Region switch for Herts Ladies
HERTS Ladies face a new challenge as they travel to Newmarket in June at the start of a new era in English ladies county golf. Golf by Alan Booth For after half a century, during which they have been competing in the South Eastern division of five count
HERTS Ladies face a new challenge as they travel to Newmarket in June at the start of a new era in English ladies' county golf.
Golf by Alan Booth
For after half a century, during which they have been competing in the South Eastern division of five counties, they now find themselves competing in a new East Region of six county teams for a place in the English County Championship.
The changes have followed the decision by Welsh clubs to withdraw from the English divisions, resulting in the reorganisation.
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Since 1953, a year after the formation of the English Ladies Golf Association, Herts have been competing in annual county weeks against Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire for a preliminary place in the English County Championship. Now in the East Region, they will be competing against Bedfordshire, a joint Cambridgeshire/Huntingdonshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk in a county week at the Links club, Newmarket, June 2-6, the winning county going straight into the English Championship finals.
Elected first chairman of the new East Region is Anne Pyke, from Harpenden, who says "We now look forward to a new and exciting challenge, with the Herts team competing against teams they have never met in competition before. Again, this year and in future years they will be visiting courses they may well be playing for the first time. For instance, next year the county week will be at Stock Brook Manor in Essex. Herts will be hosts in 2010, with the course to be decided.
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"We have a young county team who will be eager to become the first team in this new region to win through to the county championship final, which Herts achieved in the south east division in 2000 and 2001, finishing runners-up to Yorkshire each time. Then they played four days, with a rest day during county week; now they will find it tougher, playing all five days without a break."
Of the changes, Herts Ladies president Ann Green says: "It is sad that we will no longer be competing against the players over the years we have begun to know well. But we will look forward to playing against new players, on new courses and I know our team will relish the challenge. So far there has been no mention of a junior county week and I hope this will be arranged."
The changes followed the decision by the English Ladies Golf Association to change their title to the English Women's Golf Association, a move approved by the majority of members, its aim to drive forward women's golf with the formation of a management board and an operational board to look after core golfing activities, Anne Pyke representing Herts on the latter.
Anne moved from Essex to Herts, first joining Verulam at St Albans, and then Harpenden, where she has been a member since 1978. She also joined Brocket Hall 10 years ago. She has been lady captain at club and county level, county president and in the South East division president and secretary/treasurer, and also an ELGA executive committee member.
She and her Harpenden colleague, former Herts ladies champion Hilary Kaye, won the London Ladies Foursomes, and her favourite recollection is of qualifying as a rules referee at St Andrews and having dinner in the exclusive male R&A clubhouse.