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Posted by & filed under Blog, Videos.

Playing golf tests much more than just your technical skills – it also tests your nerve as well as your patience. But for many golfers, both of these elements play second fiddle to the gorgeous surroundings the course is played on. There are, however, holes on some courses that successfully combine the two. It’s that one hole that stands out from the rest. It taunts and tantalises us with its impossibility, and its spectacular backdrop.

Here at The Golfers Club, we insure some of the UK’s most well-travelled golfers. That means we’ve heard many stories about that special course that drives us mad. They steal our balls, destroy our handicap and plague our thoughts as we scramble to save face and make par. So with this in mind, we’ve scoured the globe to bring you three of the toughest, and most picturesque tee shots in the world.

Attempt them if you dare.

The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

 PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 9: Phil Mickelson plays the 17th hole during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 9, 2010 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

Although the 17th at TPC Sawgrass is affectionately known as the “Island Green”, there’s definitely no love lost between golfers and this treacherous hole. The hole itself is located on a small island surrounded by water on which you need to chip the ball onto. Connected to the mainland by a small bridge, making it to the green is a privilege only the very elite, or extremely lucky, get to experience.The rest of us have to settle for playing our third, fourth and fifth shots still off the tee.

USA Today claims that over 140,000 balls end up in the water each year. And not all of those come from tee shots. Oh, and if you do actually make it on to the hole, despite the swirling winds and immense pressure from spectators, seagulls have also been known to steal balls.

 

The 16th hole at Cypress Point Club, California

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This exceedingly private club is reserved for elite golfers and the rich and affluent. It also features one of the most picturesque and daunting holes in the world. Located near Pebble Beach in California, to make par requires a 200-yard hit over the Pacific Ocean. If that doesn’t put you off trying out this 234-yard Par 3, strong crosswinds and Pacific Ocean spray just might. Designed by Alister Mackenzie and nicknamed ‘The Sistine Chapel of golf’, Cypress Point Club has seen celebrities such as Jack Lemmon, Clint Eastwood and golfing legend Greg Norman face up to the challenge.

 

The 19th hole at Legend Golf & Safari Resort, Entabeni Safari Reserve

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This legendary 19th is an absolute one off, one of the most difficult holes you could ever encounter. Only accessible via helicopter, the 19th is situated on the top of the Hanglip Mountain, South Africa. Believe it or not, this is a Par 3 hole (!) and 395 yards long. Once you tee off, the ball takes approximately 30 seconds to hit the ground where a spotter is waiting for his partner (watching from above) to tell him roughly whereabouts the ball has landed. According to Legend Lodges, only 15 people have ever made birdie. Hollywood A-listers such as Morgan Freeman have been known to take the helicopter ride to play what could be the most unique hole in golf.

(Skip video to 2:15 for the golf shots)

 

The Golfers Club Fairway Member’s Golf Pack – 5 free rounds

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Every policy purchased with The Golfers Club includes a Fairway Member’s Golf Pack. Included in every member’s pack are five free rounds of golf at a mouth-watering selection of golf courses around the UK. The savings you can make on green fees alone will more than pay for the cost of your insurance.

There are over 70 courses to choose from, including world-class destinations such as The Belfry and The Celtic Manor Resort, home of the 2010 Ryder Cup. We’ve made every effort to match the quality of courses available with the premium golf insurance we provide.

Specialist golf insurance cover including our 15% introductory discount starts from as little as £38.24 per year and protects your clubs and accessories against theft, loss and damage and offers personal liability golf insurance up to £5m.

Click here to choose your policy today or call 0800 158 5550 to get insured instantly.

Posted by & filed under Competitions, Golf Equipment.

We’re offering one member of The Golfers Club the opportunity to win a dozen Srixon AD333 golf balls.

What is the cash amount The Golfers Club awards as a bonus on all policies for a hole-in-one?

Simply email your answer to competitions@thegolfersclub.co.uk with details of the prize, your name, membership number and contact number. The prize draw will take place on the 2nd June 2016.

Srixon balls

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

The team at National Club Golfer conducted a series of interviews with Danny Willett’s former coaches and playing partners. These interviews chart how Willett went from being a member of an inner-city Sheffield municipal to Masters Champion.

 

The man himself – Danny Willett

“Rotherham Golf Club has been massive. They have always had a fantastic junior section. Lol Morgan (junior organiser) was always the leader in that. He worked for Sheffield Union of Golf Clubs for a massive amount of time and helped nurture young talent around South Yorkshire. Luckily enough for me, I was able to join here when I was younger and play with a lot of fantastic golfers.

“I had to work hard. There were already a couple of lads here who were a lot better than me. I just kept working hard and doing my thing and, slowly, I progressed and took over a little bit.”

“Graham Walker was a coach of mine for a long, long time – through Sheffield days, Yorkshire days and England days. [I spent] 10+ years with Graham, working hard. He was a massive father figure to me, to help me through a lot of tough and good situations and work really hard.

“Family and friends have helped me along the way and kept me grounded, kept me normal, kept a reality check [on] everything. All of that stuff helps.

“You don’t really have a childhood, between 14 and 20, I guess. They are really crucial years in golf development. You are here after school, working. You have got to try and fit in doing your homework with practising for a few hours.

“At weekends, you are in the medals. You are in the junior opens. Your mum and dad are driving you up and down the country to play in these different things and you don’t just get to go and play out when you are a kid and do that stuff.

“You have got to put the hours in and, if you are going to go to college in America, or play for England, you are then away for a few months of the year training with them – in Spain or in Australia. You look back now and, yeah, I didn’t get to go and ride my bike as much as other kids but I would much rather be sat here now wearing a Green Jacket.”

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The fresh-faced Willett conducts his first interview as Masters champion

The childhood coach – Pete Ball

“Danny first came to Birley Wood (a Sheffield municipal) at the age of 11 with his school. I think he’d hit some balls before he came to me but not very many so we were starting from scratch.

“He progressed to the after-schools class and then he started coming every night.

“We built it from there. And he just got better and better – but not meteorically.

“Danny had slightly more going for him than most but not much. It’s a tough area where his father worked. Hats off to him for working around there.

“It’s the steel inside them. They’ve had to fight for what they want. And that’s what makes them very hard people. Very determined people. What do they say – a hungry fighter is a dangerous fighter.

“When he got to 15 or 16, we needed another coach. I said to him as I do with all the kids: ‘You’re 16 years of age, I’ve done the best I can but you need a full-time coach now and I’m not going to be your full-time coach.’

“My idea with all my players is to get them to 16 and then encourage them to leave the nest. They’ve got to make that flight on their own. Not with me. My job’s done.

“We discussed who Danny would like to work with as a full-time coach, he said Graham Walker. I said great choice. He’d been doing a bit with him at county level. I said that would be perfect for me, a good fit, he knows my coaching methods and he’s an expert technical coach which I’m not.

“He was scratch or plus one at that stage. But he was driven. A couple of years later, he came back from Jacksonville. He didn’t want to go back to college, he wanted to go to tour school.”

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Willett’s nerves of steel around the greens were a big factor in his victory at Augusta

Walker Cup team mate – Nigel Edwards

“I always think of Danny’s work ethic and these three examples.

“I wasn’t driving the ball great going into County Down in the 2007 Walker Cup and on the Tuesday morning I went to the practice area to sort it out. I got there at 6.15am and Danny was already there, we were teeing off at about 10.

“Then there was the Bonallack Trophy and Danny played in the same team with Chris Wood and it struck me how well prepared the pair of them were. Danny had his diary with all his lessons for the year mapped out.

“Finally, in 2013, he’d played in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill and flew overnight home. We were playing the Home Internationals at Ganton and he was still working with Graham Walker. It was the Monday evening and he came and spoke to me to see if he could have an hour with Graham.

“Of course, he could and there was no need to ask me but it was just out of courtesy. He had just landed and he wanted to go and have a lesson after finishing 40th at the PGA.

“At Augusta he looked like he was enjoying it but he looked like that on the other occasions he won and when you look back at those maybe the Masters wasn’t a surprise.

“On the putt on 16 he looked very much in the moment, he stuck to his process to do what he could to play well. On the last tee his caddy said to start again, he writes a note in his yardage book which focused his mind and that got him back in his process again.

“It was great to see someone take their chance – he went and won it.”

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Willett can barely contain his emotion as he wears his famous green jacket

The tour coach – Pete Cowen

“I started working with Danny three years ago along with Mike Walker and Nick Huby. We’re all singing from the same hymn sheet in terms of the mechanics which I have honed over the last 50 years or so.

“There’s a good continuity in what we teach which means the players can then trust it under pressure. That really came through on the Sunday afternoon where Danny could trust his golf swing implicitly. That’s what we do really.

“There have been a lot of people involved with Danny’s rise to the top, at Birley Wood, Pete Ball – without that we wouldn’t have seen Danny Willett at all.

“Then he went to Rotherham, where Graham Walker coached him through the England Golf set-up.

“With certain players, like Danny, we add the finishing touches. I always say that what we do is get them over the line.

“When we started working with Danny he was a good solid player but you couldn’t say he was going to go on and win Majors.

“Danny had a bad back, and I know all about that as I suffered with it for a good few years. When you’ve got a bad back you’re wondering if it’s ever going to go.

“Unfortunately for Danny he had far too much shape on the ball – too much right to left. There wasn’t a great deal of control and it was spinning too much.

“We worked on giving him a much better body action, more control in the movement so that he can rely on it under pressure.

“I’d expect him to push on, as I said he’s a confident lad. He putts really well, Paul Hurrion should take a lot of credit for that as Danny has improved massively over the last few years with his putting.

“His short game has always been good, he’s a great bunker player. I think at Doral he was 18 out of 20 for up and downs – people often miss that but it’s the sort of thing that turns an average score into a good score if you have that in your armoury.”

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Willett walking off the 18th at Augusta – what came next will change his life forever.

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Posted by & filed under Majors, Previews.

2016 is a truly once in a lifetime year for golf. First of all, the usual four majors have been generously increased to six with the additions of the inaugural Olympics golf tournament. And of course, the absolute pinnacle of match play golf, the Ryder Cup, is back as Europe head to Hazeltine National to defend their crown for the fourth successive time.

Lots of golf enthusiasts will already have their calendars marked and fridges stocked up in anticipation of these special moments. But just in case you’ve had your head buried in a bunker recently, or you’re relatively new to the sport, we’ve rounded up all of the key dates and talking points we can expect from golf in 2016.

The Masters – April 7-10

Host: Augusta National, Georgia

Previous winner: Jordan Spieth

Our tip: Jason Day

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Hosted at the iconic Augusta National, The Masters is the first major of the year and the unofficial start of the season for the world’s leading golfers. All the winter’s work and adjustments to their games are targeted to be ready for this.

To win at Augusta you must have immaculate accuracy as Jordan Spieth showed last year with his victory here. The greens are super quick and unforgiving if you miss the line even by a smidgen.

There will be a few contenders at Augusta this year, the big three of Spieth, Mcilroy & Day won’t be far away of course. Outsiders being the inform Englishman Danny Willet and the somewhat surprisingly still major-less Swede, Henrik Stenson.

We’re tipping Jason Day to continue his fabulous form here, but don’t be too surprised to see Jordan Spieth pulling on another green jacket.

 

U.S. Open Championship – June 16-19

Host: Oakmont Country Club, Pennsylvania

Previous winner: Jordan Spieth

Our tip: Rickie Fowler

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Oakmont is the host of the 2016 U.S. Open Championship, which is a course that makes for a thrilling tournament. The chances are that whoever wins at Oakmont will most probably be over par, which always makes for a worthy winner.

The fact that it’s so hard to go around here under par means that the winner will have to grind out those pars time after time whilst keeping mental stability when the odd errant shot comes along.

Will that mean that the pure determination of a major loss golfer like Rickie Fowler or Henrik Stenson could do it? Or even an evergreen par collector like Jim Furyk, either way, it’ll sure be interesting.

We really like Rickie Fowler and with four top 5 finishes in the majors last year, maybe 2016 is his year!

 

The Open Championship – July 14-17

Host: Royal Troon, Scotland

Previous winner: Zach Johnson

Our tip: Danny Willet

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The Open Championship is always the hardest major to predict, the winner is usually determined by the tee time you get on the Thursday and Friday. As The Open is played in Britain, the weather and therefore, conditions fluctuate massively throughout the day whereas in America they are much similar.

So in that case, we’re going to have a stab at a newcomer to the major winning party. Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson and Brooks Koepka will not be far away from the top here at Royal Troon. But our pick for the week is the Englishman in the form of his life, Danny Willet.

 

USPGA Championship – July 28-31

Host: Baltusrol, New Jersey

Previous winner: Jason Day

Our tip: Rory Mcilroy

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Distance will be a huge factor in who wins the PGA Championship this year, Baltusrol is a big course with several huge par 4’s going into the 500-yard mark. Out of the only two par 5’s on the course, one of them is a monster 650 yarder! So it’s fair to say whoever wins there this year will have to be an excellent ball striker.

There are many contenders that fit that bill, one being Henrik Stenson, mentioned a few times above, but he tends to finish 2nd more often than not. Justin Rose will be another, never too far from the top of the major leaderboards, he loves the big occasion and has performed brilliantly at the majors in recent years.

But our tip, is none other than Rory Mcilroy, we’re expecting big things from Rory this year, and with his well-renowned length off the tee. We can’t see Rory being too far away.

Rio 2016 Olympics – August 11-14

Host: Olympic Golf Course, Rio de Janeiro

Previous winner: n/a

Our tip: USA (Jordan Spieth)

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On the face of it, an Olympic golf tournament at a purpose-built course in Rio de Janeiro sounds brilliant. However, the tournaments restrictions of no more than four representatives from any country mean that many elite players are set to miss out. This even led world number six golfer, Adam Scott, to refer to the Olympic golf tournament as an ‘exhibition’.

The restrictions mean that if the male event was held today, only 35 of the 60 Olympians would be from the world top 100. Top 10 golfers such as Patrick Reed and Jim Furyk would miss out, along with British Open champion Zach Johnson.

That being said, there will still be a whole host of elite players desperate to get their hands on an Olympic gold medal. We’re tipping Jordan Spieth to take home gold in Rio.

 

Ryder Cup – September 30 – 2 October

Host: Hazeltine National, Minnesota

Previous winner: Europe

Our tip: Europe

hazeltine

The Ryder Cup needs no introduction, a truly special event in the sporting calendar, “where legends are forged”. Team Europe head to Hazeltine in September full of confidence after 2014’s obliteration and aim to make it four consecutive wins and eight wins out of the last nine over Team USA.

Europe will be well aware, though, that this year’s Ryder Cup will be no easy task. As always the US team will be full of World top 10 players with a point to prove after three consecutive defeats. We’ve seen in the recent tournaments that Team Europe’s friendship and comradery on the course has been much tighter than the US teams which many have used as the prime reason why Europe are on such a roll of consecutive wins.

With September being so far away and lots of things can and will happen between now and then, it’s very difficult to predict what will happen at Hazeltine. However, with Europe’s brilliant strategy they’ve got going in recent years, it’s very hard to look past a fourth consecutive Ryder Cup victory!