French Riviera Masters

This is the final full field event for the 2015 European Senior Tour.

The Terre Blanche Golf Resort and Spa is located roughly 1 hour west of Nice in a beautiful area highly regarded for producing excellent wine.

One of the nicest views and the one featured on the scorecard for “Le Chateau” course is looking at the 6th hole with the castle up the hill in the background, which apparently was formerly owned by Sean Connery.

The golf course is a wonderful design similar to courses at home but with hilly terrain and rocky ground similar to Portugal.  The ground is so firm my feet became really sore after playing the first day and I also experience severe shin splints on both legs.  This resulted in an adjustment to my preparations with a practice round the next day (much later than usual and following some extensive self administered laser treatments) as well as my practice day on Thursday (more laser treatments and very little walking) to aid in recovery.

Unlike the Champions Tour in the United States the European Senior Tour is a walking tour.  Both the players and caddies must walk with no riding of power carts.  The only exception to that rule is here at Terre Blanche for the practice rounds.  The reason is there are not enough caddies available for all the players on the practice round days and the course is again so hilly and rock-hard under foot.  There are also some significant climbs from some of the greens to the next tee and with significant distance between them.  So during the tournament a shuttle cart is used to transport everyone in these areas.  In retrospect I wish I had utilize a cart for the practice round on Tuesday instead of walking.  I figured walking after a long flight the day before would be the best way to get over the jet lag and become accustom to everything.  It worked all the other times I come overseas, just not this time.  So I rode in a cart on Wednesday and will do so next time I am here for practice rounds.

The weather usually is exceptional in this area however this year there is a lot of rain in the forecast.  The course received a significant amount of rain on Monday and it has rained heavy since just before midnight on Thursday and has not stopped through early morning Friday.  The result is that the course is playing much longer than usual and the green speeds which are around 9.5 on the speed meter (stimpmeter) are slower as well.

The consequence of all this rainfall is that the first round has just now been cancelled and the event will be a 36 hole competition and the pro am portion will be only 18 holes.

There is no opportunity to have a Monday finish with so many players flying in from all across the globe and the scheduled return flights on the Sunday night or Monday morning.  Some players would miss connecting flights and be stuck for a few days more before catching a flight home.  It would be a logistics mess to try and extend play, not to mention all the field staff and people associated with conducting the event and their travel plans.

So it will be nice to have today off with an opportunity now to catch up on some business matters (there always seems to be something going on back home) and planning/booking everything for the next few months of tournaments.

In closing a quick shout out to all the guys from grade school and hockey teammates from upwards of 50 years ago, who are getting together this weekend in Niagara Falls for a reunion of sorts and some golf thrown in.

Have a great time and toast one for me!