Men’s Golf Blog

I’m fed up with golf, or at least that’s what I thought after two gruelling days of the 2020 Autumn Meeting, by which time I’d played 9 times in 10 days! You just have to laugh at yourself sometimes, which I told myself through gritted teeth on Sunday after my group amassed a combined 27 strokes on the 10th hole. If only Keith Duncan had managed to hole his putt for par, it would have been a mere 26 strokes, but unfortunately myself and Oliver Aikens competed in a race to the bottom (of the pond in his case, twice … ) involving out-of-bounds, shanks, and that water hazard. My old enemy, the 16th, provided me the opportunity to 4 putt which I naturally seized and executed. And I think I love fast greens … What a day, but great company and we kept smiling!

Considerably further up the leader board were those who actually played golf properly and I heartily congratulate our trophy winners; Dhanraj Gidwaney (36 holes handicap winner – Whitney Challenge Cup) and the ever-brilliant Vince Thorne (36 holes scratch winner – Autumn Challenge Cup). Honourable mentions also to Graham Huntingford, runner-up to Dhanraj on countback, Richard B Williams in third place behind Graham, Scott Stanley as runner-up to Vince for the scratch trophy, and Peter Crocombe in third place on countback from Scott. Also, congratulations to Alex Milward with an excellent 65 nett on Saturday, David Rimmer with his 68 nett on Sunday, Mike Piesse with 75 gross on Saturday and Max Stanley with 73 on Sunday.

On the previous weekend we played the annual Captain and Past-Captains versus the Club Challenge match, over eight 4BBB matches, always a great golfing and social event. With a very strong side the Club team prevailed by 6 matches to 2, with some great golf played, not least by my partner Tim Fulstow, just 6 over gross for his 18 holes. Thanks to everyone who took part, and special thanks to the Honorary Captain’s for the day; Ben Angood, Danny Gesua, and Kris Huldt. I realised it had been six months since I last had to speak to a gathering of Members, which was the Ireand vs. Rest of World event, which we also lost, oh well …

And so, to Captain and Pro Matches, starting with my first match alongside Richard Harrison, challenged by my 4BBB partner Brian O’Boyle and Chris Goodenough. Brian has been defeating Richard in these matches for >10 years, several of them with me as his partner, so this was going to be fun! And so it was with our seemingly comfortable 2 up lead at the turn swiftly disappearing in the next two holes with a birdie by Chris on the 10th and then Brian holing his bunker shot on 11 also for birdie! And it went all the way to the 18th, with Richard making a fine birdie on the 16th to keep us in it, and we ended up with match halved. Super stuff indeed, a great match to be part of. I sense that Richard was quite pleased with this result!

Next up were Campbell McDougall and Colin Hector to challenge myself and Mark Heyes. More fine and powerful ball striking by the Members, but Mark and I built a lead early on that we were able to hold onto for a 3&2 victory. Interestingly, while many of us are using the latest or relatively new clubs, Mark impressed us with his fine play off the tee using his 10-year-old Cleveland driver! This and the other matches have been great fun, very competitive, with great company, and played in the best golfing spirit.

And just yesterday afternoon, past-Captains Derek Mason and John Fooks challenged Jake Watson and I, and this turned into an epic battle all the way to the 18th! Derek didn’t really want me to mention that he birdied 2 of the first 4 holes, or that he and John were dovetailing beautifully to go 3 up thru’ 5 holes … but we were reeling at that stage. Jake settled our nerves by winning the 6th, only for us to immediately lose the 7th, but I somehow found a little purple patch to take us to the turn just 1 down. Fast forward to the 12th and we’re back at 3 down, and lucky not to be 4 down … Another purple patch was needed, and amazingly it arrived and the match was all square on the 16th tee. The 17th was looking promising for us but John made an amazing up and down to halve the hole, nearly holing his 3rd shot from off the green, phew! I holed a very nervous 4 footer on 18 to halve the match and I think I was physically shaking as I walked off that green! Many thanks to Derek and John for a great afternoon.

There are still two midweek 3pm matches available for signup, on 30th September, when I team up with Charlotte Nutt, and 7th October when I rejoin Ricky Pharo. If you haven’t entered one of these before, do come forward, it’s a great fun golfing experience.

Our next competition is the Club Stableford on October 3rd, currently fully subscribed with 4 players in reserve. If may be worthwhile joining the reserve list as there are often withdrawals closer to the competition day. Signup is also open for the Men’s Winter Foursomes 2020/21 on IntelligentGolf.

With regret I report that Past Captain, Felix Merz, passed away during the week, and also Sir Peter Harrop, previously active in Seniors’ Golf. My sympathies to both their families and friends.

Finally, a special mention for the ever-popular Mr Bobby Wilkinson, reaching the milestone age of 3 score and twenty just yesterday! Congratulations Bobby and I look forward to seeing you on Saturday. Enjoy the lovely weather and your golf everybody!

Gerry Dennigan | Men’s Golf Captain