Archive for the ‘Women’s Golf’ Category

It’s a first for County Durham Club

HLS-web.jpgON THE BALL: Mags Shaw (left) and Ann Young of Houghton-le-Spring Golf Club

A GO-AHEAD golf club in County Durham is celebrating a national ‘first’ which puts it at the forefront of safeguarding.

Houghton-le-Spring Golf Club is the first club in England to successfully renew its GolfMark Award, an official seal of approval for its work to grow the game.

With it, the club has also achieved England Golf’s new SafeGolf accreditation, showing it meets high standards to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.

Houghton-le-Spring showed its commitment to young golfers earlier this year when, with the support of Wickes, the DIY and home improvement company, it ran a volunteer project to convert a pool room/general storage space into a room for juniors. They involved local community groups and young carers to make sure they got it right.

Now, with GolfMark successfully renewed for another three years, the club is looking ahead and working to encourage even more people – particularly women and girls – to take up golf and become members.

It offers an academy membership for its six-hole short course and practice facilities, which is popular with beginners. It’s staged Women on Par days with England Golf, to get new golfers out on the course and have fun with friends. It’s hoping to join the Girls Golf Rocks recruitment programme in 2019.

Ann Young and Mags Shaw, from the club’s business development team, were among those involved in renewing GolfMark.

“We’re thrilled to be the first club to renew GolfMark,” said Ann. “It’s a great asset, which puts the club in a strong position and helps us to stand out from the rest. We’d advise any club considering GolfMark to get right on with it!”

Mags added: “We take great pride in our SafeGolf accreditation which tells people that we really care about the children and young people who come here.”

Mike Greener, England Golf Club Support Officer for Durham, said: “I am delighted that Houghton-le-Spring have become the first club to achieve this milestone. They are so committed to being relevant to the community and up to date with all their policies and procedures. Now, with SafeGolf, they can confidently promote themselves as a safe venue to the wider community.

GolfMark is awarded to clubs which successfully develop the game in four ways:
• By attracting new members and encouraging existing members to play more
• Using practical business planning to develop the club
• Offering coaching and playing opportunities for all golfers
• Ensuring safeguarding policies are in place

The GolfMark award was developed by England Golf and also integrates Sport England’s ClubMark award – a national standard for quality sports clubs recognised across the country.

GolfMark brings a number of benefits to clubs including raising awareness, access to funding, business and marketing support and training opportunities for staff and volunteers. To find out more visit,


Third time lucky for Alison Gray

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ALISON Gray and retired dentist Pat Johnson bridged a three-year gap at Pestana Vila Sol, Portugal, to ensure the name of Ormskirk Golf Club was finally engraved on the WPGA Lombard Trophy.

Gray (pictured by Tony Marshall, Getty Images) has played in every final of the competition since it was launched, finishing third in 2016 and fourth last year.

“Third time lucky,” she beamed after the pair completed the final hole on the Algarve resort’s Prime course without mishap to win the tournament.

There was nothing lucky, however, about the victory in the £7,800 event which is supported by Pestana Hotels and Coca Cola.

Successive sub-par rounds for a four-under-par total of 140 are testament to that. Likewise, the way Gray and her partner, a recent convert to golf from hockey with a handicap of 27, repelled the challenge of Leeds Golf Centre and Beau Desert Golf Club.

Ormskirk had begun the second round a shot clear of Leeds pair PGA pro Eleanor Robinson and Marise Richford and ended it two ahead of runners up, Beau Desert.

The latter’s pairing of 1997 US Women’s Open champion and Solheim Cup player and captain, Alison Nicholas, and her amateur partner, Pam Bailey, posted the round of the tournament.

But their five-under-par 67 was not sufficient to repair the damage done by their opening three-over-par round of 75.

Neither did it trouble the eventual winners. Until they imploded on the back nine, after reaching the turn a shot shy of Ormskirk, Leeds Golf Centre posed the bigger threat.

Ormskirk, meanwhile, adopted a Faldoesque approach to claim that hitherto elusive success and signed off with nine successive pars.

“We were very consistent,” said Gray. “I didn’t make many birdies but there were plenty of solid pars.”

Playing a part in those solid pars were some new TaylorMade irons courtesy of a small wager on fellow PGA pro and Staysure Senior Tour winner David Shacklady and Gray’s long-serving caddy, friend and Ormskirk member, Yvonne Brown.

“David got me started in golf when I was 15,” Gray recalled. “I was cack-handed and held the club the wrong way. He sorted that out and helped me with my game.

“We’ve known each other ever since and I’ve followed his progress on the Senior Tour. I saw that he came fifth in the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship at the London Club last month and was 75 to one to win the next event, the Russian Open.

“I don’t usually bet but I put a fiver on him and he won – that paid for the clubs!

“As for Yvonne, we play about three times a week at Ormskirk and she’s caddied for me for four years. She knows my game inside out and I couldn’t have done this without her.

“She’s been here with me in all three finals so it’s brilliant to finally win, to obviously have played well and had a fun week with my amateur. And it’s great for ladies golf to be here competing alongside the men.

“It’s an excellent week in all respects. It’s a fun week but you still get nervous because you want to do well for yourself and not let your amateur down.”

Johnson, for her part, did not let her pro down but was indebted to the support she received from team Ormskirk.

“I only took up the game four years ago,” she said. “It’s been a rapid progression in a way and it’s all a bit surreal.

“I feel so lucky to have been here and had a crack at the course. Ali was so supportive, as was Yvonne, and my husband who caddied for me and kept me calm. I’ve had a lovely time.”

Leading scores: Ormskirk Golf Club 140 (-4); Beau Desert Golf Club (142 (-2); Leeds Golf Centre 143 (-1)


Cheshire’s Elaine Ratcliffe appointed captain of GB&I Curtis Cup team

CHESHIRE’S Elaine Ratcliffe has been appointed captain of the Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup team for the 2020 match and will also lead the teams in the Vagliano Trophy and the Astor Trophy next year.

Elaine, who hails from Sandbach, i enjoyed a distinguished amateur career as a player and won the Finnish Amateur Championship in 1997 and the English Amateur Championship the following year.

She was a member of the GB&I team which defeated the United States 11½- 6½ in the 1996 Curtis Cup at Killarney and played for GB&I in the Vagliano Trophy against the Continent of Europe, who won the match 12½-11½ at Royal Aberdeen in 1997.

Elaine also represented GB&I as a player in the Espirito Santo Trophy and England in the European Amateur Team Championships. After turning professional, she was named Rookie of the Year by the Ladies’ European Tour in 1999 but was reinstated as an amateur in 2008.

She has since captained England in a number of international matches, including the Ladies Home Internationals and the European Amateur Team Championships, and has twice led the European team in the Patsy Hankins Trophy against Asia-Pacific.

“It is a real honour to be appointed captain and I am looking forward to the challenge of preparing the team for the international matches,” she said Ratcliffe.

“There are a number of amateur events to be played over the coming months and we will be monitoring the performances and results of golfers from Great Britain and Ireland to determine who has played their way into contention for team selection next year.”

Maria Dunne has also been confirmed as GB&I captain for the Junior Vagliano Trophy match against the Continent of Europe at Royal St George’s in 2019.

As a player, Dunne featured as a member of the Great Britain and Ireland team which beat the United States to win the Curtis Cup in 2016 at Dun Laoghaire and also played in the Vagliano Trophy against the Continent of Europe at Circolo Golf Bogogno last year.

She represented Ireland in the Ladies Home Internationals and European Amateur Team Championships and won the 2017 Irish Open Stroke Play Championship.

This year Dunne was appointed Women and Girls Development Co-ordinator in Ireland following funding provided to the Golf Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golf Union by The R&A.


Lancashire players target women’s title

English-splay-trophy.jpgCURTIS Cup players and champions, including Lancastrians Sophie Lam and Hollie Muse, are targeting the English women’s open amateur championship which gets under way at Coventry Golf Club on Tuesday.

They’re aiming to follow in the footsteps of Solheim Cup stars Charley Hull, Jodi Ewart and Cheshire’s Joanna Morley who have all won this title.

The high-class international field includes players from 11 different countries and three Curtis Cup players: Lily May Humphreys and Lamb and Shannon McWilliams from Scotland.

Many of the competitors hold individual titles and have amassed other impressive achievements.

Humphreys, 16, (Stoke by Nayland, Essex) is the Scottish women’s open winner while Lamb, from Clitheroe, Lancashire, was leading amateur at the 2017 British Women’s Open and is a past winner of the British strokeplay.

Georgina Blackman, (Chelmsford, Essex) is the English women’s amateur champion and Yorkshire’s Nicola Slater (Lindrick) holds the English match play title and won the Bridget Jackson Bowl at Handsworth.

Scotland’s Hannah McCook has won both the Irish and Welsh open titles and, alongside McWilliams, was in the Scotland’s winning team at the recent Women’s Home Internationals.

Hollie Muse, from West Lancashire, reached the semi-finals of the British women’s amateur and played the British Women’s Open.

The juniors in the field include Ffion Tynan of Wales, who is the Scottish girls’ champion, and Charlotte Heath of Huddersfield, Yorkshire, who reached the semi-finals of the British girls’ championship and won the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters.

Among the local players are Coventry’s own Lisa Barton, a past Warwickshire champion, and county team mate Lauren Beaman of Moor Hall.

Coventry Golf Club will test the players with its mature undulating parkland course which has been host to many prestigious professional and amateur tournaments.

The full field will play an 18-hole round on each of Tuesday and Wednesday, 21-22 August, with the top 40 and ties playing the final 36 holes on Thursday, 23 August. Spectators are welcome and admission is free.


New caps to challenge for Euro senior honours

NEW caps Sue Spencer, Trevor Foster and Rupert Kellock are named in the England sides for the European senior team championships. Foster, the British senior champion, and Kellock will be joined in the men’s team by Ian Attoe, Stephen East, Richard Latham and Richard Partridge.

In the women’s team, Spencer will play alongside Julie Brown, Jackie Foster, Aileen Greenfield, Helen Lowe and Cath Rawthore.

The championships will be played from September 4-8, with the women competing at Mont Garni Golf Club, Belgium, and the men travelling to Diamond Country Club, Austria.

Last year the women won the silver medal at their European championship while the men took bronze.


Men, captained by Roy Smethurst (Crewe).

Ian Attoe (Worplesdon, Surrey) won the English senior men’s amateur for the second time in May and is currently second in the England Golf senior order of merit.

Stephen East (Wyke Ridge, Yorkshire) is a past winner of the English, Spanish, Portuguese and Scottish senior titles.  He also won the senior order of merit in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Trevor Foster (Accrington & District, Lancashire) scored a runaway nine-shot win in the British seniors’ at Royal Porthcawl where he was eight-under. He has also won the Irish seniors this season and leads the order of merit.

Rupert Kellock (Sunningdale, Berkshire) is currently third in the order of merit after high finishes in the English and British championships and the Bill Shankland Memorial Trophy at Parkstone, Dorset.

Richard Latham (Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire) was fourth in the British seniors and has twice won the English senior title.

Richard Partridge (Wildernesse, Kent) is a past winner of the Irish and Scottish senior titles and a runner-up in Wales.

Women, captained by Debbie Richards (Burhill, Surrey).

Aileen Greenfield (Pyecombe, Sussex) is the English senior women’s amateur champion and has been runner up for three national titles.

Sue Spencer, pictured right(Whittington Heath, Staffordshire) reached the semi-finals of the senior amateur and took fourth place in the senior stroke play.

Jackie Foster (Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire) won back-to-back senior stroke play titles in 2016 and 2017.

Julie Brown (Trentham, Staffordshire) is a past winner of the British and English senior amateur title.

Cath Rawthore (Sale, Cheshire) is also a past British champion as well as the winner of both English senior titles.

Helen Lowe (Scraptoft, Leicestershire) won the English senior stroke play title this year and is a past winner of the amateur.

PGA to partner with One Golf Network

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THE Professional Golfers’ Associationhas announces a strategic partnership with One Golf Network in a new golf club marketing, golfer loyalty programme and tee time distribution company.

The main aim of the company – now known as PGA One Golf Network – is to better connect and engage with golfers.  This summer will see the launch of two core products;, a golf marketing and tee time distribution website, providing golf clubs with more control when selling tee times, including setting their own pricing, and The Golfer Card, a data registration system for all UK golfers, with the focus on assisting clubs in collecting the data of the estimated 1.5 million independent golfers.

PGA One Golf Network was formally launched at the start of the year by Jane Carter, who has worked in the golf industry for more than 30 years, with more than a decade working directly with golf clubs. Work to date has been in the development of technology – a tee time booking system and a digital data collection model – and a pilot test in golf clubs.

Jane Carter, director of PGA One Golf Network is delighted to have such key industry support: “Having the investment and backing of the PGA is an enormous vote of confidence in the company. We couldn’t wish for a better partner. With more than 6,000 Members working in golf clubs throughout Great Britain and Ireland, they are at the centre of driving participation.

“While The PGA Professional is at the heart of the relationship with golfers, independents and members, PGA One Golf Network will provide the tools and support to help them play an active part in promoting the golf club, their own services and the game.”

The PGA is giving its backing to the company which it sees as a key foundation in helping the industry take better control of its relationships with golfers. By supporting PGA One Golf Network, it underlines The PGA’s commitment to facilitate a change in the industry and support PGA Members who play such a key role.

Robert Maxfield, chief executive of The PGA, said : “By partnering in projects such as PGA One Golf Network, we can assist our Members and the wider industry grow the game. The PGA Professionals have a vital role to play in supporting their golf clubs in a commercially driven marketplace where discounted tee times are becoming too dominant.

“Jane has enormous industry knowledge through working closely with golf clubs and PGA Professionals for many years. Golf clubs face some major challenges in relation to managing tee times and we believe PGA One Golf Network provides the solution.”

As the green fee market is evolving, golfers are more and more found online and mobile, increasing the importance of online tee time marketing. will offer clubs the opportunity to control their pricing structure and build relationships directly with the customer.There are no barter tee times and the key focus is on convenience and added value. Tee time booking technology can be provided or it will work seamlessly with existing tee time booking systems.

The Golfer Card has been developed to meet the long over-due challenge of building a database of independent golfers in the UK. It is a seamless, GDPR compliant, one-time mobile registration system and loyalty programme. Golf clubs will no longer have to continuously collect email addresses and manage marketing preferences as The Golfer Card manages all the data for them. It offers a simple software installation for each club, so golfers can sign in using their smartphones. PGA Professionals at the point of sale will be educated to use the system, designed to free their time to serve their customers.

Industry support for PGA One Golf Network is growing and includes Wales Golf, who have been working with Jane since the inception of the company. Richard Dixon, chief executive of Wales Golf, said: “We are delighted the PGA is now a partner in PGA One Golf Network. PGA Professionals have enormous influence in the marketplace. There can be no better ambassadors to help us in our goal of supporting golf clubs and growing the game.”

It’s women and girls’ week for golf

WOMEN and Girls’ Golf Week starts today across Great Britain and Ireland to raise awareness of the fabulous female side of the game.

The week, which coincides with the Ricoh Women’s British Open and the English girls’ championship, continues until Sunday and is the inspiration of England Golf.

It is an online campaign to celebrate the successes of women and girls in many different roles in golf – and to challenge misconceptions.

It starts by introducing three amazing career women and inviting women and girls everywhere to join the conversation by sharing their stories with #WhyIGolf,



The career women, who tell their stories on the England Golf website,  are:

Rebecca Hembrough, England Golf’s Women’s Performance Manager. Her job is to help develop the top players in the game so they can be the best they can. She reflects on golf, career and maternity leave! Read Becca’s story 

Chloe Gallagher is an assistant greenkeeper at Sunningdale Golf Club. She tells how she took a chance on a job and has travelled the world, worked at the Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open – and has a date at the Ryder Cup. Read 

Chloe’s story 

Emma Ballard is a marketing manager and she talks about her career, about changing the image of the game and how social media expertise helped her create a great success story with Get into Golf. Read Emma’s story 

Tomorrow it’s the turn of volunteers and we’ll hear from, among others, Maureen Clarke, a championship referee who has been volunteering for almost 40 years, and Ella Baker, age 12, a Young Ambassador for England Golf and the Golf Foundation.

The week has the support of Scottish Golf, Wales Golf, the Irish Ladies Golf Union and The R&A and is designed to unite the golf industry behind the aim of growing the women and girls’ game.

There will be a different theme for every day with amazing people being featured. Here’s the plan for the rest of the week:

Tuesday: Volunteers, the hidden heroes behind the game

Wednesday: Health & Wellbeing, including celebrities who love the game and why

Thursday: Performance opportunities for young and aspiring players

Friday: Participation focus on key areas of the programme nationwide

Saturday: Championships key events and pathway for progression

Sunday: Round-up the week’s activities and highlights


Women and girls everywhere are invited to join the conversation on social media using #WhyIGolf and the response in the run-up to the week has been excellent.

Lauren Spray, England Golf Women and Girls’ Manager, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the interest in the week and by the number of women who want to get involved, either by spreading the message or by telling their stories.

“We’re very excited about this week and look forward to many more women and

girls joining us – and to hearing from clubs which are running events for women and girls.

“We’re also delighted to be joined by the other home unions, making this a truly collaborative campaign.”

England Golf and the other home unions, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, have pledged their support for The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter, and this week is one example of their involvement

The Charter was recently launched with the aim of inspiring an industry-wide commitment to a more inclusive culture, enabling women and girls to flourish and reach their potential at all levels of the sport.

Visit for more information