Hence the special events at the club this weekend - the presentation of the Turkey Trot prizes; the Christmas raffle draw; the second mixed greensomes; the Christmas lunch.
What doesn't come once a year is the winning score in the week's Turkey Trot: 52 points. A score like that is as rare as a Newcastle manager lasting more than a season*; or a farmer being satisfied with the weather.
Saturday saw the course open again, 10 holes only, and (to give time to work everything out before the presentation) a decision that a 10 hole score would be grossed up for the final round. The course was firm and partly fair - depending how your ball bounced - and the cold but calm conditions allowed for some special shots; I've never driven level with the 150 yard marker on the 4th before, nor reached the green close to the pin with a 9 iron from there, although my missed putt was familiar. But the eventual birdie saw me very happy with 24 points (also my lowest 18 hole score), grossed up to 43, wondering if I had a chance to win a meat voucher. But no: 29 grossed up to 52 won it.
And this final day score propelled Dick Little past the leading contenders for the second time in three years to win, leaving John Moffett 3rd (the leader at the start of the day) and Trevor Thompson 2nd; there was some consolation for the low handicappers in their number of birdies: 8 for John Moffet, 7 for Peter Sanderson, another indication the course wasn't at it's toughest. Birdie money is a critical part of the economics of playing at Bamburgh and it requires a calculating mind and a lot of loose change. The scene became more Christmassy with snow falling as Dick started off the raffle draw with Bronwen's win meaning the hamper stayed in the clubhouse. Naively I still assumed we could play the second mixed greensomes in the morning, and turned up at 9.00am to find everyone else had looked out their window and made the sensible decision to stay away. The snow does make the place look attractive but I hope it goes in time for the next greensomes (Jan 20th) and to let us play the brass monkeys more than last year.The Christmas lunch was good as always leaving just the Christmas quiz on Wednesday to complete the golf club's celebrations this year (and in the end snow caused this to be cancelled as well).
I googled "52 stableford points"; I only found two other examples discussed on the web, and a comment by one golf system supplier describing such a score as "beyond fabulous". So congratulations Dick: whatever the conditions, it's an amazing result.
* Actually, a 52 is a bit more unlikely than a manager lasting a season: there have been a few Newcastle managers who have lasted a whole season and more. The list of Newcastle managers on wikipedia was interesting: I hadn't realised that in terms of win%s, Hughton was Newcastle's most successful manager ever.
Here's a picture of a real Turkey Trot held in Cuero, Texas: