Following a Cyril Blake match in 2012 played between Chartham Park and Haywards Heath, a conversation started surrounding the merits of foursomes and/or pairs better ball golf. Then respective captains of Haywards Heath and Chartham Park, Gerry Honeysett and Keith Turk, referred to their teams as to which format was preferred. Following a unanimous 100% response in favour of fourball better ball, thoughts turned to how this be accommodated and a future meeting was arranged to include Alan Davey, then Managing Secretary of Pyecombe Golf Club, to consider the feasibility of forming a league.
Meetings followed, taking place in various hostelries between East Grinstead and Burgess Hill (Gardiners Arms, Ardingly, Half Moon, Balcombe) deciding which Clubs might be enthusiastic about such a league for Senior golfers, what basic rules should be applied on the format and eligibility, and any handicap restrictions to consider.
Consequently Ifield (Richard Cowlard), Dale Hill (Steve Elston), Dyke (Mike Grindell), Cooden Beach (Russ Johnson), Piltdown (Ken Bulteel), Worthing (Eric Reekie), Copthorne (Jim Stevens), Duncan Campbell (Pyecombe) all showed immediate support for the idea. It was unanimously agreed that the committee should comprise Gerry Honeysett (Chair), Alan Davey (Treasurer), Keith Turk (Fixtures/Results Secretary).
Gerry took the initiative with regard to a constitution but the most important and commonly used phrase was ‘it should encourage competitive yet friendly golf’. It was also considered crucial that host Clubs should be supported. This was to be achieved by encouraging post match socialising, manifesting itself as a match fee levy and the provision of some basic fare.
These principles remain uppermost within the league today.
The spirit of the league was also encapsulated at the ‘planning meetings’ which allowed Gerry to sample some Guiness and reminisce with eventful and amusing stories from his police days whilst simultaneously attempting to ridicule Alan and Keith for being mere teachers!
2014 brought about the first league season and witnessed a final at Haywards Heath where Dale Hill defeated Worthing. This day also saw the first ‘Jamboree Day’ which has become a permanent fixture albeit now played on a separate day. The Jamboree is viewed as a fantastic day and is another asset within the league structure.
A major priority for the committee was to develop the competition and create a balanced league structure by increasing the number of participating clubs to 16. There followed numerous conversations resulting a couple of years later in John Featherstone (Nevill) and Steve Mountain (Ham Manor) making it 12 member clubs.
Attempts to attract another 4 clubs proved challenging with traditional senior matches involving lunch seemingly more of a priority for some Clubs.
Sadly, 2019 saw the passing of Gerry Honeysett who had been a driving force and sage in everything to do with the success of the league.
Gerry, aware of his condition, resolved to ensure the continuing success of the competition and it was his recommendation that a new chairman should be sought as soon as possible. Andrew Chapman was identified as the ideal candidate and continues to this day, together with Keith and Alan.
Nothing has detracted from the enthusiasm of the participating clubs and good news was on the horizon when Littlehampton (Andy Clarke) agreed to join in 2019. Unfortunately, coronavirus put paid to the 2020 season, but Slogg restarted in 2021 with 13 Clubs and an agreed 50% of fixtures taking place (Piltdown opting out for valid reasons concerning the virus).
The joy of returning to some form of normality was plain to see in every match. Lockdown was over, there were some outstanding matches, and in the September final Haywards Heath were fitting winners over Dyke and in a wonderful gesture presented the ‘winners’ decanter to Gerry's wife, Kath.
And so to the present day.
The Committee continues to be well supported by Barry Wood (Pyecombe), who administers the website. Finally the league has reached the 16 clubs it set out to achieve. The management of the league now includes Malcolm Stalker, (Dyke) and Andrew, Keith and Alan were delighted to harness the enthusiasm of Bognor (Roy Kempson), East Brighton (Mike Lewis) and West Hove (Ivan Parnell) to join the competition and their nominations were approved at the AGM 2022.
Slogg 2022 will see 4 leagues of 4 teams, complete with quarter finals starting the knockout phase. 16 teams all eager to play ‘competitive yet friendly' golf, and who knows, hopefully sharing a tale or two and a glass of something after the match.