The stunning links at Prince's Golf Club on the Kent Coast plays host to our Season 2 Final this November
Season 2 Final - Summary
What a fantastic couple of days we had last week. It was so nice to be able to finally run a team Final after all the challenges of the last couple of years. We hoped we would witness two teams of individuals come together to form friendships and bonds, and we weren’t disappointed. Those who took part will understand what we mean when we say there’s just something special about a team Final. Before last week Team Portrush and Team Troon meant nothing to anyone, by the weekend it felt like they both had real identity!
They were led superbly by two fitting captains. Simon Hudson we know is a passionate ‘heart on the sleeve’ guy who’s loyalty to the programme is there for all to see. We had no doubt he would lead from the front again and he did so and more. Simon threw everything into the two days and his disappointment on the loss shows just how much it meant to him. Don’t lose that passion Simon!
David was also an inspirational captain. He led his team superbly and they responded by putting in a great performance over the two days. David has always been a great supporter and he thoroughly deserved to be captain made all the more special by securing the winning point for his team. The whole event clearly meant a lot to David and that makes us feel like we are heading in the right direction with Linksnet and gives us added incentive to make Season 3 bigger and better.
It was great to meet so many new faces at Prince's. Of the 12 finalists only Simon, Leon and Dave had ever played in one of our team Finals before. Out of the remaining 9, 7 were regulars from our Network Days and there were two new faces – Gavin and Jordan. They both gelled with the group superbly and each brought something special to their teams.
It was also great to have two wives join us on our partners package. It’s definitely something we want to do more of and again it added a really nice dynamic to the event. Thank you Stacey and Tracey!
So as the curtain falls on the inaugural Final, we look forward to finally signing off Season 2 this week with our Bushnell Matchplay Pairs Final on the Dukes Course at Woburn on Thursday. Our Southern champions Danny Kendall and Jon Bromley take on our Northern champions Steve O’Keeffe and Duncan Whitehead. It’s sure to be an intriguing battle and we look forward to covering it live.
Plans are well underway for Season 3 and we will be shortly announcing some exciting dates for your diary as well as regular updates throughout the winter on our plans for the league season in the New Year.
Thanks again for all your support this year and here’s to a great Season 3 and 2022!
DAY ONE GREENSOMES
Weathers/Thompson (Troon) beat Ryley/Cooksley (Portrush) 3&2
Loberman/Woods (Portrush) beat Nice/McRae (Troon) by 1 hole
Andrews/Featherstone (Portrush) beat Hudson/Edmunds 3&2
DAY ONE SCORE: PORTRUSH 2 TROON 1
DAY TWO SINGLES
Ryley (Portrush) beat Hudson (Troon) by 1 hole
Nice (Troon) beat Andrews (Portrush) 5&4
Cooksley (Portrush) beat McRae (Troon) 6&4
Weathers (Troon) beat Featherstone (Portrush) by 1 hole
Thompson (Troon) beat Loberman (Portrush) 4&3
Woods (Portrush) beat Edmunds (Troon) 7&5
DAY TWO SCORE: PORTRUSH 3 TROON 3
OVERALL SCORE: PORTRUSH 5 TROON 4
NEAREST THE PIN 1 – Stuart Nice
NEAREST THE PIN 2 – Jordan Edmunds
NEAREST THE PIN 3 – Glyn Andrews
LONGEST DRIVE – Alan Thompson
PORTRUSH PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT – Dave Woods
TROON PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT - Stuart Nice
Season 2 Final - Day 2
What a fantastic finish to our inaugural Final! After a fun dinner last night, we were greeted with sunshine this morning but with a strong breeze which made things more challenging out on the course.
Portrush went into the day one point to the good and things started well for them again with David Cooksley earning them the first point with a 6&4 victory over Troon’s Neil McRae. Troon however reduced the deficit back to one point as Stuart Nice won his big match against an under the weather Glyn Andrews 5&4, but it was still a fine performance from Stuart.
Portrush’s David Woods stormed to victory against Jordan Edmunds 7&5 whilst some excellent golf from Alan Thompson ensured a 4&3 victory for Troon over Leon Loberman.
Still one point separated the two and with Troon’s Simon Weathers edging a fantastic battle with Gavin Featherstone by 1 hole, the scores were tied leaving fittingly the two captains to decide the trophy.
And what a match this was as David Ryley and Simon Hudson took it all the way to the 18th. Simon held a huge putt on 15th to go 1up. The 16th was halved before Simon found trouble on the 17th giving the hole to David meaning it was all square going down 18. Simon hit a monster drive whilst David also was in a great position. Simon overhit his pitch to the green and David ended up winning the hole to win 1 up and securing the match for his team 5 points to 4!
It was an incredible finish by two great captains. Simon’s enthusiasm has been infectious all season, but it was also great to see David, one of our most loyal members, beaming with pride as he lifted the trophy for his team.
Back in the clubhouse there were prizes for Nearest the Pin for yesterday – one for Stuart Nice and one for Jordan Edmunds, whilst Nearest the Pin today went to Glyn Andrews. We also had a Longest Drive today which went to Alan Thompson. All four winners won a bottle of Hayman’s Gin.
Each captain also had to choose their Player of the Tournament. Simon chose Troon’s Stuart Nice for his storming win over Glyn, whilst David chose Portrush’s Dave Woods for his 100% record. Both Stuart and David won a Bushnell Edge GPS watch.
It was then left to the captains to hand out prizes to their team – Camelbak bottles for team Troon and a pair of Skechers Golf shoes for each of the winning team members of team Portrush. All our finalists also received souvenir pin flags which were duly signed by all their fellow players.
Congratulations to David and his Portrush team and thank you to both David and Simon for being such great captains.
Thank you to everyone who took part in our Final, the sponsors and of course Prince's Golf Club. In addition thank you to all of you who have taken part this season often in challenging circumstances with COVID restrictions and some pretty poor weather!
We will back for a Season 3 very soon, and look out for some special news on a festive event in the weeks ahead!
Season 2 Final - Day 1
It’s been a fantastic first day in the inaugural Linksnet Final with some superb golf played by our 12 finalists.
The morning started with rousing speeches from our two captains – David Ryley and Simon Hudson and the presentation of the team jackets and caps. After the customary team photos, our finalists converged on the first tee to support their team mates.
First out was Portrush Captain David Ryley and David Cooksley who were taking on Troon’s Simon Weathers and Alan Thompson. It proved a great day for Simon and Alan who ran out comfortable winners playing some great golf. The two Davids also played well but the shot difference proved too much in the end with Alan and Simon winning 3&2.
Troon’s Captain Simon Hudson playing with Jordan Edmunds also lost their match, despite glimpses of a comeback on the back nine. In the end Glyn Andrews and Gavin Featherstone ran out comfortable winners 3&2.
Match of the day however was Leon Loberman and Dave Woods versus Stuart Nice and Neil McRae. Leon and Dave used their shots well to hold a comfortable lead for two thirds of the round and with four to play were four up. Stuart then holed a crazy 60ft putt which inspired a fantastic come back forcing the match down the last. In the end Leon and Dave held their nerve to close out the match and give Team Portrush a narrow 2-1 lead going into the Singles tomorrow.
Tonight we will enjoy dinner in the Lodge and look forward to a great climax on the Dunes and Himalayas as we crown our first ever champions!
Season 2 Final - 1 Day to Go
The goody bags are packed, the team kit has arrived and we are packing up ready for our first Linksnet team Final!
Princes is such a fantastic venue and we are really delighted to be hosting it across it’s amazing 27 holes. The forecast seems to be set fair although who knows when you play golf on the coast! There’s very little wind tomorrow but a healthy breeze on Friday to make the singles even more exciting.
Our two captains are ready, we know they’ve been talking to their teams and we can’t wait to hear their pairings in the morning.
Look out for regular updates across social media, live scoring and reports each evening.
This is the start of a whole new era and we are excited to see how the first Final unfolds over the coming days.
Good luck to our final twelve and safe travels down to Kent in the morning.
Season 2 Final - 2 Days to Go
With just two days to go we turn our attention to the Friday Singles round and the Dunes nine holes at Prince's as our first team Final reaches it's climax.
This fabulous nine takes you out towards Royal St. Georges before heading back to the clubhouse.
Hole 1 Par 4 440 Yards
One of the toughest Par 4's at Prince's presents a tough test for all golfers. The fairway doglegs sharply right to left meaning tee shots played to the left leave the shortest approach shots but beware, trouble awaits off the fairway. The green, shaped like an upturned saucer is particularly hard to hold. The recommended play when missing this green is to take a putter, reducing the risk of chipping over the other side! Par is a brilliant score here.
Hole 2 Par 3 155 Yards
A short Par 3 played over a picturesque landscape presents an elevated green with three deep bunkers surrounding it. A sharp runoff to the left of the green leaves an awkward chip back up to the green which slopes left to right. Hitting the middle of the green is always a good shot here.
Hole 3 Par 5 527 Yards
This Par 5 offers players a great birdie opportunity but has plenty of challenges. Players must decide whether they can carry the two fairway bunkers and be wary of the out of bounds to the right. Once navigated players will find an extremely undulating fairway and a green guarded by a deep bunker short left of the green. A flattish green provides a great opportunity to make any eagle/birdie putts.
Hole 4 Par 4 408 Yards
An accurate tee shot is required to begin this Par 4 in order to avoid the fairway bunkers either side. The real challenge of this hole is the approach shot which is played uphill to a semi-blind green. Taking an extra club is advised here with two extremely deep bunkers awaiting any approaches hit short right. A pulled approach compensating for this will find the runoff to the left of the green. A four is a great score here.
Hole 5 Par 4 394 Yards
Players are best served playing their tee shot just inside the large sleepered bunker in the distance avoiding the two deep bunkers to the right. This sets up an uphill approach which will punish any pushed approaches. The recommended play here is take an extra club and play to the left which will feed the ball back onto the green.
Hole 6 Par 5 495 Yards
This reachable Par 5 presents a great birdie opportunity to all players. The ideal line off the tee is achieved by aiming at the two pot bunkers in the distance. This offers the best view of an elevated green guarded by a large bunker short right and a sharp slope to the left. A ridge separates the green from front to back and makes club selection key in order to make a birdie.
Hole 7 Par 4 357 Yards
This short Par 4 is not to be taken lightly. Deep bunkers lie each side of the fairway to punish wayward shots and players typically face an unseen lie for their approach. The relatively flat green provides an opportunity to aim at the pin on your approach. A birdie here sets up nicely for a tough finish.
Hole 8 Par 3 198 Yards
The longest Par 3 at Prince's is a challenge to all levels of golfer. The ideal tee shot is played out to the right avoiding the deep bunker placed to the front left of the green. Shots will feed into the green from the right hand side and offer the best opportunity to make par on this tough Par 3.
Hole 9 Par 4 462 Yards
The back tees pose a considerable challenge on this long par 4. The first bunker on the right is the main trouble to avoid on this hole with a straight drive leading to a mid/long iron approach with a bunker short left and a runoff to the right of the green ready to punish a wayward approach. A Par here would be a great finish to your round or a big boost heading into the back 9.
Season 2 Final - 3 Days to Go
We are now in Finals week so what better way to start things off than to take a closer look at what awaits the 12 lucky finalists at Prince's. Today, we focus on the Greensomes round 18 holes - the Himalayas and the Shore nines.
Without tempting fate, the forecast looks good for the back end of the week. Fingers crossed that doesn't change!
We start our Final on the re-imagined Himalaya’s nine – arguably the ‘jewel in the crown’ at Prince's. It’s a fantastic way to kick things off, and given we are playing Greensomes on day one, we are also playing the Himalayas again on day two so everyone can experience it playing their own ball!
Hole 1 Par 4 377 yards
The opening hole on the Himalayas offers a very generous driving area but beware of the tiny pot bunker in the middle of the fairway. Once this tee shot has been negotiated a mid iron shot awaits to a smallish green. Accuracy is key with the second shot as out of bounds lies to the left of the green and a sleepered bunker will catch those miss hit second shots.
Hole 2 Par 5 575 Yards
The lone fir tree is the ideal line on this dramatic Par 5. Longer hitters can be brave and try to carry the wetlands on the left setting up a chance at hitting the green in two. A tight lay-up area requires precision to avoid the waiting bunkers and sandscrapes, setting up a short approach to a green which slopes gently from front to back. A Par is always a respectable score here.
Hole 3 Par 4 372 Yards
Players are greeted on their way to the tee by a spitfire propeller, commemorating Laddie Lucas who force-landed his spitfire on this hole during World War II. Typically played into the prevailing wind, players are tested off the tee with wetlands and bunkers lying each side of the fairway. The approach shot into this double green requires good distance control, but be aware missing the green to either side can leave a virtually impossible up and down.
Hole 4 Par 4 433 Yards
This long demanding Par 4 offers a great view of the sea and also the trouble that awaits them. Longer hitters should favour the left side of the fairway to avoid the three deep fairway bunkers. This long, thin greens demands an accurate approach with either side of the green sloping away from the surface, leaving a treacherous chip. Par is a brilliant score here.
Hole 5 Par 3 133 Yards
Bloody Point is the signature Par 3 at Prince's and poses a challenge to golfers despite being the shortest hole on the course. The raised green is defended by steep run off areas on all sides and a deep pot bunker. An undulating green slopes from right to left meaning approach shots hit to the left of the pin will provide the best chance for birdie.
Hole 6 Par 5 556 Yards
This demanding Par 5 presents one of the toughest tee shots at Prince's. Players must avoid the two deep bunkers positioned to the left of the fairway with wetlands collecting drives played too far to the right. Once this has been navigated two good shots are still required to hit the large green which has a raised ledge on the left hand side, sloping down towards a flat section protected by two pot bunkers. A par here is a very good score!
Hole 7 Par 3 190 Yards
This demanding Par 3 with run off areas both left and right can play anything from a pitching wedge to a driver. The player should aim for the front right of the green as this will allow the ball to feed towards the middle of the green. Beware if you miss the green to the right as you will face a near impossible chip from 30ft below the putting surface to a green that runs away from the golfer.
Hole 8 Par 4 312 Yards
This risk and reward Par 4 gives players the option to drive the green or lay-up into the fairway. Players brave enough to go for the double green could be rewarded with an eagle putt or punished by the wetlands and bunkers which protect the green. If choosing the lay-up, the lone pine tree is the ideal line for this shot. It is important to find the correct level of this undulating green and if successful, you have a great chance of making a birdie.
Hole 9 Par 4 426 Yards
This demanding par 4 ensures a difficult finish to the Himalayas. Teeing off above the fairway the ideal line is aiming towards the fairway bunker on the right with longer hitters able to aim further left. The approach is dominated by the Sarazen Bunker to the left of the green which will leave you with a very tough recovery shot. A tough finish to the demanding Himalayas.
The back nine of our Greensomes round will be played on the Shore nine, which follows the shoreline south towards the Lodge. Even if our matches don’t go all the way, we very much hope our finalists carry on to finish this excellent nine, as it would be a shame to miss out on some great holes.
Hole 1 Par 4 426 Yards
An accurate tee shot is required to split the deep fairway bunkers located left and right. A slightly uphill approach follows with a large run off awaiting any pulled approach shots to the left of the green, which slopes predominately right to left. A par here would be a good score.
Hole 2 Par 5 530 Yards
This Par 5 running parallel to the coast offers a great birdie opportunity. The fairway bunkers will prevent the chance to reach the green in 2 and must be navigated off the tee. Players must now choose between carrying the cross bunker and attempting to reach the green or laying-up to leave a wedge onto the green. A pin placed on the raised left hand portion of the green requires a very accurate wedge shot with a right pin offering a great chance for birdie.
Hole 3 Par 3 173 Yards
A tricky Par 3 with two deep pot bunkers either side of the front of the green punishing wayward tee shots. With this in mind, playing a little past the pin is the safe play here. Missing the green to the right leaves an awkward blind chip back up to the green and should be best avoided.
Hole 4 Par 4 410 Yards
A large ridge divides the fairway to this challenging Par 4. The flatter right hand side is the more preferential route off tee. An accurate approach shot is required with deep bunkers guarding the front of the green and a run off area over the back of the green.
Hole 5 Par 3 137 Yards
This Par 3 may look simple on the scorecard however this undulating redan green poses a stiff test. A high approach shot will give players the best chance of holding the green which runs away from them toward the sea. Deep bunkers and steep runoffs await errant tee shots and will leave an up and down unlikely.
Hole 6 Par 4 383 Yards
This Par 4 is the last hole on the Shore which works it's way up to the Lodge before turning towards the clubhouse. The desired tee shot is played towards, but short of, the large bunker on the right. A devilish approach follows with sharp run offs either side and short of the green which slopes steadily back to front.
Hole 7 Par 4 405 Yards
A slightly elevated tee shows you all of the trouble on this challenging Par 4. Deep bunkers lie either side of the fairway but players are aided by a ridge to the left of the fairway which will bring pulled tee shots back onto the fairway. The toughest challenge here is the approach shot to an elevated green with a sharp run off to the right. The desired approach will be played to the left of the green which will feed into the middle.
Hole 8 Par 5 542 Yards
Two large dunes either side of the fairway leaves a tight tee shot to begin this Par 5. Players unable to reach the green in two are best served staying short of the fairway bunkers and playing their subsequent lay-up to the right. The aggressive strategy is to challenge the bunkers off the tee and go for the green in two. The green sloping sharply from front right to back left means even two long shots aren't guaranteed to yield a birdie.
Hole 9 Par 4 413 Yards
The ideal line here is at the flagpole and gives the best opportunity of finding the middle portion of this wide undulating fairway. An uneven lie is common for the second shot which is played into a generous green with a ridge aiding any pulled approaches. A Par here would be a great way to finish the Shore.
Season 2 Final - 6 Days to Go
Next Friday we will be crowning our first Final winners. Will it be Team Portrush or Team Troon?!
We've got two evenly matched teams, but to help you choose your winner here's a run down of each team:
David Ryley (Captain)
David is one of our founding members and plays his golf at Normanton GC in Wakefield where he is 2021 Seniors Captain. A single figure handicapper, David is a true gentleman on and off the course and we are sure he’s going to make a superb and inspirational captain.
Also from Yorkshire, Linksnet Ambassador Glyn Andrews is a member of Waterton Park GC and qualified from our Network Days this summer. Glyn, a founding member of Linksnet, has been a consistent performer all summer off his low single figure handicap and he will be a key component of David’s team at Prince’s.
Another founding Linksnet member, David qualified from our Casual Leaderboard. He was a regular at our Network Days this season, winning the Wallasey event with a superb 43 points in tricky conditions. A fine single figure handicapper who plays his golf in the Midlands and is old work colleague of captain Ryley, so they could form a great partnership on the course!
One of our newer members, Gavin plays his golf at Felixstowe Ferry GC in Suffolk. Gavin peaked at the right time this season and stormed his way to the Prince’s in the final weeks. Another strong player for captain Ryley to call upon.
One of our most popular founding members and a recent Linksnet Ambassador, Leon’s golf has reached new heights this summer winning our Carden Park day in dramatic fashion on the final hole. A great supporter of Linksnet and member of Clacton on Sea GC, it’s fitting that his season culminates in a final at Prince’s. Leon will be a great team player and a real asset for the captain.
Another Suffolk golfer and a Linksnet founding member, Dave plays his golf at Fynn Valley GC. It’s amazing he has time to play as many rounds as he does given his infectious enthusiasm for his local rugby club where he acts as both groundsman and barman! That enthusiasm is sure to be very important to Team Portrush.
Simon Hudson (Captain)
Founder of provulo, our Linksnet Ambassador sponsor, Simon’s enthusiasm for everything Linksnet makes him a fitting captain for Team Troon. He leads from the front and has played some quite superb golf off his single figure handicap this summer, winning two of our Network Days in the same month. Simon is a member of Burhill GC in Surrey having moved to the UK from his native South Africa.
A relatively new golfer Jordan has been working hard on his game and his handicap is coming down thanks to some great scores at his home course – Hinksey Heights GC in Oxfordshire. Jordan could well prove to be a dark horse for captain Hudson and no one in Team Portrush will relish taking Jordan on in the singles!
A recent Linksnet Player of the Month, Neil also helped his club Lambourne GC win our Inter-Club Championship this season, so Linksnet members will be able to see for themselves what a great club Neil belongs too when they host one of our Network Days next year. Neil is a regular at our Network Days and will relish playing against his father-in-law Glyn on Team Portrush!
Stuart is one of the lowest handicap golfers at the Final. He plays his golf at Waterton Park GC and is one of our Linksnet Ambassadors. Stuart has had a great first season and will be a player to watch out for in Simon’s team, having performed strongly throughout the year
Playing his golf at Hazlemere GC, Alan Thompson qualified as our leading Eagle member and is the only player from last year’s Inter Club Champions to have made it all the way to our first Final. Alan will no doubt be a very useful addition for Simon to call upon.
Current Captain of Wallasey GC, Simon is a recent Linksnet Player of the Month and will be looking to carry that form into the Final at Prince’s. Coming from the North West Coast and being a member of such a great links course, captain Hudson will be calling on all Simon’s links experience to get Team Troon over the line!
We'll be back next week with a preview of what awaits our finalists at Prince's as we continue the countdown to our first Final!
Season 2 Final – 7 Days To Go
We are very excited we are now just one week away from our first ever Linksnet Final. During the height of last winter’s lockdown, and even with the ‘stop start’ nature of the early season COVID postponements, a milestone like this seemed a long way off. But we are now finally going to finish the season the way we set out to do from the start!
Nothing compares to a team matchplay final – the camaraderie, the sense of playing for your team mates, the post round banter and the euphoria of sinking that winning putt. All of this will be back in abundance next week at Prince’s and we can’t wait.
We have two great captains in David and Simon, who understand exactly what a team final like this should be about and we are positive they are going to do a great job leading their teams on and off the course next week.
Tomorrow we will preview both teams for you as we continue our countdown to Prince’s.
Our 12 finalists will compete in a Team Event on the stunning links at Prince's Golf Club in Kent this November, where they will play 18 holes of Greensomes Matchplay on day one, followed by 18 holes of Singles Match play on day two, in an attempt to be crowned Season 2 Linksnet Champions.
Our team line-ups for the final are as follows:
David Ryley (Captain)
David Ryley has been appointed as Team PORTRUSH Captain and has these words for his team:
"My name is David Ryley, aged 64, retired after working for Gala Bingo for almost 41 years. My golf membership is at Normanton Golf Club in Wakefield and have a playing handicap of 7. I currently have the honour of being the 2021 Seniors Captain and hope that this will stand me in good stead to encourage, motivate and lead Team Portrush to victory over the prestigious links of Prince's Golf Club. I look forward very much to meeting my team mates and will involve everyone in team selection and line up for all aspects of the Final."
Simon Hudson has been appointed as Team TROON Captain and has these words for his team:
"The great thing about golf is that it’s an individual sport that gives its participants the chance to play as part of team, and in doing so to meet people, form new friendships, play at amazing venues, and enjoy a camaraderie that very few get to experience.
The Linksnet Season 2 Final represents the culmination of an excellently organised season, put together against the backdrop of a global pandemic and struggling with the weather gods wreaking havoc on multiple Network Days. Every score entered has been a triumph and for me it’s a bonus to make the Final (I’m still gutted I didn’t take the aggregate competition though – well done Mr. Gray and we’ll pick that up again next season!). For those that didn’t, remember it’s the taking part that counts!
This is not my first Final under the expert guidance of Paul and Luke, so I have some idea of what is coming, the 9 players who haven’t though, are in for a treat (and I am excited for you); irrespective of who wins though (go Team TROON), if the finals are played in the right spirit (as I am sure they will be) and we have a great time in each other’s company, then we will all have won".
“To find a man’s true character, play golf with him.” – P.G. Wodehouse
In a Ryder Cup year we look forward to offering our finalists the unique experience and comradery of a team matchplay event. It’s your chance to be part of what we hope to be a long and illustrious history of Linksnet Finals, growing bigger year on year as life returns to normal post-COVID.
Steeped in history, Prince's Golf Club offers 27 holes of sublime links golf on this stretch of fabled Kent coast. A host of Local Final Qualifying for The Open Championship from 2018 to 2022, Princes also co-hosted The Amateur Championship in 2013 and 2017.
In 1932 Prince's hosted The Open Championship with Gene Sarazen winning his one and only Claret Jug, on his way to becoming the first man to claim the Grand Slam of winning all four of the modern Majors. He did so having invented a club specifically to recover from the punitive Prince’s bunkers – it became known as the sand wedge.
The venue offers wonderful bedroom accommodation in the Lodge with views over Sandwich Bay & Royal St. George's and dining in the 2AA Rosette Brasserie on the Bay.