Season Fourteen Final - 13-16 November 2017


Season 14 Final Blog - Our final thoughts

Did last week really happen or was it just a dream?!? Once it starts it always goes so quick, and before i know it I'm back at my desk on a dull winter's day reminiscing about our 24 finalists battling it out in the sunshine.

It really was a week to remember and although Europe ran out comfortable winners in the end the final score of 15-9 does not necessarily reflect that Europe, make no mistake, had to work very hard to win the Pedlar Trophy back.

Both captains did a great job rousing their troops so a big thank you to Morag and Clinton who will next year pass on the baton to someone else to try what is a much more difficult job than many realise.

As always there were some stand out performances acrosss the week, and some great memories. None more so than the two titanic battes between heavyweights Andrew Lyth and Ken Daly in the fourballs and singles, two of the best matches ever witnessed in a final and both decided on the 18th. This was golf of the highest quallity and an absolute pleasure to witness from two guys who have given everything to Swingers throughout the years. Thank you both for that.

But there were also great performances from rookies, like Rebecca Gray (not strictly a rookie of course!) who became the only Swinger ever to win 4 points in a final. And the Conways - Lesley and Bill two great competitors who gave it their all and embraced the final. And then there was Karen Scott with her monster putts. So often we hear about her husband Bob, but it was fantastic to meet Karen and we hope we will see her at future finals and society days.

I'm not going to mention everyone now but all 24 finalists new and old did a great job and should be proud of their weeks.

Finally we would like to wish Claire Boucher a full recovery after she was taken ill ahead of the final day. Claire is a great finalist and we look forward to welcoming her back to compete again very soon.

Inevitably you will hear a little less from us over the next few weeks as we reflect on the season just gone, and put our plans into place for next year.

We will do our very best to make it another special year with another memorable final at the end. But until then, rest up, get some practice in and get yourselves ready to go again!

Thank you Swingers, it's been a blast.


Season 14 Final Blog - Thursday 17 November - Day 4

After a great night in Tampa it was an early start for today’s singles on the awesome Streamsong Black. Unfortunately with Claire Boucher unable to take part today, Rebecca Gray became the first finalist to play two matches in one round, and as you will see she did well!

It was chilly on the first tee and there were nerves a plenty. ROW captain Clinton Heap put himself out first but he came up against one of the strongest players of the week in Luke Eustace who won 5&4 to give Europe the first point of the day.

The second match in that group was a belter between big players Andrew Lyth (chosen by Clinton as ROW player of the week) and Ken Daly. It went all the way to 18 and even then they couldn’t be separated, as the match was halved.

ROW’s Bill Conway played out of his skin to record an all-important 2&1 win again Europe captain Morag Hutcheon. Andrew Gray recorded a big 5&4 win for Europe against Simon Hudson, although in-form Richard Bird pulled a point back for ROW as he defeated Brin Cox 3&2.

Europe’s Player of the week (as voted by Morag), Rebecca Gray achieved a double victory as she beat Andrew Davies 4&3 and Gary Jones 3&1 to become the first and probably only ever finalist to win 4 points in one final!

But it was Paul Copley who on 18 secured the winning point for Europe as he defeated ROW’s Duncan Castles by 1 hole to reach the magic 12.5 total.

Elsewhere Mahesh Mani beat Gary Chequer 2&1 and Martin Derrick defeated Tom Riddell 6&4 to give Europe two more points. Lesley Conway won a point for ROW defeating Karen Scott 3&2, and the last point of the S14 Final went to ROW’s Scott Murray on 18 as he defeated John Astall by 2 holes.

And so ends another great final.

After a quick lunch, prizegiving and the traditional flag signing, our finalists have now departed.

Thank you to all 24 who took part, and everyone who has followed and supported us through Season 14. We will properly summarise everything next week but for now, get practicing, and keep on Swinging and we will see you all in Season 15!







Heap (ROW) v Eustace (EUR) EUR WON 5&4
Conway T (ROW) v Hutcheon (EUR) ROW WON 2&1
Castles (ROW) v Copley (EUR) EUR WON BY 1 HOLE
Hudson (ROW) v Gray A (EUR) EUR WON 5&4
Bird (ROW) v Cox (EUR) ROW WON 3&2
Davies (ROW) v Gray R (EUR) EUR WON 4&3
Jones (ROW) v Gray R (EUR) EUR WON 3&1
Chequer (ROW) v Mani (EUR) EUR WON 2&1
Conway L (ROW) v Scott (EUR) ROW WON 3&2
Murray (ROW) v Astall (EUR) ROW WON BY 2 HOLES
Riddell (ROW) v Derrick (EUR) EUR WON 6&4



Season 14 Final Blog – Wednesday 16 November – Day 3

After Europe edged a good first day, all eyes were on ROW to see if they could come back to level or take a lead into the final day. We moved across to Streamsong Red, another fantastic course, but different to the Blue we played yesterday.

Out at the front were captains Clinton Heap and Morag Hutcheon who had a mammoth battle alongside partners Duncan Castles and Andrew Gray respectively. It went to the wire and despite a superb effort from ROW, Europe ran out 2 and 1 winners to claim the first point of the day.

There were strong wins for Europe’s Rebecca Gray and Martin Derrick who pulled back from 2 holes down to beat Richard Bird and Gary Chequer. Soon Europe were three points to the good after Paul Copley and Claire Boucher comprehensively beat Scott Murray and Gay Chequer 5&4.

Lesley Conway and Gary Jones put in a gallant effort against Luke Eustace and Brin Cox but lost 2&1.

However there was some joy for ROW as Andrew Davies continued his good form alongside Bill Conway to beat John Astall and Mahesh Mani who very nearly had a hole in one on the 6th!

Match of the day however was Andrew Lyth and Tom Riddell against Ken Daly and Karen Scott. In a match where Ken and Karen appeared to be in control, Andrew and Tom fought hard to make it all level going down 18. Both Andrew and Ken ended up in the same green side bunker, with Ken playing a super shot to land 2-3 feet away away from pin. Andrew’s bunker shot was also a good shot and he held an excellent putt leaving Ken his putt to halve the match. Unfortunately Ken missed his putt giving Andrew and Tom a much needed point.

So ROW go into the final days singles 3 points adrift but all is not lost. The pairings as seen below give them a chance of pulling it back. It certainly will be interesting to watch!

The evening was spent onboard the Pirate Taxi Cruise in Tampa, provided kindly by ‘Visit Tampa Bay’. We then had an excellent dinner at Ulele Restaurant followed by a short brewery tour.

It’s all to play for in tomorrow’s singles. Who will make themselves a hero and write their name in Swinger’s history.


Hutcheon/Gray A (EUR) beat Heap/Castles (ROW) 2&1
Lyth/Riddell (ROW) beat Daly/Scott (EUR) by 1 hole
Derrick/Gray (EUR) beat Bird/Chequer (ROW) 2&1
Copley/Boucher (EUR) beat Hudson/Murray (ROW) 5&4
Davies/Conway (ROW) beat Astall/Mani (EUR) 4&3
Eustace/Cox (EUR) beat Conway/Jones (ROW) 2&1



Heap (ROW) v Eustace (EUR)
Lyth (ROW) v Daly (EUR)
Conway T (ROW) v Hutcheon (EUR)
Castles (ROW) v Copley (EUR)
Hudson (ROW) v Gray A (EUR)
Bird (ROW) v Cox (EUR)
Davies (ROW) v Gray R (EUR)
Jones (ROW) v Boucher (EUR)
Chequer (ROW) v Mani (EUR)
Conway L (ROW) v Scott (EUR)
Murray (ROW) v Astall (EUR)
Riddell (ROW) v Derrick (EUR)


Season 14 Final Blog - Tuesday 14 November - Day Two

With the sun beating down on a stunning Streamsong Blue, our finalists, after months of talking, finally got down to the serious stuff. ROW's Lesley Conway hit the first tee shot of the day and it was a beauty down the middle of the fairway.

There were plenty of nerves on show on the first, but once our finalists settled into their games, there was lots of great golf on display. Europe took the first point of the day with captain Morag Hutcheon and Luke Eustace beating Lesley Conway and Simon Hudson convincingly 6&4, and this was followed up by another strong performance as the trump card of Ken Daly and Martin Derrick delivered with a 4&3 victory for Europe over Scott Murray.

An impressive performance from Andrew Lyth and Andrew Davies saw ROW defeat Paul Copley and Brin Cox 4&2 to bring the match score back to 2-1 to Europe. The husband and wife partnership of Europe's Andrew and Rebecca Gray, made Swingers history with the first ever husband and wife victory, as they beat Richard Bird and Gary Jones convincingly with a 4&3 victory.

The match of the day saw Thomas Conway and Tom Riddell in a titanic struggle against John Astall and Karen Scott. Karen held several monster putts, but the ROW pair came back to snatch a half on 18.

Finally ROW captain Clinton Heap and Duncan Castles perfomed admirably to beat Mahesh Mani and Claire Boucher 4&3 to bring the score back to ROW 2.5 EUROPE 3.5 with it all to play for tomorrow.

Tonight we've eaten a fantastic Italian meal in the Sottoterra Restaurant, before the pairings were announced as below.


Hutcheon/Eustace (EUR) beat Hudson/Conway (ROW) 6&4
Daly/Derrick (EUR) beat Chequer/Murray (ROW) 4&3
Lyth/Davies (ROW) beat Copley/Cox (EUR) 4&2
Gray A/Gray R (EUR) beat Bird/Jones (ROW) 4&3
Conway/Riddel (ROW) v Astall/Scott (EUR) Match Halved
Castles/Heap (ROW) v Mani/Boucher (EUR) 4&3


Tomorrow's fourball pairings are as follows:

Heap/Castles (ROW) v Hutcheon/Gray (EUR)
Lyth/Riddell (ROW) v Daly/Scott (EUR)
Bird/Chequer (ROW) v Derrick/Gray R (EUR)
Hudson/Murray (ROW) v Copley/Boucher (EUR)
Davies/Conway T (ROW) v Astall/Mani (EUR)
Conway L/Jones (ROW) v Eustace/Cox (EUR)

It's certainly all to play for in the morning with just one point seperating the two teams.


Season 14 Final Blog - Monday 13 November - Day One

So the day has finally come. Our finalists boarded their planes this morning, with the majority travelling across the Atlantic to join us in Florida. First to arrive were local finalists Richard Bird and Thomas and Lesley Conway, before the rest of the US contingent joined them early in the afternoon.

It wasn't until 7.45pm tonight however that our main group disembarked the bus and made their way to the Fragmentary Blue bar for a welcome cocktail before tucking in to an excellent welcome buffet. It was great to see some old faces as well as meet our debutants, and it appears to be another fantastic mix of finalists all looking to compete in the true spirit of Swingers.

Both ROW captain Clinton Heap and Europe Captain Morag Hutcheon gave excellent speeches before presenting their teams with the all important match shirts and caps. It was then time for the team meetings which has thrown up some interesting pairings for tomorrow's first round foursomes. 

Overall, it's been an excellent evening, and the anticipation levels are high for tomorrow's golf.

Tomorows foursomes pairings are as follows:

Simon Hudson/Lesley Conway (ROW) v Morag Hutcheon/Luke Eustace (EUR)
Gary Chequer/Scott Murray (ROW) v Ken Daly/Martin Derrick (EUR)
Andrew Lyth/Andrew Davies (ROW) v Paul Copley/Brin Cox (EUR)
RIchard Bird/Gary Jones (ROW) v Andrew Gray/Rebecca Gray (EUR)
Thomas Conway/Tom Riddell (ROW) v John Astall/Karen Scott (EUR)
Duncan Castles/Clinton Heap (ROW) v Mahesh Mani/Claire Boucher (EUR)


Season 14 Final Blog - Sunday 12 November -  1 day to go!

So we spent the last day of the build up to this year’s final in the city of Tampa. We had a few event items to pick up on the way before arriving at the History Center where our cruise down the Hillsborough River will depart from.

We took the boat down to our dinner destination Ulele which as always was buzzing. After a quick meeting with the restaurant team we met with our transfer company to run through all the transfers, meet points and logistics for the week.

Next to the History Center is the main indoor arena where this afternoon USA were playing Canada in women’s hockey. We decided to watch our first ever ice hockey match and it was really entertaining. If our finalists show the passion these ladies showed which I am sure they will, we will be in for a great week.

We are now back at the hotel where our team member Sharon has finally arrived as well our final 24 team shirts which will now be prepped for tomorrow.

It’s nice to see our SA finalists meeting up for a few drinks tonight’s in Gatwick. In a few hours the rest of the teams will be on their way.

Have an enjoyable and safe journey Swingers, the time is almost here.

Until tomorrow




Season 14 Final Blog - Saturday 11 November - 2 days to go!

So Friday finished in a rather bizarre fashion. We landed on time but were told to stay on the plane after an apparent security breach in the terrminal. Immediately searching on twitter we read of a potential gunman on the loose at the airport. It turns out it was an exploding camera battery which had caused a lot of panic and an evacuation. This obviously delayed our process through the airport, but it was nothing compared to what those were leaving had to experience in terms of queues at security. 

We arrived at Streamsong later than hoped so after a quick meal, and a quick look at our office that was it for the day!

Today we've got through a lot, and are back on schedule. Sadly, probably due to the issues at MCO last night, Sharon, one of our team, due to arrive today had her flight cancelled and will now arrive tomorrow. After a productive meeting with the resort and the golf team we set about getting our tournament office up and running, and all the goody bags packed. It always feels great to complete this and know that everything we need for the week is in place.

It was then off to Red and Blue to hand over all the caddy bibs ready for Tuesday, and then grab a cart to meticulously drive all 36 holes taking notes on what tees to play. This will always be a contentious issue and we will never please everyone. We will however make the decision based on what we feel gives the final the best chance of being as close and as exciting as possible. We are conscious this is a final and therefore needs to be a challenge.

Sadly we ran out of light to do the Black today, and with us in Tampa most of tomorrow for meetings, it may well be Monday before we now get to hopefully play 9 and drive the other 9.

We then have a final meeting Monday morning with the golf team after which we can announce that tee decision.

It's been good for Luke to see the Red and Blue for the first time today, and he's given them his seal of approval, declaring the Blue a very good final course and the Red 'the best course we have used for a final so far'!

Our South African finalists are currently mid flight and will be arriving in London in the morning, and no doubt some of our other finalists will be completing final packing and perhaps getting a final practice round in tomorrow.

It's nearly time!

Season 14 Final Blog - Friday 10 November - 3 days to go!

We are on our way, quite literally! I’m writing this 36,000 ft above the Atlantic with four hours to go before we touch down in Orlando. Thanks to the marvels of onboard WiFi we can keep up our preparations whilst also finding time to reflect on a season gone by and a final ahead.

It is incredible to think this is our 14th final and Luke and I shared a laugh or two in the lounge earlier as we recounted funny stories from previous years. We both agreed our top 3 finals although in different orders but we then posed the question which was our least favourite? It was a question neither of us could answer as every Final had something amazing about them. That includes the old one day finals - whether it was meeting Keith, having a former British Ladies Open champion play or have Sir Richard’s mum play and present the prizes.

But now its time to look to the immediate future which is setting up ready for our next merry band of finalists to arrive.

When we arrive we have the two hour trip down to Streamsong to navigate but our plan on arrival is to take a quick look at our tournament office and check all our gear is there. 

Have a great weekend and to all our finalists you’d better start packing! 



Season 14 Final Blog – Thursday 9 November – 4 days to go!

Our last day in the office before travelling out to the final. Swingers HQ this morning sees a pile of suitcases and boxes which tomorrow will be on their way to join our event kit which we can happily report is sitting safely at Streamsong ready for us!

Today we publish the last pre-final blogs from our captains Morag and Clinton as they reflect on their final preparations and the week ahead.

You can read Morag’s Team Europe blog here
You can read Clinton’s Team ROW blog here

It’s hard to believe that a week today, the first winners of the newly titled ‘Keith Pedlar Trophy’ will be unveiled. Will be it the holders Team ROW or will it be the challengers Team Europe trying to prove that last year was nothing but a blip in their dominance of finals gone by?

It’s sure to be an exciting week ahead. We will continue our daily blogs from across the pond, with images from our final added to the Swingers site daily next week. In addition of course all the very latest news and comments will be on our twitter feed and there’s even a rumour of Facebook live at the final so be sure to follow Milestone Event Management if you want to experience key parts of the final as it happens!

We will be back very late tomorrow night hopefully with our first blog from Florida!


Season 14 Final Blog – Wednesday 8 November – 5 days to go!

The suitcases are out – not packed but they are out! The printer is working hard and it’s our penultimate day in the office before we set up our tournament office.

I’ve just read through our captains' final blogs which will be posted tomorrow. It looks like you are all pretty much ready now, but spare a thought for Clinton, our ROW leader. He’s been struck down by flu this week and is currently resting up. Luckily, it’s this week rather than next so we wish him a speedy recovery before he boards that plane.

It was great fun yesterday looking back at some fabulous final memories although a bit scary seeing pictures of Luke and myself! I think I still rank S5 as my favourite ever – Laguna Beach is one of my favourite places in the world and the fact it was our first team final with an amazing excursion and a play off at the end made it all the more special. However S9 in Miami and S12 in Hilton Head also take some beating. For overall team bonding and fun, last year’s Sun City final was pretty hard to beat as well.

We will look back at a few more today as we edge ever closer to this year’s event.

Until tomorrow


Season 14 Final Blog – Tuesday 7 November – 6 days to go!

So now we are down to just days rather than weeks! Next week this time our finalists will be preparing for their first round and that very first tee shot as their name and either Europe or Rest of the World is announced. Exciting times!

Yesterday was a busy day of last minute preparations. We headed over to Trendy Golf HQ as soon as we had word our Final shirts were in and I’m pleased to say they look great, as you might have seen on our twitter feed.

Getting those shirts out to the final at such a late stage is always a logistical challenge, so it was then off to the seaside resort of Bognor Regis to drop some of the shirts off to another team member working on an event there. It’s amazing where the final trail takes you sometimes!

Memories of previous finals are flooding back as we post old pictures on social media and we plan to blitz a few finals today to keep us on track for our departure Friday. Looking back at the Season 1 final yesterday, I cannot believe that it was 12 years ago, time goes so fast!

Also today sees the start of the mammoth print process and we can only do this once we are pretty confident there will be no more major changes – fingers crossed!

Enjoy your day


Season 14 Final Blog – Monday 6 November – 1 week to go!

It’s now full steam ahead this week as we complete final preparations for our departure on Friday and of course our finalist’s departure just one week today!

These last few weeks seem to have flown by and it’s hard to believe we are standing on the verge of another memorable final. All flights have now been issued and our finalists’ preparations are nearly complete.

Today we hope to pick up the finalist shirts! We are just waiting on a call to confirm their arrival so we are excited to see what they look like and hopefully we will be able to post an image or two later.

Soon the process of printing everything will begin and our office will disappear into a sea of boxes, paper and suitcases as the week passes by. There’s a lot to be done, but we are now in full event mode and look forward to what lies ahead with excitement.

As we look forward, we are also going to start looking back today in our traditional build up to the final, posting images of finals from previous year. We hope it brings back a few memories for everyone and builds the excitement for next week!

We will be back with another blog tomorrow!


Season 14 Final Blog – Thursday 26 October 2017 – 2 weeks to go!

Two weeks today we will be packing our bags before moving Swingers HQ out to Florida – it’s that close!

Our finalists' flights have started to be issued although the vast majority will be sent out next week now. The logistics are in place and it’s now just a case of making those final small adjustments to the plans and some of that doesn’t even happen until we arrive on site. For instance one of our first tasks that weekend prior is to walk the courses and decide what tees give us the best chance of creating the most competitive final, taking into account all 24 finalists we have. Usually that means Luke and I playing each course but sadly I don’t think we have time to play all three much as we would like to! We also have an events office to set up, meetings with hotel and golf teams and a trip over to Tampa to fit into an action packed two days before our finalists arrive!

Hopefuly you will now get a chance to get to know our 24 finalists a little better, as our two captains have just released their team profiles.

You can read Morag’s Team Europe profile here and Clinton’s Team ROW profile here.

When you study the two teams it really is a fascinating mix of experience and first time finalists. Although it’s fantastic to see some old faces returning, it’s really good we have fresh faces experiencing the final for the first time, especially several who have been loyal Swingers for many years. The final is the best possible advert for everything Swingers so if these new finalists go home and tell a few friends each what an amazing experience they’ve had, it helps spread the Swingers message far and wide.

This is the last update for a while, but we will be back raring to go a week on Monday (6 Nov), when we start the 7 days countdown. We will also start our whirlwind look back at Finals 1-12.

Until then keep on Swinging!

Season 14 Final Blog – Tuesday 24 October 2017 – 3 weeks to go!

This week just sees us awaiting one of the final pieces of the jigsaw which is all our finalists' travel arrangements, due any day now. This allows us to put all the final preparations in place including of course the transfers from the airport to Streamsong.

It was good to catch up with the Resort team yesterday as we get ever close to the event. They are excited about hosting our final and are determined that ‘their’ final is one of the most memorable so far. Talking of which, I was amused to find myself watching The X Factor at the weekend, and seeing The Palace Hotel at Sun City and indeed The Wallow (our excursion dinner destination) being used as a judge’s house! It certainly brought back a few memories and of course raised anticipation levels of what is to come over the next few weeks. Thank god none of last year's finalists were singing ballads to us - I can just imagne Clinton and Andrew Davies dueting now! 

I really think this final is evenly matched. Team ROW have more belief now they have another victory under their belt and have less rookies than Team Europe which may come in to play when we get to the crunch of singles day. In Clinton Heap, they also have an inspirational captain who will have no problems motivating his team. But Europe are led by one of Swinger’s finest golfers, Morag Hutcheon who commands respect everywhere she goes. Morag also has some very good golfers importantly on form right now! It really is a close final on paper. Let’s hope it plays out to be a classic when we get out there.

Look out for the Captain’s next blogs in the next 48 hours which will include their team profiles – it should be a good read!


Season 14 Final Blog – Friday 20 October 2017 – 3 weeks to go!

Three weeks today, Luke and I will be on our way to Florida ready to complete our last preparations for the S14 Final at Streamsong – it’s now that close!

Looking back on our week, we've bitten off a large junk of our preparations, which is always a great feeling. On Wednesday we met up with the Flying Club team to report back on last week’s Streamsong visit, and make the final confirmations on menus and timings and I think we are all satisfied that we have a well-balanced final in place.

It’s no secret that this final is full on, with very little down time like in Sun City, but every final is different, and deliberately so. Our finalists won’t have time to feel tired until they are back on the flight and hopefully reminiscing on a memorable few days!

We are very lucky to have received an invite from ‘Visit Tampa Bay’, the Tampa Bay Tourist Board, to spend the afternoon and evening with them one of the days, and that will be a nice break away from the golf. We will be heading down river on a chartered water taxi to take in the sights of downtown Tampa and hopefully spot some Florida wildlife. It’s then off to a fun restaurant called Ulele for dinner. Ulele has it’s own brewery and we will get a short tour of that as well.

It’s been good to finally get a chance to tidy up the end of the season this week as well, announcing all our September winners as well as importantly our Explanar Player of the Season – Terry Woods and our Srixon Ambassador of the Season – Leon Loberman. Both are yet to make a final appearance, but would be incredibly popular finalists, as they are so well known amongst the Swingers community who regularly attend our days.

For those who didn’t quite make the final there are also the leaderboard prizes still to be announced. These should be confirmed next week with prizes then being sent on our return from Florida mid November.

Our finalists’ have just 3 weekends left of practice before flying out of Gatwick. With a bit of luck their flight confirmations will be issued next week, their final baggage tags should be arriving in the post from today and another piece of the jigsaw will be complete.

Have a great weekend!

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!

To read Clinton’s first blog, click here
To read Morag’s first blog click here

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)
Clinton Heap(12)
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)
Morag Hutcheon(7)
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.”

Please note:

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

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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:

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

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Leading US Club Swingers:

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

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Fun Swingers

Leading Fun Swingers:

Division Pts
Johannen, Alan 1 25

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To qualify for the Season Sixteen Final, you must have taken the necessary qualifying flights.

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