THIS IS ASKERNISH GOLF CLUB (on a good day.) Situated on the island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides, it is reached in just over three hours on the “Lord of the Isles” ferry from Mallaig, and the weather can be “a bit breezy” but according to reviews it’s well worth hanging over the side of the boat for. The 6.080 yd. par 72 course was created by Old Tom Morris in 1891, it’s fairways formed from the natural contours of the dramatic dunes.
Maintained by the local crofters it was abandoned to nature in the 1920’s, with cows grazing on the fairways. However, in 2005 the islanders decided to call in expert advisors, and the course was re-opened in 2008 to great acclaim, a true links course that gives breathtaking views of Barra and other islands. The Clubhouse (cabin) is now closed for the season, so advisable to take a thermos or a wee dram. Visitors are ‘kindly asked to put the greenfees in the honesty box.’ Described as “Exhilarating links Golf in it’s purest form,” the only thing missing is Old Tom appearing over a dune with his Mashie.
MATT FITZPATRICK will defend his 2021 Andalucia Masters title on 13th-16th Oct at Valderrama, Sotogrande. Hope the weather’s better than it was in 2017 when Sergio Garcia won after battling the elements. Coming in after Day 2 he groaned: “I found it really tough out there. It was a little bit breezy, the fairways were starting to firm up, and the rain had made the greens a tiny bit bumpy.” Poor soul, it must have been hell.
THE PLUS FOURS and flat caps are here again. This year’s World Hickory Open Championship(11th-13th October) will be played over 3 rounds on the Nairn, Castle Stuart & Royal Dornoch Golf Courses. The field will be split into three groups with each group playing each course (up to 60 golfers in each group) on a rotational basis. An individual strokeplay event with handicap adjustments, prizes are awarded to both professionals and amateurs. Five star accomodation is provided, with a knees-up on the final night with Robbie Burns and Scottish reels. Sweden’s Olle Widegren won in 2019 with scores of 67, 68 and 72, not bad for 100 yr. old clubs.
PETE COWAN: “If you assume the top tour players are unimaginably happy and content, I assure you it’s not the case. A good many of them aren’t. They are healthy, rich and living the dream, but something – the perfectionist tendency perhaps, leads to them not being happy people. I see it on a daily basis: money isn’t everything.” No, but a $20 million yacht can sure cheer you up.
IAN POULTER was not one of golf’s miserable millionaires. He loved the fleet of 14 Ferraris in his Florida stable (there were 15 but he sold one to Rory McIlroy for £225,000) and apparently not winning a major never cost him a wink of sleep. “I’m having a fabulous life,” he told interviewers in 2021,” and I can always be a second hand car salesman when I retire.” Wonder why he joined LIV Golf then, perhaps that perfectionist tendency got to him.
ONE OF THE FIRST players to recognize Jordan Spieth’s mental strength was Phil Mickelson. Spieth and Steve Stricker beat him in one of his beloved practice round money games in 2013 although Mickelson, who knows every trick in the book to rattle his opponents, tried them all on Spieth, who just smiled innocently at him.
LIV Golf’s rules and regulations strictly prohibit gambling, demanding full compliance with code of conduct rules, which state that each participating player agrees to “not gamble (whether directly or indirectly) in connection with any Tournament, event or any other golf match or competition.” Poor Phil, how will he survive?
Until next time: Happy Golfing.
Contact Mick for regrips and repairs. Tel. 638 859 475, or visit https://mickthegrip.blogspot.com
Just a reminder folks that any loose change dropped in to the poppy boxes next month will all help this very worthy cause.