Society of the Month – May
TAGGS (Thelwall & Grappenhall Golf Society)
1984 – 40th Anniversary next year! – Check out the Website
A big year planned next year with local charity golf day raising money for Rob Burrow MND Charity
Geographic Area you play most
North West England (Lancs/Manchester/Merseyside/Nth Wales) the society is based in South Warrington, Cheshire.
We have a golf day out each month from February through to October, which are regional clubs. Then every year we have two golf tours, The TAGGS Weekend Away and the Foreign Tour.
The Weekend Away is the showpiece of the season, where we travel with 20-24 members and take part in a Ryder Cup style weekend. Playing two rounds of Pairs and a Sunday Singles in a team format. The tour takes place mid-September and usually based in the UK, but not in our region. This year for example we are travelling to Perth & Kinross and playing Auchterarder, Crieff and Blairgowrie, whilst staying in a hotel in the centre of Perth overlooking the River Tay. Saturday has become ‘Loud Pants Day’ where members attire is somewhat louder than normal.
The Foreign Tour has taken a hit in recent years for obvious reasons, but the trip consists of between 4-10 members enjoying a long weekend overseas, usually somewhere in mainland Europe. The previous two years this trip has been UK based, but in ’23 we are travelling to West Coast Ireland later in May. This is an individual competition, rather than the team event we play for in the TAGGS Weekend Away.
Weekend Tour of Wicklow & Loud Pants Saturday
TAGGS Dinner – our presentation night in Wicklow
On our regular golf days we play a Stableford competition, with a trophy handed to the highest scorer. Some of these trophies go back to the original society days in 1984. The TAGGS Weekend Away and Singles Trophy are competed in a matchplay format.
How Many golfers
In 2023 we have seen 6 new members join and the return of a member from previous years, which has boosted our numbers. Within the 38 we still have original members from the start of TAGGS in 1984.
Why did it start
In 1984, some ex-students from a local school, Lymm Grammar School, met in a local pub in Thelwall called The Little Manor. Along with some other regulars they decided they wanted to start a golf society because they wanted to play golf but most of them were not members of golf clubs. In 1984 they organised 4 days out and the group grew, but the original group consisted of 12 people. Obviously, it has morphed into the society we see today, but memories of a meeting with just 7 people a few years after the start, to decide if they should carry on. Thankfully, they did and TAGGS survived.
Enjoying a few beers after a day out at Headingley Golf Club in Leeds.
How do you select which courses to play
Each year we have a Vice Captain, as they will become Captain the following year. They select 8 courses for their season (Feb-Oct) these are selected on experience, we have a history of courses visited and when going back to 2013 or somewhere where they have heard good things about.
The usual format is Breakfast on arrival, 18 holes and 2-course meal after, then presentations for the day. The main criteria are, quality of course, price and then distance. We try to limit the driving to 60 mins maximum from our central spot, costs around the £40-80 mark dependant on quality.
Favourite Course played with Society
Last year we voted as a golf society what courses we all felt were the best courses visited between 2013-22 and the results came back as…
Hillside Golf Club 18th hole
Top Tips for running a golf society
Course Choice – making sure the courses are challenging and enjoyable for the golfer but also not too difficult for the high handicapper, whilst some of the top top courses are dreams for some, they quickly become an expensive nightmare for the lower ability golfers in a society.
Communication & Planning – organising a group of 20+ people is not easy and so communication and planning is key. We hold monthly meetings where all aspects from finance, golf, members and charity is discussed and minuted. Our website holds all minutes from 2013 for members to see and review at their leisure. Each day is communicated via our captain on email, whatsapp, Facebook and website. Therefore all members now what is happening up to 1 month prior to the date of going out.
Fun – we have a big mix of good quality players off low single figure handicaps to the occasional player who is off 25+. The main point is to respect our hosts, enjoy their hospitality and the golf. But above all else, we are a society and as such we should enjoy each other’s company, that is easier if there is some fun in there.
Sensible Handicapping – we have an experienced golfer as our handicap secretary, and he has played club golf for many years. He keeps the society on an even keel. We always have a trophy on each day out, and it’s very rare one player wins more than a single day out in the season. Therefore, the handicap system works for us.
Socialising – we are quite a large group in TAGGS, and we try to organise as many social meetings as is possible, this ranges from weekend tours, to mid-season get togethers with partners and Christmas drinks. The main point of a society is golf yes… but a social one.
3 reasons to join the Society
Being a social golfer, I find that TAGGS offers the team mentality and spirit I missed from cricket once I had retired, though my swing still resembles a cover drive…
- Social/teammate or banter
- Playing great golf courses without the need or expense to join a golf club, with demands on time people sometimes do not find the time to play regular golf. Without regular golf some golf membership can be deemed expensive and without society golf, some would not play at all.
- If you are a member of a golf club, society golf offers you the chance in a relaxed atmosphere to practise or try new techniques with your game rather than trying at a club competition or Knock Out. I remember Sunday Friendlies at the cricket club, same idea. Played in a more relaxed atmosphere, you tinker with your game, when the result is not as important, and yet you’re competing.
Club Membership Split
Out of the 38 paid up members we have 22 Golf Members and 16 non-Golf Club members (58/42% split)
We have a handicap system based on performance on the day and taking the daily average as the centre of the handicap cut/increase. This can lead to some of the golf club members having a higher/lower handicap than their club ones, they have a small grumble from time to time, but all buy into the need for the society to have their own handicap.
Mental/Physical Health benefits
Our group is mostly (I’d say 80%+) over 45 years old. Playing golf (especially for the non club members) tends to be their main exercise. We have seen some members lose weight to enable them to gain a more comfortable round and keep this weight off as they can exercise. We have a good social life in the society and as such support for members when loved ones pass away or illness strikes is always a definite plus to the person involved.
We have a new Captain’s Charity every year, selected by the Captain. In 2023 we have chosen 1000 Hearts for Harry a charity raising funds for heart monitoring for the youth in the region to detect heart defects before they become fatal. We have raised £10,000’s in previous years for charities for homeless at Christmas, British Kidney Foundation and Warrington Neo Natal unit. In our 40th anniversary year we are planning a Golf Day where we hope to continue our fund raising for MND and especially the Rob Burrow fund. Warrington is obviously a Rugby League town, and a lot of our members are regulars at The Wire… Therefore this charity is close to our hearts as Rob Burrow was a Rugby League legend, even if he played for Leeds Rhinos. We want to show our support and hope to raise a considerable sum from the golf day.
Handing over of £750 to last years charity WODAC, Warrington Open Door at Christmas, which helps vulnerable or homeless people of Warrington at Christmas time by offering food, shelter and company.
Remember the society is not another golf club, it’s a group of players enjoying playing golf with themselves.
Rules are rules but don’t let it get in the way of enjoyment
Competition can be fun, allow it to be, playing for something is always better than playing for nothing, but again, fun is the key ingredient.
Be aware of your members needs and also those of your hosts, if you enjoy your round, you may want to come back.
Communicate and ensure all players are aware of what is happening and when.
Enjoying a sunny day at Ormskirk in 2019.