Helen pledges to help Lancashire clubs

HELEN Searle is on a mission – to help golf clubs across Lancashire create a positive future for themselves and the sport.

England Golf  has appointed the 26-year-old to the role of supporting the work of clubs and driving ranges across the county.

Helen, who is based in the Ribble Valley, will team up with Adam McAlister with a brief to attract more players, increase membership and develop stronger clubs across the region.

Helen Searle.jpgThe work going on in the Red Rose county to not only attract new players but also provide a solid business foundation for the future for golf facilities sees the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs and the Lancashire County Ladies’ Golf Association working closely with the area’s PGA professionals as part of the Lancashire Golf Development Group.

Helen (pictured) and Adam will work alongside England Golf regional manager, Jason Budd, to develop and deliver national initiatives and programmes to make golf more accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

This includes supporting clubs with two initiatives – the Get into Golf campaign and the achievement of the GolfMark standard. Both promote a more inclusive and friendly approach towards ne wcomers, ensuring they can play golf regularly.

Helen has been involved with golf since she was 10 when she played alongside her dad, Peter, at West End golf club in Halifax.

She  got down to a single figure handicap in her early teens and by 16 was representing both her county and England, competing in the Europeans and Home Internationals.

After achieving her A levels, Helen went on to pass her PGA degree and played as a professional on the Paul Lawrie Tour while living in Troon, Scotland, as well as enjoying a string of top five finishes in WPGA events.

Helen enjoyed coaching at numerous academies prior to taking on her England Golf role and has always thrived on the idea of making a difference and helping someone achieve their goals.

“I now have the resources and the tools to provide clubs and golf facilities with extensive support, tailoring to their specific needs,” she said. “There is far too much doom and gloom around golf in the media, but it is very much alive, and I am determined to raise awareness for the game I know and love!

“I aim to showcase what every club, big or small has to offer, whether this be a great place to learn the game or a venue to hold future national events. There is something unique in what each and every club has to offer; it’s my job to show them the potential.

“I would urge clubs to use their club support officer. Get me in, talk me through where the club is at now and where it wants to be, then we have a starting point to build a strategy and commit to an action plan; you can’t go wrong with that.”

Adam is covering the west of the county (Lancaster, Blackpool and Fylde, Preston, South Ribble, Chorley, West Lancashire, Wigan and Merseyside) while Helens is looking after East Lancashire and Greater Manchester.



Fairfield hit the mark with award

FAIRFIELD Golf & Sailing Club in Lancashire has won a national award from England Golf.

One of the oldest established golf clubs in the Manchester area has just received the GolfMark award, an official seal of approval for clubs which successfully develop the game.

The club, which is notable for its parkland setting around a reservoir, dates back to 1892. It no longer offers sailing – the name is historic – but it has moved into the 21st century with a go-ahead approach to golf which has included the development of a new clubhouse with excellent function facilities.

Last year members also approved a major constitutional change to introduce a management board and a more business-like way of running the club.

Club president Dave Mushet said: “Fairfield is a great club, it’s very friendly, welcoming and forward-thinking. This award helps us to spread that message.  Having also achieved Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) status, we have firmly set our sights on reaching out to the local community.”

The Board’s chair, Phil Murray, added: “Golf is one of the few games the whole family can play together regardless of age, fitness, background or experience.  The game’s emphasis on honesty, integrity and good sportsmanship helps our juniors develop lifelong skills and encourages responsible social behaviour.”

GolfMark is awarded to clubs which successfully work to develop the game in four ways:

  • By attracting new members and encouraging existing members to play more
  • Using practical business planning to develop the club
  • Offering coaching and playing opportunities for all golfers
  • Ensuring safeguarding policies are in place


England Golf Regional Manager Jason Budd, commented: “I’m delighted that Fairfield Golf Club has achieved GolfMark and that its efforts to grow the game can be nationally recognised.”

The GolfMark award was developed by England Golf and also integrates Sport England’s Clubmark award – a national standard for quality sports clubs recognised across the country.

GolfMark brings a number of benefits to clubs including raising awareness, access to funding, business and marketing support and training opportunities for staff and volunteers. To find out more visit www.golfmark.org

For more information about the club please contact

Corrigan puts on a royal performance


TOP OF THE SHOTS: Craig Corrigan with Alliance president John Dowd (centre) and Haigh Hall’s Chris Seabrook 

CHILLI Dip teaching professional Craig Corrigan turned up the heat to win the Manchester Alliance fixture at Vale Royal Abbey.

He racked up 39 stableford points to fight off a challenge from Stand’s Mark Hancock and Birchwood’s Phil Archer to increase his lead in the order of merit.

And Corrigan, a regular winner on the PGA North circuit, completed a double by clinching the pro-am with Haigh Hall’s Chris Seabrook  with 43 points.

One off the pace were Alex Pritchard and Chris Cartwright (Poulton Park), Dave Green and Gary Beresford (Dukinfield) and Grant Hamerton (Pike Fold) and Vinny Doyle (Leigh).

Top score of the day was 44 points in the am-am by Norman Haslam (Stand) and Steve Grimley (Walmersley).

King of clubs Golfbidder extends PGA Partnership

Liam Robb 4(R).jpgGOLFBIDDER, the pioneering and market-leading online specialist in buying and selling used golf clubs, has continued its long relationship with The PGA by extending its partnership status until 2021.

The Surrey-based company was founded by Liam Robb, a financial journalist and keen golfer in 1997, and began life as Mashie Niblicks operating from a small shop in south west London.

Now, with Robb (pictured) at the helm as managing director, it has become a multi-million pound operation that employs more than 40 and is synonymous with buying and selling used golf clubs across the UK and Europe.

More than 700 UK-based PGA Professionals, reassured by the sophisticated software that guarantees a price on used clubs, use the facility annually when their clients change or upgrade their equipment.

Integral to the firm’s success has been its rigorous counterfeit screening processes, and the introduction of new technologies such as its proprietary stock trading systems which its staff, including a team of PGA Professionals, employ to check the authenticity of all traded clubs.

Golfbidder was also one of the first in the industry to recognise the power of the digital age and social media: its Facebook page has more than 35,000 likes and its YouTube channel in excess of six million views.

Commenting on extending its status as a PGA Partner, Robb said: “Having been a Partner of the PGA continuously for the past 15 years, we are delighted to be able to continue the agreement for another three.

“We very much look forward to continuing to work with Robert Maxfield and the great team at The PGA and see this is an exciting time to extend the Partnership.

“We are particularly excited about the forthcoming launch of the new Golfbidder Professional website which, among other things, will provide the 1,000+ club pros we deal with throughout the UK and Europe with new online tools to allow them to manage their second-hand inventory more efficiently.”


Ross Parker, head of sponsorship at The PGA, added: “We are delighted Golfbidder has agreed to extend its relationship with us.

“Golfbidder recently celebrated it 20-year anniversary and we have been working with them for the majority of that period. The company offers a great service to PGA Members and we are looking forward to working with them long into the future.”



R&A increase funding for women and girls

THE R&A is continuing its commitment to increase participation in golf among women and girls by providing funding to support the appointment of new development managers in Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Working with its affiliates around the world to enhance golf’s appeal, the investment forms part of the governing body’s drive to encourage more women, girls and families to play golf more regularly across the globe and to go on to become members of golf clubs.

An initial three-year funding package of £75,000 per nation has been agreed between The R&A, Golf Australia, England Golf, the Golfing Union of Ireland / the Irish Ladies’ Golf Union, Scottish Golf and Wales Golf for the recruitment and appointment of experienced sports development staff.

The appointees will all work in partnership with golf’s various stakeholders to deliver innovative solutions and inspiring campaigns to boost participation at a time when more women are seeking an active lifestyle for both themselves and their families.

In Scotland, the funding is being matched by the Scottish Government and VisitScotland as part of The 2019 Solheim Cup project, creating a Women and Young People Development Manager post within Scottish Golf to drive forward and promote opportunities to increase female and junior participation in golf in Scotland ahead of and beyond The Solheim Cup and PING Junior Solheim Cup being staged at Gleneagles in 2019.

Great Britain and Ireland international Maria Dunne has taken up the post in Ireland, with England Golf appointing Lucy Blakey, a former Project Officer with Lincolnshire County Sports Partnership.

Wales Golf has appointed Simon Lu who joins from Race Equality First, while Scottish Golf has employed Carol Harvey, previously a Regional Development Officer with Netball Scotland.

Meantime, Chyloe Kurdas has been appointed to the position at Golf Australia, with her most recent role being AFL Victoria Female Football Development Manager.

Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Golf Development at The R&A, said: “Women and girls continue to be an under-represented group throughout golf across the world and more work needs to be done to attract more of them into the sport at a time when we need to boost participation levels.

“We believe that there is a real opportunity, working with our affiliates, to develop inclusive and inspiring participation initiatives which show that golf is a fun and enjoyable leisure activity that can provide many social and health benefits for women and families.”

A recent research report commissioned by The R&A demonstrates that a significant growth opportunity exists for golf if it can attract more women, girls and families into playing the sport more often.


Turkey’s Antalya club to host PGA pro-am

GOLFBREAKS.com will stage its third and final 2018 Overseas Pro-Am at the spectacular Antalya Golf Club in Turkey for the very first time in November.

Antalya Golf Club is the home of the PGA National Turkey and the event marks a tie-up with PGA Partners and Europe’s leading golf travel company, Golfbreaks.com.

The pro-am will be contested on the challenging PGA Sultan Course and enables pros and amateurs to follow in the footsteps of Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy.

All three played in the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final, which was staged in there in 2012, the same year as the Eisenhower Trophy.

Away from golf, there is a chance to unwind at the five-star complex, which boasts five restaurants offering Turkish and worldwide cuisine, six bars, a spa, swimming pools and a health club.

PGA Professional Michael Jones, director of golf at Antalya, said: “We are very proud to accommodate The PGA in hosting this end of year Pro-Am.

“During that time of the year in November, the courses are in exceptional condition and are a real delight to play.

“I’m certain our guests will really enjoy their time here as they experience first class golf and hospitality at our venues, which are second-to-none. We look forward to seeing everyone in November.”

Administered by The PGA, the 20-team pro-am will run from 16-20 November and is open to all amateur players with an active competition handicap.

Packages are priced at £700 per team member, which includes four night’s stay (all inclusive) at the luxurious five-star Sirene Belek resort, airport transfers and a welcome dinner.

Teams will enjoy one practice round followed by two full rounds of competition golf on the PGA Sultan Course, with a prize-giving gala dinner bringing the event to its conclusion.

There are prizes for both PGA Professionals and amateurs, while both rounds will be officiated by a PGA tournament director.

Richard Barker, Golfbreaks.com commercial director, commented: “We are delighted to team up with The PGA and Antalya to bring one of our Overseas Pro-Ams to Turkey.

“This is the first time we have taken the series to the PGA National for Turkey and we’re confident it will provide everything needed for an unforgettable golfing trip in Turkey.

“The PGA Sultan Course is a real challenge for even the most accomplished of golfers. Its spectacular views from within a stunning pine forest environment, combined with the facilities at the Sirene Belek resort, will make this pro-am a trip to remember for all teams involved.”

For more information or to book your place at the final Golfbreaks.com Overseas Pro-Am Series event of the year call 01753 752880 or email golfpro@golfbreaks.com

Full details of the pro-am can be found by visiting http://www.golfbreaks.com/pga-pro/Pro-Ams


Whitehead appointed Cheshire county secretary

PETER Whitehead has been appointed Cheshire Union of Golf Clubs county secretary, succeeding Stephen Foster who has retired.

The Mere member, pictured below right, said: “It is a great honour to be chosen by the directors and I will endeavour to repay their trust in me. With our centenary in 2020, it is fabulous to be an active part of promoting golf in the county and representing Cheshire at regional and national level.”

Peter Whitehead.jpg

Alison Lysons and Sean Hammill, England Golf’s club support officers for Cheshire, will be working with Whitehead.

Lysons commented: “We are looking forward to getting to know Peter and to continuing a positive working relationship with the Union.”

Whitehead will also act as company secretary for the Union and brings a wealth of experience from both a golfing and business background. He worked for many years in sales and customer service in the printing industry and more recently has been in charge of communications for an IT systems company.

The Cheshire Union was founded in 1920 and provides support to almost 100 clubs across the county, advising them on matters such as handicaps, rules of golf and course ratings as well as organising and running county tournaments and developing the next generation of golfers through its talent identification and coaching programme. As well as playing at Mere, Whitehead was the club’s secretary from 2004 to 2012. Since 2010 he has been the administrator for the Cheshire Union’s Life Members’ Association which organises seven golf days each year.



At least 160 golfers enter each, creating extra revenue for the county and one of Whithead’s first jobs is to find a replacement to take over this role.

For more information about the Cheshire Union of Golf Clubs, contact Peter at secretary@cheshiregolf.org.uk or on 01244 678004 or visit the Union website at www.cheshiregolf.org.uk