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Notes from SCOTTISH SENIOR OPEN

We just finished hosting the SCOTTISH SENIOR OPEN, a premier event on the European Senior Tour sponsored by Cleveland/Srixon. It officially opened our Torrance Course and in spite of 6 days of rain the three pro ams and three day seniors tourney were great successes.

The R&A had a tent at the side of the range and each pro was asked to visit (with their clubs). What they were doing was testing the grooves and letting players know if their clubs would be OK for 2010. Most irons will not be allowed next year, and what was surprising is some are not allowed right now! Some wedges have illegal grooves, and some are worn too much and are concave. I won’t name the manufacturers but my Taylormades passed!

Sergio’s father, Victor Garcia, was one of the players. What a superb gentleman he is! He was the first to help the juniors and the last to leave, and his Hinglish is not that great. Then again, he probably wouldn’t understand any of the wee Scottish kids. As we have no members we had many local junior golfers as volunteers and many were outstanding in spite of the weather. One of my assistants, Simon Taylor, was given the chore of finding 120 volunteers and 60 caddies and he did it! Parents, send you kids to golf, football already has enough hooligans.

Anyway Victor gave me one of Sergio’s balls that he used in the past PGA Championship. I play Taylormade and did not recognize the dimples so, being the instigator I am, I took it to Dr Steve Shapiro in the R&A tent to see why Sergio can use balls that are not on the market. “It’s an approved ball, all the manufacturers submit their players balls for approval and then we actually check them to insure that they are using the approved balls.” My concern is golf is a fairly pure sport with one set of rules, why can’t everyone use the same equipment, why do the tour players mostly use “proto-type” balls and clubs? Anyway I’ll try Sergio’s ball tomorrow on the Old Course, probably lose it.

Sir Bob Charles was another gentleman, still playing great, 73 years old, the Al Balding of New Zealand. I played with him in 1969 and he actually remembered it! “You were with Swing’s the Thing weren’t you?” Bob is the only golfer than I am aware of that has the same swing for his putter as all the other clubs. Really.
The winner was a journey man pro from England, Glenn RALPH. All the pros were quite happy to see him win although all the Scots in the crowd probalby were hoping for Sam Torrance (injured back) or Gord Brand to win. www.europeantour.com has good info on the tourney. No Canadians! I was looking forward to seeing Graham Gunn.

The tournament will be remembered as PETER SENIOR from Australia’s first Senior competition. Senior will probably end up very soon on the US PGA SENIOR TOUR, he already has his own jumbo jet. Ian Woosnam also contended, great “short game”. I checked and he only had one driver in his bag – I found it quite amazing that the majority of the pros left their clubs in our bag storage, we expected most of them would take them to their rooms and sleep with them. It was nice checking them out, amazing how many leave bananas in their bag.

Delroy Cambridge from Jamaica played – he remembered our dog Bob Marley from when Marley was only a few months old when Delroy played the Senior event in Montego Bay. Marley actually perked up when he heard Delroy use a little patois on him.

One last note: Tony Johnstone from Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) finished 9th and has been in contention every event this year. Amazingly he has MS and a few years ago he could barely move and managed to get the last spot in a drup trial here in the UK. It saved his life and now he’s living the dream, playing on the European Seniors Golf Tour.

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Gary Slatter

Venerable Canadian golf pro Gary Slatter discusses his opinions on the state of golf, golf course design and construction, teaching and more, based on a lifetime in the business.

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