The 2019 GB&I Men’s National Squads

16th February 2019

With the 2019 season now gathering momentum, as we work up towards September’s Walker Cup match, I thought it may be useful to collate the Men’s National Squads for each of the four home nations in one place.

You will find all of the players selected listed below along with their current Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR).

In addition I have also listed other leading players who for a variety of reasons have not been included in any national squads.img_8619


England Golf announced their Squads on 13th February 2019.

Men’s Squad
Jake Burnage – Devon (47)
Bailey Gill – Yorkshire (177)
David Hague – Yorkshire (105)
Ben Jones – Northamptonshire (107)
Billy McKenzie – Hampshire (233)
Tom Plumb – Somerset (93)
Tom Sloman – Somerset (43)

Men’s A Squad
Jake Bolton – Wiltshire (403)
Sam Done – Lincolnshire (810)
Callum Farr – Northamptonshire (558)
Harry Goddard – Hertfordshire (666)
Ben Hutchinson – Yorkshire (246)
David Langley – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire (130)
Joe Long – Gloucestershire (267)

Other Elite Players
Barclay Brown – Yorkshire (416)
Oliver Farrell – Worcestershire / Marquette University, USA (281)
Alex Fitzpatrick – Yorkshire / Wake Forest University, USA (82)
Conor Gough (U18) – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire (340)
John Gough – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire / UNC Charlotte, USA (294)
Harry Hall – Cornwall / University of Las Vegas, USA (53)
Jamie Li – Somerset / Florida State University, USA (243)
Daniel O’Loughlin – Nottinghamshire / University of Colorado, USA (227)
Joe Pagdin (U18) – Florida, USA (286)
Laird Shepherd – Stirling University, Scotland (182)
Thomas Thurloway – Sussex / Jacksonville University, USA (309)
Robin Williams (U18) – Northamptonshire (238)


The Golf Union of Ireland (now Golf Ireland) announced their Squad on the 29th November 2018.

Men’s Senior Panel
Robert Brazill – Leinster (738)
Colm Campbell – Ulster (2,542)
Robert Cannon – Leinster (1,155)
Alex Gleeson – Leinster (176)
Eoin Leonard – Surrey, England / Yale University, USA (303)
Rowan Lester – Leinster (164)
Tiarnán McLarnon – Ulster (277)
Ronan Mullarney – Connacht (219)
John Murphy – Munster / University of Louisville, USA (86)
Peter O’Keeffe – Munster (387)
Mark Power – Leinster (265)
Conor Purcell – Leinster (23)
Caolan Rafferty – Leinster (99)
James Sugrue – Munster (379)



The 2018-19 players listed on the Scottish Golf website are as follows.

Men’s Squad
Callum Bruce – Midland College, USA (416)
Kieran Cantley (497)
Matthew Clark (647)
Stuart Easton (203)
Rory Franssen – University of Missouri, USA (262)
Darren Howie (570)
Jim Johnston (427)
Ryan Lumsden – Northwestern University, USA (70)
Stephen Roger (523)
Sandy Scott – Texas Tech University, USA (135)
Jamie Stewart – University of Missouri, USA (152)
Euan Walker (50)
James Wilson (297)
Jeff Wright (779)

Transitional Support (18-21)
Eric McIntosh – Northwestern University, USA (187)
John Paterson – University of Colorado, USA (864)

Other Elite Players
Calum Fyfe (288)
Connor McKinney – Western Australia (211)



The 2018-19 players listed on the Wales Golf website are as follows.

National Performance Programme
Archie Davies (1,116)
Jake Hapgood (373)

National Support Programme
Oly Brown (2,239)
George Bryant (1,723)
Ben Chamberlain (1,218)
Jacob Davies (1,363)
Aled Greville (3,861)
Kieron Harmon (2,040)
Luke Harries – Lincoln Memorial University, USA (1,548)
Matt Harris (2,252)
Tim Harry (4,207)
Paddy Mullins (1,502)
Matt Roberts (927)
Lewys Sanges (1,245)
Tom Williams (914)

Other Elite Players
Gaelen Trew (757)


Copyright © 2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The 2018 GB&I Men’s National Squads

12th December 2017

The last few months have seen a relatively large number of Great Britain and Ireland international and other elite amateur players turn professional.

2018 therefore represents a huge opportunity for the next generation of GB&I players coming through the ranks.

As we start to look ahead to next year I thought it may be useful to lay out the 2018 National Squads for each of the four home nations in one place.

You will find these players listed below, along with each player’s current Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR), some other elite players not officially included in the various Panels to show depth (there are others too) and finally a list of all of the recent departures to the ‘dark side’ from each country.

Seeing how this period of transition for both GB&I amateur and professional golf unfolds next year and into 2019 will certainly be interesting.



Men’s Squad
Jake Burnage (111)
Todd Clements (56)
Jack Gaunt (188)
David Hague (146)
Matthew Jordan (34)
Gian-Marco Petrozzi (126)
Charlie Strickland (212)
Andrew Wilson (329)

Men’s A Squad
George Bloor (270)
Bailey Gill (378)
Ben Jones (417)
Josh McMahon (431)
Nick Poppleton (260)
Tom Sloman (201)

Other Elite Players
Toby Briggs (902) – U.S. University of San Francisco, Freshman
Harry Ellis (35) – U.S. Florida State University, Redshirt Junior
Alex Fitzpatrick (408) – Committed to Wake Forest University – Summer 2018
Harry Hall (134) – U.S. University of Las Vegas, Junior
Billy McKenzie (247) – U.K. full time amateur.
Daniel O’Loughlin (328) – U.S. University of Colorado, Sophomore
Pavan Sagoo (352) – U.S. St. Mary’s College, Senior
Daniel Sutton (347) – U.S. University of Kansas, Junior
Laird Shepherd (222) – U.K. Stirling University
David Wicks (173) – U.S. Jacksonville, Junior

Players Who Have Recently Turned Pro
Dan Brown, Jamie Clare, Tom Gandy, Scott Gregory, Josh Hilleard, Cameron Long, Richard Mansell, Bradley Moore, Marco Penge, Alfie Plant, Jack Singh Brar, Sean Towndrow, Will Whiteoak and Jack Yule (14).


Men’s Senior Panel
Barry Anderson (1,051)
Colm Campbell (311)
Robin Dawson (68)
Jamie Fletcher (1,425)
Alex Gleeson (212)
Rowan Lester (215)
Paul McBride (43) – U.S. Wake Forest University, Senior
Tiarnan McLarnon (517)
Ronan Mullarney (323)
John Murphy (541)
Peter O’Keeffe (344)
Mark Power (690)
Conor Purcell (291) – U.S. University of North Carolina Charlotte, Sophomore
Caolan Rafferty (103)
James Sugrue (1,028)
Jonathan Yates (579)

Other Elite Players
Thomas Mulligan (1,591) – U.S. University of Oregon, Freshman

5 Players Who Have Recently Turned Pro
Colin Fairweather, John Ross Galbraith, Stuart Grehan, Kevin Le Blanc and Conor O’Rourke (5).



Men’s Squad
Darren Howie (492)
Sam Locke (509)
Jamie Stewart (120) – U.S. Missouri  University, Freshman
Eric McIntosh (404) – U.S. Northwestern University, Freshman
Ryan Lumsden (132) – U.S. Northwestern University, Junior
Matthew Clark (436)
Calum Fyfe (131)
Sandy Scott (110) – U.S. Texas Tech University, Sophomore
Euan Walker (266)

Other Elite Players
Rory Franssen (314) – U.S. Missouri University, Sophomore

Players Who Have Recently Turned Pro
Liam Johnston, Chris Maclean, Robert MacIntyre, Craig Ross and Connor Syme. Craig Howie (49) is also expected to turn Pro shortly (6).



National Performance Programme
Ben Chamberlain
Gaelen Trew – U.S. Florida Institute of Technology, Junior
Luke Harries – U.S. Lincoln Memorial University, Freshman
Tim Harry

National Support Programme
Jake Hapgood
Kyle Harman
Matt Harris
Lee Jones
Llew Matthews
Lewys Sanges

Players Who Have Recently Turned Pro
David Boote, Jack Davidson, Joshua Davies, Owen Edwards and Evan Griffith (5).


Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Brabazon Trophy – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

28th May 2017 – Round 4 Report

South Africa’s Kyle MCCLATCHIE today celebrated his 20th birthday by winning the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship and lifting the famous Brabazon Trophy.

Kyle shot 71 (-2) today with five birdies, including one on the last, offsetting three bogeys. His -10 score was good enough for a narrow 1-shot win.

He follows in the footsteps of four previous South African winners of the Brabazon Trophy – Neville Sundelson (1974), Richard Kaplan (1986), Craig Rivett (1989T) and Charl Schwartzel (2002).


Kyle McClatchie (Photo: Ernest Blignault)

If that wasn’t enough the victory also took McClatchie to the top of the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (SPWAR). He is the first South African to hold the No. 1 spot in this ranking. However, with the NCAA Division I National Championships currently being played this status is likely to be short lived (at least for the time being).

Jamie STEWART (SCO), Jake BURNAGE (ENG) and Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) all finished on -9 to tie for second place.

Jamie Stewart had a superb weekend shooting the lowest two scores on both days. He followed yesterday’s 67 (-6) with a 68 (-5) today. Having dropped two shots in his first three holes he reeled off 7 unblemished birdies over his remaining 15 holes. He will surely take huge confidence from a 5 birdie 32 on his finishing 9 holes.

Jake Burnage continued his rich vein of form too. Having finished 3rd at the Lytham Trophy he put together a very consistent 71, 70, 70 and 72 at Woodhall Spa. I was particularly impressed with his three birdies in a row finish in the heat of battle. He has moved up to 98th in the SPWAR and must now firmly be in the GB&I Walker Cup mix.

Jack Singh Brar also shot 72 for another excellent finish in 2017. He continues to look in complete control of both himself and his golf game.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) shot a final round 70 (-3) to finish 5th. He has now finished in the Top 10 at the Lytham Trophy, Irish Amateur Open and the Brabazon in the last month which clearly tells you he is starting to fulfil his potential and that he now sits firmly amongst our finest amateurs.

It was also good to see Dan BROWN (ENG) finish in 6th place after rounds of 72, 68, 75 and 72. Hopefully he can use this as momentum to put together a string of good results in the coming weeks.

David BOOTE (WAL) finished 7th and Connor SYME (SCO) tied 8th. Both started poorly today but showed their experience in grinding out good scores at the end of the day. Boote was 4-over after 5 holes before securing 4 birdies on the way back home to record a very creditable par 73. Syme (71) was 2-over after 3 holes before he turned his day around with 3 birdies and an eagle on the par 5 14th.

Both Boote and Syme will travel south tonight to Walton Heath GC to join the other three amateurs competing in tomorrow’s 36 hole US Open Sectional Qualifying event. Good luck to them all.

Click here to see the full Brabazon Trophy Results



27th May 2017 – Round 3 Report

After another windy day at Woodhall Spa Jake BURNAGE (70), Jack SINGH BRAR (74) and Kyle MCCLATCHIE (75) share the 54 hole lead on -8.

The trio have a 4 shot lead over a group of five players on -4. Jamie STEWART (67) and Matthew JORDAN (68) produced the best two scores of the day to join David BOOTE (72), Conor O’ROURKE (72) and Dan BROWN (75) as the leading chasers.

Having played in Wednesday’s Pro-Am at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Harry GODDARD‘s disrupted preparation and long journey up to Lincolnshire haven’t affected his performance. Rounds of 72, 70 and 74 (-3) have left him in striking distance with 18 holes to play.

David HAGUE (73 73 71 -2), who won the Laguna Trophy so impressively last week, continues to creep up the leaderboard too. He’ll start the final day in tied 12th place.

After his disappointing 78 in the opening round Connor SYME recorded his second successive 70 to move up to -1 and tied 16th place.



26th May 2017 – Round 2 Report

South Africa’s Kyle MCCLATCHIE matched the best round of the week (66) to move into the 36-hole lead on -10 on a pleasant but windy day at Woodhall Spa.

Craig ROSS (67) and Jack SINGH BRAR (70) are tied for 2nd place on -9.

Dan BROWN (68), Mitch WAITE (69) and Tom THURLOWAY (69) all enjoyed good days and went into the weekend nicely placed in the top 10.

A little further down the leaderboard just three other players broke 70 on Day 2. Rowan LESTER (67), David BOOTE (69) and Alisdair MCDOUGALL (69).

The 36 hole cut saw 63 players on +4 and lower qualify for the final 36 holes on Saturday and Sunday.

Ben CHAMBERLAIN (76 75 / +5) just missed the cut but left Lincolnshire with the consolation of having scored the Championship’s fifth hole-in-one on the 5th hole.

Josh HILLEARD (74 77 +5), Robin DAWSON (68 83 +5), Marco PENGE (79 73 +5), Owen EDWARDS (74 78 +6), Colm CAMPBELL (73 79 +6), Charlie STRICKLAND (75 80 +9), Charlie THORNTON (75 81 +10) and Liam JOHNSTON (79 77 +10) were amongst the more notable, in form players to miss the cut.



25th May 2017 – Round 1 Report 

Playing in near perfect conditions a course record 66 (-7) gave Braintree’s Todd CLEMENTS the Round 1 lead at the Brabazon Trophy. His only bogey came on the par 4 2nd hole before he reeled off eight birdies including six on the back nine to finish with an inward score of just 31.

Clements’ 31 was matched by Jack SINGH BRAR the recent winner of the Lytham Trophy. Jack had just the one bogey in his round of 67 (-6) on the tough Woodhall Spa heathland course.

Frenchman Alexandre FUCHS (-6) is tied second having hit something of a purple patch on Woodhall’s fourth and fifth holes. His 2-1 scores, two eagles and four under the card, clearly went along way to making him the the early clubhouse leader in Round 1.

Robin DAWSON, Robert MACINTYRE and Jacob OAKLEY followed Fuchs in on the short 5th, playing 163 yards to a back pin. Amazingly four holes-in-one were recorded on this hole during round 1. Dawson and MacIntyre went on to deliver 68’s (-5) and therefore were tied 4th after Day 1.

Other players to make solid starts to this 72-hole stroke play championship included Craig ROSS (-3), George BLOOR (-3), Alfie PLANT (-2), James WALKER (-2), Jake BURNAGE (-2), Kevin LE BLANC (-2), Conor O’ROURKE (-2), John Ross GALBRAITH (-2), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-1), Jack DAVIDSON (-1), Daniel BROWN (-1) and Matthew JORDAN (-1) all of whom are nicely placed in the Top 25.

England international Bradley MOORE withdrew after 10 holes.



21st May 2017

The English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship for the Brabazon Trophy will be played at Woodhall Spa Golf Club this coming week.

The 71st playing of this event takes place between Thursday 25th and Sunday 28th May on the Lincolnshire Club’s Hotchkin Course.


Woodhall Spa G.C. (Photo:


The competition consists of 72 holes of stroke play golf with 18 holes being played each day.

A 36 hole cut will take place with only the leading 60 competitors and ties progressing to the two weekend rounds.

In the event of a tie for the Championship on Sunday, there will be a sudden death play off.


150 competitors will start the 2017 Championship.

The 2017 start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 can be viewed here – Brabazon Trophy Start Sheet.

88 players were exempted into the field based on their previous accomplishments with 62 coming through a qualifying process.

Two Qualifying Competitions were held last week; the North at Sandiway G.C. in Cheshire and the South at Littlestone G.C. in Kent, with 31 players progressing from each one.

Sam BROADHURST (-5) of Atherstone G.C. was the medalist at Sandiway. Click here to view the full North Qualifier Results

Matt TURNER (-5) from Burnham & Berrow G.C. led the qualifiers at Littlestone. Click here to view the full South Qualifier Results

16 of the 21 Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup Squad players will be competing at the Brabazon. These are David BOOTE (WAL), Dan BROWN (ENG), Colm CAMPBELL (IRE), Jack DAVIDSON (WAL), Robin DAWSON (IRE), Owen EDWARDS (WAL), Alex GLEESON (IRE), Craig HOWIE (SCO), Bradley MOORE (ENG), Robert MACINTYRE (SCO), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE), Marco PENGE (ENG), Alfie PLANT (ENG), Craig ROSS (SCO), Connor SYME (SCO) and James WALKER (ENG).

Sandy SCOTT (SCO) had entered but withdrew before play commenced.

Barry HUME (SCO), Stuart GREHAN (IRE), Scott GREGORY (ENG) and Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) are the four that are missing. Gregory is playing in The Memorial Tournament and US Open Championship in early June so has travelled over to USA this week.

Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) and Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG), who by rights should also be in the Squad based on their 2017 performances, are also competing at Woodhall Spa.

Other players on show who have been doing well this year and could easily feature at the top of the scoreboard are Jake BURNAGE (ENG), David HAGUE (ENG), Josh HILLEARD (ENG), Matthew JORDAN (ENG), Chris MACLEAN (SCO), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG), Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG), Charlie THORNTON (ENG) and Sean TOWNDROW (ENG).

In 2016 the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) listed the Brabazon Trophy as it’s 24th most important amateur competition in the world based on the strength of it’s field.


The Winner receives the magnificent gold Brabazon Trophy shown in the centre of the photo below.


The Brabazon Trophy and Other Prizes (Photo: London Golf Club)

Prize vouchers will be awarded to those players finishing in the top six.

Two other prizes are connected to the Brabazon Trophy competition. The George Henriques Salver is awarded to the leading GB&I player in the Championship under the age of 20. The Philip Scruton Jug is awarded later in the year to the player returning the best aggregate scores in The Brabazon Trophy and The Berkshire Trophy (which will be played on 24th and 25th June).

Woodhall Spa Golf Club

Situated in Lincolnshire Woodhall Spa’s Hotchkin course is one of England’s finest heathland layouts.

From the blue Championship tees it plays to 7,080 yards with a par of 73. Here is the scorecard: –


* The 12th has been extended to 176 yards since the above card photo was taken so the course now plays to 7,084 yards in total.

Golf in Woodall Spa dates back to 1890 with the Hotchkin opening for play in 1905. Harry Vardon (1902), Harry Colt (1911) and the Hotchkin Family (1920-1995) all playing a part in the course’s development since.

The Hotchkin family sold the facilities to the English Golf Union in 1995. Over time an impressive National Golf Centre has been developed with a second course, The Bracken, also opened in 1998.

The Hotchkin Course is currently in the middle of a three year refurbishment programme by Renaissance Golf, with the work being overseen by their acclaimed lead architect Tom Doak.

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast (as at Tuesday 23rd May) is currently positive for all four competition days.

Thu 25th May – Sunny / Wind 4 mph N / Temp. Min. 12°C, Max. 22°C.
Fri  26th May – Sunny / Wind 10 mph SE / Temp. Min. 12°C, Max. 21°C.
Sat  27th May – Sunny / Wind 12 mph SE / Temp. Min. 15°C / Min 24°C.
Sun 28th May – Cloudy / Wind11 mph SE / Temp. Min. 12°C / Max. 21°C.

It is worth remembering that Rounds 1 and 2 will see players tee off the 1st from 7.00am right through until 3.40pm.

The 2016 Brabazon Trophy

Jamie BOWER won the Brabazon Trophy last year at the London Golf Club with a total score of -12. He pipped Cameron DAVIS (-11) on the final green after a rain delay with Ryan LUMSDEN (-10) and Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-9) finishing third and fourth respectively.


Jamie Bower (Photo: London Golf Club)

Click this link to view the 2016 Brabazon Trophy results – Results

History, Past Winners and Records

The English Amateur International Trophy competition was first played in 1947.

In 1957 the official title was changed to the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship.

The current trophy was donated by Lord Brabazon of Tara in 1948 and the event has come to be widely known as the Brabazon Trophy.

Here is a list of all of the past winners, their scores and the Championship venues: –

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 18.16.48

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The first player to successfully defend the title was Ronnie WHITE who won at Birkdale in 1950 and nearby Formby in 1951.

Shortly afterwards Philip SCRUTTON won the Brabazon three times in four years (1952, ‘54 & ‘55).

Sir Michael BONALLACK has four wins to his name. The first came at Royal Cinque Ports in 1964 and the last at Hillside in 1971. At Moortown in 1969, with play-offs having been discarded at this time, he shared the title with Rodney FOSTER.

Other well known British winners of the Brabazon include Gordon Brand Jnr, Sandy Lyle (2), Peter MCEVOY, Ronan Rafferty and Ronnie SHADE (3).

There have been several overseas winners over the years. South African’s Neville SUNDELSON (1974), Richard KAPLAN (1986) and Charl SCHWARTZEL (2002) have all won.  Other notable European winners include well known pros Ignacio GARRIDO (1992) and Peter HANSON (1998).


Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Josh Hilleard Wins SGA Amateur of the Month Award

15th May 2016

UPDATE – Nigel Edwards, Performance Director for England Golf, presented Josh Hilleard with his Amateur of the Month Award today following the completion of play in the England v. France match at Formby Golf Club.

Josh Hilleard SGA Amateur of the Month April 2016

Josh Hilleard receives his SGA Amateur of the Month Award from Nigel Edwards
(Photo: Golf Bible)

On his debut Josh was joint top scorer in the match for England, winning both of his Foursome matches and one Singles (W3 / H0 /L1).


11th May 2016

Josh Hilleard has been awarded the prestigious Southern Golf Association’s Amateur of the Month Award for April 2016.

Left-handed Josh, who plays out of Farrington Park G.C. in Somerset, won four events in a row during April and his remarkable achievement clearly resonated with the US-based Association’s Selection Committee.

His run of victories started on 2nd April with the Berkhamsted Trophy, moved onto the Faldo Series Wales on 13th April, continued with the Hampshire Salver on April 17th before concluding with the West of England Amateur on 24th April.

Josh Hilleard with the Hampshire Salver, Berkhamsted Trophy, West of England Amateur Salver and Faldo Series Wales Trophy.
(Photos: Andrew Griffin, Berkhamsted GC, Royal North Devon GC & Faldo Series) 

The Southern Golf Association (SGA), based in Birmingham, Alabama, is one of the largest associations in the World serving member clubs across the 14 states in the South East of the United States.

The SGA has always enjoyed a strong affiliation with the amateur game. It is perhaps best known for running the Southern Amateur Championship, one of the World’s Top 10 amateur events. Past winners of this Championship include Bobby Jones (3), Lanny Watkins, Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Davis Love III and Justin Leonard.

In 2003 the SGA’s then Media Liaison Officer, Larry Guest, came up with the idea of recognizing the leading amateur player, male or female, in each month of the golf season (March to October). He established a panel of U.S. experts, comprising college coaches, sports writers and golf administrators. Nominations are put forward by the panel who then select the recipient from the names suggested. It started off as a National award but quickly became International in it’s viewpoint.

Now in its 14th year, notable former Amateur of the Month award winners include Bryson DeChambeau (2), Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth (2) and Michelle Wie amongst many other very well known names. 2015 U.S. Walker Cup player Lee McCoy won last months award, the first of this year, for his play at the Valspar Championship on the P.G.A. Tour and in other College golf tournaments.

Whilst the SGA’s website doesn’t currently record all of the former winners I believe there hasn’t been too many British or Irish ones in the past. I know for certain Rhys Davies (date not known), Matthew Fitzpatrick (August 2013) and Alice Hewson (for only the second time, jointly with Dave Houghton in September 2015) have done so. I assume Richie Ramsay would also have been recognised in August 2006 when he won the U.S. Amateur Championship.

Here is a report on Alice’s recent win on the website – ‘Hewson Named National Player of the Month’.

The SGA are making arrangements for April’s engraved glass plaque to be flown across to Formby G.C. so that it can be presented to Josh at this weekend’s England v. France International Match.

Josh Hilleard April 2016 SGA Amateur of the Month Award

The SGA Amateur of the Month Award
(Photo: Golf Bible)

As a recipient of the Award Josh is also exempted into the 110th Southern Amateur Championship which this year is being staged at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina between 14-17th July. It will be interesting to see if he takes up this opportunity to compete against the very best amateurs in the United States.

A belated well done to Alice and congratulations to Josh. It’s good to see an organisation like the SGA looking far and wide for great amateur performances and even better when they formally recognize the achievements of some of our young British players.


Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Golf Club Membership

13th October 2014

Two articles in the news caught my eye last week.

The first was England Golf’s announcement that they had appointed Lauren Spray as their new ‘Women and Girls’ Participation Manager’.  This is clearly a positive step which should help to attract more females to play the game.  A targeted programme and advisory group to support Clubs and Lauren will also be launched in 2015.  Golf is a male dominated sport in the UK with over 85% of players being men.  This is very different to all other establish golfing countries where woman and girls are much more strongly represented.

The second related to FA chairman Greg Dyke’s call for English football to adopt the NFL’s ‘Rooney Rule’ to help address the lack of black coaches and managers.  Of the 92 professional teams in England just two employ black managers – Chris Powell (Huddersfield) and Keith Curle (Carlisle).  The ‘Rooney Rule’, used in the NFL since 2003, says that teams must interview at least one black or ethnic minority candidate when hiring a new head coach.  Of the 32 teams in the NFL, four currently have black head coaches in charge.  This made me think about the lack of black and ethnic minority men (and women) paying golf and whether enough was being done to encourage their participation in golf too.

The positives that support golf participation are well known – health and fitness, the countryside and being outdoors, the handicap system and numerous course and competition options, to name just the main ones.  Therefore, in theory it shouldn’t be too difficult to persuade either women, girls or ethnic minorities to give golf a go.

Given the well publicised financial difficulties at many British golf clubs in recent years it is hard to understand why clubs haven’t been more proactive in driving both of the above membership areas to date.  The reason they haven’t and sadly why I don’t anticipate too much progress in the short-term is fairly obvious.  It is that they simply don’t want to.  Most private golf clubs in Britain are very traditional and dominated by male members whose average age is normally close to 60.  Sadly that demographic are anti-change – they know what they like and like what they know.  Whilst a generalisation, and few would openly admit to it, I believe a great many of these individuals are both racist and sexist. Until they become too infirm to play or have died and the next generation of members come through, more open-minded people who have been brought up and worked in a society where diversity and equality are taken for granted, I personally foresee little progress in these areas.

I hope I am proved wrong but without a change in the people who run private golf clubs and make membership policies and decisions I fear real progress in both areas is still a long way off.


Copyright © 2014, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.