There will be more photographs to follow ... so watch this space ...
GGC HOLIDAY CHALICE - FRANCE 2017
OMAHA BEACH – MAY 8th to May 12th 2017
Following a sumptuous pre-tour dinner at Spice Island, a hostelry in Old Portsmouth, 19 intrepid members of our Association embarked on an overnight ferry to Caen to sample the delights of golf, gastronomy & cultural regeneration that the Normandy coast has to offer.
Early on 9th we travelled to Caen Golf Club where, after a wait for the clubhouse to open, we were treated to the French version of a “Full English” breakfast. There followed a Team Bowmaker competition off ¾ h’cap with two scores to count. The course was relatively long and physically challenging with some interesting holes and a good test of golf. The competition was won by Tony Davis, Mike Slatter, Dave Jefferies & Sam Collins with 77 points. Stuart Revell, Roger Downes & Mark Anderson were runners-up with 74 points (off full h’cap). Nearest the pin on the difficult 12th hole was won by Dave Jefferies with a magnificent tee shot to about 4 feet. He missed the putt! There were no 2’s on the day.
We then journeyed to the superb venue of the Mercure Hotel & Golf Courses at Omaha Beach. After settling in to our rooms and sampling the ambiance of the reception area bar we enjoyed an excellent dinner in a very busy dining room (full of tourist groups from all parts of the world sampling the D-Day experiences. Luckily they soon departed the hotel).
Day 2 - round one for The Holiday Chalice on the La Mer golf course. A long and challenging course with some tough holes played in windy conditions but in glorious sunshine. Scoring was difficult in this individual full handicap stableford format. However, there were some creditable results. Roger Downes winning with 36 points, Ian Hughes (celebrating his 70th birthday) second with 34 points and Mel Hadfield third with 32 points, aided by two 2’s. There were also 2’s for Sam Collins & Ian Hughes. Nearest the pin on the long, downhill, downwind 8th hole was recorded by Clive Fluck. To keep things interesting for all participants a “hidden pairs” competition was organised with the selections carried out by Dereck Buttler, the County Championship Chairman. This was won by Brian Snook & Tony Davis with 60 points. Sam & Clive took the runners- up spot with 52 points.
The evening was spent celebrating Ian’s birthday in a small family run restaurant in the pretty local fishing village of Port-en-Bessin where a fine meal and copious amounts of wine were rounded off with a chocolate birthday cake, a glass of champagne and many choruses of “A Happy Birthday to You”!
Day 3 – round two for The Holiday Chalice on the Le Manoir course. A slightly more straightforward track but with some strategically placed water hazards and physically challenging. Buggies were the order of the day for the majority. Despite rain in the forecast we were lucky to stay dry and enjoyed more glorious sunshine in less windy conditions. Generally the scoring was better. Mark Anderson won the day with 36 points, Stuart Revell second with 35 points, winning on the back 3 from Trevor Hole, also with 35 points. Bert Chinn knocked his tee shot over a huge lake to within 4 feet of the pin to take the nearest the pin prize. Sadly he missed the putt. However, Derek Newton, Mark Anderson & Roger Downes were all able to record 2’s. Again, to keep everybody interested, a “hidden pairs” competition was organised with the selections carried out by Mike Slatter, our Captain of the year. Derek Newton & Dave Jefferies prevailed with 63 points, winning on countback from Ross Antonczyk & Joe Betty, also with 63 points.
At the Gala Prize Giving dinner in the evening, following speeches from Captain Mike and organiser Sam and drinking a Calvados toast to Norman Hodgkiss, all prize winners were presented with their rewards. The Holiday Chalice Trophy winner, with a magnificent total of 69 points over two challenging days, was Dereck Buttler. This score was matched only by Roger Downes who, sadly for him, was beaten on a countback with Dereck recording scores of 33 & 36 to Roger’s 36 & 33. And so, early to bed ....... for most!!!
Day 4, after breakfast and departing the resort, an opportunity for some cultural experiences with our groups variously visiting the D-Day Museum at Arromanches, the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, the Tapestry and Battle of Normandy Museum in Bayeux and Ste Mere-Eglise en route to Cherbourg for the fast ferry journey home.
Apparently a good time was had by all and we look forward to doing it all again next year, or something similar, with the same group and hopefully a few more of our fellow Past Captains.
The whole event, which flowed with military precision, was superbly organised by Sam Collins and Alastair Harvey. A sincere thanks to them both for an excellent trip.