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M25 Month of Madness completed: And the winner is....... Options
#1 Posted : Monday, August 1, 2011 6:42:16 PM
Handicap: 14
Kent
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Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 53
Day 1: Phew, what a scorcher
Now up and running and who could have asked for better weather. An extremely unhealthy but delicious breakfast at Nell's Diner ("where the rich and famous eat" according to the sign), then on to the golf.

The Mid-Kent course was looking great, especially around the greens and the pro-shop had a big welcome notice for us on the board outside. Ian (TSG boss), John and Chris made up the fourball. After numerous impressive poses on the first tee ("your swing isn't normally that good, is it, Trevor?"), we got to hit some balls.

Hit the first green in reg and then 3-putted; missed a gimme on the next; oh dear, I have got a month of this ahead.....a couple of birdies later, everything in the garden of England was lovely and we were just out doing what we do best (playing exciting and inconsistent golf) .
 
In August 2003, Gravesend broke all records, coming in above 38*C. Today it was a good 10* less and there was a decent breeze. Enjoyed the course (see reviews) but could have played it a lot better.

High point was my 310-yard drive on the last ; low point taking 5 more shots to finish .

In the clubhouse people chipped in a few quid into the "sweetie-jar" and including the golf we came away with £130 in total for Cancer Research. By the way I shot 92 (10 over my handicap), lost 1 ball and walked 5.6 miles. Multiply that by 31 for your entry to the sweepstake.

Back home after a bath and a glass of wine I have nearly cooled down enough to feel normal, wash out the team shirts, update the stats and get ready for tomorrow.

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Fourballs most of the week but still some spaces on Thursday and Friday. This heat can't last, surely, so come out and enjoy it! 

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#2 Posted : Monday, August 1, 2011 9:50:47 PM
Handicap: 19
Essex
Pro Member

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 318
Great day Trevor!

Nice course, nice people, nice weather.......looking forward to hearing about tomorrow.

Good luck!

Ian
#3 Posted : Monday, August 1, 2011 10:20:29 PM
Handicap: 14
Kent
Pro Member

Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 53
 Terrific pics, Ian. What am I going to do tomorrow without my resident photographer?
#4 Posted : Tuesday, August 2, 2011 7:27:30 AM
Handicap: 13
Essex

Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 66
What a good day to start the month! Long may this continue, Trevor & what were you saying about next year?!!

Great photos, Ian - next time I'll take some more of you if you like!

John.
#5 Posted : Tuesday, August 2, 2011 7:38:01 AM
Handicap: 14
Kent
Pro Member

Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 53
Someone's dropped out at Birchwood now if you fancy another day off work!
#6 Posted : Tuesday, August 2, 2011 9:11:58 PM
Handicap: 14
Kent
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Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 53

Day 2: Hey, what a contrast

Bit late with today's report as my electric trolley failed to function today. Had to borrow a pull-trolley and get the spanner out when I got home. It was the battery connector: you do rely on these things...

Anyway, despite the weather being almost identical, today couldn't have been more different from yesterday. At Mid-Kent, we followed the Vets Medal. average age 75. At Birchwood it was more like 17. Welcome to the world of Pay and Play. Also it was like playing in the desert compared to the lush green turf manicured to delight the members than we trod on yesterday.

Kamal took the money today and my mate Arthur got annoyed when the teenagers drove up before he'd played his second. Otherwise the course was pretty good (if completely arid) and I shot one-under. 92 yesterday, 82 today. 72 tomorrow? - at the London Club? I don't think so.

The food was good in the bar but the punters were mean - only £7.43 in the sweetie-jar after £40 yesterday. Perhaps those 75 year-olds have got something over the teenagers after all...

 

#7 Posted : Wednesday, August 3, 2011 10:28:45 PM
Handicap: 14
Kent
Pro Member

Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 53
Day 3: Penal rough awaits the rich and famous

Mervyn, my driver for the day, had tried to pop into the London Club before, just to look around, and was politely but firmly refused. Today, the security guard recognised me and welcomed me by name. The 5* treatment continued as you dropped off your clubs and found them all set up for you and waiting when you were ready to go. Bad news is the International course is closed for maintenance; good news is we get to play The Heritage, reserved for members and tour events. What a treat!

Into the bar and there was Steve Backley OBE, local lad, former Olympiam and  javelin world  record holder. Just happens to be President of the club. It's noon and he's already back in after a round. A bit of banter later he says 95 would be a good score here, the rough's really penal. I'm getting nervous already.

In comes John Warnett, early morning presenter on Radio Kent and a keen golfer. We chat with Steve and Mervyn (our fourball), the other Steve (Backley, now we are mates obviously), we do a quick interview (goes out Friday morning sometime between 7 and 9 on 95.5 FM) and head out for the golf where the Cancer Research and Social Golfer banners await us on the first tee and the marshall reminds us about the penal rough.

Needless to say we all find it off the first, but after a few holes the fear factor has faded and we start to play golf. It's a wonderful course but it's a brute. No green is easy to find and did I mention the penal rough? It's harder than Royal St George's. I make 3 pars and score 21 on the 4 par-3s alone. I find the water on the last for a 97.

Two drinks on the terrace later and two guys roll up to the 18th in a buggy. Backley and his mate finish their third round of the day. I tell him I made 97; he smiles. I've had a terrific day. He gets to come here every day - all day! Playing off 6, though, I doubt he knows the rough as well as we do.

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#8 Posted : Thursday, August 4, 2011 8:58:38 PM
Handicap: 14
Kent
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Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 53
Day 4: Swingin' in the rain

After 3 days of 30 degree heat, it was rain all day. The club kindly offered me a buggy (worth £25) though the guy in the pro-shop took £3.50 for the course planner. I put the change in the charity jar. Good job I did as there was hardly anyone there all day. Lots of no-shows and who'd blame them? If it hadn't been for Golf Against Cancer, I'd have stayed in bed too.

We had a film crew in tow down the first. Well a local film buff and his other half anyway. They do newsreels of "interesting events in Orpington" apparently, as well as comedy and drama. I could certainly have offered the latter. Look out for my appearance in Orpington Film Festival next spring; thank goodness I canned the 10 foot putt in one take!

Splashing our way onwards through casual water to flooded greens where we couldn't putt, Chris took the sensible option of an early bath after 9 holes but with the full weight of Golf Against Cancer pressing on my shoulders, I carried on, dobbing a rescue club off the tee so I wouldn't lose sight of the ball. On the 16th, the ball went 230 yards, the club went 40.

It looked a nice course. I couldn't really tell; was too busy wiping my glasses to see much. Speeded home early and just for fun the sun came out! 

Maybe it'll still be shining tomorrow.......

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#9 Posted : Friday, August 5, 2011 6:14:58 PM
Handicap: 19
Essex
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Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 318
Blimey Trevor, sounds and looks like you were hit by a Monsoon! However, clearly it makes for good reading though. Hope today was better for you.

Keep your chin up.....only another 26 days to go!

Ian
#10 Posted : Saturday, August 6, 2011 7:41:59 AM
Handicap: 14
Kent
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Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 53
Day 5: Small change all adds up in Sevenoaks

Weather back to fine today, thank goodness but got stuck in the private roads surrounding Wildernesse amongst enormous mansions. The Lexus count in the car park was high but the clubhouse, though nearly empty on a Friday lunchtime, was large and welcoming.

Though the course was quiet all afternoon, we found £49 in the sweetie jar by evening: loose change in Sevenoaks, like the Lexus, doesn't rattle!

As a fourball we started off the 10th, which turned out to be about a half-mile walk away! Sadly the greens had just been scarified so putting was a bit tricky. Apart from that, the course was great and Paul and I beat Jed and Gary 6&5 (ouch!)

Now playing off 13 -  missed a hole in one at the 130 yd 13th by 13 cm! Unlucky for some.

Last day in Kent today: am going to have to tackle the M25 proper tomorrow!


#11 Posted : Saturday, August 6, 2011 8:00:23 AM
Handicap: 14
Kent
Pro Member

Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 53

Day 6: Wise men come from the East (bringing clubs).

Overnight reports said "M25 closed in both directions between J7 M23 and J8, A217 (Reigate), because of a shed load, an accident involving a lorry and a car earlier on, an oil spillage AND barrier repairs - Diversion in operation - " Worried wives report radio advice to "avoid the area at all costs".

Well, this is Golf Against Cancer and we don't give up that easily. Andy my golf partner and driver today is former director of M25 maintenance, so he'll know what to do. Coming from Kent, we sail up to Jn6 and are there in no time, but I fear the beast is rearing its ugly head.......

The club couldn't be more accommodating and set us up to get going as soon as poss. Unfortunately TSGer David who is joining us comes from Jn 10 and is having a nightmare on the side-roads. He calls in and says start without me and eventually makes it on the 5th green.

The course is generally short and sweet with a lot of "rescue + lob wedge" par-4s. I could have had a go at most of them but I've a month of this to do and don't want to lose all my balls on one day. As it was I had an aberration at the 2 quirky holes around the turn and lost 4 in a row, but the rescue/lob combination saw me home in 87 to a friendly clubhouse where they weren't happy with the £18 in the sweetie-jar and asked if they could hang onto it tomorrow when it'd be a lot busier. Fine by me.

Wise men from the east normally bring gold, but I'm quite happy to take it away...roll on Junction 7!

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#12 Posted : Monday, August 8, 2011 9:49:41 AM
Handicap: 14
Kent
Pro Member

Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 53
Day 7: Two top men beat cancer

Too late and tired last night to tell you the story of my day, perhaps it's catching up with me already and the oak panelled Renshaw Room at Walton Heath is a bit more conducive than the Premier Inn!

Anyway, was lucky with both the weather and the M25 yesterday though we did have a howling gale. Surrey Downs, nominally a Peter Alliss design, had rather too many blind drives for me and misreading the 7th proved a card-wrecker. The greens, however, were superb - fast and sloping, so quite a challenge.

Alongside TSGer Mark and myself was George Rothman who, at 75, plays off 7 (despite a broken shoulder) and has written a book "New Angles on Golf" whilst recovering from Cancer! How's that for a humbling C.V.?

Guiding us round was Peter Townson, General Manager of the club and also a Cancer survivor. He couldn't have been more helpful, with lunch, drinks etc all laid on and £80 raised already before I arrived from the Saturday swindle. Top man, Peter......even his wife turned up in a buggy to cheer us in!

Golf a bit up and down and most of the lost balls were provisionals - maybe today it'll all come together; at Walton Heath it'll need to. I'll study the putting chapter in George's book.

Did you know there were 5 types of putt? You can buy a copy off me for £10 while on the tour (50% to CRUK).

The putting green here is like the back garden of some country house. I can't look at it any longer - I need to get out there and practice..........





#13 Posted : Monday, August 8, 2011 12:22:03 PM
Handicap: 28
North London

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3
Hi Trevor,

Really enjoying your reading your blog.... a very entertaining read.

A fantastic cause and a huge amount of respect to you.

Hope it all continues to go well... looking forward to joining you on 21st  August at Aldenham!

Best wishes

Chris

#14 Posted : Tuesday, August 9, 2011 12:06:14 AM
Handicap: 14
Kent
Pro Member

Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 53
Day 8: Ryder Cup lost amidst the heather

This morning we took tea in the Braid Room, under the board displaying presidents of the club including HRH the Prince of Wales. That gives you some idea of the class of this venue, the first in England to host a European Ryder Cup team in 1981. Unfortunately the Americans won 181/2-91/2.

Today fellow Northern Irishman John and I took on Andy and Bob (my Club champion (net) and Captain respectively) in an Ireland v England derby. Unfortunately we lost too, but mainly because of my drive on the 18th (clubhead speed 300mph+!).

The Old course comes in at No 28 in the GM Top 100 in Britain and deservedly so. The fairways are wide but everywhere else is heather. You can play out of it - trust me, I had plenty of practice. Fortunately John donked a little driver 200 yards down the middle of every fairway and used his 11 shots to good effect.

I had some spectacular errors, not least leaving behind a folder with all my stats, spreadsheets and sweepstake entries. Oh well, I can always pick it up when I'm passing in the morning.......

PS they found the folder for me - if not my errant drive on the 18th!

#15 Posted : Tuesday, August 9, 2011 9:44:01 PM
Handicap: 14
Kent
Pro Member

Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 53
Day 9. No concessions for ladies at some clubs

It's my daughter's 19th birthday today so I have been thinking about the day from a female's perspective....
 
Calling in at Walton Heath to collect my mislaid folder, I noticed the sign showing the "Ladies entrance". Some clubs these days go a long way to encourage female membership but giving them their own entrance? Could that be going too far? (Discuss)

Today alongside my pairs partner Andy were John and Diana, the first and (so far) only lady TSGer to have signed up for the month of golf. Playing off 34, she was doing fine until we noticed that nearly all the red tees were on the same tee-boxes as the yellows, just a few yards forward. Even the uphill 12th which I just reached in 3 was a 490-yard par 5 for the ladies. They probably do have female members here but they must all be Olympic athletes.

Anyway, finished after an up and down round (well, it is very hilly at Tyrrell's Wood, with quite dramatic elevated tee-offs to begin each 9) to find two attractive young ladies waiting for me on the terrace. No guys, it's not what you think.....

My daughter's having a load of her Uni friends for a party tonight and I've offered the Surrey contingent a lift back. So regrettably we speed off so they can have their "pre-lash" chez moi. Otherwise I'd still be lingering on the terrace of that beautiful clubhouse sipping my gin and tonic as the sun goes down.

Do they serve white wine spritzers here often, I wonder?



#16 Posted : Tuesday, August 9, 2011 10:44:28 PM
Handicap: 28
Kent

Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,409
Well done Trevor for another great day of golf around the M25.

For those of you who are following Trevor's blog, you won't be surprised to know that  aswell as doing a fantastic job in the month of madness on the M25, he (and his family) have given amazing support to me. I have had (and beaten) pancreatic cancer, following a major operation last October, with a subsequent 6 months of chemotherapy.

I was away from my golf passion for far too long but Trevor has been a key part in getting me back in the swing of things. I am now playing better than I have for a long time, with my swing slowing down to a blur!

So for all you TSG members that have taken part so far, or plan to attend later in August, you are supporting some fantastic people dedicated to their work in beating cancer. The staff who cared for me at Kings College Hospital, Camberwell were also absolutely brilliant, so all money raised will definitely make a difference. 

I have played 3 rounds in the month of golf (North Downs, Walton Heath and Tyrells Wood). I have 2 more to go at Foxhills and The Grove.

Trevor and I were caught in the usual queue between J5 and J7 this morning, on our way to Tyrells Wood. Having had responsibility for maintaining the M25 between 2001 and 2009, I took the opportunity to let Trevor know some fascinating facts on the technical aspects of the M25 road contruction et al..... When Trevor eventually woke up, he promised to ensure a chapter in his forthcoming book about the month of madness to cover "interesting facts about the M25".
 
It could well be the shortest ( and most uninteresting) chapter in the whole book after today's discussion!!


#17 Posted : Wednesday, August 10, 2011 10:42:39 AM
Handicap: 13
Essex

Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 66
Andy, this is a truly inspirational story which can surely give hope to other cancer sufferers. Well done in getting back into golf and thanks for sharing this with us.

Trevor's 'Month of Madness' will be a great achievement and it's good that he's got friends along with him. Good luck at Foxhills and The Grove.

I'll hope to meet you at Tudor Park!
#18 Posted : Wednesday, August 10, 2011 7:33:24 PM
Handicap: 14
Kent
Pro Member

Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 53
Day 10: Month of golf starting to show its strain.

Andy your comments above are far too generous; you know I am always happy to find an excuse to play golf!

Of course, playing every day for a month poses its own problems. E.g. Richard, who kindly drove me to Burhill and back today asked me if I'd done any special preparation or anything. In the end I haven't done a lot, just the Pilates for core strength and stretching. I wake up with a sore back every morning and today I gave in and took Ibuprofen. However, it's mainly the hands and feet you have to worry about.....

On day 3, I played with leftie John Warnett who lent me a spare glove when I was struggling with holding my grip in the heat. Since then, it's been 2 gloves every day and that seems to be helping me hold the club, if not find the fairway. On the foot front I am beginning to feel the strain and the blister pack is close at hand; however two pairs of socks seems to have helped. By the end of the month I'll be covered in layers of clothing!

Actually the fairways of the New Course at Burhill were so good it was like walking on carpet anyway, Why has no one I know ever played there? It has two great courses, equally challenging but different and a fabulous clubhouse, but there was hardly anyone there. Where were the burghers of Walton-on-Thames? Probably on the 7.14 to Waterloo working.

I guess there are so many great golfing venues nearby that this is just another one to some, but for Richard, Graham, Kamal and myself it was a treat. If only my golf had risen to meet the challenge........

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#19 Posted : Thursday, August 11, 2011 8:43:55 AM
Handicap: 16
HERTS
Pro Member

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 46
 Keep going Trevor you are doing a fantastic job and Im really enjoying reading about it                                             Interesting points about the prep  required to undergo this sort of task,, When the idea was first mooted I thought what a lucky bloke playing all that golf but if your physical and mental strength are not a hundred per cent it must be very tough   It is all too easy to forget the blisters and aches and pains, and even the self inflicted pain when your game suddenly takes a downward lurch                                                                                    Anyway enjoy the experience and I will look forward to meeting you at Hadley Wood                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
#20 Posted : Thursday, August 11, 2011 6:55:51 PM
Handicap: 19
Essex
Pro Member

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 318
Hi Trevor,

Reallying enjoying the blog and nice piece from Andy too!

By my reckoning your 198 holes down with 360 holes to go......maybe we should consider renting you a buggies for Aldenham!

Anyone got any predictions for Trevor's gross score over the 31 days?

I'll start the ball rolling with 2790......



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