Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
I have to be honest with you, I've been totally absorbed by the excitement of the Olympics over the last couple of weeks - what a phenomenal games we put on - I certainly felt a great pride in being British. So you'll have to excuse the predominance of Olympic-themed stories in my update this week, I admit it, I was totally absorbed with Olympic fever!
With the Olympics over it's exciting to look forward to Rio in four years' time when we will be watching the world's best golfers compete for a Gold Medal. As to whether golf should be included in the Olympics or not is a hot debate, and one that I have to say I was uncertain about, after all golfers already have the Majors to contend for. Will it be looked upon at the fifth Major? I have no doubt that putting golf into the Olympics will put the sport on the global radar and that's definitely good for game. The question is what should the format be to win an Olympic Gold Medal in golf? Should it be for amateurs or professionals? Is it boring if it is just another 72-hole strokeplay tournament or should we use the format from the amateur game where we play 36-hole strokeplay with the top 64 players qualifying for matchplay? Your thoughts are welcomed!
While the eyes of the world have been fully focused on London for The 2012 Olympic Games, Britain's Laura Davies is relishing the opportunity to celebrate when the ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters takes place on the outskirts of the capital this week.
The tournament is being played at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club in Denham, just a 20 minute drive from the city of London, from this Thursday 16th to Sunday 18th August.
Not surprisingly, Davies, from Lyne in Surrey, is thrilled to be playing at home on her own doortep and at such an exciting time for British sport.
"I'm really looking forward to competing in front of a home gallery with the support of the British public so it will be one of the highlights of the year for me," said Davies, who admits that she'd love to be competing at the Games, which is a possibility in four years time in Rio de Janeiro, when golf returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.
Britain's most successful golfer, she has won the Ladies European Tour order of merit a record seven times and racked up 79 tournament wins including four major championship victories, but says that playing in the Olympics would be the icing on the cake.
"To me the Olympic Games are the ultimate sporting events and of course I would love to represent my country playing in it. Whether or not I will play, I don't know, but I will certainly be watching it on television this year and cheering on Team GB.
"It is a very special time for the country and I hope that the festivities carry over to the ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters, which will give sports fans a taste of what's to come in Rio in four years time."
The ISPS Handa British Masters is being played for the first time at Buckinghamshire Golf Club, which has excellent rail links, with Denham train station located right next to the golf course. The journey from London Marylebone takes around 21-24 minutes, while by car, the venue is near Junction 1 of the M40.
Tickets for the ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters are still on sale and
can be purchased via Ticketmaster. This will be the only time that the
women's tour visits the south of England in 2012, so make that you don't
Golf - which will once again become an Olympic sport in 2016 - looks set to inherit a great legacy from London 2012.
England's Get into golf campaign ran a stand for three days at the interactive sports arena at Olympic Live in Weymouth, close to all the sailing action, and thousands of visitors grabbed the chance to try the game.
They flocked to have a go on the simulator, to take on the putting challenges, to swing in the inflatable nets and to aim at the Tri-golf targets. "It was amazing," said organiser Dee Wood of the Dorset Golf Partnership.
"There were 16,000 visitors to the site during the three days we were there and it seemed as though every one of them wanted to try golf. We were non-stop from 10am to 6pm.
"It was a fantastic success and just couldn't have gone better," added Dee, who had to draft in extra volunteers after the first day. "The Olympics is creating so much interest in sport and it looks as though golf will really benefit."
She was supported by her fellow county development officers and volunteers from all the County Golf Partnerships in the South West: Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall as well as Dorset.
Visitors were also given information about follow-on coaching opportunities at local clubs and details about the Get into golf website which lists taster sessions and coaching opportunities across the country.
To find out about golf taster sessions across the country visit www.getintogolf.org or call 0800 118 2766.
The trio of Gabriella Cowley, Georgia Hall and Brogan Townend are representing England Golf in the Nations Cup team event at the British girls' championship at Tenby this week.
Gabriella, 16, (West Essex), is the Scottish U16 open stroke play champion and, like Georgia and Brogan, represented England in the Girls' Home Internationals at Radyr, Wales last week. She was the 2011 English U15 titleholder.
Georgia Hall, 16, (Remedy Oak), is currently ranked sixth in the women's world amateur rankings. She was runner-up in the English women's amateur in May and reached the semi-finals of the ladies' British championship at Carnoustie in June.
Brogan Townend (pictured right), 18, is the 2011 Faldo Series girls' champion and this year's runner-up, for the second season in a row, in the Northern women's championship. She has helped Lancashire reach the 2012 County Finals.
The reserve is Olivia Winning, 17, (Rotherham), who had a top ten finish at the English girls' championship. She also won the Pleasington Putter and was runner-up at this season's Fairhaven Trophies where she set a course record.
FIRST LOOK: PING's NEW SERENE LINE-UP LOOKS SOPHISTICATED
PING has just launched an entire new range of ladies golf clubs called Serene.
The company, which has always had a reputation for making exceptional ladies golf clubs, has launched a Serene driver, fairway woods, hybrids, irons and putters. The clubs are all engineered specifically for women with slower swing speeds and packed with technology that will help you hit the ball longer and straighter. The Serene driver (available in 10.5º, 12º and 14º lofts) has been designed to wow you with new distance through high-launching, longer-carrying shots. Likewise, the Serene fairway woods are easy to launch, and the highly forgiving iron/hybrid blended set will make you longer with every club. Four putter options and two fully accessorised trolley bags in stylish colour combinations complete the package. Add PING's industry-leading custom fitting process and it's no surprises that the company say you'll be hitting the ball longer and straighter than ever!
Visit www.ping.com for more information
What's in the Ping Serene range of clubs?...
Driver: The Serene's large-profile 460cc head has a forgiving face with more surface area in the low heel and toe to ensure a solid energy transfer. The PING ULT 210D high-balance-point shaft was lengthened ½ inch to 45 inches without adding to swing weight. This enables you to swing a longer shaft and increase clubhead speed and ball velocity with greater forgiveness for longer, straighter drives.
Fairway wood: The Serene fairway woods provide an easy-to-hit alternative to long and mid irons. The 17-4 stainless steel head was designed to generate distance from slightly slower swing speeds by achieving optimal lift and spin to maximise carry distance and create more roll out. They are available in a 3-wood (18), 5-wood (22) and 7-wood (26).
Irons/hybrids: In the Serene iron/hybrid set, easy-to-hit hybrids (4H, 5H and 6H) are blended with highly forgiving perimeter-weighted irons (5-LW) to launch the ball higher for longer results while ensuring optimal distance gaps. The combination of high-launching hybrids and irons will optimise your performance with every club. And because most golfers hit hybrids farther than long irons, you'll increase the overall range of your set.
Putter: An innovative insert features variable-depth grooves, which, according to our research, account for a substantial improvement in ball-speed consistency across the entire face. The grooves get deepest in the centre and get gradually shallower out to the perimeter. The result is consistent, predictable distances on your putts, even if you strike the ball closer toward the heel or toe. The insert is made from a lightweight 6061 aerospace-grade aluminum that provides a crisp feel and sound similar to a traditional steel face. Perimeter weighting creates a high MOI to elevate forgiveness and help keep putts on target. Serene models are part of our Fit for Stroke concept and are available in straight and slight arc stroke types. Choose from the Anser 2, B60, Craz-E Too, and Shea models to match your stroke type and style preference.
'The simplicity of Belly Putting'
I start by resting the butt of the putter grip into my belly putter. With the grip comfortably in place I add my hands, using the same traditional left below right grip that I used with a standard length putter and keeping my grip pressure light. Notice how stable and solid I look at address with just a little flex in the knees. My stance is the same width as my shoulders giving me that great symmetry and stability.
From my solid address all I have to do is initiate the stroke with the movement (some might say rocking) of the shoulders. I try to keep the putterhead nice and low to the ground and simply let the shaft of the putter swing away like a pendulum. I focus on feeling great rhythm and tempo as the putter swings tick-tock like a clock.
The throughswing is a smooth acceleration of that same rocking motion that took the putter away. This time there is no restriction on the length of my swing, I let it go in a free-flowing action so that the putter strikes the ball with great acceleration. I find that this puts a really smooth roll on the ball. Once the ball has left the putterface I allow my head to tilt fractionally so that I can watch the putt track to the hole and drop.
Hands free: The biggest benefit of using a belly (or mid length putter as they are also known) is that it helps take the hands out of the putting action. Hand interference is the biggest cause of inconsistent putting. Many golfers suffer with involuntary twitches or nerves get the better of them and their hands take over. The belly putter really does prevent this as you can't swing the putter with the hands at all, only the bigger muscles in the shoulders and arms can control it.
Eyes over the ball: I like to use a putting mirror when I'm practising so that I can check that my eye-line is in the correct position directly over the golf ball. You could draw a straight line from my eyes and see that they look down straight on top of the golf ball here and that's what I can see in the mirror. It gives me the confidence to know that the line of the putt I am visualising is correct. I can also follow the simple straight lines drawn on this putting training aid to help me rock the putter back and through on a perfect path.
Learn to play offer:
Swing into Action this Summer with Coworth Park and Wentworth Club's new golf 'Tee-Time'
Golf inspired cakes and a bite-sized golf experience...
Dorchester Collection's luxury country house hotel and spa, Coworth Park, has collaborated with exclusive neighbouring Wentworth Club with the introduction of "Tee-Time" ready for the golfing season this summer.
Available from the 1st May 2012 and priced at £79 per person, "Tee Time" is suitable for all abilities, from beginner golfers to more advanced levels, and includes:
An hour's golf lesson with one of Wentworth's top golf professionals
Afternoon Tea served in the Drawing Room at Coworth Park, featuring golf-inspired cakes created by Head Pastry Chef, Simon Jenkins
Just 5-minutes drive from Coworth Park, each of the 18-hole courses at the prestigious Wentworth golf and country club are considered best in class in the UK, and players will follow in the footsteps of golfing greats Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Tiger Woods and Luke Donald.
To book the offer : The 'Tee-Time Afternoon Tea' is subject to availability from 1 May until 30 September 2012, for a minimum of two and a maximum of four guests per booking, and carries a 48 hour cancellation period. Guests should allow two week's notice to make a reservation, and contact Coworth Park via email at firstname.lastname@example.org quoting 'Wentworth Tee-Time' . For more information, please visit www.coworthpark.com . Rooms are available from an additional £215++ for guests wishing to stay the night, subject to availability.