12 members were very fortunate to be selected by David Saady to play in the first match of the season at the lovely West Hill Golf Club. This was the venue for the first RAF success in the Inter-Services Competition in 1931 and there is a good chance that our matches against the club started then. We have certainly been playing this fixture since 1957 and we are always looked after superbly. The course was in great condition. Although the greens had recently been tined they were deceptively swift. As usual, local knowledge played a factor and the home team fielded some good match players so we had our work cut out. Q Dixon & Tim Bishop led the way winning on the 15th with a betterball gross score of 2 under par. Rick Lipscomb & Phil Hopkins also played well to win. The hard luck story belonged to Jago Jones-Rogers & Dennis Virgo who lost to a great par on the difficult 18th – the only time in the match when they were behind! So West Hill won 4-2 and reclaimed the Jim Webster Salver.
1st round v Old Marlburians
The first 2 pairs of Dave Marshall & Mark Oliver, and Chris Audin & Al Mathers both secured wins, so although the final pairing of John Blanks & Steve Yorke were ahead, they called it a half, so the score was 2.5 -0.5
2nd round v Old Epsomians
This match was almost a repeat of the first round with the first 2 pairs winning and the final pair being ahead and settling for a half.
Semi-final v Old Cranleighans
In the semi-final all 3 teams registered wins, so into the final.
Final v Old Shirburnians
The first pair won, the second pair lost and the 3rd pair were 1 up going down the 18th. The opposition played the hole very well to win it and force a play-off down the 1st. After John Blanks bisected the fairway with a huge drive, Steve Yorke hit a great wedge to 15 feet. John rolled in the putt for a birdie and a win. This is the 12th time the RAFGS has won the Brent Knoll Bowl and was almost a carbon copy repeat of 2017 when Dave Marshall & Mark Oliver won on the 19th.
|Brent Knoll Bowl||RAF Golfing Society|
|Runners Up||Old Shirburnian Golfing Society|
|Consolation Salver||The Army Golfing Society|
|Runners Up||The Bogeymen Golfing Society|
|The Sunday Stableford Winners||Royal Navy 87 pts|
|Runners Up||Old Millfieldians 80 pts|
The West Byfleet course was in good order for the annual fixture against the AERO GS, which is one of our longest standing matches. Apart from one short heavy rain shower, the weather was fine. In the morning 4-balls for the Keith-Davies trophy, first awarded in 1949, it was nip and tuck with the AERO winning the first 2 matches, but our tail wagged vigorously and achieved 3 wins and a half, enabling us to retain the trophy by 3.5 – 2.5. The grand tally for the trophy is now 39 wins, 7 draws and 23 defeats. After an excellent lunch the showers disappeared and we played 11 holes of Greensomes for the Piercey-John Quaich, presented jointly to mark the excellent support given by Ray Piercey & David John to both societies. This was the third such contest and for the third time the AERO GS prevailed. Our Team Manager, Mike Harding, will investigate a different wine for lunch next year. This time the score was 3.5 – 2.5. Well done Phil Sperring who was the only RAFGS player to record 2 victories.
Sir Roger Palin presenting the Piercey-John Quaich to Eddie Axten (L) , Captain of the AERO GS
This was the 46th year in which we have played Henley Golf Club for the Danesfield Trophy. The day started well in our quest to regain the trophy – the weather was fine and Team Captain, Basil Evans, had selected a strong side in the hope that this year, his last as Match Manager, would halt a run of 9 successive defeats. However, Henley had also picked a strong team including 3 Cat 1 golfers including their Captain and they knew their course rather better than we did. After 6 holes, the home side were narrowly ahead, but most of our pairs played the next 3 holes well so at half time we were level. The heavens then opened and the Henley chaps coped better in the wet conditions. For Basil, a past Captain of Henley and past committee member of the RAFGS, who had organised our side and coordinated the event so well with Henley over the last 9 years it was a frustrating day. But Henley are super hosts and the excellent post match dinner was very convivial. The end result was a 1-5 defeat. Maybe next year!
“31 golfers gave their waterproof clothing a comprehensive check-out in the Spring Meeting at Luffenham Heath. The course was in excellent condition but scoring was tough in the cold, wet and windy conditions.
Richie Matthews with 32 points was just beaten on countback for 2nd place by new member Liam Pucill. However, with 37 points including a brilliant 20 points on the testing back 9, Steve Baxendale was a most deserving winner of the impressive Elizabeth Singer Trophy. After a good lunch 12 pairs set off in gradually improving conditions which were reflected in the scores. Jay Corn & Jay Hellawell could not sustain another very fast start and finished with 33 points for 3rd place. Second were Richie & Liam with 34 points to complete a very satisfactory day. The winners of the Egerton Johnson Cup with a commendable 36 points including an excellent 20 points on the back 9 were Ken McCann & Mick Roche. The catering went down very well and Luffenham Heath did their best to make us all comfortable, despite the wet morning.”
“39 golfers were privileged to play Castle Stuart – one of the most picturesque courses in the world. The weather was almost perfect but a fresh breeze made scoring a challenge. In 3rd place was Robby Boyce beating Graham Hughes on count back with 35 points. The Top 2 spots went to players from RAF Lossiemouth who used local knowledge to excellent effect. Mark Spence scored 37 points playing off 9, with 4 birdies to come 2nd. The winner with a superb 38 points, including 14 pars, 2 birdies and 2 bogeys was RAF player Ben Spoor, playing off 2. The club looked after us with great style.
“The fantastic weather continued at Nairn Dunbar where the tourists played the first of their 4 days in search of the Scottish Cup. The fairways were firm and the greens were true so it was not surprising that several players recorded impressive rounds. Those with 37-39 points have their handicaps reduced by one shot for the next 3 days. These included Graham Hughes with 37 in 7th place, Peter Norriss with a better 37 in 6th place, Phil Sperring with 38 in 5th and Gordon Varley with 39 in 4th. Jerry Davies scored 40 to come 3rd on countback from Keith Williams. The clear winner was Tony Bhullar, playing off 14 who recorded an amazing 43 points which included a stupendous back 9 of 26 points! The top 3 golfers now have a 2 shot reduction to their handicap for the next 3 days.”
“In idyllic conditions the 39 tourists had a great day at Moray Golf Club. The lack of recent rain made the fairways firm so the ball was running prodigious distances, with May players driving through the green on the 254 yard 10th. So the beautiful yellow gorse lining most of the fairways did not look quite so attractive to the longer hitters. With an increasing wind it became hard to score well so 1st place went to Graham Hughes with 36 points. Tony Doveston had a strong back 9 to come 2nd with 35 on countback from Mark Rumble and Richard Masefield. The afternoon winners of the Texas Scramble were Farrukh Bajwa, Jerry Davies and David Hilton.”
Elgin report: “For the 3rd consecutive day there was not a cloud in the sky though the warm southerly wind made scoring difficult at Elgin. The greens were in excellent condition, much to the relief of the Club Captain, Marian Evans, who is one of the tourists. We traditionally find that Elgin is the hardest course on the Tour and today’s was no exception. In 4th, 5th & 6th place with 34 points were Sion Lewis, Mel Clegg & Sam Macleod. The consistent Graham Hughes was 3rd with 35. 2nd losing on countback was Nigel Martin with 36 and the winner was Richard Masefield.”
“The last day at Forres was a triumph for Mel Clegg on her first visit, winning with 38 points. 6 players – Joe Bradshaw, Ronnie MacIndoe, Richard Masefield, Gordon Varley, Graham Hughes & Sion Lewis had 36 points.
Yet again the Scottish Tour was amazingly successful. 39 tourists included 4 new members – Terry Betts, Mel Clegg, Peter Norriss and Jenny Smale. We were fortunate to be accommodated in the Officers’ Mess at Kinloss and to experience 5 days of perfect weather. Adding up the scores for the 4 days produced a clear winner of the guest prize – Graham Hughes, again. 3rd overall with a fine 138 points was Tony Bhullar. 2nd was new tourist Mel Clegg with 139 points – a creditable performance on her first tour. The winner of the Scottish Cup and Sandy Aitken’s Quaich with 4 very steady rounds was Richard Masefield. 39 Engr Regt looked after us extremely well. The Ramnee Hotel was the scene of an outstanding Presentation Dinner, with many happy tourists sharing a host of memories.”
“In beautiful weather we played Sonning Golf Club at Woodhall Spa. Sonning had brought a team of accomplished golfers. However, on the magnificent Hotchkin course, after 6 matches of 4BBB we recorded an outstanding 5-1 lead for the 2nd year running. This time we shared the spoils on the Bracken and so recorded a superb victory by 8–4. Non-playing Captain Malcolm Middlemist was thrilled. Richard Masefield and John Pearce played well to be in 2 winning pairs, but it was a real team effort with every player being in a winning pair. The splendid Petwood Hotel, complete with its RAF memorabilia was again the scene of much banter.”
Thank you all for turning out for the match between RAFGS and Hunstanton – and Winning. I hope you enjoyed the event; I certainly felt that, once again, it was played in a good spirit. John Mason, their organiser, was a little concerned that it was something of a rush. He is keen that next year, we have a more leisurely lunch and even delay the afternoon start time so we can enjoy a little more wine!! I’m still not sure if it was our limited alcohol consumption that contributed to our success!
Mark Hudson was thrilled by the team’s performance against the RNGS at the wonderful West Sussex Golf Club today. We led 5-1 at lunch and some more great performances resulted in a win by 8-4.
The Winners of The Thames Valley Meeting at Studley Wood Jay Hellawell and Jon Corlett
Overall & Combined Scores – Jay Hellawell and Jon Corlett
Greensomes (1/2 Combined) Steve Hopkins & Steve Lesiakowski
Betterball 3/4 Handicap – Ken McCann & Ian Wood
The annual match against Royal Cinque Ports took place on a warm and thankfully dry June day with the course in excellent condition, despite heavy overnight rain. The elite (?) team of RAFGS players, with 3 currently serving members, proved too strong for the local team, who struggled to cope with the pace of the greens – thanks to the greens staff, who had applied a sand dressing that morning. A rare win for the RAF by 4 ½ to 1 ½. As always, the match was played in an excellent spirit and the members were generous hosts. In the afternoon 7 RAF and 1 RCP member took the opportunity offered by the club to go out in the afternoon and enjoy the experience of playing a second round on this famous links course.
Team members: Peter Bedford, Bill Belton, Roger Carr, Q Dixon, Nigel Dowdall, Paul Mardon, Jason Parr, Rod Powell, Neil Roberts, Si Stephens, Denis Virgo.