fbpx
club captain

Is it still an honour to be a club captain?

A golfer’s proudest moment or too much hassle? Steve Carroll and Alex Perry consider whether captaincy still matters

 

The names on the board are history – a roll of honour that tells a story about a club’s past. I love rocking up to a course that’s been around for a while and scanning the list to see if I can recognise anyone who’s held a club’s top job.

That list of captains represents a moment in time. But is the lustre of the job fading a bit in the modern age?

Anecdotally, it’s getting harder to find willing volunteers at my home club and when I ask around on my travels I get a similar story – whether it be a private members’ or proprietary outfit.

So is it still an honour to be asked to be a club captain, or is it an ancient tradition that’s had its day? I’ve gone head-to-head with my colleague Alex Perry on the issue…

‘Becoming club captain is still the ultimate privilege you can receive as a golfer’

I’m not one of those people you’ll see donning an emblazoned polo shirt from their term in office years down the line but, make no mistake, being asked to be captain of my club was – and remains – a tremendous honour, writes Steve Carroll.

Becoming club captain is still the ultimate privilege you can receive as a golfer and the chance to have represented my club on a wider stage is not one I’ll forget in a hurry.

Yes, it took a bit of time and a bit of money [though not as big an investment as some might face at other establishments].

I had to quickly get over an aversion to public speaking, as well as the embarrassment of topping my drive-in 97 yards. I’m still ribbed about that one.

But the memories of that year, the money raised for charity, and a memorable Captain’s Weekend, continue to be warm. Any stresses I had are all long forgotten.

It remains a huge source of pride to pop into the clubhouse and see my name on the honour board – knowing it might still be there long after I’ve gone.

It was a fabulous 12 months and I’d have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone.

‘In this day and age it all feels a bit naff’

Someone, at some point in history, convinced every golfer that being your club’s captain is the highest honour you can achieve, writes Alex Perry.

Just think of all that lovely extra work you get to do – for free! – all for the prestige and tradition of being top dog for a year. Genius. 

Honour, prestige, tradition. All lovely words we associate with our beautiful game, but also in danger of driving a barrier between golf clubs and newcomers.

Like with most traditions in golf, in this day and age it all feels a bit naff. Oh you’ve got a space in the car park with a sign? Bully for you, sir! Did you ever have a problem finding room for your Citreon minivan when you were just one of us mere mortals? 

And, no, I’m not going to address you as “Mr Captain”. 

If private and prestigious clubs want to crack on with their traditions of knee-length socks, jackets and ties in the clubhouse, and club captains, then let them. Us commoners will never get near those clubs.    

But you run a muni in Wolverhampton that costs £10 a round. Your club is more important than the Wentworths and the Queenwoods of the world when it comes to growing our game. 

You don’t need a club captain. You just need to make golf as enjoyable as it can be.

Where do you stand on the debate?

A privilege or an archaic institution that needs pensioning off? Let us know your views in the comments, or tweet us.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

Latest Posts

Features

Henni Koyack: ‘Golf club membership has to evolve’

By

Read full article about Henni Koyack: ‘Golf club membership has to evolve’
mental health awareness week

Features

Golf can do wonders for your mental health – I should know

By

Read full article about Golf can do wonders for your mental health – I should know

Club

Long-time volunteer Michael Rees presented with England Golf award

By

Read full article about Long-time volunteer Michael Rees presented with England Golf award
golf club depreciation

Features

This is why your golf club lives from hand to mouth

By

Read full article about This is why your golf club lives from hand to mouth

Features

It may be acceptable to turn up to a competition without your golf shoes or your putter on one occasion; then it’s just a mistake, a one-off, but not for me.

By  Hat Richardson 
Read full article about It may be acceptable to turn up to a competition without your golf shoes or your putter on one occasion; then it’s just a mistake, a one-off, but not for me.
captain's drive-in

Features

‘I know how that captain may feel – I botched my drive-in’

By

Read full article about ‘I know how that captain may feel – I botched my drive-in’
golf club finance

Features

Where does your club get their cash – and how do they spend it?

By

Read full article about Where does your club get their cash – and how do they spend it?

Features

A cheaper pint – but how much does it cost your club?

By

Read full article about A cheaper pint – but how much does it cost your club?

Features

When Is International Men’s Day? Are you serious?

By

Read full article about When Is International Men’s Day? Are you serious?