Golf Monthly Editor's Letter October 2013 Issue

Editor’s Letter October 2013 Issue

What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago to the day I remember heading off to play golf, waterproofs not even packed but already on, all set to face yet another ‘summer’s day’ of golf in the UK.

2012 really was miserable, wasn’t it? A year on, and I pen my editor’s letter in late August after four months of near-perfect golfing weather.

Unsurprisingly, the good weather has encouraged golfers to get out and play more often, and the latest research by industry experts Sports Marketing Surveys Inc shows that the number of rounds played since May this year is significantly higher than last year.

I certainly know I’ve been teeing it up even more than usual this year, as long sunny evenings and dry weekends have allowed me to get more games in.

I would love to report that more golf has equalled better scores and a reduction in my handicap, however the opposite is the case. I have managed to record eight consecutive 0.1 increases this season.

My nadir was reached in the August medal, when not only did I return a score of 91
(a round 20 over par), but I was obviously so desperate to get to the bar for a consoling drink afterwards that I failed to put my card in the box after inputting my score in the computer.

As a result, I was banned from the next two competitions! Perhaps that was the Golfing Gods’ way of telling me I needed a little break from banging my head against a brick wall!

The last few weeks have certainly given us much to talk about in the elite game.

Firstly, there was the widespread condemnation of the idiot fans who insist upon screeching “Get in the hole”, “You’re the man”, “Mashed potato” or other such nonsense every time every player hits the ball.

While watching the final round of the USPGA (in my book, never the most exciting tournament, let alone Major) it got so bad that I had to turn down the TV volume and watch in silence.

Like 99% of golfers I really enjoy team events where the crowd comes alive and injects some partisan passion into proceedings, but the mindless yelling witnessed at Oak Hill has no place in regular tournament golf.

The vast majority of US golf fans and commentators rightly rallied against these brainless shouts, but I think the PGA Tour needs to take a much more proactive approach to stamping out this unwelcome accompaniment to the professional game.

On a more positive note it was great to watch the European team’s sensational win at the Solheim Cup in Colorado.

Having never won on US soil, and with an inexperienced team lacking stalwarts like Laura Davies, I didn’t fancy Lotte Neumann’s chances of leading her team to victory.

However, I and the US team hadn’t banked on the incredible performance of 17-year-old Charley Hull and her teammates.

The European side was simply magnificent, hitting laser-like approaches and then holing pretty much anything they looked at.

The US Team was blown away. I really hope this historic win signals a new era for European ladies golf.

The night the Solheim Cup came back to Europe there was more cause for celebration when 18-year-old Matthew Fitzpatrick became the first Englishman to win the US Amateur Championship since the great Harold Hilton lifted the trophy 102 years ago.

To regular readers of Golf Monthly, Hilton’s name will ring a bell not only for his golfing achievements (twice Open Champion and four times Amateur Champion) but because he was also the founding editor of this magazine.

To think that in 1911 Hilton had time to not only win both the Amateur and US Amateur Championships, but also start a golf magazine, is quite amazing.

I’m sure he would be very disappointed by the playing standard of his latest successor, but hope he would at least enjoy the magazine!

Email: michael_harris@ipcmedia.com
Twitter: @MikeHarrisGolf