Club News

Captain

As newly elected Captain of Helsby Golf Club for the season 2022/23 I would like to welcome all new members to the club and thank loyal members renewing their membership again for their support this year. I was delighted to be elected to serve for a year as Captain and along with the other newly elected officers will do my best to represent the club as all my predecessors have done. I have been inundated with cards and goodwill messages and thank everyone for their support at the beginning of the golfing year.
Over the past few years the club has rightly focused on prioritising work on the golf course itself. This is paying dividends with returning visitors and societies wanting to play on our excellent parkland course and greens. We also have a very full membership in all sections for this coming season. This is of course testimony to our Board of Directors ; Secretary and office staff ; previous outgoing officers who remained in post for two years to steer the club through a pandemic together with the wonderful efforts of our artisans ; green staff and other employees on the hospitality and catering side who work so hard for the club all year round.
The Club have a new young and enthusiastic golf professional in Josh Hall who has recently taken over from John O’Neill and we wish him well this year. I am sure the members and club will do everything to help Josh make a success of his new role and improve the practice facilities for golf tuition wherever possible.
Growing up, the golf season always seemed to start in early April when the Masters at Augusta hosts the first major in America , however this year March produced some lovely spring sunshine for the Captains drive in which heralded the start of the golf season at Helsby Golf Club. It is right that at the drive in the Captain toasts the members and club itself and wishes all members whether playing or social members a very healthy , happy and successful year for 2022/23. I echo these comments here and for any visitors thinking of playing a round at Helsby or joining the club would urge you to come and see for yourselves what a great course we have and what a friendly club we are.
My charity for the year is the Golf Foundation who have a stated aim of taking golf into schools so children who would not otherwise be able to afford or get access to the game can be encouraged to try it out. I hope you you will agree that participation in this age group is vital and will lend support to this worthy cause.

I extend my best wishes to all.

Martin Edmunds
Captain 2022/23

Lady Captain

Little did I realise 2 years ago that I was about to be asked to take on the role of Lady Captain Elect of Helsby Golf and even less did I realise that due to Covid I would probably be the longest serving Lady Captain Elect in the history of our Golf Club. Never had it been on my agenda to be your Lady Captain and I am privileged and proud to have the opportunity.

I have attended many AGMs in the past but not often one with as many as 82 members present. It was good to see so many members interested in the wellbeing of their golf club and to see the new captains installed into office. It was quite overwhelming to receive so many cards and wishes of good luck. Thank you to all concerned.

The Drive-in followed two days later on Saturday 26th March. We were fortunate in that the weather could hardly have been better for the occasion. The golf course had benefited from a period of dry weather beforehand and it played really well for the Drive-in competition. The Drive-in was a quite unforgettable experience. So many people, wherever I turned there was a familiar face. All sorts of thoughts flash across the mind as you prepare to hit the ball it’s not possible to have an air shot with the driver is it
A couple of practice swings for the camera then the big moment. Somehow all was well, the ball was on its way down the fairway and the gathered audience let out an enormous cheer. All much to the relief of your new Lady Captain! The Captain, Martin Edmunds and Junior Captain, Josh Carter were similarly cheered on by the audience.

My partner for the Drive in Greensome Competition was Liz Fudge, the 2019 Lady Captain. The usual partner would have been the Immediate Past Lady Captain, Chris Marsden. However, as many of you know Chris recently sustained a nasty skiing injury which makes golf impossible for a while. We all wish Chris a speedy recovery.

The same evening 75 members and friends enjoyed the Drive-in Dinner and Dance. A lovely meal was served up by Dave Brinkley and his staff. Thanks must go to everyone that contributed to the success of a very memorable weekend. Danny Bennett and the Greens team for preparation of the golf course, Match and Handicap for organising the golf, the House Committee for arranging the evening event and by no means least of all the staff inside the clubhouse.

On 30th March we held the annual ladies AGM and Coffee evening. This annual event is much looked forward to by the ladies in that playing partners for the forthcoming competitions can be arranged and the Captain and President arrive later in the evening to run the traditional putting competition! Numbers were a little down on usual due concerns over Covid which is understandable but an enjoyable evening was had by all.

Moving on to charities, the money raised at the Drive-in for guessing the length of the drives will be split between the Captain’s and Lady Captain’s charities. My charity for this year is North West Cancer Research incorporating Clatterbridge Hospital. I have been involved in fundraising for this charity for many years. The charity provides funds that help in the research into cancers that affect so many families living near here.

Finally, my main objective is to promote a happy and successful golfing year for all our members.

Pauline Ford.
Lady Captain

President

Presidents statement coming soon.

Board of Directors

Dear Members,
I write this article only 24 hours after our 8th Annual AGM and I am pleased to say that I and the fellow Directors still live to tell the tale! On a serious note, it was fantastic to hold this meeting in person and see so many friendly faces instead of holding them on Zoom as we have had to do over the past 18 months.
My reflections of the last few months have been one of great pride, pride in the fact that as a Board of Directors we were sat in a daze just over 18 months ago at the onset of Covid worrying about our health, our club, and our future. Last night at the AGM, we presented a set of accounts and a message that the club is in good health, and I am full of optimism for the future.
To help us maintain our financial stability I would ask that all members please continue to support the golf club by not only playing golf, but by using the wonderful clubhouse facilities. Next time you play, instead of throwing your clubs in the boot and driving home, maybe pop up to the bar and see Rob or Julie and have a sandwich, a coffee, a tea or maybe something stronger. Next time you are feeling peckish or fancy Sunday Lunch with the family, come and have one of Dave the chef’s wonderful carveries or if you have hit one slice too many, drop into the shop and see John or Josh for a lesson. Don’t forget too that we have a clubhouse that is perfect for parties and functions so next time you are planning an event, consider using it.
We have a wonderful club, and we have wonderful members. Let’s make sure we get the most out of our membership and use the facilities available to us and in our own small way, contribute to making Helsby Golf Club even better.
Finally, I would just like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Christian Lindley
Chairman – Helsby Golf Club

Secretary

Once again, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the members of Helsby Golf Club for giving me such a warm welcome into my role as Secretary of our fine Golf Club.
Having now been in post for 18 months which has actually flown by I have to say it been my pleasure to help assist and guide the club through some of the most difficult times any business has ever had (well at least in my lifetime)
I would like to welcome Gill back and give a big vote of thanks to Jayne for all the hard work she put in during Gills maternity leave.
It’s been a real learning experience to work with all the fantastic committees, Golf professionals, Greenkeepers, House team and the Board of Directors over the past 18 months and we now as a club find ourselves in a much stronger position in many ways which is all due to the fabulous team work and support of our members.
One of our highlights of the year has to be the new course signage and I would like to give a big vote of thanks to our 15 sponsors most of whom enjoyed our sponsors day with the team from DD Decs coming out victorious and prizes being won by Nick Cunniffe, Mark Ellams and Jonny Maddocks.
We are looking forward to welcoming our new Officers for the 2022/2023 season and wish them a very special year.

Kieran & Gill.
Secretary’s Office.

Message from our new Head Professional Josh Hall.

Moving into the 2022 season we are furthering our member's retail experience with new brands coming into the ProShop, we welcome cobra as a hardware option for golfers going forward alongside the already popular Taylormade which has carried over from last year.

Clothing again, having been a popular choice with the members, Oscar Jacobson will be carrying over into this season. The spring/summer stock already arriving and available to golfers. Puma are the new stockist arriving for the 2022 season with a different look sportswear to get you ready for all weather golfing over the coming months (hopefully the warmer kind).

Coaching & Custom Fitting is available using the latest in flightscope technology, see online for further details or visit one of the team in the ProShop.

Junior Development Programme - Last year we boasted 22 juniors all new or relatively new to the game, we are looking to further advance our programme that will be resuming late April, after the success of last year we hope to grow and branch out even further welcoming all age groups to help grow the game.

Tournament Golf - From the 25th of April onwards I will be competing in professional events, mostly local, and some national tournaments. This is something I've done throughout my time working in the golf industry I can't wait to get going representing Helsby Golf Club as Head Professional.

Regards
Josh Hall

Membership and Marketing 2021

At the end of 2020 we had seen our Membership rebound somewhat from the COVID crises, partly due to the successful member referral scheme. We are pleased to report that the growth in Membership has continued into 2021 and is reflected in the table.


We are pleased to have gained new Members from a wide range of clubs, across a range of Handicaps (from a sample of 64 new members 13% had 0-8 handicap, 55% were 11-20, 22% greater than 20, and only 7% with no handicap on joining). Looking to the future, we have more work to do on recruiting female golfers, so the successful pilot coaching session held by John in the Autumn will be followed up by further sessions next Spring. Thanks to John and Josh, the Junior Academy got off to a terrific start in the summer with 20 Juniors joining the program, we look forward to many of them joining our Junior ranks in future.
In addition to Membership activities, the team have:
* re-aligned our Visitor Fees and removed the low cost golf offer to reflect the quality and status of our course
* Developed our new Website which is ready to launch to bring a more modern feel, with upgraded club images and which is easier to manage and provides our own visitor booking and payment platform
* Held our first Sponsors Day in October, having benefited from a significant investment in upgraded signage during through the year
* Promoted the club through various articles and publications both on line and in the press
* Secured new and exciting reciprocal agreements for the benefit of our Members
* Many thanks to Kieran, John, Kathryn and Simon for their hard work and support during the year.

Regards

Jim Thomas

Greens

Work is ongoing around the course including the following:

The new Sponsors signs to be erected on the back nine along with the officers parking signs in the car park

Drainage work to be carried out on and around the 13th fairway that will link into the 12th drainage system

Drainage work to be carried out on the 16th fairway nearing the 17th winter tee

Drainage repairs to the 7th fairway

Weather dependency will determine work in all areas, however certain holes will be closed during the 'week' (Monday to Friday) during prolonged wet periods to alleviate stress.

The Members will be notified via email and the notice boards.

Please can we take this opportunity to ask that if you use a trolley, to park it at the orange post and to keep it off fringes and aprons – this will protect our course during the winter weather.

Huge thanks must go to our fantastic greens team, the Artisans and volunteers who all work tirelessly to maintain our course throughout the year. A special thanks also to Jon Jenkins for his bunker crusade!

Paul Collins
Greens

House

Obviously after a very difficult eighteen months, we are happily now realising the full potential of the Club once more. We have, in fact, held some very successful social events since July, including President’s Night, Captain’s Night and Lady Captain’s Night. Additionally, there have been Grill and Steak Nights – all well supported, especially the Grill Night in conjunction with the Art Exhibition when it was so good to see new faces in the Clubhouse.
We must thank Dave and Julie for all they do for us. Take a bow. Particularly, when the Clubhouse was closed, they kept us going with snacks at the half-way house and it gave us all the opportunity to catch up with friends we had not seen for months, outside in a safe environment.
Dave also provided take-away Sunday lunches – another hit. He is hoping to start serving Sunday lunches in the New Year but has held the odd one recently.
We are an enthusiastic House Committee and I’m pleased to report that Roddy Snedden is now on board as House Director. We are always looking for suggestions for different types of social events and improve facilities in the Clubhouse – please let us know if you have any ideas. We would particularly like to see new members at our social events so again, any suggestions will be welcome and please contact me.
Carolyn Clothier is re-introducing the popular Film Nights, the first one taking place on 2nd December – the details will be posted on the social board.
We also have the following planned – so please make a note in your diary –
* Christmas Party on Saturday, 11th December – an occasion to dress up! We are hopeful of good support as it promises to be a fantastic night, with great entertainment and great food - certainly an event not to be missed!
* 9 hole Competition on Wednesday, 29th December - starting at 10.00 am followed by a festive sandwich lunch, glass of vino and Christmas quiz. House will be organising this and the notice will be displayed shortly.
* Burns’ Night on Saturday 22nd January
* Tribute Night planned for Saturday 12th February
* Drive-in Saturday 26th March
* Annual Ball Saturday 23rd April
We are mindful that some of the kitchen equipment needs replacing urgently.
It was agreed at the Annual Meeting on 18th November that finance is available to replace ovens and the dishwasher. This should certainly make things easier for both Dave and Julie.
Also, the wheels have been set in motion to refurbish the toilets and shower areas in the Ladies’ locker room as these badly need updating. Quotes are being obtained and hopefully work can commence sooner rather than later.
We are all well aware that we need visiting societies and outside functions to generate income from the bar. We welcome these but, at the same time, the needs of our members should take priority.
Before I close, I should like to say a big thank you to Rob for so efficiently running the bar. We are grateful for all his help. Thanks, also, to Carolyn, Margaret and Pauline, our stalwarts on House Committee. Since the last Newsletter we have a new Secretary and we thank Kieran for all his help and support.
Well, it is goodbye from me and all members of House.
Very best wishes to you all for Christmas and the New Year.

Barbara Leigh – House Committee

Catering

Firstly, I would like to thank all the members, the House Committee and the Board of Directors for their continued support throughout the past 2 years which, due to covid19, have been very difficult.

During December I will be continuing with the snack offering and will also be putting more specials on in the form of snacks and more substantial meals – watch this space!

I also have a couple of festive Christmas menus on offer – either a 2 or 3 course set menu or a 2 or 3 course choice menu. The details are below, and I appreciate the support of those members groups who have already booked functions in. These menus are available to members and non-members, so please feel free to share with your family and friends.
If anyone would like to book or enquire about the festive menus or any other functions, please contact me – hgcchef@outlook.com

In January, I plan to offer Sunday lunches and I am currently looking into a pizza oven so I can do a fresh pizza menu. I will also be revamping the current snack offering.

I would like to personally thank Kieran and Gill in the office for all of their help and suport!

Many thanks and I wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Dave The Chef


Please contact Dave Brinkley for bookings/enquiries – hgcchef@outlook.com

Helsby Golf Club Member Benefits - Reciprocal Golf Arrangements

One of the great benefits of being a member at Helsby Golf Club is being able to take advantage of agreed reciprocal arrangements with local golf clubs.

Helsby members will need to show proof of membership and generally book in advance through the relevant pro shop. The current list of participating clubs is as follows:

SALE GOLF CLUB

Members can play golf free of charge at Sale with a maximum tee booking of 2 x 4 balls per week. Tee bookings on non-competition days, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

WYCHWOOD PARK

Wychwood Park will allow 1 x 4 ball free of charge per day and then further bookings on the same day are chargeable at the appropriate members guest rate. The rounds are available on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Preferential rates are also available at the hotel on site.

HUYTON AND PRESCOT

Members can play golf free of charge at Huyton and Prescot with maximum tee booking of 2 x 4 balls per day and the rounds are available on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

HURLSTON HALL

Members can play golf free of charge at Hurlston Hall with a maximum tee booking of 2 x 4 balls per day and the rounds are available on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

RHUDDLAN

Members can play golf free of charge at Rhuddlanwith a maximum tee booking of 2 x 4 balls per day and the rounds are available on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

GOG MAGOG - CAMBRIDGE

When Helsby Golf Club and Gog Magog Golf Club celebrated their centenary year together in 2001, an arrangement was agreed whereby all full members qualify for reciprocal membership. This allows full members of Helsby to play golf and use the clubhouse at Gog Magog Golf Club in Cambridge on up to two occasions per year free of charge.

ASSOCIATION OF JAMES BRAID COURSES

Helsby GC is a member of the Association of James Braid Courses, comprising of over 300 courses in 6 countries – England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and USA. Full members of Helsby GC are able to play at any of the Association courses at preferential green fee rates.
The Association and list of associated courses is managed nationally by Henley Golf Club and the current list of courses may be seen via the following link – http://www.henleygc.com/membership_benefits
Tee reservations must be made in advance stating that the booking is under the “Association of James Braid Course scheme”.
Bookings will only be accepted based on Club tee availability and cannot be accepted with any other offer.
Preferential rates are for members of member clubs only and NOT for a group or societyMany of our members at Helsby have already played some of the above courses under these reciprocal arrangements and have provided great feedback so why not plan a day out and use this great membership benefit!
A big thank you to our professional John O’Neill who has secured some of the new arrangements and will continue to seek out opportunities for further deals.

Board Winners 2021 - Men

Congratulations to all the following Board winners – a special mention should go to Club Champion Steve Roberts who retained the Club Championship trophy for the second year. Well done to all!

COMPETITON
Partridge Cup - Wayne Hawkins
Richmond Trophy - Duncan Goodall
Centenary Trophy - Dave Pilkington
Shankland Trophy - John Evans
Briant Bowl - John McLaren
Captain’s Prize - Duncan Goodall
President’s Prize - Steven Preston
Ward Trophy - Steve Daley
J V Fletcher Salver - Peter Dolan
Club Championship - Steven Roberts
Challenge Cup - Neil Johnson
Challenge Plate - Simon Pay and Jordan Pay
Jubilee Trophy - Martin Jones
Jack Speed Trophy - John Price
E W Lloyd Trophy - A Matu and B Matu
Dave Kitchen Quaich - Carl Robinson
Brewery Cup - Michael Wiggins
E J Harding - Jon Sharpe
R H Bell Salver - June Ryder and Jeff Hughes
Norman Littler Trophy - Daniel Kimber
Ex Captain’s Putter - Gary Pollitt
Ex President’s Putter - Tony Robinson

Ladies Prize Winners

LADIES TROPHY WINNERS 2021

It was good to get back to a full season of competitions after the COVID interrupted 2020 season and congratulations to all the Ladies Trophy winners pictured.

Jubilee Plate – Carolyn Clothier
Nora Astbury Trophy – Gill Smith
Sue Wright Flag – Christine Edmunds
Derek Leigh Centenary Trophy – Glenys Goodier
Whitfield Salver – Carolyn Clothier
Margaret Briggs Rosebowl –Jarmila Lee
Captain’s Day for Ladies – Pam Thompson
President’s Day for Ladies – Gill Smith
Joe Shepherd Cup – Judith Salisbury
Lady Captain’s Day – Julie Grey
Crowder Trophy – Barbara Prince
Medal Final – Sue Hannan
Isobel Shaw knockout Trophy – Glenys Goodier
Challenge knockout Trophy – Kathryn Hoather
Order of Merit – Lady Captain, Chris Marsden
Summer Pairs knockout - Pam Thompson and Viv Nagle

Well done Ladies!

New Norman Littler Trophy

In recognition of Norman Littler and his outstanding service to Helsby Golf Club over the 70 years he has been a member, the Past Captains donated a new “Norman Littler Trophy” for an annual competition. The first competition for the trophy took place in the summer with around 75 golfers taking part and the winner on the day was Daniel Kimber.
After the presentation, Norman and his wife Audrey enjoyed chatting to members and it was also an opportunity to catch up with some golfers he had coached as Juniors – the photo shows from left to right – Steve Cunniffe, Norman Littler, Marc Stoneley and Julia Wilkinson. They are all now single figure handicappers – a great coach Norman!

2021 – A Year of Double Victory For Duncan!

It has been a memorable year of golfing success for 86 year old Duncan Goodall here at Helsby.

Duncan, who lives in Helsby, has been a member of our club for 29 years and currently plays off a handicap of 29. His first success was in June when he won the Richmond Trophy (one of the major competitions) with a great score of 5 under par. Not content with that win, he then went on to win the Club Championship which was 2 rounds played on consecutive days in July. He scored an overall 8 under par for the competition and was presented with the trophy by club Captain Chris Stubbs.

He was delighted to win both major trophies and credits much of his success to our former pro Chris Cousins who helped him remodel his swing and also our current pro John O’Neill for coaching him recently with his chipping game. Whatever the reasons for the success, it has been a great year for Duncan with impressive scoring – well done!

Social Media

Don’t forget Helsby GC are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you are registered please give us a follow and share and like our posts!
Facebook – Helsby Golf Club – Official
Twitter - @HelsbyGC
Instagram – Helsby Golf Club – Official

Fred Whitfield

Helsby members who support the annual Powered Wheelchair Appeal MEGA (Merseyside Entertainers Golfing Association) event may be familiar with the name Fred Whitfield – he is one of their players. Our Chair of Greens, Paul Collins recently had the opportunity to spend some time with him and Paul confirmed that Fred is a really interesting character and he enjoyed his company very much!

Fred was born in Widnes and from his teens became a lifelong Everton FC supporter. As a youngster he even got as far as a trial with the club but it didn’t sadly work out. He started work with ICI initially but then went on to join the Cheshire Police force.

He got hooked on golf in his teens and started playing at Allerton Municipal Golf course. He was instrumental in forming the Runcorn Police Golfing Society and their home course was here at Helsby! He remembers playing with Steve Kennerley and learnt a lot from the pro at the time – Ian Wright. In 1983, he was promoted to a Sergeant and when based at Wilmslow, was delegated to organise the Manchester Open and one of the perks was an invite to play in the pre tournament Pro - Am. He was delighted to be paired with Tony Jacklin and admits it gave him a real insight into professional golf at the top level.

Following a heart attack in 1983, he had a triple heart by pass and retired from the police just short of completing 30 years service. Back to good health, he entered the 1994 Seniors British Open with his brother Frank as his caddy. He rubbed shoulders with the good and great and played with Christy O’Connor in the practice round! He made a great start and after round 2, was in second place to the legend that is Arnold Palmer. Sadly, he fell away after that but took away great memories and had the taste for Seniors golf at the top level. It also made him decide to try and join the Seniors tour.

Next, he went to Florida to the Seniors Q school and in doing so, had to forfeit his amateur status so he is in name only a “golf professional”. Sadly, he missed out by 2 shots and returned to the UK. Rules prohibited him from attending the European Seniors tour Q school, however the executive committee (after much deliberation) allowed him to do just that and he then qualified at Peralada in Spain and was delighted to gain his Players card for the 1997 schedule. That decision allowed many more age 50 plus golfers to go through the same process and Fred believes the tour in enriched by a more diverse collection of individuals from all walks of life.

He remained a Tour member for 5 years playing in European Seniors events in the UK and Europe and won the German PGA International event in a strong international field. At the turn of the century he lost his players card and turned his focus to golf and charity. He was appointed the Tour Pro for the Celebrity Golf Tour – effectively a Celeb - Am event to raise money for charity. It was hugely successful, raising over £2 million for various charities. Fred loved being involved in this – playing golf, rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous (Johnny Mathis, John Miles, Sir Norman Wisdom, Stan Boardman to name a few), world class golfers and fundraising! He now loves being involved in the MEGA set up, helping local golf clubs to raise funds and particularly enjoys returning to Helsby.

As you will see, Fred has lived his dream, played golf all over the world at a good level with some wonderful people and says he would do it all again in a heartbeat!

Thanks to Fred for sharing his story!