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Oulton Hall Golf and Country Club

UGAGB Weekend Away & Awayday Trophy

26 - 28 July 2019



Following a tumultuous few days of glorious weather with recorded high temperatures combined with violent thunderstorms, the region of Leeds, West Yorkshire was dealt another weather warning by the met office. This time they predicted a deluge of heavy rain fall for the weekend. Thankfully we only had one day of persistent rain on Saturday, despite this most members shone through, none more so than Anton Sydor who over the weekend, secured several awards, including the coveted "Weekend Trophy".

The day had arrived, alarm clocks had triggered and across the country 19 UGAGB members and 2 guests with cars loaded and sat navs at the ready, were all heading to Oulton Hall, Leeds, for our 2019 golfing weekend.

Oulton Hall stands as a luxury hotel on the outskirts of Leeds. Steeped in history this magnificent building was surrounded by two golf courses; the 18 hole Calverley and the Hall Course (a smaller 9 hole course which offered beautiful scenery and variety.) The Weekend Trophy was contested for on the Calverley Course, whilst the Away-day Trophy brought into play 9 holes on the Hall plus the first 9 holes on the Calverley Course.

Our members arrived at various times, all gathering at the Claret Jug, alternatively known as the 19th hole. Organising his very first weekend event, was Michael Rewilak, he welcomed everyone and guided them through the day's procedures. Mick's planning and preparation throughout the weekend was meticulous, communication was excellent, leaving members and guests in no doubt as to what was happening and when. As well as being our daily watering hole, the Claret Jug, also doubled up as our dining room, Mick Gillies' quiz night location and an area for Paul Killoran to parade the latest golfing fashion. His vintage tan brogues with multi coloured hooped ankle socks, were unique in style. Watch out for this fashion trend which may soon be visible on golf courses around the country! Sadly, on a less humorous note, the Claret Jug was also the place where, when leaving on the first night, our honorary member Slawko Bdzola took a tumble, down some poorly lit steps. A little shaken and sore, he decided to withdraw from the competition but despite this, managed to remain his cheerful self.

The hotel was very stately. Breakfast was taken in the Calverley Grill, named after the Calverley family who, back in the 18th century, were landowners and the first residents of Oulton Hall. Now owned by QHotels, the main reception areas had been restored back to its former glory, whilst the décor of most bedrooms appeared to be modern and up-to date. It was in Ashley's room (Bar 260) where the annual after party was held and beer, spirits and nibbles were served. The Spa facilities were also modern and a few of our members took advantage of some free time by visiting the pool and steam rooms. Rumor has it that Paul Killoran decided to book himself a special treatment, a colonic irrigation session, offered and administered by professional paramedic and room partner Jon Iwanejko. Not sure if this was true or simply fake news!

Out on the course, over the three competing days, there were many golfing highlights. Anton Sydor certainly proved why he has a low handicap, his masterful performances throughout the weekend were rewarded with several cash prizes, the Weekend Trophy, one team prize and a couple of longest drives, one of which was shared with Ashley Sanders. The distance between both drives could not be separated and for the first time in UGAGB history, the longest drive competition was jointly shared. Incredibly, Anton was involved in another shared prize, this time nearest pin in 2 with guest player, Mick Ling. Their second shots on the par 4, 9th hole (day two) landed equidistant from the pin and could not be separated. On that hole, neither of them went onto to make birdie but Anton soon made amends, and accumulated a record breaking five birdies in the same round.

With many challenging dog legs scattered around, getting drives away and hitting the fairways was key to recording a good score on the Calverley Course, and careful shot selection was imperative. This did not trouble President Skalsky, who recorded scores of 37, 36 and 43 respectively over the three days. Whilst this was not enough to win the 2-day Weekend Trophy, he did win the Awayday Trophy by a clear 7 points margin which was competed for on Sunday. He also picked up nearest the pin in 2 during the same tournament.

The Hall course (played on Sunday) provided a slightly different golfing experience, with added beauty with scenic surroundings. The signature 6th hole (24th on the card) forced competitors to take a long iron or wood off the tee to lay up short of the imposing water hazard. Threading the approach shot over the water Hazard and avoiding the bunker gave a feeling of great satisfaction. Mick Gillies achieved just that and he went on to win Division 1 with 37 points.

There were team events organised for each day. The three winning teams were as follows:

Friday - a humid and sultry day saw team eight on the winner's podium: Pete Wolociuha, Roman Skalsky & Trevor Johnson.

Saturday - in torrential and persistent heavy rain, team Jacks squelched into top spot: Dave Brown, Graham Meggitt & Mick Rewilak

Sunday - overcast, calm & mild conditions helped team Jacks to accumulate an awesome "Russian Stableford" aka "Multiplier" score of 270: Allan Burns, Anton Sydor, Mick Rewilak & Roman Skalsky.

A full list of individual and team scores, along with minor prize winners can be viewed and the UGAGB website.

At the closing ceremony, Mick Rewilak presented the last of the prizes to all winners and runners up. Last year's winner of the Awayday Trophy, Buddy was on hand to present the award to the new champion, Roman Skalsky.

On behalf of all the UGAGB members and special guests, Graham Meggitt presented Mick Rewilak with a bottle of single malt whisky in appreciation for arranging a well organised, memorable and very enjoyable event.

Finally, prior to leaving, some members were asked to describe in 3 or 4 words their experience of the weekend. Here are just a few responses.

- Simply wonderful weekend

- Enjoying the Beer

- Away from the wife

- Great venue well organised

- Wet and Tired

- Roll on next year

- Relaxed, Sociable, Enjoyable

- The Craic was good

- That microphone cost £300

Our next event will be held at Kingsthorpe Golf Club in Northampton on 18th August 2019

The final word of the weekend went to one of our guests, Mick Ling, who asked to say a few words on behalf of the other guest Allan Burns and himself. He thanked Mick Rewilak for inviting them both as his guests, all the members made them both feel very welcome from the first minute they met them to the last and feel very much part of the weekend and the group. The members they played with over the three days were friendly, despite Mick Rewilak telling members to nobble them if they were drawn together as soon they would be the foe and not the friend at the second Ryder Cup event in September. Both Mick and Allan said they had a wonderful weekend and looked forward to being invited next year...... but that is subject to the outcome of the Ryder Cup!!



Click here to see photographs from Oulton Hall Golf and Country Club

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Wakefield Golf Club

UGAGB Summer Classic

23 June 2019



Retired teacher, Bazz Bdzola, taught UGAGB members a real lesson in golf. At the half way stage of the season, playing at Wakefield Golf Club, Bazz gained top marks for his performance and was duly awarded the coveted "Summer Classic Trophy".

After some miserable weather in recent weeks, Yorkshire greeted us with dry conditions. The sun made an appearance and the temperature was very pleasant. The course at Wakefield had clearly benefited from earlier weeks of rain and was in good condition. The fairways were well manicured and the greens were excellent, all with true putting surfaces.

Wakefield GC was well positioned just off the motorway, it offered good travelling routes for most members which was evident as one by one they arrived ahead of the given meeting time. Our catering host, Joanne, was very obliging and she quickly served up bacon butties, tea and coffee. She was even happy to accept Mick Rewilak's late sausage sandwich order and added a fried egg, after his tongue in cheek request.

And so onto the contest of the day. It was a good turnout with 19 playing members, all eagerly wanting to improve their order of merit ranking, with hopes of taking home the Summer Classic Trophy. It was also good to see non playing member, Slawko Bdzola amongst the group and looking well. He navigated the course on a single seat buggy. One by one the playing groups took their positions on the first tee and soon, 4 groups of 4 and 1 group of 3 were all spraying their shots, around the tree lined fairways.

Although the two loops of nine holes proved challenging, there were some decent scores recorded and the general consensus of opinion was that the course was enjoyable and should be rebooked for next year.

The first of the minor prizes was claimed by Ashley Sanders. He won nearest the pin on the 2nd hole. An attractive looking par 3 which played into a prevailing breeze. Not a long hit but required a well-placed medium iron.

Mick Gillies showed his class on the 12th, winning nearest the pin in 2. Stroke index 17, 293 yards, the hole had lots of trouble with bunkers down the left and a ditch which ran across the fairway. However he placed his second shot with some perfection and landed his ball within a few feet of the pin, on this well guarded green. Unfortunately after his masterful approach play, he failed to make birdie.

Young Stef Borys decided to make his mark on the par 3, 16th hole. It was a good short hole which played a little longer than its 161 yards uphill position. Stef made good work of his tee shot and claimed nearest the pin.

The final minor prize was the longest drive. Sadly this did not go to Slawko Bdzola who thought he had won after driving his single seat "Evil Knievel" esque buggy down the full length of the final fairway. The award actually went to Jon "Eddie Izzard" Iwanejko. Sporting some lovely fashionable painted nails, he outdrove the rest of the field on the 18th to claim the longest drive. There was however a steward's enquiry to check that he hadn't tee'd off from the ladies tee! Instead of a pack of balls, it was suggested that he should have won some nail varnish remover.

Birdie prizes went to the younger members of our society. There were 5 birdies in total, Ashley Sanders (2), Stef Borys (2) and Buddy Bdzola (1). The birdie prize pot paid out £7 per birdie. Jon Iwanejko claimed he had a birdie, but this was the pheasant he struck with his ball on the 15th.

Surprisingly the speed of play form all our groups was respectable and all were back in the clubhouse in good time. The afternoon meal was simple but satisfying and again the catering staff were very accommodating.

Graham Meggitt was given the task of announcing the winners after which, Mick Rewilak grouped them together for customary photographs.

In division one, Ashley Sanders continued his good form taking third place with 32 points, 1 shot ahead with 33 points and in 2nd place was last year's trophy winner Geoff Gillies. Dave Brown who performed consistently well throughout the day, entered a creditable score of 37 points to win Division One.

In division two, third place was evenly contested between Pete Woloiucha and Trevor Johnson but Trevor pipped his buggy sharing partner on countback, with 33 points. 34 points was good enough to give 2nd spot to Paul Killoran. After a stunning round, last year's Order of Merit champion, Bazz Bdzola found his form once again. Recording a marvelous score of 39 points, he not only won his division but the overall competition.

Last year's winner Geoff Gillies presented with honour the trophy to Bazz.

Finally, the clock is now ticking toward our annual weekend away. This year Oulton Hall, Leeds is our chosen venue and we look forward to 3 days of competition, camaraderie and celebration. In the meantime look out for an email from Mick Rewilak with details of the weekend's general itinerary and highlights.



Click here to see photographs from Wakefield Golf Club

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Rufford Park Golf Club

UGAGB Spring Cup

19 May 2019



This month's event took us to Newark in Nottinghamshire to a course UGAGB last played in 2010, where situated in the heart of Sherwood Forrest, the UGAGB band wagon of Roman Skalsky and his merry men came into town albeit using a slightly different mode of horsepower. The course has been carefully designed to complement the naturally undulating parkland landscape with current design consultants being a company led by Ken Brown, the BBC golf commentator & former Ryder Cup player.

An overcast day greeted the 22 members, one non-playing member and one guest player which remained throughout the day despite the weather forecast of a light shower. With 23 players, the cards were drawn following bacon sandwiches and coffee, with six teams from the 3ball aces followed by five 4ball teams down to nines. The 22 playing members were evenly split with 11 players in each division.

The course was in very good condition and quite forgiving, suitable for golfers of all standards and thus perfect for UGAGB, a good days golf awaited. The greens were slick and undulating which played optical illusions on some holes having read a putt in one direction only to find it rolled the opposite way, or was that just Roman and Melly having 3 pints before we tee'd off?.

The scores on the day confirmed the relative forgiveness of the course: in division one, only 2 scores came in less than 30 points, both 29, with the other scores ranging from 30 through to the divisional winner Stef Borys with 38 points, who won on countback from Mick Gillies with Ashley Sanders in 3rd place with 35 points also beating Anton Sydor, Andy Bendzak & Dave Brown on countback.

In division 2, five members managed to come in with scores over 30 points, Steve Holmes was 3rd place with 32 points, Mick Rewilak was runner up with 37 points, a couple behind the divisional winner and overall winner on the day, Paul Killoran, who came in with a fantastic score of 39 points.

The minor prizes of Nearest Pin were won by Mick Melnyk and Stef Borys, Nearest Pin in 2 was also won by Stef Borys and the winner of the Longest Drive was won by Anton Sydor who surpassed Ashley Sanders' monster drive by some 10 yards both demonstrating they can certainly nail a ball of the tee!

A near close to or possibly new record was also set by the number of birdie pool winners, on the day there were 13, with Andy, Ray, Mike, Dave, Melly, JP & Anton claiming one each with Stef and Ashley claiming 3 each; sadly with so many winners, the bounty was only £3 per birdie, which left £5 in the kitty to be added to the birdie pool next month.

Following an excellent dinner and choice of dessert, the presentation of the birdie pool, minor prizes and all divisional winners was made and as is customary, the winner of the 2018 event, Bazz, presented the UGAGB Spring Cup to this year's winner Paul Killoran.

After the presentation ceremony, a final couple of announcements were made by Bazz, firstly paying tribute to our guest player Ryan Bendzak, who shot an outstanding 43 points on the day playing off 28, this after standing on the first tee and duffing his tee-shot; had Ryan been a member, he would have not only won on the day but also would have been docked 4 shots, well played Ryan.

The second announcement was to inform members that Mick Borys will be celebrating his birthday tomorrow and in true Ukrainian and UGAGB tradition, a rendition of Mnohaya Lita was sung for Mick to wish him all the best and that he has a great birthday.

Next month we head for God's own county of Yorkshire, where we will be playing at Wakefield Golf Club, on Sunday 23 June, watch out for the email closer to the day and I look forward to seeing you all there.

A final note to mention in this month's despatch is to wish Roman and Melly the very best of luck when they travel to Ukraine to represent UGAGB at the 10th Ukrainian World Golf Challenge which is taking place fittingly in Ukraine commencing Sunday 25 May. Next month's newsletter will include details of how they got on.



Click here to see photographs from Rufford Park Golf Club

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Beedles Lake Golf Club

UGAGB Challenge

14 April 2019



Watch repairer, Ashley Sanders, timed his game to perfection and set alarm bells ringing around the UGAGB after clocking up 44 points to win the Challenge Trophy and his first major title after only his second official appearance.

This month's event took us to Leicester and Beedles Lake Golf Club, situated in the heart of Leicestershire's Wreake Valley with the River Wreake meandering through a number of holes. This parkland course was to be the setting for the day?s golfing challenge. The weather forecast was for a cold but dry day, sadly for once it was correct. Thankfully there was no rain but it was necessary to wrap up with several layers in an attempt to keep out the chill of the incessant northerly wind.

The turnout was very good with just over 66% of members in attendance. 20 members and 1 guest made the journey to Beedles Lake GC forming a total of 6 playing groups, 3 x 3 balls and 3 x 4 balls and having been watered and fed it was time to gather our clubs and head out into the cool and breezy conditions. Stand in photographer Graham Meggitt seized the chance to take a few snaps of all 6 groups before 1 by 1 they began to pepper the 1st fairway with an array of opening drives. Top of the leaderboard after the first hole was Paul Killoran, who, with a solid start, made par and with a shot on that hole, he scored 3 points. Stef Borys was the only other contestant to par the first but without a shot, scored 2 points.

The first of the minor prizes was contested at hole 3, where Paul Killoran, continuing his impressive start, claimed the prize for nearest the pin. Roman Luczyn at this stage with 8 points, had just edged into the overall lead. Varied scores had been recorded at the half way point, the highest being 24 and the lowest being 12. The course, whilst not appearing too demanding, was proving challenging for some.

Next of the minor prizes were back to back on hole 12 (NP2) and 13 (NP). These were won by Ashley Sanders and Stef Borys respectively. The penultimate hole awaited the big guns for the longest drive competition. This was to be an interesting competition, in the field were some powerful strikers of the ball including but not exclusively "Boom Boom" Andy Bendzak, Mick Borys, Anton Zydor, Buddy Bdzola and Ashley Sanders. However, it was that man Ashley, who with a monster of a drive, landed the ball on the fairway and claimed the prize.

BIRDIE POOL - There was 6 birdies each valued at £6.50. Ashley Sanders sunk 2 birdies, whilst 1 birdie went to Bazz Bdzola, Buddy Bdzola, Mike Bartkiw and Pete Wolociuha.

DIVISION TWO - Bazz Bdzola, returning after a recent eye operation, had the leader in his sights for most of the round but his impressive 38 points fell slightly short of winning the overall title. He did however finish first in Division two, his skillful and consistent play a reflection of how he won the order of merit last year. Ray Gregory was runner up in this division with 36 points and Buddy Bdzola with 32points came third.

DIVISION ONE - In this division the Gillies brothers were hard to split. Both with 34 points the elder sibling Mick pipped Geoff to third spot. Going one better Graham Meggitt was runner up with 35 points, however with a crushing 44 points Ashley Sanders deservedly took the honours in this division. His incredible score was also enough to take the overall Challenge trophy.

There was a double events trophy presentation. Last month's winner of the Presidents Trophy, Dave Brown, was presented with his award by Mick Borys, who held this title the previous year. Geoff Gillies who was last year's winner of the Challenge Trophy, passed on the trophy to newly crowned champion, Ashley Sanders.

Finally, whilst everyone appeared to have enjoyed the day, the course received varying reviews from our members. In general it was very flat which was welcomed by most, however it struggled to compare to other courses we have played. The general condition of the tees, fairways and greens struggled to match some of the prestigious, well-presented and manicured courses we have been privileged to play in recent times.

Next month we travel to Rufford Park Golf Club, Newark which has been described as a stunning golf course with breath-taking views. We look forward to seeing you all there.




Click here to see photographs from Beedles Lake Golf Club

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Manchester Golf Club

UGAGB Presidents Trophy

24 March 2019



Dave Brown battled through the chilling wind and a competing field of 14 UGAGB members to claim top spot and the Presidents Cup, at this season's first golf event which was held in his home town.

Manchester, a city rich in history, was the chosen location for this event. It may be a city famed for Coronation Street, its two rival football teams United and City as well as the group Oasis, but there is so much more that the City has to offer, including our venue for the day, "The Manchester Golf Club".

Itself, steeped in history, The Manchester Golf Club was founded in 1882 by eight Scotsmen led by John Macalister, a native of St. Andrews. Indeed the Club was initially called "The Manchester St. Andrew Golf Club". The eight founder members played the first round of golf on this course in October 1882. Since then the club has developed and today it sits within 241 acres, predominantly moorland in character but with heathland and parkland features. It is said to be the largest golf course in Europe and having played and enjoyed the course several years earlier, the UGAGB decided to make their "Rovers Return".

Just over 48% of our members turned up for this event. 14 in total, equally spilt between Division One and Two. Past member Dereck Gosling also joined the group for morning coffee. He looked extremely well and appeared to thoroughly enjoy his time catching up with old friends. New member Ashley Sanders quickly settled in before being welcomed to the society by our President, Roman Skalsky. After the sarnies had been consumed, team cards were drawn and birdie pool contributions paid. It was then time to leave the warmth of the club house and via the practice putting green the players made their way to the first tee.

Just over 48% of our members turned up for this event. 14 in total, equally spilt between Division One and Two. Past member Dereck Gosling also joined the group for morning coffee. He looked extremely well and appeared to thoroughly enjoy his time catching up with old friends. New member Ashley Sanders quickly settled in before being welcomed to the society by our President, Roman Skalsky. After the sarnies had been consumed, team cards were drawn and birdie pool contributions paid. It was then time to leave the warmth of the club house and via the practice putting green the players made their way to the first tee.

A distinctive looking church overlooked the lengthy par 5 fairway on the 3rd hole. At this stage of the competition everyone was still in with a chance of winning and felt it unnecessary to look for some holy intervention. Later in the Pro shop, Brian the club professional explained that this religious building was a proto type of the famous Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, located in Liverpool.

New member Ashley Sanders was playing without fear and with great consistency and with 3 pars and 1 birdie on the first 9, he amassed a creditable score of 19 points at the halfway stage. Unbeknown to Ashley, Dave Brown had also got off to a flyer, scoring on every hole, his 21 points gave him a 2 point lead at the turn.

The wind was relentless and despite being bright at times with odd sunny spells, in the main the Northerly wind was cold with only shelter coming when down in the lower parts of the course.

The first of the minor prizes (nearest the pin in 2) was on the 7th hole. Mick Bartkiw collected this prize then went onto claim a brace winning the longest drive on the 15th. Ray Gregory secured nearest the pin on 8 and the signature, par 3, 13th hole, saw Graham Meggitt edge Dave Brown out of the reckoning, to claim the final nearest pin prize.

After approximately 4 hours 15 minutes the first group were back in the warmth and comfort of the traditional looking clubhouse, known as Hopwood Cottage and formerly owned by the Hopwood family. After a little delay, they were joined by the remaining groups. With all scorecards signed and lodged with the committee, it was left to President Skalsky and Mick Rewilak to check and later announce the winners.

Steve our host, barman and waiter offered a warm welcome and great service throughout the day. He offered our member's coffee with bacon/sausage butties for breakfast, then in the afternoon he was there to serve a tasty beef dinner with a cheesecake dessert.

BIRDIES - There were 3 birdies in total. Proceeds were divided 3 ways between, Mick Rewilak, Andy Bendzak and Ashley Sanders. Each collected £9.00 for their fine work.

DIVISION TWO - 6 points separated 1st from 3rd spot in Division Two. Ray Gregory who grew stronger towards the end came in 3rd with 30 points. Geoff Gillies' single point on the last was enough to edge him into 2nd spot, however his brother Mick proved no match and with 36 points he was a deserved winner of the second flight.

DIVISION ONE - In the top flight Mick Melnyk will be reflecting over two blobs on his card, without these he could have finished higher up the leader board. Nevertheless his 32 points was solid enough to secure 3rd place. Ashley Sanders made his mark with an impressive 36 points on his first competitive game as a UGAGB member, with 36 points he was unlucky not to find himself on top of the podium, instead he was runner up. Winner of Division one was Dave Brown, scoring on every hole his consistent play produced a marvelous 39 points for the round.

With a 3 point margin from nearest rivals Mick Gillies and Ashley Sanders the overall champion and winner of the Presidents Trophy went to Dave Brown.




Click here to see photographs from Manchester Golf Club

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