Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
Golf: The No.1 Excuse for Cheating Men Chasing Birdies!
I read with great amusement this week, the results of a new survey conducted by leading Extra-marital affairs website IllicitEncounters.com which has found that playing golf is the number one hobby men use as an excuse to cover up a fling!
Over 45% of male members involved in the survey have used golf as an excuse to slip away from home to spend some quality time with their secret squeeze.
If you think about it, golf is the perfect excuse for spending a long time out of the house. Most men can make a game of golf and a few drinks at the bar last all day!
So if your husband is taking to the fairways or the practice ground more often than usual it might be worth asking to see those extra day scorecards!
ENGLAND WINS GIRLS' HOME INTERNATIONALS
England won the Girls' Home International championship at Radyr, Wales, in a nail-biting, touch and go finish.
The team came from behind to beat the hosts, Wales, 5-4 on the final day and secure the Stroyan Cup for the fifth year in a row. England finished with 2½ pt, Ireland 2pt (runners-up for the second year in a row), Wales 1pt and Scotland half a point.
It fell to the last three players on the course to win their matches for England - and they did it. Captain Chris Pascall said: "It was touch and go and it all came down to the last three matches.
"It was tough - and it was a tough week. The standard gets better all the time and the girls have played extremely well."
England held a slender lead in the championship at the start of the final day, having previously beaten Scotland and halved with Ireland. The team knew that a win against Wales would secure the trophy.
But Wales, too, had all to play for and came out, all guns blazing, to win the morning foursomes. Only Elizabeth Mallett and Meghan MacLaren were able to secure their point for England, winning one up.
As the singles got under Georgia Hall continued her excellent form to win her match 5/3 and level the scoreboard. Georgia, who is sixth in the women's world amateur rankings, won five out of six points this week.
They led in the three games still to finish - and duly won them all. Amber Ratcliffe beat Jessica Evans 4/3 after being three up at the turn, Gabriella Cowley beat Megan Lockett 3/1 after being all square at the turn, and Meghan MacLaren delivered the title-winning fifth point for England by beating Nia Greville 2/1, again after it was all square at the turn.
Elizabeth Mallett (Sutton Coldfield Ladies') & Meghan MacLaren (Wellingborough) beat Georgia Lewis & Nia Greville 5&4
ALEX SCORES DEBUT WIN IN ENGLISH WOMEN'S STROKE PLAY
Teenager Alex Peters made a stunning debut in the English women's open stroke play championship at Little Aston, Staffordshire, when she scored a six-shot victory.
The 18-year-old from Notts' Ladies came from three behind at the half way stage to overtake the leader, Charlotte Thompson of Essex, and finish on three-under par for the event.
Alex also won the U23 and U21 trophies. English girls' champion Emily Taylor (Hillside), who finished third overall, won the U18 trophy. The U23 County Team trophy was won by Charlotte Thompson (Channels) and Ashleigh Greenham (West Essex).
Alex, a former England girl international, said afterwards: "This is my biggest win. It's a big tournament which is open and attracts foreign players so I'm very happy to win it."
The success underlines her fine form this season, helped, she says, by finishing school and leaving exam stress behind. She's already won the Independent Schools' championship at Carnoustie, the Nottinghamshire ladies' title and, with Charlotte Thompson, the Porters Park Centenary Cup.
Now, she's looking ahead to the British stroke play and qualifying for the Women's British Open, before taking up a golf scholarship in the USA in January.
But first, she's celebrating this win. Alex played steadily throughout the championship and took her chances when she could, on a course which she really enjoys.
Charlotte Thompson had dominated the event over the opening two rounds, getting to four-under, but Alex was not discouraged to start the final day three behind.
"I knew Charlotte was playing well, we'd both won at Porters Park and we'd played the practice round together. But I started well and I was only one behind after four - with 32 holes to go."
Alex gave herself a great morale boost on the par four sixth, where she hit her five-wood approach to within 2in of the hole. That helped her reach the turn in two under and she played the back nine in level par, with two bogeys and two birdies, for a two-under 71. Charlotte, meanwhile, slipped back with a third round score of 77.
In the last round the game plan was clear: "I just went for fairways, greens and two-putts," said Alex. "If a putt went in, great, but I just wanted to play steady." She was rewarded with a level par score of 73 - and the title.
Charlotte, who was celebrating her 20th birthday, finished as runner-up. She, too, is in having a successful season, having already taken third place in the English women's open mid-amateur championship.
Georgia's the Queen of the Girls!
England's Georgia Hall continued her spell of exceptional golf to win the British girls' championship, beating Spain's Clara Baena 6/5 in the final at Tenby, Wales.
Georgia, 16, from Remedy Oak in Dorset, did not lose a hole in the final. She was five up at the turn and won the 13th to clinch the title. She is the first English winner of the championship since 2007. The semi-finals and final were played in almost unrelenting rain, accompanied by the ever-present wind, as the week's bad weather continued right to the end of the championship.
But Georgia, who is ranked 10th in the world, negotiated the conditions in style. She first moved ahead on the third when her opponent tangled with the thick, wet and clingy rough. She extended her lead to two up on the short sixth where her excellent tee shot meant she was conceded a winning birdie. Georgia got to four up after the Spanish player first had bunker problems on the seventh and then battled with the rough on the eighth.
Now Georgia could do no wrong. She holed a bunker shot at the ninth to win it with a birdie three and go five up. Halves in par at the 10th, 11th and 12th advanced her nearer to her goal.
Then, suddenly it was all over when Georgia won 13th with a par four. She was only one over par for the holes played in conditions, which spectators said, would test even Rory McIlroy on his game.
Earlier in the day, Georgia fought back to win her semi-final against Germany's Quirine Eijkenboom. She was three down after five and, despite battling back to all square, was again one down after 16. However she won the 17th and 18th to take her place in the final. Georgia is a full England international and was runner-up in the English women's championship in May.
Charley Hull in a rush to join the paid ranks
Charley Hull has shown that she is the next big thing in British golf by helping Great Britain and Ireland to beat the United States in the recent Curtis Cup and posting several strong finishes in professional tournaments lately.
Now the 16-year-old Woburn player, competing in the ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters at Buckinghamshire Golf Club, has spoken of her desire to join the paid ranks along with fellow Curtis Cup players Holly Clyburn and Amy Boulden, who all hope to attend Ladies European Tour School in Morocco in December.
To do so, she would require a special exemption from the LET, due to being under the age of 18 normally required for membership, but this has previously been granted to the likes of the LETs youngest ever tournament winner Amy Yang, Czech teenager Klara Spilkova and current order of merit leader Carly Booth.
Hull put up a strong showing in professional events this summer by finishing joint 38 th at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, fifth at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open and then tied for 18th in the Ladies Irish Open a few weeks ago. She would ultimately love to represent Europe at The Solheim Cup, which pits Europe ' s leading 12 professional golfers against their rivals from the United States.
"That's everyone's dream," she said. I'm going to Tour school. It might take a few years, but you never know. It's definitely something I want to do in the future."
New caps get the call-up for Home Internationals
Four new caps have been named in the England team which will defend the women's Home Internationals at Cork Golf Club, Ireland, from 4-6 September.
They are: Gabriella Cowley, 16 of West Essex, Essex; Alex Peters, 18, of Notts Ladies', Nottinghamshire; Amber Ratcliffe, 16, of Royal Cromer, Norfolk; and Emily Taylor, 17, of Hillside, Lancashire. They will join established internationals: Holly Clyburn, 21, of Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire; Georgia Hall, 16, of Remedy Oak, Dorset; Bronte Law, 17, of Bramhall, Cheshire, and Kelly Tidy, 20, of Royal Birkdale, Lancashire. The reserve is Charlotte Wild, 22, (Mere, Cheshire). The team will again be captained by Chris Pascall (Hartlepool, Durham).
Holly Clyburn, Bronte Law and Kelly Tidy were all members of the GB&I team which won the Curtis Cup at Nairn in June. Kelly is the English champion while Holly was third, and Bronte was runner-up in the French lady junior championship.
Georgia Hall, who is 10th in the women's world amateur rankings, was runner-up in the English and a semi-finalist in the British championships.
Alex Peters capped a fine season last week when she won the English stroke play championship to accompany her Independent Schools' title. Emily Taylor is the English girls' and the Irish women's stroke play champion. Both have represented England as girl internationals.
The following players were not available for consideration for selection due to educational and other commitments: Hayley Davis (Ferndown), Charley Hull (Woburn), Meghan MacLaren (Wellingborough), Elizabeth Mallett (Sutton Coldfield Ladies') and Lauren Taylor (Woburn).
SENIOR WOMEN'S TEAMS SELECTED
The England Golf teams for the two international fixtures on the women's senior calendar have been selected.
Somerset's Amanda Mayne will make her debut for the team in the Senior Home Internationals, while Cheshire's Barbara Laird returns to the side for both the Home Internationals and the European senior ladies' team championship. Hilary Smyth (Pannal) will captain both teams.
The European senior ladies' team championship will be played at Lugano, Switzerland, from 4-8 September. The championship was last played in 2010 when England won the silver medal.
The players are: Roz Adams (Addington Court Ladies'), Caroline Berry (Bromborough), Sue Dye (Delamere Forest), Barbara Laird (Sandiway), Janet Melville (Sherwood Forest) and Chris Quinn (Hockley). Non-travelling reserves: Amanda Mayne (Saltford), Lulu Housman (Highgate) and Linda Hunt (Newbury & Crookham).
The Senior Home Internationals will take place at Elie, Scotland, from 2-4 October. England are the defending champions and will seek their third win in a row and their eighth since the tournament began in 2003.
Cobra AMP Ladies Irons
Price: £649 (5-SW)
They say: If you are looking for more distance and accuracy then the Cobra AMP Irons offer all the amazing benefits packed into an attractive club so it looks as good on the course as it does in your bag. Each individual Cobra AMP iron uses Advanced Material Placement a multi compound design which positions the weight in specific places so every time you swing the club you get explosive power and distance in the long irons and amazing consistency in the short irons. This AMP technology improves the E9 technology also found in the club head. E9 Face Technology in each iron offers you superior versatility which is fantastic for players of all abilities. The progressive face and cavity design helps you to maintain optimum distance, feel and forgiveness in each strike.
The accuracy and consistency comes from the full cavity back design with a TPU which dampens the vibrations you receive on contact with the ball so you receive an exceptional feel and great feedback from the club. Each AMP iron head is constructed using a 17-4 High Strength Steel Face which has been plasma welded to a 431 Stainless Steel body. Consistent distance and accuracy comes from the outstanding V Skid Sole which is a mid-width sole that gets narrower in the toe and heel which will help reduce turf drag so the club face will remain square through impact. The irons have a higher bounce front section which provides a more forgiving sole interaction; lower bounce middle section keeps the leading edge of the club head in the correct position throughout the strike. Each iron is fitted with a Cobra AMP by Aldila Ladies flex graphite shaft and a colour co-ordinated Winn Wrap grip.
I say: It's not often you can pick up an iron and instantly hit it well but in the Cobra AMP's case you really can. These irons are so easy to hit it is unbelievable. With sales features including more distance and accuracy you might be forgiven for thinking that they would look chunky or cumbersome and are simply designed for higher handicappers. This is not the case. I play off a handicap of 1 and I love them. I love the fact that the design is simple to look down on. The club sits beautifully behind the ball. The soft sheen of the iron material doesn't reflect awkwardly in the sunshine but just looks expensive. The vivid green colouring on the shaft, back of the clubhead and the grip won't be to everyone's taste but I like the fact that my irons genuinely look different. They certainly turn heads and get people investigating further as to what I'm carrying in my golf bag. The grips are like putty in my fingers, really soft and comfortable to hold, although I'm yet to put them to the test in the winter when I'm not convinced that such a soft surface will be easy to keep hold of in the rain!
Aside from their ease of use, good distance and solid feel the best feature for me is the responsiveness off the face. The AMP are forged which gives you great feedback on your shots. They sound fantastic when you hit them.
If you haven't tried a Cobra golf product before then I'd seriously consider putting the Cobra AMP irons to the test. They certainly impressed me.
Royal County Down - The best golf course on the planet?
It is with much debate that once again I ask the question, what is the best golf course on the planet? I'd certainly welcome your views. The question was brought to mind as I was invited to play the hallowed links turf of the spectacular Royal County Down golf course in Northern Ireland a few weeks ago. Founded in 1889 this is one of the oldest golf courses in the world and has regularly been ranked Number One in the Top 100 golf courses list, as such it has been on my 'must play' list for as long as I can remember. To say I was excited to experience the golf here is an understatement, so did it live up to expectations?
What I love about Royal County Down is its unassuming brilliance. You'll arrive at a clubhouse that looks more like a grand house, where everyone is incredibly polite but not pompous. Free tea and coffee is available in the bar upstairs where you can sip your warm drink and look out upon the links with eager anticipation. After a few putts on the sloping practice green (the perfect preparation for the experience to come) and a couple of swings in the net I was ready to play. The first tee shot sets the standard for the majority of tee shots on the course in that you need to hit the ball long and straight to find the narrow funnel of fairway, framed by giant sand dunes either side. If you miss-cure and leak your drive off to the right you'll get the first opportunity to witness the amazing view down onto the sandy shores of the Dundrum Bay, this really is true links golf where you can smell the sea air and see the view from virtually every hole. The nature of the tee shots at Royal County Down plays right into the hands of typical lady golfers who aren't necessarily long hitters but can find most fairways with an accurate strike. As there is little trouble to carry ahead of any of the tees it is incredibly fair, although still a long course!
The skill of the game comes to the fore around the greens, which as you would expect have all the humps and hollows of natural links terrain.
any are domed and reject anything other than a perfectly struck approach shot. On my visit they weren't particularly speedy but they were true and a well struck putt always dropped. I also had great fun playing those long 'chip-putts' from 30 yards out, where you can actually run a putt all the way up onto the green. The bunkers were devilish and to be avoided at all costs, aptly named the 'bearded bunkers' as they are framed by wispy long grass at their edges. My ball ventured into the sand on a few occasions and I was always pleased just to get the ball out and could rarely go for the pin.
The star of the show were the par 3s which were all incredibly dramatic, from my favourite hole, the par 3 fourth where the views of the golf course and surrounding seaside framed by the Mountains of Mourne ahead are breath-taking, to the simplicity of the little par 3 seventh where all you'll need is a short iron to reach the green but it's a small surface to find.
I won't go on and bore you with a description of every hole, blow by blow, but I hope that I have given you enough to whet the appetite to make the trip to this wonderful part of the world. When people ask me why I think Royal County Down is always ranked near or at the top of the best golf courses in the world I now have the answer - it is simply that this is how golf should be played. A raw and rugged links landscape, carved out of the natural coastal terrain but given the tender loving care that ensures you always get a lovely lie and a true putt to hole. This is links golf at its absolute best and I challenge you to tell me a more rewarding and natural golf experience than this. I, for one, already want to go back.
Plan a trip to Tenerife and watch the Ladies European Tour
If you are thinking of booking a winter golf break and fancy going to a destination where the sun will be shining at the end of September then why not look at Tenerife?
You could combine your trip with a day ticket to watch the LET Tenerife Spanish Ladies Open, which takes place on Golf Las Americas from September 20-23rd.
The Spanish Open will see over 120 female golf players head to the sunny climes of Tenerife for an intense four-day international tournament. With a prize fund of 350,000 euros and listed on the Ladies European Tour schedule, it is the most important golf tournament to be held in Spain this year.
If you buy a ticket to the tournament you can expect to see 26 players representing 24 different nations including British players Melissa Reid (former winner) and the legendary Laura Davies (winner in 2010). Other British competing talents include Becky Brewerton, Carly Booth, Felicity Johnson, Florentyna Parker and Rebecca Hudson.
The 18-hole venue, Golf Las Americas, is a longstanding favourite among golf holidaymakers thanks to the incomparable weather conditions, its proximity to golf-friendly accommodation, and the overall facilities available, including an impressive club house overlooking the ocean. What's more, having staged up to 4 professional tournaments, in addition to the forthcoming Spanish Ladies Open, the John Jacobs masterpiece has been hailed as one of the best championship golf courses in Spain for professional tournaments.
Fast establishing itself as a world-class golfing destination, the island offers a remarkable choice of eight golf courses (plus one easily accessible course on La Gomera), of varying terrain and level of difficulty, but all flanked by breathtaking mountain and coastal vistas. An average annual temperature of 23 degrees centigrade, regular flights from the UK and Ireland, short transfer times from two of its international airports, and a superb choice of accommodation, combined with a vast array of leisure activities on offer, varying from luxury sailing to free sightseeing in the Teide National Park, are just some of the many reasons why Tenerife makes a perfect holiday choice for golfers.