Having fulfilled several different club roles with much distinction over the last two decades and more, Walter Neville was a perfect choice to succeed Dr Oliver Woods as President of County Armagh Golf Club in January 2016.
A most successful and pleasurable President's Day on 5 August 2017 then was just reward for Walter, who has since carried out his presidential duties with characteristic dignity, energy and attention to detail.
Family, friends and members surrounded Walter for a Saturday coffee morning, where the Ladies' branch excelled themselves with customarily effective organisation. The coffee morning afforded everyone present a great chance to catch up with old pals, admire the superb array of prizes on offer and wish our fine President all the very best for his big day and beyond.
The pristine clubhouse, enhanced with beautiful floral decoration provided by the ladies, and the delicious refreshments prepared for those in attendance also served as fitting testimony to all the club staff and volunteers who work so diligently to ensure that such showpiece occasions run smoothly.
On the sporting front, with the lady members and juvenile girls and boys already having competed in their various categories, almost 200 men packed the city fairways and greens in the hope of grabbing President's Prize glory, an opportunity that arises only every two years.
Persistent heavy rain earlier in the week had led to understandable fears as to what the weekend's weather would entail but a mercifully dry 48-hour period immediately in advance of President's Day meant that competitors were greeted by a course in excellent condition and setting a suitably stiff golfing examination.
Passing that test with flying colours was Noel Muldoon, whose spectacular scorecard boasted a massive 44 points and sealed his most deserved victory.
Noel had demonstrated some good form in the Open Stableford competition on Wednesday 12 July, when he ran out a comfortable winner with a peerless 45-point plunder. The subsequent handicap reduction would've been enough to curtail the competitive ambition of many players but, instead, Muldoon has seemingly been inspired by the extra challenge that it has posed him.
His President's Day round began with an inauspicious, if not disastrous, six at the opening hole and ended with further double bogeys at the 17th and 18th. However, at the 15 holes in between, Noel was a model of steadiness and consistency — or, to put it more starkly, an insatiable points-collecting machine.
A hat-trick of pars at the 3rd, 4th and 5th helped Muldoon on his way to a terrific 41-stroke outward trek that left him five under his handicap at the turn. More solid and fruitful play would follow on the back nine, where a par at the 15th nestled nicely among half a dozen useful bogeys elsewhere.
It all added up to a gross 87 that means Muldoon will enter the fray of his upcoming golf battles as a 22-handicapper, although that is unlikely to daunt him in this mood.
After Samuel Jenkins was the first to get his name engraved on the County Armagh Golf Club Captain's Day Perpetual Cup in June, Noel is the maiden recipient of the President's Day trophy. He also got his hands on a beautiful set of Mizuno irons, the top prize on offer — not a bad day's work!
Noel Muldoon is presented with the new County Armagh Golf Club President's Day Perpetual Cup and a set of Mizuno irons by President, Walter Neville, and his wife Mabel
Noel Muldoon is presented with the new County Armagh Golf Club President's Day Perpetual Cup and a set of Mizuno irons by President, Walter Neville, and his wife Mabel.
Twelve pars and a birdie in a fantastic gross 75 saw Kenny Edgar to first position in the category 1 standings with 39 points. In category 2, Kenny's cricketing colleague Andrew Rennie batted away his rivals with a birdie at the 12th and a top-notch 40-point performance that no doubt left him bowled over.
Fergal McKinney proved unmatchable in category 3, as two pars on each nine and trouble avoidance elsewhere enabled him to return 37 points.
The Past Captains and Presidents' accolade was taken home by Damien Murray, whose thumping 35-point showing would've been even better but for two no-scores coming home, and a birdie at the 3rd was the highlight of a classy 37-point outing that secured the Council and Committee award for Martin Murphy.
In the eclectic country, overseas and 18-24 age group classification, Niall Brady was top man with a creditable 36 points, while Lisburn golfer Chris Moulds bagged the visitors' prize on 37 points.
Scoring was just as impressive in the ladies' section, where Geraldine Rafferty's magnificent 41-point return landed her the presidential spoils. Four points adrift of Geraldine was her namesake Geraldine Coyle, who filled the runner-up berth with a marvellous 38 points. Barbara Jenkins, meanwhile, emerged triumphant from those taking part in the 9-hole senior ladies' event.
There was no let-up in the juvenile girls' ranks either, where Anna Jennings's stunning 42-point haul handed her the senior honours, Lauren McKeown tasted 9-hole success and Elli McKenna came out on top among the 6-holers.
Prevailing among the juvenile boys was Oran McGillly with a splendid 37 points, while second place went to Calum Connell on a none-too-shabby 35 points.
After a most agreeable President's Night Dinner, the bar was busy for the speeches and prizegiving, during which champion Noel expressed both his joy at his achievement and his appreciation to all those who played a part in his momentous day, including President Walter.
Walter enjoyed his special day and evening in the company of his beloved wife Mabel, their son Mark and his wife Susie, as well as numerous other friends and family members. He can look back with much satisfaction and fondness on a job extremely well done and look forward to a more tranquil last few months of his presidential tenure.
Category winners on Presidents Day, Fergal McKinney and Andrew Rennie, are pictured receiving their prizes from President Walter Neville and his wife Mabel
All the President’s Men. County Armagh Golf Club President, Walter Neville, is joined by Captain, Richard Stewart, and some Past Captains and Presidents for a special photo on President’s Day.
County Armagh Golf Club President, Walter Neville, and his wife Mabel are pictured with Ladies and Juvenile Girls prizewinners, (L-R) Geraldine Coyle, Anna Jennings, Lauren McKeown and Barbara Jenkins.
County Armagh Golf Club President, Walter Neville, and his wife Mabel are joined by their son Mark and his wife Susie on the 18th green before the President’s Day events get under way.
President of County Armagh Golf Club, Walter Neville, welcomes Past President, Oliver Woods, and his wife Cecilia to the coffee morning organised by the Ladies' Branch on President’s Day.
On the 18th green after completing their round on President's Day at County Armagh golf club are (L-R) John Lowe, Gerry Kelly, Eamon O’Hagan and Dessie Cassidy.
County Armagh Golf Club President, Walter Neville, presents Damien Murray with the Past Captains and Presidents' prize, while his wife Mabel awards the Council and Committee prize to Martin Murphy.
County Armagh Golf Club President, Walter Neville, greets Fred Hanna, John Flack, Alan Johnston and Richard Black as they complete their round on President’s Day.
County Armagh Golf Club President, Walter Neville, greets the first fourball to complete their round on President’s day: (L-R) Ian Millar, Kevin McElvanna, Andrew Steed and John Mawhinney.
The Visitors' Prize at County Armagh Golf Club President’s Day was won by Lisburn golfer, Chris Moulds, who was presented with his prize by Mabel Neville. Also pictured are Chris's partner and President, Walter Neville.
Gary McDonald, Stephen Catterall, Oliver Woods and Dougie Somerville are pictured with County Armagh Golf Club President, Walter Neville, after their game on President’s Day.
Some of the many ladies who attended the coffee morning on President’s Day at County Armagh Golf Club.
County Armagh Golf Club Vice Captain, Colm Shannon, Cathal Cullen and Gareth Frizzell with President, Walter Neville, after completing their round on President’s Day.
The new County Armagh Golf Club President's Day Perpetual Cup was competed for for the first time.