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CARLY FROST
Editor
Ladies Golf Today

Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
June 18, 2014


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Congratulations qualifying counties!

I had a fantastic few days playing for the Dorset ladies in the SW Inter-Counties Matchweek last week. How lucky we were with the weather! I'd like to congratulate Gloucestershire who won our division and now go through to the South divisional tie, good luck girls. Congratulations go to all the qualifying counties and a big well done to everyone who gave up their time to take part, compete or assist in the running of these events. Your help is always much appreciated. 

Looking at the big amateur tournaments taking place I'd like to wish all the ladies taking part in the English senior women's strokeplay championship at Knaresborough a successful week. I'll be looking out for the success stories as the scores come in!

Tour News

The Ladies Tour event that will 'rock'!

Spectators who turn out to watch The ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters at Buckinghamshire Golf Club in Denham on Saturday July 5th are in for an extra special treat. 

Ticket holders will not only be able to enjoy the world class golf during the championship, but after play on Saturday they will be able to enjoy a live rock concert by The Jones Gang in the tented village. The Jones Gang features members of The Who, The Faces, Small Faces, Roxy Music, Foreigner, Bad Company and Thunder – a line up which has shaped rock history.

Singer Paul Young will be a special guest joining The Who's Kenney Jones on drums, Foreigner's Rick Wills on bass, Steve Smith on keyboard as well as singer Danny Bowes and guitarist Luke Morley from Thunder. 

Hits to be played include Can't Get Enough by Bad Company, Won't Get Fooled Again by The Who, Desperado by The Eagles and Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum.

Speaking ahead of their appearance at the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters, Rick Wills said: “We're really looking forward to coming to the Buckinghamshire, especially now that we've done our first golf event, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. I think the setting at the Buckinghamshire is actually nicer because although the tented village at Wentworth was fantastic, it wasn't a very nice day, so hopefully the sun will be out and everybody can really have a good time. If it's a nice day people can have some entertainment, hang around, have a few drinks. It's such a lovely setting with the river and it's a superb place. When you drive in, it's like, wow!

“The main thing is that we have fun and we want everybody else to have fun and listen to a good band. That's what we achieved at Wentworth tremendously well. Even if people aren't watching the golf they can come in and watch the band.”

The ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters is the flagship event of the Ladies European Tour (LET) and well as the world-class golf, there will be plenty of entertainment and activities for all the family to enjoy. Every day there will be Q&A sessions in the tented village where spectators can pose questions to sporting celebrities, free golf lessons for kids and adults in the PING Swing Zone and free face painting over the weekend. Thursday is ladies' day when you can make a date with Strictly Come Dancing's Anton du Beke while Friday will be cocktail night.

Tickets for the concert, which will take place from 7.30-9pm on Saturday, 5th July, will be on sale at the gate for £15, but anyone who has spent the day watching the golf will be able to stay on and watch the gig free of charge. At just £20 for a one day adult entry ticket, it represents fantastic value for money and children under 16 will be admitted free of charge if accompanied by an adult ticket holder. 

Buy your tickets now at   http://tickets.sky.com/Golf/

Amateur News

Julie sets sights on seniors 'double'

Julie Brown (Trentham) won the English senior women's amateur at her first attempt in April. Now, she will attempt to follow in the footsteps of Hampshire's Chris Quinn (Hockley), who is the only player so far to win both titles in the same season, achieving the feat in 2009. 

The championship, which is taking place at Knaresborough this week, will also decide the England team for the European senior ladies' team championship, which will be played in Austria in early September. The top six players on the senior order of merit after the strokeplay will make up the side. 

At the moment, those places are held by Julie Brown, Chris Quinn, Debbie Richards of Surrey, Katherine Russell of Sussex, Lulu Housman of Middlesex, and by Janet Melville of Lancashire and Jane Southcombe of Dorset, who currently share sixth place. All are in the field at Knaresborough. 

Among the others in the hunt are Cheshire's Sue Dye, who is defending the title she won last year at Shanklin and Sandown on the Isle of Wight, where she scored a runaway seven-shot victory. 

The championship has attracted a strong field which includes 13 Yorkshire players, among them the county vets' champion, Carolyn Kirk of Ganton, and the runner-up, Pat Wrightson of Huddersfield. Knaresborough will be represented by two players, Brenda Moore and Bridget Tasker. 

Other players from the host county are Jackie Barraclough (East Bierley), Judy Butler and Carol Simpson (both Malton & Norton), Jo Davy (Ganton), Helen Duckett (Sand Moor), Laraine Hague (Scarborough North Cliff), Karen Jobling (Richmond), Sandra Paul (Huddersfield) and Hilary Smyth (Pannal).

The championship will be played over 54 holes. The full field will play 18 holes on each of Tuesday and Wednesday, June 17 and 18. The top 36 players and ties will qualify for the final 18 holes on Thursday June 19. 

Trio target team title at British championship

Internationals Hayley Davis, Annabel Dimmock and Bronte Law will represent England Golf in the Nations Cup event at the women's British amateur championship at Royal St George's, Kent next week (June 24-28).

The best two scores from three will count towards the team trophy in each of the two qualifying rounds. The leading 64 players then go forward to the match play stages with the final played on June 28. 

The players: 

Hayley Davis ,

21 (Ferndown, Dorset)

is a past winner of the English women's and girls' championships.

She is a student at Baylor University, Texas, has won on the US women's college circuit and was 10th in the 2014 national women's college championship, with a final round 65. She has represented GB&I in the Vagliano Trophy. 

Annabel Dimmock ,

17, (Wentworth, Surrey)

is represented GB&I in the Curtis Cup, having won both the Helen Holm Scottish open stroke play title and the match play Jones Doherty Cup in the USA.

She has also been runner-up in the Welsh open stroke play, the Spanish amateur and the South Atlantic ladies' amateur. 

Bronte Law ,

19, (Bramhall, Cheshire)

is played her second Curtis Cup for GB&I. She has also represented GB&I in the Vagliano Trophy and Europe in both the Junior Solheim Cup and Junior Ryder Cup matches.

She is a student at the University of California and has won on the US women's college circuit. 

Two holes-in-one in a round! What are the chances? 

Amateur golfer Pat Smart beat odds of 40 million-to-one to achieve two holes-in-one in the same round at her club.

Smart, 61, a pharmacy assistant, has been playing golf for 18 years and her ace at the tricky 132-yard sixth hole at Lytham Green Drive Golf Club, in Lancashire, was her first; but by the time she walked off the 18th green, having carded a nett 79 in the third captain's qualifier, she had two!

She said: "I was in shock as it was my first hole in one in 18 years of playing golf; I was delighted with that but then was celebrating a second about an hour later. It was amazing. I was emotionally exhausted by the time we'd finished.

"Playing in the rain is not the best experience but as it was the third captain's qualifying round it was never in doubt we would play. The sixth hole is the first par-three and quite tricky as it surrounded by six bunkers.

"I thought the ball had run through the back of the green but my partner, former lady captain Marie Anderton, said ‘Pat I think it has gone in!'. Not sure, I checked at the back of the green while Marie shouted ‘It's in the hole!'. It had been coats on, coats off, but suddenly we didn't notice the rain."

Still reeling from the delighted shock of scoring her maiden hole-in-one, Smart struggled to maintain her composure and, on the par-four 12th hole recorded a nine.

Eleven-handicapper Smart added: "I had a couple of bad holes but when I hit a poor drive on 12 I just thought to myself ‘does it matter? I've just scored a hole-in-one!'. The 13th is around 141 yards over a pond and I hit a decent shot, which we saw land on the green. Marie was open-mouthed as we watched it and she said ‘it's not gone in again has it?'

"I'm always glass half empty, so I walked to the back of the green again expecting to find it there when Marie said excitedly ‘it's in the hole!'. I was very shocked."

Having beaten such massive odds to record two aces in the same round Smart and husband Jim, 64, decided they should buy a lottery ticket - and they won £25.

Officials at the club have already presented Smart with some flowers to commemorate the occasion and will be making an official presentation to her of the two BOSS Watches she will receive as a reward for her unerring accuracy.

The luxury German brand has once again pledged to reward club golfers with an exclusive watch for every hole-in-one recorded during a club competition in 2014 after giving away £600,000-worth of limited-edition mementos in 2013 - and Smart is among the latest to achieve the feat this year, but definitely the first to record two in the same round.

The 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 Pat on a truly amazing achievement. Many golfers will go a lifetime without ever recording one hole-in-one; to get two in a single round is a phenomenal achievement.

"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, Smart 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

The Search Starts for Europe's Next PING Junior Solheim Cup Stars

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.   

For more information about the PING Junior Solheim Cup log onto   www.solheimcup.com   or contact Eva-Lotta Sternmarker at evalotta@ladieseuropeantour.com    

New Gear

The affordable electric trolley

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.

Tried & tested

TaylorMade SLDR driver

Price : £349

Lofts: 10.5 and 12 degree

Contact:   www.taylormadegolf.com

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.

Travel

A rather 'Royal' weekend away

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.

Want to visit the 'best golf destination in the world'?

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 .

A golf coaching break in the Sicily sunshine

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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