Almost an exact repeat of Hoylake; a links covered in frost under a cloudless sky but with perhaps the added bonus of the English Channel as smooth as a mill pond – unheard of in annals of The Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club? A slightly delayed start meant that we able to play to excellent greens, with our pin flags in their appropriate places. Almost the entire field raised their games and delighted in the conditions, with a stout few getting down to shirt sleeve order in the heat of the day.
The Tournament was won by Stephen Toon (7) Sunningdale, with a most spectacular back nine (21pts) and a total of 39pts, including a holed pitch for a three at the last. Runner up was David Mabbott (9) Eltham Warren with 38pts (a previous qualifier at Sunningdale). One of our ever present finalists was third, Stephen Billings (2) Redlibbets with 36pts and fourth came another ‘host’ secretary, from the 2010 Final venue Rye, James Laidler (5) who scored 35pts. There were four other qualifiers for the Final at Ganton in May 2011: John Edgington (15) Faversham, 35pts, a regular at Finals, proving you didn’t have to be a ‘single figure man’ to go forward, Luke Edgecombe (11) Sundridge Park, Patrick Dawson (7) Burnham Beeches and Mike Miller (16) Royal Blackheath, all qualified with 34pts, with the last spot going to Dougals McNeave (6) Royal Ashdown Forest, who recorded 33pts and thought it wasn’t quite good enough…
Our thanks go to Ken Hannah (to whom we all send our good wishes when he leaves the Club at the end of the year) and all his staff on and off the links, especially Alison, for all their hard work and patience, whilst the frost cleared. Thanks too to the Captain, Committee and Members who allowed us to, once again, share their marvellous links and clubhouse. We shall return… (Please?).
The supporters were once again out in numbers headed (and shouldered) by Barry Gibbs of CCV, Phil McInley of Eagle, Paul Mainstone of Jonas/Clubminder, Ed Saxel of ispygolf and the Golf Monthly Team, led both on and off the links by Editor Mike Harris (35pts and ‘qualifying’, which could have been so many more!), Neil Tappin and Paul O’Hagan, not forgetting Golf Marketing Services’ intern, the delightful Casja Malmberg (31pts) (how can anyone make the game look so easy)? Richard Dancy and Sharn Etherton of Golf Locker Security once again proved to be generous and efficient starters and choccy dispensers. The prize table lacked some of its usual sparkle, as the effervescent P. Vince of Majestic Crystal (the well known, follically challenged, helicopter pilot – ring any bells?), was chained to his place of work, fulfilling orders for ‘last minute’ customers, he was missed by us all.
We were also joined by two Deal members, GCS consultant editor, David Dobby and former greens Guru David Chidley.