All the golfing correspondents are grateful to The Midsomer Norton & Radstock Journal for the coverage they have given in recent weeks of the proposed changes at Farrington Park by the new owners, 360 Golf.

This reporter does not wish to dwell too heavily on the pros and cons of the changes as these have been reported in detail. Suffice to say that the changes are not supported by most of the Women’s Section and those players who wish to continue with serious qualifying competitive golf, have had to or are leaving Farrington Park and are applying to other local clubs for membership. Who would have thought that a year ago, when the new owners took over, that such havoc could be wrecked upon a golfing community of over seven hundred members and their families? It is not only the reduction of the England Golf rated Championship Duchy course from 18 to 12 holes by 2025, leaving it for the time being as an unqualified course but also the loss, in time, of the Manor course, a 9-hole course which has been the breeding ground of champions.

In the recent past, Farrington Park has produced at least six golf teaching professionals, who are working at local clubs now, one lady who works for the R&A at a high level at St Andrews, one lady who is furthering her studies in the USA and playing collegiate golf and a male golf pro who is competing on the Challenge Tour, a tour one step down from the European DP World Tour. All this from a small Club in a corner of Somerset.

The ladies’ golfing friendships that have built up, some stretching back over thirty years, will be tested in the coming months as playing partners and friends find their feet at other clubs. Inevitably, some friendships will flounder but others will be stronger as a result. It is not only a community of like-minded people that will be lost, but charities, both local and national, will lose out too. The combined charity fund-raising efforts of the captains of each section has been a force for good since the club started and the sums raised over the years must run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. All this will be gone due to the loss of fifteen golf holes and a vision of the future that few members share with the owners.

Farrington Park will cease to be a golf club par excellence and will become a mini version of Center Parcs, if and when planning permission is obtained for the various activities that the owners want to implement.

With these thoughts in mind, it was a happy and sad day for the Women’s Section at Farrington Park as they held their Final Fling Swansong competition.

This was a two ball Texas Scramble and a record twenty seven pairs had signed up to participate. There were challenges on different holes including putting with your eyes closed, straightest drive, putting with a left-handed putter for right-handed players and vice-versa for left-handed players.

Fittingly, the final challenge on the day and the one that caused most hilarity was the Greenkeeper’s Revenge. Players had to putt their ball “down the pan” to reach the hole. A somewhat bittersweet moment as this is what has happened to the wonderful ladies’ section.

The ladies then retired to the Farrington Inn for prosecco, hot drinks and a light snack where prizes were given out to the winners. Captain Jackie Willcox thanked everyone for their support during her short tenure as Ladies’ Captain and the FLORA committee gave Jackie a donation of nearly £1,300 for her Captain’s Charity “Funding Neuro”.

There was much chatter and laughter as the Section swapped stories and memories of happier times. It is now up to everyone to remember the good times at Farrington Park and go forward to their new clubs with a new sense of purpose.

Jane Ball