There was a record entry last week for the industry’s annual golf tournament, The SAPCA Open, with 70 members and guests competing over 18 holes on the magnificent Championship “Arden” course at the Forest of Arden Country Club in Warwickshire. As well as teams from across SAPCA’s membership, guests took part from a number of sports bodies, including tennis, cricket, football and athletics.
After several preceding days of heavy rain it was testament to the quality of the course and the skill of the groundstaff that the course was open and playable, if rather damp underfoot, and it was the pair of James Gamble (Charles Lawrence Tennis Courts) and Tony Aitchison (Replay Maintenance) that best rose to the challenge to lift the trophy, with James repeating his success from 2018, when he triumphed with father Mark. Their team’s joint Stableford score of 69 gave them a convincing victory by 6 points, with three other teams finishing on 63.
Separated just on countback, David Johnstone (Britannia Paints) and Chris Platt (Platt Construction) were runners up, with Kevin Keep and Rob Palframan (Playdeck UK) in third, and Jacob Adams (Fosse Contracts) and Joe Shaw (SIS Pitches) in fourth.
On the speciality holes the prize for “nearest the pin in one” went to Tony Aitchison (Replay Maintenance), “nearest the pin in two” was won by Tim Richards (Hewitsons), and the “longest drive” was struck by Chris Platt (Platt Construction). This year’s “beat the pro” competition was particularly challenging, taking place on the Forest of Arden’s “signature” 18th hole, not just with a long carry over water but mostly into a head wind. It proved to be a tough test even for the club’s pros, but five competitors succeeded. They were: Paul Barker (SIS Pitches); Tommy McGowan (Halliday Lighting); Rick Thorley (Lano Sports); Mark Wilcockson (Surfacing Standards); and Kevin Keep (Playdeck UK).
After a relaxing dinner in the club’s golf marquee, the prizes were presented by Mark Waite of TigerTurf UK, the Official Supporter of the SAPCA golf day for 2019.
Closing the event, the organiser of the golf tournament, Wayne Sexton (of S&C Slatter), thanked everyone for supporting the day and helping to make it such a success, and he confirmed that the planning of the 2020 tournament was already underway, to ensure that it would continue to grow.