Fellow golfers,

It seems rather late for this, but…. Happy New Year to you all.

I was at the club to see in the New Year at the dinner dance.  It all went very well and I was delighted to spend a most enjoyable evening in the company of fellow members.  I was most restrained with my attire; wearing black tie ensemble.  I saved the full highland dress for the Burns Supper.

The Burns’ event was fantastic.  We had almost 100 attend for traditional fayre together with the customary speeches, a live Ceilidh Band & caller and a wonderfully dressed bagpiper.  The Cullen Skink was a standout starter; so well done chef.  Tomek & Karel had done a fabulous job in getting a delivery of Belhaven real ale delivered – a special Robert Burns brown ale brew from the Edinburgh area, thank you I’ve been enjoying that.

As for those helping with the speeches, well: I was probably boring delivering the Immortal Memory (though I hope not); but thanks must go to Evelyn Somerville (Selkirk Grace), Bob Turpie (Toast to the Lassies), Pat Dowsett (Response form the Lassies) and Dan Deery (Address to the Haggis).  I have to say that I have not witnessed a more theatrical and dramatic address than Dan’s.  It was brilliant, although he did nearly break my finger with the knife-clutching episode!  To pick out one item in particular is probably unfair, but I shall.  Pat was explaining that the words ladies use are often misunderstood by us men.  If a lady says “go ahead” it is apparently not permission; it is a dare!!  I, personally, am worried now.

On the subject of Scottish bagpipers in full highland dress – I think I had a moral victory on Saturday at the Calcutta Cup, before any results were posted, with my piper playing behind the 1st tee all morning?  I have to give Mark Lambert the credit for the suggestion and thanks for sharing the cost with me.   The event in the past has always been a highlight with the golf match-play competition and the “apres-golf” rugby, food & repartee.  This year was no exception.

The results of each match are kept confidential until the great reveal, when we go through the matches in order and ask the combatants to stand and then the losers sit down.  Last year after 18 matches had been declared we needed to know the result of the 19th match to get the overall result.  Well it happened again on Saturday, we needed the 19th result.  You can’t make this stuff up!

I regret to report that England won again (10 ½:8½) under the captaincy of Mick Archbold.  As a Scot, though, I was made up with Scotland beating the Auld Enemy at Murrayfield; and, on the golf side of things, with the help of John Woods beating Mick & Peter Hurwood in our match.

I had a fantastic day and I hope the other participants, win draw or lose, did also.

Another function that took place recently was the Bridge Club Charity Lunch.  The club took over the downstairs on Monday 19 February for their annual bridge event.  Their numbers swelled way above the club membership, with a total of 88 players taking part.  I attended from first light and remained until the last die-hards faded away.  I have never played bridge and didn’t attempt it then either, but I had a great time and enjoyed the company and the lunch.  The event raised an amazing £1,045 for the Captain’s Charity and my thanks have to go to Yvonne Pini for organizing and running the event brilliantly, as I understand from previous captains that she always does.  I know that Yvonne had help from a number of people and I thank them also, albeit not naming names.

Further thanks need to be recorded to Jacqui Cundell, Christine Thomas, Dianna Elliott & Pam Clark who cleaned the trophy cabinets and silverware on 24 January.  That was above and beyond the call of duty, but much appreciated.  To be clear, there was no discrimination evident on that morning.  The ladies cleaned trophies whether they were Ladies’, Men’s or Mixed.  Thank you.

I now need to go into appeal mode:

The Ladies’ Charity Day is on 4 April, the Captain’s Charity Day on 3 June and the Corporate Charity Day on 22 June.

I am keen to raise as much as we can for PARITY – the Captain’s Charity for my year.  A key element to raising serious funds is obtaining interesting items to auction and a variety of items to raffle.  For the auction, it has always proved beneficial to have items that “money otherwise could not buy”.  Please put on your thinking caps and ask yourselves the question: “Is there something I could offer that might raise some money for the charity?”.  I would love to hear from you.  Getting commitments well in advance is always helpful.  In that way we can promote the items in advance and motivate members to attend and bid.

As for raffle items, I am grateful for a wide variety.  You can hand them at any time beforehand to me, or Janet Scott (thank you Janet for your continued help with the raffle) or the Pro Shop.  If that causes too much thought, I am always happy to receive donations.  They can either be used for raffle items or as a straight contribution to the charity fund.  Remember that if every member makes a small donation it amounts to a huge amount for the charity.

Past captains have had another way of raising funds for the charity.  That is the Captain/Pro Challenge.  We have had two such events in the past: the Club Captain & Lee Mucklow taking on challengers in a 4BBB and the Lady Captain & Richard Bishton doing likewise.

Clearly we now have a limitation on this activity with only the one Club Captain.  We will continue to hold the customary Club Captain/Pro Challenge with Lee and me taking on challengers.  That will be 4BBB and can be two men, two ladies or a mixed pair – most progressive?  Just to clarify: the challengers get to donate to the charity whether they win or lose – it is the taking part…..!

To take the place of the now obsolete Lady Captain/Richard Bishton challenge (sorry Richard) the new Junior Captain, Joe Silcock, has kindly agreed to play with me to take on challenges in 4BBB format from pairs of Junior & Adult.  I am very grateful to Joe for agreeing to do that.  Please bear in mind that unlike me, an old retired chap, Joe is busy with school and other distractions.  I am very grateful to Joe for offering to do this.  I do hope that a number of you will take up this opportunity to donate funds for the Captain’s Charity.

Sign up for both challenges will be posted shortly; probably on the notice boards in the stairwell.

As for competitive golf: members are signing up fast to the Summer KOs.   Do not forget to register your interest on Handicap Master to represent your club in teams against other clubs.  These matches are always fun and not always too serious.

I am particularly pleased to report that we are now launching a new summer pairs KO competition this year.  With the help of Lee Mucklow and sponsorship from David & Matthew Kircher, in memory of their mother, Mary, who was our first Lady Captain of the club in 1994, we are launching a Greensomes Summer KO where each pair must be a Junior & Adult member.  The adult is not required to be a relative of the Junior, because we have Juniors who would like to play but (believe it or not) do not have golf-playing parents!  It is likely that a number of adult members do not know the Juniors but may be willing to participate and facilitate a Junior playing in the summer KO.  We are putting a sign-up sheet on Handicap Master for adults to register their interest/willingness to play.  Lee will then pair you up with a Junior.  Your willingness to assist and engage with these youngsters, whose golf prowess is quite simply inspirational, would be much appreciated.  The success of our Juniors in county golf is impressive; your help in making them even more rounded would be welcome.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the upcoming events:

Call My Bluff – 7pm Wednesday 14 March

A fun quiz type evening of wine & cheese, following the lines of the old Frank Muir TV programme that us old timers will recall.  I am disappointed to be missing that – I am taking my wife to Vegas to gamble my retirement pot away!

Course Forum – 7pm Wednesday 28 March

The course forums have proved very informative and useful for members in the past.  Come and listen and participate – it is your golf course.  Leigh Powell wants to tell you what his team is doing and hear what you think.

Golf: Mixed Pairs Neapolitan – 12noon Easter Monday 2 April

A social yet competitive afternoon with one-course meal & prizes.  If you would like to find a playing partner for the event, sign up on the Singles sheet on Handicap Master and we will attempt to find you someone.

Now for more mundane matters:

At the AGM I said that the new structure was reliant upon members doing their little bit to help with the running of their club.

Your Club Committee is looking for some volunteers to step forward to help with the Friday Roll-up admin.  Just volunteering for one Friday (3:15pm – 8:30pm) in the summer season is of great help.  Please contact me in person or by email through committee@windleshamgolf.com

Hoping for some warmer weather very soon…..

Graham, your Club Captain