Backworth Golf Club

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The Annual Dinner and Presentation night will be held at the hall on the 23rd November. Tickets are priced at £15.00 and the dress code is lounge suit or blazer.  Hopefully this function will be well attended by the members. The Presentation Nights have been held since the club was created in 1937 and I believe it would be tragic should it be decided to cease holding the dinner in its present form.

Congratulations to Steve Anderton for winning the Newcastle & District Golf League's Players' Championship. Matched against the best players in the league it was a tremendous achievement to come out on top

I have tried to attach the Child Protection Policy to "Links"  however it fails to open. There is now a copy in the locker room and if anyone needs a copy please let me know -be aware that is 51 pages long. If anyone can advise me how to link it to the website please let me know.  I suspect it is just too big.

The new look locker rooms have now been made available to members and I am sure that all will agree that these improvements are a huge step forward There remains a number of members who have not yet indicated if they wish to retain their lockers.  The welfare now has a "waiting list" for lockers and if current users do not claim there lockers by the end of the month( September) they will be re-allocated.

At last years AGM members asked if the minutes could be published prior to the meeting. These can now be found on the links page.  Officers' reports will be published prior to the meeting. as promised. Copies will also be made displayed in the bar and in the locker room.

I have decided not to seek re-election to the post of club secretary at the next Annual General Meeting.  My reasons are many, however first and foremost I feel I have carried out the duties for long enough and it is time to pass on the baton.  I am not sure what will happen to this website other than I will not be carrying on. My requests for feed back has largely been ignored so it may not be worth continuing with the site   The club may wish to replace it with their own website however that will be their decision.  I would like to wish the club every success in the future and wish the incoming Captain -Jack Reay - and his Vice Captain - Trevor Gascoigne - all the best for their year of office

Alan Wilkinson

Following comments received on Invitation day I have been requested to ensure members that following discussions with NUGC it has been decided that it is not practicable to carry on pursuing changes to the SSS. The chairman wishes to make it clear that his preference is to provide a course best suited to the needs of all members rather than tailoring the course to meet the requirements of Category One members.

All Golf Clubs have been advised by England Golf to introduce a local rule to control the use of Distance Measurement Devices. Please find below the proposed draft rule for Backworth.

USE OF DISTANCE MEASURING DEVICES (DMD’s)

In all Club Competitions, a player may obtain distance information by using a device that measures distance only. If, during a stipulated round, a player uses a distance measuring device that is designed to gauge or measure other conditions that might affect his play (e.g. gradient, wind speed, temperature etc.), the player is in breach of Rule 14-3, for which the penalty is disqualification, regardless of whether any such additional function is actually used.

MOBILE PHONES

 a) Used as a distance-measuring device (DMD)  

 If you use a mobile phone as a DMD, the phone must not have any other feature or application that can gauge or measure other conditions that might affect your play e.g. gradient, wind speed or temperature. If the phone has such a capability, irrespective of whether it is used, you will be disqualified. For example, if your phone has a non-conforming feature or application such as a thermometer, spirit level, compass or anemometer (wind speed gauge), you will be disqualified, regardless of whether any such feature or application is actually used. b) Making/sending or receiving calls and texts Mobile phones may not be used on the course (including on practice days) by players or caddies for making/ sending or receiving calls or texts except in cases of emergency.

Copies of the full England Golf recommendations can be obtained from the secretary.

Work on Phase 1 of the renovation of the locker rooms will commence on 2nd July. Whilst the work is being carried out (a period of approx. 4 weeks) members will not be allowed to access the Men's Locker Rooms or toilets . It is essential that all  lockers are completely emptied by  close of play on Wednesday 27th June. Any lockers not emptied by 28th June will be emptied by staff however the Welfare will not accept responsibility for any equipment lost during this operation. If the temporary loss of their locker causes a member a  major problem they should bring their concerns to John Robinson or myself as soon as possible.

The Handicap Secretary is currently considering how best to arrange access to the competition computer during this  period and members will be advised as soon as a definite decision has been made.

Arrangements have been made to ensure that the Hall is open from 7:00 am to allow members access to the toilets etc.  Members are reminded however that golf shoes must not be worn in the Hall.

As members will be aware the new 8th tee box has recently been brought into play. I'm sure that everyone will appreciate the excellent work done by the greenstaff  in preparing this tee box.  I am reliably informed that a huge divot was taken out on the first day it was in operation this action was , however, observed by Paul Forster. If it was you     BE AFRAID..  BE VERY AFRAID!!!!!

It has been noticed that there are a number of divot marks on the winter greens. Members are reminded that when your ball lies on ANY green that is not in play, the ball must be moved to the nearest point of relief (NO PENALTY). The penalty for playing off the "wrong green is either 2 strokes or loss of the hole (See rule 25-3)

Congratulations to Captain Jeff Beadling and his team for progressing to the 3rd Round of the Mail on Sunday Classic. In a close match with Bedlingtonshire the game was decided at the 19th green with a win secured by Dale Walker.

Most members will be familiar with the North East Golfer magazine which is distributed monthly in the locker room. Members may be interested to know that this magazine can also be obtained on the 'net at www.northeastgolfer.co.uk. Another excellent site (with a very similar name is the North East Golf site. This site is published by Dean Bailey and is certainly well worth a look.

Owing to increases in the affiliation fees that the club have to pay to the NUGC and England Golf as well as increases in other operating costs the  committee were required take action to ensure that the club remained a viable concern. It was therefore unanimously agreed to increase the competition levy to £2.00. We are aware that this is a 100% increase, however it was imperative that positive action was taken. We hope members understand the reason for this difficult decision.

The Men's Section held their Annual General Meeting on 17th February. A proposal to change the format of the Club Championship was discussed and passed by a majority of 22 votes to 3 with 7 abstentions. The Reports and the proposals can be accessed from the Links Page

On Tuesday 10th January 2012  Professor Raj Kalaria was a guest at the Ladies; Section  New Year meal and was  presented with a cheque for £751-05 for Alzheimer's Research UK which the chosen charity of last year's Captain - Anne Worthington.  Money was raised from a raffle at the Men's' AGM, a clothes auction held in March, a donation from the line dancing club, as well as personal donations and a collecting tin in the bar.  We also managed to raise a reasonable sum from our "voluntary" 10 pence for each bunker landed in on competition days ( this  could have been doubled  had it also been 10 pence for each shot to get out!!) £500 will pay for over a week of world wide research so the  total was very satisfying. Prof Kalaria has invited the ladies to view the research facilities on the General Hospital site and the present Captain, Ann Blakey has decided to carry on with this charity for the coming year.

The Welfare have recently appointed Craig Fetherston as the attached professional to the club. Craig has over 17 years experience as a golf professional is available to give lessons on all aspects of the game. Craig can be contacted on his mobile telephone 0787 587 1333

Changes to the Rules of Golf 2012-15

Whilst there are a number of changes this year (17 new decisions, 22 revised, 90 or so decisions revised due to rule changes and minor decisions, and 30 withdrawn decisions) to the Rule Book and the Decision Book, I just wanted to highlight 3 rules changes that the R&A think are significant.

Time of Starting

This rule is amended to provide that the penalty for starting late, but within 5 minutes of the starting time stipulated, is reduced from DQ to 2 stroke penalty or loss of the first hole in match play.  Previously this penalty reduction could be only introduced as a condition of competition.

 Rule 13-4.  Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions

Exception 2 to rule 13-4 is amended to permit a player to smooth sand and soil in a hazard at any time, including before playing from that hazard, provided it is for the sole purpose of caring for the course and Rule 13-2 is not breached.

 This means, in effect, that if a player was retrieving the rake from a bunker at the far end away from his ball, he can smooth over the footprints created, or any others, provided it does not take place near his ball or on the line of his intended stroke. 

Similarly, if the player inadvertently removed some loose impediments whilst doing this tidying up, there would be no penalty.  However if the loose impediments, say pine cones were inadvertently moved from his line of play, or indeed the tidying up, enabling the player, for instance, a further option of shot, he would still be in breach of rule 13-2. 

This would also apply to a ball lying outside the bunker.  If a player tidied up the bunker that was on his line of play rule 13-2 would be breached.

So a certain element of common sense has to apply, but the purpose is to speed up play, and not have silly penalties when no advantage had been gained.  The idea of “testing the sand” has been largely disregarded as a result.

 Rule 18-2b.  Ball moving after address.

A new exception is added that exonerates the player from penalty if his ball moves after it has been addressed when it is known or virtually certain that he did not cause the ball to move.  For example, if it is a gust of wind that moves the ball after it has been addressed, there is no penalty and the ball is played from its new position.

This is to get over some unfortunate rulings that have been made when the player has grounded the club on the putting green.  The ball has moved which had nothing to do with the player and the rules official had no option but to penalise.  This does not, however, give carte blanche to players, whose ball has moved, to escape penalty just because it is windy.  It is very important that it is ascertained that the player did not cause the ball to move.

See below “addressing the ball”.

 Definitions – Addressing the Ball

The Definition is amended so that a player has addressed the ball simply by grounding the club immediately in front or behind the ball, regardless of whether or not he has taken his stance.  Therefore, in addition, the Rules generally no longer provide for a player addressing the ball in a hazard.

 There had been an incident in The Open at Birkdale when a player took his stance to the ball on a slope in a bunker.  A thoughtful spectator reported the ball might have moved.  Prior to 2012 he was deemed to have addressed the ball as soon as his feet were in place, so would have been penalised 2 strokes, but there was deemed to be corroboratory evidence that it had moved, and he escaped penalty.