Every year my Mum and I enjoy entering the English Ladies Mothers and Daughters tournament, which is played at Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club. It's a really fun day out when you get to play 27 holes of foursomes golf with other like-minded Mums and their daughters. You get all ages from Mums with really young juniors through to Grannies, like my Mum is this year (but don't tell her I called her that!)
Along with being a very friendly tournament, you get to enjoy a sumptuous three-course lunch in the clubhouse to break up the day, followed by tea and cake during prize giving afterwards. I cannot recommend it enough - it's always an event we look forward to. This year it takes place on Saturday 12 th April 2014 and entry forms for the tournament can be downloaded from the mothers and daughters website: www.mothersanddaughtersgolf.co.uk
Laura pitches in with golf scholarships challenge at West Byfleet
Former World No 1 Laura Davies has given her personal backing to a golf scholarship for girls being set up at West Byfleet Golf Club where she honed her skills before turning professional.
Laura recently visited the Golf Mark accredited Surrey Club to support the Surrey Ladies' County Golf Association's 'Win a Lesson with Laura' initiative and to finalise details of the four Laura Davies Scholarships on offer.
"I'm proud and delighted to back what will be a fantastic opportunity for girls at West Byfleet Golf Club," said Laura, winner of more than 80 pro tournaments worldwide, including four majors. "I have so many great memories of the wonderful support I received from so many members and friends of the club when I was starting out on my way, some of whom I'm still in regular contact."
Laura, 50, added: "I'm sure these scholarships will really help generate interest in what is a great sport, one which has opened so many doors for me and given so much enjoyment over the last 40-plus years. I wish the lucky recipients every success - I know I'd have jumped at the chance to take part!"
Each junior girl awarded the scholarships will secure membership to use the course and practice facilities at West Byfleet, as well as receive a series of free coaching clinics. Successful applicants are expected to be active members of the Junior Section, participating fully in competitions as well as representing the Club in external competitions. All applicants must be girls with an active CONGU golf handicap and be between the ages of 11 and 16 years old on 1 January 2014.
In a second major initiative for 2014, West Byfleet Golf Club is to run a structured "Woodpecker Academy" course to enable beginners aged from nine to 15 to obtain a recognised golf handicap. Comprising 12 group coaching lessons and 12 supervised practice sessions covering golf etiquette and the Rules of Golf, the first one, running for 24 weeks and costing £36, starts in February 2014.
Upon successful completion, participants will be offered a six-month Woodpecker Membership at £25.50 allowing them continued use of the Club's facilities together with further participation in some of the Club's Junior Section activities.
Applications for the Laura Davies Scholarship and the Woodpecker Academy close on Monday 20 January 2014. Further details from firstname.lastname@example.org , or by telephoning 01932 343433, option 6.
Top Tips for leading players
LET Rookie of the Year Charley Hull and other stars of the professional game helped to inspire England Golf's leading amateurs just before Christmas at their annual Christmas Camp.
Charlie, 17, was joined on an interview panel by Tour winners and fellow graduates of England Golf training: Melissa Reid, Felicity Johnson and Tom Lewis.
The quartet fielded questions from the England squad members who were gathered at Loughborough University - and from some of England Golf's Twitter followers.
Their answers offered tips and advice on everything from preparing for championships to fitness workouts and dealing with setbacks - and spelling correctly on Twitter!
Charley, who was one of the stars of the 2013 Solheim Cup, was asked how it felt when she beat Paula Creamer 5/4 in the final day singles - and then famously asked the American to sign her ball. The answer? "Pretty good!"
During the camp, England Golf order of merit awards were presented to internationals Alex Peters, who topped the ladies' table, and Gabriella Cowley, who won the girls' title. Both awards are sponsored by Lorrin Golf.
USA triumph for Sammy Fuller
England girl international Sammy Fuller has just scored a record-breaking fourth straight win at the Honda Junior Classic in Florida, USA.
Sammy, from Roehampton in Surrey, beat Thailand's Kanyanat Saithip by a stroke to win the girls' 14-15-year age group. She scored 77, 73, in tough conditions on the Arnold Palmer course at the PGA National in West Palm Beach.
The result continues Sammy's remarkable run of success in US golf tournaments, achieved during annual winter trips to Florida. The 14-year-old has won her age group in the Honda Junior Classic in each of the last three years and, during last year's trip, she notched up her sixth consecutive win in the Pars Florida International Junior Championship.
Sammy's younger sister Annabell, 11, (Roehampton) is also making her mark - she was the runner-up in the 10-11-year age group at the Honda Junior Classic. In addition another Surrey player, Martha Lewis, 13 (St George's Hill), was third in the 12-13-year age group. Martha was runner-up in the 2013 English U13 championship.
Sammy trains with England Golf's national girls' squad while Annabell and Martha are both members of the regional U16 South Squad.
Have you entered the PING Fourball Betterball women's tournament?
Has your club made a date for its qualifying round for the 2014 PING Fourball Betterball Tournament?
This fantastic championship is England's premier tournament for women golfers, so don't miss out.
There are prizes for the winning pair and the runners-up at each club qualifier, as well as for the best pairs at the Plate and Grand Finals. What's more, every finalist receives a great goodie bag.
Club qualifiers must be played by 31 July 2014 and the winning pair from each club will go on an online leaderboard.
At the end of the qualifying period, the top 60 pairs go forward to the Grand Final at PING's Gainsborough Golf Club, in Lincolnshire, on Tuesday 9 th September 2014. The next 60 pairs will compete the day before in the Plate Final.
Congratulations must go out to the new collection of talented teenagers who have been selected for the England Golf U16 regional girls' coaching squads.
The squads, which cover 10 regions, are the first rung on the ladder of England Golf's national coaching structure. The players will train over the winter months with a mix of group coaching, matches and one-to-one sessions with their coaches.
The players selected are:
Girls, coached by JJ Vallely
Briony Bayles (Bishop Auckland, Durham)
Aimee Goodlad (Castle Eden, Durham)
Jessica Hall (Bishop Auckland, Durham)
Kitana Hollins (Ramside, Durham)
Niamh Lendrum (Parklands, Northumberland)
Natasha Slater (Furness, Cumbria)
Alexandra Stevenson (Beamish Park, Durham)
Caitlin Whitehead (Kendal, Cumbria)
Boys, coached by Kendal McWade
Jack Ainscough (Castle Eden, Durham)
Benjamin Bailey (Wynyard, Durham)
Matty Lamb (Hexham, Northumberland)
Ryan Lamb (Boldon, Durham)
William Skipp (Eaglescliffe, Durham)
Nicholas Sowerby (Appleby, Cumbria)
Cameron Wallace (Seaton Carew, Durham)
James Wilson (Close House, Northumberland)
The North strength and conditioning coach is Teleri Hamilton.
Girls, coached by Steve Astle.
Louisa Brunt (Ashton-Under-Lyme, Lancashire)
Ana Dawson (Peel, Isle of Man)
Lauren Green (West Lancashire, Lancashire)
Freya Johnson (Royal Liverpool, Cheshire)
Lucy Jamieson (Heswall, Cheshire),
Isobel Wardle (Prestbury, Cheshire)
Boys, coached by Pete Barber
Joseph Bannan (Manchester, Lancashire)
Callum Blinkhorn (Southport & Ainsdale, Lancashire)
Joshua Curtis (Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, Cheshire)
Max Conway (Formby, Lancashire)
Rhys Nevin-Wharton (Sandiway, Cheshire)
Michael Sumner (Formby, Lancashire)
The North West strength and conditioning coach is Nick Jones.
Boys, coached by Steve Robinson
Aaron Nairn (Rotherham)
Tom North (Howley Hall)
Ryan Hampton (Rotherham)
George Heath (Wakefield)
Charlie Daughtrey (Rotherham)
William Eardley (Pannal)
Kealan Lowe (Wheatley)
James Swash (Middlesbrough)
The Yorkshire strength and conditioning coach is Brendan Chaplin.
Girls, coached by John Mellor
Ellie Darnell (Wellingborough, Northants)
Jade Guest (Gog Magog, Cambs & Hunts)
Billie-Jo Smith (Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire)
Emily Smith (Royston, Hertfordshire)
Lois Williamson (Boston, Lincolnshire)
Boys, coached by Lysa Jones
Jake Benson (Beeston Fields, Nottinghamshire)
Corby Cartwright (Cosby, Leicestershire & Rutland)
Oliver Drew (Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire)
Callum Farr (Priors Hall, Northamptonshire)
Benjamin Jones (Brampton Heath, Northamptonshire)
Hugo Kedzlie (Spalding, Lincolnshire)
Daniel O'Loughlin (Ruddington Grange, Nottinghamshire)
Charlie Salter (Whittlebury Park, Northamptonshire)
Robin Williams (Peterborough Milton, Northamptonshire)
The East Midlands strength and conditioning coach is Paul Farquharson.
Girls, coached by Matt Whall
Alice Brooks (Gaudet Luce, Worcestershire & Herefordshire)
Sophie Johnson (Telford, Shropshire)
Morgan Thomas (Beau Desert, Staffordshire)
Lucy Walton, The Worcestershire, Worcestershire & Herefordshire)
Boys, coached by David Brooks
James Bowen (Olton, Warwickshire)
Ryan Chadwick (Trentham, Staffordshire)
Alex Chapman (Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire)
Tom Charley (Stoneleigh Deer Park, Warwickshire)
William Enefer (The Wrekin, Shropshire & Herefordshire)
Luke Northwood (Kenilworth, Warwickshire)
The West Midlands strength and conditioning coach is Ben Langdown.
Girls, coached by Roly Hitchcock
Eloise Aldous (Newton Green, Suffolk)
Alice Barlow (Newton Green, Suffolk)
Eleanor Brown (Barnham Broom, Norfolk)
Ashley Croft (Stockbrook Manor, Essex)
Chelsea-Mae Laundon (Chelmsford, Essex)
Chloe Rowswell (Eaton, Norfolk)
Amelia Williamson (Royal Cromer, Norfolk)
Boys, coached by Chris Jenkins
Toby Briggs (Dunston Hall, Norfolk)
Ryan Cox (Warley Park, Essex)
Jack Dyer (Rochford Hundred, Essex)
Callum Hilton (The Warren, Essex)
Dylan Mahmut (Romford, Essex)
Lewis Whiting (Haverhill, Suffolk)
The East strength and conditioning coach is Ashley Cook.
Girls, coached by Mark Day.
Gemma Allman (Stanmore, Middlesex)
Megan Dennis (Woburn, Buckinghamshire)
Sophie Faulkner (Whipsnade Park, Hertfordshire)
Priya Pankhania (Pinner Hill, Middlesex)
Daniella Ubasa (Pinner Hill, Middlesex)
Hannah Screen (Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire)
Julia Warke (Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire)
Charlotte West (Harewood Downs, Buckinghamshire)
Boys, coached by Rob Watts
Michael East (Castle Royal, BB&O [Berks, Bucks & Oxon])
Steven Stanhope (Frilford Heath, BB&O)
John Gough (Stoke Park, BB&O)
Luke Hynes (Porters Park, Hertfordshire)
Joshua Taylor (Mill Green, Hertfordshire)
Elliot Wills (Beaconsfield, BB&O)
Khush Patel (Bush Hill Park, Middlesex)
Jack Drennan (Highgate, Middlesex)
Harry Goddard (Mid Herts, Hertfordshire)
Danny Daniels (The Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire)
The Thames Valley strength and conditioning coach is Tony Sephton.
Girls, coached by Matt Antell
Nicole Amos (Faversham, Kent)
Penelope Brown (Worthing, Sussex)
Sharna Dutrieux (Wrotham Heath, Kent)
Cloe Frankish (Chart Hills, Kent)
Mollie Lawrence (Rochester & Cobham, Kent)
Ainee O'Connor (Sundridge Park, Kent)
Nicola Smith (Sittingbourne, Kent)
Nicole Stewart (Chart Hills, Kent)
Boys, coached by Steve Orr
Joshua Barley (Chart Hills, Kent)
Tom Harrison (Nevill, Sussex)
Charlie Hilton (Ifield, Sussex)
Max Jordan (Langley Park, Kent)
Tom Jordan (Langley Park, Kent)
Nathan Longley (Worthing, Sussex)
Tom O'Reilly (Sidcup, Kent)
Samuel Stedman (Chart Hills, Kent)
Charlie Strickland (Ham Manor, Sussex)
Thomas Thurloway (Mannings Heath, Sussex)
The South East strength and conditioning coach is Rod Goldup.
Girls, coached by Alex Saary
Amber Chana (Foxhills, Surrey)
Sarah-Jane Dalgliesh (Laleham, Surrey)
Annabell Fuller (Roehampton, Surrey)
Bethany Goater (Hockley, Hampshire)
Martha Lewis (St George's Hill, Surrey)
Jemma Milton (Hankley Common, Surrey)
Boys, coached by John Noble
Cameron Bell (Woodcote Park, Surrey)
Harvey Byers (Walton Heath, Surrey)
Alfredo Curbishley (Burhill, Surrey)
Tom Farrow-Smith (North Hants, Hampshire)
Zac Jenkins (Wentworth, Surrey)
Scott Murray (Wentworth, Surrey)
Joshua Oddy (Westridge, Isle of Wight)
Max O'Hagan (West Hill, Surrey)
Conor Richards (Shanklin and Sandown, Isle of Wight)
The South strength and conditioning coach is Matt Bramhall.
Girls, coached by Scott Godfrey
Grace Connelly (The Vale, Worcestershire)
Caitlin Evans-Brand (Yelverton, Devon)
Megan Giles (St Mellion, Cornwall)
Charlotte Heeps (Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire)
Chloe Howard (Boringdon Park, Devon)
Ebonie Lewis (Knowle, Gloucestershire)
Emily Toy (Carlyon Bay, Cornwall)
Boys, coached by John Jacobs
Jamie Amor (Marlborough, Wiltshire)
George Carroll (The Dorset, Dorset)
James Cooper (Cumberwell Park, Wiltshire)
Daniel Guy (Churston, Devon)
Matthew Hibbs (Broome Manor, Wiltshire)
Harrison Ottley-Woodd (Cotswold Hills, Gloucestershire)
Joshua Phillips (The Players, Gloucestershire)
Nicholas Ramshaw (Thornbury, Gloucestershire)
James Robinson (Bristol & Clifton, Gloucestershire)
Tom Trowbridge (Tiverton, Devon)
The South West strength and conditioning coach is James Marshall.
A proliferation of new putters...
In the last few weeks I have been bombarded with technical information about brand new putters that have just been launched. The beauty of switching your putter is that it can make a really dramatic difference to your ability to hole putts and lower your scores. It's also not an expensive investment to make. So below are the latest launches from the leading putter manufacturers to look out for...
Metal-X Milled putters
Info: There aresix head shapes in the line. The new range of putters features Metal-X Roll Technology that's chemically milled into the face, producing truer putts with more consistent roll. This, combined with Stabilising Crossbar Technology to stiffen the face, and Adjustable Weighting to customise feel, delivers a superior performance putter that sets a new benchmark in the premium putter market.
White Hot Pro Havok putter
Price: £149 Info: Featuring a Tour-inspired gunmetal PVD finish that creates an industrial, non-glare look at address and through the stroke, the Havok Mallet has a modified hi-def alignment system (v-line) and ultra high MOI, keeping more putts online, even on off-centre strikes.
Jailbird Versa putter
Price: £159 Info: Part of the revolutionary Versa family - the fastest growing new putter model on Tour - the Jailbird uses Double Versa Technology to give golfers the opportunity to highlight a proper face angle at address, through the stroke and at impact, allowing a player to dial in on the Jailbird putter's design even more, accentuating the face angle and improving concentration. Jailbird represents a step up in Tour proven, major-winning Versa Technology, and coupled with a new and improved laser-milled version of the White Hot insert, the #1 insert on Tour, it is highly engineered for a more consistent sound, better feel and improved performance across the striking surface.
Karsten TR Putters
Price: £153 adjustable, £129 non-adjustable
Info: Some of PING's most successful, timeless and tour-proven head designs are showcased in the five new putters featuring TR (True Roll) technology. Variable-depth grooves are milled directly into the face, providing unmatched distance control. Grooves are deepest in the centre and shallower toward the perimeter for greatly improved ball-speed consistency and distance control, leading to more putts made and fewer three-putts. An elastomer back-cavity insert enhances sound and feel for valuable auditory feedback. Available in a fixed-length shaft (35 inches is standard) or an adjustable version that can be modified between 31 inches and 38 inches to optimise fitting accuracy prior to a round. The copper PVD finish offers a distinctive appeal. Models fit all stroke types: Straight, Slight Arc, and Strong Arc.
Scotty Cameron Futura X Dual Balance mallet putter Price: £315
Info: The new Scotty Cameron Futura X Dual Balance mallet, a product of comprehensive putting research and golfer testing, provides maximum stability through the stroke and at impact from a high MOI, counterbalanced design. The putter features advanced perimeter stability weighting in the head and a standard length of 38 inches with a large diameter 15-inch grip that reduces hand action for a smoother, more stable stroke. A 50-gram counterweight in the butt of the putter shaft helps golfers make a proper stroke with the butt of the shaft pointed at the midsection.
VXF FL PUTTER
Price: £99 Info: The VXF FL Putter is part of a very comprehensive new ladies line of clubs that Yonex launched in 2013 and received great plaudits. The VXF FL enjoys the very highest production levels ensuring that the finish is perfect and as a result you get a putter that would pass the strict requirements of even the very top Tour professionals. It has a very simple mallet shape that sits very square behind the ball - you don't have to manipulate the face to line it up and with the very clear aiming line you will definitely like this putter if you use a line on your ball. The VXF FL gets the ball rolling quickly which means there are no horrible jumps off the putter face but just a very true roll. A heavy feeling in the head helps you swing the putter on a nice easy arc and will assist in getting the ball up to the hole on the slower winter greens.
DREAMING OF THE SUNSHINE? TRY HEADING TO THE DESERT...
I don't know about you, but I feel as though it has been months since we had some proper sunshine. And by that I'm talking about more than a one-day appearance of that yellow ball of rays in the sky. But one place I know that you will be guaranteed virtually cloudless skies right now is the UAE, where golf in the desert is booming!
Along with the promise of almost guaranteed sunshine, sandy beaches and extravagant clubhouses make this golf destination really unique. Within the UAE Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the two most popular choices. If you are looking to escape this never-ending winter weather right now then you might want to consider combining a sunshine break with attending one of the world's greatest golfing events including the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the DP World Tour Championship where you can watch the world's top players up close. Here are a few options...
A Dubai Golf Getaway
Home to the prestigious Emirates Golf Club and the tropical Creek and Yacht Club, Dubai welcomes players all year round and hosts numerous international golfing tournaments, including the Dubai Desert Classic. Both clubs offer 18-hole championship courses complete with spectacular views, rolling fairways and challenging waters as well as opulent clubhouses for post-game refreshments and entertainment.
Amwaj Rotana, nestled in the heart of Dubai, is suitably located just 15 minutes from Jumeirah Golf Estates, for guests to enjoy the buzz of the city as well as an active golfing break in the sun. Just a stone's throw from the Arabian Gulf and complete with a Bodylines Health and Fitness centre, Amwaj Rotana provides immediate access to relaxation for golfing enthusiasts at the end of a long day on the green.
Your Golf Travel ( www.yourgolftravel.com / 0800 043 6644) can offer a group deal where one person in a group of 12 goes for free (including accommodation, flights and rounds of golf). This is based on five nights at Amwaj Rotana, Dubai starting from £1199 per adult departing from London Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic and three rounds of golf (two rounds at Jumeirah Earth Golf Estates and one round at Jumeirah Fire Golf Course).
An Abu Dhabi Golf Getaway
An Arabian oasis of tranquillity in the heart of the capital, the Abu Dhabi Golf Club is arguably one of the best golfing experiences in the Middle East. Having recently played host to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and welcomed the most famous of players including Justin Rose, David Howell and Tiger Woods, this course is a desired location for all golfers. Featuring a fully floodlit 9-hole course as well as the 18-hole national course, golfers will face challenging contours that require wise club choices and high levels of precision.
This golf course is ideally located just 10 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport and twenty minutes from the five-star Beach Rotana. With a selection of restaurants and bars, a beach front location, water sports centre, swimming pool, and spa facilities, the hotel offers a perfect beach retreat when the golf clubs are packed away.
Your Golf Travel ( www.yourgolftravel.com / 0800 043 6644) can offer three nights at Beach Rotana, Abu Dhabi starting from £689 per adult departing from either London Heathrow or Manchester Airport with Etihad Airways, along with three rounds of golf at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Yas Island Links and Saadiyat Beach. This price is based on return flights and accommodation in a classic room on a bed and breakfast basis.
A Yas Island Golf Getaway
The first professional PGA Links golf course in the Middle East region is located on the iconic Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The eighteen-hole course is set against dramatic views of the Arabian Gulf and offers a course to put golfers to the test.
Yas Island Rotana is an ideally located spot to enjoy the city's premier entertainment precinct from. Overlooking the world's fastest ride at Ferrari World, the world's largest indoor amusement park and Yas Links Abu Dhabi golf course, Yas Island Rotana is the perfect choice for golfing enthusiasts and jet setters who don't want to miss out on the action.
Your Golf Travel ( www.yourgolftravel.com / 0800 043 6644) can offer four nights at Yas Island Rotana, Abu Dhabi starting from £699 per adult departing from either London Heathrow or Manchester Airport with Etihad Airways, along with three rounds of golf at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Yas Island Links and Saadiyat Beach. This price is based on return flights and accommodation in a classic room on a bed and breakfast basis.