Archive for October, 2017

Four share top billing at Ringway

FOUR players were deadlock on one-under-par 70 in the second Cheshire & North Wales PGA Winter fixture at Ringway Golf Club.

Among them was host club attached David Brunton who took advantage of local knowledge when he birdied the last two holes.

Abersoch’s Iona Jones finished runner-up but was left to rue a double bogey on the final green.

The action moves to Prestatyn next Monday (Oct 30) which will mark the half-way mark in the six fixture series.

 

LEADING SCORES: 70 Grant Edwards (Lakeside), Graham Roberts (Eaton), David Brunton (Ringway), Oliver Pantoja (OP Golf); 71 Iona Jones (Abersoch); 72 Adam McCade (AM Golf), Tim Maxwell (Knutsford).

 

Tough for Archer as Essex claim PGA crown

ESSEX were crowned kings of the PGA’s counties thanks to former PGA Cup player Jason Levermore prevailing in a sudden death play-off with Birchwood’s Phil Archer.

With the scores of Essex and Cheshire and North Wales level after two negotiations of the PGA National course at The Belfry, the two were charged with making a second trip down the par-four first to settle the destiny of the trophy and £4,000 first prize.

With Levermore depositing his approach to no more than 10 feet from the flag and Archer landing his even closer, the odds appeared to favour the latter.

But after Levermore rolled his putt home, Archer, a member of Albert MacKenzie’s triumphant Great Britain and Ireland PGA Cup team at Foxhills last month, missed his.

The victory ensured Essex won the PGA in England and Wales Inter-County Championship for the first time but, typically, Levermore was gracious in victory.

“In all fairness Phil was unlucky to finish on the green where he did,”  admitted Levermore, a member of the 2015 Great Britain and Ireland PGA Cup team that was the first to win in the USA.

“His shot was heading straight for the flag but it landed in an old pitch mark which spun it left. That was good for us but tough on Phil.

“Then I managed to get mine in the hole first, which is a big help. If your are putting first it gives you the chance to put a bit more pressure on your opponent.”

The decisive putt followed two-under par rounds from Levermore for a five-under par total of 137 but, coming up the 18th, he did not expect a play-off.

“We had our secretary out there and he told me Brett (Taylor) was three-under with four to play and I was three-under with four to play,” he explained.

“So I thought that if we could both finish on three-under that would be good enough. Then I managed to birdie 18 to get to four-under then Brett told me he had a poor finish and ended on level-par. That was when I found out I would be in the play-off.”

With the best two from three scores counting and Taylor and the third member of the Essex trio, James Scade, posting scores of three and eight-over respectively, it fell to Levermore to fly the flag in the play-off.

Similarly Archer, who finished on three-under, carried the hopes of Cheshire and North Wales after teammates Graham Cox and Michael Jones returned respective scores of four and one-over in a combined two-under par total of 282.

Archer was one of just three players who completed the two rounds in a sub par score; Craig Shave, whose second round score of 67 equalled that of Levermore as the tournament’s best, was the other.

However his overall return of two-under was not sufficient to prevent Leicestershire and Rutland finishing fifth, 10 shots behind Wiltshire and 13 adrift of Hampshire who missed out on a play-off place by one.

O’Neill’s winning debut in Manchester Alliance

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WINNING SMILES: Ryan O’Neill (second right) and the  sponsors’ team 

PENWORTHAM assistant Ryan O’Neill made an impressive debut with the Manchester Alliance four-man stableford at Helsby when he topped the pro section with 38 points.

And he celebrated a double success as he guided the sponsors’ team of Steve  Moores (Stamford), Phil Aitken (Fairfield) and Martin Dwyer (Stamford) to 85 points.

They beat Marcus Corfield (Swinton Park), Dave Hemingway (Chorley), Lee Warren (Northenden) and Dave Smith (Ellesmere) on a cpo with Saddleworth’s team of Andy Earlam, Neil Bamford, Dave Pullen and Dean Jagger in third spot with 82 points.

Meanwhile, former Manchester United ace  Ryan Giggs was a key player in Adam Hodkinson’s team.

More women urged to get into golf

A SCHEME to encourage new women golfers to play more often and have fun on the course has been such a success that it is set to grow.

The Academy Away Days ran in three counties this season and attracted over 300 players, bringing them together for on-course outings to grow their confidence and to make new friends. Next year the scheme will run again in Hertfordshire,

Academy-Away-Days (1).jpgDurham and Cheshire and will also be extended to five new counties: Northumberland, Worcestershire, Suffolk, Devon and Hampshire.“It’s a great opportunity to learn to play with others who are at the same level,” said one of the players. “I was a little nervous about the overall day but the experience was good,” added another. “It’s given me the confidence to play on the course and improve,” said a third.

The Academy Away Days have been developed by England Golf as part of its commitment to growing the women and girls’ game. Only  15 per cent of club members are women and just one per cent are girls, but research shows there’s a huge appetite for playing the sport.

The scheme was pioneered in Hertfordshire where clubs realised they needed to support and retain women who had taken Get into golf beginner courses.

Outings are organised on par three and short courses and the players use a novel scoring system which focusses on rules and etiquette rather than the number of strokes taken.

So, over nine holes, the women complete a series of challenges such as successfully hitting the green in one shot, raking the bunker correctly and shaking hands on the final green when they had completed their game. Everyone tees off at the same time so there’s lots of opportunity to socialise afterwards and enjoy a glass of fizz.

The success of the scheme is highlighted by the results of a survey of women who took part this summer, which indicated that almost 60% have taken out some form of membership.

Lauren Spray, England Golf’s Women and Girls’ participation manager, commented: “The Academy Away Days have proved a great way for women to make friends, to build their confidence and to have fun while they improve their skills and keep playing golf.

“The feedback from the players has been so positive and I’m looking forward to seeing even greater success as it grows into the new counties.”

England Golf has also piloted the Sunday Slam this year for women aged 18-35 and the concept will be further tested next season.

 

The Sunday Slam offered a series of monthly stablefords to women who may only be able to play at the weekend and want to get together with other women of a similar age for competitive yet social golf.

Events were held at Breadsall Priory in Derbyshire, Belton Park in Lincolnshire, Radcliffe on Trent in Nottinghamshire and The Leicestershire .

Chorley duo weather the storm at Sale

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WEATHER BEATERS: Alliance captain John Davies, a Sale member, congratulates Chorley’s Andy Palmer and Stephanie Patterson

CHORLEY assistant professional Andy Palmer and clubmate Stephanie Patterson defied the elements to win the Manchester Alliance Mixed Pairs Hancock Trophy at Sale.

They racked up 42 points in the better-ball stableford to prevail by one from Westhoughton duo Kieron Gaskell and Lynn Phillips who edged out Bramall Park’s Ollie Whiteley and Michelle Pretty on countback.

Home pair of Mobi Rawthore and Fiona Flanagan also won a 39-points countback in the am-am from Worsley’s Alan Hooper and Pat Jackson with another top Chorley duo of Denis and Sam Durnian who posted 38 points.

Clubs cash in on England Golf deal

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SHAKE ON IT: Iain Lancaster (centre) with GMG directors David Valentine (left) and Scott Partington

ENGLAND Golf has partnered with the Golf Management Group (GMG) to help golf clubs cut costs without compromising on quality.

Clubs affiliated to England Golf will receive free GMG membership for a year – usually £149 – which could help them make savings of more than £10,000.

GMG is the second organisation to join England Golf’s new Preferred Partners and Supplier network. This is designed to give clubs access to a range of high quality products and services and, as it develops, will offer increasing value to England Golf’s club support package.

Iain Lancaster, England Golf Club engagement manager, said: “We are delighted to welcome GMG to our developing network and to increase the support we are able to offer clubs to help them grow.

“I am looking forward to announcing more partnerships over the coming months to further demonstrate our commitment in this area.”

GMG is a purchasing alliance, created in 2010 by experienced golf club operators, which sets out to increase profitability for independent clubs across the UK. It uses its collective purchasing power to get significant discounts without compromising on quality or service.

Memberships gives access to teams of experts who look at a club’s expenditure and report back on potential savings in key areas such as energy, insurance and food and beverage.

To complement the procurement benefits GMG members also have access to Contracts-Manager,  an online tool designed to manage all service and utilities contracts. The system will prompt clubs at critical dates when they might wish to look for more competitive arrangements.

Savings will vary depending on the areas each club chooses to review. But GMG would expect that clubs which engage with its top six performing categories would cut costs by over £10,000.

Scott Partington, from GMG. said: “”We are very excited about the partnership with England Golf, it endorses everything we have been doing over the last seven years and will provide significant leverage when negotiating with our supply chain, which should see golf clubs making even greater savings.

“The complimentary membership for affiliated clubs removes any barriers to try our service and we look forward to adding to our current membership of over 550 clubs.”

GMG have joined the XACT group in the Preferred Partners network. XACT provide golf clubs with health and safety and human resources support.

 

Dransfield at double as he edges out Archer

 

Jason Dransfield.JPGJASON Dransfield claimed the prized scalp of serial winner Phil Archer after an enthralling Cheshire & North Wales Matchplay Championship final at Wilmslow – the day after sharing top prize in Andrew Murray’s charity pro-am at Stockport.

The Heswall assistant (pictured) admitted he had struggled against Ringway-attached Oliver Pantoja in the semi-finals before eventually prevailing on the home green.

He then stepped up a gear against Birchwood’s Archer, fresh from helping GB&I retain the PGA Cup against the United States at Foxhills, but still found himself two down after five holes.

“I started playing a lot better from the seventh and had a run of six birdies, going one up for the first time on the eleventh,” he recounted.

He also birdied the 13th but a bogey at the 15th reduced the margin to one although he immediately regained the initiative by picking up shots on the ensuing two holes, rolling in from 25 feet on the 16th then settling the issue at the next.

Dransfield, 35, beaten at the first stage last year, recently started his PGA year three course at Heswall after a previous spell at Didsbury.

He added: “I turned professional 12 years ago and played EuroPro Tour and competed in Asia and the United States then, after a break, seized the opportunity to join the PGA.”

Archer edged out Royal Liverpool’s Michael Jones, a previous winner of the title, by one hole in the semi-finals.

 

 

Revealed – secrets of retaining club members

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THE secrets of keeping golf club members happy, contented and loyal are revealed in new report commissioned by England Golf: Valuing Your Customers.  The findings, from Manchester Metropolitan University, will be used to help golf clubs strengthen their business by retaining their members.

They’ll be shared by England Golf’s club support network, together with a specially produced video and other resources which will help clubs identify and provide the golfing experience their members want.

The report makes the point that it costs less to retain a member than to attract a new one and it highlights six ways to keep members happy:

Offer enjoyment and engagement

Provide a unique ethos and atmosphere 

Create a great customer experience from the car park to the bar

A warm welcome which extends far beyond a ‘meet and greet’

 Participation options for all, from novice to experienced player

 Ways to keep members involved long-term

It also offers ideas for clubs to consider which will customise their approach to members. These could include becoming a female-friendly club or offering alternative formats which could be welcomed by beginners, older players and those who are short of time.

Report author Dr Chris Mackintosh said: “Members are the lifeblood of any club and retention really matters. The evidence says that if golf clubs can be more diverse, more open and embrace a friendly culture more people will stay in the game and we will grow the sport.”

Abbie Lench, England Golf’s Head of Club Support, added: “We want to show clubs how to understand and to value their customers and build a healthy base of loyal members.”

She added: “There’s another great benefit because we find that clubs which have an excellent relationship with existing members, will improve their reputation and find it easier to recruit new players.”

England Golf is now working in partnership with MMU on a three-year research project to better understand volunteers in clubs and the critical role they play in retention.

CASE STUDY

Kettering Golf Club in Northamptonshire is where Charley Hull learned her golf and is now an honorary member.  It recognised its strength was as a members’ club and made this a priority, offering relaxed enjoyment and companionship.

The club has worked on retention programmes with David Davis, the England Golf Club Support Officer in Northamptonshire, and they’ve been so successful that they remain financially secure, have enhanced their reputation and grown their membership by over 8% in two years, lowering the overall age of the membership in the process.

Club chairman Graham Althorpe commented: “New members are important, but for us, our best recruiting sergeant is retaining existing members who are pleased with and want to be part of the whole Kettering Golf Club experience.”

CASE STUDY 

Northamptonshire County Golf Club has also worked with David Davis and, after considering the demographic of its ageing membership, has put in place a long-term strategy for retention and recruitment. This has included halving the joining fee which helped to increase membership by almost six percent from 2015-2017.

Club manager Elaine McBride commented: “We ensure that we are constantly being proactive by engaging with existing members and increasing our PR presence in the local golfing community.

“For example, we can now analyse members’ bar spending and this means we can engage with members who have not have used the facilities recently. It’s a good way to gain a better understanding of factors that impact on people visiting and using the club.”

The new retention guidance has been produced as part of England Golf’s strategy, Growing the Game of Golf in England, which has the customer at its heart.

Visit www.englandgolf.org/retention to read the research findings and view the video.

 

Archer back in Manchester Alliance mix

PHIL Archer continued where he left off last season in the Manchester Alliance when he top scored at Wigan with 40 points.

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The long-time Birchwood attached professional , fresh from helping Great Britain and Ireland retain the PGA Cup against the United States at the Foxhills Resort, Surrey, finished two points in front of second placed Kieron Gaskell, from Westhoughton.

And Archer, the reigning PGA North Region champion and  already on course to retain the Alliance professional Order of Merit, made it a double pay-day by winning the pro-am with Leigh’s Paul Pasquill on 45 points.

Houldsworth call the shots at Blackley

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HOULDSWORTH created history when they won the Manchester Alliance City Glass Men’s Foursomes at Blackley for the first time and always held the upper hand as they defeated Birchwood 5.5-1.5.

Paul Stelfox and Richard Hackney opened their account with a win on the 18th over Ian Clough and Peter McElkerny which was followed by further success from Peter Burgess and Paul Stafford by 3&1, Steve Henderson and Steve Harding 6&5 before victory was clinched on the 18th by Barry McConnell and Chris Fawley over Peter Abbott and Bob Kingswood.

John Dorsi and David Raynor put the icing on the Houldsworth cake with a 3&2 win over Colin Berry and Lee Pritchard.

Consolation points for Birchwood came from Jerry Salmon and Steve Broome with a two up win over Steve Richardson and Steve McCann and a half between John Fitzsimons and Simon Wilkinson and Houldsworth’s Graham Bardsley and Dave Michaels giving Houldsworth victory.