Month: January 2021

T – The Island

GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A

Over the next 26 days, I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I.  It is my ode to some great golf in the UK and Ireland.  Full write up’s and more images can be found on golfgurugroup.blogspot or Travelling Lady Golfer tab.  So there is no missing out on that extra little bit of information, if needed.

Feel free to share them to help others.

The Island Golf Club

The Island Golf Club, Corballis, Donabate, Co Dublin, Ireland

Founded in 1890, The Island GC is one of the first twelve golf clubs in Ireland. It’s the third oldest in Dublin, predating Portmarnock by four years.  Despite its name The island is not on an island but on a spur of land with the sea on three sides.  For the first 100 years of the clubs life, even up until 1973, access to the golf course was via boat, across the estuary from Malahide.  In the early days golfers would be dropped off for their round of golf. A large red and white disc hanging on the side of the clubhouse, was the signal to the boatsmen to collect the golfers for their return.  If the weather became inclement the only way back was around the inlet. Whilst today this poses no problem, back then it was a long and arduous journey.  In fact The Island is now only 15 minuets from Dublin Airport by road today.

Described as the definition of Links golf, The Island is one of the finest links courses with Fred Hawtree, Eddie Hackett and more recently Martin Hawtree having stakes in its evolving design.

It is true to say that when I played The Island, I played the old design, so I will endeavour to give you a brief synopsis of the redesigned front nine.  The back nine was always the stronger of the two, so largely remains unchanged.

Mackenzie & Ebert

Were appointed to look at elevating the plan of the front nine to match the back.  As luck would have it Martin Hawtree had built an extra hole, the 19th.   So incorporating this into the new design, the weaker 8th and 9th have been shuffled along to give us the course today.  The creating of new sand dunes was not taken lightly. The objective was to recreate natural dunes in the places the new design needed.  Analysis was done on the existing dunes and with careful planning the building was undertaken to achieve such a task.  It has been said that the new par 3 fourth hole will become one of the best short links holes anywhere.  These works were completed last year (2020).

As the course is naturally nestled between some of the highest sand dunes in golf which is a test in itself for golfers.  With the introduction of the new front nine, leaves me wanting to go back and play The Island again …. and again.

Standing on the tee

On a reasonably sunny but cold day, I was blown away by the sheer natural beauty of this golf course laid out in front of me.  As if large historic worms had burrowed around the fairways, leaving mounds now over grown with long grasses. The scene were something akin to a lunar landscape.  The fairways also carried the tame version of those earth worm mounds. Which added to the drama of the course, especially when the sun was shining and shadows created.  I do recall playing with the water on the right hand side, hitting a cracking shot which went slightly right towards the water and towards the OOB.  But I was feeling quite smug thinking, thats good, I’m safe.  But I didn’t find that ball, I was mortified as I saw ‘exactly where it went’, but obviously I didn’t!  I became an Island victim, by not taking this course seriously enough!

I loved playing on the greens at The Island, thinking how smooth (and fast) they were, they are a pleasure to play on.

Who would have thought that in 1887 four men and a boat could have had the foresight to build a golf course on this beautiful peninsular.  Created by a syndicate of ten wealthy men negotiating a lease on the land and offering up to five clubhouses in the early days.  Mens membership tickets were admitted in 1896 with women’s membership tickets being admitted the following year.  The syndicate model was passed down until 1952 when the syndicate of that time handed over the entire interest in the club to its existing members.

A true traditional members golf club with nice friendly people to greet you.

U for Ullapool Golf Club

U – Ullapool

GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A

Over the next 26 days, I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I.  It is my ode to some great golf in the UK and Ireland.  Full write up’s and more images can be found on golfgurugroup.blogspot or Travelling Lady Golfer tab.  So there is no missing out on that extra little bit of information, if needed.

Feel free to share them to help others.

Ullapool Golf Club

North Road, Ullapool, IV26 2TH

The place time forgot?

Benches dotted around the course, taking time out to enjoy this 9 hole course seems to be the best way to embrace the ethos of Ullapool Golf Club.

Just North of the fishing village of Ullapool is this friendly golf club awaiting your presence to give it a go at only £20 per 9 holes (£30 for 18 holes/day ticket).   It doesn’t try to be something it isn’t, it doesn’t claim to be a long course, or even a particularly hard one either, but it does have wildlife aplenty and stunning scenery to enjoy as you play a relaxing round at Ullapool.  And if you fancy a bash whilst on holiday, you can hire clubs with golf trolleys being free to use.

My friend and fellow journalist, Kevin Markham, has played Ullapool and has this to say about the course:

So many of the Highlands golf courses are wrapped in glorious views, mountains rolling across horizons and sea stretching out of sight. Ullapool is no different. This is a nine hole course (18 tees) and you get a wonderful taste for it as you start your descent into the large village, coming from the north. Ullapool sits in the heart of Lough Broom, and dates back to 1788.

The golf course came 210 years later and is laid out at the eastern fringe of the village. It is a picturesque coastline course, squeezing up against the lough’s edges and promising views all day long. Visitors are always welcome (there’s an honesty box) but this is very much a local affair. You won’t find immaculate conditioning because it’s simply not needed at a club that was founded for the love of playing golf… and not perfect fairways.

It’s an enjoyable ramble and the holes are well routed with holes 1 and 9 taking you to and from the clubhouse, from the shoreline. Thereafter, holes run parallel to the water. That ‘local’ feel is emphasised by the shapes and flow of the land which have been absorbed into the course. To say the course has a ‘natural feel’ is an understatement.

Over the 18 holes

There are four par threes and two par fives (three for ladies). The par fours are rarely long: the shortest is 230 yards, the longest is 378 (298 for ladies), and with 18 different tees you will find the course changes its length to the tune of 260 yards for men and 244 for ladies. Sometimes the second tee on a hole doesn’t make much difference… on others it does. It means playing the nine hole loop twice offers different challenges.

Holes 2/11 and 3/12 are the most memorable and tempting holes. The par three 2nd hits straight out at the water, curving around a beach onto a little peninsula jutting into the lough. Mountains rise beyond and the men’s tee boxes on the two loops are 40 yards apart… the ladies just 10.

The par four 3rd runs right above the stony beach. Fairway then beach then lough. At high tide it must be incredibly intimidating. Whatever the tide, two brave shots are required. It measures between 261 and 338 yards, with tee boxes again well separated. The green sits at the foot of a steep gorse covered hill and as tough as the drive is, the approach is even more of a knee trembler.  A lovely par three follows, from a high tee, with the green once again right on the water’s edge.

That Gorse

That gorse is a common theme at Ullapool. There are trees here but they are widely scattered while the gorse embraces you time and again as you rise up the gentle slopes, channelling you towards small greens. Keep it on the fairways and it’s a sweet amble… if not, expect the occasional prickly end.

Don’t expect complex golf at Ullapool. That is not its attraction. This is a fun and friendly local club that promises an enjoyable day out amidst the beauty of the Highlands.

V for Vale of Llangollen

Photo credits Kevin Markham

V – Vale of Llangollen

GB&I Golf Course Reviews – Z to A

Over the next 26 days, I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I.  It is my ode to some great golf in the UK and Ireland.  Full write up’s and more images can be found on golfgurugroup.blogspot or Travelling Lady Golfer tab.  So there is no missing out on that extra little bit of information, if needed.

Feel free to share them to help others.

Vale of Llangollen

Holyhead Road, Llangollen LL20 7PR

In the county of Denbighshire and regarded as one of the best inland golf courses in North Wales, Vale of Llangollen is a sight for sore eyes.

It is one of those places that you don’t really give it the justice it deserves until you round the building and overlook the Vale beneath with the golf course carefully mapped out in front of you, enticing in its appearance.  With the Welsh hills stretching out in the distance this is a perfect backdrop to this inviting course.

Located in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, golfers have been enjoying this scene since 1908 where it started life as a nine hole course, extended to the full 18 holes, in the 1960’s.  Vale of Llangollen is located within Pontcysyllte area which in itself, being a UNESCO site is in bed with such greats as the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China.  This designated heritage site cited as a ‘masterpiece of human genius’,  is impressive in its pedigree.  Does this alone make Vale of Llangollen unique in its pedigree as a golf club?

The River Dee is present, although not necessarily in play.  It is most noticeable on three holes; with the 9th being regarded as one of the best holes in British Golf at 418/436 yards (SI 5/1).  Sure enough as you stand on the elevated tee, it doesn’t show its true colours until you see where your drive might land.  Favouring the large tree on the right, you can just about tuck in before the fairway twists left keeping the River ever present on the right before finally allowing you a glimpse of the green.  A par 4 for men and a par 5 for ladies add to the male vs female friendly battle.  Other holes which enjoy the River Dee are the 15th and 16th

Hole number 14

A 146/167 yard par 3 SI18 has a narrowish exit with large trees towering over you as you take on this otherwise non threatening par three.  Add in the other tee box sitting next you though, and one might feel as they can’t mess it up ‘in front of a crowd’.  But get used to the crowd you must.

The finishing hole is a crowd busting one too.  An uphill par three often requires a bit more club than the distance of 115/153 yards (SI16/12).  A ditch runs across the fairway and the green slopes back to front, so on the green in one is the only option to make a par.  All this in front of the elevated patio with golfers watching your every move from their vantage point.  It’s a nerve jangling finishing hole, but definitely worth a bit of banter in the clubhouse afterwards.

The times I visited Vale of Llangollen we met with friendly people in the clubhouse. In fact they believe in their club so much that one member signed up his child for membership at only 5 months old to help out the club doing Covid times.

Llangollen is a pretty nice to visit too, with the River dissecting the town. Famed for hosting the International Music Eisteddfod, a unique annual celebration of world music and dance since 1947.  Castell Dinas Brân has been shadowing over Llangollen since it was built in 1260 by Gruffyd Maelor II the Prince of Powys Fadgo.

W for Wallasey Golf Club

W – Wallasey

GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A

Over the next 26 days, I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I.  It is my ode to some great golf in the UK and Ireland.  Full write up’s and more images can be found on golfgurugroup.blogspot or Travelling Lady Golfer tab.  So there is no missing out on that extra little bit of information, if needed. Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses across the GB & I.  Feel free to share them to help others.
Wallasey Golf Club
Baywater Road, Wallasey, Wirral, CH45 8LA Founded in 1891 by members from nearby Hoylake, with a sterling layout from Old Tom Morris it was immediately heralded for its great greens.  There were a few tweaks to the course in 1901 by Alex Herd and 1913 by Harold Hilton.  But it was in 1917 when the drifting sand from nearby beaches, coupled with lease issues threatened Wallasey’s future.  Issues resolved, in steps James Braid in 1929 who consulted in the alterations of the course.  It obviously worked as in 1930 Wallasey was selected as an Open qualifier course for Royal Liverpool. An Open qualifying course again in 1936, with reduced yardage, Hawtree and J H Taylor were drafted in with James Braid once again adding his two penneth to its tweaked design. Post war; a couple of lost holes were reinstated giving us a full 18 hole links once again.  Continued improvements were being made with the last ones by Donald Steel who re-desgined 3 new holes for play in 2004. Little of the original 1981 course remains intact.  Gales, blown sand, war office requirements and the desire for extra length have led to several reconstructions.  Only holes 2, 7, 8 and 12 have the original greens, such as evolution dictates.
I honestly cannot remember the first time I played Wallasey Golf Club, it must have been over 10 years ago but have been back 3 or 4 times since.  The first time, I was a reasonably high handicapper with the ability to hit the odd good shot, but nothing too reliable.  Wallasey was the first golf course to have the Bagger Vance effect on me; just see the path ahead, everything else just blurs into the background and it is easy to see how on this course. Wallasey rarely has dunes that you have to play over or through.   But the fairways are lined with Marram grass and gorse so you can literally see your chosen path ahead, snaking around in a tantalising fashion. I guess it is only fitting that in the movie the Legend of Bagger Vance that Junuh was playing against Bobby Jones.  Bobby Jones played his qualifying round at Wallasey for the 1930 Open at Royal Liverpool.  Wallasey must have had a lasting effect on Bobby Jones too, as he sat for a portrait painted by one of the members.  This portrait ‘Bobby’ still hangs proudly in the lounge to this day.
As you start to play Wallasey, it lures you into a false sense of security with a fairly innocuous straight par 4 hole running alongside the road.  Then as you turn towards hole two, you may see the resident fox sitting on the tee box waiting for a snack without getting too close and certainly not menacing. The second hole is famous for a totally different reason.  A par 4, almost 90 degree dog leg right, wide enough to take on the corner or keep left and get on in regulation for your second shot. Doctor Frank Stableford a member at Wallasey Golf Club at the time came up with the Stableford scoring system on this hole.  I wonder if he had a nightmare on hole 1?  Either way, the scoring system we all know and love today is from this very course.  If you do take on the corner, over the dunes, and you miss, give a little nod to Dr Stableford for inventing such a forgiving system.  Your worst score on that hole is nil points, or blob as we loving like to call it in the UK.
Other holes of note.
In fact you won’t even know about this hole until you clamber over the dunes to the 4th hole and the world appears to just open up ahead of you.  Out of the dunes and into a wide open expanse overlooking the sea.  On the horizon a multitude of majestic wind turbines quietly going about their business glinting in the sunshine as they sparkle off the sea gently lapping around them.  The forth hole is a par 5, and the hardest hole on the course playing 438 to 571 yards.  With it elevated tee, it does give you a sense of whack ability but be aware of the shallow banks and burrows that are in play on this hole too! Hole number 16 is worth a mention, in so far as the first time I played Wallasey I thought, blimey!!  It is a relatively long par 3, 180 to 227 yards, SI14 over a ravine of unsavoury stuff up back to the green which seems to cling onto the edge of the bank.  In fact it is set into the bank on the right hand side, with a drop off on the left. A little path connects the dots after your tee shot.  There is little option than to try and hit the green in one, I remember the green being quite big, if that helps? Navigating yourself around the course, enjoying the fairways set out inviting in front of you is no more present than on the 18th.   You stand on the tee, and there is only fairway spread out in front of you.  A beautifully inviting cut fairway leading its way in ten pin ball fashion to the pin at the end.  With marram grass and the odd bit of gorse in the rough, it is less tempting, so stick with your inner Bagger Vance and see the field. You can guarantee that if you don’t, your golfing buddies sat on the patio deck area will notice any errant shots and give a sympathetic sigh.  Knowing too well how difficult it is not only find your ball but then play for glory to the 18th green with all and sundry overlooking your every move. Wallasey remains one of my all time favourite golf courses to play in the world and I hope to return one day soon.
X for eXminster Golf Centre

X – eXminster

GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A

Over the next 26 days, I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I.  It is my ode to some great golf in the UK and Ireland  Full write up’s can be found on golfgurugroup blogspot or on golfgurugroup website under the Travelling Lady Golfer tab too, so there is no missing out on that extra little bit of information I can’t fit here on social media

Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses across the GB & I, and feel free to share them to help others.

Today we look at the letter X for eXminster Golf Centre

Exminster Hill, Exeter, EX6 8GA

Ok, it has to be said I had to use a little creative license with this one, as I cannot find a golf club in GB&I starting with the letter X, so I have worked on the phonetic sound, with the E being silent in (English) speech.

I’ve also pushed the boundaries a little here as this facility isn’t strictly a golf course, more a practice facility with 9 holes attached.  But with great views over towards Devon and only 5 minuets from Exeter you can really enjoy your golf here.   With a 16 bay floodlit facility, it’s an opportunity to sneak away for a few hours, even whilst holidaying with the family in this beautiful part of England

The clubhouse at Exminster is large enough for private functions and must be great when you’ve got the family in tow to have somewhere to take stock before heading back out to the range or golf course.

I myself started at a similar facility before moving on to a more challenging 18 hole golf course; if Exminster is like my starter course, it was fantastic to get me going in golf.

Here’s what one local had to say about Exminster Golf Centre:

A 9 hole very friendly club,  the course is quite tight with small greens.  There are 4 par 3’s which are tough!  The course is quite undulating in places which make shots challenging, but is forgiven for the beautiful views of the Exe Estuary from the second and third holes.  More country side views over adjacent farmland are also on offer for the enjoyment when playing Exminster Golf course.  There is an excellent driving range with indoor and outdoor mats plus a small but well stocked pro shop.  The large clubhouse serves a variety of good food.  Known in the area as a starter course for new golfers to gain confidence on before moving to bigger clubs in the area.

Exminster is a village close to the southern edge of the City of Exeter, in South Devon.  An ancient village with religious roots in the Saxon minster dating back to King Alfred the Great of the 8th Century.  Exminster has ties back in history to William Courtenay who was the Archbishop of Canterbury 1381 to 1396


Y of Yelverton Golf Club

Y – Yelverton

GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A

Over the next 26 days, I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I.  It is my ode to some great golf.  Full write up’s can be found on golfgurugroup blogspot or on golfgurugroup website under the Travelling Lady Golfer tab too. So there is no missing out on that extra little bit of information I can’t get here on social media

Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses across the GB & I on offer.

Today we look at the letter Y for Yelverton Golf Club

Golf links Rd, Yelverton PL20 6BN

In the beautiful Devonshire moorland countryside is this 18 hole William Herbert Fowler golf course design.  Cleverly utilising the naturally occurring tin mines of old as unsuspecting hollows and mounds to catch out even the best of golfers. With vista views over Dartmoor and Cornwall playing Yelverton in Summer 2019 was a delight.

Herbert Fowler

Best known as a cricketer, playing no less than 26 first class cricket matches in 1880.  In 1879 he was bitten by the golf bug when playing Westward Ho! By 1904 he was a prominent golf course designer with such greats under his belt such as Walton Heath and The Berkshire (Red and Blue).

In good company such as Harry Colt, James Braid and Alistair MacKenzie he also got involved in Burnham and Berrow, Cruden Bay (Champs), Royal North Devon and a whole lot more.

In 1904 he turned his hand to Yelverton, looking through his history of golf course conquers, Yelverton sits well with his growing portfolio of an untamed heathland area, ripe for development – but not too much!

At 600 feet above sea level

Yelverton Golf Club is situated on Roborough Common, land once owned by Sir Francis Drake, on the edge of Dartmoor.  With unique features such as the man made Devonport Leat built in 1793 to bring water into Plymouth.  Now playing as a water hazard on the course.  Couple this with the former tin mines scars dating back to Elizabethan times, makes for some interesting golf shots that for sure!

Wandering around the course are the Dartmoor ponies, which to this day bring controversial thoughts from a pristine golf course verses the British love of the Dartmoor pony who’s inevitable hoof prints churn up the course.

The solution

Parts of the golf courses are protected with wires sectioning off areas to keep the ponies and sheep off.  Other than that the wildlife wander around as they wish.

On the day I played, despite it being mid summer, the Great British weather didn’t disappoint and we ended up playing in the cold and wet.  Not that it dampened our spirits  or the joy of the golf course, being able to play such a relatively unknown little beauty was a joy.

Even on a grey day the colours of Dartmoor shine through as you leave the clubhouse and approach the first tee ready to do battle.  I love the way heathland courses play, their short grass being not too hard to enable the club to sweep under and give some bounce to the ball as you take your shot.

Standing on a few of the tees at Yelverton

I was blown away by the design of each hole stretched out ahead of me.  Different in design and undulation, some had trees, others sheep or horses, all had bushes and dips and hillocks.  All retained the interest.  The fairway grass was great to play, but the rough as pretty difficult to manage.  I honestly can’t remember going in a bunker but I do recall going into the Leat, a wide yet open gully which wasn’t too bad to play from as it didn’t have any water in that day, thank goodness!

The greens played well too, even the practice green in front of the club house was inviting.

After our game we sat in the clubhouse chatting to the members and staff, enjoying a sandwich as I pondered the only if’s, the great shots and the diary so I can figure out when I can go back again?

See previous letter Z

Z – Zetland

GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A

Over the next 26 days, I am going to showcase one venue/location a day for GB&I Golf Courses.  It is my ode to some great golf starting backwards today with the letter Z.  The full write up can be found on golfgurugroup blogspot too, so there is no missing out on that extra little bit of information.

Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses across the GB & I can offer.

In 1975 Zetland became Shetland.

Whilst Shetland is singular in speech, Shetland is actually an archipelago of nearly 100 islands in the North Sea, with a population in excess of 22 thousand.  Only 16 of these islands are inhabited and our focus for this golf course is Shetland main Island, just outside Lerwick, being the main town.

Whilst I have a daughter and her family living in Shetland, and having driven past the golf course multiple times, I am sad to say, I have not played the course, yet.  So have sought help from their friendly management committee.

Unique in its location Shetland Golf club surpassed only by the wonderful honesty box system. (Currently being replaced by an on-line booking system during covid times).  I love it when an honesty box is in play, it tells me so much about the club, and its members.

With just one green keeper on the books their volunteer system is second to non.  With around 20 to 30 members giving up a few hours each week to repair the ditches, trim the grass and the never ending task of cutting fairways.

Being so far North

The weather does come into play.  During summer you can pretty much play 24 hours with a longest day comp starting at 8pm.  On the opposite spectrum, winter golf is only playable for 5 to 6 hours a day.

Be mindful to take plenty of golf balls, not for the terrain so much as the crows who take delight in taunting the golfers by stealing their golf balls whilst in play!  I wouldn’t mind being the one to find that treasure trove of golf balls stashed somewhere near the golf club – but never in the hole!!

Shetland itself is a beautiful totally unspoilt location, with the golf course within a natural fold of the rugged landscape funnelling towards the North Sea.  You can sometimes spot killer whales (Orca) hunting the prolific seals off the coast.

With a 300 strong membership Sheltand Golf Club also enjoys a thriving junior section (6 to 17 years) of 30.  The Junior section is run by volunteer coaches who are keen to see a good mix of female and male children taking up golf.

Whilst Shetland might not be everyones cup of tea, for the nature lovers amongst us, it is a true gem.  Just don’t forget to pack your golf clubs and enjoy a round of golf at Shetland GC.   Thats what Im going to be doing next time I’m visiting my daughter

Membership from £150 with guest rates at £30 a round

Shetland Golf Club, Dale Gott, Shetland, ZE2 9SB

And just in case you’re not too sure where Shetland is, look North Scotland then look higher up!  In fact Shetland is so far North it isn’t always shown on the map of GB&I!  An overnight ferry from Aberdeen or a  short one hour flight from Inverness.  Other airports in the UK serve Shetland, but may not be direct flights.

Look out for more letters in the Z to A of GB&I Golf Course reviews

Shetland Golf Club Facebook page

Cat fishing in the golf industry

Cat fishing is grooming on line and as I have experienced, golf is not immune to this sordid world of chancers.

I have always been a friendly person. One who engages and listens to people.  I’ve been told I’m one of the best networkers in the industry.  So maybe my friendly disposition and my heavy involvement in social media make me the perfect target for any would be cat fishers?

Based on my experience, I can split the perpetrators into three categories:

1. The unsophisticated groomer aka the dirty old man

This is a man who is most likely seeking attention but doesn’t quite have the sophistication to know how to do it, so out of the blue, with no history of communication, he send a picture of his genitals – a dick pic!

It isn’t pleasant, although does cause hilarity in the household as I show hubby.  This person is basic and crude in his attempt to prompt a response.  He did get a response, I blocked him!

2. The doctor or serviceman or other esteemed profession aka the village idiot.

In comes a connection request from the nicest groomed man dressed in theatre blues, dark haired, smiling perfect white teeth.  He wants to connect with me!

He’s a surgeon, better than that he’s a military surgeon in a war torn savaged country ready to help the wounded and fix them up as his service to the country.  He has children, lives in the US and is a hero.  On his soft side, he is missing his children and trying to lead a normal life in the turmoil of his high pressure job.  He needs you to connect with him, he needs normal people in his life, he needs you.

This is the story HE spins you.  The story is one barely on the cusp of believable – that image, it is just too perfect!

I played dim and asked, ‘are you a scammer?  You can’t be too careful?’

His indigent response was scathing in its reply, of course I am genuine – how could you say such a thing!

His ‘hurt’ was shallow in its delivery, instead trying to twist it back on me for accusing him.

I wasn’t having it.

‘I think you’re a scammer!’

He closed his account so quick, I didn’t get chance to block or report him!

End of story, or so I thought.  A week or so later, I got a connection request from the same dark haired smiling surgeon, his perfect teeth, scrubbed up and ready to go into surgery – the only thing was, it was a different name this time!

I didn’t connect

3. The manipulator – aka Mr Danger

This one is the one who I believe is most dangerous, he spins a story with snippets of truth, he dangles the carrot and swiftly whips it away again.  The story I was given was so colluded, with twists and turns to knot up even the sharpest of brains.  He had rich parents, multiple houses, his first wife had died, his new partner was his rock, but only ever referred to by initials, but she was ill now, he wants to go on the senior tour, he has a personal driving range, he was in the special forces in a senior position but sustained a head injury, but not too much detail given.

His family are from Catalonia, he and his family all have places in Mallorca.  He has done everything and been everywhere, and isn’t shy to tell you so either.

His stories are extra ordinarily long, and incredibly exhausting to read.

They dart around all over the place, often referring to his background, his illness, his wealth, he puts you on a pedestal, says things about you that make you feel great, albeit not always correct, but if you try to correct him, he brushes it off claiming you’re a good person, he just knows you are.

His message are like a dripping tap.  His stories elaborate in length yet lacking in substance, he’s done everything and brags incessantly about his  and his family’s achievements.

His insistence to send something, his continued story of his contacts all over the world; the one who lives in his house in the Netherlands.  The ambassador for Nike who sends him free and cheap things.  His property in Mallorca, his family from Catalonia, all statements without detail.  And all so incredibly wearing to read.

He says he can confide in me.

His partner encourages him to do this as it makes him feel better! He has a 500 page book about his life on the back burner, but it isn’t available to read and he doesn’t want to take it any further.  It’s just been written just in case?

His attempts to be philanthropic, he wants to send me things to give away to get rid of the excess stock in his warehouse.

He wants to send me something for me, for my family.

So I tested him with his alleged Nike connections.

Can he get me a name in Nike who I can talk to about replacing hubby not so waterproof trousers.

He can do better, he has a pair in hubby’s size.  He will send replacements.

He has a pair, but they aren’t new, they don’t have labels and they have been worn once by him, do we want these – no thank you.

He found a pair in hubby’s size.

I will send something for you to giveaway

OK, I will forward gift them to new starters at the club.

Thats not what it is for, it for new people getting into golf??  I will just send the trousers, as I’m not wasting postage money on sending something you’re going to give away???

From a man who owns multiple houses and travels all over the world.

Holes in his story were becoming cavernous  and I cannot express how exhausting this was getting, maybe hindered by being in lockdown, dark evenings and a usually active life, tipped upside down by external events.

I stepped away, hubby contacted him about the waterproof trousers, nothing was forthcoming.

I blocked his account when he sent a nasty message, nothing too personal and nothing hurtful, just a little spiteful and unnecessary.

Truth is, I still to this day, do not know if he was cat fishing me or not.  But I do know how I was feeling, how run down I was getting, how exhausting his stories were.

So to play devils advocate.  He may have been genuine!  I do not know. He wasn’t being particularly manipulative, he didn’t ask for any money or to meet.

Maybe, if you’re trying to get someones attention, maybe you like someone and want to work with them, please think about your approach to them, and how they might perceive it

Could you be displaying hallmarks of a cat fisher inadvertently?

I hope this article serves as a reminder that cat fishing is out there, the golf industry is not infallible to this.

If any of the above resonates with you, please remember, you are not alone, find someone who you can confide in, someone that doesn’t know the perpetuator.  Or, maybe, you are trying to engage with someone, and if so, could it be read incorrectly?

The long and the short of it, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t!

This was not an easy article for me to write.

I am sharing this to help others spot the pros and cons of live in social media.

I have met and made friends with so many people online.  We have a laugh, we help each other out with posts, we back each other up and we ‘chat’ on messaging systems.

Like many things in life; it is often the few that spoil it for the many.  I will continue to be friendly, helpful and outgoing.  That is me, and if anyone is thinking; great, easy prey – I’m happy to write a follow up article with more details.

This article has not been written to name and shame, it has been written to help others who may have been in a similar situation, to empathise with them.  To say – you’re not alone.  You’ve got this!

Sarah is a business women in the golf industry in excess fo 10 years.  As the founder of the first UK Golf business to focus on women’s golf travel, the knowledge and wealth she brings to the table have enabled her to successfully transition into media, social media and marketing for global golf brands and locations.

NORTH FORELAND open for golfers during 149th Championship

**Press Release**

North Foreland, located just 13 miles along the coast from Royal St George’s and one of the most highly-regarded seaside golf courses in the country, is giving attendees of The Open Championship the opportunity to combine watching with playing by giving them early access to book tee times, as well as launching special fourball packages available to book online.

The 36-hole venue is gearing up for the arrival of golf fans from across the world by reserving tee times for visitors between Monday, July 12, and Monday, July 19, 2021.

Situated on the picturesque Kent coast

In the holiday town of Dickensian Broadstairs, North Foreland is considered one of the best member clubs in the area and is opening up its tee sheet early for visitors eager to play at one of Royal St George’s surrounding venues.

Golfers can play the dramatic downland course, which runs along the clifftops and offers sea views from every tee, from just £125 throughout the week or as a fourball package from £450 which includes breakfast or lunch, complimentary range balls and a souvenir welcome pack for each player.

Chris Dowrick, North Foreland’s General Manager, said: “With The Open returning to Royal St George’s for the first time in 10 years, this is a great opportunity to showcase our extraordinary venue to golfers that haven’t played here before.

“It’s going to be a fantastic celebration of golf.  I know that watching the world’s best compete for the Claret Jug and the excitement of the event will get attendees raring for a round themselves.  This is why we’re giving them early access to our tee sheet and launching our special fourball package so that they can make the most of their trip and play one of the best surrounding courses.

“We’re really looking forward to the tournament, which looks like it will go ahead with a degree of normality with the roll-out of the Covid vaccines by then, but especially excited to welcome avid golfers to North Foreland.”

North Foreland boasts two exceptional year-round golf courses

The Main Course and the Northcliffe Course –complemented by top-class clubhouse facilities to match, with the delightful Lighthouse Brasserie and Bar offering panoramic views of the sea and coastline.

Renowned for its fast-running fairways and greens, along with coastal views that are among the best in England.  This 6,436-yard, par-71 Main Course is a fantastic test for all golfers because of the open front nine holes being contrasted nicely with the tighter back nine and a mixture of strategically-placed bunkers and broad fairways.

The Northcliffe Course provides the opportunity for players to hone their short game on 18 par-three holes that vary in distance from 50 to 140 yards and the club is also home to excellent practice facilities and tennis courts.

For more information or to book, call 01843 862140 or visit:

Thumbs up to social media

“Are you watching the US Women’s Open Sarah?”

Came the question from a new contact on social media.

If so, would you like to come on the BBC and give your thoughts?

I read that message a few times before turning to hubby and saying, ‘the BBC have just got in touch with me! They want me to go on to talk about the US Women’s Open!’

After some investigation, the guy checked out as legitimate from the BBC, so I said yes.

That was it, as short and as simple as that.   He found me on social media and connected the dots  – now I had some work to do as I was due on in a few hours…

I later found out, he also watched my You Tube channel!

which he said was really good and positive for golf …. and he found it funny in places too.

Anyone that knows me, whilst I am professional in my business, having fun and a sense of humour is also a huge part of me and my make up too! So how could I combine all of this and still give people enough information to make good decisions about their golf travel and golf products?

Over the last year, due to lack of travel, I have worked on my social media accounts, growing the three major platforms; Twitter, Facebook. But Instagram has given me greatest success.  By combining all three major platforms, I can reach all demographics across the world.

I decided I was not about growing my audience for my own personal gratification and gain.  I am about what I do best –  helping people.  Engaging with them and helping them in their personal golf endeavours.  My blog, which has been going for longer and has seen steady growth over the years too, is now in excess of 26K

My latest foray into social media is You Tube, and already less than a year in I have exceeded my first goal for subscribers.

Doing live television shows, (it actually turned out to be three live shows over two days on various BBC sports programs) was something I hadn’t done before.  In truth it is not something I had given an awful lot of thought to either; until it happened, out of the blue by that single social media contact.

Day 2 of the US Women’s Open

and my time to be on air was getting closer.  I was a bit nervous and I think it showed it a little bit too.  I had the notes on the desk in front of me, and I kept looking down at them! But all in all it went very well and I felt a massive weight lifted as I successfully completed my first live television appearance for the BBC.  On watching this back, I was able to see my downcast eyes and moved my notes higher for the next one!

However, talking on live television wasn’t what I expected.  It wasn’t a normal zoom call where you see the person you’re talking to.  Nor was I able to do a screen share – I was talking to the BBC logo – thats all I saw!  This also made it extra difficult as I couldn’t see which clip they were showing or which golfer they were talking about either.  I got through it for BBC Sports Day and was invited back for a second time to appear live on BBC World.

Session two came about a couple of hours later

and here I was again looking at the BBC logo, on BBC World this time.  All went relatively smoothly, I didn’t fall flat on my face.  Nor did I worry about any answers I’d given!  Now I could relax and enjoy the rest of the golf, as an easy sport to watch.   With a glass of wine to wind down with!

Next day the television was back on and I’m glued to it once more.  Then ping, I got the email from another BBC producer.

‘Can you come on again please, Sarah?’

With a reduced field after the cut has been made, day three of the tournament was in some respects a bit easier to talk about.  This time I had a different presenter too.  I must say both presenters made me feel welcome.  They gave me the space and time to talk and were really welcoming of my opinions, views and answers.

Day three and my third show went without any hiccups.

I think it also shows me growing in confidence when answering questions and sharing the knowledge,  why wouldn’t I ?  After copious note taking, a good understanding of golf and the LPGA players also helped with my responses.

If you’re not quite there with social media or if you’re only focussing on one platform?  Maybe this old dog can teach you some new tricks and help you understand the importance of a good social media presence?   I can help you rethink your strategy.  Help get you in front of a new, willing and keen audience, who soak up golf and all it can bring like a sponge.

I’m living proof of it not only happening, but importantly, working.  After years of chipping away at this industry to be more respectful and acceptance for females in golf, here I am a ‘BBC pundit’ with a bright future.

If you want to check out the shows, they are now available on You Tube, this also includes behind the scenes as I prepare for the live television shows

Sarah Forrest

Golf Writer

Golf Guru Group

[email protected]

Scroll to top