Nine hole golf a big hit at Royal Birkdale

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JOY GIRLS: Pauline Rostron and Sally Pearson who won the nine-hole competitiom

A GROUP of 42 amateur men and women golfers competed in the first R&A Nine Hole Championship Final at Royal Birkdale today.

They participated in a handicap pairs competition at the famous Southport links just five days before the Open gets under way, playing the 10th to 18th holes.

Following a successful pilot at Royal Troon last year, more than 7,000 amateur golfers entered qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland to reach the Final at the host venue of the Open.

Pauline Rostron, from Formby Ladies, and Sally Pearson, from Chester, were the overall winners and were both thrilled to play in a nine hole competition on the eve of golf’s original Championship.

The victorious pair returned a winning combined net score of 70.5 to be crowned champions in front of family and friends in the Royal Birkdale clubhouse.

“I feel totally exhilarated and also completely surprised!” said Sally, who was celebrating her 36th birthday as she took on the back nine of Royal Birkdale. “I love nine hole golf – it is much quicker. Even if you have a bad nine holes it doesn’t ruin your day. You can get around after work and I can’t encourage people enough to play nine hole golf.”

Pauline added: “I’m absolutely ecstatic – it’s fabulous. It’s a little bit of history. I don’t know if I’ll ever get the chance to play here again – but to win as well is fantastic. If you can play after work in the summer – nine hole golf is much quicker.”

The R&A continues to work with national golf bodies in Great Britain and Ireland to promote nine hole golf as a quick and enjoyable way to play either socially or competitively.

Duncan Weir, executive director – Working for Golf at the R&A, said: “We have had a wonderful first Great Britain and Ireland wide Nine Hole Final here at Royal Birkdale.

“Everyone genuinely enjoyed themselves – they appreciated being here and they revelled in the challenge of playing Royal Birkdale on the eve of The Open.

“It wasn’t all about what happened here today. It’s about promoting nine hole golf throughout Great Britain and Ireland and beyond. This event should serve as a reminder to golf clubs that golf, whether social or competitive, can be played more quickly if it’s played over nine holes. That’s the real message behind this event.”

 

Oosthuizen is star guest at StreetGolf final

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Child’s play: Louis Oosthuizen gets in the swing with budding golfers

THE Golf Foundation’s National StreetGolf Championship Final on Monday  at Formby Hall is sure to be a great occasion for young people from all over the country who have qualified as new golfers, many recently experiencing a real course for the first time in this team event. So it’s fitting that a “wonderful ambassador” – 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen – has agreed to present the prizes for the winning teams.

Just days before the  Open and almost a chip and a putt from Royal Birkdale, the Golf Foundation is hosting its own National StreetGolf Championship Final. Young fans normally cheering on Rooney or Rashford will be following Rory and Rose as new young players from community golf programmes across 11 Premier League and Championship football clubs tee it up in a unique golf event which draws on the ‘power of football’.

Teenagers from diverse backgrounds and traditionally non-golfing families and communities will be wearing their favourite teams’ football kits to compete for the coveted title of National StreetGolf Champions. This is all possible due to a partnership between the Golf Foundation, the Premier League and Sport England, introducing teenagers to golf and linking them to junior-friendly golf clubs. Following the tournament, all the young people will be transported to Royal Birkdale itself to savour the atmosphere of the first Open practice day and watch the best players in action.

Along with presenting the prizes, UPS Ambassador Louis Oosthuizen is attending the final with a special purpose of his own. Once again this year, Louis and fellow UPS Ambassador Lee Westwood are supporting the ‘Bags 4 Birdies’ campaign. For every birdie that Louis and Lee make in the four Majors, UPS will donate a set of golf clubs to a deserving youngster to help them make their way in the game (last year the pair secured 103 birdies). The Golf Foundation has been trusted to donate 12 golf sets on behalf of UPS and at the StreetGolf Final on Monday, Louis will present sets of clubs to two young people who show the best attitude and respect for the sport and their peers on the day.

Brendon Pyle, chief executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “Louis has been a great friend to the Golf Foundation over the last few years, famously even playing Tri-Golf with our youngsters the day before embarking on his Open Championship victory run at St Andrews in 2010.

“With Louis’s sense of fun, his continual encouragement of young players and the valuable work he is doing for Bags 4 Birdies, Louis is a wonderful ambassador for golf and is helping to further raise the profile of StreetGolf and getting young people started in this great sport.”

The finalists have taken part in local StreetGolf festivals and short course events at local golf clubs before qualifying for the Formby Hall event, which is an integral part of the Road to the Open project, run by the PGA, England Golf and the Golf Foundation and funded by The R&A, to provide opportunities for people to learn to play golf, and play golf more regularly.

Opening ceremony – 9.00am. Competition starts at 9.30am. 11.30am – trick shot golf show, lunch, freestyle football demonstration and presentation. 12.30pm young people leave for Royal Birkdale.

 

Prizegiving with Louis Oosthuizen between 12 noon and 12.30pm.

The Golf Foundation is present at Royal Birkdale in The R&A Swing Zone (Spectator Village) all week welcoming families new to golf and supporting youngsters in a range of activities.

The Golf Foundation’s National StreetGolf Championship Final on Monday  at Formby Hall is sure to be a great occasion for young people from all over the country who have qualified as new golfers, many recently experiencing a real course for the first time in this team event. So it’sfitting that a “wonderful ambassador” – 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen – has agreed to present the prizes for the winning teams.

Just days before the  Open p and almost a chip and a putt from Royal Birkdale, the Golf Foundation is hosting its own National StreetGolf Championship Final. Young fans normally cheering on Rooney or Rashford will be following Rory and Rose as new young players from community golf programmes across 11 Premier League and Championship football clubs tee it up in a unique golf event which draws on the ‘power of football’.

Teenagers from diverse backgrounds and traditionally non-golfing families and communities will be wearing their favourite teams’ football kits to compete for the coveted title of National StreetGolf Champions. This is all possible due to a partnership between the Golf Foundation, the Premier League and Sport England, introducing teenagers to golf and linking them to junior-friendly golf clubs. Following the tournament, all the young people will be transported to Royal Birkdale itself to savour the atmosphere of the first Open practice day and watch the best players in action.

Along with presenting the prizes, UPS Ambassador Louis Oosthuizen is attending the final with a special purpose of his own. Once again this year, Louis and fellow UPS Ambassador Lee Westwood are supporting the ‘Bags 4 Birdies’ campaign. For every birdie that Louis and Lee make in the four Majors, UPS will donate a set of golf clubs to a deserving youngster to help them make their way in the game (last year the pair secured 103 birdies). The Golf Foundation has been trusted to donate 12 golf sets on behalf of UPS and at the StreetGolf Final on Monday, Louis will present sets of clubs to two young people who show the best attitude and respect for the sport and their peers on the day.

Brendon Pyle, chief executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “Louis has been a great friend to the Golf Foundation over the last few years, famously even playing Tri-Golf with our youngsters the day before embarking on his Open Championship victory run at St Andrews in 2010.

“With Louis’s sense of fun, his continual encouragement of young players and the valuable work he is doing for Bags 4 Birdies, Louis is a wonderful ambassador for golf and is helping to further raise the profile of StreetGolf and getting young people started in this great sport.”

The finalists have taken part in local StreetGolf festivals and short course events at local golf clubs before qualifying for the Formby Hall event, which is an integral part of the Road to the Open project, run by the PGA, England Golf and the Golf Foundation and funded by The R&A, to provide opportunities for people to learn to play golf, and play golf more regularly.

Opening ceremony – 9.00am. Competition starts at 9.30am. 11.30am – trick shot golf show, lunch, freestyle football demonstration and presentation. 12.30pm young people leave for Royal Birkdale.

 

Prizegiving with Louis Oosthuizen between 12 noon and 12.30pm.

The Golf Foundation is present at Royal Birkdale in The R&A Swing Zone (Spectator Village) all week welcoming families new to golf and supporting youngsters in a range of activities.

 

 

Golf is right up your street

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JUST days before the  Open Championship and almost a chip and a putt from Royal Birkdale, the Golf Foundation is hosting its own National StreetGolf Championship Final.

Young fans normally cheering on Rooney or Rashford will be following Rory and Rose as new young players from community golf programmes across 11 Premier League and Championship football clubs tee it up in a unique golf event which draws on the power of football.

Teenagers from diverse backgrounds and traditionally non-golfing families and communities will be wearing their favourite teams’ football kits to compete for the coveted title of National StreetGolf Champions. Most of the players will have only recently encountered a golf course for the first time as they meet for the final at Formby Hall on Monday.

Following this experience the young players will be invited along to Royal Birkdale by the R&A to soak up the atmosphere of the first practice day at the Open, comparing their own new swings with those of the world’s finest.

Thanks to a partnership with the Premier League and Sport England, the Golf Foundation, the sport’s leading charity for young people, has developed StreetGolf as an exciting new initiative for teenagers which introduces them to golf in their own community before providing the opportunity to play at the local golf club with help from the resident and junior-friendly PGA professional coach.

Teams present for the final on Formby Hall’s par-3 course will be from regional football club projects including: Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Crystal Palace, Derby County, Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton, Stoke City, and a team from Mid Wales.

 

Oliver gets it ‘wright’ in the end

ROOKIE professional Oliver Smith chalked up his maiden victory in the PGA North Assistants’ Championship for the Sue Wright Trophy at Helsby.

And his success will always remain embedded in his memory because it took him five extra holes to shake off Poulton Park opponent Alex Pritchard.

Smith, an assistant at Ashton-on-Mersey Golf Club and a former bricklayer and flagger who later worked at a service station, quit game for six years before returning to the fold.

“I’d shown an interest when I was 21 but then started to do other things and you do at that age,” he explained.

He bagged three birdies in the first seven holes before dropping his only stroke at the 15th where he overshot the green on his way to a two-under-par 68.

Pritchard was left to rue a bogey at the 17th in normal time as Smith went on to win with a par on the 18th play-off hole.

LEADING SCORES: 68 Oliver Smith (Ashton-on-Mersey), Alex Pritchard (Poulton Park); 69 Isaac Simpson (Hallowes), Ben Chambers (Swinton Park), Tom Metcalfe (Gathurst), John Brown (Ellesmere); 70 Jamie Howarth (Davenport), Jason Dransfield (Heswall).

 

Away days a big hit for women’s golf

 

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NEW women golfers in Cheshire, Durham and Hertfordshire are being offered a fun and sociable way to get into the swing of regular play.

Academy Away Days are being held in the three counties for women who have completed beginner coaching, bringing them together for on-course outings to grow their confidence and to make new friends.

The verdict? The days are fun, friendly – and a big confidence booster, according to women who are taking part. “It’s a great opportunity to learn to play with others who are at the same level,” said one. “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 Away Days are a new initiative from England Golf, which is committed to growing the women and girls’ game. Currently only 15 per cent of club members are women and just one per cent are girls.

But, there’s a huge appetite among women for golf with research showing that 640,000 women and girls are interested in playing the sport. Last year, 43% of the beginners introduced to the sport by the Get into golf campaign were female.

Lauren Spray, the Women and Girls’ Participation Manager, said: “The Academy Away Days are a great way for women to bridge the gap between coaching and playing and to make new friendships.”

The events are all played on short courses or nine-hole layouts suitable for beginners and all have shotgun starts so the players finish together and can socialise after play over a glass of fizz or juice.

They feature a novel way of scoring which avoids counting stroke. Instead, the players complete challenges, which involve playing skills and etiquette such as successfully hitting the green in one, raking the bunker correctly and shaking hands on the final green when they complete their game.

The Academy Away Days were successfully trialed in Hertfordshire last year after it became clear that women who had taken Get into golf courses at local clubs would welcome support to get out on to the course.

More than 220 women were involved and this year the scheme has been extended to Cheshire and Durham, with events on offer until September. Women members from the clubs taking part volunteer to support and encourage the newcomers.

 

To find out about beginner opportunities visit www.getintogolf.org

 

Family Golf Month tees off

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JULY is Family Golf Month – and clubs and centres across the country are spreading the message that golf is a fun game for all.

They’re backing England Golf’s campaign to get more families playing, by highlighting golfing activities that all the generations can enjoy together.

Clubs are offering opportunities on the getintogolf.org website and family golf is being featured all month on social media activity and supported by digital advertising.

Clubs are increasingly recognising the importance of appealing to families. Abbie Lench, England Golf’s head of Club Support, commented: “Our strategy at England Golf is to put the customer at the heart of everything we do. It’s so encouraging to work with clubs who really listen to their customers and give them with what they want – which is fun for all the family.”

Glendale Golf, which operates seven golf centres in the UK including Duxbury Park in Chorley, is at the forefront of providing fun and friendly golf which attracts beginners and families with children.  That approach has meant going much further than offering beginner coaching and relaxed dress codes. Double tees, giant holes, lots of games, easy-to-use equipment and no mention of par are all part of the successful formula.

Managing director Tom Brooke explains: “Golf needs to be made far easier for children and beginners and it also needs much more of a fun element if we really are to break down the barriers to entry.”

Glendale Golf has worked with England Golf as its Tilgate Forest centre in Sussex to create a Family Fun Zone with colourful targets and a points-scoring system to create fun games. Food and drinks are served directly in the bays, which are super-sized to enable safe dining while players get on with their golf games. Balls are free and unlimited and families simply pay for the time they spend in the bay.

“The Family Fun Zone is a great example of how golf can be enjoyed by all the generations together,” said Abbie. “We’re looking forward to sharing what we learn with other clubs that want to be family friendly.”

Glendale has also renamed each of its par three courses at Tilgate Forest, Duxbury Park in Lancashire and Edwalton, Nottinghamshire, as The Fun Course. The par number have been dropped from scorecards and each hole now has two tees and two holes – an 8in cup on the green and a FootGolf hole beside the putting surface. Players, who can hire easy-to-use SNAG Golf equipment, choose their experience to suit their skill.

At Duxbury Park there’s a Golf and Games Family Park which mixes pitch and putt – to giant holes – with giant versions of games such as Snakes and Ladders and Connect 4. There’s even a huge sandpit complete with pirate ship, where the children can play while their parents enjoy a coffee.

There’s also a Family Orienteering Course at Duxbury, set safely away from the golf, to offer yet another opportunity for families to spend time together, mixing golf and other activities.

Tom Brooke added: “All our ideas came out of a series of discussions with staff at our centres and we all worked very hard to get everything in place for the summer holidays.

“We are all excited to see how the new innovations will be received by our customers. The early signs are good and we had fantastic attendance at our recent launch events. Over 300 people attended the launch of the Golf and Games Family Park at Duxbury for example, which is a source of great pride for the team there.”

The family activities are offered alongside traditional 18-hole golf for players at all seven centres. “We continue to provide the highest-quality golf experiences for the traditional golfer,” said Tom.

 

Lancs gain first point after tie with Cheshire

LANCASHIRE picked up their first point of the season in the Daily Telegraph Northern Counties League after sharing the spoils with Cheshire at Bramall Park.

They edged the foursomes by one point, brothers Sean and Ciaran Doherty putting their first one on the board as they overcame Jack Brooks and Rhys Nevin-Warton 3&2 following a one hole defeat for Sean Towndrow and Richie Blundell who succumbed to Lewis George and Chris Chilton.

The hosts lost the next two matches, Dominic Barnes and Mike Harrington going down 2&1 against John Carroll and Joe Brice then Cameron Massey and Jacob Oakley were beaten on the last hole by Ian Kenwright and Reece Cranfield.

The final match between David Peel and Sam Turner Anthony Stirling and Paul McFerran was halved.

It was nip and tuck in the singles, Cheshire winning three off the opening games with one match halved before Lancashire settled for a tie after Mike Harrington despatched Mark Hyde 2&1 in the final pairing.

Kenwright eclipsed Sam Turner 7&5 and Brice beat Brooks 6&5 as the Red Rose top scorers while Cheshire’s Oakley overcame McFerran by latter margin.

 

STANDINGS: Yorks 6pts; Northumberland 4, Cumbria 4. Cheshire 3, Lancashire 1, Durham 0.