MTGS v TRANSPORT GOLFING SOCIETY at Hankley Common
10th July 2018
So here we were back again at Hankley Common to play this longstanding encounter after an absence of two years. Due in part to Hankley’s intransigence regarding cost, we had had a dalliance with firstly, Hindhead and then, last year, New Zealand as alternative match venues. But I think we all agreed that it felt right that we were back at this absolute gem of a course to resume the annual struggle with, this kindred of all societies, the TGS.
Fate had dealt us a blow from the start as Paul Richmond was stricken with stomach cramps overnight and had called to give his apologies for absence. So, yours truly, his drawn partner, ended up playing both TGS partners in singles matchplay simultaneously which finished won one, lost one so honours even but more about that in a minute.
Hankley had us off the 10th tee at 9 am as there was another society sharing the golf course with us - a slight reprimand perhaps for our unfaithfulness in ‘playing away’ over the past two years. Whatever, after a 5 minute drive down the sandy track we teed off on what many think is one of the toughest par 4’s on the golf course and with an attendant low single figure stroke index to boot.
It was the opinion of many on both sides that the golf course had rarely looked better manicured and was playing beautifully. Light brown and golden fairways burnt by these endless sunny days and fast greens with fiendish pin positions which made for a real challenge as we found out, in the main, to our cost. The course was being prepared for an upcoming Ricoh Ladies qualifying event for the British Open and there was no denying this was a championship standard track in great condition.
And there was no denying also that MTGS had a terrific team. Michael (the garage) Evans up from Cornwall and fit and refreshed after his overnight stay locally; Brian Lowe, well used to fast running fairways and the lightening greens of his native Beaconsfield; Oliver Harris, member at Hankley and equipped with that all important course knowledge; Derek Allen from Wentworth - is there a more testing track than the West course in all of the home counties; Nick Kingsbury from St George’s Hill who knows everything there is to know about heather; Roger Prowting, recently the subject of society handicap cuts and the reigning Bandits champion;
Need I go on any further. No, it’s obvious we basically just needed to turn up. So, cut to the chase, we lost six and a half to one and a half!
No post mortems, no excuses, we got blown away. For the single win, look up at para 2 and for the single half point, well done Roger Prowting!
Now on to the more serious affairs. Luncheon at Hankley never disappoints and this was no exception. Steak and kidney pie, roast lamb and roast pork. Roast tatties to die for, greens and gravies like your granny used to make. Desserts, ice creams, cheeses from France and Britain.
And the wines, the whites a Louis Latour Burgundy (sadly only one bottle available) and a nice Pouilly Fume of which a number of iterations were seen up and down the table. And the red, a lovely 2012 Haut Medoc which found favour with all, so much so that several visits to the cellar had to be made by the serving staff until our liquid appetites were whetted. It must have been the warm and balmy weather!
Our esteemed President, Martin Derrick, could not be with us so on his behalf yours truly did the honours. Firstly, on a sad note, the latest news about Tom Madden’s health was shared. Tom, uniquely, both a past President of MTGS and of TGS, was taken into hospital recently with pancreatic cancer which had spread to the liver. The hospital is developing a care plan which, once in place, will hopefully allow him to return home.
After a vote of thanks to the green keeping staff and the kitchen, the trophy was presented to the TGS President, Bob Hughes, who graciously received it and thanked his team and the MTGS for such a thrilling but, in the end, one sided contest.
In a generous and wholehearted gesture, he then, on behalf of the TGS team, presented yours truly with a splendid bottle of Louis Roederer champagne to celebrate what had happened on the 2nd hole (our 11th) when the golfing deities smiled for once on the MTGS side and permitted me to get a hole in one!
Next year we’ll be back I hope at Hankley. However, they will have to up their game a little. No issues with the golf course, but to only have one bottle of the Latour burgundy in stock at the clubhouse was a little dispiriting. Equally, the absence in the bar of any of Ireland’s famous whiskey, the one upon which all others are judged and the favourite tipple of member Allen - Jameson’s - was somewhat beyond the pale.
It seemed appropriate to point this out to the Club before leaving and also to suggest that they might be wise to stock up on their now much depleted reserves of the 2012 Haut Medoc before our member/guest meeting hordes arrive next month.
17 July 2018
Motor Trades Golfing Society
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