MCC Annual Golf Day

This year’s event will be on Friday 8th August

The annual MCC Golf Day started life in 2002 when two rotund gentleman with the name of Alan – messer’s Venn and Hunt thought a summer’s afternoon on the royal links of Minchinhampton Common would be a good distraction from the bad performances on the cricket pitch.  The format of the day was relatively simple with a prize for the best and worst Stableford score with separate prizes for closest to the pin and longest drive on certain holes.

So the first day got underway with an assortment of golfers whose talent varied from poor to very poor (a theme for future events.) The winner of the event was Warren Cresswell who arrived with mouldy wooden clubs of the type Ben Hogan would have been familiar and an announcement that he hadn’t played for more than 15 years. He then proceeded to fly around the course with his ‘Mashy Niblick’ and begin a long tradition of handicap bandits when he romped to victory.

The day also saw the foundation of a new trophy for the club. Normally mild-mannered Dave Wall started his round rather poorly and lost his temper on the 6th hole after a chirp too many from the group behind. In an instantaneous fit of rage he folded his 3 iron over his knee, which was the club he used for 95% of his shots. He proceeded to play the rest of the round with the club hanging forlornly from his bag and picked up the lowest score. Being a practical type of guy, Dave decided to mount up his decimated club and present it to the club for future wooden spoon awards.

A young Jaime Waring was the next winner of the prestigious new award.  Jaime had a most eventful and dispiriting start to his golfing career. Turning up in jeans and trainers, he first had to get a lift home from his Mum to change into acceptable attire. Then on the walk to the tee he uttered the innocent words “so do you need your own clubs”.

Cue an expensive trip to the pro shop to hire some clubs. I didn’t have the privilege of witnessing his round, but understand some of the divots he made rivalled the Iron Age defences that litter the rest of the common. The event was won by then Sunday skipper Tony Smith who made the most of his experience and knowledge of the course to triumph by a fine margin.

The golf day then suffered from 6 years in the wilderness whilst the club focussed on building a new pavilion and winning the odd game of cricket. But then a new group of keen golfers at the club resurrected the day.  Alex Waring made it a pair of Warings on the trophy when he picked up the wooden spoon award. Alex was unfortunate to loose with a score that would have normally seen him in the midfield. He’d been playing well until he arrived at his bogey hole the 9th and proceeded to lose 5 balls in 4 holes.

Big hitting Pete Hayward won the longest drive award but the event was marred by controversy when the last group was shelled on the 14th green by frustrated patrons. However after some polite words from the eloquent Dave Cruickshank and the odd bit of ball-stamping the members decided they didn’t need to finish so quickly after all. The event was won by Chris Wall playing his patented brand of ‘hit it long and hope’ golf.

The 2010 event finally saw the awarding of a proper trophy for the winner. Jaime Waring kindly donating the trophy, albeit one that turned out to be rather smaller than he originally intended. The event had its first international winner when John Wood won from his desolate homeland ‘Up-North’. Woody or ‘El Bandito’ as he became known won the event after a generous awarding of a 28 handicap. On a rather moist day he produced a fine round to win by some distance.

The event also saw the noticeable drinking abilities of Mr Horrell and Jones and the emergence of crowd favourite Stevie Rogers who would be a pro-golfer if only tournaments lasted three holes to match his attention span. The wooden spoon award was picked up by Tom Sherman whose length off the tee was not matched by precision or skill around the greens.

Matt Price picked up the overall award in 2011. On a rare glorious day in Minchinhampton there were 5 scores over 40 and Matt triumphed with a record 45 points. The press attention and adulation has been hard to take though for Matt and he has rarely been seen near the club since. The wooden spoon was a straight shootout between complete golf newbie Chris Davis and Sunday stalwart Pete Screen. At the halfway point it was a close run thing but after discovering a completely new grip, Chris amassed a fine total on the back nine so Pete Screen picked up the award they all want. This event also saw regular John Cocks perform the admirable feat of playing in the first group, attending a business meeting and still managing to be back in the bar before the final group finished.

The 2012 competition saw two past winners get their names on awards again. The bookies we’re offering good odds on Jaime Waring becoming the first man to pick up both trophies but the pressure got to him and it was left to Chris Wall to pick up overall honours for the second time. Jaime did manage to pick up the best drive award for a hit of nearly 150 yards with his £300 driver!  Meanwhile Pete Screen made it two in a row for the wooden spoon when he somehow managed to score less points than the previous year.

Whose next for 2014…

Words Chris “Bubba” Wall