Cheshire Golf round up - April 2016

Golfing round-up

Golfing round-up - Credit: Archant

Geoff Garnett rounds up the golfing news in and and around Cheshire

Eddie (centre) with his award flanked by Victor Tarr and assistant green keeper Wayne Atkinson

Eddie (centre) with his award flanked by Victor Tarr and assistant green keeper Wayne Atkinson - Credit: Archant

Great national double for Eddie

EDDIE Ainsworth the course manager at AVRO Golf Club, Woodford, has achieved a remarkable double in reaching the finals of the STRI national award for Conservation Green Keeper of the Year in 2015.

In 2014 Eddie won the BIGGA national award for Greenkeeping Achievement of the year and the latest honour recognises his dedicated work at the nine-hole club, which was established around 40 years ago adjacent to the former aerodrome site.

Victor Tarr, the Greens Chairman at AVRO, said: “Eddie’s enthusiasm for promoting natural habitats around the course in ‘out of play’ areas has made a positive impact on the numbers and varieties of insects, small mammals and birds seen on the course.

Danny in the new facility

Danny in the new facility - Credit: Archant

“He has also aroused the interest of members and other green keepers in the area as the club follows a three-year management plan provided by their course ecologist James Hutchinson and Eddie has more plans to keep up the exceptional work done so far.”

Sophie Vukelic, the ecology and environment consultant who recommended Eddie for his latest award, added: “Eddie is a firm believer of using what you have and that is exactly what the team at AVRO have done to create such great results.

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“With Eddie’s enthusiasm and will power the management of AVRO golf course is in very capable hands.

“He communicates the conservation works at his club via Facebook (Nature on Course and personal account), articles in local media, Pitchcare and AVRO Greenkeepers.

Rhys, Danny and Sky Sports presenter Amy Lewis

Rhys, Danny and Sky Sports presenter Amy Lewis - Credit: Archant

“Using an array of platforms to spread information is great to reach a wider audience.

“As a keen bee enthusiast Eddie regularly holds seminars all over the UK (and more locally) encouraging people to do more for our native bees and the honey produced by the six beehives on the course provides income for the club projects.

“It is a great talking point for members and the general public and information boards are also installed in the vicinity of the hives.”

Richard in action at his new coaching studio.

Richard in action at his new coaching studio. - Credit: Archant

Danny’s dream is realised

FORMER Sale Golf Club junior Danny Whittaker has realised his dream of setting up one of the best indoor coaching facilities in the UK.

It is based in the former half-way house at High Legh Park Golf Club which has been completely refurbished and developed by Danny and he is very excited about the new opportunities that coaching at High Legh will bring for him.

Mark is pictured with his diploma

Mark is pictured with his diploma - Credit: Archant

Danny said: “I turned pro at 19 having been a junior at Sale Golf Club and passed my PGA exams with a distinction and got my first pro job at Mobberley GC in 2004.

“I left there to pursue my passion of coaching at the Altrincham Driving Range in 2007.

“Since then I have built up my coaching which sees me travel to the USA four times a year and I also offer on line lessons.

“At High Legh I have got all of the modern teaching technology from video analysis with integrated force plate, Trackman and the lasts 3D analysis from americaMySwing Golf.

Nick with David Brunton, Yvonne, Brian Gould and Tony Bacchus

Nick with David Brunton, Yvonne, Brian Gould and Tony Bacchus - Credit: Archant

“This will be the first in this country and in the waiting area I have a TV linked to an iPad where golfers can watch their lesson notes and watch their own customised warm-up routine, which can be viewed direct from the TV – gone are the days when swinging two heavy clubs sufficed as a warm-up!

“I am currently coaching several top players including Rhys Nevin-Wharton, the Cheshire Junior Boys Captain and England junior who plays off +3 and was a regular for England juniors in 2015.

Among the other top players I coach are Welsh international Tom Williams a +4 handicapper who played in both the men’s and boys home internationals in 2015, Jon Beesley back to back Cheshire match-play champion. Ron Harrison the Cheshire Seniors star, Mike Bedford ex-Cheshire champion who is now playing on the Europro Tour, James Abbey Cheshire u16’s, local pros and assistants Ant Dempsey, Chris Cousins, Adam Powell, Jamie Storey, Ben Thompson and Iain Davie.

“I would like to thank my family for their support and Paul Woods for my time at the Altrincham Driving Range.”

Olly Smith

Olly Smith - Credit: Archant

Rhys takes centre stage

CHESHIRE Junior Boys Captain Rhys Nevin-Wharton was one of the stars of The Golf Show staged at Event City in the Trafford Centre, Manchester.

His coach Danny Whittaker was given several slots on the main stage during the two days of the show to demonstrate his advanced coaching skills.

Danny used Rhys as his model student on Day One in front of a packed house- an occasion enjoyed by both Danny and Rhys who is looking forward to a great season ahead at county and national levels before he takes up his golf scholarship at the University of Tennessee in August.

On the second day of the show Danny had former Cheshire champion Mike Bedford as his model and with Sky Sports filming both days of the Golf Show there is every chance that they will be featured.

Richard opens new studio at Hale

INDOOR golf coaching studios are a growing trend at many golf clubs in the area and Hale Golf Club’s much-respected professional Richard Booth is delighted with the completion of his new teaching facility at his club.

Richard said: “The studio is very handily placed close to the professional’s shop and car park and has the extra advantage of also being open on to our excellent outdoor practice area.

“The studio has an indoor simulator using Foresight Sports GC launch monitor and it can be used for several purposes such as club fitting, coaching, practicing and playing different courses.

“The main benefits are that it is warm and dry during the winter and you can actually use the data to see how much spin a player is getting on the ball to help me to select say – the best driver for their game.

“When coaching, a player can see the extent to which they are improving and how swing changes directly influence ball flight- it is addictive and great fun!

“The studio is available for all golfers and beginners, not just club members, and for further details or to book a session telephone me on 0161 904 0835 or email or check the website

Another step up for Mark

MARK Pilling, the coaching professional Prestbury Golf Club, has a great reputation in the game for his high level of teaching at the terrific coaching studio and practice area at his club.

Mark has always aimed high and was awarded the golf coach of the year during his PGA training and completion of the Advanced Certificate in Golf Coaching in 2012.

Mark said: “I decided to continue my academic studies by completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Coaching at the University of Birmingham and recently received my diploma.

“To date less than 20 PGA professionals have completed the course and I am the only pro in the local area to achieve this.

“The two-year course focuses on providing an interdisciplinary approach to coaching using research from disciplines such as sports science, biomechanics and psychology to offer golfers of all abilities the most appropriate solutions to improve their golf.

“My final thesis focussed on the use of 3D motion capture technology which I now try to use on a regular basis in my studio at Prestbury.

“The course has helped me appreciate the complexity in helping players develop sustained improvement in golf and it has given me the ability to provide appropriate solutions to the right person at the right time.

“Using 3D motion capture has given me a broader understanding into how and why players move and swing the way they do.

“Specifically it helps me identify where the swing breaks down and what is influencing this.

“I have links with Cheshire and currently coach a squad of girls and boys for both the gents and ladies county unions.

“The aim of these squad sessions is to develop young players to a sufficient standard to represent the county and join the county elite squads.

“As well as coaching many of the members at Prestbury I am also working with and looking forward to watching the progress of PGA EuroPro player Dan Osbaldseston and county players James Newton and Joe Armitt throughout the coming season.

“Finally I would like to thank the members at Prestbury for their support over the past three years whilst studying.”

Nick gets great send off at Ringway

NICK Ryan, one of the region’s most respected PGA professionals was given a terrific send-off by Ringway Golf Club members, guests and his friends as he retired from the club’s professional role after 35 years of incredible service.

The occasion was marked with an afternoon tea party and a more formal evening dinner to recognise the great work done by Nick, who has played a significant part in the club’s development and high profile in the game.

Nick started his golf as an outstanding junior at Romiley Golf Club and he began his professional career at Werneth Low as assistant to Tony Bacchus in 1974 before becoming the New Mills professional two years later with great help from their then Captain Brian Gould.

His next big move was to become the professional at Ringway in 1981.

Nick said: “I would like to thanks those who worked with me for the longest periods including wife Suzanne and her mum Brenda in the earlier years and subsequently David Brunton, Danny Turner, George Drakonakis and Yvonne Lynch – I could not have done without them.

“The variety in the job means that it is continuously interesting, meeting many remarkable and engaging people, the sense of community at Ringway was always so evident and humour was never too far away.

“Above all perhaps the shared passion for golf is the strongest factor that binds us to our task as club professionals.

“The most memorable occasion for me at Ringway must be in 1995 when Jim Quick brought the World Transplant Games to Manchester and the golf to Ringway.

“We had three days of welcoming competitors from all over the world and what a carnival of colour and personalities it was on beautiful summer days.

“I would like to thank our Lady Captain Alison Grant for her kind words to Yvonne and Tom Williams who did the address for me at the dinner.

“Tom was on the original interview panel for me in 1981 and he made a very touching and humorous speech.

“Yvonne joined me in 1996 and she looked after and developed the ladies’ fashions, such an important part of my retail offering and she is also now retiring from her role at Ringway.

“Many members of her family have been members of Ringway including her father, brother, son and husband and she is now looking to have a little time to pursue the game too.

“For the record after 42 very happy years as a professional I have retired my membership of the PGA and have now applied for reinstatement as an amateur.

“I love the game today as much as I ever did and playing as an amateur offers so many opportunities even as time marched on!”

Olly back to his Mersey roots

OLLY Smith began his golf as a junior at Ashton-on-Mersey Golf Club after suffering a football injury and was quickly bitten by the golf bug.

He did well as a junior and went on to play for the full Cheshire team but then drifted away from the game for several years before deciding to give it another go and aim for a PGA qualification.

Olly worked for a few months at the driving range at Altrincham before it closed and was then delighted to be offered the role as assistant professional by Kris Andrew, the director of golf at Ashton.

He said: “It was a dream come true to return to my golfing roots at Ashton and was like returning home and meeting up with so many old friends.

“During my PGA course I am looking at developing, coaching and encouraging a thriving junior section at the club which has a proud record of producing top juniors over the years.

“I will also still be looking to play as much as I can in PGA competitions and the Manchester Alliance as well as coaching and looking after the pro shop at Ashton and I am delighted with the warm welcome I have received on my return to my golfing roots at the club.”