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Gary WolstenholmeMBE

GARY WOLSTENHOLME MBE | THE OFFICIAL SITE

May Monthly Newsletter 2016

Hello once again, and welcome to my monthly newsletter for May.

The month started with me getting things together in preparation for the impending start to the Senior Tour…. at last I hear you cry! I travelled up to North Berwick earlier in the month to visit my long-standing friends in that area, and get some concerted practice and golf on some of the country’s best links. I played seven rounds in seven days as well as using the excellent practice ground at North Berwick itself.

I started by playing a wonderfully fun course, Kilspindie which has great views over the Firth of Forth and Edinburgh. It’s certainly a course I’d recommend to anyone to play, and I enjoyed an excellent round there in perfect conditions. I then played North Berwick…. one of my absolute favourite courses anywhere before playing another hidden gem in Luffness New. Gullane No.2 was next which I feel is rather forgotten being beside so many other great courses in the area - it is a sterling test regardless of the weather, and also has brilliant views of the surrounding area too which is an added bonus of course. Another round at the redoubtable North Berwick was followed by a short trip down the road into Edinburgh for the next test of my trip at the parkland course of Duddingston which was a sheltered delight with tree lined fairways, and a good view of Arthur’s Seat, a local landmark. Finally I ended the week with a challenge match off the back tees at North Berwick against a local ex Walker cup star Grant Forrest – a man I believe has big potential for the future. It was a tight affair where I eventually prevailed 1up, but could have gone either way. I was very impressed with the big hitting Grant, and will be watching his progress into the future with interest.     

Anyway I finally got my European Senior Tour season underway last week at the SSE Enterprise Wales Senior Open at the Celtic Manor Resort on the Roman Road course… a venue which has staged various tour events over the years. It was visually stunning in the excellent weather, and although I finished in a somewhat disappointing 31st place it was a decent performance in many ways. I started with a very frustrating 76 which rather belied some very good golf in truth, but of course golf is about the bottom line and the score was as bad as it could have been! Things improved though in round two with a much better round of 71 which despite the improvement still had way too many “silly” mistakes but was in context an encouraging improvement. Finally to close with a 68 was pleasing, but it should have been at least three better…. I take away some positives though, and hope that things can be made tighter in the forthcoming events I play on the tour and elsewhere in the coming months.

I would though like to congratulate Lianwei Zhang for becoming the first Chinese winner on the Senior Tour, finishing with a superb final round of 62 which was quite remarkable considering the difficulties the course presented that week. I’d also like to mention fellow Champions of Golf pro Paul Broadhurst who continued his fantastic form on the tour from last season to finish in runner-up position with an impressive nine under par, and another Ryder Cup star David Gilford who also finished strongly too.

It was good to get some truly competitive golf under my belt and next up I have the Acorn Jersey Open to take part in so hopefully I can get some momentum going after playing well in the final couple of rounds in Wales. I’m also looking forward to participating in Open Qualifying later in the month at Fairhaven…. so we’re really starting to get moving in playing terms finally. After a long time with a lack of competitive golf, it’s a relief I can tell you.

Frustratingly there’s still a great deal of uncertainty with regards as to how many events I’ll be able to play in this season though due to the changes this year for the Senior Tour exemptions, my team and I are working extremely hard to make sure I can keep playing with as much regularity as is possible though and hopefully get into a decent run competitively. 

As always, I’ve been spending plenty of time around Carus Green as the weather conditions are finally starting to genuinely improve now (….Summer at last!) and I can get out on course with more regularity. I mention them every month but it really is a pleasure to be involved with such a forward-thinking club with facilities that are unrivalled by most other clubs in the country. We stage one of the most prestigious events on the North Region PGA calendar in June, and I will be trying to be a standard bearer for the club as one of the local men competing so that should be fun too…. no pressure then by the other staff at the club?!

I’d also like to give a mention to Island Green who produce functional, technical and casual golf clothing for men and women using modern styling, fabrics and printing techniques. We’re currently in talks for them to become my new clothing supplier for 2016 which would be another positive step and any new partnerships are always more than welcome. Talking of new associations I have enjoyed trying a new sports tonic Max Golf Protein drink which I think many people would benefit from trying while playing. If you get the chance check out the product as it’s not only good for you it actually tastes good too!

I was sad to see that Muhammad Ali passed away last week. He was a true sporting icon whom I grew up watching on TV, and realise now how incredible he was not only as a sporting legend but also as a wonderful human being. He will be sorely missed by many millions of people…. it reminded me of my own personal story of Ali back in 1999 when I was at the BBC Sports Personality of The Year programme. Ali was awarded Sportsman of the Century…. quite rightly, and I will never forget the aftermath of that program there that night. All of the leading lights of British sport were attending as well as a smattering of top athletes from the rest of the world too…. quite awe-inspiring really thinking of it now, but despite the reputations of all these sportspeople from many different disciplines, they completely surrounded Ali ten or fifteen deep in only what I can describe as almost a “religious” hushed reverence. They just wanted to shake his hand or touch his arm - it was an incredible moment in all our lives that night. Even now as I think back on that moment I doubt that there will be many another sportspeople, celebrities or world leaders for that matter who will ever command that sort of respect of their fellow peers. Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela certainly did…. but a sportsman? It was an inspirational night for me, and I feel truly privileged to have been there.       

Well that’s about it from me this month my friends – I’ll keep you updated on my progress as the season unfolds. A big thanks to all my sponsors and supporters alike once again – your ongoing support is invaluable to me and it keeps my reason for being a competitive sportsman alive & kicking :-) Thank you!

All the very best,

Gary

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