Thirteen of Britain’s top lady golfers gathered in Broadway this week for an event that could change the golfing calendar.
Hosted by Dormy House Hotel and played at Broadway Golf Club, the Dormy Challenge was a mixed pro-am tournament led entirely by professional women golfers from the Ladies European Tour and Professional Golfers’ Association.
“The Dormy Challenge is completely different kind of golf event,” said Dormy House CEO Andrew Grahame. “These lady professionals are at the top of their game and many have played internationally. Some flew in especially for the day.
“Our amateur guests were opened-mouthed when they saw the ladies tee off - the standard is so high. It was also a fabulous social occasion. Veuve Clicquot, one of our main partners, hosted a Champagne stop at the 11th hole, followed by a glittering dinner at Foxhill Manor in the evening.”
The party of lady golfers included Rebecca Hudson and Lucy Williams, both of whom qualified for the 2014 US Women’s Open Championship at Pinehurst and the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale. It also featured European Tour members Holly Aitchison, Lucinda Davies and Hannah Ralph and some of the UK’s top players and coaches.
The event raised more than £5,000 for the Seve Ballasteros Foundation, which supports scientific research into a cure for brain cancer.
“This was a rare treat for me,” said Lucinda Davies of the Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club, who is recognised as one of the UK’s top lady teaching professionals. “It’s been a chance to network with fellow professionals in a relaxed format.”
Hannah Ralph added that it was an honour to be invited to play in the first ever Dormy Challenge. “This is a great chance to meet other lady professionals – some I know and others I don’t – and play a different course. You don’t get many relaxed days like this when you’re on tour!”
Winners of the 2014 Dormy Challenge trophy (a large owl hand-carved in glass) were Alex Keighley, Head Professional at Huddersfield Golf Club, and her golf partner Jezz Ellwood, a freelance golf writer. The Eddie Bullock Golf Consultancy, which planned the event on behalf of Dormy House, said this friendly day of mixed-gender golf had proved to be a highly successful model for the pro-am calendar.
“The lady professionals led the day and made this a superb inaugural event, which will grow and grow,” said Eddie. “We’ve already got dates scheduled for 2015 and 2016. Dormy House offered wonderful hospitality and put on a superb presentation dinner at Foxhill Manor. We can’t wait to see it develop over the years.”
Picture caption: Leading lady golf professionals from around the UK
Back row, left to right: Carole Pope, Nicky Lawrenson, Lucinda Davies, Sarah Walton, Holly Aitchison, Karen Heywood, Rebecca Hudson, Caroline Griffiths
Front row: Alex Keighley, Hannah Ralph, Alison Whitaker, Lucy Williams, Emma Clifford