BIGGA is better thanks to Balmers GM

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THE British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association has announced that Balmers GM has become an Education Supporter.

It has been established in the turf machinery industry since 1979. Nearly 40 years later and the company has depots in Burnley and Wakefield, serving the West and South Yorkshire areas.

Balmers GM will support the members of the association and the wider greenkeeping industry and provide a number of educational opportunities across the north of England through the BIGGA framework.

In addition to John Deere’s full line of professional and domestic turf equipment, Balmers GM supplies and services machinery from other manufacturers, including Etesia, GreenMech, Scag, Stihl, Weidenmann and GKB.

Employing approximately 50 people across all departments, providing new and used equipment sales, service, parts and commercial hire to a wide range of customers including golf and sports clubs, local authorities, contractors, the leisure industry, equestrian centres and smallholders.

In addition, Balmers GM maintains one of the country’s largest stocks of used commercial machinery, delivering to both national and international customers.

Lauren Frazer, BIGGA business development manager, said: “Balmers GM has a fantastic reputation across the north of England. The growing number of companies signing up to support BIGGA shows how respected our members are in the wider industry.

“BIGGA members are leading the way when it comes to innovation, technology and embracing new ideas out on the golf course and it is brilliant that Balmers GM and our other Education Supporters are keen to be a part of that success.”

Today BIGGA has around 5,900 greenkeepers and turf professionals as members.

 

 

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Molinari wins Golf Writers’ trophy

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FRANCESCO Molinari has become the first Italian to win the prestigious Golf Writers Trophy, the leading award given by the Association of Golf Writers.

The 36 year old from Turin was the overwhelming choice in a poll of AGW members after a year of stunning success.  Molinari won his first major with victory in the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie before becoming the first European player to win all five matches during his team’s Ryder Cup triumph over the United States.

Molinari also won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and romped to an eight shot win at the Quicken Loans National in July to secure his first win on the PGA Tour.  He comfortably won the European Tour’s season-long Race to Dubai to succeed Ryder Cup partner Tommy Fleetwood as Europe’s number one player.

“I am very honoured to be the first Italian to be named AGW golfer of the year,” said Molinari. “It has been an incredible year for me and to hear I have received this lovely accolade in what is the 80th anniversary year of the AGW is very special for me.

“I appreciate all the support the media has given me, both this year and throughout my career, and I look forward to seeing my AGW friends out on the road in the new year.”

Molinari succeeds 2017 Masters winner Sergio Garcia in receiving the Golf Writers Trophy.   Other previous winners include Henrik Stenson (2016) and Rory McIlroy (2014 and 15).

“Francesco had the year of his golfing dreams,” said AGW Chairman Iain Carter.  “Throughout the summer period he was head and shoulders above the rest in terms of European golf.

“His unflappable display at Carnoustie came on a course where he hadnever previously enjoyed much success.  But he completed his first major victory in the company of Tiger Woods, withstanding an emotional charge from the former world number one.  Molinari emerged at the top of a leaderboard packed with stellar names including Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy.

“Then came a simply stunning display at the Ryder Cup where he formed such a vital partnership with Tommy Fleetwood.  Their point in the opening four balls ensured Europe were not whitewashed on the first morning.

“It was entirely fitting that it was Frankie who secured the winning point with his singles success over Phil Mickelson.

“He was the obvious choice for this award and for the golfing media it has been a joy to cover his successes this year.  Aside from being a genuinely world class talent, Frankie is always a friendly, courteous figure who always seems to find time to engage with reporters.”

 

The Golf Writers Trophy is awarded each year to the person or persons, born or resident in Europe who, in the opinion of a majority of the AGW members, shall have made the most outstanding contribution to golf during the preceding twelve months.

Members are asked to nominate in order of preference three choices for the award.  Other players who figured prominently in the voting included Ricoh Women’s British Open winner Georgia Hall, Justin Rose after his rise to the top of the men’s world rankings and Tommy Fleetwood for winning four matches out of four in his Ryder Cup partnership with Molinari.

 

* Francesco will be presented with the AGW Golf Writers Trophy at the 2019 AGW annual dinner at Royal Portrush.

 

R&A backs Golf Foundation’s next generation

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THE R&A has committed to provide £2m to the Golf Foundation over the next four years to support its drive to inspire more young people to play golf and to encourage them to stay within the sport to boost membership.

The Golf Foundation will give over two million young people the chance to try golf for the first time using its Tri-Golf and Street Golf participation initiatives, which take adapted versions of the sport to young people at schools, sports centres, parks and multi-use games facilities in Great Britain and Ireland.

Around 180,000 youngsters will also be introduced to coaching through the Golf Foundation’s HBSC Golf Roots Centres, a large network of junior friendly golf clubs that provide taster sessions in local schools and coaching delivered by PGA Professionals.

Activities including the GolfSixes League and Girls Golf Rocks will focus on retaining younger golfers in the sport by giving them access to fun, competitive golf more regularly and establish a pathway for over 15,000 juniors to become members of clubs.

The Girls Golf Rocks programme, jointly run with England Golf, also forms part of the Golf Foundation’s commitment to supporting The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter and will deliver more coaching opportunities for girls as well as mentoring by existing volunteers who work in junior golf.

Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Golf Development and Amateur Events at The R&A, said, “We are very supportive of grassroots initiatives that aim to grow the sport by inspiring more youngsters into playing golf and encouraging them to go on to become members of golf clubs.

“The Golf Foundation has a proven track record of delivering innovative participation programmes together with our affiliates in Great Britain and Ireland and we are excited by its ambitions to grow participation in junior golf over the next four years and beyond.”

Stephen Lewis, Chairman of the Golf Foundation, said, “Working alongside our partners, the Golf Foundation is reaching increasing numbers of young people and our strategic objective of helping more young people to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in golf is designed to help protect the future of the sport.

“The R&A’s continued support is fantastic – from GolfSixes League through to The Open – it is an outstanding commitment. They are backing this charity to ensure golf is fresh and exciting for the next generation.”

The R&A SwingZone, which offers thousands of young people the opportunity to come and try golf for free in the Spectator Village during The Open each year, will also continue to be run in partnership with the Golf Foundation.

Over 4,500 individuals enjoyed attending The R&A SwingZone during The 147th Open at Carnoustie earlier this year and were joined by 1999 Champion Golfer Paul Lawrie and HSBC Golf Roots ambassadors Tim Henman and Brian O’Driscoll.

Golf Foundation Junior Passport stamped by Colour Path Golf

THE Golf Foundation has teamed up with Colour Path Golf to offer PGA professionals a dynamic new coaching system that promises to help encourage more youngsters to learn the game.

Colour Path Golf has become the ‘Junior Golf Passport Delivery Partner’ of the Golf Foundation.  The coaching system, which has been developed by PGA professionals John Glenn and Kevin Merry, will support and promote the Foundation’s Junior Golf Passport; the official learning programme for England and Wales as endorsed by the Professional Golfers’ Association.

The Junior Golf Passport supports young people who have first experienced the sport in Golf Foundation school and community programmes to take the next step to learning golf under the guidance of the PGA professional at a golf club venue.  Used by 300 golf clubs and 450 PGA professionals the Passport, and the relationship the Foundation enjoys with the PGA, is a key element of the charity’s HSBC Golf Roots programme which encourages young people to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in golf.

Colour Path Golf is an innovative coaching system that is proving to be a popular new way to learn all aspects of the game.  Using plastic shapes in the four primary colours, coaches can map out the correct swing path on the ground for every type of golf shot.  This visual way of learning has great success rates, is incredibly easy to follow and brings consistency to junior coaching programmes.  With its fun games and drills Colour Path Golf is particularly successful when coaching young players and beginners.

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Martin Crowder, Head of Development for the Golf Foundation, said: “The Junior

Golf Passport is a successful learning programme in its own right, fully endorse

d by the PGA.  We are always looking at new ways to inspire both youngsters and the coaches who are involved in the programme and we believe Colour Path Golf is a great example of fresh thinking that will have a positive impact on everyone involved in the Passport programme.

“The Golf Foundation has recognised the growing interest for Colour Path Golf’s coaching philosophy amongst PGA coaches and that its colourful and fun delivery has been a real hit with many young people. With their own PGA professional expertise, the team

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Colour Path Golf has a fantastic attitude and a clear passion for helping youngsters to reach their potential.  We feel working with this team offers a natural additional option for all users of the Junior Golf Passport which they will enjoy as they help the next generation into the game.”

John Glenn, a PGA Class AA Teaching Professional and Co-Founder of Colour Path Golf, said: “We are delighted to be in partnership with the Golf Foundation.  It’s very early days for us as a business but their endorsement of our coaching system shows that there is a real desire to simplify the game and to make it easy to learn.  Our dedication to growing the game is what has led us to develop the Colour Path Golf sy

stem. I am confident that our products, combined with the Golf Foundation’s commitment to bringing golf to more youngsters through its Junior Golf Passport programme, can have a really positive impact on the game.”

Through the partnership, the Golf Foundation will promote the resources of Colour Path Golf through its Junior Golf Passport platform (see www.juniorgolfpassport.org) and the Colour Path Golf team will also work to increase awareness of the Passpor

t system by providing training kits and education to all the Golf Foundation’s Regional Officers.

Furthermore, all sales of Colour Path Golf training products to PGA pros who are registered on the Passport scheme will bring an extra benefit to the charity, as John explains: “As part of our commitment to growing the game we will be making a donation, for every Colour Path Golf product bought by PGA professionals registered on the Passport scheme, to the Golf Foundation to continue the incredible work they do for Junior Golf Development.”

Meanwhile, the Golf Foundation is carrying out a redesign to create a new look for the Junior Golf Passport combined with exciting fresh content to appeal to juniors as they learn the game. Additional skills-testing has also been added to further support the work of coaches and this new-look Passport is expected to launch in February 2019.

 

PGA professionals registered for the Junior Golf Passport can find out how to access favourable pricing terms with Colour Path Golf at www.juniorgolfpassport.org, or they can talk directly to the Golf Foundation on 01992 449830, or email marketing@golf-foundation.org

See more on Colour Path Golf at www.colourpathgolf.co.uk

 

Hurlston Hall hits mark with national award

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ON YOUR MARKS: Hurlston Hall  receives its  GolfMark award (from left): Tim Hastings, club professional, Andrew Chessworth-Wiggar, general manager, Adam McAlister, club support officer in Lancashire for England Golf, John Walker, club chairman and GolfMark lead, and Irene Traynor, hon secretary

 

HURLSTON HALL Golf Club, on the outskirts of Ormskirk, has won a national GolfMark award for its efforts to grow the game. It’s an official seal of approval for clubs which successfully work to develop the game in four ways:

  • By attracting new members and encouraging existing ones 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

The golf and country club, set in 200 acres of rolling Lancashire countryside, has been rewarded for its commitment to growing the sport and taking an innovative approach.

It launched a Get into Golf programme in 2017, attracting a mixture of women and men who were looking to try playing for the first time. Coaching from the club professional was supported by an introduction to life both on and off the course at the club.

The club also provided a pathway into membership with the first month free followed up by a specially tailored deal which gave those signing up the chance to play regularly and enter competitions.

The club continues to support the newcomers, with their own fun six-hole competition and further coaching clinics.

Club chairman John Walker, who took the lead on the club’s GolfMark application, explained: “It is fantastic to see the enthusiasm of these new members and to watch them progress on their golfing journey.

“While they may yet not be ready for an official handicap, we are very conscious of the need to follow them on their golfing journey and to continue to provide help and support.”

Among the innovative events staged by the club have been Night Golf and a special cross country competition for the captains’ charity, Guide Dogs for the Blind.

A 13-hole course was set up – but not following the usual route round. For example, players teed off on the first but aimed for the green on the eighth!

Walker added: “It certainly made the players think and we all saw parts of the course we had never been to before!”

Adam McAlister, club support officer in Lancashire for England Golf, said: “Hurlston Hall has gone to great lengths, not just to attract and then support newcomers to the sport, but to also provide something different for club members, which is a great way of retaining numbers and stimulating interest.

“The award of GolfMark is well deserved and the result of much hard work by all those involved at the club.”

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

 

Dixon’s Turkish delight

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FORMER European Tour member David Dixon earned himself a career lifeline by winning the PGA Play-Offs at Antalya Golf Club on a day that was full of twists, turns, sub-plots and top class golf.

Staged at the home of the PGA National Turkey, it was typified by Matt Cort, the overnight co-leader, posting a second successive five-under-par round of 66 and having to settle for the runner’s up berth three shots adrift of Dixon.

That was the gap between Cort and Dixon at the turn after the former had put the challenging PGA Sultan course to the sword.

He posted six birdies on the front nine but, perhaps because of the ill-effects of a heavy cold, was unable to maintain his momentum.

What followed, however, was a case of Dixon snatching the prize from his grasp rather than the pro from Beedles Lake Golf Club in Leicestershire squandering his advantage.

Two shots behind after Cort bogeyed the par four 14th, Dixon signed off with a birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie salvo to post a 13-under-par total for the three rounds and claim the £3,500 first prize.

In addition, and like Cort, he has booked his place in next year’s Great Britain and Ireland PGA Cup team, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and the British Masters.

All of which came as much as a surprise as a relief to Dixon who is attached to Enmore Park Golf Club in Somerset.

“I didn’t have any expectations for this week at all,” he admitted. “I went to the second stage of Tour School and played well. But I couldn’t hole any putts so I’ve lost all my categories and exemptions for the European and Challenge Tours.

“It meant I had nothing for next year apart from coming here to see if I could do any good and earn a couple of starts. I came out to enjoy a week’s golf before a long winter but came good in the end.

“Corty got off to such an unbelievable start, I felt I was playing for second place. So I aimed to just keep hitting good shots because you never know what can happen.

“Finishing like that is the stuff of what dreams are made of. I’ve had good finishes before but considering what was on the line, it’s probably the best hour of golf in my life.”

Similarly unexpected was the manner in which Robert Coles’s tournament was transformed.

Coles had been the Great Britain and Ireland PGA Cup team’s leading points scorer in the victory over the USA at Foxhills last year and had already been named as one of Cameron Clark’s vice captains for the match in Texas next September.

However, his chance of qualifying as a player looked remote after he began the final round way down the field on two-over.

That is until he also signed off in style with an eagle, par, birdie finish for an eight-under-par round of 63.

It all added up to 54-hole total of six-under and a sudden death play-off with Scotland’s Paul O’Hara to determine who would join Dixon and Cort in the PGA Cup team.

In the event Cole did not have to complete the hole after O’Hara, unable to extricate his ball that was wedged under the lip of a fairway bunker, conceded.

“I was very fortunate to get through like that,” said Cole, who represents Maylands Golf and Country Club in Essex and is a former European Tour player.

“It was a tough week for me. I struggled through most of it and hit a lot of practice shots, worked hard, and finally got something better going yesterday. I took it to the course today and managed to keep it going.

“I certainly didn’t think about making the team after the first two rounds. I wanted to post a good score for my own pride. It got better at the end, especially finishing off eagle, par, birdie.

“It hasn’t quite sunk in because I wasn’t expecting it. So I’m thrilled, really excited and surprised.”

Coles also qualifies for the BMW PGA Championship as a result of finishing third, as does O’Hara who is well-placed in the points table for a place in the PGA Cup team.

 

Fleetwood makes a move in Hong Kong

TOMMY Fleetwood posted a second round 65 in the Hong Kong Open to move up to a share of fifth place as Aaron Rai produced a course-record 61 to open up a commanding four-shot lead.

The scoring conditions were perfect for the early starters this morning and Rai took full advantage, notching six birdies in his first nine holes – including four in a row from the 12th – before finding three more on the back nine to break the course record by two strokes and move to 14 under par.

That impressive total left the three-time Challenge Tour winner four shots clear of closest challenger Hyowon Park following the South Korean’s bogey-free 62.

Fleetwood, who opened with a 69, said: “I hit it well off the tee. Got away with a couple, but irons were better, like it was a much stronger hit today. Rolled a couple of putts in at the end and be happy with the day.

“It’s a phenomenal golf course. It doesn’t matter what hole you’re on. It doesn’t matter whether you’re hitting a lob wedge in or a seven iron. The shots, most of the time, are equally as difficult.  Like I say, off the tee, whatever club you’re trying to hit, two yards off the fairway and you can’t control your golf ball.

“ It’s great to play. You get punished for bad golf, and if you play well, you have a chance of scoring a really good one, like we’ve seen looking at the scoreboard. It’s perfect.

“We’ve played 36 holes and there’s 36 more to go. You know, as soon as you get ahead of yourself around here, you’re going to just lose it. You’ll get punished. I’ll keep plugging on.”

Round Two Scores

126 A Rai (Eng) 65 61,
130 H Park (Kor) 68 62,
132 M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 70 62,
133 M Shin (USA) 66 67,
134 T Fleetwood (Eng) 69 65, A Da Silva (Bra) 70 64, S Hend (Aus) 68 66, J Higginbottom (Aus) 69 65, A Quiros (Esp) 68 66, J Scrivener (Aus) 65 69,