Well we are well and truly now into the heart of the summer weather, the greens are in fantastic shape and we are being thoroughly challenged by hard and fast fairways which delude us into believing that our driving is starting to match the longer hitters while also having to throttle back our approaches to allow us to hold the greens. Given the extra velocity of our shots in warm weather and on hard grounds, I start this month with what seems to be a timely reminder of our duty of care to other players.
THE OBLIGATORY "FORE"
I have had the misfortune to be struck by a golf ball twice in my life. The first time was an errant drive from the following hole where the strangled cry of "Fore" gave me just enough time to half turn my head away before the ball struck me on the right side of my forehead. The egg appeared on the forehead in short order and a lifetime of getting my head kicked in on rugby fields up and down the valleys of Wales served me in good stead. Mercifully I suffered nothing more than a mild headache and the aforementioned egg. The second time, an incoming ball to a par 3 hole hit the path I was walking along away from the next tee and reared up into the back of my thigh. It felt like I had been shot by a beebie gun but again my trips to the Welsh valleys had also included plenty of "stamping" on my legs so again I shrugged it off with nothing more than a welt.
Fortunately (or not) most of our membership are not built like moving fridges so it is time for me to issue a reminder that shouting fore with some urgency is not a simple courtesy to our fellow golfers. It is a duty of care because the results can be catastrophic. And believing that someone is watching the flight of the ball and therefore there is no need to shout can be very much a false assumption since there are some who simply like to daydream and stare off into space while "relaxing" on the golf course. Please, a reminder for everyone to err on the side of caution with any wayward shot, shout your warning loud and clear and allow for evasive action to be taken.
COMPETITION FEES AND SWEEPS
It seems that we continue to periodically have a shortage in the monies collected. While I am confident that this is more often than not a mere oversight, it does cause palpitations for those monitoring and dealing with the monies and also leads to a shortfall in the sweep monies. Please can I urge everyone to ensure they arrive early enough to take care of their obligations before teeing off (clocking in with Glendale, paying your mandatory competitions fees and voluntary sweep contribution, filling in the payment sheet accurately, and taking care of readying yourself for a round of golf).
Things seem to be improving with the timeliness of completing various rounds of the knockouts but there are still a number of matches either not played or not entered onto Master Scoreboard. This can be done usually as soon as the match is finished at the computer in the clubhouse. Last Sunday (14th) was the supposed deadline for completion of the latest rounds and there are still 3 matches unaccounted for in the Two Course, 1 in the JH Taylor, 1 in Men's Pairs and 2 in the Mixed pairs.
The past few weeks saw another example of how the handicap system evens out those in the winner's circle. There were wins for Charlie Forest (Sweep), Jeremy Ryan with 48 points (!) (Midweek Midsummer Trophy), Rajinder Singh (Midweek July Medal) and latterly young Cosmo Liefting-Moore (Midweek Claret Jug) as we head to the British Open this weekend.
The past few weeks saw some important competitions held with wins for Anis Driaa (Shaw Cup), Ollie Griffin on the men's side and Cathy Staveley on the ladies (Captain's Day), and for Patrick Murphy (Men's July Medal) and Jenny Lawrence (Ladies July Medal). But pride of place in the schedule was our Club Championships played over two weekends with one round on each course. In both cases the leaders of the Men's and Ladies' competitions after the first round on Prince's enjoyed a comfortable lead (kudos to Aidan's fantastic gross 67!) that shrank considerably as the chasing pack closed in during the second round. Both our winners managed to hold their nerve and the rest of the field at bay with Aidan Hurley winning the Men's Championship from Jay Barker, who had dominated the winner's circle for the previous three years, while Angela Flynn held off Lia Donath in the Ladies Championship. In the Handicap competitions it was Peter Osgood who prevailed along with Veronica Mitchell. The Men's Division 2 winner was Ned Shanklyn while on the Ladies side it was Caroline Stilwell. Congratulations to all.
After the success of the Ladies Invite there were frantic calls from the men's Captain's to round up enough men to pair with all the ladies interested in playing. In the end, we had 16 pairs taking part but one hopes that the men will be a little more proactive in future years, both to save the captains a lot of heart palpitations and to actually invite the ladies rather than just sign up. On the day the weather was nigh perfect and the American Greensomes format much enjoyed by everyone. And the scoring was very high indeed with only two pairs failing to reach 36 points. For a long time, it looked like Peter Jagger and Ann Gardner's score of 47 was not going to be beaten until they were pipped at the post by Nick Rogers (loving his new clubs!) and Veronica Mitchell coming in with 48 points. Keith Cassidy and Roslyn Williams came third with 43 points.
On the NAPGC front, our Hawtree A team duly played their match with Southsea and ran out comfortable winners 147-132 with all four pairs performing very solidly indeed with a special shout out to Peter Harrison and Jayne Maxwell for their 40 points. We now know that the A team will play their Area Final against Easthampstead at Bird Hills Golf Club while the B team will play their Area Final against Rose Hill (Birmingham) at a neutral venue in Milton Keynes. At stake will be two of the four slots in the National Final to be held at the end of August up in Daventry at Staverton Park.
In the NAPGC Senior Championships all of our men struggled in unfavourable conditions. The Ladies however played in the best of the day's weather and RPGC had a spectacular day. In the Gross competition, Sheena Harrington (4th), Lia Donath (5th), Angela Flynn (6th) and Elaine Elborn (9th) all performed well, but excelled in the Handicap competition with Sheena 1st, Lia 2nd, Angela 5th and Elaine in 6th. It will not come as any surprise that in the pairs component of the competition that Sheena and Lia were the winners with Angela and Elaine the runners-up. Now I would call that a pretty fine day!
Congratulations to our Club Champion Aidan Hurley who has made it through qualifying at The Oaks to participate in the NAPGC Men's Championship of England this coming Saturday at the famed Woodhall Spa course in Lincolnshire. We all wish him well. There were near misses in the UKPCC qualifying at Hoebridge for Chris Lordan and Aidan Hurley.
Finally, the Men played their first leg in the annual match with Rickmansworth and will take a 4-2 lead in September over to "Tricky Ricky". Maybe this is the year we finally squash the old maxim that you need a 7-0 lead to have a chance of winning over there!
UPCOMING CLUB MATCHES AND EVENTS
- Hawtree A team v Easthampstead at Bird Hills GC Saturday 27th July in South Area Final
- Hawtree B team v Rose Hill in Milton Keynes Saturday 27th July in Midlands Area Final
- Golden Jubilee on Duke's Sunday 21st July
- J Q Robertson on Prince's Sunday 28th July
- Ladies v Mitcham second leg at RPGC leading 3-1 after first leg at Mitcham Saturday 3rd August
- Sweep on Duke's Sunday 4th August
- Bontor Cup Men v Ladies on Duke's Saturday August 10th
- August Monthly Medals on Prince's Sunday 11th August
And lastly, a reminder of the need to sign up for the always hotly-contested annual match between the Ladies and the Men. I am proud to say that I led the Men to a much-needed victory last year over the ladies after a few barren years in the wilderness of perpetual defeat (and much female gloating!). Our previous captain Nick was back in South Africa hanging on every result as it came through. You could hear the sigh of relief reverberate across the wastelands of the Sahara! SO men please sign up soon if you don't want to be disappointed because we will likely match numbers to however many of the ladies Deborah recruits for the fray.
Hit them straight!
Nigel Gaymond (El Capitan)
18 July 2019