Lancashire young guns aim for more glory

THE brightest young stars in four counties will be battling for  honours in Lancashire this week.

The  county is hosting a tournament that has been graced by players such as Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood and Sandy Lyle when they were up and coming teenagers.

The Four Counties Junior Tournament is at Lancaster Golf Club from April 9-11 – and Lancashire will be bidding for a place in the record books.

Cheshire, Nottinghamshire, and Shropshire and Herefordshire are the teams standing in their way in the annual competition, being staged for the 47th time.

Lancashire have lifted the title five times in the last six years and a repeat success t will take them past Cheshire as the most successful county in the event’s history. The neighbours are locked together on 15 wins ahead of the 2019 tournament.

The home team have a strong line-up again, with five players off better than scratch, though Cheshire will be hoping to mount a serious challenge with Jack though Hibbert’s plus 3 handicap being the lowest.

The Lancashire team is: Louis Talarczyk (Royal Lytham & St Annes); John Wilding (Heysham); Jamie Van Wyk (Royal Lytham & St Annes); Josh Fallows (Royal Birkdale); George Holland  (Southport & Ainsdale); Oliver Duck (Southport & Ainsdale); Jack McPhail (Huyton & Prescot); Grady Rogerson (Royal Lytham & St Annes).

Lancashire president Norman Fletcher said: “This event provides an opportunity for the emerging talent within our four counties to showcase their ability on a first-class championship course.”

Lancaster captain Howard Dodgson added: “The Four Counties tournament has become, over the years, a very prestigious event in the golfing calendar, producing a number of players who have progressed to do wonderful things at a high level in the world of golf.

“We are rightly proud of our course and believe it to rank highly with the best in the UK.”

Spectators are welcome at the event.


Hand it to Palmer as he shines in the sun


WINNING SMILES: From left,  Luke Aikenhead, Ollie Pantoja, Paul King Josh Lee, sponsor Darren Wood and Andy Palmer

A FULL field of teams, with reserves,  enjoyed  sub-tropical temperatures as the Manchester Alliance had a day in the sun at Bolton Old Links.

Young guns  Paul King, Luke Aikenhead and Josh Lee, from Ashton-on-Mersey, called the shots as they were led by professional Ollie Pantoja to an impressive  haul of 92 points.

But it needed a card play-off to deny Craig Corrigan (Chilli Dip) and his team comprising Mark Riley, Dan Crook and Paul Hesford.

A  point back were the home club team of Alan Schofield, Steve Jackson, Terry and Tony Chadwick.

Chorley’s Andy Palmer (Chorley) was top professional with with 41 points to deny  Graham Cox (Lymm) and Craig Corrigan who was able to close the big gap on Order of Merit leader Phil Archer (Poulton Park).

It’s a family affair for Chorley trio


KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY: The Durnians with the White Cup

CHORLTON Golf Club, one of the oldest and most historic clubhouses in the country, added new chapter to its chequered  history as it staged the Manchester Alliance’s Mixed Pairs competition for the White Cup.

The defending champions were Chorley’s Denis and Sam Durnian who had won the coveted trophy, which has been played for at Chorlton for many years, three times.

The Durnians did not retain the trophy but they were delighted to see their 12-year-old daughter Holly combine with Chorley’s assistant professional Andy Palmer to post a stunning 48 points to leave a quality field trailing in their wake.

Holly, a student at Bolton School, has a great mentor in her proud father who is a PGA Seniors legend, and he has seen her golfing skills explode during the winter months.

Andy Palmer, himself no stranger to success in the Alliance, was the first to admit that Holly was the main contributor to their fantastic winning score which is a new record in the competition since it changed to better ball stableford a few seasons ago.

Holly set another record by becoming the youngest player to win the competition and also succeed her parents in winning the White Cup.

Next in the pro-am section were Hazel Grove’s James Rowlands and Lady Captain Margaret Farrell with 41 points, one more than Lymm’s Graham Cox and Lottie Makin.

Graham Cox was the top individual professional with 38 points, two more than James Rowlands, Tim Maxwell (Knutsford) and Craig Daggitt (Bramall Park).

In the am am , former Chorlton stars Brian and Chris Kelly (Bramhall) were first past the post with 40 points one more than Chorlton captain Mike Lynch and Muriel Walton who won a card play-off from Swinton Park’s  Jimmy O’Reilly and Margaret Redford.

Lancashire women to the fore

THE drive to encourage more women into golf is paying dividends in Lancashire. New figures show that the decline in numbers has been reversed and a major campaign has resulted in an increase  numbers to 1.5 per cent in its first 12 months.

A ground-breaking conference looking at increasing the number of girls and women playing golf got the ball rolling last year with industry experts offering advice across a range of subjects including marketing, customer experience, social media and what young women are looking for from golf.

The work has been further supported by a number of county partners, including the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs, the Lancashire Ladies County Golf Association, the Lancashire Golf Development Group, the Golf Foundation and the Professional Golfers Association.

Debbie Barber, a former county golf development officer, was appointed to help co-ordinate the work going on at individual clubs and has been delighted by their response and support.

One example of the work going on as part of the campaign can be found at Blackley Golf Club  at Middleton which has delivered a new Ladies into Golf programme, developing a four-step pathway into the sport.

This included taster sessions to attract newcomers to the game, and further coaching for beginners and improvers. Ten women have joined on a 12-month membership deal with club members making them welcome by providing starter packs along with donations of clubs, bags and balls to make it even easier to get started.

The club has also supported the new players with a group of ‘golfing buddies’ to help get them out on the course.

Debbie said: “The success of the plan has been the result of strong leadership and great team work, with the full support of everyone at the club. The donations from members have been greatly appreciated by the new ladies, providing them with the basics to get started.

“There has been a real buzz around the club with positive comments and offers of help from all sections.

“However it would not have been possible without the club’s band of ‘golfing buddies’, who  turned  up to every lesson and practice session over the beginners’ 16-week programme  to support the club’s new friends and get them out onto the course.

“Their commitment and enthusiasm and, of course, support from the club professional secured a fabulous outcome for Blackley.”

Phil Harvey, secretary of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs, said: “Once again we have been delighted by the support of the clubs to our plans to increase female membership and participation. The hard work going on to show the many health and social benefits of golf have been rewarded with an increase in numbers that is helping sustain the long-term future of our clubs.”

Blackley received a grant of £300 from Lancashire Golf, which the club matched.

The 2019 programme gets underway on March 30 (2pm).

Further details on how your club can get involved in the drive to encourage more women and girls into golf can be obtained from Debbie Barber on 07518 564 113 or by emailing

Lancashire’s drive to get more people playing golf has seen the county nominated in the 2019 England Golf awards, sponsored by adidasGolf.

The Lancashire team are bidding to secure a double success, having been crowned County of the Year at the 2017 awards. This time round they will face competition from Wiltshire when the winners are revealed at a gala dinner in London this month.

Across the board, the county is bucking the national trend with a total membership increase in 2017 of just over 1 per cent against a nationwide decline of 2 per cent on is on the back of a 4 per cent increase in 2016.



Bid to attract youngsters to golf

A NEW guide to help golf clubs gain greater understanding of young people and to attract them into the sport has been produced by England Golf.

The potential is huge: England Golf research shows that in 2017, 67% of all young people took part in some form of golf activity. That’s about 5.35 million youngsters in England.

But at the same time, they’re turning their backs on golf clubs and traditional junior memberships are dropping.

Understanding Your Junior Market has been created to help reverse the trend. It forms part of a raft of measures identified in the wider national Children and Young People Plan “Growing the Game for the Future” which is supported by the Golf Foundation and the Professional Golfers’ Association.


The guide highlights ways to find out what young people want from golf and golf clubs – and what could put them off. It uses the specially created profiles of seven different types of youngster to show how they and their parents view golf.


A supporting video and online training are available to show clubs how to use the profiles to understand their current juniors and their families, create activities to attract new players, develop retention plans to keep their interest and market these successfully.


Lee Dolby, England Golf’s Young People Manager, commented: “Attracting young people in to golf is essential for the future of golf clubs and, to do that successfully, they need a better understanding of what young people want from their golfing experience.

“One size definitely does not fit all. Young people change faster than at any other time in life and what appeals to a six-year-old may not be right for a 16-year-old. But, many clubs still just offer one version of junior golf.

“We need to think about the individuals, their motivations and the barriers they encounter. Traditional membership is dropping among young people; that doesn’t mean they don’t want to belong and feel part of a club, it does mean they don’t like what clubs are offering.

“We want to work with clubs to create new and exciting ways to engage young people and inspire a love of golf which will last a lifetime.”

Emily Furniss, from Gaudet Luce Golf Club in Worcestershire is a Young Ambassador for England Golf and the Golf Foundation, and has written a message to clubs in the guide.

She comments: “Not everyone wants to be the next Rory McIlroy, some young people just want to belong, to make friends or play for fun. So listening to the opinions and needs of the next generation of golfers will broaden the appeal of the game.

“This booklet is a great starting place for clubs to understand their young customers and we hope you’ll use it to take positive steps to get more young people into golf.”

The new guide complements England Golf’s wider package of support for clubs, Understanding Your Market. This helps clubs retain members and identify potential new members by focusing on what their customers want.

Dave leaves his rivals ‘green’ with envy!


TOP SHOTS: Martyn Hamer, Nick Cook, Dave Green and Ollie Pantoja

MANCHESTER Alliance captain Dave Green (Dukinfield GC) kept up his 100 per cent record of no postponements during the season at Bramall Park.

Ollie Pantoja (Ashton-on-Mersey) posted 42 points to hold off a strong challenge from Graham Cox (Lymm) and Martyn Hamer (Davyhulme Park) who tied on 41.

And Hamer joined forces with clubmate Derrick Page who helped him to 48 points to top clinch the  pro-am, two ahead of Ollie Pantoja and Charlie Rodgers (Pike Fold) and Andy Palmer (Chorley) and Vinny Doyle (Leigh).

Meawnhile, Accrington duo Anthony Wilson and Phil Mayer set a record by becoming the first pair from their club to win an Alliance competition.

They kept up their momentum in the am-am with back-to-back wins, totting up 45 points to finish two clear of Martin Dwyer (Stamford) and Richard Margrove (Stand) who won a a card play-off from Mick Holmes (Cheadle) and Andy Hall (Chorlton).

The Alliance event scheduled for Vale Royal Abbey on March 13 has been switched to Chorley.

Lancashire nominated for top award

tommy fleetwood group.jpg

SPOT THE STAR: Former Lancashire  player Tommy Fleetwood –  number 14 in the world – with members of the county boys’ training squads when the Ryder Cup star shared some of his lessons from his formative years 


LANCASHIRE clubs are hoping their support for the drive to get more people playing golf will help land a prestigious national award.

The county has been nominated in the 2019 England Golf awards, sponsored byadidasGolf.

The  team are bidding to secure a double success, having been crowned County of the Year at the 2017 awards. This time round they will face competition from Wiltshire when the winners are revealed at a gala dinner in London in March.

County golf officials have been delighted by the support shown by the region’s 157 golf-related facilities, which has seen a wide range of projects to grow the game across Lancashire.

As a result, the county is bucking the national trend with a total membership increase in 2017 of just over 1% against a nationwide decline of 2%. This is on the back of a 4% increase in 2016.

And county organisers have praised clubs for being prepared to embrace a new approach to wooing the next generation of golfers.

Projects included a ground-breaking conference looking at increasing the number of girls and women playing golf, which saw industry experts offer advice across a range of subjects including marketing, customer experience, social media and what young women are looking for from golf.

Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs secretary Phil Harvey said: “Lancashire is a county which understands the complex barriers to participating in golf. Combining the strength, skills and experience of its partners it has capitalised on the ‘County of the Year Award’ 2017 to reinforce its position as leader in the quest to tackle those barriers.

“Our successful county conference and follow up initiatives – hailed as the ‘flagship’ for driving participation of women and girls – provided education, motivation and support.”

The award nomination brings together the work of a number of partners, including the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs, the Lancashire Ladies County Golf Association, the Lancashire Golf Development Group, the Golf Foundation and the Professional Golfers Association.

They have set out a vision for the county which pledges “for the golf bodies in Lancashire to strengthen their relationship and play a key role in getting more people playing the game and developing talented individuals.

“The course for action provides a focus for the passion, determination and enthusiasm of the thousands of our paid and unpaid ‘guardians’ of golf to deliver.”

The figures make impressive reading as Lancashire has promoted golf on national TV and radio, as well as at community events, meaning 111 people with disabilities have been helped into golf programmes, while more than 1,200 children have been offered a way into the sport.

New initiatives generated an estimated £190,000 in new business between April and September last year, while clubs have been supported to call on more than £616,000 in investment to secure their long-term futures.

Lancashire has recently appointed a new Director of Coaching to overhaul its entire coaching programme while strengthening its admin team over the past few years, adding experience in key areas such as marketing, finance, business development and club management to the committee structure.

More than 200 boys and 96 girls are on junior talent development programmes. Other developments included new software to help counties collect fees and membership details, which is now used by 30 of the 34 counties in England, while 5,700 players subscribe to the free Lancashire County Card scheme.