Altrincham Golf Club

Bernie Wood – My 50 years

When I joined Altrincham Golf Club in 1968 , little did I think I would be here writing down my memories of 50 years of membership . I was a fresh faced 14 year old when I opted to join the golf club to take full benefit of my £4 , 7 day season ticket .

Back in the day the handicapping could be quite severe and after posting my 3 cards , best score 88 , I was given a handicap of 15 . In those early days I was erratic and would quite regularly get 7 or 8 pars and a mixture of ‘other’ scores . I was taken on board by Tony Murphy , a thick set Irishman who once drove the old 6th (9th) off the white tees ! We were a dangerous partnership and we played together for 3 years , winning more often than not , then into the Old Hall for a couple of shandies .

My first breakthrough came in 1974 when I managed to win a Monthly Medal with a score of 83-15-68 . The handicap secretary , George McKinnel , dropped me 2 shots to 13 . On the following Monday we played the Holiday Cup and I won that with a 78-13-65 . George did me a further 4 shots meaning I had gone from 15 to 9 in 3 days . It certainly wouldn’t happen these days . That year I won the RAFA aggregate trophy and it still makes me chuckle when I look at it on presentation night and see 1974 BP Wood .  (see below)

In those early days I used to play with the likes of Jimmy and Joe Greatbanks , Jim Chorlton , Fred Cox , Tommy Povey , Arthur Cooper etc.  These are names that many will recognise as names with associated trophies today . I feel proud to have known these people and maybe one day I will be remembered in a similar vein .

I think the lowest handicap I ever reached was 4 , briefly , but I am proud that for the last 40 + years I have been single figures for all but a few months . I see too many instances , these days , of players just wanting to win rather than getting their handicap as low as possible . When people know I play golf they ask what my handicap is , not what have I won .

I have been reasonably successful over the years . Winning the Captain’s Bowl was one obvious highlight as was winning the Summer 4 ball knockout twice .

I won the EGU Gold medal and qualified for Woodhall Spa with a score of 71-7-64 , the only score below 70 on the day . The prize was 3 days at Woodhall Spa and a great experience .

I also qualified for Golf Monthly hole in one of the month following 2 hole in ones in 1998-99 . The prize for that was a trip to Le Touquet where I managed a 2nd place and had the pleasure of meeting Peter Allis who was well aware of Altrincham and in particular Hugh Lewis . I met Peter again the following year at Hugh’s funeral where he made a point of calling me over and talking to me .

A distant 2nd twice in the Club Championship .

Only 3 years ago I won all the ko qualifiers and in the Presidents I scored a nett 66 which included 4 consecutive birdies , off the white tees , that is still my personal best sequence .

Over the years I have played a lot of golf away from Altrincham and I have played in England , Wales , Scotland , Ireland and the Isle of Man . In Europe I have played in France , Belgium , Holland , Switzerland , Portugal , Spain and Turkey . Further afield I have played in the USA .

In the last 50 years we have had some really good players at Altrincham but I would have to say that the absolute best ball striker and a top bloke too is James West . At his peak he made the game look effortless and I’m sure would have made a top pro . More recently we have had Sam Prince , also a really nice lad , and he is trying make his way in the professional game .

The course has seen some changes , for various reasons , but currently the condition is as good as it ever has been . The 1st hole (formerly 16) was as good a hole as you will play  but H & S rules these days . The same could be said for the little par 3 over the road that was closed due to damage to vehicles etc.

The current 3rd used to be the 12th and the green was tucked up close to the hedge on the left . The then 13th was a dogleg with the tee backing on to Stockport Road and the big hitters back then used to fire one over the corner (Timperley CC) and land near the bunker that faces you on the 4th now .

My sons both joined Altrincham as juniors and under the stewardship of Nev Dennis and Ken Clemenson both achieved single figure status .

Russell and I both made our Dunham Forest debuts away to Leigh in the same match .

I have certainly enjoyed my time as a member of this great , quirky golf club . I have served as Handicap Secretary , Captain , President and even had 12 forgettable months as treasurer . It is always nice to give something back .

The club has kindly allowed a competition to be created , in my honour , and will be played annually for the Bernie Wood Trophy . I hope I can stick around long enough to ‘greet’ many winners of the event .

Here’s to the next 50 years .

Bernie Wood

In 1974 I had hair and weighed in at a staggering 12st 8lbs .

Not much change there then

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA


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