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My year as captain is over – so what did I learn?

In his latest From the Clubhouse column, Steve Carroll looks back over his 12 months as captain and wonders if he would do it again
 

When a previous captain once turned up to the annual drive-in bedecked in all the ceremonial garb of his year in office – to some mocking from those around – I learned a powerful lesson.

When your time is up, let it go.

The clubcrested mid-layer and polo shirts that were plastered onto my back during the past year have been packed away into a drawer. They will never see the light of day again.

My stint as skipper of Sandburn Hall has come to an end. I roused myself for one final task, shepherding through the AGM, before passing on the baton to the new man.

I’ll now content myself with trying to win board competitions – rather than frantically working out what to say, and trying not to forget the people you need to thank, in the speeches afterwards.

I took on the job because I wanted to put something back into the club, which has been a virtual constant of my life over more than 12 years.

Even when work and my wedding got in the way – and I was forced into a brief hiatus – I felt it wouldn’t be long before I was back in the welcoming arms of the clubhouse.

Of course, there have been ups and downs over the last 12 months.

from the clubhouse

I knew I’d be the bridge between the membership and committee. Perhaps I didn’t quite appreciate what that would actually mean until I got out of my car one day to find a queue of disgruntled members unhappy at a decision and needing somewhere to vent.

But I’ve also gone from shaking at the thought of talking in front of 100 people to being able to deliver a missive off-pat.

I’ve also got to know a lot more of the members, having poked my head up from my regular group.

I appreciate the warmth I received from all of them during my tenure. It’s been a hugely rewarding experience – one I’ll never forget.

Now it’s time to let others have a go.

Out and about

from the clubhouse

One of the main tasks of a captain is raising money for their chosen charity. Having collected up all the tins and counted all the pennies, I have some final totals.

Bloodwise are going to be better off to the tune of £2,062.94. We raised £1,597.94 in the club and £495 online on JustGiving when I completed my 100 holes in a day challenge last August.

Bloodwise take on vital research in trying to cure blood cancers and, having seen at first hand the ordeal of suffering and recovering from leukaemia, they perform hugely important work.

I am grateful to all the members at Sandburn Hall, and the NCG readers who supported me in a whole range of charitable ventures and made donations over the course of the last 12 months.

There were many other people, and companies, who made my year of captaincy such a success.

I would like to thank FootJoy, Titleist, Cobra and Skechers, along with Moortown and Headingley golf clubs, and BMW Cooper York, for donating prizes that helped bring a touch of quality to some special events that we held across the year.

My month in golf

From the clubhouse

I’ve never hit as many balls, rolled as many putts or had as many lessons. Never have I worked so hard, in spite of the weather, ahead of the start of a new season.

So how did my year begin? With two .1s of course.

It was a tale of two 8s at the opening hole for my first two qualifiers. At times, it felt like I had never held a club in my life.

It can only get better. It nearly did when this approach at the 17th at Malton & Norton brushed the hole. It’s a two that gives me hope.

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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