Alumni Golf Day 2013

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“When I reached this place the grass was smooth,

The wind was delicate, the wit well timed and the pictures straight on the wall,

The sun shone brightly, the clock ticked,

It was all very tidy”

Close your eyes, add a bunch of our Alumni golfers and Royal Liverpool Golf Club to the above and you are getting a real feel for the sixth running of this ever popular event. The wit was not consistently well timed but the sun shone.

We attracted a record number of 59 golfers who were later joined by seven other Alumni at the sumptuous dinner which was well supported by some Spanish Rioja and Chilean Tabali Viognier.

 Royal Liverpool was founded in 1869 and is the second oldest seaside links in England. Since 1897 it has staged 11 Open Championships. It played host to the Ladies Open in “challenging” conditions last September and in July 2014 will see the Open return as Tiger will try to defend the title he won on the sunburnt links of 2006. The University of Liverpool Golf Club has played at RLGC since early 1964. It remains a great honour for our students to host opposing teams at this course and to receive five day memberships.

Although the wind was more delicate than mighty, scoring has proven progressively more difficult over the years. In 2011 a total of 18 players shot a score in the 70’s, in 2012 that number dropped to 11 and this year we had eight players shooting scores in the 70’s. This is undoubtedly testament to the subtle changes made to the course over the last few years in readiness for the Open in 2014.

The scratch prize was played over the longer green tee course. First place went to Adrian Mitchell of the mid- 1980’s team whose 77 saw him finish one shot ahead of six players. His team which also included Robert Stevens and Ian Brown took the team prize with a 2 under total to remind all present again of their student glory days between 1984 and 1987. Special mention goes to Phil Bird whose front nine of 35 was a day’s best for either nine. The students were well represented by 5th year medical student and ex-captain Joshua Clements who came third in the scratch event and won the prizes for the nearest the pin on the 11th hole and the longest drive on the 14th hole. The grass was indeed smooth.

This year we created a stableford event off the shorter but still tough yellow tees for those who wished to avoid the green monster. That event was won by University staff guest Gregor Govan. Runner-up was Michael Brabner from the early 1970’s team, and a long standing RLGC member, who also bagged the nearest the pin prize on the 13th hole. Another University staff guest, Pete Sampara, won the longest drive on the 14th hole.

The Dinner took place in the Club Room on the first floor which provides outstanding views across the Dee to North Wales. The pictures of the former Captains were indeed straight on the wall. Dinner completed a wonderful day.  

The event concluded with a number of the now traditional speeches. Gary Walker (Honorary AU President) toasted the Royal Liverpool club and reminded all that 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the University club’s permanent move to Royal Liverpool. Gary thanked RLGC for their continued support of University golf and Rick Taylor (Captain of Royal Liverpool) responded and offered a toast to the University club. Rick had done his research on the individual golf successes of our Alumni and spoke warmly of the relationship between both clubs. Dermot Staunton of the early 1980’s team talked fondly of the lifelong friendships, challenges and fun that University golf had provided for him. He toasted the students present and drew a warm round of applause for them all. The University Captain, Harry Chandler, rounded things off with an overview of a successful season for the student team which had culminated in promotion and thanked Dermot and others for their continuing interest in the student club

We are fortunate to be so well supported by all the staff at Royal Liverpool. Their unfailing professionalism in the lead up to the day and throughout the day enhanced the whole experience for all those present. The greenkeeper and his staff presented the links in immaculate condition. The food and service under the Housemanager Shaun Herbert, was of the usual highest class. The office staff and the professional and his assistants always provide outstanding customer service and the support of the club starter Sean ensured everybody got off in good time and with a smile on their face.

This Day would not have developed in the way it has done without the generosity of a number of our Alumni. We are particularly grateful to Steve Kelbrick whose continuous support has been of inestimable importance to this ever growing event.

The clock is ticking as the countdown to our hopefully biggest event to date has begun. In 2014 the University Golf Club will be celebrating 50 years at Royal Liverpool a matter of months before the world’s best golfers follow in their footsteps.

Robert Graves was right. The 2013 Alumni Golf Day was all very tidy.


Article by Stuart A Wade

Sports Development Manager and Alumni Golf Day Organiser