The Champions Course
The Champions course, PGA National Resort and Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida where Rickie Fowler won the weekend just gone. Wonderful but difficult Jack Nicklaus golf course, the venue of the Honda Classic on the PGA tour. The 1983 Ryder Cup was played here, and home of the headquarters of the PGA of America. You can only get on this great course if you are a member of the PGA or you are staying at the hotel that was attached to the golf courses. So I had to book this game in my name only, everything had to be book under Dean Wingrove.
Once again I was playing with my friend Andrew Rosenfeld. Andrew was a very successful businessman, loved his golf, played off of about 2/3 handicap, hit it miles and never wasted anytime looking for any balls that were hit off line which never really happened. He was so very generous, not only to me but to many others. He was head of the UK National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's "Full Stop" campaign, raising £250 million which is the largest sum ever raised in Britain for a single children's appeal. Fantastic sense of humour, we loved the same things and we were both the same age.
We were staying at his penthouse on a private estate in Naples. One of the many courses we will be playing this week was the Champions course. I was in the kitchen having a coffee overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and I could hear Andrew in the next room saying "ok, thank you" "all ok?" I ask, "you have to book it as a PGA member otherwise we can't get on." "No problem, give me the phone" so all booked.
We have a tee time, town car booked to take us to Naples private airfield, Private plane waiting and a town car waiting on the run way at Palm Beach gardens airfield to take us to the course. We pull up to the front of the clubhouse, where a young man is waiting for us, he opens my door and says "are you the Wingrove party" "yes, good morning, I am Dean Wingrove", shook his hand, "nice to meet you Sir, please leave your clubs with me and I will get them to your buggy" he said nothing to Andrew, didn't even look at him! It became very clear straight away that they thought I was loaded and Andrew was my guest not the other way around. Best not let them know I thought, I'm going to milk this.
I introduce myself to the pros in the shop. It was so funny, they were so friendly to me, asking if they can help in anyway and completely ignored Andrew which believe me never ever happens. It was always Andrew that everyone used to run around after. We used to go out to dinner in town, they were always the best restaurants or hotels. All of the staff knew him and he was always a great tipper so everyone made a fuss of him. It was really pathetic when we used to walk about ten minutes over to the Ritz Carlton for breakfast, you would have thought that the Queen had turned up hand in hand with Obama. "Good morning Mr Rosenfeld your usual table Sir?" Oh, please don't stress yourself with making eye contact with me I thought. This used to happen everywhere on a regular basis. We both found this really funny, we both knew how the world works.
Sorry, I digress, no one is talking to Andrew at the club it was fantastic, really funny. Walking towards the buggy, "hi there Mr Wingrove, I have put your club on the driver's side," thank you I said with a laughing smile, Andrew got nothing, no good morning, nothing, brilliant stuff! Make our way to the practice ground "good morning Mr Wingrove, I have your practice balls here" Andrew, nothing, I'm loving this! Hit some balls and made our way to the first tee. "Good morning Mr Wingrove, we have your tee time, please help yourself to some tees, pencils, is there anything I can get you?" And before Andrew could say anything. I said "no thank you, everyone here are so friendly aren't they Andrew?!" Silence from Rosenfeld. It's amazing how you get treated when they think you are the money.
Remember everything is booked in my name. So off we go, this place is fantastic, complete class. Driving down the first hole "this place is incredible don't you think?" from me. "No, it's a dump, and we are not coming back here again," was batted back by Rosenfeld. After a 300 yard plus drive and a soft wedge to 5 feet and a smooth holed putt for a birdie from Andrew, all of a sudden it was the best course in the world and a massive smile. "There you go, that's the first time I've seen your teeth today, it's like spending time with Victor Meldrew"
Then the best thing happened. We were sitting in the half way house enjoying some food and drink when one of the assistant pros came driving towards us in a buggy. "Oh here we go" said Andrew. "Oh be quiet misery came back from me." "Good afternoon Mr Wingrove, so sorry to disturb you, just to let you know we have just had a call from your chauffer informing us that your pilots have your plane ready and waiting at your convenience." Well we were lucky that we weren't covered in Andrews's half eaten hot dog! "Thank you so much, that's really kind of you. You have all been so kind" came from a very happy Wingrove, trying so hard to stop my shoulders from bouncing up and down. He then gently drove off. "Isn't that nice Andrew," nothing, nothing back at all, just head down to finish his hotdog. I would have loved to have been a fly on that pro shop wall. I would have imagined the conversation would have gone, "Boys we have got to get over to London, this pro has cars, staff and even came by private jet, what on earth are they paying them over there?!"
I would very much like to thank you for your kind comments regarding our little girl. Three FootJoy socks gone, She likes Hugo Boss underpants, two pairs gone, one flowerbed gone, one bra gone, couldn't tell you the make, not allowed to go near the Mrs Underwear! Great news though she lost two front teeth last week (Not the Mrs!) so I'm only getting my skin punctured by her side teeth now.
It's very peaceful in the garden at 01:12, 03:17, 04:57 and 06:10! It's a little chilly but I find trying to catch an 11 week old puppy helps to keep you warm. Sometimes I come downstairs in the middle of the night and see Suzie sitting in the dark, rocking herself backwards and forwards. I came very close to saying "well you wanted a puppy, love of my life" but she could have had a knife on her so best say nothing! Can I ask you all to be on standby to give this girl a home if things don't work out? I'm keeping Poppy & Honey!
He's Got Balls
Now this is incredible, Vince O'Brien has won the raffle for "win a year's supply of golf balls" Incredible because he won the last golf ball raffle! The draw was made and by our Captain Andy Murray and was witnessed by four members. Congratulations Vince, any time you would like to give me your lottery numbers! We would like to thank you all for your continued support.
Fast Lane for the Ladies
Just like a Lewis Hamilton's pit stop, the ladies AGM went by quickly, smooth and without any drama. Through all of the care and work that goes into this event it's hardly surprising that after golfing reports for the year, prizes given and a captaincy hand over, this was done inside 40 minutes. Brenda Adamson, congratulations on a fantastic year. To Delia, the very best of luck for the coming year we all know you will be great.
Also, well done to Sally Coryn on winning the ladies Saturday Stableford.
Some score to get on a long, wet golf course. Congratulation to Frederic Caharel on a wonderful winning score for last weekend.
Be kind to others and let's help each other
In no time at all we will be playing in knockouts, stablefords, medals and we might even have some friendlies, if there is such a thing! Like me I'm sure you want to play on a surface that's consistent to all of us, so finding your ball in a footprint in a bunker or in a divot hole that has not been replaced can be so frustrating. Please repair all pitch marks or any damaged areas on the greens. If we can all take care out there we will all enjoy our golf a lot more.
Please remember to call players through, playing a match does not take priority regarding the pace of play. If you are holding the players up behind please call them through even if you are playing in a match. For me if I know I am holding someone up it affects my game more than the players I am holding up!
All of these things is not just an etiquette thing, it's just being respectful and courteous to others. But above all else, in the words of your new lady Captain Delia Perry, let's just enjoy ourselves out there.
The Callaway Epic driver has gone out on the course and is in the hands of many members with fantastic feedback. Many are saying it has given them 20 yard's. Some have come back and said they didn't really notice any difference but would like to try a different shaft and loft.
Come and try the brand new Epic driver and fairway wood. Fusion driver and all the irons are available for fitting. You can take them out and try them, no pressure at all to purchase. I spend enough time trying to get myself sorted regarding clubs so I completely understand these things take a while and it's not cheap.
Keep warm with our new woolly hats, only £14.50! Pick yours up in-store before your next round.
We have a new selection of waterproof bags, come and take a look.
Looks like the bad stuff is not leaving us just yet.
Come and have a look at all of our waterproof range of jackets, trousers, bobble hats, gloves and shoes.