JOHN O’GAUNT GOLF CLUB
Junior Section AGM.
The John O’Gaunt Juniors competed for their AGM Cup over a rather wet and rainy John O’Gaunt course on Sunday 29 January. Despite the poor golfing conditions the Juniors put in some powerful performances with a tie between 3 players each recording nett scores of 62 well under their handicaps. After the calculations of count back on the back 9 holes the winner was Emma Brown, followed by Owen Williams in second and Callum Bareham third.
After a break to get clean and put on their smart clothes, the Juniors joined their parents and many of the club’s committee members in the Burgoyne Suite for their Annual General Meeting. They heard reports from members of the Junior Committee, Junior Organiser, Club Captain and club professional Lee Scarbrow, as well as seeing the presentation of prizes to the 2016 winners.
The presentation of 31 trophies, cups and awards was made by Junior Patron Martin Pettitt aided and abetted by Steve Akrill, Junior Organiser. There were many of the younger members coming into their own last year but the performance of the year came from Lawrence Jefferys who did not have a handicap at the beginning of the year but finished playing off 11, remarkable. On the way he picked a number of trophies and cups including the Bedfordshire County Boys Under 12 Championship, Best Newcomer and Points Cup winner. It was also a stellar year for Jack Slater in his last year as a Junior winning the Club Championship, Division 1 Championship, both including adult members plus the Junior Boys Championship. There was also great success for Harry Warmoth, Junior Captain who became the Club Player of the Year, winning also against adult club members
During the meeting Junior Captain Harry Warmoth presented Steve Akrill with a gift in recognition of his role as Junior Organiser for the past 14 years. Steve Akrill will now be concentrating on his responsibilities as secretary of the English Schools’ Golf Association which he has been undertaking for the past 2 years along with his JOG Junior commitments. Steve was wished well for the future and will be handing over to Sue Lee over the next couple of months.
On Thursday 12th January 14 teams of 3 Ladies braced the elements to play a fun competition of "1, 2, 3 Waltz", with 1 of 3 scores counting on the 1st hole, 2 of 3 scores on the 2nd, and all 3 scores in the team counting on the 3rd, this continued for the 18 holes. Due to the inclement weather several teams were unable to finish, but this didn't stop the braver players fighting for the odd birdie.
With no team quite managing Par on the day, but with a good score of 70 and winning on count back were Penny Staveley-Smith, Jean Cobb and Diane Munns.
Coming in 2nd, also on 70 points were Sue Colledge, Marion Cooper and Lorna Jerome and a close 3rd, with 69 points were Tanya Willmott, Sue Hankins & Sue Gilbert.
On Thursday 19th January the Ladies played a challenging game on the John O'Gaunt course using the Augusta National score card, this made for some interesting scoring as at least one of the par 5s at John O'Gaunt was only a par 3 on the Augusta score card, but there were still some scores coming in on these tricky holes.
Due to the frosty conditions, there were a few temporary greens & tees in play, making the course slightly shorter and giving everyone the opportunity of scoring well on the shorter holes.
With some good scores coming in, all the leaders managed to play below their handicaps.
Coming in first with a tremendous score, and obviously finding Augusta no challenge, was Jane Cooper with 46 points, coming in second, also with a great score, was Pauline Aubigne with 40 points, in third position, also showing Augusta is no challenge, was Lindsay Derry with 39 points.
On Thursday 26th January, the Ladies again braved the bitterly cold day to play in a team Stableford on the Carthagena course, with a few temporary tees & greens in play the course was slightly shorter, but certainly didn't make it any easier due to the freezing conditions.
With teams of three, the format of the day was best 2 of 3 scores per hole, and all 3 scores counting on the par 3s, this making for a team score of 86 to play to par.
The winning team on the day coming in with a team score of 96 points, and playing 10 under their handicaps, was Jean Cobb, Tanya Willmott and Jane Cooper and in 2nd with a team score of 91 points, and playing 5 under their handicaps was Terry Brown, Jan Murphy and Val Cooper and in third place with a team score of 90 points, and also playing under their team handicap, were Anita Isaacson, Anne Gurney and Tineke Smith.
Award for Operation Pollinator Champion
John O’Gaunt Golf Club green keeper, Steve Thompson, has picked up the prestigious Syngenta Operation Pollinator Award, for the golf club’s consistently outstanding ecological habitat creation and management.
The Award was presented at the Golf Environment Awards ceremony, organised by the STRI at BTME Harrogate on 17-19 January.
As one of the great champions of the Operation Pollinator initiative - set up to introduce more bee-friendly wildflower areas around golf courses - Steve Thompson has successfully overseen the planting and management of more than three hectares of dedicated habitat; welcomed by the club’s players and a wealth of pollinating insects.
“Operation Pollinator was the instigator of our habitat creation that has now become an integral part of our wider environmental management plan for wildlife and biodiversity around the courses,” he said.
Steve added: “John O’Gaunt is extremely proud of its reputation for providing consistently high-quality golf playing surfaces, but also managing the surrounding environment that makes it such an attractive place to come and play.”
The Bedfordshire golf club, near Sandy, offers two premier 18-hole courses: the historical wooded parkland John O’Gaunt course, and the contrasting, more open, free-draining Carthagena. A host for some of the region’s leading golf competitions, the Club has also won widespread praise from independent ecologists for its environmental work.
Syngenta Operation Pollinator Manager, Caroline Carroll, highlighted that John O’Gaunt’s success in winning award was recognition of the entire green keeping team’s efforts, led by Course Manager, Nigel Broadwith, and the Club’s commitment to proactively utilising the whole area of the golf course.
Caroline added that John O’Gaunt has clearly demonstrated that it is possible and rewarding to balance managing the course to give the players the ultimate golfing experience, along with developing surrounding and out-of-play areas to provide an immense ecological resource.
“Golf courses can be a real environmental asset to any area,” she enthused. “Far from being a ‘green desert’ frequently portrayed, they can be proactively managed to be ecological oasis that should be championed and promoted as a positive and sustainable initiative of the golf industry.”
Operation Pollinator Award judge and STRI Ecology Consultant, Sophie Vukelic, added: “It is so encouraging to see that Operation Pollinator has been taken on board by so many golf clubs around the UK. “It really highlights how the golfing industry has changed over the past decade, with much more emphasis on the ecological value of golf courses and their ability to provide a wildlife resource within the wider landscape. “The success of John O’Gaunt and the Award should inspire others to play a part in conserving vitally important pollinators, through the creation of wildflower habitats promoted by Operation Pollinator.”