Captain’s Blog – 4 November

Hello Shirland Golfers

Here we go again. Lockdown II.

Following last weekend’s announcement from the Prime Minister, our course (and all the rest) will be closed for the next 4 weeks. No Course, no Pro-shop and no practice areas. Whatever your views on the PM’s latest set of measures, please respect the rules and do not seek to nip onto the course for a cheeky few holes.

As disappointing as it is, that we’ll not be able to play for the next few weeks, there is an upside:

The course has really started to come back to its best, thanks to the incredibly hard work by Paul, Adam, Nick and Jim your Greenkeeping team. The greens are just about back to where we need them to be and the rest of the course is looking beautiful. A month without us lot lumbering round will almost certainly help to get the course into better December condition than we’ve probably ever see it. Paul has also compiled his winter plan and, with less need to remove leaves or give the greens a daily cut (while we’re not around) the team will get an opportunity to bring forward some of their planned maintenance work, weather permitting. If we get a milder winter than last year, we could have something stunning to look forward to in 2021. (I had thought the 2020 had drained me of every last ounce of my optimism, but clearly not quite.) Keep those fingers crossed and hopefully, these next four weeks will pass quickly.

Before I go further, I want to send our collective best wishes to former Captain Darrel Smith and our hopes for a speedy recovery from this awful virus.

On a brighter note I want to say a huge and humble thank you to Richard Parsons and the members of the Outlaws Golf Society. Like many societies this is a band of mates who have clubbed together over the years to enjoy the game and some friendly rivalry at a variety of courses across Derbyshire and neighbouring counties. Over the course of this year their numbers have fallen and they’ve decided that to continue as a society is no longer viable. This is a terrible shame, but the story has a silver lining. Richard spoke to the remaining members of the society and proposed that, when they disband, they should look to donate their remaining funds to my Captain’s Charity. Richard indicated that a few hundred quid could be headed in the direction of the Teenage Cancer Trust once he’d finalised the group’s finances. On Sunday my Just Giving page received an incredible £1046 donation from the Outlaws. Such an amazingly generous act could not go unheralded. Thank you Richard and the Outlaws.

Following this unexpected boost it seems appropriate to give you an update on our fundraising efforts. You’ll remember that, when I launched the charity fundraising campaign, I set a target of £4000 for the year from 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021. As we were already in lockdown and unlikely to have too many fundraising opportunities this seemed a sufficiently ambitious target. We’ll the running total is now standing at £6550.37 (plus £620 in Gift Aid). To have surpassed £7000 in 7 months has blown me away. Thank you to everyone who has helped to support the Captain’s Charity this season. But we shouldn’t stop there. As we go into the second lockdown the need for the services of the Teenage Cancer Trust to support young people faced with cancer, is increasingly important. Access to treatment and hospital care is limited due to the focus on COVID-19 and most of these 13 to 24 year olds will also be additionally vulnerable to the virus and will be dealing with anxiety and fear that is beyond many of our comprehension. So, please let’s keep supporting them wherever we can.

And here’s your next opportunity….

Over the next 4 weeks we will not be able to play in club competitions. As a consequence, we stand to save ourselves £20 or more in competition entry fees. I want to ask you to consider using an element of the money that you’ll be saving to support the charity some more. And here is how you can do it.

I am going to run a Sweepstake for this year’s Masters Golf tournament which runs next week between 12th and 15th November. Normally, we’d put a board up in the pro-shop and sell each player at £1 a pop, with the aim of raising a few quid. Clearly, that is not going to be possible so it’s time to get innovative.

I have a decent amount of credit in the pro-shop currently, and I want to offer £100 of that credit to move into the account of a fellow member as the prize for this sweepstake.

I’m challenging you to predict the total shots taken by this year’s winner. As a guide recent winning scores are as follows:

2019 Tiger Woods 275  /  2018 Patrick Reed 273  /  2017 Sergio Garcia 279   

2016 Danny Willett 283  /  2015 Jordan Spieth 270  /  2014 Bubba Watson 280

2013 Adam Scott 279  /  2012 Bubba Watson 278  /  2011 Charl Schwartzel 274

2010 Phil Mickelson 272  /  2009 Angel Cabrera 276

2008 Trevor Immelman 280  /  2007 Zach Johnson 289

To enter you will need to make an online donation to my Just Giving page. One entry per member only and a minimum donation of £2 (but please be generous). Don’t worry about gift aiding on this occasion. In the Gift Aid section Just Giving asks you to confirm that the donation is not part of a sweepstake, raffle etc and does not involve a prize, so we’ll keep to their rules.

In the “Your Message” field on the site, when making your donation, please state the following:


Shots {XXX}

Winner {Name}

{Your Name}

I will be notified by the site and your sweepstake entry will be registered. Entries close when the first shot of the opening round is taken.

The aim is to correctly identify the number of shots taken by this year’s Masters winner. In the event of a tie, your second prediction, of who will win, will be taken into account. If there is no out-right winner, I will divide the £100 between everyone who predicts the correct score and round each share up to the nearest £5. I hope that all makes sense.

On a lighter note, this week’s golfing quotes (As we’re off the course let’s try a few “19th Hole” quotes.):

The 19th hole is the only one where you can have as many shots as you like. – Louis Safian

Arsenic – Ben Crenshaw to a bartender who asked him what he wanted to drink after he failed to qualify for the Open 1992.

What scoundrel took the cork out of my lunch? – W.C. Fields during a “Snack” break at the Lakeside Club in LA.

Stay Safe everyone

Mr Captain