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CARLY FROST
Editor
Ladies Golf Today

Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
March 07, 2014


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Learn from Paula's precision play

Yet again it was pouring down with rain on Sunday morning so no golf for me, instead I got my golfing fix by watching the final round of the LPGA's unofficial Asian major and what an exciting climax it was to see American Paula Creamer take the HSBC Women's Championship title in a play-off against European star Azahara Munoz. It was amazing to see just how precise Paula's iron play is - we can all learn something from that.

Turning my attend to this week and the world's top female professionals are competing in the World Ladies Championship in China, and it was fun to see them taking time out before the tournament began to don some traditional dresses for a visit to Movie Town, the new tourist attraction at the tournament venue, Mission Hills on the paradise island of Hainan in China. This tournament is unique in professional golf in that it consists of three events in one - an individual professional competition, a concurrent professional team championship in which countries are represented by teams of two, and an individual amateur tournament - what a great idea!

TOUR NEWS

USGA TO INSTITUTE INTERNATIONAL QUALIFYING FOR U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN

In recognition of the global growth and strength of women's golf, the United States Golf Association (USGA) will introduce international qualifying for the U.S. Women's Open Championship, beginning in 2014.
This expansion of the Women's Open qualifying process represents further demonstration of the USGA's dedication to enhancing and elevating its national championships, while making the game more accessible to players and diverse cultures around the world.

The 2014 U.S. Women's Open will be conducted June 19-22 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2) in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
The USGA has long been committed to presenting the U.S. Women's Open as the premier event in international women's golf, said USGA President Thomas J. O ' Toole Jr. With the addition of international qualifying, we are happy to expand the championship field to include more of the very best players from across the globe. We extend many thanks to our friends and partners around the world for their efforts in helping us accomplish this mission." 

Fourteen foreign-born players have won the U.S. Women's Open a total of 18 times, including two-time and defending champion Inbee Park, of the Republic of Korea. Fay Crocker, of Uruguay, won the 1955 U.S. Women's Open, becoming the first international winner in championship history. In recent years, international players have dominated the leader board, taking seven of the last nine championships and 13 of the last 19. Players from Korea have won five of the last six championships.

Officials from the China Golf Association, the Japan Golf Association, the Korea Golf Association and the Ladies European Tour will conduct international qualifying for the U.S. Women's Open, which will be held at four sites on Monday, May 19. Asia will have three qualifying sites "CGA Nanshan International Training Centre (Garden Course) in the People's Republic of China, Higashi Nagoya Country Club in Japan and Woo Jeong Hills Country Club in Korea. Buckinghamshire Golf Club in England will host European qualifying.

Also, effective in 2014, the USGA Handicap Index limit for the U.S. Women's Open has been lowered to 2.4 from 4.4. The change comes in recognition of the rapid and tremendous growth of women's amateur golf, and will serve to strengthen the 69th U.S. Women's Open field.

The Handicap Index limit was set at 4.4 for the 1972 U.S. Women's Open, and has remained unchanged. Since then, more than 350 amateur golfers have qualified for the championship, including future winners Paula Creamer, Kathy (Baker) Guadagnino, Juli Inkster, Cristie Kerr, Murle Lindstrom, Hilary Lunke, Inbee Park, Annika Sorenstam and Hollis Stacy. Four amateurs have finished second: Nancy Lopez (1975); Jenny Chuasiriporn (1998, in a playoff); and Brittany Lang and Morgan Pressel (2005). Catherine Lacoste (1967) is the only amateur player to win the Women's Open.

Considered the world's premier women's golf championship, the U.S. Women's Open is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA. It is open to professional female golfers and amateur females with a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 2.4. The championship was first conducted in 1946 and boasts an impressive list of winners, including Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Betsy Rawls, Mickey Wright, Hollis Stacy, Amy Alcott, Meg Mallon, Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak, Juli Inkster, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Inbee Park.

AMATEUR NEWS

Top class Sophie wins England Golf award

English girls' champion Sophie Keech is top class at combining her golf and her school work - and she's won the England Golf Silver Tee Award to prove it.  

Copyright Leaderboard Photography

The award is made annually to a girl who develops her golf while also concentrating on her studies and Sophie's success in the Silver Tee was announced at the annual meeting of England Golf.

"I'm really pleased to win this award, it gets 2014 off to a great start," said Sophie, an England girl international from Parkstone Golf Club in Dorset. She is pictured with the England girls' trophy

The 17-year-old is working towards a BTec in sport at Millfield School in Somerset, where she is a boarder. She commented: "I'm on track. The BTec is all coursework so I can balance it with my golf and my teachers at Millfield are so good and so understanding."  

Sophie, who has been Millfield since she was 13 and is the golf captain, will leave school this summer and will concentrate on her golfing ambitions. She said: "I've got mixed emotions about it. It will be such a relief to finish all the work, but at the same time I love it so much here. It's going to be so sad leaving, I think there will be a few tears on the last day."  

She plans to play on the women's amateur circuit for the next two years to gain experience: "All I want to do is play golf," she said. Her immediate targets include successfully defending her English girls' title and winning a British event.

Sophie will be building on an impressive golfing CV: in addition to winning the English girls' championship last year and helping England win the Girls' Home Internationals, she was also the English schools' champion, for the second time. Regionally, she was the South West girls' titleholder and was runner-up in the South West ladies' championship. In 2011 she helped Millfield to win the World Schools Championship in South Africa.  

Talented teenagers in Scottish championship squad

England Golf will send a squad of six talented teenagers to defend the Scottish U16 girls' open stroke play championship at Strathmore, from 10-11 April. 

Copyright Leaderboard Photography

They are: Cloe Frankish and Mollie Lawrence of Kent, Sammy Fuller of Surrey, Hollie Muse and Louisa Brunt of Lancashire, and Billie-Jo Smith of Lincolnshire. 

All six are members of England Golf training squads and this event provides developing players with an excellent opportunity to travel and prepare together as a squad. 

England Golf players have a very good record in this championship. Last year, Alice Hewson of Hertfordshire became the fourth successive English winner of the individual title and also helped to win the team prize, alongside Sophie Madden of Essex and Eloise Healey of Lancashire. 

The players: 

Team A 

Cloe Frankish , 14, (Chart Hills) was runner-up in last year's Scottish U14 stroke play and shared second place in the girls' event at the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters. She was third in the U14 section of the North of England championship and represented Kent at County Finals. 

Sammy Fuller , 14, (Roehampton) is the most experienced member of the squad. She is an England girl international and helped to win the 2013 Girls' Home Internationals. She has also represented GB&I in the Junior Vagliano Trophy. She is a past English U13 champion and last year had top 10 finishes in three women's championships: the Welsh and Irish Opens and the English amateur.

Hollie Muse , 14, (West Lancashire) is another past winner of the English U13 title. Last year she won the Royal Birkdale ladies' scratch tournament, the U14 title at the North of England Championship and the prize for the best score in qualifying by an U14 player at the British girls' championship.

Team B 

Louisa Brunt , 15, (Ashton-under-Lyne) tied 10th in last year's Scottish U16s and also had a top ten finish in the English girls' U15 championship. She trains with England Golf's U16 North West squad. 

Mollie Lawrence , 15, (Rochester & Cobham Park) was a member of the Kent women's team which competed at the 2013 English County Finals. She was sixth in the English U15 girls' championship and tied fifth in the girls' event at the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters. 

Billie-Jo Smith , 14, (Woodhall Spa), was 10th in the English U15 championship last year and tied 11th in the St Andrews junior ladies' open. She trains with the England Golf U16 East Midlands squad. 

Caption: Pat Wimpress (left) and Annette Milburn (right) are pictured at the annual meeting with outgoing England Golf President Pam Benka.

National charity title for Cumbrian club

The ladies of a Cumbrian golf club hit top form with a string of spectacular scores to win England Golf's national competition in support of its charity for girls' golf.

Cockermouth Golf Club ladies' section was named as the winner of the 2013 EWGA Trust Stableford Competition at yesterday's annual meeting of England Golf. They beat over 180 other clubs to claim the trophy and a laptop computer.

Each year, ladies' sections are invited to fundraise for the EWGA Trust at a stableford competition. They are asked to make a donation based on the points scored by the top 10 players in their competition and nationwide they raised over £3000.

In Cockermouth's nominated competition the top 10 players together amassed a superb 402 points and they finished four points clear of their closest rivals, Coombe Wood in Surrey and Tiverton, Devon.

"We had a real purple patch that day," said Pat Wimpress, the ladies' secretary and vice-captain. The section's top scorer scored 47 points - and cut her handicap from 19 to 16 - while four other players also scored in the 40s. The lowest counting scores were a pair of 35s.

"Normally 35 or 36 points would be a winning score," said Pat, who contributed one of the counting 35s over a course which boasts spectacular views of the Solway Firth.

"We are quite a small club and winning this is fantastic for us, just wonderful," she added. "That's why we decided to travel to Woodhall Spa for the presentation." Pat joined ladies' captain Annette Milburn to make the journey to the home of England Golf to receive the trophy.
The Cockermouth ladies' section are regular supporters of the EWGA Trust and also proud of their own, improving girl members.

The EWGA Trust was founded about 30 years ago and makes grants to help girls start and stay in golf. Over the decades it has supported countless girl golfers and helped them benefit from playing the sport. Information about the Trust and this year's competition is available by clicking here.

EQUIPMENT

The belt that helps to banish back pain!

Proving popular with golfers, new support belt helps reduce and
prevent lateral lower back, hip and buttock pain


A new, lightweight belt designed by The London Spine Clinic to help
alleviate and prevent pain in the lateral lower back, hips and buttocks
is proving a big hit among golfers.

Mark Critchley, spokesman for backpainhelp.com said: "Although it can
affect anyone, we hear of many golfers experiencing lateral lower back
pain. This is typically due to the repeated twisting movement of the hips
as the golf club is swung, which can wear down and inflame the joints."
Worn around the hips and pelvis rather than the waist, the bacSacroiliac Belt (£34.99) targets pain below the belt (lateral lower back), which is usually caused by inflamed, worn or damaged facets joints in the spine or where the lumbar spine joins the pelvis - the sacroiliac joint.

Unlike other back supports that are worn around the waist, the bac<
Sacroiliac Belt fits snugly around the hips, compressing the pelvis and
supporting ligaments that may have become loose or injured. By preventing excessive movement and supporting the lateral lower back, the bac Sacroiliac Belt eases pain and helps hips regain their natural movement.

Mark continues: "We've been getting great feedback from golfers about our new Sacroiliac Belt, which helps compress and support the pelvis, and
therefore helps avoid painful inflammation."

Made in breathable fabric that draws away sweat from the body and with
heat-formed padding, the bac< Sacroiliac Belt is both lightweight and
comfortable. It is available in two sizes, small to medium and medium to
large, offering maximum support, but with minimal pressure on the pelvis.
The bac Sacroiliac Belt is part of the new bac www.backpainhelp.com range that also comprises a Back Massager, Shoulder Brace and Back Brace with Cool Pads. Developed in conjunction with back care experts from The London Spine Clinic www.londonspineclinic.com and product industrial design experts from Seymourpowell www.seymourpowell.com , the range provides non-invasive, drug free, pain relief to the 16.5m people who suffer every year in the UK.

TRIED & TESTED

Logical Hoop by Logical Golf

Info: www.logicalgolf.com

Price: 90 Euros

They say: Golf is challenging - something every golfer comes to understand very quickly. Our teaching aids will help you to visualise and feel your golf swing. We have products which can help players of all abilities to better understand the sequence of movements needed to perfect their golf swing.

The Logical Hoop trains the correct movement of the shoulders and arms. It helps to correct the "early release" and "over the top" movement that are classic mistakes among golfers. It gives the golfer the accurate picture of the correct swing rotation.

I say: One of the hardest things to feel in the golf swing is the 'correct' plane. With my particular swing over the years I have fallen into the habit of having a swing that moves inside and then slightly over the top as I change direction.

This hoop has allowed me to feel a movement that follows one circular path back and down, thus eradicating my loop that was causing my poor shot a pull (due to the swing path travelling to the left at impact).

The way in which I use the hoop is to make 10 repetitions and then just simply hit the ball. The different feeling swing path generated by the circle stayed with me.

The only downside of this product is that it is very heavy and you have to be quite strong to use it, so some weaker players, particularly seniors and juniors will struggle to hold it in the correct position.

TRAVEL

Escape the rain at Europe's top Golf Destination with the Quinta Splendida 'Madeira Greens' Golf Package

UK golf enthusiasts may find the early months of the year to be less than ideal conditions for their sport of choice, with flooding, gusty winds and grey skies.

Escape the cold with the 'Madeira Greens' golf package by Quinta Splendida Wellness & Botanical Garden. With Portugal named the World's Leading Golf Destination in the 2013 World Travel Awards, and temperatures still around 24C throughout the winter months, Madeira provides the perfect retreat location for both golfers and sun-lovers alike.

Quinta Splendida is a peaceful resort and spa, and is home to Europe's largest botanical gardens with over a thousand species of plants and flowers. The resort houses one of the island's largest spas, and offers a range of other local activities such as fishing, scuba-diving, cycling, whale-watching and hiking.

For golfers, the botanical gardens boasts a 5-hole putting green, with a small bunker for chipping practice before heading to the course. The Quinta Splendida concierge offers reduced green-fee rates and tee time reservations at a selection of local courses including Palheiro Golf and Santo da Serra Golf. Golf packages to Porto Santo Golf in the neighbouring island of Porto Santo including cruise transportation are also available. The golf service at Quinta Splendida also includes golf club storage and complimentary cleaning of golf shoes.

MADEIRA GREENS Golf Package

(stays from 1st February - 27th December 2014)

-         7 Nights with Buffet Breakfast

-         3 Green Fees at choice of Palheiro Golf or Santo da Serra Golf (18 holes)

-         Complimentary transfers to/from Santo da Serra Golf

-         1 Day Complimentary Spa Entrance

-         1 x 4-course Gourmet Dinner at La Perla Restaurant

Prices :

Studio - Garden View: 1,294 (based on two people sharing)

Spa Suite - Ocean View: 1,721 (based on two people sharing)

Nightly rates at the Quinta Splendida Hotel Wellness & Botanical Gardens start from €115 per person (package price with Kuoni also available)

Special Prices for groups and Pro free of charge for min. 8 paying participants.

All aboard for the new golf tour were you travel by luxury train

New for 2014, the UK's only luxury sleeper train, The Royal Scotsman, has launched The Golf Tour; a five day journey exploring Scotland's famed golf courses. Departing from Edinburgh on 18th May and 22nd   September 2014, the train will travel through the Scottish Highlands, transporting guests seamlessly between the world class courses, in the height of luxury.

En route, golfers will tee off at three of the region's most prestigious courses, all boasting impressive scenic views and challenging holes. Guests will be escorted to The Royal Dornoch, the most northerly of the UK's championship courses, Castle Stuart Golf Links, the host venue of the Scottish Open for the past three years, and finally Cruden Bay Golf Club, designed by golfing legend Tom Morris. Lunch at the courses, as well as green fees and pull cart hire are all included for players, whilst golf club hire and caddies can also be arranged. Those wishing to follow in The Ryder Cup's footsteps can arrange a night's stay at The Gleneagles Hotel and Spa, home of this year's competition, before the May departure.

The Royal Scotsman is often referred to as 'a country house on wheels', and accommodates just 36 guests in Edwardian style carriages. Those on board sleep in exquisitely appointed en-suite cabins and enjoy a personal steward service throughout their stay. Fine cuisine is created at every meal by the on board Michelin standard chef, whose authentic Scottish dishes complement the highland experience. The observation car, with its open veranda and comfortable interior seating, provides the ideal spot to take in the passing landmarks such as the Kyle of Lochalsh and Cairngorms National Park, whilst sampling Scottish whiskies from the bar. 
Prices for The Golf Tour, on board The Royal Scotsman, start from £5,350 per person. This is based on two people sharing a twin cabin on a fully inclusive basis, including green fees and pull cart hire. Golf clubs can be hired on request and caddies arranged. For an extra £500 supplement a one night stay at The Gleneagles Hotel and Spa can be booked prior to the May departure. For more information please visit  www.royalscotsman.com  or call 0845 077 2222. 

 

 

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