On May 5th 22 teams of girls and boys from state and private schools will compete in the first Southern Schools Invitational around one of the UK’s top nine hole courses.
To help promote junior golf for girls as well as boys, one of the UK’s top nine hole courses, Reigate Heath GC (www.reigateheathgc.com), is hosting a new schools team event, the Southern Schools Invitational, supported by the specialist insurer Hiscox and wealth management company Brewin Dolphin.
A unique golf tournament for girls as well as boys
As a stroke play golf tournament for southern schools (both state and private) and played over nine holes, the event on May 5th is unique. It has already attracted a full complement of 22 teams comprising two players per team, comprising both girls and boys playing for separate titles. It includes players from Whitgift and Wellington who regularly win at national level, so the competition between the boys for the inaugural title is going to be very strong, while the girls have an opportunity to make their own mark.
A couple of local VIPs
As a keen supporter of children’s sports the Mayor Joan Spiers will be coming to the prize giving, and the new President of the Ladies Golf Union, Diane Bailey, will also be coming. A member of Reigate Heath GC, Diane Bailey twice captained the Great Britain & Ireland ladies’ Curtis Cup team against the United States from 1983 to 1988, winning on American soil for the first time ever in 1986 and successfully defending the title at Royal St. George’s GC in Kent two years later.
While the prize giving will be the climax of the tournament, the competitors, parents, teachers, members and guests will all be sampling the club’s great reputation for food and fun with a barbecue by their catering team Premier Dining.
Great idea, great support from Hiscox and Brewin Dolphin
The driving force behind the Southern Schools Invitational is club member and treasurer John Warbey, who said, “For over 100 years Reigate Heath GC has always been a big supporter of junior golf and especially ladies golf. Nowadays with so many of us leading time pressured lifestyles with little time to spare for 18 holes of golf, we’re finding that more and more people are coming to play nine holes, so it’s a way of playing golf that is increasingly popular.”
He commented, “We wanted a way of celebrating junior golf, ladies golf and nine holes, and so the Southern Schools Invitational was born. The huge interest shown by the schools, our council and our members has been very encouraging, and we’re working hard to make sure it’s going to be a memorable event. The involvement of the specialist insurer Hiscox and our club sponsor Brewin Dolphin is making this a lot more possible!”
Voice of Golf Peter Alliss’s little gem… Honorary member Peter Alliss, the top golf television commentator known as the Voice of Golf, called Reigate Heath’s nine hole course ‘”A little gem!” when he was doing his Round With Alliss series on the BBC.
Warbey continued, “Reigate Heath GC has long been recognised as one of the UK’s best examples of a classic heathland nine hole layout not only by golfing greats such as Peter Alliss, but by leading course architects such as Tom Doake and PGA Professionals like former European Tour player Ronan Rafferty and Seniors Tour player Bill Longmuir.”
“One of the unique features of the Southern Schools Invitational tournament is that it’s run over nine as opposed to the traditional 18 holes. With the pressure of modern lifestyles making so many people ‘time-poor’, playing 18 holes is increasingly proving too demanding on the time people have. At Reigate Heath we have the perfect solution: a nine hole course. This tournament is all part of our promoting the idea that golf can be both fun for everyone, healthy and most importantly, that it doesn’t have to take all day!”