There are 13 main club competitions and they each usually attract a healthy field of somewhere between 140-160 players with a course closure provisionally reserved in the diary until 4pm. Comps always make an effort to bunch the field together and tee times at the back of the start sheet are always reserved to stop gaps appearing in the field. It is usual for the tee to be opened up for general play at 3pm on these days, and this fact is always communicated to the club manager and the pro shop a few days before the comp. Comps do not take up any more tee times than we need. At the time of writing on 3rd August, we have had 1468 entries in 2016 as opposed to 1466 in 2016.
Whilst the main club competitions are popular, it is clear that our members are keen to have tee closures kept to a minimum. As a result of this request, and for a trial period in 2017, two of our main club competitions will be played over a 4 day weekend with no tee reservations. The Golf Foundation and Centenary Salver will be played over a Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Monday weekend and members can enter in the pro shop on any of the days. This will free up two weekend days for members’ social golf. We are also proposing to play the first round of the 2017 Club Championship on the same day as the Rabbits/Manor House trophy, which will give back another weekend day for the members to enjoy.
Saturday or Sunday Competitions?
Historically, almost all of our main club competitions were on Sundays. This issue was recognised some time ago, and over the last two years we have moved more comps to a Saturday.
During 2016, the main club competitions have seen 10 Sunday and 6 Saturday fixtures. There are 6 autumn/winter team shotgun start team comps and 5 of these are on a Sunday. Comps are currently looking at the 2017 fixture list and this will see our comps played over 7 Saturdays and 7 Sundays.
There are 13 main club competitions, and in 2016 this has been made up of 8 medals & 5 Stablefords. There has also been 14 Pro Stableford comps during the year. Our members like both formats, so for 2017 it has been agreed to make the Captains Day a Stableford, bringing the mix of main club competitions to 7 medals and 6 Stablefords.
Extending the Season March to October?
On paper this seems a perfectly reasonable request but there are some issues to consider. Jason has told us that the course is not in its best possible condition during March and April. He is also keen to point out that the course gets better during the summer and is still in really good condition even moving into October.
The problems with scheduling our main club comps in September/October are light, weather and subsequent postponements/cancellations. As we move into early September, it gets darker much earlier and fog can be a real problem on autumnal mornings. Comps policy is that we can only ever have a maximum continual delay of 40 minutes during the day because we cannot get all the field out and then back before it gets dark. We had real problems with fog delaying the start of rescheduled comps during September and October 2015. Arranging alternative days so late in the season is very problematic. We tend to use late September/October as the rescheduling days for any summer competition fixtures that may have had weather postponements.
The good news is that our pro Stableford competitions still run into December, and our ‘gender free’ tees will allow us to use bronze ones during the winter as a measured course for qualifying competitions.
Communicating the Format of a Competition
With immediate effect, comps have started to clearly mark the format of each competition on the HDID start sheet. Comps will also add this information to the email that is sent to all players on the Thursday before each comp. The club terminals will also display this information at the ‘sign in’ screen.
The Town Bowl
Jason has made a special request that the Town Bowl be put back to the second week of June. He has problems preparing the course as the TB always falls on the weekend following a bank holiday weekend. Comps have agreed to this and in 2017 there will now be no requirement or need to close the course on the Friday evening before the big event. The course can also be opened up from 4pm-6pm on the Saturday because cutting does not start until 6pm, however Jason asks that priority be given to green staff on that evening.
Lack of Midweek Fixtures
The introduction of the Pro Stableford competitions in 2014 was a way of allowing 5 day members to take part in a club competition and at the same time, be able to submit a card for handicap purposes. The pro Stableford competition format has been successful, well supported and it is now time to offer more competitions during the week. For a four month trial period, there will be a midweek medal during August, September, October & November. These events will be run from the pro shop, there are no tee reservations and it will simply be turn up, pay and play. The entry fee will be £2.50 and our thanks must go to Chris for agreeing to help.
There is currently only 1 single true mixed competition which is the Charity Shield. As a club we have to consider if we want to make our club competitions to be mixed events. This may initially be a sensitive subject and we have yet to start discussions between both parties.
The Golf Foundation and Gaydon Trophy have a men’s and ladies trophy and we will once again be playing these competitions at the same time in 2017.
The Thursday ‘Club Nite’ and all pro Stableford weekends are mixed competitions but few ladies enter despite encouragement. The simple fact may be that the ladies enjoy playing with the ladies and are not that keen to see full integration. These important discussions will take place over the coming months.
Zoned draws were mentioned as a way of integrating members together. We have 2 zoned draws during the season and we feel that this is currently about the right number. We speak to our members and some like zoned draws whilst we know that others are opposed to the principal. Comps feel that we must be cautious and not too forceful in our attempts to move forward.
Competitions August 2016