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    5. St. Andrews, Kingsbarns, Gleneagles, Loch Lomond – preparing for Ashes ..


    St. Andrews, Kingsbarns, Gleneagles, Loch Lomond – preparing for Ashes of England with a difference

    Ben Stokes is an avid golfer. Photo: Getty Images/Harry Trump

    What's the best way to prepare for a tough five-game game of Ashes? Naturally with a tour of some of the finest golf courses Britain has to offer.

    As tour matches become increasingly anachronistic, both England and Australia will travel to different parts of the country with golf bags rather than cricket coffins. preparing for this series.

    English cricketers have long been obsessed with golf, but the use of the sport as a team building activity has taken it up a notch over the past year thanks to Ben Stokes. , Brandon McCallum and Rob Key answer.

    It was not only about lowering handicaps, but also about team building. Management used their time on the golf course to have sensitive conversations with players in need of a boost in confidence; for example, when Zach Crowley lacked runners and self-confidence last summer, Stokes and McCallum teamed up with him and had a pep talk.

    At the start of a New Zealand tour in February, England left their cricket kit on the country's north island, heading to camp at the Millbrook resort near Queenstown on the south island, with golf on the agenda.

    This time around, England are heading to Scotland after a four-day test against Ireland starting Thursday at Lord's. While some team members and coaches will be heading out on an extended trip, the entire team is set to gather north of the border for the weekend of June 9-11 before heading to Birmingham to prepare for Ashes' final preparations.

    The trip to England starts with the Professional Cricketers' Association Golf Day at the Grove in Hertfordshire the day after the end of the Irish test. From there, some players will return to spend time with their families, but a sizeable group will go straight to Scotland to play golf. There they will play at Old St Andrews Course, nearby Kingsbarnes, Gleneagles and the highly exclusive Loch Lomond.

    Joe Root played in last year's Alfred Dunhill Lynx championship. Credit: Getty Images/David Cannon

    Interestingly, ahead of the Irish Test, England players are also set to play at Stoke Park, a resort in Buckinghamshire now owned by the Ambani family. who have included the IPL Mumbai Indians franchise in their business portfolio.

    Not all England players are avid golfers (Mark Wood is among those who don't), but most of them are. When recently asked who the best golfer on the team was, new vice-captain Ollie Pope immediately replied that Crowley, who has a handicap of 1, had Jimmy Anderson, Joe Root, and Pope himself hot on his heels. No wonder Stokes is known for his fearless punches.

    England's golfing enthusiasm, of course, failed when Johnny Bairstow suffered a serious ankle injury after slipping on a tee-box at Pannal Golf Club in Yorkshire in September. When asked recently if he had returned to golf, Barstow smiled shyly and replied “no comment”.

    Many of the Australian team are also into golf. They arrive in the country on Saturday and head straight for the Liverpool coast to assemble a team at a team camp in Formby. Some players will play at the Royal Birkdale Outdoor Stadium this weekend.

    Just after golfing, they will head south to London for a training camp in Beckenham to prepare for the World Testing final. against India starting on 7 June at the Oval.

    Before the 2019 series, which began shortly after the World Cup ended, they played a domestic match at the Ageas Bowl and then played a tour match against Derbyshire. between the third and fourth trials. No such match is scheduled for this series, making it the first Ashes tour where Australia did not play any county team.

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