Captain’s Blog – 13 November

Hello Shirland Golfers

Well, that’s the first week of the second lockdown done. Hopefully, everyone is keeping safe and coping without their golfing fix. Hang in there, folks.

This week the committee had its monthly online meeting and we were glad to welcome Carl Wilson, our new Treasurer. By all accounts, he has hit the ground running and successfully picked up the reins from Richard and our former accountants. The changes at Shirland keep coming as we continue our transition to where we need to be for the long-term future of this wonderful club.

We’re now starting to look ahead to 2021, in the hope that our government and health services are able to get us on top of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on this country, over the coming months. Whether we are confident about that prospect or not, we have to plan for the best, but be realistic that we may have to tolerate something less. Rest assured your committee and green-staff are doing everything in their power to set us up for a brighter 2021.

Before I move onto my own big news, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has entered the alternative Masters Golf Sweepstake. We may not have had the option to sell players names at “a pound-a-pop” as we usually would (in order to raise £60-£70), but those who have entered have dug deep and made online donations to the Captain’s Charity to the tune of £157. I consider that a massive result. Thank you so much.

A couple of weeks ago, I confirmed that John Baker was standing down as my Vice-Captain and I invited members to let me know if they were interested in stepping into John’s shoes in 2021. Unsurprisingly, I was not deluged with applications. I know that many of you have recognised how difficult it has been to fulfil any of the official roles at the club over this year, including that of Captain. I’ve had lots of enquiries and expressions of goodwill and support from members over recent months, all recognising how practically impossible it has been to do the usual things that come with the role. Who would then want to step in and potentially face the same challenges? As you know, I’ll be retaining the captaincy for another year and praying that circumstances will be vastly better than 2020. What I can assure you is that I remain completely loyal to this club and its members and will continue to work to make this the club we all know it can be.

With all that said, I needed to find a Vice-Captain who would be as energetic and enthusiastic about the role, and as committed to continuing our recovery from some really difficult times in recent months and years. Thank you to everyone who threw their hats in the ring and for cooperating with the application and interview process. My decision is made…..

“Members of Shirland Golf Club, I am delighted to announce that Martin Musgrave will be my Vice-Captain for the 2021 season.”

Who? ? ?

I realise that many of you will have yet to encounter Martin, so if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to paint a pen picture of the man.

Martin is, in my view, an extremely capable golfer and a total gentleman. He joined our club back in March 2020, when he was in the process of arranging a return to the UK from Canada, where he has lived for several years. It’s not for me to say too much about Martin’s personal life, but suffice to say, he has experienced his share of tragic times of late and he has returned to the UK to give himself and his children a fresh start. I had the honour of welcoming him to the club in the summer when travel restrictions finally enabled him to complete his migration and rediscover his golf clubs. Whilst living in Canada, Martin has been limited to 3-4 rounds of golf a year due to work commitments and seasonal snow-coverings preventing any semblance of regular golf. Suffice to say, he was a bit out of practice. He struggled initially to find his swing again, but I know that he is fast developing a reputation, not least among the fiddle, as his rhythm is returning. The fact that he is now playing 3-4 times a week is clearly a major factor in this regard.

You might wonder whether it is right to award the Vice-Captaincy to someone who has only been at the club for a few months, but I have seen enough of Martin over this time to know that he is exactly what we need at Shirland and will be a massive asset to the club and its committee for some time to come. Since arriving at Shirland, Martin has played a lot of golf, with a wide variety of members and gone a long way towards getting himself known to many. He has, as far as I’m aware, made a tremendous impression on everyone he has accompanied on the course and has been welcomed by so many of you.

In the few rounds that we have shared, I’ve got to know Martin very well and learned a lot about his passion for the game, his view of the club and its course, and his desire to help the club grow in every way. I am convinced that he will be an incredible support to me during the coming season, just as John has been during 2020, and as our future Captain I believe that he will lead this club with energy and conviction. I also feel that at the committee level he will be a strong and intelligent contributor to our discussions, with innovative and knowledgeable contributions to make. We’ve already had some lengthy exchanges of ideas about the medium to long term initiatives that we can progress together, for the good of Shirland GC.

Returning to the shortness of Martin’s association with the club to-date, I firmly believe that this too, is an advantage. Those of us who have been here for a few years, and lived through the trials and tribulations of the past 3 years in particular, are all scarred to some degree by what we’ve experienced, especially those with committee roles. Martin comes in with none of that baggage and can look at Shirland Golf Club as it is today, and how it can be in the future without the shadow of the past to cloud his vision. That has to be the way forward for us all.

So, I want to say a big welcome to Martin and I hope that you will all pass on your congratulations to Martin for his selection and give him the same support that you have given John and myself over the course of this season.

We move forward now, with optimism, new energy, a new Secretary, Treasurer and Vice-Captain and a commitment to growing this club and attracting new members, and hopefully attracting some former members to come and give us another try.

No doubt, some of you are only here for the golfing quotes, so here are this week’s. (As we’re getting less exercise currently, some exercise themed ones, I think.):

At my age I try to work out a little. I go swimming twice a day. It beats buying golf balls – Bob Hope

Arnold Palmer has gone on a fitness programme. He’s given up cigarettes and started jogging. He only coughs now when his opponent is putting – Bing Crosby

Golf is wonderful exercise. You stand on your feet for hours watching someone else putt – Will Rogers

Stay Safe everyone

Mr Captain