October 2019 – Patshull Park

October 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the society, and we headed back to where it all began: Patshull Park.

Patshull Park third tee

Absent friends were very firmly in the group’s minds, with Helen Stother‘s funeral sadly being the day before. A glass was raised to all.

Day 1

Those who teed off in the later groups were treated to the rare sight of the new Chairperson Clarkie screeching into a parking spot with almost a handbrake turn, due to an unfortunate road closure adding over 90 minutes to her journey. Fortunately there had been some contact en-route (legally via the passenger) so both Clarkie and Ellie had some time to prepare before heading out – even if Norma was a little concerned with the speed at which Ellie inhaled a sausage bap!

The weather in the lead up to the meet had not been kind, and there was a short, sharp downpour as the final groups were preparing to tee off for a three-ball ‘Shambles’. However, after that the weather actually held up very well.

Fresher in the rain

The course was not, however, in the very best shape, although in general the meet agreed that treating bunkers as G.U.R. is something that could catch on and worked very well for ball cleaning. Even so, Val Castle’s teammates were somewhat traumatised by watching La Presidenta fall backwards into a bunker on the 17th whilst retrieving her ball. Apparently there was some less-than-presidential language before they helped her back up! And Mad Dog also suffered a shoulder injury so heinous that it caused her to leave a range of her clubs around the course for the next group to carry for her. Turns out that taking a jumper off can be very dangerous.

Some good golf was also played, with third going to Anne Crawley, Lorna Rolfe, and Coral Handley. Sue Kitchen, Chris Knight and Patsy Garner came in second, and Claire Jenkins, Shirley Taylor & Kelly Greenstreet were the clear winners. Although their team overall won nothing, Sue Redfern took the longest drive on the 12th, and Ellie Martin pipped Claire Jenkins to the nearest the pin on the 10th.

Day 2

The Rugby World Cup provided a nerve-wracking start to the second day, with Wales leaving it really very late to beat France over breakfast. Even those with no allegiance to the daffodil were biting their nails – mostly because of the potential effect on their teammates!

As this was the 25th anniversary, the competition on day 2 was designed to remind the meet how far things have come, with a variation on the pink ball game – the “Old Club”. Every team of four was given an actual wooden wood, and each member of the team was required to play every fourth hole with only the wood or their putter for double points.

Wooden one wood

This had some varied and unpredictable results: some 50 yard putts (tricky in the mud), some wild slices, and the odd damaged wrist! All of the clubs made it back to the clubhouse, although some teams did think long and hard about letting theirs ‘slip’ into the lake. The winners were Bev Fentiman, CBK, Kelly Greenstreet, with the ghostly presence of Taff Martin, closely followed by Claire Jenkins, Sue Kitchen, Val and Sue Thornley. Third place went to Clarkie, Coral Handley, Chris Knight and Patsy. Nearest the pin in two was Sue Thornley, and the longest drive with their own club was Coral Handley, and with the old club was Sue Kitchen.

After the golf we had possibly the shortest AGM yet at 13 minutes (demonstrating the wisdom in making the youngest member Chairperson), before canapés and general celebrations. It was good to see that those who attended the very first meet were still not taking it all too seriously!


Day 3

The final day was reduced back down to three-balls for a Dusty Bin (or reverse waltz). We were all a bit tired by this point – the lack of run makes Patshull a very long course. Clare Mulvaney was heard to tell her group ‘We can do anything we want, ladies’, only to receive the somewhat jaded response of ‘except score points’ from Ellie Martin. Coral took the extreme step of knackering her knee to get out of the last 5 holes, leaving her companions to finish without her. Lorna Rolfe meanwhile was attempting to distract her group from the grind of the golf by talking about certain medical procedures – the phrase “I’ve seen smaller probes go into space” is not one that will be forgotten any time soon!

Kelly Greenstreet, fresh out of Mexico, made it a three from three winning streak with Stocky and Shirley this time. Second place went to Clarkie, Baggie and Coral – with an injury replacement ‘ghost’ of Sue Thornley for the final 5 holes, whilst Bev, Taff and Sue Thornley came in third. In an effort to use up some prizes there were many nearest the pins: Lesley Smith took it on the 2nd, Sue T and Stocky tied on the 10th, Ellie took the 17th and Stocky took nearest in two on the 9th. Longest drives went to Clare Mulvaney on the 11th and Sue Kitchen on the 16th.

And with that, we wended our weary ways to our scattered parts of the world. Thanks as ever to the amazing committee for the hard work that goes into organising these meets. We look forward to the April meet at Hellidon Lakes.

October 2018 – Magnolia Park

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.

Avenue of trees.

Taken by Anne Monaghan.

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.

Clarkie fishing

Taken by Coral Handley

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.

Day three fog

Taken by Sarah Wenn

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.

Fun in the sun

Taken by Anne Monaghan

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!

October 2017 – Ullesthorpe

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.

Spring 2017 – Ullesthorpe

The Easter meet saw us returning to the familiar haunt of Ullesthorpe Court. Well, somewhat familiar at least – the course has undergone a bit of [temporary] rejigging and revising since our last foray to this venue, which caused a certain level of consternation on day 1! Some of this was caused by the magical GPS watches being rendered almost useless, and the rest by a general sense of befuddlement.

Day 1

The course was not even the only unusual thing for the meet to contend with on day 1: sadly, a longstanding member of Ullesthorpe had recently passed away, meaning that the WCAGS flag could not be flown. Not only that, but two of our reputedly tardier members threw everyone by turning up early. It was suggested that it was a conspiracy, but it being their joint debut as competition secretary it was only right and proper that Anne Crawley and Ruth Bailey made a timely appearance. Their first choice of competition was a three person waltz. Other than ‘tee gate’ – a spot of controversy over the correct tee location on the 14th causing a lot of chat at dinner – everyone enjoyed a sunny but occasionally chilly round. There were a few glowing faces come the evening! A successful day 1 win for Anne, Chris Bailey and Claire Jenkins, ably followed by Kate, Taff and Ellie Martin. Sue Redfern, Coral and Sue Thornley grabbed third place. The “nearest the pins” were taken by Megan Lear and June Edney


The shortened 18th.

Day 2

The second day was the newly-remodelled championship day – all players submitted stableford cards whilst also playing a team stableford competition. The team competition was a bowmaker. The bronze competition saw some incredible banditry from Ellie Martin, who scored 44 points in spite of having been cut 2 strokes the previous evening. When this was revealed at dinner there was a rousing chant of ‘cut cut cut’ from the rest of the meet – 4 more shots were promptly removed. The silver competition was won by Chris Bailey with 38 points, and the gold was wrapped up by Angie Bainbridge on a very impressive 34 points. Val (El presidente) won the over 70s competition with 31 points. There were, however, a notable absence of trophies – if you have one [in your possession], please let Kate or Clarkie know!

In the group competition, Ellie the Bandit helped her group (Claire Jenkins and Gill Smith) to the top in spite of Clarkie’s attempts to break their concentration by nearly hitting them on the 3rd and 5th. Chris Bailey, Val and Baggie took second place, and Clarkie, Liz and Sue Town came in third. Nearest the pin competitions were picked up by Taff and Sue Thornley.

The success on the course seemed to have gone to El Presidente’s head, as for some reason (ok, raising money for Rachel Heyhoe-Flint’s charity) Val agreed to allow Baggie to “style” her hair.


Before and after.

The initial promise of a £2 donation was upped to £32 when the ever-persuasive Pauline Weekes took the hat round. Val received many compliments throughout the evening. Your humble author can neither confirm nor deny the rumour that Val asked Baggie for the name of the hair product next day.

Day 3

The beautiful weather of the competition day didn’t last into day 3, with even a sprinkle of rain to deter us. Not that it did, of course. A Texas scramble was on the menu, although menus were a sore subject after a slight debacle over the eggs at breakfast. It descended into a Victoria Wood-style farce, with some orders being forgotten and others queue-jumping their way to another’s eggs, but it ended with laughter (and eggs) all round. The groupings on day 3 were altered with some people sloping off early, so we had a winning 4-ball group of Angie Bainbridge, Claire Jenkins, Coral and Remi, and a winning 3-ball group of JB, Ruth Bailey and Taff. Angie and Coral also tidied up the nearest the pins.


Claire Jenkins posing in front of the railway arch.

Voting also took place for the new venue finders. Sue Town and Mary Petit have done a sterling job of finding venues for the society, and we thank them profusely. It’s a tough job, but I’m sure we all believe that the new incumbents Megan Lear and Susie Garner will be well placed to continue!

Thanks to all of the committee for working hard to make the meet happen, and bring on the return visit to Ullesthorpe in the Autumn.