Archive for the ‘Amateur Golf’ Category

Batchelor boy makes home advantage count!

allistandamam.jpgAm winners Gary Jacques, John Davies (Alliance captain) and Andre McCreedy

HOST club assistant professional  Rob Batchelor (pictured below) capitalised on local knowledge as he tied with Penwortham’s Ryan O’Neill on 40 points in the Manchester Alliance at Stand.

Runners-up were a shot back were Tim Maxwell (Knutsford) and Andy Palmer (Chorley).

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It needed a card play-off on 45 points in the pro-am section with DavyhulmePark father and son duo Chris and Mike Lane seeing off Palmer and Keith Ashton (Bolton).

 

Home duo Andre McCreedy and Gary Jacques were runaway winners in the am-am with 46 points, leaving them three clear of Peter McManus (Chorlton) and Alliance secretary Ian Hales (Ringway).

 

 

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Lombard Trophy attracts another big field

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PRIZE GUY: Andy Picton Hart proudly holds the trophy he won with his Hart Common professional Steve Parry last year. Below: amateur Trish Formoy.

MORE than 1,000 golfers will contest the Lombard Trophy, Europe’s largest pro-am which culminates with an expenses paid trip to Portugal’s Algarve for the grand final in September.

The final will once again be staged on the Championship course at the five-star Pestana Vila Sol Golf & Resort Hotel, Vilamoura, and will feature 14 pairs competing Trish Formoy.jpgfor the £12,000 first prize.

The finalists will be determined by 14 regional finals that start on June 5 in the Midlands at Little Aston and finish two months later on August 2 at Burnham & Berrow in Somerset.

Other regional final venues include Walton Heath, home of the 1981 Ryder Cup, and Fulford in York, which staged no fewer than 23 European Tour events between 1967 and 1981.

Lombard, a leading management finance company providing leasing and hire purchase products, is supporting the competition for a third successive year with a £41,450 prize fund.

The company is also backing the women’s version of the pro-am, the WPGA Lombard Trophy. This will be contested by six pairs at Pestana Vila Sol Golf & Resort Hotel at the same time as the men’s final.

Commenting on Lombard’s support, PGA chief executive Robert Maxfield said: “Lombard is a fantastic sponsor of the PGA National Pro-Am Championship and we’re delighted to have their support once again in 2018.

“This is a unique event insomuch that it offers PGA Professionals a rare opportunity to team up with an amateur partner and represent their club in a national event.

“The competition features 14 superb regional final venues and Pestana Vila Sol Golf & Resort Hotel will once again prove to be a spectacular setting for this year’s finale.

“We look forward to this year’s tournament and I wish each and every competitor the best of luck.”

Ian Isaac, head of Lombard, added: “Lombard is proud to be continuing their sponsorship of Europe’s biggest pro-am event for another year.

“It’s great for us to be working with The PGA once again to offer amateur and professional golfers the opportunity to play some of the best courses across the UK and Ireland.

“Well over a million amateur golfers have participated in the Lombard Trophy over the years and we look forward to welcoming thousands more who wish to seize the chance to make their mark in 2018.”

Around 700 clubs entered the Lombard Trophy in 2017, with Hart Common duo Steve Parry and his amateur partner Andy Picton prevailing in a dramatic play-off to claim victory.

“From an amateur point of view you get to play at a great golf course during the qualifying round so it’s worth entering the Lombard Trophy just for that,” said Picton.

“It’s a fantastic experience playing at Vila Sol as you’re walking up that 18th in a winning position because all of the players, from both the ladies and men’s events, are following you up the fairway. It feels like you’re playing in a major because you’ve got a gallery watching you.”

The WPGA Lombard Trophy enters its third year with two regional qualifying events at Camberley Heath in Surrey on June 11 and Cheshire’s Dunham Forest on July 23.

The top three teams from each qualify for the grand final, won last year by Kibworth duo Kym Larratt and amateur Trish Formoy.

“To have the opportunity of an all-expenses paid trip to Portugal was incredible,” said Larratt, a Ladies European Tour player. “It was a huge accomplishment and pleasure to be crowned winners.”

Formoy added: “Like all golf competitions, you have nothing to lose and as much chance of winning as anyone else, particularly in this format with a professional for a partner.

“Coming down the 18th when we had it in the bag, I couldn’t let myself believe it until the final putt; then it was phenomenal. When we got home, everyone was excited about the win.

“Every now and then telling yourself you have won a national tournament does give you a warm feeling.”

Entry packs will be arriving at golf clubs across the UK this month. Entries are now open online by visiting www.pgagbi.bluegolf.com

Glory for Wardle in final round fight-back

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PRESTBURY ace Isobel Wardle staged a stunning final-round comeback to claim a dramatic play-off victory at the 2018 Portuguese Women’s Amateur Golf Championship at West Cliffs Golf Links.

The 18-year-old began the last day five strokes behind Annabell Fuller but coped best in the difficult, windy conditions, carding a five-over-par 77 to first catch her fellow England international, then beat her on the first hole of sudden death.

Named as the World’s Best New Golf Course at the 2017 World Golf Awards, West Cliffs has quickly established itself as one of the new stars of global golf since opening last summer, and provided a fitting venue for the 88th edition of the prestigious event – which featured competitors from 15 countries including China.

Wardle, who plays off a handicap of +4.2, opened the event with a level-par 72 – the joint-lowest round of the week in a tournament that was played in cold and windy conditions throughout – but Fuller looked to have victory in her sights as she started the fourth and final round with a three-shot advantage over the field.

The 15-year-old from Roehampton still held a two-stroke lead as she stood on the 18th tee, but she double-bogeyed the hole after tangling with a bush on her way to a disappointing 82, before being beaten by Wardle on the same hole in the play-off.

“It’s amazing to win,” said Wardle, who was playing in her first competitive event of the year after winning the English women’s and English girls’ ope

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n championships in 2017. “This golf course throws everything at you, it is so tough. If you spray the ball left or right you are struggling to make a bogey.

“I had no idea what anyone else was scoring but I just tried to keep myself as low as possible. Holes 16, 17 and 18 are really tough and I knew if I could hang in with some sort of score it would make those holes even tougher with the pressure.

“I was very, very nervous, I had never been in a play-off. But I had my friend Jess Hall on the bag, she was calming me down and we went through the strategy I had in place and just played the hole.”

Bel of the ball! Portugal win for Prestbury ace

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PRESTBURY and England star Bel Wardle came from five shots off the lead to win the Portuguese women’s amateur championship in a play-off.

The 18-year-old international caught and then beat fellow England player Annabell Fuller on the first play-off hole – the 18th – on the difficult West Cliffs course.

“It’s amazing to win,” said Wardle, who was playing in her first competitive event of the year and adds this title to the English women’s and English girls’ open championships of 2017.

Fuller, 15, took a three shot lead into the final round and Wardle was five behind her – but knew anything could happen. “This golf course throws everything at you, it is so tough. If you spray the ball left or right you are struggling to make a bogey.

“I had no idea what anyone else was scoring but I just tried to keep myself as low as possible,” said Wardle “Holes 16, 17 and 18 are really tough and I knew if I could hang in with some sort of score it would make those holes even tougher with the pressure.”

In the final round, in which strong winds added to the challenge of the course, Wardle posted five-over 77 and declared herself: “100 per cent happy. I was five-over through nine and heading in to the tougher nine, so I was so pleased to come back in level par.”

It put her in the play-off after Surrey’s Fuller tangled with a bush and double bogeyed the 18th in regulation play. “I was very, very nervous, I had never been in a play-off,” said Wardle. “But I had my friend Jess Hall on the bag, she was calming me down and we went through the strategy I had in place and just played the hole.”

This was Wardle’s first competitive event since the World girls’ championship last September – and she was ready for it. “I have done a lot of work over the winter with my coach, Richard Green at Bramhall Golf Club. My swing was feeling great coming into the week and I just wanted to get back competing again. I have done all the practice, I just wanted to get out there.”

The championship was a great showcase for England talent – with English players capturing not only the first two places, but also the Nations Cup by 10 shots. Annabell Fuller, Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe) and Lily May Humphreys (Stoke by Nayland) combined to win the team prize. Lamb had her first hole in one during the championship and was eighth overall.

Cheshire bid for County of Year award

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CHESHIRE will go head to head with Middlesex in a bid to win England Golf’s County of Year Award sponsored by Sports Marketing Surveys Inc.

The counties are the two finalists for the prestigious prize which will be presented at the England Golf Awards  at the Royal Lancaster London on February 22.

“This is a fascinating contest,” said England Golf chief executive Nick Pink. “It pits North against South and little against large – with Cheshire representing 99 clubs and Middlesex numbering just 34.

“What both counties have in common is their class and the quality of their support for their clubs and members. The judges will have a tough task to separate them and we look forward to applauding a worthy winner.”

Cheshire is celebrating a year of all-round achievement: getting more people playing golf; great support for clubs; and the smooth running of the county organisations.

The county had notable success in attracting more people into golf. Its Driving Junior Golf initiative involved 10 clubs which ran free tasters for almost 200 youngsters; 130 continued into coaching and over 100 have become club or academy members.

Girls Golf Rocks ran for the second year, at eight clubs, and some of the original beginners are now involved in county coaching. Cheshire is now one of England Golf’s priority junior counties, working in partnership to encourage more young players.

Meanwhile, more than 400 women were introduced to golf and 120 took up club or academy memberships. Almost 50 clubs promoted Get into Golf opportunities, leading to 300 new memberships, while disability programmes were run with the Stoke Association and Macmillan.

Clubs are receiving comprehensive support to strengthen their business and meet their customers’ needs. The men’s Union and women’s Association worked with England Golf to develop a county action plan and both organisations also work in partnership with the PGA in the County Development Group.

On the playing front, a Cheshire U16 boys’ team was started to increase opportunities, more girls’ coaching was arranged following the success of Girls Golf Rocks, and top players figured in England squads.

Middlesex took a modernising stride forward in 2017 when the members of its men’s and women’s county organisations voted unanimously to merge.

The foundations of the successful vote were laid in preliminary meetings when the benefits of merger were explained to members and any issues resolved.

Now Middlesex has a board of 10 elected members – with at least 30 per cent representation of each gender – a three-year business plan and a busy programme. This includes improving communications with members, setting up a database of club contacts, upgrading their website content and launching their first Awards dinner to recognise achievement by volunteers, clubs and stewards.

Education for clubs is a priority with a range of courses arranged for 2018, including safeguarding.  Relationships are being developed with golf ranges, whose customers will often progress into club membership, and this could lead to discounts for county card holders.

On the playing front, the merged organisation is very obvious. Men and women work together to run all the county competitions, referees of both genders officiate, and young golfers are offered mixed academy and intermediate coaching and playing opportunities. There’s orders of merits for men, women and juniors and lots of encouragement for club golfers to enter non-elite events.

The county is working to increase the number of junior golfers and to get more players in county competitions. It also provides financial support clubs running open events, providing they have evidence of good safeguarding.

 

Lancashire youngsters speak up for golf

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A GROUP of 11 remarkable young people, which includes two from Lancashire, are set to give golf a fresh, new voice.

They are Young Ambassadors for England Golf and the Golf Foundation and through their own stories, enthusiasm and love of the sport, they will challenge negative perceptions and play a part in getting more people talking about and playing the game.

The ambassadors range in age from 10 to 22 and include school pupils, students, a volunteer coach, a trainee PGA professional, a would-be PE teacher and a trainee doctor.

They’re all prepared to do what it takes to inspire others, whether it’s speaking at meetings, blogging or vlogging, getting involved with national campaigns or helping to organise events.

“They’re an amazing group,” said Lee Dolby, England Golf’s Young People manager. “They’re bringing to life our Children and Young People’s Plan for Golf and helping us achieve our vision of inspiring a love of golf that lasts a lifetime.

“By sharing their stories they’ll help raise awareness of golf, show the positive impact of young people and prove that it’s a game for all.”

Alice Lowe, Golf Foundation Regional Development Officer and lead on volunteering, added: “Each member of the group is so enthusiastic about changing the negative perceptions of golf, and supporting our ambition to help young people enjoy the playing and personal benefits of golf by making it inclusive and fun.”

The Ambassadors are:

Emma Anderson, 20, of Sherwood Forest Golf Club, Nottinghamshire

Ella Baker, 12, of Warley Woods Golf Club, Halesowen

Isabella Bleaken, 10, of Westonbirt Golf Club, Gloucestershire

Warren Clark, 17, from Hampshire and a member of Salisbury & South Wilts Golf Club

Emily Furness, 18, of Gaudet Luce Golf Club, Worcestershire

Morgan Halpin, 19, of Morecambe Golf Club, Lancashire

Ali Jodivawalla, 18, of Hatchford Brook Golf Club, Birmingham

Ysobel Lush, 16, of Langdon Hills Golf Club, Essex,

Hope Neild, 16, of Royal Norwich Golf Club, Norfolk

Jessica Pilgrim, 12, of Harewood Downs Golf Club, Buckinghamshire

Matthew Wilcox, 22, of West Lancashire Golf Club, Lancashire

The ambassadors recently got together for a training session involving the Youth Sport Trust and the Sport and Recreation Alliance. It was a chance to share their stories and experiences and similar themes emerged right across the age range.

They spoke of how golf has given them confidence and inspired their career ambitions, how they want to work to make the game truly inclusive and their passion to show that it’s not an ‘old man’s’ game.

Morecambe’s Morgan Halpin started playing golf with plastic clubs as a three-year-old and is now in the first year of his PGA training. He likes the social aspect of golf and comments: “It’s fun, that’s what it’s all about.”

Morgan is passionate about sharing his pleasure in the game and has particular interest in disability golf, inspired by his sister who has a rare genetic disorder. His mum and a friend founded Unique Kidz, a charity to help families find suitable childcare and social activities for their disabled children, and Morgan has been involved with golf activities.

Lancashire bid to attract women golfers

 LANCASHIRE clubs are being urged to answer a rallying call to help increase the number of women playing golf.

The latest participation figures have shown a healthy four per cent rise in overall statistics but the number of girls and ladies taking to the fairways remains an area for improvement.

Golfing organisations in the county are combining to stage a special conference to help clubs develop a successful approach in helping more females take up the sport.

High-profile guest speakers will outline a practical way forward for clubs to adopt – with England Golf’s club development officers offering further support to help build on the lessons of the day-long event at Mytton Fold Golf Club, near Blackburn, on March 15 (10am).

Registration for the free event is now open.

Full details are available from https://www.lancashiregolf.org/county_conference_2018

A special working party has been looking at how to deliver the new women’s golf initiative in a unique collaboration including representatives from the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs, the Lancashire Ladies County Golf Association, England Golf, the Golf Foundation and the Golf Club Managers’ Association.

Phil Harvey, secretary of the Lancashire Golf Development Group, said: “At the end of the conference clubs will leave with a blueprint for the kind of activities, attitudes and approaches that will make a real difference in encouraging more women to play golf.

“This may range from a different membership structure, creating more family time or developing clear coaching pathways for female players – but clubs will have a practical and useful variety of ideas which they can adopt to best suit their own needs.

“The first step is to register for this conference and to get involved with the important discussion that must be had around women’s golf.

“The conference will discuss why it is so important to grow the women’s game, the obstacles to doing so, how it can be achieved and the help available to all clubs.”

Guest speakers at the conference will include representatives from the world governing body, the R&A, as well England Golf, which oversees the amateur game in this country. They will be looking to inspire and motivate clubs to make the changes that will make the sport even more attractive to would-be female golfers.

 

Harvey added: “Clubs should not miss this conference because it will help them develop the right strategy to get more women playing golf.

“More female players means a more active social side to a club, stronger family ties and an increase in revenue – all of which contributes to the long-term sustainability of our clubs and sport.”