What a wonderful ‘weekend’. We couldn’t have asked for more to celebrate 20 years of The Golf Club Secretary – Open Championship, both at Sheringham and Royal West Norfolk (the 200th event in GCS – Open history).
Everyone needs to be congratulated on arriving at Sheringham well in time for their tee time, to be greeted by a light wind and sunshine was an added bonus. As a result, all the competitors had time to enjoy the comprehensive breakfast laid on the by the Club’s caterer. Play proceeded at a good pace and three and a half hours later Adrian Dawson (9) Woodcote Park and our American guest Kevin Costello (9) amassed 37pts, a clear winning score. Runners up, a point behind, were Neil Sjoberg (7) Epping and Eagle’s Dean Poynter (10). Our thanks to Neal Milton, our host at Sheringham and to all at the Club for their kindness and generosity in giving up their links on a Sunday.
In the evening just about everyone turned up to dine at The Hoste, wearing their 20th Open bow tie, which added a little something to a very lively occasion. Dinner certainly went with a bang, good food (wine aplenty) and a great deal of animated discussion. Through three rounds of Heads and Tails we managed to raise £315 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance (through RWNGC). Congratulations to all concerned at the hotel for their assistance, delicious food and excellent service; they were particularly grateful to the ‘wine monitors’ who made life a great deal easier.
Monday dawned, chilly and bright. Amazingly everyone got to their tee for the Final Shotgun (08.45) start at Brancaster (a first for RWNGC) well in time, although without guidance from the Chief Marshall, some of the parking would have raised an eyebrow or two amongst the members! Pace of play was mixed with one or two three balls taking what seemed like an age.
Some things in golf don’t change. We had promised to be off the links well before 13.00, which we were, but as we drove back to the Clubhouse, there was already a backlog on the 1st tee of four ladies foursomes, champing at the bit!
Lunch of excellent shepherd’s pie (thank you Rob and Wendy) with marvellous views over a sunny links and dog’s delight of a beach, was downed with relish. A thankfully brief prize giving ceremony, so all could be on their way, was over in no time at all with Jon Hall (3) Headingley crowned 20th Champion at our 200th event. Jon’s score of one under gross, for 40 points, was the best at any Final to date and unsurprisingly he won by a comfortable margin of 4pts.
Runner up with 36pts (a winning score in any other year) was John Aughterlony (12) Rochester & Cobham Park. Third and making yet another appearance in a Final 20 years after the inaugural event at Hintlesham Hall, was Keith Adderley (14) Temple with 35pts on countback from Mike Verhelst (7) Bury St Edmunds. The full list of scores can be found at gcs.intelligentgolf.co.uk/competition.php?compid=34 also there will be more photos to follow.
Everyone appreciated Brancaster, a true out and back links, in wonderful order with fine grasses abounding and consequently wonderful putting surfaces. The clubhouse had many awestruck. We have thanked the members and our very patient host Ian Symington for agreeing to what promised to be a logistical nightmare but one that, in the end, worked out perfectly.
We would also like to thank Her Majesty The Queen for the use of her racing colours, a one off, and to congratulate her on her 90th birthday. We will all still be going strong in another 10 years!?
Thank you to everyone for a memorable time, supporters and competitors alike: let’s keep up the enjoyment and get cracking on the 21st Open!