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Allez Les Blues! Rockliffe Golf Blog.

Rockliffe Hall's Golf Sales Executive, Tom West, reflects on a busy September for all things golf...

A very impressive performance from Team Europe secured victory and the return of the Ryder Cup to home soil, along with maintaining the unbeaten home defence for another 4 years. While Friday morning was a slow start with USA taking a 3-1 lead, there was plenty of golf left to play, and before you knew it, Europe made history… twice! With a first European 4-0 whitewash in the Foursomes on Friday afternoon, followed by wins on Saturday morning for the longest Ryder Cup winning streak of 8 consecutive games to take a commanding 8-3 lead, things were looking promising. 

Europe started Sunday morning with a 10-6 lead and Jim Furyk’s USA team needed a fast start, that’s exactly what they got. Justin Thomas won on the 18th hole, Brooks Koepka halved his match, they were ahead comfortably in two matches, and two others were tight. Dustin Johnson was 1 up through 11 holes against Mr Ryder Cup himself and Tiger Woods was all square in his match against rookie John Rahm. The idea of creating panic among Europeans and momentum among Americans was looking promising, but the above John Rahm and Ian Poulter fought until the end and knocked the wind from the American sails.

With Europe on 13.5 points, Sergio Garcia took Rickie Fowler to dormy with another match already dormy, that meant Europe were secured 2 half points totalling the required minimum 14.5 points for a European victory. While these matches continued, it was only fitting that the Ryder Cup player of the tournament, Francesco Molinari, ended his match with Phil Mickelson on the Par 3 16th, securing his 5th tournament point and confirming that European victory. 

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September is always one of, if not the busiest golfing month of the year for us at Rockliffe Hall. With everyone back from their summer holidays, but the weather still perfect and the nights still long, this year was no different. 

We’re always trying to adapt and come up with new ideas and competitions. This September we played host to the very first competition of its kind in the area, the MKM Professionals Shootout. 42 local golf professionals played 18 holes of stroke play, with the top 16 players to qualify for a series of 3 hole matchplay knockouts. And if it couldn’t get any more intense, if the matchplay was halved after the 3 holes, there was a single shot shootout from 100 yards to settle the tie.

As it turned out, for the final 16, quarter-final and semi-final, none of the matches required the 100 yard shootout. It was written in the stars that for the MKM Shootout, the final would be settled by that 100 yard pitch shot, and it was! It was the battle of the yellow ball with Mark Ridley (South Moor GC) shooting first with an impressive shot to 10 feet, but Vince Guest (Teesside GC) rose to the occasion with an even better shot to 6 feet, claiming victory in the first Professional Shootout.

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After a fantastic summer, we’re now at that time of year where final preparations are being made on the golf course for the winter months. Thankfully, all our preparation during our maintenance week in August means that we don’t have to touch the greens. The work will be completed on the tee boxes, fairways and rough to set the course up not only for the best drainage for winter, but also for the 2019 playing season. 

One of the biggest visual differences during our winter preparation is the flailing of the long rough areas. The long rough that lines our fairways with dramatic effect during the summer, is all cut down and collected for winter. The grass is collected to actually remove the nutrients from the soil, resulting in a lower sward density for next season. This still allows for the tall fairway lining rough to grow in the summer, but the rough isn’t so thick that you lose all your golf balls. Everyone’s a winner!

Contrary to the very wet 2017 season, the fairways are currently still too hard for verti draining and the use of our new toy, an Imants Shockwave machine. The Shockwave machine reduces compaction in the soil and aids water and air movement through the soil profile, helping reconnect the surface to the existing drainage under the fairways.

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Our winter competitions have now been finalised and published. By popular demand, our Winter Sprinter has returned for 2018/19, with 8 dates from 1st November to 13th February and the grand final taking place on Thursday 21st March. The same format as previous, best 4 scores over the 8 competitions is added together and the top 40 players are entered into the final. Enjoy a bacon roll and tea or coffee before the round. Entry is £25 per person for visitors and £12.50 per person for members.

Our Winter Open Pairs have also been published, with 3 opens taking place on November 25th, January 27th and March 3rd. The format remains Betterball Pairs Stableford and is £60 per pair to enter again with a bacon roll and tea or coffee before the round.

Finally, watch this space for our very exciting Christmas Team Open being launched soon. More information will be available next month.

For more information on all our Winter Competitions along with entry sheets, please visit the golf pages of the Rockliffe Hall website.

Until next time, keep golfing!

Tom.