Santa Claus came early to the Christmas Scramble at The Berkshire and left a sack full of prizes.

With Hampers to win and Christmas puddings, chocolates and wine and not forgetting the traditional “Paxo Stuffing” , there was fun and laughter all the way for the big turnout of Northcliffe’s finest golfers’

It was a great end of season fixture with traditional Roast Turkey and plum pudding to be enjoyed for lunch with paper hats and Christmas crackers to add to the festive spirit.

The Berkshire’s Red Course was as always in great condition, with challenging long holes and slick greens to deceive the very best of putters.

There was also a special handicap “present” from Santa with players needing to play four drives each during the game for the chance to win a prize.

Added to the success of the day was the raffle and fund raising auction which included champagne from the Society President, Lord Rothermere, plus a luxury holiday villa in Grenada from David Dutton among the many items to bid for.

The winning team of Captain Craig Fawcett, Joe Marvel, Dan Hall with new member Alexandra Bryant, “Weapons of Grass Destruction”, completed the double having won last year and took home luxury Christmas Hampers and the Centenary Trophy.

Their score of 56.8 was well clear of the 60.1 scored by runners up, “Putt-y in Our Hands”, of Captain Robert Hudson, Luke Turner, Chirag Bhagani and John Heywood.

Previous  Scramble winners, “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and John”, under the captaincy of Society Captain Nick Stevens as Roland Agambar was unable to play, plus new member Alan Young, Stephen Kyjak-Lane and John Morgan, took third place with 60.7, beating on count-back the “Smith and Groans” team of Martin Smith, Ben Mason, William Clazie and Chris Law.

In 5th were the “Christmas Cracker” team of secretary, Garth Burden, Keith Cottington, Ian McGowan and Barry Edwards who improved on last year’s score with 61.7, beating “Business Services Fore Calling Birdies” team of Captain John Tucker, Society vice-Captain Barry Theobald, Harry Grindrod and Lee Terry.

The change of name this year by “The Fab Aged Four” to “The Spring Lambs” didn’t help change the form of the regular “Paxo Stuffing” winners of renown wine connoisseurs, Captain Guy Zitter, Peter McKay, Geoff Levy and Jeff Powell, who failed to loosen their grip on this prize.

Having presented the Society with the “Centenary Trophy” to mark its 100 years in 2010, the North Foreland team of “The Lighthouse Flashers” have yet to win it, but again were not far away from taking a prize.

North Foreland Club assistant secretary, Pauline Warrington, travelled up from the Kent coast with the team of Captain Richard Keel, Michael White, Stuart Barr and Tommy Dolan and while her players were out battling the course, Pauline spent her morning organising the raffle.

Special guests who played in the team of Society Chairman Vyvyan Harmsworth, “3 Wise men and a Wiser Woman”, were retired Berkshire Secretary John Hunt and French golfing director, Ken Strachan who oversaw many of the Inter-Company yearly competitions and who has now moved from Hardelot Golf to Arras Golf Resort. The team’s “wiser” woman was Jayne Burden.

Ken donated an overnight stay at the Arras Club  including golf  that helped to raise over £5,000 at the auction with the raffle towards Society funds. The offer of a 2-week stay at a luxury villa in Grenada, donated by David Dutton, is still up for grabs. 

The Ian Wooldridge Centenary Trophy, presented annually in recognition of a players sporting and golf enthusiasm was presented to Ken in appreciation and recognition of the help he has given over the years to the Society.  Ken was made an Honorary member of the Society many years ago.

The Vincent Mulchrone Trophy for help and services over the year to the Society was, by a unanimous decision, presented to Jayne Burden.

Vyvyan Harmsworth, ably assisted by Society Captain Nick Stevens, took charge of the auction and announced the annual charity donation, £1,000  raised over two years, would be given to the Zoe Zambia charity, organised and run by John Hunt that is building a school in South Africa for local village children and orphans.

Champagne for “Nearest the Pin” on the six Par Three holes were won by Andy Guiton, (2nd), Felix Duckworth (5th), Ross Slater (7th), Graham Brown (10th), Nick Stevens (16th), and Jayne Burden (18th)

This year’s Society Match Play final for the Cousins Bowl has yet to be played. The winner between Garth Burden and David Crump in the semi-final will play Phil Barber. The Order of Merit winner for the Iain Walker “Golfer of the Year” Trophy, between Nick Stevens, Clive Heard, Lisa Heywood and Barry Theobald will also be decided in the New Year with both presentations taking place at the Society’s first fixture of 2020 at The Grove fixture in March.

There were 12 winners in the “Back the Winner” contest with £20 won by Garth Burden, Lisa Heywood, Craig Fawcett, Ben Mason, Edward Hawkins, Martin Smith, Joe Marvel, John Heywood, Alexandra Bryant, Jayne Burden, Will Clazie and Dan Hall with £35 raised for the funds.

The only things missing from another memorable Christmas Scramble…..there was not a reindeer in sight or any snow as the weather was wonderfully mild with sunny blue skies.

Words: Garth Burden. Pixs:  David Crump