Golf is offered on three separate week days with fixtures played on Wednesdays or Sundays, although our younger students are introduced to the sport in Curriculum Games. Mr Schofield (Master i/c of Golf) is assisted by Mr Joyce and Dr Foulger, and the number of pupils wanting to start or develop their game playing for the School is growing.
The 2012-13 Captain of Golf is Harry Boutflower (S UVI) and we already have a sprinkling of good new and developing golfers to represent the School for the future - Ben Oswald (S 3) enthusiastically playing off 11; James Walker (Rt IV) is one to watch for the future; Alex Haspel (Rb V) is already regularly scoring single figure rounds and has a club championship to his name; Charlie Adams (S V) will only get better over the next few months and both Daniel Legge (SH LVI) and James Warburg (PH LVI) have great hand/eye coordination. I am confident that the experience gained this year will enable these boys to push for success in competitions next year.
On Mondays, up to ten students, from across the age range, have a group lesson with a qualified PGA professional at a local golf club such as Arscott (Glyn Sadd); Shrewsbury (John Richards) or at the Shrewsbury golf driving range (Phil Toomer). This is usually a six to eight week course to introduce students to the game and develop their skills and enthusiasm enough to spend the last few weeks of term playing on the golf course at Arscott or Meole Brace. For those Salopian golfers with a main sporting commitment midweek, it is a good way for us to spot talent for future matches! The golf activity is subsidised but carries a termly charge (£30), added to the School bill, with golf equipment available for those starting out.
On Wednesdays, those with their own golf equipment have the opportunity to play on local Shropshire golf courses and there are about six to eight regular players. Obviously, this is weather and light dependent, but we are blessed with a variety of good and varied golf courses in the county. For example, Hawkstone Park, Bridgnorth, Shifnal, The Shropshire and the infamous Church Stretton golf clubs to name a few, and there is no charge for participation. Thursdays are similar to Wednesdays but form part of the Sixth Form Activity option and charged for accordingly - Dr Foulger always has a full minibus!
On occasional Sundays throughout the year we head to Little Aston Golf Club – about an hour away from School. A venue for many major amateur and professional tournaments, Little Aston is a fantastic golf course and very welcoming to Salopians. Also this year on the Michaelmas field day, Dr Foulger arranged a great golf day at Bridgnorth Golf Club for about eighteen enthusiastic and grateful Salopians courtesy of Mr Legge, father of Daniel Legge (SH).
The School enters a number of national golf tournaments each year. The HMC Foursomes involves six players in a pairs matchplay competition, played off scratch handicaps. This year past champions, Birkenhead, were just too strong for us over the 18 holes, at an impressive Caldy Golf Course. The team comprised Ben Oswald (S), Alex Haspel (Rb), Daniel Legge(SH), (c) Harry Boutflower (S), James Warburg (PH) and Charlie Adams (S).
The ISGA Schools Matchplay competition involves three singles matches, again off scratch handicaps. This year we were narrowly defeated by The Grange A team. Our team was Ben Oswald (S), Charlie Adams (S) and (c)Harry Boutflower (S).
Other golf matches include the annual Prior Cup at Shrewsbury Golf Club, Condover, played between members of the club, and the School. This event was first played back in 1920 and our team partners Schoolmaster with senior Salopian. This year the School lost by a single point over six pairs matches and the team included: Sam Roberts (Rb), James Warburg (PH), Alex Haspel (Rb), Harry Boutflower (S) and Tudor Sartain (SH) as well as Dr Foulger, Mr Schofield, Mr Conway and Mr Warburg. Alex Haspel shot an impressive gross of 8 over par. The ISGA Shire Trophy is played in June, at the only Seve Ballesteros designed golf course in the UK – The Shire golf club in Barnet, near London. This year, Harry Boutflower (S), Max Hulse (G) and Ulrik Cappelen (Rt) represented the school, and this proved to be invaluable experience.
The School is also represented at various ‘Old Salopian Golf Club’ meetings, for example at Trentham and Royal Liverpool Golf Clubs, and we look forward to the OSGS versus The Schools annual golf event in May, at Hawkstone Park Golf Club.
The School fortunately has a tradition of manning The British Open score boards. This is a great ‘paid’ work experience opportunity, especially for golf fans. Those involved in Royal Lytham, July 2012 were Harry Flowers (I V), Jack Hodges (G V), Ed Harrison (I V), Ed Holroyd (S V) and Nick Douglas (R LVI). We look forward to the international event returning to Royal Liverpool, in 2014, where there are strong Salopian connections.
For the near future, I look forward to the return of the School Golf Championship; a House golf competition and the first girl golfer to represent the School. Also, sandwiched between British Opens, we will hopefully be introducing a golf tour.