TIDWORTH GARRISON GOLF CLUB
Tidworth Garrison Golf Club – Germany Tour 2019
Our 2019 tour began in the club car park at 0400 on the morning of Thursday the 30th of May. The plan was for a dozen players to represent the club but the late withdrawal of our Club Captain through injury reducer our number to 11. In fact, only 10 turned up at the appointed time, one member “duvet diving” until hastened by numerous phone calls! As soon as all were present, we set of in 2 vehicles. Geoff Johnson driving a minibus with 9 players and a “baggage van” piloted by Steve Christie with co-pilot Andy Spiller.
We drove at great pace to Dover for the ferry to Calais. Well, Steve drove at great pace while Geoff in a minibus with a speed governor drove at an average speed of about 60 mph. Needless to say Steve got on an earlier ferry! The crossing was uneventful, and we were soon on the road heading for what was RAF Bruggen Golf Club, The West Rhine Golf Club after the departure of the RAF, now Europaischer Golfclub. Eventually, preceded by Steve and Andy we all arrived at the club. Time was tight and there was a bit of a rush to get out on the course. It had been decided on the ferry that we would have a small wager on each of our matches on tour. The money was comfortably pocketed by Marc Duff who bought the drinks while the clubhouse was closed around us! On then to Sennelager, our base for the next 3 days. We arrived in the dark, booked in and went to the Officers Mess accommodation where we took over our rooms and made our beds. This proved to be a great shock to the non-military members of our group! Most went straight to bed but the hardy, hungry and thirsty boys went into town only to find all the cafes shut. They were soon in their beds.
The plan was to have a practise round on the Sennelager course on the Friday, play the match against the club on Saturday and have a round on another local course on the Sunday, travelling home the next day. Up early for breakfast in camp we were soon on the road to Sennelager GC. The journey takes less that half an hour. Out on the club patio coffee and a second breakfast was ordered and groupings for the day confirmed. Dennis Waites took on the mantle of golf organiser and ensured all worked smoothly. Those who had played this fixture were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the course. It was much improved, and the only downside was the refurbishment work on many of the bunkers. That aside the fairways were lush and the greens smooth though a little slow. The money for this round was won by Frank Ham. The weather was warm so “bratty and chips” and some refreshments were in order. Later it was back to camp with most finding their way downtown later.
The day of the match promised temperatures of 30 degrees plus so liberal coats of sunscreen was in order. Greeted by our hosts old friendships were rekindled and new ones began. The match was led off by the Sennelager Vice Chairman and captain for the day and his 2-handicap partner playing Frank Ham and Geoff Johnson. Second out was Dennis and Mark Williams, third Paul McNicol and Marc Duff (Duffers), Next Martin Bateson and Steve followed by Keith Harley and Richard Jackson (Jacko) and at the back Andy and Kenny (who is a serving soldier from UK out in the camp at the same time as us)! The first match was a narrow loss, the second a narrow win, third (less said the better), next a defeat and the last match a narrow victory. A 3/2 loss on a tricky course was not a bad result. The dinner was a relaxed and cheerful affair with Frank replying to the Sennelager captain after the meal. It so happens that the Champions League final was on TV and the club had put up a big screen for all to view the match. You can imagine the noisy support for both teams. One or two of our team seemed pleased with the result and celebrated as one would expect!
On the Sunday were had planned to play golf at another local course but it was agreed that as the Sennelager track was so enjoyable (and we were quite tired from all the travel), that we would play in the Sennelager 4xball BB Open. En-route to the club we stopped off at a Germany bakery and had coffee and rolls (lovely) and then on to the course. Dennis had arranged our pairings, but the club organised the flights and timings. It was a lovely warm day and the golf was followed by a barbeque before the presentation of prizes. Most winners were club members, but we were delighted to see Geoff Johnson partnered by Kirsten (the Sennelager Club Manager) come in second. A few farewell drinks, hugs and handshakes with our opponents whom we hope will be at Tidworth next year, then off back to camp! Out into Schloss Neuhaus later.
An early start home at 7am and off down the autobahn to Calais. Google Maps helped us avoid the worst of the jams and we were on time at the ferry port. Again, we had a good crossing, disembarked and hit the road. Back at Tidworth we unloaded, packed up our own cars and assembled on the patio for our final “tour drink!” We all had a great time and owe a debt of gratitude to Dennis and Geoff for the preparation and planning, to Steve for organising the kit van (a great improvement on last time) but especially to Geoff for driving the minibus throughout. Well done all of you! Thanks, job well done!