It may be 55 years since Harper Lee’s last best seller but it is only a month since our last club diary, and a short month too. If you discount the weather it has not been a particularly newsworthy period either. There is nothing wrong in having nothing to say – unless you insist on saying it. Which is not the intention.
First though, and it takes a brave or foolish man to correct the Secretary, Jenny Chesterton, but her email to all members describing me as “our resident journalist” was wrong. Sort of complimentary, I suppose, but I have never been a journalist. Just an amateur scribbler.
Mention of Jenny reminds me, on behalf of all the Members, to wish her well again soon after her recent surgery.
Lilian and I live immediately above the 16th Green on America and, over the years, have witnessed many amusing and disappointing incidents. The variety of interpretations as to where to drop when hitting into the water defies imagination. The number of buggies parking on the fringe of the green only to unload fit and healthy looking players is disgraceful. Recently we saw a man and woman, both walking with clubs on electric carts, wheel them right across the length of the green, from bunkers to poolside. I did shout, and waved my arm, but they simply waved back and went about their putting!
Each month I learn something new about the production of the web site. I cannot use my favourite Comic Sans typeface because there is a house standard. I cannot align centrally because the software is geared to left border alignment. Nor are bold headlines permitted, or single line spacing. All perfectly understandable and in fact makes my task easier. I just bash away at the keyboard and all is sorted at HQ. Last month’s ode suffered a bit though. Somehow didn’t look like a poem? I haven’t tested Jose on the use of emojis yet!
This popular event takes place on the last Thursday of every month and was the brainchild of Cecelia Massey, a past Ladies’ Captain and now resident in Florida. The idea was to encourage new members, less skilled members, and beginners even, to participate in a friendly, not too serious environment followed up by a nice get-to-know-you lunch in the clubhouse.
Details of the January meet reached me too late for inclusion last issue but I can now report that 24 ladies took part, the weather was wonderful, and two more came along just for the lunch. The results, for it is well nigh impossible to curb the instinctive competitiveness of many, were as follows:
86 points Ritva Hagglund, Monica Peters, Veronique Hesen and Elisabet Lagerwerf, thus winning the AM.AM competition.
36 points Sylvia Robbins, the best score of the day.
Elisabet Lagerwerf was nearest the pin on Asia’s 3rd.
There are no reports on the lunch!
The weather was friendly and the pace of play untroubled, but the quick greens continued to fox many so the scores were not outstanding.
Paula was further rewarded by having her handicap cut 2.0 to 34.0
All three were cut later. Brian 0.6 to 13.2; David 0-2 to 6.3; and John 0’3 to 16.2
It is not known whether Boreas or Kaikas were on duty this day but whichever it was they excelled themselves. One veteran member declared the conditions the coldest she could ever remember. The two Greek Gods share responsibility for North and North East winds but the direction from which it was coming was of little concern to the players. It was inescapable, and joined from time to time by heavy drizzle of a similar temperature. James Reid and Sonya Foster, just back from their Antarctic adventure, will have taken it in their stride but everyone else suffered. Some, but a minority, decided to call it a day before the scheduled finish. Carol Rees will have sipped her hot chocolate contented only by memories of an eagle at the 18th.
There should have been prizes for frost bites but instead the usual system of reward led to the following;
The life blood of any club, or society, are the newcomers. They bring fresh faces, new challenges, more interest, and are always most welcome. In recent months the club has seen quite a healthy crop of them, but few have been “introduced” to all members, as opposed to those in residence and playing regularly. This I thought to correct so, in no particular order, here are a few of the new faces.
Monique Peters and Joop Peels are a married couple, born in the south of Holland, but living for the last 12 years or so in such exotic(?) places as Polynesia, Croatia and England. They first came to La Cala in 2010 which is when they started taking their golf a bit more seriously. They are serial travellers by nature, and still divide their lives between the Netherlands, France and Spain, sharing time with children and grandchildren. Encouraged by the Wershovens they have added cycling and walking to their physical programme, whilst on the creative side they are into stone crafting of which, I assume, the background to their photograph is an example?
Penelope Berends-Sheriff is a retired GP, a widow, and was born in Zambia. She took her “A” Levels in Zimbabwe and went to University in England. There she stayed to raise her family of three and, later, two grandchildren. She is another one with the travel bug and loves exploring the world. Penelope came to La Cala in 2013 but “home” is the beautiful Lake District where she plays her golf in the summer.
Mention of Zimbabwe inevitably brings Peter Robinson to mind. He recently accused me of never saying anything nice about him. Let me immediately balance the books by advising that he is the most considerate and careful buggy driver I have ever had here. Courteous too. Path to ball delivery by the smoothest available rootless route.
Cees and Lilly Lagerwerf, both now 61, are also from the Netherlands, and are much travelled. They took early retirement, bought a house here in La Cala Resort lastApril, and joined the golf club at the beginning of this year. Their decision to put down roots here greatly influenced by the weather, and the availability of three courses. Like many of us. Cees was an accountant for ExxonMobil in Holland but spent 15 years in such diverse cities as Brussels, Manchester, Budapest and Bangkok. Lilly, for her part, was an international travel agent for the Dutch Railways for some years. They did not waste the opportunities to play good golf courses in each of these countries! Having learned their golf at the de Kleyburg club in Brielle, they joined Heyrose in Knutsford, a very upmarket area but with no control over the rainy weather. Pannonic GC was their golfing base in Budapest, and one they highly recommend to anyone holidaying there. Lilly is now 22 handicap and Cees 16 but one detects an ambition to be better, in which pursuit we wish them well.
Dean Moore was introduced last month, but this is what the fastest swinger in town looks like.
Mystery continues to surround “Arthur O’Callaghan” who was listed for action on the 21st.
Manure dominated proceedings, or should one say fertiliser? Either way the aroma was unmistakable and the freshness of its application led to a buggy ban. Paths only. A few, with Blue Flags, were granted right angled access, but on holes 4 to 8 inclusive the ban was total. So, end of competition for me. The weather had difficulty making up its mind so, one way and another, the conditions were trying, to say the least. Wet, windy and lots of walking. As a result the scores suffered and, unusually, there were no handicap changes.
1st Lilian Crombie 29
2nd Marie Wilson 28
3rd Felima O’Callaghan 28 on handicap
1st David Wilson 32
2nd Les Wicks 30
3rd Asbjorn Wangerud 30 on handicap.
Forget the Six Nations, this was serious stuff. England v The Rest of the World, pairs betterball matchplay, America course, decent weather, Saturday February 14th. Gamesmanship played its part, which added to the fun and competitive atmosphere in at least one duel, but the right spirit prevailed at the end when it was agreed to halve the last hole and thereby the match. Shades of Nicklaus and Jacklin? Bearing in mind it was a shotgun start, with just ten minutes between the two tee off times, it is hard to understand how there could be one and a half hours difference between first and last group in? Mutterings in the clubhouse were many, and not whispered. However all was sweetness and light by the time Lady Captain Sonya Foster announced that England had triumphed by the narrowest of margins 5-4. The winning team were photographed on the terrace before heading for home and maybe another passionate display, it being St.Valentine’s Day.
Questions from the RoW team as to how Ritva Haggland came to qualify for the English team have been referred to the General Committee. It is claimed that sour grapes are not involved.
As many will know the club is well represented in this far flung corner of the African continent. At last count the La Cala contingent included Messrs. Penney, Fisher, Lentelink, Hatton, Young, and Wetzel. News is of some washed out golf but many indulgent meals. One not too concerned about the weather is Ursula Wetzel who put her foot down a hole in the garden, and broke it. She is now wearing a moon boot instead of a golf shoe. We hope it mends quickly, Ursula. Your frustration can be sensed from this distance!
During the night between the 47thand 48th day of this year the wind did howl most fearsomely, the rain cascaded down, little rivulets and small ponds appeared on the green sward of Asia, and those of a pessimistic bent snuggled down in their beds, knowing almost certainly that there would be no play on Tuesday, February 17th. They were right. The Medal Competition was duly cancelled, as much because of the forecast for the rest of the day as the prevailing conditions.
Pauline, the Rain Goddess, will have been smirking on her distant houseboat.
Eventually the day’s winners were;
It is whispered on good authority that a small group of respectable ladies, denied the pleasure of the golf course, took themselves off to the cinema to see “50 Shades of Grey”, a film about which I know little, other than it has nothing to do with painting. Although, who knows, perhaps it might have?
What about a “Letters to the Editor” column? Chance to return the fire, correct a comment, add something fresh.
Reports on club matches will be included as and when so hopefully someone will remember to make a few notes and take a camera with them.
Statistics can be interesting at times, irrelevant often. Active golfers in Spain have reduced from 889,000 to 730,000 in just nine years, many having switched allegiance to cycling. Johan and Ria obviously saw the trend coming? 434 million Brussel sprouts were consumed last year in the UK. An eye catching headline but, allowing for my questionable numeracy, this works out at about 0.128 kgs per day per head of population and thus less remarkable? If you take out children under five, who traditionally hate vegetables, and an unknown number of illegal immigrants, it becomes a more surprising figure. More relevant to this newsletter is the recent and sad death of Billy Casper, a wonderful golfer who was unlucky to coincide with the Nicklaus, Palmer, Player era. When he won the Masters he averaged 1.58 putts per hole over 4 rounds! Would he have conquered Asia though? February ended with the Footsie 100 at a record 6967 so that can’t be bad. Paying £17.50 for a small tub of wasabi peanuts at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium is a rip off? Statistics relating to Jamie Dornan are enviable, my friends in the know advise.
Having lost 2-4 at home to Marbella Golf & Country Club, Captain Brian Farmer and his team were looking for revenge, away, on February 20th. It was not to be. The result was the same so, overall, a 4-8 margin about which there can be few excuses. Even so our Captain managed his trade mark smile as he presented the trophy to his opposite number, Stuart Patterson.
Our team included Brian Farmer, Gordon Edwards, James Reid, David Lansdowne, Danny Rees, Alan Jewett, Derek Steele, Richard Hinds and Phillip Shute.
This newsletter is beginning to resemble a meteorological report but, it has to be recorded, this was a game of two halves, weather wise. First nine, but not necessarily front because this was a staggered hole shotgun start, were calm and warm after an early morning shower. The other nine were cold and clouded over with just a hint of rain in the air.
The day was notable for a number of reasons, not least the Lady Captain’s choice of footwear. Also, unbelievably, James Reid was heard to say “Good job patience is my strong suit.” Suggestions that this may have been self mocking appear to have some substance. One of my playing partners had his balls crayoned with the letters F and O, which were not his initials and may just reveal a warped sense of humour? The day was very special for Captain Brian Farmer who recently raided his piggy bank to buy a complete set of new clubs – and christened them by being part of the winning team! Finally, and this must surely be a first, two players managed to drive through the two groups in front!! With the same shot.Try and work that out.
In the end the winners were;
1st 92 points Johan Van Wershoven, Thomas Widegren, Thomasina Costello, Brian Farmer.
2nd 87 points Joop Peels, Linda Jackson, Bobo Syversen, Michael Costello.
3rd 86 points Karen O’Connor, Ritva Hagglund, David Moody, Peter Robinson.
My apologies to the winning fourball but my camera ran out of power so their smiling faces are missing.
But a chance to acknowledge the achievements of our Senior Ladies at the tail end of last year. Teams from Lost Arqueros, El Candado, Guadalahorce, Anoretta, Miraflores, Parador and La Cala met in a competition hosted by Santa Maria who, by every account, did a wonderful job. Los Arqueros had won the season’s team event, in which we came third, but the day’s Better Ball Stableford competition was won by our own Ritva Haggland and Lotta Syversen with 41 points.
From left to right our Ladies were Pauline Hilliard, Karen O’Connor, Sylvia Robbins, Susanne Valentin, Lotta Syversen, Ritva Haggland, Carol Rees, Connie Maphar, Maggies Coombes, and Captain Felima O’Callaghan.
A post-war English comedian, of Austrian descent, who married Churchill’s daughter, one Vic Oliver, had a routine about the weather. “”The vind it come and blew my shutters shut” sticks in mind for some odd reason. He would have enjoyed the violent, rainless storm which removed roof tiles, dismantled fences, re-arranged patio furniture, and stripped foliage from all but the sturdiest of plants, just prior to golfing action on America. Not for the first time this month players were faced with difficult conditions, and one can only speculate as to the number of balls lost. Plus it was cold. At least for much of the round. The sun did eventually put in an appearance, prompting David Moody to remove his outer wrapping, only to reveal a further four layers! “I don’t like being cold” he was heard to explain rather plaintifly. The kestrels faced the challenge of the thermals with elegant ease, but down on the ground it was quite a different story. For most. But not for one!
1st nett 76 Felima O’Callaghan
2nd 76 Paula Lansdowne on handicap
3rd 77 Lotta Sylversen
1st nett 78 Brian Farmer
2nd 80 Gordon Edwards on handicap
3rd 80 Arthur O’Connor
Vic Oliver, by the way, was also a talented musician, and the very first participant in “Desert Island Discs”. Not a lotta people know that!
This season’s campaign got underway this month with home and away matches v Guadalahorce. A convincing 3-0 here was almost overturned by defeat there but a final 3.5 v 2.5 margin was enough to kick start our title hopes. David Evans was Captain for the day, and was supported by Arthur O’Connor, Alan Jewett, Les Wicks, David Moody and David Lansdowne.
In March the opponents will be El Candado. At home 5/3 and away 19/3. Please contact Bobo Sylversen if you would like to be considered.
On the evening of the 26th February a goodly number of seasoned Gentlemen gathered together in a local-for-some restaurant. Due to a misunderstanding, or not enough attention to the Notice, some arrived very early and were thus able to imbibe quietly and converse in normal tones. Once all were assembled, and seated, these simple pleasures were totally denied. The decibel level for the rest of the evening probably set new Andalucian records, both conversational and musical. There was never a lull in the former, and no escape from the latter. The young female singer stuck to her guns despite the opposition, and when she took a well earned break the CD player took up the challenge. Even louder.
The evening, organised for the first time by Bobo Sylversen, lacked formality other than a brief presentation to Sten Valentin for all his sterling efforts as the previous Secretary of the Seniors’ section. There were no jokes, no speeches, and just as well! The meal was excellent(especially the pumpkin pie, but don’t tell Lilian) but the big challenge of the evening was knowing when to nod, or shake your head, or smile, in acknowledgement of whatever was being said by the person sitting next to you.
The best report on the evening might just be pictures.
Whilst hubbies were in a male huddle “down the road” 26 contented ladies were enjoying the freedom of choice on their TV’s whilst reflecting on another enjoyable day together. 24 players and two who lunch. Sunny conditions for golf, but rather breezy. Lunch has been described as “the highlight of the day” which was intended as a compliment to La Cala and not a reflection on the golf.
Not for the first time Ria Van Wershoven stole the limelight with the best individual score, whilst being part of the winning team. Lotta Syversen, another regular when it comes to prize distribution, won Nearest the Pin, and no less than nine players registered a birdie. Six of them, it is noted, had Christian names ending in “a”. Leading teams in the AM AM competition were;
1st Paula Lansdowne, Ria Van Wershoven, Linda Jackson & Wendy Hinds.
2nd Ritva Hagglund, Libby Robinson, Maggie Coombs & Marie Wilson.
3rd Connie Maphar, Verena Haas, Sylvia Robbins, & Hazel Gilchrist.
New members may not be aware that there is a part of the clubhouse they may not yet have explored. It lies across the courtyard from the front entrance, just to the right of the steps down to the pro shop. It began life as the Members’ Room and enjoyed the same service as in the clubhouse. Unfortunately this phase did not last long. It has now been re-arranged and is used as a Meeting Room occasionally. However, it is still available to members who might prefer somewhere a bit quieter to read the paper and sip their coffee/wine. It might best be known as the Trophy Room, for that’s where they are all housed and on display. Hall of Fame might suit too, but possibly a bit OTT.
Only 40 participants, which may be a story in itself? Not the most popular format in golf being, according to some, only half a round. Weather-wise the month ended on a high and certainly there were some good scores in. The final leader board being;
1st 41 David Holden & Bobo Sylversen
2nd38 Alan Jewett & Iain Macaulay
3rd37 Val Wicks & Mike Robbins
There is now agreement between the English and Spanish Federations in the matter of ties. Not in a sartorial sense but applicable when two(or more)players finish with the same score. The following statement has been forthcoming from our General Committee and is already being implemented.
“For competitions at La Cala Golf Club, the RFEG rules for tie breaking will apply. The first tie breaker is playing handicap. The second will be back nine count back. Then back 6, back 3, and then the final hole. In the event of a tie still being unbroken then the result will be declared a tie. In team competitions, any rounded adjustment made to handicaps of 3 player teams is considered to be the playing handicap of that team for the purpose of tie breaking. These rules will apply to all competitions organised at La Cala unless otherwise published prior to the competition.”
Not wishing to leave readers on such a serious level as rule changes, perhaps I might be allowed to repeat a tale already known to some. It involves me and the well known fact that I am not long off the tee. An understatement if there ever was one. At an ASGA meeting some years back, for which there was a very healthy entry, lunch was followed by the traditional prize giving. In due course the organiser announced “The winner of the Longest Drive prize is Jack Perry from La Cala.” There was a very audible gasp from fellow members on our two tables but, more than somewhat surprised, I went forward, claimed my new golf club, had my photo taken, and then heard the organiser explain “My apologies for not putting out the notices today(Nearest the pin and Longest Drive)but rather than waste the prizes we drew the winners out of a hat”. Thereafter, for months it seemed, and to this day occasionally, the leg pulling began. “You can’t go yet, Jack, the green isn’t clear”. On a par 5. “Could you have a look at my grip, please, Jack”. From a 6 handicap player! “Did you hold your stomach in?” from David Moody. Then came the poem, By email from James Reid.
“We never gave it any thought
That Jack new clubs had gone and bought
The ball flies by in a mighty roar
Far above the wandering boar
Forget about those silly blues
We’ll just dig deep to pay our dues
Now every shot is out of sight
The only tee for Jack is white”
I should have told this story last month. It would have made more sense of my poetic response.
To bring this protracted saga to an end, it is hoped, I leave the last word to James who, having mis-appropriated my camera from the back of the buggy, and taken an illicit shot, then penned the following caption.
“Another slow, grinding team round. A rather bored and listless group of three(having played their second shots)passing time taking photos while this chap waits for the green to clear on every hole.”
CONFUCIOUS, OR MAYBE IT WAS GORDON EDWARDS, HE SAY
What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.
Something to bear in mind as I scribble.