Putting ‘doctor’ Swash dies

 

BRITAIN’S “putting doctor” Harold Swash has died.

The long-time Hillside member coached many of Europe’s great players including Nick Faldo, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood to name just a few.

He designed his first putter in the early 1960s before establishing the Harold Swash Putting School of Excellence.

There was an incident at the 1998 Masters when Swash collapsed while he was being conveyed to the medical centre and was later diagnosed with a ruptured aortic aneurysm. 

He returned to Augusta for many years later to have dinner with those who saved his life.  

His high-tech putting school is today based at Formby Hall and run by professional Phil Kenyon who has Mike Kanski and Lee Sullivan in his team.

Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and Luis Oosthuizen are among the big names under their tutelage.

It is understood Swash was aged 83.

 

New players flock to join clubs – report

ENGLAND Golf’s support for clubs, through its county and national networks, encouraged more than 135,000 people to try the game and in excess of 9,000 to join clubs  in just six months.

The figures are shown in the latest County Impact Report, which covers April-September 2016 and details the success of initiatives to grow the game and keep people playing.

County Development Officers, working in partnership with county unions, associations, the Golf Foundation and the PGA, connected clubs with national campaigns and helped them to recruit and retain members and strengthen their business structure. 

Clubs have been able to take advantage of the highly successful Business Growth Hubs; demand-led workshops; and support to help them understand their local market before making investment and marketing decisions.

As a result, the number of people trying golf is up 47% on the same period last year and over 43,000 have taken coaching courses of at least four weeks. Meanwhile, there’s a growing commitment to regular play, shown by a 26% increase in new memberships, which include trial and introductory packages.

England Golf chief executive Nick Pink said: “Clubs are at the centre of everything we do and it’s very satisfying for our county teams to work with them to achieve these results. Now, we all look forward to building on these successes and helping clubs to become even stronger.”

Campaigns include Get into golf, supported by Sky Sports, which received over 700,000 hits on its getintogolf.org website from people interested in beginner golf opportunities. More than 730 clubs have used the website to promote more than 13,000 activities and attract over 32,000 beginners. An increasing number of Get into golf beginners are joining clubs, with almost 5000 becoming members this summer, compared with nearly 4000 last year. 

During the summer a number of new ventures were launched, including Golf Express, which promotes shorter formats and particularly 9-hole golf on the golfexpress9.org website. It encourages busy people to play more often, telling them that it’s ‘all the game in half the time.’ It was successfully trialled in Staffordshire, helping to retain current players and attract returners by offering a playing opportunity that fitted in with their lifestyle.

June was dedicated to highlighting the ongoing golfing opportunities for women and girls under the banner of #ThisGirlsGolfs. Encouragingly, 40% of all those trying golf were female and clubs are successfully attracting them to women-only Get into golf sessions and into membership.

July turned the spotlight on golf as a game for all the family. Clubs were encouraged to run open days and existing golfers invited their families to share their pleasure in the game.  These events helped to attract new visitors and members.  Marketing materials were available to clubs for both focus months, which will be repeated in 2017 as part of England Golf’s promotional calendar.

Girls Golf Rocks – a project run jointly with the Golf Foundation – successfully attracted 600 girls in nine counties to try golf, helped by the promise from young ambassadors that it’s a fun and sociable game. Over 500 went on to take coaching courses and more than 200 have become club members. Next year, Girls Golf Ro

PGA honours Ryder Cup ace Donaldson

X during the PGA lunch on December 2, 2016 in Manchester, England.PUTT IT THERE! Jamie Donaldson receives his award from Sandy Jones

MACCLESFIELD’S Ryder Cup hero Jamie Donaldson received a PGA recognition award for his outstanding contribution to golf at the annual fundraising lunch at Manchester’s Midland Hotel.

The 41-year-old, who claimed the winning point for Europe in the 2014 matches against the United States, was the guest of honour at the event in aid of the PGA Benevolent Fund.

Donaldson will be forever remembered for sparking jubilant celebrations with a sublime nine iron to within inches of the flag on the 15th of the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles defeat Keegan Bradley 4&3 in the singles two years ago.

It capped a career highlight to date for the Welshman, who was playing off a seven handicap at aged 16 but climbed through the amateur and professional ranks on the back of hard work and dedication.

Along the way he has overcome a career threatening injury and landed the biggest win of his career at the 2013 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, holding off Justin Rose and Thorbjørn Olesen to win by one shot.

The Abu Dhabi triumph came only six months after he broke his European Tour duck with victory in the 2012 Irish Open, where he fired a stunning 66 to win by four strokes at Royal Portrush.

He also won the Thailand Golf Championship at the end of 2014 while he notched three Challenge Tour victories to his name as he was coming through the ranks.

PGA chief executive Sandy Jones said: “Few people will forget that winning shot to clinch the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. It was a fantastic moment but was richly deserved for all the hard work and dedication Jamie has shown over the years which has seen him rise to the highest levels of the game both as a top amateur and professional.”

 

X during the PGA lunch on December 2, 2016 in Manchester, England.

Adam’s first man at Mottram Hall

CHORLTON assistant professional Adam Hodkinson, who’s made his mark on the EuroPro Tour this season, clocked up an impressive 42 points to win the top prize in the Manchester Alliance at Mottram Hall.

The pro am section saw new names at the head of the field with Matt Dixon (High Legh Park) and Macclesfield partner Tom Hollingworth claiming pro-am honours with 43 points.

Davyhulme Park’s Brian Conner and Dave Roberts amassed 46 points to clinch the am-am.

Blind golfers at home on the range

blind-and-vi-group

The group at Liverpool Golf Centre with (top right) Alison Lysons, county development officer for the Cheshire Golf Development Group, and one of the players out on the range

A NEW scheme on Merseyside is breaking down the barriers for blind and partially sighted people to give golf a go.

Specialist sessions at Liverpool Golf Centre are helping show that the sport is a sport that can be played by all ages and abilities.

A group of visually impaired people have been introduced to it through a taster session run by PGA professional Sean Bailey at the Netherley driving range.

The taster sessions have been supported by Wallasey golfer Steve Beevers, captain of England and Wales Blind Golf and also a key member of a partnership including England Golf, Liverpool VISPA (Visually Impaired Sport & Physical Activity), British Blind Sport and Liverpool Golf Centre.

Steve assisted Sean on the range taster session and their fun and relaxed approach soon had everyone enjoying the challenge and hitting some great shots.

Everyone enjoyed the occasion so much that Sean is putting on fortnightly lessons for the group and as well as using the driving range plans to give lessons in short game and putting.

Due to the level of interest the group is working with England Golf to hold sessions at other venues and the project may be extended to Manchester and the Wirral.

If you would be interested in hearing more about these sessions please contact George Ferguson from VISPA at george.ferguson@daisyuk.co.uk

Alison Lysons, county development officer for the Cheshire Golf Development Group, which has been working with the group to deliver the golf coaching sessions, said: “It was great to see everyone enjoying themselves at the first session and I’m pleased they want to continue with the game and have more lessons with Sean.”

Those taking part included Mike Ferguson, who said: “It is great to get the opportunity to play golf and have some expertise coaching. We received a warm welcome at the driving range and had a good afternoon.”

VISPA’s George Ferguson added: “It was fantastic to try golf for the first time. I have been visually impaired since birth and although I have always been quite sporty, I have always wanted to try golf, but never had the confidence.

“I cannot thank Sean enough for showing me how to hit the ball, working with me on some minor technical adjustments, and thus giving me the confidence to continue with further lessons.

“I believe trying things first on the golf range is a huge advantage as I felt no pressure which I probably would have felt on the golf course.”

George is now looking to source a support guide who can assist him while playing golf.

Harriet Dunn, another participant, added: “I absolutely loved the VI golf taster session, having tried golf a few years ago with my Dad, I was so pleased that I was able to remember what to do. The best bit was being able to hit the ball 70 yards!”

Get into golf is a national campaign to inspire new golfers run by the England Golf Partnership through its network of Golf Development Groups, which work to grow the game.

Get into golf opportunities include free or low-cost beginner courses with PGA professionals. They are a fun and sociable way to start golf – and a great way to make new friends.

To find your nearest centre visit getintogolf.org and look at the activity map or call 0800 118 2766

For more details on the work of the Cheshire GDG visit www.cheshiregolfpartnership.com

 

 

North West trio Florida bound

THE five-strong England women’s squad, which includes three from the North West,  will start their 2017 campaign on Florida’s Orange Blossom Tour as part of a plan to increase their playing opportunities.

Louisa Brunt, Gemma Clews, Sophie Lamb will link up with Georgia Price and Olivia Winning to  play in the Harder Hall Invitational from January 4-7.

The tournament is one of five events which make up the Orange Blossom Tour and past champions include Charley Hull who won in 2012.

Rebecca Hembrough, the England Golf Women’s performance manager, said: “We are always looking for ways to improve and do things better, particularly off the back of such a successful 2016 season.

“Increasing the number of playing opportunities for the English-based players is one way we’re doing this in 2017.

“We want to give the players greater experiences of high quality events in different environments, with the world class support of our national coach Steve Robinson.”

During the 2016 season the England women’s successes included the European team championship, the European amateur, the British stroke play championship, the Scottish stroke play, the Women’s Home Internationals – and a key contribution to the GB&I Curtis Cup victory.

The women’s squad:

Louisa Brunt, 18, (Royal Birkdale) was an England girl international who won the Pleasington Putter and had a top ten in the English women’s stroke play, among other strong results. (Image © Leaderboard Photography)

Gemma Clews, 22, (Delamere Forest) had a string of high finishes last season, helped England win the women’s Home Internationals and was third on the England Golf Women’s Order of Merit.

Sophie Lamb, 18, (Clitheroe) is the British women’s stroke play champion and won the England Golf Women’s Order of Merit. She was also in the winning England team at the Women’s Home Internationals.

Georgia Price, 23, (Bude and North Cornwall) was runner up on the England Golf Order of Merit after results including second place in the English stroke play and third in the British stroke play.

Olivia Winning, 21, (Rotherham) won the Helen Holm Scottish stroke play for the second time. She was in England’s winning team at the European championships and the Home Internationals.

Blackley makes its mark

BLACKLEY has won a national award from England Golf. The Lancashire club has won a  GolfMark award, an official seal of approval for 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

The club has taken a proactive approach to securing its future and introducing a new generation of players to the sport.

A spokesperson explained: “The application process for GolfMark has been both interesting and enlightening with a positive outcome for the club.

“Over the past year we have been active in the community, visiting and supporting schools, and over the summer we introduced our junior ‘Tee Pegs’ programme, which has been a great success.

Debbie Barber, England Golf’s county development officer for the Lancashire, said: “The club club has achieved GolfMark as a fitting reward for the strides it has made in recent years in building a strong future and bringing more people into the game of golf.”