Wimbledon Park Golf club PGA Golf Professional
For over 20 years I have had the pleasure to be invited to play in the Diners Club International Pro Am Golf Classic.
I was coaching Roger Chapman on the European Tour, and at the time he was sponsored by Diners and he asked me to go with him to La Manga for four days coaching. I then met up with the Diners Club people and gave them a few lessons; they thought it would be a nice idea to include me in the event the following year.
The tournament is a 36 hole Stableford with 2 best scores to count with one practice round thrown in. Teams fly in from all over the world to play. Most of the teams have never met before. They have all qualified by playing a few events in their own countries and their prize this year is an all-expenses paid trip to Fancourt, South Africa. This year I was representing Ecuador. Handicaps were 10 - 18 - 19.
I was met by lovely people who were all hugely keen "we will meet for breakfast at 06.30" "oooooookkkk" was my reply... "Hit some balls and be on the tee for 08.00". This would be our practice round before the big event, a chance to get to know each other and assess our chances of bringing home the trophy.
Alarm goes off at 05.45, that's 05.45 AM, in the morning.... Sit down for breakfast at 06.29am (very professional) We then make our way to the practice ground where our caddies were waiting. We all start to swing the sleep out of our bodies, I walk along the line watching my team; it was after about 3 minutes I came to the conclusion that I had more chance of nailing blancmange to a chandelier than winning this tournament. They must have got their handicaps from Disney World.
After about half an hour of swinging themselves into a frenzy my team are ready to attack the course. The closer we were getting to the first tee I could see their entire life spirit being drained away; there was a vacant look in all of them, similar to a battered husband pushing a shopping trolley around Tesco's on a Saturday afternoon when his team are playing live on Sky.
Now Diners do a wonderful job for everyone, no expense spared. Free shirts, balls, breakfasts, lunches all finished off with a wonderful gala dinner. Diner's flags flying everywhere. This is a big deal. On the tee was a big table, fresh fruit, chocolate and all mixture of drinks, rule books more golf balls.
The first member of my team was up. He teed the ball up on the far left of the tee and just to the side of the tee was a big fibreglass flagpole with the Diners club logo flag proudly rippling in the breeze. As he stood to the ball I thought "that's a bit close to the flagpole"... Full of concentration he pulled the club back slowly and with all the force he could, ripped through the imaginary ball and then straight, crash, bang into the middle of the flagpole, snapping it in half and nearly harpooning one of the officials. I will never forget as long as I live watching a Diners flag flying through the air as if it was thrown by Fatima Whitbread, and the man throwing his clipboard in the air and diving for his life.
Just before this happened my other partner was talking to his caddie and was nervously bouncing his golf ball up and down on the cart path when he dropped the ball, hit his own foot and shot off into a small bush. As I turn round to tell him he was up next when all I could see was two bottoms sticking out of this bush with him saying "how long have we got"?
My other partner was so nervous he put his hand into a big ice bucket full of Diners tee pegs and knocked the whole thing over, that's about a thousand tees all over the tee.
I thought "right I might as well hit mine then". I am happy to say I ripped it straight down the middle of the fairway with a touch of draw, holding my follow-through for an extra second as you do when you are proud of yourself waiting to hear the complements of my team. NOTHING, NOTHING, no 'good shot', no 'well done', no 'great swing', no 'perfect', I look round at my team for much deserved praise, one was looking at his scarred club head, trying to get the marks off of it with a wet towel, the other still had his head in the middle of the bush and the other was on his knees sweeping up the tees with his hands.
That was the start of our campaign to become the world champions. We did shoot 76 points on the first round which put us in sole 3rd place, with the South Africans and Columbians on 80 points, but I am afraid to say that the pressure kicked in on the final day and the Fancourt Links course was just too much for us to maintain our position. The favourites and hosts South Africa won the spoils.
You know it never ceases to amaze me about this wonderful game, you can bring a whole host of nations together all having one thing in common and that is to play this great game of golf. Golf really was the winner that week. So many happy people, so many smiley faces all sharing their good, bad, and ugly shots together.
This was not a Bushtucker Trial
Last Thursday some friends and I played in a golfing get-together here at the Park. So you could say I was a client if you like. The day consisted of 18 holes of golf with dinner during prize giving. I have to tell you that I was so proud of our club.
Right from the start, from the club house staff welcoming everyone to Alan sorting out a TV screen at the last minute, the club performed superbly. The golf course was so good, a great challenge with our usual fast greens, the half-way house was as always fantastic, my boys in the shop were, well, my boys! Standard service, helping everyone.
After we all went upstairs and you will not be surprised, we all sat down to an unbelievable meal served by Ivan and his professional staff. Prepared by one of the clubs heroes, Ati Marosi (what a find!) two of our members were happy enough to go and find him to let him know that it was definitely not a "Bushtucker trial".
If you have not tried Ati's food please do so. It is safe to say that he has turned the club around regarding the food.
It's getting closer…
Now is the perfect time to look at your waterproof clothing that are probably no longer waterproof. The chances are you bought your last set of waterproofs when Benny Hill was number one with Ernie the milkman... We have a wonderful selection of waterproof suits, winter gloves and hats.
These days you can swing freely without feeling you are wearing a straightjacket, they are breathable, keep you warm without feeling too hot. They are now incredibly light.
We have some of the industry's leading brands including the brand new Under Armour, ProQuip ranges, in stock, so make sure you drop in and prepare yourself for whatever the english winter months throw at us.
Click here to find out more about our stunning winter ranges.
We started working with some brand new ladies clothing companies last spring and you seemed to have enjoyed the new ranges.
On Monday, some of our brand new Autumn ranges arrived, and the product and pricing has been received really well by all who have had a look at the garments.
- Gilets - £49.99
- Roll neck - £25.99
- Sweater - £39.99
- Cord trousers - £39.99
- Quarter zip base layer - £27.99
- Softshell jacket - £44.99
- Hats - £17.99
Drop into the pro shop and check out these new ranges for yourself.
After spending some time out on the course over the past few week's it has been disappointing to notice that our bunkers aren't being treated as they should be. This is causing parts of our course to be lacking in playing quality which is a real shame.
To help combat this, I have produced a quick video to help show you the perfect way to rake the bunkers.
Click here to watch my video
Many thanks for your help with this matter.
Perfect for the cooler weather
Temperatures have certainly dipped in recent weeks so it’s time you thought about layering up. Glenmuir’s luxury lambswool sweaters are ideal for the cooler weather and come in a classic look. For those of you who love to wear the club’s badge with pride, Glenmuir’s crested range is a fantastic option too.
Explore the range
Represent the club in La Manga
Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? You and three friends have a fantastic opportunity to get some winter sun through our exclusive offer with Your Golf Travel. Take to the La Manga Club between the 24th-26th February 2017 for the Foremost Golf Am-Am. 2 rounds of golf, three nights’ B&B accommodation plus some superb prizes to be won - not forgetting a Srixon goodie bag worth over £50! All this from just £355 per person.
Find out more
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|Video of the week|
Joe Miller added a second World Long Drive title to his mantelpiece last week, unleashing a mammoth 423-yard drive in the final using his Callaway XR 16 driver.
I hope you have enjoyed this weeks update.
We hope to see you soon
Dean Wingrove, Wimbledon Park Golf club, Home Park Road
Wimbledon, London, SW19 7HR
Foremost Golf, the UK's largest golf retail group, delivering value through expertise for the Club Golfer
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