Warwickshire Golf

Warwickshire Girls looking forward to 2024! 

As the girls prepare for the start of their season at the meeting at Kenilworth Golf Club on 3rd March, thoughts have been with how proud we were of all of them last year. Some have excelled at national level, some have qualified through to further rounds through our Warwickshire Championship and Warwickshire Schools events but we are so impressed with how well every one of them did last year regardless of handicap.   

Many started the season with high handicaps, some only having just got their handicaps, but many of them have taken part in the Warwickshire Opens and our Stablefords! They have taken part with great enthusiasm and obviously worked really hard at their games and at the coaching.

We do have to mention our top 3 girls first! They are known to all of the other girls  and have been a great example to those starting out, proving that with hard work and commitment, not to mention fantastic coaching from our Warwickshire coaches, both as part of our coaching programme and their own personal coaches, whatever they set their minds to can be achieved. Some have played in matches for Warwickshire this year and been in the same team as them and they are of course, Arianna Virik, Maisie Halstead and Serafima Taylor! 

All 3 girls played in our County Ladies Championship at which Arianna and Maisie only lost their respective semi-finals at the 19th and 18th holes.  Skye, Warwickshire County Captain in 2023 selected Arianna and Maisie for her 1st team with Serafima just missing out on a place.

All three travelled to Scotland after the Girls Championship in August to play in the Scottish Girls Under 14 (Arianna and Arisha) and under 16 (Maisie) Open Championships and Arianna won the under 14 title having gone to a 2nd hole play off! In a large international field this was a sensational result for her – her first National win! 

Arianna Virik with the Scottish Girls Under 14 Trophy

Continued success for Arianna came when she won the Girls under 18 Faldo Series and Robert Rock Scottish Links Championship. This earned her a qualification into the Grand Finals at the Al Ain Golf Club in the UAE in November. 

Arisha Virik must again be mentioned, as whilst in Scotland, she had qualified for and competed in the Grand Final of the Wee Wonders competition and finished in 6th place in the 11-12 years category! 

Arianna, Maisie and Serafima played in the English Girls under 14 and under 16 Championships in August with Arianna making the cut in the under 14s in a very experienced international field.

They also took part in the Warwickshire Schools Competition, Maisie winning for the girls but with Arianna and Serafima selected by us and the Warwickshire committee to go with her to represent Warwickshire at the Midland Schools competition. I had the privilege of supporting them all at this at St Neots Golf Club

Pat Hale with Maisie, Arianna & Serafima
at the Midlands School competition

 and was delighted when Arianna and Maisie, in a field of golfers from most Midland counties qualified to play at the National Schools Finals. 

At the English Schools National under 16 gross event, Arianna finished in 3rd place, Maisie 9th and Serafima 14th.  In the nett competition, Arianna finished 6th, Serafima 9th and Maisie 10th. These were no small achievements considering their ages in a very strong field of 33 girls up to the age of 18.

At the Warwickshire Schools competition (this year at Coventry Hearsall GC on 19th March) were also Jessica Davies, Arisha Virik, Sophie Goonewardane-Brown, Annie Silvers, Erin Thompson, Grace Walkden, Lauren Clarke, Isabelle Toon and Georgina Porter-Worrall. Some of them improved so much last year that who knows how well they might do this year!  

Arianna (having won the Girls County Championship) represented us at Woodhall Spa in September in the Girls County Champion of Champions and finished 3rd out of 28 counties, missing runner up place by only one shot.

Arianna and Maisie qualified for the Midland Girls Champion of Champions competition in September having won their age groups at our Girls Championship.  Arianna had an extraordinary 2 days finishing in 1st place in the under 14s, 2nd place in the under 16s and in 3rd place in the under 18s! Maisie finished 5th in the under 16s and 8th in the under 18s. Great performances from them both.

In the new English Womens Club Championship at St Ives Golf Club and representing their home club of Kenilworth, Arianna and Maisie finished in 8th place from 18 clubs competing.

What a 2023 it was for our three girls, particularly for Arianna and all their success and commitment will be a great incentive to all the other girls. We are so proud to have them all as Warwickshire Bears!

There are of course many others we are justifiably proud of. The Girls County Championship was well supported last year and in the 36 hole event Jessica Davies finished 5th and Arisha Virik 8th, whilst still actually being in the under 14 category!

Playing 18 holes in the same event were Erin Thompson, Erin Hamilton, Sophie Goonewardane-Brown, Bethany Hobbs, Isabelle Toon and Lauren Clarke. Erin Hamilton won the best gross and Izzy Toon the best nett over 18 holes. Both with really good scores!

Izzy had the best net score for the day and so was put forward for the Justin Rose/Telegraph tournament.

The top 12 gross scores go to Portugal and the top 2 net go to watch. Izzy did miss out on this but she finished in 12th place out of 103 entrants in the UK! 

The OOM (Order of Merit) Series is a very popular competition which runs through the golfing season and is played at most of our Warwickshire clubs. In the OOM Spring Series Jessica Davies was the girls net champion, just one point better than Isabelle with Georgina Porter-Worrall winning the 9 hole prize with Seren Hylton 3rd.

The Summer series finished and Jessica had won the 18 hole Gross and Net! Erin Thompson came 3rd in the gross with Lauren 4th, and Erin 3rd again and Lauren 5th in the net!

In the 9 hole Georgina again came out as overall winner with Seren runner up.

But taking part and for some new golfers that is almost more important, were: Arisha Virik, Bethany, Izzy, Serafima, Sophie, Erin Hamilton, Ruby Litwinko -Smith, Amelie Stead , Emilia Sadler, Molly Ford and Georgina Priestley. 

Many of the girls were invited to the Grand Final last October and Arianna won the best gross, Isabelle the best nett and Emilia Sadler the best 9 holes. The overall Gross and Nett Champion was  Jessica Davies and Georgina Porter-Worrall the overall 9 hole Champion. 

Series 1 of the Stableford Series was played at Sutton Coldfield with Georgina Porter-Worrall, Ruby, Emilia & Amelie playing in their 1st Stableford with us. Thirteen girls took part in the 18 hole competition which was won by Grace with a wonderful score of 38 points and Sophie was runner up with 35 points.

Series 2 was held at Stratford Oaks with Arisha Virik the winner in the 18 hole competition with an outstanding score, Erin Thompson as runner up and Bethany 3rd.  Georgina was the winner in the 9 hole competition.

What was really exciting was the group of Futures when Emilia, Seren and Molly all chose to play 9 holes off the red tees in order to put in cards to gain their handicaps. Emilia was the winner with 25 points!

Series 3 was at Rugby with the 18 hole competition won by Izzy Toon with Lauren in 3rd place and Georgina again winning the 9 hole event. Molly won the 9 hole Futures just beating Emilia.

We hope that some of the 9 hole girls will feel ready to move up to playing 18 holes but they are not put under any pressure to do this. We have great hopes that some girls will also gain handicaps this year. 

We have not done so well in the matches against Northampton and Worcestershire this year or in the Midland South Competitions (well done Serafima for going to play in the MS Championship – it is at Kenilworth this year so hopefully a few of you will be able to enter) We hope to give those of you who are chosen to play in the matches more opportunities at match play, as it is a very different format to Stablefords.

At everything I have been at, I have really enjoyed the company of the girls! I have loved the way they have gone out and tried their best, sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but those who played in the team played for the team and each other and I have seen real enthusiasm every time they went out to play. It’s been a real pleasure for me seeing so many of them improve so quickly and I’m already looking forward to this year! 

We are very pleased to welcome Alison Nicholas MBE, who has been appointed as our County Junior Organiser for the girls in 2024! Alison has had an amazing career as a Golf Professional, both playing and coaching, so we are super excited to see the benefit she will bring to our girls' golf!

Pat Hale

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