It was a group of nineteen senior golfers who set off for Cardiff on the 9th September. Full of enthusiasm (or was that dismay?) they travelled up the M4 in heavy traffic and dense rain negotiating the thick spray from other vehicles. There was even spray from the West bound lanes of the motorway. Forever optimistic they still anticipated the excitement and challenge of three days of golf and two nights stay in the Copthorne Hotel at Culverhouse Cross.
Well equipped with their wet weather gear they were prepared for a soaking on this first day away from home. What a surprise, then, when they arrived at the first venue, The Glamorganshire Golf Club, with the rain easing. The wet gear was still donned, but as a precaution, and was later discarded as they progressed around this undulating parkland course with smooth, quick greens and a few challenging holes. Any course with trees and doglegs, with a couple of ditches thrown in, is a challenge to Tenby seniors.
The highest point, on the seventeenth, provided a wonderful panoramic view of the Severn Estuary but not enough to detract from the golf. All nineteen seniors scored twenty or more, with sixteen reaching thirty plus. Just three old codgers were left in the twenty plus zone. They must have been affected by the tremor that everyone felt during the round. There was no need to panic, it was only Idwal falling out of a bunker as he tried to negotiate the rim by walking out backwards. It must have woken him up since he scored thirty-two points, putting him in ninth place.
Winner on this first match of the tour was David Rees with a score of thirty-five. His back nine score was one better than Des Stone’s, also on thirty-five. Alan Jones was just one behind them, as was Alan Sayers. The next six all scored thirty-two. Alan Sayers and Ross James were both rewarded for scoring a two while Derek Cole won nearest the pin competition.
Idwal’s escapade was just the start of the seniors’ misadventures. Looking for a car to place his golf bag one member was seen in the car park pressing a key fob in all directions. He was trying to find the car in which he had travelled up. He got there eventually, after returning to find out what colour and make of car he had travelled in. Over the two nights away from their loved ones another admitted to falling out of his narrow single bed.
Following a lovely meal washed down with a bottle of wine one member managed to incur a nasty bump on the head in his room. Motto – remove your shoes before discarding your trousers. Again, an uneven tiled floor at one club allowed another senior to stumble but regain his composure in time. Forgetfulness is another trait as demonstrated by a younger senior who travelled back to the hotel unaware that he had left his expensive blue golf shoes on the patio of Cottrell Park. The same senior also left his jumper on his playing partners’ trolley.
By the second day, most were getting accustomed to the grass and, to some extent, the trees. The fact that the sun was shining helped as the group travelled, in warm still air, to the Cottrell Park Golf Club. Everyone found the Mackintosh course rather more challenging than The Glamorganshire. The greens were quicker and the dogleg holes more definitive. While the course appeared longer and there was plenty of open spaces accuracy of drive was a necessary requisite.
Two seniors failed to make twenty on these longer runs, one of whom was having to lift his ball out of any bunker into which it had landed. There were ten seniors with twenty to twenty-nine points, one of whom marked his card with ‘From hero to zero!’ That was David Rees on twenty-three. Poor old Ross James suffered with six blobs in his round of twenty-four, while Idwal dropped to one below thirty.
Only seven seniors broke into the thirties. Des Stone was, again, relegated to second place on thirty-three just one point behind Tony Ranoe who had made the most of his handicap. While on the same thirty-three as Des, Stan Hudson (3rd) and Allen Watts (4th) had poorer back nines so were third and fourth. David Henry, John Richards and Alan Sayers were the other three in the low thirties. There were no two’s but there was a nearest the pin, won by David Henry.
The final day on the Wenvoe Castle Course proved the most difficult. The weather closed in with some intense light drizzle, driven by a strong wind. Add to that some steeper slopes and wet grass between the avenues of mature trees this course made everyone concentrate and work hard. The greens were very quick, so it was no surprise that Alan Sayers walked in stating that it had been the hardest eighteen holes he had ever played. His twenty-six was lower than his two previous scores of thirty-four and thirty-one. Most, but not all, seniors ended up with a lower score.
Five failed to reach the twenty mark and it was only the top three who managed to beat thirty. The remaining eleven were in the twenty zone. Again there were no two’s but there was a winner of the nearest the pin competition. That went to John Richards. The only player to increase his score over the three courses was Mick Seal and his thirty-two made him the winner on the day. Idwal, in second place, equalled his score but with a poorer back nine. Picking up third spot was the consistent John Richards on thirty-one.
Before announcing the winners of the Tenby Traveller Trophy Derek Cole thanked all for their participation and commitment and in particular the background help of Stan Hudson and David Rees. He was also thanked by Mick Whale for the efforts made by him and his team to ensure that this tour was a success.
The Tenby Traveller Trophy was awarded to the player with the highest total score over the three courses. Derek was pleased to present the Trophy to the consistent John Richards who achieved a total of ninety-five. In equal second place, on ninety-four, were Stan Hudson and Allen Watts. (Both Stan and Allen had the same scores on each of the days played.) Des Stone and Idwal David both had ninety-three earning fourth and fifth spots.