The penultimate stableford competition of the year at East Devon was cancelled due to appalling weather, but the final competition was a great success, writes Paul Willoughby.

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This was the Christmas Cross Country 9 hole Texas Scramble. Right, Non-Golfers (NG’s from hereon), pay attention please as the rules of this game require some explanation and I shall be testing you later.

Twenty-four teams of four took part with monetary prizes to help reduce the festive overdraft, so all to play for!

All four drive then decide whose ball is in best position for the second shot. The other three then move their balls to that position and, apart from the golfer who put his/her ball there in the first place, they play the second shot from there. All four then decide which of the three balls is in pole position then, apart from the player who has put his/her ball there in the first place, they play the next shot from that position, and so on till the ball is holed. OK, NG’s; how are you doing?

Now to the scoring – no on second thoughts, forget it; that’s complicated and boring for the NGs. However, the cross country bit which does require some explanation. Normal golf requires the player to hit the ball from, for example the third tee to the third green, fifth tee to the fifth green etc. We all know that. The cross country element requires the golfer to abandon any thoughts of normal golf; here the golfers played from the 3rd tee to the 1st green, the 2nd tee to the third green and 17th tee to the 11th green etc. Absolutely mad, great fun, but a potential great ‘ball loser’ – hitting over parts of the course that never expected to see a golf ball. I mean, who in their right mind would hit from the second tee over 100 yards of rough, some of which is over 10’ tall, to try and find the elusive third green?

This competition is probably the most fun of all those played in the year and there were an awful lot of smiles from beginning to end. The scoring is not to be taken too seriously, but the object of the day is to provide excellent entertainment for all participants, which it did. Well done to all 96 players who took part.

OK, here’s the test for the NG’s. What is the derivation of the phrase, ‘pole position’? Yes, you’re right. The term has its origins in horse racing, in which the fastest horse in the qualifying heat would be placed on the inside part of the course, next to the starting pole, for the main race.

The winning team who clearly found pole position were Terry Harris, Bill Coles, Barry Devetta and Tom Kenny with an excellent 24 points. Second with 25.9 points were Cliff Lockwood, Clive Pantoll, Stuart Jackson and Alex Hall.

Third, also with 25.9, but only on countback were Bill Gott, Rowan Edbrooke, Margaret Powell and Maureen Gray. Fourth, and last in the prizes were Julian Reynolds (the club’s esteemed managing secretary), Paul Newcombe (our esteemed head green keeper), Will Hendry and Clive Bennett – our club captain for 2014. A fun game, enjoyed by all. East Devon Golf cub welcomes new members.

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