Archive for May 4th, 2018

Clitheroe ace Sophie Lamb up for the cup

TWO England teams will challenge for the Nations Cup at this weekend’s Welsh women’s open championship at Aberdovey.

Clitheroe’s Sophie Lamb and Lily May Humphreys (Stoke by Nayland) have both been selected for the GB&I Curtis Cup team, will be joined by Georgia Price in a team drawn from the England Golf women’s squad.

Thalia Kirby, Martha Lewis and Hannah Screen make up the second team and are all members of the England Golf girls’ squad.

The 54-hole championship starts tomorrow and continues until Sunday. The Nations Cup will be decided by the best two scores from three in each round.

Humphreys will be looking to add this championship to the Scottish women’s open, which she won last month and holds alongside English, British, European and US titles. Lamb was the low amateur at the 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open and a past winner of the British stroke play title. Price returns consistently high finishes.

The three girls are all looking for a big win after coming very close last season. Lewis was runner-up in the 2017 English girls’ championship, Kirby was in a play-off in the English U16 girls’ championship and Screen was runner up in the women’s British stroke play and the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters.

TEAM 1

Lily-May Humphreys, 16, Stoke by Nayland, Essex

Sophie Lamb, 20, Clitheroe,

Georgia Price, 24, Bude & North Cornwall

TEAM 2

Thalia Kirby, 17, Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire

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

Hannah Screen, 18, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

 

 

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Golf is game for a laugh in Cheshire

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CHESHIRE golf clubs are backing England Golf’s drive to get more women beginners playing – helped by laughter, fizz and a novel twist to scoring.

They are joining the confidence-building campaign this season and will be offering a series of fun playing days for new golfers, starting this month.

The clubs involved are:

  • Avro Golf Club, 10 May at 6pm
  • Poulton Park, 16 June at 1.30pm
  • Warren Ladies Golf Club, 7 July at 11am
  • Didsbury Golf Club, 22 July at 1.30pm
  • Ringway Golf Club, 19 August at 2pm
  • Woodside Golf Club, 9 September at 1.30pm

To book a place in one of the events, visit www.getintogolf.org and search for one of the clubs above. The events are listed under the ‘Improver’ tab.

The playing days are for women who have taken Get into Golf coaching sessions and want support to try their new skills on the course. They are designed to help the players build confidence, make friends – and have a laugh together.

The Women on Par events are played on short courses or nine-hole layouts suitable for beginners. They all have shotgun starts, so the players start and finish together and can socialise after play over a glass of fizz or juice.

Scoring avoids counting the strokes. Instead, the players complete challenges, which involve playing skills and etiquette such as successfully hitting the green in one, raking the bunker correctly and shaking hands on the final green when they complete their game. More experienced golfers are also on hand to help.

Alison Lysons, an England Golf Club Support Officer for Cheshire, said: “We have seen that women who participate in these events gain great confidence in playing on a golf course which has really helped with their development.

“The social side is also fantastic and we all enjoy a glass together afterwards in the clubhouse. I would recommend Women on Par to any women currently learning to play.”

Cheshire is one of eight counties across the country which are running the Women on Par scheme. It’s an initiative from England Golf, which is committed to growing the women and girls’ game. Only 15 per cent of club members are women and just one per cent are girls.

The other counties are  Devon, Hampshire, Northumberland, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Hertfordshire and Durham.

The scheme has had the thumbs-up from players who’ve already tried it. Here’s what some of them have to say:

“It was great to have the opportunity to get out on a golf course with other beginners and someone who can advise and instruct you, whilst making sure that you were having fun and not losing confidence – Karen, Cheshire

“It has helped to build my confidence” – Catherine, Northumberland

“Prosecco makes a bad round good!” – Jo, Hertfordshire

“I’m really enjoying my new hobby” – Julia, Northumberland

“It’s enjoyable even if you are not playing well” – Trish, Hertfordshire

“Great to play with a group of ladies from other clubs with similar ability and knowledge” – Jo, Hertfordshire

Nichols plans to make mark at Foxhills

FORMER European Tour player Mark Nichols will have to convert his prize money into rubles and apply for an export licence for the trophy should he win the Silversea PGA Senior Professional Championship later this month.

But given that Nichols is based in Russia, it’s tempting to assume he will be somewhat ring-rusty when he tees off at the luxurious Foxhills resort in Surrey on May 16.

After all, living in Moscow where snow often coats the fairways in April and the average temperature hovers above freezing, what chance will he have had to practise?

Assumptions, however, can be erroneous. In reality, Nichols has had plenty of opportunities to polish the skills with which he competed on the European Tour in the 1990s and made the cut in The Open at St Andrews in 1995.

A rapid thaw at the start of April that saw temperatures rocket from -10 to +20 within the space of four days left his local courses in what he described as “the best condition I’ve ever seen them in before June”.

In addition, two weeks in Turkey coaching individual clients afforded the 52-year-old time to hone his game.

By contrast, because of the incessant rain that closed courses with depressing frequency during March and April, there’s a chance his home-based rivals will be the ones lacking practice.

For Nichols, meanwhile, participation in the tournament that carries a £40,000 prize fund marks the start of some serious competitive action.

“I love tournament golf,” said Nichols, who played in the event two years ago and finished tied sixth.

“So I’m really looking forward to playing at Foxhills and then trying to qualify for the Senior British Open. It’s at St Andrews this year and I’d love to go back there after my experience in 1995. It would be a real trip down memory lane.”

Closer to home Nichols is hoping for an invitation to play in another Staysure Senior Tour event – the Russia Open Golf Championship at the Moscow Country Club in August.

The invite would be a result of Nichols becoming a well-known figure in Russian golf since he was appointed director of golf at Tselevo Golf and Polo Club in 2007.

He followed that with a lengthy spell at Moscow City Golf Club before embarking on his  role as head coach to the Moscow Golf Federation and freelance coach to private clients.

As well as coaching individuals, Nichols, who reckons the number of golfers in Russia has doubled to 4,000 in the 11 years he has been in the country, has been playing his part in growing the game there.

“I teach 400 students aged between eight and 15 attending the International School in Moscow for six weeks in a row,” he said. “There are a lot of nationalities involved including plenty of Russians.”

In what has been an interesting and challenging journey, Nichols coached former World number one tennis player and French and Australian Open champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov when he played on the European and Challenge Tours.

The journey has also seen him marry a Russian girl, start a family, learn the language and be granted residency – factors that have contributed to him staying in Russia for more than a decade.

“Being able to speak Russian means I can teach anyone now,” he said. “The language barrier meant some people were reluctant to be taught by me before.

“And having residency means I can come and go from the country as I please. I can travel back to the UK with my four-year-old daughter so that she can see her grandparents without having to get visas.”

That will be the scenario when Nichols heads for Foxhills. While his daughter gets reacquainted with her grandparents, Nichols will be trying to improve on his performance of two years ago when he finished six shots behind Robert Arnott, the winner.

Should he do so then, as well as claiming the £6,000 winner’s cheque, he will end what has become a private game of pass the trophy between Arnott and Fraser Mann, the defending champion who also won the event in 2015.

As well as the pursuit for prize money that will take place over both courses at the Surrey resort and will involve two negotiations of the Bernard Hunt for the players who make the cut and one of the Longcross, the top 15 will qualify for the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship on the Staysure Tour at the London Club in August.