Monday, 30 August 2010

Captain's Day

I had a vision of a calm sunny day something along the lines of John Major's warm beer quote*; sitting by the trailer on the 12th looking at the view, reading the Sunday papers till people appeared for a drink, strolling down to the first tee and hitting a gentle 6 iron onto the front of the green. And perhaps on another day in 2011 that may happen.

But not this Captain's Day; people tried to say consolingly that at least it will be remembered - for the worst golfing weather for years, and in fact for a cancelled competition.

I woke to the sound of heavy rain and wind; at 8.oo I looked at the webcam and saw two figures trudging along to the 1st green and put aside thoughts of staying in bed. But when I got to the club to get coffee the sun had come out; the wind was still too strong to make normal play possible, but at least it was dry and people were playing, and we set out the trailer at the 12th tee and waited to entertain the windswept players as they came by. Then the rains came, and fewer came by and those that did started to give up.
At the back of my mind - for the last twelve months or so - had been the drive-in. The first is never easy; John Taylor had described the awful silence as you walked down to the tee to drive; 85 people had tried to guess where my drive would go. The first thing was to agree with Keith Whitfield (by the way, I'm very glad and grateful he's vice captain) that the competition would be postponed and to give prizes to the three people (Lance Cope, Ron Bewley and Phil Taylor) who'd actually finished. Then it was time.

The picture of the audience huddled in warm clothing tell the story: although temporarily dry it was very windy. I have no memory of what happened next, except that the drive worked: it went further and straighter than I think anyone expected. The really wierd thing is that photos say that it took less than a minute to walk from the crowd to the tee, to set the ball up and to make the drive. It seemed much longer.
The usual afternoon crowd didn't play. Except for John Southern, Phil McDonnell and Phil Holmes. Crazy? Phil M said later that they had tremendous fun and they formed a nucleus of drinkers at the 12th tee in the afternoon. And John Southern managed 26 points, a clear winner of the six people who finished, and deserved his bottle of champagne (opened later in the evening).
The evening party went well thanks to Paul and Karen who put on the buffet, Ken Howe on the keyboard, Neil Forsyth on vocals accompanied for Baker Street by a one off performance by Hazel. And of course the Coxon's ice cream van.
So ended a pretty messy day, but I guess the drive and the party worked.

* I had orginally meant to link to Major's actual quote, but I saw on Google the link to a "Dull Men's Club" site. As well as the Currie/Major joke the site is fascinating: anything which can list the world's airport carousels and the whether they rotate clockwise or anti-clockwise has got to be worth a look.

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