The sun was shining, though it was still a bit chilly when the first players teed-off for the 2023 Houldsworth Cup at Prestwich Golf Club. This was the second time that Prestwich GC had hosted the Houldsworth Cup, on the previous occasion in 1990, Preswich members C Thorn and F Davies were the winners. It was the first time that the Houldsworth had been held in May rather than June. The format of the competition was a Better Ball Stableford – another first, since it had been a Better Ball Bogey in recent years.
The early pace was set by James Parton and Norman Haslam, who teed off at 8.00 am and returned with 46 points. An hour passed before we saw anything remotely challenging this score. A few 42’s appeared, including that of Prestwich Captain Paul Walsh and his partner Paul Byrne. Then we had a 44 from Mark Perrin and Paul Nesbitt of Davyhulme Golf Club. It was mid afternoon before we saw another 46-pointer and this came from John Dawes and David Costigan of Prestwich Golf Club.
The scores were showing on the big screen in the main lounge, and it was looking like it would be a play-off between those with 46 points. Then late in the afternoon Ian Ryan and Steve Cullen of Prestwich came home with 48 points. There were just 4 groups out on the course and that was looking like the winning score, until Graham Butler and Stuart Murphy of Worsley Golf Club, declared that everything had gone well for them and they handed in a card showing 50 points!
Stuart, playing off 20, had scored 4 pars and one Birdie, while Graham, playing off 11, had scored 5 pars and 3 Birdies. 9 pars and 4 Birdies is always going to be a good score in a better ball competition. In Better Ball Bogey terms, that would have been the same as the 10 up which Ky Tu and Robert Lam scored to win the 2022 Houldsworth.
The final score of the day was returned by Dave Wright and Eddie Mellor of Worsley Golf Club, it was another 46, and that put them in 3rd place after a Card Play-off
Many commented on the quality of the greens, and this was supported by the fact that 108 Birdies were recorded during the day. Some of those who had never played Prestwich before noted that they had to put a lot of thought into how they were going to play the holes and found it challenging but very enjoyable.
At the Presentation the B&H Chairman, John Farmer, thanked Prestwich Captain Paul Walsh and Professional Mark Pearson for all that they had done to promote the Houldsworth competition and the welcome which had been given to players on the day. The course had been in excellent condition and the facilities available in the club house for receiving players and then recording and displaying the scores were second to none. John went on to thank the B&H committee members for all the work undertaken in the organisation and running of the day’s competition.
The B&H President Keith Dingley, echoed the words of the Chairman, and once again thanked Paul Walsh for the hospitality shown to both Committee members and players by all the PGC staff. He presented the Captain Paul Walsh with a cheque made payable to Prestwich Golf Club and thanked the club for hosting the 2023 Houldsworth Cup.