Heathland Golf Classic   5th June to 7th June 2024

Heathland Golf Classic 2016 Report

After the excitement of Danny Willett’s last gasp Masters win, the final stages of the 2016 Heathland Classic was able to match all the drama and tension as closely as any amateur tournament could possibly hope for. The 180 competitors in the three day competition were down to a final two teams in contention as the pairs started the back nine at Notts. Howley Hall’s Phil Staunton (9) and Martin Barber (8) had led from day one with outright victories at both Sherwood Forest and Lindrick and had a 4 point cushion from second placed Andrew (14) and Simon Green (5) from Sudbrook Moor. The Green brothers were the reigning Champions and determined to keep their hands on the trophy – the back nine is were the real drama commenced.

Day one started at Sherwood Forest in near perfect conditions. The recent dry spell had made the fairways very firm and that added to the challenge of the course that was beautifully presented. Gary Strangoe (secretary) “excitement was high as everyone collected their goody bags and were announced on the tee by the starter.” Early scores of 41 points recorded by Paul York and John Tilley (Burghley Park) tied with Dan Crouch and Thomas Gallager (Crews Hill) looked to have set the bar until Staunton and Barber posted a very impressive 43 points with the Green brothers ominously positioned in joint second to signal the dogfight that was to follow.
Onto day two at Lindrick where new course manager Neil Horton had the fast greens matching the reputation that Lindrick has always been famous for, or judging by the scoring maybe that should be infamous? Course knowledge proved to be invaluable as the Lindrick pairing of Julian Maturi and Jon Simpkin were clubhouse leaders for most of the day with a 42 point tally with clubmates Bailey Gill and David Allsopp next best with 41 points but late in the day Staunton and Barber threw in a spectacular 24 point score on the back nine to finish on 43 points and take their second daily prize. The Green brothers stayed in contention with 39 points whilst Peter Crockford and Tim Lloyd (Puttenham) took the third place prize.
Day three at Notts saw all the pairings going out in (reverse) leaderboard order which paired the overall leaders Staunton and Barber last out with Andrew and Simon Green defending a 6 point margin. While the order of play has an feeling of the ‘walk of shame’ for the early starters there was still a lot to play for with a cash prize for a hole in one on the 5th and a trip to the 2017 Masters for two for a hole in one on the 9th. The prize had a value of £12,000 and manager Graham Collins was on the hole ready to make the award. He said “It was great to meet everyone who had obviously really enjoyed the whole event and I was willing someone to knock it in and have the dilemma over who to take with them to Augusta”. Sadly no one took the prize.
The 5th however was a different story with Graham Rye (11) aceing the hole and taking with it the £1500 cash prize, no doubt his fellow members at Bondhay will be joining him to celebrate his success as he also aced the 3rd at Lindrick in the 2015 Yorkshire Challenge, the odds of that double must be enormous!
With the threat of heavy rain in the air secretary Martyn Bonner did a fantastic job keeping play moving as the early starters took advantage of the dry conditions. Bondhay’s Michael Wheatley and David Collins put a disappointing two days behind them to post a magnificent 45 points and be clear clubhouse leaders by early afternoon. The competition uses the Golf Genius live scoring system so all competitors can see the scores via an App on their phone at both the halfway and 18th hole. Tournament Director Luke Allen told us “the Golf Genius system adds to the event and makes it just like a professional competition where you can watch how you are doing on a live basis. It creates a lot of excitement in the clubhouses and gives immediate feedback to all the players, we don’t want to inconvenience anyone by having to ‘ring the proshop’ the next day, that’s too much like the 1990’s and not consistent with our mission to provide the best environment that we can for our competitors.”
As the rain set in the leading pack were in the clubhouse and 120 points had the overall prize tied between three teams. Two from Lindrick, father and son pairing Steve and Chad Gee (grandad was further back with 113), Sam Rook and Neil Conway together with Jonathan Graves and Michael Upton (Kenwick Park) who were all anxiously consulting the screens and phones for news of the final four ball.
As they stood on the 10th tee the Green’s had narrowed the gap to 4 points and it was a virtual matchplay event now. A gross birdie with a shot from Andrew Green on the 11th closed the gap to 2 points, the 14th saw them level as Andrew notched a 3 pointer against just one from Phil and the leaders were behind for the first time in 43 holes. Andrew’s good form continued with 10 points from the last 4 holes, closing the door on Phil and Martin who could only counter with 7 points, to retain their title.
Gracious in defeat Phil said “It’s difficult  to maintain your form over three consecutive days on three top and very tough tracks such as these. The winners know Notts very well and it showed. They turned the day into a matchplay event and put us under pressure at every turn, we just couldn’t get on the tee first. They played very well, congratulations to them, they won it on merit, we didn’t lose it.”
Phil Green said “We’re speechless, after our start our expectations were to try for a top three spot and as the conditions became tougher we just kept going. To win the title again is unbelievable.” Andrew added “We are very competitive and though we never thought we could do it again we just never gave in. We had that little bit of luck you always need if you are going to win and then we just kept going and going.”
For the record the Green’s also won the Notts title with 45 points on count back from Wheatley and Collins with Graves and Upton in third place. For those wanting to enter the event in 2017 news from the secretary at Sudbrook is that in recognition of his success Andrew Green is being cut 2 shots to a handicap of 12, perhaps giving the field a chance of preventing the treble!
Luke Allen
Tournament Director