Well, hooray and hallelujah, my faith in human nature is not so dented after all: I’ve just been to The Belfry to retrieve the nearly brand new 7-iron that I mislaid so carelessly on the PGA National course about a month ago. There was no sign of it the day after I’d failed to win the Michael Williams Hogget (not for the first time) in early May and Nige, the very helpful Brummie at lost property, didn’t hold out much hope. Bummer really, considering the club was a very recent, customised acquisition. I was hoping that whoever found it was very tall, Peter Crouch sized and not in the least bit interested in a little old lady implement.
I checked back with Nige yesterday, just on the off chance, having reverted to my old 7-iron, a classic Ping Eye 2 (it was older than the club fitter when I decided to invest in some modern technology), hoping that I’d be in luck – and I was. Phew. Many thanks to whoever found it and took the trouble to return it. Now it might be a good idea to take it to the practice ground and find out how it works.
On Tuesday, I represented the AGW in a match against the Golf Foundation at The Berkshire and, bar the odd proper golf shot, was no help whatsoever to my long-suffering partner. Neither of us was at our best, so we were well beaten by opponents who played rather well, certainly far too well for us. Fortunately, our teammates did well enough to salvage a 3-all draw – although that meant the GF, celebrating its Platinum Jubilee (why does that sound familiar? Was there a fuss?), retained the rather splendid trophy (pictured at the top of the piece, if a tad inexpertly, all being well).
We played the Blue course, which starts with a par 3 of more than 200 yards – off whatever tee you choose – and I hit a cracker (bearing in mind my limitations). We all thought I’d cleared the heather comfortably – “It’s the first time I’ve ever hit it over that heather,” sez I with a certain amount of surprise and a lot of satisfaction – but I hadn’t! Ah well, some things are not meant to be. I may never play The Berkshire again, which is my excuse for helping myself to two puddings (melt-in-the-mouth bread and butter and a delicious pannacotta) at a lunch that more than lived up to its reputation and my memories of repasts past.
When I set off for home, heading in the direction of Ascot (correct, a rare example of getting one of my 50-50 chances – left or right – right, as in spot on), I had a vague sense of unease. Something was niggling. Had I put my golf shoes in the boot? Those swanky, rather large Italian jobs. Where were they? I found a spot to stop, checked the boot and, no surprise, surprise, no shoes. Back I went, recovered the shoes and headed off back to Ascot. A bit of an up-and-down, round-and-about tour later I found the direction I needed and, eventually, opened my own front door. Wonders will never cease.
The Berkshire hasn’t changed much since I was last there, goodness knows how many years ago and it’s full of happy memories, particularly of Avia Foursomes past. I sent Maureen this picture to remind her of old times and it took her a while to recognise it – because there was nobody there! She was used to it being packed full of women preparing for action.
It was lovely to see that there was a portrait of Angela Uzielli (nee Carrick), one of The Berkshire and England’s best players, who won the British Ladies’ Amateur Championship in 1977, in the members’ bar downstairs, not tucked away upstairs with the other ladies of distinction. Angela wasn’t just an excellent golfer, she was a force of nature, full of verve and vim, who died too young, at the age of 59, in November 1999. I realised that I was smiling broadly and chatting to her as I snapped this photo.
You’ll be glad to know that I won’t be moving from lovely amateur reminiscences to pondering the ramifications of the LIV series. Crystal ball gazing is not my thing but warehouse loads – much bigger than shedloads – of money and lots of macho posturing are an explosive combination.
If Greg Norman and co are really serious about introducing different, more entertaining formats (money aside, there’s no doubt that an unremitting diet of 72-hole strokeplay can pall), they should consider the Jubilee Frolic that we enjoyed in the red, white and blue (not obligatory) at WHGC last week. It was called Bing, Bang, Bong and, if nothing else, greatly exercised what remained of our little grey cells. Ou est Poirot when you need him?
It seems relatively straightforward but the discussions that ensued threatened to go beyond full and frank! Here we go with the rules: First on the green equals one point (1st on green = 1 pt); nearest pin (when all on green – quite a bone of contention as it turned out) = 1 pt; first in hole = 1 pt. NB: Furthest from pin must putt first and there are no gimmes.
There was also a team element (a la LIV I believe) and I quote verbatim: “Each hole a different player takes the Jubilee Ball [supplied] and plays as above within the group, their score is your team score on that hole. It is also their individual score for the individual comp. Every group player takes their turn around all 7 holes….”
It reminded me of when I used to do quiz questions for Candy Devine’s show on Downtown Radio and how hard it was to phrase the question in such a way that there was only one possible answer…
On a less contentious note, I leave you with one of Mary McKenna’s marvellous bird photos. It was a toss up between the blackbird and a staged, promotional shot of Annika and Henrik, who are co-hosting the Scandinavian Mixed tournament at Halmstad in Sweden this week – the way professional golf should be perhaps…