Dorset Visit Oct 2013

Tour organiser John Gould reports on the sunny October visit to Dorset  …..


This year’s destination was Dorset for a taste of heathland golf. The party consisted of John Gould, Mike Berners-Price , Mike Spanswick , Peter Gale, Alan Scovell, Alan Longhurst, Tony Mason, Peter Kelley, Robert Hollidge, Tony Harris, Brian O’Luanaigh (now a Dorset resident), and a guest appearance from Nigel Huxtable on day two.

The first venue was Isle of Purbeck GC – a journey that wasn’t without incident due to road works on the A35 which required a somewhat complicated diversion around country lanes. Scovell, Longhurst and Gould arrived minutes prior to tee-off after a valiant but failed attempt to travel by ferry before being forced to re-route and thus suffer the A35 diversion after all.

The views of Poole harbour from the course more than made up for the torturous journey; these were all the more impressive thanks to the fine weather. O’Luanaigh (33), and Gale (34) both played well, but the winner was Berners-Price (35). Currently Mike is spending most of his life on the England Amateur Golf Tour and is playing nearly a round of golf a day on average! It showed. The team prize went to Berners-Price, Scovell, Longhurst and Gould.

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(Messrs Hollidge, Mason, and Kelley on Purbeck’s 5th tee, and – look very closely – Spanswick on the green!)

The journey to the team hotel took forever as the tired golfers waited for over an hour to catch the ferry back to Bournemouth, a crossing of less than 10 minutes. The curse of the A35! Thankfully the Group were suitably fed and watered at The Eye of the Tiger a mere 5 minutes from the hotel. Berners-Price sourced the venue and chose “The Banquet” menu. Poppadoms, nan bread, chutneys and curries galore plus pints of Indian beer to fortify the weary tourists.

After a hearty breakfast it was off to Parkstone GC for the next day’s challenge. Everything about the club justified the higher green fee – excellent clubhouse, professional staff, and most important of all, the course.  At the first tee we were met by the dapper David Dallimore  – who sported more hearing aids than tour organiser Gould – a terrific, friendly character who made everyone feel at ease as he went through the local etiquette and rules and saw us safely away up the first.

Some very good golf was played by Berners-Price (37), ‘Uxtable (38) and ‘Ollidge (38) but all were surpassed by Tony ‘Arris (39). Playing off 12 he was only 4 shots over par after 13 holes before the tension and occasion took its toll. Team Huxtable, Hollidge and H’Longhurst were easy winners of the team prize. For good measure Hollidge also won nearest the pin.

Monday evening, the Group walked to an Italian restaurant, La Piccola, where we consumed starter, main meal and pudding plus copious amounts of wine, and a round of Grappa and Strega, courtesy of Mason. A comment about the nose of the wine was completely misinterpreted by the waitress who thought we were talking about her nose! No offence taken and much laughter all round. Back to the hotel where a number of the group, especially Kelley, stayed up to make new friends with a contingent from the BBC!

Day three saw yet another sunny start and we were off to Ferndown GC. Another challenging heathland course. Spanswick, who suffered severe back pain throughout the tour, managed a creditable 31 points. 4 players finished with 33 points; Longhurst (35) came second. The winner was Berners-Price (40), so he was also the worthy overall winner for the 3 days of competition.

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(Messrs Longhurst, Harris, Kelley, Berners Price, Mason, Gould, Scovell, and O’Luanaigh on Ferndown’s 1st tee)

Thanks to Harris for taking on the role of Tour Treasurer and handling the finances with great precision. To Alan Scovell for managing the competitions, scores and prizes and finally, thanks to all for touring. Your humour, good nature and companionship made it another memorable few days.