Bedfordshire Golf Club - Exceptional Service Awards
Exceptional Service Award 2021 - The Interim Management Team
(from left Gerald Bygraves, Steve Coppock, Clive Haywood & John Simpson, with Club President, Joe Nellis)
I am delighted to inform Members that, following the unanimous decision of the Presidents’ and Captains’ Committee, the Exceptional Service Award for 2021 has been made jointly to the four members of the former Interim Management Team (IMT) namely: Steve Coppock, John Simpson, Clive Haywood, and Gerald Bygraves.
It is not very often that we have the opportunity to publicly thank those who give their time, energy, and expertise so freely for the benefit of all of us. This Exceptional Service Award is about exactly that – to publicly acknowledge the exceptional commitment and dedication of these four long-standing members of Bedfordshire Golf Club, individually and collectively. The IMT took over the day-to-day management of the Club in mid-2018 and the Professional Shop shortly thereafter until the appointment of a new, full-time General Manager at the start of 2021. The key roles and responsibilities of each covered all areas of the Club’s activities.
Steve Coppock, as Chair of the Management Board, led the IMT and took direct responsibility for regulatory issues including Health & Safety, Insurance, Licensing etc. He also dealt with any current Member-related issues, in conjunction with the Club Captain as required, alongside line management of the Office staff. He also supported the Treasurer with cash management and financial accounts, as well as Covid-related matters, notably in dealing with important monthly furlough claims.
John Simpson led the planning and reporting of the Club’s restructuring alongside overall responsibility for all HR issues. This included day-to-day responsibility for the continued operation of the Professional Shop and Driving Range and the upkeep of our two golf courses and line management of the Professional team as well as the Head Greenkeeper and his team.
Clive Haywood managed the Club's successful Membership Programme and Member Communications. As part of this, he developed and operationalised a very effective and timely Member Communications strategy, including an extensive revamp of the Club’s website which has been so central to the success of the recruitment of new Members. He was also responsible for all aspects of the Bar & Catering departments including the line management of the Heads of Bar & Catering and their teams.
As Treasurer, Gerald Bygraves remained in charge of all aspects of the day-to-day financial management of the Club, while at the same time, running his own accounting business. His corporate experience and expertise have been invaluable.
The outbreak of the COVID pandemic in early 2020 created unprecedented uncertainty. How many of us could have predicted what was to happen? At that time, it is no exaggeration to state that the outlook was daunting, but the IMT took a firm control of the reins and pulled together a comprehensive operational plan for the Club’s survival at very short notice.
As a direct result, the Club is now able to celebrate the fact that it is in an exceptionally strong and sustainable position in every respect. Membership is full across nearly all categories, there is a healthy waiting list of applicants wanting to join, many major improvement and investment projects have either been completed or are in the pipeline, the finances have never been better, staff morale is high, and all Departments have thrived and have continued to do so under a new General Manager – and Members are enjoying a great golfing experience! Admittedly, there has been an element of luck along the way with a nationwide increase in enthusiasm for outdoor activities including golf during the pandemic, but the IMT deserves a great deal of the credit for our recent good fortune. Not only have they worked tirelessly to maintain a stable environment during an unsettling period, but they have also put in place an exciting foundation and plan for the future growth of the Club.
On behalf of all Members of Bedfordshire Golf Club, thank you.
President, Bedfordshire Golf Club
Exceptional Service Award 2020 - Sam Turnbull
Sam Turnbull joined the Club in 1994 and for the past 25 years she has played a considerable part in its organisation and development.
That Sam should be chosen to receive the 2020 Exceptional Service Award is testament to the many and varied ways in which she has served the Club.
Sam joined the Ladies’ Section Committee in 1996 and was elected assistant Handicap Secretary in 1997; the following year she took over as Handicap Secretary. Although she was due to be the Ladies’ Vice-Captain in 1999, she stepped up to be Captain in November that year. This was the period when the Club was moving to Stagsden, so she was kept busy in the challenging work of establishing and opening the new courses and facilities.
Following her term as Club Ladies’ Captain she became very involved in the Ladies’ County Senior Golf and served as Captain for three years.
Meanwhile she continued to support Club activities by organising voluntary work especially in keeping the Clubhouse gardens tidy and this work has continued.
In 2013 she was asked to be Ladies’ Captain for a second term of 15 months and then continued her support as Ladies’ Section Treasurer until 2018.
One of Sam’s greatest contributions to the Club has been the establishment of the very popular Festival Weekend. The event was a team effort on the part of Sam and Nick Turnbull to celebrate the London 2012 Summer Olympics. This has been one of the highlights in the Club’s calendar – a golf extravaganza which they organised until last summer 2019, in various formats.
Sam was elected to the Greens Committee in 2017 and became Chair of Greens the following year, a post which she stills holds and has fulfilled with distinction. Under Sam’s leadership the quality of our courses has markedly improved.
In all her official positions Sam has conducted herself with commendable energy, tact, knowledge of golfing matters and determination. Cheerful, charming and persuasive she leads from the front, ever ready to get involved in practical matters such as watering transplanted trees and organising volunteers for all sorts of duties such as marshalling car parking, divot filling, competition starting and numerous other tasks.
It would be difficult to imagine a more dedicated member of our Club or an award recognising that dedication being more richly deserved.
Exceptional Service Award 2019 - Anne Harris
Anne receives Exceptional Service Award at Past Captains' Dinner
Anne Receiving her Exceptional Service Award from Past Captain, Jim Godfrey, with John Simpson who proposed her
The Presidents’ and Captains’ Committee (PCC) decided in late 2018 to give the 2019 Exceptional Service Award to Anne Harris.
The presentation finally took place at the Past Captains' & Committee Dinner recently with citation read by Past Captain, John Simpson and was then repeated at the Club AGM last Sunday.
Anne has been active in Club affairs for over twenty years principally as Ladies’ Captain in 2006 and again in 2016. She has served on the Committee on and off for eight years including 6 years as Chair of the Social Committee and was a Board member in 2014/15.
For the Ladies’ Section Anne has captained the “Mail on Sunday” teams, and represented the Club in Shield, Mixed and friendly matches. Anne’s contribution to Bedfordshire County Ladies’ Golf was recognised with an award in 2016. Among other things she has acted as our County representative and was Captain of Bedfordshire County Past Captains for three years.
Anne has promoted our mixed golf events and organised the monthly Bridge evenings for nine years to encourage members who are playing less golf to stay in touch with old golfing friends. She has organised numerous raffles and other fund raising events in aid of the Club and charities.
Exceptional Service Award 2018 - Steve Monico
I am delighted to inform members that an Exceptional Service Award was made to Steve Monico, who has made an invaluable contribution to the Club over many years.
Steve, who has been a member since 1993, began what was to be a long and dedicated involvement with the management of the Club when he was elected to be Treasurer at the 2002 AGM. He brought with him great professional accountancy skills and, having spent much of his Christmas 2001 holiday in Tenerife poring over the Club affairs, financial position and cash crisis, he became aware of how much needed to be done.
Later that year the General Manager resigned and Vic McDonald, in replacing him, was witness to the considerable task of re-establishing the financial controls and systems that Steve found himself having to tackle as a key member of the Finance and Admin Committee.
Steve contributed a huge amount of his time and professional resources to ensuring the Club finances were properly controlled and problems from the past were dealt with. There were significant issues that had led to massive assessments being issued by HM Revenue & Customs for amounts in excess of £2m. Somehow Steve dealt with these, meaning less than £200k finally needed to be paid. This not only required a significant amount of internal finessing to keep members informed and on board with all the changes that needed to happen, but also required Steve to display considerable skill and dexterity in many complex, often lengthy and challenging negotiations with our bankers. Steve brought the Club back into line with the authorities and many suppliers whilst controlling the debt.
Steve was also asked to negotiate the termination of Club contracts with two previous professionals and was instrumental in the appointment of the current professional.
Steve was closely involved with the creation of the Management Board in 2003 and took over as Chair in 2004 whilst continuing as Treasurer.
He passed the Chairmanship on in 2005 and continued as Treasurer until 2008 when he became Club Captain succeeding Eric Murphy.
Following his successful Captain’s year did he lay down his burden in 2009? Indeed no: he took on the challenging role of Chair of Biddenham Golf Club Ltd, which is the independent body that is the Club’s landlord. His first responsibility was to present the rights issue to members and shareholders. Its success ensured the future of the Club at Stagsden. 9 years later he still holds that same position.
Steve has made an important contribution to the Club for many years and his calm organising ability and unfailing good humour has been greatly appreciated by many members.
The strong position of our club in 2018 owes much to many individual members but to no one more than Steve whose steadfast guidance and commitment is deservedly honoured and recognised with this award.
President, Bedfordshire Golf Club
Steve Monico, 2018 Exceptional Service Award winner, receiving his award from Vic McDonald.
The inaugural Exceptional Service Awards were made to the following members of Bedfordshire Golf Club - January 2017
Alvan receiving his award from Past President, Prof. Peter Hancock
Alvan began golf club membership at Royal Lytham St Anne’s in 1954 and his RAF service took him around the UK and overseas to six other clubs before he retired as a Wing Commander and having been appointed to work at Cranfield University moved to Biddenham from St Neots in 1974 when he joined Bedfordshire Golf Club.
He was elected to the Committee in 1978 and Chaired the Social Committee until he was elected as Vice Captain in 1983. Following his Captain’s year in 1984 he continued to serve the Club as Greens Chairman from 1985-88. He was Chair of the Development Committee from 1996-98 which initiated the complex process of organising the move from Biddenham to Stagsden.
He began his long involvement with County Golf as the Club representative from 2002 until 2009, joining Bedfordshire County Executive Committee in 2002 and served as County President 2004-2005. Following this he was elected to the South Eastern Counties Executive Committee where he served until 2010.
He also Captained the Bedfordshire Captains’ Golf Society in 1996 and still serves on their executive committee and best of all is still playing in their events.
After 42 years of membership, Alvan with wife Daphne, continues to support Club events and plays regularly with the Seniors.
Trevor with Marjorie and below receiving Trevor's award from Past President, John Farnworth
Trevor joined Bedfordshire Golf Club in 1972. He had a unique golf swing the result of a childhood accident. At age 11 he had broken his arm badly and it was forever after crooked. He had been told at that time that he could not now expect to play any sport. But typically he found his own path and as a golfer became very competent and competitive. Many members will have discovered that he was also a very knowledgeable golfer, understanding golfing etiquette, the complexities of the rule-book and the current handicapping system better than anyone. But above all he was great fun to play golf with. He had a mischievous sense of humour enjoying tales of golfing mishaps but also very willing to laugh at himself.
Trevor retired from teaching in July 1998 and within 10 days he had been co-opted to act as Club General Manager thus, somewhat to his chagrin, missing out on his six weeks of summer holidays. He performed this task admirably and without salary until the new manager was appointed. Those of you closely involved in Club affairs in the years just before and after the move to Stagsden will know just how challenging those times were.
Trevor became Club Captain in 2002. It is often said that each Club Captain has his share of issues to cope with but Trevor and his team were beset with serious financial and staffing issues. He made great sacrifices in the pursuit of the survival of the club and his many other Captain's duties. It seemed that whenever there was a "crisis" Trevor was one of the first to help. As we now know the crises of the early Stagsden years were overcome - just. The debt we all owe to Trevor for his part in achieving this will always be remembered.
Later on Trevor became the shining light of the Seniors Section as its secretary. Those of us who worked closely with him came to know that Trevor was not one to let the grass grow under his feet. If anything was overlooked, he would inevitably be on the phone diplomatically giving a nudge in the right direction. The extent to which he modestly and efficiently managed Seniors section affairs and developed its organisation and scope cannot be overstated. The standards and structures he helped implement still remain. If his health had not failed him in recent years he would in all probability still be running the show. He was irrepressibly keen on improving whatever he was involved with organising. He had a fund of knowledge, knew every member, remembered every tradition, but was ever open to new ideas. His involvement in Club affairs and especially in organising the Seniors became a huge part of his life and he loved it. Just as his pupils had been given his unstinting effort so our Club benefited from his 38 years of dedicated service. Sadly Trevor passed away in 2016 but bequeathed us the legacy of his exceptional service and memories of an admirable member.
Keith receiving his award from President, Roger Willis
Keith took up membership in 1984. For many years he was a member of the Men's Senior Section Committee and for thirteen years he very successfully managed the organisation of the Senior men's match fixtures. This was a very difficult task, arranging dates and selecting teams for 28 matches every season. His dedicated work over many hours and years resulted in enjoyable hours of friendly competitive golf for hundreds of our senior players. He continued to enter men’s competitions until very recently.
During the construction phase of the new courses, clubhouse and driving range he took an enthusiastic interest and made a substantial photographic record of the process which has resulted in the facility we now enjoy.
He has also maintained the floral displays around the new clubhouse and in recent times formed a team to plant spring flower displays along the verges of the entrance roads.
More recently he arranged men's competition winner's names to be engraved on the Club' trophies.
He was also keenly interested in the maintenance of the course machinery, a legacy from his days as a toolmaker/ engineer and he has helped in this very important facet of the greens keeper's work.
Sadly, Keith passed away after a period of poor health in 2019. He will be greatly missed by all at Bedfordshire Golf Club