Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
Does faster golf hold the solution for getting more people into the game?
60 60 Golf is target-based game played to a patented pitch that has been installed in several driving ranges around the country, designed to allow you to play golf in an hour. It was launched in May this year and is designed to appeal to both current golfers and new players who may feel the traditional form of the game takes too long, costs too much and can be intimidating.
So far 75% of players who have tried it have confirmed they would play it again and 37% have voiced a desire to take out 60 60 Golf's interactive membership of the online golf club www.6060golf.com. Driving range owners have been equally enthusiastic with many announcing a 20 - 50% increase in income and a marked rise in repeat business since installing the game.
"60 60 Golf is designed to be fast, low cost, accessible, interesting, engaging and challenging," said the game's inventor, Craig Higgs.
Solheim Cup call for Sorenstam and Koch
With the buzz around the upcoming Ryder Cup making headlines in the last few weeks you probably haven't heard that in the ladies equivalent of the transatlantic tussle - the Solheim Cup - the Vice Captains have also been chosen.
European Solheim Cup Captain Liselotte Neumann has named Annika Sorenstam and Carin Koch as her two Vice-Captains for The 2013 Solheim Cup match against the United States at Colorado Golf Club, Parker, Colorado, from August 13-18.
Sorenstam and Koch represent an experienced 'back room' team which will be ideally placed to give Europe its best chance of retaining the Cup on U.S. soil for the first time following its dramatic victory at Killeen Castle in Ireland last year.
All three captains are world class golfers and great friends with tremendous experience of playing in The Solheim Cup, having played a combined total of 18 times. The Swedish trio featured in the winning European team of 2000, while Sorenstam and Koch were successful foursomes and four-ball partners 2002 and then again won their foursomes match together in 2003.
Neumann, who represented Europe on six consecutive occasions as a player from 1990 to 2000, said: "I am extremely pleased to announce that Annika and Carin will be my Vice Captains. Their passion for the game of golf and experience as past Solheim Cup players will prove invaluable as we work together to defend the Cup and win on US soil for the first time."
Former world number one Sorenstam played in The Solheim Cup eight times from 1994 to 2007, winning 24 points in 37 matches, before retiring in 2008. She served as a Vice-Captain to Alison Nicholas in 2011 in Ireland and was integral to Europe's victory, with her work behind the scenes.
Her achievements mark her as one of the most successful female golfers in history with 90 tournament victories including 10 major championships. She said: "I am very honoured and excited to join Lotta and the European Solheim Cup team once again as a Vice Captain. Lotta has been a friend of mine for nearly 20 years and actually inspired me to follow my dreams when she broke through and won the US Women's Open in 1988. I have always respected her class and demeanor and I know she will be a great leader for Team Europe. Next year's Solheim Cup in Colorado is very important for Europe as we need to keep the momentum going after winning the Cup last year in Ireland. I look forward to helping Lotta in any way possible."
Koch famously holed the winning putt for the European team in 2000 at Loch Lomond and was also on Europe's winning team in 2003. She played in four Solheim Cups in succession from 2000 to 2005 and won 11 ½ points from 16 matches, going unbeaten in eight Solheim Cup matches played in 2000 and 2002. She has four tournament victories worldwide, including the 2000 Chrysler Open, the 2000 TSN Ladies World Cup and two titles on the LPGA. Koch also captained the European team in the 2009 PING Junior Solheim Cup at Aurora Country Club in Illinois and regularly competes on the Ladies European Tour.
Koch said: "I am very excited and honoured to be chosen by Lotta as her Vice Captain. I am looking forward to working with a great team in her and Annika. Lotta was my first role model in golf and she will be a wonderful leader for the team. Annika and I played together on the Swedish team growing up, on the LET and LPGA. We were great playing together in The Solheim Cup, and I am sure we will be great together in assisting Lotta.
"The Solheim Cup is very special to me and every player who has played the matches. It is the most exciting and nerve-wracking event in golf and also the most rewarding for the team with the trophy in the end.
The United States Captain Meg Mallon recently announced that Dottie Pepper will serve as one of her Vice Captains when the U.S. takes on Europe at the 13 th playing of The Solheim Cup next year and is expected to name a second Vice Captain in early 2013.
The 2013 Solheim Cup takes place from August 13-18, just a few days after the PGA Championship, so European fans are being encouraged to save the date! A trip to Colorado Golf Club represents the dream opportunity to watch Europe win in the United States for the first time and travel package details will be announced soon.
Also in Solheim Cup news...
The 2013 RICOH Women's British Open at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, will be the final chance for American and European players to earn points for the 2013 Solheim Cup, as two years of battling for a dream will come true for 24 of the world's best golfers.
The fourth of five majors in the LPGA's 2013 season, the RICOH Women's British Open is slated for July 25-28, and will serve as the cut-off for players to earn Solheim Cup points. U.S. Captain Meg Mallon and European Captain Liselotte Neumann will be on-hand in Scotland to announce their captain's picks at the conclusion of the 72-hole tournament once the points are finalised.
BOYD WINS BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP
Cornwall's Sarah-Jane Boyd swept to the forefront of women's amateur golf with a two stroke win in the British ladies' stroke play championship at Shandon Park, Ireland.
It's the biggest win so far for the 20-year-old from Truro who has previously captured four Cornwall titles and this year's England Golf South West women's championship.
"I always knew I had the potential to win a big one, so I have proved myself right," said Sarah-Jane. She was six over par for the tournament, two ahead of Amy Boulden of Wales. English champion and Curtis Cup player Kelly Tidy was third after playing the final 36 holes in two-under par, despite heavy rain in the third round which forced a suspension of play.
Sarah-Jane's victory gains her a place in the starting field for next year's Ricoh Women's British Open over the Old Course, St Andrews - provided she remains an amateur.
"That's made up my mind. I think I'll stay another two years as an amateur," said Sarah-Jane, who also won the Angela Uzielli Trophy for the best U23 performance and the trophy for the best single round of the championship - her first-round three under par 69
That score put her in the lead for the championship and she lost top-spot only once during the 72-hole event. She was overtaken at the end of the third round by Welsh champion and Curtis Cup player Amy Boulden, who had a one-stroke lead with 18 holes to play.
Amy increased the lead during the final round and was two in front with nine to play after she reached the turn in level par. But the Welsh player came home in six-over 41 with a triple bogey seven on the 14th, a double bogey six on the 17th and a bogey five on the 18th.
Gloucestershire golfer Mary Groves pulled off a clean sweep when she won the English women's par three championship on the Severn View course at Thornbury Golf Club in her home county.
She not only won the championship - decided on the best net score - but was also in the winning team and she had the best gross score of the day.
"I'm stunned," said Mary, who is a member at Shirehampton Park. "You don't expect these things to come your way, but everything went well and I had my day in the sun."
The 15-handicapper, who received eight shots, had a net score of four-under 50 and won by three strokes from Helen Kirby of Thornbury. Sue Thomas of Shirehampton and Sarah Priestman of Harborne were a further shot behind.
Together with Anja De Burgh Williams and Babs Giles, Mary won the team prize for Shirehampton Park. She also returned the best gross score but the prize went to Sarah Priestman.
Mary started as she meant to go on with a birdie on the first hole, where the ball finished 6 inches from the hole. On the back nine she had eight consecutive threes until the last, where, she says "I got a little greedy, as we all do!"
This was Mary's first outing on the par three lay-out at Thornbury and she commented: "It was a brilliant par three course and, considering the weather we've had, it was in very good condition."
Mary, who has played golf for almost 30 years, has always been a member at Shirehampton Park, where she has been ladies' captain and a member of the board. She's currently the ladies' handicap secretary and county delegate.
"It was a good day, a very nice relaxed atmosphere and I thoroughly enjoyed it, as did all nine of us from Shirehampton Park," she said.
Six pairs of women golfers, each representing one of England Golf's regions, have won through to the national final of the Australian Spoons tournament.
They have all won their regional final and will play off at East Devon Golf Club on Friday, 21 September. The trophy is a pair of silver spoons, originally presented by the Australian Ladies' Golf Union. The finalists are:
North Region: Jean Halligan and Janet Ions from Tytherington Golf Club, Cheshire.
Midlands North Region: Maggie Jowett and Elizabeth Reddick from Breedon Priory Golf Club, Leicestershire & Rutland.
South Region: Nicky Phillips and Jenny Thompson from Droitwich Golf Club, Worcestershire & Herefordshire.
East Region: Barbara Marriott and Victoria Walley of Aspley Guise & Woburn Sands Golf Club, Bedfordshire.
South West Region: Sheelah Ayliffe and Jill MacLeod from Bovey Tracey Golf Club, Devon.
The Australian Spoons is a stableford foursomes competition for players with handicaps of 21 and over. The finalists have all won through club qualifying rounds and regional finals.
England Golf is sending a star trio of international girls to compete in the World Amateur Team Championships in Turkey this month.
The players selected are Georgia Hall, Charley Hull and Emily Taylor. They will be competing for the Espirito Santo Trophy, which is being played at the Gloria Golf Club (Old and New Courses) on 27th - 30th September.
Emily Taylor, 17, (Hillside, Lancashire), is the English girls' champion, the Irish women's open stroke champion and the winner of the U18 titles at both the English women's stroke play - where she was third overall - and the British women's stroke play, where she was fourth.
Charley Hull, 16 (pictured), (Woburn, Buckinghamshire), was in GB&I's winning 2012 Curtis Cup team. She has played three professional events this year, finishing in the top 40 in the Kraft Nabisco, a women's Major; fifth in the Turkish Airline Ladies Open and tied 18th in the ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters. She is eighth in the world amateur rankings.
England's best solo finish in the Espirito Santo Trophy has been third. They also helped GB&I achieve two silver and five bronze medals during the years when the Home Countries fielded a combined team.
If your knowledge of the Rules of Golf is a little sketchy then you might want to take the opportunity to brush up on the Rules by attending one of England Golf's County Rules Schools this autumn.
In the Schools the emphasis will be on practical tuition and demonstrations that will cover some of the most commonly encountered rulings. The Rules Schools will also give delegates the opportunity to put their knowledge and learning to the test through refereeing role-play sessions and by sitting an exam on the Rules of Golf.
England Golf County Rules Schools have been running for two years and have already been to Gloucestershire, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Lancashire, Hampshire, Cheshire and Devon attracting over 250 delegates. Not only have these schools helped to improve the Rules knowledge of all those who attended, many delegates have passed with distinction giving their associated County Unions a potential new source of qualified 'County Referees' to officiate at County championships and tournaments.
"Our Rules Schools enable those who are already experienced county referees to gain a qualification that is recognised nationally, whilst also giving opportunity for a wider number of people to improve and further their rules knowledge," says Toby Thorne, England Golf Deputy Championship Manager. "A key focus of the County Rules School programme is to provide hands-on experience, guidance and insight into the duties of a referee, which we believe offers the best way of learning and improving performance."
Delegates should have at least a basic understanding of the Rules of Golf before attending. Advice will be given on how to prepare for the exam which is several weeks after the first day of practical tuition.
Dates for the Autumn Rules Schools are:
Day 1: Mon 15th October
Day 1: Mon 22nd November
The fee for attending an England Golf County Rules School is £50. The course is open to delegates from counties throughout England. For further information and how to register for a school visit www.englandgolf.org/rulesschool
COBRA Launches Baffler Hybrid-Iron Set for Golf Made Easy
COBRA Golf is celebrating its rich heritage and launching the all new Baffler Hybrid Irons and Baffler Hybrid Iron Combo sets just ahead of the company's 40 th anniversary. The Baffler Hybrid Irons take key technology from COBRA's iconic Baffler Hybrids to create an easy to hit iron that delivers maximum forgiveness, higher launch and improved distance; it truly is Golf Made Easy.
"Our Baffler products have helped make golf easier for generations," said Bob Philion, President of COBRA PUMA GOLF. "We've taken the best design elements from our heritage and updated them with modern technologies to create an easy to hit Baffler Hybrid Iron that truly takes our Baffler family to the next level, making golf easier for golfers around the world."
COBRA introduced the Baffler, the first utility wood, in 1975; two years after the company was founded by Tom Crow. It changed the game with its patented railed sole for effective ball striking from any lie condition. Since then, COBRA has developed and further improved on the original Baffler technology. The Baffler Hybrid Irons use a railed sole, influenced by the Baffler but designed specifically for irons, to reduce turf drag, providing easy contact and easy launch from all lie conditions.
The progressive, oversized face profile provides high MOI for superior forgiveness as well as a low center of gravity for easy up. E9 Face Technology TM brings a variable thickness face that progresses from short to long irons, providing faster ball speeds and greater distance on off centre hits while a full back cavity TPU tunes vibrations to improve sound and feel on all shots.
The Baffler Hybrid Irons are also available in a Baffler Hybrid Iron Combo set (men's and women's), where the long irons are replaced with easy to hit Baffler Hybrids. The Baffler Hybrids have a wide, railed sole and shallow face for high and easy launch as well as a top-line alignment system for added confidence.
The COBRA Baffler Hybrid Irons are available in women's right and left handed models graphite flex priced at £549 (5-SW). The Baffler Hybrid Iron Combo set is available in right handed only in women's graphite flex priced at £699 (4-5h, 6-SW) . They feature a COBRA Winn Wrap grip and an MRC COBRA Baffler Hybrid/Iron shaft. The set is Capri Blue with silver highlights.
The Baffler Hybrid Irons and Baffler Hybrid Iron Combo Set will be available at retail on October 19th, 2012. To find an authorized COBRA dealer near you, visit http://cobragolf.co.uk/dealer-locator
ECCO's new shoes are Casual Cool!
Danish brand ECCO - maker of the world's most comfortable, stylish and technically-advanced footwear - has revealed a new women's golf collection, highlighted by Casual Cool model in a wide range of fresh designs and fun colours.
Handcrafted from luxurious leathers exclusively at ECCO-owned factories, Casual Cool is designed and constructed using the Scandinavian principle that form must follow function. This foot-first approach to shoemaking merges with the company's use of direct-injection technology to ensure unrivaled durability, flexibility, lightness and weather resistance.
Inspired by the runway and ideal for the course, Casual Cool is offered in three distinct leather types - waterproof GORE-TEX, weather-resistant HYDROMAX and high-grade Premier. It mixes contemporary fashion with serious performance through smooth leathers, trend-inspired colours, feminine details and an advanced outsole design.
The Premier, Hydromax and GORE-TEX uppers are crafted from smooth leather types for enhanced weather resistance and style, while a textile lining showcases an open mesh that is extremely breathable.
The anatomical, removable, textile insole is moisture wicking and lightweight yet provides extra cushioning. The asymmetrical arch support with integrated heel stabiliser ensures superior torsional and swing stability.
For added stylistic quality, the sleek, single-density outsole is colour-matched to the uppers for a distinctively feminine look.
Casual Cool Hydromax - £125
White/Silver Metallic/Candy (pictured)
White/Silver Metallic/Danube (pictured)
Casual Cool Gore-Tex - £145
White/Night Shade/Imperial Purple
The ECCO women's golf collection is worn in competition by scores of international Tour stars, including Belen Mozo, Gerina Piller and Jennifer Johnson. For further inspiration, please visit www.ecco.com/golf .
Softspikes, the world's best-selling golf cleat brand and maker of the exciting BLACK WIDOW line, have launched the much talked-about brand into the ether with a wealth of standout accessories designed to cater for every passionate golfer's needs.
Complementing the already successful headwear and head-cover ranges, BLACK WIDOW have catapulted themselves into market leading accessory territory with the unveiling of a line unmatched for quality and variety.
The BLACK WIDOW accessory collection is fronted by an ultra-durable Tri-Fold Towel, which features a centre placement of carabineer for simple attachment to your golf bag. Measuring 16" x 24", the towel is structured from 100% cotton, with a soft velour finish.
Also included in the range is the BLACK WIDOW ball retriever. As the only ball retriever in the game that grabs your ball, this item features a unique, 8-leg 'spider' design that flexes around the golf ball for secure grab - made all the easier by the extendable 12-ft shaft.
BLACK WIDOW have an umbrella to suit every golfer. There are three designs in the range, including the 62" Single Canopy Umbrella which features a unique Black Widow design and a custom, ergonomic BLACK WIDOW Fusion handle.
Wrapping up this all-encompassing collection are bespoke BLACK WIDOW head-covers with magnetic closures, poker chip ball markers, and a large, multi-use 'players' towel.
A FUN WINTER GOLF ESCAPE
Tee off in a Pro-Am format at the sunny Red Sea resort of Taba Heights
If you're planning a winter golf break and fancy combining some t-shirt golf with competition then you might want to consider entering the Taba Heights International Pro-Am 2012. The tournament, now in its sixth year, welcomes teams of amateurs led by a professional golfer to the stunning Red Sea resort's championship golf course - rated as number one in Egypt.
The format is 72-holes stroke play played on The Taba Heights Golf Resort which is set amid the azure waters of the Red Sea and enjoys year-round sunshine, boasts spectacular views of the Sinai Peninsula and overlooks three countries - Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel.
The tournament will take place from 29 November to 2 December. It is sponsored by the luxury five-star Sofitel Taba Heights hotel and competitors will enjoy welcome cocktails, free range balls on practice and competition days and a gala prize dinner, as well as plenty of opportunity to win extra prizes through 'longest drive' and 'nearest the pin' competitions.
Holidaymakers can also enjoy the atmosphere under the winter sun as the teams of four (one professional and three amateurs) test their skill and ability to compete for a slice of the jackpot prize fund of £10,700.
This is an invite only event for further details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.