Alliance ‘Apprentice’ is a big hit

THE Manchester and District Golf Alliance is the biggest voluntary golf organisation of its kind in the UK providing golf competitions for its 109 affiliated clubs within a 35-mile radius of Manchester Town Hall throughout the calendar year.
It organises competitions for professionals and amateurs and relies on a small band of dedicated volunteers to run its activities.
Joining the team in the past few months has been Jim Cunliffe, a member of Bolton Old Links GC, and he has affectionately been dubbed the ‘Apprentice’ by his committee colleagues.
But his vast experience in golf enhances the skills he has brought to his role where he has made a quick and positive impact.
Jim outlined his time in golf and new ideas in the Alliance that he will be involved in: “I started playing golf at Gathurst Golf Club as a sixteen year old where I won the Wigan and District Victory Trophy in 1977.
“From 1975 - 1989 I was involved with the Lancashire Schools Golf Association in the capacity of Team Manager initially and then as Chairman. Notable names coming through the ranks at the time were Nick Dougherty and Phil Kenyon (putting guru) plus many of the pros playing in the Alliance today.
“In 1989 I joined Bolton Old Links Golf Club and was Junior Organiser from 1995 – 2006 and became Club Captain in 2012.
“Among my playing highlights were winning the Club's Senior’s Championship in 2013, the 2015 MDGA Seniors Handicap Trophy, held at Knutsford Golf Club, shooting a career best 67 and the 2016 MDGA Seniors Gross Trophy at Horwich Golf Club .
“I started playing in the Alliance events on retiring from teaching in 2011. In recent years I have been asked to help occasionally on the desk when either of the Ian’s (Brooks and Hales) were unavailable. With Ian Hales spending more time in France and Ian Brooks taking over as MDGA President I was asked if I would be willing to help on the desk on a permanent basis. I have now been christened “The Apprentice” by the two of them!
“I really enjoy the work on the desk as I get to meet lots of people with similar interests on a regular basis and enjoy the camaraderie it offers. I am hoping to move the recording of results etc. forwards by using modern technology to make us more efficient.
“To this end I am helping our secretary, Ian Hales, to prepare the new website which we hope will go live soon.
“Although new to Social Media, Twitter and Instagram Accounts are being set up to go along side the Facebook account managed by Stamford GC professional Mark Smith. Hopefully this will help raise the profile of the Alliance with the next generation of golf club members.
“The Alliance provides friendly, competitive golf for hundreds, if not thousands, of local golfers. It is my aim to continue to develop the interest in all aspects of Alliance Golf, whether it is the Summer team knock-outs or the Winter season of competitions.
“It is hoped that we can reach out to more members of clubs by providing an online booking system for our winter competitions in the near future.
“The restrictions placed on us by the Government during the Covid pandemic has meant that we have had to move away from our traditional shotgun starts to timed starts and whilst this has meant there isn’t the same opportunity to share stories and tales at the nineteenth, it has given the opportunity for more competitors to play in the events.
“Unfortunately it has also meant that I have to sit outside for eight hours to administer them!
Alliance President Ian Brooks added: “I have known Jim for 32 years and he is a quiet person who gets on with the job in hand very efficiently.
“He has brought a lot of new ideas to the Alliance and he has already proved to be a great asset and long may it continue to bring great benefit to the Alliance.
His Apprenticeship has been passed with flying colours!

Geoff Garnett