Golfers Scramble to Nicklaus’ Signature Tune
The annual Royal Navy Rugby Union golf day was again hosted at the St Mellion International Resort. Last year’s grey skies were a distant memory as the Jack Nicklaus designed signature course was resplendent in the Cornish sunshine. Following the now customary warm up from Paul Barrington’s extensive repertoire of golfing tricks, eight teams took to the fairways to test themselves against a tough course, to reminisce over the season past and to strengthen the links that continue to drive Navy Rugby forward.
The chosen format, Texas Scramble, allows for a combination of strategy, camaraderie, skill, and heartbreak. The latter often being the case on some of the more difficult holes that St Mellion has to offer! Navy Secretary, Alan Church, led his team of the first tee to get the competition underway, whilst the other teams took advantage of last minute practice on the putting green or driving range. Later claimed as a significant advantage by a chastened Secretary announcing the results.
Before long all eight teams were on the course and gunning for one of the three prizes on offer. Precision was rewarded with a nearest the pin prize on the Augusta inspired par three eleventh, whilst for the power hitters there was the obligatory longest drive competition. Finally, the overall prize for the lowest team score, based on handicap, with all players providing at least three counting shots from the tee.
It was evident as the teams completed their final putts, at the eighteenth that the result was going to be a close call. However following a careful checking and re-checking of the scores it was the Phil Howell (Thales) led Team 7 that squeezed the fiercely competitive, Cdre Paddy McAlpine (RNRU) and his team, into second place by 0.2 of a point.
It was a second blow in a matter of minutes for the RNRU Vice President who had seen his winning longest drive pushed back in to second place by the last group on the course. Though Matt Nadin’s (Rolls Royce) team were last out they had clearly held something in reserve as Paul Barrington unleashed a power drive that proved to be a clear winner. However as is probably befitting of the first of class captain (HMS Daring) and its precision munitions, Paddy McAlpine’s drive on the 11th was unsurpassed and after the heart ache of two second places claimed the prize for the nearest the pin competition.
With the golf complete a traditional third half was enjoyed where RNRU Vice President Rear Admiral Ben Key presented the prizes.
Team Prize: Phil Howell (Thales), Jock Easson (Help for Heroes), Ian Rees (HMS Temeraire), James Campbell-Baldwin (RNRU)
Runners Up: Paddy McAlpine (RNRU), John Renwick (ESS), Chris Wells (MBDA), Ivor Turner (Lensbury Hotel)
Longest Drive: Paul Barrington
Nearest the Pin: Cdre Paddy McAlpine (RNRU)
Images by Alligin Photography / © Geraint Ashton Jones