The 2010 WHV Open – The Claret Jug Weekend

Day 1…

As I began to stir from my Rattler enhanced slumber, a chirpy Aust was scuttling around in the corner of the room, in the dark – “Morning Pres, I was trying not to wake you. I’m just off to breakfast, see you later”. It was 10.25 and breakfast finished at 10.00 – It was Day 1 of the 2010 WHV Open, The Claret Jug Weekend and I had felt better.

I lay there, bemused, recalling the events of the previous night, (which I assume will be fully and accurately documented for the WHV legend by Prof Ash, the victor of the 2010 Amy Austin), my final memory of which was shouting, (to no avail), at the TD “…get off him, get off him, he’s got a dodgy ticker”, while an exuberant TD man handled the Web Donk at the back of the WHVGS bus from Dartmouth. When we arrived back at the hotel, I had taken myself straight to bed – to avoid the inevitable shenanigans.

I was not feeling particularly confident about the 36 holes ahead. The Amy Austin had given us a taster of the course, which had been suggested by the Tour’s “Low Man”, currently off plus 4 and was suitably tough – especially in the high gusting winds. I had carded 31 points on Friday (2nd behind the Proff after a board room battle) which I was “absolutely fine” with, but I had consequently lost a shot after my 0.3 cut and given that I had not bothered the scorer for the last 2 years, other than a joint 2nd in the 2010 Skins (by winning 3 skins), I had been struggling with my post 2008 GS Handicap. (The Proff on the other hand had managed to “maintain” his playing handicap for the weekend, he had asked on the 18th tee of the AA – “I don’t have to do any handicap protection do I?” – He then 4 putted the 18th…)

After a shower and a Berocca, I made my way to the bar for about 11.15 and ordered a jacket potato with cheese and beans. It was not the finest meal I have ever eaten, which took both concentration and some serious chewing to get it down, 20 minutes later the plate was clean(ish). In and around the bar area there was a number of the WHV contingent, in various states of rude health. Notably, The Aust (on the back of 14 hours sleep having avoided the previous night’s “Rattler Friday” trip to Dartmouth, without suffering a handicap adjustment), Rob and Campo, (arrivals that morning for the CJ open only), were looking the most chipper. Apparently Ads and Juice had been on the putting green for “hours”, so they were obviously fancying their chances.

At the other end of the spectrum, The Proff, (who was looking more than a touch jaded and who’s abiding memory of the night was the “see off a couple of Rattler challenge” with Ron, he did not remember returning to the hotel or his attempted “lion taming act” in the early hours of Saturday morning). Ron was a first glance looking more alive than the Proff, but his opaque eyes told a slightly different story, Noz was limping and muttering about the TD.  As for the TD there had been no sign of him all morning – his room “mate” Noz had decided not to wake him – although there was some unexplained, rogue cutlery on the floor in the corner of the bar area and couple of discarded handbags…

Most of the CJ competitors assembled on the First at about 12.30 – after our normal shambolic transfer from the Club House, this time principally involving a chaotic buggy collection, allocation and payment process, but also, (not for the first time) involving a missing TD – Tee off was due at 12.45.

At 12.40 any further practice on the 3ft Brissle horn was outlawed, prior to The Aust’s announcement to the wider public through the medium of the Horn, that the 2010 WHV Open was about to commence – At this point it should be noted that the Brissle Horn had already been sounded during the weekend. Initially and most markedly at close quarters to a couple of unsuspecting innocents in a Sainsbury’s’ cark park somewhere between Dartmouth and Solihull, followed by a shout of “I bet you’ve never seen a horn like that before have you”, (I have no idea what the actual quote was, but it was along these lines), it had also been blown several times by Coops, who evidently is one of several ex-trumpeters amongst the GS Membership. Aust however is not one of the GS’ musical elite and as 12.45 approached we all anticipated something of a damp squib. However to our collective surprise Aust managed to produce and hold an acceptable note with his one attempt and his sounding of the Brissle Horn at 12.45 on 9th October 2010 indicated the start of this year’s WHV Open. The TD had arrived wearing shorts and his WHV t-shirt – I was personally layered up (4 layers) and most boys were wearing hats.

Noz (the reigning WHV Open champion) tee’d off and from memory most people got away in reasonable order considering the level of Rattler consumption the previous night, in the knowledge that the first 5 holes of the course (on which I had scored 10 points on the previous day), was the easiest section of the course. Evidently, I was still somewhat “Rattled” and waiting for the healing properties of the jacket spud to kick in, blobbing the first (in fact the 1st (Prof), 2nd (Pres) and 3rd (TD) from the AA all blobbed the first, along with Ads and Bacon). Fresh Campo, on the other hand, playing the blind hole for the first time, carded a 4 pointer with a gross birdie…

Standing on the 6th tee I was feeling a touch sorry for myself having chuffing blobbed 3 of the first 5 and being 6 Stapleforth points behind where I had been on the previous day, the omens were not good, when all of a sudden a Course Marshall drove up in a buggy, with a smile on his face……

Marshall – “Are the jokers playing a couple of groups behind with you? One of them has got dark hair and wearing shorts.”

WHVers – “Er, yes, why, what has he done?”

Marshall – “I have just witnessed him walk into a water hazard on the 4th to retrieve his ball and he has ended up waist deep in the drink! – What a bloody idiot”

WHVer – “Yep, that sounds like one of ours”

Marshall – “I wish my wallet was as thick as your mate” – The Marshall drove off…

I think that the principle is called “Schadenfreude”, (meaning pleasure derived from the misfortunes of idiots), but the thought of the TD flailing around, waist deep, in the freezing drink was obviously the tonic I needed and I subsequently gross par’d 3 of the next 4 holes bagging 11 points in the process – Things were back on track.

A couple of holes later the TD was naked on the tee, (and then naked whist rolling round on the floor chuckling to himself), having decided that his current sopping wet attire was unsuitable and given that he was unable to find his own waterproofs, he, in “commando stylie” donned the Proff’s “cycling waterproofs” resplendent with tasteful reflective flashing. I am yet to hear if the Proff has consequently burnt his water waterproof strides, but the thought of the TD cavorting round in those unencumbered for several hours, must surely require the destruction of these soiled objects.

The leader after 9 was Compo on 19, who had 2 gross birdies, followed by Bacon who after blobbing the first 2, had scored 18 on the next 7. The field (including the TD remarkably) had all scored between 12-15 points, except for The Prof and Ads. Also at the turn the TD popped into the Club House for some refreshments, at which point he was directed to towards an office to collect a letter addressed to Mr W Spittle. NB: This letter has nothing to do with the WHVGS specifically and as I understand it principally relates to: a skin-head in a black hoody, a scene from “Bridget Jones”, “hilarious” CCTV footage, an extinguisher and 125 lads, which by all accounts was entirely reasonable. The TD was unable to acquire the mid-round refreshment that he had initially sought.

The events of the back nine were less memorable, although I can confirm that the crayfish on the 14th were still full hammer and we were joined my Mr J Spittle on the 16th who had hot footed it 240 miles to Dartmouth for the evening’s events. Bacon scored another 18 points, making him a commanding overnight club house leader, with the Idiot Hall and Noz scoring 17 each – The Proff and Coops both had 5 blobs on the back 9, but at least Coops managed to salvage something with two 3 pointers on the 17th and 18th.

At the end of the first day Bacon was odds on for both the OoM and the CJ with 36 points, 5 ahead of me and the Idiot, Campo was on 30 and the field were all in the 20s, apart from The Proff (and his new swing) who was last with 19. Bruce took the Day 1 Shark, Rob was the overnight holder of the Hulk and Ads was the holder of the Big Dog.

The events of the “2010 CJ weekend General Meeting” will be documented in the minutes of the meeting, however for the purposes of the match report the key issues included:

  • The presentation of the “WHV Naughty Port Decanter” to the WHVGS by the Idiot Hall, together with the consumption of 4 bottles of Port,
  • The introduction of the “Extender Fork” to the WHVGS by the Idiot Hall and the subsequent commandeering of the Extender Fork by the WHVGS,
  • The use of the Extender Fork by the overnight leader of the CJ,
  • Numerous Cheeky Vimtos and Mowtown Dartmouths, (with Smirnoff Ice substituted for WKD),
  • The successful “Baguette speaker” appeal,
  • The Kangaroo court for the loss of the Pedro Fiver, the use of the Cape and Jack Nicklaus fiver fine,
  • The TDs rendition of “Copacabana” accompanied by a very enthusiastic Proff, and
  • A cheese board”, which was barely “value” in standard, let alone a connoisseurs’ board but the TUCs went down well.

Day 2…

I made it down to breakfast on the Sunday, along with most of the Competitors, although there was a general sense of fatigue among the troops. The Proff, who had misplaced the Amy Austin trophy after the previous night’s presentation, was delighted to be re-united with it when it was produced from behind the bar.

The Tee times were earlier, at 11.05, so after checking out, the normal debacle of getting everyone to the first, with the right number of buggies, paid for by the right individuals, most people were there just before 11.00 – The TD however was not, once again he was MIA…

At the allotted time the first group set off – the “tee of the day” had been changed from Blue which we had used for both the AA and day 1, to the Whites, adding c.500 yards to the course, making some of the holes a little more interesting, including the 18th, which became a 212 yard Par 3 and the nearest the pin hole for the day. The first off was the Prof, wearing The Cape, due to the events of the previous night. Suffice to say, that he nailed it, showing the Membership his new swing, with the Cape flowing the gusting wind.

The next group off were itching to go, especially as there was no sign of the TD – Coops was particularly keen to start without him, but just as the fairway in front cleared – the TD came lumbering up the path. Apparently when he had popped back to his room before checking out he had been waylaid by a couple of cleaners, he had then decided to refresh his “Straightest Drive Stein” with some Otter. The Members were delighted. (Just behind the TD, keeping his distance, was a course marshal who had seemingly followed him from the Club House.)  Coops banged one down and there was a trademarked “clonk from the Donk”, the TD’s tee shot was less impressive, and he carded an 8 for the hole – In fact the TD carded a gross score of 126 for the round – including a further 8, a 9 and a 21…

Group 3, Ron, Noz (Wearing the Green Jacket down the first and with the CJ accompanying him in his buggy) and Aust, set off and all achieved net pars on the first. Leaving the final group of Bacon, me and the not so fresh combination of the Idiot and Campo to battle it out… Could anymore play out of their skin and catch Bacon or would the pressure of being overnight leader all become too much for him?

Generally the scoring off the whites was worse than the previous 2 days, apart from me managing to score 18 points and Coops who scored 17. The TD scored 6. Bacon had scored a reasonable 14, but it meant that I was only 1 point behind at the turn, game on…

After the 10th it was all square and from then on it was pretty much nip and tuck. Bacon went 2 up with a 3 pointer on the 12th and was 3 up after the 14th – the 14th being both “full hammer crayfish” and the 2010 Hulk proper – Ronnie absolutely smashed it, having already taken the Dog,  the day was all about the spot prizes for Ronnie this year and he was after a clean sweep.

The 15th SI 1 was a testing par 4, downhill to lake at about 220 yards than then 200 yards uphill to green, with trouble down the right. Bacon hit the sh1te with his second and had to R4 (Rob doing the honours with the R4 lob into the sh1te), bacon hit his 5th into a bunker and his 6th was again in the rough – he blobbed. Fortunately, I got three points, back to all square, game on…

By the time we had arrived at the 18th tee – 212 yards par 3 over water with the gallery watching, I was 1 up. Campo and The Idiot both hit fine tee shots, Campo piping Ron to the Shark and stopping his clean sweep of the day’s spot prizes. I was up before Bacon and decided to play relatively safe, banging one to the back of the green but over the water, Bacon also banged one safe, short, but safe.

Rob putted out, Campo holed his birdie putt, leaving Mike and I to putt out – Mike got a 5 and a point, all square… I got a four for 2 points and became the 2010 WHVGS Open Champion, but to my delight Mike had come second and therefore has probably won the 2010 OoM, which he thoroughly deserves after nearly hanging up his clubs 12 months previously and taking the 2010 Tour by the scruff of the neck.

As we arrived on the balcony area to watch Donk calculate the final scores etc… the TD realised that he had left his Stein in his buggy, which was now missing – He was far from happy and stomped around the place grumbling about urchins.

I wore the Green Jacket and cuddled the CJ all the way back, whilst being chauffeured by the Donk and I understand that by some miracle the TD opened his porch door later that evening to find that an “urchin” had returned his Stein.

The prize winners were:

1st – D Baxter

2nd – M Allsopp

3rd – A Austin

Overnight club house leader – M Allsopp

Sunday Best – D Baxter

WHV Open : King of the par 3s – M Allsopp

WHV Open : King of the Par 5s – D Baxter

Hulk Day 1 – The Idiot Hall

Hulk Day 2 – Ron

Big Dog Day 1 – Ads

Big Dog Day 2 – Ron

Shark Day 1 – Bruce

Shark Day 2 – Campo

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