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The Ice Maiden warms to Wilmslow

By Tim Taylor

THE Wilmslow club have enhanced their already enviable reputation with an immaculate staging of the England women’s amateur championship.

Unfancied Essex girl Georgina Blackman held off the challenges of two Curtis Cup players, the national matchplay champion and a US college circuit star to win by one shot on eight-under.

Her behind the scenes story illustrates why Wilmslow will be able to capitalise more than most on their course being deemed worthy of hosting a national event.

A higher number of visiting players is inevitable. But how will they be greeted at the bar?

In Simon and Karen Ward, Wilmslow are blessed with a husband and wife team who won the England Golf Steward of the Year Competition in 2013.

They were puzzled by Georgina’s mother Liz asking for ice three times a day. Was her daughter nursing a secret injury?

Explained Liz: “Georgina is one of those people who drinks lots of water all day on or off the course and she likes it with ice whether the weather is hot or cold.”

So what happened when the bar ran out of ice on the final day? Simon was handing out bottles of water at the halfway house near the tenth tee and noticed Liz.

She said: “Simon drove to Sainsbury’s, got some ice and had come back with it by the time we reached the next tee!”

Georgina, 22, showed nerves of steel in a tense showdown. She got into the lead with a 13th hole birdie, dropped back into a tie with a bogey on 15, but conjured up what turned out to be the winning stroke on the 17th by holing out from  30 feet.

Liz added: “Georgina won because she played really well but she was chuffed to get that ice and it helped to keep her routine going.

“That level of consideration was typical of everybody we met at Wilmlsow. They were so welcoming they made us feel like moving north and joining their lovely golf club.”

The club recruited 63 volunteers from among their membership to help run the tournament, which included an England Golf referee in Wendy Taylor.

General manager Ged Heaslip said: “Even though the course was shut for a week not one member complained once about anything whatsoever.

“I have been in golf, catering and hospitality for decades and I have never heard of that happening so that proves we have something special.”

It was Georgina’s first major win and it comes after she graduated from Western Kentucky University in May with a degree in business communications.

She says the four years she spent there “100% helped my golf – playing every day and getting into a good routine made a big difference.”