Autumn was upon us and the members of WC&AGS descended on a new (to us) venue – Magnolia Park, in Buckinghamshire. It’s the furthest South we’ve attempted in some while, which pleased some and displeased others in almost equal quantities!
We welcomed three new members at this meet: Chris Knight, Lorna Rolfe, and Sarah Wenn, with Wenny bringing along an extremely useful ball-finder in the shape of Alison Simmons.
Day 1 – ‘like a golfer needs a putter’1
Day 1 began, after the usual meet and natter, with a glass being raised to Mel Fogg.
It turned out that the ‘Botha Stay and Play’ (as the society had apparently been renamed) were sharing the venue with a wedding. These two disparate groups accidentally wove together throughout the day, starting with Lorna parking in the space reserved for the limo. The opener was a waltzer in groups of three. Ruth Bailey got extremely carried away with her duties as co-competition secretary and wrote out some twenty-seven cards (not quite one each, but close), and fortunately for the wedding organisers we headed out before too much more mayhem could be wrought.
It turned out that Magnolia Park is quite a long course (particularly green to tee), with a number of patches of water that could swallow a ball at the slightest provocation, and that almost none of us knew about in advance. Many balls were lost, even with the addition of a society ball-finder. The fearsome fifteenth in particular took a toll. Still, some managed better than others, with Anne Crawley, Megan Botha and Ann Brown coming in third, Sue Redfern, Chris Knight and Kelly Greenstreet in second, and Ali Roberts, Lorna Rolfe and Sarah Clarke taking top spot. They won the society’s first (and possibly last) ‘musical’ prize in the form of ukuleles! Nearest the pin on the seventh went to Sue Redfern, and the seventeenth was taken by Carol Brown-Kenyon.
Of course, once we were back the wedding was back under threat: Ruth Bailey dove in and photobombed the wedding party, and in spite of the food generally being rather good, certain members of the group took it upon themselves to raid the hog roast. The bar was also a little on the slow side, with two parties attempting some pretty serious drinking, but the staff can’t really be blamed for Chris Knight charging all of her drinks to Jo Osbourne’s room – all sorted out in the end!
Day 2 – ‘And think about the pink’2
Anne Crawley had cooked up a pink peril competition for us on day two, back in groups of four. Given the number of patches of ball-hungry water on the course, it came as no particular surprise that Stocky (who’d missed day one for a club final) put it into the middle of a pond on the second. Ali Roberts did the same in her group, but Clarkie bravely (or foolishly) removed her socks and shoes, rolled up her trousers, and went for a paddle.
Rather surprisingly, in spite of losing their pink ball so very early, third place ended up going to Sue Redfern, Debbie Stock, Freda Northcott and Ann Brown. Exactly how much of this was down to Ann Brown ignoring the cut to her handicap from the previous day is unknown! Second place was taken by Ali Roberts, Clarkie, Coral Handley and Jo Osbourne, so presumably Clarkie felt the mud between her toes was well worth it. However, the winners were Ruth Bailey, Carol Brown-Kenyon, Ali Thornber-Taft and Michelle Birch, with a smooth and serene performance that saw them bring the pink ball safely home to play another day. Shirley Taylor cleaned up on the nearest the pin prizes, in two on the ninth and on the eleventh.
The evening saw the AGM, once again hosted by stand-in Chair Sarah Clarke with able assistance from Jo Osbourne and Anne Crawley. Clarkie couldn’t quite beat the pace of her previous meetings, but there were a larger number of positions up for negotiation. The current Secretary and Chair (Kate Brown and Taff Martin) had agreed to stand for one extra meet given that they were unable to attend this one, but the competition secretary and prizes needed to be sorted. Shirley Taylor has volunteered for prizes from April 2019 (many thanks to Clarkie for the past 6 meets) and Jane Thornber-Taft has agreed to take over from Anne Crawley and Ruth Bailey as Competition Secretary from October 2019.
There was one more important item of business for the evening: June Edney had successfully returned the dolly via special courier, so it needed to be found a new home. For renaming the society after herself with no consultation, Megan Botha was tasked with looking after it for the foreseeable future.
Day 3 – ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’3
The day started auspiciously, when Chris Watmough (who had sadly been confined to her room feeling rather unwell for the last two days) felt well enough to join us all for breakfast. The length of the course precipitated something of a run on buggies on the final morning! ‘First up, best wheeled’ seemed to be the order of the day. We were playing a step-aside Texas Scramble. The weather decided to provide the mist to go with the mellow fruitfulness that we had all been rather enjoying, and we tee’d off into the gloom. It quickly lifted though, for a final beautiful, sunny day.
A tired crew made for a mostly sedate round – other than some who perhaps ought to have known better (Coral) attempting to pick balls up in the buggy without stopping and throwing their co-driver (Clarkie) out, bouncing her down the fairway. Probably a good job Coral was partnered with the youngster in the group! In spite of these shenanigans, the day was won by Stocky, Clarkie, Coral and Lorna. Second place was taken by Ali Roberts, Ali Thornber-Taft, Kelly Greenstreet and Anne Monaghan, and third went to Anne Crawley, Carol Brown-Kenyon, Shirley Taylor and Lesley Smith. As we had an out-going prizes secretary, there were four nearest the pin competitions. Stocky won on the second and the seventh, Kelly on the eleventh, and Ruth Bailey on the seventeenth.
Another meet drew to a close, with great numbers of steps clocked by all who measure them (although there was some debate about the length of some people’s stride and the definition of the word ‘mincing’). Many thanks to all of the committee, present or otherwise, and to Sue Redfern for taking over the job of fines master at short notice – probably saved herself a fortune! We look forward to reconvening at Ullesthorpe in April 2019.
- 1 Line from I rely on you, by Hovis Presley
- 2 Taken from the Snooker Song from the musical “The Hunting of the Snark”, written by Mike Batt.
- 3 To Autumn, John Keats. Too obvious to leave out, sorry!