Having travelled back from Scotland via the North East, within a few days I was back there to visit my colleagues in that region with a business meeting and golf at Cleveland GC in Redcar. Arriving on the afternoon before the meeting, on checking into my hotel I looked at the weather forecast for the next day – wet was an understatement for what was expected. Thankfully, the day, although breezy, was largely dry and we had just a short shower on the first and last holes. What a delight Cleveland GC course is – a traditional British links course with excellent greens. I was told it also boasts the honour of being both the oldest club (1887) and only true links in Yorkshire! I also had the pleasure of playing with the Regional Captain and Cleveland GC Secretary in a very entertaining game.
On my return, my wife and I had been invited to the 90th birthday of a member at Copt Heath GC, which was a very pleasant occasion. This gentleman had served as Competition Secretary for 23 years – an act of dedication for which he had been made a life member of the club some years ago. Whilst he is getting a bit frail now, he had one observation which I thought summed the man up. He said: “You can’t help getting older, but you can stop yourself from getting old”. A lesson we should all bear in mind when our time comes!
My next sojourn was to Henbury GC in Bristol, a lovely, well presented course and clubhouse in delightful surroundings, to attend their South West Region Invitation Day. The region had kindly invited me and a guest to play in this event as I couldn’t attend their Spring meeting because of a clash of dates. I and my partner (who has just become the Senior Assistant Secretary at Copt Heath GC and I hope will be joining the GCMA soon) had been paired with the Regional Captain and his partner, whose home club was Launceston which they had a very colloquial way of pronouncing – there being no sound of ‘u’ or ‘t’ in their rendering although neither were native Cornishmen. However, we had the most superb day in wonderful company and, somehow, managed to win – a bit embarrassing really.
Then it was off to Birstall GC for the East Midlands Region Autumn meeting where, following an excellent business meeting, the audience were treated to some enlightening information on workplace pensions (more information from HQ should be out soon). The weather forecast was dreadful but did not materialise and we stayed dry during the afternoon’s golf.
This last week has been extremely busy, starting on Monday with the Fairway Credit Finals at the Forest of Arden, where Fairway Credit treated the successful finalists royally. However, on this occasion, the rain forecast did not stay away and all players got extremely wet. The evening went well, with quality food and an entertaining speaker: Gareth Chilcott, former Bath, England and Lions prop. A very good choice as we are in the midst of the Rugby World Cup and he was very entertaining. My congratulations to Katie Fewster (North Hants GC) on winning the individual event and the South East region pair of John Auchterlony and John Holmes on winning the Fairway Credit Trophy. Also my thanks and those of the GCMA go to Fairway Credit for their continued support of the GCMA, especially the regions and the clubs. Their staff Steve, Mark, Karen, Marianne and Gina, were in attendance and looked after those present superbly.
On Tuesday, it was off to Little Aston GC for the annual Past Captains’ golf and dinner, which 14 Past Captains, the CEO and I attended. Following lunch and golf, the dinner was excellent and the main purpose of the gathering, ie to choose a Vice Captain for 2016, was concluded successfully. The choice of the Past Captains will now be put to the GCMA Board before an announcement (probably before this article appears in the magazine). My thanks go to Little Aston GC for their hospitality and organisation, at what is one of the premier venues in the UK.
Wednesday saw me playing with John Edgington (International Match Organiser) at Enville GC, where in 2016 we shall be hosting the match versus the Irish. He had never played the course, but was suitably impressed. It is a wonderful 36 hole complex and was in excellent condition.
There remain four more regions to visit in the next month or so, which I look forward to very much.