The 2008 season is nearly upon us and yes, it's time to get your entries sent in for the Golf North East's Match Play Pairs Classic tournaments. Looking back, it only seems like yesterday when we launched the gents competition in 2002. That year the final was held at Slaley Hall where Chris Wall and Marc Newcombe from Cleveland Golf Club lifted the trophy with a 3 & 2 victory over the Hydro players Paul Clarke and Shaun Collier.
The following year, Consett seniors Barry Bromley and Geoff Cook reached the final, again played at Slaley Hall, where they beat Ian Lumsden and Ian Smith from Wearside 4 & 3.
Having now launched a ladies event, Ramside Hall was the venue for the 2004 finals. In the gents competition, Keith Ridden and Leon Masterman from City of Newcastle took the championship with a 2 & 1 victory over Durham City's Clive Oliphant and Alan Oliver. And in the ladies final, Slaley Hall's Linda Golightly and Chris Walby surrendered a five-hole lead to loose to Lynne Liddle and Linda Wilson from Gosforth 2 & 1.
In 2005, the ladies competition failed to generate enough entries and had to be discontinued. That year the gents final was played at Brancepeth Castle where Bishop Auckland duo Sean Nevin and Graham Flockett were triumphant with a 3 & 2 victory against Shaun Coyle and Brian Cole from Billingham.
A mixed event was introduced in 2006 with the finals being staged at Matfen Hall Golf Club. In the gents competition, Neil Elborn and Steve Slater from City of Newcastle were crowned champions following a two-hole victory over Gordon Dance and David Hopper from Ramside Hall. And in the mixed, Linden Hall's Barry Guy and Sarah Phillips triumphed against Iben and John Cocker 2 & 1.
Last year, the finals were held at Linden Hall where both matches went to extra holes. Representing Eaglescliffe, Neil Sanderson and Guy Henderson had to rely on all their experience to win at the 20th against Michael Johnson and Tony Stephenson from Teesside and Chris Walby and Douglas Ellison from Slaley Hall tasted victory following victory at the 19th against Stocksfield's Gary and Sonia Kennedy.
As a result of their victories, all of our champions have enjoyed a tournament golfing holiday on the Algarve in sunny Portugal where some were successful in winning further great prizes.
This year our Match Play Semi Finals are to be played at Close House Golf Club and the Finals at Bellingham Golf Club - please see the rules for dates etc.
And ladies, please note that courtesy shots have been introduced in the mixed competition.
So don't delay, you could be the next champions and enjoying a top prize in amateur golf - simply fill in the application form and send it to Gillian Corney, Golf North East Match Play Pairs Classic, Golf North East, ncjMedia, 2nd Floor Advertising, Groat Market, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1ED.
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Golf North East Match Play Pairs (gents And Mixed) Rules 2008
1. A Pairs Match Play competition to be run in conjunction with Golf North East and only Golf North East for its readers within its circulation area.
2. Entry forms, illegible or incorrect may result in the entrants being disqualified.
3. At each match, if courtesy is not given, green fees will be shared by both home and away teams.
4. The gents competition is only open to men. The mixed competition is open to a pairing of one lady and one gent.
5. Gents may enter both the gents and mixed competitions.
6. All entry forms are to be directed to Golf North East together with the entry fee.
7. The minimum age for the competition is 18, there is no maximum.
8. The maximum handicap is to be 36(Ladies) and 24(Men).
9. Matches to be played using 3/4 of the difference of the handicap taken from the lowest handicap.
10. Matches to be played off the tees of the day - (The gents home players may choose between yellows or whites depending on club policy) (Ladies - red).
11. Should the Ladies Card differ from the Gents Card then courtesy shots must be given i.e. the difference between the two cards.
12. Both competitions are open to Golf Club members with a valid handicap.
13. Handicap certificates to be available at all matches for their opponents to inspect if requested.
14. No player can enter each competition more than once.
15. Once a team has registered their home club, they cannot transfer to another club without notifying Golf North East and a transfer will only be accepted once a check has been made that they have fully complied with COGNU handicapping rules.
16. The home drawn pair to offer three dates and times to their opposition.
17. No extensions will be given.
18. In the event of being unable to arrange a date, both teams will be disqualified.
19. Should a match be tied after 18 holes, the result will be decided by sudden death play off commencing at the 1st hole.
20. A panel consisting of representatives from Golf North East will adjudicate any disputes in conjunction with the Rules Office of the R & A. Their decision will be final.
21. No correspondence will be entered into.
22. The prizes are not transferable.
23. All players must agree to being photographed and included in Golf North East should the occasion arise.
24. The Semi-Finals are to be played at Close House Golf Club the week commencing Monday 8th September 2008.
25. The Finals are to be played at Bellingham Hall Golf & Country Club, the week commencing Monday 15th September 2008. All the players will receive courtesy bed and breakfast at the Riverdale Hall Hotel in Bellingham, the night before or the night after their matches.
26. Date of the Holiday has yet to be confirmed.
27. Closing dates for entries are - Gents March 31st 2008 and Mixed May 31st 2008.