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.
Pannal GC captains Clare Davies and Martin Boyle with Kevin Lynch, left, and Howard Clark, second from right. Picture: SubmittedPannal GC captains Clare Davies and Martin Boyle with Kevin Lynch, left, and Howard Clark, second from right. Picture: Submitted
Pannal GC captains Clare Davies and Martin Boyle with Kevin Lynch, left, and Howard Clark, second from right. Picture: Submitted

Pannal GC

England Golf hold an annual competition to find the national Champion Handicap Golfer of the Year sponsored by yourgolftravel.

A male and female member from each eligible club is entered into their local Area Final based upon being the players with the lowest aggregate of four net score differentials in individual qualifying club competitions in 2023.

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The top six from the Area Final then go on to the Grand Final at the Hodgkin Course, Woodhall Spa, the home of England Golf.

Going to the 18-hole individual Stableford Area Final at Kirkbymoorside GC on June 2nd ,with the warmest congratulations from all members, will be Tim Considine and Vanda Mackenzie.

Another deluge of rain on Monday January 29th only resulted in a next day closure and by Saturday the course was ready for 16 holes of play with no need for temporary greens.

Once again PGA Professional Martin Padgett staged a 4BBB competition which attracted the usual full Saturday field. The twist in the tail this week was the need for both players in the partnership to count their scores on the four par 3 holes.

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The target score was therefore 40 points, achieved by 18 of the 49 returns indicating the challenge posed by a full-length course and windy conditions.

Once again countback was needed to determine second and third place with consistent contenders Jordan and Callum Jonas’s score of 44 points this week only making third.

Second spot went to partners Gareth Whiles and Andrew Asquith. They finished one point behind winners Chris and Andrew Booth with a commendable 45 points.

There was an improved result in the Twos Club where 21 of the 98 players made a pair, versus 12 out of 82 in the prior week.

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Three players made a couple of two’s each to bring the total to 24: 11 at the 10th, 5 at the15th, 4 at the 3rd, and just one at the 17th.

The following week was another rain affected period, with weekend golf seeing a full course closure. However, on Tuesday 6th the ladies did complete a 13-hole Stableford competition which also included the rescheduled Round One of the Ladies Winter Trophy.

Poor weather on the day restricted the Trophy field to just four Ladies. The winner was Hilary Ingram with 22 points, runner up Amanda Dunn with 20 points with Vicky Eyre third on 16 points.

On Friday 9th the Main lounge was full to welcome former Ryder cup player, Sky TV golf commentator and proud Yorkshiremen Howard Clark to the club.

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Well over 100 members and their guests enjoyed an excellent two course supper and fund-raising activities on behalf of the Captains’ Charity St Michael’s Hospice.

After a very quick round of “heads and tails” bingo there was enthusiastic bidding for various auction items including four ball vouchers for top Yorkshire courses and a signed Leeds United shirt.

Coupled with a separate silent auction over £2,000 was raised on the night for the Hospice.

After that Kevin Lynch, former top level football referee and after dinner speaker, who is also a club member, chaired a question-and-answer session with Howard who entertained us with a detailed expose of his golf and broadcasting career.

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In some 26 years on the Tour, Howard played in over 500 PGA Tour events with a 70%+ success rate in making the cut. He made 6 Ryder Cup appearances and reminisced about his famous hole-in-one at the 11th at Oak Hill in the 1995 event.

He also spoke about the various Ryder cup captains he played under, singling out Tony Jacklin for the way he transformed the prestige of the team and galvanised the players into a winning team.

After the formalities were over, many members took the opportunity to chat informally to Howard and share his teenage memories of seeing his first professional tournament at Pannal which cemented his ambition to become a professional golfer.

Knaresborough GC

Although the bleak autumn and winter have kept most golfers off the course, it hasn’t kept Dave Firth (8) out of the Pro’s swing studio.

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He’s been a diligent habitué of the indoor facility, so no surprise perhaps that the one thing he did in an otherwise unexceptional division one February Medal was to keep the ball in play.

His 18 points over the front nine was bolstered by a valuable four points from his solitary birdie at the index two sixth. For that, he middled his drive and struck a five iron to 15 feet to hole the three.

It was level par all the way home except for the three points at the descending dogleg 13th which ensured 19 points on the back nine and the win.

Second on countback was Keith Davison (10), ahead of James Lupan (9) on 36.

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A tweak to his set up for the driver appears to have given Sean Robinson (19) a distinct boost to his game. So he came into the February Medal with some confidence, duly borne out by his 38 point victory in division two.

With an amended stance, he hit every fairway bar the last two, which resulted in a triple bogey at the 17th and the same at the par four 18th.

Before then, generally secure irons and, overcoming a customary vulnerability, solid chipping and putting had built a potentially successful platform.

Nor was his judgment in question when he stood on the tees at the par three eleventh and, in a blustery wind, decided to return his five iron to the bag. He struck his five wood instead and watched it roll up the left side of the lengthy green. From 12 feet he then canned the birdie two.

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Trevor Batten (14) finished second on 36 points, two ahead of Andrew Castelow (17).

You could have said it was a victory foreshadowed when Bill Baybutt (25) nailed top place in division three. In his two previous outings, he’d finished fourth in the Prostabledord, then second in the delayed January Medal on 39 points.

He went a point better in the February fixture, resolutely hitting fairways or at least close-mown fringes. He also chipped and putted a volley of good shots from off the green, the standout being a 20 footer at the index one 15th.

That was one of five holes over the back nine where he picked up five three-pointers to turn up the pressure for a clinching 22 points. Elliot Plews (21) was second on 36 with Mick Dobson (27) on 33.

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