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The origins of the GCMA South East Region are a little obscured by time but it is believed it was formed in 1980 approximately by a few stalwarts from the Region and represents Secretaries/Managers from Clubs in Kent and parts of South East London and East Sussex. Approximately 70/80 members are represented.
It is now a very active Region with an Annual General Meeting traditionally held in January and three other business meetings in Spring Summer and Autumn. In addition the Region has a member’s Guest Day which is an opportunity to bring along a Club Captain or other representative and regional fixtures against London & Home Counties East Anglia and Southern Regions. There is also a GCMA fixture against our counterparts from French Clubs (ADGF) for which the team predominantly consists of members from the South East Region. Whilst these matches are always competitive they are also friendly social occasions providing the opportunity to network with other colleagues from within the industry.
The Regional Captain Regional Secretary and other Officers are elected at the AGM with the Regional Captain staying in office for a period of two years. Over the years there have been two GCMA National Captains elected who have come from the South East Region David Christie in 1994 and John Edgington in 2012. Co-incidentally both were Managers during their time of Faversham Golf Club – there must be something in the air at Faversham!! In David’s time it was still the Association of Golf Club Secretaries until the re-branding exercise which took place in March 2007 when it became the Golf Club Managers Association.
Royal St George’s was the first club outside Scotland to stage The Open. The winner was J.H.Taylor in 1894 with a four round total of 326 the highest winning aggregate total ever recorded in the Championship. Ten years later at Royal St Georges Taylor became the first man to break 70 in The Open with a round of 68. The winning score for that year was a total of 296 the first time a winning score had been under 300 since the Championship became over 72 holes in 1892. In 2011 who will ever forget Darren Clarke who at the age of 42 years and 337 days became the oldest player to win The Open Championship since Roberto de Vicenzo. The course has hosted a total of 14 Opens.
Royal Cinque Ports held the 1909 and 1920 Championships with J.H.Taylor winning again here in 1909. The 1920 Open was a lot more dramatic witnessing the greatest turnaround in the history of the Open. Abe Mitchell had a six shot lead going into the final day (36 holes) with George Duncan13 shots back. He bought himself a new driver at the on-site equipment exhibition and scored 71 and72 to win. His overhauling of a 13 shot deficit remains the largest turnaround by any winner. The course was considered in 1915 (war) then again in both 1938 and 1949 when high tides and easterly winds brought the sea over the course.
Princes hosted the Open in 1932 which was won by Gene Sarazen for the first and only time. He took the first round lead and never relinquished it. The great Henry Cotton played in this and finished 10th.
Incidentally the Claret Jug or to use its proper name The Open Championship Trophy was not the original prize. When the Championship began at Prestwick in1860 the winner was presented with the Challenge Belt, made of rich Moroccan leather embellished with a silver buckle and emblems. Tom Morris Jnr. won for the third consecutive time in 1870 to become the first outright owner of the belt and his was also the first name engraved on the Claret Jug.