It was a blustery, breezy day on a fast, hard-running golf course yesterday and my partners and I handled the conditions better than anyone else, to win the captains’ charity am/am by a single point.  So, well done to everyone who played, particularly for raising a couple of thousand pounds and more for Alzheimers, which is this year’s charity and coping manfully – and womanfully – with the conditions.

Admittedly, Whittington Heath is not Shinnecock Hills but it is probably more like this week’s US Open venue than most of the courses the pros play in their day to day life on tour.  It makes you think; it makes you have to trust your judgement, not just the yardage chart;  it makes you assess the camber, the roll, the breeze; and it often makes you hit shots you don’t really want to hit; it makes you mad because not every bounce will go your way; and sometimes it’ll seem positively unfair.  In short, it’s proper golf, golf at its most sporty, its most testing, its most irritating and if you get it right, its most exhilarating.

The dream team: (from right to left) Sue Gartland, Jill Harris, Susan Sims, yours truly [photo by Dorothy Elwell with support from Liz Kendrick]

I’m not quite sure how I ended up in such exalted company but playing my sixth round in seven days (it was choir on Wednesday) I was easily the least inspired member of the four ball and just watched in awe, mixed with gratitude, as my partners produced the fireworks.  Jill Harris, playing off 21, represented England at table tennis in the Commonwealth Games and is starting to get to grips with golf.  She had two gross birdies and got on the card (two scores from the four to count) an impressive 13 times.  Team captain Susan Sims, a Scot with John Daly’s grip it and rip it mentality, hit some astounding shots and Sue Gartland, working her way back diligently from injury, is starting to look dangerous again as she adjusts to her new physical limitations (bit like Tiger, though think Sue’s putting is better at the moment).

We were, I admit, extra chuffed to win because we were the only all female team and, not having been able to go on any of the suffragette marches on Sunday – playing a match at Hinckley – I felt we were at least flying the flag!  Bit pathetic I know but every little helps.

We lost at Hinckley – good luck to them in the next round of the Taskers – but I’ve never arrived at a golf club in such enjoyable style.  The mini, even one of those modern super-sized mega minis, couldn’t cope with three of us plus golf clubs and trolleys, so the camper van it was.  Marvellous.  Might make a habit of it, it’s such a sedate way to travel – and you can see over most walls and hedges.  Thanks to Chris for doing the driving.

Having arrived in style, Whittington Heathens Chris (left) and Karen prepare to unload the clubs.

Although we lost, 4-3, we weren’t disgraced and it was disappointing to get home to discover that the GB&I Curtis Cup team was going down the tubes with barely a whimper.  The visitors lost all eight singles on the last day, so congrats to the USA on their victory and back to the drawing board (and the practice ground and the putting green) for the Brits and Irish in preparation for the next match, at Conwy in north Wales, in 2020.

Many moons ago now, at Prairie Dunes of blessed memory (give me half a chance and I’ll regale you yet again with the details of that glorious moment in Curtis Cup history), Trish Johnson was a fresh-faced amateur, sweeping all before her as she won four points out of four.  An invincible.  Thirty-two years later, she’s still competing and winning, this time on the Legends Tour, in the grandly named Suquamish Clearwater Legends Cup presented by Boeing at White Horse Golf Club in Kingston, Washington.  She won by five strokes from Lisa Grimes of Arizona, with Michelle McGann, the Floridian who was known for her hats, third, two shots further back.

Winning never gets old. Trish Johnson with her latest trophy [Rick Sharp]

Reluctantly – I like to keep you guessing – I’d better explain the wee picture of a green-painted building at the top of this post.  It’s there to remind me that I’m about to start so I’d better keep going.  Heaven help me, I’ve joined a gym!  I blame Sharon, my next-door neighbour, who was extolling the virtues of this place called Gymophobics and how it had helped her tone up and lose inches (in all the right places) in no time at all.  Feeling old and flabby despite, or perhaps because of, all the golf, I called in and with a huge amount of trepidation signed up.  My initial assessment is this afternoon and I’m not looking forward to the tale of the tape or the weigh-in.  I may or may not keep you posted…

Finally, here’s a photo of my favourite sign of the week, en route to the 1st tee at Hinckley.

This made me laugh and I hope it makes everybody think – and care for their course.