2014 has been a memorable year for golf in Huddersfield.
After a miserably grey and wet 2013, the patience and tenacity of local golfers was rewarded with a mostly warm and dry summer.
Presidents, captains and lady captains breathed a collective sigh of relief as many of them enjoyed benign conditions on their special day.
It was a far cry from the summer of 2013 when many competitions and club matches had to be cancelled due to courses being waterlogged.
Sunny days and a lack of wind led to course records being broken and the welcome news that bar takings were up on the previous year in most clubs as thirsty players retired to the 19th after their sun-kissed rounds.
And it wasn’t just club golfers who enjoyed the previous 12 months.
The district’s top golfers have enjoyed an incredibly successful year - with two even making their mark on the world stage.
Leading the field was Woodsome Hall’s touring professional Chris Hanson who achieved his lifetime ambition of playing in the Open Championship in July. The 28-year-old qualifies for Hoylake in a four-way play-off at Hillside, with Huddersfield amateur Nick Marsh just missing out as only three could qualify.
Challenge Tour golfer Hanson lined up at Royal Liverpool on July 17 against the best players in the world hoping to challenge for the famous Claret Jug.
With an 81 on the first day, it wasn’t the start he had hoped for, but Hanson enjoyed every moment of his experience. He went on to play in several European Tour events and end the season on a high, with his best-ever results.
In Germany, he produced his best result on the Challenge Tour with a 3rd place, going on to qualify for the big money events in China and Oman. After a sixth and 12th in his last two events, he climbed the Order Of Merit to 53rd.
He keeps his Challenge Tour card for 2015 and climbed the world rankings to a career high 608th. He also played seven events on the European Tour and made five cuts, his highest finish being T39th in Denmark.
Nick Marsh might have missed out on the Open, but he was in fine form, being crowned English Amateur Champion in August. The 19-year-old beat Scott Gregory 2&1 in the final in blustery conditions at Saunton.
The end came on the short 17th when, with Marsh needing just a half, Gregory conceded after his chip from left of the green hit the cup, while Marsh left his birdie putt close.
“Wow, what a match,” said Marsh afterwards: “It was a ping-pong tussle with both of us winning holes at different times, but to get this title is unbelievable.
“It means everything to me. I’ve been knocking on the door for some time. I’ve come close twice, in the Scottish and Portuguese, and to get over the line at last is amazing.”
This month he had a further piece of good news. He was selected, along with English Stroke Play champion Ben Stow (Rushmore, Wiltshire) and reigning South American Amateur champion Paul Howard (Southport & Ainsdale, Lancashire) to prepresent England in a five-week trip Down Under
The trio will be seeking to follow in the footsteps of a number of former internationals who have produced a string of successes in Australia over the years.
Marsh, now 20, has been a full international for the past two years. He only just lost a playoff for the Portuguese Championship and tied second in the Scottish Open Stroke Play.
These top level performances saw him finish runner-up on the Titleist/FootJoy England Golf Men’s 2014 Order of Merit.
Huddersfield’s Megan Lockett led the way for the ladies.
In August she has become Welsh Girls Matchplay Championship at Wenvoe Castle. The 17-year-old finished tied third in the strokeplay qualifying stages before seeing off several international players to win the matchplay title.
It’s a remarkable success, because Megan is getting used to swing changes to protect a back condition.
Her father Warren, who is professional at Cleckheaton, said: “Strokeplay-wise things have not gone as well as she could have expected, but stick her in a matchplay scenario and her competitive edge comes to the fore. There is that inner determination to beat her opponent.”
The success made up for her defeat in the final last year, when she also lost at the last hurdle to Emma Brown in the Yorkshire Ladies Championship.
In the same month Megan a hole in one at the 177-yard 10th in the second qualifying round of the Girls’ British Open amateur championship at Fairhaven Golf Club.
And the following month she was a member of the victorious Huddersfield Ladies Scratch Team, which won the Yorkshire title once again.
One to watch for the future is Woodsome Hall junior Isaac Turner, who in October won a dream trip to California in 2015.
Isaac, 13, won the qualifying competition at Rufford Park, Sherwood, on the British Junior Golf Tour to earn a place at the IMG Academy World Junior Championships in California next year.
The competition was a gross medal format off scratch, and Isaac posted a score of five over par to qualify for the Under 14 section. Now he is planning to travel to Santa Fe with his father, Mick, for the contest, which will be held from July 11 to 18 at the Morgan Run Golf Resort.
The World Junior Championships is the highlight of the USA junior golf calendar and success in Isaac’s Under 14 section has led to great things – previous winners include Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy. Watch this space!
1st Division Scratch Team - 1 Huddersfield, 2 Dewsbury District.
Individual - Aaron Schnacke
Individual Stroke Play and P S Cockroft Trophy - Steve Martin, West End
2nd Division Scratch Team - 1 Hebden Bridge, 2 Hanging Heaton
Matchplay Championship and J R Crawshaw Memorial Trophy - Brad Tupman, Huddersfield
Handicap Team Championship - 1 Willow Valley, 2 Hanging Heaton
Senior Championship - Chris Mears, Meltham
Fourball Betterball - Martyn Atkinson and John Lawton, Outlane.
Junior Team Championship - Gross: Huddersfield, Nett: Crosland Heath
Junior Matchplay Championship -- Saddleworth
Junior Stroke Play Championship - E J Lister, Halifax Bradley Hall.