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Captain’s Log: Chris Smith, Brickhampton Court Golf Club

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Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 09:00, Tags: Captain's Log

Chris Smith Chris Smith

Chris Smith played golf at Brickhampton Court on the very first day that the club opened.

That was way back in August 1995 and it’s fair to say he’s never looked back.

This year he’s captain of the men’s section and he’s enjoying his golf as much today as he was all those years ago.

“I remember it was a hot summer and if you hit the ball down the fairway it could disappear down a six-inch crack,” he laughed.

That doesn’t happen now, of course, and as the club looks forward to its 25th anniversary it is certainly in rude health with some 800 members.

Smith has been a member for almost half his life – he’s just turned 52 – and said: “I used to play a lot of football when I was younger.

“I played for Cheltenham Civil Service on both a Saturday and Sunday but as I got older and my body couldn’t do what it once could I took up golf.”

And Brickhampton Court in the heart of Churchdown ticked pretty much every box for the young Smith.

“I’m Churchdown born and bred,” he said. “I live in Churchdown and went to Chosen Hill School, I haven’t gone far.

“Brickhampton Court felt like home from day one.”

But while he felt at home as soon as he walked into the clubhouse all those years ago, in golf terms he was very much stepping into the unknown back in the mid-90s.

“I hadn’t got a handicap or anything like that,” recalled Smith. “I remember the pro taking us out on the course and giving me a 7-iron to swing. He gave me a handicap of 16.”

Smith went on to reduce that by 10 strokes but these days plays off 14.

“I rapidly got it down to six and I played off seven for a number of years,” he said. “Now I’ve come almost full circle because I play off 14.”

Not that that meets with everyone’s approval. “Yes, I do sometimes get called a bandit,” he laughed. “Every now and again I can have a really good round but generally I’m quite happy these days as a social golfer who can still carry a threat on his day.”

So what are his strengths as a golfer?

“I used to be able to drive the ball quite far,” he said. “I’ve always had a good short game, I’ve always been able to chip and I can putt quite well.”

Not surprisingly, Smith has represented the club in numerous competitions over the years and it’s clear that his love for the sport has not diminished one jot over time.

“It’s just the personal challenge,” he said. “No two games of golf are ever the same, you never land the ball in exactly the same place.

“Every day is different, one day the sun can be shining and the next there can be wind and rain.

“If you’ve got the golf bug it’s a fascinating game.”

And there’s another member of the Smith family who would appear to have the golf bug because eight-year-old Ryan is starting to show real potential at the sport.

“He’s a junior member,” said proud dad, “he plays on the Glevum course but it won’t be long before we get him on the big course.”

And when he does he’d obviously like nothing more than to give his dad a run for his money.

“He needs to keep practising but if he does it won’t be long,” said Smith senior, who added: “We’ve got a great junior section.”

Young Ryan also plays football for Churchdown Panthers and at his age, sport is all about having fun of course.

Smith senior is a big believer in that but he also believes that you should enjoy your sport whatever age you are.

“Golf is a hobby and we’re here to have fun,” he said. “I won’t stop playing until my legs give up!”

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