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CARLY FROST
Editor
Ladies Golf Today

Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
October 25, 2014


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Planning your next girls-only golf escape?

I hope you don't mind me starting this week's blog by reversing the usual order of things and sharing a wonderful golf and spa break experience with you. I play golf every week with ladies at my club who like to organise mini girls-only golf escapes to places all over the UK and I can honestly say that the Menzies Welcombe Hotel, which I have just visited, ticks all the boxes a girls group could want – and more!

Please feel free to email me at carly@golftodaynetwork.com with your suggestions for places you would like to hear more about and I'll do my best to fill in the golf escapes section for you every week with useful planning information.

A very ‘Welcombe' break

As a special treat over my birthday weekend my husband and I drove to the historic town of Stratford-upon-Avon for a golf and spa break and a well-deserved spot of R&R.

As a former English student, a visit to Shakespeare country was my dream break really, and our base for the weekend was the very beautiful Jacobean-style house-turned-hotel, the 4 star Menzies Welcombe Hotel.

Set within a private estate of 157 acres, the Menzies Welcombe Hotel is acknowledged as one of the leading luxury country house hotels in the heart of England. Dating back to 1866, the historic house has 78 stylish en-suite bedrooms and a 2 star AA rosette rated restaurant providing superb cuisine from snacks and afternoon teas to fine dining.

I was lucky enough to be given the keys to 'Elizabeth's Room' - one of the hotel's magnificent four poster bedrooms, which benefits from the most marvellous outlook from the top floor of the house overlooking the landscaped lawn, golf course and rolling countryside beyond. The bedroom cleverly maintains all the historic touches like the original furniture, four poster bed opposite an open fireplace and marble bathroom suite, while offering guests the ultimate in modern amenities with a smart TV, your own personal Apple Mac computer and fancy coffee machine.

A hearty breakfast is served in the grand dining room below, my only slight grumble was that breakfast was buffet-style and by the time we arrived towards the end of the sitting most of the hot food had clearly been sat under the heaters a few hours and some of the dishes were missing. A freshly cooked breakfast would have made such a difference.

Dinner, in contrast, was a fine-dining delight. The top-class chef served up a tasty three-courses, all dishes made from local seasonal produce, and everything down to the bread rolls was freshly baked.

By far my favourite aspect of this hotel is the luxury Spa, which was the perfect place to relax after a game of golf. It boasts a large indoor swimming pool, external vitality pool, heated loungers, foot spas, thermal experience rooms, a selection of treatment rooms, gym, aerobics studio and all weather tennis courts. Every weary golfer will enjoy relaxing their aching muscles for a few hours here.

And so to the golf course and the championship layout is exactly what you'd expect from a course constructed in the grounds of a former estate. It enjoys a rolling parkland landscape with many heavily tree-lined holes that are particularly beautiful right now with the autumn leaves looking so colourful. There are some weak holes like the straight-forward par 5 first and equally bland closing par 5 18 th , but lots of strong holes in between. I particularly enjoyed playing the risk-and-reward holes like the par 4 6th where the big-hitter has the option of having a go at drawing the ball around the corner of the right-to-left dogleg onto the green. I'm not a really long driver of the ball but I managed to get within 10 yards of the green.

The par 3s are particularly testing, several played uphill or down, making club selection hard to judge but scoring a 3 or better very satisfying. Overall this is a faun course to play, it's quite a tough walk up and down some steep hills but buggies are an option. My only criticism was that the general presentation was a little rough around the edges with long grass on the tees rather than neat short grass but for a good value green fee it is hard to grumble.

My couple of little pointers could easily take the Menzies Welcombe Hotel and golf course from a 4-star experience to a 5-star one, but as my husband pointed out that would suddenly make it very exclusive and price a lot of visiting golfers out of the market. So I actually think that Welcombe has got it just right with their offering, the perfect golf and spa break for a group of girls and guys, couples or families, at a great price.

Spa Deal

The Welcombe Spa are offering a £75 spa day for 2 which includes a cream tea and glass of Prosecco plus full access to the spa and 2 mini treatments! Available until the end of April. To book contact the Spa on: 01789 413 810 or email welcombe.spa@menzieshotels.co.uk.

Golf Deal

Winter ‘day' golf offers Mon – Fri £25 per round Nov 1st March 31st
We openly encourage groups of 12 + starting @ £29 per person to include tea, coffee and a bacon roll on arrival followed by a hearty ‘Chef's Special' after. Organiser comes ‘FREE'!
£10 supplement on weekends subject to availability – quote code WELCW14
Contact Michelle Hudson on 01789 413843 or at welcombe.golfsales@menzieshotels.co.uk

Hotel Stays

Prices vary at the hotel with Standard bedrooms from £121.00 – £285.00
Executive bedrooms £140.00 - £305.00
Suites from £170.00 - £335.00
Four poster bedrooms from £210.00 – £405.00
These rates are Bed and Breakfast, and double occupancy.

For more information visit http://www.menzieshotels.co.uk/hotels/midlands/stratford-upon-avon-welcombe-hotel-spa-and-golf-club/ or contact 01789 295252
Or email welcombe.reservations@menzieshotels.co.uk

For more information on the area please visit www.shakespeares-england.co.uk

AMATEUR NEWS

Elaine is driving golf in Dorset

There's a new face behind the drive to get more people playing and staying in golf in Dorset

Elaine Barrow has just taken over as the Dorset Golf Partnership's County Development Officer. She'll be working with golf clubs and other organisations to help bring more people into the game.

Among the initiatives Elaine will be promoting is the Get into golf campaign, which inspires more people to play the sport by offering great value coaching with PGA professionals.

 “I've got a real passion for golf and for trying to encourage people to start playing or return to the game I just love golf,” said Elaine. “I think golf is a great way of socialising, exercising and enjoying fantastic scenery – you've got everything in one package. I just love golf!

Elaine plays her golf in Hampshire, where she is a five-handicap member at Brokenhurst Manor. Her daughters, Laura, 19, and Charlotte, 17, are both single-figure players – and Charlotte has just helped Hampshire to win the English women's county championship. 

Elaine brings much experience to her new role. She has been ladies' captain and a member of both the ladies' committee and the board of directors at her club. She's also been the junior organiser for the Hampshire ladies and been much involved with the development of girl golfers in the county. 

She has already played at many Dorset clubs and is looking forward to forging close links with everyone involved with golf in the county. 

Elaine takes over from Dee Wood, who is retiring after three years to spend more time with her six grandchildren. However, Dee will continue to run the Dorset Tour which encourages novice golfers to get out and play. 

Jamie Woodford, England Golf's senior regional development officer commented: “I am sure Elaine will be a tremendous asset to the county and the clubs and will continue to help the Dorset Golf Partnership to develop golf and increase participation.”

For more information about the Dorset Golf Partnership visit www.dorsetgolfpartnership.org.uk 

For more information about Get into golf and to find out about great value coaching opportunities visit www.getintogolf.org 

New drive to inspire women and girl golfers

England Golf has launched a drive to attract more women and girls to play the game and join golf clubs.

It's being led by Lauren Spray, the new Women and Girls' Participation Manager, who is herself a keen golfer and huge enthusiast for the game.
“There are so many reasons to play golf,” said Lauren (pictured). “There are lots of health and fitness benefits, it's something you can do with family and friends and you can enjoy the great outdoors on hundreds of different courses across the country.”

The England Golf Strategic Plan 2014-17 aims to increase participation and club membership and it highlights the current state of the women's game, showing that only 15 cent of the membership is female. This is in contrast to the average in Europe where women and girls make up around 30 per cent of club membership.

In addition, latest participation figures from Sport England show that 113,300 women and girls are regular, once-a-week golfers, compared with almost 600,000 men.

England Golf will support clubs to attract more women into the game with a targeted programme to grow female participation and membership, which will be launched in 2015. Guidance on good practice will also be available to clubs.  Support for junior girls will also form part of England Golf's Club Junior Offer.  Details will be available soon on the England Golf website.

A Women and Girls' Advisory Group is also being created to support Lauren's work. This will include up to eight volunteers who will help to shape the content and delivery of women and girls' activity.

Applications are currently being invited and further details are available online. The closing date for applications is 31 October 2014.

Lauren has a degree in golf management from Birmingham University and is working towards her Masters. She has been a member of the England Golf Partnership's Youth Panel, which gives young golfers a voice in the development of the game, and now helps to lead it. Before taking on this role she worked for the Nottinghamshire Golf Partnership as the Get into golf officer and for the PGA as a regional coach development officer.

She has played golf since she was about 12, has a scratch handicap and represents Nottinghamshire where she's a member at Stanton on the Wold and at Notts Ladies' – and is ladies' champion at both.  “I like to play golf both socially with my friends and to compete,” she said. “Golf is great because the handicap system means players of all different abilities can enjoy playing together.”

PRO NEWS

Women On Course For Wentworth

Synonymous with hosting the men's European Tour's annual flagship gathering, Wentworth could also become the venue for a high-profile professional women's event.

A senior executive of the Reignwood Group has indicated that the Surrey club's new owners are considering a variety of opportunities.

Among the possibilities being mooted are additional women's tournaments to complement the Reignwood LPGA Classic, the second edition of which took place at the company's Pine Valley Golf Club in Beijing last week.

Spearheading the field there was world number one Stacy Lewis along with Norway's Suzann Pettersen and Koreans Park In-bee and Ryu So-yeon.

It was, however, a less heralded Korean, Mirim Lee, who emerged victorious in the US$2.1 million tournament which is the richest of the LPGA Tour's seven events in Asia.

Talking exclusively with  Golf Business News , Alex Ho, Vice President, Reignwood Group, said the company is in the process of putting together a strategy for the staging of professional tournaments at its three world-class golfing properties – Wentworth, Pine Valley and Princeville in Hawaii.
“We're dedicated to both ladies and men's tournaments,” said Ho.

Because we have acquired Wentworth in London and also Princeville in Hawaii we are having a bigger global golf map now so we have a bigger choice globally.”

Asked specifically if the Reignwood Group would support further professional women's events, Ho said: “At Princeville in Hawaii it is something we are considering … and also at Wentworth. They [the tournaments] should fit into our overall global strategy of developing golf. It's possible we will have three LPGA events at the three properties. Maybe. Why not?”

Pine Valley Golf Club  www.reignwood.com/pine_valley.asp

LET to launch 2019 Solheim Cup assignment process with the support of JUMP

The Ladies European Tour (LET) will be launching the assignment process for The 2019 Solheim Cup later this month with the support of the Switzerland and London based consultancy JUMP.

The 2019 Solheim Cup assignment process will begin in late October with a formal invitation to bidders and will conclude in early 2016 with the announcement of the 2019 Host.

Several countries have already indicated their interest in hosting one of the most followed women's sports events in the world.

The LET has been working with the strategic consultancy JUMP since 2013 to develop its new strategy and guide its execution as well as the acquisition of new sponsors.

LET CEO Ivan Khodabakhsh said: “ The recent Ryder Cup has demonstrated the growing appetite to watch Europe take on the USA at golf. With the European team's victory at the past two editions of The Solheim Cup and the growth in women's golf across the world, The Solheim Cup is developing into a unique women's sport brand globally. We are therefore very confident of a strong host for The 2019 Solheim Cup.” 

JUMP CEO Matthew Osmon commented: “Women's golf in general and The Solheim Cup in particular have enormous unrealised commercial potential. The players are outstanding athletes who are smart and articulate, but at the same time remain approachable and very willing to work with corporate partners. The Solheim Cup, like its male equivalent, The Ryder Cup, is the ultimate property in women's golf and offers and original and attractive proposition for sponsors.”

CLYBURN OVERCOMES LATE NERVES TO LAND TOP JUNIOR TITLE AT QUINTA DO LAGO

England international India Clyburn overcame a late attack of the nerves to add the 2014 Telegraph BMW Junior Championship girls' title to her growing list of honours at Quinta do Lago in Portugal.

The 17-year-old has been in scintillating form this summer and led from the front at Quinta do Lago's redeveloped North Course to add the prestigious title to the English Amateur Girls Championship and Royal Birkdale Scratch Trophy she won earlier in the season.

Clyburn, sister of Ladies' European Tour player Holly, held a commanding five-stroke lead after the first day after returning a course record 69 and extended her advantage by a further stroke going into the final 18 holes.

But   on a rain-interrupted last day, North Yorkshire's Lily Downs began to close the gap as Clyburn hit trouble and her lead was reduced to just two strokes as the event reached its climax.

The gap was down to only one when Clyburn overcooked a shot and found her ball lying by a tree root on the 15 th   hole, leading to her second double-bogey of the day.

But Clyburn settled her nerves by securing a fine birdie at the par-three 16 th   hole before maintaining her composure over the final two holes to clinch a two-stroke victory from Downs, with Surrey's Elizabeth Prior  five shots further back in third.

"It was so tough out there, especially with two doubles in my last round,” said Cleethorpes star Clyburn.

"I was getting angry with myself and in the end I lost count of my score and didn't know what to do. I just tried to do something in the final three holes. 

“It's great to add my name on the trophy and all the things that come with winning this. My coach, Graham Walker, happened to be out here for the first round so I was happy to tell him that I shot a 69 in my opening 18!"

Meanwhile,   the boys' event featured an impressive performance from Portugal's number one teenager Vitor Lopes, who produced sub-par rounds of 70 and two 68s to win the title by four shots from Cheshire's Rhys Nevin-Wharton with Worcestershire star Oliver Farrell back in third.   

Clyburn and Vitor Lopes, winner of the boys' title, will now play in next year's BMW Championship Pro-Am at Wentworth, an initiative first revealed by Paul McGinley at last year's finals.

“I actually thought about this on the way round,” admitted Clyburn. “Now that I've won, it will be awesome experience to play alongside the professionals.”

Previous winners of the event, which was hosted by Quinta do Lago for the second year running and celebrated its 30 th anniversary this year, have included the likes of the US Open champion Justin Rose and stars of the men's and ladies' tours in Europe, Oliver Fisher, Melissa Reid and Carly Booth.

In addition to competing in one of the world's biggest junior tournaments, the finalists enjoyed a trip to the Portugal Masters during their stay to watch some of the top Tour stars in action, while they also received an assortment of the latest top-of-the-range golf equipment from TaylorMade adidas Golf.

Clyburn   was one of 12 boys and nine girls to take part in the 54-hole competition and the   21 finalists enjoyed an added treat this year as they became some of the first golfers to play Quinta do Lago's totally revamped North Course.

The North Course has been redesigned by renowned American architect Beau Welling in close collaboration with Paul McGinley, and the European captain of the winning 2014 Ryder Cup team was on hand to officially open the new development just 24 hours before the tournament starts.
One of the most talked about development projects in Europe in 2014, Quinta do Lago's North Course has been redeveloped at a cost of €9.6m and been built to the highest specifications, with the course in line to become the new number one course at the prestigious family resort.

The layout has been revamped with the emphasis firmly on precision and strategy. While many modern-day developments tend to focus on length, Welling and McGinley have been keen to design a golfing experience where accuracy and course management are the key factors, and a course that is playable and fun for golfers of all abilities.

Set amongst 2,000 acres of the picturesque Ria Formosa Natural Park, Quinta do Lago is one of the most highly regarded golf and residential developments in Europe since opening in 1972.

From the outset, the resort has been at the forefront of European golf with three 18-hole championship courses matched by outstanding practice facilities including a Paul McGinley Golf Academy, a state-of-the-art TaylorMade Fitting Centre and new short game area. Away from the fairways, there is plenty to keep everyone occupied, with events, tennis, cycling and watersports just some of the extensive leisure activities available.

For more details about the 2014 Telegraph BMW Golf Championship, visit   www.telegraph.co.uk/juniorgolf  For further information on Quinta do Lago and its facilities, phone + 351 289 390 700 or visit   www.quintadolago.com  

NEW GEAR

The clever heated inner sole that will keep your feet warm this winter

An amazing new shoe inner sole has been developed that could be the answer to one of golfers biggest complaints in the winter – cold feet!

The Digitsole has a sleek, lightweight design, and incorporates a chargeable USB port, that once switched on, will connect your insoles to a dedicated app. Through the companion app, available to Android, iOS and Windows Phone users, a simple slider allows you to adjust the temperature of each individual shoe, as well as getting feedback from your day on paces, calories burned, altitude and more.

Given the placement of a sensor system in the insole, the precision of monitoring for steps is even greater than wristbands currently available. In addition, the insole is designed to improve impact for the feet, offering arch support, a flexible front section and a shock-absorbing heel.

The innersole weighs just 3.5 ounces (100 to 120 grams) making it truly lightweight. Its maximum heat level is 104°F (40°C) and is available in shoe sizes EUR 36 to 46.

Visit www.digitsole.com for more information.

The caddy that clips on your hat

The VoiceCaddy VC300 is the world's smallest and lightest GPS rangefinder. Its clip-on, hands-free design makes it easy to use.
Offering yardages to the front, centre, and back of the green, it comes ready to use out of the box. Its sleek, sensitive touchpad responds intuitively and yardage is determined by the swipe of a finger.

It comes in a choice of colours including pink for ladies.
Priced at £109, for information visit: www.voice-caddie.com








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