Neil Holland’s memorable eight birdies and an eagle!

Sidmouth Golf: The club s Monday Stableford played every week is proving very popular this season with those at the southern end of the membership age range, and this week was a memorable one for all of us who enjoy the game.

Sidmouth Golf: The club's Monday Stableford played every week is proving very popular this season with those at the southern end of the membership age range, and this week was a memorable one for all of us who enjoy the game.

Neil Holland was as usual looking to drive the green on the par 4 first, but his tee shot found the bushes to the left.

Mark Thomas "found" the ball for Neil but, having played it out, he discovered it was the wrong ball and so started his round with a blank.

Most of us hackers are skilled at finding excuses for a poor card, and an unlucky bounce on the first hole causing confidence to desert us for the next seventeen is a favourite. Neil didn't realise he was supposed to be demoralised, and so proceeded to record 8 birdies (4, 7, 9, 10, 12, 16, 17 and 18) and an eagle (13).

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He settled for pars on every other hole, and took a mere 26 shots over the back nine with eight threes and a two in a truly magnificent performance.

Inevitably he won the Stableford with 46 points, and one of Sidmouth's county stars has now brought his exact handicap down to a testing 1.2.

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Second place on this momentous day was earned by Claret Club member Steve Barber, who will have been so delighted with his 43 points he will no doubt be buying the claret for his pals next Thursday after their usual thrash round the course.

Serial handicap reducer Martin Geddis had to settle for third on a countback, and both Steve and Martin earned a one shot playing handicap cut. John Bainbridge took fourth place on 41 points, with his playing handicap coming down from 24 to 22.

Aylmer Cup

Colin, or CC, Aylmer was one of Sidmouth's most distinguished club members in almost 120 years, and was Club Captain in 1907, 1908 and 1909, as well as President in 1935-6. He reached the final of the British Amateur Championship in 1910, was the Devon Amateur Champion in 1912 and 1913, and represented his country in the first ever golf match between Britain and America. In this match and the return in Long Island the following year, Aylmer acquitted himself well and was a fine ambassador for Sidmouth Golf Club over many years.

The Aylmer Cup is therefore one of Sidmouth's most prized trophies, and last weekend's competition was keenly contested despite the poor weather. Mark Thomas and Neil Holland would have had no warning of the drama due to unfold two days later, but Mark triumphed with a net 63 off his eight handicap to secure the coveted Aylmer Cup. Neil took third place with his net 65 off two, and Luke Sheppard earned runner up with his net 65 off fifteen. In a close contest, no less than six golfers recorded net 66 and, although I didn't see the scorecards, Club Treasurer John Barnard must have had a hot finish as the countback gave him the edge over the other five.

Best results: M Thomas 71 gross, 8 handicap, net 63; L Sheppard 80, 15, 65; N Holland 67, 2, 65; J Barnard 80, 14, 66; D Pepperell 76, 10, 66; I Bright 74, 8, 66; M White 70, 4, 66; J Emmott 86, 20, 66; C Macklin 84, 18, 66; N Bater 80, 13, 67.

Sidmouth's League team has also been in action, and team captain Ian Bright optimistically declared the results as mixed. A home match against Fingle Glen probably should have generated a win given our familiarity with the greens in particular, but we settled for a half in quite damp conditions.

Wins for Nick Gingell and Lewis Perry and a halved match involving Duncan Taylor and John Jones, with the win secured by club seniors Trevor Kerridge and Alec Salway, gave us enough points to earn a home draw.

Ian then took his team to Exminster, but they were not as generous to their visitors as we had been. All of our pairs were giving shots to the home players, and Bright shrewdly gave Alec Salway the honour of partnering him.

Alec was clearly inspired and contributed to a 4 and 3 victory. Sadly only another half point from the remaining four went our way, when Club Captain Neil Faulkner and his partner David Pepperell halved their match. Despite the defeat the teams were closely matched, our three other pairs only conceding their games on the last.

Sidmouth B Team was also in action last weekend when Kym White took his players to Crediton for an eventful afternoon. First off was Kym partnering Phil Beer, and our captain assures me this was a close match until the par 3 15th, a hole familiar to many of us due to the nerve wracking tee shot over the strategically placed duck pond in front of the green.

I am not sure it is still called a duck pond, as apparently one of the Crediton players hit the resident duck with his second ball, and the home players were so badly affected their game collapsed ... in fact just like the duck. Our pair then took advantage of their opponents' distress to win 3 and 2.

The following groups didn't do so well: Colin Macklin and Nick Bater lost their match 3 and 2, and Steve Crabb and Bob Webber also lost, but by the rather larger margin of 5 and 4.

In a touch of reverse nepotism, White Minor continues to pick his father Keith, and White Major also lost his match 5 and 4 despite being paired with Paul Renkin.

At this stage our beleaguered captain was depending on Donald Cooper and John Barnard to lift the spirits, but they lost 5 and 3. However, the last match, featuring Gary Adams and Tony Bickel, was a much closer affair than the previous four, and our pair took the home players to the 17th before finally conceding defeat to give Crediton a 5-1 victory.

Seniors Golf

Our Seniors' captain Dieter Ritz took control again on his return from holiday, and in his inimitable way hosted the visit of Windwhistle for this annual friendly.

First off was Dieter partnered by Colin Burford, and in the opening sentence of his after dinner speech our captain said: "And they say crime doesn't pay!"

He was referring to the 7 and 6 victory in the first match out, which he said was due to an excellent performance by Colin "Bandit" Burford. Clearly the seniors are not as easily offended as some by the usual golfing banter, as Colin was thrilled by the subtle compliment.

The next match featured Bob Cook and Barry Pettit, and they secured another point with a 4 and 2 win. John Hicks and Ray Gunston also secured a point before Ken Rothwell and the writer picked up another by a 6 and 5 margin.

A number of us think the pairing of Colin Paddon and Trevor Bradley is quite inspirational, as they are able to ease their way steadily around the course without a care in the world.

When they arrived in the clubhouse no one was surprised to hear that Colin and Trevor had worn down their opponents to win by a 4 and 3 margin. This just left Tony Bentall and Chris Ashley to secure a clean sweep with another 4 and 3 victory.

Despite failing to pick up a point, our visitors then followed the increasingly regular trend in our home matches this season by commenting on the excellent course condition, impressive clubhouse and good meal. Regrettably our captain made his only tactical error on a great day when he decided to tell us all a joke after dinner.

Sidmouth Golf by

Terry Carter

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