Wimbledon Park Golf club PGA Golf Professional
This boy is going to be really good
January 1994, I was standing on the practice ground at the Dubai - Emirates Golf Club. This was the Dubai desert classic. Always a fantastic field with a great golf course and unbelievable weather. I had just finished my work with Roger Chapman, wished him well:
"I will see you on the back nine, good luck mate"...
I walked along the practice ground and stopped at Ernie Els. The player to his right had just left so I could stand alongside him about 5 feet away. Ernie had seen me working so it was not a problem watching him hit some. We both said our good mornings:
"Do you mind if I watch you hit some Ernie?"
Not at all was the reply. If I have seen the ball hit better I can't remember. There was a big Titleist sign out on the range about 150 yards away, he was hitting the sign more than missing it.. Then after a while he got down to hitting his 3 wood off the deck. If you have ever played on these sand built courses you will understand, it's like hitting off a drum. I promise you and I am not exaggerating, I could feel the vibration through the ground of his 3 wood smashing the ball.
"You have got to be happy with the way you are hitting it"?
"Yes I have a good feeling about this, this week"
He was right to be so confident, he went and shot an incredible first round 61 on his way to a 6 stroke victory over Greg Norman.
Then jump on a flight over to Thailand, Phuket for the Jonny Walker Asian Classic. This is a massive tournament. Jonny Walker throws millions of Dollars at this event. The opening evening was a big party on the beach for over 500 guests, a beautiful warm evening with Shirley Bassey singing goldfinger. I have never seen so many fireworks going off from a boat moored in the calm waters of the ocean. The volume of fireworks was matched by the capacity of Jonny Walker drunk by the guests, mainly people from the Far East. After a while it looked like a zombie film set, they were all over the place. I was talking to Ian Baker Finch and Nick Price about how wonderful it is when this small man walked up to them and said to them both
"can I have your autograph?"
"yes of course" they both said.
With that the man just stood there looking at them, this lasted for about 6 seconds. The boys were really good, they just said
"I think we are going to need a pen and paper."
With that the man just laughed and walked away... He was later seen under one of the tables having a nice conversation with a cat.
The next Morning we were at The Blue Canyon Country Club. It was about 06.00am, really warm with a small shelter on the practice ground. Under the shelter was about 20 odd laughing young girl caddies all waiting for employment, this was a practice day for some and a pro-am for others. At lunch time I was sitting with Paul Way, Sam Torrance and Richard Boxall, when up came Mark Mouland who had just played his practice round. He slumped down on his chair. He looked confused and a bit upset.
"No I'm not" came the reply.
"I know I'm not the biggest hitter in the world but I've just played with a kid who was hitting his 2 iron more than 50 yards past my best drive."
"Keep an eye out for this kid, he is going to be good", Mark said
"what's his name?"
Tiger had come over to play on a sponsors invite. He played with Fred Couples who was also hitting it out of the park. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Freddy, he was such a lovely, friendly man. On the last day he was up with the leaders. I was putting my golf shoes on in the locker room and I heard this strange noise. I thought to myself what on earth is it. I looked around from my locker, it was Freddy snoring away. Can you believe it. He had a chance to win and there he was fast asleep.. His caddie woke him and said:
"Freddy it's time", he pulled himself up had a stretch "ok, let's go".
He was so laid back it was frightening. Greg Norman won the tournament with Freddy missing out by one shot. I asked him for a picture in the locker room because we were selling a lot of Ashworth shirts at the time and he was the face of the company. Thanks Freddy, you were a lot of fun.
This week we saw a glimpse of our captain and my team mate being his normal aggressive self... We didn't lose this match but we didn't win it either
"So I get rushed to A&E with severe back pain. I get there and a team of nurses surround me and ask "have you been lifting or carrying something heavy?"
Click here to view the captain in action
Lest We Forget
As we approach the month of November, we have launched our brand new commemorative flag on the 16th hole that marks a century since the Battle of the Somme, one of the most deadly battles of the First World War.
It is a stark reminder that next time you want to complain about a bad lie, think again...
Make sure you wear your poppies with pride throughout November
Many thanks to Paula for being this week's top supporter of the pro shop.
Paula purchased the new FW3 PowaKaddy trolley, ProQuip windtop and also took an item from one of our brand new ladies autumn collections.
If you need to get your wardrobe or game in shape for the winter months ahead, drop in and check out our great range of products here in the pro shop.
Click here to visit our website where you can find out more about our great product ranges.
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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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