Why Selsey golfers will keep keen eye on The Open at Royal Portrush

Dan Russell in front of the Max Faulkner Claret Jug and a picture of the man himself
Dan Russell in front of the Max Faulkner Claret Jug and a picture of the man himself

The Max Faulkner Claret Jug is one of Selsey Golf Club’s most important annual competitions - and this year it has had extra special significance.

This year the winner was Dan Russell. Steve Growns, club captain, presented the trophy. Runner-up was 13-year-old Lloyd Hughes – an incredible achievement.

Max Faulkner with the Open trophy in 1951

Max Faulkner with the Open trophy in 1951

With this year’s British Open Championship being played at the Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, Selsey officials have been explaining why the Max Faulkner Claret Jug is such an important fixture.

Herbert Gustavus Max Faulkner was born in 1916. His father was a professional golfer and Max was an all-round sportsman but golf was his main interest and on leaving school he became assistant to his father at Bramley. Aged 17 he played his first tournament, the Daily Mirror Assistants’ Tournament, a 36-hole contest. He got to the last-16 stage on the final day.

In 1939 his best result was seventh in the Irish Open. He also qualified for the final stage of the News of the World matchplay, but this had to be postponed at the outbreak of WWII. The final was played in April 1940 and Max came second.

During the war Max served in the RAF as a PT instructor. He took up boxing, becoming the services champion.

After the war Max continued with his golfing career, playing all over Europe. He won 16 major events and played five times in the Ryder Cup and was in the winning team when the British team beat the Americans in Lindrick in 1957, their first victory since 1933.

In 1949, with his father Gus, Max bought Selsey GC and owned it until 1957. At that time it was an 18-hole course. In 1951, Max achieved his most important win when he won the British Open held for the first time at Royal Portrush. This is something Selsey are very proud of.

Max’s enthusiasm for the game never left him and he set up coaching schemes. He was a very flamboyant man choosing to wear bright plus fours and sweaters at a time when the usual attire was much more subdued.

He was awarded the OBE in 2001 on the 50th anniversary of his Open victory. Throughout his golfing life as well as running coaching clinics, he was always very supportive of fellow golfers. He raised large sums of money for charity.

In September 2004 Selsey GC’s new golf shop was opened by Max and in celebration he took a drive off the first tee. This turned out to be the last drive he ever took. Max died in February 2005 aged 88 in St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester.

This year with the British Open back at Royal Portrush, golfers will Selsey will doubtless raise a glass to Max and think about him when they watch the action.

COWDRAY PARK

A total of 88 players from 32 clubs took part in Cowdray seniors’ open. Weather conditions were benign and the course was in fine condition for this popular and oversubscribed annual event.

The day was expertly organised by Tony Sapsworth and Chris Hoare with prizes presented by seniors’ captain Mark Kelly. The shotgun start allowed the entrants to sit down to an enjoyable lunch in the dining room.

Teams played in pairs better ball format. The winning pair was Richard Steele and David Boffee (Worthing GC) who scored 44 points. Second with 43 were John Lewis and Paul Johnson (Southwick Park), ahead on countback of third-placed Paul Gilbody and Wayne Short (Slinfold Park). Team prizes were won by the top six pairs.

There were prizes for the nearest the pins on the par threes (3rd Carlton Crathern, West Surrey, 9th Neil Bourton, Hollingbury, 11th David Sharp, Betchworth, 17th Phil Sparshatt, Rowlands Castle), and two nearest the pins on the par-four holes, the sixth and 15th, were won by Chris Rumsey from Haywards Heath and Barry Downer from Waterlooville.

A big thank-you went to entrants, organisers, helpers and golf staff, who made the day such a big success.

Pictured are the winning pair Richard Steele and David Boffee (right and left) with captain Mark Kelly centre.

* Tony Sapsworth was busy again the following day when he managed the Cowdray seniors to a home victory against Worthing. Cowdray won 5½-2½.

Sapsworth, partnered by Robin Phillips, won the first match 4-2. The weather was kind after recent rain and the course in great condition reinforcing home advantage to set up an interesting away match on August 9.

Cowdray Park hosted an annual charity golf day on behalf of the Macmillan Chichester volunteer committee.

In glorious sunshine, the stunning Cowdray course could not have looked or played better. Eighteen teams from around the area competed for the Gordon Cup team trophy and best individual, Lennox Shield.

Playing a four-ball, Stableford best-two-scores format, the winners were Derek Dady’s team with an amazing 94 points and the individual winner was Lionel Hickey with 41.

A well-supported auction and raffle helped raise around £7,500 for Macmillan to bring the local committee’s fundraising for the past five years to more than £250,000.

BOGNOR

A Bognor seniors mixed team travelled to play Hayling GC. The weather was sunny and calm, ideal for the links course.

The first four Bognor pairs of Allan and Margaret Delves, Simon Watts and Pat Ashman, Brian and Sue Meloy and Peter and Georgina McCormack found their opponents in good form and came off second best.

Campbell Smith and Berit Smallcorn responded with a fine win but there were losses by Ian and Kim Mercer and David and Di Crook. A fine win by Rob and Sue Redmond meant Hayling ran out 6-2 winners.

The Hayling green staff were congratulated on the fine condition of the greens and approaches. After the match everyone enjoyed a carvery.

* Some 80 Bognor players took part in the seniors four-ball team event. It was a glorious day and it was followed by a barbecue.

The event was superbly managed by David Turner and all prizes were awarded by seniors’ captain Terry Kuhler. Team winners with a score of 122 points were Richard Hedge, Trevor Till, Tony Sutherland and Chris Hickling.

Second with 121 were Norman Lee, Kevin Holland, Mark Carter and Chris Jenkinson; third on 119 Alan and Barry O’Brien, Jez White and Simon Bennett. Nearest the pins and longest drive winners were Mike Matthews who got two, Kevin Holland, Roy Kempson, and Graham Harmes.

* Bognor seniors hosted Corhampton and it ended 4-4. Bognor took an early two-pairs lead, but were pegged back.

The last Bognor pair, Ken Catt and Alan Fitzgerald, halved their pairs match to leave the overall match halved.

Bognor held their over-50s four-man team event and 172 visitors played, a glowing tribute to the event as numbers increase year by year.

Club manager James McLean and his team of helpers organised a competition played with a morning and afternoon split, with prizes awarded for the first five teams in both time periods.

Overall team winners were the RAC Golf Club.

Results: AM 5th 105 pts, Shanklin & Sandown - Ray Winter, Dorian Cobb, Brian Price, Roger Scott; 4th 105pts, Selsey - Jeff Wootton, Bob Anderson, Brian Blackman, John Blackman; 3rd 107pts Waterlooville - Andy Naylor, Jim Clark, John Darlington, Steve Gedge; 2rd 115pts Slinfold - Jeff King, Freddy Lane, Paul Gilbody, Mike Lowery; 1st 115pts Pyecombe - Pat Coleman, Frank Dennis,Tim Gleave, George Eves. PM - 4th 114pts Farnham - David Brown, Richard Allen, Eddie Quigley, Chris Harrington; 3rd 116pts Slinfold - Vivian Diggens, Chris Blatchly, Paul Richman, David Trowbridge; 2nd - 117pts Newbury- Steve Critchell, Roger Rhymes,Richard Stubbs, Martin Herring; 1st 119pts RAC - Clive Robinson, Alastair Davidson, Ray Cumbo, Rick Guymer.