The RAF Golfing Society (RAFGS) operates as a traditional golf society, providing a very healthy fixture list of events for members to participate in. The history of the RAFGS makes interesting reading. The RAF Officers’ Golf Association was formed in 1921 when membership was limited to officers on the Active Service List, although retired officers could continue their membership provided that the subscription of 5/- (25p) was “promptly paid”. Inter-Service matches were introduced in 1922 with the RAF defeating the RN but losing to the Army and Civil Service, with this latter match being discontinued in 1928. The RAF had to wait until 1931 before becoming the outright champions and this was for the only time before the Second World War.
In 1945 the title of RAF Officers’ Golf Association was changed to become the RAF Golfing Society when membership was opened to all ranks, serving and retired. The WRAF was included from 1949. The RAF Golfing Society proved to be a very popular society throughout the 1950s and 1960s with membership exceeding 1000.
In 1971, however, the RAF Sports Board decided that it was no longer appropriate for the Society to be responsible for selecting the RAF representative team and, since public funds were involved, for former members of the RAF to be subsidised. This led to the formation of the RAF Golf Association (RAFGA) which, on the representative playing side, is responsible for all golf for scratch golfers within the RAF. The RAFGA has expanded its remit to provide a distinctly separate branch in the form of the RAFGA Membership Scheme which is open to serving and retired, male and female members of the RAF. The RAFGA Membership Scheme charges an annual £10 subscription and provides a golf insurance service, coaching opportunities and a bounty for hole-in-ones to its 1800 members. In 1971 the RAF Golfing Society reverted to the role of an all-ranks society consisting of mainly retired members.
Most of the Meetings include 2 rounds of golf competing for splendid trophies engraved with names such as Guy Wolstenholme and Henry Cotton. Most of the costs range from approximately £52-£74 per day. The morning round is either 18 Holes Medal or Stableford with Foursomes or Greensomes after lunch. Current locations include: Rutland, Notts, Berks, Oxon, Yorks, Northants and Herts.
The Scottish Tour consists of 72 holes of Stableford played over 4 consecutive days on different courses alongside the Moray Firth.
The Society is usually invited to enter 2 competitions for Category 1 golfers – the Brent Knoll Bowl at Burnham & Berrow, and the Graham Butler Scratch Foursomes at Ferndown. These attract some of the best golfers in Southern England and our teams are normally selected from serving members.
The matches are against a range of golf clubs and societies. Events are coordinated by Match Organisers who select the team and liaise with the opposition. In the club matches the usual format is 2 rounds of Betterball or Foursomes with either lunch or dinner, though some matches are played over just one round. Team sizes vary from 10-12. We play at the following clubs: West Hill, Henley, Sonning, Hunstanton, Royal Cinque Ports, North Hants, Rye, Huntercombe and Moor Park. We also play matches against: the RAF team at Woodhall Spa; the AERO GS at West Byfleet; the Army Officers GS at Walton Heath; the RNGS at West Sussex; and the the Senior GS at Woking.
Members are advised that they must ensure that they have their own golf insurance. The RAFGS will not stand behind or underwrite any claim made against them as a result of something they do while participating in a Meeting or match organised by the RAFGS. Membership of the RAF Golf Association’s Membership Scheme is open to all serving and retired personnel and their family members, and all members of RAF Golf Societies. For just £10 per year, membership provides Worldwide Personal Liability insurance of up to £5,000,000 while participating at golf, plus a £100 benefit for a certified Hole-in-One in any recognised competition and a twice yearly magazine.