Season Six Final - 3-6 September 2009

Europe retains Swingers crown in memorable final

The Season Six final had a lot to live up to after the excitement of California last year, but this year’s final seemed to raise the bar further. So much contributed to a great event from the quality of the course and the superb hotel through to the standard of golf and the way in which all the participants bonded from the moment the event began. What’s more three great days of weather helped.
 
Throughout Thursday, finalists converged on South Lodge Hotel where despite long journeys and the onset of jet lag, everyone gathered for an informal welcome buffet where the banter began, new friends were made and old friends were reunited.
 
After a Friday morning relaxing at the hotel our 1950’s London bus, branded with the words ‘Swingers on tour’, arrived to take the finalists to their practice round on the Waterfall Course at Mannings Heath.
 
Sharing lunch with our invited gold members who were playing the first of three invitational events across the weekend, our finalists decided their pairings and headed out for their first experience of this stunning course. It was soon clear that accuracy rather than distance was the order of the day.
 
That night, at dinner, the teams were presented with their Bunker Mentality team shirts, before holding meetings in their team rooms led by their respective captains, Hamish Rickman (Europe) and Sean Patton (Rest of the World). You could not find two more enthusiastic captains – Hamish, the cool and calm Englishman with the experience of winning this event last year; Sean, the Aussie living in the States with a big personality and big hopes for his team. The pairings were then announced and whilst some prepared for an early start by going to bed, others prepared for an early start by hitting the bar!
 
As the clock struck ten past nine on Saturday morning, the announcer welcomed Europe’s Nigel Cutting onto the tee to hit the first shot of the Season 6 Final. Watched by a large crowd of fellow team mates, the opposition, plus many of that day’s invited guests, the pressure (or maybe James Gear’s Evil Knievel trousers) gets to three handicapper Nigel and he duffs his first shot straight into the rubbish in front of the tee. It’s ‘normal service resumed’ however with Nigel and James winning 4&3 against their opponents, former rugby players, Ryan Cornish and Andrew Davies.  
 
The next pairing saw Chris Sparks and Jon Dymock, both Mentmore GC players up against ex-pat Mick Thorpe and former tennis professional Pieter Verster. Chris’ swing is a joy to watch, she lets the club do the work and her ball splits the fairway leaving her just yards from the green. Despite a close battle, Jon and Chris prove too good and take the match 2&1.
 
Next up is the dream team of Alastair Price and Geoff Linnell. Four years ago Alastair was playing off of 4, today he’s off scratch. Without a practice swing, he steps up to the ball and effortlessly hits a superb drive. Geoff is another great golfer and they prove too good for South African Tobie De Jonge and another ex-pat Ian Readman winning 5&4.
 
When Bennie Van Der Berg and last year’s finalist Ken Daly beat Andrew Lyth and Mitchell Hallbrook, with some superb and consistent golf it’s looking like a rout. But if you can count on someone to pull a point out of the bag, then Joan Heeter’s the one! Joan and Dawn Foster combined superbly to beat Ruth Abel and Margaret Tindale. Joan and Ruth have been friends for 40 years, but friendships were put aside in a 2&1 victory.
 
In the final pairing, French resident, Keith Eustace-Pedlar, one of our most loyal Swingers and Scotsman Bill Wood contested a close match with the Californian duo Bill Wilson and Alan Brainerd. Keith and Bill crafted a 2&1 victory to complete a 5-1 lead to Europe after day one.
 
Rivalries were soon forgotten however as we took our London bus down to Arundel for a boat trip past the castle and up river. Cabin Crew member Pam drew cheers from the locals for her onboard safety briefing as the boat headed to the beautiful Black Rabbit Pub where a few drinks were consumed before everyone jumped back on to the bus.
 
What should have been a 45 minute journey turned into a 95 minute endurance test as memories of school trips came flooding back with an estimated 10 toilet stops on the 20 mile journey back to the hotel. At one point, I think we counted 3 stops in half a mile, the final one of which was a stop at the services where McDonalds and Fray Bentos pies were consumed despite the BBQ being 10 minutes away.
 
The eventful journey finally ended as the bus turned into the hotel, and to the delight of a bride welcoming her wedding guests, our finalists gave out a big cheer before descending the steps to have their photographs taken with her. Visions of a certain finalist’s departure from a bus in California flashed before me but everyone managed to stay on their feet.
 
The BBQ was a relaxing way to end a great day and although the giant Jenga proved competitive with Ryan Cornish doing well to reach the top of the tower, all attention turned to the Singles pairings for Day Two.
 
Sunday came quickly and even quicker for Bennie, as he rushed to make the first tee after a rather late night enjoying the delights of dice playing with hotel residents.
 
The Rest of the World team needed to get off to a good start, and Joan Heeter did just that. After Chris Sparks stood up and hit a beautiful tee shot, Joan stepped up and hit the perfect tee shot. Her clenched fist to the crowd showed just what it meant and she never looked back running out a 4&3 winner.
 
Despite that early success, it was all Europe however. James Gear (yes, he did wear those trousers again) comfortably beat Mick Thorpe and Bennie Van Der Berg edged out Ryan Cornish who hit some monster drives, one of which claimed Longest Drive on the 17th. Pieter Verster, suffering from a cold, did well to stay with Alastair Price for so long before succumbing to a 2&1 defeat. The European ladies Ruth Abel and Margaret Tindale comfortably beat Bill Wilson and Dawn Foster respectively. Like wise, Bill Wood, Geoff Linnell and Jon Dymock all won well against Mitchell Hallbrook, Alan Brainerd and Ian Readman.
 
Special mention should go to Tobie De Jonge who played superbly to beat Ken Daly 5&3 and Andrew Lyth who edged out Nigel Cutting by one hole. Keith Eustace-Pedlar and Andrew Davies halved their match leaving the final score Europe 13 ½ Rest of the World 4 ½ as each pairing were welcomed on to the 18th green by the invited gold members and competition winners.
 
In the prize giving that followed Sean Patton, the gracious losing captain, congratulated both teams on a superb effort before Hamish Rickman presented the winning trophy to his team, a trophy which was soon filled with Magners, described by Sean as ‘the unofficial sponsor’ of the Swingers final.
 
Goodbyes were said to the European team, whilst the Rest of the World team who were not travelling back until the morning, enjoyed a relaxing pub dinner. No early night however, as the manager kept the bar open and Sean and members of his team told some hilarious stories which kept us all amused into the early hours. Both Luke and I agree it’s one of the funniest nights we’ve had in a long time!
 
Thank you to all finalists and all the invited guests who took part making this the best final so far. Thank you also to our sponsors Callaway, Bunker Mentality, Golfbidder, Volvo and T-king Golf. Finally, a special big cheer to Michelle, Jenny and Sharon from Virgin Atlantic, they are the ones who make this happen. Here’s to Season 7, keep swinging or drinking Magners!
 
Paul
 
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QUOTES

"On the tee, from Miami, representing The Rest of The World, Mick Thorpe" Oh God, please, please don't whiff the ball!  Just breathe, nice and easy, you can do this, relax, just relax......Sadly for those watching, I did hit the ball okay and I could breathe again.  Welcome to Season 6 Swingers Finals!! The weekend was just brilliant, difficult to convey in words.  It is so much more than golf, food and alcohol (although they are integral to the success).  It brings together 24 (or more) individuals from around the globe and in three days, makes them one unit.  I was amazed how quickly people bond together, share stories and become themselves in such a short space of time.  But it is not by accident.  It is thanks to the efforts of both the Virgin and Milestone teams, who planned the event with such detail, that it was impossible not to have a great time.  Okay, so we narrowly lost the match, but I am truly thankful to have been a part of the event.  I have so many great memories to take home, I would not know where to begin.  Besides, "what happens on tour, stays on tour!!".  You can be sure that I will be working hard to make the team next year. Thanks everyone, I had a blast! I am back in Florida, laying on a sandy white beach, drinking a Corona with my wife, watching a beautiful sunset.  Life is just perfect......The sad thing is, I wish I was back at Mannings Heath! Mick Thorpe, Finalist

Having the fortunate opportunity to represent your continent at the Season Ending Final makes entering the Golf League worthwhile. It is probably the closest an Amateur Golfer will get to being treated and respected like a Professional Tour Golfer (What an experience). The Final - Well where do I start, apart from my Duff Shot off the First Tee to open the Season Six Final, it was without question a superbly organised event. The Golf, Hotel and meeting up with all the Finalists some of them again after last years Final was an unforgettable experience. I did not think the Season Five Final experience could be bettered, but Season Six was by far the best. The Hotel, The South Lodge Hotel was a superb resort to have stayed at, with the accommodation being five Star and the food being of an exceptional standard. The Golf Course at Mannings Heath was in absolute awesome condition and all of us could not have wished for a better course to have participated on, in the Final. Some of us played good golf and some played bad golf, but ultimately I think we all had an enjoyable experience with unbelievable camaraderie between both teams. All of this would not be possible though without the huge generosity of Virgin Atlantic Airways and all of their staff involved in the organisation of the Season Ending Final. I feel a special thank you must go to both Paul and Luke from Milestone Events for their huge part in the management of the Flying Club Swingers Golf League throughout the season and the organisation and efficient running of the Season Ending Final.  Nigel Cutting, Finalist

South Lodge Hotel and Mannings Heath Golf Club. Just fantastic. The Waterfall course magnificent. What a final it was. Many thanks to Virgin Atlantic and all at the Flying Club. The Sponsors of this final deserve a massive vote of confidence and hopefully all involved will use their products and services. Hopefully we will see them, and some new ones next season.  Paul and Luke of Milestone Events must really be proud as the organisation was superb, and a very complicated event went off without a hitch. The two teams? Twenty four from various countries and walks of life joined in a concerted effort to produce their best on the day, both on and off the course!! Captains Hamish and Sean at their best. Success went to Europe on the golf course with Rest of the World nominated by me as the winners in the bar. Is there something to be learned from this? Roll on Season 7. Keith Eustace-Pedlar, Finalist

The finals were so much fun, everybody involved had a great time. It was also a great opportunity to make new friends and to renew old friendships from the previous year. Every detail of the weekend finals was planned down to the smallest detail. From the travel arrangements to and from the US to the hotel, the golf course and the excursions. It was a fantastic weekend of golf with many many laughs included.  Andrew Davies, Finalist 

Flying Club Swingers continues to grow from strength to strength and with the ever increasing numbers means that wherever you travel in the world you would almost always be able to meet up with and play a round of golf with another Swinger!! Qualifying for a final is just like experiencing the life of a Pro golfer for a few days, playing some great courses and eating some wonderful food or whether that be having your clubs and equipment all organised for you or the exhilaration of striking a great tee shot in front of an expectant crowd or holing a vital putt not for just yourself but also for the team. Flying club swingers provides the opportunity for all of this and so much more. The final was perfect in every sense, the organisation was unbelievable and just meant that we as players could just concentrate on the golf and enjoying ourselves to the full. The hotel and course were both absolutely top notch and the transport in the bus was fantastic!! There is nothing that hadn’t been thought about or planned for and nothing was ever too much trouble it was perfect just perfect. Thankyou James Gear, Finalist


My experience was fantastic!!!!  It was competitive and fun to watch your results go up or down... trying to stay in the top 12 slots!!! And i was in contact with other competitors to try and set up match play ......After i earned a slot on the team we were treated to  First Class golf event at  Mannings Heath and South Lodge. Words can not describe the remarkable 4 days  I spent  in  England with the "golf  swingers on tour"........fantastic golf and housing......and meeting new friends from around the world!!!! Life cannot  get any better!!!! i had such great fun!!! You two run a first class event from start to finish!!! i cannot say enough good things....... Joan Heeter, Finalist

Being this was my first time playing in the Swingers Event, I was totally overwhelmed with all the people I got to meet and the fantastic way the Event was put on. We had great support from everyone and everywhere we went. During my flight home many of the flight crew saw my "Rest of the World" shirt and had many questions about the Event. Several passengers questioned me about becoming members for next year. I look forward to next year and seeing many of our team members again. Many thanks to Virgin Atlantic, Mannings Heath Golf Club, South Lodge Hotel and all the others that helped put on such a great weekend. Mitchell Hallbrook, Finalist

Thanks to you, Luke and the rest of the team for what turned out to be a great weekend. There are many things that contribute to a great weekend and the Swingers final had many great contributions to make it one to remember for the rest of my life. The camaraderie between players on both sides was superb. This combined with the fabulous facilities offered by both the South Lodge Hotel and Mannings Heath Golf Club, the massages, the hospitality offered by Virgin and in particular the two captains made the few days so great. The weather was a bonus. The golf was excellent and the high level of competition brought out the best in both sides, this made the victory to Europe to retain the trophy all the better. I for one can’t wait to get stuck into next year and try to make it a hat-trick of finals. Jon Dymock, Finalist

The league is fantastic! It really helped me to get the most out of my game! It helped to be focused and to try to improve every week. The league table keeps you updated on your position and is interesting to follow and hopefully to make that top 12. Further I ensured that I booked on Virgin every time I fly as I like to support a company that runs such an exciting event. The final was even better than I have imagined. We were really looked after well and the event was organised perfectly! People from all over the world just came together like they have been friends forever! The relaxed mood of the event also helped everyone to just be themselves and we all had a great time! The golf course was also very good and it was just a lot of fun! Can’t wait for next year!!! Pieter Verster, Finalist

What an excellent event! Well done to the personnel and organisers from Virgin Atlantic and Milestone Events for organising a great final. I had a great time and will definitely encourage more friends to join the Virgin Swingers and try to qualify for the next season finale. Bennie Van Der Berg, Finalist

What a fantastic event!!! As a first time Swinger, I had no idea what to expect, but the weekend was meticulously planned and executed. The sponsor prizes were of top quality (the Bunker Mentality shirts we wore for the final 2 days were extremely smart!). It was also a great business networking event, giving us a chance to meet with a group of like minded people and discuss our various businesses. Thanks to Virgin and to Milestone Events; I shall be working hard on my handicap in an attempt to qualify for 2010. Ian Readman, Finalist


 
RESULTS

FLYING CLUB SWINGERS FINAL
 
NEAREST THE PIN – DAY ONE – ALASTAIR PRICE
LONGEST DRIVE – DAY ONE – CHRIS SPARKS
NEAREST THE PIN – DAY TWO – JON DYMOCK
LONGEST DRIVE – DAY TWO – RYAN CORNISH
 
FINAL RESULTS – DAY ONE
 
NIGEL CUTTING & JAMES GEAR (EUROPE) BEAT RYAN CORNISH & ANDREW DAVIES (ROW) 4&3
JON DYMOCK & CHRIS SPARKS (EUROPE) BEAT MICK THORPE & PIETER VERSTER (ROW) 2&1
ALASTAIR PRICE & GEOFF LINNELL (EUROPE) BEAT TOBIE DE JONGE & IAN READMAN (ROW) 5&4
BENNIE VAN DER BERG & KEN DALY (EUROPE) BEAT ANDREW LYTH & MITCHELL HALLBROOK (ROW) BY 1 HOLE
JOAN HEETER & DAWN FOSTER (ROW) BEAT RUTH ABEL & MARGARET TINDALE (EUROPE) 2&1
KEITH EUSTACE-PEDLAR & BILL WOOD (EUROPE) BEAT BILL WILSON & ALAN BRAINERD 2&1
 
EUROPE 5 ROW 1
 
FINAL RESULTS – DAY TWO
 
JOAN HEETER (ROW) BEATS CHRIS SPARKS (EUROPE) 4&3
JAMES GEAR (EUROPE) BEATS MICK THORPE (ROW) 4&2
BENNIE VAN DER BERG (EUROPE) BEATS RYAN CORNISH (ROW) BY 1 HOLE
ALASTAIR PRICE (EUROPE) BEATS PIETER VERSTER 2&1
RUTH ABEL (EUROPE) BEATS BILL WILSON (ROW) 5&4
MARGARET TINDALE (EUROPE) BEATS DAWN FOSTER (ROW) 4&3   
TOBIE DE JONGE (ROW) BEATS KEN DALY (EUROPE) 5&4
KEITH EUSTACE PEDLAR (EUROPE) HALVES MATCH WITH ANDREW DAVIES (ROW)
ANDREW LYTH (ROW) BEATS NIGEL CUTTING (EUROPE) BY 1 HOLE
BILL WOOD (EUROPE) BEATS MITCHELL HALLBROOK (ROW) 6&5
GEOFF LINNELL (EUROPE) BEATS ALAN BRAINERD (ROW) 5&3
JON DYMOCK (EUROPE) BEATS IAN READMAN (ROW) 3&2
 
EUROPE 8 ½ ROW 3 ½
 
FINAL MATCH RESULT – EUROPE WINS 13 ½ 4 ½
EUROPE RETAINS SWINGERS TROPHY
 
FRIDAY INVITATIONAL
 
NEAREST THE PIN – ROB WILLIAMS
LONGEST DRIVE – BRUCE STANLEY
INDIVIDUAL STABLEFORD WINNER – PAUL MITCHELL 34PTS (COUNTBACK)
INDIVIDUAL STABLEFORD RUNNER-UP – ROB WILLIAMS 34PTS
INDIVIDUAL STABLEFORD THIRD PLACE – JOHN LINGARD 33PTS

FRIDAY INVITATIONAL RESULTS

PAUL MITCHELL  34PTS
ROB WILLIAMS  34
JOHN LINGARD  32
MARTIN WILLIAMS  32
STEVEN GLASS  32
CHRIS JAGGERS  30
STEVE COLLINGWOOD 29
GRAHAM PIELOW  29
MARTIN STEER  29
TOD LOCKARD  28
CRAIG SCOTT  28
HARRY SHAW  28
SELWYN COOPER  27
LEON LOBERMAN  27
ANDREW MEDLOCK  26
PAUL MORRISON  26
JONATHAN GOLDSMID 26
BRUCE STANLEY  26
PETER MATTHEWS  24
BRYSON CRASKE  24
IAN WALKERDINE  24
JIM MCINTOSH  24
NEIL GLEGHORN  24
MICHAEL SIMPSON  23
IAN WALLER  23
GARRY MANCINI  22
GRAEME GILBERT  21
TERRY HEAVER  21
PAUL SIMPSON  20
DARYN GROSSMITH  20
PETER BARNWELL  19
BERNARD HARRINGTON 19
DAVID GODLEY  19
PAUL BLOOMFIELD  18
PAT SMITH  18
KEITH MITCHELL  17
GIFI FIELDS  17
THOMAS TANNER  16
MICHAEL MOORE  16
GERRY MARSH  16
FRANK MIRTLE  12
ANDREW HERROD  10
GRACE WANG  9
MATTHEW GILLICK  9
DAVID KEEN  8
 
SATURDAY INVITATIONAL
 
NEAREST THE PIN – SHIV KHAZANCHI
LONGEST DRIVE – JOHN WAKELY
INDIVIDUAL STABLEFORD WINNER – ALEX LAWTON 34PTS (COUNTBACK)
INDIVIDUAL STABLEFORD RUNNER-UP – ALAN HAMILTON 34PTS
INDIVIDUAL STABLEFORD THIRD PLACE – ADRIAN KNOWLES 33PTS

SATURDAY INVITATIONAL RESULTS

ALEX LAWTON  34PTS
ALAN HAMILTON  34
ADRIAN KNOWLES  33
ROBERT HARPER  32
STEVE WELTMAN  30
DAVID WAKLEY  28
JACOB AKOL  28
CHARLES DOYLE  27
JOHN WAKELY  27
ANDY BOARD  26
GEOFF JASPAN  25
RON JAMIESON  25
JOHN COGAN  24
TOM BRADY  24
LUKE ANAMOURLIS  24
NIGEL FREEMANTLE 23
ROB SHERMAN  23
DAVE BRACKPOOL  23
ANDREW MEREDITH  22
ALEX BARCLAY  22
JONO SUMNER  21
KATE BROOKS  21
SHIV KHAZANCHI  19
DAVID COOKE  19
KIM TASSELL  19
VICTOR BENJAMIN  17
PATRICK YAN  17
GRAHAM GROSE  16
COLIN BAUM  16
CRAIG WHITNEY  15
JOHN LOWE  6
 
SUNDAY INVITATIONAL
 
NEAREST THE PIN – JOHN BOLODEOKU
LONGEST DRIVE – GEORGE COPLEY
INDIVIDUAL STABLEFORD WINNER – PAUL FRANK 37PTS (COUNTBACK)
INDIVIDUAL STABLEFORD RUNNER-UP – BARRY LEE 37PTS
INDIVIDUAL STABLEFORD THIRD PLACE – MARK DAVIES 33PTS

SUNDAY INVITATIONAL RESULTS

PAUL FRANK  37PTS
BARRY LEE  37
MARK DAVIES  33
DAVID BELLINGHAM 32
NICHOLAS MOUNTFIELD 31
KONSTANTIN VOGEL 31
NICK PULFORD  30
CHRIS MILFORD  29
GEORGE COPLEY  29
JURGEN SCHWABE  29
RICHARD CARPENTER 28
MALCOLM GOLD  27
CHARLES STEWART  27
GEOFF BRIGGS  27
BRIN COX  26
MARTIN DERRICK  26
LOVEEN ISRANI  26
TOM GOODWIN  26
KEVIN ROBINS  25
JOE BARRETT  25
NICOLA ORCHARD-BUNGAY 24
DWAYNE TAYLOR  24
GEORGE BAILEY  23
LUKE SLATFORD  22
HING C KUNG  22
JOHN BOLODEOKU  22
PETER WILGOSS  22
GEFF BRIANT  22
NICK HAYWARD  21
ROB NEWMAN  21
ANDREW PRING  20
ALAN SPARKES  19
SALLY THOMAS  19
DECLAN KILCLINE  13
NIGEL JOHNSON  13
ROB BOLT  12
 
 

 

 
 

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