Message from the Captain
The latest musings from Club Captain Paul Collingwood
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THE CAPTAIN’S WEEK….AND A BIT.

This is a little late. But at least by writing after the weekend, I’m able to congratulate Georgia Hall for winning the BRITISH WOMEN’S OPEN on Sunday. Georgia may be small in stature and just 22 years old but she negotiated her way around Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s with great maturity and no small amount of skill dropping only 3 shots over 72 holes. She also had her Dad on the bag, and while I’m sure he was a good influence on his daughter’s golf (he did, after all, name her after the US State in which Nick Faldo won the Masters in 1996 – so it’s fortunate Augusta isn’t located in Kentucky), he did insist on wearing the same pair of lucky socks for all four rounds. Perhaps I need to review my laundry arrangements. Anyway, I’ve been fortunate enough to play Lytham on several occasions so I know how difficult it can be to deal with the undulating fairways, numerous blind shots and 169 bunkers that seem to suck in any passing golf ball. Georgia did brilliantly and I hope her win does much to promote ladies’ golf in the UK.

Co-incidently, Georgia Hall comes from Bournemouth and is associated with Parkstone Golf Club which is where I happened to be at the end of last week. A group of us from MGC travelled down to DORSET to play the Isle of Purbeck, Parkstone and Remedy Oak. All very different golf course but all equally challenging in their own way. With Broadstone and Ferndown also located in the area, it’s a great place to go for a golf tour. One word of caution. Don’t stay at the Royal Bath Hotel (which is near the pier in Bournemouth so I have no idea why it’s called the Royal Bath!). It’s a rambling Victorian edifice with numerous extensions that has seen better days. It can take you 20 minutes to find your room. You have to pay for every extra including parking. The staff are well meaning but a little clueless. And the prospect of breakfast was slightly spoiled by the sight of lady passed out in the middle of the restaurant being tended to by Paramedics. Apparently it wasn’t something she had eaten though I’m not convinced.

The Dorset trip was the meat in the middle of my own golfing sandwich last week. It started on Wednesday with the SENIORS OPEN. I played quite well in hot conditions but nowhere near as well as Danny Pun who won the overall competition on a count-back from Ian Cameron when both players came in with a very fine 41 points. Well done Danny and unlucky Ian.

And then on Sunday, Ben and I were back on the CAPTAIN & PRO trail taking on challengers Ian Alderson and Steve Palmer. At some point, Steve mentioned that this very strong partnership had yet to lose a Captain & Pro Challenge match. But I’m afraid all good things must come to an end! Ben and I prevailed 3 & 2. It was a very enjoyable match even if the golf wasn’t always that sparkling (out of 16 tee shots at the par 3s, only 2 finished on the green). Thanks for your company guys.

Having been all doom and gloom about our form, Ben and I have now won three matches on the spin including beating the Surbiton Captain David Weatherhead and Professional Paul Milton in strangely wet and windy conditions a week ago. The game was part of the ANNUAL HAR-MYD MATCH against the Surbiton men’s team. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to replicate the ladies’ recent victory going down by just ½ a point. But there’s always next year.

So what other golfing feats can I report on (just to prove that this Newsletter isn’t all about me)? Well, the DIVISION 1 MEN’S MONTHLY MEDAL was won by Adain Puis with an excellent net score of 64 followed by Dominic Bunning who was just behind on 65. Adain is a relatively new member to our Club and a highly enthusiastic one at that. And I hope he doesn’t mind me mentioning it, but his wife bought him his first year’s membership as a present! I can’t speculate on her motivation but clearly, it was money well spent. Congratulations Adain. And the winner of DIVISION 2 was Roger Batten with a net score of 66 beating Julian Spranger who shot 69. I’m really pleased for Roger. He’s been at the Club slightly longer than Aden but is equally enthusiastic about his golf…..most of the time!
Last week also saw the playing of the LADIES’ FLAG FOURSOMES COMPETITION. I have to admit I didn’t know what that was either. But the challenge of the format is that you are restricted to only playing the total number of shots that your handicap allows so for foursomes, it’s half of your combined handicaps plus par for the course. Get it? And you have to get as far round the course as you can by the time you’ve used up your last shot. Are you still with me? And the flag is planted on the golf course at the point where the best pairing’s last available shot finishes. That clear isn’t it? And it sounds like it was a close run affair. The partnership of Hilda Davis and Beth Warner got as close as 25 feet from the 18th hole (which is pretty good going) only to be beaten by Ann Gems and Maxine James who ended up 10 feet closer. So there you go. A competition that is determined by distance (and the ability to count) and not strokes. Makes a nice change and we should all try it sometime.

The FINAL OF THE MEN’S TYROS CUP took place on Sunday between Kieran Cox and Cathal Bolland. For those of you who don’t know, the Tyros (which is Latin for novice or recruit) is open to anyone who has a handicap of 18 or over and has never won a major competition. Judging by referee Will Fairbairn’s articulate (for the most part) match report, it was a closely fought game. And while Cathal came back well from a four hole deficit, he wasn’t quite able to catch Kieran who took the Trophy 1 up. By way of a postscript, Cathal’s Dad Tommy, who won the competition two years ago, was caddying for him. Unfortunately, Tommy insisted on wearing fresh socks so he was unable to exert quite the same influence on his son’s performance as Georgia Hall’s Dad did on hers. If you caddy again Tommy, you just need to remember – smelly socks are the key to success.

I also would like to report briefly on the latest GENERAL COMMITTEE meeting which we held last Tuesday. Under the close scrutiny of John Oliver and Bernadette in the Office, our finances are strong and income continues to be up on last year. We have taken a bit of a hit on green fee income by restricting visitors over the weekend. But we continue to have a steady flow of new Member and Academy applications, bar takings are doing well and our costs have been kept below budget.

As some of you may know, there appears to be some progress with the negotiations over a deal that will allow the All England Club (Wimbledon Tennis) to buy out the lease that WIMBLEDON PARK currently hold for their golf course and turn it into a major tennis, leisure and hotel complex. Not surprisingly, many members at Wimbledon Park (though we have no idea how many at the moment) have expressed interest in joining MGC should the deal be accepted. Clearly, an influx of new members from WP, whenever that may happen, will offer us many benefits but may also present us with some issues. So, we are currently working on our recruitment policy and will make a further announcement soon.

On the GOLF COURSE, the Green Team continues to do what they can to ensure the greens and tees are effectively watered (often by hand) despite the on-going problems with the irrigation system. The current issues with a failing system and this prolonged drought only go to emphasise how important it is that we have the new irrigation system up and running before the end of the year.

In the meantime, the GC is committed to doing what it can to eradicate the threat posed by the OAK PROCESSIONARY MOTHS. Subject to finalising a deal with a specialist contractor, our plan is to have as many of the lower lying nests removed as possible later this year and then undertake two programmes of tree spraying in the spring. Hopefully, this will go a long way to eradicating most, or all, of the OPMs next year.

Last but not least, you may have noticed that all the wooden tee markers have been replaced with NEW GRANITE MOW-OVER TEE MARKERS. Personally, I think they look really classy. The cost of the new markers was paid for by some members of the Club. So, can I take this opportunity to say a BIG THANK YOU to Ray and Brendan McCullagh, Ann Gems, Derek Tennent, Phil Hazelwood, Michael Riding, Andy Smith, Chris Gems, Geoff Start, Richard Howell, Andy Green, Michael Barnett, David Duncan, Richard and Alison Trinnick, David Ball, Darren Howes, John Oliver and Geoff Downing for their generosity.

Happy golfing.

Paul

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14.08.2018 06:58
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