Greatest Golf Experiences: Part Two
- Credit: Archant
There are so many interesting characters at golf clubs up and down the country, people with a fascinating story to tell.
At Axe Cliff Golf Club, one of those members who has enjoyed some of the greatest golfing experiences possible is Kyle Phillpots, who joined the club in 2018.
This is Part Two of his story on Major Championship golf, although we start with a big thank-you to eagle-eyed Midweek Herald reader Rod Boyce, who has an addition to the first part of this story:
The first amateur to win the Open Championship was actually John Ball in 1890, the second, Harold Hilton educated in Devon, won his first Open at Muirfield, which was the first time the Open was played over 72 holes.
He won again in 1897 at Royal Liverpool. Remarkably he won his two Opens before winning the Amateur Championship in 1900, a feat repeated in 1901, 1911 and 1913.
In 1911 he added the USA Amateur Championship. He also had two other top ten finishes in the Open. In short, he was one of the finest golfers this country has produced – thanks Rod.
“The Majors are great events to attend and while it is undoubtedly easier to see the action on TV, being there is really special,” said Kyle Phillpots.
“You can ether get to a spot and watch the golfers go through or follow your favourite…and get to almost touching distance of the players, all that separates the crowd from the players is a length of rope.
“Golf crowds generally are friendly and courteous with all walks of life well represented. Tickets are fairly easy to get, you don’t have to be a member of a club, just apply through the R&A event. They are not cheap, although you do get well over 12 hours of play and children go free.
“I was fortunate to attend almost all the Opens this century up to 2019. This is mostly because they provided an excellent meeting point for not only the British and Irish golf organisations, but also the PGAs and Federations from around the world who generally attended.
“While I spent most of my time in meetings and, on some days would not see a shot played, I did get out and watch as often as I could, particularly when the true legends were playing. “So I did see Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson, as well as the greats and the very, very goods. Fantastic experience and one I would thoroughly recommend.
“At the turn of the 20th Century, the legends of golf were known as the Great Triumvirate, three British players, Harry Varden, JH Taylor and James Braid who dominated golf and who won the Open 16 times between them.
“Scotsman James Braid won it five times and it was Braid who came down to the South West Coast of England in 1926 and created the original layout of Axe Cliff.
“While not considered a links course, Axe Cliff is certainly one that has been shaped by nature. It is one of the reasons that I love playing the course. Each day is a little different, with the wind, the bounce and run of the ball meaning that you are required to think your way round, rather than just the target golf sometimes favoured by the more man-made courses. “Another great advantage of this course is that it drains so well in the wet winter months, meaning that almost all of the time you are driving off the normal tees and putting on the normal greens.
“No more trudging through the mud as I had to do at my club in the Midlands. There are various types of membership available, as well as a day ticket to try Axe Cliff and there will be more Open days with coaching coming soon.
“Golf is a great sport, pastime and hobby and opens up a whole world of new friends and great experiences.”