At a meeting held at Ingon Manor Golf Club on Friday October 14th. 1994, representatives of five local golf clubs met and agreed the formation of a League to promote inter-club matches for players of varying handicaps. This idea for this had come about because the newer golf clubs were finding it very difficult to arrange any sort of fixture with the more established golf clubs. The calendars of these older clubs had been developed over many years and whilst all were sympathetic to requests, generally felt that they could not fit in any more matches.
The Clubs represented were Ingon Manor; Bidford Grange; Oakridge; Stoneleigh; and Whitefields. Apologies for absence had been received from Stratford Oaks and Crocketts Manor but both had expressed a desire to be included together with Purley Chase. These eight Clubs were the start of the League in 1995. Home and Away matches were arranged between each other with the home club entertaining the visitors with a meal or supper following the match. Each team would comprise 12 players (requests for 2 reserves who would be invited to play the course, if not required but their score would not be included in the result were left to be arranged at individual matches). The maximum handicap was limited to 20 (since reduced to 18). Matches would be pairs better ball match play with handicap difference stroke allowance taken from the lowest player in the four ball.
The winning team would be awarded 3 points or in the case of a draw each team would get 1 point (later amended to match result plus 8 points for the winning team or 3 points each in the case of a draw, plus a bonus point for an away win or away draw).
At the end of the season in September, each club would host, in turn, the AVON CHALLENGE. A Team Stableford Competition which would be followed by a lunch and presentation of the prizes. The host is allocated on a rotational basis and the number of pairs from each club dictated by a maximum of 144 players.
No entry fees are involved to join the league but each July a meeting of all clubs is arranged in which the end of season prizes are agreed and the cost is divided between the member clubs.
Since the 1995 season, there have been a number of changes. Stratford Oaks dropped out and were replaced by The Warwickshire; Crocketts Manor became Henley; Bidford Grange dropped out and were replaced by Abbey Hotel; and Oakridge dropped out, leaving the League with seven Clubs for a time. Rugby were added to the league, followed by Stonebridge and a second Warwickshire team to bring the number to 10. This lead to the formation of two divisions with promotion/relegation for a time. However, the divisions were recombined for the 2011 season, with clubs facing eachother once per season and alternating the venue each year.
Following the closure of Purley Chase, Atherstone came in to the league and were quickly followed by Oakridge and the reintroduction of Stratford Oaks. For the 2016 season Stoneleigh were replaced by Nuneaton. Since then Henley and Nuneaton have withdrawn, but Copsewood Grange joined in 2017 and The Welcombe in 2018. Ingon Manor (now Stratford Park) withdrew in early 2018, but were replaced by The Vale and West Midlands in 2019. In 2020 we unfortunately saw the season abandoned due to Covid-19 and The Warwickshire withdraw, to be replace by Stratford Park for 2021. The Warwickshire rejoined for the 21-22 winter Trophy, and with Coventry Golf Club joining in 2022, we have 13 teams in the league.
The scoring was revised for the 2016 season to the match result plus 8 bonus points for a team win, 3 bonus points for a home draw and 4 bonus points for an away draw. For example, a 4-2 win would yield 12 points for the winning team and 2 for the losing team. A 3-3 draw would score a total of 6 points for the home side and 7 points for the away side. In addition, a bonus point is also awarded to a team winning away from home. This, together with a maximum course handicap of 18 has made the League very competitive whilst still retaining the friendly nature as the League's core value.
Whilst the League was reduced to 7 clubs, to make the number of matches up, a Greensome Foursome Knock Out AVON TROPHY competition was organised, which has proved so successful that the clubs do not want to drop it. To ease fixture congestion, the competition is to be played over the winter months from the 2015-16 season onwards.
We also stage an end-of-season get together with all clubs competing for the AVON CHALLENGE in a betterball stableford event. The host is allocated on a rotational basis and the number of pairs from each club dictated by a maximum of 144 players.
Matches are arranged in a meeting of all clubs in October or early November to give time for dates to be included in Club Diaries. Most matches are now played Friday afternoon/ evening or Saturday afternoon with afternoon matches preceded by a Brunch rather having a meal afterwards. The dress code required is decided by each individual club.
If any Clubs are interested in joining the league, please contact Marc Walker by e-mail or on 07964 351601.