The 17 eager golfers who turned out to support PAC were surrounded by breathtaking Surrey countryside and kindred spirits at Lingfield Park Golf and Spa Resort. Its 18-holes offered an exciting challenge for the mixture of abilities assembled on Saturday 19th July 2014. The 6,511 yard, par 72 course tested our skill and stamina from the first tee: negotiating, as we did, the compulsory pink fizz for each player and then the cheers and giggles of the post lunch spectators. A min-raffle had already set the tone for the day and the prizes - including golf balls, tees, course-tools and miniature Penderyn Whiskies - were great fun and were spread evenly amongst the teams. Mulligans and Birdies had been ‘bought’ and the first ball was perched on its tee.
Although fewer in number than expected, the happy few, had travelled far to play, dine and support the Penguins: Paul Palmer’s team (Warwick Lodge Dental Practice) from Southend and Northampton; Rob Grice’s team (Higgs Butchers) from Chislehurst Kent; Terry Wellard brought a team of friends from Kent and Surrey and the Penguins pooled resources from the South Coast and Surrey. Charlie Beardmore was determined to win the Longest Drive, however, our PAC President mis-read the invitation: he hired a VW Golf, entered the gum-ball-rally and drove from Germany to Lingfield via Wellington, but alas arrived only in time for the nineteenth hole! As the boys thrashed their balls around with sticks and hunted desperately in the untamed bushes, the gorgeous gathering of wives supped on Champagne on the terrace, pampered themselves at the spa and pool in the hotel, then at 5.00 pm enjoyed a pose and a flutter at the race meeting adjacent to the golf course. It was a hot day on both courses but the threat of lightening storms was beaten by the summer rays and so the girls looked stunning, the boys glowed and the horses perspired. It was quite a magnificent mixture of experiences as we crossed the race course to the 12th and returned to the pound of hooves after the 16th.
As the course meandered, we caught glimpses of Wah using a wedge to cut hay, Mistlin putting from the rough and Coombot slicing like a battlefield surgeon. Calls of ‘fore-right’ were oft to be heard but only as the drinks car arrived with the beer orders: this was a civilised use of a golf buggy and at this, the half-way point, caddies Imogen and Will returned for a much deserved dip in the pool.
The golf and the weather were fantastic. Gush and Harwood were greeted by Beardmore and a cold beer as the first back to the clubhouse and very soon afterwards the 19th hole was buzzing as anecdote swapping competed with the race meet below: the atmosphere was wonderful and the PAC fraternity had grown with the banter flowing between new and familiar faces mixing together on the terrace.
Paul Harwood won the tournament (and the upgraded Stephen Barrister trophy [now a claret jug]). Alan Mistlin was 2nd, Pat Gush 3rd then David Littlejohns and Tony Ide. The Longest Drive was actually won by James Coombes and Nearest the Pin by Paul Harwood: each received a trophy and a box of balls. The most coveted award, Best Trousers/Shirt, was won by Rob Shimwell who collected a clothes-hanger and a bottle of Champagne. Paul Harwood’s extraordinary generosity, donating 30 rounds of golf, enabled us to raise over £700, so it was great to see him lifting the trophy at the end: PAC are hugely grateful.
Post-golf drinks and supper were excellent, during which Pat's magic raffle and auction raised a huge amount. Our thanks to Colin and Luke Brunton for supplying 2 fabulous golf clubs: thanks to Rob Grice and Graham Wah for successfully bidding for them. Thanks to Lu Palmer for the generous purchase of the Penguins’ Rugby shirt and to all the guests who joined in the raffle and contributed to the silly games before and after the golf. The donations, contributions and attendance at the event have enabled PAC to make a £2000 donation to St Christopher's Hospice, who will use the money to continue to provide palliative care. [Nominated by Pat and Charlie Gush.]
Thank you to Paul and Tania Harwood, and extended family, for making the day such a success, and to Charlie Gush for her tremendous support.
Book early for next year; it truly was A Fabulous Day of Fund-Raising, Friends, & Fun just as it said on the flyer!
Progress to the 17th tee is only marginally delayed as the 5 o'clock at Lingfield thunders by...