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Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
February 07 , 2012

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It’s very cold but there’s ‘snow’ golf!...

Whilst the temperatures have dropped below freezing and all hope of playing a few holes has been banished beneath a dusting of beautiful white snow I found an interesting use for my Callaway Golf winter mitts at the weekend – turns out they keep your hands warm and dry even when you are making a snow golf ball! Sadly it doesn’t fly quite a far as the real thing…

Anyway, back to the world of golf and the poor weather has given me the opportunity to catch up on lots of exciting news in ladies golf. There has been so much going on in the last week from the announcement of the U.S. Solheim Cup Captain to a very exciting and comprehensive new schedule of events for the LET Access Series – a great new Ladies Tour that only launched three seasons back but is already proving extremely popular and is a fantastic way for young, aspiring LET professionals to learn competitive skills.

Please do feel free to email me your own golfing stories too, and indulge me with the funny ones – I couldn’t help but include this picture of me and my giant golf snow ball!


There’s an easy way to enter Championships this year

I was pleased to see that the English Women’s Golf Association have modernised their tournament entry system as of this week so that you can now simply log-on to their website to sign up to play in one of the Championships. When you do so you’ll be given a player number and will need to create a password so that you can log in every time. Not only are these English Championships a great way to test your competitive golf skills, I’ve always found them to be fun and sociable events where you get to meet new people and play a course you may have never visited before. Among the events on my radar are this year’s English Championship which takes place on the wonderful links at Royal Birkdale in Lancashire in May and then later in the season the Brenda King Foursomes at the heathland classic Frilford Heath in Oxfordshire in September.

On other matters, the return of the cold snap has given me the opportunity to catch up on a back log of interesting golf news, so I hope you don’t mind me indulging you with some exciting stories from the world of ladies golf and things to look forward to in the coming weeks and months…

LET Access Series Continues To Grow

The Ladies European Tour Access Series – a satellite Tour designed to nurture the talent of up-and-coming lady professionals and feed them onto the LET - continues to flourish in 2012 with a schedule that incorporates a minimum of nine tournaments in six different countries across Europe.

There are six new tournaments on the LET Access Series this year. They include the GolfStream Ladies Open taking place at Kiev Golf Club on May 22-24, which will be the first ever professional women’s golf tournament in the Ukraine.

The other new events in the Access Series are the Women’s Bank Open at Hill Side Golf Club in Helsinki, Finland, the Fourqueux Ladies Open in Paris, France and the Ljungbyhed Park PGA Ladies Open in Sweden, co-sanctioned with the Nordea Tour. The remaining two new additions to the schedule, which are co-sanctioned between the LET Access Series and Banesto Tours, will take place in Spain.

The success of the LET Access Series in developing talent over the last two years is demonstrated by the fact that 13 of its players gained their full Ladies European Tour cards at the LET’s Final Qualifying School at La Manga Club in early January. Players included Welsh star Sahra Hassan, Scot Clare Queen and England’s Charlotte Ellis.

Tour Director Di Barnard said: “We are delighted to deliver a minimum of nine tournaments on the Access Series in 2012 and are confident of adding more events later in the season. We are hugely encouraged by the tremendous support of the federations, venues and players whose superb efforts have contributed to the continued success of LETAS this year.
“We are excited about the year ahead, with new tournaments in Ukraine, Finland, France, Spain and Sweden complementing our return to Terre Blanche, Dinard and the Azores. I am sure that our members will enjoy visiting new countries and playing at these superb venues. The LET Access Series will continue to serve as a platform for elite players to develop and showcase their golfing talent as they gain much valued experience competing in a professional environment on the international tour.”

Already anticipating the next Solheim Cup?

Such was the thrill of watching last year’s amazing European victory in the Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle in Ireland that you, like me, will probably already be looking forward to the next clash.
And the exciting news is that the U.S.A has named their Solheim Cup Team Captain as LPGA star Meg Mallon, a truly fantastic ambassador for the sport.

Meg Mallon will lead the U.S Team on home soil at Colorado Golf Club on August 13-18 2013, she said:

"It's an absolute honour to be selected as the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team Captain," said Mallon. "I've participated in The Solheim Cup on nine occasions and each has been a proud moment for me, but to represent the United States as team captain definitely caps off my career. I look forward to working hard on getting the Cup back in U.S. hands."
Mallon's boasts a 13-9-7 overall record in her eight Solheim Cup appearances with 16.5 points scored and a 5-2-1 record in singles competition. She has been a part of six U.S. Solheim Cup Team victories including 2009, when she served as one of Beth Daniel's assistant captains alongside Kelly Robbins. Her 16 ½ points scored are second in U.S. history behind Juli Inkster.

The 48-year-old also served as victorious captain of the PING U.S. Junior Solheim Cup Team in 2011, an experience she hopes will benefit her in Denver next year.

"It was exciting to be a part of the future of The Solheim Cup in Ireland last year," said Mallon. "It was such an interesting experience because I didn't know the players very well going in, but we really bonded well and it turned out to be such a rewarding week. I really think it will influence my style in 2013."

Mallon's 18 career LPGA victories, including four major championships, earned her more than $9 million in a 24-year-career on the Tour. In 1991, she earned her first four titles, including the U.S. Women's Open and LPGA Championship. She went on to win multiple tournaments in five separate years, including 2004, when she won her second U.S. Women's Open 13 years after her first and crossed the $1 million in season earnings for the second time in her career.

"As an eight-time Solheim Cup participant and an 18-time winner on the LPGA Tour, Meg Mallon is a wonderful choice to captain the U.S. Solheim Cup Team in 2013," said John A. Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO. "She has always displayed a genuine passion for the Solheim Cup and she is one of the most respected and well-liked figures in women's golf. Meg received high praise as an assistant Solheim Cup captain, and last fall she captained the U.S. PING Junior Solheim Cup team as they retained the Cup after a final day comeback in Ireland. I know the U.S. Team will love playing for Meg on home soil at Colorado Golf Club. She has my congratulations on a position that is well earned."

HANDA set to sponsor LET Order of Merit

ISPS Handa has been announced as the new sponsor for the Ladies European Tour’s 2012 Order of Merit.

The International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS) was founded by Japanese philanthropist Dr. Haruhisa Handa in 2006 to support charitable causes throughout the sporting world.

The Ladies European Tour Order of Merit will now be known as the ISPS Handa Order of Merit and at the end of the season there will be a bonus of 20,000 Euro for the top ranked golfer, to be awarded by Dr. Handa.
The 2012 Ladies European Tour season kicks off this week with the Gold Coast RACV Australian Ladies Masters taking place at RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast in Queensland and this will be the first event to count towards the 2012 ISPS Handa Order of Merit.

ISPS is also the title sponsor of the ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters, taking place from 16-18 August, just after The Olympic Games and before the Paralympic Games.

ISPS Chairman Dr. Haruhisa Handa said: “ISPS is delighted to become title sponsor of the Ladies European Tour’s Order of Merit. Given that ISPS is already the title sponsor of three tournaments on the 2012 Ladies European Tour schedule this year, it seemed a natural progression to a extend our relationship with women’s professional golf.

The ISPS Handa Order of Merit acts as an important benchmark for the players and will offer an ideal opportunity for ISPS to further promote our mission for golf to become a Paralympic sport.

Commenting on the new partnership, LET executive director Alexandra Armas said: “The deal with ISPS Handa is excellent for the Ladies European Tour and the bonus for the winner of the Order of Merit will provide an extra incentive for the LET members to play their best all year.
ISPS Handa has become a loyal and generous supporter of the LET in recent years and we are delighted to be associated with them and its exciting mission for Paralympic golf.

LET partners with Golf Fashion Week

Europe’s top women golfers could be swapping the fairways for the catwalk this season after the Ladies European Tour agreed a partnership with DenBosch Golf Fashion Week.

The first global Golf Fashion Week will take place at Brabanthallen in the Netherlands from 5-11 March. More than 500 VIP guests will be invited to the world-class event, which will feature an invitational golf tournament, cocktail party and golf fashion week.

The Ladies European Tour players are being asked to model in the show, based on Milan Fashion Week. The LET’s professional golfers are also being invited to play in the Golf Fashion Week Invitational: a nine-hole tournament where all of the participants will be judged not only on their golf, but also on their attire.

Their score will consist of a net nine-hole front nine score and a back nine score based on the player’s fashion credentials according to the celebrity judges. Therefore the winner of this tournament may not be the best golfer, but rather the best dressed participant.

The LET’s executive director Alexandra Armas explained that the event will reinforce the LET’s core values, which are chic, diverse and engaging.
“Through this event, we will have the opportunity to show the world of fashion who we are,” she said. “We would like to show that the Ladies European Tour is not only a company dedicated to promoting and developing women’s golf tournaments but also that our members are chic, diverse and engaging individuals with the skills and talents to compete on and off the course.”

The co-chairman of the Golf Fashion Week, Auke Hempenius, commented: “Golf Fashion Week is thrilled to partner with the Ladies European Tour. It is no co-incidence that the LET is the first professional players’ tour to partner with us. Let's face it: women are more fashion conscious than men. The LET will assist us in presenting Golf Fashion Week as we have intended it: a global multi-media golf fashion happening where Fashion meets Golf. We are looking forward to welcoming staff and players of the LET to Den Bosch in the Netherlands from March 5th - 11th for a truly memorable event.”

Getting into the Olympic spirit?

I can’t believe that in just five months the biggest sports event on the planet, the Olympics will be in full swing in London! It’s a really exciting year for sport in the UK and not surprising then that Nikon, as the Official Sports Optic Partner of the London 2012 Olympics has decided to bring out a Limited Edition Laser Rangefinder to commemorate the championships.

The Nikon 2012 Olympic Laser Rangefinder 1000AS will be used by competitors, officials and spectators alike. Not only is it highly collectable, it’s also an invaluable addition to your golf bag and is used by several European Tour players and Dion Stevens, the European Tour Caddies Association’s official yardage book supplier, to ensure incredible accuracy on the course.

Commercial director of the 2012 games Chris Townsend said: “This is a deal which crosses both our merchandise and sport programmes. Nikon is a renowned brand which stands for quality and excellence and we’re delighted to be working with them. With golf becoming an Olympic Sport for the first time in 2016, Nikon is perfectly placed to make sure these athletes never get a wrong yardage again.”

Tim Hunnable, Commercial Manager for Sport Optics, says: “We are delighted to be involved with London 2012 and are delighted to be marking the occasion with special edition Nikon branded products that customers will be able to use at the event and treasure for years to come.”


Stay warm with Ping Collection

We all know that the only way to stay warm on a cold golfing day is to wear a hat on our head to prevent heat escaping.

This woolly hat from Ping Collection not only feels incredibly warm and comfortable to wear, it looks great with the pink PING logo too!

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