Ivan Morris Column - Golfing in rainy Spain

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In his weekly Limerick Leader column, Ivan Morris laments on a frustrating week trying to play golf in Spain.

In his weekly Limerick Leader column, Ivan Morris laments on a frustrating week trying to play golf in Spain.

I spent the last two weeks in Spain where I managed to play only one game in eleven days of almost continuous, inclement weather. When it turns bad in Spain, the weather is much worse than anything we have to suffer here. Despite the weather, my worst experience was golf related.

I was an interested observer at the Junior Team Golf Competition at Antequera for which the Irish Fred Daly finalists, Faithlegg and County Sligo, and the top two under-age teams in England, Scotland and Wales qualified.

Unfortunately, my enthusiasm quickly evaporated because the golf course that was (foolishly) built halfway up a mountain was so difficult to play and walk that on the harshest of the four days, it took talented and brave young golfers over 7-hours to complete 18-holes - what a travesty!

To make matters worse, using a golf cart was a serious health and safety issue. A cart used by one of the Sligo officials went so badly out of control on the steep, wet path surface, it skidded over an unguarded cliff to end up at the bottom of a chasm ‘hundreds’ of feet deep. Fortunately, the occupants had leapt to safety just in time. Take note, Antequera is a Spanish golf resort to be avoided simply because golf is not mountaineering!

There was one bright spot. By leaving my own clubs at home and hiring a set on arrival at Malaga Airport, I dodged some hefty, airline baggage charges and undue hassle. Bringing my own set on Ryanair would have set me back €100. Dealing with Paul McGinley’s staff at ClubstoHire was pleasant, super-efficient and cost effective. Paying €35 per week to hire a set of the latest equipment sure beats forking out three times that much!

I thought it might be a bonus to have the opportunity to try out some new equipment but, unfortunately, the uncooperative weather and my ‘unwise’ selection was skewered towards the high handicapper and not ideal from a fussy, low handicap golfer’s point of view. Playing with Callaway Diablo’s was the only disappointment in what was a positive experience overall. From the broad range of equipment available, I made a poor choice. I could have picked TaylorMade (including the R11S and RocketBallz), Wilson or MD but didn’t!

For those wishing to travel extra, extra-light, shoe hire is also available. The service couldn’t be easier. As its sales increase steadily, ClubstoHire.com is now operating from 14 locations, Faro, Malaga, Murcia, Alicante, Palma, Belek, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lisbon, Gibraltar, Paphos, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin and thousands of traveling golfers are being saved a small fortune as Paul McGinley’s ClubstoHire enterprise goes from strength to strength.

MID-WEST ALLIANCE

IN spite of the generally unsuitable weather, the Midwest Alliance has completed a successful season at Dromoland. In Round 4 on February 24th the EuroPro tournament professional, Tim Rice, had the best gross score of 71 with Daniel Brennan of Shannon and Pat Murray of Limerick following him home closely in second place on 72s. In the nett section, Tom Saunders (Ennis, 6) and Brian Burnell (Abbeyleix, 9) tied for first with excellent 70s, one ahead of the ever-consistent, Dromoland player, David Casey (9) on 71. Also in the prizes were (nearest the pin) – No. 7: Pat Lucey (Ennis), No. 13: Kieran Cunnane (Woodstock), No. 17: Nicky Duggan (Dromoland). Most Birdies (5) Tim Rice.

Week 5 Results – Gross (0-4): 1st: Daniel Brennan (Shannon) and Ian Colleran (PGA) 74. 3rd: Mark McGrath (Limerick) and Tony Cleary (Dromoland), 76. Nett (5-9): 1st: a stunning score of 63 off 7 in the most arctic of conditions by Charleville’s John Hayes left everyone trailing and scratching their heads in disbelief. 2nd: Liam Pyne (Ennis, 6) 75; 3rd: David Casey (Dromoland, 9) 76. Nearest the pin: 7th: David Casey. 13th: David O’Connor; 17th: Ian Colleran. Most Birdies: John Hayes (naturally) with 6.

Overall Gross (0-4): 1st - Tony Cleary (Dromoland) +6; 2nd - Daniel Brennan (Shannon) +8; 3rd - Ian Colleran (PGA) +9; 4th - Mark McGrath (Limerick) +10. Overall Nett (5-9): 1st - David Casey (Dromoland, 9) Level; 2nd - Joey Shire (Adare Manor, 6) +5; 3rd - Liam Pyne (Ennis, 6) +9; 4th - Pat Lucey (Ennis, 7) +10.

 

THE ANCHORING DEBATE

The debate over the proposal to ban anchoring is widening day by day. The only issue is, or should be, whether the player who anchors the putter against his or her body is making a proper stroke of golf? If the R & A and USGA press ahead with their ban on anchoring and the PGA Tour decides to ignore them - Heaven knows what will be the outcome? Pro golf may be slitting its own throat without realizing it. Pursuing an argument that using an anchored stroke is not (necessarily) beneficial is irrelevant. As is the argument that anchoring has been around for 30-years. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong! If anchoring is seen as ‘not making a free swing away from the body’ it’s not a proper golf stroke and should not be allowed – full stop!