A busy month

Following the excitement of the England v Ireland International, it was back to National Organisation at the Committee Meeting at the Belfry, where all Regional representatives continue to have sensible and heartfelt input into Association Affairs. I do encourage Regions to put forward any views they may have through the Regional Representative, who in my experience will always give a clear “Regional View” of matters in hand, and then report back accordingly.

We all deal with so many issues, problems, events and personnel as Secretary/Managers in our work that we can sometimes forget that it is good to “get away from the office” and go and play golf at many of our wonderful courses. Recently, the National event at Royal Blackheath was a wonderful day out, played on superb conditions at a very historic course. Many thanks are due to Royal Blackheath for receiving the Association for its championship, and for providing us with the facilities that rate very highly in our golfing world. Whilst everyone thoroughly enjoyed their day, it is disappointing that only some forty or so members found the opportunity to play, which is less than many regions get for their various meetings. I would encourage you all to look at the diary and see if events are available to you, and take the opportunity to play. Congratulations to the main winners Louis Matamela and Alan Findlater. Results are on the web site. Next year, the event should be in the Midlands area. I nearly forgot – did I mention that the winner came from within my playing group AGAIN – not me – thus continuing an amazing run. Good luck to all who might play with me in the future!

Taking a short rest from travelling around the country to visit the regions, it crossed my mind that there are several occasions when we are all “niggled” by things that we hear and see, and for a light hearted bit of fun here are a few which might ring true with more than a few of you.

Having watched a lot of USA golf recently, just how long does Jim Furyk take to actually make a putt? Fiddling with the lining up of the ball, moving it micro millimetres three or four times and then taking a stance twice does not exactly encourage a good pace of play. The answer – USPGA as usual do nothing on timing; ban any lines on a golf ball!

If the chap next to you at a major golf event bellows out “In the hole”, “mashed potato” or Na, Na, Na, NaNa, Na Na, please give them a hearty kick! The answer, throw them out!

If the commentators talk about how difficult the wind is at a tournament, when the flags hang limply with an occasional flutter, send them an email suggesting they visit your club, where I am sure members play in a proper wind more often than not!

If a member approaches with a question or complaint whilst you are actually playing in the competition (on that rare occasion) remind him that your golf clubs are not indicative of your badge of office, and that you are in fact a competitor. If you feel so inclined, ask him whether he is breathing in or out at the top of his backswing – this will usually result in a no return!

There are many more which I won’t mention – apart from – If you are being dealt with and the person talking to you receives a phone call which they answer mid conversation with you; tail gating; Keegan Bradley, nicknamed “fidget”; Cost of Sky TV in Clubs; Drivers on mobile phones; Loud conversations on mobiles in public places; Finally – ignorance of rule 32-1 – and I bet that has got many reaching for the book!

OK, so having got all that off my chest, all complaints to HQ, not me please!

I attended my first GCMA Board meeting, in my role as National Captain, and was intrigued to see how the elected Board members would begin to initiate a successful way forward, combining the ideas of successful and effective educational programmes, increasing the membership base with associated benefits, handling the sale and purchase of headquarters with its proposed move and looking at the essential business and media links that were envisaged. After a slow start, the meeting soon got to grips with many of the issues, and I was very pleased to see that the affairs of our Association are in such capable hands. It is obvious that many hours will be spent by the Board members in driving the GCMA forwards for the benefit of us all, and of those who will look to join in the future. Details of the meeting will be sent to Regional Representatives to discuss when they next meet members of their region.

As I write, the international match England against Wales is next, being played at Minchinhampton, then a visit to the Open at Hoylake where I am sure I will see many of you enjoying what will be a thrilling event with so many players in contention.

Many people I have spoken to seem to suggest that renewals this year are better than expected, and that the downward trend seems to have slowed. Let’s hope that this is the case and we can get back to a good number of renewals, visitors and interest from new joiners which will ease the financial burdens that many clubs have been reporting over the last few years. It will still take a lot of time to recoup numbers, which is why all sorts of membership drives are worth looking at. If clubs have had any real success with this, then I am sure the membership would like to know, but we promise not to tell your neighbouring club!

So while the sun shines, the golf is good, and we are swamped by a multitude of sports to select watch, follow or participate in, remember that the hole is not as small as you think. If you could place three touching golf balls across the width of a hole they would all fall in, and that is five inches not four and a quarter! Simple!


By John Smith

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