Summer of 89
Every year it's a pleasure to welcome the new captains in the way of a drive-in. This was my 28th and every year I do look back to all of the wonderful captains I have worked with.
I started working here in the February of 1983. I came down for an interview with Fred Lucas who was the professional here at WPGC, since 1964. I had left Royal Wimbledon, didn't get my tour card and thought, Ok let's get a job. Fred Lucas was a very good friend of George Howard who was the professional at Malden golf club and my friend Bob Hunter was the assistant there. Bob put in a good word for me and in turn George spoke to Fred, so the interview was set up.
Turned up suited and booted and got the assistants job. The Pro-shop had seen better days, no real stock to speak of. Fred was nice but could be a difficult man at times, battered by too many winters in the proshop. His wife used to work with him, which sometimes added a little pressure to the job I felt, "Dean, you are more than welcome to look for other jobs because there is no teaching here" said a stern Mrs Lucas. That's nice I thought, I've only been here 5 minutes and you are telling me to leave, lovely!
I was getting paid £31.00 per week and I could keep my teaching fees, which was around £5.00 for half an hour if my memory serves me right. "How much teaching I'm I allowed to do?" "As much as you like" came back. Within a few weeks my teaching book was starting to fill. Then Fred started to ask me to play in the odd Captain & Pro match when his back was bad or he didn't like the people he was having to play against! I was also doing all the club repairs, which was really taking off because he never really used to do them. I used to do all the club repairs in the area where the buggies are now kept, it used to be freezing in the winter. They gave me so much freedom to teach and play, shop sales were going up so they were both happy with what I was doing.
Wimbledon Park Golf Club was not the same place back then than it is now. Locker room was freezing cold with bright blue painted lockers, See-through lumpy lino running through the place, tracing paper for loo rolls and you had to put ten pence in the slot to get light over the snooker table. No free coffee or newspapers, no swipe card back then.
The unwritten rules were that a week after the autumn meeting, thick rubber mats would be placed on all the tees and would not come off until a week before the spring meeting the following year. Temporary greens were always in play in these winter months. Some of the golf course stayed open for the entire Wimbledon fortnight. Holes 1-2-3, tee off from the island at 14 and then play 15-16-17-18. We even opened up the entire golf course and played a mixed foursome tournament on the middle Sunday. Now that's hard to believe! No fees were paid for golf elsewhere.
We had no more than 6 children in the junior section, like everything else there was much more freedom back in the early days. The mixed foursome's prize giving's were legendary, they used to go on into the early hours of the morning, the snooker room was used often and sometimes they even played some snooker in there! We used to let the local Police play here and in turn they kept an eye on the place.
One day I was playing a lady captain & assistant pro challenge match with, Vi Bateman, Vi was lady captain in 1984, "Dean what are your plans for the future, because I think if you wait, they might offer you the job when Fred retires." So I did wait and in the summer of 1989 they asked me to apply for the position of club professional.
I put in my ideas for the shop and what I thought the club needed from their Professional in the way of a proposal. I sat the interview which was nerve-racking and strange at the same time. I knew everyone in the room and enjoyed a lovely relationship with all of them, so it was quite funny when it all got official and in return I had to be official back. Then a few weeks went by and one Saturday afternoon the captain of the time Mr Nigel Pocock said "Dean, can I have a word with you?" I walked out of the shop and around by the side of the first tee. "Dean the board have met regarding the new golf professional position" by this time my heart was thundering, you see if I didn't get the job I would be back to square one. The new pro would want his own staff and I would be back looking for another job.
Having had a wonderful time for the past 6 years and made many friends, the whole thing could come crashing down with just one sentence, "Dean some board members think that you are a little young for this job and it will be a risk" Nigel was right about the first bit, I would become one of, if not the youngest club professional in the country. "And some said what we would do if someone like Seve or an ex tour player would have applied? Well Dean in my eyes we have our own Seve in you, I would like to offer you the position of Club professional here at Wimbledon Park Golf Club." With slightly watery eyes I smiled and shook Nigel's hand and accepted.
Dear Nigel, thank you, I hope that I have never let you down and I will always be indebted to you. You did take a chance back then and I will never forget that.
Went home to my flat and rung my Mum. "Mum, Mum" I couldn't talk, couldn't get the words out. "You ok love, is everything alright" said my lovely mother. "Mum they have given me the Pros job at the club." We both got very tearful at this point, she then shouted to my Dad, "Dean's got the job, Dean's got the job." "Great does that mean I get free golf from now on?" Said my Dad. That night I faced myself in the mirror and said "it's all down to you now my boy, it's all down to you!"
Club AGM and Captain's Drive In
What's the different between Les Wong playing the 11th hole and the clubs AGM?
The AGM gets done in under half an hour!
Yes it's true, the Clubs AGM was completed in just 28 minutes. This was chaired by your Chairman Peter Mutton. Who went about his business as smooth as silk and so professional. He thanked Brenda and Andy on their great year, which it was. You both did a wonderful job and the club thank you.
Massive well done and big congratulations to all the elected board members, also David Edmonds was very generous following his election as your President by buying everyone a drink followed by the lovely Caroline Nettel our Vice President. With both Captains buying drinks for all, everyone was truly watered!
Delia Perry and David Hardman, the Professional shop and all the members of this great club wish you well. It's quite clear that there's not a lot that fazes you. Over 100 people watching and a shot gun going off on your backswing, both drives were hit beautifully.
All up for an incredible lunch, the atmosphere in and around the club house was fantastic and while everyone was enjoying the lunch we managed to raise over £2,000 for the captains charities.
Both drives together reached 377 yards, a very good distance into a cold wind. The winner who guessed the closest was Jenny Gaskin. Well done!
As much as I want to say a fantastic well done to my new partner, Captain David Hardman for winning the men's Stableford with an incredible 41 points last Saturday, the only problem I have with this is that he has been cut! Not the greatest start to our campaign, but David did say, it sends out a message "Bring you're A game people." I'm off to the Practice ground David!
Superb Sally makes it two in a row
Well done to Sally Coryn who made it two in a row, when she won last Saturdays Stableford.
Thank you all for your concern. She is getting better and starting to look more like Dennis Healey every day!
Modernising Golf's Rules
Last week the R&A proposed some key changes to the Rules of Golf from 2019. Their Rules Modernisation initiative has been underway for a few years now and this is the next stage in that process. The aim is to not only make the Rules easier to understand, but also to address some of the game's current problems, such as speed of play, and ensure they fit the needs of today's game.
Please spare a couple of minutes to complete our survey, which gives you the chance to have your say on the proposed changes.
We've picked out some of the most significant Rules changes for you to digest in this survey, before giving you the chance to say whether you agree or disagree with each of them. It'll be great to know your thoughts.
Have your say here.
2017 Under Armour Range
The new spring Under Armour range of gents and ladies shirts and trousers have started to arrive.
With the latest super star in Golf Jordan Speith wearing the Under Armour brand why would you not want to do the same.
Every UA Golf product is built to help you drive the game. Their revolutionary golf shoes deliver unrivaled look, feel & performance. Complete all your on course kits with the best golf trousers & golf shirts in the game. From coldblack polos that stay cooler under the sun, to UA athletic apparel designed specifically to move freely with every swing.