It’s Thursday night and that means it’s blog night and I have to think of something to write. Mo’s done a tip and I wish I’d read it earlier because I’d like to go and test it out right away but my clubs are all in the locker at the golf club – when you don’t have a garage, your shed is so small and crammed that your bike is in the lounge and your car has a small boot, a locker is a good idea.
The other day we at Whittington Heath all got an email from Mike Raj, our lovely pro, suggesting that we might consider investing in a new set of clubs. I think it said that after about five years clubs start getting a bit beyond their best and you might consider an update. I hear that there are people who change their clubs every year – don’t think I know many of them – but when I asked Mike how old my Ping Eye 2 irons might be, we came up with something like 20 years. They’re classics!
My take is that when you play golf at my lowly level, with a swing speed that barely registers on any known scale and bones that are starting to creak off the scale, it really doesn’t make much difference what you’re using – a manufacturers’ dream NOT. And it’s probably not true. Maureen and her mate Gillian went on a coaching course at The Belfry not so long ago and came away astounded at how much difference new wedges made to the quality and accuracy of their pitching. Apparently, the top men change their wedges every three weeks or so, maybe even more often, so no wonder we can only wonder at their skills……
Anyway, Mo tells me that I’m not to change my clubs until she’s given me a few lessons and sorted out my swing, so I’ll be one of the many members not making Mike a rich man. Given that most of my lessons are in the garden or on the patio and last less than five minutes, it could be another 20 years before I’m eligible for a new set of clubs. That’d make me more than elderly, given I last that long.
As usual, there’s lots of golf going on all over the world and I have to admit that for me the least interesting is the stuff that’s going on at East Lake in Atlanta, Georgia, where the big boys (or most of them) are playing in the Tour Championship, the culmination of the FedEx Cup. They’ve tweaked the format this year but you know what, I really can’t bring myself to care about it, it’s just a load of multi-millionaire golfers playing for shedloads more money, which is great for them – they’re professional players after all and that’s what they do, play for money – but matters not a jot to the rest of us.
I’ve just started reading Matt Cooper’s book about the rise and fall of Tony O’Reilly, the dashing Irish rugby star who became the boss of Heinz, a man of immense talent who over-reached even himself and eventually crashed and burned. At the height of his powers he travelled the world in a private jet, oblivious to the queues and searches endured by lesser mortals. It made me think of all our favourite golfers, who’ve got so used to the high life that they may be in danger of treating 15 million dollar first prizes as the norm, just one of those things, just wanting more of everything. Ah well, at least the game itself, infuriating and unpredictable as it is, may help to keep them grounded.
Pop stars are probably even more stratospheric than golfers but a lot of them are keen on the game – though Alice Cooper used to keep his obsession quiet for fear of ruining his wild man image – and Niall Horan, who’s big in the music business, has undoubtedly confused some of his fans by founding Modest! Golf Management. They presented the ISPS Handa World Invitational Men|Women at Galgorm Castle Golf Club, in Northern Ireland, where the men and women played in their own events but for the same prize money.
Stephanie Meadow held on for an emotional victory on home turf, finishing one shot ahead of Charley Hull, the highest ranked woman in the field and Jack Senior won the men’s title, beating fellow Englishman Matthew Baldwin in a play-off. Meadow, who’s had her struggles as a professional, said, “It’s unbelievable to win here really. I’m so excited and honoured…..to come home and compete at home – and win at home. It’s very, very special. Hopefully I can take this win and use this as momentum, it’s big for my confidence.”Meadow is playing in the CP (Canadian Pacific) Women’s Open in Aurora, Ontario, this week, where Brooke Henderson, the pride of Canada, is defending the title she won last year. She has no worries beyond playing well but it’s a particularly tense time for the Americans who are trying to make the Solheim Cup team to play Europe at Gleneagles next month. This is their last qualifying event and the US captain Juli Inkster has two wild cards in her gift. She admitted that she’s been having some sleepless nights as she mulls over her options and the next few days are unlikely to be the most relaxing of her distinguished career.