West Riding Blog

Griffin Golf Day plus SDC and WROCCA Trophy Competitions

The Griffin Golf Day 2016 officially started at 10.00 Wednesday 15th June at Bradley Park Golf Club, near Huddersfield. Most of the Griffins arrived earlier, to be sure they got their bacon sandwich.

The Griffin is an all-day event, so starts much earlier than the rest of the golfers, who are only playing in the afternoon for the SDC and WROCCA Trophies. Although an OCCA member, registering for the Griffin can also win the WROCCA Trophy.

From a historical perspective, both the Northern Sections SDC and the West Riding OCCA, (WROCCA) Golf competitions, organised by the respective organisations, preceded the Griffin.

The Griffin started in 1990 at Bradley Park and has run there ever since. The original Professional, who coached us, now retired, told me that we are the longest running event they have.

I’m not sure when the WROCCA Trophy and Griffin were combined, but earlier than when we amalgamated with the SDC. I know that was by 2009. Although all 3 competitions run together, the registration is split. The all-day Griffin with WROCCA and the half day with SDC. This can be confusing to some, but not so much as the European Union!

The Griffin was conceived for non-golfers and new golfers, who did not have the confidence to accept an invitation to one of the many company golf days still being held in the 80s and 90s.

For some years before the Griffin, there had been a growing embryonic group of non/poor golfers who had been encouraged to join the WROCCA Trophy played at Wetherby and were ‘shielded from the sight of the clubhouse’, by the proper golfers, until they’d made it off the first tee.

I was the 2nd pre-Griffin encouraged by Godfrey Alderson. Godfrey was our social secretary and organised the WROCCA Trophy. The year before there had been a lower number of participants and although Godfrey was a non-golfer, the other guys decided he should play. He was taken into the car park to the boots of a few cars and emerged with full kit!

The next year, 1987, I’d become vice chairman of West Riding and realised in a couple of years I would be presiding at the event.

I told Godfrey I would attend this one and when he asked for my handicap, I said I couldn’t play, as I’d never even pitched & putted.  He replied, “Would you like to have a go?”. So in 1987, there were 2 Pre-Griffins. I went round in 169, but had a great time!

By the time I was in the WROCCA Chair, we had 6 or more Pre-Griffins. So then the Griffin was conceived and run as a separate event. Many of the proper golfers also attended.

When the first winner would have won it again next year, in the spirit of encouraging newcomers, we decided that you could only win it once.

For many years now, the Griffin beginners golf day has encouraged people who went on to become ‘proper’ golfers. In a few years we had so many proper players and improved Griffins joining us, that to relieve pressure on the Driving range in the morning, some went out on the ’10 hole loop’ instead. By 1997, there was even a separate award for the ’10 hole loop’, the Beverley plate, awarded by Graham Beverley, our first ever Griffin winner.

One notable Griffin was Fred Morpeth, Manchester Section and one time OCCA President, who started to play golf with us. He could never win the Griffin Trophy, because he wasn’t a West Riding Member. Eventually, after we’d combined our 2 events, he came in with a top score of 36 points, and technically couldn’t win the West Riding Trophy for the same reason. This seemed very unjust. Fred was a Griffin come good!

We had a quick huddle, other top scorers had already won it. We awarded Fred the Trophy and henceforth any OCCA member could win it.

I am reliably informed that this was one of Fred’s happiest moments and from a man who was nicknamed ‘Lord Surfex’ for the incredible dedication he had to that, that was no mean endorsement to our humble Griffin.

The Griffin, morning session, starts with welcoming coffee and bacon sandwich, then professional tuition and practice on the driving range. Then a soup and sandwich lunch, when the Griffins are tutored in the mysteries of the golf score card and Stableford scoring. The Griffins then play 18 holes, with everyone else, all competing for their respective Trophies, the Griffin, SDC & WROCCA.

Griffin Trophy – awarded to the highest scoring non-handicap competing Griffin, who has not won it before.

WROCCA Trophy – awarded to the highest scoring competing OCCA member.

SDC Trophy – awarded to the highest scoring player, booking with the SDC.

The SDC also award additional prizes, to qualifying players. Griffins are not eligible.

So to the Winners for 2016, scored Full Handicap Stableford

SDC Adrian Abel Trophy – Paul Ravenscoft – 43 points

Runners up – Jason Sullivan & Alex Foster, both on 30 points

Nearest the Pin – Steve Oldham

Longest Drive – Jon Rymer

West Riding OCCA Chairman’s Golf Trophy – Phil Christie – 34 Points

Runners up Jim Bury – 28 points, Jon Rymer – 26 points

Griffin Trophy – Matt Brooks – 22 points

2 other Griffins, who were eligible to win the trophy, didn’t complete, so;

Runner up – First timer Derek Johnson

Weather had been forecast rain, but although it did shower, bad & windy weather held off. Some sun occasionally drying us out.

So as Godfrey said, those many years ago, “Would you like to have a go?”

Are you a beginner, or have never played before?

Come along and initiate, or develop, your golfing potential in a friendly, no pressure, environment.

The experienced Golfers will be glad to help you.

Rob Lewis



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