It was a four and a half journey from their home in Essex. For any golf fan, it shows the level of commitment that many will go to in order to see their golfing icons in action. Leaving home in the early hours of the morning, Rosie Boyce was on a mission to see her favourite golfer in action. Her father, John, was in desperate need of a coffee following that particular journey. With little open by the time they had arrived, thankfully for him, it would be a journalist that provided the much needed pick me up.
It was a chance encounter as I saw my colleague chatting with John and his 13-year-old daughter. Straight away, I liked them. Rosie, for her passion for the game and John for being prepared to take that long journey in order to cement her passion. If that is not love, then I don’t know what is.
“Who is your favourite golfer?” I asked.
The reply came almost instantly. “Charley Hull!” Rosie exclaimed.
It is easy to understand why. Charley has become massively important within the women’s game. She oozes personality and has a game to match it. It is no wonder that Rosie looks towards Hull as her golfing heroine.
John had previously been in contact with Charley’s management and was lucky enough to get some signed merchandise for his daughter’s birthday. That made Rosie’s day but things were about to get even better for the young lady.
Strolling around Royal Lytham St Annes, Rosie managed to fill her flag with signatures. It was an impressive site to see when I saw them later in the day. This is what I love most about women’s golf. Nothing is too much trouble for the players when it comes to inspiring the next generation. It would be a sight I never got tired of as I wandered around the grounds.
However, we had something else in store for Rosie. A plan grew between my colleague and me. Wouldn’t it be great if Rosie could actually meet Charley in person inside the Media Tent? A few strings were pulled and she was in.
When Rosie and John entered they were made to feel completely welcome. Rosie even had a question she wanted to ask her favourite golfer.
“As now you are now asking questions, you’ll need this,” I said as I handed Rosie my Media pass. “Just don’t run off with it as I won’t be able to get back in.”
Her face lit up as Charley entered the interview room. Complete with her newly acquired pass, she was ready to ask her all-important question. I was expecting her to show some nerves but this is quite possibly the most composed young lady I have ever met.
Rosie asked her question with confidence: “When you go out for competition, what do you feel like you have to practice more, your short game or your long game?”
It was a good question and asked with such poise that for a moment I feared for my job. If becoming a professional golfer doesn’t work out for Rosie then perhaps a career in the golfing media would be a good bet.
Hull gave her answer. “Probably my putting because I do hit a lot of greens on my rounds, If I holed more putts, I would win. And everyone says like putting and short game is your main thing, but I do actually think driver as well and your tee shots have to be good because you have to get the ball in play to get on the green.”
Posing for a photo, Charley stayed a little longer to find out more about Rosie. Rosie and Charley chatted a little more. For me, it was a pleasure to see. It reminds me of the power of sport. It also reminds me how one simple gesture of generosity can inspire and galvanise a passion further.
One thing is for sure, Rosie will look back at this moment for years to come. It will inspire her to become to improve her game (she currently plays off 36) and maybe one day, both Charley and Rosie will be teeing off together in a Women’s British Open in the future.
The Ricoh Women’s British Open heads to Royal Lytham St Annes for what will be Ricoh’s final sponsorship of the event. The Japanese technology giant has sponsored the event for 12 years during which time the Women’s British Open has grown in statue adding world-class courses to the rota and seen prize money increase by $1.25 million.
Ross Hallett, Senior Vice President of golf for IMG praised Ricoh for the work they have done during the partnership saying: “This is Ricoh’s final event as our title sponsor after 12 fantastic years of working together and securing this historic Championship’s position as one of the world’s leading golf events. What started as an initial three-year partnership in 2007 has extended way beyond that. As we look back on what we’ve achieved together, we feel extremely grateful to Ricoh for their loyalty and for enthusiastically extending their commitment and expanding their contributions again and again during this period. Each of the previous 11 editions has produced great Champions and given us all great memories that will last forever.”
We can expect an announcement about a new sponsor in due course. However, for the final Ricoh Women’s British Open we can certainly expect a great send off for the longtime sponsor as In-Kyung Kim aims to defend her title that she so gallantly won at Kingsbarns.
The defending champion was in a confident mood ahead of her press conference. The ever-smiling Kim feels like she is a good place at the moment. Kim told us that: “I feel fresh, and this is my favourite golf course in the entire world. So just being here means a lot to me.”
Perhaps that is a warning sign to many. Another player who is feeling fresh is Ariya Jutanugarn. Last week’s victory at the Ladies Scottish Open was her first on a links course. The win propelled her back to World Number One and she certainly has the game to do well at Royal Lytham. The Thai favours her long irons over her driver which rarely enters her bag.
This will be her first time at Royal Lytham but already she is impressed by the course. “I was really impressed. You know, like I just played today. I didn't play yesterday.” The World Number One continued by saying, “You know, like it's so hard. Like the fairways just like pretty narrow. The bunker just like a lot of bunkers. So it's really deep. I think this course going to be really, really challenge and really need to be patient because I feel like even with no wind still going to be very tough course.”
She is not wrong, Royal Lytham St Annes is considered by many to be one of the toughest courses in England. Accuracy will be the key to success to this year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open. 206 bunkers pepper the course waiting to gobble up any stray shots. Bernard Darwin, a leading golf writer from the 1930’s probably best summed up the course when he wrote: “Hit your ball to the right place and the way to the hole is open to you, but hit your ball to the wrong place and every kind of punishment, whether immediate or ultimate, will ensue”.
The course might be tough but the competition is even tougher. There are many players who will fancy their chances at Royal Lytham. The British contingent of Charley Hull, Georgia Hall and Jodi Ewart Shadoff will all like their chances after their challenges at Kingsbarns last year.
Caroline Masson has a strong record at the Ricoh British Open. The German is putting together a solid string of results on the LPGA and could also be a threat to British hopes. Then there are the usual suspects such as Lydia Ko, Inbee Park and Anna Nordqvist who have what it takes to reign supreme at Royal Lytham St Annes.
There are of course a few notable absentees. Lexi Thompson has withdrawn from the event stating that she some time away following what has been a challenging period within her family life. Morgan Pressel failed to make it through qualifying and Paula Creamer will be nervously waiting to see if there are any last minute withdrawals as she waits in the wings as the first reserve.
As final preparations begin, the mood will undoubtedly change as Royal Lytham shows it teeth throughout the week. With Blackpool Pleasure beach on down the road, this major with have all the thrills and spills of its famous roller coasters. Some will certainly enjoy the ride and others will fear the impending drop. Either way, we are all bracing ourselves for another fantastic Ricoh Women’s British Open. For Ricoh, it will be the send-off they thoroughly deserve.
Laura Davies wins U.S Senior Women's Open but media coverage resulted in only six sentences...Here's why she deserves more.
It was an achievement that in the eyes of the BBC website warranted only six sentences. There was no narrative just a brief report about what happened on the final day in Chicago as Dame Laura Davies won the inaugural U.S Senior Women’s Open. A Major tournament reduced to only six sentences. Sky Sports faired a little better in the word count department but once again it was short and sweet. Let that sink in for a moment.
The significance of Laura Davies in women’s golf and golf in general should never be underestimated. The 54-year-old has accomplished everything that the game has to offer. Her recent triumph was the 85th time Davies had lifted a trophy during her career. Davies, if anything, is also a pioneer when it comes to women’s golf and its rise in the UK. Women’s golf was still in its infancy by the time Davies turned professional. Whilst the LPGA was still young, the LET was only just born.
Davies’s success also saw her compete in every Solheim Cup from 1990-2011. Her fellow players both young and old completely acknowledge Davies as a legend of the game. A hall of fame place beckoned in 2015 as the world of golf also rewarded Davies’s achievements.
Just six sentences summed up Davies’s victory as legends of the Women’s game gathered for the first U.S Senior Women’s Open. Winning by 10 shots over her nearest rival Juli Inkster warranted a token article that pretty much said, “See...we do cover women’s golf.”
For me, it sums up everything beautifully. Even after all of Davies’s achievements, all of those barriers that got in her way, all of the young women she inspired to pick up a club, all of her fellow professionals who regard her as a living legend in the game...she is reduced to just six sentences.
Pretty sad ain’t it when that is all that is produced by the mainstream media within your own country. Then again it is probably because they are all flocking to The Open. After all...they can’t possibly miss that one. Something tells me, whoever wins on Sunday, will get more than six sentences.
Tony Jacklin has been there, done that and brought the T-Shirt when it comes to golf. Winning the Open Championship in 1969 was swiftly followed by victory at the U.S Open in 1970. These were just two of his 30 tournament victories over his playing career. Not bad for the son of truck driver from Scunthorpe.
Tony's opinions carry much weight and he is not afraid to voice them. Speaking ahead of his hosting duties for the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship, Jacklin has expressed his views on everything from the U.S Open, The Open and GolfSixes.
Tony on the U.S Open controversy:
The Shinnecock Hills Golf Course has always been a great test over the years, but the USGA have messed it up again. This kind of thing seems to be becoming a habit for them, the way the course was set up on Saturday was just ludicrous. It seems like they end up with egg on their face every time, and most of the players are disgusted. If I’d have been playing and seen the course set-up the way it was, I would have been angry. It was madness. It wasn’t a fair test of golf, and the element of luck played a big role costing some people dearly. The whole thing turned into a joke on Saturday and you just hate to see it at that level of the game with a Major championship up for grabs. I’m sure the USGA will make their excuses but I just don’t understand it at all.
The greens at Shinnecock were more like browns! Yes, they got a very worthy champion out of it in Brooks Koepka, but it was simply just not good enough overall.
Tony on Phil Mickelson’s controversial move:
It was a crazy situation. I think they are going to have to change the rule and make it so if you hit a moving ball on purpose then you are automatically disqualified. Mickelson seemed to know what he’d done and did what he obviously thought was his best option, but it was certainly against the spirit of the game. I understand where he’s coming from as it technically is within the rules, but as long as it is in the rules it will be taken advantage of. So, it is definitely something they need to tighten up on.
Tony on Tommy Fleetwood’s rise:
His performance was spectacular. I first saw him in action when he won the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship in 2013 and he has made huge strides since then. That victory seemed to be the springboard for his career and he has developed really well in recent years. It was a tremendous ball striking round that he had, achieving a record round.
Tommy’s definitely going to win some Majors in his career, there is no doubt about that. He’s a different player to what he was five years ago and improved significantly.
He was unlucky to not win the entire competition, but Koepka was supreme. I’ve never seen anybody more in control of their golf. He was extremely confident and showed why with the performance he put in. To play the way he did knowing Fleetwood was already in at two over, was just superb.
Tony on why English players struggle in the U.S Open:
First of all, going back to when I won in 1970, players didn’t give themselves a proper chance. Colin Montgomerie came close a few times, but he’d fly in a few days before and then clear off! You can’t cherry-pick tournaments like that. When I won I was playing full-time on the American Tour and was committed to that. Justin Rose is doing that now and was when he won in 2013, and I think that is why they are increasing their chances.
But I think you need to commit to playing on the PGA Tour and feel totally at home in that environment. The European Tour is great but if you need to be in America where the best players are playing on a weekly basis. The conditions over here are generally better too and that adds another dimension to it as well. So, I would suggest more people need to play golf regularly in the USA.
Tony on his favourites for The Open:
In terms of the English players I would have to go with Tommy Fleetwood. If he ever needed assurance about how good he is then he’s got it now after that performance in the US Open. It’s a shame about that last putt as he had some opportunities on the last few holes. He’s got every right to be proud of what he has achieved so far. Coming to Carnoustie for The Open with that performance in the bag can only do him good. He will get a tremendous reception from the crowd there. When I won at Lytham in 1969 the home support was incredible, and Tommy will get the same. There will also be an expectancy there, but is more than capable of delivering. The likes of Justin Rose will be in contention too. A lot depends on the weather in this competition, but I think Tommy will be the favourite.
Tony on Golf Sixes:
I understand what they are trying to achieve, but it’s a bit early to say if this will grow the game. I think there is room for these events to test the water, but I’m a traditionalist and for me the true test is four rounds of play. I’m not against it and applaud the approach but I think you’ve got to test it thoroughly. If you’re talking about the best player winning, it still comes down to having good playing conditions and the course being in shape. New ideas are always a positive thing, but I would be sceptical about overdoing it.
Tony Jacklin CBE is the event host for this year’s Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship that takes place between 7–10 August. For more information on the event or to register for free tickets visit British Par 3 or get in touch with Benny Lawrence: firstname.lastname@example.org / 08453 31 30 31
With father’s day just around the corner, we’re catching up with three sets of fathers and their children, with the help of our friends at American Golf, to take a look at golf’s unique ability to bring families closer together and give parents a bond with their children that is so hard to get anywhere else.
Over recent years American Golf has helped many families spend more time together, on and off the course, through events such as the American Golf Junior Championship, Family Championship and Long Drive Championship. The brand has met some incredible families who have stood out both for their ability and the strength of their bond.
To celebrate Father’s Day, American Golf asked some of the Fathers’ and their children to talk a little about the experience of being a team, playing together and what the game of golf means to them. Take a look at the highlights and I’m sure you’ll agree that the game of golf has given something to their relationships that is hard to define, but it definitely looks like they have a lot of fun!
Elle & Dean Gibson
Elle and Dean first met the team at American Golf when Elle took part in the 2016 American Golf Junior Championship. At just 13 years old and playing off 16 Elle plotted her way round the final, with the help of dad Dean caddying, to record an incredible net 63 and take the girls title. On winning the event Elle commented, "I really enjoyed the day, everyone was really friendly which helped to calm my nerves! It was great having my Dad caddy so he could share the experience too.” Elle has since gone on to finish second by just one yard in the 2017 American Golf Long Drive Championship, during which Dean showed far more nerves than his daughter!
Dean credits golf for the strength of his relationship with Elle and treasures the times that it’s just him, Elle and their clubs, “As Elle has got better at golf I’ve spent as much time supporting her as I did playing but that is just as special as being on the course. That said, one of my favourite things is just grabbing a few clubs and heading down to Topgolf for a couple of hours with her. We’re guaranteed to have a laugh and enjoy the competition. Golf gives me time with Elle that is so unusual for a dad and a teenage daughter and I think it’s played a huge part in us getting on so well.”
Aaron & Vic Mohun
Aaron and Vic have been part of the American Golf family since 2015 when Aaron took part in the Junior Championship Future Stars category at the age of 8. 2 years later and Aaron was lifting the overall Junior Championship title with Dad Vic caddying throughout the winning round. Aaron and Vic then teamed up later in the season to take on the American Golf Family Championship. Their consistent teamwork took them through the qualifying rounds to secure a place in the final at Ryder Cup venue the Belfry where they enjoyed two days of each other’s company on the iconic course.
After spending an incredible year by Aaron’s side Vic reflected on the impact that golf has had, “I’ve been playing golf with Aaron for most of his life and I can’t say how much fun it’s been. To get to spend time with him away from school, work and life’s pressures at some fantastic golf venues is so special. I can’t think of another activity we could do that would give us the same chance to get to know each other and enjoy each other’s company so much.”
James & Ian Fox
The Malkins Bank qualifier of the American Golf Family Championship in 2017 was the first time Ian & James had played competitive golf together. They secured victory and a place in the final at the Belfry, all the time keeping broad smiles on their faces and enjoying the camaraderie. Those smiles only got bigger as finals weekend progressed with them ultimately taking the matchplay final 3 & 2. That win secured them a spot in the American Golf Tournament of Champions in Mauritius in which, after sunning themselves for a few days along with mum Ruth, they took the overall title of Champions of Champions. After the end of their journey from Mauritius Ian commented, “When your kids become teenagers you expect them to go their own way and start making their own lives. James has done that like any normal lad but we still have our time on the course. Golf gives us a connection and common ground but most importantly it gives us time to get on and enjoy each other’s company. To be so successful with the American Golf tournaments was the cherry on top but golf is what has given so much to our relationship.”
If you’re inspired to get involved, visit www.americangolf.co.uk/golf-with-dad/golf-with-dad.html to see how you can win an early Father’s day present that Dads and their kids can enjoy together.
I’m sat outside in the beer garden of my local pub. It’s a beautiful day to enjoy a nice refreshing beer with my friends. After a long week’s work, it is certainly needed. They know I run an independent golf magazine and are keen to know what’s been going on with the game. I told them about the recent ongoings and mainly focused the conversation on the need to appeal to more young players and women.
One of my friends hits the nail on the head when he said: “Well...to be honest with you, I don’t have much time to play much anymore what with the kids, work and stuff.”
He’s right. We are all in our thirties and all of our lives have changed in some way or another. Relationships, duties, mortgages, children and work. Our carefree lifestyles are now a part of our history. One friend even went a little further disclosing more information in the comfort of our circle. Things are not looking good for him as he seeks new employment as the economy hits hard times. For him, the strain shows the burden of his responsibilities taking their weight.
All of us used to play every single Sunday, some had memberships but now they have given them up. As life took its odd turns, the idea of membership for them became something that had to be sacrificed. As a group, we are lucky if we play together a few times a year now.
Without even realising it, the game has somehow lost us through no fault of our own. The game never hurt us or treated us badly. It wasn’t a messy divorce but more so a flittering apart. Blink and you would have missed it. Our gang and the game have simply drifted apart. No one was to blame. None of us even noticed.
We have become “Golf’s AWOL's” and we are certainly not alone. According to Statista, over 412,500 golfers have been lost between 2008-2017 in the UK. That is a decrease of 27% over the period. It is a trend that is worrying. Fewer golfers paying memberships and green fees have seen many courses close. Equipment manufacturers now have fewer players to appeal to. It all has a knock on effect as job security is now fragile. The golfing economy is ever dependant on players remaining loyal.
Remaining loyal is easier said than done. Golf, after all, is a leisure activity and not a cheap one at that. When the going gets tough financially, it quickly becomes an expense that is surplus to requirements.
Time and money are something that some cannot afford on the rollercoaster of life. Then there is the ultimate part of the ride. When the ride of life comes to an end. Older generations are more than likely to frequent the golf course in retirement. They have earned it and now finally have the time to do what they love most. But as the clock ticks ever closer to midnight for those players the need to appeal to younger generations becomes even more significant.
Golf certainly does not have that in its favour when compared to other sports. Seen as a stuffy and expensive sport, it is often relegated to the lower order by many young people. It also has the massive disadvantage in its exposure to that generation. Golf is not part of the school’s curriculum. In not being so, the exposure of Football, Rugby and Athletics would have already taken a hold on many young minds who dream of gracing Wembley, Murrayfield or the Olympics.
Attracting young players into the game is made even more difficult by the way it is portrayed. Whilst we (as golfers) love nothing more than the excitement of Major Championships, the television of Golf has remained stagnate. The same voices, the same production qualities that are at least 20 years out of date, show golfs glorious traditions but in an age that requires the need to grab people’s attention, it can hardly be seen to do that.
Now there is even an extra element to introduce. Brexit. As the realities of Brexit come ever closer (however you voted is now irrelevant) it is becoming clear that leaving the European Union is not as easy as many led us to believe. The impact on the game could be massive. Trading tariffs will change as Golf equipment is largely owned by the U.S. Taylormade, Callaway and others will be particularly concerned if the U.K market opts for other brands if the tariffs become too high. The value of British pound has decreased and the governor of the Bank of England has declared that UK households are financially worse off because of the decision to leave. With less disposable income, serious decisions in household budgets will have to be made.
All of these factors allow us to understand why players are going AWOL at a time when the industry needs us the most. If the trend continues, the damage may be irreversible. I make no apologies for being blunt in the matter but golf needs a silver bullet right now. It believes that social media will do just that. After all, it is what the kids do right?
Whilst there is merit in this thinking it fails to understand that social media simply preach to the converted. Messages, initiatives and influencers are simply talking to their own who already love the game. The real trick is to use this to galvanise support from those who wouldn’t usually pick up a club. How you do that is up to the experts but to date, it remains a closed media appealing to those who are already part of the club.
Golf faces some difficult tasks in order to change. It is trying and for that, it has to be praised. However, for us golfing AWOL’s who have already fallen in love with a game where our last round has become a distant memory, the real question becomes, how can we get them back when everyday life is preventing them from doing so?
It's that time once again. The first major of the year always brings a level of excitement but this year's Masters has taken the normal level of excitement to a whole new level. There are plenty of reasons why. For a start, Tiger is back. The re-emergence of Tiger Woods has brought a whole new level of expectations. The key question is will he be able to show the world just how brilliant he is? Well, if the early signs are anything to go by then, yes.
Away from Woods, we have also seen a number of contenders hit the right form at the right time. Rory McIlroy is a PGA winner in 2018 and looks in good shape as he embarks on his quest to claim his career "Grand Slam". The Northern Irishman is certainly in a prime position to pounce.
Others are also proving their worth by winning titles in the build-up to this year's Masters. Jon Rahm is laying his claim to the Green Jacket with some spectacular displays in 2018. Yet, it is those that been there and done that, that are also raising a few eyebrows. Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson, both previous winners of the Green Jacket have ended their winless streaks just in time for Augusta. The bookies have certainly taken notice by slashing their odds from this time last year. With Augusta favouring lefties, these two will make many mouths water.
Then there is Justin Rose. He may have lost in hos play-off against Sergio Garcia last April but the Englishman is not there to make up the numbers. He has the Green Jacket in his sights thanks to an improvement in his putting. Having proven that he has got to terms with those difficult Augusta greens it would appear that his Achilles heel is now a thing of the past as he looks like a more complete player.
It would be criminal to forget about Jordan Spieth. If any player in recent times has commanded a course, then it is Spieth. Memories of 2016 have been quickly dealt with as he claimed the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. His game looks great, his putting, sublime. Perhaps that is why he starts as the favourite.
One thing is certain though, this year's Masters is wide open with plenty of players staking their claim in style prior to the event. The fact that we haven't highlighted Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama or Paul Casey is a testament as to how open this one really is. All that remains is to sit back and enjoy. The thrills, the rivalries and the roars echoing around Augusta await for us all. It's enough to make the hairs on your arms stand up.
Let battle commence. It's shaping up to be an epic contest where the man who wears the Green Jacket come Sunday can really say that they are the Master.
Following the introduction of several new players, a new title sponsor in Staysure and brand-new tournaments around the globe, the European Senior Tour is on the rise, with the Farmfoods European Senior Masters one of the newest events on the map. With excitement building ahead of the beginning of the 2018 season in March, starting with the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq, taking place in Abu Dhabi, let’s take a look at a few of the stars to watch on the Tour this year…
The American came into 2017 as a relative unknown after gaining a Tour card through qualifying school. After a tricky start at the first event in Sharjah, finishing tied 19th, Clark found his feet on the Tour and went on to record a fantastic six top-five finishes, winning the Dutch Masters, the Senior Italian Open and finishing top of the Order of Merit, taking home the John Jacobs trophy in his rookie season. 2018 will present him with a different type of challenge, but if he can replicate his 2017 form, he will have a chance to clinch back-to-back titles.
Having turned 50 in October, Peter was only eligible to take part in two European Senior Tour Events last year. He got off to a flier, hosting his first, the Farmfoods European Senior Masters and recording a top 10 finish, before finishing in the top 20 for his second at the MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius. His pedigree speaks for itself and he is renowned as one of the most respected and popular players within the game. Peter’s first full season as a senior professional on the Staysure Tour will be a tough test but one he’ll be able to take in his stride.
A top 10 placing in the first event of 2017 in Sharjah was the perfect start to the European Senior Tour season for Stephen Dodd. But a run of bad form saw him only make one top 20 finish in the next eight events before September. Whether it was the autumnal air, or the leaves beginning to fall off the trees; Stephen’s form became red hot making three consecutive top 10 finishes before the inaugural Farmfoods European Senior Masters in October, where he holed an extraordinary 40 foot birdie-winning putt to take home his second career Staysure Tour title. If the Welshman’s end-of-season form is any indication, he will certainly be one to watch on the 2018 Staysure Tour.
Another qualifying school success story, Brendan proved that consistency was the way to go in his debut season on the European Senior Tour. The Irishman topped the qualifying school back in February 2017, and showed exactly why, with a string of eight top-20 finishes across the season, including tying for second place at the Travis Perkins Masters, which helped him to retain his tour card by finishing 20th in the 2017 Order of Merit. Known for his colourful attire, Brendan will be hoping his consistent results can continue to bring him success in 2018.
Europe’s 2014 Ryder Cup winning captain began his European Senior Tour career last year, and surprised no one when landing three top 10 finishes out of the five events he entered, including a tied second at the Farmfoods European Senior Masters. McGinley’s pedigree and prowess within the game speaks for itself, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone for him to shine on the Staysure Tour once again.
The inaugural Farmfoods European Senior Masters was won by Welshman Stephen Dodd, in a fiercely contested event at the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club last month. As the first tournament of its kind in the Midlands for over a decade, the Staysure Tour event saw thousands of spectators flock to the Birmingham-based course to see golfing heroes such as 2014’s Ryder Cup winning captain Paul McGinley, 1991 Masters champion Ian Woosnam OBE and tournament host Peter Baker participate.
The 2018 Farmfoods European Senior Masters takes place between 4-7 October 2018, for more information visit: www.europeanseniormasters.com.
Unless you didn’t know, Golfhacker is preparing to turn into a print magazine. Needless to say, we are pretty excited about the whole thing but we need your help in helping this becoming a possibility. We are launching our Kickstarter to help us do this. So here is our plan and seven reasons why you might pledge your support when our Kickstarter goes live on Monday 19th February.
Our aim is to make something new in the golfing media. Our new extended 110-page issue is going to be quite different to other magazines. We aim to make something that our readers can enjoy and take pride in owning. In order to do that, we have decided that our new magazine will be released every three months. This will give us the time to produce higher quality features and longer, more informative reads. In the age of the internet, we are concerned that many articles have become clickbait driven rather than that of quality journalism. With our new magazine, we aim to put this right. We also aim to change the landscape of what is included in most golf magazines. For too long we have seen that many have focused on the big names. Whilst we will include them, we also aim to find the stories that matter to many readers. Going quarterly allows us to do just that.
Travel has become a key focus for many as golfers expand their horizons and play away from their traditional courses. Whilst many publications focus on the golf, we intend to go further. Golf societies and families who travel are looking for locations for quality golf but also want to know what else they can do at the destinations. For this reason, we will be focusing on the concept of city guides in order to highlight what else you can do away from the course.
Our first guide will be the stunning city of Oslo in Norway. Our travel writer, Lily Hymes, has gone to great lengths to highlight what you can do in this amazing city as well as choosing some stunning courses to play.
Magazines often include far too many ads. There is, of course, a valid reason for this. Advertising produces a substantial income to many titles. However, there are some pitfalls that we have considered carefully. With more advertising comes less actual content. Our aim is to produce a content-rich magazine that will depend on sales rather than advertising revenue. For this reason, we have significantly reduced the number of adverts in our magazine. There will 13 pages of advertising in our magazine.
We have also become concerned that this revenue can at times causes issues with regards to the reviewing of equipment. The threat from companies pulling ad revenue or providing extra incentives in order to get favourable reviews and features is an area we do not want to cross. Our aim is, to be honest, and maintain the integrity we have established over the past two years.
We are fortunate to have a great product reviewer in William Murfitt. Over our many discussions over the past year, we have spoken about the need for honesty with reviews and William is as honest as they get. He reviews all products with our readers in mind and the products that we get sent are keen to find out his views.
Through the printed word and his YouTube videos, William shows you exactly what he thinks from your point of view. We believe this is a critical part of Golfhacker’s success. We are golfers just like you and if we were asked to shell out a lot of cash for a product we would hope that what we read is accurate. Sadly that is not always the case as others may not be as judgemental. We are answerable to our readers and our readers only.
Something for everyone
Golfhacker is about golf...pretty obvious really. If there is one thing that really annoys us about Golf media it is the lack of representation of the women’s game. For two years, we have aimed to put those wrongs right and have featured Lisa Longball, Charley Hull and Lydia Ko on our covers. We have dedicated a lot more coverage to the women’s game than other publications and we intend to continue to be a flag carrier for the women’s game.
But we don’t stop there. Sometimes the greatest stories are away from the public eye. Our interview with former Marine turned golfer, Aaron Moon, was a major turning point for our humble magazine as Aaron spoke about his injuries and how golf has given him a new lease of life. We will be seeking more stories like this.
Instruction with you in mind
We have all read those articles that give you tips to break 80...then put them in the magazine rack to gather dust. They are often generic and well, impersonal. So what if we could change that? Well, that is our plan. Our instruction PGA pro, Ben Derbyshire, is keen to focus on our reader's issues. We will be asking what your issues are and Ben will solve them. He will also invite you down to the course so we can film the help you receive.
We believe that this is what readers want when it comes to instruction. Something more personal, more tailored and most importantly of all, something that actually helps.
Niche is best
There is so much happening in the world of golf and yet you wouldn’t have thought so judging by the coverage others produce. We are staunch believers in that niche is best. From the British Par 3 Championship (which is definitely our highlight of the year) to new ideas such as urban crazy golf, we believe there is much more to the game than just it’s majors.
So there you have it, seven reasons why we are different to the others. Now we need to make it happen and for this, we need your help. Our Kickstarter launches on Monday 19th February where you can pre-order our digital and print editions. We also have some limited edition packs that include the magazines as well as printed Vice golf balls and Twisted Frog pitchforks. We have even completed 60% of the new extended edition prior to our Kickstarter.
If you can pledge and support us you will be helping to create something new, something different and most importantly, something we believe you will love.
When the Open Championship arrived at Royal Birkdale last year you would have assumed that the town of Southport would have been buzzing with people. Sefton council even paid for shuttle buses to and from the town centre to encourage golf fans to come to the centre. However, there was a problem. The R&A introduced a policy of no re-admission at the Open Championship.
Whilst the Open Championship attracted hundreds of thousands of people that week, the economic benefits were unfairly distributed when fans were told that once they left Royal Birkdale, they would have to pay again to re-enter.
It was the first time that the R&A introduced this policy and they claimed it was to stop people getting ripped off with unofficial hospitality packages. Once fans were in they were welcomed with over inflated prices for food and drink and denied the chance to spend some time in Southport.
The town had its day trippers but not many. Instead, the R&A park and ride shuttle buses took patrons straight to the gates of the Open Championship. Since the Championship began, the policy has always been to allowed re-entry if patrons wanted to explore the surrounding areas.
The inconvenience for any town to host a major sporting event is considerable. Traffic build up, one way systems and other issues. Now the Open heads to Carnoustie, a small village where the links are only a short walk from the high street. The R&A have decided to keep its policy of no readmission.
Needless to say that those businesses on Carnoustie high street are going to be hit. It should be a golden period for those businesses and the local economy. Instead, fans will be trapped inside the Open where the R&A will rack in the cash and deny patrons the chance to see the town.
Local businessman, David Valentine has set up a petition to get the R&A to reconsider this policy. David writes: ”We think the R&A have made a mistake by saying this policy will guard against the "inferior" and "unofficial" off-course hospitality. This is a slur on the hundreds of excellent pubs, eateries and cafes in all the host venues on the Open Rota. It will also prevent fans from enjoying the legitimate activities of the host communities whose residents, golf clubs, restaurants and other local businesses have traditionally helped Open fans to celebrate off-course by providing festival-style entertainment.”
We couldn’t agree with you more David and for this reason, Golfhacker is backing the campaign and urge the R&A to reconsider this policy.
To sign the petition simply click the link below: