Fylde coast golf review: Royal Lytham and St Annes secretary Charley Grimley on big build-up to The Senior Open; Knott End Claret Jug, Fairhaven Ladies' Day and Alastair Taylor's top tips

Club secretary Charles Grimley with The Senior Open Claret Jug at Royal Lytham and St Annes
Club secretary Charles Grimley with The Senior Open Claret Jug at Royal Lytham and St Annes
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Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club secretary Charles Grimley says he can enjoy hosting such huge events as The Senior Open Presented by Rolex despite all the hard work involved.

READ MORE: Tom Watson seeks elusive first win at Royal Lytham and St Annes
And he says the huge enjoyment derived by the club’s members from staging such a prestigious championship makes all the effort worthwhile.

Pairs winners Vanessa Barrow and Ian Walker at Fairhavens Ladies Day

Pairs winners Vanessa Barrow and Ian Walker at Fairhavens Ladies Day

In two weeks’ time the world’s elite players aged 50 and over will descend on the illustrious Fylde coast links for the only major championship for seniors held in Europe.

Their arrival will follow months of meticulous preparation by Grimley, whose team on Linksgate staged a hugely successive Women’s British Open last summer.

Organising such giant golfing occasions is nothing new to Grimley, from Southport, who was still in his first year in the job when Royal Lytham and St Annes last staged The Open Championship in 2012.

“Yes, I do enjoy these events,” he told The Gazette. “It’s hard work but a lot of the work is put in behind the scenes by the club’s volunteers. And when it goes according to plan and is well received, as was the case with the Walker Cup in 2015 and the Women’s British Open last year, then our members thoroughly enjoy it and you get a buzz afterwards.

Knott End captain Steve Maughan with Pro-Am winners Tom Metcalfe and Cliff Ainsworth

Knott End captain Steve Maughan with Pro-Am winners Tom Metcalfe and Cliff Ainsworth

“The members get a thrill from being involved in these events and from watching the top players struggle on their course.”

But with so many leading courses clamouring to stage such events, even a club as firmly established as Royal Lytham and St Annes has to be proactive in securing the biggest tournaments.

Grimley explained: “We do have a constant dialogue with the Royal and Ancient and I did do some chasing for the Senior Open because we hadn’t been on its rota for some time (RL&SA staged the event for a fourth successive year in 1994 but hasn’t hosted since).

“I was talking with the Women’s Tour and the Senior Tour at the same time and they both came back with the same year, so we discussed having them in successive years.

“There’s more competition now but our record speaks for itself in terms of the events going well and the numbers who attend.

“We are used to hosting big events and our infrastructure is fantastic.

“We had bumper crowds for the Women’s last year and the course was very well received.”

Tickets for the championship start from £13.50. They are available at www.eventbrite.co.uk (then search for The Senior Open Presented by Rolex), where hospitality options in The Lehman Lounge can also be booked. Entry for Under-16s and parking are free.

Fairhaven Golf Club staged a Ladies’ Day, which saw ladies invite a partner for a competition followed by a meal and presentation.

Forty four pairs took part and the winners were Vanessa Barrow and Ian Walker with a score of 71.0. Runners-up were Val Rudd and Andy Tiso with 72.5, while Mike and Pat Heritage were third 74.0. Winners in the lady captain’s fourth qualifier were as follows: Division 1, Trash Funk (72); division 2, Karen Corrigan (73); division three, Lynda Huzal (75).

Herons Reach have been caught by Lancaster at the top of the Senior Fylde League, after being held to a 3-3 draw at home by Fairhaven.

That enabled Lancaster to pull level on 87 points with their 4-2 home win over Blackpool North Shore, though Herons Reach have a match in hand.

The top two’s closest challengers both won handsomely, third-placed Knott End defeating Lytham Green Drive 5.5-0.5, while Blakcpool Park hammered Fleetwood 6-0.

Knott End hosts the league’s mid-season meeting next Wednesday at 9.30am.

The Fylde coast is gearing up to stage The Seniors Open in a fortnight but the senior players at Knott End competed for their own version of The Claret Jug.

That’s the prize in the club’s annual charity competition and 42 seniors entered the Stableford competition.

It was won by Keith Nelson with 38 points, one point ahead of Harry Hutcheon. Terrence Lloyd was a further point back in third.

A total of £100 was raised for Brian House Children’s Hospice.

Knott End Ladies’ Ping 4BBB qualifier was won by Ellie Chambers and Jenny Watt with 39 points.

Runners-up were Kath Wright and Pauline Fawcett (37), while Muriel Naden and Linda Gregory took third after a card play-off with four other pairs on 36.

Thirty teams contested the club’s Pro Am competition, won by home team of C. Ainsworth, A. Ainsworth, K. Robinson, with Gathurst professional Tom Metcalfe on 115 points.

Preston’s P. Barker, B. Ogden and A. Holden were second on 117 with pro A. Webb (Lancaster ), while third were G. O’Rourke ( Walton Hall ), J. Makin and D. Queeny (Blakely) on 120. Their pro was A. Sproston of Croft GC.

Sharing the professionals’ prize were Ryan O’Neill ( Penwortham ) and Mark Bradley ( Chorley) after shooting 65s. Third a shot back was Metcalfe.

The nearest the pin prize for pros went to Sproston on the second.

The amateurs’ prize was won by Knott End vice-captain David Forrester at the 11th.

This week’s top tip from Alastair Taylor of Lytham Golf Academy is that there is more than one way to swing.

After his great win at the weekend, there is a new sensation in golf – Matt Wolff.

If you have seen him play, you will have noticed that he is not exactly textbook with his backswing.

His swing is quite similar in movement to that of Jim Furyk but is much more of a modern swing, with lots of speed and power,

Matt and his coach have done a great job controlling the club through impact and not worrying too much about everything else.

By perfecting a really repeatable swing and controlling the club through impact, Matt is able to influence the ball well and move it around the course easily.

And his extreme power means he has lots of short irons into greens and can often reach par fives in two shots with ease.

Remember when watching him that there are lots of ways to swing the club.

The most important thing is to swing as well as your body allows you to.

To contact Alastair at Lytham Golf Academy call 01772 631520.

Or you can watch his YouTube channel AliTaylorGolf for more free tips.