Archive for the ‘PGA Golf’ Category

Search for the Perfect Swing


FROM LEFT: Dr Rob Neal, CEO of Golf BioDynamics, Steve Otto, the R&A’s Director of Equipment Standards and Chief Technology Officer, Dr Alastair Cochran, author of The Search for the Perfect Swing, Dr Sasho MacKenzie, professor at St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia,  and Prof  Eric Wallace, Professor of Biomechanics and Sports Technology at Ulster Uni.  Image courtesy of The PGA. 

THE author of what many have described as the “The Bible” for golf coaches returned to The PGA for a special event to mark the 50 years since the publication of “The Search for the Perfect Swing.”

Dr Alastair Cochran’s book remains one of the seminal pieces of work that has applied scientific methods to study the game of golf. It continues to be referenced today by scientists, educators and practitioners across the world of golf.

Cochran was the guest of honour at PGA headquarters inside The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, on May 21 and his book’s popularity was demonstrated with almost 100 people attending the sold out event inside the PGA National Training Academy.

“It’s been a life-changing thing for me,” said Cochran. I’ve always been an academic and a research physicist but this book as got me all round the world.

“I personally didn’t anticipate the sort of impact the book would have on golf. There’s a great cult following who think it’s the best thing since sliced bread. It was fun to do and it got a few other people starting to think about things like that.

“When I finished doing some work for The PGA on their manuals three to four years ago, I thought that was it. But meeting these guys got me excited about golf again and what they’re doing.”

A select group of world-leading experts who are involved in researching various elements of the game were also in attendance.

They included Dr Rob Neal, CEO of Golf BioDynamics, the R&A’s Director of Equipment Standards and Chief Technology Officer, Professor Steve Otto, and Professor Eric Wallace, Professor of Biomechanics and Sports Technology at Ulster University.

Dr Sasho MacKenzie, Professor at St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, Canada, also flew in especially for the event.

David Colclough, Head of Coaching & Sports Science at The PGA, added: “It was a great honour to recognise the considerable contribution that Alastair has made to the development of the game of golf through his original work with ‘The Search for the Perfect Swing.

“We were also delighted to get such a wonderful line-up of speakers, who so neatly related the most current research findings to Alistair’s work from 1968.

“I think it showed what an essential read the book still is for anyone serious about understanding the science behind the game.”



King crowned Silversea Senior PGA champion


JOHN King, the long-serving head professional at Lindrick Golf Club, muscled in on the anticipated duel between Mark Ridley and John Gould to win the Silversea Senior PGA Championship at Foxhills.

Six and five strokes adrift of Ridley and Gould respectively at the start of the final round, King kept his game together while they faltered.

Ridley, who is attached to South Moor Golf Club, Co Durham, was unable to replicate the form that had seen him lead the tournament at the end of the first and second rounds and posted a four-over-par total of 77 to finish on two-under-par. One-over after 12, his round was effectively derailed by bogeys at 14, 16 and 17.

Meanwhile, Gould, who had drawn level with Ridley courtesy of a birdie at the par five fifth, never recovered from the plague of bogeys, including a double, that followed over four of the next five holes.

A birdie at the par-five 12th provided brief respite before two more bogeys resulted in a five-over-par round of 78 and him ceding third place to Mossock Hall’s David Shacklady.

King, by contrast, unaware of the implosions behind him, made flawless progress round the Bernard Hunt course and, courtesy of a birdie at the par-four 13th, carded a one-under-par round of 72 to finish on two-under.

All of which meant a sudden death play-off with Ridley to determine the destiny of the Bernard Hunt trophy and £6,000 winner’s cheque put up by Silversea, the luxury cruise line specialists sponsoring the tournament for the third successive year.

It took place on the par-four 18th and while King had the momentum, Ridley had ‘previous’ on the double green that serves the final holes on both the Longcross and Bernard Hunt courses at the Surrey resort.

He had signed off on days one and two with a 40-foot chip for a birdie and an even longer putt for an eagle but this time his Midas touch with either putter or wedge deserted him.

Not least on the third negotiation of the hole when he three-putted for a bogey and King claimed victory with a par.

King, who has been head pro at the 1957 Ryder Cup venue for 20 years and was an assistant there before moving to nearby Worksop where he coached a youthful Lee Westwood, described his round as one of the best he has played.

But he admitted that, given the deficit he had to make up on Ridley and Gould, his initial target was finishing in the top 15 and earning a place in the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship at the London Club in August.

“I was playing with a good buddy, Rob Ellis,” he explained, “and we were realistically looking at making sure we finished in the top 15.

“But you never know at this game. It was a little bit of surprise to catch them but obviously I’m delighted. I’ve had to work that hard for a victory before on occasions but this was one of the best rounds I’ve played tee to green.

King was also fulsome in his praise for Foxhills and added: “I’ve been coming here for a few years now and it’s been fabulous. The best it’s been. We’ve had bad weather in the past but this year it’s been perfect.

“Both courses are in great condition and, as usual, all the staff have been excellent.”


Leading scores


1              John King (Lindrick Golf Club)                                     216 (-2)                 £6,000

2              Mark Ridley (South Moor Golf Club)        216 (-2)                 £4,500

3              David Shacklady (Mossock Hall)                 217 (-1)                 £3,400

4              John Gould (John Gould International)  218 (L)                   £2,550

5              Paul Streeter (Lincoln Golf Centre)                          219 (+1)                                £2,100


A full list of scores can be found at:

It’s first time lucky for Palmer

CHORLEY assistant  Andy Palmer won the Titleist & FootJoy PGA Professional Championship North West qualifier to reach the final at his first attempt at Delamere Forest.

His four-under-par 67 at the Cheshire left him one ahead of Sandiway’s Gareth Jones.

They will join 13 other qualifiers at Little Aston club in Sutton Coldfield for the £78,000 grand final on July 24-27.

Palmer (pictured) said:  “The only bad shot I hit all day was a double bogey at the 14th.

“At that point, I said to myself that I just had to make sure I qualified and not to let it get to me.Andy Palmer.jpg

“But I made a couple of birdies after that and it was the best I’d played for a long time.

“It was quite bouncy out there. I was pleased with how I played, it was the first time I’ve been eligible to compete for it after graduating from the PGA course in April.”

He added: “I played at Little Aston in the English Amateur Championship a while ago.”




Jason leads the way at Hesketh

JASON Shufflebottom completed a memorable start to the season by winning the PGA Assistants’ Championship North qualifying round at Hesketh Golf Club.
The Prestatyn-based Denbigh  man posted a one-under 68 to edge out Matthew Dunbabin (Sandiway), Calum Hey (Shipley) and Nick Tibbetts (Carlisle).
They will join 15 other qualifiers at the £32,000, Birdietime-supported, grand final at Farleigh Golf Club, Surrey, on  July 3-5.
But the victory came after the 29-year-old had been named as a junior ambassador for the Flintshire Golf Union.
“They approached me to work as an ambassador a few months ago and now it’s all been passed, so I’m looking forward to doing some work with the juniors and inspiring a bit more success in North Wales.
“I’m very fortunate to be in a positive environment with good coaching practices.”
Shufflebottom is a former Wales amateur International who studied in the USA before deciding to take the PGA route.
“It’s a big bad world out there, but I decided that if I couldn’t play for a living, I’d like to help others improve and my goal is to go for a coaching role. The PGA course gives me the chance to play as well.”
Shufflebottom said he was fortunate with the draw at Hesketh.
“I was first out and we played the first six holes with no wind, then it picked up a little bit,” he said.

Pantoja goes back to the future

OLIVER  Pantoja has gone back to his roots as he prepares for a second successive Titleist & FootJoy PGA Professional Championship final.

The Manchester-based professional has been with Ashton on Mersey b for 18 months and it is the place where he grew up learning his golf.

Pantoja is set to tee off in the North West qualifier at Delamere Forest Golf Club on May 8.

And he will be aiming to secure a spot in the £78,000 final which will be staged at Little Aston Golf Club in Sutton Coldfield between July 24-27.

“I was a junior member at Ashton for a number of years and it’s where I learnt the game – it’s also where I could be found when I was playing truant from school,” said Pantoja, whose father is from Portugal.

“It’s always been a place which has been close to my  heart. When I left my last job, I was welcomed with open arms here and it was fairly local to where I was.

“I’ve laying some roots down, I know a lot of people here and it’s good to see some friendly faces.”

Pantoja’s only attempt at qualifying for the final earned him a place at Luttrellstown Castle in Ireland last year.

But he hopes he will do better if he makes it to Little Aston 12 months on.

“I qualified for Ireland, but it just didn’t work out for me, the place suited me down to the earth, but my game wasn’t with me, I think I left it back in Manchester that week,” he added.

“It was a great venue which appealed to me – but I love the fact that it’s Delamere again for the qualifier this year. I won through from there last time and I feel like I can play well around there. I’d play there every week if I could, I’ll be playing a practice round there before the event so it’ll be good to get my fix in before the actual event.”

Other North West players at Delamere Forest include: Mark Smith (Stamford Golf Club); Craig Corrigan (Chili Dip Academy); Lee Rooke (Royal St. David’s Golf Club); Oliver Whiteley (Bramall Park Golf Club);   Tim Dykes  (Penrith Golf Club);  Simon Wilson (Lytham (Green Drive) Golf Club; and Ali Gray  (Ormskirk Golf Club).

PGA launches new senior pro-am

A NEW pro-am sponsored by Staysure, the insurance specialists for over 50s, is offering PGA Professionals and an amateur partner the chance to play at some of Great Britain and Ireland’s finest courses.

Known as the Staysure PGA Trophy, the competition carries a £30,000 prize fund and will be contested by professionals and a male or female amateur partner aged 50 or over.

Seven regional qualifiers, played across Great Britain and Ireland, will determine the pairs taking part in the Grand Final from July 31 to August 1 at the London Golf Club near Sevenoaks, Kent.

Maxstoke Park, on the fringe of Birmingham, will host the first qualifier on Tuesday May 22 and the final place will be decided at Kings Hill, Kent on July 16. There will also be qualifiers staged in Scotland and Ireland.

The final will be contested before the Staysure Seniors Championship at the London Golf Club and the winner will earn £7,500. Dozens of prizes will also be up for grabs for amateurs.

In addition, all amateur finalists will also be given the opportunity to compete alongside a leading Staysure Tour player in the Staysure Seniors Championship which follows on August 2.

The new event was created as part of Staysure’s major investment in golf which saw the company becoming the first title sponsors of the European Senior Tour in late 2017.

Ryan Howsam, Staysure chairman and founder, commented: “Staysure is the leading provider of travel insurance for over 50s in the UK.

“Our ambition is to become synonymous with senior golf across the UK and Europe and the launch of the Staysure PGA Trophy is something that epitomises that vision.

“We aim to provide golf club members and our customers a unique opportunity to play in a national golf tournament with the ultimate goal of playing alongside Staysure Tour professionals such as Paul McGinley at the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship at London Golf Club in August.

“We also have hundreds of money-can’t-buy golfing prizes to be won throughout the season.”

Tristan Crew, PGA executive director – members services, added: “We are delighted to welcome the Staysure PGA Trophy to the PGA tournament calendar.

“We are always looking at ways to provide more playing opportunities for our Members, and the introduction of this new pro-am is another example of how we are fulfilling that pledge.

“The London Golf Club has a reputation of staging top class international competitions and we are delighted to be working with a brand new title sponsor Staysure for this event.

“We wish all players the best of luck in their club competitions and we look forward to welcoming all eight finalists to London Golf Club for the Grand Final this summer.”

Full details on how to enter can be found through the Staysure PGA Trophy online entry pack.

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.