Golf Monthly Guest Editor's Letter February 2014 Issue

Guest Editor’s Letter February 2014 Issue

Do not be alarmed. Michael Harris has not left the building! Hi, my name is Tim Osborn and I have the honour of being ‘Guest Editor’ of this excellent golf magazine.

Let me tell you how it came about. My club, West Hill in Surrey, hosted the Golf Monthly forum day last year in aid of Help for Heroes.

The day was rounded off with some interesting auction items including one to be ‘GM editor for a day’.

As a subscriber for over 10 years, and in the retail news trade for over 30, the chance to see and talk to the team, and experience first-hand the collating and putting together of the magazine, was too good an opportunity to pass up.

I read with interest the features, equipment and especially courses and travel sections every month, and although not a big fan of the tips pages I always hope they will help me to get out of deep bunkers full of soft heavy sand!

When I arrived for the day, I was very interested to see that this issue features a John Daly world exclusive.

He’s an interesting character, and I for one would be delighted to have him in my fourball. Apart from being a world-class golfer, he has that ‘I am my own man and nobody can take away my personality’ aura.

Golf is much richer for people like Daly, and the article opens up his more human and private side as well as highlighting his golfing history. A cracking read!

Having moved around the UK with my career I’ve been lucky to be a member of several clubs, but my main objective has always been to find a ‘golfers’ club’.

As an avid golf club member and single-figure handicapper forever (without revealing my true age) this meant finding clubs that encouraged members old and new to play together in competitions.

I believe one of the best ways for this to work is for all club competitions to be drawn, rather than everyone always playing with the same group of friends.

I have always found that this process brought me into the main body of the club very quickly and easily.

Membership recruitment was highlighted in a major feature in the December issue, and I believe one of the biggest issues for prospective new members is integration.

This is, of course, a two-way process and newcomers need to ‘put themselves about a bit’ to ensure they’re seen as wishing to become inclusive members.

I can safely say my club has got it right, with our competitions hugely supported, and members enjoying playing with different people of varying handicaps and finishing it all with a jar or two in the bar.

I also enjoy my annual golfing trip with friends. The aim is to play some exciting golf on a different course and enjoy nice food, great company and plenty of craic.

In 2013, our itinerary included two top Scottish courses, but what should have been a memorable trip became a bit of a disappointment because of the excruciating pace of play.

I believe the root cause is that venues are trying to maximise revenue by packing too many people on with too short a gap between tee-times.

There seemed to be no vetting of handicaps and as a result too many golfers not good enough to play a hard course struggling round. Nobody, but nobody was called through.

Both rounds took just under six hours. Things need to change, because golf like that is no fun.

As the season draws to a close, my sympathy goes to all those whose golf has not lived up to expectations and my congratulations go to all who have done well.

My personal goal for next year is to take more money more often from my friends in the weekly bounce games as I know their aim is to do the same to me! Good hunting in 2014.

Twitter: @MikeHarrisGolf