News Archive July 2009 - 31st Dec 2012

 

 

 

Monday 31st December 2012.....the end of another year of news, and I look forward to the start of my 6th year of the news blog...more stories, humour and anecdotes from the unique microuniverse that is Chalgrave Manor......2013 promises to be a really unique year, after all, in June we will see a Scottish Captain (born in Essex!!) muttering away in a thick scottish accent to a deaf club owner!! What can possibly go wrong? It is one of the reasons why I have been insistent on a new role of Immediate Past Captain, so that I will have both the Immediate Past and the new Vice to translate for me!!

 

...and so 2012 draws to a close in a manner which is entirely fitting.....it is 12.41pm, 11 and a bit hours to New Year.....There is no one here playing golf as, surprise surprise it is raining!! The rain has been the dominant story of the year, from Seniors Captain Ken starting his drive in in howling gales and pouring rain all the way through the year to now.... how the hell Capitano Emmett has played 121 rounds of golf in the past year is beyond me? He must be all shrivelled and wrinkled like a prune......no I'm not going there!!! 

 

My thanks to all that have contributed to the news page in the last 12 months, although most who did so, managed it inadvertently....

 

I will, as always, be on the lookout for anything funny and obscure that will grace this page again in 2013 so please, to everyone, just keep doing what you do now!! there will be no shortage of material!

 

Have a Wonderful New Year!!!!

 

 

Fri 28th Dec.......now here is a story which will really surprise you.....Tim Murphy, Vice Capitano......has turned up....late......

 

Fri 28th Dec.....it has been raining for days, but that does not deter the Friday regulars......Paul Northcott and Steve King lead the charge, conceding that they play a couple of days ago...and "it was a bit wet", but more and more are arriving until we reach the height of optimism......a golfer in a pair of "off white" golf trousers......well I can assure you that they will remain off white for the rest of their lives!!!! We are currently recruiting for the newly founded RNLI Chalgrave station, with the basic requirements that the crew will be required to attend and turn out in the most appalling of weather conditions.....sounds like a normal club match actually......

 

Tues 18th Dec....Capitano Emmett emails me with the exact figures..... I estimated 112 rounds...in fact he has played 116, but 7 of those are 9 hole rounds......so drop 3.5 half rounds and you get to 112.5.......I was no more than half a round out over an entire year!!

 

Mon 17th Dec...an update from Vince on the Captains Draw......Capitano Emmett took 91 shots on his final round prior to the draw....over par for his handicap....89 would have been a much better score in my opinion, then I would have won which really would have gone down well!!....the payout was 87.50 in total, and Vince was able to pay Mrs Albery the winnings, resulting in 87 going into her purse, whilst giving Bob 50p for his weekly pocket money......so that only left him 4.50 down on the transaction!!

 

Mon 17th Dec.....Oh Dear, it's clearly going to be a long week......4 seniors in early to play their winter matchplay, including Dennis "Batman" Richards....why Batman?? well 5 minutes after he teed off on the 1st, I was advised by another member, that there was a Robin in his car!! The little chap seemed quite happy fluttering about Dennis's big chunky Fiat Ducato, sitting on the headrests and at one point on top of the steering wheel looking out of the front windscreen.....so I left him to his games until Dennis came down the 3rd....it seemed to take a while for them to come back to the third green, but I retrieved the keys and opened up the car and let the little chap out......so if anyone wants to know what Dennis wants for Christmas.....a car valet would not go amiss!!! Young Robin has "decorated" most of the headrests and the steering wheel!!

 

Sun 16th Dec...the culmination of Steve Emmetts Draws...a "raffle" type draw where you guess the number of strokes taken by Captain Emmett up to and including the 16th December 2012 in a calendar year......and as the time for the draw approaches, there is a last minute final sale effort and Bob Albery is persuaded to part with a crisp 5 note....5 minutes later....and 10,054 strokes into the year, Spanish Bob is 82 richer, as is the Captains Charity by the same amount!! Now, the process of simple mathematics tells me, that if Capitano Emmett is off 14, and has played reasonably close to his handicap on average, then he has played about 112 rounds of golf this year!!! Now that is what you call a Captains performance!!

 

Tues 11th Dec...Update.....well the good news is that Ken managed to remember where my clubs were for the duration of the round and all of them were safely returned at the end......however, as you would quite rightly expect, there is an addendum to the story....Peter Whitton, one of the absolute stalwarts of common sense and normality in the seniors section completes his round, but is then seen wandering aimlessly around the 18th green, looking quite distressed...he has lost his clubs, not one of the three or the putter, but all three and the putter and the bag!!! What is causing the great distress, is that he knows that he had at least the putter literally only a few seconds earlier, as he had putted out with it........eventually, they are found......in the bag, on his back........I'm not even going to bother to elaborate...it is just too funny as it is!!!!

 

Tues 11th Dec.....The seniors Turkey Trott...3 clubs and a putter........absolute carnage out there!!! Aside from the fact that it is foggy, and getting worse by the minute, there is a thick frost on the ground as well as the "Beast from the East" has blown in overnight and it is -4 without the wind chill factor!!! First into my office is Dennis Richards.....wanting to borrow an 8 iron as he has got a 3 wood and a 5 wood and a wedge, having picked the wrong club out of the bag at home.....I thought that was bad, until Captain Ken sheepishly pokes his head around the door and asks if he can borrow a 7 iron and a wedge, as he has only brought a 5 wood and a putter!!!!! Now personally, I would have just chucked the whole bag into the car and made my selection at the course...Dennis at least brought 3 clubs just failed to recognise the difference between an 8 iron and a putter....Ken is a complete new ball game.....having given the whole exercise some significant pre-thought as he had pre selected and removed from his bag the three clubs that he intended to use, placing the 4 favoured weapons by the door ready to go......he then forgot to pick two of them up when they were all grouped tidily together at the front door!!!! I think I will be back on here later to ask people to keep an eye open for my 7, 8 and wedge from my spare set, which I have perhaps foolishly lent out. If they can't remember to pick up the clubs when they leave home, which is a matter of seconds, what chance have they got to hang onto them over the next several hours?????? 

 

Mon 10th Dec....Mat Howarth is most affronted by the accusation that he failed on the beer and breakfast front......and he corrects me in that it was Steve Cuff who was struggling, not actually with the beer, but the glass of orange juice.....and he managed just a slice of toast from his big breakfast before deciding that discretion was the better part of valour and called it a day, so he was virtually last in and first out!!! John Trott didn't baulk at the breakfast refusal from Cuffy and attacked it with some relish......which probably, to be fair, didn't help matters!!!

 

Sun 9th Dec....as the golfers leave after the Turkey Trott, they are quickly replaced by the Kids for the Annual Kids Christmas Party.....balloon animals, balloons to kick about, Disco Dave and Aidan running the party games and then as darkness starts to fall, Santa is on his way!!! All the kids head for the windows to wave to him as he comes down the driveway.... then he takes his place in the centre of the dancefloor and all the kids are invited up one by one to receive their presents.....we presented a special present to the little boy who waved the most enthusiastically through the window, with his little nose pressed hard against the glass as he stared in wonderment at the sight of Santa coming to see him.....it made your heart soar and absolutely is the whole reason why we put the event on every year......to be fair, Santa was somewhat surprised though when he saw John Isaac!!! Still, Santa clearly was up for a bit of fun himself...as once he had handed out all the pressies, sat and had his picture taken with the kids, he then did a lap of the room on the way out kissing all the women!!! I could have sworn he was supposed to get mince pies and a glass of sherry....

 

Sun 9th Dec....in at 7.00am to start the Turkey Trott with Peter...79 players attended with 2 clubs and a putter in a Chalgrave wind.....10 minutes after everyone set off to their start tee, Steve Cuff and Harry Stafford appeared, so they will receive a 10 shot penalty for being late!! The phone had rung 30 minutes earlier, and having answered it I was greeted with the sound of intense coughing down the phone, so prolonged and loud that I fully expected phlegm to eject from the phone at my end!!! It turned out to be Dougie Oakes, saying he was not well enough to play!!! A performance worth of an oscar I felt, as he then abruptly stopped coughing once I had said it was OK to drop out, and asked if there were any spaces left for the kids party later!! It is truly a miracle!!!  Finally, we have a new member who is clearly going to fit in brilliantly at Chalgrave......Amos Mataba came in yesterday and joined, today, he was a no show on his first day of membership in his first competition.......I know it is only a social competition, but the temptation to issue a 3 competition ban for a no show on the first day of club membership is so tempting, just for the sheer humour of it!!

 

Bringing up the rear in the competition result though, was Scratch Team Captain Matt Howarth......he was a CBA rather than an NR...Couldn't be Arsed (to retrieve the card from his locker) but he was eventually DQ'd for breach of Rule99b(iii) which was a failure to deal with the beer and Large Breakfast supplement!!

 

Sat 8th Dec....9.00am on the 1st tee to play winter matchplay......managed to squeeze past Messrs Rayner and Murray on that one, then get the club set up for cabaret night....7.00pm and the club is packed as 100 people sit down to celebrate at the Christmas Cabaret supper, witha great meal and superb entertainment from soul singer Uche Eke, supported by Dangerous Dave and his laser disco......it was a very surreal experience, having popped into the mens changing room to speak to Dave about some details, and then being asked to help him with the adjustment on his braces.....clip on his bow tie, and fasten his cummerbund!!! I felt as though I was Carson attending to Lord Grantham at Downton, without the big posh house!!! The party went on until after 2.00am, got to bed at about 3.00am, alarm went off at 6.40am and back to the club to open up with Peter and start the Turkey Trott.....

 

Friday 7th Dec.....please stop me from mentioning Winter Wonderland again this winter, as following several mentions in recent posts, winter truly arrived with snow, frosts, ice you name it, it was here!! Tuesdays Seniors managed to get around before the snow set in, and there was a decent crowd of them in after the round to see last weeks winner of their bonus ball draw pick up his winnings.....You can tell it is panto season as the boo's and hisses erupted as I took another nice little 25 off them.....and then on Wednesday, normally my day off, I had to open up as Pete was otherwise engaged, which was a masterful decision on his part as 4" of snow had fallen on frozen roads. The skills picked up on the ice rink at Hyde Park were put to good use as I slid my 4WD around the various stranded motorists on the way in!! Thursday followed a similar pattern, still snowed in, but today, in glorious sunshine, we have golfers braving the harshest of arctic winds to get a game of some sort in.

 

My office has been busy, with a constant stream of people poking their heads around to ask about Sundays Turkey Trott...2 clubs and a putter......and for my advice on what clubs to take.......personally, if you are giving it that much thought you are already taking it too seriously!!! Several have asked if they can take 3 clubs and no putter.......the clue is in the entry sheet that says 2 clubs and a putter I would have thought!! 

 

Sun 2nd Dec...talking of WinterWonderland in yesterdays entry was probably a subconscious reaction to the fact that indeed today, I am going to Winter Wonderland....the festive fun park in Hyde Park, Central London. High on the agenda was the hour on the Ice skating rink......I can now state with absolute certainty, that I have now retired from Ice Skating!! No I didn't fall over once (or twice for that matter!!) I stayed upright throughout the whole thing and my standard of skating improved dramatically as the minutes passed, from the teetering Bambi on ice...(OK a slightly larger, heavier Bambi than you might previously have come across...) at the start, so that by the end I had attained the giddy heights of being described as "absolutely crap". I honestly did not think I would ever be that good!! There are two very embarrassed people somewhere today, as I actually overtook them!!  

 

Sat 1st Dec ....I am working a weekend for a change as Peter and Laura are off today.....so I come in to be greeted by a real winterwonderland effect as a thick white frost covers the ground.....this does not deter the regulars who are already shivering on the 1st tee at 7.10 in the eerie half light as dawn is trying to break over a white landscape.....so there will be a fair number of white balls to be found by about 10 or 11 when the frost will hopefully have gone!!

 

The enthusiasm for golf in these conditions remains undimmed.....outside on the practice green, there is someone practicing their chipping onto a green covered in an inch of frost, chipping off more frost covered grass using white balls with lumps of ice attached to them.....barking mad if you ask me!!!

 

My email inbox is rammed.....having sent out a newsletter at just after 4 pm on Friday, complete with Christmas Quiz, the responses are flowing in....I try to keep it topical and usually dredge the more extreme corners of my mind for useless trivia that will make it interesting, difficult these days as the internet reduces quizzes to who can google the answers quickest!!.....except what chance do you think there is of my picking a question that when you google it, one of the first answers that comes up gives the wrong answer???? Christmas Ridge is a mountain range...under the Pacific Ocean...except that "wiki answers" in the short description on google that you see before you open the actual page, says Atlantic.....and it is subsequently corrected when you open the page!!! I have to confess starting to get worried as Atlantic kept appearing in answers though!! ...and then the bonus ball question...ball 13 has not appeared as a bonus ball actually for over 6 years let alone 5, but those that did not actually read the question properly thoroughly researched in depth and gave me the appearances since the start of the lottery (only 4 it would appear!!)....which makes the answer of 26 appearances seem rather odd???

 

Karen Crane submitted her answer, as she wanted to win back the prize that she had donated to an earlier raffle.....which my wife apparently had won!! So that's why it was in my office!!!! Karen had bought it, opened the box, glanced at the instructions for fitting and decided it was easier to donate it to a raffle instead!!! So, we will find out in due course if it baffles Paul Northcott who get the quiz right in under 10 minutes!!

 

Sat 24th Nov...arrive at Club at about 2 pm as we had had a power cut and the alarms had to be reset....I was astonished to see 2 fourballs coming down the 18th......why, you might ask?? 2pm and golfers on the course is nothing unusual surely....except that on Saturday, from 1st thing and pretty much all overnight as well, it absolutely threw it down, and for an added experience, the wind threw that rain into those that ventured out, like bullets from an AK47 (without the ultimately fatal results though). Well there are always a few completely daft people here at Chalgrave, it it turned out to be the brave (or foolhardy) Dave McGarry 50th Birthday Golf Event, determined to mark the notable occasion properly.....except that there was one noticeable absentee...the birthday boy himself, who had rung the clubhouse just before 10, to announce that it was too wet and he was not coming!!! Seeing as the ladies section was represented by Karen, who to be fair, looked suitably disgusted with the whole concept having completed 18 holes....whereas all that played were wet, Donny clearly was just a wet blanket.....must be getting old......

 

Friday 23rd Nov....Arrive at the Club after the night before.....those that were here on Sunday 4th will be aware at how much rain fell that day causing the Sunday medal to be abandoned after an hour of torrential rain....except that the following day, you could still walk down the path from the 1st, behind the 3rd green and over the bridge...which is what you could do when I left here on Thursday evening.......Friday morning...no sign of the bridge, it is 6 ft under water and there is an 80 yard carry across water from the 1st tee to the grass......the place is awash, the 2nd green is under water, as is the 4th...there is a pond in front of the 10th and the hole looks like it is the best par 3 anywhere in the country......oh hang on, nothing has changed there then, that is just as it normally is!!!!!

 

The Friday boys turn up and venture out to play, Ben Hope has more sense, until he decides to go for a walk for a few holes to watch them, so he walks up the driveway to the 4th green, walks towards the green and realises he has not put his golf shoes on.....just his trainers still on his feet!! Undeterred, he heads down the 5th and over towards the 8th, where he takes the sensible option of going down the steps onto the green to chat to his mates.....and then takes the less than sensible option of clambering up the slope to the right of the green......the lack of spikes in his trainers was the deciding factor, as he did a passable imitation of the UK toboggan team practising without their toboggans....slipping over onto his back and returning back onto the green at some speed....the 8th green is less wet than the rest now, as Ben has absorbed about 50% of the water that was on it into his clothing and taken it home with him!!!

 

Cheers Ben, thanks for your help in drying out the course!!!

 

 

Sun 18th November...on the 1st Tee in the House Committee Pairs, having made a late entry at 5.00pm the night before.....the sun is out, the sky is blue....and so was the language coming off the 3rd green in front of us as Richie missed a short putt......the putter head only travelled a few inches in the process of making the stroke even if it was a poor one......and then it travelled a considerably longer distance as it was propelled with some force in the style of Ade Purser, except that no tall trees were involved......however, despite the clear advice given on this very website, that if you are going to throw a club, you should at least hurl it down the fairway ahead of you, Richie compounded his error by chucking it miles back up the 3rd, so on arriving at his bag, he was faced with the decision to (a) follow through with the decision to launch the offending implement into oblivion, leave it where it was, cast away and abandoned and play the remainder of the round without it, or (b) head off in the wrong direction to retrieve it......the decision made, head down, Richie trudged disconsolately off up the 3rd to retrieve it....providing light entertainment on the first tee for us though!!

 

A short while later, Aidan and myself arrived at the 1st green.....Aidan chipped it to about 8" for 3 leaving a nice little tap in with a shot on the hole....the master of the Las Vegas putting challenge (see below) clearly favours the 50ft putts, as he hit the 8" one about as hard as he did the 50ft ones!! Fortunately, he slammed it into the back of the cup, where it only popped up and finished 12" away, instead of charging off the green!!! To be fair, he did rectify the situation on the next with a birdie....

 

Mon 12th November.....in the office and exhausted.....the winter period is usually a time to recharge the batteries and get a few things done that have had to be left as we deal with the busy period, but I had made the last minute decision to attend the London Golf Show as an exhibitor to promote my 2 for 1 golf voucher scheme. A week of running around getting stuff together for the stand, and then 3 days on your feet...that is hard work....but it was a successful show for us and worth the effort.....Aidan came up from Brighton to help....and became virtually famous for his efforts on the Vegas Long Putt Challenge......You had to hole a monster 50ft putt to qualify for a free entry into a tournament where the finals are in Las Vegas and the tournament entry fee is 50 per person.....at the end of each day, all the successful entrants had their names in a hat, and the winner of the day on a random draw, won 2 airline flights to Europe with Monarch....over the three days of the show, that putt was made successfully just 23 times.....and Aidan holed it 4 times in total....on day 2, his was the name drawn out for the flights, so a trip to Europe is in the offing!! Looking at the photo's below, I am not sure which held the greater attraction to him, the challenge of holing the monster putt, or chatting to the young ladies who were organising the stand!!! Over the course of three days, Aidan came up with 117 different excuses as to why he needed to pop around the the Las Vegas Challenge stand to check something!!

 

 

 

 

 

Sun 11th November......we have heard some implausible excuses as to why someone is late on the tee for a competition before....but Tim Murphy's effort today is one that has not been used before....apparently he managed to lock himself into his own bedroom!!! Now this conjures up a multitude of questions in my mind......how many of you have actually got locks on your bedroom doors?? Is this a trick of David Copperfield standard, where the door becomes locked from outside the room where the only person in the house is actually inside the room??? Why was the door locked in the first place???all very strange and fully deserving of a 2 shot penalty on the 1st hole..... Capitano Emmett, recently promoted to Category 2 golf in the last competition, struggled somewhat and is clearly determined to get his shot back asap, as he recorded a magnificent 10, all with the same ball, on the 17th, despite being within 180 yards of the green after 2 shots.   in his own words...My 3rd was topped and the 4th ended up 15 yards short of the green. A pitching wedge was shanked into the bunker (in water) so I took a drop and promptly left it back in the water (1 penalty for the Charity) , my 7th needed to find the hole but did not (2nd Penalty for the Charity) so now I need to avoid a 3 putt for the full set . Sadly 3 putts later and the full set was completed plus a 10 for the first time as Captain.

 

Sat 10th November.....an astonishing anniversary is approaching......the Chalgrave Bonus Ball draw commenced on 1st December 2007. In three weeks time, it will again be Saturday 1st December and we will be commencing the 6th year of draws and fundraising......In the 258 draws that have taken place so far, every ball, bar one, has emerged from the draw as a bonus ball at least once.....one has never emerged.....how weird, crazy, worrying is it, that unlucky for some (Tim Smith in this case) ball number 13 has never emerged......

 

Thurs 8th November.....Dan Glass heads to Bourn Golf Club in Cambridge for the SmartGolfer Open.....plays a few holes before it is discovered that he has his son's Passport and paperwork on him, and his son is at Heathrow waiting for his flight to be called.......ooops!!! Golf abandoned, although clearly Dan was the easy winner of the days Longest Drive Competition!!!! Toddington to Heathrow Via Cambridge!! He made it, just...... which is more than could be said for his team at Bourn

 

Sun 4th November.....unbelievable.......not the torrential rain that came down on Sunday morning, not the fact that it rained so hard that the 10th and 18th greens, despite having significant slopes on them, became totally flooded on their surfaces....how much water has to be coming down that you can flood a slope???...no, all of this is believable......what is unbelievable, is that whilst watching the 18th green flood under the onslaught of water on the CCTV, at 10.00am, at least 2 hours into the deluge, someone came down the 18th, golf bag and all!!!!!!! To be fair, they were not playing anymore, but it beggars belief that someone could have stayed out there, PLAYING ON THEIR OWN, in those conditions. I am inclined to go out and buy a hat, just so I can take it off to them!!!

 

Mon 29th... Carnage in the Halloween Handicap...I tweaked my normal Rules slightly....in previous years there have been 2 treats and 1 trick.....where the treats are your stableford score doubled on that hole. and the trick where your score is trebled and then deducted. Random draw afterwards for the holes on which the trick or treat applies to, so that each and every card is different!!! Takes an age to check the scores...and this year I had 2 tricks where you trebled the score and only one treat.....to confuse matters even more, because the trick becomes a minus....you don't gain the benefit of the original plus score.....so a nett birdie and three points, becomes a -6...but you don't get the original 3 so it has the effect of a -9!!! The end result was carnage....as only 4 scores actually increased in the whole competition!! 4 cards ended with zero stableford points on the front 9!!! I must send this system to CONGU, because, quite frankly, it is still less complicated than the current handicapping system!!

 

Mon 29th October....yet another new member achieves in under a month what Joe can't do in a lifetime.....as Mark Harvey aces the current 15th (it is being recorded as the 13th) with a cheeky 7 iron whilst completing a card for handicap......which makes it the 12th ace of the year!!!

 

Sat 27th....Halloween & Fireworks.....not our normal wind direction, so we had to rethink and set up in a new position for safety.....my tower of 6 pumpkins in a totem pole worked well, all stuffed with petrol soaked toilet rolls and set ablaze......very spectacular until the steel pin holding it all upright was overcome by the heat and it all collapsed!!  ...but this was just a sideshow to the main event and as always, we put on a very good display. Everything went very well up until the final rocket barrage, where we intended to light up the night sky with 3 colossal rocket bursts. One of the three decided it liked its launch tube so much that it stayed there, and I was aware about 5 seconds before it went bang that it was not where it should be...up in the sky!! Fortunately, Rob, who had lit it, was as experienced and aware as I was, and is now know as Rob "Usain Bolt" Parr as he was tearing up the 9th fairway when it went off at ground level....it seems churlish to point out that running towards the green would have been downhill and somewhat easier.....I had, unfortunately, burnt all the toilet rolls as well!!! Joking aside, all was well, Rob was unscathed, and it is a potent reminder that fireworks are fantastic but can also be very dangerous! If you are having your own display at home, be careful!! We have been doing good sized displays now for well over 15 years, so we are very experienced, but it just proves that it can happen to anyone!!

 

The halloween disco was superb, the kids all in fancy dress and some brilliantly carved pumpkins lit up the clubhouse for a great evening....all in all, 160+ people crammed into the clubhouse and we had to turn a few away in the final few days.....the Kids Christmas Party goes the same way, so make sure that you get your names down early!!! 

 

Thursday 25th October......as the greenstaff worked on clearing up the new drainage area on the current 13th hole.....they saw a remarkable sight.....one of the fast growing hybrids, planted last November on the slope between the current 13th and and the new hole......in just under a year...a staggering 10ft or more in height!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Thurs 25th October.....well it took a week.......a wet summer, a few dry weeks in September and a dryish start to October.......and then it hit. In the space of a week, the course has become saturated and we are back to the winter tees. What we have not yet seen, is the normal Chalgrave wind, which we need to dry it out.....and based upon my usual performance, of writing about how wonderfully dry it is, or how calm it is, which then provokes the wrath of the weather to turn viciously on me, hopefully, this missive will provoke a few winds to blast across the course and give us a hand.......oh hang on.....Fireworks on Saturday eve and Matchplay Golf for me on Sunday Morning.....hold the windy weather please!!!! Note for John Crane and Paul Jones...in the interests of goodwill for our forthcoming match...the clocks change on Sunday, so you will have to be here an hour earlier than you might think......

 

Thurs 25th October....Club Captaincy is a wonderful thing....it brings a year (or two!) of hard work, respect amongst your peers, and a significant improvement to your golf!!! Well, at least for Capitano Emmett, who following his second place with a Nett 67 in the ABL, reduced his Handicap to 13.9......which promotes him into Division A for the Medals!! So, clearly, there is a golfing side effect to the analysis of par's birdies, three putts etc etc. Focusing the mind on each and every shot played, lowers your scores...... if only the memory was good enough him to remember to enter the Winter Matchplay, then the rest of us would have delighted in having to give him less shots, or receive more depending upon your own handicap!!! The pressure is now on to keep it there...or get it lower!! Is a place in the Worlds Top 2% achieveable???

 

Sat 20th October.....having played golf with the Captain and Vice Captain on Monday, i clearly had impressed them so much (despite being defeated) that I was asked to renew my pairing with Vince, in the Club Match today at Henlow......so we arrived at reception, to sign it at 8.30 and finally got our passes into the Air Force base at about 9.00am.....even the reception wait was carnage...Captain Emmett continually moving about making all the automatic doors operate every few seconds, which he then blamed on some poor unsuspecting young child who was also in the queue! Meanwhile Vince steps backwards to get out of the range of the door sensor...and promptly falls down an unseen step!! It was like being in the queues for the rides at Alton Towers, except my kids were now suddenly older than me!!! We finally made it onto the base, congregated at the Henlow Clubhouse, and prepared for battle....For myself and Vince, it was a tale of 2 halves....for the 1st Nine, my drives and approaches kept us in the hunt, even though the putting was somewhat ropey!! As we moved into the second half, the booming, straight high drives were replaced by daisy cutters, hooks and slices but Vince suddenly discovered the art of chipping close and we remained in contact.....on our 14th Hole, we returned to all square for the 5th time in the match, and then Vince played one of the finest Par Three hole approaches of his life....with unerring precision, his natural right to left "fade" (some would call it a slice, but not me.....) just grazed the right hand side of a substantial tree on front of the green......the micro deflection was enough to slightly more firmly graze the trunk on the left hand side, of another large tree in front of the green....it would be fair to say, there was more margin for error in getting a hole in hole than the gap that Vince threaded this one through!! (so Joe Silva could NEVER play this shot!!) and the ball ran nicely up to 4 ft away.

 

The opponents failed to get a three. leaving Vince with 2 for the hole from 4ft, with me as a backup plan from 2 ft for my par as well....VH despatched the second, having lagged the first to 8" and for the first time in the entire match, we were ahead.....I was extremely concerned that there were no further trees immediately to the front on any of the final greens, but Vince was incredibly consistent, driving averagely, approaching averagely and then chipping to stone dead for the half! We held on, winning the final match on the course and it was enough to bring back the match shield. Clearly, this was a complete breach in ettiquette as the Chalgrave team looked utterly astounded when we announced our match victory in the clubhouse!   

 

Thurs 18th October...the molers are in...and Bob Hall is in charge, sorting the mornings golf out......there is, as usual, great merriment going on, as Bob has somehow managed to get his polo shirt on, inside out, including having the collar out (or should that be in for it to be out?) and buttoned up whilst inside out.....the seams etc are all on view....eventually, Peter Kay has a quiet work in his shell like.....advising him of the blemish in his normal sartorial elegance.....Bob is most grateful..."Cheers Pete, you are a great mate. All this lot have done is laugh at me...." It seem churlish, then, to point out, that it was Pete who spotted it first, and pointed it out to all and sundry, before turning turncoat!!!

 

Tues 9th Oct.....so it was the rumour mill hard at work for the second successive medal and the 59 is once again the work of fiction...about as believable as Europe winning the Ryder Cup from 10 - 6 down.....the bad news, for John Rogers, is I am this time, reliably informed, that the winning score is a 64....so that 10 on the 11th has a bit more significance!! The seniors were in today for the medal, quite a relief actually that it is a straightforward medal....just put down the gross score and keep going....whereas a few weeks ago they had a bogey par competition.....although to be fair, most of them struggled so badly it was just called a bogey competition!!! There was a point where Peter Whitton had a 40 way tie for 1st place to sort out.....

 

Monday 8th October.....news in from the Medal of a potential Nett 59 in the medal.....I am waiting with bated breath to find out more.......seems a staggering score, but clearly achievable.....John Rogers, for example, finished on a nett 72.....which included, I am told, a 10 on the 11th!!! I will find out more details in due course!!

 

Monday 1st Oct.....well I assume that most of you got the newsletter, if you did not, and you want to receive one, email me on steve@chalgravegolf.co.uk as you are missing out on opportunities to win stuff, as well as keeping up to date with vast range of things going on at the club....the latest Quiz was won by Tim Bevan, winning a very nice Zippo Handwarmer to keep those fingers warm as we head into the winter period..... For those that missed it....

 

Q1. How can you use the letters in NEW DOOR make one word?   New Door, is, of course an anagram of "one word"....there were various attempts at actually making a single word from the letters, including the word "woodern" which in itself is a spelling mistake.....I bet "The Times" crossword is very easy if you just make up words as you go along!!!
Q2. Golf Rules: On the 10th hole at Chalgrave, a player places his ball in the correct place, 30 cm above the hole and the ball stays at rest. As he is about to address the ball, the ball rolls down the hill and into the hole. Which is correct? (A) The ball must be replaced and played without penalty.  (B) The ball is deemed to have been holed out with the previous stroke. (C) The ball is deemed to have been holed out with the previous stroke, but the player also incurs a one shot penalty The answer, is B....which surprised a few people!! Equally, if it starts to roll and rolls off the bottom, from 4" away, you now have to play it from the bottom!!

Q3 Samuel Ryder, after whom the Ryder Cup is named, was a member and Captain of which local (ish) golf club when he donated the trophy in 1926? A topical question....perhaps next time I will have a geography question instead, as one answer was Stratford Upon Avon GC, which I really cannot see how that can be local (ish)!!! The correct answer was Verulam Golf Club, in St Albans.....

 

and finally....

 

Q4 Why is it against the law for a man living in Toddington to be buried in Houghton Regis? Most people got there in the end....yes, if he is living in Toddington it would be murder if you buried him alive in Hougton Regis!!! The best answer of the Quiz though, which came from Phil Johnson, who quoted the 1672 Royal "Declaration of Intolerence"...which until I googled it, for a short while myself, I was worried that there actually might be some medieval law against burying people alive....it turns out to be the 1672 Declaration of Indulgence...which advocated tolerance of religious beliefs....and still, of course, completely wrong!!

 

Sunday 30th Sept.....Well it is a very rare event that makes the news pages when it does not actually involve Chalgrave Golf Club, but the final day at the Ryder Cup was astonishing.....how they managed to keep the putter straight and true in those circumstances I have no idea......Aside from the heroics of the entire European side, the incredible performance of Ian Poulter, there were two huge moments of sportsmanship that got slightly lost in the mayhem that was going on......Phil Mickleson holed his putt on the 16th and left Justin Rose with a 10ft putt that he had to make...which he did. As the ball disappeared, Phil looked at Justin, broad grin on his face, gave him a thumbs up and applauded him as he walked on to the 17th tee......on the 17th Mickleson played an incredible bunker shot to make his par......leaving Rose with an utterly impossible 40ft putt across the green and down the slope. To get it close enough to make par and take the match down 18 would have been hugely difficult, so Mickleson, reasonably stood there to watch the putt, knowing he had won his match, and had snuffed out the fire burning in the European team......Rose holed it to win the hole, square the match and take it down 18. Mickleson, in a show of superb sportsmanship, had an even bigger grin, applauded more loudly and set off for the final hole......

 

...so, if you want to experience to highs and lows of intense matchplay team golf for yourself.......then let the Captain know that you are available for Club Matches.....after another whitewash defeat over the weekend away at Colmworth.....we need a similar level of recovery to the European side ourselves!!!!

 

Friday 28th Sept....Terry Burrows sets a new Chalgrave club record.........as his 6 iron on the 5th drops into the hole for the 111th ace, making it the 11th of the year, the highest number of aces ever recorded in a single calendar year here, and we still have three months to go.......clearly, aces are easier to come by these days..........except of course for Joe......who is still seeking that elusive 1st one......

 

Tuesday 25th Sept....I said it was going to be a long day...and I am clearly being proved right......modern business requires all manner of paperwork and assessments to be undertaken, particularly risk assessments of anything and everything that could possibly prove dangerous....and we use a system designed by the Golf Club Managers Association and the Golf Greenkeepers Association which provides a detailed and comprehensive list, specifically for golf courses, of any and every risk, perceived or otherwise, that might occur anywhere on a golf course or inside the clubhouse....so I will be emailing them later to advise that their system does not take into account Chalgrave Seniors, as I have just scoured the Risk Assessment site for a mention anywhere of ball washers.......yes you did read that correctly!!!! Apparently Patrick cleaned a ball in one of our nice high quality ball washers, was so pleased with the result, that he had a second go with another ball, placed the ball in the hole in the plunger, pushed the plunger down into the unit to clean the ball, but forgot to remove his finger from the hole where the ball goes in first, making as reasonable attempt at guillotining his own finger.... for some inexplicable reason, this possibility does not appear in the Risk Assessment provided and I will be making the powers that be know that their system is defective......

 

Tuesday 25th...Seniors...as usual..... and the application of logic one again completely defeats the absolute certainty that they have that they are right.....Dave Jones, this time, is the senior in the hot seat...having come in and got himself sorted, he heads for the coffee machine, inserts his coin, presses the button for a white coffee, and then hunts me down as the machine has eaten the money but not dispensed his drink...he is most indignant about this....pointing to the 40p change left in the machine display as proof that the heinous crime has been committed....I am standing my ground on this one....after all, he is asking me to believe that not only has the machine taken some of his money, not dispensed his drink, but he is now claiming that the machine has suddenly developed an arithmetic fault as well, as if he did what he said he had done, there should only be 30p left in the machine as white coffee is 70p!! Richard Muckleston is next, enquiring if someone has purloined most of the balls from the practice green, as there were not as many as he expected when he arrived at dawn for his pre competition shanking practice session. He actually gave it more than a few moments consideration, when I asked if his chipping woes were now so bad he was losing the balls off the practice greens as well.......it is going to be a long day.....

 

Monday 24th Sept....I thought the rain on Sunday in the Generation Gap was bad......but it was just a shower compared to what is coming down now!! I don't think we are going to bother with Autumn, we are going straight to Winter!! Yes there is a river on the 18th.....more astonishingly.....there is one on the 10th!!!

 

Sunday 23rd Sept.....The Generation Gap Challenge Cup, and one of the largest fields for this competition is raring to go.....myself and Aidan lead off at 9.00am. I have a 4 ft uphill putt for the par, which misses just left.....and the ball rolls back to 2 ft below!!! Now I have to admit I was wrong.....about a month or so ago, I said that very few people would be able to tell the difference in the greens once the new greensmower arrives....3 weeks of cutting and the greens are astonishingly good.....they were good before, but now, well I know I am biased, but if you can find better golf greens in Bedfordshire, well I would like someone to take me there!! They are smooth, great pace and the grass sward has become incredibly dense and upright......however, I am used to people having balls roll back at them on the 10th......but not on the 1st!!!!

 

We had a memorable round...not least because we won....but also because of the outrageous good fortune that befell us at times....Aidan drove the ball magnificently, I was rather more wayward!....There was a time when it could be said that I was quite feared off the tee, with the distance I could hit a ball.....I am still feared, but more by people on other fairways at the moment!!! I did, however, make up for it with the irons and the putting and a very solid front nine saw us on the 9th tee with 18 points already safely tucked away, despite a blob on the 5th....another monster drive from Aidan followed by a solid 3 wood from me, put us in a perfect position, on the left of the fairway, 90 yards short. Aidan fired a sandwedge, hit his normal draw and pulled it left.....the shape of the shot, it was clearly heading for the left fringe and the woods.....it landed in a rabbit burrow, shot right at 90 degrees against the slope and finished pin high 10ft from the flag!!!..... he followed that by chipping in on the current 14th for a 2 nett 1 and 5 points.....on the 15th he underhit the chip I had left him with, hit a downslope in front of the green that quite frankly no one can see, which catapulted the ball forwards to 3ft and another par!! Sometimes, you just need a bit of good fortune...I think we used an entire years worth up in one round!! The 18th epitomised our entire round.....Aidan finally missed a fairway, and was in serious risk of being OOB over the drive....I steered my drive with unerring accuracy into the ditch!! We found Aidan's in play, but in the base of a tree.....I felt confident that I could get a clean strike on it, despite not being able to see the ball at all owing to the branches, once I had taken my stance.......a smooth, flowing swing was uninterrupted by the ball and we were still under the tree for 2!! Aidan did what I should have done, and punched it out sideways....I came up short and right, leaving Aidan with a chip over the bunker, to a flag on a downslope on the top tier and us needing an un and down for a point....the chip was underhit, it landed on the downslope of the bunker, hit the bunker edge and popped up onto the green, 12ft away and above the flag......which I rolled in for a 6 and a point!!! Aidan wanted to know what the prize was, so I presented him with a years holiday in Brighton... well he is at Uni there so it seemed about right.....

 

Thurs 20th Sept.....well confusion reigns...the Seniors are playing Tilsworth, and both teams are dressed in burgundy jumpers.....and they all think they are on the same side!!! I can't wait for the last group to reach the final green, the entire match will hang on the final 2 putts.......one player will hole his and the other will then pick his up, thinking his team mate has just won the match for him!!!

 

Weds 19th Sept....the Captains Charity Fund is bolstered by 50p by Matt Howarth's eyesight...not to mention his height......he is in the bar, celebrating his 21st birthday by all accounts....standing down the left hand end near the Charity bottle, when he notices a small pile of 10p coins wedged between the end of the Captains Honours board  and the return on the wall.....for most people, this would be almost invisible, but for Matt (and no doubt Steve as well...) this is just normal eye line height......it is clearly extremely odd, and Matt enquires of Peter  who is behind the bar, if he knows what the hell they are there for??? As all and sundry are completely baffled, and I would be as well, they opt to place the coins in a place of safety, ie the Captains Charity Jar.......a short while later, Paul Godfrey comes in after his round, orders his regular pint of Stella, at the amazingly competitive price of 3.10 a pint, retrieves 3 from his pocket and stretches his hand up to the left of the honours boards!!! It was his personal secret stash of 10p's to pay for the 10p bit of his Stella.....clearly he was quite miffed when he found out what had happened to them!!

 

 

Tues 18th Sept.....Alan Laid comes into the clubhouse asking for the first aid box...he has banged his head on his car and is bleeding....and then the full story emerges of how dangerous it is to make morning coffee or tea in your hotel room.....Alan, Derek and ex member Coco went off on their annual jaunt to Hereford last weekend.....on the first morning, Alan awakens and puts the kettle on, using his room coffee tray supplies, the heads for the bathroom to have a pee.....in the process of that he stubs his toe, starts to fall backwards, grabs out for the towel rail to stop himself, but misses, stumbles backwards out into the room, knocks the coffee cups, kettle, tea bags, sugar and packets of biscuits everywhere, before crashing backwards and cutting the top of his head open with a nasty gash......head wounds can bleed quite profusely and this one was no exception, as he staggered to his feet, bouncing off furniture, walls etc, leaning down to pick up the biscuits and coffee, but bumping his head into all sorts of things, he managed to coat his entire hotel room in a liberal coating of Laid blood. According to Derek, if the local heroes, the SAS regiment, had staged a live firing exercise in Alan's room, there would have been less blood!! They took him down to reception, and bound his head so he looked like he was wearing a nice Easter bonnet!! You could not make it up!!

 

Sun 16th Sept.....The Parrett Hawker Foursomes has long been a severe test of friendship.....there is nothing worse, or harder, than playing fantastic golf yourself, and your playing partner in foursomes having a less than superb round...smash the drive, mishit for 5 yards, exquisite iron to 12", 3ft past....that sort of thing is always going to be testing on the nerves.....and the results from the foursomes will show many of those types of games.....I can only speak from what I saw.....myself and Aidan were able to get a late slot in the competition, and after the less than superb golf by one of us at the Belfry, we were just hoping for a decent round rather than any expectation of success....and this outlook seemed quite profound as my opening drive actually went on a downwards trajectory, somehow missed all the trees on the right, but ended up slap bang behind one up by the 150 yard marker....Aidan was forced to chip out sideways, leaving me a 9 iron to the green....I managed a passable impersonation of having used a putter from 130 yards, Aidan chipped from off the back and sent it 10ft past, and I rammed it in for a 5!!! After 4 holes, we were still keeping up with par, but the 9 iron had still not left the ground, which did not bode well for the 5th which we both agreed was a 9 iron!! Remarkably, it left the clubface with the correct trajectory, Aidan rolled it to about 12" and I marked it ready to tap it in....meanwhile, our playing partners, Messrs Bryant and Bynoe, had had a steady start but the putting from close in had been a bit, erm, suspect!! David's teeshot had left Colin a chip which he left 18" short, but straight up the hill for a par.... David shoved it 12" past, Colin casually tapped it back, and missed the hole completely, leaving David with an 8" putt which he left 2" short!! I was now absolutely terrified of my 12" putt, but I held my nerve to hole it.....such is the challenges of foursomes golf.....

 

...but it is not just golf that presents the challenge sometimes......other factors come into consideration.....such as a world record 26 shot penalty incurred by Webby on the 11th hole.....it says a lot for the speed of the bush telegraph at Chalgrave, that Webby was 2 groups in front of me, had teed off on the 12th and as I met him coming the other way, he was astonished to find out that I already had been told of the circumstances.......Chris is a well equipped golfer, by that I mean he has all of the paraphernalia to make his round as easy as possible.....gps system, electric trolley etc etc.....but as with most high spec electric trolleys these days there are options to make them run on a certain distance or even those that will follow you remotely...avid readers of this blog will recall the awesome performance of Patrick's trolley ending up on the 16th green, having made its own way from the 4th tee, hitting the tree on the side of the 18th green in years gone by, but this trolley story involves less distance but significantly more humour......

 

Webby has teed off on the 11th, and taken a most conservative route down the 12th fairway, leaving his partner John Natus with a challenging shot back over the willows to the green.....the challenge was greater than the result, with the ball ending in the woods, by the short path through to the temporary tee we used last year at the front of the tee boxes on the current 12th..... Webby now has to decide how to get it out of the woods, through the trees and safely onto the 11th green.....having considered his options, he draws the favoured weapon from the bag.....and catches the "on" switch with the club as he withdraws it for use....his focus on his upcoming shot is so intense, he fails to notice the trolley pull away at full speed, racing past the bunker at the front of the green, before lurching over the bank and into the pond....so by my reckoning, grounding 13 clubs in a hazard for a 2 shot penalty for each club, is about right....those people playing the green after this group found the green significantly slower than the rest, caused by the excessive water that was absorbed on the upper level, where Steve Cuff and Harry Lyons simply were reduced to helpless tears of laughter.........you would of course think that the lesson would be learned fairly quickly, but no....as I came back down the 12th, Webby was again approaching me from the opposite direction on the 13th, with his trolley gaily careering down the fairway some 50 yards ahead of him!!!

 

Thurs 13th Sept....open warfare erupts at Chalgrave.....we have been plagued by wasps in and around the clubhouse for the past couple of weeks.....and today was no exception, they were everywhere, and they had been tracked down exiting through a small gap under the soffit outside, but there were shed loads inside so clearly they had a way through....I decided to investigate that area above the ceiling tiles.....I pushed on a number of tiles to see which were going to be easiest to move......and as if by magic...wasps started to appear THROUGH the ceiling tiles. The tiniest of holes, beautifully camouflaged into the indentation pattern of the tiles.....when these wasps are not out and about irritating people, they are clearly inside watching "The Colditz Story" on Dave and learning all the tricks for covert escaping.......having identified the escape route, I felt it was prudent to push a pencil into the small hole to block it temporarily......they responded by sending out a Taliban trained suicide squad, which unfortunately won round one of the battle as I ultimately defeated the squad but they did get two stings onto the top of my head!!! Not only bloody painful, but they made me mad!!! Whereas one can of foam and spray would have been sufficient, I bought B&Q's entire stock.....you have seen Rambo, fully loaded with excess weaponry....you are starting to get the idea.....the tile was removed, the nest was built directly onto the tile I had shoved the pencil through, and clearly the pencil had penetrated into the inner sanctums, which was probably why they were so annoyed......the foam is wonderful stuff, albeit a bit messy!! Five minutes later, I needed to attack the nest itself, and after a bit of thought about the way the nest was sitting, I concluded a Callaway Steelhead X16 9 iron was probably the appropriate club......if you have lost one recently, it is in my office, with a few wasps attached.....victory, absolute victory was mine......although I did have a very sore head still when I went to bed last night!!! 

 

Tues Sept 11th......one of those bittersweet days......a day out at the Belfry, on the Ryder Cup course, the mighty Brabazon. One of those courses on the "must play" list.... accompanied by son Aidan, plus Captain Emmett and Vice Captain Braveheart, we were the only 4 ball on the Brabazon that were not taking part in the Kier Construction golf day, shotgun start at 1.15pm!!! Captain Emmett won the blagging.... as he decided to hire an electric trolley, and reception told him it was OK, it was included in the Kier Golf Day!! We wandered across to the 13th tee, being suitably awestruck by the tree lined, beautifully manicured course. The bunkers looked magnificent as well, huge, and actually quite inviting...too inviting really and we spent far to much time in them!!...The shotgun sounded, Captain Emmett led the way with a hook into the rough down the left. VC Murphy outdid him and went further left....Aidan compensated for this by going miles right and finally I brought some semblance of normality to the proceedings with a blast down the left side of the fairway. A par for me, and I believe a blob for everyone else....the 14th was a par 3, Capitano whacked it to 8 ft and holed the birdie, Aidan multi putted for a blob, VC had a couple of chips, a few putts and a pick up, and I had another par.....The first two holes set the scene for the whole round, there were moments of sublime golf. mainly from Aidan thereafter, who split the fairways, avoided the bunkers, well most of the time, hit the greens and discovered how to putt on very fast greens......VC had a tough time, and considered nipping to the pro shop to see if they sold buckets and spades he was in the sand so much.... I was suffering a similar fate except when I was not the sand I was in the water!! Capitano was in tears almost, as he had a fine day......well he got fined a lot anyway.....recording an incredible 9 blobs and probably a similar number of three putts.....we arrived at the 10th, the signature hole par 4....and they have a fantastic system of cameras where they record your tee shot and another camera shows the green....drive the green and win a free round on the PGA National course, at the cost of a 5!! Aidan and I had a go.....Aidan missing the green to the right, ending up in the greenside bunker, 230 yards, into the wind, through the trees and over the water....I utterly nailed mine at the flag......until in the final sector it drifted 5 yards left, and found the water!! Click onto http://www.signatureholeexperience.com/viewShot.php?vid=2fBCCUFzbAWA4jI4KuiJsSr52GCdvWeQ for my shot (although it is down as Aidans!) or http://www.signatureholeexperience.com/viewShot.php?vid=HUFebPn66bjKUPcCnM23d04cDJFWkjAs for Aidans!!

 

The final analysis showed that one of could play golf and the other 3 can't....Aidan amassed 32 points overall and there were two lots of 14 and an 18 out there as well!!! Capitano led the back nine sweep by 1 shot as we arrived at the final hole.....190 yards of par 3 with water in front of the green.....the slice to the left rough put the pressure on and a provisional was put into play...VC and myself just did what we liked as we were simply not in the frame, Aidan took masses of club and blasted it to the back of the green....Captain Emmett lost the first one, found the provisional, and had a tough chip from under the trees, over the water with the flag near the front.....a less than positive chip, it just cleared the water, landed on the slope in front of the green, bounced back down towards the water, bounced on the wooden sleepers that surrounded the pond, bounced over the edge of the water and back onto the sleeper.....before falling back into the water to record the 9th blob.....Aidan comfortably got it in for a four.....and as it was stroke index 6!! he got 2 points and cleaned up all the money!!!

 

We headed back towards the clubhouse over the course, everyone else was walking in as well, so we detoured slightly and found ourselves once again on the famous 18th Tee at The Belfry....a final challenge, we tossed a coin to decide who would be the USA and Europe. The Captains got Europe and teed off, with the Ryder Cup at stake, the last match out on the course and the match all square.......Capitano, hit his drive, but was not looking confident, VC smashed it.....with a draw and was looking good.....Aidan led off for the USA and went too straight, heading for the vast bunker on the far side of the fairway, and I followed suit on the same line.....Capitano decided a provisional was in order, followed by a provisional provisional and finally the York City ball became a provisional provisional provisional....we set off over the bridge, expecting to find the fairway on the otherside awash with balls....it was not to be.....VC was in prime position 190 yards from the flag....Capitano had put 4 balls in the first section of the lake, so if big Steve Howarth wants to have a wade in the first part of the lake for the York City Ball......I know roughly where it is.....Aidan was in the bunker and I was in the first cut on the edge of the fairway. Aidan and myself were 4 paces away from the plaque that marks the spot from which Christy O'Conner Jnr smashed a 2 iron to about 10ft to win the Ryder Cup.....Aidan took a 7 wood out of the bunker, and quite incredibly cleared the 2nd lake, finding the right hand greenside bunker 230 yards away!! I hit a three wood, cleared the lake, cleared the right hand bunker but hit the rough to the right of the green...the USA had 2 balls in play, for 2 shots just off the green......the commentary started "HUUUUUUGE PRESSURE ON EUROPE..." VC laughed. On a day where if there was a chance of getting wet, the ball had taken it....VC settled over the ball, a sweet click of clubface onto golf ball, and the ball soared gracefully onto the front of the green, with a monster uphill putt to go.....Having smashed the last one 250 yards out of the bunker, Aidan hit the next one 2 yards and left it in there, the next one coming out but going well past the flag and up the hill......I got mine out of the rough, onto the green, with a wicked 20ft right to left putt to come...... VC rolled his up to 5ft, Aidan missed and tapped in for a 6. I rolled mine 3 ft past...and the VC holed his from 5ft for a 5, leaving me with a 3 ft across the green with a break to salvage a half in the Ryder Cup!!!! Well I was not going to do that was I??? Jinx Europe just ahead of this years event??? Not on your nelly, so I deliberately lipped it out and the European celebrations started!!

 

What a course!! Absolutely superb. I just want to go back now and do myself justice!!!

 

Fri 7th Sept.....a new medical report from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute shows that having an active membership of a golf club as a senior can add 3.5 or more years to a persons lifespan.......well I want them to come and analyse me and tell me how many years mine is being shortened by, in having to deal with them all for an extra 4 years!!!!! I'm not sure that this all makes sense though.....according to the report, the institute kept tabs on 1,810 people aged 75 or over, for 18 years!! Now call me a cynic, but I don't believe that all of their subjects were still around for the whole duration of the survey......another snippet from the same survey says that an additional 18 months lifespan can be added "by having a rich circle of friends"...so do they mean a group of friends with a lot of cash??? I want them to come and do a benchmarking survey to see if lifespans are extended or shortened by having Chris Baker and Graham Tarbox in the circle of friends......my view is it probably won't make any difference, it will just seem like it is much longer!!! 

 

Fri 7th Sept...well I finally confirmed it, yes we did have three holes in one on consecutive days last month, John Hartley on Friday 24th, Mick Day on Sat 25th and Derek Campbell on Sun 26th August......which I understand was Joe's Birthday weekend.......you know what it's like, people are always asking you what you want for your birthday......well this lot didn't ask, they just issued a reminder!!!

 

Thurs 6th Sept...I played my first full round since Charity Day yesterday....and it was great to get out and see what people have been telling me, that the course looks and plays superbly...and so it does!! The greens are a little too soft I think, caused by the massive upgrade in the irrigation system and the fact that we now have approaching 200 sprinklers instead of 70 ish all over the course. We will be getting to grips with it, adjusting timings and spray arcs so that we can stop the occasional wet spot appearing. It is a difficult one to get right, as the wind up here can cause such a reduction in the moisture levels so quickly. The tees are a revelation. After all of these years of such a struggle to get a peg into the ground, most of the tees are now nice and easy and you can see the vibrancy of the grass growth has changed already. The new tees are growing in very nicely and with the new moisture levels, we will be able to deep tine these areas and dress them with sand to improve the drainage and improve the levels on some of them. The newly turfed tees, well we could have done without the rain whilst we were laying them!! They are being extensively watered every day, so please DO NOT GO AND STAND ON THEM!! The turf is bedding in, and the ground under the turf is very moist and soft. We are putting light rollers onto them now and we really don't need footprints all over them!!

 

Finally, the new hole, the old 12th, looks wonderful. I took the opportunity of "testing" it yesterday, along with my three playing partners.  It played into a slight breeze that was also right to left....Both myself and Donny nailed the drives and were still 170 - 190 yards to go from the middle of the fairway.....Aidan pulled his slightly left and was in the deep stuff.....Spam decided that he much preferred the line in from the temporary tee and went so far right he was back on the temporary fairway!!! That will be OOB again when we re open the hole!! Aidan clearly was thrown by the sudden toughness of this hole, as he had been tearing the course up until then, as he then visited the trees to the right hand side. The slopes put him close and under the canopy of a big tree, again giving him very little in the way of options for the next one. Donny missed left, I hit a 5 iron to 6 feet and missed the birdie by a fraction. The hole did everything it should have done, if you hit the fairway, then you have a mid or long iron in, or maybe even more. If you get the tee shot wrong, the penalty can be very severe. Stroke index 1 seems about right......especially from the medal tee, higher and further back than we played from, and into a Chalgrave 5 club wind?? The mind boggles!!! I can't wait for the Spring and to get it open for play!!!   

 

 

Tuesday 4th Sept.....a record breaking seniors day.....57 players, so by my reckoning there was at least 3420 years out on the golf course today if they averaged 60.....that is years, definitely not strokes......although actually, they all take 60 strokes....and a few more as well!!...it is a great reflection on the section that they can muster such numbers for their Tuesday events.....and so to the course...the 10th was the scene of merriment today where a less than perfect tee shot successfully navigated the small pond in front of the tee, and stopped before it made the big one....deciding that discretion was the better part of valour, the second shot was played alongside the 10th pond, but was struck a little too firmly and entered the trees further up the path....the next shot would require some subtlety, skill and control, hitting across towards the green with the pond to the right and now down the slope....and the previous three shots give the rather obvious clue as to the likely outcome.....slightly overstruck, the sideslope kicked it right and into the main pond it went........meaning pretty much back to square one as the choices were to go back into the woods or go back behind the pond to where the whole saga (no pun intended - well actually I thought it was quite good!!) started some considerable time earlier!!! John Steele, him of the mobile phone at Woburn, gives us all hope.....dodgy knees, dodgy legs, dodgy eyes, dodgy pretty much everything really, shoots a gross 91 nett 64 to win his first seniors event in 6 years!!!

 

Sun 2nd...Capitano Emmett made a valiant attempt on Sunday, to dispose of the ball that blighted his Captains Drive in......the YORK CITY FC ball that Vice Capt Murphy had placed on the tee.....after a pretty dreadful tee shot on the 16th in the medal, into the long stuff down te right, a reload was necessary as a provisional...having rummaged around in the bag for a ball, the infamous York City ball surfaced....a decent drive, but a couple of poor chips compounded by 2 poor putts, the ball was duly despatched into the woods on the left hand side......never to be seen again......well at least not for an hour, as Steve Howarth somehow managed to find it, recognised its importance in the history of the 2012 Captains year, and returned it to a not very grateful Captain in the bar!!! So....if in the future, you find such a ball anywhere on the course, please return it to the clubhouse, where we will be pleased to reunite said ball and Captain....it would not, quite frankly, surprise me if the Captain would be prepared to make a small donation to the Captains Charity should this occurrence repeat itself..... as an update.....Steve Howarth had no idea the ball was there...he just came across it looking for his own...and knew immediately who it belonged to!!!

 

Sun 2nd Sept.......well asking the Seniors to marshal at Woburn is one of those things that is fraught with danger.....and so it turned out......Chris Baker is marshalling on the 18th green, with his "QUIET PLEASE" sign board and additional responsibility to collect the caddies bibs as they came off the course.....the third group are on the green and standing over their putts.....the "QP" boards are raised and Chris glares around his sector as the shrill tones of a mobile ringtone pierce the air.........except it is his own......it gets worse......the incoming call is from John Steele, elsewhere on the course, also equipped with a "QP" board, and he is ringing Chris to remind him to switch his phone off!!!!!!!

 

 

Thurs 30th Aug..... Instant transformations continue......by 9.00am the 4th tee is turfed, by 11.00am we are half way across the 11th as well....by the end of the day the 8th should be finished as well. The weather has caused so many delays this summer, that we have decided to turf these tees to catch up, seeing as we now have irrigation to them!! We are using big roll turf, so we can lay 20m2 of turf in about 5 mins....then it takes a bit of time to reload the machine and another 20m goes down in no time.....we will not play off them this season, but they will be ready to go next year as soon as Spring kicks in!!

 

Sunday 26th August....A nice introduction to the Club for Derek Campbell...joined us about a week ago....and played his second round as a club member on Sunday, playing as part of Steve Howarth's society group.....as they came up the 4th and onto the 5th Tee they were discussing holes in one and how many each player had had....as usual there was the various descriptions from all players about their various aces, including Derek with the old chestnut of "I have had loads, but all playing on my own....." Derek tees it up, decent strike, bounce, bounce, land and roll, drop in hole, ace!!!!! On his 2nd round as a member, in his first month of membership......How long have you been a member Joe?????? ....and I have an idea that there was one on Saturday as well.....but no details available yet!!

 

 

Friday 24th August.....if ever you needed proof that revealing the details of less than perfect rounds for the entertainment of others is something fraught with danger and retribution, yesterdays "snitch" on Joe's 5 point 9 hole saga, Matt Howarth, suffered a resounding defeat by 8 points today....by Joe Silva!!!

 

Friday 24th August.....news from the Thursday night boys....28 stableford points for a 2 ball over 9 holes.....does not really sound like it should make the news page really, until you find out that Simon Ward had 23 of them.....and Joe was on a course to match his famous 7 points over 18 holes...and just to rub salt into the wounds, John Hartley aces the 10th with a 9 iron today!!! 

 

Thurs 23rd August...the combination of my son and the seniors section....even more chaos than you can possibly imagine.....John Steele wants to use his laptop at the Club, no problem we have had a free wifi access for years.....so it really should not be complicated...switch on, connect to network and away you go.... oh no, not John and Aidan. Now I don't have a wifi connection, is it s new passwordk protected network called John's PC.....when you get to read this news item, I will have resolved it!!

 

Tues 21st August....well there are X Factor auditions and there are 50 Chalgrave Seniors singing "Happy Birthday" to Mick Moulton...........Four NO's then....

 

Tues 21st August.....today has the potential for chaos.....not only is it seniors day, but it is also the occasion of Mick Moulton's 70th birthday...and there is a surprise party laid on for him afterwards.....organised by John Steele, him of the retired select band of warriors from Hereford.....and it is organised on the same basis as an elite SAS raid....on a need to know basis....so probably only about 4 of the seniors actually know!! The secrecy efforts are overwhelming, people being told not to gather and whisper in small groups as MM will get suspicious....personally, I think that fact that everyone is gathering in small groups except for Mick who is totally on his own is worrying him....and no one dares go and chat in case they let the big secret out.....the start list is up and Mick is conveniently pinned into the last 4 ball to start off the 10th, and well, lets just say, that is not a quick group, so in my view, one of two things will happen....either Mick will give up after 9 holes, exasperated by the pace of play and come in early, which will definitely be a surprise, or he may not get back in time to join in his own party!! Watch this space for more info as the day unfolds......

 

Tues 14th August...the seniors get in on the Charity Day act as well, as Captain Ken leads his troops for their inaugural charity day, by all accounts very successful and very well supported by the section......the charity spirit was confined to the level of donations though, as Taffy came in with the best score of the day to win and was then disqualified for failing to sign his card......

 

Thurs 9th August......well I am seriously impressed, most people try to take on a persona for at least a short period of time when they adorn themselves in a fancy dress outfit, some embrace it fully ( those who remember the scousers at charity day a few years ago will recall how damn irritating they were all night!!!) but even this has been topped by the "Turn Back Time" team from this years Charity Day. Featuring Madonna, Cher, Adam Ant and the immortal Jimi Hendrix they played 18 holes and spent all night in full regalia, but sadly did not treat us to a full guitar solo on the dancefloor, whilst the girls cavorted semi naked and Adam mimed along on the night.....but in true superstar fashion, I have received complaints over a week after the event, coupled with the threat of litigation for failing to give them sufficient coverage!! Still being "in persona" a week after Charity Day does take some beating I have to say!!! With the Captain scheduling a Fancy Dress party for 22nd September, who knows, we may even get a second appearance.....unless they can top it???

 

Weds 8th August...The Lady Captains, Charity Challenge......The Captains report (with my additions where necessary!!)

After days of immaculate planning it was the eve of the 8th- Captain Emmett sent the obligatory texts and had received confirmation from Lady Captain Wade that she would not be late (she did have to pick Julie up at 5:15ish) he also got a response that from his vice Tim that apart from just going to the Kings Arms (at 5.15am????) he would not be late.

 

It’s the morning of the 8th and Peter is sorting out the buggies, Vince is busy ensuring everything else is in hand. The girls are preparing themselves so there is some concern that Tim is still not there. Captain Emmett makes the required call and his call is answered "I will be there in 2 mins." So no one will be surprised that when he does arrive 10 mins later...... there has not been a problem with the alarm going off it’s just that he put the alarm back on snooze. Not slow to see an opportunity Vince immediately fines the vice for being late and that’s 20 before we have struck a ball!!!

 

So to the competition, greensomes off scratch, Sue & Steve against Julie & Tim. So after the official photographer (Peter) took the photos at 6:09 we started.

 

The first hole of the first round was to set the trend for the Captains as Steve brought the trees into play and this was to become a trend throughout the day with Steve putting Sue in some very awkward positions (mind boggles...are we still talking golf here???)  even to the point on the 13th where Sue had to play a back handed shot to get away from the trees.  All in all Sue was put in tree trouble on 10 occasions.  However not be out done the vice captains decided that they would monopolise the bunkers which they did until the 55th hole when Steve decided enough was enough and decided to give Sue some bunker practice. The first round would also begin Steve’s problems with the ditches managing to find ditches on the 11th & 13th and in subsequent rounds (5 ditches in all). The first round also brought the first birdie for Tim & Julie on the 4th (Tim putted in from off the green) , this was followed by the second birdie at the 7th when Steve’s tee shot  went over the hole to leave a tap in for Sue. Bacon Rolls were duly provided by Peter on the 10th and despite a good front nine at the end of Round 1 the Captains trailed by 4 shots (94 to 90) but we had had 8 pars and 2 birdies. Steve was paying 5p for every par and 10p for every birdie 

  

Armed with a 2 points the second round started at 9:20 we were well on track. Sue continued to play from behind trees and Julie fed up of playing out of bunkers decided to leave one in the bunker for Tim to try. Walking up the 4th and Mr Glass stops to ask how it’s going and remarks that 72 holes is a doddle he is going for 200 next year. We all looked at one another and with another 50 to play we were not volunteering.  We got to the 10th which was fast becoming Julie’s nemesis as she found the island in round 1 and the water this time (this would become another theme) . On the 12th Steve called fore left and pointed his hand right – well we had played 30 holes by then. 

 

Despite our outrider Vince, Tim did blast a ball at the 2 ball on the 15th Tee, they were not amused.  As we came down the 18th there were roars of ‘Go Granddad’ as his daughters and grandkids together with a banner appeared. This time the good front nine start was followed up with a better back nine and the Captains reduced the deficit to 1 (90 to 93) We recorded 8 more pars

 

Following a short break for a spot of lunch and a beer the third round got underway at 12:45 still well on track. This round would be full of Tim trying to pick Vince out as he was spotting for us. On the 3rd Tim’s wayward tee shot (hooked into the gap managed to hit buggy and deflect into the bunker (well that was a surprise) (surely, if the buggies were a fundamental part of the match, then the "spotter" vehicle is part of the equipment of both teams, and therefore a 2 shot penalty should be been incurred for hitting your own equipment?????). Hunt the Hasker continued to be a theme but would he stop in the middle of the fairway for Tim – the answer is NO. We get to the 10th and Julie does not find the Island or the Water that’s a result remarks Tim. We get to the 11th and Vince finds the ball Sue lost in the morning (but don’t worry she will only take 2 holes to lose it again) . Back to the 11th and Steve finds himself in front of the pond with a chip to the green and Vince is heard to remark ‘well I may have found a ball for you Sue but don’t worry Steve is just about to lose one’ Well of course the Captain  delivers and finds the pond.  This time a poor front nine does not help the Captains but despite the 9 on the 11th they finish level (97-97) so after 54 holes there is just one in it. There are just 3 pars.

 

Grabbing another couple of pints they head to the 1st for the last time. At 4 pm the last round tees off, the Sun is high and the countdown to the finish begins. The ball washers seem devoid of water (please note Mr Rumball) so Sue decides that a spot of Evian water will do the trick , sadly it did not as the ball was duly dispatched into the pond (but was in fact on the path). Steve finds a bunker on the 1st (well that was a first) and with a 7 to a 5 a 3 shot lead opens up for the Vice’s.  On the 3rd Steve pushed one in the rough and despite a superb chip from Sue another 7 drops them further back. The final round is one of endurance but does see an excellent driving performance from Tim (let’s hope he repeats it at Aylesbury Vale on Saturday). We eventually arrive at the 18th (with the cheers of the Emmett fan club ringing in our ears) and it is only fitting that Sue putts out last at 7.20pm) to complete a most enjoyable day.  The final round sees the Captains lose by 9 shots (102 to 93) so overall the Captains Score 383 to the Vices 373. Our final tally is 24 pars and 2 birdies another 14 in the Kitty

 

I would like to thank all those who helped make this possible, Peter for opening up, cooking our breakfast. Vince for supporting us around the course and making sure we were not held up. Steve and the greenstaff for the excellent state of the course , and my fan club who enjoyed their time at the club (Peter sorry about the mass portions of chips) 

 

Finally I would like to congratulate Sue , Julie and Tim for completing the 72 holes , talking about it and doing it  are 2 different things. The next time someone suggests doing it then there are 4 of us who may turn and flee. However what is important is that our 13 hours 10 minutes has raised over 700 for Keech. This will be finalised and confirmed in the next few days

 

 

 

Monday 6th August....a snippet left over from Charity Day......Bob Albery was delighted to receive his raffle prize.....a full body massage......no further comment is necessary.........

 

Monday 30th July.....Charity Day has been and gone......it started at 8.00am with the set up crew, and quickly fell into the normal routine....Captain Emmett lambasting everyone as someone had appropriated his buggy key and he was collaring anyone and threatening the insertion of red hot pokers into orifices unless the key was found quickly.....it was......in his pocket!! It set the tone for the day nicely....Charity Day has become synonymous with some very daft fancy dress outfits......and 2012 was no different.....Nick Hawker clearly enjoyed his high heels and womens clothing to a degree that is distinctly worrying, Mick Yule, Dan Glass, Tim Murphy roped in Tim Smith to replace me as I had to start earlier in the day...and they were all attired as Denis the Menace from the Beano.....the cartoon element and the era of the comic continued as Tim marked his debut with a performance worthy of note.....the older members will fondly remember World of Sport with Dickie Davies....and the little snippets they used to put on before the wrestling sometimes included weird sports such as the high dive, where some nutter would climb high onto a tiny aerial platform, and then dive off into a small shallow childs paddling pool hundreds of feet below....Tim realised that the 10th will forever be Aqua Ray's so he took it upon himself to stumble, trip and hurl himself forwards, classic beano cartoon style, headfirst into the ditch across the 13th hole........more worrying on the fancy dress front, was my third year of skintight lycra, as my team paid homage to the awesome Bradley Wiggins, winner of the Tour de France, Bell basher at the Olympic Opening ceremony and hopefully Chalgrave Charity Day winner as well......resplendent in Yellow cycling jerseys and black cycling shorts, we certainly were visible....and we put in a performance that I don't think Bradley Wiggins could have achieved himself....well I am pretty sure that if he spends that much time on a bike he won't be that good at golf and nor were we!!! We had a very passable front 8, but then, if you excuse the pun...the wheels came off.....once back in, we launched into the BBQ, dishing up food for all competitors, the bar was absolutely hammered all day, which was a description that would eventually fit quite a few people as well....the Auction was its usual chaos.....I have rarely heard such venomous boos in our clubhouse as the ones which greeted the arrival of a signed Tottenham shirt......I realised immediately we had a niche market and through announcing that this represented an opportunity to buy and burn a Spurs shirt, the Chelsea boys all stuck their hands up and we got to 60 very quickly!!! It eventually went to one of the ladies, who happily bid 4 times against herself with no one else bidding so we sold it for 80!!! Overall, there was one winner...Keech. Steve Emmett and his team raised a club record 7,000+ on the day through entries, stuff on the course, hole sponsorship and fines....staggering!! My thanks to all that played, prepared, worked on the day as staff or volunteers, resulting in a wonderfully entertaining day and a magnificent result for Keech.

 

 

Thurs 26th July......well that is one less job I have to do for Charity Day......today's golf society, Garston Bowls Club Golf Society, organised by my brother Jerry, have been coming here for years, so they know their way around the course.....so the 10th was no great surprise to them......so how do you explain how 23 blokes, with a nearest the pin competition stretching a mere 100 yards.....all managed to miss the green!!!!! ...so the Nearest the Pin Marker will be back out there again on Saturday seeing as they have not used it today!!!! Lets not get into the 4 ball who played the front 9, 8th hole as normal, arrived at the 14th temp tee, drove off and played their second shots aiming for the left hand flag on the double green!!! It didn't half confuse the molers who were playing the 8th properly at the time, when people were coming down 17, and overtaking them from behind as well, all heading for the same green!!!!

 

 

Tues 24th July...more evidence, if you really needed it, that the seniors are in a time warp of their own......Mick Moulton pops his head around my door whilst I am on the phone, says " I have taken a Marathon" and leaves 50p on my desk.........so at what point were snickers called marathons and how long ago were they only 50p????? I love Tuesdays.....it provides endless humour....John Steele has left a small skeleton on a seat with a sign around its neck saying "I followed Ron Gray!!" very funny!!!!

 

Monday 23rd July.....news from the weekend, as Els picks up 900,000 for 4 days work........and to be fair, a lifetime of practice......Scott was not the only one to blow up on the last 4 holes, Webby managed it in just 2!!!  One the 16th, a less than high quality strike resulted in the loss of his srixon, which was replaced with a titleist. Tee shot on the 17th saw the titleist hit the rough, where it was found.....except Webby was suffering from the memory span of a goldfish and thought he was still playing a srixon, so he declared his ball lost and walked back to the tee.......he arrived there carrying just a 7 iron and another ball!! Why he had the 7 iron I'm not sure....I am no slouch off the tee, but I don't think I could reach 17 in two with a driver and a 7 iron...., but having put the next ball in play, he finally walked off with a 10, having picked up the original "in play" titleist as he walked past it for the second time.......

 

Thurs 19th.....As the questions and furore continue over the G4S security debacle, the potentially dire level of security at our sporting venues is brought sharply into focus as I narrowly avoid a clear assassination attempt earlier today......and it just goes to prove that when a sleeper cell has been "in country" and has been waiting for decades to be activated, then it is almost impossible to stop it happening.......I needed to speak to Rob who was cutting the 3rd fairway so I waited up by the carpark as three of our ladies section came down to the ditch on the 3rd.....Eileen realised that the opportunity was there, and from just short of the ditch unleashed an exocet like strike which screamed directly at me......fortunately, the years of opening the batting at cricket saved me....as I swayed out of the line..... it was a close shave and a stark reminder of the dangers faced at the Olympics.....Usain Bolt should be worried, as I am pretty sure that Eileen has a ticket for the 100m finals......  

 

 

Sun15th July....The Club Championship...36 holes of scratch golf......and in the current weather conditions it was always going to be a challenge.......but clearly not as much as a challenge as turning up in matching shoes, which after a clearly very good night out on Saturday evening, Anne Issacs failed miserably on this front, appearing in the clubhouse wearing not even a closely matching pair of shoes!!!! This has put something of a dent in the Ladies Section's reputation for sartorial elegance for the time being......the clash of shoes clearly upset a lot of the players mental preparations for the Championship......but Colman Horgan finally prevailed over Drew McAloon with 2 rounds of gross 74 to win by 3 shots.

 

 

 

Captain Steve Emmett was on hand at the end to present him with the trophy. The picture also commemorates one of the rarest sights at Chalgrave this year....if you look very carefully, there is a hint of blue sky there......

 

 

Sun 8th July......John Sullivan aces the 5th in the medal to become the latest club member to get ahead of Joe........

 

Tues 10th July.....Richard Muckleston, senior who lives 2 minutes away and is always here at 7.30 on Tuesday so he can practice his chipping....is concerned about the new mound by the entrance as it also has a new tee position there as well which is closer to the road than the existing one.....which in fact changes the angle so you are actually hitting away from the road....except Richard no longer cares about his chipping problems as he has now developed a snap hook so in fact has more worries about getting into dodgy chipping distance than he has about the odd iffy chip.....all we need to do now is completely mess up his putting!!!!!

 

Thurs 5th July...The Pairs Championship result is in........48 pairs contested the event.....unfortunately for John May, his late replacement partner was in fact unaware that he had made it into the draw.....so John played on his tod....... and came 39th...so numbers 40 - 48 who all had a choice of 2 scores on every hole.......well, enough said.....

 

Weds 4th July........dig the driveway up I say........clearly having the driveway smooth and silky is a danger, so its going.......today, whilst playing the 3rd, a hooked shot makes the carpark, lands on the driveway, and bounces cleanly and straight, breaking the outer pane of one of the small fanlight windows in the mens toilet!! With loose stone, no chance!!

 

Tues 3rd July....seniors in...8.00am and I have been insulted already......Chris Baker, without a hint of irony, bounces into my office with a delighted look on his face and announces that he likes the PATH!!! Whilst he is out playing, I'm going to let his tyres down......meanwhile, Vince has just caused a traffic jam on it.....as he came down it at approx 2 mph, savouring every inch of ripple-less smoothness.....

 

Mon 2nd July......new driveway.....looks astonishing even when they have only done 20metres of the base layer...... 5.00pm, still got to sort out the crossing points and the edges in places, but its done and looks fabulous.....can't wait for it to snow, it will be the best toboggan run in Bedfordshire......

 

Tues 26th June...More bad news for Joe as Alison Savage aces the 16th with a 4iron/wood.....not sure how that can be a hole in one when you hit it with 2 clubs, but there you go!!!  

 

Monday 25th June.....yesterday was Round Two of the Handicap Championship......and rumours of a new course record abound.........but not for the right reasons.....possibly a new course record for the highest score over 2 rounds and also the highest score for a single hole........

 

Messer’s Pete Graydon, Paul Northcott and Graham Taylor arrived at the 10th Hole yesterday. Nothing to dramatic had ensured over the previous 9 holes with the exception of Graham nearly breaking the course record with a 67 for the front nine!!  On the 10th Northcott and Graydon tee off and clear the pond, all ok so far! Then Graham steps up. In round one he started with a 5 iron, putting three into the water and then went up to his rescue club and cleared it. This week learning his lesson from the previous week the plan commenced with the rescue club. 4 in the pond/on the island!!!... he then goes to a 5 iron ( two more in the water) and then trades up to his 5 wood!! (three more in the pond) his final attempt thumps majestically into the bank on the far side and falls back into the water so 2 balls on the island and 8 balls in the water later he is standing on the tee thinking of playing has 21st stroke!!!! By this time his partners are tearing what little hair they had left out!! The groups following where reduced to sharing what meagre food supplies they had brought with them as starvation and dehydration were setting in. Finally following a ‘discussion’ with his playing partners!!!!! Graham graciously decides to n/r as he believed the title was now out of his reach!!! Cue scenes of jubilation on the 10th tee!!!! The sun came out!!! The rain stopped!!! Golf swings where brought out of hibernation…….

 

For the record it is estimated that Graham took a rough 155 gross for the round, add that to the 117 of the previous week and that gives an approximate 272 for the competition!! Which by coincidence is the exact score Louis Oosthuizen won the Open with in 2010 (please bear in mind Oosthuizen played 4 rounds!!!), Graham you are in illustrious company!!!! 

 

Dave Holland is seriously considering issuing a matchplay challenge to Graham, and Steve Emmett is having nightmares about how much a round like that would cost him in penalties!!!

 

Thurs 21st June..... second hole in one for the week, Dennis Richards aces the 7th with a 5 wood...so the Juniors and the seniors are firing them in, but still no sign of Joe managing one......Dennis was playing with the Molers.....his ace being the only highlight of his round as he finished with no coins from the payout!! To rub salt into the wounds, Ron Grey had 5 blobs.....including 3 on the back nine.....and still won the money for 15 points on the back 9!!!

 

Mon 18th June......a series of news stories for you....starting with Kamal and his hover mower......following on from his superb score to gain himself second place on Captains Day, he then managed to abandon his clubs in the carpark afterwards, having put them behind his car to go into the boot, he was distracted by something and eventually just drove off leaving the clubs and trolley all alone!!! The clubs made their way back into the clubhouse, where, seeing as it was Captains Day, I auctioned them in the evening. The winning bidder, was of course Kamal who agreed to pay 15 to buy his clubs back!!! They had not been collected though by Tuesday, and I saw Paul Godfrey to ask why they were still cluttering the clubhouse up.....apparently Kamal had decided to cut his lawn, and then in a gesture of kindness, decided to cut his elderly neighbours lawn as well.....there is something of a bank to get the mower up onto, and clearly Kamal felt the hover effect would assist him in getting it up there...regrettably not...it stuck just below the top....so he tried to kick it loose.....for the hover effect to work, the engine has to be running, which it was.....the blade and Kamals foot had a battle which was only ever going to have one winner.....I have been trying to work in the phrase Kamal-Toe throughout this piece....but you will just have to make your own jokes up!!

 

We move onto Vince.......Handicap Championship Round 1, and to be fair, on his own admission, not having a great round already by the time he reached the 7th Tee.....30 holes still to play and already out of it is a fair assessment......Vince describes his tee shot as firm but low.......very firm and very low actually.....it strikes the ball washer squarely on....(if it is broken I now know who to send the bill to as well....) and the ball ricochets back past the tee peg it has left just seconds before.... finishing 5 yards beyond the Out of Bounds markers BEHIND the tee......elsewhere on the course, Drew McAloon aces the 15th to make Joe jealous.....but the Shot of the Day award is clearly Vince's!!

 

The Captain has updated his blog...so I am not going to repeat it too much, other than to commend the Ladies Section for tieing a yorkie bar wrapper to the 11th flagstick....if you think the penguins were long running, I think this could go the same way..... 

 

Mon 11th June.....the morning after the morning after the night before.......Saturday was Captains Day, and sandwiched perfectly between the moonsons was a beautiful weekend.....the preparation was, to say the least, challenging....two Bank Holidays on the Monday/Tuesday, saw the greenstaff in as normal to sort the course out ready for the big day......out on the Thames, on the Jubilee Pageant, the ladies in the "best wet tee shirt whilst performing as a choir" competition, were, quite frankly quite dry compared to the greenstaff this week.....Rob, on the greensmower pushed bow waves of water ahead of himself, Phil Byatt nearly drowned twice on the roughcutter and Jamie and Tony strimmed around all the trees....anyone who has used a strimmer will know that the little bits fly off all over the place.....not when its that wet they don't, they just stick to you!!! They virtually needed mowing themselves when they were done!! On the Saturday, the course was astonishing.....110 golfers played, in a chalgrave three club wind.....and Matt Howarth paid the greenstaff the ultimate tribute.....shooting a staggering 46 stableford points......playing off 3 handicap!!! Out in a 5 under par 33 and the back nine in 32 shots for an astonishing gross 65.

 

The Club Captains all drove in prior to the competition, Seniors Captain Ken Goodland, showed the way and ramped up the pressure by splitting the fairway at the 150 markers.....Junior Captain, Dan Howarth, effortlessly drew the ball past the Seniors Captains ball...Lady captain, Sue Wade, with the additional challenge of playing from the yellows, got a nice drive away to the start of the fairway, so all of the pressure was on the Captain, Steve Emmett. Most members will realise that any small chink in the Captains armour will be exposed on the 1st tee on the Drive In....and as ardent Luton fan, Steve was faced with a ball branded "York City FC" for his drive in moment.....I would have thought he would have welcomed the opportunity to smash that, but he declined....Steve had the added disadvantage that as a leftie, his back was turned to the massed ranks of the members gathered for this auspicious occasion..... as the clubhead was drawn back, the first choccy bar hit the deck and then like the English archers at Agincourt, the sky was suddenly filled with bars and they rained down with unerring accuracy onto the 1st tee......the local newsagents must have wondered what the hell was going on as they must have sold an entire months supply of Yorkie Bars in an single day!!! Very funny and drew a great roar of laughter from the assembled throng....finally it was time, and the disruption had the desired effect as the ball fizzed off the tee onto the short stuff......regrettably, the short stuff happened to be the edge of the Ladies 1st Tee box!!!

 

The evening saw 110 guests dine in style in the clubhouse, with Immediate Past captain, Danny Glass, performing his final Captain's Duty, in presenting a cheque for 7,500 to Jacqui Shepherd of Keech Hospice Care. This represented the grand total raised by Dan in his Captains year and takes the Club total to just over 63,000 now raised for Keech. Jacqui Shepherd accepted the cheque on behalf of Keech and as always spoke eloquently and passionately about what Keech does for the local community, and how vital the support that they get is, to their ongoing work. 

 

Plans are now underway for charity day on 28th July.....

 

Mon 4th June....4 days in and Captain Emmett has already accrued at 95 charity fund, following the divot diggers tour to Ullersthorpe, where they had agreed to the sponsorship deal for pars and birdies....except they paid up for EVERY par and birdie over the three days, not just Captain Emmetts!! 211 pars and 17 birdies, plus El Presidente won the sweepstake and was persuaded to contribute 50% of that as well!!!!  For the record, Captain Emmett has massed 14 pars and a birdie so far, if you are planning on taking up the sponsorship!!! 39p per person is the running total!! 

 

Weds 30th May......Incoming Captain Steve Emmett has come up with a new scheme for raising funds for Keech.....sponsoring him for the number of pars and birdies he will get (gross not nett) in his year of Captaincy......and he is looking for 1p per par and 25p per birdie....in all rounds played in his year.... so I asked him if he had any idea then what he hoped to achieve........which was a can of worms I really should have left unopened......Steve donned his anorak, opened his laptop and opened up a spreadsheet detailing every round of golf, with analysis of putts taken, pars, birdies, bogeys, eagles achieved, over the last 10 years and beyond.......at the stroke of a key, the display instantly converted the figures into pie charts, line graphs etc etc. It was staggering......but the analysis is that he should achieve about 400 pars on average in a golfing year and 25 birdies, making an average sponsorship cost under this system to be about 10. Sounds like a great plan. If we get enough takers, the ongoing analysis can be uploaded to the website so you can see how he is doing!!!

 

To whet your appetite for Charity Day, the auction will include a fully signed England Shirt and a years free hairdressing.....that has got to be bid for by Apples, Tim Smith or Tim Murphy, surely.....

 

Friday 25th May.....the greenstaff are hot and bothered after 9 hours of cutting grass....and so they take advantage of our recently installed staff recreation facility.......

 

  

 

Tony decided against it......

 

 

 

Thurs 24th May....the scratch KO competition is producing some scoring.....hot on the heels of the Captain being massacred by Mike "5 consecutive birdies" Kent, last years runner up and sponsor of the Scractch KO Pete Graydon is cut down at the first hurdle this year by Hugh.....who dropped just 1 shot to par from the 5th to the end......mind you, you can rely on the seniors to make life complicated.....they have their own matchplay KO, which they play off 3/4 handicap difference (ignoring the advice from the Gods of Golf that it should be Full) but then they also play it as 3/4 difference off their "seniors" handicaps....things have improved slightly though as they used to play it stableford as well!!!...don't ask.....anyway, Tarby (seniors handicap + 2) played Les Douglas ( seniors 28) giving Les 23 shots in matchplay.....after 16 holes, Les had had 12 nett par's, 3 nett birdies and an eagle....whilst Tarby was 2 under gross and out.....now Tarby is unbearable at the best of times....but this morning......well lets just say that there ARE some benefits in having substandard hearing......

 

Thursday 17th May...Seniors match v Abbey Hill....Treasurer Vince makes his home debut for the seniors and immediately blots his copybook.....the seniors have spent the last 15 years carefully nurturing a stunning reputation across the county for being a completely soft touch when it comes to club matches....if my memory serves me correctly, Derek Collins holds the record as Captain, with a stunning 100% record of defeats, both home and away, in a single Captains Year...and then Vince destroys this finely honed reputation in a little over an hour, with a handicap of 19 he plays the front 9 in 2 over gross.....and generously halves the 10th to win his 4 ball better ball match 9 and 8........all those years, gone in an instant.....it will never be the same again!!!!

 

....but then, the seniors are resourceful if nothing else......the rest banded together and performed solidly to secure a 3.5 - 2.5 defeat to maintain their normal status....

 

Thursday 17th May...news is reaching me from the Captain v Vice Captain Match last weekend, declared an honourable draw in the end despite the Captain being slightly ahead 766 points to 741......one wonders if that is the result of the Vice clearly starting to buckle under the strain of his impending Captain's Year...in recent weeks he has been known to do a remarkably good impression of Marc Davis (well a follically challenged one anyway) as clubs are being slammed into the lush turf......given that they are rather rarer left handed ones, some care needs to be taken really!!!....elsewhere in the same match, Pete Graydon and young Dan Howarth took on Alan Short and Nick Hawker....with a small wager added to the match as well as the outcome counting for the match....Pete, complete with new electric trolley....yes him of the previous sarcastic tone at anyone under the age of 70 with a trolley....suddenly finding that not having a load of heavy steel sticks on your back can be good for your game as he stormed through the front 9 in 5 under par gross for 9 holes.....what is more unbelievable, is that was just good enough to go into the back 9 on level terms!! Dan did not even appear on the front 9 scoring, but made a solid contribution to the back nine....and Pete records yet another birdie.....as they achieve another 20 points on the back nine...to lose by 2 points!!!! Pete has to cough up 2 having shot 41 points with 2 blobs!! still, the trolley was good!!!!

 

You would think that the Graydon saga would be difficult to top......but no.....take Braddy and Albery versus Crane and Oakes....3rd hole, John hits his 2nd shot from 180 yards ish, straight onto the green but loses sight of it in that strange thing in the background, something called a sun.....Doug moves across to his ball and hits it left and again sight is lost as the ball heads in the general direction of the green...as they arrive at the green, a ball is less than 2 feet away from the flag, just behind the hole....they go to look for Doug's ball, but cannot find it anywhere in the rough to the left of the green.....John goes down to mark his ball, but discovers that the ball is in fact Doug's!!! So Doug is now 2 feet away for a 3 nett albatross 2 and John's ball is the one that is missing!!! Except its not.....it is already IN the hole for an albatross 2!!! For the record, Doug holed the putt, resulting in an argument between John and Doug as to which albatross should appear on their scorecard.....whilst Braddy and Albery has to settle for mere par's!

 

...and finally, having told me the story of the albatrosses, John Crane has just left my office to go out onto the course to try out his NEW CLUBS!!! The mind boggles.....clearly an albatross 2 is not good enough, there is something wrong with the old ones.....I feel very sorry for anyone who has to play John in matchplay events then.....guess who I have got in the first round of the handicap KO then??? Yup John "Albatross" Crane..... 

 

...the Captain Dan took the opportunity to get his matchplay scratch game against Mike Kent played as well......and Captains Danny started with a solid 5 consecutive pars.....and stood on the 6th tee 5 DOWN!!! yes 5 consecutive birdies for Mike Kent!! Inevitably, the Captain Dan succumbed early on the back nine, 9 and 7!!

 

Wed 16th May.... normal service is gradually being resumed....we are about to start our second lap of the week, that is with a full set of mowers cutting fairways, tee and rough.....there was even a vicious and unsubstantiated rumour going about earlier, that a ball actually bounced and rolled a few feet!!

 

Tuesday 15th May.....the drought is relentless.....but we are now cutting everything irrespective of the outcome!! If the fairway mower, which needs greater traction than the rough cutter owing to the weight of the cylinder units as opposed to the rotary decks on jockey wheels, cannot get up a slope and cut, then we will be lowering the height of cut on the rough cutter and will cut the fairway with that instead. Come hell or high water....and high water seems a reasonable possibility to be honest.....we will have cut fairways and rough by this weekend!!!

 

....one of the things I do love to see across the course is the wildlife....where once this was an agricultural field, ploughed annually and crops abounding, we now have a more stable environment for the variety of animals and birds that have made Chalgrave their home......but I have to say, that I think they are taking the mickey, when I now have two ducks in residence in the "duckpond" outside the office window!!!

 

Fri 10th May....we have had the sad news of the passing on Monday 7th May, of Dick "Flash" Chittock, who was Seniors Captain here in 2003. Dick was a great character and a constant source of material for the news page! The tag of "flash" comes from his numerous appearances at Chalgrave race nights, always riding a horse called "flash". Regrettably, "flash" used to perform on the race track at a similar speed to Dick around the golf course!!! One of Dick's most outstanding traits was his ability and determination to try his own theories out. One of his most masterful ones was to rub WD40 into his shins as he felt it stopped his skin from drying out!! For a brief millisecond, Dove moisturiser creams were worried their market was about to collapse! Dick will have really appreciated the irony of the fact that his seniors bonus ball number made a rare appearance on Saturday night and he was taken from us before he could collect the money!!.....Dick will be sadly missed by all of his family and everyone here at Chalgrave Manor Golf Club. The funeral details are on the "home" page.  

 

Weds 9th May.....the drought continues unabated...and Braddy phones as he is concerned that he made the website (see below) and made a somewhat spurious claim that in fact VJ is more vertically challenged than he is.....which, given the continuing drought conditions and the escalation in temperatures to a predicted 17+ degrees, is creating a high risk scenario. If VJ and Braddy are drawn as a pair, in the Capt v Vice Capt match for example, can I please ask their opposition playing partners to keep a very close eye on them throughout the round, as the increase in temperature will cause a flush of growth in the rough and we will be in danger of losing them completely in there.....for those of you who were fans of Little Britain....I always thought the "Dennis Waterman" sketches were in fact Braddy Sketches.....if Braddy starts wanting to sing the song and write the theme tune...you saw it here 1st....

 

Thurs 3rd May....more drought overnight, in fact extremely heavy drought.....so heavy that the 4th green was dome shaped!! We occasionally see this phenomenon after torrential drought, as the water that does not exist fills the drainage layers under the greens, the air that was in the drainage layer is unable to escape at the same speed that the non existent water is coming in, so a giant air bubble can cause the green to actually lift up!!! To resolve this, so that the course will be playable over the weekend, we set up the pumps and have now pumped over 16,000 litres of drought off the green this morning!!! ...and that is just the 4th green!!! staggering and never had to have been done before in the 18 years we have been open!!...by the way, the reservoir is full.......

 

Braddy was up here wondering around in a pair of waders.....well they turned out to be normal wellies actually...but you know what I mean!!!

 

 

Weds 2nd May...news from last week....Senior section member Frank Howarth turns up at Caddington on Thursday for the seniors match....except that it is THIS Thursday they are playing!!! Rumour has it though, that Frank maintained the Seniors long standing playing record by losing his match that did not happen 2 and 1!! I can't wait until Thursday when the match actually is due to take place, as Frank will probably not turn up as he now thinks the match was played last week!!

 

Monday 30th April.....the regatta went very well, and I have been speaking to Lord Coe about the possibility of the club hosting the kayaking and the diving here, after all, where Barcelona had the superb TV view of the divers being viewed against the magnificent backdrop of the city behind them, we can offer the 10th green, or even the tower of Chalgrave Church if they use the reservoir instead....the kayaking can use the white water river cascading down from the 1st green at the moment......all this water, and our major battle with red tape over the reservoir crystalised a thought for me.....whilst I can understand the principle that if we take unlimited water here at the club, that will reduce the amount available to other users further downstream, why don't the water companies have pumping stations just above the tidal point of our major rivers, ie just before they enter the sea??? When the tide is on the way out, they can pump as much as they can into our national reservoirs for storage at that point, because there are no users beyond that point and once the freshwater is contaminated by sea water it is not usable with a desalination plant.....they are continually bleating about rising sea levels, so surely pumping water out of the river so that less goes out to sea has to be a good thing??? Must be something wrong with this theory...it is far too simple!!!!

 

Sunday 29th April.....as with all businesses in these difficult times, we are looking to diversify and get the best use of our assets and facilities to produce much needed revenue....so I have today booked the 1st tee out for 4 hours to the Southend Sailing Club for their annual away day regatta.....

 

....these conditions are becoming so dangerous really, as the drought really starts to bite.....to ensure their safety, we have issued all greenkeepers with factor 40 suncream which is of course waterproof to stop it getting washed off!! There was a point last week where Jamie nearly achieved infamy in the greenkeeping world by becoming the 1st greenkeeper ever to drown in the middle of a fairway!!!!

 

Fri 27th April....various stories have been reaching me that are worthy of mention......firstly our 2011 Player of the Year Marc Davis has challenged Ade Purser for the Club Slinger title.....Ade as most will know many years ago hoisted his putter high into the woods after particularly bad putt by the putter...can't have been Ade surely....and it repaid his kindness in chucking it by clinging resolutely to the upper branches of a tree....it was eventually retrieved but has been the cause of much merriment since....but now Marc has had a crack at the title....with such high expectations of himself after such a great year last year, Marc has also been known to propel an iron in various directions after a less than perfect strike....now I once saw Nick Faldo walking through an airport carry his wedges and his putter, as he valued them so highly that he did not allow them to go in the hold with the rest of his clubs....so Marc launching his wedge after a poor strike is treating a valued tool with some distain.....the naivety of youth also comes into play here, as at least Ade launched his putter somewhere where he would, albeit with more difficulty than was expected, be able to retrieve it. In the year of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking, it was quite appropriate that the wedge sank below the surface of the 10th pond.....

 

...and my hat is off to Micky Yule, who managed to pull the wool over Pete's eyes this week......we have purchased a new stack of cups for the coffee machine......if this lot go missing then drinks from the machine will increase in price to cover their loss!! There are cardboard cups to take to the 1st tee.....but I digress.........but the new cups are slightly, very fractionally, taller than the older ones.....which results in the top of the cup barely catching on the machine as you put it under the dispense section.....you can barely feel the resistance....so Pete mentioned this resistance in earshot of Mickey Yule, who instantly gave his considered opinion as a highly qualified electrician, that the resistance was caused by a build up of static electricity between the bottom of the cup and the metal of the drainage section on which it sat, creating a magnetic force which in turn makes it harder to push the cup across it!!! Absolute genius Mick!! How did I find about about this??? Because when I arrived at work, Pete explained this phenomenon to me........I looked at him and asked if the date was 1st April...because if it was then he would never have believed it!!! If someone could explain how a pottery cup, being rubbed across a metal tray, which sits on a plastic tray which in turn sits on a wooden cabinet has any possibility of conducting electricity and then converting that into a magnetic field strong enough to stop the cup from moving, then I will pack up the golf club and concentrate on this amazing scientific discovery. Solar panels will be old hat, wind farms obsolete, and wave technology simply wet. Pottery and Tray technology. Not the Bernoulli Effect, the Kay Kreative could solve the world's energy problems!!

 

Tues 24th April..... those of you who have had a go at my various quizzes in the past really ought to know better!!!! Messrs Albery and Graydon.....just randomly picking a player out of the picture "1st on the left standing up " or "2nd on the left" which presumably is two goes as they could be back or front row.... is really not going to cut any ice...... Steve Howarth might have some explaining to do to Steve Emmett as he thinks that the Vice is in there somewhere.....even though the clue is in the question..."spot the CLUB CAPTAIN" and Mr Emmett has not yet made it to that lofty perch by a few weeks yet....

 

staggeringly, in that grainy old picture there are in fact FOUR Chalgrave Members......4th left back row, John Munns, in whose memory the silver birch has appeared on the 2nd Hole in recent weeks, 2nd from the right front row is Ron Gray, him of the small go kart golf buggy with the seniors and molers every week, Team Manager, 2nd from the right back row, is Bob Weedon, which gives you the answer that the 6 year old mascot at the front is Dave "top 2%" Weedon.  Danny Glass won the prize, spotting the answer just ahead of Alan Davis...although Danny almost got it wrong as in his musings about who it could be he almost discounted Weedo with the comment "I don't think that is Dave, he was never that thin!!!" The box of balls will now reappear as a prize on the Captains Awayday on Friday at Abbey Hill!!!!!

 

 

Tuesday 24th April....a picture quiz for you.....spot the Club Captain......a box of 24 Wilson Prostaff balls to the 1st correct answer emailed to steve@chalgravegolf.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Sat 21st April....Simon Ward aces the 10th in the Club match and not surprisingly wins the hole.........and this is the 103rd occurrence by a person not called Joe Silva to record a hole in one here..........

 

Tues 17th April...there you go....as soon as one story goes on, I hear about another, this time from a few weeks back, whilst I was away, but good enough to make you smile anyway!!! Guess what...it involves the seniors.....specifically this time, Tom Caulfield who started on the 10th, played the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th and then finally realised that he had not brought his putter out with him........blob, blob, blob, blob is bad enough, but when you realise that the blob did not involve at putt at any stage, not even a hopeful punt through the fringe.....and two of those four holes also had the benefit of 2 shots on the hole!!! This is a performance worthy of mention in any medium!!

 

Tues 17th April.....well I have been away and very busy catching up again, but Tuesdays always brings a few laughs....today was no exception, starting with an early morning call into the newsagents to pick up the June edition copy of Golf World....apparently we have been mentioned in despatches!!! An article on clubs "beating the downturn", it has a sub heading of "smart thinking....." and goes onto mention Chalgrave Manor, our increase in membership numbers and the reciprocal network...which is possibly where the smart thinking came from.....completely unsolicited, I had no idea or input into the article whatsoever, so it is very gratifying to see it in print!!! and then the seniors arrived......after a couple of weeks of half decent weather and sunshine, today is very cold, very wet and very miserable.....I do not expect many of the seniors to arrive let alone play.....things do not look good on arrival, the bin has blown over, and Richard Muckleston, who has been here at 7.15am week after week, religiously practicing thinning his chips....(well that's what it looks like - and he is damn good at it now!!!!) has decided that he does not need to practice this morning and is in for coffee to warm up instead.... a whole range of excuses are coming out as to why people cannot play today, but seniors Captain Ken eclipses them all, citing his WIFES cataract operation! Impressive, I have to say!! Only the seniors could have managed a six tee start for 23 golfers!! Just a normal Tuesday in paradise then!! 

 

Sun 1st April......well you were all very lucky as I was away this year.......and it would have been something of a challenge doing an April Fool from 6,000 miles away......I still got the people I was with, but the Club will have to wait until next year...which was  shame as I had quite a plan....but it will keep!!!! There were 12 of us in the USA, and the hotel were most helpful in printing out and delivering my fake letter from Virgin, saying that we had not been booked on the flight home, but they had sorted it all out by flying us internally via Dallas and New York before a flight home to Heathrow, total flight time 29 hours instead of 9..... I signed the letter Andy P Rilphool...AP Rilphool and despite the significant delays suggested in the letter, I put "I trust that this resolves the matter in an acceptable manner and I would like to thank you for flying with Virgin Holidays" which really would a few people up!! One of my mates even rang Virgin at the airport from the hotel!!! Lynn made a passable impression of being very upset at the news but gave it away when they realised the tears were from laughter not from the disruption to the holiday!!!

 

Tues 20th March...seniors day...got to be some humour in there somewhere and sure enough there is.......Paul Godfrey found a hearing aid on the golf course, no not his or mine, but the battery is still fine and working so it cannot have been lost that long ago, and reasonably, I felt that there was more likely to be a chance of it belonging to one of the seniors than perhaps any other group.....so we started off with "has anyone lost a hearing aid" and immediately realised that they would not be able to hear this as they would be missing the item that allows them to hear....for those of you who are fond of the absolute classic comedy sitcoms, you can just about plagiarise the Mrs Richards sketch from Fawlty Towers now to finish off!! It is still in my office if anyone knows whose it is!!!

 

Sat 17th.....another hole in one, the second one of 2012......and no not for Joe...as Adrian Maelzer aces the 16th with a 5 iron, and seeing as we seem to average between 6 and 10 aces per annum, that only leaves between 4 and 8 shots left in 2012 for Joe to get one this year!!!...or maybe only 2 and 6 shots if El Presidente suddenly gets the urge for a couple more consecutive ones.....

 

Sat 17th...The Annual Presentation Dinner Dance......91 for dinner and to see the great and good collect their hard won trophies.....Matt Howarth approaches me with a challenge.....having clearly been at the sherberts for part of the afternoon as well....now Matt is a very good golfer, plays of 4, 10 feet tall and he tells me he now has a golf coach who reckons that with a slight grip and swing change, he can put another 30 yards on his drives.....which seeing as they regularly are pushing the 300 yard markers already, seems quite a grand prediction!!! Anyway, Matt reckons he will, by Charity Day, be so good and so accurate, that he issued a long drive challenge for the 9th hole......he will be on the 9th tee with his 2 iron and he will take on anyone and everyone with that club. Everyone else, can of course use their drivers, and the ladies will be about 70 yards head start as well!! If he beats you, it will cost you 5 to the Captains Charity, if you beat him, he will pay 5 to the Captains Charity......If you miss the fairway, it will cost you 5 to the charity as well. If both you and he miss the fairway, then both will pay 5 to the Captains Charity!! In a final moment of generosity, Matt agreed to do a fee service for your car, to whoever hits the longest drive of the day....

 

Bearing in mind that about 160 play in Charity Day, a 100% loss will be 800!!! As he described his challenge to me, it struck me that what I was up against was the age old battle of youth, talent and supreme confidence against, in my case, hopefully still a decent bit of talent, a knowledge that I am not exactly a slouch off the tee, but I have those two absolute vital components in my armoury, experience and deviousness.....so having weighed up the challenge, confirmed with Matt in front of the whole assembled dinner of the terms of the challenge, I announced that on Charity Day, the 9th fairway will be 5 yards wide........it might cost me 5 but..........

 

Elsewhere, younger Howarth was doing a passable impersonation of the bloke in the Campari ad in the 80's who constantly tipped drinks inadvertently over Joan Collins...I will have to send him a bill for the electricity consumption of the hairdryer in the ladies which was in constant use!! Things regrettably went downhill as well as he felt somewhat unwell on the way home....blaming it on the food of course - despite the fact that 80% also had the beef....not even an opportunity here to use the airplane gag (oops sorry about that) of who can pilot a plane and didn't have the fish??? The situation was made worse by the car kiddie locks being engaged on the doors and windows, so there was literally no escape......so there you are...the Howarth Brothers are now considering going into the car business together....Matt does the servicing and Dan is doing the valeting......

 

Tues 13th...news reaches me of the Ladies section (accompanied by some other halves by the sound of it) weekend away trip to Windmill Village in Coventry. Apparently photos are on their way to me of Cally misbehaving with an after eight mint....the mind boggles.....these ladies know how to live!!!! The object was to get the mint from the forehead into your mouth without using your hands.....can you imagine the mens section playing this game??? 1st question?? is there drink involved?? no, a chocolate mint....not going to happen then!! I digress.....as usual.....somehow, our past Lady Captain managed to end up with her head in Terry's lap......I, don't know, maybe she thought it was another box of chocolates!!!!, got be a gag about a Terry's chocolate orange in there somewhere surely!!! This all happened after Cally had won the Ladies golf competition that afternoon, and had celebrated with a few glasses of wine. A few more wines,, some vodka's, the prize was a bottle of wine which mysteriously disappeared from the room she shared with Kay, who could not drink alcohol!! I think Columbo might be able to work this one out quite easily.....a few "shots" as well, all of which I am told were blamed on the fact that she had to play 2 rounds with John!!

 

The only thing that was missing was the precarious climb down a steep slope in front of a deep pond......

 

Note to self.....Annual Dinner on Saturday Night.....speak to caterers......make sure that there are After Eight mints on the tables with the coffee's.....

 

 

Tues 13th.....late last night I realised that there was a competition that was now open to me, so I put my name down...the Gibson +50!! I'm not sure how I feel about being eligible for that one yet!!!

 

Mon 12th March......an additional item, from the Razz Pairs this morning.....when I arrive at 7.15am there is a scorecard wedged into the door frame.....Colin Barden and Martin Lithgo.....and their wonderful 31 points for a solid lower mid table position one would assume.......but as it wedged in the door and not in competition box, one would assume that Colin has either come back late last night after the club was locked up or was back here even earlier than I was this morning, in an attempt to get the card into the competition result....whilst there is clearly no chance of winning, I assume that Colin felt he ought to get the card in, bearing in mind that Martin as a slightly longer than normal drive to get here. It a long way from Warwickshire for an NR!!!!

 

Spring Fog at Chalgrave on the 1st tee.....Mark Beaney and his mates are determined to get out there nice an early and have some lurid pink/orange balls to assist with following the line of flight and finding the balls in the impenetrable grey mists....Mark clearly has been watching Steve Alexander, as despite the orange ball being clearly visible to me, from my position over 50 yards away, it remained over 50 yards away as the club simply caused a parting of the mists from the air currents created on its path somewhere vaguely near the ball....his playing partners were up to the usual Chalgrave standards of decorum, ribald and noisy laughter cascaded across the course...the second effort was rather closer to disappearing in to the pond on the 1st than Mark would have liked as well!!! 

 

Sun11th March....The Razz Pairs, the first major of the season, and as a greensomes stableford it is a nice gentle way to get back into competition  golf outside of the medals, a choice of two drives to hopefully ensure that it is a nice easy start to the competitive golfing year......so after a very nice start, level par gross after 5 holes, me and my partner Donny stand on the mat on the 6th, having been hitting the ball out of sight so far...we are in perfect agreement, cut the corner, aim for the left hand 150 yard marker, to leave a short iron to the green to set up a birdie or even maybe an eagle chance.....avid readers of this column will know that we have been here before....and I led the way with a dreadful drive into the out of bounds....Dave obviously then lined up on a much more conservative line, to no avail and also pulled his left...de ja vu  as we played provisionals of provisionals and despite getting a ball into play on the reload, it was under a tree, and i was finally left with a 20+ foot putt from off the green which just shaved the hole and a blob was on the card. We followed that with a game of from me to you across the 7th green and blobbed that as well!! We recovered to a 36 points by the end, and more thoughts of what might have been...you would think that this would easily qualify for the worst drives of the day, but no..... on the same tee, Steve Alexander caused chaos, as he was the first of his pairing to tee off......a majestic swing, packed with aggression but it does help if you actually make contact!! ...the air shot caused all sorts of confusion....as the ball is of course now in play, but is in the way of his partner who is still yet to drive!! the decision (correctly) was to move the ball and play the next tee shot....which had that gone out of bounds (which I don't think it did - but you never know!!), then the airshot ball could have been replaced, on its tee for the 2nd shot......you would think that this would win the poor drive award....after all not even hitting it at all is difficult to beat really, but then new reached me of a clear winner......Paul "Spam" McGarry on the temporary 14th tee, clearly going for the green with a driver, got a bit of a hook.....so out of bounds down the left you are thinking, been there, done that, worn the T Shirt so nothing exceptional.....so how many of you have been in the reservoir off the 14th tee????? A shot of supreme skill, as a simple mishit would simply not have the distance to get close.....to hit it that far left, and that far forwards requires a combination of raw power, a decent connection and a violent hook, which as individual items are all achieveable. To combine them into one shot, I am in absolute awe!!!

 

 

Tues 6th March....Seniors are in, and by 7.30am I have my first daft request of the day....I have just unlocked the front door and Dave Jones is following Peter Whitten the few short steps from the cars to the front door......"Steve, have you got any string??" say Dave Jones?? Even Peter Whitten looks baffled by this early request........"I've forgotten to put my belt on and my trousers are falling down!!"..... now I would have thought that if you can notice that in the short walk from the car to the club front door, then you probably ought to have noticed it as you wander around at home, go out the front door and head for the car in the driveway!!! So I put a request to the greenstaff for them to bring a piece of rope up for Dave.....but we are nothing if not devious, as we then supplied Dave with a length of blue polypropelene rope, which is immensely strong, but to be fair, very difficult to tie so that the knot does not slip.....so if you are about in the next 4 hours, and you see a bloke walking the fairways, hitching his trousers every 10 yards, say hello to Dave!!!

 

Sun 4th March.....clearly an attempt was made by Happy Horwood to let an important date slide past without anyone noticing......but I have more contacts than a News of the World/Sun journalist who taps phones and gives bungs......and so the arrival of Derek's 70th birthday should not go unremarked upon..... and someone up there clearly knew what was going on, as after a winter of mild and benign weather, the only thing we did not get on Sunday was sunshine!! Chalgrave winds preceded the heavy rain that fell all morning throughout the medal, and just when you thought it could not get any worse, the heavy rain become torrential.....just when you thought it could not get any worse, we had a heavy snowfall!!!!

 

Happy 70th Birthday Derek!!!

 

 

...and quite frankly, you have to admire my pre planning on this occasion, as the photo was taken on 6th November 2006, just prior to a private event! I have been saving that photo for almost 6 years to use it!!! The fact that I can even remember that I have got it is rather sad! The fact that I knew exactly where to find it is even more sad! As you can see from the photo, Derek comfortably looked 70 in 2006, so it would appear that whereas most people are told they look good for their age, Derek's age is finally catching up with his looks!!! So, go on, rub it in....next time you see him at the club, loudly congratulate him on arriving in his 8th decade!!

 

 

Friday 2nd March...a final photo from the Portugal Tour, and the Winner of the Fancy Dress.....a round of applause for Apples as MR T!!!

 

 

Thurs 1st March....Dave Holland pops his head around my door to ask a couple of questions, wanting to know if it was possible, for example, to cover the ditches across the width of the fairways, so that someone who hits the ball up the middle of the fairway cannot drop a ball into the ditch as he felt this seemed unfair......so I asked if he advocated filling in the pond on the 10th as that was also a hazard on the line between tee and green, or perhaps getting the R & A to fill in the Swilken Burn across the 18th hole at St Andrews....maybe Jean Van De Velde might be a supporter of this principle.....Dave was having particular problems with the ditch on the 11th as he said his driver kept rolling into the ditch....use your 3 wood was my helpful suggestion....I did point out that it was his job to avoid the hazards around the course that I have cunningly placed to catch out the unwary, not my job to place hazards where his ball does not go!!

 

Tues 28th Feb....news from the Chalgrave based European Tour of Portugal......as usual, the wind ups were wide and varied.......

 

 

Joe Silva's transportation was suitably adorned.....

 

 

Steve Howarth's transportation seems to have shrunk.....

 

 

 

After starting out on the final night fancy dress pub crawl, as Batman and Mr Incredible Messrs Silva and Weedon metamorphasize into Fagman (spot the Marlborough's!!) and Mr Chunder.....an amazing coincidence and snippet for you...Mr Incredible, in non superhero status, was a character called Rob Parr....who happens to be our Head Greenkeeper!!!

 

and finally

 

  

 

Matt "Teenage Mutant Ninja's " Howarth looks slightly green after overdoing it....you would not believe that clay floor tiles were particularly comfortable, but Matt had no trouble sleeping on them instead of his nice soft bed.....

 

Do not be misled into thinking that the tour is an excuse to dress up, play a bit of golf and fall over......well it is, but the tour also made sure that they were displaying their Keech badges at all times, with each tour member being required to purchase a new Keech badge at the start of the tour. Mark Mansfield and the boys have dropped in the small matter of 120 to be added to the Captains Charity as a result.......they are true superheros...drunk ones possibly, but still superheros....

 

 

 

Thurs 23rd Feb.....beautiful day, sun is out 16/17 degrees and a gentle breeze, so as I needed to go out and see what was happening with the irrigation upgrade, I took my clubs out as well onto the back nine for a cheeky seven holes......and took the opportunity to "test" some of the new tee positions.....the current 12th, slightly into the wind, from the middle of the back tee, two balls, one just short and the other just over the ditch leaving a second shot of 150 yards........the 13th, from the new tee, slightly downwind and still short of the 150 yard markers, 160 yards second shot.....and then the new hole, currently the 14th, from the back of the yellow tee, the sat nav said 375 yards to the flag in a straight line, so it will probably measure closer to 400 with the dogleg taken into account. I hit 2 balls, one on the "original" tiger line over the trees on the right and one down the middle of the fairway. The tiger line left me with an unplayable shot, absolutely stuffed by the trees and 180 yards to go......the one on the fairway, lovely, great view of the green .......which was 191 yards away!!!!! 3 iron into the bunker.....make the most of the easy distance it plays at the moment because it looks every inch of a stroke index one at the moment from the new tee......into a Chalgrave wind, and off the whites which are higher up and further back...it will be a monster......

 

Sat 18th Feb.....The Ladies are at it again.......following hot on the heels of "Joan Gibson's" Holes in One (see 14th Feb below) Sarah Russell whacked in the first ace of 2012 on the 5th Hole on Saturday, using a 30 degree recovery club. I'm not sure what is going on, but having to play a recovery shot whilst on the tee, with the ball on a tee peg is surely a contradiction of terms??? But who am I to argue??? One shot, ball in hole job done. I absolutely refuse, categorically, to mention the name of Joe Silva  and his complete lack of holes in one, recovery club or otherwise, as part of this news item.....

 

Tuesday 14th Feb...Well I have to say that I am baffled.....avid readers of the news page will be aware of the stupendous feat achieved a short while ago, by El Presidente John Gibson, in achieving two consecutive holes in one, on the 10th in two sequential rounds.......such was the awe with which I held this achievement, I recall spending a not inconsiderable amount of time writing and emailing almost every golf publication that I could think of to report this miraculous moment.....a further miracle has occurred, as one of my letters has been published and John's achievement is now in national print for all to see......where is the miracle then??? Well it appears in a publication that I DIDN'T write to....how could I possible remember the title of every golf publication that I reported the story to?? OK, I accept I might have missed one or two.....but I am absolute adamant that I did not write to................ LADY GOLFER!! The March 2012 edition is on my desk....page 18 letters page, alongside a story about 95 year old Biddy Benson...I kid you not.....

 

 

Mon 13th Feb....Cabin Fever strikes...Chris Baker is here in his car at 7.30am when I arrive, so he is clearly super keen to get back out there!! Most of the snow has already gone, so we should be completely clear by the end of the day with the temperature forecasted to be up around the 6 - 8 degrees mark.

 

Thurs 9th Feb....The International Members section are on their way!!! I don't have exact dates and times yet, but a certain Phil Barter will be making the 3150 mile trek from Maine, USA to play a spot of golf at Chalgrave!!! Scheduled to be in the area from Thursday 16th - Sunday 19th February, Phil will be popping in hopefully for a knock around. Keep an eye on the news and facebook page as I will let you know if I have more confirmed times and dates if you fancy popping in to see him.....now what did I do with that photo of him teeing off from the 10th tee in just his underpants?????.... note to Nick....leave the penguins at home just in case.....they might fancy returning to one of their many world tour destinations!!

 

Thurs 9th Feb...the molers are determined...they are out there in -1 degrees with a breeze, snow is lying thinly across bits of the course and the greens still have about a 50% snow coverage, but that is not going to stop them. Anything within 12 feet is a gimmie!!! If you have nothing better to do, pop in and take a stroll down to the 10th tee.......just for a preliminary look at the challenge you will be faced with this year....the old medal tee has gone, the new one is now sorted to base layer, requiring just topsoil, seed and growth to go!! The trees and hedge behind the old pathway line have been reduced in height to open the area up to let in more light to get better grass growth, the trees have been trimmed back to frame the hole beautifully. What was one of the finest par 3 holes in Bedfordshire will now challenge any par 3 anywhere in the country. 150 yards from the back I think, so this will not be for the faint hearted!!!

 

Tues 7th Feb......well I suppose I should not be surprised.....despite the fact that more snow is falling...there are seniors already in the car park when I arrive at 7.30am.... including Richard Muckleston, who has been here for 30 minutes.....and he lives 2 minutes away!!!!  In fact 7 of them turn up and another one emails to ask if they can play!!! You would think that after pretty much 65+years on the planet, they would have enough experience in life to know that the course would not be playable today.........

 

Sat 4th Feb..... those that are determined to challenge for Golfer of the Year make the decision to play on Saturday, as the forecast for the past 7 days has been that we will get a deep blanket of snow for Sunday. We all know it is going to snow. The only people who don't know it is going to snow are the people who load the salt and gritter lorries!!! Personally, I thought they were mad to play Friday.....Saturday was a whole lot worse!!! Simon Ward once again makes use of the conditions, as this time he sees his ball ricochet off the mounds on the right of the 7th green, sideways and the ball disappears into the newly enlarged pond to the left of the green......the options are to take a drop, but with no shot on this hole, a blob is looking likely....so he gingerly steps out onto the ice, and chips it up onto the green!!!! It was risky in the first place.....but then to hammer a steel clubhead into the ice whilst playing the shot is madness!!! If Simon wins Golfer of the Year 2012.....remember this moment......this is where it was won!!!

 

The course clearly suited the long hitters, the balls going for miles down frozen fairways.......big Steve Howarth drove the 11th green, clattering the ball through the pond on a multi bounce effort that ended fractionally short of the green!!! Who says you cannot score well in these conditions???

 

Friday 3rd Feb...arctic conditions, and still the hardy souls (ok stark raving mad idiots!!) are still venturing out....Ben Ward objected to having to pay a fine for a ball in the pond on the 10th, on the basis that the ball is not in the pond, but lying on the ice on top of it.....OK Ben, we can wait for a few days.....eventually the ball will be in the pond!!! There were in fact 2 balls potentially in....the first was borderline, but the second was also very close.. having virtually cleared the pond but there was a distinct possibility that the ball would come back from the green side..... as the group walked around the small feeder pond, almost 30 seconds later, the ball appeared on the ice, sliding gracefully across like Torville and Dean..... Captain Glass and Simon Ward moved on to the 11th, where 2 tee shots ended side by side....a difficult second shot to judge.. the greens were rock solid and no real option of laying up and bouncing onto the green here, they discuss club selection. Simon felt a 9 iron to avoid bouncing all the way to the back, Captain Glass favoured the 8 iron to clear the pond..... Simon had first crack....and the ball came up short as the Captain predicted.....bounced on the ice in the pond and finished on the green!!! This clearly un-nerved the Captain who sliced his shot to the right and virtually OOB!!

  

 

Thurs 2nd Feb...The Molers, including Tarby are in.....-4 degrees but it warmed up to -2 with a steady wind...so call it -10 !! and yes they went out!! Stark Raving Mad. Tarby owed me 20 from Tuesday, as he had come in on Tuesday and said he had forgotten to pick up his wallet...so I lent him the cash on the understanding he would pay it back today...which he did....he recounted the circumstances of arriving home on Tuesday, and looked for his missing wallet, which was nowhere to be found. He turned the house upside down looking for it....until he finally discovered it in his back left trouser pocket, as opposed the the back right where apparently he normally keeps it!!! So he had had it there all day, throughout driving to the club, playing 18 holes, sitting in the bar for several hours afterwards, without realising it was there. He said he must have a very numb arse!!! I said that now he knows what our ears feel like after talking to him!!!!

 

Friday 27th Jan...a story emerges from last week......Bill Raymen arrives on Thursday to play with the molers.......no one can understand him, including himself.....until he realises he has come out without his teeth in!!!! For goodness sake...the clue is in the name Bill!!! How the hell can you play with the molers when you don't have them OR your incisors!!!! Strangely enough, I seem to recall us selling some soup that day........

 

Friday 27th Jan....Mick Moulton comes in bemoaning the fact that his shoes are a bit uncomfortable....which is not really surprising as he recounts the story.....earlier in the week, he has played at Aylesbury Vale on the reciprocal deal, had his round and eventually returned home, where he discovered that the shoes he was wearing were virtually identical to his own, but in fact were not his!!!! (Please don't ask me why he was still wearing them 2 days later then when he arrived here, as I don't understand it either!!!). Peter sees a great opportunity to wind him up, and tells him that there are a couple of guys from Aylesbury Vale looking for him!! Much laughter and banter as a result, and then a fourball walks in, for Peter to deal with. "Yes guys, what can we do for you??" he says...." We are from Aylesbury Vale......." they get no further as the Clubhouse is in uproar and Mick is hiding under the table!!! The moral of the story......whatever you do, don't leave your underpants in the mens changing rooms when Mick is about...you never know if they will be there when you get back!!!

 

Thursday 26th Jan...the molers are here as usual, and Keith Esden gets a 3 nett 2 on the 10th, for 3 points....so why on earth does that make the News Page??? well, he also got a 50p fine for a ball in the water, having topped his initial shot into the pond, reloaded and holed the second tee shot for a par!!!

 

Tuesday 24th Jan....2.5 hours after they went out, Dennis Richards is the last one to capitulate after 13 holes....I remember the "original" seniors...they had to be physically prevented from playing in snow, rain, sleet, gales...a bit of rain and that's it....no stamina whatsoever...significantly more common sense perhaps....but no stamina!! Meanwhile, a fourball of our members have driven to Northampton to play a reciprocal club, and have returned to play here in the driving rain instead as they did not fancy 18 winter greens......they are currently leaning into the wind and rain on the 5th, someone else is "warming up" in the nets and another has just arrived......still a few left who have lost the plot then.......

 

Tuesday 24th Jan.....Seniors are in....well a few are!! After a mad Monday yesterday when we had a very busy day, there are 11 venturing out into the rain....astonishingly, they have opted for a 4 tee start!!!! Immediate Past Captain, Mick Moulton, Ian Caldwell and Dennis Howard have been allocated a 200 yard walk to the 13th tee to start, with the same 200 yard walk from the 12th green when they have finished, instead of a 50 yard walk to the 1st and follow one of the other groups out!!! Despite being spread so far out across the course, I would lay good money that one group gets held up by another!!

 

Friday 13th Jan....and Webby is here complete with TWO new drivers...("I bought one as a spare!!!!")....the date is ominous....will the driver(s) survive the day?? I also have a pile of statistics from last year. courtesy of Nick and Cally and the Competitions Computer.....an analysis of 46 mens competitions played in 2011.....it averages the scores per hole and a whole stack of other stuff.......out of 41,238 competitive holes played, how many gross eagles or better, anywhere on the course, do you think there were last year??? Just 30!! ...and 17 of those were on the 3rd and 5 on the 8th!! The hardest hole, averaging 5.56 shots was the 11th, the 2nd hardest, the 18th. Not surprisingly, the easiest was the 3rd, but the old 15th, currently the 12th hole, on the card at stroke index 17 is the 7th hardest hole. The ladies version of the same thing, shows 2,871 holes played and ZERO eagles or better....11 is also the hardest hole for the ladies, but their statistics are not helped by Cally climbing up and down the steep bank in front of the green!! Seeing as we share indexes on the card, ie the mens and ladies card is the same index, there is not a huge discrepancy although the ladies clearly find the longer holes here more challenging. This is also caused by holes such as the 8th having not a great deal of difference in yardage between the men and ladies. The ladies have 19 birdies, which is 0.7% of the total holes played by them...the men, 1,144 birdies which is about 2.75% of the total.....to balance it.....the men also managed 1119 quadruple bogeys!!!    

 

Thurs 12th Jan....Peter is a very generous man...with my money that is!!! He was clearing out the pool table and came across a 50p coin which had been abraded somewhat around the edges, clearly someone had been trying to forge 10p pieces by filing the edges off the 50p....Pete decided that the coin was not good enough to be paid into the till, so he put it in the Captains Charity Jar!!! I know it is only 50p, but we get 20 notes with all sorts of tears and marks on them.......Maybe I will apply a similar decision to his wages payment!!!

 

Thurs 12th Jan....the sun is out, there is a slight breeze downwind on the new hole, so grab the driver and a few balls and go and see how far I can get it.....is the reservoir reachable??? Today?? No. Bearing in mind the ball stops dead on impact out there, the best I managed was about 35 yards short of the water.....next time I will remember to take the GPS system with me so I know how far is left into the green!!! Certainly it was a lot more than the wedge/sand wedge that has been possible in the past...so all looking very good for a real tough par 4 where hitting the fairway will be absolutely paramount....

 

Fri 5th Jan.....The Friday regulars are in.....although I don't think Webby is as he has run out of drivers.....and I get the usual sarcastic comments about costs of things as I put some coins into the coffee machine to get myself a caffeine fix....so I point out that at other clubs, the coffee, for example can be as much as 2.10 a cup.....and maybe I should charge a similar rate here...this quickly get people back on side, so I take my cup and head for the office.....I reach the office door, turn back as I realise that I put a 1 coin in and did not press the change button.....too late....El Presidente has shown a turn of speed he has not achieved in years, getting his coffee and swiping my 40p change into the bargain.....the fact that I realsied and caught him in the act generated a huge roar of laughter, both at me for leaving the cash after the first bit of the conversation, and at John for getting caught......at 40p for that level of entertainment...it was probably a reasonable bargain!!

 

Thurs 4th Jan...more news on the Chris Webb driver saga.....it may not be as straightforward a use of the Christmas Vouchers as was first thought....to recap, 27th Dec, Christmas Cup, fit of pique, slam club, break driver, got use for Christmas vouchers now.....move forwards to Webby's next game, still minus driver as he has not yet spend aforesaid vouchers.....so he borrows one from Captain Glass, a very nice Cleveland so I'm told....and on the current 13th hole, hits his shot and then lends it to Vince, so he can have a go with it. Wonderfully generous with other peoples golf equipment is Webby, enormously convivial, "yes, feel free to have a bash...." so Vince, he of the worlds most perfect golf swing (the astute amongst you might notice a touch of irony in that statement) coils the power of his frame on the backswing, moves fluidly into a smooth and flowing downswing, releasing the hands through the ball perfectly and transferring the weight through the shot at the perfect moment, with the contact of the clubhead and that small sphere being the merest click as the ball compresses and flies off into the distance.....(I was not there, but that's how it appeared in my minds eye anyway!!). As the shot was so perfect, he immediately swivelled on the follow through, to no doubt make some kind of sarcastic remark about how that is how it should be done, but this caused the follow through to be slightly off line, and the club shaft came into contact with the thin blue rope that keeps golfers off the grass tees in winter. As the rope was pulled tight by the impact, the clubhead speed was so enormous that it continued forwards despite the shaft being slowed rapidly by the tightening rope....something had to give and it wasn't the thin rope.......the shaft snapped about half way up and there was a stunned silence....finally broken by Webby who looked at Vince and said..."well you can tell Danny 'cos I'm not!!" So.....if you want a new driver as you are fed up with your old one, just lend it to Webby, but be warned, the Christmas voucher pile is now somewhat diminished!!!

 

Tues 2nd Jan....what better way to start the year than with a story from the Seniors.....and today is Senior Captains Drive In as Ken Goodland commences his year of office.....Mulled wine at 8.00am, a howling gale and pouring rain, and the fun starts before the golf does!!! About 30 seniors have arrived to see Ken drive in, which seeing as the gale force wind is hurling itself dead straight back down the fairway, is likely to be one of the shorter drives seen even if he absolutely nails it!!! Dave Baston arrives and provides the entertainment simply by parking his car......he sweeps around and parks in the centre of the car park, with the car nose pointing at the 3rd green, pushes open the drivers door and promptly gets the door blown shut again.....door open, door closed...door open, door closed....big push Dave, door open.....lean out....door closed....I am now getting worried as dave is clearly going to do the Tin Cup equivalent of getting out of the car.....instead of turning the car around so the car is sheltering him from the wind, he is determined to beat the wind......I can see him getting his leg out onto the ground and then amputating said limb with his own car door at this rate.....fortunately, the wind dropped to hurricane level for a second and he was out....he turned to close the door but was way too late as it had been blown shut behind him!! Captain Ken was getting himself ready, and despite the appalling conditions, about a dozen seniors had still not gained enough common sense in their previous 6+ decades each and were going out to play 12 holes!! Ken decided to announce the options of playing or not playing whilst everyone was still in the Clubhouse, but he really missed a trick.....Ken was an airline pilot for Monarch for donkeys years before retiring, flying jumbos all over the world, but when a golden opportunity to relive those moments arose, it passed him by....how many more times is he going to have the opportunity to say "This is your Captain Speaking!!"

 

The seniors assembled on the first, Ken made his way onto the tee, had to use a bit of blue tac to stick the ball to the tee I reckon, and at the slightest hint of a lull in the wind, performed the fastest backswing and downswing possible, propelling the ball forwards which in itself was an achievement!! The far side of the pond was the probable resting place, it might have sneaked over, but quite frankly no one was that fussed!! Those that were daft enough to play went out for 12 holes and the rest headed back for coffee!! Regrettably, the weather deteriorated further and none made it to 12 holes. When the torrential rain hit along with the gale force winds it was probably a good idea to quit.....especially the 4 players who had no waterproofs on!!! Barking Mad!!

 

2012 Happy New Year!!

 

 

 

 

 

Tues 27th Dec....The Christmas Cup, spirit of Goodwill to All Men and all that......and Webby is full of the Christmas Cheer but somewhat stumped as to what to spend his Christmas Golf Vouchers on.......until following a rather poor drive, followed by a distinctly un - Christmas reaction of slamming the offending club down onto the mat, and the problem was solved as the clubhead rebounded back up as it detached from the shaft. travelling at a faster rate than the ball did it has to be said!! So problem solved, instead of a selection of nifty sweaters, the vouchers made a reasonable contribution to the cost of a new driver!!!

 

Sat 24th Dec.....The Gibson +50 field will be one player bigger now....as I reached the half century mark. Ominously.....it means that being able to play with the seniors on Tuesdays is now less than 5 years away.......can't wait!!!!!

 

Tues 20th Dec....even when not playing, Dick Chittock can cause chaos.....as is normal, I arrive at around 7.30am ish to open up and the seniors are starting to arrive for the Captains Farewell event as Mick Moulton's year draws to a close.....the seniors play this as a 12 hole sociable event, with a hot meal afterwards. Why they only play 12 holes, nobody knows....it is and always has been a complete mystery to me why they would want to get up at the crack of dawn when they don't need to, get here nice and early, get out on the course, nice and sharpish, and then they want to come off after playing only 2/3rds of a round....after which they have their meal, and then sit around chatting for far longer than it would have taken them to play the other 6 holes anyway!!!....as usual, I have digressed from my main discourse of the day.....which for the umpteenth time in his life relates to Dick Chittock. Now Dick does struggle to get around the course these days, without a buggy, but he also rarely misses the Tuesday morning meet up. Having said that, when I arrived this morning, there might have been say two cars in the carpar, parked against the edge above the 3rd green. I park in my normal place, outside the kitchen door, and open up the clubhouse. There is a constant and steady stream of vehicles coming in and the car park starts to fill up around the practice greens and nets as well. Eventually, 35 seniors head out onto the course and another 9 are non playing but are staying for the grub and to support the Captain. Good job really, because Dick has parked on the end of the row that stretches from the nets back towards the clubhouse down the centre of the carpark, and quite frankly, the size of the gap that he has left between the back end of his car and my front bumper, well I am doubtful that my car will survive the parade of trolleys going through. A car has no chance. In fact, I am surprised he managed to get out of the drivers seat without battering the front of my motor with his car door!!! "A tight squeeze, was it, parking the car?" I ask him.... "No?? Why?? there was plenty of room!!" is the reply.  Should have gone to specsavers!!! An hour later, Dick puts his head around my office door. You haven't seen a pair of glasses have you??? "No" I say. "You must have left them at home" "How do you know that?" he asks. " I've seen your car" I reply.  

 

Tues 13th Dec...the seniors Turkey Trott, but following the most torrential downpour, it is more like a Turkey swim....no buggies today, only boats!! Despite the poor conditions, a good crowd of seniors disappears onto the course for 4+ hours....and just as they start to come in, with absolute exquisite timing, the seniors are treated to the first snow of the winter!! Proper large white lumps of it, driving horizontally across the course!! The conditions have been , to put it mildly, rather difficult out there.....so Tarby getting 39 stableford points is quite impressive....but then you are staggered when you realise that his proper handicap is 6, his seniors handicapped version is +2 !! and he got the 39 points off +2!!! A gross 65 with 3 clubs and a putter in wind, rain and snow........crikey!!!

 

Sun 11th Dec...Turkey Trott, arrive at 6.40am to open up and the first arrivals are in just after 7.00am. There are a few no shows, but not many. We start as always, with a shotgun start at 8.15am, our "shotgun" simply being a vague excuse for me to launch a rocket!! Everyone has dispersed to their tees, John Gibson carrying a 7 iron and a 7 wood...can't think why he feels confident!!....and just as I am about to launch the rocket for the start, Noah arrives and comes running through the carpark, with a full set of clubs strapped to his back.....now I recalled that Noah was due to start from the tee furthest from the clubhouse, the 7th, about half a mile away and up the steepest hill we have.....but he is so late, so do I tell him he has too many clubs, let him offload most of them so his bag will be much lighter for the cross country run, or do I allow him to do a passable impersonation of an SAS soldier in full gear "yomping" across the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan looking for the Taliban??? Chop Chop then Noah....One Two One Two....so I let him trot past me and fired the rocket about a minute later to encourage him to keep running!! Half an hour later, I get a call from Nick Hawker about playing partner Craig Sweet.....if you are playing 2 clubs and a putter....and you break one....what do you do??? Rule 6-7 says you can replace it so long as you do not unduly delay play, but having just passed the clubhouse, he won't be back this way for at least an hour!!! He went out with a 9 iron, which he broke, and a rescue club, plus his putter. Having been asked for my advice and told what club he had left, I offered the opinion that everyone says what a versatile club the rescue club is, and now is his absolutely golden opportunity to prove the case!!! The call ended.......and about 2 minutes later, a thought occurred to me, so I rang Nick back......." have a look out for Noah about 2 holes behind you...he might be prepared to hire a club to Craig!!!" Now I'm trying to work out if one of them might be left-handed, but not find this out until they have sorted clubs and parted!!  There is also the principle that someone called Noah really ought to understand something that happens two by two!!!

 

Sat 10th..Cabaret Night, 100+ arrive for a superb evenings entertainment, Lucie and Clare excelled themselves with a wonderful 2 course supper, followed by mince pies. Lewis Dixon then treated us to yet another awesome performance of everything from Buble Hits to disco and dance tracks, whilst Dangerous Dave and his laser light disco carved "Merry Christmas" in green laser onto the back of everyone's retina's!! Danny and Steve Emmett raised 300 for Keech with a hamper raffle, and the night ebbed and flowed into the small hours of Sunday. It was 3.00am before I got to bed, and 6.30 am when the alarm clock went off to signal the need to get back to the club to open up for the Turkey Trott!!

 

Sat 10th Dec.... the Winter Matchplay continues to make the headlines......after the wrong formats, missed putts, Tim Murphy produces yet another new slant.....as he prepares for his match with partner Ade Purser against Paul Northcott and Roy Evans.....when he realises that his clubs are still in the car boot.....not  a great problem I can hear you thinking.....well, it is when the car in question is Tim Smith's and he lives in Hemel!!! Add to this that Braveheart put the clubs in there LAST weekend......so it is not as if it is a sudden memory lapse, more of a complete Altzheimers job.....

 

Whilst waiting for the above clubs to make an appearance, Roy Evans recounts a story from a few Tuesdays back, where he went out to play with the seniors accompanying Dick Chittock, who was in a buggy.....On the 18th, Roy had  hit a long drive and Dick was doing a passable imitation of the Red Arrows, well a solo version anyway, as he meandered back and forth as he tried to catch Roy's single blow up. Eventually, he passed Roy's ball, and drove the buggy about 20 yards past Roy, and sat there (with his grandson in the buggy as well) in the middle of the fairway, dead in line with Roy's shot the the green. Roy shouted a few times and finally gained Dick's attention, where he managed to gesticulate and shout to communicate the fact that the buggy was dead line line with his next shot.....the penny dropped, and Dick got out of the buggy and walked 20 yards to the right, leaving the buggy and his grandson where they were!!! You could not make half this stuff up!!

 

Friday 9th Dec....John Gibson fails!!! He does of course remain the absolute model of consistency that you  would come to expect from the President. After his last 2 rounds of a score of one shot for five stableford points on the 10th hole, he arrived there again this afternoon, and did it again!!!! Yes 1 and 5!! 1 point after 5 shots!! Normality has returned!!

 

Sun 4th Dec.....come on Joe...what is going on.....anyone would think that this hole in one lark is difficult...clearly it is not.......and this is one that will make you sit up!!! El Presidente provided the Club's 99th ace, on the 10th green on Friday, so his arrival at the same hole on Sunday for the medal evoked good memories of his previous visit. Moments later, the previous visit was all forgotten, and the ball pitched 2 feet short, skipped forward and into the hole for his second hole in one in two visits to the 10th!! If ever there was a way to bring up the 100th hole in one, the Club President, getting his second successive ace is a pretty distinctive way of doing it!! Joe, meanwhile, is even more consistent.....he has played it thousands of times consecutively and taken at least 2 every time!!!! 

 

Friday 2nd Dec....El Presidente arrives at the 10th tee, 6 stableford points adrift of Vince Hasker who has had a storming front nine......one hole, in fact one stroke later, the club has seen its 99th Ace, El Presidente has scored a 1 nett 0 and 5 stableford points, and this is his second ace here, some 11 years after the last one.....but getting two is still seen as greedy against Joe's zero........it was interesting in the Clubhouse after....a round of coffee's and a packet of plain crisps for everyone please.......just wait until later....we are at the County Dinner later....if we cannot get a mention for an ace today at the dinner...with perhaps a suggestion that the Club President will feel the need to buy the entire room a drink......200+ blokes!! I will book an ambulance on standby just in case!!!

 

Sunday 27th Nov....further excitement out on the course in matchplay format.....this time as Messrs Northcott and King took on Messrs Parrett and Graydon in a friendly matchplay that was played as a betterball match.....friendly, betterball, that's all ok then but careful when you mention it around certain people (see below!!). The match had already been concluded as the group smashed 4 decent drives up the 17th, not wishing to miss out on two holes in magnificent end of November weather..... Pete Graydon was unfortunate enough to end up under a tree on the left hand side of the hole and had no straightforward shot to the green that did not involve wrapping his club around the tree and probably damaging tree, club and possibly some limbs which have only just recovered from a previous encounter with some trees.....as one of the world top 2%, Pete considered all the options and elected to play a controlled fade around the offending tree, meaning that tree, club and body would not come into any contact at all....(note to my son: this is the correct technique in social golf maytchplay....trying to play a power draw, with a Ping 7 iron where the club shaft and the tree will come into contact with each other about 12" up from the clubhead is NOT the way to play it!! Perhaps Aidan should be studying physics and geometry at Uni and he would have realised that the probability of snapping the shaft was about 99%...on the other hand, he is studying economics so no doubt he will already realise that he owes me 40 for getting a Ping 7 iron reshafted!!....I digress.......as usual.....so back to Pete and the controlled fade on the 17th.... a couple of practice swings to cement the correct swing into the mind, take the stance and execute the shot....clubhead and ball clicked in a glorious connection, the ball powering away from the clubhead in a trajectory that would make you weep with joy....apart from the fact that there was no fade whatsoever and the ball majestically cleared the 9th fairway, and the trees and came to rest on the 18th fairway!!!......Pete is not a world top 2% for nothing, he consulted his Garmin wrist, which told him that after 2 superbly struck shots on the 17th he was still 210 yards from the flag!! A rescue club to the heart of the green and 2 putts for a 5 were just what you expect really!! In recent weeks, it has been astonishingly hard for the top 2% to be competitive in competitions, but when you play a 486 yard  Par 5 by going 700+ yards to do it, you are, quite frankly, not helping yourself!!  

 

Sunday 27th Nov.....there are many who think that I just have a vivid and warped imagination, and spend my days dreaming up strange and wacky scenarios which I can write about on the website......quite frankly, I don't need to have such an imagination, because the truth is always much funnier!!! Take today for example, a nice clear weekend, no competitions, fabulous weather so a great opportunity to get the Winter Pairs Knockout matches played.....Scuffy and Frank Cannon were up against Don Cook and Paul Jones, and a real ding dong battle ebbed and flowed across the course.....until on the 16th, someone pointed out to them that they were hitting too many balls, that the format is greensomes and not the better ball they had spent the best part of the last four hours playing!!! Well, anyone can make a mistake, I can hear you thinking......well yes.....but consider this.....Richie has won the competition once and was runner up the following year, so he probably is pretty close to holding the record for the number of consecutive matches in the competition without defeat, if he does not hold the record, so he really should have known better......but that was topped by Don Cook, who is actually responsible for the running of the competition itself, including the entry sheet, the instruction sheet which tells you what the format and the handicap allowance is!!! Classic!! It has, of course, not yet ended. The decisions book says on Rule 6 - 1/1 "If the wrong form of play is used as a result of a Committee error, the match should be replayed. If the wrong form of play is used unintentionally by the players, the match should be replayed; if, however, this would delay the competition, both sides should be disqualified unless one side concedes the match to the other. So seeing as the closing date for the round to be played is 25th December (don't ask - I have no idea either why the round closing date is Christmas Day!!) so Chapter Two of this saga will no doubt be played out sometime in the next three weeks......watch this space!!! 

 

 

Sat 26th Nov....70's and 80's Fancy Dress Disco in aid of the Captains Charity...It is a good thing it was for charity as it will be a very long time before I can get rid of the image of John Isaac in a white lurex bodysuit!!! There were some surreal moments.....the two tallest people on the planet, Matt and Steve Howarth turned up in outfits that made them even taller....Matt as the Pink Panther and Steve in some leopard print gear but with 4" heels on his shoes!!! At one point, he swapped the 4" shoes with Nick "George Michael" Hawker and still towered over Nick......The wacky races were well represented as Lynn turned up as Penelope Pitstop, Vijay as Dick Dastardly and I was one of the more obscure racers, Penelope's boyfriend Peter Perfect, but after a bit of a go at the green chartreuse, Peter was somewhat less than Perfect by the end of the evening!! Richie, we felt, was absolute genius, but he rather spoiled the effect announcing he was Little Magnum, whereas we had all taken one look at the rotund, moustached (using the tache grown for Movember to good effect there) character and instantly thought "Frank Cannon"!! Braddy was there, but I'm not quite sure who he was supposed to be........oh hang on...just got it....Terry Waterman....Minder....except in a stroke of genius that I have only just realised, he was playing him as the miniature version lampooned in Little Britain.....Captain Dan was Bernie Clifton, in a dinner suit with the ride on bird.....which absolutely is required to be worn at the County Dinner on Friday evening, can you imagine that??  The entire great and good from the Bedfordshire Golf Clubs, the Chalgrave contingent resplendent in their dinner suits, being led by a bloke riding a yellow ostrich!!! That might, just might, finally erase the memory of Kev Clinton and the Miami Vice suit from a couple of years ago......

 

Fri 25th Nov....well its getting late in the day, I have spent most of my life in sales and I can tell you that probably the least likely time that you will get an appointment from a cold call is going to be after 4.00pm on a Friday.....so when I get a call from a lady who launches into a high speed sales pitch as soon as I say hello, selling me the virtues of her company's 2012 diary for our club members, you will understand that I was somewhat less than enthusiastic about letting her have an appointment to see me next week........."I can't book you in to next week at the moment" I said. "Why not???" she asked......." I don't have a diary!!".....I can tell you that she definitely did not have a sense of humour.....

 

Tues 22nd Nov.... I love Tuesdays, really, the propensity for witnessing unique levels of humourous activity is really almost infinite.....and following on from Bill and his practicing last week, there was a whole glut of them out there this morning, including Senior Vice Capt Ken Goodland and Frank Howarth. Now I have been fortunate enough to see Derren Brown in a live show and I was staggered at what appeared to be an unswerving ability to make people do a certain thing simply by focussing the power of the mind......and I am now concerned that I may have some element of this power myself....I noticed them chipping balls onto the chipping green, Ken at the top by the clubhouse and Frank directly opposite him at the bottom. The thought flashed through my mind, "if ever there was a moment to thin a chip...." and before I could get any further, Frank, having chipped the previous 30 odd balls perfectly, fizzed one across the green just missing his next years Captain.....now Ken used to land jumbo jets so is not easily flustered and either completely ignored the event or actually didn't see it as he was concentrating so hard on his own chip......I am pretty certain that the thinned chip that fizzed back at Frank was unintentional........but....... it was very funny! The power of my mind is clearly a factor and I will have to learn to be careful......come to think of it, Sunday just gone, I partnered Mick Parrett in the House Committee Pairs. I had a couple of short putts and as I got down behind the line, I distinctly remember thinking "just outside the right hand edge", which is exactly where it went!!! Either Mick is very polite, or my mind is as  hard of hearing as I am generally, as I am convinced I sensed him think "twit" when the ball slid past!!

 

Thurs 17th Nov....a story about an enthusiastic senior and the perils of over-practicing....Bill Rayman was in on Tuesday for the seniors meet, and eschewed the opportunity to have a coffee and a natter, in favour of spending 30 minutes on the chipping and putting green....the only time he came into the clubhouse was just before the start to discover which tee he was allocated to start from...the 10th.....OK, you know what's coming don't you??? yes 2 balls in the water off the tee, failing in fact, to get within the range he had been so zealously practicing...."drive for show, putt for dough" is very much an Americanism but is very true....so how about a Chalgravism??? "Chunk from the tee, cough to Captains Charity??"

 

Tues 15th Nov.....the revenge of the top 2% continues......after weeks of whinging from the single figure guys about how it is impossible to win a competition when the 16 - 20 handicappers shoot net 60's, Matt Howarth led the way last week with his awesome gross 67, and the top 2% continued to blaze the trail in the If Only, with 6 of the top 9 places being taken by the single figure guys....normal service has been resumed as well, in that from a field of 72, only 13 players were at par or better, instead of the 34 from 80 of a month ago!! mind you it was 3/4 handicap!!

 

 

Mon 14th Nov.....I am looking through the brand new copy of the Decisions on the Rules of Golf, that arrived from Amazon over the weekend. I am looking for a particular ruling and I am somewhat baffled.....my brand new copy, gets to page 402 and then goes to page 435!! then at page 466 it goes back to page 435 again!! So, half of Rule 25 Abnormal Ground Conditions, all of Rule 26 Water Hazards and some of Rule 27 Ball Lost or Out of Bounds, do not exist in the Twilight Zone that is Chalgrave Manor Golf Club!!!

 

Mon 14th Nov...Sean Keane was chuckling to himself at the write up for 10th November...and the Altzheimers shoes, and then prepared his gear to come up to the club for a round....clubs, trolley, balls, glove, jacket...where are those damn shoes????I had them on Thursday, I remember cleaning them .....b*ll*cks......its not so funny now......Oh yes it is!!!!

 

Thurs 10th Nov...more evidence of the Altzheimers brigade in today..... last thing before I lock up, I retrieve a pair of golf shoes which have been left outside....well that's not too bad I hear you thinking.....well yes it is!! They were on top of the air cleaner in the corner of the clubhouse. They were perfectly clean. So someone changed out of them, walked back to the air cleaner, meticulously cleaned them one at a time, placed them on the top of the machine, and put the cleaning nozzle back on its clip, then walked off and left them!! When they are claimed, I may advise you who it was!!!!

 

Sun 6th Nov....the medal, and the glut of amazing scores continues, but Matt Howarth has ruined the argument and whinges from the worlds top 2% brigade, who have been complaining, (quite reasonably I felt) that they had no chance whatsoever with these scores as they would have to break the course record to have a shout on countback....and then Matt goes and does it, shooting 46 stableford points off a 5 handicap!!! Cheers Matt!! Thanks for that!! Seriously, I am inclined to go out and buy a hat, just so I can take it off to you!! Will it go down as an official course record?? Not sure yet, that will have to be another discussion, as winter rules were in place and pick clean and place would normally mean such scores are excluded....but whatever way you look at it, a gross 67 is a round of a lifetime!!! It was all happening out there, as myself, Donny and Spam played with Noah, who came second with 44points....on the 8th, Noah putted up to the hole from some distance way, and to mark and retrieve his ball, he had to straddle two lines of putt from Spam and myself...Spam was already crouched and lining his up, when Noah straddled and crouched in a rather strange way......you know what my hearing is like, but I could have sworn that Paul said something about Noah's ark!!!

 

Fri 4th Nov.....heavy rain overnight, first we have had for a long long time.......phone rings....."is the course open??" It is clearly going to be a long winter!

 

Fri 4th Nov......even more news from last weekend......Steve Howarth had a storming round, amassing 45 stableford points under normal scoring, which he gave great credit to his new Garmin Wrist GPS yardage guide (which I can get for you at a discounted price....RRP 179.99 but I can get them for you at about 155......and you can get 45 stableford points every time yourself then!!!) but unfortunately he had taken it off his wrist by the time he was drawing the trick or treat balls and his accuracy suffered a significant drop at that point as he selected a - 16 pointer for his trick.....Pete Graydon also using the same Garmin wrist and he had a storming first 6 holes.......and then it packed up and so did his golf....apparently he got his from Tesco on Clubcard Vouchers!! Should have paid cash then Pete!!!

 

Tues 1st Nov......more news from the weekend....just after the news that there are now no restrictions on the value of a prize for a hole in one.......Joe.....didn't get one....but Pete Nichols did, recording his ace in the Halloween Handicap on the 7th hole......he then pulled off a remarkable double, by drawing that ball as his first treat, doubling his stableford score to a 10!! Considering that he started with a normal score of 43 stableford points, this should have made him re hot favourite to take the title, but he blew it by drawing a birdie 3 points for his trick which reduced his score by 15 points!!! He had the highest increase and also one of the highest decreases!!

 

Mon 31th Oct....well the alarm works.....we have had an upgrade of the clubhouse alarm system, the installation was mostly complete by the time I left at 5.30pm, set the new system and went home. I am sitting peacefully at home, 7.45pm, when my mobile rings and Mick Yule is on the phone asking what the alarm code is....now this is a somewhat unusual request, as I am not in the habit of repeating alarm codes over the phone and my first thought in the process was "what the hell do you need that for anyway??" "Committee meeting, Derek needs it to switch the alarm off" Ah!! I had completely forgotten that there was a meeting, Derek had arrived to find the building in darkness, and had used his keys to open the door, to be confronted by an alarm he had never seen before....."Dont open the front door" I said to Mick.."Too Late we are in" ...the home phone landline started to ring....I said to Lynn..."can you answer the phone to ADT please????" and indeed I was correct!! The police arrived at the Club before I did as well, so it was by far the most exciting Committee meeting we have had for a long time!!

 

Sun 30th Oct.....the end of a tough weekend for Dave Holland.....now Dave is one of life's eternal optimists, getting the clubs out and heading to the first tee with a sense of anticipation and excitement, that out there somewhere on his round of golf will be a few decent holes and a par or two. It is safe to say that Dave goes out to play golf will the objective of having a good time and winning is not something that is really on the agenda (the single figure boys are starting to think the same thing after 2 competitions with Nett 61 and 50 stableford points!!!), but I digress as usual and we return to Dave's Halloween Nightmare.....on the Saturday, in the Halloween Handicap, if the scoring had been a normal stableford system, Dave would have propped up the competition with a 16 point total, but this is no ordinary competition...the trick or treat handicap is a fiendishly complicated system which baffles all that play it!! After completing the round, the player is asked to draw 3 balls which are numbered 1 to 18....the first ball is a treat and the stableford score for that hole is doubled ...... a nett birdie 3 points becomes 6 points.....ball 2 is also a treat and the score for that hole is tripled.....a nett birdie 3 points becomes 9 points...and finally ball 3 is the trick.....whatever the score is on that hole...it is QUADRUPLED and becomes a MINUS so that nett birdie 3 becomes a -12...except it doesn't....(I told you it was fiendishly complicated!!) because the three points you started with, quadrupled and turned into a minus, now does not exist on your card....so in fact it has the effect of becoming a -15!!! (two players, Steve Howarth and Jack Beaney excelled themselves....Steve Howarths magnificent 3 nett 2 on the 11th and Jack's 2 nett 1 on the 15th both were drawn as the 3rd ball for their cards.....resulting in the 4 points scored becoming -16 but that of course becomes a -20!! Steve had 43 points on normal scoring...so that rather stuffed him!!...I have of course digressed once again.....so back to Dave.....18 holes,  8 of which were blobs, but regrettably, the ball selected as ball 3 was not one of them. In fact it was one of the more rare 2's, which quadrupled to a -8 but has the effect of becoming a -10...which in turn gave Dave the dubious honour of having -2 points for the back nine!! This in turn, almost, but not quite, enabled him to join Joe and Weedo in the 7 point club as he finished as a single figure golfer with 8 points!!! It makes you realise exactly how badly you have to play to get 7!!! You would think, really, that it could not get any worse that weekend, but it did.....On Sunday, in the friendly roll up, Dave had charged around the course but by the time the 17th arrived he was visibly tiring.....his second shot, struck with unerring accuracy, found the bottom of the ditch across 17. He elected to play it and chunked it a few yards further up the hole for 3.  About 160 yards to go...maybe a famous recovery could be achieved. The clubhead made glorious contact with the ball, the ball flew hard and straight.....at the 1" thick 150 yard marker, slammed into it and rebounded exactly straight back past the bemused Dave, who turned and was just in time to see the ball drop straight back into the ditch that he had just got out of!!! Those of you who have read the recent exploits of Mrs Hawker, will understand what Dave has achieved here....Cally merely managed to get a ball 1.68 inches in diameter into a 2" hole.....Dave hit a 1.68" ball onto a rounded stake almost half the diameter of his ball, and the two perfectly rounded objects impacted EXACTLY in the centre of the two rounded surfaces, allowing the ball to come straight back past him. 2mm either side of dead centre, the ball would have deflected left or right. So there you are...Dave Holland, single figures and precision ball striker all for the wrong reasons on the same weekend!!  As a footnote, the Halloween Handicap was won by the most innocuous of score changes.....Barry Saunders managed to get a double up on a 4 pointer to 8 and a triple up on another 4 pointer to 12 and then managed to draw out a bogey 1 pointer to quadruple for his minus, taking a modestly placed 38 points to a potential match winning 45. Dave Burden doubled a 2 pointer and also tripled one as well for his......and then, having blobbed just one hole on the entire course, drew that out as his trick, meaning the zero stayed at zero.....which was enough to win on countback!!

 

Tues 25th Oct...the seniors are in today for their AGM, so they are playing 12 holes, getting in at about 11.30, to allow them plenty of time for the AGM...no I don't know what they are doing with the rest of the day either...but clearly there is not enough hours in the day to play 18 holes and discuss their sections performance over the past 12 months......but a story from last week comes to light in the general discussions as everybody mills about waiting for something to happen.....Ron Gray has his own personal buggy, one of those single seater ride on buggies. They are a bit counter productive really, supposedly it is tough to walk 18 holes but Ron must have the strength of a Russian Lady Shot Putter to get that thing in and out of his car!!! Anyway, last week, as he came down the 9th hole, the single bolt which holds the front section to the back section, sheared off, and the two sections parted company. Those of you that remember the glories of Dastardly and Mutley in the Wacky Races, will immediately be able to picture Mutley being despatched to saw 95% through the bolt, snigger to himself, and withdraw to a safe distance to watch the carnage. I am now trying to fit Ron to one of the other characters, but seeing as he is a single on the buggy, I can only get him to be Penelope Pitstop.....which is an image marginally funnier that the sight of Ron's buggy splitting in two on the way down the 9th.....

 

Mon 24th Oct....the powers that be in their ivory towers at St Andrews have been reviewing the Rules of Golf and the Rules relating to Amateur Status. Finally, the moment Joe has been waiting for (as Paul Northcott so perfectly put it in his email to me....) as the R & A have removed the restriction on the value of a prize that you can receive for achieving a hole in one. No longer will you have to refuse the keys to the Lamborghini so that you don't give up your amateur status. You can keep the amateur status and the Lambo now as well........so Joe, who has been holding back for all these years, now is a free agent to go out and hole that tee shot without fear!!!! Watch this space!!

 

 

Mon 24th Oct.....The norm here is that when someone does something particularly daft, I get an email, a written note (from their "friends"!!) or even people make a special trip to the club to deliver the information verbally.....which is just what you what you would expect.....and then occasionally, just occasionally, you get a self confession....and you read it and think...but why tell me???? Where else is it going to end up other than gracing the news page????....so read on and see for yourself!!!...Cally emails me to ask if we can help her retrieve her golf ball.........accompanied by the following description......

 

I was playing my shot onto the 11th green and my ball finished up about 2ft below the marker post in the hazard.  I decided it was playable (!!), and removed the yellow marker post.  My chip was not successful and went about 2.5 ft up the hill, and promptly rolled back into the hole left by the marker post!!  To make matters worse I could then not retrieve my ball from the hole and even worse I couldn't put the marker post back in the hole!!!!!!!  Apologies - any chance of getting my ball back when the greenkeepers dig it out????  Needless to say, I "blobbed" the hole.

 

Now it would have been easy to type..."I had to take a marker stake out from the front of the 11th and I could not get it back in. Can you please ask the greenstaff to replace it for me?" OK the ball would not have been retrieved, but dignity would have been intact...and what would the ball have cost??Was it a brand spanking new Pro V1 at about 4 each?? well it must have been hit twice...because I would struggle to carry the pond on 11 from the tee, so even if it was brand new on the 11th Tee, it had been hit twice at least....but it may well have survived the entire front 9, or even been carried over from a previous round....In my experience, the ladies don't lose that many balls, they just keep whacking it down the middle of the fairway, so they eventually wear the dimples off rather than lose it!!...Anyway, I digress.....so I am now picturing the scene, where Cally, dressed as all the ladies are, in their smart colour co ordinated golf gear, not like the blokes who pick the top item off the shelf in the wardrobe and match it with the crumpled jumper that has been screwed up in the golf bag all summer, but it is a bit colder than expected so what the hell.....(digressing again) ...so Cally carefully scrambling down the steep bank in front of the 11 th green, taking a stance on a slope at an angle of about 70 degrees, trying not to slip back into the water, having first risked the manicured nails by removing the marker post (yes you can take it out, only OOB posts you have to leave alone - ask Bob Albery!!! - old joke, see about 3 years ago for that one!!) but even taking the post out on that slope is not a great plan, as it is probably the one thing that might save you if you slipped!!!.....digressing further..... and then finally achieving a small miracle......the object of the game is to get your ball, which is at least 1.68 inches in diameter into a hole that is 4 and 1/4 inches in diameter. We all know how difficult that is. So to get that ball, 1.68 inches in diameter, into a SQUARE hole that is 2" across, so the target is no more than 20% larger than the actual size of the ball!! is quite frankly the work of genius. You have more chance with the ping pong balls and the glass jars to win a goldfish at the fairground!!. So finally, we arrive at the gist of the story, which is that the post has not been replaced. So this morning, we investigated it. Having carried out an extensive risk analysis, we decided that a full harness and ropes were the way to ensure that safety of our staff. It is fair to say, that they were not dressed in light pastel colour coordinated gear. Forming a "tug of war" style team, we lowered a greenkeeper to the post hole, where he retrieved the ball and replaced the stake. We hauled him back to the top, and he casually lobbed the ball to Rob, who equally casually went for it one handed.....the half fingered mittens didn't help, and the ball squirmed away, bounced twice and careered off down the slope and into the pond, disappearing under the light weed growth that has started to appear......OOPS!!! Sorry!!! ...but thanks for the story anyway!!!!

 

Fri 21st October...the result of the ABL comes through and indeed there is another monster score......David Lyons, became the second consecutive player to get 3 birdie 2's in a competition round, with 2's on the 7th, 10th and 15th holes....in a round that amounted to a superb Nett 62....which was enough to secure SECOND place, as David Austin managed a mind blowing Nett 61 to win outright. These two guys have of course brought themselves to the clear attention of the Chairman of the Handicaps and Competitions Committee....as Nick had his best competition round of the year with a superb gross 74 nett 65. which left him 4 shots off the pace!!! Oops!! That could have been an error chaps!!! Clearly though, the benign Autumn with the course in such good condition has made for some good scoring....out of a field of 74 players, almost half, 33 were at par or better. At the same time last year, similar field size 77 players Nett 67 won it and ELEVEN players were at par or better!!!!!   

 

Mon 17th Oct...well I have been very busy!!! hence the lack of news....not that there has been NO news, just that I have not had time!! In facxt it has all been happening.....unbelieveable scores in competitions, Andy Warren shoots 50 stableford points, which included 3 birdie 2's out of 5 par 3's to absolutely clean up in the Competition Cup....and I hear that another incredible round occurred this weekend as well...I will wait for confirmation first before reporting it formally though!! It certainly was not my round in the Club match, where cows arses and banjos formed part of the equation......

 

Golf is still a very tough business to be in.......when you consider that for the best part of 5 months, the days are shortish, cold, wet and miserable, so all clubs have to maximise their returns in the good months to tide us through the winter period......so to perhaps put the whole thing into perspective consider this...."the accounts for the year to 30th June show a deficit of 31,760.....we lost 26 members.....we have 359 male and 60 ladies....." where is that then??? Chalgrave?? Not on your nelly....The big boys up at the Downs.....105 years old and with a lower number of members than us.....so their solution to a 30K loss whilst sitting on 700K of cash reserves in a recession?? Put the subs up again to about 1,000!!! Am I worried that they have no waiting list?? Five or Six years ago I might have been. Now?? No. I know that the quality we provide, with the package we have, at the price we charge, is an unbeatable combination. They are the ones who should be worried because I have 30 places still available!!! 

 

Fri 30th Sept.....Harry Stafford comes into my office, with mobile glued to his ear...(that's a fine then...) and indignantly saying that the Pro Shop at Finchley GC know nothing about the SmartGolfer reciprocal deal that I have set up....(now 21 clubs and growing!!)....so he passes the phone over to me asking me to sort out what is going on...Now I am surprised that Finchley don't know anything, as they have been one of the most accessible and positive members of the network....so I say hello and ask how I can explain what should be happening....within 10 seconds, the problem has been resolved....the Pro Shop on the end of the phone is the pro shop at The Shire, near Barnet and they are not in the SmartGolfer Network and have never heard of it, which explains why they were reluctant to let Harry have a freebie round on Saturday!!! I pass the phone back to Harry and suggest that he tries phoning the correct club!!

 

Messrs Glass, Emmett, Silva and Michael wandered up to Stoneleigh Deer Park GC for a Charity Golf Day...and came in a creditable 8th out of 24 teams, with Captain Glass winning just about every nearest the pin and longest drive prize they had......the team photo looks pretty good as well and then you give it close inspection....Age UK logo....with the tag line "improving later life" ...and those 4 behind it.......says it all really!!! They were in fact a team of 5....Braddy is between Joe and Alan and frantically jumping up and down behind the sign to no avail.....

 

 

 

 

Sun 18th Sept....The Parrett Hawker Foursomes....now foursomes is a real test of friendship...can you play alternate shots without losing your rag with your partner.....which is especially difficult if one is playing well and the other is not...... Dave Burden and Aqua Ray had such a round.....and remained good friends to the end, although Ray did find it overly stressful as I am told that he had a rather difficult day on the course.......within 10 minutes of completing his round, he could be found at the rear of the clubhouse.......I am reliably informed that if he had had that as a stance, he might have shot a better score.....

 

 

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the course, there was a superb example of how it is essential to understand the rules of provisional ball play, to keep the pace of the game going and to save time in not having to keep walking back to replay a shot if a ball is lost or OOB.......myself and my playing partner Donny felt this had been an issue that had been getting worse for some time, so we undertook the challenge to demonstrate the effectiveness of playing a provisional ball.....on the 6th Tee, it was my Tee shot, so I lasered a drive down the works haul road, which is OOB but has on many occasions, seen the ball come bounding back into play....(to be fair, it would have had to hit a damn big bump very hard and ricochet a long way right to make it.....but let us not digress....) so Donny played a provisional ball and took the same line with a similar result....so I played a provisional provisional and topped it to the ladies tee......Donny liked the line that we had been taking for the drives so much he did it again, forcing me to play a provisional, of the provisional provisional....at this point, we were finally up to the point where the provisional, and the provisional provisional ball would have been (but not yet to the provisional provisional of the provisional), so we searched for the first two balls, finding hundreds but not our own....we eventually holed out for an 11 which rather put the kibosh on our hopes for the competition...but we hope that our efforts has clarified the technique for playing a provisional ball for you all...... 

 

Fri 9th Sept..... I stand corrected.....Vince, who must have the antennae sensitivity equivalent to a paranoid meerkat......within 45 minutes of me posting that he has not had a hole in one...emails me to correct me on that fact, pointing out that he did in fact ace the 10th on 28th Sept 2008.....sorry Joe, I was not intending to point out the number of holes in one...or lack of....but Vince says he is nothing like you then....... (you can still make your own jokes up on that one....)

 

Fri 9th Sept....well I knew it was carnage...and that is proven as the September Medal result arrives, 41 no returns as the weather comprehensively won the battle on the Sunday, and in amongst the information is a little gem.....Vince gets 5.10 for a 2......nothing special you might think....until you look closely and see that it was on the 4th!!! Holing his second shot from 170 yards, which he didn't see as there was no sign of the flag let alone the green from that far back.......but the sudden arms aloft and shouting that came from the 5th tee gave him a clue......Vince is like Joe...(I'm talking golf here....you make up your own jokes.....) in that he also does not appear in the hole in one club......but if you don't appear there, well a 2 nett 1 in the medal off the whites on the 4th is not a bad effort!

 

Sun 4th Sept...whilst the Seniors and Dick were playing out Grand Theft Auto in real life at Woburn, here at the Club the medal was underway as well......well at least until Hurricane Irene decamped from New York and landed here instead. Torrential rain for several hours around midday was more than enough for most people, as the sunshine of 11.00am gave way to a river down the 18th green by 1.00pm. Looking at the 18th green camera there is a moment of great humour.....at 12 .52, with visibility down to about 50 yards, there is more than the rain pouring.... golfers are flooding off the course under the sustained onslaught, except for those that are clearly so close to the end that they are going to finish regardless of the conditions. At 1.25pm, with what appears to be the River Thames flowing directly over the hole, Steve Howarth tries to take shelter for himself and his trolley under the tree by the side of the 18th...to no avail as his head appears above the top of the tree anyway!! You can actually see their reflections in the water flowing across the green as they putt out and head for the Clubhouse!!

 

Inside the Clubhouse, as the rain pelts down, there are references to Noah and his Ark.... the usual round of banter and mickey taking is going on when Richie, who clearly has been thinking on the subject of Noah for a while, muses..."well what happened to the sharks??"..... followed by a brief pause before declaring "ah well obviously they were swimming!!" ... Not a lot gets past Richie I can tell you!!!!

 

Sunday 4th Sept...the Senior Masters at Woburn.....and our seniors are on their usual task of marshalling, over the three days of the tournament...two days of fine weather is rudely interrupted by torrential rain on the Sunday, with flooded greens delaying play for a while....Dick Chittock is assisting with the marshalling and is in his element.....as he is given a golfing "mobility scooter" to get about the areas covered by the Chalgrave Seniors as a"runner". Now it is not often you can get "Dick Chittock" and "runner" into the same sentence I can tell you!!! It has to be said it was not a great plan......as Dick ran over someone's foot.......THREE TIMES!!! The unfortunate victim was in fact Dick's grandson!! He had gone along with Dick and as the rain poured down around midday, he stood alongside his grandad holding an umbrella over him.....Dick repaid this kindness by driving over his foot as he pulled away and had the temerity to comment this morning (Tuesday) that he was getting a load of water down his back from the umbrella........quite frankly I am surprised the lad didn't batter him about the head with the umbrella after the third one!!

 

Thurs 1st Sept.....I am further enlightened by the events of Sunday and the saga of the 2 shot penalty incurred by Braddy......which seeing as it involves Braddy is always going to be funny and a good wind up.....suffice it to say that Mr Braddy has rung in today suggesting that he might sue the club for imposing a 2 shot penalty!! Steve Emmett has also emailed me with a much more involved description of the course of events, and as he was playing in the group with Braddy, then there can be no doubt over the accuracy of the comments......picture the scene...7.30am in the Clubhouse, all are present and correct and awaiting the arrival of Mick Moulton who is down to act as starter for this competition......but there is no sign of Mick and we try and contact both him and Don Cook who is due to take over to see if he can start earlier.......Derek and Steve Emmett decide to take the starters stuff down to the 1st Tee and try and ensure that the competition is started correctly whilst the starter situation is sorted out. Braddy is off in the 1st group, with John Natus and Steve Emmett, and arrives in the clubhouse whilst all this is going on...so he is about with plenty of time.....Messrs Emmett and Natus are on the first tee at 7.50 and can hear Braddy giving someone else the benefit of his wisdom by providing a "lesson" in the carpark!! They shout up to him that he is going to be late....but to no avail. John and Steve discuss the situation, as it it quite correct that the Rules are applied irrespective of whether there is a starter present or not....Braddy finishes the lesson and learns another one as messrs Emmett and Natus impose a 2 shot penalty for being 30 seconds late on the tee.......Braddy is not exactly chuffed to bits with this approach and different people have different opinions on whether or not the penalty should have been applied........

 

The bottom line is that yes it should be applied. The Rules of Golf have , as Rule 6, the Players Responsibilities....and Rule 6 - 3 deals with Starting Times. Rule 6 - 3a says that a player must start at the time established by the Committee and the penalty for failing to do so is DISQUALIFICATION. This Rule is qualified to allow the Committee to provide, in the conditions of a competition, that if a player arrives late but within 5 minutes of his appointed time, then the DISQUALIFICATION may be waived in place of a loss of hole penalty in matchplay or a 2 shot penalty for the 1st hole in strokeplay. This is exactly how our competitions are operated, and that there is a responsibility of all players to ensure that the Rules are correctly applied irrespective of whether a starter is present or not. If an opponent grounded a club in a bunker during the round, would you apply the penalty stroke?? Yes of course you would.

 

Will Braddy still be giving lessons in the car park next week?? Probably not....although it would be worth the entertainment value to at least ask him for some advice about your swing, putting stroke etc etc if he appears to be making his way down to the tee......

 

Tuesday 30th August....seniors again, but not in the normal way.....last weekend was the club Seniors Championship, which is always a strange one as the mass of seniors who play on Tuesdays are conspicuous by their absence, despite most of them being full members anyway these days....anyway.....Steve Braddy managed to get himself a 2 shot penalty for being late on the first tee..........ok not the first time that someone has managed that so why is that newsworthy??? Well he was exactly 15 seconds late arriving........and how does he know that??? ...because he was carrying the starters clock down to the first tee himself!! So he has a digital clock about 10" square, with large numbers, in his own hands, counting down the seconds and he knows he is close.....but he STILL manages to be late on the tee!!  Classic!!

 

Tues 16th August....a follow up from last week.......Ian Harris.....he of the played the wrong ball and NR'd (see below) tells me that he did not in fact play the wrong ball after all.......he was looking at the ball afterwards, and realised that in fact this WAS his correct ball, it was just that he did not recognise the mark on the ball as he was holding it up the other way and therefore thought it was not actually his ball!!!!!! You have no idea how difficult it was to refrain from asking if the mark was a circle........

 

Tuesday 9th August.....well the 1st word of the line says Tuesday so you will have a sense of what is coming...except that Tuesday Seniors have been quite quiet for a bit......but they made up for it today.......Doug Oakes arrives at 7.30am and immediately opens with the fact that he has left his battery behind and can he borrow mine.....mundane, normal opening really....the seniors flock in, and hire all 6 buggies for the morning.....30 minutes later 2 of the buggies are back as they have over booked and they only need 4.....they head off to the tees, and 5 minutes later, Terry Payne comes in and wants a buggy as his trolley battery is flat already!!.....meanwhile out on the course, Roger Brock starts on the 16th hole with a 10 and follows that with an 11 up the 17th!! He was playing with Tarby so one can understand how he might have become distracted, but the game ended abruptly on the 17th with a maelstrom of flying clubs not seen since the days of Adrian Purser's efforts on the 9th many years ago......RB had had enough and headed for the clubhouse...Tarby pointing out that the whites were "back here" probably didn't help matters to be fair.....the distractions with RB and Tarby were too much for Ken Goodland who was the third player in the group. After completing the 18th hole they went across to the 1st and Ken teed off from the yellows, realised his mistake.....I think Tarby might have said something but I could be wrong......incurred his 2 shot penalty and away they went as a 2 ball.......elsewhere, Ian Harris completed the 12th hole, but realised when he got the ball out of the cup that he did not have the ball he teed off with anymore.....although he did realise this before he teed off again, he did not return to replay the hole with the correct ball and NR'd. Elsewhere on the course, Frank Howarth failed to come up with an original rules breach and also teed off from the yellows, also incurred a 2 shot penalty and replayed from the whites as he should have done in the first place! After this complete and utter carnage, Senior Captain Mick Moulton stood before his assembled throng and introduced them to a new member of their section who had joined them that morning.......I headed for the office and grabbed a membership application form as I felt that if he was joining the seniors section, that he might as well join the Club first!! You may think that I have nothing better to do than to sit here and just make up stories to entertain you....you would be very wrong. The above is an entirely accurate, completely non embellished order of events from this morning!! Life here at Chalgrave is rarely dull. On days like today it is a cacophony of organised mayhem and great fun. There are 4 visitors sitting in the clubhouse having lunch having started a short time behind the seniors and have sat through the past 30 minutes with a look of bemused disbelief on their faces!           

 

Friday 5th August......another Hole in One.....and no it was not Joe......Charlie Lee aced the 10th with a sand wedge and I arrived on the scene in a buggy just moments after the shot....and was able to see the rest of the 4 ball putt out......what odds do you think there are on a 4 ball, one player taking one, one taking two, one taking three and the last player taking 4 shots to complete the hole??? What also makes this unique is the fact that this is the first ever recorded hole in hole here.....the new cctv camera is on and you actually see the ball land, and then roll slowly back down the slope into the hole......as the ball disappears, there is an extremely girly dance around the handbags celebration back on the tee!! I still have to work out the way the system works, but it has just gone to very high in the priority list to get it downloaded onto a dvd and uploaded onto YouTube.....watch this space!!

 

Sat 30th July...Charity Day dawns bright and clear, and by 9.30 there are already people milling around the clubhouse almost 90 minutes before the 1st start time is due..... A few years back, the occasional team turned up in fancy dress, now around half of the field are resplendent in some form of garish attire.....Ben David arrived in bright yellow/green spandex and a wig and looked quite normal....The Hawkers, plus Mick Parrett and Paul Northcott were a perfect tribute to Debbie Harry and the Blondie Album, Parrallel Lines, The Greenhills were the Jolly Rogers as pirates, complete with parrotts, named Mick and Don, of course.....the last years Champions followed Daffyd the only gay in the village, with Freddie Mercury and Queen. There were plenty of others as well, including the seniors section who turned up as themselves but as they sat in a small group outside, they gave a perfect impression of the waiting room at Nevilles Funeral Services!! The fines flowed thick and fast and the charity day funds mounted steadily. The golf got underway and the sun blazed down. 34 teams, 136 players made this one of the busiest Charity Days ever, and lets just say the golf was not very quick.....Dan Glasses record breaking 5 rounds in one day seemed a long and distant memory as we completed the front nine in 2.5 hours, when he completed 2 of his rounds in less than that!! Still, the day is not about the golf, its about raising funds for a fantastic local charity, and as the sun started to set over Chalgrave, the final finishers came down the 18th, the rock band struck up and we were treated to a fantastic performance from a real rock covers band. Thankfully they stopped short of wrecking the place as well!! The raffle and auction went down a storm, the bucket of balls...well that was spooky.....I was asked if I wanted to enter....well yes I have no problem with chucking money into the charity fund, but to be fair, I have dustbins full of golf balls that have been found on the course and had no desire to add to that total, so I had three goes and picked 7, 3 and 1 as being the number of balls in the bucket, which I felt gave me a reasonable comfort zone in not winning that particular item.......but what chance do you think there was then, of there being 137 balls in the bucket??? and I picked the numbers in the correct order with the units, tens and hundreds!! NO!! I don't want them!!

 

The auction threw up its usual moments of humour, Steve Hipwell generously offered to provide a taxi to the Hammersmith Apollo to supplement the two tickets to any show......and then turned pale when it turned out that one of the bidders lived in Cheshire.......another bidder for the Hammersmith Apollo tickets for the Comedy show Live at the Apollo turned down the opportunity to buy the first set of 2 tickets for 75, then declined to pay 85 for the next set and much to the crowds delight, was forced to pay 95 for the last set!! First Capital Connect provided a superb prize which enabled a boyhood dream to be realised with a prize to go on their driver training train simulator as well as tickets on the network and a set of 4 Luton Town FC tickets!! Mick Yule bought a signed Ian Poulter shirt......but declined the matching hat as the next item!!

 

Midnight came and went and the rock band finally packed up......but with the clubhouse still full of party goers, we switched on the disco, attached my wife's ipod, whacked it on shuffle and let it go......after an evening of pulsating rock, with the band still packing up their 27 tonnes of gear, the second song out of the ipod was the Birdie Song!! 5,000 + songs and it picks that!!! To be fair, the drummer, who had just battered his drums in a spectacular solo, and was busily taking his gear apart, did actually start to do the movements!! It was that sort of day and it summed up the general mayhem that is a Chalgrave Charity Day. Best of all??? Not the golf, not the evening entertainment, not the fantastic prizes donated at the auction, but the total raised amounted to a staggering 4,276. Chalgrave Manor Golf Club and all of the sponsors, you should give yourselves a huge round of applause!! 

 

Fri 29th July.....The seniors have a general ability to perform in a manner that defies all normal logic, and they have just produced a result of such consistency that it is worthy of inclusion here....they played a match against Aylesbury Vale away earlier this week, seven pairs per side and were absolutely perfect in their consistency with the final result being a resounding 7 - 0 DEFEAT!! Peter Whitton and Mick Moulton almost upset the apple cart as they took the money from the team sweep by only losing one down on the last!! Peter informs me that all players were about 25 yards from the green on the last, having taken an equal number of strokes, so it was looking likely that they would be in for a half in their match, until one of their opponents mishit his chip, thinning the ball across the green until it came to rest 8" from the hole!!! Suffice it to say, that neither Mick or Peter got their's in in 2 and the match was lost to produce the perfect result. Peter tells me there were "some" 7 and 6's !!!

 

Fri 22nd July...... oh dear, as bad reporting and phone hacking brings down a national newspaper, so it seems that the phone that I hacked into and the voicemail that I listened to to get the details of the club match defeat at Henlow was incorrect.....I'm not saying who said this, as a journalist always protects his sources, so i will just give you the quote and the player can remain anonymous...."I was only following orders, he is the President you know" Apparently, in the monsoon conditions, the "honourable half" was agreed adjacent to the Clubhouse on the 12th tee, whilst one up, not on the approach to the 18th green when one up.....

 

Sat 16th July.... Dan Glasses 100% record falls in the torrential rain at Henlow as the Club match side is defeated 3.5 to 2.5......but the defeat was a strange one as we lost whilst ahead or at least tied!! With two matches home even if they were not very dry, and El Presidente Gibson and Pete Graydon 1 up as they approached the final green, it seemed that all would be well for Captain Glasses great start to the year...and then the heavens really did open and Gibbo/Graydon offered their opponents an "honourable" half and refuge in the clubhouse in favour of completing the hole and hopefully an outright victory. Regrettably, this was to cost them dear as the subsequent half was not enough to see the side over the line, or even get an "honourable" half in the overall match! 

 

Thurs 14th July.....Apples arrives and spends a bit of time watching the start of the Open before venturing out onto the course to see if he has been inspired by what he has seen on the TV....he has also invested in new special sports insoles for his golf shoes, to provide added comfort as he pounds the fairways......but clearly as he tracked across the back nine, these were not having the desired effect as the complaints and whinges about aching feet were increasing hole by hole, until finally after 18 holes he capitulated back at the car, and said he would be taking them out and never using them again.....but as he removed them from his shoes, the original insole came out as well........yes Dave, it would have been a good plan to remove the old ones before you put the new ones in, but in not doing so, you probably made the shoe about 2 sizes smaller and tighter than they otherwise would have been.....you don't fancy joining the seniors section do you?? This is exactly the sort of new inspiration they are looking for!!!

 

Tues 12th July.....Joe Silva seems to be recovering well from his bout of "iffy" shots which has plagued him for a while, or at least that is mine, and John Gibsons experience.....I was out on the current 14th, with Joe playing in a group that included El Presidente on the 8th hole. Joe had pulled his tee shot just left of the "brazilian" the thin strip of rough that separates the two holes....and El Presidente had already played his second and was through the 150 yard markers in the middle of the fairway, clearly feeling that this was the safest place to stand whilst Joe was over the ball........I was watching with a keen eye, to see if there was any sign of the Silva golf swing returning.....and the club came back in a smooth flowing arc, the shoulders rotated, the power was built up and the clubhead commenced its downward return path.....the swing was as smooth on the return as it was on the takeaway, the almost imperceptible  click of the golf ball on the clubface, and the ball headed off on a low penetrating flight like an exocet missile......Gibbo was like a rabbit in the headlamps.....he must have felt like William Tell's son standing there with an apple on his head. The ball tore past him with very little to spare......"damn, missed him!!" came the voice from further back down the fairway!!!    

 

Sunday 10th.....OK the one in a blue moon occasion is here and I will actually write about the golf!!! Today is Club Championship day. 36 holes strokeplay off the whites, lowest score wins. No handicaps, just the number of times you hit the ball counts. 36 players competed, and astonishingly, 13 of them recorded a 2 somewhere on either round, making the 2's payout the lowest ever known at 1.15 for a 2!! Estevan had a "game of 2 halves" with a worst round of the day gross 98 in round one, and then took 22 shots LESS in round 2 with a very tidy 76. Colin Barden came off after round 2 saying he was contemplating retirement from Golf having had a lifetime best round with a one under par gross 71, to go with his 81 from round one and finishing in 3rd place. Colman Horgan recorded 2 round score of 148, which would have been enough to win last year, but this years Champion, is 17 year old Lewis Adams, who set a club record for the lowest score over 2 rounds with2 rounds of 71, to finish 2 under par on 142 strokes. The victory margin was 6 shots and this is a superb achievement by the young man. My congratulations to all who participated and to Lewis on his victory.

 

Sat 9th July......Captain Glass continues to rub salt into the wounds, as he maintains he completely opposite record to Joe, who also had a 100% record in Club matches.....by winning 2 out of 2 in the match against Beadlow!!!

 

 

Thursday 7th July... Darren Adams - Greenkeeper comes wandering into the bar, dripping from head to toe due to the monsoon currently over Chalgrave Golf Club. He asks for Steve, and I reply he is in at 10.30, so he can come back then. He does stop for a quick chat with myself, mainly on the topic of his new found golfing abilities. He tells me that he has aced the uphill par 3 15th with a 5 Wood, with witnesses on the 13th Tee. Yes, that's right... even a greenkeeper can beat Joe Silva to a hole in one.

 

Tuesday 5th July... With Steve on the front lines in Brighton dealing with houses, I saw it fit to update the news page and clear the tumbleweeds. As expected, Tuesday is Seniors Day. Always a bit of banter with the seniors - such as Ken Cavendish tripping over other seniors as a new method of greetings. John Steele however came up with the best humour of the morning. He emerged from the hallway, skeleton in hand which was covered in gaffer tape and missing a leg. He approached the middle of the clubhouse which was packed with seniors, rose the skeleton in his right hand and said "Gentlemen! This is the last man who played with Dick Chittock!" It was fairly funny, even Dick managed to crack a smile!!

 

Thurs 22nd June 15.30pm, Job done, finished...5 rounds in a single day and the last round was the slowest as you might expect....but right on the button of 3 hours for 18 holes....staggeringly, the scores for the final 2 rounds for Dan were 32pts and 29pts and for Dave the scores were 31 and 32 points. Astonishingly, Dave Weedon beat Dan Glass over 5 rounds, played in 11 hours and 35 minutes, by one solitary single stableford point. Dan was 15 over par to handicap and Dave was 14 over!! They sat in the bar afterwards and the first pint of Magners never even touched the sides.....I did ask if they fancied the 9 hole competition which was just starting to get busy, but I didn't get an answer to that one!!!

 

Thurs 22nd June, Chalgrave Golf Club 3.55am Dan Glass and Dave Weedon tee off from the 1st to start their attempt to play 90 holes of golf in a single day....they complete the first round in 1 hour 45 minutes, the second in 2 hours 15 and then speed back up for the third to 2 hours and 5 minutes.. they are on the 4th round already and it is only 10.00am!!! You might think that they are running round or in buggies......no, they are carrying their clubs and walking round.....and you might think that they are just getting to the ball, belting it again and rushing after it.....no Dan is off 12 and Dave off 9. Stableford scores so far, Dan 35 pts, 35 pts 34 pts and Dave 35 pts, 36 pts and 32 pts!!! You have to ask how can it take 5 hours to play golf????

 

Thurs 22nd June....golfers beware......I have a message on my desk from yesterday saying that a bag of dirty laundry has been taken from the boot of a car whilst the club member was out on the course!!! I am asked to review the CCTV evidence to see if I can spot the knicker nicker.....then I find another message saying don't worry, please ignore the previous message as the bag of washing was found at home......but I consider this to be even more serious as clearly the miscreant who nicked the knickers then, by an unbelieveable coincidence later that day, broke into the house of the club member and dropped his earlier swag in the process. The b*stard might at least of washed and ironed it first!!

 

Sat 18th June....Dan Glass's debut as Club Captain in the match against Beadlow....and a seriously hard act to follow....with Joe having failed to win every match in the previous 12 months!!! Things did not start well, as I had forgotten one minor thing, despite ordering and collecting all the food in for the match, I had forgotten to tell Georgia it was an early start, so Mick Yule jumped into the breach. The previous week, Mick had worked miracles with the Clubhouse electrics to save the day on Captains Day, but this was a far tougher assignment, made worse by the fact that he was sober this time!!! As you would expect, Alisdair and Mick knocked up the required 24 bacon rolls in double quick time and battle commenced. Captain Dan took Jose out with him, and the intrepid pair were 2 down after 5, which Joe would probably see as a great start....elsewhere, Matt Howarth and John Natus were also down but others were pulling hard and the match was evenly balanced as the midway point appraoched......The tipping point came on the 7th hole where Mick "electrified bacon rolls" Yule drew back a smooth 6 iron and saw the ball soar gracefully into the air, land softly on the green and fall in for an ace....the mans talents are never ending....this inspired the rest of the side and Joe suddenly found himself in unknown territory when he and Captain Glass went one up!!! The shock was so severe, it threw Joe's swing right out of kilter and they went two up....finally running out winners 2 and 1. Ace Yule and Braveheart trounced their oppos 4 and 3, Soft Hand s and Donny won 2 and 1 , Matt Howarth and John Natus snatched a half and el presidente and Pete Graydon won "cough" 7 and 6!! Darryl Bazeley and wee man Richie just missed out with a 2 and 1 reverse, but the Club was stunned.....Captain Glass led Chalgrave to their first victory in 12 months....4.5 - 1.5 From the Captain..."Thanks Lads, I hope this is the start of many!!!" 

 

Fri 17th June.....Genius, absolute genius......Read the entry for yesterday......and then factor in the fact that Wavendon were two short....so our generous Captain "donated" two players to their cause......yes Dave baston and Dick Chittock were playing for Wavendon!!!

 

Thursday 16th June.....the seniors are playing Wavendon at home.....Dick Chittock and Dave Baston sharing a buggy, are on the 1st Tee preparing to overwhelm the opposition from the off, you know, establish that aura of confidence and dominance that will see them safely back in the clubhouse with a victory under their belts after 14 or 15 holes of matchplay......so Dave Baston sort of tops his drive onto the bank at the far side of the pond from the tee....they drive round and Dave reckons he can see the ball down on the bank, so he grabs Dick's ball retriever (and yes I had to read the last four words very carefully several times to make sure that they said what I intended them to say and not something else by mistake......) and takes a step down the bank.....now Dave Baston is one of life's accident prone people...if it can happen, it will happen to Dave, so personally, I fee what happens next is not entirely unexpected....but he slips, slides down the bank, and bends Dicks ball retriever...so he climbs back up, straightens it out and resumes the attack, with the same predictable result as he falls back down the bank again. bending Dick's ball pole (another check there!!) for the second time. Once again, he climbs back up, straightens the pole and without further ado, falls back down and bends it again.....finally the ball is retrieved and they are back in play and set off up the 1st fairway....as they reach Dick's ball, Dave says " hang on, I can't see!!" Yes, Dave wears spectacles which at some point in the three falls down the bank routine, he lost them but failed to realise!!! Now one would also hazard a guess, that Mr Baston did not unwrap a shiny brand new Titleist Pro V 1 on the 1st Tee, retailing at around 3.50 a ball.....I would think that a used many times, slightly off white with at least three grazes and scuffs middle of the road Ultra Distance was a more likely choice, which when it was brand spanking new was probably worth maybe 1.50 tops. If it has survived 100 hits, its depreciated value is such that one would question the financial acumen of Dave Baston in wrecking a decent pair of golf trousers, bending Dick's ball pole (that one is close!!) several times and losing his glasses!! You have to say that life without our seniors would be very dull...... STOP PRESS!!! THE SENIORS WON!!! I don't as yet know whether that Laurel and Hardy act on the 1st resulted in a victory for Dick and Dave though!!

 

Tues 14th June....do you remember that brilliant advert for Maxell cassette tapes 20+ years ago?? Desmond Dekker's "The Israelites" became "My ears are alight" on a series of written signboards accompanying the soundtrack, if you used poor quality tapes instead of Maxell tapes.... (OK some of our club members don't even know what cassette tapes are, but bear with me!!) Today I am in my office, with a very sore throat and have lost my voice almost entirely.....there has been a steady stream of seniors popping their heads around my door and saying hello....and when I croak back "hello" they stop and ask what the matter is.....so I croak back " I have lost my voice and can't talk, it is really painful..." So they ask "how long has it been like that then???". After having this conversation 4 times in the past 5 minutes, I have now printed myself a series of paper sheets.....the next senior came in...."Hello" he said....I raise the paper with HELLO printed on it....it takes a few seconds for him to realise that my answer is written not spoken, but sure enough the next question is "what's the matter with you??" "I'VE LOST MY VOICE AND CAN'T SPEAK" says the next sheet..."what happens when someone asks you a question you don't have an answer for then?" is the next question....."I'M READY FOR THAT, I'M SMARTER THAN YOU" is my next sheet....they are leaving me alone now.......

 

Sat 11th June.....the day dawns bright and clear, the course fully refreshed after a monsoon standard downpour overnight.....the happiest group of the day are Mick Yule, Tim Murphy and Joe Silva who have a new member to take out on Captains Day....aptly, given the downpour overnight, going by the name of Noah! It took less than three seconds after introductions for him to be asked about his boat.....but I digress already, as the day startewd way earlier than that......at 6.00am to be precise, when the SNOBS, the Sunday Nine O'clock Boys became the SSOBS, the Saturday Six O'Clock Boys, as they gathered to assist the Captain with his preparations for the day ahead....1st job of the day was to erect the instant pop up tent by the first tee, which would house Mrs Captain Glass, Mrs Vice Captain Emmett and the largest display of cakes ever seen outside of the WI, well it was a large display at the start of the day anyway!! Seven guys to erect a one man instant pop up, take it out of the bag and let it expand itself, job done.....errr no!! there is only one way that you can get this wrong.....and they did, as it self expanded with all 4 legs pointing upwards!!! This did not bode well for the second tent, to go at the back of the double green, which came complete with a selection of about 20 poles....much head scratching went on apparently, until finally an eureka moment and all was well.....just in case there were not enough cakes in the two tents, there were complimentary coffee and danish pastries in the clubhouse as Vince signed the growing multitude in as almost 100 golfers gathered for the big event.

 

At 8.15am the banks alongside the 1st Tee were packed with rowdy golfers waiting for the Captains to "drive in". This year we had a full complement, as new Junior Captain, Dan Howarth drew a sharp intake of breath from the onlookers with an absolute stonking drive, with a beautiful little draw that fizzed through the 150 yard markers, finishing perfectly in the middle of the fairway.....Senior Captain Mick Moulton had to follow that,  and managed an equally majestic drive up the 1st which brought the Lady Captain, Christine Robb to the tee. The additional pressure of playign from the yellows, plus the not exactly silent crowd of 100 people makes for a challenging moment....but again a searing drive up the fairway heaped the pressure onto Club Captain Dan Glass.....he had already had to endure a visit from George Michael on the 1st tee, we thought it would be difficult to get him here and hide him away until the appropriate moment, but once I had explained that he would have to hide in a small shed, roughly the size of a large public toilet cubicle, this dispersed all problems and the celebrity appearance went ahead.....Dan's promise that his Captains year would be a "WHAM Free" experience lasted until 8.20am on Captains Day!!!

 

The Captain stood over his ball, the crowd fell expectantly silent....until he pulled the club back to start his backswing.... the noise increased as the club came back, to a roaring crescendo as the clubface came back to the ball...the merest click of balata on titanium and away it soared, in a glorious arc that eclipsed all that had gone before, finishing ahead of everyone and splitting the fairway with slide rule precision....

 

It was time for the waiting golfers to disperse to their starting tees and at 8.45am the 2011 Captains Day Competition was underway. The Captain and his Vice were out in a buggy dispensing beer and various weird concoctions of cocktails, which meant that stops at the cake tents were obligatory simply to make some effort at absorbing some of the liquid intake!! Some withstood it better than others, Kamal nearly killed himself as he wandered back across the 9th tee, right in front of Mick Bewley as Mick played his tee shot. The ball missed him by miles, the clubhead at the top of the follow though missed Kamal by less than a foot.....and neither had any idea that the near miss had occurred!!! God help us if they ever get jobs as Air Traffic Controllers!! Matt Howarth hit the most outrageous drive up the 9th...and the 12th, but clearly can't putt or chip for toffee, as he failed to turn this massive hitting into points on the board!!

 

The sun blazed down the golf was pretty good and the day in general superb!! Eventually, we made it to the evening and 85 people were back for the Captains Feast, followed by the prize giving.....we started with Joe Silva's final act...as immediate past Captain, he presented Jacqui Shepherd from Keech Hospice Care with a cheque for 9091.20 as the funds raised in his Captains Year. Truly Staggering!! The prizes were awarded to those that were able to keep the golf going whilst the drinks flowed, and they have now all been handsomely rewarded with severe cuts in handicaps as a result!! There was one final presentation, to Joe Silva, to commemorate his astonishing achievement of 7 stableford points over 18 holes at Abbey Hill on an awayday.....brilliantly presented by Dave Weedon and Mick Yule, they started with a generous thank you for his efforts as Captain, touched briefly on the immaculate Club Match Record of played every game and lost them all.....undoubtably a new Club Record that will survive for centuries.....and turned to that fateful day at Abbey Hill..... they mused long on the fact that the pressures of Captaincy were now removed from those broad shoulders and that no doubt that magical touch with a golf club that once saw Joe score consistently in the OVER 20 stableford points range will one day return....they suggested that he sat back on his sofa, and reflected on his year of Captaincy able to forget about the seven stable points debacle, and presented him with a can of 7 UP to sip whilst he sat on his sofa!! They mused that he might want to watch his TV, so they had got him a DVD imply called "Seven"......in case he had already seen it, they also got him "The Seven Samurais"..... this they felt would warrant another drink by now, so they brought forth another can of 7 UP.....they felt that perhaps two feature films were enough so a book arrived....." The Seven Pillars of Wisdom".....This they felt would take some considerable time to read, and by the time it was read, then no doubt Joe would be somewhat peckish.....so they brought the house down by presenting him with a couple of lamb shanks!!! Only at Chalgrave.........

 

The night went on long into the small hours, with dancing and music live from Danny Senior....the raffle was a resounding success, with 660 being raised to kick start Dan's own Captains Year!!! Richie Scott won a jar of Jelly Babies...and fell in love with the Green Jelly Baby pot they came in!!! Somewhere, someone will have pictures of Richie wandering around, lovingly clasping the 1 ft high green jelly baby pot they came in, dancing with it and generally refusing to let it go for the rest of the night!!!! All very very funny....the last ones left about 2.00am ...ish!!.... and I finally made it home at 3.00am, 21 hours after I left to start the day!! About normal for Captains Day then!!!

 

 

Fri 10th June....8.45am, in the bar talking to the Seniors about their match yesterday.....the phone rings, and Mick Moulton walks across to the phone and picks it up....."Chalgrave Golf Club, how can I help you?" "I need to speak to your Seniors Captain" is the request from the other end...."That's me!" says Mick....so what are the chances of a club member, being in the clubhouse AND taking it upon themselves to answer the phone AND the call actually being for them!!! 1 minute after the call finishes, the phone rings again.....Mick remains seated this time...."It's not for you then?" I ask....so I answer it....and they hang up.....Today is going to be a long day I think!!!

 

Thurs 9th June.....Captains Day is just around the corner it has finally rained so the course has greened up, the greenstaff have been scarifying and cutting the greens even more than we normally do and they look smooth and beautiful with a couple of days still to go. The rollers will be out for Captains Day so don't leave a downhiller on the 10th!! I have a challenge for Joe Silva for Captains Day as well.....I have been trying to think what I can do for Joe as a thank you for his efforts as Captain.....not least in raising the fabulous sum of 9,091.20 for Keech Hospice.....and I have solved the problem...Joe's biggest "monkey on the back" is the lack of a hole in one......so I will solve this for him. On Saturday, just for Joe and for Joe alone, the 15th hole will play approximately 100yards to the flag......which will be located in the absolute centre of the bottom of the reservoir, which means the hole will be roughly 80 yards wide by 60 yards long and the front lip will be no more than 25 yards away!!!!!! I can't do better than that Joe!!! ...but a word of warning......if you miss it.......that will DEFINITELY make the news pages!!!!

 

Sun 5th.....and another one beats Joe as Philip Howell gets an ace in the medal..........

 

Mon 30th May...Captains Farewell and the Founder Members Tournament...as always was the scene for my annual challenge to the Founder/Shareholder and Life Members.....beat my score and I will give you a very nice bottle of wine.....18 challengers this year, and after 9 holes I was in desperate trouble...the easy nine had gone, with just 11 points on the board and that phrase about cows arses and banjos was clear in my mind.....I could see almost 2 cases of fabulous South African Pinotage disappearing from my personal stock...not good....so thankfully, things started to get better on the back nine and I came back with 20 points to rescue the situation......leaving my stock depleted by 7 bottles in the end. Paul Northcott won the event for the second time, which is starting to annoy me as he keeps topping up his wine cellar at my expense every year it seems!! Joe Silva finished his superb year in good spirits, well he had drunk most of what was left in the Captains Flask so he was full of spirit, having achieved a sum well over 8,000 for the Captains Charity during the course of his year!! Thanks Joe, for a wonderful effort.

 

Fri 27th May....another one beats Joe...as Matt Howarth aces the 10th.....and becomes the 92nd witnessed hole in one by a club member.....

 

Tues 24th May....I am back in the office on my return from the Emerald Isle, where Aidan and myself represented England against the Irish in the Annual Golf Club Managers match, played over 2 days....it had been a challenge just getting there, as on the Wednesday prior to the match, the English, despite having a potential 1800 Club secretary/managers to choos from, could only muster a team of 11 when 12 was required.....so I offered to bring Aidan which was accepted....so I logged onto Ryanair to book his flight.....went to get his passport to complete check in at the same time, and found that his passport expired in January!!! So he had to go to Peterborough on Thursday to get a new one issued one the same day!! That turned out to be least of the challenges we faced.....

 

Over the weekend, I learnt that Chalgrave is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a windy course....It is a calm, benign oasis of gently wafting breezes.... At Dooks Golf Links on Saturday for practice, it was *king windy!!!! On Sunday, day one of the match, it was a relatively calm gale force wind that was the lull before the storm that was Monday......Dooks have a wind speed indicator ...which showed that on Monday, the wind was steady at 47mph, with gusts up to 60 mph!! Absolutely impossible!!! I have played in a Chalgrave 5 club wind, but that is an absolute picnic!! On one par three, I absolutely nailed a 3 iron from an elevated tee, to a green 140 yards away. I aimed 50 yards to the left of the green, out into Dingle Bay and hit it absolutely perfectly, no slice or draw, just a low penetrating ball flight........for the first 100 yards, the ball never deviated and I was convinced it would stay on line and I would look stupid with the ball dropping out of bounds.......and then it started to move.......finally landing 30 - 40 yards to the RIGHT of the green!! Downwind, we were a driver and a putter for a 370 yard par 4.....into the wind is simply indescribable.... 

 

Mon 16th May......here we go then, the start of the Singles Matchplay KO for the summer.....and the opening match of  the tournament is Simon Ward and Harry Lyons....closely fought, all square after 18 holes.....so they return to the 1st.....Simon has honour and promptly tops it into the pond!! Harry, not to be outdone, repeats the stroke for himself so they are both playing 3 off the tee!! Any club, Harry, other than your putter would have been sufficient!! As you would expect, having completely blown it with the first tee shot, only to be given a complete lifeline by Harry in one of more generous moods.... Simon completed the hole in a 6 to win on the first extra hole....whatever you do, don't remind Harry about the pond on the first if you see him........

 

Mon 16th May...its been a busy day for me, here early to get squared up after the weekend, and then off to court where we are claiming monies to be returned following the aborted purchase of a piece of equipment back in October, where the item was described as one thing and turned out to be another.....Court started at 10.30 and finished at 12.10, with the Judge awarding the full refund, plus costs to us.......you mess with Rumball of the Bailey at your peril!!!!

 

Sun 15th May.....Captain v Vice Captain Match......Joe v Danny.....Joe still looking for his first victory in a a team match...any victory will do.....so at 6 - 1 up with 5 matches left out on the course, he was in great shape..........only Joe could turn that into a 6 - 6 draw!! Not only that, but Joe also managed to line Dan Glasses pockets as well, as Dan picked up the winners prize for the biggest victory margin, 4 and 3, over, yes, you guessed correctly, Joe!  In his defence, Joe could still have been suffering the after effects from the lads trip to Okehampton, where he survived an assassination attempt. Where the American special forces needed helicopter gunships, squadrons of marines and enough explosive to blow up half of Pakistan in their quest to get Bin Laden, Joe was the subject of a more subtle bit of targeting, more in line with the infamous Carlos the Jackal....... with absolute unerring precision, taking account of the 3 mph cross wind and the slight downhill angle, Mick "The Jackal" McGarry showed that he is a magnificent master of disguise as no one would have believed that such precision can come from such erratic normality.....the ball left the clubface and seared through the sky, cutting down Joe with the ball impacting exactly centre back between the shoulderblades..... Joe was extremely unlucky really, after all it was the first time he has been on a fairway in about 3 months...and he gets whacked when he does!!

 

Tues 10th May.....Oh I could do with a lie down..... all those Bank Holidays, all this sun, so much going on here and not enough time to keep you amused on the website..... we had the Cabaret Supper on Saturday Night, and what a stonkingly good night it was too.....a phenomenal singer, Lewis Dixon, who will be back here for the Christmas Cabaret on Dec 10th....who was ably supported by "Dangerous" Dave on the disco and the clubhouse rocked until around 2.30 am for the absolute diehards.....

 

Sat 7th May.... the Chalgrave standard of humour is alive and well... I am reliably informed that if your ball comes to rest on the thin strip of rough that divides the 8th and 14th holes at present, you are on the "Brazilian".....

 

Tues 26th April.... 55 seniors are in for the Tuesday seniors event.....which after a phenomenally busy bank holiday weekend....I opened up on Friday at 7.15am and was greeted by 40 cars in the carpark when I arrived!!! and it did not stop all weekend!!! so it actually feels quite quiet today so far!! As you would expect, there is some news to report from the seniors.....and that old favourite Dave Baston has absolutely excelled himself this morning....now you have to understand that Dave is a regular subject of these pages, so I use the word "excelled" with care, it is no good him forgetting his clubs, forgetting his trolley, forgetting his battery for his trolley, all of which he has done in the past, it has to be something of a magnitude that deserves the word "excelled". Personally, I think that standing in the bar, wearing a burgundy Chalgrave lambswool sweater, emblazoned with "Dick Chittock, Seniors Captain 2003" is even pushing the limits of the word excel!! When you take into account, the fact that Dick Chittock is about 4" shorter and weighs about 8 stone, whilst Dave weighs....well lets just say a smidgen more!!! The plan now, is to try and get the jumper back to Dick, without him realising what has gone on....next time Dick puts the sweater on, he will think he has lost half his body weight!!!

 

 

Thurs 21st April.... Seniors Captain Mick Moulton is still undefeated.....hard on the heels of the loss at Henlow whilst masquerading as Mount Pleasant golf club, the seniors went down by 5.5 to 0.5 at Stockwood Park yesterday. According to Mick, that is a massacre not a defeat, so he remains undefeated!!! I like the logic!!

 

Thurs 21st April.....well it is not like me to under elaborate on something, but Vince has corrected me on the size of the Captains Flask.......it holds 64 fluid ounces....( 3.2 pints or approx 2 and a half 70cl bottles of spirit!!) ....... nothing more needs to be said really!!!!

 

Sun 17th...The Gibson +50 competition, so there was bound to be a senior moment...and of course there was...as Patrick arrived at the 1st Tee to ask Joe if there were any spaces in the competition, to which Joe responded "No", so Patrick went off and played a social round with 2 other members from the 10th tee.....until 9.28 arrived and Roy Hall was waiting on the tee for one of his playing partners...yes Patrick!! So there is a conundrum for the committee... can you DQ someone for the next three comps for being a no show, when in fact they did show, just didn't play!! To be fair....I had seen Patrick on the Monday and I said that he had been down for the comp but been a no show........but the full story did not emerge until Tuesday when it was recounted by Roy!! 

 

Fri 15th April....the Captains awayday at Abbey Hill...a very brave choice from Joe, seeing as it was the scene of his 7 stableford points debacle last year....and a fair old crowd of players assembled for coffee, bacon rolls, and a swig from the Captain's new hip flask...well you have to see it to believe it, it probably holds an entire 70cl bottle...and Vince had filled it with a mixture of tequila and tabasco as well as other stuff I can't remember owing to my brain melting....the usual banter was flowing and Braddy was taking some stick for indulging in a stomach transplant with me.....mine has diminished somewhat over the past three months....whilst Braddy's.....well its a bit bigger than it was!!! It was a memorable day for me, as I managed to combine the odd moment of quality ball striking with a more general approach of it could go anywhere, and I combined this with a putting stroke that was consistent in its inconsistency all day....I needed to get a lesson from Don Cook, who three putted the 170 yard par 3 11th for a par!! The stroke from the tee never left the ground and ended up about 15ft away for the pin!! A poor second putt left him a 4 ft putt for par, which was duly despatched!! We moved to the short par 4 12th, where I boomed a decent drive down the middle, only to find there is a bunker 30 yards short of the green and I'm in it instead of putting for an eagle....so I set up my bunker shot, confident after such a sweet connection on the drive, and glide the club effortlessly through the sand, which explodes the ball out of the bunker.....I look at the green, through the mini sand storm, expecting the ball to drop close to the hole and run up to the cup.....no sign of it and it must be coming down by now!!! "Where is it??" I ask   "You hit the van!!" was the response from Messrs Northcott and Parrett, Chalgrave scratch team players who I had been hoping to impress with my prowess from the 1st tee...."The Van???" was my incredulous response....and sure enough, 40 yards to the right of the green, there was a white van belonging to the irrigation company and I had just clanged it off the rear bumper!! Our group finally made it to the 18th, where we could see an expectant gallery of those that had already finished, surrounding the final green. We all boomed great drives down the fairway, with mine a particularly long effort. A wedge to about 8ft for me left me a birdie putt, directly in line with the watching crowd.....As I settled over the putt, Harry Lyons frantically waved a bet of 20 that I wouldn't get it...which given my performances on the greens that day, my playing partners would have been happy to join in with if I accepted it....so I studiously ignored the barracking and money waving and settled back over the putt.....Harry was having none of it, and walked down onto the green, this time exchanging the 20 for a 5, and issued a challenge for the Captains Charity....demanding to see my fiver.....I said " Hold onto yours a second Harry, you can give it to Vince in a second or two" looked at the hole, looked at the line and rolled a nice little right to left putt into the centre of the hole......the crowd roared, Harry looked disgusted and my playing partners were, quite frankly speechless!! I had to have learnt something from Paul Northcott, who in his glorious 41 points to win the event, had putted like an absolute dream!! The rest all came up the last, Braddy taking endless stick about the tum, Tim Smith clearing the gallery with his approach shot, probably deliberately aimed for maximum effect I reckon!!, scattering the crowd as the cry of fore came in!! Dinner and presentations and a great day was had by all!

 

Fri 15th April.... Seniors Captain Mick Moulton is cock a hoop after retaining his 100% undefeated record as captain of Chalgrave seniors in the
4 - 2 defeat at Henlow.....yes I did type that correctly!!! The full result was Henlow 4 Chalgrave 2....those of you who have been to Henlow GC will know that you have to be signed into the RAF base by the home side....well Henlow Captain. Brian, signed all our seniors in, and after the match produced the paperwork which said Henlow 4 MOUNT PLEASANT 2, so in Mick's opinion, the records show that he was never there, so he can't have been beaten!! It is somewhat worrying really then, that 6 of our seniors managed to gain access to a Ministry of Defence RAF station, masquerading as Mount Pleasant members when they didn't even know they were doing it!! I do think, that I have now also solved the conundrum that has baffled the world's military powers for well over a decade now, Osama Bin Laden is probably just a Mount Pleasant member!!

 

 

Thurs 7th April...Chris Robb comes 2nd in the County Divison 2 strokeplay at South Beds and qualifies for the singles matchplay at Dunstable Downs on 14th May...I will move the trophies in the ladies cabinet slightly apart, to create a space for the impending arrival of a County Trophy.......

 

Mon 4th April...... the medal weekend has just passed, and with it another piece of Chalgrave folklore is written.....when a three ball takes 24 shots to play the 11th.....which included the gross par 4 recorded by Paul Northcott!!!!! The rest was carnage....Mick Yule, decent tee shot but shanks the second into the pampas grass and records a lost ball....over compensates with the new ball, into the rear bunker, and has a rock solid three putt for an 8.....which leave s a hell of a lot of strokes for Steve King to use up!!! Tee Shot...Farmers Field, reload, tee shot...farmers field... playing 5 now, so aims a bit further left....straight as a die...12th fairway....with the tall willows in line of sight now......these become line of shot as a failure to obtain loft sees the ball strike the trees and leave no shot to the 11th green......decides to take his medicine and chips back out onto the 12th (7th shot) leaving a chip over the trees again...except there is a bit of a failure to execute the next shot and chunks it into the trees (8th shot) ....Various expletives are being emitted and Paul Northcott is sitting by the green removing his shoes and socks.....he is running out of fingers to count Mick's score and is panicking now with Steve clearly looking like double figures.......just to reach the green!! Steve , in the trees, decides that there is no way he is going backwards again, so blasts it forwards through the undergrowth and emerges short of the green (9th shot). A little chip onto the green for 10, and a nice solid 2 putt for a twelve!!! On arrival at the 12th tee, the polite enquiry from Paul "Is it my honour then??" was met with a somewhat stony silence!! 

 

 

Friday 1st April 2011....well it is easy to realise what is coming when you see the date, but when you have arrived for a game of golf and have not a care in the world, why would you think about the date????? Whish is the way it always is and this is why we catch people every year!! After last years human remains find, we were once again in our favourite target area, the 9th Green, although this time we covered a much larger area all the way to the 11th Tee!!.....so picture the scene.....

 

On leaving the 9th green, at the bottom of the slope is a coned off area and a table with a box. The sign reads: !!!WARNING!!! The Greenstaff are eradicating the rabbit population using cyanide gas. For their safety, players are required to wear a protective mask whilst in the affected area. There is a box of white face masks used for decorating etc (or keeping radiation away in Japan!!). Further down the path are bright orange knapsack chemical sprayers, water containers for decontamination at various points, and occasionally, the greenstaff appear in full face respirators shouting gibberish through the respirator at anyone who has not got a mask on, and giving a thumbs up to those that do..... there is another box and sign on the 11th Tee...asking them to leave the face mask in the box and thanking them for participating in our April Fool!!!

 

So did we catch anyone??? You bet we did!!!

 

...and news has just reached me that the mad scotsman, Archie, Junior Marc Davis, and Paul Mullen on his first round for months, have all fallen for it.....and pictures will be available soon!!! On being told that they had been caught out, I am reliably informed that Archie can be quoted as saying...    

" I feel like a right t*sser!!"

 

Regrettably, Archie removed the mask before we could get a photo, but I would like to thank the local wildlife for co-operating so well with our prank....as Archie/Marc/Paul left the 9th green, a rabbit was seen running away down the slope...Archie quipped that it looked pretty scared....30 seconds later, he comes across the cyanide gas sign and puts 2 and 2 together to make 5.....clearly attributing the rabbit with sufficient intelligence to be able to read my sign, but stupid enough to be caught out by the April Fool as well...(well it was running away looking scared wasn't it!??). This situation was then reinforced by a squirrel, seen in the woods, which apparently "looked ill"!!! I tell you, I could not make half this stuff up if I tried!!.....

 

Marc Davis may lead the Golfer of the Year table at present, but he also is clearly in line for "Most Gullible Junior" as the picture below shows.....

 

 

Mon 28th March...the competitions are getting booked up very quickly, there is massive interest in them, which really bucks the trend in golf to be honest....but then that can be said about this Club quite a lot!! Some people are clearly more determined than others to get into competitions....Graham Taylor put his name down as 3rd reserve for the Apple Designs, despite already being drawn in the main start times!!

 

Thurs 24th...Seniors 1st Home match of the season, against Caddington......and quite possibly a record for the seniors is established, as they fail to lose for the first time in a long long time. Certainly, I am pretty sure that you would have to go back a long way to find a Senior Captain undefeated after one match!! It wasn't perfect, but halving the match was a great victory by our standards!! It was also so easy to wind up the Caddington guys....there were a few ex-Chalgrave amongst them....and the question was asked of me "can we get involved in the free reciprocal golf that you have?" "Yes, absolutely no problem" I replied.   "Great, how do we do that then??"   "Rejoin......" well they asked........

 

Tuesday 22nd March....Tarby and Moulton are fast becoming a double act.....not least because for whatever mad reason possessed him, Mick Moulton is currently allowing Tarby to be his lodger.....Mick now spends more time up here at the Club, as he needs an excuse not to go home to listen to the constant outpourings of random drivel.......things clearly are affecting them both......I only found out that Tarby was Mick's lodger this morning, 5 minutes AFTER I saw them arrive at the Golf Club, with them both arriving in separate cars!!!

 

Sat 19th March...The Annual Dinner.....at 5pm all is plain sailing....the trophies are polished, the tables are laid and everything is ready to go.....7.15pm ....normal chaos has resumed as the computer crashed an hour earlier whilst printing the seating plan, and I am delayed in arriving....eventually, I am able to get everyone into their seats and we are back on track. Dinner was excellent, the presentations went the normal way of good natured joshing, as Steve Braddy was awarded the Ladies Matchplay KO Trophy....but by the time we got to dangerous Dave on the Disco and the bar had taken its usual battering, the party was into full swing and all was fine....the usual level of banter was going around... and I had a very surreal moment with braveheart.....At the best of times I can make out maybe 1 word in 10 as I really struggle with the scottish accent...especially after 8 scotches and a few ports...and then Tim spoke french!! all of a sudden, the clouds parted and I could understand with lucid clarity....   maybe I'm not deaf, maybe I'm French!! even that would be a bit of a struggle as I only got a grade 1 CSE at school!! Can't have been all bad, I got home at the "normal annual dinner lock up time" of 4.30am...which was a bit of a pain as I had a plasterer due in at 8.00am!!! You can imagine how pleased I wasn't when we finally got hold of him at 10.00am to be told he had changed his plans!!

 

Tues 15th March.....oh goodness me....the seniors are excelling themselves today......Eric, Dick, Brian and Ron are all in great spirits as we have allowed them to take out a buggy each today, ending their winter of no golf as they have to have a buggy. This is a special dispensation for them, the buggies are not yet back on the course as a permanent availability yet.....so Eric gleefully trots off down the carpark to get his buggy..... 5 minutes later, he is back in my office, as he has lost the key, that he was brandishing above his head as he went down to get it!! We know this because the keys are attached to big music CD's as key fobs, to try and persuade people to stop taking them home in their pockets by mistake!! So that has to be a record, losing the key within 5 minutes of getting it and within 50 yards.....but that is not all......Senior Captain Mick Moulton is chortling away at Tarby and the missing rolex watch as the mickey taking continues..I am telling tarby he needs to absolutely empty his golf bag, take it all out and shake it upside down...it turns out that he has not yet done this!!! If it is in there, I am claiming the reward...and Mick is making the point that valuables should be carefully looked after on a golf course..........the Seniors all head for their clubs and start to make their way to the tees, so I pick up Mick Moulton's bag, complete with house and car keys, wallet, mobile phone etc etc off the table where he left it in the Clubhouse and put it in my office for safekeeping!! Its only 8.30am and I need to lie down already.... 

 

Mon 14th March...I am always on the look out for a good deal, but I have long been of the opinion that there is not a better deal anywhere on anything, that our very own membership deal.......until I went to Homebase today....when they knocked us into a cocked hat....I have been doing some decorating at home and had succumbed to the power of advertising and had purchased my Dulux paints from Homebase on their very nice 3 for 2 offer....except that having used about 1/3rd of a tub of paint at 30 a tub, we realised that the paint finish was silk and not matt, leaving a slight shine on the wall....so today I took the remaining two tubs back to Homebase to change for the matt version.....I go to customer services and tell them I need to exchange the two silks for 2 matts, and i need another matt as well now.....so they refunded the full price for the 2 I had brought back, effectively giving me the third one I had part used for free! They then went off into the shop, found me three matt versions of the same colour, and sold me those on 3 for 2!!! So I have another tub free!!! This is mad, and I told them so!! I pointed out what they had done, and they said thats fine, thats what they have to do, so I asked the staff member to go back into the shop and bring me their entire stock of Dulux on the 3 for 2 offer. They looked puzzled and asked why...I said I would bring 2/3rds of it back tomorrow for a full refund, leaving me with the other 1/3 completely free of charge!!! It finally dawned on them, but they still were adamant they were right!! ......so, if you are thinking of decorating in the next few months, get down to homebase now!!!! With a bit of luck, the money you will accumulate from this will be enough to pay for your whole years golf here at Chalgrave......and that makes a stonking deal even better!!!!!!

 

Sat 12th March...Tarby is back....looking for his fake rolex......except it is not a fake!! Bought in Dubai Duty free, it is worth a few quid, and he does not know if he lost it here or somewhere else!!! If you do find it...there is a reward......

 

Thurs 10th March..... the molers are in, and one of the "quieter" molers, Tarby is back from Thailand with some gifts for all, which appears on the face of it to be a generous thing to do, until you realise that they are all bits and pieces he has nicked off the plane on the way home.....so Clare got the hand soap, Ian Cauldwell got the facial wipes and I got the sugar sachets and the miniature spoon stirrers......now the coffee machine area gets trashed enough on Tuesdays with the seniors shaking and spilling sugar everywhere, when they put 2 spoons into a cup, but can you imagine the mess and how long it will take if the spoon is so small they need 40 sugars?? Mind you, that would be very funny for an April Fool....

 

Half an hour after they have all left, Peter gets a phone call at the bar...from Tarby..... "I have lost my Rolex out on the course, I had it this morning and now its gone!!" Peter comes in to see me to let me know....I don't bat an eyelid. "Pete, Tarby has just been to Thailand. The Rolex will be a 2.50 fake and he probably bought 10 of them. How do I know this? Because if he really had dropped a Rolex out on the course, he would not be ringing you to let you know, he would be retracing his steps from his round on his hands and knees!!" I think I'm right!! So just in case you find it out there....there is a reward.....but it will probably involve hand soap or small sachets of sugar.

 

Tues 8th March....sometimes, just sometimes, the perfect opportunity presents itself and you are able to maximise that opportunity for the greatest effect......I was working away in the office, the club was quiet after the seniors had all departed, and the phone rang......"Chalgrave Manor Golf club, Good afternoon, how can I help you" is my perfect bright and cheerful customer orientated opening line....."Good afternoon, my name is xxx from xyz Company Limited. We specialise in providing stress management services to companies and their staff......" that was as far as he got..."STRESSED??? WHAT THE HELL MAKES YOU THINK THAT I AM GOING TO BE STRESSED??? WE HAVE HAD SUB ZERO TEMPERATURES IN NOVEMBER, DEEP SNOW IN DECEMBER, RAIN ALL JANUARY AND FEBRUARY AND FROSTS AGAIN THIS MORNING IN MARCH. I HAVE HARDLY SEEN A GOLFER FOR FOUR MONTHS!!! WHY THE HELL DO YOU THINK THAT WOULD MAKE ME STRESSED????" It was a perfectly timed rant! The phone was silent for several seconds and then I got a dial tone....!! Funny, very funny!!!

 

Mon 7th March....the email in box is bulging this morning, and in it is a gem from Pete Graydon, who is looking forward to getting back out onto the golf course again after his rather severe mountain bike crash last year.....whilst browsing through the latest copy of Golf Monthly, in the letters page, he came across the following.....

 

 

So, our illustrious Captain is in fact a worldwide renowned author and master of the positive thinking. He even has a page on Wikipedia.....where the Silva Method is described "the Silva method consists of the application of positive thinking, visualization meditation, and self hypnosis " Just type Silva Method in to Google and away you go!!  Joe also has another book out shortly, " How to achieve a 100% record in Club Matches - Lose them All!!"

 

Thurs 24th Feb.....Jita is back again, for his second "farewell" of the month.....I will ring the hospital and see if they can put it off for another week, just for the entertainment value....Bob Albery emails me with another whinge from Sunny Spain.....yet another less than 36 points but more than Joe/Weedo 7 points.....Bob...you are playing golf in the sun, in shorts and a polo shirt.....we are also in shorts and polo shirts, plus about 16 layers and waterproofs on top!! You will get absolutely no sympathy from us here whatsoever!!!

 

Thurs 17th Feb......Last Thursday, one of the molers, Jita Ram, bought a "farewell" drink for his fellow molers as he is going to be out of golf action  for a while due to an operation on his back.....the round of drinks cost him 30 ish....the NHS this week have delayed his operation by two weeks.....so day, the molers are expecting him to buy them a "welcome back" round of drinks, as he is here again, and then next week, they reckon he can have another "farewell" drink.....add this to the extra cost in Associate Green Fees, the delay will have cost him about 100!! How is that for NHS inefficency!!

 

Meanwhile, the Molers will also be amongst the first to play the current 14th (old 12th) the new, new way!! The works are about to progress down to the reservoir, so the hole is now played by heading up the hill from the concrete crossover, towards the 8th Tee. A new tee position at the top of the mound, gives you a 290 yard hole played to the right of the trees, and the Out of Bounds has been moved to the LEFT of the trees, making the old fairway now OOB. The intention is to move the 8th fairway slightly to the right, leave a band of rough between the 8th and the 14th, and play the two holes parallel to each other. The 14th Fairway has already been cut once, but until the ground dries out a bit more, the 8th and 14th will be one shared fairway. Dennis Richards is distraught at the change, having only just worked out how to play the hole from the mat on the old route and now he has got to start all over again!!

 

Mon 14th Feb....Valentines Day....so thoughts turn to the one you love.....so Bob Albery sends an email to the Club as he is missing the news...complaining that I have not updated the news page in 11 days.......Bob....you need to take your wife out today, not whinge about lack of news on the news page.....anyway, part of his missive is that he says he has had ANOTHER poor day playing golf, having only got 30 points, and wants to know if he can have his handicap adjusted.....well Bob, if Nick considers a request for an increase based upon 30 points, how many shots do you think Joe and Weedo will get back for their seven pointers?????

 

Thurs 3rd Feb....an eclectic card is placed on my desk.....based upon the shots taken per hole around the course, since he started playing here....avid readers will know the name of Graham Tarbox....the only member of the Four Holes in One club..... the card shows that the highest score on any hole on the card is a 3.....of which there are only 2, the 9th and the 17th, there are 11 2's, 3 of which them are albatross 2's on par 5's and there are 5 holes in one...(one of which didn't count as a Hole in One Club entry as he was not a member when he achieved it..... making a staggering eclectic total of 17 out and 16 in for a total of 33 shots for 18 holes!!! Mind boggling really.....

 

 

Tues 1st Feb....News from the weekend just gone.....and an example of typical Chalgrave madness......our scratch team, playing winter foursomes against Beds and County WON the match!!! Now this may seem perfectly reasonable, but you have to take into account that most of the clubs we play have been going for considerably longer than we have, and have a much larger pool of low single figure handicappers from which to select their teams....we generally have maybe one or two category one, 5 and under handicappers, with the rest being 6 and above......which puts us at a significant disadvantage.....put it this way, we had not won a match in TWO years..... and then, Scratch Captain Mick Parrett went and did what he does best, injures himself whilst skiing....fortunately just a twisted knee rather than the complete destruction of a shoulder this time....but he had to pull out on the day of the match.....Club Captain, Joe Silva, just returned for the Portugal Tour, and member of the 7 stableford points in 18 holes off FULL handicap, bravely agrees to step into the breach at the last minute.....now this is Captain Joe who has a 100% record in Club matches so far in his Captains year, he has lost them all!! So with all this going on, it is of course, entirely fitting that the team, in the absence of their talisman Captain, should take on and defeat a much more experienced, lower handicap side!! Typical Chalgrave really!

 

Mon 31st Jan....well January is always quiet on the news front...and for the past few years that quiet period has usually been broken by the Portugal Tour....and this year is no different.....there are a few stories starting to emerge, which will no doubt make their way to these pages as I get the full details....but we open with a snippet from Captain Joe.....now those who read these pages will know that Joe has had a few scores lately...at the wrong end of the scale, it has to be said, and there have been very few people who could claim to be in the "7" club...that is 7 stableford points on a round of golf when you are trying your damndest to score more......I would go as far as to say, that I would have thought that no more than 2% of all golfers could actually achieve this......so it is entirely fitting that the man who started the whole "worlds top 2%" in honour of the perceived percentage of golfers in the world who play off single figures, Past Captain Dave Weedon, should now be a member of the "other 2%" club, in managing to score just 7 stableford points off full handicap in a round of golf!!! I don't think I have ever heard an email laugh before....but I am sure that Joe's email to me with this information was in hysterics!!!

 

Fri 21st Jan...... This month has been a very surreal experience....throughout the month, and indeed occasionally in 2010, I keep getting phone calls from Hugh Kerr....well that's not altogether surprising as he and Alisdair do a number of shifts here for me.......and Hugh is, of course, a long standing member.....except that Hugh never talks to me....I can always hear him, he is in the classroom teaching away, and if I have nothing better to do, I can avail myself of the latest information often on quadratic equations or other such interesting algebraic areas of mathematics.....clearly, Hugh must be standing at the front of the class, jangling the stuff in his pockets (well I hope that he has stuff in his pockets as other thoughts are really not a road I want to go down!!) and he is hitting the send button on his phone...which for some damn reason is ALWAYS on my number....(either Hugh has only me programmed into his phone or I am being exceptionally unfortunate!! Perhaps, next time he rings and he is discoursing the semantics of the mathematical laws of probabilities, I will shout down the phone until he hears me and ask him what the probability is that he will ring me EVERY time, when he actually has no intention of doing so......there was something else puzzling me as well about these calls, there was horrendous interference every time he rang....a low, deep monotonous buzzing sound....but I finally realised what that was......that was the sound of his students snoring!!!

 

Fri 14th Jan..... well it almost slipped by without me noticing....but I was catching up with the Bonus Ball today, so if you are in it, you need make sure that your payments are up to date please...Mick Yule is helping with the collection of monies from now on as well........but that was not the news story......avid readers of this section may recall a previous entry where I pointed out that since the Bonus Ball started over 2 years ago, only two numbers have never come out on the Saturday Bonus Ball....until Merv the Swerve finally got drawn out on 18th December 2010 with ball number 40....which leaves one solitary ball which has never been drawn as the bonus ball....and that number is...........what else other than.....unlucky for some......(well Tim Smith actually!!) 13!!!! How spooky is that??? You have to go back as far as Saturday 15th July 2006 to find ball 13 as the bonus ball....and what do you think the bonus ball was the week before that??? Yup 13 again!!! What we need now, is for one of the numbers that has won SEVEN times in the same period, to agree a swap with Tim, to find out if it is Tim that is causing this!!

 

 

Tues 4th .... A non golf true story for you.... we have had a bit of an ongoing disagreement with a company over the supply of a bit of equipment, and have finally decided, before Christmas, that enough is enough and we submitted a claim in the county courts to recover the money that way. The court sent me a receipt for the submission, but omitted to put some relevant dates, the date the documents had been served, the date they had to respond by and finally the date when we could request judgement if they failed to respond, on the form for me. Knowing that these dates were approaching, I rang the court to ask for the information...the phone was answered " Good Morning Luton County Court Help Desk ****speaking. How can I help you today." I gave him the case number and asked for the dates that I needed. He said that because he was the telephone help desk, he couldn't go through to the office to get the information, but he could send them an email and ring me back when he got it. "How long would that take?" I asked.

"18 days!!" was the response. They have a backlog apparently!! "18 days to respond to an email?? That's ridiculous" I said. "Can you please put me through to the office so I can speak to someone on the phone?" "No I can't do that". "OK, If I come into the court offices tomorrow, and ask at the reception desk, can someone look up the information whilst I am there??" "Yes that will be fine" he said. "Great, can you put me through to that person on the phone now, so I can speak to the person who can look it up straight away and save us all a lot of time!!"  "No I can't do that" he said. I said to him, "you have the wrong name!!" "What do you mean??" he said.  I replied "I distinctly heard you say at the start of the conversation that you are the HELP desk!!!"....... as you might expect...I had to go into the court myself the following day where someone looked up the information in less time than it took me to type this out!!!  

 

Sunday 2nd January.... the first snippet is here.....throughout the sporting world, there are countless examples of how the pressures of Captaincy can cause mayhem with an individuals sporting prowess.....Ian Botham, Kevin Pietersen, are just two high profile examples of how majestic individual talent can be shackled and dimished by the inordinate pressures of Captaincy. Dave Weedon dropped out of the worlds top 2% for a while, but Joe, also in the worlds top 2% (playing off singles figures....8 in Joe's case)...has had a somewhat spectacular last few months....recording an all time low of 7 stableford points on an awayday at Abbey Hill before Christmas, and then improving significantly to record 15 stableford points here in the 2 clubs and a putter turkey trott. Clearly though, having 14 clubs is just confusing as Joe set what is believed to be a new course record today, amassing 10 stableford points!! Things only looked grim after the front 9, with 7 points, but at least there were points scored on 5 of the 9 holes.....the back 9 was a bit tougher as we all know, and the sigh of relief was immense on the 16th when the putt dropped for a 4 and one point to break his duck for the back 9!!! A single point on the 17th as well meant that the pressure of single figure golf, Captaincy and potentially single figure stableford was immense on the 18th tee....but Captain Joe rose the the challenge majestically, holing a putt for a 6 and another point to reach double figures on the 18th green.......some would say that the recounting of what must have been a traumatic round in detail is a bit harsh to open the year with..... but the for the past three years, whenever Joe sees me on the course, I am met with the roar of "Hello Hacker" even from 4 holes away.....sometimes there are just opportunities for revenge that cannot be passed up...... 

 

Sunday 1st January.... A very Happy New Year to you all......I am just wondering when the first new snippet of the year will arrive........

 

January 2011

 

Fri 31st.... Senior Captain in waiting...one more day....Mick Moulton arrives....he, Peter Whitton and current Senior Captain, Dave Baston have been conversing by telephone about the arrangements for the handover of power....Dave had just come off the phone to Peter, and then he phoned Mick...."Hello Mick, Peter here..." .....stunned silence from Mick, " er no, you are Dave not Peter!!" "ah yes" says Dave..  "sorry I got confused!!!". Ten minutes later, Mick is back in my office, and I am expecting another instalment.... "have you got a pair of golf shoes I can borrow???" It turns out that Mick has been wearing his golf shoes to walk the dog....extra grip and all that, but then forgot to bring them with him to play golf (and I think he may have worn them that morning to walk the dog before he came up!!)....it has been a very confusing year with Dave in 2010...is this out of the frying pan and into the fire though???

 

Fri 31st...I need a lie down...for the third consecutive day we are open.....you know things are were starting to get ridiculous at not getting outside to play golf when you start to look forward to seeing Zulu with Michael Caine on the TV!!

 

Thurs 30th....I arrive at work to find a very nice bottle of shiraz and a note of thanks from Steve Alexander sitting on my desk.......If he thinks that is enough to avoid his story reaching the website, then he is much mistaken.....see the entry for Mon 27th then.....

 

 

Mon 27th....There is a hint of thaw...so I come into the club to check that we have no burst pipes etc that will cause us problems.....the driveway is unbelievable, still 2 feet deep in places and my big 4WD is challenged as it fights for grip as it ploughs through the drifts....still, no one is going to be daft enough to try it in a car. 40 minutes later.....Hello, to Steve "the crap snowplough" Alexander....who arrives at my office door looking somewhat sheepish...."How did you get down here?" I ask...."I drove" says Steve. "So exactly where are you stuck then?" I ask. It appears that the intrepid Mr Alexander did not feel that the 18" deep drift up by the gate was a hint, neither was the 2 foot deep one half way down. It was the 2'6" one level with the 4th Tee that threw him sideways into the trees....a landrover?? a range rover??. nope a mid range 2 wd drive Ford...preliminary inspection shows it to be one that requires the towing eye to be inserted, otherwise I will just pull the valance off....Steve has clearly prepared for this trip well, we ll he did have a shovel I suppose, but had no idea where the eye was. Eventually, the owners manual, brand new, never been read, gave up the secret. The first stage was to drag the car back onto the road, and my big 4WD moved it 15 yards through the drift before I bogged down. I knew I could get mine out, but not with another car attached...."Would it help if I drove mine as well do you think???" was the next bombshell from Steve!! Yes, I had dragged his car, dead weight through 15 yards of deep snow. I refrained from asking if he had taken the handbrake off as i really didn't want to know the answer!!!

 

I then unhitched and took three runs back up the drive myself, to cut furrows through the drifts, attached the car back on a dragged it back to the top!! 

 

Fri 24th...Snow....Staff Christmas Party Cancelled....bugger.....it took me ages to pick a date that only 4 of them could attend!!!

 

Thurs 23rd....Snow

 

Tues 21st...Seniors Captains Farewell.......Cancelled...you will have to stay then Dave.....

 

Mon 20th...Snow.....

 

 

Sat 18th....Snow and lots of it!!!

 

Fri 17th....as usual the barking mad seniors turn up for a coffee, despite the sub zero temperatures and the 2" of snow on the ground, but they stay resolutely in the clubhouse as a biting wind zips the windchill factor into the -6 degrees range or lower!!! ...and then true hardiness is shown....Matt Feeley pops in, having driven down from Milton Keynes, where apparently they have little or no snow.....buys 2 sleeves of yellow balls from the pro shop...well that was 7 I really did not expect to take today!!! and is currently on the 1st Tee!! completely and utterly mad. It makes you proud to be British!!

 

Tues 14th Dec....the seniors Turkey Trott and the first day of the seniors new regime of NOT being here at 7.45am....finally after 15 years of them all arriving throughout the winter in the pitch black, they have decided that they will arrive at 8.30 for a 9.15am start until the middle of February when they will go back to the crack of dawn starts! So off they all trundle for their turkey trott, three clubs and a putter....with all players having to bring a 5+ value gift for the prize table.....I could swear that the same bottle of wine in the same gift bag has now appeared again for the 5th consecutive year!! Whoever wins it must take it home, put it in the cupboard under the stairs and brings it back again the following year!! Doug Oakes wins the event with 33 points, and at 1.00pm was presented with his frozen turkey....Doug is still here and the turkey is thawing rapidly!! If you stick it back in the freezer Doug, after it has defrosted, the Turkey Trott may be a more apt name than you could possibly imagine when you finally come to cook it!!

 

Sun 12th.....back here at 6.45am for the Turkey Trott.....78 intrepid players, 2 clubs and a putter....and there was a remarkable lack of big bags and big trolleys in evidence this year.....the new scorecards were out, which now show the holes on the scorecard in the same order that we currently play them....see the entry for 9th December......Cally was not happy, as she had made sure that her group were on a half decent tee, vaguely near the clubhouse when the start sheet originally went up, but had now been moved back out into the wilds with the alternative numbering.....as there was a bit of jiggling with the groups, I ended up with what is now the 12th tee, (formerly the 14th tee) vacant of all players.....and by coincidence this was the tee that Cally had selected originally to start from....and I managed to catch Nick before he went out onto the course. I said that if he wanted to take his group to that tee instead of the old 12th...that would be fine, but Nick chose not to mention this, until, as his group walked past it two holes later, he just dropped into the conversation, "oh steve said we could have started here after all......." I think a slightly better Christmas present than was originally planned is now having to be considered by Nick!! As always, the turkey trott generates some daft stories.....but even I was surprised when 45 minutes after the shotgun start, greenkeeper tony brought me a wedge that had been left by the edge of the 16th green!!! I mean, come on!! You only have three clubs in the first place.....it turned out to be Harry Stafford but he pleaded guilty to losing it the previous day......so it was left to Dave Mills, after the result was announced with 34 and two 33's as the top 3, to come into my office and query what happened then to his 35! We checked the cards, and sure enough, on the card that he marked for Pat Hayes, the markers score showed a very impressive 35 points, scoring on every hole....so we compared that with the card that Pat marked for Dave.....which showed 27 points and 4 blobs!! Quality!! 27 points it was then!!

 

Sat 11th Dec....Cabaret Night....and probably one of the best shows we have put on!! "The Unlikely Lads" provided a fast paced, high energy comedy show after our meal, and then came back and continued the cabaret as they belted out a whole range of songs from the 50's to the 90's!! Disco Daves Laser lightshow simply added to the occasion, and when the Lads finally packed up and let Dave switch his disco gear on, we danced the night away until 2.30am!!!! By the time I got home, it was nearly 3.30am, so I set the alarm for 6.20 am and had just under 3 hours kip!!

 

Thurs 9th Dec.........what perfect timing.....the weather is improving, the temperatures are coming up, just in time for the weekends fun with the Turkey Trott, shotgun start at 8.15am with just 2 clubs and a putter......the perfect timing is not the improved weather, but the arrival of the new "temporary" scorecards which have the course layout set for the current order of play. The cards are all red, so as to easily distinguish them from the other cards.....the perfect timing does of course relate to the Turkey Trott and the shotgun start......the start sheet allowed players to pick which tee they wanted to start from. Messrs Oakley, Gregory, Gregory and Turner have had a result, as they were off the 15th, which is now the old 13th tee, so they have got closer to the clubhouse....Messrs Oakley, Oakley, Barden and Lithgo, were due to traipse all they way to the 12th Tee, and they still have about the same distance as they will have to start from the old 15th tee.....Messrs Whitten, Whitten Stafford and Greenhill were on the 13th tee....which is now the 14th tee, so again really very little change......which just leaves one group, who were on the 14th tee, but now have to make their way over to the old 12th hole......Hawker, Hawker, Trott and Wade....and don't think thats not too bad, as the temporary tee is 70 yards short of where, it was....as the final hole they will play with be the old 14th, which once again will put them a long long way away from the clubhouse!! Sorry Nick!!!

 

Tues 7th Dec....What a glorious, glorious day.....yes the sun is shining here at the Club, the whole place is bathed in a thick coat of white frost, there is not a breath of wind and the course is sparkling as though every tree has a million diamonds hanging from its branches.....but enough of that....we beat the Aussies by an innings to go one up in the Ashes!!!! The seniors are starting to arrive, and they are keen as mustard to get out there....Seniors secretary, Peter Whitton and myself agree that the best way to proceed is to go out for a social knock round, with anything within one putter length to be considered a gimmee so that progress can be as crisp as the morning.....I even point out that I have a broomhandle putter somewhere which I would be prepared to hire out....which would enable the gimmee to be extended to around 5 ft for someone!! There are no takers....and only one, Peter Whitton himself, comes into the pro shop to equip himself with yellow golf balls......and even I raise an eyebrow at his confidence in only buying a sleeve of three.......9.00am an intrepid 20 players head for the tees.....2.00pm arrives, which is the only thing that has......the place resembles the Marie Celeste.....abandoned and empty in the midst of a carpark full of cars.....I scan the cameras frequently, but the 9th and 18th greens (or should that be whites??) remain solidly clear of players, as does the 1st and 4th Tees. Now bearing in mind that I am expecting some to be slower than others.....and we have not yet had the EARLY ones in.....it could well be dark by the time they have finished.....the hairs on the back of my neck start to rise as I remember that past Captain Oakes said to me just as he went out the door....."I may be a little while!!" I think he was playing with a Scot as well!!

 

I know that they were out there somewhere, I had to go out onto the course earlier and I found Mike Moulton. Bob Given, Keith Esden and Brian Gidley all searching for a ball on the left hand side of the 6th.....seeing as they were searching for a white ball, in 6" deep, heavily frosted grass at least 20 yards to the left of the Out of Bounds, yes, that is the "wrong" side of the haulage road......but it was a seven year old Topflite XL with virtually no dimples left, but would have been good for a few more years use at least.....we await the perfect irony.......Dick Chittock is in the Clubhouse as he didn't play but has come up for a coffee.....and he is going to complain to them about slow play!!!!!

 

 

Friday 3rd Dec 2010.....Cabin fever is setting in......9.00am...phone rings....."is there any chance that you will be open??" "yes" I say....."be here in 30 minutes in shorts and polo shirt. The odds on a snap thaw and heatwave are 500 million to one.......but with that ONE you just never know!!"

 

 

Tuesday 30th Nov....these seniors are clearly not of the determination of the ones we had 15 years ago...or even earlier this year for that matter... 2 - 3" of snow today and none of them have turned up....whereas in February, in 6" of snow at least 6 of them made it in......

 

A question then for you.....what has our intrepid Captain, 007 Silva and European Tour No 1 Martin Kaymer got in common?? Have they both failed to get double figures in a stableford competition at Abbey Hill?? No...... both of them are still looking for their first ever Hole in One.....with Sky Bet offering odds of 16-1 for Kaymer to get his first ever ace in 2011. I will have to give them a ring and see what odds we can get on Joe?? 

 

Monday 29th....-4 degrees, as it has been for most of the weekend...Chris Baker rings up.....is it frosty there?? No Chris. By some miracle, despite the entire country being gripped in a mini ice age, Chalgrave Manor Golf Club has enjoyed a unique micro climate which has seen temperatures soar to the high 20's. Shorts and polo shirts are the order of the day. Chris...when you are in your nice warm drivers cab on the Bedford to Brighton run, and as the landscape flashes past with a crisp white tinge for the entire duration of the journey, and when you left your home to drive to the train depot you had to defrost your car for 10 minutes first, the chances of Chalgrave Golf Club being anything other than frozen solid as well is, one has to say, remarkably slim.....

 

Sat 27th November.....the HAGS awayday at Abbey Hill....which meant that Chalgrave was nearly deserted as the frost and light snow covering kept most people away....strangely though, as you ehaded north to Milton Keynes, the snow disappeared and the HAGS played their round....Captain Joe Silva and Vice Capt Dan Glass were in attendance....and finished a staggering 30 points apart!! Dan finished with 37 stableford points....Joe didn't get 67 points, which only leaves one other option....with a staggering 5 points on the front 9 and 8 blobs and a nett par on the back nine for a hard earned 7 points!! The jokes flowed thick and fast, Joe "James Bond 007 Silva", the bar reverberated to the drunken musical rendition of the magnificent seven, which it has to be said, was still better than Wagner, and by special request, we will be stocking 7 Up as a non alcoholic drink for a while.....unfortunately for Joe, I have already referred this to the Competitions and Handicap Committee, and they have confirmed that the score does not qualify to get 0.1 back!! Look on the bright side Joe....at least you were 6 points away from being  in a Round in One, Club!!

 

 

Thurs 25th Nov....an email from the Spanish exile, Bob Albery arrives. These are usually good for a bit of sarcastic humour, and this one is no different....

"hola buenas dias senor

two things, can you please tell me when the fixture list for 2011 is due to be published, so as i can arrange my golf tours for 2011.
secondly could you please check to see if steve bradshaw has entered me in the turkey trott on december 12th.
no mention of simon wards shorts so i guess he did not get the shots back that he was looking for.
take care see you in a couple of weeks"

 

My response was:

 

hola buenas dias pedo muy viejo. (try typing translate "pedo muy viejo" into english into the google search bar!!)
 
You should have time out there is spain to learn to count....
 
I have just uploaded the 2011 provisional list onto the website. Pretty much the only thing I am still waiting for is the mens club match fixtures to be confirmed.
 
mr braddy has put you into the turkey trott, to start off the 11th at 8.15am
 
No, simon did not turn up in shorts for the comp.
 
Please note, that is three things, not two as per your email.
 
See you soon!
 
Regards, Steve.


 

Sunday 21st Nov....yet another foray into the world of competition golf for me.....this time partnering Kelvin "Plumber" Weedon in the House Committee Pairs. We are last off with starter Braveheart....who has decided that the slightly misty/foggy conditions warrant a cunning plan, so he opts for the "yellow" ball technique to combat the difficulties of very soft ground and not perfectly clear conditions....three white balls fizz up the fairway..ish...and the yellow ball drifts off to the right hand rough....the white balls are all clearly visible, but it takes a minute or so to locate the glowing neon....the writing is on the wall.....second shot, pushes it right again, but both myself and plumber Weedon see it clear the trees and land behind the 2nd tee mat....but after 5 minutes of searching, the cunning plan is abandoned, and Braveheart relies on his white ball partner Dave Burden to salvage the hole. 2nd Hole, the plan is abandoned as a standard white ball is put into play!!!! Elsewhere, Donny and Jamie etc etc are burning up the course.....with gross birdies on 7, 8 and 9...which on the modified scoring system gives them 14 points for the front 9. They finish on 17 points.......which when you consider that 10 points won it last year, is a comprehensive and sound thrashing of everyone and Donny went off home looking rather smug....but there is a rumour that there might be a better score.....it didn't come from Scuffy, who played on his own as his partner was a no show...and accumulated a rather impressive -17 points, -12 more than last place last year. I think that will take some beating!!

 

Tues 16th Nov....well you know what Tuesday means....seniors....and more madness....it was cold and foggy here first thing , so after a short delay, off they all went, played the golf, had some eats, had a few beers and went home...usual non eventful day...until the phone rings.....Steve Howarth opens with...."you won't believe what I have left this time" !! so I say "try me". "My long johns and my socks" is the somewhat unexpected answer. I make the comment that he is probably safe and no one will have mistaken them for their own...at least I hope not!! but I head for the changing rooms anyway! I am somewhat dumbstruck to find.....nothing....so I return to the office and say they are not there, where exactly did he leave them?? He talked me through, from his arrival in the changing rooms, changing and leaving via the toilets...so I head back to check they have not been left in the toilet area....still no.....I get back on the phone...with a rather flippant..."are you sure you have taken them off?" the line goes quiet and then I get "oh they are here!" It turns out that they were safely in another bag with other clothing....but honestly, you could not make up the conversations that I have with people.....I had the rep from Greene King in my office whilst the phone call was going on, and he was of course only party to my end of the conversation, so he just knew I was talking to one of our seniors, asking him to check he was still wearing the underwear he thought he had lost and then it being found!! You could not make it up......

 

 

Thurs 11th Nov.....Simon Ward emails me to tell me I should stop moaning about the weather as he has just completed his second round of the week in shorts and polo shirt....at Golf Club De Sur (the name gives it away) where the daytime temp is a cool 26 degrees......he wants to know if he plays in shorts and polo shirt on Sunday in the Competition, can he have an extra 3 shots on his handicap to assist with the acclimatisation...personally, I think that is a great deal..........I am more than happy to let Simon have three extra shots on his handicap for Sunday, just so I can have 4+ hours of entertainment as he gradually turns blue in colour and bodily extremities start to freeze, become gangrenous and eventually drop off.....this scenario is made all the more funny when you consider that Simon is off 13, so would get 16, but the If Only is off 3/4 handicap, so he would in fact only get 12 shots instead of 10 shots!!! Sunday, 9.04 start time. Bloke in shorts and polo shirt. Don't laugh too loud if the tee shot goes into the pond and those 2 extra shots get used up on the first blow!

 

Tues 9th Nov.....back to normal....freezing cold, raining, and as I come down the drive at 7.20am, there are already 4 cars in the carpark....three of them contain seniors....and we all know they are mad.....but the 4th car was empty.....there are 4 guys from Stanmore, on the putting green practising!! They booked in for a reciprocal round last week, when the sun was shining and the weather mild.....and despite the turnaround in the weather are determined to go out and play!!! Finally, as the seniors mill around in the bar, the phone rings......it is Senior Captain Dave Baston on the line....."I have car trouble and won't be in 1st thing" is the pitiful excuse....Car trouble in this case means he doesn't want to get in it!! See you later Dave!!! No doubt the same car will start perfectly well a bit later on!! Watch this space...I will let you know if he arrives!!!

 

Mon 8th November.......what a spineless lilly livered bunch of members we have here.......or is it that everyone has just got a bit more sensible these days???? Following a night of torrential rain, and a day of it forecast, the grand number of golfers who turned up to play today was a big fat zilch, nul points, zero. To put this into perspective, even when we were 6" deep in snow in the early part of the year, people turned up...but not today.......

 

Thurs 4th November.....we are in the final throes of sorting next years fixture and competition dates......and Peter Whitton had sent me an email earlier in the week after I had given him 4 changes to make to the Seniors List...so he did his bit and then sent me a new revised list....which contained 4 errors on the 4 changes that I had asked him to make....don't worry, I am used to this....this is what makes the seniors such good new items!!! However, today I have an email from Cally, letting me know that there had a been a couple of additional changes to the main men's competitions, which rather spookily, meant that one of Peter Whitton's errors was in fact not an error, but was correct 3 days before the Handicaps and Competitions Committee had made the decision!!! Don't mess with the seniors!!! 

 

Fri 22nd Oct....the result from the ABL trophy is in....and there were an astonishing THIRTEEN 2's out of 84 golfers...one for every 6.5 players!! I had one, my first ever 2 in competitions and I was looking forward to the payout!!! Well I did have some idea that the winnings might not be as good as they could be, when Phil Lewis ran his downhiller on th 5th in from about 20ft, I followed him in from 3ft and Thomas Bennett whacked his in from 2 ft, so three of our 4 ball had a 2 on the 5th!! What was also noticeable, was that out of all of the 2's.....the 10th....medal tee on the back of the yellow mound, so about 116 yards....not a breath of wind, just flip a wedge across and hole the putt......except that no one did!! No 2's on the 10th at all......the fact that the hole was suitably protected by being cut pretty much on the edge of a cliff might have had something to do with it!!

 

Thurs 21st Oct...in bringing the bonus ball draw up to date today, (and if you have a number then I need 10 from you pronto as we have just started the next phase.....) there is a mildly astonishing coincidence...or is it more than that???? We are 7 weeks short of the 3rd Anniversary, as the Chalgrave Bonus Ball Draw began on 1st December 2007. If the number 40 comes up in the next 7 weeks, Merv Whitten will be most grateful as he has one of two numbers which have never been drawn as the bonus ball.....if this happens...it will leave one number that has never been drawn.....and what level of coincidence do you think it has to be before you think there might be something else in it, when I tell you the other number is 13?????

 

There are various comparisons/bets going about at present....so what do you think will occur 1st??? Bonus Ball 40, leaving number 13 as unlucky for Tim Smith!! will either ball be drawn before Joe gets a hole in one??? Will any of the above happen before Joe wins a Club Match??

 

Mon 18th...Not a lot surprises me here any more...I think we have managed to have so many far fetched things going on that really happen, that I am becoming immune to the ridiculous...but then there is always something that manages to raise an eyebrow......the phone just rang.....a group on the course have just played the Par 3 uphill 13th and are baffled....they are heading for the 16th tee, so the phone call is made...."is this a 16 hole golf course for the moment then??" I am, to be honest, somewhat baffled by the question in the first place....but in the end, it would appear that the group has not played the 14th and 15th holes!! They have gone from the 11th green, around the back of the 15th tees, and onto the unmade, uncovered path that continues around the back of the 14th tee and heads up towards the 12th. They have then scrambled over uneven top soil and subsoil mounds, and dragged trolleys and clubs over the side of the hardcore road being constructed to the side of the 12th tee.....at no point in this process did they, apparently, think that maybe I was asking a lot of our club membership in everyone, including Seniors Dick Chittock and Brian Gidley in their buggies, to manage something vaguely resembling an assault on the North Face of the Eiger. (I did think about using Mount Everest in that particular analogy, but I did not want to get accused of exaggerating or embellishing a story!!). What makes all this rather more incredulous......is that on leaving the 13th green and being faced with a 6mm thick piece of blue nylon rope which they would have found useful on the climb up the 12th....to rope themselves together for safety....they clearly found the rope as something being something that they should not be attempting to cross......hence the phone call!! I told them to be careful they didn't injure themselves lifting it and passing under it, and for them to go and play the 14th and 15th before heading to the 16th to finish the round.....I am expecting another phone call in about 30 minutes when they have played these two holes, because they will, of course, be confronted by another impassable rope at the back of the 15th green......

 

 

Sat 16th Oct....an email from Bob Albery..in Spain...sends details of his most recent victory......well alright he won the nearest the pin on a golf day at Playa Serena Golf Club....their 11th hole is similar to our 10th..a tee shot over water of about 120 yards...so Bob has been in Spain now for about 2 years and at last has hit ONE shot good enough to brag about...quality!!

 

Saturday 2nd October.....John Lennon is back at the Club, fresh from his trip to Newport to see the Ryder Cup, live and in its full glory......a trip of 3 hours to get there, park 2 miles from Celtic Manor, have to get on one of 4 buses along with the other 45,000 people to get to the course.....you might have noticed...but it rained.....45,000 people crammed onto 4 holes to watch an hour or two's worth of play....John and his mates gave up at 2.30 with the rain still teeming down, headed back to the busses to get back to the car park...there were only 3 running now as one had got bogged down....get in the car, get stuck in a welsh field trying to get out, finally get out and endure an 8 hour return home through horrendous traffic and weather, getting back just in time to see the credits roll on the end of the Ryder Cup highlights on BBC from when they came back out at 5.00pm!!! Apparently the PGA will be giving a free entry ticket to a European Tour event in compensation for missing a days golf in the Ryder Cup, so if you fancy a trip to the Lichtenstein Open or the Albanian Open, see John!!

 

Friday 1st October....Pete Warren & Jita Ram are neck-a-neck in the stupid stories these days....after last weeks self inflicted injuries and speeding fines from Jita, Pete Warren hits back....literally... as he welcomes new "Moler" Steve Howarth by bludgeoning his golf ball into the side of Steve's knee to mark his moles debut on the 23rd Sept!! The bruise was on display in the clubhouse afterwards....and you could clearly see the scuffed outline of a battered topfliteXL embedded in the knee....if that was not enough,  three days later, in a social round with Dave Burden and Archie, Pete shows his skills once again, as he manages to hit the 4" wide steel frame of the pylon support on the 9th, ricocheting his ball back inches over Dave Burden's head head!! So it is only to be expected, that when Pete and Jita join forces, then something truely memorable will occur......and it did....as they made their way north to Manchester for a corporate golf jolly on Friday....after a round of golf in the pouring rain, a few beers and a nice meal...they set off back to Bedfordshire......as you would exepct, the conversation on the way home was golf, Ryder Cup, golf, Ryder Cup, golf day just played......oh sh*t!!!! 1 hour down the motorway, Pete asks Jita...(who was doing 0.5 mph under the speed limit!!) if he would not mind coming off at the next junction.....Pete has left his clubs in the clubhouse!!! 

 

Thurs 30th Sept.....it is with great sadness that I have to report that we may have uncovered a fraud of Watergate proportions here at the club....as you will all know we have a wide and varied membership, from all walks of life and indeed all parts of the world.....there are many who will stand up for what they believe in, die - hard Luton Town supporters, Chelsea supporters etc etc all of whom will ardently defend their chosen heroes. There are others who passionately defend their homelands, vigorously defending any slurs upon their countries.....We have English and Welsh, and a fair smattering of the angry celts from the Land above Hadrians Wall.......but aspersions have been cast upon the ultimate Scot...."Jock Roach" " Braveheart" no less!! - a man who carries the nickname of a long dead Scottish warrior, immortalised by an Aussie on celluloid!! Rumour reaches me...the Jock, the man with such an accent I have absolutely no idea what he is saying at any time......may actually have been born in................BASILDON!! An Essex boy???? Either this story is an elaborate wind up to entice me to write endless prose to entertain you......or it may just actually be the truth!! A journalist will always protect his sources.....but I can assure you that if this turns out to be a porky the size Mr Blairs reasons for wars in Iraq or Mr Browns end of the boom and bust economic cycle...I might just reveal who gave me that little snippet!!! We will see what Mr Essex Boy has to say for himself!!     

 

Monday 27th Sept....after the event, Joe, Richie and Nick are relaxing in the bar, doing what blokes do best...sitting around with a beer in hand talking about obscure subjects......somehow the subject has got onto fighting dogs....Richie weighs in with Dobermans, and Joe says that one of the early favourite breeds for fighting were Yorkshire Terriers.....you mean Rottweilers or something he is asked by Richie and Nick, who are struggling to contain their mirth....No, Yorkshire Terriers, say Captain Joe.......and that is enough and the laughter cannot be contained any longer as the image of two slightly oversized rats with little pink bows in their hair having a fight is too much to contain......Staffordshire Joe, Staffordshire!!!

 

Monday 27th Sept.....we host our first ever County Competition as the Ladies come here for their 18 hole 4 Ball Better Ball Stableford..... 36 players and the weather is....poor!! Misty horrible rain. Nick Hawker is official starter in his blazer, Captain Silva, El Presidente Gibson and Richie Scott have all come in to lend a hand....a superb effort and one that was much appreciated by the County Ladies......all was going well until the back 9, when one of the ladies slipped on the bank on the left of the 14th green, turning over her ankle so badly it could be a dislocation or a break. Ambulance and Paramedics were in attendance, but because it was so wet we were having to ferry everybody about in golf buggies!! Eventually, we are able to get the lady back to the ambulance at the clubhouse......where despite being in hospital, she had made the prize table with the best front 9!! You would think that this would be the story of the day.....but don't be daft, this is Chalgrave......Jita topped this by a mile.....during a sociable round of golf, he managed to hit his own bag in the process of playing his shot, causing the club to break!!!! Funny yes.....enough to top the ambulance story...no.....well not until the broken half of the club, complete with clubhead, continues through the air, striking Jita himself squarely in the centre of the forehead and cutting his head open.....you honestly could not make it up!! There nmust be penalty shots all over that...striking your own equipment is 2 shots, but that usually is by the ball, not the club...striking yourself would also be 2 shots, but again that would usually involve the ball and not your club!! 

 

Sunday 26th Sept.....after two consecutive dire competition performances accompanied by JFM in the past 2 weeks, I am back on the tee, accompanied by my son for the Generation Gap Challenge....it will be a real challenge for us today, as we have to get our competition round in, get home and then get son to University in Brighton!! In typical strong Chalgrave winds we get underway, and to be fair, we have a very good round in some difficult conditions... finishing with 35 points which turned out to be just enough to win it.....so.....two dire competition rounds with JFM where we are propping the table up, and a very decent one with son where we head it!! Draw your own conclusions.....

 

Thurs 23rd Sept....and I have been taking some stick all week from my recent competition forays....including receiving an email from Choccy wrist McGarry who congratulates me on dragging the standard of my golf down to the same shite level (his words not mine!!) as his own, in order to make Just For Men feel comfortable with the pairing.....3 x 4 putts is not great, and considering it was foursomes, both myself and JFM have to shoulder the blame....but we didn't come last!!! However, Thursday eve and a 9 hole rollup.....I am out again, in the same group as JFM...who hits a beautiful drive, and his second shot to the front edge of the green, 20ft from the flag. Lag the first one 8ft short, push the next 3ft past, miss the downhiller and go 2 ft past, roll the uphiller past the left hand edge and tap in for a 5 putt!! I feel so much better about my game again now!!

 

Monday 20th....sometimes, things just happen that you could not make up......Harry Lyons and Mark Prior come in after  a strenuous 2 days out at The Belfry, 4 a pint etc etc...can you imagine the language in the bar??? ...so it is Mark's birthday and Harry wants to buy him a driver...and we have been clearing out the store cupboard...which contains a number of ex demo skymax square headed drivers....we start negotiations ....or Harry does at 5...I say no...I counter offer with 60...eventually we end up at the bar, with an agreement that on the draw of a card, that the highest card will win....If I win, it is 40...If Mark does, it is 20....Mark draws an ace.......and ace is high....the pair of them are hopping around the bar with glee........so harry shuffles the cards and cuts them, presumably to make sure that I can't cut to the same card that Mark did.....and so I cut and show them the card without looking myself.....If you ever want to see faces turn from absolute glee to horror struck, just ask me to show you this on the CCTV!!! Yes, I cut an ace as well...and followed this with a Jack to Marks 6......you could not make it up!!!....so the Club was 20 and the Jar on the Bar got the other one!! Quality....anyone else want to buy an ex-demo club??

 

Sun 19th....for the second week in succession, I am on the 1st Tee in a competition.....and this time, both myself and "Just For Men" are present and correct, on time and raring to go....We have a solid game plan....given my enthusiasm for hitting a slice onto the driveway on the 4th, we decide that I will tee off on the odds and JFM will do the evens...and we start brightly with par, par, par. JFM steps up to the 4th tee and I await the customary long drive with a nice draw to the left hand side....and stand there in disbelief as the ball heads up the right, catches the wind and drifts further right.....and comes to rest about a foot beyond the OOB!! Plan B then!! We managed to follow this up with three 4 putts, and I excelled myself on the 11th tee. After a suitable pre shot discussion, we opted for the 6 iron off the tee!! This was based upon the strength of the cross wind and the fact that my partner fancied the shot to the green from just short of the ditch. I have to say, in the 16 years since we opened, and I know I don't play as much as I ought to, but I have never stood on the 11th tee with a 6 iron before...indeed...it could well be a club 1st!! This scenario clearly scrambled what was left of my brain cells (we had just 4 putted 9 and 10!!)....and the ball came off the toe, and fizzed into the trees to the right. Well, it was short of the ditch so I had done my bit!! Suffice to say, we did not get our par there!! You would think it could not get any worse.....but it did. Arriving at the 16th tee, JFM selected his trusty utility for the shot into "stiff breeze" and fired it way right deep into the trees on the right. I teed up a provisional, set the ball back in my stance for a low running draw with a 4 iron..... the draw became something stronger and the ball disappeared a long way into the woods to the left....JFM stepped back up to play a provisional provisional and finally we were in play!! Fortunately we found the 1st ball! It is safe to say that I am not sitting here early on Monday morning waiting with bated breath to see the result come through......and I am still wondering if it was the sound of the wind in the trees or not....but I am sure I heard mutterings of "come back Mick" but with my hearing it could just have been me!!

 

Sun 12th Sept.....a rare sight on a Sunday morning....me....with clubs....and heading for the 1st tee, via the practice greens. I have agreed to partner Dave "Just for Men" McGarry in the Brewer Baston Bowl, as Mike "chocolate wrist" McGarry has broken his......wrist obviously!! My playing partner greets me in the clubhouse and we head for the practice areas...yes we are taking this seriously!! Just for men moves to the nets, having shown his face on the 1st Tee, and I, I have to say, leave it rather tight and arrive at the 1st tee with 30 seconds to spare according to our great new nuclear time clocks......Mr Hasker ticks me and my partner off, and I wander slowly back up the slope to get my partner ready to start.....2 mins later he arrives on the tee to be awarded a 2 shot penalty for being late!!....so there you have it.....if anyone EVER complains that time penalties are being handed out on an arbitrary basis....well if ANYONE was ever going to get a concession it ought to be me!! Mr Hasker applied the penalty, we accepted his verdict and got on with it.....and with me getting a par 4 on the 1st so that it was irrelevant!! Don't mess with Vince is the moral of the story! It was, I have to say, great to play in the competition. and equally great to provide such a high level of entertainment to the waiting groups on the 1st tee!

 

We will be back on Sunday for the Parrett Hawker Foursomes!!! Hopefully, we will be there on time........

 

Thurs 9th Sept....the molers are in, as well as the seniors match....but the humour comes from the molers.....last week Tarby (him of the 4 holes in one) was giving Jita some advice on his swing with the driver....slow down...slow down....this week Jita comes in bemoaning the fact he has been done for speeding....Tarby pipes up......I told you to slow down with the driver, but I did mean the golf course!!! I've got 6 points now, says Jita.....blimey thats more than you got on the back 9 says Tarby!! Quality!

 

Tues Sept 7th....guess what day it is??? yes, seniors day.....senior medal, white tees.....Graham Tarbox sets a new club record....as he aces the 7th with a 10 Wood of all things, to record his 4th Hole in one as a member here......that is 4 Joe... not one, two or three, or more pertinently none.... 4! They have all been on different par 3's as well, so he just needs the 13th for a full set. This helped him shoot a net 69 off 7 handicap, which was not enough to win, as Ken Cavendish shot a nett 68!! Coming second would not really have been worthy of a mention, if it wasn't for the fact that on the 8th hole, having just aced the 7th, he acquired a 2 shot penalty for playing the wrong ball, turning a nett 67 into a nett 69!!! I am thinking of writing a book on the daft things that happen on Tuesdays with our seniors.....at this rate it will be a bigger tome than War and Peace!!

 

Sun 29th..... a rare sight of me opening up for the competition on Sunday....and of all the days I have to do...it is the Seniors Championship......I have enough trouble on Tuesdays without getting up early to have more on a Sunday!! As you would expect, it is not without incident.....President Gibbo returns to the Clubhouse after three holes to scrounge my battery as his has died already.......Dave Gould appears halfway down the list of players....which is not bad as he has got to be 10 years younger than me...and I don't qualify for this for another seven years yet!!! It does of course beg the question....can you be DQ'd from entering the next three competitions for being a no show at a competition that you are not eligible to play in???

 

One of the seniors is a no show in my book, but Peter Kane arrives at the 1st tee on time having not signed in!!! So really, just a normal morning involving the seniors then......

 

 

Fri 27th Aug..... I know we have got a few comedians here......most can be seen on the golf course.....but now things are getting silly......having taken on new staff member Peter Kay, we now have members Alan Davis and Peter Cook.....the way things are going, I fully expect to find membership applications over the weekend from Dudley Moore and Spike Milligan!!

 

Fri 27th Aug.....had a text from Dave "Just For Men" McGarry.......can I have a phone number for Steve King please......I duly oblige......the phone rings....."Just for Men" is now on the phone....."I need Steve Emmett's phone number......that's who I meant in the first place.......". Right. So when you typed the word King into your phone, did you at no point realise that there are in fact absolutely no corresponding letters in the word King and Emmett??

 

Thurs 26th Aug....The annual match between the Juniors and the Seniors....for years the Juniors have been feeling hard done by as they generally have had the higher handicaps and have had to play off 3/4 difference in 4 ball better ball matchplay....this year, I knew the boot would be on the other foot as we have rather suddenly acquired a very good bunch of 14/15/16 year olds....Senior Captain Dave Baston arrived just after 8.00am with half his team...for a 9.30 start!!  10 a side, and I had a casual glance at his team list and knew I was right on handicaps, so with tongue very firmly in cheek I asked if we were playing full handicap difference or 3/4.....3/4 difference was the instantaneous response........fine by me, my lot are pretty much all off less than yours, so that's fine!!..... slightly stunned silence from the seniors as they digested that one!! 9.30 in drizzle, the two teams assemble on the 1st tee, Dave Baston alights from his buggy and goes across to take his tee shot.....you would have thought that 90 minutes would have been adequate time to get your golf shoes on, but not for Dave, who was still attired in normal flat soled shoes on a wet slick tee following the torrential downpours overnight.....he plays his tee shot, and sets off back to the clubhouse, to change his shoes.....in full view of all on the 1st tee, he drives off forwards, past the ladies tee, and turns right up the hill......5 yards later, we are treated to the sight of Dave in a buggy, back wheels spinning like a dragster at Santa Pod on the start line and no forward movement whatsoever....two of the juniors are crying with laughter...... Dave takes his foot off the accelerator, hits the brake, which has no effect whatsoever, as he slides slowly and gracefully back down to the path.....he then has to endure the cat calls as he drives slowly back up the path through the assembled players on the 1st tee, to get back up to the carpark.

 

His partner, Eric, is left walking slowly up the first, armed only with the driver he played his tee shot with as Dave has driven off with his clubs!!

 

For the record, the match came down to the last match, which the juniors won, enabling them to retain the trophy for another year!

 

Tues 10th Aug....One of the seniors, Dennis Richards, is on fire, taking apart the front 9 in just 39 shots to be 1 over gross  off his 13 handicap........he went off onto the back 9 bristling with confidence...which was promptly dashed with two balls into the 10th and more into the 11th!! Oh well....back to the drawing board.....

 

Mon 9th Aug....Cally sends me a file with some really staggering facts...it is an analysis of 122 competitions for the men.....107838 holes played in total. By a country mile, as you would expect, the 3rd plays the easiest hole on the course, with 34 eagles or better out of a course total of 55! It also has 602 birdies out of 2136 across the whole course!! Remember that next time you take a 9 on it.....and 99 people did!! Astonishingly though, the 8th has none, whilst the 9th has 4.....which is even more astonishing when you see that the number of birdies on 8 is 179 and on 9 there were just 44!!   Unsurprisingly, the 18th was the hardest hole, with 11 coming up as the 2nd hardest...the 15th at currently SI 17 weighs in at 9th hardest, and this will only get harder from the new tees! For the Ladies, the 11th is the hardest hole, with the 14th as runner up. The easiest hole for the ladies is the 5th with the 7th next easiest which I thought was a surprise actually. Overall, the analysis shows what we all know...the back 9 is harder than the front 9!! For the men, the easiest hole is the 13th, ranked at 13. 16 and 10 come in at 11 and 10 respectively, and all the rest are single figure indexes. Once all the works have been completed, I will be looking at the course indexes at that point as this information will be most useful!! 

 

Sat 31st July....Charity Day.....dawned dull and drizzly.....not a good start but the forecast was that it would get better throughout the day...it did in all respects!! Vince arrived suited and booted and fedora'd as usual to sign every body in and to ensure that maximum cash was extracted.....which included fining himself for wearing a hat in the clubhouse!! The advance guard came in at around 9.00am to put out the hole sponsor signs, and the bar opened....not in that order though!! There were the usual mix of normal golf attire and the more outrageous and daring stuff, and as the first groups headed for the tee at 11.00am the sun broke through and the day got even brighter. Archie had a buggy, not to drive in himself, just so Belle and Clementine could decorate it and drive around the course!!

 

 

 

Ben David was the first casualty of the day, managing to miss his footing on the steps down the back of the 8th, and ended up somersaulting forwards down onto the green....I went to collect him in a buggy as he was not fit to continue.....and he was duly fined for failing to repair his own, very large pitchmark on the green where he landed!! The rest of his team completed the 9th hole, then decided that life without Ben was not worth it, so they also retired gracefully to the bar!! Some 10 hours later, Jamie etc etc would still be standing there, ready to collect his nearest the pin prize on the 5th!!

 

The Bengal Tiger Woods...Paul Godfrey, Kamal Parmar, Mick Bewley and Ronnie Cooper, turned out to be the eventual winners with a staggering 143 points on the Steve Emmett Charity Day Scoring Formula....where all scores counted on the Par 4's, three counted on the Par 3's and best 2 scores on the par 5's. Kamal managed a rather incredible 47 stableford points...shooting a gross 76 off 18 handicap....well he was an 18 handicap but never will be again!! He did rather stitch himself up further later on, as he said to me "its been a long time since I last had a round like that"....which does of course infer that he has done it before! The card has gone to Nick for consideration, Kamal making the final error of having his score counting on every single hole, so that there is no dispute on what he scored for the round!!

 

The Bengals were suitably attired and were found in one of two places after they finished...either the dancefloor where it seemed a very bad version of Bollywood was happening...or at the bar where they were supremely accomplished....

 

 

 

The Spice Boys were second....which just goes to prove that if you want to perform well on Charity Day, you really need to dress up and look like complete plonkers!! Resplendent in skintight lurid sparkly red lycra, Mick Yule, Tim Murphy, Dan Glass and Steve Rumball were the only gays in the village!

Mick Yule achieved the incredible feat of making skin tight lycra look baggy......Finishing in second place, with 135 points, which was quite frankly amazing as Mick and Tim were holing stuff from everywhere and unable to walk in a straight line!! Steve rounded it off by holing a long putt from off the green on the 18th, turning the jeers and catcalls into cheers, before setting off on a "Hale Irwin-esque" lap of the green as the ball dropped for a 3 on the last....

 

 

 

As it started to get dark, I realised that the nearest the pin markers were still all over the course and we had no idea who had won them, so I set off around the course in the car to pick them up.....as I came down the 7th on the far side of the course......there was a bloke walking his 4 dogs down the middle of the fairway.....one of the dogs squatted and left a steaming pile dead centre of the fairway.....I was incensed.....I screeched to a halt, jumped out of the car and berrated the hapless owner...."the footpath is 50 yards that way, my greenstaff and our members will be on this fairway tomorrow and will get that all over themselves, why don't you clean up after dogs???"......I had got as far as "the my greenstaff" bit in my rant, when I realised from the face of the guy I was having a go at....that Daffyd, the only Gay in the Village was laying down the law!!! I refrained from finishing the rant with a "boyo" and "I'm going back to the bar to tell Myfanwy all about you..."

 

As part of the presentations, Mark Relf from Keech Hospice Care came to collect a presentation cheque for 7228.55 from the Club, last years total raised, which was duly presented by Nick "George Michael" Hawker. Mark said he was absolutely sure that he had never been to another golf club like ours!!

 

 

 

All in all, it was a great day, and a superb evening. On behalf of Joe Silva and everyone who helped, our thanks go to all that sponsored, played, came along for the evening, provided the food, danced, bought stuff in the auction or bought raffle tickets. Nick Greenhills Bleach for Keech raised 440 on his own, which was a superb achievement. I finally removed the red lycra some 12 hours after I put it on......by then it felt perfectly normal, and strangely pleasing.....it will remain in my office, hidden away until maybe in the dark days of winter when there is no one about and no work to do....maybe....

 

 

 

Fri 30th July.....a sad time is approaching......in September we will be saying goodbye to a number of our staff...Victoria and Aidan are off to Universities, and Chris , who is already at one, has been offered a years work placement with the Home Office....so all will only be seen occasionally when holidays permit.....my thanks to all, in particular Victoria, who has been here it seems, forever. She has been a fabulous staff member and I am sure that all club members would want to thank her for all the work that she has put in, both in the kitchen and the bar........and so we have to find replacement staff......and we now have a new "permanent" staff member...Peter Kay.....so lets get the gags out of the way now.......I will be "naming" all of the golf holes just like all of the posh clubs......so we will call the 1st Hole "Amarillo" , just so you can pop into the bar and ask Peter Kay to show you the way to Amarillo!! Peter is of the more senior persuasion, so it will be like having Derek back behind the bar, except with a sense of humour!!

 

Tues 27th...Senior Moment Day is here......and probably one of the best senior moments ever.......Dave Jones popped his head around my door....."when did you put the new door in??" he enquired, referring to the door to the left of the trophy cabinet or the right of the window into my office if you were in the bar looking at me....."New Door???? That has been there 16 years in November Dave!!" Now to be fair to Dave, he has only been a member here since August 2000, so he would have had no knowledge of the period November 1994 to August 2000, but almost a decade of not seeing a door seems a tad excessive. Hypothetically, had Dave been a children's storybook character, the book would have been pretty dull as "The Lion, The Witch and the...." as Dave failed to notice the wardrobe door, let alone the hole in the back which led to Narnia!!!

 

 

Fri 23rd....There is always one who wants to push it further....Alan Michael wants to know if the Albatross 2 on the 3rd, achieved by both himself and Dan Glass in the Razz Pairs will count.......Dan's drive followed by Alan's wedge.....now let me see......a choice of two drives in Greensomes, I think, gives you a substantial advantage over those that do it properly.......so that will be a no then!!! That's like saying Joe can have his playing partners Hole in One in a 4 ball better ball competition!!!

 

Thurs 22nd.....Paul Northcott drops me an email with a suggestion....having been on the receiving end of the vivid description of every microsecond of the balls flight from tee to hole in the "Just for Men" Albatross on Tuesday, and also being one of those rare players who has had one himself.....Paul suggests that I add "The Albatross Club" to the "Hole In One Club" page. To my knowledge, "Just for Men", Paul Northcott and a past member, James Shepherd have all Albatrossed the 6th. Hugh Kerr had one on the 3rd, and Graham Tarbox the 17th.....there is a strange coincidence between this Club and the Hole in One Club......both do NOT have the name of Jose Silva.......I will award a prize of a sleeve of golf balls (nice ones!!) to the member who can come up with the most entertaining "club" that Joe does not qualify for.......Prize will be awarded on Charity Day!

 

Tues 20th....Dave "Just For Men" McGarry is on fire......having not been seen for an extended period whilst he was working on his house, he has returned to the course with a vengeance and is playing with some serious skill....reducing his handicap to 7 looking comfortable with it as well....and then he decimated the course today with "social" knock of 9 holes, completing the front 9 in 4 under par gross.....including an ALBATROSS 2 on the 6th!! This is only the 4th albatross I have heard of here......and the second on the 6th hole......I am pretty certain the last one was a 3 wood 2nd shot......"Just For Men" stonked a drive through the 150 yard markers and flipped a wedge in from about 140yards!!!

 

Friday 16th July...... I get an email from Archie......"What have you done to me, I was normal until I joined your golf club. Now we
have golf balls on the kitchen table, in the car, all over the back lawn and Clementine's forgotten my name. I am obsessed." I have a solution for Clementine.....the days of My Little Pony have long been numbered.....so I have been designing the latest software game for Facebook.....My Little Golf Club.....It will enable you to create and run your own virtual golf club....

There will be central characters that you will have to control, all with their own personal idiosyncrasies......there will be a wild haired mad scotsman at the bar.......who talks endlessly to another stone deaf member...when he realises that little is being taken in, he speaks to the Owner/Secretary/Chef/Barman/Greenkeeper/Cleaner/Finance director/ who can barely hear any more than the stone deaf member........

...there are 450 other mad members to deal with, from ditzy women who walk randomly across the course expecting greenkeepers to provide a taxi service back to the car park, to driving instructors whose basic conversation includes expletives every third word, and builders, plumbers and carpet
fitters who never actually seem to be at work......

...you will have to run competitions and handicaps for all of these, make sure that they can all start playing golf whenever they turn up at random,
within 10 minutes of them arriving. At the same time, you have to squeeze about 25% more people who you have never met ever before onto the same
course without causing any offence or disruption to the mad 450.....meanwhile, the greenkeepers have to ensure that all the grass is cut whilst never getting in anyones way, and still be available for taxi service as and when required......

 

...there will be small subsections of golfers, which encompass more mad scotsmen, electricians who are involved every wind up going and in everything from  appropriating beer glasses, to subtley altering notices and stealing penguins and sending them around the world. The Spanish Captain arranges for his year to coincide with his nation winning the world cup.

......just when you think you have cracked it....you realise that your Dad and Grandad and 100 of their mates have joined up, and they will come in
several times a week as well........and you know how difficult it is to get your Dad to do something!!!.......

.....does any of this sound familiar????
 

 

 

Tues 13th July....it just goes to prove you should have a Chalgrave blazer to go out in........

 

 

Seniors Vice Captain Mick Moulton was asked to escort his grand- daughter Letty to her Prom.....and as always with these things, there was the usual " I haven't got a thing to wear" except that was Mick!! Looking absolutely splendid in Club Blazer, Club tie and grey trousers, Mick finally nailed the final piece of sartorial elegance by wearing a pair of shoes out instead of his slippers!!

 

Thursday 8th July......Tom Fox makes a stunning debut on the news pages.......having quietly gone about his business as a senior golfer without ever troubling the news pages......he makes up for it in stunning senior moment style...out with the Molers, and playing the 17th, he has dropped his ball into the right hand bunker in front of the green. He steps into the buker, has a wiggle and a waggle, and then stands over the ball.....smooth downswing, accelerating into the sand, exploding the ball up and out on a bed of sand....the ball catches the front lip of the bunker and flips back towards Tom, heading at a fairly rapid rate of knots over his left shoulder....with the reactions and skill of Ian Botham in his heyday in the slip cordon, Tom CATCHES it as it goes past!!!! The stunned looks of disbelief from his playing partners, both for the fact that he caught it, and the fact that he actually DID catch it!! They were all flummoxed by the occurrence, and Tom decided that he had no idea how to proceed from there, so he pocketed the ball, stepped out of the bunker, raked it and went off to the 18th tee!!

 

For those who are interested, Tom would have lost the hole in matchplay, and in strokeplay incurs a 2 shot penalty and must play the ball from where it was stopped, which presumably mean dropping it back in the bunker. If he had stopped the balll from going, say, out of bounds, then this would be a serious breach of Rule 1-2 and would result in disqualification.

 

Tuesday 6th....Day 2 of the Temporary Routing.....yesterday was Day One, and it was carnage.......Despite the numerous signs and indicators both out on the course and in the clubhouse, and the fact that the temporary route is really very simple...playing the 11th, 15th, 14th, 12th, 13th and 16th in that order, meaning you work your way up the hill instead of walking it in one go......and the fact that we have roped off the pathways etc so that you cannot actually get to the 12th tee from the 11th anymore, without crossing rope barriers or negotiating vast loose soil mountains whilst dodging 100 tonnes of bulldozer and excavator, or wading thigh deep through thistle and spiky thorn deep deep rough.....at least three people made it!!! The greenstaff were astonished to see members dragging electric trolleys backwards, up the hill, through the very deep grass between the 14th Green and 15th Tee. A combine harvester would have struggled! "When you came off the 11th green through the new gap, did you not read the sign??" "What sign?" When you passed the Ladies Tee at the end of the new gap, and you had to swerve to avoid the new sign in your way, did you not read that one???" "No".....

Meanwhile, the society, half of whom had played here in the last month, so they knew the "proper" way, had no problems whatsoever......

 

I am now having nightmares......the seniors are just about to go out....if it was carnage yesterday.....today could be much much worse!!! Even if they manage to get the new hole order correct, can they put the right score in the right place on the scorecard???  The start sheet has just gone up....there are 8 players due to start from the "14th Tee"...so does that mean the 14th Tee in the normal layout or the 14th Tee (formerly the 12th) in the temporary layout???.......carnage could be an understatement!!

 

Monday 5th....Seniors Captain Dave Baston has a seniors moment of outstanding quality........having organised his Captains Awayday at Buckingham Golf Club for Friday 16th July.....he rings them to confirm the 46 players.....only to be told...."no, the booking is for Thursday 15th"!! Dave arrives here to get a copy of the entry sheet, to start the long job of contacting everyone on the list by phone to ensure that they can still play on the Thursday!!! I felt it would be wrong of me to point out that most of them will be here tomorrow anyway for the seniors medal.......

 

Monday 5th July....as work moves onto the 15th Tee, a snippet of news comes through about the clearance of the pond in front of the 11th..... the size and depth now means that the "miraculous" recovery shot played by Simon Ward in the May Medal, may never be repeated.....having chunked his second into the pond in front, he walked disconsolately up towards the green, resigned to taking a penalty drop....until he saw his ball....well assumed it was his ball, clear on the water on a tuft some significant distance out from the banks.....carefully, club in hand, he "tuft hopped" out to the ball, which to his great delight, turned out to be his own......now if this had been Braddy or Kay Tattar.....I could have believed that they might just make it out there...but Simon is what might be described as a "large unit" and to get out to the ball without disappearing into the silted murky waters was nothing short of a miracle...the miracle then happened as with a mighty swoosh, the ball sailed high up onto the front of the green!!! The roar of delight from Simon was load and strong, and only muted as he missed the first tuft back, and a shoe, ankle and half a leg disappeared into the murky, and it has to be said, rather smelly depths......Such bravery ought to be rewarded....sadly not, as the blob was still recorded as he took another 4 to get down for a 7!

Well worth the effort then!! 

 

Friday 2nd July....had a great conversation with Eric from the seniors....he was "complaining" that because he does not use the internet and/or have an email address, he has not had the details of the temporary course rerouting, probably from next week, whilst we reshape the 15th tee area. "if you don't know anything about it, how do you know that it is happening?" I asked....well it seemed a reasonable question to me!!!

 

Thursday 1st July....I am recounting the Chris Baker/John Steele story to the molers...."How hard did he hit him?" was the question...."Not hard enough, he's still alive!!" was the quip!!

 

Tuesday 29th June.....Chris Baker comes in, having played 18 holes with John Steele in a buggy, nursing a sizeable bruise on his forehead. "How did you do that?" I asked.  "John hit me on the head with his putter!!" was Chris's reply! "Wow, how long was the putt to justify a backswing that long with a putter??" was my reasonable question! It turns out that John was retrieving his putter from his golf bag on the back of the buggy, when unbeknown to him Chris was passing behind him! Putter head and Human head connected. Chris went off to hospital for a brain scan but they couldn't find one, so all as expected there then!!  

 

 

Friday 25th...news from last weekend and round one of the handicap championships.......Vince Hasker, very astute canny guy. He pays his 5 annual fee for unlimited balls in the pond for the calendar year....arrives at the 10th after a pretty reasonable front 9......catches the trees on the left with the tee shot and ball 1 drops into the small feeder pond in front of the tee.......reload, big slash, a low skimmer straight into the same feeder pond......reload....wild swing, such venom, such power, so little distance...small feeder pond again...... ball 4.....huge celebrations.....cleared the feeder pond......but not the big one.......reload, ball 5 onto the edge of the green and three putts for a 12.....although according to Vince he got a gross 4 nett 3  with the 5th ball!! The savings on fines to the Captains Charity were somewhat mitigated by the fact that the first 2nd to 4th balls were all brand new!!

 

Thurs 24th June...having watched one of the most amazing tennis matches ever last night....59 games all in the final set tie break after 10 hours of competitive tennis!!! it reminded me of the scratch matchplay Knockout match played earlier this month between Dave "Just For Men" McGarry and Simon Gray......all square after 18 holes, they then went back up the 1st and halved that, and proceeded to halve the next 4 holes as well......as it was getting dark.....they decided to head down the 9th, and if necessary play 10 and 16 until it either got too dark or someone won....as it happened, Simon won the match on the 9th hole, which was their 6th additional hole!!! Clearly that was one "Gray" that no amount of chemical black dye could get rid of!!

 

 

Sat 12th June....Captains Day....up at crack of dawn....5.00am to be here before Joe's advance guard arrive at 6.00am to start setting up....going to bed at 1.30am didn't seem quite such a good idea at 5.00am!! Joe, as you would expect, beat his advanced guard in at just before 6.00am, rapidly followed by Mick Yule at Tim Murphy....drinks, gazebos, chairs and tables were ferried to all parts of the course, whilst behind all the organised stuff, Dave Weedo and Nick Hawker were quietly assembling a Tapas Bar with nibbles and sangria on the first tee!! Jock Murphy was trying to help as well, but his efforts that day before had lost him some credibility...whilst out shopping for the nibbles, he rang Weedo to ask if Maderia cake was a good choice....mmmmm a traditional english cake sharing the same name as a Portuguese Island for a Club Captain of Spanish origin!! You would have thought a jock would have a reasonable understanding of the rivalries that exist between neighbouring countries!!

 

Geoff Swain performed an awesome trick shot show, with his perfect brand of humour adding to the occasion. Estevan was called down to assist with a trick, his mimic of Estevan's walk, or rather swagger was perfection!!! Ben David came forward to hit a shot or two as well, as the ball soared off to the right...."what handicap are you??" asks Geoff..."23" says Ben

"wow you must have a good short game" comes the instant reply!!!

 

The array of shots are astonishing and have to be seen to be believed. The moving ball stuff is incredible and we were honoured to have Geoff display his skills for us.

 

The big moment arrived...Junior Captain Dean O'Dell led the way for the Junior section blasting the ball miles up the left hand side of the fairway, Karen Crane took up the challenge for the ladies section, from the yellow tees and reached the red ones!! and finally, to huge applause and general goodnatured catcalls, Club Captain Jose Silva took his place on the tee. As the noise reached a crescendo, Joe smashed the ball up the fairway and the Captains' years were officially underway. 112 people disappeared off for a shotgun start and Captains Day Competition got underway.

 

The Vice Captain, Dan Glass was out and about dispensing various alcoholic drinks from a buggies, just in case there was not enough at all the drinks stops on the course!! Dan decided that he would have a go at the Longest Drive competition, so he took his "new" Titleist driver (well he had taken it from Steve Hipwell on the basis of I will have a go with it and see how I get on....). he met Estevan up by the clubhouse, who took the driver off the back of the buggy and had a test waggle...then he put it back on the buggy as Dan moved off to dispense drinks....the first port of call was the 10th Tee.....unfortunately, Estevan had put the driver back in the basket across the rear of the buggy, so that the grip and shaft protruded out further than the buggy was wide......well they did for a bit anyway!! Once the buggy had negotiated the zig zag path around the medal tee on the 10th, the shaft had been shortened to a length suitable only for Braddy to use!! So Dan managed to break a driver that wasn't his, in a competition that he wasn't playing in!!

 

With the world Cup now underway as well, there was great interest in the clubhouse afterwards of the matches underway and of course the impending England opener that evening.....Dave Weedo appeared in my office with the remote for the TV in hand...."what channel number is BBC One???" which goes down as one of the all time stupidest questions I have ever been asked, to be fair..... which Dave clearly realised when I looked up at him and said "One". He had apparently been trying various permutations around the 103 - 110 range for soem time before coming in to ask!!!

 

Dinner was excellent, the prizes superb, the drink copious. Dancing went on until the wee small hours and we finally packed up at about 2.00am....with Captain Joe and his wife Lucy virtually last out having been first in some 19 hours earlier!! We headed for the carpark, past Paul Mullens car, which had been decorated with virtually every empty beer bottle that could be found....and believe me, there were a few!! I have a picture of the car, taken  at lunchtime, over 12 hours before, and it was covered then!! I will get uploaded for you to see. I might sell it to the Tate Modern for 5 million as art..... 

 

Thurs 10th.....Dick Chittock has a seniors moment......."I see you now have a compressed air shoe cleaner!!" .....should have gone to Specsavers, Dick!!! Only been there since February!!..... and you walk past it every time you come off the 18th green.....

 

 

Tues 8th June.....Simon Ward is at the bar and glances upwards, looks at the two big wooden boards sign written with the names of the Club Captains......"how long have they been there then?" he asks......"since Dec 1994 when the clubhouse opened" I respond....."I've never seen them before" he says!!! What chance has he got of spotting a ball in the rough if he can't see a 4ft long piece of timber, just a few feet from the bar????.....and a snippet from a few weeks back....Alison Savage enjoyed playing in the Club Mixed Greensomes so much, she wanted to know when the Mens Section event was.....the clue, Alison, is in the word Mixed!! 

 

Thurs 3rd June.....it has been quiet...and I have been really busy, but two stories today worth reporting......firstly...seniors match first thing....Derek Collins complains about the "murky" water dispensed into a cup for tea........so I reach up, remove his dark brown sunglasses and ask if that is any better......"ah yes, much better!!" I kid you not.....and secondly......Junior Captain Dean O'Dell, playing in the 9 Hole Competition, on the 9th Hole, pushes his second shot slightly right.........and comes to rest on the grass, just in bounds, by the picnic benches at the side of the clubhouse!!!!!! Bearing in mind the severe lack of direction that got him there in the first place, I was somewhat concerned that he played his next back onto the 9th fairway, by smashing an iron between the Honda car and the clubhouse, across the thankfully vacant practice greens!!!!

 

Tues 18th May.....avid readers will know that "factual, straight stories" rarely make these news pages....and so when they do, they are because there has been an occurrence of monumental proportions.......one such occasion has just occurred.....Tim Bevan managed to force his way into the County Seniors Side, and was selected to play against a notoriously strong Essex side. Tim was drawn to play against a chap by the name of Geof King, an established Seniors International player. To his his eternal credit, and with all the skills honed here at Chalgrave in absolute perfect harmony, Tim halved his match, and the County won the overall match by 5 1/2 to 4 1/2!! I am sitting here in my office....if I had a cap on, I would doff it to you Tim!!! 

 

Fri 14th May..... I was out on the course just having a look around and seeing how we are progressing with bringing the greens back up to summer standards after a difficult winter and so far, very cold spring. After two weeks of intensive work, we are really back in the right place, and I would expect that the speed will now increase as the surface continues to improve. As always, as the speed increases, so we have to be careful of the 10th, finding the right balance somewhere between a smooth, slick, difficult green and one that is impossible to stop the ball on it....so I went down there with a few balls and a putter that has sat in the pro shop for a significant period.....I can see why it has sat there, because without, it is the most awful putter I have ever had the misfortune to hold. As Head GK Rob joined me to see the test, he was astounded at the hollow clang made by the putter when it came into contact with the ball....and so after a brief discussion at the end of the test, it was decided that the best thing that we could do, was a "excalibur" moment and consign it to the depths of the pond....so I strode to the bottom of the green and hurled the offending item across the water......a putter it most definitely is not.....a helicopter rotor blade....possibly....it build up a remarkable head of steam, whizzing through the air and I thought with a bit of draw as well....Rob preferred the description of "hook". Suffice it to say, to my eternal embarrassment, I missed the pond.....yes missed it completely, from a distance of no more than 15 yards...that is a body of water 80 yards wide and 60 yards across.....I didn't even manage it by hitting the island..if anyone wants an atrocious whirling dervish of a putter that has an aversion to water, you will find it in the hedge between the pond and the driveway to the farm......perhaps the only mitigating comment that I can come up with....is it is still in bounds!!!  

 

Tues 11th May....news drifts through from the Seniors Awayday at Mowsbury on 23rd April.....OK OK I know it was nearly 3 weeks ago...but this is the seniors....they have mobiles and instant means of communications, but they keep them switched off most of the time to "save the battery" and then say they are a waste of time because no one rings them!!....yes...because its switched off!!!...anyway...I digress....John Steele (yes he of the most frequent appearances on the news page fame) generously collected his Vice Captain, Mike Moulton and ferried said Vice Captain to and from Mowsbury in Bedford...he arrived promptly, loaded the clubs, golf shoes and trolley into the car, and the Vice merely had to leave the house with the necessary paraphernalia for the smooth running of the day. In essence, Mike merely had to leave the house with his paperwork.......which is exactly what he did.......which is why, in the photo below....as he deals with the presentations and announcements after a fine days golf, resplendent in plus fours and smart polo shirt......he has his SLIPPERS on!! I don't need to say any more.......

 

 

 

Sat 8th May.....the Joe Silva hole in one saga continues.......Joe apparently missing out by millimetres on the 10th only a few weeks ago, brought tears of merriment from his playing partners at the sight of a ball so near and yet so far......and as news in the papers sees a lady of 103 get an ace......it just adds to the whole humour surrounding it! Even Joe's playing partner, Richie Scott is adding to the fun....the intrepid pair made it to the final of the pairs matchplay KO and Richie was missing a club so he borrowed on of Joe's spares for the round......used it on the 10th and came within inches of aceing it.... now how funny would that be, to have one of Joe's clubs get a hole in one before he does??????

 

Weds 5th May...... someone with a sense of humour then.......in the post today, for the attention of Dave Weedon, ardent Luton fan and distraught at the prospect of Conference football again next season.....is an application form from Chelsea FC for him to join the "Blues Supporters Club". Someone clearly thought Dave might be interested!! Very Funny I thought!!!

 

 

Tues 4th May.......the longest enforced absence from the news page update has finally been broken.....after being stranded in Dubai for 3 weeks thanks to volcanic ash over the UK......personally, when I saw the pictures on the news I thought it was Happy Horwoods pipe....until I saw the torrential flood waters sweeping away vast tracts of land and bridges and then I realsied that these were Joe Silva's tears....on learning that there had been another 2 holes in one........Paul Blaxhill opening his account on the 5th.....and the other was Kathy Tabor who became the 4th Lady to beat Joe after aceing the 7th with her 3 wood.....Husband Neil came in this morning for the seniors......" I see your missus got a hole in one" I mentioned brightly......"Don't you bl**dy start!" was the response!! Finally, life has a habit of throwing up humorous circumstances.....but I have to say that even my sense of humour was stretched when one of the first items of post opened today contained a golf competition entitled "The Race to Dubai"

 

 

Thur 1st....Richie, Squadron Leader, Jock, Scuffy and Yuley all come in for a 9 hole after work......and get it all *rse about face.....Richie ends up sitting in the bar, wearing his waterproofs, which are nice and dry, whilst his normal clothing is dripping wet and hanging in the changing room, after making the astonishing poor decision to head off down the 6th when a slightly dodgy looking cloud hovered in the background.....just as you would expect, as they reached the 7th Tee, as far from the clubhouse as you can possibly be, the heavens opened......and opened wide!!! The two Tims were fully equipped and were rapidly properly attired, but Scuffy and Richie simply absorbed as much rain as they possibly could!!!

 

Thur 1st April......the Molers are back for lunch....and with the exception of Happy Horwood, who arrived in my office at 8.10am this morning and said "I don't care what you say, I don't believe you" the rest of the Molers were taken in, hook, line and sinker!!! Derek arrived at the red tape and was forcibly restrained by Jita Ram from going through the tapes....until eventually Derek pointed out what the date was!!  There were a few seniors about as well...who decided having walked across to the 16th fairway, that it was not worth going back to the 10th tee and went straight to the 11th, and therefore remained blissfully unaware that it was an April Fool, so I have been asked by a few people now, if the police have found anything!!!

 

Thurs 1st April.....a chap comes into the Pro Shop, interested in joining, he says "do you do a 7 month membership, I don't play in the winter?"    "Yes, we do" I say. "Its only 425!!" I will let you know if he joins......

 

Thurs 1st April.......Well it had to be done, especially with the Molers in 1st thing.....and so a crime scene was created on the pathway to the 10th hole, suitably signed, and asking golfers to access the 10th Tee via the 16th hole, (which adds about 250 yards to the already longish walk....) and at 8.30am the Molers, 2 groups of three, emerged onto the 16th fairway and turned right. Ha Ha...... sometimes it is just too easy!!! When they arrive at the 10th Tee, they will be greeted by another sign, saying APRIL FOOL!! Enjoy the rest of your round!! Only another 11 to catch!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tues 30th.....Footjoy shoes......Probably one of the finest brands of shoes, and with an awesome reputation to uphold for keeping you warm and dry in all conditions.......and so it continues, with Kelvin Weedon deciding that the winter has come to an end and it is time to return to the summer lightweight shoes after the onslaughts of winter....so he delves amongst the carefully packed away summer golf gear in his shed, and recovers his faithful footjoys......only to find that a family of mice have been using them for the winter, and a warm and snug nest, safe from leaking rainwater!! both of the tongues had been neatly shredded to provide additional bedding, but otherwise they were left untouched and the mice were most contented with their winter accommodation!! So there you have it.....even the fear of being buried under the patio was not enough to scare them away from from the warmest, snuggest house they could find...Fred West's Footjoys!!

 

Tues 30th .......the phone rings at 8.10am......it is usually John Steele or Patrick ringing with some implausible excuse as to why they are late but can I please put their name down on the seniors start sheet. "Hello Steve, Dick Chittock here... I wont be able to make it today.....I am in the L & D. I have had a minor heart attack!!!" I can hear him chuckling away to himself, so clearly he has been on the happy pills this morning!!! As excuses for missing a rainy Tuesday morning go, Dick, that one is up there with the best of them!!! Hopefully "Flash" Chittock will soon be returning to the fairways.  

 

Monday 29th March.......The art, chaps, is to read the poster. There is usually enough information on it to give you a clue!!!! Pat Hayes enters the Scratch Matchplay off 27!! as does Andy Oakley off 15......The competition entry does say max handicap to participate is 12....and the words Scratch Matchplay is a fairly sizeable hint!! Elsewhere, you can see the steely determination and arch competitiveness of Dave Weedon, Tim Murphy and Harry Lyons.....who have all entered the Handicap Singles Knock Out twice!!! Personally, I would charge them the 3 entry fee twice and make them play themselves in the preliminary round!!....and it is only March....this is going to be a long summer , I can tell!!! 

 

 

Fri 26th....Steve Justin is not alone.......but you would possibly excuse someone who has only been a member for a relatively short period for not knowing the Flitwick Oil +18 is for +18 handicappers.....but Hugh Kerr????? ...and this is not an error of putting your name onto the entry sheet by mistake, this is filling in a gap left in the start time sheet by someone who has had to drop out, which presumably means that Hugh read the line of the date.....which is 1/4" below the Comp Name which is in BOLD RED!!! Should have gone to Specsavers!!!

 

Sat 20th March...Annual Dinner Dance.......I did the seating plan as normal, and put in Mr & Mrs Joe Silva....and Mr & Mrs Dave Appleby....except that Mrs Appleby turned out to be Tim Smith......and this seemed entirely appropriate and set the tone for an evening of windups.....Paul Mullen found himself seated at a table for one, in the centre of the dance floor, so that the rest of the room could get a bit of peace, the presentations were all progressing quite smoothly until Richie and Joe came forward to collect the Pairs Matchplay....and the jokes were flying in thick and fast at that point. The rotund pair did of course have the last laugh, having effectively beaten all of the rest of us, (for the past two years as they successfully defended the trophy!!). The usual "random" spot prizes saw Tim Murphy awarded a box of Bonio's to help him in his personal quest for love........and he and a few others then proceeded to eat the entire box over the rest of the evening......and it was not a small box I can assure you!!! Nick Hawker was well and truly stitched up, with a presentation to reunite him with his missing penguins....
 

 

The penguins were safely returned and Nick was taking no chances, taking them straight back out to the car and locking them away, which was a good plan, as they were due to be re-abducted if he so much as left them alone for a split second.

Once we got underway, you would have thought that not much more could happen other than dancing to the disco.....but we stopped for the raffle and an auction...Richie's villa in Turkey, for a week. Tim Murphy pushed the bidding up to 130, and after being asked a couple more times, bid against himself to take it to 140!!! Tim bought it so that the HAGS could have a week away together for just a few quid...which raises the interesting prospect of inviting Richie to stay in his own villa and asking him to cough up his share, approx 24 for the accommodation which he in fact owns!!

 

You would think that would be it....but we still had more to come.....Kay Tattar was quite happily minding his own business at the bar when his girlfriend Kim took the microphone from the DJ and asked for the music to be stopped.....as the room gradually fell silent, she asked him to marry her!! To rousing cheers, Kay went forward and snogged her face off....which the rest of us took to mean yes! Canny geezer that Kay.....think back to your own engagement party...I bet it didn't cost you 50 which included all the guests, dinner, and the entertainment!!! We have a cunning plan for the wedding itself...We will have a 50 ball on the 1st tee, play the 1st to the 6th, pop into the church, wedding ceremony and then 7, 8 and 9 back to the Clubhouse for the reception!!

 

There was still more......Dave Bromley was celebrating his Golfer of the Year title by filling the trophy with vodka and Red bull....except I am pretty sure that the accepted mix is not one bottle of vodka to one can of red bull...Kim having successfully got her man, then proceeded to quaff large quantities from the trophy....with absolutely no effect whatsoever....well for 30 minutes anyway!!! After that, well clearly the vodka won handsomely!!

 

Dave McGarry then buttonholed me and berated me for his DQ in the Razz Pairs....wanting to know what Rule 6.6(b) was. Failure to sign the card I told him.....Donny bristled. (The bristles were darker than they were as clearly the grecian 2000 spot prize had been furtively applied). I always double check the card. It was definitely signed. OK, I agreed to ask Nick for the card....on the basis that if the card was unsigned by either the marker or himself, then a 1 fine to the Captains Charity would be levied. "1???? I'll pay 5!! It is definitely signed." I have a copy of the card on my pc now......that will be 5 please Donny!!! Never trust a senior....(Dave's Marker and non signatories were  Brian Gidley and Keith Esden!),   So there you have it......2.30am finish, a normal quiet Chalgrave event then!!

 

Thurs 18th March....oh here we go.....must be something in the air today....Bob was bad enough, Steve Justin just topped it....Steve rings...he says he put his name on the entry sheet for the Flitwick Oil +18...but has not appeared on the start sheet.....so I point out that the + 18 refers to his handicap not his age!!! 12.4 is just a bit too low to play in this one Steve!!

I give up......I really do!!!

 

Thurs 18th March.....I receive an email from Bob Albery in not so sunny Spain...."as I sit here in Spain wasting a few minutes I have been looking at the past two medal results, and noticed what to me is something odd (or am I just being thick again and missing something obvious). The twos on the cards assuming everybody enters, February 100 players @ 50p = 50 divided by 9 = 5.55 approx, March similar 98 played  = 49 = 12.50 share. (The published results shows the 2's payouts as 6.05 and 13.25 for the Feb/March medals) By the way, it looks as if more practice will be required by the scores that have been coming in. See you early April." I checked it, and BOB is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!!!!!!!
He is being thick!!!! Ha Ha!! In his EuroZone calculations, he ignored the players who played but have inactive handicaps, who have had to be removed from the result order, but still appear below the handicap changes for the competition. The clue is in the Feb Medal, where Barry Saunders appears in the inactive Handicap section AND the 2's Winners! Don't you just love it when the News Pages write themselves!
 

 

Sat 13th March.....we have a couple of prospective new members on the tee, a lady and gentleman, about to try out Chalgrave for the first time......the lady, Cilla....fluffed her opening drive a bit (haven't we all??) and it sneaks across the pond and into the silt filled ditch by the edge of the 3rd green..... I quote Cilla from her email...."it looked like a thin layer of sandy mud..." yes Cilla.....SURPRISE SURPRISE!! (OK I'm sorry...I was never going to be able to resist that!!) it WAS a thin layer of sandy mud......with a much deeper layer of wet, soft, sandy mud underneath it!!! Cilla disappeared down past her ankle, her husband virtually died laughing and Cilla turned the air blue.....if ever there was a perfect interview technique to be considered for joining Chalgrave, I think these two just nailed it!!! Hopefully, we will see the pair of them on a permanent basis soon!

 

Sun 7th March....well Colin Barden noticed anyway.......not sure if anyone else did....partly because anyone who was daft enough to brave the icy blasts that swept across the arctic tundra of Chalgrave for the medal on Sunday would have risked severe frostbite of the eyes if you so much as glanced into the wind.....there are new 150 yard markers out there, to complement the new ball washers and new tee mats....but we have also checked the yardages using a laser rangefinder and as a result moved a few of the markers by a few yards. Clearly, global warming has either stretched or shrunk bits of the course over the past 15 years....anyone who complains that the old yardage markers positions have affected their handicap will be required to meet me on the practice ground and demonstrate their personal capability of hitting the any club they fancy exactly 150 yards every time in a range of directions, off a variety of slopes, into and against wind of varying strengths from gentle breeze to howling gale. If you can get 100 consecutive shots to  150 yards with a margin for error of +/- 5 yards, I might consider you have a point. 

 

Mon 1st March .........my greenstaff supply with me with a snippet of news...apparently, according the 3 Counties Radio, Luton was the most miserable place in England last month, having had just 36 hours of sunshine. I have always thought that 3 Counties are prone to exaggeration, and now this is clearly shown to be true....36 hours????? You are having a laugh....more like 10.

 

Mon 22nd.....No!! 4" of snow covers the course again.....this has to be the worst winter we have experienced in 15 years....not just from the levels of wetness and snow, but also from the damage being caused to the infrastructure....whilst there are main roads out there significantly worse than our driveway, it is a serious war of attrition going on between the elements and the green staff and the pot hole filling. Normally a monthly job, it is virtually part of the daily regime at the moment. We will have to see what the long term effect is once the base temperatures finally start to climb. There is some good news as well, we have just equipped the golf course with a fabulous set of ball washers and more winter tee mats amongst other stuff........so now you need to come up and play in poor conditions to make the most of them!!

 

Sun 21st....The Chalgrave micro climate has arrived....all of Bedfordshire is covered in a blanket of snow...except Toddington which is clear and fine, is rather wet. Is this a sign of things to come????Are we now to be absolved of all extremes of weather?????

 

Sat 20th...the evening....Ben David on the disco.....suited and booted and armed with 14 tonnes of 60's and 70's soul and funk....I have to be honest with you.....I never thought I would ever write a sentence with the words soul and funk in it!!! The music gave way to the golf presentations, Chalgrave defending the trophy with a magnificent victory.....which was very handy as the trophy was one of the Ladies ones as we couldn't find the real one!!! Would have been embarrassing if we had had to find a trophy to give them!! ...and then onto the Race Night...with a difference....with the Fire Brigade in attendance, we dumped the horses and had a race to the penthouse suite of the Towering Inferno and back to the lobby....absolute chaos it was!!! (which is just about right for a race night!!!) The sight of Apples, Mossy, Yuley and Jock all in kids plastic fireman's helmets.....enough said....The Emmett family were in attendance and the second race saw the senior Emmett...82 years old, in a fireman's helmet and leading the race.....you can just imagine this in real life...there you are, trapped in the penthouse suite of a blazing tower block, 130 floors up. You have just got back from hospital, where an agency surgeon from Moldovia had performed a surgical procedure on your ingrowing toenails and removed both legs below the knee......you know that your only hope of survival is a fireman's lift down 130 flights of stairs.....the door bursts open and the fire brigade has arrived......82 years old, in a plastic helmet........and a colostomy bag....only joking!!!

 

The race night gave way to Danny and Belinda Glass for live music through until around midnight and then back to the disco until.....  "cough" 2.30am!! Weedo was leaving but had lost Dave Bromley, who was supposed to be staying with him overnight as DB was playing in the Daily Mail Team event the following day...DB was discovered rummaging around in the boot of his car for extra clothes as he had lost Weedo and had resigned himself to sleeping in his car overnight!!! DW and DB made it safely home to Chez Weedo for a few hours sleep, and then at 8.30 the taxi picked up DB to bring him back to the club for the match....the taxi departed.....the DW discovers DB's car keys at Chez Weedon!! Mobile phone...."Dave, you have left your car keys here....." "Damn I'll have to come back later and get them...." "Where are your clubs then???" "In the boot of my ca........" Silence! Fortunately another member of the Weedon clan arrived and was able to provide chase car facilities to follow the taxi to Chalgrave to deliver the keys!! I am not yet aware of how Mr Bromley performed...or the result! 

 

I also had the best conversation I have ever had with Jock Murphy in my life......25 minutes we talked for.....I distinctly remember understanding three words.....

 

Sat 20th.....bright and sunny, very cold, and the firebrigade match is underway......just as the ground starts to thaw out, making the greens still frozen solid and the rest of the ground starting to release all the water stored in the top 6" over the past week....60 odd players are competing and there are the usual range of stories emerging......a possible new page for the website, as Apples gets a skip hole in one on the 5th....yes Dave managed to hole out into the site skip with a controlled hook off the 5th tee. On being advised that he was now OOB, he reloaded and fired another into the compound for good measure. Whilst everyone else putted out, Apples made his way around the site fencing, across the defrosting surface of the site and had a rummage around to try and find his balls. He then made his way to the 6th tee to rejoin his playing partners.....Now, if you can imagine the site compound, it has had the topsoil stripped off, and from the 5th green end, it is just bare subclay. Very wet sub clay. Sticky. Dave crossed it in both directions looking for 2 golfballs worth about 2, when they were new.....he arrived at the 6th tee roughly 6" taller and several stone heavier, owing to the vast amount of clay adhering to either foot. It took several holes before he regained his normal height and weight. You would think that would be enough, but no, Apples improved upon that....on the 10th tee, the rest of his 4 ball had already teed off and Dave was in pre swing routine on the tee, when the following 4 ball started to click and clink and rattle their clubs  on their way down the path towards the tee. Apples asked them politely if they would kindly cease their distraction whilst he made his shot.......well actually, it was more like "will you shut the....up I'm trying to concentrate" and I think that still might be generous!!!! Silence descended. Complete Silence. Quieter than the grave. Very un-nerving!!! You know the road to the farm, the other side of the fence, beyond the pond??? From the mat??? That's some shot......now do it without crossing either the main pond OR the small feeder pond!!!! Anyone on the Ladies Tee would have been in mortal danger!!! 

 

Fri 19th.....12 noon, still snow covered, so tell staff not to bother coming in until later for the poker night....20 minutes later, snap thaw, 20 cars in carpark, golfers paddling around the course, and I am now stuck without staff until 7.30pm! Rapidly losing my sense of humour here!!

 

Friday 19th Feb.....this is really getting beyond a joke now.......2" of snow covers the course this morning......but the temperature should creep up so maybe it will be gone later on.....it is going to be a bit mad out there tomorrow with the match against the fire brigade.....

 

Weds 17th Feb......following on from my musing about anyone else not having a hole in one...other than Joe....a number of people emailed me to say they were in the same boat.....Gary Mason says he has been playing for 32 years now and still no hole in one....that may be the case Gary, but I'm sorry, it just is not as funny as winding Joe up as it really rankles with him

 

Tues 9th Feb.......after 15 years of trying........Ray Ram has now also beaten Joe Silva in the quest for a Hole in One, having aced the 13th with a 5 wood...........is there anyone left out there...... other than Joe....who still hasn't had one???

 

Tues 9th Feb....canny devils these seniors.......in an effort to get more of them utilising Victoria's cooking on a Tuesday...we came up with a "tuesday seniors special".....3.60 for a full breakfast with 2 eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns and beans plus toast......."I'll have that, but without the eggs please" is the first request.....ok but that will be 4.50 then please says Victoria, seeing as you are now ordering "a la Carte!!!" "What?? it's more because I don't have the eggs?? I'll have the special then says our intrepid senior..." "How would you like your eggs then??" "raw and in a shell...I'll take them home and my missus can bake me a cake!!!"  ....don't mess with the seniors!!! you have been warned!!!

 

Fri 5th.....Swanny the Swan has settled in nicely and looks like he is going to hang around for a bit.....he has already got a few members sussed out.....for example.....Paul Godfrey comes in, buys a muffin and takes it out towards the 3rd green......he perfectly mimics the swan's call.....EEEE OOOO EEEE OOOO....(unfortunately, when Paul first saw the swan, the fire brigade were going past on the way to a shout and I know how confusing it is having dodgy hearing.....) .....despite this Swanny was undeterred and came over to see what the racket was all about....Paul broke up the muffin into two pieces, and offered the small one to Swanny....Swanny was not impressed, snatched the big piece out of his other hand, along with a lump of his finger, and sped off back to the safety of the pond.......EEE OOO EEE OOO...not sure if that was Swanny making his getaway or Paul from the attack on his finger.......blueberry muffins, next time please says Swanny.

 

Thurs 4th Feb.....tremendous news arrives...as you will no doubt know, I am a great enthusiast for winning things...and so progress by one of our Club teams in a national competition is a major step in the right direction......our Foursomes Champions, Martin Lithgo and Colin Barden are representing the Club in the Daily Mail Foursomes....and have successfully negotiated the 1st round, having not lost a single hole so far....ok they got a bye....but already the excitement has been ratchetted up a fraction, and I have started to make tiny movements to the trophies in the cabinets, to start to create the space required for a new one.....watch this space....

 

Tues 2nd Feb....I'm having a bad day......I amended the website to show all of the stuff that is coming up.....put the reservoir meeting down as being 29th Feb..... didn't even register that Feb has 28 days...and this year is not a leap year.... corrected it...as I had an email within 10 minutes telling me it was wrong.....and then an hour later got another email telling me the date for the Annual Dinner Dance was wrong as well.......clearly I am working too hard......

 

Fri 29th.....2009 Poker Grand Final...slightly delayed due to snow....finally got underway.....and nearly 4 hours later the 2009 Champion was "cough" Steve Rumball.......with Kenny Prazer 2nd and Dave Jones in 3rd place. I am now seriously considering making the Poker Championship a Major Tournament, and therefore there will have to be an Honours Board in the Clubhouse.........

 

Tues 26th....I have just received an email, forwarded to me by the County Golf Union.....which has originated from the Rules of Golf department at the R & A....the R & A have just published their new "Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2010 - 2011" which details a whole range of decisions of how a particular Rule has been applied to a particular set of circumstances and the reasons for it....it makes fascinating reading....and there are clearly some people who do nothing in life except dream up obscure circumstances and then write to the R & A asking them for a decision on how they should proceed! .......for example.....a player positions his bag for the purpose of providing shade for his ball!!! Is this permitted?? Answer....NO!! He is deemed to be "accepting protection from the elements and is in breach of Rule 14-2....penalty...strokeplay 2 shots...matchplay, loss of hole.... EXCEPT...if a spectator happened to be standing so that the ball was in shade...the player is entitled to ask that person NOT to move so that the ball can remain in the shade..... quite why the ball needs to remain in the shade I'm not sure, surely applying factor 15 sun cream  before you start to the ball would sort out any problem of sunburn for the poor chap....oh hang on...no you can't apply sun cream to your ball, that is also in breach of the rules.....I digress..........

 

so....the email from the R & A deals with another of their new rulings for 2010, on the subject of divot holes.......from 1st January 2010 a new decision applied....that a Committee cannot make a Local Rule to provide relief without penalty from divot holes, seeded or otherwise. From 1st January 2010, it is not permitted AT ALL to give relief from divot holes....because such a Local Rule would modify Rule 13-1 (which relates to playing a ball as it lies)..........and this comes from an organisation which charges 64 for a winter green fee on the Old Course and requires you to play off mats all the way around!!! They have no sense of irony......       

 

Sun 24th.....the texas scramble finally gets underway.....I have no idea who it was....but I saw one three ball playing out of the bunker on the 9th....which of course begs the question where the other 2 balls went to????? Steve Emmett, Alan Michael and Ray Ram stormed home with an under par net 71.4.....and came......last! A team of 2...Merv the Swerve and John Sullivan managed to win the event......and the other team of 2...Phil Greenhill and Aqua Ray would have come second...except they were DQ'd for failing to record their handicaps! Presumably, that was the job of whoever was the no show....Just a normal start to the year then........

 

Sun 17th.....ZIPPPERDEEEEDOOOODAH!!!!! We have finally sold beer in 2010!!! ....and green fees, food AND a new member all on the same day...... I need a lie down....too much excitement all at once.....

 

Sat 16th...Dave "just too late" Burden emails me....he was too late with his answer for the quiz....he had just scraped enough dosh together to go and buy some ski gear and now it has thawed.....so he has put the ski gear on ebay to raise enough to buy a canoe....but it will be bright and sunny tomorrow and will hopefully dry out quite a bit..... sold the canoe and bought a new set of "game improvement" irons.....yup.....still just too late Dave...

 

Sat 16th......proper Chalgrave weather at last...wind, rain, floods...so we are open!!! The quick quiz from yesterday has been won by Jesus Graydon.....although being an all seeing deity with presumably a photographic memory of the last 2010 years, he has an unfair advantage...the answers being Tom Hanks, in Castaway and Wilson was a ball....specifically a volleyball with a handprint in blood that looked like a face.....there were a number of correct answers but Jesus got there 1st.....I bet that has never happened before.....John Natus is suffering cabin fever (like the rest of us!!) and offered Scott of the Antartic.... and...Captain Oakes' famous quote of "I'll be back"....just think how famous Arnie would NOT have become if Oakes had beat him to his catchphrase by 90 - 100 years!!! Hasta La Vista baby. 

 

Fri 15th......no..it can't be......but it might be.... what do you think Wilson, is that grass???? After what appears to have been an interminable period of time, there appears to be a colour other than white appearing before my eyes. This lengthy period on my own caused me to draw a face on a golf ball, a Wilson, naturally, and have conversations with him. He is now staff...... potentially this could get worse as somewhere in the conversation there could be a deep red fat shaft.......but let's not go there!!! 1st person to email me with the name of the film, the star who won an oscar and who/what wilson was, wins a sleeve of three golf balls.....wilsons of course!!

 

Thurs 14th...HAGS Captain Tim "Braveheart" Murphy has put all of this available time whilst we are snowed under, to good use, planning in great detail and down to the last minute factor, the organisation of the the next two HAGS events and he then confirms everything with me in good time....very good time in fact....requesting a booking for Sat 1st March and Sat 26th April......the next time these two dates appear on a Saturday is in 2014!!! Ho Hum.....it is going to be a long year......

 

Thurs 14th.....back to square one having cleared the driveway on Monday...we are 6" deep again after yesterday's snow....a light at the end of the tunnel though.......the forecast is for heavy rain at the weekend....so we can look forward to floods!! Well at least it will make a change from snow!

 

Tues 12th....Clearly there are a few getting rather twitchy about not playing golf for so long now.....Senior Captain Dave Baston rang me (from Flitwick) last thing last night, to see if we would be open today.....Senior colleague Dave Jones drove across from Luton and arrived at the front entrance just as I was on the way out.....clearly there is a perception, wild and desperate as it may be...that Chalgrave exists within a tiny bubble of warmth amongst an entire country deep in the vice like grip of global warming!! Sadly no....the snow is just as deep here as it is everywhere else....it is approaching 8.30am...and I now have 6 seniors in the clubhouse.....this is more people than I have seen here at the same time for more than a week and they are having coffee....we have actually taken some money!!! At last!!!

 

Mon 11th Jan....still snowbound here...and Vince Hasker has emailed me about our new ski resort facilities...wanting to hire equipment and have some lessons......so I told him...

we are a bit primitive as far as hire equipment and tuition is concerned. The best I can do is use the golfing wellies I confiscated off a foot dragging golfer, replace the spikes with 2" nails through a couple of 8ft pieces of 4" x 1" fencing plank that we have left over, or 1 short section of scaffold board if you fancy snowboarding, and away you go!!   Tuition.....top of hill...give you a push...gravity....job done.
 
It is a very steep learning curve.........
 
If we use the 1st fairway, then when you reach the bottom, you get a free water ski lesson if you haven't worked out how to stop.....
 

 

Thurs 7th....Alisdair Kerr arrives complete with his skis, to take advantage of the new ski resort facilities that we have recently installed for members use on a totally free of charge basis! Paul Northcott suggests that the Texas Scramble be renamed the Texas Slalom, which I thought was a great plan. Saturdays Ladies Stableford will be cancelled and the Ladies Downhill Luge will be run instead. Skintight rubberised suits (please provide your own) and a wooden tray from the kitchen. Start point will be the 2nd tee (red markers of course), and the finish line will be just short (about 6" short) of the pond in front of the 1st Tee.

 

As the Texas Slalom has already been moved back to the 24th, the Sunday will see the Mens four man bob competition. 1st to go will be Hugh Kerr, Richie Scott, Joe Silva and me. This will go one of two ways....1...we will win by a mile as the sheer amount of ballast on board will allow such massive generation of speed......or 2....we will have a major crash early on as four large units all try and run, jump and cram themselves into a moving tube before it runs away from us.....

 

2nd to go will be Bob Albery, Bob Dearman, Bob Given and Bob Weedon....well got to have 4 Bobs in a four man bob surely????

 

Finally, there will be the Open ski jumping, from the car park down towards the 3rd green, take off at the top of the steep cutting on the left hand side of the green, float over the green and land on the fringe on the right hand side. Happy Horwood is favourite for this one as he doesn't weigh anything at all...He should be able to get a nice glide right across to the 1st fairway......

 

Tues 5th January....Senior Captains Drive In.... - 6 sunday night and -4 monday night saw the course nearly 1" deep in frost!! 21 hardy senior souls turned up to see Senior Captain Dave Baston drive in across the icy tundra that passes for the 1st hole.... you know that it is the seniors when John Litchfield brings an old wooden football supporters rattle with him.....when was the last time you saw one of those??? There was an informal sweepstake going on beforehand, with some suggestions that Dave might not clear the icy surface of the pond, whilst even more cruel suggestions were that the icy slick surface of the winter mat itself would see a Dancing on Ice pirouette from the incoming Captain, as part of a magnificent air shot.....there was, therefore, significant interest from all concerned as Dave was announced on the tee. The noise from the watching seniors rose to a crescendo, accompanied by the rattlesnake sound of John Litchfield's rattle before the club came back down on a perfect arc, connected solidly with the sweetspot on the ball, which soared majestically up the centre of the 1st fairway, fading slightly as it landed dead centre. Dave Baston immediately realised that this was what had been missing for his entire golfing career, and immediately decreed that lots of noise was required whenever he is about to play a shot in future!! It has to be said, that that is one of the finest Drives by a Captain for many a year. The seniors then all went off to play a texas scramble in thick white frost, with white golf balls. We moved the flags 30 yards in front of the greens so that they could play, and off they went. Anyone who is a bit short of golf balls at the moment.....there are about 60 balls now lying somewhere out there on the first 13 holes!!!

 

...oh dear....when you take the mickey out of someone, it always helps to double check your own work to make sure that there are no comebacks.....Steve Emmett emails me to say he has spotted my deliberate mistake in making New Years Day a Saturday, not Friday....which considering that I was giving Mr Ward some stick over the diary dates.....I have of course corrected it now!!!

 

Mon 4th January...I have an email from Simon Ward, who has clearly been on the sauce for too long over New Year.....he asks if he can have a 1/12th discount off his annual subs as I have removed February from the calendar for 2010...now I am rather full of pride on the content and correctness of the website, so I was somewhat aghast at the prospect of having lost a month....but no....the full calendar of events actually appears twice on the website and both are correct, with February appearing, as you would expect, nestled neatly between January and March. However, I would like to thank Simon for what is a superb suggestion, that I can close up for February, maybe a spot of skiing perhaps, and yet still charge the full whack 12 month fee. Perhaps one of the best suggestions of all time. I did, of course, point out the error to Simon. He had already realised his error....approx 1 nano second after he clicked the send button on his original email!!

 

Fri 1st January.........Happy New Year to you all......I arrive at 9.15am.....to find about 15 - 20 already here and on the 1st Tee....all the regular faces....Braddy, Bob Albery, John Natus, Alan Michael, Webby, John Crane, Steve Emmett, Dave Millard, Ray Ram, Ben David etc etc......no sign of Paul or Kamal though!!!! Bob Albery starts his 2010 golfing year with a slice up the 3rd, which just makes the ditch and falls in....the 1st penalty shot of the year.....John Crane destroys all hope for the next decade of decent golf by absolutely nailing a drive with laser like precision down the centre of the fairway. It never deviated from its line of perfection once, not even after it landed on the frozen fairway and bounced and rolled straight along the centre line....that's it John, every shot for the remainder of the coming decade will simply not match up to that shot of exquisite perfection....

 

9.30am....the world has gone mad....Richard Muckleston (seniors section so there is an excuse is suppose!!) arrives to drop his renewal form in.....not to play, "I was just passing!"

 

9.52am....the first fine to the Captains Charity is recorded...as Hugh Kerr rings me from the course on his mobile....except he doesn't know he has rung me....clearly I can hear the sound of clubs cattering together as he walks the fairways, intermingled with the sssccchhh.....sssccchhh....sssccchhh of his trouser legs rubbing together as he walks.....the thought is not a happy one so I hang up......

 

2010

 

Fri 31st Dec...It's 3.30pm and Paul Godfrey is the last to go.....all is quiet and I start to pack up and get ready to go.....and then at 3.45pm two people arrive...its Paul Godfrey and Kamal....a quick drink and a game of pool!!!.......5.15pm I get away, as Kaul and Pamal finally decide that pool is no easier when you can see 30 balls and 12 pockets. Paul left with a final Yappy Hew Near!!!!...there is one thing I can absolutely guarantee...neither of those two will be awake come midnight but they hold the honour of being the last club members in the clubhouse at the end of the decade!!!!

 

Tues 22nd Dec....6" deep in snow, Met Office warnings galore about horrendous road conditions...and Peter Whitton, Derek Collins and Alan Laid all arrive for a coffee! Barking mad!! They ignore the subtle warning of one of my greenstaff, who has parked his car at the very top of the carpark, leaving him a straight run at the driveway and home...as they sail on down the steeper part of the top of the carpark and park up next to my big, chunky 4WD.....another clue there chaps.....a coffee and a chat.....and then they provide us with an exquisite ice ballet with cars as they take multiple runs at the upslope of the carpark....getting tantalisingly close each time to the crest of the steeper slope, before sweeping sideways and folornly back down to where they started from. The mad threesome are gloriously in full view of the cctv, Peter Whitton  getting cloths under his wheels and at one point got his golf clubs out as well!!! What he was planning on doing with those I am not sure!!!Eventually.....we relented, and got the tractor out and towed them back up to the top....

 

Thurs 17th Dec....the molers are here, despite the weather forecast!! 2 degrees outside, but that does not take account of the 20 mph wind racing across the course. Dave Burden has lost the plot. He thinks he is Brian Gidley, standing out in the carpark, chatting away happily, in a polo shirt!! After they have all come in, having braved the elements for 4 hours, the real onslaught starts.....the blizzard has hit, but at the moment, it does not look too bad.....mainly because nothing is hitting the ground....it is just blowing horizontally across the course!!! Tomorrow is forecasted to be very bad.....that is a shame...as  Head Greenkeepr Rob has the day off tomorrow.....to move house!!! He went past the course today warm and snug in his car, beeping his horn at his colleagues who were wrapped up like Scott of the Antartic...tomorrow will be payback time.....they are already organised to go up into Toddington....beep their horns and wave to him as he struggles to get his worldly possessions into a van through deep snow....

 

Sunday 13th Dec....having left the club at 2.30am after Cabaret Night, I arrived back at 6.45am to open up for the Turkey Trott, to greet an astonishing field of 95 golfers all here and ready to play 18 holes with just 2 clubs and a putter!!! Shotgun start at 8.15 and all off the course by 12.30!!! Three players achieved 38 stableford points, so why do we bother with 14 clubs then??? Archie Mackintosh embraced the day in its real format, playing just 9 holes in a quite astonishing level of consistency, the only blot on his copybook being a 4 nett 3 and 2 points on the 16th...on an otherwise blemish free score of zero.....into the afternoon and the kids descended on the club for Santa and the party.....the two biggest kids in the room had their faces painted....

 

 

there was a nasty rumour at one point that they were debating on a full body paint job......make your own jokes up from here....

 

The sharp eyed amongst you will notice that Richie has the Scottish flag on his forehead......Joe, was blissfully unaware that instead of the Spanish flag.....the Portugese one was being carefully painted onto his!! He did find out, several hours later...which just started the laughing off again!!!

 

 

Friday 4th Dec....Bob Albery arrives to play golf with the Friday afternoon boys....he sheepishly puts his head around my door...."thanks steve, it all works fine now.....how did I miss that????" It is the Law of Chalgrave Signage. If you want people to know about something, put the information in clear, bold posters and a prominent place on the website, and you can absolutely guarantee that no one will read it!!

 

Thurs 3rd Dec...It has been quiet here for a while, excessive rain has meant that fewer people are about to do daft things.....so I am thankful for the longstanding members who can always be relied upon to keep the news ticking over......Bob Albery returns from exile...sorry...Spain and emails me to say hello...and asks if I can help him with his computer....he says that in Spain, he had no problem accessing all of the website, but on his computer at home, he cannot get the secondary menus to appear on his screen....I ask him if he can get and read the Home Page....."oh yes, no problem, that is all very clear and looks good". I say to him that he could actually try reading the bit right at the top...in bold red to make it stand out....and that will resolve his problem!! 

 

Thurs 26th.....I get a phone call which nearly causes me heart failure......we have just sent out the December renewals, which.....bad news coming now.....show a small increase in fees....to 425 for all memberships renewing at any time in 2010 (seeing as 50% of that increase is just the change in VAT back to 17.5% I think we have done pretty well.....BUT....whilst the letter that accompanied the renewal form shows what the fees are for 2010 in absolute clarity, it would appear that I managed to miss off the 5 on the renewal form itself....so that showed an annual figure of 42!!! As much as I would like to offer this....I am afraid that for some reason, we just cannot sustain that!!! I also have my priorities right....the emails sending out the corrected forms went out before I got around to putting this information up!!!  

 

Mon 23rd Nov..... I have been in all day, and I have made several trips out to see the greenstaff and out to the shops....so I have been up and down the path to the front door on numerous occasions today......so I am somewhat baffled when Richie Scott rings up to ask if his electric trolley is still outside the Clubhouse......I did point out that I hadn't seen it but he said it might be in the bush outside the pro shop......so I popped out to check for him.....in the bush was an understatement. More like it formed part of the main trunk!! I returned to the office and let Richie know that his prized trolley was indeed part of the shrubbery and asked him how it got there.....a mumbled, minimal explanation only revealed the phrase Joe Silva....so I asked Joe for his version......"..... remind him what goes around comes around...." was the answer!!!

 

Mon 23rd Nov... The House Committee Pairs was a bit damp.....I am not going to say it was wet.....if you want wet go to Cumbria...they have wet....on the 10th Tee, Paul Godfrey lines up his shot....Paul's finish position is high and left....how do I know this??? because his ball fizzed off with a fade, and his club fizzed off into the trees on the left!!! If he sorts that swing out, the club would have gone straight on and into the main pond!!!  Paul has just come into the bar, having retrieved his 9 iron from the depths of the woods, having left it there yesterday, reasonably safe in the knowledge that no one else would clamber through the undergrowth to pinch it....he is somewhat miffed, having been fined yesterday for a ball in the water...it hit the bank and fell back in....and a club in the woods!! He cannot understand why I don't sympathise......

 

Thurs 19th Nov......sometimes you just wonder what is going through people's minds......Chris Baker hires a buggy to play with the molers today, as does John Steele....Denis Richards and Mick Moulton are sharing the buggies with the first two.....except that Chris and John load their clubs off onto one buggy, and drive off with 2 keys leaving Dennis and Mick stranded with a buggy paid for and no key!! Elsewhere, Bill Raymen is looking baffled? Where is my putter he asks his playing partners, as he rummages through his bag....what's that in your left hand then comes the reply!!! We have a proper Chalgrave wind here today, probably about a 4 club wind at the moment, or a 6 brick Derek...... ie the number of clubs more than you normally need to go the same distance or the number of bricks we have had to put into Derek's golf bag to make him weigh enough so he doesn't blow away....... 

 

Fri 13th....well with that date it was hardly going to be bright and sunny today was it??? Horrible weather here and even the die hard golfers have.....died! Just me and the greenstaff and a lot of rain at the moment.....The November medal result has finally arrived, officially confirming what Weedo knew last Sunday....that his staggering 48 stableford points was not just enough to win the medal (by a mile) but also that he has regained his status as a single figure handicapper and rejoins the worlds top 2%.....be warned, Dave is playing in Sundays competition, and if you thought he was full of it last weekend....you aint seen nothing yet!!!

 

Thurs 12th Nov....the Molers are in as usual on a Thursday, and Tarby is back in the groove.....last time he made the website it was because he played the double green in 5 shots....a 3 on the 8th and a 2 on the 17th....but today he probably topped that....His Molers handicap is +3......yes thats right, if he gets a gross par on the 5th, 7th and 15th holes, he will pick up 3 stableford points in total!!! Which makes the 41 stableford points for the round, quite astonishing.....even more so when the only 5 on his card was on the 16th for a blob. Even though the tees are on the winter mats, a gross 64 is still incredible stuff. One eagle 2 (18th), seven 3's, nine 4's and a double bogey 5 on the 16th! It will be a long time before anyone else does that off the Ladies Yardage!!! 

 

Thurs 5th Nov....John Steele has graced these pages on many previous occasions, but this is his first appearance on the new look site....today, he started from the 4th, with his playing partner in a buggy, played the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and had teed off on the 8th. As he hit his second off the side slope, his foot slipped away...."och aye, I need te get some new studs ye ken" (well I think that's how you type Glaswegian!!) He sat on the buggy, lifted his foot to see the offending studs or lack of them which had caused the slippage, and realised that he had a golf shoe on one foot and his normal everyday shoe on the other foot!!.... I don't think I need to say anymore!....other than that was good.... even by John's standards!!

 

Weds 4th Nov....The TopGolf Challenge gets underway.....20 players in attendance and the banter is flowing thick and fast, helped by the free drinkies provided by TG....Karen Crane sets up her shot, using a very high tee, fizzes the clubhead under the ball, so that it moves about 5mm upwards, momentarily balances back on the rubber tee peg which has returned to its position, before the ball falls off backwards!! Much laughter from all watching! Our host from TG comments that he has seen it all, including people getting hit by balls rebounding off the roof bars after skied shots....Bob Weedon, 247 years old and still chunking it 200 yards off the tee on a good strike, demonstrates immediately!! Skied into the rafters and the ball fizzes around amongst the watchers and the beer glasses...Dave Weedon, having been fairly liberal with the shouts of FORE every time someone hacked it left or right, was strangely silent! The buffet, more drinks and then the main game. A few side bets were already in place and the pressure was cranked up. Weedo took one look at my 71 points off 10 balls against his 84 off 15 and handed over his 5 before he even finished his 20....Simon Ward needed 4 points off his final 2 balls to overtake Aidan, and with a complete miss with the 1st ball...(it was a wedge to a huge green 100 yards away!!) he held his nerve and hit the green with his last ball to claim a 5 from Aidan....Mike Parrett was on his final balls, chasing down Ollie Whitten's superb 154 points. As you would expect from the scratch team captain, he was dropping ball after ball onto the green and picking up the points....2 balls left, scores tied, game over......except no one told the next ball which went absolutely miles right....to put it into context, stand on the 10th tee, and then miss the pond and the road...to the right!!

Then get your handicap down to 4 and then do it!!

 

 The final ball dropped onto the green and a 9th place for Mike Parrett on the TopGolf overall best scores for the whole day, as well as the lead in the Chalgrave Challenge. The last player still in with a shout, was me. 5 balls, 39 points needed. 1st ball, bullseye!! the TopGolf equivalent of a hole in one!!! 20 points!! More points on the next ball, left me needing 7 points to overtake Ollie and 11 to catch Mike Parrett. The next 2 failed to score!!

 

The only way to get 12 points was the green 250 yards away...get the driver out. Final ball, smash....big hook, nowhere near. The ball cannoned of a couple of other balls on the outfield and disappeared. The scoring screen flicked.....a ball Aidan had hit about 30 minutes earlier that had not registered a score, suddenly appeared as on a green in the direction my hook had gone.....it added 4 points to Aidans score...and the 5 passed back to Aidan, along with one of Simons!! Now I can't hit a green 250 yards away...but I can hit one specific ball, just over 1" in diameter, with another one, and knock it into a scoring position to win some money for my son!!! Quality!! The prize ceremony was a Chalgrave classic.....TopGolf announced the winners....3rd....with a medal, Steve Rumball....2nd...another medal....John Crane.....1st...Ollie Whitten!!!!mayhem!! I presented my medal to John, he passed his to Ollie, and the TopGolf Challenge trophy finally ended up where it should have done, with Mick Parrett. Somehow, my 2 bulleyes in the second game were not good enough to win the nearest the pin!! but what the hell!!! We had a great time and hopefully this can be repeated, maybe with more participants, after Christmas.

 

Sat 31st...The Halloween Handicap, torrential rain delays the start by 30 minutes, but the takings on the bar as a result are enormous.....so maybe we will deliberately delay the start every time from now on....Frank Howarth...a regular Tuesday senior makes a rare foray out at the weekend and provides the best moments of the day....Frank has an electric trolley with the "move on" 30 yards button....he putts out on the 7th, watches his playing partners putt out, turns around and cannot find his trolley......so the whole 4 ball walk back to the 7th tee to look for it...despite the fact that Frank has only got his putter!!! Right...so he teed of with that did he??? eventually the hunt commences at the back of the 7th, and takes so long that the following 4 ball also arrive and join in the search...Wing Commander Tim Smith is looking carefully amongst the long grasses....carefully parting the fronds, until someone points out that he is looking for a whole trolley and not just a ball!!!! Eventually, the players on the 12th tee help out, as they saw it pass across in front of them before embedding itself in the longstuff at the back of the 14th green!!! You would think that would be enough, but no.....on the 16th tee, club selected, and tee off....where is my trolley?? Apples is this time able to help out immediately, having seen the trolley hare off down the fairway. turn left and disappear in to the depths of the woods!!!

 

Dave Bryant scores an astonishing 48 points in normal play.....but suffers under the "trick or treat" rules as he draws out his 2 double score balls with 2 nett pars to double up the scores on the two holes to 4 points each...and then pulls out the number 2 ball for his trick, a double and minus....on the second hole, he had a 3, nett 2 and 4 points, doubled to -8 .... but  you do not get the benefit of the 4 either!! so it becomes effectively a -12!!! So the 48 stableford points will be winging its way to the Comps & Handicaps Committee for a savage cut.....(along with all the other 39+ pointers) but no prizes!! 

 

Thurs 29th Oct....the draw arrives for the House Committee Team Trophy, which is entered as individuals and there is then a random draw for playing partners.....73 entries, so the odds of drawing one specific player as a playing partner would be, in theory, at the start of the draw, 72 - 1. Peter Graydon is putting all his spare cash on the lottery this weekend, having been drawn, at random, to play with his other half, Fee Knight!!! Quality!

 

Thurs 22nd Oct....8.00pm, Apples. Mick Yule, Spam and Simon Ward are all leaving....as they exit the clubhouse, the lights come on to show them the way....Simon Ward cuts the corner outside the pro shop, but doesn't quite get his foot back onto the pathway, steps down into the flowerbed, pirouettes twice in a manner that would get him shedloads of points on Strictly....and then falls backwards into the flowerbed just past the large bush outside the pro shop window....Apples, Spam and Yuley are all still by the front door, and have seen the spins and turns, and then a touch of the David Copperfields as Simon disappeared from sight completely.....stranded like an upturned turtle, Simon was struggling to regain his footing, whilst Apples, Spam and Yuley were also struggling....to remain standing themselves as the pain from laughter was just too much to bear.....regrettably, the angle of the CCTV camera does not get the full view.

 

Tues 20th Oct....an email from Karen...not content with beating Tilsworth in the Club match, Karen, Kay, Christine and Sue won the Tilsworth Open to successfully defend the trophy the Ladies won there last year.....clearly brimming with confidence, Karen is looking forward to the hat trick next year!!!

 

Tues 13th Oct...I attended the English Golf Union (EGU) briefing meeting at John O'Gaunt Golf Club. These meetings have been held all over the country as the EGU have had a whole range of subjects where information needed to be passed out to clubs. Clearly, from the smooth and accomplished manner in which the information was presented, there have been many meetings before the one I attended.....at the end of the session, there was a question and answer session, where again, clearly the range of questions raised had been aired before and the speakers were able to deal with each subject with ease......on things like the new Equality Bill where for example, if it becomes law then Clubs having a Ladies Day or having a different dress code for ladies and men may well be considered to be outside of the law......so as the session drew to a close, I asked the following question...." Given the implications of the new Equality Bill, if I have a gentleman golfer who is off 28 handicap but cannot play to it, would he be able to request that he plays off 36 handicap from the Red Tees without having had a prior gender reassignment, under the new act??" I think, from the astonished, flummoxed looks on the faces of the two speakers, it would be fair to say that they had not been asked that one before.....I don't actually recall getting an answer, come to think of it!! Also at the meeting was David Parrett, of the Beds County Golf Union, who reminded me that the County Dinner was coming up in December at Cranfield.....Kev Clinton's miami vice suit was mentioned...so clearly our performance from last year has not been forgotten yet!!

 

Sat 10th Oct.....the ladies section are now unbeaten in Club matches for an incredible 8 years........following their home win against Tilsworth by 2 games to 1 today....this is a record that is unsurpassed by any of our club sections........it is also the first match the ladies have played in 8 years, but it sounds so much better the other way!!! The girls are risking this record though, as they have already planned a few more matches for the coming months......

 

Fri 9th Oct.....just updating the website with the Medal results and notice a couple of things......one, not surprisingly the best placed Saturday player for last weeks medal was in 19th place.....and quite frankly that was an awesome performance...anyone in the top 40 who played their round on Saturday should be congratulated! and secondly.......Immediate Past Captain Dave Weedon finshed 16th with a nett 74.....and got 0.1 back onto his handicap, taking him from an exact of 9.9 to and exact of 10........now knowing Dave....that is going to hurt!!!!!Being in the bottom 98% when he made it to 9.5 was bad enough.....but now there are 2 figures in front of the decimal point!!!!

 

Sun 4th October.....calm, benign conditions, just a hint of breeze......if you guys didn't win the medal you should be shot!!!

 

Sat 3rd October....the Saturday medal....absolute carnage!! the wind was very very severe, not gusting, just constant gale force!! at one point, we got a mention on the shipping forecast!! It was extremely tough out there, and having battled all the way around, and into the teeth of the gale as you played the 17th, the thoughts of a downwind 18th and respite in the clubhouse were very attractive.....but getting through the 17th was a challenge in itself....I hit 2 monster shots to be 120 yards short and my 120 yard 6 iron finished up on the 8th fairway!!! I chipped it right over the flag, about 12 ft beyond the flag, which was right up the front of the green......the ball landed, checked and spun slightly back, continued to roll, past the flag, down to the front of the green and 10ft back down the fairway!! Another chip to 4 ft and 3 putts!! ...but that was nothing...playing partner Dave Pettit was on in 3, off in 4, back on in 5, putted up to the hole for 6, took too long to get it marked and it rolled back to the fringe, putted back to 6" for 7, wasn't going to be caught out again, so nipped forward and holed it quickly for 8 and collected a 2 shot penalty for failing to remove the flagstick for a 10!!......but that was nothing....in the group behind us, Paul Godfrey was at the back of the green, putted it beautifully to the flagstick....except it just wouldn't stop, off the green and down onto the fairway....seeing as he only had his putter with him, he putted back up the front slope onto the green, and watched the wind blow the ball back towards him....but slightly more to his right.....this time dropping into the bunker......still with a putter and with a left hand stance, a bunker shot with the back of the putter.....this is the chalgrave news page and I expect that you think I am going to say he holed it......no......it stayed in the bunker and it did so for a second attempt as well. Playing partner Tony Hawker was losing the will to live, and was sitting behind his windbreak (trolley) with his umbrella wrapped closely around him as the carnage continued......Paul retrieved his sand wedge and eventually holed out....for a mind boggling 12 having been on the green for 4!!!

 

The ladies medal suffered a similar fate, with Cally putting off the green 3 times.....if you played the medals on Saturday and you finished with a nett 70 something I would take my hat off to you if it hadn't blown away!!

 

Fri 2nd October....How do Dave Millard's teeth improve Steve Hipwell's putting then??? Well Steve Hipwell was putting out, when the ball skewed off line at impact....the putter head had come loose. One of his fellow playing partners Dave Millard, had a rummage around and found his denture glue!! A quick dab of aforesaid glue, play the next hole a bit slowly to give it time to set.....wonderful!!! in my opinion, it would make a superb TV advert...much better than having old people smiling at each other and eating sticky toffee pudding....the only thing is....why are Dave's teeth still loose then???

 

Thurs 1st October...Peter Whitton sends me an email saying how much better the new website is....and asks if I can improve his golf in the same way.......my response....I know it was almost impossible to improve on the old website, but we managed it.....miracles though, I can't do!!!

 

Mon 28th Sept...Further clarity has been obtained in the saga of the airline flight and honeymoon.....and it is worthy of updating the earlier report.....Rob didn't drive to Gatwick as previously reported.....he drove to Luton Parkway Station, where he had pre-booked a weeks carparking, and got on the train to Gatwick, on a return ticket which he had also pre-booked....they arrived at Gatwick at around 2.00am, having not bothered to sleep during the day as they would be able to sleep on the flight and arrive in Greece fully refreshed and ready to collect their pre booked car hire.....unfortunately, arriving 24 hours early meant that Rob had to check into the Gatwick Hilton, paying for an overnight stay where the night was almost over, and then in order to keep the room and hotel facilities for the day, had to book a second night, with an alarm call for 3.00am so that they could then check in at the right time on the right day!!! ...So 2 nights....having just checked the Gatwick Hilton's website, would have set Rob back over 200 per night....and he didn't get a full nights sleep on either of them!!!! Then there will be the question of the car hire in Greece....have they kept his car for him or have they hired it out to someone else....even if they have kept it for him, he may have to return it a day early...which would mean spending the final day of his honeymoon driving the car back to the car hire depot, getting a taxi back to his villa, booking another taxi to take him to the airport the following day...getting his flight home and collecting his own car, complete with over stay penalty from Luton Parkway....you either have to feel really sorry for him, or laugh uproariously.....Rob of course booked it in this manner in order to save a few quid in carparking charges at Gatwick........that will be laugh then.....

 

Sat 26th Sept....Head Greenkeeper Rob Parr has had a bad week.......he was off ill for 2 days....dicky tummy and the ....well you know what I am getting at....and on Friday he was on a half day as he prepared to jet off to Greece with his new bride on a somewhat belated honeymoon.....that's Rob for you, getting the dicky holiday tummy BEFORE he reaches the holiday destination!!!......and you might think that this at least would mean that things could only get better for the remainder of the trip......errrr no!!! The newlyweds are off to Greece, from Gatwick, despite there being a perfectly adequate airport 5 miles away....so as always with these things, M25, big crowds, honeymoon, you don't want to be late or delayed and miss your flight......so imagine the horror on Rob's face when he arrives at check in last night, hands over his ticket and passport and smiles nicely at the Monarch Check In staff......" I'm sorry sir, this flight is not yet open for check in" "What?? when does the desk open then??" "Tomorrow sir, you are here 24 hours early!!!" Fortunately, just around the corner from the duty free and perfume shops, is a marriage guidance counsellors office....he advise calling in at the Duty free and perfume shops, and then heading for the Gatwick Hilton, to spend loads of for a last minute overnight stay!!!! It would be churlish of me to point out that most Gatwick Hotels these days offer the opportunity to stay overnight, leave your car with them for a week or two, and all for significantly less than the extortionate carparking charges at Gatwick......except Rob had already paid the carparking fees, and then had to cough up for the most expensive hotel on the airport as well on top!!! So, the nice quiet, low cost self catering private villa break for Rob and his bride has got a little bit more pricey...and he  hasn't even left the country yet!!! and he is faced with a 24 hour stay in Gatwick airport!! Quality!  I will be texting him in about 5 minutes to let him know that the story is on here........and to also let him know that he hasn't booked an extra day holiday so I expect him back on the correct day....I bet he hasn't thought of that yet either!!!!

 

Fri 25th Sept......yesterday the seniors season of club matches came to an end with a victory against Tilsworth....and what a turnaround it has been for the section!!! Having lost their opening 6 games, the season looked set to be a war of attrition, but from out of the blue, a rare victory appeared in match 7. The next 4 matches saw 1 win and 3 losses, before embarking on an astonishing run of the final 7 matches producing 2 halved matches and 5 victories!!! This sort of performance has never been seen before in the history of the Seniors Section and none of them can remember anything remotely like it.......not surprising really seeing as most of them can't remember who they played golf with last Tuesday, let alone the result of matches 3 years ago....still, a great turnaround by the section and a series of performances by them which will live long in the memory....or until next Tuesday with a bit of luck anyway......

 

Sun 13th Sept...the Parrett Hawker foursomes, and Dave "bottom 98%" Weedon partnered Happy Horwood, which quite frankly delighted Happy as he said for the first time in years he might actually have a makeable shot into the 1st green (clearly Happy's regular partner, Dave Parr has not been getting the required position off the tee over the years!!). Playing with past Captain Weedo, and playing partners and Competition sponsors, Messrs Parrett and Hawker themselves, Happy looked forward to an approach shot of about 130 yards.....Weedo took his usual flourishing, extravagant swing and promptly topped the ball into the pond......which proceeded to fill up rapidly as the tears of laughter flowed from the other three.....

......and the increasing diversity of our business was ever more apparent as we opened our Sunday picnic and football area.....at around 12 noon, Spam and Apples...perfectly adequate names for a picnic really!!!....were playing the 18th, when to their amazement, they came across a car which had come down the driveway, turned right and parked between the trees on the 4th hole, just short of the 150 yard markers and so in a perfectly hittable spot!!....the doors and boot were open, a picnic blanket was out on the grass and Mum and Dad eating happily whilst two kids played football on the practice ground, also perfectly hittable from the 18th Medal Tee...you could not make it up......

 

Sat 12th Sept....in these difficult economic times, companies are looking at diversifying to increase their revenue potentials.....and we are no different, and our new airport services opened on Saturday morning....( I haven't yet sorted out the extortionate short term parking fees)..... as the club matcj gathered outside the Clubhouse at 9.00am, a hot air balloon floated serenely across the 16th green, extremely low.....a blast of hot air from the burners increased the altitude enough to get them over the 135,000 volt power lines, and I thought they were heading across the fields towards Tebworth, til Captain Nick informed me that the balloon had come down up by the road....I jumped in a buggy and headed for the scene, and at the top of the carpark, I met a car with a trailer, the "chase car" driven by a lady who brightly informed me that they had landed, everything was OK and they were in the middle of a fairway!!! I asked them if they were members, and when they said no, I pointed out that a group of four on the course on a Saturday morning would set them back 34 each in green fees!!!! We are not golfing she said....you are on the fairway and that is good enough for me came the reply!!! For about 20 minutes, a couple of groups had a large wicker basket as well as the bunker on the 5th to negotiate, but regrettably, no one managed to get their ball into the basket for a unique hole in one.......

 

 

Sun 6th Sept.....the Senior Masters at Woburn...we had guys marshalling and of course there were those who went along to watch...Braddy was there with Philip....and in the tented village there was a series of practice bays, sponsored by Travis Perkins, where you could have a 5 minute lesson with a pro for free....so Braddy steps up, and lets the pro know all about his new clubs, how they were fitted, the fact that he needed longer shafts than standard...which Braddy thought was a surprise....but they didn't tell him the set he was buying were junior clubs....he described his swing arc, and his ability to draw and fade the ball at will......the pro listened intently and then asked him to take a swing so he could see.........at the top of the backswing, the pro yelled "STOP!!!" "whats wrong??" says Braddy...."nothing mate, your 5 minutes are up...next please!!!!".....

Sat 5th Sept.....One of our Ladies, Jeanette Wildman, a 36 handicapper, had a hole in one on the 5th today......her first I believe, and that is one more than Joe Silva has had.....

 

Fri 4th Sept...Well it is a bit calmer out there today.....yesterday...well lets just say that Chalgrave showed its teeth.....it was a 5 club wind by mid morning...that means that if you normally need a 9 iron, you need 5 more clubs (a 4 iron or rescue wood!!) to get there!!! Downhill putts were a doddle, downwind was scary!! The 9 hole competition was absolute carnage...Steve King was awesome with 19 points including a blob and a -2 shot cut already!! Most were simply blown away. Two weeks left to go in the 9 Hole, and what a superb competition it has been all summer. With between 30 - 40 people playing every week, the winners have been spread out with Matt Oakley and Steve King sharing the -4 handicap cut lead....89 players have played in it at some point this year, and 33 of them have had a 1st or 2nd place!! Only 3 points separate the top two overall with 2 weeks to go.....either Rikki or Don Cook will make it to overall champion but Rikki already has 8 scores at 5 or better counting, whilst Don only has 6 scores above 1....the tension mounts!!!

 

Tues 1st Sept....back from the Bank Holiday weekend....and the stories are already in.....The Hasker Multiplier went down very well on Saturday, but not without some element of confusion and miscalculations on the maths.....the eventual winners were originally well clear of the field on 252 points...but then a double check revealed that there were two errors on the card, in the allocation of stableford points against the handicap....reducing a 27 point hole to an 18 pointer and a 36 point hole to a 27....so the final result was much closer than thought....with only 6 points separating 1st and 2nd, and 8 points separating 2nd and 3rd.....the winners started with a single point up the 1st, but accumulated 54 points on the last 2 holes to win....the team in 2nd accumulated a meagre 30 points on holes 5 to 9.....and the team in 3rd had a run of 4, 8 pointers preceded by a blob from 11 to 15.....so it really was wide open......and then as everyone came off, there was an opportunity to have your clubs cleaned, by the aptly named "Club Clean" company...quite a few took the opportunity...and I have to say, those that didn't missed out. I had mine done and the grips now feel like new, the grooves are spotlessly clean as are the clubs themselves.....it was not all plain sailing though...Karen Crane, fresh from her place in the winning side had her clubs cleaned, but unfortunately, Nick from Club Clean put the head covers back on Karens fairway woods in the wrong order...so the 7 wood had the 3 wood cover and visa versa...the following day in the Unity Cup, it took Karen 9 holes to notice that they were wrong!!! She thought it was strange that the 7 wood went miles...and put it down to the rejuvenated feel of the club after cleaning....but was going to write a letter of complaint about the reverse effect that the cleaning had had on her 3 wood which was going nowhere.....when you consider how often the ladies use their fairway woods around the front 9, it seems strange that it took until then to actually notice that the "3" wood had gained a massive amount of loft on the face.....Karen took some unmerciful stick when she returned to the bar after her round, particularly since her front 9 score was much better than her back 9 when she had rearranged the head covers!!! and then that mickey taking was renewed all over again, when Fee Knight came in and said...." you will never guess what has happened to me......I had my clubs cleaned yesterday...and on the 9th....." nothing more was said as the room dissolved into howls of laughter..... it was a good job that Nick didn't put the clubs back into the bag upside down really......you can imagine the complaints....I asked for the heads to be cleaned...and he has washed them right off!!!!

 

Sun 30th Aug.....a potential flashpoint here, as the last competition, the seniors champs had a 2's competition that was not won....so the old boys have put 13.50 into a rollover for the 2's, for the next competition, which is the Unity Cup. This generates an opportunity for one of the Ladies to win the rollover money from a mens competition.......Pete Graydon had already realised this was possible...but was less than bouyant about the prospects of Fee getting a 2 it has to be said!!!!

 

Sat 29th Aug....Don Parrott returns to play the Hasker Multiplier after a few weeks non golfing.....due to injury.....he is still limping slightly.....having pulled a calf muscle playing......rounders!! I set will set you a challenge.....in your mind... can you see Don Parrott holding a small wooden bat, hitting a soft ball thrown underarm at him gently, and then running off around the lap of 4 poles....??? No....not possible is it?? I nearly got there and then as it was a girls sport...I added the image of Don in small tight shorts....nasty.....

 

Mon 17th August....Committee meeting....not a subject to normally grace the pages of the news blog...but this one was worthy of mention....first up was Karen Crane, making her first appearance at Committee as Ladies Vice Captain, and her debut sentence on Committee, opened with "well if I was a lady......" and then there was a break for everyone to stop laughing.....Mick Yule wanted more litter bins as he said he was fed up with carrying other peoples litter around the course from where they had dropped it to the nearest bin. I did point out that there were numerous bins dotted about, but Mick claimed that there was nothing from the 4th Tee to the 10th tee....Nick was adamant that there was a bin on the 6th Tee, and I have to say that i thought there was, but couldn't actually recall seeing it recently....so I did wonder if it had been appropriated by person or persons unknown for nefarious activities...in the end I convinced myself that there was no bin on the 6th....and Nick was straight in with a 5 bet for the Captains Charity that there was one there.....as soon as the meeting finished, we jumped in my 4WD and drove out to prove the point....my conversation with Nick was going along the lines of....."I have lost to one Hawker in the last week, I'm damned if I am going to lose again" .....when the bin loomed into view out of the darkness....damn....the Captains Charity bottle had a few more of my 's added to it.....

 

Fri 14th August....Tony Hawker wins the inaugural Scratch Matchplay Knockout with an awesome display against yours truly....I had 2 birdies on the front nine and didn't win either hole.....whilst Tony was simply unbeatable with one of the most faultless displays of golf it has been my misfortune to play against...as we walked towards the green on the 14th, with Tony at 1 under par gross, he mentioned that this was his best ever score to this point.......thanks for saving it for me Tony!!!

Elsewhere on the course, Happy Horwood was extremely Happy, as the usual Friday crowd he plays with had gone off to Royston for the afternoon...and so they missed out on Happy's round after his hole in one on the 13th.....with a driver! The group in front said it was fizzing across the green, slammed into the flagstick and dropped like a stone! 10.50 for a round of drinks for a hole in one!!

 

Sun 9th...another morning after the night before....Mick Yule is made of stern stuff as he was here bang on time for the 1st Starters shift....there were people on the 9th green at 7.15am when I arrived!!! The competition was progressing quite nicely until Mick Yule appears in the Clubhouse at 9.15 to ask if I can take over the starters job as he has to start his round at 9.44 and the second shift starter has not yet arrived.....well who is it supposed to be????ah....Weedo! I have a couple of things to sort out and then I wander down to take over from Mick...except that I am not needed...as Dave is now there...."ah you made it then" ... I enquire politely..."No prob, I am never late"....right.....so who did make the panicked phone call to find out what time Mick Yule was supposed to be off then??? The competition was finding the course very tough going... after Thursday's absolute deluge, the course was playing very long. No run on the ball, lush rough and the ponds were as deep as they have ever been, although the water levels around the world had increased several millimetres, caused by Phil Barter crying for hours in the USA after being told of Norwich's opening day match against Colchester at Home....imagine that...all those weeks preseason training, all the plans, the expectation of the fans as they look forward to 46 matches over the next 6 months as they expect to bounce straight back to the Championship, 90 minutes later....lost 7 - 1 at home, not a great start really!!...I digress.....the rough was lush, loaded with water and not easy to get out of...ask Mick McGarry as he was in it most of the way around!!! Despite being given some fearful stick by his playing partners in what, I am told is not a great score, he took it like a man......elsewhere, Mick Yule has long held an ambition to join the worlds top 2% and get to single figures....for a long time on Sunday, he looked like he would make it...regrettably for him it was only in terms of stableford points over 18 holes on Sunday!! A bit of good fortune saw him sneak back into double figures on the last. Pixie was at the bar before the comp and was snapped up by Multiplier Hasker as a partner for the Brewer Baston Bowl....various comments abounded, particular reference to the "No Mixed Pairs" rule....and clearly Mr Hasker has some work to do with Braddy in terms of team spirit, as Braddy blew a gasket when Pete Graydon (top 2%) asked if anyone needed a partner in the Brewer Baston 5 hours later in the bar!!! If I were you Vince....when you stand over the putt on the 18th in a couple of weeks, have just played your fedora off and need that putt for a course record and 1st place, with Braddy having lost his ball in the long stuff on 18 and being right out of it, shove it 20ft past onto the fringe, get your 3 wood out and batter it into the trees behind the 9th, and walk away with your head held high, telling him you will be looking for a proper partner next year!!

Elsewhere, Webby was also under threat in dropping out of the top 2%...perhaps spurred on by the ribbing experienced by Weedo since he joined to bottom 98%, he talked a good round in the bar ahead of the round and then went out and did it...39 points may be enough to get him a slight reduction and a bit of breathing space.....Dave, didn't mention his round to me today...so I assume that he remains in the 98% bracket.....

Clare was in the kitchen on Sunday as the regulars are of on hols.....JR Hartley aka John Crane commented she was lovely as she served him his lunch....someone else commented that was harassment.....Roy piped up from behind the bar...."yes he said it to me earlier as well" "Ah but he meant it this time" came the instantaneous response from Alan Michael.... Chalgrave humour...you just can't beat it      

 

Sat 8th Aug.....Mrs Weedo's party....it was like a quiet charity day...which tells you that it was anything but quiet really!! There were so many things that could go wrong....Fred West was on the BBQ.....cooking a family meal he said....the HAGS were there in some strength and Barman Roy was in charge for his first evening function.....he was looking slightly shell shocked by the time I called in late evening!! Suffice it to say, that my staff clocked off at somewhere between 2.30 am and 3!! Weedo, Mrs Weedo, young Ben, Braveheart and Richie all went back to Dave's.....where they then launched into tenpin bowling on the Wii until 4.30am!!!

 

Fri 7th Aug....The McGarry's are keen golfers as most people know...so keen that the 4 Mcgarry's have entered the Hasker Multiplier twice.....maybe they have multiplied!

Mon 27th....Sue comes in to clean.......and finds a pair of black underpants by the dancefloor.......will they fit Paul, she wonders??? I get an email from Harry....do I know where his clubs are as he cannot find them......I respond telling him that he asked me 16 times in 3 minutes late on Saturday evening if he could leave them in my office.....I said yes to the request for the first 6 times and then said no to the remaining 10, wondering if it would make any difference.....clearly it didn't!!! Harry also says he is off the beer for a month...eeeeek.....

 

Sun 26th...the morning after the night before......if Dave Weedon, Mick Yule or Tim Murphy are in the top 10 I will be amazed!! Elsewhere, the Weedons are still having problems...this time Kelvin and his van again!!! Paul Northcott is approaching the Thorn turn on the A5, when he notices a van with its hazards on and the driver clearly agitated and kicking lumps out of it......a mechanical breakdown from the van and a mental one from the driver.......recognising Kelvin as the distressed driver,  he resists what any normal club members would do....ie beep the horn and wave as he goes past....and stops and offers assistance. Kelvin considers the offer, reviews where his van is, clearly blocking the junction and causing a major hazard, accepts the lift and transfers all his gear into Pauls car.....now Paul owns a Toyota Aygo...think the Smart car and then get smaller!!! Kelvin, not content with being rescued, loads Pauls car with his clubs, electric trolley, battery and then himself and off they go, making it here on time for Kelvins start time. At 3.00pm as Paul is on his way home, it takes some time to negotiate the Thorn turn as Kelvins van is still there, still blocking traffic, hazard lights blinking somewhat more slowly.....

 

Sat 25th....Charity Day.....dawns clear and bright...and after yesterdays deluge it seems impossible that there are not more flooded areas out there. The first starters are due out at 11.00 and Captain Hawker and Cally are here well in advance to complete the setting up of sponsor signs etc. Vince arrives, as always on Charity Day, in smart blazer and fedora, pays his fine for a hat in the clubhouse and settles down to extract maximum cash from all who come near him. Weedo, Micky Yule, Braveheart and Harry McGarry are here to help set up, and then as the start time approaches, they slip into character and costume......the 4 scousers, making up the Ferry Across the Mersey Team. For at least the next 12 hours, these four remain resolutely in character. Resplendent in black curly wigs, black "Bruce Grobbelaar" style moustaches, and dressed identically in lurid purple shell suits, subtly broken up with glaring white and orange patches, with the zipped top unzipped to show hairy chests...well in Mick's case at least two hairs anyway....they are uncontrollable and met any attempt at conversation with a scouse "eekk  eeeek" This somewhat limited vocabulary seems effective...all I could fathom was that once they had uttered 20 eeeeks between them, it was time for a drink....fortunately, they were reasonably early starters, so normality eventually descended on the clubhouse for a bit, although the course still rang to the sound of eeks all day........

Captain Hawker had made a last minute change to the format of play, having decided that having all 4 shots to count on the first 6 and only two to count on the last 6 was not going to work.....by that I mean that he felt that his team were more likely to score well if we played it the way we did last year with best 2 on the first 6, and all four on the last 6.....so there we are, the Captain and Chairman of Handicaps and Competitions manipulated the format to suit his team....who then came nowhere!!

Steve Emmett had written a spreadsheet so that all scores could be easily input, and produce a result in nanoseconds, which is a great advantage as we were only likely to have about an hour or so after the final group came in before we made it to presentations! Nicks last minute change meant Steve had to redo the whole thing overnight on Friday, but the whole thing looked very professional as Vince, looking like an MP on excessive expenses, calmly input scores whilst all around there was a sea of general mayhem. Out on the course, the scousers were high fiving, having full team body slams and eeeking like no ones business, and consuming drink faster than they could pour it out of a can/bottle...that's quite an achievement in itself!! Various other teams, indulging in good natured bantering with the scouse, were rewarded by being mooned at by the intrepid 4.

Out on the course, all manner of mad things were occurring. Mick Bewley was on the 10th Tee when I arrived with the group behind, just in time to see Mick thin the ball downwards and into the main pond, well short of the island.....a comment was made and Mick's long time golf buddy, Ronnie Cooper, who had already set off along the path and was now in front of the yellow markers, leapt to his chums defence, saying he had absolute confidence in his mates ability to strike a ball properly....I mentioned that if he had that level of confidence, he would stay where he was whilst Mick played 3 off the tee.....madness descended as he did so.....and even more madness followed as Mick thinned the next one 2 yards over Ronnies head!! We couldn't quite place it, but there was a distinctly unpleasant aroma that seemed to pervade the air for the remainder of our round, and Ronnie looked to be walking slightly oddly!!

The Hog Roast was splendid, and supplemented by an additional buffet, and the evening event gathered pace. The scouse, were determined to introduce all manner of Liverpudlian items....first Harry dropped some beer on the dance floor which made it a little slippery, and then as Victoria mopped it up, Braveheart gave a magnificent impersonation of Billy Eliot as he leapt across the floor, landing on the newly dampened area and crashing to the floor with such grace and aplomb you thought it had been rehearsed a thousand times.....The results were in.....and to the incredulous looks of disbelief from everywhere else, the scouse had won!!! The tables near the front emptied as Braveheart shook up his champagne and popped his cork....Kev Clinton took on the raffle of a thousand prizes in his own inimitable style and finally we had the Charity Auction. Harry had brought along a fabulous prize, to be there and watch, champagne breakfast and maybe participate, on the James and Erika Gold Breakfast Show, broadcasting live to the nation!!! As the bids slowly mounted, Mick Yule was winning at 50...so I pointed out to Harry, the considerable risks of letting Mick Yule into a national radio show studio during a live broadcast......whereupon Harry immediately realised the full horror that that might entail, and immediately bid 60 for his own voucher back!!! Braveheart was having none of this and topped the bid straightaway, 70 for Muck Yule to go!!! Harry knew he was beaten.....I will do my best to let you all know when this momentous occasion will occur!!  Two tickets to any show at the HMV Apollo in Hammersmith added to the fun....Dan Glass opened the bidding at 50, John Crane, standing next to him, topped the bid immediately with 60. I asked John if he fancied 70 and he said yes! What about 80??? Yes again!!! I did then point out that it was normal practice in an auction for other people to bid between his own bids, but what the hell...did he want 90??? John was determined...so he said yes!!! Sadly, despite being the only one bidding for the item, he then lost it at the last moment to Danny Glass for 110!!!

All in all, the Auction raised almost 1000 to the overall fund. There could not be any more fundraising surely.......oh yes there was.....200 was donated for the scouse to sing Ferry Across the Mersey, which was, quite frankly, the absolute worst Karaoke performance I have ever heard....there are, sometimes, blessings for having poor hearing. This was one of those times!! Chastened, but not defeated they bounced back with their grand finale.......unplanned, unrehearsed and completely unstoppable, the clubhouse reverberated to the pulsing sounds of "I Believe in Miracles" as the headline soundtrack to The Full Monty saw the scouse on the final lap....the music was halted as donations to the Charity were called for, and the Jar on the Bar took some serious wedge. The stage was set, the scouse just didn't care anymore...and away we went....they had been talking b*ll*cks all day and now we were going to see them...did we???? well you should have been there!!! That will teach you to miss a Chalgrave event!! Finally, as we approached 1.30am, most had gone. The clubhouse looked as if a bomb had hit it.....crisps were everywhere on the floor, but The Captain is made of stern stuff. Out came the hoover, and away he went, on what has to have been the most random pattern of hoovering ever seen. There was no method, just hoover  a bit here, then a bit there, then go over there then back over here....Nick must have thought that there was someone following him around just dropping more crisps behind him, as he didn't seem to be getting anywhere for quite some time. This was due to the fact that he hoovered a bit clean, walked back into more crisps, walked forwards across the bit he had hoovered, dropping newly crushed crisps on the bit he had done and then just repeated this over and over again!! Eventually, the hoover won the battle, and The Captain and Cally, first in and last out had done Keech Cottage proud. Final totals will be sorted out, but we will be on the high side of 3,500 at the end of it. Awesome!!!    

 

Friday 24th July....well I have seen some rainfall at times over the past 15 years, but this topped the lot I reckon, for fury unleashed in a short spell.......as the Friday afternoon boys mainly escaped by the skin of their teeth, with the exception of Vince, who took one look at the approaching black cloud and clearly thought it was perfect for our floating feathered friends...."for duck that" was what was reported, but it could be wrong!!!!! as he abandoned his ball on the 17th and headed for sanctuary instead. It was an astute decision, and one not taken by Happy Horwood and Vijay.....whilst everyone else seemed to have made it reasonably intact....Braddy and Gibbo were absolutely soaked just getting in from the car park....Happy and Vijay appeared at the 150 markers on the 18th, and waded through 4" deep water all the way down the hill......battered by wind and rain, water in such volumes that it seemed that Happy would be swept away on a raging torrent, it could not possibly get any worse......until it did! The rain turned to large hail stones!!! As you would expect, an honour guard of those that had made the clubhouse safely and were dry, formed at the windows at the far end of the clubhouse. Tears of laughter coursed down the cheeks of those inside, threatening to swamp the inside in the way that the outside had just been hammered. Strangely, Happy did not look happy!

 

Sunday 19th July....the Pro-Am.....so who believes in scary coincidences???? 73 pro's were drawn at random to partner 78 club members...so we had to draw 5 pro's twice as The Open organisers messed up my arrangements by having the smallest 3rd/4th round field at an Open for over 5 years......I had checked back to see how many always made the cut and it always seemed to be 80 or more.....until this year...never mind.....so......what do you think the odds are, of Joe Silva being drawn to partner Stuart Appleby, so that the names Silva and Appleby played as a team?????????.....there could have been others...Vijay could have drawn Vijay, Steve Justin and Paul Casey would have been Justin Casey and I would have to go out and buy a new much bigger trophy if Harry Adams-Rimmer had partnered Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, just to get the names engraved on it!!

 

Fri 17th July....I have finally sorted out yesterdays 9 hole competition...the front 9. off full handicap stableford, is always going to throw up some good scores, the greens are putting well, the ground is firm and the ball is rolling, the fairways are wide and generous....even so Don Cook's 25 stableford points, the equivalent of 7 under par for 9 holes is no mean achievement, which simply adds to the humour when you realise that he came second...on countback to Storming Norman Finan who also had 25 points but had 9 points on the last 3 to Don's 7!!!, there were 4 people who scored 1 under at 19 points......who got a single point for turning up!!!

 

Tues 14th July.......no...didn't manage it......almost as much water poured down my face in tears of laughter as some bedraggled seniors return to the clubhouse. Offering free water at the bar didn't improve their humour either!!! Vince comes in to regale me with his analysis and anecdotes from the Club Champs....the immediate past captain, in his newly discovered capacity in the bottom 98% was soundly defeated by Fred West by 8 shots and only missed out on the highest score of those that completed the 36 holes on countback.....Simon Ward completed 12,746 yards of golf in 203 shots in total...which is unfortunate as the total course length for 36 holes from the whites is 12,796 yards. Simon lost his ball 50 yards from the 18th green on the 2nd round, simply could not be bothered to walk back the 150 yards he had hit his 2nd shot to play another and NR'd 50 yards from the finish line!!!

 

Tues 14th July....8.00am...fabulous day, bright sunshine, gentle breeze and 52 seniors here for the Tuesday morning competition....3 hrs 45 minutes later.....it is so dark I have had to put the clubhouse lights on...it is absolutely thrashing down with rain........and there are seniors out there in shorts and polo shirts with no umbrellas and no waterproofs.....it is going to be SOOOOOO hard to keep a straight face as they make their way back in.......

 

Sunday 12th July...Club Championship....36 holes strokeplay, no handicap, lowest score wins. Serious golf for the serious players......27 participants took on the challenge. After 12 holes of the second round, there could only be one winner, Mike Parrett was 1 under for the second 18 and miles in front.......and then started to play golf like the rest of us do most of the time, with bogeys and double bogeys suddenly blotting out all the previous 30 holes hard work. A couple of fortunate finds of balls in the end saw him home as Club Champion regaining the title he last won in 1996, with a 2 round total of 155 shots.

 

Sat 11th July.....Webby arrives in the Clubhouse as he has to withdraw from tomorrows Club Champs......so I ask why.....it appears he doesn't own enough golf balls to complete the competition!! On Thursday, in the 9 hole competition, Webby amassed a staggeringly mediocre 10 stableford points and lost 5 balls in the process. The following day, with the Friday afternoon crowd, a further 5 balls went astray, a total of 10 in 27 holes......so you can see why 36 holes of scratch strokeplay has lost its appeal all of a sudden!!

 

Sat 11th July.....Apples adds yet another nickname to his personal list....Apples being obvious, peaches being a derivative of that, and now Judas.....as Dave, him of multiple club memberships, was available as reserve for either side in todays clubmatch v Aylesbry Vale. Aylesbury were one short and so Apples was called up....and he arrived with a big grin and his Aylesbury Vale shirt on....yes, that is the 2005/6 Club Captain is out there at the moment playing for the opposition!!

 

Weds 8th July...a bit of news filters back from the Divot Diggers awayday at Brampton Heath....Dave Millard got an ace on the par 3 course which he claimed was not a real one as it was not on a "real" course.....that argument simply did not stand up...so it cost him about another 65 for his day out!! Quality.

 

Sat 27th...The HAGS have an awayday at Magnolia....going by coach!!! the mind boggles...a group meet at Weedo's for Bacon Rolls and Buds....at 8.00am!! Others are picked up at various points, including the Club. Graham Taylor is here at the club and having a bad start to the day, having forgotten his golf shoes.....the day will not get better for him!!! Most are on the coach, but Kelvin has elected to drive.....another poor decision as he phones Weedo 90 minutes before his start time to say he has broken down but the RAC are enroute...an hour later he phones again to say his van is now on the back of a towtruck, enroute for the services on the M4 for someone else to have a look at!! The Golf at Magnolia gets underway, no Kelvin and GT in new shoes, which will be considered a minor expenditure in hindsight....4.5 hours later, the breakdown is diagnosed as a blockage in the fuel pipe and Kelvin makes it in time to NOT play!!

 

The golf over and back to Toddington.....GT has lost the chip key for his car which he left in the carpark that morning...I told you the shoes would be the cheap bit!! If you want to see what car it is....just pop down to the Club....it is still here on Tuesday morning and no sign whatsoever of it ever moving again....new chip key and reprogramming, with the dealer having to come out to the car....Graham said to me on Monday it is cheaper than a new car....but I reckon it will be close!!! Sat Evening in Toddington with the HAGS will need no explanation.....Weedo and Braveheart were in kilts (see below) as Weedo started his preparation for the 2nd Round of the Handicap Champs...where a score of sub par levels is required to retain his top 2% status....at 11.30, Toddington had had enough so the group moved onto Dunstable to party the night away....the records show that Dave managed a creditable net par round in Round 2, but currently enjoys his status in the bottom 98% for the time being.
Kelvin's vehicle woes did not end at Magnolia. Having paid but not played, not  had a drink as he was driving....or being towed....he returned home and was about to write the day off as a bad one...and then the missus phoned from Milton Keynes to say that there was a very strange, bad knocking sound coming from the engine of her car!!!