OJ Golfing Society
All golfing OJs are welcome to join the Society which consists of all age groups (and handicaps) from recent school leavers to those who left years ago. The golf played is nicely competitive but sociable and fun.
The OJGS was formally established in 2005/6 following surprise being expressed at the time by certain Old Boy opponents that Old Johnians were not more involved in Old Boys Golf. The point was taken and as a first step an application for membership of the Public Schools Old Boys Golfing Association (now known as the Grafton Morrish Association) was made. We are now members along with over 150 schools a number of whom are traditional sporting rivals of St John’s.
The OJGS is a group with some 90 OJs of all ages currently recorded on our membership database. Some of this number are not fully active whilst others, mainly more recent recruits, have yet to become subscribing members - nevertheless it is encouraging to be attracting such interest bearing in mind that golf at St John’s is not a major activity. Apart from holding an annual Society Day, we currently have established annual fixtures against O Epsomians, O Alleynians, St John’s pupils and the Bar GS. Matches also used to be played against O Lorettonians and O Cranleighans. At some stage we hope it may be possible either to restore or replace these fixtures.
As a member of the Grafton Morrish Association the OJGS enters a team each year in the Grafton Morrish Trophy, a stableford foursomes competition played off scratch. In the main the OJ team has performed with credit, bearing in mind the standard of play required, and in 2010 and 2014 did well to qualify for the final stages.
For more information please contact the Development Office.
Thursday 23 April – The School at Effingham GC (Dom Higgitt/Andrew Wildey)
This fixture is postponed until later in the year. (September TBC)
Sunday 10 May – Grafton Morrish Qualifier at Royal Wimbledon GC (Stuart Hibbert)
This fixture is postponed until later in the year. (July/August TBC)
Saturday 16 May – Bar GS at New Zealand GC (Richard Vosser)
This fixture is postponed until 31 October.
Sunday 7 June – Society Day at Tyrrells Wood GC (Andrew Worboys)
This is fixture is postponed until either Sunday 20 or 27 September.
Saturday 18 July – O Epsomians at Effingham GC (Andrew Wildey)
Saturday 12 September O Alleynians at New Zealand GC (Barry Smart)
*Grafton Morrish Finals – Friday 9 October to Sunday 11 October at Hunstanton and Royal West Norfolk Golf Clubs (Practice Day Thursday 8 October) *all subject to qualification at Royal Wimbledon on 10 May!
Match Reports 2019
OJGS v Old Alleynians at New Zealand GC on Saturday 14 September 2019
The venue for this year’s match was again New Zealand Golf Club. The weather was perfect with just a light breeze and the course was in fine condition.
The OJ team was represented by Stuart Hibbert, Hugh Gibbs, Jignesh Patel, Rupert Stonebridge, John Wood (a guest and late replacement for Peter Edgar who unfortunately had to pull out at the last moment because of illness at home). The Alleynians fielded a team of eight so it was agreed that there would be three foursome matches and that two of their number would play a singles but not to count towards the match result.
At lunch the OJs found themselves leading by 2 matches won and one match halved.
As usual, the Club provided us with an excellent lunch enhanced by wine and port. Traditionally the previous year’s losing team provides the port. As the OJs lost the match in 2018 at Royal Ashdown Forest it was our turn.
Unfortunately, three of our team could not play in the afternoon which left us with a depleted team of three. We borrowed an Old Alleynian making the afternoon round two matches of foursomes.
The afternoon was reduced to 14 holes due to time constraints. Sadly, the OJs lost both matches resulting in an overall halved match. A disappointing outcome bearing in mind our lead at lunchtime, but undoubtedly a fair result.
In spite of team shortages everybody enjoyed the day immensely. However, as this is one of our best fixtures we would welcome better support for the match next year with hopefully some new faces making themselves available.
As match manager, I was disappointed that we could not match the Old Alleynian numbers especially as they had four younger players in their team.
Report by Match Manager Barry Smart
OJGS v Old Epsomians at Effingham GC on Saturday 6 July 2019
On a stunning day at Effingham Golf Club the OJGS played 'the old rivals'. An Old Epsomian team managed by a new match manager, Matthew Sutherland. A drink and a snack on the sunny terrace was followed by three 4-ball matches. We aim for the match to be at least 8 a side but on this occasion the O Epsomians were only able to raise a team of six.
Leading the OJs out were the strong pairing of Stuart Hibbert (h'cap 5) & Dom Higgitt (h'cap 10) playing against the youthful pair of James Taylorson & Sam Ratnage. Stuart being a local member showed his wiley experience, dovetailing nicely with Dom to secure a comfortable win.
Second out were the Captains. Andrew Wildey playing with Jamie Sutherland (brother of the OE Captain), went ahead thanks to some early birdies. The OE pairing of Matthew Sutherland and Paul Starns (formerly OE match manager when the match was played at Walton Heath) kept in the game with some very solid golf. On the 15th hole the OJs were three up with three to play. This is where Paul Starns took over proceedings, finally holing a 30 footer on the final green for a birdie to snatch a halved match.
The last OJ pairing saw Paul Deeprose and John Foster taking Jon Collier, a stalwart member of the OE Halford Hewitt team, playing with his son, Christian (aged 16, a current Epsom College student). We heard that the youngster missed a ten foot putt on the 12th hole to just miss out on a NET Hole in One! However, the game went down the 18th with OJ Paul using the consistancy of John Foster (playing off 8) to play some more aggressive, albeit, slightly wayward golf! They saw the OJs home to a 1 Up win.
The 2.5 - 0.5 scoreline in favour of the OJs was possibly a little flattering, but deserved. The matches were played in a very friendly and enjoyable manner. A drink or two were shared before heading home for a well earned rest! Many thanks to all the players for supporting the fixture.
Effingham Golf Club were great hosts for the match and the course was in fantastic shape. We hope the day has given a new lease of life into this revived fixture. Matthew Sutherland and I are in contact to find ways to attract more OJs and OEs to play. The new format of a light lunch and afternoon round at the weekend seems to appeal to some sections of our Society membership.
Report by Match Manager Andrew Wildey
Society Day at Tyrrells Wood GC on Sunday 9 June
It was a disappointment last year that our Society Day due to be held at Tyrrells Wood GC for the first time had to be cancelled because of a clash with the final day of the Ryder Cup. However, there was nothing to stop it going ahead this year, not even the weather which turned out to be unexpectedly favourable. After a certain amount of chopping and changing 16 members came together, a few less than hoped for, for an afternoon of golf preceded by lunch. On this occasion we were very pleased to welcome Alex Kearney as a guest player. A keen golfer, she has recently joined St John’s to work as Director of External Relations and she is keen that we liaise with her in future to advertise and promote our Society.
The format for the day was to be four ball better ball with the better ball stableford score of each pair, off full handicap, to count. The conditions for golf were excellent and some good scoring ensued. Four pairs came in with well over 40 points with Andrew Wildey and Simon Pettman (a Tyrrells Wood member) finishing as winners with an impressive score of 48 points. I meandered round the course in a buggy and watched bits of all the games and it was clear this pair were playing really well and picking up any number of birdies. Close runners up were Pascal Sedgwick and Dom Higgitt with an excellent 47 points. Had there been a third prize our veteran pair, Hugh Gibbs and Peter Edgar, with 44 points would have taken it. Alex Kearney, our guest, partnered with Andrew Worboys (another Tyrrells Wood member) also played well for 43 points. In addition to main prizes there were also a number of spot prizes at nominated holes. Pascal Sedgwick won nearest the pin at the short 9th and David Glasscock similarly at the 16th. Nearest the pin with the second shot was won by Nick Presley at the 11th and Stuart Hibbert similarly at the 18th.
All in all it was a successful and very enjoyable day. Tyrrells Wood certainly fed us well and the golf course was in fine condition, and we were very pleased to be able to hold the Day there. Thanks must go to Andrew Worboys for making the arrangements with the Club and to Andrew Wildey for rallying the members to participate. I hope we will be able to repeat the Day next year with maybe a greater turn out.
Report by David Scrivens
OJGS v The Bar GS at New Zealand GC on Saturday 18 May
After last year’s victory over the Bar, the OJs were keen for more success in 2019. At least it seemed that way, with the full side arriving at the Club at least an hour before first tee off
First off Rob Harradine and Ben Hepden were a little nervous with the weight of responsibility of leading out the team. They needn’t have been as the old cricketing comrades gelled instantly putting significant pressure on the Bar pair ending up 2&1 winners. Next came Sean Kiff and Andrew Mott, both newcomers to OJ golf, who also suggested they were concerned with the weight of expectation; but with a first tee shot straight down the middle, they immediately took control of their game, chalking up another point for the OJs. There were no such nerves showing with Gibbs and Vosser, having played many times together in the past they knew each other’s games and calmly posted a controlled a 2&1 victory.
With the OJs having to cope with a last minute absence due to illness Liam Clarke, also new to OJ golf, had to take on his opposing pair single-handed while Tristan Mcillroy played a singles in the final game of the morning. Both are good low handicap players and despite each giving away a significant number of shots still emerged victorious.
This would leave the OJs leading 5-0 heading into lunch. Now as we all know the OJs, for some strange reason, often seem to struggle after lunch, meaning that in the afternoon many a winning position has been given away. On this occasion lunch would be a particularly special occasion with both sides paying tribute to Paul Norris, instigator of the Bar v OJ match some 14 years ago, who would be retiring as match manager of the Bar side. Very generously Paul treated the assembled teams to a glass of Champagne to mark the occasion. The champagne also lead to the rash agreement between Captains that the afternoon matches should be played for double points.
In terms of the play lunch had the desired effect in that the OJs would lose one match, Tristan Mcilroy narrowly losing a single, halve two with Ben Hepden and Hugh Gibbs Gibbs and Richard Vosser and Liam Clarke Clarke narrowly missing puts on the last green. This left Sean Kiff and Andrew Mott to win the final match to keep their 100% record on the day. So this left the OJs with 9 and The Bar with 4 points and a comprehensive victory but more importantly it had been a very enjoyable day with the New Zealand Club as ever providing a splendid lunch and a golf course in great condition.
Report by Match Manager Richard Vosser
OJGS v St John’s School at Effingham GC - Saturday 23 April
It has become customary for the match against the School to be the first of the OJ golfing season and played, as usual in recent years, at Effingham GC. Andrew Wildey, who had taken over from Humfrey Malins as Match Manager, raised a mainly young side with a good spread of handicaps. The School team was also on the young side with William Marshall, their Master i/c, coming in as replacement for a late withdrawal. To cut a long story short the whole match turned out to be a wonderfully close encounter.
Match Reports 2018
OJGS v Old Alleynians at Royal Ashdown Forest GC – Saturday 30 June
As the New Zealand GC was unable to accommodate the match this year, it was played at Royal Ashdown Forest GC, as a one off, with a view to returning to the New Zealand Club in 2019. Barry Smart, our match manager, raised a strong eight man side, including three of our Grafton Morrish team and another potential member, Alex Annetts, playing his first match for the Society. As Barry was going to be on holiday at the time of the match Hugh Gibbs, with assistance from David Scrivens, took over as team captain on the day. It is fair to say that Barry had some difficulties this year finalising his side due to unavailability and late cry offs.
As it was such a hot day, it was decided that the result of the match should be decided on the morning round because it was likely a number of players would not want to play after lunch. Sadly the OJs lost the morning 3-1 which of course meant that they would not be in a position to claw some points back in the afternoon. For the record our first pair of Peter Richardson/James Smart lost a really tight match by 1 hole while the second and third pairs of Stuart Hibbert/Alex Annetts and Peter Edgar/Dom Higgitt both lost by 4 and 3. By common consent all three Alleynian pairs played unnecessarily well! It was left to the old men of the team Hugh Gibbs and David Scrivens to record our only win helped to some degree by their opponents having a difficult morning!
After a very welcome cold buffet lunch it was clear that one or two of the Alleynian players were happy to call it a day. Team captains each put two pairings together over lunch for the afternoon and two foursomes ventured out to play as many holes as they pleased in the heat.
By general consent Royal Ashdown laid on a very enjoyable day which all concerned appeared to enjoy especially the stunning views from the top of the course on such a clear day. We were grateful to the Alleynian captain, Duncan Anderson, for providing the port at lunch which should technically have been provided by us as last year’s losers! We must remember to rectify the position next year.
Report by David Scrivens
OJGS v the Bar GS at New Zealand GC – Saturday 19 May
In a celebration of sport fit to grace the Royal Wedding the OJs took on the Bar at the New Zealand golf club on 19 May. After last year when we were 4-0 down at lunch, the OJs were justifiably nervous as they assembled at the Club over coffee and the customary bacon bap.
They need not have been as, in perfect weather, all the OJ pairs took early leads, which they would not relinquish. So by lunch the OJs had won 3 out of the four matches and halved the fourth. At 3 1/2 to 1/2 the OJs lunched well on Pimms, Chablis and Claret and unfortunately this showed in the afternoon performances, with the Bar apparently being able to handle their lunch much better.
Luckily the top pair of Ben Hepden and Tristan McIllroy managed to hold on for a rare afternoon win, leaving the OJs victorious 4 1/2 to 2 1/2. Congratulations to the OJ team of Rob Harradine, Ben Hepden, Tristan McIllroy, Stephen Norris, Stephen Vickery, Richard Vosser and Andrew Worboys. Worth mentioning that what would normally be a 10 a side match was reduced, due to disappointing availability and late withdrawals, to 7 a side. It was generally accepted that the clash with the Royal Wedding and the Cup Final was mainly to blame. We were grateful to the New Zealand Club for their understanding and for laying on, as ever, an excellent day.
Report by Match Manager Richard Vosser
Grafton Morrish Qualifier at Royal Wimbledon - Sunday 13 May
The OJ team arrived at Royal Wimbledon feeling confident for the Grafton Morrish qualifier (public schools golf championship). We narrowly missed out the previous year by only one point with a combined total of 75 points. This year on paper we had as strong a team as we have ever put out with all players having handicaps 1 to 5. The format is scratch stableford foursomes, which is a tough format on a tricky course with lightning quick greens. First out for the OJ’s were James Wallace (hcp1) and Richard Warren (hcp3) our strongest pairing handicap wise, but sadly they found it tough going and came in with 23 points. Second out were James Smart (hcp5) and Peter Richardson (hcp5) and they started well being only 3 over par on the front nine, but the course fought back at them and restricted them to a total of 25 points. Last out were Stuart Hibbert (hcp5) and Andrew Wildey (hcp 4) who really struggled at the start having only 3 stableford points after 4 holes, and they were lucky to finish with 21 points. Sadly our combined total score of 69 was well below the 76 points we needed to guarantee qualification.
We are always on the look out for younger and better players! We have discovered Tim Mcilroy (no relation to Rory apparently) who will join the team next year and Alexander Annetts looks like a very good prospect for us, and Simon Daniell. We would be delighted to hear from any other OJs playing off 5 or lower to aid in our quest to qualify once again.
Report by Team Captain Stuart Hibbert
OJGS v St John’s School at Effingham GC - 24 April 2018
The annual OJ match against the School was once again played at the Effingham Golf Club. As usual the preferred format of play was four ball better ball matchplay. A cold wind and occasional light drizzle did not prevent some excellent golf being played by both teams and all four matches were closely contested.
First out were OJs Andrew Wildey and Richard Vickery who came through winners 3&2 against Luca Williams and Master i/c Claude Cox (who dropped his mantle of classics master for the afternoon to fill in for the School!). In the next match playing for the School, Ben Howe (off a handicap of 3 - quite magnificent!) and Jamie Hewson beat OJs Jignesh Patel and Pascal Sedgwick by 1up in what turned out to be a gripping encounter. In the third match OJs Dom Higgitt and Peter Edgar overcame James Paton and Alistair Blair by the same close margin and it was left to the final OJ pair Jason Gabb and Rob Haradine to seal victory with a 4&2 win against Angus Lonsdale and Ross Adams.
Without doubt this was an enjoyable match and played in the best of spirits with the few spectators being treated to an array of excellent shot making from both teams. It was heartening to see a number of new, young OJs playing and helping to make the OJ team a good blend of youth and experience. Refreshments were enjoyed afterwards. Special thanks are due to Claude Cox from The School for assembling and organising such a well balanced team and also to Johnian parent and member of the Effingham Club, Trevor Lonsdale, for all his hard work and support in making the afternoon such a success.
Report by Match Manager Humfrey Malins