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Joburg Open – a couple of tips from the old boys

by | Dec 6, 2017

Tom Buckle

With this week’s Joburg Open at Randpark in mind and us fans wanting to see plenty of sub-par blitzes, I feel like me and some of my old buddies can help the cause by giving the pros some valuable advice. Look, I don’t want to sound arrogant but we do have a solution to knocking a shot or two off any given round, whether it be by current hot-shot Dylan Frittelli, big-hitting Dean Burmester or even Major winner Louis Oosthuizen.

So who are “we”. Well, we are the TATS, which is a club within the Randpark club. We consist of about 40 or 50 older guys a club who play every Tuesday and Thursday morning (and often a whole lot more, and I mean a whole bunch more). There’s no doubt that at least a handful of the chaps know Randpark’s two courses – Firethorn and Bushwillow – like the back of their hands. And most importantly, they know the exact lines and exact speed of the putts. And we all know that in golf you drive for dough and putt for dough. So, yes, they can show Louis and Dylan and Dean a thing or two.

Take 68-year-old golf fanatic Tom Buckle, for instance. He played no less than 319 rounds of golf last year and is already up to 336 this year (pretty much one round a day on average), most of these at Randpark (including, as an aside, three hole-in-ones in 2017). Does he know precisely where to putt on Firethorn and Bushwillow? You bet he does. And the same applies to Koos Loots, 73, past club captain and president. He’s still one pretty good golfer and he regularly rolls in putts from all over the place at Randpark – not surprisingly since he’s got to know the greens so well in the 39 years he’s been a member.

Our long-serving TATS committee hierarchy, Scot Doug Millar and Jurie van der Nest, both have developed an intimate knowledge of the greens over many years. And they’ve both got natural touch, anyway. I often think that if some of the pros could putt as well as still fit Doug, who’s 81 and regularly snakes in 20 and 30-footers, they’d make a lot more money than they are doing right now.

So Louis, Dylan and Dean. Clearly, you may be star golfers but, as good as you are, you’ll always be delighted to be able to shoot one or two shots less per round. And in the case of the Joburg Open, it might be a good idea to speak to one of us – like Tom or Koos or Doug or Jurie, especially when it comes to deciphering speed and break on those big, tricky Firethorn greens, some of which are full of slope. A fee? Well, I’m sure something can be negotiated.

I do know that from tomorrow, us TATS standing behind the ropes will be watching the pros lining up their putts and saying to ourselves: ‘He might be able to hit 300-metre drives, but – no doubt about it – he’s going left edge on that putt, and it’s definitely right edge. Doug would have popped that in with his eyes closed, but this pro’s going to miss it. You can bet your bloody life on it.’ 

By Grant Winter (Randpark member)

 

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