November: Calmer times

Late September and early October has been a quieter period in my year, which has allowed me more time to play golf with my wife at my own club, Copt Heath GC. This paid dividends because somehow we managed to win a mixed foursomes knockout (albeit the second division), mainly I have to say thanks to my wife’s good play.

Whilst the ‘Indian summer’ did not entirely materialise temperature wise, back ‘on the road’ as it were I have enjoyed playing in great conditions and on courses which continue to be in excellent shape even this late in the season. I think this is testament to improvements in greenkeeping which have continued throughout my golfing career. When I think back to when I started to play in the early 1980s, if you managed to have a season of six months you were extremely lucky, but now eight to nine months is becoming the norm. Personally I think changes in climate have had an effect, but the real catalysts to this extension to the season are without doubt the modernisation of greenkeeping techniques, educational standards in greenkeeping and the machinery now being used.

A visit to Beaconsfield GC for the Chiltern & Home Counties regional meeting was very enjoyable and surprising in that, for those of you who don’t know the venue, access to the local railway station (Seer Green and Jordans) is from the club car park. I then found out that this station is on the Chilterns line from Marylebone to Birmingham, which I regularly use, catching the train from my village station Dorridge – small world! The day was excellent (meeting, golf, etc) and my thanks go to all concerned.

A journey to Hayling GC to visit the Southern region proved to be well worth the visit.This lovely, traditional, links course, where thankfully the wind only blew lightly, was in great shape and provided a fair but stern test for all those playing.The golf followed a well attended meeting in the morning with some excellent presenters and the liveliest open forum I have experienced on my visits. The fact that it occurred over a ‘working lunch’ did not seem to detract from the willingness to discuss/debate issues of concern to those present. Indeed one of the topics led to an inclusion of up to date advice in that week’s Friday enewsletter to you all.

Then came the quarterly Board meeting, which was very interesting and covered a multitude of topics about which you will hear in the near future. All I can say is that the Board continues to strive to provide you, the working manager, with the proper tools to ensure that you can do your job more efficiently. Obviously one current topic of major interest is the Conference, about which you have all received much information. Safe to say at this meeting it was announced that it was virtually sold out (since then it is sold out) and will have occurred by the time you read this. The success, and hopefully it will have been a raging success, will be down to all those involved in the planning for this major event – no stone had remained unturned!

What do you all think about the news concerning entrance and membership fees at Wentworth? The announcement occurred just before my visit to Frilford Heath GC, the 54-hole complex in Oxfordshire, for the London & Home Counties regional meeting. It goes without saying that there was great interest amongst those present, with many saying that they had received enquiries regarding membership from existing Wentworth members. However, they were also stating that their clubs would not alter existing entr y requirements just to accommodate ex-Wentworth members. What a dilemma for those caught up in this predicament.

For the record, I was enter tained ver y well, as I have been everywhere, at Frilford Heath GC, where another well patronised meeting had interesting speakers and where for the third regional visit running I listened to John Nicholson, Arboricultural Consultant, who is always interesting. Thankfully he had changed a few slides over the three talks, but still tried to test me on my ‘schoolboy’ Latin – by the third session I had remembered some.

There now remains my visit to our colleagues in Northern Ireland, a Regional Managers meeting at The Belfry and of course the National Conference to attend.

You will all have seen that Howard Williams, currently North West Regional Manager, has been nominated as National Captain Elect. I have known Howard well for many years and wish him well.

Oh, and I nearly forgot, in amongst all these visits, my own region held it’s AGM at which the new regional structure was approved and a new Regional Manager elected. I wish him well!


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