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.
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.
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.
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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. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.
Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf
Jeremy is currently playing...
Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft
3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft
Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft
Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)
Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response
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