Archive for March, 2018

Parry proves he has a liking for links

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WINNING SMILES: From left, Steve Parry, Manchester Alliance president John Dowd, Gary Brown and  Garry Smith

HART Common professional Steve Parry racked up 40 points to win the Manchester Alliance fixture at Bolton Old Links, leaving Mark Hancock (Stand) 38 and Phil Archer (Birchwood) and Ryan O’Neil (Penwortham), both 37, trailing in his wake.

Marple’s Gary Brown recruited a top team of Chris Marshall (New Mills), Richard Blackwell (Mottram Hall) and Alliance debutant Gary Smith (Brookdale) which piled up 85 points to finish one ahead of host club players Brian Carroll, Mick Wallace, Alan Schofield and Steve Jackson.

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Lancs clubs appeal for women members

LANCASHIRE golf clubs are being challenged to help the sport to appeal to a new generation of female players who have never known a world without the internet or mobile phones.

The first county conference on how clubs can attract more women players heard a call to arms to reverse a worrying trend of falling numbers and an ageing profile.

The meeting at Mytton Fold Golf Club, located near Blackburn and Clitheroe, was fully subscribed with more than 250 delegates representing 90 clubs from the county. It reflected the enthusiasm to embrace a new way of working to help get more girls and women on to the fairways.

The conference was the result of a unique collaboration between the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs, the Lancashire Ladies’ County Golf Association, England Golf, the Golf Foundation and the R&A.

Lancashire Golf Development Group secretary Phil Harvey urged clubs to break away from the stereotyping of golf so that it can become more relevant to women who are already juggling the demands of family and work or to a younger generation who may be put off by rules, such as dress codes.

He said: “We know that the age profile of the sport is dominated by the over 50s and 60s but we need to appeal to the under 50s. Many of our present women golfers will not be playing in the next 10 years, so where is the next generation of players coming from?

“If the women’s game continues to decline, eventually there will be a knock-on effect for the men, too, as membership fees rise to offset falling numbers. Ultimately that will threaten the very future of the sport and its clubs.”

The conference supported a series of high-profile presentations with a practical blueprint for the clubs to follow with advice including:

  • Create a two-year pathway from beginner to full club membership
  • Ensure a mentoring and buddy system is in place to welcome newcomers
  • Try short course and short format events
  • Create a marketing plan targeting women, highlighting the sport’s health, lifestyle and social benefits
  • Engage with social media to promote what the club and sport has to offer
  • Review the rules and governance of the club to ensure a minimum 20 per cent female representation on the board, plus the appointment of girls and women ambassadors
  • Provide weekend play and competitions, including gender free events
  • Review membership offers to ensure they are family friendly
  • Ensure customer service is fit for the 21st century
  • Get the whole club involved in making the changes

The R&A, which is introducing a special women’s charter in this year, was represented by Jackie Davidson, assistant director of golf development, while Nick Pink, chief executive of England Golf which oversees the amateur game in this country, also delivered a keynote speech.

Dr John Fry, from Myerscough College, who has undertaken a major research project about the perception of golf and clubs from a female viewpoint, stressed that the sport needed to accept the need for change.

“The experience economy means people are far more aware of their surroundings so, for example, they are prepared to pay a bit extra for a coffee in somewhere like Costa,” he said.

“Clubs need to think about the whole experience, not just whether the ball rolls well on the greens, with ideas like priority parking for families, a safe area for children while their parents are at the club or activities for the parents themselves.

“A golf club should be like a community hub, offering the kind of personalised welcome that you might get when joining a gym – they need to be a relaxing and fun place to be, rather than a place where people feel they are struggling to fit in!”

Speakers at the hugely successful event also included social media sensation, the JazzyGolfer (pictured below), who offered a perspective of golf from a 21st century 20-something, and marketing expert Emma Ballard, of Media8.

Jasmine, who only took up the sport 12 months ago, warned that golf is in danger of missing out on potential players.

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“This is a sport that can be fun for everyone, but there have been times when I have been left to feel like an outsider or very uncomfortable,” she said.

“We need to make clubs more welcoming. It is not all clubs but probably more than we want to admit. This is a great opportunity for the sport – but there is no room for men only parts of a clubhouse while I was once told I couldn’t play at a club because of what I was wearing – even though they had invited me there!

“Clubs need to make the right appeal to a generation who spend their time on social media rather than watching TV or reading newspapers, and provide the kind of offers, playing formats and environment that will attract them.”

Clubs are being offered a range of support to drive the initiative with workshops, marketing and social media advice and grant support available.

 

 

Helen pledges to help Lancashire clubs

HELEN Searle is on a mission – to help golf clubs across Lancashire create a positive future for themselves and the sport.

England Golf  has appointed the 26-year-old to the role of supporting the work of clubs and driving ranges across the county.

Helen, who is based in the Ribble Valley, will team up with Adam McAlister with a brief to attract more players, increase membership and develop stronger clubs across the region.

Helen Searle.jpgThe work going on in the Red Rose county to not only attract new players but also provide a solid business foundation for the future for golf facilities sees the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs and the Lancashire County Ladies’ Golf Association working closely with the area’s PGA professionals as part of the Lancashire Golf Development Group.

Helen (pictured) and Adam will work alongside England Golf regional manager, Jason Budd, to develop and deliver national initiatives and programmes to make golf more accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

This includes supporting clubs with two initiatives – the Get into Golf campaign and the achievement of the GolfMark standard. Both promote a more inclusive and friendly approach towards ne wcomers, ensuring they can play golf regularly.

Helen has been involved with golf since she was 10 when she played alongside her dad, Peter, at West End golf club in Halifax.

She  got down to a single figure handicap in her early teens and by 16 was representing both her county and England, competing in the Europeans and Home Internationals.

After achieving her A levels, Helen went on to pass her PGA degree and played as a professional on the Paul Lawrie Tour while living in Troon, Scotland, as well as enjoying a string of top five finishes in WPGA events.

Helen enjoyed coaching at numerous academies prior to taking on her England Golf role and has always thrived on the idea of making a difference and helping someone achieve their goals.

“I now have the resources and the tools to provide clubs and golf facilities with extensive support, tailoring to their specific needs,” she said. “There is far too much doom and gloom around golf in the media, but it is very much alive, and I am determined to raise awareness for the game I know and love!

“I aim to showcase what every club, big or small has to offer, whether this be a great place to learn the game or a venue to hold future national events. There is something unique in what each and every club has to offer; it’s my job to show them the potential.

“I would urge clubs to use their club support officer. Get me in, talk me through where the club is at now and where it wants to be, then we have a starting point to build a strategy and commit to an action plan; you can’t go wrong with that.”

Adam is covering the west of the county (Lancaster, Blackpool and Fylde, Preston, South Ribble, Chorley, West Lancashire, Wigan and Merseyside) while Helens is looking after East Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

 

Fairfield hit the mark with award

FAIRFIELD Golf & Sailing Club in Lancashire has won a national award from England Golf.

One of the oldest established golf clubs in the Manchester area has just received the GolfMark award, an official seal of approval for clubs which successfully develop the game.

The club, which is notable for its parkland setting around a reservoir, dates back to 1892. It no longer offers sailing – the name is historic – but it has moved into the 21st century with a go-ahead approach to golf which has included the development of a new clubhouse with excellent function facilities.

Last year members also approved a major constitutional change to introduce a management board and a more business-like way of running the club.

Club president Dave Mushet said: “Fairfield is a great club, it’s very friendly, welcoming and forward-thinking. This award helps us to spread that message.  Having also achieved Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) status, we have firmly set our sights on reaching out to the local community.”

The Board’s chair, Phil Murray, added: “Golf is one of the few games the whole family can play together regardless of age, fitness, background or experience.  The game’s emphasis on honesty, integrity and good sportsmanship helps our juniors develop lifelong skills and encourages responsible social behaviour.”

GolfMark is awarded to 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

 

England Golf Regional Manager Jason Budd, commented: “I’m delighted that Fairfield Golf Club has achieved GolfMark and that its efforts to grow the game can be nationally recognised.”

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

For more information about the club please contact

Corrigan puts on a royal performance

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TOP OF THE SHOTS: Craig Corrigan with Alliance president John Dowd (centre) and Haigh Hall’s Chris Seabrook 

CHILLI Dip teaching professional Craig Corrigan turned up the heat to win the Manchester Alliance fixture at Vale Royal Abbey.

He racked up 39 stableford points to fight off a challenge from Stand’s Mark Hancock and Birchwood’s Phil Archer to increase his lead in the order of merit.

And Corrigan, a regular winner on the PGA North circuit, completed a double by clinching the pro-am with Haigh Hall’s Chris Seabrook  with 43 points.

One off the pace were Alex Pritchard and Chris Cartwright (Poulton Park), Dave Green and Gary Beresford (Dukinfield) and Grant Hamerton (Pike Fold) and Vinny Doyle (Leigh).

Top score of the day was 44 points in the am-am by Norman Haslam (Stand) and Steve Grimley (Walmersley).

King of clubs Golfbidder extends PGA Partnership

Liam Robb 4(R).jpgGOLFBIDDER, the pioneering and market-leading online specialist in buying and selling used golf clubs, has continued its long relationship with The PGA by extending its partnership status until 2021.

The Surrey-based company was founded by Liam Robb, a financial journalist and keen golfer in 1997, and began life as Mashie Niblicks operating from a small shop in south west London.

Now, with Robb (pictured) at the helm as managing director, it has become a multi-million pound operation that employs more than 40 and is synonymous with buying and selling used golf clubs across the UK and Europe.

More than 700 UK-based PGA Professionals, reassured by the sophisticated software that guarantees a price on used clubs, use the facility annually when their clients change or upgrade their equipment.

Integral to the firm’s success has been its rigorous counterfeit screening processes, and the introduction of new technologies such as its proprietary stock trading systems which its staff, including a team of PGA Professionals, employ to check the authenticity of all traded clubs.

Golfbidder was also one of the first in the industry to recognise the power of the digital age and social media: its Facebook page has more than 35,000 likes and its YouTube channel in excess of six million views.

Commenting on extending its status as a PGA Partner, Robb said: “Having been a Partner of the PGA continuously for the past 15 years, we are delighted to be able to continue the agreement for another three.

“We very much look forward to continuing to work with Robert Maxfield and the great team at The PGA and see this is an exciting time to extend the Partnership.

“We are particularly excited about the forthcoming launch of the new Golfbidder Professional website which, among other things, will provide the 1,000+ club pros we deal with throughout the UK and Europe with new online tools to allow them to manage their second-hand inventory more efficiently.”

 

Ross Parker, head of sponsorship at The PGA, added: “We are delighted Golfbidder has agreed to extend its relationship with us.

“Golfbidder recently celebrated it 20-year anniversary and we have been working with them for the majority of that period. The company offers a great service to PGA Members and we are looking forward to working with them long into the future.”

 

 

R&A increase funding for women and girls

THE R&A is continuing its commitment to increase participation in golf among women and girls by providing funding to support the appointment of new development managers in Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Working with its affiliates around the world to enhance golf’s appeal, the investment forms part of the governing body’s drive to encourage more women, girls and families to play golf more regularly across the globe and to go on to become members of golf clubs.

An initial three-year funding package of £75,000 per nation has been agreed between The R&A, Golf Australia, England Golf, the Golfing Union of Ireland / the Irish Ladies’ Golf Union, Scottish Golf and Wales Golf for the recruitment and appointment of experienced sports development staff.

The appointees will all work in partnership with golf’s various stakeholders to deliver innovative solutions and inspiring campaigns to boost participation at a time when more women are seeking an active lifestyle for both themselves and their families.

In Scotland, the funding is being matched by the Scottish Government and VisitScotland as part of The 2019 Solheim Cup project, creating a Women and Young People Development Manager post within Scottish Golf to drive forward and promote opportunities to increase female and junior participation in golf in Scotland ahead of and beyond The Solheim Cup and PING Junior Solheim Cup being staged at Gleneagles in 2019.

Great Britain and Ireland international Maria Dunne has taken up the post in Ireland, with England Golf appointing Lucy Blakey, a former Project Officer with Lincolnshire County Sports Partnership.

Wales Golf has appointed Simon Lu who joins from Race Equality First, while Scottish Golf has employed Carol Harvey, previously a Regional Development Officer with Netball Scotland.

Meantime, Chyloe Kurdas has been appointed to the position at Golf Australia, with her most recent role being AFL Victoria Female Football Development Manager.

Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Golf Development at The R&A, said: “Women and girls continue to be an under-represented group throughout golf across the world and more work needs to be done to attract more of them into the sport at a time when we need to boost participation levels.

“We believe that there is a real opportunity, working with our affiliates, to develop inclusive and inspiring participation initiatives which show that golf is a fun and enjoyable leisure activity that can provide many social and health benefits for women and families.”

A recent research report commissioned by The R&A demonstrates that a significant growth opportunity exists for golf if it can attract more women, girls and families into playing the sport more often.