With the prospect of a two week vacation, and a packed programme, with a trip to the big apple and a few days in Bella Italia to follow, the Golf 4 Fun tournament at Gruyère was the best possible start for this Tiger.
Setting off on a sunny Saturday morning, in a car laden with golf equipment and clothing, Dawn and I made good time on what is now a familiar route, to arrive at our destination just before midday.
Booked in, unpacked and settled in room 200 (not 201 unfortunately which has a slightly better view of the lake) we changed to play Saturdays practice round with another 7 G4F members that had also travelled down.
Since our last visit the hotel has come under new management, and there have been a number of improvements made. One of the most noticeable has been the extension of the sun terrace, with an additional area of decking having been added. All very tasteful. The new staff however on initial impressions seemed to of been hired from the Manana college of speed and service. Just as well I had packed some sandwiches.
The first tee at Gruyère is par 3 (there are 8 on this course!) a raised tee, with a vista over the lake with the mountains behind – breathtaking . My opening strike of the ball however could not be described as a thing of beauty as I chunked my 6 iron down the hill. Hey Ho!
With the recent rains the greens were very receptive and there was ample opportunity to use ones Victorinox golf tool. The fairways in places under foot were similar to walking on an air bed with a slight bounce in them although being slightly lush, affording little roll. The rough was tricky with the grass grabbing the club face, punishing anything wayward, particularly on the narrow front nine.
Practice round completed and with the weather remaining clement, we all gathered for a drink on the terrace, with the service remaining sticky not helped by the addition of a wedding reception taking part in another part of the hotel.
Dinner time! It’s Gruyère and the food is good! The wine list had a Chilean Malbec catching my eye, and it more than delivered! To top it off, for desert, Gruyère double cream and meringues – If only my golf game was this good.
The service this evening had definitely picked up, and I take the trouble of mentioning Estelle who made the whole evening flow easily — As did the Malbec.
Competition day was greeted with blue skies and sunshine, with just over 40 golfers making the trip today. Tee times were set for a civilised hour of the day allowing for a leisurely breakfast, with those pastries that immediately increase your waistline just by looking at them. Then off to the putting green.
A new face appeared on the first tee in the shape of Shirley, who was to help Nata today handing out the goodies from Ultra sun, Focus water, and Stamford, as well as dealing with mid round snacks on the eighth.
Murray had kindly accepted the role of starter today, giving us the local rules etc before playing himself in the last group, as a sort of swan song as he returns back to New Zealand. Our loss, their gain.
Certain golfers were having a fine start to their rounds and I was lucky enough to witness Ron making a birdie on the first – but no one managed that single stroke to win that allusive hole in one prize of the Raleigh E bike. All down to season finale then at Waldkirch on September 17th.
We proceeded around the course and were soon at the eighth, where we were offered a selection of pies supplied by MMM Sausages the one I chose was the steak, really delicious and by all accounts so were the other fillings.
Nearest the pin, and I managed to stick mine on the dance floor only to have my flight partner Kenny hit it to just under 2.5 meters to get his name on the board, only to be beaten later by Vreni with a magnificent 1m 38 cm.
Longest drive for men the 15th and a brief moment of glory as I hit it off the middle, to briefly have my name up there before Mark R in the flight behind blasted it down, topping it off with one of his two eagles of the day.
Longest drive ladies on the 17th was a keenly fought affair, with Anne passing Nora to be passed by Irene to be beaten by Bea before Myriam S out hit them all. No Engine gin though as reward, much to Peters disappointment.
Finally arriving at the eighteenth, with the pin placed right at the back, a hit of around 180 meters from the men’s tee. I pulled out my 5 wood, only to sky it out of bounds. Reloaded, and this time hitting it sweet with a slight draw , it then came in contact with a rock, propelling it high in the air before dropping just off the green. There were similar feats from other players, one actually hitting the roof of the hotel.
A cold beer awaited us off the 18th thanks to Bruell Bier, and we watched the rest of the field come in.
It transpired that the local wildlife had been having a good day also with a number of competitors being bitten and stung. Maybe an insect repellent sponsor could prove popular?
Apèro time, and today we had the enthusiastic Charlie offering us the produce from Fin Bec wines, with a complimentary glass of Prosseco, as well as giving us a chance to sample some of their other vintages. Looking forward to our visit to the Valais in October where we are to have a wine tasting and Raclette a la discretion.
Chef had come up with some tasty nibbles and some interesting combinations — the lobster panna cotta was a new one on me.
Prize giving — and congrats to Mr Dorlin, Michael Thoma and Nora (thanks for the Irish jig) for all winning and playing their respective handicaps down. Even yours truly achieved his seasons target by hitting 18.3, in with the big boys now; I think it’s going to get tougher.
Thanks to Nora, Nata, Shirley and Dawn for the organisation and help on the day. Also Daniel T M for his behind the scenes input that may be unseen by some.
Do not forget, season final Sunday September 17th at Waldkirch, where this year Stamford is contributing towards a sit down dinner, Gin Sponsor Engine will be putting in an appearance with an Ice Block for Gin tasting and there are rumours that Andi from Bruell Bier and Jenny from MMM Sausages will all be putting in an appearance around the 18th green.
Tournament over, fond farewells, and anther evening of Malbec and Meringue.
Peter Martin, Hopeful Tiger 2017