FOR a number of years now Jacqui and I have run regular friendly Friday golf competitions at Almerimar. People pay their own green fee and then pay us 5 euros entry fee.
We normally play team competitions where people play in a team of 4 players. Or 3 plus a Doris (an imaginary player who always scores 30 stableford points, 1 point on the 6 hardest holes and 2 on the other 12 holes) if we don´t have a number of players that divides exactly by 4.
Everyone wins a bottle of something and the last place team wins a small bottle of cava and some chocolates. They also get the mickey taken out of them at the post golf drinks, tapas and prize-giving.
We also organise some more major events over the winter period where people taking part all go out to dinner together afterwards.
Following discussions with our co-organisers and some prompting by one of our friends, Fintan, we have decided to start up a golf society based around these competitions. What I did not realise is how much work is involved in setting up the society. It has been occupying a lot of my time since we agreed to go ahead with the idea early in the New Year.
The first thing we did was to agree a name and design a logo for the society. The society will be made up of people from various countries across Europe and will be based in our home town of Almerimar. The logo is based on the European flag with the symbol for Almerimar displayed within the circle of stars on the flag. To avoid any conflict with the owners of the local golf course we made a decision to not include the word Almerimar in the name of the society so we came up with the Friday Golf Society.
Since then it has been very much hard work by everyone involved agreeing the aims and rules for the society, agreeing who will be on the committee, agreeing the costs and benefits of membership, identifying possible sponsors, starting work on modifying our existing website to reflect the name of the new society, planning the calendar of events for the coming year plus sorting out the handicapping system for the society (more on this below).
We plan to launch the society on 1 June 2011 and the society year will run from 1 July to 30 June each year. Hopefully in the next week or so we will be asking for people to state whether they wish to become founder members of the society. The plan is that everyone who commits to be a member before the launch date of 1 June 2011 will receive a small commemorative gift when they pay their first annual membership fee.
In terms of handicapping we have the following requirements:
– use a system that is based on the European Golf Association (EGA) rules (including sloped handicaps unlike the UK)
– have the ability to raise the maximum handicap beyond the official 36 limit in EGA rules
– be an online system rather than software loaded on a specific PC (we want the ability for the handicap committee to process cards from different locations)
– be available for free or have a low cost of ownership
– be available in English.
After quite a lot of research on the internet we have plumped for the Society Management facilities of a site called golfshake.com. At present it only does UK and USA styles of handicapping but there is a commitment to extend the software to cover EGA handicapping. Hopefully this will be before we launch the society. We have offered our services as beta-site testers of the new EGA facility when it is ready for customer based testing.
The cost of premium annual membership of golfshake.com is just under £10 a year and includes access to the Society Management functionality so it appears to fit the bill. At present there are some issues (e.g. I cannot work out how to run a mixed competition that has men and ladies playing off different tees but competing in the same competition. This is a typical situation here in Spain. The method of upping handicap limits above the EGA limit may be a little cumbersome etc.). Nevertheless it is looking quite hopeful that we will be able to use the site to manage our handicaps.
All of this is taking place alongside the organisation of our annual England vs. Rest of Europe better ball match play competition that is taking place on 28 January 2011.
I may not work that much now we have moved to Spain. However I can say that I am definitely keeping myself busy one way or another.