|To many of the residents of Gan the Golf Club is a place where people disappear
every afternoon on the other side
of the island, and then proceed to talk about their trials and tribulations
all evening. Few ever travel across to see
what goes on; if they did so they would find a close-knit club drawing its members
from service and civilian residents
alike. It is the most successful club on the island and consequently one of
the few that is entirely self-supporting, from
a financial point of view. Among its members it has several low handicap players
who regularly coach the novices.
Some imagine that the Golf Club has a certain "closed shop" aura about
it and that officers and SNCOs form a
tight "Clique". This state of affairs does not exist; in fact, a glance
at the membership list reveals that, of the 74
enrolled, nearly thirty come from outside this category. A unique feature of
the club is the fact that a member may
wander over looking for a game- and find a willing opponent with a mutual disregard
for rank, which does not exist
- and rightly so - in the Golf Club.
The leader of this democratic approach is the present Station Commander, Wing
Commander H.T.C. Farmer.
Many a member has stood gazing hopefully around the club house looking for a
partner, to find himself whipped
smartly to the first tee for a game with the C.0. The Gan Island Golf Club came
into existence on 31st May 1962,
when the first general meeting was held. Although the records of the early days
arc incomplete, it is obvious that the
construction of the course and its facilities were inspired by the Station Commander,
Wing Commander P.C. Ellis
and the first Club Captain, Sgt J.A. Riley, both players of considerable experience.
At this time the course was still under construction and there was no club
house. This was completed later, after
considerable discussion regarding the siting of the present structure. Two months
after the opening of the Club its
success was already assured. They had £27-4-6 in credit, P.S.I. had generally
purchased some clubs and the first
major competition was played. This was for "The Captains Cup", presented
by Sgt Riley to the club: the first winner
of this competition was Wing Commander Ellis who defeated W.0. Lupton in the
final. Unfortunately neither scores
nor handicaps were recorded. By March 1963, with The exception of one or two
bunkers the course was in full use
and the second major Trophy was presented, probably by Wing Commander Ellis.
This trophy was "The President's
By 1964 the club membership had risen to 43 and social evenings were being
organised in the Club House. The course
was measured during the latter part of the year and score cards were printed.
In June 1965, membership reached its peak when it rose to a total of 75, which
produced a gross income of £300 per
year. From the very beginning, the club had spent over £100 in six months
on clubs and still left itself with a generous
balance in hand.
The Captain of any Golf Club is the power behind the running of the club. Among
his duties, he is normally chairman of
the various committees end is highly respected for his opinions and suggestions.
The majority of captains of the Gan
Island Golf Club have usually been SNCOs but in 1966 a Junior Technician Smith
was voted captain. He headed a
committee composed of a Wing Commander, two Flight Liutenants, two SNCOs and
two Senior Aircraftsmen. Junior
Technician Smith was, by all accounts, no mean golfer. The second airman to
hold t a post was a Corporal Rogers,
who was elected in Novenber, 1967, in the latter stages of his tour.
During 1967 the club made its mark in the Golfing world by becoming an overseas
member of the English Golf Union,
which legalised the granting of handicaps that would be recognised by clubs
in the United Kingdom.
205 Squadron presented a Trophy to the club. Another, presented by Wing Commander
Rees was named the Rees
Trophy. 1968 will be remembered particularly as it is this year that the original
concept will be completed. For four years
members have discussed the extension of the course to 18 holes. For reasons
not recorded this dream was never executed.
The present Committee, spurred on by Squadron Leader J Allen and led enthusiastically
by Wing Commander Farmer,
cajoled by the Officer i/c Flt Lt Frazer, and ably assisted by the MPBW members,
has brought this dream into actual reality.
During tbe last few months plans for a further 9 holes were drawn up, ground
was investigated, measurements taken and
permission sought. With the generous co-operation of MPBW, turf for two new
greens was dug, transported and then
laid by members. A bull-dozer somehow happened to stray over certain uneven
areas and flatten the ground. Before long,
fairways were marked and today three holes at the eastern end of the Golf Course
are near completion. A rainy spell then
upset plans when it was discovered that part of the proposed site for two more
holes was inclined to be boggy. Some fast
surveying followed and a new site came to light near the Pakistani Camp. Armed
with markers and tape a reconnaissance
was carried out and it was found that the remaining six holes could be placed
in this area with little trouble. Within a week,
four more fairways, tees and greens were marked and cut. It now remains for
the final two holes to be marked out, which
is expected to be completed soon with the whole 18 holes to come into operation
From a start with 13 members, the club has developed into a major activity
on the island. There arc 8 Trophies which
provide competitions for 49 weekends in the year. They are open to be won through
a variety of different types of
competition. Two of the more recent competitions added to the list are a two-ball
foursomes for the 50th anniversary
of the Royal Air Force Trophy, presented by Wing Commander R. H. Mullineaux,
and a three-club competition for
the Cora1 Cup, presented by the Secretary.
Competitions for novices are also p1ayed each week-end and many personnel who
have never lifted a club in their
lives have discovered how easy it is to join the list of prize-winners.
It is a game that requires no special physical attribute other than a keen eye,
concentration and the will to win.
If you can summon the energy to stagger over there, why not try it?
N. G. H.