Welcome one and all to my beach hut

Grab a deck chair, Tea or coffee and help yourself to a buiscuit but you'd better mind the seaguls or they'll grab them first. Just look at that view and doesn't the sea look inviting.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Sevvi Ballesteros

I was never the athletic type as a child, so running around chasing someone or something just didn’t appeal to me, but I was always keen to have a go at pitch and putt or crazy golf when visiting the seaside. In the late seventies we moved into an area that was close to the Derby Golf Club and in the 80s I took up golf and joined the club. At this time two men were an inspiration to me, one of these was the great Jack Nicklaus who was winning every competition that he entered. I read a lot of Jack's teaching books and although it didn't make a great difference to my ability to master the game I did learn how to have fun and enjoy the game at my level. The other man dominating the world of golf at that time was Sevvi Ballesteros; he had at that time become the people’s champion. I think it was the charisma of the man that made him so popular and the winning smile that he was always displaying. With Sevvi there never seemed to be an air of playing safe, he always wanted to drive the ball the furthest and even though some of his drives went astray and into the rough it was always a challenge, Sevvi's attitude was there was always a shot to get you out of trouble. Time and time again he proved that what to most would be an impossible shot to him it was so simple. The first time I went to watch sevvi was at Hollingwell nr Sutton in Ashfield, Notts. Hollingwell is a very long course which very much suited Sevvi's style of played. I can still recall the drives he hit that day which to me at the time didn't seem humanly possible, another thing that endeared him to the fans that followed him was the way he always made time to talk to people as he played his game. That day was the first time I had gone to watch a professional tournament and Sevvi became my champion.

My most memorable moment though was in 1985 when I went with a party from the Golf club to watch the first of the new Ryder Cup, previously the Ryder Cup format was England v USA but in 1985 it became Europe v USA. I stood beside the green of the 10 hole par 4 the green was surrounded by water and at the time was not considered reachable in one shot, both American players had layed there balls up on the fairway just across the water from the green with an Iron shot when Sevvi stepped onto the green with his driver every one held there breath. Sevvi hit the drive strong and true it landed on the green and rolled to near 10ft from the pin, the cheer from the crowd surrounding the green was deafening and that shot from Sevvi has gone down in the history of golf as the moment that inspired the European team to victory for the very first time.

I also recall the showing around that time of a series of pro celebrity golf games that the famous golf commentator Peter Alliss used to present, Sevvi was often a guest on these games and he was always the gentleman and sportsman that we loved, he often played against another sporting greats of the time who as also died in the last week Henry Cooper, these series of golf games between professionals and celebrities were a joy to watch and I often wish they could repeat them.

Sevvi Ballesteros was a sporting great who will never be replaced, he died too young and I'm sure if it hadn’t been for is illness would have had a long career in the presentation of the sport and on the seniors tour.

RIP Sevvi

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