A new dawn looms for all golfers

Competitors in the Albert Skinner trophy: (left to right) captain-elect John Hanna, Gilbert Cox, captain  Rob Grove and handicap wizard Chris Walker. They observed the social distancing and all the drinks were non alcoholic

By Dave Bruce

WITH just a few playing days left for this most difficult of years for Barbara Cummings and partner Rob Grove, they can look back on their time with pride and tremendous gratitude from the Ladies’ and Seniors’ sections of Axe Cliff Golf Club. Barbara has handed over her reins to new captain Anne Jarvis and Rob will shortly be handing his over to present vice-captain John Hanna in early January.

This month has been busy despite the weather trying to upset our plans as well as COVID-19 but we have only been closed one day due to heavy rain as far as I am aware.

Barbara held a Fun Stableford held in pairs where one score counted on the first hole; two on the second and then multiplied on the third and so on for the 18 holes. The weather, then early in the month , was quite mild and the winners took advantage with good scores and they were fittingly won by Barbara and partner, Jo Hopgood.

Some 40 seniors competed in the Albert Skinner Trophy. Tradition insists that we wear something red in this competition in recognition of Albert’s favourite colour so most of us take the opportunity to get our Christmas jumpers out of the wardrobe as seen in the picture by top photographer, young Brian Thompson. The winner was course manager Simon Wellington, pushed all the way by my egg-man Paul Curtin and Terry Atkins, all on 35 points.

Fifty seniors were able to finally complete their second round of the Winter League competition. It was a fine winter’s day and even allowed Andy Hopgood to wear his short sleeved pinky/orange polo shirt for 12 holes before putting his jumper on. It obviously didn’t putoff his playing partners – Simon Wellington and Kyle Philpotts – as they finished 17th and fourth respectively with Andy 24th but they did have rain on the last hole before rushing in as late starters.

Earlier starter David Evans, profiting from the best of the weather and one of Wales’ favourite Axe Cliff golfers, was winner for the day with an astounding 37 points over the 15 holes. Luckily he was allowed 100 per cent of his handicap whereas in normal competitions over 18 holes, you only get 95 per cent under new national rules that no-one fully understands apart from Chris Walker and his assistant Malcolm Glass.

Scratch Cup finalist Stuart Mackie took second spot from octogenarian Gilbert Cox, both on a very creditable 33 points. Look out Bill Polley, the other Scratch Cup finalist, with Stuart in this form. Stuart also managed a “2” on his card but I have to mention the other two 2’s. I hit my best nine-iron shot to the short par three 11th which finished 12 inches from the hole, then my 85 year-old playing partner, Geoff Hughes, took his eight iron but didn’t know where it went until we reached the green where we found it only five feet from the pin.

Nigel Tarr, in the team behind us, witnessed it and would have taken a picture of both balls if he could have got his mobile camera to work. Needless to say Geoff and I sunk our putts. Geoff also finished fifth with 32 points and I won’t mention my final position.

Christmas frolic with the Ladies

Luckily with good weather on the Monday of last week the club was able to hold its Christmas Frolic with the Ladies, last week, in ten teams of three made up of two men and a lady.  The winners, Jill Wellington, Andy Hopgood and Leighton Morgan (another favourite Welsh golfer from the Valleys) took home a bottle of wine each with 83 points closely followed by the team of Jo Hopgood, Alan Folkard and the ever youthful Terry Jessup, with 75 points earning them a box of chocolates  each.

Sunset over Axe Valley Golf Club

These are probably going to be the last competitions of the year and I want to leave you with the fantastic recent picture (seen here), taken by our adopted lady vicar, Karen Curnock. She has beautifully captured the sunset, from the top bunker on the first hole overlooking Seaton Bay with Beer’s headland behind, praying for a bright new dawn of hope not only for Axe Cliff but for all mankind.

This is surely going to come with 85 year-old Geoff Hughes getting his first COVID-19 jab at Seaton’s Hospital with his second booked in early January.

I let him go in on his own but I should have gone in as well as he fell asleep after reading the first two pages of the four- page leaflet you must read before accepting the vaccine. Luckily, the nurse was able to wake him with a sharp prod and he was allowed a 15-minute rest afterwards in case of any reaction. His smile told me that Karen’s prayers will surely be answered.

Thanks for listening and wishing you and your families a very Happy Christmas a healthy New Year from Axe Cliff Golf Club.

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