44 Squadron Association Golf Match Report
Remember 19th August 2019? It was a fine sunny day, just right for the 44 Squadron Golf Match when six of our members would do battle over 18 holes at Belton Park, near Grantham. Over coffee and bacon butties, amid much ‘hail and well met’ banter, the teams were picked; Paul Taylor would lead his pirate crew of Paul Millikin and Roger Dunsford whilst Bob Manser would trust to the banditry of Peter Moore and Nick Dennis.
L-R: Nick Dennis, Paul Millikin, Paul Taylor, Roger Dunsford,
Bob Manser, Peter Moore.
The first tee is always a testing place to stand, and at Belton Park having to thread through tall trees to reach the fairway does nothing to calm the nerves. However, Paul Taylor made it look easy as he started with a birdie 3. First blood to the Pirates. On the par 5 second Paul Millikin set off to check on the depth of the rough but Roger Dunsford scored a sweet six for two points, holding the score together. It was on the green that we noticed that Paul Millikin had a new grippy gismo on his putter so that he could pick up his balls without bending down, necessary as the years creep on. On the third he struck it true and his ball sailed into the cross fairway ditch; a brilliant recovery followed and he finished off with a ten foot putt to secure a par. Onward Pirates.
Meanwhile the Bandits were calling their balls all sorts of unfortunate names because they wouldn’t drop into the cup. On the next tee the gang discussed theories about how best to play a shot into a headwind, until their leader said “Just hit the s**t out of it!” Laying off for drift they went for it; Bob Manser and Peter Moore found the green but a sudden jet stream blew Nick Dennis’s ball way right into the long stuff. He played a spectacular recovery shot onto the green, but would you believe it, that tricky wind blew again and kept his putt out!
The play of the day must go to Captain Bob. The par4 13th at Belton Park comprises a shallow dog-leg around a lake followed by a challenging approach shot to a two tier green with a deep ditch just in front. Many a good score has run on the rocks at this hole which is why it is Stroke Index 1; for those who do not play the game, holes on a golf course are graded for difficulty with 1 being the most difficult hole to score on. Basically this par 4 hole is 382 yards of potential trouble. Bob drove it 260 yards into position A and then stroked a sweet sand wedge 122 yards on to the green finishing three feet from the pin and in went the putt. A rare bird indeed on the 13th!
Meanwhile the Pirates studied the 141 yard par 3 14th; between the trees and over the lake, then stop it before the bunkers at the back, simples. Roger Dunsford used a tree to lay up short of the water, Paul Millikin used a 7 wood to the front of the green and Paul Taylor hit a 7 iron to the heart of the green. Roger rescued the situation and hit a good putt for 4, Paul M called his ball a lot of names and also got a 4, while Paul T got a solid regulation 3. On the 15th Paul M discovered that he was playing with deaf balls, age? Having played a low fast chip shot onto the green he had a conversation with his ball thus: “Slow down”, “Stop”, “Please STOP!”, “Oh no”, “Bugger”. Ah well, three holes to go.
As forecast, a late light rain then began, so the final holes were played quickly with grim determination. All scores were to count on the par 3 17th, the Pirates had the best of it, 7 points to the Bandits’ 4. The homeward hole is a tough 409 yard par 4 and here the Bandits clawed a point back; the scores were going to be close!
In the clubhouse, with pints to hand and Belton Park’s tasty pie, peas and chips on the table, banter flowed once more with excuses for golf shots mixed with reminiscences of 44 Squadron days and flying the Vulcan, ending in numerous Maurice Fenner stories. When the scorecards were added, close it was; Bob’s Bandits had just pipped the Pirates 73 points to 71. The champion golfer was Bob Manser with 35 points, runner up was Paul Taylor on 31. Bob picked up the large silver trophy! Well they shouldn’t have left it out from a previous function!
Well played chaps, super competition in the best 44 Squadron tradition. See you in 2020 on Monday 17th August at 1000hrs.
The 44 Sqn Golf Tournament 2020
Encouraged by the foregoing lurid account of last year’s match, the golfers among you will wish to block out your diaries for this year's event on 17 August 2020. Kevin Lawry has booked tee times on this day at the Belton Park course, hoping for another titanic struggle between last year’s champion, ‘Mahogany’ Bob Manser, and whoever will turn up determined to de-throne him. This has become an increasingly popular event and Kevin has let it be known that the rendezvous is 10 am at the clubhouse. Bacon butties and coffee will precede 18 holes of golf on this pleasant but challenging course. Anyone wishing to play this year, please contact Kevin on firstname.lastname@example.org. Book early to avoid disappointment.