Season Sixteen Final - 7-11 October 2019
Season 16 Final Blog – Monday 14 October – Our Final Thoughts
Back in my office today catching up on emails, and ‘washing up’ everything from last week, whilst reminiscing about another special final.
It’s no secret that we initially thought a UK final in October was going to be tough, but we are absolutely delighted at how it turned out for many reasons.
In general, the weather was kind to us – yes we had 2 very windy days and a final day which saw a couple hours of persistent rain, but overall the conditions were pretty good, helped by the fact that both courses were in great nick for October – S&A particularly. We were thrilled that all 24 players coped so well with arguably the two toughest courses we had played in a final and in the toughest conditions, yet we saw some amazing golf from all levels of golfer. Only 4 points separated the two teams after 54 holes of golf – incredible!
The final schedule was of course full on and it was even more of a challenge this year with the long journey times to the golf clubs, with every meal off site, and with of course traffic and weather to also contend with. But we were sensible and flexible and adapted the schedule where we felt necessary, depending on the feel of the group, and yes although it was still tiring, hopefully everyone felt they had got the most out of their trip.
There were many memorable moments for us. The way guests bonded at Ghetto Golf on that first night made our job a lot easier. The camaraderie between the two teams was evident throughout the week – yes it was competitive, yes both teams wanted to win but you could tell from both Tom and Mark that it was essentially going to be a fun competition where the result was secondary to making friends and having a laughter filled week.
There were highlights on the golf course for sure – the dramatic foursomes match involving Leon Loberman, Alan Clifford, Andrew Lyth and Ray Lewis on day one, Ken Daly and Rebecca Gray’s dominant performance in the fourballs, Ray Lewis’ putt on 18 to get a halve in the fourballs, Clinton Heap’s incredible performance all week, Andre Wainwright’s out of this world golf to inflict defeat on Ken Daly in the singles, Martin Derrick’s winning point despite a superb fight from Christy Ansbro, and of course the Gray’s – both Rebecca and Andrew producing the comebacks of the week to arguably earn the most important half and point of all three rounds. There were other fine examples of fantastic match play golf and fair play, and it really just cemented our thoughts that although the final might appear dominated by Europe down the year’s, it’s such a unique and special format at amateur level that we would be silly to disregard it and return to an individual final like 95% of all other corporate amateur events.
So after another long season where my focus has been building towards this final for months and months, I find myself now with just a few more tasks to complete this Sixteenth season – the awarding of our leaderboard prizes and of course the upcoming SkyCaddie Match Play Final. We then very much hope that very soon we can start planning Season 17 for you.
The very kind words both captains spoke at the prize giving, the incredible standing ovation our finalists gave us, and the emotion that one of our longest serving and most loyal Swingers showed when receiving his award makes us even more determined to make sure we are back in the Spring to deliver a fantastic S17. I truly feel that we can be proud that in the 16 years of this amazing programme, we have created something that has in some small way helped golfers across the world make some really special friends, and I don’t think I can ask for any more than that.
Thank you Swingers
Season 16 Final Blog – Thursday 10 October 2019 – Day Four
When we arrived at Southport and Ainsdale this morning, the skies felt a little different and a little more ominous, as we got set for the final day singles. It was fantastic to have yet more support out on the course as after previous days visits from Matt Bergh, David Ryley, James Gear, Simon Weathers, Steve Cooke and Roy Backhouse, we were honoured to be joined by former British Open champion and Swingers member Janet Melville.
The wind was much less of an issue today, but as the rain set in for the middle part of the round, it was again very challenging conditions.
ROW needed to make up ground on a 3pt deficit but the first point of the day went to EUROPE as Steve Glennon capped off a fine week with a 4&3 victory over Ray Lewis. He also seems to have picked up a prize from Birkdale who tweeted that they would give him something if he completed all 3 rounds without losing one ball!
The next point also came from EUROPE as George Copley recorded a fine 5&4 win over Steve Prater to now take the match total to Europe 9.5 ROW 4.5. ROW gained their first point of the day when Karl Dzioba beat Alan Clifford 6&5, but that point was cancelled out by Roger Harpum’s excellent win over ROW captain Tom Riddell 2&1.
Two big points then came ROW’s way as Clinton Heap capped off a superb unbeaten week to beat EUROPE captain Mark Attwell 2&1 whilst ROW’s Andre Wainwright played some amazing golf to beat Ken Daly 4&3. The gap was back down to 3 points.
The rematch between EUROPE’s Rebecca Gray and ROW’s Brian O’Connor proved a classic as Brian raced into a 4 hole lead before Rebecca gradually clawed it back to force the match down 18. Both missed putts on 18 to end the match halved, which proved another valuable half point to EUROPE.
Husband Andrew Gray was also involved in one of the matches of the day. Andrew was 3 down early doors to Gary Chequer but also came back to force the match down 18 winning 1up – a superb performance and arguably the most crucial point for EUROPE.
There was also an excellent win for EUROPE as Leon Loberman recorded his first final victory beating Andrew Davies 2&1 whilst 2 more points for ROW were secured by Lee Corns defeating Scott Murray 2&1 and Andrew Lyth beating Steve Broadbent 2&1.
However it was left to postman Martin Derrick to secure the winning point for EUROPE as he defeated Christy Ansbro by 2 holes on the 18th to make the final match score EUROPE 14 ROW 10.
So another victory for EUROPE and captain Mark Attwell, but it was much closer than expected. At the prize giving both captains talked about how really the result was secondary. What both Tom and Mark focused on was the camaraderie, making new friendships, and being involved in such a unique occasion as the Swingers Final.
Tom presented his Player of the Tournament prize to Clinton Heap who won all three of his matches, whilst Mark chose Leon Loberman who’s week peaked today with a great win after a difficult start on Tuesday.
It was left to Tom to hand over the trophy to Mark and to let the celebrations to begin. In the evening we headed to Fazenda restaurant for a fabulous steak dinner, before we ended the week listening to a Beatles tribute band at the world famous Cavern Club.
Well done everyone, it was an amazing week. Thank you for being such fantastic finalists and adding your bit to our Swingers history. We’ll be back on Monday with a final summary in our final blog.
Safe travels home
Harpum (EUR) v Riddell (ROW) EUR win 2&1
Attwell (EUR) v Heap (ROW) ROW win 2&1
Gray R (EUR) v O'Connor (ROW) Match halved
Glennon (EUR) v Lewis (ROW) EUR win 4&3
Gray A (EUR) v Chequer (ROW) EUR win 1up
Copley (EUR) v Prater (ROW) EUR win 5&4
Clifford (EUR) v Dzioba (ROW) ROW win 6&5
Daly (EUR) v Wainwright (ROW) ROW win 4&3
Derrick (EUR) v Ansbro (ROW) EUR win 2up
Murray (EUR) v Corns (ROW) ROW win 2&1
Loberman (EUR) v Davies (ROW) EUR win 2&1
Broadbent (EUR) v Lyth (ROW) ROW win 2&1
FINAL MATCH SCORE: EUROPE 14 ROW 10.
EUROPE ARE S16 CHAMPIONS!
Day 1 Nearest the Pin - Martin Derrick
Day 1 Nearest the Pin in Two - Mark Attwell and Rebecca Gray
Day 2 Nearest the Pin - Steve Glennon
Day 2 Nearest the Pin in Two - George Copley
Day 3 Nearest the Pin - Andre Wainwright
Day 3 Nearest the Pin in Two - Lee Corns
EUROPE Player of the Tournament - Leon Loberman
ROW Player of the Tournament - Clinton Heap
Season 16 Flinal Blog - Wednesday 9 October 2019 - Day Three
Today's fourball matches took place at arguably England's finest course, Royal Birkdale. Our finalists spent time looking at the history that adorns the walls of this special club before venturing out to the first tee where they were met with challenging winds to add to the already big challenge of the course. They were also met by a number of Swingers who had travelled far and wide to watch the final which was fantastic.
The wind was no issue however for experienced EUROPE pair Ken Daly and Rebecca Gray who stormed to an 8&6 victory over Gary Chequer and Christy Ansbro from ROW. The first point of the day saw EUROPE move to 5-2 up.
ROW captain Tom Riddell and Andrew Davies had an equally good day defeating ROW Scott Murray and Alan Clifford 4&3 to take the score to EUROPE 5 ROW 3.
Martin Derrick and Steve Glennon of EUROPE had a real battle against Andrew Lyth and Karl Dzioba of ROW but in the end the EUROPE pair proved too strong winning 4&3 taking Europe to a 6-3 lead.
There was a fantastic battle between EUROPE's George Copley and Steve Broadbent and ROW's Andre Wainwright and Brian O'Connor. It went all the way to the iconic 18th hole with EUROPE winning 1 up, taking the score to EUROPE 7 ROW 3.
ROW were looking in real trouble especially when Ray Lewis and Steve Pater let a 4 hole lead slip, as Mark Attwell and Leon Loberman ended up 1up going down 18. It still looked like EUROPE would just edge it until ROW's Ray Lewis held a monster putt to get a halve, and what a crucial halve for ROW it proved to be.
The very last match was a titanic battle all the way with Clinton Heap and Lee Horns winning 1up against Roger Harpum and Andrew Gray meaning the final score today stands at EUROPE 7.5 ROW 4.5.
As guests enjoyed lunch back in the warmth of the clubhouse the pairings were read out for the singles, so it really is all to play for tomorrow! Can ROW overturn a 3pt deficit ot will EUROPE get to the magic 12.5 point total first?
Tonight we head to the Art School Restaurant for a fabulous Michelen star meal, before we rest up ready for the excitement of tomorrow's final day!
Daly/Gray R (EUR) v Chequer/Ansbro (ROW) EUR win 8&6
Copley/Broadbent (EUR) v Wainwright/O’Connor (ROW) EUR win 1up
Murray/Clifford (EUR) v Riddell/Davies (ROW) ROW win 4&3
Derrick/Glennon (EUR) v Lyth/Dzioba (ROW) EUR win 4&3
Loberman/Attwell (EUR) v Lewis/Prater (ROW) Match halved
Harpum/Gray A (EUR) v Heap/Corns (ROW) ROW win 1up
CURRENT MATCH SCORE: EUROPE 7.5 ROW 4.5
Harpum (EUR) v Riddell (ROW)
Attwell (EUR) v Heap (ROW)
Gray R (EUR) v O'Connor (ROW)
Glennon (EUR) v Lewis (ROW)
Gray A (EUR) v Chequer (ROW)
Copley (EUR) v Prater (ROW)
Clifford (EUR) v Dzioba (ROW)
Daly (EUR) v Wainwright (ROW)
Derrick (EUR) v Ansbro (ROW)
Murray (EUR) v Corns (ROW)
Loberman (EUR) v Davies (ROW)
Broadbent (EUR) v Lyth (ROW)
Season 16 Final Blog – Tuesday 8 October 2019 – Day Two
Our guests arrived at Southport & Ainsdale GC for the start of the S16 Final on a cool but bright morning with a stiff breeze. After the traditional team photos, it was straight down to business in today’s foursomes matches.
In the first match, the strong EUROPE pairing of Ken Daly and Martin Derrick beat Andrew Davies and Andre Wainwright 5&4, despite a gallant effort from the ROW duo.
In match two, ROW’s Clinton Heap and Lee Corns put on a great team performance to beat EUROPE’s Andrew Gray and Scott Murray 4&3, and at one point this appeared to be the only point ROW were going to get all day! EUROPE's Rebecca Gray and Mark Attwell beat ROW's Tom Riddell and Karl Dzioba 4&3, EUROPE’s George Copley and Steve Broadbent dominated in their 5&3 win over ROW’s Brian O’Connor and Christy Ansbro, whilst EUROPE’s Roger Harpum and Steve Glennon overcame a strong performance by ROW’s Gary Chequer and Steve Prater to win 3&2.
However the match of the day belonged to ROW’s Andrew Lyth and Ray Lewis and EUROPE’s Leon Loberman and Alan Clifford. Close on the front nine, Alan and Leon looked like they had got themselves into an unassailable lead – 2up with 3 to play, but two great holes from the ROW pair brought the score back to all square going down 18. This point was absolutely crucial as ROW did not want to go into the fourballs with a 4 point deficit! Andrew and Ray closed out the final hole to win 1 up and therefore take the day’s score to EUROPE 4 ROW 2 so there’s all to play for tomorrow!
The evening was spent with a drinks reception and tour of Anfield where our finalists got to lift the Champions League trophy, followed by dinner at Liberty Tavern. It was a late but fun night, so hopefully not too many bleary eyes on the tee in the morning!
Daly/Derrick (EUR) v Davies/Wainwright (ROW) EUR win 5&4
Murray/Gray A (EUR) v Heap/Corns (ROW) ROW win 4&3
Gray R/Attwell (EUR) v Riddell/Dzioba (ROW) EUR win 4&3
Copley/Broadbent (EUR) v O’Connor/Ansbro (ROW) EUR win 5&3
Loberman/Clifford (EUR) v Lyth/Lewis (ROW) ROW win 1 up
Harpum/Glennon (EUR) v Chequer/Prater (ROW) EUR win 3&2
CURRENT MATCH SCORE: EUROPE 4 ROW 2
Daly/Gray R (EUR) v Chequer/Ansbro (ROW)
Copley/Broadbent (EUR) v Wainwright/O’Connor (ROW)
Murray/Clifford (EUR) v Riddell/Davies (ROW)
Derrick/Glennon (EUR) v Lyth/Dzioba (ROW)
Loberman/Attwell (EUR) v Lewis/Prater (ROW)
Harpum/Gray A (EUR) v Heap/Corns (ROW)
Season 16 Final Blog – Monday 7 October 2019 – Day One
The day has finally arrived, and we awoke excited. A couple final planning meetings at Royal Birkdale and The Art School Restaurant were interspersed with bumping into finalists as they arrived after long journeys from the US and South Africa, as well as other parts of the UK.
Our afternoon was spent setting up for the welcome buffet, and before we knew it, 5pm had arrived and our finalists mingled together for the first time over a drink and some food. We made our introductions to the event before inviting both ROW captain Tom Riddell and Europe captain Mark Attwell to say a few words. Both expressed their excitement at being given the honour of captain, but both were keen to point out that this final isn’t really about winning, it’s about the 23 friendships which hopefully every finalist will make over the course of the week.
Once we’d presented this year’s wonderful Glenmuir shirts – Blue for Europe and Red for ROW, as well as the Level 4 caps and Dirty Dog team sunglasses, the two captains led their teams into team meetings to decide the pairings. There was much anticipation as these pairings were read out for the first time, not just for tomorrow morning’s foursomes, but also because these tee times formed the basis of the fun and games to come at the evening’s Ghetto Golf event, where we headed to next.
Ghetto Golf proved a blast for all our finalists as they competed in better ball match play over 18 themed holes – some a little bit risqué! In the end, would you believe it, the matches were tied 3-3 leaving the two captains to battle it out in a play off on hole 18, which had to be repeated 3 times, before ROW captain Tom got a hole in one to take home the first honours of the week! Each winning team member then received a highly sort after Beatles golf ball and Beatles bar of chocolate!
So on to the serious stuff tomorrow, here are the pairings for the first round foursomes:
Daly/Derrick (EUR) v Davies/Wainwright (ROW)
Murray/Gray A (EUR) v Heap/Corns (ROW)
Gray R/Attwell (EUR) v Riddell/Dzioba (ROW)
Copley/Broadbent (EUR) v O’Connor/Ansbro (ROW)
Loberman/Clifford (EUR) v Lyth/Lewis (ROW)
Harpum/Glennon (EUR) v Chequer/Prater (ROW)
It’s going to be a great first day. Check out Twitter for all the updates!
Season 16 Final Blog – Sunday 6 October 2019 – 1 day to go!
As I’m writing this the rain is coming down heavy, but hey better now than on Tuesday. A few of our Swingers are warming up together today at Wallasey GC where Swinger Roy Backhouse is hosting. This is what makes our golfing community so special – despite us forcing finalists to take a week out of their busy schedule (!) they are still determined to meet up early under their own steam for a social get together! Let’s hope the weather was kinder to them on the other side of the Mersey!
We spent our morning in meetings at various venues. First stop was Anfield, and even at 1030 on a Sunday morning it was busy with tourists! We then headed to Liberty Tavern in the beautiful village of Woolton. Tuesday’s going to be a really fun evening.
It was then back into the city where we set about choosing somewhere for a pre-dinner drink prior to the Art School Restaurant dinner on Wednesday. We’ve decided to take the finalists for a drink at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms, a very famous Liverpool pub where the Beatles once performed and where recently James Cordon filmed a Carpool Karaoke with Sir Paul McCartney. It also lays claim to having the most luxurious pub toilets in the world! Our guests can decide for themselves on Wednesday night!
Back at the hotel we met with Alex our transfers guy for the week. Alex also has some great stories on Liverpool, so it was an entertaining meeting!
We have two final meetings in the morning and then it will all begin. Here we go!
Season 16 Final Blog – Saturday 5 October 2019 – 2 days to go!
The morning was spent driving from Essex to Liverpool, whilst Luke had an even longer journey as he had to reload the car after yesterday’s event back at the office.
We arrived at the Titanic Hotel to be met by the Leicester City team departing for their match at Anfield. Disappointingly none of the autograph hunters asked for our signatures, so we sat down to our first meeting of the day with the hotel staff. We quickly ran through proceedings for the Monday night welcome buffet and then headed off to Southport and Ainsdale.
It was nice to be greeted by our good friend Jim Payne, the pro. Jim isn’t around for Tuesday as he’s off to play in an ex-Walker cup v ex-Ryder cup match at Deal tomorrow. But I’m looking forward to our finalists meeting him on Thursday. Jim always has some decent stories to tell, none that I can repeat here of course!
Following another meeting with the club catering team, we headed back to the Titanic Hotel to finally check in and unload all our event kit with the help of David, the concierge and big Man United fan. We’ve now spent a good couple of hours getting everything organised, packing the goody bags and labelling all the shirts ready for Monday. We have a really busy day tomorrow so the more we can do now the better.
Tonight Luke and I are going to check out Ghetto Golf in preparation for Monday and of course have our annual Milestone challenge, which we will report back on tomorrow! It will then be time to get some much needed sleep as it’s been a long couple of days. But we feel great that we are finally in position and a step closer to the off.
Our first finalist has arrived in Liverpool, and is apparently here in the hotel, though we’ve not seen him yet! I know there’s others travelling up or flying in tomorrow so it’s beginning to all take shape.
One final day of preparation left! Until tomorrow
Season 16 Final Blog – Friday 4 October 2019 – 3 days to go!
So after a drive to Essex in the pouring rain last night, we woke up amazingly to bright and dry conditions for our charity golf event at Benton Hall Golf Club. Today’s one of those days where we have needed to stay focused on the job in hand, as it’s big day – 76 players off 2 tees, and a very busy venue.
Luke and I have been chatting through our plans and hopes for next week and we both feel we have a great mix of new and old finalists who can make this a very special final. We can’t wait to especially meet our new finalists for the first times having seen them enter scores all summer. One of those finalists is Ray Lewis from Florida who we very briefly met at our West Lancs Society day back in September! Ray was coming over to play and stay with UK Swinger Steve Cooke, and as Steve was playing the day, Ray agreed to meet him at the club. What a great example of the amazing opportunities this programme provides – the opportunity to meet and make friends on your travels and experience different courses around the world. This is our Swingers family and long may it continue.
So with a long but rewarding day now complete, it’s time to head back to the hotel, rest up and get ready for the long drive to Liverpool in the morning. Our first meeting is at the Titanic Hotel at lunchtime before we head to Southport and Ainsdale to meet with our good friend Jim Payne. Jim used to be on the books of the golf management agency we worked for, and we spent many an event sharing fun and laughter with him, including an unforgettable final at Seignosse in France. It will be good to have Jim involved in a final again, all be it in very different circumstances!
Hopefully our finalists are also resting up this evening. Many start their journeys tomorrow, as we move ever closer to that first tee shot.
Season 16 Final Blog - Thursday 3 October 2019 - 4 days to go!
Today’s the day we switch off the lights at Swingers HQ, finish packing our cases and all our event gear and head off for another final.
It’s been another busy morning purchasing last minute stationary, printing all the documents and triple checking that everything is ready for the off. It does feel a bit strange that we are not heading to Gatwick or Heathrow and jumping on a long haul flight to somewhere hot, but we are equally as excited as normal. A UK final was long overdue, and all three previous UK finals have been fantastic occasions and we’ve no doubt that this one will be as well.
First though Luke and I have a charity golf event to run tomorrow in Essex which we are heading to this afternoon. It’s always a really rewarding but full on day, so it will definitely keep us busy with 18 holes and an evening dinner with auction, so hopefully lots of money raised for worthwhile causes.
Our two captains Mark and Tom have shared their final thoughts as they complete preparations prior to travelling to Liverpool (admittedly that’s not a very challenging journey for Mark!). You can read Mark’s thoughts on the Team EUROPE page and Tom’s on the Team ROW page.
Just by making it to the final, our 24 finalists have cemented their names in Swingers history. The class of S16 are ready to add some more records to what has become a really special annual event in our lives. Our working year builds up to this moment, so we are so excited. We are ready, I hope our finalists are too!
Season 16 Final Blog – Wednesday 2 October 2019 – 5 days to go!
Our quick daily check of the weather forecast this morning now shows a dry day Tuesday, morning showers Wednesday and dry Thursday. We will definitely take that, finger crossed it stays that way!
Today was our last full day in the office, and we’ve spent it reconfirming all our meetings for what is a busy weekend ahead. Tomorrow we leave for a charity golf day we are running in Essex on Friday. Now the weather there could be really interesting if the latest track for Hurricane (soon to be storm) Lorenzo is correct. Once that’s done, we rest up in Essex before driving up to Liverpool for a full afternoon of meetings around the city, which is then repeated on Sunday and again on Monday morning. With so many different venues making up this year’s final, there’s a lot of logistics to finalise so it’s going to be full on from tomorrow through to next Friday.
We’ve also spent the day previewing the Titanic Hotel and of course the two courses. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I do believe this is the first final ever to begin with a par 3, and an intriguing one at that especially if the wind is blowing as predicted. The foursomes will be very interesting with lots of pressure on that first tee shot – who will stand up and be counted?
I am sure our captains already have in their mind their preferred pairings, and tomorrow we will hear from both Tom and Mark on their final thoughts and hopes for next week, as they begin their packing like the rest of the finalists.
Season 16 Final Blog - Tuesday 1 October 2019 - 6 days to go!
It’s been another full on day at Swingers HQ as we enter the final stage of preparations for our departure. October is finally here, and although the weather is yet to improve (!) we are as excited as ever about next week.
80% of flights for this weekend are now booked and we just have a few final bits of admin including another request for menu choices! Tomorrow we hope to start the printing process before we then pack properly and head off via our charity day in Essex on Friday.
Weather forecasts are constantly checked on phones, and currently it’s looking quite positive with a dry day for our foursomes and showers for the fourballs and singles. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be breezy!
On twitter today, we’ve been previewing some of the venues we are visiting next week, not just the two amazing courses. We have adventure golf at the very unique Ghetto Golf on Monday, a private tour of Anfield and dinner at celebrity chef Simon Rimmer’s restaurant Liberty Tavern on Tuesday, dinner at the Michelen star Art School Restaurant on Wednesday and then we finish off on Thursday with dinner at Brazilian Steakhouse Fazenda on Thursday followed by a chance to let our hair down at the Cavern Club, spiritual home of the Beatles. That’s not forgetting our finalists will be staying at the stunning Titanic Hotel in the heart of Liverpool’s famous dockyards.
So whatever the weather can throw at us next week, it won’t stop our 24 finalists having fun and sharing laughter amongst new and old friends. Oh and of course there’s the small contest happening on the golf course – none of them are going to be put off trying to win the trophy by a bit of rain or wind!
Season 16 Final Blog – Monday 30 September 2019 – 7 days to go!
So for Luke and I, this is kind of it now. Our last three full days in the office making final changes and final preparations before we pack and head off to the Season 16 Final. Hopefully we rested well at the weekend!!
The ROW flights are coming through now, which then allows us to book all necessary transfers to and from the hotel. We also have another meal for all guests to pre-select, which makes us feel hungry every time we look at it!
This morning we finally picked up our remaining event kit and branding which has just returned from the US day – yes, it’s taken a little while (!), and we’ve tentatively began the long packing process.
Our two captains Tom and Mark have written their team bios and these can be viewed on their respective team pages, Team ROW and Team EUROPE.
There’s been a little bit of late drama in the ROW camp, as two unavoidable withdrawals have led to a couple of call ups, but those call ups certainly haven’t weakened the team in anyway. Unfortunately, Tobie De Jonge has been unable to obtain a visa in time. It was always going to be touch and go, and sadly the South African authorities haven’t been quick enough. In his place steps last year’s excellent ROW finalist Andre Wainwright. Although Tobie will be missed, Andre is another excellent golfer who proved a really popular team member last year, and Tom will certainly be grateful to have him in the mix.
An urgent work call up back in Botswana has also sadly forced Sean Henry to withdraw from the final, and we’ve gone slightly ‘leftfield’ for Sean’s replacement. Making his ROW debut is Lee Corns who narrowly missed out qualifying for Europe after an excellent performance in Division One. Lee is only too happy to swap blue for red and take on good pal Mark Attwell – you can only imagine what Lee will be like if he puts one over on his friend! For Tom, Lee is a great addition. A hardy single figure handicapper who will be a great competitor out on the course.
On paper there’s not a lot in the two teams, both with an average handicap of 12. I’d be lying if I didn’t think Team EUROPE were strong favourites on home soil on the two toughest courses we’ve ever played in a final, but weather can be a leveller and there’s certainly some weather around in the North West next week.
Tom and his team definitely won’t mind being underdogs. It’s going to be a fascinating contest, and it’s not far off now!
Season 16 Final Blog – Friday 27 September 2019 – 1 week to go!
It’s been another incredibly busy week as we continue what is a very short countdown to this year’ final! For Luke and myself, our final adventure actually starts next Thursday as we pack up and head to Liverpool via another golf day in Essex. It means we have to be particularly organised next week given we’ve just got the three full days! Exciting times.
We’ve had great feedback from both teams and other Swingers on our choice of captains, and I believe they have now been in contact with their teams and started their planning for what will be a very exciting week.
Our ROW team flights are currently being book by Flying Club, and once that and transfers have been organised, we can start our very last preparations before the off.
The weather has been particularly rubbish in the UK this last week, and although there’s every chance it will improve for Liverpool a week on Monday, there is a very distinct possibiity the elements will play a part! But that should make for exciting Links golf, and a challenge of the highest degree. We certainly say every final is different and the test that this one will provide for even the most experienced golfers will be like no other final before.
This week we’ve continued our look back at finals of old. Often, we talk about our favourite finals of the past and there really are four that particularly stand out in my mind. First up California in Season 5, our first team final in beautiful surroundings, with a sunset kayak excursion, BBQ on the cliff, and of course a play-off – unforgettable! Next up, Miami in Season 9! Another incredible location, a great bunch of finalists, that incredible speedboat ride down Miami beach and the night at Soho house. Thirdly, Sun City in South Africa – probably the final where everyone came together as one, the amazing safari, African drumming, braai and a dramatic conclusion to the golf. And finally, last year – two amazing courses, another great set of finalists, and a Vegas backdrop.
Every final has special memories and although Liverpool cannot compete with the glamour of Vegas or the weather of Miami, what it does have is history, a fantastic buzz and numerous courses (of which we are playing two) which are as good as anywhere in the world.
We can’t wait to add another piece of Swingers history to the record books, and from Monday onwards our blog will go daily all the way up to and through the final.
Rest well finalists, we are almost there!
Season 16 Final - Monday 23 September 2019 - 2 weeks to go!
Last week was a little bit crazy as we fitted about four weeks of planning into one, but this week having got ahead of ourselves, we can begin to focus on the finer points as we spend our last whole week in the office before heading to Liverpool! Wow!
Our team shirts have arrived and we have tweeted pics alongside our caps today! Having returned to Glenmuir this year, we have gone back to our traditional colours of blue for Europe with navy caps and Red for ROW with white caps.
Dirty Dog sunglasses with ROW and EUROPE etched on the lens have also arrived – let’s hope the Liverpool weather requires them!
The final bag tags have been posted out late last week, and should be landing on door steps as we speak (!) and of course most important of all are the itineraries which every finalist now has a copy of. It’s a really varied itinerary of restaurants and tours this year, and it’s amazing how much we are managing to fit into four days. As previous finalists will know, the week is certainly not about rest and relaxation! We want you to go home feeling like you’ve experienced something amazing which might take you a few days to get over!!
For now, however, we turn our thoughts to our chosen captains. Our two captains for this final are two of the most respected Swingers within our league who have consistently performed year on year in their respective top divisions.
First up is our host captain Mark Attwell. Mark is playing in his third final having represented Europe at Gleneagles in Season 10 and in Barbados in Season 11. Mark has competed every season since Season 4, until he suffered a nasty injury last year which saw him miss nearly the whole season. He’s an extremely competitive golfer who will be a great leader for a European team made up of a real mix of vast Swingers experience and rookies, and his calm leadership mixed with a wicked sense of humour will create a great atmosphere within the camp. What’s more he has the experience of winning a home Swingers final having played in the last one on UK soil! He has also locked horns with our chosen ROW captain at both of his previous final appearances, so it was a natural selection.
Our ROW captain this year is Tom Riddell. Tom is making an incredible 7th final appearance this year, having represented ROW at Manor House in Season 7, Orlando in Season 8, Gleneagles in Season 10, Barbados in Season 11, Sun City in Season 13 and Orlando again in Season 14, There’s not many who can match his experience of Swingers finals, and again importantly Tom has played in two UK finals before, including one which ROW won! Tom is another calming influence, who plays golf at the highest level, and will command the respect of his team mates, 5 of whom are rookies.
Both Mark and Tom are two guys that have been on our Swingers journey with us every step of the way over the last 12 years and we look forward to working with them to help create some more special memories for all 24 finalists in Liverpool.
You can read Marks’s initial thoughts here and Tom’s here.
Have a great week Swingers. We will be back with another blog next week as our captains preview their teams in the run up to Liverpool!
Season 16 Final Blog – Tuesday 17 September 2019 – 3 weeks to go!
WOW! It’s been a crazy few days at Swingers HQ as we face the challenge of our tightest ever turn around between season end and final – just 4 weeks in total! And as I write this, we are now just 3 weeks until the first tee shots of the S16 Final have been cracked down the middle of the fairway (hopefully!)
It’s been another exciting season, our 16th – can you believe it?! Our four UK society days have been incredible, and saw us sell out all 4 days in approximately 18 hours. As our regular attendees know, these days are really special and epitomise everything that we stand for – friendship, fun, good competitive golf and of course that unique ‘Swingers spirit’. Well done Swingers Family!
Our season also saw a return to a US day on the East Coast. Although a small day, it was a lot of fun and we enjoyed meeting new Swingers from across the pond, and of course witnessing something very special from much loved Swinger, Leon Loberman.
We also experienced two Gold days, with our first Northern day at Carden Park, so it’s been as busy as ever, whilst all the time the league ticked along and the leaderboards took shape.
We ended the season by beating our record number of scores, an incredible achievement in a season that was a good 3-4 weeks shorter overall. We have more new Swingers taking part than ever before, and many new Swingers attending our society days. We also have a healthy number of rookies at the final, all great signs for the future of what we still strongly believe is the most unique amateur golfing network in the world!
So now after a hectic last few weeks, our focus firmly fixes on our first UK final in six years, and yet again it’s a final unlike anything we’ve done before. We are staying at what we consider the finest hotel in Liverpool – The Titanic Hotel with amazing rooms in a unique dockland setting, whilst playing arguably two of the finest and undoubtedly toughest courses we’ve ever played a final at. First off, former Ryder Cup venue Southport & Ainsdale which will see our foursomes and singles rounds, and sandwiched in between is the tasty prospect of a round at what is often described as the best course in England, Open Championship venue Royal Birkdale.
Last year’s final in Vegas really was special, and Liverpool has every chance of being just as memorable. If all 24 finalists embrace the true spirit of Swingers, yet more life time friendships and memories will be made, and that is essentially what it is all about.
Of the lucky 24 finalists, 10 are experiencing their first ever final, whilst only 4 are returning from Vegas, so it’s a really healthy mix. The captains will be announced on Monday (23rd September). Once more, we know who they are, but we want to give them their own moment of glory next week.
Following that, in due course, our captains will present their teams properly but for now here are the two teams to contest the S16 Final EUROPE v REST OF THE WORLD in Liverpool between 7-11 October 2019:
TEAM EUROPE (handicaps as of 8.9.19 in brackets)
Mark Attwell (8)
Steve Broadbent (6)
Alan Clifford (18)
George Copley (7)
Ken Daly (7)
Martin Derrick (18)
Steve Glennon (10)
Andrew Gray (14)
Rebecca Gray (13)
Roger Harpum (10)
Leon Loberman (24)
Scott Murray (7)
TEAM ROW (handicaps as of 8.9.19 in brackets)
Christy Ansbro (18)
Gary Chequer (14)
Andrew Davies (18)
Tobie De Jonge (10)
Karl Dzioba (15)
Clinton Heap (11)
Sean Henry (15)
Ray Lewis (10)
Andrew Lyth (4)
Brian O’Connor (16)
Steve Prater (9)
Tom Riddell (13)
Welcome to the build-up of the S16 Final!
Season 16 Final - 7 - 11 October 2019
At the end of our Season the top 11 Rest of the World Swingers and the top 11 European Swingers will compete in a Europe v Rest of the World Team Final on the North West coast of England in October 2019.
The final will take place on two world renowned courses, Open venue Royal Birkdale GC, and former Ryder Cup venue Southport and Ainsdale GC, with accoomodation* provided in either Liverpool or Manchester*.
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 16 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.
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.”
“to 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 16 Final, each individual Flying Club Swinger must have completed a minimum amount of flight activity between the dates of Tuesday 25 September 2018 and Monday 9 September 2019.
This flight activity can include Virgin Atlantic Reward flights and Miles Plus Money flights, together with Transatlantic Codeshare flights (marketed by Virgin Atlantic, but operated by Delta Air Lines - using a VS flight prefix) between 25 September 2018 and 9 September 2019 (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 S16 Final). Please note one sector is classed as one long-haul outbound or 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 S16) - 2 long-haul sectors
Two consecutive finals (S15 and S16) - 3 long-haul sectors
Three consecutive finals (S14, S15 and S16) - 4 long-haul sectors
Four consecutive finals (S13, S14, S15 and S16) - 5 long-haul sectors
Five consecutive finals or more (S12, S13, S14, S15, and S16) - 6 long-haul 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 9 September 2019. 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 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 full split can be seen here.
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 full split can be seen here.
For further information see the FAQs or terms and conditions
*hotel to be confirmed