Season Fourteen Final - 13-16 November 2017
Season 14 Final Blog - Monday 16 October 2017 - 4 weeks to go!
Another week of preparation begins, and it’s got off to a great start with the arrival of our souvenir pin flags and caddy bibs.
Every year, the finalists are presented with a souvenir pin flag and sharpies at the end of the event, and as is now the customary tradition, fellow finalists sign each other’s flags. This might seem a little strange to those who haven’t played a final before, but it’s a great way for those who have made special friendships over the week to literally sign off the event in style.
Also this year like last year, we have caddies rather than buggies and we’ve definitely created some much better caddy bibs this year which I am sure will become much wanted souvenirs as well. The bibs are identical to those used on tour, so it definitely adds to the ‘Ryder Cup’ feel of the final!
Mid-week we have a big meeting to run through the final details of the itinerary following my visit last week to Florida, and the rest of the week will involve packing up all our kit as that needs to be on a pallet by the weekend!
For our finalists, it’s likely to be another busy week of preparation. It’s good to see on social media that so many of you have been getting out on the course over the weekend to practice, whether its in the sunnier climes of South Africa or the not so sunny UK! Our finalists should also be hearing about their flights this week, and once that happens I am sure it will all become very real.
Have a great week
Season 14 Final Blog - Friday 13 October 2017 - 4 weeks to go!
Well it’s been quite some week!
Monday morning saw me entering the new Virgin Atlantic clubhouse at Gatwick North for the first time, and I can report it’s a great experience! Much more spacious than the old one at Gatwick South, our finalists are sure to enjoy using this as their base in the hours leading up to departure.
Like our finalists, I got to fly out in Premium Economy which is always a fantastic way to travel, and with a quick flight time I was in Orlando in no time at all. Unfortunately, the traffic was particularly bad on I-4 Monday evening, and so it was quite late before I arrived at the Lodge at Streamsong.
Tuesday morning saw me meet with the hotel team and decide on a couple of venue options for our trip. The lodge itself really is quite unique – an ultra modern building with some incredible views of the natural surroundings. You are definitely a million miles from the theme parks of central Florida. It was then off to meet with the golf team and get my first view, although very brief, of Streamsong Black, and wow it looks amazing with a clubhouse to match. Those who have played it so far say that although it’s long, it’s less undulating than Red and Blue so is an easier walk, which will be welcome news to our finalists playing this on the final day!
Tuesday afternoon saw me head over to Tampa, where I met with the Tourist Board to discuss a showcase river boat trip followed by dinner that they would kindly like to host for our finalists. I had a great evening learning about the history of Tampa, which for so long has had to play second fiddle to Orlando. Tampa is a city on the up however and it’s great that our finalists will get to experience it on our trip.
After further meetings Wednesday morning, it was time to head back to Orlando for the trip home. I have to admit I am flaking today, and yes I don’t really know what day of the week, or time of the day it is, but I am excited to be able to now announce our captains.
First up is the hosts and holders Rest of the World, who this year will be led by one of Swinger’s biggest characters, who has very quickly risen to be one of our most loyal and prominent members in the last three years. Congratulations to Clinton Heap from Durban, South Africa!
Clinton was an obvious choice for many reasons. His enthusiasm for everything we do is second to none. He’s passionate about Swingers and wears his heart on his sleeve. It’s true that there’s never a dull moment when Clinton is around! He likes to talk and will undoubtedly motivate his team to reach the high levels required to hold onto the trophy. The fact that he has played in a final before (last year at Sun City) helps, but equally important is the number of other events he been involved with us on – society days, Gold day, the US day. He knows how it all works, and that’s important if we are to make this final one of the best so far. Last but not least he’s well known amongst many of the finalists and great friends with Europe’s captain which will help keep the banter levels up in the run up to and at the final itself.
For the challengers, it was a simple choice and I don’t think there will be anyone surprised at all! One of the best golfers we have in the league, now making her hat-trick of final appearances, and one of our most loyal Swingers, congratulations to Morag Hutcheon who becomes the first ever female captain of Team Europe.
We first met Morag at a Gold day a few years back, and like Clinton, ever since she has been one of our biggest supporters and most liked members playing in Gold days, society days and US days. If anyone can bring this trophy back to Europe, it will be Morag. Her team will have the upmost respect for her not only as a golfer but as a team player, and you can guarantee she will be tactically superb at managing her 11 team mates. Morag, like Clinton, understands what Swingers is all about, and although she will have a different style to her ROW counterpart, you can expect Morag to get the very best out of her team.
And if they do end up playing against each other in the final day’s singles, it’s certainly going to be a mouth watering prospect!
Have a great weekend
Season 14 Final Blog - Friday 6 October 2017 - 5 weeks to go!
It’s been a hectic couple of weeks since our season closed, as we worked hard to confirm our final 24 finalists who will be joining us in Florida next month. And it’s only now, once all the necessary admin has been completed, that we can start to fully focus on what lies ahead.
It was nice to take a break from the schedule to run Keith’s memorial day earlier in the week where I was reminded of what Swingers is really all about. We were lucky enough to have some amazing prizes donated including Virgin Atlantic flights and a Gleneagles fourball but the focus of the day was on remembering what Keith stood for – friendship and fun in golf. Not only did the day bring back memories of Keith, it also brought back memories of just what an amazing final last year was. Great as the scenery, wildlife and golf course was, what made the S13 final so special was the atmosphere in which it was played in. It truly was all about making friends, and having fun whilst playing golf. We understand that Swingers has become so established and so important to many, with so many great prizes, that the focus can easily stray to being a little over competitive! What was so great about Sun City however was that all 24 came together as one team, and yes it was nice to see ROW win for a change, but come the evening no one really cared too much about the result.
So how fantastic it would be to see this atmosphere carry forward to Streamsong. We are all up for friendly banter, and good fun competitive golf but when we are out there, let’s embrace the occasion, play to win as all sportsmen and women should, but most importantly let’s just have a lot of fun.
Next week, I make my last planning trip to Streamsong, a trip I was meant to make last month. Unfortunately, despite being on the way to the airport, the trip was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, so it will be good to finally get back out there and put the finishing touches to our Final itinerary.
We’ve been asked all year why did we choose Florida this time and why Streamsong? After the excitement of last year’s African experience, it felt the right time to bring the final back to Florida for the first time in 5 years, but we felt very strongly that if we did return to Florida for the third time, we wanted a venue which was unlike any other final we had previously experienced. Streamsong offers that. We’ve referred all year to this as our ‘golfer’s final’. It’s very much about the golf. Streamsong offers 3 of the very best courses not only in Florida, but also in the whole of the United States. They are long and challenging links style tracks and will test even the very best of our finalists. However, it’s a challenge I am sure they will thoroughly enjoy at a venue that has big ambitions to become the no.1 resort in the USA. Those who have played previous finals will not have played 3 courses all as good as this, so it’s certainly going to be memorable for all 24 finalists.
So talking of 24 finalists, it’s almost time to announce them. As for the captains, that announcement will take place next Friday (13th October). We know who they are, but we want to give them their own moment of glory once the excitement of the team announcements has passed.
Following that, in due course, our captains will present their teams properly but for now here are the two teams to contest the S14 Final ROW v Europe at Streamsong Resort, Flroida between 13-16 November 2017:
TEAM ROW (handicaps in brackets)
Richard Bird (10)
Duncan Castles (10)
Gary Chequer (14)
Lesley Conway (20)
Thomas Conway (11)
Andrew Davies (14)
Simon Hudson (5)
Gary Jones (17)
Andrew Lyth (3)
Scott Murray (14)
Tom Riddell (12)
TEAM EUROPE (handicap in brackets)
John Astall (10)
Claire Boucher (9)
Paul Copley (4)
Brin Cox (10)
Ken Daly (7)
Martin Derrick (17)
Luke Eustace (10)
Andrew Gray (14)
Rebecca Gray (19)
Mahesh Mani (10)
Karen Scott (26)
Enjoy your weekend, and look out for updates from Florida next week as we continue our countdown!
Season 14 Final – 13-16 November 2017
At the end of our Season the top 11 Rest of the World Swingers and the top 11 European Swingers will compete for the newly named Pedlar Trophy in a Rest of the World v Europe Team Final at Streamsong in Florida between Monday 13 and Thursday 16 November 2017.
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 14 title and the Pedlar Trophy.
By the end of it, our finalists have not only had a truly memorable experience, they will also have made new life long friendships.
Please note the S14 Final will be a walking final with no carts.
Some quotes from previous Finalists:
“Outstanding, awesome, breath-taking, fun, fab golf, new friends, treated like a pro, amazing venue, fantastic comp, superb organization, simply fantastic... is only the tip of the iceberg “
”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.”
“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.”
“As a first timer, it far exceeded expectations and it quickly grew into one large family trip I felt. I have made some lifelong friends. This opportunity to meet new people, from varied backgrounds and locations, and see different places would not have been possible without this experience.”
“Tto say I was excited to be attending the event would be an understatement, to experience it was mind-blowing, well run, tons of fun and I was blown away by the effort you and your team put in especially on a personal level. I have been lucky enough to attend plenty of golf events in my time, and I can safely say that the Swingers final I have just attended is the best I have ever experienced.”
“A wonderful few days of friendships, competition and laughter ...memories that I’ll cherish for a very, very long time.”
“Virgin has made an investment in promoting golf, friendly golf competition and camaraderie. I think that the Ryder Cup participants could learn a few things from the spirit of the Swingers finals. Of course, they’ve got it hands down on skill. But on behaviour, comportment, camaraderie and a true commitment to fairness and friendly competition, Swingers show their excellence and model exemplary sportsmanship.”
1. Any Flying Club member can register for, and take part in Swingers and enjoy the thrill of entering scores, meeting and playing other Swingers and climbing the leaderboard. However, please be aware that in order to qualify for the Season 14 Final, each individual Flying Club Swinger must have completed a minimum amount of flight activity between the dates of Tuesday 23 August 2016 and Monday 25 September 2017.
This flight activity can include Virgin Atlantic Reward flights and Miles Plus Money flights, together with Codeshare flights (marketed by Virgin Atlantic, but operated by Delta Air Lines - using a VS flight prefix) between 23 August 2016 and 25 September 2017 (Where Flying Club miles are the elected FFP earning currency).
The minimum amount of flight activity required depends on the number of consecutive final events you will have attended (including the S14 Final). Please note one sector is classed as one long haul outward/outbound or inward/inbound flight as described above, or in simple terms a one way flight, whilst a return flight is classed as two sectors.
The requirements are as follows:
No consecutive finals (just S14) - 2 sectors
Two consecutive finals (S13 and S14) - 3 sectors
Three consecutive finals (S12, S13 and S14) - 4 sectors
Four consecutive finals (S11, S12, S13 and S14) - 5 sectors
Five consecutive finals or more (S10, S11, S12, S13, and S14) - 6 sectors
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 25 September 2017. 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.
Unless otherwise stated, in order to be eligible for any other competitions or prizes within Flying Club Swingers, Swingers must have taken a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club or Partner earning or spending activity during a rolling 12 month period working back from the date that the prize is awarded. In other words, Flying Club miles must be credited to their account at the time the prize is awarded.
2. The 12 European Team Final places will be made up of 1 Flying Club Swinger qualifying direct from our UK Society days, a minimum 3 Swingers from Europe Club Division 1 and 8 Swingers from all other European leaderboards – the split between each league and handicap division will be based on the number of active members in each league/division on Thursday 24 August 2017.
3. The 12 ROW Team Final places will be made up of 1 Flying Club Swinger qualifying direct from our US day, a minimum 3 Swingers from US Club Division 1, a minimum 3 Swingers from ROW Club Division 1, and 5 Swingers from all other ROW/US leaderboards – the split between each league and handicap division is based on the number of active members in each league/division on Thursday 24 August 2016.
4. Please note our Season 14 Final will be a walking final with no carts.
For further information see the FAQs or terms and conditions