Aldwark Manor Golf & Spa Hotel
Here at Aldwark Manor, Clare and I started our Captaincy year on a sunny day in April, with the Captains' Drive In. Members enjoyed a glass of champagne courtesy of QHotels, before we both hit the green with our drives on the par 3 first. Since then we have had many successful events, including joint Captains' Day on a windy but dry day, when our first prize winners were longstanding members Steve Manby and Denise Wilson. In addition to this we have also had the wine scramble, three club competition and the Nike Powerplay evening competition.
Eight members took part in the QHotels quest, when we played all five QHotel golf courses in five days. It was tiring but great fun (diary of the event below from Gwen Palmer). Our team for the QHotels Challenge were ready to take on all the other hotel teams at Hellidon Lakes at the end of August and our competition winners are now looking forward to the QHotels Champion of Champions in September.
We have been blessed with good weather at all our social golfing events - it's called "Captain's Weather" and we thank Richard Gamble and his Greenkeeping team for getting the course in to such good condition after a difficult winter weather wise. May you all enjoy the rest of the season, and good golfing!
Derek and Clare Charlwood
Captain and Lady Captain.
Work on the course
Over the spring/summer months we have been on the course trying to repair the damage done by the harsh winter we had. This has come in the form of hollow tinning, scarifying, top dressing and fertilizing the greens more often in the early spring months to try give the grass a extra boost after the cold winter we suffered.
We have undertaken coring during the August bank holiday weekend because the warmer weather and ground conditions will quicken up the healing process of the greens but also help make the greens better in the winter months.
At the end of summer we will start to remove the dead trees on the course, which have been effected by the flooding over the past two years.
The sinkage areas on the 14th hole will also be worked on the bring them back level again.
We are now very busy preparing the course for the winter so that we can keep it playable and in good shape.
Time at Aldwark: Over 20 years
Interests: Caravan holidays, managing Borough Bridge under 13's football team
and running my daughter around with her horse to the various shows.
Best part of the job: Working outside
Pet hate: Lazy golfers not raking bunkers and repairing pitch marks.
Q Quest Challenge
Myself and Wayne have been members at Aldwark Manor for 24years and it was a great bonus this year to be offered the chance to play at any of the Q Hotels during the week free of charge. I mentioned to a couple of people that it would be a good idea to use the May bank holiday week to tour all of the courses, it didn't take them long to decide that "Yes, it would be a great idea!" So that was the beginning of sorting out what proved to be a great week. The 8 people who signed up for the full week were myself Gwen Palmer, My husband Wayne, Clare and Derek Charlwood (our captains) Alan Derbyshire and his daughter Michelle and Simon and Sharon Windle.
All the comps were stableford and Wayne had his own handicapping system, which is worked from 34 points, either gain or loose shots either side of 34. There was a max of 44 shots for ladies and 36 for men. The system worked quite well over the whole week and gave even the newer and less experienced golfer the chance to take away a prize.
Mon 31st May:
We played a friendly club game at Aldwark that Mr Captain and Lady Captain, Derek and Clare Charlwood had organised along with other club members, we had an enjoyable game as the weather was fine. We were wished well from other members after the game as the 8 Aldwark members set off on our quest. We drove to Dumfries where we stayed overnight to break the journey up. Our biggest shock when we went to eat was that Dumfries centre was like a ghost town! We were told that all the locals had probably overdone it all weekend drinking and were probably recovering! It certainly didn't stop us from having a dram or two!
Tues 1st June:
We woke to a very misty looking morning and that awful wet stuff called rain! It didn't deter us, we all ate a hearty breakfast then set off to Westerwood. The staff there were very friendly. After a coffee and quick briefing we were all ready to tee off. On the first tee was Derek, Mechelle, Alan and myself. It was quite apt that Mr Captain took the first shot of the Q Quest Challenge. Obviously the other 4 followed. It was strange weather, we had misty rain, heavy rain, steamy interludes, a smidgen of sunshine and then it did it all again! Coat on, coat off, brolly up, brolly down etc, felt like something from Karate Kid movie! Mr Captain was lucky to survive the round as he was very nearly hit by a stray ball from Michelle on the very first hole! The winner was Wayne with 35 points playing of a 10 handicap. Wayne also won nearest the pin in 2 and I won Nearest pin. We had a great evening re-living our shots (ha!) and what I am sure will be the norm, several drinks (to help us to sleep of course!).
Wed 2nd June:
After a good nights sleep in a B&B in Chorley we set off for Telford Golf club, where we were met by another couple from Aldwark who were unable to join us for the whole week, (Gary and Denise). Once again the staff were very accommodating and friendly. First on the tee today was Derek, Michelle and Clare followed by Simon, Denise and Wayne and last Sharon, Alan, Gwen and Gary. The weather was very much improved and no need for brollies!
Nearest the pin was on the eleventh and was won by Clare, nearest the pin in two was on the fifteenth won by Gary and longest drive was won by Derek and the overall winner for the day was Alan with 39 points and playing off a 27 handicap. Oh and yes we did cut his handicap by 5 shots! Gary and Denise very kindly put us all up for the night at their beautiful home. We had a lovely evening, and of course there was a little bit of drinking going on!
Thurs 3rd June:
Woke to beautiful weather again and everybody was in good spirits and looking forward to playing at Hellidon Lakes. Once again the staff were very helpful. First on the tee was Clare, Michelle, Alan and Sharon, followed by Wayne, Derek, Simon and Gwen. We had two nearest the pin holes and a longest drive comp. Simon and Alan won the nearest the pin and Derek the longest drive but the overall winner once again was Wayne with 39 points playing off a 13 handicap. Our overnight stay was in Rotherham, where yes once again we had to participate in a little drink!
Fri 4th June:
The weather is unbelievable! We can not believe our luck! Shortest journey today to get to Forest Pines golf course. We were met there by Mike (Aldwark's Pro), Tony and Andy. Today's comps were nearest the pin and nearest pin in two both won by Clare and the overall winner was myself, (about time) with 40 points playing off a 34 handicap. Have a feeling Wayne will be cutting my handicap tomorrow to 28. After the round of golf today it was a mad dash back to Aldwark where our annual wine scramble was being held. We didn't want to miss that. It is a great social event, It is a shot gun start over 9 holes, teams of three of four (depending how many enter) everybody takes a bottle of wine and the bottles are opened before play commences and a glass is consumed before tee off the bottles are then left at the tee and at the next hole there are 3 or 4 more bottles of wine and you do it all over again! As the evening progresses the noise on the course increases! After the comp we have a lovely barbecue. This year was the first time in several years that it hasn't rained.
Sat 5th June:
Thank goodness we planned on having a later start today for the last round of the Q Quest challenge, too much wine and a late night do not bode well for a good game of golf! Once again the weather has done us proud we could hardly believe that we have managed to play so many rounds of golf without getting wet every day. We were joined once again by Gary and Denise and their son Ryan, also Steve and Lynne Mamby. The Longest drive for the men was won by Steve and for the Ladies by Clare. The nearest the pin on the 18th was won by Steve and the overall winner was Alan with a massive 46 points playing off a 28 handicap. Although Ryan didn't win the competition today because he hadn't played with us all week and did not benefit from Wayne's handicapping system I feel I must mention that he played the course in a gross 68, matching the course record. Well done Ryan! (Ryan plays off a 3 handicap).
During the week a record of all the scores had been kept to give an overall winner of the Q Quest challenge, which is Alan Derbyshire with a total of 174 points closely followed by Clare with 173 points and Wayne with 171. The winner of the Par 3 comp was once again Alan with a total of 46 points closely followed by myself Gwen and Sharon with 45 points. The Birdie prize went to Simon Windle closely followed by Derek and then Sharon. The most bunkered prize I have to sadly say was won by myself! And finally we had a secret vote for the best dressed person of the week. It was very close and everybody made a real effort to look their best but the prize was awarded to Sharon.
Well done Alan and everybody else who won a prize, we were all winners really because we had such a great week, lovely weather, good company, and fantastic golf courses at our disposal.
I would like to thank Andrew Cook for arranging for each of the golf courses to provide a golf towel for each daily winner. I would also like to thank all of the courses for their hospitality and for keeping their courses in such good condition it was a pleasure to be able to play them all.
We tried to decide which was our favourite course but everyone had different thoughts, probably to do with how well they played on the day. The least favourite was Westerwood, but think that was probably to do with the fact that they are in the middle of changing some of their holes and the weather was not as favourable. I would like to return to Westerwood in the near future and hope that the weather is better so that I can enjoy the scenery and look forward to playing the new holes.
Would we like to do it again? You bet!