This year’s Ryder Cup was to be competed for over the nine holes at Fricktal golf club in Aargau. A team from Basel, The Basel Baggers, taking on the 10 men and women from Golf4Fun.
I had been fortunate enough to be one of those selected, an honour indeed. Personally, I think the rather fetching black shorts might have swung it.
So, not ever having played the course and on the recommendation of our team captain, I took the Friday afternoon off work and played and was glad that I did, for whilst Fricktal is not a long course it makes up for this with sharply angled fairways, thick rough and tricky greens, and so the practice round was a useful experience.
Dawn and I had decided to make a weekend of it and after trawling through Trip Advisor, I plumped for the Hotel Platanenhof in Frick. This turned out to be a great hotel, with a true mine host in the form of its owner Lars and a brilliant restaurant serving delicious food and a mean Spanish red. The Cuvée Blanc we had for Apéro was from Frick itself and a true revelation.
Naturally, the inner athlete and competitor within me resisted the temptation to sink into a soporific state, and I hauled myself upstairs before I turned into a pumpkin.
Saturday morning began with a sky full of slightly threatening Cumulus Nimbus, but of course we should have had more faith and, sure enough, by the time breakfast was finished high pressure system Nora had moved in, banishing any hint of precipitation and leaving Fricktal Golf bathed in sunshine.
We arrived in plenty of time at the course, as we had been ordered OOOPS requested by email, so as to allow enough time to try on the team shirts. This, as it turned out, was a good thing as there was some confusion over sizing, with the first one tried on by yours truly being a ladies medium resulting in severely restricted movement, leaving me feeling as if I was wearing one of those latex accessories that can be purchased from a certain machine in a gentleman’s (or Ladies` so I am told) convenience.
After a number of swaps with other players of both sexes — THE SHIRTS!!! – All of us had the correct attire. We were further kitted out thanks to the generosity of TCL with new gloves and a sleeve of those lovely Titleist balls.
The prize for which we would be competing this year was, in fact, not a cup, but a framed photo (care of our Ron), of the 18th at Gruyère looking up from green to tee. Great photo Ron!
The morning round was a foursomes played over nine holes, and my partner was to be Jay (he of the alternative strides). Interestingly though, today he was adorning something much more conservative, no doubt in deference to the simple black and white colours donned by our opponents.
We started well, taking the first to go one up, but over the next seven holes our fortunes were to ebb and flow until we came to the ninth still one up for the match. There was a small gallery of other competitors gathered behind the last green to see the remaining groups come in and I pushed my tee shot slightly to the right of the green, setting myself up for a potential Larry Mize moment. Whilst the resulting chip went very close it did not drop, but the resulting par was enough to have us finish the match 2 up.
It transpired that our first two matches out had not had such fortunate results, and we were currently trailing 1-2. The other groups came in and by the finish the Golf4 Fun’ers had turned things around, sneaking ahead with a 3-2 margin.
Lunch was eaten al fresco on the panoramic terrace, with a chance to swap notes on each others` opponents as well as to sample the delights of the kitchen, in my case, schnitzel and chips – lovely.
The afternoon 18 holes were to be played in a Greensomes format, with teams matched with different opponents from those in the morning.
Jay had now reverted to type and was now sporting a particularly attractive pair of red trousers with flame motifs.
Our round did not begin well, going one down after the first hole. However, we steadied the ship and pulled it back on the third, as the birdie water made an appearance.
Our opponents were unlucky as we hit a hot streak and my flask of highland single malt was soon depleted and the match was won 7 & 6.
Returning to the clubhouse it was to turn out to be Golf4 Fun`s day with all the teams in red and black managing to dig out wins, resulting in a final 8-2 result.
All credit though to the Basel Baggers, who were excellent company and the score line may have flattered our efforts.
The weather had remained perfect and the evening was celebrated with a BBQ on the terrace, bathed in sunshine. Prizes were given, speeches made and Ron’s masterpiece was presented to Nora and Alison, with the celluloid trophy now to be seen hanging at Golf Point Urdorf.
It is hoped that this will become an annual event and I feel sure that next time will be a closer run thing.
Congratulations to all the Golf4Fun team and especially to our captain, Alison, who was inspiring with her pairings strategy and also to Nora for all her help in the organization and the climatic conditions!!
Peter Martin Hopeful Tiger 2015