Mourn(e)ful! Ireland is not known as the Emerald Isle without good reason. The golfing gods were not kind to us at the spectacular Royal County Down golf club. With so many having travelled from far and wide, it was a huge disappointment to be met by the deluge that could have signalled the end of the world. Before everyone had teed off the decision was made to curtail the event to nine holes and this was only possible thanks to 10 valiant members of the green staff, squeegying all of the greens. Players were given the option of playing the full 18 if they so wished. Three hardy (or foolhardy, depending on your point if view) competitors elected to do so.
Our sincere thanks go to David Wilson, the Club secretary and his fantastic staff, both on and off the course (which would have been closed to anyone else). Despite the conditions, they raised The GCS bar to new heights.
Our congratulations to all who braved the weather and returned to the clubhouse drenched, but uncomplaining. It is unique in The GCS – Open reporting, to make mention of the drying room. However, not only does Royal County Down have the best ‘visitor experience’ it also has the BEST members’ drying room anywhere. How so much saturated kit could be transformed in such a short space was miraculous.
The winner on count back was local ‘new boy’ Terry Magee (6) Spa, on 12 pts. Neal Milton (6) Sheringham, was runner- up with Jonathan Moore (0) Feltwell in third place, both with (12) pts. The three remaining qualifiers, all on 11 points, were Stephen Boustead (18) Halifax West End, who, after a shaky start made two pars back in to the teeth of the weather, Patrick Dawson (8) Burnham Beeches and Michael Moss (10) Portstewart, the only secretarial survivor from our previous adventure in Northern Ireland, 15 years ago at Royal Portrush.
The support team cavalry were once again out in force. Kneale Diamond of Rain Bird was prominent with his generosity at Thursday evening’s party at Villa Vinci which was greatly appreciated by all. That evening’s exploits did not dull Kneale’s golfing skills as he was overall third with 12points, the following day. Stefanie Mainstone and Peter Kirk, of Jonas Clubminder and Chris O’Hagan of Clubview ensured that not only was the scoring up to scratch, but that there were some English voices heard all over Newcastle. We were pleased to be joined by Ray and Fintan Brennan, of Greenstester, the latter playing off 5 was the overall runner-up with 14 pts, playing in ‘familiar’ conditions. The cream always rises to the top – Eagle Promotions’ Eddie Comerford scored 14pts and was the overall winner on countback, which was appropriate reward for his efforts in helping to take us to County Down.
It is hoped that we shall all be able to return, in the not too distant future, to surely the most Heavenly place to play golf, with the backdrop of the Mourne Mountains, to finish the round!