Posted by & filed under Miscellaneous.

We’re offering one lucky member of The Golfers Club the chance to stay warm on the course throughout the Winter by winning another Mizuno bobble hat!

Q: Who won this year’s British Masters?

Simply email your answer to with details of the prize, your name, membership number and contact number. The prize draw will take place on the 2rd December 2016.

The Golfers Club

Posted by & filed under Competitions, Feature Articles, Golf Updates, Interviews, Majors, Masters.

As the European Tour becomes more global by the year, Florian Fritsch retained his card this year by playing just 12 events and not getting on a plane.


In terms of arranging an interview with a European Tour player, getting in touch with Florian Fritsch was just about as straightforward as it gets – “Happy to chat. I am on the road for the next two days so feel free to call anytime.”

Not the usual rigmarole of “ring at this precise time when I won’t pick up the phone and we can then talk for half the agreed time”. Just a simple call whenever, and we can chat then.


Fritch is on his way back from the Portugal Masters and is halfway up Spain when we speak. He spends a lot of time in his car as he doesn’t, to put it mildly, much care for flying. So much so that he never flies any more.

While all those around him on the Race to Dubai have played around 25-30 tournaments in a bid to retain their playing privileges, the German only started 12 events this year.


Given the way the European Tour looks these days, Fritsch’s season only got going in May and, while there were plenty of made cuts, he looked like losing his card. And then everything came together in a seven-week spell where he commuted from Switzerland to Holland, to Germany, to St Andrews, to Watford and finally the Algarve. In that period, he racked up three top 10s, earned something like €240,000 and finished 101st on the money list.

And no airports, no checking in and no anxieties.


When did the fear of flying first show itself?

In 2005, I was on a flight from Frankfurt to Turin and suddenly the plane started rocking like it never had before when we were over the Alps. Before that I would fly like people take buses, it was the most normal thing to do. I was sat next to my national coach and I asked him if anything was to happen, what would it be like. He said, if something happened, then it would happen very quickly. From that moment on I started to think about what I was sitting in and then the fear developed over time. Eventually, it turned into discomfort, then into fear and then whatever you want to call it now. In 2010, it got so bad that I decided to quit golf, which I did for a year.


I despise flying with a passion so spent 10 years of my life having to either get very pissed or take tranquilisers. I take it you tried these options…

I would drink a lot and that didn’t work. I tried sleeping pills and they didn’t work. In 2011, I had some drugs which were classified as putting people to sleep for an operation when they are afraid of needles, they are as strong as an anaesthetic. On a flight from Cork to London after the Irish Open, I popped two of those pills and still stayed awake. It was quite amazing how adrenaline could override those pills.

It was too harsh a measure just to play golf and it was out of proportion to do this a lot of the weeks of the year.


At least most of us know when we’re going to have to fly, as well as doing it lots of weeks of the year, a missed cut would mean another flight. How much would it play on your mind?

Initially it would start off at the gate, then it would be arriving at the airport and then it got worse and worse and would get to the point where I would feel bad three weeks prior to the flight.

It was kind of a depressive feeling, I would be very downbeat and grumpy, easily agitated and not nice to be around. On my last flight in 2013, someone asked me what it feels like to fly. I said it was like someone pointing a gun and playing Russian Roulette with me and I was waiting for the gun to click.

It was killing my quality of life too much. When I played back-to-back tournaments I would just be in that state non-stop.


European Tour


Are long hauls any better, less claustrophobic?

It would be on any flight, it didn’t matter. I did one flight from Frankfurt to Dusseldorf which was 25 minutes and even that one was bad. I can always handle the landing and take-off, if the plane flew at 5,000 feet I would probably be fine. I’m sure my fear has an element of a fear of heights but it’s not solely that.


Do you think it’s a phobia?

It’s very unfair that they classify a fear of flying as a phobia. I’m a novice but I would say a phobia is an over-reaction to a standard situation and, to me, to consider sitting in a tube for multiple hours, travelling at 600mph at a height of 37,000 feet is not a standard situation. So therefore I find that a bit misleading.

There are a lot of stats about but around 40-70 per cent of people sitting on a plane will feel like you and me, so we are in the majority.

People talk about the lack of control, but think about other modes of transport like trains, trams, buses or anything. You give up control but people aren’t as afraid of these.

People say driving is still dangerous and a car is 16 times more dangerous than flying. That figure sounds really high but flying might be 0.00000001 per cent mortality rate, so 0.000000016 driving sounds OK.


Colin Montgomerie is a renowned bad flyer, how common is it on Tour?

Ever since I came out with my issue and spoke quite openly two or three players have approached me about their discomfort, but they won’t talk about it as they are afraid of losing sponsorship.


How many miles a year do you drive?

I also played eight Challenge Tour events so about 24 events in total and so far, I am at 25,000 miles. It is not as much as people think, people who do that level of mileage will spend more time in the car than I do as I drive on the motorway/highway the whole time. My average speed is twice as high, so they spend twice as long in the car as me.


What are your favourite places to drive in Europe?

Anywhere where there is a toll, as that means less cars, I can put it in cruise control on and just drive and that is very nice. Any country that has free roads is horrible as everyone is on the motorway and it is very congested. I have found that the UK is congested between Manchester and London and everything else is great.

European Tour


How do you fill your time?

I call a lot of people, when I get in the car my friends now all turn off their phones! Mostly I enjoy some silence and the time to myself. It’s nice to catch up on your own thoughts and your own world, as it is easy to always be distracted by the world around you.

I am on the way to Bonmont GC, between Castellon and Barcelona, as I picked up some Mizuno wedges at the British Masters and a German player is at the second stage and asked me to bring them.

Another caddy asked me to take a driver home for him and you might have caddies and players getting a lift as I might be passing through cities where they live or fly out of – so a lot of people depend on me.


Does it take a lot of planning?

No, you have the internet and all these Apps to make it easy to plan these journeys. It is not rocket science any more, you go on the internet, find what you want and book it. It’s quite simple.

I have been doing it for multiple years. At the beginning I suppose I had to find out about ferries etc – now I know what I’m doing.


From September onwards you had three top 10s on the European Tour to retain your card, what brought about the change in form?

I want to say I played similarly whole year but I wasn’t getting it done on the weekends, though I was making a lot of cuts. The momentum swung my way in the past few months. You have to be patient and that is difficult when you’re not making the most of good positions.

Recently I got some good bounces, putts rolled in, I would chip in every now and then and things started to turn. So I would be going into the weekend in 15th rather than being 50th.


Given the nature of the low scoring on Tour there is a lot of pressure to keep pressing for birdies all week…

When things are not going your way I will still try to defend a good score, but that means you have no chance of being competitive. You have to take a step back to take two steps forward and rebuild some confidence and grow your game again over time. I am happy to play more conservatively. When I have my game back under control I can be more selectively aggressive.

At some point your instinct will be to take on a par 5 and that comes over time. I don’t like not being in charge of my game, I don’t mind shooting 72 if I feel in control. Hopefully it will be a matter of time before I get going again.


What tournaments do you miss not having a chance to play?

I don’t have a high interest in going to the UAE, players say it’s great but I would rather play Fiji or Mauritius. I have been to Puerto Rico and loved that. An island in the middle of the ocean would be really cool.


What if you qualified for Augusta?

I can always get to the Masters. It doesn’t really matter what I have on two weeks before so I could take a cruise ship and drive down and cruise back. For the US Open, I guess I do have my limits. I am not going to drive across to California, but if it’s in New York I could do it even easier than the Masters!


Will you ever get back on a plane again?

I don’t know, I struggle trying to predict the future as nobody can. I’ll leave it open.


How proud are you of yourself to do what you’ve managed this year?

When I started playing again in 2011, a lot of people in Germany were saying it would be impossible to make a living in golf if I was not capable of flying. It was the same thing when I dropped down to the Pro Golf Tours in 2013. How would I make the Challenge Tour if I wasn’t playing half the events – and I won the rankings.

Then it was the same on the Challenge Tour as I wouldn’t play the big events at the end of season – and I finished 12th on the rankings.

I am proud to show people that it is possible even though I haven’t gone down the route that everybody thinks you should go down. A lot of roads lead to Rome and this just happens to be my road. I’m not walking down Via Appia, I’m walking down Via Giulia and that seems to lead to Rome as well. As long as I’m convinced of that, I will keep going down that route.


Posted by & filed under Miscellaneous.

Andy and Piers from ‘Me and my golf’ compare the completely different golf swings of Paul McGinley and Phil Mickelson. They demonstrate McGinley’s club face control that allows him to hit the golf ball straight and therefore hit lots of fairways. Then they compare this with Mickelson’s golf swing that has much more club face rotation when striking the golf ball, it’s great for extra power, but not so great for accuracy.

Posted by & filed under Miscellaneous.

We’re offering one lucky member of The Golfers Club the chance to keep their head toasty warm throughout the Winter by winning a Mizuno bobble hat!

Q: Which Team won this year’s Ryder Cup?

Simply email your answer to with details of the prize, your name, membership number and contact number. The prize draw will take place on the 3rd November 2016.

The Golfers Club

Posted by & filed under Olympics, Previews.

Steve Carroll from National Club Golfer uncovers the key facts and talking points ahead of golf’s return to the Olympic Games.

Why is golf in the Olympics this summer?

Having not featured as an Olympic sport since 1904, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) voted in 2009 for golf to be reinstated for Rio 2016.

Should golf be in the Olympics?

Not according to some. In April, the 1976 Olympic gold medalist and swimmer David Wilkie dismissed claims that golf’s inclusion would widen its appeal. Other critics have rounded on environmental concerns surrounding the course and have claimed the restricted selection criteria will see many top stars miss out.

What is the format?

This has been a bone of contention. It’s a 72-hole stroke play event – the same kind of competition as is played nearly every week on the various tours. A team event and a match play format were just a couple of the alternative ideas that were dismissed.


What’s the course like?

Gil Hanse designed the course, which was built on a nature reserve in Rio de Janeiro. The 7,350-yard par 72 is expected to have a links feel. Players at a test event in March were reported to be pleased with the course.

How many people will be watching?

The broadcast audience for London 2012 was approximately 3 billion. Nearly half the world’s population are expected to tune in at some point.

How are the teams picked?

The top 15 in the world rankings are eligible, with a limit of four from a given country. After that, selection will be based on world rankings – with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not have two or more players already in the top 15.

Is there a women’s event as well?

Yes, there is. Sixty women will also line up in an individual stroke play competition on the same course. The ladies, such as world number one Lydia Ko, seem far more enthusiastic than some of the men.


Is it as important as a major?

That’s the key question. The withdrawal of some leading players suggests not, but ask Andy Murray how he feels about his Olympic tennis gold medal. It’s a fair bet that it has an important place in his trophy cabinet. Justin Rose and Danny Willett have been selected by Team GB and there are several major winners in the USA side, which adds credibility to the event.

Why have some players pulled out?

The Zika virus has been a popular excuse but the real problem is a seriously congested schedule. Some high-profile players such as Adam Scott have opted to concentrate on the majors and the FedEx Cup.

The Open, PGA Championship and Olympics all come within five weeks and with the FedEx playoffs taking place soon after, some players have decided they have bigger priorities than a new stroke play event.

What kind of an image will be provided to those who have never seen golf before?

Golf is settled into the tour routine it’s had for decades, but this is a chance to project the sport into the homes of millions of people who have either never seen it, or haven’t considered picking up a club. In the face of this unprecedented visibility, the tournament needs to be exciting, easy to follow and seamlessly run in order to change the stereotypical perception some have of the game.


When is the golf taking place?

Men’s event: Thursday 11 August to Sunday 14 August

Women’s event: Wednesday 17 August to Saturday 20 August

Posted by & filed under Feature Articles.

“They built a golf course where?!”

No matter where you go in the world, you will likely find a golf course. Despite its elitist image, golf is a universal sport and throughout history people have gone to great lengths to build courses in extreme environments. In this blog post, we salute the craziest golf course locations in the world.

Uummannaq, Greenland

Uummannaq, Greenland

Uummannaq in Greenland is the location of the World Ice Golf Championships – yes, ice golf is really a thing. Taking place in March, the nine-hole golf course has to be laid out from scratch every year on a fjord and its shape is determined by the icebergs which have become trapped in the inlet. Ice golfers play with a red golf ball and greens are called ‘whites’. No records can ever be formed or broken, as the pack ice and frozen powder moves and changes daily.


Furnace Creek Golf Course, Death Valley, California

Furnace Creek Golf Course, Death Valley, California

Our next choice takes us from one of the coldest places on earth to one of the hottest. Furnace Creek Golf Course sits 214 feet (65m) below sea level in the scorching hot Death Valley, California. Its name is a little misleading, as there is no creek. However, Furnace is entirely appropriate, as this area has recorded the hottest temperature in the Western hemisphere at 57 degrees Celsius.

The course consists of 18 holes, and despite the heat it is green and there are even some water features. In case you’re wondering, they have a water recycling system and that keeps the course green year round. Yes, that’s right – it’s even open in summer!


Kabul Golf Club, Qargha, Afghanistan

Kabul Golf Club, Qargha, Afghanistan

This golf course has been a hard-won project championed by Mohammad Afzal Abdul, who has reportedly suffered death threats from the Taliban. This nine-hole golf course may not have lush fairways, but its sandy surface will give even the most experienced golfer a challenging round.

This course has used as a military training area at the time of the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.  When the course reopened in 2004, a not-for-profit agency had to help the owners move two soviet tanks and multiple rocket launchers which had been stored on the site.


Mount Merapi Golf Course, Indonesia

Mount Merapi Golf Course, Indonesia

Located 20,900 feet (6370m) above sea level, the Mount Merapi Golf Course is made up of 18 holes, has breathtaking views and is right next to a very active volcano. Mount Merapi is Indonesia’s most active volcano and smoke can regularly be seen coming out of the top. The fairways are lush and green with plenty of challenging hazards, but you’ll be pleased to know there are no official lava hazards.


Nullarbor Links, Australia

Nullarbor Links, Australia

Located in Australia’s outback, the Nullarbor Links is the world’s longest golf course. Made up of 18 holes, this par 72 grassless course spans 848 miles (1,365 kilometres). That’s because each hole is in a town or roadhouse along the Eyre highway, from Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to Ceduna in South Australia. The course provides a much-needed activity and attraction for travellers along the renowned, desolate Eyre highway. The average distance between each hole is 40 miles, with two holes being 124 miles apart.

You might be wondering how this course is played. Each player uses a scorecard bought either in Kalgoorlie or Ceduna and holes are played at various sites along the highway. When you present your card, you receive a certificate stating you have completed the world’s longest golf course.

Even if your local course is a little less extreme than those listed above, it is always advisable for golfers to take out golf insurance. Accidents can happen wherever you’re playing, so The Golfers Club offers Public Liability cover as well as Personal Accident cover and much more to help you in the event that something goes wrong. Get a golf insurance quote from The Golfers Club today!