The Royal Navy Golfing Society exists to provide the means whereby members can enjoy golf together and play a part in representing the Royal Navy in the community.
Membership is open, by application, to all officers, ratings and other ranks of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Commonwealth Navies, Royal Naval Reserves, and Royal Marine Reserve, whether serving or retired. Current membership stands close to 270, ranging from former National Servicemen to serving Flag Officers, although not all the members are able to play an active part on a regular basis.
Although the Society ‘plays to win’, its over-riding principle is that all members should be able to enjoy both their golf and each others’ company without paying too much regard to levels of skill. All fixtures are played on handicap. It is important that all members are afforded an equal opportunity to participate, particularly those more recently joined, and we make every effort to ensure that new members receive a warm welcome.
The success of the Society relies on volunteer ‘Match Managers’ whose duties include raising a team, liaising with the opposition, getting everyone to the right club on the right day, dealing with the financial side and, last but not least, finding replacements for last-minute withdrawals. It is important that they are well supported by the members, and that members are prepared to take a turn in the role so that the load is spread.
The Society is managed by a 6-man Committee, elected by Society members, consisting of the Captain, Vice-Captain, Immediate Past-Captain, and the Honorary Treasurer, Secretary/Membership Secretary, and Match Secretary.
The majority of members live in the south of England, and the fixtures reflect this bias. The Society currently runs 3 annual society meetings (Spring, Summer and Autumn) and about 25 matches, running between mid-April and the end of September, equally spread between matches against clubs and against other societies. Short tours (e.g. to Portugal) are arranged informally amongst members.
The Royal Navy and Royal Marine Golfing Society (RN & RMGS), open to all regular officers past and present, was formed on 26th August 1921. The first annual event was held at St George’s Hill in 1922 to coincide with the Spring leave period of the Atlantic Fleet; the meeting lasted four days and was followed by a match against the home club. By the end of the first year, over 300 officers had joined and played 11 matches.
On 20th January 1949, the formation of a ‘new’ RN Golf Club (Society), open to all ranks and rates, was approved by the RN and RM Sports Control Board. This was accepted unanimously by the RN & RM Golfing Society’s Committee and a new set of rules were drafted and, in May 1949, approved by the Sports Control Board. This ‘new’ society was eligible for monetary grants, which had not been available to the officers-only RN & RM GS.
By 1969 the RNGS had become the organising body in naval golf with all Command Societies (Plymouth, Portsmouth, Medway, Scotland, Air, Far East etc) affiliated. The Society also ran the RN Open Championship, Inter-Services and Representative matches, as well as its own fixtures.
In 1975 a separate RNGA was proposed but this was not accepted until 1985 when Navy Golf funding was diverted from the RNGS. The Captains of RNGS and RNGA separated in 1986. Until the early 1980s RNGS Committee meetings were held in the MOD.
In 1997 the Society was told that because of organisational changes in the MOD, serving officers could no longer act as Officers of the Society (eg. President and Secretary). Since that date the Society has existed in its present form.
Officers of the Society – 2020-21
|President||Rear Admiral J R H Clink, CBE|
|Captain||Cdre Iain Macdonald, RN|
|Vice-Captain||Cdre Anthony King, RN|
|Immediate Past-Captain||Lt.Cdr Steve Ryder, RN|
|Honorary Secretary/ Membership Secretary||Commander Rob Dean RN|
|Honorary Match Secretary||Richard Sanderson|
|Honorary Treasurer||Charles Llewellyn|