I'm sure that like me you all enjoyed watching a great Masters tournament unfold at Augusta National last week. 21 year old Jordan Spieth was a deserving winner and he was the first player since 1976 to win the event wire to wire, some achievement considering the pressures that are associated with leading a major and for a golfer of such a young age. The week seemed to have everything, starting with a Jack Nicklaus hole in one during the par 3 contest through to Spieth's amazing first round 64 and then watching big hitting Dustin Johnson bring the par fives to their knees with his three eagles and a birdie (amazingly three eagles in one round wasn't an Augusta record). We were then treated to a final day showdown between what you could call the old and the new guard in Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods whilst Spieth continued to do what he seems to do every week and plotted his way around the course with minimal fuss to cruise to victory.
There were countless records broken by Spieth during the week, perhaps the most amazing was the fact he scored a record 28 birdies around Augusta and that he has now finished first and second in his two Masters tournaments. He is also the first player to not shoot over par in his first eight rounds there - simply amazing around such a difficult course!
Rory McIlroy got off to a slow start but played his last 45 holes in 15 under par, with a better first round and a warmer putter he surely would have given Spieth a really good battle. It looks like Rory and Jordan will have many tussles in the years to come - they are now the top two in the world rankings, the first time ever the top two have both been aged under 25.
Our predictions were also quite good, besides mentioning Spieth, Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama at 70/1 and 60/1 respectively had top 6 finishes which would have earned you some decent money if you backed them each way as we suggested!
The key to Spieth's victory was his brilliant putting, interestingly he has used the same Scotty Cameron puttter he was first given when he was a promising 15 year old amateur, here is his winning equipment:
Titleist 915D2 9.5 degrees (Aldila Rogue Black 70TX)
Titleist 915F 15 degrees (Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 7X)
Titleist 915Hd 20.5 degrees hybrid (Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 95X)
Titleist 714AP2 4-9 irons (True Temper Project X 6.0)
Tilteist Vokey SM5 wedges 46,52,56 and 60 degrees (True Temper Project X 6.0)
Titleist Scotty Cameron 009 prototype putter (Superstroke Flatso grip)
Titleist Pro V1x ball
Under Armour apparel and footwear
Masters sweep winners
Here are the winners of the vouchers from our Masters sweepstake competition:
1st place: Lisa Duncalf £100 voucher
Runners up: Ray Tonge and Kieran Underwood £25 voucher each
Best score day 1: Lisa Duncalf £10 voucher
Best score day 2: Lisa Duncalf £10 voucher
Best score day 3: Kieran Underwood £10 voucher
Best score day 4: Neil Dunning £10 voucher
If you've won a voucher it's available in the shop for you to collect!
Mail on Sunday Classic
I hope that you are well settled in to read Chris Bird's report about our latest team match in the third round of the Mail on Sunday Classic, despite my better judgement I was warned by Chris not to edit it down so here it is in its full (and rather long) glory!
"On Sunday Hartford Golf Club hosted Portal Premier Golf Club in the third round of the Mail on Sunday National Golf Classic, an unchanged team from the previous round (Chris Bird, Gareth and James Eaton, Dave Johnson and Ian Daines) represented us.
On a day of truly horrific weather conditions with up to 50mph gusts of wind and sideways rain the game got underway and it was clear from the outset that the home side may have benefited from having played a competition in similar conditions the day before!
Matches 1 (Chris) and 5 (James) were closed out in favour of Hartford in relative comfort that belied the drama to come in the middle matches. Match 2 saw Gareth Eaton edged by their best player who was playing off a 2 handicap out in a match that ebbed and flowed throughout.
That left the score at 2-1 to Hartford in the clubhouse with matches 3 and 4 still out on the course, Ian and Dave both found themselves 1 down with 1 to play in both of their respective matches. Ian managed to win the 18th hole to halve his match in the worst weather conditions I have ever seen on a golf course.
Dave Johnson, who was suffering with a bout of man flu and fighting his swing, played the 18th brilliantly and was left with a two footer on 18 to halve his match to secure victory and spare James the ignominy of going up the 19th in a sudden death playoff against opponent Jack Brownrigg. Dave confessed that with a crowd gathered around the green and several observers watching from the comfort of the bar he was more than a little nervous over his knee knocker of a putt, but he managed to hole out, thus securing a victory for the home team to the tune of 3-2.
I'd like to give a big thanks on behalf of both of the teams to Matt, Chris (Chef) and the bar staff (Hannah and Zoe) for preparing and serving our post match buffet which was warmly received by all!
Finally, a warm congratulations to the Hartford team on a hard fought win that went down to the last putt on the last green! Commiserations to Portal Premier who were extremely gracious in defeat.
We have been drawn to play Malkins Bank Golf Club in the 4th round, at home and the match will be played on Sunday, 10 May."
Daily Mail Foursomes
In the second round of the Daily Mail Foursomes our pair of Tim Barnes and Martin Major were drawn at home against a useful couple from Vale Royal Abbey. Our boys got off to a flying start and were three up early on, however the lead was reduced to one after 12 holes before Martin holed a decisive long putt for a half that seemed to take the wind out of their opponents' sails. In the end Tim and Martin were able to close the game out 3&2 and they advance to the third round!
The competitions are coming thick and fast now as we are well in to the golfing season, the Spring Stableford is a new one that we have added to the calendar and it was played for the first time on Saturday. The winner was a relatively new member in 15 handicapper Gary Cashmore, playing in just his fourth competition at Hartford, Gary returned a fantastic score of 43 points including a birdie on hole thirteen. In second place was Martin Major who scored 40 points and he seems to be coming back to his usual good form after a fourth place last week, the highlight of Martin's round was a brilliant eagle two on the sixth! Mike Angel came third also on 40 points, Mike also had a birdie on the thirteenth hole.
The next competition is our first 'Major' of the season - the Inaugural Trophy on Saturday, 25 April starting at 12.04pm.
Remember also that you can enter the Singles Knockout and Pairs Knockout by putting your name on the entry list and paying the £5 entry fee any time before the draw takes place on 25th August, if you're looking for a pairs partner let me know and I can probably fix you up.
The key to Jordan Spieth's great golf over the last few weeks has been his wonderful putting, he seems to be able to hole putts from everywhere. You may have noticed the distinctive white grip on his putter - it's by Superstroke and they are very popular, Phil Mickelson amongst others also uses one. Superstroke make an array of putter grips of varying thickness and they have become very popular recently, especially the larger oversized grips. If a player uses a thicker putter grip this takes the wrists out of the putting stroke and allows you to use more of a pendulum action and control your stroke using the bigger muscles in your arms which leads to a lot more consistency and accuracy in your stroke. The Superstroke grips are so popular that they come as standard on all our Odyssey Works putters that we have in stock this year.
You can fit the Superstoke grips to any putter and we offer FREE fitting included in the price of £29.99. We have all sizes in stock, if you haven't tried one of these grips you don't know what you're missing out on! Call in to the shop and you can try a putter with a Superstroke grip on our putting mat. Feel the difference it can make to your stroke!
Lots of new summer clothing has now arrived in the shop, I think some of the collections this year look better than ever with some great designs and bold colours from brands such as FJ, Nike, adidas, PING and Under Armour.
Here are some of the collections that have arrived, but the photos don't do some of these outfits full justice so call in when you can to have a look, maybe you can find something to add to your golfing wardrobe!
Click here to see the outfit Rory wore on the last day at The Masters - the Nike Modern Major Moment polo with white Dri-Fit trousers and Lunar Control 3 shoes.
Return of our famous shoe trade in deal
The April shoe trade in deal is now in full swing and many of you have already taken advantage, with our bin full of old shoes now over flowing!
If your current pair of shoes are leaking or looking tired now is the ideal time to upgrade and trade them in and get up to £20 OFF a new pair of shoes ready for the summer.
The trade in deal applies to many of the 2015 models from adidas and FootJoy and runs throughout April, you can trade in any old pair of old golf shoes in so make sure you take advantage of this great deal.
Further to the shoe trade in deal we have a trade in offer on lithium batteries and trolleys - trade in your old worn out battery and get a £25 discount OFF the purchase price of a new lithium battery or a new trolley with a lithium battery.
I am sure that if you have played the golf course recently you will agree that it is in great condition, if you're now playing quite often why not think about a membership deal. Here is a breakdown of all our membership options - I'm sure that there will be an option to suit any individual and you can save a lot by joining:
Full 7 Day membership £640 or £57/month
Full 5 Day £460 or £42/month
Dual Full 7 Day membership with Pryors Hayes £800 or £75/month
Dual Full 5 Day £625 or £55/month
Flexible Dual membership £200 for 200 points (18 holes costs as little as £12 )
Senior pay/play membership 7 day £160
Senior pay/play membership 5 day £100
Intermediate (age 18-25) £400 or £35/month
Intermediate Dual £625 or £55/month
Junior Dual member (age under 18) £120
Joint memberships (couples/same address) receive 10% discount on FULL membership
Please contact me here if you have any membership enquiries.
Alan Tayler was the winner of the latest nine hole Seniors Stableford, his score of 20 points was boosted by an excellent birdie three on the eight hole. This allowed him to edge out Andy Margeson and Frank Yarwood respectively who both also scored 20 points but they lost out on a card play off.
Next week the seniors play their 'Spring Special' which is 18 holes of golf with nine holes off the yellow tees and nine holes off the white tees to really test you out!
The ladies played a nine hole Stableford last Tuesday, the winner was Ann Broster with a score of 19 points, Ann scored a great birdie two on the fifth hole. In second place was Audrey Kettle with 17 points and in third place was our Grand National sweep winner Margaret Cherry also on 17 points.
Well done to Sue Gunning who played in a Pairs Open at The Mere last Friday and with her partner scored 36 points to finish in third place. It's always to nice see our members featuring in the prizes at other clubs!
The next ladies competition is an 18 hole Stableford on Thursday, 23 April at 9.32am.
Ladies 9 hole roll up - Thursday 16th April 9.32am
Junior Competition - Sunday 19th April 1pm
Seniors Spring Special - Tuesday 21st April 9.16am
Ladies 18 hole Stableford - Thursday 23rd 9.32am
Inaugural Trophy - Saturday 25th April 11am
Ladies Barnes Trophy - Sunday 26th April 12.04pm