Knock Out Reports

South Cup Final 2018 

Winners all!

The match between Bob Howell, 19 (BH) and Michael Campbell 15, (MC) was played on the New Course at Sunningdale, courtesy of Brain Morrison, which was designed by Colt and Morrison (relation ?) and opened in 1923. The Hon. Sec was the match referee

Fine drizzle persisted on and off throughout the match and preferred lies were the order of the day

Disaster struck on the first tee even before the match started as BH discovered that his range finder was not performing well, so a Sunningdale course planner was quickly collected from the pro shop while battle commenced

Both players made a confident and solid start and the 1sthole was halved in 5-

The 2ndhole is the first of five par 3’s and has a two tiered green-BH found the green but MC did not and subsequently lost the hole

On the 3rd (360yd) both players had good drives which finished on the fairway and although both holed out in 6 ,BH (won the hole as he was receiving the first of four shots .

After confusion over where the 4thtee (428yd) was located the hole was halved in 5

On the par 3, 5th(162yd) BH found the greenside bunker but MC hit a perfect shot onto the green and won the hole with a par 3

The 6thhole is a par 5 (440yd) and MC was the first to find the heather and then the greenside bunker and lost the hole –BH received a shot on this hole so only had two shots left

On the 7th(357yd) it was BH time to find the heather with his second shot and MC took the hole with a fine par 4

The heather came into play again on 8thfor BH and MC’s accuracy off the tee helped him win the hole and again on 9th.This left MC with a one hole advantage into the turn

The 10this a par 3 (181yd) with the halfway house in sight at the end-MC was in a good position to press home his advantage but missed a short putt to give BH the hole-Match all square

The players then adjourned to the halfway house for the traditional sausages where we joined Paul Varney and Allan Westray who were playing in the final of The Plate ahead of our match-While we there we watched the players (including Tim Henman) finishing putting out on the Old Course

Hole 11 (431yd-dog leg) was halved but BH used up another one of his shots off MC to achieve it

Hole 12 (357yd) was won by MC to go one up

Hole 13 (516yd par 5) started badly with both players driving into the heather and having to take a penalty shot each-The hole was eventually halved after BH holed a 15foot putt

Hole 14 (Par 3-159yd)-MC drove the bunker and did not recover well enough to beat BH who won with a 4 to square the match

Hole 15 (388yd-dog leg right)-BH used the last of this shots off MC to win the hole with a 5 net 4 and to go one up in the match

Hole 16 (355 yd)-Both players hit good drives but then had to recover from the sand-Hole halved

Hole 17 ((156yd ) BH in sand but MC hit his tee shot to the middle of the green.BH hit a good sand shot from an difficult stance but was unable to hole the put-MC won with par 3-Match all square

Hole 18 (461 yd par 5)-Both players played steadily and reached the green in 4 shots followed by 2 putts-Match still all square

Because the 1sttee was crowded with players from a society it was agreed to replay the 18thas the (first) extra hole.This hole was played without the supervision of the Hon Sec until they reached the green .MC was on the green in 3 but BH missed the green with his approach and although MC first putt was long he had two more putts to seal the win which he duly did ,to a standing ovation from the Hon Sec and the two  players  from the Plate final who had finished their match on 18thand did not need extra holes to decide their result!!

So very well done to Michael Campbell who becomes the Distillers Golfer of the Year 2018

The day was followed by a snack lunch in the club house washed down with Justerini and Brooks champagne. A photo session then took place with the winners holding their trophies ,which will be formally presented by the Master at the February lunch at Vintners

South Plate Final 2018 

Paul and Allan prepare for battle

Our match started in mist and drizzle at Sunningdale Golf Club on the New Course. Despite these conditions both of us started with good drives off the 1st tee but soon found the first of the many bunkers on this course. Paul won the 1st, Allan recovered and won the 2nd short hole and for the next six holes the lead changed from hole to hole without either of us being more than one ahead. Paul was driving well off the tee so missing the heather whereas Allan frequently went into the heather and lost shots despite being given six shots overall by Paul.

By the 10th hole Paul was 2 ahead and playing consistently well; both of us then called in to the halfway house for a welcome coffee and butty. The 11th hole was halved, the first of the match.

Paul continued to get an edge over Allan but Allan recovered winning a few holes, another was halved but by the 16th Paul was 2 up with 2 holes to come. Pauls perfect tee shot off the 17th landed on the green thus putting pressure on Allan. Allan’s tee shot fell well short of the green and his 2nd & 3rd shots were no better. Paul putted close to the pin so Allan conceded the hole & the match 3 & 1. This was a well-earned win for Paul who played some really good golf despite the challenges of the weather, heather & many tricky bunkers.

The match was played in a very relaxed & sporting manner and it was a pleasure & privilege to play this Final at Sunningdale. Congratulations to Paul for his well-deserved victory. The 2 of us then celebrated his success with a very enjoyable glass of champagne in the delightful clubhouse with Mike Campbell, Bob Howell who had played the Distillers Championship Final ( see separate report) and Graham Franklin.

Huge thanks to Brian Morrison for so kindly arranging for us to play at Sunningdale and to Graham Franklin for making all the arrangements for our match and also for his excellent organisation throughout the year  for golfers playing in both Distillers tournaments.

Scottish Plate Final 2018

Michael Beamish and Michael Urquhart met at Longniddry Golf Club in East Lothian for this epic final on Thursday 27th September. The courses comes with good recommendation with it hosting a qualifier for the Scottish Open in July.

After a cup of coffee Beamish lead the way on the first tee with the course in good condition and in fair weather, windy but at least dry. He was soon up by three holes when Urquhart, begining to think it would all be over by the turn, got into the swing of things and managed to win the next four holes, including getting a “real” birdie on the 5th, “Cadell’s Neuk”. Beamish won the following two holes and being one up at the turn. On the 10th Beamish had a fantastic drive, pitch and putt to gain a birdie on the 10th, “The Firs” a 416 yard tree lined hole with quite a few bunkers along the way to catch the unwary (and his opponent).

We continued on to a more open part of the course, seeing some very dark clouds come east, but thankfully towards the north and Fife as we strode on. Beamish won the 12th and 13th and thereafter we halved the 14th, 15th and 16th resulting in Beamish being the very well deserved winner by 3 & 2.

Well played Michael and many congratulations on your win. I thoroughly our round of golf and our chat.

Scots Match 31 Semi-final Mackintosh vs Doctor

Although Ewen was entitled to home advantage he generously gave this up and we played the tie at Muirfield on a beautiful Tuesday evening. It was just sheer coincidence that I had invited him to join me there for 36 holes of foursomes golf the following day!

The last time I had played with Ewen was at the Spring Meeting of the Spirit Trade Golf Society held at Glasgow Gailes in early May, where I think he won both the Scratch and Handicap prizes so the prospect of giving him a few shots certainly did not appeal.

We both started off nervously and found bunkers on the first resulting in a good half in double bogeys, but our golf improved and soon par was the order of the day. Holes were traded back and forward but eventually my cunningly gained home advantage paid off and Ewen succumbed with a couple of holes to go.

A most enjoyable dinner in Gullane followed our match and the story has a happy ending as Ewen and I teamed up the next day to convincingly win our foursomes match.

Scots Match 29 – Moore vs Doctor

David invited me to Luffness where we played on the most beautiful night for golf on a course in wonderful shape.

I was inspired by the conditions and managed to get off to a flying start winning the first four holes and helped by some uncharacteristic good putting I was five up at the turn. However, having lost heavily to David around Gullane last year I knew the game was far from over and sure enough I never won another hole! Hanging on grimly I managed a few halved holes and was glad to finally shake hands on the sixteenth green.

Match 27 – Espey vs Strachan

Tales of misery are best cut short! A beautiful day on a superb golf course thoroughly wasted by yours truly. James and I started on the 7th tee at Royal Wimbledon. My first drive was into the deep covers and after three off the tee I might have been down in about 8 to James’s 5. We halved the next hole but after that it was downhill, uphill, everywhere but straight up the fairway all the way for me, and after 9 holes James was 5 up. Apart from a couple of holes taken where I had shots, and a par on the short 17th, it was James’s day and the match ended 6 & 5 after 14 holes. Well deserved revenge for our meeting two years ago at Liphook!

Thank you James for your generous hospitality… and for your much-in-demand spot-the-ball abilities.

Scots Match 25 – Doctor vs Urquhart

As Michael had never played Muirfield before and there was a strong wind blowing I made full use of home advantage to win some early holes but once Michael got the hang of the greens he rapidly made inroads into my lead and we were soon all square. Such is the severity of the bunkering that we both conceded holes when unable to extract ourselves but by dint of avoiding more of these than Michael I was able to prevail in the end.

I must thank Michael again for making the long journey south from Elgin to play our tie but I’m sure he will agree that the course was in great shape and that lunch itself was well worth the journey!

Scots Plate Match 48 – P.Mackay vs Urquhart

The original plan was for me to travel to Panmure Golf Club for this match on Monday 25th June, but there appeared to be another “match” on there, a regional qualifying round for another “competition” next month. Not being free to participate in that competition next month, we switched our game to Elgin and Peter travelled north.

Peter Alliss once described the Elgin course as “the best inland course in the north”, so after an enjoyable lunch, Peter very generously allowing me the full difference in handicap in strokes we duly set off in conditions that can only be described as glorious sun shine and not a breath of wind. The first hole, whilst looking wide and inviting, could only be described as a warm up hole for us both and we had our first encounter of fast greens and tricky pin positions. Onwards we went and Peter had a superb drive on the short 150 yard 4th landing on the green, alas the tricky greens came into play… By the 6th I was four up and suggested that the number of strokes he was conceding  should be adjusted to 2/3rds of the difference. Peter, with his long drives and a 52 degree wedge to get him out of a few sticky positions, clawed back 2 holes so I was 2 up at the turn. Onwards we went and on the 11th, a rather challenging hole with very tall Scots pines protecting the fairway, Peter had a magnificent 260 yard drive for a short 90 yard chip onto the green. On the 14th, Peter again had splendid 280 yard drive followed by 6 iron to the left of the green, avoiding the four bunkers protecting the green, and a 20+ foot putt into the hole. His success continued on the short 15th, driving the green and putting for the hole. However, local knowledge had been on my side throughout the game, as well as a hard ground which gave extra length to any shot, we ended up dormie 2 as we teed of on the 17th with Peter winning that hole and I won the 18th after we both arrived on the green in two. The final result was an Urquhart win by two holes.

Thank you Peter for making the trip north and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation during our round and I hope you had a good trip home.

Plate Match 45 – Bateman vs Varney

The match was played at the RAC Club. The setting is magnificent and the Coronation Course, one of 2, straddles 2 sides of a deep valley. The weather conditions were tropical. The temperature was 28 degrees and the humidity close to 100 per cent, adding an extra dimension to the steep nature of many of the holes.  Paul the host started well with his straight driving and approach work. He went 3 up in the first 4 holes.  Although Graham pulled on back on the par 4, 6th, Graham could never match Paul’s accurate play on the outward 9, which ended with Paul deservedly being 4 up. Returning 9 was much more even, but by this time the conditions were affecting both players and accurate driving became a rarity. Although Paul went 5 up on the 13th, Graham pulled one back on the 14th. The match end on the par3, 15th when Graham failed to make par with a 6ft put to win the hole. It is a real fun round which was greatly enjoyed by both players, despite the very trying conditions.

Scots Match 24 – Bruce vs Moore

The term “friendly rivalry” could have been invented for this clash between Bruce and Moore at Lundin Links in Fife. Both friendship and business partnership were set aside for one afternoon in splendid sunshine at the beautiful links. Moore arrived in the Kingdom of Fife (Bruce Country) with great trepidation, far from the sanctuary of East Lothian across the water. It was immediately apparent that Bruce meant business, eschewing the opportunity of a cheese roll on the first tee which had been procured by Moore from the clubhouse. Bruce was doubtless fortified from the victuals at the Daftmill launch that morn just over the hill. The front nine was a rollercoaster with no holes halved – Bruce twice taking the lead at 1 and 3 before some wayward driving from Bruce allowed Moore to take a good lead to the turn. Bruce was striking his new irons extremely well and with 10 and 11 halved, took the 12th with a fine 3. The course was in magnificent condition and Moore was able to close out the match at 14 with a ‘thinned’ 5 iron to the green. A meatier strike from Bruce to the par 3 caught the wind and disappeared into the hokey cokey. The grudge match over, the last few holes and a blether were also greatly enjoyed. We repaired to the clubhouse to obtain a shandy and enjoy the views from a sunny bench, after inspecting Bruce’s handiwork – the Adelphi Lundin Links Anniversary drams which were on display.

Match 21 – Strachan vs Darlington

There was a sense of inevitability felt by both Patrick and Nick, I suspect, in this second round Distillers Knock Out competition as the first hole was completed.

Patrick felt delighted with his 2 over par; he played only one poor shot, but it handicapped him very little and a fine chip enabled a short put which he missed. Wow the greens were fast.

Nick played straight, generally a little short but with a keen awareness of the vagaries of the course. Solid and secure, such was the elegance of his approach slot that Nick deserved a fine bogie.

Patrick felt he was playing above himself, but despite 5 bogies and 1 par in the first 9, he was 4 down at the turn. It was clear he was just not good enough!

The day was perfect and the beer tasted wonderful after the game.

Though disappointed, Patrick thought he did well to keep Nick to just 6 and 5!

Plate Match 42 – Harris vs Garrard

Ian Harris (20) beat Keith Garrard (24) by 3 & 2
With a buggy providing some comfort for ageing tendons, and the onset of jet lag, but little respite from the steady rain, the match slotted in amongst intrepid members, most of whom seemed to be known to Ian
after his 35 years of membership at the club.

Ian had prepared for the game with a holiday in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and an overnight flight that saw him on the tee only a couple of hours after returning home, where his back garden is alongside the
18th fairway.

It was soon apparent that Ian’s power and balanced swing would generate far more length than what Keith had to offer, but golf was not easy in the prevailing conditions, not that it ever is for these two, and long
wet grass and overhanging trees ensured the match remained “competitive”, with some good play on and around the greens off setting sundry other indiscretions.

It was Ian’s mastery of the five par threes, all of which he won, which ensured he was always in control, and just when it seemed jet lag was setting in , and he might be tiring, he resorted to his legendary “jigger” with which he produced a succession of “jigger and run” shots from off the green to the side of the hole. His local pro thinks they should be banned!

Wet, cold hands were shaken when Ian rolled in a tricky downhill eightfooter on the sixteenth. A worthy winner, indeed, who has Sunningdale firmly in his sight.

Good luck Ian and many thanks for a lovely few hours “Winning is sweet, but revenge is sweeter”

Scots Match 19 – Beamish vs Rankin

Michael very kindly hosted me at the wonderful Muirfield Golf Club in East Lothian, one of the 3 original “Open” venues.

It was a first for me having never played the famous links before.

Weather conditions at 9.30am were ideal, dry with a light breeze.

Michael was giving up 11 strokes and I managed to take full advantage of those available in the opening 8 holes building a 4 hole lead playing steady golf. However the wind was strengthening and as we turned into it on the 9th the match began to turn as well. Michael won the hole due to wayward driving on my part. The 10th was halved but on the 11th the hole fortunately got in the way of a racing putt (on the fast greens) helping me regain a 4 shot lead. Michael clawed back two holes on the 12th and 14th and looked to have a chance to narrow the gap to one on the 16th when his tee shot found the green on the long par 3 while mine went somewhat askew! Michael’s long downhill putt seemed to only trickle past the hole but didn’t stop, finishing 10 feet past. Meanwhile my chip left me 15 feet short. I putted first and holed the putt putting pressure on Michael and when his put shaved the hole failing to drop the game was mine 3 and 2.

A wonderful day at a fabulous course and great company.

Thank you Michael for a great experience.

Match 18 – Howell vs Wallis

The rearranged second round match was played today at Arkley Golf Club, a 9-hole but 18 tee course near Barnet, Herts.

It was between last years Distillers Golf Champion Adam Wallis and the Plate winner Bob Howell.  Clearly advantage to Adam who had gone through 2017 undefeated, although one of us would today be saying goodbye to the faint possibility of taking home a trophy at the end of the season.

In blustery conditions Bob, who’se golf had been struggling recently, started the steadier winning the first two holes.  However that lead did not last long with holes regularly changing hands so that by the ninth the match was all-square.  Both players felt they had let opportunities slip but a couple of long putts by Bob had kept him in the game.

With Adam now having seen the greens the first time round and his game improving, he stated to show the form that had led him to success in 2017.  Bob’s game also picked up and although holes still regularly changed hands.  By the 15th Adam was one hole up but his shots had now gone.

The 16th produced an unforced error by Adam & Bob played a cautious but successful hole to square the match with a rare par.  The 17th saw Adam drive into a bunker and with Bob chipping next to the hole for another par it was onto the 18th to decide the match.

In such a closely fought battle it was a shame that the punishing rough on the final hole grabbed Adam’s tee shot and made a recovery impossible.

So the narrowest of wins for Bob, but a great closely fought match played in the true traditions of Distillers golf.  My thanks to Adam making the trip over to Arkley.

What an enjoyable game Ronnie and I had on Friday morning.  The weather was perfect, the company great fun and we had a very enjoyable joust which lasted all of 16 holes but more anon.

In order to dodge the queue we sneaked on to the 11th and for some fluky reason yours truly started with a par 4 net 3 which set the scene and thus I was 1 up thanks to the  shots I enjoyed from Ronnie, which is fair enough.  Twelve years age difference and seven shots in my favour seems about right.  I am now making a mental note of that for the future with others.

We battled away, zig-zagging.  He was very kind in the beginning and at one stage he let me get to 4 up.  But then Ronnie settled down and came  back strongly.  We reached the turn, that is 8 holes, having started at the 11th, in about an hour and a half and managed to talk our way through a couple of 3 balls and thus, essentially speaking, we had a great round of golf in about 3 ½ hours.

But before we reached the best point of the day, which of course is a shower afterwards, the battle continued. Ronnie started finding his form and clawed his way back, so by the 3rd hole—the 11th of the game — I was only 2 up.  We then halved stroke

2 the 4th  thanks to my stroke.  He was very kind to me on the 5th  by deciding to make a mess of the par 3 and allow me to then be 3 up.

Moving on to the 6th, he had a great opportunity because he was on in 2 after a magnificent drive and I was on in 3 but Ronnie, being a gentleman, decided to 3 putt and make it a ½ so it continued with  me still 3 up.

He played the Par 5… 500 yds 7th magnificently and was just off the green in 2 and I was in the rough looking for my ball  so retired hurt, to be  2 up with 3 to go.

Then we came to the 202 yd 8th hole, par 3 stroke index 4 phew. Both of us were short of the green. I managed to have a reasonable chip to about 12 ft and Ronnie was 16 ft and then he got a 4 and for some obscure reason, which still surprises me, I managed to sink my putt for a 3 net 2 so we shook hands 3 and 2.

We continued the game and on the 9th I won the hole convincingly but on the 10th, the last par 5, he won that one clearly.

More important, it was an honourable game.  We both shot approximately 94 gross or 23 over standard scratch at Royal Wimbledon but more important, it was a fun game of golf and so we had a good shower, settled down with peanuts and a pint and  Amontillado  for Moi  – my daughter’s brand of course Xeco (nothing wrong with a commercial plug)www.xeco.com  and then I took him to the station to make sure he was in time to meet his wife and score a few points—Well I hope so.Thank you Ronnie, a very enjoyable game and I look forward to doing battle with whomever I have to meet next.

Match 23 – Porter vs Smith

John and I played at Tandridge yesterday, a hot day with the course in great condition.

A swinging start with no halved hole until the 5th. John went into an early lead with a very efficient par 5 at the first, Chris winning the second, John taking the lead again after 3 and again Chris pegging back to all-square after 4.

Chris made a good par at the 6th to take the lead for the first time in the match and after halving the 7th, the par 3 8th hole proved pivotal with John hitting a good shot onto the green. Chris blundered around with his first two shots, but managing a long putt to salvage a bogey 4 to John’s 5, which after the good tee shot was a source of some disappointment to the man from Churston. The par 5 ninth was both players worst hole, halved in 7, so the turn was reached with Chris 2 up.

Chris played steadily enough on 10 and 11, to go 4 up but at the par 5 12th John having hit a good drive and even better second shot straight up the fairway was unlucky enough to lose his ball. Despite every effort it couldn’t be found, very mysterious and desperate misfortune for John, especially as Chris had played the hole poorly, yet, courtesy of another long putt, won it with a 6, and put him 5 up.

The short 13th was halved and the match was dormy 5 as they headed down Tandridge’s flagship hole the long 14th where both players again played poorly. John had a shot, so halved in six, the match being won by Chris 5&4.

We spent a very enjoyable time playing the rest of the course and by the time we’d come off the 18th the heat had meant that the pint of Harvey’s waiting in the bar was most welcome!

With thanks to John, a true gentlemen and for arranging to come to Tandridge and for making his weekend away from Devon to accommodate

Match 22 Bush vs Walpole

The distance of travel was well rewarded with a visit to West Sussex, voted 12th best course in England, 30th in UK and 98th in the World, not only that it has a very recently elected new Captain our own Geoffrey Bush.

GB was giving some 12 shots to MW but his start could not have been better winning the first 2 holes with the remaining 7 of the front 9 halved, GB 2 up at the turn,

It all ended on the 16th with GB winning 3 & 2 a very worthwhile victor whose chipping and putting was so good with a number of putts rattled into the cup from over 6 feet, a great display.

The course thoroughly deserves its status and has an excellent and very generous Captain

Congratulations Geoffrey and good luck in the next round.

Scots Match 18 – Jamie Morrison vs Mike Younger

We met at Archerfield for a coffee bacon roll and the start of enjoyable conversations which lasted the entire game. The weather was gentle and overcast. Mike adopted his usual strategy of leaving the driver in the bag. That worked off the tee but on the first two holes the second shots found dense rough thus two holes down. A steady recovery and conservative play then had the match drawn by the fifth. Jamie’s ball had found rough and bunkers on the way which allowed Mike to come back. Mike, to his amateur surprise, kept the ball on the fairway and thus in contention with his faithful three iron off the tee. Jamie had some response but Mike uses his shot advantage well and even drew some of the scratch holes. The chat had as much ebb and flow as the game did. On the 16th Mike managed to win the hole and match three up with two to play as Jamie’s drive found out of bounds and steady play had Mike’s ball on the green in three.

Mike’s final shot of the round was best forgotten. Bunkers are not his forte but he found one by the green on the eighteenth. The ball was taken cleanly and found the clubhouse with a loud report and was retrieved by a member of staff. Oops!

The game was very enjoyable and the chance to swap stories well used.

Match 24 – Keiller vs Campbell

The two Mike’s met at Henley on the hottest April day since 1949 and the golf was pretty sizzling too with the senior Mike prevailing by 1 hole. Second names will be used for the rest of this articles to avoid confusion!

Campbell produced some of his best golf scoring 38 stableford points to Keiller’s 36. Keiller was boasting about being reduced to 8 on Monday in an attempt to intimidate his guest but to no effect. Campbell went 3 up after 5 playing some very good golf and really only a lip out on 4 stopped him being further ahead. Keiller got a birdie on 6 to pull things back a little but Campbell ruthlessly used his stroke on the long 8th to go three up again only to implode (the only time he did) on the 9th – Campbell 2 up at the turn.

The second half continued to be played in a high quality way and with some stubborn resistance Keiller got things back to all square on the 16th via a deft pitch and good putt. All despite Campbell’s 2 on 11.

However Campbell was not waivering and finished with 2 rock solid pars to edge it by 1 hole. Really good game.

What weather. Never seen Winter turn to Summer on Henley that quick.

Plate Match 38 – Morton vs Varney

Just back from a glorious day’s golf with Past Master Morton. We played the Coronation Course at the RAC, almost in isolation. There was just a two ball in front and a brace of ladies behind us.  The first was a disaster for us both, we blamed the giggling from the two ladies, but I expect that it was just the excitement that got to us. A gentlemanly half was agreed on the green and off to the next. With Morton receiving all the shots, a new experience for Varney,  the match bobbed along with no clear run away score. A sausage buttie at the half way house and a Montecristo saw new fire in Varney and a par on the 10th. By the 14th a reasonable lead had been established and Varney was looking confident. Disaster – the Montecristo was finished and a lost ball on the 15th chipped away his lead. However, the 16th (known as Cardiac Hill) did for Morton and the match ended 3 & 2. It was then in as fast as we could to settle down to lunch and a cooled pint of Guinness. My thanks to Douglas for his entertaining company and sportsmanship.

Plate Match 25 – Napier vs Franklin

Graham Franklin’s welcome to Studley Wood Golf Club was a cold and wet day, never an auspicious prospect. Graham, giving Andrew Napier four shots, had generously agreed to play at Andrew’s club and teed off first. A fine third shot up to the first tee left him within ten feet of the pin, leading to an instant lead on the card. The next hole was halved. Then on to the delights of the stroke index 1 third hole, which, with the advantage of one shot, was won by Andrew. At the fourth, Graham found the ditch in front of the green, which resulted in Andrew being one up.

Graham won the fifth, sixth seventh and eighth, and Andrew had to par the ninth to keep Graham down to two up at the turn. By this time, their game was being significantly held up by a society ahead, which had clearly put the worst three balls to cover their rear.

The par 5 tenth was halved, but then Andrew parred the eleventh. Graham quickly responded by winning the very difficult twelfth hole.

At the start, Graham was mystified with the low stroke indices of the thirteenth (4), fourteenth (3) and fifteenth (2) holes and remarked that he would have to be three up at the twelfth to stand any chance of winning. Sadly this was not the case and Andrew went on to win the next five holes, with the benefit of three extra strokes, which resulted in a victory to Andrew of 3 and one.

The match was played in good heart and the telling of a lot of jokes. However the weather conditions and slow play in front, made for difficult play, especially for any visitor to the club.

Match 4 – Haughton vs Varney

Paul and I had a lovely day on Saturday and managed to stay dry! I will spare you the blow by blow account as the Masters was far more interesting! We both took our clubs on public transport down to the RAC Club meaning we could enjoy a delicious lunch which Paul very kindly hosted. The game swung both ways before finally ending up in my favour on the 17th. I think both players led at two different stages during the round meaning it was always open. Thank you again Paul for hosting – thoroughly enjoyed the day out.

Match 3 Hobson sn vs Morton

The Hong Kong Sevens were a fine prelude to our match and Scotland won in the last seconds of the match .

Perkily Douglas arrived at the first tee as a second England versus Scotland match started.

Hobson in a complete senile state announced that they may as well start off level completely disregarding the 8 shots Douglas should receive.

The match progressed with both players fighting for every hole and after 4 holes Hobson had his nose in front but Douglas was to come back and at the turn the match was all square.

On the 11th Hobson came to his senses informing Douglas he should be getting shots. The two agreed that the next holes should be a shot a hole and on they went Hobson muttered about the match being conceded for cheating and gross stupidity.

Douglas always the sport (Well so the girls say!) pressed on and finished with Hobson obtaining revenge for England’s earlier loss.

It was in sampling the cuisine and good old English Ale except Douglas had a taste for the Guinness that he thought was very good.

Match 8 – Darlington vs Scade

I wish to report the results of a hard fought first round match between Nick Scade and Patrick Darlington held yesterday 12th April in overcast conditions at rain-soaked Badgemore Golf Club on the outskirts of Henley.

Key factors were:

  • It was bloody cold, both players being forced to wear puffer jackets
  • Neither player, it has to be said, were playing their best golf.
  • Conversation was limited due to serious conversation and intense rivalry.
  • Scores were nip then tuck, being all square after nine.
  • Red kites – 4 of them – joyously joined the fray – a welcome distraction.
  • The pace, though not excessive, started to tell on Nick.
  • Both enjoyed the others drive of less than 3 feet on one occasion.
  • Through threatening, it did not rain. Actually it was lovely being outside!
  • Patrick started remarkably to it his drives, thereby deflating the opposition.
  • Patrick scraped home 4 and 2 in what cannot be described as a masterclass of golf.

It is a point of honour that on the rare occasion that I do win at any game, I buy the beers. Yesterday Nick was so pleased to still be in the match on the 16th that he insisted on buying the first beer. Conversation flowed and a most convivial afternoon was enjoyed by all.

Scots Match 9 – Lochhead vs Mackintosh

Iain relinquished his home advantage and our match took place in the north at Moray Golf Club. We were greeted by blue skies and a brisk westerly wind. A number of fourballs had set off on the Old Course and so we decided to play the New Course – the allegedly shorter, easier course.

The front nine was an even affair with holes exchanged equally until we turned back into the wind when I picked up 2 holes on the bounce to lead 2 up at the turn. This was short lived, when Iain’s putter caught fire and by the 12th the match was all square. However by now we were on the way home and into the teeth of the wind. A burst of pars on the next four holes was sufficient and although we halved the 16th, I squeaked through 3&2.  To finish the match we were treated to a flyby of two pairs of Typhoons from the neighbouring RAF Lossiemouth. A thoroughly enjoyable match on a tough, wee course – it may be shorter, but with smaller greens and a stiff wind, it still provides a stiff test.

Thanks Iain and see you in the next round Brian.

Match 16 – Bull Jn vs Franklin

On a very bright and sunny morning Rupert and I did battle at the glorious Royal Worlington and Newmarket Golf Club. Royal Worlington has been called the best 9 hole course in the world; while this may be debatable, it is a fact that it regularly appears in the top 100 golf course lists of various magazines.

The course is laid out over 9 holes described as follows.

A modest opening par 5 is followed by a tricky, long par 3 of 220 yards. The 3rd is a short but difficult par 4 requiring accuracy of both tee and approach shot. The 4th is an interesting par 5, requiring a deft touch on the approach. The 5th is a short par 3 where embarrassingly high scores are commonplace – you have to play it to appreciate the perils. The 6th is a tough par 4 over 460 yards long, the 7th a par 3 normally played in a crosswind across a valley to a quick green. The 8th is another par 4 over 460 yards long, with well-placed bunkers waiting for the unwary player. The 9th is a short par 4 where caution pays dividends, and then the Clubhouse beckons enticingly with its hospitality

The day did not start well for Rupert with me (Graham) going into a 5 hole lead after 5 holes.Rupert was regularly finding bunkers which I did not even know existed and was having difficulty getting out of them.We were hampered by some members playing a foursomes match behind us and we eventually let them through after the 5th hole in order to “keep the peace”.

Although I had never played the course before my shots were landing in places which gave me a good opportunity to score well,which I did.I maintain that Rupert’s knowledge of the course and where the hazards were ,was in fact a disadvantage for him.

Needless-to-say the course was in magnificent condition and some of the greens had some really tricky borrows especially the par three 5th hole. After 9 holes I was 8 up and went on to win the 10th hole with Rupert once again finding a bunker which he had difficulty getting out of so your Hon Sec won the match 9 and 8

Suitable refreshments were taken in the charming club house and served through the legendary hatch in the wall for which the club is famous for.

My thanks to Rupert for his generous hospitality-great fun.

Match 11 – Porter vs Harris

What a pleasure to play golf at Tandridge – it was my father’s favourite course in Surrey (so a bit of a trip down Memory Lane for me), and to play against Chris Porter on his home course made it an even more pleasurable experience.

It is always difficult to play against someone as steady as Chris as you have to win holes, rather than waiting for his wheels to come off!

So it proved, as I was 2 down at the turn, mostly due to my finding several of the many bunkers – but as we teed off on Tandridge’s first hole (our tenth, as we had started at the 10th due to a crowd on the first tee), I was feeling as if I was still very much in the match. We both made good pars, and as we moved to the 2nd (our 11th), a wayward drive from me put Chris in pole position. However a Seve-like recovery from me, combined with an uncharacteristic mistake by Chris, brought me back to just one down, with 7 to play.

After a couple of halved holes, the sun was setting behind some dark clouds, and the gloom intensified, both in the sky and in my golf, as I found 2 more tough bunkers to give Chris the 2 holes he needed to claim victory by 3&2.

A pint of Harvey’s to congratulate the worthy victor, and I was on my way home, wondering which of Messrs Garrard and Smith would be my opponent in the Plate competition.

Congratulations to Chris – a worthy winner!

Match 10 – Walpole vs Westray

The match was played in perfect weather conditions at Bishops Stortford Golf Club.

Mike got off to an excellent start and went 2up quickly, unlike Allan who started by losing his ball after teeing off on the 1st hole. Allan’s game improved but nevertheless Mike was still 2 up at the turn having played some excellent, steady golf. Mike’s consistent golf continued into back 9 holes and he pulled away despite giving 5 shots to Allan. After the 15th Mike had a lead of 4 holes so won the match 4 & 3. This was a very enjoyable game of golf followed by a pleasant lunch together in the clubhouse afterwards.

Many congratulations to Mike and thank you very much for your generous hospitality – I wish you continuing success in the tournament.

Match 5 – Mair vs Cox

Ronnie will proceed to the next round after a 4 and 3 win today, at the glorious Swinley Forest course, and on the loveliest of days.

He played really well and his short game was a (big) difference between us, regularly chipping to two feet or so, and holing out for a super birdie on the first!

A very enjoyable found with very few others out on the course. Having been called a bandit several times in this and last year’s competition, I hope my reputation is finally put to rest!

2018 Installation Dinner

None of our set piece events are more eagerly anticipated than the Installation ceremony and Dinner, and this year was no exception. Following the reception and warmed by copious amounts of...

Read more

Master’s Blog – November

Another busy month to finish my year. I was delighted to be asked to be a Guard of Honour at the Lord Mayor’s Show. This entailed greeting the new Lord Mayor...

Read more
Worshipful Company of Distillers Crest

The Worshipful Company of Distillers

The Worshipful Company of Distillers is a Livery Company of the City of London dating back to the reign of King Charles I.

Find out more

Master’s Blog – October

A busy month. My German is non-existent, so giving a speech in German sets the pulse racing. That is what I had to do at the annual banquet of our affiliate...

Read more