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The Centenary Captain's complete guide to (almost) all you need to know about your club. Gordon House, Captain during our Centenary Year, writes a personal introduction to all new members. Dear New Member, Welcome to the club, and I hope you have a long and enjoyable association with us. When I joined I remember thinking that it would have been terribly useful to have had a few rules, regulations, and obscure customs explained to me. So what follows are, I hope, some helpful observations about how he club runs, and how you can get the most out of your membership.

COMPETITIONS ....................................................................................................................................... 2 I’ve won! What happens now? ................................................................................................................. 2 Do I win a trophy? ..................................................................................................................................... 2 Knock-Out Competitions ........................................................................................................................... 3 Summer and Winter Fourballs .................................................................................................................. 3 The Club Championship ............................................................................................................................. 3 Club Matches ............................................................................................................................................. 4 I want to play in competitions but I don’t have a handicap – how do I get one? ..................................... 4 I’m a new 5-day member, are there competitions that I can enter? ........................................................ 4 I’m a Lady Member. What competitions can I enter? .............................................................................. 4 I’m a high handicapper. Is there a competition for players like me? ....................................................... 4

GENERAL CLUB MATTERS ..................................................................................................................... 4 Door Code.................................................................................................................................................. 4 Sharing the Course with London Scottish Golf Club.................................................................................. 5 Care on the Course .................................................................................................................................... 5 Booking Tee Times..................................................................................................................................... 5 Eating and Drinking ................................................................................................................................... 5 Dress Code ................................................................................................................................................. 6 The WAGGS ............................................................................................................................................... 6 The Wednesday and Thursday Swindles ................................................................................................... 6 The Club Website ...................................................................................................................................... 7 Snooker...................................................................................................................................................... 7 Lockers ....................................................................................................................................................... 7 The Professional ........................................................................................................................................ 7 The Annual General Meeting .................................................................................................................... 7 Social Events .............................................................................................................................................. 8 Club Committees ....................................................................................................................................... 8 How can I raise something about the Club / make a suggestion? ............................................................ 8


COMPETITIONS We have a competition over the two days of almost every week-end. Generally these are either Stableford or Strokeplay competitions, and entry into them couldn’t be easier. If you have an official handicap, you simply go along to the Pro’s shop on the day of the competition, and pay the competition entry fee (currently £6) – which assumes you also wish to be part of the Pro’s “two-ball” sweep, whereby you win a share of prize-money if you get a 2 on any hole. You then need to play with a member who has an official handicap who will “mark your card”, and at the end of the competition he/she tots up your score, signs the card in the “Marker’s” signature box, while you sign the “Player’s signature”. (You do the opposite for the member if he/she is also playing in the competition) You then pop your scorecard into the clearly identified brown Competition box in the club hallway, and wait until the following Tuesday or Wednesday when the competition results will be posted on the club noticeboard, and any resulting adjustment to your handicap made alongside the result. This new handicap becomes your official handicap for the next competition in which you take part. There are also some very enjoyable competitions for pairs (e.g. The Christmas Pairs Competition) and a recent innovation is our very popular new competition for a team of four players. All details can be obtained from the Professional’s Shop. If you need a partner to play with, or a team to enter, Jeff will do his very best to find you one.

I’ve won! What happens now? If you’re lucky enough to have won a competition, or come runner-up, you will see at the bottom of the results sheet the sum of the money that you are entitled to claim from Emma, our Club Manager, at the bar. (This is a percentage of the money collected from entry fees). Allow a few days to elapse before you claim this money. Jeff Jukes, our professional, the Golf Manager, gives Emma a note of who’s won what, and you simply go the bar, and ask Emma to find your winning chitty, which you then sign in exchange for cash which can be loaded on to your bar card or collected. If you have scored a “2” on any hole in a competition, you will – if you have entered - have a share of the “two-ball sweep”. The amount you have won will be posted on the results sheet underneath the competition winner details. Once more (again allowing a few days to elapse) you report to the Professional’s shop, you ask for a credit slip for your winning sum (valid for one year), which you exchange for golfing merchandise. Please note that Jeff will not give you actual cash for your credit slip; you use it to buy balls, gloves or as part payment for golfing attire, clubs etc. Do I win a trophy? That depends on what exactly the competition is that you’ve entered. If, for instance, it’s the Dave Salter Trophy, or the Charlie Francis Bowl, then yes – not only will you have won a cash prize, but a trophy that will be presented to you at the club’s Annual Supper and Prizegiving. This is held on the last Saturday in February, or the first Saturday in March, and is one of the highlights of the club’s calendar; prize-winners are expected to attend. You may find, however, that you have entered The Frank Charter’s Bowl or The South London Cup. Competitions such as these take place over two rounds, held on different week-ends. You will still win individual prize-money for the individual rounds, but the Cup is presented to the best accumulated result (i.e. the best result over the two rounds). You will find out whether you have won a trophy when the second (final) round results are published. Alternatively, if it’s March or April, you may find yourself entering a qualifying round for one of our knock-out competitions (see next paragraph). Once more, you can win a cash prize for winning, say, “The Royal Wimbledon Cup Qualifying Round”, but you will have to play many more rounds before you pick up The Royal Wimbledon Cup itself. Or you may, of course, have entered a monthly medal competition. Apart from the usual cash prize, you will also win a commemorative piece of glassware, which the Captain presents at appropriate occasions throughout the year.


Knock-Out Competitions There are four main knock-out competitions that members can enter each year- and they are some of the most enjoyable events the clubs run. For three of them – The Hood Cup, The Royal Wimbledon Cup, and The Whiffen Cup, there is a qualifying competition held over separate week-ends. Generally the top 32 players qualify for the knock-out rounds, and these matches are drawn and posted and put on the competition noticeboard once the qualifying rounds are completed. The Captain’s Prize is open to everyone, without pre-qualifying. As with all competitions, entry fees are paid directly to the Professional’s shop. Matches are played off full handicap difference, though the maximum handicap you can play off for The Hood Cup, The Royal Wimbledon Cup and The Whiffen Cup is 21. If you have a handicap greater than this, you are welcome to enter the competition, but you will have to play off 21. (The Captain’s Prize is the only exception to this rule; the Captain generally allows members to play off their full handicap.) There is a date by which each match needs to be completed, and the Handicap Committee suggests that the onus is on the first player drawn to contact his opponent and arrange when to play this singles match. (Players may play these matches at any time, though we kindly ask you to avoid, if possible, Saturday and Sunday mornings.) So if you see you are drawn to play me by the 12th June, and your name comes before mine on the draw, you are expected to contact me, by e-mail or phone, to arrange a convenient date for both of us. Matches must be completed by the due date – there are no extensions allowed. If it was absolutely impossible for you and me to complete our match in the given time, then we would probably toss a coin to see who goes through (otherwise we would both get disqualified.) But this is very much a last resort, and frowned upon by the Handicap Committee. The moral – be proactive and don’t leave it until the last minute before contacting your opponent! Summer and Winter Fourballs One of the best ways to meet members and get full value from club membership is to get yourself a partner and enter the Summer and Winter fourball competitions. These Sunday morning competitions, are great fun – and generally highly competitive as well. You start by playing in a league of up to 8 different pairings. Each pairing plays each other once; the handicaps they get are threequarters of the difference between their handicap and the lowest handicapped player in the group. (So if I have a handicap of 20, my partner 12, and our opponents are 16 and 28, we play off my partner, I get 6 shots (20-12 x ¾) and our opponents 3 shots (16-12 x ¾) and 12 shots (28-12 x ¾) Once all league are matches completed, the top two or three teams in each league (depending on numbers) go through to the knock-out stage. As before, all matches need to be played by a certain date, but as they can only take place on a Sunday morning (in order to maximise our Sunday attendances) allowances have to be made for the weather. Suffice it to say that it has been known for the winter fourball final to take place in the middle of summer! As well as the Sunday morning fourball competition, new members are very welcome to enter the Summer evening foursomes competition, played – as the name suggest – on summer evenings to foursomes rules. A pair’s handicap is 3/8 of the combined handicap. (If mine was 20 and my partner’s was 12, we would play to a handicap of 12 (20+12 x 3/8) This competition can take place on any evening – except, of course, Sunday, when play is not permitted. If you are interested in playing in any of these competitions, but lack a partner, tell our Golf Manager, Jeff Jukes, who will do his best to match you up with somebody. The Club Championship The Club Championship is held every year on a Saturday at the end of May or beginning of June, and new members with a handicap are very welcome to enter. Depending on your handicap you will be assigned to play in one of three divisions, and will play 36 holes in day. It’s one of the great days at the club. There’s a tradition that members gather round the eighteenth hole, as the light fades, to watch the final two groups (which invariably include the winner) come home.


Club Matches New members will see in their diaries a number of matches against local clubs – e.g. Mitcham, Clandon Regis and our neighbours and great rivals, London Scottish. You may well assume that only the club’s best players get selected for these events; that’s far from the case. Our best golfers are selected for major Surrey competitions, which are taken very seriously. These friendly club matches are much more social occasions; while the golf is enjoyably competitive, the après-golf, the socialising in club bars, the lunch or dinner at the completion of the match are just as important, and we encourage a wide range of golfers (with a wide range of handicaps) to support us and enjoy themselves by representing the club on these occasions. It currently costs £20 to play; but this includes your meal, and is a particular bargain when the club is playing “away”. Notices go up several weeks in advance of a match, and if you’d like to play, just put your name down, and your current handicap. We can’t guarantee selection for any particular match – but we can guarantee that if your name regularly appears on these lists, you will regularly be picked – whether your handicap is 8 or 28. New members are particularly invited to sample a club match, and the banter and fun that goes with it. I want to play in competitions but I don’t have a handicap – how do I get one? You need to play three rounds from the “white” tees, in partnership with another member (who does have a handicap), who will score and mark your card “for handicap consideration”. It doesn’t have to be the same member for each round. Get your marker and yourself to sign the card, post it in the brown competition box in the club hallway, and at the Handicap Meeting following the posting of your final cards, the Handicap Committee will assign you a handicap, and display it on the noticeboard. I’m a new 5-day member, are there competitions that I can enter? Yes – there is a monthly midweek medal that takes place over Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Enter in the usual way in the Professional’s Shop. New 5-day members can also take part in the New Members matches held twice a year usually in April and September. These take place on a Sunday morning. There are also the Wednesday Swindle and the Thursday Evening Summer Swindle. For details of this, see the paragraph in “General Club Matters” I’m a Lady Member. What competitions can I enter? Ladies, as well as having their own separate monthly medal competitions (which can be played any day of the week in question, and count towards the “Lady Golfer of the Year” prize) are also to welcome to join in several of the competitions open to the men. (Jeff or the Lady Captain will give you all the details.) In the “pairs” competitions they can play with either a male or female partner. Ladies’ handicaps will be adjusted using Congu rules. (which usually means adding 3 points to your handicap and playing off the men’s card (stroke index and par) but from the red tees. Ladies have their own club championship, which is played on a different day to the men's. I’m a high handicapper. Is there a competition for players like me? Yes. It is the Sam McGladdery Trophy, open to all players with a handicap of 20 or more. It operates on the same principles as the knock-out trophies listed above. There is also a Veterans’ Competition, - a Stableford Competition for the more mature member. (Aged over 60). Sign up for both these competitions at the Pro’s Shop in April.

GENERAL CLUB MATTERS Door Code Entry to the clubhouse is triggered by a four-numbered door-code, which will change from time to time. You will have been given the current number on joining the club, and should you forget it, and there are no members around, ask what it is at the Professional’s shop.


Sharing the Course with London Scottish Golf Club As you know, we share the course with our neighbours and friendly rivals, the London Scottish Golf Club. Each club pays 50% of the course maintenance costs, and green-keeping staff. Their 1st hole is our 8th (Elcho) and at particularly busy times – Saturday and Sunday morning – we have staggered start times to accommodate the players of both clubs. (At week-ends our first tee is reserved for Scottish members from 9.30 – 11.00am) Occasionally both clubs will reserve tee-times during the week to accommodate special fixtures, society meetings, club matches etc. Details of these appear on the whiteboard just outside the front door – do check on what is happening before going out to play on the course. The arrangement works pretty well throughout the year. There is the occasional contretemps where members of one or other club, either knowingly or inadvertently play at times when they shouldn’t. We rely on your co-operation and common-sense to make sure these occasions are kept to a minimum and are settled as amicably and reasonably as possible. And if you do find you are holding up a group behind you, please let them through. Care on the Course I can’t stress too much how it is each member’s responsibility to take as much care as they can when playing on what is common ground. Remember - the public always have right of way! This can be deeply frustrating some times, as an elderly gentleman or lady, completely oblivious to golfers, wanders very slowly up a fairway, small dog in tow. But the alternative – a golf ball through the temple – is too appalling to contemplate! (We once lost our insurance after such an accident, and the club’s whole golfing future hung in the balance.) So only play shots when you are quite confident the public will not get in the way of the ball. If, despite your very best endeavours an accident does happen, then you need to take appropriate names and telephone numbers, and report it to the Professional or Club Manager as soon as you return to the clubhouse. There is a simple form which will need to be filled in, signed by yourself, and witnessed by any other members who saw the accident. Even if the member of the public seems perfectly content to take the matter no further, the accident should be reported; people have been known to change their minds! Booking Tee Times During the week, or on Saturday afternoons, there is no need to book tee-times; subject to there being no societies or matches played (see above) you can just turn up and play. In the busy week-end period, you need to sign up on our noticeboard to play first thing on a Saturday or Sunday morning. If you don’t have a partner to play don’t worry – just sign up in a vacant space on the sheet, and you’ll invariably find that others will sign up to play alongside you. As you will know, the course is closed on Sunday afternoons from 2pm and on Bank Holidays. But Bank Holidays are exactly the times when I want to play golf….! And so you can….. We have a reciprocal arrangement with Epsom Golf Club whereby they can play at our club when there is a race-meeting on, and we, in turn, have spaces allotted to play, free of charge, at Epsom on Bank Holidays. Sign up on the noticeboard the week prior to the Bank Holiday if you want to take advantage of this opportunity. Eating and Drinking The clubhouse is open every day. Opening and closing hours are posted on the club noticeboard, but generally we try to be open whenever golf is being played on the course - so our summer opening hours are much longer than our winter ones. The club sells drink and bar snacks at lunchtime – and there is generally hot food available at week-end lunchtimes – for information ask Emma.


John Kennedy will have explained to you how our bar-card system works. As a new member, or at membership renewal, you are given a card which allows you to purchase drinks 15% cheaper than nonmembers. Every October we ask you to put £90 on your card; this is money for you to spend at the bar over the next year, and guarantees that we will be able to buy enough products from our suppliers to qualify for a reduced purchase rate. Any surplus left over on your card at the end of twelve months (which is rare indeed!) passes over to the club. Please note that licensing regulations mean that drinks purchased over the bar must be consumed on the premises. Dress Code There are few matters that get members more agitated that our dress code, where members divide into two distinct camps – those who hate what they see as the gradual breaking down of sensible and cherished traditions, and those who argue that the world has changed, and that if we are going to appeal to a younger generation, and bring in new members, we need to have a less conservative approach to what you can and can’t wear. On the course we wear pillar-box red upper garments. This is not merely tradition, it is common-sense. We play on common ground and the public have right of way. Red is the ideal colour to make our (potentially dangerous) presence known. In the clubhouse, for years there was a “no red” rule in the bar after breakfast. Members who had showered and changed did not wish to sit next to hot and sweaty golfers who had just come off the course. We found, however, that with no “spike bar” many new members simply became “car-park” golfers. So now clean red shirts may be worn anywhere in the club, though on busy week-ends, members who have changed out of their golf gear will have seating priority in the carpeted area of the bar. For a hundred years denim jeans were barred from the clubhouse. But as our Lady Captain has pointed out on several occasions, the designer jeans worn by some ladies are four or five times more expensive (and much cleaner and better cut) than the trousers worn by many of our members. So clean jeans are now allowed anywhere in the club; torn, scruffy or dirty jeans are not. These rules are subject to periodic review. The WAGGS If you are a member aged 60 or over you may wish - for a nominal fee - to join our League of Gentlemen - the WAGGS (which stands for the Wimbledon Ageless Gentlemen’s Golfing Society.) The WAGGS have an extremely active club section, and play more matches against other clubs than WCGC do. Once more the accent is as much upon the social side as it is upon competition; though that can be challenging as well. Joining the WAGGS does not prevent you from participating in regular club matches and club activities as well. Indeed for many a WAGG there’s hardly a free week in the year. WAGGS may be mature in years, but they’re young at heart and - as their name suggests - ageless in spirit! The WAGGS have their own Captain each year who will be happy to welcome you to his ranks. The Wednesday and Thursday Swindles A very enjoyable way to spend a sunny Wednesday (or even a rainy one) is take part in the “Wednesday Swindle.” This is an event which club members organise themselves every Wednesday. At the time of writing the membership list for this event was full, but as old members leave, new members will be encouraged to join. Phil Hales runs this event, so do ask him if there are free places. Once you’ve paid a nominal yearly fee to be a Wednesday swindler (currently £10) you come to the club whenever you have a free Wednesday at around 11.00am, and ask to enter that day’s Swindle competition. (The entry fee is £5 a time, payable to the event organiser at the end of the round; though if more than two people get the same Stableford score, there is no prize awarded, and you pay nothing.) You play from the yellow tees in either a three-ball or four-ball, and your partners are determined by a random draw. Should you win the day’s event, you take home a large percentage of the entry kitty - though tradition dictates that you also buy a round for every member present; no great hardship as you should still be in the money!


Swindle handicaps are not necessarily the same as your official ones. If your handicap is 15, but you play in the Swindle for several matches without winning, you’ll find that your “Swindle Handicap” will soon become 16. Conversely regular winners may find themselves playing two or three strokes lower than their official handicap. Paul Willatts, our enterprising club photographer, has recently started a "Thursday Evening Summer Swindle" from April until August which is open to all members . The procedure is the same as for Wednesday except that you only play the first ten holes, and the entry fee is a mere £4. Turn up between 5 and 6 and Paul, or whoever is running the competition that week, will assign you a time and find you partners. The Club Website Thanks, in part, to some generous contributions from members, we have recently invested in a new website which I trust will offer much more information and support to members than the old one did. You may well be reading this missive on the website, in which case you will already have access to the special “members only” section. If you are reading this as a paper copy, and wish to have access to our internet site and its special members’ section, then contact Katerina, our Office Manager and give her your up-to-date e-mail address. This will act as your password into the system. Any ideas to improve or change the website are very much appreciated. Please send them to myself or to Rob Howley, Captain and member of the Marketing Committee. Snooker As you will have noticed, there is a snooker room in the clubhouse, and when it rains members may decide a nice game or two of snooker and a glass of something is a more civilised way to spend the afternoon than playing golf. There is no charge to play - you only need some 50p pieces for the overhead lighting. If the balls aren’t already in the snooker room they will be behind the bar. Lockers In the changing rooms you will find a large number of purpose-built lockers (full “golf-bag” size and halfsize) that can be hired, if available, from the secretary for, respectively, £50 and £25 a year. The Professional We’re very lucky to have had Jeff Jukes, our Golf Manager, as our PGA “A” Class Professional. Jeff has been at the club for many years and is a huge supporter of golf at Wimbledon Common. He will endeavour to get everybody with golf problems back on their “A” game, without forcing you to have a complete golf swing change. You can find the complete list of services Jeff gives by ringing him on 020 8946 0294, e-mailing him at jeffjukes@live.com or visiting the Professional’s page on our website. The Annual General Meeting Each year at the beginning of April, as the name suggests, we have an Annual General Meeting, where we watch the new Captain “drive in”, elect club officials, hear the Chairman and Treasurer’s report, and vote on any proposed rule changes for the club etc etc. New members are warmly invited to attend this meeting; we particularly need to have input from you – you are our future. So please do come along; there will be an opportunity for you to raise any points you might wish to make about the club – and it is really important that we hear what you have to say.


Rule changes to the club’s constitution can only be made at the AGM at specially-called Emergency General Meetings (EGMs). EGMs are usually initiated by the Management Committee, but if members wish to call an EGM on any particular issue, they need to acquire 30 signatures to their particular motion. Social Events While we exist to play golf, the club has always enjoyed social occasions, such as “Quiz Nights” or “Race Nights” where a good time is had by all, and valuable money raised to support either the club, or the Captain’s charity, or a combination of both. Look out on the noticeboard for details of such events. Club Committees There are four main club committees; The Management, Handicap Committee and Marketing Committees meet once a month, while The Greens Committee (composed of members from both WCGC and LSGC) generally meets about 4 times a year. You can find details of who does what, or who is elected when, on the ‘Who’s Who’ board in the clubhouse. Suffice it to say that our current Chairman of the Management Committee is Chris Tongue, while Dave Stone is Chairman of the Handicap Committee. Both these gentlemen will happily answer any questions or concerns you may have about (respectively) Management or Golfing issues. The club Captain and Vice-Captain are on all four of these committees and will also be pleased to address your concerns. All club officials, apart from the Club Manager, the Golf Manager and the Office Manager are unpaid and work entirely voluntarily. (I think, occasionally, some members are inclined to forget this fact!) How can I raise something about the Club / make a suggestion? There is a “Suggestions Book” which is clearly marked and left in the club foyer where you can write down any points you may wish to have raised and discussed at the next Management Meeting. The Office Manager will then give an answer to any of your questions.

I do hope you have found these comments useful and informative. I realise I haven’t even mentioned events such as The Christmas Turkey Trot, The Christmas Competition, Royal Wimbledon Day, St Patrick’s Day, The Father’s & Son’s Competition (open to Mothers and Daughters as well!) The Captain’s Away day, Junior golf competitions, and many other enjoyable events that the club runs over the year. But keep your eyes peeled to the noticeboards, read the website, and - most important of all – talk to other members, and you will quickly find your way around the multiplicity of golfing and social occasions that the club offers. Golf has been played on the Common for well over a hundred years. I am very confident that it will be played for at least another hundred – and I hope that you will enjoy being a member of the club, and playing the course, for many more years. Gordon House WCGC Centenary Captain


New Members' Guide