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  The squad gathered at Gatwick.
ARCOS Gardens - Blog Day 1.

Hope you all received Alan’s e mail last night giving you a sneak preview of the Day 1 blog with the photo from Gatwick? We didn’t quite block the entire stairwell leading up to the food court in the north terminal but we did make quite an impression with the team all looking really smart. We were well looked after by British Airways – the staff checking us in commented that they were making notes of names so they could say they  had met the stars of the future! We also managed to duck the long queue through security and went through executive class – well played Alan!

 As always Alan was on the look-out for potential fines right from the off and there were some early casualities… Tommy Bayliss for arriving without his England jumper, Marcus Sewell and Tom Thurloway for oversize hand luggage and Steve Rolley for leaving his passport behind on the plane – we have to add that this is the first time Steve has done this in 40 years of travelling!!
Is this an omen???

The flight was a bit delayed taking off but we made good time with a strong tail wind. Everyone had breakfast on board then some took the chance of sleep to make up for the early start.

Although the temperature at Malaga could not be described as hot it was great to see bright blue sky and sunshine as we landed and some brave souls stripped down to T shirts on principle to walk off the plane. No problems with luggage – all clubs off safely and we set off to meet the coach. Our driver turned out to be quite a character! Only a few minutes into the journey we were pulled in to the side of the road  by the military police for doing 75km an hour in a 70km zone – we are still unsure how he managed to get up to that speed so quickly as we had literally just left the airport, but apparently you don’t argue with these guys so he was hit with an immediate 100 euros fine reduced to 50 if he pays early. All an experience.

We stopped for lunch and everyone had a quick Spanish lesson from Pat in understanding the menu and ordering food and drink – must have worked as no one went hungry. Back on the coach and we drew partners and topics for the media interviews to be filmed on Wed and Thurs evenings. Another brief stop at an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant before going on to Arcos – we arrived about 4.30 Spanish time. The villas are superb – really spacious with en suite rooms and swimming pools but not a great take up on that front as yet although several have managed to locate and try out the Spa centre, Jacuzzi etc!! We settled in and most of the team went off to the range to hit balls and explore the complex before our first debrief meeting at 6 30. At the meeting the squad met Adrian and Lesley who are with us to assess and support the team with their AASE programme. The adults in the squad all gave their own advice on getting the most out of the week here.

Food has been good so far – everyone hungry last night and enjoyed the buffet dinner and full breakfast this morning. Only hiccup last night was a leak in one of the villas due to an overheated  thermostat – as you know Alan loves a challenge so having sorted out a plumber he led the decamp of beds to the lounge area where everyone managed a good night’s sleep despite the excitement!

Everyone up in time this morning and a bit of rejigging needed to the programme because of early frost!!! –yes frost - memories of home! Despite this the sun is now shining – the team are either involved in coaching / skills testing or they are already on the course.

Great start to the tour……

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Arcos Gardens - Blog Day 2.

Good morning everyone from sunny Spain. As I write we have Connor’s team already out on the course and Jack’s team on the various coaching stations soaking up loads of advice from the pros and completing their skills tests. Everyone has eaten big breakfasts and we are all well set up and prepared for another action packed day.

Yesterday, after a frosty start, the sun came out and in the afternoon we enjoyed T- shirt weather with even a few legs on show. Despite numerous reminders we had some sunburned faces at the debrief so sun cream all round today.

We played a Stableford competition yesterday – the best results of the day came from the management team allowing Alan to fine the entire squad 1 euro in the evening for not beating the manager! We had excellent service on the course with lunch being delivered by buggy to all players – see the attached photo with Adrian and a buggy full of excellent packed lunches.

Best scores from the squad as follows:

34 points: Jared Perks, James Lelliott, Amber Cockram, Abi Evans and Cameron Christall.

32 points: Connor McCauley, Max Saxena, Chris Meredith.

31 points: Tom O’Reilly.

30 points: Liam Sutton, Alex Henderson, Jack Sutton, Jack Bartlett.

In the evening debrief everyone praised the players for their positive attitude throughout the day both on the golf course and at the coaching stations. There were no nominations for the Sapper of the Day award and instead we had loads of nominations for Energiser of the Day and Best Shot of the Day.

After a vote Shot of the Day went to George Woolaston for his 100 yard pitch to the green on the 7th hole where he left himself with a tap in for birdie.

Energiser of the Day went to Adam Wells who was nominated by Jack Bartlett for his positivity and energy around the team. This was supported by the pro’s who were impressed with Adam’s honesty in analysing his round and his performance and attitude on the skills tests.

All of the management team again offered advice and gave their observations on the day. Comments included reminders about slow play, asking good questions, staying hydrated, thanking the professionals after coaching, warm up and cool down routines, and going the extra mile this week to get the most out of the whole experience. We also talked about setting SMART targets that are going to be measurable.

Allister had worked some magic in the afternoon and provided much appreciated supplies of tea, coffee and chocolate biscuits for all villas.

Of course there were fines….

Allister for forgetting to change the time on his phone/alarm and was late for breakfast.

Ollie for losing his Sky Caddie on the course – luckily found by Alan.

Marcus for being on his phone while Alan was issuing fines.

Sam for losing his sunglasses on the course – again retrieved by Alan!

Amber and Pat for both (quite sensibly in my totally unbiased opinion!) borrowing pull trolleys to transport their clubs back to their villa.

We had dinner after the debrief – players then had an opportunity to meet with their captains and take advice, if needed, in preparation for the Media Event to be held this evening and tomorrow. Adrian will be videoing this evening so we will have footage to show you when we get back.

As always on these tours, there are numerous informal opportunities for the players to learn so much from the experts on our team. Last night a number of the boys quizzed Ryan about his experience on the Sunshine Tour and Jack about the 4 years he spent in the States at university. They learn so much on these occasions…

Thanks to Adrian and Lesley the players have completed several of their AASE assignments including Health and Safety while finishing breakfast … and all before 8am – how many of you can match that at home???!

Signing out for now – off to remind them about sun cream….

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   Buggy Service 

   Adrian delivering lunch!!

Stableford points on 14th February
Connor's Team 
Stableford points on 14th February
Jack's Team

Arcos Gardens - Blog Day 3.

Good morning everyone. Another sunny start here and everybody already busy either on the golf course or at the practice / skills test sessions.

Adrian and Lesley left us around 5.30am this morning to join the North West squad in Barcelona. They have done a great job this week, not only helping the players to complete a lot of their AASE work, but also going out in search of blister plasters when needed and supplying extra snacks! Thank you.

Congratulations to Adam Wells and to Max White who have now completed the AASE programme working right up to dinner last night on final interviews with Adrian. For this they were awarded joint Energisers of the Day. Well done guys!

Yesterday was another busy day and everyone will have learned something new to take away and think about. The boys enjoyed the challenge of playing the 1st medal round off the Gold tees while the girls again played off the Blues. The weather was good – sunny and dry with only light cloud in the afternoon – shorts and suncream at the ready! Best gross scores were from Liam Sutton 76 and Jack Bartlett 76 closely followed by George Mullins, Marco Penge, Tommy Bayliss and Jerri Sewell all on 77.

Best nett scores were Nathan Longley 72, Marnie Barber 73 and Jerri Sewell 75.

Long game skills test winners were:

1st  Adam Wells 

2nd Charlie Strickland

3rd George Mullins

We moved dinner to the slightly earlier time of 7pm before decamping to our hotel room for the first of our Media events and the day’s debrief.

The players had all prepared media style questions to ask and had also reflected on their own performance to date. Last night Connor’s team interviewed Jack’s and Connor led the way by asking Jack to comment on his team’s performance so far this week. Jack was positive and quietly confident that his team would end up victorious despite being 200 points behind at this stage – he reminded everyone that the week was a marathon and not a sprint! He also believed that his team had done well on skills testing  and those points had still to be added to the totals. He was right and this morning when updated totals were announced Jack’s team had taken the lead with 565 points to Connor’s 470 – all to play for…

The players all rose to the challenge of the interviews and did really well as you will be able to see in due course as Adrian recorded the interviews.

Once again in the debrief the Pros complimented all the players on their positive attitude and hard work. They were pleased to hear that what was being learned with them was being put into practice on the course and they reminded the players that this is a training week, encouraging them to try new things and not be afraid of failure, to persevere.

Tom Crowland’s response in the media interview when asked to comment on his day’s performance summed this up well. He remarked that he felt” he had all the ingredients for his cake but he hadn’t yet baked it!” This went down well with the rest of the squad who could relate to this sentiment, many recognising that they too are on a journey with their golf this week and that it will take time to get where they want to be.

We had a lot of nominations for Shot of the Day -Tommy Bayliss, Jack Sutton, Cameron Christall, and Jack Bartlett but the winner was Ollie Daws who holed a 100yard shot on the 7th hole to make eagle!

Fines were once again hard to come by with such a good squad –  1 euro for lateness to breakfast for Adam, Jerri, Max S, Jack F, Marcus, Tom O’R, Marnie, Amber, Tommy, Abi and Sam. The fines are all for a good cause as we will use them to tip the staff here at Arcos who are absolutely brilliant and can’t do enough for us. It really has been an excellent choice of venue all round.

 
Medal Scores for Jack's Team
 
Medal Scores for Connor's Team 
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Instruction from Steve Rolley All eyes front except Pat who's smiling at the camera-man!

Arcos Gardens  Day 4 Blog.  

It’s been another fabulous day in sunny Spain although we have had to contend with considerable wind for Day 2 of the medal competition played off the White tees for the boys and Blue for the girls.

Best Gross Scores for today were: Connor Fletcher 73, George Mullins 74, Ollie Daws, Tommy Bayliss 75.

Best Net Scores were: George Mullins 73, Jack Floydd, Connor Fletcher 74.

Skillls tests continued on the practice area along with some really productive coaching. Simon Holmes from Sky Sports has been here filming all week along with the coach, Jonathan Yarwood. They have complimented the squad on their exemplary behaviour and work ethic. They also commented on the excellent coaching the players have received all week and how well organised the tour was.

Well done team!

Winners of skills tests for the week were:

Short game - George Mullins with Liam Sutton as runner up.

Putting – Marco, Charlie, Marnie,  James L and Alex Henderson.

Long game – George D , Adam W and Max S.

The competition has been fierce between the teams all week and scores have been very close.  However the final team results were announced at this evening’s debrief, after a very successful 2nd media event introduced by Steve who gave an insight in to the relationship between the media and golfers.

Final overall result for the week:

Jack’s team 1120 points

Connor’s team 970 points.

Tuesday Stableford winners:

Jared, James L, Abby and Cameron.

Wednesday Medal:

Nathan, Jack B and Liam.

Overall runner up for the week was won by Adam Wells.

Overall winner for the week  was George Mullins.

Other prizes went to George Donoghue for the most improved score, Jake Spearpoint for scoring 2 under on the back 9 today.

Shot of the day went to Jack Floydd who fought off strong competition from Connor McC, Adam C, Jared, Connor F, James L and Ollie D.

Shot of the week went to Ollie Daws.

Energiser of the day went to Tom Crowland for that brilliant cake quote in yesterday’s blog in response to his media question.

The pros rounded up the evening by all giving their reflections on the week. Their comments included the squad’s hard work and respect for the coaches, their desire to improve and their mutual support and team work. The pros have worked fantastically well as a team and have enjoyed the trip – they praised Alan’s hard work and organisation of the whole tour. This was backed up by both Jack and Connor speaking on behalf of their teams.

We hope you have enjoyed the photos we have sent back with the blogs. We took a last team photo in front of the clubhouse this evening before dinner.

Alarms are set for the morning and packing should be happening as we write this blog! All bags and clubs need to be in Alan’s villa / garage by 6 45am before breakfast!!

We are looking forward to seeing you all at Gatwick… Alan says Don’t be late!!!

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