Fathers Day Gifts for Golfers
Looking around the YGT offices and talking with our golfers, it’s clear that there’s a great deal of them who are involved in the game of golf, both recreationally and subsequently professionally now with their careers at YGT, thanks primarily to their dads getting them started in the game. We are sure there are countless mums in the same boat, but today’s the day to focus on dad!
“I used to caddy for dad as a kid.”
“Dad used to take me out for 9 holes.”
“My dad bought me my first half set of clubs.”
“I went on my first golf holiday with my old man.”
We’re sure one if not all of these statements will apply to plenty of you reading this blog.
So without further ado, we thought we’d talk to some of our golfers in the office and pay tribute to the dads who have “grown the game”, getting all nostalgic about some of the best times a child can have, with their own man by their sides, out on the golf course…
Dubai – Golf & Rugby 7’s
Like many golfers I got into the game through my dad and grandad. I spent the first 10 years playing with a 1967 Slazenger Jack Nicklaus set of clubs, handed down from two generations, when woods were made of wood.
Just before my dad’s 70th I decided I would treat him to a trip of a lifetime to Dubai, combining the two sports that he loved.
Our Virgin flight landed at 06:30hrs, the sun was shining as it does most of the time here, there was a light warm breeze and the temperature was in the mid twenties. We got the transfer to our hotel, JA Ocean View, checked in then headed for The Els Club.
Our clubs were collected from our transfer vehicle when we arrived while we took the advantage of the superb clubhouse facilities to freshen up after our flight. The locker rooms have everything you need to freshen up after a day on the golf course, showers, shaving kits, a sauna and jacuzzi.
Walking out the back of the clubhouse we were reunited with our clubs and ventured onto the putting green. Dad was astounded by the appearance of the place, no matter where you were, there was a sense of pride in the overall appearance. It didn’t put him off his golf, he got off to a flying start, driving straight down the middle of the fairway avoiding the rough, well I say rough but at The Els Club the fairways are bordered by sand.
At the par-3 fourth hole, dad hit a superb 7-iron towards the pin and with one of the greenkeepers watching the ball took one bounce, rolled a couple of feet then dropped into the cup! Could this holiday get any better than this?
The rest of the round was more our level of golf, 5’s, 6’s & 7’s on the card. The course was in fantastic condition, beautifully prepared, lush green fairways, huge troublesome bunkers with fast but fair greens. We finished up the round, enjoyed the facilities once more and returned to our hotel to enjoy `Happy Hour` in the bar.
Suitably refreshed, we took a walk along the beachfront looking for somewhere to eat. The number of restaurants available in such a relatively small area took your breath away and there is plenty of choice, depending on your mood and palate. After dinner we strolled around the marina to walk the food off, my dad saw the boat he wanted, the ‘Dream On’, if only. We returned to the hotel and after a few more beers the excitement of the day must have caught up with us, beer had nothing to do with it of course, and we turned in for the night.
After a wonderful breakfast we got transfers to the European Tour Jumeirah Golf Estates Earth Course, which had held the Race to Dubai event the week before. The course has a very different look to The Els Club, lots more lush green areas instead of vast sand. The greens were not for the faint-hearted, touch your ball half an ounce too much and you were off the other side of the green.
What an experience it was to play a course, in championship conditions with some of the grandstands still up along around the course. I managed to birdie the iconic 17th hole but followed it up with an ugly 8 on the last. The intimidating grandstands must have got the better of my nerves. After the round we went back to Jumeirah Beach for a few drinks, a bite to eat and talked about the two courses we had played.
The second half of our trip saw us transfer to the Nova Hotel at Al Bashera and swap sports, the Dubai Rugby Sevens which was about an hour taxi ride from the hotel in the middle of the desert. What an experience, the setup, the rugby, the food, the atmosphere and the complete occasion. You really have to be there to try to take it all in and appreciate the sheer scale of it all. At the end of the day a live band put on a concert and around 23:00hrs we caught the free bus back to our hotel.
A full breakfast, a little walk to a local Mall to see a Ski Slope inside a shopping centre, only in Dubai, we got the taxi to the rugby stadium. We walked around the various stalls and had a look at the merchandise, we just had to buy a shirt to mark the occasion.
We watched a few games with a few beers, a couple of quarter final matches, a few more beers (there is a theme here). Had something to eat and a couple more beers then settled down to watch the Semi`s. It’s a fantastic venue, we were in the stand elevated with a number of like minded rugby fans, most cheering for the underdog.
After the final it was back to the hotel to celebrate our trip and the fantastic Hole-in-One on the first day.
We both loved our first venture to Dubai and my dad has a memory he will never forget along with his name on the Hole-in-One board at The Els Club!
Taking My Dad To The Masters
Like most golfers I have grown up playing the game with, my dad (along with Tiger Woods…unfair not to give Eldrick a shoutout) is the main reason I play golf.
I caddied for him as a kid. He took me to junior group lessons. He kinda forced me to join a golf club. I’m being dramatic…he came home one day and told me he’d signed me up as a junior member at Oakland Park GC and that he really thought it’d be a good idea to take part in some competitions. I’ve never looked back.
Since that day when (I think) I was a shy 12 year old, I’ve been a golf club member ever since, I have made some of my best friends in the world through the sport, and I guess if I’m being profound and totally honest about it, I have to thank my dad for my career travelling the world playing very questionable golf on camera for YGT.
Thankfully, since working for YGT, I’ve been able to have my dad join me on some of my most memorable golf experiences.
Sneaking away from said army of sisters on a family holiday to South Africa for five days of golf on the most unbelievably beautiful courses imaginable. Pinnacle Point still tops both of our lists as a golf course and playing the Extreme 19th at Legends Golf & Safari Resort is probably still the best single golf experience I’ve ever had.
I could go on and on but in the spirit of keeping up with pace of play, all of this culminated in finally taking the ultimate bucketlist golf experience off our lists together…
Now, I can’t speak for everyone and plenty of people will have their own special golfing memories with their dads, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say it’s pretty hard to beat taking your dad to Augusta National and witnessing Tiger’s epic 2019 comeback win, followed by a couple of days in South Carolina, doing history tours in Charleston (dad’s a history dork so it only seemed fair while we were in the area) and playing golf at the Kiawah Island Ocean Course.
I’m not sure we’ll ever top that in our lives when it comes to golf, but I do know we’ll keep trying. At the very least, with my old man now a member at the amazing Saunton Golf Club in Devon; a great many days on the links still await and we plan to take full advantage of his new home in the South West of England.
PS – Dad, perhaps your biggest influence on my place in the game of golf is your unflappable ability to enjoy the game and laugh at yourself even when it’s…err…how do I put this…not going to plan. Cheers for that. Golf has been a lot more fun since I got on board with this.
A great weekend, even if we lost
We flew up to Edinburgh early on a Saturday morning, all dressed in jackets and ties ready for Muirfield. A short drive from the airport saw us arrive at what would become my favourite links course I’ve played, Muirfield. We were kindly hosted by Charlie who my brother teaches (he’s a golf pro) and sitting in the lounge looking out across the course is, for me, a view only beaten by The R&A Clubhouse at St Andrews.
18 holes of foursomes awaited, my Dad and I took on Charlie and my brother. Although Dad and I lost 2&1 we felt confident that lunch would see us revitalised to claim a win in the afternoon re-match. Well, this would’ve happened, had my Dad not have enjoyed the Muirfield hospitality of G&T, followed by wine and then Kummel.
After lunch, we waited on the 1st tee. Waited some more. And then my Dad appeared…a little slower than normal. We switched round the foursomes order so he was required for the opening tee-shot. A high waft with the driver resulted. It tipped the scales at around 150 yards. I felt like we fought our way to a 4&3 loss, could’ve been worse but we left with great smiles on our faces knowing that The Muirfield Lunch might have claimed a victim but we were left with a great day of golfing memories that we still reminisce on today.
Our weekend continued onto St Andrews and then onto Panmure Golf Club, a real hidden gem, well-worth playing, before finishing at Carnoustie Golf Links and their famed Championship Course. Despite it’s feared reputation as “Carnasty” the course is very playable and fair…provided you can keep out of the pot bunkers.
So, as golfing weekends with my Dad and brother go, this was pretty special. And look forward to the next one, just think it’ll be hard to beat.