Can I personally thank everyone who contributed in any way towards the Juniors trip to Portugal, and made the event possible. We had a fantastic time, and played some fantastic golf.
Initially we were drawn into Group 2 against Murrayfield, Llanwern and Lundin. On Thursday we played Murrayfield in awful weather and secured a well deserved draw 3-3. Friday morning we teed off early against Llanwern, again in dreadful conditions. It was extremely tense, as most of the games went down 18th, however we lost 3.5-2.5.
Saturday we drew against Lundin Links 3-3, in front of the Sky Sports cameras, again everyone played extremely well, with some excellent matchplay golf. Their lowest Team member played off four, and we had to endure an onslaught, however some great performances got us through.
The format left us in the strange position of either fighting for 3rd and 4th spot, or 7th and 8th based on our results that day as we finished in a tie for 2nd place with 3 other teams. We scraped into second place based on our performance against the other two teams in the league. We were aware that every shot counted, and thoroughly deserved the result.
Sunday was a great day, we were drawn against New Club St Andrews, who’s were also low handicappers. We really raised our game and beat them comfortably 4.5-1.5 to secure third place. Sky Sports were present for the last two days, and I was amazed as we played our best golf in front of the cameras. I understand that the event will be screened in the next month or so.
My thanks must firstly go to our Team players. They were incredible. We have 8 Juniors to be proud of. The experience they have gained is immeasurable. If I must single anyone out, I have to mention Rosie Belsham as she was awarded the Ladies best player, and she demoralised the opposition No. 1 players with 3 wins and a draw. (The draw was against the Scottish Junior amateur runner up, who started with 3 birdies, and ended up halving the match.
Thanks also to our supporters who witnessed the event, I hope you took away some great memories and will continue to support our great team. Also thanks to the parents who accompanied me to the tournament, and gave me great support, and technical advice.
The Juniors will always remember their trip to Portugal and on their behalf I thank you all. I’m glad they are not professionals or we would have to pack our bags and do it all again this week. Check out Sky Sports Golf in the next month or so, to see birdies galore, chipping in from off the green, a tap in knee knocker and a great display by all.
Well done Team Whitley Bay, bring on 2018 and thanks to our Junior Sponsor for 2018, Nixon Hire.
Junior Liaison Officer 2018
History of WBGC
Founded in 1890, the 9-hole course at Whitley Bay Golf Club was only used in the winter, with locals and visiting holidaymakers taking full advantage of its situation for relaxation along the Northumberland coastline during the rest of the year. In 1906, the club moved from this location on the 2-mile strip of Whitley Links to its present position, less than a mile further inland.
It’s not known who set out the club’s 18-hole course but an exhibition match was arranged between Harry Vardon and Ted Ray to mark the opening of the new layout in July, 1913. Another member of the Great Triumvirate, James Braid, visited in May of 1931 to audit the course, charging £13.6s.0d for his services, but there’s no record of what work, if any, was carried out following this appraisal.
In more recent times, the European Tour’s one-off Callers of Newcastle tournament was held at the club in 1977, with John Fourie of South Africa winning a four way playoff at the second extra hole against Peter Butler, Angel Gallardo and Tommy Horton. It’s said that during the event, a young Seve Ballesteros drove the par four 7th green before the previous group had cleared the hole.
Today, the layout has undergone a number of changes since then, including a renovation of all the bunkers. More recently, holes 6 to 10 have been completely redesigned, re-opening for play in May 2017. Starting and finishing with a par five, this gently undulating course presents a challenging test for golfers, offering views from various parts of the property out to sea beyond St Mary’s Lighthouse.
A key component of the modern day course is the Briar Dene, a treacherous burn that appears at several holes on the card. The 582-yard par five 12th (rated stroke index 1) is regarded as the signature hole, doglegging left along the side of this water course, before the fairway then narrows upon reaching a bunkerless, two-tiered green. It’s a brave golfer indeed who tries to tame this beast in fewer than five shots.