Friday 5pm. Sign off from work, the poor dug’s been stuck in all day so it’s only right I take him out for his daily sniff and marking of territory, jacket, woolie bunnet, gloves and even my old golf waterproof bottoms, I know it’s baltic out there, and it was but it was also light, light after 5….it might not feel like it but spring and the golf season aren’t too far away.
I don’t play much in the winter any more, not because I don’t want to, I’m just too busy being Match Secretary then. What? Pardon? When there’s no competitions on? OK so it’s not that bad I could still find a few hours every week but a bit like a football manager might say about their pre-season…it’s the hard work then that sets you up for success and that’s how I approach our “off season”. No 3 or 4 months off as Morris Hughes promised me when I accepted the role just over 2 years ago now! Note to self…dig out the contract!
Having the bulk of our season 2024 Fixture List ready to go before our 2023 Prizegiving Dinner in October is a good start, that allows me to concentrate on making improvements that I’ve been thinking about but more importantly what you tell me. It’s your golf club, me and the Match Committee are here to give you what you want and I’m delighted at the engagement with the annual Match Survey we introduced at the end of the 2022 season. It’s the collective opinions and comments of over 250 members who complete it that shapes the fixture list for the season ahead.
The Season Ahead
Tradition is a huge part of golf right? I’m a great believer in respecting the past and history of some of our events which is why I wouldn’t consider making any fundamental changes to some. The Club Championship format is one, 3 qualifiers, best 2 from 3, 15 top qualifiers and defending champion but that doesn’t mean it can’t be tweaked, as many of you will know this was previously concluded in June but it’s now August so we have the best course for qualifiers.
You do have to move with the times too and the change our golf software provider BRS and Golf Genius has allowed us to innovate with some funky tournament formats that don’t really need too much thought as you just pop your score in the mobile app it it does it all for you.
It’s at this point I want to thank you as a membership for being open to experimentation and trying new formats, most have worked, some haven’t but that’s the beauty of the survey, you get a say in what stays and what goes. You told me that you wanted more team events this year…so guess what? you got them, another 5 events with some new formats. As well as new team formats I’m excited about introducing or re-introducing 4 new individual formats, catering for both our 7 day per week and midweek members. I’ll let you know more specifics on those via email or in my March/April blog.
To my surprise our Golf Hub proved to be one of the most popular enhancements last season and it’s something that does take up a decent chunk of my Match Secretary season preparation. This should be your “go to” for the fixture list (other options do exist). If you go into an event you’ll now find a picture of the trophy that’s being played for (not all events have a cup and I’ve still to update 7 or 8), a little thing I hope adds a bit more professionalism to your match experience at Fereneze.
This time last year you couldn’t book for any of our 2 Opens. Publishing our fixture list early allowed us to get our Opens out there early too and the response has been terrific, particularly for both our seniors events. Our Senior Open has more entrants (97) in it at this stage in February than actually played last year and I’m delighted at the amount of visitors that have booked and the geography has left me….ok not speechless but pleasantly surprised. You can check out the variety of home clubs and the status of all our opens here.
World Handicap System Changes
Scottish Golf are hosting sessions at Haggs Castle on 20th March in the afternoon and evening to give golf club representatives an opportunity to understand more about the upcoming changes to the WHS system I communicated out so eloquently a few weeks back. The Match Convener and I are going to go to the afternoon session. I might offer out the 2 slots for the evening session as a raffle prize!!!
The Haggs Castle Brand Putter team infamously called us the shell suit gang about 20 years ago….suitably motivated we won the league the following season. Might get my Fila looked out and swagger in there with the Brand Putter League trophy.
Teeing Up For Success
And finally here’s some things to think about to set yourself up for success this season:
- Evaluate your golf gear – New driver, new shoes, new grips maybe. Pop in and see Craig and he’ll get you sorted
- Practice, Practice, Practice – Time to get the reps in….but the right reps. Get checked in for your golfing MOT with Craig
- Set Goals – Might be to win something, lower your handicap, master a particular shot, play more events
- Stay informed – Like you have any other choice…you could unsubscribe to my emails of course….please don’t do that…it hurts
- Plan your schedule – Identify the events you definitely want to play in, make guests aware of the dates of the ones you want to invite them to and check out other clubs opens and county events
With Mrs Match Secretary out for the evening it’s some time with me and the dug, contemplating if I can really face the wind and rain at 8.15 in the morning with 4 layers on or maybe I should just do more Match Secretary stuff under the heated blanket (that was a Christmas gift for Mrs MS)
Enjoy your weekend