Archive for the ‘England Golf’ Category

More women urged to get into golf

A SCHEME to encourage new women golfers to play more often and have fun on the course has been such a success that it is set to grow.

The Academy Away Days ran in three counties this season and attracted over 300 players, bringing them together for on-course outings to grow their confidence and to make new friends. Next year the scheme will run again in Hertfordshire,

Academy-Away-Days (1).jpgDurham and Cheshire and will also be extended to five new counties: Northumberland, Worcestershire, Suffolk, Devon and Hampshire.“It’s a great opportunity to learn to play with others who are at the same level,” said one of the players. “I was a little nervous about the overall day but the experience was good,” added another. “It’s given me the confidence to play on the course and improve,” said a third.

The Academy Away Days have been developed by England Golf as part of its commitment to growing the women and girls’ game. Only  15 per cent of club members are women and just one per cent are girls, but research shows there’s a huge appetite for playing the sport.

The scheme was pioneered in Hertfordshire where clubs realised they needed to support and retain women who had taken Get into golf beginner courses.

Outings are organised on par three and short courses and the players use a novel scoring system which focusses on rules and etiquette rather than the number of strokes taken.

So, over nine holes, the women complete a series of challenges such as successfully hitting the green in one shot, raking the bunker correctly and shaking hands on the final green when they had completed their game. Everyone tees off at the same time so there’s lots of opportunity to socialise afterwards and enjoy a glass of fizz.

The success of the scheme is highlighted by the results of a survey of women who took part this summer, which indicated that almost 60% have taken out some form of membership.

Lauren Spray, England Golf’s Women and Girls’ participation manager, commented: “The Academy Away Days have proved a great way for women to make friends, to build their confidence and to have fun while they improve their skills and keep playing golf.

“The feedback from the players has been so positive and I’m looking forward to seeing even greater success as it grows into the new counties.”

England Golf has also piloted the Sunday Slam this year for women aged 18-35 and the concept will be further tested next season.

 

The Sunday Slam offered a series of monthly stablefords to women who may only be able to play at the weekend and want to get together with other women of a similar age for competitive yet social golf.

Events were held at Breadsall Priory in Derbyshire, Belton Park in Lincolnshire, Radcliffe on Trent in Nottinghamshire and The Leicestershire .

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Clubs cash in on England Golf deal

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SHAKE ON IT: Iain Lancaster (centre) with GMG directors David Valentine (left) and Scott Partington

ENGLAND Golf has partnered with the Golf Management Group (GMG) to help golf clubs cut costs without compromising on quality.

Clubs affiliated to England Golf will receive free GMG membership for a year – usually £149 – which could help them make savings of more than £10,000.

GMG is the second organisation to join England Golf’s new Preferred Partners and Supplier network. This is designed to give clubs access to a range of high quality products and services and, as it develops, will offer increasing value to England Golf’s club support package.

Iain Lancaster, England Golf Club engagement manager, said: “We are delighted to welcome GMG to our developing network and to increase the support we are able to offer clubs to help them grow.

“I am looking forward to announcing more partnerships over the coming months to further demonstrate our commitment in this area.”

GMG is a purchasing alliance, created in 2010 by experienced golf club operators, which sets out to increase profitability for independent clubs across the UK. It uses its collective purchasing power to get significant discounts without compromising on quality or service.

Memberships gives access to teams of experts who look at a club’s expenditure and report back on potential savings in key areas such as energy, insurance and food and beverage.

To complement the procurement benefits GMG members also have access to Contracts-Manager,  an online tool designed to manage all service and utilities contracts. The system will prompt clubs at critical dates when they might wish to look for more competitive arrangements.

Savings will vary depending on the areas each club chooses to review. But GMG would expect that clubs which engage with its top six performing categories would cut costs by over £10,000.

Scott Partington, from GMG. said: “”We are very excited about the partnership with England Golf, it endorses everything we have been doing over the last seven years and will provide significant leverage when negotiating with our supply chain, which should see golf clubs making even greater savings.

“The complimentary membership for affiliated clubs removes any barriers to try our service and we look forward to adding to our current membership of over 550 clubs.”

GMG have joined the XACT group in the Preferred Partners network. XACT provide golf clubs with health and safety and human resources support.

 

Revealed – secrets of retaining club members

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THE secrets of keeping golf club members happy, contented and loyal are revealed in new report commissioned by England Golf: Valuing Your Customers.  The findings, from Manchester Metropolitan University, will be used to help golf clubs strengthen their business by retaining their members.

They’ll be shared by England Golf’s club support network, together with a specially produced video and other resources which will help clubs identify and provide the golfing experience their members want.

The report makes the point that it costs less to retain a member than to attract a new one and it highlights six ways to keep members happy:

Offer enjoyment and engagement

Provide a unique ethos and atmosphere 

Create a great customer experience from the car park to the bar

A warm welcome which extends far beyond a ‘meet and greet’

 Participation options for all, from novice to experienced player

 Ways to keep members involved long-term

It also offers ideas for clubs to consider which will customise their approach to members. These could include becoming a female-friendly club or offering alternative formats which could be welcomed by beginners, older players and those who are short of time.

Report author Dr Chris Mackintosh said: “Members are the lifeblood of any club and retention really matters. The evidence says that if golf clubs can be more diverse, more open and embrace a friendly culture more people will stay in the game and we will grow the sport.”

Abbie Lench, England Golf’s Head of Club Support, added: “We want to show clubs how to understand and to value their customers and build a healthy base of loyal members.”

She added: “There’s another great benefit because we find that clubs which have an excellent relationship with existing members, will improve their reputation and find it easier to recruit new players.”

England Golf is now working in partnership with MMU on a three-year research project to better understand volunteers in clubs and the critical role they play in retention.

CASE STUDY

Kettering Golf Club in Northamptonshire is where Charley Hull learned her golf and is now an honorary member.  It recognised its strength was as a members’ club and made this a priority, offering relaxed enjoyment and companionship.

The club has worked on retention programmes with David Davis, the England Golf Club Support Officer in Northamptonshire, and they’ve been so successful that they remain financially secure, have enhanced their reputation and grown their membership by over 8% in two years, lowering the overall age of the membership in the process.

Club chairman Graham Althorpe commented: “New members are important, but for us, our best recruiting sergeant is retaining existing members who are pleased with and want to be part of the whole Kettering Golf Club experience.”

CASE STUDY 

Northamptonshire County Golf Club has also worked with David Davis and, after considering the demographic of its ageing membership, has put in place a long-term strategy for retention and recruitment. This has included halving the joining fee which helped to increase membership by almost six percent from 2015-2017.

Club manager Elaine McBride commented: “We ensure that we are constantly being proactive by engaging with existing members and increasing our PR presence in the local golfing community.

“For example, we can now analyse members’ bar spending and this means we can engage with members who have not have used the facilities recently. It’s a good way to gain a better understanding of factors that impact on people visiting and using the club.”

The new retention guidance has been produced as part of England Golf’s strategy, Growing the Game of Golf in England, which has the customer at its heart.

Visit www.englandgolf.org/retention to read the research findings and view the video.

 

Just champion! That’s Accrington’s Foster

ACCRINGTON legend  Trevor Foster went on a victory march today to win the English Senior Men’s County Champion of Champions tournament at Woodhall Spa.

Foster was eight under par for 36 holes, after yesterday’s two-under 71 and today’s

foster (1).jpg67 on the Hotchkin course. He finished eight shots clear of his closest challenger, David Nelson of Cheshire.

He was a man on a mission because his season’s results had seen him fall just short of a place in the England senior team and he wanted to use his last event of the season to show what he could do.

Foster, 57, has already had a remarkable golfing career, including 108 appearances for Lancashire; two men’s county championships and now the senior men’s titleholder. He played all four rounds of The Open in 1988, when his caddy was 14-year-old Ryan Done, now the PGA professional at Heysham and Foster’s coach.

But he’s got that one ambition left, to represent his country. “My daughter, Nikki, played in four Home Internationals and she gives me a little nudge, saying I haven’t played for England yet! It would be nice, it would finish my career off. Hopefully next year it will be a dream come true.”

For the time being he has the satisfaction of two great days of golf. “It has given me so much pleasure out there today to hit every fairway and to hit 17 greens in regulation,” he said.

His first round gave him a one-shot lead over Hampshire’s Richard Elmes (Stoneham) with David Nelson (Northenden) and NAPGC/Worcestershire’s Steve Green (Rose Hill) a further stroke back.

But today Foster put his foot down and simply powered away from the field. He was four under on the front nine, then added two more birdies on 13 and 14 before dropping his only stroke of the day on the 17th, where he found a fairway bunker. However, he immediately repaired the damage with a pitch and putt birdie on the last.

“I’ve been fully-focussed, I’ve been 100 per cent satisfied before I hit any shots,” said Foster, who was supported by his caddy and Lancashire team mate, Bill Bromilow.

He also reaped the benefit of a recent lesson with putting guru Mike Kanski, provided by the Lancashire Golf Union. “I’ve struggled with my putting all year, which has cost me,” said Foster. “I’ve got to thank Lancashire because they’ve backed me all the way and asked me to have a lesson on my putting.”

Bel of the ball!

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PRESTBURY teenager Bel Wardle came from six shots behind to birdie her way to a one-stroke victory in the English women’s open stroke play championship at Woodhall Spa.

She fired a closing six-under 67 on the Hotchkin course, finishing three-under par for the 72 hole event and a shot ahead of Dulcie Sverdloff of Essex.

Both players charged home and both birdied the last two holes, but it was Wardle who had the edge and adds her name a trophy previously held by Solheim Cup players Charley Hull, Jodi Ewart and Sale’s Joanne Morley.

“I wanted to win this so much, I can’t believe it,” said the 17-year-old.

It’s her second win in three weeks, after she produced a top class performance to claim the English girls’ title in gale force winds – and proved to herself that she could cross the winning line.

That confidence stood her in good stead this week. At the halfway stage she was two off the lead, but after the third round she’d slipped further back after returning five-over 78.

Wardle had struggled with her putting while Yorkshire’s Rochelle Morris (Woodsome Hall) fashioned a bogey-free 67 and Sverdloff (Thorpe Hall) returned 69 to share the lead on three-under with a round to play.

Wardle wasn’t phased. She sorted out her putting at lunchtime and went out again this afternoon thinking: “Anything can happen on this golf course and there’s a lot of pressure on the leaders.

“I knew I had to shoot under par and I just stuck to hitting fairways and greens and tried to make sure I was on the right side of the holes and always had uphill putts.”

She was two-under on front nine and then started her charge by holing a 25ft birdie putt on the 13th. She reached the long 14th in two shots to set up a two-putt birdie. A monster drive on 17 was rewarded with a classy pitch and putt for another birdie to draw level with Sverdloff, who has just finished on two-under.

Wardle knew she had to birdie the last to win and set about achieving it – despite having a tree on her line on her second shot. Her seven iron shot soared over the obstacle and finished within chipping distance of the green, from where she calmly got up and down to post an unbeatable score. “I was really going for that birdie,” she said afterwards.

Third place went to Austria’s Isabella Holpfer, who had shared the halfway lead on four-under and who was only one shot off the pace at the start of the final round.

She took the lead during the last round but slipped out of the reckoning with a bogey on the long 14th and went on to finish on level par.

Meanwhile Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe) returned her best score of the week with a bogey-free 69 to share fourth place with fellow international Rochelle Morris on one-over.

 

Royal Liverpool’s Jordan in Walker Cup side

ROYAL Liverpool’s Matthew Jordan has been named by the R&A in the Great Britain and Ireland team to face the USA in the 46th Walker Cup match at Los Angeles Country Club on 9-10 September.

GB&I will be aiming to defend the trophy after securing a 16½-9½ victory in the 2015 match at Royal Lytham & St Annes –  their biggest winning margin since the match was first played in 1922.

A ten-player team and two reserves have been named with five Englishmen featuring alongside two Scots, two Welshmen and one player from Ireland.

The GB&I team includes  Amateur champion Harry Ellis, the Silver Medal Winner at the Open and European Amateur champion Alfie Plant and the Lytham Trophy champion Jack Singh Brar.

Jordan won this year’s St Andrews Links Trophy, was runner-up at the Scottish Stroke Play Championship, secured top five finishes at the Irish Open Amateur Championship and the Brabazon Trophy and finished sixth in the European Amateur Championship.

Last year’s Amateur champion Scott Gregory is joined in the team by the man he defeated in the final Robert MacIntyre.

Craig Watson, who will be captaining the GB&I team for the first time in the match, said, “We have been very impressed with the performances of many of the GB&I players so far this season and it has been a difficult decision to select only ten players.

“The Walker Cup match is one of the highlights of the golfing calendar and a tremendous opportunity for the players to shine on such a big stage. The Americans will be determined not to lose two matches in a row but we have selected a strong team and I’m sure the players will give it their all to try to retain the trophy.”

 

The GB&I team:

David Boote, 23, Walton Heath, Wales

Jack Davidson, 20, Llanwern, Wales

Harry Ellis, 21, Meon Valley, England

Scott Gregory, 22, Corhampton, England

Matthew Jordan, 21, Royal Liverpool, England

Paul McBride, 21, The Island, Ireland

Robert MacIntyre, 21, Glencruitten, Scotland

Alfie Plant, 25, Sundridge Park, England

Jack Singh Brar, 20, Remedy Oak, England

Connor Syme, 22, Drumoig, Scotland

Clitheroe ace Sophie battles for English title

 

CLITHEROE’S  Sophie Lamb, the low amateur at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, is in a big field battling for honours when teenager Emily Price defends the English Women’s Open Strokeplay championship at Woodhall Spa from Tuesday to Thursday.

The 17-year-old from Cleobury Mortimer,  won by two shots last year and has recently helped England to regain their crown as Girls’ Home Internationals champions.

Lamb, the British strokeplay champion, is one of four players in the championship who were in the England side which recently became European team champions.

The others are Welsh stroke play champion Gemma Clews (Delamere Forest); Lianna Bailey (Kirby Muxloe); and Rochelle Morris (Woodsome Hall) who went on to become England’s top scorer at the women’s Home Internationals with a perfect score of six wins.

There’s also a strong contingent of girl internationals, including English girls’ champion Bel Wardle (Prestbury) and English U16 girls’ winner, Annabell Fuller (Roehampton).

The host club will be represented by Billie-Jo Smith, while a number of players come from much further afield, travelling from countries such as the Czech Republic, Finland, Italy and Germany.

The 72-hole championship will be played on the world-renowned Hotchkin course. The leading 40 competitors and ties will play the final 36 holes on Thursday.