Golf Monthly Editor's Letter Open 2014 Issue
Editor’s Letter Open 2014 Issue
I can remember the first time I walked out to play a round of golf at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, and even though it was 25 years ago, it feels like yesterday. The Liverpool University golf team had (still does have) the privilege of playing its matches at Hoylake, and I had been invited along for a trial. I played to a respectable standard, but more importantly I had a car, so could be useful for driving to away matches or stepping in if anyone was injured, had exams or, more than likely, was too hung over.
I’d only been playing the game a few years and had only really played parkland courses in and around Oxford. Hoylake was very different. Long and unforgiving with deep bunkers, tight lies and fast greens. Overseen by big skies and blown upon by big winds. This was real golf. I shot millions, but loved every second of it. Fortunately, the team had room for a car-driving ‘squad player’.
Over the next three years I played a lot of golf at Hoylake, from frosty winter mornings to glorious summer evenings, and each round taught me something new about how to play the game of golf. Walking around inside the clubhouse I began to develop an appreciation for the history of the game and Hoylake’s contribution to the story. The club and links have not only nurtured the amateur game, but have also provided the stage for some of the finest performances in the history of the Open Championship. The two most famous characters in Hoylake’s rich history are local boys John Ball and Harold Hilton. Their achievements are quite remarkable.
Ball won the Amateur Championship eight times and the Open once. Hilton chalked two Open Championships, four Amateurs and one US Amateur. In 1911 he won the Amateur on both sides of the Atlantic. He also found time that year to launch a new magazine… Golf Monthly. (And I think I have to multi-task.)
I am enormously proud to follow in the footsteps of Hilton, not only as Editor of this magazine, but also as a member of Royal Liverpool. And next month, when the greatest golf tournament of them all returns to the links of Hoylake, I will be brimming with excitement. I know that feeling will be shared by all the club’s members.
Holing out on the 18th of the Championship layout (the 16th as we play it) – surrounded by the horseshoe of grandstands that will be full with 7,000 golf fans – is a special experience and this year saying to yourself “… this one for the Open” will have extra special resonance.
It’s going to be a fantastic week when the Open comes to the Wirral, and our 31-page preview – produced in association with Titleist, along with our exclusive Royal Liverpool Open Strokesaver – will really whet your appetite for the great event.