Cheshire Golf round up - February 2016
PUBLISHED: 15:05 09 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:56 09 February 2016
Geoff Garnett rounds up the golfing news in and and around Cheshire
Hard work and talent pays off for Bel
Prestbury Golf Club are justifiably very proud of the outstanding progress made in 2015 by their superb junior Bel Wardle (pictured).
Her efforts have been rewarded by selection for the England Girls U18 National Squad at the age of 15.
As well as retaining her Cheshire Girls title Bel also had top ten finishes in the Scottish u16’s, The St Rule Trophy, The Bridget Jackson Bowl, Liphook Scratch and the Birkdale Scratch and she also finished tenth in the British Ladies Amateur Championships at Moortown.
Bel was the highest-placed English girl in the British Girls Championship and represented England on two occasions in 2015.
She has the same coach as England’s top player Bronte Law in Richard Green at Bramhall and he has helped greatly to bring her game on in 2015 and she is looking forward with a winter of hard work in continuing her success in 2016
Sid is special at Disley
Sis Maddison is a true golfing legend at Disley Golf Club where he has enjoyed playing for over 36 years, usually three or four times a week.
Now that Sid has reached the tender age of 96 the club and its members have been only too pleased to give him the unique privilege of using his golf buggy- even though they are banned for all other players in times of difficult course conditions.
One of the highlights of his playing career was to win the ‘major’ Israel Sidebottom Trophy at Disley in 1989 with a remarkable card of 74-16-58 which has the scorecard framed and displayed in the clubhouse.
Sid served in the Far East during the Second World War and was caught by the Japanese forces in Singapore and was imprisoned for over four years which including working on the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai.
With many of his colleagues in captivity dying due to the extreme conditions Sid’s ability to accept rice in his diet kept him going through this difficult period and he was known as ‘Two Pint Maddison’ for the amount of rice and other dreadful food he could eat in one sitting which many of his fellow prisoners could not cope with.
On his return to Blighty Sid worked as a management accountant and in his retirement played golf several times a week.
Disley Captain Geoff Gable said: “Sid is an absolute legend in the club and provides a great example for younger golfers to follow.
“He has a wonderful sharp, dry wit and for example he refuses to attend any Prisoner of War reunions because-‘all those fellas have got too old’!”
Curtis enjoying his new life in the USA
Reddish Vale Golf Club has a proud record of producing top junior players with the likes of Adam Stott, Barry Barker, Ryan Jackson and more recently Abbie Cowlard, the reigning Cheshire Ladies champion who is now doing her PGA course as the assistant pro at Reddish.
Now Curtis Brokenbrow, (pictured) who was junior captain at Reddish a few years ago, has set a new mark for the club by becoming their first-ever player to win a golf scholarship in the USA.
Curtis, 19 and playing off +1 handicap, completed his first term at Missouri Baptist University (MBU) of a four year course and came back to catch up with his family and golfing pals at Reddish Vale and Stockport Golf Club.
Curtis was introduced to golf in Tenerife at the age of eight by his grandad Alan Booth and then followed it up by joining Reddish as a junior and his sporting talent soon saw him make rapid strides in the game.
He played for Cheshire juniors for three years, was the club champion of Stockport and the Wednesday section Golfer of the Year in 2012, 2013 and 2014 as well as winning the coveted Jubilee Cup.
In 2015 he had a great run in the Cheshire match-play championships at Warrington when he was beaten in the final by ex-professional Jon Beesley (Mere) on the first play-off hole and along the way he beat James McCormick, now a professional, 5/3 in the quarter-final.
He was determined to continue his education from Reddish Vale High School and Stockport College by securing a golf scholarship in the USA and was delighted to win a place at MBU and begin his course in August 2015.
Curtis said: “The golfing opportunities and chances to improve my game have certainly been fulfilled at MBU where I have been able to play in Inter College tournaments and travel to five states and I have already finished as runner-up in one Inter College tournament.
“On the academic side I am doing courses in Sports Management and business administration as well as a course for one year on basic education – these involve about ten hours of lectures and five hours of homework per week.
“Once I have got my degree I will then think about what direction I will follow in golf or sport.
“I would advise any other young golfer thinking of applying for a golf scholarship to make sure that they look into every aspect on what the university offers and take to study carefully whether their profile matches your aims and ambitions before applying.
“It was great to come home and meet up with family and friends and play some golf on the two fine courses at Reddish and Stockport.
“I would also like to thanks my parents Steve and Michelle, my brothers Daniel and Bradley, my coach Daniel Haughian and all of the members and staff at Reddish and Stockport for their continued support and encouragement at all times.”
“I finish the first year of my course in May and will be looking to play in the Cheshire stroke-play championship at Prestbury and the Cheshire match-play championship at Caldy as well as in Northern Order of Merit competitions.”
The ‘Old Perc’ stays at VRA
The Percival Trophy is one of the top trophies played for each year in West Cheshire by the ladies from some 22 clubs in a Three Pair Foursomes match play KO format.
After the early rounds have been completed the top four teams compete on finals day with the semi-finals in the morning and the final in the afternoon.
This year’s final was hosted at Portal Premier with four teams- defending champions Vale Royal Abbey, Bromborough, Helsby and Runcorn aiming to win the prestigious trophy donated in 1969 by Jean Percival, a member of Delamere Forest and fondly referred to as ‘The Old Perc’.
After wins over Antrobus, Sutton Hall and Frodsham Vale Royal Abbey took on Bromborough in the first semi and it looked gloomy for VRA as they were down in all three matches after nine holes.
Alison Brandon and Sue Helm lost the first on the 18th but Sonya Bradbury and Andrea Broudhurst showed their fighting spirit as they clawed back from dormie four down to win on the 21ts and with tSue Goddard and Chris Orchard winning on the 18th VRA were through.
The other semi was won by Runcorn and in the final there were many twists and turns before Alison and Sue put the first points on the board winning on the 17th.
This was followed by a win on the 15th by Sonya and Andrea to see VRA retain the trophy to the delight of the team and their supporters.
Ian enjoying his new role
IAN Hales (pictured with the Alliance programme, took over the role of hon secretary of the Manchester and District Alliance in August 2015 and he has found it to be a very steep learning curve.
Ian has been Captain and Hon secretary at Chorlton Golf Club and played regularly in Alliance events for several years before taking up the offer of succeeding Doug Craig (Davyhulme Park) who had been secretary for the previous five years and is now enjoying a year as the Alliance Captain.
Ian said: “The Alliance, founded in 1924, is the biggest and most active organisation of its kind in the country with over 114 member clubs within a radius of 35 miles from Manchester Town Hall meaning that there are well in excess of 50,000 golfers who are members.
“I am in awe of the work Doug has done in organising weekly competitions during the winter months for over 100 players per event, including up to 40 professionals, as well as the unique Inter Club Knock Outs during the summer months which get great support from member clubs and have terrific prestige in the region.
“I am hoping that I can fill Doug’s shoes in the role and there is never a dull moment with such a variety of competitions to organise throughout the year.
“The hardest part is finding places for all players in the weekly competitions during the winter months as we get full fields, with great support from the professionals, with a waiting list.
“What is often not realised is that players from all of our member clubs can enter the competitions and details of how to do this are on our website www.mdga.org.uk.
“We also run two Mixed competitions with the White Cup being staged at my own club on March 30 and I would urge players to book their slots early.
“We get terrific support from sponsors and clubs in providing great competitions for which the Alliance officials are very grateful.
“The draws have been made for the Inter Club Team Knock Outs- Dunham Forest Trophy, City Glass Men’s Foursomes, Archie Preston Mixed Foursomes, Williams BMW Junior Challenge and the new Seniors KO which has gone from strength to strength in the two years since it was brought in.
“Also the action will be taking place in the Scratch Knock Out with some top players in the region- both pros and amateurs in the field.
“After a short mid-winter break the action begins again in our weekly competitions at Tytherington and finishes on April 27 at Withingon Golf Club on President John Dowd’s day.”
Bramhall Kids School of Golf is thriving
The Bramhall Kids School of Golf, which is based at Moorend Driving Range on the Stockport/Macclesfield border and is run in association with the Midgelow School of Golf, continues to go from strength to strength.
Danny Midgelow said: “We have been running kids classes for a number of years and in wanting to cater for the thousands of children in the surrounding area we have launched the Bramhall Kids School of Golf.
“On the launch week we had over 30 children sign up for the first term and we are looking to build on this and get as many youngsters into the beautiful game as possible and we take them on from three years of age.
“It’s amazing to see how quickly they learn- they are just like a sponge in soaking up all of the information we give them.
“We have two young brothers Harry and Archie Worthington, from Glossop, who have been selected for Derbyshire junior county training and there are many more talented players at the school who it is great to see and a joy to watch in action.
“At the school we offer both after school and weekend classes and cover in a very fun way every area of the game and there are games to play and prizes to be won each week.
“Throughout the term we are working towards the end of term ‘on the course’ mini-competition and on this day trophies and certificates will be awarded.
“For more information email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Cheshire Union announce changes to Matchplay Championship
The Cheshire Union of Golf Clubs have announced radical changes to their Matchplay Championship. First played in 1964, the County Matchplay is one of the County’s major championships. The first two championships were won by the Cheshire legend, Gordon Edwards of Bromborough with his fourth and final win at Wallasey Golf Club in 1986.
Last year the winner of the championship staged at Warrington GC was Jon Beesley (pictured) of Mere GC who beat Curtis Brokenbrow (Reddish Vale and Stockport) in a closely contested final.
Recently, the entry for this event has fallen from a frequently oversubscribed entry to a field of 53 out of 64 in 2015. In an effort to increase the entry the County have introduced a 36-hole Strokeplay qualifying round to decide who moves forward to the knockout stages.
The 16 players with the lowest aggregate scratch scores will qualify to play for the Cheshire Matchplay Championship by scratch match play.
In addition, the eight players with the lowest aggregate nett scores failing to qualify for the Cheshire Matchplay Championship will play for the Cheshire Matchplay Plate by handicap match play off full handicap allowance.
A further addition will be a Seniors Matchplay. Eight senior golfers (over 55) who have previously pre-qualified, will play for the Cheshire Seniors Matchplay Championship by scratch match play.
Cheshire County Secretary, Stephen Foster said: “Over the years, entry for this event has fallen. The only reason I can think of is a dislike of Matchplay and the possibility of an early exit. The very nature of the event requires a field reduction of 50% after each round.
“This new format will provide entrants with a minimum of 36 holes of golf, all aiming to qualify for the KO stages. The introduction of the Handicap Matchplay element should be an added incentive to enter. By moving to this format, we were also able to introduce a Matchplay event for our Cheshire Seniors; a qualifying round will be played at an earlier date with the top 8 scratch scores moving forward to the KO stages.
“This will produce three finals on the final day. We believe these changes will enhance the event raising it back to its previous status of a major Championship”.
The 2016 event is to be played at Caldy Golf Club over Friday to Sunday, 20th, 21st & 22nd May. On-line entries open February 3 2016.
Jason looks forward to his new path in golf
Didsbury Golf Club’s new assistant professional Jason Dransfield has enjoyed plenty of success over the years as a playing professional on a range of golf tours following a successful amateur career at his home club Royal Liverpool and with Cheshire County.
Jason began his golf at Royal Liverpool in 1995 as a junior with a 40-handicap.The subsequent years saw him represent Cheshire Boys in 1998 and the full Cheshire team in 2000-2003.
Jason also enjoyed success in the Faldo Series in 2002 being a winner at Royal St Davids and at Royal Liverpool setting a record of 67-5 and he enjoyed receiving one-to-one coaching with Sir Nick .
Other amateur successes included being in the top ten in the European u21’s at Woodhall Spa and in the Tillman Trophy at Hunstanton.
He also played as an amateur in a European Challenge Tour events in 2002 and 2003.
In 2004 he took the big decision to turn professional and since then has a fine record of over 40 professional victories in the Asian Tour qualifier, the PGA Europro Tour and the Hooters Tour in America.
In 2010 Jason competed on the Player’s Tour finishing second in the Order of Merit including a seven-hole play-off win over Ronan Rafferty plus a further six top ten finishes.
Jason said: “My goal over the coming three years is to excel on the PGA course and increase my knowledge of the golf industry as a whole. Whilst working on my game- The candle still burns bright to continue my playing career.
“Throughout my career I have looked at how Sir Nick Faldo went about his game and I have tried to learn many things from watching him and I was fortunate enough to be able to work on my game alongside him on a number of occasions.
“Without doubt I want to thank Peter Barber for giving me the opportunity to work under one of the nicest men in the game.
“Up to date I have had a lot of supporters, none more than my parents as they have given everything of me to be able to enjoy success in this game.”
Peter Barber added: “ Jason will be a real asset to my team and I am sure that he will do very well at Didsbury Golf Club for the next three years.
“The only downside to Jason is that he is an avid supporter of Liverpool FC but we will try and keep the rivalry between Man United and Liverpool into a proper context!”