It's that time of year again – the Open. Robert Holmes has kindly done another guest blog with his predictions, which include an Englishman! Read Robert's blog and tips below, and don't forget to follow him @RHolmes24 on twitter.
The purpose of the stay was to celebrate my mate Simon’s 40th birthday. We were staying at the very nice De Vere Belton Woods. We all met up prior to a one o’clock tee-off for a sausage sandwich and a coffee, set out the handicaps, and decide the fourballs.
The aim was to play a North v South Stableford competition, 2 Northerners and 2 Southerners in each four ball. One of the lads had bought us all some caps to wear to commemorate the occasion, and Simon had brought enough beer for a small party that we managed to fit in our bags!
The hotel has two courses in the grounds, the Lakes course and the Woodland course. We opted for the Woodland course and it was pretty impressive. The one grudge I have is the position of the flags, they were all close to the edge of the greens and were very challenging, resulting in alot of 3 putts from all of us.
I was disappointed with my round a times, I hit some awful approach shots from very good drives and this killed the round. I did manage another birdie however and won the Longest drive on the 18th!
My card is here
The result of the game was the Northern boys won by 10 points from our combined scores! Get in there and Simon had bought us all a prize for winning. The individual score that won was 32, which to be homes said a fair bit about some of our performances!
The night carried on and we had a fantastic 3 course meal that was included in the break and then had a few more beers in the bar regaling our tales from earlier. I would recommend a stay at Belton and would give the course a 4/5. The design of the holes are great, some fantastic tee areas, and some amazing bunkers make the course exciting and challenging. The greens were pretty quick and tough due to flag positions. The reason it’s not 5/5 is because of this and for £45 a round I would have expected a few more ‘eye-catching’ holes. Would definitely go back again though! We are looking to make it an annual event now and give those Southerners a chance to get one back on us.
Here’s an aerial shot of the 18th Lakes course, with the 18th Woodlands course just to the left.
Some more photos of the course are below :
So today I bring you a guest blog by Robert Holmes. He is a horse racing and golf tipster who I follow on twitter. This is his piece and predictions for the up coming Masters tournament. Have a read and make sure you follow him @RHolmes24. A lot of study and thought has gone behind this work and I reckon it may be good advice to follow – lets hope so!
US Masters Preview
The first major of the year begins on April 5th at Augusta and I have been looking through the field for some exceptional each way value, and have picked out two for you to muse over.
Rory McIlroy is the 4/1 favourite, and after winning the Honda Classic a couple of weeks ago, he has strong claims. Leading the final round last year, he crumbled to a painful 80 on the last day. It was just as painful to watch. But any thoughts that he may not be able to handle the pressure were firmly put behind him when romping the US Open. That win propelled him to be golf’s new golden boy, something which Tiger Woods (7/1 chance) surely would be annoyed at. Tiger has been in decent form so far this year as he discovers his old sparkle. A 62 on the final day at the Honda was impressive and slowly he looks the Tiger of old. Personally, I will give him a miss.
Phil Mickleson, (Loves it at Augusta), Lee Westwood and Justin Rose (great form this year) will be popular but I like the value of Ryo Ishikawa, a great talent from Japan and still only 20. This year his form has been improving with each outing, T17 at WGC Matchplay, he followed that with a 2nd place finish at the Puerto Rico Open. Having finished a solid T20 here last year he is learning to adapt his game to this course following a missed cut the year before. At a ridiculous 200/1 with Skybet, (150/1 next best with BetVictor) he is worth a flutter. Next up is Jason Dufner, a guy who is up there every week at the minute (currently second at time of press in Transitions Championship) and a 30 place finish last year. He may be remembered for fluffing his lines in the USPGA last year. That experience will stand him in good stead for more major action. I would advise a punt on him ASAP as a win this week will see his odds tumble. Currently 150/1 with Sky bet and BET365.
Good Luck! Follow me on twitter @RHolmes24
I have just got back from playing Grassmoor Golf Course with a few pals, and the highlight of an eventful round has to be my eagle. This is my first ever and I can now tick it off as another accomplishment on the golf front.
I was really happy with my round today and am hitting the ball the best I have ever done. I shot -1 under my handicap today (+15 for the round) and this included two 7’s and a 6! One of these 7’s was on the 17th, a par 3 where I put my tee shot in some trees and then played tree tennis for a few shots.
The scorecard is here Grassmoor and the Bandit
Other eventful moments were one of my playing partners chipping in from about 40 yards through trees and I also drove the 15th green and putted for eagle again – but hey ho had to settle for birdie.
Grassmoor was a nice course, quite short and if you drive the ball well the second shot is generally with a lofted iron. There is a lot of money being spent on the course and it is being re-shaped and re-developed. In a few years time it will be excellent. Having said that I really enjoyed paying there and for £15 it’s great value. This was a little warm up match for two weeks time, where we are going to a DeVere hotel for my mate’s 40th and playing a North v South competition. After today’s rounds from us three Northerners, I reckon the Southern boys will be running scared!
I look back and reflect on my golf, I am getting better and playing pretty well. Take those 7’s and 6 into bogies and I would have shot sub 80 which would be amazing. Proves that I could do it!
As a PE teacher I’ve always been competitive and hate losing, so was determined not to lose against my sister today! I didn’t, but to be fair to her she played much better today than her last round and was pretty damn good on her back 9. She’s currently of 36 and me off 16 gives her 20 shots on me. In the end I beat her by 3 shots taking handicaps in to play – phew!
Here’s our scorecard Sibling Rivalry at Birley
Birley is a decent enough municipal, and I generally play it in winter. Its always on proper greens and drains pretty well, today was the same. The SIV group had an offer on too which made it only £10 for the round – great value for money!
In the end I shot 87, which was +2 over my handicap. However, the round included a disasterous 9 on the second and a few double bogeys too. With that in mind it wasn’t a bad performance. My sister’s boyfriend is a Blackburn fan, now immortalised as VENKY’s when he is on a golf course. He also caught something off my sister during the round – the ANGER. Both of them at some stage were lets say ‘unhappy’ with a few shots and at one stage they had both thrown a club or two in despair.
With a little psychological coaching on the lines of ‘you’re both crap anyway so stop trying to be better’ or in reality ‘good try, never mind’ they plodded on and my sister actually hit the shot of the round on the 14th Par 3. Nailing her tee shot into the middle of the green from 160 yards. VENKY’S highlight was slicing ‘another’ tee shot onto the adjacent fairway. When going to his ball, a man playing that hole walked past and VENKY’s said to him “I didn’t like my fairway, so thought I’d play on yours”, no response from the man prompted VENKY’s to respond again in the same way, still no response. VENKY’s went up to the man to get closer and try and crack the joke again, only realising then that the man would never get the joke, why you say, he was deaf!
My highlight of the round, three pars on the bounce on the back nine. As always I like to put a relevant photo with my blog. I’ll let you decide which of us is which character in the photo. I thougt the three Amigo’s would be good, but then came across this. I hope no-one chooses me as the donkey, I’d never be one of those!
As a review for Birley, for value for money it’s a recommenadation. If you want a nice steady course with a few challenging long par 4’s and a few par 3’s you can’t go wrong here. Give it a go, it’s what it says on the tin – a value for money municipal course.
Firstly here is the scorecard for todays round
The day was mild for a change, as it is half term there was no sign of any kids for all of us, a welcome break!
So at the firsf tee at 9.45 7 of us lads including @golfingcyclist were eager and chomping at the bit to get the golf going. As a group we hadn’t played collectively for nearly a year and it was great to catch up.
College Pines is situated on the outskirts of Clumber Park near Worksop. At £18 for the round its great value for money, we only teed off on one mat and every green was in play. The course was immaculate, and this is something considering the weather we have had lately.
I had a new piece of apparel today, a hat I won last year for basically talking crap, looks good doesnt it!
With a promise of not to talk utter shite off we went. All of us played at or below our handicap mark today and other than a couple of ropey holes we would have scored even better. I am really chuffed that I hit my handicap mark today, consistent golf feels great! @golfingcyclist is happy as he finally beat me by one shot today after handicap deductions, previously I had whooped his ass the last twice!
A photo of the determined boy below mid swing.
I would seriously recommend this course to anyone wanting to play this time of the year and still be able to play on tees and greens with excellent fairways. The greens were holding and ran true allowing for some confidence behind the putter or ‘Excalibur’ as it’s affectionately known! With a long start and finish this is a challenging yet very enjoyable course to play.
A big shout out to my pal Sturdey today (Donald on the card) who was -7 his handicap until the last two holes where he had a couple of nightmare holes. Today he was The Machine and played simply awesome. Chin up mate, he’s looking for his gun to shoot himself below at the 19th!
Today I embarked upon my first game of 2012 and the first one since my ankle operation. After two under handicap rounds prior to the op and a handicap drop to 16 I was excited about the round this morning.
A quick hit on the range helped get me switched on. My card is below :
The course was excellent and in fantastic condition for this time of year. One winter green was in use on the first, and it was better than some normal greens on other courses I’ve played. £25 was the cost, reasonable I thought and the staff and other golfers were all very friendly, helpful and polite.
The main positive of the round is the ankle operation doesnt seem to have had a negative impact on my game, and only began hurting after hole 12. The second positive was my putting was on fire! Yet as always with golf other parts of my game were not firing! My GIR was awful, and my FIR not much better ~ yet after two months off I am happy with 89, and but for two horrendous holes where I scored 9 and 7 I would have hit my new handicap mark again.
The course itself is a woodland course, and while it is designed to give you the chance to drive off the tee, any errors result in difficult shots through trees. There are quite a few par 3’s that are challenging and one over a ditch that is a really great hole to play. There are a couple of very tough, long par 4’s (the 9th in particular!), yet overall a fair and well laid out course. It was very enjoyable to play and one of my favourites that I have played – 4 out of 5!
I ending up winning and beating my golfing buddy Foxy (@Golfingcyclist), he wasn’t firing half as well as he can though to be fair! Yet a victory is a victory! Roll on the next round, but for all you guys reading this in the Sheffield area I would thoroughly recommend a round at Wortley, and I know we will be returning.