The Goldthorpe Salver
SUGDEN EMBARKS ON NEW CAREER
February 6, 2023
After almost 50 years of hard graft in the courts of West Yorkshire, Andrew Sugden has landed a new job - as a village idiot.
Sugden was recently featured in the online edition of the Huddersfield Examiner extolling the virtues of the the village of Lindley not far from his home in Birchencliffe (well, Birkby actually - Ed).
Unfortunately the accompanying photograph made the retired senior partner of eminent Huddersfield law firm Eaton Smith look like a halfwit.
Fellow Goldthorpe Salver competitors also expressed their reservations about his critical faculties. "It's all very well Andrew setting himself up as some sort of rival to Trip Advisor," said former legal colleague Mike Webb. "But it's hard to take seriously the restaurant recommendations of a man whose idea of haute cuisine is a salad cream sandwich."
WEBB BLAMES QUEEN'S DEATH FOR HANDING SALVER VICTORY TO HIS BROTHER
September 10, 2022
Class told as scratch golfer Charles Webb won the 2022 Goldthorpe Salver in a nailbiting finish at Silloth Golf Club.
But his one shot victory wasn't without controversy, as his brother Mike claimed he had been robbed of victory by hearing news of Queen Elizabeth II's sad death just as he was about to putt on the final green.
Webb moaned: "As I lined up a six footer for what would have been only my second triumph in the Goldthorpe since its move to Silloth, reigning champion John Shires burst out of the clubhouse shouting about Her Majesty's demise.
"Sinking the putt would have put me level on points with my brother, and I would have won the trophy on countback. But hardly surprisingly, I was thoroughly discombobulated, and missed it."
"As excuses go", said Glorious Leader Chris Samps Un, "this is one of the more inventive. It even ranks alongside some of Shires's own, which include blaming the reflection of the sun from the underside of leaves on trees behind the bowler's arm for one of his dismissals at Armitage Bridge.
"And don't forget the time he blamed the sticky residue of a hastily consumed coronation chicken sandwich on his hands for slicing his drive at the first hole after lunch in a recent Salver."
On the other hand Mark Wilcox could offer no excuses at all for an abject display which landed him the 2022 Goat Trophy - apart from admitting that he's hopeless.
Charles Webb receives the salver , watched by the 2022 Goat
Meanwhile a full report on the 2022 event has now been posted, and the website is almost fully updated - thus giving the lie to the Judge's complaint that the Webmeister only gets a shift on when he wins the salver himself.
BUNTY BACK AFTER 12 YEAR ABSENCE
August 9, 2022
Chris Broadbent will return for the 2022 Goldthorpe Salver - his first appearance since 2010.
The 2001 and 2006 Champion has now moved back to Blighty from his previous residence in southern Spain, and has reportedly joined a golf club near his new home in Portsmouth.
The news - revealed in an email from Glorious Leader Chris Samps-Un - has received a
qualified welcome. "I'll be very happy to see Bunty back on the Silloth links; let's just hope he brings a jacket and tie with him this time," said the Salver's self-appointed Standards Commissioner, Mike Webb.
Where's your jacket & tie?
Bunty's presence means that there will be 14 golfers lining up on the first tee for this year's tournament. Sheikh Mik-al-Dyson
is back after attending a family wedding last year, and Alan Haigh returns after successful cancer treatment. On the other hand Charlie Kaye, John Drake and Jonty Thornton will all be absent. Kaye and Drake have legitimate excuses - injury and caring duties respectively - but Jonty has controversially chosen to attend a wedding in Cornwall instead.
The final itinerary for the week - featuring two new venues - has now been published. An advance party of five (or six, if the Judge pulls his finger out) will play at Furness GC near Barrow on Monday September 5; Roger will definitely be joining the others to play in a Seniors Open at Seascale GC on the Tuesday; the rest - plus Jock Whiteley - will arrive in time for at least one practice round at Silloth on the Wednesday.
The Salver itself will be contested on Thursday September 8, and the following day eight players are now expected to tee off just after midday at Clitheroe GC.
May 5, 2022
Following his sad death last week, Stephen Sutcliffe's funeral will be held at Huddersfield Crematorium, Fixby, at 9.15 on Monday, May 16.
Sooty played in the very first Goldthorpe Salver in 1981, and - though his participation in the actual competition had recently become sporadic - he rarely missed the annual trip to Silloth.
During the 1990s Steve actually took over as organiser, when Chris Sampson's business took him abroad - and somehow the Salver survived!
A full obituary is now posted in the Valete section on the website.
WOODSOME DINNER FOR THE SUPREMO RAISES £1700
A dinner to celebrate the life of the late Goldthorpe Salver Supremo Mark Nicholson was held at Woodsome Hall on April 9.
The event, organised by Mark's stepdaughters Xanah, Daisy and Molly, raised a total of £1695 for The British Heart Foundation.
Highlight of the night was the auction of a signed Huddersfield Town shirt, which was bought for £350 by Viv Sykes.
"It really was wonderful to have so many people in the same room to celebrate Mark and we’re so grateful so many could make it," said Molly.
Further donations can be made through this link: Just Giving
Viv Sykes modelling the Town shirt
The invitation to Mark's 'do'
Emergency Ward 10 bulletin +++++ Emergency Ward 10 bulletin +++++ Emergency Ward 10 bulletin +++++ Emergency Ward
CHAMPION "ON TRACK" TO DEFEND TITLE
March 7, 2022
Reigning Goldthorpe Salver Champeen John Shires believes he's on schedule to retain his title at Silloth in September.
Shires, who underwent an aortic heart valve replacement and triple bypass in January, hopes to be back on the golf course by the end of March. "Now that all the scars and holes have healed up, I can get back to my rigorous training regime," he said. "I might look like a piece of rolled sirloin on a butcher's slab, but that won't prevent me putting the rest of you lot to the sword again."
Meanwhile Alan Haigh has successfully completed his chemotherapy, and is currently driving to St James's Hospital in Leeds every weekday throughout March for an intensive 'belt & braces' course of radiotherapy.
Haigh, who has already made his return to the golf course, is also upbeat. "It's the travelling that's the pain in the bum, not the treatment, and I too will be fighting fit to mount a credible challenge for the Salver in September," he said.
The Champion, pictured in ICU
SEASCALE TO BE ADDED TO SALVER ROTA?
(Geiger Counters optional)
January 13, 2022
A new venue is on the cards for the 2022 pre-Silloth tour - Seascale Golf Club, which nestles in the shadow of the Sellafield nuclear power facility.
The Salver's Glorious Leader Chris Samps-un is proposing to ditch Penrith and play instead at the par 71 links, which is rated second only to Silloth itself in the list of Cumbria's best courses.
"It's obviously a very fine golf course," said Samps-un , "and in the morning before we play it, we could go to the Sellafield Visitor Centre - what a day out!"
His current plans involve returning to Ulverston GC on Monday, September 5, followed by Seascale on Tuesday, and Silloth on Wednesday and Thursday, before rounding the tour off at a yet-to-be named venue somewhere on the Fylde coast or in Lancashire.
Initial reaction to Seascale's possible addition to the Salver rota has been largely positive, with the Judge, Shires J, Alan Haigh, Mike Webb and Samps-un himself so far indicating they'll play, and several more thought to be on the point of entering.
Seascale is rated at number 85 in the UK's best links courses by Golf Today, which praised its "funky terrain, babbling brooks, great greens and terrific turf… this is one of England’s most under-rated golf courses."
Alan Haigh is said to be making a good recovery after undergoing chemotherapy. Throughout his treatment he continued to play at Woodsome on his own, and expects to back in full harness shortly.
John Drake is thought to have made a similar speedy recovery from the hip replacement surgery that prevented his participation in the 2021 Salver.
Reigning Champeen John Shires is scheduled to undergo heart surgery on Thursday, January 20. He's been told he should expect to be as good as new in three months.
The Judge, Roger Thomas, is amongst the many who contracted the Omicron coronavirus variant in December - thankfully without serious consequences.
WILCOX WIN STUNS GOLFING WORLD
September 28, 2021
Mark Wilcox has produced one of the most extraordinary results of the new millennium by winning the Woodsome Mixed Foursomes knockout competition with his wife Suzanne.
The pair triumphed 2&1 in the final against Andy and Ruby McLellan - both 5 handicappers - prompting cynics to remark that Suzanne must have played very well indeed, not to mention unkind speculation that all bunkers must have been declared Ground Under Repair for the day.
It capped a superb run for the Wilcoxes. In the semi-final they'd beaten former Yorkshire cricketer Matthew Wood (5.2) and Melissa Wood (+2.0). "We did get a lot of shots," admitted Wilcox.
The victorious couple with the Woodsome captains
SPOTTED AT WOODSOME - MARK'S BENCH
September 22, 2021
A bench dedicated to the memory of El Supremo Mark Nicholson can be seen in a prime position at Woodsome Hall Golf Club.
It's the work of Mark Wilcox, who spent part of lockdown renovating much of Woodsome's outdoor timber furniture.
The bench is currently on the lawn next to the halfway house.
WEBB AWARDED MARK NICHOLSON PRIZE
September 18, 2021
Mike Webb is the second recipient of the Mark Nicholson Prize.
The honour - awarded for "Reaching For The Heights But Not Quite Getting There" - was bestowed upon him by the inaugural recipient, John Shires. The official citation reads: "In seven rounds in five days Michael's lowest Stableford score was 32 points, and over the week as a whole he averaged around 35 points a round - and yet he won bugger all."
The prize should have been handed over at the Salver Presentation Dinner in the Golf Hotel, but its bestowal was delayed for two reasons:
Shires forgot he was supposed to be awarding it, and couldn't think quickly enough.
He forgot to bring it anyway.
Webb has responded to the honour with typical humility. "I scored 34 at Ulverston, 32 at Penrith, 40 and 35 at Silloth on Wednesday, 33 and 35 in the Salver, and 35 at Herons Reach on Friday, so my average for the week almost certainly exceeded that of everyone else," he said.
"This means I'm the best, and a packet of the cheapest biscuits available (see 2021 report - ed) is scant consolation. The Nicholson Prize is therefore well merited and outranks all others."
Teeing off in the Salver
The Mark Nicholson Prize
JUDGE BLASTED FOR QUESTIONING SPEED OF 2021 REPORT
September 15, 2021
Suggestions that the 2021 Goldthorpe Salver report was hastily published simply because website editor John Shires won this year's prestigious event himself, have been rubbished as "the ravings of a deluded has-been."
In a letter to the website - published here in full - Judge Roger Thomas, a five-time former winner of the Salver:
Alleged that Shires wouldn't have acted so quickly if someone else had won.
Forecast the former media megastar would use the report to gloat about his success.
Warned that any sneering reference to his own sobriety being responsible for his abject performance could see him landed with a defamation suit.
Webmeister Shires responded wearily to the Judge's letter. "I think you'll find that the 2021 report is an accurate account of the week's activities," he said. "There's no triumphalism, no gloating, no sneering - just an honest appraisal of how the contest unfolded.
"Clearly there's an element of sour grapes here, and the Judge has difficulty in accepting that after four successive Salver victories, he hasn't won for two years., and despite his utterly ridiculous handicap, he's now on the slide.
The Judge accepts one of the minor prizes
"Threats of a defamation suit indicate his years on the bench have gone to his head. As he rightly points out we live in a country where the principle of Freedom of Speech is woven into the very fabric of our society.
"He might be a formidable presence in his own courtroom, but it is not in his gift to issue threats that would shackle a Free Press," he added.
"In any case," he concluded, " the only reason the report is out so early is that I'm getting on a bit, and the longer I leave it the more I forget."
The Judge's letter in full:
Swift work indeed.
Is the explanation for this unusual speed to be found in the coincidence between the identity of the winner of this year’s Salver (& of course I haven’t overlooked the holder of the Tankard as well lest our Webmeister thinks I am not paying full & proper respect to his golfing prowess) and the man who publishes such information?
One wonders if by some miracle or other, Webb M for example, had clinched victory (bear with me here and don’t get deflected by the sheer unlikelihood of that actually happening) our esteemed Webmeister would have acted with such alacrity and efficiency?
Can we be assured that he will exercise his usual restraint and self deference in describing his good fortune and not descend to some vulgar and distasteful gloating about his success?
Further, can we also be comforted by knowing that when he does report upon his win he will not take the opportunity to deride others by way of comparison? Something he has unhappily already begun to do in his brief report with a sneering reference to my sobriety and his excessive use of alcohol.
Fortunately, although we value free speech in England we also have the protection afforded to us by the law of defamation. Our Webmeister will have to pay proper heed to that law if he does not want the bailiff to remove his new super yacht from him to pay the substantial damages that we will be able to recover from him if/when he falls foul of the sort of issues I have touched upon above.
His Honour Judge Roger Thomas QC
WEBMEISTER SHIRES WINS 40th ANNIVERSARY SALVER
September 10, 2021
In one of the most surprising outcomes in recent Goldthorpe Salver history - not least to himself - retired self-proclaimed media megastar John Shires is the new Champion.
Shires made the most of arguably the most benign conditions we've ever encountered at Silloth to post scores of 37 and 40, pipping multiple Champeen, His Honour Judge Roger Thomas QC, by a couple of points.
What's more, his second round was enough to land him the Tim Sugden Tankard as well.
With Thomas fading badly in the post luncheon second round, Shires's victory also gave him the long awaited opportunity to champion the merits of alcohol as an essential part of every successful golfer's armoury.
While the destination of the Salver was a complete shock, no one was surprised by the identity of this year's Goat. Yes, you've guessed it - Andrew Sugden.
Photographs are now posted and can be viewed HERE
HAIGH & DRAKE FORCED TO PULL OUT
August 17, 2021
Alan Haigh and John Drake have been forced to withdraw from the 2021 Goldthorpe Salver on medical advice.
Alan will shortly start a course of treatment that will make several consecutive rounds of golf impossible, while John is booked in for a hip replacement in late September, and isn't playing until he's recovered from the operation.
We wish them both well.
Meanwhile Steve Sutcliffe has confirmed he will be attending the Salver, though in a non-playing capacity.
In one of the more bizarre emails received recently by the Glorious Leader, Chris Samps-Un, Sooty wrote: "Happy to do some ball spotting on the greens especially as my eyesight is getting worse. I note the Pheasant is closed presently, so maybe I’ll stop off in Abbeytown for a break. Anyone want a lift?"
Readers will remember that his previous stop in Abbeytown in 2000 (see picture) didn't end well.
NEWS IN BRIEF.........
August 9, 2021
Charles Webb, Mike Webb and John Shires have been honing their skills on the links of St Andrews in preparation for the 40th Anniversary Goldthorpe Salver.
Together with occasional golfer John Stewart, they played the Old, the New, the Jubilee and the Castle courses - with varying success. Webb M and Shires J came out on top winning three of the matches against Stewart and the Prof - who is, of course, an R&A member- winning three of the matches and halving the fourth. However your correspondent can confirm that Charles is in good shape to defend his Salver title; despite playing off scratch, he dropped only a handful of shots over the four rounds.
They had a very nice picture taken on the Swilken Bridge, and lots to drink.
Meanwhile Alan Haigh's preparations have been disrupted, first by having to isolate following close contact with someone diagnosed with Covid-19, and then by a bout of severe sickness and diarrhoea, possibly as a result of contracting Norovirus. However, every cloud has a silver lining. He will now be able to fit into his large size 40th Anniversary golf shirt.
One of the advantages of the new World Handicap System is that it's relatively easy to discover not only the handicaps of Salver competitors, but also how many shots they'll get at Silloth this year.
Therefore, in a bid to stop any rampant cheating, your diligent Webmeister has done the job for you (see box).
The results are quite staggering. Last year's Goat, Rupert Shires, will receive 21 strokes this year, while Jonty Thornton will get no less than 30! And while John Shires will be playing off the same stingy 11 as he has done for the last ten years, multiple champion Roger Thomas, having been justifiably hauled back to 16 last year, somehow gets 18 shots again. Equally baffling is the course handicap of Chris de Sambeau (once single figures, now17). Patently absurd!
"It's utterly ridiculous," said reigning champeen the Prof, whose handicap index of +0.1 leaves him playing off scratch. "It just gives the idiots an unfair advantage."
It's a view echoed by the respected golf writer John Shires. "Especially given that it's a Stableford competition," he said. "If the Salver was decided on strokeplay over two rounds, the cream would inevitably rise to the top, but the Stableford system gives hackers the advantage. For example, if Wilcox gets into a bunker in a strokeplay comp, he could blow all his 19 shots in one hole. But in a Stableford it's just a blob. And as for The Judge, well don't get me started."
WORLD HANDICAP SYSTEM
Silloth on Solway GC
Yellow Tees - Slope Index 131
Bill Butterworth (6.6) = 8
John Drake (11.4) = 13
Chris Durrans (15.0) = 17
Mik-Al-Dyson (12.8) = 15
Alan Haigh (10.2) = 12
John Liddiment (21.1) = 24
Chris de Sambeau (14.9) = 17
John Shires (9.6) = 11
Rupert Shires (18.0) = 21
Roger Thomas (15.1) = 18
Jonty Thornton (26.3) = 30
The Prof (+0.1) = 0
Mike Webb (10.4) = 12
Mark Wilcox (16.1) = 19
Charlie Kaye, Andrew Sugden and Steve Sutcliffe appear to have fallen through the cracks of the WHS so far.
NEW 2021 SHIRTS UNVEILED
August 6, 2021
Here it is! The first glimpse of the Goldthorpe Salver 40th Anniversary special edition golf shirt.
Designed by the renowned Webb fashion house, and manufactured in their own sweatshop in central Huddersfield, the shirts - bearing the simple inscription "Goldthorpe Salver 1981-2021" - are available in just one colour, a delicate shade of pastel pink.
The design hasn't met with universal approval. Well known bigots Jock Whiteley and Chris Durrans are said to be unimpressed by the choice of colour, due to its association with homosexuality. And Mark Wilcox has expressed his displeasure with the absence of the silly little man motif, which featured on earlier editions and was widely thought to have been modelled on the former Kirkheaton Strangler himself.
But Mike Webb has defended the design. "I'm quite comfortable with my own sexuality," he said. "And the logo is just like me - understated but undeniably classy."
The shirts will be available for collection from supremo Chris Samps-Un at Silloth.
De SAMBEAU RINGS THE CHANGES
August 5, 2021
Goldthorpe Salver supremo Chris De Sambeau has published final details of the arrangements for Silloth Week 2021.
A change of date for the 36 hole Salver from Friday to Thursday, has had a knock-on effect on the rest of the week (see panel, right), with two new courses on the 2021 itinerary - Ulverston GC on Monday, and Herons Reach GC in Blackpool on Friday.
The traditional visit to Penrith GC has been switched to Tuesday, with practice rounds (for those that require them) now being played at Silloth on Wednesday. At present it looks as though 15 players will compete for the Salver itself.
Of the two new courses, Ulverston Golf Club is - according to its own website - "a wonderful parkland course in Cumbria’s Lake District.
Originally designed by Open champion Alex Herd, it was remodelled by renowned golf course architect H S Colt in the 1920’s. The challenging par 71 layout provides spectacular views over Morecambe Bay and the Lake District fells."
In contrast Herons Reach is a championship par 72 resort course designed by Peter Alliss & Clive Clark. With undulating USGA specification greens, it boasts no less than 12 holes with water features on them.
So take a plentiful supply of ammo.
ARRANGEMENTS IN FULL
Monday 6th September - Ulverston GC tee time 1400. Meet 1230. Staying night at Dunes Hotel, Roanhead Beach, South Lakes ( Alan H, John D, John S, Mark W, Mike W, Chris DeS)
Tuesday 7th September - Penrith GC tee time 1341. Meet at 1200. Staying night at Golf Hotel, Silloth. Booked for 6 as per Monday plus Andrew S, John L, Rupert S.
Wednesday 8th September - Silloth GC tee time 0930 - 0950 (max 12 players) roll up.
The afternoon team event (unless weather forecast suggests bringing forward round 1 of the Salver) will have tee from 1430 to 1500, so lunchtime arrivals please be in the clubhouse for 1330.
Thursday 9th September - Silloth GC tee times 0930 & 1430 for The Goldthorpe Salver and Sugden Tankard.
Friday 10th September - Herons Reach GC, Blackpool. Tee time 12:05. Booked for 12 playerss who declared a wish to have a round on the way home.
Herons Reach GC
SALVER COMPETITORS "SERIOUSLY DELUDED" SAYS FASHION GURU
The 2001 and 2011 shirts
July 12, 2021
Leading couturiers have reacted with incredulity to the revelation that only a handful of Goldthorpe Salver 40th anniversary commemorative polo shirts have been ordered in XL size.
Competitors have so far ordered 2 medium size shirts, 17 large and just FOUR extra large.
"Clearly they don't possess a tape measure, or maybe they get dressed in front of a concave mirror. Either way, the fat bastards are seriously deluded," said fashion guru Jean-Paul Whitelier.
The shirts have been sourced by Mike Webb, who is amongst those to defy reality by ordering just a large version. Two of the XL size have been requested by webmeister John Shires, and it's thought that Salver Supremo Chris De Sambeau - who has deliberately bulked up in order to increase his length off the tee - has ordered the other two.
"That means that as well as Webb, folk like Andrew Sugden, Alan Haigh and Mark Wilcox appear to have ordered merely large shirts. Really? Who do they think they're kidding," asked Shires.
ROW ERUPTS OVER ANNIVERSARY POLO SHIRT
July 9, 2021
Plans for a new polo shirt to mark the 40th anniversary of the prestigious Goldthorpe Salver have sparked a row between senior members.
Both the 20th and 30th anniversaries were commemorated with special edition shirts - featuring the same cartoon golfer design - and Salver supremo Chris De Sambeau has asked for suggestions for a 2021 version.
It's prompted self-styled fashionista Mike Webb to comment: "I certainly don’t want the silly little man again. Doesn’t make us look like proper golfers!"
De Sambeau modelling the 2001 polo shirt
Now De Sambeau - who was responsible for commissioning "the silly little man" motif (pictured) in the first place - has asked competitors for their thoughts on a new design, and already suggestions are pouring in.
"Why not have the silly little man motif for shit golfers - ie all those with a world handicap above 11 - and a decent tasteful job for the likes of the Prof, Bill Butterworth, Alan, Duck, Webby and me," said former media megastar John Shires. "That way, everyone will know who the proper golfers are."
Meanwhile Webb has countered by suggesting that if there has to be a motif at all, perhaps a representation of Andrew Sugden asleep might be more appropriate.
"There's also the question of colour," said De Sambeau. "The 2001 yellow was vibrant and has lasted well for Shires and me. The blue and white of 2011 were weak colours on a poor quality shirt. We also had red in 2001. How about pink?"
To no one's surprise, that suggestion has already met with the approval of Alan Haigh. "That's predictable," said Shires. "It's obvious from his existing wardrobe that he either gets dressed in the dark or he's utterly colour blind."
Webb has offered to coordinate production of the new shirt, and has enlisted the help of Huddersfield GC professional Alex Keighley. "In the absence of any more sensible ideas, it's likely that the shirt will simply bear the words Goldthorpe Salver and 40th Anniversary," he said.
"But one thing's certain," he added. "They certainly won't be slim fit."
WAS sporting the 2011 version
THUMBS UP FOR SALVER CHANGES
November 12, 2020
Goldthorpe Salver competitors have signalled universal approval for a change of date for the 40th anniversary event in 2021.
After the conclusion of the 2020 Salver, the new Glorious Leader Chris De Sambeau suggested that - given that the majority of players are either retired or semi-retired - it might be better to play the tournament on a Thursday, when the course at Silloth tends to be less busy. It would also afford the opportunity of playing on the Friday somewhere a little closer to home, as well as getting rid of the dreaded Saturday morning drive back from the Solway coast while suffering from the after-effects of the Golf Hotel's dubious wine list.
De Sambeau was concerned that the change, which will involve arriving at Silloth on the Wednesday, and - for those who play there - moving the traditional visit to Penrith to the Tuesday, might be seen as a bid to consolidate his position with a hasty power grab, coming, as it does, so soon after the demise of the Supremo.
He was also worried that his request for suggestions as to where to play on the Friday might prompt some ridiculous responses from certain members of the party (ie: Wilcox). Recommendations so far include Clitheroe, Pleasington and Manchester, along with Furness near Barrow, the 3rd oldest links and the 6lth oldest course in England.
However an email poll of competitors has revealed a willingness to embrace the new arrangements. Even dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists like Mike Webb have sent positive replies. "As you all know," he said, "I'm a creature of habit - particularly when it comes to holidays - but equally, I'm not one to stick my head in the sand and stand in the way of progress."
The Salver meeting will therefore be held at Silloth-on-Solway GC on September 8 and 9, 2021, with the Salver itself contested over36 holes on Thursday, September 9.
The 2021 Salver will be the first to be played under the new World Handicap System.
Competitors are currently coming to terms with the WHS, which works out handicaps on the basis of a player's best eight recent rounds.
The authorities say it's designed to make golf easier to understand and to give all golfers a handicap which is portable all around the globe.
"That's all very well," said Glorious Leader, Chris Samps-Un, "but I'm the one who's going to have to work the bloody thing out. After all what chance has Andrew Sugden got of understanding it? "
"Mind you," he added, "just think of the chaos if El Supremo had still been with us. It would have probably finished him off."
It's also likely that there will still be a pre-Silloth tour, with a handful of competitors opting to play on the Monday as well. "I didn't get where I am today without being able to play on five - or even six - consecutive days," said webmeister John Shires
DE SAMBEAU "INSPIRATION" BEHIND RAHM'S INCREDIBLE SKIM SHOT
November 11, 2020
The Goldthorpe Salver's Glorious Leader, Chris De Sambeau, claims to have been the inspiration behind World Number 2 Jon Rahm's astonishing "skim shot" at Augusta National earlier this week.
Playing the famous par three 16th during a practice round ahead of the delayed Masters, Rahm deliberately skulled his tee shot with the sole of his club. Fellow players and caddies watched in amazement as the ball skimmed three times in the lake, hopped onto the green, and trundled to the top of the slope at the back of the green before turning sharply downhill and rolling gently into the hole for an ace.
De Sambeau in action at the 15th at Slaley Hall this year
De Sambeau told goldthorpesalver.com: "It's uncanny. Rahm must have heard about my exploits last year at the 203 yard 15th on the Hunting Course at Slaley Hall, when I deliberately topped my tee shot into the water to see whether I could do a Barnes Wallis. Sure enough, it bounced a couple of times in the lake, and popped out onto the green."
His fellow players that day - John Drake, Alan Haigh and John Shires - have dismissed his claim as "cobblers".
"For a start," said Shires, "to suggest that he did it deliberately is a joke - unless of course he 'deliberately' topped his tee shot on all the other holes that day."
And according to Haigh, there was another significant difference. "De Sambeau's effort only just crept onto the front of the green," he said.
"What's more," added Drake, "from there, he three putted for a four."
SHIRES BUYS SUPERYACHT!
November 10, 2020 (additional reporting by C.P.Webb)
It's been confirmed that self-styled media megastar John Shires has acquired a gin palace.
Sources have revealed that the Rastrick-based broadcaster and journalist - and Goldthorpe Salver webmeister - has purchased a 34 foot ocean going four berth cruiser, which is currently moored on the Hamble near Southampton. It's thought that the boat - named "Liberty" will ultimately be berthed in Falmouth, within striking distance of his preferred holiday destination of Rock, the North Cornwall coastal resort widely renowned as a playground of the super-rich.
The vessel just before launching
Shires is apparently no stranger to things nautical, having previously owned a boat in the vicinity (pictured below).
However, the news has been met with astonishment from a number of Salver competitors, who are questioning how he has funded the acquisition, and whether - with his limited seafaring experience - he will be able to handle it.
Room-mate and confidant Mike Webb said, “I really don’t know where he got the money from. His golf tackle is hardly up to date and the shredded underpants he insists on wearing are an absolute disgrace. What's more he clearly didn't fund the purchase from his golf prizewinnings, since he's never won anything."
And Jonty Thornton, High Sheriff of West Yorkshire and Chairman of Huddersfield University Council, was similarly incredulous. “I know a thing or two about this sailing game and I am not sure that John
realises what he has got himself into. Even for someone as rich as me the fuel costs are enormous, not to mention the upkeep and berthing fees”.
The Goldthorpe Salver's new glorious leader, Chris DeSambeau, himself no stranger to the briny, also had reservations about Shires' sanity. “It is none of my business whether or not he can afford this venture, however I have severe doubts about his skills as a skipper," he said. "If he negotiates his way round the Cornish coast the same way he does around Woodsome Hall, his passengers are in for a rough ride!”
And newly qualified celebrant Charles "The Grim Reaper" Webb added: "Shires has obviously forgotten the old adage - if it flies, floats or f***s, rent it."
But salty seadog Aristotle O’Shirio countered these comments with a typically confident response. “Money is absolutely no object to me, and I look forward to sailing the seven seas, me hearties! Having said that, if Jonty wants to contribute some of his vast wealth, well, I certainly won't turn it down. As for the rest of you, it's £1,000 a trip."
JUDGE'S REIGN OVER - CHARLES WEBB IS 2020 CHAMP
September 12, 2020
Charles Webb won the 2020 Goldthorpe Salver, triumphing for the fifth time in atrocious conditions at a wind and rainswept Silloth-on-Solway GC, and thus ending the four year reign of former champion Judge Roger Thomas.
The appalling weather forced organisers into a controversial change of format, with the 36 hole competition being spread over two days to avoid the worst of the weather.
All competitors found the elements difficult, but in the absence of Andrew Sugden - another late withdrawal - it was Rupert Shires who finished bottom of the pile in both rounds to be crowned Goat.
Photographs are now posted on the website, and can be viewed by clicking on this link.
STOP PRESS: SALVER GETS OFFICIAL REPRIEVE
August 27, 2020
Competitors in the Goldthorpe Salver will be able to travel to Silloth this September with a clear conscience, after the UK government lifted local Coronavirus lockdown restrictions in large swathes of Kirklees and Calderdale from Wednesday, September 2.
Although doubts had been raised that the majority would adhere to the restrictions, it would have been a source of severe embarrassment to several high profile members of the party - including an eminent judge,,a TV newsreader, a well-known industrialist, and two former senior partners of a top legal outfit, not to mention the current High Sheriff of West Yorkshire * - had it been discovered that they had flouted government directives.
*Full details have been redacted by the web curator to prevent identification, though everyone knows who they are.
THE JUDGE - RIGHT OF REPLY
August 28, 2020
Top judge Roger Thomas has hit back at claims by this website that he was shamed into getting his handicap reduced ahead of next month's Goldthorpe Salver.
The five-times Silloth champion had his handicap cut from 18 to 15 after handing in his card to the Woodsome Hall professional following a successful round on the New Course at St Andrews. It means that over the 36 holes of the Salver, he will now start six points worse off.
"Had his handicap been 15 for the last four years, he would still have won the Salver twice," said Webmeister John Shires. "But detailed research proves that he would not have won it in 2019 or 2016, when he was victorious by just a single point."
In his email to the website - published here in line with editorial guidelines - Thomas denies that Shires, who had berated him about his handicap during their recent clash at Whitby GC, had any part to play in his decision to hand in his card from St Andrews. Interestingly though, while banging on about Shires' own game, he offers no alternative explanation as to why he effectively dobbed himself in to the handicap authorities.
"What's more," added Shires, "he also attempts to muddy the waters with the specious argument that the original report could cause distress and hurt to less talented golfers in the field, who might somehow have had their hopes of success in this year's event unrealistically lifted."
"Such bluster may be commonplace in the courtroom, but it cannot trump the freedom of speech and the right of this august organ to voice its legitimate opinions," he concluded.
goldthorpesalver.com is not a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), but broadly subscribes to its Editors' Code of Practice. As such, it gives those who are aggrieved about editorial content a right of reply - even if it is total bollocks.
The email from His Honour Judge Thomas QC is reproduced here in full.
In the interests of fair and balanced reporting, a subject close to the professional & personal heart of the Salver’s self styled Web Meister, I should add something to his recent posting about my handicap.
The essential facts he reports are true and accurate. Namely, that my handicap has been reduced to 15 as a result of a very good round on the New Course at St Andrews.
However, the suggestion that he had some part to play in my handicap reduction is entirely misleading. That is not to say that he was not “royally put to the sword” when we played the other week at Whitby but the implied assertion that that was because of my over generous handicap is a wicked & terrible perversion of the truth.
The point being that I played quite modestly at Whitby (my card, which I did keep & put in at Woodsome, would not have reduced my 18 handicap) whilst he played (as he always does at Silloth) like a complete pillock. On the back 9 his ball was constantly disappearing many a country mile off course which his constant self berating and complaining couldn’t stop.
He is right though when he says in his recent posting that he nevertheless complained long & hard to me about my handicap as though that, rather than his own ineptitude, was the cause of the dismal defeat/ capitulation that he suffered.
He may also care to reflect as well on the damage & hurt that can result from such misleading reporting.
This is not a reference to my own hurt feelings because I have learnt from long experience not to be troubled by the likes of Shires & Webb moaning about my handicap. But rather a reference to the likes of Andrew Sugden who take these false reports seriously, even to the extent that he now seemingly thinks that he will be taking the Salver back to Menorca this winter.
It is grossly unfair on such a hapless but well meaning golfer to be led to believe by such misreporting that he could somehow achieve the impossible.
It is to be hoped that the Press Complaints Council won’t latch onto this new website and we can continue to watch our Web Meister on the telly at tea time without those busy bodies removing his journalistic licence.
BREAKING NEWS..... JUDGE HAS HANDICAP SLASHED!
August 27, 2020
The odds of perennial Goldthorpe Salver champion Roger Thomas winning a fifth successive title have lengthened dramatically following news that his handicap has been slashed by three shots from 18 to 15.
It follows a trip to Scotland, during which the five-time Silloth winner played several rounds on top championship courses, including three at the home of golf, St Andrews.
"I kept my cards and put them in at Woodsome," said the Judge. "Although most of them didn’t do much for my handicap, the very good round I had on the New Course has got me down to 15. Just in time for Silloth, despite my pathetic efforts so far this year with a Medal card in my hand. "
The Judge - putting on the 18th in 2019
Your very own webmeister is happy to take some of the credit for the welcome news. "Only last week during a trip to Roger's holiday cottage in Sandsend, I was royally put to the sword at Whitby Golf Club, and while I was enduring my customary stuffing at his hands, I launched into my well-rehearsed, lengthy and vitriolic rant about his handicap," he said.
"It appears that at last it might have struck home, and I like to think that I might have played at least a small part in this happy development."
BBC TO AXE COVERAGE OF "RACIST" GOLDTHORPE SALVER
August 27, 2020
The BBC is to ban all mention of the prestigious Goldthorpe Salver from its airwaves, accusing organisers of racism and a lack of diversity.
Principal amongst its reasons is the name of the tournament itself. "It's been brought to our attention," said a Corporation spokesman, "that the word 'Salver' is an anagram of 'Slaver', and as such we can't countenance its use on our news bulletins.
"It would be easy for someone to make a typographical error which would result in a newsreader committing a hideous faux pas on air."
Other reasons cited by the BBC for the ban include:
Salver 2019 - no women or BAME competitors
The competitors are exclusively white, male and middle class.
One of them runs a blacking factory.
The organiser's nickname is Sambo.
ALGORITHM COULD DECIDE 2020 SALVER
August 17, 2020
The winner of the 2020 Goldthorpe Salver could be decided by a computer algorithm - if the competition is postponed because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The prestigious event in Cumbria is endangered by partial lockdown restrictions recenty imposed in Kirklees and Calderdale, home to the vast majority of competitors.
The algorithm will not only take into account a player's recent form, but also his historic record in the tournament, and - controversially - the opinions of fellow competitors.
This means that:
It's impossible for reigning champion Roger Thomas to win for a fifth successive year, since everyone is convinced his handicap is entirely bogus.
Charles Webb can't lift the Salver either, because everyone is jealous of his ability.
Amongst other favourites, Mike Webb is ruled out because he's perceived to be arrogant, and John Shires is marked down heavily by his peers because he's a whingeing moaner.
It's thought the algorithm could hand the title to former champion John Liddiment, on the basis that he's never made a loss on the book, everyone thinks he's a thoroughly decent chap, and no one has a bad word to say about him.
DE SAMBEAU BULKS UP IN BID TO WIN LONGEST DRIVE
August 12, 2020
The Goldthorpe Salver's Glorious Leader, Chris De Sambeau has added two stone in weight during lockdown in an attempt to increase his length off the tee.
"I've seen what my close relative Bryson has done over in the States, and I decided to follow his example," he said. "Bryson is now regularly braying it 390 yards on the US Tour, and I intend to do the same."
Other Salver competitors think they might have spotted a flaw in his thinking.
"Whereas De Chambeau put on 28 pounds of solid muscle through a tough regime of pumping iron, rigorous exercise and nutritional additives, De Sambeau's idea of dietary supplements is four pints of Ossett Gold and two bags of Jacob's Mini Cheddars," said fitness guru Mark Wilcox.
And respected swing analyst John Liniment was quick to point out that length off the tee can sometimes be overrated.
"I have watched De Chambeau's efforts on the US Tour since it recommenced after lockdown, and although he does indeed hit it a considerable distance, he has yet to locate a fairway - which of course is the pre-requisite of winning the longest drive competition on the 18th hole at Silloth," he said.
And Rupert "The Beast" Shires added: "Quite frankly, De Sambeau would do better to knob it 120 yards straight down the middle, like me."
2020 LATEST - SUGDEN IN LESSON SHOCK
August 12, 2020
Andrew Sugden is so desperate to avoid further ignominy in this year's Goldthorpe Salver that he's resorted to taking golf lessons.
Sources suggest that so far the reigning Goat has had two sessions with the professional at Huddersfield Golf Club.
And the verdict?
"There's room for improvement," said the pro - clearly a master of understatement.
"A work in progress"
PROF LANDS NEW ROLE AS DR DEATH
August 11, 2020
The global Covid-19 pandemic has prompted Professor Charles Webb to embark on a new career.
With all sporting fixtures now being staged behind closed doors, the sports hospitality business, in which Little Charlsie made his fortune, has suffered a severe downturn. And rather than sit on his backside, the former President of Huddersfield Golf Club has decided to seek alternative employment..... as a Celebrant!
But while he can now theoretically be hired to conduct civil weddings and funerals, there is a catch. "At the moment I can only do funerals, as I'm not yet qualified to do weddings. To be frank, I haven't got all my wedding tackle sorted, if you see what I mean," said Dr Death.
"And despite what you read in the media, you might be surprised to hear that, at present, the funeral business isn't exactly healthy either," he added, gloomily. "As soon as I qualified, the death rate plunged. All the old buggers who'd normally shuffle off at this time of year had snuffed it earler in the pandemic."
The Prof's change of career has surprised fellow Salver competitors. "I can imagine that his outrageous sense of humour might be acceptable at a wedding," said his brother Michael, "but I'm not sure it would go down too well when families are saying farewell to their nearest and dearest."
Apparently, when asked by a Fixby member whether his new career entitled him to add letters after his name, Dr Death replied: "Yes! Charles Webb RIP."
That's his advertising slogan sorted, then.
The evil Dr Death
The Editor writes:
There might be those who think this item is a farrago of lies, whose only purpose is to poke fun at its subject.
However I wish to point out that, while being scarcely believable, this article - unlike much of the rest of the website - is 100 per cent dead accurate.
SAMPSON ODDS-ON FAVOURITE FOR 2020 TRIUMPH
July 31, 2020
The Goldthorpe's new Glorious Leader, Chris Samps-Un, is the ante-post favourite for the 2020 Goldthorpe Salver - because, as things stand, no other serious contender can play in the tournament.
While every other player entered into the 2020 event at Silloth is a resident of either Kirklees or Calderdale - and are consequently subject to the government's latest coronavirus restrictions, which at present may preclude their participation - Samps-Un (pictured) lives 300 yards the other side of the Kirklees boundary in Barnsley.
The only possible exceptions are Frank Whiteley, who lives in Scotland, and is therefore governed by Mrs Krankie's draconian rules, which mean he can't have anything to do with anyone from England, and Steve Sutcliffe, whose domiciliary arrangements are a mystery to everyone, including him.
What's more Frank hasn't swung a club in anger for over 20 years, and earlier this year Sutcliffe gave notice that if he came to Silloth this year, if would be purely in a non-playing capacity.
"But even if Frank and Sutty do play, I'll piss it," said Sambo. "If I can't beat those two, I'll eat my trousers."
Sambo - firm favourite
However Sampson's presumption that the coveted Checked Jacket is already his may be premature, with other competitors signalling that they may still be able to participate. "While I am listed as a resident of Halifax," said multiple champion John Drake, "I think you'll find that's Halifax, Nova Scotia."
BREAKING NEWS - Charles Webb, who's missed the last two Salvers because of work commitments, is pulling out all the stops in a bid to land his 5th Goldthorpe title. The former President of Huddersfield Golf Club, whose handicap has recently been again reduced to 1, was recently seen having a lesson - not with the professional at Fixby, but with Woodsome Hall pro John Eyre.
"It just goes to show that the Professor is prepared to sacrifice everything - including his pride - to topple reigning champion Roger Thomas," said an inside source.
Kaye & Wilcox pull out of 2020 Salver
July 30, 2020
Charles Kaye and Mark Wilcox have withdrawn from the 2020 tournament because of injury and ongoing health concerns.
Kaye has a poorly knee which would apparently prevent him completing 18 holes, never mind 36, while Wilcox has decided to pull out because he suffers from a condition that affects his immune system, and his health might be severely compromised were he to catch Covid-19.
"Unlike some withdrawals in previous years, these are totally legitimate and understandable," said Glorious Leader Chris Samps-Un. "As far as Mark is concerned, it's better to be safe than sorry."
However it's understood that Wilcox WILL travel to Penrith for 18 holes on Wednesday, September 9, which will no doubt give him the opportunity to consume not one, but two giant meals in the bar.
Meanwhile the remaining 14 competitors are waiting to hear whether the new Coronavirus restrictions imposed on residents in Kirklees and Calderdale will affect the 2020 Salver.
WEBSITE BACK IN BUSINESS
July 27, 2020
Less than a month after being forced by the closure of its original web company to re-locate to an alternative host, the all-new, revamped and re-designed Goldthorpe Salver website is fully up and running.
"This has been a mammoth job," said webmeister John Shires. "I have worked morning, noon and night to move hundreds of articles from the old site to the new, and as you can see from my photograph accompanying this article, I have aged considerably as a consequence.
"Some people probably think there's nothing to it; just a bit of cutting and pasting from one to the other. But this is cutting edge technology we're dealing with, and only people as brainy as me would be able to contemplate such a task," he said.
"I'm sure discerning readers will welcome the new design, the easy-to-read typeface, and the enhanced photographs, not to mention the brilliant and incisive journalism," he added.
Some Salver competitors are sceptical. "It's about time he did some work," said blacking industry magnate Chris "Bradley Hardacre" Durrans.
And former top lawyer Mike Webb questioned the entire enterprise. "What's the point?" he asked. "If all the articles were about me, it might be worthwhile. But they aren't, so it isn't."
A message from the Editor: Notwithstanding the cutting edge technology, there are a couple of technical issues to which I would draw the reader's attention. Depending on the size of your PC, laptop or tablet screen, you may find that you are unable to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the drop-down menus for Reports and Photographs. The remedy is to scroll to the bottom of the website, where you can scroll up the menus instead! Easy! Similarly on some tablets you may find that not all the menu strip is visible. The remedy is the same.
Incidentally you can also visit the site on your smartphone, providing of course, that you have one. Finally, all previous articles can now be found in the News Archive section.
Goldthorpe Salver 2020 is on......for now!
Wednesday, July 16, 2020
Unlike the Open Championship, the 2020 Goldthorpe Salver has not fallen victim to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Chris Samps-Un, the Salver's new Glorious Leader, has confirmed that Silloth-on-Solway Golf Club is open and ready to host the prestigious tournament, and - more importantly - the Golf Hotel is welcoming guests, and will honour previous bookings.
In a recently released statement Samps-Un said: "I have been speaking with Silloth GC and the Golf Hotel, and all is good to go for the Thursday 10th and Friday 11th September.
"Covid-19 regulations will not really affect the golf as we are not inclined to hug each other, though no touching will probably still be in place! The hotel advises that room sharing is allowed. The main difference will be in the bar and dining operation, and that will be what it will be come September."
The Golf Hotel - accepting bookings
Tee times at Silloth GC have been confirmed
Thursday am 09:30 to 09:50 (12 players)
Thursday pm 14:30 to 15:00 (16 players)
Friday am 09:30 to 10:00 (16 players)
Friday pm 14:30 to 15:00 (16 players)
As things stand, dinner on Thursday night will be at the Golf Club, with the Presentation Dinner taking place in the Golf Hotel's Criffel Room on Friday.
Samps-Un also confirmed that the pre-Silloth Tour will go ahead too. Four Salver competitors - Haigh, Drake Shires J and Sambo himself - will warm up again at Slaley Hall in Northumberland on the Monday and Tuesday, and they will be joined by three more at Penrith on Wednesday, September 9.
So far the majority of competitors have signalled their intention to participate in the 2020 Salver. "We Yorkshiremen are made of stern stuff," said Samps-Un. "We are not prepared to kow-tow to this Chinese virus."
He also exhorted those taking part to get out on the practice grounds and hone their preparations in readiness to end the Judge's four year reign as champion. "I hope you are looking forward to the excitement of who can come out of the pack and get within 10 points of the Judge. We all must try harder," he said.
"Of course, the fun and good company is just as important, and we must also give our late Supremo Mark Nicholson a belated and fitting send-off," he added.
The Supremo - a fitting farewell
Thursday June 25, 2020
Friends and members of Woodsome Hall GC turned out in force to bid Mark Nicholson farewell. More than 50 lined the driveway in front of the first tee, and applauded as the hearse bearing his coffin passed on its way to a Service of Thanksgiving at Grenoside Crematorium in North Sheffield.
With large gatherings still forbidden as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, it was the only way those who'd known and loved Mark were able to pay their respects; a fitting tribute to a man in whose life golf and Woodsome had played a major part.
His other passions - Huddersfield Town, music, pubs, curry, and his stepdaughters ("my girls" as he called them) - were reflected in the tribute paid to him at the service by lifelong friend Iain Stevenson. Our own tribute can now be found in the Valete section of the website.
It's with great sadness that we have to report the death of Mark - or the Supremo, as we've come to know him.
For more years than we care to remember, Mark had organised the Goldthorpe Salver trip to Silloth-on-Solway, cajoling members, conducting draws, buying prizes, and generally making sure that - against often formidable odds - everything ran smoothly.
In recent years the Salver had become an important focus of his life, though sadly nothing could arrest his gradual and apparently inevitable decline.
Legal eagles in unseemly photo row
June 22, 2020
Two of Yorkshire's top legal brains have become embroiled in an ugly spat over the revamped Goldthorpe Salver Website.
After Webmeister John Shires revealed that it would take considerable time and not a little patience to upload the huge quantity of archive photographs from the old site to the new, Mike Webb - the erstwhile Senior Partner at Huddersfield's alleged premier firm of solicitors, Eaton Smith - suggested that to save time it would be "a good plan to excise several photos of our late Supremo awarding the checked jacket to Roger Thomas."
His Honour Judge Thomas QC has responded with an acerbic - if slightly melodramatic - riposte: "As recent events have so well shown, you can’t rewrite established history by dumping proof of past events into the likes of Bristol dock," he wrote.
"It is essential that the visible records of what has happened are kept in perpetuity for future generations. Where will all this end if the likes of Mike Webb are permitted to expunge such vital historical records? Jack Nicklaus’s statue to be submerged in the Swilcan Burn presumably? "
Happily, though entirely unintentionally, website editor Shires has arrived at a compromise. "The new web-building software automatically offers a mobile version of the site, and if members care to log in on their mobile phones , they will notice that, as a result of some technical glitch, for which I currently don't appear to have a remedy, Roger's head is missing from the photograph at the top of the articles on the report pages," he said.
"I was about to contact the technical gurus to ask for their advice as to how to correct the anomaly, but on reflection, to satisfy both parties, perhaps it's better to leave things as they are."
Mobile site screenshot
The Goldthorpe Salver website
Eagle-eyed visitors to the website might just have noticed that things have changed! This is not because the old layout was particularly outdated - though indeed it was - or because of popular demand, or even because your webmeister fancied spending the next three weeks or so learning new skills to rebuild the site.
It was actually forced upon him by the announcement of the imminent closure of the website building company, Mr Site, at the end of June 2020.
Hopefully it will not take too long for content to be transferred to the new layout - though I wouldn't bet on it.