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CARLY FROST
Editor
Ladies Golf Today

Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
May 13, 2014


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Want to know more about life on the Ladies European Tour? Your questions please…


I'm going to be teeing off alongside some of the top names on the Ladies European Tour this week at LET headquarters, The Buckinghamshire. The golf day will give me the unique opportunity to meet, play a few holes with and find out more about the life on Tour for top lady players including 2015 Solheim Cup Captain Carin Koch. There's also a long list of English players who'll be attending the day including Mel Reid and LET Rookie Lauren Taylor.

As I have the unique opportunity to ask them anything of interest one-on-one I'd love to hear what you're interested in knowing. Please email me your questions at carly@golftodaynetwork.com and I'll give you a mention in my write-up next week. In the meantime here's the full list of players that I'll have the chance to meet:

Carly Booth
Carin Koch
Stacy Lee Bregman
Hannah Burke
Holly Clyburn
Lydia Hall
Sahra Hassan
Florentyna Parker
Melissa Reid
Margherita Rigon
Sophie Walker
Lucy Williams
Liz Young
Henrietta Zuel
Lauren Taylor
Charlotte Thompson
Sally Watson

Q&A with Lee-Ann Pace

South African Lee-Anne Pace was the only player to win three titles on the LET in 2013, starting with the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open that she defends this weekend. Twelve months on, the eight-time Ladies European Tour event winner discusses her ambitions for this year and the longer term.

What's your strength?
Usually my short game is very reliable. On a typical tournament week I will spend a lot of time pitching, chipping and putting.

What are your goals for the 2014 season and anything you would like to have achieved by December?
I will be very happy to win again during 2014. I will keep my game plan the same as always. One shot at a time and hopefully that gets me into contention again.

What are your longer term goals?
I would really like to compete in the Olympic Games. I think that would be such an amazing experience. I would also like to earn my full playing rights on the LPGA.

What has changed for you in the last 12 months?
The biggest and most exciting change has been my recent move to Pearl Valley Golf and Country Estate. I am so happy to live there where I have everything I need in one place. Not only is it gorgeous and peaceful, it is also completely safe and the best place in South Africa to practice. I absolutely love it.

Are there any changes in your game between then and now both technically and mentally?
No: all the same. I keep working on the same things in my swing in order to keep it consistent. Mentally I have the same approach as always: keep it in the fairway, hit the green and try to make the putt. Keep it simple :)

At this point in your career and after three wins on the 2013 LET circuit, what is your focus now?
My focus always remains the same when it comes to golf. I try not to make it too complicated. Just take it one shot at a time, one hole at a time and one tournament at a time. Whether it is a major or a small tournament, I try to think about it the same way.

How important was your win at home in SA and how did that impact your psychology?
It was very important for me to win the Investec Cup. As a personal sponsor, Investec has been very good to me and to be able to win their tournament made me feel very proud. To do it on South African soil made it so much more rewarding and I can't wait for the Ladies Sunshine Tour again next year. I hope that more European Tour players will come and join us as that will help the tour to grow and hopefully establish more LET co-sanctioned tournaments in the future.

Who in golf has the most influence over you and why?
Probably my coaches and my caddie. I think all of us work really well together and I feel privileged to have such a good and caring team around me.

Who is the tour player you most admire and why?
Carlota Ciganda. I really like the way she plays golf. I think she is an amazing player with a great attitude. We always have fun when we play together.

For how long do you see yourself playing golf and what would you like to do after you finish playing competitively?
I would be happy to play until around 40, maybe a bit longer. I think I would like to start my own academy where I could personally be involved in the development of ladies golf in South Africa. I think there is so much talent here in SA and hopefully I can help grow women's golf. I would also love to have my own restaurant.

Off the course, what are your other interests and what have been the recent highlights?
The three biggest highlights so far this year has been winning the Player of the year in South Africa, winning the Investec Cup and my move to Pearl Valley Golf and Country Estate. Other interests of mine are tennis, reading, movies, music and whenever I can get to it, stand-up paddle boarding.

For any young golfer thinking of making a career as a professional, what advice would you give them?
Always stay humble and respect the people around you. Take it one shot at a time and never ever give up.

NEWS

Girl power to the fore at PGA graduation!

Alex Mollin was leading lady on an historic day at the University of Birmingham, in which female golfers took the top three places in The PGA's annual graduation ceremony for the first time.

The Jersey based 35-year-old said she was "honoured" to collect the Whitcombe Cox Trophy for the highest placed year three assistant from Titleist brand director Matthew Johnson and Beverly Lewis, the first female PGA captain, who was the special guest. Her achievement was also marked with a cheque for £3,500.

Gullane Golf Club's Emma Fairnie was runner up with Kelly Hanwell of Al Badia Golf Club in Dubai coming third.

Meanwhile Mollin capped a successful year by also winning the Ladies European Tour award in honour of her hard work and dedication in completing the course, while her efforts were further recognised as she was named the top performing year three GASP-accredited coach.

Also picking up awards were Burford Golf Club's Richard Talboys who collected the Lord Derby trophy as leading Year Two assistant while Keir McNicoll from Gullane Golf Club received the Major John Bywater trophy for being top Rookie Assistant of the Year.

For Les Mielles assistant PGA Professional, Mollin, the awards add extra gloss to an impressive start to her professional career, having also taken top honours in both her first and second years and excelled at Les Mielles Golf & Country Club.

"I feel incredibly proud to have done it," Mollin enthused. "When I won Rookie of the Year it gave me belief to go on and try to follow that up. There's no secret, I just worked really, really hard to achieve this.

"There was huge pressure coming into the third year having won years one and two. It was a case of maintaining that as I didn't want to fall at the last hurdle. It was huge relief when I got the results.

"I'm still carrying on studying as I am doing the advanced certificate in golf coaching, which I am hoping to complete in July. I'm looking to develop as a coach and I am considering doing a postgraduate diploma and maybe a Masters in coaching."

As Mollin now looks to develop her own career, she hopes her successes can provide the motivation for other female golfers to take their first steps towards a career in the sport.

"I've set up my own Jersey Golf Coaching and that is going really well," she explained. I know a number of past winners have used the success to expand their horizons and go off working across the world, but that's not my focus at the moment. I'm looking at developing what I've set up and building on it."

The PGA training programme, which was founded more than 50 years ago, concentrates on all aspects of golf including business, equipment technology and repairs, rules and tournament organisation, sports science, sports psychology and competing in tournaments.

Sandy Jones, chief executive of the PGA, said: "PGA graduation day is certainly one of the highlights of our golfing calendar and this year it is very much a year for the women.

"Each year at graduation I always wonder what the future holds for the graduates and where life will take them now that they have the PGA qualification.

"Certainly for the women, the world is their oyster and they become a great asset to the game with their invaluable ability to assist us in growing the game across the globe.

"The success of these three graduates will also be an inspiration to new women golfers and it has long been an ambition of the Association to not just attract more female golfers into the game but also to bring more women into the profession.

"I also of course congratulate each and every one of our new graduates and wish them well wherever their career takes them. I know they will all be outstandingly successful."

Matthew Johnson, Titleist brand director, added: "We are pleased to continue our support of the Titleist PGA Assistant of the Year award, recognising this as a starting point of the PGA's commitment to provide its members with a framework for lifelong learning.

"PGA professionals play a key role in the development and growth of the game across all levels, and we are delighted to support the next generation of qualified professionals and to wish them well with their future careers."

Ivan Peter Khodabakhsh, Chief Executive Officer of the Ladies European Tour, commented: "This is another significant year for The PGA as for the first time the top three graduates in the final year are all women. We would like to congratulate all of the winners and particularly Alex Mollin, the recipient of the LET award, for completing the treble having also won in years one and two.

"This award recognises her hard work and dedication to the course, but is also a testament to the inspirational PGA Professionals who provide such invaluable training at all levels of the sport."

RICOH WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN KICKS OFF GOLDEN FORTNIGHT OF GOLF IN THE NORTH WEST

The 39 th Ricoh Women's British Open is flourishing as it kicks off a two week festival of world-class golf in the North West of England at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport 10 –13 July.

Taking place in the week preceding the Open Championship, the Ricoh Women's British Open marks the start of a veritable feast of golf allowing golf fans to watch both the best female and male golfers in the world in a golden fortnight this summer.

Defending Champion and World No.3 Stacy Lewis commented, "Winning the 2013 Ricoh Women's British Open really was the highlight of my year and I can't wait to play this year's Championship as the reigning Champion. One of the coolest things about the tournament is that we get to play on the world's top courses and Royal Birkdale is definitely one of the best. I've always loved the challenges of playing links golf and now, having won at the Home of Golf, I look forward to the week in Southport with an added confidence that will hopefully help me defend that title in July."

In addition to the title sponsor Ricoh, Rolex signed a new four year agreement in 2013 and Berenberg Bank has renewed their partnership joining new co-sponsors for 2014 including Calvin Klein, Tourism Andalucía and Lynx Golf. The Ricoh Women's British Open is enjoying support like no other time in its history as sponsors embrace the tradition, history and passion of the Championship and the many values that the best women golfers can offer their brands.

Laura Davies, who will be playing in record 30 th consecutive Women's British Open in July, was recently elected as an Honorary Member at Royal Birkdale Golf Club. She looks forward to competing in her home Major, more so than for any other tournament. She explained, "It is very special to play in front of the home crowds for sure and I think we all find that is especially the case in the North West where the crowds are always plentiful and very passionate and knowledgeable about their golf. I can't believe this will be my 30 th time playing in the Women's British Open. I've seen it develop over three decades as it has attracted more and more major sponsors and now it truly is one of the biggest events we play in the year, much of which is down to Ricoh's extraordinary support. It is a great showcase for women's golf and, as always, I'm really looking forward to competing this year."

Royal Birkdale Golf Club is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year and Richard Hunt, the Club Captain commented, "Holding the Ricoh Women's British Open for the sixth time is the perfect way for us to mark this special anniversary. We really enjoy hosting the world's best women and our members especially enjoy both watching how the leading female golfers navigate their way around our course and, also, the unique interaction with the players that is possible at the Women's British Open."

Javier Diez-Aguirre, Corporate Marketing Director, Ricoh Europe added, "We are certain the 2014 Ricoh Women's British Open will be a must-watch for all golf fans as the players up-the-ante year on year with new techniques, skills and ambition. We will be busy behind the scenes providing document management services for the tournament and will also be closely watching the professionals master their game with the support of their teams. It's why we are the title sponsor of the tournament, as we can also compare that with the way we work with our own clients, supporting them to evolve into the future. We wish all the players the best of luck for 2014."

Shona Malcolm, the LGU's CEO, added, "Year on year we work hard to improve the Ricoh Women's British Open and the experience of the players, sponsors, media and spectators and we are delighted with the feedback we've received. This is, of course, done with a solid foundation only made possible due to the tremendous and long term support of Ricoh, to who we are extremely grateful.

Preparations are going very well for the 2014 Championship and we look forward to staging another fantastic tournament, together with our partners Ricoh and IMG."

The 2014 Ricoh Women's British Open will be played 10 – 13 July and is showcased, as always, on BBC Television and around the world. For further information please visit www.ricohwomensbritishopen.com

LET players tee off the start of National Golf Month

A closest to the pin shoot-out by Liz Young and Holly Aitchinson of the Ladies European Tour marked the Official Launch of National Golf Month at the Playgolf Centre, Northwick Park.

National Golf Month (NGM) – a British Golf Industry initiative – is an amazing event where all the leading golf companies and associations are joining together to increase the numbers playing golf. Support for National Golf Month has seen all the major Golf Unions and Associations, Golf Clubs, Driving Ranges, Golf Manufacturers and PGA Professionals sign up to work together to reverse the trend and get more players on course to enjoy the game.

National Golf Month aims to get an extra 100,000 lapsed or new golfers playing the game in May. Attended by all the major partners of this amazing event its media reach hit over 23 million people in the build up to the event.

Recent Major Champion Bubba Watson, who captured his second Masters title a couple of weeks ago, declared "I don't play golf because I want people to tell me how great I am at it. I don't play golf to make a living. I play it because I just love the game, and I want to help it grow. It has given me my values and everything I have ever owned in my life."

Sir Nick Faldo, three times Open champion and three times Masters champion, said: "I am very excited to be supporting National Golf Month. It is a special effort to get thousands of golfers playing actively or learning to play golf. The game provides an eternal number of self-challenges; an endless stream of goals to beat your own best. It's a lifelong journey in sport and I fully support this effort which provides opportunity through golf on all levels."

Charley Hull, who was introduced to golf aged two and won Rookie of the Year on the Ladies European Tour in 2013 when she became the youngest competitor to play in the Solheim Cup, said: "Golf is a fun game you can enjoy with all your family and friends, so use the great offers available during National Golf Month and get out playing this coming May."

NEW GEAR

TRIED & TESTED

Cobra Golf BiO CELL ladies driver

Info: www.cobragolf.co.uk
Price:
£249
General info:
Cobra Golf is very much the 'cool' brand on Tour at the moment. The new BiO CELL ladies driver takes adjustability to the next level by using Cobra's MyFly 8 with SmartPad technology - eight adjustable loft settings, allowing you to tune it for maximum distance with any swing, on any course, and under any weather condition. The driver is named after the BiO Cells integrated in the crown. These combine with the forged E9 BiO CELL face to remove weight from the crown and face for a lower centre of gravity and greater forgiveness. The result is faster ball speeds for distance and a bigger sweet zone for straighter drives.

My verdict: If you want to stand out on the first tee and have your fellow lady players eyeing your unique-looking driver with curiosity then the BiO CELL is the club for you. You can buy it in a choice of three vibrant colours - Desert Flower, Aqua Splash and Beetroot Purple – that all look dazzling in the sunlight. However I feel that this bold look is very much a personal taste that won't suit all eyes, especially the traditionalist and will appeal to the junior girls in your club. It would be nice to see Cobra offer just one tamer colour choice as an option. But looks aside what can't fail to impress is the power you get from this club. It really is effortless to hit and gives pleasing results even on those mishits.

The trolley bag that's a 'Classic'

PowaKaddy has unveiled a feature-packed line-up of Cart Bags including a new Ladies Classic Cart Bag.

The brand may be best-known for its market-leading line of electric trolleys but it has over 30 years expertise of designing high-performance cart bags too. They are manufactured specifically for use on powered trolleys and the entire collection has been made using premium quality materials and boasts a plethora of essential features with the golfers' needs firmly in mind.

Pushing the boundaries in technology and design, the bags feature an array of user-friendly functions - the highlight of these being PowaKaddy's exclusive Keylock system. This ingenious design feature securely fastens the cart bag to the key plate of all PowaKaddy electric carts, ensuring minimal movement on the roughest of on-course terrains.

The Ladies Classic Cart Bag has been specifically designed for the female golfer - exuding the latest in chic styling combined with extreme functionality. Not only does it represent the perfect addition to any PowaKaddy electric of push trolley, it also features an impressive 9 easy to access spacious pockets for all your balls, gloves, clothing and accessories. The bag is also extremely lightweight and has 14 full-length club dividers as well as an integrated E-ZEE Lift handle that helps users move the bag around with ease. An External Putter bay, Umbrella holder and clever PK Keylock Base only add to the impressiveness of a cart bag that is sure to be a hit this season.

The Ladies Cart Bag is available in a chic Black/Silver/Fuchsia colour style and has a recommended retail price of £119.99. Visit www.powakaddy.com for more information.

The 'Voice' that caddies for you

Golfers can have all their yardages told to them at the touch of a button following the official UK launch of the world's smallest and lightest GPS rangefinder: the VC300 from Voice Caddie.

The VC300 was the first voice-guided rangefinder when it was launched in the USA and is still the market leader. Created for users who require quality, comfort, superior technology and simplicity, its clip-on, hands-free design makes it easy to use.

Offering yardages to the front, centre, and back of the green, it comes ready to use out of the box. Its ultra-small, ultra-light, hands-free design sets it apart from the inconvenient and outdated laser rangefinders and smartphone apps. With its simple look and sophisticated capabilities, Voice Caddie provides all the benefits of a veteran caddie without any of the discomfort.

Voice Caddie VC300's sleek, sensitive touchpad responds intuitively to the slightest touch of fingertips and, the required yardage is determined by the swipe of a finger. One click and it tells the distance to the centre of the green; one 'swish' across the sensitive surface gives the distance to the front of the green; and a 'swish' in the opposite direction provides an accurate measurement to the back.

What's more, the VC300 automatically recognises the course being played from its constantly updated database of more than 30,000, all with no additional fees.

Measuring just 45mm x 45mm and weighing merely 25g - little more than an AA battery - the unobtrusive VC300 simply clips on to a cap, shirt or belt and is ready to work as soon as it is attached.

The Voice Caddie VC300 costs just £109 and can be ordered online at www.voice-caddie.com.

TRAVEL

The Golf & Country Club with a new spa you'll love

Dartmouth Golf & Country Club has unveiled a new £850,000 spa facility this month where a number of relaxing treatments are available - including the rare opportunity to enjoy a Rasul mud experience.

Following a four-month renovation, The Dartmouth Spa boasts a new indoor pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and fully equipped gym.
The ideal place to relax and unwind, the fully equipped spa includes three treatment rooms, a dual treatment room for couples, manicure and pedicure areas and relaxation room, while offering the very best in Elemis treatments.

The unique Rasul experience can be enjoyed individually, as a couple or with a friend. The ancient Egyptian bathing ritual - renowned for its detoxifying properties - involves specially formulated muds, infused steams and a dedicated Rasul Chamber.

Jamie Waugh, managing director at Dartmouth Golf & Country Club said: "We take great pride in offering all our customers the best possible facilities - whether they are spa lovers, golfing fanatics or hotel guests.
"The latest transformation of The Dartmouth Spa is part of our ongoing commitment to make Dartmouth Golf and Country Club one of the top places to enjoy an affordable spa experience in the south west."

The Dartmouth Spa is offering a new all-inclusive membership at a rate of £450 or £40 per month. Members can enjoy unlimited use of the spa facilities, six 30-minute treatments, a Rasul Mud experience and 15 per cent discount on food and drink at the resorts bar and restaurant.
Two-day spa breaks including bed and breakfast, a two-course evening meal and a choice of beauty treatments are available from just £75 per person.

Situated in 225 acres of south Devon countryside, just outside the beautiful town of Dartmouth, the resort boasts 27 holes of golf, luxury self-catering cottages and a 35 bed hotel. The resort is the perfect base from which to explore the region's picturesque towns, and stretches of sandy beaches.

For more details on The Dartmouth Spa at Dartmouth Golf & Country Club, ring 0800 043 3669, email spa@dgcc.co.uk or visit www.dgcc.co.uk .

Take advantage of 'after work' hours with twilight golf rates at The Grove

London's golfers are being invited to head for the golf course upon leaving the office with the introduction of an outstanding Twilight green fee rate at The Grove, one of Europe's finest golfing destinations.

For as little as £99pp, golfers can enjoy the luxurious surroundings of London's Country Estate, which provides ideal respite from the relentless pace of city life, by taking advantage of selected afternoon tee time slots.

With an emphasis on outstanding service and hospitality, benefitting from sumptuous surroundings, boasting a golfing layout of widespread critical acclaim and being the only English venue to have hosted a World Golf Championships event, The Grove is a resort unlike any other.

Such is the quality of the resort's championship course, which is set in 300 acres of stunning Hertfordshire countryside, golfers enjoy peak playing conditions and full greens all year round, despite many other courses in the region falling foul of winter weather.

Kyle Phillips' distinguished design follows a majestic route through rolling landscape and combines the great traditions of British golf course architecture with a careful consideration of modern game strategies. Quite simply, the world-renowned course designer's creation is beyond compare.

The Grove's lovingly-restored five-star hotel, the former ancestral home of the Earl of Clarendon, overlooks a magnificent estate, which is also home to a wealth of first-rate facilities, with the Dave Pelz Golf School, full-length driving range, recently improved short game area and putting green offering the ideal opportunity for a pre-round warm-up.

Despite its position as one of England's most exclusive venues for golf, there are absolutely no restrictions on visitors taking advantage of The Grove's peerless service and opulent hospitality. Those seeking a round of golf that is as exciting as it is unforgettable are more than welcome to while away the hours against the charming Home County backdrop, and return on as many occasions as their heart desires.

For further Information on this superb Twilight Golf offer, visit www.thegrove.co.uk

 

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