Internet reviews for Davyhulme Park Golf Course were very promising and although the day started with threatening clouds it blossomed into a lovely sunny day. This all augured well for a successful finals day of the West Lancashire Masonic Golfing Society.
A very impressive number of 75 competitors teed off, mainly in groups of three with the first group taking just over three and a half hours to complete this excellent course, which is kept in good order partly by the efforts of green keeper Nick Marner of Lodge of Candour No 337 in the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding.
Tee times began at 10:48 am and the last group went off at 2:24 pm with two pairings joining together to make a four-ball for the last group. Varying styles of tee shots were exhibited with most shots holding the fairway. A notable exception was Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder, who’s first shot landed on the 16th fairway. This is something that Society Vice President, Deputy Provincial Grand Master Phil Gunning, would regard as being ‘predictable’. David was shown the correct route by Davyhulme Park Club Captain David Marsden, who’s opening shot went ‘straight down the middle’ as the old song goes.
As the sun rose high in the sky, any extra layers of clothing found their way onto trolleys and buggies and the players settled down to a fine day of golf on this gently undulating course. As ever, mixed fortunes were being experienced. This was partly due to unfamiliarity with the course, however, there were some Davyhulme Park Club members who were not getting things all their own way on the course either. Such is the game of golf.
Never let it be said that Masonic golfers are reluctant to use modern technology. Brian Newman of Quadrant Lodge No 8044 was proud to exhibit his watch on which he can view data on every hole of every golf course in the country. Nor can it be said that they’re frightened to have a go at a difficult drive, as demonstrated by John Hayfield also of Quadrant Lodge on hole number 10. John drove to the left-hand bunker in front of the green and chipped out for par. Amongst several other players seen to chip out of bunkers were Joe Morton of Marquis of Lorne Lodge No 1354 and Gareth Jennings of Wyreside Lodge No 2605.
After refreshing showers and even more refreshing pints from the bar, the contestants were joined by Philip Gunning and several other distinguished guests at dinner. Tales of rescue shots and duff shots, outrageous misfortune and ‘jammy as hell do-droppers’ abounded over dinner until the formal addresses and presentation ceremony commenced.
Speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the West Lancashire Masonic Golfing Society, David Winder thanked David Marsden, captain of Davyhulme Park Golf Club, for the courtesy of using the course. Everything, he said, was fantastic. Davyhulme Park is the fourth oldest golf course in the country, having been founded in 1844. David Winder continued by observing how wonderful it was to see everyone enjoying taking part in this competition, which is in its 78th year. The proceeds of this competition are donated to causes dedicated to those less fortunate than most. This year the money will be donated towards the MCF 2021 Festival.
David continued by extending thanks to the organising team of secretary Leon Gaskell, treasurer Steve Gregory and assistant secretary Gerald Butler. He also thanked the group golf reps for their work in their particular areas and particularly, Jim Hardman, for his work in helping to arrange things at Davyhulme. David thanked Philip Gunning and the group chairmen for their support and attendance. He further paid tribute to the members of Davyhulme Park Golf Club, who are also Freemasons, who needn’t have paid the full amount for the golf on the day but did pay anyway.
David concluded by expressing thanks to Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, Ian Halsall, for his work in running the formal aspect of the evening. Also, Glenn O’Brien, South Fylde Group Publicity Officer, for his reportage work out on the course and during the presentation ceremony.
Responding, David Marsden said that he and everyone at Davyhulme Park Golf Club were absolutely delighted to be able to host this event. He also stated that he was delighted to be invited to play, along with David Winder and vice chairman Giles Berkeley. He congratulated Masons for the support they give to wonderful causes. He concluded by toasting everyone, on their endeavours and for the future work they will do on behalf of others.
Society treasurer, Steve Gregory, then announced the competition winners as follows. After a card play-off, the winner of the Challenge Trophy was Andrew Hall from the Wigan Group. The runner up was Alan Whittaker of Furness and South Lakeland. Matt Crossley of the Lancaster Group received the trophy for golfers with a handicap of between one and 14. Tony Fletcher from the Chorley Group was victorious in the group for handicaps of 15 and upwards. Nigel Higginson of Furness and South Lakeland Group was awarded the trophy for the elderly members in the senior age group and the West Lancashire Seniors Trophy, for those even older, went to Ron Gorton of the Eccles Group.
The ‘Group Award’, for the highest combined score from all players in one group, with 116 points, went to the Furness and South Lakeland team. In this category each member received a little individual trophy. For the nearest the pin trophy, Christian Givvons of the Leigh Group, proved victorious. Several members scored birdies on par three holes, they were David Goddard, Peter Scholfield, Gordon Blacker, Geoff Johnston and Bill Wagley.
Another award of a donation made on their behalf to the MCF 2021 Festival went to the players recording the top 10 scores of the day. A raffle was held which raised the sum of £180, which will also be donated to the MCF 2021 Festival.