Greetings Golfers and welcome to the 7th edition of “By the Fireside with Captain Paul.” Apologies for being a little late this month but I was waiting for some good news which thankfully has materialised. But more of that later.
There is a great buzz about the place at the minute. We have seen an increase in Competition entries with some fantastic scores along the way. All that lockdown practice seems to be paying off! Congratulations to Damien and Conor for all their hard work in getting the competitions up and running. It is a hard job at the best of times but even harder recently with the goalposts seemingly moved on a weekly basis. Thanks boys. We should all look forward to the new format for the Debonair Championships. This involves a qualifying competition followed by quarters, semis and final played in the following week. It’s a bold idea and one which can create excitement around the club. Let’s give it our support! Our mini Open Weekend will take place this weekend, beginning with a mixed charity day on Friday, followed by opens on Saturday and Sunday and an open for ladies and gents on Monday. Let’s roll up and support this initiative. It’s a long time since we have had an Open Week. It’ll be interesting to see how well it is supported and an indication that we are moving in the right direction.
Team matches for the men have got up and running. The teams, under the watchful eye of Sean McLaughlin, have been proudly representing North West with varying degrees of success. Our Donegal League team overcame a very strong Bundoran team whilst our Minor League team lost out to Rosapenna. Last Weekend our Jimmy Bruen team was very unlucky to lose to City of Derry with one match going to the 4th play-off hole! All matches were played in a very sporting manner. Thank you to the respective team captains for what can be a thankless task. This weekend sees our Ulster Cup warriors playing Letterkenny and our Senior team tackle the mighty Royal Portrush. Good luck to all.
You may have noticed a lot of new faces about the place. We have been blessed with an influx of new members throughout all our categories. The Covid situation and our membership structure and pricing have contributed to this, not to mention our fantastic golf course! Our challenge now is to make sure these members stay with us. I urge all members to be patient and to extend a great North West welcome to them. The new members range from those experienced in the game and others complete beginners with lots in between. We have not been able to host a welcome meeting due to the restrictions in place so please be available to help out and offer information and advice wherever it may be needed.
If you are down at the club in the evenings you may notice strange yellow creatures buzzing around in buggies. They are our new course rangers. Under the direction of Vice-Captain John they have been patrolling the course after shop hours, checking whether people are on the timesheet and, God forbid, checking if visitors have paid a greenfee. It is not a pleasant task but unfortunately one that is badly needed. Already we have seen the dividends. Thank you John, Sean and Cathal for volunteering. If there are any others who could spare a half an hour of an evening, I’m sure you would look well in florescent yellow!
It’s Tee sponsorship time again! Last year through the kind benevolence of John Gormley, and the hard work of Stephen Stewart and Damian Doherty we were able to erect new tee markers with sponsors’ names. There are still spaces left for our new sponsors. Please mention to your fourballs and encourage them to sponsor a tee. Each tee will cost €100. I already have 9 tees sponsored so we have at least 9 spaces available at the moment, although there may have to be some jiggly-poking to accommodate everyone. So if you want a tee box please get back to me asap or at least by Sunday 9th August, either in person or by writing out names in BLOCK CAPITALS, along with €100, place in an envelope and leave in the shop for my attention. Thank you. Every penny counts!
News of the Clubhouse re-opening is still unclear. We have made a determination to try to get up and running with a target date of August 10th. This may prove beyond our reach as there are a lot of conditions that we must observe. That said we are determined to do everything we can to get open again. Watch this space.
At this stage could I both congratulate members for their co-operation during the restrictions that we have had to follow, and advise that this pandemic has not gone away and we must still exercise extreme caution. Primarily, practise Social Distancing, wash hands regularly and comply with the arrangements for booking tee-times and for entering competitions. It is easy to get caught up in our golf and let our guard slip. Let’s keep each other safe!
One big disappointment for me so far has been the postponement of Captain’s Day. I was really looking forward to the day and I had great things planned. But as they say, “When man plans, God Laughs!” His sides must be sore at the minute! However I am determined to have Captain’s Day and have rescheduled for August 29th. There are a lot of ‘ifs’ and’ buts’ along the way but that is what I am working towards. (notice I didn’t say ‘planning.’ Might slip this one past the Man above!) I must acknowledge the help and generosity of Lady Captain Anne who has moved her date to August 26th to accommodate this: again, all dependant on what we can achieve in the clubhouse and on Phase 4 being activated.
And finally to the best bit of news. After many drawbacks we have finally acquired the services of Brian McElhinney as Club Professional. Brian and Áine have been holding the fort in the shop since Total Golf left but now we believe we can move forward with a club professional and all the value that will bring in terms of services and raised profile. And who better than Brian who has North West blood teeming through his veins. This will be a great partnership and I ask all members to support Brian when he takes over which will be this Saturday, August 1st. As you will understand it may take some time to get 100% organised so please be patient and keep your putts low!
P.S. Now stand for the Creed!