Anne Serle makes Clinton Centenary Vase history at East Devon Golf Club

The presentation of the Clinton Centenary Vase to winner Anne Serle (centre) with East Devon captain

The presentation of the Clinton Centenary Vase to winner Anne Serle (centre) with East Devon captain's Tony Mackness and Maria Heard. Picture by Malcolm Pressey - Credit: Archant

The Centenary Vase was the trophy played for (not sure of the grammar!) at East Devon on Bank Holiday Monday, writes Paul Willoughby.

This was a mixed Stableford competition and the three championship tees were in use on the sixth, 10th and 11th holes adding an extra 66 yards to the course for the men.

That may not sound much, but it makes at least one club’s difference and those holes that much harder. I’m not whingeing, just saying – OK? The Centenary Vase was donated to the club on its Centenary in 2002 by Lord Clinton and is a worthy trophy as is evidenced by the 150 players trying to win it.

Actually (and not many people know this) the competition was only able to go ahead as Paul Newcombe, our head greenkeeper found a herd (Yes, 20 of them) of cows on the seventh fairway very early in the day.

It seems they belonged to a farmer in Castle Lane who was requested to move them – and fairly smartish!

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Luckily there was no damage to the course (though some left their calling cards!) – maybe they were hoping to have a game without paying a green fee?

That the club has survived for 116 years is quite an achievement; when it was founded in 1902, Queen Victoria had only been dead a year and King Edward VII was still the ‘new’ monarch on the throne.

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In the same year the Boer War ended and the First World War was not even a thought.

La Belle Epoque (go on, look it up!) was in full swing, three putting hadn’t been invented, and all was right with the world.

Charles Dickens had died only 32 years earlier, but he didn’t play golf so we can forget about him!

The lady members of the club wore long skirts and the men wore jackets and ties – can you imagine how restricting that would be to a golf swing? Those were the heady days when it was good to be alive – if you had the money to enjoy it!

However, the club still thrives – 116 years later. The dress code has changed, the course has been altered, trees and bushes have grown where open farmland previously existed but, cliff falls permitting there is no reason why it should not still be here in another 116 years. Provided no one has dropped it in the meantime, we may still be playing for the present Clinton Centenary Vase!

The winner of the Vase who, I’m afraid, will not be here in another 116 years, was Anne Serle with a stonking 40 points from a handicap of 19, now 17. Well done, Anne; excellent play.

Anne is the first woman to have won the Vase since it was presented to the club. Second, but only on countback, also with 40 points was Joy Wisdom from a handicap of 17 now 16. Third, also with 40 points was Thomas Peters from a handicap of 13, now 12. Well done, all three.

There was a twos pot of £298 to be shared between ten players - £29 each. A very good return on their entry fee.

Robert Barnes had two of them on the 10th and 13th as well as scoring 38 points – he was obviously having one of those days!

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