Match report – Walton Heath 2012

Fifty years was a significant number for the Northcliffe’s annual golf fixture at Walton Heath. The Society has been playing every year for over 50 years at this premier Surrey course; there were 50 players booked to take part in the day; the subsidy from funds was just over £50 per person and one member was celebrating his 50 years of membership.

There cannot be any better golfing experience than to play one of the country’s premier courses just before it hosts the European qualifier for the US Open.

Not only was Walton Heath in pristine condition with lightning fast greens for the Northcliffe’s May fixture but even the weather couldn’t put a dampner on the golf.

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Despite all the recent heavy rains, the heathland course in the heart of the Surrey countryside, home of the legendry golfer James Braid, was in tremendous condition with just two weeks to go before top European and World players battle it out for a chance to play in the American major.

But the course again held no horrors for morning winner, Evenbase’s Mike Wall, who regards Walton Heath as one of his favourite courses. His 39 points scored in light winds and rain won him the Rothermere Cup, a repeat of last year’s win for the same trophy. Mike was cut 2 shots under the Society’s handicap rules and will now play off 12 handicap for his next 3 appearances.

Whether or not a new Taylormade RBZ driver made any difference to his game only time will tell, but playing partners were amazed at the extra distance Mike was getting off the tee with his new club.

Very close up in second place was Will Flint from DMGT, whose 38 points got him his first win in a Northcliffe trophy tournament and was cut one shot to 14.

Just behind in third place with 37 points was Broadbean’s Stuart Passmore, with Jobsite’s Gary Scott taking 4th place on countback from Circulation’s Chris Underhill in 5th place.

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There was much laughter when the Daily Mail’s Nigel Bromley just managed to sneak a win for the Wooden Spoon, but secretary Garth Burden who along with many others over the years has won this infamous trophy, warned that on previous Wooden Spoon form, winners usually went on to collect silverware at some stage in the future with the Society.

One of the performances of the day was that of new PGA member Maria Tulley who was invited as a guest by the Society’s Phil Barber. Maria’s round for the morning on the Old Course which was just 3 over par and included 4 birdies, won her the guest’s prize of the day.

The afternoon Greensomes competition for the Northcliffe Cup proved to be another close finish with just two points separating the top four pairings. The winners were Broadbean’s Dan Cohen and Dan Martin with 40 points with morning winner Mike Wall playing off his new handicap and Chris Underhill in second place with 39 points. New member Paul Hunt from Euromoney and his partner from the Daily Mail, Nigel d’Cruze, took third place on countback with 38 points from Jobsite’s Gary Scott and Gary Green.

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Champagne for Nearest the Pin in the morning on the Old Course, 17th Hole, was won by Clive Heard from A&N Finance and on the 2nd on the New Course in the afternoon by guest Richard Grun.

The fact that he had won the main single’s trophy last year persuaded four other people to select Mike Wall in the fund raising “Back the Winner” competition. Mike wisely backed himself and along with Jobsite’s Jonathan Brooke, retired member Phil Hunt, Dan Cohen and Dan Martin they collected £30 each with £75 raised for the Funds.

There were four winners in the “2’s” competition, A&N Media’s Ian McGowan, Mike Wall, Clive Heard and Chester Stern from the Mail on Sunday.

“Captain of the Day” Mike Wall thanked the staff at the Club for making the day run so smoothly and the Club’s catering for the wonderful food provided for the lunch and tea.

Garth welcomed former assistant Secretary Derek Price who is celebrating his 50th year as a member of the Society.

“We have a very long association with Walton Heath going back over 50 years and are very lucky to be able to make this one of regular fixtures. Both the Old and the New are very special and a great golfing treat for us all,” he said.

Dates for your Diary.

  • The next Society golf day will be “Captain’s Day” at Mill Ride on Monday, June 18.
  • Fixtures already reserved for next year are West Hill, Monday, March 18;
  • The Berkshire, Tuesday, April 16 and Walton Heath, Monday, May 13.

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