The Annual General Meeting of the AGW took place at 10am on Wednesday 13th July within the media centre at The Open Championship.
Our Chairman, Martin Dempster commenced the meeting in leading a minute’s silence in memory of three AGW members who passed away in the prior 12-month period and they were Renton Laidlaw, Goran Zachrisson and Tim Rosaforte.
Martin expressed the Association’s thanks to the R & A that Renton, Goran and Tim appeared as a large tribute display on one of the walls in the media centre at The Open.
“All three were dear to the AGW, with Renton in particular, and with many of the members at this AGW in attendance in April for Renton’s celebration of his life”, said Martin.
2022 AGW MEETING AGENDA
Chairman’s Opening Address
Minute Silence in Memory AGW Members Passed Away Last 12 months
(Renton Laidlaw, Tim Rosaforte, Goran Zachrisson)
AGW Member Attendance Apologies (Ged Scott, Pat Ruddy, Brian Creighton, Chris Stratford, Lorne Rubenstein, Philippe Herman, Henrik Knudsen, Jan Kees Van Der Velden, Norman Dabell, Bob Davies, Peter Dixon, Alistair Tait, Gordon Bannerman, Declan O’Donohue, Anthony Rushmere, George Peper, Simon Lewis, Scott MacCallum, Christopher Bartlett, Mike Aitken, Trevor Peake
AGW Members in Attendance at AGM –
Lewine Mair, Martin Dempster, Bernie McGuire, Peter Higgs, Andy Farrell, Denis Kirwan, Philip Reid, Derek Lawrenson, Detlef Hennies, Matt Cooper, Neil McLeman, Patricia Davies, Juan Gullen, Viswanthan Krishnaswamy, Fatiha Betscher, Geoff Russell, Robin Barwick, Alex Miceli, Phil Casey, Petra Himmel, Nick Rodger, John Hopkins, Dave Facey, Ewan Murray, Sal Johnson, Iain Carter, Joy Chakravarty, Brian McLaughlin, Neil Squires, Jamie Corrigan, Adrian Milledge, Jim Black, Dick Turner, James Nursey, Neil Tappin, Steve Scott, Euan McLean, Philip Quinn, Greg Allen, Alasdair Reid.
Elections – President, Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, AGW Golf Captain
Life Membership Proposals – Liz Kahn, Lewine Mair and Nuria Pastor
84th Anniversary Group Photo (If time permits) + presentation of AGW new member badges and ties
Though Covid, sadly, is still with us, it has been pleasing to feel that things have gradually started to get back to normal in our working environment.
The ‘bubbles’ that we found ourselves in at the height of the pandemic are no longer a requirement at tournaments and that has allowed working members to go about their business freely once more.
As a result of restrictions being lifted, it has been nice to see more people back covering tournaments, with last week’s Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club being a perfect example.
At one point during the week at The Renaissance Club, the Media Centre was filled with golf writers from all around the world and it’s been a while since that has felt the case.
It was also nice to hear the sound of laughter back in a Media Centre last week in East Lothian, which I’d like to think is a reflection of people feeling that lives are indeed returning to some sort of normality.
Building on efforts behind the scenes in recent years, we continue to have excellent relationships with the DP World Tour, PGA Tour, Augusta National Golf Club, the PGA of America, LPGA, LET and many other circuits.
As an example of the working relationship we have with the DP World Tour, we will have a team of four and 10 people at dinner at a fund-raising golf day event at Wentworth in early August in memory of our dear friend, Kate Wright, and two of her DP World Tour colleagues – Ben Smith and Clare Lipscombe.
Our representation is being paid by the DP World Tour as a donation on the basis that, in the words of communications director Scott Crockett, “Kate was so special in the hearts and minds of the media and you guys did so much for her in her final months”.
That is a terrific gesture and, though unable to be one of the attendees due to Scotland’s ‘Summer of Golf’ extending into that week, I am sure some of our members will be delighted to be part of that occasion.
I am grateful for the work put in our behalf by our secretary, Bernie McGuire, and also Peter Higgs in his role as treasurer, as well, of course, as the constant support from our members around the world.
I remain extremely proud to serve as your chairman and nothing makes me happier than having members coming up to me at events, whether in Europe, the United States or the Middle East, to simply say ‘hello’.
Martin Dempster, AGW Chairman
Chairman’s Report –
Martin presented his 2022 Chairman’s report and pointing out the outstanding support the golf writers have had from those running the various tours in very difficult times. Martin saying this is testament to the work of the committee and the members adhering to everything that was asked of them during the restrictions.
Proposer for the report – Ewan Murray
Seconder – Steve Scott
The AGW made a loss of £3,547 on the financial year ending, December 31st ,2021, an increased deficit of £754 on the previous year.
In view of the fact that we offered members the chance of a ‘free’ year of subscriptions because of the Covid-19 pandemic the
increased loss is not a cause for alarm.
To be honest, I expected us to lose more during 2021 but although subscriptions and joining fees were down by £2,321 ( £3,187 compared to £5,508) it will be noted that we still took more than £3,000 in subs and joining fees. This can be explained by some members generously agreeing to continue paying subs, when they did not need to, in order to support the AGW, while many more simply forgot or did not read their
newsletter making the offer of a ‘free’ year – and carried on paying in the normal way. I did receive a request from one member, who
shall remain nameless, asking if he could have a ‘free’ year in 2022 because he had paid in 2021 by mistake. I’ll leave you to guess what
my answer was !
The pandemic continued to affect the year’s financial activities and, with no annual dinner for the second successive year, it was a quiet 12 months.
We continued to send out more than 50 Christmas hampers tomembers and relatives, although the figure was reduced from the record figure of 2020. As we still had more than £25,000 in funds at the end of 2021 there is no urgent need to increase either subs or the cost of a dinner ticket which have both been pegged at £50 for several years( for those paying subs by May 31st). But if losses continue and our finances become depleted, as I expect they will, a review may be necessary in a few years time.
Peter Higgs, Hon.Treasurer,
INCOME AND EXPENDITURE ACCOUNT
For the year ended December 31st, 2021
Treasurer’s Report –
Peter Higgs indicating in presenting the report the AGW lost around £3,000 on the year which is similar to previous years. Peter indicating the AGWs finances are in ‘pretty good shape ‘with around £35,000 in the bank ahead of payment for the AGW annual dinner the night prior.
Peter spoke of his thanks that all but one person paid-up for AGW annual dinner tickets ahead of the dinner though indicating around 17 members still remain unfinancial with one or two not wishing to remain as members.
Proposer – Nick Rodger
Seconder – Dave Facey
This is my seventh Secretary’s report in the now eight years as Secretary. Of course, there was no AGW AGM in 2020.
With the world slowly getting back to normal the AGW has been also able to return to normality doing and arranging those things we do best
4 and as highlighted by our Chairman.
Let me then keep my report simple and to say thank you to the likes our AGW Golf Captain Peter Dixon for his tireless work in arranging the AGW golf outings.
Also, my thanks to the work of our Treasurer Peter Higgs. As you know, last night’s dinner was a first since 2019 and to have Peter’s and Dave Edwards support ensured a successful return to what was a fabulous evening. Already, I have received so many ‘thank you’ notes.
Mark Garrod is to be congratulated for his contining work with Pick Your Pro.
And my thanks to the members for the on-going support again over another year. The emails and so on, keeps me motivated in wishing to retain the role as your Secretary.
Secretary’s Report –
Bernie mirroring Martin’s and Peter’s comments, and expressing his thanks to the members for their continuing support
Proposer – Jim Black
Seconder – Neil McLeman
2022 AGW – ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – BEGINS
Election of Office Bearers –
Chairman Martin Dempster spoke of the value of Lewine Mair’s support as President and that she has been a great confident, particularly in recent months, and called on members for a show of support in Lewine remaining as AGW President
Proposer – John Hopkins
Seconder – Brian McLaughlin
Martin indicated 2022 should be the end of his period as Chairman however given the lockdown period, he has been encouraged by many to continue to stand as Chairman for a continuing 12 months, and that he would be delighted to do.
Proposer – Phil Casey
Seconder – Euan McLean
Bernie indicating he still has much to achieve as Secretary and with the AGWs approval, he is happy to remain as Secretary.
Proposer – Denis Kirwan
Seconder – Philip Reid
Peter indicating, he will be happy to carry on in the role
Proposer – Jamie Corrigan
Seconder – James Nursey
AGW Golf Captain
Peter Dixon, who was unable to attend the meeting, indicating he was happy to remain in the role should the members approve. There was no opposition to Peter remaining as AGW Golf Captain.
Proposer – Greg Allen
Seconder – Adrian Milledge
Life Membership Proposals –
Martin, firstly took what he said a step back, in bringing to notice the situation involving AGW member Art Spander struggling with his mobility in attending but also leaving the annual dinner. AGW member Ben Evans was on the table and was naturally worried about him getting back to a point in St. Andrews where he could return to his hotel.
There were no buggies however Robin Barwick, Ben and Martin helped out and with Robin driving his own vehicle into the area of the dinner, and that typifying the nature of the AGW and its membership in going to such lengths in looking after Art and his wife.
Martin indicating that Life Membership proposals are important to him and how, as Chairman he delighted in annoucing the committee, after the initial recommendation from Bernie McGuire the AGW Secretary, had agreed to nominate three members – Liz Kahn, Nuria Pastor and Lewine Mair.
Peter Higgs spoke on behalf of Liz saying: “Peter pointing out Liz has been a member since 1979 and a year after she was asked to leave the R & A clubhouse at St. Andrews. That was typical to the start of Liz’s career. She has been a campaigner for women in golf, women golfers and women golf journalists for a very long time. For so many years, she was at the forefront of striving to make life better for women in golf. She very much deserves life membership.
“For the record, Liz was the very first female member of the Press Golfing Society and went on to be their captain. People who know Liz will be aware of what she has done for women in golf and for the AGW”.
Proposer – Patricia Davies
Seconder – Richard Turner
Isabel Trillo spoke at length on behalf of Nuria saying: “There was a time when Raul Andrew counted 99 males and just one female reporting at a Spanish golf touranment and the lone woman was Nuria Pastor. She said that Nuria considered it a great honour to be appointed a life member. She was the first Spanish female journalist to attend the Masters. Nuria said to thank everyone at the Association for the award.
Proposer – Andy Farrell
Seconder – Isabel Trillo
John Hopkins spoke on behalf of Lewine Mair saying: “Lewine has a champion of women’s rights, a pianist, a diarist better than Samuel Peats and an all-round good jounalist”.
Proposer – Robin Barwick
Seconder – Matt Cooper
Martin presented Lewine with a specially engraved quaich and with Isabel taking one back to Spain for Nuria and also one to be sent to Liz. Members applauding the proposal.
Lewine spoke of the honour saying: “It is really a huge honour for the three of us to be afforded Life Membership, and with Liz Kahn to be afforded special mention for once being asked to leave the R & A clubhouse. I am afraid I fell fowl of the golf writers very early. I think it was Percy Huggins who asked me to write a piece for the Golfers Handbook. He asked me how much I was expected to be paid and I said ‘the same as the men!’. He thought that was quite a joke and so much so, went and told all the other golf writers. My husband came back to me to say: ‘I hear you asked to be paid the same as the men for your story. He said ‘good for you’ but then I don’t know how many other people agreed. So that was a bit scary. Then once we were made members, that’s when we were getting gifts as the men, and I can’t tell you how many ties and caps I have been given over the years (laughing). I think it was yesterday more than anything I realised that I so liked being a member of the AGW. I went into the media restaurant, and there weres so many people here and from all over the world and some were AGW members and some were potential members. I thought to myself what a great society we have to embrace so many people. Now I know that people talk about growing the game but if anyone is growing the game, it is us golf writers. I think we should all appreciate that we are not just the bottom of the heap but we’ve done well in achieving outside our own society. So, thank you Martin for all your hard work. Bernie and Peter a well down for your work. So, thank you all very much indeed. Applause.
‘Women AGW Vice-Presidents’
Alistair Tait (in absence) raised the issue of appointing women vice-presidents of the AGW and with the Chairman indicating that what Alistair has raised should be addressed and it was a ‘fair point’. Martin suggesting Catriona Matthew as a potential vice-president given what she has achieved personally and in a team format in the game. The Secretary pointed out it is just an honorary roll. Ewan Murray asked why did not Alastiar suggest names. Patricia Davies suggesting the likes of Annika Sorenstam or Karrie Webb. Jim Black also suggesting Catriona Matthew who has always been helpful and courteous. Iain Carter pointing out talk of Laura Davies and with the AGW looking to honour her at the AGW dinner with the ‘Outstanding Services to Golf award at the 2015 Open St. Andrews and she totally blanked the dinner.. Lewine asked Laura be given another chance and her heart is in the right place. Martin asked Andy Farrell what is the process in electing an AGW vice president. Andy Farrell advising it was a committee decision. Fatiha Betcher indicating she would like to see a vice-president to be nominated from outside of the UK and also not more members joining the AGW committees or being honoured who are Scottish-born. Martin pointing out there was no Scottish-born vice-presidents at present. Martin saying the committee will discuss the appointment.
‘Passing of Angela Bonallack’
Patricia Davies bringing to the notice of the AGW of the passing of Angela Bonallack, wife of AGW vice-president Sir Michael Bonallack.
Access to clubhouses and locker-rooms
Alex Miceli indicating access to clubhouses and locker-rooms on both sides of the Atlantic continues to be a problem post Covid with the Augusta National, USGA saying ‘No’ and that something needs to be done and, if not, we are not going to have that access any longer. Martin pointing out that in a joint GWAA and AGW meeting with Augusta that Rob Johnson stating players no longer attend the locker room at the Masters but this is not true.
Lewine Mair suggesting this matter should be directly made to the R & As Martin Slumbers and with Martin indicating there was the annual meeting with the R & A to menton this. Alex added something needs that the AGW and GWAA need to do so on a joint basis. John Hopkins suggesting that a joint AGW/GWAA sub-committee be form a joint task force to address this and other issues. Martin suggesting it is a good suggestion. Lewine saying, we need to advise the governming bodies sooner rather than later in the year.
Martin pointing out the Open Championship car park is ‘not the best’ and given the distance from the media centre, and the media are just getting pushed further and further away from the media centre with each Open.
John Hopkins again asking can we be clear and are we are going to form a joint committee and Martin saying it does make sense that specific issues need to be addressed and John’s comments ‘make sense’.
Isabel Trillo indicated that outside of Britain, the AGW badge means nothing and she says that efforts must be made that the AGW badge appear on all media accrediation/access boards at all European Tour events. Martin saying that should not be the case and the Association should be recognised across Europe and beyond. Lewine saying a note should be sent to Associations all around the world advising they come to the AGW for advice or whatever.
Greg Allen raised the matter of access to inside-the-ropes arm bands for those working for radio in order to get access to players. Greg saying is more acute at The Open in not being given access to players. Greg stating radio is out on a limb in getting access about the course to players without arm bands. Greg and others seeking even temporary arm band access. Iain Carter supporting Greg and would strongly back any move on that front, and with Iain facing the same problems at other majors
AGW Annual Dinner
Brian McLaughlin suggesting the AGW should set-up an annual dinner committee in handling the dinner, and while it was a fantastic night, and that it would help Peter and Bernie, and adding to a bigger and better annual dinner. Martin thanking Brian as something for the committee to seriously consider going forward.
AGW Golf Outings
Brian McLaughlin also bringing up the number of AGW members playing at Crail and also in events on the Road to Hoylake and that all members can attend, and maybe the committee consider that while not all can attend the five events that the best three scores should count. The Secretary advised that currently the four best scores count towards the Road to Hoylake.
Access to Women AGW members
Fatiha Betscher thanked Martin and Lewine for their intervention after being denied Open Championship accreditation. Fatiha also suggesting the AGW has work to do in addressing the issue of more women being afforded accreditation and being in attendance at media outings. Fatiha pointing out she was denied accreditation for her website, after previously being afforded approval by the R & A and also given she has a full season DP World Tour season pass, why is she being denied by the R & A. Martin thanked Fatiha and indicated that he has spoken in private to Fatiha on the issues she faced but just delighted she is in attendance at The Open.
Presentation to Derek Lawrenson
Martin highlighting the 150th Open is Derek Lawrenson’s final harrah, saying Derek as a great colleague, a great friend will be missed and that a special package of wine has been delivered to his residence as a ‘thank you’ from all his friends at the AGW.
Martin saying: “Iain Carter summed-up this person well last night. Derek you will be missed. You have been a great colleague, a great friend and there is a selection of wine being delivered to your house as a token of your support and friendship among the AGW members, with a farewell dinner later in the year”.
Scott Crockett was extended an invitation to enter the room who made a presentation to Derek on behalf of the DP World Tour.
Scott saying: “I was saying to Martin the other day I am on the other side of the fence, so to speak, but he’s still a member of the Association, and very proud to be a member of the Association. It’s a fantastic body and you do a lot of good work. We at the Tour pride ourselves with the relationships we have with the golf writers and we try our best to help you do the job that is getting increasing harder as the years go by. I have also said this to a couple of people earlier this week that as long as I am in the role, yhat will be continue. We will always put the needs of the media first and you will always try to do what we can to help you do your job. One of the great things we enjoy on our side of the fence is the relationships we have with everyone and therefore it is quite sad and poignant when one of you retires.
“So, we could not let this occasion pass without saying a few words to Derek. We were going to do this on Friday at the Scottish Open but you beat us to lunch and off you went but you are here now. I was thinking of what I was going to say to you and I thought why not I just read what is written on the silver salver we wish to present you. It says: ‘To Derek. Capturing the true essence of our sport in words is a fine art and there are few greater exponents of that over the years than you. Golf will miss your intelligent insiight and your thoughtful coverage and we, of course, will miss your company. Enjoy your retirement’. Applause
Derek saying: “I guess the two big questions. Am I going to join LIV Golf – No, definitely not! And am I going to do a David Facey – No, definitely not! I was trying to work out the other day when I first stepped onto a golf course as golf journament and it was September 1983. I can say it’s not all been plain sailing over the years as we have had to resolve our differences or drunk away our differences on occasions, but I have always valued the working relationships and thank you Scott, as this is very touching. Thank to Iain Carter for his far too generous words last night.
“I have really enjoyed my career and a large part of that has been the advice I received from the golf-writing colleagues every year, the friendships, the commarderie and the laughter, so thank you very much and if I talk anymore I will get teary so before I get messsy I will leave it at the that”. Applause.