Darren dusts himself off. Martin Vousden on The Open

Jul 22 2011

Thought for the Day
Never test the depth of the water with both feet

Cockles of the heart warmed all round
It was emphatically not the most dramatic Open Championship ever – once Dustin Johnson knocked it OB at Suez the destiny of the claret jug was pretty much sealed – but by heaven it was one of the most emotional. And in retrospect, having had a few hours to come to terms with the unlikely enormity of Darren Clarke’s achievement, probably the most surprising element of all was his serenity over those final two superb rounds of golf. And serenity really does seem to be the only appropriate word. It seems fitting, perhaps, that in a week when we both celebrated and mourned Seve Ballesteros, the man who believed absolutely in ‘Il Destino’ when it came to winning The Open, that an overweight, ageing champion with a history of both triumph and tragedy was seemingly destined to capture his own slice of golfing immortality in the 140th playing of the event.

GoKart electric golf trolley

Once again we have witnessed sport’s endless capacity to produce the most emotional if improbable stories, and the one with the greatest resonance is that of the old prize-fighter who comes off the ropes when he should be going down for the final count, to take his greatest victory. And without wanting to suggest that Darren is a washed-up has-been (more…)

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Bill’s Open blog. Signing off

Jul 18 2011

Literally as our final shift started the heavens opened and we got absolutely soaked.

One of the ladies on our team celebrated her 20th birthday today. We did not see any cakes!!!

There is an end of term feeling amongst not only the team but all of the ancillary staff who have been operating behind the scenes who we have come across during the week.

I am queue jumped by one of the team so that he can take Robert Rock to the range. This turned out to be error of the week as next up is Rory McIlroy and into my buggy he jumps.

We chat about his US Open win, the weather and the great feeling of satisfaction he gets from the crowds who support him.

Even at my age I feel strangely excited at meeting such a successful sportsman who has no side whatsoever.

What a great view we had of Miguel Angel Jimenez performing his stretching exercises – the more he stretched he more the crowd roared

The time has flown and we have enjoyed the camaraderie an event like this generates. We all say our goodbyes and promise to meet up next year at Lytham and St Annes.

If you get the chance to work at a golf tournament seize it with both hands. You work with some great people. You may even get to meet some of the World’s great golfers if you are lucky enough to work inside the ropes – and that is something you can’t buy at any price.

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Bill’s Open blog day 6

Jul 17 2011

What a dreadful day weather wise, but you will have seen that yourselves on T.V., I spent the morning in various spots around the course as my shift did not start until 3 p.m.

GoKart electric golf trolley

I am pleased to report that Larry dahling did turn up after his filming stint yesterday and has not changed a bit. He enjoyed it but none of us a have seen it as yet, apparently, it is on the internet.

Our shift is very much the death slot one as all of the players have passed through the area by 3 p.m. The weather being as it is means we are unlikely to see many returning for practise post round before we clock off at 6 p.m.

Apparently, a load of the players who missed the cut went to see (more…)

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Bills Open blog day 5

Jul 16 2011

There is something calming about early mornings by the sea side watching the sea lap gently on the shore as the sun rises. Mind you the alarm going off at 4.15 had already shattered our inner calm.

A 5.30 a.m. start saw our happy crew wrapped up against an early morning chill; it wasn’t too long before we were shedding our layers as the morning just got warmer and warmer.

GoKart electric golf cart

The mood of the players has also tightened up a bit more as this is the 1st make or break point of the Championship. Even Kenneth Ferrie was quiet.

The buggy team are working well, a very smooth operation is our shift – they are reluctant to take a break as each of them is ‘collecting’ players. It is all very disciplined though with just a couple of them breaking ranks and cutting in for their missing stars.

Kurt Barnes has joined the John Daley set by having outrageous (more…)

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Bill’s daily Sandwich. And they’re OFF!

Jul 15 2011

It is the 1st day of competition at the 140th Open, at last – game on.

For those looking for an omen – on our way in this morning we passed a bus numbered N50 going to …. Westwood.

All of the cones, road signs that have been lying around all week are now firmly in place. We even passed a crocodile of people walking from the station. To be fair that was the only place we were held up as they were shepherded across the road near the course by Kent Constabulary.

Another sign of the massive increase in numbers was that instead of parking in row 5 of Green(Sandwich) car park we are in a field some distance away. Looking around we can see hoards of people moving from all sorts of places towards the pay gates.

On the few exhibitor stands in the hospitality area the staff are more animated than they have been buoyed up by the influx of people.

There is a very noticeable increase in the helicopter traffic approaching the course and the BBC aerial view plane is almost constantly circling the course the drone of its engine becoming quite monotonous.

GoKart electric golf trolley

As an aside,an early contender for hat of the week is Ken Ferries ‘ wife – it looks like a squirrel black and brown in colour with knitted ears , 2 big buttons for eyes a smaller one for a nose. It even had a tail. (more…)

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A bit of advance news…

Jul 14 2011

We have something new up our sleeves. You know how the GoKart has a speed roller? Of course you do, you twiddle with it all the way round the golf course, don’t you?  Well so did we, until recently. For a while now we’ve been developing a system that does away with any sort of manual speed control. You just hold the handle, walk, and the trolley senses what speed you’re walking at and matches it, seamlessly.  You stop, it stops. You start, it starts. You can still take your hands off and let it travel on its own, there’s no need to hold on all the time.

It’ll l be offered as an option when you buy a GoKart, and existing GoKart owners will be able to take advantage of a back-to-base upgrade to the new version too. We’re calling it ‘The Automatic’, which kind of says how it works.  We thought about calling it ‘The Bloody brilliant’ but that might cause complications.  But it is.

More news in a few weeks.

UPDATE 26/07/2011:
Thanks for all your comments and questions about the forthcoming GoKart Automatic. We can answer some of your queries;
Our umbrella/bottle holders will fit the new handle. Existing umbrella holders will require a couple of updated parts, which we’ll be supplying free of charge to current owners. Fitting the umbrella holder won’t effect the speed control of the trolley.

Converting an existing GoKart to Automatic will require quite major surgery, with a large number of parts needing replacement, so it will need to come back to the factory. We don’t have any pricing information available at the moment, but we’ll keep you all posted as soon as we can.

The Automatic is not a wireless or proximity sensing system. It just needs the operator to hold the handle when they want to speed up, slow down or stop. If they want to maintain their speed then it’s OK to let go of the handle, and let the trolley continue running by itself.

The GoKart will still freewheel with the automatic handle, so when walking downhill, and gravity takes over, the motor will automatically be switched off.

The score card holder, which is part of the new handle, is larger than the one on the existing handle. It’s big enough for all size score cards. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to fit the new style scorecard cover to the original handle.

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