Girls’ golf has been rocking at the Bridgestone Challenge at Luton Hoo where teams of ambassadors from Bedfordshire and Essex showed off their skills.
Girls Golf Rocks is the successful project run by England Golf and the Golf Foundation which encourages girls to take up the sport. It’s supported by ambassadors from county girls’ sqauds who help the newcomers and show them it’s a fun, friendly game.
This time it was the turn of the ambassadors to have fun and to show off their skills in the pro-am which preceded this week’s Challenge Tour event.
Ysobel Lush, Sophie Wheeler and Charley Hatley from Essex teamed up with professional Jack Senior (pictured top) while Bedfordshire’s Chanel Fontaine-Geary, Imogen Morton-King and Estelle Klausner were partnered by Richard Finch (pictured below).
Sophie, 15, gave a great demonstration of girl power when she won the long drive competition with her 232-yard tee shot on the first hole.
The five-handicapper is a past winner of the Abraham Trophy, for England’s most improved girl golfer, and, with Ysobel, was one of the first ambassadors when Girls Golf Rocks started in Essex three years ago.
“I’ve always loved it,” said 16-year-old Ysobel, who wants to be a PE teacher and who has helped the project collect three awards and was individually Essex golfer of the year in 2016.
Charley, 17, an ambassador for two years, loved the pro-am experience. “It’s been really good to play this course, which I might never be able to play again, and to play with a Tour player. It’s pretty amazing!”
Their professional, Jack Senior is well versed in women’s golf, thanks to his girlfriend Bethany Garton, who has been Lancashire champion. Afterwards he said of his team: “The girls all played good, they were impressive – and they enjoyed it. That’s the big thing, if you don’t enjoy it, there’s no point doing it.”
The Bedfordshire ambassadors made a similar impression on Richard Finch, a two-time winner on the European Tour. He commented: “They were very good. They hit some amazing shots and the way they behaved on the golf course was first class.”
The girls picked up tips. Estelle, 14, was shown how to improve her putting stroke to reduce her 20 handicap, while ten-handicapper Chanel, 12, was advised not to rush her swing.
Imogen, 16, who was runner-up in the PING women’s fourball betterball Grand Final the day before, enjoyed the sense of occasion she experienced over the two days.
The 11-handicapper commented: “These big events give you a look at what really championships are like and you are treated more as a professional than an amateur.”
Top, from left, Essex ambassadors Charley Hatley, Ysobel Lush and Sophie Wheel with Jack Senior.
Below, from left, Bedfordshire ambassadors Chanel Fontaine-Geary, Imogen Morton-King and Estelle Klausner with Richard Finch.
Images copyright Leaderboard Photography