The Scratch Cup at Helsby has been running for some 80 years and remains one of the most prestigious major competitions at the club. Many well known past and present Helsby names have lifted the trophy during its history, gazed at with envious eyes by the current crop desperate to get their own name etched on the trophy. Even with the prestige around the Cup, participation has been slowly declining over the years. What makes this so unique and prized is the fact that it is the only competition contested annually at Helsby that is played off scratch. Many members have expressed their opinion that the do not enter as it is a scratch competition as they believe only a handful have a chance of actually winning the Cup. This has always been the case in club gross competitions, not just at Helsby, yet historically players of all handicaps have entered and competed in the few pure gross competitions clubs run. Annually CAT2 golfers return to tee it up alongside their CAT1 fellow members up for a dream upset or a fight to finish as high in the field as possible or simply to pit their skills against those perceived ‘better’ players.
In a bid to energize the competition M&H have been circulating e-mails and inviting members to comment on how and what they think would revive the competition.
The main comments from respondents have focused on the 36 hole one day format, a net prize as well as suggested date changes outside of School holidays. As a committee the main points were addressed and fed back as follows.
- It is clear that at present the 36 hole one day format is difficult for some golfers due to various reasons such as their fitness or family and work commitments. There was also not a great appetite received for the continuation of this format.
- In terms of offering a net prize, it was discussed at length but ultimately it was thought that as this is the only gross competition at the club a net prize does not fit with the ethos of the competition or its historical story. The suggested 2 day format in conjunction with Professionals Day will also mean that effectively a net prize is present for at least the first 18 holes albeit not for the actual first round of the Scratch Cup.
- The competition has been shifted around over the years and found a place in the fixture list that means it is played in the later summer months. It has been decided to change the date and play when the course is at its best.
So taking all the suggestions forward the M&H committee have revamped the competition as follows:
Scratch Cup 2016
- 36 Hole Scratch medal competition, played over two rounds Saturday 9th July & Sunday 10th July 2016
- Maximum handicap of 18.
- First 18 holes played in conjunction with Saturdays Professionals Day.
- Professionals Day will be a normal medal competition with the usual start sheet, competition entry etc, open to all members.
- Those wishing to take part in the Scratch Cup final 18 holes contested on the Sunday will be asked to add a SC to the top right of their card upon competition entry and pay the required entry fee.
- Depending on numbers entering the 36 hole competition a cut maybe made.
- A start sheet for the Sunday round will be produced at the close of Professionals Day and e-mailed out to members and made available on social media.
- Play will be in score order with the lowest gross scores playing last on Sunday.
- Entry to the Scratch Cup will be £5 which will will include entry and ball pool in Saturdays Professionals Day.
As with everything we do we will assess again after the competition and as always welcome and encourage members comments and suggestions going forward.
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