Ladies Golf Today
Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
October 3 , 2014
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Breaking down the golf barriers
I was interested to hear that England Golf are investing time and resources into ways of making golf truly a sport for everyone - no matter what your age, sex or ethnic background is. I have a couple of Asian friends who regularly golf but they are the first to admit that golf is not a sport well-played among their peers. Hopefully all that will change in the future as England has started working with Sporting Equals, which promotes ethnic diversity across sport, and the Muslim Women's Sports Foundation to encourage more new golfers. Making golf more inclusive can only be a good thing for the game.
England's super seniors do the double
England's super senior ladies have done the double adding the Home Internationals title to the European crown they won last month.
Their success at Huddersfield also means a clean sweep of the women's Home Internationals, with England claiming the girls', ladies' and senior titles. The last time the teams achieved this feat was in 2011.
England captain Pat West said: “They have done it and done it in style! It's brilliant.”
She added: “They are such a good team – a good team in depth – and they played magnificently. The course has been superb, the weather has been great, everything about this event has been wonderful.”
The team were determined to add the Home Internationals title to their victory in the European senior ladies' team championship and they were on great form all week, recording three convincing wins.
They beat Ireland 5½-2½ on the opening day, defeated Scotland 6-2 on Wednesday and rounded off with a 7-1 win over Wales on the final day.
They put one hand on the trophy after winning the final morning's foursomes 3-0, including a 9/7 win by Chris Quinn and Lulu Housman. By contrast Julie Brown and Amanda Mayne had to produce a fighting finish, winning both the 17th and 18th to capture their point. Debbie Richards and Katherine Russell were in control throughout their match, winning on the 15th.
The overall victory was confirmed when Amanda Mayne and Katherine Russell scored comfortable singles wins and the final scoreline was achieved when Lulu Housman and Julie Brown followed them in with wins in their games.
The scoring in Julie Brown's match summed up the standard of play this week. Julie, the English senior champion, started birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie – and her opponent also had two birdies in those holes. Altogether they shared nine birdies before the match ended on the 16th. “It was phenomenal golf,” said Pat West.
Hatrick special for Brenda King winners
Three appearance, three wins! That's the hat trick record of Tracy Atkin and Claire Dowling in the England Golf senior ladies' Brenda King Foursomes.
They've just claimed their latest success in the end-of-season tournament in considerable style – winning the scratch 36-hole event by 12 shots at Minchinhampton in Gloucestershire
They set up their success with a two-under par 71 in the first round on the Avening course, which included five birdies. The birdies proved elusive in the second round but they still managed a score of four-over 77 on the Cherington course.
This event has become an annual get together for Tracy, from Leamington & County, and Claire. from East Devon. They first became friends as amateur internationals: Claire (nee Hourihane) is a former Curtis Cup player and an Irish and British champion, while Tracy (nee Hammond) represented England and went on to turn professional before returning to amateur ranks in the late 1990s.
Three pairs tied for second place in the scratch event: Sue Spencer & Sally Sketcher (Whittington Heath/Trentham) were runners-up on countback from Vicky Holloway & Jo Shorrocks (Teignmouth/Bigbury); while Annie Gowing & Kate Evans (Frilford Heath) won the handicap trophy. The other handicap prizes went to Sue Wild & Julia Taylor (Betchworth Park/St George's Hill) and to Gill Snelson & Sarah Arnold (Wellingborough/Henley)
Lalla Aicha Tour School Extended for Three Years
The Ladies European Tour (LET) has extended its agreement with the Hassan II Golf Trophy Association (ATH) to stage Lalla Aicha Tour School under the high patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI in Morocco for a further three years until 2016.
The LET's Lalla Aicha Tour School was first played in Marrakech, Morocco, in December 2012 and grew in 2013 with the addition of three Pre-Qualifiers in Rabat.
The qualifying School was renamed Lalla Aicha Tour School in honour of Her Royal Highness Late Princess Lalla Aicha who contributed enormously to the development of women's golf in Morocco, beside and with the support of His Majesty Late King Hassan II. The first Arab woman ambassador (London and Rome), Her Royal Highness late Princess Lalla Aicha had participated in the Hassan II Golf Trophy and Lalla Meryem Cup since the 1970s and played 18 holes every day until she passed away in September, 2011.
“We are honoured and excited to extend our successful partnership with ATH for a further three years,” commented LET CEO Ivan Khodabakhsh. “Having integrated the Lalla Meryem Cup into the Ladies European Tour schedule in 2010 and added Lalla Aicha Tour School in 2012, with this extension we are taking our partnership to the next level. Moroccan golf has made great progress and the LET has developed close ties with ATH, with a shared vision to grow participation and interest in women's golf, particularly as we look ahead to golf's return to the Olympic Games in 2016.”
Deputy Vice Chairman of ATH Mr Mohamed Chaibi commented: “The renewal of the agreement for the next three years, 2014, 2015 and 2016, is the great result of a strong partnership between the Hassan II Golf Trophy Association (ATH), Chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid, and the Ladies European Tour (LET) who will return in Morocco in October 2014 to continue the successful staging of the Qualifying School. It is also a great consecration to see the success of each edition from the results of the rookies who qualified in Lalla Aicha Tour School and who are making a good professional career."
The Robert Trent Jones-designed Royal Dar Es Salam in Rabat, which hosted the Moroccan Open four times and the Hassan II Golf Trophy from 1971-2010, will host two four round, 72-hole Pre-Qualifiers in 2014.The first takes place on the Blue Course in Rabat on 30 October-2 November followed by another pre-qualifier on the Red Course on 8-11 December.
As in 2013, the five round, 90-hole Lalla Aicha Tour School Final Qualifier will be hosted at Al Maaden (a Kyle Phillips layout which debuted in 2010) and Samanah Golf Course (a Nicklaus Design track that opened in 2011) in Marrakech, Morocco, on 17-21 December 2014.
Competitors will play two rounds on each course, before the cut to the leading 60 players and ties after 72 holes. The final round will be played on the Samanah Golf Course on 21st December. After the final round the top 30 players and ties will be eligible for Membership in Category 8a* while those who have made the cut in positions 31 and below will be eligible for Membership in Category 9b*. Players who fail to make the 72-hole cut will be eligible for Membership in Category 12a*.
Tour Golfer Sarah Takes Over At Oak Park
Oak Park Golf Club has appointed former Ladies European Tour pro golfer Sarah Heath as its new General Manager.
The 32 year old from Shropshire joins the club from nearby Pine Ridge GC, pledging to make Oak Park the most desirable members' club in the area, and to boost the amount of female golfers playing at the Crondall, Farnham club.
Heath is one of a growing number of women to run golf clubs in England. “I feel ready for the challenge” she said. “The members here have already been incredibly welcoming – Oak Park is such a friendly club. The staff have been great too, and I'm looking to getting to know the place as we approach Christmas”.
With both parents being golfers and former Club Captains in her home town of Telford, and a brother who was a PGA golf coach, it was no surprise when Heath turned professional at the age of 20 to try her luck on Tour.
With ten Top 20 finishes on Tour, including a 3rd in the South African Masters, the new boss – who is still a professional golfer – will be a formidable opponent when she plays in the Oak Park captain's charity day.
“Playing on Tour gives you a certain mental strength which is useful in business” she said. “You've got to trust your preparation, and bounce back quickly if things don't go to plan.
“But although I've played against tough opponents like Laura Davies, Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb, I am sure that the members and visitors at Oak Park will throw me some of their own unique challenges!”
Heath joins Oak Park after working previously at Ryder Cup venue The Belfry, and latterly Pine Ridge in Camberley – which like Oak Park is also part of the Crown Golf group, the UK's biggest chain of golf clubs. “We love to develop and promote from within” said Stephen Towers, the group's Chief Operating Officer. “Sarah is a dynamic and very capable young manager and I'm delighted to be able to offer her this opportunity. Oak Park is a great place for her first manager's job – it is a beautiful golf club with two great courses, a friendly clubhouse, and it always has a super atmosphere.
“I think that Oak Park customers will find her extremely enthusiastic, passionate and determined to make it an even better place to spend your leisure time. Also, Sarah is naturally well placed to encourage more women to join and play at the club, and this is one of our biggest goals for the year ahead”.
Heath, who lists Seve Ballesteros, Kate Middleton and Peter Kay as her three ideal dinner guests, promises a lively atmosphere at Oak Park this winter. “Nobody should be afraid to visit a golf club, least of all ladies or beginners. They'll find we are incredibly welcoming to everybody, and the club is just as much about the social side of life, as it is about sport”.
New Solheim Cup Logo Unveiled for 2015
The Ladies European Tour (LET) and LPGA has jointly unveiled a new official Solheim Cup logo ahead of the matches at Golf Club St Leon-Rot, near Heidelberg, Germany, on September 18-20, 2015.
This is the first time in the event's 24-year history that a new logo has been introduced, with the iconic cup flanked by the European and United States flags to visually express the event's strong trans-Atlantic rivalry.
The new logo was developed in joint consultation with PING CEO and Chairman John A. Solheim, whose parents Karsten and Louise established The Solheim Cup with the LET and LPGA in 1990.
Speaking at the launch of the logo in Germany, with a year to go until the matches, Solheim commented: “The new Solheim Cup logo represents a continuation of the tradition our family proudly started nearly 25 years ago. It symbolizes the honor and pride that come with representing your country in the spirit of competition and inspires the next generation of women golfers who hope to someday put their name in the Solheim Cup record book.”
Adding to Solheim's comments, LET CEO Ivan Khodabakhsh said: “The Solheim Cup is a global sports event with a rich history of world class golf and unforgettable drama. With this being the first staging of the contest in Germany, we wanted a fresh and inspiring image to reflect the unique competition and connect with new audiences.”
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said: “"The Solheim Cup and its excitement represents everything that players and fans truly love about this great game. This logo offers a contemporary take on the exciting history of the rivalry between Europe and the United States.”
The 2015 event, supported by global partners PING, SAP, Allianz and Rolex, marks the 14th time The Solheim Cup will be contested with the United States Team currently leading the series 8-5.
In 2013, the European team made history by winning The Solheim Cup for the first time in the US with a score of 18-10 and a record eight point margin of victory. Next year, in Germany, Europe is targeting three wins in a row.
€450,000 raised at spectacular Solheim Cup Charity Promotion Event in Germany
Golf professionals, celebrities, the media and fans had a taste of what The 2015 Solheim Cup will be like as they attended a marathon Charity Promotion Event with a year to go until the matches in Germany.
In the process of hitting golf shots to a floating target on the River Neckar from the Old Bridge in Heidelberg, attending a gala dinner, press conference and Charity Show Match at Golf Club St. Leon-Rot, a lot of fun was had with €450,000 raised for charity.
The Solheim Cup Captains Carin Koch and Juli Inkster, along with US Open champion Martin Kaymer, Paula Creamer, Caroline Masson, Sandra Gal, Caroline Hedwall and Moritz Lampert came to Golf Club St Leon Rot, which will host The Solheim Cup on September 18-20 next year.
The fun started with the ‘Golden Charity Shot' on Heidelberg's Old Bridge on Monday afternoon, where they were joined by celebrities such as Stefanie Graf, Franz Beckenbauer, John Solheim, Uschi Glas and Rea Garvey and raised €39,000 for charity.
The same evening, as the guests of SAP founder Dietmar Hopp, they attended a gala dinner at Heidelberg Castle, where there was a silent auction for a range of prizes including a trip to the Champions League with the squad of FC Bayern. This raised a further €126,000.
The Charity Show Match on Tuesday, played in perfect weather, was undoubtedly the highlight. The day began with a spectacular show on the driving range, where local children were able to play a chipping competition against the best players in the world. They started by chipping onto a miniature beach, followed by a ‘gong' shot, with €250 raised for each shot on target.
The stakes were raised as the eight professional golfers hit shots through three rings located 75 metres from the tee, with each ring hit amassing €5000 and €10,000 for all three. Moritz Lampert was the star of the show when he hit an air balloon with a golf ball from 100 metres away at the first attempt, raising €25,000. The driving range activities raised €81,250 in total.
The players then moved on to the St Leon Course, for a special 14-hole show match open to the public and attended by 4,000 spectators. For the first nine holes, each player used their own ball, but for the 10th, 11th, 12th and 17th hole they played in team foursomes, raising funds for scores of par or better. Interestingly, the European and United States captains played together, as did Sandra Gal and Caroline Hedwall, Caroline Masson and Sandra Gal and Moritz Lampert and Martin Kaymer.
The 18th hole was played in a five shot challenge format which included driving, pitching, bunker shots, chipping and putting, with yet more financial incentives. The match raised €203,750 for charity, with a grand total of €450,000 from the two day's activities.
At the end of show awards ceremony, each participant was given a German World Cup football shirt with their name on the back by Golf Club St. Leon Rot.
European Team Captain Carin Koch commented: It's quite amazing the event they have put on here with one year to go and it just gives you an idea how great this event will be in a year. The gala dinner last night, today, everything. To get all the people to come out, it was an amazing day. The whole facility is amazing.”
United States Team Captain Juli Inkster was equalled enthused and said: “It was fabulous. It was great to see where we're going to be, how the golf course is going to play and the enthusiasm of the German people. SAP and Allianz and PING and Rolex: it's going to be a great week. We're going to have to bring our ear muffs because it's going to be pro Europe, but we expect that and I'm looking forward to the challenge.”
Five-time United States team member Paula Creamer said: “It's been great. I've never been a part of something like this with Solheim coming to a place before. I think that Germany is going to be a great host. I know there will be a lot of people watching and I'm looking forward to coming in 2015.
“Germany is on an emotional high with their sports so I know that they're going to be pulling for team Europe. We're just going to need as many fans as we can get. The shirt was probably the highlight of the day. It's great having your name on the back of a jersey and it being from the World Cup; it's awesome. That was a very good present.”
Sandra Gal, a member of the victorious Solheim Cup team in Ireland in 2011, commented: “It was really good to see the excitement and how well it was organised just to give you a little taste of how it's going to be in one year. It was the first time seeing the course for me, so that was really neat. I was really motivated before but even more so now having been here and seeing how much it means to everyone in Germany and obviously it would be a dream come true to play in front of the home crowds.”
Fellow German player Caroline Masson, who was a member of the first European Solheim Cup team to win in the United States in 2013, added: “It was great to play with Martin and Moritz. We had a lot of fun but we also wanted to play well because it was for charity. Being here, seeing the course and involvement of the spectators make me really look forward to the Solheim Cup and I will give everything to be on the team in 2015.”
Martin Kaymer, victorious European Ryder Cup team player, said: “When I first heard that The Solheim Cup was coming to Germany and also that SAP and Dietmar Hopp were involved, I was certain that it would become great. I downloaded The 2015 Solheim Cup App and I was surprised how good it was. There are already many insights from players and a lot of interactive tools. The fan experience at the 2015 Solheim Cup will be great.
“Much has happened in women's golf in the last two or three years. That the biggest event in women's golf is coming to Germany is something we can be proud of. If I can arrange it, I would be glad to be there and to be part of it next year."
The charities to benefit from the promotion event are "Children for Tomorrow" (Stefanie Graf), the German University Sports Foundation, the Franz Beckenbauer Foundation and the foundation "Saving an Angel" (Rea Garvey).
Fashion for the fairways
A fashion-lovers dream
Fashion-conscious golfers have an opportunity to prove just how bright they are, after Royal & Awesome, the UK's funkiest golf clothing brand, appealed for names for its five new designs which will be available in March 2015.
Scotland-based Royal & Awesome has asked nearly 150,000 Facebook followers to come up with a name for the first of the five new lines, a blue, red and white, diamond-style design featuring heavily the union flag. And, within hours, more than 400 comments had been received.
Brand director Graeme Smeaton said: "We are always keen to stay connected with our customers and friends and we want to keep them engaged in the design and naming process. Last year, they helped to both design and name our new ranges and this year will be an extension of that success.
"We've already put up our first new design, and are monitoring the responses. And we will follow up over the next couple of days with four further designs which will also require naming."
The person who is first to suggest the ultimately chosen names will each receive a complimentary pair of Royal & Awesome ‘trews' as a reward for their ‘bright thinking'. To participate in the process all that is required is to visit Royal & Awesome's Facebook page and leave the suggested name as a comment.
Royal & Awesome's range of eye-catching golf trousers, shorts and hats is ‘perfect for the pars and the bars'. The brand also boasts selection of plus-twos as well as women's trousers, shorts and skorts in dazzling designs, complemented by a range of men's and women's shirts, socks and belts.
The ‘Awesomes' - the brand's range of brightly designed golf trousers - build on the wonderful heritage and history of golf in Scotland by adding a whole lot of fun and colour, and are guaranteed to make an impact on the course, the clubhouse or the corporate jolly.
All of its ‘bottoms' come with a free golf tool/bottle opener, which is a nod to the strap line of ‘for the pars and the bars'.
Royal & Awesome also has a huge following on social media, with nearly 150,000 Facebook fans and approaching 2,000 on Twitter, thanks in part to the recent launch of the ‘Tricky Series' featuring trick-shot specialist Rob Brown, which has been viewed by more 25,000 people.
See Royal & Awesome's spectacular range of golf clothing at www.royalandawesome.com or www.facebook.com/royalandawesome
Tried & Tested
Kasco Fashion Fit golf glove
They say: Designed for women golfers, Fashion Fit golf gloves come in 10 gorgeous colours and combines the resiliency of synthetic with the look and feel of leather.
I say: Gone are the days of only being able to buy the boring white glove in the summer of black glove in the winter. Thanks to the innovation of Japanese golfing giants Kasco you can now literally pick a colour golf glove to suit every outfit. The best part is that these gloves aren't a gimmick, they are genuinely a top-quality leather glove, the very best premium leather you can buy but as a price you can afford. I instantly found the pink fashion fit glove I chose to be incredibly comfortable, supple and offered excellent grip. Of course I had to go for pink, my favourite colour! But if you prefer a brighter red, blue or yellow then there's a glove for you. I think these are a great idea for co-ordinating with your club team uniform – yes you've guessed it ours is pink! And when I play for the Dorset County Ladies next year I will be bringing out the County yellow colour in all its glory. They're great fun and highly functional too. Great thinking Kasco!
Great-value golf around Lisbon
* 5-night, 3-round packages from £235 per person
* 7-night, 5-round packages from £310 per person
Golfers are being tempted to Lisbon in the coming months by a new range of value golf packages set-up by ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf, the operator of seven courses close to Portugal's capital city.
The new range provides visiting golfers with a choice of five hotel and self-catering options in the Costa Azul area and in Lisbon, and includes a combination of golf on six Orizonte courses, with a five-night break at the Hotel Alfoz in Alcochete starting from an outstanding €283 (£235 approx) per person, including rounds at Ribagolfe I, Ribagolfe II and Santo Estevão.
A seven-night stay at the same hotel costs €459 (£385 approx) per person and includes five rounds of golf, with additional play at Quinta do Peru Golf & Country Club and Aroeira I.
Groups seeking a self-catering option can grab a huge bargain with a week at the two-bedroom Aroeira Apartments costing from €372 (£310 approx) per person and including four green fees across Aroiera I and II, and a further one at Quinta do Peru.
The coastal fishing town of Sesimbra is much admired for its authentic Portuguese atmosphere and stunning vistas, and seven nights at the Sesimbra Hotel & SPA, with two rounds at Aroeira and three at Quinta do Peru, can be had for €548 (£455 approx) per person. The same five-round golf package is also offered to guests of the modern Aldeia dos Capuchos Hotel Golf & SPA, with a week's stay starting from €493 (£410 approx) per person.
And finally, for those seeking to stay in Lisbon itself and enjoy the trappings of the city, one week at the five-star Hotel Turim AV Liberdade is available from €650 (£540 approx) per person and, again, includes two green fees at Aroeira and three at Quinta do Peru.
The new range of packages are available for travel until May 31, 2015, and based on two sharing a twin or double room.
Launched this spring, ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf offers the chance to play some of the leading courses in close proximity to Portugal's capital together with exceptional value for money on a wide range of accommodation options across the region.
Quinta do Peru Golf & Country Club has hosted several European Challenge Tour events, while Aroeira features two championship layouts including Aroeira I, venue for the Portuguese Open in 1996 and 1997.
Ribagolfe, a host of the European Tour Qualifying School since 2009, provides two more challenging courses, both set within ancient cork oak forest, while golfers can also enjoy the 7,000-plus yards challenge at Santo Estevão and the 9-hole course in Oeiras, which is located just 15 minutes from Lisbon's centre.
For more details about ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.orizontegolf.com.
FINISH THE 2014 GOLF SEASON IN STYLE AT LA MANGA CLUB
Spain's La Manga Club has enjoyed another momentous year on the golfing front and is set to bring a memorable end to a successful 2014 by staging its popular Murcia Golf Open for the 14th year running.
With last year's British winter, the wettest since records began, still fresh in the memory, UK golfers are being given the chance to head for the sun by taking part in the event from December 2-6, with packages starting from only €375 (approx £325) per person for a four-night stay including three rounds of golf.
Featuring outstanding facilities including three 18-hole championship golf courses, La Manga Club has enhanced its reputation in 2014 by staging a number of high-profile golf events including the Spanish Seniors Championship, Spanish Youth Championships and the 1st La Manga Club PGAs of Europe Pro-Am. In addition, it has also undertaken a €1million redevelopment of its teaching and practice centre including opening a new Leadbetter Golf Academy – the only one in mainland Spain.
Competition in December's 36-hole Stableford tournament – which will be held over La Manga Club's North and South courses – is expected to be as fierce as ever across the different handicap categories for men and women, with a selection of luxury golf and leisure breaks and golfing equipment on offer to be won.
Tournament packages feature four nights' accommodation, including breakfast and a welcome pack; a cocktail reception; a gala dinner and prize-giving ceremony, and are available from just €450 (£390 approx) per person in the five-star Hotel La Manga Club Principe Felipe, or only €375 per person in the fully-serviced four-star Las Lomas apartments.
Prices, which are based on two people sharing a room, include tournament entry for golfers, along with a green fee for practice day, practice ball card on and on-course refreshments during the competition.
Free Wi-Fi and VAT are also included and, what's more, all tournament guests will receive a 25 per cent discount on any spa treatments booked; savings of 15 per cent when eating at any of the resort's Amapola, Asia, Luigi's and La Bodega restaurants and Deli-Café, and complimentary access to Spa La Manga Club's fitness centre, indoor pool, saunas and steam rooms.
Running alongside the golf event, La Manga Club is also hosting the 12th Murcia Seniors' Tennis Open from November 30 to December 5, with both competitions helping to confirm the award-winning sports and leisure venue's reputation as Spain's flagship resort.
For more information or to book, call 00 34 968 17 5577, email email@example.com or visit www.lamangaclub.com.