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CARLY FROST
Editor
Ladies Golf Today

Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
May 23, 2014


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Carin's a class act!

I had the pleasure and privilege of playing golf with 2015 Solheim Cup captain Carin Koch last week. She was my team captain in the Ladies European Tour media day at the beautiful Buckinghamshire Golf Club, the venue where the professional ladies will be playing in a month's time in the prestigious European Open, so I got a little taste of what a fantastic leader Carin will be. She really is a very classy lady, still a very competent player herself, extremely eloquent and insightful with the media and very well loved by her fellow LET professionals. She spoke to me exclusively about what her role as Solheim Cup captain will bring, the decisions she will have to make and the planning that is going to take place over the next year and a half ahead of the tournament which will take place at the St. Leon Rot golf club in Germany in August 2015. I also reveal a very special Solheim Cup 'scoop' she shared with me in my interview below.

If you have never been to watch a Ladies European Tour event before then I cannot think of a nicer day out than the one you will have if you go along to the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters at The Buckinghamshire Golf Club in July 3-6th. The lady professionals are so accessible and friendly. I've been to many men's European Tour events where I have struggled to get close to watch the action due to the size of the crowds. The beauty of the LET is that crowd sizes are far smaller and the players really appreciate your support and will always stop to sign autographs. You'll also learn a great deal from watching these talented ladies in action, they play a far more familiar game to you and I then the guys on Tour who bomb the ball out of sight and the ladies have a wonderful flair and finesse with their short game that is exceptional to watch - a lesson for us all

For the first time, this year the championship will be played over four rounds with live television coverage on Sky Sports over the weekend and an increased prize fund of 500,000 euros.

In addition to the first class sporting action, there is a host of fun entertainment providing a big day out for all the family. Spectators will have the opportunity to meet the stars of the game in an open and welcoming environment or have a free golf lesson with PGA Tour professionals in the PING Swing Zone. Kids can also have fun experiencing SNAG golf, a premier learning system containing age appropriate equipment to teach the game of golf. Pimms will be served on the terrace in the beautiful surroundings and amazing atmosphere.Early bird tickets are on sale now until 25th May at www.sky.com/tickets

Go to www.ladieseuropeanmasters.com for more information…

Carly spoke exclusively to Carin Koch…

Q. Congratulations on being selected to captain the 2015 Solheim Cup, you'll have a hard act to follow after Liselotte Neumann's captaincy in Colorado but presumably you'll have learned a lot from being part of that exceptional triumph as one of Lotte's assistants?

A. That win will certainly be hard to beat. It was the perfect week for us really. Right from the start I knew we had an exceptional team with youth on our side, but then the Americans did too. Saturday afternoon was when we won it, all of our rookies went out and simply outclassed their opponents. It was a bold decision for Lotte to play all the rookies and I must admit a little scary at the time but it paid off. We were really just hoping for two points out of that afternoon so to completely dominate it was outstanding, things worked out so much better. But we knew we still had to close it out, you only have to look at what happened to Davis Love III's side in the Ryder Cup to see that.

Q. I understand that you have returned home to Sweden after a long spell of your career living and playing in the USA.

A. Yes I live in Gothenberg In Sweden, it's where I wanted to bring my kids up. We lived in Scotsdale in Arizona USA for 15 years prior to that on the Red Kite Golf Resort, but life there just wasn't real. We lived in a bubble -perfect weather, perfect course, perfect practice facilities. Everyone there was wealthy, there used to be Ferraris lined up in the car park, but it just wasn't real. I didn't want my kids growing up without knowing the real world so we moved back to Sweden five years ago. The difference is that within a week of being back we knew our neighbours, in the 15 years we lived in Arizona we never knew them.

Q. Are you excited about the build up to the Solheim Cup or nervous about the responsibility on your shoulder for the next 18 months?

A. It's an honour and I'm really excited. As Alex Ferguson once said, "I know everyone is going to be nice to me for a year and a half" which is what happens when you're in a position of responsibility and everyone wants a piece of your time.

Q. One of your first jobs will be to select your captain's assistants. Who do you have in mind?

A, I've already asked them actually, but it is not official yet, so this is a bit if a scoop. I've selected my best friend Annika Sorenstam and fellow Swede Fanny Suneson. I couldn't have a better support network. Annika with her amazing career and Solheim Cup experience and Fanny who caddied for Nick Faldo in Ryder Cups.

Q. Is the captaincy taking over your life yet?

A. I hope not, well not yet anyway! I have had a few sleepless nights thinking about one thing or another but I've started writing notes in my phone about all the little things that crop up so I don't forget. I'm most worried about the opening ceremony speech as there have been some dreadful ones over the years.

Q. One of your fun jobs as captain will be to select the team uniforms for the week, have you got some fashion ideas in mind?

A. I've just had some of the potential squad members over to Sweden for a trial of some different outfits by a Swedish designer and I have to say it is quite tricky finding a look that suits everyone. There have been some dreadful team uniform choices over the years and I very much want the team to look like one unit and not every player wearing a different look. So for the evening outfits for instance I've decided to go for a classy blue. We had a trial of white dresses that didn't look great, then we had a look at long black cocktail dresses but they were quite dull, so I think a nice royal blue with perhaps a little bit of pretty embroidery like the European flag in gold detailed on the back discreetly would be nice. Then different players can customise their look with cardigans, shawls, jackets and so on.

Q. Europe's landslide victory against the Americans in Colorado is going to be a hard act to follow, what did you learn from being captain's assistant that week that you will take with you to Germany?

A. I think the biggest thing was what a fun and relaxed atmosphere we had in our team room. We really did have a very youthful, talented team of players and everyone played their matches with such good spirit, so we had great fun. Although this is a serious competition it is really important that the pressure doesn't over rule the fun of playing the event.

Q. Charley Hull's rookie performance in the 2013 Solheim Cup was exceptional, although her captain's pick at the time of announcement, post British Open was perhaps a bit controversial?

A. There was no question in our minds that we wanted Charley in the team but it certainly wasn't a certainly until the end of British Open week. Unfortunately we had to let a few people down, players like Sandra Gal were very disappointed, but Charley proved her pick. Her singles performance against Paula Creamer was exceptional, she destroyed her. Poor Paula has had a tough time in Solheim Cup singles recently. Charley was one of my Junior Solheim Cup players and it would be fantastic if she, and one or two of the others from that Junior team made my 2015 side.

Q. How much influence will you have over the way the course is set up for the Solheim Cup?

A. I'm already involved in the decision-making. I visited St. Leon Rot golf club in February and we started the ball rolling on some of the changes, for instance the 18th and first holes will be switched around but that is more for the benefit of spectators and logistics of crowd control. As far as the course set-up goes, historically it always used to favour the European team to play the course as long as possible as we had more big hitters like Laura Davies on our side but these days I think we are pretty even in the distance stakes. It will be the more subtle suggestions like pin positions that I'll be involved in. I'm going back out to the course in June with the Swedish national junior squad for a tournament so that will give me a better opportunity to see how the course is playing in summer conditions.

Q. How are you managing to balance your own playing schedule with the demands of the captaincy?

A. I've not played a full schedule for the last few years, maybe only 10 tournaments or so but I am keen to stay competitive as I am hoping to play some events on the Legends Tour in the USA in a few years time. I've always found the summer run of tournaments tricky as August is a big school holiday in Sweden and I like to spend time with the kids, so it is tricky to find that balance.

Q. Historically Sweden has produced some outstanding golfers, what is it that has helped that success?

A. Well we've gone through rises and dips in success as a nation. Just five years ago an audit showed that we only had 90 girls playing off a handicap of 5 or below so we started running junior camps where we could bring all those girls together for some competitive practice. The trouble is when you get a club with just one or two junior girls they tend to drop out of the game as they don't have friends to play or practice. The idea of running a national camp is that they would meet new friends to play with that shared a similar interest in the sport. I've attended the camp last year and gave a motivational talk about the Solheim Cup and gave the girls some advice.

Q. Are you a member of a course in Sweden?

A. Yes I represent The Hills Golf Club. It was designed by Arthur Hills and is owned by a syndicate including Johan Edfors. There are a few of us who play there including fellow LET player Linda Wessberg and European Tour professional Thomas Bjorn. It really is a top quality course and until recently the only club in Sweden where you could take a cart, but then it is, as the name suggests, very hilly! It is a very friendly and welcoming club who really look after the juniors who get free golf under a certain age. It's family orientated which suits us.

Q. What do you think of the inclusion of golf in the Olympics?

A. I think it is fantastic for the sport but a shame that just one or two players are going to benefit from the Olympic funding. I disagree with this approach as that money could be put to great use if the scope and number of players who benefited from it was greater.

Q. Have you given any thought to what you would like to do when you retire?

A. Well I'm not planning on retiring any time soon, as I say I've set my sights on playing some events on the Legends Tour. I did get asked a similar question when my game was in a rut in the late nineties, in fact The Golf Channel asked me if I was interested in doing some commentating work for them and at the time I was quite offended as I was playing a full schedule, but looking back now I think I would have enjoyed doing it, so perhaps media work would be good. My golf was so bad I was thinking about quitting and I often wondered what would have been if my career had taken a different path.

Q. So you are still putting in a lot of work on your game then?

Yes I changed coaches over the winter and I've made some major swing changes. I decided I'd had enough of missing every fairway left and fighting a hook as my bad shot so I've completely neutralised my swing path. Now, if anything, I come from a little bit out to in. I've noticed a massive improvement in my ball striking and shot control and most importantly I've eradicated that destructive tee shot. I've sacrificed some distance but the compromise to hit more fairways outweighs the distance.

Q. What do you enjoy doing away from the golf course?

A. When you spend 30 weeks of the year travelling all over the world it is just nice to spend time at home relaxing with family. The silly thing is I've been to all these different countries but I have seen so little of them - just a lot of hotels and airports. So my down time is very much just family time at home in Sweden.

PRO NEWS

US OPEN qualifiers celebrate

Ladies European Tour rookie Amy Boulden of Wales earned medallist honours at the inaugural U.S. Women's Open sectional qualifier (Europe) at Buckinghamshire Golf Club in England. The 20-year-old from Llandudno posted successive rounds of 71 to finish with a 36-hole total of two-under-par 142 and automatically qualified for her first appearance in the championship.

From left: US Women's Open qualifiers Rebecca Hudson, Nicole Garcia, Lucy Williams, Stephanie Na, Holly Clyburn, Amy Boulden, Kelsey MacDonald and Nikki Campbell with USGA Director, Senior Competitions, Mark Hill. (image © Leaderboard Photography)

The other seven Ladies European Tour professionals who earned spots by finishing in the top eight of the qualifier were Kelsey MacDonald of Scotland and Nicole Garcia from South Africa, who tied on one-under-par 143, with Australians Nikki Campbell and Stephanie Na and English trio Holly Clyburn, Lucy Williams and Rebecca Hudson all on 144, level par.
Boulden, who earned her maiden professional title on the LET Access Series in Switzerland two weeks earlier, was thrilled to have earned a place in the field for the 2014 U.S. Women's Open, taking place on June 19-22 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2) in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C.

The first year professional said: “I'm very happy. I played very well today so I'm very pleased. I knew there were a lot of good players but I still felt quite confident. I've grown up playing with a lot of the girls playing so I just tried to play my own game and I knew that if you were under par you were probably going to qualify here. It's one of the biggest majors so I'm looking forward to going to the States and playing against the best players in the world.”

Nicole Garcia, a 23-year-old Ladies European Tour rookie professional from Kempton Park, will also be making her first trip to the US Women's Open and commented: “It is my first year on tour so I didn't expect to make it. It's quite exciting. I've been so nervous playing in the LET tournaments so I think I'm going to be incredibly nervous when I go there and I'll have no expectations. Hopefully that works and I'll play well.”

Kelsey MacDonald, 23, from Inverness, is another rookie on her way to Pinehurst. She said: “This is the first time I've played the Buckinghamshire Golf Club. It's amazing. I went out in a tough field and there were a lot of spots which was great but you know you're competing against the best of Europe so it's just a fantastic feeling. I was a couple under and I tried to play more conservatively, which went against me, so then I decided to just go back to playing aggressively. It's great that me and Amy both qualified because we're good friends and both from the Robert Rock Academy so he'll be really proud of us.”

Five players tied for ninth on one-over-par and played off to determine the two alternate positions. After Beth Allen and Camilla Lennarth made par on the first play-off hole, the par-three ninth, they progressed to the par-5 first where Lennarth made birdie to become the first alternate. Maria Balikoeva, Melissa Reid and Kylie Walker were eliminated on the first play-off hole.

Qualifiers

Amy Boulden 142 (-2)

Kelsey MacDonald 143 (-1)

Nicole Garcia 143 (-1)

Holly Clyburn 144 (E)

Nikki Campbell 144 (E)

Lucy Williams 144 (E)

Stephanie Na 144 (E)

Rebecca Hudson 144 (E)

Alternates*

1 st Camilla Lennarth 145 (+1)

2 nd Beth Allen 145 (+1)

*determined in play-off

Teenage pair shine at WPGA event

Two teenage players from England Golf squads led the amateur challenge at the latest event on the WPGA One Day Series when they tied for second place.

Cloe Frankish,15, from Chart Hills in Kent, and Aimee Wilson, 18, from Mickleover in Derbyshire, both scored two-under 72 at Little Aston. They were in a three-way tie for second place and finished two shots behind the winner, Jo Hodge of Hamptworth in Wiltshire.

A third squad player, Megan Clarke of Cleckheaton & District in Yorkshire, also finished in the top six with a score of one-over par.

The WPGA has opened up entry to its popular One Day Series to U16 and U18 girls from England Golf's regional squads to give them the chance to develop their skills in a tournament arena.

This was the second event in the series and both have showcased the skills of the emerging amateurs, after Bel Wardle of Cheshire was joint runner-up in the first tournament.

Rebecca Wood, the England Golf Women's Performance Manager, said: “This was another fantastic outcome for the England Golf programme. I cannot highlight enough what a great experience this is for the players to add to their development journeys and I hope more players sign up for the remaining events.”

Aimee Wilson, who trains with the West Midlands U18 squad and is the Derbyshire champion, was playing in her first pro event and confessed to shaking beforehand! But her father – and caddy – Mark, said: “She played absolutely fantastic, I was really proud of her, and she really enjoyed the experience. She was very happy.”

She had four birdies in her round and came home in one-under par, with immaculate play which resulted in a birdie on the 10th and eight straight pars to finish with.

Cloe Frankish, who trains with the South East U16 squad, was playing in her second One Day event and her mum, Claire, commented: “She really enjoyed it and it's given her such a big confidence boost.”

She was giving a new putter its first outing during the competition and was rewarded with an excellent performance on the greens, including holing at least one 30-footer. Altogether she amassed five birdies in her round.

WILLIAMS QUALIFIES FOR US WOMEN'S OPEN

PGA Professional Lucy Williams is set to take her career to a new level after qualifying for the US Women's Open at the first attempt.

The Mid Herts pro drained a 25 foot birdie putt on the last hole at The Buckinghamshire to secure a top eight finish and a place alongside the world's best golfers at the legendary Pinehurst No.2 course in North Carolina.

The 24-year-old, who is the reigning Glenmuir WPGA Champion, endured an anxious two-hour wait before her slot in the showpiece was finally confirmed.

“It all feels pretty insane,” she said. “I can't believe I'm going to be playing in my first major, it's really exciting!

“It's the first time they've held a European qualifier, and it was over a course I know quite well too so I was hopeful that I would be able to qualify.”

After two solid rounds, Williams bogeyed the 16th hole and approached the 18th knowing only a birdie would keep her dreams of qualification alive.

“I knew I was going to need at least level-par to stand any chance of qualifying, but I hit my tee shot at the last hole slightly short and ended up having to make quite a tricky putt,” she explained.

“It was such a great feeling to see it drop in, although the wait to see whether I had qualified was very stressful!

“I was just sat there watching the scores come in and gradually I noticed that people were dropping shots. In the end I was relieved more than anything that my score was enough.”

Williams is currently in the middle of her debut year on the Ladies European Tour, and will visit Holland for the Deloitte Ladies Open before heading to North Carolina on June 19-22.

Yet despite the success of recent years she remains level-headed, and will travel to Pinehurst with dad David, a former European Tour player himself, on the bag.

“My dad will be caddying for me over at Pinehurst and it will be great to have him there, particularly after all the support he has given me over the years,” she said.

“I'd like to do well there and make the cut, but obviously as it's my first time playing at that level I will be going there trying to enjoy it.
“I've got lots of events coming up after the US Open so hopefully this will be the start of a really good year for me.”

Amateur news

Five English players in Curtis Cup team

Five English players have been selected for the GB&I team which will defend the Curtis Cup at St Louis Country Club, Missouri from June 6-8, 2014.

They include Bronte Law, who was a member of the 2012 team which won at Nairn in Scotland. She will be joined by Gabriella Cowley, Annabel Dimmock, Georgia Hall and Charlotte Thomas.

The eight-strong team will be completed by Ireland's Stephanie Meadow, who scored the winning point in 2012, giving GB&I their first victory since 1996; and the Scottish pair of Eilidh Briggs and Gemma Dryburgh.

The team is made up of:

- The top four GB&I players on the world rankings: Meadow, Hall, Dimmock and Law

- The top two players on the LGU Order of Merit not already selected from the world ranking: Cowley and Briggs

- Two selected players: Thomas and Dryburgh

The team will again be captained by Tegwen Matthews who said: “I am thrilled and excited with this team and genuinely believe it has the perfect mix to retain the Curtis Cup. Each and every member of this team has fought hard for their place and I know they all have the desire, talent and passion to bring the cup back home.” Anna Hubbard will return as Team Manager.

GB&I's victory at Nairn in 2012 halted a run of seven consecutive victories by the United States.

The Nairn contest, which GB&I won by a single point over three days, was the closest since a 9-9 draw in 1994 at the Honors Course, Chattanooga in Tennessee. GB&I, as holders, retained the trophy that year. GB&I's only victory when the Curtis Cup match has been played in America occurred in 1986 at Prairie Dunes, Kansas where GB&I won 13-5.
United States leads the series with 27 wins to GB&I's seven. Three matches have been drawn.

The England players:

Gabriella Cowley , 18, (Hanbury Manor, Hertfordshire) was runner-up in this year's Portuguese amateur championship, teamed up with Annabel Dimmock to win the Nations Cup for England at the Helen Holm Scottish stroke play championship, and was eighth in the Welsh open stroke play. She won the England Golf girls' order of merit for 2013, when her achievements included qualifying for the Women's British Open, winning the Critchley Salver, representing GB&I in the Vagliano Trophy, representing England and helping to successfully defend the Girls' Home Internationals.

Annabel Dimmock , 17, (Wentworth, Surrey) has soared up the world rankings with a string of excellent results this season. She won the Helen Holm Scottish open stroke play title and followed up as runner-up in the Welsh open stroke play. Earlier in the season she won the matchplay Jones Doherty Cup in the USA, where she was also runner-up in the South Atlantic ladies' amateur. She was runner-up in the Spanish amateur, fifth in the European Nations Cup and won the Sunningdale Foursomes. She is an England international and was a member of the winning team at the Girls' Home Internationals.

Georgia Hall , 18, (Parkstone, Dorset) is the British women's amateur champion and a past winner of the British girls' title. She shared low-amateur honours at last year's Ricoh Women's British Open, won two gold medals at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival, represented Europe in the Junior Solheim Cup and won the LGU order of merit. She was Europe's number one woman golfer for 2012, has previously represented GB&I in the Vagliano Trophy and is an England international.

Bronte Law , 19, (Bramhall, Cheshire) was a member of the winning GB&I team at the 2012 Curtis Cup. The England international is a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, and has won on the US women's college circuit. She has represented GB&I in the Vagliano Trophy and Europe in both the Junior Solheim Cup and Junior Ryder Cup matches. Bronte won the Cartier Trophy at the 2013 French Lady Junior Championship and was runner-up in the Esmond Trophy the previous year, when she tied 33rd in the Ricoh Women's British Open.

Charlotte Thomas , 21, is based in Singapore but makes an annual golfing trip back to England. Last summer she won the English mid-amateur championship, one week after losing a play-off for the English stroke play title. She is a student at the University of Washington in Seattle and has won on the US college circuit. Earlier this season she reached the matchplay stages of the Australian women's amateur and tied third in the Lake Macquarie ladies' championship, also in Australia.

Championship triumph for Julie Brown

Julie Brown is the new English senior women's champion – completing a fairytale debut with a 2/1 win in the final over past winner Chris Quinn.
She arrived at Sandy Lodge Golf Club, near Watford, on a mission to win and to add another achievement to her already impressive record. And she didn't put a foot wrong.

Julie, from Trentham in Staffordshire, swept through the qualifying stages to become top seed. And, although she prefers stroke play to match play, she advanced speedily through the knockout stages, winning her rounds after 11, 13, 15 and 17 holes in turn.

“It's fantastic, I'm over the moon, I'm so excited,” she said after she clinched the title. She's no stranger to success, having been an England international and then a winner on the Ladies European Tour during a seven-year playing career in professional ranks. This latest win rates just as highly: “It feels exactly the same – and I felt exactly the same when I was playing. This week has felt just like starting again.”

Julie turned 50 on Boxing Day and set her sights on senior success. “I came here to win, I'm county junior organiser for Staffordshire and I told all the girls that I was going to come here and win. I'm thrilled I won't have to live it down!”

The final produced an absorbing match, played in overcast conditions which steadily worsened into heavy rain, before drying up for the final hole or two.

The players halved the first two holes, with a spectacular save for Julie on the second hole. Her approach to the green hit the top of the sleepers on a massive bunker which runs across the hole and flew back down the fairway. Undaunted she played on to the green and holed the putt to match Chris Quinn's more regulation par.

Julie edged ahead twice on the front nine, thanks to her mastery of the short holes, but she was pulled back both times and the players reached the turn all square. She produced a remarkable save on the short 10th where she missed the elevated green but managed a pitch and a long putt to halve the hole.

Then, as the weather worsened, Chris faltered on the greens, three-putting both the 11th and 13th to be 2 down. She cut the deficit to one with a conceded birdie on the long 14th, where Julie found a fairway bunker and then rough, but lost the 16th with another three putt.
With the title in her grasp, Julie made no mistakes and played the long 17th in text-book fashion to make certain of a par and the half.

Despite the result there were no regrets for Chris, who has won the title four times. “This is my seventh final and I'm thrilled to bits because the ‘young ones' keep coming up,” she said.

The second flight final was won by Carole Weir of Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, who defeated Cheshire's Caroline Berry (Bromborough) 3/2. The match was a re-run of the 2010 championship final – which Caroline won – and Carole was delighted to re-write the result.

She played the 16 holes of her final in level par and remarked: “It was nice to play well,” she said, paying tribute to her husband and caddy, Melvin. “He sorted me out! He told me I was taking too long over the shot and to stand there and whack it – and to keep still on the putts.”

Carole retired last year as a Buckinghamshire county player. She was previously the Middlesex champion.

Wire-to-wire Scottish win for Annabel

England's Annabel Dimmock scored a wire-to-wire victory in the Helen Holm Scottish open strokeplay championship at Troon, with an 11-under par total for 54 holes.

“It's a relief! It's always hard leading from the start because you feel you need to get the job done,” said the 17-year-old from Wentworth. She's the second English player in a row to win this title, following last year's success by Yorkshire's Olivia Winning.

Annabel also teamed up with fellow international Gabriella Cowley to win the Nations Cup for England.

Altogether, five English players were in the top ten at the championship with Sarah-Jane Boyd (Truro) taking sixth place on three-under, Gabriella Cowley (Hanbury Manor) and India Clyburn (Woodhall Spa) sharing seventh on one-under, and Ellie Goodall (Selby) finishing 10th on level par.

Annabel led by one shot after the first round and by five as she went into the third and final round. But she put the advantage out of her mind and set out to play aggressively to ensure she wasn't caught. “I went straight out from the start to try and increase my lead,” she said.

She played the last round, at Royal Troon, in two-under par 73 and held off the challenge of Scotland's Connie Jaffrey, who shot 71.

Annabel played steadily, with four birdies and two bogeys – one of which was a notable result. “I just had one tricky hole, the 11th, where I hit the ball in the gorse, tried to chop away at it, had an air shot and then took a drop. I only got a bogey in the end which was a really good result.”
One of the strengths of Annabel's game throughout the event was her three-wood which she played with super accuracy and it helped her set up birdies on the par fives.

This win underlines Annabel's great form in 2014 which began when she won the Jones Doherty Cup in the USA. Since then she has finished runner-up in the Spanish amateur, fifth in the European Nations Cup, a quarter finalist in the French Lady Junior Championship and won the Sunningdale Foursomes.

“I went full-time at the end of last year and I've been putting in the work on my golf. I think I got some early confidence when I won in America and I've brought that back home to the tournaments in Europe,” she said.

Marian Rae to become England Golf President 2016

Marian Rae, a prominent figure in English women's golf and in Yorkshire civic life, has accepted the nomination to become President Elect of England Golf for 2015 with a view to becoming President in 2016.

“I'm honoured to be invited to take on this prestigious role and equally I am humbled by the list of my predecessors, both men and women,” said Marian, who chaired the championship committee of the former English Women's Golf Association (EWGA) and continued in the role after the merger which formed England Golf.

She has also been the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, holding the office in the year of the Queen's Golden Jubilee, and is a Deputy Lieutenant for South Yorkshire. “There is a great contrast between golf and civic life and they have both put each other in perspective.” she said.

Marian points out that there is much to look forward to in her year of Presidency which will include the 90th birthday of the Queen, who is patron of England Golf; the Curtis Cup will be played in Ireland; golf will return to the Olympics at Rio 2016; and it will be the 125th anniversary of her club, Lindrick, in Yorkshire.

Marian took up golf in her early 30s, learning the game at Lindrick, where she has been a member since 1976, and at Elie in Scotland, where the family spent their holidays.

She progressed quickly and began playing for her club, commenting: “Matches and championships took me all over Yorkshire and I have made many longstanding and valuable friends, which has been one of the best things about golf for me.” She was ladies' captain in 1988 and junior organiser for eight years.

Next, Marian became involved with the Yorkshire Ladies' Golf Association, serving on the executive and as county captain in 2000, the association's centenary year. “Yorkshire has been such a successful county and we have many supporters for our teams and individuals - it's like one big family.”

In 2004 she was elected a member of the executive of the English Ladies' Golf Association, which became EWGA. Marian chaired the championship committee from 2009 for four years, remarking: “I very much enjoyed organising our championships and working at the various host clubs around the country. You meet so many good people who put in their time for the sake of the game.”

She went on: “Being President will give me another opportunity to show appreciation to all the clubs which go to such trouble to host our championships and to thank all the volunteers.”

Marian's involvement in public life also includes being a Sheffield Town Trustee and she chaired the Sheffield Cathedral Council for a decade until last year.

She grew up in Scotland and is a graduate of St Andrews University, where she met her husband, Dougal. The couple have two sons, who work and live in London, a daughter living in Sheffield, and seven grandchildren.

Dougal, who still plays off single figures, was a director and chief executive of a public company in the steel industry. He has been a member of the R&A since 1966 and served on R&A committees for 20 years. He has been an international golf referee and has officiated at 12 Majors – while Marian was a walking scorer at The Open for nine years.
Apart from golf Marian's interests include sport in general, ski-ing and walking, travel, music, the opera and theatre.

Top class Laura wins qualifier for Grand Medal Final

Yorkshire teenager Laura Morrison dashed from the exam room to the golf course – and won her way into England Golf's Grand Medal Final.

Laura sat her GCSE Business Studies exam in the morning, before hurrying from Leeds to Houghton-le-Spring Golf Club in County Durham where she won the North Region Medal Final with a net score of five-under 68.

The 16-year-old leads 10 qualifiers for the Grand Medal Final at Peterborough Milton Golf Club on June 28. They are: Laura Morrison of Garforth, Anne Moyle of Hexham, Louisa Brunt of Ashton-under-Lyne, Jennifer Langrish of Stocksfield, Roanne Tomlinson of Haydock Park, Pauline Bramley of Hallamshire, Sarah Chapman of Wath, Mary Kay of Thirsk & Northallerton, Natasha Martin of Beamish Park, and Neeve Fisher of Hebden Bridge.

All the regional finalists had returned the best four scores at their club in the England Golf Medals during 2013.

Laura won the event on countback and commented: “It was great, I'm a little bit in shock! My aim was to qualify, to win it is just amazing.”

The five-handicapper put together a gross score of level par 73 and remarked: “I was pretty steady throughout the round and then holed a par putt on the last of about eight or nine feet, which was crucial.”

Laura started playing golf when she was eight and has represented both the Yorkshire girls and Yorkshire ladies' second team. Last season she cut her handicap from eight to five and this year her target is three.

This was the fifth of six Regional Medal Finals. The East, South, Midlands North and Midlands South finals have already taken place. The South West final will be played at Forest Hills, Gloucestershire, on 25 May.

WEYMOUTH WOMAN IS FIRST TO JOIN EXCLUSIVE CLUB IN 2014

In 2013, just 10 per cent of holes-in-one recorded in the BOSS Watches H1 Club were achieved by ladies - but, this year, a Weymouth woman beat the men to the punch by becoming the first member of the 2014 roll of honour.

The new season for the BOSS Watches H1 Club teed off on April 14 and Marilyn Wilson, 65, a member at Bridport & West Dorset Golf Club, was quick off the mark to record the first ace in the new campaign.

The 21-handicapper holed out on the 124-yard, par-three sixth at her home club, a spectacular cliff-top ‘links' on the Jurassic Coast, overlooking Lyme Bay, to become the first recipient of a limited-edition timepiece from BOSS Watches, which has pledged to reward club golfers with a watch for every hole-in-one recorded during a club competition in 2014 after giving away £600,000-worth last year.

She said: "The sixth is the club's signature hole on the cliff-edge and the green is about 100ft below the tee. My tee shot hit the bank and rolled in. My playing partners gave out such a huge cheer that, because of the layout, everybody on the course heard it, but they didn't know who'd made it.

"A couple of ladies on the putting green said that I put them off but the bucks fizz afterwards made up for it."

A retired maths teacher, Marilyn has been a member at Bridport & West Dorset for five years and this was her first hole-in-one in 20 years of trying.

The reward scheme is open to any golfer whose club uses HowDidiDo - a free-to-use, web-based social network for golfers - and anybody playing in official club competitions is eligible. Currently, more than 1,800 clubs use the website.

Stephen Brydon, commercial director for MGS Distribution, the official licenced UK distributor for BOSS Watches, said: "Congratulations to Marilyn on becoming the first person this season to achieve golf's Holy Grail of a hole-in-one.

"To the majority of amateur golfers, recording a hole-in-one will be the most memorable thing they achieve in golf - a once-in-a-lifetime experience probably - and we want to ensure they have much better memories than merely a dent in their bank balance after buying drinks in the clubhouse.

"The exclusive BOSS watch is available only to golfers who record a hole-in-one. It will provide a constant reminder of the achievement and also help to ensure they're never late for a tee-time again.

"We also hope it might add a frisson of extra excitement to club competitions for golfers who may not be in with a chance of winning the event, for they know that every time they stand on the tee on a par-three, they are just one shot away from winning a stunning timepiece."

In addition to the limited-edition watch, Wilson is also awarded membership of the exclusive BOSS Watches H1 Club which offers its members access to exclusive benefits and merchandise.

No extra registration is required to participate in the BOSS Watches promotion as all official club competitions are recorded on the HowDidiDo system, so holes-in-one are noted and automatically ratified by the golfer's club. www.bosswatches.co.uk

Amelia sets record in Mothers and Daughters

England regional squad player, Amelia Williamson of Norfolk, has become the youngest winner of the Mothers and Daughters foursomes – at the age of 13.

The annual event at Royal Mid Surrey was first played in 1932 and in the past six years two 14-year-olds have won: Alex Peters of Nottinghamshire lifted the trophy in 2008 and Charlotte Barrow of Hampshire in 2011. But the record now belongs to Amelia, a six-handicap member of the England Golf U16 East region girls' squad.

Amelia was helped by an outstanding partner - her mother, Tracey, is a two-handicapper and eight times Norfolk champion.

The Williamsons, from Royal Cromer (pictured), had a wayward morning round of 84 and were five shots behind the leaders with nine holes to play. But they produced a thrilling comeback, starting birdie, eagle – after Tracey nearly drove the 300-yard second hole and Amelia chipped in. They finished the nine in level par, despite a costly double bogey on the penultimate hole, and won the title by a shot.

This talented combination have so many potential years to play this event that they could target the extraordinary feat of the late Angela Uzielli, who won 22-times with her mother, Peggy Carrick, and once with her daughter, Caroline. Tracey is already following closely in the footsteps of Peggy Carrick, who was Norfolk champion 11 times.

Fashion for the fairway

Abacus Sportswear signs Swedish star and triumphant 2013 Solheim Cup captain, Liselotte Neumann

Abacus Sportswear, pioneers of stretch waterproof fabrics and Official Licensee of The 2014 Ryder Cup, has signed an apparel agreement with Swedish Legends Tour player and winning 2013 Solheim Cup captain, Liselotte Neumann.

After turning professional in 1985, Neumann became a member of the LPGA Tour in 1988 when she also won the U.S Women's Open and was declared Rookie of the Year. Since then the Swede's career has gone from strength to strength with her achieving a total of 13 Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour wins and 11 Ladies European Tour (LET) wins.

For a decade, Neumann represented Europe in the highly anticipated biennial Solheim Cup event. Last year, while dressed entirely in abacus®, she made history by captaining the European team to Solheim Cup victory on foreign soil, for the first time.

Neumann has made a terrific start to her 2014 campaign with a victory at The Walgreens Charity Classic, the first meet of The 2014 Legends Tour. For the Swedish national - now competing in her third year on the circuit - being crowned tour champion at the end of this season, is her ultimate goal.

Neumann said: “Abacus Sportswear never fails to produce high quality, smart clothing. Through its ongoing partnership with the Solheim Cup, I have experienced first hand the leading functional qualities of abacus® apparel.

“Like me, abacus® is Swedish, and I feel it is very important to support a brand from my home country.”

Emma Westerberg, Marketing Manager at Abacus Sportswear, said: “Liselotte is a female golfing legend and personifies the abacus® brand with her own style and Swedish heritage. We are all very happy to welcome her as a brand ambassador.”

Chris Mattsson, Chief Designer at Abacus Sportswear, added: “Having worked with Liselotte in 2013 when fitting the European Solheim Cup team, it was great to be reunited and work on our upcoming 2015 ranges.
“I look forward to welcoming her feedback on the 2015 collections, which will fuel design and overall product development in the future.”

Abacus Sportswear was established in 1991 and has grown into one of golf's most successful international outerwear and apparel brands, renowned for its function, design and quality.

New Gear

New GPS golf watch is great value

The unique T1 GPS golf watch, from Voice Caddie is "the best-value GPS golf watch available".

Packed with features, the T1 - from the same company that produces the VC300, the world's smallest and lightest GPS rangefinder - includes all the elements required in a GPS watch and much more. It has the unique ability to help golfers in their quest to achieve the optimum 3:1 swing ratio, by utilising in-built ‘oscillation sensory technology'. And all for the remarkably low price of £149.

The superior design and slick user interface provide all the benefits of a veteran caddie in one convenient, easy-to-use product. In just a single glance, golfers can obtain yardages to the front, centre, and back of the green, regardless of which course they are playing, as the T1 automatically detects the course being played from its constantly updated database of more than 37,000 - and all with no additional fees.

Adding to its functionalities, a digital scorecard allows golfers to keep track of their scores and analyse their progress by giving them access to their playing history.

What's more, As well as its golf functions, the stylish T1 combines all the essential features of a fitness watch including running and cycling modes, that measure speed, distance and calories burned. With a time and date display and an alarm clock it also doubles up as an everyday watch.
A spokesman for Voice Caddie explained: "Now that the T1 has been launched officially in the UK, it can be purchased through the website at www.voice-caddie.com - the only place to buy Voice Caddie products intended specifically for the UK market.

"The T1 incorporates the latest GPS technology with a number of unique features. We really feel it is the best-value GPS golf watch available. It has more functions than most of its rivals for a much lower price. What's more there are no additional fees to pay and the current stock is specifically intended for the UK market.

"The product proved extremely popular when it was first launched in the USA and we expect it will be equally popular in the UK - especially at its price-point."

The Voice Caddie T1 costs just £149 and can be ordered online at www.voice-caddie.com .

Fancy a new putter? Check out the new 'Vault 002' range from RIFE

Rife Putters has released a new line of performance driven putters – Vault 002.

The new range combines performance driven design, Rife's patented Roll Groove technology and a pristine PVD black finish, producing a range of putters that roll beautifully on the green and look beautiful to the eye.

Roll Groove technology uses precisely spaced milled grooves that allow the putter to gently press into the cover of the ball, gripping and lifting it into an instant forward roll. Every putter in the Rife range incorporates Roll Groove face technology along with a reduced loft face that ensures the ball is gripped, not chipped.

With the introduction of three new models for the start of summer there is a Rife design to suit every golfer's eye and with the benefit of a quick true roll on the green Rife Putters will suit every golfer's game.

RIFE Duke

The smooth lined RIFE Duke is a heel / toe weighted blade putter with strong perimeter weighting, goose neck hosel and half shaft offset. The Duke will appeal to the more traditional eye and breed confidence with its alignment line. Price: £99.99

RIFE Major

The RIFE Major is a mid-mallet putter with a flare neck hosel and a half shaft off set. The perimeter weighting on this mid-mallet bevels down steeply and with a filled top line, features a great “T” for alignment. Price: £99.99

RIFE General

The RIFE General is a new symmetrical mallet which features wings that feedback for great stability and alignment. The three sight lines and a paint filled top line make this model a breeze to line up. Price: £99.99

For more information on the putters visit: www.rife-golf.com

Travel

LAS COLINAS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB LAST MINUTE PACKAGES

Las Colinas Golf & Country Club and Las Colinas Residences, shortlisted in the International Hotel and Property Awards 2014 in the Golf Resort Category, is offering a world apart experience for visitors with their LAS COLINAS LAST MINUTE golf and leisure offer, valid for stays between 1st May and 14th July, 2014.

Start the summer with fantastic savings available from 1st May to 14th July. Guests can enjoy up to 20% discount from standard web rates, and receive the special VALUE PACK, comprising of complimentary use of tennis, paddle courts and the gymnasium, access to Las Colinas Beach Club, and a complimentary upgrade to a 3 bedroom villa with private garden (subject to availability). Children under 12 years old can stay free with their parents, and discounts are also offered on Golf Academy classes and Falconry experiences. Furthermore, for packages including golf, guests will receive complimentary buggies* with their golf.

Football fanatics can enjoy full World Cup coverage with 50 English language TV channels recently installed in all apartments & villas, as well as all matches being shown in the clubhouse.

A host venue for the European Tour Qualifying School Stage 2 and home to the International School of Falconry Las Colinas, Las Colinas Golf & Country Club's special offer is a chance for last minute relaxation. Set among Mediterranean woodland in a privileged position just south of Alicante in the region of Valencia, Las Colinas Golf & Country Club provides the perfect surrounding for an early Summer escape.

For bookings contact: reservations@lascolinasresidences.com / (+34) 965 32 40 04 / aworldapart.es . For full information on the deal visit : www.aworldapart.es

*Valid for 1 buggy per 2 players, for each round in package.








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