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Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
June 11, 2014

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Georgia Hall exclusive interview!

Well done Georgia Hall, the star performer in the GB&I Curtis Cup team. Shame about the end result but good battle from our players.

I had the privilege of playing a few holes of golf with Curtis Cup player Georgia Hall before she jetted out to the USA last week. Georgia is a member of my home course Parkstone GC and was selected to play for the GB&I Curtis Cup team who took on the Americans at the St. Louis Country Club.

Georgia's game was looking very sharp and she has spent the winter months working intensively on all facets of her golf from tee to green in preparation for the Curtis Cup and her final season as an amateur. I watched her give a very insightful interview to Sky Sports before her departure to the USA and then spoke to her exclusively. Read my interview below for more insight.

Game on!

As the reigning Ladies British Amateur Champion and a double Youth Olympics Gold medallist you'd be forgiven for thinking that Georgia Hall is already at the top of her game. But rather than resting on her laurels the talented 18-year old has spent the last six months furthering her golfing skills ahead of her final planned season as an amateur before she makes an assault on the professional. Golf Today Ladies Editor Carly Frost found out what she's been doing to take her to the top of the women's game.

Q. 2013 was a fantastic year for you Georgia, starting with your double Olympic gold medal triumph in the Youth Olympics in Australia and then you capped it off with that amazing battle to win the British Amateur Championship. Were you not tempted to turn professional and start competing for money?

A. I wanted to turn professional but unfortunately I couldn't find the funding to afford to go to Q-School or a sponsorship deal to get me few my first few events on Tour, so sadly I had to miss that opportunity. But I know I have to just be patient. On the plus side it allowed me to focus on improving my game over the winter months. I started working intensively with my coach Dan Frost in November and he has really taken my game to an even higher standard than I imagined was possible.

Q. So do you feel like you are a pretty polished player now? What have you worked on the most?

A. My game was pretty one-dimensional, I hit every shot with the same shape (a draw), and although I am very consistent and good at hitting that shot I just didn't have the skills to control my ball flight when I needed to. Dan has added a whole new level of versatility to my shot-making armoury, so that now when I need to hit a knock-down driver I can, when I need a controlled fade into a tough pin position I can hit it, and there are many other examples. The difference is that when I do hit a bad shot I'm still on the green, before I used to make silly mistakes and now I don't.

Q. What about your short game, presumably you have been adding to those skills also?

A. Absolutely. I've been very fortunate to have been made an honorary member of Parkstone Golf Club in Dorset, which as far as I'm concerned has the best greens in the county, in fact probably some of the best greens in the country. They are amazing true surfaces and always kept at a fantastic pace, a real credit to the Head Greenkeeper Steve Richardson and his team. So while I'm sure other golfers have struggled to improve their short game skills on soggy putting surfaces through the torrid winter months, my short game practice has actually gone really well. The key has been versatility and again adding another dimension to my skills, so that rather than having one simple chip shot technique I now have two or three options, same out of sand, and a range of different 'go-to' shots to choose from depending on the scenario.

Q. You mentioned a lack of funding, just how difficult is it to play amateur golf without being able to go out and earn a living?

A. It's extremely tough. It was a difficult decision to leave college and commit to playing full-time amateur golf, especially as all the travel means that can't hold down a job but I'm following my dream. Unfortunately I'm not from a financially fortunate background so I literally have to travel to tournaments on a shoestring and try and share lifts and hotel rooms. I think the biggest disappointment is having to turn down invites to play in events overseas. As British Amateur Champion I had an invite to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship in California - the first Major of the year in the women's professional game - and I just couldn't afford the flight or the expenses to get out there.

Q. Was your decision to keep your amateur status this year also swayed by the prospect of playing for the GB&I side in the Curtis Cup?

A. Absolutely, it was definitely influential in my decision not to turn professional. I love match play, it's my favourite format and I've got a successful win record. The opportunity to compete against the best American players on US soil really is an honour, especially being able to compare my game to the likes of Ashlan Ramsey, the current World Number One.

Q. You were a member of the European Junior Solheim Cup team last summer and then stayed in Colorado to watch the Europeans amazing victory in the Solheim Cup the next week. What are your best memories of that week ?

Overall what a friendly and fun team of players the Europeans had. They were so welcoming to us and allowed us to play games with them in the team room in their downtime. I managed to beat Suzanne Peterssen at Ping Pong which was fun! When the team won Azahara Munoz came whizzing over to me on a buggy and invited me to hop on and come and help them celebrate which was an amazing memory.

Q. You were the leading amateur in the Ricoh British Ladies Open at St. Andrews last year. How thrilling was the experience of playing at the Home of Golf alongside the best women professionals on the planet?

A. It was an amazing week and it really did show me that this is what I want to do for a living. I met a lot of the ladies who are on Tour who were all really encouraging, players like Catriona Matthew were very kind and she's tweeted me some positive comments a few times. It was also good practice to experience the pressure of playing with crowds watching you. I felt a bit nervous on the first tee but once I'd played the first hole I was fine.

Q. Do you spend much time in the gym on golf-specific training?

A. Yes this is an area I'm really trying to improve. I've just started working with a personal trainer, Helen Seville, who has written me a programme that I follow 5 times a week. I'm trying to improve my strength and conditioning, along with really important mobility work that allows me to swing efficiently and stay injury-free.

Q. 2013 will be a hard year to follow. Have you set yourself specific goals for this season?

My main goal is to stay inside the top 75 amateurs in the world in the rankings as that will give me a fast track entry into the final qualifying of Ladies European Tour School in December. I'd also like to win every match I play at the Curtis Cup, be the leading amateur again when I compete in the Ricoh British Ladies Open in July and hopefully improve on my overall finish position in the tournament (42nd last year). And of course I'd like to defend my British Amateur title, which is being played at Royal St. George's this year.

Pro News


Defending Champion Stacy Lewis faces tough competition at this year's Ricoh Women's British Open as past Champions, Jiyai Shin, (2012, 2008) Yani Tseng (2010. 2011) and Catriona Matthew (2009) look to reclaim the title at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport, England, 10 –13 July.

Former World Number One, Yani Tseng, who won the Championship when it was last played at Royal Birkdale in 2010, is very excited to return to the scene of her first Ricoh Women's British Open victory. Tseng explained, “I really feel like I am starting to find my form again and I am gradually regaining my confidence. I am hoping a win is just around the corner and the Ricoh Women's British Open is certainly a title I would love to hold again. Knowing that I will be playing on a course that suits my game and where I have won before is a big advantage so I can't wait to return to Royal Birkdale Golf Club in July.”

Catriona Matthew, who won the 2009 Ricoh Women's British Open at nearby Royal Lytham, remarkably only 11 weeks after the birth of her second child, is another star who is counting down the days until the Tournament. Mathew commented, “The Ricoh Women's British Open is one of the most important weeks in the year for me and I always look forward to returning to play in front of the golf fans in the North West. Their encouragement definitely helped me over the line in 2009 and I would love to be able to reward their support by winning at Royal Birkdale this summer.”

The 39th Championship takes place in the week preceding the Open Championship, marking 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.

The 2014 Ricoh Women's British Open will be showcased on BBC Television and around the world. For further information please visit

Amateur News

Astor Salver success for Sophie Keech

England girl international Sophie Keech won the Astor Salver at The Berkshire with a four-under par total for the 36 holes.

She follows in the footsteps of a fellow Dorset player – the England international Hayley Davis, who won this trophy two years ago.

“I knew Hayley had won this and I thought it would be really cool if I could win too, so I was really pleased,” said Sophie, the English girls' champion from Parkstone. Earlier in the season she won the amateur prize at another of the top women's scratch events – the Roehampton Gold Cup.

At The Berkshire, Sophie opened her account with a three-under 69 on the Blue course, which included 13 straight pars followed by four birdies and a solitary bogey on the 16th.

She signed off with a one-under 72 on the Red course, which included an eagle three on the 15th, which took her score under par.

During the day she drove well and holed a number of long putts to make her score – but she took the greatest pleasure in her par five on the 17th on the Red course.

Her second shot finished in a divot, below her feet, and she could only knock the ball forward and eventually had to hole a 11-footer for her par. “I'd just got under par with my eagle and I had it in my mind that I'd need to be under par,” she said. “I kept saying to myself that I had to keep under and I rolled in the putt!”

Sophie was two shots clear of Dulcie Sverdloff (Garon Park, Essex), who also opened with a 69. In the afternoon, Dulcie birdied the last two holes of the round for a 74 to finish a stroke ahead of former England champion, Kerry Smith (Waterlooville, Hampshire).

Sophie won the English girls' championship last summer, as well as the English schools' and South West girls' titles. She was a member of England's winning team at the Girls' Home Internationals. This year she received England Golf's Silver Tee award for the way she combines her golf and her studies and represented England Golf at the French Lady Junior Championship.

image © Leaderboard Photography

England teenager Charlotte West wins WPGA event

England U16 squad player Charlotte West beat a professional field at Chestfield, Kent, to win the latest event on the WPGA One Day Series.
The 16-year-old was the only amateur in the field and she shot level par 71, pipping Catherine Panton-Lewis of The Berkshire on countback to win the trophy.

Charlotte, from Harewood Downs in Buckinghamshire, said afterwards: “It's a shock really, it hasn't sunk in yet! I played steady, kept my head down and focussed on what I was doing.”

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.

Rebecca Wood, the England Golf Women's Performance Manager, said: “This is a fabulous result for Charlotte, the lone amateur in the field. England Golf are very proud of the players who are taking up these opportunities to test themselves against professionals and delighted about the results so far.”

Three squad players have already claimed runners-up places in the first two events of the series. Bel Wardle, 14, from Prestbury, set an amateur course record and was second in the first event at Dunham Forest, Cheshire. Cloe Frankish, 15, from Chart Hills in Kent, and Aimee Wilson, 18, from Mickleover in Derbyshire, were in a three-way tie for second place at Little Aston, Staffordshire.

Charlotte, a past Buckinghamshire champion who trains with England Golf's Thames Valley Squad, had already played in one event before teeing up at Chestfield and, although she didn't figure at Dunham Forest, it gave her the determination to do better. “I wanted to prove to myself that I could play well in competitions like this,” she said.

She set about doing just that at Chestfield with a round which included four birdies, balanced by four bogeys, and among the highlights was a chip-in for two on the short fourth. She reached the turn in level par and, although she dropped shots on 10 and 11, she got them back with birdies on 13 and 15. Her level par back nine gave her the edge in the countback for first place.

Charlotte, who is currently taking GCSEs, reckons her squad training has improved her golf: “It's helped me to think about and understand my game and I know the areas to work on,” she said.

She's also learned from playing alongside the WPGA professionals. “They manage to get themselves out of trouble and their course management is good,” she said.

Double triumph for England at St Rule Trophy

England scored a double triumph at the St Rule Trophy at St Andrews when Alice Hewson won the U18 prize and combined with Meghan MacLaren and Bethan Popel to win the Nations Cup.

Alice (Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire) took the U18 honours with scores which included a nine-under par 67 on the Old Course.

Alice Hewson (left) and Meghan MacLaren with the U18 and team trophies respectively

It was the best score of the final round and just one shot outside the women's course record. Earlier, on the New Course, she had scores of 72 and 80 and finished tied fourth overall on seven-under par.

Alice, 16, won the Critchley Salver at Sunningdale last month and clearly took her good form to St Andrews.

Meghan MacLaren (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire) finished just ahead of her in third place overall, with scores of 72, 74, 71.

Bethan Popel (Long Ashton, Gloucestershire) also beat par, finishing 14th on two-under par: 74, 74, 76.

The England trio of Alice, Meghan and Bethan combined for a team total of 430, followed by France on 441, with Scotland and Belgium tied for third on 450.

The individual championship was won by Scotland's Jess Meek, who beat France's Aaelle Carnet at the third hole of a sudden-death play-off.

Irish stroke play victory for Lucy Goddard

England's Lucy Goddard led from wire to wire to win the Irish women's open stroke play championship at Douglas by a shot.

She's the second English player in a row to win the title - following Meghan MacLaren in 2013 – and she's the second Hertfordshire player to win in four years, following Hannah Burke in 2010.

The win lifts Lucy into second place in the England Golf women's order of merit, sponsored by Lorrin Golf.

The Hanbury Manor player was two-under par for the 54-hole event, with rounds of 71, 74 and 72, and held off Ireland's Chloe Ryan, who challenged hard for the title.

Lucy's lead was always slender – just one shot after both the first and second rounds – and after nine holes of the final round she had been overtaken by Chloe. The Irish player was two-under par to the turn and led by one as they started home, only to bogey the 12th and drop back into a tie.

Lucy took charge again in dramatic fashion, with an eagle three on the long 14th, which put her two ahead. Although she bogeyed the 17th, she still held a one shot lead and she secured victory with a regulation par on the home green.

Three other English players finished in the top ten: Inci Mehmet (Wentworth) tied fifth, while Bethan Popel (Long Ashton) shared eighth place and Alex Peters (Notts Ladies') tied tenth.

The England team of Sammy Fuller (Roehampton), Meghan MacLaren (Wellingborough) and Bethan Popel were runners-up behind Ireland in the Nations Cup event.

Evelyn leads South West qualifiers for Grand Medal Final

Cornwall golfer Evelyn Postles – who has been playing golf for just three years - led the South West qualifiers for the England Golf Grand Medal Final.

She won the South West regional medal final at Forest Hills in Goucestershire by three shots, with a net score of one-under 73.
She leads 10 qualifiers for the Grand Medal Final at Peterborough Milton Golf Club on June 28. They are: Evelyn Postles of St Mellion, Carolyn Stait of Taunton & Pickeridge, Indumathi Kumaravel of Killiow, Toshiko Ricketts of Mendip Spring, Juliet Hagley of Clevedon, Tracy Bryant of Bulbury Woods, Kate Lush of Rushmore, Penny Deakin of Okehampton, Lorna Elliott of Dartmouth, and Heather Kerr-Wilbur of Mendip Spring.

Evelyn sealed her triumph with a par on the last, where she holed a 20-footer, and said: “Everything went my way today and to think I've actually won is amazing! I'm honoured that I'm playing in a national final – it will be good fun.”

This is only Evelyn's third season of golf. She took up the sport after retiring from the health service at 50 and moving from London to Cornwall, where her home overlooks the golf course.

“The golf course was there and I wanted to do something competitive! Whatever I do I try to succeed and do my best and I've put a lot of work in to my swing,” said Evelyn.

“Usually in competition I tend to mess up some holes, but today I just played nicely. I had one bad hole but that was it, I played steadily and my playing partners were very encouraging.”

Her ambition for the season is to reduce her handicap, which was 17 at the start of the regional final. Her performance means a cut is on the way!

The was the sixth and last of the regional medal finals. All the regional finalists had returned the best four scores at their club in the England Golf Medals during 2013.

New Gear


Kasco ‘Nail Free' golf glove


They say: The innovative Nail Fit glove has been designed to reduce nail damage and provides greater freedom of movement thanks to holes at the end of each finger. To improve the player's grip on the club, it's constructed from synthetic microfibre with mesh knuckle inserts. A reinforced finger tab also makes it easier to take the glove off. It comes in four colours, including standard white.

I say: The Japanese are always ahead of the game when it comes to innovation so it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that Kasco has thought about us ladies with lovely long nails when they were designing this fantastic glove. I have to say I've always kept my nails reasonably short, both because I spend my life typing on a computer and also because long nails and gripping a golf club are a painful combination! But what a great glove this is if your nails are just a fraction too long and get squeezed into the end of your glove. At first I thought it looked a little odd seeing the ends of my fingers but I soon forgot about it and the great thing about the design of this glove is that it is just as comfortable to wear as a traditional glove. The fingers have been cleverly designed so that the leather grips just in the right place leaving the tips of your fingers exposed but the glove stays perfectly in place and doesn't slide up your finger. There's definitely no excuse not to go for that manicure now!

Callaway introduces new Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind Wedges

Anyone who knows golf equipment will recognise the name Roger Cleveland who is a master when it comes to designing wedges. His latest creation are the new Callaway Golf Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind Wedges and they look beautiful.

The Mack Daddy 2 feature a new shallow C-Grind sole, Tour-validated head shape and aggressive groove pattern for maximum control. Major winner Phil Mickelson used Mack Daddy 2 Wedges to win last year's Open Championship at Muirfield – the new Tour Grind Wedges offer increased shot precision, greater spin and pinpoint control.

Featuring a sole design that gives additional relief in the heel and toe of the club, allowing players to hit ‘open face' shots without having the bounce come into play, the new Tour Grind wedges also welcome back a head shape, featuring a slightly straighter leading edge, last seen in Callaway's hugely popular X Forged Wedges.

Roger Cleveland, Callaway Golf's Chief Club Designer, said: “Blending one of the most popular head shapes Callaway has ever created with Mack Daddy's aggressive groove pattern (39% larger, generating 25% more spin out of the rough) and adding increased face roughness, has added a new element to the Mack Daddy 2 line.”

Uniquely identified by Acid Yellow paint detailing and a simple ‘R Design' stamp, Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind Wedges are manufactured in two finishes, soft chrome and slate, and in loft options 52°, 54°, 56°, 58° and 60° priced at £99.

Visit to learn more.



Quinta do Lago, one of Europe's most prestigious golf resorts, has teamed up with 2014 Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley and leading equipment manufacturer TaylorMade to offer four friends the chance of a lifetime to live as golfing legends for a week.

In the free-to-enter Best Fourball Ever competition, the winner and three friends will be flown out to Portugal on a private jet and chauffeur-driven to a private luxury villa, where they will be treated to an array of exclusive five-star lifestyle experiences.

As well as enjoying the services of a private chef for the duration of their seven-day visit, they will also have the chance to meet McGinley and enjoy a personal club-fitting consultation with Europe's captain, just two weeks after the conclusion of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

The fitting will take place in the facilities at Quinta do Lago's state-of-the-art TaylorMade Fitting Center at the resort's renowned Paul McGinley Academy, where the foursome will be dressed in the latest adidas gear and be presented with a set of new TaylorMade clubs.

In addition, the lucky quartet will have the privilege of being VIP guests of the European Tour at the Portugal Masters on a day of their choosing and enjoy unlimited golf throughout their stay at the luxury resort, which will also afford them the opportunity to be among the first, specially invited guests, to test out Quinta do Lago's newly-refurbished championship North Course.

Closing date for competition entries is June 22 and the best bit of all is that it won't cost a penny … making it arguably the best fourball ever offered.

John Dwyer, chief executive at Quinta do Lago, said: “It is a very exciting time at Quinta do Lago; significant recent investments have ensured the resort remains the freshest, most family-friendly venue on the Algarve. With a wide range of new packages designed to suit everybody's requirements and a series of summer events to excite young and old, including the relaunch of our remodelled North course, there's never been a better time to visit the resort.

“Entering our fifth decade, we wanted something special to celebrate, and believe this competition offers golfers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience one of the leading resorts in Europe, while enjoying the brand new North Course and unrivalled hospitality with three friends.”

Quinta do Lago has firmly established itself as one of the most highly regarded golf and real-estate developments in the Algarve since opening in 1972.

Located just 15 minutes from Faro airport and sitting among 2,000 acres of the picturesque Ria Formosa Natural Park, the resort offers residents and guests an unparalleled location benefiting from a year-round temperate climate, a variety of lifestyle pursuits and a strong sense of community.

Since its inception, Quinta do Lago has been at the forefront of golf in the Algarve with its three 18-hole championship courses – Laranjal, South and North – matched by outstanding practice facilities.

Away from the fairways, the estate's extensive leisure facilities guarantee there is plenty to keep everyone occupied, with tennis, cycling, watersports and horse-riding just some of the activities available.

Quinta do Lago offers easy access to the Algarve's famous sandy beaches while the development's wide array of restaurants, both formal and informal, allow visitors and residents the opportunity to savour the very best in traditional Portuguese cooking.

To participate in the free-to-enter Best Fourball Ever competition and stand a chance of winning this once-in-a-lifetime experience, simply visit and fill in the form.

- For more information on Quinta do Lago phone + 351 289 390 700 or visit

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