MG in Spain ’24 – Bill & the ed’s excellent adventure

‘Not a dry eye in the house’ at Mulligans GS season starter

Counting the cost of the wettest of winters – the Midlands view

Sandwell Park’s new team ready to drive things forward

Greg’s decade of progress and junior success at Leek GC

Druids Heath Golf Club 1974-2024

Stewart’s Dudley GC revival wins them a top award

Mauritius win seals 2023 Legends OOM for Peter Baker

Old balls for new futures

The Baffy

A Centenary Tale – Leek GC 1923-2023

Boldmere’s historic pro-am reaches 70 years

Dan enjoys a taste of the top table

Over £100K and counting – local golf clubs for BCH

Beeston Fields Golf Club, Nottingham – 1923-2023

Westwood Golf Club Staffordshire, a centenary tale

Spring ’23 hole in one tales

Midlands Golf – A sustainable future

Over 10,000 reasons to visit golfclubs4cash’s new Warrington store



The Sodfathers – MG’s Greenkeeping team

Josh Gresty

Josh crowned Men’s centenary club champion

Vale of Llangollen Golf Club

Local clubs come together to help golfers

The Manor House Hotel Grounds and Gardens

Swing into Winter at The Manor House

Rick Cressman – The British Par 3 and me

Group photo

Lilleshall Hall Golf Club’s New Captains’ mixed trophy

Branston GCC

Branston £1million pound lockdown refurb project

Astbury 18th, rom behind the green

Successful Astbury Charity Event

World Handicap System – What you need to know

clyne 17th_2

Clyne’s – Wales Golf Club of the Year

Playoff success for young Morris in Raven Scratch Open

The Belfry to host SkyCaddie PGA Pro-Captain Challenge

Centenary charity challenge raises £2.4k for Oswestry Hospital

‘Outrageous’ Ryan shoots the round of his life.

GOLF – Feeling good about itself again – Part II

The Nottinghamshire –Coping With Covid Part 2

Golf Breaks return as QHotels open all 7 resorts

The Midlands Favourite Short Holes


GOLF – Feeling good about itself again

American Golf joins forces with Justin Rose

Tony Jowle, Moseley GC legend

Community spirit : The Nottinghamshire

Celebration time at Bramcote Waters

G and TEE anyone?

Coventry golf pro is top of the form

vale resort 4

The Vale Resort, best golf hotel in Wales

Mark Stancer

Leics clubs looking forward to a bright future

MG’s Holes in One Top Ten 2019

South Staffs boys triumph in Spain

Ex Baggies star heads for a new goal

Rain did not stop play for a high-flying charity golf day

Peewee Tour 2019

Success All Round at 2019 Taskers Trophy Inter-Club Golf Final

Martin Anderson wins The Rock at his first attempt

American Golf customers raise over £15,000

Great Brittain

Go-getter Gracie deserving of her Hero’s Handshake award

Charnwood are the champions

Double Success for Rose Hill GC leads to Historic Weekend

Jacob makes it look easy at Matchplay Masters

The National Golf Club Team Championships

golf course aerial shot

Whitefields GC set to launch Toptracer technology

The Trial Council

Junior Tour Ryder Cuppers put on a special show

Huge success for amazing Gracie’s charity day

BIG MAX celebrates 25th Anniversary

Sandelin wins the 2019 British Par 3 Championships

Leicestershire GC played host to The Logan Trophy

Hinckley finds value in fleet finance

Aaron Lansberry

West Midlands golf coaches target top award

Branston Seniors Raise £1,500 for Midlands Air Ambulance

On Course Foundation is the ticket this Christmas

Churchill and Blakedown Golf Club

Gary raring to go in captaincy year

The end of an era

Successful opening for Leicester Golf Centre

Matchplay title heads to the Valleys

New PRO18 Direct Golf superstore swings into action

Gourmet Golf Classic serves up a treat once again

Golfer’s hit it true for local charity

25th Anniversary of Stratford Park GC

Tom Roberts

Tom Roberts claims his first victory in The Rock

Breadsall Priory lands top spot at Disability Open

Peter Baker

14 former stars go head-to-head

Tiley hangs on to clinch BP3 title

Steven Tiley has won this year’s Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship following a dramatic final day at Nailcote Hall. Tiley scored -6 on the Cromwell Course to clinch victory and the €50,000 prize that comes with it.

The Challenge Tour player, and former European Tour star, went into the final day as the overnight leader following a fantastic opening round in which he scored -3 to put himself in contention.

In the end it came down to a straight shootout between Tiley and EuroPro star Andrew Marshall. There was only one stroke in it with Marshall ruing the double bogey he scored on the 3rd.

European Tour star, Aaron Rai and 2013 Norma C Herd Silver Salver winner, Craig Lawrie, put themselves into contention, and they along with Tiley found themselves on the same score, and the prospect of a play-off, loomed large.

However, Lawrie fell away after bogeying on the 13th eventually finishing on -4 and when it looked like Rai could go on to triumph after scoring a magnificent hole-in-one, his round ended with a double bogey on the final hole in front of the grandstand, a hole he has struggled with all day.

Speaking of his first ever Farmfoods British Par 3 championship victory, he said: “It was great to play out there today, Andrew put in a fantastic performance to keep me on my toes. Also, my playing partner Craig Lawrie put in a great performance. It is always good to go into battle with people who are also playing well. I’d like to thank the event organisers Champions (UK) plc, a lot of things go on behind the scenes at tournaments to make them run smoothly and this event certainly runs smoothly. Also a big thank you to the event host, Tony Jacklin CBE, I’ve read his autobiography before and digged it out again last night for some inspiration. Also a big thank you to Rick and Sue Cressman, Nailcote Hall is a wonderful venue and it is always a wonderful place to play at.”

Italian golfing legend, Costantino Rocca, put in a great final round, and at one stage he looked like he was going to take the lead, before a bogey on the last saw him fall away with a score of -2, but he was pipped to the Super Senior title by Mark McNulty on -3.

Today also saw the event’s first hole-in-one take place courtesy of Staysure Tour star Gary Wolstenholme MBE. He also scored the lowest round of the week so far with a -6 on the day. The Norma C Herd Silver Salver which is awarded to the days best scoring amateur went to David Nelson who ended on +4 finishing  ahead of Monday’s junior qualifier Nick Matthews who ended on +10. There was also a team aspect of the day with Marshall and Sverdlow taking victory in this.

Tomorrow sees this year’s event come to its conclusion as the celebrities take to the course once more for the final Celeb-Am. The stars taking to the course tomorrow include BBC news and sport presenter, Dan Walker, Geordie Shore star Gary ‘Gaz’ Beadle, Coronation Street legend William Roache MBE, former Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman and badminton star Gail Emms MBE.

A whole host of sponsors are supporting this year’s event. Once again, the event’s title sponsor is nationwide supermarket Farmfoods, with leading brand agency Champions (UK) plc returning as event organisers. Other event partners include Nailcote Hall, Volvik, The Eagle Tour, Sky Sports Golf, Liberty Industries Group, Total Motion, Inspirational Magazine, Finest Catch, Sub70 Golf, Champions Celebrity Talent Agency, VPAR, Thomas Lyte, Champions After Dinner Speakers and Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People.

Stay up to date with all the latest from Nailcote Hall with our social channels, you can find us @BritishPar3 or stay tuned to the website

For more information about this year’s Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship, get in touch with Conor Davies at Champions (UK) plc on 08453 31 30 31 or email



Jonny taking Rugby GC up a level

The new Head Greenkeeper at the parkland club just outside the town is making a big impression on the membership and officials and playing a bit part in what has turned out to be a very successful summer for the club. We visited the club last month to grab a chat.

Jonny Peacock is a native to the area and cut his teeth in the trade and passed all of the exams whilst serving as Deputy Head Greenkeeper at Ullesthorpe Court for 12 years. This year he wanted to go up a level and when a role became available at nearby Rugby, he was soon on the telephone.

“I was ready for a step up to the Head Greenkeeper role, was just looking for somewhere local that excited me to be honest. I came up for a walk round two or three times when I applied for the job and saw potential here. I quite like tight little courses anyway being a golfer myself and thought this is something I can really get my teeth into.”

“Here I also knew they had the new irrigation in place and other projects in the pipeline, and they were extremely supportive in letting me get on with things and not restricting any improvement plans that we want to do.”

Already this year Jonny has run campaigns to trim the Rugby trees down a little for easier sighting and now the team are digging out a few of the ditches in the middle of the back nine, on the lower levels of the course (below) where much of the drainage problems of the past once resided. Now Jonny wants to make that area even better still.


On the greens and fairways he’s changed the cut lengths and improved definition too. “It’s a course where you can see everything in front of you, it makes sense to make it prettier to look at as a result. We’ve got 6mm between fairway cut lengths now, so if it’s cut regularly it will give it great definition.”

“The greens are watered at night but we don’t over water them, we’re happy to hand water hot spots on the course the next morning as and when we need to. The club purchased a moisture reader for us too which has been a big help. We roll them 2 or 3 times a week and hand cut 4 or 5 times per week, and also give the greens one day off a week too.”

The Rugby greens are cut by Jonny at 4mm which is higher than what is normally standard. “ These greens are so small that as long as you get them firm enough with a cut and roll, they are plenty quick enough and most people have been very complimentary.”

Jonny is a two handicapper and plays nine at Rugby at least once a week, “I’m my own biggest critic so I like to think if I’m happy with it when I play, it must be ok!”

Club development officer Adrian Evans added, “The improvement here started with Chris Breen who was here previous to Jonny and did a great job.  Jonny is improving even further on what Chris did which is so important for the members to see. The course is in great nick, looks superb and we’re delighted with the appointment we made in the spring.”

Future plans include a long term bunkering improvement plan for the course, working their way through the bunkers, one by one on an ongoing basis. A few tee improvements are in store too and the continued brook and ditch clearing to further improve looks and irrigation.

“I want to get Rugby back to how it began, as a true James Braid course, when we do the bunkers we’ll do it traditionally, back to how they were 130 years ago,” added Jonny.

Adrian, “This year we’ve seen a few past societies returning here again as well as some big new groups. Simply because they’ve heard about how much improved our course is now and their feedback after playing has been so encouraging too. The extra business will help us invest in the golf course even more.”

Rugby has also brought in 50 new members so far in 2018.




Tim settles in at Bransford

Bransford GC inWorcester has a new PGA Head Professional, and at 23 years of age he is one of the youngest in the country to hold such a position.
Tim Shephard – who has been at the club for the past four years as assistant professional, has taken over the running of the club’s pro’ shop from Richard Jenkins, who left the course earlier this summer.
Shephard has been playing golf for 13 years and has been in the professional ranks for the past three.
He first began his golfing career in his late teens at Evesham, his home town club.
“It was great working there, learning the ins-and-outs of how a pro shop runs, and after that I had an opportunity to start my PGA career at Bransford back in September 2015,” said Shephard.
“I am thrilled to be the club’s new Head PGA professional. It has given me a fuller insight into how other departments work and how various parts of the business, such as our neighbouring Bank House Hotel, communicate. These are all vital skills I am now learning.
“What is really great is that I enjoy working at this family-friendly golf club which has great facilities and staff.
Shephard, who was educated at Bengeworth First School, Simon de Montford Middle School and Prince Henry High, was also a student at Hartpury Agricultural College in Gloucestershire where he gained a diploma in golf.
During his time at Bransford he has been busy building a strong reputation in teaching the sport he loves, while also working on developing the junior side of the golf club.
He says: “There were no juniors when I started here – now have 20 and half of them are members”.
He has also been cementing a great relationship with members and has played in a number of Pro-Am competitions with club members of the club.
He also has fresh ideas for the pro shop which has already been revamped and restyled. There’s also new stock coming in and has other plans yet to be implemented, including Ping custom fitting.
He says his aims in the near future are:
  • To continue to help develop the skills of a very strong golf membership and teaching facility for members and the public at Bransford golf club.
  • To increase membership both male and female, but especially  targeting juniors.
  • And to maintain what he feels is already an incredible relationship with the members.
Meanwhile, the club’s assistant professional, Ollie Walker, is planning to head off to the United States next month on a golf scholarship.
He is planning to be based in Arizona at the Estrella Mountain College, having been offered a place in the their golf team which consists of players from around the world. 
Walker, who is aged 20, says: “This will include studying hard for a degree like any other university student, but I will be playing every day for the golf team in competitions throughout America. This will be for three to four years, and hopefully for the last two years i can obtain a full scholarship so I don’t have to pay anything – hopefully transferring to a bigger university for my last two senior years.”
But first of all he has to raise funds to achieve his goal of getting to the States and the first year of the course is fairly expensive compared to the latter years.
The target is to raise £10,000 pounds!
Walker says: “If all goes according to plan and I do well in the first year, the latter years’ costs will drop dramatically. A lot will depend on my golf ability and gaining as higher a scholarship as possible.”
He says the money raised will be put towards the cost of books and the course itself, his living expenses for accommodation and food, and some of the travel to and from events.
Fundraising has been underway for a few weeks and numerous club members have already signed up to sponsor him, but he says that if there is anyone in the area who would also like to support him, such as a local business, he would be delighted to hear from them.
He said: “It is my dream to go to America and by giving any amount you wish, however small, will help me achieve this goal.”
A popular figure in the pro shop and around the course, Walker is the Worcestershire Men’s County Amateur Champion and the county’s best under-21 player, and is driven by the ambition of carving out a successful future in the sport.
Tim Shephard

Ollie Walker

He says he remembers his early struggles when he first tried his hand at golf, attempting to break 100 when he was a junior but now he plays off a 0.3 handicap – achieved in five years of hard work and practise.
He has also figured prominently in a number of club competitions over the past year or so and has also been competing in numerous opens and pro-ams, along with six England golf events.
One of his successes last year was beating a field of 143 to win the Stewart Smith Open Challenge (Scratch) when he managed a score of -2 through 18 holes and a play-off. In the three man play-off he won with a birdie on the first hole.
It’s an impressive record for only two years of competitive golf and now he hopes what he can learn in America will help further his playing career.
Anyone wishing to assist Walker’s America plan can make contact with him at Bransford Golf Club’s pro shop on 01886 833621.




Rugby Golf Club hits the mark


Rugby Golf Club in Warwickshire has won a national award from England Golf, in recognition of its drive to grow the game

The club, which is actively recruiting new members and widening its community links, has just received the GolfMark Award for the second time. This is an official seal of approval for clubs which successfully work to develop the game.

Rugby is a private members’ club with an 18 hole golf course in Clifton Road and an established partnership with Leam Valley Golf Centre. It has recently attracted 26 new members – in various categories – by holding an open day for the local community.


The event was so successful that another open day will be held in September and it will become an annual event.


Club Secretary Andrew Leech, who led the club’s push to GolfMark, commented: “We are delighted to receive this prestigious award. It not only recognises our aim to provide challenging golf for golfers of all abilities, but to be an asset within the Rugby community.


“We are doing all we can to encourage juniors and adults to take up or return to golf. This award will help RGC, drawing on all its 127 years of history, to continue to offer a warm, friendly, safe and secure environment for golf, retaining our traditions whilst modernising and adapting our offer to members, visitors and societies.


“We will use this platform, in partnership with Leam Valley Golf Centre, to take golf into schools and the wider community and will do our best to attract under-represented groups into golf.”


The award was presented to club Captain Karl Walker by Hayley Noel, England Golf’s Club Support Officer for Warwickshire (pictured).


Hayley said “I’m delighted that Rugby Golf Club has achieved GolfMark and that its efforts to grow the game can be nationally recognised.”


The GolfMark award was developed by England Golf and also integrates Sport England’s Clubmark award – a national standard for quality sports clubs recognised across the country.


Successful clubs develop the game by:


  • Attracting new members and encouraging existing members to play more
  • Using practical business planning to develop the club
  • Offering coaching and playing opportunities for all golfers
  • Ensuring safeguarding policies are in place


GolfMark brings a number of benefits to clubs including raising awareness, access to funding, business and marketing support and training opportunities for staff and volunteers. To find out more visit




Herefordshire Golf Club

Raven flies to new heights

The second playing of The Raven Scratch Open was held at The Herefordshire Golf Club on Saturday 11th August. A strong field comprising of 47 competitors from all over the Midlands and South Wales battled out for the honour of being crowned champion on what proved to be a testing day.

The course set up from Jeremy Browne and his team was fair but challenging, with perfect putting surfaces combined with a few tricky pin placements making for unusually high scoring.

In the first grouping of the day, local member Michael Bayliss carded a solid 74 gross, making the most of the freshly cut greens to post a marker for the rest of the field. Throughout the day, many of the later starters threatened to better that score but the blustery winds made for a tough finish and one by one they fell away leaving Bayliss, a 6 handicapper, to secure the biggest win of his career to date. The win secured him a cut crystal trophy, the £250 first prize and the bragging rights amongst his peers for the next 12 months.

Michael Bayliss

Michael Bayliss

Afterwards Bayliss praised the condition of the course, adding that it was great to see such a well supported event in only its second year, especially with 25 competitors visiting from other clubs. Speaking about his round he added that he thought he might be a couple of shots short, even for the net prize, when he finished, so he was shocked and delighted when it proved to be good enough for the main prize.

There was a four way tie for second place on +7 with Graham McMonagle from Southerndown GC taking second spot and Tom Mansell from The Herefordshire Golf Club in third, both on card countback.

In conjunction with the Gross prize, a net competition was also played. First prize went to local member Rob Waring with a net 70, winning by one from Burghill Valley’s John McQuillan with a 71.

Competition organiser Jonathan Devereux commented that he was delighted with the number of entries, especially from club members and also those who traveled from further afield to support the event. The target is to gain Shropshire & Herefordshire Union of Golf Clubs accreditation for The Raven in order to add more gravitas to both Golf locally and also to the county set up.




Ilona Stubley and Mike Browne

Golf Stars drive to a World Record

It wasn’t just the temperatures that were soaring this week as some of the longest drivers in the country sent their balls flying down the runway at RAF Honington.  American Golf challenged some of the Long Drive stars who’ll be appearing at its 2018 U.K. Long Drive Final this August to set various Long Drive World Records and in doing so help celebrate the anniversaries of On Course Foundation and the RAF.

First up on the temporary tee positioned at the end of the 900 yard main runway at RAF Honington was On Course Foundation beneficiary and Gecko Tour player, Mike Browne.  Despite never taking part in Long Drive before, Mike, who is a single leg amputee, belted a staggering 564.65 yard drive using Callaway Epic Driver to record the longest ever golf drive by a single leg amputee.

MIke Browne

Mike Browne, Long Drive world record attempt
RAF Honington, Suffolk, UK

What is most remarkable about Mike’s World Record is that before his leg was amputated in 2013 he had never hit a golf ball.  He commented, “I have never done anything like this before so I can’t believe how well I struck the ball! I was at my lowest ebb when I came across the sport for the first time with On Course Foundation.  Since then it has taken me to some incredible places and enabled me to do some amazing things, but setting a World Record, whether it’s official or not, has to be one of the highlights.”

Mike Browne

Mike Browne, Long Drive world record attempt
RAF Honington, Suffolk, UK

Using her Callaway Rogue Driver, current American Golf U.K. Long Drive Champion Ilona Stubley hit a remarkable 460.94 yard drive to set a new (unofficial) Long Drive World Record for women.  Since winning the American Golf U.K. Long Drive Championship last year Ilona has been training for the sport and her consistent performance today bears testament to that.

Ilona Stubley

Ilona Stubley, Long Drive world record attempt
RAF Honington, Suffolk, UK

She commented, “I’ve worked really hard this winter to make sure that I am in great shape to defend my title at Chester Racecourse in August, so when American Golf invited me to try and set a Long Drive World Record in the meantime I was obviously delighted to take part.  It’s been a fantastic day and it was great to see everyone else perform, including the golf team from the RAF.”

Ilona Stubley

Ilona Stubley, Long Drive world record attempt
RAF Honington, Suffolk, UK


Ilona Stubley

Ilona Stubley, Long Drive world record attempt
RAF Honington, Suffolk, UK

The biggest hitter of the day was Long Drive European Tour Champion and American Golf staff member Matt Nicolle.  He smashed his Callaway ball 657.44 yards, which is shorter than some of the unofficial records out there, but is the longest drive on a flat surface using conforming golf equipment and will be submitted to Guinness for their consideration alongside the other two records.

Matt Nicolle

Matt Nicole, Long Drive world record attempt
RAF Honington, Suffolk, UK

All the records were documented and verified by independent adjudicators including members of the RAF, who kindly donated their time and their runway as part of their own 100th Anniversary celebrations.  Matt Bacon, Head of Events at American Golf, thanked them for their assistance, “It’s been a pleasure to be here with the RAF and OCF today.  We can’t thank them enough for arranging the loan of their runway and for helping us collect all the evidence we need to submit the records to Guinness.  I can’t think of more reliable witnesses, so we’re confident the applications are in safe hands!”

Photograph Credit: Mark Newcombe/




Heathland win for Yarham & Palfrey


There was a sensational finish to the 2018 Heathland Classic where the last few holes were decisive in determining who was going to be crowned the eventual winners.
The 3 day pairs event held at the areas three premier courses opened this year at Lindrick. With the greens running fast with a gusting wind the leading score of 44 pts from Dean Whitehouse & John Richardson (Sandhill GC/Hickleton GC) was enough to give them a narrow one point first leg lead from Howley Hall GC’s Martin Smith & Glen Arnison and Mark Duffin & Bernie Clark (Burghley Park GC/Sleaford GC).
Lindrick Golf Club
The next day was at Notts where the wind had strengthened significantly and points were not going to be surrendered easily by the course which is due to stage the final Open Qualification stage shortly. An admirable 42 pts from Gainsborough GC’s Jeremy Hague & Jonathan Stokes were the winners on the day with James Hartle & Sam Knight (Ladbroke Park GC/Sutton Coldfield GC) and the Smith Arnison partnership again in the prizes with 41 pts.
Going in to the final day Smith and Arnison held the overall lead, a healthy 4 points ahead of Whitehouse & Richardson, with a host of teams a further 5 points adrift. Both the favourites went out together in reverse leaderboard order in what threatened to be a title deciding shootout unless the chasing pack could produce something exceptional.
A glorious day greeted the players at Sherwood Forest where conditions were almost perfect. The 4th hole gave all the players an early chance of winning £5,000 for a Hole in One but after a few early shouts sadly there were no takers for the suitcase full of cash.
Back with the main prize it was outsiders Mark Yarham & Andrew Palfrey who set the pace with an incredible 47 points in a round that contained 11 net birdies and no dropped shots to put them on 124 pts overall and into first place.
As the later starters completed their rounds the nervous wait continued as a number of contenders failed to challenge their total. Hague & Stokes were left to regret a couple of bogies on the front nine but recovered brilliantly to post 46 points. Overall they were behind Yarham & Palfrey only on countback with one score left to be recorded.
But the overnight leaders and favourites Smith & Arnison struggled on Sherwood’s demanding back nine managing  only 17 points to come up with 38 pts, agonisingly one short of the leaders with a total score of 123 pts.
So in what was a very tense and thrilling climax to the 54 hole event, the 2018 Heathland Classic Trophy went to the members from Burghley Park GC & Knole GC, Mark Yarham (5 handicap) and pal Andrew Palfrey (8 handicap) with rounds of 40, 37 and 47 to give them a winning total of 124 to take home various goodies including a Ping Tour bag and over £500 worth of vouchers each.
Tournament Director Luke Allen said “the courses were in first class conditions, the greens were all very fast and true and the windy weather made things a real challenge. The standard of play was exceptional, some great scores and the atmosphere at the awards ceremony was just fantastic.  The final day 47 points certainly was a surprise but in this format a big number is always possible and teams are always in there with a chance. The spirit from the competitors has been really positive all week and I’m sure everyone enjoyed the challenge. Congratulations to the winners and hopefully the rest will try again next year.
Entries open in November





The Nicklaus celebrates 30 years


30 Years of The Nicklaus: St Mellion celebrates anniversary by rolling back fourball price


This summer, St Mellion’s Nicklaus Signature Course celebrates 30 years of memorable, spectacular and challenging golf by rolling back its prices to 1988, the year in which it opened.

For a strictly limited time it’s just £149 for a fourball with golf buggies to play ‘The Nicklaus’ at the 36-hole St Mellion International Resort, but the deal disappears soon – so get some friends together and hurry along down to Cornwall.

You don’t pay less if you turn up in 1988-style polyester check Farah trousers and a pale yellow Golden Bear polo shirt, but you’d be snapped, posted and hailed as a hero by the resort’s social media team if you did.

St Mellion’s most famous attraction was designed with both Tour golf and members’ golf in mind by Jack Nicklaus before he won his last Major at The Masters in 1986.  And because Nicklaus designed it to be playable by all skill levels, it’s perfectly possible for beginners and higher-handicappers to play the course too. At just 5,500 yards from the forward tees The Nicklaus plays less like Golden Bear, and more like Teddy Bear – although it is no less spectacular because of that.

Martin Bond, Hermon Bond and Jack Nicklaus discuss construction of the Nicklaus Signature Course. Photo: Martin and Hermon Bond.

“St Mellion holds a special place in my heart” said Jack Nicklaus, speaking in 2013. “It was my first design opportunity in the UK and among all of the golf courses I have designed I would rank it very high as a test of golf, as a design, and looking at the beauty of each individual hole.

“St Mellion is a strong test of golf, and it gives me a great deal of pride.”

Best-remembered for hosting the Benson & Hedges International Open for six consecutive years in the early 90s, and in tribute to its status as a 12-time venue for Tour events and other significant golf tournaments, St Mellion will shortly host a series of events to entice both first-timers and long-time fans to play the course in full European Tour setup.

The Nicklaus Course1

In August St Mellion’s members will experience one of golf’s finest sensations – playing the Nicklaus course largely from the middle of the fairway – as they play Texas Scramble with the golf course set up as if for a Tour event, including authentic Benson & Hedges pin positions.

The Nicklaus Course2

Prior to that there’s a 30th Anniversary Pro-Am on The Nicklaus on June 19th, again in full Tour setup, followed by this year’s Davida’s Day event for the CLIC Sargent charity on July 24th, where six golfers will attempt the “Benson & Hedges in a day” challenge – 72 holes on The Nicklaus from the 7,010 yard Par 72 Championship Blue Tees to European Tour pin positions.

The Nicklaus Course3

Anecdotes which highlight The Nicklaus course’s legendary toughness in full Tour mode abound on the European Tour, with pros frequently shooting in the 80s and worse.

“I’m not saying it’s tight, but I walked down the 12th hole sideways” quipped Zimbabwean Tour pro Tony Johnstone, runner-up to Peter Senior in the B&H in 1992. One year a visiting Australian Tour golfer ran out of golf balls during his round, forcing him to retire from the event, and David Feherty famously once hit his tee shot on the 16th from on top of a burger which he’d bought at a nearby concession stand.

The Nicklaus Course4

And in 1992, on his way to a third-round 86, Jesper Parnevik played the 18th in under a minute, running all the way and finishing by bombing fully-clothed into the lake beside the final green to the delight of the crowd.

“We’re the only European Tour venue for almost 150 miles, and for thirty years golfers have been making a pilgrimage to take on The Nicklaus Signature Course” said the resort’s Golf Manager, David Moon. “Many of golf’s greatest players have tried to tame it, but few have succeeded from the back tees. Our pedigree is enhanced by having some of golf’s true greats such as Ballesteros, Langer and Olazabal on our honours board as former winners.

“On the 10th of July 1988 we held an exhibition match to open The Nicklaus course. Jack Nicklaus himself partnered Tom Watson against Nick Faldo and Sandy Lyle, and the Brits won. It rained that day, like it has a few times since, but there’s always sunshine in the clubhouse at St Mellion. Golf should be fun, and we want your memories of St Mellion to be amazing no matter how you played, so our welcome is truly warm and genuine.



Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo pose by the commemorative stone commissioned by the Bond Brothers, to mark the USAvGB match played on 10th July 1988 at the official inauguration of the Nicklaus Signature Course at St Mellion – the first Nicklaus design in Great Britain. Nick and Sandy won. Photo: Martin and Hermon Bond.

“Luckily, Jack Nicklaus designed his course to be playable for all levels, and we have some generous forward tees – so why not come along this summer, and test your skills against The Nicklaus for yourself?”

With its reputation growing yearly as one of the UK’s undisputed inland golf classics, The Nicklaus Signature Course sits at the heart of St Mellion International Resort near Plymouth.

Recently-ranked in the #2 slot among 4-Star golf resorts in the UK, and at 15th overall as regards golf resorts in Great Britain & Ireland, St Mellion’s two immaculate 18-hole European Tour golf courses, the Nicklaus Signature Course and The Kernow Course, have earnt it the #2 ranking in England as regards resort golf.

A regular winner of awards and accolades from both golfing and mainstream media, St Mellion International Resort is the flagship venue of Crown Golf, Britain’s largest owner and operator of golf clubs. In 2009 the resort opened a new 80-room AA 4-star hotel which has become the centrepiece of this highly-acclaimed, multiple award-winning destination for both leisure and business in the south west of England.


For a deeper insight into how two Cornish farmers, Martin and Hermon Bond, built an internationally-celebrated golf resort, a new book by Michael Taylor and Paddy Flavin, ‘St Mellion – The Bond Legacy’ is now available on Amazon.

See for all information, and to book your next visit.



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Sky Sports put C&B in the spotlight

It was a case of lights, cameras, action on Sunday at Churchill & Blakedown Golf Club as Sky Sports came to film head PGA Pro Angus Hoare and two of his talented charges.

Brothers Brandon Sarfo, aged 16, and Hayden, eight, are long-standing pupils of Angus and have both been capturing the golfing headlines.

Older brother Brandon, who plays off three, is part of the England Midland Training Squad U18s squad while Hayden has qualified for the World Junior Golf Championships in San Diego in July.

Haydn has a 22 handicap and has been wowing coaches and members alike with his smooth swing and golfing skills.

Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Edwards and cameraman spent three hours at the club where they filmed the juniors in action while also speaking to dad Claude and Angus.

“I’ve been working with Brandon for four years and Hayden for two years,” said Angus.

“Hayden qualifying for the World Junior Golf Championships has attracted a lot of media attention. He already plays off 22 which is really pretty impressive for an eight year old and I think he could go all the way.

“I love coaching both the boys. With Hayden, we work a lot on the fundamentals. He swings it lovely but if the fundamentals breakdown that is when the bad shots come so we work a lot on the grip, posture and alignment.”

Churchill & Blakedown is making great strides in growing its juniors section with 30 on its books.

Angus, who is a PGA Advanced Professional, and fellow PGA pro Phil Lathwood are both passionate about encouraging more juniors into golf and welcomed the chance to showcase the club.


Angus Hoare – Sky Sports

“We host a lot of coaching programmes at Churchill & Blakedown and also do a lot of out reach work in schools and also adults centres for those with learning disabilities,” added Angus.

“Golf is a great game for kids, both for the health and well-being of being outside but also for teaching them about life-skills. The more we can get playing the better.”

Any parents interested in getting their children into golf can call Angus and Phil on 01562 700454 to find out more.





Lianna wins her first big event

England international Lianna Bailey has won her first top amateur title with a one-shot victory in the St Rule Trophy at St Andrews.
The 21-year-old from Kirby Muxloe Golf Club in Leics finished on 12-under par and remarked: “It feels like this has been a long time coming, but I’m very happy to finally get over the line and get one under my belt. I knew I had the game to do it, I’ve been close so many times, but it feels so nice to get over the line.”
Bailey is the first English winner since Mel Reid in 2007 and she added: “It’s so good to put my name next to the likes of Annika Sorenstam and Catriona Matthew, especially when it’s at the home of golf. It’s pretty special.”
Bailey was two shots off the lead after the first 36 holes, played over the New Course, and remarked: “I knew I had to pull something out of the bag.”
She did exactly that, playing the front nine of the Old Course in seven under par, kick-starting her scoring with an eagle on the second. “My partner and I were just throwing birdies at each other and it wasn’t until we got to the scorer on the 9th that I realised how low I was,” said Bailey.
She finished the round on six-under to pip another local star, Staffordshire’s Emily Brennan (Trentham) and Scotland’s Hazel Macgarvie by one shot.

Image – St Andrews Links Trust

There was more good news for England in the U18 event which was won by Gloucestershire’s Caley McGinty (Knowle) on five-under. The first six places in the U18 competition were taken by English players with Bailey’s younger sister, Jessica, finishing fifth.
The sisters’ preparation wasn’t ideal because their car broke down not long after the start of their journey to Scotland last Wednesday. They didn’t arrive in St Andrews until the early hours of Friday morning and hastily crammed in 27 holes of practice before play began on Saturday. “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, these last few days,” said Bailey.
Now, she’s preparing to take up an England Golf invitation to play against the professionals in the Korean Open, alongside Emma Allen (Meon Valley, Hampshire). The championship takes place from 14-17 June and Bailey said: “It was pretty amazing when I got the phone call.
“The Koreans are leading women’s golf and it will be nice to see how I stack up against them.”





Thumbs up for Alsager’s new holes

South Cheshire Golf Club Unveils New Back Nine Holes

Continuous investment and innovative planning at Alsager Golf and Country Club has resulted in the unveiling of the new back nine holes on the course.  The changes have been funded solely from the voluntary 200 Club Lottery and the majority of the work carried out by the Club’s own Greenstaff throughout the year.

At a time when many golf clubs are not investing in their course, Alsager Golf and Country Club has taken the opposite approach.  In addition to the £500k which the club spent a few years ago on improvements to the course drainage, last year the decision was taken by the membership to redesign some of the holes on the back nine and enhance the course for all golfers.

The old 13th par 3, known to many as ‘cardiac hill’, has been replaced with a new par 4, 13th hole which promises to be one of the signature holes on the course.

New 13th tee

Not only has the 13th changed, but also the 14th and 15th has also benefited from the redesign.  The current 15th has become the 14th and so golfers are still able to enjoy the spectacular views over six counties, which can be seen on a clear day.

A new short par 3 has been added, this is the new 15th and the members actually designed the green and the approach, so this has really been a project that has the Club behind it.  Then as previously played you will will move seamlessly over to the 16th and play the remaining three holes as before.

The 200 Club Lottery was first proposed by Vice Captain Frank Wallace two years ago and this has been used to to fund the £15/20k  project. The club has also been fortunate to call on members with professional skills such as architect Dave Volkes, Director of Hulme Upright for their help.  The Club’s own Greenstaff, headed by Mike Goodfellow, have carried out the work, with some additional help from contractors for the heavy machinery work. During this time Alsager’s members and visitors have continued to play the existing course, with minimal disruption.

The new holes are important for both membership retention and to attract new members and although some of the stroke indexes have been changed for two of the new holes, the course yardage is reduced slightly.  New buggy paths are installed and any trees lost have been replanted as the environment is important to the club.

MG’s editors Phil and Mandy were invited to a special occasion at the club on April 27th when the new back nine, funded by the club and worked on by the greenstaff with plenty of member support was officially opened.

Alsager’s issue was always their final six, from the old 13th hole onwards you get some marvellous views from the top of up to six other counties on a clear day. But such was the configuration, the stretch from 13 to 15 left you with not one but two quite punishing climbs to contend with, a slightly off-putting prospect.

Something was needed and funded solely by club lottery takings, work started in the winter to make the changes required.

What they’ve achieved is incredibly impressive and has done the trick perfectly. The old long uphill par three 13th has now been changed to a much shorter and level 15th, completely taking out one of the climbs. The 14th becomes a new par four 13th, with spectacular views from the tee. The old 15th now becomes the new 14th, with a new path constructed to make it an easier walk to the 15th tee.

There’s still a little bit of work to be done at the back of the new 15th green, but the new loop is now fully open for business, easier walking, yet still maintaining that scenic splendour. They’ve done a wonderful job and MG were made to feel extremely welcome by the club, whose members make as much effort in a friendly welcome as they do when pulling together for a job such as this.

On Friday June 15th societies are invited to play in a special organiser’s day – organiser plus three playing partners for just £15 each including a meal, with discounts off society days as prizes.

For the month of May Alsager celebrates the opening of the new holes by offering £10 visitor green fees for Mon-Fri which also includes 20% off bar drinks.  





Major award for Anders


Golf coach Anders Mankert, who changes lives through the sport, was honoured last night with England Golf’s Lifetime Service Award, sponsored by Bridgestone.

Mankert, from Cosby Golf Club, Leicestershire, was recognised at the England Golf Awards at the Royal Lancaster London, which highlighted all that’s great about golf in England.

Mankert was celebrated for the difference he has made to blind and visually impaired golfers and to young players making their way in the game.

Guests at the glittering, black tie event – including influential figures from across the sport, volunteers, coaches, clubs and counties – applauded Mankert for his remarkable volunteer contributions which span more than two decades.

He was nominated by blind students who put him forward for “being a unique inspiration and primarily for introducing us to the sport which has changed our life!” The judges agreed, commenting: “Anders has literally given time, expertise and selfless dedication over 20 years, helping to extend the game’s inclusivity.”

Mankert said of his award: “It’s not why I do it, but it’s a lovely, lovely thing to be recognised for your efforts and to know that people actually care. It’s quite humbling and it’s the most amazing thing that has happened in my career.”

His story begins back in the mid-1990s when he saw a group of blind and visually impaired players making weekly visits to a golf range. He realised he could help them, tentatively offered his services and has been working with them, and others, ever since, without charging a penny. “We have just carried on for the next 20 years!” he said.

Mankert, an Advanced Fellow of the PGA and an honorary life member of the England and Wales Blind Golf Association, does far more than teach the technical skills. When one of his students was unable to find an all-important guide to accompany him on the course, he persuaded a local newspaper to feature the blind golfer – with the result that 17 people volunteered to help.

When other students, often unable to work, cannot afford golf club subscriptions he contacts local clubs to ask if they will waive their fees. Some willingly open their doors, but it can also be a tough task – Mankert wrote to 15 clubs on behalf of one player and didn’t receive a single reply.

But the setbacks are far outweighed by the achievements. The player who was very depressed after losing his sight overnight and is now British No 1, has competed in world championships and counts Mankert as a personal friend. The visually impaired girl who is now able to play weekly golf with her dad. The young offender who almost blinded his victim with a shot from an air rifle and was ordered by a judge to act as a blind person’s carer for a week. “It was genius,” said Mankert, who described how the surly, unhelpful young man transformed into a phenomenal carer.

There’s also satisfaction achieved by player after player. “It strikes me that golf must be the hardest possible game for a blind person to take up,” said Mankert. “But I think they feel that if they can play golf and see some progress they can pretty much have a go at anything and you can see their confidence growing.”

There’s also satisfaction for Mankert. “I get masses out of this. I have really enjoyed it, it’s very rewarding to see how something small on my part, giving up a little bit of time, has had such a tremendous impact. It’s unbelievable.”

Mankert also runs a scholarship programme offering young golfers the opportunity to work like a tour pro for a year. They receive unlimited coaching and mentoring from Mankert together with support from specialists such as a physiotherapist and a dietician.

He’s just awarded his sixth scholarship, selecting the winner from 387 applicants from across the country. One of his former protégées, Ryan Evans, is now a European Tour player, and another is a PGA professional, while all have improved their golf and grown personally and in confidence.

“When I was young lots of people helped me and so it’s quite important to give a bit back, it just feels the right thing to do,” said Mankert.

Main feature image: Anders Mankert (left) receives his award from Stuart Attfield on behalf of event sponsors Bridgestone.




Rushcliffe gc

New Rushcliffe challenge for Marc


The Rushcliffe Golf Club has recently appointed a new Club Manager.  Marc Valentine, 27 years old from Loughborough, has been tasked with building on the fantastic work that has taken place at The Rushcliffe Golf Club over the last few years. 

Alongside a fantastic course, The Rushcliffe Golf Club has a brilliant set of staff members with passionate Greenstaff and Golf Pro who work tirelessly for the good of the Club.

MV Rushcliffe gc manager

Marc Valentine


Having previously worked in a business development role for a leading University, Marc brings with him a skill set focused on business engagement, social media marketing and events management.  In his previous role he was responsible for engaging with some of the largest organisations in the world and directly contributed to the organisation and running of the UK’s largest university careers fair, an event which catered for over 240 organisations and 7,000 students.

Marc is passionate about developing the The Rushcliffe Golf Club brand and embracing technology in order to do so.  His aim is to secure the long-term future success of the Club by continuing to develop the fantastic golfing product and facilities available.



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Sapey GC

Membership numbers soar at Sapey



Last summer the doors of Sapey Golf Club were due to close for good when, with only days to go, Wyldecrest Golf & Leisure bought the Club as a going concern.
Seven months on and the newly named Sapey Golf & Country Club is thriving following an initial programme of investment which has seen drainage works on the course, new IT and security systems and repairs to the course’s signature hole water features. But that’s not all, many of the original members have re-joined and innovative membership offers have attracted many young players to join a golf club for the very first time, swelling membership numbers by over 100 in little under 7 months.

“We feel that it’s so important to make sure that the veil of elitism in Golf is lifted and memberships are available to all who wish to play” says Sales and Marketing Manager, Cheryl Waring. “We have created a membership level for occasional golfers as well as offering Junior membership absolutely free of charge. To secure our future we have to keep recruiting young members and we are delighted that the average age of our membership has dropped from 64 to 59 in just over six months” adds Cheryl.

The club have also introduced a successful programme of social events which have become the talk of the area, “The January Abba and Rod Stewart tribute nights were complete sell outs, says Cheryl, ”The format of offering supper and a show out here in the sticks is very appealing”. So much so that the club has introduced social membership for the first time in its history with 49 members joining in the first 3 months.

Wyldecrest Chairman and CEO, Alfie Best is a regular visitor in the Clubhouse investing energy to guide his team to ensure the future success of the Club. He always has time to hear the views of members and staff at all levels but doesn’t see himself as the Club’s owner, “I just steer the ship, my team and I are just caretakers of this business. The real success is building a business that can sustain itself far into the future, long after we’re gone and we do that by putting people at the heart of what we do”.

Alfie knows a thing or two about developing businesses. Having started Wyldecrest Parks in 2001, it has grown to be Europe’s largest holiday park operator with more than 60 sites in the UK.
“I have no doubt that Sapey Golf and Country Club is the first of a string of golf clubs that we will have the privilege of nurturing to success”, continues Alfie, “Once we have a winning formula for a business, we replicate and grow that brand”.

In the meantime, membership at the Club continues to grow and at a recent new member welcome evening Alfie Best announced the imminent arrival of three golf lodges for play and stay golf, confirmed that the new swing simulator installation project is set for a spring 2018 opening and that plans to build a new swimming pool and gym were advancing well.



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