Yellow ball drama for Sidmouth seniors

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On Monday, Sidmouth seniors held their ‘Yellow Ball’ competition, writes Charles Oram.

For a golfer, the expression “Y..... Ball” (speak it not!) evokes the same terror as the word “Voldemort” does for Muggles!

They say that only those who attend Professor Thorn’s Academy of Golfing Wizardry can resist its malign power; for his students carry ‘Ben’s Compleat Compendium of Magical Swing Thoughts’, together with phials of bitter-tasting potions, guaranteed to ward off evil hooks and slices.

The competition is a three-ball stableford, with the nameless ball and one other score counting on each hole. One of the players (in turn) has to use the you-know-what ball. If he scores with this, then his points are doubled; but if he loses it, he also loses his team the opportunity for double points thereafter.

The playing groups were chosen at random, and it was chance that saw organiser Nigel Sharp in the winning team - playing with Brian Alabaster and your correspondent - on a tally of 121 points.

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The high score may be due to Sharp’s meticulous preparation, since the suggested order of battle was emailed to me days in advance.

But Alabaster was the hero, since he managed to find the whatsit ball after Sharp hooked his tee shot out of bounds on the short fourth hole; and managed to find it again, after an agonising search, when I hit it into deep rough on the fifth hole (although I was playing the 15th at the time!)

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In last month’s Open competition Bruce Harcourt and Bob Skelly were both in the money and here they teamed up with John Anderson to take second spot with 113 points.

Third place went to John Billingsley, John Bainbridge and Paul Blay on 110 points.

There were also prizes for birdies on the par threes. Congratulations to David Cowler, John Dunster-Smith, Peter Spooner, John Sanders, John Townsend, Charles Oram and Nigel Sharp .

For the hapless souls who lost the thingumajig Ball - help is at hand. Professor Thorn still has a few places available in his Academy for next term!

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