Barry Butler’s Captain’s Report given at the AGM, 29 November 1996
THE CAPTAIN’S REPORT
“A life in the day of………………………………
Mr. President, Lady Captain, Senior’s Captain, Members of Corhampton Golf Club: It seems only last week I was inviting you all to have a drink having been appointed your Captain for 1996 and yet it is already time to hand over the reins. But nevertheless this year will linger forever in my memory, and not just for Euro’ 96 and the Olympics!
1996 was the Club’s first year under its new constitution and Management Committee. With any major change there is always room for fine tuning but things settled into a new routine and, despite some lengthy meetings, the new structure is showing positive signs of progress in all areas. It has been especially encouraging to see the number of people prepared to volunteer to serve on the various subcommittees. All give up much free time to serve, unpaid, and they deserve our appreciation. I do hope that our objective of continuity in the management of club affairs will be achieved.
Undoubtedly, Corhampton Golf Club will, like its neighbours face various challenges as we move inexorably toward and then beyond the millennium. The ongoing maintenance and improvement of our facilities and the ability to attract and retain new members as well as the problems associated with an ageing membership profile must all be dealt with. Ultimately, finance is the prime issue, Corhampton Golf Club is a “business” and needs (and has) professional management but what has been pleasing this year has been the interest in communication and the level of debate at our two Open Forums. It is refreshing to see the Members acknowledging what needs to be done and the fact that strategic decisions must be taken by all the membership. Equally important has been the sensitivity of your Management Committee in the efforts.
At the end of last year our Professional, Gary Stubbington moved to Dummer and we welcomed Ian Roper from Portsmouth, also Captain of the Hampshire PGA in ’96. What a prized asset he has become, a popular teacher, businessman (see the well-stocked shop at competitive prices) and how refreshing to see a club professional participating in all aspects of club life. I hope he remains with us for many years, I know he was very pleased with the welcome he received.
Stephen and Ginny Paul also joined the team as Bar Manager and franchise Caterer respectively. Both have worked tremendously hard to serve the Club and by and large the results have been excellent. The quality of service has regularly been rewarded by compliments, particularly from our guests, visiting Clubs and Societies. The golf course has improved significantly in appearance though there is always plenty to do. In August, Reg Varlow our Head Greenkeeper tendered his resignation. the condition of a number of greens was giving cause for concern and as well as not satisfying members’ needs had the potential to seriously affect our ability to attract Societies, revenue we certainly need and a source of income we have been working hard at and where we had significantly reversed the previous years’ downward trend. The Club will be replacing him and an advertisement appeared in the October issue of “Greenkeeper”, a very thorough selection process is already in hand.
Socially, the Club has enjoyed an excellent and well supported year. Hard work has reaped its reward with a varied and well-balanced programme including Captain’s Dine-Ins, dances, parties, quiz, barbecue, horse racing, nite golf, champagne breakfast and the now traditional Home International golf tournament. I write this whilst looking forward to the Club Dinner and Dance, already sold out; many thanks to you all.
Back on the course Liz Borrow and Tim Markwick were worthy Club champions, Tim breaking the course record into the bargain and Matthew Tryhorn did very well to win the Corhampton Open. Outside the Club, the County Seven’s lost in the quarter finals to the eventual winners, the Army Golf Club. The Marston’s Over 50’s team performed magnificently to win their trophy by 5 matches to 4 against Hockley and I was very proud to be a part of the team of 3 mixed pairs which won the prestigious Richmond Trophy at Goodwood Golf Club. Additionally, Ivy Phillips won the Hampshire Ladies Silver Salver. Arguably, perhaps, our best effort resulted in a semi-final defeat when Tim Markwick and Andrew Clotworthy lost to the eventual winners from Somerset in the national Daily Mail Foursomes (down to the last 4, from 1400). All in all, with some other near misses, a very successful year.
As your Captain I have participated in and represented Corhampton Golf Club in 13 Club matches, 6 mixed matches, 23 Club competitions, 24 external competitions, 17 events at Corhampton and 4 others outside the Club. Added to that have been Management Committee and sub-Committee meetings but my “icing on the cake” has to be Captain’s Day. The support from the members only serves to illustrate the tremendous reputation our Club enjoys throughout the area, a reputation built on friendliness and quality of service in organisation, the course and catering. It has been encouraging to witness the unsolicited testimonials received from many quarters. The support from the members has enabled the Lady Captain and me to raise over £3,000 for our charity, the Rowan’s Hospice.
1996 has been, I believe, a good vintage and I hope that in some small way my efforts have moved our club forward and enhanced its standing. If it has, that has only been possible through the help and support of you the Members and I thank you all most warmly for bestowing upon me the privilege of being your Captain. In particular I should like to use these columns to thank Bob Easson and Laurraine Collins for their phenomenal efforts in bringing all things together; to Ian Roper, Ginny and Steve for their friendship, patience and understanding and to all their staff; to Norman Taylor and the Seniors who do so much for the Club; to Anne Corden (my other partner!) for the many times we played around together(!) as well as to all the Ladies section whether it be organising raffles or decorating the clubhouse with flowers beautifully, or the many other ways in which they give their support; to Jonathan Moore and the Juniors (at last we beat them this year!); and to all my colleagues who have served on the Management Committee and sub-Committees (as well as their partners for their forbearance). Lastly, to Geoff Palmer who has so ably supported me this year and will represent the best traditions of Corhampton Club next year as our Club Captain, but not forgetting my wife, Elizabeth, who from having the temerity to hole in one this year of all years, but who never complained about the late nights and time spent an the golf course. Still, it was she who introduced me to the wonderful game of golf.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you.