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winter golf competitions

The cold weather zombies are filling our clubs – it’s time we killed them off

You might have put your clubs away for the winter, but dark creatures have taken your place. The Angry Club Golfer says it's time we got to grips with them
 

I hate winter. I can just about get myself through to Christmas – fortified by the prospect of a pile of presents and a week where it’s fine to gorge yourself on alcohol without judgmental idiots tutting that you’re imminently going to require a new liver.

But once we’re into January, and it’s still dark nights and a round requires the kind of layering that makes even the skinniest look like the Michelin Man, I’m more likely to phone a crisis line than get my clubs out of the garage.

My mood isn’t helped by the kind of tournament fare that sweeps through the weeks of cold and rain and, specifically, some of the people who play in them.

For while lots of golfers put their clubs away at the first sign of the mercury dropping, there are others that slide out of the shadows – think The Walking Dead – to terrorise the hardy fools that remain.

Not for them the sun on their backs, fine conditions, and the rigours of a competition season.

You won’t see these wretched creatures too often when their handicap mark is at stake. Come the end of qualifiers, though, they’re practically living in the car park.

I know it’s a shortened course. I know there are temporary greens. Scores are supposed to be lower, I get that. Even so, why is it that you can’t get anywhere near the prizes unless you’re shooting 12-under in a betterball?

And, look, it just happens to be the same team – AGAIN – that have broken the 50 point barrier and walked off with the vouchers.

It’s a non-qualifier and it’s easy money, with little threat of any comeback.

A couple of years ago, England Golf wielded the sword of truth and brought in a rule that forced players to enter away scores to their home club in a bid to stop the bandits.

That did little to stop the home birds, however, and the governing body also asked clubs to look out for low scores in swindles.

But have you been at any clubs that have cut a player in the annual review for cleaning up the winter roll-up cash? Does it happen? I’d really like to know.

Can’t we slash those repeated cold weather fourball winners and hack the mark of the individual that’s mopping up the Winter League in a record score?

We’d protect the field, by giving serial winners a general play reduction when it becomes obvious they’re using the off-season schedule as a second source of income.

Then we could all have a little more confidence that it’s worth handing over a few quid in the cold and maybe the poor weather zombies would crawl back to the holes.

Is the Angry Club Golfer right or would you prefer it was he who disappeared into a dark spot? Have your say in the comments or tweet him. Alternatively, why not take a look at all of his other moans

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.

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