In the Beginning was “The Mulligan” for which condolences were sincere when it quietly died away. Nicely scripted, professionally produced, photographic content which might not have won an Annie Liebovitz award, but hard copies available for all members, non-members, owners and visitors.
After a pause came “The Newsletter”, adjectively correct in title, but distributed only to an inner core, and adding to the work load of the Captains, who already had enough on their plates. Alan Jewett took it under his computer knowledgeable wing, improved the picture quality, and introduced regular, wordy but informative advice on rule interpretations.
Meanwhile, the webmaster at lacala.com have widened horizons, re-designed things, enhanced photographs, and made our domestic golfing activities available to anyone with a computer and the interest to travel the web site beyond the Home page.
This, and next year’s Captains decided to outsource the writing of “The Newsletter” and eventually, for some still obscure reason, I was approached to “volunteer”. Conscious that my contribution to club affairs has never reached beyond the playing and socialising stages, I felt almost obliged to accept the opportunity. It is well known amongst close friends that I like to “scribble”, as my wife Lilian rather dismissively puts it, so it will be a labour of love. I should perhaps warn those of a grammatical disposition that I tend not to follow the usual rules, so don’t complain about split infinitives for example. They are inbred. All other criticisms or friendly comments will be welcome though, and treated with respect. There is nothing worse for a “scribbler” than getting no response at all.
Personally I would prefer these activity reports to have a name, rather than just “The Newsletter” but thus far, five minutes into the hot seat, nothing very creative has come to mind. “Monthly Glog” smacks of social media so is not a contender but, if there is any reader support for a name, suggestions would be welcome, please. “The Mulligan” just sounded more inviting than “The Newsletter”?
Pictures have always been an integral part of such club missives, irrespective of quality almost, right back to Dion Breen’s time. Judi Lentelink assumed responsibility for quite a while, but now there is a whole bevy of paparazzi on parade at every prize giving or social gathering. Wendy Jewett during Alan’s reign. Vic Hilliard now prowls around with a very professional bit of kit. Les Wicks adds to his seemingly endless range of talents, and has the advantage of being someone with whom you would not rush to argue, If he wants a picture he tends to get it. All of which suggests that my choice for the monthly missives is likely to be wide, which is good. Captions could be a challenge. There is a thin line between attempted facetiousness and the law court.
One of my favourite American novelists, James Lee Burke, wrote a book about a Rain God, and Wikipedia has a whole string of claimants to the title. Curiously, Pauline Hilliard is not listed. This may, of course, be a temporary oversight but certainly the start to her November of administrative responsibility could hardly have been wetter. Her first two competitions were cancelled and those of the Blue Flag brigade had a miserable time throughout the month. When at last came a chance to actually say something at a prize giving Pauline started with a critical comment, berating those who fail to hand their card in after their round. ”Nil Returns” are perfectly acceptable, of course, as would be “Retired hurt”, of which I have been a reluctant user of late, but scoring silence, she said, would not be tolerated.
More a request than a grumble but would those who find it necessary to wear sun glasses all the time, please remove them momentarily if having a photo taken for possible publication. It would enable readers to better recognise the person clutching the wine bottle, and help to refute any suggestions that the club has Mafia connections.
The first competition of my term of literary office was a Stableford with the following results:
1st. Lotta Syversen 34
2nd. Pauline Hilliard 32
3rd. Sue Young 31
1st. Bobo Syversen 36
2nd. Roger Dew 34
3rd. David Lansdowne 33
Whatever they had for breakfast must have agreed with Lotta and Bobo? His reward was a .6 reduction in handicap to 7.4 Roger was cut .2 to 5.7
This eagerly anticipated and popular event embraces not only most of the day, in this case Saturday, December 6th, but also time spent in preparation. With prizes for Best Dressed Person and Best Decorated Buggy there is more to it than just a game of golf. Competition is friendly but fierce although, said he treading on thin ice, more amongst the Ladies than the Men, the latter not always puttingin the effort to support the spirit of the occasion. For those few making a feeble gesture a Father Christmas hat with bobble is clearly seen to be enough “dressing up”.
Vice Captains Vic and Pauline Hilliard on the other hand, put in a terrific amount of effort, both in decorating their buggy in original style but, perhaps more important to the players, in providing a veritable feast of goodies, both solid and liquid, on their bountifully stocked halfway stall. All to a background of musical carols. It was all very Christmassy and they should be thanked for their contribution to a thoroughly enjoyable day. It was never quite clear though, whether positioning the stall close to the toilet hut was strategic or accidental.
Unfortunately, photographically, and a great shame really, the duty cameraman, who shall remain nameless, forgot a basic rule and clicked merrily away into the sun. As a result I have a large selection of pictures in which members are posing, smiling, nibbling and tippling- with faces in the shadow! Ah well, we all do it sometimes, Vic!
Dinner in the clubhouse closely followed play but not so soon as to prevent a few practise glasses of wine. It can accurately be said that the mood for the rest of the proceedings was jolly, and, a bit of a departure from the norm, informal. The restaurant was warmly decorated and exuded exactly the right ambiance. There was the inevitable quiz, oodles of prizes to hand out, and a karaoke style sing-a-long to round off the evening. For some that is. The bar downstairs was filling up as those of us of a certain age headed for home. Pauline acted throughout as Mistress of Ceremonies, with Vic playing his part fully and with obvious enjoyment.
There were five prizes for the golf competition, and they went to the following teams:
1st. Les Wicks, Louis Lentelink, Pearl Fisher with 99 points.
2nd. Bill Field, Heather Blakeman(guest), Mike Robins, John Brooks, also with 99 points but higher handicap.
3rd. Johan Vanwershoven, Arthur O’Connor, Paula Lansdowne, Vereena Haas 96 points
4th. James Reid, Rosemary Rogers, Jackie Rainbow, Bobo Syversen 95 points
5th. Iain Macaulay, Carol Rees, Mike Tunnel and guest 93 points
Jenny Chesterton was declared the Best Dressed Person, whilst the prize for Best Decorated Buggy was earned by Carol Rees and Iain Macaulay.
Val Wicks and David Rogers were the two winners of Nearest the Pin, there being separate prizes for each gender.
The display of other prizes was mouth watering and the fortunate recipients returned to their tables smiling broadly and heavily loaded. Large hampers were won by Judi Lentelink, Pearl Fisher, Brian Farmer and Sten Valentin.
Beautiful flower arrangements were carried home by June Steele, Kath O’Connor, Felima O’Callaghan, and Iain Macaulay who managed not to look the least bit sheepish.
Other winners included Anne Mills, Brendan Walsh and Declan Gray but, in their absence, vouchers were given.
Iain Macaulay must have got out of bed the right side because he picked up his 4th prize of the day in the shape of a meal for two at El Jinette’s, whilst Michael Costello got similar for El Soto.
Campo America hosted the Stableford competition this week, with the following results:
1st. Susanne Valentin 36 points
2nd. Libby Robinson 34
3rd. Ria Vanwershoven 32
For her efforts Susanne was cut .8 to 25.3
1st. Arthur O’Connor 37 points
2nd. Bobo Syversen 35
3rd. Jan Debrauwer 35 on handicap difference
Bobo was cut, again, from 7.4 to 7.2
Before anyone rushes to point out that Sunday 14th. results are missing, you are correct. They are. Pauline the Rain Queen struck again. Which meant that participants in the Medal today were deprived of valuable training time. It was also cold and windy, conditions which were reflected in the scores.
1st. Ria Vanwershoven nett 77
2nd. Connie Mapher 78
3rd. Libby Robinson 78 on handicap
1st. David Rogers 74 points
2nd. Roy Davies 77
3rd. David Krayney 78
David Rogers subsequently “punished’ by a .4 handicap reduction lowering him to 7.1
Some profess hatred for Europa, others love it.Few are ambivalent. Saturday December 20th., found the warring factions in harmonious competition, with some familiar names emerging at the end of play.
1st. Jill Davis, Peter Penney, Mike Fisher and Wendy Jewett with 57.5 points.
2nd. Bob Rainbow, Lotta Syversen, Peter Robinson, Jack Perry 58.1 points
3rd. Gordon Edwards, Jan Debrauwer, Jing Krupa, Bobo Syversen 59.5 points
For me, as always, it was a pleasure to share a buggy with Peter (“What are you doing up there, man?) Robinson whose customary running commentary on his own game was today made more colourful by the full length rendition of a classic Danny Kay monologue which occupied at least three holes. Throughout his putting remained sublime though and helped our team to avoid bogies more than once.
Competitions persisted, the one on December 23rd. providing the following success stories after Stableford format on America.
1st. Lotta Syversen 37 points
2nd. Deirdre Whelan 33
3rd. Susanne Valentin 32
1st. David Moore 38 points
2nd. David Rogers 34
3rd. Mike Robbins 34 on handicap.
Two days after the testing demands of Christmas a brave body of players did gentle battle in lovely sunshine, the penultimate competition of 2014 providing the customary crop of familiar winners.
Brambles are becoming increasingly popular it seems and this one was no exception. The four best teams proved to be:
1st. Bobo & Lotta Syversen & Guests 101
2nd. Susanne Valentin, Johan Vanwesthoven, James Reid, and David Gilchrist 97
3rd. Ria Vanwesthoven, Richard Hinds, Brian Farmer, Pauline Hilliard 93
Europa was again the battleground on which 2014 competitions came to a finish. Stableford was the familiar format, the conditions were friendly, and clearly suited spring heeled Hazel Gilchrist who handed in a very good score which duly earned her not only a prize but a handicap cut of 2.3 thus making life more difficult off 20.7 in future.
1st. Hazel Gilchrist 39 points
2nd. Libby Robinson 35
3rd. Wendy Hinds 33
Peter Edstrom, an international ice hockey player of some repute, a very friendly, amiable but competitive course companion, chose to end the year on a high. Much to my minor frustration. Thanks to his lower handicap he slammed the door of the Winners’ Enclosure firmly in my face. “Well played, Peter” I muttered afterwards through gritted teeth, before attempting to smile for the hovering camera.
1st. Peter Edstrom 40 points
2nd. Jack Perry 40
3rd. Olsin Whelan 36
All three had their handicap penalised. Olsin .8 to 19.3 Me 2.6 to 17.1 and Peter, serve him right, 2.2 to 11.1 There were two items of special note. Peter’s round included an eagle, a rare bird on Europa. Then, as Captain Brian Farmer tactfully but mercilessly put it, “Jack’s nett 82 was adjacent to his age”, thus alliteratively advising the whole assembly of my antiquity. If I am honest, and momentarily serious, I didn’t begrudge Peter his win one bit. I was seriously chuffed by the discovery that there might still be some golfing life left within me. Mind you, it’s going to be more difficult to reach as of now!
Doubtless the flamingos will have departed Fuente de Piedra for warmer climes by now. However, the mass migration of La Cala GC members has yet to start. By the time these words are read though, a large number will have settled in South Africa for a couple of months. Better weather? Easier courses? Cheaper living? A combination perhaps or simply a change of environment. Whatever, we wish them all well and a pleasant “holiday”. The place will be a quieter one in their absence.
The last month of 2014 saw La Club hosting two such. First came the Alps Tour Qualifying School which brought 250+ low handicap golfers to the three courses. Mostly young, all aspiring, some carrying, all walking. The effortless way in which they despatched the ball, the confidence with which they chipped, the precision with which they putted, all made for good viewing, and may just have added something to Members’ New Year’s Resolution Lists. What could not be seen, nor felt, was the pressure under which they played? La Cala hosted the event extremely well, the courses in splendid condition and the greens especially quick. Volunteers were many from the ranks of Members, for whom a “Thank You” competition and dinner was a nice reward for their efforts, and a generous gesture by La Cala.
Then, on New Years Eve, came the traditional San Miguel Open, entry available to non-members of all nationalities and, let it be said, questionable handicaps on occasion. It is rare for club members to feature prominently at the Prize Giving but this year Johan and Ria Vanwershoven topped the leader board with 43 points and went home carrying a trophy and two new golf bags. Just as well they came by car and not on their bikes. Ria is a model of consistency whereas Johan has been known to blow hot and cold. Mostly one would expect them to be more carrots and custard but they ended their golfing year with a perfect display of ham and eggs. Well done indeed.
After a lifetime of involvement with bulletins, newsletters, magazines and a couple of books to boot, I should know better than to expect interest in, or contributions to, or suggestions for, but I live in hope. Maybe La Cala members, being mostly retired, will prove the exception. There is plenty of golf, and the Ladies’ Book Club meet regularly under the experienced guidance of Jenny Chesterton. What happened to the Bridge Club I don’t know, but there could be an opening for a Scrabble Club? Meanwhile, please think Newsletter, or whatever we come to name it, and make it a ‘must read’ publication. A “Members’ Voice”. More anecdotal than just score reporting?
The draw for the Knockout Competitions has been made and will appear on the Notice Board by January 10th.
Finally, and probably a wee bit late because I have yet to learn how long it takes from creation to appearance on line, my very Best Wishes to all members, owners, readers, for a Happy and Healthy year, as well as an enjoyable golfing one.