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President Chris signs off with a positive message

By Geoff Garnett

CHRIS Moore enjoyed his year as Cheshire president and he outlined the highlights of his year and future ideas for the county before signing off.

“It has been a considerable pleasure to represent Cheshire as president in the shadow of many distinguished predecessors,” he said.

“I made many new friends in Cheshire and in the other counties and visited some very fine golf clubs, including a number of Affiliated Clubs in Cheshire which I had been able to visit for the first time.

“I would like to place on record the gratitude of the Cheshire Board and players to all those host clubs who so generously allowed the Union to stage its events and matches.

“I would also like to pay tributeto all the executives and volunteers who help and support county activities as referees, course raters, marshalls or supporters.”

Sandiway Golf Club was singled out for their continued support in hosting county matches and also allowing the Union to hold many of its board and committee meetings there.

“On the golfing front, our top players achieved some excellent individual performances, offset by a couple of disappointing team performances.

“Sadly, it seemed that we were not as adept at matchplay as some of our opponents and we need to give more focus to that in the coming year.

“The talented Lewis George (Delamere Forest) won the individual competition at the EG Northern Counties ‘Big Six’ where Cheshire finished just behind the winners, Yorkshire and Josh McMahon (Wallasey) was a convincing Strokeplay Champion at Wallasey whilst Mike Harrington (Prestbury) won the Matchplay event at Wychwood Park.

“On the Boys front, at the start of the season, Cheshire suffered from the non-availability of some of our leading players but after that, things got a lot better.

“In the Boys Big 6 at Pleasington, we took second place to a strong Yorkshire side which was avenged at the end of the season when our young team pulled off a remarkable victory over them at Reddish Vale for the first time in 11 years.

“This bodes well and afew of those youngsters will be challenging for first team places this year.

“In the Mixed Age matches (U16 and U14) Cheshire achieved a 100% record with wins against North Wales, Shropshire & Herefordshire, Lancashire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire.

“Supporting and encouraging junior golf is absolutely vital for our clubs, the county and golf in general so this is the appropriate opportunity to thank both the Society of Manchester and District Golf Captains and the Society of Liverpool Golf Captains for their continued generosity in giving an annual financial grant to further the development of junior golf.

“Our senior squad continued to enjoy their golf and to win more matches than they lost.  They have been led very ably by David Heaton for the last nine years but Dave has chosen to stand down for 2019.

“Martyn Grimley (Ringway) hung on to become the Senior Strokeplay Champion at Bromborough while David Nelson (Northenden) won the Matchplay again.

“The programme of Cheshire Life Members meetings continued to be very popular with rank and file golfers in the county and this represented an important part of the county offer to our golfers over and above the matches and championships for the more elite golfers.

“The CUGC was formed in 1920 so 2020 marks our Centenary and the planning group is well underway with events across the county as well as a souvenir publication to record our past and present history.

“I would also like to report on some of the things that have been under consideration by the board or its committees during the year.

“In performance terms, we are looking at how best to improve our matchplay results through streamlining our preparation, by reintroducing a player led Code of Conduct, by optimising foursome pairings, bringing in new, younger talent from the junior ranks and fostering team spirit.

“Our Articles of Association have been examined to modernise them and make them robust to modern day corporate demands. Associated with this has been an on-going wider review of what is now called Governance – in other words how the county is structured to fulfil its responsibilities.

“A successful county board should reflect the key functions and meet the business requirements and their role can be summarised as: Oversight – ensuring rules, articles, strategy, finance and risk are rigorously managed – this is the board’s fiduciary responsibility. Insight – knowledge of all aspects of golf as well as media, communications, external policies and laws eg social media and GDPR. Foresight – looking ahead, bringing new ideas forward and planning for the future

“Deliberations on how best to do this are progressing well and, subject to board agreement later this year, it is hoped to bring the conclusions to the voting members at the next AGM.

“Another area which is becoming more urgent is the general decline in male club membership – from some 40,000 10 years ago to just 27,000 last year.

“These numbers show a worrying reduction in committed support to county and England Golf and the union could do much more to support our clubs by explaining much more openly what we do, how we do it and how we can offer playing, coaching and organisational support across the board and engage far better with our constituent clubs to make the union understood, relevant and helpful in all aspects of membership, handicapping, course assessment, and playing the game.

“This year will see the resurrection of the Club Delegate system whereby a nominated club member – other than the secretary or general manager – is the accepted channel between club and county.

“Finally, I would like to emphasise that everybody should take great pride in the county, in what is being done to support talented golfers at junior, elite and senior levels, to give club golfers competitive playing opportunities across a range of courses and to give organisational, handicapping, rules, and course assessment advice.

“Circumstances may well be changing faster than our ability to respond to them, but we must all share the responsibility to nurture, protect and improve the game we love.”

Chris’s successor as president for 2019 is Andrew Henshall of Wilmslow Golf Club.

Photo caption: Chris Moore, left, congratulates Andrew Henshall on his appointment as president for 2019.