England Golf: This season's championships
There’s a changing of the guard at the highest level. Curtis Cup stars Bronte Law, Meghan MacLaren, along with Amateur champion Sammie Giles, have all gone to the professional ranks and all eyes will be on who steps up to replace them in the elite sphere of amateur golf.
Lindrick is the stellar venue for this year’s Women’s Amateur, where an all-star cast will fight it out to win a trophy that has launched many on their way to a successful professional career.
But don’t for one second think that only the elite can take to the fairways and greens in a top-class event this season.
For there is an England Golf competition that will interest all ages and handicaps.
Those who perform well in regional qualifiers over the next few months will find themselves centre stage during England Golf Week in August.
The event, which has previously been staged at Frilford Heath, comes home to Woodhall Spa, the headquarters of England Golf, and should provide a wonderful few days of action.
Then it’s off to Gainsborough, where the Ping Grand and Plate Final will provide a thrilling finish to what should be a dramatic year.
Four to follow in 2017
The teenager, a former winner of the Fairhaven Trophy, shot onto the world stage when she claimed the British Amateur crown at The Knock. Only 19, she’ll be expected to play a leading role in an England side shorn of Bronte Law and Meghan MacLaren.
A string of high profile second spots, including at Bristol & Clifton in the Amateur Strokeplay, last season has elevated her stock and the 23-year-old, who represents Bude & North Cornwall, looks set in 2017 to continue to push for a Major crown.
Last year’s Pleasington Putter winner steps up to senior duties on the back of representing England in the European Girls Team Championships. The 18-year-old has shown much promise – such as a top five finish in the Royal Birkdale Scratch. How will she fare at the highest level?
Part of England’s European Team Championship gold medal-winning side in Iceland last year, the 21-year-old Rotherham player also won the Helen Holm at Royal Troon as she began the season in fine fashion. Fell away somewhat as the summer wore on and failed to make the cut in either the English or British Amateur but should bounce back in style this year.
Four for the diary
Matchplay Championship: July 6-8
The players won’t just be making history, they’ll be walking on it when they play the matchplay at Royal Mid-Surrey. Henry VIII built a monastery where the 14th and 15th holes stand and George III grazed his sheep over the Old Deer Park. In 1926, the Prince of Wales was even captain. It should provide a regal setting for a great event.
Amateur Championship: July 18-20
Famous for hosting the 1957 Ryder Cup and regarded as one of Britain’s best inland courses, Lindrick will stage England Golf’s premier tournament for women amateurs. A top class field will aim to replicate newly-turned professional Sammie Giles, who completed a full set of titles when she won at West Lancashire.
Grand Medal Final: August 18
Alex Forrest was only a reserve for last year’s showpiece but squeezed into the field before being crowned England’s champion woman medal player on countback. Winners of club medals compete in six regional finals before an 18-hole strokeplay, during England Golf Week at Woodhall Spa, determines the winner.
Amateur Strokeplay: August 22-24
Woodhall Spa is the grand host for a prestigious tournament that was claimed last year by 16-year-old girl international Emily Price at Bristol & Clifton. To follow her name onto the trophy, you must negotiate a 36-hole cut as only the leading 40 players and ties take on the last two rounds.
2017 handicap events
South West final, Tehidy Park, May 3
North region final, Windermere, May 25
Senior tournament, Longcliffe, July 13
Club team final, Woodhall Spa, August 18
Grand Medal Final, Woodhall Spa, August 18
Par 3 Championship, Ampfield, August 16
Ping Plate & Final, Gainsborough, September 4-5
B King foursomes, Harrogate, October 3-4
2017 elite events
Senior Amateur, South Staffs, May 16-19
Senior Strokeplay, Harpenden, June 20-22
Women’s Matchplay, Royal Mid-Surrey, July 6-8
Women’s Amateur, Lindrick, July 18-20
English Girls’ U16/U14, Blackmoor, August 8-10
Home Internationals, Little Aston, August 9-11
Amateur Strokeplay, Woodhall Spa, August 22-24
County finals, Felixstowe Ferry, September 18-22
Entries for adult events opened on February 1.
For a full calendar of events, more information on each tournament, the rules and conditions and how to enter, log on to englandgolf.org and click on Championships.