There are not many Northcliffe fixtures when members struggle to post decent scores but Mill Ride, near Ascot in Berkshire, proved to be a real golfing challenge for the June meeting.

So much so that the winner came in with just 34 points, the runner-up 32 pts and a whole host of other players languished in the 20’s.

At least the sun was shining and this comparatively new Donald Steel designed course that only opened in 1990 proved to be a real test for everyone, with its amazingly tricky links and parkland styled holes.

Set in the grounds of a 175 acre private estate, the course winds around several lakes giving challenging shots on so many of the picturesque holes … and it was only the really brave who dared to go for glory!

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The main trophy of the day, the Viscount Rothermere Challenge Cup was won by Broadbean’s Stuart Passmore who thought his 34 points had no chance of winning the day as he struggled to cope with the course.

But player after player came into the clubhouse believing they had played really badly as they handed in their low score-cards.

Under the Society’s handicap rules, Stuart was cut 2 shots to 12 handicap despite the fact that he had such a low score.

Runner-up, Society secretary Garth Burden was also cut 1 shot to 14 handicap for his 32 points. In third place with 31 points was former Daily Mail deputy Editor Alistair Sinclair who beat retired member Des Sowerbey on count back.

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The infamous Wooden Spoon was won by new member Chris Leake who has just retired after a long career on the Mail on Sunday.

Most members found the afternoon Greensomes a lot easier with Clive Heard from Associated finance and his partner, guest Tony Jackson scoring 39pts with Jobsite’s Rob Thomas and Vice Captain Graeme Thomson just beating morning prize-winner Alistair Sinclair and his partner, former DMGT finance surpremo Peter Williams.

Morning winner Stuart Passmore had the good sense to back himself in the fund raising “Back the Winner” competition and collected £70 with £35 raised for the Society. There were four people who managed a 2 on the difficult to read greens and Ian McGowan from technical support, Rob Thomas, Alistair Sinclair and Barry Theobald from the Colour Studio all won £10 each.

Champagne for Nearest the Pin in the morning was presented by vice Captain Graeme to Garth Burden and to Metro’s Andy Spry for the afternoon competition.

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Northcliffe Captain John Bird had hoped to make Mill Ride his Captain Day but was unable to attend so “Captain’s Day” will now by the next fixture at Royal St George’s on Tuesday, July 10.

Garth said that he was planning to book an extra fixture for the Society, Coombe Hill in Surrey on Monday, September 24 and this has now been confirmed. This will be the Society’s first visit to Coombe Hill where both Society’s founder, Lord Northcliffe, and Lord Rothermere were members during the early years of the Club.

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