This year’s Captain’s Day will be the first competition to be played at the club under the new Stroke Play maximum score format, and since the Club was formed in 1893 there have been various types of scoring used to decide the Captain’s Day Winner. In the early days many competitions were match play events played over a number of days, or on a single day preceded by one or more stroke play qualifying events. In the first few years a Captain’s Day qualifying competition was held each month with the 12 winners proceeding to the match play stage. The final was refereed by the Captain and escorted around the course by interested spectators.
Here is a brief record of some Captain’s Days over the years.
1894 (125 years ago)
Captain - H G MacGeagh (Images 1)
H G MacGeagh was one of the founding fathers of the club and was Captain in 1893, ’94, ’95 and ’99. He died in 1925 and in an Irish Times obituary it said;
‘………….. Mr MacGeagh was a keen yachtsman and he it was who introduced the game of golf to Lurgan.’
In November, 1894, the Belfast News Letter reported on his Captain’s Day.
‘The competition in which most interest was centred was that for the cup presented by the Captain, H G MacGeagh. This was competed for by the winners of the 12 monthly competitions held throughout the year and resulted in Mr H E Perdue beating Mr N G Leeper by 1 up and carrying home the prize.
After the final round for the Captain’s Cup, members of the club and their friends assembled in the clubrooms where refreshments were dispensed. Having disposed of these the Captain presented, amidst applause, the prizes to the several successful competitors, who suitably replied. A vote of thanks having been passed to the ladies who served the tea, a most enjoyable day’s sport was brought to a conclusion.’
1919 (100 years ago)
Captain - T B Johnston
The Johnston family have been closely associated with the club since its formation and T B Johnston was Captain in 1918, ’19 and ’20. He was prominent in the linen industry and it was for him that the large house beside the 11th tee was built in 1910.
The Lurgan Mail reported the proceedings of the club’s AGM in November and they included mention of the Captain’s prize of that year.
‘The Captain’s Prize, a handsome and valuable silver cigar box, suitably inscribed, was presented by the Chairman to the winner, Mr H C Malcolm, and brilliantly acknowledged.’
H C Malcolm was elected to the position of Hon Sec at the same meeting.
1944 (75 years ago)
Captain C W Neill
C W Neill served as Captain of the club from 1938 until 1945 due to the Second World War, when many sporting activities were postponed or cancelled. He died in 1945, the last year of his captaincy, and the C W Neill Cup has been played for each year since.
The AGM that year was held in the Supera Café and it was chaired by the Captain in the absence of the President, Mr T B Johnston. The war had had a devastating effect upon many in the town and the President’s son, Squadron Leader Acheson Johnston, had been killed on active service.
The Secretary’s report included reference to the effect of the war upon the club;
‘The war continues and your Council found it necessary to practise strict economy, therefore no outlay on course improvement was made. It regrets that club competitions and social functions, which greatly added in pre-war years to the income of the club, could not take place. It is hoped that in the near future these activities can be resumed.’
In the Captain’s remarks he “…. regretted that owing to the war normal club activities had been interrupted and competitions had been suspended.” He hoped they would be resumed in the near future and said he would be glad to put up a Captain’s prize if Council permitted. In the absence of any reports of this happening, it can only be assumed that circumstances at the time prevented any such prize being competed for.
1969 (50 years ago)
Captain - Mr Alex Hamilton
It was agreed by the members in 1964 that the Club should proceed with preparations to increase the course from 9 to 18 holes. Due to complications such as the acquisition of land, work did not begin until late 1968 and continued throughout Alex Hamilton’s year of captaincy. No doubt much of his time was consumed by matters related to the work.
The winner of the Captain’s prize that year was popular local teacher Bertie Ward whose grandson, Josh Best, has been lighting up the fairways in recent times.
1994 (25 years ago)
Mr Shane Magee
After the Centenary of the club in 1993, Shane Magee captained the club at the beginning of its second century. Certainly one of the best golfers to have ever been Captain, stories of his prowess both on and off the course are numerous, and he continues to be among the front runners in almost every competition he enters. Winner of his Captain’s Prize was Gerry O’Hanlon who played a big part in the development of juvenile golf at the club.
Shane followed in the footsteps of his father who was Captain of the club in 1971.