Due to some unfortunate vandalism at Abbotsley Golf Club, October saw the WC&A Golf Society returning once again to Ullesthorpe Court. Since our Easter visit the course had been restored to an order that matched both the memories and the GPS equipment of those who have either. We also instigated a new rule that saw the over 80s allowed to drop their balls at the 150 yard marker for the loss of just one shot. Cue much doctoring of birth certificates!
Day 1 – And Brian came too.
The first morning saw Storm Brian arriving alongside the 28 intrepid golfers. It was a good job that our esteemed Competition Secretaries had chosen a relatively simple format of 2 to score per hole, with 3 to score on the par 3s – Storm Brian did not make for a particularly pleasant golfing companion! All 28 golfers fought the wind around the first 9 holes, and that was enough for all but 12 of us. Another 3 only added a further 3 holes before retreating to the warmth and comfort of the clubhouse, leaving only two foolhardy groups to complete the full 18 holes.
There was a reward for those who had finished early in the shape of some celebratory birthday cupcakes. Sue Redfern and Ellie Martin both turned 40 shortly after the meet, and this was assumed to require sugar for everyone. The cakes were baked by Sarah Clarke (Clarkie).
Some of the members of the group appeared to be having some sartorial issues in addition to the weather – Jo Osbourne was declared to be wearing the noisiest trousers ever, whilst Ruth Bailey was blaming her waterproofs for some strange crackling sounds. Helen Stother took it to extremes however – whilst she had remembered all of the important golf gear, she managed to leave her entire case of clothes at home on her bed in Wales. This prompted a swift trip to a nearby supermarket with Jackie Court to find her something suitable to wear for dinner, not to mention enough underwear for the rest of the trip.
It was decided that the groups who had bravely soldiered on through the Brian’s teeth should really take first and second place, whilst third went to the best score of the (far more sensible) 9 hole teams. That meant that 3rd was Debbie Stock (Stocky), Lesley Smith, Sue Thornley and Jo Osbourne. 2nd place went to Ruth Bailey, Clarkie, Kelly Greenstreet and Anne Monaghan (who also deserved a medal for stamina after finishing in the dark), with 1st place taken by Sue Town, Mary Pettit, and Ali and Jane Thornber-Taft. Nearest the pin was Shirley Taylor.
Day 2 – Brian’s hangover
Although in theory Brian had now left the party, day 2 was still distinctly cold and windy. The Competition Secretaries had been a little bolder, combining a Waltzer with cricket. 6 runs for a par 3 green in regulation, 4 runs for each fairway in regulation on the rest of the course, and a wicket lost for each bunker or ball out-of-bounds. We also had two dropouts for day 2, with Ellie blaming a still-healing wrist and Freda suffering from the resurgence of a stubborn cough after Brian’s tender loving care, so there were ghosts in attendance.
It turned out that the whole group suffered a more frustrating outing than the first day. There were many swear words reported, Jo Osbourne kicked a ball and Gill Smith took her frustrations out on one of the buggies with a conveniently downed branch. Clarkie got the shock of the day though, when one of the male golfers in the local group in front hadn’t quite disappeared far enough into the undergrowth and gave her an unwished-for view of the full moon – unsurprisingly the next shot was shanked! As if all this wasn’t enough, Freda lost a tooth on one of Helen Stother’s Lockets.
In spite of all this, some good golf was played. In third place were Sue Redfern, Jane Thornber-Taft and Shirley Moore, accompanied by the ghost of Sue Thornley. Val Castle, Ali Thornber-Taft, Kelly Greenstreet and Mary Evans (Pyl) came home in second place, whilst Sue Town, Gill Smith, Ann Brown and Helen Stother won first prize. Jackie Court and Megan Lear took the nearest the pins.
Day 3 – Calm at last
On the third and final day of the meet the wind dropped to acceptable levels. We were playing a Texas Scramble with no step-aside. The first group out was an all-buggy four-ball of Chris Watmough, Mary Pettit, Jackie Court and Ann Brown playing 9 holes. And apparently a game of Cowboys and Indians down one fairway, whooping and hollering and chasing each other up until they spotted the club pro at the bottom of the fairway looking rather bemused by the sight.
The rest of the group were significantly more sedate, perhaps as a side effect of the battering the weather had given them over the previous 2 days. In fact, so many teams had players drop out after 9 holes that the third place was once again for the best front 9 with the Cowboys and Indians “ambushing” the prize! First and second were awarded for the full 18, with second place going to Anne Crawley, Ruth Bailey, Claire Jenkins and Helen Stother. First prize was won by Stocky, Coral, Clarkie and Sue Town.
There were two nearest the pin competitions – a straightforward nearest in one won by Jane Thornber-Taft, and a slightly more unusual team nearest the pin in two (given the scramble). That was won with a team effort from Val Castle, Lesley Smith, Sue Thornley and Ali Thornber-Taft, with some additional assistance from an anonymous tree!
There were many members of the committee missing for this meet, so particular thanks to Clarkie for an extremely efficiently run AGM, Anne Crawley for minute-taking, and Chris Watmough for stepping into Taff’s shoes as Fines Master. Many thanks as always to all of the committee (present or otherwise) for the hard work they continue to do to make the meets happen. We look forward to visiting Patshull Park in April 2018.