Well I guess it had to happen. Sure enough, come Sunday 16th August the O Sullivan high decided to take its summer break, resulting in the 52 competitors at the golf club Gruyère reaching for their waterproofs rather than the factor 50. Although this golfer remains confident of better conditions to follow over the next few weeks.
It could have been so much worse, as the area had been hit by a wrath of God event Thursday, the evidence of which could be seen in the missing farmhouse roof and the warm up net by the 1st reduced to a twisted heap of netting and metal. The accompanying heavy rains had also emptied most of the bunkers of their sand, resulting in all sand traps to be deemed not in play, and so one less obstacle to tackle on what is already a difficult test of golf.
With the rain falling steadily the deployment of the goodie bags had been moved from the first tee into the dry and warm of the pro shop. Nora and Dawn were obviously keeping faith in the return of better climatic conditions in their more Mediterranean attire.
The usual stunning views from the first remained obscured by the low cloud as the first groups gathered to start, but the mood was bright enough to compensate. I had been paired with Mark R and Thomas R. It was heartening to see that Thomas was not wearing any protective head gear, which could have been considered appropriate, as the last time we were drawn in a flight together I had inadvertently tried to imbed a Titleist Pro V1 into his forehead.
This year, once again, we had been supplied with an official starter in the shape of Dominic Veltin and so we all had a chance to practice our French whilst the local rules were explained to us. –Le Bunker, Le Drop, C`est facile!!!
Not the easiest of starts for the field, with the hole- in- one competition on the very first hole — again no takers —- and the longest drive for the men on the 2nd, which, as it turned out, was won by Mark R and I was there to witness it. Top man!! The ladies had until the 17th to get warmed up for their competition with Karin Z the eventual victor there.
The round progressed and the rain persisted albeit more of a fine mist rather than a deluge but hard going with the ground more casual water than terra firma. We were soon in need of refreshment and it was not long before we arrived at the 8th where, courtesy of Evelyn and served out by Ron’s new friend Nata, we had the choice of some very tempting pies. I went for the egg and bacon which was yummy and I heard later that the chicken curry was rated highly in the gastro stakes as well.
The par 3 hole 8 and “Nearest the Pin”. And so, as this competitor made my way to the drop zone I was fully expecting to see Ron’s name on the sheet, but instead it was to be Mark B who, once again, was playing with a substitute set of sticks (kindly supplied by Daniel M and Golf Point Urdorf) as Mr B`s had once again repeated last year’s achievement of being lost in transit. So his impressive result of just 74 cm from the cup is definitely worth a mention and it was no surprise that the achievement was to remain unsurpassed.
The birdie water was to make an appearance in our flight on the 11th with Mark R sticking one 10 cm from the flag. As we moved over to the 12th invigorated by a slug of Calvados, the rain stopped, the clouds parted and as the ground water evaporated a mist could be seen rising from the fairway, and the wet weather gear could come off.
More measures of French distilled spirit were to be imbibed on the 16th much to the joy of yours truly as, for once, I actually managed to double my money and, as it transpired, so did a few others.
The 18th had our resident photographer Ron perched at the back of the green with the latest gadgetry attached to his lens allowing him to focus on the flights right up to the tee. Hopefully no mining of nasal cavities or scratching of other anatomical regions was captured on celluloid.
Considering the conditions the flights made good time and the Apèro, supplied by the club, was able to proceed promptly, with the added bonus of some wine tasting supplied by Fin Bec wines, with the enthusiastic Charlie informing us about the different grapes, techniques etc. His enthusiasm bore fruit though as a he received a number of orders, if only to ensure some supply, as Alex and Bea have cornered most of the 2012 vintage as a result of their golfing triumphs this season.
As always, a most enjoyable day and for Dawn and me a weekend as, like last year, we stayed the Saturday and Sunday night in this very friendly hotel with an excellent kitchen and pleasant staff.
Many congratulations to all the winners, including the unstoppable Alison and Alex for the brutto crown, Carlos with a staggering 46 netto and to Sebastian for securing his handicap.
A big thank you for Nora`s organisation and to the helpers Dawn and Nata, without whom these days would not run as smoothly as they do.
So it’s onto the season finale at Waldkirch on September 20th, where the season`s top golfers will be chosen and some truly great prizes will be won in the raffle. Hopefully not all by Siegi !!! As for the golf, this Tiger hopes that for once his handicap moves in the right direction and that the O` Sullivan high returns.
Peter Martin, Hopeful Tiger 2015