As this year’s Lloyds Golf Club AGM rapidly approaches, it is time to reflect on the highlights of this year since, Jonathan Ticehurst, (or JT***as he always mails me) and myself had the honour of being elected Captain and President at last year’s meeting. It has been a year that seems to have simply flown by and we have both had the most tremendous fun and enjoyment, both on, and off the course, made possible only by the wonderful support that the Members have given us personally, and to the Club itself. For this, we both cannot thank you enough.
The year started with the annual dinner at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall and was attended by 268 members and their guests with speeches from Peter Scrivener and Alan Tait. The latter’s stories of being paired up with Tiger Woods as a young pro, I think resonated with anyone who has ever felt nervous on the first tee, and will stay in my memory for a long time. It is to be hoped that we can start the dinner a little earlier next year to allow more time for all to mingle at the end of the proceedings, before having to depart, as this has become somewhat truncated in recent times. We are also going to cap, and lower, the cost of the dinner, as a very real way of giving something back to the membership from any surplus funds.
The match managers meeting was held in February to review, and ensure, that our fixtures stay as relevant as possible, whilst respecting their history, and traditions. Over time, for example, our fixtures with the Armed Forces have withered on the vine through lack of support, but given the strong association that the Lloyd’s market has with them, it seemed more than appropriate to find a replacement. So we are delighted to say, that we will now have an annual fixture against Help for Heroes (Battleback G.S). Those of us who were lucky to play in a one off match against BLESMA several years ago, will know just how humbling and inspiring it is to see severely disabled service personnel compete (and very effectively too) on the Golf Course. This fixture will be a 10 a side match, held at the New Zealand Club, and the Committee has agreed that the Club will fund in full the cost of the day for the servicemen. It is a small gesture of appreciation for all their sacrifices made on our behalf as a nation.
Another new match played for the first time this year, was the fixture against the Himalayans (members of Lloyds Golf Club who are also members of Royal St Georges). We played for a new Trophy bought from a legacy to the Club, gifted by John Shipton, a passionate member of both our Club, and Royal St Georges. The trophy was sourced by Robin Clark and Tom Corfield and is a magnificent silver Pimms Jug. The Himalayans won the match and the Trophy was presented to his sons, Edward and Matthew, who both played in the match. It was somehow a very fitting celebration of John’s gift.
The Honorary Treasurer will comment further at the AGM as to how we intend to spend accumulated funds whilst maintaining a prudent surplus, but there is one that we would like to highlight. At the beginning of the year, one of our stated aims was to see our under 35 members given as much encouragement as possible, to play and participate. They are after all the future of the Club. We were therefore very pleased to agree to a further new annual fixture for the over 35’s versus the under 35’s, played at Denham G.C and fantastically organised by Patrick Murphy O’Connor. It was a great success and in the future the under 35’s will be selected (rather than invited) by the Captain as recognition of their support for the Club. As usual the Club will pay for their green fees and we do hope that those selected will take it as an honour to play.
This year’ s matches have been well supported with only rare calls to the Fixture Secretary for help. In my year as Captain with Past President Davies, we managed a paltry 7 wins with 13 lost and 7 halved. I am pleased to report that this year we have managed 11 wins, with 8 lost and 6 halved. Coincidentally this is the exact same number of wins as in 2010 and 2011 but some way short of the 15 achieved in 2012. So the incoming President and Captain know their target! Above all the matches have been such great fun, and largely played in excellent weather. It is a fixture list that the Club can be proud of.
The Spring Meeting, at Walton Heath G.C., was played several weeks later than normal, and proved to be a great success, as the extra time allowed the greens to be presented in magnificent condition.
Next year’s Spring Meeting will continue to be played at the same time of year being 13th May 2015. Eighty-six (86) Members competed over the Old and New Courses and David Woodcock and Chris Brown, pictured below, won the Presidents Prize.
The Autumn Meeting, as has often been the case in recent times, was played in lovely weather with seventy-six (76) Members attending at The Berkshire G.C and the Captain’s prize was won by James Kearsey and David Roberts, Pictured here with the Captain.
Finally the Summer Meeting was also played in glorious weather at Royal St Georges G.C.
Twenty four pairs competed for the Cyril Wintle Putter and the final was a truly special match of the highest standard that was a privilege to watch. It was highly competitive but played in a wonderful spirit and eventually Simon Allport and Chris Watson triumphed over Graham and Alex Findlay on the 19th hole with what would have been a birdie.
Other highlights of the year included the Past Presidents lunch at the City Club and it was wonderful to see so many of our distinguished past Presidents attend including such alumni as John Groom, Murray Lawrence, John Uzielli , Colin Frizell and others too many to mention.
Concluding the Lloyds golfing calendar for many of us, was the 2014 Christopher Needham Memorial Tour – the Needy Tour – an annual event to commemorate one of our most celebrated past Members, Christopher Needham.
The Tour this year was held in the Cascais region of Northern Portugal, just west of Lisbon.10 represented the Captain’s team, and 10 the President’s.
The weather was extraordinary for late October averaging around 33 degrees, three rounds were played, two of which were at Penha Longa, which by general consensus was one of the best courses that many of us had played, set in the most magnificent scenery up in the hills.
We enjoyed 2 great dinners, one overlooking the Atlantic, one in old town Lisbon and all in all, It was a magical 3 days and the memories of fun, friendship and laughter will stay with us for many years. For the record the Captain’s team won a hard fought match by 8 3/4 to 8.
The Club is in good health with over 480 paying Members, a growing under 35’s section and we now have over 100 single figure handicap players. Twenty (20) new members have been accepted into the Club during 2014, and this is significantly higher than the average for any one year. It is a solid foundation for the Club into the future.
So there have been so many highlights for us this year. Few will forget the Captain’s attempts to clear the Clubhouse on the 18th at Rye, only to create new ventilation in the Secretary’s window.
Or his charm in presenting a cake stand to the IGSOL Captain, in lieu of a forgotten Cup left at home.
For my part Guy Townley lit up the Tour in Portugal in many ways including all the pictures he took, many of which were of complete strangers, and witnessing the astonishing powers of Gin and Tonic consumption, in what can only be described as a tumbler, by one of our renowned Past Presidents.
All memories that make up the fabric of a year that the Captain and I have enjoyed so much.
And so to some thank you’s. Firstly to our Captain, who has been a joy to work with, and a constant source of support and advice to me. To Simon Allport who, in his first year as Honorary Sec, has performed over and above the call of duty in so many ways. Thanks also to Jonathan Turnbull, the Honorary Secretary for all his work, the Club’s finances are in excellent hands and also to all of the 2014 Committee Members including the meeting Secretaries, Gordon Marsh, Nick Young and Andy Davies, Rob Kemp our Fixture Secretary and Simon Cox, the Dinner Secretary. I cannot tell you how hard they have all worked and the Club simply could not function without their efforts. We owe them all a huge debt of thanks.
Finally the Captain and I would like to offer our very best wishes to the incoming President and Captain in the sincere hope that they have as much fun as we both have, and to thank once again all of the Membership for their support this year.
May we both wish you a very Happy Christmas and New Year and great golfing in 2015.
C.P.T. Cantlay J.C. Ticehurst