2015 Autumn Tour to Mar Menor, Spain
Autumn Tour Mar Menor Golf Resort & Spa (Murcia – Spain) October 2015
One of the closest competitions for many years was decided on the last shot on the last hole on the final round!
A fantastic tour was had by the seven golfers who took on four very tough Jack Nicklaus designed courses. The tour started with a 4.30am meet at Gatwick airport some in better states than others. Most had a sleep on the flight out which was on time but a bit bumpy through some air turbulence over southern France.
On arrival the accommodation was found to be excellent with Mann being the “lucky one” to share with Tippett and Bishop! After a light lunch the players played a fun practice round at Mar Menor at 14:54 playing with a bit of string each that could be used to move the ball to wherever you wanted and then the string cut away to that distance – some used it to get out of a bunker, others to finish off a putts etc.
The results were:-
After a beer at the 19th hole a trip to the local shop (walking distance) was made to stock up with Beer, Gin, Water and Nibbles. A couple of pre-drinks was followed by a trip to the Irish bar and then to the onsite Italian for a good meal – very reasonable prices for the food and wine.
The first round of the main competition took place at La Torre GC with a 9.03 tee off time meaning breakfast was taken at 7.30 before the minibus took us on the 30min trip to the golf course which was both long in length and well protected by bunkers !! The results were as follows:-
|Clive Butler||Longest Drive|
|Clive Butler||Nearest the Pin|
The club sandwich was a popular choice at lunch washed down by a couple of pints before returning to the hotel. In the evening after an afternoon swim in the pool, shopping or a nap for some, pre-evening drinks were hosted by Dave, Tim, Clive & Barry before going out for a nice Indian meal. Unfortunately Barry was influenced by Tips & Bish to have a few drinks after the meal – on his return to the apartment Barry’s bed was outside the apartment door with empty gin bottle and golf balls. At this point the “room share” between Barry and Dave ended in divorce with Barry sleeping in the lounge on his mattress dragged out from the bedroom each night – a marriage made in “gin” heaven was over! We saw it coming earlier in the day when Dave was heard singing ……”you say Bombay Spice I say Gordons so let’s call the whole thing off”
The second round of the main competition was held at El Valle which was a beautiful course again reasonably tight, long and well protected by bunkers. This course featured long par 3s usually 180+ yards over water which was very tough with the nearest the pin hole being a write off with no players on the green! The highlight of the day for Tim and Clive was Micky almost falling in a lake stopping a ball from going in to it by a couple of millimetres – when he disappeared from view they cheered as they thought he had gone in the “drink.”
|Micky Mann||Longest Drive|
|Micky Mann||Nearest the Pin|
After a fantastic seafood paella (picture below) and a couple of beers a pattern emerged of afternoon naps, shopping or a swim followed by pre-evening drinks on the appartment balcony. The main difference being Tim breaking a plastic chair by standing on it to get the attention of the team on the balcony next door – hopefully nobody will notice.
The evening was another interesting one which started with Clive’s “gun show.” Sporting a sleeveless top that revealed he had been in Canada for the previous three weeks man handling a Harley around the Rocky Mountains and fighting the odd grizzly bear for the rights to a salmon.
Before “going out out” we met for a swift one and maybe a wedge in the Irish Bar where Barry took a shine to a ladies feet and after having both her shoes off in the bar examed them closely!!! (yep your right weird we know!!). Following that traumatic event we twisted Dave Stockers arm and walked a mile or so outside the complex to a highly recommended Indian – another good meal was had by all.
The third round of the main competition was held at the Haciendra GC which is designed for low handicapers as it is tight, long and again very well protected by bunkers and water.
|Too – Hard for All||Nearest the pin|
This is the course where Dave became known as “bunker” Dave. You will see below that Dave arrived at a bunker to find his ball in what might be considered a challenging lie. Dave unphased climbed the bunker face did the splits at the top, showed a little builders bum took aim with his sand wedge and floated the ball high out of the bunker and on to the green next to the flag – the shot of the day !
This followed hot on the heals of Barry taking maximum relief when and whereever he could around the course. One instance of relief was videoed by a resident of the houses that surround the course!
The same routine followed of lunch a couple of beers and a nap with the exception of a bit of golf ball poaching ! Yes, Tim and Clive set off to the biggest lakes on the course with a ball retriver in hand and started an afternoon of fishing ! However, this was cut short when the resort manager sent out a junior in a golf cart to tell them that golf ball fishing was illegal and the balls were the property of the golf course. At this point Clive and Tim felt that the haul of 30+ golf balls was enough and snuck them innocently back to the appartment whistling with hands behind their backs as they walked !
That evening we took a short taxi ride to the nearest town to eat and drink at a local Spanish restaurant. The food and drink was generally very good. The dishes below are a pigs ear starter followed by bull’s tail – the former being an aquired taste.
Bish spent 35 mins outside the gents toilet pushing and pulling the door but thought it was locked until the waitress spotted him and showed him it was actually a sliding door.
Bishop later on proceeded to eat a couple of chillies which he wished he hadn’t – very warm on the way down and no doubt a bit spicy on the way back out !!
This was the third night of Barry dragging a mattriss from the bedroom and sleeping on the lounge floor. Tim thought this was a good time to tell Barry about the very comfortable double sofa bed that took less the 15 secs to put together that was next to his mattress in the lounge. “Ah” said Barry that might have been more comfortable !
The fourth round of the main competition was a return to Mar Menor Golf Resort & Spa. The final day saw Andy Tippett 3 points ahead of Micky Mann & Clive Butler with Dave Stocker a further 3 shots back – these four formed the final “leader” group on an fantastic morning with an early 8.36 tee-off.
Walking off the 8th Barry somehow managed to break the wheel off his trolley – stopping his group from progessing to the 9th hole on a very warm day. A call to the club house prompted a replacement to be brought out losing only a few minutes and letting a couple of groups play through. This was the second time the wheels had fallen off Barry’s game – the first one being mentally rather than physically following some recent lessons and trying out his newly re-engineered swing.
The pressure of leading started to show on the 12th hole for Tippett who pulled a big drive left off the tee towards the appartments surrounding the course. When he went to find his ball he found a big Norweigen next to a large swimming pool shaking his head as the ball fell just short of his daughters having a swim in the pool. Tips of course apologised as the guy looked like a weightlifter and then legged it.
|Too Hard for All||Nearest the Pin|
The match was settled on the very last hole. Mann had clawed back the three shot lead from Tippett and led by 2 on the 18th tee. Unfortunately he blocked his drive left in to scrubland and took three shots to get it out and back on to the fairway and finished the hole with no points. This left the door open to Tippet to par the last to win the game – he not only marched through that open door but had a 12ft put for birdie – a great finish that decided the competition.
|Tim/ Tom Gorringe||104|
For the record Dave Stocker on this tour more than matched his growing reputation as the most improved player in the club.
Micky Mann was so disappointed with his “blow up” on the final hole he showered and changed in the hotel SPA rather than golf changing rooms. A final lunch and a couple of beers where taken before being transported to the airport where are flight was delayed for about an hour and 20 mins – plenty of time for Dave to restock on gin at the duty free!
All players enjoyed the tour and the early morning rounds of golf despite some reservations before we left the UK. The early evening drink and chat on the balcony was very enjoyable before going out to reasonably priced restaurants and bars.
A big thank you goes to Andy Tippett for organising the whole shooting match and for winning the event he organised!!! (poor form some (all of us really) said). In summary one of the best behaved and most enjoyable tours ever. A good crowd of people and good fun.
A few more photos below and with some tour stats to follow:-
More facts (some of them real ones) from Statto Mann !!
|Weather – warm and rain free days||All||100%|
|Number of golf balls lost over the 5 days||All||85|
|Number of golf buggies available at each course||All||Zero|
|Number of golf buggies not being used at each golf course||All||30-50|
|Most pink worn on any day by one player (see above)||Barry||97.6%|
|Taking relief on the golf courses||Barry||22|
|Being videoed by a resident taking relief on a golf course||Barry||1|
|Number of times Bishop was aware of anyone else on the course and showed some etiquette||Bish||Zero|
|Longest f+rt in a populated golf clubhouse||Barry||43 secs|
|Number of people incorrectly blamed from the odour of the longest fart||Tim||1|
|Number of pillows snuck out from the hotel under the shirts in the team picture at the top of this update||All||7|
|Number of orders made and then cancelled and reordered once brains engaged or better value was found||Barry||14|
|Cautioned for riding “shotgun” on a golf buggy||Micky||1|
|Number of “Wedges” drank by the group||Mainly Tips/ Bish||4|
|Annoying other players||Just Bish||176|
|Highest finding a bunker on a hole %||Clive||62%|
|Gin drunk on the room balcony pre- meal||All||1.5 litres|
|Having a gin chaser with breakfast||Dave||1|
|Players having a swim in the apartment pool||Dave, Micky, Tips||3|
|Giant belly flop into the pool||Tips||1|
|Last Person to Breakfast each day||Tips||100%|
|Last Person on the coach everyday||Barry||100%|
|Gushing waiters||Local Med Restaurant||1|
|Largest percentage of Fred Flintstone T-bone steak eaten||Dave||54%|
|Percentage of Pigs Ear Starter eaten by group||All (but mainly Barry)||3%|
|Flight attendant doubling as a comedian||Easy Jet return||1|
|Number of ladies feet examined in a bar (yep we know!!)||Guess who yes Barry||1|
|Inappropriate swearing in populated areas||Mostly Barry||57|
|Non PC conversations held||All||11|
Birdies made during the Tour this year
|Tim||Mar Menor||3rd||3 on a par 4|
|Tips||El Valle||12th||2 on a par 3|
|Clive||El Valle||3rd||4 on a par 5|
|Micky||Mar Menor||6th||4 on a par 5|
|Micky||Mar Menor||16th||3 on a par 4|
|Micky||Mar Menor||17th||2 on a par 3|
|Tips||Mar Menor||4th||4 on a par 5|