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After playing in Pro-Am's for many years I came to enjoy them a lot more when I could take my own team, people who I enjoyed playing with and they enjoyed playing with me. People who I felt I didn't have to prove myself as a player. We would always have some competitive fun together.
I'm afraid to say that sometimes you can be unlucky with the team you end up getting. Many teams love playing in these events, most of them enjoy the competitive edge, some want to win at any cost, some just want to support the clubs, and some want to support the local assistants and club professionals.
I turned up at one Pro-Am. Went in to the clubhouse to meet my team. The PGA staff said to me:
"good luck today Deano, you're going to need it. Let me introduce you to one of your team"...
We both walked over to where this shall we say a rather 'biggish man' was sitting. From the look at the amount of food on his plate, if this was an eating competition we would have won already.
"Hello Sir my name is Dean Wingrove I am your team professional, very pleased to meet you."
He didn't even look up or get up, he just lifted his right arm in the air just above his head, which I think meant I was to shake his hand. He kept eating. I told the PGA Staff,
"thank you, I will take it from here"...
He walked away just shaking his head.
"I hope you're better than the last pro we had, he was complete rubbish!"
"sorry to hear that", I replied
As he was looking round for a waiter he said
"no point playing if you can't do any good"
He could have been talking to anyone, he wasn't making eye contact with me, and he wasn't even talking in my direction.
"Another pint when you're ready", he said to the waiter.
No offer of a drink then!
"ok", I said, "I'm going to hit some balls, warm up and hit some putts",
"Yes you do that, see you on the tee"
He must have been 5 feet 6. He seemed wider than he was tall. If he fell over I'm sure he would have rocked himself to sleep trying to get up again. He had a red pair of Farah slacks that he must have bought about 11 years ago, white socks, the trousers had ridden up so much when he stood to the ball, you could see up past his ankles, and the seams look like they were losing the battle to keep him in them. He had a matching sweater and shirt combo, mauve nylon, once again they looked like they had been sprayed on. Mind you he did have a rather eye-catching thick gold chain around his neck with matching bracelet, and the shortest sweaty dyed hair.
Standing on the first tee after saying hi to the rest of my team, I always realise that most players are a little nervous.
"Ok gents, if you need any help today please just ask, and above all let's have some fun. Would you like me to go first?"
"No, I'll go first" said our champ...
Well, he had a couple of practice goes. I will not credit him by calling them swings, then moved towards the ball. The club went back at a blinding pace. By this time his legs were all over the place, he looked like he was auditioning for River Dance, started the down swing with a lasso, over the top, shoulder roll. He managed to somehow disturb the ball from its tee, right out of the neck of the club. The ball shot low and left just missing a small chain-link fence, firing towards the trees on the left, but because of the way he swiped right across the ball, it started to make its way back towards the fairway, it bounced about 3 or 4 times and just tipped toed out of the semi rough onto the left-hand side of the fairway. As he walked off the tee towards his golf bag he said:
"and that's why they call me Mr Fairway".
I bet no one has ever called him Mr Fairway, I would imagine they called him lots of other stuff but definitely not Mr Fairway.
I drive it nicely down the first, get to my ball and it's sitting down a bit so I thought I would punch it out. One thing led to another, I moved far too far ahead of the ball and thinned it straight over the green, hit a tree and dropped down into some bushes. This was my man's chance of giving some words of comfort, encouragement, support:
"I hope you have another job son, because if you rely on your golf you'll starve"
That's nice, thanks I thought!
I managed to get the ball out and just missed the putt for a dropped shot. I then hit the stick with a 4 iron for a birdie on the next, birdied the next 4 holes, parred a few more and birdied the last 2 holes to win the pro-am. The team came in 3rd out of 49 teams. After the prize giving I was saying my goodbyes, he was eyeing up the trays of sandwiches.
And then spitting them over anyone who wanted to hear how he made a 6 nett 5 to get the point that got us 3rd place.
"Same team next year then?" He shouts an order in my direction.
"That's if I haven't starved to death" was my return. I never went back...
The countdown to Christmas starts now with our Christmas Ball Personalisation Offer
With the calendar ticking over into November, our attentions turn (begrudgingly for some) towards the festive Christmas season.
With that comes our first Christmas gift offer:
Buy a dozen balls from either Titleist or Srixon, and get a FREE personalised message...
These make fantastic gift ideas for the golfers in your life, and once printed will be delivered FREE
of charge to us here in the pro shop for you to pick up at your convenience. Click here
to find out more or order your personalised Srixon Balls Click here
to find out more or order your Titleist Balls. Staying on the Christmas theme...
Now is the perfect time to launch our ever popular Pro Shop Christmas Draw. Make sure you drop into the pro shop and get involved to be in with a chance of winning some stunning prizes. New in the Pro Shop
With the cold weather seemingly now set in for the winter, we are in the process of taking in some brand new winter hats designed to keep you warm out on the course in any temperature.
Drop into the pro shop soon to check them out for yourself. We don't have what you're after?
Spending a few hours with the members and just chatting about anything and everything, it became clear that the shop sometimes takes for granted the fact that the members know that we can get them anything they want.
Please remember, many times your request for equipment is just one phone call away. Even if we don't stock it, the chances are we can get it for you.
Someone once said to me you don't play golf down the high street so why shop there.
We know your game, we are not here today gone tomorrow, myself, Dean and Tom are here to talk with you regarding anything from fitting you with a driver to sizing on club crested underpants.. From a re-grip service to re-spiking your shoes.
So no sweating on a parking ticket down at the local post office because you were not in when they delivered. No worrying about sending stuff back because it was not just right. Come and talk to us and don't worry if I can't get you what you need, I will tell you where you can get it. Click here
to get in touch if you have any questions, or click here
to visit my online retail site. Short game clinics, by Dean Wingrove Saturday, 12 November
- 10.00 - 11.00, short game area Wednesday, 16 November
- 10.00-11.00, short game area Saturday, 19 November
- 10.00-11.00, Short game area Wednesday, 23 November
- 10.00-11.00, short game area Saturday, 26 November
- 10.00-11.00, short game area
These clinics will be limited to 8 players on a first come first served basis. £8.00
There is a sign-up sheet posted between the ladies locker room & office or you can book by email at email@example.com
Call the Professional shop on 020 8946 4053 or just pop in and book.
I am very much looking forward to this next series of clinics!