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Article by David Leck | 16th August 2018

Go On, Give Golf a Go

With Kent just chosen to host the 2022 European men’s team championship – and a new programme designed to attract more girls into the sport – golf is certainly upping its game.

England Golf has announced it will host the 2022 European men’s team championship at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent. The tournament will see the finest amateurs from across Europe playing in national teams over the open championship links. James Crampton, England Golf’s Championship Director, said: “We are very excited to be holding this championship and, especially, to play it on such a wonderful course.

“The players will be thrilled to test themselves at an open venue and Royal St George’s will be a memorable setting for competitors and spectators alike. The standard of golf will be superb, and this will be a great chance to see players who will go on to make a real impact in the professional game.”

It will be the third time England Golf has hosted the championship and the second time it has been held at the Sandwich venue. It took place there in 1965, in the early days of the tournament, when Ireland won. It returned to England in 2005 at Hillside, in Lancashire, when the national team claimed victory.

Altogether, England has won the championship 11 times and been runners-up on eight occasions, most recently last year. Royal St George’s boasts one of England’s finest links courses and has hosted amateur and professional tournaments since the 1890s.

Tim Checketts, the Club Secretary, said: “St George’s is delighted to have been invited to host the championship and the club is looking forward to welcoming the best amateur golfers in Europe and their friends, families and supporters to Sandwich in 2022.”

• For more information, visit www.royalstgeorges.com

New Look for Golf

It’s all change in Kent where the rather traditional men’s County Golf Union has given the sport a bit of a modernising shake-up.

At the turn of the year, it appointed Sarah McDonald (right) as its first female County Secretary, reorganising the role to be more supportive of the 85 clubs it represents.

Kent County Chairman Peter Long said: “It’s going to be quite different. We are trying to get away from the old-style approach and the view golf is just a male-led sport – it isn’t.”

The union has also appointed a golf manager to look after all of the county’s tournaments and playing activities and to further support development. It’s all part of sending a message to clubs that the County Golf Union is a forward-thinking organisation responding to their needs.

“We are changing the way we deal with clubs and with our members,” added Peter.

Sarah is already a familiar face within the Kent golfing community. She’s a seven-handicap member at Wildernesse and Littlestone golf clubs, plays for the county women’s second team and was the secretary of the County Ladies’ Association for six years. She’s happy to be breaking new ground, commenting: “This job appealed to me as a way to help move golf forward.”

Sarah will be working closely with Charles Molony, England Golf’s Club Support Officer for Kent, and added: “I want to listen to clubs, find out what they want from the county and work with them to help achieve their aims.”

SDO at Poult Wood

Following the launch of the very successful Southern Disability Open (SDO) in 2017, tmactive in conjunction with Kent Golf and the Disabled Golf Association (DGA), is hosting the second SDO at Poult Wood Golf Club in Tonbridge on 9th June.

Taking place on the 18-hole course, the competition is open to both men and women and played to modified rules.

“We are very pleased to be hosting the SDO for a second time and look forward to welcoming golfers to the course,” said Martin Guyton, Chief Executive of tmactive.

Jamie Blair, England Golf Disability Manager, added: “England Golf, working with our county and club partners, want to provide events for disabled players within our game. I am delighted to see Kent Golf, Poult Wood and the DGA host the Southern Disability Open for a second time, creating an event for disabled players within the county and the South East.

“The SDO provides a great opportunity for disabled players to compete and provides the chance for new players getting into golf and, through the work of clubs across the county, put their skills into practice.”

The entry deadline is 6th June and is limited to a maximum of 40.

• Visit www.tmactive.co.uk for more details.

Let’s Hear it for Girls!

Girls’ golf is being taken to new levels in Kent with the introduction of a successful campaign to inspire new players. Girls Golf Rocks is all about encouraging beginners to have fun, learn a new sport, get active and play alongside friends.

It ran in Kent for the first time last year and attracted 70 girls to taster sessions, with 63 enjoying it so much they went on to take coaching courses. As a result, a series of further taster sessions were held last month at four golf clubs across Kent in which groups worked with a PGA professional as well as with young ambassadors from county squads.

Following the tasters, each club offered five-week coaching courses that will be followed by new players being invited to a fun day with the ambassadors, featuring multi-skills challenges and the chance to play on a golf course.

Darcie Smith, 17, a member of Chart Hills Golf Club and Kent County Junior Captain, is one of the ambassadors.

“I was really proud to be invited to be an ambassador for Girls Golf Rocks in Kent last year. I didn’t realise how much fun it would be,” she said.

“It was amazing to meet girls with no experience and see their enthusiasm grow. At the end of it, I reckon a couple of them loved the game as much as I do. It was good for me to do something completely new and know I’d helped make it all work."

Girls Golf Rocks is a national campaign run jointly by England Golf and the Golf Foundation and aims to increase the number of girl golfers from an average of just two full members per club. When the scheme ran in 15 countries last year, 850 girls had a go and more than 730 enjoyed it so much they went on to take coaching courses.

• Visit www.girlsgolfrocks.org for further information.

Fightmaster Cups

Walmer and Kingsdown Golf Club (WKGC) has been selected to host the prestigious 2018 Fightmaster Cup tournament between Europe and the USA. The Ryder Cup-style competition, for golfers who have lost the use of an arm, will take place at the East Kent course known as ‘The Club on the Cliffs’ in September.

WKGC is the home club of 2016 World Champion one-armed golfer Robert Paul, who will once again be a key member of the European team. The competition, which alternates between the USA and Europe, began in 2008 and was named after Don Fightmaster, a leading one-armed American golfer who inspired numerous young disabled people to take up the game. The 12-man teams – members of the Society of One Armed Golfers and their rivals from the North American One Armed Golfers Association – will play over three days from 20th-22nd September after three days of practice rounds.

Club member Neil Branston, who has been instrumental in securing the event, said: “This is a huge honour for Walmer and Kingsdown and it will be a proud moment for our own world champion, Rob Paul, to be able to represent Europe on his home course.”

• For more information, visit www.kingsdowngolf.co.uk or call the club on 01304 373256.

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