WELCOME TO ISLE OF MAN GOLF
The Northern Counties Men’s Qualifying Championship (known as The Big 6) was played at Seascale, Cumbria on 9 August and many thanks to County Captain, Geoff Skillicorn, for reporting back from the event.
Seascale Golf Club has been in existence since 1893, and is a traditional seaside links course, with heather, gorse, firm fairways, and a fair degree of bracken and long wiry rough to catch the errant shot. Nestled next to the Sellafield Nuclear Plant, the course is anything but flat and, at 6450 yards off the blue tees, the par of 71 is a good test for anyone. On both the practice day and match day, the wind was quite strong and, in golfing terms, would be a two-club wind.
The four par 3s were all playing into the wind and, with three of them over 200 yards, they were indeed key in scoring. In total 10 holes played into wind, 2 playing with a left to right wind and only 6 downwind holes, including two of the three par 5s.
Five of our team - Tom Harris, Tom Gandy, Alex McAuley, Jon Corke and Daryl Callister - had played in the men’s team previously and Rob Noon, although playing at junior level, had not experienced the Big 6 before. To put it a little more into perspective, our team have a combined handicap of +4 (2 players at +2 and the remainder off scratch). By comparison, Cheshire’s combined handicap was +19 including a player who holds a handicap of +6. Over two rounds, our players would have to play their very best golf to compete well.
Our scoring was very good in parts, and for our team was as follows: Tom Gandy 141, Rob Noon 150, Tom Harris 154, Daryl Callister 156, Alex McAuley 160, Jon Corke 164. Total 925. The winners, Northumberland, were 869, some 56 shots better, or 4.5 shots better per man per round. Not much when you put it like that, but enough to make a difference.
In terms of competing, we are in a much better position than a few years ago due to players entering, and achieving success, in more UK events throughout the year. The answer to improvement lies in getting out there and being comfortable on tougher courses, against tougher competition. We must just keep challenging ourselves and, whilst we finished at the foot of the table, the experience can only be of benefit with much learnt by each player, and by the team overall. (Link for all scores here)
Kevin Moore was our reserve, but is also taking more of a managerial role with the team, and his support, guidance and good advice was much appreciated by all. Both Steve Keegan and Gary Jakeman were also there to support everyone and to ensure the team were well equipped and prepared for all eventualities.
Our players are a team, and they display all those good attributes, such as support, camaraderie and good attitude, and should always be proud of those qualities which carry far beyond golf. It has been a pleasure and an honour to act as County Captain for such a committed team and squad, and they will all go forward to more success into the future, by continuing to challenge themselves to achieve more.
L-R: Kevin Moore, Rob Noon, Alex McAuley, Daryl Callister, Tom Gandy, Jon Corke, Tom Harris.