A friend of mine commented a couple of weeks ago saying that they were definitely staying up on the 31st of December, not to see the new year in necessarily, but to make sure 2020 is definitely in the rear-view mirror. Who would have thought at the start of 2020 that the norm was to walk into banks with masks on, and watching major television events is done so with canned cheering and a little crowd murmuring.

The Ryder Cup was postponed, The Open Championship cancelled and the Masters was played in November. Some of the world's highflyers are having to adjust to only playing in front of their peers without the adrenaline rush of the crowd and the cheers. Rory stated that playing without the crowds was something that he was going to have to work on during the down time so that his performance is competitive in 2021, if the situation continues to the Masters in April and beyond.

We lost Peter Alliss a couple of weeks ago and if things couldn’t get any worse, apparently Chris Rea's car has failed its MOT. Things are definitely different with just over a week to go of 2020. It has been commented that the word crazy or strange should now be substituted for 2020 to mark an historic year for which wewill be glad to see finish.

Yet golf has seen a huge uptake in participation numbers since the lockdown, with the game at a level of popularity which hasn't been seen since the mid 80s early 90s. The surge of numbers we saw at that time was mainly due to the success of the game’s European players in both the major championships and the Ryder Cup. This is completely different, it's the safety, sociability and the exercise which has drawn the numbers to the game.

Fortunately, our business has been able to welcome these new players and already players that were brand new into the game in May are now asking questions such as, ‘which golf course should I become a member at?’, or ‘do you think I'm ready to play on a big course now?’ Which is hugely gratifying for a coach who has a passion for the game and love seeing players take the game up and enjoy it as much as I do.

If you're doing the customary New Year's resolutions, or re-adjusting your goals with 2021 in mind, and golf is in your scopes with regard to improvement, please give us a chance to improve your game next year. We would be delighted to welcome you to the Golf Integrated Academy at Vila Sol, and help you on your journeyto playing better golf.

Fiona and I have been in the Algarve now for over 7 years, and even though it's been a strange year this year, we can't think of a better place to have been. This country really should be the envy of any in Europe. We haven't had to go through the, “should we wear face masks or shouldn't we” nonsense, the practise was taken up immediately before the government even asked. The weather is wonderful, and the food is fabulous.

We hope you have a quiet, safe and truly enjoyable Christmas and look forward to seeing you in the New Year with hopefully a few less restrictions around. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!