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,



Westwood Ho!Lee picks up PGA award

GettyImages-1085285258.jpgLEE Westwood, one of Europe’s finest golfers, has become the latest recipient of the PGA Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to golf.

The 45-year-old collected the honour from PGA captain John Heggarty at the Association’s annual fundraising lunch, held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel,

Westwood is a seven-time Ryder Cup winner, having made 10 appearances in the competition. He was unbeaten in both the 2004 and 2006 matches and equalled Arnold Palmer’s record of going 12 straight matches without defeat in 2008.

One of only a handful of players to have won tournaments on five continents, former World Number One Westwood was awarded an OBE for his services to golf in 2011.

More recently, he was vice-captain as Europe claimed back the Ryder Cup in Paris in September and less than two months later, the Worksop-born player claimed his 24th European Tour title by winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa.

Westwood said: “It has been a great end to the season for me – winning again in South Africa was amazing and then to receive this prestigious award is the icing on the cake.

“I am really grateful to be recognised by the PGA and appreciate all their support.”

Robert Maxfield, chief executive of The PGA, said: “The PGA is delighted to present its Recognition Award to Lee, who is one of Europe’s truly great players. His Ryder Cup record proves that along with the fact that he ended Tiger Wood’s five-year reign as World Number One in 2010.

“The PGA Recognition Award is our way of acknowledging great achievements in the game and I’m delighted on behalf of the PGA’s membership to bestow this accolade on Lee – he is a deserving winner and credit to the sport.”

One of the greatest Scottish Golfers of all time, Catriona Matthew, was also presented with a PGA Recognition Award at the Association’s annual Lunch in Scotland.

Matthew is one of Europe’s greatest female golfer’s. A Solheim Cup stalwart with nine appearances in the competition, the 49-year-old is well placed to lead Europe when she captains the team at Gleneagles in 2019.

Scotland’s most successful female golfer has four LPGA Tour victories to her name, as well as six Ladies European Tour wins and five top-five finishes in major championships, including a win at the 2009 Women’s British Open.

As always, money raised from the PGA Lunches went to the PGA Benevolent Fund that helps PGA Members who have fallen on difficult times.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

GB & Ire Squad selected for Vagliano Trophy

AN initial Great Britain and Ireland squad of 19 players has been selected by the R&A in preparation for the Vagliano Trophy match against the Continent of Europe at Royal St George’s from June 28-29.

The biennial encounter will be played on the Kent coast from and GB&I will be aiming to win the match for the first time since 2005 when they defeated the Continent of Europe 13-11 at Golf de Chantilly.

Elaine Ratcliffe, from Sandbach, who will lead the team for the first time as captain of GB&I, said: “We have selected a talented group of players and they all now have a chance to make their case to be included in the team to play the Continent of Europe.

“We will be monitoring their results closely over the coming months as well as the performances of other players who still have time to play their way into our plans ahead of selecting the eight golfers to play at Royal St George’s.”

Seven golfers who represented GB&I in the Curtis Cup against the United States of America earlier this year feature in the squad, including India Clyburn, Annabell Fuller, Alice Hewson, Lily May Humphreys, Paula Grant, Olivia Mehaffey and Shannon McWilliam.

Hannah Darling, Chloe Goadby, Connie Jaffrey and Hannah McCook join McWilliam in making up a contingent of five players from Scotland included in the group.

Lianna Bailey, Hollie Muse, Isobel Wardle and Caitlin Whitehead from England have also been selected as well as Beth Coulter, Annabel Wilson and Lauren Walsh of Ireland.

Wales’ Ffion Tynan, who won the Scottish Girls Amateur Championship earlier this year, is also included.

The GB&I squad:

Lianna Bailey (21, Kirby Muxloe, England) Hannah McCook (25, Grantown-on-Spey, Scotland)
India Clyburn (22, Woodhall Spa, England) Shannon McWilliam (18, Aboyne, Scotland)
Beth Coulter, (14, Kirkistown Castle, Ireland) Olivia Mehaffey (21, Royal County Down Ladies, Ireland)
Hannah Darling (15, Broomieknowe, Scotland) Hollie Muse (19, West Lancashire, England)
Annabell Fuller (16, Roehampton, England) Ffion Tynan (15, Minchinhampton, Wales)
Chloe Goadby (21, St Regulus, Scotland) Lauren Walsh (18, Castlewarden, Ireland)
Paula Grant (25, Lisburn, Ireland) Isobel Wardle (19, Prestbury, England)
Alice Hewson (21, Berkhamsted, England) Caitlin Whitehead (16, Carus Green, England)
Lily May Humphreys (16, Stoke by Nayland, England) Annabel Wilson (17, Lurgan, Ireland)
Connie Jaffrey (22, Troon Ladies, Scotland)

The GB&I team will comprise the two highest ranked golfers in the World Amateur Golf Ranking on May 29 and six players chosen by The R&A Women’s Selection Committee.

Six players will be selected on June 3 following the St Rule Trophy and two players selected on June 17 following the Women’s Amateur Championship at Royal County Down.

The GB&I team for the Junior Vagliano Trophy match against the Continent of Europe will be announced on June 3.



Colour Path Golf puts children on right path


CLASS ACT:  The Golf Foundation has teamed up with Colour Path Golf to offer PGA pros a dynamic new coaching system to  encourage more youngsters

COLOUE Path Golf has become the Junior Golf Passport Delivery Partner of the Golf Foundation. The coaching system, which has been developed by PGA professionals John Glenn and Kevin Merry, will support and promote the Foundation’s Junior Golf Passport; the official learning programme for England and Wales as endorsed by the PGA.

The initiative supports young people who have first experienced the sport in Golf Foundation school and community programmes to take the next step to learning golf under the guidance of the PGA professional at a golf club venue.

Used by 300 golf clubs and 450 PGA professionals, the Passport, and the relationship the Foundation enjoys with the PGA, is a key element of the charity’s HSBC Golf Roots programme which encourages young people to Start, Learn and Stay in golf.

Colour Path Golf is an innovative coaching system that is proving to be a popular new way to learn all aspects of the game. Using plastic shapes in the four primary colours, coaches can map out the correct swing path on the ground for every type of golf shot.

This visual way of learning has great success rates, is incredibly easy to follow and brings consistency to junior coaching programmes. With its fun games and drills Colour Path Golf is particularly successful when coaching young players and beginners.

Martin Crowder, head of development for the Golf Foundation, said: “The Junior Golf Passport is a successful learning programme in its own right, fully endorsed by the PGA. We are always looking at new ways to inspire both youngsters and the coaches who are involved in the programme and we believe Colour Path Golf is a great example of fresh thinking that will have a positive impact on everyone involved in the Passport programme.

“The Golf Foundation has recognised the growing interest for Colour Path Golf’s coaching philosophy amongst PGA coaches and that its colourful and fun delivery has been a real hit with many young people. With their own PGA professional expertise, the team at Colour Path Golf has a fantastic attitude and a clear passion for helping youngsters to reach their potential. We feel working with this team offers a natural additional option for all users of the Junior Golf Passport which they will enjoy as they help the next generation into the game.”

John Glenn, a PGA Class AA teaching professional and co-Founder of Colour Path Golf, said: “We are delighted to be in partnership with the Golf Foundation. It’s very early days for us as a business but their endorsement of our coaching system shows that there is a real desire to simplify the game and to make it easy to learn.

Our dedication to growing the game is what has led us to develop the Colour Path Golf system. I am confident that our products, combined with the Golf Foundation’s commitment to bringing golf to more youngsters through its Junior Golf Passport programme, can have a really positive impact on the game.”

Through the partnership, the Golf Foundation will promote the resources of Colour Path Golf through its Junior Golf Passport platform ( and the Colour Path Golf team will also work to increase awareness of the Passport system by providing training kits and education to all the Golf Foundation’s regional officers.

Furthermore, all sales of Colour Path Golf training products to PGA pros who are registered on the Passport scheme will bring an extra benefit to the charity, as John explains: “As part of our commitment to growing the game we will be making a donation, for every Colour Path Golf product bought by PGA professionals registered on the Passport scheme, to the Golf Foundation to continue the incredible work they do for Junior Golf Development.”

Meanwhile, the Golf Foundation is carrying out a redesign to create a new look for the Junior Golf Passport combined with exciting fresh content to appeal to juniors as they learn the game. Additional skills-testing has also been added to further support the work of coaches and this new-look Passport is expected to launch in February.

PGA professionals registered for the Junior Golf Passport can find out how to access favourable pricing terms with Colour Path Golf by talking directly to the Golf Foundation on 01992 449830, or email

See more on Colour Path Golf at,uk and for media enquiries email and +44(0)1782 664856.


Fleetwood gives youngsters Christmas treat!


IN THE PICTURE: Tommy Fleetwood in the midst of a crowd of youngsters and, below, gives insights to his techniques

A SELECTION of age group Lancashire junior golfers were treated to a once in a life experience when home grown golfing superstar Tommy Fleetwood returned to his roots and back in the team room where he discussed what it takes to become one of the world’s best golfers, writes Aaron Benson.

The 2008 Lancashire county champion Tommy (pictured centre, winner of the 2017 Race to Dubai European Order of Merit, Ryder Cup hero and world number 9, came through the age group ranks of the Red Rose county in his early golfing career and was keen to take the chance to share his experience with the latest generation of county juniors.

Tommy answered a wide range of questions and also gave unique insights into IMG_1097.JPGtopics including his swing technique, practise secrets, organisational skills and routine for his weekly tournament preparations.

He said: “To be able to talk about my career so far with the youngsters has been a great experience. I hope they have learned so much and benefited from me speaking to them about the game.

“It’s been great to see some old faces who are part of the county and they’ve all helped me so much in becoming who I am today’.

The clinic was held at Formby Hall Golf Resort where Fleetwood is a past member and occasionally plays with his dad Pete when on a break from both the PGA and European tours.

Leading Lancashire coaches Gareth Benson and Ian Lee hosted the event alongside Fleetwood, and they, too, thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Benson said: “Tommy is a role model for all junior golfers and we hope they’ll take a great deal away from this experience and benefit from his advice.”

Lee added: “For Tommy to take time out of his busy schedule to come and speak with the team has been fantastic. We are so lucky to have him associated with the county.”

Tommy rounded off the presentation by highlighting “the key points of having a desire and will to succeed both as a team and individually is paramount.

“We all need world class planning, preparation and organisation. I hope the lads have taken this on board and it’s been a pleasure to speak to them. After all, Lancashire is my county and I always want them to win!”


Lancashire’s pledge to grow golf

GOLF enthusiasts in Lancashire are being urged to make a pledge for 2019 – and help grow the sport. A new campaign aimed at players, administrators, ambassadors, volunteers and coaches intends to promote good news stories and the benefits of becoming actively involved in golf – while attracting and keeping newcomers at the county’s 140 clubs.

The Pledge4Golf initiative has been developed by Lancashire’s England Golf development officers – who work with the Lancashire Golf Union, the Lancashire Ladies County Golf Association, the Professional Golfers Association and the Golf Foundation – to encourage those already involved in the sport to think about how they can help protect its future, whether that be at a club, driving range or pay and play facilities.

“It doesn’t matter whether the pledge is big or small, it’s an acknowledgement that that person or group of people want to positively influence further development within the sport, which will be an example to other counties and clubs nationwide,” saHelen Searle.jpgid Helen Searle (pictured), one of two club support officers in Lancashire for England Golf alongside Adam McAlister.

“Anything that makes the sport more appealing to new players, or introduces a new generation of potential golfers, is a positive that can only help all of our clubs secure a sustainable future in the long-term.

“Everybody knows the challenges facing golf around issues like cost, the time taken to enjoy a round, and misconceptions about the sport, but equally there are so many benefits to be had from the exercise and fresh air of playing to the great social life to be enjoyed.

“Golf is a sport that can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities, and during 2019 the golf development group will be working in areas attracting women and girls, increasing inclusivity and highlighting equality.

“The more people who pledge to make a difference in 2019, the more the sport as a whole will be able to grow and develop – and that can only by good news for all our clubs.”

Helen has pledged to continue to drive women and girls’ engagement from the grassroots up and to support the exciting arrival of the Girls Golf Rocks campaign to the county.

Adam has pledged to help get five new clubs signed up to SafeGolf in 2019, which offers a clear signal to potential members and players that a club has the correct child safeguarding policies in place and is a welcoming environment in which to enjoy the sport.

Anyone wanting to get involved can send their pledge to Adam or Helen Searle

Or use Twitter, with the hashtag #Pledge4Golf – and don’t forget to tag in @playgolfinlancs

Helen added: “Hopefully we can spread the word among the Lancashire golfing community, generate a lot of new ventures – and share in each other’s successes throughout 2019.”

BIGGA is better thanks to Balmers GM

BGM Outside Showroom 3 cropped.jpg

THE British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association has announced that Balmers GM has become an Education Supporter.

It has been established in the turf machinery industry since 1979. Nearly 40 years later and the company has depots in Burnley and Wakefield, serving the West and South Yorkshire areas.

Balmers GM will support the members of the association and the wider greenkeeping industry and provide a number of educational opportunities across the north of England through the BIGGA framework.

In addition to John Deere’s full line of professional and domestic turf equipment, Balmers GM supplies and services machinery from other manufacturers, including Etesia, GreenMech, Scag, Stihl, Weidenmann and GKB.

Employing approximately 50 people across all departments, providing new and used equipment sales, service, parts and commercial hire to a wide range of customers including golf and sports clubs, local authorities, contractors, the leisure industry, equestrian centres and smallholders.

In addition, Balmers GM maintains one of the country’s largest stocks of used commercial machinery, delivering to both national and international customers.

Lauren Frazer, BIGGA business development manager, said: “Balmers GM has a fantastic reputation across the north of England. The growing number of companies signing up to support BIGGA shows how respected our members are in the wider industry.

“BIGGA members are leading the way when it comes to innovation, technology and embracing new ideas out on the golf course and it is brilliant that Balmers GM and our other Education Supporters are keen to be a part of that success.”

Today BIGGA has around 5,900 greenkeepers and turf professionals as members.