Why is it we always get to the end of August and suddenly exclaim "I can't believe the summer is over"! While September and October have always been my favourite time of the year from a weather point of view, especially in New England, the fact that the sunlit evenings are shrinking is a harbinger of the changing seasons and the advancing golf calendar. Unlike in New England, however, at RPGC we can look forward to continued golf for the hardy souls throughout most of the winter.
First a couple of timely reminders on expectations we should all have in deference to our fellow golfers, the first on timeliness for your tee time and the second on the old sore of pace of play.
TIMELY ARRIVAL FOR YOUR TEE TIME
This one may have a few of you raising eyebrows when the Captain himself has been guilty in the past of cutting it very fine for his tee times. Hopefully, for those of you who are indeed arching your eyebrows, you will appreciate that he has made a conscious effort this season to eradicate this fault! Please do look to ensure that you all turn up for your allotted tee time at least 30 minutes ahead of time with the first port of call being the white board. We do not control the tee-offs on the day and events may conspire for us to have to bring tee times forward. In the event of no shows (a most heinous crime!) players may have to be moved forward. Thus the 30 minute rule allows time for the reset.
PACE OF PLAY
This vexed subject has reared its ugly head recently in the Pros with Bryson Dechambeau coming particularly under attack. One occasional cause of slow play is searching for balls that have, shall we say, gone "off piste"! We can all help in this regard if we make a particular effort to all watch everyone's tee shot and look to avoid too much conversation on the tee to ensure a focus on each other's shots.
I have revisited our Secretary's 'Fast Play' notice put together in 2013. Some nuggets from this to keep in mind.
- Always carry a provisional ball in your pocket so you do not have to return to the bag to get one.
- Play out of turn if it saves time.
- Leave the greens smartly after everyone is in the hole (save the scorecard marking for another time!).
- Position your bags and trolleys around the green so you can go straight to the next tee.
- Play a provisional ball if there is ANY DOUBT about the original ball.
- It helps if everyone aids in ball searching.
- Putt out on the greens rather than marking if you can.
- Call the following game through if a search is in progress and there is too much waiting going on.
- And my pet peeve, select your club and be ready to play your shot when it is your turn!
These have now progressed largely to the semi-final stages and, as usual, the handicap system has thrown up results that on paper seem a surprise, except perhaps for our Club Champion Aidan Hurley reaching the JH Taylor semi finals chasing what would be quite a feat if he were to win both of the major individual titles for 2019. I am sure Jeremy Ryan, James Anslow and Habib Amir will have something to say about that!
While the British Open got the winner the whole of Ireland wanted and deserved, my comment in the last report that the handicap system tended to even out the winners was very much challenged by Mark Rosamond who rather greedily decided to win two competitions, The Edward Cup and the August Medal. It will be interesting to see if the resulting cuts to his handicap keep him quiet for a while! The Midweek Club Championships proved to be very much the domains of Henry Lindesey-Bethune on the Men's side and Veronica Mitchell on the Ladies side. Both were crowned respective Midweek champions and not surprisingly contested the Handicap Trophy, with "Ronnie" beating out Henry to the prize. The runners-up were Angus Robertson on the Men's side and Sheena Harrington on the Ladies side. The final winner was Dylan Merchant in Round 3 of the Anniversary Accumulator. All to play for with one round to go.
The Golden Jubilee was won by George Taylor in a return to action after a long layoff from competitions and the JQ Robertson was won by Ned Shanklyn, this coming on the heels of a solid performance in the Club Championships where he had won the Junior portion of the event. Again Ned may be quiet for a spell after the three shot drop in his handicap! These two events were rounds 4 and 5 of the Top Dog and with two rounds to go Chris Lordan is looking like he will be tough to beat. A Sweep was won by Richard Inglis and the Men's August medal was won by Toby Hunt and the Ladies by Tenesi Karakaneva. Finally, for the second year, the Richmond Park Open was held with Glendale, with another fine turnout of Club Members from the various groups at the Park and a number of signups from the public. It seems to have been a great success once more, with 114 cards entered despite the unexpected inclement weather. The anticipated light shower turned into a deluge and caught this scribe unprepared totally in terms of umbrella and rain gear (many thanks to the chivalrous Adrian Wells who took pity and loaned his umbrella to this bedraggled specimen). The runaway winner on the Men's side was Loui Jesus Suarez, with Angela Flynn returning from her holidays in Scotland to take the Ladies prize. Both were the recipients of brand new golf bags from Glendale as their reward.
Well that was short-lived! After a measly single year of finally being able to hold our heads up high, the Men were summarily dispatched by the Ladies in this annual hotly-contested competition. Let the gloating begin! After the euphoria of last year, when our red shirts must have unnerved our opponents, the Ladies eked out a well-deserved 9.5 - 6.5 point victory as 18 matches went out on the Duke's course. After the opening match between the respective captains led to a win for the Men, it was largely downhill as the Ladies accumulated points ad nauseam. Indeed for a while it looked like your scribe was going to be the only Male winner until a late rally put a very thin veneer of respectability on the proceedings. The red shirts will be banished and I will continue to rail against the Gods that last year's Men's Captain got to have his name on the Trophy in absentia!! Well done Ladies!
Our efforts in this year's NAPGC competitions sadly ended in disappointment as both of the Hawtree teams lost at the final hurdle before the "Final Four" Championship weekend later this month. The B Team, playing at a neutral site in Milton Keynes, ran into last year's champions, Rose Hill, and were soundly beaten 156-130, a combination of not being quite on their game and facing a very strong outfit who performed well. The A team lost a heartbreaker to Easthampstead at Bird Hills Golf Club 150-149. As it turns out, unbeknownst to El Capitan, the uphill putt which he managed to leave right in the jaws of the hole, would have ended up tying the match which we would have won on countback comfortably. The maxim "every point counts" has been reinforced. It was a match played in tremendous spirit and we wish both Rose Hill and Easthampstead good fortune in the finals.
Our Club Champion Aidan Hurley travelled up to Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire to play in the NAPGC Championship of England and performed very creditably indeed, considering he was unable to get a practice round in beforehand. He finished in 10th place in Division 1 Gross and 9th in the Net. Well done Aidan!
UPCOMING CLUB MATCHES AND EVENTS
- Sunday August 25 - General Sweep (August Bank Holiday weekend)
- Wednesday August 28 - Midweek Captain's Day (John Ahad presiding)
- Sunday September 1 - President's Putter (Top Dog Round 6 and Tim Meyer presiding)
- Wednesday September 4 - MidWeek September Medal
- Sunday September 8 - General Sweep
- Wednesday September 11 - MidWeek Fred Hawtree Cup
- Saturday September 14 - RPGC Men's Team at Rickmansworth (leading 4-2 after the first leg of this annual match)
- Sunday September 15 - Burgess Cup (pairs greensomes competition)
- Wednesday September 18 - MidWeek Accumulator (final round of 4 rounds)
- Saturday September 21 - Autumn Mixed Foursomes (the last of our Saturday social events)
- Sunday September 22 - September Monthly Medal
Hit them straight!
22 August 2019