This page contains our 2023 golf reports (thanks to John M), the latest being at the top of the page. Enjoy!
Orchardleigh Championship 14 Aug 2023
Remember the shock/horror of the Oscar ceremony when La La Land were presented with the award? And it had to be taken back and given to the real winner, Moonlight? Well, the same drama was played out at Orchardleigh on 14 August……
There were 2 bits of silverware to be presented on the day. First, the Championship Cup for the best score on the day. Which was won fair and square by Ben Pothecary, with a solid 32 points playing off 18. After a torrid start with no points on the 1st 3 holes, he turned on his relentless mode and scored on every hole thereafter. Congratulations to Ben.
The second Cup was the “Rejected by Sherborne – accepted by BWCC” for the best player of the season. After a quick huddle with the accountants, Alex awarded this to John Mac. Who accepted it with genuine surprise, given his poor scores at the start of 2023. But like PwC at the Oscars, those accountants had been given duff instructions. And a Stewards’ recount the next day revealed that the actual winner of the 2022/3 Rejected Cup is……. Keir Cooper, with 3 cracking best scores of 36 at Sherborne, 38 at Mendip and 29 on the day at Orchardleigh. Not bad considering his handicap was cut from 17 to 12 during the season thanks to those top scores. A close 2nd was Jonathan Howard, playing off an even more challenging 8 at one stage. So Keir, the Cup will be presented to you at your next outing!
And the golf on the day? After a weekend of rain and a gloomy BBC weather forecast, amazingly we had a clear afternoon ending in decent sunshine. The course was not in the best of shape, with divots in some of the greens, grass left overlong at the side of the fairways, and the distance markers hard to make out. The pin position on the short 17th required a maths degree to work out the angle to putt round the big bowl on that green. Still, at only £23 a round, it was the best price we had all year.
We were 11. 3 x 3 balls and a pair. Alex, Ben and Nick in the 1st group; Keir, Justin and a newcomer Gordon going 2nd; Robin, John Mac and Milo (making the customary Barron last minute arrival) off 3rd ; and Ian and John C with a buggy at the end. We all pretty well kept together, an unusual situation for the BWCC, thanks to a slow group in front of us. Patience eventually wore thin in our 1st group, and on the 15th Nick hit a cracking drive straight through the group in front, landing a good 20m beyond the guy who had just played his 2nd shot, and who looked back with a bit of a glare. Nick seemed unrepentant, and just chuckled. So Ben coined the nickname ‘Rock Hard Maynard’, to which Nick replied ‘ actually they normally call me “The Artist’ because I can draw the ball’. So, Nick, you will be “The Artist” from now on.
The 2nd group had an uneventful round. Which may not be how the evening went for Gordon, who announced calmly that today was his wife’s birthday. He has witnesses to confirm that he left as soon as he decently could, before the awards were presented…
The 3rd group had mixed fortunes. Robin’s customary steadiness deserted him, to the extent that he even left a trail of clubs behind him on the ground. John Mac had a decent round, getting 2 pars for the time in his life, in both cases followed, typically, by a blob. And Milo, despite demonstrating a right angle drive on the long 14th, and hitting trees so often the Woodland Trust will rescind his membership, had amassed 26 points by the end of the 14th. This prompted John unhelpfully to tell him that with that score he was a shoe-in for the Championship Cup. After which Milo didn’t score a single point on the last 4 holes and limped in 3rd =.
And as for Ian and John, both nursing injuries, their description was simply “less said the better”.
And the detail for those who read the small print.
- 1st, Championship Cup and £30, Ben, with 32 points (off 18). Handicap down by 3.
- Nearest the pin – £10, Nick
- Longest drive – £10, Alex
- 2nd – £20, John Mac, with 31 points (off 35). Handicap down by 2.
- 3rd = £10 each with 29, Milo (off 33), Justin (off 14) and Keir (off 12). Handicap down by 1.
- 6th= with 26, Gordon (off 17), and Nick (off 28)
- 8th – Alex, with 23 (off 8). Handicap up by 1.
- 9th – Robin, with 19 (off 29). Handicap up by 1.
- 10th – John C with 16 (off 33), Handicap up by 2.
- 11th – Ian with 15 (off 31), Handicap up by 3.
BWCC Golfers at Mendip 17 July 2023
In the end 7 of us took the field at Mendip, on a sunny afternoon. As promised, the views over south Somerset were cracking, Glastonbury Tor, Hinkley Point and all the way to the Quantocks beyond. The course was in beautiful condition. And the Mendip club staff were friendly and helpful. They kept to the £38 fee originally offered even though that had been their discount for 12 players. We will go back.
And the golf? We went out as a 4-ball and a 3-ball. Unusually the 4-ball went out first, comfortable in the knowledge that their low handicaps would keep them well ahead of the high-handicap 3 balls…. and so it proved.
The 4-ball speedos were Alex, Keir, Justin (his first round with us having just moved to the area), and Robin, promoted slightly against his will to the big hitters….. The slow lane was Julian, Ian and John M. John C had had to pull out on the morning of the game with a pulled muscle. Insiders muttered darkly that he was pulling a fast one and was absenting himself to protect his high handicap for our August championship….
The speedos had a round devoid of drama but full of quality. At least in the case of Justin, scoring 35, and Keir, who, despite playing off 14, amassed a staggering 38 points. And won the Nearest the Pin on the 18th. And won the Longest Drive on the 16th. Mind you, that longest drive was only about 100 yards, and had gone about the same distance vertically. And for the 2nd time this year, John M would have won the longest drive if only he had kept to the fairway. This time Julian, our course-steward-in-residence, ruled that John’s 210 yard drive had ended up a couple of feet adrift into the rough….. Life is harsh.
In the slow lane, Julian played an admirably steady round, scoring on virtually every hole. John had a torrid middle patch, including a drive on the unlucky 13th which failed to make it to the Ladies tee, but ended up not having lost a ball all day, a first. Ian was fast out of the blocks with a par on the 1st, and finished strongly on the back 9. But not strongly enough to impress Alex. Sitting on the bench by the green on the 18th, Alex assured his speedo colleagues on the bench that Ian had no chance of making the green. This opinion was easily heard by Ian, 148 yards away on the tee, taking aim for the Nearest The Pin. Ian’s drive sailed over the bench as Alex and others scuttled for cover.
Prizes? Most went to Keir, £8 plus 2 sets of golf balls from the kitty; Justin got £6 for 2nd place. And £5 went back into the kitty for Orchardleigh on 14 Aug.
And here are the full scores for those of us who habitually read the small print:
- 1st – Keir (38 playing off 14); handicap goes down by 2 to 12….
- 2nd – Justin (35 off 16); handicap down by 1 to 15.
- 3rd = – Julian (28 off 29), – Alex (28 off 8)
- 5th – Ian (25 off 31)
- 6th – John (24 off 35)
- 7th – Robin (21 off 27); handicap goes up by 2 to 29. Orchardleigh watch out….
Cumberwell Park, 10th June 2023
Buckhorn Weston Cricket Club Golf Society visited Cumberwell Park, outside Bradford upon Avon on a glorious day on 10 June. Though some of the players knew the course it was the first time the Society had played there. Given the reactions from the participants the venue was approved of, not least by Jonathan and John Carvel.
Our numbers had been swelled by visitors which is always nice. Milo Barran who is almost a member but for the lack of the VP fee. Patrick Donovan joined us as did Jack Carvel. The latter’s journey to the club was a little longer than for most of us as he hails from Austin in Texas, and flew to join us via Singapore, Australia, NZ, Bali, South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Egypt…..
The Composition of Cumberwell is 4 loosely interlocking 9 whole courses. We played Red and Yellow. Milo accompanied Ian and Dave in their Buggy. Having had good rounds at Wheathill and High Post he was eyeing the famous cup ‘Rejected by Sherborne’. Sadly even Dave’s patient tutelage was not able to cure the slices and the hooks which accompanied his round.
The second grouping was the stalwarts John C and John M accompanied by Jack. There was also a buggy in this grouping. Despite not having played for years Jack notched up 2 pars and hit the ball high enough to worry the C130s heading down into RAF Lyneham. Even John M, having lost around 8 balls up to that point, rallied towards the end, including a par on the tricksy 16th. John C started with a very strong 1st 9 on the Red course, but after his triumph on the 12th (see below) melted like a Mr Whippy99 in the summer heat….
The final group was a four ball Kier, Patrick, Jonathan and Julian. In spite of the blazing sunshine we were subjected to two sharp showers which were as cooling as a cold iced drink. Was it seeking after further liquid refreshment which drove Patrick to find the water on the 14th and the 16th? Not to mention three of the four drives from the four-ball group seeking cool waters along the side of the 8th.
But why dwell on errors of course management what about the eagles, albatrosses and birdies, well yes where were they? John C (playing off 34 remember) outclassed us all with a birdie 3 on the long 12th. Photo to prove it…. And Jonathan also laid claim to a birdie in a round studded with beautiful shots and brilliant putts. He emerged as a worthy winner with 38 points only pipping Jon Carvel by one point. Jonathan also won the longest drive, though he is owed a sleeve of golf balls for his achievement. Nearest the pin was awarded to Keir.
The society enjoyed a welcome drink on the terrace, and tales of derring-do and what might have been were recounted as the evening cooled down.
At £40 for the round including a bacon buttie & coffee, Cumberwell was good value. The impression given was a venue to return to.
High Post, 15th May 2023
Lesson number 1: pay little attention to the weather forecast. 5 days beforehand we were expecting solid rain and a very chilly 7 degrees on 15 May. But on the day, the 8 of us enjoyed a beautiful May afternoon, sun with the occasional cloud, and stunning views over the Wiltshire countryside towards Boscombe Down airfield.
The only thing the forecast got right was the North wind. This meant that the 1st 3 holes, billed as a morale-boosting opener taking advantage of the prevailing SW wind, were played straight into this hefty breeze. Not a single score under 6 on those first 3 holes, and lots of 8s, 9s and blobs… highlight was Ian hitting a bullet-like approach shot to the first green, into the teeth of that wind, which would have sailed across the busy A 345 on the far side had it not hit the flag and dropped neatly near the pin. That was the end of all our good luck for the day…
We welcomed a new player, Steve J, playing off 18. He was the only one of us to have played High Post before, but that didn’t seem to help him much on the day. He was delighted to hear that under the ©AlexGibbs Inc handicap system his score under 25 here means that his handicap increases by 1 next time. Milo B joined us too, with his inimitable style lofting the ball so high we were seriously worried he would hit the planes flying in low overhead in their approach to Boscombe Down. After his triumph at Wheathill, Milo had generously agreed to drop his handicap from 34 to 30 to give the rest of us a chance. Not that many of us took that chance…..
The High Post staff were equally generous – they had given us an excellent price of £35 with butties and coffee, and did not increase it when I warned them we would be 4 players short of the 12 originally booked to get that price. The course was in great condition, despite all the rain in the last few weeks, and the greens, cut very short, were lightning fast and definitely tricky. And it was fun playing on a new course. I think we all agreed with John C’s optimism at the start that “this is like a holiday”. His holiday mood and sunny smile while executing a flashy handbrake turn in his buggie to avoid a group of lady golfers turned their initial withering glare into a friendly wave. Overall, we liked the club and look forward to playing there next year.
So, on to scores (must we?) and prizes…
- 1st – Simon B – The only person to emerge with credit on the day, winning the £10 prize by a large margin with a score of 28 off a 28 handicap. He also bagged the £5 prize for the longest drive on the 6th, narrowly beating Steve, but only after a steward’s enquiry had established that the actual longest drive, astonishingly by John M, should be ruled out as it was his 2nd drive – the 1st having disappeared into a hedge yards from the tee.
- 2nd – Milo B – score of 21 playing off 30, prize of £8.
- Robin – 19 playing off 26
- Steve J – 17 playing off 18
- John M – 16 playing off 34
- John C – 15 playing off 33
- Julian B – 13 playing off 27 – prize a packet of Jaffa cakes to ease the pain
- Ian – 11 playing off 26 – packet of Morrisons’ BEST biscuits as the BEST LOSER on the day.
And none of us got on the green to claim the Nearest the Pin on the tricky 8th. “Peter Allis favourite hole” according to High Post’s website, but memorable to us for its sheer-sided bunkers, many of which we sampled. So that’s £5 more into the kitty for the August championship.
Wheathill, 17th April 2023
I arrived about 1pm and went to the Pro Shop to make sure everything was in order and when I enquired if there was anything to note on the course, the answer was that “the greens were fluffy”. Maybe that was why the Pro shop commendably honoured their earlier oral agreement to charge us only the twilight rate of £18 even with a 2pm start (normally it’s from 3pm).
The weather was less sunny than forecast but nevertheless dry with a very slow Easterly so we switched the longest drive to the 14th to give us a tailwind drive. Nearest the Pin was as usual the 18th allowing a Grandstand finish for those players “on the 19th”. Group one was the higher handicappers of Ian, John Mac and myself. Group two of Robin and Julian (both on 25) was joined by Milo Barran as a guest player on 32.
The overhead conditions were excellent for golf but due to the wet April, it was a different story under foot. To quote Barran Snr “the course played long, just like the grass”. There was little or no run-on from the long hits and anything going up more than 45 degrees just plugged on landing. I think everyone putted short as the “fluffy” greens proved very hard to gauge pace. This did not detract from a thoroughly fun and event filled afternoon.
John Mac is making an excellent case for adopting the “Tree Surgeon” mantle from the Iberian-bound Dodd. Ian pretended to be “rusty” from a year since last game and his club grips having been redesigned by rodents to post several pars and cracking shots especially his chipping game. I made a birdie on the long 11th and, miraculously, having, for the first time for many years, started using a driver, won the longest drive.
Group 2 kept a pleasant pace behind us so we didn’t feel pressured to offer a play through. Julian struggled with the conditions on the out 9, scoring just 3 points but came back well on the Back 9. Robin had a steady round with regular scoring but Milo stormed away with 8 holes scoring 3 or 4 and only failed to score on 3 holes. Robin finished perfectly by winning the Nearest the Pin.
So Milo took the honours with a Stableford of 36, I was 28, Ian 25, Robin 23, John 22 and Julian coming in having pulled back for a respectable 12 points on the Back 9 to post a 15.
During the 19th hole debrief there was discussion about having more players come on a guest basis to have higher numbers on the day. Perhaps our committee/secretary could give some thought on guidance for players to bring someone along?
We hand the hosting baton to John for the High Post meeting on 15th May (a week later due to clashing with HRH Charles III’s big day)