Archive for the ‘Women’s Golf’ Category

Lancs clubs appeal for women members

LANCASHIRE golf clubs are being challenged to help the sport to appeal to a new generation of female players who have never known a world without the internet or mobile phones.

The first county conference on how clubs can attract more women players heard a call to arms to reverse a worrying trend of falling numbers and an ageing profile.

The meeting at Mytton Fold Golf Club, located near Blackburn and Clitheroe, was fully subscribed with more than 250 delegates representing 90 clubs from the county. It reflected the enthusiasm to embrace a new way of working to help get more girls and women on to the fairways.

The conference was the result of a unique collaboration between the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs, the Lancashire Ladies’ County Golf Association, England Golf, the Golf Foundation and the R&A.

Lancashire Golf Development Group secretary Phil Harvey urged clubs to break away from the stereotyping of golf so that it can become more relevant to women who are already juggling the demands of family and work or to a younger generation who may be put off by rules, such as dress codes.

He said: “We know that the age profile of the sport is dominated by the over 50s and 60s but we need to appeal to the under 50s. Many of our present women golfers will not be playing in the next 10 years, so where is the next generation of players coming from?

“If the women’s game continues to decline, eventually there will be a knock-on effect for the men, too, as membership fees rise to offset falling numbers. Ultimately that will threaten the very future of the sport and its clubs.”

The conference supported a series of high-profile presentations with a practical blueprint for the clubs to follow with advice including:

  • Create a two-year pathway from beginner to full club membership
  • Ensure a mentoring and buddy system is in place to welcome newcomers
  • Try short course and short format events
  • Create a marketing plan targeting women, highlighting the sport’s health, lifestyle and social benefits
  • Engage with social media to promote what the club and sport has to offer
  • Review the rules and governance of the club to ensure a minimum 20 per cent female representation on the board, plus the appointment of girls and women ambassadors
  • Provide weekend play and competitions, including gender free events
  • Review membership offers to ensure they are family friendly
  • Ensure customer service is fit for the 21st century
  • Get the whole club involved in making the changes

The R&A, which is introducing a special women’s charter in this year, was represented by Jackie Davidson, assistant director of golf development, while Nick Pink, chief executive of England Golf which oversees the amateur game in this country, also delivered a keynote speech.

Dr John Fry, from Myerscough College, who has undertaken a major research project about the perception of golf and clubs from a female viewpoint, stressed that the sport needed to accept the need for change.

“The experience economy means people are far more aware of their surroundings so, for example, they are prepared to pay a bit extra for a coffee in somewhere like Costa,” he said.

“Clubs need to think about the whole experience, not just whether the ball rolls well on the greens, with ideas like priority parking for families, a safe area for children while their parents are at the club or activities for the parents themselves.

“A golf club should be like a community hub, offering the kind of personalised welcome that you might get when joining a gym – they need to be a relaxing and fun place to be, rather than a place where people feel they are struggling to fit in!”

Speakers at the hugely successful event also included social media sensation, the JazzyGolfer (pictured below), who offered a perspective of golf from a 21st century 20-something, and marketing expert Emma Ballard, of Media8.

Jasmine, who only took up the sport 12 months ago, warned that golf is in danger of missing out on potential players.

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“This is a sport that can be fun for everyone, but there have been times when I have been left to feel like an outsider or very uncomfortable,” she said.

“We need to make clubs more welcoming. It is not all clubs but probably more than we want to admit. This is a great opportunity for the sport – but there is no room for men only parts of a clubhouse while I was once told I couldn’t play at a club because of what I was wearing – even though they had invited me there!

“Clubs need to make the right appeal to a generation who spend their time on social media rather than watching TV or reading newspapers, and provide the kind of offers, playing formats and environment that will attract them.”

Clubs are being offered a range of support to drive the initiative with workshops, marketing and social media advice and grant support available.

 

 

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Helen pledges to help Lancashire clubs

HELEN Searle is on a mission – to help golf clubs across Lancashire create a positive future for themselves and the sport.

England Golf  has appointed the 26-year-old to the role of supporting the work of clubs and driving ranges across the county.

Helen, who is based in the Ribble Valley, will team up with Adam McAlister with a brief to attract more players, increase membership and develop stronger clubs across the region.

Helen Searle.jpgThe work going on in the Red Rose county to not only attract new players but also provide a solid business foundation for the future for golf facilities sees the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs and the Lancashire County Ladies’ Golf Association working closely with the area’s PGA professionals as part of the Lancashire Golf Development Group.

Helen (pictured) and Adam will work alongside England Golf regional manager, Jason Budd, to develop and deliver national initiatives and programmes to make golf more accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

This includes supporting clubs with two initiatives – the Get into Golf campaign and the achievement of the GolfMark standard. Both promote a more inclusive and friendly approach towards ne wcomers, ensuring they can play golf regularly.

Helen has been involved with golf since she was 10 when she played alongside her dad, Peter, at West End golf club in Halifax.

She  got down to a single figure handicap in her early teens and by 16 was representing both her county and England, competing in the Europeans and Home Internationals.

After achieving her A levels, Helen went on to pass her PGA degree and played as a professional on the Paul Lawrie Tour while living in Troon, Scotland, as well as enjoying a string of top five finishes in WPGA events.

Helen enjoyed coaching at numerous academies prior to taking on her England Golf role and has always thrived on the idea of making a difference and helping someone achieve their goals.

“I now have the resources and the tools to provide clubs and golf facilities with extensive support, tailoring to their specific needs,” she said. “There is far too much doom and gloom around golf in the media, but it is very much alive, and I am determined to raise awareness for the game I know and love!

“I aim to showcase what every club, big or small has to offer, whether this be a great place to learn the game or a venue to hold future national events. There is something unique in what each and every club has to offer; it’s my job to show them the potential.

“I would urge clubs to use their club support officer. Get me in, talk me through where the club is at now and where it wants to be, then we have a starting point to build a strategy and commit to an action plan; you can’t go wrong with that.”

Adam is covering the west of the county (Lancaster, Blackpool and Fylde, Preston, South Ribble, Chorley, West Lancashire, Wigan and Merseyside) while Helens is looking after East Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

 

Cheshire women aiming to get the Abbey habit

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CHESHIRE club Vale Royal Abbey is joining the drive to encourage more women to take up golf by hosting an open day on April 15 which includes a two-hour free taster session.

PGA professional Ben Derbyshire and his assistant Brian Cassidy will provide free tuition and introduce new players to different aspects of the game.

Women club members will also be on hand to support Ben and Brian and chat about the sport and everything that the club has to offer.

Follow-up coaching will also be available to newcomers interested in developing their skills with six-week blocks of lessons for beginners which Ben and Brian will be offering on a Thursday and a Sunday.

As part of Vale Royal Abbey’s pathway into golf, six-week blocks of lessons will then be available for improvers along with a trial membership offer giving an insight into club life and the chance to get out and play on the course.

Alison Lysons, England Golf’s Cheshire club support officer, said: “It’s great to see the club’s owners get behind the initiative and help create a pathway into membership for them.”

For further information contact Ben Derbyshireon 01606 301291 option 4 or email golfpro@vra.co.uk

 

Lancs bid to get more women into golf

A HIGH profile range of key speakers is backing a new drive to encourage more women to take up golf in Lancashire.

The first county conference on how clubs can attract more female players will hear practical advice and a call to arms from some of the most influential figures in the sport.

The R&A, which is introducing a special women’s charter this year, will be represented by Jackie Davidson, assistant director of golf development, while Nick Pink, chief executive of England Golf which oversees the amateur game in this country, will also be delivering a keynote speech.

The free event at Mytton Fold Golf Club, near Blackburn, on March 15 is fully subscribed with more than 200 delegates representing 80 clubs from across the county. It is intended clubs will leave the conference with a raft of ideas to help get more girls and women out on to the fairways.

The day-long conference is the result of a unique collaboration between the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs, the Lancashire Ladies County Golf Association, England Golf, the Golf Foundation and the Golf Club Managers Association.

As well as practical advice and ideas, the speakers will also challenge attitudes and approaches to women’s golf.

Social media sensation, the JazzyGolfer, will offer a perspective of golf from a 21st century 20-something, Emma Ballard, of Media8, will provide tips on how the sport should be marketed to women while Dr John Fry, from Myerscough College, will deliver an insight into what research can tell us about the perception of golf and clubs from a female viewpoint.

Phil Harvey, Lancashire Golf Development Group secretary, said: “The range of speakers will offer a wide variety of views – and in some cases a very new spin on what women think about golf and how clubs can react to best meet what the players are looking to gain from the sport, whether that be from a health, social or competitive point of view.

“The speakers will challenge clubs to look at things in a different way while continuing to provide the core values of golf club life. They will inspire and motivate the clubs to make the changes that will further broaden the appeal of the sport.

“Further advice and help will be available from the England Golf club support officers in Lancashire after the conference as we look to encourage more women to give golf a go.

“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.”

 

 

North West girls to compete in Nations Cup

THREE teams will represent England in the Nations Cup at the Spanish women’s amateur championship later this month.

The first includues s Annabell Fuller, Clitheroe’s Sophie Lamb (picture by Leaderboard Photography)  and Prestbury’s Bel Wardle. Wardle won the recent Portuguese women’s championship in a play-off with Fuller. Lamb  was low amateur at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The second team is Lianna Bailey, Lily May Humphreys and Georgia Price. Humphreys won five championships last season including English,

Sophie-Lamb (1).jpgBritish and European titles, while Bailey and Price are consistently high finishers.

The third team is drawn from the England Golf girls’ squad and is Martha Lewis, Mimi Rhodes and Hannah Screen. Lewis was runner-up in the English girls’ championship, Screen was runner-up in the British women’s stroke play and Rhodes reached the last 16 in the British girls’ championship.

The Spanish championship will be played at Barcelo Montecastillo golf & sports resort from 28 February to 4 March.

Team A:  

Annabell Fuller, 15, Roehampton, Surrey

Sophie Lamb, 20, Clitheroe, Lancashire

Bel Wardle, 18, Prestbury, Cheshire

Team B:

Lianna Bailey, 21, Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire

Lily May Humphreys , 15, Stoke By Nayland, Essex

Georgia Price, 24, Bude & North Cornwall

Team C:

Martha Lewis, 18, St George’s Hill, Surrey

Mimi Rhodes, 16, Burnham & Berrow, Somerset

Hannah Screen, 18, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

 

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

Cheshire ace Wardle elevated to women’s squad

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BEL WARDLE: Image copyright Leaderboard Photography

PRESTBURY’S Bel Wardle, who last week won the Portuguese women’s amateur, is among 10 players in the England Golf women’s 2018 squad.  She is also the English women’s open and English girls’ champion, moves up from the girls’ squad, alongside three other players.

They are Lily May Humphreys, whose four wins in 2017 included the British girls’ title; Annabell Fuller who was runner-up to Wardle in Portugal; and her older sister and fellow international Sammy Fuller.

Sammy Fuller is one of five players who are US-based while they study at university in America. The others are Curtis Cup player Alice Hewson, Emma Allen, Louisa Brunt and India Clyburn.

The squad is completed by Georgia Price and Sophie Lamb, who was leading amateur at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The England Golf girls’ squad includes five new players, who join established members Martha Lewis, Mimi Rhodes, Amelia Williamson and Hannah Screen, the runner-up in the British women’s stroke play. They are Yorkshire’s Charlotte Heath and Nicola Slater; Buckinghamshire’s Thalia Kirby, who was runner-up in the English U16 girls’ championship; Gloucestershire’s Ebonie Lewis and Cumbria’s Caitlin Whitehead.

Women’s squad

Emma Allen, 21, Meon Valley, Hampshire

Louisa Brunt, 19, Royal Birkdale, Lancashire

India Clyburn, 21, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire

Lily May Humphreys, 15, Stoke by Nayland, Essex

Annabell Fuller, 15, Roehampton, Surrey

Sammy Fuller, 18, Roehampton, Surrey

Alice Hewson, 20, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

Sophie Lamb, 20, Clitheroe, Lancashire

Georgia Price, 24, Bude & North Cornwall

Bel Wardle, 18, Prestbury, Cheshire

Girls:

Charlotte Heath, 16, Huddersfield, Yorkshire

Thalia Kirby, 16, Harleyford, Buckinghamshire

Ebonie Lewis, 17, Knowle, Gloucestershire

Martha Lewis, 18, St George’s Hill, Surrey

Mimi Rhodes, 16, Burnham & Berrow, Somerset

Hannah Screen, 18, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

Nicola Slater, 17, Woodsome Hall, Yorkshire

Caitlin Whitehead, 15, Kendal, Cumbria

Amelia Williamson, 17, Royal Cromer, Norfolk