Men’s Golf Blog

One hundred and forty-two bunkers, yes 142, await you if you take on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire, also home to England Golf. If you hit your shot off line there is a bunker waiting for you, whether you are a long, medium or short hitter! I played two rounds there since the last blog with a group of fellow Members, hated it on day one, loved it on day two, when I had purchased a course guide to help me around (essential). To give some further insight on how challenging this course is, we played off the yellow tees; the nearest overall length of course to that of Roehampton Club. The course rating is 72.5 and the slope is 149. My playing handicap at Roehampton Club at that time was 18, at the Hotchkin it was 23! Quite an experience and I hope to return one day. By the way, I believe we have 64 bunkers at the Club by comparison.

On Friday last I was joined by 14 past Captains and Vice Captain Paul Taylor for an enjoyable 18-hole Stableford followed by dinner, where Paul eloquently introduced Simon Butler as his incoming Vice-Captain from October to the Past Captains, to warm approval. I am delighted for Simon, who’ll be a great Captain, as will Paul, and I wish both every success for their tenures.

Despite a remarkably mature and responsible evening, with no after-dinner brandies or kummel, the Captains struggled for form the next morning in the Arthur Clark Foursomes! No such issues for Keith Atkins and Graham Terry who won our oldest trophy with a sparkling 66 nett; congratulations chaps. I believe that Arthur Clark was our Club Captain in 1932 by the way.

And so to Captain and Pro, where I said I expected a ‘stern test’ from my good friends Richard Lurcott and Peter McGovern in last Sunday’s match playing with Ricky Pharo. Well Ricky and I certainly got more than we bargained for! After eight holes we were 5 down, with the challengers 2 under par gross, and 6 under nett, and it was hard to imagine even winning a hole … But matchplay is about momentum, which tilted our way, and we were to win 5 of the next 6 holes, to be all square after 14. After all ths excitement we then lost the next two holes and a half on 17 gave the challengers a 2&1 victory in a great contest. First defeat of the Captain and Pro, thanks and very well played gentlemen!

Yesterday I teamed up with Will Hancock to take on the challenge of Clive Nicholson and Mel Davies, a re-match actually, and Will and I certainly hoped that another 5&4 defeat wasn’t coming our way! As it happened, this time we played a bit better, and dovetailed well to be 2 up after 9, where Will made his 3rd birdie of the day. At that point, if we’d been playing in a Stableford, myself, Clive and Mel would each have scored 18 points to Will’s 20 points! Both were playing well, the match was far from over. Another birdie by Will on 10 kept us at 2 up, my ‘trusty’ Wilson 8802 putter warmed up sufficiently to hole a couple of wining par putts. The match finished on the 14th though the chaps might have taken it down 15. Once again it was great to play with Clive and Mel, very solid combination and both playing good golf, thank you both, and I think we all enjoyed watching Will hit some stunning golf shots to be 3 under gross thru’ 14 holes.

On Saturday morning, 12 brave men will take on the might of the Ladies section in a competitive friendly fixture. I’m hoping for friendly weather but we may not be lucky. I believe this is usually the fixture that causes the men rue their lack of short game practice around the greens, having watched expert demonstrations of the craft by their opponents! I’m looking forward to this and also to being proved wrong about men’s practice …

There are still four places open on the timesheet for the Captain’s Prize on Saturday 17th July. Sign up on IntelligentGolf asap please!

You will be supporting my charity, which is Prostate Cancer UK. Prostate cancer is to men what breast cancer is to women. Both cause approx. 12,000 deaths per year in the UK. Prostate cancer is diagnosed in about 1 in 8 men in the UK, and us chaps over 50 are at higher risk. My late Dad had it, as well as two uncles, and this apparently makes me 2.5 times more likely to get it. A blood test can help to diagnose prostate cancer and is available free to any man over 50 who asks for it. It’s known as the PSA test (prostate specific antigen) and if you are having a blood test for any reason, ask for this to be included. Early diagnosis makes a huge difference. Thank you all who’ve entered to date and I look forward to welcoming you by the 7th green on the day.

By the next blog, freedom should have been restored, we’ll be removing flagsticks for putting just because we can, raking the bunkers because we’ve missed it so much, shaking hands, hugging, and generally behaving like humans are meant to. Roll on the 19th and hope to meet some of you at the 19th hole that evening!

Gerry Dennigan, Men’s Golf Captain –