Welcome To Lurgan Golf Club
Captain’s Day 2016
I am delighted to be hosting the 2016 Captain’s Day competition.
This is always a highlight in the golfing calendar and I am sure this year will be no exception.
The course is in fantastic condition, so here’s hoping for low scores over the weekend.
Good luck to everyone.
Captains Days from Yesteryear
Here is a step back in time to some Captains’ Days with faces which are still familiar.
25 Years Ago – 1991
Billy Turkington and William McCleary.
Billy was also President of the Club in 1985-86, one of the few to be President before becoming Captain. William recalls his victory clearly and reports that it was best ever round of golf.
26 Years Ago – 1990
David Dowey, Sean McClean and Timmy Cummins
Many remember this for the drama of the day as it unfolded. Timmy played early and shot a 64 setting a new course record, a record which still stands today. David was the last player to tee off and dramatically shot a 69 off 10 to take the Captain’s Prize.
28 Years Ago – 1988
Ed Richardson and Harry Hoy
Eddie recalls how he felt he had thrown it away when he hit his tee shot at 10 (now the 1st hole) out of bounds, but he is not called Mr Cool for nothing.
37 Years Ago – 1979
Winston Hutchison and Jim McCann
Jim teed off late as he had been working all day, but when he opened with an eagle 2 (now the 10th hole) he got the feeling this was going to be his day.
45 Years Ago – 1971
Paddy Meehan and Larry Magee
This was the first Captain’s Day played over our present 18 hole course. After discussion over many years it was agreed at a Special General Meeting in 1964 to begin preparations to extend the course from 9 to 18 holes and the current layout was officially opened in August 1970. Larry was heavily involved in this development. Paddy went on to become Captain in 2011 and 2012.
49 Years Ago – 1965
J N Foster’s Captain’s Day was won by Roy Hanna Snr with a gross 79 off 16. Was this the birth of the Hanna golfing dynasty?
Captain’s Day 50 Years Ago – 1966
Gordon Irwin won Tom Hobbs’ Captain’s Day with a gross 83 off 20. Gordon went on to become Captain in 1980.
Captain’s Day 100 Years Ago 1916
In 1916 events were greatly affected by the First World War and there are many references as to how this impacted upon life at the club, which was 23 years old at that time. The course was not in its present location but sited a few miles out of the town at Gracehall, and the Club Captain was Mr C Johnston.
Extracts from the annual report from Council give indications as to just how much the war dominated life at the time in so many ways.
‘The greens have been kept in good order but owing to a large number of horses intended for army purposes having been grazed on the Links, the fairways were at times considerably cut up and damaged.’
‘Owing to the war, as was reasonably to be expected, our revenue receipts are considerably lower than the previous year.’ (It is noted in the financial report that the club’s credit balance was £4 less than the previous year.)
‘Our Roll of Honour is a creditable one, as out of a membership of 85 no less than 22, or over 25%, have joined the Colours.’ (Membership for the year is recorded as being 85 men, and 53 ladies and juveniles.)
‘All members who have joined the Army are exempt from subscription for the duration of the war.’
‘Our annual open meeting was not held this year but several competitions were organised in aid of various patriotic charities from which a sum of over £12 was raised.’
In the Chairman’s address he noted with pleasure that 22 members ‘had given their services to the country’ and ‘trusted that others would follow their patriotic example’. He remarked that it was the duty of those too old to enlist ‘to see that the course was maintained in a state of efficiency and free from encumbrance’ until the return of all the members.
Captain’s Prize – Competition not finished
There is no record of why the Captain’s Prize Competition was not completed. This is likely to be because in those days it would appear there would not have been a Captain’s Day as we know it. Later records show that a prize put up by the Captain was competed for over an extended period on a match play basis, a bit like the current Club Cup. We can only assume that due to the war it would have been difficult to complete matches as so many members were away. In 1930, for example, there were 2 sections, Class A for handicaps 16 and under, and Class B for 17 and above. One week was given for each match play round and the winners of each section played off in the final for the Captain’s Prize, a match usually refereed by the Captain.
Captain’s Day 76 Years Ago
In 1940 the club was once more operating under wartime conditions and this is reflected in reports from the AGM. Mr T B Johnston and Mr C W Neill occupied the positions of President and Captain respectively. Mr Neill was in fact Captain for 8 successive years from 1938 until 1945. There appears to be a somewhat despondent note struck in the Secretary’s, Mr H C Malcolm, report to Council, not just because of the war but because of falling membership and income.
‘… there was a disappointing loss of £132 … we have been carrying on under war conditions which have affected our finances considerably.’
‘Assisting in the war effort has naturally been uppermost in the minds of everyone and special social efforts, hitherto made for the benefit of the Club, have for some time been devoted to different war organisations.’
‘Under the prevailing conditions our Open Meeting and most of our annual club competitions were not held.’
‘We are glad to see that members of H M Forces are making use of the Links and appreciate the facilities offered to them.’
‘There has been a considerable falling off in play generally, many of our most enthusiastic members being otherwise occupied.’
‘The problem facing Lurgan Golf Club, like other clubs, is serious. Quite a few of the members are serving in His Majesty’s Forces and during the war will not be called to pay their annual subscriptions, meaning a loss in revenue.’
There are reports of a small number of competitions that year but none of a Captain’s Day or Captain’s Prize. Perhaps the war, many absentees, the fact that it was the Captain’s third of 8 successive years in office may have contributed to there being no such event that year.
Longest Serving Captains
In the early days of the club there would not have been the same number of members as now, so being Captain on more than one occasion was not uncommon.
The first Captain of the club was H G McGeagh who was one of 9 founding members to meet in September, 1893, with the intention of forming a golf club. He is considered to have been the main driving force of the project and was appointed Captain, a position he held on four occasions, 1893, 1894, 1895 and 1899.
Major J W Greer, Sir J Johnston and W F B Baird each held it on three occasions, while Courtney Johnston and T B Johnston each held it on five.
The longest serving Captain was C W Neill who held the position for eight consecutive years from 1938 until 1945.
The names of many of these captains live on in some of the trophies we still compete for annually.
Fred McKinley won the Captain’s Prize in 1929 when Mr A Minnis was Captain. Fred went on to become the club professional from 1939 until 1968 and his son, Herbie, won R T Kerr’s prize in 1963. This is the only instance of the son of a serving professional at the club winning a Captain’s Day. Gareth Hanna has been playing exceptionally this year so maybe he could complete a double on Saturday!
Brothers who have won Captain’s Days
S Mulvenna, B McConville, M McConville, H Baxter
Barrai won S Mulvenna’s Captain’s Day in 1998
Martin won H Baxter’s Day in 1989
(Their father, Seamer, won the Malcolm Trophy in 1982. This has nothing to do with Captain’s Day, but he does like to tell everyone now and again.)
Fathers & Sons
On Trevor Turnbull’s Captain’s Day in 2004, Gordon Best came first, brother Paul second, and father Roy took the Seniors’ Prize.
Who has won more than one Captains Day?
In the very early days there may have been some who won more than one Captain’s Day as there were not so many members. Some of the records from those days are occasionally sketchy and there were years where no such competition took place. In at least the last 60 years, and almost certainly longer, only three players have accomplished this.
Harold Cousins won it in 1968 and again in 1973 during the captaincies of B McCorry and J Jordan respectively.
David Dowey won it in 1990 when S McClean was Captain, and during Andy Cunningham’s captaincy in 2006.
Aidan Thornbury won it in 2009 and 2011 when Peter Devlin and Paddy Meehan were the respective captains.