A regular at our facilities here at Park Golf is local golfer Will Murfitt.
Will has written a guest blog for us this week, talking about his years captaincy at his club…
Will Murfitt - Youngest Captain In Wales
My year as captain at Pennant Park Golf club is coming to an end I’m using this blog to reflect on what I’ve achieved throughout my year in the position.
I was really excited to take on the role of captain and did a little bit of research prior to taking over the position, at the tender age of 25. The research showed me that I would be the youngest captain in the clubs history, Youngest Captain in Wales and the 2nd Youngest in Great Britain (golf forum). With the ‘self claimed’ title, I wanted to show that young captains can be good for golf and can introduce new ideas to the floor.
1st March 2015 was officially my first day as Captain. We had a competition in the morning – where I played terribly… – and in the afternoon we had a little ceremony and I was given my Green Jacket (not for winning the Masters) and had my captain’s drive in. We used the 10th hole which runs parallel with the Driving range with a slight dogleg to the right. It was a howling gale and heavy rain all day. In the morning I drove 20 yards straight into a tree, talk about pressure! With friends and family looking on in anticipation, I considered the safe option with an iron, but with peer pressure the big gun came out – I hit possibly the best drive of the year, that finished just short of the green!
The role of Captain seems to have been relatively clean sailing. With only being a smallish club, one thing I set out to do was play with as many members as possible. This would allow them to hear my views and if they had anything that they wanted to raise it was a great time to talk. I also welcomed new members into the club, and also played with them to get their official handicaps for the competitions.
The year ticked over quite nicely, I even won a few club competitions. Past captains refer to the ‘curse of the captain’ which tends to affect your game and ruin any current form and sending your golf on a downward spiral, but I don’t feel that this happened. I had a few rounds where I didn’t play particularly well but after some time on the practice ground things improved.
The Flintshire League is the local league where clubs go head to head with each other in a matchplay format. Each year we enter and for the past three years we have finished 2nd. This year with the new team shirts we turned up looking the part and ready to gain that title. It was a tight season with great matches, it all came down to the last game of the season against reigning champions and current league leaders, we had to pull out all the stops and battle hard. Pennant Park won the final game and gained the 2015 Flintshire Handicap League.
In August the club professional and I entered the Golfplan Pro/Captain competition. We attended the Northwest regional qualifiers at Dunham Forest; I was very nervous but speaking to others on the practice area kept my nerves under control.
We were about half way through the field and I was fourth in the group to tee off, the Starter called out next on the tee with an announcement, “Captain at Pennant Park William Murfitt…” my heart was pounding; following three great drives made my nerves return and to the point where all I really remember was doing my pre shot routine and addressing the ball, the next thing I remember the ball is flying through the sky down the fairway, I hit a cracker! In fact I started the round, Par, Birdie, HOLE IN ONE, Birdie, Birdie… Walking off the front nine, I’d scored -5 gross and our Pro secured the much needed pars, -9 after nine holes was something that he said he has never done in his professional career.
We finished the round 12 under par after a bit more of a steady back nine. Clubhouse leaders with half of the field still out there… those few hours were very tense, with only the top spot progressing to the finals at PGA Sultan in Antalya, Turkey in November 2015. The competition finished and we had finished in the top spot, closely followed by Abergele Golf Club with a score of -9. My first competitive hole in one was a fantastic experience, 100% one to cherish.
Another competition I’ve entered was ‘League to Dubai’ this is made up of lots of local leagues, I played two home and two games, my away games were at the Portal (premier course) and Carden Park (Nicholas course). I won my local league with four wins, this progressed me to the Northern qualifier held at Portal’s Championship course.
Much like the Golf Plan comp, nerves were high. I arrived early to ensure I was properly warmed up as this time it was just me out there. ¾ handicap so on holes where I would typically have shots I missed out on. I couldn’t lose concentration at any point as in this competition the top two progress to the finals… After 9 holes I was doing well, really well 21 points then next nine would be the biggest challenge as I’d put so much energy and effort to stay focussed I started to see signs of lack of concentration. But I only had nine holes to go. I managed to put in a strong finish and scored 37 points, this secured me the 2nd spot and my trip to Dubai in April 2016 is now all confirmed.
One perk of the captaincy that I unfortunately haven’t managed to get the full use of (due to commitments at the club) lots of courses offer courtesy of the course. On my 26th birthday I enjoyed the day at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, it was an amazing place and a great experience to play on such a beautifully maintained course. Unfortunately with a score of 94 it’s unlikely that I will be lifting any Claret Jug playing like that, but it’s a great starting point and a target to beat on my next visit.
My captaincy ends at the clubs AGM in December, where I pass on my duties to the new club captain.
But the question is…
Have I enjoyed it?
Yes! At times I’ve asked myself why I put myself forward for this, but these doubts are almost immediately forgotten; we have a great group of members that are fully supportive of all the things I have done. Had I not taken this opportunity, would I have had the experience that I’ve had this year? Possibly not. I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity, I’d like to thank all that have been part of my year and supported me along the way. I’ve made some great new friends and now have friends for life from this fantastic opportunity.
If you get the opportunity – Go for it.
Thanks Will for a really interesting post. If you have any questions you would like to ask him about his captaincy, please leave a comment below. You can also check out Will’s golf channel on YouTube here, or follow him on Twitter here.