PRUDHOE Golf Club is really living up to its “Home of Champions” tag in 2010 . . . winning a golf league is always a great achievement, but to win two in the same season is something really special.
And that’s what Prudhoe has done, capturing both the Newcastle & District and Hadrian Leagues in successive weeks. In each case, the teams had to do it the hard way, travelling as league leaders to tough away matches against the second placed clubs in the last matches of the season.
Both leagues have 16 clubs, six of which play in both leagues. According to the District League, established in 1951, and the Hadrian League (1974), the double has never been done before. It nearly happened in 2009 when Prudhoe won the Hadrian League for the third time and finished runners up in the District League which they have now won six times.
One of the benefits of winning a league title is the opportunity to play in the Dixon Cup – an end of season strokeplay tournament for the winners of all five leagues in the North East. The 2010 “Champion of Champions” scratch shoot-out is at Arcot Hall on September 26. Each title-winning club has to field a team of seven golfers, giving Prudhoe the enviable problem of having to find 14 of their lowest handicap players.
Club captain Malcolm Ward ran the District League squad while vice captain, Phil Pallister was responsible for the Hadrian side.
“Our policy has been to field the strongest sides possible in each league team,” said Malcolm. “However, some players don’t have the time to play in both sides. But, during the season we have used only 14 of our best players for the six-man league teams and the two reserves needed.
“I am very proud of the players’ achievement which really shows their commitment to the club and themselves. I am also so grateful to all the supporters who have travelled many miles to encourage the lads.”
Winning titles is something the Prudhoe club has been doing for nearly 60 years going back to 1951 when Neville Dunn won the British Boys’ Championship. Since then, individual players and club teams have accumulated more than 100 league, county and national titles.
Arguably, the most successful player in modern times has been David Curry, British Amateur Champion and Walker Cup player, who went on to become a consistent performer as a professional on the European Tour in the 1980s and mirroring the earlier achievements of Janet Soulsby. Son James has also been successful in recent years, playing for Northumberland and securing county titles, too.
In 1997, multiple county champion, Shaun Philipson, became an England International and won the British Mid-Amateur Championship whilst in 2010, Andrew Scrimshaw was selected for the English Schoolboys team.
All these champions and many more led to the adoption of the “Home of Champions” tag in 2006, an idea of the captain that year, Richard Hannam.
“We do not believe that any other club in the UK can beat our title record . . . unless anyone knows better!” said captain Malcolm. “This massive collection of titles is testimony to our ongoing encouragement and support of junior golf. And that will continue.”
Other achievements so far in 2010 revolve largely around two teenagers, Andrew Scrimshaw, 18, and Tom Rowland, 17. Both are already regulars in the senior Northumberland County side and have been battling for bragging rights all season. In the Northumberland Junior Stroke Play Championship, Tom was runner up to Andrew who had won the Northumberland Schools Championship the previous month.
Andrew then won the prestigious Faldo Series, which no doubt contributed to his selection for the England Schoolboys team and he cemented his selection by reaching the last 16 of the British Boys’ Championship.
Tom, meanwhile, had won the Northumberland Under-18 Stroke Play Championship, secured a top 20 finish in the Carris Trophy and then led the qualifiers in the St Andrews Boys’ Championship which he went on to win. He is also lying in eighth place after seven of the 14-tournament ZFL North East Masters series.
And if all this success wasn’t enough, Kevin Robson, multiple club, league and county title holder has been honoured with the role of Northumberland county captain for 2011.