Golf Seniors Tour

Life on the Senior’s Tour

by Steve Aisbett

Well I turned 50 in June, and the first tournament I was eligible to play in was the Starwood Classic, a 72 hole event in Fiji played at Denarau golf course and the spectacular Natadola Bay Golf Course. Not a bad excuse to get away from a Sydney winter,27 degrees every day and thankfully not too much wind.

The Seniors event was taken out by local Krishna Singh who handled the local greens better than most. A 5th place finish was a little disappointing after the way I hit it, but the main thing is I beat the very experienced Alan May (fellow TGC pro) who finished tied 7th. Maybe more Kava next year Alan!

Next tournament was the 54 hole Samoan Open, run by the NSW PGA. I turn up at Fiji Airport at 6am for my hour flight to Samoa with 8 other golf pros, and the lady behind the counter says”You are the golfers who were supposed to be going to Samoa today”!! Not a nice greeting after hearing Bulla a thousand times this week. Apparently Fiji Airlines only had a smaller plane to go to Samoa, so with no call or email we were bumped from the plane and told we were flying Thursday. Problem being it was Monday morning and the Samoa Open started Tuesday. After 2 hours of haggling, Fiji Airways flew us to Auckland, where we had a 8 hours stop over then on to Samoa on Virgin Airways arriving at 11pm!. There goes my practice round.

The Samoa Open was played at the very challenging Penina Golf Course. Miss the fairway and you’re in jungle, with par4s all over 430 metres, it was a great test of golf. A poor last nine of the tournament dropped me to 8th position, ruing back to back doubles during a tropical downpour.(It never rained for 15 years I was in Dubbo)

Next stop Pre Qualifying for the Senior British open, which was played in Wales. Travelling companion Peter Jones (club pro Muirfield) and I were allocated Southerndown, a great links course perched on a hill overlooking the ocean. Aah Links golf!, landing the ball 60 metres short and running it up, no sand irons here off a tight lie, get the Texas wedge out son.

So 4 days of playing Southerndown, I felt I was ready to play well, especially after playing with a couple of Champion Tour players from the States. After a nervous start I managed to get to 2under after 10 holes, but two tee shots slightly of the fairway found the gorse, where you can’t find your ball. That left me standing on the 18th tee 1 over needing a Par to get in. The 18th hole is a 410 metre Par 4 ,elevated tee, back into the wind, gorse either side of the fairway and I hadn’t hit the fairway all week in practice with my driver.So I hit 1 iron safe into the fairway leaving me another 1 iron to the green, which I hit pin high. A nice chip down the slope failed to run out now leaving me 8 feet downhill right to left and the wind at 40 knotts left to right. I hit the putt at the right lip, and as it lost speed, it caught the left lip and spun out and sat on the back edge. Now I had to wait another 7 hours as the last group came in 7pm,to find out that from 435 Senior golfers looking for 38 spots in the tournament, I missed by one shot.!!! So I spent the next couple of days walking around Royal Porthcawl watching Langer ,Watson ,Couples and Montgomerie.

Lesson learnt, work less practice more! I stood next to Tom Watson on the practice fairway for 2 hours and he never missed a shot and he’s 65.

August saw the Senior Tour travel to Queensland where Alan May and I started at Hervey Bay. Scores of 71 73 had me in a tie for 5th with Rodger Davis, and Alan tied 15th. We then played at Pelican Waters, Wynnum, Carbrook (where they have sharks in their dam) and Redland Bay.

After 23 years of not playing tournament golf I realise I have to work harder on all facets of my game.

Anyone interested in playing any Senior Pro Ams the tour starts again in Sydney in 4 weeks’ time?