SJA on course for golf in 2009

The Sports Journalists’ Association is again staging two Golf Days this year, with a return to golf clubs that we have visited before – south of the Thames on May 5 at Surrey Downs, and then we go back north of the river to our now regular “host” for our autumn date on September 7 at Muswell Hill GC.

Regular SJA golfers should note that the spring Golf Day is on a Tuesday, following the May Bank Holiday, since many of our golfers are so involved with other golf days from March to May that it has been impossible to find another suitable Monday.

The Alliss-designed Surrey Downs GC is situated between the more established Chipstead and Kingsdown GCs, not far from Walton Heath. Those who played there three years ago probably only remember the outward nine holes – the constant, torrential downpour that day saw almost all of even our boldest players squelch back into the clubhouse, with John Samuel summing it up: “It’s hell out there.”

Most , like Sam, had given up by the 10th or 12th but when side-money is at stake, it takes just two to battle it out for the full 18 holes. Stand up Messrs Chester Stern and Ian Stafford. “When you are that soaked, why stop?” said Stafford, who claimed victory and his name engraved on the SJA trophy as the 2006 winner. Stern could only grunt – which he does very well.

For around £50 per head, we are guaranteed coffee and bacon rolls on arrival, 18 holes and a two-course lunch. Tee-off time will be 10am. Usual format: 3-ball stableford, prizes for SJA and guests – who are very welcome – plus nearest the pin and longest drive plus the usual fun prizes.

Please book your place on the 1st tee by emailing Paul Trow.

The Phil Sheldon Trophy Day in the autumn has been booked again for Muswell Hill, one of the most central of all premier golf courses in the capital.

Founded in 1893, Muswell Hill Golf Club is a par 71, 6,100-yard parkland course and a great test of golf. The tree-lined, undulating fairways and outstanding greens are a pleasure to play and the final stretch is probably one of the toughest finishes among golf courses in London.

This will be our autumn “home” for hopefully all time. We like them, they want us and it is one of the most accessible venues. Not least it allows Gill Sheldon, Phil’s widow, to be able to join us for the day. Again, please book your place by contacting Paul Trow.

Dates of other SJA events:

Feb 26: Lunch with double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington and UK Sport’s performance director Peter Keen. For booking details, click here.

March 9: SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, 6.30pm, at The Brewery, Chiswell Street.
Tickets for the awards dinner are £95 for SJA members and £120 for non-members and can be ordered from Start2Finish Events Management. Contact Sandra Phillips by email or telephone 0208 916 2234.

March: Andrew Hunt, the new chief executive of the British Olympic Association, meets the press. Date to be confirmed.

April 22: SJA annual meeting (12.30pm start), at UK Sport head office, 40 Bernard Street, London WC1N 1ST (nearest Tube: Russell Square). Only SJA members may attend – please contact Steven Downes, SJA Secretary, in advance to confirm your attendance.

May 5: SJA Spring Golf Day, Surrey Downs GC. Email Paul Trow to book your place.

Sept 7: SJA Autumn Golf Day, for the Phil Sheldon Memorial Trophy, at Muswell Hill GC. Email Paul Trow to book your place.

Dec 9: 61st annual SJA British Sports Awards. Details to be announced.

All details are subject to change until confirmed by the SJA, both on this website and via emails to members.

â–¡ UK Sport is the longest standing lead sponsor of the Sports Journalists’ Association, with a partnership that goes back more than a decade. Sky Bet is the SJA’s newest partner, the sponsorship being announced in October 2008.

Both partners support the SJA’s two prestigious annual awards events, including the presentation of a special UK Sport Award for excellence at the SJA’s Annual Sports Awards and the sports betting writer of the year at the SJA’s British Sports Journalism Awards.

The SJA Annual Sports Awards are the longest established of their kind in the United Kingdom, having been first staged in 1949.

Join the SJA today – click here for details and membership application form