New PGA North series off to flying start

THE first event in a new venture instigated by PGA North to promote a golf union throughout the whole region swung into action with more than 40 professionals battling for honours at Huddersfield club Crosland Heath.

Four players shared the spoils on one-under-par 70 after favourite Phil Archer looked on course to claim the honours until two late bogeys pegged him back.

In the mix were Jason Proctor, representing Sheffield-based Indoor Golf Academy, Davyhulme Park’s Michael Lane and Lee Rooke from Harlech club Royal St David’s There was a healthy representation of players from most parts of the biggest region of the country outside Scotland and with 11 fixtures all told there’s a lot to play for.

PGA North tournament director Andrew Chadwick: “We’ve got off to a positive start and we are confident the number of players will grow between now and the final event at Fulford Golf Club in October.”

Meanwhile, the next event is at Bolton Old Links Golf Club on April 9.

 

 

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Why golf is good for your health

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GOLF is good for your health and happiness – and could save millions of pounds for local authorities, according to new research.

The findings are the result of an investigation by England Golf, Mytime Active and ukactive into the impact of playing golf on health and well-being. More than 3,200 golfers at 12 Mytime Active courses were surveyed about their participation.

The results suggest the sport is attracting significant numbers of people who haven’t been getting enough exercise and, once they get into golf, they’re likely to keep playing and improving their fitness.

The more they play the happier they’ll be, with the golfers who took most activity scoring well above the national average for their mental wellbeing.

As a result, it is estimated that golf is saving local authorities in the survey area a total of £3.4m a year in health costs. There are even bigger potential savings if the golfers who play the least continue their participation and become more active.

The findings will be used to investigate the possibility of making golf available on referral by GPs. It will also help to find other ways to encourage inactive golfers to play more and to generally promote the health benefits of the game.

Abbie Lench, England Golf Head of Club Support, commented: “It’s fantastic to be able to show that golf is both good for you and could save the country considerable sums of money. Golf clubs and ranges have a really important role to play in helping people become fitter and happier and we look forward to developing this.”

Steven Ward, CEO of ukactive, said: “Golf is another great way to stay physically active while enjoying sport. This research provides further evidence that simply by undertaking regular moderate intensity exercise, such as brisk walking during a game of golf, you can improve your overall health and happiness.”

Jason Stanton, Operations Director at Mytime Active added: “At Mytime Active we are committed to improving community wellbeing and it’s great to work with England Golf and ukactive to prove the health and social benefits of golf.  All our golf clubs are open to everyone and we look forward to showcasing the wider benefits of golf through future projects in the near future.”

The research highlights the appeal of golf to people who do not undertake at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, as recommended in the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) guidelines. More than 70 per cent of the people surveyed were in this category.

The research also shows that golfers are likely to stick at the sport. More than 70 per cent were positive that they would play golf regularly during the next year. However, the evidence showed that some people don’t count golf as exercise, highlighting the need to promote this aspect of the sport.

A large number of golfers (78%) are satisfied with their lives and the survey finds their mental wellbeing increases very noticeably, the more they play. The most active golfers scored an average 8.35 out of 10, when assessing how satisfied they were with their lives; the score fell to 7.12 for inactive golfers.

Golfers also show higher levels of social trust than the general UK population; increasing the levels of trust between people is seen as essential to strong communities and economic growth. Over half of the golfers surveyed gave a high score to this question (7 or more out of 10), and again, those who played more, scored it highest.

 

Fleetwood bids for double-double in France

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LANCASHIRE hotshot Tommy Fleetwood has his sights set on a double-double at the HNA Open de France, the third Rolex Series event of the year, as he prepares to defend his title from June 28-July 1.

The World No 11 is the first star to confirm his return to Le Golf National, which is also the host venue of the 2018 Ryder Cup, with early bird tickets available until Wednesday March 28.

Fleetwood has already enjoyed a stellar start to his 2018 campaign when he became only the second player to successfully defend his title in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA in January, and now, the 27-year-old is relishing the opportunity to do it all over again in France.

A double-double is now on the  radar as he looks to follow in the footsteps of two-time major winner Graeme McDowell, who was the last player to successfully defend continental Europe’s oldest national Open in 2014.

“Winning the HNA Open de France was a huge boost for me last year and the confidence I got from that victory really propelled me towards some great results and my best year on the European Tour,” said Fleetwood. “I didn’t get the chance to defend the title I won at Gleneagles back in 2013, but with Abu Dhabi going pretty well earlier this year, I’m hoping it is a trend of things to come.”

Fleetwood’s win last year was the first Rolex Series title to his name as he went on to fire a bogey-free final round of 66 to secure a one-shot victory over American Peter Uihlein, and ultimately helped him finish the 2017 season as Europe’s Number One player after being crowned Race to Dubai Champion in Dubai last November.

“Everyone knew the Rolex Series events were major points in the year and if you could do well in those events, then those are the ones that are going to make a difference, so to win one was important. If you could pick one to win over the year you’d pick one of those eight and you’d be very happy.

“At the time, I felt it was my tournament to lose because I was that confident with the way I was hitting it. I still think that is the best my golf swing has felt in my career at the moment.

“As hard as the golf course is, you’ve got the four toughest holes coming in. When you’re the one with everything to lose, that is when you can show everyone who you are and what you are made of. I was very proud of the shots that I hit coming in, even down to that two putt on the last, I did it when I needed to.”

 

Faldo Series drives off at Moortown

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THE Faldo Series UK season begins with a bang on the Alister MacKenzie masterpiece at Yorkshire club Moortown on April 3 – 5. A field of around 80 top juniors will fight for a place in the prestigious grand final.

Moortown, host of the first Ryder Cup matches on British soil in 1929, Moortown is regarded by many as one of the country’s finest inland golf courses. Moortown has hosted many successful Faldo Series tournaments down the years and has become a highlight of the amateur calendar.

The players will be aware of the tantalising prize on offer as Sir Nick Faldo announced the Faldo Series Europe Grand Final will be held at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club (AESGC) in the United Arab Emirates for the next four years. AESGC boasts a superb course and immaculate facilities in the Oasis city of Al Ain.

The competitors will have also taken note of the hugely successful major champions Invitational in Florida last week. The tournament was filled with high quality amateurs including several players whose profile was raised by their participation in the Faldo Series. A Faldo team competed, with current Faldo Series Europe Grand Final Champion Herik Machado among them. The boys at Moortown will be desperate to seize such opportunities.

The tournament will be played over three rounds and is a World Amateur Golf Ranking event. The field will be divided into three age-groups and the winners of each division will again join Faldo at the season-ending 22nd Faldo Series Europe Grand Final.

Some  40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching thousands of golfers each year. Past winners include Major Champions Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at the 2014 Open Championship and US PGA Championship.

Lancs lads setting a high standard

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THE most promising, and youngest, golfers in Lancashire paired up with some of the county’s most experienced players to launch the junior season.

The under-16s enjoyed a warm-up match at Hesketh where they partnered a senior in a 18-hole four ball-better-ball.

Under-16 squad manager Michael Carney said: “Some great golf was played to a high standard, which is encouraging news.

“We were hoping the Under-16s would learn from their senior partners about shot making, course management, and match play tactics, for example. From the feedback received from the Under-16s we are pleased this was achieved. We also believe the seniors learned a thing or two and not just about golf!

“A big thanks must go to Mike Gray (Lancashire Seniors Captain) and his seniors’ team for entering so well into the spirit of these matches and also to professional Scott Astin>2 (Professional) and Hesketh Golf Club for being great hosts.”

MATCH SCORES: Neil Self/Edward Reed v Bryan Hughes/Oliver Duck A/S; Rob Parry/Thomas Ratcliffe v Dave Hannis/Alex James 2up; Steve Lord/Ellis Willott 2 up v Alan Gillespie/Jack Bryant; Peter Darlington/Charles Holland v Gary Byrne/Alex Duckworth 4 up; Paul Rooney/George Hanson v Tony Flanagan/Elliot Tickle 6 up; Mike Gray/Sam McGlincy v Ian Owens/Dylan Astin 6 up.

Meanwhile, Lancashire’s juniors will defend their Four Counties title at Sherwood Forest Golf Club from April 3-5. They are chasing a hat-trick of wins in the annual match against their counterparts from Cheshire, Nottinghamshire, and Shropshire and Herefordshire.

PICTURED: Alex Duckworth putts at 16 watched by his S&A clubmate Charlie Holland

 

 

 

 

 

 

PGA North moves to new base at Pleasington

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READY FOR ACTION:  Daniel Huxley (tournament controller), Jonathan Paine (regional manager), Andrew Chadwick (tournament director), Joe Whittaker (office administrator)

 IT’S all change for PGA North which has taken up residence at Pleasington Golf Club.

Regional manager Jonathan Paine and tournament director Andrew Chadwick have been joined by newly promoted tournament controller Daniel Huxley and Joe Whittaker, who runs the office.

“The new staffing structure gives the region much more scope to attend to all the members’ needs,” said Paine. “The office at Pleasington is fully equipped to allow all staff to fulfil their roles.”

The region was formed in 1985 when Norman Fletcher was its first secretary, a position he held for eight years prior to his appointment as association manager at PGA National Headquarters.

The first official office was based at Mere before moving to its 30-year tenancy at Bolton Golf Club.

“We have certainly come a long way from those early days,” said Paine. “I hope that this positive move will allow the region to develop further.”

Paine followed Dennis Nutter, Andy Salmon, Jim Croxton, Roger Butler and Graham Maly in his role of managing the largest region outside Scotland.

Peter Bedford, Pleasington club’s vice chairman, enthused: “I think it’s a kind of perfect partnership. To attract PGA North, the biggest region in the UK outside Scotland puts our club on a pathway to develop ourselves. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us.

“Part of our drive is to try to get into the top 100 English courses.”

The new address:

Pleasington GC | Pleasington Lane | Pleasington | Blackburn | Lancs | BB2 5JF

 Telephone numbers remain the same:

t- +44 (0) 1204 496137

f- +44 (0) 1204 847959

m- +44 (0) 7799 111822

  

 

Parry proves he has a liking for links

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WINNING SMILES: From left, Steve Parry, Manchester Alliance president John Dowd, Gary Brown and  Garry Smith

HART Common professional Steve Parry racked up 40 points to win the Manchester Alliance fixture at Bolton Old Links, leaving Mark Hancock (Stand) 38 and Phil Archer (Birchwood) and Ryan O’Neil (Penwortham), both 37, trailing in his wake.

Marple’s Gary Brown recruited a top team of Chris Marshall (New Mills), Richard Blackwell (Mottram Hall) and Alliance debutant Gary Smith (Brookdale) which piled up 85 points to finish one ahead of host club players Brian Carroll, Mick Wallace, Alan Schofield and Steve Jackson.