All the latest stories from this week in golf that you may have missed
Saadiyat Beach Golf Club Set to Host First Ever UAE LET Event
This November, the course that was awarded ‘Best Golf Course in the United Arab Emirates’ in 2015 by the illustrious World Golf Awards, will host 126 of the best female golf professionals, including LET number two, Beth Allen of the USA, England’s Melissa Reid and Sweden’s rising star, Camilla Lennarth.
They will compete for the coveted title of the inaugural Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open and the AED 2,021,250 (US$550,000) prize fund.
Hideki Matsuyama Leads WGC
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama took the halfway lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China after a seven-under-par 65 to stand at 13-under.
He is three clear of defending champion Russell Knox and Bill Haas. Richard Bland shot consecutive 68s to lie five back whilst Rory McIlroy and Paul Casey are a shot further back at seven-under.
Blind Faith in Golf Puts Pro in Line for National Award
A champion of blind golfers who has been on a 20-year crusade to get more of them playing the game is in line for a prestigious coaching award. Anders Mankert, the head PGA Professional at Cosby Golf Club, has been nominated in the disabled coaching category for the UKCC National Coaching Awards.
The Swede has made it a personal mission to encourage more visually impaired golfers to play the game – giving free coaching to any blind golfer and also championing their cause in the local media to find guides to help them play.
England Golf Survey Shows 30% of Clubs Have Increased Membership
The results of the 2016 Golf Club Membership Questionnaire shows that 30% of clubs increased their membership this year and it highlights trends and ideas which are working.
It recommends: a warm welcome, catering for different needs, ages and abilities, regular communication with members and visitors, making more use of the club to increase income, and becoming a part of the local community.
Rikard Karlberg Leads WGC-HSBC Champions
2015 Italian Open champion Rikard Karlberg shot an eight under-par 64 to lead by one from Rickie Fowler after the opening round at Sheshan International in Shanghai.
Defending champion Russell Knox is a further shot back at six-under alongside Hideki Matsuyama and Daniel Berger. Paul Casey continued his good form with a five-under 67. Rory McIlroy, armed with his TaylorMade M2s, had a quiet day with two birdies and a bogey for a 71.
Stephen Dodd Wins Senior Italian Open
Welshman Stephen Dodd has won his first Senior title at the Senior Italian Open beating Phil Price by two shots at Golf Club Udine.
The 50-year-old won three times on the European Tour including twice in the 2005 season. He only made his Senior Tour debut at the Senior Open in July.
PrideSports Introduce New Hybrid Tee Model
The newest member of PrideSports’ Professional Tee System (PTS) Evolution, the PTS Hybrid, features a unique banded design to allow consistent teeing height and has been made thicker to aid durability.
It’s made from an environmentally-friendly wood/plastic blend and has been engineered to create less friction which is said to result in longer drives.
Huxley Golf Installs Practice Area for UK’s Junior Champions
To facilitate coaching and enable daily practice, Huxley Golf helped Merchiston School, near Edinburgh, to convert a disused basketball area into an all-weather golf practice area for its students. It’s made up of three practice nets as well as a 15ft (4.5m) x 18ft (5.5m) putting green which is all virtually maintenance free.
International Schools Golf Association (IGSA) has ranked Merchiston the number one golf school in the UK. In 2015 and 2016 the Golf Academy Junior Team won the title of joint National ISGA Junior League Champions.
New PGA Tour Event Confirmed for South Korea Next Year
Following on from the success of the 2015 President’s Cup in South Korea, the PGA Tour has announced the first ever official tournament in the country, set to take place in October 2017. The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges will offer 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner and see a total purse of $9.25m.
The field will contain 60 players from the PGA Tour FedEx Cup list, plus 18 further players, most of whom will be top Koreans, qualifing through other exemptions. The venue is yet to be confirmed.
Srixon’s Minjee Lee Wins Blue Bay LPGA in China
New world number 15 and Srixon/Cleveland Golf/XXIO staff player Minjee Lee has got her season off to a flying start by winning the Blue Bay LPGA in China with a four round total of 275 (-13). Her win was part of a momentous weekend for Srixon as they enjoyed five global wins following Hideki Matsuyama’s Japan Open victory last weekend.
Minjee Lee’s ‘In the Bag’ at Blue Bay LPGA 2016:
Ball: SRIXON Z-STAR 4
Driver: XXIO 8 (9.5 degree)
Fairway: XXIO 8 (#3)
Hybrid: SRIXON ZH45 (#3)
Irons: SRIXON Z745 (#5-PW)
Wedge: CLEVELAND GOLF RTX-3 (50/54/58)
Rob Coles Wins Beko Classic Pro-Am Whilst John Daly Praises Gloria
England’s Rob Coles beat two-time major winner John Daly to win the Beko Classic Pro-Am at Gloria Golf Club in Turkey. Coles finished at 12-under to win by four over the colourful American and Scotland’s Graham Fox.
Related: Gloria New Course Review
Daly has become a regular visitor to Gloria in recent years, winning the tournament in 2014, and had a lot of praise for the club, saying: “As always with the last five or six years since I’ve been coming here, it’s a class act. They put on a great tournament and you just can’t go wrong here. I’ve always enjoyed coming here and every time I come, I never want to leave.”
Portugal Masters Champion Padraig Harrington Uses New Wilson FG Tour V6 Irons
The Irishman won the Portugal Masters and revealed that he used the new Wilson FG Tour V6 irons which will be available next year. He also used a Taylormade AeroBurner driver, a Taylormade M2 fairway wood, Wilson Staff FG Tour PMP wedges and the Wilson Staff Infinite South Side putter.
PING President & COO Doug Hawken Announces Retirement After 45 years
After a distinguished 45-year career that saw him advance from assistant to the production manager all the way to PING’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Doug Hawken announced his retirement today, effective January 31, 2017. He will remain on the PING Board of Directors.
“I speak for the entire Solheim and PING families when I say how extremely grateful we are for the impact Doug has had on the company in the last 45 years,” said John Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO.