Malling Area Golf Society

The History of MAGS

A couple of the long serving members of MAGS have given their accounts of MAGS since the beginning...

In the early 80's a few avid golfers used to queue up at Cobtree Manor Golf Course, no matter what the weather, at 5am so that they could get a time and tee slot. They would take tea and coffee in flasks and simply camp on the doorstep. Then one day the pro of that time suggested that they should form themselves into a Society and he would then allow them to book over the phone and in advance. Idris Marshall, Mick Christmas and Mick Loury, to name only three, got some guys together and so MALLING AREA GOLF SOCIETY was born.
It was hard and expensive in those days to belong to a golf club so, in no time, people clambered to join the Society. (It was not unusual to have 60+ members playing on a golf day and most would shower, change and stay for dinner and prize-giving afterwards.)
It was decided by the then committee that everyone should have an official handicap and at that time a new club was opening near Gillingham called Upchurch. They were offering very cheap membership to get their club up and running and so all the then MAGS members joined the Upchurch Golf Club. We had some good golf days there but I must say that in the beginning the fairways were like ploughed fields! (They are fine now.) As time went on it became easier and cheaper to join a club and so numbers at MAGS dropped a little but the rest realised that with a society many more courses could be played.
MAGS always had a tradition for looking smart (that's why club shirts, ties and jumpers were ordered). This encouraged new members because they all liked the idea of keeping up standards.
MAGS also does summer golfing holidays. In the early days it was to Whitsand Bay, Cornwall. Wives and partners were encouraged to go to Cornwall as well, as they could go sightseeing and shopping while the men played golf. They would then all meet together in the evening for dinner etc. This was arranged by several people, one being Idris Marshall. Then Geoff Stanford took over - he left the Society to move abroad. Since Cornwall there have been trips to Wales and various places in France (ie Arras, Dunkirk, St Omar, Hardelot and Honfleur). Some of these were arranged by Geoff Stanford and then Bill Laidler. Steve Tothill then took over and he has now added Belgium to the list.
Peter Barrett 2014

MAGS or Malling Area Golf Society started life in 1977 or thereabouts as there are no actual records available. The original Society rules state that the total membership should not exceed 150, of which 20 lady members were included. The first meeting place was the Spotted Cow in Larkfield (now demolished) and the Officers of the society are as they are now. In fact the original rules are still in use today with a few amendments and updates.
The purpose of the society was to avoid queing at Cobtree Manor Golf Club. These queues started at 4AM and an intrepid band of golfers attended to book one four ball each (maximum Cobtree would allow per person). In fact on the society Captains Day about 12-14 of us would queue at 4AM and usually a barbecue was brought and we had an impromptu barbie.
Cobtree Manor Golf Club was adopted as the home club of the society and in fact many of the original members are still members of Cobtree. As the society progressed other courses were played and it was quite usual for up to 60 members to play. Bookings were taken at least four weeks in advance and full payment was necessary. Guests were only allowed if insufficient members were not able to play. At one stage, (I believe about early 80's) there were the maximum number of members and you could only join if you were proposed by an existing member and seconded and then went before the committee to be voted in.
In the early 90's, the secretary of the society at that time heard about a new gold club opening (Upchurch River Valley Golf Club) and arranged for the majority of members to apply and join the new golf club. This resulted in the society membership drastically falling to about 20 members. However the society continued playing various golf courses and the membership gradually increased. The aim of the society was to play reasonably priced courses and keep the cost of golf days to a minimum. Some of the regular courses played were: Cobtree Manor, Poult Wood, Faversham, Boughton, Darenth Valley, Dartford, Rochester & Cobham, Upchurch.
In the late 90's and early 2000's the society played and inter society match at Princes Golf Club during the first week in January each year. MAGS are the current holders of the trophy (Large cup). This ended due to a heated discussion of the handicap system each society had adopted and hasn't been played since. It was a shame as we always had good weather and a turn out of about 120. In the early 2000's the society started travelling to France on an annual basis and this has continued todate.
Terry Pink 2013

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