South Staffs tees off England championship season

Julie Brown

Women’s golf will come into sharp focus this month when the England Golf championship season tees off at South Staffordshire Golf Club.

The club, which is celebrating its 125thanniversary, will welcome the country’s finest over-50 golfers when it hosts the first event on the calendar, the English senior women’s amateur championship, from 15-19 May.

Favourites for the title include Staffordshire’s own Julie Brown, who is a member at Trentham (image © Leaderboard Photography). She’s a past winner of this championship, as well as the British seniors and she has helped England to European and Home International team successes.

Brown will be joined by a host of other senior internationals, including defending champion Cath Rawthore of Cheshire and English senior stroke play champion, Jackie Foster of Hertfordshire.

South Staffs is using the event to highlight the women’s game and to attract more members as well as newcomers to the sport.

Ladies’ Captain Denny Aston commented: “It’s my aim to try and grow the women’s section and to grow the number of women visitors we have.

“We’re looking forward to some fantastic play and I hope it will encourage women to either have a go or to get back into golf and enjoy our course.”

She’s showcasing South Staffs in the run-up to the championship with an additional women’s open day which has attracted a big entry. All players and spectators at the championship will also receive offers on fourballs and away day packages.

Other initiatives include membership discounts for women and a new women’s academy membership, being launched by PGA professionals Lisa and Mark Shervill to offer an all-round introduction to the game. The Shervills work in association with the club’s head professional, ex-Ryder Cup player Peter Baker.

Three members of the club will take part in the championship and are among seven Staffordshire players in the field. The home trio are Annette Deeley, who has captained both the Staffordshire first and second county teams, together with Kate Weaver and Jacky Jennings, who are both past ladies’ captains.

Many more members will be involved as volunteers and Denny added: “The club is 100 per cent behind the championship and everyone has been very supportive. We are excited to have this.”

The players will face a particular examination of their short game skills. “The course is renowned for its fast greens and they’re in fantastic condition,” said Denny.

The championship has a fresh format this year with a new match play flight for players aged 60 and over.

All competitors will play 36 holes of stroke play over the first two days of the championship. The top 32 players will qualify for the championship match play for Wendy Taylor Salver. The players with the 16 lowest scores, who are over the age of 60 on the first day of the championship, will qualify for Flight Two for the Ann Howard Trophy.

Spectators are welcome.