Archive for the ‘Seniors’ Golf’ Category

Champion Flanagan fights way back to fitness

Flanagan18.jpg

TOP MAN: Tony Flanagan receives the trophy from Lancs UGC president Mike Lay

TONY Flanagan capped his return from major surgery by being crowned Lancashire Seniors’ county champion for the first time.

The Clitheroe man’s entrance into the over-55 ranks had been delayed by a back problem which required an operation and intensive physiotherapy to even return to the golf course.

With the 58 year-old also suffering problems with the tendons in his right arm, it looked like his chance to be part of the thriving seniors’ scene in the Red Rose county was passing him by.

But at Blackpool North Shore, the months of hard work, both out on the range and on his rehabilitation programme, paid off in style as he claimed the title for the first time with a three-shot victory.

Flanagan paved the way for his success with an opening 70, one under par over the challenging seaside course, which was matched by Karl Bowker of Bolton Old Links.

And he held off the chasing pack with a second day 74 to leave last year’s winner, Trevor Foster from Accrington, in second place.

But the outgoing champion paid a fulsome tribute to his rival and friend, saying: “I have always said football is the best game in the world, but golf is the greatest – and one of the reasons for that is the friendships you make. So I am not disappointed to be runner-up because I am chuffed for the man who has won.”

Flanagan, too, paid tribute to the backing he has received as he battled back from surgery. “To be honest, I was a bit choked,” said the Whalley man, who is playing his first full season in the senior ranks.  “I have received so much support from people.

“This was a championship I always felt I could win, but that doesn’t mean it was going to happen. So I am delighted to have come out on top of a high quality field.”

Flanagan had clubmate Mark Ashworth, a former Lancashire county champion, on the bag for the first round and it proved a successful combination.

“Mark is a good friend of mine and he felt that the course would suit my game,” said Flanagan. “He helped me plot the right lines round the course and then on the second day it was a case of getting round safely to post a total.

“I must admit I had a good feeling about the course when I arrived. I have worked hard on my game and have been striking the ball well. And I holed some important three or four footers on the last five holes to make sure I didn’t drop any shots late on.”

Flanagan will head north for the Scottish Seniors as his next assignment while he is also hoping to play his part in Lancashire’s bid to become national champions again.

Rob Godley (Hillside) finished third behind Flanagan and Foster, while the age group category winners included former Lancashire county captain Cliff Bowman, who took the honours in the over 70 group at the age of 77.

 

 

Winner: Tony Flanagan (Clitheroe GC) 70-74=144 (+2)

Runner-up: Trevor Foster (Accrington GC) 74-73=147 (+5)

Third: Rob Godley (Hillside GC) 75-73=148 (+6)

Category A (55-59 years): Gross winner, Gary Byrne (Clitheroe) 149; Nett winner, Ian Owens (Burnley) 145

Category B (60-64): Gross winner, Martin Wild (Wilmslow) 152; Nett winner, Clive Appleby (Fairhaven) 144

Category C (65-69): Gross winner, Mike Gray (Lancaster) 155; Nett winner, Stuart Coupe (Pleasington) 141

Category D (70 plus): Gross winner, Cliff Bowman (Blackpool North Shore) 162; Nett winner, Len Walker (Denton) 147

Best nett day one: Karl Bowker (Bolton Old Links) 70-2-68

Best nett day two: David Hughes (High Legh) 77-9-68

 

Advertisements

Foster steps up to the mark

LANCASHIRE legend  Trevor Foster has marked himself out as a man to watch when the English senior men’s championship gets under way next week.

He heads to Sherwood Forest and Coxmoor Golf Clubs in Nottinghamshire with his first major senior title tucked under his belt.

The Accrington man won the Irish seniors’ championship with a fighting final round of two-under 70 at a very windy Concra Wood. “When I woke up it was blowing a gale and that’s just what I wanted. It was quite a long course and the greens were quite fast but I manged to handle it all right so I was happy,” he said.

Foster came from four shots back to snatch the title, finishing two clear of another Englishman, Littlehampton’s Steve Graham  “To win was massive,” said Foster.

It was a fine result, especially as he was three-over par after two holes of his first round. He contrived to turn in a two-over par score and improved by two shots in each of the remaining rounds.It gave him his third win in four starts – and he was runner up in the other event – making him very much a man in form with the Englishseniors’ due to start next Wednesday, June 6.

Trevor Foster.jpg

But Foster (pictured) insisted: “I’m still the same old Trevor Foster who can have a bad day like anyone else. This game can bring you down to reality.”

In any case, his motivation is not the titles, but putting in the performances that will earn him a place in the England senior team. “That’s my big goal, to play for England,” he said. “There can’t be anything finer than to walk on the tee representing your country.”

There’s also the small matter of a little teasing from his daughter, Nikki. Both of them have held plus-three handicaps, both have played their respective Open Championships… but Nikki has played for England.

Next week Foster will be one of 288 players who set off in pursuit of the title. The field includes many of the internationals he’d like to join, including the defending champion, Doug Cameron, (Henley, BB&O).

Fellow Lancashire players include Ian Crowther (Royal Lytham & St Annes) who last year won both the Welsh and Italian senior titles, and Bryan Hughes (Hesketh) the British senior champion.

Local interest will focus on the three Sherwood Forest players – Christopher Powell, Clive Graham and David Brown – and the two Coxmoor competitors, Derek McJannet and Trevor Ryan.

All competitors will all play one round on each course before the field is cut to the leading 80 players and ties. They return for the deciding third round at Sherwood Forest on June 8.

 

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.

Bramhall and Didsbury in Super 60s’ battle

BRAMHALL pro Richard Green and amateur partner Joe Kirwan upstaged their local rivals, Didsbury’s  Peter Barber and Paul Dalby. by overtaking them late in the day in the first round of the Super 60s’ Championship at Woolaton Park.

But there’s only a shot between them going into today’s final round with the Bramhall duo also having a slight advantage over Waterlooville pairing John Hay and Rob Dench who match their eight-under total were lying were second on countback.

Heavy downpours throughout the morning made conditions unplayable at Wollaton Park Golf Club.

 

Open springboard to grow the sport

 GOLF clubs across Lancashire are using this week’s Open Championship as a springboard to growing the sport.

The world’s best golfers will be heading to Royal Birkdale in Southport from July 16-23 with the dream of becoming the latest player to lift the coveted Claret Jug.

The event attracts worldwide attention, and now clubs in the region are hoping to raise awareness of local opportunities to give golf a go.

A Road to The Open campaign has been organised by England Golf, the Professional Golfers’ Association and the Golf Foundation with a range of activities to promote golf in schools, the local community and clubs.

It is being supported by the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs and the Lancashire County Ladies’ Golf Association.

Aintree Grand National Golf Club set the tone for the project with a special family community open day.

As well as the more traditional

RoadtoOpen.jpgfree golf taster sessions, putting challenges and the chance to use the driving range, supported by US Kids Golf, families could enjoy bouncy castles, craft and food stalls with local businesses as well as live music.

A further community event took place at Speke Hall in Liverpool.

Sixteen clubs around the Red Rose county are hosting special events while the Road to the Open project has connected with 10 primary schools and four secondary schools in the Southport area.

Each school now has a link to a local golf club, equipment has been provided and teachers trained alongside Young Leaders so they can deliver golf in PE classes or at schools sports events.

The Golf Foundation’s Andy Leigh (pictured above with Adam McAlister and Debbie Barber) said: “We’re already hearing great things from the teachers as they have started introducing their youngsters to golf and this should only intensify when ‘Open fever’ starts soon.

“Many of the schools in the area are arranging trips to The Open to watch the best golfers in the world. During the visit, the school groups will spend time with the Golf Foundation development team in the ‘R&A Swing Zone’ playing fun Tri-Golf and StreetGolf challenges.

“Don’t forget! It’s free admission for under 16’s at The Open, when accompanied by an adult.”

As part of the build-up to the Open, the final of the National Street Golf competition will take place at Formby Hall Golf Resort on Monday, July 17.

A special brochure has been produced highlighting the Get into golf work going on at the 16 clubs – Accrington and District, Aintree Grand National, Blackley, Burnley, Fleetwood, Formby Hall Golf Resort and Spa, Haydock Park, Lancaster, Lee Park, Longridge, Myerscough, Mytton Fold, Oldham, Rossendale, Southport Old Links, and Stand.

Statistics show that sports enjoy a two-week spike in interest following a major event and Lancashire Golf Development Group county officers Adam McAlister and Debbie Barber will be working with clubs to help capitalise on this potential surge in participation.

England Golf regional manager Jason Budd says: “The Open is a great shop window for golf and a chance for the sport to kick football off the back pages of the national newspapers.

“It is golf’s Olympic moment and we want to make sure that those people who are interested in trying golf or returning to it as a result of watching or reading about The Open can find the right opportunity to suit them at a local club.”

Road to the Open organisers have launched a new Twitter handle, #roadtotheopen2017, which they are encouraging clubs to adopt on social media.

Get into golf is a national campaign to inspire adults to take up the game and is run by the England Golf Partnership through its network of County Golf Development Groups, supported by Sport England and National Lottery funding.

Get into golf opportunities include FREE taster sessions and low-cost beginner courses with PGA professionals. They are a fun and sociable way to start golf – and a great way to make new friends.

To find your nearest centre visit getintogolf.org and look at the activity map or call 0800 118 2766

You can follow Get into golf on Twitter twitter.com/getintogolf or on Facebook at facebook.com/Getintogolf

Golf’s vision of a brighter future

fred-web.jpg

Fredrik Lindgren of the European Tour adds his suggestion to the innovation comment wall. (Image copyright Leaderboard Photography)

GOLF was shown a vision of a bright future today – for those prepared to grasp change and try new ideas which put the customer first.

England Golf’s first innovation conference, #MoreThanGolf, highlighted the way for clubs and golf centres which want to grow the game.

It turned the spotlight on new formats of golf, such as GolfSixes and Speedgolf, which offer shorter, faster – and fitter – ways to experience the game.

It looked at the importance of collecting and using data effectively, to understand customers and the best ways to appeal to them. It stressed the need to connect with customers in the online world. Fact: 16-24-year-olds are online 30 hours a week; 37 per cent of their waking hours.

Clubs were urged to respond to the drive to encourage more people to become more active and to show that golf is a fun, healthy and sociable game for all. They were also challenged to grow by becoming hubs for their communities, benefiting both the club and the local area.

England Golf chief executive Nick Pink welcomed delegates from across the golf industry to Villa Park and urged them to consider and share new ways to put customers’ needs first.

Customer-focus is the most important of the priorities in England Golf’s refreshed strategy for 2017-21 and Nick commented: “If we don’t consider the needs of the customer we won’t grow the game.

“We need new ideas, creativity and innovation to drive this game on and one of the aims of this conference is to hear different ideas and approaches. Please do open your minds to some of the possibilities and ideas that we need to generate growth in golf.”

The conference struck a chord with Oldham head professional Ryan Grumbridge who is particularly interested in different formats of the game “It’s been great,” he said. “We are open to new ideas and this is all about thinking outside the box while still trying to keep traditional values. I’ve also picked up several business cards from people I need to speak to.”

Delegates also shared ideas on an innovation comment wall, with suggestions ranging from running a takeaway service to encouraging health professionals to prescribe golf.

The first focus of the conference was on new formats of the game with Fredrik Lindgren of the European Tour outlining the success of the recent GolfSixes tournament with players, fans and commercial partners.

The theme is being taken out to a young audience by the Golf Foundation, which has a proud record for innovation to encourage children and young people to get into golf. It is now running GolfSixes Academies in 32 clubs, offering team competition for boys and girls in leagues, with the all-important opportunity to track progress via mobile phones.  “We’re embracing technology and change to keep golf inspiring to young people!” said development manager Martin Crowder.

The impact of the digital world was explored by Chris Hurst of Nielsen Sports, who looked at the changing media consumption habits of the UK population and gave an overview of social networks and digital trends in sport, with a specific focus on golf.

Golf’s contribution to good health and wellbeing has been highly publicised over recent months and was discussed by Dr Steve Mann of ukactive and Jamie Blair, England Golf’s disability manager. Pam Painter of British Speedgolf also highlighted the fitness and fun benefits of the athletic format which appeals to golfers and runners.

The opportunities for golf clubs to be at the heart of their communities were considered by Svend Elkjaer  of Sports Marketing Network and Maria Nolan from Mytime Active, whose Hollingbury Park course in Sussex won England Golf’s 2017 Strongest Community Engagement Award.

Svend cited examples which promoted: “A new kind of partnership, in which both the club and the community contribute directly to the strengthening and development of each other.” He urged clubs to be open to all possibilities and to make innovation happen.

Delegates also heard case studies from Boomers and Swingers, Top Golf and Community Golf CIC.

What next? For the immediate future a #MoreThanGolf LinkedIn group has started to create a network of golf innovators and entrepreneurs.

Full steam ahead for Golf Express!

GOLF Express is celebrating a very happy first birthday after a year highlighting that the  game fits into any lifestyle.

England Golf launched the campaign to promote shorter, quicker formats – and it has captured the mood of the moment.

Over the past 12 months, momentum has been gathering across the industry to prove that golf can be short, fun, fitted into a busy lifestyle – and show-stopping. What’s been happening?

More than 25,000 people have been encouraged by Golf Express to play 9-hole golf or other short circuits, with in excess of 200 clubs already using the website to post offers.

Two months are dedicated to promoting Golf Express and England Golf is increasing investment in its national marketing campaign to drive traffic to the website, golfexpress9.org and to create even more interest around 9-hole golf and other shorter formats.

This weekend, the European Tour will hold its inaugural GolfSixes tournament at Centurion Club in St Albans, when two-man teams from 16 countries will compete over six-hole circuits, accompanied by showbiz razzamatazz.

The R&A has introduced a 9-hole competition for amateurs across GB&I, with the final taking place on the eve of The Open.

Top golfers such as Charley Hull, Melissa Reid, Martin Kaymer and Padraig Harrington have all featured on video endorsing the pleasures of 9-hole golf. Click here to view.

England Golf ambassador Justin Rose has said he often plays 9 holes in practice and described Golf Express as: “A great way to play all the game in half the time.”

Claire Hodgson, England Golf’s Head of Participation, commented: “It’s been fantastic to see the growing interest in short format golf and to get the support of top players and celebrities.

“Golf Express has shown many golfers that they really can fit the game in alongside all their commitments – and that it’s a great way for families to relax and have fun together.”

Nine-hole golf has plenty of health and social benefits. It can be played in just two hours while the player walks two to three miles, takes more than 5,000 steps and burns in excess 450 calories.

There’s an even faster, more athletic version, promoted by British Speedgolf, which has recently partnered Golf Express. Speedgolfers jog between shots and can complete a full 18 holes in under 80 minutes, or 9 holes in under 40 minutes.

“It’s been great to reach so many people in the first year of Golf Express and now we’re looking forward to getting even more players and golf clubs involved, showing golf really is game for all,” said Hodgson.

To learn more about Golf Express and to find 9-hole or other short format offers and a directory of facilities visit http://www.golfexpress9.org