Research: Golf participation growth in GB and Ireland

New figures reveal an increase in golf participation. 2.3 million more adults played on-course in Great Britain and Ireland last year, and the sport is now being encouraged to grasp the opportunity to retain new and returning players.

Research led by The R&A, together with England Golf, Golf Ireland, Scottish Golf and Wales Golf, demonstrates how the sport thrived in 2020 despite the significant challenges of Covid-19.

The two new participation reports, produced by specialist research agency Sports Marketing Surveys, show that a significant number of players enjoyed golf on full-length courses as well as alternative forms of the sport, including the use of driving ranges, Par 3 golf and pitch and putt. Other encouraging findings show an increase in the number of female golfers and a reduction in the average age of participants.

Richard Payne: “We are really excited”

Reflecting on the research, SMS director Richard Payne noted, “For golf participation to have grown in the way it has in the context of the external pressures it has faced is nothing short of amazing. We suspected this might be the case when our figures showed that more rounds were played in 2020 than in 2019 despite course closures, but rounds played is only one part of the story. We now know that the growth wasn’t only down to existing golfers playing more, but also significantly boosted by new players coming into the sport. More people on driving ranges, par 3s and full-length courses is good for the whole game, from course operators to manufacturers to retailers, events and broadcasters. We are really excited to help the golf industry take advantage of this, and we’ve already been having lots of great conversations with clients keen to understand how research can help them build on the momentum.”

Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer at The R&A, said, “We have seen a real surge in the number of golfers in Great Britain and Ireland playing the sport and this is reflected by the high demand for tee times and clubs reporting a strong interest in membership last year.”

“Golf has shown that it can provide significant health benefits, and this has been important for many golfers during these very challenging times. It is vital that golf seizes the opportunity to maintain this heightened interest by offering new and returning golfers compelling reasons to stay within the sport and enjoy it with friends and family,” he said.

Key highlights from the 2020 Great Britain Golf Participation Report:

  • Total adult golfers on a full-length course (9 or 18 hole) increased by 2.1 million players to 5.2 million – the highest figure recorded this century;
  • Of these golfers, 36% identified as returning or new golfers – with 16% of players starting or trying golf for the first time because of the pandemic;
  • The average age of golfers fell by five years to 41, with the majority of new golfers aged under 55;
  • 25% of female golfers were new to the sport – and tried it for the first time because of the pandemic;
  • Driving range use increased from 2.3 million to 4.3 million players;
  • The number of golfers who only used Par 3 courses more than doubled, and those who only played on pitch and putt courses more than tripled.

Key highlights from the 2020 Ireland Golf Participation Report:

  • Total adult golfers on a full-length course increased by 219,000 to 540,000
  • 18% returned to golf or started or tried golf for the first time because of the pandemic
  • A third of adult golfers who tried golf for the first time were under 25 years old

Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, The R&A identified the need to further understand the new demand and how different types of golfers were engaging with the sport.

Post Covid Opportunity Research

The Post Covid Opportunity Research was a supplementary project carried out by SMS. It assesses the experiences of golfers during the pandemic, their motivations for playing and their long-term plans for the future. Among new golfers, 98% of those interviewed identified they are enjoying playing golf and 95% see themselves playing golf for many years to come.

The impact of Covid-19 restrictions on mental and physical health and loneliness has been considerable, with the research showing how golf has helped in these areas.

Key findings include:

  • Among avid/regular golfers, 31% had experienced some negative impact on their feelings of loneliness/isolation as a result of the pandemic. Of these, 79% believe playing golf had a positive impact.
  • Among lapsed/returning golfers, 44% had experienced some negative impact on their mental health as a result of the pandemic. Of these, 92% felt that playing golf had a positive impact.
  • Among occasional/infrequent golfers, 34% had experienced some negative impact on their physical health as a result of the pandemic. Of these, 70% agreed that playing golf had a positive impact.

The research also outlined recommendations that clubs can take to retain new players. These include making sure golfers feel welcome and valued; cultivating a friendly culture and relaxed atmosphere; promoting participation options based on ability and experience; offering excellent customer service; providing an efficient booking system; and prioritising the quality and maintenance of the course.

Anderton added, “The mental and physical health benefits of golf have helped boost participation in 2020 and that is hugely encouraging given the sport offers a wonderful form of exercise out in the fresh air for all ages and abilities.”

“With more female players also coming into the sport, it presents an opportunity for golf clubs to harness interest from this key demographic and to engage in our #FOREveryone campaign.”

“The campaign encourages clubs to consider how they can attract more women and girls into the sport and challenge unhelpful stereotypes to demonstrate that it is an enjoyable pastime and career for people of all ages and backgrounds.”

(Text: Sports Marketing Surveys)

PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson: “I love to compete, I love playing the game”

Q. Can you share your emotions about such an historic day and what inside of you made you keep the belief that this could happen again?

PHIL MICKELSON: It’s been an incredible day, and I’ve not let myself kind of think about the results until now, now that it’s over. I’ve tried to stay more in the present and at the shot at hand and not jump ahead and race. I’ve tried to shut my mind to a lot of stuff going around. I wasn’t watching TV. I wasn’t getting on my phone. I was just trying to quiet things down because I’ll get my thoughts racing and I really just tried to stay calm.

I believed for a long time that I could play at this level again. I didn’t see why I couldn’t, but I wasn’t executing the way I believed I could, and with the help of a lot of people, my wife especially, Andrew Getson and my brother Tim and Steve Loy, I’ve been able to make progress and have this week.

It’s very exciting because I’ve had a few breakthroughs on being able to stay more present, be able to stay more focused, and physically, I’m striking it and playing as well as I ever have but I haven’t been able to see that clear picture.

Although I believed it, until I actually did it, there was a lot of doubt, I’m sure.

Q. Over the last several years, as the age crept up, you never really let that get in the way. You always downplayed it, actually tried to dismiss it, probably. How did you do that? I mean, certainly, you know the history that it doesn’t work out as much at this point. What did you do?

PHIL MICKELSON: Worked harder, is the deal. I just had to work harder physically to be able to practice as long as I wanted to and I’ve had to work a lot harder to be able to maintain focus throughout a round. That’s been the biggest challenge of late.

My desire to play is the same. I’ve never been driven by exterior things. I’ve always been intrinsically motivated because I love to compete, I love playing the game. I love having opportunities to play against the best at the highest level. That’s what drives me, and I think that that’s what is — the belief that I could still do it inspired me to work harder.

I just didn’t see why it couldn’t be done. It just took a little bit more effort.

Q. You’re going to have so many stories when your career is over to your grandkids. How would you describe this day to them, do you think?

PHIL MICKELSON: Certainly one of the moments I’ll cherish my entire life. I don’t know how to describe the feeling of excitement and fulfillment and accomplishment to do something when — you know, of this magnitude when very few people thought that I could. But the people that believed in me, my wife, Amy, Tim and Andrew Getson, those are the people that continued to inspire me to get the best out of me.

Q. You’ll be remembered for a lot of achievements and one of them now is an old guy who broke records. What does that mean to you?

PHIL MICKELSON: So it’s very possible that this is the last tournament I ever win. Like if I’m being realistic. But it’s also very possible that I may have had a little bit of a breakthrough in some of my focus and maybe I go on a little bit of a run, I don’t know.

But the point is that there’s no reason why I or anybody else can’t do it at a later age. It just takes a little bit more work.

Q. You’ve mentioned him a few times, but can you talk some more about your relationship with Andrew Getson and what he’s done to get you here?

PHIL MICKELSON: So he is a tremendous instructor because of his ability to simplify it. He has helped get my swing on plane from parallel to the ground. Obviously I have a long swing but rather than try to change that when it’s halfway down, halfway through, you know, it’s on a track and he helped me get there and develop and refine my feel and touch and simplify it. He doesn’t cloud my head with a lot of things.

When he’s out here with me, he’s able to keep me on track right away if I make a few errors. His guidance has been invaluable, really, to get me back to playing at the highest level because I was striking it very poorly when we started working together years ago, and I had a great performance at the 2016 Open Championship where I lost to Henrik Stenson.

But he’s really helped me get my ball-striking back and as I’m starting to focus a little bit better. You’re starting to see the results, but he has been getting my swing there for some time now.

Q. You’ve given credit to your brother for his role. Can you share a story of something he did today or even along the way?

PHIL MICKELSON: I’ll tell you a perfect example, and this is an intangible that makes him relatable or understand me, get the best out of me and makes him a great caddie is I’m walking off 6, I had made some uncommitted swings the first six holes. I had been striking the ball awesome the first three days. I had a wonderful warm up session, like I was ready to go and I made some uncommitted swings the first six holes. He pulled me aside and said, “If you’re going to win this thing, you’re going to have to make committed golf swings.”

It hit me in the head, I can’t make passive — I can’t control the outcome, I have to swing committed. The first one I made was the drive on 7. Good drive on 7 gave me a chance to get down by the green and make birdie. From there on, I hit a lot of really good shots because I was committed to each one.

Q. I just have two questions. One quickly, I know you can’t think of it at 5 holing out of the bunker, but when you look back on that, that just seemed like a moment where it’s meant to be for you to some degree. You probably are not thinking that at that moment, but thinking now, is that one of those things that happens in a round that maybe is a sign?

PHIL MICKELSON: Certainly it was a momentum builder. It was a little bit early in the round to start jumping ahead because, you know, so much can happen. It was only the fifth hole but that was a big momentum thing.

Biggest thing was getting it up-and-down. I just didn’t want to throw away another shot and I had fought hard to keep the round in check and I was still 1-over through four. So that — I just needed to get that up-and-down and to have it go in was a bonus but I knew I had a lot of work ahead.

Q. Does this forge your belief even more, all the focus and what you’ve done these four rounds that you’ve talked so much about, trying to keep the focus? How does that help you for The Open?

PHIL MICKELSON: I’ve believed for some time now without success that I could play at my best and compete in major championships still, but until this week, I haven’t proven it to myself or anyone else.

But I do believe that I believe that if I stay sharp mentally I can play well at Torrey Pines. I’ll take two weeks off before that and go out to Torrey and spend time, spend time on the greens and really try to be sharp for that week because I know that I’m playing well and this could very well be my last really good opportunity, although I get five more, but really good opportunity to win a U.S. Open. SO I’m going to put everything I have into it.

Q. Can you describe the scene on 18 and did you think you would ever see Brooks after he got swallowed up by the crowd?

PHIL MICKELSON: It’s an incredible experience. I’ve never had something like that. It was a little bit unnerving but it was exceptionally awesome, too. So that was kind of a special moment that I’ll be appreciative of the way that people here have supported me and the entire tournament.

Q. The last couple days in here, you seemed drained. Were you, and how different physically and mentally did this week feel than when you won majors when you were younger?

PHIL MICKELSON: Certainly it takes a lot out of me. It takes a lot out of me. Like last night I didn’t have enough sunlight to work on the things I wanted to. I wanted to work on some putting and work on a few shots that I hit before this round and I didn’t want to let it go all the way till this morning. And because we finished so late, I just didn’t have a lot of time.

Certainly takes more energy out of me. But if I work a little harder, spend a little more time in the gym, eat well, practice hard, there’s no reason why I can’t put it all out there for 18 holes.

Q. Can you talk about what happened with the driving iron before the round and how that might have impacted you?

PHIL MICKELSON: Little things happen, but yesterday, I hit a couple of squirrelly shots on 12 and 13 and the face on my 2-wood flattened. Fortunately I had a backup head and swapped it out and hit it great today.

As I was teeing off today my 2-iron face cracked. I mean, just you can’t swing it as hard as I hit it and not expect them to crack — I’m kidding.

Tim noticed when I put it back that it had cracked across the face. It happens. In fact, if it doesn’t happen, you start to question the manufacturer, hey, aren’t we making this as hot as we can. It’s certainly part of it, but fortunately I had a 4-wood that’s a very comparable club to that 1-iron distance-wise and I was able to use that club effectively. I used it off 3 tee, 4 tee. There was a few times that I hit it and I hit that club very well.

It’s just one of those things that happens and you just have to be prepared for it, which is why I bring backup clubs out here.

Q. What do you call it?

PHIL MICKELSON: I call it both. I have a 4-iron and then I have that iron so it’s a one, two, three, whatever you want to call it.

Q. Can you talk about the back and forth that happened over the first five holes? As we were watching it, it seemed like a heavyweight fight. What was the experience for you?

PHIL MICKELSON: I was not as steady as I had been. I just made a couple uncommitted swings and it led to some inconsistencies in scores because those first four or five holes — those first four holes are not that hard. 1 is downwind, if you hit a decent shot it’s a sand wedge in. 2 I think I hit a 2-wood off the tee and a 4-iron in. You should birdie those holes. 3 was drivable and I played them, you know, over par, so I was just not making committed swings.

And I think Brooks had a couple poor swings, too, and we just weren’t steady. But we seemed to steady it out a little later.

Q. Earlier this week you mentioned some of the brain training and longer meditation sessions. What other breakthroughs did you find?

PHIL MICKELSON: Just the ability to kind of quiet my mind and get rid of all the exterior noise. That’s kind of been the biggest — I don’t want to get all spiritual but that’s kind of been the biggest thing for me.

Q. What was the best shot you thought you hit today and how does this win inspire younger golfers that may have grown up watching you and now believing that they can have a long career?

PHIL MICKELSON: I hit a couple of good shots on the back. I thought the 7-iron into 10 was really good because I had to start that ball out over the bunker at the bunker’s edge and made that birdie putt there. So that was a big swing.

And I made some good tee shots on 15 and 16. Those were really good swings, too.

But there’s no reason why the game of golf can’t be the game for a lifetime. And if you take care of your body and do it the right way, and now with the exercise physiology and technology that’s out there like with TPI and everything, that you can work out the right way to get your body to function right and play golf for a lifetime, so I’m appreciative of that.

Q. That scene on 18, did you allow yourself to enjoy that? I mean, I know you’ve still got the hole to finish, but you hit a great shot from back there, but could you for a moment or two take that in?

PHIL MICKELSON: Yes, like I’ve never had that experience, and to see that kind of — to feel that kind of excitement and enthusiasm was — and be at the forefront of that was pretty special. That’s a moment I’ll always, always cherish.

Q. When we were all younger, you watched Greg Norman and Tom Watson have opportunities in their 50s to win Open Championships back then. When you saw those back then, did anything in the back of your mind think that, yeah, you know what, it will be normal competing for major championships when I’m there?

PHIL MICKELSON: I didn’t see why — I mean, I thought the 2009 Open Championship performance by Tom Watson was the greatest — one of the greatest sporting performances, and he hit a perfect second shot, too. He couldn’t land it any better and it still went over. It was one of the greatest performances in the sport. And it’s inspiring, yeah, to see people like that do it.

And I hope that this inspires some to just put in that little extra work, because first of all, there’s no reason why you can’t accomplish your goals at an older age. It just takes a little more work.

Q. On 17 when you backed off the tee, was it the wind or did a particular thought cross your mind?

PHIL MICKELSON: As I was standing over, it I didn’t feel right-to-left. I felt almost the wind go straight down left-to-right, and I’m playing close to the pin and letting it work away. And if I had a left-to-right pin that wasn’t going to be the right shot or line.

So it didn’t feel right as I was over it and I started to have doubt and it just didn’t feel right, so I backed away. But that’s was what I was sensing. It just wasn’t — my senses weren’t feeling what I was anticipating or expected.

Q. You talk about the amount of work it takes at this age to keep going. What’s the biggest thing you’ve had to give up, sacrifice or miss out on in recent years when other guys are able to enjoy certain things in life?

PHIL MICKELSON: Food. (Laughter.) Yeah, I’ve got to eat a lot less and I’ve got to eat better. I just can’t eat as much and I have to let my body kind of recover. But it’s also been a blessing for me because I feel better and I don’t have inflammation and I wake up feeling good.

It’s been a sacrifice worth making.

(PGA Championship Pressconference, Source: ASAP Sports)


First Look at Verdura Resort’s Spectacular New Course

Ahead of its opening in October of this year, golfers can now enjoy a tantalising glimpse of the new golf course at Sicily’s Verdura Resort, part of Rocco Forte Hotels.

Viewers can plot their way along the spectacular new par-four hole – and you can almost smell the ocean breeze along the coastline.

The new signature ninth hole on the East Course is part of the major renovation project – scheduled for completion in October with nine of the holes ready for play in August – as world-renowned golf architect Kyle Phillips returned to the site of his original design in Sicily to work his magic again.

The result is a remarkable success with the new hole offering those trademark, incredible views across the Mediterranean, while asking some serious questions of accuracy, strategy and distance control with a slight dogleg design.

The tee shot demands careful placement to avoid water on the left and right, while a fairway bunker lurks on the right side. Once that is safely negotiated, an undulating green is guarded by two bunkers, which requires an approach shot with enough loft to clear more water and hold the green – and all with the beach and the lapping waves just a few steps away.

Phillips said: “The drama of the coastline has been improved, so we have made the most of it.

“That ninth hole is an example of what happened and how we have managed to make a fantastic new hole out of it. We have certainly made the most out of what was available to us and we’re proud of what has been achieved.”

The extensive renovation will see a number of new features and modification of the course route, so some of the hole numbers have been adjusted. But this has allowed for the restoration of previous favourites and also some exciting new additions.

Phillips said: “One of the things that we didn’t have before – but we have now – is a double green, a bit like some of those huge greens at St Andrews. It will be the new eighth hole (par five) and the new 10th hole (par four) which will share a green.

“It was something I had pondered at one time before. But Sir Rocco is a golfer, we were out there walking one day and talked about doing it and he was excited about it.

“The green is absolutely massive and could be very interesting if you are putting on the wrong part of it!”

He added: “It is new, fresh, the result is great and I think it will be really well-received. I expected it to turn out well but it’s definitely reached the level we were striving for.”

The resort – home of the European Tour’s Rocco Forte Sicilian Open – boasts a wealth of exclusive luxury facilities that have helped establish the venue as one of the world’s elite golf and lifestyle destinations and is nestled in 230 hectares of stunning Mediterranean landscape on Sicily’s southern coast.

A member of the exclusive European Tour Destinations network, the resort is famous for offering guests an unforgettable five-star golf experience in one of the most beautiful settings in world golf, and was recently named as a recipient of Golf Digest magazine’s coveted ‘2020 Editors’ Choice Award for the Best Resorts in Continental Europe’ for the fifth year in a row.

Verdura Resort features 203 rooms and suites, all with a sea view, which offer a perfect solution for family holiday. In addition, the venue is set to add to its luxury accommodation portfolio with 20 new modern and spacious private Rocco Forte Private Villas open on May 13, each with its own private swimming pool and affording unparalled panoramic views of the Sicilian coast and Mediterranean.

Away from golf, guests can enjoy an extensive array of other luxury sports and lifestyle facilities, as well as the opportunity to sample a wide variety of gastronomy, wine, history and culture.

Guests can also take advantage of the Unlimited Golf package until November 21, 2021, which includes an unlimited number of rounds, daily full breakfast, and €100 F&B credit per stay. Complimentary additions also include shared buggies, use of the driving range and spa facilities.

Text: Azalea Group


Head Covers: Enough with the teddy bears, try these ones instead

I know I’ll probably be alienating not-so-small part of the golf community with this take. But it’s about time that we give a voice to those who can’t stand seeing golf bags lined up in front of the clubhouse you see an array of cute little creatures covering up the drivers, fairway woods and putters and you start to wonder.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Guys that drive up the club in a Maserati, that claim to hit their driver 270 yards and have three grown up kids pulling plush toys over their toughest clubs? Why not, I guess. It’s a free world after all.

But there are plenty of good alternatives out there, whether you’re looking for simplicity, elegance, bright colours, luxury or anything in between.

We’ve checked some of the brands that focus on head covers and found some real beauties.

Cayce – HIT BOMBS! Driver & Fairway Woods Cover

There’s nothing more satisfying than hitting a bomb straight off the tee. And you won’t manage it if you’re mind is distracted. So, to keep yourself in the right frame of mind and focus on what to do next when you’re pulling out the big gun, Cayce has this little helper to remind you what it’s all about.

I’m a big fan of the Cayce head covers, especially those made of DURA+, making them fully water resistant. Also available as fairway wood cover. $ 64.99 or $ 59.99 (for the FW) on


Bobby Golf – Respect Blade Head Cover

Stylistically Bobby Golf isn’t always the most confident, but this one showing Hideki Matsuyama’s caddie, Shota Hayafuji, respectfully removing his hat and taking a bow after returning the pin at the 2021 Masters, is right on point. What Cayce’s Hit Bombs head cover might be for your driver, the Respect cover is for your putter. Get yourself in a winner’s state of mind. Available for $ 85 at


Reinland Golf – Shibori Head Cover

Not a misspelling of the German river region, Rhineland, Reinland Golf is the head cover brand of the Reinlands, a golf-crazed family whose son, Maxton Reinland, was seeking quality head covers for his golf label Muni Kids. His mother Marti spent hours and hours developing and sewing them and soon, Reinland Golf Company was born.

This one is a nice canvas/ fleece two-colour tie-dye version for all the hippies at heart.

Available as driver, wood and hybrid versions for $44.95 or $49.95 on


Headgear – Electrified Red Styling Edition Covers

Headgear Golf, another US-based company that specialises in head covers, are producing the finest leather goods for your woods and putters. Aside from their usual elegant collection, they offer the option for customisation. They come with a no-pill blizzard fleece lining and will be sure to keep your clubs lint-free. This Electrified Red Styling Edition is really good if you’re looking for something to match your brand-new red Ferrari. Get it for $ 50 (woods) to $ 60 (driver) on


Desired Line Co. – Barber Pole Cover

Take some fresh colour, add a touch of graphic minimalism and a heavyweight polyester canvas with UV, and you’ll get this weather-proof Nano fabric protection head cover that is 100% made in Australia.

It’s got a sort of vintage touch, as it brings to mind the old-fashioned barbers poles.

Wood/ hybrid $ 54.95, driver $59.95 at


Golf Team Clothing – Arnold Driver & Fairway Wood Head Covers

Now it’s time for one from Europe. Golf Team Clothing specialise in personalised/ branded clothing for your team, friends, club, tournament or golf academy.

Aside from the customised/ personalised designs, they also feature a wide range of very nice head covers like this one in golf’s greatest colour variation, the Arnie umbrella colours.

Truth be told, I’m just one click away from ordering one for my own hybrid. You can also choose from various colours for the inside fleece lining.

Get driver and wood covers for €52 each at


Seamus – Pride Rainbow Head Cover

With golf still being stuck with one foot in ancient times, it’s good to see some brands moving forward, with both feet in the 21st century.

“As a tribute to our friends and customers from all different backgrounds, ethnicities and genders, we are proud to introduce our peace and pride golf head cover”, say Seamus on their page.

Why not show off your LGBT+ pride on the course?

It’s not the cheapest option out there. It’s sewn together from six colourful Cardura pieces, red inner lining and an embroidered peace sign on top. All things considered, it’s still a reasonable price for the craftsmanship you get. If you fancy, you can also add a personalised leather label for an additional $10. Fairway for $85, driver for $95 on


Rawhide – Splattered Neon! Covers

Let’s keep it colourful with this one. Ok, it’s not an original Jackson Pollock but still one for the Pop Art lovers.

Rawhide hand cut, embroider and sew all their high quality leather products at their Vancouver facility and also give you the chance to create a custom design. T

his splatter design isn’t printed but splattered manually, so each cover is a one of a kind product.

Hybrid, fairway, driver for $110, $120 and $130 via


Stymie – Fabric no. 22

This piece by Stymie is made put of finest imported wool in an elegant navy and Carolina blue hound’s-tooth pattern with a fleece lining on the inside. Add some style to your bag!

Putter and hybrid covers cost $50, woods cost $55 and driver covers cost $65 at


Fillibegs – Tweed Yellow

Now one from my home country, Germany. Fillibegs makes head covers made from tartan and tweed fabrics that are purchased at traditional woollen mills in Scotland and England.

All covers for drivers, woods, putters are manufactured in Germany and come in a very quintessentially British style.

These patterns are available for all clubs, even irons, ranging from €44 to €74 on


Big Dog Golf – OG White & Tan

Big Dog Golf make genuine leather (as well as some woollen) head covers which are beautifully constructed and handcrafted by a family of third generation leather-smiths from Melbourne, Australia.

All very clean, minimalistic, mostly unicolor or duotone with quiet embroideries and a branded leather patch, these covers are just what they’re supposed to be: quality covers to protect your clubs.

And that’s what they do- with style. Hybrid/ wood $ 85, driver $ 95 at


Cody Golf Co. – Granite Fairway Cover

Cody Golf, a brand from Utah, started by the two friends, Cole and Brody (combined Cody), make some of the most timeless and classic head covers around.

Simple, functional, effective in a design language that can be best described as understatement. There are no gimmicks with these ones, just elegant covers in the classic sock and barrel design that will be sure to stand the test of time. They offer a relatively limited range of just five different colours.

Fairway covers cost $44.99 and driver covers cost $ 59.99 on


Western Gales – Express Send

Western Gales is a division of State Apparel which makes head covers from up-cycled sails, handmade in San Francisco.

I’m a big fan of the idea of using old sails for head covers. It’s not just a good way to save materials, it’s also worth pointing out that sails tend to be very durable and weather proof.

On top of that, each piece is absolutely unique, a one of a kind cut out of a larger piece.

The best piece in their collection probably is this FedEx one. I like to thnk of it as using the FedEx cover to help “send” your ball to its destination.

From $60 (hybrid) to $68 (driver) at


Flush – Nose Candy Putter Cover

Remember that Uma Thurman scene in Pulp Fiction where she takes a bump of cocaine in the ladies rest rooms before getting on the dance floor with John Travolta?

Whether you’ve seen it or not, you’ll definitely find the right “line” with this putter cover from Flush.

Available for blade and mallet putters for $65 via


Golden Soul Golf – The Iceberg Putter Cover

Last but not least we it’s another simple and elegant cover. Golden Soul’s Iceberg putter cover is available as mallet and blade putter cover. With its maritime and/or festival look, I can’t help but imagine a putting green aboard a yacht somewhere in the Aegean Sea. That said, I bet it would work out well on any real course anywhere else too.

Get it for $ 70 on

Senior Tours

Thomas Bjørn to headline star-studded field at Trevose

Thomas Bjørn, the 2018 Ryder Cup winning captain and 15-time European Tour winner, will make his Legends Tour debut at the Farmfoods European Legends Links Championship hosted by Ian Woosnam at Trevose Golf & Country Club from June 18-20, 2021.

The most successful Danish golfer of all-time turned 50 earlier this year and will make his Legends Tour bow in the first event on European soil since the Tour rebranded in 2020.

The three-time Ryder Cup winning player will be joined in Cornwall by tournament host and 1991 Masters Champion Ian Woosnam and 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie.

Bjørn is entering the next phase of his career on the Legends Tour after competing on the European Tour for 25 consecutive seasons, since earning his card by winning the 1995 Challenge Tour Rankings.

“I am really looking forward to making my Legends Tour debut,” he said. “I have known many of these guys for a long time, so I am excited to be able to catch up and spend some time with them again.

“The guys are still incredibly competitive, and the standard of golf will be very high, so I know I will need to be razor sharp in order to compete where I want to be at the top of leaderboards.

“I think it is a really exciting time to be involved with the Legends Tour following the changes over the last 12 months and I am intrigued to see what the future holds.”

Legends Tour Ambassador Lawrie, who won his maiden over-50s title at the Scottish Senior Open en route to being named Rookie of the Year in 2019, is looking forward to teeing it up on the links once more after his first visit to Trevose did not quite go to plan.

“I absolutely love links golf, it’s what I am used to living in Scotland, and hopefully I’ll have a better experience than last time I was down there.

“I got disqualified for playing the wrong ball in 2019. It was just one of those things that happens and you learn from.  Although the week didn’t go as I planned, I was able to appreciate the beauty of the venue and also the quality of the golf course.

(Text: European Tour Communications)


Sun protection and sport: new insights

Skin in the Game

 In every sports fan’s life, there comes the devastating, disconcerting moment when you realise that you’re past it. Players half your age start making their debuts. Competitors ten years your junior win titles. You are forced to confront the reality that in fact, you probably won’t make it onto the tour, into the side, or through qualifying. No matter that you never consciously or logically dreamed of ‘making it’, it is still a bitter pill to swallow.  

Fortunately, there is much more to sport than the professional ranks, and, at risk of lapsing into cliché, it is true that it is never too late to get into or stay in sport. Naturally, certain sports lend themselves to longer participation than others. The R&A, the custodian of the rules of golf, actively promotes the game as being “A sport for life, which can be played and enjoyed by people of all ages, backgrounds and levels of ability.” 

But sports can only be ‘for life’ as long as they are practiced safely. Many sports have made massive recent strides in this respect. In extreme sports from climbing to skiing, protection, in the form of helmets, for example, is second nature. Cricketers wear pads and boxes and helmets to protect themselves from impact. Rugby players wear mouthguards as standard. Concussion protocols are being constantly reviewed across multiple sports. What’s often much harder is to convince people to protect themselves from less obvious, less visible risks.  

Recent research conducted by SMS on behalf of the Melanoma Fund revealed a concerning carelessness among UK golfers when it comes to the risk of skin cancer and precautions that can help protect their skin. Only 42% of surveyed golfers use sunscreen when the weather demands it, and nearly 30% admitted that they actively avoid sun protection in favour of a tan.

With melanoma rates doubling in the UK in the last thirty years and poised to reach nearly half a million global cases by 2040, it has never been more important to understand and protect against the risk. It is a cause that Slip! Slap! Swing! has been set up to champion. Richard Payne, SMS Director, is an ambassador for the charity, which aims to change golfer behaviour on an individual level as well as encourage golf courses to get Sun Protection Accredited. 

Reflecting on the vital importance of the campaign, Richard commented:
“Often, sadly, it has taken a public tragedy to provoke change in sport. The death of Natasha Richardson transformed the conversation about ski helmets. The death of Philip Hughes has led to prototype helmet designs in an attempt to ensure nobody else suffers in the same way. Golf has fortunately escaped this so far, although numerous players, including Justin Thomas and Adam Scott, have had scares. The challenge is to convince golfers to individually and collectively change their attitude to sun protection before a high- profile tragedy kickstarts the conversation.”

Done right, sport can not only extend life, but enhance it. Whether on the fairways or on the court or on the waves, a life with sport can be significantly richer than a life without it. Protecting yourself to ensure that your sports career and your life are as long as possible comes with no drawbacks and many benefits. 
(Text: Sports Marketing Surveys)

Senior Tours

Legends Tour launches Celebrity Series

The Legends Tour today launched the innovative Celebrity Series and confirmed its first five Celebrity Ambassadors, who will be joined by other stars of sport and screen to compete for a spot in the Grand Final, which will take place in the Indian Ocean at the end of the year.

There will be four Celebrity Series qualifying events in 2021, taking place in the days prior to tournaments on the Legends Tour International Schedule, culminating in the Celebrity Series Grand Final in the Indian Ocean.

Harry Redknapp, Georgie Bingham, Glen Johnson, Sir AP McCoy and Dan Walker, all highly-respected figures in their chosen fields, have signed up to be Celebrity Ambassadors and will be the face of Celebrity Series.

The Celebrity Series events will take place prior to the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship at Formby Golf Club, the Irish Legends presented by the McGinley Foundation at Rosapenna Golf Club, the Senior Scottish Open hosted by Paul Lawrie at Royal Aberdeen, and at an additional European venue to be announced.

The Series finale will take place in the Indian Ocean at the end of the year, where the five ambassadors will be joined by the five highest-ranked celebrities on the Order of Merit.

Sir AP McCoy, the 20-time Champion jump jockey, winner of two Cheltenham Gold Cups, the Grand National and BBC Sports Personality of the Year, will play in Celebrity Series events at Formby Golf Club and at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club.

He said: “I think the new Legends Tour events will be brilliant, not only for the pros playing but for people like myself who want to try and do something competitive on an Order of Merit.

“I think it’ll help the game of golf but I also think it will help those who rarely have the opportunity to be involved in sport. I think it will be great for former sportspeople like myself to keep competitive.”

Harry Redknapp, FA Cup winning manager, ex-footballer and TV personality, said: “I had a great day playing at Wentworth at the launch of the Legends Tour and I really am delighted to be signed up as a Celebrity Ambassador.

“I played in lots of Pro-Ams now and it’s nerve-wracking. When you stand on that first tee and you get an audience there and you’re playing with a professional golfer, you’re out of your comfort zone. When you hit a good shot or you sink a good putt, it’s so satisfying. The buzz you get is amazing.”

Dan Walker, journalist and TV presenter, said: “I love golf and when the opportunity to compete in the Legends Tour Celebrity Series arose, I knew I had to go for it.

“I have been fortunate enough to play alongside some of the world’s best players in Pro-Ams over the years but this is something really special.

“I grew up watching the likes of Woosie win the Masters and so many Legends Tour players competing in Ryder Cups and I am delighted to now have the chance to spend some time with them in the Legends Tour Celebrity Series.”

Georgie Bingham, the TV and radio presenter best-known for hosting shows on talkSPORT, ESPN and Sky, said: “I am over the moon to have been asked to be a Celebrity Ambassador for the Legends Tour and I can’t wait to get out on the course.

“I have been lucky enough to play in many Pro-Ams and I can honestly say they are so much fun. Being able to play golf with Legends of the game is so appealing and I am sure the Celebrity Series will be a great success.”

Glen Johnson, ex-Liverpool and England international footballer, Premier League winner with Chelsea and FA Cup winner with Portsmouth, will play in three of the four Celebrity Series events, said: “After retiring from professional football, golf became my sporting passion and being involved with the Legends Tour is a dream come true.

“It is a great initiative by the Legends Tour to launch this series and I am sure it will be hugely popular and will attract more people to the sport.

“It will be amazing to tee it up with my fellow Celebrity Ambassadors and the pros on the Legends Tour, many of whom I have watched on TV over the years winning Majors and Ryder Cups.”

Ryan Howsam, CEO of the Legends Tour, said: “When I took over as CEO of the Legends Tour, launching a Celebrity Pro-Am Series was something I was really eager to do and therefore today is a very proud day.

“Bringing together the Legends of golf with some of the biggest celebrity names is a winning combination and I’m excited to see these guys tee it up throughout the year. I have admired all five ambassadors for a number of years as they have excelled in their respective fields and it is wonderful to welcome them to the Legends Tour.”

(Text: European Tour Communications)

Team UK

Lee Westwood named 2020 Seve Ballesteros Award winner as Players’ Player of the Year

Lee Westwood has been named the winner of the Seve Ballesteros Award as the 2020 European Tour Players’ Player of the Year following a remarkable season which culminated in the 48-year-old topping the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex and being crowned European Tour Number One for the third time in his storied career.

The announcement coincides with the ten year anniversary of the passing of the Spanish legend Ballesteros, who died on May 7, 2011 following a battle with cancer. Westwood’s first of ten Ryder Cup appearances came in 1997 under Ballesteros, who captained Europe to a famous win at Valderrama.

The Englishman had long ago secured his status alongside the late Ballesteros as one of the European Tour’s greatest ever players, but a memorable 2020 campaign has earned him another accolade after his fellow European Tour Members voted him the Players’ Player of the Year.

It was a season bookended by two of his most impressive performances. In his first appearance of the season, Westwood claimed his second Rolex Series title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, overcoming his fellow Englishmen Matt Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood as well as France’s Victor Perez.

He capped off his season on a high too, his runner-up finish behind Fitzpatrick at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai earning him the title of 2020 Race to Dubai Champion.

In a disrupted campaign due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Westwood’s consistency was something to behold – in 15 appearances he missed just one cut and produced eight top 20 finishes.

On top of that, Westwood continued to give back to the game and to the European Tour through hosting the 2020 Betfred British Masters at Close House, which marked the first of six events in the UK Swing and was won by Italian Renato Paratore.

“It means a lot that it is voted for by my fellow players, the guys I play with week-in week-out,” said Westwood. “Awards like this are always very special because I feel like they as players know what you have to go through.

“I played a lot of good golf under pressure when I needed to in 2020. The win in Abu Dhabi at the start of the year and then to have a chance to play so well in the final event at the DP World in Dubai, I was really pleased with those two tournaments, but I was also consistent and that was important to me. It was a very difficult year with the pandemic for everyone, and we were very fortunate to play golf during this time.

“Seve was an icon of the game, and still is. When I started playing golf, I was looking at the Europeans and Seve’s name was at the top of that list as somebody to aspire to. The first tournaments I ever went to watch were Ryder Cups in 1989 and 1993, and Seve’s name is synonymous with the Ryder Cup.

“I remember looking at these guys like Seve and Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam wanting to be like them. Then in 1997 I am in a Ryder Cup team captained by Seve Ballesteros, so it was a very short gap between looking and watching and learning from my heroes to actually being amongst them trying to win points in a Ryder Cup. That for me was really one of those pinch yourself moments, like is this really happening to me. Seve was a huge part of that and inspirational in the team room, and just a phenomenal and very calming presence.”

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer at the European Tour, said: “I don’t think it is any surprise that Lee Westwood has won the Seve Ballesteros Award after such a tremendous season. At 48 years of age he is an icon, a former World Number One, our most recent Race to Dubai winner and like Seve, Lee is a true champion. He has an unwavering will to succeed, and he has proven that over and over again in his career.

“Lee is one of the few remaining European Tour players to have competed alongside Seve and to have had the honour to call him a friend. They are two players who will be long remembered in the pantheon of European Tour and Ryder Cup greats.”

Javier Ballesteros, Seve’s oldest son, added: “I am personally very happy Lee Westwood is the winner of the Seve Ballesteros Award for his incredible season. Lee is playing some great golf, I think he is physically in great shape and when you enjoy not only golf but life away from the game, things go well for you, and that has shown in how he has played not only last year but over the past few years around the world.”

David Howell, European Tour Tournament Committee Chairman, said: “It’s obviously not the first time Lee has won the Race to Dubai, and last year was of course a strange year, but it seems fitting that whenever something slightly different comes along Lee Westwood is there to remind us that things are normal.

“Whilst Seve was a worldwide player, a Major winner and one of the biggest stars in the game, you always felt that his heart was with the European Tour. I think that came out with his Ryder Cup heroics and you just knew Seve cared deeply about the growth of the European Tour, and similarly with Lee, while he has been at the top of the tree for many years you just know his heart is with us and he has always supported the European Tour where possible. He has been one of the biggest names for over two decades now and it is great to see someone so loyal to our Tour coming up trumps again last year.”

(Text: European Tour)

European Tour

Global stars set for Scottish Open showdown at Renaissance Club

Press Release 

Three of the world’s highest ranked players have confirmed their participation in the 2021 Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, with American stars Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele set to tee it up alongside multiple Rolex Series winner Tyrrell Hatton at the Renaissance Club from July 8-11, 2021.

World Number Six Morikawa, who burst onto the world stage with a maiden Major Championship victory at the 2020 US PGA Championship, and World Number Four and four-time PGA Tour winner Schauffele, who finished third at The Masters last month, are set to make their debuts at Scotland’s National Open.

They will be joined by World Number Eight Hatton as the Englishman goes in search of a record fifth Rolex Series title and his second this season, following his success at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January.

Morikawa and Schauffele will bid to follow in the footsteps of compatriots Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson by finding success in Scotland, the Home of Golf, as the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open once again takes its place in the week before The Open at Royal St George’s.

“I’m excited to play in Scotland for the first time,” said Morikawa. “I’m looking forward to making my debut in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and playing in the Home of Golf. I’ve heard a lot about the tournament, and it will be a lot of fun to tee it up on the European Tour again.”

Schauffele will be making his first appearance in Scotland since The Open at Carnoustie in 2018, where he finished in a share of second place behind Italy’s Francesco Molinari.

“I have great memories of playing in Scotland a few years ago at Carnoustie, so I hope to rekindle some of that form and find myself in contention at the Renaissance Club,” said Schauffele. “It’s a tournament with a proud history and I’d love to add my name to the list of great champions as I prepare to tee it up at The Open again.”

First European Tour title in Scotland for Tyrrell Hatton

Hatton started the 2021 Race to Dubai with victory in Abu Dhabi, adding to the Rolex Series titles he won at the 2017 Italian Open, 2019 Turkish Airlines Open and the BMW PGA Championship last season.

The 29-year-old is no stranger to success in Scotland, recording his first European Tour win at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2016 and then successfully defending his title the following year. He also finished second behind Sweden’s Alex Noren at the 2016 Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Castle Stuart.

 “Winning my first European Tour title in Scotland was a huge milestone and something I will always remember. It would be special to add the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open title to my achievements in the Home of Golf.

“I’ve had chances at the Scottish Open before, so I’m looking forward to playing at the Renaissance Club again and hopefully I can find myself in position to win another title that week.”

The European Tour is cautiously optimistic that a certain level of spectator attendance will be permitted at the 2021 Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, with details to be confirmed in due course.

To be the first to hear ticket and event news, fans can register interest at ET.GOLF/ASISO2021

(Text: Press Release European Tour)