Having played in a Committee Cup at Ashford Golf Club on the Monday representing my home Club, a thoroughly enjoyable innovation, my next visit on Tuesday followed an early departure to the excellent Minchinhampton Golf Club for the England v Wales International match, which further indicated the excellent friendly but serious rivalry between the GCMA members who elect to play in these events. England retained the Famous Grouse trophy, first played for in 1991 at Southerndown Golf Club and extended a considerable lead in the number of matches won over the years.
However, as part of one of the famous graces says “golf and gloating do not mix” so suffice it to say that the enjoyment of the golf and the camaraderie far exceeded any eventual score in the golf. As usual, even some trade secrets and swopped information were included in the time spent with the contestants! Many thanks to Minchinhampton for their hospitality, and for the presentation of an excellent course and service.
On the way back to Hastings, I had been invited to play in the Newbury and Crookham Pro Am the following day along with my wife and Mo Brooker the London and Home Counties Regional Secretary. Although taking a very long time to play in what was glorious weather, it was a real pleasure to play, and the team even did reasonably well. Ed Richardson was a most gracious host to us on this occasion.
The next day saw the fourth consecutive game, which was my Past Captains’ Quaiche Dinner at my home Club, Highwoods. Many clubs will have these events, and they form an important part in the life of any Club, where all Past Captains are invited back, regardless as to whether they still remain a member, or have moved to other areas or clubs. To meet such friends is always a pleasure.
The next event was a visit to the Open Championships, although there was the small matter of playing in my 36 hole Club Championships on the Sunday before driving to Liverpool on the Monday!
Hoylake was a true test and a real picture for the proper golfer! What a pleasure it was to watch the practice days, and then the intensity of the first days of the Open. Thousands of golfers must now be waiting to try out something they saw done properly, and realise that they can get the ball out of a bunker with nine feet of sheer face in front of them! Maybe! We have all seen the standard of golf which has reached a new level. The amazing behaviour of the spectators must be applauded when it switches instantly from the loudest of cheers and applause to total silence when players play.
As an amusing aside, I received a text from a friend on the Sunday whilst watching the last round, saying that there was a £1 at stake on whether Adam Scott was correctly allowed to take relief by measuring with his long putter, and they needed a decision from me. I assured the friend that he was, and quoted rule 20 and decision 20/2, which of course I know all secretary/managers will be familiar with!
Our Chief Executive Bob Williams and Niki Hunter were working extremely hard during the few days we were there, with meetings throughout most of the Wednesday and Thursday on all aspects of the work of the Association with countless bodies representing golf in all its forms. I know that watching some golf was on the agenda for the Friday however, before leaving.
My next venture will be to play in the match against France at the Berkshire, which is always extremely well organised by John Edgington who has also taken on board all the other international matches this year. Thank you John, keep up the good work.
As I am writing this, I am now looking forward to a day’s fly fishing on a local reservoir tomorrow – so something completely different.
Enjoy your golf everyone.
By John Smith