As Secretary of the Somerset Golf Union and on behalf of Tommy Tulk (Chairman) and the Executive Committee I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The 2020 Season seems a long way off and with the current winds and rain golf may not necessarily be on your minds. The coming golfing year will as always be upon you sooner than you expect so get set for what will be a very challenging 12 months.
With the Introduction of the WHS planned for November and Slope Rating being applied our understanding of the changes may leave some slightly confused. In reality the changes will come and once in place will become clear and obvious I expect! The needs of the club golfer will be as they always have been, play enjoy and return some scores throughout the year to assist the hard working handicap committee in making sure your handicap reflects you’re playing ability. England Golf state that the more scores returned the better which seems to encourage golfers to play more golf! Sounds a good idea.
Safe Golf is the current buzzword within our sport and no one can argue that we all deserve to play within a safe and friendly envornment. Juniors and adults will benefit from the mandatory requirements that Clubs and Counties will support and provide.
England Golf are currently considering ways of bringing more people in to golf. Your ideas as club members on how to achieve this are welcome especially with the rise in numbers of those titled “The Independent Golfer” Our Club Support Officer changed, we are in the competent and capable hand s of Natalie McColl. The SGU have built up a positive working relationship with Natalie so I encourage your club to utilise her assistance in delivering some of the many benefits on offer from England Golf and your Union.
The SGU enjoyed much success during 2019. Our County was so very proud of the achievements of two young men who have progressed through our Junior Coaching Development programme and can now list Walker Cup on their CV’s. Tom Sloman and Tom Plumb have great futures ahead, we wish them every success.
The County 1st team reached the National Finals but came away empty handed, so close once again!. Our Juniors won the U16 and U14 South Western Counties Team Championship and U16 Channel League. Individuals have won South West Championships, Tom Plumb, Dylan Xanh and Freddie Turnell all worthy winners. Lets not forget the wonderful achievement of the Saltford Junior Team who went to Woodhall Spar as County Team Junior representitives and came away as National County Junior Team Champions! Another great success is the work of Dave Owens who runs the First4golf programme where our mini golfers are enjoying the game under his watchful eye.
The SGU continues to support “Special Projects” we have run numerous County Tournaments at all levels and turn out teams to represent our small but great County at U12’s, 14’s, 16’s, 18’s, Seniors Development and 1st Teams.
Our Chairman’s Charity Day saw 96 competitors from almost every affiliated club turn up to enjoy a highly successful day. It would be fantastic if every club entered a team in 2020.
The County Dinner was supported by 15 Clubs with numbers reaching 150. My thanks goes to Oake Manor who looked after the gathered so very well. Next year will require tickets paid in advance to assist administration.
So all that’s left to say is thank you to everyone who has made my first year as your County Secretary so enjoyable. I personally wish you all.
Somerset is a small County with just 30 affiliated golf clubs; however, we have enjoyed an unprecedented year of success so far. The spirit of co-operation that exists between the County, our Clubs and the Club Support Officer has produced outstanding results.
Competitions are run for golfers of all abilities, both individual championships and inter-club knockouts. These include scratch and handicap events to cater for the full spectrum of ability. We have for the second year and thanks to Dave Owen run a Mini Tour for U12 boys and girls who are without a club handicap, this should help them prepare for tournament play in the future.
Coaching and development has always had top priority within Somerset particularly at the junior level. We are immensely proud that the pathway that has been built allows us to identify new and emerging talent. We have two “Futures” squads of Under 12s. Testimony to this success is that all but one of the players who represented us in two previous County finals progressed through our development programme.
Our team ethos has helped promote and grow the game tremendously with constant reviews of how we can help our affiliated clubs with their plans. Through careful control of our budgets, we have created a fund that helps provide grants to clubs with special projects. Clubs are actively seeking to attract new junior members and to support this we have reduced our affiliation fees for the junior section. We were delighted to be chosen by England Golf to be one of four counties selected to participate in the project to get more juniors involved in golf and with the launch of this initiative the first 8 clubs have signed up.
The format for the Clubs’ Delegates Meeting has changed to that of a Business Seminar; we invited guest speakers from England Golf to highlight the changes that are being introduced. At this present time membership across the county is holding steady with a slight increase being shown..
Somerset is also supporting the “Get into Golf” programmes, notably for the Ladies at Burnham & Berrow, with Farrington Park and Tickenham assisting the Stroke Association in Bath & North-East Somerset.
Where possible, we look to support our clubs financially by staging County meetings which includes the Annual Dinner at their venues and naturally pay facility fees to the clubs who host our competitions.
We have invested considerably to improve all aspects of communication with our members, the website was re-launched, regular updates are forwarded to the clubs and the use of social media has been extended.
Course rating has been taking place across the county and our team of volunteers have two clubs left to complete all the clubs in the county, our thanks goes out to this team for all their hard work during the previous years completing this project.
There will be a meeting in October to update all clubs about the world Wide Handicapping System and the secretary will be writing to all clubs shortly inviting members to attend.
England Golf offer a wide range of support to golf clubs on a variety of subjects with workshops available on such subjects as recruitment and retention, governance and handicap issue. The SGU can and will arrange these for you so please contact our secretary Rob Davis firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Whilst mentioning the secretary he is the only paid member of the executive, all others are volunteers who give their time freely for the cause GOLF IN SOMERSET.
We are actively holding meetings with the Ladies executive looking at ways we can utilise resource and expertise for the benefit of both.
Success this year has occurred at all levels and the new mini tournament “First4Golf” run by Dave Owen seeing numbers above 40 at each event. Boys and Girls welcome
Saltford Juniors have just represented Somerset in the Junior Club Championship at Woodhall Spa and came away winning the event well done lads.
At South West Counties Level we are proud to have the Men’s Champion Tom Plumb the U18 Champion Dylan Xanh and U14 Champion Freddie Turnell. Somerset are also South West Champions at U16/U14 level and the Men were successful in winning the South West Title at Parkston in June., the result of this win means the team is off to Huddersfield in September to play in the English County Finals.
Tom Plumb and Tom Sloman have been members of England’s elite squad representing England with success all over the world. Both lads have made this years Walker Cup side and are Somerset’s first ever representatives in the prestigious match.
Personally I would like to thank all Members and Clubs for the support they have given the Executive and me personally over the past few years and especially those who took part in a very successful Chairman’s Day Weston-Super-Mare GC in July which raised around £1000 for Junior Golf.