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Bear Golf Society Newsletter 2020 

A big thanks to all our members and guests who have made 2019 another great year for the Bear Golf Society. Numbers were well up for most meetings enabling us to donate to more charities in addition to our chosen charity.
It is a great compliment on the way the Bears are run that it seems that most guests who attend a couple of meetings seem keen to become members, taking our total to just over 60.
We now enter our 20th year of operating and donating to charities, we’ve lasted longer than the Titanic and that’s just the tip of the iceberg !!!
I think all the meetings were ticked as being good with Burford still up there as being our favourite again. Even with changes to the ‘package’ at Burford and with me having to juggle things around to get a good deal they still manage to keep the high standards we have come to expect from them. They also allow us to tee-off in the morning enabling us to book more players in. Stocks, Batchworth Park and Collingtree Park treated us well although some of us struggled with Collingtree Park but it was still better than going to work !!
What a truly memorable day that was, our meeting at Wychwood in the Cotswold was held in memory of a member who sadly passed away a couple of years ago. All the money raised on the day was to be donated to Macmillan Cancer Care at the request of his family.
What happened on that day was something truly magnificent, we managed to raise £1,400 !!!!
With members bidding for some magnificent auction items, and a special thanks must go to Martin Bosley for donating some big money items, we had a fun filled auction and prize draw.
A £1000 was donated to the national charity and £400 was donated to the local Cancer Care Unit in Aylesbury to help fund the 2 Macmillan Nurses they have on duty. The icing on the cake was the fly past of the Red Arrows for the early tee timers, courtesy of the Fairford Air Show nearby.
None of us who attended this meeting in August (supposedly the middle of the summer) will ever the forget the rain that day !!! With players held up on their journeys to the course we threw caution to the wind and just let the players make up their groups to get us away quickly. It eventually stopped raining and the 28 players seemed to be happy with the day. With a hearty breakfast to get us going it was a great treat to end the day with the club’s carvery.
A special mention must go to Ken Heathcote, the owner of Studley Wood, who was disappointed that we had had such a lousy day weather-wise, that he invited all the players back in October for a free round of golf. This was incorporated in an unofficial Bears meeting and all we had to do was pay for the food. A very nice gesture from a very clever businessman.
A final note on the revisit to Studley in October, it rained !!!
And the ‘end of the season bash’ at Oakland Park ? Cancelled due to heavy rain !!!!!!
But only cancelled on the morning of the meeting, despite my phone calls the previous day asking for guidance on the state of play.
So, all in all, a very wet 2019 season for the Bears !!! probably the wettest since we started in 2001.
When we give the golf club final numbers, usually a couple of days prior to our visit, that is the number that has to be paid for. If by any chance a player has to cancel at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances they will have to pay for their already booked place. A few years ago most clubs would only charge for the food that had to be bought in, but now most clubs specify that we have bought ‘the package’ which means the whole amount has to be paid for. This is due to the fact I think they were losing too much money on the cancelled green fees as well as the food and as most catering is franchised the golf clubs were receiving nothing towards the upkeep of the course. Please remember that if you do have to pay for a last minute cancellation it’s not the society that is demanding the money but the golf club.

We can’t operate without them so a big thanks must go to all of them for all their help. We are lucky to retain on board Core|Golf of Thame and Michael Anthony Estate Agents as our major sponsors for 2020. We have also had the good fortune to retain sponsors for 2020,
Andy Sweeney - Concierge Property Maintenance, Nick Raynor - Wealth Management,
Robin Howard - Bucks Goldsmiths and Steve Durrington - Melon Design & Marketing and Aylesbury Glass. We have been blessed with a new sponsor for 2020, Home Tiles and their advert in the new style Bears event diary describes their business just in case you are planning to do some tiling in the not too distant future, hopefully by the time you receive this they will have opened an outlet in Aylesbury, watch this space. I can’t thank the regular small sponsors enough, we can’t operate without your help and collectively you help us so much.
The £1 for the 2’s competition, which has been included in the extra £5 added for each event at every meeting, has been a great success, it saves someone the time to collect it and that way everybody gets to join in. This also includes a tip for the waiting staff.
Members will be allowed to bring the same guest along TWICE at the members price thereafter paying a £5 surcharge each time they attend as a guest unless they join.
 The Order of Merit, a challenge claret jug to be awarded to the winner to be kept for the year, Best 5 scores to count at meetings from March through to October. Absent friends trophy is awarded to the winner of the best 4 scores with 18 plus handicap.
 Vouchers. Due to the success of these, we will continue to use them for prize winners. Each voucher will be worth £5 and can be redeemed against any Bears meeting, saving them £5 off of the booking fee for future meetings or, if won near the end of the season, set against their rejoining fee.
 Some of the members have been renewing their memberships over the years without any form filling so I would just like to remind members that £7.50 of the rejoining fee goes straight into the charity fund. The rest is used to buy the trophies, medals etc. and pay deposits in advance and generally help to top up the money donated to the charities.
 Having two NTP prizes seems to have been a success and will be kept for a further year.
 We are going to re-introduce the 3rd prize again but without a medal. Some members have been disappointed with coming 3rd and not getting recognised in the prize awards.
Well done to Pete Smees for winning this award, runner-up Mike Sparkes.
Congratulations also go to our very own WEBMEISTER Graham Ecob for winning the Absent Friends Trophy, runner-up Phil Clack.
Well done to you all.
You will have had the dates and venues posted on the website and in the fixture diaries and members will be notified by e-mail a month before each meeting with the return form.
You will notice there are 3 new venues for us to visit, 2 regular venues and 2 we haven’t visited for some time.
A slight change at a few of them from our usual meeting day of a Wednesday, this is usually due to us fitting in with their schedule to get the best deals.

THANKS to non members
Over the Bears season several people donate some excellent ‘items’ for us to auction or use as raffle prizes, these people are not members and some are not even golfers but are kind enough to want to help us in our quest to raise money for our chosen charity and a few other worthy causes. They won’t get the chance to read the newsletter but we appreciate their input and they are thanked at the time of donating.
THANKS to members
Big thanks must go to each & everyone of you for raising so much money for our charities.
There are too many of you to thank individually but special thanks to Graham Ecob, our very own WebMeister for running the superb website & the scoring and generally helping me with all things Bears. Brian Samson for the trophies & all our logo bits & pieces and, of course, TBTCTM (Dave Hasted), Pete Smees must have a mention as he rides shotgun when helping Dave to collect the money.
If you have any friends who want to join us for the coming season, get them to check out the website, all the dates & venues are posted on it. Just £25 makes them a member!!

We want to thank each & everyone of you for helping us raise the following funds & you will see how that money was distributed to each charity :-


Donations for 2019                                                                                                                


Macmillan Cancer Support                

Charity golf day in memory of a past member                                                                £1,400

Helen & Douglas House ( Hospice)    (Captains Charity, Batchworth Park)                     £80                                                                                          

Cancer Research                                  (Captains Charity, Henley GC)                              £100

Helicopter Landing Pads                    (Captains Charity, Studley Wood)                           £70



Our own chosen charity :-

Cancer Care Unit                                                                                                                   £750



Grand total raised & donated by the Bears: -  £ 2,400.00


Bears Chosen Charity for 2020 is:-

Cancer Care & Haematology Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital