Golf & The Art of Business

The beginnings of a book by David Gilroy

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Quiss Golf Day @ Breadsall Priory

Well, that was one of those ‘almost’ rounds.  1 over through 11 and then two double bogeys followed by three single bogeys with a par, par finish over 8 over. Which playing off 9, on a course I have not played before, would have been OK except for the manner in which it was achieved.

The good news is that someone else in my team won the overall comp, but we did not do well enough to win the team prize.

So what of the course and venue?  For a corporate golf/spa day it was a really good venue.  The golf course was in pretty good condition bearing in mind a day of heavy rain the day before.

The staff at the hotel were fantastic.

The only downer on the day?  Locking my keys in the car when I came off the golf course.  Muppet!


The Bennett Cup @ Long Ashton GC

I played with my bestie in this competition today, at Long Ashton Golf Club. It’s a Seniors Four Ball Better Ball competition.

It was a really good morning out. We finished 7th out of 78 pairs with 43pts, which was ‘OK’, but the winners had 49 points playing off 9 and 14….49 points!! Two birdies with shots on the 15th and 16th is going to get it done if the rest of the round is OK. It made our birdie, birdie start look really ordinary!

The golf course was in excellent condition and even though we had constant mizzly rain for the last hour (others would have had it for the whole round) the course played really really well. The greens were fabulous.

When we arrived the meet & greet was really good. We even got given a course guide and a really detailed pin sheet. The only problem was that the pin sheet was dated 8 September and the ground staff had moved the pins! So I phoned the pro shop from the first green to let them know and then when they were reprinted someone from the club walked out on the course to make sure we and the other early tee times had the correct details. GREAT service.

Lunch was an excellent ham, egg & chips with two other choices.

For £40 per head entry fee it’s a good day out.

Leeds Law Society Golf Day 2022 @ Howley Hall

Being from Bristol I had never heard of Howley Hall Golf Club. I have played a number of courses in Yorkshire, but not this one.

Leeds Law Society ran a golf day for many years at Ganton and I played in it in 2018 and 2019 but made the point to them that 36 holes in a day on a REALLY tough golf day is not most people’s idea of fun. Me? I was like a pig in doodoo.

So this year saw a switch to one round, teams of four, two to score round a less challenging golf course.

But less challenging does not mean less fun. At just over 6,000 yards it’s not a long course, but with plenty of trees and a few quirky (in a good way) holes it was a really fun day out.

It was not the best-supported golf day I have been to this year, but it was still lovely to be out on ‘the links. Despite messing up the 17th (a GREAT short par 4) and the 18th (a GREAT long par 3) my team still managed to come 2nd!

With visitor green fees from £25, I would definitely put this in a hidden gem category of golf clubs. Go play it!

Perranporth Festival Week 2022

At the time of writing I have my feet up, fish & chips in my tummy and a glass of wine in my hand, reflecting on my week in Cornwall playing at the Perranporth Golf Club Festival Week.

And what a week it was. Wall-to-wall sunshine from the first game on Saturday to the last game today.  OK, so it did rain one evening just after we had finished playing, but no one would have minded as the course and the surrounding fields and gardens needed it, just like most of the South of England.

The week is a VERY relaxed affair.  There was only one individual medal on the first Saturday and the rest of the week was a mixture of Betterball, Greensomes, Mixed, Three Player Team, Four Player Team and even a Texas Scramble.

If you have not played the course then if you came for the whole week, by the end of the week you would have a REALLY good idea where to ‘miss’.

Apart from today, the last day, every other day had a 2-3 club wind every day and boy does that make the course interesting!

As a visitor, each round was only £20 this year (£5 for members) plus the usual ‘Twos Comp’ if you wanted to go in it.  To put that in perspective, if you wanted to play on a weekend morning the week before it would be £65 a round, so the Festival Week is a real bargain.

I played with some lovely people throughout the week and as a Country Member myself, it was lovely to be a ‘part of the club’ for the first time since I’d joined in the Spring.

My medal round at the start of the week was only one over my handicap, enough to get me a 0.2 cut to 8.5.  Two decent performances with contributions from the teams I was part of were good enough to finish 3rd in the Three Player team comp on Tuesday and 4th in the Three Player Texas Scramble on Wednesday.  So there will be a few quid for me in the Pro Shop next time I come down.

If you are a keen golfer, keep an eye on for the announcement of entries for the 2023 festival week which I assume will be the same time next year i.e. over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

See you next year!

Oh, and I saved my best round of the week for the last day, but even with 42pts between my partner and I, with the least wind of the week, it was never going to be enough to get in the prizes!


Spyglass Hill at Pebble Beach – My day out

The clock at Spyglass Hill up close and personalI don’t know why I thought of it, but it struck me in the plane on the way over that like most US golf courses, I would have to buy a course planner for the courses at Pebble Beach. But then I caught myself and said, “Really, at $385 for a round at Spyglass Hill, surely they will throw in a Planner”?

But no, my first thought was the correct one. When we got to the Pro Shop at Spyglass Hill the planner was an extra $10. When I commented on the fact that I had to pay for one, the lady behind the counter bless her, thought I was complaining that the price was too high. I corrected her and said that frankly any course in the UK that charged that much money would throw in a planner. Either that, or they’d put their charges up $10 and then include the planner and make everyone feel better.

OK, rant over, the annoying thing is that I know tomorrow on Pebble Beach Links that the same thing is going to happen!

Anyway, all the service we received at the Pro Shop and from the cart people and Starter was extremely attentive. There was one bit of weirdness though. When we finished the round as we came off the course, I was invited by a lovely man called Rick to “take a seat” and he them promptly used an air gun to blow all the dirt off my shoes (fine) and give them a quick rub over (fine) but then he stuck the air gun down the side of my shoe and my foot and gave it a decent blast…hell, it tickled and it was all I could do not to burst out laughing.

Once we’d checked in it was down to the driving range where you were hitting off grass and with proper balls, no yellow “range balls” here, no sireee. Not only that, but the range balls were free which is completely disconnected from the charging for a course planner.

At the first tee I was introduced to my caddie, Brennan. A young lad with a degree in Kinesiology but most importantly a decent knowledge of the course. When checking in at the Pro Shop they made a point of making sure I knew what the “standard” gratuity was for a caddie. The problem was without my reading glasses, I think I could just about make it out! Brennan, if I short changed you, I apologise.

Spyglass Hill – The Course

The course itself was immaculate. Smooth fairways, super slick greens. Just a joy to play. The pace of play was OK at 4:40 (target time is 4:30) with a fair amount of standing around waiting for the group in front but could not see if they were being “held up”. We did get warned by Brennan to expect 5:00 to 5:30 for Pebble Beach itself (I guess there must be a lot of standing around taking photos…well, either that or looking for balls).

There were deer everywhere on the course, one photo below just about has one in it if you can pick it out.  I didn’t actually hit one although our playing partner, Bill, commented that some people thought they were “vermin”.  Turns out he was right, back in 2007 Daryl Hall (some might say the better looking half of that classic Philadelphian 1980s soft hair rock combo Hall & Oates told the then chat show host Howard Stern “Kill all the fuckin’ deer!”.  Turns out Mr Hall suffers from Lyme disease, a nasty, multi-symptom illness borne by deer ticks and he’s called for the extermination of “disease-carrying giant rats” he blames for his condition.

There is an excellent choice of tee boxes ranging from 5,381 yards (Red) to 6,690 from the Blues. I chose the Gold tees at 6,538 to give myself a bit of a challenge.

There some generous landing areas on most fairways and as I’ve already said, the greens were fantastic. You hit the ball on the right line, the ball goes in! Having spent the last six months in the UK playing on some shocking greens all over the country (Saunton excepted) I was a bit worried about adapting quickly, but 30 mins on the practice green was all it took to get a pretty decent handle on the pace.

I think there was a pin sheet, but forgot to get one, Brennan compensated though!

Oh, and my golf, well, even though I say it myself, it was pretty decent (see scorecard in the photo gallery below). 5 over for 18 holes on a course I’ve never played before, single bogeys at worse and two good birdies at 9 and 17. So, VERY happy with my first outing at Spyglass Hill.

Even better news was the Manda’s golfer’s elbow did not stop her playing her first full round for over six months, her elbow was a bit sore afterwards but hitting through the ball it was fine unless she took too much turf, no surprise there really.

Saunton spring outing

Finally, some good weather coincided with my availability over the Easter weekend to have a quick flit to Saunton.  It’s one of the advantages of having a Country Membership down there and living in Bristol.  In just over two hours you can be on the first tee cracking one away down the 470 yard, par 4, stroke 5 opening hole!

It’s the first time I’ve been down since the refurbished clubhouse has re-opened and doesn’t it look fabulous.

Refusbished Saunton Golf Club clubhouse

I played the East Course with a friend of mine (who slept all the way home in the car) and had a pretty good round as you can see below.

Ever played golf below sea level?

Well I’m looking forward to it in May this year.  MrsG and are taking a holiday to the US West Coast and are thinking of driving from San Francisco to Scottsdale and along the way stopping at the Furnace Creek Resort to experience playing golf in Death Valley.

The course is 214ft below sea level so I’m looking forward to seeing how far less the ball flies.  A couple of years ago we played at the Sedona Golf Resort which was the complete opposite, it was at 3,000ft, and the ball went flipping miles.  I was hitting a 9 iron around 160 yards (120-130 yards normally).  It was fun.

Anyone got any experience of playing at Furnace Creek?

Gilroy wins the 2013 Gilroy/Taylor Tour (14½ : 2½)

There was going to be no repeat of my collapse in the 2012 tournament.  Last year I got 8:2 up and then managed to lose all 8 of the next 8 games and lose 8:10.

This year I got ahead just as early on in the year but Mark could not catch up .  He did beat me twice and we halved one match, but that was it.

The great thing about a competition like this is that even as best friends it just makes us that bit more competitive and focused even when we are out having a “Sunday Fiver” game.  There’s a picture of the “cup” in this post about the inaugural 2011 Gilroy/Taylor Tour competition.  I’ll post an updated one soon.

But, for the record books, the score stand as follows :-

Year Score
2013 14½ : 2½ – Gilroy
2012 8:10 – Taylor
2011 7½ : 2½ – Gilroy

Nike Matchplay practice round. Have I peaked too early?

NikeGolf Matchplay logoToday my friend Mark Taylor and I went to Bristol & Clifton Golf Club for a practice round ahead of the regional final of the NikeGolf Matchplay Championship.

We’ve already won our way through four matchplay rounds and now it’s a betterball regional final.  The top two from 12 pairs go through to an all expenses paid trip to Vale de Lobo in Portugal.  Now that is some kind of incentive in my book.

So, Mark and I thought we’d better get organised and have a practice round.  It is a golf course that we’ve both played a few times before, but it was still worth making sure we played it close to the event.

Now, I’ve been playing pretty average golf for most of the year and have not really been playing that much in the last few weeks so was not expecting too much from my round today.  So where the hell a one over par, 71 came from I have NO IDEA!  My driving was fantastic, only missed three fairways all day and even when I missed them, it was into the first cut and did not cause any problems.  My short game was sharp with only a couple of exceptions and could easily have shot level par or even one under.

So, have I peaked to early before Thursday or what??

My scorecard from Bristol & CliftonGolf Club


Why I love playing at Saunton Golf Club

So on Thursday I drove down to Saunton to attempt to play golf with some friends who were driving down from Surrey.  I say “attempt to play” as the weather forecast was awful, with it possibly clearing by around 3 or 4pm.

I left Bristol at 11am and as soon as I was just past Weston-Super-Mare it started raining.  And boy did it rain!  At one point everyone was driving at less than 50mph it was so bad.

A quick call to my friends who were on the A303 showed it to be the same over there.

It rained all the way to Barnstaple and when I got to the course at 1pm it was still raining. So into the clubhouse for lunch (chicken caesar salad) and a shandy and by 2pm, it looked bareable i.e. just some spits of rain.

For two holes it was raincoats on, but then it cleared.  By the end of the first hour it was into shirt sleeves and then it looked like this for the next three hours!

Saunton Golf Club in brilliant October sunshine

Saunton Golf Club in brilliant October sunshine

Someone once explained this to me by saying that the big sandy dunes area on which Saunton sits acts like a massive heat absorber.  When that heat gets released it often pushes the bad weather over the hills by Barnstaple and out into the Bristol Channel.  Sounds plausible to me.

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