Sociable Golf Association (SGA)
As we head into our 21st year of society golf, we take a look at the season ahead and give insight to what we are about with events, members and the all-important schedule.
2017 saw us celebrate 20 years and in a fitting end our founder member, Phil Wing, took the coveted Tour Championship at a course introduced to us by Midlands Golfer, Cleobury Mortimer. Although Phil’s win also secured the 2017 Order Of Merit, he was quickly toppled by Andrew Allsopp following a superb round at Lickey Hills securing the season ending Charity Classic and a reminisce nod to the Mytime Municipal courses, where we all learnt to play.
The SGA Tour pays homage to the Professional Tours with an event schedule that reads as if it was the PGA Tour. By no means an accident, the Committee wanted to create a Tour feel but appreciates our heritage of enjoying the banter with a great group of friends. From Karl Harris (2.1) to Graham Smith (36.0), the tour welcomes all abilities and as you can see from the 36.0 handicap, adapts to give everyone a fighting chance. Many members’ only pick up a golf club as they tee off at our monthly events, which run from March to October. However, the others are serious enough to maybe hit a few balls down the range, the night before!
Order of Merit leader, Andrew Allsopp (below), joined back in 2016 and since then has seen his handicap cut by 10 shots! Merited effort as he has used the Society to compete and measure his game, along with many lessons and hours of practice. Can he hold onto the ranking title for 2018!
The Masters, The Open and the Tour Championship are classified Majors and warrant trophies and bragging rights for the season. We even have a Masters jacket, albeit with a few fag burns and permanent creases and the green has now faded to a bluish shade! And half the society struggle to make it fit, awards ceremonies are quite a site!
The Open provides an opportunity to visit unknown courses and last year we made the trip to Penn GC (below), a fantastic track that played havoc with its links style course. A few members decided to putt from 100 yards in as the greens were like lightning.
The Tour Championship is our flagship event with Race To….. (scheduled course), with season long points gained for high finishes. This year we visit Whitefields for a two-day event and the leaders will play out the last group on the final day, making a nervous but exciting season finale.
To support the schedule, we host 3 to 4 monthly stableford with many firm favourite venues including Redditch, Bromsgrove, Shirley and Stratford Oaks. We revisit most years and not just for the fantastic courses, but the friendliness and welcoming nature of all the staff involved. We would recommend any of these clubs for a society event.
Old Tom Morris Cup, Captains Cup, Victory Cup and The Players are part of this schedule.
Our year ending Charity Classic is held in October and with weather hit and miss plays a fun parting shot to the season and raises some cash for the choice of Charity for that year.
Presidents Cup (Sharks vs Bears)
Our very own Ryder Cup that originally derived from the youngies challenging the oldies to a team event. Over the years the youngies have turned into oldies and the oldies, well, buggies are now a necessity!! However, great weekend of golf where Celtic Manor and the Belfry have played a big part of this events history. But having said that, we now return to Puckrup Hall every year and with incredible Golfbreaks deals, this event is booked up well in advance.
36 holes split into 4 sets of 9 with doubles on the Sunday and singles on the Monday. 9 hole matches present an exciting fast paced feel and provides the teams to mix up the singles on the final day. Points are balanced to ensure that there are no run-away leaders on the first day and it works! Most matches are won or lost on the 8th or 9th, and 2014 at the Belfry the two team Captain’s headed down the last hole all with the overall event all square and the overall result resting on their match. Alan Smith (Bears) lost his composure and Phil Wing (Sharks) stepped up and landed the winning point!
In addition to the planned and quite often an organisers nightmare, we run several season long events including the aforementioned Order Of Merit, the coveted Match Play Championship and other events as follows:
The Order Of Merit is a 10 event rolling ranking event that captures the previous season’s Tour Championship and the full season ahead. The calculation although complicated is simple in terms of understanding, play your best at every event ensuring your average score is as high as possible. Throwing an event or even a club, will see you penalised in the long run in and in some cases, could lead losing the number 1 spot by a single putt or chip in! And yes its happened.
The Matchplay Championship is a knockout event with the draw made at the first event of the season. The final pairing are provided with caddies and a special day out.
Betterball Championship and Skins League are additional events that utilise the monthly events scoring to calculate the league tables or knockout rounds. Members’ just rock up and the committee do the rest and if the lads ever read the website, they should know if they’ve took home a trophy at the season end.
2018 Season – Schedule
April The Masters Redditch
May Captains Cup TBC
June The Open Championship Wollaton Park
July President Cup Puckrup Hall
August Victory Cup TBC
September Tour Championship Whitefields
October Charity Classic TBC
As with previous years and in anticipation, we look forward to a new season and with the recent improved form of Tiger Woods, the reason many of us took up golf, we can only see the Tour improving and continuing to provide many, many fond memories and a few that will continue to haunt us.
There are obviously many, many fond and enjoyable memories from the last 21 years and in most cases we have improved our personal handicaps. We continue to raise money for great causes; our fund-raising exceeds £4,000 including a memorable six a side football competition a few years back.
We continue to organise and enjoy Society life and many friendships have been built through our membership. Our venture to the Midlands Golfer Magazine Society Championships in 2016 was a fantastic experience and provided the opportunity to make new society friends. We look forward to the next twenty years.
SGA Tour – Sociable Golf Association – Established 1997
Contact: Phil Wing 07486 900843 (Work – 07917 098299)
Founder Members – Phil Wing & Alan Smith
If you are a local Midlands golf society and would like to make your own contribution to On the Tee, both in the magazine and online, please contact us by e-mailing Phil at firstname.lastname@example.org or registering your details via our Society Registration Form