Over the past 2 years John Radcliffe has been the Captain at MGCC and we have taken this moment to know him a bit better as a golfer as well as his impressions of this period.
1. Highlights during your 2-year captaincy;
I´ve thoroughly enjoyed my two-year stint as Captain unfortunately the last 6 months of my Captaincy have been hit by Coronavirus and the course was closed for 11 weeks but at least now we are back playing our game and mixing socially. There have been many highlights and laughs both on and off the course over the last two years and I´m proud of the members and their ability to enjoy each other’s company whilst playing their round and also on the terrace après golf.
The Ryder Cup has always been my favourite tournament at the club, it brings together most of the members who tend to be in Spain in November and there are always some interesting match ups over the two-day tournament – there is always competitive spirit and plenty of banter. The tournament has evolved over the years and is now a President´s pick versus the Captain´s pick. Ray, our President, has always gone for the best players to be his first picks whilst I always tend to go for the ladies who play great match play golf off competitive handicaps– needless to say the Captain´s team won on both occasions – get smarter Ray!
2. Best memory on the course;
Without a shadow of doubt my proudest moment was holing a putt on 16, the fourth par 3 on the course to record four 2´s in one round by birdying every par three. I was playing with Lee Twyman who is our best club golfer (apologies to all our other great low handicap golfers) and I think he was even more excited than me. It was great to find out that I was the first player to do it at Marbella but as usual there was a downside when I did the prize presentation that day and found out that there were no less than 13 2´s which cut my winnings down a fair bit!
3. Best advice for a first-time player at MGCC;
Be patient, don´t get down on yourself if you have a bad start and play smart course-management golf – there are plenty of times when I´ve had 4 or 5 points after 5 holes and then all of a sudden something clicks and the points start to mount up. There are several holes where there is a significant difference in height from the fairway to the green so take at least one extra club especially on 15 which seems pretty innocuous looking up to the green from the fairway but there are two vicious bunkers below the green and if you’re short you will be in them - it brings double bogey into play. When you get to the green look back down the fairway and the difference in height is much more noticeable than from the fairway.
4. Favorite hole at MGCC and tips/tricks how to play it;
Without a doubt the 8th hole – a par-4, stroke index 14. You can be having an awful day but when you stand on the tee on a sunny day the views over the Mediterranean to the north coast of Africa are beautiful and it tends to relax us all a bit and instantly reminds us of why we choose to live in Spain.
A straight drive down the middle goes a long way downhill and leaves pretty much no more than a wedge into the green which slopes away from you. Alternatively, you can be having a great day – you stand on the tee and admire the view BUT if you aren´t straight down the middle you’re in trouble. Too far left and its out of bounds and a reload from the tee whilst too far right is a lateral hazard and its off to the drop zone. That tee shot has ruined a good round for many a good player and of course it is one of those holes that tends to get in your head if you’re not in good form.
5. An item that you always have to find in your golf bag;
I can´t do without these things – a large bottle of cold water, a can of Diet Coke, a ham and cheese or tuna sandwich and my range finder – I know pretty much how far I hit my iron clubs (usually) and that is the one thing I can´t do without. Another essential for me is the ball marker and a marker pen – I´m one of those who just cannot putt unless I have a straight line drawn on my ball and when I´m putting I aim the line where I want to hit my putt, by doing that it takes line completely out of the equation and I can concentrate on hitting the ball at the right pace to get to the hole.