Fitzwilliam Golf Society

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Western Tour Day 1 - Bristol and Clifton

This time, I decided to take us on our Mini Tour, to the West Country – playing at Bristol & Clifton GC and Cleeve Hill GC and staying on the Thursday night at The Rising Sun, on Cleeve Hill itself.

As seems usual now, we had a very good attendance on Tour, with 23 playing the first day (plus Eddie Davies doing a ‘Gerry’) and 21 playing on the second day. It was especially good to have new tourists in Pete Thomas and Ken Coulson – joining up with their contemporaries – Eddie, Austin Jessop, Fred Hartley, Nigel Smethers, Brian Smith, Charlie Brown and Harry Coe – quite a gathering of the early 1970s generation.

We arrived at Bristol & Clifton GC in the late morning for some refreshment, before teeing off after 12.30 pm. It was a rather grey day when the first group – Pete, Fred, Ken and Nigel – teed off. They were joined at halfway by Eddie, who acted as caddy encourager / ball spotter. The second group were Austin, Brian, Charlie and Harry. I had decided that it would be great to have these 8 guys playing in groups out front. There were then four more groups – and we were playing a Better Ball Stableford team competition – with 2 balls to count on most holes, except on the par 3s, where 3 balls counted.

The overhead conditions did improve somewhat during the round but as it had been very wet in recent weeks – the course was quite lush and without much run with, at first, some long par 4s – which for most of us were out of reach in regulation. The greens were generally quite large and tricky, not quick, but in good condition. Although perhaps the first 9 holes were a little disappointing – a bit bland maybe – but certainly not without challenge.

However, once we got to the second 9 holes, the course became more hilly and much more impressive – especially the downhill 13th par 3 – and then the uphill par 4, 14th – and then down again, over a stone wall at first (North Berwick like) on the par 4, 15th. It was also an interesting, well-bunkered par 3 on the 17th – and a nice par 5, 18th, back to the Clubhouse.

Overall it was a good warm up Society course to play. And we were made very welcome by all at the Club.

For the record, the team scores were:

1st – Andrew Garden, Stuart Lester, Richard Newport and Colin Dunkerley – 84 points – won the chocs!

2nd – Clive Makin, Graham May, Martin Holmes and Kevin Pickersgill – 77 points

3rd – Pete Thomas, Fred Hartley, Nigel Smethers and Ken Coulson – 76 points

4th – Matt Hignell, John Uwins, David Williams and Alan Wood – 75 points

5th – Austin Jessop, Brian Smith, Charlie Brown and Harry Coe – 74 points

6th – Mike Hamment, Paul Staten and David Wheeler (guest) – 66 points

And the Nearest the Pins were won by:

6th hole – Nigel Smethers (very good shot, in close),

7th hole – Andrew Garden (on the shortest hole),

13th hole – Brian Smith (great shot, to very close, on this signature hole)

17th hole – Graham May (only one who found the green!)

Most of us had time at the end of the round for a quick beer in the Clubhouse – especially wanting to see more of Eddie, Fred and Nigel, who were not going to be there, the next day at Cleeve Hill. But soon we had to drive the hour or so up the M5 to Cleeve Hill.

A quick shower / change – and it was down to the Bar at the Rising Sun – and then we soon needed to go into the Function Room for our 3 course meal. This was excellent – especially the steak and red wine pie (one of the best pies that I’ve had for a long while) plus vegetables – and the caramelised cheesecake. After the meal, the prizes for the day were awarded – and then we talked over the arrangements / pairings for Cleeve Hill etc – before adjourning again to the Bar.

Mike Hamment, President and Tour Organiser

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