Season Twelve Final - 9 - 13 November 2015

Sea Pines Resort, South Carolina

Season 12 Final Blog – A Final Review

Today is our first day back in the office after what was an incredible week. As our guests departed on Friday morning, we set about packing up our gear and saying our thank yous and goodbyes to all the staff at Sea Pines. We always feel a little bit emotional at this point – tiredness also plays a part of course! However, when you have been surrounded by so much fun and laughter all week, to suddenly wander around a very quiet Sea Pines Resort again, is quite a poignant moment!

Still we have so many incredible memories to look back on which will keep us going through the winter months. There are too many to mention them all here, but here are just a few.

We won’t forget Captain Chris’s alligator head covers that he distributed to his team members that first night – what a great gesture as well as his poker chip ball markers that he had printed himself.

We won’t forget the captain’s speeches – both Chris’ and Ken’s on that first morning and the excitement as we read out the first pairings.

We won’t forget the enthusiasm the ‘Heritage Man’ starter showed in his kilt every morning. ‘On the tee Doug Douglass from the REST OF THE WORLD!’

We won’t forget Richard Bird’s second shot into 18 to win ROW’s only point on the first day foursomes.

We won’t forget that big alligator which suddenly appeared in the bunker at Heron Point!

We won’t forget the second day fourballs and the new record of 4 matches going to 18 – and the amazing finishing hole that 18 is.

We won’t forget Ken’s putt on 17 to head to the 18th still 1 up.

We won’t forget Chris’ escape from the reeds on 18, and his up and down to halve his match.

We won’t forget our boat trip – the sunset and those dolphins playing with our boat.

We won’t forget Tobie de Jonge’s amazing picture of those dolphins!

We won’t forget James Hewson’s turn at the wheel as we approached the harbour – TERRIFYING!

We won’t forget the excitement of the singles and Peter Parker’s titanic battle against Mo!

We won’t forget the warm embraces our finalists shared after each and every match.

We won’t forget the final speeches and the last night celebrations.

Most importantly we won’t forget how each and everyone of our finalists embraced the spirit of the final, and understood that win or lose they were taking part in something truly unique.

For us, it’s been a very rewarding experience. We set out to provide our finalists with the closest thing possible to a Ryder Cup experience in a truly memorable setting and we hope we came some way to providing that. The enthusiasm our finalists showed and the incredible camaraderie where you could see genuine close bonds forming, have provided us with added energy and enthusiasm as we now set to work on building a new Season….Season 13.

Thanks again to all our finalists who took part, and to every Swinger who made Season 12 what it was. We appreciate your loyalty and look forward to seeing you back again in S13.

In the meantime well done to Chris and Team ROW, and a big congratulations to Ken and Team Europe.

Oh yes, and one final thing, we won’t forget THAT dance between James and Mo!

Until next time…….

Season 12 Final Blog – Thursday 12 November 2015 – Day Four

The hottest day of the week greeted our finalists as they set out for their singles rounds today. Team ROW had a 5 point deficit to turn around, but there was still optimism in the air as the first groups set off down the first.

Match one saw the two captains face off against each other. Ken Daly played an unbelievable round, and no matter how well Chris Cattran also played he struggled to keep up with the opposing captain. Chris certainly made Ken work for it however, and it was only on 16 that he finally succumbed to a 3&2 loss for ROW.

Match two saw Tobie de Jonge and Simon Conway battle it out, and it went down to 17 with Simon winning 2&1 for Europe.

Match three was a titanic battle between ROW’s Doug Douglass and Europe’s James Hewson. Again it went down to the 17 with Doug holding out for a 2&1 win to put ROW’s first point on the board.

Match four saw Europe’s Morag Hutcheon complete a 100% record for the week to win 4&2 against ROW’s Claire Boucher. Europe now needed just one more point to seal victory.

It came further back as Robert Scambler played superbly against a very tough opponent in the form of Duncan Castles to seal it 5&4 and take Europe past the magic 12 ½ mark to win the Swingers trophy for another year.

There was still lots more golf to play however. Steve du Preez picked up another point for ROW beating Matt Bergh 3&2, whilst Martin Derrick just about held on against Gary Jones to win by 2 holes on 18.

The big man Simon Hudson pulled out a monster performance to beat Europe’s Brin Cox 4&2 whilst one of the top performers of the day – Brian O’Connor destroyed Geoff Seabrook 6&4.

Richard Bird and Mark Wright had a great match to halve on 18, whilst a spirited performance from Europe’s Andy Gilbert wasn’t quite enough as ROW’s Rajive Johri beat him by 1 hole.

The last match to finish was ROW’s Mo Reardon against Europe’s Peter Parker. This evenly matched contest saw Mo pull it out of the bag on 18 to square the match.

It was a fantastic end to a superb day, and memorable week in which we have played two of the finest courses at one of the very best resorts in the world. Our finalists have been superb. They have entered into the spirit of what this great event is all about. Congratulations to Team Europe for winning 14 ½ to 9 ½ but well done also to Team ROW who performed very well in the fourballs and the singles. In the end the foursomes on the first day probably decided it.

It’s now time to wind down, before we head off to the gala dinner tonight where the all important trophy will be presented and we will dance the night away with local musician Mike Kavanagh.

Keep on Swinging!


Cattran (ROW) v Daly (EUR) – EUROPE 3&2
De Jonge (ROW) v Conway (EUR) – EUROPE 2&1
Douglass (ROW) v Hewson (EUR) – ROW 2&1
Boucher (ROW) v Hutcheon (EUR) – EUROPE 4&2
Du Preez (ROW) v Bergh (EUR) – ROW 3&2
Jones (ROW) v Derrick (EUR) – EUROPE 2 UP
Hudson (ROW) v Cox (EUR) – ROW 4&2
Castles (ROW) v Scambler (EUR) – EUROPE 5&4
O’Connor (ROW) v Seabrook (EUR) – ROW 6&4
Bird (ROW) v Wright (EUR) – Match Halved
Reardon (ROW) v Parker (EUR) – Match Halved
Johri (ROW) v Gilbert (EUR) – ROW 1 UP




Season 12 Final Blog – Wednesday 11 November 2015 – Day Three

Another glorious day at Sea Pines as we moved our final to the world famous Harbour Towns Golf Links. Underneath blue skies our finalists took to the fairways for the fourball rounds. Team ROW had a big task on their hands to try and pull back from the 5-1 deficit from the foursomes, and it proved to be an enthralling day.

Two matches provided decisive wins – one for Team Europe as the ever dependable pair of Martin Derrick and Andy Gilbert beat Tobie De Jonge and Richard Bird 5&3, whilst Team ROW picked up a point when Duncan Castles and Gary Jones won 5&4 against Simon Conway and Geoff Seabrook.

Amazingly for the first time ever, 4 of the 6 matches went to the 18th, and what a spectacular hole for a match to finish on, underneath the iconic clubhouse. First up was the match between ROW’s Mo Reardon and Rajive Johri and Europe’s Matt Bergh and Brin Cox. Europe had been pulled back to just 1up as they came down 18, but a steady hole from the European pair sealed the match by 2 holes.

It was then down to ROW’s Claire Boucher and Doug Douglass to pinch a point for team ROW as they defeated Europe’s Peter Parker and James Hewson on 18 by 1 hole.

Another great match featured Europe Captain Ken Daly and Morag Hutcheon against ROW’s Steve du Preez and Brian O’Connor. Ken held a great putt on 17 to stay 1 up, and they sealed victory on 18 winning by 2 holes.

Finally Europe’s Bob Scambler and Mark Wright came down 18 with a 1 hole lead over ROW’s Chris Cattran and Simon Hudson. Captain Chris was in trouble with his second but he hit a superb chip and putted out to pull out of the bag a very important half for Team ROW.

The match scores stands at ROW 3.5 EUROPE 8.5 meaning Europe require just 4 points to seal victory tomorrow. But whilst there is a chance, you just never know – that is the beauty of sport and this format.

After golf we set sail on our boats up the inland waterways where we spotted dolphins at every turn, some even coming up to the boat to say hello. Sailing back in the sunset, it was a fantastic end to a great day as was our dinner at ELA’s restaurant.

It’s still all to play for tomorrow….we can’t wait!


Bergh/Cox (EUR) beat Reardon/Johri (ROW) 2 holes
Boucher/Douglass (ROW) beat Parker/Hewson (EUR) 1 hole
Derrick/Gilbert (EUR) beat De Jonge/Bird (ROW) 5&3
Castles/Jones (ROW) beat Conway/Seabrook (EUR) 5&4
Daly/Hutcheon (EUR) beat Du Preez/O’Connor (ROW) 2 holes
Scambler/Wright (EUR) halved with Hudson/Cattran (ROW)


Cattran (ROW) v Daly (EUR)
De Jonge (ROW) v Conway (EUR)
Douglass (ROW) v Hewson (EUR)
Boucher (ROW) v Hutcheon (EUR)
Du Preez (ROW) v Bergh (EUR)
Jones (ROW) v Derrick (EUR)
Hudson (ROW) v Cox (EUR)
Castles (ROW) v Scambler (EUR)
O’Connor (ROW) v Seabrook (EUR)
Bird (ROW) v Wright (EUR)
Reardon (ROW) v Parker (EUR)
Johri (ROW) v Gilbert (EUR)

Season 12 Final Blog – Tuesday 10 November 2015 – Day Two

At last the sun shines, and great timing, as today was the first day proper of the S12 Final.

Our 24 excited finalists made their way to Heron Point by Pete Dye for breakfast where our two captains Ken Daly for Europe and Chris Cattran for ROW rallied their troops with rousing speeches, before presenting the all important team shirts and caps.

Next followed the team meetings where the pairings for the afternoon foursomes were decided. Our 24 finalists then played a 9 hole practice round, before returning for lunch and the customary team photos.

It was then time to start the final proper, with the first tee shot being hit by South Africa’s Simon Hudson. Simon, playing with Mo Reardon, put up a great fight against Europe Captain Ken Daly and his partner Morag Hutcheon, but it was Team Europe who came out with a 2&1 victory.

In the second match, best buddies Martin Derrick and Andy Gilbert used their experience of each other’s games to win comfortably 5&4 against ROW pair Steve du Preez and Rajive Johri. Sadly Rajive has a foot injury, but that’s not taking anything away from a great effort from Team Europe.

The next match to be decided with Claire Boucher and Tobie de Jonge versus Bob Scambler and Mark Wright. Team Europe again running out comfortable winners 5&4.

In the last match out, Team Europe again tasted victory with the two Fun Swingers Peter Parker and James Hewson winning 3&2 against Chris Cattran and Doug Douglass.

There were a couple of matches in the middle however which were very tight. Duncan Castles and Gary Jones of ROW pushed Simon Conway and Matthew Bergh all the way, before the Team Europe pair won by 1 hole.

At this stage it was 5-0 to Europe and ROW were desperately looking for inspiration. It came in the shape of Brian O’Connor and Richard Bird. A great drive on 18 from Brian set up Richard to hit the shot of the day to within 10 feet of the flag to win the match by 1 hole against Brin Cox and Geoff Seabrook.

So it stands at 5-1 to Europe after day one, and there was plenty to contemplate at our dinner in the evening at Topside restaurant which sits below the iconic lighthouse in the harbour. Still, Team ROW have traditionally faired well in the fourballs and they will certainly be looking to do the same tomorrow.


Daly/Hutcheon (EUR) beat Hudson/Reardon (ROW) 2&1
Derrick/Gilbert (EUR) beat Du Preez/Johri (ROW) 5&4
Conway/Bergh (EUR) beat Castles/Jones (ROW) 1 hole
O’Connor/Bird (ROW) beat Seabrook/Cox (EUR) 1 hole
Scambler/Wright (EUR) beat Boucher/De Jonge (ROW) 5&4
Parker/Hewson (EUR) beat Cattran/Douglass (ROW) 3&2


Reardon/Johri (ROW) v Bergh/Cox (EUR)
Boucher/Douglass (ROW) v Parker/Hewson (EUR)
De Jonge/Bird (ROW) v Derrick/Gilbert (EUR)
Castles/Jones (ROW) v Conway/Seabrook (EUR)
Du Preez/O’Connor (ROW) v Daly/Hutcheon (EUR)
Hudson/Cattran (ROW) v Scambler/Wright (EUR)

Season 12 Final Blog – Monday 9 November 2015 – Day One

And so it began.

Our 24 finalists travelling from various cities across the US, Barbados, London, Sydney and Johannesburg set out on their journeys and eventually touched down at Savannah Airport.

Whilst they were travelling, we were holding our final meetings before getting on with the task of setting up for tomorrow morning’s welcome breakfast.

It was then off to the airport for meet and greet. It was great to finally see everyone come down the stairs at Savannah – old friends from previous finals and society days, and new faces eager to start their first final.

After the hour long transfer to Sea Pines, it was straight into the informal welcome buffet, where our finalists could meet each other, and of course the Swingers team!

It’s a bright and early start in the morning, for the first day proper when we will find out just how close these two teams match up – we expect it to be very close, but let’s see who’s brought their game to South Carolina!

Happy Swinging!

Season 12 Final Blog – Sunday 8 November 2015 – 1 days to go!

Here we are – the eve of the S12 Final, and for our South African and Bajan Swingers the journey has already begun.

Today’s the first day the full Swingers team have been on site, and we spent the morning meeting the eco tour team and the staff at ELA’s Restaurant, as we continue preparations for what promises to be a memorable excursion on Wednesday. The great news is that we were told the dolphin population are particularly active at the moment so it promises to be something special.

We then visited the Beach Club, the setting of our final night dinner, before we played Heron Point. This is a gem of a course, and arguably, certainly for some of us(!), more tricky than Harbour Town. It’s much tighter, and if you’re wayward, you tend to be punished more; there’s also lots of water! The greens also seem a little faster. There’s an abundance of great holes and it’s perfect for foursomes matchplay.

Once more, having played it, we’ve decided on Dye tees for the men and Carolinas for the ladies.

The afternoon was spent finishing all the goody bags, and we now look forward to a pre-event team dinner tonight before the fun starts tomorrow.

Safe travels to our finalists, the time is almost here!

Happy Swinging!

Season 12 Final Blog – Saturday 7 November 2015 – 2 days to go!

Our first full day on resort and we are well on track in our preparations. Jet lag is always annoying – waking up at 4am wide awake is not exactly ideal! But after a great breakfast in Links Restaurant we were fully fuelled for our morning of meetings with the Resort events team and the golf team. A few subtle changes to the logistics of the event, and we are set. Both pallets were then unpacked and branding was safely set aside for Tuesday morning.

It was then time to set up our events office and pack the goody bags. We were due to play Heron Point today but with a very poor forecast for tomorrow we decided to flip it around and made sure we played Harbour Town today. Despite the course being full, we were round in 4 hours flat – the golf team manage the course very well. We played holes 1-13 in sunshine but were then hit by a full on thunderstorm. Desperate to play 17 and 18 we followed the group in front missing 14 and 15 , and miraculously the sun came out just in time for us to play the two classic holes – we even had a rainbow over the lighthouse to add to the amazing scenery.

It’s without doubt a fantastic course. We wouldn’t say it’s particularly difficult. Tee to green if you’re straight you’ll be fine. Around the green it’s a challenge. The greens themselves are very true but not overly quick. We’re sure our finalists will love it however. Having played it we can now also confirm that our men will play off the Dye tees and our ladies will play off the Carolinas.

After drying off it was then off to buy coolers, drinks and snacks for the big airport transfer – no alcohol on the bus unfortunately, just soft drinks!

The rest of the Swingers team arrived on site as well this evening, so we are now complete and set for our final day of set up tomorrow.

Happy Swinging!

Season 12 Final Blog – Friday 6 November 2015 – 3 days to go!

It’s been a long day! It started in the Clubhouse at LHR – always a treat, and after being upgraded to Premium Economy we enjoyed a comfortable flight on VS103 arriving in Atlanta to torrential rain.! After a short stopover, it was then onto our Delta flight to Savannah, a short 35 minute hop.

No rain in Savannah this evening! We picked up our hire vehicle; we had asked for an estate car, but have ended up with a seven seater van! Still plenty of room to cart branding from course to course.

After the hour long drive to Hilton Head Island, we then checked into our two bed villa, and wandered down to a very foggy harbour for a bite to eat at the Crab Shack. It’s very quiet this evening but the harbour was quite atmospheric as the glow of the red and whte lighthouse lamp beamed through the fog and out to sea.

Well, we’ve been up for nearly 24 hours now. It’s time to get some sleep and get set for our morning meetings and setting up of the tournament office.

Enjoy your weekend Swingers!

Season 12 Final Blog – Thursday 5 November 2015 – 4 days to go!

Today’s the day! Swingers HQ is on the move, and we’ve spent much of the day reconfirming plans for the coming days, and checking that everything is in place for our arrival. This morning we checked in online as our finalists will all be doing on Sunday, and all that’s left to do now is pack up all those documents, laptops etc and make our way to Heathrow early in the morning.

It really is an exciting time as we look forward to what we hope will be a memorable final. When our finalists finally land on Monday afternoon, they will begin a rollercoaster ride of 4 days of great excitement, laughter, camaraderie and for 12 of them the sweet taste of victory at the end!

We’re ready, see you there!

Season 12 Final Blog – Wednesday 4 November 2015 – 5 days to go!

Ok, well today we definitely know we’re almost going. The suitcases have come out and been dusted down and we’re beginning the task of packing. It’s always harder packing for events than holidays, there’s so much we need to take, some of it we probably won’t ever use, but it’s better to have it than to not!

We’re keeping a close eye on the weather forecast. Currently it’s still looking good with an occasional shower on arrival day. It’s going to be chilly in the evenings however, it certainly isn’t Barbados temperatures!

There’s a lot to be done once we arrive – meetings Saturday and Sunday morning plus we need to set up our office, pack goody bags and go through all our branding and event kit which should be delivered to the resort on Friday.

In addition we will be playing both courses at the weekend – Heron Point on Saturday and Harbour Town on Sunday. It’s at that point that we will making a definite decision on which tees to use, to ensure it’s a truly memorable experience for all 24 finalists.

Tomorrow’s our last day in the office, so we will doing our final checks and printing before we pack up and move our office to Hilton Head.

Happy Swinging!

Season 12 Final Blog – Tuesday 3 November 2015 – 6 days to go!

We’re finally talking days not weeks now, and today’s activity in the office shows that! The printer is working overtime and the office floor is an organised mess of bits of paper, labels, stationary and shirts.

We posted pictures of this year’s team shirts earlier from Trendy Golf and Wolsey – they’ve done a fantastic job for us. It’s a great quality shirt which should also cope nicely should the weather be on the warm side next week. Talking of which current forecasts suggest temperatures in the early 20s with the odd shower possible, so overall good golfing conditions!

Sea Pines is such a unique resort and we’re sure this final will feel very different from previous years. Our 24 finalists will be very welcomed guests in a real community where boutique shops line the quayside and  where there’s a café or restaurant to suit all tastes and moods.

Us organisers are not staying at the Inn itself but in harbour side villas which logistically will work better for us. We also have the old pro dressing room at Harbour Town Links as our tournament office, probably the plushest office we will ever have.

Enjoy the rest of the day, we need to grab another ream of paper for the printer!

Happy Swinging!

Season 12 Final Blog – Monday 2 November 2015 – 1 week to go!

Excitement is undoubtedly building amongst our 24 finalists now as they realise that next week this time they will be on their way to South Carolina!

For us organisers it’s a little bit more imminent. After a restful weekend, we are now fully focused on the task ahead.

We’ve spent the morning at Trendy Golf collecting the all-important team shirts and discussing plans for next season. We’ll try and tweet an exclusive pic of both shirts on Tuesday!!

All 24 official handicaps are now in – we made Sunday the cut-off date for handicaps and there’s been a few changes since our finalists qualified, most notably on Team ROW where there are definitely a few more shots to be played with! This should guarantee a very tight final indeed. We often talk about S5 as the best final so far, but on paper this could be just as close. In fact, could we now say that Team ROW are just shading it as favourites for the first time in years?

Our look back at previous finals on twitter is now complete. There have been some amazing memories from Seasons 1 to 11 but now it’s time to make some more.

We’ll be back tomorrow as we count down to our departure on Friday!

Happy Swinging!

Season 12 Final Blog – Friday 30 October 2015 – 2 weeks to go!

In a week’s time, the Swingers team will be in the air on their way! It is amazing how quickly it comes around, it only feels like yesterday that we were flying out to Barbados!

It’s been a busy week of preparation, but the last two major items on our list are now pretty much sorted and next week is all about packing up, printing, and arranging everything for our arrival.

On Monday, we pick up our Trendy Golf Final shirts – it’s going to be exciting to see them in the flesh. We have gone Sky Blue for Team Europe and Burgundy for Team ROW. We will make sure we tweet a picture as soon as possible!

The good news is that our kit arrived safe and sound in Atlanta and is now ready to be delivered to the resort for our arrival on Friday. That's another thing we can tick off the list.

For our finalists this is their penultimate weekend of preparation, but for those playing at the weekend, this is also their last chance to get their handicaps down or as the captains are saying – get their handicaps up! All handicaps will be frozen as of Sunday and it will be those that are used to calculate the daily course handicaps which we use at Heron Point and Harbour Town Links.

As well as getting ready this week, we’ve continued our look back at previous finals on twitter. We are currently up to Season 7! There’s no doubt we’ve had some amazing finals in the past, and each of the team have their own favourites. Probably leading the way is the very first team final we ran – Europe v US in Southern California back in S5. Not only was it such an amazing setting, we also had a tie and an incredible play off which resulted in an unbelievable atmosphere around the 18th green. We also went on a stunning excursion kayaking off Laguna Beach with a BBQ in front of one of the finest sunsets we have ever seen. Will South Carolina live up to that? There’s every chance but one thing’s for sure it’s going to be truly memorable for everyone involved.

Our final blog goes daily next week, as we count down the days rather than weeks, and let you know how we get on setting up our mobile Swingers office at Hilton Head!

Have a great weekend Swingers.

Season 12 Final Blog - Monday 26 October 2015 - 2 weeks to go!

It’s good to be back! And back at a time when the build up to the Final moves up a gear.

Last week saw our pallet of event gear including all the branding and our scoreboard head off to Heathrow for it’s trip over the pond to Atlanta. It’s currently in customs ready to be shipped to the venue where we will be reunited a week on Friday. Final preparations will of course continue until the first guests are in the air, but by the end of this week, we will definitely be almost there!

We know our captains have been in contact with their teams, and with everyone now having received their flight information, we’re sure our 24 finalists are also putting the final touches to their last minute preparations.

This is of course our twelve final and this week we will be taking time out to look back at our first eleven finals on twitter, as it’s always sobering to remember where we started back in 2005. That starting point was of course the Grove where we held a one day final attended by the top 40 Swingers from what was only a UK competition in those days.

The final took place in October so it wasn’t like the sunshine finals of recent years (Gleneagles aside!). Several of today’s regular Swingers took part in that final including US day attendee Mike Sheldon who finished 3rd on 38pts, former S9 Finalist Janet Melville who finished 5th on 37pts, S6 Finalist Geoff Linnell who finished 7th on 35pts, former Euro Captain Alastair Price who finished tied 8th on 33pts, UK society day regular Andrew Gray who finished 17th on 30pts, Ambassador of the year Bob Scott who finished tied 21st on 29pts and S11 Finalist Ann Lowe who finished tied 25th on 27points

It’s fantastic to see that so many of those who gave Swingers a go back in Season 1 have stuck with it and hopefully grown as golfers as we have grown as a programme.

It’s going to be fun looking back at the other finals over the course of the next few days. Make sure you check them out @GolfingSwingers

Season 12 Final Blog - Friday 16 October 2015 - 4 weeks to go!

It’s been steady progress this week as final preparations gather momentum. We are just days away from receiving the precious Trendy Golf / Wolsey Final shirts which this year are sky blue for Team Europe and Burgundy for Team ROW. The caps are already in and by the next time we write, everything will be safely packed on a pallet and on it’s away across the Atlantic!

With our captain’s team profiles now in, we’ve been able to study the teams in more detail. It’s heartening to see so many first timers heading to a final – this is obviously healthy for the programme and the various rule changes we have put in place in the last couple of years has definitely contributed to this. In total we have 10 rookies and just 7 returning from last year. That will give the final a fresh look and provides a nice mix of new faces and experienced players which should provide a great atmosphere.

The two teams look closely matched on paper. Europe look strong as ever and despite the number of rookies, as Ken says, there’s a great deal of competitive experience within the team with the likes of Morag Hutcheon and Andy Gilbert experienced in competing regularly at Swingers events.

The South African quartet in Team ROW definitely adds some bite to their team. Fiercely competitive, these four have dominated their league for the last two seasons and will be eager to take on Europe next month.

Not putting any pressure on the captains of course, but the pairings for day one and day two might just swing it. There’s potentially some great combos available, let’s see how the draw ends up on the Tuesday morning!

You can read the latest captains blogs on their respective pages now – Team Europe and Team ROW.

Our blog takes a break for a week now. We will be back when the countdown says ‘Two weeks to go’!

Enjoy your weekend Swingers!

Season 12 Final Blog - Tuesday 13 October 2015 - 4 weeks to go!

Less than a month to go now, and the countdown to the big final is gathering pace.

The Sea Pines Resort is a fabulous location for any final, but we really were spoilt for choice when we headed out to the region last February to choose this year’s venue. Our first stop was Kiawah Island further up the coast. The hotel was stunning and there were plenty of great courses to play the final on including the most famous of them all – the Ocean Course.

After Sea Pines, we drove all day through Georgia to look at the Ritz Carlton Reynolds Plantation. We loved the feel of this place in its secluded wooded position surrounding a lake and the courses were magnificent. However by that time, we had already visited Sea Pines and there was just something different about this place which made it stand out from the rest. The Inn, although fairly small, felt homely and inviting, the two courses - especially the Harbour Town Links were outstanding and ideal for our final, and then there was the whole resort itself – a picture postcard town to explore. The resort is excited about hosting our final, and we are just as eagerly anticipating it too.

That’s not to say that we would ever rule out a future final at Kiawah or Reynolds Plantation. It was probably the first site visit ever where all three venues could have easily hosted our event.

This week, the Flying Club team have been busily arranging all the flights, and it looks like that labour intensive task is now almost over, at which point we can finalise the last of the logistics surrounding our final.

This week, we also took the decision to run the final according to US handicapping rules, where all 24 finalists will have their handicaps used as a handicap index and converted to course handicaps depending on the tees played on each course. It’s worked very well at all our US days over the last 3 years, and as our final is back on US soil, now seemed the time to introduce it. Hopefully it will help create one of the most entertaining and competitive finals we have had so far.

Enjoy the rest of your week Swingers!

Season 12 Final Blog – Friday 9 October 2015 – 5 weeks to go!

It’s been a busy week in the Swingers office as we count down the days to our departure for South Carolina. Lots of emails and phone calls over the pond as we start to put the finishing touches to the itinerary for next month which has also now been released to our Finalists.

This year’s final will be unlike anything we have done in the past with a relaxed opening evening after everyone’s long journeys followed by the next day - breakfast presentations and captains speeches as well as the all important team meetings. As well as the usual 3 rounds of competitive golf, Hiton Head Chamber of Commerce are kindly hosting an afternoon Dolphin Eco tour around the island which should prove great fun.

The other major difference this year is the additional fourth night for everyone meaning we don’t have to rush through prize giving. Instead everyone get’s a welcome afternoon of free time, followed by a prize giving dinner at the stunning Beach Club where the winning team can party the night away. I’m sure the losing team will join in as well!

Today we also make the very important team captains announcement. Although we are only announcing today, we have kind of known since the end of August who our captains were going to be!

Captain of Team Europe is 5 time finalist Ken Daly. No one can dispute it’s Ken’s time. Ken has been a regular Swinger since season 2 and is a very popular member of the Swingers community. An excellent golfer, Ken was one of last year’s recipients of the Cleveland Golf/Srixon Swingers Ambassador Award and he epitomises everything that is so great about the programme. Ken’s loyalty has seen him regularly attend our society days despite the journey he has had to make down from Scotland, and we wish him every success in South Carolina. Just don’t mention the dreaded ‘Europe Captain’s curse’! In total we have had 5 Team Europe playing captains and not one of them has played in a final since! If ever there’s someone to break the curse, it will be Ken!

Captain of Team ROW is 2 time finalist Chris Cattran. Chris is a big character, and he is one of those guys you meet who you immediately single out as a future captain. We’ve just been waiting for him to qualify, that’s all! Thankfully, this is Chris’ year and he becomes the first US Captain since Joan Heeter, and we all know what Joan managed to do don’t we! If there is anyone to repeat that victory, it’s going to be a character like Chris. Chris’ enthusiasm for Swingers has not gone unnoticed. Now in his fourth year as a Swinger, he was the very first overseas recipient of our Cleveland/Srixon Swingers Ambassador Award and has been a regular attendee of our US days over the years. Good luck to Chris in South Carolina, we know it’s going to be an exciting contest.

You can read Ken’s first blog entry here and Chris’ first blog here.

Have a great weekend Swingers!

Season 12 Final Blog – Tuesday 6 October 2015 – 5 weeks to go!

Phew! It’s been quite a few days in the Swingers office as we closed another season and worked towards our biggest ever end of season final.

As well as the normal end of month prizes to work on, we still have to decide our Player of the Season plus work through all the Leaderboard prizes for those who just missed out on a place in the final. But as is always the case at this time of year, we have to prioritise with getting the last leg of the final organisation underway.

And it really is the last leg. Our preparation for the final begins in advance of the previous year’s final when we start to formulate ideas on where we might be going next. That’s followed by some pretty thorough research into potential locations where we not only look at the venue options on offer but also consider travel to the location, climate, obviously budgets and of course how relevant the location is to the current marketing plan. That’s followed in the New Year with our first site visit where we visit shortlisted venues before confirming our host venue in time for the start of the new season. There’s then a final site visit, which this year occurred during a very stormy week in August! Once that’s out the way, the final itinerary is nailed down, until we get to this point where our finalists are decided and joining instructions revealing the amazing final schedule are just days away.

So the season ended the last weekend of September and we spent the early part of last week rechecking scores of those in a qualifying position and checking each potential finalist had the necessary flight qualifications. As is the case every year, it really does show that you should never give up entering scores until the last possible moment, as you just never know who has taken the qualifying flights above you. Likewise don’t hold off booking your flights until you think you are in a good position to qualify! You might find you’re suddenly in a qualifying position but it’s too late to get your flight in.

So checking was finally completed and invites dispatched. There were a lot of happy responses, a couple of ‘wow’ moments for those not expecting the email and no doubt some bitterly disappointed Swingers as they just missed out this year. But that leads us to this point now where we can reveal the two teams containing 10 brand new finalists and only 7 finalists returning for the second consecutive year.

For news of the two captains, you will have to wait a little longer! We decided these back in early September based on our assumptions of who was going to qualify and these two captains will be officially invited to take their roles at the end of this week.

In the meantime we present the two teams for the S12 Final ROW v Europe at the Sea Pines Resort between 9-13 November 2015:

TEAM ROW (handicaps in brackets)

Richard Bird (9)
Claire Boucher (12)
Duncan Castles (4)
Chris Cattran (12)
Tobie de Jonge (7)
Doug Douglass (9)
Steve du Preez (4)
Simon Hudson (3)
Rajive Johri (17)
Gary Jones (15)
Brian O’Connor (12)
Mo Reardon (28)

TEAM EUROPE (handicap in brackets)

Matthew Bergh (3)
Simon Conway (6)
Brin Cox (11)
Ken Daly (7)
Martin Derrick (10)
Andy Gilbert (18)
James Hewson (12)
Morag Hutcheon (11)
Peter Parker (10)
Bob Scambler (5)
Geoff Seabrook (20)
Mark Wright (11)

Season 12 Final – 9 - 13 November 2015

At the end of our Season the top 12 Rest of the World Swingers and the top 11 European Swingers will compete in a Rest of the World v Europe Team Final at The Sea Pines Resort in South Carolina, USA between 9-13 November 2015.

Click here for details of the venue.

The final is for most finalists unlike anything else they will have experienced in amateur golf. Team captains chosen from within each team host team meetings each night where the all important pairings are announced for each day’s play and tactics are decided.

Hearing your name read out over the PA on the first tee ‘Representing Europe’ or ‘Representing Rest of the World’ sends a tingle down your spine. Every putt and every shot is not just for yourself but for your team and the Swingers they represent at home who didn’t make the final.

There’s nothing like the pressure and excitement of the Swingers final, as you get to play foursomes on day one, fourball matches on day two and Singles matches on day three to decide the winners of the Season 12 title.

By the end of it, our finalists have not only had a truly memorable experience, they will also have made new life long friendships.

Some quotes from previous Finalists:

”I compared the Swingers Final to the Ryder Cup - once you've played in one, you never want to miss it again.”

“Just unbelievable that this type of Golf trip exists, by far one of the best sporting experiences in my life. Any expectation you have from the onset is quickly superseded.. Absolutely tremendous - very fortunate indeed to have been invited and being part of the experience.”

“The Final has to be one of the world's outstanding amateur sporting events -- flying to a unique destination, playing golf on some of the world's best courses, competing against fellow lovers of the game, and being attended to by thorough and kind event organizers. It's a once-in-a-lifetime event that bears repeating!”

“How can I possibly put into words what it meant and felt like to be part of the Final, and do it justice. I have been fortunate to play in some outstanding golf events in the last few years ,but without a doubt this was my most memorable, enjoyable, well organised and run.”

“I think it is fair to say that I have never enjoyed 5 days so much in my life ... not just the golf but the camaraderie too.”

“We all now know what it feels like to be an A List Hollywood star, when everything is organised with perfection and all your needs are catered for.”

"Great golf, great venues, excellent food & wine, super fun bunch of people and great travel plans and exceptional weather. Well done everyone. I can't thank you enough for one of the very best weeks of my life!"

"It was an amazing adventure, packed with golf, camaraderie, good conversation, with a measure of excellent planning and warm hospitality. How lucky we are to have gotten to participate. Great to meet and re-meet some wonderful people."

Please note:

1. In order to qualify for a place in the Final, Swingers must have completed a minimum of one return Virgin Atlantic long haul flight activity (or two long-haul sectors) between 30 September 2014 - 28 September 2015 (includes Virgin Atlantic Reward Flights and Miles Plus Money flights) OR one return Virgin Atlantic long haul Codeshare flight (marketed by Virgin Atlantic, but operated by Delta Air Lines - using a VS flight prefix) between 30 September 2014 - 28 September 2015 (Where Flying Club miles are the elected FFP earning currency).

However, for Finalists who attended the Season 11 Final, to qualify for a place in the Final they must have completed a minimum of two return Virgin Atlantic long haul flight activity (or four long-haul sectors) between 30 September 2014 - 28 September 2015 (includes Virgin Atlantic Reward Flights and Miles Plus Money flights) OR two return Virgin Atlantic long haul Codeshare flights (marketed by Virgin Atlantic, but operated by Delta Air Lines - using a VS flight prefix) between 30 September 2014 - 28 September 2015.

This flight earning/spending activity must be credited to the individual Flying Club Swinger's account by the close of the season at 0900 BST on Monday 28 September 2015. Only Flying Club miles earned by that individual member (by flying, using partners or purchasing miles for themselves), may qualify as a legitimate 'earning' or 'spending' transaction. Members travelling on a Reward flight or Miles Plus Money flight must have spent their own miles, and not be travelling on a flight paid for with another person's miles. Please note that competition prize flights awarded for travel to/from a previous Swingers final do not qualify.

2. The 12 European Team Final places and 12 ROW Team Final places will be made up of the following split announced on Monday 17 August - click here

For further information see the FAQs or terms and conditions

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Team Europe

Leading Club Swingers:

Division Pts
Broadbent, Steve 1 24
Gray, Rebecca 2 24
Joy, Brian 3 17

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Team Rest of the World

Leading Club Swingers:

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Chequer, Gary 1 23
Marais, Henco 1 23
Heap, Clinton 2 32

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Lewis, Ray 1 52
O'Connor, Brian 2 56

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Johannen, Alan 1 25

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