From the chasing pack Peter Cudmore emerged to win the European Spring Tour
With the weather for the tour set as very wet with hurricane force winds sixteen less than eager folk set off to France with umbrellas, waders, fishing rods and some golf clubs in the boot just in case the heavens let up from raining for a couple of hours and a golf tournament could commence.
We arrived at the Eurotunnel for a full English breakfast at 6.30/6.45am! Fortunately, as we had left the UK so early and encountering no problems crossing into France we had left just enough time to visit the Palace of Versailles just outside Paris for a few hours. However, we had no takers for that excursion with most players going straight to the golf course to have a full night’s sleep, breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea before getting ready for our allotted time tee of 13.00.
Day 1: Golf: Les Dunes (Golf D’Hardelot)
To be fair the weather although wet was OK for the first golf challenge of the tour. The course was in good condition and received many plaudits from the society members. This 18-hole courseis a relatively short 4892 meters off the yellows and very much suited Kelvin who returned a 40-point catch after the first day’s play.
The winners on the first day were: –
|Longest Drive||Alan Bigley|
|Nearest the Pin||No winner as you can’t trust folk these days to do the simplest of tasks (even your mates) !!|
We then transferred to the Hotel Spa Hermitage à Montreuil sur Mer whichwas built in the 19th century, and is a grand, redbrick hotel overlooking Place Gambetta and the 11th-century Abbaye de Saint-Sauve. A short walk from the 9th-century Citadelle de Montreuil-sur-Mer.
An early evening Harvey’s was made available to some in room 101 courtesy of Mr Gorringe et al, which saved a few euros on the hotel bar prices!!
The evening comprised of a meal at Le Douglas on the Place du General de Gaulle. Overall the food was OK and the wine good, with some, well one, of the ensemble being shall we say a tad loud and using language that my gran called agricultural!! Following the meal, the sensible went to bed with the not so sensible going for a couple of post meal beverages – nothing too strong with Tom “the dark horse” Bennett ensuring nothing over 60% proof was consumed out of a full pint glass!! The Hon Handicap Sec being a lightweight (in many but not all senses) left his handicap book in the safe keeping of some very handsome, happy, friendly and nice chaps at the bar we visited and then proceeded to stumble back to the hotel tripping over a cobble and almost breaking his ankle before noisily retiring to bed!
Everyone attended breakfast at 8am apart from Micky, Chris & Tom who attended breakfast slightly later! After looking at as many weather apps as we could to see if we could find one that gave us hope we concluded the weather was not too bad – it was horrendous!! That said we all agreed to go to the course play nine if we could and take it from there!
Day 2: Golf De Belle Dune
Belle Dune Golf Course in Pas de Calais is widely recognised as one of the finest links-style golf courses in France and compares favourably with many of the great seaside layouts in the UK and Ireland. Belle Dune was designed by Jean Manual Rossi in 1992 and is spread out amongst the towering sand hills of Fort Mahon Plage on the Cote Picarde, one of the longest stretches of sand dunes in Europe.
It was a real shame that it was raining, and the winds were strong when we tee’d off on a course that is fantastic when at its best. After 9 holes the day descended in to a Handicap Sec’s nightmare with the really brave (hard as nails group) Tim, Tips, Bish, Carl, Clive & Kev playing a full 18 holes, Micky, Chris, Alan & Jim playing 12 as that was next to the clubhouse and at the point where Jim was caught by a gust of wind, took off and was rescued from a nearby tree unharmed. The remainder of members playing just the 9 holes. Thus, it was agreed for the purposes of the Spring Tour Trophy only the first 9 holes would count: –
Therefore, the winners on the second day were: –
NB: No Longest Drive or Nearest the Pin competitions were played due to the adverse weather!
Again, an early evening Harvey’s was made available in room 101 courtesy of Mr Gorringe et al.
The evening saw the society go to another local restaurant Les Ramparts meeting for swift drink first in Le Victor Hugo. Air & Sea Rescue were contacted and launched to track down Bigley, Watkiss, Hughes & Cudmore as conventional communication methods had been lost for 14 hours – they were eventually found in a pub drinking strong lager – as such conventional communication methods did not improve but we knew where they were!! Again, the restaurant food was fair and the wine pleasant with a good evening had by all.
The evening was completed with a small group going in search of the lost Handicap Sec book. It was felt it would be rude not to stay for quick nightcap before departing for the hotel. Tippett as usual was last seen being thrown out of the bar at closing time by some nice young boys as the staff wanted to go home.
The skies were clear with a major storm having passed through causing havoc in both France and the UK. The final days golf saw the leaders going out together at the back of the field (Andy Tippett & Alan Bigley (both on 52 points) with Kelvin on 51 points and Kevin Weaver on 50). After checking out of the hotel with the weather finally being kind to us we set off for the Saint-Omer Golf Club with hope in our hearts.
Day 3: Le Val (Aa Saint-Omer Golf Club)
This course has played host to the French PGA championship on two occasions and has been widely praised for its superb conditioning, in particular its large, fast greens. A par 73, 6218 yards long challenge with water coming into play throughout the round, requiring straight hitting and good course management. So, not suited to the MGS society! Seriously though from an MGS point of view a very nice course but the Day 1 and Day 2 courses were felt to be more attractive and interesting to play on.
The winners of day three were: –
|Longest Drive||Carl Valentine|
|Nearest the Pin||Tom Bennett|
Following the final days play we congregrated on the patio for the usual tour picture and then hurried inside the clubhouse (it was cold outside) for the prize giving. The winner was still unknown with everything in the mix and subject to the Handicap Secs final totting up of the combined score over the three days. It was very close – see below:-
Well done to Peter Cudmore for his first tour win – consistency being key across the three days. A big thank you goes to Tim Gorringe and his batman Andy Tippett for organising the whole shooting match. The feedback on the tour has been excellent from all those who attended despite the terrible weather – good fun.
A special prize was drawn from the hat to win a brand new swanky Driver – this was won by Mr Kevin Weaver – well done Kevin.
All arrived home safe and sound and looking forward to the next monthly event at Pyecombe for the Anniversary Trophy in May no doubt in bright sunshine.