Archive for December, 2017

Royal opening for Lancs curtain-raiser

THE curtain will go up on the 2018 Lancashire county golf season at one of the region’s most famous courses.

Royal Birkdale will host the traditional opening fixture while the Rest of Lancashire team will take on representatives from the Southport and District Golf Association over the challenging links on March 25.

Top event of the year is the county championship, which will be fought out over another links at West Lancashire, an Open qualifying venue.

At junior level Lancashire’s top young players will take part in the Four Counties Tournament – against teams from Cheshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire, and Nottinghamshire – at Sherwood Forest from April 3-5 where they will be bidding for a third successive title.

The Boys’ Championship is at Crompton and Royton in May with the U16 and U14 titles competed for in August at Dean Wood and Blackley respectively.

The county team embarks on the Northern Counties League programme against Cumbria at Eden GC while the seniors will head to another Open venue – at Royal Liverpool – to take on Cheshire.


March 25: Rest of Lancs v Southport DGA at Royal Birkdale

April 1: Lancashire B v Cumbria B at Haydock Park

April 3-5: Four Counties Junior Tournament at Sherwood Forest

April 7: Rest of Lancashire v East Lancashire Golf Association TBC

April 8: Lancashire v Lancashire Ladies at Blackburn

May 9: Collinge Trophy at Worsley

May 11: Lancashire Seniors v Shropshire and Hereford Seniors at Shrewsbury

May 12: Cumbria v Lancashire at Eden

May 13: Lancashire Boys Championship at Crompton and Royton

May 14: Lancashire Seniors v Cheshire at Royal Liverpool

May 21: Lancashire Seniors v Staffordshire at Wigan

May 24: Collinge Trophy at Bolton

June 1-3: Lancashire County Championship at West Lancashire

June 5: Bell Trophy at Leigh

June 10: Lancashire v Cheshire at Royal Birkdale

June 11-12: Lancashire Seniors Championship at Blackpool North Shore

June 20: Bell Trophy at Preston

June 25: Lancashire Seniors v Yorkshire at Southport & Ainsdale

June 25: Lancashire Boys v Cheshire Boys at Houghwood

July 4: EG Northern Boys Qualifying Round at Pleasington

July 7: Yorkshire v Lancashire at Fulford

July 9: U16, U15, U14 Boys v Durham at Chester le Street

July 16: Lancashire Seniors v Durham at Tyneside

July 26: U16, U15, U14 Boys v Yorkshire at Wakefield

July 30: Lancashire Boys v Yorkshire Boys at Whitefield

August 2: U16, U15, U14 Boys v Cheshire at Congleton

August 6: Lancashire U16 Boys Championship at Dean Wood

August 6: Lancashire Seniors v Northumberland at Heysham

August 8: EG Men’s Northern Qualifying at Durham

August 11: Lancashire v Durham at Hesketh

August 13: Lancashire Boys U14 Championships at Blackley

August 15: Lancashire County Foursomes at North Manchester

August 17: Lancashire Boys v Cumbria Boys at Silverdale

August 20: Lancashire Seniors v Cumbria at Fleetwood

August 22: Collinge Trophy at Worsley Park

August 26: North West Junior Open at Knott End

September 1: Northumberland v Lancashire at The Northumberland

September 4: EG Northern Seniors Qualifying TBC

September 9: Lancashire Boys v Lancashire Girls TBC

September 12: Collinge and Bell finals at Formby

October 2-14 North of England Open at Alwoodley



Ffion makes history thanks to Girls Golf Rocks

GIRLS Golf really Rocks for Cheshire teenager Ffion Jones who is about to make history as the first female junior captain at her club.

Ffion, who only started playing golf 14 months ago thanks to the Girls Golf Rocks campaign, will be the 2018 junior captain at Eaton Golf Club in Chester.

The 17-year-old got into golf after her mum spotted an advert for Girls Golf Rocks, the recruitment campaign run by England Golf and the Golf Foundation which inspires more girls to take up the game. At first Ffion was reluctant to go along to the taster session at Eaton

Ffion-Jones.jpgas she didn’t think she would know anyone. But when she arrived she found she knew several of the other girls and in her own words “golf was a lot better than I thought.”

In fact, she enjoyed golf so much so that when her Gran offered to buy her a junior membership at Eaton for Christmas she jumped at the chance to join the club. She’s since been followed by her 11-year-old brother and the two of them can be found practising together at the club on most days.

Over the last 12 months Ffion has lowered her handicap from 36 to 21.8 and was the most improved woman golfer of the year for 2017. She has also played for Eaton in matches against other local clubs, is  playing in Eaton’s junior

winter league and recently, along with her brother, their friend and one of the clubs pros, won a night golf competition where they were the only juniors playing.

Ffion is studying for her A Levels at Christleton High School and then will take a gap year when she plans to work and play as much golf as possible to achieve her aim of getting her handicap down to single figures.

She will also be carrying out her role as junior captain throughout 2018 and hopes that this will help her to get to know the other juniors better and encourage more girls to become members of Eaton Golf Club. She would especially like to se

e more girls playing in the winter

junior league next year to redress the balance in the league which this year has three girls and 19 boys taking part.

Eaton’s Head PGA Professional Bill Tye, commented: “I could tell from the start that Ffion was a talented ball player and she has excelled. She’s really, really keen, completely hooked on the game and we thought we would give her this honour.”

Ffion’s mum Hilary Jones – who is not a golfer – said: “All the members a

nd the staff at Eaton Golf Club have been really good to the juniors at Eaton and I’m really pleased that I signed Ffion up for Girls Golf Rocks. It’s also great for me to see Ffion and her younger brother enjoying an activity together, golf is good for them as a physical activity but it also teaches them other things such as honesty and respect “.

Ffion said:  “I really wish my mum had signed me up for golf years ag

o, I enjoy it so much and am really excited to be Eaton’s first female junior captain.’

Alison Lysons, England Golf Club Support Officer in Cheshire commented “It’s exciting to hear that someone coming through the Girls Golf Rocks programme has developed such a love for golf and is becoming her club’s first female junior captain. Eaton Golf Club has a great junior programme and Ffion’s experience will be invaluable in encouraging other young girls to take up the game of golf there”.

Lauren Spray, Women and Girls Participation Manager at England Golf adde

d: “It’s fantastic to see how quickly Ffion has progressed through the programme, attaining a handicap in such a short space of time and getting it down to 22 is fantastic to hear.

“As part of Girls Golf Rocks we ask girls to become county ambassadors to inspire new girls who come into the programme. By being appointed junior captain Ffion will now be one of those vital role models to new girls coming into the programme and at Eaton. This is a fantastic success and we wish Ffion all the best with her A Levels and her year as junior captain!”

For more information about Girls Golf Rocks visit

For more information about junior golf at Eaton Golf Club contact Bill Tye at 


North West clubs in running for England awards

THE shortlist of outstanding finalists for the England Golf Awards 2018 has been revealed – and there’s a healthy number of North West clubs and players in the reckoning.

They’ve been selected by the judging panel from a record-breaking entry which shines the spotlight on fantastic achievements in golf in England by volunteers, coaches, clubs and counties.

England Golf Chief Executive Nick Pink said: “We were thrilled by the number and quality of nominations we received and delighted that so many people are helping us to tell golf’s great stories to the wider community.

“Our finalists are all outstanding and we are looking forward to highlighting their successes at our gala dinner and to applauding our winners.”

The winners will be announced on February 22 at the awards dinner at the Royal Lancaster London. Tickets for the glittering, black tie event are just £85 each and include drinks on arrival and a three-course dinner with half a bottle of wine per person. Visit to book.

The finalists are:

Club of the Year sponsored by HowDidiDo

Burghill Valley Golf Club, Herefordshire

Garforth Golf Club, Yorkshire

Leeds Golf Centre, Yorkshire

Styal Golf Club, Cheshire

Coach of the Year sponsored by The PGA

Phil Akers, The Belfry, Warwickshire

Aaron Lansberry, Hatchford Brook Golf Centre, Warwickshire

Anders Mankert, Cosby Golf Club, Leicestershire

Matthew Turnock, Mottram Hall Golf Club, Cheshire

County of the Year sponsored by SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC.




Most Welcoming Golf Club sponsored by American Golf

Burghill Valley Golf Club, Herefordshire

Garforth Golf Club, Yorkshire

Golf at Goodwood, Sussex

Norwood Park Golf Centre, Nottinghamshire


Volunteer of the Year sponsored by Players 1st

Jean Hooper of Bramley Golf Club, Surrey

Sue Robertson of the Disabled Golf Association

Richard Ward of Wrag Barn Golf Club, Wiltshire

Jenny Winch of Test Valley Golf Club, Hampshire

Young Ambassador of the Year in association with the Golf Foundation

Megan Field of Hatchford Brook Golf Centre, Warwickshire

Jess Pinnell of Hatchford Brook Golf Centre, Warwickshire

Liam Ridgill of Drax Golf Club, Yorkshire

Georgina Wrixon of Ashley Wood Golf Club, Dorset

Championship Venue of the Year

Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club, Suffolk; hosts of the English women’s county finals.

Goswick Golf Club, Northumberland; hosts of the English senior men’s county finals.

Manchester Golf Club, Lancashire; hosts of the Reid Trophy, the English U14 boys’ open championship.

Performance of the Year

England women’s team; winners of the European team championship for the second year in a row.

Tommy Fleetwood, winner of the 2017 Race to Dubai, helped by two European Tour victories.

Lily May Humphreys of Stoke by Nayland Golf Club, Essex; the British girls’, English women’s and European Young Masters champion.

Alfie Plant of Sundridge Park Golf Club, Kent; European amateur champion, silver medallist at The Open and a Walker Cup player.

The Lifetime Service Award sponsored by Bridgestone: the outright winner of this ninth category will also be recognised at the Awards dinner.

Watch out for our series of New Year articles featuring the finalists.

Great Dane handed PGA recognition award


BJORN WINNER: Thomas Bjorn receives his PGA Recognition Award from PGA captain John Heggarty

THOMAS Bjorn has followed in the footsteps of many illustrious Ryder Cup captains by becoming the latest recipient of The PGA Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to golf.

Bjorn, who will lead Europe’s bid to regain the Ryder Cup in France next September, received the award at The PGA’s annual fundraising lunch at the Grosvenor House hotel in London.

The 46-year-old joins fellow Ryder Cup captains Sam Torrance, Sir Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie and Bjorn’s predecessor, Darren Clarke, who he was vice-captain to at Hazeltine National Golf Club in 2008, as winners of the prestigious accolade.

A 15-time winner on the European Tour and twice runner-up in The Open Championship in 2000 and 2003, Bjorn became the first Danish player to represent Europe against the United States in the Ryder Cup in 1997.

Europe won that encounter at Spain’s Valderrama Golf Club with Ballesteros as captain, as they did in Bjorn’s other two appearances, at The Belfry in 2002 and at Gleneagles in Scotland 12 years later.

Bjorn brings a wealth of experience to the role having served as a vice-captain on no fewer than four occasions under Bernhard Langer (2004), Montgomerie (2010), José María Olazábal in 2012 and more recently Clarke at Hazeltine National in 2016, where United States won the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008.

The Dane will make history again next year when he becomes the first Scandinavian Ryder Cup captain as the famous team competition returns to mainland Europe for a second time at Le Golf National from September 28-30.

Speaking after receiving the award, Bjorn said: “There are so many people that can be recognised for their achievements in the game and I am honoured to receive this award, especially from The PGA.

“While Tour players are on the front line, it is the PGA Professionals worldwide who are doing the groundwork and forming the base for the game to develop. They are the ones who are most important.”

PGA Executive President, Sandy Jones, who hosted the PGA Annual Lunch, said: “We’re delighted to present the PGA Recognition Award to Thomas Bjorn.

“This award is our way of acknowledging great achievements in the game of golf and Thomas is a deserving winner.

“He had a great career as a player and enjoyed great success in the Ryder Cup being on the winning team on three occasions.

“There is no doubt that Thomas will be a superb Ryder Cup captain next year in Paris, and we wish him all the good luck and success in bringing the trophy home to Europe.”

Robert Maxfield, chief executive for The PGA, added: “Thomas Bjorn is a hugely popular figure in the game and is a credit to the sport.

“His messages of support for our 2017 PGA Cup-winning team at Foxhills Club & Resort back in September demonstrates how much he supports the game of golf at all levels.

“It is fitting that Thomas has won this award ahead of the 2018 Ryder Cup in France where he will have the full support of the Association in helping bring back the Ryder Cup to Europe.”

In addition to a passionate speech by Bjorn, around 1,000 guests were entertained by highly-rated comedian Ben Norris and Dougie Donnelly.

A £50,000 cheque was presented to the Golf Foundation as The PGA showed its support of grass roots golf. Money was also raised for the PGA Benevolent Fund which helps Members who have fallen on difficult times.


England bid to reign in Spain

THE six-man England A squad will take on the challenge of seven other countries in the extended Costa Ballena match in Spain next monthJosh-McMahon.jpg.

The players are: George Bloor of Derbyshire, Bailey Gill of Yorkshire, Ben Jones of Northamptonshire, Josh McMahon of Cheshire (pictured), Nick Poppleton of Yorkshire and Tom Sloman of Somerset.

The match takes place at Costa Ballena Golf Club from 23-26 January and has been extended from a quadrangular to an octagonal match. The other competing countries are Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands and Spain.

The players:

George Bloor, 22, (Cavendish) represented England in the 2017 Costa Ballena Tournament.

Bailey Gill, 20, (Lindrick) won the 2017 Bernard Darwin Salver.

Ben Jones, 18, (Northamptonshire County) won the 2017 England Golf boys’ order of merit.

Josh McMahon, 22, (Wallasey) was runner-up in the Portuguese amateur and the Duncan Putter. (Image copyright Leaderboard Photography.)

Nick Poppleton, 23, (Wath) was a semi-finalist in the English amateur.

Tom Sloman, 20, (Taunton & Pickeridge) won the U21 Dutch junior open.

Grange Park gets off the mark!

Golf Mark 2017 Grange Park GC.jpg

Grange Park its award for GolfMark. (left to right) Director of Golf Stephen Dunne and Adam McAlister, England Golf’s Club Support Officer (Lancashire)


A LANCASHIRE club is celebrating after its work to grow the game of golf received national recognition.

Grange Park Golf Club in St. Helens has been awarded GolfMark from governing body England Golf.

Established in 1891 the club celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2016 and is a member of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs. The club can be found in Prescot Road, St Helens.

GolfMark is an official seal of approval from England Golf for clubs which successfully work to develop the game in four ways:


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


The club boasts an excellent 18-hole parkland course and many on-going improvements include completely refurbished locker and changing facilities.

Innovative membership schemes and initiatives such as ‘Get into Golf’ have included coaching sessions for beginners and have helped grow membership numbers.

New Academy Course tees were installed in 2016 and regular junior coaching sessions are held to help support the growing Junior Section.

Director of Golf Stephen Dunne, who led the club’s push to GolfMark, said: “Grange Park is a great club with a very friendly, welcoming atmosphere for ladies, gents and juniors alike, and a host of opportunities to learn and to enjoy golf regardless of ability.
“An excellent food and beverage offering combined with a vibrant social calendar ensure that the benefits of membership are enjoyed both on and off the course.

“There are around a 140 golf clubs affiliated to the Lancashire Union and only 12, including Grange Park, have received GolfMark to date, so it’s something that we can be proud of. This award helps us to spread the message of what we have to offer and acknowledges the valuable role of staff and volunteers from the membership who continue to drive the club forward.”

The award was presented to Grange Park by Adam McAlister, England Golf’s Club Support Officer (Lancashire).

He said: “I’m delighted that Grange Park has achieved GolfMark and that its efforts to grow the game can be nationally recognised.”

The GolfMark award was developed by England Golf and 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





Asbri Golf strengthens its PGA ties

Asbri (1).jpg

WINNERS: Asbri Golf directors, Paul Williams (left) and Eryl Williams (right) with Sion Bebb, winner of the Asbri-sponsored 2017 Welsh National PGA Championship at Celtic Manor. Free to use courtesy of Adrian Milledge

ASBRI Golf, the market-leading logo accessory brand, has strengthened its longstanding relationship with The PGA in two key areas.

In addition to upgrading its status with the Association from Official Supplier to PGA Partner, the Wales-based company has extended its title sponsorship of the Welsh National PGA Championships for a further three years.

Asbri Golf has supported the Welsh National PGA Championships since 2013 and its relationship with The PGA was enhanced last year with an agreement to sponsor the seasonal opener in the West region, The PGA Cornish Festival.

Eryl Williams, Asbri Golf managing director, commented: “PGA Professionals are at the very heart of our brand.

“If we did not have their business and support, our products would not be stocked in pro shops and ultimately purchased by members of their golf clubs.

“We are delighted to not only strengthen our relationship with The PGA and extend our sponsorship agreement but we are also excited about working together even more closely.”

Commenting on the new agreement, PGA chief executive, Robert Maxfield, said: “Asbri has built a reputation as one of Europe’s leading logo accessory brands with their wide range of high quality crested merchandise and significant global distribution.

“Their established set-up and exceptional service has made them a trusted supplier to The PGA for a number of years. So we are delighted to strengthen our relationship and promote their brand even further to our Members, partners and branded properties.”

Paul Williams, Asbri sales and marketing director, added: “This agreement is another opportunity for us to give something back to PGA Professionals and thank them for their business.

“It allows us to reinvest back into The PGA and show our appreciation for their loyalty and support. We are excited and extremely proud to become PGA Partners and continue to work with the biggest brand and association in golf.”