Beaconsfield Golf Club
Seer Green, Beaconsfield
Bucks, HP9 2UR
Beaconsfield Golf Club
Seer Green, Beaconsfield
Bucks, HP9 2UR
From The Captain
My contribution to this month’s Niblick could be given the theme of “giving”. Bearing in mind that Christmas is fast approaching perhaps that is appropriate.
The sharp eyed among you will have noticed the collection boxes on the bar and in the pro shop for my charity for the year, Prostate Cancer. Whenever the opportunity arises, I hope that you will contribute as generously as you can to either that, or the Ladies' Captain’s charity, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. One of those opportunities is of course to make a donation if you visit either of the greenside bunkers on the 18th.
The selection of the Prostate Cancer Charity did not require much thought, driven as it was by personal experience. In order to give a more local feel to the collection, I hope to also donate something substantial to the Chilterns Prostate Cancer Support Group and also the Urology Ward at High Wycombe Hospital. For the men amongst you, just remember that 1 in every 8 of you will fall foul of prostate cancer in your lifetime unless your father or brother suffered from it, in which case the risk increases another two and a half times! Maybe you should view a donation as a kind of health insurance rather than a charitable donation.
Continuing the theme of giving, and on a subject very much relevant to the time of year, I hope you will have seen my note about the Christmas Staff Fund. As you all know, we do not allow tipping at the club so the only chance that we have to show our appreciation to our staff is by contributing to this fund. All the staff benefit from it, the greenkeepers, those in the office, the clubhouse staff and those in the pro shop. They support us throughout the year and are probably our greatest asset. In the past only about 50% of members have contributed to the fund and I think that is a surprisingly low number. Please change that this year by contributing and in doing so thank the people who help us to enjoy ourselves.
Starting the captaincy in October is great because it does give a couple of months to settle into the role before the various Christmas events and then again a quieter period before the golfing season really picks up. Nevertheless there is plenty going on behind the scenes and I am gradually making my very own rut on the M40 between Junction 6 (home) and Beaconsfield. Talking of Christmas, there was much laughter in the Clarke family when I mentioned that I would be “leading” the carol singing after one of the Christmas lunches. I guess they have suffered for too many years.
At the beginning of this November I was privileged to attend the Junior AGM and prize giving. There were some extraordinary performances during the year both by individuals and by our Junior Team. As always, thank you so much to Dianne Regan and her team of organisers. Congratulations to James Butler for a most successful year as Junior Captain and my best wishes to Ben Quick as he takes over for the coming year. Incidentally he hit the ball 283 yards at his “drive in” which was just marginally longer than mine.
I am sure everyone would want me congratulate Gemma on qualifying for the LPGA Tour again next season. What a magnificent achievement! Her article in this newsletter offers a great insight into life on tour and is well worth reading.
Finally, I thought it might be a good idea to highlight any “Notable Happenings” on the course each month. If you witness (or experience) anything extraordinary or unusual of a golfing nature then let me know. To kick it off, one of my playing partners, a certain John Williams, holed his 3rd shot for a birdie (net eagle) on the first. A birdie on that hole may not be that unusual for those of you who are still able to do that turning thing with your shoulders but for those of a certain age it is a Notable Happening.
There have been some reports of golfers not shouting "Fore" when their ball is heading in the direction of other golfers or greenkeepers or when it is heading out of sight towards an area where they may be. This is not only basic golfing etiquette but also very much a part of maintaining safety on the course. It seems to be a practice that is used less and less at professional tournaments but at Beaconsfield the code is "if in doubt, shout!"
From the Ladies' Captain
My first six weeks as the Ladies’ Captain have raced by with a mixture of social events, fun competitions and our last few qualifying competitions of the year. I am delighted we have a full ladies section and regularly have over 80 players in our weekly competitions. I wish everyone an enjoyable and successful golfing year. With the additional choice of playing from the green tees there should be a course to suit everyone and it should be an interesting year with the new rules coming in from 1st January.
One of the first very pleasant duties I had as Captain was to collect trophies at the County AGM on behalf of our winter scratch league team who won the Premier Division and the summer scratch league team who secured back to back promotions by winning the Bronze Division 2. I was also presented with the Coronation medal, which was won by Rachel Stones for achieving the lowest 4 nett medal scores (+8) in 2018.
For my first fund raising event I arranged a Christmas cake decorating demonstration. We were shown how to marzipan and ice a Christmas cake and then we all had a chance to make our own snowmen, penguins and Christmas trees! Great fun!
I have chosen to support Hearing Dogs for Deaf People (based in Saunderton) as my charity for the year.
They train dogs to alert deaf people to sounds they would otherwise miss – simple sounds that many people take for granted like the doorbell, alarm clock and even danger signals like the fire alarm. Being aware of these – thanks to a hearing dog – makes a real difference to deaf people’s lives.
Once a deaf person has been matched with a hearing dog, they are guaranteed a hearing dog for life. So when their first hearing dog retires at about the age of 11, they are soon partnered with a new dog.
The cost to train and support each hearing dog throughout their lifetime is £40,000 – so they rely heavily on amazing supporters to help change lives.
In the last edition of the Niblick there was an article about the effects of the vandalism in September/October and the steps that were being taken to try and reduce the risk in future. As was said at that time, the very nature of a golf course makes security difficult. We do have some particularly vulnerable points which have been addressed.
The boundary by the 5th hole was used on one of the occasions to gain access and the gaps have now been filled. The access to the course behind the 7th tee, beside Golf Cottage will have a farm gate fitted in the next couple of weeks. The gate will be opened only when necessary to allow access for such events as shotgun starts.
We also have public footpaths crossing the course and regular checks are being made on the stiles and gates that provide the legally required access.
Finally, the major question of gated entry to the clubhouse and car parks. A considerable amount of work has been undertaken to produce a scheme that would provide security for the club whilst also allowing proper access for members, visitors, deliveries, emergency services and service vehicles. Discussions have been held with contractors and it is clear that there are a number of different possible solutions that could be used. Those enquiries are continuing in order to identify a scheme that will solve the problem, is practical, that looks right and keeps costs under control. We will need planning permission and possibly that of Network Rail.
Ninety Six Years of Artisans Golf
The Artisans Club recently held their 2018 Captain’s dinner and prize presentation at the clubhouse. David Gibson, pictured below, who is a 11 handicap second-generation member of the club, won the most prizes on the night.
Patrick Byrne gave a speech in which he spoke warmly of the longstanding links between the two clubs.
The Artisan’s Society as it was first known was established in 1922 “to enable the Artisan inhabitants of Beaconsfield to take up the game of golf”. It is still thriving today. The Artisan Club has its own committee and runs its own affairs. They maintain their own clubhouse and thriving members’ bar adjacent to the 18th fairway and are allowed to select a maximum of 50 members who must live locally. Their subscriptions are modest, and their playing times are in turn restricted.
There are a number of fixtures between the two clubs each year with the Lidgley Shield being the scene of much friendly rivalry. Rather unusually, the parent club is the current holder of the trophy. One of the memorable features of our Club Captain’s year is a 6am medal round with the Artisan Club in mid-summer, followed by an excellent cooked breakfast and the odd pint of Guinness in their clubhouse. The ladies enjoy two fixtures with the Artisan Club each year and the President (who is also the President of their club) fields a team each year to play the Artisan Club. We invariably lose and drown our sorrows over a convivial meal in whichever clubhouse is playing host that year.
Artisan clubs have diminished in number over the years but are still a feature of leading members’ golf clubs in Britain. Over the years strong bonds of friendship have been developed between our two clubs and we are proud that Beaconsfield supports the tradition which widens the number of people who can play golf on top courses. We know that their members are fiercely proud of Beaconsfield Golf Club. There will be a very large party when they celebrate their centenary in 2022.
In the Golf Bag...... Crows on the Course
There have been a number of instances of golf balls being moved by crows, currently around the 8th and 13th holes. I have been asked by several people what to do if a crow has moved or stolen your ball:
Rule 18-1 says that if a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced. You are allowed to substitute another ball if the original ball is not immediately recoverable. However, the key issue is that it must be ‘known or virtually certain’ (KVC) that the ball has been moved.
If you see a crow take your ball, then it is KVC, and you can replace the ball.
If you have seen your ball AT REST after your stroke, but when you look again it has disappeared and you know there are crows around, then again it is KVC and you can replace the ball.
If you hit your ball towards the green but don’t see it once it has landed, however when you get to the green the ball is not there. In this case it not certain that the ball has been moved, for example the ball could have hit a sprinkler and bounced away. If you find the ball, but not where you expected, you must play from where the ball lies and if you don’t find the ball you have to play under stroke and distance.
In the current rules, if you don’t know the exact spot where the ball was taken then (except on the putting green) you must drop a ball as near as possible to the spot.
From January 1st, Rule 9-6 covers ball at rest moved by outside influence. The only change is that if you don’t know the spot you will now replace a ball on the estimated spot.
The final phase of the PCD rope drainage has been installed on the 6th, 8th, 12th, 17th and 18th greens. They have settled extremely well and will require 2-3 weekly spiking to help smooth out the remaining lines. The 6th and 18th were drained using the natural slopes around the green with the outfall pipe ‘daylighting’ out of the bank for the water to disperse. The 8th, 12th and 17th greens where the ground is slightly flatter required large soakaways that were approximately 2 meters deep.
Monthly preventative fungicides are being applied until Christmas to keep the surfaces disease free, with dew repellents being used to keep the leaf dry and penetrants to ensure the soil is free draining.
The height of cut has been raised to 5mm on the pedestrian machines as the grass growth begins to slow and as we enter a colder period the 2nd cup in the green will be added.
The 2 greenside bunkers at the front of the 7th green are complete with the bunkers being reshaped, drained, lined and returfed. The large bunker to the right of the 7th green is currently being renovated in the same way with extra enthuses on the drainage and the shaping of the bank between the bunker and the green that has grown considerably over the years with sand splash. 2 of the 3 bunkers to the front of the 5th greenside have been renovated with the 3rd due to start shortly. They required the removal of sand splash (from high play) and new turf after the hot summer.
The team are currently focusing on leaf clearance which is fairly intense this year as the trees look to be suffering a little from the hot dry summer. Regular sanding of high traffic areas with the use of directional posts will help to keep the course as clean as possible during the winter.
Please remember to repair your pitchmarks as recovery will be very slow and please follow all traffic management posts as we are try to keep the worn areas away from the greens.
With the winter season well and truly under way, we thought it might be a good time to refresh your memory of our indoor swing studio. You can play golf on one of our many great courses including Pebble Beach, Wentworth, Emirates Course and Quail Hollow, practice on the range to work on your game, whilst using the GC2 launch monitor with HMT device to measure Clubpath, Clubface, Strike Location etc or take a skills challenge with shots ranging from 10 yards to 250. Lessons can also be booked with either myself or Adam, where we will highlight where your swing could be improved to play better golf! It's a fantastic facility and we recommend all our members try it.
Contact the shop to make a booking, we will set it up and show you how it works, it is very simple to operate.
Some of you may be aware that Tom has started his PGA studies in the last month, and has recently had his first exam. His Level 1 PGA coaching course held place on the 21st/22nd of November and we our glad to say that Tom passed this qualification. We will continue to update you on Toms progress over the next few months of his academic year.
Our Christmas draw Has started, you can sign up on the boards in the bar and pro shop it is £1 a square. Previous prizes have included: Motocaddy Trolley's, Taylormade Drivers, Mizuno Irons, Golf Bags etc so not to be missed out on.
The closing date for the very popular Titleist Christmas ball deal with Free Personalisation is Monday 10th December. Please contact the pro shop to place your order and ask any questions.
Gemma on Tour
Congratulations to Gemma Dryburgh, who last month retained her LPGA Tour Card for 2019. This is a fantastic achievement, she is one of only 6 British players who have LPGA playing rights, the highest level of the women’s game. In this interview with The Niblick, Gemma looks back on her highlights from 2018 and sets out her ambitions for 2019.
How would you describe your first year on the LPGA Tour? My rookie season was a learning experience. I had a great time even though I didn’t have the best results. Everything was a step up from my first two seasons in Europe, it took some adjustments to feel comfortable. I will be taking all of that experience into the 2019 season.
What were your highlights? Making my first ever hole in one was one of my highlights. It was at the tournament in LA where I finished my round with a hole in one and then birdie, birdie so it was an amazing finish to the round. Another highlight was having my best finish of the year at the last regular season event in Portland. I finished T21 to get myself into the final stage of Q school which was a big bonus as otherwise I would have had to play stage 2 of Q school as well as the final, 8- round Q series.
What would you say most surprised you about life on Tour? The most surprising thing was the depth of the standard. Playing on the Ladies European Tour the first two years gave me a really good feel and experience of how to organise my time and get used to travelling from tournament to tournament. But the standard on the LPGA is the biggest difference. I knew the standard was going to be good but I didn't expect it to be so deep throughout the field.
Who's golf most impressed you? I managed to play a couple practice rounds with Major Champion and 5-time Solheim Cup player, Anna Nordqvist, and I was really impressed with her. I actually hit it the same distance as she did so that gave me a lot of confidence. I was very impressed with her pitching, whenever she has a short club in her hand she had a very good chance of making birdie. I think that is the area I could improve a lot on. It seemed like her game was very tight and she was unlikely to make any mistakes, and she would take advantage anytime she had a wedge in her hand.
Which parts of your game are you working on? I will be focusing a lot on my pitching from 100 yards and in. I think that is the area where I can pick up the most shots. My pitching has improved a lot over the last year, but I feel like I can get even better. The closer and more consistent I can be with my pitch shots, the more birdie chances I will have.
How did it feel to be back at Q School? I felt quite comfortable as I have had a few experiences of the pressure since my first try in 2015. It was a long two weeks, with 8 rounds of competitive play. I just thought of it as a marathon and took each round at a time so if I did have a bad round then it didn’t worry me as I had so much golf to play. I was very excited when the last day came.
I played really well over the two weeks. I felt like each department of my game was in good shape so I didn't really have a weak part of my game to worry about. I think that was key throughout the two weeks. It was also a big confidence boost to play and score so well the last two days. What also gave me confidence was that the two higher rounds that I had were two of the best ball striking days. It sounds weird but on those days the putts were just not going in, but there was no reason for me to be worried as I knew I was playing well and the putts would drop the next day.
One of the highlights of the whole two weeks was having two chip ins on the last day at very important times. I chipped in on my ninth hole on the last day to put me back to +1 for the day and then I chipped in on my 15th hole to bring me back to even par for the day which is what I finished on. Two key moments to put me in a good position to qualify.
Do you work on fitness and nutrition? What in particular do you do in this respect? I work a lot on fitness. I have golf specific workouts that I do to help with my stability, mobility, and power. I feel like I have gained distance over the last few years from this work in the gym. I work on the whole body from the legs, the core, the back and upper body. I also like to make sure I am working on my flexibility and mobility to make sure I am not susceptible to injury.
For nutrition I like to make sure I am eating and drinking the right things on the course. I usually have nuts, nutrition bars, a banana and a sandwich with me. I make sure I eat something every three holes and that I am constantly drinking even if it is just a sip at a time. When we go to hot places, which is most of the time, I also like to have an electrolyte drink to replace everything we lose from sweat.
Which course did you enjoy the most? My favourite course was Kingsmill in Williamsburg, Virginia. I thought it was well designed and the last few holes were right by the James River, which is a beautiful spot.
Where do you stay on tour, and what do you spend your time doing when you are not playing? I try and stay in as much host housing as possible. Staying with local families is a big help financially and is also nice because you usually have more space than a hotel, and the families usually show you around the local area. Some weeks I will stay in a hotel with another player or in a rented apartment with a few players. It depends on the week.
When I am not playing I like to try and do some touristy things depending on where we are. I always think it is a shame if we just see the golf course and the hotel the whole week so I try to make an effort to see the sights while we are on the road. I also like to get some rest too, playing week in and week out is tiring so rest is almost as important as practice.
How do you feel about the coming season and what are your main goals? I feel really good about the 2019 season. I feel like having my first year under my belt I know what to expect, I know the courses, and I know that I am good enough to do well on the LPGA. Just having the experience of my rookie year I will be able to take that experience and be able to progress from there. I will be a lot more comfortable starting out, as I know I can compete with the girls out there so I just have to let myself play.
My main goal is to qualify for the majors, especially the British Open, the KPMG and the Evian Championship. Also to finish in the top 80 of the LPGA money list is another goal. Finishing top 80 means I would be able to play the post season events in Asia.
Last season I was focused on keeping my card, but next season I am going to enjoy being out there as much as possible and let myself play.
Trophy Roll Of Honour