Batchelor boy makes home advantage count!

allistandamam.jpgAm winners Gary Jacques, John Davies (Alliance captain) and Andre McCreedy

HOST club assistant professional  Rob Batchelor (pictured below) capitalised on local knowledge as he tied with Penwortham’s Ryan O’Neill on 40 points in the Manchester Alliance at Stand.

Runners-up were a shot back were Tim Maxwell (Knutsford) and Andy Palmer (Chorley).

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It needed a card play-off on 45 points in the pro-am section with DavyhulmePark father and son duo Chris and Mike Lane seeing off Palmer and Keith Ashton (Bolton).

 

Home duo Andre McCreedy and Gary Jacques were runaway winners in the am-am with 46 points, leaving them three clear of Peter McManus (Chorlton) and Alliance secretary Ian Hales (Ringway).

 

 

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Birdietime becomes official PGA Partner

BIRDIETIME, the Finnish-based company behind the increasingly popular online golf related booking, administration and marketing service for PGA Professionals, has become a PGA Partner.

The service connects coaches and golfers by allowing amateurs to find a club and PGA Professional on birdietime.com or buy services on a pro’s own website. Birdietime makes it easy to purchase private or group lessons as well as gift cards and packages.

Under its new PGA Partner status, Birdietime will continue its expansion across Great Britain, Ireland and within the EU, and develop stronger business relationships with professional golfers.

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Birdietime cuts out administration duties for coaches, giving them more time to focus on more profitable activities, and provides opportunities to reach new clients as well as reducing the number of lesson ‘no-shows’.

As a result a PGA Professional’s workload is made easier by building an infrastructure to support booking and billing of golf lessons. In addition, players get easy access to a coach and golf clubs have a modern system for their members and visitors.

Commenting on the partnership, Mikko Back, founder and chief golf officer of Birdietime, said: “It was energising to meet with The PGA team.

“It enabled us to see how aligned we are in our thinking as to how the golf instruction business will evolve in the coming years.

“We want to free up PGA Professionals’ time from boring administrative tasks and let them focus on more profitable and enjoyable activities.

“Our mission is to help golfers save strokes and enjoy the game more by making instruction services a natural and easily accessible part of playing golf.

“And as The PGA’s focus is to provide added value to current and future golf professionals, we’re clearly on a joint mission.”

Launched in 2016, Birdietime has already registered more than 200 professionals registered in several countries, including Great Britain and Ireland.

Hamish Ferguson, PGA executive director, commercial, added: “We’re delighted to announce this exciting new partnership with Birdietime.

“Mikko and his innovative team have created a fantastic digital platform in a short space of time that I’m sure will be of great benefit to many of our Members.

“There are big changes taking place within golf and many of them are driven by new technology. This partnership is an example of The PGA moving with the times and making sure PGA Professionals are able to cater for those golfers who want services available 24/7 at the push of a button.

“We look forward to promoting Birdietime to our Members, partners and branded properties, and I am confident this is the start of a long and successful partnership.”

North West girls to compete in Nations Cup

THREE teams will represent England in the Nations Cup at the Spanish women’s amateur championship later this month.

The first includues s Annabell Fuller, Clitheroe’s Sophie Lamb (picture by Leaderboard Photography)  and Prestbury’s Bel Wardle. Wardle won the recent Portuguese women’s championship in a play-off with Fuller. Lamb  was low amateur at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The second team is Lianna Bailey, Lily May Humphreys and Georgia Price. Humphreys won five championships last season including English,

Sophie-Lamb (1).jpgBritish and European titles, while Bailey and Price are consistently high finishers.

The third team is drawn from the England Golf girls’ squad and is Martha Lewis, Mimi Rhodes and Hannah Screen. Lewis was runner-up in the English girls’ championship, Screen was runner-up in the British women’s stroke play and Rhodes reached the last 16 in the British girls’ championship.

The Spanish championship will be played at Barcelo Montecastillo golf & sports resort from 28 February to 4 March.

Team A:  

Annabell Fuller, 15, Roehampton, Surrey

Sophie Lamb, 20, Clitheroe, Lancashire

Bel Wardle, 18, Prestbury, Cheshire

Team B:

Lianna Bailey, 21, Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire

Lily May Humphreys , 15, Stoke By Nayland, Essex

Georgia Price, 24, Bude & North Cornwall

Team C:

Martha Lewis, 18, St George’s Hill, Surrey

Mimi Rhodes, 16, Burnham & Berrow, Somerset

Hannah Screen, 18, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

 

Lombard Trophy attracts another big field

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PRIZE GUY: Andy Picton Hart proudly holds the trophy he won with his Hart Common professional Steve Parry last year. Below: amateur Trish Formoy.

MORE than 1,000 golfers will contest the Lombard Trophy, Europe’s largest pro-am which culminates with an expenses paid trip to Portugal’s Algarve for the grand final in September.

The final will once again be staged on the Championship course at the five-star Pestana Vila Sol Golf & Resort Hotel, Vilamoura, and will feature 14 pairs competing Trish Formoy.jpgfor the £12,000 first prize.

The finalists will be determined by 14 regional finals that start on June 5 in the Midlands at Little Aston and finish two months later on August 2 at Burnham & Berrow in Somerset.

Other regional final venues include Walton Heath, home of the 1981 Ryder Cup, and Fulford in York, which staged no fewer than 23 European Tour events between 1967 and 1981.

Lombard, a leading management finance company providing leasing and hire purchase products, is supporting the competition for a third successive year with a £41,450 prize fund.

The company is also backing the women’s version of the pro-am, the WPGA Lombard Trophy. This will be contested by six pairs at Pestana Vila Sol Golf & Resort Hotel at the same time as the men’s final.

Commenting on Lombard’s support, PGA chief executive Robert Maxfield said: “Lombard is a fantastic sponsor of the PGA National Pro-Am Championship and we’re delighted to have their support once again in 2018.

“This is a unique event insomuch that it offers PGA Professionals a rare opportunity to team up with an amateur partner and represent their club in a national event.

“The competition features 14 superb regional final venues and Pestana Vila Sol Golf & Resort Hotel will once again prove to be a spectacular setting for this year’s finale.

“We look forward to this year’s tournament and I wish each and every competitor the best of luck.”

Ian Isaac, head of Lombard, added: “Lombard is proud to be continuing their sponsorship of Europe’s biggest pro-am event for another year.

“It’s great for us to be working with The PGA once again to offer amateur and professional golfers the opportunity to play some of the best courses across the UK and Ireland.

“Well over a million amateur golfers have participated in the Lombard Trophy over the years and we look forward to welcoming thousands more who wish to seize the chance to make their mark in 2018.”

Around 700 clubs entered the Lombard Trophy in 2017, with Hart Common duo Steve Parry and his amateur partner Andy Picton prevailing in a dramatic play-off to claim victory.

“From an amateur point of view you get to play at a great golf course during the qualifying round so it’s worth entering the Lombard Trophy just for that,” said Picton.

“It’s a fantastic experience playing at Vila Sol as you’re walking up that 18th in a winning position because all of the players, from both the ladies and men’s events, are following you up the fairway. It feels like you’re playing in a major because you’ve got a gallery watching you.”

The WPGA Lombard Trophy enters its third year with two regional qualifying events at Camberley Heath in Surrey on June 11 and Cheshire’s Dunham Forest on July 23.

The top three teams from each qualify for the grand final, won last year by Kibworth duo Kym Larratt and amateur Trish Formoy.

“To have the opportunity of an all-expenses paid trip to Portugal was incredible,” said Larratt, a Ladies European Tour player. “It was a huge accomplishment and pleasure to be crowned winners.”

Formoy added: “Like all golf competitions, you have nothing to lose and as much chance of winning as anyone else, particularly in this format with a professional for a partner.

“Coming down the 18th when we had it in the bag, I couldn’t let myself believe it until the final putt; then it was phenomenal. When we got home, everyone was excited about the win.

“Every now and then telling yourself you have won a national tournament does give you a warm feeling.”

Entry packs will be arriving at golf clubs across the UK this month. Entries are now open online by visiting www.pgagbi.bluegolf.com

Tommy Fleetwood targets BMW title

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SOUTHPORT’S Tommy Fleetwood will make his first appearance on home soil since being crowned the European Tour’s Race to Dubai Champion when he tees it up in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club from May 24-27.

The World No 13 has confirmed he will be part of the star-studded line up for the first Rolex Series event of 2018, with tickets to see him in action over the famous West Course, in Surrey, England, now on sale here.

Fleetwood already has one Rolex Series title to his name after his victory in the HNA Open de France at 2018 Ryder Cup venue Le Golf National last July – a win which helped him finish the 2017 season as Europe’s Number One player after being crowned Race to Dubai Champion in Dubai last November.

The 27-year-old, who subsequently received the Seve Ballesteros Award as the European Tour Players’ Player of the Year, has carried his impressive form into the new season, playing a starring role in Team Europe’s EurAsia Cup victory before successfully defending his title in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA last month.

Now he is targeting victory in front of his home fans at the BMW PGA Championship to add another prestigious entry on to his increasingly impressive CV.

“The BMW PGA Championship is one of those events you watch as a kid and always dream about winning,” said Fleetwood. “It has always been one of the best events on our Tour – the next one down from a Major for us – so to win it would mean a lot.

“I’ve been in contention at Wentworth once before so far in my career (finished tied sixth in 2015) and if you are in contention, and you are English or British, it is an amazing atmosphere there.  It is definitely a title you want to win in your career.

“You look at all the names on the trophy – Seve, Faldo, Woosnam, Montgomerie, McIlroy – and it would be incredible to join them. To win another Rolex Series event too, after my win in France, would also be a big thing for me.”

Fleetwood is also looking forward to returning to the famous West Course which has had a further year to develop since undergoing a multi-million pound revamp before last year’s tournament, won by Sweden’s Alex Noren.

“I’ve always liked the golf course at Wentworth and last year I thought the changes were great,” said Fleetwood. “The changes were definitely positive and everybody seemed to like them. It’s a great course and I really like the layout. Hopefully I can do well in May and continue the form I’ve shown so far this year.”

Fans can now book tickets to Fleetwood and some of the world’s best golfers at Wentworth.

Early bird tickets for all four days of the tournament, plus the Wednesday Celebrity Pro-Am and weekend headline bands Rudimental and Simple Minds.

 

PGA North announces new format for a united region

PGA North has launched a trail-blazing venture to promote a golf union embracing the whole region which is the biggest in the country outside Scotland.

The Players’ Series will tee off next month with a dozen fixtures spread across the North East and North West, Lancashire and Yorkshire and Cheshire and North Wales.

Regional secretary Jonathan Paine said: “These multi events are open to all members who will be able to compete in other counties for the first time under this new format. Anyone can enter if they are willing to travel.

“It also gives me the opportunity to see more members, which is part of my enhanced remit which includes all the regions playing as one. Reconnecting with everyone will make a huge difference.

“We will able to arrange more meetings with the counties and getting to know the professionals by going to see them. I know it’s the tip of the iceberg but I believe it will be the starting point of a bright new future.

“It could have a snowball effect which would encourage more sponsorship.”

The first event in the Players’ Series will be at The Range, a brand new indoor facility in Manchester’s Spinning Fields on March 24.

Other venues include Crossland Heath, Bolton Old Links, Northenden, Blackburn, Stamford, Ellesmere, Renishaw Park, Knutsford, Wakefield, Bishop Auckland (tbc) and Fulford.

 

 

Topgolf quest to grow the game

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ENGLAND Golf has announced its partnership with global sports entertainment leader Topgolf in a bid to grow the game.

The two organisations plan to work together and learn from each other to attract more people into golf, to improve the image of the game and to make the sport more inclusive and accessible.  The partnership will also be an opportunity to swap information, test new ideas and to learn from each other.

The Topgolf formula has proved hugely successful and aims to put the fun into the golf range experience.  With target games for all – golfers and non-golfers alike – and a good time which includes music, food and drink, Topgolf attracted an average of just over 30,000 daily visits globally in 2017.

Abbie Lench, England Golf’s head of club support, commented: “We’ve a lot to learn from Topgolf about introducing people to golf by providing what the customers want and giving them a great experience.

“That knowledge will help us to give even better support to our clubs and supplement our advice on understanding the market and creating centres which are customer friendly.”

Claire Kendrick, head of marketing at Topgolf UK said: “We are thrilled to be teaming up with such a prestigious group as England Golf and to work together to make the game more accessible for everyone.  As a brand, Topgolf is constantly looking for ways to grow the game of golf and to encourage people of all ages and abilities to get involved.”