Younger son, Michael, and I were in South Africa this week to play in the dimension data pro am on the sunshine tour. Michael was playing as my amateur partner which was great fun. The event has 168 pros and amateurs playing four rounds at the fabulous fancourt resort in george with a cut after round three. We both played really well finishing 4th in the team and I won the pro event by one shot. Michael did brilliantly as he plays off scratch so made some birdies which was great to see. I hadn't won for four years and to win again playing with Michael was pretty cool. Massive thanks to everyone at dimension data , fancourt and the sunshine tour for looking after us both so well
Marian , Michael and Craig flew out on Monday to join me for this week's desert classic , we were staying at the Jebel Ali resort where we have spent quite a few holidays over Christmas and new year in the past. I had rounds of 70-73-74-72 to be +1 for the week which ended up 56th equal Even though I had some poor spells again last week I actually could easily have been a few shots less As ever the desert classic was a great week and always great when Marian and the boys come with me I certainly had the tough draw last week as our half of the draw played 36 holes in rough conditions and the other half probably only played 6 holes in the same conditions - only 17 of the 69 qualifiers came from our side of the draw. Sometimes that happens and not much you can do as I've certainly been on the other side a few times
This week has always been one of my favourites on the schedule , the course plays like a links with firm greens and plenty of wind , it was a bit of a shock how poorly I played on Thursday but thankfully the short game was mustard and I managed to get it round in -2 with only hitting 5 greens , typically I hit it better on Friday and hit some lovely putts but holed very little to shoot 73+1 to miss the cut by 1 shot , it's frustrating but to be honest I hit it so poorly on Thursday and could have shot a big number that missing by only 1 seems an achievment ( wow I'm mellowing ) I spent all day up at the course on Saturday grinding away on a few bits and pieces hopefully it will all click next week in dubai
Last week in Abu Dhabi was my first event of the year. I shot 73+74 which missed the cut by 5 shots. I hit it pretty good from tee to green but short game and putting was pretty poor. The course and event as always was brilliant and is a great way to start the season for most of the players. I stayed over the weekend in Abu Dhabi and managed to put in some quality practice especially with the putter. I flew to Doha on Sunday evening for one of my favourite courses of the year, where I've managed to win twice before.
I was out at Inchmarlo this afternoon to welcome Ross Anderson who will be our new head teaching pro from today , Ross is a really nice lad and will do very well at PLGC Inchmarlo
I was up in Rothes the other day to visit the Speyburn whisky distillery , I really enjoyed the tour and chat with Bobby on how whisky is made.
We were up in Pitlochry for a couple of days to celebrate Marian's 50th birthday. We had the Reids and the Morrisons with us, which was really good fun. We stayed at fonab castle hotel, which was lovely
We have just returned from Abu Dhabi where we spent 10 lovely days staying at the Westin hotel at Abu Dhabi golf club , we relaxed at the pool in the mornings then myself and the boys played 9 holes each afternoon. As always, we had a comp for the duration of our stay which was won this year by Craig. I played off +2 Craig +1 and Michael 2 , I was -29 for 11 X 9 holes so Craig played very solidly which was great to see. Massive thanks to everyone at ADGC who looked after us brilliantly all week.
We were out at Inchmarlo tonight playing against 5 other finalists from our Monday and Thursday night target golf competition. 3 teams from each night qualified to find the champions of the champions , our team of Michael Macdougall , Craig , Sean And myself aka the Redbirds won , massive thanks to all the staff at Plgc Inchmarlo and all the teams who played as well as the catering for making it great fun and of course Deeside brewery for providing a bottle of beer to the winners each week , I'm already looking forward to the next series which starts end of January , if anyone fancies entering a team of four contact the shop
With the alliances finishing last week we decided to stage a mini series event at Inchmarlo today , we had 40 players who were a mix of pros and amateurs , we had 3 scratch prizes and 3 handicap , Craig and I tied for first with 56 -8 with Sam Kiloh 3rd with 58 -6 in the scratch , willie skene won the best nett with 61 -3 with five players tying for second on 62-2 Sam Locke , Jamie hall , Stephen Lawrie ( amazing ) Fergus Bisset and david lane , the course was excellent especially the greens which were brilliant , huge thanks to Mikey Mcdougall and all Inchmarlo staff for making it a great day.
It was a beautiful day on Wednesday (7th) for the north east alliance at buckpool GC , it was a little breezy but around 13 degrees. I was good from tee to green but had a bad day on the greens to shoot 70 Lvl par , my putting has been a lot better of late but Wednesday was very poor. The Hutch won with a very good 65 followed by david law on 66 , our Craig was third with Sam Kiloh on 68 , I always really enjoy playing buckpool and will always remember it being venue of my first ever win as a pro in the moray seafoods open.
I have been hitting a lot of balls with the heavy 9 iron which has really helped with my takeaway and changeover and I've also hit thousands of putts on my rail at home
I played the north east alliance at Portlethen yesterday with Craig and Sean , it was a lovely day and pretty much full summer greens and tees , the course was really good for this time of year , I hit it nice and putted good to shoot 65-7 which won by four shots , I'm really enjoying playing the alliances again as its been years since I played them regularly
I have been busy hitting balls every day with a heavy weighted homemade 9iron , this helps me slow down my backswing and changeover and maintains my rhythm , I have probably hit 400-500 balls a day with it and swing is really feeling good I have also played the target golf comp at Plgc Inchmarlo each week which is great fun , I have also been playing the alliance every week which again has been brilliant and keeps the competitive side going through the winter
It was great to receive an invite from Chubby Chandler at ISM to play in Turkey last week. Turkish Airlines laid on a charter plane which left gatwick Monday morning and returned Sunday night , the hotel and course at regnum carya resort were both fantastic , I was expecting a little more than the 43rd I finished last week after playing and putting was better in Portugal , ball striking was poor and holed very little on the greens in turkey , massive thanks to everyone involved with a fantastic event
Skibo Castle PLF Pairs
We were up at Skibo castle yesterday for our second PLF pairs event , we had 8 teams of two playing 18 holes then dinner and overnight stay in the castle , as always it was fantastic to spend time up there , massive thanks to all the teams for raising money for the Foundation. Marian and I really appreciate your support.
The Portugal Masters is one of my favourite weeks of the year as Marian normally comes and the last three years the Morrisons and the Reids have joined us , we all had a great week and I managed to play nicely and hole some putts to finish in a tie for 5th , the course wasn't in its best condition but it didn't take away anything from the week , unless I get an invite for turkey next week this could be my final event of the year so it was nice to finish it with a top 5.
Marian and I celebrated our silver wedding anniversary last week in Portugal , she has been amazing for me and has shown incredible patience as I can be a complete nightmare to live with at times ( mind you her snoring is legendary). It was nice to have the Reids and morrisons there to celebrate with us
I hit balls this morning at a very wet PLGC. Last week I was getting very steep at Impact which is caused by getting up off my right foot instead of rolling it , my hands also get to high at impact so I worked away at feeling low and left with the hands
Craig and I went to the football at pittodrie with my nephew Sean , aberdeen played well to win the game 4-0 to make it 5 league wins in a row
I was disappointed to miss last years British masters due to a bad back so was very much looking forward to playing this year at the grove , it was luke Donald's turn to host after ian Poulter did it last year , the course was in excellent condition especially the greens which were pure , Tuesday night saw the first of the night golf events where 8 players played knockout matchplay over one hole , I watched it on tv and it looked great fun with 2200 spectators turning up which gave it a great atmosphere , massive thanks to sky sports and the grove it's great to see the British masters back with a bang.
I was delighted to sign a deal with pinmar who are a super yacht finishing company based in Majorca , the deal includes their logo on the right side of my hat and 2 company days per year which will be used at their fantastic golf tournament held annually in October, 350 golfers and over 800 guests enjoy two days of golf and entertainment