Hopefully with all their travel documents in order, 12 intrepid Seniors, including the author, set off for Bramshaw GC in The New Forest last Wednesday 28th June 2017.
The border crossing from Wiltshire to Hampshire went without a hitch and we arrived at Bramshaw in good time for bacon sandwiches before battle commenced. Those golfers among you will know that there are 2 courses at Bramshaw, The Manor and The Forest. In an idyllic New Forest setting, we encountered many ponies with specific free drop rules regarding what to do if one's ball alighted in what ponies like to deposit in copious quantities! The Forest Course is the most environmentally friendly course I have ever played and follows the natural features of the Forest par excellence. The only attempts to interfere with nature are the fences around each green which prevent the ponies from leaving their mark on hallowed turf. We were a strong team with 3 former Seniors' Captains and ranging from 10 to 28 handicap. Sadly, the weather Gods were against us and a steady drizzle lasted all day which required the use of golf umbrellas and much use of towels to keep grips dry. Mike Oram/Alan Welch were in cracking form and recorded a masterful 6 in 4 win, not bad on a strange course I hear you all say and you would definitely be right. For Captain of The Day Ray White/Peter Walton it was an almost unbelievable game of 2 halves which would be a tale of fiction if it were not true. They were 6 down after 10 holes, almost dead and buried, only to fight back in true West Wilts style losing only to an opponent's ball hovering over the hole and then dropping on the 18th green. The overall result was a three all draw, the same as Bramshaw's visit to West Wilts on 4th May 2017 which I reckon is an entry for the history books. We continue our close relationship with Bramshaw and at least 18 of their players have registered to compete in our Seniors' Open on 13th July, masterminded by Ray White and widely regarded as the best Tournament of its kind in SW England.
Friday 30th June saw the Seniors heading in the opposite direction, this time towards Tidworth GC. After a brief sojourn in sunnier climes, our Captain Stephen Adams was back in command facing a strong Tidworth team. The greens were in a fantastic condition and equal in standard to any major golf venue which favoured the home team who ran out comfortable winners by five to one. Stephen Adams/John Barnes were the only pair to win with Stephen's truly magnificent 65 yard chip into the hole on the 18th for a net 2, well if that's not leading by example then my name's Arnold Palmer! The return home match against Tidworth is next Friday 7th July, just enough time for our boys to regroup and call up the reserves.
In conclusion, some anecdotes from the history of West Wilts GC. In order to raise capital after World War II, a number of exhibition matches were arranged. Percy Alliss (Peter's Father) who had played in the Ryder Cup, came to the Club in 1947 for the princely sum of £10. In 1949, Bobby Locke paid the first of his many visits to West Wilts. Golf gloves were just becoming fashionable and the then secretary, a glover by profession, pioneered the "Bobby Locke Glove" which reached international renown. On 10th September 1951 Bobby Locke went round West Wilts in 59 shots, taking only 23 putts, an achievement way beyond the ability of most modern day golfers. Indeed, the scorecard still exists next to the entrance/exit to the present day gentlemen's changing room. The new club house was opened on 5th September 1953 and was celebrated by Bobby Locke playing an exhibition game against three scratch handicap members. Bobby beat their better ball, one up, and after dinner entertained those present on his ukelele. About 250 members were present, a good deal fewer than the 1500 who turned up when the the old club house was opened in 1906, maybe something to do with the advent of Sky Sports and 12 hours a day supermarket shopping. Quotes, "You play golf by the rules and that in itself is the mark of a gentleman of quality. Nobody ever cheats anybody else at golf, the one who is cheated is the one who cheats." "Golf appeals to the idiot in us and the child, what child does not grasp the pleasure of miniature golf? Just how childlike golfers become is proven by their frequent inability to count past five." That's all for now, writes author Martin Hicks-Lobbecke