I started writing a blog 10 years ago when I owned Club Inc. encouraged by my staff to write something about what I was doing on a weekly basis, which they felt would be interesting to those people who loved golf or who were in the golf industry. It became popular going out on a Tuesday morning, with most people saying they read it when they were on the loo!! I sold the business a few years ago and the blog went with it.
Fast forward to a dark night in lockdown when I got the news that I had been asked to become a top 100 course panellist for National Club Golfer, which as you can imagine is a nice gig to get. I announced this on LinkedIn and got a huge reaction and thought why not resurrect the blog reviewing the courses I am playing and adding the opportunity to invite people to play with me that I had met in my career in the golf industry.
With this in mind I have picked some great courses starting close to home due to travel restrictions and safety protocols etc. Having been CEO at Loch Lomond and held senior positions at St Andrews Links Trust, Dubai Golf & Racing Club, Celtic Manor and Wentworth I have been very luck to play some of the top courses around the world, played with and met some really interesting people and got the inside track on some of the biggest tournaments in sport.
In addition, I have been aware of what other lifestyle interests’ members enjoy, which usually evolve around cars, watches, wine, whiskey, real estate, football and travel not necessarily in that order so the blog will cover some fun stories around these items as well.
Spurs – I had no choice
You should also know that I am a Spurs fan I had no choice as it was passed down from father to son in my family. In my previous Blog I got a lot of reaction to my comments about my team and I am finding that some of my fellow panellist also enjoy the sport but not necessarily my team. When I go to venues football always comes up either at the beginning of the conversation or at the end so you will see a lot of references to the only true team from North London!
Other things about me are that I have been married to the non-golf playing Jill for 30-year, father to Tom & Joe and Grandfather to Alfie and Frankie all of whom I think will feature. I am a proud member of Sunningdale Heath and love what Kristian and Tom, the owners, are trying to build at the club. A special Colt course which we think might have a Mackenzie influence, originally called Sunningdale Ladies opening in 1902 with some great par threes well worth a visit.
I love travel and hopefully with restrictions lifting I will highlight some great courses and clubs outside of England, which the top 100 course panellist for National Club Golfer are concentrating on this year.
My first trip out of England will be to Scotland, just before the Euro Championship game between the two countries, to play the new Links course Dumbarnie Links which I can’t wait to play on 16th June. On this occasion I will be driving but I will look at other forms of transport enjoyed by the travelling golfer as we go forward.
Over the years I have stayed in some great and not so great accommodation and I am sure we will have some stories to tell as we visit the courses on my list. On my first trip out, I am staying at The Lorimer Guest House in St Andrews. It’s owned by the son of my former PA, Scott Finley and his wife. Scott was one of the original leading juniors in St Andrews Links Junior Golf Association that I helped to set up at my time at the Links. When I spoke to him about why he bought the guest house he told me he wanted to retire early how scary is that! He also told me that his mum sometimes helps out with the breakfast run so will be great to catch up with Janet. Anyone who knows Janet will tell you how organised she is and has administered the Marshalls for three Opens and will retire after her fourth the 2022 Open.
I think you will enjoy my guests who cover a wide range of industries and topics. They are mostly from the golf industry with a smattering of celebrities who love their golf and some past members of clubs I have worked at. Whilst we set the website up for the blog, I have undertaken a few of my reviews playing with a LET player, an old boss from the PGA, a Spurs legend, The GM of the Berkeley Hotel, the past owner of one of the leading PR companies in Golf and a star from Strictly Come dancing.
The courses so far have been Hindhead, Walton Heath, West Hill, West Surrey, Coombe Hill and Wentworth. Some of which I had not played since the early nineties. All the courses I have visited have improved since that time highlighting that the agronomy practices and the education provided to the Course Superintendents and their staff is first class.
All my guests so far have been very generous providing some unique prizes for the competitions we will be running so do get involved and should you be lucky enough to win you will not be disappointed.
Finally, we want your feedback from the blog, let me know what you think about my reviews, your stories about the courses I play, let me know where you think I should play and who I should play with and I will endeavour to make this happen.
Like any project I have set some goals, and these may not be achievable but would be wonderful if they came to pass. Some of these goals are as follows: Help others to promote their causes and charities through golf, Play Augusta National, have a round with Michael Jordon at his club Grove XX!!!, Play Cypress Point, develop the blog into a must read in golf, reduce my handicap from 9 – 5, Play in the Dunhill Links Championship Pro-am (I hear the Saturday night dinner is worth the invite alone!)
I hope you enjoy reading the blog, learning about the Courses I visit, the characters I meet, the people I play with and with your help we can achieve some of the goals I have set myself.
Until next time