The Cheshire influence at the 2011 Solheim Cup
PUBLISHED: 11:55 21 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:02 20 February 2013
Cheshire's Joanne Morley and Ian Wrigley hope the rain stays away in Ireland for an exciting golfing encounter, as Sue Wrigley reports
The Solheim Cup the female equivalent of the mens Ryder Cup is a fiercely competitive biennial tournament and for three exciting days this month the cream of European ladies golf go head to head against their American counterparts.
Alongside the dignitaries and taking pride of place next to the European team captain Alison Nicholas MBE at Killeen Castle in Ireland will be her two vice captains Swedish golfing superstar Annika Sorenstam and Sales Joanne Morley.
As with any sporting occasion, golf needs referees and representing the Professional Golfers Association will be Ian Wrigley who has been the professional at Dunham Forest Golf and Country Club for over 26 years.
Ian and Joanne have both been leading lights locally during their golfing career and while Joanne travelled the world, Ian, after a short spell on tour, made his base in Altrincham.
Ian was the professional at Vale de Lobo in Portugal in the 70s before returning to Dunham as their head professional.
I see many youngsters interested in the game and it is good that schools like Manchester Grammar encourage their pupils to come to us for group lessons. There are so many aspects involved with golf as a career, from playing to teaching or refereeing. I have been delighted to see some of my young assistants move into these areas and into the course management side as green keepers or agronomists.
As a youngster, Joanne was a keen tennis and badminton player and enjoyed all sports. Her late mum Jean played golf and so she borrowed three second-hand clubs and fell in love with the game while hitting balls at Altrincham driving range.
Mum was a member of Sale Golf Club and I joined as a junior and have been a member for over 30 years, she said. I had played in the Solheim Cup and so when I was given the opportunity to be vice captain at the tournament I jumped at the chance. Although the team didnt win, the experience was terrific and when she asked me for a return match this year, there could only be one answer.
And can Europe bring home the coveted trophy this year? There are too many variables in this sport to answer that one, Joanne said. The team of 12 is cohesive, their game is superb, they are fully prepared and we all have a feeling that this could be our year.
For more details on the Solheim Cup visit www.solheimcup.com