and news host, Dan Walker and ex-Scotland manager, Gordon Strachan OBE.
The event was won by former Wolves striker Don Goodman with a score of +3 concluding a fantastic week of golfing action.
The week was a roaring success, with plans already underway for 2019…
A whole host of sponsors supported this year’s event. Once again, the event’s title sponsor is nationwide supermarket Farmfoods, with leading brand agency Champions (UK) plc returning as event organisers. Other event partners include Nailcote Hall, Volvik, The Eagle Tour, Sky Sports Golf, Liberty Industries Group, Total Motion, Inspirational Magazine, Finest Catch, Sub70 Golf, Champions Celebrity Talent Agency, VPAR, Thomas Lyte, Champions After Dinner Speakers and Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People.
A lot can happen in a year. For Ashley Mason, his second place at the 2017 British Par 3 Championship at Nailcote Hall provided the finances to make a stronger push to make his dreams a reality.
As our Pro-Am partner at the British Par 3 that year we like to feel that perhaps some Golfhacker magic occured that week. It was certainly as great story to be a part of as he narrowly missed out on the glory. However, finishing second meant that he scooped significant prize money and gained an automatic invite to this year's event.
Since then, Mason has been on quite a journey that has involved Q-School for the European Tour, EuroPro Tour events and the Alps Tour. He has even taken up membership at Nailcote Hall as he attempted to go one better this year. He may have come up short this year but his T-4 finish means he will be invited back again next year and takes away some much needed prize money.
Our Equipment Editor, William Murfitt, caught up with him at the end of his round to find out more about his year.
The British Par 3 attracts a lot of Celebrities to play in the Celeb-Am. Here, amateurs have the opportunity to play alongside some of the U.K's biggest names from sporting legends to stars of television. We sent Martin Bedborough from #TeamGolfhacker along to chat to as many as he could. He didn't disappoint.
From Olympians to Rugby stars, Martin made the most of the access he had.
Check it out below:
Last year's British Par 3 Champion, Richard O'Hanlon seeks to become the first player to win the British Par 3 for a third time. No one has ever successfully defended the championship in its 84 year history. Could Richard be the first player to change that?
Our Equipment Editor, William Murfitt, caught up with Richard to find out more about his victory, Nailcote Hall and how he managed to get back from France in time to defend his title.
It might sound hard to believe but Jenni Falconer has only been playing golf since the end of February. The T.V and Radio personality arrived at Nailcote Hall to participate in her first British Par 3 Championship Celeb-Am. Considering how long she has been playing, we wanted to find out more about her golfing journey so far.
Golf was something she had always fancied trying and she made 2018 her year to do exactly that. Since then, she has completely fallen in love with the game. Not only has she participated in Pro-Ams such as Golfsixes, but she is also aiming to get people more involved in the game.
#FalconerForeGolf will showcase her journey from complete novice to ultimately, a fully fledged golfer. Working in conjunction with Love.golf and The PGAs of Europe, Jenni aims to use her newly acquired skills to inspire others to pick up a club just as she has.
We hoped to have a chat with Jenni to find out more about her new found love of golf however, it would turn out that we got a lot more than that. Having never taken on the Nailcote Hall Cromwell Course before, we thought we would give Jenni a helping hand.
“Have you got a caddie for today Jenni?” I asked.
“No, do you think it would help?” came her reply.
“Of course, they do more than just carry the bag. I have someone in mind.”
William Murfitt was the ideal choice. He was my caddie when I took on the British Par 3 Championship last year. If anyone could help Jenni, then it was him. He knew the course, he knew about the game and most importantly of all, he knows just when the right words need to be said to the best out of a player.
Considering Jenni has only been playing for a matter of months it was clear to see that she takes her golf seriously. Here was a player that wants to improve and taking on Will’s advice she successfully navigated her way around the challenging course.
Here she is in action alongside the guys from Muller who proved to be great fun throughout the day. Ben Nichols, Alex DeAth and James Guy...take a bow gents. Ben has only been playing for three weeks by the way. It was a great group to be a part of and hopefully, they will keep on playing after their experience at the British Par 3 Championship.
Check out all the action here:
Every summer a very special tournament is played. It doesn’t have the same fanfare that some of the other tournaments have during the summer of golf that invades Britain. Instead, it quietly goes about its business whilst at the same time breaking barriers within the game. The Cromwell Course at Nailcote Hall plays host to the British Par 3 Championship and if you have never heard about this hidden gem within the game, then perhaps this might make you think about coming along. Here is a tournament where age, ability, sex and reputation counts for nothing. For four days in August in Warwickshire, the Cromwell course brings the game together in ways that often feel is impossible.
Rick Cressman, the owner of Nailcote Hall, perhaps sums up the event better than we ever could. He told Golfhacker that: “It doesn’t matter how old they are, it doesn’t matter what sex they are. It’s a real opportunity to show that this game is a game for all and it’s a sport that really is a sport for life. You can enjoy this from 5 to 95.”
“Par 3 Golf has an enormous role to play in the future of the game in a society around the world that has less time to enjoy their leisure,” continued Cressman who also believes that Par 3 golf is where you can really hone in on your golfing improvement.
“This is where you can practice the skills that pay the bills. We have all heard the phrase “Driver for show, putt for dough”, but this is where you can see all of those short game skills that if you are going to be a really good golfer, you’ve got to have.”
One player who regularly graces the course at Nailcote Hall is Carly Booth. The LET player echoes what Cressman says about the short game. “Do you know what, it kills me every year. It makes me feel like I have the worst short game but its good fun,” Booth told us. “ It makes me realise how important the short game is. You play for great money so the competition is top with great players. It brings a little fun and a different light to golf as well.”
Golfhacker knows exactly what she is talking about. Last year, we were invited to play alongside Ashley Mason. Whilst the course might look relatively straightforward, it is anything but. This course can easily chew you up and spit you out. Not for Mason though who eventually finished in a tie for second alongside Eddie Pepperell.
This is what makes the British Par 3 Championship so special. From Major champions such as Tony Jacklin and Ian Woosnam to some of the top Women players including Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, the tournament allows a level playing field even allowing players from lesser known tours to challenge for the €50,000 first prize.
It is also a tournament loved by the many celebrities that play in the Celeb-Am. From Formula One champion, Nigel Mansell to boy band royalty including Brian Mcfadden and Keith Duffy, the British Par 3 Championship attracts many big names to enjoy a round of golf.
The price is right for spectators too. The tournament is completely free to attend and enjoy. It gives us a rare chance to see players loving the game they are playing. For us, it continues to rekindle our love of the game, to remind us that the barriers of age and sex that exist in the game are there to be broken down with a smile, laughter and the occasional cry of “Fore!”`
Get your free tickets here: http://britishpar3.com/booking/event-ticket/2018
There are fans and then there are superfans. All of which get a real experience at the Ricoh Women's British Open
It was purely by chance that I met Estela HJ Park. Her name won't ring any bells when it comes to Women's Golf. There is a good reason for that. That is because she a fan. However, Estela is no ordinary fan. She is a self-confessed superfan.
Arriving back to my hotel after a long day inside the Media Tent covering the Ricoh Women's British Open at Royal Lytham St Annes I approached the bar for a much-needed drink.
She asked the manager, "Tomorrow I'm going to the golf, what is the best way to get there?"
"Here's your man, he's working there all week," he said pointing her towards me. So began our journey together.
Estela is a student currently living and studying in Germany but she is Korean. Her English is really strong and she is easy to talk to. Whilst we sat with our drinks she told me about her love of golf and in particular, her love for one certain player, Hyo-Joo Kim.
Estela's excitement was clearly on show when she told me that: "I can't wait to see her tomorrow, her swing is so elegant. I love her. Look at this." She proceeded to show me her phone. Her golfing idol graced the back of it.
"I'll show you how to get there but I have to be early, don't be late and try to get some sleep." All of a sudden I began to sound like my age. Believe it or not but there was a time when I was cool, staying up late and partying. Those days seem to become a distant memory with every year that goes by.
In the morning we headed to the course. After travelling all this way to see Hyo-Joo Kim I thought it would be best if I supplied the breakfast. Fruit, pastry and some water as she embarked on her journey around Royal Lytham.
If it is a PR charm offensive then it is certainly working but there something genuine about it. Ever since my first Ricoh Women's British Open back in 2012, it has been clear to see. For me, it was one of the reasons why I fell in love with the women's game. The LPGA had a slogan a few years ago that was "See why it's different out here." It certainly is and the fans love it.
I met Estela again that day. I knew where she would be. She was the easiest fan to find. All I had to do was to head to see Hyo-Joo Kim's group. After her round, we headed to the autograph area.
"I have a present for her." Estela was carrying a bag that I had noticed earlier. Inside was some Cypriot jellies that she bought on a recent holiday. Writing a message on them with her sharpie she eagerly waited.
With the inability to transcribe or even understand Korean, I just watched as the two chatted. The gift was handed over and both bowed towards each other. The respect between and fan was clear for everyone to see.
When Estela turned back to me she was beaming with happiness. It was a pleasure to see and for Estela, it was a long journey made complete. I didn't see her this morning as I left the hotel to begin another day of coverage but I will find her on the course that is for sure. All I have to do is be there at 12.25pm when Hyo-Joo Kim tees off for her final round alongside Catriona Matthew.