Newsletter 2019


Please respond by the most convenient means to the questions in the questionnaire concerning the Centenary events in 2021. Responses imply no commitment but will inform the committee’s plans. Link to Questionnaire

With grateful thanks to Steve Baxendale we now have our own web-site! It includes our history, the winners of our competitions, the results of last year’s matches plus the minutes of the last 2 AGM. Details of available golf shirts and sweaters are also posted.

Last year I reported that 2017 had got off to the best possible start. Lightning very nearly struck twice. Our Scratch team came as close as possible to retaining the Brent Knoll Bowl, losing to the Royal Navy Inter-Services squad on the 18th in the final. Our first match was at the lovely West Hill club where we recorded a rare victory so the omens were looking good. Sadly the winning streak was short-lived. Despite fielding some of our strongest sides in terms of handicaps for many years we frequently came across opponents who made the most of the shots coming their way. But there is always another chance as we are invited back this year. The Meetings were strongly supported and blessed with fine weather, as was, yet again, the Scottish Tour. An amazing statistic from the Championship Meeting was that all 38 members returned completed cards for 2 medal rounds – with not one N/R. So on the golfing front 2018 was another resounding success.

On a sadder note, we bade farewell to 4 of our stalwarts this year. A strong team led by Vice President Sir Roger Palin attended John Hart’s Memorial Service. John was an excellent Secretary of the RAFGS from 1976-93. He beat his age regularly at his beloved Rye and for 20 years arranged the match there usually with 18 and once 24-a-side. In the 1950s he was the ADC to HM’s Governor General in Iraq. When told to arrange for the car to be upgraded he decided to do the job himself – driving the Rolls-Royce from Baghdad to Piccadilly in his KD and driving the new one back! They don’t make folk like John any more.

Another well-known and well-respected figure was Bob Price, who died at the age of 90. Bob was a good golfer, a great organiser, a member since 1956 and a Vice-President of the RAFGS since 1996. He was the first Chairman of the RAF Golf Association when it formed in the early 70s. He later became a popular Captain of the Senior Golf Society and Secretary of Ganton Golf Club.

One of our very best golfers, Jon Marks, died suddenly in May. His golf success started in 1970 when he won our Spring, Summer and Championship Meetings – the first of no less than 22 victories in RAFGS competitions. He went on to win many prestigious events including the Golf Illustrated Gold Vase, previously won by Bobby Jones. His golf took off when he became eligible for Seniors’ events; he was English Seniors Champion, European Seniors Champion and played for England Seniors for 6 years, finally as Captain. In 2003, when playing in our Championship Meeting at The Berkshire, he arrived at the Par 5 18th green on the Red course having birdied the 5 previous Par 5s. He then holed a 50 foot putt for another birdie to record a 66, with just 3s and 4s on his card. After lunch, he parred all 18 holes on the Blue course for a 2-round total of 138. He was not just a great golfer, but was a genuinely modest man. He will be much missed.

Johnny Johnson sadly passed away before he was able to compete for the Mosquito trophies he so generously donated. Johnny was an ardent fan of Foursomes golf and was an extremely popular member of our teams for several years. The society was well represented at his funeral.

Plans for the Centenary celebrations in 2021 are on track. The committee was thrilled when Moor Park Golf Club made an incredibly generous offer to host our flagship event. We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Moor Park which was the venue for our first Meeting after WWII. The clubhouse and the High Course have a real wow factor and the club has an excellent reputation for providing fine meals for large numbers. There will be a Shotgun start for 92 golfers in June 2021, with space for an extra 20 diners. The Centenary Fund currently stands at £2820. 162 members played in various events this year, each contributing £10 towards the fund. Because of Moor Park’s generosity we can afford to subsidise 2 additional Centenary Meetings if there is sufficient demand. Coxmoor, near Mansfield, is an excellent course which held the English Seniors’ Championship in 2018 and they too have made us extremely welcome for an event in August 2021. The location of a third venue will depend upon your response to the enclosed questionnaire. The 2020 Newsletter and the web-site will provide more details and the 2021 handbook will contain the entry forms.

Our teams achieved excellent wins against West Hill, the AERO GS, Sonning at Woodhall Spa and the Army Officers, with good draws against North Hants, Rye and Sonning. The overall summary is: W4, D3, L9. Several match reports indicate that the final result hinged on the last putt on the 18th green! All our matches are on excellent courses. I strongly encourage in-form golfers to reserve a place with the Team Managers as soon as your diaries are organised.

On a beautiful sunny day at Luffenham Heath we welcomed no less than 7 new faces to the Spring Meeting – Steve Baxendale, Mel Clegg, Paul Doodson, Chris Emmott, Phil Hopkins, Steve Lockwood and Ken McCann, in an excellent field of 36, which included 16 playing off handicaps of 10 or better. The course was in great condition. The day was a triumph for Richard Masefield who defended the splendid Elizabeth Singer trophy with aplomb. His 38 points, including an amazing front 9 of 23, just pipped Jack Reacher. 3rd place on countback went to Bill Evans, who showed that it is not necessary to hit the ball 250 yards if you have a good short game. In the Foursomes, Steve Baxendale & Robby Boyce were 3rd with 35. 2 pairs scored an excellent 37. With a brilliant front 9 of 21, Chris Emmott & John Pearce came 2nd to Paul Doodson & Richard Masefield. Among a strong supporting cast, Ian Robinson came close to a hole-in-one on the 308 yard 8th. A great day was enjoyed by all.

The fine weather followed us to Scotland, where Castle Stuart was amazing for the quality of the course and the tremendous views. Shorts were in abundance. Our group of 30 was enhanced by 2 players from Kinloss who had smoothed our passage onto the base, and by 4 RAF Lossiemouth golfers including Pete Beckett, a previous Tour winner, and 2 RAF players – Daz Gould & Nat Simpson. Nat scored 36 to come 4th. Graham Hughes started as he continued with 38 to come 3rd. 2 golfers scored 40 points. Daz, playing off 2, had 6 birdies, but the better back 9 belonged to Farrukh Bajwa off 19. Elgin had just hosted the Scottish Club Championships so we were faced with some devilish pin positions which affected the scores. Forbes Smith was 3rd behind Roger Scothern with 33, leaving Gordon Varley a surprised winner with 34. Normal scoring resumed at Nairn Dunbar, where Tony Bhullar scored 39 to come 3rd, behind Patrick McIlroy and Graham Hughes on 41. After lunch, Tim Evans & John Pearce both recorded holes-in-one on the 8th! Pat McIlroy won at Moray with 37, from Tony Bhullar & Roger Scothern. It was all to play for at Forres with several players within reach of claiming the Scottish Cup. John Dobbs with 39 just beat Graham Hughes and John Pearce. When the scores were all totted up, Gordon Varley, Tony Bhullar & Forbes Smith all had 131 points, but coming fast up the rails was the consistent Tony Doveston who retained the Scottish Cup and Sandy Aitken’s Quaich with 132. Forbes was the 2nd Vet and Graham Hughes convincingly won the Guest Prize. 39 Engr Regt again looked after us well in the Sgts’ Mess and we return next year. The cost of golf in Scotland has gone up so the Tour price is £340 in 2019, with £55 refunded to those who only play one round each day.

The original date for the Thames Valley Meeting at Studley Wood was rearranged due to the forecast of torrential thunderstorms. The heaviest rain for many weeks greeted us on the new date but fortunately ceased just before our first tee time and thereafter the 10 pairs of golfers enjoyed a fine day. They were playing for a magnificent pair of mahogany Mosquitoes donated by Johnny Johnson, each in superb carriage cases beautifully crafted by Bill Evans. The winners, Paul Carroll (in his first RAFGS event) and Mick Roche, thoroughly deserved their victory by winning the morning Greensomes and the afternoon Betterball, collecting 7 birdies in the process. Terry Smith & Dennis Virgo were 2nd with Phil Gough & Rick Lipscomb 3rd. This is a great venue for this very informal pairs event.

We had a fantastic day for the Summer Meeting at Newark. In hot weather a record field of 55 golfers played in the morning Stableford with 50 in the afternoon Greensomes. Newark Golf Club went out of their way to help fit them all in. We welcomed Mark Cooke and Mal Wray to their first meeting for a while, and Liz Moses, Rick Richardson and Ollie Whyatt to their first ever. No less than 8 ladies competed for the Ladies Cup. Pauline Dignan came 2nd again, with a cracking 39 points, but Liz Moses won with an excellent 40 points and also collected the Pru Riddiford Bowl, with Mel Clegg 2nd. The Denys Field Scratch Cup produced 2 super rounds. Mark Cooke recorded 4 birdies to score 34 points coming 2nd to Mal Wray’s outstanding level par round of 36. There was fierce competition for the beautiful Handicap Cup once won by Henry Cotton. Mal just prevailed with 41 points beating Liz Moses on countback with Gordon Varley 3rd with 39. Scoring for the Sassoon Cups was even better! Steve Lockwood & Ollie Whyatt beat Mick Roche & Ian Wood on countback to come 2nd with 40 points. Mal Wray completed a perfect day by partnering Steve Baxendale to score a superb 41.

It was another hot day for the Championship Meeting at Frilford Heath where 41 golfers played the Blue & Green courses. The star of the show was Aaron Ashberry who won the Challenge Cup with a magnificent gross aggregate of 134 including 9 birdies and just 2 bogeys – the lowest score on record. Geoff Ascroft put up a stout defence to come 2nd beating Lee Lawrence on countback. Aaron almost won the Handicap Cup but lost on a tight countback to Kevin Huish with Lee 3rd. Mick Roche retained the Vet’s Scratch trophy, with David Backhouse 2nd on countback from Dennis Virgo, who won the Vet’s Handicap competition with Stu Butler 2nd and Malcolm Middlemist 3rd on countback from Richard Masefield. The latter 2 were also in competition for the India Trophy for which we had 6 contestants, so Malcolm just shaded this – an excellent effort including going round in his age. Phil Hopkins and Kevin Huish recorded eagles and among some excellent performances, Alan Mathers’ run of 7 birdies in 13 holes on the Blue stands out. It was a great day. In 2019 we play the Red and Green courses.

28 golfers had a brilliant day at Fulford. The course was in excellent condition and yet again the scores were impressive. Mel Clegg beat Robby Boyce on countback for 3rd place with 38 and Forbes Smith was 2nd with 39. The winner of the Halifax Trophy and the Veteran’s Plate was local man Barry Hughes with a superb 40 points. The Greensome scores were even better with 8 pairs scoring 37 or more. 3 pairs had 41 points! John Pearce & Alan Roberts were 2nd, Jon Barker & Ron Blyth came 3rd and Jay Corn & Jay Hellawell were 4th after a very fast start. However, the winners of the Cheshire Plates with an outstanding 43 points were Roger Carr and Bill Evans who showed that at 87 years of age he can still chip and putt better than anyone. Fulford looked after us very well.

A brisk wind greeted the excellent field of 33 golfers at North Hants. The morning round was tough for most of us but Martin Old did well to score 37 points to come 3rd. In 2nd place, winning the Swinton Cup first presented in 1935 and inscribed with the names of Henry Cotton & Guy Wolstenholme, was Jerry Davies with an excellent 39. The best round was an amazing 41 by guest Farrukh Bajwa. The 12 holes of Greensomes for the Grant Govan Cups resulted in a 3-way tie. 3rd with an impressive front 6 were Sam Macleod & Patrick McIlroy, 2nd were the defending champions Jerry Davies & Rick Lipscomb. The winners were Tony Bhullar & Gordon Varley. It was another very good day.

34 golfers, including Gail Lawrence for the first time, enjoyed a dry round at Sandy Lodge where the greens again proved a bit tricky for some of us. But they held no qualms for the medical profession who filled 3 of the top 4 places. Beating Nigel Dowdall to 3rd place on countback with 35 points was Lyndon Wall. 2 chaps playing the course for the first time had cracking rounds of 38 points. With a gross 3 over par, but with a slightly inferior back 9 was Ian Robinson. So Gordon Varley proudly received the Roses Bowl. Nearest the pins were won by Mike Peaker, Rod Powell, David Blood and Peter Bedford. The catering was excellent and we return in 2019.

At the end of 2018, the Society had 388 Full Members and 29 Affiliated/Lady Members. Please keep recruiting new members. We need them.

With sadness the deaths of the following members are recorded:

M.J. Dale, E.A. Green, Air Cdre J.H. Haines OBE, P.H. Johnson, P.A. Langdon, J.V.T. Marks, AVM R.G. Price CB, Sqn Ldr A.J. Thompson, MRAF Sir Keith Williamson GCB AFC.

You may remember that new data protection rules came into force last May. We did not ask you to renew your consent because your data is not passed to 3rd parties and is kept purely to enable your membership to function. All members signed the application form to indicate that they are content for this to be so. Data is kept securely.

New Rules of Golf are now effective. If you would like a simple powerpoint brief on the salient points please email me. We eagerly anticipate speeding up the pace of play.

Players in RAFGS events are expected to have appropriate insurance provision. For an annual subscription of just £10, the RAF Golf Association provides £5,000,000 worldwide insurance cover as a player or spectator. It also awards £100 to those fortunate enough to register a Hole-in-One in a recognised club or society event. Please contact me for details as RAFGA registration arrangements have changed.

The Society’s AGM will be at Newark on Thursday 4th July. Members playing in Meetings or matches may transfer funds electronically; e-mail me your intentions and your handicap. Our Chairman, Malcolm Middlemist, and I wish you a happy, healthy and successful 2019.



Despite recent snow and dreadful conditions for golf courses, West Hill was in very good nick. We welcomed Si Stevens on his first appearance and maybe he brought us some luck. Good golf was played on both sides, but non-playing captain David Saady was delighted when our last pair of Mike Harding & Rich Jones came in with a win. By the clear margin of 4 – 2 we had recovered possession of the Jim Webster Salver. Special thanks to Rich for stepping in successfully at the last minute. Yet again West Hill’s hospitality was superb with an excellent post-match meal. Proceedings were lubricated by 2 bottles of Merlot and a malt whisky chaser provided by West Hill past captain, Rob Pike, to celebrate his first hole-in-one.

Tim BishopQ DixonBert HedgcockJason Parr
Ray BullNigel DowdallRich JonesSi Evans
Roger CarrMike HardingRick LipscombJethro Tull


It was a cliff-hanger at Burnham & Berrow. This format requires 3 strong pairs of scratch golfers and that’s what we have. In the first match against Wighorns – a team of Worcestershire county players – the score was tied 1-1 and only decided on the 22nd hole with a win by Dave & Ollie. All 3 pairs triumphed over Blundellians, so it was into the semi-finals to play a strong Tauntonians side. Another 2-1 victory resulted, with Ash & Sam digging deep for a fine win, with Chris & Steve winning on the 18th after a superb approach shot by Chris. The final was a repeat of last year’s against a formidable Royal Navy team featuring 6 of their best Inter-Services players. Dave & Ollie reserved their best golf of the weekend for the back 9 and came in first. With 3 holes to go we were up in the other 2 matches but this year fortune favoured the Navy who finished strongly to claim their first ever win of the Bowl on the 18th hole. Absolutely no disgrace in being runners-up – well played chaps!

Aaron AshberryDave MarshallChris Audin
Sam TannerMark OliverSteve Yorke


The Danesfield Cup has proved elusive in recent years and sadly the trend continued, although Basil Evans was pleased with this year’s improved performance. Of the matches lost, 2 could easily have gone our way. The course, the company and the catering were all of a high order. The Henley members are good hosts and our team enjoyed a very sociable day. L 2–4

Basil Evans (C)John EvansRick LipscombSi Stevens
Chris DickensMichael HardingRod PowellJethro Tull
Nigel DowdallLee LawrenceClive QuinceyDennis Virgo


It was déjà vu at West Byfleet when we took on the AERO GS. With Geoff Bartlett and Naomi Bedford filling last-minute slots, we convincingly retained the Keith-Davies Cup by winning the 4BBB 4.5 -1.5. After another excellent lunch, the AERO again showed us how to play Greensomes and retained the Piercey-John Quaich by 2-4, though they did pay for the wine! Congratulations to Terry Brady and Mike Harding for being in 2 winning pairs. A great day in good company and we were well looked after.

Mike Harding (C)Naomi BedfordTerry BradyRich Jones
Stephen AndertonPeter BedfordRoger CarrRick Lipscomb
Geoff BartlettTerry BettsJohnny JohnsonRod Powell


We tackled the might of Sonning at Woodhall Spa and on the Hotchkin rated in UK’s Top 10 courses we recorded an outstanding result of 5-1. Sonning’s team always play the Bracken course rather better, but such a deficit was beyond them. They shaded the day by 3.5-2.5 and tried to claim an overall draw, but to no avail. Chairman Malcolm was magnanimous in victory. Our new players Paul Doodson and Mark Foreman played their part by being in 2 winning pairs, along with Richard Masefield and Terry Smith. This is a very sociable fixture, including a great evening at the splendid Petwood Hotel, complete with its RAF memorabilia.

Malcolm Middlemist (C)Peter BridghamTim EvansRichard Masefield
David BackhouseRoger CarrMark ForemanTerry Smith
Peter BedfordPaul DoodsonKen Hinkley SmithDavid Walton


We thank Nigel Dowdall for standing for Mark Hudson as our Captain on the day. With gorgeous sunny weather, the West Sussex course looking at its best and a strong team ready to resume the inter-service rivalry against the Navy – what could be better? At lunchtime it was all to play for at 3-3, but in the afternoon the Navy just managed to scrape the win by 6.5 -5.5. As always, it was a very enjoyable match played the best of spirits with excellent contributions by Pete Tholen and Neil Roberts who won both their matches and Trevor Norman who scored 1.5. Particular thanks to Paddy Hine who, despite needing to see a chiropractor only 2 days before scored an impressive win with Neil. We look forward to regaining the fine trophy in 2019!

Nigel DowdyPhil GoughPhil HopkinsTrevor Norman
John BlockleyKevin HindsonBrian HuntElaine Tholen
John FisherSir Paddy HineNeil RobertsPete Tholen


John Pearce was overwhelmed by applications to play against Hunstanton and had the luxury of picking new faces and experienced hands (8 playing off single figures). It made no difference! We were giving many shots to opponents who knew how to use them. We were all square at lunch, when Hunstanton brought in some fresh legs who performed really well to beat us 5-1, so the overall score was a 4-8 loss. It was nevertheless a most enjoyable day against hospitable opponents on a great course.

John Pearce (C)Tim EvansArchie GormleyBob Pearson
John BridghamFitz Fitzgerald-Lombard Phil GoughIan Robinson
Nigel DowdallNeil FlatherRichard MasefiledMick Roche


It was another very warm day at North Hants where we are always hosted very well. After an excellent lunch and 9 holes we were yet again up in 3 matches and down in 3. Fortunes ebbed and flowed but we just came up short in what would have been our first win for a very long time. But second prize was an honourable draw – the 3rd such result in 3 years. Everyone resolved to come back and do better next year.

Roger Carr (C)Paul CarrolDavid LewendonRod Powell
Stephen AndertonNigel DowdallRick LipscombPhil Sperring
Gareth CopeMike HardingSir Roger PalinJethro Tull


On a beautiful summer’s day with a gentle breeze, 10 of our finest golfers, including 3 currently serving members, assembled for the annual challenge against the members of Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club. In a tight match, we got off to a good start but as is so often the case the members’ local knowledge just prevailed in the end. Despite this, everyone enjoyed playing on this great links course, as well as the generous hospitality of our hosts. Special congratulations to the serving members – Q Dixon, Jason Parr and Paul Mardon – who all won their matches. L 2.5 -3.5.

Nigel Dowdall (C)Q DixonPaul MardonJohn Pearce
Kevin BurstonFitz Fitzgeral-LombardTrevor Norman
Graham Pearson
Nigel Dowdall (C)Colin HammondJason ParrRod Powell


It was another superb day at the lovely Walton Heath, where the firm fairways tended to encourage all but the straightest drives to finish in the abundant heather. Si Stephens and Ollie Whyatt played in their first match for us and lowered the average age. But the Army had also picked younger able golfers so we went into lunch slightly adrift. After the customary outstanding lunch we dug deep to win the afternoon session 4-2 and therefore nick the match by 6.5 -5.5. This was an excellent performance and the Team Manager was delighted. Well done Mark Foreman, Kevin Hindson & Roger Carr for winning both their matches.

Roger Carr (C)Nigel DowdallBrian HuntNeil Roberts
Peter BedfordMark ForemanSam MacloudSi Stevens
Kevin BurstonKevin HindsonTrevor NormanOllie Whyatt


We played the match at Torksey for the first time for many years. On swift greens we gave the RAF team a comprehensive work-out. The morning Fourballs were halved and we lost the singles only by the narrowest of margins, coming very close to what would have been an amazing upset. Mal Wray stood in for regular captain Mark Oliver and was very proud of his team’s performance. L 5.5 -6.5.

Mal Wray (C)Graham BassiSimon JohnsonIan Robinson
Simon AcklandAndy HuskinsonAl MathersSteve Yorke


On a day that started out with rain for the first few holes but then improved to sunshine, we faced a particularly strong Senior Golfers’ Society team (including 5 single-figure handicappers), for our foursomes match at Woking. That said, after the morning session of 18 holes, we trailed just 2-3 (and congratulations to Kevin Burston and John Blockey in gaining the only win). We then enjoyed the usual excellent lunch, and agreed to finish the afternoon round at the 14th. Despite some valiant efforts in a number of close matches, we managed just half a point, resulting in a win for the Seniors by 7.5 to 2.5. As ever, this was a most enjoyable match in excellent company, and Woking was in very good condition. Next year’s event will be slipped until later in the year (14th October 2019).

Peter Bedford (C)Roger CarrJago Jones-Rogers Rod Powell
John BlockleyMick FordSir Roger PalinMike Rudd
Kevin BurstonNigel Dowdall


Ten very privileged golfers played Rye on a fabulous autumnal day with not a cloud in the sky. The course was in as good a condition as anyone could remember. Rye are formidable exponents of Foursomes golf, not surprisingly as they play 94 such matches each year. Somehow we were ahead by 3.5 – 1.5 at lunch, but we had been there before! After the usual excellent lunch and some team adjustments Rye managed to reverse the scores so at the end of the day the result was a 5–5 draw, which all agreed was right. Well done Nigel Dowdall for being in 2 winning pairs. There are not enough superlatives to do justice to Rye’s hospitality.

Jim McKenzie (C)Kevin BurstonFitz Fitzgerald-LombardRod Powell
Graham BassiRoger CarrJohn PearceNeil Roberts
Peter BedfordNigel Dowdall


This match had been drawn for the past 3 years. The golf course was in great condition, the arrangements were first class, the lunch and wine were excellent, the company delightful – what more could we expect?  The answer is better golf as we were hammered 9.5 to 2.5 must do better next year!

Ken Hinkley-Smith (C)Sean DohertyRod PowellDennis Virgo
Ken Hinkley-SmithJohn EvansTerry SmithAlan Wagner
Lloyd DobleBert HedgcockJethro TullJimmy Wilson


The Society fielded a strong team with seven of our ten players having single figure handicaps, and hopes were high. The course was still recovering from the dry summer but last winter’s work, especially on the bunkers, generated favourable comment. At half way the matches were perfectly balanced, and we eventually won two of them. The other three all finished on the 18th, but sadly all in Moor Park’s favour. It never ceases to amaze how often our matches come down to the final putt! Moor Park are a difficult team to beat, but generous hosting and a fine supper in splendid surroundings softened the blow.

Mike Peaker (C)Mick FordBob PearsonTerry Smith
Tim BishopPeter HickmanRod PowellPhil Sperring
Q DixonRick LipscombMick RocheJethro Tull


In perfect Autumn weather we did battle at Sonning for the Clyne Cup. The course was in excellent condition, fairways and greens, and after the first 6 fourballs the score was 3 matches each. The following morning, after an excellent dinner when wine and port flowed copiously, and with different pairings, the match resumed. We started well, winning the first match. Sonning then rallied and won the next 3 on the trot. However, our last two pairs had handsome wins giving an overall result of 6 – 6. This was only the third drawn match since 1961 and was considered an excellent result by both teams. Well done Peter Bedford, Robby Boyce, Chris Dickens & Malcolm Middlemist for being in 2 winning pairs.

Malcome MiddlemistRobby BoyceTim EvansRichard Masefield
David BackhousePeter BridghamRick LipscombTerry Smith
Peter BedfordChris DickensRoy LoganJethro Tull


TheScratch Foursomes competition at Ferndown was unfortunately limited to just oneround due to dreadful weather.  Our teamstruggled to play their best golf and finished in 9th place.  

David Marshall (C)Mark OliverAaron AshberryChris Audin
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