Golf round-up: The latest news from Harrogate & district's courses

A round-up of the region’s latest golf action, as submitted by the clubs themselves.
A round-up of the region's latest golf action. Picture: Andy Buchanan/Getty ImagesA round-up of the region's latest golf action. Picture: Andy Buchanan/Getty Images
A round-up of the region's latest golf action. Picture: Andy Buchanan/Getty Images

Pannal GC

Players entering the Fourball Betterball competition on Saturday January 6 encountered a fully playable 13-hole layout with the greens in particularly good condition.

After such a long lay-off over the holiday period members were glad to get back to the tee and 44 pairs returned a score.

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In total, 80 percent of the field achieved the par score of at least 26 points and the overall result yet again was close. A score of 32 points needed a countback to split places two and three.

Neil Taylor and Rob Memmott were disappointed to find their 32 points only good enough for fourth. Brothers Callum and Jordan Jonas took third spot, pipped only by Peter Ingham and Richard Burcher for second.

But the week’s winners, by one point, were Gareth Whiles and Steve Duffy on 33.

Each year, the Ladies’ Winter Trophy is contested over six weekly rounds of 13-hole Stableford golf, with round four taking place on Tuesday January 9.

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With only one point separating the top five players, card counts were needed to divide the top three. Ladies’ Vice Captain Lynn Sheldrake finished third with 25 points, one point behind second placed Vanda Mckenzie, but the winner, on a countback, was Gerry Callander with 26 points.

On Saturday January 13, the annual Three Club Plus Putter Betterball Medal was held with the usual pre-competition discussions about which three clubs were preferred. But as is usually the case, scores were very similar to those made with a full set.

Underfoot conditions had improved considerably over the previous week, with the greens reckoned to be the best seen in January for many years.

Played over 16 holes the medal format was switched to a Stableford after the rounds were completed to reflect the shorter course. No fewer than 50 pairs returned cards with a single point separating the top three places.

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Phil O’Connor and Rob Booth took third place with 38 points, one behind Alan Pater and Paul Grover on 39. But it was the 40 points of Phil Stott and David Whan which secured their victory.

Knaresborough GC

It took some dodging the climate carousel this week, but both men and ladies managed to complete their first 18-hole Medal competition in many weeks.

In the case of the men, early October was the last completed monthly Medal. For the ladies, it was 10 weeks ago that they slid in between the storms and the ice, on November 7th.

The touch-and-go relaunch for men came on Saturday when Keith Davison (10) ground out a solid 37 Stableford points to head Division One.

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He modestly attributed his success to “more lucky bounces” around the greens than most in the division.

But his luck was complemented by plenty of well-measured putting in what were often difficult conditions. A crucial birdie at the 14th, after he’d chipped on from the side of the green, edged James Lupan (7) and Andrew Marshall (9) into second and third on the countback.

In Division Two, John Tonkinson (18) left no margin for argument as he shot both his best ever gross and nett scores to post 44 points for the win.

He focused on avoiding the adhesive rough, driving straight and middling his approach shots. He also putted aggressively on the frosty greens.

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Off the shorter winter tees, he was able to threaten the greens more than he would in summer, he acknowledged. His single birdie came at the short par fourth at 14th but he bagged eight nett birdies to wrap up his personal best record.

John Bradley (19) finished second on 40 with Len Jemison (19) third on 38.

It was tight at the top in Division Three, where Anthony Richardson (25) eased ahead on count-back from Bill Baybutt (25) on 39. Robin Sharp (22) was third on 36.True to form, overnight rain ruled out the Sunday Medal.

In the Ladies’ 18-hole Medal, Maria Grayson (22) made the best of difficult conditions to lead Division One on 35 points followed by Julie Lovell (13), 28 and Jo McBratney. (7) on 27.Ladies Captain Sue Williams (26 ) headed Division Two with a steadfast 36 with Janette Parker (26 ) on 34 and Carole Wakelin (27 ) on 24. Linda Lawson (35) won Division Three on 30 points.

Harrogate GC

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A new year, but old problems. After waterlogged ground caused course closures and partial closures, greenkeepers were eventually able to declare 10 holes open on Saturday January 6.

The Turkey Trot, which should have been played in December, saw Graham Adams make good use of his choice of three clubs and a putter to win Division One with an excellent 24 points.

Andrew Consodine took Division Two on 20 points while David Rowlay headed Division Three with 19 points.

Results: Div. One – 1st G. Adams (10), 24 pts; 2nd L. Edwards (8), 22 pts. (bb5); 3rd A. Fowler (10), 22 pts.

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Div. Two – 1st A. Consodine (14), 20 pts; 2nd P. Harper (15), 19 pts; 3rd G. Marsh (15) 18 pts.

Div. Three – 1st D. Rowlay (19), 19 pts; 2nd R. Nicholls (20), 18 pts (bb5); 3rd S. Edmundson (20), 18 pts.

Fourteen holes were available for the Mid-week Stableford the following Wednesday which Paul Farrand (5) won with 29 points from Paul Martin (9) and Paul Lai (8), who tied on 28 points.

Another two holes were added on Saturday 13, when Harrogate’s Men played a pairs Texas Scramble. Frosty weather dictated that temporary greens were in operation which always adds another level difficulty.

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With a nominal par of 62, the leading scores were remarkable. The winners came from the club’s Junior ranks, with Max Sowray & Dexter Ward producing a a nett 53.

Glen Manby & Mark Davies claimed second place, just one shot behind on 54 who in turn, were one shot better than third placed Nick Crouse & Billy Burgoyne on nett 55, the same score as Steve Edmundson & John Kirkby, who lost out on a count-back.

At long last, the Ladies got their first competition of 2024, played albeit over frozen ground and using temporary greens.

They played the ‘Yellow Peril’ over 14 holes, in a team-of-three format, with two scores of which one had to be the ‘yellow ball’.

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The team of Jenny Hill, Liz Haw & Carole Coleman won with a very formidable 58 points, seven points better than the team in second place.

Results: 1st J. Hill/L. Haw/C. Coleman, 58 pts; 2nd S. Dewey/J. Crouse/A. Winship, 51 pts; 3rd. E. Shepherd/J. Moorhouse/C. Franks, 48 pts.

Similar conditions were experienced by the Men playing in the Pairs Four Ball Better-ball Stableford, but they were able to use 16 holes.

In a high scoring competition, there was a very close finish, with a tie at the top and the third-placed pair just one point behind the winners.

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Paul Mitchell & Peter Watson had the better back nine to claim with Brian Haines & Steve Gac having to settle for second.

Results: 1st P. Mitchell & P. Watson, 41 pts. (bb9); 2nd B. Haines & S. Gac, 41 pts; 3rd M. Holden & D. Swales 40 pts.