From the Arctic conditions in Gruyere, the damp temperate Bad Bellingen to the scorching fairways of Steisslingen, this year’s Golf4Fun Tournament Series has certainly delivered on the weather front. How fitting that we should play on one of the hottest days of the year in what is described as –A piece of Scotland by the lake — as the world’s top performers battled with uncharacteristically (warm) weather at the British Open at Muirfield – ( Congrats to Phil there). Golf4fun had the upper hand over that other tournament though as the extraordinary welcome given by Steisslingen’s owner Peter Ridley put everyone at ease. Even my wife Dawn was amazed to be told that the public 6 hole course had been designed especially for her — well as a beginner that is.
The course was definitely built as a thinking man’s course with good course management a key, although thankfully I am told the rough has become more favourable following the hot weather we have enjoyed. This resulted in myself managing not to lose a ball and finding four— many thanks to my playing partners for that result. The front nine was made more bearable by a gentle breeze which whilst had some effect on the balls flight was more welcomed for its cooling properties. Luckily one of our flight had had the sense to attach an umbrella to her trolley which ended with her gaining the title of Shady Lady. (Jest pure Jest).
On the green of the Ninth we were welcomed by Nora to be shown to a haven of refreshment by the club house where we were treated to the most delicious filled rolls – that Chicken one I had was memorably good and as a man with a sweet tooth the Coconut Cherry cake was Yummy.
Fully refreshed we moved onto the 10th — and longest drive !!! — As was befitting of my round which in celebration of the weather had mostly spent in the sand (do Nike do a bucket and spade set?) I duly hit my drive skywards and was rewarded with my ball actually bouncing back from clutches of another sandy fate. Soon to follow was the hole-in-one competition and judging by the pin placement on a sloping green and protected by a bunker I think even our Open Superstars may have struggled with that one. Nearest the pin was soon up and one of my flight had obviously taken the whole East Lothian style of play on board by squeezing a 9 iron under the radar for the ball to roll 50 meters up to what would turn out to be a winning distance of 2.32 meters. By this time the welcoming breeze of earlier had dissipated and the water bottles were being taken with increasing regularity. Then on the 15th Tee we were welcomed by Charlotte with fresh water and energy drinks—a life saver.
Then came the 15th 16th 17th — A completely different type of three holes from the rest of the course with ditches, telegraph poles and enough biting wildlife to keep David Attenborough busy for a while. However myself and my two playing partners negotiated these 3 testers with little major incident and so onto the 18th!!! What a vista this par 5 is from the top of the men’s tee. Homeward!
The 18th green– in full view of a spectators gallery from the clubhouse terrace— is a difficult one with it being well protected — yes I was in the sand again— But I was more relieved that the gallery managed to maintain a sense of decorum with no shouts of “YOOOOUUUUR DE MAAAAN” — or “GET IN DE I HOOOOLLLE” –that our Muirfield brethren were no doubt suffering at this time.
A great day’s golf in great company, and once again fantastic organisation. I even managed to win a spot prize with a day’s pass (and a free drink) to the Urdorf golf range. Probably the best prize I could get as practice is required.
Bring on Emmental !!!!!!
Peter Martin, Hopeful Tiger 2013!