Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
Europe's top girl golfers will be heading to Spain next February for the start of the qualification process for the 2015 PING Junior Solheim Cup.
The Spanish International Ladies Amateur Championship, to be played at Real Club Pineda de Sevilla, Spain, on February 25 – March 1, 2015, is the first of eight events offering ranking points for the biennial match, to be played at GC St. Leon-Rot, Germany on September 14-15 next year.
At the end of the qualification process the first six players on the Ranking will earn an automatic place on the European team for the match in Germany with the team being completed with six Captain's picks. All amateur events and the Ladies European Amateur Ranking will be taken into consideration when deciding the Captain's Picks.
The qualification process starts in Spain and then continues at the French International Lady Junior Championship at GC St Cloud, France (April 2-6), the German Girls' Open at GC St. Leon-Rot Germany (June 5-7), the Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship at Portstewart GC, Northern Ireland (June 9-13), the European Girls' Team Championship at Golf Resort Kaskada Brno, Czech Republic (July 7-11), the European Ladies' Team Championship at Helsingør, Denmark (July 7-11) and the ANNIKA Invitational Europe at Bro-Bålsta, Sweden (August 4-6) before being completed at the Girls' British Open Championship at West Kilbride, Scotland, on August 10-14, 2015.
The idea of staging a prestigious transatlantic competition for girls, similar to The Solheim Cup, was first mooted by John Solheim, PING's current Chairman and CEO who was determined to provide talented young girl golfers with a platform on which they could forward their careers by competing at the highest level against their peers from the other side of the Atlantic.
The inaugural PING Junior Solheim Cup was staged in 2002 at Oak Ridge Country Club in Hopkins, Minnesota, and it has developed into an important stepping stone for many of the leading players in the women's game.
Next year the match takes on added significance because for the first time ever it is to be played at the same venue as The Solheim Cup itself.
“We decided to play the PING Junior Solheim Cup and The Solheim Cup back-to-back at the same venue in order to enhance the profile of the junior event and to give it the status we always believed it should have,” said John Solheim.
“It promises to be a magnificent week and one that will help to enhance the profile of women's amateur and professional golf all over the world.”
The PING Junior Solheim Cup has earned a deserved reputation as a rich breeding ground for stars of the future. The likes of Charley Hull, Anna Nordqvist, Lexi Thompson, Paula Creamer, Azahara Munoz, and Caroline Masson have all played in the PING Junior Solheim Cup with the event spawning no less than five major champions.
Details of the ranking points available at each of the eight qualifying events are attached. To qualify for the European team at the 2015 PING Junior Solheim Cup, team participants must be 12-18 years old (born 1997 or later) and must not have reached their 18th birthday prior to January 1st, 2015. Prospective team members must be amateurs and cannot be members of a competitive collegiate golf programme. They must also be European citizens.
At £299 the new Go Kart Automatic is not just affordable it is also highly innovative. That's because it features a new patent pending control system with no buttons, knobs or rollers to press. To manually adjust the speed all you have to do is simply hold the handle and walk.
The trolley is so clever that it automatically adjusts the motor speed to match your pace and you can still let go of the handle while walking, the Go Kart will just continue running at the same speed.
You can even personalise your trolley by picking from one of six colour options. The Go Kart comes with a warranty.
Visit www.gokart.co.uk for more information.
Price : £349
Lofts: 10.5 and 12 degree
They say : When we developed SLDR, our easiest-to-adjust driver ever, we didn't expect it to change the rules of distance. Yet it did. Maximum yardage comes from combining high launch, low spin and fast ball speed. SLDR's low-and-forward CG promotes fast ball speed and low spin. To add high launch, you are now able to increase your loft. For decades it has been accepted that a low-and-back CG is best. Moving the CG forward promotes faster ball speed and lower spin. And in order to get the most distance from SLDR, you have to change the way you think about loft.
I say: TaylorMade claim that the movable weight in the SLDR driver allows you to shift the club's centre of gravity far enough to promote a side-to-side trajectory change of up to 30 yards. Although I didn't manage to achieve these remarkable shot-shape changing yardages I did fall in love with the simplicity of using this club, the single blue weight and sliding track mean that you don't need to be a technology-whizz to figure out how to set it up. The sole is marked with the words 'fade' at the toe-end and 'draw' at the heel-end, which make it clear where you should position the weight to promote the shot-shape you want. I love the explosive powerful feel off the face and you can really see the difference.
If you are hunting for UK destination with a handful of courses close to each other for a weekend break then the Atlantic Links is certainly worth considering.
Even more so right now because one of the areas flagship courses, The Royal North Devon Golf Club, founded back in 1864, celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, a landmark that will highlight the history and tradition of the Atlantic Links, a collection of some of the oldest and most revered links in England.
The six courses that form the Atlantic Links trail ( www.atlantic-links.co.uk ) along the dramatic backdrop of the north Atlantic coastline boast a combined age of almost 700 years with both Burnham & Berrow and St Enodoc founded in 1890, Saunton East in 1897 with the younger members, Trevose and Saunton East, having been established in 1925 and 1937 respectively.
Royal North Devon, or Westward Ho! as it is fondly known, is not only the senior citizen of the Atlantic Links, but is also England's oldest golf course. Indeed this unique links course, set on common land on which livestock still graze today, has hardly changed in 150 years and to play it is like taking a step back in time and seeing how golf was played in Victorian England.
The club is steeped in history: it was on this course that JH Taylor, born in the village of Northam that overlooks the course, started his career as a caddie. He went on to win five Open Championships and formed one third of the great triumvirate, with Harry Vardon and James Braid, who dominated the game for some 30 years. The club honoured Taylor with club presidency in 1957 and his portrait and some of the clubs which he used to win his Open titles are still proudly displayed in the clubhouse. In fact thanks the club's heritage, the clubhouse is a veritable treasure trove of golf memorabilia, second only to that owned by The R&A.
“Celebrating our 150th anniversary makes 2014 an important year for Royal North Devon as a club but we are also hoping that the occasion will highlight just how established and historical the golf courses in the Atlantic Links are in terms of golf in England,” comments Mark Evans, General Manager of Royal North Devon.
“We have almost 700 years of links pedigree as a group and in terms of the quality and tradition of our courses, there really is no better links trail that offers better value than we do.”
Golfers can book to play Royal North Devon in its anniversary year alongside the other Atlantic Links courses at www.atlantic-links.co.uk where a variety of golf packages are available or can be tailored to suit individual needs.
Myrtle Beach has been voted the 'Best Golf Destination' globally as the recipient of the 10Best travel award in the United States' most widely distributed newspaper USA Today, living up to its billing as the 'Golf Capital of the World'.
"As home to more than 50 4-star courses and 13 layouts that have been ranked among America's top 100 public courses, Myrtle Beach has always strived to provide golf's best and most inclusive experience, and the 10Best vote was affirmation of those efforts," said Bill Golden, President of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, the golf marketing cooperative representing more than 100 golf courses, hotels and golf travel companies.
With non-stop air service from more than 25 United States cities, Myrtle Beach is golf's most accessible and inviting destination. The 'Grand Strand' has four courses currently rated in the top 100 public courses (Dunes Club, Caledonia, TPC Myrtle Beach, Barefoot Resort's Love Course) and has 51 courses with at least a 4-star rating.
Course architects include the titans of the game such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Pete Dye, Greg Norman and John Daly.
Located over a 60-mile radius in the northeastern coastal region of South Carolina, Myrtle Beach complements its golf offerings from Pawleys Island, S.C., to North Carolina's Brunswick County with a diverse range of premier accommodations, restaurants, entertainment and shopping options, as well as some of the most picturesque beaches on the East Coast of the United States. Additionally, outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, water exploration and sightseeing opportunities at gardens and state parks add to a well-rounded trip.
To learn more about Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, go to http://www.golfholiday.com .
Luxury Italian golf resort Donnafugata has launched a series of new learn-to-play and improver golf academies for guests, all inspired by 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke.
Having opened in March, the Darren Clarke Centre of Excellence at the five-star Donnafugata Golf Resort and Spa, in Sicily, is offering guests a choice of three tuition programmes dependent on length of stay, with prices starting from €275 (£229 approx).
The AZZURRO academy is an intensive two-day programme, which provides six-and-a-half hours' of expert tuition, including a 90-minute playing lesson, while the EMERALD academy offers the same quantity of tuition but spread across three days. Both are priced at €275 per person based on two participating.
The CLARET academy has been designed for guests who wish to balance daily tuition with plenty of playing time on the resort's two championship golf courses, and runs over a full week, with a 50-minute lesson each day and one 90-minute playing lesson. It is priced at €310 (£259 approx) per person based on two students.
Available to golfers aged six years and above, the new centre is Darren Clarke's first in mainland Europe and offers expert teaching under the guidance of the resort's head professional, Davide Terrinoni, with individual 50-minute lessons costing €65.
Featuring two 18-hole championship courses - the Parkland and the Links - and extensive practice facilities, Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa has won widespread acclaim across the golf industry since opening in 2010 and was the venue for the 2011 Sicilian Open, won by Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin.
Located just 20 minutes from Comiso airport and set in the beautiful area of Donnafugata, a natural reserve and famous tourist destination known for the imposing castle which bears the same name, the resort also boasts a number of fantastic historical cities nearby. These include Val di Noto, the heart of Sicilian baroque; Ragusa Ibla, Modica, Noto and Scicli. All are deemed fitting of UNESCO World Heritage status.
As well as its outstanding golf facilities, Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa has 202 rooms, an award-winning spa and health club, swimming pools and three restaurants offering a broad selection of gastronomic delights, well accompanied by perfect Sicilian wines to enhance flavour.
For more information on Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa or to book a stay, call 00 39 0932 914 200 or visit www.donnafugatagolfresort.com.
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