Well, here we are almost at the end of yet another extremely challenging year but I am pleased to say we are still going strong, mainly thanks to your continued support plus a little help from my saviour St. Rishi! The Government lifeline last year certainly kept us afloat as memberships dried up but thankfully golf has pretty much fully recovered.
We have managed a full schedule of golf days which I am delighted to say are always well supported. I have now put together the fixture list for next year which you will find further on in the Newsletter. It would be great to see some of the new members coming out on a golf day, as it’s an excellent way to socialise and meet fellow golfers you might otherwise not come across. The days are extremely relaxed and informal and we now a good mix of ladies and men with handicaps ranging from 9 to 39!!
Many of you are now using the online scorecard submission system and we are all getting used to the new World Handicap System. Those of you who belong to a club will have three handicaps with your club (handicap index, course handicap and playing handicap) but when you come out on one our golf days, you will continue to play off the GCGB society handicap. This seems to be the only fair compromise when we have a mixture of club members and GCGB members playing alongside each other.
This will be my last Newsletter before the end of the year so it just leaves me to wish you all a healthy and happy Christmas and New Year – let’s hope 2022 really is a better year for everyone!
Until next time
When I re-schedulesd our annual Sunday Driver weekend away back in 2020 I could never have dreamed it would a) clash with the re-scheduled 2021 Cup Final and b) that England would be in the final! But much to my amazement that was how things turned out. We were due to play at the Ageas Bowl back in July 2020 but that was cancelled due the West Indies Cricket team taking over the hotel in a micro bubble for the Test Series. The golf course is adjacent to the cricket ground and who were we to argue with the ECB. You couldn’t write the script!
As things turned out, the hotel was very accommodating and our Sunday evening dinner and prize giving was timed around the match and a TV was installed in the dining area. As it turned out maybe it would have been better if we hadn’t been able to watch!
But back to the golf… We had 23 golfers with Miles Williams having to pull out due to hip replacement surgery – hope you are back on the course again Miles. The weather was what can only be described as a typical British summer weekend… grey with the odd sunny bits and rain never far away! But most of did stay dry thank goodness with the heavy rain coming in both days after we had finished playing. The first day was an individual stableford competition with the usual wide expanse of scores. The ladies really excelled themselves and in third place was Vera Martin with 33 points, second place went to guest Di Heavey with 35 points on countback but the winner, also with 35 points on countback was one of our longest serving members Linda Rich. I can remember when I first tagged along on a GCGB trip to Spain back in 1996 Linda won the overseas championship so I was delighted that she won and it was her guest Di who came second.
Ladies Nearest the Pin went to Janet Mock and the Longest Drive also went to Di Heavey.
Gary Cavill had a double wammy with winning both the Longest Drive and Nearest the Pin prizes – well done!
Monday was the usual team event with 3 scores counting in teams of 4. Third place went to Norman Clark, Vera Martin, Janet Mock and guest Bill Payne with 107 points. Second place went to Richard Whitehead, Michael Payne, Kathy Grundy and Di Heavey (yes, another trophy!) with 108 points. The winning team was Ken Mock, Helen Street, guest Linda Ormerod and Mark Hopkins with 109 points. Very tight at the top with the remaining teams somewhat lower!
CAPTAINS DAY – CHERRY LODGE GC
As many of you know, I have long been cajoling Rob McCanna to take over as South East Captain when the vacancy arose and I must have caught him at a weak moment during lockdown when he finally agreed, with the proviso that he doesn’t play in the Winter! I was delighted he agreed and his Captains Day was held at Cherry Lodge GC near Biggin Hill back in August.
We had a fantastic turnout with 28 golfers and Rob was joined by such legends as Ogy John, Nicholas Hercules and past Captain Tom Senior. Unfortunately Rob’s back problems re-appeared and so he didn’t play but was happy to walk the course with his playing partners. Scores were fairly respectable across the board with Hugh Sear coming 3rd with 32 points, Mike Payne was 2nd with 34 points and Jane Ware won the Captains Shield with 36 points. Ladies Longest Drive went to Karen Duncan and men’s to Tom Senior (no surprises with either of those!). We had 4 nearest the pin prizes and the winners were Jane Ware, Ken Hall, Ogy John and Gary Cavill.
It was also good to see Clive Martin and his wife Lin who joined us for dinner. Clive has not been in the best of health this last year and we all hope to see you again soon.
SWEETWOODS GOLF DAY – SEPTEMBER 13TH
We had another sell out day for our next event at Sweetwoods Golf Club near Edenbridge in Kent. We had 24 golfers and was good to welcome back John (“Pat”) Wilkinson after some year’s absence who played alongside brother Andy. The weather was kind to us and the course in great condition although again, some very differing scores! Karen Duncan came third with 33 points, Janet Mock second on countback with 34 points but the winner also with 34 points on countback was John Beer. Karen also won the ladies Nearest the Pin and Ken Mock won the men’s.
STOKE BY NAYLAND – LATE SUMMER BREAK
This was not strictly a GCGB main fixture event but rather a 2 day break for all those who were supposed to be going to Spain this year for our overseas championship. This was a return trip to the resort which is hidden away in glorious rolling Constable countryside on the Essex/Suffolk border, near to Colchester. Although the weather was chilly to say the least, we had glorious sunshine especially on day two which showed off the two courses to their best advantage. We had 20 golfers and having an extra day before the 2 days golf made it a very relaxed affair with very civilised tee times so even time for a lay in and leisurely breakfast. Well it would have been if the hotel hadn’t insisted that there were too many of us to eat in the main breakfast area and herded us into an ante- room. Harsh words were spoken and there was nearly a mutiny over the full English but hopefully it didn’t spoil the trip too much! The hotel has since apologised for the over zealous breakfast staff and promised to “learn lessons” for another time. How I hate that phrase!
We had an individual event on day one with Keiko Sharp’s guest Hatsumi Takahashi (poor rob had trouble with that one!) coming third with 32 points, Simon Grigor was second with 33 points but the winner with a resounding 37 points was the new svelte figure of past captain Nigel Smith!
Day 2 was the fun team game with Rob’s team coming 3rd with 89 points (Rob, Richard Whitehead, Jane Ware and Helen Street). Runners up were Norman Clark, Nigel Smith, Karen Duncan and Anne Colbourn with 92 points and the winners were Steve Pepperell, Michael Payne, Simon Grigor and Kathy Grundy with 101 points. All in all a splendid compensation for our cancelled trip to Spain which hopefully will go ahead in April next year!
Not that we won anything, but a nice photo of my lovely friend Keiko with the great backdrop behind us!
CUDDINGTON GOLF DAY – 21ST OCTOBER
Our most recent event was at my own club Cuddington in Banstead where we actually had 10 Cuddington members (who are also GCGB members) playing although apart from the winner, local knowledge didn’t do any of us any good at all! The day dawned grey and freezing cold and I was extremely disappointed as the course should look magnificent at this time of year. However, the Gods were kind and very quickly the clouds disappeared and we were left with a glorious clear blue sky with the superb views North up to Wembley Arch and beyond.
Another great turn out with 27 golfers booked in although 3 dropped by the wayside due to injury so we had 24 players in total. A two tee start meant that we did not have to hang around too long for everyone to come in. With only three scores above 30 and several below 20 there was the usual mix of results. Third place went to Mark Hopkins with 32 points on countback, 2nd place to Ogy John, also on 32 and the winner with a magnificent 37 points was several times winner Chris Robinson, who as always was very modest in victory!
We have just one more event to count towards the 2021 Order of Merit and that is at Puttenham Golf Club (near Guildford) on 18th November. If you would like to come along but have never joined in a GCGB event you would be more than welcome. All events include coffee and bacon rolls, 18 holes golf and either a one or two course meal followed by informal prize giving.
Then in December we have our annual Christmas Scramble at Guildford Golf Club on December 10th. This is a fun team competition but you can book in individually and we will team you up. Always a great event to round off the year and see who has won the Order of Merit trophy.
EAST SUSSEX NATIONAL SUNDAY DRIVER – 24/25TH JULY 2022
Our annual weekend Sunday Driver next year is a return to the popular 5* East Sussex National Resort on 24th/25th July. The event consists of two rounds of golf (Sunday and Monday) on the East and West Courses at the resort with evening dinner, twin sharing accommodation and breakfast. The cost is £179 a head and £139 for non golfers who are more than welcome. Single rooms are available but rather expensive (£60 supplement) so best to share if possible!
Places are limited to 24 so it’s strictly first come first served. Just £35 deposit will secure your place so please contact the office as soon as possible to book in.
I have now finalised the 2022 fixture list so make sure you put the dates in your diary! I am now taking deposits for the weekend at East Sussex National in July and there is a limit of 24 places so please book in as soon as possible