21st Open Championship

It is fair to say that the sun shines on the righteous and deserving?
Who could be more deserving than a field of golf club secretaries?

Rye had it all, wonderful links, in immaculate order, welcoming staff, marvellous hotel, great company and some superb golf – not forgetting the (GCS) weather!

Some two weeks ago, Peter Walter emailed to say that he felt like a ‘defending’ Champion, returning to the venue of his triumph in The Golf Club Secretary– 13th Open Championship (2010), also adding that he was not in great form, but hopeful.

‘Defending’ Champion – two time Rye winner Peter Walter – 21st Open Champion
‘Defending’ Champion – two time Rye winner Peter Walter – 21st Open Champion

Venue, venue, venue is the message behind the Championship, played as it is on some of the finest courses and links that the UK has to offer. Peter (8) formerly the Secretary of the Royal Household Golf Club at Windsor and now the recently installed Manager of Copthorne, clearly felt the inspiration and despite an in and out finish, managed 18 points on the back nine to hold off three others on count back all on 35pts and win the Trophy for the second time. The runner up was Ray Grant (12) Northwood, with 17 on the back nine, Phil Bonsall (2) Piltdown, was third, with 15 on the back and in fourth pace was another ‘youngster’ James Nairn (9) Crowborough Beacon, with 9 on the last six. A good mix of handicaps.

The weekend started well with everyone raring to go in Sunday’s foursomes, (low/high handicaps). Two ‘youngsters’ from the middle of the pack emerging as the clear winners: Ben Tawell (6) Newton Green playing in the Championship for the first time as a qualifier (but having been used as a ‘sub’ in the past!) and Murray Cook (8) Fulwell, also a ‘new boy’, scorded 37pts, three points clear of the runners up Adam Riddle (3) Royal Ashdown Forest another ‘new boy’ and Bill Dunn, the 18th Open winner and former Manager at Racliffe-on-Trent, on 34pts.

At Sunday night’s rowdy but excllent dinner held at the very hospitable Flackley Ash Hotel & Spa(thanks here to Penny Brown and her very willing and able team), Jezz Ellwood a valued and regular Contributor to The GCS did the honours, whilst Golf Monthly’s editor, Mike Harris, handed over the chocolate filled bowls.

We then went into Charity mode with the Majestic Crystal Hoopla Challenge – no details necessary (view the pics) – each table came up with £5 a head for Rye’s CRAFT CLUB Charity. Chris O’Hagan on the Wildernesse table emerged as the clear winner and collected three bottles of sparkling – consumed instantly by his vociferous table mates. A couple of rounds of Heads and Tailslater and we were able to present the charity with a cheque for £525. A GCS – Final Charity record. Thank you…

Rye’s Members are, even now, recovering from the shock of our temporary take-over. Our thanks, as always, go to the Club Members, Captain and Committee for allowing us to enjoy what they enjoy and might even take for granted. Their recovery will be aided by the diplomatic skills of host Secretary, Jimmy James, ably assisted by his recently arrived House Manager Mark, not to mention the Club’s staff both on and off the links. We are indeed very fortunate and greatly appreciate the privilege.

Our thanks also go to everyone who attended – competitors, Supporters plus a variety of caddies and very welcome ‘others’ – we all had a great time.

Sadly we will be without two of our Supporters when the 22nd Open Championship kicks off in October, on the wonderful links of Burnham & Berrow. But our thanks go to everyone who supported us at RyePhil McInley of Eagle, John Hayes of Marsh, Tammy Hewins and Jamie Abbott of intelligentgolf, Mike Harris and Chris O’Hagan of Golf Monthly and of course Chocolatier in Chief, Philip (Vince) of Majestic Chocolate whose wonderful selection is available to view by clicking here