The Craigavad 2020 Review

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| Contents |

The Royal Belfast Golf Club Contact Details

4 Presidents’ Foreword 5 The Captain's Report 7 8 The Captain’s Prize 11 GUI Inter-Club Competitions 13 Gentlemen’s Golf 18 Veteran’s Golf 19 Gentlemen's Traditional Inter-Club Matches 20 The Lady Captain’s Report 21 Ladies’ Golf 25 World Handicap System 26 Junior Golf 28 Tennis 30 Convenor's Reports 38 Bridge 39 Notes from the Cellar 40 The Long Weekend 42 A Year in Pictures Council and Committees


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ADDRESS Station Road, Craigavad, Holywood, Co. Down, BT18 0BP



House Manager


General Office Professional


O n behalf of The Royal With the arrival of the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic, 2020 was a year like no other. The resulting restrictions severely curtailed Club events and forced both Clubhouse and course to close for long periods. Despite this we have been able to compile a somewhat reduced historical record of the year and I would like to thank all of our contributors and advertisers. Special mention must go to Tracey Preshaw (House Manager) who once again designed and edited the publication. HuwWorthington Marketing and Communications Convenor Belfast Golf Club it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the sixth annual edition of The Craigavad.

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| Foreword |

| The Captain’s Report |

The President’s Foreword

The Captain’s Report

enjoyable. My thanks to Jonathan Hool for accepting the task of welcoming the guests which he did in style. I was delighted to welcome guests from the GUI, Royal Dublin, Royal Portrush, Royal County Down, Royal Blackheath and Helen’s Bay. A good night was had by all. Following this I attended the RAC Golf Society annual dinner at Woodcote Park, Epsom. It was here that the first shadow of what was to come emerged. Their guest speaker withdrew at the last minute as a member of his family was ‘shielding’ (the first time I had heard the expression). The RAC Captain, Paul Earland, announced the disappointing news and that the speaker’s fee was being used to put extra wine on all the tables. Well, it would have taken an exceptional speech to elicit the cheer which greeted Paul’s announcement! After the RAC dinner we struck the iceberg. First the Clubhouse was closed and then the course. The staff were furloughed (another new expression) except for a skeleton greens team, and Stuart manned the office on his own. normality returned with most of the Club competitions being played - congratulations to all the winners. The two Club knock-out competitions were also played - many congratulations to David and Stephen Boyd on winning the Craigavad Cup, and to Dermot Parker on his victory in the Craigavon Cup. The Thursday evening competition morphed into an all-day event which attracted unprecedented numbers. Thank you to Ronnie Savage and Huw Worthington for again organising the event. I was delighted that a rescheduled Captain’s Prize competition could be played over two days in September. The two day format seems to have been very popular as there was a record number of players in the competition. There were also more younger players out, possibly because Saturday tee times were available due to other Members playing on the Friday. Many congratulations to the winner Tom Macartney and runner-up Philip Templeton, and to the winner When the course reopened the Members came back in numbers which was great to see. Near

of the Best Gross, Ryan Gordon. Congratulations also to Dermot Hoey who added to an already bulging trophy cabinet by winning the Veteran’s Prize and to Martin Pitt who won the Putting Prize with an incredible score of 11 under! Many thanks to Paul Revill and his team for presenting the course in such magnificent condition. Thanks also to Tracey and the catering and bar staff for all their hard work. It was great to see everyone enjoying near normality. Thanks to Andrew Ferguson and Andrew Montgomery for keeping the golf side of things running so smoothly during both days. Whilst we could enjoy the usual drinks at the Taylor shelter there was no traditional afternoon tea. However, the upside was that it did enable me to see more players out on the course. There was not the usual formal prize presentation but 60 Members enjoyed a delightful and socially distanced informal dinner on the Saturday evening. The floral skills of Gail Cairns, the Lady President, Margaret Abernethy and the flower committee were much admired and my thanks to them for their hard work. Although the Ladies did not take part in any of the ILGU competitions this year and did not have a Captain’s Day they did hold many of their Club competitions as you will read in the Lady Captain’s report. The competition for the Club Captain’s Prize was played and I was delighted to present it to the winner Debbie Park. Many thanks to Joan for selecting the prize which was so well received. I was pleased that we could host the GUI Max Hadden Trophy as we have hosted this since its inception by our late President Max. Played over three days, we had feared that this would be the last ‘Max Hadden’ due to the demise of the GUI but the good news is that Golf Ireland have agreed to continue it, so it will return to Royal Belfast in 2021. Modesty forbids that I record the winner of this year’s competition! Our teams entered a number of the GUI competitions this year, going straight to the knock-out stages where all acquitted themselves extremely well. Special mention goes to the Junior

Dear Member


in the weekly Wednesday and Saturday competitions. Thank you to all our staff who worked tirelessly to make the Clubhouse safe for our return. Thanks also to Gail Cairns and her team for trying to give us a little Christmas cheer with decorating the Clubhouse but unfortunately it was not for long as we entered lockdown two and social activity was curtailed once more. When we do get back it will be with great joy but also with heavy hearts as we never had a chance to say a proper goodbye to those who are no longer with us and we extend our sympathy to those families who lost a loved one during the year. Although it could be some time before we get back to a sort of normality, I hope we can look forward to a much happier 2021. Please all take care and stay safe. and which I have thoroughly enjoyed - the landscape has changed in all golf clubs. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the virulent spread of the new strain of coronavirus has caused the authorities to impose severe lockdowns and, in the process, to close all golf clubs and courses. Our course looks magnificent - well, it would, without players to disturb it, reminiscent of the gleaming hospital without patients in the old sitcom Yes, Minister. One might question the judgment of the authorities, given their emphasis on exercise and the successful recent history of observance of the necessary precautions. If the Scottish government (at the time of writing) feels able to trust golfers to abide by a similar system of precautions, why should our government not do the same? But, as the saying goes, we are where

iving in Northern Ireland confirms the truth of the saying that one should always expect the unexpected. When

we are, and as responsible citizens our Members will abide by the law. How long the ban will last is anybody’s guess, but it does seem a shame.

2020 - A year like no other!! It certainly was not what I expected my first year as Lady President to look like. The year began so promising, yet within a few weeks of the start of the season it all went horribly wrong - who would have thought that we would find ourselves with not one but two lockdowns to contend with. The restrictions due to Covid-19 made it very challenging for everyone at Royal Belfast both on and off the course and with inter-club matches cancelled, no bridge, no tennis, and no socialising it looked as if it would be a very bleak season. However, there was great excitement when the course opened after a few months for social golf, but that created a new challenge - you had to be on the ball at 9.00pm the previous week to get a time on BRS! It was lovely to see the course so utilised and there was a great increase in the numbers playing I became President in 2016 life was agreeably normal in the Club, a regular and predictable round of games of golf on Saturdays and Wednesdays, Club and inter-club matches, plenty of social occasions in the Clubhouse, including the excellent lecture series, Sunday buffet lunches, and the Lizards staunchly maintaining their sartorial standards. One could not then have foreseen any reason why this regular and enjoyable round of activities should be upset. Upset it most certainly has been. As I cease to hold the office of President - which was a great honour

W elcome to the 2020 Covid version of The Craigavad. What an unusual year it has been. Unfortunately, with a sense of déjà vu we seem to be finishing as we started regarding restrictions. When the first ‘lockdown’ was introduced the comment was made “previous generations fought in two World Wars, all you are being asked to do is, stay at home, sit on the sofa and watch TV, how difficult can that be?” Well, as we all now know, whilst not the Somme, it is quite difficult. Many of us realised just how important the Club and golf is in our lives. This was evidenced by the huge demand for tee times when restrictions were lifted. BRS was introduced to facilitate tracing and to everyone’s credit it all ran smoothly. It has also been a great advantage that our membership numbers are such that no extra restrictions like 9-hole rounds were necessary. When restrictions were further lifted and the Clubhouse was opened Members were delighted to again enjoy wining and dining in familiar surroundings, whilst respecting the new social distancing rules. Whilst my year as Captain may look from the outside like a voyage on the Titanic, I must say that I very much enjoyed it and also the many challenges it presented. It started well with an agreeable AGM followed by the traditional drinks. The Annual Dinner was well attended and most

Robert Carswell President

A word from the Lady President...

Terry Crothers Lady President

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| The Captain's Report | | Council and Committees |

| The Captain’s Report |

maintained an active interest in Club affairs during the year, for which I thank him. On behalf of all of us I wish him well in 2021. Finally, on behalf of all the Members I would like to thank all the staff - catering, bar, greens and office for their contribution during the year which presented its own difficulties to many of them. Thank you for your unfailing good humour and hard work. Thank you to Andrew Ferguson and Andrew Montgomery for managing the first tee firmly but with good humour without which things would not have run nearly as smoothly. Many thanks to Tracey for overseeing the Clubhouse operations during the many changes

Cup team under the management of PK Ellis which progressed to the quarter-finals before being beaten by a strong Scrabo team. Indeed, Scrabo was our bogey opponent this year with no fewer than four of our teams falling to them. I greatly enjoyed following all our matches, thank you to the team managers, Stevie Adamson, Senior Cup; Peter Ellis, Junior Cup; Mark Spottiswood, Pierce Purcell; Richard McMullan, Jimmy Bruen; Fergus McIlduff, Ulster Cup and all the players for their great efforts. Tennis unfortunately fell victim to the Covid restrictions but, as was pointed out by the Tennis Convenor, Peter Minnis, the first time all the Royal Belfast tennis teams have gone through the season unbeaten. Junior golf continued to thrive during the year although no prize presentations were possible. Congratulations to the Junior Captain’s Day winners Timothy Bell and Corin McCrea (18-holes), Luke Wallace and Tara McCombe (9-holes), and Marshall Todd and Freya Brand (5-holes). Royal Belfast has one of the biggest Junior sections in Northern Ireland and it was great to see the enthusiasm from all the players. Congratulations also to Zoe Miller for being selected for the U18's Irish Development Squad at Carton House. Many thanks to Helen Mooney and David Barnes for all their organisation over the year. The main golfing victim of the Covid restrictions this year was unfortunately our inter-club matches. These matches are important to Royal Belfast and maintain contact and friendships

fingers crossed for a quick return to normality.

throughout the year with her customary efficiency and pleasantness. Very many thanks to Stuart who was involved in everything during the year and helped guide us through uncharted waters so professionally. This has been a different year to the one I expected, but none the less most enjoyable. It has been a great honour to have served the Club I have been a Member of for so many years. I would like to close by thanking Joan for her constant support and encouragement from which I have benefitted, not just this year but over many years. Happy New Year, stay healthy and

environment and also took the catering in-house following the termination of the catering franchise; Sam Beckett for his work on Greens, coping with the increased usage of the course when open and the reduced green staff; Peter Minnis for developing a property strategy to maximise opportunities within the estate and also for his role as Tennis Convenor; Gregor Law for embracing the mysteries of the WHS on behalf of the Club; Jonathan Hool who collated the Club Survey results and is developing the long term vision document; David Barnes for his great work along with Helen Mooney in running the ever growing Junior section; and last but certainly not least, Hilary Hall who after four years on Council as Social Convenor is stepping down. Hilary has done a great job and has established a vibrant social calendar for the Club. The Horizons lunchtime talks and the Royal Belfast lecture are now hugely popular events within the Club. On behalf of all Members I would like to thank Hilary for her contribution.

these had to be postponed until 2021 except MCC which moves to 2022. We did however manage to play our annual fixture away to Helen’s Bay Golf Club at the end of September in ideal conditions. I had planned to attend the Royal Queensland centenary celebrations with Joan and Sam and Abby Beckett but obviously that did not happen either. It has been a busy year for Council despite, or maybe because, of the disruption. A new app has been introduced which will be rolled out over the coming months and will facilitate all aspects of Club life. My thanks to Gavin Clarke, Jeremy Cheetham and Stuart Thom for their hard work in delivering this. The Club survey was completed during the year. The responses have been collated and will be most helpful in guiding Council decision making. The encouraging message from the responses was that despite some specific points of dissatisfaction, overall the Members enjoyed being part of Royal Belfast and valued their membership. Speed of play and practice facilities were the two issues which received the most comments. M&H have taken on board the first and the second is a priority when finance is available. currently being developed by Council. It will then be circulated to all Members for comments. It is envisaged that this will guide Club policy and investment over the next 20 - 30 years. It will be an important and much needed document. I would like to thank all my Council colleagues for their help and support during the year. Huw Worthington for his work in Marketing and Communication with Stuart; Jimmy Courtney, House Convenor, who along with Tracey and Stuart dealt with the difficult open/closed/partly open Clubhouse A draft policy document detailing a long-term vision for the Club is

Ian McMillan Captain


Whilst my year as Captain may look from the outside like a voyage on the Titanic, I must say that I very much enjoyed it and also the many challenges it presented.

OFFICE BEARERS 2020 Captain: Mr W I H McMILLAN Vice-Captain: Mr C A ANDREWS




Immediate Past Captain: Mr G P CLARKE Honorary Treasurer: Mr J D CHEETHAM Honorary Secretary: Mr M J GIBSON

Mrs M CULLEN (Lady Captain) Ex Officio


GREEN* Mr S R Beckett (Convenor) Mr G Law Miss P C Belford Mrs P Boyd Mr F McIlduff Mr P Revill Mr A Ferguson FINANCE* Mr J D Cheetham (Convenor) Mr C A Andrews

PROPERTY* Mr P R Minnis (Convenor) JUNIOR GOLF* Mr D T Barnes (Convenor)

My thanks also to the Club Officers; Michael Gibson, Hon Sec for his wise counsel; Jeremy Cheetham, Hon Treasurer for his invaluable input during a difficult year, especially in dealing with the intricacies of the Covid support packages; my Vice-Captain, Alan Andrews who has been supportive and of great assistance during the year, I wish him well for his year as Captain; Gavin Clarke, Immediate Past Captain who has helped me greatly on a number of projects which he undertook and executed willingly and efficiently. Finally, my thanks to Lady Captain Mary who attended the Officers meetings and whose considered input at those and Council contributed greatly to our deliberations. I wish her well for her second year in office. Our President, Lord Carswell, who due to ill health and shielding has not been able to come to the Club, has however

Mr S R Beckett Mr G McBurney Dr D Hoey Mrs A Beckett

Mrs H L Mooney Mr M D A Carson Mr R J McMinnis Mrs D M Park Mrs A L Brewster

SOCIAL* Mrs H Hall (Convenor)

Mrs M R Hunter Mr K W Wilson Mrs A Brand Mrs T E Preshaw

MEMBERSHIP Mr M J Gibson (Convenor)

Mr G P Clarke Mr M J Gibson Miss A J Hall

Mr C A Andrews Mr S R Beckett Mr D T Barnes Mrs B H Neeson Mrs E J Pallin Mrs L E Malseed

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS* Mr H Worthington (Convenor) Mrs C Law

HOUSE* Dr J Courtney (Convenor) Mrs H A Ellis

With the House staff on Captain's Day

Dr S Tharma Mr M Pierce Mr R J Savage Mrs M F Gibson Mrs T E Preshaw

Mrs A Whiteside Mrs T E Preshaw

with like-minded clubs throughout the British Isles. This year we were due to host Royal Dublin, The RAC, Royal Blackheath, Portmarnock, Royal Aberdeen, MCC and had away fixtures at Royal Portrush, The Royal Burgess Golfing Society and Prestwick. All of

TENNIS* Mr P R Minnis (Convenor) Mr S T A Rogers (Tennis Captain)

LADIES’ GOLF Mrs M Cullen (Convenor)


PLANNING Mr J H E Hool (Convenor)


*Office Bearers are ex officio on those Committees as indicated

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| The Captain’s Prize |

| The Captain’s Prize |

The Captain’s Prize

Andrew Montgomery and Andrew Ferguson with the Captain

Andrew Wilson, John Carrigan and Jeremy Biggerstaff socially distanced on the 1st tee

D ue to the restrictions in place, the Captain's Captain Ian McMillan saw an eager field of 250 golfers tee off in the hope they would win the much-coveted Captain’s Prize. Stuart Thom, Chief Executive and Club Professional Andrew Ferguson reprised their now familiar roles as official starters and photographers and, aided by Andrew Montgomery, all three did a marvellous job in getting everyone off the 1st tee on time. Thanks also to Billy Pollock who took some wonderful photographs on the course. There was no afternoon tea party or official prize giving this year but the Clubhouse staff were still kept busy with champagne breakfasts and dining throughout the day. On the Saturday evening, 60 golfers and partners enjoyed a socially distanced meal in the Sinclair and Harrison Rooms to mark the occasion. The winner of the Captain’s Prize was Tom Macartney who posted a magnificent 42 points. Runner-up was Philip Templeton with 41 points, Best Gross went to Ryan Gordon for the third year in a row with a superb 71 (considering he took a 2 stroke penalty during the round) and the Veteran’s Prize was won by Dermot Hoey with a great score of 40 points. The Putting Prize was won by Martin Pitt with an impressive 11 under par. After a long period of lockdown in the spring and early summer, when no golf was being played and the Clubhouse was closed, it was great to see so many Members enjoying the Captain's Prize weekend and, in this unprecedented year, it was a particularly memorable occasion for the Captain. Prize was played over two days - Friday 4th and Saturday 5th September. Captain’s Day is the highlight of the Captain’s year and, though played under very different circumstances this year, the

Stephen Ham, Anthony Best, Rob Connolly and Fergus McIlduff

Barry McCracken, Jamie Cooke, Fergus Gibson and Henry Wilson

Father and son, Dr Ian Corry and Malcolm Corry

Joan McMillan, Tom Macartney and the Captain



Tom Macartney

42 points


Philip Templeton 41 points

Best Gross

Ryan Gordon


Putting Prize

Martin Pitt


Veteran’s Prize

Dermot Hoey

40 points

Michael Stitt, Dr Denis Todd, the Captain, Martin Pitt and Billy Pollock

Dr Dermot Hoey won the Veteran's Prize

Ryan Gordon won the prize for Best Gross

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| GUI Inter-Club Competitions |

| The Captain’s Prize |

GUI Inter-Club Competitions Senior Cup

by Stephen Adamson

The Senior Cup team played Rockmount on Monday 20th July. The post-lockdown format was five man teams with three matches playing at the home venue and two at the away venue. Drawn as the away team in this match the Royal Belfast team of John Craig, Stewart McCaw, Ryan Gordon (at Rockmount) and Stuart Cave and Thomas Stout (at Royal Belfast) were going to have their work cut out with home advantage being so critical – and so it proved. John Craig tirelessly battled against Rockmount’s no.1 who, sadly for John, played truly excellent golf to be 4 under par when the match finished and record a home win in the top match. Stewart McCaw found himself 2 down at the turn but birdies at 10, 11, 12 and 15 resulted in a great 3 & 2 win. Back at Royal Belfast, Stuart Cave was all square through 14 but birdies at 15, 16 and 17 closed out his match for a great 3 & 1 win. Thomas Stout narrowly missed his birdie putt to win the match and the tie on the 18th. Thomas unfortunately lost the 19th and this very close match. Royal Belfast played an away fixture against Knock in the Junior Cup (handicap 4 and above) on Sunday 26th July. Three matches were played at Knock and two at Royal Belfast with the matches being played simultaneously. The Royal Belfast team was Stan Craigs, Grant McBurney, Chris McNally, Malcolm Ditty and Dave Cunningham. The team tactic was to send the wily old dogs (Craigs, Ditty and Cunningham) to Knock where accuracy and experience would be at a premium, whilst keeping the aggressive youngsters (McNally and McBurney) for our home course. This worked well with both home matches secured with several holes to spare. Things were tighter at Knock where we narrowly lost two matches before Dave Junior Cup

An excellent 2 putt par at 17 was enough to put Ryan Gordon 1 up. As we moved down the 18th fairway news came back from Royal Belfast that the score was 2 - 2 with only this match remaining. Ryan hit a great hybrid into the middle of the 18th green only to be followed by his opponent who hit his long iron to 15 feet. Two putts from both Ryan and the Rockmount player resulted in a 1 up win for Ryan and a 3 - 2 win for Royal Belfast. Following our victory against Rockmount we met an underrated and strong Scrabo side in the second round. John Craig and Ryan Gordon were dispatched to Scrabo with Gordon Hutchinson and Victoria Craig relaying progress back to Royal Belfast where Stuart Cave, Stewart McCaw and Thomas Stout were taking on the rest of the Scrabo team. News from Scrabo early on wasn’t good and, with an all-round slow start from our home trio, made it hard to see (using the US political vocabulary) a path to victory. Then, around the turn, news filtered back that Messrs Gordon and Craig had both won holes and things were much tighter Cunningham squared his match over 18, having been 3 down at the turn. Those who know Dave will testify to his remarkably dependable and steady golf, qualities that proved to be important in the tie holes that followed. Dave showed himself to be not only be a wily old dog, but a tenacious one as well. The first tie hole was halved in par. Dave put the ball to 4 feet on the second tie hole to wrap things up for Royal Belfast. The team returned from Knock and there was much, socially distanced, celebrating on the terrace on a beautiful evening. On 23rd August the team defeated Clandeboye on a rainy Sunday afternoon to reach the fourth round. A similar tactic to the last round

at Scrabo. All the games at Royal Belfast were close although down and it looked like a 'Miracle in Medina' style comeback was possible. But sadly, those events only come round once in a blue moon and despite many great shots coming down the stretch, the putts wouldn’t drop for us. So, a second round defeat in this, the strangest of years. My thanks to the team, to Gordi and Victoria for their help and to The Captain, Past President Ronnie who never misses a match and all of those who supported.

Neil Spottiswoode

Michael McCombe

THE 2020 SENIOR CUP TEAM Stuart Cave, Ryan Gordon, Stewart McCaw, John Craig, Thomas Stout Team Manager: Stephen Adamson

Philip Hunter, Steven Hunter, the Captain, Mark Daniels and Malcolm Ditty

Ben Turtle, Ross Davidson, Brian Eastwood Jnr and Bernard Eastwood

by Peter Ellis

James Pollin, John Reynolds, Mark Riddell and Iain Knox

THE 2020 JUNIOR CUP TEAM Chris McNally, Grant McBurney, Alan Stout, David Cunningham, Malcolm Ditty, Stan Craigs, Fin Eager Team Manager: Peter Ellis

Hayden Kearney, Will Corrie, Shaw Montgomery and Chris McNally

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| GUI Inter-Club Competitions | | Gentlemen’s Golf |

| GUI Inter-Club Competitions |

was used with the experienced old campaigners going to Clandeboye (David Cunningham and Alan Stout) and successfully winning both matches. The young bucks (Chris McNally and Grant McBurney) and Malcolm Ditty played at Royal Belfast, winning one and a half (would have been two if the final match hadn't been called in!) to make it a 3½ - 1½ victory. The only match we lost was on the 18th, although, to be fair, all the matches were tight with none finishing before 17. My thanks to Stan Craigs for deputising as team manager at the simultaneous matches at Clandeboye and for supporting the ultimately successful matches there.

Pierce Purcell Shield

by Mark Spottiswoode

The format this year changed from foursomes to fourball better ball. Drawn as the away team against Donaghadee on Sunday 26th July, we had to play three matches away and two matches at home. The Royal Belfast pairing of Fergus McIlduff and Mark Spottiswoode managed to secure a crucial away win 4 & 2. The other pairings of Richard Montgomery and Stephen Boyd, and Neil Spottiswoode and James McCombe, both lost narrowly late on. This left us needing to win both home matches to advance. Michael Pierce and Michael Gibson won their match 3 & 1,

having been down early on. The final pairing of Jeremy Macartney and Neale Wilson were 1 down after 16. A great putt by Jeremy on the 17th, brought the match to all square going down 18. The win was secured with a par on the last! This was a fantastic team effort. Many thanks to the Captain and John Taggart for their support away

due to the adverse weather. On Sunday 23rd August the side

THE 2020 PIERCE PURCELL TEAM Fergus McIlduff & Mark Spottiswoode, Richard Montgomery & Stephen Boyd, Neil Spottiswoode & James McCombe, Michael Pierce & Michael Gibson, Jeremy Macartney & Neale Wilson Team Manager: Mark Spottiswoode unfortunately lost 4½ - ½ against a very competitive Scrabo side. Well played to Stephen Boyd and Richard Montgomery for salvaging a half. Many thanks to the entire squad for their efforts.

at Donaghadee, and also to Huw Worthington for welcoming our opposition to Royal Belfast.

In the next round Royal Belfast secured a 3 - 0 win at home against Cliftonville on Wednesday 5th August. The two matches at Cliftonville were not played

Again, there was much socially distanced celebrating on Sunday afternoon, in an otherwise empty Clubhouse.

I would like to thank Stan Craigs, Dave Cunningham, Malcolm Ditty, Fin Eager, Grant McBurney, Chris McNally and Alan Stout who all played for the team this year and got us so deep into the competition. I think we have the foundation of a good team for next year.

from our point of view. We were very well supported at Scrabo on Sunday 6th September and I would like to extend my thanks, and those of the team, to those who came to cheer us on and indeed all the venues including Knock, Clandeboye and Royal Belfast. It was extremely close.

We played against Scrabo in the last 16 of this event, two matches at home and 3 away. We were very unlucky to lose 3½ - 1½ with two matches going to the 18th all square and both going the wrong way

Gentlemen’s Golf Gentlemen’s Annual Dinner

Ulster Cup

by Fergus McIlduff

The Ulster Cup team drew a very strong Belvoir Park team in the second round of the Ulster Cup, played on Monday 27th July, following a bye in the first round. With an away draw and the resultant 4 matches at Belvoir and 3 at Royal Belfast, we were on the back foot from the very start.

However, while the team fell to an overall loss of 5 matches to 2, the score is not reflective of how close the match was - a swing of 4 holes would have seen us win 4 - 3. Thanks to the team who all put in excellent performances on the day.

THE 2020 ULSTER CUP TEAM Simon Rogers, Mark Riddell, Neil Spottiswoode, Peter Thallon, Gordon Greenfield, John Andrews, Geoffrey Mack Team Manager: Fergus McIlduff

Jimmy Bruen Shield

by Richard McMullan

Peter Minnis, David Barnes, John Ferriter (GUI President) and guest of honour Immediate Past Captain Gavin Clarke

After reaching the semi-final last year, the Jimmy Bruen team were confident of progressing to the All-Ireland finals this year. Especially as all but one of the team were available for selection. The GUI, however, decided to change the format this year to fourballs, and split the matches between venues... which, most definitely, did not play to our strengths. Our first round was played against Scrabo. Connor Browne and Gregor Law were our lead team at Scrabo supported by David Barnes and Richard McMullan. An unfortunate approach shot to 18 cost

The Gentlemen’s Annual Dinner was held on Friday 6th March. Two years ago, it was the ‘Beast from the East’ that meant not all our guests were able to make the journey. This year it was the collapse of Flybe the day before dinner that regrettably prevented Royal Burgess Captain, Bill Mattocks from making the trip. Guests at the top table were Stephen Prendergast (Captain Royal Dublin), David McMullan (Past Captain Royal Portrush), David Kearney (Captain Royal County Down), Derek

Johnston (Captain Helen’s Bay), Alastair McFarlane (Captain Royal Blackheath), Brian Hutchinson (GUI Ulster Branch Chairman), John Ferriter (GUI President) and, last but not least, our guest of honour Gavin Clarke (Immediate Past Captain). After a delicious dinner, the Captain, Ian McMillan was delighted to present Senior Past Captain and Past President Ronnie McMillan with a framed Royal Belfast pin flag to mark the occasion of him being a Member of the Club for 70 years.

This year’s speaker was newly elected Council Member Jonathan Hool who welcomed the guests and delivered a humourous speech which was very well received. In his tribute to the Immediate Past Captain, the Captain applauded Gavin Clarke for being such an excellent Captain and servant to the Club. On conclusion of the formal proceedings, the gentlemen retired to the Herdman Room bar where the good humour and hospitality continued to flow.

match manager. My thanks to everyone for their valiant efforts, and I’m confident (provided it’s a foursomes competition) we’ll be much more successful this coming year.

Connor and Gregor the game, but David and Richard scrabbled to a 2 & 1 victory. Delighted with our 1 - 1 results at Scrabo, we travelled home confident that home advantage would see us through to the next round. Our proven pairings of Stan Craigs and Roger Shaw, Chris Warnock and David Megaw, Malcolm Ditty and Philip Templeton battled valiantly, but fading light and the fourball format conspired to see all the matches lose on the 18th green. Much to the disappointment of Jeremy Cheetham, our reserve and home

THE 2020 JIMMY BRUEN TEAM Stan Craigs & Roger Shaw, Chris Warnock & David Megaw, Malcolm Ditty & Philip Templeton, Gregor Law & Connor Browne, David Barnes & Richard McMullan Team Manager: Richard McMullan

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| Gentlemen’s Golf |

| Gentlemen’s Golf |

NewMembers Day

A drinks reception was held on the terrace on Saturday 29th August to formally welcome our new Resident Members. This day traditionally allows new Members, their proposers and seconders to get to know one another and to meet Office Bearers and Council Members. After a light lunch, the new Members were presented with Club ties by the Captain before the keenest among them headed out to play a few holes of golf.

Jonathan Hool, Stephen Prendergast (Captain Royal Dublin) and David McMullan (Past Captain Royal Portrush)

The Max Hadden Trophy The GUI Ulster Branch has hosted its annual Max Hadden competition at Royal Belfast Golf Club since 1975. The event is for club captains only during their term of office.

Kelly Wilson and Randal Herron

The founder of the trophy, Max Hadden, was a past Royal Belfast Captain and former Golfing Union of Ireland President. Max Hadden was a stalwart of golf in Ulster and Ireland both as a top class player and as an administrator. He started playing golf at Cliftonville where his father Bertie was captain in 1924. In that year father and son played in the Cliftonville Ulster Cup team that lost to Greenisland in the second round. In 1927 he was a member of the club’s Junior Cup team that defeated Malone in the Ulster final. Max won the deciding match on the final green. In 1927 Max Hadden won the Stroke competition which was the prelude to the Irish Amateur Open Championship at Royal County Down. With a round of 78 - 4 = 74 he finished one stroke ahead of the field. In 1929 his handicap was 2 when he won the Captain’s prize by defeating R.G. McClenahan in the final. Max moved to Holywood where he won a Belfast & District Cup medal in 1935 and was a member of the Barton Shield team which defeated Belvoir Park in the 1938 Ulster final. The All-Ireland

The Captain played with Chairman GUI Ulster Branch Brian Hutchinson, Knock GC Captain Gary Patterson and Carnalea GC Captain Jim McFerran

Ronnie McMillan and the Captain

finals were played at the Castle course in Dublin. Cork, led by Jimmy Bruen, defeated Holywood in the final. The concept of the Max Hadden event was that the day had to be a relaxing day out for the club captains. In the early days captains were paired in four balls randomly as they arrived but, as the numbers increased, captains were arranged in a proper timed draw prior to the competition date. This year due to Covid restrictions the event took on a somewhat different format and was played over three

days - 15th and 22nd September and 2nd October - to reduce numbers both on the course and dining afterwards. There was a good turnout of current club captains all vying to take the Max Hadden title. Our Royal Belfast Captain Ian McMillan prevailed over the other Ulster club captains to lift the trophy with 41 points. The visitor's prize was won by Ulster Branch Hon Treasurer and fellow Royal Belfast Member Alasdair Gibson with 34 points.

Top: Jeremy Cheetham, Derek Johnston (Captain Helen's Bay) and Alan Andrews Middle top: Uel McMinnis, Robin Thompson and Richard Wallace Middle bottom: Huw Worthington, Alastair McFarlane (Captain Royal Blackheath) and Sam Beckett Bottom: John Stewart, Norman Beggs and Rusty Adamson Right: Brian Hutchinson (GUI Ulster Branch Chairman) and Michael Gibson

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| Gentlemen’s Golf |

Captain's Dinner to Council

It is tradition in Royal Belfast that before the outgoing Captain leaves office in February he hosts a dinner to thank Council for their service and dedication throughout the year. Pre-Covid, this year's dinner was held on Friday 31st January. Members of Council met for drinks in the Baillie Room before enjoying a delicious menu chosen by the Captain, Gavin Clarke.

Your Local Health Insurance Specialist

Alan McCandless and Michael Gibson

Dr Jimmy Courtney and Hilary Hall

Past Captains' Dinner

Gavin Clarke was presented with his Past Captain's tie by Ronnie McMillan at the Past Captain's Dinner on 13th March

Gentlemen’s CompetitionWinners 2020



Craigavon Cup

Dermot Parker

Clendinning Salver

Jeremy Macartney

• Independent advice from a local specialist • Policies for business, family or individuals • Free market review on policy renewals • Access to the leading insurance providers • Alternative healthcare options including cash plans • Client discount on health assessments • Exclusive partnership with Kingsbridge Healthcare Group to help support your wellbeing programme

Craigavad Cup

David Boyd and Stephen Boyd

Fred Heyn Memorial

Richard Brown

Centenary Trophy

Ben Wright


Captain’s Charity Day*

Simon Rogers


Scott Martin

RNLI Competition

Geoff Brand


Ed Sinclair

Coronation Cup

James Macartney


Neil Spottiswoode

David Carson Trophy

Colin Adair


Fergus McIlduff

Quasquicentenary Trophy

Robbie Sinclair


Gavyn Cairns

The Captain’s Prize

Tom Macartney


Jamie McMinnis

Because Health Matters.

Scratch Cup

Ryan Gordon

*The Simon Community NI thanked the generosity of the Members of Royal Belfast for the £2,000 raised on the Captain's Charity Day in a year when their finances were under considerable pressure.

028 9073 5207 |

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| Veteran's Golf | | Gentlemen’s Traditional Inter-Club Matches |

| Veteran’s Golf |

his organisation of the winter rota while everyone else left with at least one prize in the spirit of the event. Overall, we have had a fairly enjoyable year despite Covid-19 and the consequential cancellation of the Veterans League. We have been fortunate that the course has been largely open and playable thus emphasising the benefits of golf with its exercise and camaraderie. Our thanks therefore go to the green staff, to Andrew Ferguson for the admin of the competition cards, to Tracey and the bar/catering staff for looking after us so well in the Clubhouse and Stuart Thom who facilitated our competitions. We are hopeful that the Veterans League can recommence in 2021 thus giving us the opportunity to enjoy the other 13 courses as well as our own. So, if you are over 60 and not in full- time employment you will be very welcome to join us for the coming season.

count back was Derick Allen followed by John Andrews and Robert McIlwaine while Dermot Hoey and David Dunlop took the nines. Our traditional End of Season Competition for the Macafee Trophy was held on 6th October when 28 Vets enjoyed good weather followed by an excellent lunch with appropriate social distancing and the delightful ambiance of the main dining room. Unfortunately, no wives or partners could be included this year. The golf and camaraderie were both of a high standard with three players finishing on 35 points. After count back the winner was Neal Shaw (also won the Start of Season!) with John Andrews 2nd and Dermot Hoey 3rd. Mervyn Woods and John Ballagh took the two nines. December when 28 hardy enthusiasts enjoyed remarkably kind weather and a course in good order despite the recent rain. The golf was also pretty good (for Vets) and the prizes tightly contested with Dick Milliken wining from Derick Allen with Dermot Hoey in 3rd position after count back. John Monteith and the Vice-Captain shared the sevens. A few non-combatants joined us for a very pleasant Covid compliant lunch during which a presentation was made to Robin Thompson in appreciation of The final event - the Christmas Competition - was held on 15th

- Howard McNally, George Robinson, Jonathan Hegan, David Dunlop and Robin - agreed to book tee times on a Tuesday and Thursday or Saturday for pre-arranged fourballs organised on a rotating basis. This worked well with some 20 regular players and a number of reserves. A league table was maintained and sponsors obtained so that monthly prizes could be awarded from June to November. Winners changed regularly but there was no doubt that the star performer was Roger Salisbury with twice as many points as his nearest competitor Jonathan Hegan. We are all most grateful to Robin and his volunteers for all their work on our behalf to effectively provide us with hassle free golf. Our traditional ‘Away Days’ were also affected by the virus with Kirkistown cancelled in June and reduced numbers at Portstewart in July and Portrush in September. Portstewart was played in good weather resulting in some excellent scores with Lynn Johnston being the runaway winner on 44 points followed by Bob Stout and John Andrews while Kenny Graham and Roger Salisbury took the honours for the 1st and 2nd nines. At Portrush we enjoyed a splendid day on the Valley course. The winner on HELEN’S BAY The only inter-club match this year was a traditional ‘friendly blood trophy‘ against Helen’s Bay Golf Club. This annual match against our nearest neighbours took place on Sunday at Helen's Bay in perfect conditions. The match is always declared a draw, the only clue as to who may have actually won is the handing over of the shield which was presented to our Captain by Derek Johnson, Captain of Helen’s Bay. Thank you to those who played including super sub Neal Shaw and I am delighted to confirm the shield has been returned to our trophy cabinet! Congratulations to Captain Ian McMillan on his 100% record.

Veteran’s Golf

by Des Walmsley and Jonathan Hegan

Tolland all of whom scored 35 points. Lynn Johnston had the longest drive on the 18th while Robin Thompson was nearest the pin at the 4th. Roger Salisbury and Derick Allen had the only 2s - quality still shines through! As a result of the suspended Veterans League, the various restrictions on golf due the pandemic and the introduction of the BRS system which effectively outlawed our traditional ‘hats’, depression set in. This was compounded by the fact that most Vets are not particularly computer savvy and have ‘fat fingers’ thus making it difficult to arrange our preferred tee times. As they say ‘cometh the hour cometh the man’ and so Robin Thompson came to our rescue by undertaking to arrange a 'rota system' whereby five volunteers

Kenny Graham, John Ballagh, John Black and Philip Weston

2 020 started with great competitions. Balmoral who were this year's organisers of the league arranged a meeting in late February for the 13 participating clubs at which the dates were agreed for the inter-club home and away matches throughout the season. RNLI was designated as the supported charity. Spurred with enthusiasm your scribes persuaded 13 worthy souls to be captains for the various matches and Howard McNally was selected to start the campaign against expectations for a successful season in both the Belfast & District Veterans League and our own internal Vets

Clandeboye on 23rd March. However due to the increasing seriousness of the Covid-19 virus the decision was taken on 18th March to suspend the league until further notice. This remains the situation but, with the roll-out of the new vaccines, it is hoped that it can recommence around April with Balmoral continuing as the organisers. Just before the lockdown we managed to hold our Start of Season Competition on 16th March when some 19 Veterans braved the virus to play in mild but windy conditions. Competition was tight with Neal Shaw winning on count back from Roger Salisbury and Ansley

Gentlemen’s Inter-Club Matches

Michael McCrudden

THE 2020 ROYAL BELFAST V HELEN’S BAY TEAM Ian McMillan (Captain), Alan Andrews (Vice-Captain), Sam Beckett, Peter Minnis, Huw Worthington, Hilary Hall, David Barnes, Jonathan Hool, Neal Shaw, Gavin Clarke (Match Manager).

Jonathan Hegan, Roger Salisbury, David Dunlop and Philip Pallin

Peter Dixon, Peter Stewart, Dr John Andrews and Dick Milliken

Derick Allen, Howard McNally and Dr Dermot Hoey

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|The Lady Captain’s Report |

| Ladies’ Golf |

The Lady Captain’s Report

Ladies Committee Lunch O n Friday 10th January the outgoing Lady Captain, Liz Andress and the Ladies Committee held a lunch as a thank you to ladies who had assisted across all aspects of Club life throughout the year.

as we all come to terms with our revised handicaps! Our thanks must go to Abby Beckett, our Match and Handicap Secretary for making the initial transition as painless as possible. Thanks must also go to the Ladies’ committee who have shown such patience and flexibility all year… organising and reorganising our events and fixtures as protocols were revised and changed. Throughout these months of constant disruption the Lady President, Terry Crothers, and the Ladies’ Secretary, Libby Pallin, have both been a source of sage advice and cheerful pragmatism and I am indebted to them. For all of us there have been steep learning curves in 2020. On a personal level I have enjoyed my time as Lady Captain and I am deeply honoured to have been asked to remain in office in 2021. The kindness and good humour of our Members and staff have been a great support to me, only matched by the generosity of the donations to my chosen charity ‘The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity’. I am looking forward to a more normal 2021 season!

system and the safety protocols. Golf became a major focus for exercise and social intercourse and tee times were much in demand. The golfing fixtures were subject to constant review with many being postponed and eventually cancelled. ILGU events and inter-club matches, Lady Captain’s Day, committee matches, Lady Captain’s Away Day, prize giving evenings, the Annual Dinner and Mince Pie party… were all cancelled. The Ladies’ committee were keen to resume competitive play as soon as it was once again permitted. A revised fixture list accommodated most of our important trophies and record numbers of ladies played in the 18 and 9-hole competitions through the summer. The Monday Hat was well supported as was the Open Day in September. This year we were particularly pleased to see so many of our Junior girls playing regularly in our Wednesday competitions. They are the future of our section and it is encouraging to see their enthusiasm. Congratulations to Corin McCrea on a most successful year as Junior Girls’ Captain and Zoe Miller who has been included on the Golf Ireland Girls’ Performance Panel. My thanks to Helen Mooney, the Junior Girls’ Convenor, who has contributed so much to their development during the past three years. November saw the introduction of the WHS and it will no doubt take some time to become familiar with the new system. 2021 promises to be interesting

After a lovely lunch Lady Vice-Captain, Mary Cullen and Secretary, Libby Pallin presented the Lady Captain with a gift from the committee.

2 020 has been a memorable year. The Coronavirus pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives and continues to do so as we move into 2021. For many of our Members the most ‘normal’ moments in 2020 were on the golf course playing socially distanced, safe golf with friends and family. These have been moments to treasure in a year which has been challenging and difficult. In testing circumstances, the Captain, Ian McMillan, Council and the Chief Executive, Stuart Thom, have overseen the maintenance of the course and Clubhouse, the safety of Members and staff and the financial security of the Club. I know you will join with me in thanking them for their commitment and hard work.

Lady President Terry Crothers and Ruth Hunter

Mary Cullen Lady Captain

Libby Pallin, Lady Captain 2019 Liz Andress and Mary Cullen

Elaine Laing, Gail Cairns and Monica Graham

Playing socially distanced, safe golf with friends and family... these have been moments to treasure in a year which has been challenging and difficult.

Opening Day on Wednesday 6th March was most successful with an excellent turnout in beautiful weather. The afternoon tea, had we but known it, was to be our only social event in 2020. Shortly after this, lockdown was imposed and all plans for the season were put on hold and revised as the weeks passed. When it was announced that golf courses would be permitted to reopen for casual play there was a rush to get to grips with the BRS booking

Mary Shaw and Terri Wilson

Connie Wright and Louise Malseed

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