METROPOLITAN GRAND LODGE AND GRAND CHAPTER GOLF SOCIETY
Report from Bro Morris Bentley
Russell Race Claret Jug
Friday 25th March 2022 was a gloriously hot spring day and for the first time since the inaugural event in 2013, the Society finally managed to win the Russell Race Claret Jug, generously donated by its namesake, at the ninth time of asking!
The annual match against East Kent Masonic Golf Society took place this year at the Old Fold Manor Golf Club in Hadley Green near Barnet, Hertfordshire founded in 1910 and designed by ‘Harry’ Shapland Colt and playing to a Par 71 off the whites at 6,447 yards.
On Easter Sunday 1471, it was the site of the brief but bloody Battle of Barnet which resulted in the untimely end of Warwick the Kingmaker and the reign of the Yorkist King Edward IV. It was so foggy that day that part of the Lancastrian army advanced up what is now the 6th fairway and ended up in Barnet!
The few big hills and slopes of Colt’s parkland courses made it very testing with narrow fairways in places and tight greens. Recently hollow cored, the greens were full of sand and whilst the roll was not uniform on any of them, it did make for some interesting putts and there were very few gimmes! By 3pm, the matches started to come in and boy was it tight!
Seven pairs battled it out fiercely, making the match challenging even for the most experienced players. After what seemed a while and as the sun was just lowering itself over the clubhouse, in came the seventh and last pair who got the vital half point they needed to win. The final result was 4 to 3 in Metropolitan’s favour!
Thanks to other members of the Met Team who turned up but were unlucky not to be able to partake of the match-play competition but still played that afternoon – Steve Martin, Ian Law, Steve Brown and Reza Choudhury. Metropolitan Captain – Kevin Jones was misty eyed and very eloquent in accepting the claret jug from the East Kent Captain – Darren Horne, but they really had held the Trophy for far too long!
In another excellent week for the Society, Captain Kevin Jones, Chairman Bob Hancock and Committee Member Simon McCarthy were all on hand to present the Society’s Charity Cheque to the United Grand Lodge Charity chest.
The cheque was a whopping £1,500, taking the Society donations since their formation in 2010, to nigh on £30,000 – and they don’t intend to stop there!
Opening Ode Shield
Fresh from the feel-good success of actually winning the Russell Race Claret Jug from the Province of East Kent in March, the Society held the first of its own competitions for 2022 on Friday 22nd April – the Opening Ode Shield.
The venue was West Essex Golf Club near Chingford, Essex which was founded in 1900 and was designed by the renowned golf course architect, James Braid. The 6,385-yard parkland course playing to a par of 71 put up a stern test of accuracy and power. The course flirted in and around Epping Forest for the first nine holes, putting up a strong defence to low scoring with undulating narrow fairways, well bunkered greens and ominous out-of-bounds hemming in errant tee shots.
The back nine was longer from the tees and more open in contrast to the front nine. The course saw significant changes with water hazards, copse lined fairways and sharp changes in elevation on the closing six holes. However, the abiding memory for all golfers that day was the well-cut and obscene sloping greens resulting in nearly everyone three-putting…or worse!
A sunny but bitingly cold windy day saw twenty-eight members and guests in seven four-ball groups teeing off in the morning. Led out by the Captain, Kevin Jones and with Ed Bottomley, Simon McCarthy and John Massmann making up the four-ball.
The eventual scoring for all groups showed just how tough the course was playing. Even the West Essex members did not feature in the final positions and only two birdies by John Massmann on the 1st hole (par 4 – 268 yards) and by West Essex member Eric Mould on the 12th hole (par 4 – 349 yards). were recorded throughout the entire day!
Scoring on every hole eluded all participants with many breathing a huge sigh of relief when exiting the course. It was the penultimate group that had our winning member – Michael Fox of Harlesden Lodge No 2098 carding a very impressive 35 points off a 25 handicap. With teammates Richard Wigg (32 points), Steve Brown (31 points) and Gordon Beasley (23 points) making it the second highest scoring group.
The Festive Board was a very welcome ending to a fine day and Kevin Jones in his awards speech thanked in particular Sian Lin Choo and Eric Mould for their magnificent efforts in getting the day organised, and to John Peters our Official Starter and photographer. Thanks are also due to the hard-working Secretary – John Massmann.
Andrew Henderson Trophy
The Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Chapter Golf Society held its second event of the summer on Friday 20th May for The Andrew Henderson Trophy. This annual competition is in memory of Andrew Henderson – the Primus Metropolitan Grand Secretary and Scribe Ezra from 2003 – 2009, who sadly died a month short of his 45th birthday.
The venue was Pyrford Lakes Golf Club in Woking, Surrey which was laid out in 1993. If it wasn’t for the lakes, this Alliss and Clark designed course could easily be mistaken for a links course by the sea. Less than five minutes from the A3/M25, its rolling landscape, sleepy setting and 23 acres of lakes strategically positioned throughout the course made every hole very unique.
This is not a course for the big hitters, but more for those who knew when to ‘lay-up’ and to plot their way around this very scenic and challenging course.
For spectators we had numerous families of Canada Geese and ducks with their goslings and chicks waddling across the fairways and in a few cases, inspecting balls driven near their brood.
Thirteen golfers including 3 guests teed off in the pouring rain and after 2 hours, the rain relented and out came the sun hats! With only 3 golfers receiving less than 20 shots, we knew there would be some big scores! The best guest was BP Tan with 35 points while receiving 25 shots. For the members, in third place was Choo with 34 points (receiving 18 shots), runner-up spot went to Gordon Beasley with 35 points (receiving 17 shots) and the winner was Michael Fox with a whopping 45 points (receiving 26 shots) and 2 blobs!
Michael also won the Opening Ode Shield last month and is certainly the one to watch this year. All agreed that they had lost at least 4 balls each in the various ponds and lakes around the course and would certainly love to play this course again next year – hopefully when it isn’t raining!
The President’s Salver
The Society held its third event of the summer on a blistering Thursday 16th June, competing for The President’s Salver at the Northwood Golf Club in Northwood, Middlesex.
Founded in 1891, it’s the second oldest golf club in the county with a course laid out by Tom Dunn. It was also the venue for the Middlesex Mid-Amateur Championship the following day, so the course was presented in a superb condition.
Playing off the yellow tees at 6,259 yards on a Par 71, this course proved a fair test for the Baker’s Dozen golfers present and everyone commented afterwards on how well the course was playing and how terrific the greens were.
The hot and dry conditions, with generous runs down the fairways and uber-quick greens meant some high scoring was due! Third was Roy Nelson with 34 points, second was Raj Ghai with 35 points and the Winner, Nick Jenkins with 36 points and receiving 28 shots!
Everyone commented on how friendly the Club staff were, accompanied by excellent food and drink and the Society will be coming back to Northwood again in June 2023 to play this excellent course again!
Remaining Fixtures for 2022
Thursday 15th September – Captain’s Day Trophy and The Charity Cup, Leatherhead Golf Club, Leatherhead, Surrey
If you wish to join the only Golf Society in the Metropolitan Province (no matter what your handicap is) please email the Secretary – JackMassmann@outlook.com
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 49 August 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 49 here.