TWO Looe golfers who only took up the sport four years ago are looking forward to the thrill of competing in a Grand Final at the ‘Home of Golf’ on Monday (September 20).

Looe Golf Club pair Toni Stokes and Wendy Shore will join women and girls from across Great Britain and Ireland when they tee up in the Grand Final of the R&A Coronation Foursomes in St Andrews.

After the popular event was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 17,000 players competed this year from more than 850 clubs for the right to contest the showpiece final over the Eden Course.

Friendly and fast, the unique team competition has seen local qualifying at clubs throughout the summer, played over 18 holes of foursomes stableford.

Stokes and Shore then came through one of 16 area finals, winning at Came Down Golf Club in Dorset to seal their spot among the top 16 teams heading for Scotland.

Given they are relative newcomers to the sport, the pair are relishing the chance to play at the world-renowned venue. “Obviously we’re both excited and nervous in equal measure to be playing at such a splendid and iconic venue,” said Stokes.

“We didn’t really expect to win our club competition, and if we’re honest didn’t realise the implications of our win. We love Dorset and just treated it as a fun away day. The course was great, as was the weather, and we were shocked and thrilled at our win.

“Wendy and I met three years ago when Looe started to offer a ‘Get in to Golf’ scheme, five lessons for £25, which was an amazing offer. Barrie Evans, the golf professional, soon got us on to the course and then the amazing lady captain gave up time to take us on to the course and we were hooked. 

“Wendy combines her golf with running a busy pub, but we are playing at least three times a week if not more. It’s really hard to explain why a great putt can make you so happy!”

As part of The R&A’s drive to encourage more women and girls into playing golf, the Coronation Foursomes continues to attract all ages, with 13-year-old Isla Johnstone from Pitlochry Golf Club also one of the finalists heading for St Andrews.

Established in 1953 to celebrate the Queen’s Coronation, the Coronation Foursomes is open to all members of affiliated golf clubs in Great Britain and Ireland who hold a hold a current WHS handicap Index of 40.0 or under.

This year’s 32 finalists will again stay at the prestigious Old Course Hotel Golf Resort & Spa and have the chance to book a place in the Pro-Am for the 2022 AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield.

After the Bude & North Cornwall pair of Collette Burgess and Hana Dabrowski claimed title glory in 2019, Stokes and Shore are chasing a notable double for the region.

Stokes added: “The Coronation Foursomes is a great format in which you can support each other and celebrate our mutual successes. It’s great fun.

“I really hope that the increased profile of women’s golf in the media will inspire more girls to take up the sport. I understand that more and more golf courses are opening up and offering more flexible membership options.”