News Archive July 2009 - 31st Dec 2015

 

 

 

 

Thursday 31st December.....Storm Frank has swept through, the course is rather wet but the sunshine and winds will dry it out as they always do. Its been a pretty dire end to 2015, weather wise and we hope that the New Year will bring better golfing weather. On behalf of all of the staff at Chalgrave Manor Golf Club, I wish you all a very Happy New Year!!!

 

Thursday 17th December....Bob Hall, current Senior Vice Captain, so he will be taking over the reins of the section from Rupert next year, cements his place in the folklore of Seniors Newspage entries..........after a morning on the course with The Molers, he has come back into the clubhouse and participated, as always, in the banter and camaraderie of a Thursday lunchtime in the clubhouse. The mornings golf activities had clearly required some sustenance and he duly ordered a sandwich from Lucie at 1.52pm. At 2.00pm, he received a phone call from us, asking him what we should do with his sandwich, now he had gone home!!! If the Senior Vice Captain is indeed a sandwich short of a full picnic, its because he ordered it and b*ggered off home!! He duly returned to the club to collect it!!

 

Thursday 17th December.....Pete gets a phone call from a scottish guy, wanting to play golf. Pete came in and recounted the anecdote, but his scottish accent sounded indian/pakistani to my extremely deaf ears!!"Roughly translated it was " Can I play golf today and what's the green fee?" "20 sir, on our loyalty card scheme" "Can I have a buggy please???!!" "No, sir, the buggies are not out, its been a bit wet recently!!" says Peter with consumate drollness. "But its the hottest December ever" is the reply. "Yes Sir, and its been raining, following hard on the heels of the wettest November since records began. The course is too wet, the buggies would churn the course up and slide everywhere." "Well lots of other courses have got them out" 

 "Well sir, if you want a buggy, you will have to play at one of those then!" "But you are my last hope!!" is the final response, at which point he realises he's just shot himself in the foot and hangs up....... 

 

Tuesday 8th December..... almost 23 years to the day he joined , Pete Graydon draws the curtain on his illustrious career as a Chalgrave Member. Joining at the end of November 1992, Pete and Fiona are now relocating to Portand, in Dorset, just down the road from the famous Chesil Beach, so Pete's skills at playing in a Chalgrave Wind for 2 decades will still be in demand.

 

Pete sent me a message:

 

"I must say the last 20+ have been fantastic, watching a course grow and establish itself, made many many friends and golf buddies, I would like to personally thank all those people who have driven me to the club, all over the county and Britain. But there are far too many to mention individually.

 

I will miss the banter etc the most.

 

I wish you and club all best for the future, I will of course be keeping an eye on the Facebook and web site."

 

Pete is in a very small select group of people who have been both Club Champion and Club Handicap Champion, along with recording 2 aces along the way as well. Pete also mentioned that he will be in over the weekend, so it would be a good time to scrounge a drink.....

 

So, Pete and Fiona, its been a blast! I hope that you will keep checking in with the Club and have got a big enough house down there to accommodate the Chalgrave South Coast Tour 2016.......

 

 

 

Tuesday 8th December....Chris Baker is a real enigma......here is a man who in recent weeks has spent money on hedgehog wheels for his Go Kart Trolley and has also just invested a not inconsiderable sum on a new, superlight Lithium battery, so that the already light GoKart, equipped with supergrip hedgehog tyres is now powered by a battery pack that weighs about the same as his putter.......today, he arrives for the seniors medal and he is carrying his bag.........I actually daren't ask him why............  

 

Thursday 3rd December.....the result for the If Only is in....33 played, 2o didn't finish and 2 were DQ'd for not signing the card!! For the first time in the club's history, I believe, a score of Nett 78, 6 over par, won the competition!! Danny Glass and Mick Parrett were the only two to record sub 80 rounds! (thats nett to handicap!!) Braddy finished third in shots but was ousted to 4th place and out of the money as Steve Emmett got the flag further up the course despite finishing in 4th over 18 holes....with Alan Gunney in 11th with a nett 114!! 

 

Monday 30th December......at the end of the committee meeting we had the Captains November Raffle Draw. The prize is a superb Christmas Hamper, generously donated by the Seniors Section. The winner? Rupert Groves, Seniors Captain!! Rupert wasn't at Committee and is still unaware of his victory, but even with out trying, the Seniors manage to make you laugh.....!!

 

Tuesday 24th November......a bittersweet day for the Seniors Captain, Rupert Groves. Being the leader of a burgeoning and vibrant section and leading that section by example has the occasional downside......today was one of those days. Despite the poor weather, the section once again turned out in force........which proved rather costly when the Senior Captain launched a 7 iron from the 5th tee, landed it gently and drifted it down the slope into the hole for an ace.......The seniors gleefully celebrated the occasion at the bar.......so the last two holes in one, or entries to the Not the Joe Silva Club, have been recorded by the seniors.....

 

Tuesday 24th November.....The latest addition of the Decisions on the Rules of Golf has arrived on my desk.....I know you all knew the Rules perfectly well, but there are 29 new decisions to grapple with, along with 81 further decisions where the ruling has been revised ( which presumably means that the previous decision has been changed and the revised decision is now the "new one"!! So, with 110 new rulings, it is entirely possible that Dave Holland could break a new Rule on every shot on the round...........

 

A number of these changes relate to the application of penalties to scores after a round has been completed, mainly to put an end to the armchair viewer spotting an infringement and ringing up to complain, with the previous result of players being DQ'd, but to a point, this will also affect our own games. For example, a player who removed an OOB stake as it was in the way, and he didn't know that he was not permitted to remove the stake (you can only remove hazard stakes as "obstructions" OOB stakes are a permanent fixture and you must play the ball as it lies), would have the penalty added after his round. If, however, he knew the rule correctly but still removed the stake, the penalty would remain as a DQ.

 

This surely breaches one of those basic tenets of law, that "ignorance of the law is no defence"!!

 

However, in addition to the 2 shot penalty added for removing the OOB stake, a further 2 shot penalty is added at the end of the round (for each occurrence) so perhaps it does pay to know the Rules!

 

However, just to add a bit of confusion, if you breach a rule that you didn't know, and its penalty is disqualification, then you will still be DQ'd  after the round as before. For example, you have played a "wrong ball" on the 12th and failed to correct it before teeing off on the 13th.  These changes come into effect on 1st January 2016, there are new copies of the Rules of Golf in my office and are available free of charge to anyone who wants them. For the real armchair enthusiast, the Decisions book is a great book to have, as it explains the backgrounds and reasons for a decision in a Q&A format.

 

Notable changes are of course the "anchoring" rule, where long/broomhandle putters are no longer able to be anchored against a part of the body. Whilst players may still grip the club against the forearm, if you intentionally hold the forearm against the body to create a stable point around which the stroke is made, then this again becomes anchoring!

 

The New Decisions also deal with errors on Stableford Scoring, so if you incur a penalty after the round, the stableford score for the hole will be adjusted AND a further 2 shots will be deducted from the final total.

 

Perhaps one of the most relevant changes, to amateur golf, is Rule 14-3 which deals with the use of Measuring Devices. Previously, if the device enabled to user to gauge slope angle/windspeed or other conditions other than distance, its use on the course in competition was prohibited. This effectively meant that your mobile phone, despite being one of the most advance pieces of technology, equipped with apps to give you distance to the hole, becasue it also gave you wind speed/direction etc you could not use it. The revised decision now only results in a DQ if you USE the mobile phone facility that is in breach of the rules........

 

All this, and more, applies from 1st January 2016.    

 

Thursday 19th November....I just popped in to the club, as I needed to sort a few things out. I was only here an hour, but Brian Gidley provides comedy gold in that time to keep the news pages ticking over......The Thursday crowd were all in the bar, Lucie in the kitchen and Clare was going through stuff with me, so Brian popped behind the bar to sort his drink out as no one was available.....Aidan was with me and he went into the bar to help Brian, who seemed a bit flummoxed...."Ive got a brandy" says Brian, "is this the port?" as he proffered a glass to Aidan of a deep ruby coloured liquid......"where di you get that from? questioned Aidan on smelling the glass. "out of that decanter" said Brian. "Thats Blackcurrant juice" said Aidan. "Oh, OK" said Brian as he downed it in one!!  I wish I could say I was making this up, but I'm honestly not..........

 

Tuesday 3rd November.....a story from the weekend, of a lost ball on the 8th hole.......now you would be excused for thinking, well, that's not difficult, we've all done that. There are copious opportunities in the 500+ dogleg yards to do that, the trees to the right off the tee, the rough to the right along its entire length, the trees to the left alongside the 12th, across onto the 17th and finally the plantation and long grass that wraps around the back of the green. Well that really covers all the bases doesn't it?? Apparently no.

 

The Ladies section managed the impossible. I know there have been occasions when people have considered the greens slower than they might like, and felt that a trim would be in order, but never has it reached proportions that a ball has been lost on the green.....until Sunday, where two fourballs ended up on the putting surface at the same time, but only 7 putted out as one ball was, apparently lost. As all players left the green, someone pointed out the ball left forlornly  on the putting surface and one of the ladies went back to putt out.......should have gone to specsavers......

 

Tuesday 3rd November......In a moment of complete madness I agreed to the installation of the new coffee machine, in the period between the seniors disappearing to play golf and returning to the clubhouse after the round. The new machine has a coin slot in a different place. That was the start of the problems! It also has touchscreen type buttons instead of physical ones that you can press in. There is also a small cup shelf, where you place the mug ready for the dispense. Unfortunately, it would appear that the mug also fits underneath the cup shelf, which makes an almighty mess when the coffee drops onto the empty shelf, splatters about and then drains through into the cup below, doesn't it Bob Hall?? Finally it once again has a coin op system that accepts a variety of coins, between 5p and 2. That is going to stitch up whoever has been paying in 1p and 2p pieces for the past 4 weeks!!

 

Clearly, in the seniors, there are some real coffee connoisseurs. Derek Collins for example, was intrigued by the options of instant and ground. "Which one's cheapest?"

 

I'm not going to tell Peter Kay we have a new machine, as he will stay up all night worrying about how it works!! But I will get a text from him by 7.35am tomorrow!!  

 

Sat 31st October....The Halloween Handicap is the usual carnage, except for some reason, maybe because it actually fell on Halloween itself, it was way worse than usual. The usual rules applied...There were 4 holes where the stableford score was doubled, the "treats" but there were two holes where the scores were tripled and then became minus scores, the "tricks" Tricks are worse than you think, as the original score no longer counts either! You have to feel sorry for Frank Howarth, who had a 2 nett 1 on the 16th for 4 points. It was a trick hole, so his 4 points became -16, but he didn't get the original 4 either, so it is effectively - 20! Add that to his -6 (worth -8) with the other trick hole, and with -28 points on two holes it will not surprise you to hear he didn't win!!

 

Normally, someone with a middle range score happens to score well on the treat holes and scores particularly badly on the tricks. so their score improves dramatically. It didn't happen. Most went backwards, some substantially. Lorain Ronis came in with 20 points and finished with 1. The top three all had lower scores than their normal scores, they just happened to score badly enough on the trick holes to survive. All a bit of fun, and my thanks to all who played as the surplus helps to fund the Halloween and Fireworks Party that starts in a couple of hours time.

 

Thursday 22nd October......an item on last nights BBC news is making me think......Wentworth are changing their pricing structure for members. Where previously it was 8,000 per annum to be allowed to strike a ball off the hallowed turf, from April 2017 that will rise to an eye watering 16,000 per annum.......     You may think that is a tad excessive. That is not the half of it. If you are an existing member, in order to be ALLOWED to pay the new 16,000 fee, you will first have to stump up a debenture (effectively an interest free loan that won't get repaid) of 100,000 in order to have the opportunity to pay the 16K a year!!   But in an absolute masterstroke of marketing genius, this is being touted as a great deal, as if you are not currently a member, it will cost you 125,000 for the debenture.....so, from an existing members point of view, they are saving 25,000!!!   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-34591272

 

I am really worried about the exodus that is going to occur as members leave in droves to sign up for this...........

 

Monday 19th October, just getting the website back up to date after a weekend away, and the Competition Committee Cup gives an example of how to play golf! John Trott accumulates a meagre 26 points on the way to a lower third of the table finish.....but clearly that was 17 holes of mediocrity and a 2 on a par three. The two though, was the only one in the competition, netting him a cool 26, only 4 less than the winner, Dave McGarry who had to play well for 4+ hours for an extra 4!!

 

Tuesday 13th October........now I know that the Seniors section seem to spend most of their time creating hilarious newsworthy items, effortlessly and without really trying to, but currently leading that burgeoning section, regularly seeing over 55/60 players on a Tuesday, is Captain Rupert Groves and his deputy Bob Hall. These two, as well as leading the section in their inimitable style, have been driving a senior section fundraising exercise in a way never previously seen in 20+ years. I know they have been doing it but I didn't realise just how effective they have been, until Rupert plonked a cheque on my desk to pass to Vince as the FIRST payment into the Captains Charity, Keech Hospice. It totals a smidgen over 1,000. Gentlemen of the Seniors Section, I applaud you.

 

 

Tuesday 13th October.....The final word on the Woburn Masters, the eventual champion and our senior marshal......Patrick's role standing on the 3rd fairway, of course, was as a ball spotter!! One might churlishly suggest that as he didn't see the ball that hit him (otherwise he would have got out of the way!) that he wasn't perhaps cut out for that role. The national papers though, missed one of those golden headline opportunities, for which I can't take credit for myself, it was Peter Whitton, this morning, that pointed out that FitzPatrick HitzPatrick should have adorned the back page of The Sun! We even have a photo of the winner, checking with Patrick that (a) he is OK (b) do the glasses work and (c) was there any chance of the binoculars being used!!

 

 

Monday 12th October......Patrick fires off an indignant email, as it would appear that I have been given duff info by Pete Warren.....Patrick was marshalling the 3rd fairway not the 2nd when he was struck by the ball from the eventual winner.....so Patrick was the direct cause of Matt Fitzgerald's only bogey on front 9!! I was going to make comment on the earlier missive, that a small donation to Patrick from his substantial winnings would not have gone amiss, as a par was perfectly acceptable score and he could have stopped it being worse.....However, with a bogey, perhaps there is a reason why such a contribution was not forthcoming........  

 

Sunday 11th October....Chalgrave seniors marshalling at the Seniors Masters have a direct impact on the outcome of the trophy......Patrick Ng, the man with the smallest surname and a physical stature only surpassed in size by Braddy, is marshalling the 2nd fairway as Matt Fitzpatrick tees off. At home, Pete Warren is watching the Masters on Sky TV, and realises instantly that as the ball lands on the fairway and bounces forwards, that the marshall the ball hits is Patrick, keeping the ball nicely on the fairway from where he made a par and went on to win a cool 500,000!! Pete Warren rang Patrick to check he was OK, as by then, he was battered black and blue, as Pete had replayed the impact 400 times on Sky TV!!

 

Sat 10th October...more comedy from the clubmatch......a Henlow player arrives by the side of the 18th green in a buggy as we finish the hole. We are the last group out, and he asks if we have, by chance, found any car keys on our way around the course. Regrettably no, but I furnish him with the benefit of my 20+ years of running this place, and say to him, that before he goes out and scoures the course, he should go and empty his golf bag, completely. Take all the clubs out, shake it upside down, unzip every pocket and turn that inside out as well. The keys, in my experience, will be in the golf bag. He says thanks, and heads back to his bag to check again, and then 10 minutes later, we see him forlornly heading back up the 18th in search of the elusive keys. He lives, apparently, in Sandy!! An hour and a half later, all his playing partners and team mates have gone home, he comes into the bar looking sheepish, having just driven around every single hole, bar the first three, when, as he glanced at his bag which was on the buggy with him, he noticed a small zipped pocket he had forgotten about............If he ever decides to leave Henlow, he will fit in well here.........

 

Sat 10th October.....I'm playing in the Club Match at Home v Henlow. We get around to the 10th hole and we are waiting as group in front has not yet cleared the green........so you stand about having a chat, as you do.....and the opposition venture the comment, "I love this hole, I nearly had a hole in one here once, have you had one Steve?" "Yes" I say. On here and on the 5th. I nearly choked with laughter when he asked my playing partner, Joe Silva, if he had ever had a hole in one.......

 

Thursday 8th October.......something I forgot to put up a while ago.....and Phil Greenhill sent me a reminder of my error!

 

It is a note of thanks from Phil.....

 

If you wouldn't mind, could you post something on the news page thanking the members & friends of Chalgrave for their help over the last few years, we managed to turn around a golf society that barely covered its own costs into a donation of 2,623:00 for the British Heart Foundation in memory of my Dad, Peter Greenhill. Cheque presentation made on Charity Day, you can use any of the photos from my facebook albums if you wish.
Some have played in it, many gave to it, including you.


If you could thank all those that have helped from all The Greenhill clan.


Although we have now drawn a line under the actual Golf Society Days/Weekends as we thought 10 years was a good number, we now have the occassional auction, on facebook, of varied items in aid of varied charities.


https://www.facebook.com/PeterGreenhillMemorial

 

I was always happy to support it Phil, and I applaud you and everyone who took part in it for honouring the memory of your Dad in such a great way.

 

Friday 2nd October....some late news this week as Patrick Ng announces he aced the 10th AGAIN, to join the Two Holes in One Club, having previously aced it with a 7 iron in 2013, this time a 7 wood was required as he aced it in a matchplay game against the Seniors Captain, which I'm sure must breach some rule of ettiquette somewhere......"Can you let Joe Silva know I've got two now" said Patrick..........

 

 

Thursday 1st October...... OK OK OK, I give up. I will hold my hands up and admit to a senior moment.........about 7 days ago, one of the club members, (a senior I believe!!) was having a problem with his Go Kart Trolley. So I said I would sort it out, send it back to Go Kart and get it fixed. We put the trolley in my office and I said I would let him know when it was back......An hour or so later, I had a bit of a eureka moment and realised that the problem might not be the trolley itself, but rather it might be the battery or the charger. I tested this theory by putting my battery on his "broken" trolley and, lo and behold, it worked perfectly! So its either the battery was flat as he had forgotten to charge it, or he had not connected the charger properly, or the charger is broken.

 

I emailed and messaged him with the good news, that it wasn't the trolley and I needed the battery and charger to test them.............

 

I got messages back....."No idea what you are talking about, I don't have a GoKart trolley!!"

 

So, the person who I thought it was, it wasn't. I cannot, for the life of me, remember who it was! I was working on the basis that seeing as I had said they would collect, fix and return the repaired trolley within a week, that someone by now would have put their head around my office door and asked if the trolley is back yet, but it hasn't happened. Probably because there is another senior moment going on elsewhere and some one somewhere is wondering where the hell they left their Go Kart Trolley!!!!

 

So, if anyone knows who it was, can they please point them in my direction!!  

 

Sun 27th September......Today, there was a sudden lurch in the time/space continuum and the world changed forever. I witnessed something that shocked me to the core, as it is a clear indication that we are all getting older.......Ronnie Cooper came in and ordered an orange and lemonade....Ronnie joined as an Associate Member in 1999, so its taken him almost 16 years to not order a pint of bitter....... I've attached a photo as Mick Bewley will never believe it.......

 

 

 

Sat 26th September......7.10am... I've just opened up, and first in is Steve Glover who has set the bar high for the day.......we are standing in the bar and he says, "have you been decorating, I can smell paint?" I said, "not painting, what else do you think it could be?" he looks around him and offers "floor polish??" "One of those words is close " I said. "Polish" he says!!  "Should have gone to Specsavers, Steve" was my response!! He looked around again and finally noticed the 96 square metres of carpet, hard flooring and a dancefloor!! How the hell is he planning on seeing a small white sphere this morning??

 

 

Thursday 24th September..... Note to self: at no point ever take the greenstaff on at eating. Whilst I fondly imagined that I was reasonably competent in this department, I am now a chasened and heavily defeated man. I took the greenstaff out for breakfast as they managed to achieve the figures for heat output from the biomass boiler that we need to do each year, in 10 months. The past month, where the log business has gone mad, and the course has been growing like the blazes, has been challenging.

They selected the Harvester, "eat all you like Breakfast" in Hockcliffe as the venue, not necessarily just for the volume of food. Jack and Danny seemed very interested in the crayons and the colouring in sheets as well!

Jamie's breakfast didn't fit on his plate. The small bowl to the edge of the picture contains his 5 hash browns.....
toast has already been consumed, as has coffee and juice.....

My "full english" paled into insignificance alongside this gargantuan mass of food. Before you ask, yes, it was finished!

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday 24th September....all done......the club bar area has undergone an upgrade. Gone is the grotty green carpet. Also gone is the portable dancefloor. In its place, a permanent wooden dancefloor and the thick, plush carpet. Meanwhile, the beer and coffee prices have remained the same. I know, that's very nice of me!! No, you can't wear soft spikes and definitely not metal spikes in the bar area!!

 

  

 

 

Friday 18th ........honesty and Integrity from the Handicaps and Competitions Committee...... from the submitted cards, Parrett and Hawker appeared to be in 2nd place in the Parrett Hawker........but it turned out that Messrs Cook and Davis had not only added their handicaps together incorrectly, they also calculated the 3/8th combined incorrectly on the incorrectly added handicaps!!!!  Fortunately from their point of view, their obligation is to put THEIR full handicap on the card correctly and all mathematical errors thereafter are the responsibility of the the Committee to correct..... So Parrett and Hawker were moved down to third in the Parrett and Hawker, by the Chair of Handicaps Hawker, who was sick as a Parrett!!!

 

Friday 18th.......news from County Comps, as Cally successfully defends her title winning the Beds Ladies Past Captains Championship for the 2nd consecutive year......and I'm expecting great things on Sunday when the County 36 hole mixed foursomes takes place at Aylesbury Vale.....there are 22 pairs entered, of which the Chalgrave contingent make up 9 of them!! I'm expecting an email by Sunday night telling me about a clean sweep........No pressure then!!

 

Thursday 10th September....Nothing like starting the day with a sarcastic rant at people who waste your time.....PRS is an organisation who charge licences for the playing of music to then, in theory, pay out royalties to the songwriters. They are, in my experience, pretty incompetent in their recordkeeping. Which makes you wonder if the money ever makes it to the songwriter......so my email missive this morning......

 

Dear Mrs Francis

Not for the first time, I have received a Final Demand threatening me with unleasing the dogs of hell upon me for failing to pay your invoice.

    Not for the first time, you are wrong.  Our cheque, No 7677 for 108.38 was debited from our bank account on 19th August 2015, and presumably credited  to your account around that date as well.

 

Not for the first time, we have completed your ridiculously amateurishly created form, returned it on time, received your invoice, paid it and then had threatening letters as your systems of accounting must be on a par with the original form. How complicated can it be to use a computer?

 

Surely in this day and age, you can create an online form and use a computerised accounting system to keep track of incoming payments. Then, you would not waste so much money in sending out umpteen reminders, threatening letters and such like, all with reply paid envelopes in there as well.

 

Not for the first time, I won't get any response or acknowledgement from you for this email, confirming that you have infact received our cheque and that you have made an error, again, and that you apologise for the ongoing incompetence in your office.

 

I have been in business for 22 years with the golf club. We have had a PRS licence as long as we have had a clubhouse. I have NEVER not paid you or indeed any supplier who has sent me a correct invoice. If I had a choice in the matter, I would go elsewhere.

 

I look forward to not hearing from you shortly!

Yours Sincerely, extremely so,

Steve Rumball

Managing Director
Chalgrave Manor Golf Club

 

 

 

Tuesday 8th September.......I have today received the most bizarre letter ever. Someone has taken the trouble to print a sticky label with our address on, stick that to the front of a white self seal envelope, add a self stick 1st class stamp, not a franked mark, and of course add the 4 white pages of A4 that have been folded twice to make them the appropriate size to fit into the envelope, finally sticking down the flap and putting it into a postbox somewhere near Gatwick, as that is the Royal Mail Centre that processed it.

 

Page One of the 4 pages says: ERROR>>>ERROR>>>ERROR>>>ERROR>>>ERROR>>>ERROR>>>   Pages 2, 3 and 4 are completely white, pristine nothing printed on them whatsoever! I took it out and handed it to Rupert Groves, saying that this letter arrived this morning and it must be for the seniors section, as it makes no sense whatsoever!!!!!

 

Monday 7th Sept....despite having a ladies section with one of the smallest active group of players amongst the Bedfordshire County Golf Clubs, our ladies keep flying the Chalgrave flag deep into the county competitions. The latest to feature are Lorain Ronis who won the 1st Nett Prize of the County 1st Division and also winning the Silver Coronation Medal, which dates back to 1929! Not to be outdone, Cally and Sue overcame South Beds in the County Foursomes and are now waiting to hear who their opponents are and the venue for the next round. Next round is a slight understatement. It's actually the FINAL!!!!! The match will be played at neutral venue at a date still to be agreed......I hope to be able to report a  favourable outcome in due course! These are fantastic achievements and a testament to the competitiveness of the ladies section.    

 

Thursday 3rd September.....A snippet from the Molers....Dave Burden is out with John Townley and Terry Payne, for the normal "social" Molers Thursday Golf Round.....Dave is always good for a bit of witty repartee, and today was no exception.....he said "Terry and John have been having a right ding dong battle out there from the start, after 5 holes they were still level, nothing to separate them......."  literally nothing to separate them.....they were still equal on zero points after 5 holes.......I'm waiting for them to come in to see who won...... 

 

Monday 24th August......the news page is not normally the haunt of factual golfing stuff, so in order for "normal" news to make it signifies something of outstanding proportions has occurred......and indeed it has. I also usually add my own wording to a missive sent through for inclusion, but again, such is the magnitude of this achievement, I would not want to detract from it by making any alterations/additions myself. It stands up, and speaks for itself.....

 

So, from Dave Bromley......

 

As Captain of the Chalgrave Scratch Team today I am very proud of them.

 

We played away at Millbrook today (where teams very rarely get any points) and we came away with a 2 and half, 2 and half draw so getting the 1 point we needed to ensure us getting the runners up spot and so getting the promotion to the top division. 


What an achievement for a club of our stature where our lowest handicap I think is 5 to be playing against the county elite where most of the players will 
be scratch or better. It's gonna be tough but what an experience it's gonna be for the lads. Bring it on.


So once again my many thanks to everyone who represented Chalgrave in this years county summer scratch, that is....

Scott Kelly, Mick Parrett, Tim Bevan, Colman Horgan, Paul Northcott, Dave McGarry, Steve Howarth and myself. 


Be proud of yourselves and I hope the club as a whole is as well. Once again, it is a great achievement to gain 3 promotions in a row and to now be mixing it with the County Elite.


 

  

 

Friday 14th August.....I have some 2 for 1 tickets on my desk, for the Travis Perkins Senior Masters 4th - 6th September at Woburn. Gone, it would appear, are the days when they would send us a few complimentaries for sticking up a poster to advertise it! Still, if you are planning on going, instead of 15 each for a day ticket or 30 each for a season ticket for the whole tournament, you can do it at half price! 10 tickets are available on a first come first served basis, it would be nice if you popped a small donation into the Captains Charity Jar........ 

 

Tuesday 11th August........Chris Baker......(what - again!!???) arrives in my office with the usual sheepish grin on his face which normally precedes an admission of something daft along with a request for assistance.....I may be deaf but I tell you what, I think I'm psychic!! He then explains that he was running late this morning as he couldn't find his glasses, but he eventually found them.....so presumably he put them on which one would think would improve his eyesight, and then promptly walked past his trolley battery and didn't notice it, so he wants to borrow mine..........I did, of course, as I'm a kind and generous soul, allow him to do so. I didn't mention the fact that he wasn't wearing his glasses.........

 

Thursday 6th August......it is rare that Mick Bewley and Ronnie Cooper are struggling to find something to take the rise out of, or find something hilarious to discuss at length at the bar, but when an opportunity is plonked in front of them on a gold plated platter, tied up with yellow ribbons and a bow, and bells (literally!) on it, they are not going to pass up on that opportunity!!! So yesterday, when their golfing buddy Paul Godfrey turns up in his new car, the sarcasm, humour, cutting remarks and general p*ss taking reached a level not seen in years......the "own goal", an exocet missile strike from 5 yards outside of the box, screaming into the top corner of his own net......is the new car.....gone is the blue convertible, renault megane, and in its place is a red convertible Noddy car. I'm not sure of the make, as it is so small I 'm not sure that there is space for the manufacturers logo....but suffice it so say, its small, bright red, and Paul being a solid, chunky, reasonable tall bloke, looks bl**dy enormous sitting in the drivers seat.....Mick and Ronnie have had to have the day off work today as they are so dehydrated from the amount of tears of laughter they shed last night........

 

Thursday 6th August....an update from the Chris Baker GPS saga...and an example of how "many a true word said in jest" is so true......so Jamie found the GPS, still clamped in its holder, which somehow Chris had manage to dislodge from his trolley between the 10th green and 11th tee, in the woods. He has performed his own modification of the design, attaching an ultra strong "curly cable" as added security between the device and his trolley. The was a curly security cable supplied to him by First Capital Connect to keep his keys on when he was a train driver......Jokingly, I said "Just for clarification, you didn't ever lose your train then?"......."well sort of, I took the wrong one once......"   ...and Chris still wonders WHY they gave him early retirement......

 

Monday 3rd August.....Chris Baker comes in at lunchtime, not a happy bunny. He was, you will recall, the recipient of many Go Kart accessories in the past few weeks, in a concerted effort by his wife to keep him at the golf course and not at home. One of those accessories was a GPS device holder. This had already caused Chris a number of problems, not least the fitting of it to his trolley. It didn't fit, he said. I assisted. I pointed out the second sentence of the fitting instructions..."if you have an auto handle, please start at No 6 on the fittings instructions". Chris, of course, with an Auto Handle, was starting at 1. A while later, he returned. "It doesn't fit together" he said, holding two sections that clearly needed to be fitted together. He passed them over. "CLICK" as they fitted together!. Hand them back, away we go. I didn't  expect to hear any more, but yesterday Chris, at lunchtime was despondent. The GPS Accessory Holder, complete with held GPS had fallen off his trolley (presumably as he still hadn't fitted it correctly!!!) I said "take a buggy and go and get it, you must know where it is?" "Well, No" was the rather odd answer. "Chris, the point of a GPS sat nav is that after you have taken your tee shot, it tells you how far you have to go to the flag, which aids your club selection for the next shot. Therefore, if you are on the 6th, and it says 325 yards, and then when you play your next shot, its not there anymore, it can only be somewhere between the previous shot and where you are now. When did you know you had lost it?" "The 11th" says Chris. "OK" I said, "when did you look at it previously?" "I don't know, I was playing cr*p (by which I presume he means he was coming up 20 yards short of a green because he had used the wrong club because he hadn't used the Sat Nav!).

 

So, off he went in the buggy to search, presumably just the first 10 holes, but to be honest I didn't dare ask, he was gone a long time so he probably did 12 to 18 as well.....all to no avail. The GPS holder and Sat Nav is out there somewhere. Look on the bright side, he has 60 seniors on the case this morning who can look for it.......

 

In the Baker Household, there could be many bittersweet moments.....Mrs Baker spending endless hours trawling Ikea for a piece of furniture, then having it wobble and collapse inside a week. However, at least she still knows where the collapsed sofa is..... 

 

Monday 3rd August.....Last Tuesday afternoon, we suffered damage to the 4th green, as a Red Vauxhall Corsa, Registration MM08RUY came into the course, did a number of handbrake turns on the 4th Green and then left in the direction of Toddington. The act of vandalism, criminal damage, call it what you will, was witnessed by a Club Member, who recorded the numberplate, but was unable to manoeuvre back to the gate to block it before they got away. He came down to the club and reported it to me, and I went up into Toddington and immediately found the vehicle. Perhaps it was the bright orange shirt with Chalgrave Golf Club on it that gave me away, but he knew I was after him and sped off. The police are on the case, and so am I. The car has been seen regularly around Toddington, and we believe that we now know who the driver is. Once I have this confirmed, I will be pursuing a civil action for damages, nothwithstanding any criminal prosecution that the Police may follow. If the lout can afford a shiny red car, he can afford to pay for the hours of work it has taken to get the green back into a passable condition. One week on, you can still see the tyre marks. If anyone spots the car in Toddington, I would be pleased to hear from you.

 

Tuesday 28th July......There are times when this Club just takes my breath away. At no stage of the original "back of a fag packet" business plan - the very first draft was "Build a golf course. Grass, how difficult can it be to make it grow?" which was handily short as I didn't and still don't smoke and fag packets were hard to come by to write the business plan on - did I ever envisage that the combination of the business that now exists and the fantastic membership that makes the Club what it is, would make such a magnificent contribution, annually, to a massively worthy local charity Keech Hospice.

 

The aftermath of yet another superb Charity Day, where raffles, book sales, auctions, hole sponsors, random donations and Captains Charity Fines, the appearance of 130+ golfers in various "standards" of golfing apparell, from the normal golf gear, to the bizarre sight of Paul Northcott in a tutu and a headband, all combined to produce the quite magnificent total 4,750 raised on the day for Keech.

 

This will take the Captains Charity cumulative total contribution to Keech Hospice to a smidgen over 95,000 and the question is really will Mick and Ann be able to break the 100,000 barrier this year?

 

Even Captain Mick's own inability to grasp the concept that Charity Day is a mechanism for getting loads of people to play and contribute to the fund, whilst distributing prizes and goodwill to all and sundry, by leading his own team to the 1st prize failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the assembled masses!! At one point, I had all four clubhouse staff on the dancefloor, with Hollie as the American Diner Waitress, Aaron as Elvis and Clare and Lucie still going strong after 10 hour shifts!

 

One of my team, Archie McIntosh, a man with a Chalgrave background who knows how to party, but now embraces the quiet demureness of a Dunstable Downs Member put it perfectly. "No other golf club does a social quite like Chalgrave. Looking forward to next year"

 

My sincere thanks to every single person who contributed, to the Greenstaff who pumped thousands of gallons off greens at 6.00am after the Friday deluges, to the golfers who came, played and paid, to the hole sponsors, the evening guests, the Clubhouse staff who worked and partied hard all day, the Captains, and the immense contribution to the smooth running of the day by Vince.  

 

 

Thursday 23rd July......Just catching up with stuff from the weekend still!! TWO new entries on the Not the Joe Silva Club Board, as both Rian Maginn and Colin Barden ace the 5th, Rian on Saturday with an 8 iron, and Colin in a downwind gale on Sunday with a wedge....................no sign whatsoever of a Silva ace though..... 

 

Tuesday 14th July.....It has been a regular feature over the years, the Tuesday seniors ability to cause chaos at the drop of a  hat. Today was a masterpiece in the creation of effortless chaotic mayhem, arranged and orchestrated by the Seniors Section Captain, Rupert Groves. At 7.45, just before the bulk of the seniors section arrive to sign in, Rupert arrives, burdened down by a large batch of colour photographs taken on a recent Seniors awayday, which he has for free distribution to his section. He proceeds to neatly arrange these for viewing and collection, on the narrow shelf in the lobby area. Over the next five minutes, roughly 50 seniors arrive to sign in, which means that they have to pass through the lobby area into the bar. The first 20 odd make it, as they follow the time honoured general club traditions of completely ignoring all signage and notices and other paraphanalia on the way through...indeed Taff Rowlands made it past 4 times in 5 minutes. A few had a passing glance but clearly couldn't see well enough to recognise themselves or indeed any of their fellow seniors and probably thought that this was a random display of photo's I have put out, of old geezers playing golf at a club that wasn't Chalgrave!!

 

Ken Goodland started the downward spiral, recognising himself and claiming his photograph. Suddenly it clicked. all the passers by returned, searching for themselves amongst the 50+ pictures of an old bloke with a set of golf clubs on a fairway on a green background. Factor into this, Tarby and John Steele who are picking up pictures at random and holding them 3" from their eyes in the hope there might be some spark of recognition. Come to think of it, how DO they know what they look like now? It might have been 30+ years since they last saw their own reflection accurately? Anyway, as you might imagine, once Tarby and John made it into the area by the lobby door into the bar, it was as though there had been a lorry overturned in the M1 Roadworks.

 

Those in the bar were stuck, and traffic quickly backed up past the junction with my office. The lobby slowed and jammed as well, but the influx of new seniors at least had a load of photo's to look at! Tarby and John finished looking at the photos but were now wedged up against a shut door to the bar, with a solid mass of seniors behind them, and a door which opened towards them.........eventually, they managed to get it open and seniors exploded in all directions like a champagne bottle wielded by Lewis Hamilton....the mayhem subsided and things returned to normal, well whatever passes for normal on a Tuesday morning. Five minutes later, Rupert passes through the lobby, clears away the remaining photo's, completely oblivious to the 10 minutes of mayhem he had caused!!! Rarely has a Seniors Captain managed to cause such chaos so effortlessly!

 

Monday 6th July...Chris Baker comes in to order some accessories for his Go Kart trolley, which his much better half is purchasing for his birthday......these bits include the hedgehog wheels, which are brilliant in the winter period, making sure that the trolley doesn't slip and slide about in virtually any horrendous weather conditions.......it strikes me that Mrs Baker is an extremely willing golf widow who is trying to ensure that there is no excuse whatsoever for Chris being unable to play.......

 

Friday 3rd July......we come to the end of a torrid week, but one thing that this week has shown, is what an outstanding group of members and staff we have here. On Wednesday, one of our club members, John Mould, suffered a heart attack whilst playing golf with his mates, Frank and Richard. They were out at the back of the course, but fortunately were in buggies and they got him back to the clubhouse in double quick time. Peter was on duty and activated the defibrillator and with the help of some more club members, they operated the defib and performed heart massage until the emergency services arrived. We had ambulances and the East Anglia Air Ambulance arrived and landed on the 9th fairway. After extensive work by the emergency services, John was taken by normal ambulance to the L&D. The Doctor from the Air Ambulance went with them, so he could continue to help John. Sadly, despite the herculean efforts by staff, club members and the emergency services, John had suffered too great a trauma and passed away later that day. I am immensely proud of my staff, in particular Peter Kay, and our club members, in the efforts that they made to help John. 

 

Tuesday 30th June....."new boy" Jack Cook started work with the greenstaff yesterday, on his probationary period, which will possibly lead to him taking an apprentice position with us. After a 6.30am start on his first day, he was still here at 8.45pm having played some golf (also for the first time!) with Danny and Jamie after work. After being here for 14 hours + on day one, he still had a smile on his face and was here again at 6.30am today for more!! Good start Jack!!!

 

Thursday 25th June...following the capture of illegal immigrants at Toddington services yesterday, I have asked Pete/Clare/Lucie and the Greenstaff to keep an eye out and make sure that they charge visitor green fees if any make their way across the course...........

 

Thursday 18th June....OK I have given the albatrosses serious consideration......I am happy to have a record of albatrosses, and players who have achieved one will be known as "Trossers". If you achieve more that one albatross, you will be a "Big Trosser" and anyone who manages to get the whole set of albatrosses on all our Par 5's here at Chalgrave, will be known as a "Complete Trosser". As far as I am aware, Paul Northcott, Colin Barden and Graham Tarbox are Trossers, there may be more trossers in the club I'm not aware of. Anyone wanting to be on record as a Trosser needs to contact me ASAP with the details of the Hole and approximately the date that you became a Trosser. 

 

Thursday 18th June.....we may be a "small club" but we do BIG things..... On Saturday on Captains Day, amongst all the silly stuff and the golf (which was also silly at times), we did something serious and big. Immediate Past Captains Steve Howarth and Alison Savage handed over a cheque to Keech Hospice for the sum of 6,143 taking the total contribution that our "small club" has made to Keech Hospice to a grand total of 90,0075. Big things.   

 

Wednesday 17th June.....an email from Colin Barden, pooh poohing the 100+ holes in one and wanting to know when I am starting an Albatross Club.....having just holed his second shot on the 3rd from about 190 yards for a 2. To be fair, he has a point, as I know of probably 5 or 6 albatrosses in the 20+ years we have been going. When I get one myself Colin, I will give it serious consideration!!

 

Wednesday 17th June......I receive an email from Chalgrave's most remote member, USA Associate Section Chairman, Phil Barter. I gave him an update on what has been happening and he will be over in September and will pop in and see us. Phil reminded me of a picture that used to adorn the website, of him, on some far distant Captains Day in the past, teeing off on the 10th hole in only his grundies...... he had started on 11 so it was his last hole and as usual there had been a bit of alcoholic refreshments around the course....... in a moment of bravado, Phil announced to his playing partners, that he was about to get a hole in one on the 10th, and to celebrate, he would jump into the pond, so he had prepared himself..........as he was about to draw back the club, Nick Hawker, one of his playing partners that day, said "thats OK Phil, it's a gimmee from there................"  sadly, I don't believe that PB jumped in................  

 

Tuesday 9th June....I've been away for a couple of weeks, hence the lull in the news page, but I return to a seniors Tuesday for my 2nd day back and things immediately return to normal.....my first thought as I see Graham Tarbox signing in for today, alongside Seniors "newbie" Harry Lyons, is that could be part of a 4 ball from hell....with 18 holes of continual "I can top your last story"!...... Harry Lyons confirms he is entirely adequately equipped to be part of the seniors section, by putting his head around the door and asking if we have "free wifi" in the club, to which I reply "yes, for about the last 5 years!" Harry said he didn't know, so I took him on a tour of the clubhouse, pointing out the numerous signs which are emblazoned "free wifi" and show the access code.....as I said, perfectly qualified.......

 

 

Tuesday 19th May......Mark Harvey and Vijay Mistry get a poor reward for their third magnificent victory in the Daily Mail Foursomes as they make it to the 4th round...very few have ventured that far..... after a magnificent victory at home they have drawn the short straw and have to go and play at some dodgy track called Woburn......its a tough life!!!

 

Tuesday 19th May....an update from the Seniors Matchplay of yesterday.....after waiting for an hour to meet up with each other whilst only being 40 feet apart, one in a car and and one in the clubhouse, apparently Rick and Ken then decided that the weather was so bad that they would abandon the opportunity to play and agreed to meet up on another day to play!!! I wish I could tell you that this is made up but its not.....its all true!! We have to go through it all again!

 

Monday 18th May.......Dreadful day, rain in large lumps hitting the ground. Rick Maughan arrives at 8.00am, as he has his Seniors KO to play. Grab a coffee and wait for his opponent, Ken Forder. One hour later, no sign of Ken, so he pops his head around the office door and I give him Ken's home number. The response, he left at 8.00am. 2 minutes later Ken appears in the office doorway. He has been sitting outside in his car for 40 minutes waiting for Rick to arrive!!! Its Monday, 9.12am, and the seniors are causing chaos already! Its going to be a long week!!................

 

 

Thursday 14th May....... Dennis Richards is in with the molers, comes in after his round and complains about bits of grass on his ball! I said "just to clarify, are you complaining that we are cutting the fairways?" "Yes!" So, I assume that if next week, we let the fairways grow so that they look like light rough (and they will do as we are cutting some of them twice a week at the moment in the current flush of growth!) and Dennis chunks it 10 yards down the fairway as he can't get into the back of the ball, he will be a happy bunny (or moler!)!

 

Thursday 14th May......Pete has returned from his 4 day cruise to the Channel Islands and beyond and "regales" us with stories of the force 9 gale that followed them around!! They went to Guernsey, but Pete only knows that becasue the Captain told him that over the PA system. The ship was too big to dock in port, so the weighed anchor off the coast and would normally be transferred by small boat to the quayside.....except that the weather was so bad that they would not launch the small transfer boats and the rain/cloud gales actually meant that at no time, as the visibility was so poor, did they actually SEE Guernsey! So, the Captain set off for a different port for them and ended up in Le Havre.....the ferry terminal. Only Pete could take his Missus on a 4 day cruise to a ferry terminal!! Classic!

 

Sunday 10th May....Kelvin aces the 5th with a 9 iron to record his second ace at Chalgrave, although for some reason the first does not currently appear on the list. People often quote statistics about the chances of an ace, or winning the lottery, or meeting Elvis in a pub in Toddington. Here's one for you. If your name is Kelvin Weedon, the odds of you winning the bonus ball lottery in 5 years, is greater than the chance of getting two holes in one!!!  

 

Thursday 7th May.....just seen a card from the Molers...where the back 9 score of the marker (who diplomatically and cunningly didn't sign the card) was a meagre 8 stableford points........which surpassed the score of the player, a certain Mr Steele, by 7 stableford points!!! There are rumours of over 150 divots being taken on the back nine between them!! 

 

Thursday 7th May.....a sad day in the history of Chalgrave Manor Golf Club, as it is the funeral of Kay Annis, a fantastic lady whose spirit and determination has been awe inspiring. Kay was the absolute mainstay of the establishment of the ladies section at Chalgrave, and inspired many new golfers to become the players that they are today. It has been an honour to have known her and she will be greatly missed and never forgotten. The funeral is at 12 followed by a gathering here at the club to celebrate her life.

 

Friday 1st May.....Pete is taking his Missus on a short cruise, to Guernsey etc... ...the shipping forecast shows gale force winds in the Channel....Good Luck with that Pete!!

 

 

Friday 1st May......Greenkeeper Jamie brings me a putter he found on the course......it sadly did not survive the experience. It was in the deep rough at the back of the 15th Green. I am assuming that someone did drop it by mistake, but it was in such a strange place that there is the possibility that it got slung there after missing a short one!! My point though, is this. If it was slung there, then it was hit by the cutting deck of a 28,000 rotary mower. Fortunately, the bits remained under the deck when it was smashed apart by the blade. The blade and the deck did survive the experience as well, but could easily have been substantially damaged. If you are going to chuck putters away, can you please ensure that you follow the Adrian Purser technique and make sure they are lodged high in a tree where they can't get hit by a mower. Thanks.

 

 

 

Sunday 26th April......Every year brings a new batch of Virgins for the Gibson +50, and this year saw three new arrivals in the +50 category who were clearly taking it with the seriousness that was required!!

 

 

Dan, Joe and Nick sporting "L" plates and babies dummies!!

 

Friday 24th April......Congratulations to Mark Harvey on his debut at a Captains Awayday.......we know Mark was on the Captains Awayday, because he turned up here at 8.30am instead of Mentmore!! Captains Awaydays have long been the source of humorous anecdotes on travel, Tim Smith gained the Tag of Squadron Leader after his high speed flight to Woodhall Spa many years ago, Richie, as I recall, did a 250 mile round trip to go to a venue about 50 miles away, Kelvin and his van at Magnolia and Mick Yule, more Budweiser than you can imagine and a coach at Kingsthorpe all spring to mind. The clue, Mark, is in the word "awayday"!! Classic!!!

 

Tuesday 21st April......there is something about Tuesdays that just tickles your funny bone, and today we had a classic example is this, in visual humour.....just short of 12 noon, with the seniors spread out all over the course, the sun beating down and all things looking well with the world, we had the slightly bizarre sight of a senior, perspiring hard, who had lost his trousers and all his golf gear, running across from the 4th tee and around the back of the 18th green. Clearly, his knowledge of etiquette and his desperation to recover the trousers and clubs from where ever he had lost them was of greater priority than David Andrew's golf swing as he played his shot towards the 9th green. Stopping in mid backswing, from the clubhouse it appeared that a few choice words might have passed........it was at that point that I realised that my expectation of the ridiculous as a state of normality on a Tuesday was in fact the culprit, and it was a random "senior" jogger on the public footpath and not a dishevelled, clubless Tuesday senior!!    

 

Tuesday 21st April.......Seniors in vast numbers......64 of them today......Peter Whitton's state of the art Seniors Competition Entry Programme on his computer, which allows them to enter, prints their card for them, allocates them into a random draw system, is simply a state, not a state of the art!! It can't cope with anything over 60!!! That's probably the first time a computer has understood how I feel on Tuesdays!!  We also have a glitch on the irrigation system, so we are manually operating the system this morning to water the greens and we have got all of them watered on the first 12 holes before the senior shotgun start at 8.30am. I told Peter not to use any tees after the 11th as start points this morning, as they might get wet otherwise.......here we are at 9.30, with three bemused, damp seniors on the 18th green as it waters itself whilst they try to putt out!!!

 

Friday 17th April.....yet another new member of the "Not the Joe Silva" Club, as senior George Cox aces the 16th with a rescue wood.....with his two playing partners looking aghast, and just Clare and Pete in the Clubhouse, George decided against his Friday after round coffee for some reason!! 

 

 

 

Sunday 12th April.....The last day of The Masters, and Spring is here at Chalgrave as well.....as determined by the arrival of the Apple Designs Spring Trophy, so it must be Spring!! Utterly brutal, was the best way to describe it. A proper, Chalgrave 4 or 5 club wind, that never, at any time seemed to be downwind. It was either into your face or a crosswind. The 12th, stroke index one, from the elevated tee, was about as tough as it gets. Drivers at the 16th green, 160 yards away. The greens were firm and fast. Downwind putts required the slightest of touches to send the ball miles. I haven't seen the result yet, but anyone who played that to par had a miracle round.   

 

Friday 10th April.....with the General Election looming, Chalgrave Manor Golf Club shows just how up to date we are and ahead of the game on these things....today, the big story is airports and new runways...whilst they are talking about it, we are already doing it, as the new runway construction is underway outside the clubhouse/terminal 1. Actually, I have half a dozen seniors in for coffee as well......might change that to Terminal 6 then.....

 

The new runway.....

 

Thursday 9th April......this is what I have to deal with.......John Litchfield, him of the tissue paper in the end of his shoes a few weeks back, accosted me to complain about inaccuracies in the story, saying that he takes size 11 not size 9 shoes!! It then turns out, that earlier this morning, he had had the SAME problem with tissue paper in the SAME shoes this morning, as he had repacked the shoes with tissue paper (so they keep their shape!!) after he used them last time, and forgot to take it out AGAIN this morning!!!! Hopefully, if you do come back as something else after you pop your clogs, JL will come back as a goldfish as he is clearly already highly qualified...........

 

Thursday 2nd April.....The Ladies March Stableford result is in, and clearly the Ladies are seriously keen on improving their game as well as indulging in some serious self analysis, as a massive 29 points won it.........and according to the result sheet, the CSS was 75 (33 points) and Reducation Only!!

So, hopefully, by the time the next ladies event comes around, they will have been re educated enough to break 30!   

 

Tuesday 31st March....Over the past two decades, I have had the privilege of playing Chalgrave in all kinds of weather conditions. At times, the course is magnificently benign, as calm and still as a windless lake surface and just as beautiful. At other times, a tricky, blustery wind can follow you around the course, so that every hole seems to play into the wind.....and then you get the rip roaring Chalgrave 5 Club wind, where you take 5 more clubs than you need from 120 yards and still often don't get there.....today, we have a new one....the Chalgrave HHHITS Wind, an acronym for the Chalgrave Ha Ha Ha its the Seniors wind!! This makes a Chalgrave 5 club wind look calm!! This is a rip roaring sabre tooth tiger, with bad breath, right in your face, sort of wind. There is every possibility that today, we will have 6 x 4 balls of seniors, all playing the 17th at the same time and none of them able to hit the group in front with their next shot!! If any of them get a par on 17 today, I will go out and buy a hat so I can eat it!!

 

Thursday 26th March....just uploaded onto the Facebook page a new photo album containing the pictures taken at the Annual Dinner Dance 2015. I have a proper printed copy for all of the trophy recipients, but if you want a high quality digital file of the photo, have a look and email me at steve@chalgravegolf.co.uk the number of the photo(s) that you want..... I will email the file back to you. The link for the Facebook Page is

 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chalgrave-Manor-Golf-Club/114964491896018 Don't forget to "like" the page as well and then you will get all the Chalgrave stuff onto your own facebook news feed!!

 

Tuesday 24th March.....Seniors and its been pretty quiet today, nothing much happening, no silly stories, so I'm thinking that something has to give......eventually it does, as John Litchfield returns things to normal with his new golf shoes......clearly the onset of Spring has warranted some additional outlay on sporting goods and a new pair of shoes to propel him across dry ground and growing turf seems a good plan.....but like a lot of new shoes, they seemed a bit tight, and he was struggling to get them on, which seeing as size 9's have been his size for the past 40 odd years, it would appear odd that his feet have swelled massively all of a sudden. After 20 minutes of trying to get his tootsies into the new shoes, he discovered a final piece of tissue paper, now scrunched right up into the toe area of both shoes.......a surgical extraction of said paper suddenly released that vital extra few millimetres of space and the size 9 feet once again fitted perfectly into a size 9 shoe.....life will never be dull on Tuesdays at Chalgrave

 

Thursday 19th March........probably the best advert I have seen to encourage people to try the game.......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3TuLF7U0gI0

 

Tuesday 17th March.....oh here we go, this is going to be chaos.....7.45am and I am getting reports from Seniors who have seen a small, single seater buggy on the main road in Toddington. What has drawn their attention is the set of golf clubs on the back!! Sure enough, just before 8.00am, Gerry Simpkiss comes careering down the driveway on his personal buggy!! So, in due course, we will find out if the buggy has enough electrical power in its batteries so get around the 4 miles of undulating terrain that is Chalgrave Manor Golf Club, plus the approximate 1 mile in each direction in distance between home and the club!! Realistically, the going home will be the big one, a long uphill run up the driveway, turn right across the flow of traffic on the main road (nerves of steel required there!!!) and then a further uphill run back to Toddington as the artics thunder past!!! 

 

Mon 16th March....the are some club members you can set your watch by, and Chris Baker is one of them, he will always be here 1st thing every Monday morning and he always makes a point of popping his head around the door, saying hello and asking how things are going. When you consider that he plays probably 3/4/5 times a week, and always comes into the clubhouse before and after his round, you would think he would have his finger well and truly on the pulse of what is occurring.......so when he said hello this morning, asked how things were and what I was up to, and I responded, I'm just sorting out the weekend stuff and the Annual Dinner Dance. I was, therefore,  somewhat surprised to be asked "The Annual Dinner, when is that then?" I pointed out that it was the Saturday just gone, and that the clue had been in the posters and various other hints on facebook, the website, the club diary, the fact it has been held mid March for the past 21 years, all of these things combined to make me believe that someone who is in the clubhouse at least 10 times a week, might just have caught a glimpse and a hint. Clearly not!!

 

Sun 15th March.....The Razz Pairs, and for many participants, it was a timely reminder why we normally don't have a competition the day after the Annual Dinner!! There were some wonderful shots being played out there!! Bearing in mind that it was Greensomes, so teams had a choice of 2 drives to pick from, it was somewhat surprising to see one group playing their SECOND shot on the 15th hole, from what appeared to be the BACK of the ladies tee on the 15th hole!! If the best drive had gone forwards 15 yards, what the hell happened to the one they DIDN'T choose!! I reckon I have played shots from most locations on the course now over the 20 odd years of existence of the club, but Dave McGarry introduced me to a new bit on the 9th, as he thumped a ball in theory at the 9th flag, but send it miles into the woods behind the 17th tee. Amazingly, the ball was sitting up, and I had a full swing, but trees in every direction. I took the line of least timber, and hit the final branch, just before it cleared the canopy and it dropped down into 10ft deep brambles. We took the blob.  

 

Sat 14th March... The Annual Dinner Dance saw 90 attending the evening, to see the awarding of the 2014 trophies. Congratulations to all of the winners, in particular Cally Hawker and Bob Stillie, our Golfers of the Year, and to Joe Silva for the Clubman of the Year for his contribution to the success of the Mid Handicap League as a non playing Captain of the side. A fabulous evening saw a well supported raffle and the Chalgrave 500 Lottery Draw for a years Membership of CMGC being drawn out. The lucky recipient of the 1 year Full membership prize was Alan Davis. Alan generously has donated the sum of 100 to the Captains Charity as a result, which is a superb gesture.     

 

Friday 13th March.....Well as expected, something happened.....and that something was Mick Bewley. With a virtually empty carpark, certainly no one within 50 yards of him, he got stuck!!! Don't ask me why, when he got it the car and with nothing in front of him, he didn't just select 1st gear and pull away forwards? Instead he selected reverse, put it on full lock and reversed over one of the telegraph poles on the edge of the carpark. He would have got away with that, as he clearly realised he had bumped over the pole as he stopped. Then he selected reverse and went back further, changing the direction of travel further. He then straightens the wheels, drives forwards, until there car comes to a sudden stop, grounded on the telegraph pole between the front and rear wheels!! There is a bit of checking that the reverse lights are working , as they keep coming on!! and off!! and on!! until the dreadful realisation dawns that not only is the car well and truly stuck, but he will have to return to the clubhouse and admit to this fact in order to get help!! Lucie phoned the AA, and then had to call for an ambulance to attend the AA phone centre to assist the lady who had split her sides laughing! She referred to the AA "member benefits" manual to try and determine if impaled on a telegraph pole was covered by the AA, and determined that cover was available and despatched an AA van to help. Some time later, the van arrived and we had to call for another ambulance for the same split sides problem that the phone lady had had. Eventually, after about 45 minutes, the car was extracted! What makes the whole episode all the more enjoyable, is that it was caught on the CCTV and the light was just sufficient at the moment of madness to make it entertaining viewing. Regrettably, as it gets darker, the extraction process is not worth seeing. Have a check out of the youtube link below!! Mick Bewley joins the Chalgrave Hall of Fame, alongside Aqua Ray, Webby's Car Fire and Vijay's Driver. Enjoy!!     

 

http://youtu.be/_QtYn2coBes

 

Friday 13th March....If you go up onto the main practice ground (OK Yes, I know you are all avid practicers and are up there regularly anyway!!), don't think there is some weird crop circle type thing going on!! We have just cut 7 short holes with fairways/greens to develop a fun area for youngsters to come and play golf!! It will take a few cuts to get the shape tidy and smooth, but hopefully the end product will be a short, fun, family golf course that Mum and Dad can bring the kids or Nan and Grandad can bring the grandkids up to play for a bit of fun!! The area will be multi purpose, still available for the 1000's of practicing members (!!!) as well as the family course! Watch this space!!!

 

Friday 13th March.......Well its quiet here, despite it being another nice day. Cut fairways, cut greens and tees and playing off the grass tees as well......all things are looking rosy on the golf course......why is it so quiet?? Well today is Senior Captains Awayday at Mount Pleasant Golf Club......on Friday 13th!!! What can possibly go wrong??????

 

An update on the story from yesterday as well, all is not quite what it seems either, the significant discount of 355 off the subs is not quite true....as it is a pro rata fee for the remainder of the year...which, bearing in mind the sub of 1055 runs from 1st Jan to 31st Dec, and the Open Day is 29th March, this means that 8 months will be remaining if someone was to join on that day.....8/12 of 1055 is 703.34, so a saving of 3.34 is what is on offer!!! Cracking Deal!!

 

Thursday 12th March....The Molers are in and Frank Howarth becomes the third person this year to join the "Not the Joe Silva" Club as he aces the 10th hole with a 5 iron! That's possibly your problem Joe, you should try taking a bit more club!!! Whilst any Hole in One provides us with rib tickling mirth at the ongoing barren desert of aces that has befallen the golfing career of Jose, this one had an added twist of humour, as Dave Burden had missed the Molers today for the first time in donkeys years, and as a result missed the free drink on Frank!! That, I am sure, will rankle almost as much with Dave as the actual ace (or lack of one) will with Joe........

 

also a bit of a news snippet from elsewhere.......a Captain of a Bedfordshire Golf Club sent an email out to his Club Members....."Our membership is the lowest it has been for many years and, whilst this doesn't mean we should all panic, we do have to make every effort to recruit new members....." This does of course beg the question if they don't all have to panic, it at least infers that some of them need to!!! It goes on to say, (bearing in mind that the people who the email was sent to had paid or committed to monthly fees to cover the 1055 annual fee a few months back) that there was going to be an open day and there are 25 places @700 available!! That strikes me as someone is panicking!! Not to mention probably p*ssing off the remaining 270 odd members!!

 

 

 

Tuesday 10th March.....Guess what day it is....Seniors Day.....usual chaos, they jam the coffee machine with their attempts at putting euros or buttons or tap washers into the coin mechanism, and then trundle off out to play golf, with the buggy crowd in attendance for the first time this year.....but none of that is anything out of the norm really......Bob Hall made his weekly appearance at my office doorway afterwards to ask about what the ruling would be for his rules transgression this week....he is such a regular requestee, that I reckon he must have broken every Rule going nearly now. Today's was a 2 shot penalty for playing the wrong ball.....but it was Alan Bevan who won the senior moment award this week as he appeared at the office door to ask if his iphone had been handed in as he had dropped it somewhere on the course......I asked where he last knew he had it......"the 9th, when I got it out to switch it off!" , so I was about to offer him the use of a buggy to go and check, when Pete Warren appears clutching said phone.....which he had found in the changing rooms!! Now I could understand that some players might get confused over where they are on the golf course as, after all, grass is pretty uniform in colour and length, but mistaking a 600 yard ish  Par 5 for the carpeted, seated area in the changing rooms is pushing it a bit far!!

 

Monday 9th March......well, we had a weekend of "proper" golf following a Thursday and Friday where we stopped focussing on kiln dried firewood and got the mowers out of the shed. With almost all of the fairways cut and the tees getting a trim too, it will be dependent upon the weather this week as to whether we end up on grass tees for next weekend.

 

One thing that will be happening, at least tomorrow and again on an ongoing basis for the moment subject to the weather conditions, is that the buggies will be out for use tomorrow. 

 

We are not quite out of the chills of winter yet, but there is definitely that hint of Spring, lighter evenings and warmer days..........

 

Saturday 28th Feb......The Dan Glass Pre 50th Birthday Party Bash.......just as a warm up event to the main thing on 28th March.....Alan Davis, who shall remain nameless to save his embarrassment, arrives at the Club during the day, has a beer and says "See you later on" to Clare as he leaves.....Clare thinks this is somewhat odd as she is not aware that Alan is taking her out and thinks her husband might have something to say as well, so she queries this..... Alan says he will be back for Dan Glass's 50th Birthday....so Clare points out that that is 28th March not 28th February!!! "Damn," says Alan, "I've not got anything to do tonight now....."

 

Tuesday 24th Feb....Nostalgia/Memorabilia time.......today, I saw the land agent who acted on behalf of the farmer who sold me the land, and he brought me in an original brochure from their marketing of the land, some 23 years ago!! I have scanned it in and it will appear as a .pdf file if you click on this link. I remember seeing it back then and thinking how hard can it be to build a golf course?? Its just a bit of grass! A couple of mowers and you are laughing. If ever there was a real live version of "build it and they will come"  Chalgrave Manor Golf Club might just be it......

 

 

Monday 23rd Feb.....Greenkeeper Danny Sanders......have you got something to tell us??? Now I am used to the greenstaff having parcels delivered to the club rather than home, so they don't end up in the eternal chase around depots and sorting offices to retrieve them, and my office receives a full array of boxes and packages on a pretty constant basis as it would appear that the greenstaff keep the Ebay economy going almost singlehandedly.....but today is different......on my desk, addressed to Danny, is a small slim plastic delivery bag, white, with nice little black dots, containing presumably a very lightweight item of clothing from TopShop!! I will let Daniella know his/her parcel has arrived.......

 

 

Monday 16th Feb.....news from the weekend.....you know that occasionally, there are days when you can do no wrong, that everything seems to click and fall into place...well Dan Glass was having that day on Saturday......with playing partners John Crane and Nick Hawker, he stood on the 7th tee with 17 points already safely in the bag, 1 under gross after 6 and feeling mighty pleased with the way things were going! The moment the rescue wood hit the ball off the tee, Dan turned to Nick and John and said "get your hip flasks out, that ones going in the hole!!". They arrived at the green, and Dan's ball was nowhere to be seen.......until they looked where he had told them to look back on the tee!!! The hip flasks were duly flourished and then there was a scramble to find a mobile to relay the news to Joe Silva who was four holes behind!! The text message was not picked up, as Dan saw Joe on the 8th as he played the 12th a while later....."how did you do on the 7th Joe??" "Very Nice, I had a Par" was the response....there were a few more comments a moment later when the ace was revealed!!

 

For the record, Dan continued on his round for 17 holes, amassing 45 stableford points, before double bogeying the last!!

  

 

Monday 16th Feb.....there is always one, at least one, every year and this year is no exception..... so step forward and receive a warm round of applause, Barry Moorhouse, 17 handicapper and entrant to the Flitwick Oil +18 competition......the clue, Barry, is in the competition name!!

 

Monday 9th Feb......an offer for Golf in the SUN!!! A FREE HOLIDAY to Costa Del Sol with 3 rounds of golf (with buggies & transfers). Mark Mansfield has been organising a 24 player tour.  Unfortunately he has had a late withdrawal due to one of the players starting a new job, and its too late to get a refund, so a free place is available. The only costs would be the flights which they would have to book & prize pool & beer money!!!!.

If they would like to make a donation to the unfortunate person that is entirely their choice, but it is not expected!!!

 

We have 24 booked to go. We are staying at the PYR Fuengirola on the Costa Del Sol.

 

An optional round on the Sunday is available at extra cost depending on which return flight is booked.

 

The dates are flying out to Malaga Weds 18th February & returning either Sunday or Monday following. Most of us are flying BA Wednesday morning from Gatwick & returning BA to Gatwick on Monday evening. The golf competition is Thursday, Friday & Saturday with a Trilby presentation night on the Saturday.

 

If you are interested in taking the place, please email me asap on steve@chalgravegolf.co.uk and I will provide you with Mark's contact details to sort out directly with him.

 

 

Tuesday 3rd February......its 8.00am and we have had three phone calls from seniors already asking if we are open........2" deep in snow outside their front door, and a blanket of snow covering the entire country, but they are still hopeful that the Chalgrave Micro Climate might mean that 150 acres of Bedfordshire was exclusively exempt from the snowfall!!

 

In other news today, (I'm in "The Two Ronnies" mode now) Cally and Nick are welcome here at any time. It would seem this is not the case elsewhere, where they are specifically banned.....

 

 

 

 

Monday 2nd February.....An excellent evening was had by all at the Quiz Night on Saturday evening. It will come as no surprise to those that were here to learn that the team drinking J2O's won and VJ's team didn't!! The silly game round of build a tall tower out of spaghetti and marshmallows has had a small spin off for the club, in that there is spag bol on as a special for the seniors tomorrow now!! Hopefully the bol will overcome the slightly odd flavouring of pink marshmallows!! The real winner in this was Keech Hospice, as the event raised, through the raffle and the team entry fees, the small (or not so small) matter of 596!! Peter Montgomery's team aka "The Snowmen" won with 136 points beating the Team that knew "Jacques Sheet" into 2nd place. The outstanding performance of the night was Team "Jack O'Club" who won the wooden spoon with a mere 63 points, including an absolutely masterful decision to play their joker on the sport round and then getting just 2 questions right and doubling that to 4!! Two other teams scored 3 points on sport, "Dunstable Lawn Tennis Club" and "The Busby Babes" and with names like that you would have expected at least a mediocre score to be achieved in that round!!    

 

Tuesday 27th January.......It is starting to get to the stage where you think there cannot possibly be a new seniors story, they have done it all........and then they surpass themselves once again.......Dennis Howard is challenging John Steele these days for the most appearances on the news page, as just 11 days after his appearance for the daft KO competition - which incidentally finished on the 3rd extra hole in near darkness with Dennis holing a long putt for a 5 to win the match (oh the irony of this!! - just wait and see!) - as he demonstrated perfectly today why the game of golf has the ability to lift you to such high stature and then bring you crashing back down to earth......

 

Now Dennis, a 20 handicapper, can find the 11th hole at Chalgrave somewhat daunting and challenging - indeed we all can!!- and so it was to his extreme pleasure that he drilled the tee shot down the fairway today. The flag is up on the top tier, so the hole is playing as long as it can, and that second shot, to the elevated green is a tough one. Dennis drew back the club, turned the shoulders and hips, reached the pinnacle of his backswing and commenced the flow into the shot. The hands rotated, the weight transferred, there was the merest snick as the steel clubhead met the slightly battered topflite dead centre of the sweetspot. The ball left the turf and rocketed at the flag, landing on the middle tier, skipping forward, up the slope to come to rest just 2 feet from the pin....oh my word.......what a shot......

 

The rest of the group were struck dumb by the sheer magnificence of the strike and the end product, they finished the hole themselves in their normal zig zag fashion and then stood back to admire the 2 foot birdie putt.......there was a collective, sympathetic groan as the ball slid by the edge.......there was a further groan as the par putt did the same.....past the edge of the hole again for the net par and past the edge again for the net bogey. 2 shots of sheer brilliance to cover almost 1,000 feet to start, then 4 more shots to not get closer than 2 feet as the ball kept rolling the same distance past every time........I wish I could tell you that the agony ended there, but it didn't! At least the 6th putt, for an 8 was only a tap in!!  

 

Monday 26th January.....a little bit of belated news, but a snippet that has to be recorded, as the first entrant to the "Not the Joe Silva Club", more properly known as the Hole in One Club has emerged for 2015, as Adrian Clarke aced the 13th with a 3 wood in icy conditions. He, and his playing partners had been searching in the long grass well to the back of the green for 5 minutes, before his playing partner decided to check the hole!! Just in case any smart alec thinks that he should have played 3 off the tee as the ball is "lost" after a 5 minute search, that's wrong. Even if they had searched for 25 minutes, it is still a hole in one as the ball is holed and dead the moment it finishes in the bottom of the cup..... Clearly it was Adrian's day with the three wood, as he used it from 4 ft off the green on the 6th, hit it poorly and significantly wide of the hole, but it cannoned off several lumps of frozen mud and ice on the green and veered back into the hole! After playing the 14th and 15th with the ball he used in the ace, he decided that discretion was the better part of valour and changed balls to make sure he hung onto the ball........and promptly lost 2 balls off the tee!! All this luck in one round....and Joe is still looking for that elusive ace!!! 

 

Tues 20th January....a tale from last Friday has popped up......VJ, him of the broken driver in the doorway, was playing in a threeball with Dave "I've got a new driver as well" Millard who christened it, literally, by dunking the first two strikes he ever had with it, into the pond on the first!! Simon "Vice in Waiting" Ward made up the threeball. By the time the 6th hole arrived, the golf had degenerated into a round where the social side of the game was coming to the fore as the possibilities of winning had already slipped away in the first 5 holes.....

 

Dave finally got a decent strike with the new driver, and all three balls were in the fairway. 2nd shots were played, with Vice in Waiting landing his third onto the green, whilst the driver boys came up short and chipped on for four. VJ had a putt for par and lined it up. The club was drawn back, stops in mid swing, bends down, picks up the ball, declares it as not being his and throws it away, registering (not the first)  a blob for the hole. Dave Millard is chuckling away at the misfortune of VJ, until he addresses his par putt and discovers he too is playing the wrong ball!! In a forensic dissection of the hole, it was determined that they each played each others ball on the 2nd shot, and had happily played three shots each without noticing!!

 

Dave Millard at least could claim to have had difficulty remembering which ball he was playing having lost so many on the first, whilst VJ is clearly looking to have the most number of appearances on the newspage in 2015.......  

 

Tuesday 20th January......I have just reduced two NHS nurses to tears.........they are here to carry out a free NHS  Abdominal Aortic Anuerysm screening program with the Seniors......as they were setting up, I wandered over and asked the nurses that if they discovered any potential bad results over the course of the next few hours, would they mind ensuring that Club Subscription payments were up to date and renewed before they passed that small detail on......

 

Friday 16th January......as the mercury drops in the barometer, or the BBC weather person tells you its getting colder for those who don't understand barometers and dropping mercury....a tale to warm the cockles of your heart from our seniors.....in on Friday to play their winter pairs match.

Les Douglas, Dennis Howard, Graham Busby and Pete Warren will remain nameless to save their blushes....so they set off to play the senior winter pairs, a slightly bizarre format of pairs stableford where both players scores are combined to generate a team stableford score over 18 holes and the highest team score wins....

why bizarre? well winter matchplays are generally designed to keep you moving, and in the event of a sound thrashing in inclement weather, you can get off the course and into the bar quickly, but this format demands that all 18 holes are played and indeed the seniors rules are that failure to play 18 holes results in a DQ for both pairs.

Just to add a bit extra to the mix, they play it off 3/4 handicap as well.....but I have already massively digressed!!!

So the nameless fourball set off for their match during which, on one tee, an air shot occurred. There was much debate about what happens with the next stroke, with a suggestion being that the next stroke would be theTHIRD stroke, ie there might be a penalty of 1 shot for missing it completely the first time!! Clearly that is unduly harsh (and wrong!!) it is simply that the ball is now in play and it is the second shot.

So as they came off the 18th, cold and cream crackered, they had no idea who had won as they had forgotten to score it of 3/4 handicap and their brains were so numb they could not work out 3/4 of 14.....

I have failed to mention that the 3/4 handicap is off their "seniors handicap" which might mean that a player with a club handicap of 20 plays off 14! and then gets 3/4 of that!!.. so they put all the gear away, returned to the bar, got drinks coffees, sorted out that the air shot didn't get an extra penalty shot, worked out the 3/4 handicap. applied that to all players, worked out the stableford score per hole per player, added the player score up then combined them to make the team score, and shook their heads in disbelief.

They checked the scores, the penalties, the addition and everything. Nope, it still came up as a draw, so they had to get all the gear back out, get the shoes back on and go up the first hole to play sudden death....

They didn't come back in, so I am slightly worried that sudden death may have actually occurred, so those who are starting early in the morning, can you please check the 1st hole (and possibly the 2nd) in case there are some carcasses we need to move.......if I ever find out who won I will let you know....
 

 

Tues 12th January......oh here we go......chatting to the seniors before they go out, about trollies, proximity to greens and the desire to walk right up to the hoops into the wet areas that are visible from space......"oh yes" there is one hole that's really bad for that" says one chap....."the one up the hill after the 12th....which one's that then??"    "The 13th?" I venture... its going to be a long day!!!   

 

 

Mon 5th January....you will recall the lost bull dog.....from Monday 29th December.....which lasted 1.5 holes before being lost.....well today it was claimed......and Ray Lacey made the minor error of mentioning that he actually had ALREADY lost it once in the carpark before he started!! As if I'm not going to mention that!!

Bull Dog and Owner will hopefully be reunited shortly, I think the dog needs to be on a lead for the future, or I get the feeling that I will be seeing it again soon!!!!!

 

 

Mon 5th January........nothing pleases me more than to be able to start the 2015 year blog with a Chalgrave Story that touches the usual extremes of daft, hilarious and bizzare extremes of being a Chalgrave Member......so we start with the January Medal, Saturday a virtual washout and Sunday, a packed field as the first event of Golfer of the Year 2015 gets underway.....in fog which failed to lift throughout the entire round. The only tee shot I hit that I saw land was on the 10th!! Everything else, hit it and walk off into the fog and hopefully find it again!! So as I hit the halfway point and saw Lee Nash heading to the 18th tee on 40 points....I was inclined to call it a day!! Still, in my opinion, that is peaking too early!! If you score 40+ points in the 1st medal of the year, then its going to be a downhill after that for the rest of the year!!

 

But lets get to the story of the day......VJ was in early, juts before 8.00am. He headed off out to the tee, strapped his clubs to his back, and then realised that he had not picked up a scorecard, so he headed for the clubhouse......the door swung open and he entered...except he came to an abrupt stop as the golf bag, across his back in the rucksack style, jammed in the door frame.....in the classic style of Tom and Jerry cartoons, that wasn't going to stop him so as he had been sprung slightly backwards from the impact, he made a renewed challenge on the door frame with the rucksack of clubs still in the same widthway position.....Doorframe 1 VJ's Driver 0 as he shot through the door this time, with what appeared to be a headcover landing on the floor behind him. Clearly, from the slight slump of the shoulders as he picked up the headcover, he realised that the headcover was still covering the head!!

 

7.58 is the time to scroll through too.....

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DK7-Q1mzjhI&feature=youtu.be

 

You might think that was the last of the humour from this...but no.....revealed on another camera is Mick Yule assisting VJ, by trying to get into the office to find a spare driver....which they manage successfully to do......and VJ charges off onto the course fully equipped with a LADIES DRIVER!!! You could not make it up!! I am, however led to believe that even with a Ladies driver he still smashed my score!! I was trying to make sure that I didn't peak too early in the year......

 

2015 Happy New Year!!!

 

 

 

Monday 29th December....my sincere thanks to the ladies and gents of Steppingley Golf Society, who came in to us today and looked after our greens so well.....they asked for 2 x nearest the pin markers for the 5th and 10t holes and then returned them unused as no one hit the greens!! Any pitchmarks out there on the greens were not caused by Steppingly!!

 

From earlier in the day, I have a Christmas present which lasted 1.5 holes.... which is where the very nice bulldog head cover was found, halfway up the 2nd hole......brand spanking new, even still got the little plastic price retainer thingy on it.....now in my office waiting to be reunited with its owner....a bulldog headcover is for life, not just for Christmas......

 

Friday 19th December....even at Christmas the seniors try it on!! Tom Caulfield comes up to the bar wanting some change for the pool table, puts down a 5p and says can I have 2 10p's please!!

Now I reckon that even with dodgy eyesight (and I've seen them play pool!!) that the size difference should have been enough, let alone fact that a 20p isn't round!!
 

 

Sun 14th Dec.....more from the Turkey Trott.....Don Parrott's 9 iron appears, returned to it's owner by Craig Kemp.....who found it near the fairway bunker on the 3rd....now Don said he retraced his steps back down the 3rd, which is where he started his round from and clearly walked straight past it, as did the next 8 groups before Craig came across it!!

 

We returned the missing club as part of the prize giving, stopping to ridicule those who finished on 19 points or less, as they were beaten by a bloke with a 7 wood and a putter!! Keeping things very quiet as well, was Andy Oakley, who has just made the error of telling me that this morning, instead of just putting all his clubs into the car and sorting it out at the club, he pre planned his 2 clubs and a putter assault on the course and selected his 2 clubs at home.....and then forgot to add the putter!!! So he arrived here and played with just the 2 clubs!! What makes him think that telling me after the event will absolve him from an appearance on the website and facebook page?

 

Sun 14th Dec...Back for 7.00am and the Turkey Trott...shotgun start at 9.00am, 2 clubs and a putter.......by 9.00am, we have a winner......of the Turkey Trott Prize Numpty Award....as Don Parrott arrives back at the clubhouse to enquire if anyone has handed in a 9 iron!!! Quality!!!! Somewhere between teeing off with his 5ish wood (well thats what I thought it looked like as I caught a glance.....) and requiring the 9 iron on the 1st hole he played, he had lost the 9 iron!! So Rule 4 -3 was invoked, which seeing as the club was simply lost as opposed to damaged or broken in the course of playing a shot, and Don is currently playing the Turkey Trott with 1 club and a putter!! I really, really hope he goes into a bunker....... 

 

Sat 13th December, Cabaret Night and a great time was had by all, as Richie Soul serenaded us throughout the evening after we had feasted in traditional Christmas Fayre, superbly cooked and served by our own staff. Special thanks to Lucie and Clare!!  2.00am finish....which leaves 5 hours to get home, have some kip and get back to start the Turkey Trott at 7.00am!!

 

Friday 12th December.....The final result of the year is in, the December Medal, and the most hotly competed finish to the Golfer of the Year Award, possibly in our 20 year history. For the past 2 years, current Captain, Steve Howarth has won the GOTY, and with the final event, the Dec medal to go, he stood on 101 points in second place to Bob Stillie who was on 107.5.

 

Staggeringly, Steve picked up 6 points whilst Bob was agonisingly close but outside of the GOTY points. Nick and Cally had a complete recheck of all the events, all the points, all the additions, as the margin of Bob's win in the GOTY 2014 was just 0.5 of a point!!

 

With Kev Branch, Tim Bevan and Colin Barden all recording 87 points or more, the achievement of finishing top in such a competitive environment reflects the magnitude and consistency of performance of the top 5 players. To finish top for 2 consecutive years and miss a hat trick by 0.5points is incredible. To beat everyone is magnificent. Congratulations to you all.   

 

Monday 8th December....El Presidente arrives to collect the car. We had spent 30 minutes to no avail with a wire coathanger. A man in a van took 60 seconds to get in, and that included him walking back to his own van twice!! 

 

Monday 8th December......well its been a hectic week, and quite frankly, a mad weekend. Last week saw the "official" launch of our new winter business, the sale of kiln dried logs for use in fires and woodburners. We had stock available after 7 days in the kiln, and we delivered to our first customers on Friday. This is a business which should dovetail nicely with the "quiet" time of the winter periods, where it is difficult to get out onto the course for maintenance. The biomass boiler will be burning some of the vast logpile as its fuel, with other sections of it being split and dried and sold for fuel. Kiln dried logs are a premium product, as the can be used straight away, not needing to be stacked for 18 months first!! As a complete startup, we have priced the bags exceptionally competitively, and if you register with me as a log user, I will guarantee that the initial offer price now will be the price that you pay for the remainder of this "season" until 31st March 2015. To register, just email me on steve@chalgravegolf.co.uk to secure the price. You can access the full set of prices from our logs website www.logs.co.com

 

So as I have been out and about a lot recently, I have been reliant upon my staff members to hold the fort and keep things shipshape on the golf front. All has been hunky dory, and Pete in particular was looking forward to the weekend as Friday night was his annual reunion "pub crawl" with his mates from Pearl Assurance. So on Saturday, I get a text from Pete, advising that he will be unable to work for at least the next week, as on Pub 3 of the crawl, it became a pub "trip", as he failed to negotiate the steps properly and went shooting across the floor of the pub, banging his head, breaking his new glasses and a rib for good measure!! His mates now call him "Torpedo" Pete in recognition of the speed at which his fizzed across the pub floor!! With a singular lack of foresight, his mates from Pearl Assurance had all failed to sell him a permanent health policy before the crawl started!! When he told, he by text, I responded and asked if there was a spare bed in the hospital next to him, as I was going to need one as I had split my sides laughing!! I know its not really the degree of sympathy you might expect from a concerned employer, but it is bl**dy funny!!

 

You might think that this would be enough in the way of Chalgrave stories for the weekend, but then El Presidente went and added to the fun on Sunday, coming off the course, loading the gear back into the rear hatchback of his car, slamming the  boot lid shut and then realising his keys were in his jacket in the boot!! We had a go with the old wire coathanger, but clearly where some nefarious toerag would have been in the car in 15 seconds, it defeated us. So if you are due to play El Presidente in a KO competition, offer him a date in the next few days, as he wont have his clubs or his trolley!!

 

Just a normal weekend at Chalgrave really!!

 

 

Friday 28th November.....The waste bin saga moves on.... I've had a response saying they do weigh my bins, the bin is expected to contain 75Kg in total and ours averages 106Kg and places the blame on the 40-50 glass bottles from the bar as the reason why the bin is "overweight". This is a bin they say is ideal for shops, restaurants and small businesses!! 

 

So I have responded again......

 

Hi Phil

 

Thank you for your informative email.

 

I did wonder if the technology available today meant that you could weight the bins as they are collected and I will be pleased to review the weights logged for our eurocart when you send them through.

 

You state that the max weight that Cawleys have for a Eurocart is 75Kg with ours averaging at 106Kg. Given that, as I explained in my first email, our kitchen and bar are rather small, and that you recommend the Eurocart (on your website) as being "ideal for restaurants, shops and small business waste" I am rather amazed that anyone can actually get their bin under the 75Kg threshold.

 

This is based upon a small but simple experiment that I conducted.

 

Firstly, it would appear logical to me to reconcile the limit of "weight" that you apply to the limit of "volume" of the cart. The industry standard Euro Cart is 1100 litre waste container so it provides a basic capacity of volume to limit what can be placed in it, rather than a limit by weight. 

 

If I decided to dispose of my obsolete stock of gold bars, then on the basis that a 1kg gold bar measures  8cm x 4cm x 1.4cm and is therefore taking up 57.6cm3 of volume, I can actually get around 37,000 of these in your Eurocart, and it would weigh 37,000Kg. However, it would be churlish of you to increase the charge for collecting my bin as you could probably buy a few more lorries with the 962,000,000 of recyclable gold in there.

 

There is a point to this flippancy. You are expecting no more than 75Kg in weight in the bin, otherwise you want to put the price up. There are 1,000 grammes per KG, therefore 75,000 grammes per 1100 litres of volume or 68g per one litre of volume. This doesn't really sound a lot to me?

 

You blame the 40/50 glass bottles as being the likely culprits for the bin being "overweight". So, in the interests of a proper analysis, I consumed the contents of a bottle of Peroni and weighed the empty bottle. Unsurprisingly, the empty Peroni bottle weighed in at more than 68g, infact at a horrendous 190g and so was providing the weight for 3 whole litres o volume on its own.

 

By chance, I also had an empty plastic Persil  "Small and Mighty" bottle. Even more convieniently, it was a 1 litre sized bottle. So it is a plastic bottle, empty, that takes up 1 litre of space (actually it takes up slightly more as the contents are 1 litre and the lid and thickness of the plastic will make the bottle bigger, but I'm not going to split hairs). It weighs, empty, 113g!! So an ideally recyclable empty plastic container that uses up the exact volume of 1 litre (uncrushed/compacted) weighs almost 160% of the "acceptable" weight that you want to permit in the bin before you put the price up!!

 

Based upon this rather simplistic experiment, I simply cannot fathom how any restaurant, shop or small business can possibly keep the bin under the 75Kg threshold unless it is under half full when you collect it. Are you sure that you are not confusing the "industry standard" of 65Kg with the actual weight of the bin which IS 65Kg (according to your website specifications).

 

However, I am prepared to consider the option that you have made, in order to reduce the weight of the bin. You have suggested a 240litre Eurocart for glass only. Personally, I cannot see the point of you picking it up to empty it when it is only half full or less. How about thatyou supply the 240 litre bin and I will call you to request it to be emptied when it reaches 3/4 full and you can then bill me for the 6 lift as it is required?

 

In this way, you will reduce my waste bin cost to the existing price but will get additional monies when the bottle bin is emptied (6 per lift) and your recycling processes will have clean glass to process. If you only come and get it when its full, then there is less carbon footprint from fewer visits of your lorries and less damage to my driveway and verges when your lorry goes off the edges of the tarmac.

 

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday 24th November......fancy a round of golf @ Three Rivers GC near Chelmsford?? David Isaac won a 4 ball in a raffle at the weekend, and is unable to use the voucher which must be used by 31st Dec 2014. Valid anytime Monday to Friday or Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon. Available to any Club Member to use, for the consideration of a donation to The Captains Charity, Keech Hospice Care. Email me if you are interested. First come, first served...

 

Friday 21st November....

I had a letter today from my waste bin people, telling me they were putting my prices up as our bin was always too heavy. I was of the opinion that they are taking the p*ss and I had a bit of time before tonights AGM at the club to compose my response to their letter. I don't really care what they say. If they don't impose a price increase I will just let life go on. If they do, I will get someone else to empty it. But I felt it a worthwhile exercise in letterwriting.........

 

Dear Ms C

Thank you for your letter of 19th November 2014 where you advised that you have been reviewing your waste collection rounds and have determined, somehow, without the use of scales that our 1100 ltr general waste cart is "consistently over the expected weight for general waste services"

 

You then helpfully point out that this can be caused by a high proportion of food waste or glass weight or other heavy and non compactable material.

I immediately reviewed your extensive website, but despite an exhaustive search I was unable to find out what the "expected weight for general waste services" was.

 

I did have a long read about the Materials Recycling Facility or "MRF" at Wellingborough and Luton, from which would reasonably appear that whatever is in the cart, goes to these sites and is sorted/recyled at that point. Our cart contents will not have changed almost at all in 15/20 years.

 

We have a small kitchen, not a restaurant, banquet hall or or other such food and beverage function suite. Given that our food sales takings per week average at about 250/300 per WEEK and you empty the cart every week, we would have to have people bringing in food waste from outside of the business to chuck it in our cart, to make the food waste on weekly basis amount to any substantial weight or volume. What we buy in, we sell. We put the empty wrappings in the bin. The only way it might leave the premises in the same volume is via the sewer, but generally I find that people are here for a short time and tend to take that bit with them.

 

We have a small bar, which does have bottled beers. We have two small "trugs" or plastic handled buckets which we use to store empty bottles as they are used, which are then emptied into the cart. The volume of bottled beer that we buy in on a weekly basis, which again, unless we are shipping in empty bottles for the sole purpose of disposing of them in our cart, amounts to around maybe 40/50 bottles. Therefore it would be difficult for us to be disposing of more than we buy.

 

We sell, in our bar and golf shop, plastic bottled water and energy drinks and cans, and golfers often bring their own as well. As they have to carry them around the course, they tend to avoid the glass ones as they can break if dropped and they are heavy to carry 4 to 5 miles around a golf course and generally not resealable on the golf course. We empty our litter bins which contain this stuff once a week. Plastic bottles and aluminium cans are, in my opinion, a lightweight compactable trade waste and indeed I would estimate that this makes up over 50% of the volume of the cart contents on a weekly basis.

 

The other week, we did do an evening function, and for the first time in many many months, the cart lid almost didn't shut, due to the number of black bin bags therein. Given that these bags were bulky because they contained polystyrene plates and bowls from the buffet, once again I would consider that to be a compactable trade waste.

 

I would therefore be grateful if you could provide me with the legal definition of the "expected weight for general waste services" and the industry standard or even British Standard that defines this. Can you please also itemise the weights over which my waste cart has exceeded those industry standards on a week by week basis over the past 6 months, on a paper/cardboard/glass/foodwaste subsection so that I can review our working practices here, cross referencing it with our schedule of functions to see if we can identify when and who is nefariously disposing of heavy waste in our general cart which is causing difficulties for the lifting hydraulics on your lorries.

 

Or perhaps you can review your letter suggesting that you are increasing our prices and consider that this may in fact be an error and that our prices can remain as they are.

 

I will be happy to meet you onsite here on any day that you might choose so that you can lift the lid of the cart and review its half empty interior.

 

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Yours Sincerely

Steve Rumball

Managing Director

Chalgrave Manor Golf Club

 

Friday 21st November.....Clare comes into the office to say she cannot close the firedoors....which baffles me slightly as I am trying to fathom why they would have been opened anyway....but it turns out that Bob Albery, Don Parrott, Alan Michael, Derek Horwood and a few other nefarious characters asked her to open the doors to "check the weather"....now I'm slightly worried about this, in that seeing as the clubhouse is about 80% glass windows and whilst we have a normal %age of spectacle/contact lens wearers I would imagine, I failed to see why they were unable to ascertain the type of prevailing weather by looking through the nearest window??? Equally, I was worried that one of my normally, ultra sensible, switched on staff members, was daft enough to go and open the doors to check!! On the other side of the room, a group of Tuesday seniors were sipping coffee........virtually High 5ing each other that at last someone else had surpassed their own efforts of normal levels of gibberish.....Chalgrave!! You couldn't make it up.

 

 

Sunday 16th November.....Not really golf, but it provided a decent laugh in the clubhouse so it makes it!! ....those of us of a certain age, 50 ish +, graduates of the Monty Python era, will probably at some time in our lives have seen the exceptionally funny public information/safety at work films made by the genius that is John Cleese, combining great humour to underline a serious point about safety.....the modern day version of John Cleese is Darryl Bazeley, who arrived at the club on Sunday sporting a rather angry looking cut to the head, which he had sustained at work, which of course brought forth the question of why he wasn't wearing a hard hat on site......You can imagine the mirth when the answer came back, that it was the hard hat, falling off the shelf above his head, that landed peak first on his shiny dome, that caused causing the damage!!!! 

 

Tues 11th November....Seniors.....and in fact the continuation of last weeks saga.....where they lost countless yonex 7 irons....Rupert Groves comes in, clutching a ....7 iron....lost today on the course.....and bemoaning the fact that somehow, in finding a 7 iron on the course, he had lost his own!!! Now even I am somewhat taken aback, as this would make FOUR 7 irons lost in 2 weeks....so as a complete random shot in the dark, I asked if the missing 7 iron from his own bag happened to be a Yonex......"Yes!" exclaims the Seniors Vice Captain, "has it been handed in?" "well, that's amazing" I say, "I think it was handed in seven days before you lost it...." as I hand him back the club he lost last week, played a round on Thursday without realising it was missing, possibly the weekend as well, and half of today's round before finding someone else's club and then realising his own was missing and assumed he had left it near a green TODAY despite the fact that he couldn't have used it at any time during the previous 300ish shots (95ish shots a round for 3 rounds)...............god help him really, there are 2 turkey trotts, 2 clubs and a putter just around the corner!!

 

Friday 7th November.....Tony Henderson and Eric Hayes surpass themselves.....they are the amongst the last to leave. They are parked next to each other in an otherwise deserted carpark. They walk to their cars together, before getting into their cars, just feet apart. Clearly their is a new meaning for being out with your "wingman" as one now has a dented wing and the other has lost a wing mirror as they managed to have a gentle prang despite being the only vehicles within 20 yards!!!

 

Thursday 6th November...OK so it's a day early, but John won't be here on Friday....John Townley, Senior Senior, is 84 tomorrow. He came in with the Molers and trundled around 9 holes, before the molers launched into his birthday party afterwards. Now I have often heard that people appear to regress back to childhood the older they get, and whilst John appears to have remained eminently sensible, the molers regressed so far that it was like having a 5 year olds birthday party here.....in the end, I fully expected them to be picked up by Mummy and Daddy leave with party bags.....One of John's presents was wrapped so many times, it looked like he had had a solo game of pass the parcel!! Congratulations John, many of us would like to knock it around in 84, let alone still be knocking it around WHEN you're 84!!

 

Tuesday 4th November.......well its been quiet on the seniors front for a few weeks, but things have returned to normal today.....Firstly we had more Rules queries in a single competition that we have had for a while, firstly concerning the status of a ball on a bridge, is it in the hazard (yes) and what are the options? The bridge is an immovable obstruction, which means the ball can be played as it lies, including grounding the club as the bridge is not "ground in a hazard" even though the bridge is in the hazard!! Alternatively, under penalty, the ball can be dropped as though it was in the hazard, behind the hazard. By this time I hazarded a guess that there was haphazard understanding.......we moved onto Tony Henderson, who enquired about the status of Fox Sh*t....where he would have had to stand in it to play his shot off the fairway. I did point out that he could place his ball on the fairway within 6" which one would hope would have solved the problem, but apparently this was either a very big fox or it had had a good/bad night behind the curry houses of Toddington, depending upon your viewpoint. I advised that the offending steaming pile would be classed as an abnormal ground condition and relief may be taken without penalty, where clearly relief had been taken by a fox some hours earlier. Given that Tony was involved, I suppose there was every chance that Bull and not Fox was involved.......

 

you would think that would be enough for a single day, but no.....Adrian Purser brings in a 7 iron that had been lost on the course.....a Yonex XP 7 iron, so not the cheapest bit of kit to leave lying about......and just before Senior Captain announces he has it safely awaiting collection, Bob Hall reclaims it. 10 minutes later, Adrian and Dave Burden arrive at my office with a lost 7 iron, a Yonex XP!!! and unless Bob has reclaimed his 7 iron and then in 10 minutes played 1478 holes with it, averaging about 5 shots per hole, this is not the same iron!! So what are the chances of 2 identical Yonex XP 7 irons being lost on the same day at the same course and it being Seniors day?? So, I am now awaiting this one to be claimed, at which point we will find out if Bob has his club or whether he has erroneously upgraded it to a newer shinier version!!

 

Add to that the glasswasher has flooded the bar, the till went loopy and refused to work and then decided to play ball and be OK again ever since, it is fair to say that it's never dull on Tuesdays!!

 

Tuesday 28th October.....4.20pm....Robbie Peck and Ray Bowles are running scared......on Sunday morning at 8.00am, they face Rumball & Rumball in the Winter Pairs KO....and at 4.20pm today, as the light fades, they arrive for 3 holes of practice!!!! I popped out to watch them play their second shots on the first hole, from the 3rd fairway...both of them!! Hopefully, they will spend the next few holes ingraining that swing into the memory!!

 

Sun 26th October...The Generation Gap Trophy, won this year by a country mile by Jack and Mark Beaney, produced some great moments of amusement. On the walk down to the first tee to start, with us supposed to be first off, Aidan says "is that another pair going off ahead of us?? Who is that Junior then?".......it turned out to be Braddy......so we get underway and after a reasonably uneventful first 10 holes, we arrive at the 11th tee. The fact that Aidan and myself played 2 provisionsals was soon forgotten, as the Natus's choose Andrew's tees shot and John sticks it in the bunker back left. The flag is on the middle tier. Getting it close was nigh on impossible, but Andrew played a sublime shot, the ball rolling slowly across the top tier, just making the break, rolling down and missing the edge of the hole by a fraction.....and going on and past and down and off the green at the bottom!! John wanders down, lines up the putt, fizzes it past the hole and up onto the top tier!! Andrew gives it the most gentlest of nudges. Juts to get it rolling, down the slope, past the hole, over the edge and back to the bottom. John wanders back to get it. Putts it back up, fizzes past the hole and regrettably, from the perspective of the story, is 6" short of putting it back onto the top tier, and it doesnt quite have the legs to go back past the hole and down the slope again!! You would think that would be hard to surpass, but the Isaacs managed it. With the Beaneys accumulating 40 points, it would have taken a monumental effort to match and beat that score, except the Isaacs were on fire, smashing 17 points from the first 7 holes taking just 32 shots in the process of making 4 nett birdies in 7 holes... I'm not saying the wheels came off , more like the engine exploded, they got 5 punctures ( including the spare!) the steering wheel fell off and they put diesel into the petrol tank.....It was that bad!! 6 blobs in 11 holes and 3 nett bogey's whilst getting a shot per hole, is an outstanding turnaround as just 7 points came from the final 11 holes in 72 shots!!     

 

Sat 25th October....The Halloween Handicap produces the usual looks of horror (what else do you expect!!!) when at the culmination of a good round, the trick and treat awards are added. This year, for the treat, we had 3 holes where the stableford points would be doubled on 6, 14 and 16 but disaster would befall anyone who scored well on 7 and 10, as for the trick the score would be tripled and then become a minus!! Not only would John Sullivan's 2 nett 1 and 4 points on 7 become the days biggest disaster at -12, the original 4 also disappears from the score, so it is effectively a -16!!!  He then had a nett birdie on 10 to get a minus 9 for that as well, but lost the 3 original points as well. To add insult to injury, he blobbed the 14th, doubling his zero points to zero points, turning a middle table 29 points into just 6 points!!  Cally also suffered a disaster, recording an excellent 33 points in normal play, but also achieved a -12 on 7 but just a -6 on 10!! Meanwhile, Nick had it sussed, with a rock solid 39 points with one blob, which was perfectly placed on the 7th hole catapulting him to victory!

 

Friday 24th October.....An update on the Tony Robb saga (and as he is an over 50 it is definitely a SAGA story!!)....the missing shirts and jumpers have been reunited with their owner and Tony has returned to his normal levels of sartorial elegance.........at the cost of 17 in postage to have his stuff returned from Okehampton....and it turns out that there was more to the story than I first knew, as on ARRIVAL at Okehampton for the start of the golf week, Tony found out why his suitcase was a tad lighter than expected, as he had left ALL his golf trousers at HOME on the bed waiting to be packed!!! Rather than pay to have his trousers posted to him from home though, he coughed up the dosh to buy some new pairs down there.....so the "bargain golf break" in Okehampton cost an unexpected best part of 100 more in new trousers and postage to get his shirts back!! I love this place. You simply could not make it up.....

 

Saturday 18th October....Tony Robb comes in not quite looking his usual sartorial self, jumper and shirt looking like they have seen a bit of golf in their time.......and there is as reason for this, with Tony and Chris having just returned from a weeks Golf in Okehampton, Devon. There is a drawer in a chest of drawers, in a room in Okehampton that is stuffed full of decent polo shirts and jumpers for the Autumn golfing period.....which is where Tony has left his entire golfing wardrobe!! I did say that we had a number of special offers for bulk purchases of clothing, but he was not amused, although everyone else definitely is!!

 

Monday 13th October.....Torrential rain, howling gale, a proper Chalgrave 5 club wind blowing, one of those days where it is worth considering taking 10 balls to the 18th tee and trying to drive the green.......and knowing you are in with a shout....I'm waiting for John Steele and Chris Baker to turn up, they are the only ones daft enough to think they might play really......

 

Monday 6th October....I need a lie down.....this morning, with the help of Clare and the Cleaners (sounds like a bl**dy X Factor band) we had a bit of a tidy up of the office....clearly I have no work left to do, so I'm going out to play golf until some appears.......

 

 

Monday 6th October....just over a week ago, our Mid-Handicap League side won their semi final 4 - 1 against Leighton Buzzard, in a match played at Aspley Guise. Over the weekend, the date and venue for the final was announced, so it with be against Aspley Guise on Sunday 19th October, at Beds & County Golf Club. There have been some great performances so far to date to get us into the final, and hopefully the team will rise to the occasion once again and bring home the trophy!! 

 

Monday 6th October....The ladies medal result is in, and there is something I haven't seen before......I'm not entirely sure why the result shows this as the ladies, as far as I am aware, don't run a 2's sweep in their competitions (the uncharitable ones amongst you might insinuate that not many are scored....) so it appears rather amazing that, out of a field of 10 players, there were 4 players who got a 2!! 40% of the field had a birdie 2!!

 

Thursday 2nd October....Great to see Dave Tomblin back at the Club today. Last time we saw Dave, he had collapsed on the 16th, and had been carted off in the back of an ambulance having suffered a fairly major heart attack. He has had stents inserted and still has to go back for a few more yet!! He came in to thank Clare and Pete for the assistance they gave him that day, which included a box of chocs for Clare.....is it just me or has Dave not really fathomed the irony of a gift of chocolates which could contribute to an increase in weight, clogging of arteries and a heart attack??  Meanwhile Pete got a bottle of red wine which is supposed to be good for you!!

 

Elsewhere, Chris Baker revealed his true colours, trundling up to the bar to buy some drinks after a round with the molers, Clare started to pour him his normal Fosters, but he stopped her and said he would have a Stella instead....apparently he always drinks Fosters when he is paying and Stella when someone else is and he was buying the round with someone elses money!! He will be drinking halves of fosters next week when someone else is buying when the rest of the molers read this!! 

 

Tuesday 30th September.....8.20am....so far I have lent out a trolley battery to Peter Whitton, another one to Chris Baker and a pair of golf shoes to Bob Hall.........meanwhile, John Steele, who booked a buggy is crossing the carpark with his clubs on an electric trolley......so it must be Tuesday Seniors....

 

Tuesday 23rd September....well it must be Tuesday, I can tell without looking at the day or the date on the calendar....I can tell by the fact that there is a tea bag floating in a cup of "cafe au lait" and John Litchfield is looking slightly bemused......having now checked my watch for the time, it is 7.29am. It is going to be a long day......

 

Tues 16th Sept.....the result from the Franklin is in, and it shows the full benefit of remembering your clubs....Kev Clinton (see below) actually bringing them this time, picking up a 2's payout AND coming third with 40 points...at the other end of the scale, Harry Lyon's wished he had forgotten his clubs as he amassed a monumental 12 stableford points.......Dave Holland is out celebrating, as he beat 2 players in the same tournament for the first time in history as Harry and Charlie Lee were eclipsed by his superb 18 points.......

 

Sat 6th September.....Club Match Away v Mount Pleasant......and Chalgrave's reputation as a source of bizarre and humorous stories is cemented into inter club folklore......Kev Clinton arrives and pops open the boot of his car. It is spacious, easily capable of taking a set of golf clubs, which is what he wished he had done!! No clubs....so he quietly scrounged a set of irons off the Captains' son Matt, a Deriver and a 3 wood off Tim and Tim, who presumably didn't think they would need them, and a putter from the home team captain......and suggested on his own facebook page where he owned up to this gaffe, that it would probably end up in a momentous victory or crushing defeat....he was right as Kev Branch was unable to stop them succumbing to a 4 and 3 defeat!! If you don't expect this to make the news page Kev, don't borrow clubs off the captain, and don't post it on your own facebook newsfeed!!

 

Friday 29th August.....catching up after a few days away, I return to find that the 5th is clearly a doddle these days, as Vijay Mistry whacks in the 3rd ace in 3 months on that hole, gaining himself a place in the Not the Joe Silva Club.....to add insult to injury for Joe, Vijay is part of the same "consortium" as Joe, where they have an agreement that if any of the group get an ace, then the group will contribute 5 each towards the bar bill that ensues......so not only has another hole in one been added without Joe's name appearing, but Joe has now had to buy a drink for a hole in one without actually getting one!! There are times when you just love the humour of Chalgrave......

 

......and earlier today, Dennis Sibley pops his head around my door, and asks if I can help him out....Dennis loves his golf and is, lets say, well into senior section, and is having greater trouble with his eyesight, and plays with a partner of equal difficulties so they feel they spend a rather inordinate amount of time actually searching for their golf balls rather than playing the game......so he asked if I had heard of a golf ball tracker....my absolute 1st thought was "next years April Fool is sorted!!!", until a quick check on the wonderful www actually produced TWO versions both costing in the region of 300 upwards!! A hand held device emits a beep as you point it in the direction of the "lost ball" with that beep getting louder or quicker as you approach the ball, rather like a metal detector would do...as it picks up the microchip embedded in the ball.......which all seems very clever to me, but I do wonder why, then, the purchase pack comes with 4 dozen golf balls!! Surely you only need a few as you can't lose them!!

 

Monday 18th August....Steve Peppiatt becomes the latest member of the "Not the Joe Silva Club" otherwise known as the Hole In One Club, as he aces the 5th to become only the 4th person this year...a very quiet one so far!! He announced it in the clubhouse afterwards....." Do I get anything for it??" to which I responded..." hopefully a round of drinks for everyone...." which I don't think was the anticipated response......

 

Monday 18th August....as always, one of the early visitors to my office is Chris baker, and he is usually a good barometer as far as how the week is likely to progress.......this morning was " Morning Steve, I need a buggy for me and John and another one please." So that's 2 buggies in English?" I replied! It's going to be a long week..... 

 

Tuesday 12th August.....and whilst on the subject of Basil Fawlty.....a Basil type rant actually succeeds......last week I received a notice from UK Power Networks, that they were planning to shut off power for the entire day today, whilst they cut down trees along the line.....faced with the prospect of a Tuesday, 70 odd seniors and then the rest of the casual golfers, all without power for coffee machine, seniors sign in computer, catering, bar, general admin etc etc, I was not best pleased. I was, however heartened by the "Helpful information" section on the poster which said "please note we are unable to provide generators for private use." I took this as a reasonable indicator that a generator would be provided for a business, so I rang them on the number on the poster. After a considerable time listening to lah di dah music, I spoke to a human who said they couldn't help, I needed to ring another number!! I said "The poster says, if you have any questions, please call ....if you can't answer any questions why not just put the right number on the poster? Are you just employed to answer the phone and give out a different number?"

 

I rang the new number, and spoke to a customer care lady who sounded very helpful but wasn't. No generators. I followed up the phone call with an email, outlining why the planned shutdown would have a major impact on my business and why I needed a generator to resolve that. The following day, I had an email from "Care@ukpower which opened with the foll owing statement "I am sorry that your power will need to be isolated to the property. I do understand the disruption this can cause, especially when running a business." it then went on to try to justify why a generator couldn't be supplied " As planned outages are on-going throughout the year the costs to provide generators to all businesses affected would mean there would be less money to invest in our electrical infrastructure causing the supply to your business to be less reliable." What they actually presumably meant is that they would make slightly less multi billion profit if they gave me a gennie....

 

This did rather annoy me, so I emailed them back.......

 

I am pleased that you "understand the disruption that this can cause". How do you understand it? What experience do you have in providing catering for 70 people who will want food and cold beverages on Tuesday 12th August without any power to do any cooking or chilling? Please enlighten me on your experience in doing so, so that I can adequately deal with my obligations to my members.
 
In the event that your understanding of my problem is purely a whimsical nonsensical platitude, designed to make me feel as though you have some vague concerns for the wellbeing of my business, then I require that you escalate this immediately to a senior manager who actually can do something about it.
 
I would hazard a guess that if I was Tesco, or Tesco was next door and on the same power grid section, that a bloody great fleet of generators would be here a week in advance and they they would have been pre tested to ensure that they worked and provided sufficient power.

 

 

I didn't to be fair, expect to get an answer to that, but the helpful lady who wasn't very helpful is made of sterner stuff....she rang me yesterday to say she had spoken to the man in charge of the tree cutting and he had said to her that we couldn't have a gennie....I thanked her for asking him and asked for his mobile number, as I said I wanted HIM to tell ME that I couldn't have a gennie....she said she couldn't give me his mobile number, so I gave her my numbers and asked her to get him to call me, and if he didn't I would come and talk to him, at the work site, today, seeing as it was less than a mile away, as I wouldn't have anything else to do as my power would be off, so I could allocate all day to talking to him about the requirement for a gennie!!! I didn't, to be fair, expect a response, but he rang me!! To save me writing the conversation down, just re-read the entire section again from the top!! I also pointed out that tree surgeons had been on the golf course over the past two weeks, cutting down trees under the same line, not needing to shut off power at all, and they came to see me to arrange the best time to do it! Senior Man said he would ring me back....which he did, to tell me the tree cutting had been cancelled for today and that he would arrange to come and see me to find out when would be a quiet day that would have the least amount of impact as they had to shut the power off to do the section the need to do......Halleluyah...Basil, I love you!!  The proof of the pudding is in the eating....I am sitting here recounting the story to you, 15 minutes after the time when we would have been shut down.....

 

 

 

Tuesday 12th August....Richard Muckleston wasn't the only senior in a day early.....a couple of other regulars, as always, pop in after their round for a coffee...."what does cafe au lait mean?" "Coffee with milk, white coffee" I reply...... "I didn't want that, I wanted Chocomilk"  "Well the machine has been the same one for a few years and its predecessor had the buttons in the same place as well, so lets call it 5 years, so why did you press the cafe au lait button, not knowing what it would dispense and expect to get chocomilk when for the past 5 years the button marked chocomilk has always been in the same place and dispensed chocomilk when you press the button?" "I don't know"..........Fawlty Towers was based upon real life events.....I know how they felt!!!! 

 

Monday 11th August.......Richard Muckleston, him of the predawn practice routine to hone the cr*p chipping to perfection on Tuesday mornings is now here on Monday morning, 24 hours prior to his Tuesday round, getting in some extra practice!!!. I can tell you having watched him chip for the past 5 minutes, the skill and technique that Richard must have, to mishit the ball, that well, that often is at a level probably only attained by a tiny minority of players. Practice makes perfect. Richard has finally perfected the mishit....................

 

Tuesday 4th August.....one of the hottest selling golf products of the year has been the Go Kart Trolley. I'm not surprised as it is a storming piece of kit, great value and superb customer support. We sold another two in the past week, one of which was bought by Greenkeeper Danny Sanders. I picked his bag up last week and I'm not surprised he needs a trolley, the weight of it.........although I wouldn't have put it past Jamie to have loaded it with a few bricks a year or so ago and just not mentioned it.......so he wanted a trolley and as a staff member, also wanted a staff discount.....so I said he could, if he ordered the pink one, as I hadn't sold one of those yet. I was joking but he said yes, so I gave him a small discount for being staff and got him a pink one. So here you have it...Danny Sanders, the only gay in the village.........

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 4th August.....about time we had a seniors success story.........John Walshe playing the 14th, tops his tee shot off the whites down the hill. He made a less than perfect contact with his second and comes up just short of the ditch. Things don't really improve with the 3rd and he is short of the 2nd ditch. An average to poor strike and he is about 80 yards from the pin after 4 shots. The 5th is a scuttle along the ground, which crosses the green at some speed, striking the flagstick and burying itself in the hole cup. The group passing behind the 14th green on their way to 12th raise their arms and roar their approval. John arrives at the green and enquires "did anyone see where my ball went???" 

 

Sat 26th July...Charity Day...the day starts at 7.30am as we start to get organised for the onslaught of players and additionals.....hot and humid, and fancy dress is a vicious combination. My team were moderate, resplendent in Hawaiian shirts, but this was quickly conquered as the boys from Hawaii were followed by the Hula Hula girls. Bear in  mind this 4 ball included Ray Tilcock and Neil Tabor, you can see how this is going to quickly degenerate!! Chris Burrows and Alan Janes in nurses outfits is something that is seared into my brain! Peter Whitton, Alan Laid,Taff Rowlands and Doug Oakes were superb, as they came dressed as old men and carried it off perfectly!! And then we came to the heavy hitters.....Pete Ward, Gary Pratton, Ian Hillier and Rob Peck as old women....crinolene dresses, grey wigs, surgical stockings and the image was disturbingly close to Norman Bates "mother" rather than Nora Batty. Even more disturbing is the sight that greeted me at 2.00am as I cleared the club up....at the far end of the mens changing room, Gary Pratten's dress is hanging perfectly from a coat hanger, clearly it is important to him not to crease the crinolene as it appears that further wear is likely!! Any normal bloke would have stepped out of it, kicked it off into the corner, scrunched and dirty, having performed its task and never to be used again.....but no. On a coat hanger, ready for further use. Worrying!!

 

John Isaac again appeared in a dress, as did Gary Turner and both look as they are enjoying it far too much! The auction was a spectacular success, raising almost 1500 on its own, with some spectacularly appropriate purchases. David Isaac and his mate bought a family ticket for MK Dons before realising they don't have kids.... Chris Burrows, Senior Captain, bought a 60 Go Ape voucher, an extreme adventure game involving rope bridges and slings high in the tree tops culminating in a long, fast zip wire to ground level before you climb back up into the trees!! Bob Hall bought a 1/2 flying lesson, which will no doubt end in chaos as it was taking him 20 minutes to decide if he was going to bid, so 30 minutes flying probably wont even leave the ground!! All in all, a spectacular success, raising thousands of pounds for Keech.

 

More details if I can remember anything else over the weekend!!    

 

Fri 25th July.....OK OK I had top have a shocker at some point....late last night I had an email from Kev Branch, querying the result of the Pro - Am. Now some people might just say that they thought there was an error, but Kev took it upon himself to point it out in the style of the news page......writing to tell me that he has been an accountant for the best part of 25 years and I had now thrown his whole career into dissarray, casting doubts onto every form and set of accounts that he had ever done. The basis for this problem, that he had, for as long as he could remember, worked on the basis that 1 + 2 = 3 and indeed 2 + 1 = 3 as well. Having seen my first attempt at producing the result (done in something of a rush with chaos going on in the clubhouse - that's my excuse!!) he was now having doubts as I had managed to make 1 + 2 = 3 and 2 + 1 = 1!! OOPS!! Apologies, the website is corrected, as is the main board and the post I put on yesterday slating the Pro's for failing to support their partners no longer applies as the only change from the amateur score was that John Crane leapfrogged Karen Crane thanks to the performance of HIS pro.....now why did I mention that AGAIN???

 

Thurs 24th July...the result for the Pro Am is in......and a family disagreement is on the cards......Karen Crane having beaten John on countback on just the amateur scoring section, but her Pro, Branden Grace had a shocker with a 74 and shot her down to 18th place, whilst John was partnered with Shane Lowry who shot a 65 and got him onto 3rd Place. The Pro Am is notorious for destroying the hopes of a low scoring amateur, and this year was no different as Greg Stack shot a gross 71 off 10, (and got a cut to 7 for his troubles!!) but his pro Manero Mannassero was 1 shot worse with a 72, opening the door for Mark Gibney and Charley Hoffman to sneak through and take the title with a combined 131 shots!!

 

Thursday 17th July.....How complicated can this be??? The entry sheet for the Pairs Championship is up, and there is an entry on there, on a single line from Godfrey Cooper who presumably needs a partner to play with as the second box is blank.......except that I understand about these things and realise that infact Godfrey Cooper is a pairing already, with Paul Godfrey and Ronnie Cooper!! Sometimes, I just want to go home and lie down.....

 

Friday 4th July.......Our "LifePack" has arrived. Funded by the Club Members, through fundraising, and me, we now have a Defibrillator in the Clubhouse. It is, supposedly, utterly impossible to get it wrong. The people who wrote the manual and designed it though, have not met my seniors section!! If they can't switch on a golf trolley (see 1st July below) this could be an issue!!!

 

Tues 1st July.....Seniors...what else??? You don't need to know what day it is, you just have to watch the carpark.....John Steele arrives at about 8 and spends 10 minutes assembling his trolley, adding the wheels and the battery, fixing on the bag and generally getting ready to go.......except the trolley won't. Go, that is. A small crowd of "knowledgeable" seniors gather to assist, checking the connections and there is much manual pushing of the trolley to see if pushing it backwards and forwards will miraculously engage the electrical system despite the fact that its not designed like that!! Eventually, they all nod sagely and declare it dead, so the bag is unstrapped and mounted on a buggy and off they all go, abandoning the now deceased trolley, still with battery attached, in the car park.......I am, of course, intrigued by now, and with the trolley abandoned and available, I wander out for a look myself. I have long understood the basic principle that you should check the basics first before delving deeper, so I started from the beginning. I switched the red button on and turned the knob that regulates the speed. Off it went!!!! I started to laugh. I disconnected the cables, reconnected them again, just to make sure there wasn't a dodgy connection that had resolved itself. Switched it on, off it went!!! So, chaps......if in doubt, try switching it ON!! ....and THAT is what tells you its a Tuesday!!!

 

Tues 24th June...arrive to open up for the seniors at 6.58am...and Richard Muckleston is already on the practice green honing his mishit chips to perfection.....he finally comes in for a coffee and I ask if he has perfected the mishit yet, and he says "its much better than it was, I reckon I am 50/50 now as to whether it will come up off the ground now!!" .....classic!!

 

Sat 14th June....some early snippets from Captains Day......got here to open up at 6.00am and the golfers were arriving from 7.00am for registration. Adrian D'Arcy was here for 8 and back home by 8.10, collecting his golf clubs!!! Whilst all and sundry were having coffee and beer, Gary Turner was diligently practising on the chipping and putting greens, followed by the nets. By 1.30 pm, he did not figure in the top 10 thats for certain!!

 

Jose Silva was presented with a small memento on the 1st tee, to commemorate the monumental international incident that occured last night in Brazil, but for some reason failed to see the funny side of being presented with a portion of Dutch Edam.....

 

....and whilst we are talking World Cup, it worth recounting a story concerning our Club Member and England Manager namesake, Graham Taylor, who emailed me a few days ago to say take him out of all competitions as he had decided as a last minute thing, to fly to Brazil to follow England until they get KO'd. Today, I noticed on Facebook, that he was still in the UK. Apparently, having made it to Heathrow on Friday for a flight to Brazil, he didn't make it past check-in as he didn't have a return ticket!! Despite frantic calls from the mobile trying to get a return, the phone died and so did the dream of seeing England play Italy tonight in Brazil.......unless watching it on TV still counts!! Classic!!

 

Tuesday 10th June.....there are some Tuesdays that I look forward to with a great sense of anticipation. Today is one of them. Ball no 37 was the Bonus ball on Saturday. No wwhilst I have that number in the Club Bonus Ball draw which netts me a very nice 40, I also have the same number in the Seniors Draw, which only pays out 25 for the same 1 stake (stingy lot!!), but let me tell you, the "boos" that I get when I go and collect my winnings are worth every penny of the 15 difference!!

 

Peter Whitton said on completing his round to day, that the greenstaff don't put the holes where his ball goes. I said its not normal to put the flags in the rough.....   

 

Tuesday 3rd June....the seniors are playing a texas scramble for Senior Captains Drive In.....and I have to pop out to pick something up......so as I go past the 5th tee on the way out, I am somewhat surprised to see a seniors 4 ball, 40 yards SHORT of the bunker on the 5th and about to play their second shot!! (Well hopefully it is their second, third or more would be even more embarrassing!!) I mean, seriously?? A texas scramble, 4 tee shots on a par 3 and the best you can do is a 50ish yard chunk to the start of the fairway on a par 3??? 

 

Tuesday 3rd June....Senior Captains Drive In......51 seniors in attendance in somewhat poor weather to witness their new Captain start his year. "Chris "I don't need an umbrella, I've got eyebrows" Burrows absolutely smashed it up the 1st fairway, hopefully not reaching a peak to his Captains Year with his very 1st shot!! Time will tell....... 

 

Sunday 1st June...the 20th Birthday Competition....American Greensomes, not a format we have played before. It was surprising. The format is reasonably straightforward, 2 players playing as partners, both drive off in the normal greensomes manner. Each player then both plays a second shot, using the ball hit from the tee by their playing partner. Where ever those two balls finish, they then pick the best ball and play alternate shot as in normal greensome/foursome golf to the end of the the hole.  So, on the basis that you get to play 2 balls twice, you would think that the scoring would be better than normal greensomes! Clearly not the case as 38 points won it, with only one other pairing at par!!

 

Sat 31st May 2014......A momentous day, 20 years to the day since we opened. I had invited all of the Founder members, The Shareholder members, the Life Members and any Past or Current Captain who was still a member to participate in an Invitation Tournament, to celebrate this milestone. We had a great meal afterwards, and were entertained by "Richie Soul" until after midnight. As the witching hour approached, Tim "Braveheart" Murphy commenced the "Dance of the Captains Jacket". This will, hopefully, become a tradition because I would dearly love to see it again......Its components are many and varied. It requires the outgoing Captain to be in a fluid state of inebriation at midnight, reasonably incomprehensible in speech, but flowingly smooth in movements across the dancefloor. The dance clearly has its origins in Scottish Dancing, high hands, twirling capes (or in this case) the new Captains Jacket and a zig zagging coverage of the dancefloor that would have graced "Strictly". From a H&S perspective, the pockets of the Captains Jacket do need to be checked in advance to ensure that they don't contain something solid, like a mobile phone, as this stage of the dance could result in decapitation of the casual revellers amongst whom the outgoing Captain twirls. The dance moves on, possibly as the memory span of the outgoing Captain is somewhat fuzzy, and the cape becomes the weapon of the Toreador.....and the casual revellers, those that have survived decapitation, are now the bulls......I'm reasonably sure we segued into Tom Jones and "It's Not Unusual" before returning to the role of toreador and finally the clock struck Midnight. The once pristine, new burgundy jacket of the incoming Captain was now a bedraggled, slightly stretched and mis-shaped jacket. It was held forward temptingly by the New Immediate Past, and instantly withdrawn as the new Captain reached for his prize, in the childish prank style of the Krankies. Finally Steve G Howarth grasped his prize. Club Captain 2014. Have a good one Steve. Practice the dance for next year though!! It will take some beating!!

 

Weds 28th May....Seniors Match...  Pete is in the bar when they come off, and a particularly tall opposition golfer (Steve Howarth size!) comes to the bar, says to Pete, "a pint of Fosters and some peanuts....shorty...." Pete's hackles come up immediately. "Did you call me shorty??" "I'm not having that!!" "No" the tall guy says, "Peanuts, salted!" Classic!!

 

Tues 27th May....Committee Meeting....the weekend competition starter, Steve Emmett recounts a story from the 1st tee on Saturday, amidst the gloom and torrential rain...... Pete Graydon, even before the start, is bemoaning the fact that the Sunday players have an advantage as the forecast for Sunday is fine and Saturday is wet and windy. He says to Steve, "If the winner of this competition comes from Saturday, I will bare my *rse in a shop window!" Result? 1st Andrew Young (played Saturday) 2nd Steve Howarth (played Saturday) *rse, shop window, will try and get a photo for the website.....

 

Tues 27th May......Those great laid plans.......the Seniors Captain's  Farewell, moved from January to the last week of May to try and ensure decent weather, is met with torrential rain this morning.......

 

Friday 23rd May...... Now I know that the storms and the approaching onset of thunder and lightening can affect people, but the 9 Hole Competition?? What other reason can there be for FOUR players, in two different groups, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, playing the FRONT nine instead of the BACK nine this week? The sign in sheet on the bar makes it absolutely clear which nine to play??? Barking Mad..

 

 

Tuesday 20th May....Subliminal Advertising is a cunning thing. Doing something that does not appear obvious but it has the desired effect. The seniors have become notorious for the chaos and mess around the coffee machine on a Tuesday morning. Empty milk cartons and used spoons discarded on the table top, sugar spilled everywhere, used cartons put BACK into the basket where the new ones are etc etc, all this despite a notice which politely asks people to put used spoons and cartons into the bin which is all of 6" away...........so today, I changed the notice......

 

 

Marvellous!! They didn't read it, I watched them, but picture 2 is how the table was left!!!

 

Sunday 18th May.... The Chairmans Cup....is is one of those strange things in life that two extremes can result in the same effect, in this case, a new nickname......."Laser Dave" and "Putting Pete" were born on Sunday. "Laser" Dave Bromley is the new Scratch Team Captain. We wont say anything about his debut against Millbrook where he had a 10ft putt to win his match and the overall match as well, on the 18th. A 2 putt would secure the half. A three stab lost it!! So definitely not "Laser" for the putting!! So it was the other end of the scale, where his driving was splitting the fairways with unerring accuracy, so much so that it was causing comment from his playing partners Pete Graydon and John Sullivan. On the 8th, the drive prompted some discussion about exactly how accurate he was, as the ball came to rest on the "join" between the coloured stripes of the fairway from the direction of cut. A bit of jovial banter was stopped dead in its tracks when they realised that the particular "join" was the exact dead centre of the fairway. Laser Dave was born. "Putting" Pete was in the same group for the completely opposite reason. The ball would not go in at all.....TWO four putts, a number of three putts, interspersed with a single putt on 12 and no putts whatsoever on 17 as an eagle three dropped in from 140 yards. The euphoria of the eagle was quickly dispersed as he managed 3 putts on 18!! 

 

Saturday 11th May....Captain v Vice Captain....... a convivial, good humoured event that provides an opportunity for a bit of banter and general joshing between the incoming and outgoing Captains.....Victory this year for Jock Murphy and the Captains Team, but it also raised that strange scenario, where normally, in Competition, if you take just 2 shots you can win anything from 5 to 50 for the 2's...........so when Cally Hawker stood on the 5th Tee and took just one, in a competition that was jam packed full of people who would stay for a beer afterwards, there was no surprise when Nick, who was partnering her as well, looked suitably distraught. Even Joe, who was playing in the event as well, didn't want a Hole in One on Saturday!! So, nothing for the 2's as there was no comp, just a 94.50 bar bill for picking the wrong day to do it!!

 

Tuesday 29th April.....Seniors.......Coffee machine, 1 in get a coffee, get a spoon, one sugar, get a milk pot, take the top off, pour contents into bin and drop the empty plastic container into the coffee..........I want to go home now...........Looking on the bright side, at least he used the bin, which is more than most of them do. The current trend is to leave the wet, coffee stained plastic DISPOSABLE (the clue is in the name chaps!!) spoon, ON TOP OF the laminated notice which says please put the spoons in the bin!!!

 

Sun 20th April...Easter Sunday and I have to open up.....short staffed and no one else available.....but the usual chaos is going on.....Dan Glass arrives, not intending to play, but to take the mickey out of the 50+ year old friends of his who have "qualified" to play in the +50 competition.....except the joke is on Dan, as the "Altzheimers +50" is next week!!  

 

Tim Murphy arrives at 9.00am, have you seen Darryl?? Yes at 7.30am with all the rest of them!! Tim makes some amends to his error, by recounting a story from yesterdays Club Match v Colmworth.....9.30am and he is still one short, no sigh yet of Phil Gibbons, so he rings him on his mobile....it is answered pretty promptly....."Hi Tim, yes sorry, I took a wrong turning but I'm on my way and will be there by 10....." which seems a bit odd, as Phil has been a member for years and one would assume that he knows his way from his house to the club by now.....except that he had made a slight error and gone to Colmworth not Chalgrave!! Now, Phil lives in Irchester, so a match at Colmworth was the equivalent of a pop around the corner, which was then turned into a speedy run down the M1 to make his start time!!

 

Tim, having rectified his error of a late arrival by recounting a greater error made by someone else, then blotted his copybook virtually immediately. Sitting in the clubhouse, he decided to use his time productively to put the remaining photos from the annual dinner into envelopes with peoples names on so that they can be collected. I thought it was odd when I saw him, so I let him do it 5 or 6 times before I queried, it, just to make sure that it wasn't a one off......so I said, "you do know that those are self seal envelopes that you are licking, don't you??"  Bonkers this place!

 

Thurs 17th April...Chris Baker comes into my office, and croaks at me "I've lost my voice..." I see this as an immediate bonus, as Chris talks 19 to the dozen most of the time. In fact, my instant response is " that's good news, can you go and snog Tarby as well please??" meant as a jest and in good humour......this backfired, as Chris then explained at great length, Tarby's round today, in such exquisite ball by ball detail (despite the lost voice) that Tarby must have recounted it at least 200 times already (about halfway through then for Tarby!!). This is very much a downside, as it means that I will have to sit through the same thing in due course before Tarby goes home!!! Bugger!!

 

Tuesday 15th April.....John Townley, the "Senior" senior, is still currently out of action following his fall a month ago as he scurried about the house in haste, looking for his golf gear!! He has been to the L&D for a scan etc, to try and identify what exactly he has done, and he popped in to show me the letter he has received from the L&D explaining the circumstances, what action has been taken and what will happen next.....I quote..."she sustained the injuries in a fall and she has suffered discomfort and lack of mobility since".  I said 1 thought that getting a gender reassignment at 84 was probably ambitious, but looking on the bright side, when a full recovery is made and golf can recommence, there is no reason why he can't play from the red tees then!!

 

Mon 14th April......a missive from Pete Graydon, who was seeking reimbursement for the loss of a share of the 2's money, having "holed" a 15ft putt on 16 only to see the ball strike the back of the hole and rebound back out, remaining resolutely perched and overhanging the lip but refusing to drop. The "claim" was based upon the spurious suggestion that the hole cup was a mere 5mm below the putting surface. I had a quick look and probably 12mm is a more reasonable estimation. Still a bit too close really, but worthy of a robust defence of the claim, I felt.

 

I pointed out that if he hit the upper lip of the hole cup, which was 4 1/4" away on the opposite side of the hole, with a sphere that is 42.5mm diameter, and weighing 46gsm that the laws of physics will tell you that in order for a rolling sphere to travel 4.25"(or 108mm) but only drop less than 21mm as gravity tried to pull it downwards (on the basis that if more than half the ball had dropped below 12mm then it would have been impossible for the ball to rebound upwards...it must have hit the lower hemisphere...then had the ball not actually hit the hole, it would have travelled many feet past and would have been likely that the one coming back would have been missed as well, making a 4 not a 3!!

 

...or, in other words, it was going too fast!! Simples!!

 

Mon 7th April......It was something of a testing time last week, we suffered a break in to the greenkeepers shed on Tuesday Night, losing strimmers, chainsaws, generator and waterpump. Whatever we do, we are not going to stop these people getting in, this lot smashed through the front fence, then tried to pull the shed doors off their hinges with a vehicle chained to them. The security padlock eventually sheared off, and they then had a good look around the shed, before locating the bits they fancied and making off. All on CCTV, and they don't care.  Toddington was then overwhelmed by the Caravan Clubbers for the next few days, resulting in us having to try and secure the course with additional barriers at the road. By the time they had vacated the area on Sunday, we had had a visit from some young Evil Kenievels (don't worry, I think my spelling IS correct!!) as three people decided to demonstrate their lack of control by doing wheelies and donuts on the 4th green. Rob and his team have repaired the damage and hopefully as the growth period is just about to hit, any uneveness will soon disappear. Apart from that, it was quiet!!

 

 

Sat 5th April....I have long thought that trolley stories would never surpass the Patrick Ng saga where he set his trolley on auto by the 3rd green and sent it to the 4th tee, pressed the wrong button and someone eventually retrieved it from the 16th hole, would be impossible to top......but no....last weekend, Matt Dennis was playing the 7th, pushed the "roll on 10 yards" button and watched as the trolley moved ahead of him towards the green. The undulations, as you know, are such that golf balls are magically drawn to the new, enlarged pond on the left. Clearly, the same applies to trollies......despite constant warnings from his playing partners that the trolley was veering left, Matt was convinced that (a) it wasn't going to go far enough left and (b) the boost button would cut out and the trolley would stop well short anyway......as you would expect from the fact that this anecdote appears on the news pages, he was wrong on both counts!! Whilst the boost probably did cut out, gravity simply took over and the gentle arc became more pronounced until it was clear that this would not end well. At that point, Matt decided to capitulate on his stance that the trolley was safe, but not even Usain Bolt could have covered the distance in time. The trolley toppled over the edge and did a passable impersonation of a seagoing vessel...regrettably, that vessel was a submarine on a crash dive whilst being hounded by depth charges.

 

Now, it would also be sensible to point out at this juncture, that the pond on 7 is probably at its deepest now, following the winter storms and the point of entry was the very steep right hand bank..... Matt's playing partners declined to assist in the recovery, as they were suffering from severe stomach pains from laughing too much, so in a brand new pair of golf shoes, guaranteed waterproof, but regrettably this assurance doesn't stand up to being submerged in 3ft of water and mud!!

 

Eventually, the Environment Agency were called to bring up a dredger from the Somerset Levels, and the bag and trolley rose again from the murky depths with the same majesty as the Mary Rose all those years ago....The phone, wallet, car keys, battery, trolley all survived in about the same way that the Mary Rose did....so a few pieces of useless junk was all that remained!! I would love to see the insurance claim form.... 

 

 

 

Thursday 3rd April.....I arrive at about 9 ish, and Pete is already having a right old chuckle as he comes into my office to recount a story....."you know the one"  he says, "the tallish grey haired guy who plays with the seniors!!" (it's all right for you lot, we have to work with him!!) I pointed out that this description didn't exactly narrow down the field of potential  people that it might be!!  So anyway, it turns out that the tallish grey haired senior, enquired of Pete "How the hell did that van get there on Tuesday? Was anybody hurt??" Pete replied "The greenstaff put it there for a prank" "Why did they do that then??" "What day was is when you saw the van?" "Tuesday!" "No, what Date?" "What is the date today then?" "The 3rd" "That would make it the 1st then" "Yes......and.....???" "What do you mean????" "APRIL 1st is......."   CLANG!!!! The noise of the penny dropping was palpable.......

 

Tuesday....oh hell you know what day it is!!!.....another group investigate the upturned van, still smoking away....after moving their trolley out of range in case it explodes!!!

 

Tues 1st April........an update on the update on the update.......Ken Cavendish in the Bar, I say to him, "did you see the van?" "Yes How did that happen?? Was it the fog and too muddy??" "Did you not see the body then?" "Body?? NO!!!" Tim Petzing arrives....."Ken, its April 1st...." "**##$$%%**##"

 

Tuesday 1st April...an update on the update.....the greenstaff were working on the 16th when they were approached by a senior......"what the hell happened with the van?? Was everyone all right??" "Did you not see the body stuck under it then??" "No!!!! Oh that's terrible" "No, whats terrible is that Steve has told us there is nothing else we can do for him, and to stop wasting time and get some grass cut!!"

 

Tuesday 1st April.....an update on the April Fool Prank....The greenstaff were hiding in the woods reasonably adjacent to the scene as the first seniors left the carpark, having just ignited a handful of smoke pellets in the back of the van and engine bay.....Eric Hayes, John Welsh and Keith Morris were the first to the scene, and I am (reasonably) reliably informed that the conversation went "Oh my goodness what has happened here??" " Careful, its on fire, it could explode!!" "There is someone trapped under there!!!!" "It's a bit muddy though!!" "Here, those tyres look OK, I need a new set for my car!!" at which point the greenstaff jumped out and revealed that it was infact a spoof!!! They were somewhat crestfallen though, to discover that in the event of them actually suffering a serious accident on the course, they need to make  sure that it is not in a muddy area if they want to be rescued!! 

 

Tuesday 1st April...Seniors on April Fools Day......and Senior Captain Ray Tilcock spikes my guns by organising a golf competition off "scratch", which brings groans of dismay from the assembled mass of seniors, until he reveals his little "prank". So now they all know what day it is!!! Which makes it all the more satisfying, that after a delay of an hour due to fog descending, when they finally head out to the tees at 9.30 to start, that the Clubhouse phone starts to ring at 9.32am.......David Hazell....the wonders of excel spreadsheets, sort, and last number redial mean you have been sussed!! "There is a greenkeepers van upside down, on fire and there is someone trapped!"..........he says to Clare. Unfortunately for Clare, she had only just arrived and I had not appraised her of the stunt, so she came running into my office, with "Its An Emergency!!!" written all over her face, recounting the phone message to me..........when I appear to be showing little concern for the safety of the greenstaff, and indeed seem to relish the prospect of a reduction in the wage bill, she starts to realise that all might not be what it seems!!!!

 

To get the Seniors is getting a bit easy these days, but to get a staff member as well is the icing on the cake.........

 

For those of you unable to get here today, the full scene.......

 

 

 

A handful of smoke pellets added to the effect, although this was slightly offset by the surrounding fog, but up close, you could see the smoke rising and smell it!!!

 

In order to get near to the stuck "person", you had to walk into the somewhat wet and marshy area so someone probably got their toes wet!!

 

It's a Cracker........

 

Mon 31st March 2014.....British Summer Time heralds the start of the longer evenings, nothing like a round of golf after work really, and plenty of opportunity to get your singles matchplay games sorted out......the draw has been made, and the match I want to see is Ian Hillier v Barry Lampard!!! I reckon you can just about guarantee this will be played on a Friday eve, followed by a few sherberts of Fosters.....pretty much the same as every other Friday really!!

 

Mon 24th March......a member, who shall remain nameless...popped his head around my door at 8.30 this morning, to say hello and drop into the conversation that he was off to Australia for 3 weeks later today, to go on a cruise......so...... whilst he is thinking "mmm, is that a 6 or 7 iron to the green do you think??" his wife is running around the house like a headless chicken, mentally checking off the 1001 things you need to do before you disappear to the other side of the world for 3 weeks, such as have I packed enough spare pants in case we get kidnapped by Somalian Pirates and the Malaysian Airlines planespotters guide.....

 

 

Thurs 13th March....John Townley, the Senior Senior....84 years of age.....has been kicking his heels and champing at the bit to get back out onto the course, so in his excitement at being told that the buggies were out, the sun was out and he could get a game of golf in today, as he rushed around his house looking for clubs and bits of kit, he took a tumble, whacked his chest and and now can't play golf for another week!!!

 

 

Mon 10th March.....four consecutive days of dry weather.......and we have fairways........

 

 

 

Sat 8th March.......Simon Ward peaks a fraction early, as he celebrates his first round to handicap in some considerable period of time......24 hours before the first "Major" of the season as the Razz Pairs kicks off tomorrow!!!
 

 

Friday 7th March.....Ray Bowles, in the sunshine, finds his form. A par up the 1st, a birdie 3 on the 2nd and an eagle 3 on the 3rd. The course is being taken apart!!! Blob on the 4th and blob on the 5th as reality strikes.......

 

Friday 7th March......you would not believe it......the Friday afternoon boys filter into the Clubhouse having enjoyed a round in polo shirts, with a warm, comforting sun on their backs.......the first really genuinely warm day, and a dry one to boot, that we have had in months......so they get into the clubhouse, get their beers, the sun is streaming gloriously through the windows, so they draw the curtains!!! "it's too bright!!!" Mad. Completely mad....

 

The medal result is in, one notable moment, literally one, as Philip Howells joins the club that Joe wants to be a member of, as he aces the 13th.....the first one of 2014......will this be Joe's year???

 

Monday 3rd March ........nothing changes at this club.......the usual array of daft stories etc....Quote of the weekend came from Anne Isaac, when asked if she wanted a starter at the Annual Dinner in a few weeks....."Can I have a Prawn Cocktail, without the prawns please..."   Sliced lettuce then.....elsewhere, Alex Blair, Matt Dennis and Dave Bryant win the award for failure to read a notice, as they enter the Flitwick Oil +18, specifically putting down their handicaps as being between 12 and 15......the clue is in the competition name chaps.......and listen out for the soulful sound of Barry Saunders next weekend, as he brings either his trumpet or his saxophone next Sunday as he tells me he is competing in the Jazz Pairs!!!!!

 

Anne Isaac and Chris Robb, meanwhile, trounced South Beds 6&4 in the Daily Mail 4somes........I suggested that they had sandwiches after....prawn sandwiches, so it was just 2 slices of bread......

 

Monday 24th February.......it was all happening at the weekend, we have 150 acres of wide open spaces, even the trees look a bit small with no leaves on at this time of the year, so players are honing their skills by taking aim at other targets instead, Gary Mason provided a perfect demonstration as to why the new 5 per annum personal liability insurance is such a good deal, and El Presidente blobbed the 5th....Gary "drifted" his second shot into the carpark, where Darryl's 1.5m2 of car windscreen kindly deflected it back into play, surely it would be easier to hit the 500m2 of the green??.......5 for the insurance premium or 75 for the excess?? And El Presidente.....on the 5th was even more impressive with the accuracy, striking a 2.5cm diameter golf ball with a full blooded blow into a 10cm wide wooden marker post, with the result that the ball flew back past the tee, over the driveway and onto the 4th. A slightly poorer connection got the ball back just beyond the tee, the next into the bunker and a final blow to get out before accepting the inevitable and taking the blob. The blob was more inevitable than he thought actually, as in crossing the driveway he was OOB anyway!!

 

Thursday 20th February.....Despite the recent, difficult economic times, poor revenues due to exceptional poor weather, Chalgrave Manor Golf Club continues to expand and to reinvest in the course and its staff. We currently have 2 new vacancies for staff positions, which are aimed at enhancing the way the club can provide our golfing facilities and adding new revenue streams as well. If you feel that you meet the criteria required for either of these positions, please contact me with a full CV, giving details of current experience and current salary levels.

 

Position 1: Senior Witch Doctor. Must be competent and effective in Rain Management Dances. Will need to work flexible hours, mainly during November to March, although a reverse dance system would be useful and could possibly add to the hours required in July and August. Our reservoir system may negate this requirement though. The successful applicant with be able to demonstrate a sound knowledge of golf club etiquette, as the club does have a dress code which our staff are expected to meet as well as the members. Nudity and Major Facial Piercings may be in breach of those codes, but would be discussed at Committee if necessary. Music would either have to be completely original and own work, otherwise documentation showing full compliance with music licensing and performing rights will be required.

 

Position 2: Webbed Footed Diving Instructor and Marketing Expert. The Club is looking for a highly motivated individual who can actively promote to and source new golf members who are adept at playing in the current extreme conditions. The successful applicant will be PADI qualified to ensure that Club Members are not at risk from drowning, or getting the bends as they resurface. A PGA Level 3 Qualification as well is highly desirable. When not out on the course instructing club members, the successful applicant will be expected to source new members to add to the club membership roster. Casual usage is also desired, with coach parties  being highly desirable.

 

If you feel that you can meet the requirements to fulfil either or even both positions, (I have my doubts if a webbed footed diving witch doctor exists!) then please contact me on icantbelieveyouhavetakenthisseriously@chalgravegolf.co.uk

 

Thursday 13th February.......Do you believe in Karma? I didn't but.......today is the molers, as usual, (summer is here, the sun is shining, it is positively balmy out there, if still a little damp!!) and Tarby is amongst them as per normal and holding court in the normal way. "Normal way" in the context of Tarby means that a vast amount of sh*ite is spoken!! Now, the Americans have spend vast fortunes perfecting the art of precision bombing, minimising the collateral damage as they hunt down the Taliban. Clearly there are greater powers, karma, which is already ahead of them in capability. Greg Stack was making his way across the carpark heading for the tee, when he heard the beating of wings, looked up to see a pair of high flying geese, followed by the rat a tat tat of impact, as they missed him by millimeters and completely obliterated a single car from a car park of 40 cars.....Tarby's. Karma.

 

 

Thursday 6th February...been out for a few days, and return to more worthy snippets for the newspage.....Peter Kay greets me this morning and is keen to show me the "new" set of irons he has acquired from John Steele....a set of Ping Eye2's in quite reasonable condition.....but I am slightly baffled.....Peter Kay is a leftie.....and I have played a round or two with John Steele and he ain't!! "Yes" says Pete, "he didn't realise they were left handed clubs when he bought them himself........" Well I know John's eyesight is pretty bad, but surely when you have a "test waggle" of a club you would realise the head was pointing the wrong way.........talking of which, (in a second or two, you will appreciate the absolute genius of the linking of two unconnected subjects) Ron Gray had the same problem on Tuesday...arriving for the seniors Tuesday meeting, he was chatting to Pete at the bar (as I was off for the morning) and all seemed well, Ron in a smart but plain crew necked sweater........until Ray Tilcock tapped him on the shoulder and he turned around to speak to him, leaving Pete in tears of mirth as he was now confronted with the V Neck and the Chalgrave Club Crest adorning Ron's back!! So his head was pointing the wrong way as well!!! I have often thought that some of the seniors don't know if they are coming or going.....we now have proof!!!......it actually gets worse......having just quickly scrolled back on the cameras, Ron spent 6 minutes standing at the bar, with his back to Pete and Pete never saw it either!!

 

Thursday 30th January......Dennis Richards declines to challenge the elements of golf in the wet at Chalgrave, in favour of going shopping with the missus instead......he returns later on to find out how his moler mates have done against the onslaught of the Chalgrave weather.....and foolishly recounts the story of his morning.....having been dragged around the shops, buying various items, he also buys a new secure shredder for unwanted papers......he unboxes it, plugs it in and it instantly whirrs into life.......if anyone has an instruction manual for a shredder, Dennis needs one!! As always, I try to be helpful, so I wander over to Dennis and say " you are so lucky, I have a spare copy here...." and then pass him a handful of shredded paper from my own office one!!! Tears of mirth from the rest of the molers........

 

Monday 13th January.....The new Past Captains picture screen is scrolling through in the bar, past captain Mick Moulton is watching it avidly (I let it go through 3 full cycles before I let him know that his picture is not yet on there!!) and then mentioned to him that it is a fantastic, hi tech system as it runs off water, not electricity.......well the water pipe from the coffee machine passes directly behind it and all other cables are hidden so it was only a slightly outrageous attempt at a bluff....given that the pipe and the coffee machine have been there for years......"how the hell does it do that??" comes the response......I wish that these things were made up sometimes, but John Steele will confirm that the conversation was genuine.......it is going to be a long week, I can tell.......

 

Friday 10th January.....The deluge onslaught continues, but the course keeps shedding the water like it is going out of fashion....all 18 holes remain open, the greens are playing unbelievably well in the circumstances, and all around us, other courses are closing as they are waterlogged......you have to be careful out there though, Tony Robb has just arrived back in the clubhouse after completing his round......looking fine from the front, but the rear view...is rather muddy!!! As you do, I showed a reasonable amount of concern (whilst trying to keep a straight face) on his well being and also to discover which part of the course was so slippery that gravity won the battle against his golf studs.......The 3rd, the 6th, the 8th all were in the forefront of my mind as being the likely culprits.......the 11th, 4 yards short of the ditch, in the rough it turns out!! Yes, I know. The flat bit!! With a load of dense grass coverage!! Well, the grass coverage is rather less dense now as by the sound of it, Tony did a passable impression of a Barnes Wallis Dambuster Bomb!!  You have been warned!! Watch out for the flat bits!!!

 

Thursday 9th January... I hear from Steve Howarth, who will once again lead the top 5 players from last years Golfer of the Year listings, in our entry into the Mail On Sunday Team Classic...last year, you may recall, the team were drawn away, for their first match, at Woburn. You can, therefore, imagine the excitement and anticipation that was evident when we found out that we were once again drawn away in the first round........to Tilsworth......

 

Tuesday 7th January ....I have a place available on the Saturday Bonus Ball Draw, commencing Sat 18th January for ball number 48. Please email me asap if you want to take the number. Cost is 1 per week, payable in batches of 10 weeks, and payout is 40 per week with the remaining 9 going to the Captains Charity......email me on steve@chalgravegolf.co.uk if you want the number. 1st Come 1st Served

 

Tuesday 7th January....It has been torrential rain for several days now, the pond on the 1st is up to the brim, part of the path between the feeder pond and the main pond on the 10th has been washed away, the new drainage ditch from the 4th Green is currently suitable for white water rafting, the 18th Green has two rivers running down it.......and 25 seniors have arrived to play the seniors medal......oh I tell a lie.......26 now as another madman has just walked in...... Ken Goodland has brought in a picture of a new invention from California.....a wheeled surfboard, driven by electric motors, whihc you stand on and "surf" around the course. Get rid of the wheels Ken, you can just surf down the 18th at the moment!!

 

Wednesday 1st January......and so it begins........I arrive at the gates at 9.05am to find Mick Yule sitting there waiting patiently.......I think he is mad.....and then glance up and realise that on the 4th green, putting out are Pete Doran and Dave Shoemaker......who, it turns out, let themselves in at 7.45am and got started by 8.00am!!!!! As I sit here typing this at 9.30am, cars are arriving and John Crane/Lee Nash/Captain Murphy/Chris Webb and Darryl Bazeley are all in and raring to go......Messrs Crane, Yule, Murphy and Bazeley all quickly congregate in the smoking shelter....Darryl is clearly still feeling the after effects of last night as when I pop my head around the door....he appears to be trying to smoke a sausage roll instead of eating it.......

 

2014

 

Tuesday 31st December.....that's it then, another year of the blog is done.....my thanks to all who have contributed, mostly by mistake, to yet another momentous year in the history of Chalgrave Manor Golf Club.....can anyone beat Steve Howarth to Golfer of the Year in 2014, or will he make it three in a row????? Can Joe get a Hole in One???? Will Kelvin's ball No 16 get drawn as the bonus ball in the lottery?? How will we celebrate 20 years of age on 31st May 2014??? All this, and so much more, will be revealed in the new 2014 year, starting tomorrow......it simply remains for me to say.....

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!! 

 

 

Monday 30th December.......I was expecting to be the only one here all day, the forecast is dreadful....so why are there 2 cars already in the car park in the dark at 7.15am??? A 2 ball already on the course now, and a 4 ball are getting ready to play the Winter KO....the phone has rung three times in 10 minutes with people asking if we are open......has the world gone mad??

 

A new Charity Fundraiser is underway, the Chalgrave 500 Lottery Draw. 2 a go, when all 500 numbers are sold, there will be a draw...winner will receive a 12 month Full Membership here at Chalgrave. This will start at your normal renewal date in 2014. The balance of the funds will go to the Captains Charity, and we will start it all over again once the first board has been completed. Great idea, and yes, I am going to have a go myself!!

 

Friday 20th December.......Peter Kay really is funnier than Peter Kay.......today, we are discussing the two Go Kart Trolleys in the office ready for collection....one is an Auto Version and the other, the Manual version. I tell him who each one is for and he marks one of them accordingly, with an R for Ray so he doesn't give the wrong one to the wrong person..........I look at him and ask how he intends to remember the R is for Ray instead of Rob then? Perhaps another note elsewhere?? He looks at me for 10 seconds before the penny drops......I am, of course doing a service here really, a sort of "care in the community" project......

 

Friday 6th December...did I really send out a newsletter to 1500+ people, reminding everyone that the Turkey Trott on Sun 15th (yes I know I put the 16th as well!!) was a "shitgun start". Just don't stand to close to me when it goes off, that's all I can say!!!!

 

Tues 3rd Dec.....Seniors....8.00am.....Richard Muckleston "helping out" with the coffee machine, replenishing the sugar bowl......."where do you keep the bags of sugar once they have been opened" he asks....."down there on the shelf, next to the ones that already are open" is my response.........its going to be a long day, I can feel it in my bones........

 

Mon 2nd Dec....Congratulations to the Vice Captain, successfully defending his Golfer of the Year Trophy, even though there is still the December Medal to go. Kevin Branch, in 2nd place, can't catch him, but he can't be caught either by players below, so with a month to spare, the top two are decided.

 

Mon 2nd Dec......news from the weekend, carnage in the Winter Matchplay KO as last years winners lose in the first "full" round of matches, and last years runners up also fall by the wayside in the same round as well.....and I ventured out onto the course on Sunday morning, partnering son, Aidan against Dave and Paul McGarry in a friendly match (seeing as we had already been knocked out of the matchplay BEFORE the first "full" round!!)....a conversation between Paul and Aidan on the 8th fairway......"I hate this lie" says Aidan as he stands over his ball to play his approach to the green...."It's pick, clean and place, and you have just done that, why did you place it there then?" says Paul.......Welcome to my world, Paul, I don't understand it either!!!

 

Weds 27th November..... Mick Williamson is about to play his approach to the 2nd, so the greenstaff take protective measures, with buckets and spades as they work on the bunker in front of the green!!! Strangely, the man on the green has a clear understanding of the risks involved, taking no evasive action whatsoever, as he is on the green and therefore completely safe from the incoming ball!!

 

 

 

Sunday  17th November.....rarely are the news pages used to report a golf competition!!! But rarely does a result show such a comprehensive destruction of the rest of the field....the House Committee Pairs, a random draw pairs competition, which threw together Tim Bevan and Alan Michael, with a modified stableford scoring system that rewarded birdies and severely penalised double bogeys.... a score of +22 eclipsed the rest of the field by miles, second place being a mere +11. Incredible stuff....

 

Friday 15th November.....At the kind invitation of Ray Tilcock and the seniors section, Lynn and myself, plus the club staff and the Club Captain were guests at the Seniors Dinner.......a meal followed by Strictly Come Dancing and a raffle really.....a good time was had by all......there was the usual array of comedy moments as you would expect from a room full of seniors.......Derek Collins, has been shuffling about with his zimmer frame and broken foot, it seems all year, and if anything is getting slower as the months pass not faster....still it has given him ample time to sort out the seating plan and general organisation, so it seemed a bit odd the he placed himself as far away from the entrance door and the toilets as it was possible to be!! I am pretty certain that having gained his chair, as soon as "grace" was said, he had to make his way to the loo, calculating that by the time he would get there he would actually want to go!!! As a result, he missed the starter and main courses, and then had to get up to leave for home before dessert was served as it was going to take him another 2 hours to get back to the front door, as everyone had to be out by 12......you would think that was reasonably funny, but when we arrived at the grand raffle, and everyone spread their selection of multi coloured tickets in front of them, I thought the array in front of the seniors captain looked odd.......but they were well underway and the draw was going well, so I felt it churlish to point out that the Senior Captain had both his tickets AND the stubs on the table in front of him, so Ray looking expectantly at Peter Whitton on the microphone to see if he had won, was a waste of time as his tickets were never even in the draw!! It turned out, that Dougie Oakes had got involved in selling the tickets for about 2 minutes.....and none of the ones Doug sold actually made the draw!! About normal for the seniors then!!

 

Tues 12th November...better late than never.....news finally arrives that Melvyn Mash joined the Not the Joe Silva Club (otherwise known as the Hole In One Club on 1st October, acing the 5th Hole.....his chances of getting a hole in one are significantly less than than Joes as well, as Melvyn is an off peak 5 day member, so he can only start in the mornings Monday to Friday and can't play at all at the weekends, so by my reckoning, he has less than half of Joes opportunities.......and still managed it!!

 

Thursday 31st October.....just updated the Competitions page after the Result came through last for week......does anyone else find it funny that at the bottom, under handicap adjustments, Ian Hillier has Kieron Pidgeon immediately below him......I'm reasonable sure that Kieron is not festering though....

 

Thursday 31st October....I arrive to find Frank Howarth in the nets being given advice on his golf swing by Roy Evans and Ken Cavendish......the takeaway, the top position and the angle of attack into the ball were all being worked on.....whilst I understand the principle that David Leadbetter is a damns sight better coach than he is a player, otherwise he would be out on the tour himself....I'm pretty sure that he doesn't play off 20.....I am, of course, waiting with bated breath for the molers to return and me to be proved wrong with Frank recording something like 47 points..... watch this space!!

 

Tues 29th October....The Competition Committee Cup last Sunday was carnage.......54 people braved the conditions. Chalgrave hasn't shown its teeth for quite a while really, but Sunday, it showed a full set. wide open and sharp as hell. 3 people made par or better.  Only 21 people made 30 points or better. Only VJ succumbed completely and offered a No Return......Graham Taylor smashed Joe's record of 7 Stableford points, by recording just 4!!!

 

Monday 28th October...the big storm.....and Chris Baker is now waiting for John Steele to turn up to play golf.......Chris has also parked his car away from the Clubhouse, in an exposed part of the carpark where the wind may rip his doors off......as opposed to parking in the lee of the clubhouse out of the wind......Chris is now retired.....he used to be a train driver......so all of the above probably explains why they cancelled all the trains!!!!!

 

Thurs 24th October......a couple of stories, true ones of course, I have no need to make these things up!!! both stories involving Ian Hiller......firstly his "mates", playing the 18th about three weeks ago, came across a deceased pigeon by the green.....as you do, they tied it to a golf hat, wrapped it up well, and jammed it down into Ian's bag amongst his clubs.....and nothing more was said.....three weeks elapsed, Ian has become a solitary golfer, no one will play with him, or if they do, they walk on the other side of the fairway.......the reek of decaying pigeon seemingly obvious to anyone except the Hillier nose......even the manky bits that kept messing up his grips failed to arouse his curiosity of why his clubs didn't come out of the bag easily anymore!!!!

 

 

The Hillier Pigeon,.....

 

 

You would think that would be hard to top......now my staff, as you all know, are awesome at the best of times, but on this occasion, Clare and Lucie rose way above the awesome levels normally provided, and indulged in a wind up that I would have been proud of on April Fools......and if you have been a reader for a few years, you will know I am no slouch at those....so Ian was playing with a couple of the guys, (and with a festering pigeon along for the ride...) and on the 3rd hole, he pulled his second shot left, up into the carpark........playing partner Pete Ward, phoned the clubhouse and Clare and Lucie readily agreed to participate in a windup, calling Ian on his mobile to say that his ball (which they described to him) had struck a car in the carpark and the driver was apoplectic with rage, threatening to call the police and sue anyone and everyone. In a moment of sheer genius, they pointed out that the new, optional third party liability insurance cover available with your membership now, would ensure that he was covered, but had he taken it out?? They said that they had placated him at the moment, so it would probably be best if he finished his round to ensure things remained calm, which he did.

 

Later, in the bar, the story was embellished, the man had lost his temper again and was going to call the police if Ian did not ring him to sort things out. He had left a mobile number for Ian to ring. Ian, from his side of the bar, rang the number given. Clare, behind the bar, answered her phone with "hello Ian, why are you ringing me I'm only a yard away?". The Captains Jar was added to for significant swearing...... absolute genius, perfectly executed by my two staff who continually embellished the story making it ever more unbelievable and yet believed. I will go and buy a hat so I can take it off to them!

 

 

Sunday 13th October....Proper weather has returned to Chalgrave, wild and windswept, the phone was constantly ringing as people mysteriously found they were suddenly unable to play in the Competition Committee Cup...... The hardened few ventured out, Pete Graydon having been moved forwards from the last start time to the first (at his own request) led the charge from the first tee as the elements threw the kitchen sink at them. After due consideration, and almost an hour and a half into the competition, we decided enough was enough and the competition was abandoned and rescheduled for Sunday 27th October, by which time, Pete, Bob Albery and Alan Michael had bravely battled as far as the 8th hole in horrendous conditions......should have stayed off last Pete, the Clubhouse was warm and dry.....

 

On  day of such extreme weather, we need a story to warm the heart, if the thought of Messrs Albery, Graydon and Michael walking  best part of 2 miles for no purpose whatsoever hasn't already done that for you.......so, with the possible exception of Joe, the remarkable story of a Mr Jim O'Brien of Market Harborough will warm the cockles of your heart. 71 year old Jim, who is completely blind, decided to take up golf about 16 years ago, roughly the same time that Joe joined Chalgrave..... last week, on Wednesday 9th October, Jim got a hole in one!!!! 

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-24475445

 

So, perhaps a tip for Joe is in there? Try Closing your eyes?? Only trying to help!!!

 

Tues 8th October.....this website page provides such a service to club members, as the trolley wheel that was "abandoned" on the course has now been claimed by its rightful owner........Mark Harvey emailing me to explain that he realised it was missing on the 17th, when his clubs and trolley fell over as the wheel was missing.....the error was compounded, as the trolley FIRST fell over in the rough just beyond the ditch, and then AGAIN up by the green, where he realised the wheel was missing.......Mark asked if my eagle eyed green staff could keep an eye open for the nut that is missing as well!!! I think the nut was operating the trolley, on the basis that we found the wheel on the 16th tee!!! Every week, I think we must have exhausted the supply of ridiculous stories, but no, we keep on producing them!!!!

 

Mon 7th Oct.....Greenkeeper Jamie arrives in my office, brandishing a trolley wheel that has been abandoned on the course.....I said I know who that belongs to, or one of two people anyway....Paul McGarry or Steve Bradshaw, both of whom were having very decent rounds in the medal on Sunday until the wheels came off on the back 9!!!! Great conversation on the 10th hole (apparently!!) Our 3 ball, playing partners, Dave and Paul McGarry had a skins game going on as well as the medal score, and dave was keeping track of the skins and therefore knew everyone's score as well....he says to Paul "you are having a decent knock" Paul says "I don't want to know, keep it to yourself". I chip in with "39 shots for the front 9 then Paul?" I was only double checking his card!! One of the risks you run when you play golf with someone who is deaf as a post!!

 

Monday 7th October......just been scrolling back through the cctv on 10, as I have had an email from a three ball who played on Sunday, arriving at the 10th at about 12 noon. The swing was lovely, the grip wasn't. There is less water in the pond on 10 today, approximately the amount displaced by the size and volume of a 9 iron........the email was from the playing partners who wanted footage for the unfortunate players wedding reception in a few weeks time.....I assume that to mean that they think losing the club was unfortunate, not the getting married!!!!!

 

Sunday 6th October.....more from the strange goings on.....remember the cow?? Well what are the chances of it being caught by Kelvin?? He happened to be going past the club , into Toddington, and saw the black cow grazing on the verge.....so, as you do, he stopped and tried to catch it.....First port of call was to try and get assistance from the people who run the florist place on the edge of the village, so he rang the bell but was getting no answer, whilst keeping the cow in his sights.....he noticed a sign on the gate, with a telephone number for Central Beds Council animal welfare officer!! Now that is what I call exceptional Council efficiency......in a county that has 1,000's of cows and hundreds of thousands of acres, there is a sign adjacent to where an escaped cow is!! So our man Kelvin rings the number, the chap answers and says he will be there....in an hour and a half!!! The Council efficiency rating plummeted immediately!! Fortunately, Kelvin, by now, had other assistance from passing motorists, which was handy as, according to Kelvin, the cow was starting to panic.......quite where Kelvin got his degree in Identifying Changes in Bovine Psychology, I am not sure, but eventually the cow was coaxed into the florists, who had finally answered the bell, and all was well, no spilt milk to deal with......so if you were waiting for a plumber on Thursday afternoon and he spun you a cock and "bull" story, it was probably true!!!!!

 

Friday 4th October......strange goings on at Chalgrave...Pete collars me on my arrival to tell me off for leaving the lights on in the clubhouse last night when I locked up.....and I'm sure I didn't so we reviewed the cameras, and sure enough, the lights are all off when I went out at 8.20pm last night........and they come back on at 7.15am today, 5 minutes before Pete opens up!!!

Clare and Pete are amazed, until I explain that back in the 1600's there was a village of Chalgrave, which was razed to the ground following an outbreak of plague which killed the entire population, and the bodies were buried some distance from the church, approximately in the area of the 18th green, to enable the church to continue to be used even though the village no longer existed, hence the existence of Chalgrave Church, the parish of Chalgrave, but no village by that name.....

The bodies were buried at 7.15am on a Friday......well I got as far as that before they actually realsied that I was winding them up.....which makes it no surprise to me why my April Fools stuff seems to work every year, no matter how outrageous it is!!!!!!!!

 

I have no idea why the lights came on though!!

 

Thurs 3rd Oct.......one of the stranger conversations here....chap comes in and says there are reports of a cow wandering around near the entrance to the golf course......I told him to pull the udder one......no sign of it anywhere on the front 9 anyway.....keep your eyes open for large cowpats anyway just in case.....

 

Tuesday 24th Sept...an update from the Hole In One by Simon Ward on Saturday........if you believe in strange coincidences, how about this then?? As well as the lucky 21 (see Sat 21st below), Simon's playing partners that day were Nick and Cally Hawker......Nick had a Hole in One on the 16th, exactly 16 years ago to the day .........on 21st September 1997!!!! There is a further coincidence between these two aces on the same day 16 years apart......Joe hadn't got an ace on either of those dates.......

 

Sunday 22nd Sept, the Foursomes, a real test of friendship when things don't go well.....I was making a rare appearance on the course, partnering Donny, who wrecked our pre game strategy of having an exceptionally low expectation of what the outcome might be, as neither of us had played much golf in the past three months, by winning the Mixed Greensomes with Alison the day before and so clearly being on form for the weekend.....we started with 2 bogeys and then settled into a run of pars, finally arriving at the 6th hole, our nemesis and resident comedy hole over the past few years....my tee shot, Dave's second to 80 yards, my wedge to 3 ft and a single putt for a birdie exorcised the demons and we were flying, finishing the front 9 in a very solid gross 40. 10 and 11 were negotiated without too much damage and I stood on the top tee of the 12th in a good frame of mind. The comedy hole has moved without telling us.... the tee shot flew down the left hand side, landing on the right side of the mounding....the ball defied the laws of physics and bounced sharply against the slope and was likely to be OOB. Dave he a provisional , avoiding the left hand OOB by going almost OOB down the right deep into the trees...... we headed off to find the 1st one, which was, as expected, OOB.....except that the stake was missing....we found the ball, found the stake, even found the hole the stake should have been in, so we were uncertain of the status of the removed stake....if it is removed and we take the line between the ones that are there, we are in bounds, if we put the stake back, we are OOB. We opted to play both balls, consult the rule book on completion, and record the correct score at the end of the round....Dave chopped us back into play, I fired it towards the green and we headed off to find ball 2....deep in the trees, just in bounds and with a small gap to aim through. Miraculously, the 5 iron found the gap, cleared the next set of trees and headed for the green but we couldn't see it finish. Clearly, the last thing it did, was to hit pretty much the last tree before the green and ricochet sideways out onto the 8th to be OOB!! Dave headed back to replay the provisional that was now OOB, putting us onto the left of the fairway, short of the green...we popped the 1st ball up onto the green and returned to the provisional....shank is an unpleasant word that perfectly describes my next effort, as I attempted to flop shot the ball over the left hand bunker...., leaving it short of the green and above the right hand bunker.....Dave attempted to flop shot over the right hand bunker and put it in there instead.......my bunker shot finished 8ft away, my 1st putt with ball 1 shaved the hole and was tapped in for a 6, whilst Dave's putt from 8ft went past the edge and I holed the one coming back for and 11.......17 shots taken on a single hole!!!! That is something we never in our wildest dreams hoped to achieve on the 6th!! The ruling was complex, and offered a glimmer of hope, that if we could find another competitor who had played from the "grey" area without realising a penalty applied , then we would be justified in also claiming the 6. We didn't want to face the embarrassment of that, so we took the 11 on the chin.....     

 

Sat 21st Sept.....21 is clearly Simon Ward's favourite number, as he joined the "not the Joe Silva Club" otherwise known as the Hole in One Club for the second time today, aceing the 5th with a 9 iron in the mixed greensomes, whilst partnering Anne Isaac.....having previously recorded an ace on the 10th last year, again on the 21st of the month (April that time)!! Despite the ball disappearing for an ace, Anne still teed off!!

 

Sat 14th Sept..... John Crane arrives at high speed as he is late for the club match....he is actually even later than he thought, as it is away!! He left at even higher speed than his arrival, fortunately for him, we were only away at Tilsworth!!

 

Friday 13th Sept..... Dave Millard is berated by his playing partners for foul and abusive language on the 9th......"Why the f**ks that there?" his partners thought he said.......matters were resolved amicably when he revealed he actually said "why's the fox sat there"..........

 

 

Thurs 12th Sept....Steve Emmett, Alan Michael, Danny Glass and Joe Silva have become regular attendees at the Coventry Building Society Charity Day over the past few years, and they again headed up into the Midlands again for this years event. Apparently they peaked early, destroying the course on the practice round on Sunday, and subsequently destroyed the opposition in the bar afterwards as well. This came home to roost on the actual day of competition, where they came nowhere!! The internal match, between Steve and Alan v Joe and Danny was won comprehensively by Steve and Alan, mainly through assistance from Danny who spent the entire round sledging his own team mate!!

 

 

Tues 10th Sept....The Tuesday seniors story.....Dave Burden is in a seniors "buggy" group, playing the 8th....they hole out and move on, Taff Rowlands driving the buggy, Dave walking behind. Taff pulls up at the back of the 9th tee, Dave grabs hi s driver, walks onto the adjacent tee and smashes it down the fairway, with Taff looking slightly bemused......"we are playing the 9th, not the 18th??" he says!! Dave, having played this course for the last decade, has walked up onto the 18th tee instead of the 9th! A 2 shot penalty is incurred and he starts the hole properly from the right place!!

 

Tues 3rd Sept... a seniors story to warm your heart and tickle your funny bone.....one of todays fourballs, John Welsh, Terry Payne Bob Given and Tony Henderson arrive at the 10th tee after a front nine that has been littered with just general chaos. John stands on the tee and finds the water. He heads back to the bag and has a rummage around, "that ball's no good, that ball is too good, that one is rubbish, hold on chaps, I know I have got one in here somewhere.." "Would you mind looking for a ball in your own bag!" say Bob Given!!! Its bad enough when you can't see your own golf ball, but when you can't see you own golf bag it is getting worrying!!!

 

Tues 3rd Sept.....I know what she meant, but I still was a bit surprised by a request from Cally for the greenstaff to trim the ladies bushes on the 1st tee......

 

Tues 3rd Sept....members are requested to go out and buy a hat if you don't already own one, put it on, and then take it off to Tim Bevan....yesterday at Leighton Buzzard, Tim shot a gross 75 to win the Bedfordshire Seniors County Championship by three clear shots. Tim has the honour of being the Club's first ever County Champion, and he will be heading for Woodhall Spa to represent Bedfordshire in the Champion of Champions weekend later this month.

 

Congratulations to Tim!!!

 

 

 

Tues 27th August....well a Tuesday wouldn't be a Tuesday without a seniors story.......so the section had got a Hole in One Trophy for Terry Honey to commemorate his ace in last weeks seniors event, he proudly collects the award and returns to his seat, placing the trophy in front of him on the table..... Tom Caulfield leans across and picks it up to read the inscription, drops it and breaks it!!! The award for a hole in one is no longer whole and in one!!!

 

Tuesday 27th August, the seniors championship over the weekend, Kelvin was second to Phil Gibbons, having taken a gross 83 shots to win a 20 voucher....John Crane takes a NETT 83 shots and wins 19.50 for playing just 2 of them, as he cleans up with the only 2 of the competition!! Elsewhere, the Scratch Team have got new jumpers and are kicking *ss, with another victory, this time 4 -1 against away against Pavenham!! At this rate, we could get promoted!!

 

Tuesday 19th......also for the record, the Wrest Park Concerts, I have had an email from the organisers...the Lesley Garrett Concert on Sunday 26th August has been cancelled. If you have bought tickets from anywhere, apparently they are valid to see Status Quo instead on the Saturday night!!

 

Tuesday 19th August......well I never thought I would defeat you all......those who read my newsletters as well as the newspage, will know that there is usually a "Steve's Quiz" with a silly prize, well this time, the prize was 140 worth of concert tickets for Status Quo or Lesley Garrett at Wrest Park.....and no one got it right!! For the record...

 

Q1 Who are the "The Spectres" ??...topical question.....the answer is of course Status Quo

Q2 Lesley Garrett sang at Wembley Stadium in the final FA Cup final before the stadium was knocked down and rebuilt. What song did she sing? Just like all previous finals.....Abide With Me is the pre match Hymn of choice....

Q3 The crossroads in Dunstable Town Centre is known as Eleanor Cross. When and why did it get is name? There were 12 crosses erected down the east of the country, from Lincoln to London, marking the overnight resting place of the body of Queen Eleanor in 1290. The body lay at rest at the Priory Church in Dunstable.

and this is the one that got everybody!!!

 

Q4 Tom, playing the 9th Hole at Chalgrave, hit his ball onto the 17th fairway where it rolled towards Harry who was in the process of playing his own shot on his own ball. In the process of hitting his own ball, Harry also hit Tom's ball. Harry's ball only went 20 yards and Toms ball was never found again.
(a) Where does Tom play his ball from next?
(b) Where does harry play his ball from next?
(c) what penalties apply to either Tom, or Harry, or both?
 

Both players are "outside agencies" to each other.

 

Tom hits his ball at Harry, on the 17th, where Harry strikes it in the process of hitting his own ball, and the ball ricochets away and is lost. Therefore Tom has to replay his shot from the 9th, under Rule 27-1 lost ball, under penalty of one shot.

 

Harry's ball has travelled 20 yards, and has to be played as it lies, without penalty.

 

So Tom has a one shot penalty and Harry none.

 

Simples..........

 

Tuesday 19th August....I return from a week off, to find the seniors are taking the michael......having viewed the previous news post about holes in one and the ladies taking the challenge to Joe, they decided to do something about it themselves, with Patrick acing the 10th on Mon 12th and Terry Honey repeating the feat the following day in the seniors Tuesday event.....presumably Terry got stung for a fair wedge in the bar afterwards as there are usually well over 50 playing on Tuesdays these days!!

 

Thursday 1st August.....more from Charity Day....Kathy Tabor wanted to have a chat with Joe about Holes in One seeing as she has two of them but Joe did not appear to be to interested in the conversation......

 

 

.....and Simon Ward has been into the Club seveal times since Charity Day, still sporting the bright orange/strawberry blonde (just cut to the chase and call it ginger!!) hairdo that he temporarily dyed for his team outfit......next time Simon, read the bit n the label that says if you want a temporary colour, dilute the dye with water in the ratio of about 8:1, with 8 parts water to 1 of dye, in which case the colour will go with a day or do......to use the the whole tube, undiluted, means that the rest of the club have about 8 weeks to spot Simon from some considerable distance before it fades away!!

 

Tuesday 30th July....it didn't take me long to get my revenge on the "coffin dodgers" as I took yet another 25 off them in their bonus ball draw....my hearing may not be great but even I heard the "boo's!"

 

Tuesday 30th July....it has taken me this long to sort out Charity Day!! After two or three weeks of constant hot and dry days, 144 golfers descended upon the course on a day forecast to have thunderstorms!!! Once all of the gear was out onto the course and Vince installed in the corner to dispense cards and sage advice on  what was supposed to happen, I led off the day with Steve's All Stars at 10.22. It was a fairly poor start. One opening drive stayed in bounds by 2 yards, one went out of bounds by about 100 yards, one dissected the fairway beautifully and I hit the silver birch by the 3rd green and ended in the ditch! We finished the opening hole with just 2 points! Things improved greatly after that, and we were leaders in the clubhouse at the end.....well until the second group came in anyway!! Clearly it was not our finest moment, eventually being beaten by the seniors (beautifully named as the "coffin dodgers") and also by John Isaac in a leopard print dress!!! It is the taking part that counts, that what I say!!

 

As the day progressed, we got the BBQ's underway, the weather held off for longer than it should have done and 2/3rds of the field got away with it. The final 1/3rd had to endure some heavy rain, as did Sean on the BBQ as he was cooking on the side that wasn't covered by the umbrella!!ked on the basis that Sean is an immensely polite guy, if I offered him the choice of sides, out of politeness he would have selected the non covered side, sacrificing himself for the well being of others, so on that basis I would have been undercover anyway!!!

 

Nick Greenhill ran the most complicated fundraising scheme ever seen, despite over an hour of explanation, no one understood, but we all just gave him some money and let him get on with it. After appearing as Wally in bright red and white stripes, he subsequently changed into normal garb for the evening, which turned out to be even brighter than the Where's Wally outfit!!

 

The Isaacs and Alison were in the leopard prints, and I am amazed at how easily John is coaxed year after year into some new and somewhat unflattering garb for his frame....mind you I have appeared as Daffyd, the only gay in the village so perhaps I should shut up!! Vince did his usual performance of sorting the result, Captain Tim had more copies of the itinerary than were strictly necessary (one!) and was making notes of what needed one different ones each time, with the result that we spent more time looking for which note on which bit of itinerary came next than anything else!! We did the result, and then the auction. I broke all previous records in a charity day auction by getting 4 different people to bid against themselves at different times! We sold 4 balls to club members at reciprocal clubs where they could actually go and play for nothing anyway!! We sold Tottenham shirts and a signed football, and staggeringly, we sold an Executive Box for a home game at Luton Town for 8 people for 250!! For a non league game!!All in all, the auction made 957 on its own, the raffle did another 367 and there is still the sponsorship and surplus from the entry fees to come!!

 

A great start to the fundraising year for Tim!! I will get a final total asap and let you know.

 

Finally, we were finished. 2.00am, the place was almost quiet! As always an immensely long day but worth every moment of hard work to achieve a decent start to the Keech fund for the Captains Year. My thanks to all that helped, played, contributed, worked and attended another great charity event.  

 

Friday 26th July.....Mr & Mrs N Tabor cordially invite Mr & Mrs J Silva to dinner at their convenience. Mrs Kathy Tabor will then spend the duration of the evening dinner, discussing with Joe the finer points on how to achieve a Hole in One, something that Kathy is becoming an expert on, having just become the first Lady Member to achieve the feat twice.....holing a 7 wood ace on the 7th earlier today.......her previous effort was in April 2010, again on the 7th but with a 3 wood, so Kathy is getting stronger!! The menu will be whole salmon fillet to start, Toad in the Hole as a main course and I'm not sure what the dessert could be...suggestions are welcome......

 

Tues 23rd July...Pete Graydon adds his voice to the growing ranks of those dissatisfied with the performance of their Pro on Sunday. Pete, having shot a nett 67 and being partnered with Hunter Mahan, someone who was in contention, he felt that the opportunity for Pro Am glory was heading his way.....until Hunter destroyed those hopes with a nice little +4 in the final round!! No doubt there will be others in the same boat...will anyone have had both players in the pairing heading for the under par scores?

 

Tues 23rd July...still waiting on the result of the Pro Am, but already I hear of at least one member dissatisfied with the performance of his Pro....last year, Phil Greenhill recorded his best round of the year but Retief Goosen scuppered his chances with a 74 to leave him 1 shot adrift of the winners spot. This year has seen another decent round I am told, but this years partner has angered him even more, with "Thomas bl**dy Bjorn" shooting a wonderful 80 and Phil in the foot!! I want to know how the Scott twins did? What are the chances of Ritchie Scott, one of a field of 92 amateurs, being drawn at random to partner Adam Scott from a field of 84 Pro's? Probably still better odds that a Joe Silva hole in one I suppose!!

 

Monday 22nd July.....news reaches me of a Hole in One.....30 years+ of playing the game and finally it drops.......my first thought was Joe!!!!! At Last!!! but no.....sadly that one is still unresolved and ongoing, the happy receipient of that one was Tim Bevan whilst playing for the scratch team at The Millbrook....which also precludes him from appearing on our hole in one page as they only count for that if it happens here!! A man with a real sense of perfect timing, Tim also managed to arrive at the bar when only the two teams were present and so got away with only 10 drinks!!

 

Tues 16th July...The weekend saw the ultimate challenge, the Club Scratch Championship, 36 holes, strokeplay, gross scores only, lowest score wins. This year we had the added challenge of searing heat, 24 players took up the challenge, and, subject to the posting of the official result, Mick Parrett rolled back the years and recorded his 4th Club Championship, a mere 17 years since he won it for the first time in 1996!! Being out in that heat was one thing, walking some 8-9 miles, up hill and down dale, chasing a small white ball for the best part of 9 hours, whilst hitting it a grand total of 151 times is an achievement very few can manage anyway and certainly, on the day, no one could match. The winning margin was 4 shots from Steve Howarth in 2nd place on 155.

 

Sat 13th July....Alison led out the ladies for Vice Captains Day in the sunshine, a team event pink v purple to add a splash of colour to the event. Alison and two other members of the ladies section are below:

 

 

Tues 9th....so finally the story is clear.....Julie has enlightened me with her version of events...it does of course bear little resemblance to anyone else's which is no more than you would expect....for the sake of clarity....Julie and Anne had hit their 2nd shots, no one had played a wrong ball at that point.....Julie hit her 2nd out to the right, past the pylon in the rough. Despite this absolute, clear knowledge that her ball was somewhere in the rough on the right by the pylon, when she saw a ball on the left hand side of the fairway as she walked up, there was something of a blonde moment.....instead of questioning how a ball clearly hit into the rough by the pylon had mysteriously appeared on the left side of the fairway, without the sudden appearance of Derren Brown, David Blaine or even Paul Daniels as well, walked over to it, gave it a cursory glance and whacked it....Cliff is puzzled by the location from which the shot was played, and reasonably, asked if Julie had checked the ball was a Precept. "No" was the answer! Cliff, some distance away, but strangely, over by the pylon, in the rough, where he was looking for his ball from his tee shot, said "well there is your Precept over here" "Oh Golly gosh, how terrible, I must have played the wrong ball" is what Julie thought. "sh*t" is what she actually said. So Julie placed her club on the ground where she had hit the wrong ball from.....Paul (not Daniels) comes over the hill on 17 looking for his ball....Anne says she will go and retrieve the wrongly hit ball and runs!! (yes in that heat!!) off down the 9th to get it back....having run all the way to the ball, and back to Julie, Anne is somewhat hot and flushed...she shows the ball to Paul (not Daniels) who says it is not his, he is playing a Titleist not a Wilson Staff....Julie now decides to have a go at the running and runs off to the far side, over to Cliff, who is still vainly hunting for his ball......Julie explains that the ball Anne took back, was the wrong ball it was a Wilson and had he seen a Titleist with red dots on his perambulations through the right hand side rough, which was by now worn down to almost fairway height.... "yes that's here!" says Cliff "and the Wilson is mine!!" So eventually. all balls were returned to their rightful place, shots were played and the game continued. If you had a slow round on Sunday, you now know what the hold up was!! It was Cliff's fault, for not finding his ball quicker, and hitting it. Had he done so, Anne could not have picked up the wrong ball and run off with it.......and the rest would never had happened.......

 

Tues 9th.....the ladies, still in the process of clarifying what actually went on on the 9th hole on Sunday, have as a side issue and also gleefully rubbing salt into the wounds, pointed out that they still have Cally and Sue contesting the County Foursomes, now in the last 8, against Pavenham. Presumably we will hear more if they progress further!!

 

Tues 9th....ah.. actually I have now become confused myself......to clarify (some chance!!) Anne didn't hit a wrong ball Julie did. Julie hit it and realised it wasn't hers. Anne decided to help out, by retrieving the ball that was hit in error, but in error she picked up the wrong ball (Cliff's) which no one had hit (except Cliff off the tee) and took it over to Julie who then replaced the wrong ball in the place where she had hit the wrong ball from. Cliff, meanwhile was still searching for his ball in roughly the right place which had not been wrongly hit, just wrongly carried to the wrong place and wrongly replaced. Julie still appears to have hit a second wrong ball (Paul's) but I could be wrong on this. If Cliff had then played his ball, placed in the wrong place, he would have been wrong, but I am also unsure if he replaced the wrongly moved ball in the right place before playing it. If he didn't he was wrong.

Hopefully that is all clear now.

 

Tues 9th...for those of you following the saga of ladies playing with the mens balls, it would appear that the extremely confused position that we left it in last time has been muddied further.......Anne apparently, at no time played with any mens balls on the 9th. She simply retrieved a ball that Julie had played in error.... which turned out to be Husband Cliff's, so really there can't be too much of a problem playing with his.....except that if you read the full extent of the confusion that reigned, Julie also played with Pauls ball on the same hole!! Now this raises an interesting point, that Julie would have incurred a 2 shot penalty for playing the wrong ball (Cliff's). Having realised that, and then found another ball, and hit that (Paul's) Julie had effectively incurred the same 2 shot penalty twice in 2 strokes!! This is not a continuation of strokes at the same wrong ball (which would be ignored under the Rules), it is a new stroke at a second wrong ball!! What is yet to be determined, is if Julie ever found the correct ball and eventually played that!! Personally, I think there will be very few people who have managed to incur 4 penalty shots in 2 successive shots in their entire lifetime of playing golf. I would go as far as to say it is almost as rare as a Hole in One from Joe........

 

Mon 8th July.....it must be the heat......why else would there be 5 Medal cards, 2 from Saturday and 3 from Sunday, in the clear plastic envelop for handicap cards instead of in the wooden box marked "competition cards only" less than 2 ft away.....imagine playing golf in that heat for 4.5+hours, all that time effort and sweat and tears, to get an NR as your card is 2ft from where it should be!!

 

Mon 8th July.....it must be the heat!!! more from the medal on Sunday....

 

Paul Northcott, Steve King and Kelvin Weedon, had rounds that could only be described as ‘ Bertie Bassett’ ie allsorts. Paul Northcotts 3 OOB is already documented below, but there is more to it than that!! To be fair it was immesnely tough out there...there was a raging gentle breeze to contend with, along with the azure clear blue sky being ever so slightly obscured by the slightest wisp of a cotton wool cloud, all which would be difficult to contend with and would make club selection a real drama.....so the threeball took a genuine countdown score over the 6th and 7th holes, registering a 9,8,7,6,54 between them across the two holes, a total of 39 shots, or 15 over par for the two holes!!!! Paul Northcott claimed the 9 and the 4!! You would think that this would be enough excitement for one group, but it was but a gentle prelude to the penultimate hole....Steve Emmett's escapades with the 7th Hole were simply a warm up!!

 

Standing on the 17th  tee Paul hit a power draw…ok vicious hook towards the 9th .The line from the tee box appeared to be the edge of the left rough on 17 or edge of the 9th fairway, whilst his partners took a more traditional route down the middle of the 17th fairway….As he trudged mournfully to the left, shoulders slumped, head down, just wanting the torment to end, he crests the rise and sees a group playing the 9th consisting of Anne Isaac, Cliff Perry and The Lady Captain, Julie. Anne is walking purposefully toward the RIGHT of the 9th fairway. Paul is quietly wondering where his ball has disappeared to...is….Anne stops picks up a ball and waves to Paul and starts walking toward him ‘Sorry we played your ball, I’ll put it back as I have marked the spot’

(This of course begs the question as to WHY Anne marked the spot, did she KNOW she was playing the wrong ball before she hit it, marked it first considerately, whacked it, then went and got it back??? Why else would you mark the spot??) so the ball is replaced near the fairway bunker on 9….. Paul joins Anne looks down and sees that the ball Anne has replaced is not his ball….meanwhile Cliff is quietly minding his own business, looking for his ball down the right of the 9th …. Confusion reigns!!! ‘So where is my ball?’ asks Paul??  Then the Lady Captain arrives, also clasping a golf ball..... ‘is your ball a Titleist with two red spots?' asks Julie  ‘Yes’. says Paul. ‘Sorry I played it accidentally’ responds the LC!! There is a lot of accidental playing with the mens section balls by the Ladies going on if you ask me!! …..’er ok no problem’ said Paul, now reunited with his ball, but still confused….. Meanwhile Cliff is still mooching about down the rhs of 9 looking for his ball, which of course, if you have been following this, is now a good 120 yards behind him near the bunker on 9!!!! Seeing as Cliff must have seen his ball from the 9th tee, no one is any the wiser as to how it has arrived at the bunker on the left, other than Anne hit it by mistake, marked the spot and put it back!!

 

By now, a small crowd has gathered as Steve and Kelvin have finally joined the group. "what’s going on?" is the reasonable request from the two guys whose balls have not be played with by the ladies, to which Paul’s reply was …..’ I have no idea!!!’

 

You are not the only one Paul!!!

 

 

Mon 8th July....a suggestion from Pete Graydon about the Garmin watches..... which for those of you that use them will know that the back nine is a bit mixed up on their setup. As there is no way that we can rectify this, and they have been told countless times the hole order is wrong, Pete has suggested that anyone who owns a Garmin bombards them with requests to correct their error.... to assist in this matter, simply click the link below, fill the form in and send them an online report:

 

http://www8.garmin.com/cartography/forms/golfcourse.jsp

Other than the fact that they have the holes in the wrong order, the watches are really good, and I have a brand spanking new Garmin Approach S2 on my desk at the moment. Available on Amazon for 209, you can buy this one, in its box, off me for 199. First come 1st served.

 

Mon 8th July, Webby is in early, and the greenstaff are on the first round of cutting and maintenence....Rob sees Webby on the edge of the 12th green, about to putt, as he approaches with the greensmower......the dew on the grass gives Rob an indication that the irrigation system may have stopped, as he has put it onto a short program given the sunshine, ahead of his cutting....the system clearly has not watered the 12th ahead of him......as Webby pulls the clubhead back, the irrigation starts up on the 12th......the ball, which was virtually lying on top of one of our mini sprinklers is shot into the air like it is a bonus ball in a lottery machine, whilst Chris is forced to beat a hasty retreat to get out of the sprinklers arc!! shame the cameras don't reach that far!!

 

Mon 8th July......after a blistering weekend of sunshine, clearly the heat is having an effect on people.....the scratch team lost the plot completely and beat John O'Guant here on Saturday.....a result that is up there amongst the top 5 best ever results by a club team......but Mr Graydon could not even claim mental and physical exhaustion from that momentous result as he didn't play as the excuse for the following day, in the medal, he NR'd on the front nine to avoid the embarrassment of losing over 9 holes, head to head off scratch to Fee!!! Whilst a recovery of sorts was effected, an NR is an Nr and Fee's 42 points (with a blob!!) will probably be enough to win the Ladies Medal, and will no doubt provide ample opportunity for mentioning at dinner tables over the summer....  elsewhere on the course, the 6th Medal tee caused a few problems, for one three ball in particular, who liked the tee position so much they played shots from it (not including the penalties!!) Another of the Scratch team, Paul Northcott, was OOB three times, which really demonstrates the level of consistency that you need to achieve if you ever want to play scratch golf.......Immediate Past Captain Emmett negotiated the 6th with ease, but found the 7th more trying......finding the ditch/pond up near the green with the tee shot. Steve has always been an ambitious chap, so when he found a ball in the ditch, he opted to play it instead of taking a penalty drop, reckoning he could get it out and save his par......he made it far worse, as despite successfully extricating the ball with the first blow, and taking 2 furthers shots, he then realised that the very nice Srixon 4 was going to cause him a problem, in that he wasn't playing a Srixon 4!! The word Srixon should have been a clue as he wasn't even playing one of them!! So, a 2 shot penalty for playing a wrong ball, this time take a penalty drop chip it close, hole the putt for a 6 of which half of the strokes were penalties!!!!    

 

Tuesday 2nd July.....Get ready for Chaos!!! For those of you living in the Luton/Dunstable areas, you may already have experienced the delays in getting through Houghton Regis with the restructuring on the road junctions there. The good news is that these are just about finished. The bad news, is it is going to get worse.....a lot lot worse!!! The main access road, Poynters Road, is going to be shut completely for approx 8 - 11 weeks whilst they dig it up and completely rebuild it!! This is due to commence on Monday 8th July.

 

The easiest and most obvious routes will be to use the M1 or A5 to get to the Club, but if either of these gets jammed it could be very entertaining. The only person looking forward to this is Derek, who lives on Poynters Road and has been subjected to tens of thousands of vehicles passing his property everyday for decades. Derek informs me that he is going to take advantage of the expected peace and quiet for the duration of the works, to sunbathe nude in his front garden.

 

Sunday 30th June...the Pairs Championships.....always a potential source of good scoring, 4 ball better ball, get 2 players playing well and the course can be decimated......and so it was with Ray Bowles and Barry Lampard as they romped gleefully through the front 9 in a nett 29......they followed that with a par on 10 and were looking well set for a tremendous score.......Barry holed out for a 10 on the 11th, with Ray still some way from the hole having played 11......Chalgrave's own Amen Corner of 10 to 12..... (that's the hole numbers but can also be your score!!) can be an absolute score wrecker....so we will wait for the result to see if it has claimed another pair of victims!!!

 

Friday 28th June......the postie drops the mail into the office as he has done for the past 5 years or more.....and heads back to the front door....."cheers Graham, thanks" says Pete, as he has done apparently for the last 3 years......Clare looks baffled....."I'm sure that is Keith" she says......Pete heads for the front door...."See you Keith" he says to the departing back of the postie, who turns in response to the use of his name...."cheers" he says. "I have been calling you Graham every day for years," says Pete. "why didn't you say something?" "I've been called a lot worse" he says!! So, Pete has failed to get the name right of someone who he sees virtually every day....if you are a club member, and play less than 365 rounds per annum, don't expect Pete to recognise you then.......

 

Friday 28th June......finally, the answer that we have all been waiting for arrives.....was the 2 shot penalty dished out to the Captain, for being late,  crucial???....YES!! Round 2 of the Handicap Championship.....1st place Steve Howarth, Nett 69. 2nmd, on countback, inc a 2 shot penalty for being late....Captain Braveheart, nett 69!!!! LOL. To add insult to injury, yes the Club Captain DID also become the first Captain to get a 2 shot penalty and a handicap cut in the same event, getting promoted to Division A in the process!! In the overall scheme of things it made no difference to the final destination of the title, but still worth a chuckle or two....

 

Sunday 23rd June......after his late arrival on the tee, the administering of a 2 shot penalty for the first hole, the Club Captain was fired up and determined to avenge himself......like Braveheart on thebloody battlefield of Bannockburn, he tore into the opposition, smiting all before him as he plundered his way to a nett 67, plus the added 2 for a nett 69....when I heard the news, I scoured the Round 1 result to see what sort of position he was in after Round One, and whether the 2 shot penalty would affect the destination of the Handicap Championship......No, nett 79 last week......should have been late then Tim, it clearly provides a level of motivation!!!! It does of course beg the question, will the Captain be the first Club Captain to receive a 2 shot penalty AND a reduction in Handicap in the same round???

 

Sunday 23rd June.......the Club Captain, who has the opportunity to select his preferred start time in competitions for his year of Captaincy, gets a 2 shot penalty for being late on the first tee for Round 2 of the Handicap Championship, having cut it finer than the finest silk last week!! He arrives at the bar at 9.47 for a 9.48 start time!!! Is there any sympathy, a thought of granting a concession, seeing as it the Club Captain?? No chance!!

 

Fri 21st June....today is the longest day..... grey and miserable...and that is just Pete in the bar, let alone worrying about the weather!! So from tomorrow, we are heading back towards winter......

 

Thurs 20th June...the molers are in as usual, and the greenstaff are working on the 11th, sorting out the wet spot just beyond the ditch on the left....I pop down to see them and they are seriously in play down there!! They park the van, just beyond the ditch, broadside on, so that IF (and it would appear that not everyone does!!) someone shouts "fore" to indicate a ball is heading in their direction, then they have the van to hide behind...."fore" come the shout, the greenstaff abandon the conversation I am having with them and head for safety, leaving me looking like a deaf meerkat oblivious to the impending attack of a tiger...."clang" goes the side of the van on impact......and the angle of deflection is perfect and the ball now nestles nicely in the bottom of the ditch!! Ron Gray arrives in his buggy to survey the aftermath.....an hour or so later, I saw him in the carpark.....did you put the penalty shot on your card then for the ball in the ditch on 11? I asked...John Townley, also still in the buggy and just having lost to Ron by 1 shot....perked up immediately!! Ron was of the opinion that the drop should have been a free one because the van "should not have been there!!" I pointed out, that if the van had been short of the ditch, and had stopped his ball from rolling into the ditch, he would not have added a penalty shot as a result!!  The van is an obstruction, moveable if you ask the greenstaff nicely, immoveable if you don't!!

 

Thursday 13th June....After having one or two complaints at the bar about the news page not being updated, I've taken it upon myself to answer the calls of certain disgruntled members not getting their dose of Rumball humour. Various occurrences have happened over the past week, Alan Graystone tries to break the club record of hitting the 9th pylon as many times as possible in a row, only managing 4 before magnificently slicing the ball over the top of myself and Matt Howarth standing on the 17th fairway... I've been informed the current record is 7 by an unknown suspect, you can happily take the silver medal though Alan!

 

Earlier in the week, the usual suspects venture down the club on Tuesday to play their normal 9 holes. I am pleased to announce Joe Silva has broken the duck and finally got his first hole in one on the 7th. Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with a golf ball! As he slowly ventures down towards the 7th green on the left hand side, Joe graciously slips and loses control of the under power golf trolley, which is heading straight for the 7th pond! His attempts to stop it in vain, Joe watches his trolley sail into the 7th pond! Luckily Joe regained balance at the crucial time, precariously sitting on the edge of the pond and narrowly avoiding the same fate as his trolley... Drinks all round Joe!

 

Yesterday saw another member of the Hole in One club inducted, Dave Bryant aces the 7th (funnily enough a day after Joe did it himself) with an 8 iron. He comes in, big grin on his face. Part of that was down to the Hole in One, the other half was down to the fact himself and Colin Bynoe were the only people on the course!! Dave splashed out on a big round though, 3 drinks... one for me, Colin and himself!

 

Let us see what the end of the week brings us. With Steve on holiday in France I'm sure things can only go wrong!!!

 

Tues 4th June.....more from the seniors......Terry Payne arrives bright and early for his bacon roll and coffee, has a great chat with all his mates, goes down to the 1st tee to see Senior Captain Ray Tilcock hit a stonking tee shot to drive in and start his year, wanders back up to his car, collects his clubs and stuff and goes back in to see what tee he is down to start from.....he is not!! Despite being here for well over an hour, and the entry system being electronic and a simple two key strokes......Terry has forgotten both of them and not actually entered at all!!! It was rather like the fable of the Pied Piper of Hamlyn, all of the rest had disappeared, leaving Terry to play a few holes on his todd, despite the fact that 50 of his mates were all over the course!! Seems like a normal seniors Tuesday really!!!! 

 

Tues 4th June.....Seniors Captains Drive In.....Ray Tilcock takes the reins of the Seniors....and with the sun shining and the prospect of a free bacon roll before they start, the seniors are flooding in.....Steve Howarth is at the coffee machine, cussing and cursing. He has about 8 in various coins littered across the table that the machine has failed to accept, and about another 3.50 worth in his hand still to try.....I helpfully point out the various coins that might work..."try that 20p" "what about that 10p" until we have exhausted the entire repertoire of his change......his cussing and cursing has reached epic proportions, so I helpfully pointed out that the machine was on free vend........ simple, childish, and very funny!!

 

Ray has brought in a set of persimmon drivers and woods for the longest drive competition on the 4th...I may have made an error here as I put the marker just the other side of the ditch!! I don't think anyone will reach that with them!! There has been some reminiscing on their appearance, not so much of " I remember these when I was a lad......" more "I'm sure that is my old set!"

 

Sat 1st June.....High Quality Jumpers = High Quality Golf.......The scratch team have just taken delivery of their fantastic new Pro-Quip Jumpers, superb value at just 47...these things normally retail at about 55 without embroidery!! They arrive at Beds & County GC for their match, and set the tone immediately, with a swift lager to warm up.....Mick Parrett, stalwart of the scratch team for so many years, leads off for the team, and absolutely smashes his drive 9 yards......he would have been short of the pond if we had been at home......his opponent is clearly unnerved by the skill and precision that it takes to hit a ball with that sort of clubhead speed, but only move it a tiny distance.......but he demonstrates that this will be a tough match, by out doing Mick, by hitting it 5 yards!!! Yes, you did read the 1st line correctly, this is the scratch team!!! Things did, to be fair, improve!! Captain Matt Howarth had a stormer, winning his match 6&5, Mick Parrett and Tim Bevan also won their matches by considerable margins, Cliff Perry won on the last hole, and Dave Bromley was 4 down with 5 to play......at which point he decided to play properly and halved his match!! An away win, 4.5 to 0.5!! For the scratch team!! We will have to put a stop to this, people will think we are a proper golf club..... 

 

Friday 31st May......Steve Emmett's final day as Captain of Chalgrave, and what a totally memorable one it has turned out to be as well.......El Capitano is with a group of Chalgrave mates on their annual pilgrimage to Ullersthorpe in Leicestershire.......he has arrived for a three day golfing and socialising  extravaganza, minus every single item of golfing clothing he intended to take with him........a few weeks ago some toerags nicked his car with his clubs in the boot, but these were subsequently recovered in Houghton Regis...(the local plod....and El Capitano have not yet put 2 and 2 together and made the connection that the incoming Capitano lives in HR!!!!)..... but losing your own golfing gear without the intervention of the toerags is quite an achievement!!!! Steve is currently having to shell out for golf clothing from the pro shop, to see him through the next three days!!!  

 

Tues 28th May....Seniors.....and there is such propensity for confusion to reign here today.....there appears to have been a minor printing error with the scorecards...in that the occasional card is printed the same on both sides, some have 2 adverts and no scorecard at all, but what is going to cause the mayhem is that some have scorecards printed on both sides........I can see it now....that someone will reach the 6th, get the card out to mark up the score for the 5th hole, and see a blank card!!! confusion will reign as they hunt for the "proper" card, convinced that they have been filling in the card correctly on every one of the first 4 holes previously.....what chance do you think there is of them having a "spare" duplicated card in their bag, rewriting that one and then another 6 holes later being confronted with yet another blank card!!

 

Chris Baker comes into the office, extolling the virtues of a course he played over the weekend, 2 rounds, with a buggy and a bacon roll...50 for the day....said it was wonderful value.....he looked less impressed when I said I was happy to let him have his subs at 18,250 per annum....and I would throw in the buggy and the bacon roll free every day.....I even offered to better the deal and give him a free pint as well, but for some reason he has declined....

 

Tues 21st May....suggestions for the Channel 4 documentary title.....CountUp......Dff'rent Strokes....if it turns out to be Pete who was in error, how about Gray(dons) Anatomy....

 

Tues 21st May....Keith Esden comes up with the most implausible excuse for not paying his subs.....I have been sorting out the seniors and I finally get back to my office...underneath the computer mouse is an envelope with my name on it, written in that flowing posh looking script that comes from being at school when pens had proper ink, desks had inkwells and probably the pens had feathers still attached too......so I lift open the flap to reveal its contents.....its empty!! The most perfectly presented envelope, uncreased, beautifully written but devoid of all content.....I shrug my shoulders, certain that the reasons will become apparent in due course......they do, just 5 minutes later, as the Seniors are on their way out, Keith pops his head around the door to enquire if I had got his subs.... I asked if the envelope, beautifully calliographed, was his. Yes thats mine, said Keith proudly. Empty, I said, beautifully done, but empty. No form, no cheque, nothing, nada, zilch...not even sealed....the car is searched, and eventually Keith phones home, where the mystery is solved.....having written so nicely on the envelope, the cheque had been put into a different one, which then was discarded by tearing it up, with the cheque inside it, and putting it in the bin!!! Original, Keith, I will give you that!!!

 

Mon 20th May, news from the weekend...the clubmatch away at Beadlow, arrangements are made for Webby to collect John Natus from his Flitwick home enroute to Beadlow...this surely cannot be complicated......but is the longstanding traditions of Chalgrave is becomes very complicated....Webby sets off in good time, armed with detailed directions of how to find John's place....to my mind, having viewed the required route, these instructions would have amounted to "turn left off main road, take the 2nd right and then 2nd left - house is 50 yards up on the left". Seeing as all of the road names are birds, Lark, Kestrel, Eagle etc etc, there was a reasonable clue that you must be in the right area as well!!! ...as usual, I digress..... however simple it might appear on paper, things were not so simple in real life, and Webby was lost....so he decides to ring John for assistance.....regrettably, he has forgotten his mobile, and the technological advances of the past 2 decades, and our absolute reliance upon them are thrown into sharp focus....unable to comprehend pressing the button to wind down his windows and ask, Webby scours Flitwick for that most elusive of items these days, a public phone box....despite being unable to find a bloody great house, he finds a phone.....except it follows in the great traditions of the British phone box, and is out of order!! Miraculously, again despite the fact that it would be far easier to find the house, he finds a second box!! Again the Out of Order scenario raises its head and so he capitulates, ignoring the environmental catastrophe in doubling his journey and burning our limited supply of fuels, he heads back to Tebworth to collect his phone so that he can drive back to Flitwick, get lost in the same location and phone John for directions.....as he does so, he sees a car flashing its lights wildly, which he took to assume that the driver coming the other way had spotted another public phone that he could use....it was of course John Natus who had given up waiting and was making his own way to Beadlow!! Webby makes it home, gains possession of his mobile, rings John and struggles to understand the conversation, thinking the line was very poor.....it wasn't, it was simply muffled and garbled  as John was chomping his way through two Bacon Rolls at Beadlow.....well Webby was going to be too late to have one, so it would have been rude to leave it.....eventually, Webby arrives to jeers and catcalls of his teammates......

 

Mon 20th May......oooooh eeeerrrr...... Channel 4's "Cutting Edge" team are desperately trying for the TV rights for a new "fly on the wall" documentary to be filmed in a household in Toddington......the base for the documentary will be the heated discussion on whose job it was to ensure that the card was signed either by the player or the marker, after a 1st place equalling score in the Mixed Greensomes, which subsequently resulted in a DQ under Rule 6 - 6b, and the ensuing fallout over the week ahead......suggestions for the Title would be appreciated...

 

Monday 13th May.....more reports from the Ladies......Fee Knight won through to the Final of the County Matchplay and narrowly lost on the final green, a final, single putt on the last!! What a great effort!! John O Gaunt have felt the steely determination of our ladies with a vengeance this weekend....Sue and Cally played a round of the County Foursomes here at Chalgrave and KO'd their opponents from JOG. Even more impressive, was Karen and Lorain who played away at JOG, against the Lady Captain and a past Captain and beat them 4 and 3 on their own course!!!  Meanwhile, news from the Men and their attempts to make the 4th round of the Daily Mail seems to have gone very quiet.......from which I assume that we are now ignoring the competition until it starts again next year!!!

 

Sunday 12th May.....I missed a sight worth seeing today.....but as reported from me by Vince Hasker, whilst he was on the 17th green, a deep and unmistakable sound of engines filled the sky.....and then slowly, gloriously, one of the few remaining airworthy Lancaster bombers flew overhead, waggling its wingtips slightly as I had asked, to acknowledge the final few days of Capitano Emmett's year.  I have been known to occasionally embellish a story to suit an occasion.......there is also no truth in the rumour that Vince had hurled himself into the bunker, acrobatically somersaulting and rolling into position, before firing his make believe AA gun (otherwise known as his putter) at the departing twin tails of the iconic bomber. 

 

Friday 10th May...the 9 hole competition on the back 9 was carnage in the winds.....Martin Wilkinson sneaked into 10th place for 4 points thansk to a monster total of 9 stableford points!!!! When you consider that 23 handicapper Martin, birdied the 11th for a 3 and 5 stableford points on a single hole....it was a chance that got away really!! The 12th hole won convincingly.....stroke index 1 showed every single one of its teeth..... 15 players managed just 5 stableford points between them on it, and every single one of them got at least 1 shot on it!!

 

Thurs 9th May...the medal results are in and clearly the course is playing a bit harder from its full length that it has done for a while!! Division A was won with a score above par, whilst the top 3 only in Divison B were at par or better......the 10th accounted for some of this as well, with a particularly tough pin position, where once the ball was below the hole, there was nothing to stop it....whilst it clearly was borderline, I can also point out that there were a total of 11 two's on the whole course in the competition, of which 5 were on the 5th, 3 were on the 10th, 2 on the 13th and 1 on the 7th.....so does that make the 16th the hardest par 3??

 

Friday 3rd May..... The greenstaff, in their "Grass Roots" update, reveal that they are one step ahead of the buggy users.....we know there is a perception that one or two buggies are faster than the others....and so people tend to take one particular buggy more often than other ones.......

...but the greenstaff have now revealed that the moment they recognise that one buggy is favoured above the others, they swap the windscreens over so that the numbers change!!!

Now you may think then, that you can combat this by taking a different buggy each time, as the likelihood of selecting the "faster" buggy must be greater if you DON'T use the one you had last time....except that occasionally, we go with the double bluff and DON'T change the numbers over.....

 

Mon 29th April....I'm not suggesting that the ladies are trying to wind the men up....but.....they have checked their records and Cally has in fact reached the 4th round twice, once with Kay and once with Sue.....

 

Monday 29th April....a note from the Captain......I still find it incomprehensible that anyone would want to sit down at a spreadsheet and record 181 blobs, 243 3 putts and 17 balls left in a bunker.....after a bad round, I just want to forget, not relive it!!!

 

As we approach the end of April I am going to freeze the pars and birdies so that we can start to collect the money prior to presenting the cheque.  The final declared numbers are 424 pars, 32 birdies. So anyone sponsoring me (or still wishing to) will pay out 4.24 + 1.60 for a total of 5.84. I also had 551 single putts and hit the fairway on 980 occasions.  I incurred the following penalties of 181 blob 243 3 puts and 17 balls left in a bunker which will cost me another 22. 05.

 

Fri 26th April....in early as we are all off on the Captains Awayday....Ray Tilcock, Seniors Captain, arrives with his personal porter - Ray is carrying a couple of golf bags with shoes in them....Neil Tabor is carry two complete trolleys!! It seemed churlish to point out that putting them down and using the wheels would have been an option worth considering....

 

...and whilst we are all out (including Joe"I haven't got one Silva" on a jolly at Kingsthorpe....Ron Tipping becomes the first to record an ace, with a nifty 5 iron on the 7th from the new grass tee......so clearly the new pond and the slight change in angle which makes the pond look very much in play, has no effect!!

 

Thurs 25th April....the numbers in our Ladies section may be a tad small, but they are making themselves known in the county events....Anne and Lorain played in the 4BBB at Leighton Buzzard this week and snapped up the 2nd place with 40 pts....with Anne now having two top two finishes in 2 weeks at LB.... Anne "the Buzzard" Isaac.....mess with her at your peril!!!!!

 

Monday 22nd April.....the beautiful weather, bright sunshine and almost a hint or warmth getting through the cold wind, shows that the signs of Spring are appearing...the grass is starting to thicken up, the trees and starting to go into leaf, and the cabriolet roofs on the cars come down........ Paul Godfrey provided the entertainment the other day, with the automatic roof down, in full view of the clubhouse and the ladies section, decided to pose a bit......casually pressing the button to activate the roof, the mechanism starts to operate before trapping something extremely valuable in the mechanism.....now those of you wondering how on earth he got that caught....should clean out your minds and stop making up your own jokes.....as it was his golf clubs that he managed to jam the roof with.....with the Ladies in tears of mirth, he refused to get out of the car to rectify the problem, instead opting to shove the whole lot out of the passenger side at a rapid rate, from the drivers seat, sending bag and all simply crashing to the ground.....the Ladies, by now, were howling with laughter....Paul, after locking the roof in place, then he to get back out of the car to retrieve the clubs.... I am waiting to hear exactly when and where this occurred.....so I can try and find it on the CCTV!!!!!

 

Monday 22nd April....as the news came in from Vice and Vice Vice ( see April 19th below) the ladies were at it as well....with Anne Isaac triumphing at Leighton Buzzard, with the best gross in the Ladies county Division 2 Spring Meeting. Fee came in 2nd as well, on countback with the best nett....so our Ladies are making their presence felt!! Fee will be in the County Cup now at South Beds, so "good luck" Fee, we will start to create a gap in the Ladies Cabinet for a County trophy!!! Sue Wade played for the Beds Lady Captains against the mens Past Captains at Beadlow and came 4th, whilst Anne and Alison took on Woburn (at home!) in the Daily Mail, and unfortunately lost the 18th and the match on that final hole. What a great effort against 2 13 handicappers from Woburn!!

 

Our ladies are definitely a feisty bunch, and the comment about a club record for Vice and Vice Vice for making the 3rd round of the Daily Mail provoked howls of derision, pointing out the fact that Cally and Kay lost to Northampton County Ladies in the 4th Round in 2008, so Vice and Vice Vice still have 36 holes to play before they catch up!! So the gauntlet has been laid down.....the Ladies have said "Yah   Boo!!" to the Mens 2nd round win....will there be a suitable response on the golf course, will Vice and Vice Vice be goaded into a superlative effort to win the next one, to have a chance of taking the Club Record off the Ladies??? watch this space!!!!!!

 

Monday 22nd April.....Chris Baker pops his head around the door and asks if I have a spare golf jacket as he has forgotten his and it is a tad colder than it looks out there.... being the helpful chap I am, I told him to grab my Calloway jacket from behind the door and use that...."it fits me fine so you will be ok! I said.....it will be bl**dy massive" says Chris.....who then froze his n*ts of on the golf course as he was right first time...he didn't have a jacket!!!! Cheeky sod!!!!

 

Friday 19th April......news from the Vice and Vice Vice....otherwise known as Braveheart and Big Steve....our intrepid warriors in the Daily Mail took the battle to Aspley Guise on their own course......and triumphed 3 and 2!!! Into the third round, could actually be a club record!!!

 

Tues 16th April.....as we move back into the main competition season, with all sorts of stuff going on, competitions, scratch matches, handicap league matches and club matches, I usually consider buying shares in Tippex as the worldwide sales must triple based upon just how many alterations are made to our start and entry sheets......but clearly some reasons for dropping out are unavoidable and some players go to extreme lengths to avoid doing so, or to ensure that their late withdrawal does not impact upon the rest of the teams....however, Friday saw one of the most dedicated and determined efforts ever seen at this club in almost 20 years......Tim Smith, on Friday had a heart attack! Thankfully, the news is good and he is OK. He rang Mick Yule, whilst in the back of the ambulance on the way to hospital, to say "Hi Mick, I can't play tomorrow, I'm having a heart attack!!!" Mick, by all accounts, simply accepted this explanation as being reasonable, said "thanks for letting me know, I'll find someone to take your place" and hung up!!!

 

Mick also makes the headlines on his own as he sent me a text by mistake on Sunday, meant for someone else....the gist was that he would be late for work on Monday as he had a medical appointment..... in this world of texting, where punctuation is non existent, this can lead to misunderstandings....I'm not sure if the text was meant to read, "got an appointment for skin clinic" or "got an appointment. Foreskin clinic". Classic!!

 

Monday 15th April.....Harry Lyons came in to say he had changed his mind and was still going to renew at the end of the month. A couple of weeks back he had said he might wander off to pastures new. I said there is good news and bad news Harry....the good news is that your membership is still available and we will be delighted to have you back....."what's the bad news then?" said Harry. Your bonus ball money would have been due last weekend, but as you were not renewing, the ball (No 6) was passed on to John Trott. Last week, Sat 13th April, Ball 6 was the bonus ball!!! Ouch!!

 

Sunday 14th April...well the first major of the season comes to a close and what an event it was......and then it was home to watch the Masters!! Despite the absolute edge of the seat, nailbiting stuff from Cabrera and Scott, they simply cannot compete with the all out action of the Chalgrave Spring Trophy.....at at this point I have no idea who has won!!!! The forecast was for a south south easterly, blowing at a minimum of 25mph.....in laymans terms it was brutal!!! The 8th, the new 12th and the 15th and 16th played right into the teeth, as did the opening tee shot on the 1st. It was not for the faint hearted!! I met up with Kelvin as he stood on the 15th Tee, doing a very good impersonation of a hamster that had been stuffing his mouth pouches on one side only......whilst playing the 11th, with a tree rather blocking the next shot, Kelvin played the hero shot, aiming for a small gap....it was smaller than he thought, as the ball came straight back, hit him full in the face incurring him a 2 shot penalty!!! You could tell that the impact was quite severe, as when he smiled on the 15th tee, he had about 235 dimples on his left cheek......

 

Charlie Lee found the new ditch across the 14th and was less than impressed with having to take a penalty drop, but I went a tad better, smashing my drive on the 14th slightly right and landing just behind the digger......except the ball clearly decided to bounce and appeared on the far side, in the GUR right between the two front tracks!!! If the ball was another couple of feet forwards, I would have had a proper shot at it.....I was tempted to try and start the digger and move it back a fraction, as the ball was sitting quite nicely!!! In the end, I had no choice but to take a free drop out of the GUR.....but whereas the World No1 clearly can decide to pinch a couple of yards if it suits him, the nearest point of relief was to the right of the digger, which then meant that I was completely blocked out by the huge lime tree and the digger itself....so I zapped it up to the 15th tee and came back in that way......Aidan was out with Darryl for the second week in a row, Darryl commended his performance, saying that Aidan was much better than last week.....he made it to the 17th this time before he lost the scorecard!!!! 

 

 

Thursday 11th April .... Paul Northcott is clearly bored at work, and has browsed through the draw for the handicap KO.....and wants to know when Merv's twin brother, soul singer extraordinaire, Marvin Whitten joined us!!! Robbie Peck apparently has "heard it through the grapevine" that  Marvin has said "Lets get it on" !!!   I am more concerned with the fact that for yet another year, I am in the preliminary round.......

 

Elsewhere, the ladies are performing well in the County events, Alison and Anne will be hosting Woburn here in the next round of the Daily Mail, after winning away at Beadlow, whilst in the County Foursomes, Chris and Sarah got a bye from Beadlow and play Bedford at home, whilst Karen and Lorraine beat Mount Pleasant and Cally and Sue won away at Dunstable Downs. The last two pairings both have matches against John O'Gaunt in the next round, so seeing as Cally works at JOG there is a bit of an opportunity for early mind games......or even sabotage??? No, we don't need to do that!!!   

 

Tues 9th April, the seniors are in for the Medal and the buggies are back out.....clearly they are not fazed by the new hole, as all four players in one fourball shape up for a birdie chance.......

 

 

either that, or the swan has its head firmly screwed into place, and has decided that the safest place to be is on the fairway in front of them.....my money is on the swan actually.....

 

Sun 8th April, I venture out to play the medal, accompanied by son Aidan and also Darryl. It was never going to be dull!!!! Aidan commenced proceedings by hooking the litter bin on the 1st with his bag and strewing the entire contents all over the place before he realised his bag was heavier than he thought as he dragged the whole bin 10 yards.....as we reached the edge of the 1st green, the bin scenario raised its head again, as Aidan announced that he had in fact put my scorecard into the bin by mistake as he cleared up!!! He then consumed both of his drinks whilst playing the 2nd and made a swift detour to the proshop after the 3rd to refill, lost his glove on the course, needed to borrow a pencil on every hole as he had lost his own on the 2nd, borrowed a pitchfork from me which he never used as he missed every green from any distance and lost his glove on the back 9 bee line for the bin on the 3rd tee when he arrived at the green!!! Apart from that it was a quiet round!!! I had a decent front 9, then smashed the tee shot on 11 OOB, and then after pointing out to my playing partners that the OOB was on both sides of the new 14th hole, I then smashed it way right and OOB!! A three putt from 4 ft on the 7th, a 6 on the 3rd when I was on the fringe for 2 and despite all of that I finished with a nett 73, so it could have been pretty good......oh well, there is always next time!!! 

 

Fri 5th April.....the new hole is open, playing downwind, downhill in a gale....from the mat, (for this weekend) I think the reservoir may be gettable....and then I get a text from the Scratch Team Captain, Matt H who has just driven the green!!!!......a round the dogleg, that is about 375 yards.....in a straight line it is still over 330 yards......

 

Thurs 4th April....I am out on the course with Rob as we discuss the new shape for the 8th fairway, as the new hole has been cut and will be in play anytime now.....so we don't want to cut the 8th fairway where it was last year.....I parked the tractor I was driving and wandered over to discuss options with Rob, and we headed off down the hill to agree where the left hand edge should be cut.....all agreed and I am on my way back to the tractor at the top of the hill.....meanwhile, back on the 8th Tee, Dave Burden has arrived, and relishing the opportunity of the howling gale from directly behind, lashes one off down the fairway, striking the tractor and rebounding 80 yards back towards the tee!!! Seconds later, I arrive at the tractor, mount up and drive it away......perfect timing all round!!!

 

Thurs 4th April....I arrive for work to find Peter Kay in as normal, but looking very worried........it turns out that Pete has seen the "Sorry You're Leaving" card that is on the bar (for Hannah) opened it up to see what it is about, and the first entry he read was one that said "Good Luck Pete". 2 and 2 made 5!! The good luck message was from "Pete", to Hannah, but I could see where he was coming from!!! 

 

Tues 2nd April...Richard "Trickshot" Muckleston has had a normal round of golf with nothing particularly spectacular occurring, until he arrives back in the clubhouse, buys a coffee for his playing partner and is feeding the machine more coins for his own, misses the slot, drops the coin which bounces twice, somersaulting on both occasions before holing out in the full cup of coffee with the grace and style of Tom Daley.....Ken Goodland looked astonished, it was clearly the only thing Richard had holed all day.....

 

Tues 2nd April....it has come to my attention that Dave Ballard may not have come back into the clubhouse following the April Fool gag on Monday, and so may still be blissfully unaware that the 15Kg weight limit for bag, clubs, trolley, battery and 3 bottles of lucozade is a spoof......

 

Tuesday 2nd April....The return of drawn start times for the medals has returned and clearly even long standing members are suffering memory loss already this year, as the notices which tell you to get staff to alter the entry sheets , not do it yourself, are ignored.... resulting in Mark Beaney and Ronnie Cooper putting their own names down...to play in the Ladies Medal on Saturday!!! Meanwhile, the seniors are arriving, and they have a new boy....Hugh Kerr is making his Tuesday debut today.....and having spent 14 years at Chalgrave carefully honing his skills to a tidy 14 handicap, he has paid his Seniors Dues and been cut to 10 in under 2 minutes......

 

Meanwhile, yesterday we had a pair of Senior Swans on the course, captured beautifully by Paul Jones, although the photo does appear slightly staged....after all, in the background, there are 2 balls only a few feet from the flag..... but these are clearly senior swans.....after all, why the hell would you have a swim in the bunker on the 12th, when  less than 70 yards away is a bloody great pond, unless you were as barking mad as our seniors.....

 

 

Monday 1st April.......Readers of the home page prior to this news page, will have seen the new Rule amendment from the R&A, which gives a maximum of 15Kg weight for a players total equipment.....which therefore includes the trolley with it battery....after all, if you hit your trolley battery with a sliced shot on the course, with your ball, it will incur you penalty shots, so it must be your equipment!! A whole range of people, from Mike Kent, to Charlie Lee, Mark Beaney and many many more have succumbed to my persuasive arguments, even though the Rules Officer from the R&A who appends his name to this missive is no other then Mr Andy P Rilphool, (or AP Rilphool Esq!!)....how ever, the star of the show has to be Dave Ballard.....he and I have had a 30 minute + conversation at the bar at how far reaching the stupidity of EU working time regulations are.. ...these being the source of the new rule, as it is designed to prevent pro caddies having to stop working due to bad backs....but there are still lots of young lads at golf courses across the country who caddy for pocket money, so their backs need protecting to....after all, in my day, I carried a bloody heavy bag full of the daily newspapers around my paper round, hating Sunday with the ultra thick editions with a vengeance....these days, the modern paperboy has a nice wheeled trolley to assist him...all this was discussed at length, cementing the concept firmly into reality.......as always, there is an icing on the cake...a moment that tells you that you have got your victim, hook, line and sinker.....and that moment came when I retrieved the postage scales from the office, weighed a bottle of Lucozade sport, which came in at fractionally over 520g...or 0.5 Kg meaning that Dave's regular 3 lucozades in his bag amount to 10% of his total weight allocation!!!!! Instead of clearly seeing that this must be a wind up, he was most indignant!!! He even pointed out that if he drank them in the course of the round, he would be well within the limit by the 18th green....I pointed out he would fail the weight test on the 1st and he headed out to play muttering curses under his breath......Fortunately, it is 10.45 am now, by the time he gets back in, Aidan will have taken over and I will be safely off site.....

 

You would think that after disinfecting equipment to stop the spread of disease, cyanide gas masks on the 10th as we are gassing moles, dead bodies discovered in the woods, and so many more that I have forgotten them....that I would tire of dreaming up the childish pranks....no chance!!! Those determined not to be caught should set an alarm date on the mobiles for 12 months time...... 

 

Friday 29th March....Alan Laid and Peter Whitton are in the clubhouse, preparing the ground for the start of the seniors matches.....Peter asks when the new hole will be open and the course back to its normal layout, as Alan wants to get the scorecards ready for the first match. They are concerned that they will prepare the cards and then we will revert to the old layout. I am somewhat baffled, and I was worried about alzheimers, as I clearly had forgotten that a seniors match was imminent.......but no.......it turned out that their first home match is on 16th May, 48 days away!! So Alan has to write out one card every 2 days to be ready in time!!! Nothing like pre planning is there???

 

Thursday 28th March...well at least we are open.....still snowbound in places, but the greens are clear and golfers are out on the course.....the usual enthusiastic and boisterous groups are in, Ian Hillier, Gary Pratten and Barry Lampard amongst them. As they head up the 5th, approaching the bunker, they are discussing one of their earlier rowdy nights out...."he's no angel" was the comment directed at Ian Hillier... "yes I am" says IH and jumps into the snow filled bunker and makes one!! A Chalgrave Snow Angel, complete with beer bottle.....

 

 

 

childish but funny......

 

Monday 18th March.....well personally, as an optimist, I think things are much improved......after all, when, on Friday, I declared the 12th and 13th reopen and suitable for play, I felt that there were probably no more than 10 - 12 remaining heavily saturated points on the course where the ground conditions were really bad.......after installing miles of drainage and ditches, today, there is just one spot remaining.......regrettably it covers the whole damn course!!!!   Then Derek Fulbrook arrives for his regular daily constitutional....."it looks a bit wet out there, did it rain yesterday then??" Regular playing partner Ronald, long used to these sort of missives from Derek, well even he looked stunned!! Methinks it is going to be a long day......

 

Sun 17th March.....St Patricks Day and we have Andy Ogden, a few other members and some mates in for the St Paddys Golf Day.....At 10.30, when they actually went out onto the course, the greens had snow on them.....thankfully, the snow rapidly disappeared, washed away by the monsoon that followed.....it was utterly torrential for four solid hours, the 18th green started to flood at about 11.00am and by 2.00pm was almost 50% covered in water and there were two rivers, marginally smaller than the raging Colorado, flowing down the green.......so you have to say, that when the St Paddy's Golf Day finally arrived, putted out on 18, allowing for both the break of the green and the flow of the water, and trundled off the course at anything from 3.00pm to the last group just before 4.00pm, you really have to be impressed!! Absolutely start raving bonkers, the lot of them..... I have seen Chalgrave Members play in the most horrendous conditions over the years, stoic determination to overcome the absolute worst that the weather can throw at them to get their golf in......and these guys, the majority of them our guests for the day, are not even members.....I would, however, be proud to have them on board (pun intended!!) These are the sort of people this club needs.....stark raving mad ones!! They would fit in very nicely!

 

Thursday 14th March.....progress continues apace on the 12th, land drain pipes installed, back filled with stone and sand, all by hand...we have one more trench to do closer to the main ditch, but there is a possibility that we may reopen 12 and 13 for this weekend. The fairway area short of the ditch is now much drier, although there are still one or two wet puddles where the water is still sitting on the surface and with insufficient slope to carry this away and the ground freezing overnight at the moment it is not moving as fast as I would like. The final trench should help clear this.

 

The molers were in this morning and for a moment I thought that they had elected themselves a new leader, but I was mistaken...it was just Dave Burden, Mick Moulton and Alan Loveday huddled together having a fag, and doing a fair impersonation of the Sistine Chapel chimney with its white smoke!!

 

Tuesday 12th March.....oh my lord....-3 and a wind chill of at least another -10......so as you would expect, about 20 seniors head out onto the course for a social round!!! Just to be on the safe side, I checked to ensure that those that were venturing out were up to date with their subs or not due for renewal for a few months.....I'm such a considerate soul, I know.....to give you some idea of how cold it is, Brian Gidley is NOT wearing shorts....

 

Monday 11th March.....the greenstaff are out in conditions of -2 with a windchill of another -10 at least.....Chris Baker is daft enough to attempt to play a few holes....how mad to you have to be, to drive from Milton Keynes to Chalgrave, to play golf on your own in temperatures that would have made Captain Oakes think twice about going out for a little while......he reasonably capitulated after 3 holes, looking suitably shell shocked at the onslaught....the greenstaff are led on their mission to complete the drainage works by Rob "I've got 8 fleeces on" Parr.....The downside to the number of fleeces is that Rob, a chunky unit anyway, was a sizeable unit as a result, and was at risk of being blown around by the strong winds....the rest of the team could be regularly seen manoeuvring their working position so that they were directly downwind and were using Rob as a human, fleece lined, windbreak....the drainage works are progressing well, although the tears that were pouring from their eyes from the biting wind were  rather counterproductive...despite the conditions, a two ball arrived at mid day, and completed 9 holes!! The "never say die" attitude that gave us an Empire and put the Great into Britain, is alive and kicking at Chalgrave.....

 

Sunday 10th March.....The Razz Pairs.....Winter Rules.....it most certainly did!!! I was making my first appearance of the year in Competition and the coffee machine becoming severely jammed on Saturday, requiring me to be in attendance at 7.30am to sort it out, with a 9.28 tee time was not a great start to the day.....the biting wind that was accompanied by a continuous light snow flurry was not the most inspiring of circumstances....I led off for us, partnering "Donny" and having decided that he performs best under pressure, I carefully laid up short of the ditch, just to the right of the 3rd green. I am sure that I don't need to explain the level of skill required to judge that shot to that level of precision with a driver....Donny responded as expected and we were miles up the 1st fairway, the ball splitting the fairway perfectly.....playing partners Gary Pratten and Ray Bowles made the usual appreciative noises of players that are awestruck by such a superior strike, and then they both proceeded to batter their balls 30-50 yards past ours......seeing as they had spend the last Friday evening in the bar systematically destroying the reputation of one of their regular playing partners, Peter Ward, for the generosity of his handicap allowance, I am not entirely sure that they fully appreciated the irony of the opening drives....there was one winner...the weather....as the wind just slowly pervaded all clothing layers and a certain numbness set in.....in the end, we were thankful it was only over 16 holes!!  

 

Tues 5th March.....The seniors are always a ripe source of amusing anecdotes.....but rarely to they reach a level of today....whereas you normally rely on one or two to do something daft, but today 30+ managed it at the same time.......I had an appointment elsewhere, so I arranged for Laura to open up which she duly did at about 7.15.....however, as the seniors started to appear just after 7.15, there was clearly an assumption that as my car was not in its normal place, that they would have to wait for me to arrive. The lights on in the clubhouse and Laura moving about rearranging chairs was not really a clue in their minds....time passes and more arrive until we have a veritable crowd congregating in the carpark, no doubt besmirching my good name.....eventually, after about 45 minutes, Geoff Davis arrives, completely ignores the throng of chatting seniors, and does something that no one else has thought of......he tries the door!!!!! Well the looks on the faces of the seniors it was as if David Copperfield, Paul Daniels and Penn and Teller had just performed the greatest illusion the world has ever seen in front of their eyes......a door and Geoff Davis just passed straight through it!!!.......   

 

Tues 5th March.....regular readers will probably also have a peek at the Captains Blog, and will no doubt have read about the explosion of fines for various misdemeanours last weekend, commencing with Mick Yule and Keith Esden for car parking standards on Saturday..... Mick Yule was required to move his vehicle as Keith was blocked in....but as Laura had phoned Tim Smith who was playing with the Captain to askif he knew where Mick was....the Captain handed out fines to all and sundry, Laura should have been fined for a mobile in the clubhouse, Tim was fined for a mobile on the course, Mick and Keith for poor parking and subsequently Mick was fined again for leaving the course. Danny Glass was fined just for laughing at the proceedings.....interestingly, the Captain fined Mick "for leaving the course" which comes under Rule 6-8 on the Discontinuance of Play (my thanks to Matt Howarth for giving these circumstances so much thought....) who quite correctly points out that the R & A have laid down strict guidelines on the circumstances under which a player may do so.....unblocking Keith Esden's car in a car park is not mentioned as a suitable reason......so on that basis, the penalty for leaving the course and discontinuing play could be as severe as a DQ, so personally, I think the Captain should be subject to a fine for the incorrect interpretation of the Rules of Golf......

 

Mon 25th Feb.... Kelvin sends me a sarcastic email asking if I have been reading his bonus ball number upside down by mistake as he has won it so few times (once in over 5 years!!) so I emailed him back, thanked him for pointing out my mistake and confirmed that ball 91 has not come out at all ever. This is unfortunate, as I have asked him for the 40 back that I have paid out in error then, for ball 16 !! That will teach him not to try and be smart with me!!!

 

Sun 24th Feb......big Steve Howarth is not a happy bunny.....as news from the Portugal Tour starts to filter through, even before they have arrived home.....Steve has just had to pay out 250 euros for excess baggage on the flight home.....despite pre paying for everything and bringing back the same stuff he flew out with only a few days ago, where he was not adjudged to be over the limits!!! Now golf tour.....what is the betting that someone has been loading up his bag with a few weights??? Brave boy on the Easyjet desk though....refusing to budge in the face of two 6' 8" angry golfers!!!!

 

Fri 22nd Feb.....after a week of dry weather, we have moved the trencher down to the current 13th hole, and run a new, open trench (for the moment) from the left hand side drainage works across the fairway to the ditch, on the steepest downhill line available. The amount of water released and still flowing through this trench, after 3 hours of constant flow, is utterly insane!! We have also started a new trench on the far left hand side, which should be completed on Monday. We will review the general area again on Monday and decide if further drainage is required for this hole. Once we have finished with the 13th hole we will start to address the huge challenge that is the current 12th hole. For this weekend, as we have an open trench across the 13th fairway and the 12th hole is so wet, I have taken the decision to close the 12th and 13th holes for this weekend.

 

Thurs 21st Feb.....oh dear oh dear...I thought I had heard every permutation of mix ups with shoes, golf shoes, carpet slippers and any other foot attire.....and then Dennis Richards sets a completely new standard altogether.....today, with the Molers, after 17 holes of golf, he realised that he had one golf shoe on one foot and a normal everyday shoe on the other one!! At no point, in the process of playing somewhere around 90 odd shots and walking 4 miles did he notice that the right foot was not quite anchoring as well as the left one!! Now you may well be thinking to yourselves, that to be fair, it is a mistake that could be easily made...to put one golf shoe on, get a bit distracted and them forget to put the other one one....well what blows that theory completely out of the water, is that Dennis wears a pair of warm golf socks in these conditions, but he did not arrive wearing those.....so he sat in the changing room, removed both of his normal shoes, put his golf socks on both feet, and then put the odd golf shoe and normal shoe combination back on without noticing it.......you honestly could not make this stuff up!! 

 

Tues 19th Feb...Seniors Day.....and with the sun shining, clearly a huge wave of optimism is sweeping across the Club....Brian Cox pops in and asks if I have any idea when the buggies will be back out????? After 4 consecutive days without rain, I am declaring that drought conditions are now in force!!! The greenstaff are in light fleeces and have mowers out of the shed to use, instead of just out of the shed so that they can put them away again!! Tees are being cut (well some of them!!) and we are contemplating giving the new 12th hole fairway its first cut of the year.......scary stuff!! 

 

Sun 17th Feb....so I worked on Saturday and had to Open up on Sunday...who agreed that Peter could have time off to go on a cruise??? Part Timers swanning around the Carribean?? I must be paying him far too much....the mood was fairly subdued, as several Hatters fans were still suffering the after effects of the loss to Millwall.....Vince soon perked things up as he regaled the assembled throng with the news that El Capitano not only had to endure the loss at Kenilworth Road, but he also has to cough up 35 for the parking ticket that he received whilst he watched the game!! Ouch.....the non Hatters amongst us mused on which "proper League" side you could have watched for the combined ticket/parking ticket cost!! 

 

Sat 16th Feb.... so I had to work this afternoon for the first time at a weekend for a long time and it was a chance to reacquaint myself with a few longstanding members who I haven't seen for a while.....Ronnie and Mick were in for 9 holes, and a beer or two....so on their return to the Clubhouse, Mick is looking suitably crestfallen, as he has lost his sandwedge. He realised this on the 9th green, or just off it, when he was short of the bunker and had to use his pitching wedge as the weapon of choice was missing....having completed the hole, he the, head down and shoulders slumped, trudged forlornly all the way back to the 7th green........then head slumped even further and knuckles dragging along the ground, all the way back empty handed.....as people came off the course, there was no sign of the missing item, so eventually, the bags were readied to be returned to the car boot....until Mick realises his 7 iron is missing its cover....and then further realises that the 7 iron cover is adorning a club....which of course turns out to be the missing sandwedge!!!  So, Mick walked over a mile to retrieve a club he already had!! He is, of course, missing the sandwedge cover, but has declined all suggestions that it might be worth him going back to the 7th green to have a look for it!!

 

So, by my estimation, the front nine amounts to around 3600 yards including the walks from greens to tees..... Mick has turned that into well over 5,000 yards today, to play 9 holes!! I had forgotten how daft the weekends can be sometimes!!

 

Tues 12th Feb...Today marks the return to the Seniors starting at 8.30am....so of course we are buried 4" deep in snow......Dave Jones arrives at 8.02am....now Dave has a similar level of hearing to me.....but at least I can still look out of the window and see that it is deep snow!!! More are arriving now....barking mad, the lot of them....

 

Sun 10th Feb....the Texas Scramble...Capitano Emmett needs your help....whilst playing with partners Gary Mason and Vince Hasker, they arrived at the 14th fairway and marked their selected ball with Gary's ball marker, engraved with GD....strange way to spell Mason with a D but there we go......despite the rules allowing pick clean and place, el Capitano places his ball so close to the marker that both fly off into the distance at impact......despite the allotted 5 minutes of searching for a ball(marker) it was nowhere to be found and GD is now crestfallen at the loss....El Capitano has offered a reward for its return, a 5 donation to charity.....it is under 4" of snow as well at the moment, and to add to the confusion, I am not certain if we are referring to the current, temporary 14th hole of the original 14th hole, currently the 13th.....so quite frankly the chances of finding it are about as slim as finding beef in a findus beef lasagna..... 

 

Thurs 7th.... Simon Ward emails me to point out that normal Chalgrave weather resumed last weekend, and has been with us for a week, as the Feb Medal was played in dry conditions, but with a subzero windchill factor, especially on Sunday....which probably explains why out of 89 participants, with the bunkers out of play and pick clean and place everywhere.....there were still only 9 players under par to handicap for the two days.....

 

Thurs 7th Feb....proper Chalgrave weather...at last!!! A freezing cold but strong wind is ripping across the course, for a change, with no rain and that is one of the things we have been missing all winter as the wind usually combats the rain...this year, the wind has been accompanied by the rain so it has not been drying the course out in the normal way....we need about 2 weeks of these gales to make an impact though I think!!

 

Wed 6th Feb....a non golf comment for you...but I am wondering if it is just me or does anyone else think this is mad???...the Banks...the architects of the current economic mess....RBS, owned 80% by the taxpayer, is fined approx 400 million by the regulators (who are paid for by the taxpayer????) .... for breaches of ethical codes of practice in fixing the LIBOR rate so that they made more artificial profits by manipulating the rates so they made more money and got paid higher bonuses, before we bought our 80% share!!! So we have just fined ourselves a huge sum for something that we had no control over, nor made any money from as it all happened before we got involved, calculated by regulators who are paid by ourselves, so it will take even longer for us to get our money back (from ourselves!!).......and I thought it was mad enough dealing with the seniors!!!    

 

Sun 3rd Feb.....the Luton giantkilling spree almost carries over into golf......Chalgrave visit the mighty Woburn for the 1st Round of the Mail on Sunday Team Classic....we take the top 5 players from the Order of Merit to represent us, Woburn have a "squad" to pick from......of which all bar 1 was in the 5/6 handicap range!! The Duchess course at Woburn is renowned for being a challenging test.....and their Captain said afterwards that most visiting teams lose 5 - 0 or maybe 4 - 1 if they get lucky on the Duchess!! Chalgrave are made of sterner stuff, eventually falling 3 - 2, but were within 1 hole of taking it to sudden death....Steve Howarth halved his match, after being 1 up with 1 to play....a half would have halved the match and Steve would have stayed out to try and see us through, it was that close!!! Apparently it was quite chilly, dry underfoot and the new 4million clubhouse was quite presentable!!....now that's why you want to finish in the top 5 of the Order of Merit....Big Steve is also representing us along with Braveheart in the Mail Foursomes.....and they have successfully negotiated the 1st round in this particular event.....with a magnificent bye in Round One!!!

 

Tues 22nd Jan.....We have been snowed under for over a week now, and today is seniors Tuesday........ so I have made it into the office early as I have an expectation that the seniors will be so completely lacking in common sense that some would turn up here today....and the prospect of them ending up sitting in cars on the main road in the snow and fog was too much to risk, so here I am......so what are the chances of the entire section displaying a level of common sense not previously seen in the past 19 years?????? Watch this space........

 

Sat 12th Jan....Beaney Senior and Junior are partnering each other in the winter matchplay....Jack say to Mark as he is heading for the bar, "here is our entry fee for the doubles"...... Laura points out to Mark that they have already paid their entrance fee so Mark pockets the cash......reverse pocket money!!! what a scheme, I wonder if there is any chance of managing that with Aidan??? .... that will be a no then!!

 

Fri 11th Jan......Steve Howarth wants to play catch up with Tim on the amount of money expended in the bonus ball for what can only be described as a negligible return.....One of the ball numbers will be available from the start of the next set, so I put a poster up on the board as we don't have any reserves for the bonus ball draw at present.....except I made a small error.....On the poster, I put the information that the entry fee is 10 per week for a 10 week set, instead of 1 per week....but despite this, Steve still put his name down to take the no 11 ball when it becomes available......so he would have to win once every 4 weeks just to break even!!!! So, golf subs.....460 per annum, entry to bonus ball competition, 520 per annum......

 

Thurs 10th Jan....Frank Howarth arrives for the molers today....and asks Peter for a handle for a pull trolley.....as he used his electric one on Tuesday with the seniors, took the wheels off to clean them afterwards at home, reload the freshly cleaned trolley back into the car this morning......leaving the freshly cleaned wheels sitting at home!!! Well there was no danger of him leaving tyre marks anyway!!! The molers are a ruthless bunch these days....Keith Esden had a storming round, 20 points on the front 9 20 points on the back 9 40 points, obviously, overall.....so he got a 4 shot "molers" cut for the score, but walked away with no winnings having been beaten by different people on the front and back nines and there was a 42 points in as well!! Nice one!!

 

Tues 8th Jan....I pass all the contact info to Steve for the Woburn team, and offer myself as reserve should any of the top 4 not be able to make it.....big Steve responds by saying he thinks he could auction off a space quite easily.....which I took to mean that he was declining without a second thought, the prospect of my capabilities around Woburn......charming.....

 

Tues 8th Jan..yes it is Seniors Day, indeed Seniors Captains Drive In today, but other than mentioning that this year will need to 565 days in order for Tarby to have enough time to talk his way through his Captains Year, nothing particularly exciting has happened yet.....however, elsewhere.....if ever there was a reason why it is worthwhile continuing to battle for position on the Golfer of the Year board, even when the chance of winning has gone....it arrived today, as 2012 GOTY and Team Captain Steve Howarth emails me asking for the contact details for the other 4 players filling places 2 to 5 on the GOTY board for 2012, as they make up our team for the Daily Mail Club Classic.....for our first round match in 2013, we have been drawn away.....at WOBURN....... very nice!!! Go get 'em guys....

 

Mon 7th Jan.....for those of you who played the medal, or indeed any golf over the weekend, will no doubt have tried to clean your shoes at the end of the round, and found that the air blower was not working. I had tried to fix it on Friday, but it was just constantly blowing fuses, and it was getting dark, so it had to be left until today......so investigations commenced this morning, new fuse which blew immediately......check out the power feed into the unit, which goes into a junction box inside the cabinet.....take the lid off that and discover that a tiny mouse has decided to commit suicide by lying across the terminals of the connections!!! Remove said mouse, lightly grilled, switch power back on, everything stays on but still does not work. 10 seconds later, the fuse blows again!! After further investigation, it is clear there is still a problem and the unit will have to be removed to resolve it...so how unlucky was the mouse...to have been zapped by a unit that was defective???

 

Weds 2nd Jan....Chalk and Cheese then.....big Steve Howarth, 2012 Golfer of the Year, was outside the gates at 9.15am ready for the start of a new golfing year.....18 holes, 41 stableford points later, he is looking forward to defending his title!!! Today, John Natus also starts his golfing year, with a few practice swings, a nice relaxed stance over the ball, a smooth and fluid backswing, classic position at the top of the swing, the downswing starts smoothly, the clubhead accelerating into the ball, the hips clear, the weight transfers, the clubhead cuts through the air with a beautiful swish..... to a magnificent finish position...the only thing that was missing was the click of titanium on balata at impact as JN starts the year with an airshot!!! I thought it was raining again, but it was just the tears of mirth from his playing partners!!!

 

 

Tues 1st Jan....Oh dear oh dear....the 1st day of the year also marks the 1st day of the new Senior Captains year, and Tarby is now officially in the chair..... strap yourself in, it is clearly going to be a rollercoaster of a ride!!!! If you ever needed a perfect example of how bad a car crash this might become.....all you need is a story, a genuinely true one....that relates to Past senior Captain Mick Moulton and of course Tarby himself...... with the year about to start, Mick and tarby headed off to Spain for a couple of days.....having arranged with Brian Cox and Ron Gray for them to give them a lift to and from Stansted....Brian got them there OK and Ron is primed to pick them up at 8.00pm on Saturday eve....... Saturday arrives, Ron is sitting down for breakfast when his phone buzzes indicating a text message.....its from Tarby and Mick...."just landed, heading for the carousel for luggage!!" Ron looks at his phone aghast.....and starts to compose a text message to let them know that he has an urgent appointment with a bowl of cornflakes to deal with first, then a 45 minute drive at least before he can get there....the phone buzzes again......."outside now, looking for you???" which means they have retrieved their cases and gear in record time.......Ron cancels the text message and presses call.......the phone rings at the other end.......Mick Moulton answers.... " you will have to find somewhere to wait, you said it was an evening pick up and I'm still in Luton!!" "Don't worry" says Mick, "we are still in Spain, I was just putting messages into "draft mode" ready to send to you later when we land!!!!" No, you absolutely could not make it up!!!!!

 

Tues 1st January 2013...Got home at 5.00am, here to open up at 9.15am....and 2 cars waiting outside!! By 9.30am we had 20 ish in!! Lets home it has set the scene for the year, it is a glorious day, beautiful sunshine, a slight breeze and no sign of rain whatsoever!!! At 10.10am I have 3 people on the practice green preparing for a round......I think that is taking it a tad far on New Years Day!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 - HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

 

 

 

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!!!