2020 Season so far…
What can be said about the year so far, its been a year of mixed emotions, the CGS lost a great friend this year in Ken Brown, who was a long standing member of the society and a great friend to all, one of the most genuine people you could ever meet, it was a very sad loss indeed. We’ve also experienced a new phenomenon called “Lock-down”, which as impacted all our lives for good and bad, some have revelled under the experience and some have lost jobs and loved ones, above all its been a year to forget for most.
The game of golf although not that important under the circumstances has provided some level of release from the pressures of all the restrictions that were imposed on the World by this so called Pandemic. Once the restrictions of lock-down were relaxed Golf was one of the first activities to be opened up and it saw an influx of players itching to get back out on to the course. With green staff still able to continue working whilst under lock-down many courses were in immaculate condition when golfers returned and with some of the most warmest of temperatures in recent memory it was a joy to be playing again.
The CGS 2020 scheduled was due to start in March at Kilworth Springs but due to Lock-down the event had to be cancelled and re-scheduled for another time. It was the same for Founders Day at Harborne GC in April and the Captains Trophy at Ladbrook Park also in April. Once restrictions were relaxed the committee got down to re-organising the events with the intention to get a full seasons play of eight majors scheduled in for the rest of the season. It involved double stacking events with some months holding two majors. The new schedule started in June at Willesley Park in Leicester for the Caricom cup and was well attended with over 30 golfers biting at the bit to play, some for the first time since Lock-down began. Although it was well attended there were restrictions on meeting up and on how we play the game. So normally we would all meet up on the day as a group but due to restrictions on groups congregating this had to change, so each group were given a tee time and they basically arrived to the course for their time, they played and went home at the end of the round, so no groups gathering at the end for socialising due to another 2020 buzz word termed “social distancing”. There were also restrictions whilst on the course, so no rakes in bunkers and no removal of the flag to putt out for fear of passing on the virus. It was a challenge but everyone adhered to the restrictions best they could and enjoyed the round amongst their own groups best they could. The other challenge which faced the committee was scoring. In order to restrict any transmission of Covid19 there would be no exchange of scorecards and also no handing in of the scorecard at the end of the round. This meant players would have to mark their own scores and also we needed another method of submitting scores in order to determine a winner. There were a few ideas that the committee were planning in order for players to submit their scores at the end of the round but in the end the software we use to manage the events “Handicap Master” was used. Due to COVID Handicap Master removed some restrictions on the society version of the software to allow individuals to post their own scores, this was invaluable and provided the simplest way to manage scores and find a winner for each event. It basically meant that once a player finished their round they would login and submit their scores, they would also back this up by taking a photo of their scorecard and sending it to the handicap secretary for further verification if need be. This was the method used at Willesley and as been in place since.
So on the day of Willesley the first group started out in overcast windy conditions, it was a good test, we had rain and sunshine, it was a mixed bag of conditions but the course was in great nick! With 32 members and guest raring to go it was a more subdued format of “arrive, tee-off, go home”. There wasn’t the usual group banter before tee off so any banter was down to the individual groups and I’m sure there was plenty of it especially after lock-down and some rusty golf swings.
In spite of lock-down there some really good scores on the day, so much so that competition scratch on the day was 34 points, “I can imagine some make shift practice nets at home with table cloths or bed sheets hung up in the garden with a not amused missus looking on from the side line”
There were some memorable moments on the day such as Adrian Swaby’s birdie on the Par 5 3rd, Chris Powell’s long drive on the 18th to win the longest drive of the day, Trevor Lammy’s eagle on the 14th to win the nearest the pin in three, a position that could only be matched and not bettered, there was also Dave Brown’s nearest the pin in two which was held on the par 4 5th or even Paul Ramsey winning the nearest the pin on the par 3 10th, however none could match Carl Cunningham’s birdie on the Par 4 13th, where he hit driver wedge to six feet and holed the putt for birdie. Those were indeed some memorable moments from our visit to Willesley but where it counted most was for the top prize and there was only one winner who pretty much destroyed the field with his nearest rival some six points behind. With 42 points, winning the Caricom Cup and a man on a mission was Dale Bromfield, who’s got to be the most improved player over the last couple seasons.
In runner up spot to Dale with 36 points and after the eagle on 14 was Trevor Lammy and in 3rd with 35 points was Roan McLeod.
The next event took place only a few weeks later at Telford Golf Club, on a day which might be remembered for an ill-fated racist comment by an hotel guess during a period in our lives where a concern for the lives of people of African decent couldn’t be more relevant the comment as resonated to the core of the CGS and will not be forgotten.
With most unaware of what had transpired upon the arrival of some of the CGS members the golf continued as normal and for one player in particular comparisons could be drawn to bygone days of the West Indies dominance of the cricket world where a limping Sir Gordon Greenidge took um bridge to an English bowling attack. On this occasion it wasn’t Cricket but Golf but the warning was the same with Clyde Pile our winner of the Captain’s Trophy who’d turned his ankle early in his round and unaffected by the injury rose to the occasion striking everything out the middle of the club. He went on to compile a total of 40 points which was way too good for the remaining 31 competitors, with his nearest rival on 37 points Clyde limped home to take the Captains Trophy.
It was another good turn out by our members in these difficult times. There were other good performances by Harvey Lawrence with 37 points who took the runner up spot, along with Dale Bromfield who continued his good form in 3rd place with 36 points playing off a 17 handicap having lost three strokes after is win at Willesley, his performance has given him a clear lead in the Order of Merit.
Other notables on the day:
Alan Ferguson on the 15th had his first ever birdie since playing with the CGS, his playing partners were over the moon for him. Longest drive on the day went to Carlton Donalds, nearest the pin was Clyde Pile, another prize to go with his winners trophy and nearest the pin in two was Al Beckford.
CGS next travelled to Staverton Park Golf Club, a venue last visited in 2014. It was another well represented event with another strong field of over 30 golfers. On a warm but changeable day the course was not in the best condition for play, the club did apologised and have offered the CGS a return visit for next year which is an acceptable gesture.
It was a mixed bag of scores returned, some players you wouldn’t expect to be lingering at the bottom of the field did exactly that when the final scores were returned and there were some form players again in the top prizes.
With the Secretaries Shield on offer to the winner the 33 point competition scratch score showed that the course was playing a little hard for those in attendance. The average winning score this season seems to be hovering near the 40 point mark and on this occasion that trend continued. With the winning score of 39 points winning his first CGS major was Al Beckford. It was a solid round of golf from Al, playing off a 15 handicap his play was solid on the day, as playing partner and CGS Captain Mickey Taylor would attest to “Al played really well”! – Mick also noted that the last two event winners have come from his group, guess he’s some kind of lucky mascot, “don’t all try to get into Micks group now”!
In the runner up spot with 36 points and the most informed golfer in the CGS was Dale Bromfield. Playing off his new handicap of 16 having started the season on 20 it just shows the CGS do get it wrong when handicaps are adjusted, Dale was never a 20 handicap golfer and now it shows. In 3rd place only a point behind on 35 was Trevor Lammy.
When it came to the lesser prizes the nearest the pin in three was the standout prize as it was shared by three people. The challenge was nearest the pin in three on the par 5 11th and three golfers in the field eagled the hole to share that prize, two guests and from CGS Roan McLeod. Nearest the pin was Chris Powell, nearest in two was Junior Harris and longest drive went to CGS long drive maestro himself Ian Higgins.
The fixtures come around fast as we moved onto Cleobury Mortimer for the first time in three years the course which has three banks of nine, we played the ,Badgers Sett & Foxes Run both of which were in fine condition and the weather was kind to us as 31 members and guests teed it up. The top five had a new look, Adrian Swaby who had his best result so far 32 points, which saw him finish fifth, another new name Noel Wright scored 37 points which was good for second spot. The winner on the day picking up the Players Trophy was Ian Higgins with 38 points, It was a solid round from Ian shooting a gross score of 6 over par. A man usually named as winner of the long drive showed his game is more than just long drives. Other prizes on the day went to Chris Powell for longest drive, nearest the pin in one & two went to Ansel Pottinger and nearest the pin in three went to Noel Wright.
Next up the rescheduled Fix-Up Cup an event usually reserved as the season opener but due to COVID the seasons events had to be moved around to get all eight majors in. A job done well so far by the committee.