16th December, 2021
OUTGOING CAPTAIN’S 2021 YEAR END LETTER
Dear Fellow Lucifers,
As has become the custom, the retiring Captain writes to members at the end of his term to advise them of the state of our Society. I am pleased to report that The Lucifer Golfing Society is in robust financial health and we are excited by the prospect of our Centenary celebrations in 2022 under the Captaincy of Bertie Shotton, to whom I formally handed over the Captaincy at the Centenary Dinner in the iconic Long Room at Lords on November 18th, 2021. This was, indeed, a memorable beginning to our Centenary year during which James Davis gave us a most amusing insight into the history of our Society that he is heroically updating. Our principal guests, the Chairman of the R&A, the Chairman of the MCC, the Dean of Ely and the President of the Dedanists and their respective wives, certainly all enjoyed the occasion judging from the letters that I have received from them, particularly Bruce Carnegie-Brown whose father won a Lucifer at the 1957 Commonwealth Tournament for his round at Walton Heath.
It is now my great pleasure to announce that the Past Captains’ Committee has invited Mark Dumas to succeed Bertie as Captain for the two years 2023 and 2024, and he has graciously accepted.
2022 COMMONWEALTH TOURNAMENT AND WEEK
Next year’s Commonwealth Tournament will be held on 4th and 5th July. There will be two key social events in connection with the Tournament, namely a reception at Windsor Castle on 30th June and a Gala Dinner at the Savoy on 6th July. It is hoped Lucifers and their partners will support both these events. There has been unprecedented interest from overseas to play in the Tournament and, whilst we have managed to secure 160 slots from the golf clubs, we have had expressions of interest from over 210 Commonwealth golfers. It has, therefore, been decided that in order to accommodate as many from overseas as possible, Lucifers will unfortunately not be able to play in the Tournament. However, there are three foursomes’ matches for Lucifers to play in during Tournament Week. These are against the Australians at The Berkshire on 1st July, the Rest of the Commonwealth on the afternoon of 7th July at Walton Heath and finally against the Canadians at Woking on 8th July, which will bring the week to a close. The entry forms for all these events will be posted to the website in February next year and Lucifers are encouraged to apply. Lucifers are also asked to inform the Commonwealth Scribe, Chris Bonsall, on firstname.lastname@example.org of their willingness to volunteer to assist during the Tournament as either starters, ball spotters, pace of play marshals or scorers. The first round is at West Hill on 4th July and the last round will be the following day at Sunningdale, where the Tournament was first held in 1928.
2021 RESULTS AND PRIZES
Turning now to the results of our matches in 2021, we were obviously very disappointed that four of our fixtures were cancelled against Aldeburgh GC, Royal Porthcawl GC, Lloyd’s GC and the XL GC. However the Lucifers defeated Tim Hobson’s side at Burnham and Berrow, Royal West Norfolk GC, the Elders GS and the HAC GS, but lost to Royal Worlington GC, The Seniors GS, Walton Heath GC, Rye GC and the Sunningdale Seniors. Cancelled 4: Won 4: Lost 5.
A summary of the results at our Meetings appears at the end of my letter. Each and every one of these events and our Fixtures were meticulously arranged by Honorary Scribes and Match Managers and all are very happy memories. Paul Richards beat Bertie Shotton on the 18th at Royal St Georges in the Carlton Trophy. The Spring Meeting at St George’s Hill was deservedly won by our Honorary Treasurer, who is a member and Past Captain there. This Meeting was the first time that most of us had seen each other for many months and the real pleasure in renewing friendships was palpable. Ian Mavor and Simon Allport won the Edward Brice Trophy at Deal where The Open at RSG made a change in course necessary; Graham Lark, Chairman of Royal Cinque Ports GC, ensured that not only the weather, but the hospitality was outstanding. Everyone seemed to enjoy playing my Captain’s Day at this year’s Open course and George Yeandle won in a count-back from David Mitchell. By common consent the decision to travel North to Northumberland for the Autumn Meeting was well received. Annie’s family is from the county and so we both know how magical the countryside and coastline can be in good weather, with which we were truly blessed and with a wind gusting to 60 mph to boot at Bamburgh made the round even more challenging. Charlie Courage and Bertie Shotton won the Prince of Wales and the Sir John Hay Bowl respectively. Unfortunately the Family and Guest Day was not as well attended as I would have hoped with only ten pairs and so next year we must give it more attention given the importance of guests and family to our Society. Stephen and Andrew Billings were the victors.
Only as Captain have I come fully to appreciate the extent of the hard work and dedication required by all the Honorary Officers of the Lucifers who ensure that our events and fixtures run smoothly. All Lucifers owe them a huge vote of thanks, and none more so than myself during the past two years where plans and arrangements have had to change endlessly (such as the Australian Tour organised so admirably by Messrs Bonsall and Pettman and already postponed twice). Their perseverance and determination have been exemplary and I could not be more grateful to all the General and Centenary Committees members for their commitment.
In light of this, it is undeniably disappointing that I discover some Lucifers make no effort to respond to emails requesting confirmation of whether they are, or are not interested in attending some Lucifer gathering. This happened with the Centenary Dinner, arguably our most important non-Commonwealth Dinner in our living memory, when some 53 Lucifers failed to respond at all to two emails, including some 25 Lucifers, not being amongst the more elderly, who one might have hoped would have shown an interest in attending. As you would expect, records are kept for the Captain so that he can review those who attend our Matches, Meetings and Dinners. It is a great disappointment to report that there are too many Lucifers who do not participate in any of our fixtures.
During my Captaincy I have wanted to emphasise that we are no ordinary golfing Society. Since its inception in 1921/22 we have had a real purpose to “Develop Commonwealth Friendship through Golf”. The early success of this mission has resulted in conspicuous Royal support since 1931. I believe firmly that for us to continue contributing meaningfully to the spirit within the Commonwealth Family, we must behave as a family ourselves and care for our fellow Lucifers and their widows—hence my refrain heard at the Lords’ Dinner, to which the widows of past members were all invited, that “death is regrettably inevitable, but resignation never”. For this spirit to pervade the Lucifer Golfing Society, as I believe it must if we are to fulfil our Founders’ aspirations, active participation is critical. For this reason I would ask members, particularly those who have sponsored “new” Lucifers, to remember this and to ensure that this is clearly understood by their candidates.
Finally it is my sad duty to advise Lucifers that we have lost three much liked, respected and admired members of our Society during 2021—David Barber, Michael Simmonds and Bernard Weatherill QC. They will be much missed and, in particular at this time of Christmas, we send our deepest sympathies to their families with whom we must not lose touch.
In order to make the duties of the Honorary Scribes and Treasurer significantly easier, the General Committee has decided to require that the payment for all matches and events is done by way of card payments via the Lucifer website. I realise that this will not be universally popular, but it is an inevitable step in our search for efficiency. While booking and paying on the website will be required from January 2022, it is not intended to deter the exchange of friendly calls or letters between Lucifers in advance to ask for applications, or to request selection.
Many of you have kindly expressed disappointment on my behalf that my time as Captain has coincided with the Alpha, Delta and Omicron variants. I can assure you that my mere inconvenience has been more than offset by the obvious pleasure on the faces of Lucifers when they see each other again. It would appear in this world of Covid that society in general is more conscientious about maintaining friendships; long may this be the case for our own Society’s sake given our responsibilities towards our Commonwealth friends around the world, and each other.
It has been a great honour to serve as your Captain for the past two years and I would like to thank you all for the support and encouragement that I have received; it has been much appreciated and is sustaining.
Annie and I send you our very best wishes for a Very Happy and Safe Christmas and Centenary New Year.
Carlton Trophy 2021
Winner: Paul Richards
Runner-up: Bertie Shotton
Gibbs Challenge Cup: George Meakin
Runner-up: John Aarvold
Edward Brice Trophy
Winners: Ian Mavor & Andrew Brice
Hedley Le Bas Salver: Cancelled
Winner: George Yeandle
Runner-up: David Mitchell
Prince of Wales Cup: Charlie Courage
Runner-up: Alan Arscott
Sir John Hay Bowl: Bertie Shotton
Runner-up: Peter Costain
Family & Guests Day
Winners: Stephen & Andrew Billings
Runners-up: Penny Bourne & Alan Murrell