The Craigavad 2022 Review

The Craigavad 2022 Review

C raigavad The





| Contents |

The Royal Belfast Golf Club Contact Details

4 President's Foreword 5 The Captain's Report 8 The Captain’s Prize 12 Gentlemen's 16 Gentlemen’s Golf 22 Veterans' Golf 24 Gentlemen's Traditional Inter-Club Matches 28 The Lady Captain’s Report 30 The Lady Captain’s Prize 32 Lady President's Day 34 Ladies’ Inter-Club Competitions 38 Ladies' Traditional Inter-Club Matches 40 Ladies' Golf 44 Features 48 Junior Golf 50 Tennis 52 Convenor's Reports 56 Weddings 60 A Year in Pictures O n behalf of The Royal Belfast Golf Club it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the 8th annual edition of The Craigavad. I hope that you enjoy this review and commentary of the highlights (mainly) and life of the Club over the past year. Special thanks go to House Manager Tracey Preshaw for producing The Craigavad and also to the entire team at Royal Belfast who have all worked tirelessly to make 2022 a successful and enjoyable year at the Club. Welcome Inter-Club Competitions


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| Foreword |

| The Captain’s Report |

The President’s Foreword

The Captain’s Report

Dear Member

The Gentlemen's Barton Shield side reached the semi-finals of the Ulster South section, whilst the B&D squad were knocked out in the quarter-finals and the JB Carr team were the County Down champions before losing out to Dunmurry in the semi-final of the Ulster section. The Ladies' Junior Cup and Senior Foursomes sides were both beaten in the final of their respective Ulster South sections. Pride of place goes to the Junior Section with the boys winning the final of the All Ireland Junior Foursomes competition which was staged at Ballina. They did this without Finlay Eager who on a personal level had a phenomenal season. At the age of 14 he won both the Ulster Boys Under-16 Open and Closed competitions and was runner-up in the Irish Open Under-16 trophy. He was selected for the Ulster Boys and Irish Boys Under-16 teams and received the 2022 Ulster Order of Merit Award for Under-16 Boys at the Regional AGM. Max Carson also won honours with the Ulster Boys Under-18 side. All this bodes well for the Club in future Golf Ireland competitions. It was a pleasure to support the various teams this year even if their success meant clocking up a few more miles than previous Captains have been accustomed. The boys made the four hour trip to Ballina well worthwhile. All the captains and match managers at Senior and Junior level are deserving of our thanks for their dedicated work, as are the players for their commitment, which combination is so important for the success of our teams. The Junior Section has maintained its numbers although it would be good to have a few more older girls playing regularly. Thanks are due to David Barnes and Ashley Brand as Junior Convenors along with the many parents for their work. I congratulate our Junior Captains, Ben Miller and Ruby Rebbeck on their year which culminated in a thoroughly enjoyable Junior Captains' Day attended by the President, Lady Captain and myself. It was the Club's turn to host the Veterans' Belfast and District League this year and our thanks are due

we played a full programme of Club competitions, Inter-Club matches and Golf Ireland competitions. The Clubhouse was open allowing us to enjoy the social benefits of the Club to the full. After many years of franchising the catering the Club took over the provision of food as well as the bar which allowed us more flexibility and we are grateful to Stuart Thom and Tracey Preshaw for overseeing this transition so effectively. I think it is fair to say that the standard of food and service is as good as it has ever been and our loyal kitchen and house staff are to be complimented for their high standards and friendly service – a feature commented upon regularly by visitors. Members are aware that staff resources are stretched and appreciate all the more the service they provide. Happily we resumed the Inter-Club matches which have been a feature of our Club and sets it apart from many others. It is so important to continue these matches for they allow us to forge and maintain special bonds with other similar clubs. During the course of the season we welcomed The MCC Golf Society, Royal Dublin GC, Royal Portrush GC, Royal Burgess Golfing Society and the RAC. We travelled for matches with Glasgow GC, Royal Aberdeen GC and Helen's Bay GC. Our Ladies Committee travelled for the annual match with their RAC counterparts. We also entertained groups from Royal Montreal GC and Durban Country Club. I'm pleased to report that the match with Glasgow GC is now an annual fixture and we have agreed to have reciprocal rights entitling our Members, inter alia, to avail of their two courses, Killermont at Bearsden in Glasgow and Glasgow Gailes near Irvine. All the matches were blessed with good weather and great fun was had by the large number of our Members who participated. Our thanks are due to all the match managers for their planning and organisation. The Members approached the Golf Ireland competitions with renewed enthusiasm and there was a measure of success throughout the Club.

With everything crossed we headed into the 2022 season with considerable expectations, and we were not to be disappointed. The weekly competitions returned as normal as did the Inter-Club matches and as usual the ladies teams did us proud with special mention to the Junior Cup and Senior Foursomes reaching the Regional Finals. Congratulations also to the Junior boys on becoming the All Ireland Foursomes Champions. Summer and winter friendlies were enjoyed by all and in September we were delighted to return to Woodcote for our annual match against the ladies of the RAC. It is fantastic to see the Wednesday evening bridge resuming after a long layoff and with the commencement of I t is hard to believe the season is now drawing to a close as we compete enthusiastically for the remaining turkeys. As I write however the sun is shining from a cloudless sky and the temperature outside mimics a mid summer day. The grass is still very green and growing but the trees have sadly lost much of their autumnal splendour falling victims to intermittent heavy rain and strong winds. We must all be concerned that this is indeed a sign of climate change and that the situation will not remain static. It is hard to believe that there was a time not so long ago when the greens froze in winter. On a more optimistic note, the year started with the return of the Gentlemen’s Annual Dinner. It was very well supported and enjoyed both by Members and guests but not surprisingly was followed by a small peak in Covid infections. The infections however were generally

Congratulations are also due to Jamie McMinnis, their captain, and to the reserves Ben Miller and Rory Adamson for their wholehearted support. In all the Club remains a wonderful venue not only to enjoy a game of golf but also to socialise with family and friends where our needs will be appropriately catered for by our loyal and friendly staff.

classes for beginners and intermediate players on Tuesday evenings and Yoga on Thursdays there should be quite a buzz in the Clubhouse in early 2023. The Horizons Series was once again a very popular addition to our winter programme and all the Christmas carveries were booked out well in advance and our thanks go to our small band of dedicated and friendly staff who not only worked tirelessly over this period but throughout the year. Thank you to Gail Cairns and her flower helpers for keeping our Club so beautifully decorated all year and the festive display enjoyed by everyone. The new Cecily Gibson roses are now relocated at the front of the Clubhouse thanks to the work of Philippa Crone. We now look forward to 2023 and wish everyone a very happy season. mild undoubtedly due to the mutation of the virus to a less virulent form and to the widespread vaccination program from which we have all benefitted. For the same reason all weekly competitions returned to normal as did the ever popular Club friendly matches against not only clubs in Ireland but also in both England and Scotland. Locally the Club competed well in Inter-Club matches in all categories of the Membership. These successes will be recorded elsewhere in the magazine but pride of place must go to the Juniors for their success in the All Ireland Foursomes at Ballina. They beat firstly Ballybunion and then the following day Stackstown before overcoming Castlebar in a very tight match in the final. It was a memorable two days for the Club and Phyllis and I felt very privileged to be present. Many congratulations are due to the team where Max Carson partnered Ben Woods and Archie McMinnis partnered Louis Napier. All their play was outstanding and their on course demeanour a credit to our Club.

W elcome to The from the suffocating restrictions of Covid. The early months still saw numbers attending events such as the AGM and the Annual Dinner affected adversely, either as a result of an increasing number of Members stricken with Covid or being apprehensive about venturing out into crowded rooms. Nevertheless, in contrast to 2021, we held the AGM in person and the Annual Dinner went ahead with a very successful evening enjoyed by Members of all generations along with a full complement of guests invited from Golf Ireland and other clubs. It was a year when in September we recorded, with great sadness, the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the only monarch whom most of us will have experienced. The Club marked the event by closing the day after the death was announced and on the day of the funeral along with the flying of the Union flag and the Club flag according to protocol. I was honoured to be invited to attend a Service of Reflection at St Anne's Cathedral along with the the Lady Captain in the presence of the King and Queen Consort. By the time we reached the golfing season normality had returned and Craigavad and Review of 2022. It was the year when we finally emerged

Michael Park President

A word from the Lady President...

Terry Crothers Lady President

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| The Captain's Report |

| The Captain’s Report |

Indeed I am grateful for the support and encouragement of so many people and that has only reinforced my regard for the general body of Club Members. It has been an honour and a privilege for me to have served this great Club as its Captain. I will retain many happy memories of what has been a most rewarding and enjoyable year.

Barbara Neeson has represented the Ladies Section on Council very effectively and has proved to be a popular and capable Lady Captain. I am grateful to Barbara for her support throughout the year. Our President, Michael Park has devoted energy and enthusiasm to his role whether supporting teams across the country, attending functions or just quietly giving advice and encouragement. Finally I particularly have to thank my wife, Abby. It helps that she is an active Member but she willingly gave up much of her time and worked very hard to support me.

I must also thank all the Office Bearers, Council and Committees who gave of their time so selflessly throughout the year and were of such support to me. I would thank, in particular, Michael Gibson who will stand down at the AGM from the position of Honorary Secretary to which he has committed the last five years with great dedication. Our thanks are also due to Alan Andrews, who steps down from Council after seven years, and to Huw Worthington and David Barnes for their service to the Club. I thank my Vice-Captain Jimmy Courtney for his wholehearted involvement and wish him well for his year as Captain.

The Club was the recipient of two prestigious awards this year – the Golfers Guide to Ireland award for the Best Parkland Course in Ulster and the Irish Golf Tour Operators Association award for the Best Parkland Course in Ireland.

a more normal social life at the Club. We again ran the Horizons Series of lunchtime talks with subject matter ranging from music to sport and commerce to human interest. The Summer Sundowner event in September was very popular. There were numerous themed food nights such as Wine and Tapas, Steak Thursday and Fish Friday and our own Phil McCrea devised a very successful Indian Dining Evening in October. We continued to host weddings and I was fortunate to have been a guest at two of them. Our ability to provide rooms of varying size demonstrated how the versatility of the building can be used to host a wonderful day, no matter the numbers attending. The social experience we all enjoy owes much to the quality of the food and service provided by our staff. Linda and Jarek in the kitchen and Jayne, Gareth, Sarah, Elaine and the part-time staff along with Tracey and Stuart, Naomi and Stephen are due our thanks for their dedication and loyalty. The atmosphere in the Club is enhanced by the Flower committee under Gail Cairns who throughout the year provide heartwarming and eye catching floral displays whether for

to Des Walmsley and Jonathan Hegan for organising it so efficiently. Unfortunately we could not repeat last year's feat of winning the Malone Shield but we hosted the end of season event at the Club including a splendid lunch and prize-giving ceremony. Captain's Day resumed its more normal June date in the calendar although that did not prevent the weather from playing its part. In very strong winds Stephen Loughridge emerged as the winner with 38 points whilst Richard Owens was runner-up. The best gross was a very creditable 71 by Chris McNally, Kenny Graham won the Veterans' Prize with Philip Hunter picking up the Putting Prize. My thanks are due to all the staff in the Club for their contribution to the day – the greenkeeping team, the kitchen and front of house staff, Andrew Ferguson and Andrew Montgomery, who manned the 1st tee throughout the day and provided me with a splendid album of photographs, and our office staff. Thanks also to Billy Pollock for some great action and 'other' photographs and of course to our wonderful team of flower arrangers who dressed the Clubhouse so beautifully with a thoughtful theme of blue and yellow to acknowledge my home city of Bangor. Once again we hosted the Max Hadden competition, run by Golf Ireland for all the club captains in Ulster. In addition this year a competition for ladies was introduced and competed for on the same day. We donated a trophy in honour of Miss Catherine McGee a former Lady Captain of our Club and a prime mover in the formation of the ILGU. Disappointingly there was no dinner organised for all the captains to get together and to inaugurate the new trophy and present the two trophies to the winners. However the course and Clubhouse were much admired and enjoyed by all who took part. The lifting of Covid restrictions and a gradual increase in the confidence of Members to socialise allowed for

but one of the most unusual came in June when a group of British Lions, who were in the locality to celebrate Willie John McBride's 80th birthday, asked me and Abby to join them and their wives for a meal in the Harrison Room. With ten Lions legends in the room I was like a child in a sweet shop! Peter Ellis ably organised the annual Sharman Crawford competition on St Stephen's Day which was thoroughly enjoyed by those who participated, especially Graham Crothers and Brian Murray who were the winners. The Club was the recipient of two prestigious awards this year – the Golfers Guide to Ireland award for the Best Parkland Course in Ulster and the Irish Golf Tour Operators Association award for the Best Parkland Course in Ireland. This is very welcome and encouraging news and reflects well, not just on the work of Paul Revill and his team who have undoubtedly steadily improved the course over the past few years, but also on the whole complement of staff – including office, house and kitchen along with Andrew Ferguson and Andrew Montgomery in the Pro Shop because the awards

Sam Beckett Captain



OFFICE BEARERS 2022 Captain: Mr S R BECKETT Vice-Captain: Dr J R COURTNEY Immediate Past Captain: Mr C A ANDREWS




Honorary Treasurer: Mr J D CHEETHAM Honorary Secretary: Mr M J GIBSON

Mrs B NEESON (Lady Captain) Ex Officio

COMMITTEES MATCH & HANDICAPPING* Mr G Law (Convenor) Mr M Ditty Mr G McBurney Dr D Hoey

GREEN* Mr M Ditty (Convenor) Mr G Law Mrs A Granleese Mrs P Boyd Mr D Milliken

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

Mr M D A Carson Mr R J McMinnis Mrs A L Brewster Mrs E Andress Mrs A Brand

Mrs G A Murray Miss P C Belford

Mr R Shaw Mr P Revill Mr A Ferguson

SOCIAL* Mrs H Worthington (Convenor)

FINANCE* Mr J D Cheetham (Convenor)

Mr R J Savage Mrs T Wilson Mrs T Haldane Dr S Hoey Miss A J Hall Mrs C Fetherston Mrs A G Barnes Mrs N Duncan Mrs T E Preshaw

MEMBERSHIP Mr M J Gibson (Convenor) Dr J R Courtney

Dr J R Courtney Mr C A Andrews Mr M J Gibson Miss A J Hall Mrs B Neeson

Mr D T Barnes Mr M H Pierce Mrs E J Pallin Mrs M L Beggs Mrs L E Malseed

HOUSE* Mr F McIlduff (Convenor) Mrs H A Ellis Mrs R Todd Mrs T E Preshaw LADIES’ GOLF Mrs B Neeson (Convenor)

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

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS* Mr M H Pierce (Convenor) Dr S Tharma Mr P J E McMorran


Mrs M F Gibson Mrs T E Preshaw

The Captain with the British Lions legends


PLANNING Mr P W Hunter (Convenor)

recognise the whole experience which anyone coming to Royal Belfast is likely to enjoy.

special events or everyday. I attended many functions in the Club this year which I thoroughly enjoyed

*Office Bearers are ex officio on those Committees as indicated

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| The Captain’s Prize |

| The Captain’s Prize |

The Captain teeing up for the first shot off the 1st

The Captain’s Prize

The Captain with David Hunter, Peter Clarke, George Robinson and Robert McIlwaine

T he Captain's Prize took place on Saturday 11th June. The Captain Sam Beckett hit the first ball off the 1st tee at 6.30am as he welcomed 213 gentlemen golfers on what is the highlight of the gentlemen's golfing year. Stuart Thom, Chief Executive and Club Professional Andrew Ferguson reprised their now customary roles as official starters and photographers and, aided by Andrew Montgomery, all three did a fabulous job in getting everyone off the tee in a timely manner. Thanks also must go to Billy Pollock who once again brought his photographic expertise to the golf course and took some excellent photographs. This year’s winner with 38 points was Stephen Loughridge with a better back 9 than Richard Owens who was runner-up, Chris McNally had a best gross score of 70 and Kenny Graham won the Veterans' Prize with 34 points on the better last 6 from Derick Allen with Philip Hunter winning the Putting Prize with 6 under. The evening festivities commenced with a drinks reception followed by prize-giving, speeches and dinner in the Sinclair Room. During his speech the Captain thanked all those who supported him to help him make the day a great success including the ladies who made the tray bakes and helped with afternoon tea, Gail Cairns and the ladies for their beautiful floral displays throughout the Clubhouse, and the Clubhouse and the catering staff for the superb food served all day. He also thanked the Professional Shop staff and Stuart Thom for acting as starters on the first tee, Tracey and the office staff for their planning and also to Paul Revill and the green staff for the immaculate presentation of the course. Richard Owens, Mark Hamill, the Captain, John Martin and Dr Ian Corry

Stuart Dawson, John Kelly, Ian Hunter and Mark Ennis CBE

Mark Daniels, the Captain, Brian Murray and Philip Hunter

James Pollin, the Captain, Dr Alan Stout and Keith Salters

The Captain and Abby Beckett with the winner Stephen Loughridge



Stephen Loughridge

38 points


Richard Owens

38 points

Best Gross

Chris McNally


Putting Prize

Philip Hunter


Chris McNally won Best Gross

Tom Burgess happy with his putt

Veterans' Prize

Kenny Graham

34 points

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| The Captain’s Prize |

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Archie McMinnis, Finlay Eager, the Captain, Kyle Paradis and Harry Templeton

Peter Murray tees off the 1st

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| Golf Ireland Inter-Club Competitions |

| Golf Ireland Inter-Club Competitions |

Gents' Inter-Club Competitions

Belfast & District Cup

by David Kyle

A wonderful debut performance from Archie McMinnis saw Royal Belfast close out the match on Sunday 15th May 4 – 0 at home to Cliftonville. Archie came from behind being one down after fifteen to holing the winning putt on the last to seal Royal Belfast’s victory. Jamie Tharma playing at number one had a fine victory despite playing with an ankle injury. James Pollin guided by his trusty caddie Robbie came home with a 3 & 2 victory and Thomas Stout also had a fine 2 & 1 victory as well. These four wins meant the later starting away leg at Cliftonville was called in early with Finlay Eager being 2 up after 9, Stuart Cave being up and David Graham being up as well. It looked like the three away players were going to win despite the early conclusion to the match. Our second match on 26th June was against Templepatrick. With the disadvantage of having three games at home and four away it was always going to be difficult to overcome a strong Hilton side. The first three games were played at Royal Belfast and both Ryan Gordon and Stuart Cave had comfortable wins, winning 6 & 5 and 4 & 3 respectively. David Graham went down tie holes after being 1 down standing on the 17th tee. A holed 20 foot putt on the first tie hole meant that a second tie hole was needed and a slippery 6 footer sealed a fine victory by David in the end. The four away matches saw the youth of Finlay Eager, Max Carson, Rory

Senior Cup

by Ryan Gordon

Our first match in Senior Cup was in the 2nd round against Silverwood GC. At home were Stewart McCaw, Thomas Stout and a senior debut for Rory Adamson, with Thomas winning well and the other two matches turning things around on the back 9 to win 3 – 0 at home. Fin Eager and Ryan Gordon were both all square at Silverwood when the match was called in. Our last 16 match was against more formidable opposition

in Shandon Park. Jamie Tharma and Ryan Gordon both lost down the last at Shandon, while Fin Eager put on a masterclass at home winning 6 & 5 after day 1. Day 2 saw McCaw shoot a faultless 15 consecutive pars on a very blustery evening at Craigavad to win 4 & 3 against their low man and Stuart Cave narrowly lost 2 & 1 at Shandon, who went through 3 matches to 2. All in all a decent performance from our young side

and it sets us up well for a better run next year!

THE 2022 SENIOR CUP TEAM Stewart McCaw, Thomas Stout, Rory Adamson, Finlay Eager, Jamie Tharma, Stuart Cave Team Manager: Ryan Gordon

managed to take him down tie holes where he lost unfortunately to a birdie at the first. Max Carson also had a tough match which went the whole way to the 18th where Royal Belfast unfortunately lost 1 down. The 3rd match at Fortwilliam was also a narrow loss for us which meant that we were 3 down and needing to win all four games at home. Jamie Tharma rose to the occasion, playing at number 1 he had a convincing 4 & 2 victory over his Fortwilliam opponent. James Pollin had a difficult match being hit by a barrage of birdies which meant that Royal Belfast couldn’t win and so the other two Royal Belfast matches were called in. Both of the other Royal Belfast games of Chris McNally and Finlay Eager we looked like winning. In the end we lost 4 – 3. Yet again an excellent display from Archie, Max Carson and Finlay Eager in the quarter-final match. I’d just like to thank the Captain and Vice-Captain and other Members for their valued support throughout this campaign and I’d just like to thank all the players for the spirit in which the matches were played and the grit and determination that was shown during these matches. Well done all.

Adamson and Archie McMinnis exhibit grit, determination and fearlessness against an experienced side. Despite the dreadful weather it was great to see these talented players knuckle down and deliver a fine win from Rory Adamson on his debut and an excellent half match from Max Carson on his return to form. Archie doggedly fought to the end before going down one down on the last. A commendable performance from what will hopefully be the backbone of Royal Belfast senior teams for years to come. The final result was 4½ – 2½ and for the first time in years we were now through to the quarter-finals with a match against Fortwilliam. A magical achievement from such a young (the majority but not all) and talented side. On 24th July Archie McMinnis had the difficult task of taking on Fortwilliam’s top +3 handicapper at Fortwilliam and

Barton Shield

by Ryan Gordon

First up in the Barton Shield were a very strong Mourne team who were all plus handicappers. Eager and Gordon shot a solid level par at home to be 2 up after 16 in tricky conditions, but the stars of the show were McCaw and Stout at RCD who, after starting with an eagle, went on to be 8 up after just 11 holes and the match was over. Mourne had been beaten by 10 holes, a great win! Next up were St Patrick’s who we had beaten before and won comfortably by 5 holes. Suddenly we found ourselves in the quarter-finals with a great chance to get to the semis against another side we had beaten previously. A win by 3 holes was the end result with a decent comeback by Eager and Gordon in the 1st leg at Rockmount, getting a half after being 3 down after

9. Now just two victories away from a spot in the All Ireland finals we faced, on paper, a very strong Belvoir side. Eager and Gordon were 1 down after 17 at Belvoir when the news came through that Belvoir had eagled the 16th at home to be 3 up against Max Carson and Jamie Tharma and sadly, our run was at an end. The biggest lesson we took from the experience was that handicaps mean nothing and on the day we are fully capable of beating any of the top sides in Ulster. Thanks to all my players for their commitment, in particular Stewart McCaw, who was studying at Stirling University and travelled home on four occasions at considerable expense to represent the Club and played some outstanding golf. Unfortunately, the

semi-final was a bridge too far and we wish him well in his work and travels in New Zealand. I would also like to thank the Captain, Gregor Law, David Kyle and Vice-Captain Jimmy Courtney for their support and our Fred Daly players who caddied when the rules allowed. Four of our five Fred Daly players represented the Club at senior level this year and with the results we have had the future is very encouraging!

THE 2022 BARTON SHIELD TEAM Finlay Eager, Stewart McCaw, Thomas Stout, Max Carson, Jamie Tharma Team Manager: Ryan Gordon

Jimmy Bruen Shield

by David Haldane

The team played at Lurgan on 1st May 2022. Rob Haldane and Philip Templeton lost 4 & 3 – both big hitters but suffered from short game shudders. Peter Ellis and David McSpadden lost 1 down on the 19 after being 4 up... a great example of how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! Stan Craigs & Connor Browne won 3 – 1 which was a great effort from the teams’ true professionals.

Our home matches were on 6th May and with many years of experience and a steady hand, Richard McMullan (past JB captain) and Mark Daniels won 3 & 2. After a tight match for 18-holes and a nail-biting decider, David Haldane & Patrick Menary lost 1 down on the 19th when our opposition sank a 15ft putt. Lurgan progressed to the next round, winning overall 3 – 2.

THE 2022 B&D TEAM Archie McMinnis, Jamie Tharma,

THE 2022 JIMMY BRUEN TEAM Rob Haldane, Philip Templeton, Peter Ellis, David McSpadden, Stan Craigs, Connor Browne, Richard McMullan,

James Pollin, Thomas Stout, Finlay Eager, Stuart Cave, David Graham, Ryan Gordon, Max Carson, Rory Adamson, Chris McNally Team Manager: David Kyle

Mark Daniels, Patrick Menary Team Manager: David Haldane

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| Golf Ireland Inter-Club Competitions |

| Golf Ireland Inter-Club Competitions |

Pierce Purcell Shield

Junior Cup

by Neil Spottiswoode

by Peter Ellis

Ulster Cup After last year’s unsuccessful youth policy, the team captain decided to bring in some seasoned experience for the first match against Portadown GC, with Philip Hunter, John Andrews and Richard Gilliland representing the home side on the 24th April. This strategy proved successful with an impressive 3 – 0 victory. While Philip and John won comfortably, Richard’s match did go down the 18th but was over before they got to the green due to an impressive display of multiple shanks by his opponent. Despite this clean sweep, a victory was always going to be challenging with four matches away and a solid 'no practice round' strategy in place. Despite this, Ciaran Harkin managed to secure the one away match required to ensure victory and bring us into the next round against Enniskillen, with Harry The Junior Cup team were drawn against Lurgan, having had a bye in the 1st round. Three matches at home and two away. David Cunningham and David Barnes (playing well above his usual station) played away at Lurgan and were both unlucky to lose by one hole. Yavin Songra and Chris McNally had easy victories at home. This left Rob Haldane in the decisive match. He got it back to all square at the 17th with an

excellent up and down. However, his ball, and his hopes, disappeared into the forest to the right of the 18th tee. We were very close this year with a team comprising the young, not so young and elderly. Perhaps next year will be our time! After 10 years of mediocrity, I am handing over the captaincy to someone else. Good luck to whoever that is and to the team next year.

disappointed not to see out their match having been 4 up after 10 holes. We shouldn’t be too discouraged by this result as this was a strong Mayobridge team that went on win the competition, defeating Castle Hume in the final. Thanks to all of the team, especially those who volunteered for the away leg. Many thanks to the Captain for his support, and Jamie Cooke who assisted in representing Royal Belfast. I would like to thank the entire squad for their efforts this year.

THE 2022 JUNIOR CUP TEAM David Cunningham, David Barnes, Yavin Songra, Chris McNally, Rob Haldane Team Manager: Peter Ellis

by Fergus McIlduff

Readman, James McCombe and Neil Spottiswoode just turning up to make up the numbers. Thanks also to home reserve Mark Spottiswoode, who ably cheered on from his bedroom window. And special thanks to John Andrews who keeps trying to retire from the team, but agreed to play if it was an emergency! The next round against Enniskillen took place on the 29th May and this time we had the home advantage. With Philip Hunter unavailable and John Andrews back in retirement, the home team consisted of Richard Gilliland, James McCombe, Ciaran Harkin and Ulster Cup rookie Rob Connolly. A well-practiced and fired up Enniskillen away team managed to secure 2 victories with Richard and Ciaran remaining unbeaten for the campaign.

This left Mark Spottiswoode, Scott Thompson and Rob Calvert the challenging task of securing 2 victories to see us through to the next round, which proved to be too much on this very tricky course. While another disappointing campaign for the Ulster Cup captain, as always it was great fun with new friends made and hopes for more successful time ahead. Many thanks to the Captain, President, Vice-Captain and Members who supported both matches.

Following a bye in the 1st round, the Pierce Purcell team played our 2nd round match against Mayobridge GC on 28th May; three matches away and two at home. The away pairings of Stephen Boyd and Keith White, Mark Riddell and Stephen Loughridge, and Neil Wallace and Julian Kilpatrick made the trip down to Newry on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately our golf didn’t reflect the

weather as the team struggled to get to grips with the very tight Mayobridge course. This combined with a strong and determined display from our opponents led to all three matches

THE 2022 PIERCE PURCELL TEAM Stephen Boyd, Keith White, Mark Riddell, Stephen Loughridge, Neil Wallace, Julian Kilpatrick, Stewart Porter, Simon Watson, Niall Monaghan, Michael Pierce Team Manager: Neil Spottiswoode

being won by the home side. After receiving the news from

Mayobridge, the two home matches (Stewart Porter and Niall Monaghan and Michael Pierce and Simon Watson) were called in. Stuart and Niall were

THE 2022 ULSTER CUP TEAM Philip Hunter, John Andrews, Richard Gilliland, Ciaran Harkin, Harry Readman, James McCombe, Neil Spottiswoode, Rob Connolly, Rob Calvert, Scott Thompson, Mark Spottiswoode Team Manager: Fergus McIlduff

All Ireland Fourball

by Tony Wilcox

The All Ireland Fourball is for players with a handicap index above 14.5 with a combined allowance of no less than 34. A change of captains this year for the All Ireland Fourball with Tony Wilcox taking over from Chris Fetherston didn’t produce the expected 'new manager bounce'. We were drawn away to Loughall for our 1st round match and we produced a very strong team performance winning convincingly 4 – 1 (special thanks to Mark Hamill for joining at very short notice and winning his match). In the 2nd round a similar were up

against Rockmount at home. It was a very tough match and unfortunately we got beaten 4 – 1. Rockmount had a very strong run this year and went all the way to the final so no disgrace in losing them. In the true spirit of Royal Belfast we will be back to fight another day next year!

JB Carr & Fred Perry

by Dermot Hoey

In the Fred Perry competition, Royal Belfast were beaten in the 1st round by Castle Hume GC 3 – 2.

The Royal Belfast J B Carr team beat Rockmount GC and then Clandeboye GC in an exciting shoot out after a 5 – 5 draw to win the County Down Final. A great team effort! We then played Loughgall in the Ulster Quarter Final, winning 6 – 4 overall. Unfortunately, the team lost narrowly to the eventual winners Dunmurry in the semi-final.

THE 2022 JB CARR TEAM Richard McDowell, Gordon Pollock, David Cunningham, Robert McIlwaine, David Megaw, Sam Beckett (Captain), Jimmy Courtney (Vice-Captain), Ken Wilson, Peter Thallon, Martin Pitt, John Monteith, John Andrews, Geoffrey Mack, Angus Creed, Karl Smyth, Gordon Greenfield, Ian McMillan,

THE 2022 ALL IRELAND FOURBALL TEAM Chris Fetherston, Stephen Loughridge,

Michael King, Stephen Ham, Huw Worthington, Ken Wilson, Philip Pallin, Gordon McElroy, Ryan Hamilton, Mark Hamill Team Manager: Tony Wilcox

Lindsay Todd, Chris Warnock, Jonathan Hegan, Alan Andrews Team Manager: Dermot Hoey

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Fuelling the Future Our journey to zero carbon

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

Holt Shield

by Rob Haldane

Households can displace up to 48% of their home energy carbon emissions by switching to a highly efficient gas boiler today. 1

The 2022 Holt Shield team set out to play against the opposition of Knock, Larne and the 2021 winners, Cairndhu. The weather experienced throughout our matches were as expected of a Northern Irish summer; sun, rain and somewhere between 10 to 25 degrees celsius. This year’s results unfortunately didn’t go the way of Royal Belfast, however what can be said is that each Member thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to play new courses against tough opposition. A special mention must be made to all Royal Belfast staff. Throughout each of the home games, the opposition

were extremely complimentary of the beautiful scenery, the condition of the course and the warm welcome received by the bar and restaurant team. I would personally like to thank every player for their efforts, the Captain and for all Members who attended both matches home and away. Your support was greatly appreciated.



Home Away Result Home Away Result Home Away Result




2½ 4½






2½ 3½



THE 2022 HOLT SHIELD TEAM Malcolm Ditty, David Barnes, David Cunningham, Mark Adamson, Stan Craigs, Blake Cushnie Team Manager: Rob Haldane

1 1 2

2 2 4

2 The gas network will increasingly distribute renewable gas solutions such as biomethane and green hydrogen.

Gentlemen’s Golf


Royal Belfast v Durban Divots

by Graham Crothers

3 Biomethane is

and Janet Stewart were welcomed as part of the Royal Durban Centenary celebrations. Similarly in 2017 Norman and Louise Beggs with David and Louise Malseed attended during the Royal Durban ‘125’. Several other touring groups from Royal Belfast have been welcomed there over the years. The ’Divots’ were a talented group of sportsmen. Their leader Alistair Forbes had won the Malawi Amateur. The party also included a SA cricket international and a SA hockey international as well as our own Honorary Member Gavin Caldwell, the former Captain of The R&A and recent President of Portmarnock. An excellent lunch ensued followed by four fourball matches. As many Royal Belfast golf reports finish.. ‘a closely contested match was played in excellent spirits and resulted in a narrow defeat for the home team’. The Divots have asked me to report that a warm welcome awaits any Royal Belfast Member who visits to play at the Durban Country Club.

produced using existing agricultural waste and can be injected into our gas network.

4 In NI we are well placed to produce green hydrogen which is a renewable alternative to natural gas.

5 By 2050 our goal is for all natural gas to be entirely replaced by renewable gas solutions.

On 23rd August we received a visit from the Durban Divots. They are a group of senior golfers based at Durban Country Club. This, the most prestigious club in Natal, has a superb golf course having hosted the South Africa Open on several occasions.

The tour party schedule was testing and included Portmarnock, Royal County Down, Royal Portrush and Muirfield. Durban Country Club has welcomed Royal Belfast Members over the years. Rusty and Denise Adamson with John

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| Gentlemen's Golf |

| Gentlemen's Golf |

Gentlemen's Annual Dinner The Gentlemen's Annual Dinner was held in the Clubhouse on Friday 4th March. The new Captain, Sam Beckett, along with fellow Council Members, was delighted to welcome our distinguished guests at a drink’s reception in the Baillie Room. Following welcome drinks,

Past Captains' Dinner The Past Captains' Dinner was held on 18th March 2023. Following welcome drinks in the Baillie Room, ten Past Captains dined in the McGee Room.

Council and guests then joined the Members in the Sinclair Room where an excellent meal was served and thoroughly enjoyed by all. Guests at the top table were Dr Douglas Stuart MBE (Captain Royal Burgess), Brendan O'Malley (Captain Royal Dublin), Robert Barry (Immediate Past Captain Royal Portrush), Jeremy Hill (Captain Royal County Down), Derek Johnston (Captain Helen’s Bay), Martin Leather (Captain Royal Blackheath), Brian Hutchinson (Golf Ireland Ulster Branch Chairman), John White (Golf Ireland President) and, last but not least, our guest of honour Alan Andrews (Immediate Past Captain). After dinner, speaker John Leckey welcomed and paid tribute to our guests and delivered a humourous speech which was very well received. In the Captain’s tribute to the Immediate Past Captain he 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 bonhomie carried on for a few hours more.

From back L-R: Ian McMillan, Gavin Clarke, William Fitzpatrick, Angus Creed, Peter Moore, Norman Beggs, Stan Craigs, Jeremy Graham, John Wilson and David Best

Frazer Salver Presented by/in memory of Major George Warren Frazer OBE for competition by the Past Captains, this impressive silver salver was first played for in 1965. Since then each winning Past Captain has had his signature engraved on the front, making it a most sought after win in order to achieve a bit of history – as the usual close examination by all present at the subsequent evening dinner provides the inspiration for many stories as past names are remembered with fondness! The competition reverted to its usual May date this year and on 13th was competed for by 19 Past Captains. The 2022 winner was Immediate Past Captain, Alan Andrews over the 14 holes. He was presented with the trophy at the convivial evening dinner in the Clubhouse, adding another new signature to the salver.

Martin Leather, Dr Douglas Stuart MBE and Malcolm Ditty

End of Season Dinner

The Gentlemen's End of Season Dinner took place on Friday 14th October. Speaker Dermot Hoey and M&H Convenor Gregor Law entertained the gathering with their speeches and following a lovely meal in the Sinclair Room the Captain presented prizes to the winners throughout the season.

Dr Suresh Tharma, Gareth Metcalfe, Peter Turner and Ronnie Savage

Jeremy Hill, John White, Brian Hutchinson and the Captain

The President, John Leckey and Alan Andrews

The Captain presented the Shaun Wilson Salver to Malcolm Ditty and Blake Cushnie

David Barnes, David Boyd, Dr Jimmy Courtney and Dr Dermot Hoey

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| Gentlemen’s Golf |

| Gentlemen’s Golf |

Sharman Crawford Cup

Captain's Mince Pie Party

by Peter Ellis

The Sharman Crawford Cup was played for, as usual, on Boxing Day. Members will be aware that this is the oldest golf competition in Ireland, the first event having been played on Boxing Day 1881. We returned to normality this year with the Captain conducting a draw in the Herdman Room for partners. A short lunch was enjoyed in the small dining room and then Members played 9-holes of foursomes, in generally very good conditions, following the traditional format. The Members returned to the Clubhouse for a festive drink, good company, mince pies and, of course, the prize-giving. As usual there were prizes for everyone, increasing in both number and value the higher your score. Last place is normally furiously fought over with the winners often taking the trophy on the basis of the last 6 or 3 holes. Not this year. Colin Adair and James Ellis comfortably won with 7 points. The winners of the Sharman Crawford Cup this year were Graham Crothers and Brian Murray with 21 points, from Andrew Martin and Henry Clark with 19 (better back 6). Graham Crothers was kind enough to say a few words after the presentation where he expressed pleasure in his winning after several trophy-less years at Royal Belfast. He thanked the greenkeeping staff for the excellent condition of the course and the Clubhouse staff for the excellent service. His playing partner, Brian Murray, also received a brief mention.

The Captain concluded the event with a few well-chosen words thanking Club staff and wishing everyone well in the golfing year ahead. I would like to add my personal thanks to Tracey and Sarah who looked after us so well on the day. I would also like to thank Jeremy Graham, David Kennedy, David Cunningham, Philip Hunter, Simon Rogers, Peter Minnis, John Leckey and Gavin Clarke for generously donating prizes. All present also appreciated my wife's excellent mince pies. I would finally like to thank our excellent Professional, Andrew Ferguson, who donated the top prize of Royal Belfast shirts and also a free lesson to all participants.

The Captain's Mince Pie Party took place on the traditional Saturday before Christmas in the Herdman Room. Members enjoyed lunch in their familiar Saturday groups before the Captain presented turkey and ham vouchers to all the winners and a non-winners were entered into the draw for a bottle of festive cheer! Also presented was the Craigavad Cup to winners Denis Todd and Geoffrey Mack.

The Captain with winners Dr Graham Crothers and Brian Murray

Gentlemen’s CompetitionWinners 2022


Above left: Dr Philip McCrea, the Captain and Jim Tinsley Above right: George Robinson, the Captain and Robin Thompson Left: John Leckey, the Captain and Richard Owens

Craigavon Cup

John Brewster

Clendinning Salver

Geoffrey Mack

Craigavad Cup

Denis Todd and Geoffrey Mack

Fred Heyn Memorial Cup

Gordon McElroy

Captain's Rosebowl

Philip Hunter and Ruth Hunter

Centenary Trophy

Ken Wilson


Lowry Corry Silver Medal Ben Miller Mr B Hadden Memorial Trophy Rory Donaghy Coronation Cup Stewart Reid David Carson Trophy Rory Donaghy Quasquicentenary Trophy Louis Napier Dufferin & Ava Cup Alastair Todd Dufferin & Ava Medal Charles Moreland Professional's Prize Graeme Greenfield The Captain’s Prize Stephen Loughridge Shaun Wilson Salver


Rory Donaghy


Graeme Greenfield


Saunders Graham


David Haldane


Niall Monaghan


Gavin Clarke


Michael Chandler


Gordon McElroy


Malcolm Ditty and Blake Cushnie

PGA Tankard

Rory Donaghy

Scratch Cup

Stewart McCaw

Winners of the team competition on the day were Howard McNally, Billy Pollock, Patrick Marshall and Finn Marshall (absent) pictured with the Captain.

The Captain had pleasure in presenting the Craigavad Cup to Geoffrey Mack and Dr Denis Todd

George S Clark Rosebowl

Gregor Law

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| Veterans' Golf |

| Veterans' Golf |

Veterans' Golf

by Des Walmsley and Jonathan Hegan

With regard to our internal activities we got the season underway on 15th March with the Start of Season Competition when 31 players enjoyed good weather and some excellent golf with that intrepid octogenarian Jim Tinsley winning with an incredible 45 points, followed by your scribe with 42 points and Arnie Wright on 41points. Lindsay Todd won the 1st nine with 22 points and 'new boy' Barry McDonald the 2nd nine also with 22 points. John Monteith was nearest the pin on the 4th while Angus Creed had the longest drive. Wednesday 22nd June saw us decamp to Kirkistown to escape Lady Captain's Day and enjoy excellent weather. Robin Thompson was the worthy winner with 42 points followed by John Ballagh on 41 points and Robert McIlwaine on 36 points. Jonathan Hegan took the 1st nine with 22 points while your scribe surprised everyone with 21points on the 2nd nine. There were no 2's but we all enjoyed a convivial meal after the golf. Our Portstewart outing on 27th July attracted a lower than normal 14 participants who enjoyed benign conditions resulting in some good golf. Alan Andrews won with 43 points from Lindsay Todd who, on count back, just pipped Graham Crothers to second place with 41 points. Hugh Taggart took the 1st nine on 21 points while your scribe, after a disastrous period managed the 2nd nine with 22 points. There were no 2's but 4 gross birdies achieved by Lindsay Todd (2), Hugh

Des Walmsley, Abby Beckett and John Ballagh winner of the Macafee Trophy

Angus Creed, Neal Shaw, Stewart Reid, Peter Stewart and Mervyn Woods

Taggart and John Ballagh. The food and hospitality were excellent with fresh scones and cream when we arrived and a very pleasant meal after golf and prize-giving. The Portrush outing was played on 15th September when 23 veterans enjoyed a typical North Antrim day with a mixture of a cool breeze, a couple of showers and some sunshine on the Valley course, which as usual, was in great condition. The golf was of a fairly high standard with David Dunlop winning with 39 points from Peter Thallon on 37 while Philip Pallin took 3rd place on 34 points. Terence Carr won the 1st nine with 20 points while Des Walmsley was very surprised to take the 2nd nine with a poor 17 points albeit after count back. Terry Carr, Peter Thallon and Philip Pallin all recorded 2's. Golf and prize-giving was followed by the usual excellent meal. The End of Season Competition for the Macafee Trophy was held on 4th October when a significantly reduced field of 22 players (there were nine last minute withdrawals due to various ailments) competed for the trophy. The original heavy rain soon abated to provide reasonable conditions for some good golf with over half the participants scoring 33 points or better. The deserved winner was John Ballagh on 42 points from Barry McDonald on 39 and Michael McCrudden with 38. Angus Creed took the 1st nine and Stuart Knox – another new recruit – the 2nd nine with a commendable 22 points. Our President Michael Park had the longest drive while Neal Shaw was nearest the pin on the 4th and James Morrow had the only 2. In the evening we had a most convivial dinner in the Harrison Room which

volunteers who book tee times for fourballs on Tuesdays and Saturdays on a rotating basis. This works well with some 20 regular players and a number of reserves. A league table is maintained and monthly prizes awarded. In addition the scores are aggregated to produce an overall winner who, this year, was David Dunlop. 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 in this BRS world. We have had a most enjoyable year and have had the pleasure of welcoming some new Members to our ranks. We have also been fortunate that the course has been so playable throughout. Our thanks therefore go to Paul Revill and his green staff; to Andrew Ferguson for the admin of our competitions; to Naomi for her administration skills in the organisation of the Veterans' League; to Tracey, Jayne and the bar/ catering staff for looking after us so well in the Clubhouse; to Stuart Thom for facilitating our various competitions and league matches; and to our Captain who has been most supportive. The Veterans' League is about having fun and enjoying the camaraderie of like minded members of 13 other clubs. If you are over 60 and not in full-time employment you are welcome to join. The Convenors' baton has now passed to David Dunlop and Kenny Graham who we hope will enjoy the role as much as we have. We wish them and all our fellow veterans every success for the 2023 season.

included wives/partners and a few non combatants. The food was excellent and the wine flowed as we lamented our failure to win the league again. Following the meal Jonathan Hegan presented a summary of the season followed by a few kind words from the Club Captain, and fellow veteran, Sam Beckett while his wife graciously presented the Macafee Trophy and the other prizes. The final event, the Christmas Competition, was held on the 15th December. The weather was bitterly cold with the fairways covered with frost and most greens totally frozen. Some 15 hardy souls entered, but even with the competition reduced to 9-holes, only ten completed the event. In fact with most greens being sheet ice it was nearer to ice hockey than golf with some players needing 6 putts on occasions! However when the finishers arrived back in the Clubhouse they were informed that the competition had been cancelled and that there would be a draw for the prizes. So bad luck for the Captain who was rumoured to have had the highest score! Following a few hot whiskeys and a most convivial lunch the prize draw was won by John Moorhead and, in the spirit of the event, everyone left with a prize. You will also, no doubt, be delighted to learn that four of our 'star' players, Howard McNally, George Robinson, Robin Thompson and David Megaw won turkey competitions while Jim Tinsley and Gordon Greenfield each won a ham. Not bad for veterans! In addition to our 'formal' competitions referred to above, we have a rolling

Des Walmsley, the Captain and Jenay McCartan from Alzheimer's Society

A fter last year's historic win of the Belfast & District Veterans' League this year's result was somewhat of an anti-climax with 7th place on 28 points, some 6 behind the winners Clandeboye on 34. Belvoir and Bangor were joint second on 33 points with the final outcome only being decided by the result of the very last match. However we had great fun with some 55 Members participating in at least one of the 26 matches. As usual we won most of the home games (10 out of 13) but only two of the away legs with four halved. So many thanks to our 13 captains and especially Dick Milliken, Ansley Tolland and Philip Pallin whose teams secured emphatic wins against Helen's Bay, Knock and Holywood. This year we were the organising club and hence hosted the 'Fixture Meeting' in February and the 'Finals Day' on 27th September when representatives from all 14 clubs played in a fourball betterball competition with a shotgun start. This was followed by a lunch and prize-giving including the presentation of the Malone Shield to Clandeboye as this year's league winners.

club chooses a local charity which all players contribute to in lieu of green fees. This year we chose the Alzheimer's Society and are pleased to report that a total of £15,925 was raised of which Royal Belfast contributed £1,855. So well done everyone. Indeed over £235,000 has been raised for charity since inception of the league in 1991. Cliftonville is the organising club for the current year and we are looking forward to another enjoyable season. And with some exciting new 'younger' Members now joining our ranks there is the possibility of repeating our 2021 success!

The other aspect of the league is charity whereby the organising

monthly competition organised by Robin Thompson and his five

Des and Janet Walmsley, Howard and Hilary McNally and John Ballagh

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