Thanks go to Brian Woodbridge, who managed the kitty brilliantly, to David Hardy, the official scorer, and to all those who helped make this tour a success, especially Sophia and Liberty.
17 players took to the road to Cornwall, some arriving in time for an excellent dinner and others glued to the World Cup football and enjoying a late curry. The next morning was a warm up round at St Enodoc’s Holywell short course, which was no indicator of the standard required in the afternoon. The Church course sorted the men from the boys and tested the high handicappers with thick rough and blind drives to tight fairways. One spectacular hole, the sixth, gives a blind shot over the cavernous "Himalaya" bunker you simply don't want to be in. Rumour has it that it is the biggest bunker in Europe. The course is named after the church where Sir John Betjeman is buried. http://www.st-enodoc.co.uk/the-club/course-flyovers.html
The Thursday round saw David Hardy run out the winner with 35 points from your Captain, Chris Jones with 32 points. The tour handicapping system docks two from the winner’s handicap and one from the runner up’s, with the lowest scorer receiving two shots the next day and the next lowest one shot.
The Friday round was played at Trevose, a spectacular links with stunning views and dry running fairways which was a lot more enjoyable by the higher handicappers. Burdened by his two shot penalty, David could only muster 30 points, the day’s winner being Rob Draisey with a blistering 40 points and the runner up Brian Woodbridge with 33 points.
From Padstow, the tour party drove down on Saturday towards Plymouth and the Nicklaus Course at St Mellion. Not all the players enjoyed this course of rocky ravines, plentiful water, thick rough and long hikes between green and tee, but David Hardy overcame all obstacles, including his reduced handicap, to win the day with 31 points from Jan Rommer and Edward Sawbridge with 30 each.
Moving up to Barnstaple, the Sunday round was played at the beautiful Royal North Devon, the oldest links course in Britain, celebrating its 150th anniversary. The course was typically fast and dry, with sheep and cattle grazing the fairways to tight lies and plenty of trouble in the form of ditches and sea grass to contend with. The day’s victor was Rob Draisey with 36, taking the day from Richie O’Neill with 32 points.
Sadly, Rob Draisey had to leave the tour on the penultimate evening but left a challenging target of 129 behind him for any aspiring winner to match. The nearest contenders to overtake him were David Hardy who needed 34, Chris Jones requiring 36 and Edward Sawbridge 38. On the last day at Saunton East a dramatic finish was in sight, but Edwrad Sawbridge just failed with 36, ending runner up. Rob Draisey therefore takes the Foster Plate for 2014.
The venue for next summer’s tour is not yet decided, but by October you will all be informed where it will be held and as with this year, there will be a shortage of places, which are limited, so do please look out for the application and get it in quickly.