A Golfing Safari?

What would it be like to have giraffe and an elephant in your foursome? Can a golfer ever experience nature in its most raw and vital form? If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, then the Hans Merensky Golf Course is just the right stop for you.

The Hans Merensky course, designed by legendary Robert Grimsdell, is ranked as one of the top 20 golf courses in South Africa (also the best walking course in S.A.). Located just minutes from the gates of the Kruger National Park, it has the privilege and honor of having hosted many professional and amateur tournaments.

What makes the Merensky unique is that a golfer playing on the golf course not only has to navigate the large bunkers and bushveld trees that line the fairway, but also needs to watch out for ball-loving crocodiles, hippos and other wildlife. In fact, since the course is bordered by the Kruger National Park, during the drier winter months, elephants, several species of antelope, giraffe, warthogs and even big cats can be found on the course.

Bring your binoculars because playing this course is a real safari experience – on the 16th, a pulled or hooked drive could well land in Kruger National Park. It is hard to imagine a better place to play eighteen holes that also provides an oasis of leisure and elegance. Do not miss your expedition!

“That’s an eight-pound ham in a five-pound can”

Golf Rules Officials
Earlier this year, the NY Times has posted an interesting article on PGA Tour rules officials. It discusses some interesting aspects of a largely thankless job, including the hot button issue of slow play:

“When we’re trying to get 156 players this week, which means there is going to be 26 groups on 18 holes,” White said. “You’re going to wait. Play is going to be slow. Those are the facts. People say we aren’t doing our job?”

Cracked Mickey Bradley, who was riding in White’s cart: “Twenty-six groups on 18 holes? That’s an eight-pound ham in a five-pound can.

I guess these guys don’t ever play at public golf courses. 26 groups on 18 holes? I think I hear the worlds tiniest violin. Try 36+ groups at any public course around the country on Saturday morning and see if you still think 5+ hours for 2-3 professionals to play 18 holes is an acceptable pace of play.

Of course, tour officials do walk away with some great stories:

One rules official described an exchange several years ago between another official, since retired, who was asked by a player who had just been fined for uttering an obscenity, “Can I be fined for what I’m thinking?” The official said no. The player quickly replied, “Good, then I think you are a no-good” and he finished his sentence with an obscenity. He was fined again.

Derek Franks is a guest blogger at the Scratch Pad. For more posts visit his blog 72strokes.com.

The One Blog Post Tim Finchem Should Read In 2011

We’re happy to announce a new guest blogger here for the Scratch pad. atruegolfer.com is the golf blog of Jon Birdsong, where he writes about the traditions and culture of golf. We’re excited to add Jon’s perspective to our blog by sharing some of his best posts with you. Great to have you on board, Jon!

Memberships are down, fewer patrons are attending tournaments, the economy is still recovering and the Tour’s main attraction is searching for his game. If I could put one blog post in front of Tim Finchem, it would be this one.

My message would be simple: golf tournaments should adapt to these times. Not golf, not the players, but tournaments – the entire experience. The on-course experience carries over directly to the TV viewer. When the fans are into every shot, the viewers are in it as well.

These aren’t the boom years of the Tiger Slam. The PGA Tour now has an opportunity to let fans feel much more engaged with golf’s best.


Every time I’m at a tournament, I always hear a fan exclaim how excited they get when players or their favorite player walk by in between holes. This is valuable for the Tour to know. Let the patrons get closer — closer to everything: the players, the green, maybe not the fairway.

Here is a great example of a classic golf gallery:

I love this photo. It shows appreciative fans who want to see one of the greatest work his craft. This is how golf should be spectated…even today. Continue reading “The One Blog Post Tim Finchem Should Read In 2011”

Great Swings: Nick Faldo

The winnerof six majors and ranked Number 1 in the world for 98 weeks, Sir Nick Faldo was once considered the best the world. In particular, his swing was admired for its consistency under pressure and his ability to deliver “precision strikes”.

How did he get such a precision swing? It was actually built by David Ledbetter over a period of several years, by dissecting each part and then building it up again. Once the pieces were set, they were put together in a full rhythm once again.



When Faldo discusses the keys to his swing, like Hogan he focuses on his right knee – however unlike Hogan he keeps the knee back for a split second before bringing it through the swing. That difference may be more style than substance. As described in Concept Golf, one of our favorite explanations of the golf swing, weight transfer and the lower body (in particular the right knee) will always play a key role in a good golf swing.