Can I encourage discussions around your teams and with your club's hierarchy around the future direction of the ODGL.
The reduction of the 'A' League late in the day to ten teams for 2019 was disappointing but I am already hearing some clubs voicing concerns about their ability to field an A team in 2020.
The disparity between A (10) and B (12) does have its complications but these are not insurmountable.
We did discuss the possibility of going back to 'one A division' in late 2018 for the 2019 season - seeking to play a team EITHER home OR away in a season and then reversing this the following year.
In your thoughts, please bear in mind that the season cannot extend beyond the second week of August (we run out of light very quickly).
There is some wriggle room with the Cup. I have to say that playing the preliminary round over 12 holes a week before the season actually started and also having the Cup finals in the fixtures worked seamlessly as we avoided the problems of August/September holidays and trying to find neutral venues at the weekend in a busy period for the clubs.
I have already had representation and know that there are clubs who wish to revisit the handicap limits.
Only a few seasons ago the limits were set at 0-14 in the A and 10-18 in the B and had been for some considerable time
Most recently we changed to 0-12 for the A and 8-18 for the B - maintaining a four-shot overlap.
At the time this was done to enable the 8-10 players to get game time in the B teams when they were unable to catch the low-handicap loaded A teams.
HOWEVER, with the introduction of the 9/10s by CONGU there are those that feel the upper limit in the A League is too high and should drop to 10 to create a 0-10 bracket.
The thinking behind this is that having the upper limit too high discourages the low-handicap players from playing in the league when they often find themselves giving a whole bunch of shots to a capable player on their own course!
There are also some that think the lower limit goes too far in the B League and should be lifted to create a 10-18 bracket.
Is an 8 handicap player (or lower if they improve in the season) really a B team-standard player is the question being asked?
We need to find agreement. Some clubs have difficulties recruiting team members in certain handicap brackets, others do not.
I do have sympathy for the team captains. For some it is a weekly chore to get a full team to the tee and all too often the team originally selected is not the one which takes to the course.
Is it time to look at the team size... is 8 too many?
Or do we look at an amalgamated format with your pairings ranked on total handicap and lowest playing lowest and so on in a similar way as we do with the Dunham. What would the number of pairs be...?
We need to accept that each club will have its own particular standpoint. We want the league to flourish and thrive. Future-proofing anything is not easy.
Can I encourage general discussion.
The executive would be happy to receive ideas/emails with possible suggestions/solutions.
That way we can give clubs the chance to canvas views and support improvements that the players will back. At the end of the day it is their league - not ours - we are merely the current custodians.
We will look to bring recommendations to an Autumn meeting (date to be confirmed) but in good time for fixtures to be formated for 2020 in whatever configuration we choose.
Can I close in saying that, personally, I have thoroughly enjoyed running the ODGL for the last 14 years of its 46 year history.
I happen to think that betterball matchplay is the most enjoyable format of golf and I have made countless friends through the league over the 18 years I have played in it.
Let's not see it wither ...