Gary Player entertains at Royal Troon

The irrepressible Gary Player was on fine form as he entertained Mercedes-Benz guests on a Patron's Day at Royal Troon six weeks before The Open

The irrepressible Gary Player was on fine form as he entertained Mercedes-Benz guests on a Patron's Day at Royal Troon six weeks before The Open

When Golf Monthly was invited to attend the Mercedes-Benz Patron's Day at Royal Troon six weeks ahead of this year's Open Championship, we were given time to not only speak with Gary Player about his career and life in golf, but also to witness the extremely entertaining and informative clinic he put on for the assembled Mercedes-Benz guests.

When you see Player close-up, it really is quite hard to believe that the man is now 80 years old, and it was also hard to dispute his firmly held belief that he was in better shape than many men half his age.

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Gary Player in full swing during his Mercedes-Benz Patron's Day clinic at Royal Troon

Of course, Player has been into his fitness and health for many years, long before it became part and parcel of the professional golfer's lot, and for the first part of his clinic he emphasised just how important the core body muscles were for speed and power in the golf swing. If the core is strong, then the hands and arms have no option but to follow, he told us.

He then worked his way through a number of his fellow professionals and the idiosyncrasies of their swings before telling us that they all had one thing in common regardless of their backswings and styles - a powerful rotation through the ball.

He barely hit a ball offline, even when he moved up to the driver, as he worked through a routine packed with anecdotes, memories, opinion and sound swing instruction that the gathered guests just lapped up.

Gary Player can still get it out there for a man of 80 years of age!

Gary Player can still get it out there for a man of 80 years of age!

No doubt he could easily have gone on for twice the time if allowed to do so, but he had an important appointment on the 1st tee seeing everyone off as they set out to take on Royal Troon's mighty test and fearsome back nine, before then playing the par-3 14th with every group as they approached the end of a memorable day.

 

 

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf