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Patrons Day

A Royal Recap

This June, Virgin Atlantic - in partnership with MasterCard® - invited some of our top credit card holders and Flying Club members to a spectacular all inclusive three-day VIP trip to the Royal Liverpool Golf Club. There they played on one of golf’s most legendary courses before The Open Championship, received insider tips and attended a golf clinic with Paul Azinger.

Five lucky Flying Club members also won the chance to join them through our “Most Virgin Atlantic Golfer” contest, where we asked members to submit stories telling us why they played with the most passion, panache and personality.

We asked you to vote one of our five as the fairest of the fairway. So who is our sultan of swing? We’d like to introduce you to Dean, our winner and Most Virgin Atlantic Golfer. Read on to learn more about him and his Patrons Day experience at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, from snapping a serious selfie to his favorite challenge on the green.




What was your inspiration for your contest response?
Being a professional musician, my first gut reaction was to write a song! I searched “Virgin Atlantic theme song” online, and the first thing to pop up was a 2010 Virgin Atlantic commercial featuring the song “Feeling Good.” The first line to the song is “Birds flying high,” and immediately I thought, “Birdies flying high.” I took it from there (eat your heart out Weird Al Yankovic)! Since we were limited to 400 characters, I had to leave out the repeat of the Chorus, but the essential song is there.

What was your reaction when you learned you had won?
This summer is one I will never forget. My wife (who is British) and I had just returned from a visit to the UK (via Virgin Atlantic) where I was able to visit her relatives for the first time since we had gotten married. Being an avid golfer and knowing that the British Open was coming to Royal Liverpool Golf Club, I had tried hard to work Royal Liverpool Golf Club into our itinerary but as all her relatives live on the Southern end of the UK, we were unable to venture that far north. I entered the Virgin Atlantic contest with no expectations whatsoever, but when I received the email saying that I had won, I let out a big whoop and holler, and did a hip and styling (at least in my view) ‘celebration dance’ in the middle of the living room. Although my wife, I must admit, was a little jealous, I have to give her kudos for being just as crazy excited for me going on the trip as I was about this fantastic prize!

What was your most memorable moment from the Royal Liverpool trip?
Besides the 18th hole (described below), there is one moment I will remember the most. After a delicious dinner hosted by the R&A in the Royal Liverpool clubhouse, George (the MasterCard co-host and my playing partner) and I decided to sneak up to the table holding the actual Claret Jug, and take photos of each other holding the trophy! If they ever dust for fingerprints, ours will be right there alongside Rory McIlroy’s!

What was the most helpful tip you took away from Paul Azinger?
Paul Azinger went above and beyond the call of duty. Before I left, my expectation of the lesson with an unnamed ‘golf legend’ was that it would be a fun ’meet and greet.’ I should have known it would be far more than that since classy Virgin Atlantic Airways and MasterCard were sponsoring the event. Instead of the scheduled hour lesson, Paul Azinger gave us what must have been a two hour lesson on everything from the long game, to the short game, to putting. In addition, he spent the entire day and evening with us, including meals. He even played the 6th hole alongside us, and popped in at various times during the round. The most important tips I learned from him that day were on putting the ball, especially how right to left putts are easier, and then showing us a way to make more difficult left to right putts easier by dividing the break with a line and using that line to essentially line up the putt as if it were a right to left putt… hard to explain in words but it works!

What was your favorite Royal Liverpool Golf Club hole? Why?
My favorite hole by far was the par five 18th which was playing about 500 yards. The dramatic dogleg, with out-of-bounds on the right, and the massive stadium surrounding the green were awe-inspiring. Although I had played well the entire round, two lines of the entry song I had written hadn’t come true yet… “Birdies flying high,” and “Par 5’s in 2.” So, I stepped up to the tee and crushed my best drive of the day 290 yards down the center of the fairway. I followed this up with a hybrid shot which stopped on the green about 12 feet from the pin. Although initially disappointed I didn’t make ‘eagle,’ I realized that hitting the par 5 green in 2 and making birdie had made my entry song come true!!! Plus, when I came off the green, golfing legend Paul Azinger was there to autograph my birdie ball. The ball now sits on my mantle at home with my other Virgin Atlantic and Royal Liverpool Golf Club memorabilia from the trip!

Thank you again to all our participants and loyal Flying Club members. This years’ Patrons Day was a swinging success on and off the course, as we learned from Dean. Don’t forget that being the most Virgin Atlantic Golfer is a year round pursuit. So keep perfecting your entire game. Who knows where we’ll be swinging by next year? The proof’s in the pictures, so please enjoy some spectacular shots of the festivities.

A Look Back at a Fantastic Trip