Chairman’s Report – Jan 2021

As I sit here on a wet Saturday morning, in late January, with the rain and wind battering at the window, I feel slightly comforted. Apart from Covid 19 I would otherwise be in the over-heated clubhouse, having just finished my two poached eggs on white, with two rashers of bacon and a mug of coffee, looked out of the window and said **** it, I’m going home.

To use the over used phrase, 2020 was indeed an unprecedented year.

Needless to say, unless you have been orbiting Mars for the last 12 months, you will understand why it has not been possible to have an Annual General Meeting this year. I did briefly consider a virtual AGM, with virtual presentations, virtual drinks and virtual food provided by Wayne, but concluded that this was likely to be unmanageable, from several viewpoints.

There was however an extra-ordinary general meeting of the society officers, which took place in December, in the WGC driving range, applying suitable social distancing. This was between myself and Ian we agreed on a few essentials to keep the society ticking over whilst this lockdown continues.

What therefore follows is really a report of two halves. The first part is a reflection on 2020 and the second part what is planned for 2021.


It seems that we did actually manage to complete 5 events in 2020 which is actually more than I thought. The winners were:

  • January: Littlehampton – Tony Vincent
  • February: Blackmoor – Jon Wilson
  • July: Ham Manor – George Merrow
  • August: Cowdray Park – Dave Llambias
  • September: Dorset Golf & Country – Mark Simmonds

Congratulations to all of the winners. I would particularly like to give a special mention to George. After the first lockdown he came out of the stalls for the Club Championship at Ham

Manor like a thoroughbred stallion who had been in his stable for too long, was heavily under-raced and proceeded to card -8 for 27 holes. Well done George, really good playing.

Again, because of the cancellations there was not an order of merit for 2020 but for the record the leader was, at the time we abandoned it, Steve Rout.

The golf trip this year ended up at the Dorset Golf and Country Club. Somewhere in Dorset!! It was originally scheduled for Le Touquet but was re-arranged for Dorset. My thanks and all those who went, to Bob Culley for organising it and making what turned out to be a good early call to change the venue.

The trip was always going to be different given the social distancing requirements. I think it fair to say these proved challenging at times for both the staff at the club and initially Dave Llambias. Somewhat counter-intuitively though, to the social distancing in place, the weekend provided the opportunity to meet and chat with members of other clubs from the region.

I would just like to end this part by expressing my thanks, on behalf of all of the membership, to our secretary Ian Reed. The job of society secretary can be a problematic one at the best of times. However, when you are faced with tier restrictions, then lockdowns, and changes at very short notice, the task, I can imagine, becomes doubly difficult.

Dib-Dib-Dob we will all do our best not to make matters any harder.


Fixtures: There is already published on the society website a schedule of fixtures for 2021. We had already concluded that January was likely to be a non-starter and nothing had been booked. The event at Blackmoor GC in February has now also fallen foul of Covid 19.

At the time of writing the event scheduled for Betchworth GC on 25 March 2021 is still on. To be perfectly frank, I would put the chances of this going ahead to be no more than 50/50. Even if on the 8th March, son of Trump, relaxes restrictions enough to re-open golf courses in a format that will work for a society day, it might be the case the Betchworth will wish to prioritise their own members on resumption. We will just have to wait and see but we will keep you posted.

Following on from that we go to Blatchington GC on 29 April 2021. I see the fixture list says Seaford Golf Club and I apologise if they have changed their name, but this should not be confused with Seaford Head Golf Club (Note: the fixture list has been updated). I know at least one of our members (Geordie) has something of a history of going to the wrong course. I would say, if not confident, I am at least hopeful that this event will go ahead.

Subscriptions: We recognise that last year was a very curtailed in terms of the amount of golf played although the society did still incur some subsidy costs. Therefore, for those who paid a subscription last year the annual subscription for 2021 will be £5. For any persons not paying the subscription last year, primarily new or re-joining members the subscription will be £20.

Handicaps: Club members will be all to aware of the introduction in November 2020 of the World Golf Handicapping system. As club golfers get to grips with this it does have the signs of being, overall, a fairer handicapping system. The problem with it is that it is a very protracted process and you need a certain amount of mathematical dexterity to keep up with it. Personally, I favour our existing, slightly more crude system, which can at times appear savage, but nonetheless humorous, to those not on the wrong end of it. For the avoidance of doubt, we will continue our present handicapping system for 2021.

Celtic Manor: Our golf break this year sees us return to Celtic Manor. Those that have been before will already be aware of the 3 very good, different and challenging courses along with a high standard of accommodation that comes with this package. I know Ian has already had a very good response to this event which is 26th to 28th August.

Order of Merit 2021: Of the 11 events this year we have already lost 2 and potentially 3 so we will already be down to either 8 or 9 events as the maximum. Should Betchworth GC go ahead the qualifying events will be best 6 from 9. In the event that Betchworth GC does not happen the qualifying events will be best 5 from 8.

Captain/Vice Captain: Our Captain for 2020 was Darren Litherland and very obviously he also had a very curtailed year as Captain. We have therefore asked Darren to remain as Captain for 2021 on the basis that 2 half years (approximately) make a whole year. I will be asking Darren to canvas for a Vice-Captain for 2021 with a view to that person becoming the 2022 Captain.

Hopefully this has been a relatively brief run through. If you have any issues please let me know (by carrier pigeon only) and we can discuss them and if they merit a meeting of the full membership we can do it by way of an EGM later in the year.

Finally, keep safe, and I look forward to seeing you all, on the fairways, in the soonest possible time.

N J Smith