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GLAGS continues domination of KEGS at Honey Cup Fall Classic

Honey Cup Classic sees GLAGS take 8-5 series lead


January 3, 2022
By Mike Jiggens


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Jamie Spencer, captain of the GLAGS team, proudly wears the Honey Cup Fall Classic championship belt for another year following his team’s victory over KEGS in September. Congratulating him is Gregg Menard, captain of the KEGS team. All Photos credit: Mike Jiggens

The second Honey Cup Fall Classic, played in late September at London, Ont.’s Highland Country Club, produced the same outcome as its inaugural contest – a decisive win by the Greater London Association of Golf Superintendents (GLAGS) over its western rival, the Kent-Essex Greenkeepers’ Society (KEGS).

The annual match play event, sponsored by Bayer Environmental Science, saw GLAGS upend KEGS by an 8½ to 6½ score. GLAGS’ victory gave it an 8-5 series lead over KEGS. The friendly competition was previously sponsored by Syngenta from its inception in 2009 through 2019.

It was renamed last year to honour the memory of the late Paul Brown, who died in 2017 in an on-course accident at the Sarnia Golf & Curling Club, where he had been the club’s longtime superintendent. Brown had a passion for beekeeping and honey production that began several years ago when he was superintendent at the Maple Downs Golf & Country Club in Vaughan. He renewed his hobby upon his arrival in Sarnia.

Greig Barker, superintendent at Highland Country Club, said Brown “would have loved to have been here for an event like this.” 

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Joel Henderson, who succeeded Brown as Sarnia superintendent, fondly recalled their road trips together to attend various industry events

Brown’s son, Greg, will be the host superintendent for the 2022 matches at Maple City Country Club in Chatham.

“I talked with my GM about it and he said, absolutely, we’ll do it next year, so we’re already putting some things in place to know what to expect,” he said.

Ryan Beauchamp of Bayer watches his putt on the 18th hole while partner Greig Barker, superintendent at Highland Country Club, looks on.

Bayer’s Ryan Beauchamp quipped the Honey Cup Fall Classic is a more organized event than the PGA Tour’s Canadian Open, saying the venue for the following year’s event is already established, even as the current competition is being played.

“Hopefully we continue this (event) for a lot of years because it’s just a small, intimate group where we can do things a little bit different,” he told the collective group of 20 participants. “Bayer believes in the grassroots of supporting you guys.” 

Beauchamp founded the match play event 12 years ago when he worked for Syngenta as a turfgrass specialist. 

Following the matches, members of both teams sat down for a round table discussion of agronomic matters and on-course troubleshooting, and shared a number of humorous anecdotes.

Barker, acting as host superintendent, noted the club is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2022. During the more than 10 years since he’s been at Highland, he has overseen a number of important infrastructure projects, including improved drainage, irrigation and bunker work.

“Intimate get-togethers like this are more our thing because we can have a big event with 150 people who don’t know half the people who are there, and you don’t expand your network,” he said. “I think with this tight group, we all get a chance to talk to each other. That’s what Highland is about. Our club is not a top tier, snobby club. This club is relaxed.”

Highland had previously been the host course in the competition’s third year.

Paul Grosvener, superintendent at London’s Forest City National Golf Club, said his club is evolving into a private club, noting memberships sold out within eight days.

Jamie Spencer, former superintendent at London’s Westminster Trails Golf Course, has moved on to the city’s Echo Valley Golf Club, equating the transaction to a “homecoming.” Having first picked up the game there and beginning his foray into the industry at Echo Valley, he said he has come full circle and is back working alongside superintendent Scott Gardner, with whom he’s known since childhood.

Highland Country Club in London was in pristine condition for September’s Honey Cup Fall Classic.

Beauchamp singled out Jim Gammage, superintendent at the Ridgetown Golf & Curling Club, for his long-standing employment with the club, suggesting that anyone who has served in a management position for more than 25 years with the same club deserves to be made an honourary member for life. 

Turning toward matters of agronomic concern, Beauchamp and Bayer colleagues Tim Steen and Keith Bartlett shared various technologies that effectively control nematodes and promote bentgrass. 

“Bentgrass gets attacked by nematodes like no other,” Beauchamp said.

Match results
The format of the match play competition had 10 members of each association, divided into five pairs, going head to head against their counterparts in three separate six-hole segments: best ball, alternate shots and a scramble, with one point awarded for a win in each segment.

Match 1: Todd Currie (West Haven Golf & Country Club) and Mike Jiggens (Turf & Rec) of GLAGS won 3-0 over Steve Hatch (Ambassador Golf Club) and Tim Steen (Bayer) of KEGS.

Match 2: Joel Johnston (RiverBend Golf Community) and Fred Schmoelzl (Blue Water Golf Club) of GLAGS won 3-0 over Chris Andrejicka (Essex Golf & Country Club) and Keith Bartlett (Bayer) of KEGS.

Match 3: Gregg Menard (Wildwood Golf & RV Resort) and Dan Friesen (Orchard View Golf Club) of KEGS won 2½- ½ over Kirk Stewart (Goderich Sunset Golf Club) and Paul Grosvener (Forest City National Golf Club) of GLAGS. 

Match 4: Joel Henderson (Sarnia Golf & Curling Club) and Jim Gammage (Ridgetown Golf & Curling Club) of KEGS won 3-0 over Ryan Beauchamp (Bayer) and Greig Barker (Highland Country Club) of GLAGS.

Match 5: Jamie Spencer (Echo Valley Golf Club) and Scott Gardner (Echo Valley Golf Club) of GLAGS won 2-1 over Derek Brown (Talbot Trail Golf Club) and Greg Brown (Maple City Country Club) of KEGS.


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