It has been a magnificent year for golf – and very importantly for British golf, writes Golf At Goodwood academy manager Chris McDonnell.
We have seen a host of British players achieve success throughout 2016.
Highlights, for me, included seeing Danny Willett lifting The Masters trophy, making him the first Englishman to do so since Sir Nick Faldo; Chris Wood winning the European BMW PGA championships at Wentworth; Justin Rose taking Olympic Gold in Brazil; seven players from Britain in the Ryder Cup team (Rose, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Willett, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Wood and Andy Sullivan) and more recently, 22-year-old Matt Fitzpatrick winning the tour finale at the DP World Championships in Dubai.
Moment of the Year
If there is one abiding memory in 2016, it is surely that golf was welcomed back into the Olympic Games for the first time since 1904. There was much controversy surrounding the event, with many top players not going because they were afraid of catching the Zika virus – well at least that was the excuse they made not to attend, though others speculated there might have been different reasons.
My moment of the year was when Rose stood on the podium to receive his gold medal. The opportunity to play golf for your nation and have the national anthem played out because of your success has to be a unique moment for any golfer.
For the majority of the time, we play for ourselves and very rarely play for teams or for our country. This moment will surely stick with Rose for the rest of his life and I’m sure many players must now regret not taking the opportunity to compete.
Player of the Year
My player of the year has to be cool customer Henrik Stenson. Stenson won his first major tournament at The Open Championship at Troon, where he held off multiple major winner Phil Mickelson for the famous claret jug.
Not only did he win his first major with an awesome display of golf, he won The BMW Open in Germany and has performed more consistently than any other player in the world, proving this by winning the European Race to Dubai Order of Merit.
My 2017 Predictions
The Masters – Rory Mcllroy
The US Open – Jason Day
The Open – Justin Rose
The US PGA – Patrick Reed
2017 Player to watch – Tiger Woods!
Read Chris McDonnell’s golf column each month in the Observer series
AROUND THE COURSES
Golf At Goodwood has won the Golf Club of the Year award at the 2016 Hospitality Social Media Awards in Manchester.
The awards celebrate the most media-minded outlets, from hotels and restaurants to pubs and sports clubs, and are judged by professionals from the world of marketing and communication.
Goodwood was up against a number of top clubs to be nominated such as Windlesham, Close House, Farleigh Golf Club and the London Golf Club. The award was shared with Farleigh.
Judges were impressed with the way Goodwood uses Twitter and Facebook to engage with the audience and keep people up to date with news and developments at the club, as well as the tips and advice videos that are regularly posted on Instagram.
Stuart Gillett, Golf At Goodwood general manager, said: “Winning this award is testament to the great work that our team has done in creating an online community for Golf At Goodwood.
“I’d like to give praise to my whole team, who have all had an input in ensuring we have used social media as a platform to tell our story.
“Our marketing team have been able to utilise the social media platform to create commercially-successful initiatives for our business. I firmly believe the work done in 2016 has been instrumental in us having another record year at Golf At Goodwood.”
Cold gale-force winds prevailed throughout Cowdray Park seniors’ final competition of the season, the Triple Sixes.
The format featured drawn pairs playing a mixture of three different games – foursomes, greensomes and better-ball.
Early scoring among the pairs was fairly even, until John Doran and Mick Colban came in with a score of 39 points.
Nobody really threatened that score until near the very end of play, when two pairs came in with 38. David Tilley and Mike King beat Tony Pike and Tony Sapsworth on countback to claim second spot.
A fund-raising raffle was held for the captain’s charity, Chestnut Tree children’s hospice, with the prizes going to Paul Owen and Gordon Kendall.
* Cowdray ladies played a best-nine-hole competition on a sunny but chilly day.
Results: 1 Vicky Lush 25pts; 2 Kate O’Kelly 23 (cb); 3 Marnie Evans 23; 4 Marilyn Davis 22 (cb); 5 Catherine Staples 22; 6 Janice Leath 21 (cb).
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