Celebrating new look clubhouse

THE weekend presented everyone with a good excuse to celebrate the official opening of our refurbished clubhouse.

THE weekend presented everyone with a good excuse to celebrate the official opening of our refurbished clubhouse. On Saturday, over 120 golfers played in a 4 ball stableford competition, with two scores to count on the first six holes and three on the second six. Tension built and friendships were tested over the last six holes in particular, when all four scores counted towards the total. Although the competitions committee generously allowed players their full handicaps, I feel I should apologise to my partners for going awol over the front nine. However, I did recover over the back nine, once I discovered I had been holding the driver upside down. With our 109 points leaving us slightly adrift, first prize was won with 125 points by two seniors and two juniors. Positioned as they are towards the northern end of the age spectrum, team captain Jack Stokes and his assistant George Carr had wisely lowered the average age of the squad down to around 55 by recruiting talented club juniors Nathan Brace and Jack Hodge at a cost of two small diet cokes in the clubhouse after the game. Just losing out on countback was a team playing behind us, and whom we had regarded as favourites - Marc Shoobridge, Ian Bright, David Bater and Paul Hitchcock also produced 125 points, but were unlucky to lose the top spot on a countback. In third place were Phil Beer, Steve Crabb, Hugh Dorliac and Kym White. Kym was a bit red eyed after the clubhouse had been host to his birthday party on Friday night, and Steve had been celebrating with him. Phil had been on duty behind the bar throughout the proceedings, and so it was left to Hugh Dorliac to be the only one as fresh as a daisy as they stood on the tee at 8am the following morning. It was asking a lot under the circumstances, but they produced 121 points for third place. David Nelson might live only a stone's throw from another golf course just west of here, but plays almost all of his golf at Sidmouth. He and his regular partner Trevor Kerridge have an enviable record of competition success, and for this fourball Chris Timms and John Carroll joined them. I don't know whether this improved or worsened their chances, but their 120 points gave them a very creditable fourth place from a field of more than 30 teams. Fifth and sixth places were earned by two teams on 119 points but separated by a countback, and coincidentally by age. The younger group featuring John Dunn, Martin White, Paul Lewis and Rob Winter had the edge over the back nine, and the sixth placed team comprising Colin Mitchell, Ray Gunston, Dick Whiddon and Les Pratt were all above the seniors' plimsoll line so probably flagged in the latter stages. Most golfers love playing in fourballs, and a number of our ladies use every opportunity to take part in these competitions. Several ladies' teams entered and Jackie Hills, Maria Clapp, Janet Humberstone and Margaret Thompson achieved the best score of the day with 106. Janet is excellent company on the course or in the clubhouse, and Margaret, my occasional and very tolerant partner in mixed matches against other clubs, is always consistent. Janet told me they were thrilled to have won and, despite being new to the game, both Maria and Jackie had contributed strongly in a great team performance. The clubhouse was designed in 1905 by Sidmouth's renowned architect RW Sampson to coincide with the extension of the course from nine to 18 holes, and this latest interior redesign and refurbishment was celebrated later in the evening with an excellent dinner for 100 members and guests hosted by club captain Neil Faulkner.

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