I know a couple of blogs back I was telling you about the complete and utter nightmare that is the European tour school. One of the most stressful times you could put yourself through.
Even though it's much more than life and death on that week, there were some moments that would break the terror. I can remember parking my little hire car in the car park of the Dom Pedro hotel. That was the place where I would not be sleeping all week. All of a sudden I heard a strange sound and as I looked around there were a couple of pros hiding, bending down by the side of their car, popping their heads up and then putting them back down really quickly as if someone was firing at them. It was like a cops and robbers film set.
"Get down mate, save yourself" came the shout in my direction.
They were right to protect themselves and me because the sound I could hear were golf balls being hit out from the 10th floor balcony of the hotel. They were coming out like machine gun fire. Mind you the hitters were kind enough to shout fore.
As I look up there were about two or three balcony's being used as a teeing ground, balls were hitting cars, bouncing off the tarmac. The look on the faces of the non-golfing guests staying at the hotel was frightening. One old couple put their wicker beach bags on their heads.
"Run for it" said the old husband.
"We are going to the management with this, this is outrageous".
All I could see was two beige people running towards the hotel. This balata ball display would happen on a daily basis. The players thought it was really funny that if you wanted to get the attention of any member of staff, they would wave their hand in the air and say
"Short Par Four",
and if you say it really quickly with a Portuguese accent, it sounds just like por favor. Now this is quite funny the first couple times you hear it but after that…
I can remember on day 3, it was like a scene out of the Italian job. One of the players drove his mini straight up the stairs of the hotel straight through the double doors and parked it in the lounge, got out the car tossed his car keys to the man behind the counter
"Park this for me short par four".
The assistant manager just froze, looked at the mini parked by his front desk and then looked around at the customers that were meant to be enjoying their quiet Gin and tonics, jumping for their lives.
Dom Pedro and Quinta south course were the two courses we had to play and I say had to because if you had a chance not to play Dom Pedro, you would jump at it. We all thought they should have staff waiting for us at the back of the 18th green with straight jacket.
"Come on Dean" they would say.
"It's ok you can go home in a few days".
Dom Pedro was the tightest golf course you will ever play, hard, bouncy fairways running into out of bounds posts on every other hole. I can remember coming off the course after my first practice round hearing a Scottish pro shouting at one of the green staff. The poor greenkeeper was telling him that he thought the fairways were generous.
"If these fairways are so wide why are we walking down them in single file?"
"It's a good job I haven't eaten in days because I wouldn't be able to fit between these trees".
There were a few other choice words thrown in there but for the sake of me not signing on again I will keep it clean. Clubs were getting thrown everywhere, putter broken in anger, fights between caddies. One player and caddie had to be separated outside the club house. They had not enjoyed a good or successful relationship.
"You are the worse caddie I have ever had" shouted the pro and with that, as quick as a flash,
"No that would be too much of a coincidence" said the caddie.
With that the player went for the caddie. One of the players jumped between them
"It's alright let him go" said the caddie,
"He's missed everything this week, I think I will be ok".
With that a young Portuguese kid came running past us like Usain Bolt, chest high, arms going like pistons with "I know I'm not getting caught" smile on his face. Followed by a rather large pro from Birmingham who was definitely not running the same way, more like a sweaty limping action, shouting
"Stop him stop him the little sod just nicked me shoes".
It was like a mad house.
At the end of the week there was a meeting of all the players, organisers and the tour board members. This was a sort of prize giving if you like, handing out these potential bars of gold that is a tour card. It also gave the board the opportunity to tell the new card holders what is expected of them regarding how to handle the press, how to project the tour and generally what's expected of them being a European tour player. The head of the tour started by saying
"Congratulations gentlemen you have written off only 5 cars this week, 2 more than last week!"
I wish I could have seen more of you on the golf course but I have been busy calming down the hotel management, the car hire company and guests of the hotel who came here for a relaxing time but instead were treated to the Portuguese grand prix in the hotel car park, along with clusters of Titleist bombs smashed in their direction. It's hardly surprising that many of these elderly people are now feeling rather unwell.
Top 30 players and ties would get cards. Roger Chapman, Gordon Brand Jr and Paul Way made it through that year and I'm sure they were happy never too do it again.
Tour school 1981
Congratulations to Nicky Winter on winning the Turkey Shoot. There was some great scores across the board but Nicky played the best on the day to come out on top.
Are you ready?
All things WPGC, it's coming fast.
As we move into December and the days get shorter and the nights get colder, that has to mean one thing, Christmas is nearly here.
This means that the countdown has begun to find that perfect gift for your loved ones this year.
So if you want to get a head start and improve your game for 2017, or you simply just want to choose a great gift this Christmas, why not pop in to the pro shop and look after your better half.
Please don't hesistate to get in touch to find out more about our great range of items in - store.
Wimbledon Park Tote Bag
The new Wimbledon Park tote bag is a perfect stocking filler this Christmas.
Pop in and take a look.