Archive for March, 2019

Hand it to Palmer as he shines in the sun


WINNING SMILES: From left,  Luke Aikenhead, Ollie Pantoja, Paul King Josh Lee, sponsor Darren Wood and Andy Palmer

A FULL field of teams, with reserves,  enjoyed  sub-tropical temperatures as the Manchester Alliance had a day in the sun at Bolton Old Links.

Young guns  Paul King, Luke Aikenhead and Josh Lee, from Ashton-on-Mersey, called the shots as they were led by professional Ollie Pantoja to an impressive  haul of 92 points.

But it needed a card play-off to deny Craig Corrigan (Chilli Dip) and his team comprising Mark Riley, Dan Crook and Paul Hesford.

A  point back were the home club team of Alan Schofield, Steve Jackson, Terry and Tony Chadwick.

Chorley’s Andy Palmer (Chorley) was top professional with with 41 points to deny  Graham Cox (Lymm) and Craig Corrigan who was able to close the big gap on Order of Merit leader Phil Archer (Poulton Park).

It’s a family affair for Chorley trio


KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY: The Durnians with the White Cup

CHORLTON Golf Club, one of the oldest and most historic clubhouses in the country, added new chapter to its chequered  history as it staged the Manchester Alliance’s Mixed Pairs competition for the White Cup.

The defending champions were Chorley’s Denis and Sam Durnian who had won the coveted trophy, which has been played for at Chorlton for many years, three times.

The Durnians did not retain the trophy but they were delighted to see their 12-year-old daughter Holly combine with Chorley’s assistant professional Andy Palmer to post a stunning 48 points to leave a quality field trailing in their wake.

Holly, a student at Bolton School, has a great mentor in her proud father who is a PGA Seniors legend, and he has seen her golfing skills explode during the winter months.

Andy Palmer, himself no stranger to success in the Alliance, was the first to admit that Holly was the main contributor to their fantastic winning score which is a new record in the competition since it changed to better ball stableford a few seasons ago.

Holly set another record by becoming the youngest player to win the competition and also succeed her parents in winning the White Cup.

Next in the pro-am section were Hazel Grove’s James Rowlands and Lady Captain Margaret Farrell with 41 points, one more than Lymm’s Graham Cox and Lottie Makin.

Graham Cox was the top individual professional with 38 points, two more than James Rowlands, Tim Maxwell (Knutsford) and Craig Daggitt (Bramall Park).

In the am am , former Chorlton stars Brian and Chris Kelly (Bramhall) were first past the post with 40 points one more than Chorlton captain Mike Lynch and Muriel Walton who won a card play-off from Swinton Park’s  Jimmy O’Reilly and Margaret Redford.

Lancashire women to the fore

THE drive to encourage more women into golf is paying dividends in Lancashire. New figures show that the decline in numbers has been reversed and a major campaign has resulted in an increase  numbers to 1.5 per cent in its first 12 months.

A ground-breaking conference looking at increasing the number of girls and women playing golf got the ball rolling last year with industry experts offering advice across a range of subjects including marketing, customer experience, social media and what young women are looking for from golf.

The work has been further supported by a number of county partners, including the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs, the Lancashire Ladies County Golf Association, the Lancashire Golf Development Group, the Golf Foundation and the Professional Golfers Association.

Debbie Barber, a former county golf development officer, was appointed to help co-ordinate the work going on at individual clubs and has been delighted by their response and support.

One example of the work going on as part of the campaign can be found at Blackley Golf Club  at Middleton which has delivered a new Ladies into Golf programme, developing a four-step pathway into the sport.

This included taster sessions to attract newcomers to the game, and further coaching for beginners and improvers. Ten women have joined on a 12-month membership deal with club members making them welcome by providing starter packs along with donations of clubs, bags and balls to make it even easier to get started.

The club has also supported the new players with a group of ‘golfing buddies’ to help get them out on the course.

Debbie said: “The success of the plan has been the result of strong leadership and great team work, with the full support of everyone at the club. The donations from members have been greatly appreciated by the new ladies, providing them with the basics to get started.

“There has been a real buzz around the club with positive comments and offers of help from all sections.

“However it would not have been possible without the club’s band of ‘golfing buddies’, who  turned  up to every lesson and practice session over the beginners’ 16-week programme  to support the club’s new friends and get them out onto the course.

“Their commitment and enthusiasm and, of course, support from the club professional secured a fabulous outcome for Blackley.”

Phil Harvey, secretary of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs, said: “Once again we have been delighted by the support of the clubs to our plans to increase female membership and participation. The hard work going on to show the many health and social benefits of golf have been rewarded with an increase in numbers that is helping sustain the long-term future of our clubs.”

Blackley received a grant of £300 from Lancashire Golf, which the club matched.

The 2019 programme gets underway on March 30 (2pm).

Further details on how your club can get involved in the drive to encourage more women and girls into golf can be obtained from Debbie Barber on 07518 564 113 or by emailing

Lancashire’s drive to get more people playing golf has seen the county nominated in the 2019 England Golf awards, sponsored by adidasGolf.

The Lancashire team are bidding to secure a double success, having been crowned County of the Year at the 2017 awards. This time round they will face competition from Wiltshire when the winners are revealed at a gala dinner in London this month.

Across the board, the county is bucking the national trend with a total membership increase in 2017 of just over 1 per cent against a nationwide decline of 2 per cent on is on the back of a 4 per cent increase in 2016.