Peter Bowley's Report

ProAm played at Stanmore on 11th September 2013

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It was twenty years ago that Stanmore last witnessed its first Pro-Am in the magnificent Centenary Year of 1993. In fact we had two attempts at it in that summer as the first event in June was washed out and play postponed. It was eventually successfully restaged on a dry day in August.

So there we were twenty years later on a mercifully dry day in September 2013 looking forward to our follow up event being staged in a different Millennium.

Twenty seven teams had entered for the Pro-Am with the professionals coming from surrounding counties as well as from local clubs. Twenty teams were made up from Stanmore members and the other seven from visiting golfers. Some of these were well seasoned competitors. The PGA van had arrived very early and was prominently parked outside James’s pro shop.

Early inspection of the course and general set up was conducted by James and the PGA chief as they whisked around the golf course in their buggy. Early arrivals were at the same time having a hearty breakfast in the clubhouse.  The club was alive with eagerness and anticipation as pros and amateurs alike were briefed and instructed as to the playing programme due to kick off at 9.00am.

We had designed the day around a two tee start with 15 teams off the 1st tee and 12 off the 11th starting some twenty five minutes later.  The first game was announced on the tee and Vice-Captain Dave Niccol had the honour of striking the first ball of the 2013 Pro Am. I witnessed the inevitable level of stress that lifted from James Reynolds and his professional staff as the realization of ten months of toil and trouble had come to fruition and the event was actually underway. They could now at long last just concentrate on playing themselves.

Play was crisp and continuous with most teams turning in under two and a half hours. A halfway house situated alongside the 11th tee greeted all games that turned from both sides and a welcome drink poured by our incorrigible head steward Glen Mason was well received. Team photographs were also taken at this point by Moira Hamill. These would be presented to all the amateur golf competitors with a newsletter and results sheet a few weeks later.

The first team finished around 1.30 and after collecting one free drink at the bar made their way to the rolling lunch which would operate all afternoon serving the teams as they came in. The two course lunch and coffee was very well received with plenty of choice and it was presented with a smile. An exciting buzz of anticipation and discussion of the days play emulated from all the tables as the competitors exchanged their views and experiences on their day’s golf. Some good. Some bad. It really was a good atmosphere as most of the teams were still around and drinking as the prize giving got under way.

James had engineered an impressive prize table designed to impress. For instance, three Motocaddy Electric Trolleys were on offer for the 1st team prize and nearest the pin prizes were up for grabs on all of the par 3’s.  The prize fund for the professionals went down to 10th place. Other various thank you presentations were conducted and both winning team and winning pro made very complimentary speeches about the day, the catering and the course. Even the PGA (Eastern) Secretary appeared impressed with the whole organization.

Nobody really ‘beat up’ the course and the winning score from the professional was a four under par 65. His name was James Jankowski from Essendon C.C. In fact only four professionals beat the par of 69 on the day. Unfortunately none of our own were among this group. I think the scores speak volumes for the severity of our course and the tight test of golf it presents off our white tees.

The winning amateur team were from Wyke Green Golf Club with a score of fifteen under par, two ahead of a Stanmore team of Sunil Patel, Mark Lambert and Andy Richards. Shaz Khan, Paul Hodsman and Bhavin Devlia came home in third place. Some of the usual suspects you may say. Well done to them.

The overall success of the day was down to a vast amount of dogged work by a great number of people, too many to thank here. The Sponsorship that was obtained greatly helped with the cost of the day and again there are many people to thank for their tenacity in prising money out of local companies and also out of some enthusiastic Stanmore members. There were also helpers on the day doing invaluable work and enjoying being part of the spirit of the day. A heartfelt thanks from the club goes out to all of them.

Riding into the sunset and reflecting back on the day’s events, I think James and the club would say that they could be well satisfied with how the Pro Am had turned out and that they wouldn’t have changed a thing. The Stanmore Board have already indicated that they would like a repeat for next year and as the template is now already in place, don’t miss out in 2014, dear member, just see James and put your name down on his list.

It really was a memorable day. A privilege to have taken part. Thanks James.