A Golfing Moment Lives On


I had the pleasure of visiting the Concession Golf Club recently. Now you dont have to be smart to be on television, sorry colleagues, but its true. This fact was evidently clear upon my visit. Its a Jacklin/Nicklaus design, and it wasnt until about the fourth hole, a tricky little par 3 for the record, having seen the Ryder Cup plaques dotted about the place, that it actually dawned on me how they came to the rather unique name. Ryder Cup back in 1969 at Royal Birkdale, Tony Jacklin, Jack Nicklaus . The Concession say no more.
Anyhow its a delightful spot, hidden away from prying eyes, the course has a real mixture. At times I felt I was certainly in Florida, but then on holes 8 and 9 I could have been in North Carolina. Later I looked across at one hole and had the feeling of Hankley Common, a Southern English masterpiece. Jack himself rates some of the holes as among his best, and he means it, the course is designed for good, maybe dare I say professional players, and the best of them will be tested from the back tees, measuring a smidgen under 7500 yards. The length will make them work, the greens will make them work even harder, patience is tested, especially when made to look foolish by putting the ball off the green, an occurrence which can easily happen when the superintendent wants to truly test you.
Theres a multi-million dollar clubhouse planned, homes are springing-up, but mostly not on the course, which I like, and golfers are few and far between - this is ultra-private. Memberships run upwards of $100,000 and there was even a Paul Azinger sighting when I was there, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain makes his home in the area.
Completing the club is a brand new Jonathan Yarwood Golf Academy. Yarwood has spent time at the IMG Academy in Bradenton and at the Ritz Carlton Members Club, which is just down the round from Concession, now he seems happy inside the large iron gates of this Nicklaus/Jacklin masterpiece. Yarwood has been the long-time coach of Michael Campbell and looks after a slew of other professionals, who all seem keen to visit him at the new base - I wonder why especially those from the United Kingdom.
Well see how Concession develops, hopefully not under any clouds of economic slow-down, but hopefully under clouds of dust from the new clubhouse and homes. Maybe one day well see clouds of dust trailing behind fans coming to the competition which paved the way for the moment that gave the place its name - theres no doubt with a little time to mature, the lay-out is deserved of such a showdown.
From Hackney to Hall
This weekend on Golf Central youll have the chance to see a story about Lisa Hall. You may be more familiar with Lisa when I tell you she used to be Lisa Hackney (shes since adopted her married name, Martin Hall, coach to Morgan Pressel and others, is her hubby).
I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Martin and Lisa at Ibis Golf and Country Club back in the beginning of the year. I must say as Lisa began to tell me the incredible story of her career I became more and more fascinated with whats happened to her, and more importantly how shes been able to recover her game from the doldrums. Thankfully she didnt have to battle injury or personal tragedy, but she did have to deal with the fact that her ability to shoot low or even decent scores, totally deserted her. This is a lady who played on the European Solheim Cup team and was the Rolex Rookie of the Year on the LPGA Tour in 1997. Her fight back and the story of how she managed to get a second wind on the LET is remarkable.
For those of you that follow the womens game, youll know Lisa has now won three times in the last 12 months, shes well on the way to making the Solheim Cup in 2009, and if she does indeed done the uniform next summer, itll be a gap of some 11 years since her last outing for the Europeans.
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