In 1997 several members of Mayfield Cricket Club shared a pint or two and bemoaned the lack of golfing facilities in the area. The conversation was repeated and developed, and the concept of the Mayfield Golfing Society was born. From small beginnings, which uncannily mirrored the cricket calendar, a more formal arrangement developed in 1998 when the first Captain, Freddie Jones put up the fabulous Freddie Jones foundation cup a tradition that continues to this day. Friendly competition with an element of fun was the remit for the early members. This proud tradition has been successfully upheld from year to year. Committees, including Captain and Vice Captain, remain dedicated to the preservation of the Society's founding principals.
Amongst those founder members were Pat Layen, Mike Hegarty(dec), Malcolm Staplehurst, Paul Hillman and inaugural Honorary Secretary and heartbeat of MGS Alan Draper.
Word spread and membership flourished. At the end of 2003 membership exceeded 60 golfers, a testament to the balance of sport and good humour, and not least to the incomparable stewardship of Alan and his better half, Barbara.
In 2004 the stewardship of the secretaries post fell vacant and some felt the society could stumble but instead a new era dawned as Phil Herbert stepped up to the plate. His endless enthusiasm for ensuring quality golf and the minutiae of every aspect relating to the golfing experience has perpetuated the high standards for all to enjoy.
In 2004 the MGS also moved into the digital age and the MGS web was born. New boy Tim 'Tom' Gorringe keen to develop the concept and with Ash Head published the first few pages in the April and by July it had developed into the main medium to support and encompass the the ethereal home of Mayfield Golfing Society.
MGS meets monthly at a variety of challenging courses in the Surrey/ Sussex/ Kent area. Venues are selected by committee with input from all members, resulting in MGS visiting some of the finest golfing territory in the South East of England. Amongst monthly competitions, MGS holds Winter and Summer Matchplay competitions and inflicts Spring and Autumn tours on France, Portugal, Ireland, Wales and Scotland, upholding the English time-honoured tradition of upsetting the neighbours.
Some tours, such as the Autumn visits to Belle Dune and Les Hauts de Montreuil, Ireland and Macroon, are legend. The interests of modesty and the sparing of blushes prohibits the publication of further detail here. However in 2007, thirty seven members of the society visited France on a day trip to celebrate the 10th year of growing success. The golf club selected was Aa Saint Omer Golf Club. A European Tour course measuring some 6840 meters from the white tees – which the captain elected to play off.
Following torrid rain the skies cleared and golf commenced, however four players were prohibited from competing because health & safety issues of using buggies on the now treacherous slopes. The golf passed off well and apart from the non players who undertook a local 'sightseeing' tour, was regarded as a great success.
2007 saw Illness force the retirement of our much beloved (and unfairly maligned) handicap secretary Brian Peters. Andy Bishop stepped up to the mark and vowed to fill in as Handicap sec whilst Brian was ill and, like the rest of the committee, wished Brian a speedy return to match fitness, however sadly this was not to be and in 2009 Andy was voted in as the full time replacement. Andy's sporting history is legend playing a variety of sports throughout his youth including county level volleyball and tennis. His involvement with the society, although short, had been profound and was highly regarded by his peers.
In 2010 Andy felt that it was time to change and the position of HCS passed to Kevin Weaver. This should have happened in December but because of a serious fall of snow and the death of one of our founder members, Mike Hegarty the day was cancelled and rescheduled for January.
2011 saw Kevin Weaver nominated as vice captain. As no member could hold two position on the committee Tim (Tom) Gorringe was volunteered to stand for the position of handicap secretary, dropping the position of webmiester, a role he had held for 7 years. The Christmas AGM saw these positions ratified and Andy Tippett, the outgoing captain made a members representative and the new webmiester.
2012 saw the retirement of our very successful Hon Sec Phil Herbert who had steered the MGS ship through some very murky financial waters and secured some superb deals both at home and abroad. He was made a life member at the 2011 AGM in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the society.
Our outgoing Captain Tony Bruce decided to step in to the position of Hon Sec and takes HMS MGS forward into 2012
At the end 2013, a particularly challenging Mayfield golfing year, the incumbent secretary Tony Bruce indicated that he wanted to stand down and tendered his resignation to the committee. Wee Ray Hamilton, our Member Advocate and committee member since 2005 also decided not to re-stand.
At the AGM the membership were asked to support the proposed new structure and also to change the MGS constitution, a break from tradition, allowing a serving member of the committee to hold two roles. After some long discussions the current Hon Sec role was split to created a new role, a defined society treasurer to compliment the redefined position of Secretary.
Phil Herbert, to the delight of the assembled membership agreed to not only be the 2014 Captain but also reprise his role of Hon Sec with Andy Tippett taking up the new role, that of society treasurer.
2015 saw some further changes to the MGS committee. Tim Gorringe sadly stepped down from his role as HCS with Michael Mann stepping into the breach and Jerry Watkiss as his 'batman'. Jerry was also thrust into the position of the new webmeister – his efforts which are here for all to see! The members rep was disbanded while Fred Ablitt was elevated to Captain for the year and Peter Cudmore as Vice. Andy Tippet remains Treasurer as does Phil Herbert in his role as Hon Secretary.
And so to 2016
Peter Cudmore duly became Captain and Jerry Watkiss Vice Captain. A huge thanks were given to Phil Herbert who after several years as secretary stepped aside with David Howroyd taking over. Other members of the committee remained the same. With a stable committee and a healthy membership 2016 proved to be a successful year for the Society though the weather played its part to disrupt as many meetings as it could. Some excellent golf days were had which as ever ended with the traditional Xmas bash at Dewlands and the Middle House for lunch. Yet again this revealed the drinking capacity of members had lost none of its fervour . . . quite alarming really!!
We look forward to 2017 and improve our membership numbers while maintaining the friendly competitive spirit for which the Society is renowned.
Jerry Watkiss duly took up his role as Society Captain for 2017 with Mr Clive Butler becoming Vice Skipper. The year followed the traditional pattern of playing on the South Downs during the winter months with some excellent venues such as East Sussex National, Dale Hill and Crowborough being added to the Summer schedule. The weather was mostly kind throughout the year resulting in the regular Dewlands and Middle House bash in December. The Spring tour this year was to Bruges and a full report can be found here
2018 saw Clive Butler take over as Captain and Kelvin Patterson as his Vice. It was a difficult year for Clive who for various reasons wasn't able to attend all the society days which meant Kelvin stepping up on numerous occasions to adjudicate on proceedings. His expertise at 'tossing' was a sight to behold but it did give him some early confidence for when he took over in 2018!!!
With the 2018 Spring trip to Montreuil sur Mer everything got off to a cracking start. Sweetwoods, Pycombe, Nizels and Westerham were some of the more notable courses played with our Hon Secretary, David Howroyd continuing to get some excellent rates for the Society.
Over the years a small but steady influx of new players has ensured the MGS continues to flourish. With a membership hovering around the 35 to 40 mark, it has meant an average of around 16 to 24 players for each Society Day. Inevitably there are players who move on for whatever reason, so its encouraging to receive the number of enquiries we do through word of mouth or via this website. Long may it continue.
The COVID Years
Needless to say 2020 and 2021 have proved interesting! James Gallifant who took over from Kelvin at the turn of 2020 had no idea what lay ahead, as no-one did, but amazingly we managed to get in 9 fixtures though any post round meals and drinks were somewhat curtailed.
With the slightly truncated season the Committee felt that Captan James and his Vice Mark Hughes should carry forward their roles to the 2021 season when it was hoped we would get back to some sort of normality.
Obviously Covid had other ideas. January, February and March were all cancelled but we did get the remaining fixtures played and with the reintroduction of a post match meal on most occasions it almost felt normal. All the major trophies were played for though there was still no possibility of arranging any tours.
Historically the Society has had both a Spring and Autumn tour. However over the last few years and with a changing membership, enthusiasm for two tours has waned somewhat so the committee decided at their 2021 meeting and after feed back from members, that just the one tour would suffice, ideally in the Spring looking at both UK and Europe venues. This would be reviewed on an annual basis.
2021 still proved tricky but both James and Mark continued to carry out their duties admirably and we had some excellent Society Days as a result.
It was also the year in which Andy Tippett decided to step down as Treasurer of the MGS, handing the role over to James Gallifant when his year as Captain ended. Not entirely sure how long Andy had the role (ten years?) but it has been an invaluable role and much appreciated by those who know how much goes into running the Society accounts.
So . . . to 2022!
Covid is still misbehaving but the year ahead looks very promising with an exciting fixture list, Mark Hughes as Captain and Alan Bigley now in the role of Vice Skipper. Our thanks must go to James for his unstinting efforts over the last couple of years and for stepping forward to take over as Treasurer.
Continued thanks and appreciation must also go to David Howroyd for arranging the fixtures, negotiating the prices and to Micky Mann who runs such an efficient handicap system, even it has the feeling of being really unfair if you dare to win! . . . but thats society golf, and long may it continue!
CHARTER and CONSTITUTION
"The Mayfield Golfing Society is a group of enthusiastic, like minded golfers of differing abilities who have respect for the game and who are prepared to meet on Society Days in order to play golf in a friendly competitive spirit and to enhance camaraderie within the Society."