East Devon Stableford success for Ray Ambrose

PUBLISHED: 13:44 09 March 2018

Golf club and ball

Golf club and ball

Archant

The Seniors at East Devon were due to play a qualifying Stableford on the first Monday of March, writes Paul Willoughby.

I say, ‘due’, because thanks to the weather there were 18 temporary greens – and you can’t have a qualifying competition on them!

Actually, I was surprised the course was open at all; do you remember the weather? (How could you forget!)

We’d had snow and terribly cold easterly winds – Siberian we were told – and a lot of us felt sure the course would be closed.

But no; 55 hardy souls turned out and although the ground was soggy they were met with lightish, warmish westerly winds which had started the thaw the previous day.

The greens are probably the most important part of a golf course – this is where competitions are won, or lost.

Golfers can stand on the tee, look at the wide open fairway ahead of them and belt the ball as hard as they can into the distance.

They can then take their second shot, which should place the ball on the green, but if they can’t putt then they’ll never be in the money.

The greens are shaved almost every day and all eighteen are cut to the same height so if you can putt on one, the ball should react in a similar fashion if hit the same way on any other green. Not so temporary greens, oh no!

For the non-golfers a temporary green is an area on the fairway just short of the real green where the green staff have tried their best to recreate a smoothish patch with a hole in the middle.

There the similarity ends; the ball will run all over the place and mostly where you don’t intend it to go.

What looked like a straight putt had a bend in it and your ball shoots to the left (or right); an uphill putt can be hit too hard and either the ball will go far past the hole and stop or it will reverse course and come back past you ending up further from the hole than it started.

It would be quite possible for a golfer to lose his cool on a temporary green, but once you accept that you’re out, not doing the washing up, and it’s a non qualifier anyway, temporary greens can be great fun because of their uncertainty. Have a look at your playing partner’s putt and that will cheer you up!

Remember the yardstick; in a Stableford competition a contestant is playing to his handicap if he scores 36 points.

If he scores more then his smile will widen and if he scores less then he may wonder why he got out of bed! There were some exceptional scores including three players who achieved 41. The winner, on countback, was Ray Ambrose from a handicap of 21.

Second, was Trevor Huxtable from a handicap of 13 and third was Steve Artley from a handicap of 28.

They were closely followed by four players with 40 points - Rob Lippett, Vic Smyth, Nick Shackleton and Taff Powell - and a host more (including Barry Devetta who won the over 75 prize – he often does!) who scored 36 points or more.

The twos pot of £53 was shared between three players. Well done, all.

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