John Stephens (JS) is a life member at Walsall Golf Club and has been a member in excess of 50 years, he was club Captain in 1972 and President in 2005. In his early golfing days John was a member of Bloxwich Golf Club and played off around 3.
As such John (JS) played with others that were also decent level players including John Bough (JB) and Alan Smith who all represented Staffordshire county.
On Sunday afternoons John (JS) recalls the elite players would get together at Bloxwich and play 6 holes together. in 1953 Alan Smith moved to Walsall Golf Club and his Brother John Smith went to Little Aston. John (JS) moved to Walsall soon afterwards, whilst John Bough stayed at Bloxwich, so the elite were somewhat fragmented although remained close friends.
A few years after the split, JS and JB both purchased old Baffy golf clubs and they discussed mounting them together on a board and playing for them as a bit of inter club rivalry between Walsall and Bloxwich. So around 1968, the ‘Baffy trophy’ match was born, where a group of between 10 – 12 decent level golfers from each club would play in a 18 hole scratch singles matchplay on a Saturday afternoon to decide who had the better golfer.
The Baffy has been held annually between the two clubs since and has evolved into a full weekend competition. The Saturday is made up of 18 hole foursomes in the morning, followed by 18 hole fourballs in the afternoon. Then on Sunday, with all to play for it’s individual matchplay for the all important point.
Bloxwich had a new plinth built at the clubhouse specifically to house the Baffy when they won it. In 2019 Neil Daniel, 9 times Walsall club champion and Baffy veteran, purchased two fluffy toys Tigger and Eeyore, so that the space wouldn’t be empty when Walsall had possession of the trophy! This soon became part of the Baffy legacy, that the losers were presented with Tigger and Eeyore and had to display them in the absence of the trophy.
The scratch competition by default, has always been a men only affair, not as a specific rule but because the better golfers tended to be male. This year and with a welcome break of tradition Bloxwich fielded the first ever lady to play in the Baffy. Standing just 5’3” tall, playing off 2.5 handicap, Rachel Birch is no pushover. She certainly proved a worthy choice. Rachel has been a member at Bloxwich for 15 years, since she was 8 years old, she said she was asked by the scratch team captain if she wanted to play, being one of the clubs lower handicap golfers
Rachel thoroughly enjoyed the experience and enjoyed the competition format, she states that she was proud of winning a point against the men on tees she’s not used to. Yes, she played off the white tees to some very unforgiving pin positions.
Well done all that played in this year’s Baffy weekend (pictured top) and specifically well done to Rachel for championing women’s golf.