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Newsletter May 2016

Newsletter May
Newsletter May

Has summer arrived?

After all the rain the sun has been turbo charged of late, with temperatures up to 35 reported locally. Serious work has begun on the temporarily closed Asia course, and there is more in store. (See later.) Meanwhile one is reminded that this month was named after Maia, the Greek Goddess of fertility who, as can be seen, was not dissimilar in appearance to Wales’ own Catherine Zeta Jones whose association with the month will never be forgotten by those lucky enough to have seen the TV series “The Darling Buds of May”, an early career success for David Jason too.

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Captains’ Away Days at Almenara. 3rd – 5th.

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Unusually this was a mixed event. A break from tradition but very well supported by members and a few guests. 60 players in all, 17 of whom travelled by minibus but the majority made their own way along the coast. A comfortable hour’s drive. The conditions were dry throughout. Just in weather terms. Vic and Pauline Hilliard put a great deal of time and effort into making sure all went well and, from grapevine comment, would seem to have succeeded royally.

Each of the three days offered a different competition with Day One inevitably featuring a Bramble. Two scores to count and three drives each minimum. Another little twist. Leading scores were;

1st 88 Carol Rees, Hazel Gilchrist, Campbell McGarvie, John Mills
2nd 88 Felima O’Callaghan, Cees Lagerwerf, Anne Hannam, David Wilson (on handicap)
3rd 86 Lilly Lagerwerf, Marie Wilson, Peter Hannam, Vic Hilliard
4th 85 Pauline Hilliard, Brian Farmer, Chris Parks, Ian Youngs

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Bottles of gin went to Louis Lentelink and Mary Evans for being Nearest the Pin.
Sonya Foster, believe it or not, registered another eagle on a par 4 and also earned herself a bottle of gin.

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Louis Lentelink & Mary Evans
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Sonya Foster

After play the Mens’ Captain hosted a drinks party on the lawn overlooking the 18th green, this being followed by dinner in the private Barbesula room

Day Two’s competition was Individual Stableford with slope handicaps. The Ladies chalked up some good scores in producing a close finish.

1st 36 Jackie Wright (guest) (on handicap)
2nd 36 Paula Lansdowne
3rd 35 Anne Hannam
4th 30 Carol Rees

Their male counterparts didn’t score quite so well but the race was a close one.

1st 32 Ray Clarke
2nd 31 Chris Parks (on handicap)
3rd 31 Vic Hilliard
4th 30 David Wilson

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Alcoholic rewards also went to Sylvia Robbins and Arthur O’Connor for their Nearest the Pin achievements.

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This time it was the lady Captain’s turn to host the pre-dinner drinks party
Day Three saw two successive days of golf and a couple of late nights take their toll. Not everyone was on playing parade for the final AM/AM which was won, comfortably it would seem from the scores, by

1st 76 James Reid, Sonya Foster, Alan Jewett, Brian Farmer
2nd 69 Peter & Anne Hannam, Mike & Jackie Wright(guests)
3rd 66 Paul & Felima O’Callaghan, Gordon Edwards (three only)

Deserving causes stepping forward to receive their gin bottles were Pearl Fisher and Damien Murphy, both for Nearest the Pin exploits.

Highlight of the visit for some besotted ladies was the presence of Alan Shearer who, for the benefit of non-football lovers, was a very good international footballer for England, and is now a rather po-faced pundit on television.

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Another big event been and gone with seeming smoothness, yet something must have upset the Rain Goddess? It hasn’t stopped since she got back.

Stableford. Europa. Tuesday 3rd

In the absence of the Almenarites today’s field was a teeny weeny one. Only 8 flights but some good golfers in action.. David Moore, a fellow West Ham supporter, always likes to go out with the Big Guns and today he outshot them!

1st 36 Deirdre Whelan
2nd 30 Anna Edstrom (on handicap)
3rd 30 Shirley Roebuck

1st 37 Mike Tait (cut 0.3 to 12.7)
2nd 34 David Moore
3rd 33 Robert Mason

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Deirdre Whelan

National Smile Month in the UK

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So what about three small jokes?

He is not balding, he is in follicle regression.emoji7

She is not a dumb blonde. She is a light haired detour off the information superway.

How does Moses make tea? Hebrews it. (ED.Enough. Please!)emoji1

This is also the month of year which saw Leonardo da Vinci die but Bing Crosby born. Not at the same time, of course.emoji5

This year May saw the Sixth Annual Boring Conference held in London before a sell out audience. Speech topics included toast, Comic Sans type face, vending machine noises, sneezing and German pedestrian crossing signals.emoji11

The club’s car park has been packed with a whole range of vehicles recently but one has yet to see a Senzati Jet Sprinter? Seriously.emoji15

Whether the UK leaves the EU or not remains to be seen but let us bear in mind that without the 28 regulations concerning the curviness of bananas we might find ourselves eating straight ones.emoji12

At last a Letter to the Editor! Enough to bring a smile to his hitherto deprived face. It comes from a Peter Holman and reads as follows:

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The success of Leicester City will have earned them a smile from most neutral soccer lovers, and brings back memories of a visit to their Filbert Street ground during the war. My late brother Peter and I were evacuated to stay in the care of our Uncle Jim and Auntie Hannah, having been bombed out in East London for the third time. We were only there for a few months, and time has dimmed the details, but Lilian and I used to drive up to visit them once or twice a year in their Coronation Street type red brick terraced house, with outside toilet.emoji10

There will be huge smiles in the Hannam household following confirmation that Peter’s tumour has been obliterated. Check ups will be necessary but the current news could hardly be better. Well fought Peter.

Another Peter, Robinson this time, would swear that he has never been hit by a divot. But no longer. Responsible for the unintentional attack was Captain Vic Hilliard who, it is reported, is having some trouble with his wedges at the moment. Peter’s reaction brought a smile to everyone’s face.emoji14

A relieved smile is how best to describe Peter Bradley’s reaction when discovering that his lengthy but wayward tee shot on Europa’s par three 11th hit the buggy containing Sonya Foster and your editor as it was progressing down the ninth path, and settled between the clubs in my bag! Instead of a lost ball Peter got a free drop, although this aspect, and where to drop it, were the subject of debate as we left them to it.emoji13

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Match reports get shorter and harder to come by, whilst accompanying photos would mostly make David Bailey cringe. Even though the two Seniors matches v La Canada ended in defeat, both 1-2, the team still managed a smile after lunch. It is said. Can any La Cala smiles be seen? Can any La Cala players be distinguished?

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More successful, but almost equally frugal with words, the Ladies belatedly report a 3-0 win over Anoreta, away, and thus the gaining of valuable league points. Pleasing enough to make Lotta & Ritva, Carol & Karen, Sonya & Jenny all smile! Newsletter May

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Leaving the broadest smile until towards the end we come to Kathy O’Connor and her considerable achievement in retaining her title as the Welsh Ladies Amateur Champion. Played this year at Cardiff Golf Club she was, as ever, supported and caddied by her mother Karen. En route to the final she dismissed Becky Harris, twice a former winner, before despatching Lauren Hillier, a former Ladies European Tour player. The win gives her hope of selection for the European Team Championships in Iceland in July, the Home Internationals at Conway in August, and the World Team Championships in Mexico in September. Exciting prospects indeed.

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This smily section ends with news which should have every member raising their lip corners. It may even represent a break through and certainly, if all goes according to plan, there will be less room for rumour and speculative and critical tittle tattle. Read on.

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An audience with Pedro Batista.

For those who don’t yet know him Pedro’s official title is Operations Manager, which includes being responsible for all things relating to golf, our main concern as members. There are very few restrictions on the Newsletter Editor but it has always been the system that, before it finally goes on line, a draft version is shown to the Captains and to Pedro. This really to ensure that the basic facts are right, nothing detrimental about Ranchos Reunidos appears,, and generally to avoid giving offence anywhere. In the sixteen months to date I have managed not to breach the agreed line, only once been asked to remove a paragraph, and I understood the reason perfectly.

Then, last month, the draft managed to trigger a reaction from Pedro, partly due to language difference, but more perhaps because of English humour, which tends to be black-ish at times? This led to an ether exchange, a compromise agreement, and then to a face-to-face over coffee. It was educational, enlightening, and hopefully the ”report” to follow will put to rest some of the unfounded criticisms. Clearly the communication between management and members could have been better hitherto, as is recognised, but now Pedro and I have agreed to meet up regularly and he will hopefully become an indirect contributor to the newsletter. Better, have his own paragraph or two?

There will always be some who never see roses for the thorns, as Joey Barton of all people recently said after signing for Rangers, but hopes of an improved and prettified club will be heightened, surely, by Pedro’s statement. The proof of the pudding, of course, will always be in the eating. To which we look forward.

The first thing to announce is that Flavio Papa has been appointed Golf Operations Co-Ordinator from this month. A very likeable and personable young man he will be well known to most members. Part of his training has been in the Buggy Desk area, in the Academy, and in the Pro Shop. After University in Sweden where he studied to become an industrial Engineer, he joined the golf department of La Cala in 2014, Last year, as part of a professional development programme for employees with potential, enabled him to obtain a Diploma of the University of Malaga with the highest grades in Management of Golf Courses. Flavio is an industrious young man, a 24/7 person, determined to succeed and play his part in the improvement programme onto which we will now come. We wish you well, Flavio. The first point to be made is that both Pedro and Flavio are golfers so they know full well what members want and expect.

Newsletter May

The 18th green on Asia has been completely replaced, enlarged to its original size, using Agrostic grass from our own nursery, and collared with Bermuda grass. There will be additional work on the bunkers.
The fairway on Asia’s 15th., has been enlarged down the right hand side to minimize balls going into Plot B4 of the Taylor Wimpey development where new owners are expected in a couple of years. A considerable area will be GUR for a few weeks.

A new golf machine fleet will be added during June in order to improve course conditions. These include fairway mowers, triplex mover, sand pro rake bunkers, aircore machines for greens, etc.

The first tee appearance on each course is to be improved. Better landscaping and flowering round the Starters’ huts; new signs giving details of the course you are playing; re-paining of Starters’ huts. All designed to improve current conditions and perception of clients.

The putting green close to the Club House will be enlarged to its original size, and completely re-laid with Agrostic grass giving better consistency.

The oak tree burned down in the 2012 fire has been replaced on Europa’s 15th. Others have been planted on Europa’s 17th along the left of the fairway.

The tee platforms on Asia’s 17th and 18th have been pruned and new grass added.

The scorecard for Europa will be changed following a decision to play the 14th., from this side of the bridge. Thus making it easier and a “recovery” hole. However, major tournaments and other events will use the tees only reachable by crossing the bridge.

Europa course will be closed from June 20th., until August 30th., to allow the tackling of serious issues, mainly bunkers. The other two courses will remain open all summer.

Come and enjoy the new menu with some of the most popular dishes. Enjoy the sunset and views of Campo Asia as well as the evenings live sporting events such as the European Football Championships, Wimbledon, Golf Tournaments,etc in the Clubhouse.

The main restaurant in the hotel will move upstairs and outside to Patio Naranjo from June 3rd.

25 new petrol buggies were purchased in April.

The Pro-Shop and check in areas have been landscaped and new flowers planted.

All the clubhouse facilities are to be re-painted.

A New pergola in Laurel is being set up.

The short game area behind the putting green is being improved.

The tees on Asia’s 9th hole are being cleaned up and the landscape improved.

Access to the Resort is being improved. An illuminated direction notice to the Resort and its communities.

Several tee areas being cleared of scrub to open the view to the hole. Asia 4 to 8. Europa 4-12-14.
Asia’s 8th and 9th tees are being treated and will re-opne shortly.

The new and larger 1st tee platform on America is now open but will be beautified.

The edges of all buggie paths have been trimmed.

A renewed agreement with Taylor Made as official fitting centre for Malaga has been signed.
The steps down to the 8th green on Asia are being replaced.

A re-design of holes 2 and 4 on Asia will take place next year when the course will close from June 20th to August 31st.

If these bullet points provoke comment, or further questions, please email me and I will add to my next agenda for Pedro.

Matches v Arqueros.

The home game was on Europa way back on April 18 when our team of David Wilson & Cees Lagerwerf, Arthur O’Connor & Vic Hilliard, Derek Steel & Alan Jewett managed an honourable draw, with only the last named pair admitting defeat.
The away game was a different kettle of fish, said he probably confusing some readers. Played on lush fairways the match ended in total defeat, the two- match final score resulting in the heaviest reversal of the season. Roy Davies stepped in for Vic Hilliard, and Merv Coombs for Alan Jewett.
“The disappointment of defeat was mitigated by some of the best tapas that we have had at any club, followed by a meal and plenty of wine” (Quote.)

Newsletter May

Cartoon corner.

Jackie Rainbow’s third submission shows a departure from her first two themes in that the subject is impersonal.( It is sincerely hoped.) It reflects the position rather than the person.( It is hoped.) Acid thoughts never enter my head. Pointed toe shoes are physically beyond me. Trousers? Members know better. Got the message eventually, Jackie.

Newsletter May

Matches v Santa Maria.

Having lost 2-4 away our “lads” managed to win 3.5 – 1.5 at home. Not good enough though. The trophy has now been held 7 times by each club since its inception in 2003. Details of our players remains secret and no photographs were taken!!

Joan Stock

Her cremation took place on Saturday, May 7th., and was a private family affair. Her brother died just a few days ahead of her so there will be a funeral for both of them back in England. RIP.

Two Ball Better Ball. Asia. Sunday.8th.

Much to the relief of most the competition was called off early because of the heavy rain. Which got worse. Undeterred David Moody and his guests, here briefly for some sunshine golf, are reported to have played the full 18 holes in rain which never stopped. Brave or foolhardy?

Stableford. America.Tuesday 10th.

This competition was cancelled the previous day, so heavy had been the downpour and how pessimistic the forecast. Pity those wandering around the patio gardens in Cordoba this week. Like my sister-in-law, due to reach us next Saturday.

Two old heads are better than one.

It is said. That may be true but not often do you find identical towels on the same buggy, and both from the far flung Emerald Isle. One of the owners has enjoyed the considerable pleasure of playing the course, and on a clear, dry, sunny day too, which was a treat because it can be very misty at times. Both owners have to thank Brian & Muriel Elmore for gifting them the towels, the only difference being mine was on the spot!

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Disappointing Times for the Crombies.

Mercury Transit may well have passed over us recently but, what with the thick clouds and lashing rain, it would have been a brave optimist who went outside at all. John would have been very frustrated but only for a short time span. Lilian, on the other hand, has had to contend with her beloved Newcastle FC all season and now has to face life in a lower league next year! How are the once mighty fallen? Mind you they did bow out in some style and, who knows, Rafa Benitez may be just the man to play Phoenix rising from the Ash-leys!

Past Captains’ Open Draw. Europa. Sunday 15th.

Described by the organisers as a Bram/am/amble, which defies the imagination of this editor, it was nevertheless well supported by 12 teams of 4 and three of 3. Playing conditions were good and the contest, followed not only by the usual prize giving but by tapas which earned favourable comment, was a keen one Those who will have enjoyed their late lunch most were:

1st 108 James Reid, Anne Mills, Paula Lansdowne, George Kirk.
2nd 106 Sue Young, Phil van Parys, Connie Maphar, Peter Robinson. (on handicap)
3rd 106 Alan Jewett, Hazel Gilchrist, Sylvia Robbins, Arthur O’Connor (on handicap)
4th 106 Sonya Foster, Mike Robbins, Libby Robinson, David Lansdowne.
5th 104 Carol Rees, Lilly Lagerwerf, John Youngs, Vic Hilliard.
6th 103 Mike Fisher, Kate Bradley, Pauline Hilliard, Brendan Walsh.

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The traditionally shaped Claret Jug was presented to the winning captain, James Reid , who, after making a brief speech of thanks, spent most of the rest of the proceedings cuddling it like a new born child, or a large G & T.

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It has since come to our knowledge that the event was, in fact, a bog standard Bramble. Minimum four drives each player. Three scores on some holes. Two on others. The creativity of the Hilliards, only matched by Donald Trump and his comb, appears to be limited on this occasion, unless you count the misleading title – “Bram/AM/amble”?

Stableford. Asia. Tuesday 17th.

1st 74 Ritva Hagglund
2nd 75 Carol Rees
3rd 78 Joy Garvey

1ST 74 Roy Davies (cut 0.2 to 10.4)
2ND 75 David Holden (on handicap)
3rd 75 Michael Costello

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Ritva Hagglund

Individual Matchplay. America. Sunday 22nd.

This was a strange one. No teams. No outright winner. Just thirteen pairs v thirteen other pairs, the outcome leading to twelve wins and a draw, plus a mass distribution of wine bottles. Pictures of the eager queue/melee appeared inappropriate somehow. Having Matti Kaharakainen in my match was a very pleasant “first”.

Stableford. Europa. Tuesday. 24th.

Woven into the fabric of this overall competition was the inaugural Macaulay Trophy, qualification for which was simple and two-fold. Entrants had to be over 70 years of age and playing regularly off the blue tees in Tuesday competitions. This obviously limited the size of the field, but what it lacked in quantity was more than made up for by quality and excitement.

Come the 18th tee Louis Lentelink led with 34 points and had a shot. On his heels was Peter Penney with 33 and no shot. However, being competitive, focused, and relatively young by comparison with some, Peter “floated” an 8-iron to within a metre or so of the pin. Louis still had two putts to ensure his name was the first on the trophy but it was not to be. He will be disappointed with three putts at such a vital time. So Peter’s cousin will have yet another cause to rejoice, and no doubt Peter himself will celebrate in time honoured fashion once he has hoisted the new, and large trophy at Sunday’s dinner. Full scores were;

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Peter Penny & Louis Lentelink

36 Peter Penny (on handicap)
36 Louis Lentelink
35 Merv Coombs
34 Paul O’Callaghan
33 Erling Johnsen
31 David Millar
30 Jack Perry (on handicap)
30 Iain Macaulay
29 Michael Costello
24 John Youngs
22 Ian Young

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Champion and fellow contestants

Turning now to the fuller field it is interesting to note that Peter’s score was the second best of the day amongst the men, only handicap keeping him from a bottle of wine come prize giving. His disappointment was bitter and apparent.

1st 38 Hazel Gilchrist
2nd 36 Kate Bradley
3rd 35 Connie Maphar-Massar

1st. 39 John Mills (cut 0.9 to 11.8)
2nd 36 Brendan Walsh (on handicap)
3rd 36 Roger Dew (on handicap)

(Ed. No pictures available)

Peter Stock Memorial. Europa & America. 28/29 th.

The weather could not have been kinder to the 32 pairs playing in the two-ball-better-ball medal competition for which the rules occupied best part of an A4 sheet. The usual week long competition has been reduced to weekend status but the popular fund raising feature remained. Assuming the role of a budding Betfair was Brian Farmer whose efforts produced a profit of 185 euros, which included a donation from one of the winners. A kindly deed. There were nine winning bets in all, at odds ranging from 6/1 to 4/1, a return of 370 euros to the shrewd investors. Thank you Brian.

Day One saw some good results with, interestingly, the Murphy family claiming the limelight. Not together but as keen domestic rivals, each assisted by highly competitive and competent partners. There were ten pairs under par at the end of play. Full details appear elsewhere on the website. Conditions were good on Europa although the wind gave late signs of becoming a force on the morrow.
America hosted Day Two. Going was slow and the wind was fierce at times. Even so there were nine pairs on par or less with honours going to Roy and Jill Davies whose 64 nett was the best by four.

Meanwhile the battle of the Mighty Murphys intensified and went right to the wire, as they say all the time on television, with the final scores being exactly level at a commendable 134 for two rounds. Nine under par. Sadly there always has to be a loser and so, on handicap, Damian and Lotta Syversen were announced triumphant. Lorraine and Peter Edstrom were left disappointed but can be proud of their performance.

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Damian and Lotta
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Lorraine & Peter

Those trailing closest behind included

138 Rosa Hatz & Claus Ramer
139 David Millar & Francesco Cervilla (on handicap)
139 Jack Perry & David Moody (on handicap)
139 Mike & Pearl Fisher

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Mike Hall was well down the list but more than happy with a Hole-in-One on the 8th., which not only earned him the usual certificate but an incredible number of balls! 40+ thus sending those who got Two-s
home empty handed.

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Another for whom the day will remain in memory is the man who got his first eagle in Spain, on the 18th. He will enjoy writing that one up!!

In the evening everyone re-assembled in the clubhouse for an event of indulgence and entertainment. In some ways the recent death of Joan Stock introduced a note of sadness but this was soon dispelled when the Lady Captain announced that henceforth the event would be known as the “Peter & Joan Stock Memorial Competition”. She then invited Iain Macaulay to say a few words about Joan, which he did fittingly and with some feeling, having known her longer than most. He described her, rightly, as a “lady of her times” with very firm standards. Of dress for example. What she would have made of the evening’s “Smart casual. Shorts permitted” one can only speculate.

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The meal was interrupted and followed by lots of prizes being distributed, and finally by a Paul McCartney Tribute singer who was very good but, one must assume, deaf. Everyone knew all the words, of course, singing and dancing along with him and memories of the Beatles but, having captured his audience so to speak, his decibel control system deserted him. Which was a pity because it prompted a migration to the bar, or even further afield, like home. Where, at Los Altos, he could still be clearly heard!

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Other prize winners with their rewards.

Overall though a very enjoyable weekend into which went a lot of effort on the part of the Captains and their Committee, for which those of us who took part, would like to thank them.

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Action in Lily of the Valley Month.

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Stop press.

Eleventh hour news reveals that Anne Mills(41) and David Evans(36 points)were the winners in May 31st Stableford Competition on America. Further details next month with pictures.

Talking of which.

A friendly dig at Captains this month, so apologies in advance. Two things really. It would be helpful, and presumably of more interest to readers, who can get the basic scores elsewhere, if there was more content to the reports. Names, scores, significance of result, weather and course conditions, unusual incidents, dinner menu, photographs, etc.
Now we move into Grandma sucking eggs mode. Most modern mobiles have good cameras but you still need to have the sun behind you for best results, or choose the setting more carefully, use flash if at a shaded clubhouse table, etc. Maybe take the team photo beforehand? Some of the pictures in this issue are not very good and will pose Jose with a sizeable task.

A closing thought.


The May edition ends with a smile. The reason for Jenny’s obvious happiness is not known – but does it matter? A smile is a smile?

Newsletter May

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