Herts golf changing

GOLF by Alan Booth: TIMES are changing for golf in the county was the message of the president of the Hertfordshire Golf Union Terry Trude, speaking at the annual dinner of the union. Sponsorship will be a key area for Hertfordshire golf in the next few

GOLF by Alan Booth: TIMES are changing for golf in the county was the message of the president of the Hertfordshire Golf Union Terry Trude, speaking at the annual dinner of the union.

"Sponsorship will be a key area for Hertfordshire golf in the next few years as the whole structure of golf changes, and funding, as ever, will be a major issue," he told his audience of national and county officials and golf club members, among them the president of the English Golf Union Norman Forrest, at the Hilton Hotel, Watford.

"In Hertfordshire change is already gathering pace. The executive is currently negotiating with a club in the county for the use of an office suite. This means the county will have an official central hub, and we will soon be appointing an assistant to aid the county secretary."

The county is to have a new identity logo comprising HGU and picture of a stag and there will be a new kit for the county team following a sponsorship deal with Fullers London Pride.

With an increased award of �118,000 from England Golf to cover the next four years, the Hertfordshire Golf Partnership comprising men's and women's golf, is to have a part-time county development officer, whose role will be to work with clubs to attract and retain members, with emphasis on missing groups in golf, such as 18-50 years old, women, girls and families, and to assist clubs working towards GolfMark Accreditation, which was becoming increasingly important.

"We will be watching with interest as the English Golf Union progresses its merger with the English Women's Golf Association," he said. "We also want to improve the Talent Pathway for young Herts golfers from the age of nine or 10 upwards."

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County academies will be set up to help Herts boys and girls to benefit from professional advice at an early age. They will be for all ages and all levels.

Reviewing the playing season, he said the county team had excelled in a tense tied match with Hampshire for the South East Shield, and the Colts, while losing to Essex by one point, had won the team prize with Nick Aldgate, Glen Portelli and Matt Wallace at the East Berks Stag, with Nick winning the individual.

The boys had a great season with the under-14s and under-16s not beaten for three years. Both teams won the Junior East Berks Stag and Will Chambers won the Junior Order of Merit. The highlight for the Seniors was qualifying for the South of England Foursomes, to be played later this month.

County Captain Mike Ready announced Graham Povey as his Player of the Year. In addition to his county record, Povey won the Hertfordshire Bowl in August.

Among the guests at the dinner were the presidents of Bedfordshire (David Oliver), Berks, Bucks and Oxon (Ian MacCaskill), Essex (Mike Thirkettle), Middlesex (Dennis Walker) and Cambridgeshire (Geoff Welton), and the chairman of the EGU South East Clive Inskip. Guest speaker was Phil Parker, a former president of the EGU.

THREE county players, Nick Pateman (Porters Park), former Herts county champion, James Watts (East Herts),, former boys champion, and Graham Povey (Brickendon Grange), are to turn professional, and president Trude wished them every success in the future.

n IT ALL came down to the last putt of the match, and though it didn't go Hertfordshire's way, it meant that for the first time since 1997 the county will see its name again on the South East Inter-county League Shield.

They share the title with Hampshire after the last hole drama in the last match of the final resulted in a 6-6 tie as a Herts victory on its own had seemed so close.

With the match all square after 16 holes, Glen Portelli raised Herts' hopes when he holed a 20ft putt at the 17th to go one ahead and set up a tense finale.

At the 18th Hampshire's Mark Burgess hit his ball long, close to a bush, but recovered with a chip to six foot only for Portelli to three-putt from a distance, and wait and watch as his opponent knocked in the six-footer to win the hole and halve the match.

Hampshire had led the foursomes two-and-a-half to one-and-a-half with Graham Povey and Portelli winning by two holes and James Watts and Tom Shadbolt gaining a half.

Sam Claridge and Tom Speyer were unlucky to lose by one hole, with Hampshire's ball rebounding from a slope to finish by the hole for a birdie.

Herts showed their strength in the singles with wins for Povey by five and four, Claridge six and five, Greg Schmidt one hole and anchor man John Ambridge three and two, leaving Herts needing one point to clinch the trophy.

In the tense finish Portelli's win at the 17th to go one up meant that Herts could not lose, so guaranteeing them at least a halved match, which Burgess's six-foot putt achieved to end Herts hopes of wining the title on their own.

They were tied finalists with Kent in 1997 and champions in 1993.