Gill Thomas - participant in our Get into Golf programme
Gill is one of many ladies who have signed up to our Get into Golf programmes. Here she is participating in a group lesson with Ed Tranter, one of our professional team led by our Head professional, Gavin Abson.
She says: For me it’s been quite a journey - golf was on my list of things to do but never got around to it due to family work life until I saw the programme at West Lancs. really taken me out of my comfort zone. The ladies academy couldn’t have come at a better time. I had just got over breast cancer and gruelling radiotherapy during lockdown. It’s just been amazing being part of the programme; this time last year I couldn’t even hit the ball. I didn’t realise there was so much to learn but I’ve just loved every lesson. Ed and James are so patient and great coaches. I have learned so much, made new friends, great exercise and fresh air !!!!
Paula Calder – member of WLGC
Here is a picture of longstanding club member Paula, on the left, with a new member, Sally Davies. Paula is a great supporter of our Get into Golf programmes and regularly goes out with new members to encourage and help them improve. She says:
I have always been interested in sport culminating in teaching PE as a career.
I have to admit at 19 when I tried it I wasn’t inspired. Probably due to the inappropriate very heavy men’s clubs. However, years later during the school holidays I took my children to the driving range. Somebody loaned me Ladies clubs. What a difference. I was hooked!!! With a great deal of practice and determination I had a handicap of 14 within two years. I’ve played in Spain, South Africa and Phoenix Arizona as well as representing The West Lancashire golf club in all teams. I even have my Level 1 PGA coaching certificate. Unfortunately due to injury, I now use a buggy. But whilst walking is difficult I am still loving my golf. Encouraging new ladies in the sport is also very enjoyable. I hope they get as much out of golf as I have over the years.
Dads and Daughters
Golf is a game for families and dads are an important influence in encouraging women and girls to play golf. Here are some details of dads and daughters at our club.
Melissa Ball – junior member
Melissa, here pictured with her Dad, is one of our junior members. We have a structured programme for juniors at the club and have a reputation in the area for excellence and attract low handicap girls like Melissa. Five of our junior girls have gone on to gain golf scholarships in the US. She is rapidly improving and currently has a handicap index of 2.1. This week she has been playing at Wallasey in the English Strokeplay Open Championship with her dad carrying her bag. Melissa says:
I’ve been playing golf since I was 3 and I have always had a passion for competing in a sport against and boys and girls. I remember pulling Dad’s trolley round the course when I was a child and sometimes giving it rest for a few holes. It is great that you can play individually or as part of a team. I thoroughly enjoy the competitive element and the different formats, whether that be stroke play, match play or stableford. I currently represent my home club (West Lancashire) scratch team and Lancashire county. I’ve been eligible to compete in national and international amateur competitions all of which have been phenomenal experiences and enable me to travel. It is my ambition to pursue a golf scholarship in the US and potentially become a professional.
Lauren is one of our most successful youngsters, now studying in the US on a golf scholarship. She has twice won the Lancashire ladies’ county championship, and like Melissa, plays for our scratch team when she can. Her dad too has been an important influence and support for her golf career. Lauren used to drive the buggy for Dad and try hitting a few balls. Here they are in August at West Lancs, on the last day before Lauren returned to studies at Indiana State University where she holds a golf scholarship.
And now on to Clare Wright. Clare says:
My interest in golf started with my Dad, he played and I was a keen spectator. He and I have enjoyed many trips to the Open, Ryder Cups and other golf tournaments but I had never actually played myself. In September 2017, I returned home from a trip to Australia to find that beginner lessons were being offered to ladies at West Lancashire Golf Club, where he is a member, as part of a plan to increase Lady membership. I wasn’t sure whether I could even hit a ball but I decided to have a go! I went along, really enjoyed it, and found that I could hit a ball and that I enjoyed the lessons.
I progressed to the advanced beginners and then to the Ladies 125 School. The 125 was great as it gave a taste of being a member of West Lancashire for a year with mentors. I, along with two friends that I made at the very start, progressed all the way through together and we joined as full members. I feel golf is a great way to interact socially with many age groups and my interest in the game has only increased since I started playing. I really enjoy it, even on those days when you want to throw away your clubs! That’s the game of golf for you.
Our youngest golf prospect: Emmie Johnson, pictured here with her Dad Andy who is a member of the club and a past treasurer. This is what her dad says: I have been talking to Emmie about her playing golf since she was really young and given my passion for the game she has then shown an interest in it too. I have taken her for professional lessons which she has enjoyed and has a good understanding of the swing, demonstrating an ability to interpret the tuition into practice. Now she is 7 she has been allowed to join in the group lessons at West Lancs (where I am a member) every Friday and really enjoys going. I take her for lessons on Sunday too and we go to crazy golf near home as a family. Emmie enjoys interacting with other likeminded children and also gains the discipline golf gives you. Etiquette in golf is a great learning tool that you can take into teenage life and beyond. You never know, one day I may be able to caddie for her when she turns Pro!!!
Contributed by Penny Thompson – co-ordinator of Get into Golf initiatives at West Lancashire Golf Club.