Archive for October, 2010

Eisenhower round up

 

Laurie Canter

Laurie Canter

On a day that separated the men from the boys England failed to capitalise on the somewhat British weather. Strong winds made the conditions very challenging and with a couple of shots lost in the wind early on the day became an uphill struggle for the England team of Laurie Canter, Tom Lewis and Eddie Pepperell. The two former managed to steady their ships and when signing the cards Laurie had shot +5 and Tom +3. Eddie fought his best in the wind but his +8 was discarded.

 

On the leaderboard teams were moving up and down rapidly. France continued their impressive strike all the way through and will now leave Buenos Aires as holders of the impressive Eisenhower Trophy. I said already after our match against France in May that they will be a country to look out for in the future as they have a very well co-ordinated programme with good people involved. Those things seem to pay off even quicker than I thought.

Big movers today were otherwise Scotland who played the last two days with only two players to finish 5th. Ireland, who played nine holes last night and the other nine early this morning, managed -1 in the final round which brought them to 6th place. Also Belgium who like Ireland played their final round over two days and tied with England made great progress in the final round.

England suffer in the wind

With four holes to play today at Los Olivos GC, England was seriously in the tournament. Eddie Pepperell was one over and Tom Lewis level par for the round which put England at two under for the tournament. The finish at Los Olivos however is a great test of golf and when the forecasted wind gusts really gut going 15, 16 and 17 in particular simply proved very difficult. When signing the scorecards all three players stood at 3 over par which meant that England as a team had gone from -3 to +3 for the Championship.

On the other course, Buenos Aires, Canada, playing at the same time as England suffered in very much the same way, as did Sweden on the front nine of Los Olivos, even though the finishing holes there are definitely more playable even in this wind.

France had another very impressive round as they came in level for the day and still 7 under for the Championship. Denmark is 2nd at -6 with the US in 3rd at one under.

England start the third and final round on Sunday at 10.30 local time. For a full leaderboard update click here.

In Italy it was a great day for English Golf when the Challenge Tour final came to conclusion today. Matt Haines who turned professional in May and thereby was denied the opportunity to represent his country in the Eisenhower instead captured his maiden title on the Challenge Tour. And what could be a better place to do that than in the final? Matt can now look forward to the next season knowing that he can plan his European Tour year as he wishes!

Second round update

Tom Lewis and caddie

Tom Lewis and caddie

England pulled the short straw today as the draw had them playing late in the afternoon. Bad weather delayed the start with nearly 2.5 hours and by this time the course was starting to get really wet. On top of this it was still raining heavily. Los Olivos GC in these conditions proved a real difficult test and England, along with other teams out at this time, dropped shots. After three holes England had gone back to level par. When play was finally suspended due to both thunder and flooding Eddie Pepperell, first in line for England, had only just made it to the 7th green.

Denmark was out early today and made the most of it. At 6 under they hold the overnight lead. Other teams that made some good progress in the early hours were the US, New Zealand, Scotland and Germany.

On Saturday play in the second round will resume at 9 am with a view to get to the halfway stage when a draw will be made, based on the results, in order to start the third round as soon as possible.

As per a late Saturday night decision by the Championship Committee the tournament will be shortened to 54 holes. Follow Live Scoring by clicking here.

Wait and see…

With 13 million people in a rather limited space there are bound to be some challenges. And when most of those people also get out on the streets to show their support for the newly deceased previous President, it will cause one or two complications. Today all teams were told to leave the hotels earlier as traffic was going to be extremely bad. The body of Nestor Kirchnet is being moved through the city and many roads are shut.

Apart from that we could also be up for an interesting day on the golf course. 45 mph wind gusts are forecasted. David Rickman, the R&A Chief Referee yesterday said that at the Open at St Andrews this summer balls were moving on the greens from 40 mph gusts. And the greens here are quicker!

England are not out until 12.50 local time so we will have to wait to see what the status is at that stage.

Steady start

England got off to a steady start today at the Buenos Aires Golf Club. After rounds of 2 under and one under respectively from Tom Lewis and Laurie Canter them team will hopefully be in a good position for tomorrow’s round at the Los Olivos Golf Club. Play is still under way at both courses and so far France are the leaders in the club house at 7 under par.

Laurie Canter holes out for a great par on 18 (his 9)

Canter on 18

Both Lewis and Canter said that they were pretty happy with what they called an ‘average’ start as the conditions were quite testing. The greens are really quick and you need to make sure you are on the right side of the pin as a downhill put can easily convert into a bogey. The third England player, Eddie Pepperell, had a bit of a tough start and will no doubt be looking to redeem himself tomorrow.

Up to date scoring is available on GolfStat’s website.

The day before the day

I wonder… how many of the golfers in the field in the World Amateur Team Championships in Argentina will adopt this kind of preparation should they play well over the next four days? A full rest day on the day before a major event is not exactly what golfers are known to have. In fact most golfers would normally spend most of the Wednesday trying to find that little thing that they so desperately hope will not disappear overnight and leave them in despair on the first tee come Thursday morning. I have a feeling this National Holiday in Argentina might prove a useful experiment in the preparation for many of the young players in the field. And for the not so young ones as well of course!

As usual the World Amateur Championship for the Eisenhower Trophy offers a big range of players. From the enormously talented young players from college and National programmes to the golf ambassadors from the smaller countries that through participation here hope to raise the profile of the game in their home countries. It is a great mix that you do not see anywhere else in the world of golf.

As if the surprise of having a National Holiday on the day before the Championship was not enough Argentina today was hit by something that no doubt will slow the country down over the next few days. The immediate past President Kirchner died of a heart attack this morning and the country is said to now go into a three day mourning. I guess the only positive with that is that the traffic going to the golf courses might be a bit calmer.

England start the day tomorrow at 08.36 local time at the Buenos Aires Golf Club. Judging by the speed of Skipper Colin Edward’s flag raising the other teams have better look out!

Live scoring for the Championship can be found on Golfstat’s website.

Eisenhower Trophy in Argentina

Imagine you have been looking forward to something for a really long time. You have been through all sorts of planning processes as you are determined to get things right for the important event that is to come up. Just as you are nearing the finish line and all is looking great, a spanner is thrown in from the side and you have no chance to prepare for it.

I am guessing that must be what it is like to be the Argentinean Golf Federation in charge of organising this year’s Eisenhower Trophy. This is no small operation to try and get right. With some 70+ teams from all over the world coming together for a week of competition it takes some logistical intelligence to do it properly. I bet you could do without the government then throwing in a National Holiday, a so called census, on the final practice day!

As the whole country closes down some 300 people directly involved with the Eisenhower Trophy will be looking for things to do without golf, shops, sightseeing tours, restaurants and whatever you can think of that a major city would normally have to offer. I think that could be quite an interesting way to prepare for the World Championships!

As England start the tournament on Thursday I will of course try to keep regular updates going on this blog.

The yearly review

There is something special about October in golf. Unless you are part of racing to Dubai with the European Tour or trying to secure your card on some other tour somewhere this is likely to be a month of reflection and re-focus. This is when players and coaches have the chance to go through what has happened during the season, identify areas of possible improvement and set out the plan for how to make things happen.

This week the England Squad was at the National Golf Centre to do this work and as they leave for home again I find myself reflecting over in how many other areas of life we have this opportunity to really check where we are and take aim for where we want to go. Of course this should be done in every business and in the best of companies it probably is, perhaps as part of the budget process. More often than not though my guess is that the budget has all sorts of review and planning processes attached to it while the development plan has not. For an athlete that just would not make any sense. And most athletes do not even have a budget in the first place…

How about other areas? Our schools? How many of them start the new year with a proper review of the targets, where the students are in relation to those targets and the action plans that will lead as many as possible towards those targets? Families? Why not hold a family retreat yearly where goals and long term as well as short term plans are reviewed. Not only families with athletes would benefit from that I would think!

Pure luck, or maybe not?

Have had an interesting couple of days. Tuesday night I spent re-visiting the Sussex Coaches network and the launch of their winter Coach Development programme. This is where the County Golf Partnership has the opportunity to come together and build their workforce to suit the needs of the participants, whether they are aspiring elite players, disabled players, old ladies or young boys. It is interesting to follow how this develops as it is probably the first time that counties have really thought about who they employ to coach their players, what background and training that coach has and what key performances they want to see in the role. In any other field of work this would be completely out of the question as anyone hiring anybody to do a job would want to make sure that the person is fit for the job. Golf’s tradition has been very much along the lines of word of mouth recommendation though and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as it is accompanied by a clear idea of what it is we want. There is a great group of coaches working hard on their own development now in Sussex, as well as in a few other counties and I am convinced that this will pay off enormously in the future in terms of player performances.

Following some meetings in London I went on to have one of those real off the wall meetings, with a friend of a friend who had introduced us and though it might be a good idea for us to meet. As I sit here this morning to reflect on this meeting and the opportunities it presented I come to think about Dr Richard Wiseman’s book, The Luck Factor. He studied a number of people who were perceived as being ‘lucky’. What he found was that they were not particularly fortunate at all, they were just extremely good at creating their own opportunities. They chatted to people when they had a chance, they set up meetings like the one I met to, they went to places and made sure to constantly stay in the ‘flow’ of where things happened. The guy I met runs a business called Let Us Create and having been a bit creative since last night I have already thought about a number of projects where we could make great use of them!

 

No rain in Spain…

I bet there won’t be many blogs relating to golf at the start of this week that do not talk about the event of the year that concluded yesterday. What started as a pretty miserable Friday in Wales finished with a Ryder Cup Monday win for Europe and judging by the pictures from the Celtic Manor club house my guess is the celebrations have probably only just stopped.

Deciding against the rain and adjusting my travel schedule accordingly I actually spent most of last week out in Spain. It was time to re-visit the arrangements and agreements we have for winter training. This of course took me to our winter base, very accommodating partner Arcos Gardens. Having also spent some time at a couple of other venues I am once again amazed by how good Arcos Gardens is for elite training. The way they have designed and built the practice facilities is unseen anywhere else, at least to my knowledge, in Europe. And the fact that you can come to a facility like this and really feel like you are welcomed and wanted is of course a great big bonus. In fact, things are rather nice for England at the moment when it comes to finding good arrangements. As tourist golfers disappear more and more facilities turn to known brands to try and get recognition for their facility. Being linked with England Golf and England Coaching is probably not a bad thing. And of course we are only too happy to help!


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