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.

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Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap.

Handicap: 10.9

Alex Perry

Editor

Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

Handicap: 14

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