Royal Worlington GC 21st March 2013

Royal Worlington & Newmarket proved to be a wonderful start for The Golf Club Secretary – Open Championship in 2013. The weather was dry, if cold, and even the sun shone upon us, a rare event in the last year. The course was in superb order and a credit to the greenstaff and Club. We were accorded the rare luxury of a Shotgun start, which ensured that everyone got round in a reasonable time (for secretaries) and ‘lunched’ together. The start very nearly commenced with an unforeseen tragedy; the rocket announcing the departure of fours groups, seven minutes before ‘the off’, did its job perfectly, but returned to earth less than five yards from it’s take off point, giving Messrs. Symington and Adderley cause for alarm.

The winner, returning to full health and former winning ways, was John Aughterlony (12) Rochester & Cobham Park, with an excellent par score of 36pts; he pipped Roger Attrill (11), Chairman of the Essex Golf Partnership, on countback (20-19pts). Third, with 35pts came, the about to retire (!?), Mike Miller (16) Piltdown, with 35pts. The second group off the 1st helped each other along to qualifying scores – Peter Walter (5) The Royal Household with 33 pts came fourth, Martin Gillett (6) Hobbs Cross matched his scored (but had already qualified), Ian Pattinson (7) the third member of the group, who is an Honorary Member of the Club and a valued Contributor, was the last of the qualifiers with 30pts. Mention in dispatches go to Keith Adderley (13) Temple, 33pts (showing better form than his beloved Wolves…?), Tim Aggett (1) Staddon Heights (geeing up Mandy and his clubs), Alan Davey (6) Pyecombe, 31pts and Neil Sjoberg (8) Epping, 30pts, all of whom had previously qualified and ‘gone purple’. It was good to see so many faces both old and new in the field and one departing, Giles Thomas, of Thorndon Park and an enthusiastic competitor in the Championship, who is returning to the ‘real world’. We wish him well.

Our grateful thanks go to the Captain and Committee of Royal Worlington for, very generously, giving up their clubhouse and course for the whole morning. We promise that we will not ask again (for a while at least!).

None of this would have been possible without the efforts of our host, Scott Ballentine and his staff and their attention to every detail. No towel was left un-turned… and even the three showers coped admirably. Lunch was delicious and although we occupied every square inch, it was the most convivial of occasions. The day was a treat for all, everyone, whether they had played well or not, appeared to leave smiling.

The previous evening a good number of us had enjoyed the delights, in a sensibly provided private dining room, of The Riverside House Hotel, just around the corner, which we can thoroughly recommend – if you go to bed at a sane time? N.B. I.McP, SB, LQ and MWAC!

We should never forget our supporters, without whom the Championship would not exist; Royal Worlington attracted a good showing. The ever present and chocolate dispenser, Philip Vince of Majestic Crystal, Stefanie Mainstone of Jonas/Clubminder, deliverer of perfect scores, Richard Barker of TeeoffTimes and Barry Gibbs of C C V, who both enjoyed themselves on and off the course, and finally Dean Poynter of Eagle, down from the North and hot on the trail of leads, who scored a qualifying 34pts – very well played. We also had the very entertaining company of Iain MacPherson from Rain Bird Renewables, who are to join the Patron’s Team for the 18th Open. Our thanks to them all. Thanks too to Viv, for the homemade heart-starter on the 1st tee, a definite highlight!