Somerset Golf Captains
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting (held via Zoom)
(Approved at the 2022 AGM at Long Sutton Golf Club)
Tuesday 23rd March 2021, at 7pm
Present: Bob Acland (Vice-President), David Andow (HonoraryTreasurer), Rich Bartin, David Bate, John Beer (Honorary Secretary), Kevin Blakeley, Jim Boyce, Stephen Butterfield (Captain of Captains), Andy Carter, Paul Chesney, John Chillington, Pater Dawson, Rob Fear, Rob Ford (Captain Elect), Paul Middleton. Roy Parmiter (Vice-President Elect), Nick Prince, Iain Robertson, Geoff Rooke, Mike Usher-Clark (President), Marcus Woodward.
- Apologies: John Whitewood
Welcome and Opening Remarks
The President extended a warm welcome to all those attending and especially those not standing for office. Your presence makes this a real Annual General Meeting and not just a token meeting of officers. He asked the Committee to wear collar and tie, firstly for the occasion as if this were occurring after golf and, also to check if they could still remember how to tie a tie after all this time. He then asked everyone present to observe a one-minute silence in respect of those members of Somerset Golf Captains who have passed away during the last year: including Ray Smith of Wells and any other members we may not have been informed about.
- AGM 2020
The President recalled that his time last year we were all so quickly caught up in the first COVID lock down and therefore subsequently we could not hold an AGM, even by Zoom, which had then hardly been commonly adopted. Therefore, at the time of the scheduled AGM, he made the Presidential decision to declare that all those standing (all unopposed) should consider themselves elected and embrace their duties. We would then seek ratification by our membership at the earliest physical opportunity. The first actual opportunity would have been at the Autumn meeting at his home club, Worlebury, but unfortunately that had to be cancelled at the last minute due to a COVID situation. Therefore, there are no minutes of a 2020 AGM. Consequently, this makes this AGM particularly important to ratify last year and the arrangements for 2021, and I hope this meets your approval.
- Captains’ Report
(a) Captain’s Report 2019 (John Beer)
“The 2019 Spring meeting at Oake Manor was a great success with 84 past Captains competing and enjoying each others company before the AGM. 88 past captains of Somerset golf clubs competed in a four ball better ball competition, played off full handicap using the yellow tees with both scores to count on the par-3’s! In first place, the clear winners were Vice-President Bob Acland (Mendip Spring) and former Captain of Captains Ben Gliddon (Minehead) with a magnificent score of 53 points.
During the 2019 year, we played two tournaments and 16 inter-county matches, with two cancelled. We came joint second (third on countback) in the Six Counties (to Devon!) ,and runners up in the Four Counties to Wiltshire, even though our score of 207 would have won in previous years).
Of the 16 inter-county matches completed, we won 9; halved 2; and lost 5. Two matches were cancelled as well as the internal competition at Sutton Green (Surrey). During these inter-county matches, we won 62.5 games and lost 55.5 games.
Several players won the one game they played in. Paul Chesney played in 3 and won 3, but the most successful player was Murray Parsons who won all 5 of his matches (even when he was unwell in Gwent)
Even though some of our records from previous years are incomplete, this win percentage of 56% was one of the best in recent years.
During the season, 94 past captains represented Somerset Golf Captains, some for the first time. There were 320 places in our teams during the year. On one occasion, we turned up with one man short (Worcester away), so there were 319 “appearances”. Only twice did we field the team which was originally selected, without needing any reserves: Away vs Cornwall and Home vs Sussex.
This means that we regularly had to draw upon our ‘reserve list”. Between selection and completing the match we had 44 withdrawals, and needed to find reserves on 48 occasions (Extra 4 needed to play SGU). We used 31 different Captains as reserves at different times. We typically needed between 1 and 3 reserves in most matches (highest was 6 vs Worcester and 5 vs Hampshire at B&B!). Some Captains were called up as reserves several times.
I would also like to thank everyone for their support with the Autumn Meeting, especially Roy Parmiter, Jim Scott, Mike Usher-Clark and David Andow. Salford looked after us very well. I am convinced that the 65 Captains who took part had a wonderful day and thoroughly enjoyed the day. We certainly had a smashing time! Winners on the day were Jim Scott and Nigel Cheshire with 44 points.
The Griffiths Cup is presented to the individual golfer with the highest combined score after you add their team total from both of the Spring and Autumn meeting. There are indeed some illustrious names on this and in 2019 the winner of the Griffiths Cup was Malcom Head of Long Sutton
And finally, I would like to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to be your Captain of Captains in 2019, and for all your support in so many ways during the year. I am especially indebted to all the match managers who basically organise each fixture so that the captain can just turn up and play. I enjoyed every minute of it (well nearly every minute of it!!) and will take away so many happy memories and new friendships, from both within the family of Somerset Golf Captains and beyond in other Counties.
We all hold this office temporally until we pass it on to the next Captain of Captains, and I hope I left Somerset Golf Captains in good shape. I know I left it in good hands when handing over to Stephen Butterfield. Stephen was a great support during my Captains year: staunch, loyal, reliable, conscientious and funny. Everything you would want in a Vice-Captain and I wish him every success and enjoyment as Captain of Captains in 2020 and 2021. I have a personal gift to hand over to Stephen at the Spring meeting.”
(b) Captain’s Report 2020 (Stephen Butterfield)
“President, Members of the Executive, Fellow Captains
I thank the committee for nominating me as Captain of Captain’s and will do my utmost to maintain the highest standards of camaraderie for which we are renowned and we might win a few matches along the way, although that might upset the Treasurer and his engraving budget!
A somewhat different speech, having gone a whole season undefeated!
Seriously let us hope for better things ahead.
I cannot continue without thanking our past captain John Beer, now secretary for an entertaining 2019, especially the post- match cabaret and endless stream of one- liners! A somewhat hard act to follow!
My fairy godmother once said to me “Do you wish a large penis or a good memory?”
I forget my response!
As Captain Tom said Tomorrow will be a good day, but the 29th of March will be better!
The President thanked both John and Stephen for their contributions to Somerset Golf Captains- especially the entertaining and cabaret-style jokes!
- Secretary’s Report
- Secretary’s Report 2019 (John Beer)
“2019 was the first year we used the website to collect availability; announce teams and manage selection. The website struggled to cope with the initial demands and over 700 registrations had been recorded when registration closed on 31st March 2019. Teams were then selected for the entire year; members notified and a ‘reserve list’ drawn up for each fixture. Match Managers then became responsible for all other aspects of each fixture.
Match Reports were posted on the website at regularly intervals and (wherever possible) within 48 hours of the actual match or tournament.
During the winter 2019/2020 the website was updated as follows:
- Updated with 2020 fixtures and officers
- Updated list of the 2019 Captains who did join, and which did not.
- Redesigned and simplified the menu system and include new sections (e.g., historical records)
- Published historical records on results against other Counties
- Updated the advice on how to register and confirm availability, including timeline for selecting teams in 2020
- “Spring Clean” the website ready for next year e.g. ensure all your software and plugins are up-to-date; Review your analytics to pinpoint potential issues; Thorough scan to find viruses, malware or broken links; thorough proofread; do a content audit; look for new internal linking opportunities.
- Test out and confirm resilience and security of payment options on the website
- Set up both Facebook and Twitter accounts to increase our presence on Social Media. Wider use of social media e.g., using social media to thank host golf clubs; notify members when match reports are published etc.
As I reported above, I am particularly grateful to Rob Ford (and Sandra) who spent a significant amount of time retrieving old records from a laptop and then sent me a complete set of records from matches going back many years. Unfortunately, there were still a few gaps to be filled, especially in recent years. We have tried to fill these gaps, wherever we could, during this season, often using the list of winners engraved on the respective trophies. Sadly, we lost many of our own records prior to 2018 when the new website was introduced. However we have now been able to post a full set of records from inter-county matches (even if there are gaps) on the website.
Headlines from this initial analysis:
- We have records since 1967 of 467 matches
- Of these, we have won 183 (39%), lost 214 (46%) and halved 68 (15%)
- Our oldest fixtures is Devon with 53 matches.
- Our greatest success is against the SGU with against 11/21 wins (52%).
- Our least success is against 0/3 against Hereford & Shropshire (0%)
- We only have two results from 1968; and four from 1975; winning each match to give 100% record.
- We had no recorded wins in 1992, but 6 losses (0%)
- Secretary’s Report 2020 (John Beer)
I’d like to begin by paying tribute to Jim Scott for everything he contributed to Somerset Golf Captains both as Captain of Captains and later as Secretary. Jim made a huge impact on Somerset Golf Captains and we thank him for everything he did.
Clearly 2020 was a disastrous year for so many people in different ways and our golfing activities were completely decimated by COVID-19. Although we initially only cancelled fixtures during the first half of the season, we were hopeful that we could recommence golf later in the year after the 24th July. We were however overtaken by events and the scale of the pandemic, and sadly lost the entire program of intercounty fixtures and tournaments
But perhaps, the most frustrating and disappointing aspect was the loss of our three internal fixtures. The Spring Meeting and AGM were due to take place at Weston-Super-Mare Golf Club on the 16th of April 2020 and preparations were at an advanced stage when the Prime Minister announced the first national lockdown beginning on 23rd Mach 2020. The start sheet had been published; members had been briefed and everything was ready to go. However, the imposition of a national lockdown and the closure of all golf clubs meant that we had no choice but to cancel the Spring Meeting outright.
Probably, the most difficult decision was with regard to the Captains Invitation event which was due to be held at Long Sutton Golf Club on the 24th of July 2020. Again, there was enormous interest from our members and preparations had reached an advanced stage, including the publication of the start sheet and a detailed risk assessment being drawn up. Unfortunately, there were still restrictions in place at the time and the Executive Committee made the difficult decision to cancel this event which came as a great disappointment to many members.
Similarly, the Autumn meeting was due to be held at Worlebury Golf Club on Wednesday, the 24th of September; and again, our planning had reached an advanced stage in terms of site visits; risk assessments; publication of start sheets and guidance to members. However, this event had to be cancelled 24 hours before it was due to take place, after a visitor to Worlebury Golf Club tested positive for coronavirus.
Lots of things were happening behind the scenes and I will mention just a few of these:
- Due to COVID-19 and the social distancing measures the committee made decisions by email, during March, confirming the cancellation of the Spring Meeting, the 2020 AGM, several fixtures, and confirmed a plan for resumption as of the 24th July, the Committee also confirmed the appointment of officers for the 20/21 season subject to ratification at the next AGM.
- Indeed the Executive Committee managed to meet on seven occasions during the year using “Zoom” and the minutes are on the website.
- The newly formed ‘Administration group” (including Finance, Fixtures, Website and Admin) reported regularly to the newly formed SGC Executive Group.
- With regard to website developments, we created a PayPal Business account for Somerset Golf Captains. PayPal functionality has also been added to the website.
- We undertook a thorough stock take and reordered new shirts and jumpers from Glenmuir. Glenmuir have discontinued our traditional gold shirt in the colour of our choice, and so a new style golf shirt is available.
- During the year, despite COVID-19, we were delighted with the recruitment of 13 new Captains during 2020.
The President thanked John for his diligence, consistency and thoroughness.
5. Treasurer’s Report
“Mr President, Mr Vice president Mr Captain, Fellow Captains:
With no competitive or social golf because of the Coronavirus Pandemic my report this year is going to be even shorter than usual.
Financially we are in a sound position, even allowing for a sizable spend on livery this last year, which, of course will stand us in good stead for a couple of years.
About an annual subscription, a question raised at the last AGM, Committee have discussed and agreed that an annual members subscription was not needed at this stage of the life of SGC, also discussed our match fees, we could see no immediate change, although the Clubs we use as venues can always alter their attitude because of the financial climate and we will be keeping a watchful eye on this situation.
Another matter outstanding from the last AGM, the Captains who were unable to attend the Annual Dinner in 2019 because of snow on the Mendip Hills has been suitably recompensed.
With the new season about to commence, I wish you all a happy, successful and safe golfing year and many of them.”
- President’s Report
“I have taken the liberty of deferring my President’s report to be last and immediately before the Elections, so as to flow directly on to the new President taking up his office and control of this meeting.
I had the honour of being Captain of Worlebury Golf Club in 1987 and joined Somerset Golf Captains. In those days there were far fewer matches and primarily, all communication was by letter.
Moving on to 2011 when I became Captain of Captains, things were so different to today. At the AGM, Robert Rogers, a fellow Worlebury Captain was asked to second the nomination for Captain of Captains (me) but was not allowed to know who it would be.
I attended the Annual Committee meeting in 2011, then of 4 officers, the President, Vice President , Captain and Secretary/Treasurer.
When the late Bill Hawker became President, he started the process of involving more people and we subsequently changed the constitution to recognise a greater range of roles on the Committee.
I joined his Committee and took over our first website, I was then the webmaster for the second and designed the functionality and had built our current website, as the Committee knew we had to revolutionise our operations.
Prior to the current website we would send out hundreds of letters and get back hundreds of match requests. At one time they were posted. Rob Ford when he was our Secretary, would drive around all the clubs in the County to deliver the Annual Letter. Subsequently we did this amongst the Committee.
Rob was our last combined Secretary /Treasurer and after his 5 years in the post, the Committee decided as part of a general initiative to distribute the workload amongst more people.
Since then, Roy Parmiter has acted as Fixtures Secretary with great distinction.
There have been other initiatives: In 2015 we held the Autumn meeting/AGM on a Sunday, however that was a one off as it did not increase numbers .
While we activated the changes, I took on Acting Secretary/Treasurer for 18 months – it was 18 months as we moved the AGM from the Autumn meeting to the Spring meeting, where it seemed so much more relevant, at the start of the season.
Equally it was at this time that the Committee introduced the initiative to select all the teams at the start of the season, to give players more personal diary control. This was accompanied by each match being under the control of a match manager – further spreading the workload. We were still however communicating on paper with literally hundreds of pages going back and forth.
The final stage of the administrative re-organisation was to incorporate the match administration within the new third website, today’s website. It is the backbone of our organisation, covering sales, news, team and match business and our history and records.
I was delighted John Beer then took the lead role. He has developed so much of the website and is now finishing a very successful first year as our Secretary. John has great abilities of diligence and commitment, and I know he will be an outstanding servant of SGC.
Finally, in terms of the organisation, it became clear that meetings of everyone discussing everything were becoming cumbersome. Therefore, within the constitution, there are now subgroups and the Vice President takes the lead role – the President becoming a figurehead role.
2021 will also see a significant addition to the SGC playing calendar, with the introduction of Captain’s day, another internal event, quite some time in the planning.
I worked in a partnership with George Davis, my predecessor and equally in partnership with Bob Acland my successor. Those partnerships, which I know will continue, bring cohesion and consistency to SGC.
I wish Stephen Butterfield well for his year as Captain of Captains and am really pleased that the 5 years that Rob Ford gave as Secretary/ Treasurer is now rewarded as Captain Elect to succeed Stephen.
I consider that Somerset Captains is an outstanding organisation.
From those early days Trevor Jenkins, in his long term in office brought much change. He increased the number of matches we play, created our first website, and founded our annual dinner.
We continue with our traditions.
We are run by voluntary amateurs. All the officers are unpaid, and we do not charge an annual subscription.
There is so much to be proud of in Somerset Captains, and I thank you for the honour and privilege of being a part of it.
My last act as President is to confirm the election of Bob Acland as the next President of Somerset Golf Captains and pass the meeting over to him.
Congratulations Mr President.”
At this stage the President handed over to the President-Elect and invited him to say a few words and take over the meeting.
Acceptance Speech by President-Elect (Bob Acland)
“My fellow Captains. What a strange year! Bobby Jones once remarked “Golf is the closest game to life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots—but you have to play the ball from where it lies”.
It is an honour and a privilege to be given the opportunity to lead the Somerset Captains, especially, into its sixtieth year. It is a responsibility that I shall carry out with enthusiasm and humility, to the best of my ability.
Mike Usher Clark has led the Captains for the past three years with distinction. Every President I have known, Trevor, Bill, George, and Mike brought their individual style to the job; each brought something different, but all invigorated and innovated whilst maintaining the ethos established 59 years ago by our founding Captains.
Mike led (prodded) us into the digital age; established our web-based systems and, with the help of others, established a platform for our communications and information sharing. Little could Mike have dreamt that the, largely IT illiterate, executive would be meeting by zoom in his final year.
It is my pleasure to introduce your Vice President for 2021-22. In truth he needs no introduction. Roy Parmiter has been a committee member for a decade, serving on the Dinner committee and more recently as Fixture Secretary. Roy is a rock and will anchor our organisation to the values we cherish; the Somerset Captains could not have a better man. As Vice, Roy will also chair the executive committee; face to face again, we all hope.
Roy would you like to say a few words?”
Acceptance Speech by Vice-President-Elect (Roy Parmiter)
Thank you Mr President
“Captains: it was a Privilege to be your Captain in 2012 and now a great honour to be your next President after Bob Acland I am looking forward to putting my heart and soul into my term as President and have some hard acts to follow after Bob, Mike, George and Bill who Mike said got things moving forward with the committee to our present configuration.
Let’s hope we have a great season under the leadership of our new Captain Steve Butterfield and I hope to see you all when back playing during the year.”
The President-Elect (Bob Acland) then continued:
“Twenty-twenty was a non- event. Frustrating for our Captain, Stephen, and Captain-Elect Rob. I am pleased that they have both agreed to continue in their roles for the forthcoming year. We wish them well; it is looking positive. Rob also chairs the dinner committee and is assisted in that task by our Captain, Stephen Butterfield, and by David Bate, a co-opted member of the committee.
Several members of your committee have, despite the absence of golf, had a busy year. John Beer in his first year as our secretary had the task of organising our Spring and Autumn meetings and, a new fixture, “Captain’s Invitation” day. Covid regulation uncertainty meant going through three different risk assessments and organisational challenges for each event. Frustratingly each event had to be cancelled. John also took on the development role for our IT systems, with continued guidance from Mike, and professional advice from PCC Andy Carter. John has agreed to continue as Secretary.
Our Fixture secretary, Roy had the task of cancelling 2020 and rearranging all the 2021 fixtures. No mean task when you are dealing with 20 other fixture secretaries with differing remits. Roy recruited PCC Iain Robertson to assist him early this year and between them they have arranged and rearranged all bar one of our 2021 fixtures and Iain, who has agreed to continue in the role, is well on the way to completing fixtures for 2022.
David Andow, our Treasurer, completes the line up of executive members for 2021. David’s experience and wise counsel assists the smooth running of the executive as well as keeping a close eye on our balances. David has agreed to continue as our Treasurer.
I am looking forward to meeting up with my colleague past Captains and express my thanks to the committee and the membership for their continued support. Enjoy your golf in 2021”
- Election of Officers for 2021/2022
The President-Elect proposed that the following officers were appointed en-bloc and this was agreed unanimously by those present.
President – Bob Acland
Vice President – Roy Parmiter
Captain – Stephen Butterfield
Captain Elect- Rob Ford
Honorary Secretary – John Beer
Honorary Fixtures Secretary – Iain Robertson
Honorary Treasurer – David Andow
Co-opted Member– David Bate
- Any Other Business
(a) Secretary confirmed that the Selection Committee would meet on Wednesday 7th April and members informed of their selections as soon as possible thereafter.
(b) John Chillington hoped that we would be able to reconnect the Sussex and Hampshire Fixtures as soon as possible.
(c) Mike Usher-Clark mentioned that, at the 50th Annual Dinner, we were presented with a memorial trophy from the R&A which is to be passed from President to President.
Meeting closed 7.50 pm