Archive for the ‘County Golf’ Category

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.”

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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.”

 

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.

 FIXTURES

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 www.getintogolf.org/ggr

For more information about junior golf at Eaton Golf Club contact Bill Tye at bill@billtye.co.uk