The first official 2003 outing to Grantown was held over the Bank Holiday weekend, 2nd to 5th May. After painstaking research, newly appointed accommodation maestro Brian Glennie booked the Seafield Lodge for the GGS Team. Not for the first time, the Grantown microclimate proved that you can change the laws o' physics and kept the nine intrepid golfers totally dry (from above) on the course. A welcome return to TC after a few years out on the Far East and Middle East Tours.
As some of the party were making their 2003 debut this weekend, a gentle scramble on Friday afternoon seemed a good way to break them in with Brian, Joe and Dave emerging as narrow winners.
The first minor major of the year, the Spring Stableford was played as an eclectic over the two rounds on Saturday. A very close finish saw Dave claim the trophy by one point from Donald, Jim and Gordon.
The slightly strange owner of the Seafield (nice guy, wrong job) tried to make amends for labelling Bob as an a***hole by dispensing drinks on the house. A maiden trip to the new Indian Restaurant was well received by all, followed by the GoS break dancing championships in the Ben Mhor.
Sunday morning dawned bright and breezy (and early) with JK and Donald taking the spoils with a better-ball 44 points.
Imagine, a whole weekend without Ian Wilson featuring in the prizes! This retirement lark can't be all it's cracked up to be.
With the fine weather continuing to hold, 15th to 17th August saw the GGS summer pilgrimage north with eight stalwarts battling over a rather dry and burnt GoS course. The Grantown Open was played over the Friday and Saturday afternoon rounds, and with a Dalrachney lunch on the Saturday, surely this was a format made to measure for Joe. He didn't disappoint with a narrow two shot win from Bob and Gordon. Joe's opening round was a very commendable gross 90 (net 72) - achieved via a slightly unorthodox 56 - 34 split!
Only seven shots separated the entire field in one of the closest Opens for years.
Joe's fine form continued on the Sunday morning when the boys took advantage of the medal to play the for the Seniors cup from the back tees. A net 61 prompted a report being submitted to the Duddingston handicap secretary for some downward adjustment. A net 66 from Gordon required a similar submission to Baberton.
A comfortable and uneventful stay at the Seafield, and return trip to the Indian restaurant meant the chaps didn't go hungry or thirsty. An extra night for four athletes (staying at Dalrachney for the same price as the Seafield) and a friendly fourball on Monday rounded off a fine weekend.
After a tense night of voting at Merchants, Mallorca won the right to host the 2003 GGS Overseas Tour in September. Ewan, Dave, Donnie, Gordon, Bob, Donald Ian, Joe and Jim signed up for the tour, based at the Best Western Son Caliu Hotel. After TC's successful return from the Middle East Tour, the lure of Mallorca was too much and he duly signed up taking the tour party to 10, Unfortunately, due to a last minute business call to the Far East, he had to withdraw just before the departure date.
The selected courses were:
|Wednesday 17th||Santa Ponsa||11:04|
|Friday 19th||Real Bendinat||
|Saturday 20th||Day off||☺|
|Sunday 21st||Son Termens||10:58|
|Monday 22nd||Son Vida||12:30|
The formats for the week had been carefully formulated between Messrs. Kay and Millar over a hard working lunch at the Canny Mans some weeks earlier, but had to undergo some rapid surgery due to TC calling off. Three week-long competitions were held - an individual order of merit based on total national and "Donald" Stableford points scored each day, and individual and team Formula Nine league tables. The teams were based (roughly) on car ownership:
Team Honda Bob (only just qualified!) and Donald still together!
VW/Audi Smokin` Ewan makes his debut alongside Ian.
French Frogs Dan Dastardly (Peugeot) and Xsplode (Renault).
Team Saab Dave (shock signing from Audi) and Klaptout K.
Team Toyota Jose Noventa and Doppelganger Guiseppe Wilson
Check out the final results, money charts and handicap swings.
Day 0 - Travel
Despite the minor inconvenience of our tour operator (Select Golf) going into liquidation just before the departure date, the nervous nine assembled for a champagne breakfast at Merchants on Tuesday morning. A slightly uneasy wait at the airport and hotel check-ins, but organising supremo JDK had worked wonders in adjusting the arrangements and all was well. The team was soon settling into early evening aperitifs in the hotel terrace bar that was to become the regular pre-dinner venue for the week. Buffet dinner in the hotel dining-room was also to become the pattern to the week.
Day 1 - Santa Ponsa
Following a Cava breakfast, Ayatollah McIlwraith was in charge of pre-golf administration, and with previous incumbent Donnie waiting to pounce on any slip-ups, a highly efficient service (including pencils!) was provided. The first day sported a reduced stableford scoring system as follows: Nett Eagle 3pts, Birdie 2pts, Par 1pt, Bogey 0 pts, Double Bogey 1pt, Worse 2pts. With pre-round predictions of a negative score in with a chance of winning, the 2003 overseas tour was off and running.
To no-one's surprise, retired *anker and fulltime golfer Ian Wilson cane out on top with a highly creditable 16 points and 30 from Ewan on 13 points and 15. The conventional stableford points went towards the week-long competitions and the "Donald" handicap adjustments. No 2s, so a fairly quiet start to the money charts.
A leisurely stroll along to Puerto Portals for a few nightcaps and to hold a mature discussion on the price of second-hand boats in the marina.
Day 2 - Poniente
Format for the day was teams of two (room-mates) with six points being divided out amongst the three players in each group (I think!). Top dogs by miles were Jim and Joe with a room total of 103, and a winners' purse of 20 each. Gordon got his prize fund started with 10 for best individual stableford score of 34 points. Still no 2s!
We got some not-very-authentic drinks at the Irish pub, and Donnie got upset with a Spanish bar owner for failing to get his Cointreau stock replenished.
Day 3 - Real Bendinat - the Masters
"Slightly hilly" was the verdict of those players who elected not to use a buggy today! Dave emerged the winner with the fairly modest total of 30 points from Gordon and Ian on 27. Nearest the hole prizes of 10 each were awarded to Donald and Joe in order to encourage winners' rounds.
The unofficial money fund finally burst into life with two 2s each for Gordon and Donald (80 each). Donnie got into the unofficial money list by recording 90 for his inspired wager on the Masters winner!
Into Magaluf in the evening for some of the team, "just to see if it was as bad as the media said". It was! Joe and Ian really entered into the spirit of the place by going on a sort of reverse-bungee, catapult contraption, not once but twice. Allegedly, there is video evidence of this event, but has been declared unsuitable for this website.
Day 4 - Day of Leisure
Six of the team made the trip into Palma and on to Soller by rail for a splendid lunch. The other three apparently gatecrashed a wedding in Palma Cathedral, just to avoid the 2 entrance fee!
Off to the casino after dinner where mixed results were recorded.
Day 5 - Son Termens
A scramble in teams of three saw Bob, Ewan and Dave win by 8 shots with a fairly impressive 64, earning 20 each. Ewan and Dave each recorded a nearest-the-hole for an additional 10, and Donald recorded his third 2 of the week for another 40.
Back to Puerto Portals for nightcaps (by taxi this time).
Day 6 - Son Vida
Ian carried a fairly healthy lead into the final day in both individual formats, and for VW/Audi in the Constructors' table. But with all to play for in the week-long competitions, would the benefit of a long hot summer on golf courses all over Scotland see him through? Of course it would!
Bob took individual honours on the day with a fine 45 points (off Donalds) for 20. Nine different sponsored prizes for 10 each, meant a good spread of official prize money, and a bumper payout day of 220.
Ian judged his run-in to the finish perfectly and held on to win the individual Order of Merit, Formula Nine championship, and steered VW/Audi to the constructors championship with Bob. Ian's personal haul for the day was 90, and with Joe converting his first 2 of the week for 40, winners rounds galore were guaranteed.
Check the final stats here.
A stroll into Palma Nova after dinner for a few nightcaps rounded off an excellent week.
Day 7 - Travel Home
Thunder, lightning and torrential rain greeted the team as they made their way to the airport after an early breakfast. What a shame for the new arrivals who were just about to head for the golf course!
A very efficient and uneventful journey home - where to next year?