April 2018 – Patshull Park

With Storm Brian spoiling the last meet, it might have been felt we were due a reprieve from the weather gods. Unfortunately the forecast for this April’s meet was truly dire, so it was with some trepidation that the largest WCAGS meet in recent memory gathered at Patshull Park. Indeed, many of the 43 golfing members had been eyeing up the spa facilities as an alternative and, given the way the winter has gone, some didn’t even appear to be disappointed at the prospect.

Day 1 – This is the song of the mud

Fortunately, in spite of a torrential downpour in the morning the course was deemed playable for those on foot. The buggy group did not fare quite so well, but they had a loop of five playable holes that they were able to repeat. Of the many alternate plans that our esteemed competition secretary Anne Crawley had formulated, the chosen format was kept as a simple three of four stableford scores to count. It was also decided to make the day a 9-hole competition, as a nod to the promised inclement weather.

Squelchy, muddy feet.

The course was somewhat wet, and featured a significant number of additional water hazards. Some members managed to incorporate the spa treatments into their round by spraying themselves liberally with mud during their shots. The greens required some muscle. The players were undeterred, and all made it through more than the 9 holes specified (although admittedly this may have been because the 9th was as far from the clubhouse as you could get). Some hardy souls made it through the full 18 for nought but pride.

Third place was claimed by Sue Town, Pauline Weekes and Shirley Taylor (with the addition of an unnamed ghost). Second place went to the buggy group (named the Buggerettes for the duration of the meet by Helen Stother) of Chris Watmough, Anne Brown, Jackie Court and Freda Northcott, and bragging rights for first place went to Angie Bainbridge, Claire Jenkins, Chris Bailey and Kelly Greenstreet. Stocky managed nearest the pin on the 2nd, and Clare Mulvaney snagged the nearest the pin on the 17th (and some reward for continuing).

Day 1 ended rather late for Maria Bagust and Lesley Smith, as unbeknownst to them their room was party to a party! Plumbing issues caused day 2 to begin rather early for Anne Crawley, who was found wandering the hotel corridors at 3am on the hunt for a flushing loo.

Day 2 – Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood.

The championship day arrived with no further rain and none in the forecast. However, some lessons had been learnt from the day before and lead to the declaration that all bunkers were to be considered G.U.R. and winter rules were extended beyond the fairway to every part of the course. In all fairness it had been tricky to decide where the fairway ended – no blame to the grounds staff, it was simply too wet to mow. The Buggerettes continued to be limited to the five holes, but all 18 were in play for the rest of the meet . The team competition was again kept simple with just two scores to count per hole, but all players’ stableford scores kept for the championship.

Patshull Park house from the fourth fairway.

The team competition had third place taken by Jane Thornber-Taft, Clarkie, Patsy and Mary Pettit, second place went to Angie Bainbridge, Ruth Bailey, Shirley Taylor and Anne Monaghan, and the winners were Stocky, Liz Whelan, Chris Bailey and Anne Crawley. Kate Brown won the nearest the pin on the 2nd, with Sue Thornley closest on the 10th.

The championship results were as follows:

Silver Debbie Stock 40 points
Bronze Kelly Greenstreet 37 points
Copper Ellie Martin 32 points
Over 70s Chris Bailey Dot Furby second.

Chris Bailey celebrated her 70th birthday by buying the entire meet a drink at the end of the round and by taking home the over 70s prize. She also managed to fall over backwards out of a bunker, which cost the rest of her team in fines as they all fell about laughing rather than help. Many congratulations were also due to June Edney, who celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary on the day of the championship. However, she felt no need to include her husband in the celebration which won June the custody of the dolly for the foreseeable future. The WCAGS meeting broke records for brevity, lasting a mere 13 minutes with Clarkie’s expert chairing; the prize for this was getting to the bar before dinner. Patsy continued her difficult relationship with cars and the Patshull Park carpark: this time, rather than flattening her battery with the vanity mirror she tried leaving the door open overnight. That she had all of her financial records laid out on the seat was neither here nor there.

Day 3 – Golfers in the mist

The third day dawned… kind of. There was a mist thick enough to make teeing off a case of waiting for the group ahead to disappear into it, then waiting a little longer just in case. Fortunately it had burnt off by lunchtime, and nobody was hit in the meantime.

It was an 18 hole competition, other than for those who wanted to get off early who played 13. It was a Waltzer, other than for the team that decided to play a Texas Scramble. We had a nearest the pin in 2 on the 7th, except the scrambling team put it too close for the rest of the meet to beat and invalidated it. So a pretty normal final day then.

Third place went to Clare Mulvaney, Anne Crawley, Carol Brown-Kenyon and Shirley ‘prize per day’ Taylor. Debbie Stock, Ruth Bailey, Clarkie and Sue Thornley took the second place, with the winners being Kate Brown, Sue Kitchen, Maria Bagust and Chris ‘all the prizes’ Bailey. Carol Brown-Kenyon took home the remaining nearest the pin on the 13th.

The Buggerettes had played the same five holes so many times by now that they legged it almost before breakfast. Sue Thornley had saved a trick shot for the final day – hitting the ball against a tree and landing it right back at her feet. Coral of course had to try that, and ended up 60 feet behind where she’d started – such an overachiever. Clare Mulvaney went with chipping over a tree stump rather than rebounding off it, clearing it in spite of the raucous gallery on the next tee. Liz Whelan meanwhile couldn’t decide which part of her round she enjoyed more: the 4 putt or the air shot.

So the end of the third day was reached, and somehow in spite of the horrendous forecast we had not been rained on once. So perhaps the weather gods were smiling on us after all! Thanks as ever to the committee for all of their hard work (although they claim not to have anything to do with the weather situation), and for Chris Watmough again taking on the fines duty. The next meet is at Magnolia Park in October, where we look forward to trialling a brand new venue!

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