Cheshire Golf round up - May 2016

Golfing round-up

Golfing round-up - Credit: Archant

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

Alliance President John Dowd with Phil Archer

Alliance President John Dowd with Phil Archer - Credit: Archant

Manchester Alliance Matchplay Finals Despite the recent heavy rain and a frost overnight Ashton-on-Mersey provided a course fitting for one the Manchester Alliance’s top competitions- the match-play championship and the assistant professional’s match-play trophy. The morning semi-finals set the tone for a great and thrilling day of golf as in the main competition former European Tour star Phil Archer (Birchwood) came back from one down with two to play to beat Gatley’s Tom Bolton on the 19th. This set up a match against Lymm’s Graham Cox, a previous winner of the competition, who was taken all the way by Ringway’s Ollie Pantoja before securing victory on the 18th. In the assistant pro’s competition the holder Adam Hodkinson (Chorlton) ended at one up against home star Olly Smith to set up a match against Hazel Grove’s Ben Thompson who won 4/2 against Andy Palmer (Chorley). Hodkinson proved to be too strong in the final to win 4/2 to retain the trophy. But it was nip and tuck all the way in the main final with the scores level after nine holes. Phil Archer had three wins in four holes to take a two-hole lead going into the last four holes. Then Cox notched a birdie and an eagle on the next two holes to level the match but a wayward tee shot on the 17th gave Archer a one-hole advantage going into the 18th. His approach found an awkward lie in e greenside bunker with Cox safely on the green 12 feet from the pin. Archer blasted out from the bunker to ten feet giving Cox a putt to halve the match but he just missed leaving a cool and grateful Archer the chance to win and he holed a nerveless put to claim the trophy for the first time.

The Astbury greens team - Connor Daly, Alistair Cuthbert, Dave Blank, Dan Beckett, Chris Keeler and

The Astbury greens team - Connor Daly, Alistair Cuthbert, Dave Blank, Dan Beckett, Chris Keeler and Richard Royle. - Credit: Archant

Astbury continue to invest in their course Astbury Golf Club is showing great benefits on its course with its partnership agreement with Toro. Astbury Greens chairman Alan Percival said: “When the current course manager Dave Blank joined the club three years ago he, together with the greens committee, set the objective of significantly improving the presentation and playability of our greens, tees and fairways. “Dave led the improvement programme and in parallel we embarked on a conversion to Toro equipment.” Dave, who leads a five-strong team, added: “Toro makes the most reliable and easy to work on machines in the industry. “I had used Toro prior to joining Astbury so my own experience with the brand, coupled with recommendations picked up from the green keeping community, made Toro the only choice. “It is also important that we get a real precision cut and the Groundsmaster and other Toros are doing a fantastic job of that and the end result is there for all to see.. “We now have five machines that have been purchased in the last three years and are adding another in the next few weeks.”

Gemma receives the trophy from Delamere Forest Lady Captain Annette Young

Gemma receives the trophy from Delamere Forest Lady Captain Annette Young - Credit: Archant

Gemma does it again The highly-ranked Comboy Scratch Trophy saw a top field of some of the country’s top players enjoy a Delamere Forest course in great condition as they endured a testing four seasons of weather over 36 holes. At one stage the greens were covered with a layer of snow and the play was suspended due to a thunderstorm. But thanks to great organisation and spirit for the players 36 holes were completed and provided some wonderful golf with home player and England international Gemma Clews retaining the trophy she had won in the two previous competitions, after a terrific contest with Lancashire and England’s prodigiously talented teenager Hollie Muse of West Lancs GC. Bronwyn Davies of Wolstanton led after the first round with a neat 71 with Gemma and Hollie a couple of shots adrift. This set the scene for a wonderful head-to-head in round two between Gemma and Hollie which produced a first nine birdie feast. Gemma moved to five under after ten holes than had to take a penalty drop for a plugged ball. Hollie came right back at her but Gemma showed her international class to finish on two over par and with Hollie finishing on one over Gemma triumphed by three shots to retain the coveted Comboy Scratch Trophy and continue to enhance her national ranking. In third place three shots behind Hollie was Ebonie Lewis of Knowle GC followed by Georgia Price of Bude and North Cornwall who was another shot off the pace.

Jamie and Mark out on the course

Jamie and Mark out on the course - Credit: Archant

Jamie shows how he cares about Macclesfield GC European Tour star and Ryder Cup legend Jamie Donaldson began his golfing years as a junior at Macclesfield Golf Club and has never forgotten his roots with the club. He is still a regular visitor and has supported the junior section with a trophy and attendance at Presentation Evenings for many years. The club has recognised his enduring support for the club by making him a n Honorary Life President- an honour richly deserved and much appreciated by Jamie. Jamie has recently spent a few days at the club with James Edwards, a course architect friend of his, and they did a lot of work on the course layout, shaping fairways etc to improve the course- a gesture much appreciated by head green keeper Mark Hillaby and his staff who will be looking to work on their suggestions in the coming months. Mark said: “The help and advice I have had from Jamie and James has been invaluable and now my team and myself will be working hard to ensure their ideas are put into place and the club members and visitors will reap the benefits going forward.”

The new Captains with executive members

The new Captains with executive members - Credit: Archant

Warm welcome for new Captains at Knutsford The Association of the Manchester and District Golf Captains welcomed the new club Captains to the annual Introductory Meeting at Knutsford Golf Club, who were as always excellent hosts. There were 27 new Captains in attendance along with 12 executive members of the Association and they combined together in a Team Stableford to enjoy the delightful setting of the Knutsford club. The new Captains were given a warm welcome by Captain’s Captain Tony Draper (Chorlton GC) and Knutsford Captain Robert Nelson with Tony explaining the aims and ethos of the Association. The Association secretary Alan Preston led the winning team to a second consecutive victory with his team comprising Steve Williams (Bramall Park), Andy Hill (Cheadle) and Dave Moore (Sale) who posted 43 points. It left them ahead of Ian Hales (AMDGC). Jeff Sawyer (Horwich) and Dave Hughes (Denton) 42 and Ian Brooks (AMDGC), Keith Mullen Bolton Old Links, Simon Naylor (Stand) and Neil Turner (Dunscar) 41.

Becky on the range and receiving coaching from Darren

Becky on the range and receiving coaching from Darren - Credit: Archant

Becky ‘Gets Into Golf’ in style Becky Brown is a great advert for the Cheshire GIG initiative after rapidly achieving success in golf. Becky, who lives in Altrincham, had a few golf lessons when she was very young as her grandparents were big golf enthusiasts, but her main sporting interest was in football before knee injuries stopped her playing. “Becky, 24, said: “My family are all gym members at The Mere so I went for a look around the resort and met Darren Cain, who runs Cain Golf which operates at Mere, Tytherington and Sandbach, and he provided a big turning point as I decided to try and play golf again. “The Cain Golf teaching style is very relaxed and fun and the coaches are always instantly available via an app to send feedback when at the range independently.“Some lessons when I feel that I am doing really badly I am always encouraged and never made to feel bad. ”Darren invited me to play on the Cain Portugal trip in 2015 and that was set as the target for me to be able to play there and it was my first round of golf. “I have never been so nervous in my life but Darren spent a lot of time with me to ensure that I was happy with my swing and prepared to play. “I won the ‘player of the week’ award there which was a massive confidence boost for me and a real motivator to carry on and keep improving. “Now I am playing in the ladies competitions at Mere each week with a current handicap of 32 and I can feel myself getting better and becoming more confident. “My long-term aim is to get to single figures, to play a round in par and start moving from the bottom of the competition rankings! “The Cheshire GIG format is a great way for ladies to begin and enjoy all that the game of golf has to offer and I would advise any ladies to give it a go.” Darren added: “Becky provides a great role model for ladies to Get Into Golf as she came into golf two years ago and after our five-week GIG course rapidly progressed into one-to-one tuition and the six-month coaching package which has seen her blossom on the course after her success in Portugal. “Her father has now taken up the game and they both attend all of our venues to get an all-round coaching experience and both attended this year’s trip to Portugal.”

Crewe Golf course

Crewe Golf course - Credit: Archant

New festival for golfers Golf Clubs coming together to stage Golf Festivals provide an increasing and exciting opportunity for golfers to be able to play new courses in a variety of competitions over a number of days. Trentham Park, Crewe and Alsager Golf Clubs have set up the inaugural North Staffs and South Cheshire Golf Festival that will take place between Sunday September 18 to Thursday September 22. The festival offers a variety of competitions over the five days of the festival at affordable prices and with great prizes on offer and Included is a 3-Day Festival for Men’s BB Stableford playing all three courses with the final round at Crewe Golf Club on Tuesday September 20 The organiser of the festival is David Marchant who can be contacted on email and full details can be found on the website David said: “There will be men’s. Ladies and mixed events and there is plenty of local accommodation and attractions to enjoy in the local area and it promises to be a great feast of golf.”

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Bramhall are great hosts for England Golf ENGLAND Golf are providing great support for clubs in designing a pilot programme to drive growth in women’s participation and membership across the country with the Cheshire Golf Union being very involved. The Cheshire Development Officer for clubs in the East of the county is Sean Hammill and he was delighted to bring other England Golf delegates along to a meeting with club representatives hosted at Bramhall Golf Club. Among those represented were Bramhall, Astbury, Styal, Hazel Grove, Heaton Moor, Didsbury, Davenport and AVRO. Sean said: “The pilot programme initiative has been tested in other counties and has now been brought to Cheshire and the clubs present were those who have expressed a desire to drive women’s participation and had the structures in place to deliver. “Participating clubs will utilise England Golf insight and hands-on support to develop an appropriate pathway into golf staring with free taster sessions followed by group coaching sessions and access to the golf course. “Clubs will support new ladies all the way to provide a welcoming environment and a strong social experience to encourage regular participation. “Any other clubs looking to join in the scheme can contact me on either 01625 426496 or email”