'We were pinching ourselves, the buzz was amazing'
This year marks the 65thanniversary of the Coronation Foursomes, with over 25,000 golfers expected to compete in the iconic event staged by the R&A.
This year’s historic staging and will celebrate the camaraderie, companionship and friendly competition that women and girls have enjoyed in the competition over the last 64 years.
Given the testimonies of last year’s participants, it is an event simply not to be missed. Local competitions can be organised by golf clubs to give golfers a dream chance to reach the Grand Final played over the Eden Course at the ‘Home of Golf’ in St Andrews on Monday 24 September.
This year’s 32 finalists will stay at the prestigious Old Course Hotel Golf Resort & Spa and have the chance to book a place in the Pro-Am for the 2019 Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Last year’s finalists
“Wow! Where can I start about the Grand Final,” said Joyce Woollon from Hayston, who finished runner-up with her partner Susan Thom in 2017. “The whole two days were great, from the organisation to the friendliness of everyone involved. I have never smiled so much.”
“The only way I can describe the final is as ‘an experience of a life time not to be missed.’ Everyone should sign up for this year as it could be you at the Grand Final.”
Susan added: “It was an absolute thrill to play in a final at the Home of Golf, but there were so many highlights – picture on the iconic bridge, drinks reception and the draw, our own leaderboard, gala dinner, new friends made. It all made it an unforgettable experience. I would encourage everyone to enter because it can happen to you!”
Linda Spence, from Elie & Earlsferry, was also a finalist last year.
She said: “We were pinching ourselves, the buzz was amazing. We felt like professional golfers when we saw our names on the leaderboard and then the nerves hit when our names were announced over the PA system. It was an amazing experience and still feels like a dream.”
It was Siobhan Behan and Lorraine Walsh from Killeen in Ireland who went on to take the title in 2017, amassing 41 points in the handicap stableford foursomes format to finish one point ahead of Thom and Woollon from Scotland.
Growing the game
Established in 1953 to celebrate the Queen’s Coronation, the team event is open to all members of affiliated golf clubs in Great Britain and Ireland who hold a current CONGU handicap of 36 or under.
Over 25,000 competitors from 1,200 clubs took part last year with more encouraged to tee it up in 2018 and have the chance to etch their names in the Coronation Foursomes roll of honour.
Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Golf Development at The R&A, said: “The Coronation Foursomes has long been established as a leading event for women and girls to enjoy participation in golf and we are again anticipating another significant level of entry from club members in Great Britain and Ireland.”
“We are striving to make golf more accessible and appealing for women and girls and know that events like the Coronation Foursomes offer them opportunities to socialise and build new friendships, while experiencing the camaraderie which has made it such a popular occasion over the last 64 years.”
With increased participation in golf by women and girls identified as a tremendous growth opportunity for the sport, this year sees a notable rise in the number of dedicated participation initiatives and coaching activities being delivered by leading golfing bodies to encourage more women, girls and families into the game and convert them into club membership.
Weir added, “Women and girls continue to be an under-represented group in golf, so there is a tremendous opportunity for growing the sport if golf can enhance its appeal to women and girls, as well as families.
“The level of activity taking place across women’s and girls’ golf this year is exceptional and we look forward to continuing to work with the national associations and professional bodies to inspire more women and girls to get involved in this wonderful sport.”
The R&A has also provided funding to support the appointment of development managers in Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and will soon be launching a Women in Golf Charter to galvanise the golf industry around increasing participation by women and girls and the number of women working within the sport. In Scotland, the development post is being jointly funded by The Scottish Government as part of The 2019 Solheim Cup project.
How it works
Any club affiliated to a home nation can run a qualifying round, played over 18 holes of foursomes stableford.
The best 100 scores based on nett differential will then qualify for the Area Finals, held at 16 venues around Great Britain and Ireland before the top 16 teams book their trip to St Andrews (including travel and awards dinner) for the showpiece finale.
This year’s Coronation Foursomes form part of a bumper year of activity for women and girls of all ages and abilities in the UK in 2018.
Qualifying rounds for the Coronation Foursomes can be held up until the 20 June 2018 closing date and entries submitted online via randa.org
The Eden Course is one of seven courses at St Andrews Links. Opened in 1914, the Eden Course was designed by Harry S Colt and is named after the Eden estuary.
Visit the Coronation Foursomes page to enter or find out more information https://www.randa.org/Championships/CoronationFoursomes