The Golden Goose Golf society just keeps going from strength to strength. Growing its members and offering opportunities to play different events at new locations for many people.
As every other society will know, the last 18 months have been a real struggle for us all to operate in our normal ways. This is a minor sacrifice compared to what the UK society has had to learn to live with and the world in general. Covid 19, even now in 2021 is still so present in life and the challenges continue.
This society season saw our calendar get disrupted from the off. We had to cancel our March opener at Ombersley (which has been our 1st event for 8 years now) meaning April’s event at Gaudet Luce was the first outing. And can I say what a venue and what a fabulous group of people. Restrictions still in place meaning no socialising before and after the round and sticking to our groups, but what a great day we still had. You could almost feel the sense of relief for people to be back out golfing and the staff and organisers who made this possible need a special mention.
So fast forward five months and the season is coming into its peak. We have had some fantastic events at some fantastic courses including Sapey, Nailcote Hall, Wharton Park, Stratford Oaks and the rescheduled Ombersley Golf Club. We’ve seen some high turn outs in the group, with all the usual faces and some new members all coming together to make this society such a great one to be involved with.
We’ve had multiple winners of competitions including a maiden tour victory for a guy who never thought he would get close. All these events and outings lead however to the big one, the Open Championship event, with the winner taking home the claret jug and becoming a major champion.
This year saw us return to the venue of Belton Woods Golf Club. A fantastic two course venue, ideal for societies like ours who are looking for a mixture of great courses and great facilities. Our order of merit that we run throughout the year settles the day one playing order and an excited 32 strong party arrived Sunday 12th September with high hopes of a successful challenge, but more so a great weekend.
Did it disappoint…. Never! A great day’s play was had, beers flowing, pictures and videos capturing moments and then a first for the society, a genuine full course Hole in One! I was lucky enough to be on the tee as this went in. A par 3 measuring 212 to the pin, and up steps former open champion Greg Coates. He sent a high cutting five wood to the green and my word it never left the pin, pitching on and rolling up and dropping in. A moment Greg or any of us will never forget with some of the wildest celebrations I have seen.
This simply set up for more great drama. The leaderboard was taking great shape with last year’s champ Andy Bacon posting a score which was only bettered on countback by society legend Adam Cooper. This set up a fantastic day two prospect with just five points separating the top player to eighth place. Could Mr Cooper go wire to wire or would we see a challenge from the players behind?
A very hungover start to the day with the leaders teeing off last. By nine holes it was clear a few challenges would fade, Mr Cooper was standing firm, but he was joined at the top by Mr Wroe, making a surge from the group in front. Shots went back and forth; people came and went and with one hole to play it was all still up for grabs.
Martin Priest who started the day 10th recorded his best ever society round, putting him at the top of the leaderboard, no-one saw this coming, probably not even Martin. He was soon joined by Society chairman Gaz Roberts. He fired a birdie in on the last to shoot a +3 round, only to find out he was being beat on countback by Priest.
So it was all down to one man, Mr Cooper who would have known a par was enough to take the title. He calmly negotiated his first two shots before firing a fantastic wedge into 18 knowing a two putt would be enough. And that two-putt happened, what a moment for the man. His maiden tour major victory coming in the most challenging event. He held his nerve to go wire to wire and be crowned Society Open Champion.
What a way to end such a great year. We still have two events to go. A 3-club challenge at our home venue The Abbey Golf hotel & Spa followed up by our annual Ryder Cup event at Celtic Manor in October.
Thanks to all the courses who have hosted us this season, to all the lads for showing dedication in attending events and to the community of golfers out there, showing that this really is the best sport to be a part of.
Words and Images – Gary Roberts