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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Hough’s It

I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season, and that you’ve come home safely from wherever you were and whatever you were doing, and that you’re refreshed and ready for the New Year, and that your plans for 2019 include lots of golf.

The golf course has been fantastic, as most of you who have played have remarked. We recorded 156mm of rain for the month of December, but of most interest was the massive storm we had on Friday the 22nd, where we only had 8mm of rain, but due to strong winds, we lost 3 big trees on the course, including one of the big blue gums on the 5th hole which crushed our palisade fence and fell right across Osborn Rd. Rather than wait (weeks maybe) for the municipality to come and chop the tree into pieces and clean it up, we called our regular tree fellers (you can read that however you want to) and got the road cleared by the end of the next day.

We also lost a tree across the access road, right in front of the gate by the maintenance yard, plus one of the small trees on the right of the 9th hole, the one which partially obscured the view from the back right tee to a back right hole location.

Then the annual hollow-tyning and top-dressing started on Tuesday the 2nd of Jan, so the greens were a little sandy and slow for a few weeks, and should be back to their normal any day now.

Since the start of the year, we’ve only recorded 16mm, yet even with the high temperatures and heatwave we’ve been experiencing, the course is still holding up well, but with more heat forecast for this week and very little rain predicted, we’ll again be stretched by the elements.

First things first, and the opening of the new 12th hole has been delayed by a few weeks to Sat the 17th of February as we ensure the conditioning is better before we maybe open it prematurely. You’ll have to play it lots as the Club Champs are due up soon in early March, and you’ll need as many rehearsals as possible as you plot your way around the water and onto the new semi-island green.

Other club events due up are as follows:

The (free) Sunday morning junior clinics resume this Sunday the 21st of January
. Bring those kids/grandkids along and let’s get them started in golf, and having good clean fun in the outdoors.

The Ladies Houghton Trophy, the first Ladies Major of 2019 is already up on Saturday the 27th of January. Entries are already open, so let us know if you want to play.

The Father & Son challenge, which is actually open for any family groups, takes place on the 4th Feb, and the timesheet is already open (click on poster to book).

All the relevant entry lists for the different Club KO’s are now up on the notice boards.

Ladies & C Div Club Champs: 24 – 25 February
Men A & B Div Club Champs: 3 – 4 March
Masters @ Augusta – April 5-8 (Sat 7th April starts The Race to Pecanwood)
US Open @ Shinnecock Hills – June 14-17
Open Championships @ Carnoustie – July 19-22
US PGA Champs @ Bellerive CC – Aug 9-12

I came upon this graphic on social media last week, and was struck by one name there that really stood out for me. Whilst most of these guys are still active on the PGA and/or Champions Tours, Sergio is the one on this list that is still right up there (currently #10) after at least 15 years in the rarefied atmosphere atop the World Rankings.

After breaking through at Augusta to claim the Green Jacket last year, and finally get the Major monkey off his back, he’s since gotten married, fallen pregnant – well actually his new bride did – and even changed club manufacturer. He’s just now signed with Callaway, including their newly-acquired boutique putter company called Toulon Design, yet he stays with adidas clothing, the apparel company he’s represented since he first came on the scene in 1999.

So how’s a happy and content Sergio looking for 2018?

Now, here’s a prediction for 2018.

A 25 year young Tour Pro that has a magnificent pedigree – he was the number 1 amateur in the world for 55 weeks in 2011, including the lowest round ever on the PGA Tour by an amateur, a 60 in the Travelers Championship – and started his career with a win on the 2013 Tour in Colombia, but has had his playing time cut short since with a back injury, plus a tragedy where his caddy, former high school team mate and best friend Chris Roth, got killed in a hit and run in Newport Beach.

Playing on an eleven tournament medical exemption, and in his second start of the 2017 season, he regained his PGA Tour card with a second place finish at the Valspar Championship. He finished third at the Heritage, 10th at the Northern Trust, 13th at the Dell Technologies Championship and 9th at the BMW Championship, which allowed him to qualify for the Tour Championship.

In his second start of the 2018 season, on November 5, 2017, he won his first PGA Tour title at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on the second extra hole of a three-man playoff. It was the second consecutive year in which his second start of the season secured his Tour card for the following season.

Patrick Cantlay is also the most improved player of the 2017 year on the strokes-gained stats – he was 5th overall - so beware, and keep an eye out for this current World #35 (he started 2017 in 1424th position) this year.

Then World #1 Dustin Johnson started 2018 with a bang – and the new TaylorMade M4 driver – with his win in the Tournament of Champions last Sunday in Hawaii, and barring another accident like the one he had at Augusta last April that set him back a good few months, I hope we’ll see him back to his best this year.

Coming up in the next few weeks as the PGA Tour starts the West Coast swing is the CareerBuilder event this week at La Quinta and then the Farmers Insurance tournament at Torrey Pines, where hopefully we’ll see Tiger teeing it up.

On the Euro Tour, they move to the Gulf for the Abu Dhabi event and the Dubai Desert Classic in the next 2 weeks, and hopefully there we’ll see some SA wins after Branden Grace fell a bit short at Glendower last week.

That’s about all for this week.
Hope you have a great one.

You’re playing an approach shot into the green. You’ve got a target. You’re telling yourself it’s large. “No big deal.”
You’re settling over the ball with really positive swing thoughts. Hold on.
If you haven’t already done so, I have three very simple questions.

 We’d like your thoughts on your short-game.
Just five simple questions.
Nothing complicated, technical,
or personal. But it will help us with
some research. Start now.

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