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 CARLY FROST
 Editor
 Ladies Golf Today

Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
April 27 , 2012

To contact Carly, send us your news or air your thoughts, click here...

The true spirit of golf...

I've just returned from four fantastic days in Portugal were I witnessed the young golfing stars of tomorrow playing some exceptional golf in the Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy at the spectacular Monte Rei course in The Eastern Algarve.

The annual matchplay event brings together Europe's finest golfers in friendly but fiercely contested competition against their Asia-Pacific counterparts, so the likes of Japanese superstar Hideki Matsuyama, who put on an impressive display to be the only amateur to make the cut in this year's Masters at Augusta, was there. Barely a hole was halved in anything worse than par in a betterball match I witnessed Matsuyama and his fellow Japanese compatriot Taihei Sato play against England's Ben Taylor and Jack Hiluta on Thursday - a truly exceptional standard of golf.

The best thing about the competition though is the spirit it is played in, as Sir Michael Bonallack pointed out "the friends you'll make this week will be friends for life." And that truly is the great thing about golf - although we all love to win it really is the taking part that counts...

Which brings me onto the subject of a tournament I have been taking part in for the last 10 years with my Mum - the EWGA Mothers & Daughters competition at Royal Mid Surrey. I'm delighted to report that we won the 18-hole scratch prizes this year - not bad considering our combined handicap was 16 and many of the partnerships in the field had half of that or better!

The best part of the day for us is always meeting new people along with enjoying a delicious three-course lunch! If you haven't heard of the competition before then it's a must-play and you can enter next year via the website www.mothersanddaughters.co.uk

NEW GEAR

The perfect bag for those April showers!

If you love to carry but try and avoid it on a showery day then British Golf brand Stewart Golf have the answer - a 100% waterproof stand bag.
The brand new W3 is made from a lightweight nylon fabric with a waterproof coating that ensures your clubs stay totally dry even if it's pouring down. Watertight features include waterproof zips, taped seams, waterproof pockets and a matching waterproof rain hood.

On top of that the bag is very lightweight (less than 3kg) and has comfortable dual shoulder straps and a large double thickness back pad for extra comfort. It has pockets galore including special pouches for your sunglasses, phone, water bottle and valuables, plus a towel and umbrella holder.

Stewart Golf MD Mark Stewart said, "If it's too wet to use a trolley, it makes perfect sense to use a fully waterproof, lightweight carry bag. As well as the waterproof zips, the W3 has a number of user friendly features to make it as comfortable to use as possible, such as the luxurious back pad."

The W3 costs £129 and is available in black/silver or black/red from www.stewartgolf.com

A clever folding trolley

Do you struggle to store your trolley or fit it into the boot of your car? Big Max has a space-saving answer!

It's called the AutoFold, and as the name suggests, has a fantastically simple folding mechanism. With only one hand movement you can collapse the AutoFold down to an incredibly compact space occupying just 74x36x42cm with the collapsible front wheel automatically tucking under the body into place. Big Max's Auto-Fix folding technology then takes hold, fixing the folded trolley in place, leaving its 7.6kg body to be easily lifted into the car boot or locker. With the same level of ease the AutoFold can be unfolded, leaving you ready to roll onto the fairway in seconds.

In addition to its unique folding features, the AutoFold has some other helpful features such as a deluxe organiser panel with storage compartment and adjustable brackets that when combined with the incredible stability offered by the AutoFold mean even the heaviest of Tour bags can be accommodated.

The Big Max AutoFold comes with a 5-year warrantee and is available in black, white or navy, priced at £149.99. Visit www.bigmaxgolf.com or call : 0844 209 8886.

Tried & tested

Sunwise Sunglasses

I must confess that I've never been a fan of wearing sunglasses on the golf course before. I've always found them uncomfortable and awkward to wear, preferring just to stick to a visor to shade my face. But I was sent a pair of sunglasses from award-winning British eyewear brand Sunwise to test out in the cloud-free Portugal skies this week and I was instantly impressed.

Not only were the Sunwise Equinox sunglasses very, very comfortable -the frame is so lightweight you hardly realise you are wearing them, with a special nose pad that adjusts to fit any face shape for a secure fit and soft grippy arms that keep the sunglasses in place when you swing - but the vision benefits were huge. The Equinox model comes with a handy selection of high-tech interchangeable lenses which means that you can adapt the sunglasses to the light conditions of the day. On a bright sunny day like I enjoyed you can choose a lens with a yellow tint that really brings out the greens of the grass, takes the brightness out of the sun and helps you watch the ball in flight with far greater visibility. But if it was dull and cloudy there is a lighter coloured lens that will make the ball brighter - amazing!

I also found that the lenses helped highlight the slopes on the greens and that the ball stood out easier when I was searching in the rough. Oh, and you have the added benefit of the sand not flying back into your eyes when you play a bunker shot into the wind of course!

If you wanted to be really clever you could carry the changeable lenses in the sunglasses case in your golf bag and switch them if the cloud cover changed.

The Equinox is just one of the 11 models in the Sunwise line for 2012, so there literally is a style to suit every eye! Each pair comes with a 1-year guarantee with prices from just £24.99. Check them out at www.sunwise.co.uk

The ultimate custom fit clubs?

It's no lie when I say that I've been searching for a set of irons to suit my swing for an entire year. Every time I lay my eyes on an iron I like the look of it turns out to be one that can't be customised to suit my swing (slightly faster than the average lady but without the strength to use a men's club). I've visited Pro Shops galore and even had custom fitting sessions with some of the leading golf brands but the choice of shafts, along with what material can work in what clubhead, is always limited. So I was excited to hear that Japanese luxury golf manufacturer Honma had introduced a personal custom-fitting service 'Honma To You' that offers customers virtually every club specification under the sun, something that might just solve my dilemma...

The service is very exclusive. You simply phone and book an appointment for a Honma swing analysis expert to pay a personal visit to your home club or driving range and spend time fitting you for a set of clubs. It's also not cheap (a set of custom fit Honma irons will set you back over £1000) but when you consider that you'll probably play them for the next 5-10 years before needing to switch again it really does justify the price.
The irons I instantly fell in love with were the Beres IS-01. Not only do they look fantastic but they feel amazing too. The responsive feel comes thanks to the soft forging - each iron has been individually crafted by Honma's experienced clubmakers to offer this superb feel, without compromising on distance. Such was the performance I discovered - an easy launching, powerful ball flight and pinpoint reliable distance control, along with that responsive buttery soft feel.

I had to be patient to get the right irons (after your fitting your club specs are sent to Honma HQ in Sakata Japan to be made, which means it's four to six weeks before the individually-crafted clubs arrive at your door) but it was definitely worth it!

I love Honma's uncompromising approach to helping you get the right equipment, they really are putting themselves out there to ensure that you get a first-class service, the type usually only reserved for the Tour pros, and no other golf brand offer this.

If you want to experience the same service you can email: info@honma.co.uk

Travel
Fancy a golf & bridge break?


The world-famous Kulm Hotel St Moritz in Switzerland ( www.kulmhotel-stmoritz.ch ) may have only just closed its doors on the winter ski season, but it has already lined up a variety of interesting golf packages to tempt visitors back to the Engadine in the summer months ahead.

Among them is a unique week-long bridge and golf combination, with bridge lessons provided by the German 47-time bridge champion, Helmut Häusler, and golf coaching on offer from the Kulm Hotel Golf Academy's professional, David Hurtado from Spain. It's not important whether you are a beginner or expert in either field, as the purpose of the package is either to learn a new game or improve an existing skill.

Aside from lessons, guests will be able to take part in daily bridge tournaments with a guaranteed partner and practise their golf on the Academy's driving range and putting green, as well as play the Kulm Golf St Moritz's 9-hole course.

The week-long "Bridge & Golf" package is being offered on two consecutive weeks, between 29 July and 12 August, and costs from CHF1,740 (approx £1,190) per person, including seven nights' bed & breakfast accommodation, plus daily dinner on the Gourmet Dine Around (which allows access to all the restaurants in the Kulm Hotel St Moritz and its sister hotel, Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina), a welcome and farewell aperitif, bridge instruction and tournaments, and access to the Golf Academy and the Kulm golf course.

The beauty of golf in St Moritz and the Engadine region is the dramatic Alpine vistas against which it is played, the fresh mountain air and the deep blue summer skies, for St Moritz enjoys sunshine for an average of 322 days of the year. However, the season is fairly short, with the Kulm Hotel St Moritz only open from 20 June until 2 September 2012, so early booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

For further information on all of the Kulm Hotel St Moritz's golf packages visit: www.kulmhotel-stmoritz.ch/en/golf/kulm-golf-st-moritz.html .








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