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West Country Tour 2011

BUNGS Tour 2011 - The West Country

19th to 21st June 2011

The two teams at Saunton Golf Club. Missing from photo is Howard Holliday (still on the motorway somewhere)
The two teams at Saunton Golf Club. Missing from photo is Howard Holliday (still on the motorway somewhere)

This year saw 36 players from the Society returning to the West Country for the first time since 2004. Saunton in particular was eagerly awaited as it is regarded as probably the best seaside links course outside those on the Open Championship rota. Westward Ho has good memories for some but not so good for others and it would be interesting to see whether the sheep population had increased since our last visit! By the time the tour stopped at Weston-super-Mare for the final day’s singles matches we would at least be well on the way home – and the course promised a much better experience than Minehead back in 2004.

I don’t think it is being unkind to say that this year’s Captains are not among the ‘elite’ players in the Society but, what they lack in technical ability out on the golf course they certainly make up for it in their enthusiasm and determination to succeed and have fun.

With both teams looking evenly matched, on paper at least, it promised to be a close run thing as to who would come out on top come Tuesday afternoon.

The teams lined up as follows:

Captain Dave Grubb's Team Blue H'Cap Challenger Graham Adams' Team Orange H'Cap
Dave Grubb 20 Graham Adams 28
Tim Thacker, Vice Captain 11 Ian Talboys, Vice Captain 8
Shaun Mullaney 4 Graham Bilsland 2
Howard Holliday 5 Martyn Dodwell 5
John Shaw Adam Thompson 5
Bill Ball 6 Steve Lloyd 6
James Shipman 8 Steve Harris 8
Bobby Ho 12 Karl Hughes 10
Simon Hayward 12 Mark Johnson 12
Paul Herrmann 14 Adrian Marchant 13
Bill Hancock 14 Andy Smith 13
Jamie Moore 16 Neil Smith 16
Barry Whitmore 16 Mike Fox 18
Jeff Thacker 17 John Haley 18
Terry Tomkiss 18 Alan Tolley 17
Stewart Fairweather 19 Phil Latham 21
John Evans 19  Brian Keates 23
John Mansell 22 Gordon Sullivan 24


Saturday 18th June 2011

With Society Captain Dave Grubb, ably assisted by Tim Thacker, determined to bring a ‘professional’ approach to their team, not to be outdone Graham Adams had circulated a questionnaire to his team members well in advance of the Tour. However, from some of the replies received it was to be hoped that his team would prove themselves better on the golf course than at filling in forms, as the following answers suggest:
“I don’t mind playing with anyone, but perhaps they have a problem with me. Not that I’m paranoid or anything!”
“My preferred starting position is lying on the beach, through very dark glasses”

When asked what they would like as a mid-round snack:
“Fruit of any variety – an orange can get a little messy though!”
“Doner Kebab” “pate fois gras – or a banana”

And preferred post-round drink?
“Guinness, Guinness and yet more Guinness”
“Lager – with lager chaser!”

After driving through heavy rain for much of the way down on the M5 everyone finally managed to meet up on Saturday evening at the Barnstaple Hotel. A few members had played at Ilfracombe in the afternoon but, after 18 holes in a howling gale, Steve Lloyd, Ian Talboys and Tim Thacker had an eventful journey on what should have been the short drive to the hotel after Steve’s SatNav went berserk. At one point it announced that they were travelling at 857mph – in the middle of the Atlantic ocean! At that speed even Marcho in his Audi S5 Quattro would have had trouble keeping up (although he’d try his best and no doubt give his passenger Jamie Moore another chance to change his underwear).

The Hotel was fairly modern and contained a leisure club with outdoor and indoor heated swimming pools, a fitness centre, 2 saunas and – more importantly – 3 bars! Service could have been quicker though (and prices a little lower!) but, come 10pm the small lounge was dotted with members watching Rory McIlroy's 3rd round of the US Open during which he managed to forge an 8 shot lead going into the final day. At one stage, Simon Hayward was having some difficulty understanding Alan Tolley’s comment that McIlroy looked ‘nervous’ (especially as he had a 6 shot lead at the time) but the Society’s roving reporter wasn’t being negative for the sake of it, but merely putting on his commentator’s hat and making a ‘professional’ observation. I hope Simon has since managed to watch the BBC TV ‘special’ on Rory’s triumph as he will no doubt have witnessed Rory himself admitting he was a ‘bag of nerves’ at the start of Saturday’s round!

A spot of controversy even before the matches began came when Graham Bilsland decided, at the last minute, to share a room with Bill Ball instead of his regular roommate (and king of the snorers) John Mansell. John was understandably put out, but not so much that he wouldn’t be sharing with Graham but, of more concern was that he might have to pay the single room rate!

The two team Captains, ready for battle to commence at Saunton
The two team Captains, ready for battle to commence at Saunton

Oh, and just in case you weren’t aware, a group of 12 young ladies on a hen night in Barnstaple accosted 5 society members en route from a local pub to a nearby Chinese restaurant waving a camera and asking for a photo. John Mansell was convinced that they had been searching Barnstaple all night especially for him and then spent the rest of the evening trying to persuade Graham Bilsland to retrace their steps to the pub just in case the young ladies were waiting for him to return!

Sunday 19th June 2011 - morning
Saunton Golf Club (East Course)

9 x foursomes matches

If Saunton was more accessible it could easily be in the running for an Open Championship  as it contains 36 holes of true links Championship golf surrounded by enormous sand dunes.

The East course is rated the 15th best in England and hosted the Amateur Championship in 1997 which was won by Sergio Garcia.

The prospect of rain was in the air as we all (well, Howard Holliday apart) assembled for the traditional team photos outside the club house. Some much needed practice on the chipping green.

It wasn’t long before the rain started to fall and the early starters certainly had the worst of it but, by the time all the matches were out on the course the rain had dried up, the sun was poking through the clouds and we were all set for an exciting 3 days of matchplay golf

Simon Hayward & Bobby Ho beat Brian Keates & Gordon Sullivan 1up
Bobby had imagined this would be a walk over but those battle hardened old chaps fought on well. Dormie 2up on the 17th tee, Keates played 50 yards short of the green in the rough. Bobby and Simon smiling to themselves quietly. Well what fools! Gordon pitched his 2nd to gimmie range and won the hole with a nett birdie so the Captain’s pair were just 1up on the last tee. After much trials and tribulations, both teams had their ball over the back of the tricky 18th green in 3, but the Challengers with a shot. However, Brian ignored Gordon’s  advice to use his putter and pitched it way down the green instead. Hole halved and matched done. The result? Two old guys moaning at each other for a good half an hour afterwards!
Adrian Marchant & Mike Fox beat Bill Hancock & Paul Herrmann 2/1
The first hole on the East Course at Saunton
The first hole on the East Course at Saunton
Before the match started Foxy & Marcho discussed that it would be a tight affair and so it turned out to be. Thankfully our skipper gave us fruit and chocolate on the first tee to keep our energy levels high. Unfortunately Marcho didn’t eat his banana before he took his tee shot on the first and proceeded to stuff it into the crap. Great start as the Challengers were 3 off the tee! With the match all square on the third Paul and Bill were having so much trouble getting out of the same sort of crap that Foxy did what every good bloke does on a Sunday morning – he washed and polished his buggy!

The match continued to swing between 1up and all square due to some excellent golf by both teams. Most notably Foxy’s driving (no not the buggy, although it was gleaming), I mean off the tee. There was the odd moment of WTF. For example when Foxy was waggling his club around preparing to take a shot just by the green. To his horror he managed to hit the ball forwards about 2-3 inches by accident which meant the hole was lost. It can only be assumed that Foxy was distracted by Mooro & Neil Smith cursing and swearing because they had to call their playing partners back due to woeful tee shots.

The defining moment of the match came on the 186 yard par 3, 17th. Bill and Marcho had played impeccable tee shots to each of the par 3s on the odd numbered holes. This led to each of them being halved in par, however on the 17th Marcho hit a driver to within 15-20 feet which Bill couldn’t match. The match was conceded on the green. A nail biter of a finish to a match that had been played with great spirit. Foxy couldn’t wait to take his nice shiny buggy for a spin so we didn’t play the 18th.
Neil Smith & Mark Johnson beat Dave Grubb & Jamie Moore 8/6
The Captain’s pair were 5 down on the ninth green. Dave then proceeded to hole a long putt from some distance for a 5. The first time since the first hole that they had anything to celebrate so there was understandably a celebration, high fives, running around the green and cheering. Neil then holed his putt to go 6up.

It was turning into a one sided match with Grubby and Jamie completely out of form but they had cause for more celebration later on when Grubby putted from off the green and sank the putt – but they still lost the hole and at the next, Jamie nailed his drive straight down the middle, but Neil put Mark in the rough on the next fairway, Mark had a tough shot over the dunes but managed to find the edge of the green. Grubby and Jamie had spent a while discussing what to do with their shot – a shot of about 100 yards. They both fell into fits of laughter as Grubby put the ball in the middle of some marsh grass.
Steve Harris & Graham Bilsland beat Jeff Thacker & Barry Whitmore 2up
No match report available.
Stewart Fairweather & John Mansell beat Alan Tolley & Graham Adams 5/3
A match which could have gone either way but the tone was set on the very first hole with the Challengers 25 feet away in 3 but a duffed chip from the Society’s champion snorer left the Captain’s side well short of the green having played 3. Stewart then chipped up to 15 feet and John nonchalantly rolled in the putt to put the pressure back on the team oddly wearing tangerine. After Graham had left his first putt well short Alan then shaved the hole with his putt for the half. 1 down already, and after some steady play from Stewart and some (typically) wayward driving from the Challengers team Captain, Alan and Graham managed to lose the first 6 holes to be 6 down after 6. To their credit the Challengers fought their way back into the game but their opponents were just too good on the day.
John Evans & Terry Tomkiss beat Steve Lloyd & Martyn Dodwell 2up
Steve and Martyn went into this one undefeated in BUNGS tour foursomes so looked like a formidable pair for tour ‘virgins’ John Evans and Terry Tomkiss to be playing, even if they were receiving 13 shots. They got off to a flying start however with a nett eagle at the second and a nett birdie at the third to go 2up. Steve and Martyn managed to win three holes in a row to go 1up after 7 but Terry and John hit straight back, with some excellent drives and using their shots well to play the next five holes in nett 2under to win four of them, going 3up. They were pegged back to 2 on the 13th but Terry and John continued to hit the fairways and went dormie 2up after 16. Steve and Martyn won 17 to take the match down the last and Steve felt that an unlikely half point could be on the cards, despite him playing poorly. He psyched himself up to hit a big drive round the corner, only to slice it into the dunes. Martyn hacked it back onto the fairway, meaning Steve had to put their third shot very close to have any chance. Standing over his shot with a positive attitude, Steve visualised drawing his 8 iron within inches of the cup – it’s a shame his golf swing couldn’t match his mind’s expectations as he hit a horrible shot from the heel of the club short right of the green. He did hit the target with something though, his size 10 made perfect contact with the side of his golf bag. Terry and John were safely on the green in 3 (nett 2) and the match was conceded.
Ian Talboys & Andy Smith beat John Shaw & Bill Ball 4/3
The Challengers pair sailed to victory helped in no small part to Ian's low, hooked tee shot on the 14th being deflected from inevitable doom in some deep rough back into the fairway by John Shaw’s trolley whilst he took evasive action.
Shaun Mullaney & James Shipman beat Phil Latham & John Haley 1up
Phil had a particular score to settle with Shaun – a financial one as a matter of fact so it must have been all the more sweeter to get his £20 back on the outcome of the match, especially as they were given no less than 14 shots!
Tim Thacker & Howard Holliday beat Adam Thompson & Karl Hughes 1up
Although this photo doesn't show it, Tim was fretting somewhat as playing partner Howard Holliday was nowhere to be seen, with their tee time imminent
Although this photo doesn't show it, Tim was fretting somewhat as playing partner Howard Holliday was nowhere to be seen, with their tee time imminent
A well balanced match shot wise, but on the day Tim and Howard were just too good.  They were 3up at one stage but, after Adam and Karl had fought back to be only 1 down playing the last, they couldn’t quite pull off a win on the 18th which would have given them a half.
View over the 18th on the East course
View over the 18th on the East course

Match Score

Captain's Team - 5 / Challenger's Team - 4

During the lunch break members of the society were enjoying a post lunch drink (a G&T for John Shaw) on the terrace whilst watching some of the remaining matches out on the course finish the 18th. However, the pleasant ambience was broken by a quite ‘unpleasant’ incident as, after playing a shot to the green, one of the members was seen to turn round and kick his golf trolley. When the group reached the clubhouse it transpired that the perpetrator of this totally irrational behaviour was none other than Society secretary Steve Lloyd. No doubt the appropriate complaints have been made about his behaviour to the Staunton Golf Club committee.

Sunday 19th June 2011- afternoon
Saunton Golf Club (West Course)

9 x fourball-betterball matches

The West course at Saunton is slightly shorter than the East but with tighter fairways and smaller greens it proved to be a tougher test in many ways.

Simon Hayward & Howard Holliday beat Mike Fox & Gordon Sullivan 5/4
No match report available.
Adrian Marchant & Graham Bilsland beat Bill Hancock & John Evans 3/2
The second hole on the West Course at Saunton
The second hole on the West Course at Saunton
In the afternoon Bill and Marcho found themselves up against each other again, however this time with different partners. On the first hole it looked like the challengers were going to take an early lead as a result of two pars. John had other ideas as he rolled a lovely 15-20 feet downhill putt into the centre of the hole. On the 2nd John was put off his tee shot by his team captain and vice-captain wandering around in front of the 2nd tee looking for a ball. As a result the challengers took the initiative. From that point on the Marcho and Graham took command of the match. At the par three 9th hole, Marcho hit a lovely tee shot to about 10 feet. It looked like the challengers were going to make the turn 6up. John had other ideas as he put his tee shot to a similar distance. It actually had to be measured with the flag stick to decide who went first. John rolled in his putt for a 2 but Marcho then did the same so it was 5up at the turn.

Playing the 10th, Marcho hit a good drive and Graham put his in the sand on the right. Bill and John both put their tee shots in the rough on the left hand side. John decided to take a provisional as he had a shot and it turned out to be a good idea as we couldn’t find his ball. Bill played his shot from the rough back onto the fairway so he too was in the hole. Unfortunately he then realised the ball he had played wasn’t his so he was now out of the hole. When both teams got to the green Marcho noticed the ball Bill was playing had whopping great big ‘J’ on it just like the one John had written on his – Yes, that’s right, the ball Bill had played was actually John’s! To compound things we can only assume John had found a ball in the rough that wasn’t his and pocketed it. It turned out to be Bill’s......You couldn’t make this stuff up! 6 down with eight to play was when the Captain’s team came into their own. They won the 11th, 12th, 13th, & 15th to get it back to 2 down. The challenger’s team were on the ropes at this point. Marcho was very tired as Graham isn’t as light as he used to be. Graham had lost his mojo, which he went looking for on the 15th by lying down in the rough and staring up at the sky. On the 16th the game swung as the Captain’s team hit crap tee shots (their words) and the challenger’s team hit less crap tee shots (our words). Another cracking match played in great spirit.
Martyn Dodwell & Karl Hughes beat Dave Grubb & Tim Thacker 3/2
No match report available.
Steve Harris & Phil Latham beat Barry Whitmore & James Shipman 1up
Phil Latham strides back to the 2nd tee after losing his ball
Phil Latham strides back to the 2nd tee after losing his ball
This was a tight match but the challengers team always had their noses in front for most of the way until the 16th when Barry hit the shot of the match on the difficult par 3 hole for a tap in birdie (and a nearest the pin prize). 1 down playing the 17th, which James won with a par so it was all square going up the last. Steve secured a fine par leaving James with a putt from the back of the green from 10 feet to secure the half but it just lipped out.

John Shaw & Stewart Fairweather beat Adam Thompson & Alan Tolley 4/2
Alan wasn’t looking forward to playing against Stewart again after his opponent had hardly put a foot wrong in the morning foursomes – and he was at it again at the start of this fourball match with nett birdies at the first 2 holes, followed by another  birdie, this time from John at the par 5 third with the result that the captain’s team were 3up after only 3 holes played. The Challengers thought they might be back in it after Alan’s tee shot at the par three 4th hole  seemed destined for the middle of the green but a wicked bounce took the ball into a nearby bunker and the hole again went to the captain’s side who showed their superiority with Stewart’s magnificent tee shot into the teeth of the wind at the long par three 11th. John eventually sealed the match at the downhill  par three 16th with a well struck tee shot to 20 feet and, with 2 putts for the match it was all over for the Challengers who never quite managed to gel with each other on the day.
Ian Talboys & Steve Lloyd beat Jamie Moore & Shaun Mullaney 5/4
Jamie Moore heading for the first tee
Jamie Moore heading for the first tee
The golf may not have been sparkling, but the company was excellent in a thoroughly enjoyable match. Steve and Ian had a good start and were 2up after 5 but Jamie’s  5 nett 4 at the 6th reduced the deficit to one. Walking down the 7th fairway, Steve and Jamie were discussing how important it was to get a point on the ‘board’ after both had lost their morning matches. “Forget winning a point, I’m just delighted to have finally won a hole” said Jamie. Steve and Ian dovetailed well, winning the next three holes to go 4up and were in control for the rest of the match and finally secured a 5/4 victory at the 14th. Jamie had not been in his best form and when he finally hit a great drive down the 15th,albeit a hole too late, he raised his arms aloft and shouted “I’m F**kin Back!”. He then struck his second onto the green and was fully confident his form had returned for the following day’s action, only to 3-putt for a bogey 5.

John Mansell & Paul Herrmann beat Graham Adams & Mark Johnson 4/3
6 down at the turn, the Challengers staged a mini comeback with Mark paring the Par five 10th, Graham  getting a 2 on the 11th, and Mark again paring the par five 12th. Steady play by the opposition saw them home 4&3 though.

Mark later commented that he will always remember the view he had, when standing on one of the higher tees, as he looked out over the course taking in the view and saw, dotted all over the place the ‘tangerine’ shirts of his fellow  Challengers team.
Jeff Thacker & Bobby Ho half Neil Smith & Brian Keates A/S
Brian and Neil were 1up standing on the 18th tee so all they needed to do was halve the hole but both of them managed to 3 put from no more than 6 feet! The match was more memorable for Neil's incessant FARTING and him continually having to say SORRY!! A really fun match, played in excellent spirit but did Neil change his pants before sitting down for dinner?
John Haley & Andy Smith beat Bill Ball & Terry Tomkiss 3/4
A rather thin fox came up close to the group at one stage and was obviously very hungry. Bill found a couple of biscuits in his bag a gave them to the fox!! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah. However, when John mentioned this later on to James Shipman he said the same fox came towards his group but he chased it off.  Where is the man’s compassion?

Match Score

Captain's Team - 8.5 / Challenger's Team - 9.5


The Challengers  with the slightest of leads going into the second day and all to play for.

Back at the hotel everyone gathered for the evening meal at 9pm. Steve had been really organised this year by asking everyone for their menu choices well in advance to save doing it on the day. That said, it wasn’t enough for former Captain Andy Smith to indicate that he was having the soup for starters – Smithy wanted Steve to find out what kind of soup it would be! The highlight of the meal was Howard Holliday’s ‘unusual’ interest in the sticky toffee pudding, which he managed 2 portions of.

With most of those present retiring to the adjoining bar afterwards to see how Rory would get on in the final round of the US Open (Alan having reassured Simon that the man from N Ireland was looking more relaxed than the day before!) it wasn’t long before the atmosphere was broken by someone having fallen asleep in their chair – yes, you’ve guessed it, John Mansell was in full ‘snoring’ mode which meant that Graham’s last minute decision to share with Bill was the right one.

Mind you, he wasn’t the only one to pull the plug on a blossoming relationship – after one night sharing with another former captain Brian Keates,  John Haley did the same and both spent the rest of the tour in single rooms, although the parting was a strictly ‘friendly’ one I am assured.

Monday 20th June 2011 - morning
Royal North Devon (Westward Ho!) Golf Club

9 x foursomes matches

When John Mansell was told over breakfast that Royal North Devon is the oldest club in England he replied, “No it’s not – St Andrews is!”

Jeff Thacker had asked Grubby how long it would take to get to Westward Ho!, "Exactly the same as Today, just a bit further" replied Dave.

Marcho, your date has arrived! (it wasn't just Mansell and Bilsland who were on the pull this year)
Marcho, your date has arrived! (it wasn't just Mansell and Bilsland who were on the pull this year)

Westward Ho is only 20 minutes drive from the hotel and although it is much flatter than Saunton, the course is more exposed to the wind and with its spiky rushes, grassy mounds and deep bunkers poses a more challenging contest in some ways. The weather wasn’t too inviting on arrival with the prospect of heavy and persistent rain to come later on during the morning, the early starters were clearly hoping to be safely back in the club house before it all began. Marcho, your date has arrived! (it wasn't just Mansell and Bilsland who were on the pull this year).

It is fair to say the course is not to everyone’s liking but, even if your golf isn’t up to much there is plenty of wildlife to enjoy with wild horses roaming all over the place (one in particular hell bent no doubt on confronting yet another former captain, Bobby Ho in relation to the ‘ball up the arse’ incident which occurred on the 17th hole in 2004).

Oh, and we mustn’t forget the sheep!  Bill Hancock (yes, I know, another former captain) was to experience  a complete whitewash on this tour, losing all 5 of his matches and it would be interesting to learn just how much of that was down to the appearance of those loveable woolly animals putting Bill off his ‘stroke’ (see the write up for the 2009 South Wales tour).  At least at St Andrews you only have to negotiate the bunkers ; at Westward Ho you’re more likely to be playing shots around grazing horses or over sleeping sheep!

Simon Hayward & Tim Thacker beat Neil Smith & Ian Talboys 2/1
The night before Neil experienced the scariest sight of the tour as he looked into his rear view mirror to see Foxy’s face as he nearly ran into the back of his car at a roundabout on the way back to the hotel. No surprise then that Neil can remember nothing about this match at all!
Steve Lloyd & Andy Smith beat Bill Hancock & Terry Tomkiss 5/4
Steve Lloyd is used to getting limited sleep on our golf tours due to Martyn Dodwell’s snoring, but it wasn’t the snoring that kept Steve awake on this occasion, it was the sound of his room mate throwing-up for most of Sunday evening. Whether it was a stomach bug, food poisoning or dehydration, poor old Martyn was in a very bad way and had to spend the rest of Monday in bed, missing-out on the golf matches that day.

Steve and Andy started with a birdie 4 at the first and continued some steady play to be 3up after 8. Bill and Terry got themselves straight back into the match, securing a par and using their shot at the 9th. The fightback was short-lived however as Terry topped his drive at 10 into the sea rushes and then Bill hooked his into the rushes at 11. Terry’s provisional also ended in the rushes, so the hole was conceded before they even left the tee. They did managed to win the 12th and, on the 13th tee, when Steve said to Andy “Look at the size of that fairway Smithy – you can’t fail to miss that”, Bill replied “You could always put it in a bunker” and Bill did exactly that, putting his partner right up the face and the hole was lost. A par three at 14 was enough to secure a 5/4 victory for Steve and Andy.
Dave Grubb & Shaun Mullaney half Graham Adams & Mike Fox A/S
A battling display by Foxy here, and thanks to his determined play the Challengers were only 2 down at the turn, despite some messing about in ‘Hell’s Bunker” at the 4th where Mike put his tee shot an inch from a sleeper. Graham could not go over the bunker (shear 10 feet of railway sleeper) so he just had a stab at it side ways into the bunker. When they lost the 15th they were 2 down & 3 to play before somehow managing to halve the 16th. They then won the 17th after Shaun’s tee shot  had come to rest in what might have been an animal scraping. Competitive to the end however, Shaun was denied ‘relief’ and the hole was conceded. At the 18th with Foxy and Graham on the green in 3 – and with a shot – the hole was again conceded for a battling half point which must have felt good given the situation with 3 holes to go.
Steve Harris & Adam Thompson beat Paul Herrmann & Bobby Ho 2up
The Captain’s team quickly raced into a 2 hole lead, but after 10 holes, Steve and Adam had got their noses in front. On the 11th they were helped when Paul played his approach to the 14th green and not the 11th. Bobby was enjoying a ciggie at the time and when he realised what had happened his face was a picture – definitely one of the highlights of the Tour! 1up playing the 17th the hole took almost 30 minutes to play and was eventually halved (a gross 7 against their opponents 8 net 7). Steve and Adam then went on to win the 18th to clinch victory.
John Mansell & John Evans half Alan Tolley & Mark Johnson A/S
A match which began in dry, windy conditions but ended in steady rain – and it was the steady play of the Captain’s team during the opening holes which took them into a 2up lead, despite a miraculous shot from Mark out of the bunker from hell after Alan had topped his only tee shot of the entire weekend! The Challengers fought back well to level the match at the turn – helped by a ‘duffed’ chip by John Evans which took off at right angles after landing in a sheep’s turd! Using their shots well though, the Captain’s pairing got themselves in front again, 2up with 3 holes to play. At this stage, the rain had become more persistent but Alan’s tee shot at the par 3 16th was good enough to win the hole so still 1 down playing the 17th which was playing all (and more) of its yardage. Both teams were some 200 yards short of the ditch in front of the green having played 2. The Captain’s team decided to go for it, John Mansell’s fairway wood shot coming up just short of the ditch. Alan and Mark then had a player/caddie consultation with Alan telling Mark to lay up with 130 yards to go, Alan’s favourite rescue club distance. Mark’s 9 iron shot landed exactly 131 yards from the green and Alan duly put their 4th shot to within 8 feet. The Captain’s side were still not on the green in 5 but they did at least have a shot to play with and John Evans almost won the match with a double-breaking putt from the fringe which lipped out. So, with Mark missing the 8 feet putt the hole was halved. The Captain’s side dormie by now but both Alan and John played poor tee shots as the rain began to fall more heavily. However Mark played another superb 9 iron to leave Alan 135 yards from the green, whereas the 2 x Johns were messing about in the water hazard which ran down the right hand side. Alan again found the green with his 3rd but Mark left his first putt well short and Alan missed  a 5 footer for the hole and a guaranteed ½ point. That left John Mansell with a 3 footer to halve the hole and win the match 1up but he somehow missed it and the match ended all square – a great comeback from 2 down with 3 to play for the Challengers – Alan and Mark particularly proud of their combined strategy on the last 2 holes!
James Shipman & John Shaw beat Adrian Marchant & Karl Hughes 1up
Even before the match began Marcho was relishing getting in among the sheep but the match got off to an unusual start as the challenger’s stood back to watch James’ tee off the first with a driver he had borrowed from the pro shop (which was even ‘wilder’ than the beast he had left in the car!). I’m sure you can guess what happened next.....yes he stuffed it into the ditch. Thankfully his playing partner was very understanding as he was heard to say “You bloody idiot! What the hell do you think you were doing?” That pretty much set the tone of the round as John & James continued to bicker in a Statler & Waldorf style for the rest of the round.

Throughout the round Statler & Waldorf managed to keep Karl & Marcho in the match by missing putts that they would normally sink without a second thought. In addition to this Karl was driving well and sinking some testing 10 footers to keep the challengers within one or two holes. On the par three, 14th the Captain’s team thought they were going to go 3up with four to play. Statler (I mean John) put his tee shot on the green and Marcho thinned a 7 iron 50 yards right of the flag. Karl had other ideas as he proceeded to play a lovely chip, which landed softly on the green and rolled straight into the hole! James only just missed his putt for a half which meant the challengers were only 1 down instead of 3.

16 was probably the crucial hole in this match as the challengers knew if they could win this hole they had a shot on the 17th. It came down to a putting competition between Statler and Marcho after Karl and then Waldorf fluffed their putts. There was only ever going to be one winner as Statler nailed his putt dead centre while Marcho watched his slide past on the left. Hole 17 was halved after Marcho was distracted by some of his ‘groupies’ wearing their lovely woollen coats. Marcho’s putt to win the 17th lipped out, much to the dismay of his groupies who didn’t realize they were on the menu that night. The 18th was halved after great drives by Statler and Marcho and solid iron play by both Waldorf and Karl. A close finish to a game that Statler & Waldorf controlled throughout.
Jeff Thacker & Jamie Moore beat John Haley & Brian Keates 2/1
No match report available.
Howard Holliday & Bill Ball beat Phil Latham & Gordon Sullivan 5/4
No match report available.
Graham Bilsland beat Stewart Fairweather & Barry Whitmore 3/2
No match report available.

Match Score

Captain's Team - 13.5 / Challenger's Team - 13.5


Monday 20th June 2011 - afternoon
Royal North Devon (Westward Ho!) Golf Club

9 x fourball-betterball matches

Paul Herrmann & Jamie Moore beat Steve Harris 3/1
No match report available.
Brian Keates & Graham Bilsland beat Simon Hayward & Bobby Ho 1up
Very good play from Graham coming in 1 over gross. Most used phrase during the match: "Oh, Brian”
Mike Fox & Karl Hughes beat Bill Hancock & James Shipman 5/4
Highlights of this match were Foxy playing like a dream and Karl Hughes's fantastic driving. James and Bill were both totally out of form -until the match was over!
Ian Talboys & Adam Thompson beat Bill Ball & Barry Whitmore 5/4
Neither Bill or Barry were at their best in this match leaving Adam and Ian with a comfortable victory.
Dave Grubb & John Shaw beat Graham Adams & Andy Smith 2up
Graham reckons he would have happily paid to watch some of the golf in this match had he not been playing himself. Smithy and Shaw were almost in a league of their own, each one playing some sublime golf. However, Grubby did manage to win the 4th (Cape) with a 5 and Graham also made par at the 5th. Grubby also chipped in from around 100 yards at one stage, after John’s ball  had found the deep reeds never to be seen again. On the very next hole he somehow managed to drain a 40 foot putt – ironically after John had called a penalty on himself after his ball had moved at address.1 down playing the last the Challengers could only stand and watch as John played the hole perfectly for a birdie 3 to secure the win.
Alan Tolley & Phil Latham beat Shaun Mullaney & Terry Tomkiss 7/5
On paper, another  close game in prospect and with Shaun driving well over the opening holes Alan and Phil fancied they were in for a tough match. But after Shaun missed a short putt at the first and Alan did the same thing at the 2nd the Challengers suddenly took the game by the scruff of the neck and after that never really gave their opponents a chance.  The only downside was  Alan’s penchant for leaving his brolly behind on at least 3 occasions which clearly didn’t endear him to the group playing behind, especially when he refused to swap brollies with Howard. With Shaun out of sorts the Captain’s team were well and truly under the cosh and it showed when Terry almost lost his wayward trolley on the beach as things went from bad to worse. Indeed, at the 10th Terry was at it again – this time being chased by a sheep as he went to play his 2nd shot (we’re still not 100% sure it wasn’t Terry chasing the sheep!). With the Challengers well in front Phil decided to step up a gear juts after the turn, winning  the 11th, 12th and 13th to make it a convincing win.
Adrian Marchant & Steve Lloyd beat Jeff Thacker & John Evans 8/7
Steve was on fire from the outset and could have won the match on his own as he was only +1 gross. The other point of note was as the group behind played the 7th (aptly named Life Boat) Terry’s trolley made its way to the sea before the life boat set sail. None of the group noticed its ‘departure’ until Steve shouted across to them. Then Terry became the life boat as he raced to rescue his trolley as it made for the rocks.

Steve had earlier birdied the first hole for the second time that day and followed this with 7 pars and a bogey on the front nine. With Marcho also contributing with a nett par when Steve made his bogey and a nett birdie on the 9th, Jeff and John had no answer to this barrage and found themselves 8 down after nine holes. It could have been one less had John’s tee shot on the par three 5th not hit a sheep up the arse and ricocheted back into a deep bunker much to John displeasure. The sheep disappeared before Marcho had the chance to rub it better. Jeff Thacker’s comments on the match? “We got a good dicking!”
Mark Johnson & John Haley beat John Mansell & Howard Holliday 5/4
No match report available.
Tim Thacker & Stewart Fairweather beat Neil Smith & Gordon Sullivan 2/1
A very tough match in which Neil fought all the way to try and win. However, with Tim and Stewart producing magical shots and Gordon complaining when the opposition missed a put to win the match because he wanted to walk in – Neil was up against it all the way.

Match Score

Captain's Team - 16.5 / Challenger's Team - 19.5


Tuesday 21st June 2011
Weston-super-Mare Golf Club

18 x singles matches

Will Ian tell James he's aiming the wrong way off the first tee?
Will Ian tell James he's aiming the wrong way off the first tee?

On the 2004 Tour the singles matches were played at Minehead but you won’t find too many BUNGS members with favourable things to say about the experience, so this year the decision was made to drop in at Weston-super-Mare instead which meant a reasonably early start from the hotel but at least it would take around 90 minutes off the journey home.

The course at Weston offers views across the Bristol Channel and although it’s an easy course to walk the greens were fairly fast, the fairways running hard and with a strong wind blowing it made for yet another challenging day for all concerned.

It didn’t help when the Club put back our start time by 1 hour just before the Tour began to accommodate their Ladies’ captain’s day so, instead of starting at 10am the first group didn’t get under way until around 11.20am.

One or two society members were also confused as there were 2 separate codes to remember to access the club house.

Anyway, 3 points behind the Captain’ s side needed to pull out all the stops if they were to finish on top at the end of the day.

Dave Grubb beat Graham Adams 5/4
A match between the 2 captains which started with Graham playing a 4-Wood off the 1st for “safety”, whereas Dave used his Driver. Dave then called a foul on himself after topping his next and it rebounded onto his foot.

Graham then topped the ball towards the green and the hole was eventually halved in 8! Graham was then forced to concede the next 4 holes with some awful play and he found himself 5 down at the turn.

Opening tee shots from the two team Captains
Opening tee shots from the two team Captains
Despite winning the 11th & 12th it was too little, too late. At the 13th he got the rough end of a local rule which stated that paths were an integral part of the course. Graham did well to get the ball onto the green but then 3-putted to halve the hole.

At the short 14th he was short of the green off tee, whereas Dave put his ball in the bunker. Instead of a subtle chip to the hole  however, the Challengers Captain topped it (again) and putted out for a 4, but Dave played an excellent sand save for his 3 and the match.
Phil Latham beat Simon Hayward 2/1
No match report available.
Neil Smith beat Bill Hancock 2/1
After all the hype about Bill playing badly and how Neil was going to win easily, Bill played fantastic golf until the 15th and for most of the match he was in front but it was all decided over the closing 4 holes which left Bill with the unenviable record of played 5, lost 5. A key factor in Neil winning the match were: A taxi driver with a very noisy diesel engine pulling up at the gate behind the 7th Tee just as Bill was about to tee off, as Bill turned and gave him a stare he said “I’m not putting you off am I”; Adrian Marchant explaining to Bill what a “Nipple Licker” is on a dog leg hole, how it opens the hole up nicely.
Steve Harris beat John Evans 3/2
No match report available.
Alan Tolley beat Tim Thacker 3/1
A measure of how good this win was for Alan – it was only Tim’s second singles defeat since 2003! Tim clearly started the favourite and, despite losing the first hole, found himself 1 ahead playing the hardest hole on the course, the 5th. Tim’s 2nd shot with a rescue club from the light rough was a fantastic strike, ending up less than 3 feet from the pin. Alan was 30 feet away in 3 but with a shot and, in typical matchplay fashion, he rolled his 30 footer into the back of the hole leaving Tim to sink his 3 footer for a half in nett birdie 3s! The match was always a close affair with both players on good form but, the more experienced Tim had the advantage as they walked off the 10th green being 2up. Alan stuck to his game plan though and Tim suddenly had a few problems on holes 11, 12 and 13 into a strengthening right to left wind, enabling Alan to halve the match with just 5 holes to go. The short 14th was halved before the turning point of the match came at the 15th. Alan hit one of his best drives of the weekend straight down the middle of the stroke index 2 hole, whereas Tim found the fairway bunker and couldn’t reach the green in two. Alan, with a shot was 4 feet away in 3, the hole was conceded and, at the very next hole, Alan’s 3-wood from 190 yards into the wind found the centre of the green for a guaranteed par 3. Tim’s tee shot was again affected by the wind and he missed the green on the left but, after a poor chip, his putt for a half from 35 feet lipped out so he found himself 2 down with 2 to play. Alan, with his last remaining shot was never going to lose the long 17th however, so the win was virtually sealed.  Even though he was 2 down at the turn to the Society’s toughest singles opponent, Alan had his matchplay head on and hung in there, taking his chances when they came. There was a lighter moment as both players walked off the 18th when Captain Graham Adams asked Alan how he had got on. “3 and 1” came  Alan’s reply. “Never mind” said Graham –before being put right by Alan : “I didn’t lose, I won !”. Given his singles’ record Tim must have been disappointed but he was extremely gracious in defeat, acknowledging that Alan had been ‘simply awesome’. A few days later, after his disappointment had cooled he was even more appreciative of Alan’s performance. A great match, with some excellent golf from both players – and played in a tremendous spirit. Alan later admitted that this was his best moment on any BUNGS Tour so far!
Howard Holliday beat Steve Lloyd 3/1
After playing so well on Monday, Steve was confident of taking on anybody in Tuesday’s singles. Anyone that is except Howard Holliday! Howard had beaten Steve in the singles at Fulford three years previously, so Steve was looking for revenge but after a half at the first, Steve topped his drive at the second and was down in the match already. A birdie 2 at the third squared the match but another topped drive at the fourth meant another loss, but a par with his solitary shot squared the match after 5. Howard won the 7th to go one up and that’s how it was at the turn.

Holes 10, 11 and 12 were pivotal. After fluffing his second at 10, Howard somehow got up and down from a difficult position for a half to stay ahead. Steve then three putted from the front of the 11th and had to settle for another half and when Howard missed the difficult 12th with what seemed like little chance of getting ‘up and down’, Steve saw his chance to square the match. He hit a great 3 iron for his second shot but it just trickled off the back of the green, down the slope into a tricky lie in the rough. After finding the putting surface with his third, Howard still faced a tricky 20 putt along the step of the two tiered green. Not wanting to do anything stupid to gift the hole to Howard, Steve safely found the green and two-putted – only to see Howard roll his putt in for a win to go 2up. Steve rallied to birdie the next but this was matched by Howard, who then went 3up after Steve found the sand at the short 14th. Steve reduced this to 2down after 15 and should have reduced this further at the difficult 16th but failed to chip and putt from just off the green. Dormie 2down on the 17th tee, Steve tried to hit a big drive around the corner but topped his driver for the third time and the match was done and dusted.
Paul Herrmann beat Mark Johnson 1up
No match report available.
Adam Thompson beat John Shaw 5/3
John was not at his best, with the exception of the par 3´s where he made three 2´s, unfortunately for him only one of them was good enough for a win and Adam ended up winning 5 & 3. He later admitted that, in effect, Adam had ‘massacred’ him  - and sweet revenge for the first day’s fourballs defeat at Saunton!
Adrian Marchant beat Jeff Thacker 4/3
The result will always say 4&3 but it doesn’t begin to tell the real story of how hard this match was mentally. Marcho was driving the best he had all weekend and Jeff was his usual consistent self knocking his ball straight up the middle time and time again. Marcho missed an easy opportunity to take an early lead on the 2nd hole by three putting from 15 feet. This was quickly put behind him as he won the 3rd to go 1up. The 4th & 5th were halved due to some excellent shots by both players. Marcho won the 6th after hitting a monster drive which was followed by a flick with a wedge onto the green. Jeff hit straight back by winning the next hole which was the short par 3.

At this point our match was interrupted by a taxi driver that pulled up by the gate just as Bill Hancock was about to play his tee shot. Bill was playing Neil Smith in the other match in our group. The taxi driver wound his window down and shouted “Don’t let me put you off!” Bill turned around and muttered under his breath “well f**k off and you won’t.” Suffice to say Bill hooked his tee shot 20 yards left. After this brief interruption Marcho went into the turn 1up after Marcho won the 8th and Jeff took the 9th.

Marcho thought he had opened a good lead by winning the 10th & 11th to go 3up, but quickly saw this reduced when Jeff won the 12th. On the 11th tee Bill was severely put off when Marcho informed Jeff his tee shot was best described as a “nipple licker”, it had opened up the hole nicely. Jeff had reduced Marcho’s lead to two, but Marcho won the par 5 into the wind and the short par 3, 14th to go 4up. As they stood on the 15th tee Marcho knew that one more good drive could be enough to finally shake off Jeff “The Terrier” Thacker.

Jeff as usual put his drive straight down the middle, but then he over hit his second through the back of the green. Marcho put his shot onto the dance floor which added a bit more pressure to Jeff’s next shot. Unfortunately for Jeff he took 2 more shots to get onto the green which presented Marcho with the opportunity to close out the match by halving the hole.  Jeff was later heard to say that he couldn’t have played any better as he had hit a nett  71. It just so happened that Marcho shot a nett 67. Excellent scoring as a result of four people having a great laugh all the way round!
Ian Talboys beat James Shipman 5/4
Quite a whipping, in James’s own words. After a great par to start to go 1up James's early promise soon disappeared. Ian was one up at the turn  but James rallied well by winning 10 and 11 (where a glorious 4 iron sealed the tough nearest the pin prize). James nearly managed a spirited half on the 12th after a shank then a penalty drop but Ian hit his second onto the par 5 13th green for an easy birdie and James could only manage a par after hitting a 3 wood pin high so Ian went dormie 5 and closed the match on the short 14th with a half in 3s.
Bobby Ho beat Martyn Dodwell 2/1
A very closely fought battle. Never more than 1 hole in it until the very end. Highly enjoyable.
Barry Whitmore beat Graham Bilsland 3/2
No match report available.
Karl Hughes beat Jamie Moore 3/1
No match report available.
Terry Tomkiss beat Andy Smith 2up
No match report available.
John Mansell beat John Haley 6/5
No match report available.
Mike Fox beat Stewart Fairweather 3/1
Stewart’s form sadly deserted him and with Foxy striking the ball well, especially off the tee he was always too good for his opponent, winning comfortably.
Shaun Mullaney beat Brian Keates 2up
No match report available.
Bill Ball beat Gordon Sullivan 3/1
Gordon hit his ball into the greenside bunker on the 16th hole. He went into the bunker but before he went to play out he stopped and started doing up the buttons on his T Shirt, including the top one. John Haley, playing alongside in the other match said "I am not surprised you are doing your shirt buttons up, it is getting cold" whereupon Gordon replied "it’s not because I am cold; it’s to stop the sand going down the front of my shirt!"

Final Match Score

Captain's Team - 25.5 / Challenger's Team - 28.5


Winning Captain Graham Adams
Winning Captain Graham Adams

So, a victory by 3 shots for the Challengers ‘Paddy Power’ team led by the irrepressible (he’s been called worse) Graham Adams who was clearly delighted by his team’s efforts – in spite of those orange/tangerine shirts he chose for us to wear on day one.

When the teams were drawn for the Tour back in April the general consensus was that they were fairly evenly matched and this proved to be the case. 4 of the 5 sessions could easily have gone either way and there was hardly anything in it for a long time. The turning point, as far as the overall result is concerned, was definitely the fourballs during the afternoon session at Westward Ho when the Challengers not only dominated play and duly surged into a 3-point lead, but they also inflicted some of the heaviest defeats in BUNGS Tour history on their opponents. That session apart there was very little to choose between the two  teams at the end of the day.

Oh, and so what if John Mansell  had to cope in a room all on his own this year – at least everyone else was able to get a good night’s sleep!


Quote from the winning Captain

It was a hugely enjoyable weekend, and hugely frustrating as well! Maybe the stress of being Team Captain, and wanting so desperately to perform well, I put myself under an amount of pressure my game couldn’t cope with, and with new clubs too! Easy excuses to make perhaps, because overall I played appallingly and only managed to win 5 holes outright all weekend. Thinking back now, it was only when my singles match against Grubby was almost lost, and I relaxed,  that I finally managed to hit the ball something like I know I can. Result? Won 2 holes in succession, gave myself some hope of a comeback, but then put myself under pressure again, screwed up and lost the match!

To my team:

Hi Guys! I just wanted  to thank you all for your efforts on behalf of “Team Paddy Power.” Those of you who have captained a Tour team before will understand me when I fail to explain how proud I was to send you all on your way from the 1st Tee at Saunton East, and how chuffed and (virtually) speechless I was when receiving the Trophy on your behalf. (For those who haven’t yet captained a team I can recommend the experience.) Going into the final matches with it all still to play for, it was also more than a little nerve racking to wait for you all after the 18th and get your results, and to win by 3 points was fantastic.

Ok, so we all wanted to beat whatever opposition we were drawn against, but the battling and competitive spirit I witnessed, sometimes in adversity, speaks volumes for the character of you all. Personally, I played crap (no change there then.) Thanks to the insurance paying up I’d only played one round with my new clubs before Devon, and I struggled with them, particularly the irons, all weekend. So to Alan, Mark, Foxy & Andy I offer my condolences for being paired with me, and my apologies for playing so badly.

Special thanks to you though Foxy for carrying me so valiantly to my total of  ½ a point for the Tour! Special thanks to must go to my Vice-Captain Ian, without whose help, guidance and advice, both before and during the event, were invaluable. I look forward to seeing you all in the near future at a regular BUNGS event”.

Graham Adams, Winning Team Captain


And Finally

A huge thank you must go to Steve Lloyd for putting the whole package together. 36 members of the society enjoyed 3 days of competitive golf and some great moments into the bargain but none of it would have happened without Steve’s dedication and commitment so we are eternally grateful for all his efforts on behalf of the society.

Thanks also to the 2 Captains, Dave Grubb and Graham Adams for ensuring that the matches were played in the right spirit.

Here’s to yet another successful tour – perhaps with up to 40 members present – next year in North Wales.

This report was put together by Alan Tolley, ably assisted by contributions from Graham Adam, Dave Grubb, Steve Lloyd, Mike Fox, John Haley, Bobby Ho, Adam Thompson, John Shaw, James Shipman, Tim Thacker, Jeff Thacker, Mark Johnson, Adrian Marchant and Neil Smith.

Current BUNGS tour win percentages

(After the 2011 West Country Tour)

Member Tour Win Percentage No of Tours Attended
Hornby, Brian 100.0% 1
Latham, Phil 75.0% 3
Fairweather, Stewart 70.0% 2
Holliday, Howard 69.8% 10
Lloyd, Steve 68.1% 13
Dodwell, Martyn 66.4% 13
Booth, Steve 66.3% 4
Galloway, Gordon 64.0% 5
Newton, John 63.2% 7
Hughes, Karl 62.9% 13
Shaw, John 61.9% 12
Harris, Nick 60.0% 1
Vale, Craig 58.3% 3
Weston, Paul 57.5% 8
Hayward, Simon 56.7% 3
Smith, Neil 56.7% 6
Talboys, Ian 56.0% 13
Thompson, Adam 55.0% 7
Thacker, Tim 53.4% 11
Moore, Jamie 52.9% 6
Marchant, Adrian 52.5% 6
Bayliss, John 51.9% 8
Harris, Steve 50.0% 2
Johnson, Mark 50.0% 1
Poultney, Les 50.0% 2
Smith, Andy 49.5% 11
Sullivan, Gordon 49.2% 12
Weston, Darren 47.9% 7
Mansell, John 46.9% 9
Shipman, James 46.9% 12
Harris, Tom 46.7% 3
Heathcote, Ivan 46.3% 8
Bilsland, Graham 46.0% 10
Hancock, Bill 45.4% 6
Black, Graeme 44.3% 7
Tolley, Alan 44.0% 10
Thacker, Jeff 44.0% 5
Fox, Mike 42.7% 12
Ho, Bobby 42.0% 11
Herrmann, Paul 40.3% 9
Craddy, Chris 40.0% 3
Ball, Bill 40.0% 1
Tomkiss, Terry 40.0% 1
Keates, Brian 39.0% 10
Haley, John 38.8% 2
Stevens, Richard 36.8% 6
Jones, David 35.0% 2
Mullaney, Shaun 35.0% 4
Thacker, Mike 34.7% 5
Whitmore, Barry 34.5% 11
Evans, John 30.0% 1
Jackson, Anthony 30.0% 4
Grubb, Dave 25.0% 6
Adams, Graham 12.5% 4


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