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The Heroes Who Keep Our Golf Clubs Alive

By: | Mon 26 Feb 2024

Our recent surveys have revealed that there are many areas of golf club membership that trouble us, and most of them revolve around money. 

We get ourselves in a lather about things such as joining fees, annual subscriptions, the price of beer and food in the bar, the lack of course maintenance, the number of greens staff the club employs and the cost to visitors of playing at our courses.

All of the above is perfectly understandable but there is a small army of unsung heroes and heroines at every single course in the land - the volunteers who put themselves forward to take on positions that are both time-consuming and, in the main, thankless. And trust me when I tell you that there is not a club in the UK that could survive without these people.

Handicap Secretary

The handicap secretary is arguably the most unpopular person at the golf club. Goodness knows why anybody would want to take on this task. When all is said and done, this person is only the messenger. Give him (or her) a break and count yourself lucky that you actually have somebody at the club who is willing to take this on.


I know what it’s like to be a club captain. As an individual, it is probably the greatest honour that any club golfer can have bestowed upon them. But there are times when you ask yourself why you bothered. 

It is an opportunity to nominate a charity or cause that is close to your heart and raise lots of money. It’s a chance to improve the social scene that everybody has constantly complained about. You can organise sports quizzes and encourage members to bring along their friends. You can set up a summer BBQ that sees family and friends visiting your golf club. You can speak to the club secretary and the greenkeepers about issues that matter to yourself and the members. 

And get absolutely no thanks whatsoever. The quiz you arrange will be on the “wrong” day. The outdoor BBQ will be staged on the coldest, wettest of the entire summer. Nobody will turn up to the dinner-dances you arrange. The members will moan about the feedback you give them. But you can console yourself with the certainty that at the end of your 12-month spell you can hand over all this grief to somebody else.

The Vice-Captain

This one deserves a medal. Why? Because he spends 12 months seeing all of the above, knowing that life is going to be exactly the same for him when his turn comes around! Yet he still takes it on.

Golf Club Heroes

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Competitions Secretary

All those monthly medals, stablefords, club championships and open days do not just happen by accident. Somebody has to sit down and fill out the calendar, work out entrance fees, decide whether to run raffles, ensure that trophies are returned. At most golf clubs, these events work like clockwork. And it doesn’t happen by magic alone. It is all down to hard work. Unpaid hard work.

Junior Section Organiser

Most of us realise that if we are to ensure the future of our glorious game then it is essential that we have a thriving junior section - and somebody has to organise it. And it simply must be somebody who can talk the same language as teenagers, who can communicate with boys and girls and who actually wants to see kids on the golf course - and is prepared to take it all on for nothing and for no thanks.

Fixtures Secretary

Inter-club matches take some organising. Some poor soul has to contact the other clubs in your area, check course availability for both home and away matches, negotiate a rate that will not lead to a flood of complaints, sort out tee times that keep everybody happy. He or she also has to help decide on the post-match dress code, encourage home players to buy drinks for their visitors and speak to the kitchen about possible menus, bearing in mind that there are now likely to be vegans, vegetarians and others with special dietary requirements.


This is the person who has to be at the club before the first person tees off, take their money, tick them off the starters’ list - and perform miracles in keeping everything on track when the phone calls start to come in to say that players can’t make it or just don’t fancy it because it happens to be raining.

The Committee

Ah yes, the club committee, the faceless people who probably meet once a month and essentially decide how your golf club is going to be run. And the target for everybody’s criticism. Here’s a thought - if you don’t like the way they do it (for nothing, for the pure love of it), put your own name forward - and then find out just difficult it all can be!

The Volunteers

A quick search of the internet will quickly reveal that lots of golf clubs and organisations are desperate for volunteers to help with all sorts of things. I don’t care what anybody says - anybody who does voluntary work within golf, no matter what that work may be, deserves our thanks.

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