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At the end of May, myself and three Golf Monthly colleagues took part in the inaugural 'Cotswold Trophy' at the truly stunning Cleeve Hill Golf Course in Gloucestershire. A fun-filled few days of golf, socialising, food and drink culminated in a fantastic 36 hours that knocks any team golf event out of the water.
Arriving just after lunchtime, the sun beamed down on the highest point of the Cotswold hills range, with the clubhouse and garden filled with golf fanatics that work within the industry. Ordering four amber-ale coloured drinks from the bar, we sat down for a bite to eat, chilli and chicken pizza, if you're interested, before engaging in conversation about the golf course and the Manchester City victory over Real Madrid the night before.
It was all very relaxed and, after the alternative foursomes format had been explained, (i.e. both players play their own ball and, after both have played their second shots it's alternate shots from there), we made our way to the seventh tee for the 13-hole madness to begin. Certainly, with a Land Rover halfway hut serving the various holes around Cleeve Hill, the round went rather quickly, with the format also providing plenty of enjoyability, especially as everyone was able to do the fun part of hitting to and from the fairways before alternate shots came into play.
Following the 13-hole dash, it was back to the comfort of the seats outside and the BBQ that had been prepared for the evening. Again, for those interested, it was one of the best pulled pork burgers I've ever had and a number of chilli chicken wings, but it wasn't the food that was the highlight, it was the way that everyone was there for one reason, the golf!
Following the barbecue, a chipping competition had been set-up and, during this, everyone was engaging in conversation with the vibe extremely chilled, simply perfect for having a beer in one hand and a joke or two in the other. There's no doubt that other competition style events could, and should, follow this direction, especially given the laughs that were had on a Thursday evening.
There was yet more golf to be played on Friday, this time a six-hole better ball, six-hole scramble, and six holes of foursomes. Before all of that though, there was the small matter of a night in Cheltenham, specifically a visit to a few bars...
Returning on Friday, the hidden gem of Cleeve Hill came into view and, after the format was ingrained into our sore heads, we made it out on the course. Again, the atmosphere was relaxed and, to be honest, there are worse places to be hungover...
To the golf then and, following a rather respectable start through the better ball and scramble formats, we came to the tricky foursomes, a format which is notorious for being the most difficult and, to be honest, the most dull, as you only tend to get half a game in.
Still, with it being only the last six holes and at the end of the round, it brought some fun and interesting drama, especially when your partner decides to fly the green by 30 yards on the last hole. Cheers Nige! To be honest, his poor club selection didn't matter too much, we ended up in the middle of the table but we didn't really care because, in all honesty, it was the most fun I have had on a golf course in quite a while.
One last shout out goes to those who organised the tournament itself. Not only was it extremely well-run but, overall, this is one of the best golf team events I've played in. There's nothing better than a relaxed atmosphere with your buddies, with a few drinks and food thrown in. Put all these things together, include great organisation and a stunning and unique venue like Cleeve Hill, and it certainly throws up the question of whether this could be the format of team events going forward?
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Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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