Editor's Blog: Chipping concerns

Article features meetings with two Ryder Cup stars and the production of countless cups of tea

Since my last entry a couple of weeks ago there have been a number of pressing matters which have unfortunately prevented me from updating my blog, and in order of time spent engaged upon they are?

1. Getting the February issue to the printers

2. Making a decent start on March?s edition before we head off for Christmas

3. Performing dismally in the office chipping contest

4. Making tea for everyone as a result of the above

5. Exchanging banter in the run up to the Golf Monthly golf day

6. Signing hundreds of Christmas cards

7. Attending the European Tour Golfer of the Year lunch

8. Bumping into Paul McGinley at Waterloo Station

9. Looking for the headcover of my Scotty Cameron putter

Thankfully points 1 and 2 have taken care of themselves although meeting deadline on the February issue was a close call. We made it in the end although the final furlong was completed with very fuzzy heads ? we?d hoped to have it done in time for last Thursday?s Golf Monthly office Christmas party but had to come back the next day to finish off. For an advance look at what?s in the issue click here.

The next item (or rather two items on the list) surrounds a downturn in my chipping form. Normally my short game can be relied upon but a recent double hit in a match against two colleagues and three straight losses in this format suggested otherwise. The low point had to be my petulant blaming of the equipment (a budget 60 degree wedge) for my inability to do anything other than pull every chip. After having made three rounds of tea on the spin I went into full bad workman mode and demanded a premium tour model be got out of the equipment cupboard. I was so confident that a return to form was in my hands that I opted to go first and with everyone watching proceeded to pull off a TC Chen. When I say TC Chen I?d like to say it was just a double hit but the ball actually seemed to ping back and forth between the hosel and topline at least twice. Once the laughing subsided it was time for me to fill the kettle up (again).

The intense competition of the chipping contest fuelled the demand for a pre-Christmas game on a real course so after securing some tee times at the London Club for the morning of December 22 numerous emails flew around the office as we sought to agree a format for the day, proffer bets and exchange good natured banter about each other's weaknesses.

But with excitement growing to fever pitch the weather seemed to be conspiring against us and with fog still hanging thick over the South East on Thursday a number of the field (myself included) decided a lie-in followed by some extra time to complete the Christmas shopping was preferable to driving round the M25 in the hope that Caribbean conditions had come to that corner of Kent. There were a number of hardy types who were still up for giving it a go and I?ll let you know how they got on when the text messages no doubt come in later on today.

6.30pm UPDATE Just had a text message from Neil to say that three of the team; him, Luke and Paul took to the course but they were playing in such thick fog that they could only see 20m in front of them so they headed in after nine holes. "Rubbish" was Neil's rarther succinct assessment of a day which we'd all rather built up!

Then there was a chance meeting with Paul McGinley at Waterloo Station when I spotted him waiting for the last train home after attending a function in town. I had to do a double take when I first saw him as it's not often you see a genuine golfing hero taking public transport but it was the man himself and after a brief chat we went our separate ways.

Barely 14 hours later I was in the presence of another Ryder Cup legend ? Nick Faldo ? who was guest of honour at the lunch to announce the European Tour Golfer of the Year. It was a most enjoyable affair which provided the golf writers and broadcasters with a chance to meet up, thank the European Tour (especially the media team) for their great work over the year and have a couple of festive drinks. As I?m sure you all know Paul Casey was the worthy winner but it transpired that he was pushed all the way by David Howell, Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke for whom our own Bill Elliott made a superb speech in his praise.

That just leaves me to wish a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Golf Monthly readers and ask that if anyone who plays golf at Hampton Court Palace GC in Surrey has seen my black Scotty Cameron headcover knocking around could they let me know.

Mike Harris
Content Director

Mike has been a journalist all his working life, starting out as a football writer with Goal magazine in the 1990s before moving into men’s and women’s lifestyle magazines including Men's Health, In 2003 he joined Golf Monthly and in 2006 he became only the eighth editor in Golf Monthly’s 100-plus year history leading the brand until July 2023. He is now Content Director overseeing Golf Monthly and two other iconic sports brands, FourFourTwo and Rugby World.

His three main passions in golf are courses (he's played over 500 courses worldwide), equipment (he's always in search of something shinny to give him an edge) and shoes (he owns more pairs than he cares to mention!).  

Mike’s handicap index hovers at around 10 and he is a member of five golf clubs: Hartley Wintney, Royal Liverpool, Royal North Devon, Prince's and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

Mike's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: TaylorMade Qi10 10° - Fujikura Ventus Blue 5S - Golf Pride MCC Plus4 grip

Fairway woods: TaylorMade Sim Max 3/15° - Fujikura Ventus Blue 6S & TaylorMade Stealth 7/20° - Fujikura Ventus Red 6S - Golf Pride MCC Plus4 grips

Utility Iron: TaylorMade Stealth UDI 3/21° - Aldila Ascent 90HY - Golf Pride MCC Plus4 grip

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (5-PW)  - Fujikura Axiom 75R - Golf Pride MCC Plus4 grips

Wedges: TaylorMade MG4 50°, 54° and 58° - KBS Tour Hi-Rev 2.0 shafts - Golf Pride MCC Plus4 grips

Putter: Evnroll ER2B - Gravity Grip 

Ball: TaylorMade - Tour Response (Yellow)