Long-standing readers a) need to be congratulated on your staying power and b) might remember that this time last year I completely ignored the fact that my blogs are supposed to be about business continuity management and gave a blow-by-blow account of the goings on at the 2011 Abersoch Open golf tournament.
Well it’s that time of year again, so if you were expecting a business continuity-related blog this week I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed. If, however, you found last year’s encounter the slightest bit interesting or entertaining, tune in and watch the action as it unfolds…
This year I thought I’d introduce you to the players, so here they are in order of seniority – in Abersoch years (shown in brackets), rather than age – along with a few snippets of Abersoch history, just so you get the idea :
Alan (19) is the longest serving Abersocher in this year’s merry band and is one of the founder members. Almost without fail, Alan’s the last to arrive, often turning up on the first tee with only seconds to go (see last year’s blog). Because he’s been to so many Abersochs, Alan’s had plenty of opportunities to shine but without a doubt one of his finest efforts was in 1993 when everyone arrived to find that he’d forgotten to book any golf. Second place probably goes to the time he managed to ruin about a hundred quid’s worth of trousers, socks and shoes trying to retrieve his 50p golf ball. He decided to play it ‘as it lay’ rather than declaring it unplayable. The only problem was that the ball was sitting on top of a bog, into which, being slightly heavier than said ball, Alan sank. He was only saved by the quick thinking of his partner who dragged him out with the help of a three wood, whilst laughing so hard that he came close to having his own trouser-spoiling accident.
Julian (17) is one of the quieter members of the group. In all the years I’ve known him I don’t think I can ever remember Julian getting particularly animated about anything, although he may have done so (I wasn’t there to see) in Dawlish Warren in 1998 when he was befriended during a game of pool by the village idiot (not my words, I hasten to add), a somewhat scary individual who was convinced the police were after him because he’d killed someone. I must ask Jules if they kept in touch. Although he probably wouldn’t say “boo” to a goose, Julian has been known to utter the odd obscenity on the golf course – although, in fairness, who hasn’t?
Mark B (16) is something of a dark horse. I asked the others for their stories about him and no-one could come up with anything even vaguely amusing or entertaining. I can only conclude that he’s either perfect and never does anything stupid or embarassing – or if he does he somehow manages to keep it to himself – or he’s just not very interesting (sorry Mark but I’m only going on the available evidence). Or he has something so incriminating on the others that they’re too scared to say anything. Either way, I’m on a mission to get something this year.
Phil (15) constantly amuses us with his immense library of amusing anecdotes and crap jokes. His karaoke rendition of ‘Mustang Sally’ at Paignton a couple of years ago was the stuff of legend, as is his encyclopaedic memory for obscure song lyrics (see last year’s ‘Live from the Abersoch Open‘). Phil is second only to Mark M in the Guinness drinking stakes; and the steak and chips eating stakes; oh, and the full English breakfast eating stakes. He is, however, unrivalled (apart from Mike N that is) in the cigar smoking stakes. Those who don’t know him as well as we do might be excused for not realising what a finely-honed athlete he really is.
Mark M (12), along with Mike N (see below) is one of the thirstiest members of the party. Mark’s Guinness drinking capability (and capacity) is legendary but his golfing prowess is, unfortunately, overshadowed by the fact that he usually insists on playing in shorts. I’m sorry, but whatever golf club committees think, the regulatory ‘tailored shorts and knee-length socks’ are just not a good look. Particularly on Mark.
Mike N (12) is one of the few proper golfers in the group. Unlike at least half of us he has a real handicap (14) and he hits the ball at least twice as far as me. Admittedly that isn’t difficult sometimes but I’m talking about when I hit it properly. Mike is a member of two golf clubs, so is clearly overpaid and has far too much time on his hands. He is fondly remembered for the year that he and his brother got so drunk on the Saturday night that both of them were still plastered during Sunday’s round.
Chris (12) earned the nickname ‘Chip’ (at least to himself) at Kington in 2004 thanks to the now famous (or, depending on who you talk to, infamous) ‘hand of God’ incident. When I asked for details, Chris and Mark sent me ever-so-slighlty different versions of the event but I’ll precis them here, with as neutral a slant as I can. The match was all square after 16 holes and Chris had over-hit his third shot past the green and into heavy rough. Knowing that he’d have to chip in to even halve the hole he announced that he would just pick up. His opponents putted out and moved on to the 18th tee, thinking they’d won the hole, whereupon Chris decided to have a go anyway and, miracle of miracles, chipped in. He then birdied the 18th to win the match by a single shot and his team took the coveted Abersoch trophy by the same margin. As you can imagine, this is one of the most talked about events in Abersoch history. I suspect it will get the odd mention this year too!
Mike P (9) or ‘Uncle’ as he’s affectionately known, is another quiet one. He’s been my playing partner for the past three years and a calming influence when things were going pear-shaped, which was quite often. There’s not much of an incriminating nature that I can say about Mike – he’s usually snuck off to bed by about 9 o’clock so he doesn’t tend to get drunk and embarass himself, unlike one or two others. He did entertain us last year with stories of his twenty-something-year-old sons’ antics, which largely involved copious amounts of alcohol and scantily-clad ‘ladies’ on his landing at two o’clock in the morning. Terrible, and I’ve got all that to come. I live in hope anyway.
Oz (6), but if you’ve read my other blogs there’s no need for me to say anything here. And if you haven’t yet, it’s all there so just have a mooch around and come back when you’re ready.
Richard (0) is taking part in the Abersoch Open for the first time this year, so he doesn’t have a history to report on – yet. I’ve known him since I was about 18 months old though, so I have plenty of background material. In fact he’s been anonymously (until now) mentioned in a couple of my previous blogs, most notably for his leading role in the altercation with the nutter in ‘Horses for Courses‘. Rich has been my sporting buddy for as long as I’ve been able to hold a bat, stick, club, ball, etc, and, because we’re the same age and are simultaneously having our mid-life crises, he’s also come out of retirement to play hockey and cricket with me. I may have a slightly longer injury list at the moment (see ‘Fit for nothing‘) but Rich owns and wears more strappings than anyone else I know – in fact I think he has a neoprene fetish, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he turns up in a wetsuit before long.
Quentin (0) is also a newcomer to Abersoch. He has a guilty secret that he recently ‘fessed up’ to the rest of the group – but only after being outed by his so-called friend Richard. It’s a somewhat sensitive matter and I had to think long and hard about whether I should mention it or not. I’ve known Quent for a number of years and have come to treat him as normal, but I can understand why Rich felt it was important to let the others know, so that it doesn’t come as a shock to them on the first tee. Yes, Quentin plays left-handed.
David (0) is the third of the newbies and I’m disappointed to say that his friend Mike hasn’t dished any dirt on him yet (Mike, you need to decide where your loyalties lie!). I feel fairly confident that there will be something to report before too long though, so watch this space.
Conspicuous by his absence this year is Bob, who’s been an Abersocher since, well forever really, but unfortunately he can’t make this one because he’s unwell. If you’re reading this Bob (and I have a sneaking suspicion that you might be) best wishes from all of us and we all look forward to seeing you next year. Having mentioned Bob it would be remiss of me to let him off the hook, so I just thought I’d mention the year (1994 by all accounts) that he almost came to blows with a, shall we say, less scrupulous member of the opposing team after catching him using his ‘leather wedge’. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a leather wedge is an extremely useful club in that it allows you to get out of the rough without incurring additional strokes. If you’re still not there, it lives on the end of your leg! Oh, and the time that his team mate selflessly ‘volunteered’ to scramble under the safety fence close to the cliff edge to retrieve his captain’s ball, only for Bob to leave him there.
So that’s us. The fun starts on Friday and will be recorded for posterity. I can’t wait. See you there!