Thursday, 11 October 2018

European Senior Masters Pro-Am Day

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the pro-am day at the European Senior Masters at the famous Forest of Arden course in Warwickshire. The Arden Course was designed by Donald Steel and opened in the 1970’s sitting within Lord Aylesford’s vast 10,000 acre estate. It has already played host to seven English Opens and five British Masters and this was the second year of hosting the Senior Masters. I was also fortunate enough to be attending on a media pass courtesy of Golfhacker magazine (Golfhacker Website) and Champions UK plc

As part of that I had managed to get an invite to an exclusive round table interview with former Ryder cup player and winning captain Ian Woosnam, European Senior Masters host and former Ryder Cup hero Peter Baker and two French stars of the European Tour and former Ryder Cup players Jean Van De Velde and Thomas Levet (who was also making his European Seniors debut at this event). Golfhacker was the only magazine invited to what should have been a ten minute series of quick fire questions but which turned into a forty five minute discussion on the recent success in Paris and all things Ryder Cup.

Tournament Logo

I was lucky enough to film it all. It was also filmed by European Tour Productions (who managed to walk through my static camera position several times) and the entire interview is available to watch here. It really is worth a watch, even at forty five minutes long. Check it out here (Ryder Cup GOLD video)

After this unique opportunity drew to a close I wandered to the range and putting green to watch a few of the players warming up before heading to the first tee to watch Woosnam and Baker play (it was a shotgun start) and then wandering around a few holes. I managed to get a few players in action and hope this video captures a little of the flavour of the pro-am day. Watch it here (European Senior Masters - A Flavour Of The Day)

As I wandered around the course, it brought back mixed memories. I’d played the course back in October 2011 in the Golf Monthly Centenary Final which was a national event. I qualified at St Pierre in Chepstow and the final was around the Arden course being played by the professionals this week. I say mixed memories as I really enjoyed the course and the setting, played nice and steady and while I won the handicap section, I came second overall and lost on last six count back. If you never read my round up you can do here (Fine Margins Blog).

My tee shot on the 18th at the Forest of Arden in the Golf Monthly Centenary Final
I had a wonderful day covering the event. The organisers were brilliant, the players approachable and the media pass opened up a few opportunities for forthcoming collaborations on Youtube. If you don’t already subscribe, please go over to my channel now (Three Off The Tee youtube channel). 
Once I hit 300 subscribers I’ve a giveaway coming and as I alluded to, there are some interesting projects coming up which I hope I can get some of the channel subscribers involved in.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay around for the actual event which ran from Friday to Sunday and was eventually won by Santiago Luna of Spain. He was knocking it nicely in the pro-am and maybe I should have read the signs and invested a few pounds on him winning. I followed the progress via the European Seniors twitter thread and despite a few weather issues it was a marvellous event resulting in a narrow win for Luna.

I know Golfhacker are planning a return visit next year and I hope the Forest of Arden host the event again. It’s a majestic setting and provides a stiff test for the players especially in autumnal conditions. This year Golfhacker got behind the scenes and looked at what the scorers do as they follow each group and worked on one of the main scoreboards. I’m hoping for a similar behind the scenes opportunity next year. Golfhacker is designed for the average golfer. That’s the likes of you and me. It tries not to be fixated on the main European and PGA tours but covers a chunk of the ladies game and especially the seniors, as well as travel and product reviews.

As part of their seniors coverage I’m trying to arrange and exclusive interview with Australian former European tour member (and three time winner) and senior tour member Peter O’Malley. Hopefully we can get this organised and filmed early in the 2019 season so another great reason to subscribe to the channel now. I’ve met him informally at my home club Royal Ascot and he’s good fun to be with and has a whole storybook of tales to tell from his time on tour.

Finally a huge thanks once again to everyone involved making my trip to the pro-am such and enjoyable experience. The Forest of Arden holds so many memories for me and it’s definitely a course I’m keen to play again. If any of the European Senior Masters organisers want to save me a pro-am spot for next year I’m more than happy to put my iffy swing on camera and show it to the crowds. Now that would be fun.

There’s plenty of other great stuff coming up here too including a much overdue review of the Taylormade Project (s) and Vice DRIVE golf balls. I’ve already done the video reviews (watch here Project (s) video review and Vice DRIVE ball review) but as with all my product reviews I also provide a more detailed review here. I’ve an update on my own golf and the “Quest For Single Figures”. I’ve played a couple of interesting courses and a favourite annual event so plenty to chat about. There was also a club match against Tylney Park to discuss which had several “incidents”. Thanks as always for your time in reading my ramblings and I’ll see you for another blog soon.

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