By David Birtill
AN ACTION-packed season is on the cards for PGA North as it prepares to tee up with two separate Pro-Ams in Portugal this month before rounding off the year with a ground-breaking trip to the Abu Dhabi Pro-Am in early November.
Sandwiched between is a welcome return of old favourites such as the Lakes Classic at Windermere and the PGA North Assistants’ Championship at Swinton Park.
The Manchester Open at Hopwood Cottage is the first of five top Order of Merit fixtures and it will host the qualifying round at Marriott Worsley Park – a venue regularly used in the past.
Likewise, the Leeds Cup qualifier will be at Ilkley with the Leeds club continuing to host the main event. And Pleasington, which became the new home for PGA North last year, will appropriately stage the PGA North Region Championship for the first time.
The James Brearley Lancashire Open at Blackpool North Shore continues its long-running event.
And the North East Masters, a new fixture, at Rockcliffe Hall, is expected to draw in professionals from across the whole region.
Meanwhile, the hugely successful PGA North Members Tour, extended to 12 events in only its second season, will spread its wings throughout the whole region from Crosland Heath, Windermere, Northenden, Hazel Grove, Aldwark Manor, Hexham, Ellesmere, Saddleworth, Sand Moor, Bromborough, Morpeth, and Bolton Old Links.
Senior professionals will have their own competitions: the PGA North Senior Championship at Ashton-in-Makerfield and PGA North Senior Challenge at Lymm.
There will be a plethora of Pro-Ams with several clubs making a welcome comeback.
PGA North regional manager Jonathan Paine said: “We wanted to run an Order of Merit event in every county which will increase participation and awareness of what the PGA is doing.
“It gives our members a chance to discuss any problems they may have. We have got to show willing and if necessary we will go to see them no matter where they are.
“The Lakes Classic is back and that’s typical of what our members want. It’s been a well-supported event in the past.”
Paine added: “We’ve also introduced a seniors’ only competition which has not been done before. It’s already attracting an ageing section of members who don’t want to compete with younger ones. It gives them a new lease of life.”
Pictured is Swinton Park, who will host the PGA North Assistants’ Championship.