Narrow fairways and trees - seniors’ nightmare!

Doug Goodall’s first duty as seniors’ vice- captain was to lead a team to Windwhistle on a very cold day with a biting southwest wind, writes Terry Carter.

The course provides wide-ranging views across to the islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm in the Bristol Channel as well as down to Lyme Bay in the opposite direction, although we had to take the home team’s word for it as our eyes were watering. Goodall, 14 hcap, led off, partnering Colston Herbert off 23 against home pair Alan Davis off 17 and Alan Chance, who was also off 14 but apparently played well and gave our pair no chance at all. A six and five defeat in the opening game was followed by a two and one loss by Pop Banfield and David Bromage, who were giving shots to the home pair. Next off was John Townsend off 15 handicap and Paul Blay off 26 had a tough battle with the home pair throughout, and this game went to the last before they settled for a half. Paul Blay had the misfortune to fall and suffer a pulled muscle as he negotiated a grassed over bomb crater on the 17th, but soldiered on to secure the half. I expect he will receive a medal for gallantry at the next seniors’ dinner.

I can’t imagine why, but I was giving all the shots when, with Tony Willson, we faced home pair Stuart Pope and Andy Beale playing off 20 and 25. Anticipating tropical conditions, Stuart Pope was wearing shorts, and while he spent five minutes looking for his ball in the brambles to the right of the first fairway we hit a par to give us a good start. However, with his partner mopping the blood from scratches on his freezing legs, Andy Beale stepped up to the plate and made full use of his eight shots. Playing well together the home pair won three and two for another point, followed by another when David Roberts and Barry Jones lost by the same margin. The final game featured Roy Smith and Charles Oram, and our pair won three and two to secure a point, also the “nearest the pin” prize on the par three fifth.

The course was designed in 1920 by the famous JH Taylor, who had also designed Sidmouth’s course 30 years earlier. In the intervening decades he had obviously got a bit grumpier and decided that, along with other hazards, golfers should face long narrow fairways, bordered by tall trees. A problem for those who hook and slice the ball at random, but it was the bitter cold that shook us all.

Result: Windwhistle 4� Sidmouth 1�

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?Seniors’ captain John Bainbridge also took a team to Teign Valley, and partnered Brian Cole in the first game off. Evenly matched for most of the front nine, our pair slipped to two down at the turn. They did steady things, but lost three and one to concede the first point. Golfers playing four ball games enjoy a level of banter not seen in many sports, commonly centring on the generous handicap or amazing luck of one or both of the opposing pair. Next off with Colin Mitchell, Mike Fisher’s 26 handicap was under the microscope when he parred the first five holes. The strong start was pegged back, but Sidmouth dug in and won on the last to secure a point.

A three and two defeat for Dieter Ritz and Charles Brown in a very tough encounter was followed by a welcome win by Bob Winstone and John Billingsley two and one. Glyn Hewitt and Bob Cook were two down after four holes against a sole opponent, before winning three and two. With Sidmouth leading the match 3-2, Nigel Sharp and Ian Brown lost six and five .

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Result: Teign Valley 3 Sidmouth 3.

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