Saturday, 30 October 2010

Only 55 days to Christmas...

There’s a number of indications of summer fading away and autumn/winter approaching – the leaves dropping, the weather improving and on the golf course new piles of earth and dressing as the winter programme gets underway. But also, a less stressful yet highly important competition, the Turkey Trot (and the female equivalent the Chicken Run).

Less stressful because it’s stableford and because there’s plenty of weeks to have a go. The first couple of years I played in it I had the honour of getting both the highest and lowest scores (14 & 43 in the first year, 19 and 46 the second); more recently it’s been sustained mediocrity with this year being no different. But the hope of a meat voucher still drives me (and many others) on.
The good players tend to be overall leaders; there are exceptions but class obviously tells in the long run. There’s two aspects of the Turkey Trot (winter) handicap system worthy of note: there’s a weekly adjustment but only downwards, for the week’s winner and for good scores, and once the clocks have gone back and the winter tees are in use there’s an even more complex method of settling birdies than usual, where the amount per birdie depends on handicap. But how are the results calculated, checked and handicaps altered? This year I’ve been privileged to join the small group that reviews the scorecards on a Monday morning. “Smoke filled room”* would have described the atmosphere had it not been for the smoking ban: but the image still fits the careful, methodical delight with which the winner is docked (at least) one shot off his handicap.
* From Wikipedia: “a cabal of powerful or well-connected, cigar-smoking men meeting privately to nominate a dark horse candidate or make some other decision without regard for the will of the public.”

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