What happens when you take some golfers, put them on a challenging golf course set in the grounds of a resplendent hotel, add in some famous professionals golfers and sprinkle liberally with some sports and showbusiness celebrities, and add an Open champion and Ryder Cup winning captain as your host? You get the British Par 3, and it is back for 2021 and it feels so good to be back.
I was lucky enough in 2018 and 2019 (along with my wife acting as camera woman) to be able to attend the British Par 3 Championship, held annually on The Cromwell Course at Nailcote Hall, a fantastic hotel, conference and wedding venue, originally built in 1640 and was damaged by Cromwell's troops before the assault on Kenilworth Castle. A bill was sent to the parliamentarians for the damage and surprisingly it was paid. The par 3 course was named as a result of Cromwell's activities on the site. Like many hospitality venues, it has suffered during the pandemic but the owner Rick Cressman and his wife Sue have worked hard to protect the business. Their hard work and dedication has paid off and my wife and I was fortunate enough to be back this week for the 2021 incarnation of the par 3 event.
Before I go any further, it would be remiss of me not to thank Rick and Sue who looked after us superbly, along with the fantastic staff at Nailcote Hall. A huge thanks to CEO of brand agency Champions (UK) plc John Hayes, Scott Giles, Lily Hymes and everyone at Champions who granted us the media passes and a big thank you to the team at Farmfoods for their sponsorship of the event. Finally a massive well done to the host of green keeping staff that worked hard to get the Cromwell course looking immaculate and playing as fiendishly hard as ever.
The event also raises money for the Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People, something which event organiser, John Hayes, believes is integral to its nature. “With all of the sporting tournaments that we organise, it is important that we do so with the aim of building young futures. We’re delighted to be partnering in this capacity with Rainbows once again this year, who do so much to help children and families living with life-limiting conditions.”
There is a fiercely contested celebrity pro-am day on the Tuesday of the week long event and the professional golfers also compete in their own event for a £50,000 first prize. There are other prizes up for grabs including the Norma C Herd Salver. This was introduced to the championship in 2011 and recognises the tournament’s leading amateur. The prize was introduced by Eric Herd, owner of headline sponsors Farmfoods, who named it in honour of his mother. Previous winners have included Ladies European Tour Order of Merit winner Charley Hull and Craig Lawrie, son of former Open winner Paul. There is also a special prize to the leading competitor over the age of 60. The Super Seniors prize was introduced in 2011 and is awarded to the golfer who has rolled back the years to make a major impact at the Championship. Previous winners have included Ryder Cup legend Brian Barnes and European Senior Tour star and former British Par 3 Champion Carl Mason.
Sadly due to the pandemic, the decision was taken not to allow spectators in to the 2021 event and so the atmosphere was naturally a more subdued one but Rick and everyone involved with the event are hopeful it will be back to business as usual for next year. However that did nothing to dissipate the mixture of nerves and excitement amongst the teams of amateur golfers and their professional or celebrity partners.
As I've mentioned I have been very fortunate to have had privileged media access in 2018, 2019 and again this year and I am indebted to Champions (UK) plc for their continued support. Their ability to allow me to make content and interview the professionals and celebrities makes a world of difference to the type of content I am able to make. If you want to see everything I was able to capture, then head over to the Three Off The Tee website here and check it out.
The Cromwell course was looking in fantastic condition again and it's a credit to Nailcote Hall's owner Rick Cressman and his staff who have worked so hard in difficult circumstances to present such a challenge for the players. I have done a guide to each hole on the course and you can check out the opening five holes here (the closing stretch will follow so make sure you keep any eye on the Three Off The Tee youtube channel. One person I spoke to who considers this a very tough test and can struggle is European Senior Tour professional and 2005 US Open winner Michael Campbell. He is an old friend of the channel (check out previous interviews on my Youtube - link above) and we spoke again this year about covid, the Cromwell course and much more. See what he had to say here
Tuesday is always celebrity pro-am day where teams of four, made up of three amateurs and professional golfer or celebrity take on the course. There are prizes for the winning team and best celebrity/professional and amateur individual score. This is always good fun and the celebrities are always on good form. For those amongst you that follow darts, I caught up with three legends of the sport, former world number one Colin "Jaws" Lloyd, on stage announcer, Russ "Mr 180" Bray and former world champion Keith Deller. Keith in particular is another fantastic supporter and there are several previous interviews with him on the Youtube channel. Watch the interview with the three of them here and as you do guess which one was actually a Guinness World Record holder and for what!
The celebrity pro-am was one by three time European tour winner Miguel Angel Martin and he did it with golf like this approach to the first.
This year it was raining holes in one. Former West Brom and Nigerian international footballer got the ball rolling with an ace on the 3rd hole in the Tuesday pro-am. I managed to catch up with him after his round to discuss that and what he's up to now including taking his PGA golf exams and beyond. Check out what he had to say here
Golf has a habit of throwing up the bizarre and in this years professional event, British junior tour golfer Will Bailey made a hole in one with is opening tee shot on the first and repeated it with another on the second. Even stranger, his playing partner, professional Pavan Sagoo followed him in on the second for an ace of his own and two holes in one on the same hole. The British Par 3 twitter team caught up with both of them and you can here what they say here. Not to be outdone another up and coming professional Tiger Adams also managed a hole in one at the second as did Walsall based professional Jak Hamblett playing alongside former England footballer Dean Ashton on the Thursday strangely also at the second.
There is also a professional event. As with previous years it attracts a host of up and coming young professionals making there way in the game, some previous British par 3 winners, former golf major winners including Ian Woosnam and Michael Campbell, and several ex-Ryder Cup players and current Senior Tour members. It is a very competitive field all trying to snatch the £50,000 first prize on offer. In the field was the 2019 winner trying to defend his title Jarmo Sandelin.
The winner of the professional event was Andrew Marshall (-7) and he spoke about it afterwards (watch it here) and the Super Senior prize was shared by Mark Mouland and Peter Fowler. The winner of the Norma C Herd trophy was Will Bailey.
As always there were plenty of famous faces on display.
Top row L-R Me and ex footballer and Sky football pundit Alan McInally, former England test bowler Matthew Hoggard, darts "Mr 180" announcer Russ Bray
Middle row L-R former olympic and former world championship gold medallist Derek Redmond, former darts world champion Keith Deller and former US Open champion Michael Campbell
Bottom row BBC Breakfast's Dan Walker and myself
Another successful British Par 3 Championship was wrapped up. Given the climate Rick Cressman and all involved had to work in, he and his team should take a huge amount of pride from their efforts. The course was as impeccable as ever, and all of those that played and took on the fickle mistress called the Cromwell Course enjoyed the challenge and enjoyed their golf whether they met the challenge or not. The evening presentation and entertainment raised plenty of funds for Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People.
Hopefully by the time we get to the 2022 event the covid madness will be under full control and crowds will be allowed back in. For all the fun everyone had and the money raised, the event did have a subdued feeling and there was definitely a spark missing. If you fancy being there for yourself, keep an eye on the British Par 3 website
I hope you enjoyed the review as much as I enjoyed making the content and writing about it. If you haven't already done so go to my Youtube Channel and make sure you subscribe. I've lots more great content in the pipeline so make sure you don't miss any of my videos so while you are subscribing click on the bell icon to get notified each time a video is uploaded.
I'll close as I opened by saying "We're Back...And It Feels So Good" and give a final nod to Champions (UK) plc and Rick and Sue Cressman for all of their help and encouragement and to thank you dear reader as always for taking the time to read the blog. Please feel free to comment either at the bottom of the page or via my social medias which can be found on the front page of the blog. It's always great to hear from you. Enjoy your golf wherever you are, stay safe amidst this ongoing covid pandemic and I'll see you for another blog soon