Ladies Golf Today
Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
April 16, 2014
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***Solheim Cup special***
Congratulations Carin, our new European captain!
Well what a weekend of golf it was with the first of the men's Majors, The Masters, at Augusta National, turning out to be an exciting affair. Aside from the impressive golf Bubba Watson played, for me what stood out about him was that he took the time to go and high five every single one of the competitors in the inaugural kids 'Drive, Chip and Putt challenge', which took place just before the tournament began. Incidentally it was lovely to see so many young junior girls taking part in this event - what a promising sign for the future of ladies golf, especially as there were 12 year olds that could drive the ball as far as Tour professionals, wow what we have to come hey!
Over on this side of the pond we had an exciting announcement at the end of last week that Carin Koch is our new Solheim Cup Captain. She will hopefully steer the European Team to a successful defence of the trophy against the United States of America in the 2015 match at Golf Club St. Leon-Rot in Germany next summer. Carin is a fantastic choice if you ask me.
Koch played in four successive Solheim Cup matches between 2000 and 2005, earning 11 ½ points with a 10-3-3 win-loss-draw record and was instrumental in Europe's 2000 victory, holing the winning putt at Loch Lomond in Scotland. She was also a member of the victorious team that won at Barsebäck G&CC on her home soil in Sweden in 2003. After twice playing on the winning side, Koch was also part of the 2013 victory as a vice-captain to Liselotte Neumann when Europe successfully retained The Cup for the first time last August. In addition to her Solheim Cup successes, Koch captained the European PING Junior Solheim Cup Team in Illinois in 2009 and has three international tournament victories: the 2000 Chrysler Open, 2001 LPGA Corning Classic and 2005 Corona Morelia Championship. She also won the 2000 TSN Ladies World Cup of Golf, which was a team event on the Ladies European Tour.
Golf Today caught up with Carin after the announcement was made...
Q. The 2015 Solheim Cup: what does that mean to you?
It means a lot. It's very exciting to be appointed the captain. I know it's going to be a great event. The team at Golf Club St. Leon-Rot are working hard to make it the best Solheim Cup ever, so it's very exciting to be a part of it.
Q. When you were contacted about this position, what was your reaction?
I think just pride. I was proud to be asked and excited and a little scared, maybe! It was an easy decision to make, to accept.
Q. Why were you scared?
I know it's a lot of work being captain as I was a vice-captain in 2013. There was not that much work but I know that Liselotte Neumann did a lot of work leading up to the event, so it is something you're not quite used to, something out of the box, but we've got to take those challenges and enjoy them.
Q. How did the experience of being a vice-captain help you?
It will help a lot. I think I learned a lot. Just knowing what goes on behind the scenes and what it takes to put the team together. Lotta did an excellent job so it was good to learn from her.
Q . You have been a four-time player. So what makes a good captain in your opinion?
I think many things. It's very important to create a good atmosphere in the team room and just have a lot of fun together. It's a long tough week but it's a very, very fun week, so you have to make sure everyone is happy and everyone gets what they need and can prepare for the week the way they want to prepare but also to change a little bit because you are a team. It's not the same as every other week. You need to see individuals and what they need but also put the team together.
Q. Where does the strong history of Swedish captaincy come from?
I guess just from a lot of Swedish players having been on the team before and just going down the list. We've had a lot of us playing and it's a great tradition. We have a lot of good golfers in Sweden and it started with Liselotte winning the US Open in 1988 and then of course Annika playing so well for so many years. It's a good tradition of Swedish players, I guess.
Q. Why does The Solheim Cup mean so much to you?
It's very special as a golfer and an individual athlete to play for a team because we don't get to do that very often. You have the team supporting and it's a really different week. You are also playing match play, which is a lot of fun for us. It's special as there is so much pride in representing Europe, representing your country and your continent. It just brings out so many emotions and makes it extra fun.
Q. How exciting is it to be in Germany?
It's exciting to be right in the middle of Europe. I'm really hoping we'll get fans to come from all over Europe. It will be easy for the Swedish fans to come to Germany and also from the British Isles and I hope all the German fans will come as well and we can inspire them about golf.
Q. You have been a PING Junior Solheim Cup captain before and this is the first time that the PING Junior Solheim Cup and The Solheim Cup will be played at the same venue. How special do you think that will be?
It's very special for the juniors to be at the same competition and to be able to interact with the professionals. It will be a great opportunity for them to see what the event is all about. For my team, we will be able to go out and support the juniors and for the fans that are there, they can watch both the practice of The Solheim Cup team and watch the juniors. It's ideal really, to have it in the same place.
Q. How important do you consider the support of the German sports fans?
Oh, very important. When we go over to America, they are very loud over there and that is always the battle on American soil. In Colorado we managed to win by getting the crowds to be very quiet because they didn't have anything to cheer about really. We really need the German fans to come out and hopefully they will have a lot to cheer about. We need them to be loud and we know that they can be because the delegation from Germany that was in Colorado were very loud and helped us to win there, so it's very important that they all show up.
Q. You've played in The Solheim Cup and been a vice-captain. Is it easier playing or being a captain? You have less control as a captain: you send your team out. How is that experience going to be compared to playing ?
I would say it's easier to play because you just play. As a captain you have a lot of responsibilities and if you play bad for a day as a player, you get some bad press, but if you make a wrong decision as a captain, or if you make a decision that could be good or bad but in the end is bad, you'll have a lot of questions. I would say this is in a way harder.
Q. What did you learn from being a vice-captain in Colorado?
I learned a lot. I learned what goes on behind the scenes. As a player you don't realise all the planning and what goes into putting the team together and who plays with who and keeping all the girls happy. I learned a lot. I'm happy that I was vice-captain before being captain so hopefully learned enough. Annika, who's going to be my vice-captain, she's been a vice-captain twice before so she also brings a lot of experience.
Q. You had a sneak preview of the venue. What did you think of the golf course and the facilities at Golf Club St Leon-Rot?
It's absolutely wonderful. The golf course is really, really nice and I've only heard good things about it before I actually saw it. The venue will be amazing for the teams and the spectators.
Q. Do you see any role for Liselotte Neumann this time as you served under her in Colorado?
We are going to wait and announce the second vice-captain a little later. I really don't know right now what the rest of the team is going to look like but my feeling is that Liselotte will be quite happy standing on the first tee and screaming 'Go Europe!' I think that's the role she wants to have, but we'll see. A lot can change!
Q. Many people described Liselotte as a laid-back captain. What's your style of captaincy?
I'm going to be very tough. I'll try to be as relaxed as I can. If I don't feel relaxed I'll try to appear relaxed in front of the players. You don't need a stressed out captain running around. I'll definitely try to follow Lotta. I think she did an excellent job as a captain and being so laid back and relaxed about things, I think it's really important for the team so I will try to be as relaxed as she was.
Q. Do you see yourself spending a lot of time in Germany over the next 18 months?
Yes, probably! I'll do anything I can to help support this event and make sure that the Germans know what's going on and bring the people here. If I can help in that, I'll be here. I've just got to learn some German.
Q. Do you know the US captain Juli Inkster personally?
Yes, I know Juli and I've played with her many times. She's been a bit of a role model for me actually. She has two daughters and she played on tour as a mom. I have two sons that are a little bit younger than her daughters so for me, Juli was always a role model in that she chose to have a family and play golf as well. She's a great person: I really like her and Pat Hurst, who is her vice-captain, is one of my best friends, so I know them well. She won't be my friend that week!
Here's a little history of the Solheim Cup, including a look back at the seven past European captains, from the beginning in 1990 through to the latest even in 2013....
The first edition of The Solheim Cup was in 1990, and the result was completely different from that of 2013. It was held in Florida and the US team defeated Europe 11.5 - 4.5. Apart from the result, there were many other differences between this first edition and what we witnessed in 2013 in Colorado. The first ever European captain Mickey Walker could not have imagined how this event would grow and how the Europeans would be able to beat the Americans with a record total score of 18-10, on their own US soil.
#1- Mickey Walker: 1 win- 3 losses; 1990-1996
England's Mickey Walker was the first of seven exceptional players to date that have captained the European team and she held the role for the first four matches. Although the Europeans were beaten at Lake Nona in 1990, they fought back to win at Dalmahoy in Scotland in 1992. The Europeans defeated the Americans 11.5 - 6.5. The USA then took the 1994 and 1996 matches, at The Greenbrier in West Virginia and St. Pierre in Wales.
#2 Pia Nilsson: 1 loss; 1998
Sweden's Pia Nilsson was the second European captain in 1998. The fifth Solheim Cup took place at Muirfield Village, Ohio. Pia had the opportunity to make history and repeat what the Ryder Cup´s captain Tony Jacklin achieved 11 years before in 1987 when he and his team defeated the Americans for the first time in US soil. However, the USA won once again, by a score of 16-12.
#3- Dale Reid: 1 win - 1 loss; 2000-2002
Scotland's Dale Reid led Europe to its second victory, on her home soil at Loch Lomond in Scotland. The European team beat the USA 14.5-11.5. Dale was reappointed for the 2002 matches at Interlachen in Minnesota but could not repeat the team's success as the US team took revenge and beat the Europeans for a fifth time.
#4 - Catrin Nilsmark: 1 win- 1 loss; 2003- 2005
The second Swedish captain, Catrin Nilsmark , took the reins in 2003 for the eighth match, at Barsebäck Golf & Country Club in Sweden. Despite struggling with a back injury, her European team thrashed the USA with a total score of 17.5 - 10.5, the highest margin of victory at that time. Unfortunately, Catrin was not able to repeat the team's success two years later at Crooked Stick in Indiana when the USA won for a sixth time, taking the overall score to 6-3.
#5 Helen Alfredsson: 1 loss; 2007
In 2007, The Solheim Cup returned to Sweden, but to a new venue: Halmstad Golfklubb. A third Swedish captain, Helen Alfredsson, was selected, but the USA won for a seventh time with a score of 16-12.
#6- Alison Nicholas: 1 win, 1 loss, 2009-2011
In 2009, England's Alison Nicholas MBE took the European team captaincy at Rich Harvest Farms, Illinois, but despite a spirited contest, the USA won the tie for an eighth time. Two years later in Ireland and Europe finally earned their fourth Cup win at Killeen Castle in Ireland, with a score of 15-13.
#7 Liselotte Neumann: 1 win; 2013
A fourth Swedish captain, Liselotte Neumann , took control for the 2013 matches at Colorado Golf Club in the USA. She took some gutsy decisions by selecting a young and inexperienced team, with five Solheim Cup rookies including the competition's youngest ever competitor: 17-year- old Charley Hull. Her risky strategy paid off and the team was the perfect mix. Europe won for the first time in the United States, successfully retaining The Cup and their score of 18-10 was the largest margin of victory in the history of the competition. Caroline Hedwall scored five points out of five. The overall score is now 8-5.
#8 Carin Koch : St. Leon-Rot, Germany 2015
There is still some work for Europe to do to even the overall score line but the next edition will be held in Europe, which is always an advantage. Which player has the skills and experience to carry the winning momentum and ensure a hat-trick of three straight European victories? The new European captain at St. Leon-Rot, in Germany in 2015 Carin Koch is the answer!
List of past captains and records:
- Mickey Walker from 1990 to 1996, 4 times. Result 1 win (1992) out of four contests
- Pia Nilsson, 1998, 0 wins
- Dale Reid 2000 and 2002, 1 win in 2000
- Catrin Nilsmark, 2003 and 2005, 1 win in 2003
- Helen Alfredsson 2007, 0 wins
- Alison Nicholas, 2009 and 2011, 1 win in 2011
- Liselotte Neumann, 2013, 1 win
Results by country:
- England: 2 captains and 2 victories
- Scotland: 1 captain and 1 victory
- Sweden: 4 captains and 2 victories
Inspirational women win awards
Three inspirational women who encourage people to take up and enjoy golf have been honoured at the 2014 England Golf Volunteer of the Year Awards.
Suzy Smith of Henley Golf Club in Oxfordshire won the women's Lifetime Achievement Award for services to golf. She has made a huge contribution to junior golf within her club, within Oxfordshire and within the BB&O (Berks, Bucks & Oxon) County Golf Partnership.
Lacey Clark of West Kent Golf Club is the winner of the Under 19 Young Volunteer of the Year Award. The 16-year-old is a student activator and a member of the England Golf Partnership's Youth Panel.
Fiorella Badin of Kingston University in Surrey won the Young Volunteer of the Year Award, aged 18-25. Fiorella, 19, from Spain became the golf activator in 2012 and encourages fellow students to play the game.
They were among seven award winners who were recognised at a gala dinner at the annual County Golf Development Conference at Staverton Park in Northamptonshire.
Callaway lets you be creative with your new driver
Callaway Golf has launched a new range of Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha drivers that you can customise.
You can pick from eight colours and even put a unique accent on your driver like the national flag, all thanks to Callaway's clever udesign online tool.
The clubhead loft, stock or custom shaft and grip can also be customised to suit your personal needs, whilst a final option of adding a personal message etched on the sole really will make your driver truly unique.
The udesign option costs an extra £60 on top of the cost of the driver bringing the price of a Big Bertha Alpha driver to £459 or the standard Big Bertha to £409 but it's definitely worth splashing out on that little extra to make your driver really distinctive.
Visit www.callawaygolf.com to learn more about the udesign concept.
The ultimate electric trolley just got even cleverer
As far as I'm concerned there is not a cooler looking electric trolley on the market than the Stewart Golf X9.
This futuristic trolley has just been given a makeover and there is now a new exciting addition to the family called the X9Follow. It's so called as through the use of clever Bluetooth technology to power the electrics, the trolley has been designed to follow you down the fairway at the touch of a button
In addition to the Bluetooth electronics system, there are two further antennas that power the X9 Follow. Mounted on each of the rear motors, the two antennas work together to create two zones; a neutral zone and an active zone. When the handset is inside the neutral zone, the X9 Follow will remain stationary. As the handset enters the active zone, the X9 Follow's electronics system will automatically and independently alter the speed of each rear motor to keep its pace.
When you (and therefore the handset) come to a stop, the X9 Follow will continue until the handset is back inside the neutral zone when it will also stop. The effect is that of digital elastic band, which stretches and contracts as you walk.
FASHION FOR THE FAIRWAYS
Eye-catching attire from Royal & Awesome
The new range of ladies golf clothing from Scottish golf clothing label Royal & Awesome will certainly turn heads. Now that the sun is shining looking good on the course is a must and this up-and-coming brand certainly offers eye-catching clothing.
The brand is known for its dazzling designs and has a vibrant women's range for 2014, which includes skorts, shirts and matching accessories like socks, belts and caps.
Made from high quality, golf-specific fabric, every item in the range is inspired and named by fans of the label and it's catchphrase 'perfect for the pars and the bars'. The Plaid a Blinder design is an extension to the popular existing range of tartans on offer, while the Diamonds in the Rough is inspired by the brand's most popular 'Old Tom' trews. Paddy Par! features a shamrock-based design will particularly appeal to any of your customers from the Emerald Isle.
"Royal & Awesome is the perfect accompaniment to that special round of golf - charity golf day, corporate jolly or golf holiday," said Graeme Smeaton, Royal and Awesome's brand director. "We are thrilled to produce three new designs that our fans will want to be seen in, on and off the fairways."
For more information on the Royal & Awesome golf clothing visit www.royalandawesome.co.uk
A great deal for golfing girls groups...
Spain's La Manga Club has unveiled an eye-catching range of new packages for golf groups this summer - with three-night half-board breaks available from just €346 (approx £290) per person.
Lady golfers can take advantage of amazing discounts when they head to the award-winning resort in the coming months, with the stay-and-play offers including two rounds of golf, five-star accommodation and an array of other benefits.
Available for stays until the end of June (including Easter and Whitsun), with booking required by April 30, the breaks are based on a party of eight travelling together and include one person in eight staying for free in groups of up to 16 people.
As well as golf on any of La Manga Club's three 18-hole championship courses - the North, South and West - the packages feature bed-and-breakfast accommodation in the luxury Principe Felipe Hotel and a two-course dinner each night at a choice of four resort restaurants.
Guests can also enjoy a two-for-one drinks promotion at the resort's famous Piano Bar, buying their first drink and getting their second free, and complimentary access to its luxury spa featuring a fully-equipped fitness centre, indoor pool, saunas and steam rooms.
The breaks are just as enticing for smaller groups of golfers with two people able to enjoy a similar length stay and the same benefits for only €395 (approx £330) per person - with all prices based on two people sharing a double room.
Offering outstanding sports and leisure facilities, La Manga Club -three times the size of Monaco - has established itself as a firm favourite with visiting golfers since opening in 1972.
Widely regarded as Spain's flagship resort, highlights this spring include hosting the inaugural PGAs of Europe La Manga Club International Pro-Am and opening a new Leadbetter Golf Academy - the only such facility in mainland Spain.
As well as three 18-hole championship courses, La Manga Club boasts unrivalled facilities as a sports and leisure destination including a 28-court tennis centre and a 2,000sqm spa and fitness centre. It also offers the choice of a five-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and townhouses and more than 20 bars and restaurants.
For more information about the resort and to book a break, call 00 34 968 17 5577, email email@example.com or visit www.lamangaclub.com .
Read Fashion on the Fairways