Golf has never been so popular in the UK

With Tiger Woods back where he belongs, re-instated as the #1 golf player in the world ranking table followed by a wealth of British talent, the likes of Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and the flamboyance of Ian Poulter, it’s no wonder that golf has never been more popular as an amateur sport in the UK.

Furthermore, with over 7,500 courses to choose from throughout the UK, it’s never been easier or cheaper to play the best game in the world. Competition has driven prices down and increased the quality of pay and play golf courses available for non-members. Although I am surrounded by some awesome golf courses, I personally choose not to be a member of any of my local golf clubs. These days I have more fun facing different challenges, playing different courses whether it be with my son, some friends or co-ordinating a special corporate day.

I really enjoy seeking out new golf courses to play; and with the internet it is now even easier to find  new courses, read customer feedback on the quality of the greens and even the food and service on offer at the nineteenth hole.  All this, plus numerous websites listing cheap tee-times including some of the most prestigious golf courses throughout the UK.

From the amateur golfers point of view, things couldn’t be much better.  But what’s it like owning or managing a golf course with such competition and high levels of expectation and value for money?

Keeping the greens lush, the bunkers raked and the fairways in order is just one small part of managing a successful golf course. Imagine how a storm or severe winds could affect a golf course. Damage caused by hurricane-strength winds or an overnight flood, falling trees or branches on the course all need to be managed as does vandalism and theft.  But as a customer, I am only interested in the golf day experience I have when visiting a club.

Golf club insurance from Aon or other insurance companies, against accidental damage and public liability is as necessary as a top quality groundsman; and managing a course to always hit or exceed high expectations must be a real headache. these reasons alone, I recently decided to carry on enjoying the best game in the world as a customer rather than further exploring the possibility of co-owning a golf course with a friend who is very keen on making golf his livelihood as much as his pastime.

Adam Scott and his Masters winning golf clubs

Adam Scott became the first Australian to win The Masters after beating Angel Cabrera in a play-off at Augusta National in April. Having posted eight top-ten finishes at majors, including three top-ten finishes at Augusta, it was a relief to see Scott finally realise his potential and win the Green Jacket.   Here are a few of the golf clubs in Adam Scott’s bag.

Driver: Titleist 913 D3

The 2013 Masters was the first time Scott used the 913 D3 (9.5 degree) in competition, although he continued to use his Graphite Design Tour AD DI-8 shaft which he has used for years now, one of its kind and only for him. Most players don’t tend to make too many equipment changes before a major, but clearly the switch to the new driver paid dividends.

The key difference between the 913 D3 and its predecessor, the Titleist 910, is the newly developed face insert. The insert is designed to give improved ball speeds on off-centre strikes. The 913 delivers an 11 per cent increase in the maximum ball speed area on the face, resulting in 2 mph more ball speed that will produce an additional 4 to 6 yards that would not be achieved in the older 910 model.

Fairways: Titleist 910Fd

Scott also played with the Titleist 910Fd (15 degrees) fairway metal. It has a larger volume head design for enhanced distance and control from the tee compared to a traditional fairway metal, maximising the chances of hitting the fairway more often. It’s patented, SureFit Tour, dual-angle hosel technology provides the ability to make precise loft and lie adjustments to fine tune ball flight for more distance and accuracy.

Irons: Titleist MB Forged Irons + Titleist 712U Utility Iron

They say you learn more in defeat than in victory; this certainly seemed to be the case for Adam Scott having blown a commanding lead at the 2012 Open Championship to finish tied for second behind Ernie Els. Scott certainly did not let his nerves show during the Masters, hitting 83 per cent of greens in regulation on both the third and fourth round, and averaged the highest of any player with 76 per cent.

The tools behind his success are the Titleist MB Forged Irons. MB irons feature a uniform muscle shape that provides more mass behind the impact area to achieve the quintessential soft, solid feel. This weighting also produces consistent launch angle, backspin and ball speed in order to provide precise distance and shot control demanded by better players.

In addition, Scott used a Titleist 712U Utility Iron. The forged utility iron is designed to deliver consistency and control to high-ball speed players.

From April 2013 Titleist’s 712U utility iron was officially introduced for retail, not just as a Tour-only prototype.

Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist Futura X

All four major championships have now been won using belly or broomstick putters. For many, the anchoring ban can’t come soon enough.

Scott has been using Scotty Cameron putters for over a decade but moved from a regular putter to a broomstick in 2011 after some inconsistent performances. Scott’s move to a long anchored belly putter has clearly had a positive effect, moving up from 145th on the PGA Tour putting statistics to 78th before the Masters this year.

Scott’s Futura X prototype is crafted for him specifically following several rounds of design at the Cameron Putter studio. The putter is milled from aluminium and includes a balance bar and four tungsten weights that are positioned under four adjustable stainless steel weights in the far four corners of the putter giving it an extremely high resistance to twist at impact.

Buy Golf Equipment from Golfonline

If you are looking for a website that offers not only great deals but a fantastic service then look no further. Golfonline has a real passion for the sport and feel that golf is a game that everyone should be involved with. As Europe’s leading online golf store they are able to provide you with a vast range of products for every golf enthusiast. No matter what your experience, age or gender. With a 30,000 square foot warehouse complete with customisation suite, they really have all the tools to offer you the best service at the best price.

The Golfonline website offers some of the best deals on the world’s top golf equipment, offering brands such as Callaway, Titleist, Taylor Made and Nike Golf at prices that can’t be contested. The company motto is going the extra yard and they feel the best way to improve your satisfaction with the game is to bring best in class deals to you.

Alongside spectacular deals Golfonline offer an in depth golf service rarely seen online. They provide as much information as they can on each product, along with detailed descriptions of how each item can benefit your game. They also offer video demonstrations on a vast selection of our products, showing your future purchase in action.

Alongside each of the products you will find highly informative customer reviews, making sure you always make an informed decision. Golfonline also offer a large amount of custom items that can be produced to your specific golf needs. Whether it is a selection of named balls or a named golf bag, they are happy to help.

Golfonline also houses one of the Internet’s largest golf apparel collections. With golf specific items from the biggest names in fashion you really are spoilt for choice no matter what the current trends are.

To make Golfonline your new ‘go to’ site for golf accessories they are currently offering a reward scheme, earning you money off for each item you purchase. To match the stunning deals on offer, Golfonline have also added free delivery on all orders over £25 within the UK.

So if you are looking for the newest driver to give you that extra 10 yards, a customised tee shirt, or you are just looking for a great deal, Golfonline is the Internet’s number one stop for golf supplies.

Ping Golf has remained a favourite with Pros & Amateurs since 1950s

Ping Golf Clubs
Ping Golf Clubs

There are dozens of golf club brands on the market today, but none seem to resound in the minds of golfers as Ping.

Ping Golf began life during the mid 1950s. Karsten Solheim was an engineer in the U.S.A. and he utilised his engineering skills gained at General Electric, to manufacture a new golf putter in his garage, the name for this golf club was Ping 1A. It was names due to the sound of the metal of his golf putter as it struck the golf balls.

In 1961, Solheim moved his family from California to Arizona, and this is where he set up a permanent business in his garage. This would be where Solheim began work on his Ping golf sets and golf clubs. The move gave him the opportunity to create more seriously and to cater for a much wider golfing audience.

It wasn’t long after Solheim had moved to Arizona that he invented a set of irons known as the “69. His Ping manufactured clubs were so successful that within two years of his move a PGA Tour victory was won with the help of his ‘garage-made’ golf club at the Cajun Classic Open Invitational (won by John Barnum).

This victory was the perfect promotional tool for Solheim’s Ping Golf Clubs and golfers started to take notice, and with the publicity sales increased. By the time of The Golf World Cup in 1965, several professional golfers were using Ping Putters, and to help matters further, the Japanese event was televised for all to see.

There was more success in 1966 when Solheim created a new golf putter which he had first sketched on 78 RPM record dust cover. His new putter was named by Solheim’s wife, their Anser putter subsequently went on to become one of the most influential putters.

Ping didn’t always have an easy ride though. In 1966 USGA golf’s governing body for rules and golf equipment decided to outlaw all of Solheim’s putters with exception of the Answer (or Anser) for tournament and handicap play. This was down to Ping putters being made with a small bend in the golf club shaft just below the grip. It was thought to provide golfers with an advantage in their putting stroke.

The late 1960s brought a return to success with a major championship win at the infamous Masters. This time in the company’s history saw the introduction of the K1 stainless cast steel iron set.

Ping went on to become one of the most successful golf brands in the world with everything from men’s women’s and junior golf clubs. There were factory fittings of various club-heads and by the 1980s Ping were using check lists to aid the fitting program which was based on golfers physical attributes.

Today, Ping continue to manufacture some extremely high quality golf clubs and help both adult and junior golfers to achieve their best game across the world.

More golf accommodation opens in Kent

The Lodge @ Prince's Club Golf Club in Kent
The Lodge @ Prince's Club Golf Club in Kent

Following last year’s Open Championship, held at Royal St Georges Golf Club, Kent has seen an 85% increase in the number of UK amateur golfers booking golf packages and tee times at the county’s 97 courses.

Shepherd Neame, the renowned Kent-based brewer, pub and hotel operator, is among those offering accommodation for golf tourists, which has invested significantly in its estate.

Recent acquisitions include the iconic Bell hotel in Sandwich, a favourite with visiting golfers, the Camden Arms hotel in Pembury, near Royal Tunbridge Wells, and the Fayreness hotel in Broadstairs, which boasts a magnificent cliff-top location at Kingsgate Bay.

The Bell Hotel in Sandwich, Kent
The Bell Hotel in Sandwich, Kent

These additions mean that Shepherd Neame now has more than 468 rooms across its managed and tenanted estate, making it the biggest independent accommodation provider in Kent.

“We have always sought out opportunities within the Kentish heartland, striving to offer the best quality proposition to golfers visiting our county in terms of both food and accommodation,” commented Nigel Bunting, Retail Director at Shepherd Neame.

“At Shepherd Neame, we endeavour to provide each visitor with a unique experience. From intimate inns to high-end boutique hotels, each property is characterful and oozes individuality to leave a lasting expression of Kent with each golfer visiting this world-class golfing destination.”

The additions to Shepherd Neame’s accommodation portfolio are further supplemented by The Lodge at Prince’s Golf Club that opened in May 2012, ideal for Links connoisseurs, and, in the future, by a new 5* hotel and spa at The London Golf Club, for which planning permission has already been granted. Both facilities are perfectly positioned to welcome in-bound golf enthusiasts thanks to their proximity to London, France and the Continent.

“These establishments underline Kent’s status as a world-class golf destination with a wide range of accommodation for all tastes, budgets and lengths of stay,” added Nigel Bunting.

Away from the fairways, Kent has much to offer, from world-class iconic attractions, such as Canterbury Cathedral, Dover Castle and the new Turner Contemporary in Margate, to little gems and hidden treasures, including the mysterious tunnels of Chislehurst Caves hewn by the Druids, Romans and Saxons, which were also used as hidden shelters in the Second World War.

For more information on Kent see www.visitkent.co.uk.