Gloucestershire Golf Captains
Holiday Chalice France - 22nd - 26th April 2018
Omaha Beach Resort, Port en Bessin, Normandie
Following a pre-tour drink and dinner at Spice Island, a hostelry in Old Portsmouth, 23 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. Originally we were a party of 24 but unfortunately Gordon Thomas (Lydney) had to drop out through illness on the day of departure!
Early on 23rd we travelled to Garcelles Golf Club, following a rather strange French version of an “English breakfast” at Hotel du Phare in Ouistreham.
At Garcelles we played a Team Bowmaker competition off ¾ h’cap with two scores to count. This was an interesting course. Front 9 parkland and back 9 tight, tree lined. The facilities were ultra “rustic”. The competition was won by Bert Chinn, Ian Hughes, Pat White and Clive Fluck with 85 points. Mark Anderson, Brian Snook, Trevor Hole and Bob Hadley were runners-up with 78 points. Nearest the pin on the short but difficult 15th hole was won by Dave Jefferies. He missed the putt! However, there were three 2’s on the day by Pat White, Sam Collins and Ian Hughes.
We then journeyed to the superb venue of the Mercure Hotel & Golf Courses at Omaha Beach. After settling in to our rooms we sampled the ambiance of the reception area bar where we were well looked after by Charlotte, the charming and (dare I say) attractive receptionist. Later we taxied to Port-en-Bessin to enjoy a plentiful dinner at Restaurant Vauban, a small family run business in this pretty local fishing village. A calvados/cognac toast was raised to “absent friends.
Day 2 - round one for The Holiday Chalice on the Le Manoir golf course. A long, hilly and challenging course with some strategically placed water hazards played in a chill wind, but glorious sunshine. Scoring was difficult for some in this individual full h’cap stableford format. However, there were some creditable results. Clive Collier winning with 38 points, Pat White second with 37 points, Alan Taylor third with 34 points and Derek Newton fourth also with 34 points losing on count back. There were 2’s for Sam Collins, Pat White & Ian Watkins, all on the 5th hole over water. This was also the nearest the pin hole where Tony Davis’ tee shot just shaded Clive Collier’s effort. Sadly he missed the putt!
The evening was again spent in a family run restaurant in Port-en-Bessin called Bar le 47eme RMC. This establishment is named after, and dedicated to the memory of, the 47th Royal Marine Commandos who liberated the port on D-Day to enable the establishment of the fuel pipe lines to supply the allied advance across Normandy. Pascal, the very proud & partisan owner, showed off his copious memorabilia and proved to be an excellent host. We enjoyed a sumptuous steak dinner with copious amounts of wine.
Day 3 – round two for The Holiday Chalice on the La Mer championship course. A longer, slightly more straight forward track, but still physically challenging. Buggies were again 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. However, many of our group struggled to score well. Overnight rain had made the rough difficult. Stuart Revell won with 33 points, Mel Hadfield was second with 30 points, Roger Downes was third with 30 points (losing on count back) and Alastair Harvey came 4th with 28 points. Dereck Buttler somehow managed to stop his tee shot on the long, downhill 8th green to win the nearest the pin prize. Sadly he 3 putted! Mark Anderson recorded the only 2 of the day.
The Gala Prize Giving dinner in the evening in the golf clubhouse was preceded by a drinks reception and group photo on the putting green. Following a speech from President Trevor Hole and drinking a Calvados toast to Norman Hodgkiss, Trevor presented all winners with their prizes. As this was Trevor’s final tour he presented a special perpetual “trophy” to be given to “The Best Trier”. This framed antique golfing cartoon print was deservedly awarded to the inaugural winner - Tony Davis.
The Holiday Chalice Trophy winner, with a total 72 points over two challenging days, was Sam Collins, who also took all the sweepstake money because nobody backed him! Mark Anderson was the close runner-up with 69 points.
Both Sam & Mark scored 38 points on La Mer as the leading contenders from day one on Le Manoir fell away. And so, early to bed.......
Day 4, after breakfast and departing the resort, an opportunity for some cultural experiences. Our groups variously visiting the D-Day Museum at Arromanches; the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer; the Tapestry, British Military Cemetery and Battle of Normandy Museum in Bayeux and the Memorial de Caen en route to Ouistreham for the long afternoon ferry journey home.
A very big thank you must go to Sam Collins and Alastair Harvey who organised another excellent event that ran like a well oiled machine with nothing left to chance. 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.