Men’s Golf Captain’s Blog

With COP26 taking place in Glasgow over the past fortnight, there’s rightly much talk
about the impact of climate change on our lives. Whether or not you accept the science (and I do), we can all agree that our weather in recent years has changed markedly.

My childhood memories of Bonfire Night were of standing as close to the fire as possible to keep warm, but that’s not the case now. Playing golf with Jo and Justin Thesiger last Saturday, I could see two Members playing in shorts. Hardy guys, I know … but shorts on 5th November?

Members who attended the Annual Meeting of Golfers last month were given an excellent briefing by Peter Bradburn, our Course and Grounds Manager, on the impacts of the changing weather patterns on our course. In short, we are experiencing higher levels of rainfall, more intense rainfall and temperature extremes.

Heavy rain meant that the Season Finale competition was cancelled and the following day the course was unfortunately closed.  Rest assured, the Club is looking at what more needs to be done to improve drainage on the course, with the clear aim of keeping the course open as much as possible. More information from Niels, Golf Committee Chairman, will be forthcoming but in the meantime, you may want to view Peter’s very informative slide deck on the Members’ website.

The upkeep of our course is so important so please go the extra mile in repairing pitch marks, repairing divots, raking bunkers etc – it’s not hard to do, and please respect the GUR signs on the temporary greens that are on some of our holes, and on other parts of the course.  Take a free drop, not nearer the hole.  I know that the overwhelming majority of Members don’t need to be reminded of these issues, and I had hoped that I wouldn’t have to comment about course etiquette so soon into my captaincy!

On behalf of the Men’s Golf section, I congratulate David Howe on being promoted to Head Greenkeeper and to welcome Jamie Wright, as our new Deputy Head Greenkeeper, who joins us from Huntercombe Golf Club, near Henley-on-Thames.

Turning to the actual playing of golf, last weekend saw the final of the 2020 Men’s Summer Fourball (carried over because of the pandemic).  Past captains, Stuart Loggie and Greg Waunford-Brown, beat Andy Nowell and Craig de Silva by one hole – another very competitive match between these two pairs, with Greg and Stuart’s better ball being 3 under. Many congratulations to them. Craig and Andy have the chance to win the 2021 Men’s Summer Fourball, as they are soon to play Adam Musikant and Ben Walmsley in the final.  Good luck to both pairings.

Both winners, and indeed all the winners of our major competitions (including Seniors) over the past year, will be presented with their trophies at the Men’s Golf Dinner, taking place on Friday, November 19thTickets are still available for what is always a very good evening.  John Inverdale, the sports presenter, is our guest speaker.

Last weekend also saw the start of the Men’s Winter Foursomes competition, with a good number of first-round matches played, and a couple of second-round matches also played.  The Men’s Golf Committee would be interested in hearing from Members whether or not the idea of encouraging first-round matches of this competition (and indeed other knockouts) to be played on a single weekend should be repeated.  I am keen to do so.

Surrey A

Two of our Men’s Scratch Team (Luke Gorman and our captain, Peter Crocombe) were selected to play for the Surrey A team at Hindhead on Sunday 7th November. It was a beautiful, crisp winter’s day where Hindhead put out an incredibly strong 12 (many of whom are County first teamers) and they proved too strong at home for the visiting A team in the six x fourball matches, winning 4.5 – 1.5. Peter did manage to secure a half with his partner and both enjoyed hearing the A team still reeling at the loss inflicted by our very own Scratch team a few weeks prior!

The Men’s Golf Committee comprises ten Members, along with Tristan McIllroy and Ricky Pharo. We help Tristan and Louis Laville with the running of the Men’s section, we act as a sounding board for Members and we feed our views into the Club’s Golf Committee, that is chaired by Niels.  A former Men’s Captain, Martin Abbott, and Douglas Millar (Seniors’ Chairman) are Members of the Golf Committee, as am I, as this year’s Men’s Captain.

IG carries details (and importantly photos) of the Men’s Golf Committee and their committee responsibilities.  We represent all Members – irrespective of age and golfing ability.  If you see an empty tee-time slot against their name (and indeed mine), do sign-up – and please say hello if you see us.

One friendly competition that I’m especially keen for a full turnout is the Christmas Charity Competition, on Saturday 18th December.  It’s a team competition and the money raised on the day will go to Regenerate – – the chosen charity of mine and Tricia Morgan, the Ladies’ Captain.  Sign-up via Intelligent Golf opens on 4th December.

More immediately, we have these competitions over the next two weeks:

  • Men’s Stableford: 13th November
  • Club Roll-up (mixed): 21st November
  • Club Roll-up: (mixed): 27th November
  • Scotland vs Rest of the World: 28th The Scottish team, captained by Campbell MacDougall, is still short of a few players, so please contact Campbell via IG if you want to play in this friendly match.

Happy golfing everyone …

Paul Taylor, Men’s Golf Captain