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.
Oakdale GC Club Captain Jamie Letts presents the Golfer of the Year trophy to Tony Doveston. Picture: SubmittedOakdale GC Club Captain Jamie Letts presents the Golfer of the Year trophy to Tony Doveston. Picture: Submitted
Oakdale GC Club Captain Jamie Letts presents the Golfer of the Year trophy to Tony Doveston. Picture: Submitted

Knaresborough GC

That swing studio devotee, Dave Firth (7) repaid more hours off the indoor mat when he shot 36 points to top Division One in Knaresborough GC’s Pro Stableford. It followed his victory in the March Medal on 37 points.

Plenty of length and accuracy - essential in current conditions - were evident as he cruised to one over par over the front nine. Notable was his birdie at the second, where a solid drive is needed to take trees either side out of the equation.

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A five iron arrowing toward the green left him a comfortable four foot putt for the three. That was underpinned by another powerful drive at the long ninth, tied up neatly with a five iron then a wedge to two feet for the birdie four.

Paul Seal (7) and Sam Moore (3) were second and third on 35 and 34.

Sean Robinson (19) exemplified the rewards for hugging the fairways when he led Division Two with 37 points.

Reliable shot making with his approaches and efficient putting served him well but the stand-out was at the long ninth. He left his drive left off the fairway and partially screened out by trees. A well placed iron was followed by a wind-assisted 160 yard seven iron which landed just short but rolled up to three feet for the birdie conversion.

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Second and third were Phil Thacker (15 )on 36 and Mark Foster (17) on 34.

In Division Three, Mick Dobson (27) led the way with an assured 37 points with James Smithson (32) on 31 and Steve Cox (30) on 30.

It was heartening to see the Men's Pairs Winter Knockout final completed despite the ever present threat of unfriendly weather over the months.

It ended with Steve Isaac and Richard Taylor besting James Lupan and Adrian Thomas, five and three.

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Isaac and Taylor got off to a flying start and were six up by the eighth and looking confident. But a rear-guard fight began when Lupan and Thomas won the ninth and went on to take 12, 13 and 14.

The tussle ended however after Lupan, trying to make up more ground, followed a huge drive at 15 with a wayward three wood striking trees. He did well to recover but Isaac confirmed the victory with his putt for the match.

Reduced by bad weather from the usual three to two rounds, the lady Captain's Winter Charity 11-hole series finished with a win for Linda Lawson with 40 points. Janet Graham on 38 finished second and Chris Shield third on 35 points.

The rain-affected last two holes may have been out of commission, but Gareth Murray still managed to stage a 16-hole Pro Stableford.

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Consistently resisting the lure of the juicy rough, Tom Halliday (11) carded a sub-par 35 points to top Division One in the non-qualifier.

A couple of bogeys - one a missed three foot putt, the other after a pulled shot into trees - was countered by getting up and down from 40 yards a couple of times. A ten-foot putt for birdie at 14 gave his round a late flourish to edge David Firth (8) on countback with Paul Wilcox (13) third on 33.

It was a low key start, with three bogeys in succession, for Paul Cameron (14) in Division Two. But a chip on to 12 inches for his par putt at four and then a birdie at the short fifth gave him the impetus he needed. A 12 foot putt sealed the two.

A 15-foot lip our at seven just robbed him of a second birdie but that came eventually when his drive finished just short of the 14th green. He chipped on to 12 inches for an easy two.

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And finally a shot into the 16th green after chipping out of trees left him with a 10 foot putt to avoid a blank. He holed it and walked off with 36 points, beating Craig Glover (21) by a point with Mark Whitaker (17) on 33.

In Division Three, Ronnie Harrison (23) started quietly, then he sank an eight foot putt for birdie at the fourth and that spurred him on to better.

By the ninth, he’d racked up 22 points after which he stuttered a little but great up and down from the bunker at 14 and a 10 foot putt for par at 16 helped pocket a winning 37 points. Mick Dobson (27) closed second on 32 with Steve Cox (29) on 30 points.

Pannal GC

Tuesday March 19 saw Lynn Sheldrake's first competition as Pannal GC’s Ladies’ Captain for 2024/25 in the form of the annual Fourball Betterball Team Matchplay.

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This featured her team and the Lady Secretary's team, led this year by the Competition Secretary, Carole Whiles.

The competition was over nine holes due to course conditions, with 40 ladies taking part starting with a 10am shot gun start. There were some incredibly close matches, with several going to the final hole, and one even to the final putt.

Following the golf there was afternoon tea and the trophy was presented to the Competition Secretary's team, who had won 7 - 3.

Sheldrake took the opportunity to welcome five new lady members who have recently joined, namely Hilary Ingram, Natalie Boyle, Carol Wakelin, Lisa O’Reilly and Gail Wilson.

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Newly-appointed Men's Captain for 2024/25, David Everingham, also took the opportunity to introduce himself.

A very healthy entry of 96 players competed in a Dubai Stableford on Saturday March 23. Played over 13 holes, two scores were recorded on holes 1 to 4, three on holes 5 -7 and 13 and then all four from 14 home. This proved a testing format for most but two groups showed a clean pair of heels to the rest.

In third place with 82 points were the quartet of Gareth Whiles, Philip Miles, Simon Hanslow and Tony McGibbon, but they trailed second placed Tim Considine, Nigel Brown, Rob Cooper and Chris Booth by no less than nine points who came home with 91.

But the clear winners a further three points ahead on 94 were the regular combination of Golf Chairman Julian Graham-Rack, Rob Memmott, Richard Goodall and Richard Little.

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The Twos Club proved more of a challenge then usual with only five players managing a brace, namely Julian Graham-Rack, Dave Hindle, Richard Little and Gary Macnair. But score of the day went to Rob Booth who eagled 14 for his 2

Past Captains Martin Boyle and Clare Davies recently presented a cheque for the fantastic sum of £9,800 to Sandra Gilbert from St Michaels Hospice, the chosen Captains' charity 2023/2024.

Boyle and Davies would like to extend a massive thank you to everyone who contributed and were involved in making their fund-raising events such a success across the year.

On hearing this news Boyle’s friend Dave Oswin generously added another £200 to make the sum raised a round £10,000.

Harrogate GC

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Tuesday March 19 provided Harrogate GC’s Ladies a lovely spring-like day to play a reverse waltz over 13 holes.

It was still very heavy going and mats were compulsory for all shots except putting.

In a very close finish, it was a one-point difference, that saw the winning team of Vanessa Conway, Viv Allison and Ladies Captain Charlotte Franks home, scoring 41 points.

Celia Fowler, Margaret Bleasdale & Pat Capps were second on 40 points, while third place went to Boo Orman, Susie Lax & Maggie Gobbi with 35 points.

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Saturday’s competition was played on a cold showery day with a testing bitter northerly blowing. The competition was a pairs Texas Scramble played over 18 holes.

Although soft and playing long the course was looking good as the Green-keepers had edged trimmed the bunkers, topped up sand where required and managed an extensive mowing of fairways.

Scoring was very good across the 57 teams and there was a very tight finish with just two shots covering the top five pairs.

Three teams were tied on nett 62 with the in-form Matthew Wilfen and partner James Watson taking third place after a count back from William Culver-Dodds & Richard Mackenzie and Andrew Whiteley & Samuel Morley.

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With the top two pairs tied, one shot better, it was the pairing of John Blair & Darren Swales who had the better back nine to take the win from Tim North & Christopher Ball.

Oakdale GC

Oakdale Seniors held their AGM recently. The club’s Senior section boasts more than 100 members and some 40 attended the meeting.

Graham Whittington, the Senior Captain, provided a review of a busy year. Twenty three inter-club matches were played with 12 wins and 10 losses, the team halving one.

Mick Emmerson received the Alan De Lacy trophy, Roger Pygott received the Jim Wood prize and Tony Doveston the Club Nine-hole prize.

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Whittington has now handed over the position of Seniors Captain to Kevin Ayscough. His Vice-captain will be Peter Wearmouth.

On a fine Saturday morning on April 16, a large turnout of members watch the Drive-In of Oakdale’s Captains.

The Men’s Captain, Jamie Letts, and Lady Captain, Andrea Johnson, together with the three section captains - Kevin Ayscough (Seniors), Graham Scott (Rabbits) and Cameron Gallagher (Junior Captain) – all hit very creditable drives despite the pressure of the crowd.

There was also a sweepstake on the combined driving distance of the captains, which was won by Jeremy Knight who was just one yard out his prediction of 820 yards.

H&D Union

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After seeing four of the Union’s Winter Championship events cancelled, players were able to enjoy their first since the beginning of the year at Otley GC.

Because of the continued wet weather, the competition, hosted by Otley, was played over 16 holes, with players having to carry their clubs and use mats in the general areas.

In total, 27 three-player teams competed in this stableford competition, with 3 scores to count on par 3s and 2 on the other holes. As Skipton GC will be joining the Union in April, the president had invited the club to enter two teams into the competition.

Greenwood, Jobling and Garbutt playing in game 2 set the initial target with a score of 77 points. At game 8, Doig, Chiu and Allison (Ripon) and Brown, Brown and Allison (Ripon) went into second and third place with scores of 74 points.

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These three teams held their places until game 16 when Payne, Conley and Cooper (Skipton) returned a score of 81 points. Payne, a +1 golfer, carded 5 pars, 4 birdies and an1 eagle on the par 5 eighth hole.

Games 25 and 26 saw 2 teams each returning score of 80 points, with Tomkinson, Harm and Harm (Otley) having a better back-nine than Hardaker, Warren and Woods (Otley).

Results: 1 Payne, Conley and Cooper (Skipton) – 81 pts; 2 Tomkinson, Harm and Harm (Otley) – 80 pts; 3 Hardaker, Warren and Woods (Otley) – 80 pts.