Golf at Beauchief - The Early Days

It was golf that drew me deep into the De La Salle Club.  In 1971 Hugh Morton, John Capps and John Croft designed a nine hole course on the grounds of the Hall and left it to nature and Frank Pearson, the school groundsman.  Care of the greens was haphazard.  For some years they were only discernible because the grass on them was a foot higher than that on the surrounding land.  But some of us didn’t care.  It was somewhere to whack golf balls without sniffy onlookers passing comments.  A round took about an hour.  I was there almost every day. 

When a course of ‘lessons’ was organised at the nearby driving range the response was enthusiastic and a healthy number signed up for the Golf Section.

It wasn’t a golf club for purists.  Good players like Hugh Morton and his friends played at Dore and Totley and were never seen on the De La Salle course.  Des McCartney was the only player I remember who had a full set of clubs and knew the rules.  Jack Garvey was section chairman and social secretary.  Michael Collins banked the money and I collected the subs.  Members like John Rochford, John Hackett, and Steve Tierney often brought their sons up to learn the game together.  My four, Martin, Matthew, Philip and Laurence were all soon better than their dad.  It may have been humble but the course was a good training ground.  Miles Davison learnt from his parents to become the fine player he is today. No one knew what standard Eric Clarke. Gerry Fitzpatrick and Bill Sheehan reached but after retirement they played almost daily at the quietest times.

The course required special skills.  Though it visited every part of the grounds, it demanded navigation through and over three soccer pitches, two rugby pitches, two cricket pitches and a tennis court, all of them in frequent use..

Socially golf became a major part of Club life.  The Golf Party, with Jack Garvey’s inimitable playing of the violin and a wealth of entertainment and food, was sensational.  Later in the seventiesthe weekly Folk Club was launched by the golf section, attracting performers and audiences from the area, raising money for the Club and leading eventuallyto the formation of our presentday Bungalow Band.

When the Hall was sold we were unceremoniously booted off our golf course – but all was not lost.  Thanks to the negotiating skills of Keith Herring and little golf money in the bank, we were able to play on Abbeydale GC for the princely sum of £2 – a privilege enjoyed weekly for four years by Ken Brook, Terry Green, David Griffiths and John Rochford, and with less regularity by other members.  That amicable arrangement lasted for four years, by which time the Hall and grounds had passed into the hands of Keith Vessey, who built our present clubhouse and gave us enough ground for cricket, football, rugby, bowls and, later, archery, but not, unfortunately, golf.

It wasn’t until2012   when De La Salle acquired crucial additional land that Golf rose from the ashes.

Golf at Beauchief 2012 and On

Golf returned to Beauchief in 2012 thanks in large part to two key contributory factors. Firstly, the Management Committee negotiated with neighbours to take on further land beyond the hedge. Secondly, the Club had – in Phil Green – access to the sort of skills that could turn two acres of land that had languished for thirty years, going slowly to seed into the sort of golf facility that could catch the eye, attract the customers and provide the sort of golfing challenge that many members wanted.

It was entirely appropriate that the first formal (and it’s probably fair to say proper) golf shot on the new course was struck by Terry Green – now honorary president of the Club and almost certainly the spiritual president of golf up at Beauchief.

Since then, the course has attracted dozens of members. Some want to hone their short game before taking on the bigger courses; others want to learn or help children / partners / friends to share in the joy and pain that is golf. For most, though, the facility provides a great opportunity to play some good golf in beautiful surroundings without the experience taking whole chunks out of their day.

The Course

The course represents a brilliant use of space, setting a golf challenge that’s beyond the reach of most pitch and putt courses, but with half the ground available. There are seven distinct holes, though these can be played a variety of ways depending on who else is playing at the time. The holes range from the trickily simple (a 70 yard chip to a green skirted by rough) to a good solid thump of over two hundred yards to a hedge skirted green. Perhaps the most interesting challenge comes on the 7th hole, where the pin is placed topside of the putting green. This can mean that you can be on the green, surrounded by holes that are of no use to you and actually be dog-legged from your target at a distance of forty yards. The Editor is not alone in landing on this green in one and then four putting!

The Putting Green

If the effort of a full round is too much or you just want to practice, the putting green is one of the best you’ll find. It tests your short putting, your long putting, uphill shots, downhill shots and – finally, with the ninth – your sanity, as you try to wobble your ball into the hole. Amazingly, Mary Paul has already recorded three hole-in-ones on the 9th, a feat not yet matched by any other player.

There is a (slightly) more competitive side to the golf, with a variety of competitions held throughout the year. The results are all shown below but here are a few notes to provide an overview.

The Beauchief Open

From 2012 to 2014 the Beauchief Open was played as a straightcompetition played off scratch (no handicaps). During this time, Mark Simmerson reigned supreme with two outright victories and one shared with Chris Morton.

From 2015a handicap competition was introduced alongside the scratch game.

The Wainwright Cup

The Wainwright Cup is a matchplay event (held for the first time in 2015) wherein rival captains Tom and Sam Wainwright front up teams that go head to head in a hole-by-hole golf game.

Sam’s team triumphed comfortably in the first match, helped by two notable performances by team members. The first was the rather predictable level of excellence shown by Matt Green who, despite not having played for a year, drove straight, holed every putt and – when required – chipped in. the second key performance was by Vicky Bullen, who played a superbly consistent round – including a lovely straight drive of the first tee in front of a large gallery of competitors. Sam accepted the trophy – the Wee Birdie – in typically gracious style.

The Monthly Medal

The medal is a monthly handicap competition, played on Sundays throughout Autumn / Winter and moving to Thursday evenings in the summer months.

The benefit of the handicap system is shown in the fact that the number of winners on the golf wall of fame is already into double figures.

The medals are played in a relaxed atmosphere and throw up a good mixture of good, bad and ugly.

The Good

During the august medal, Chris morton was the first player to land a hole in one during a competition (Mark Simmerson had previous done it while practicing). In Chris’s case the excitement of the moment was heightened by the fact that he wouldn’t be required to putt!

The Bad

Phil Green has tamed the rough from its first incarnation, when most players were happy to lose fewer than five balls a round. But it’s still there and it’s still a challenge. Paul Simmerson, however, is one player who is undeterred by something as simple as a ball landing half way up the hedge. Paul won a lot of respect for tackling this shot (though needless to say he didn’t win the hole).

The Ugly

A hedge is one thing, but when your drive ends up under your car in the car park it’s something else entirely. Then again, this was Nick Hopkins, the player whose drives follow the pattern of a scimitar. However, when he drives straight it can cause problems, which is how this one ended up in the car park. Fair play to Nick, though, as he did attemptto play it. The Committee is still debating whether or not using a jack to improve access to the ball is within the rules.

Competitions

The Beauchief Open

2017

Ed McLoughlin / Los Green(Men's)

Cathy Webster (Ladies)

2016

Ed McLoughlin (Men's)

Vicky Bullen (Ladies)

2015

Sam Wainwright (Men's)

Vicky Bullen (Ladies)

2014

Mark Simmerson

2013

Mark Simmerson / Chris Morton

2012

Mark Simmerson

The Monthly Medal

2018

January

Sam Wainwright (Men)

Cathy Webster (Ladies)

February

Chris Morton / Steve Winks (Men)

Cathy Webster (Ladies)

April

Tim Richardson / Paul Simmerson (Men)

Vicky Bullen (Ladies)

May

Chris Morton / Paul Simmerson / Prosper Paul (Men}

Vicky Bullen (Ladies)

June

 

July

 

August

 

September

 

October

 

November

 

December

 

 

2017

January

David Partride

February

Salvatore Papa

March

David Partridge / Tom Wainwright

April

David Smith

May

Laurence Green

June

Salvatore Papa / Sam Wainwright

July

Prosper Paul

August

Martin Green

September

Chris Morton (Men)

Vicky Bullen (Ladies)

October

Los Green(Men)

Cathy Webster (Ladies)

November

Prosper Paul (Men)

Vicky Bullen (Ladies)

2016

January

Los Green / Peter Rollings

February

Prosper Paul / Mark Turmer

March

Sam Wainwright

April

David Smith / David Partridge / Salvatore Papa

May

Martin Green

June

Salvatore Papa

July

Mark Simmerson

August

David Partridge

September

Prosper Paul

October

Ed McLoughlin

November

Los Green / Sam Wainwright

December

Prosper Paul

 

2015

January

Los Green

February

Paul Simmerson

March

Salvatore Papa

April

Salvatore Papa / Tom Wainwright

May

Sam Wainwright

June

Peter Rollings

July

Los Green

August

David Partridge

September

Chris Morton

October

Neal Bloor / Sam Wainwright

November

Paul Simmerson / TomWainwright 

2014

March

Tom Wainwright

April

Martin Green / Sam Wainwright

May

Chris Morton / Paul Simmerson

June

Martin Green

July

Sam Wainwright

August

Nick Hopkins

September

Adrian Brook

October

Not played

November

Sam Wainwright

December

Not played

2013

March

Sam Wainwright

April

Martin Green / Mark Simmerson

May

Chris Morton / Paul Simmerson

June

Paul Simmerson

July

Los Green

August

Chris Morton

September

Tom Wainwright / Los Green