The British Par 3 attracts a lot of Celebrities to play in the Celeb-Am. Here, amateurs have the opportunity to play alongside some of the U.K's biggest names from sporting legends to stars of television. We sent Martin Bedborough from #TeamGolfhacker along to chat to as many as he could. He didn't disappoint.
From Olympians to Rugby stars, Martin made the most of the access he had.
Check it out below:
Last year's British Par 3 Champion, Richard O'Hanlon seeks to become the first player to win the British Par 3 for a third time. No one has ever successfully defended the championship in its 84 year history. Could Richard be the first player to change that?
Our Equipment Editor, William Murfitt, caught up with Richard to find out more about his victory, Nailcote Hall and how he managed to get back from France in time to defend his title.
It might sound hard to believe but Jenni Falconer has only been playing golf since the end of February. The T.V and Radio personality arrived at Nailcote Hall to participate in her first British Par 3 Championship Celeb-Am. Considering how long she has been playing, we wanted to find out more about her golfing journey so far.
Golf was something she had always fancied trying and she made 2018 her year to do exactly that. Since then, she has completely fallen in love with the game. Not only has she participated in Pro-Ams such as Golfsixes, but she is also aiming to get people more involved in the game.
#FalconerForeGolf will showcase her journey from complete novice to ultimately, a fully fledged golfer. Working in conjunction with Love.golf and The PGAs of Europe, Jenni aims to use her newly acquired skills to inspire others to pick up a club just as she has.
We hoped to have a chat with Jenni to find out more about her new found love of golf however, it would turn out that we got a lot more than that. Having never taken on the Nailcote Hall Cromwell Course before, we thought we would give Jenni a helping hand.
“Have you got a caddie for today Jenni?” I asked.
“No, do you think it would help?” came her reply.
“Of course, they do more than just carry the bag. I have someone in mind.”
William Murfitt was the ideal choice. He was my caddie when I took on the British Par 3 Championship last year. If anyone could help Jenni, then it was him. He knew the course, he knew about the game and most importantly of all, he knows just when the right words need to be said to the best out of a player.
Considering Jenni has only been playing for a matter of months it was clear to see that she takes her golf seriously. Here was a player that wants to improve and taking on Will’s advice she successfully navigated her way around the challenging course.
Here she is in action alongside the guys from Muller who proved to be great fun throughout the day. Ben Nichols, Alex DeAth and James Guy...take a bow gents. Ben has only been playing for three weeks by the way. It was a great group to be a part of and hopefully, they will keep on playing after their experience at the British Par 3 Championship.
Check out all the action here:
Every summer a very special tournament is played. It doesn’t have the same fanfare that some of the other tournaments have during the summer of golf that invades Britain. Instead, it quietly goes about its business whilst at the same time breaking barriers within the game. The Cromwell Course at Nailcote Hall plays host to the British Par 3 Championship and if you have never heard about this hidden gem within the game, then perhaps this might make you think about coming along. Here is a tournament where age, ability, sex and reputation counts for nothing. For four days in August in Warwickshire, the Cromwell course brings the game together in ways that often feel is impossible.
Rick Cressman, the owner of Nailcote Hall, perhaps sums up the event better than we ever could. He told Golfhacker that: “It doesn’t matter how old they are, it doesn’t matter what sex they are. It’s a real opportunity to show that this game is a game for all and it’s a sport that really is a sport for life. You can enjoy this from 5 to 95.”
“Par 3 Golf has an enormous role to play in the future of the game in a society around the world that has less time to enjoy their leisure,” continued Cressman who also believes that Par 3 golf is where you can really hone in on your golfing improvement.
“This is where you can practice the skills that pay the bills. We have all heard the phrase “Driver for show, putt for dough”, but this is where you can see all of those short game skills that if you are going to be a really good golfer, you’ve got to have.”
One player who regularly graces the course at Nailcote Hall is Carly Booth. The LET player echoes what Cressman says about the short game. “Do you know what, it kills me every year. It makes me feel like I have the worst short game but its good fun,” Booth told us. “ It makes me realise how important the short game is. You play for great money so the competition is top with great players. It brings a little fun and a different light to golf as well.”
Golfhacker knows exactly what she is talking about. Last year, we were invited to play alongside Ashley Mason. Whilst the course might look relatively straightforward, it is anything but. This course can easily chew you up and spit you out. Not for Mason though who eventually finished in a tie for second alongside Eddie Pepperell.
This is what makes the British Par 3 Championship so special. From Major champions such as Tony Jacklin and Ian Woosnam to some of the top Women players including Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, the tournament allows a level playing field even allowing players from lesser known tours to challenge for the €50,000 first prize.
It is also a tournament loved by the many celebrities that play in the Celeb-Am. From Formula One champion, Nigel Mansell to boy band royalty including Brian Mcfadden and Keith Duffy, the British Par 3 Championship attracts many big names to enjoy a round of golf.
The price is right for spectators too. The tournament is completely free to attend and enjoy. It gives us a rare chance to see players loving the game they are playing. For us, it continues to rekindle our love of the game, to remind us that the barriers of age and sex that exist in the game are there to be broken down with a smile, laughter and the occasional cry of “Fore!”`
Get your free tickets here: http://britishpar3.com/booking/event-ticket/2018
There are fans and then there are superfans. All of which get a real experience at the Ricoh Women's British Open
It was purely by chance that I met Estela HJ Park. Her name won't ring any bells when it comes to Women's Golf. There is a good reason for that. That is because she a fan. However, Estela is no ordinary fan. She is a self-confessed superfan.
Arriving back to my hotel after a long day inside the Media Tent covering the Ricoh Women's British Open at Royal Lytham St Annes I approached the bar for a much-needed drink.
She asked the manager, "Tomorrow I'm going to the golf, what is the best way to get there?"
"Here's your man, he's working there all week," he said pointing her towards me. So began our journey together.
Estela is a student currently living and studying in Germany but she is Korean. Her English is really strong and she is easy to talk to. Whilst we sat with our drinks she told me about her love of golf and in particular, her love for one certain player, Hyo-Joo Kim.
Estela's excitement was clearly on show when she told me that: "I can't wait to see her tomorrow, her swing is so elegant. I love her. Look at this." She proceeded to show me her phone. Her golfing idol graced the back of it.
"I'll show you how to get there but I have to be early, don't be late and try to get some sleep." All of a sudden I began to sound like my age. Believe it or not but there was a time when I was cool, staying up late and partying. Those days seem to become a distant memory with every year that goes by.
In the morning we headed to the course. After travelling all this way to see Hyo-Joo Kim I thought it would be best if I supplied the breakfast. Fruit, pastry and some water as she embarked on her journey around Royal Lytham.
If it is a PR charm offensive then it is certainly working but there something genuine about it. Ever since my first Ricoh Women's British Open back in 2012, it has been clear to see. For me, it was one of the reasons why I fell in love with the women's game. The LPGA had a slogan a few years ago that was "See why it's different out here." It certainly is and the fans love it.
I met Estela again that day. I knew where she would be. She was the easiest fan to find. All I had to do was to head to see Hyo-Joo Kim's group. After her round, we headed to the autograph area.
"I have a present for her." Estela was carrying a bag that I had noticed earlier. Inside was some Cypriot jellies that she bought on a recent holiday. Writing a message on them with her sharpie she eagerly waited.
With the inability to transcribe or even understand Korean, I just watched as the two chatted. The gift was handed over and both bowed towards each other. The respect between and fan was clear for everyone to see.
When Estela turned back to me she was beaming with happiness. It was a pleasure to see and for Estela, it was a long journey made complete. I didn't see her this morning as I left the hotel to begin another day of coverage but I will find her on the course that is for sure. All I have to do is be there at 12.25pm when Hyo-Joo Kim tees off for her final round alongside Catriona Matthew.
It was a four and a half journey from their home in Essex. For any golf fan, it shows the level of commitment that many will go to in order to see their golfing icons in action. Leaving home in the early hours of the morning, Rosie Boyce was on a mission to see her favourite golfer in action. Her father, John, was in desperate need of a coffee following that particular journey. With little open by the time they had arrived, thankfully for him, it would be a journalist that provided the much needed pick me up.
It was a chance encounter as I saw my colleague chatting with John and his 13-year-old daughter. Straight away, I liked them. Rosie, for her passion for the game and John for being prepared to take that long journey in order to cement her passion. If that is not love, then I don’t know what is.
“Who is your favourite golfer?” I asked.
The reply came almost instantly. “Charley Hull!” Rosie exclaimed.
It is easy to understand why. Charley has become massively important within the women’s game. She oozes personality and has a game to match it. It is no wonder that Rosie looks towards Hull as her golfing heroine.
John had previously been in contact with Charley’s management and was lucky enough to get some signed merchandise for his daughter’s birthday. That made Rosie’s day but things were about to get even better for the young lady.
Strolling around Royal Lytham St Annes, Rosie managed to fill her flag with signatures. It was an impressive site to see when I saw them later in the day. This is what I love most about women’s golf. Nothing is too much trouble for the players when it comes to inspiring the next generation. It would be a sight I never got tired of as I wandered around the grounds.
However, we had something else in store for Rosie. A plan grew between my colleague and me. Wouldn’t it be great if Rosie could actually meet Charley in person inside the Media Tent? A few strings were pulled and she was in.
When Rosie and John entered they were made to feel completely welcome. Rosie even had a question she wanted to ask her favourite golfer.
“As now you are now asking questions, you’ll need this,” I said as I handed Rosie my Media pass. “Just don’t run off with it as I won’t be able to get back in.”
Her face lit up as Charley entered the interview room. Complete with her newly acquired pass, she was ready to ask her all-important question. I was expecting her to show some nerves but this is quite possibly the most composed young lady I have ever met.
Rosie asked her question with confidence: “When you go out for competition, what do you feel like you have to practice more, your short game or your long game?”
It was a good question and asked with such poise that for a moment I feared for my job. If becoming a professional golfer doesn’t work out for Rosie then perhaps a career in the golfing media would be a good bet.
Hull gave her answer. “Probably my putting because I do hit a lot of greens on my rounds, If I holed more putts, I would win. And everyone says like putting and short game is your main thing, but I do actually think driver as well and your tee shots have to be good because you have to get the ball in play to get on the green.”
Posing for a photo, Charley stayed a little longer to find out more about Rosie. Rosie and Charley chatted a little more. For me, it was a pleasure to see. It reminds me of the power of sport. It also reminds me how one simple gesture of generosity can inspire and galvanise a passion further.
One thing is for sure, Rosie will look back at this moment for years to come. It will inspire her to become to improve her game (she currently plays off 36) and maybe one day, both Charley and Rosie will be teeing off together in a Women’s British Open in the future.
The Ricoh Women’s British Open heads to Royal Lytham St Annes for what will be Ricoh’s final sponsorship of the event. The Japanese technology giant has sponsored the event for 12 years during which time the Women’s British Open has grown in statue adding world-class courses to the rota and seen prize money increase by $1.25 million.
Ross Hallett, Senior Vice President of golf for IMG praised Ricoh for the work they have done during the partnership saying: “This is Ricoh’s final event as our title sponsor after 12 fantastic years of working together and securing this historic Championship’s position as one of the world’s leading golf events. What started as an initial three-year partnership in 2007 has extended way beyond that. As we look back on what we’ve achieved together, we feel extremely grateful to Ricoh for their loyalty and for enthusiastically extending their commitment and expanding their contributions again and again during this period. Each of the previous 11 editions has produced great Champions and given us all great memories that will last forever.”
We can expect an announcement about a new sponsor in due course. However, for the final Ricoh Women’s British Open we can certainly expect a great send off for the longtime sponsor as In-Kyung Kim aims to defend her title that she so gallantly won at Kingsbarns.
The defending champion was in a confident mood ahead of her press conference. The ever-smiling Kim feels like she is a good place at the moment. Kim told us that: “I feel fresh, and this is my favourite golf course in the entire world. So just being here means a lot to me.”
Perhaps that is a warning sign to many. Another player who is feeling fresh is Ariya Jutanugarn. Last week’s victory at the Ladies Scottish Open was her first on a links course. The win propelled her back to World Number One and she certainly has the game to do well at Royal Lytham. The Thai favours her long irons over her driver which rarely enters her bag.
This will be her first time at Royal Lytham but already she is impressed by the course. “I was really impressed. You know, like I just played today. I didn't play yesterday.” The World Number One continued by saying, “You know, like it's so hard. Like the fairways just like pretty narrow. The bunker just like a lot of bunkers. So it's really deep. I think this course going to be really, really challenge and really need to be patient because I feel like even with no wind still going to be very tough course.”
She is not wrong, Royal Lytham St Annes is considered by many to be one of the toughest courses in England. Accuracy will be the key to success to this year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open. 206 bunkers pepper the course waiting to gobble up any stray shots. Bernard Darwin, a leading golf writer from the 1930’s probably best summed up the course when he wrote: “Hit your ball to the right place and the way to the hole is open to you, but hit your ball to the wrong place and every kind of punishment, whether immediate or ultimate, will ensue”.
The course might be tough but the competition is even tougher. There are many players who will fancy their chances at Royal Lytham. The British contingent of Charley Hull, Georgia Hall and Jodi Ewart Shadoff will all like their chances after their challenges at Kingsbarns last year.
Caroline Masson has a strong record at the Ricoh British Open. The German is putting together a solid string of results on the LPGA and could also be a threat to British hopes. Then there are the usual suspects such as Lydia Ko, Inbee Park and Anna Nordqvist who have what it takes to reign supreme at Royal Lytham St Annes.
There are of course a few notable absentees. Lexi Thompson has withdrawn from the event stating that she some time away following what has been a challenging period within her family life. Morgan Pressel failed to make it through qualifying and Paula Creamer will be nervously waiting to see if there are any last minute withdrawals as she waits in the wings as the first reserve.
As final preparations begin, the mood will undoubtedly change as Royal Lytham shows it teeth throughout the week. With Blackpool Pleasure beach on down the road, this major with have all the thrills and spills of its famous roller coasters. Some will certainly enjoy the ride and others will fear the impending drop. Either way, we are all bracing ourselves for another fantastic Ricoh Women’s British Open. For Ricoh, it will be the send-off they thoroughly deserve.
Laura Davies wins U.S Senior Women's Open but media coverage resulted in only six sentences...Here's why she deserves more.
It was an achievement that in the eyes of the BBC website warranted only six sentences. There was no narrative just a brief report about what happened on the final day in Chicago as Dame Laura Davies won the inaugural U.S Senior Women’s Open. A Major tournament reduced to only six sentences. Sky Sports faired a little better in the word count department but once again it was short and sweet. Let that sink in for a moment.
The significance of Laura Davies in women’s golf and golf in general should never be underestimated. The 54-year-old has accomplished everything that the game has to offer. Her recent triumph was the 85th time Davies had lifted a trophy during her career. Davies, if anything, is also a pioneer when it comes to women’s golf and its rise in the UK. Women’s golf was still in its infancy by the time Davies turned professional. Whilst the LPGA was still young, the LET was only just born.
Davies’s success also saw her compete in every Solheim Cup from 1990-2011. Her fellow players both young and old completely acknowledge Davies as a legend of the game. A hall of fame place beckoned in 2015 as the world of golf also rewarded Davies’s achievements.
Just six sentences summed up Davies’s victory as legends of the Women’s game gathered for the first U.S Senior Women’s Open. Winning by 10 shots over her nearest rival Juli Inkster warranted a token article that pretty much said, “See...we do cover women’s golf.”
For me, it sums up everything beautifully. Even after all of Davies’s achievements, all of those barriers that got in her way, all of the young women she inspired to pick up a club, all of her fellow professionals who regard her as a living legend in the game...she is reduced to just six sentences.
Pretty sad ain’t it when that is all that is produced by the mainstream media within your own country. Then again it is probably because they are all flocking to The Open. After all...they can’t possibly miss that one. Something tells me, whoever wins on Sunday, will get more than six sentences.
Tony Jacklin has been there, done that and brought the T-Shirt when it comes to golf. Winning the Open Championship in 1969 was swiftly followed by victory at the U.S Open in 1970. These were just two of his 30 tournament victories over his playing career. Not bad for the son of truck driver from Scunthorpe.
Tony's opinions carry much weight and he is not afraid to voice them. Speaking ahead of his hosting duties for the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship, Jacklin has expressed his views on everything from the U.S Open, The Open and GolfSixes.
Tony on the U.S Open controversy:
The Shinnecock Hills Golf Course has always been a great test over the years, but the USGA have messed it up again. This kind of thing seems to be becoming a habit for them, the way the course was set up on Saturday was just ludicrous. It seems like they end up with egg on their face every time, and most of the players are disgusted. If I’d have been playing and seen the course set-up the way it was, I would have been angry. It was madness. It wasn’t a fair test of golf, and the element of luck played a big role costing some people dearly. The whole thing turned into a joke on Saturday and you just hate to see it at that level of the game with a Major championship up for grabs. I’m sure the USGA will make their excuses but I just don’t understand it at all.
The greens at Shinnecock were more like browns! Yes, they got a very worthy champion out of it in Brooks Koepka, but it was simply just not good enough overall.
Tony on Phil Mickelson’s controversial move:
It was a crazy situation. I think they are going to have to change the rule and make it so if you hit a moving ball on purpose then you are automatically disqualified. Mickelson seemed to know what he’d done and did what he obviously thought was his best option, but it was certainly against the spirit of the game. I understand where he’s coming from as it technically is within the rules, but as long as it is in the rules it will be taken advantage of. So, it is definitely something they need to tighten up on.
Tony on Tommy Fleetwood’s rise:
His performance was spectacular. I first saw him in action when he won the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship in 2013 and he has made huge strides since then. That victory seemed to be the springboard for his career and he has developed really well in recent years. It was a tremendous ball striking round that he had, achieving a record round.
Tommy’s definitely going to win some Majors in his career, there is no doubt about that. He’s a different player to what he was five years ago and improved significantly.
He was unlucky to not win the entire competition, but Koepka was supreme. I’ve never seen anybody more in control of their golf. He was extremely confident and showed why with the performance he put in. To play the way he did knowing Fleetwood was already in at two over, was just superb.
Tony on why English players struggle in the U.S Open:
First of all, going back to when I won in 1970, players didn’t give themselves a proper chance. Colin Montgomerie came close a few times, but he’d fly in a few days before and then clear off! You can’t cherry-pick tournaments like that. When I won I was playing full-time on the American Tour and was committed to that. Justin Rose is doing that now and was when he won in 2013, and I think that is why they are increasing their chances.
But I think you need to commit to playing on the PGA Tour and feel totally at home in that environment. The European Tour is great but if you need to be in America where the best players are playing on a weekly basis. The conditions over here are generally better too and that adds another dimension to it as well. So, I would suggest more people need to play golf regularly in the USA.
Tony on his favourites for The Open:
In terms of the English players I would have to go with Tommy Fleetwood. If he ever needed assurance about how good he is then he’s got it now after that performance in the US Open. It’s a shame about that last putt as he had some opportunities on the last few holes. He’s got every right to be proud of what he has achieved so far. Coming to Carnoustie for The Open with that performance in the bag can only do him good. He will get a tremendous reception from the crowd there. When I won at Lytham in 1969 the home support was incredible, and Tommy will get the same. There will also be an expectancy there, but is more than capable of delivering. The likes of Justin Rose will be in contention too. A lot depends on the weather in this competition, but I think Tommy will be the favourite.
Tony on Golf Sixes:
I understand what they are trying to achieve, but it’s a bit early to say if this will grow the game. I think there is room for these events to test the water, but I’m a traditionalist and for me the true test is four rounds of play. I’m not against it and applaud the approach but I think you’ve got to test it thoroughly. If you’re talking about the best player winning, it still comes down to having good playing conditions and the course being in shape. New ideas are always a positive thing, but I would be sceptical about overdoing it.
Tony Jacklin CBE is the event host for this year’s Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship that takes place between 7–10 August. For more information on the event or to register for free tickets visit British Par 3 or get in touch with Benny Lawrence: email@example.com / 08453 31 30 31
With father’s day just around the corner, we’re catching up with three sets of fathers and their children, with the help of our friends at American Golf, to take a look at golf’s unique ability to bring families closer together and give parents a bond with their children that is so hard to get anywhere else.
Over recent years American Golf has helped many families spend more time together, on and off the course, through events such as the American Golf Junior Championship, Family Championship and Long Drive Championship. The brand has met some incredible families who have stood out both for their ability and the strength of their bond.
To celebrate Father’s Day, American Golf asked some of the Fathers’ and their children to talk a little about the experience of being a team, playing together and what the game of golf means to them. Take a look at the highlights and I’m sure you’ll agree that the game of golf has given something to their relationships that is hard to define, but it definitely looks like they have a lot of fun!
Elle & Dean Gibson
Elle and Dean first met the team at American Golf when Elle took part in the 2016 American Golf Junior Championship. At just 13 years old and playing off 16 Elle plotted her way round the final, with the help of dad Dean caddying, to record an incredible net 63 and take the girls title. On winning the event Elle commented, "I really enjoyed the day, everyone was really friendly which helped to calm my nerves! It was great having my Dad caddy so he could share the experience too.” Elle has since gone on to finish second by just one yard in the 2017 American Golf Long Drive Championship, during which Dean showed far more nerves than his daughter!
Dean credits golf for the strength of his relationship with Elle and treasures the times that it’s just him, Elle and their clubs, “As Elle has got better at golf I’ve spent as much time supporting her as I did playing but that is just as special as being on the course. That said, one of my favourite things is just grabbing a few clubs and heading down to Topgolf for a couple of hours with her. We’re guaranteed to have a laugh and enjoy the competition. Golf gives me time with Elle that is so unusual for a dad and a teenage daughter and I think it’s played a huge part in us getting on so well.”
Aaron & Vic Mohun
Aaron and Vic have been part of the American Golf family since 2015 when Aaron took part in the Junior Championship Future Stars category at the age of 8. 2 years later and Aaron was lifting the overall Junior Championship title with Dad Vic caddying throughout the winning round. Aaron and Vic then teamed up later in the season to take on the American Golf Family Championship. Their consistent teamwork took them through the qualifying rounds to secure a place in the final at Ryder Cup venue the Belfry where they enjoyed two days of each other’s company on the iconic course.
After spending an incredible year by Aaron’s side Vic reflected on the impact that golf has had, “I’ve been playing golf with Aaron for most of his life and I can’t say how much fun it’s been. To get to spend time with him away from school, work and life’s pressures at some fantastic golf venues is so special. I can’t think of another activity we could do that would give us the same chance to get to know each other and enjoy each other’s company so much.”
James & Ian Fox
The Malkins Bank qualifier of the American Golf Family Championship in 2017 was the first time Ian & James had played competitive golf together. They secured victory and a place in the final at the Belfry, all the time keeping broad smiles on their faces and enjoying the camaraderie. Those smiles only got bigger as finals weekend progressed with them ultimately taking the matchplay final 3 & 2. That win secured them a spot in the American Golf Tournament of Champions in Mauritius in which, after sunning themselves for a few days along with mum Ruth, they took the overall title of Champions of Champions. After the end of their journey from Mauritius Ian commented, “When your kids become teenagers you expect them to go their own way and start making their own lives. James has done that like any normal lad but we still have our time on the course. Golf gives us a connection and common ground but most importantly it gives us time to get on and enjoy each other’s company. To be so successful with the American Golf tournaments was the cherry on top but golf is what has given so much to our relationship.”
If you’re inspired to get involved, visit www.americangolf.co.uk/golf-with-dad/golf-with-dad.html to see how you can win an early Father’s day present that Dads and their kids can enjoy together.