Helen Searle is on a mission – to help golf clubs across Lancashire create a positive future for themselves and the sport.
England Golf – the game’s national governing body – has appointed the 26 year-old to the role of supporting the work of clubs and driving ranges across the county.
Helen, who is based in the Ribble Valley, will team up with Adam McAlister with a brief to attract more players, increase membership and develop stronger clubs across the region.
The work going on in the Red Rose county to not only attract new players but also provide a solid business foundation for the future for golf facilities sees the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs and the Lancashire County Ladies Golf Association working closely with the area’s PGA professionals as part of the Lancashire Golf Development Group.
Helen and Adam will work alongside England Golf Regional Manager, Jason Budd, to develop and deliver national initiatives and programmes to make golf more accessible to people of all ages and abilities.
This includes supporting clubs with two initiatives – the Get into Golf campaign and the achievement of the GolfMark standard.
Both promote a more inclusive and friendly approach towards newcomers, ensuring they can play golf regularly.
Helen has been involved with golf since the age of ten, when she played alongside her dad, Peter, at West End golf club in Halifax. She got down to a single figure handicap in her early teens and by 16 was representing both her county and England, competing in the Europeans and Home Internationals.
After achieving her A levels, Helen went on to pass her PGA degree and played as a professional on the Paul Lawrie Tour while living in Troon, Scotland, as well as enjoying a string of top five finishes in WPGA events.
Helen enjoyed coaching at numerous academies prior to taking on her England Golf role and has always thrived on the idea of making a difference and helping someone achieve their goals.
“I now have the resources and the tools to provide clubs and golf facilities with extensive support, tailoring to their specific needs,” she says. “There is far too much doom and gloom around golf in the media, but it is very much alive, and I am determined to raise awareness for the game I know and love!
“I aim to showcase what every club, big or small has to offer, whether this be a great place to learn the game or a venue to hold future national events. There is something unique in what each and every club has to offer; it’s my job to show them the potential.”
“I would urge clubs to use their club support officer. Get me in, talk me through where the club is at now and where it wants to be, then we have a starting point to build a strategy and commit to an action plan; you can’t go wrong with that.”
Adam is covering the west of the county (Lancaster, Blackpool and Fylde, Preston, South Ribble, Chorley, West Lancashire, Wigan and Merseyside) while Helen is looking after East Lancashire and Greater Manchester.
Jason Budd, England Golf Regional Manager, says: “We are delighted to have Helen on board to work alongside Adam.”
England Golf www.englandgolf.org