Thanks to the sterling efforts of chief organiser John Winter, local residents Gus Whyte and Alan Swindley, Society Captain, Bob Harper and assistant/score-keeper Cameron Grant, plus the accommodating attitude of the Hilton Hotel, the 31 Castlegate restaurant and the 3 golf clubs named below, the CILT Golf Society was able to enjoy yet another splendid autumn tour.

This year John proposed a visit to Yorkshire to play Fulford GC, York (Strensall) GC and Ganton GC. In view of the proven quality of all these courses the membership was fully supportive of John’s choice and proved it by turning up in force – 30 people to be precise.

Despite having to adhere to the ‘new normal’ Covid-19 restrictions, it was with great anticipation that we turned up at Fulford GC (home of an ash tree by the 17th green from which Bernhard Langer played his shot in the 1981 Benson & Hedges tournament) on Sunday 6th September to learn that it was also Club Championship day. Oh good we thought, the course should be in tip-top condition. And so it was for the first part of the round. Then the rain started – and didn’t let up until everyone was thoroughly soaked.

The conditions didn’t seem to deter all of the party with the Team Prize going to: Cameron Grant, Ian Chalmers and Brian Reid with 80 pts; followed by: Paul Beever, Pat Carroll and Phil Reeves with 77 pts.

The Day 1, ATMS Trophy was won by Peter Wood with 36 pts and Runner-Up was Geoffrey Atherton with 34 pts. Pat Carroll took the Guest Prize.

Back at the Hilton Hotel in the centre of York (opposite Clifford’s Tower), sodden clothing was laid out to dry while everyone made their own eating and drinking arrangements.

The hotel’s location meant there was plenty of choice within easy walking distance.

On Monday morning we made the short journey to York (Strensall) GC under cloudy skies, but with optimism that the day would yield better weather and, for some of us, better fortune on the golf course! During the clubhouse review there was much favourable comment on the quality of this course, but again everyone had to endure spells of rain during the round. These slightly better conditions were reflected in the scoring.

Ian Chalmers, Bob Harper and Steve Murray took the Team Prize with 83 pts, beating Alan Swindley, Brian Reid and Tom Brown (pictured) into second place with 80 pts. The Day 2, Mandata Trophy was decided on countback with Paul Beever just edging out Lee Armstrong – both with 39pts. The Winning Guest was Phil Reeves (36 pts).

The choice of 31 Castlegate as the venue for our traditional Gala Dinner on Monday evening was inspired – thank you Gus Whyte. The dining area was an ideal size to accommodate our party while adhering to requisite social distancing. To ease catering arrangements people had pre-ordered their 3-course dinner. Happily everyone was delighted with both their choice and the quality of the fare. Grateful thanks to Cameron Grant of SecureSeal Systems for sponsoring the wine.

On the final day we assembled at the prestigious Ganton GC – host to the Ryder Cup, Walker Cup, Curtis Cup and many national and international championships – renowned for its fearsome bunkering and tricky greens. It did not disappoint.

The party managed to deposit over 140 balls in bunkers and 3 (or 4) putting was a regular occurrence! Nevertheless it was a privilege to play this wonderful course and enjoy the hospitality of the clubhouse for a snack lunch and prize giving afterwards.

Scoring reflected the difficulty of the course, with Paul Beever winning the Day 3, Sponsors Trophy on 32 pts, beating Tom Brown by 1 point. Although Steve Gowler was announced as the Guest Winner on 25 pts, a subsequent recount revealed that fellow guest Steve Murray had in fact scored 27 pts. Obviously a good day to be named Steve.

Paul Beever deservedly collected the member’s prize as winner of the overall Tour Trophy, just pipping last year’s winner, Lee Armstrong.

                      Paul Beever with the Tour Trophy

As evidence of how consistent he is, Phil Reeves once again picked up the Tour Guest prize.

By a show of hands the popular request was for a return to York as the tour venue for 2021.