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After several days of rain, the grey skies cleared and the sun peaked through the clouds in preparation for the first running of the Novices Cup since 2014.  In truth, the competition had been reformatted for high handicappers rather than for those newly acquainted with the game; after all, no one could accuse Wyn Wattley of being a novice.  The prospect of sunshine led to bared arms as mid-layers were quickly removed.  Some were even wearing shorts in a variety of styles and lengths.

The Novice’s Cup is an Individual Stableford competition played from Yellow and Red tees.  Although handicaps ranged from 28 to 48, slow play was not in evidence.  Indeed, all seven groups got around the course within the target time, with the opening three-ball haring around the course in just over three-and-a-half hours.  Although shots went astray, and there were several no-returns on the more challenging holes, the overall feel of the competition was one of enjoyment.  It was competitive but fun.  Bruce Amos holing out from 100 yards at the 6th for a birdie made his day.  Bea Berry was pleased to rattle in a lengthy putt at the 7th while Dave Jackson had a nett hole-in-one at the 16th.

Keith Hadley was the early leader in the clubhouse with 38pts, but in the group behind was Martin Durose whose 43pts proved to be unbeatable.  After a slow start, he got into gear with two-pointers at the 3rd and 4th before a par at the 5th moved him to level points.  He then rattled off two- or three-pointers at the next six holes before scoring four-pointers at the 12th and 14th holes.  After the round, he said his ball striking was spot on but his putting let him down on a few occasions.

For the full results click here Novices Cup 2023 – final results

My thanks go to the greenkeeping staff for presenting the course in excellent condition, and to Ian Renhard who prepared all the cards and gave out sage advice to everyone ahead of play.  It can be summed up as “hit it, find it, then hit it again”.