Golf and business are a classic mix – so discovered the senior HR professionals who took part in Personnel Today’s first HR Directors Golf Society Day. Rob Willock reports.
The 17th and 18th holes at Silvermere Golf Club require players to hit their balls across an intimidating lake – the very same lake that Barnes Wallis used to test his famous Dambuster bombs.
This was the one of the many challenges facing members of the new Personnel Today HR Directors Golf Society, who gathered in the Surrey countryside for their inaugural society day earlier this month.
Training and coaching
The day, sponsored by Accor Services, began gently enough with an hour’s golf tuition from the club professionals on the key skills of driving, chipping and putting. The competition proper – an 18-hole Stableford competition off full handicap – began in earnest after lunch.
The lower handicappers teed off first, making their way down the narrow, tree-lined fairways of the first six holes before the course opened out a little.
Hole eight, a monstrous 431-yard par 4, incorporated the ‘longest drive’ competition, sponsored by Northgate HR. Gareth Vorster, Personnel Today’s online news editor, took the prize with an untouchable 280-yard strike straight down the middle.
The back nine builds to the thrilling climax over the water, and this challenge was clearly on the players’ minds as they zig-zagged their way in.
The par 3 17th hole requires a 120-yard carry to a fiercely sloping green, where the ‘nearest the pin’ marker indicated the next competition. Richard Parker, of Capio Healthcare UK, knocked his shot to within just eight feet to claim the trophy.
And the par 4 18th hole demands a solid drive to allow a clear sight of the tight green, which is in embarrassingly full view of the clubhouse patio and surrounded on three sides by water, with an out-of-bounds behind.
Two golfers (unnamed to spare their blushes) took four shots to get across, adding to the lake’s collection of bouncing bombs. And so it was on to the networking dinner and prize-giving.
The overall winner of the first Personnel Today HR Directors Golf Society Day was the aforementioned Richard Parker, with 32 Stableford points off a handicap of 14. In second place was Derek Joseph of McGraw-Hill, with 29 points (off 24).
Special mentions should also go to Jonathan Legdon of Northgate HR, and Patrick Langlois of Accor Services, who amassed 36 and 33 points respectively to lead the competition, but – as sponsors – generously waived their prizes.
- If you are a senior HR professional and would like to join the HR Directors Golf Society, e-mail [email protected] with your name, job title, company and handicap. We will keep you updated about all forthcoming events.