Chairman's Autumn News for 2023

The second half of the season proved to be as good as the first half. Great courses and (almost totally) fine weather.

Dale Hill (with a couple of minor hiccups) proved to be a fine location for the AGM. Pat Bennett and Doug Carrington found it particularly to their liking, winning the Handicap Cups, and Doug and Kim Sparks took home the Enjoy Golf Together Trophy.

Next came Blackmoor and North Hants, two of the finest courses in England. Which is the better? Everyone had their own opinion, but the clubhouse at North Hants must be one of the best in the country. The winners here were Pat Bennett (again) and Ian Edwards, though lan took some convincing.

Finally, we visited our latest participating club Cavendish, near Buxton, and Prestbury in Cheshire, both for the very first time. The early starters at Cavendish had to contend with a couple of hours of rain, but we were made to feel very welcome. It is a terrific addition to our list of favourite clubs. Luckily the next day was warm and sunny and Prestbury offered the best soup and sandwiches of the year! It was good to see so many new members pick up trophies. The Super Senior Salvers went to Sue Devine and Geoff Ogden and the Barlow Senior Trophies to John Taylor and Delyse Wadkin. Congratulations to all the trophy winners. Let me remind you to return them, engraved and polished, at or before the equivalent meeting next year.

Not quite finally. The last event of the year was the tour to Praia D’El Rey, an hour north of Lisbon. A wonderful hotel, three great courses and 27 eager golfers. What could go wrong? A lot could, but nothing did. It all worked perfectly. The spoils were evenly divided, partly because nobody understood the rules, but we all loved it. Many thanks to Giles and Christine for their hard work. And congrats to Anne-Marie Martin for her hole-in-one at the Praia course! Before you ask, yes it was expensive in the bar afterwards!!!

Overall, it has been a great year, visiting so many new (to us) clubs and almost all the meetings being full. As always we owe a lot to Brian who arranges all the venues, negotiates the tee times and favourable rates and then sorts out the inevitable issues on the day without us even being aware. All while being a very successful Captain at Astbury Golf Club.

Financially we are doing well and are forecasting a small increase in our reserves as decided at the AGM.

The recent developments on the website are proving to be well worth it. Brian reports a significant improvement in membership enquiries since online application became available. Not all are valid (we reject those who are not club members for instance) but we are getting an increased flow of new members which we need as you all know. Again I need to thank Ian Macleod for his efforts and expertise.

This year, for the first time, you will be able to apply for meetings online. We are in the final phases of testing, but with a bit of luck there will be a button in the Members’ Area which will take you to an online version of the application form. Payments will be taken by direct debit, using a company called Go Cardless, on the same dates the cheques would have been cashed. We know we need to move away from cheques, but for this year only, you will be able to choose between the online method and the traditional paper form and cheques.

As usual, just a reminder to tell your friends about the Society, especially those in clubs where we don’t have members at present.

Lastly, thank you to the Committee for all their help and support. And to all of you, winter well, hopefully with a warm break thrown in, and enjoy the holidays.

See you next year.

Best Wishes