Northern Golfer #70 – December 2018/January 2019

The end of year brings with it time to reflect on the past 12 months, along with the weather we’ve long been dreading.

As I write the final editor’s note of 2018, wind and rain batters our windows and the region’s courses continue to stand up well to the test of wintry weather. Let’s hope this is just a blip and we can continue to get out on our courses and into our clubs as we head into 2019.

As we reflect on 2018, the stand-out story of the year has to be the success of female golfers from our region. Three girls have made many of the headlines this year – our Champions of Champions Rosie Belsham and Jess Baker and this month’s cover star Caitlin Whitehead. Caitlin has led the way for girls from our region on the national and international stage, and she reflects on her rise to the top of the game on pages 24-26.

Girls golf is in fantastic hands right now. Caitlin, Rosie and Jess are leading the way for girls across our region, many of whom have achieved national success of their own this year. There are too many to mention here but all of them have done us proud this season and we’re looking forward to following their success in 2019.

The man behind a great deal of that success, JJ Vallely – coach of the girls’ England North Region Squad – was recognised for his work by England Golf in November – as you’ll read on page 5.

The men have kept up their success this month too. Close House attached professional Lee Westwood produced a supreme performance in South Africa to lift his first trophy in four years – as you’ll read on page 4. Meanwhile, Graeme Storm continues to put his injury break to good use, joining forces with the Golf Foundation to further support junior golf in the North East. Chris Paisley also made a welcome return to form to end the European Tour season and he reflects on a fantastic year in Tour Life on page 31.

Closer to home, it was great to see Ramside Hall’s Kevin Jackson return to the winners’ circle on the NE/NW PGA circuit. Kevin has worked incredibly hard in the last six years to return to playing golf having feared he’d never be able to hold a club again. Read his remarkable story on page 6.

The last 12 months have brought huge success for our region at all levels of the game. We can’t wait to see what 2019 holds!