My Top 5 Worst Golf Shots

When thinking about a blog to write I thought this top 5 may be entertaining. After a lot of editing I finally got the list down to 5 shots. This doesn’t include countless air shots when I was learning this annoying game! Worryingly most of my list comes from the last couple of years.

5. Carton House, The Montgomerie – 18th (2008)
A putt that I have already mentioned in a blog. Needing to sink it to halve the match against Will and Gary, I left a 20 foot downhill putt 3 foot short. In my first blog I said that I didn’t think that Dave had forgiven me after couple of weeks, a year on now and I think that he is still slightly bitter!

4. Gulllane no. 1 – 1st (2007)
Having stood on the first tee, in front of a few people and hit a nice 3 iron in the middle of the fairway in to a ferocious wind, I was feeling pretty confident over my approach shot to the green. I was trying to hit a punchy 6 iron, however, I managed to hit a low shank into the rough on the right, leading to a double bogey at the first. This form continued and I finished the round with 23 points. Having dished out around £80 for the pleasure, it’s fair to say that I was not pleased walking off the final green.

3. Epsom Golf Club – 6th (1994)
Anyone who has played the 6th (now the 11th) at Epsom will know that the road is a little close on the left hand side. When I was 13 I hit a big hook that landed on the bonnet of a Gold 1981 Ford Cortina. The owner was obviously not happy shouting “YOU LITTLE S**T! THERE ARE NO MARKS AND YOU WANT TO THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS FOR THE IMMACULATE PAINTWORK ON THIS BEAUTY!” A quote that I will never forget.

2. Casa Serena – 18th (2008)
Again one of my worst shots comes in an EGD match on an EGD course. We were on the 18th, Robin and I one down to Dave and Will. Having hit a good tee shot and the others struggling, it seemed a par 5 would be good enough to win the hole and halve the match. Taking a 6 iron for safety, I hit it high and left into the deep rough never to be seen again. Needless to say Rob and I lost the match.

1. Epsom Golf Club – 16th (2007)
The 16th hole at Epsom is fairly unique. A 288 yard par 4, down a narrow fairway with lots of trouble on the left. This particular day I decided to hit an 8 iron off the tee for safety, because it’s all downhill this would normally leave a pitching wedge to the green. Sounds simple. On this occasion however I thin shanked the shot, at this point, a pigeon was unfortunate enough to be flying across the flight path, not of a US airlines plane, but my Titleist 2. The ball struck the bird directly on the side of the head killing it instantly. Who needs a shot gun?

2008 – A Great Year for EGD

– 2008 was a great year for European Golf Design with 4 new high profile courses opening.

September 2008 – Casa Serena in the Czech Republic opened and hosted the Casa Serena Open on the European Senior Tour. The event was won by 2 time major winner Bernhard Langer.

October 2008 – The Montgomerie at Papillon Golf Club in Turkey was officially opened by Ryder Cup legend and 8 times European No.1, Colin Montgomerie.

November 2008 – The Montgomerie at Riffa Views in Bahrain opened and hosted the Riffa Views Invitational skins and was won by 2 time major winner Retief Goosen.

November 2008 – Euphoria Golf Estate Hydro in South Africa was officially opened by the greatest lady golfer of all time, Annika Sorenstam.

– Our courses also hosted the following events on the European Tour and Ladies European Tour:

April 08 – Panoramica Golf & Country Club in Spain hosted the Open de Espana Femenino on the Ladies European Tour.

May 08 – The Twenty Ten course at Celtic Manor plays host to the Celtic Manor Wales Open.

May 08 – The Challenge Tour visit Marriott Worsley Park Hotel & Country Club, England for the Oceanico Developments Pro-Am Challenge.

July 08 – Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links who will play host to the AIB Ladies Irish Open.

September 08 – The European Tour Qualifying School takes place at Fleesensee Golf Club in Germany.

October 08 – The Challenge Tour return to San Domenico in Italy for the Challenge Tour Finale.

November 08 – PGA Golf De Catalunya in Spain hosts the European Tour Final Qualifying School.

Golfing Memories…

Golf has played a major part in my life. I grew up surrounded by golf, a 3 wood from Wentworth. My Dad played golf, talked golf, ate golf. All boyfriends I had whilst growing up played golf. I have spent over twenty years working in and around golf. My best friend and I met through golf. I met my husband on a golf course, he played golf, talked golf, worked in golf. My 11yr old son has now caught the bug. There is no escape from the game. I did catch the bug for a short while in my late teens and early twenties, but I think that had more to do with the assistant golf professionals at my club rather than the game itself. At my peak I played off 18, and when the sun is shinning, you’re not wearing five layers of clothes, and you’re playing with good friends and family then I do see how you can catch the bug.

Over the years I have worked at numerous golf clubs, organising corporate events. I’ve walked miles caddying for boyfriends playing the amateur circuit throughout the UK. I’ve walked hundreds of fairways with girlfriends in my “golf groupie” years (I’m saving those stories for my memoirs), hours spent on practice grounds watching a golfer, father, husband or son practising. There has been no escape, but I have loved it and still do love the game. I’ve listed my top ten courses, not for their deep revetted bunkers, rolling fairways etc etc but for their memories.

Wentworth East and West – grew up here, riding my bike over the course, caddying for my Dad (a treat was to hold the flag) and later playing many rounds with my best friend, who always beat me but we always had a lot of laughs.

Hours spent walking round the West Course watching tournaments from the Picadilly World Matchplay through to the BMW. Groupie days at their best.

St Andrews – first visited St Andrews on a very wet grey day and loved it. Never played the course but great memories of the 2000 Open.

Kingsdown and Walmer/Royal Cinque Ports – EGD Christmas do a few years ago. December on the Kent coast, frozen, but the sun shone and a lot of laughs. Never been so tired after two rounds of golf.

Goodwood – hours spent in the clubhouse waiting for my husband to finish playing golf. Very very hilly but the most amazing views on a sunny day across the Sussex countryside and English channel.

Gleneagles – spent a week here with my best friend for her 40th, played the Kings and Queens. Never laughed so much on a golf course, especially when Stephen Hendry constantly drove into us (you had to be there).

Royal Lytham– Coldest I’ve ever been on a golf course, caddying in the Lytham Trophy, 10 layers of clothing, but loved it.

Haggs Castle – the only time I outdrove my best friend.

West Sussex – Best golf club food ever.

The Belfry – Ryder Cup 1985. Was on the bridge by 18th green when Torrance holed the putt, amazing atmosphere.

Sunningdale Ladies – takes 2 hours to play, 2 mins from home. My type of course until by 11yr old son beat me recently. Time to retire.

Helping Hand

My name is Michael McIntyre I am going into my second year as a student at Manchester Metropolitan University. I am currently studying Landscape Architecture and then plan to take a further course in Golf Course Design after completing my 3 years at Manchester University.

I first worked at European Golf Design during my School Work Experience week when I was 15 and I then worked for an extra week in the School Summer holidays. I am now 19 and this is the third time I have been given the great opportunity to return to EGD to gain more experience within Golf Course Design.

The people at EGD are very friendly and have welcomed me into the company as one of the team. When I arrived on Monday last week I met Gary who gave me my first task which was to write the text for a course planner on a Golf Course in Bulgaria. This was very interesting but at the same time quite challenging as I had to vary the text ensuring that for each hole I gave, in my opinion the best way the golfer should play the hole. I then went onto work out the stoke indexes, Gary and I worked on this together and put the 18 holes in order of hardest to easiest, this gave us the stoke indexes for the course.

I was impressed with the changes in the office, with a large flat screen TV and comfy sofas, giving me absolute comfort when watching the Olympics with the colleagues. Surprisingly they still continue their lunch time habit of a trip down to Waitrose and I was soon to follow in their footsteps, however everyone did look forward to pizza Friday which was understandable after a week of Waitrose and healthy eating.

I then went onto produce some photo montages on a prospective job. The purpose of these is to try and show what alterations we could make to certain holes on the course to improve them aesthetically and strategically. I produced three montages for the Designers to look at. They gave me their comments on how I could improve on my ideas ie. the shape of a bunker. I made some adjustments and printed off the photo montages.

At the end of my first week I began to work on the strategic design on a layout adding two 9 holes to an existing 9 holes. The routing plan has been laid out and I will be continuing to come up with the more detailed plans throughout next week.

I have really enjoyed my first week at EGD and in just a short space of time have already begun to learn a lot more about Golf Course Design. I am looking forward to carrying out my next challenging tasks during week two however I am unsure what we’ll be watching now the Olympics has finished, the office will be in despair.

EGD Trip to Casa Serena

On Friday of last week, Dave, Alex and I were lucky enough to take advantage of Robin’s very kind offer of visiting the recently opened Casa Serena course that he designed near Prague. The course is currently being prepared for it’s first tournament, a European Senior Tour event – The Casa Serena Open on 5th to 7th September.

We arrived at Casa Serena at 8pm on Thursday evening with just enough light for Robin to give us a quick guide to the course that we’d be playing the next day. Our initial concern was the brutal rough that encompasses each hole. We were all struck by the joy of the landscape and beautiful scenery that the course is set within.

After an evening with Stuart Burridge (the Head Greenkeeper) in the local town, Kutna Hora we awoke to be spoilt in having the course completely to ourselves. We threw the balls up and began our round (incidentally, I’d torn my calf muscle a week ago playing football and after a late Paula Radcliffe fitness test it was obvious with a lot of office pride running on the match, Dave wasn’t completely overawed at his luck of having me as his playing partner).

As the game went on, the rough was as brutal as we’d imagined with quite a few provisional balls being struck but the course was a joy to play and I particularly loved the shaping of the fairways. During the round, I noted a designer who is fully aware of the hazards he’s set out, isn’t immune from them. I also came to the conclusion Dave’s become the barometer or acid test for each designer at EGD as he’s always encouraged with his immense length to attempt to drive a short par 4 or to take on a long carry. Being his playing partner this can be rather stressful when he misfires but when he’s successful it’s thoroughly enjoyable.

On the 18th Hole, Alex retained his 100% losing streak on EGD courses as Dave and I were the winners of a tightly contested match, winning two up. It was apparent Robin was slightly frustrated at losing on the course he’d designed but with ever reason extremely proud to show it off to his fellow work colleagues (possibly the biggest critics).

On a final note, I have to mention my delight with Terminal 5 at Heathrow, especially after experiencing the speed and diligence of BA staff in retrieving the office camera (that has become the most popular toy here since the putting machine) I’d left on the plane. It would have been a long Monday explaining that one.

EGD Host Media Day

This week saw European Golf Design hosting a Media Day at the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor. Golf and Travel writers from the UK and Europe were invited by EGD and Celtic Manor to experience the new Ryder Cup Course, designed by European Golf Design.

An early start, 6.30am on a Monday (Sarah had no idea such a time existed) saw Ross, Matt, Sarah, Jeremy and Queenie (MIchael King – EGD Director, ex-Ryder Cup and Walker Cup golfer “as he describes himself”) drive down to Celtic Manor in torrential rain and gale force winds. Why didn’t we chose to hold the event in the summer?

As we drove over the Severn Bridge, the rain stopped, the clouds parted and brilliant sunshine shone down on us. Who says it always rains in Wales?

Joining us on the day was the Twenty Ten Honorary Captain, Gareth Edwards CBE ex Wales and British Lions rugby footballer, and school friend of Queenie. Poor John Hopkins from The Times who played with them was subjected to five hours of school boy tales and humour.

Golf writers from Finland, Denmark, Ireland and Scotland joined us for breakfast before venturing out onto the Twenty Ten Course. Despite the heavy rain that has fallen for weeks, the course was in superb condition. As usual with golfers, everyone complained about their game and the putts that didn’t drop but everyone was in agreement the course was in fantastic shape, and a true test of golf. Reliving their rounds over lunch, another golfers trait, they all talked about how they hoped to play the course again and what a fantastic day it had been.

Several stayed on for the night at the hotel, apart from poor Mark Alexander who missed his train and was contemplating the sleeper train back to Scotland, arriving home at 7am Tuesday.

Mike Harris from Golf Monthly took the prize with a score of 28 points but the real winner was the course.

P.S. If you’d like to watch our day out at the Twenty Ten Course, the Audi Channel (Channel 884 – Sky Digital) and Audi’s website (Check the Audi Channel link) will be showing highlights towards the end of August.

International Travel – Part 1

Anapa, Russia April 28-30 2008

The Pain
– Heathrow Terminal 5 at 10pm.

– Security control

– Trying to get some sleep in 14C

– Arriving in Moscow at 5am (2am UK time)

– Russian immigration control

– 7 hour lay-over

– Soviet Tupalev aircraft

– 14 hours to get from A to B

– Meetings until midnight

– Security control

– 11 hours to get from B to A

– UK Immigration control

– Heathrow Terminal 5 at 11pm

The Joys
– Heathrow Terminal 5 (the building is stunning, just don’t check any bags in) Russian Military hats that are bigger than TV satellite dishes Finding a site that actually might exceed the client’s hopes.

Life at EGD Towers

After last week, when many of us were out of the office on site visits, the reverse is true this week, with all but Dave and Jeremy in the office, everyone else will be concentrating on reports and design work.

So, what is the office like at EGD Towers?

We’re based in Sunningdale, a small town to the south west of London, close to the famous heathland courses of Sunningdale, Swinley Forest and The Berkshire, as well as a few minutes from Wentworth where one of our parent companies, The European Tour, is headquartered. From the office to Heathrow is a journey of about twenty minutes, Gatwick is forty minutes in the other direction. To the centre of London takes about forty-five minutes on the train, the station being a few minutes walk from the office.

The office itself is on the top floor of an old stable building, dating back to the 1830’s. The main area of the office is open plan, with several of the designers having their own offices off of this room. The open plan area is the nerve-centre – it is from here that the financial, administration and IT functions operate. It’s where people congregate to tell stories of amazing sights, or amazing sites. It’s where we have lunch together every Friday. It’s also home to the EGD indoor putting course. While a very popular game for us, it is less popular with the restaurant downstairs who claim that there is a direct link between the celebrations of a holed putt and their lights swinging from their ceiling (our floor).

One of the other main features in the office is the drinks shelf. We have rule that whenever one of us goes to a new location, they need to bring back the cheapest bottle of local alcohol they can find. In very nearly all cases, ‘cheap’ and ‘tasty’ don’t go hand-in-hand, so while there’s a lot of alcohol on the shelf, very little of it ever gets, or ever will get, drunk.

EGD Boys Visit Ireland

It was an early start on the Friday, our flight left at 6.15. Will resisted (just) the temptation to have a beer at the airport! We arrived in Dublin, picked up the hire car and headed to Carton House, stopping in Maynooth for a suspect Irish/English breakfast along the way.

We teed off at 11:30 on the Montgomerie Course, fortunately the rough was trimmed and from tee to green we all put in a good show. After many bunker shots, good, bad and ugly, Will and Gary were victorious against Dave and I, winning on the 18th green after I had left a putt short that we needed for a half! A couple of weeks later I think Dave is still angry with me!

After a short drive to the Portmatnock Hotel, a shower and a change, we headed to Dublin for a few pints of Guinness. Gary took us to a rather dodgy ‘locals’ bar but fortunately we survived the evening!

We teed off the next morning (a little blurry eyed) at 9:00. After a mix of good and bad golf again, Dave and Gary won beating Will and I rather easily! That left myself as the only person to lose both matches! The ‘shot of the holiday’ came at the 18th at Portmarnock Links, Gary hitting a 3-wood to about 6 feet from 240 yards out, the surprised look on his face was unforgettable! All in all we had a really good trip and it was great to play two excellent courses designed by EGD!

A big thanks to Dave a Stan for organising the golf!