CHARLES Smith admitted he will be fondly remembered as ‘Captain Covid’ at Denton Golf Club.
The 69-year-old’s two-year stint as captain comes to an end in early December in what has been a difficult period during the pandemic.
What is usually a 12-month post was extended to two years because Charles’ first year was badly disrupted through Covid.
But Charles, a retired contract supervisor with British Telecom, has thoroughly enjoyed the last two years, despite the obstacles.
“It has definitely been challenging, but also rewarding and enjoyable. We have still achieved a lot in the last two years,” he explained.
There was the initial full lockdown in March 2020 when no play was permitted before restrictions were eased with play restricted to two balls, reserved tee times and the clubhouse remaining shut.
Charles added the golf club has received great support from the membership who have embraced these and other changes.
He explained: “We have introduced various technical things which would have come in anyway. But because of Covid, we did them quicker than envisaged.
“Scored are inputted onto an app which enables results to be seen straightaway and leaderboards for a competition.
“We have adapted the bar card so competitions can be booked using it without money being used, again something which has been very successful.
“There was a little resistance from the older members, and I include myself as I will soon be aged 70, but everyone has downloaded the app and it has worked well.”
Charles added the club has had to adapt. For example, the captain’s drive-in, which traditionally marks the start of the season, was unable to be held in March 2020 and 2021 because of lockdown.
“We moved things around and this year it became an end-of-season drive off with the captains arriving in a vintage bus and the event linked to the Johnson Trophy and presentations to all the season’s trophy winners.”
Charles also believes golf has played an important part in the wellbeing of members during the pandemic.
He explained: “Golf has been very important for mental wellbeing, especially for men who tend to bottle up emotions.
“They go out for a game and chat to their mates and often unburden things they wouldn’t tell anybody else which can be important.”
Like most other local clubs, Denton’s membership has greatly increased since Covid-19. As many other sports have been even more badly disrupted, golf has been relatively untroubled and Denton has signed up 190 new members.
“We attracted a number of cricketers after their sport was badly affected last year,” he explained.
Charles added Denton had a sizeable increase in its membership and they have managed to retain most of them.
He puts Denton’ success down to a collective team effort saying he and lady captain Norma Boott received great support from the committee and board.
There was also praise for the volunteer group who do a lot of work, their most recent installing new drains on the third hole and the greenkeepers as the course has been in great condition this year.
• The Johnston Trophy, eligible for all competition winners, was won by Mohamed Ali with a nett 70 from runner-up Nathan Graham (71).
A subsidiary, run in conjunction and open to all other members, produced victory for Mohamad Saleen with nett 69.
Denton’s Winter League is underway and the first four-ball betterball Stableford was won by Habib Yousaf and Shammy Gauhar with 41 points.