Knight Knight Everybody and Hello John...
Members enjoyed the end of 2018 by playing in the annual Turkey Trot. This year they played a ‘Murphy’s Point’ system that had proved popular at the summer Charity Day event. As usual there were some outrageous sweaters and the odd Santa hat. The Turkey Trot is always played in the spirit of the season and everyone had a marvellous time. John Procter claimed the winners prize by just holding off a late charge from Gerry Smith.
The second half of the winter season began with the January Midweek Stableford. Alan Creek and Graham Jackson both returned respectable scores on a cold overcast morning but Alan Smith played his normal steady game to win by a clear three points. In the Monthly Stableford young Sam Knight left a good sized field in his wake and recorded a fine victory. Gerry Smith and John Procter finished second and third respectively.
This was just the beginning of an extraordinary few weeks for Sam. Playing together with his father Jonathan and Lee Lines he comfortably won the Winter Scramble by four shots from the much fancied Graham Jackson, Mark Forster and Mark Dowling. Then in the February Stableford he lost out on count back to runner-up Gerry Smith and the winner Michael Andrews after all three had returned the same score. At the end of February all attention turned towards finding a suitable partner for the upcoming Greensomes Cup. Once again the event proved to be a popular addition to the winter fixture list. Bill Benton & Bob Rawlinson managed to put together a decent score of 68 which comfortably held the clubhouse lead until young Sam Knight and father Jonathan turned everything on its head with a spectacular 62, a score that no other pair came close to matching. It was another fine win for the Knight family. Nobody could deny that they were the ones to beat so far in 2019.
Steve Monks topped the table after battling through 40mph winds in the March Midweek Stableford. Despite the weather there was a strong entry but it would be fair to say that some found the wind a little too much. John Procter and Graham Jackson both did the best they could but fell short by two points. On another blustery day Karl Brown returned to winning ways in the Monthly Stableford by just two points also over Mark Forster.
Arguably the biggest competition of the winter fixtures is the Better-Ball Trophy. Not only is it an honour to win but the top four pairs also qualify for the Semi Finals of the prestigious Pairs Knock-out Trophy. So, as all the pairs gathered to set off you could sense the tension as the weight of expectation took its tole. Initially the scoring was good. Defending champions and Pairs Knock-out holders Steve Monks & Keith Squirrell set the pace with a 67. Mark Forster & Mark Dowling were just one back on 68 and were soon joined by Alan Smith and his partner Julian Arikans. Other pairings weren’t fairing quite so well but Bill Benton & Bob Rawlinson both came close with a 69. Still out on the course however were the dynamic duo of Knight & Son. Was it possible for them to win a third winter title? The answer at the close of play was an emphatic ‘yes’ by a five stroke margin! It was a wonderful effort and according to Jonathan all thanks to Sam’s excellent play on the inward nine. Other members should not unduly worry as the handicap secretary has been monitoring the situation closely and will be making the necessary changes before the start of the summer season! It is however a wonderful feat and our warmest congratulations go out to them both.
The draw for the Pairs Knock-out Semi Finals is –
J. Knight & S. Knight v M. Forster & M. Dowling
S. Monks & K. Squirrell v J. Arikans & A. Smith
Matches must be played by 31/8/19
The Autumn/Winter season official ended on Saturday 30th March when members gathered for the Captain’s Medal, Competition Awards Presentation and the New Captain’s Drive-in ceremony. The day saw the rein of Captain James O’Sullivan come to an end. Everyone present thanked James for his wonderful contribution towards helping make last year such a memorable one. Not only did James fulfil his Captain’s commitments but his work as a member of the green keeping staff has made a significant difference to the quality of the course. We all wish him well in the future as he works towards gaining his BIGA green keeping qualifications. Dave Cooksey put together a fine round to win the days competition. For much of the morning Mark Forster thought that he had done enough but playing in the last group Dave held his nerve and stole all the glory.
Anyone who knows James will be aware of his fun loving nature and the enjoyment he has in the occasional wind-up. Not being the sort of chap who would miss an opportunity he decided to end his captaincy the only way he knew how, with a big exit. For some weeks before the Captain’s Medal he had been letting members know that, in accordance to the new handicapping system to be introduced in 2020, all members handicaps had been revised and amended. Most members would see a sizeable reduction in their handicap due to the new slope rating and the algorithm being used to recalculate handicaps across the country. There was many a bemused look on faces as James, very calmly explained that they should be pleased it was only a reduction of five, and not more shots on the handicap they already found difficult to play to. Interestingly some were outraged by the apparent injustice and demanded proof of how the calculation had been made. Whilst others were more philosophical and seemed to take the news without too much fuss. During his final address to the membership James read out the poem he’d prepared, where in the last line he delivered the devilish deception! Much laughter ensued and one could detect some relief also, as members realised that they’d been had but at least their handicaps remained unchanged.
After the Autumn/Winter Prize Presentation, members gathered outside to watch James end his Captaincy by putting out on the 18th with a hickory putter and then our new Captain John Dixon drove-in off the 1st tee. John has been a member for some years and is one of the Clubs most experienced players. Teeing off with a Toney Penna driver and balata ball John managed a very respectable drive of 193 yards that had a hint of draw and finished in the fairway. We wish John every success and know that he will carry on the tradition set by past Captains in the coming year. He will be assisted in his duties by Alan Smith who was elected as Vice-Captain during the Clubs AGM.
The very best of luck to you all as we begin yet another season of golf at our wonderful Club.