At the 2010 AGM the Committee had been asked to “reconsider the venue for the Emerton-Court Final and any alternative should the Club chosen themselves reach the Final.” This request had followed a complaint about the selection of Dainton Park as the venue in 2010 when Churston reached the Final.
The Committee “unanimously agreed that the Final should remain at Churston (it was Gordon Emerton-Court’s Club) and that Dainton Park and Saunton be considered as the alternative venues should Churston reach the Final.” This would of course depend on their being able to offer acceptable financial terms.
The Western Morning news rules were changed again to have all three Club members playing together (a la President’s Salver). This was an experiment to see if it would increase numbers entering and was a great success.
38 out of our 40 Clubs entered the Emerton-Court competition.
Entry fees for our competitions went up to £18 and there was a distinct improvement in numbers playing with all our events being oversubscribed.
Sadly, we lost Hele Park as one of our member Clubs when they decided to no longer have a members Club at the course. However, we welcomed Boringdon Park to membership and thus retained our 40 Clubs.
When Harry Keen – our first Secretary – was made the Associations first Life Member at the 1975 AGM he was also presented with an engraved Salver and it was reported that the Keen family wished to re-present it to the DMVGA. We gratefully accepted and decided to make it the Trophy for the best individual Stableford score in the President’s Salver and had the reverse suitably engraved for that purpose.
We increased our annual donation to the County Juniors to £200 and as usual it was presented by our Captain at the Dinner following the match against them.
Our Captain – Ian Drawbridge – took over responsibility for maintaining the DMVGA Website.
Much to our Treasurer’s delight numbers applying to play in our events were significantly higher and in the President’s Salver we got additional tee times enabling a field of 180 to play – certainly the highest number for many years. However, there was not the same support for the matches against the County Juniors and Kent and we were forced to take a reduced team of only 11 players to Kent.
We again had an entry of 38 Clubs in the Emerton-Court competition.
History was created at Saunton on Wednesday 31st July when our Captain – Roy Hancocks – led us to our first ever win in the annual match against the County Juniors by 4 ½ to 3 ½. Clearly Roy’s name will never be forgotten!!! He was even more delighted than normal therefore to present them with our donation of £200 and a further personal donation.
Following a proposal at the 2012 AGM we introduced “ONE4ALL” Vouchers for our cash prizes (replacing M&S Vouchers).
The continuation of the annual match against Kent was discussed when they came to Devon for the match at Churston. We both wish to see this match continue (remember that Gordon Emerton-Court had proposed it after he had created the AKVG) and it was decided to look to book a hotel for all our players for the visit to Kent in 2014 and to sound out members well in advance to ensure we could field a team of 16.
A suggestion that we consider matches against Somerset and Dorset Veterans was turned down since it was felt our current schedule was more than adequate.
It was decided to return to awarding “glassware” as the individual prizes to both teams in the Emerton-Court Final (we had been issuing medals in recent years).
Numbers applying to play in our events were again sufficient to require balloting at all bar the final meeting. A sign of the continuing strength and popularity of our Association.
Our Treasurer extended our range of DMVGA merchandise with the addition of DMVGA logo Umbrellas and Golf Bag Towels.
Bob Keating retiring Secretary and past Captain/President was made a Life Member of the DMVGA and was presented with an engraved Salver.
The role of Assistant Secretary was reintroduced as an Officer and therefore a member of the Executive Committee. We returned to M&S Vouchers for our cash prizes.
The calendar year began as usual with the President’s Trophy at Bigbury where Peter Lawrence, our President, made sure his Club gave us their usual welcome and hospitality. This was followed our two Matches against Cornwall. Sadly we lost both home and away with an overall deficit of 13-9. Both games were played in an excellent spirit and we look forward to hopefully bring back the Trophy to Devon next year. A point to note here is that Cornwall seem to have fallen out with Launceston and next year intend to take us further into the County to play at the The Point G.C. at Polzeath. We await the new challenge but hope that it does not deter those from north of our County from requesting to play. The Spring meeting, held at Dainton Park, was a very successful day with a full field heavily oversubscribed.
The Western Morning News Trophy at Sidmouth came next at the beginning of July. Although numbers were down on those anticipated, Sidmouth G.C. were excellent hosts and a most enjoyable day was had by all those who tried to beat the Course par 3s.
Due to the good foresight of our Secretary, Bob Small, a decision was made to circulate all Clubs early in the year to find out what sort of interest there was to travel to Kent for our bi-annual visit. This action paid dividends because this time we were oversubscribed and were able to take a full complement of 16 players. Our friendly Match against Tudor Park was lost 31/2- 41/2 and our Match against Kent Vets 3-5. Redlibbets G.C. was considered by most of us to be in poor condition for this Match and it is proposed to request an alternative venue in two years time when we next visit them. We are also looking to switch the two fixtures around to avoid the rush to leave our Kent colleagues
and not be able to socialise with them. Nevertheless a great time was had by all those who travelled despite the nightmare return journey caused by long delays on the M25.
Our Summer Meeting was held at the Captain’s Club, Exeter G & CC, where a full field of 162 players took part and which we had sufficient requests for us to field nearly 200 players. A great day where the participants obviously enjoyed themselves as Exeter Seniors Section were able to fill the last 15 places in their Open Invitation at the beginning of September by people wishing to return and play the course as soon as possible.
I am delighted to report that our Match against the Juniors was oversubscribed. A great day and it was a pleasure to play against them and watch their youthful skills. Even though Handicap Allowances and Tee differentials once again into play we sadly lost the Match 51/2-21/2. It is a delight to challenge our future Devon Champions. The venue for the Millennium Trophy was Holsworthy and I am pleased that they have overcome their recent difficulties. They made us most welcome and again a great day was had by all. Our final Open meeting was the Autumn Meeting, this year held at Yelverton. A very different challenge but a full field applied to play and once again enjoyed their usual hospitality.
The Emerton Court Final this year was on Monday 6th October between Padbrook Park and Staddon Heights, who were finally the winners.
This year saw excellent turn outs in all competitions; the first meeting of the year, the prestigious President’s Salver held at Churston, was won by Honiton whilst the Millennium Trophy held at Elfordleigh was won by Teign Valley; the Western Morning News Trophy, at Tavistock, was won by Wrangaton. The Spring Meeting at Libbaton was marred by very poor weather, a relatively unusual occurrence, but all other meetings were held in good weather with excellent attendance levels.
Captain Peter Stuckey from Tiverton took the DMVGA team to play Cornwall at the Point at Polzeath, (previously known as Roserrow) and came away with a victory which was followed by further victory at Tavistock, the Salver returning to Devon after 5 years. It remains to be seen if the Cornish match will remain at The Point or return to Launceston. The Captain’s good fortune continued in the match against Kent at Churston with a 3 point victory; a great day’s golf against our amiable colleagues from Kent. The Captain’s luck did not extend to the match against the Devon County Junior squad where we were well beaten by 7 – 1. The final match against Devon Lady Veterans was won for the first time in 3 years.
Away from the course, a sub-committee was set up to look at all areas relating to the future – this included items such as handicapping; use of consistent logo across all items – clothing; headed paper, ties etc.; golf for all – including competitions for higher age groups – above 75 and/or 80. Also competitions for lower handicappers.
The new website, built by Adrian Granville-Smith, progresses and it is hoped that, in the future, a full service will be offered by this medium with all event details and application forms being available. This year we adopted the updated Logo and also the new tie, both being designed and produced by Adrian.
The Hon. Treasurer kept the accounts in good order with little change from the 2014 costs and income.
Finally, and sadly, there was no DMVGA Emerton-Court final this year, with Elfordleigh winning by default. This was due to Yelverton being disqualified from playing in the final by fielding an ineligible player in their side when playing, and beating, Tiverton in the semi-final.
It was with sadness we learned of the death of Bryan Blaber; + Bryan was DMVGA Captain in 2007 and President in 2010 and was on the Executive Committee at the time of his passing.
Once again there were excellent numbers applying to compete in all competitions. The problem of ‘balloting out’ was once again to the fore with criticism of the way in which this was done; a review of this procedure was to be carried out. Earlier tee off times, from 07.40, and later ones to 15.40 have helped to manage the larger fields, although this can only be true of the earlier meetings in the season where day-light hours permit.
President Peter Anglis hosted the first event of the year, The President’s Salver, at Tavistock; an excellent day was had by all with Bovey Castle being the winners. Other team events were won by:
Western Morning News – Exminster
Millennium Trophy – Portmore
The prestigious DMVGA Emerton-Court Trophy was won by Staddon Heights for the second occasion in 3 years.
A new competition for the over 75’s was introduced at the Spring Meeting for the Arthur Dymond Trophy. Arthur Dymond was DMVGA Captain in 1977.
Captain Stuart MacKerrell from Dainton Park was successful in defending the Salver against Cornwall, albeit with a tie, but none the less the Salver remains with us. The venue in Cornwall, the Point, led to a strong reaction from the DMVGA team who are now requesting a return to Launceston or another venue nearer the county border. The trip to Kent was unsuccessful in terms of silverware but was enjoyed by all with the match against Kent being played at Bearsted and the match versus Weald of Kent at their course; this was also where the hotel was located and was most suitable. Such was the enjoyment that provisional arrangements were put in hand for a similar itinerary in 2018. The Captain led the DMVGA team to an unexpected victory against the Devon Juniors and a very good day was experienced watching some very good youngsters; this was only the second time in 28 years that victory has been claimed! The final match of the season against the Devon Lady Vets at Woodbury Park was won by the Ladies.
2016 was memorable as being the year when the Spring, Summer and Autumn Meetings became Qualifying competitions; this in no way seemed to affect the numbers of players applying to compete. With the help of DCGU the necessary administration was completed via England Golf; the host clubs, Saunton, Dainton Park and Honiton were very supportive and helpful in providing the necessary computer back up which is required for dissemination of results around the county. Looking to the future it is clear that the Association will have to have its own computer facilities.
The sub-committee spent a good deal of time working on a number new projects including revising the Association’s logo in order that it can be applied to all paperwork, clothing and equipment. A new tie is also being designed. A Rep’s ‘Job Description’ was constructed to help new Reps into their posts. It was agreed that Churston, already the DMVGA official home, would also allow all trophies won by the Association to be kept in the trophy cabinet there. For the first time a Committee Christmas Lunch was organised at Stover – with great success; a lunch that it is hoped will become a regular event in the calendar. With Bryan Blaber’s passing a new Member was elected onto the Committee – David Grieve from Tiverton. David’s particular interest and skill is in the Rules of the Game and he is a most welcome addition to the Committee. The DMVGA Emerton-Court rules were subject to a complete ‘overhaul’; this was not to introduce new rules but to clarify and simplify existing rules.
Sadly another club had to close down – Willingcott Valley in North Devon; it is always a loss when such an occurrence happens. Happily most members at Wilingcott have found new homes at other local clubs. Whilst we may have lost one club another has joined our ranks – Sparkwell. We welcome them to our fold and hope they enjoy their time with us.
The accounts still remain in rude health, thanks mainly due to the Hon Treasurer, David Bromage.
The DMVGA is moving into new territory; IT is undoubtedly going to be tomorrow’s salvation – or will it be tomorrow’s problem?! Time will tell.
As the 2017 season gathered momentum, membership of the Association hovered between 1,500 and 1,600; this is now a fairly regular number and continues to confirm the huge success that the DMVGA engenders throughout the County.
Mike Kirkham, the Association’s President, hosted the President’s Salver at Exeter Golf & Country Club where a huge field of 61 teams – 183 players – took part; all enjoyed a superb day in sunny conditions and where Exeter themselves ran out the winners with an excellent 113 points.
The Western Morning News at Holsworthy was very well supported by 50 teams. Unfortunately, the road almost directly out-side the club was being dug up for the emergency repair of varying services there-under; this caused substantial difficulties with many, if not most, players having to find alternative approaches to the course via country lanes which caused many to be late. However, all was well, with everybody understanding the vagaries of emergency services. Exeter, again, took the honours on count back from Stover.
The Millennium Trophy at Boringdon Park suffered no such difficulties and saw Portmore triumph on count back from Downes Crediton. This was the first occasion that Boringdon Park had hosted an event and the staff and the club itself were most helpful to ensure a very satisfactory day.
The DMVGA Emerton-Court Trophy was won by Dartmouth over Royal North Devon in an excellent final played in the very best traditions of the game and which was not decided until the last putt of the last game on the 18th green.
The Spring, Summer and Autumn Meetings, being Qualifiers, were all successful with very large fields. The Spring Meeting at Thurlestone was, in fact, postponed from its original date because of extreme weather conditions and was played in October. The Association, through the good offices of Adrian Granville-Smith, now has its own computer and touch screen and these were in good use – some members finding the touch-screen a bit of a trial!
In terms of matches, Captain Chris Henderson from Tavistock did not have a particularly successful year with losses to Cornwall, Kent at Churston and the County Juniors. The match versus the Juniors was postponed till October because of poor weather but at least Captain Chris had the satisfaction of being in one of only two pairings who won their games; Hon. Secretary Bob Small being in the other winning pair. Following this defeat Chris Henderson suggested that in future years the DMVGA team might be filled with many more lower handicap players – thus giving the County Juniors a better match. The match against the Devon Lady Vets at Okehampton at last provided a much needed victory.
Captain Chris Henderson tried to visit and play at as many member clubs during the year as time would permit. Being very keen to promote more golfing opportunities, he suggested the concept of a Winter Series – there having never been any DMVGA winter golf prior to this point. A trial event was held at Tavistock in March which was successful and so, with Bob Small, a full series was planned for the 2017/18 winter with events at Holsworthy and Tavistock before Christmas, and Thurlestone and Honiton in early spring. With day-light hours being a factor the size of the fields were kept down to a maximum of 30 teams of 3; in fact 28 clubs entered with 2 clubs, East Devon and Yelverton, putting in 2 teams. Clubs decide which of their members play in which event; the series is a Stableford competition with 2 scores of the 3 to count and played off yellow tees. There are prizes, M&S vouchers, for the first three teams in each of the 4 events and one overall prize for the club which amasses the most Stableford points over the whole series. The venture was declared to be very successful by all who competed over the winter months – particularly Boringdon Park who were the first winners of the Winter Series. Such is their support for the event that they presented a trophy for perpetual competition.
Away from the course it became very clear that a post of Hon. IT Officer should be created, such is the importance of IT – Adrian Granville-Smith from Saunton being voted into that post.
The work of the Executive Committee and the Sub-Committee continued apace; David Bromage, the Hon. Treasurer, again reported a satisfactory year but, ever mindful of increasing costs, recommended an increase in the membership fee from £2.50 to £3.00 which was adopted for 2018. Match fees were increased from £12.00 to £15.00 increasing to a maximum of £20.00 in 2023.
Bob Small, the Hon. Secretary since 2014, was due to stand down at the AGM this year but, circumstances happening immediately before the AGM, meant that he would remain in post for another year; Chris Henderson volunteered to help with the running of the major competitions during 2018.
Following a very wet early spring, the later spring and summer were sunny and hot. Our golf was, for the most part, played in glorious weather; the golf matched the summer weather – well, mostly anyway!
The President’s Salver, hosted by President Peter Stuckey, was held at Tiverton with Portmore triumphing from Saunton. The Western Morning News at Bigbury was won by Wrangaton on count back from Honiton with Portmore featuring again just one point further back; Captain Harvie Taylor won the WMN over 70 trophy with 44 points. Great Torrington triumphed in The Millennium Trophy at Ilfracombe, with Wrangaton just one point back and the host club in third position. The DMVGA Emerton-Court Trophy final featured Churston and Saunton; the final was, thus, played on a neutral course, Dainton Park, who provided us with an excellent facility at short notice. Churston triumphed in a very good, close match played in the very best of spirit. Saunton can still hold their heads up high though having won the Trophy on a mighty nine occasions followed by East Devon on five occasions; now Churston share third spot with Tiverton who have both won the Trophy on 4 occasions.
Captain Harvie Taylor from Stover started his year with a very good victory over Cornwall; with a one point lead gained in the way leg, the DMVGA team took full advantage of the friendly conditions at Tavistock and easily beat our Cornish colleagues.
The bi-annual trip to Kent was considered to be a great success on all fronts; on arrival at the hotel on the first evening we were immediately thrust into football mania with England taking on Columbia in the World Cup quarter finals – and winning on a penalty shoot-out! Excitement, and possibly one drink too many, led to one of the more humorous happenings when, in trying to turn the lights on in the hotel passageway, Vice President Stuart MacKerrell managed to set off the fire alarm in that part of the hotel which then had to be evacuated! Captain Harvie was not to let this particular episode go unnoticed! And so to the golf; in 10 visits to the ‘Garden County’, since the inception of the match in 1999, only once before have we managed to come away with the silverware, so Captain Harvie was very well pleased with the team’s 6-2 victory, a superlative effort by all concerned. And then, to cap it all off, on the final morning we won the match against the Weald of Kent. We look forward to welcoming our Kentish friends to Churston next year.
Because of a clash of dates the match against the County Juniors was postponed until October and we were well beaten despite putting out a number of lower handicap players; the match against the Devon Lady Veteran Golfers was cancelled because of poor weather and no suitable date could be found during the autumn for a rescheduled match.
Past Captain Chris Henderson had, at the last AGM, offered to help out in running the events and was as good as his word; very good turn outs of 170 or more in all the events was his reward. President Peter Stuckey winning the Mike Kelly Cup at the Autumn Meeting at Staddon Heights
The Winter Series, now into its second year, again proved to be very popular with 28 clubs entered and an additional two teams from East Devon and Saunton. Downes Crediton, The Warren, Yelverton and Libbaton hosted the events and the ultimate winners of the Winter Series Trophy were Libbaton.’econd year, again proved to be very popular with 28 clubs entered and an additional two teams from East Devon and Saunton. Downes Crediton, The Warren, Yelverton and Libbaton hosted the events and the ultimate winners of the Winter Series Trophy were Libbaton.
Because of forecasted bad weather for the day of the Captain’s Invite and AGM at Stover, the day was postponed till mid-November – and a very successful day it was with benign weather conditions, although the autumnal leaves lying on the course did cause difficulties for some players!
The Sub-Committee continued its work under the chairmanship of Peter Stuckey; it was, however, agreed at the end of the year that the Sub-Committee would stand down and a review of the function of the Executive Committee would take place in the winter months with recommendations going to the 2019 AGM.
The three most notable points emanating from the 2018 AGM were firstly that, other than changes to the Rules of Golf by the R&A, there would be a 3 year moratorium on any changes to DMVGA Emerton-Court rules – there having been so much time spent on this in the past two years. Secondly that the entry fee for events would increase by £2.00 to £22.00 and, thirdly, that events would now be open to players with handicaps of up to 36. The DMVGA Emerton-Court Trophy maximum handicap to remain at 28.
As his last act in his term as President, Peter Stuckey presented both The Hon. Treasurer, David Bromage, and the Hon. Secretary, Bob Small, with DMVGA engraved glass goblets and Lifetime Memberships of the Association. David has served the Association for 9 years and is now looking to stand down whilst Bob Small stepped down after 5 very busy years in post; Bob was succeeded by Les Hartley from Tiverton.
Peter Stuckey completed his term as President and will be sadly missed. His contribution to the DMVGA has been significant; a very active Officer from the outset, he helped steer the Association through turbulent, changing times. His wise chairmanship of the Sub-Committee over three years helped change the face of the Association and has overseen it coming into the IT age. He leaves a stronger, more modern and very active Association and now looks forward to taking on the role of Vets Captain at Tiverton.
Early in 2019 consistent rain affected many Devon golf courses causing closures in many cases. However, The Winter Series continued with the two matches at Yelverton 25th March and Libbaton 17th April. The overall winners of the four-match competition were the teams of Libbaton Golf Club. The Presidents Salver was held at Dainton Golf Club, helped by this year’s President, Stuart MacKerrell. It was heavily oversubscribed and reduced to two teams of three for each club. The early teams caught a lot of rain and the later teams benefited. The Salver was won by Wrangaton, 2nd Oakhampton, 3rd Stover, 4th Exeter. Our annual match against Cornwall was organized by this year’s Captain, Phil Keen, playing at Launceston on Monday 13th May, with a win for Devon. The following Monday at Tavistock Golf Club, Devon lost 6-5 but with the good score at Launceston, Devon held on to the Trophy with a 12 ½ to 9 ½ win.
The Spring Meeting at Oakhampton, 11th June, was delayed by rain for a while but did improve for 126 members to enjoy the day. The Bert Wills Trophy was won by G. Sanford of Stadddon Heights (2nd year running) ’ The Presidents Tray’, C.Woodward of Boringdon Park; The over 75’s, Adrian Grenville-Smith, 30 points, of Saunton.
‘The Western Morning News’, 27th June, at ‘Teign Valley’ had 46 three-man teams taking part on a fine day. The winning team on this difficult course was Ilfracombe with 106 points, 2ndHoniton 103 points, 3rd Teign Valley 103 points. The ‘Presidents Putter’ was won by Paul Haydon of Libbaton Golf Club. On 3rd July, the DMVGA Annual Match against ‘Kent Veteran Golfers’ took place at Churston Golf Club and Devon managed to retain the Trophy with a 6-2 win. We now hold both Salvers, annually contested by Cornwall and Kent Golf Societies.
The Summer Meeting at East Devon Golf Club on 18th July was very well organized, and enjoyed by the 171 players. Many finding the course difficult with only 40 cards above 30 points. The winner of the Jubilee Claret Jug was Barry Devetta of East Devon with 38 points; The Gordon Moore Trophy for the over 70’s was won by Cliff Partridge of Exeter with 38 points. H/cap 0-10, Ian Williams Ilfracombe; H/cap 11-18, David White, Ilfracombe; H/cap 19-36 John Norrish, Dainton Park.
The Devon Juniors Annual match, due to be played on 22nd July at East Devon was cancelled due to the untimely passing of the organizer, Graham Moore.
Portmore Golf Club on a lovely hot sunny day, 1st August, was the 2019 venue for The Millennium Trophy, a 3 category handicap competition. Only 27 clubs of the 39 clubs registered with the DMVGA entered, and ‘Portmore’ was in very good condition with some good scoring. The winners were Royal North Devon with 113 points, 2nd Portmore with 98 points. The other highlight of the day was a ‘hole in one’ for Steve Briggs from Ivybridge on the Par 3, 8th hole.
The Autumn Meeting at Dartmouth was held on a fine day and very well organized by the Dartmouth members although it is a difficult and strenuous course. Many players hire buggies. The winner of The Mike Kelly Cup was Rodney Doran of Wrangaton with 40 points. The Harrer & Motts Trophy 70+ was won by Anthony Lewis, 16 of Stover with 38 points. 2nd David Darch 17, of Portmore with 37 points, 3rd John Pullman 7, of East Devon with 36 points. Handicaps 1-18, John Cowley, 6 of Churston with 39 points. Handicaps 19-36, John Cousins, 23 of Dartmouth with 39 points.
The annual match against ‘The Lady Vets’ was held at Stover Golf Club on 19th Sept. and was a most enjoyable day for all the players, as usual.
2019 was the first year of the new Secretary, Les Hartley, taking over from Bob Small who had organized the DMVGA, as Secretary, for the past five years. It is a very busy position with plenty of challenges and his first year was completed very successfully.
It was agreed at the Committee Meeting of 17th July that the committee should be restructured. The composition of The Executive Committee was agreed as follows; Officers: President, Captain, Vice-Captain, Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Secretary, IT Officer, Rules Officer. It was further agreed that up to six members could be elected in addition to the above, to organize ‘The Emerton-Court’ (Malcolm Tester); The’ Clothing portfolio’, (Brian Gliddon). Malcolm Tester would handle ‘Membership’, Phil Keen would handle all the Trophies. Charles Wray was Co-opted for one year, and the Assistant Secretary would take on ‘The Winter Series’ and other duties agreed between the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary.
The above were reflected in the revised rules of ‘The Association’ and agreed at the 2019 A.G.M. where ‘ Bob Small’ was elected ‘ President of the DMVGA’ for the next three years.
The Final match of ‘The Emerton-Court’ competition for 2019 was very keenly played between Staddon-Heights and Dainton Park at Churston Golf Club on 16th Oct after one cancellation due to very wet conditions. This was the first time Dainton Park had reached the final and after a very well contested match it was won on the final green on the final par putt by Staddon-Heights! The entire day was played in very good spirits by both teams and congratulations are due to Staddon-Heights.
‘The Captains Invitation’ at East Devon Golf Club on 17th Oct, a dry fine day, which celebrated the winners of the Cups, Trophies and Salvers for 2019, were presented by the Captain, Phil Keen.
For the golf played on the day itself; Andy Hood of Royal North Devon, and Tony Lewis of Stover won The Frank Dance Salvers with 46 points. Second, Peter Barraud of Wrangaton and Brian Thompson of Axecliff with 45 points. Third, Nigel Taylor of Elfordleigh and Martin Main of Libbaton with 42 points.
2020 will be a year which will linger long in everyone’s mind. It should have been remembered as the 50th Anniversary of the DMVGA but there were dire events on the horizon which were to transform society let alone golf.
In strictly chronological order we were first hit by very bad weather. The Winter Series event, which should have been held at Staddon Heights in October was postponed twice but was eventually played on 26th February, perversely, on a beautiful day. But after that the weather became increasingly poor to bad; storm upon storm came upon us from the west; courses became water-logged; trolley bans were in place on many courses and some holes became unplayable. Some courses were closed for the duration. The financial implications for clubs were obvious for all to see.
In early 2020 we all became aware of the Coronavirus in the town of Wuhan in China – little did we realise the impact this would have upon the world. Gradually the Coronavirus , or Covid-19 to give it it’s proper name, spread across the world with thousands dying. The pandemic duly arrived in the UK and, whilst golf did continue for a little while with club-houses closed, eventually the ‘Lock-down’ came into place on the week of 22nd March. All clubs and courses were closed for an initial 3 weeks; this was then extended by a further 3 weeks. So all of this meant that:-
Not since 2001, when there was a very bad outbreak of Foot & Mouth, have fixtures been cancelled for reasons other than bad weather. That year the Spring Meeting was cancelled as was the match against Cornwall – both events should have been held at Tavistock. Several course were closed and the DMVGA Emerton-Court Trophy was played, where necessary, on neutral courses.
Returning to the present day, the initial difficult financial situation for clubs because of the bad weather was now exacerbated by the lock-down – only time will tell what damage has been wrought by events.
Ironically, almost as soon as the lock-down was brought into place, the weather changed. From the dire, continual rain we were now treated to weeks of long sunny days with warmth and hardly a cloud in the sky. This was a real blessing as people could go for their hour’s exercise in beautiful conditions. It also gave the courses time to recover from the terrible winter and green-keepers were able to work on their courses without any normal restrictions. So long did the good weather last that green-keepers and gardeners alike were pleading for some rain! April 2020 was the sunniest April on record and the courses all began to look in really great condition when some light rain did fall towards the end of the month.
On May 10th, by which time over 30,000 people had died, the Prime Minister, only recently recovered from the virus himself, announced a partial reduction in the lock down. This included the opening of golf courses, but not club-houses, for use by two balls only. The partial reduction in the lock-down did not however bring sufficient relief for golf competitions. Accordingly the following DMVGA competitions were cancelled:-
The unseasonably hot weather continued for the whole of May; only in early June did cooler weather and a little rain help the courses. By now 3 and 4 balls were allowed but still no use of club-houses.
A new feature of the DMVGA committee meetings was that they were held by ‘Zoom’; to the older, less IT educated folk, this was a relatively new feature where we could all see each other on lap top/computer screens and carry on with our meetings in that way. Not ideal by a long chalk but, non the less, a useful method of communication.
Whilst the pandemic eased in the UK there were still 44,000 Covid-19 related deaths and so it was agreed to cancel:-
In late September, with a second ‘spike’ now evident in the UK and deaths past 45,000, it was agreed to hold the AGM ‘on-line’. This meant that all club Reps were circulated with the agenda and a list of proposals upon which they had to vote and return the papers to the Secretary; this was done with minimum fuss. Now, with Devon being one of the least affected counties, it was agreed to hold the previously cancelled new competition, The Anniversary Trophy, at Saunton in October; this went ahead in almost gale force winds and some rain but players were , in general, very happy to be playing again. The 2020/21 Winter Series also got under way at Stover. It was felt that with sufficient care and the events, of course, being held outside there would be little chance of possible infection spreading. Catering was also tightly controlled. Then on November 1st, with infection rates and deaths rising throughout the country another 4 week lock-down was announced. The 2nd Winter Series event due to take place at Tavistock was postponed till late February.
It was agreed that the 2021 fixtures should, so far as possible, be the same as in 2020 in order that host clubs should benefit from our use of their facilities.
Both the Captain, Adrian Granville-Smith, and Secretary, Les Hartley, worked long and hard to keep the wheels of the Association turning in very difficult circumstances.
At the time of writing this year’s history there have been no reports of any deaths within the DMVGA membership for which we are very thankful.