The National Golf Centre Academy at Woodhall Spa is now open to all

The National Golf Centre Academy at Woodhall Spa
The National Golf Centre Academy at Woodhall Spa

The public has been given full access to the same world-class facilities previously enjoyed by the country’s elite golfers as The National Golf Centre Academy at Woodhall Spa launches a comprehensive ‘open-to-all’ teaching programme.

In a move to change the standard of teaching currently available to all UK golfers, The National Golf Centre Academy at Woodhall Spa, a facility that is responsible for consistently developing world-class talent, including Tour stars Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Nick Dougherty, has announced it is to open its doors to the public.

Under the leadership of its newly appointed Head Coach, Neil Harvey, visitors to The National Golf Centre, Woodhall Spa, will be able to take full advantage of the facilities through a series of new programmes specifically tailored for beginners, juniors, and those seeking 1:1 tuition or residential golf breaks.

The most visionary aspect of The National Golf Centre Academy – the aim of which is to provide ‘a coaching centre of excellence for golfers of all standards’ – is a four-acre area devoted to the development of short game skills.

The National Golf Centre Academy at Woodhall Spa key features:

  • Eight target greens to aim at, offering shots of all lengths up to 100 yards
  • A range of individually styled bunkers with varying grades of sand
  • A large, high-quality putting green.

Head Coach, Neil Harvey, said: “This is an important step for The National Golf Centre Academy and fantastic news for people looking to sample the game for the first time or golfers seeking to improve their skills surrounded by some of the best practice facilities in the world.

“The Academy already has a strong reputation for nurturing great golf talent under the management of the English Golf Union’s Director of Elite Coaching, Peter Mattsson, and I will work alongside Peter to offer the general public a similar opportunity. We can’t promise to make every visitor a Tour star, but we do guarantee a first-class, highly personal and memorable experience for all.”

A floodlit, 18-bay, driving range takes centre stage at The National Golf Centre Academy. It looks out onto an area designed to replicate the challenges golfers face when on the course. Trees and woodland areas have been retained and greens are strategically located to assist and develop a golfer’s shot-making skills.

One of the key objectives for The National Golf Centre Academy is to encourage people interested in the sport to try golf for the first time. In its new Get into Golf programme, visitors will be given the opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of the game, under the expert guidance of Neil and his team, PGA professionals Scott Emery and Alison Johns.

Richard Latham, Director of Operations at The National Golf Centre, Woodhall Spa, commented: “We are committed to growing the game of golf in the UK. I strongly believe that by opening up our facilities to the wider public we will encourage more people to play golf whilst helping existing players improve their skills through 1:1 tuition and an enjoyable residential golf programme.”

The residential golf breaks are key to the success of The National Golf Centre Academy and specifically tailored to give golfers a truly memorable game-improvement experience. They combine time on Woodhall Spa’s Bracken and world-renowned Hotchkin course, currently rated 20th in the World Top 100 Golf Courses ranking compiled by Golf World Magazine.

The National Golf Centre Academy at Woodhall Spa example packages:

‘Get into Golf’ Adult golfers’ programme

The emphasis of the Get into Golf program is on flexibility, effectiveness and enjoyment in the lessons pupils choose to take. The program offers pupils a chance to bias their learning towards their own needs, and focus on areas of their game that require the most improvement. There is a choice of lesson types, including ‘Ladies Only’ and ‘Mixed Sessions’, and for a monthly fee, pupils can sign up to unlimited sessions covering all aspects of the game.

Get into Golf covers four levels of achievement, starting at Beginner level, and working up through Improver, Player, and finally Golfer. By the end of the program, pupils will have the confidence, skills and knowledge to be able to play golf to a handicap standard.

Prices: As an introduction, people can sign up to a taster session for free to get a flavor of the program. If they then choose to continue, the cost is £49.99 per month.

Residential Golf Schools

Golfers can choose from a two or three-day program, each of which is relaxed, yet professionally structured, to ensure they enjoy the maximum benefit from their time at Woodhall Spa.

The golfer’s needs come first and each participant will receive as much one-to-one tuition as possible from our coaching team. Each Residential Golf School has a limit of eight visitors per group.

At the end of the two-day school, the golfer will be presented with their own personally tailored coaching plan that they can work on at their leisure – to ensure their game continues to improve.

Prices: from £215, excluding accommodation, of which the golfer has a choice.



Seve Ballesteros changed golf forever

Seve Ballesteros was one of the most loved golfers of all-time.

Seve Ballesteros turned pro in 1974 and retired in 2007.  He passed away on Saturday morning 7th May 2011 aged 54, after losing his battle with a malignant brain tumour that was first diagnosed in 2008.

He burst onto the golf scene in 1976 when he finished second at the British Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club. He went on to win his first Open Championship in 1979.

In all, Seve Ballesteros won five major championships – The Masters in 1980 and 1983, and The Open Championship in 1979, 1984 and 1988.  He was also a major success in the Ryder Cup, helping the European team to five wins both as a player and captain.  Seve also won the World Match Play Championship a record-tying five times before being forced into early retirement due to on-going back problems; and in 1999, Ballesteros was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

But more than his victories, Seve Ballesteros changed a stuffy game in the mid-1970’s with his young enthusiasm, panache, style and film-star looks more than any other golfer.  Seve Ballesteros helped changed golf forever and pathed the way for young players and golf fashion that has helped revolutionise the sport in the past 30 years.

Growing up in the 1970’s I didn’t play or watch golf but knew Seve Ballesteros as one of the world’s most famous sportsmen of his generation.  Similar to the way that Tiger woods is known the world over today, ask a non-golf enthusiast to name one golfer from the mid-1970’s onwards and the majority of Europeans would have answered ‘Seve Ballesteros’.  His infectious smile, bubbly personality and the fact that he was very human, often hitting wayward shots only to pull off some amazing recoveries, made Seve Ballesteros a favourite with anyone that watched or played with him.

“I’d like to see the fairways more narrow. Then everyone would have to play from the rough, not just me.” – Seve Ballesteros

On hearing the news at the weekend, current World number 1 golfer Lee Westwood tweeted: ‘It’s a sad day. Lost an inspiration, genius, role model, hero and friend. Seve made European golf what it is today. RIP Seve.’

Seve Ballesteros R.I.P.



Mark Wilson & Drew Brees Set To Tee-Off at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Usually, Super Bowl winning quarterback Drew Brees is teeing off on opposing defenses or the NFL passing record books.

This week, golf betting fans should note that he’ll be teeing off with Mark Wilson at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Mark Wilson is a Green Bay Packers fan, which could make for a few awkward moments when they walk the fairways together. Wilson had a great time watching the Packers win their fourth Super Bowl and turn aside the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 at Super Bowl XLV.After watching his team win, he went out on Monday and finished up his second win of the young PGA Tour season, taking home the title of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which had been pushed back due to frost delays. He defeated Jason Dufner in a playoff to seal the win.

He’s one of the PGA Tour’s hottest young golfers and he’ll be paired with Brees, who was the Super Bowl MVP last year and is the reigning Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. They will play together for three rounds and will be joined by Chez Reavie and actor Chris O’Donnell.

It’s an interesting course that’s on the menu this week, especially for Mark Wilson. Typically, it tends to play better for long hitters who can crush the ball off the tee and that’s not Wilson’s forte. Even so, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with as he is the leader in the FedEx Cup standings.   He holds a 336-point lead, which is quite the wide margin considering it’s only the fifth week of the young season.

Following the Pro-Am, Wilson has stated that he plans to play through to the Arnold Palmer Invitational and then he’ll take a week off.

Brees is coming off a stellar season of his own but after winning the Super Bowl in 2010, falling in the first-round of the playoffs to the Seattle Seahawks is not what he had hoped for. The Saints battled injuries throughout the entire season and they simply didn’t look right from the get-go. They picked up steam in the second half but a loss to Seattle shows they were not ready to repeat.

Regardless, it should be a fun-filled week of action at Pebble Beach so tune in as pro golfers team up with celebrities and amateurs.



UKGCOA & OGRO combined annual golf industry event at Dale Hill

UKGCOA & OGRO combine for annual event at Dale Hill
UKGCOA & OGRO combine for annual event at Dale Hill

The UK Golf Course Owners Association (UKGCOA) has joined forces with the The Organisation of Golf & Range Operators (OGRO) to host a combined annual golf industry event at Dale Hill Hotel and Golf Club, East Sussex, on March 31, 2011.

The one-day event, which builds on the success of the existing OGRO meeting, will bring together golf course and golf range owners and operators, to share best practice and industry experience.

The day will feature a golf competition in the morning over 18 holes on the acclaimed Woosnam Course, lunch, table-top exhibition, plus several informal presentations throughout the afternoon, including an update from Sports Marketing Surveys on the market and business performance data it has been commissioned to research by the UKGCOA and made available to members. The day will conclude with a special dinner at which Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to both Adrian Yallop of European Golf Machinery and Doug McClelland PGA for their outstanding contributions to the golf industry.

Colin Mayes, Chairman of the UKGCOA, and Chief Executive of Burhill Golf & Leisure, said:

“This is an excellent opportunity for members of both organisations, and all golf course and golf range operators, to come together in one place, for one day, to share industry intelligence and best practice.

“While the creation of accurate business performance data and benchmarking standards for the golf course industry is the number one objective of the UKGCOA – and the key benefit of membership – an annual conference is among our plans. So, in our first year, we are pleased to be working with OGRO and joining its successful event which already attracts 150 delegates.”

Owners and operators from golf courses of all sizes are welcome to attend the event and speak to other UKGCOA members and board members about the benefits of membership. Among the board members present will be Jane Montgomery (FSPA), Stephen Lewis (Crown Golf), John Weir (Cornerstone Golf) and Colin Mayes.

Event organiser Colin Jenkins of OGRO, said:

“Bringing OGRO and UKGCOA members together in this way will be beneficial for the industry as a whole.

“The OGRO Event 2011, sponsored by Global Ranges and Srixon-Cleveland, will be a practical, insightful and beneficial day. It will also be fun and an opportunity to share time with fellow industry professionals.”

For more information about the event and to register, visit:

For more information about the UKGCOA and membership benefits, please visit:



Belek, in the Antalya region of Turkey, to host IGTM 2011

Belek, in the Antalya region of Turkey, to host International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) 2011
Belek, in the Antalya region of Turkey, to host International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) 2011

International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) has announced that Belek, in the Antalya region of Turkey, will host the 14th edition of the world’s premier global event for golf tourism suppliers, buyers and media, from November 14-17, 2011.

Belek, one of the fastest growing and most successful golf destinations in the world, close to the cosmopolitan city of Antalya on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, boasts 14 world-class golf venues, featuring signature designed golf courses by Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie, among others, plus a wealth of high quality hotels.

Öner Uygun of Millennium Golf, commented: “We are delighted to be selected as the host of IGTM, which is a globally important event, and look forward to welcoming the industry’s leading golf tourism suppliers, buyers, official dignitaries and media from across the globe to Belek and Antalya.

“Since the opening of Belek’s first golf course, The National Golf Course, and the establishment of the Turkish Golf Association, in the early 1990s, Belek has benefited from huge investment with 14 top golf courses attracting a large and growing number of international visitors. In 2009, 349,000 rounds of golf were played, while 400,000 rounds were played in the first ten months of 2010.

Belek, on the Mediterranean coast, just 30 kilometres from Antalya airport, is at the heart of Turkish golf. The hotels are all 4 and 5-star standard and offer an excellent range of leisure facilities, with plenty to explore in the surrounding area.

“The climate has proven to be a clear attraction to Turkey, with people first visiting the country for its sun, sand and sea, as well as its historical and cultural appeal,” added Öner Uygun. “With the added benefits of high standards of service and accommodation, good value for money, and of course, a fantastic range of international standard golf courses, we are confident that visitors to Turkey and next year’s IGTM will have a great experience.”

Mark Walsh, Group Exhibition Director of Reed Travel Exhibitions, said: “Turkey, the 2008 IAGTO Best Golf Destination winner, and Belek Antalya, in particular, has enjoyed spectacular recent success and now is the right time to host the world’s largest gathering of golf tourism professionals in this exciting destination.

“The quality of the golf courses and resorts in Belek is outstanding, and combined with an excellent conference facility, The Antalya Expo Centre, we have all the necessary logistics to make IGTM 2011 a global success.”

Antalya boasts the world’s 26th busiest international airport with nearly 10 million passengers in 2010, an increase of more than 23% year-on-year.

IGTM will take place November 14-17, 2011, the week after the World Travel Market, London, also a Reed Travel Exhibitions event.

For more information about IGTM, please visit: