Yet another ‘first’ in the extraordinary times we are living through was the Zoom Annual General Meeting which brought together 85 members of SLCGA in a virtual gathering, presided over smoothly by Jo Woodward, President of the Association.

Little golf was played in the last twelve months except for a brief spell before the second wave of Covid-19 swept the country, but the Governing Body continued to oversee the business of Suffolk’s golfing ladies, planning for the future and ensuring that safety guidance was maintained.

A respectful silence was held in memory of the Association members lost during 2020. Daphne Nichols, Heather Wright and Chris Jamieson, Marion Stannard, Hilary Fitch and Iris Davenport.   Finally, Anne Seward, Former President and Secretary of the SLCGA.

The President set out the facts of golf’s difficulties amid the pandemic but said that our players had done well, adhering to the government rules and guidelines and adapting their behaviour as required.  There had been, also, a renaissance in golf during the year with increased interest in club membership.

The County organisation was looking forward with optimism to the return of greater freedom and the emergence of new young talented players.

The full reports can be found on the website’s AGM page.

The salient points were as follows:

Captain Amanda Norman.

The lack of golf through the year, was disappointing but it was more important that everyone stayed safe.

She welcomed the new coaching team of Andrew Robinson and Sam Forgan and thanked Kevin Lovelock for his very successful time in the post.

This year’s County Championship should be held in May (14 – 16) at Felixstowe. County Match Week is scheduled for Stoke-by-Nayland (17 – 20 June).  Hoping that it will be possible to complete these fixtures, she encouraged all who qualify to enter when the time comes.

She thanked Sue Cook for her work on course rating over the years as she hands over to Nicki McMahon.  All Suffolk’s courses are now rated to satisfy the WHS but re-rating will begin again in 2024.  It is an ongoing task.

 Alice Barlow’s Junior Report.

The competition calendar was depleted, but the juniors concentrated on improving their golf games and their handicaps.

She thanked Ian Scott from Ipswich who has relinquished his coaching position after a number of years with the first and second teams.

Later in the meeting, the President asked for volunteers to help Alice with the Junior section, a satisfying and enjoyable role within the county set up.

Chloe Dixon was named as Junior 1st Team Captain for 2021 and Laura Eaden as Junior 2nd Team Captain.  Congratulations to them both.

Vicki Hunt gave the report on Seniors Golf.

No matches were played in 2020, but the usual fixtures are in place for 2021, with the addition of a match against Hertfordshire Seniors.   This year, the Seniors Championship will be held separately from the other County Championships.  The dates are 25-27 May at Thorpeness.

Lizzie Johnson, Suffolk’s Representative to England Golf, attended all the virtual meetings during the year which updated the golfing community on the Covid situation.  Recent discussions focused on the possibilities of enabling independent golfers to benefit from a WHS handicap.

Hermione Scrope provided the Treasurer’s Report.

Virtual meetings (no travelling expenses) and little golf has resulted in a healthy position for the Association finances.

The increase in subscription fees, approved in 2020, has been put on hold for the time being.

Annette Llewellyn, Handicap Adviser’s Report.

Plenty of activity in this sphere in 2020 with the introduction of the World Handicapping System. Although due in January, its start was delayed until November 2nd, allowing plenty of time for questions to be asked and answered.  There were plenty of them, too!

England Golf was soon hard at work, correcting and sorting out problems.

Retirement and election of new GB members.

Joan Cook, Maggie Porter and Irma Suttle received thanks for their contributions over the last three years.  Tessa Summers (Aldeburgh) and Geraldine Rose (Ipswich) were elected to the Governing Body.  Tessa will run the Division Meetings;  Geraldine will look after the Cranworth Trophy.

There were no trophies to be presented for obvious reasons, but both the silver and bronze medals went to players from Diss.  Victoria Elliston won the Silver medal with an excellent score of Minus 7;    Marie Needham took the Bronze Medal with a fantastic score of Minus10.

Standard Scratch Assessment.  Sue Cook reported that all the Suffolk courses now comply with the World Handicapping System and she is handing over to Nicki McMahon after eighteen years as Standard Scratch Assessor.   Although there will doubtless be problems cropping up between times, SS Assessment runs in 10 year cycles, with the next round beginning in 2024.  SS assessment has always been an important task but in recent times has involved a tremendous amount of work, particularly since compliance with the WHS became the aim.  Sue has been instrumental in helping others to understand and complete the process satisfactorily.

(NB. The Standard Scratch Assessor’s job is in fact an England Golf appointment but Suffolk is very grateful to Sue for undertaking it so steadfastly.)

The 100 Club Draw, the first of the year, was made.

First prize of £100 went to Sarah Higgins of Halesworth.   The rest of the draw is in the News section on the website.

The meeting closed at 10.49 after a graceful vote of thanks to the President and the Governing Body from Roz Leggett (Rushmere).

Julie Latimer-Jones