Morag Hutcheon (Captain)
Welcome to the Team Europe Page.
As we count down to the S14 final, this is the place to hear all the news from Europe's captain Morag Hutcheon, together with profiles of her team as Europe attempt to win back the new named Pedlar Trophy.
Captain's blog - Final Thoughts
Well….all can I say is WOW!
The week suddenly arrived after all the build-up and we met at Gatwick all excited about playing together and at Streamsong. It’s been a long season and it was finally time to set off and start playing so it was lovely to have a nice send off in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. Arriving at Streamsong to a warm welcome from the Virgin Team, ROW players; fantastic rooms and facilities just heightened the anticipation. We had welcome cocktails, great food and lots of chat before myself and Clinton presented our Teams with Team Shirts and Caps. We both got whisked away to do a piece to camera which if you watch just remember I’d been up 4am :) A final gathering with the team to discuss the strategy and pairings were announced for the first days play; this was followed by a little night cap for some..and of course it would’ve been rude not to as Captain!
Nerves were with us in the morning, but a practice session for all I think helped settle things a little! We did get to experience how quick the greens were before playing which proved invaluable as they were upto 12.5 on stint. We met our caddies next followed by lunch and Team photos, just adding to the tension. I was just glad to get going and play golf with my fab rookie partner Luke against Simon Hudson and Lesley Conway. Delighted that we started with a win for Europe, then we eagerly waited for all groups to finish and cheer everyone in. Some close matches and a small lead on the first day was a great start or Europe!
We all got dressed up for pre dinner drinks and a lovely meal at Streamsong. If you go, just remember the meatball is for 6 not one! It was the size of a cricket ball, so much laughter was had as so many had ordered this to start. Dinner was followed by the presentation of pairings for the next day and another night cap made for a cracking first day with so much to talk about.
The second day was straight into playing Red, a different course and nice to be up against the ROW Captain. Clinton and Duncan put up a hard fight but Andrew Gray and myself had the momentum to win which needed both of us to be on top of our games. I only gave 5 shots and it’s not something I don’t like doing :) Again, I was delighted to see all groups finish and see the score developing in Europe’s favour.
The afternoon saw us go to Tampa on an invitation from the Tampa Tourist Board, a pirate river cruise was lots of fun as we dressed in hats, wigs, parrots and patches as we got to understand more about the great city from the River. This was followed by welcome cocktails and a great meal in a trendy restaurant and brewery tour. Pairings were then announced on the bus back to Streamsing for the final day and then a very quiet tired bus full went back to Streamsong. NO nightcaps followed, 2 full days of intensive golf had finally caught up with everyone.
The Final day and Streamsong Black was today's challenge. Blue and Red were quite different challenging courses but Black was very different again and it had its own stunning clubhouse, minimal but architecturally outstanding. We started in much cooler conditions, grey and overcast but after a few holes a bit of blue sky appeared and we then got back to the sunshine and heat we’d got used too. This I thought was a great test of golf, again many closely battled matches and we stayed ahead to take the overall win. I didn’t win my match but happy with an Eagle on 10 on Black and a strong comeback after giving 5 shots against Bill who putted brilliantly on those huge, hilly greens like you’ve never seen before. It was a pleasure to then have the chance to see everyone else come in. A real feeling of relief and excitement as it was official, we’d claimed back the Trophy renamed this year in honour of Mr Swinger ‘The Pedlar Trophy’.
I saw a few butterflies on the Black course and thought of Keith, maybe a sign maybe not but I like to think he was with us looking down, maybe our 13th Team member last week. We did raise a glass for Keith so never far from the Swingers thoughts.
All the Europe Team had played really well and enjoyed wins. I just want to mention Rebecca Gray, who was my choice as Euro player of the week with 4 wins out of 4 which was outstanding. Claire sadly couldn’t play on Thursday so Rebecca stood in for her game too so was faced with playing 2 ROW players at the same time in the singles match on Black! This has never been done before by anyone let alone a rookie - this was exceptional play, well done Rebecca. Lunch, presentations, speeches, photos and a film interview followed the golf and then in a flash it seemed we were back at Gatwick to a very fresh (cold) bright morning on Friday…
I’m so proud of Team Europe, what a fantastic group of people, I’ve not had or given so many hugs in such a short time ever before, we worked so well together as a team. We set up a Team Europe Whatsapp group before we left, we used before, during and continue to use now! This is the Swingers spirit of friendships new and old developing over a love of golf and I’m so happy to have been part of this cracking Team. Clinton and his Team gave us a great battle and I’m sure will come back strong next year fighting even harder to take the trophy back. For the next Europe Team Captain there will always be the fantastic ‘Captains Helpline’ for you…
A huge thanks to Virgin Atlantic, Paul & Luke (you guys really do rock) Sharon, Jenny, Anuli, Streamsong, all the Sponsors this year and of course all the players in the league. It’s been a fantastic season, I know qualifying next year will be tougher than ever and good luck to you all. I’ve loved being Captain and just wish I’d had chance to play with all my team not just three. Hopefully next year I’ll play with more of you.
Signing off still smiling and looking forward to the Society day announcements for 2018 and then we can start all over again.
Happy golf this winter, merry Christmas and my best wishes to you all.
Captain Morgan x (Thanks Luke it seems to have stuck :)
Captain's blog - Thursday 9 November
Suddenly it's less than a week to go, how did that happen!
I've been spending time on the practice ground which in the chill is now supported by a thermal top and a flask of hot coffee. This made me check the weather at Streamsong again and as expected we'll have plenty of sunshine. It's saying a lovely 26,25 so it's cooled a couple of degrees which is very considerate for Team Europe, but I still have sun spray ready for us all.
Team Europe have been practising and are cramming in a few more games before leaving so we should be nice and ready to do battle with ROW. I played in a Pro Am last week at my old club so was delighted with a great team win, I had a slow start but came back strong with 3 birdies on shot holes on the back 9. I have a couple more games to play before packing my clubs.
Tickets have now arrived, so now it all feels very real and Team Europe are super excited. It'll be time to pack soon, I'm well know as a last minute packer but I'm determined to get it done early and my golf clubs will be the priority. I guarantee I won't be packing thermals for Streamsong!!
This Captain is still smiling and can't wait to get together with everyone in the Virgin Lounge early on Monday morning, I expect a glass of champagne will be shared and we'll toast you all for making it a great season and Keith who I'm sure will be overseeing the Final.
Until then, practice, practice, practice...
Captain's blog - Thursday 26 October
19 sleeps to go…wow it’s coming round quick!
I’ve been in touch with the Team who are all preparing well and super excited to get to Florida to start playing. Claire, Rebecca and Karen are all on a winning streak, I’m so glad we have more ladies this year in the team. The Red tees will be getting much more use in Florida which is a great thing. I have a sneaky lesson tomorrow and a few games next week to warm up. I still can’t help browsing the Streamsong website and can’t believe we’ll be there playing very soon. The weather forecast for Streamsong is a 10 day forecast (yes I’ve checked :) ) so not long until we see the weather conditions but it promises to be warmer than the UK.
I’ve got some first team pairing thoughts. I’m obviously going to say it…but yes, we look strong at all levels so feeling confident. While getting to know everyone a bit better via email, Luke and Paul made me laugh by both sharing stories of people they know who have played with me in the past. One guy previously mentioning to Luke about ‘a lady who hits it a really long way with the best short game he’s even seen’ - turns out it’s me! It made me giggle as my short game a couple of years ago was questionable! But it did remind me that we’re all lucky to play this game and how the golf world is a great place for meeting new people. I know from previous finals, it’ll be fun and competitive and I gaurantee friendships will develop that will last for a lifetime.
Bags tags have arrived, excursions to Tampa confirmed and that looks like it’ll be a lovely break from the golf for a few hours to all continue the banter, have a beer and laugh together, before myself and Clinton announce the final Singles matches for the following day!
My team profile appears below, after a few lines about me from the Swingers team!
Morag Hutcheon (Capt) Handicap 7
Delighted to be playing and Captain of Team Europe this year for the Season 14 final - Morag is still smiling at both! She joined John O’Gaunt GC in April after a winter without a golf club. The new club seems to have done wonders for her golf dropping from 9.4 to 6.8. This is Morag’s third successive final. Morag is a very competitive, highly respected golfer who understands the true spirt of Swingers, and therefore in the minds of the Swingers team, there is no doubt she will make a superb leader for Team Europe.
John Astall Handicap 10
John is our first rookie, but has been a Swinger for 7 years now, competing in the Fun league. Playing his golf at Portal Golf and Country Club, John has had a great season finishing second with 25pts, and despite having to play off his Swingers handicap in the final, he’s going to be a key player.
Claire Boucher Handicap 9
I believe Claire is the first finalist to ever swap sides! Since representing ROW in the S12 Final, Claire has moved to the UK and now plays her golf at Crowborough Beacon in East Sussex. Claire is another Fun Swinger, who will have to play off her Swingers handicap, but her experience of playing for the opposition will be invaluable!
Paul Copley Handicap 4
Our second rookie is Paul Copley from Kent. Paul plays his golf at the stunning Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club and after 5 years as a Swinger, makes his Final debut after securing 4th spot in Division 1. Paul has been in top form all season, and it’s great to have a new single figure handicapper on board for the challenge ahead.
Brin Cox Handicap 10
A popular guy at all the society days, Welshman Brin is making his second final appearance after helping Europe win in S12. Brin finished third in Division 2, and his run of form included a Seniors Open competition win, so this final will be a fitting end to a great season.
Ken Daly Handicap 7
Former winning captain Ken Daly returns for unbelievably his 7th final! Ken will provide valuable experience having taken on the old enemy more than most, and his form this season has been incredible. His final record of 7 wins is excellent, and he’ll be one that most of Team ROW will hope to avoid in the singles draw!
Martin Derrick Handicap 17
Martin is incredibly playing his 6th final in 8 years, and has arguably been Europe’s most successful player in that time, winning 13 out of 14 matches! To top it all, he’s had an incredible S13 finishing top of division 2. I wouldn’t bet against that final record continuing at Streamsong!
Luke Eustace Handicap 10
Our third rookie, Luke has qualified at the first attempt after winning the UK society day spot. Luke played a superb round at the Wallasey Golf Day to put him in pole position and a solid round at Denham confirmed his spot. I notice he’s no stranger to big overseas tournaments so don’t be fooled by the ‘rookie’ status!
Andrew Gray Handicap 14
Andrew is technically not a rookie, having played in one of our early one day finals although this is the first team final he will play in. Andrew and wife Rebecca are regular attendees of our UK society days, and being a great competitor, I am sure Andrew will relish being in the thick of it at Streamsong.
Rebecca Gray Handicap 19
Joining husband Andrew is Rebecca, another previous one day finalist. Rebecca and Andrew have been Swingers for 13 years, and it’s fantastic to see both of them at the final this year. Rebecca has had a great season which has seen her handicap drop from 26 to 19, and I’m sure she will keep that form going out in Florida.
Mahesh Mani Handicap 10
Our fourth rookie is Mahesh from Peterfield GC in Hampshire. Mahesh has been a Swinger for five years, and his golf has been superb this season. Finishing 4th in division 2, don’t be fooled by his polite and quiet manner. Mahesh will be determined to gain 3 points at Streamsong to help Europe to a famous victory.
Karen Scott Handicap 26
Our fifth and final rookie is Karen Scott, husband of Srixon ambassador Bob Scott. Karen has been a regular Swinger for 11 years and it’s fantastic that this year she is going to get to experience the magic of a final. Karen is the current Hazlemere Club Champion, and so is definitely a player for the big occasion. We can’t wait for her to join up with the team in Florida.
AVERAGE TEAM HANDICAP 12
Captain's blog - Friday 13 October
Well, It’s safe to say I’m totally delighted to have qualified for the Final this year and to have the opportunity to play Streamsong! A once in the lifetime opportunity especially to play the newly opened Streamsong Black course, I keep pinching myself...yes Streamsong Black!! We’ve got a strong European Team with a great mix of previous finalists with huge experience and wins under their belts and the rookies who are well deserved finalists and ready to win those valuable points for Team Europe.
If it wasn’t for an email from Virgin Atlantic inviting me to a Gold members Flying Club golf day at Bearwood lakes 3 years ago, I might never have got back into golf. This email broke a 26 year long ‘golfing break’ and little did I know what impact that day would have on my life. Obviously, I fell in love with golf again, but on that day I also met a lovely friendly, helpful chap who encouraged me and introduced me to a fantastic, friendly ‘Swingers Golf League’. That chap was Keith Pedlar, so it was particularly emotional to be asked to be this year’s Captain when at Keith’s Memorial Golf Day. I feel very honoured and hope to help make this a special event for all involved and know for sure we’ll have a special 13th member looking down on us, cheering Europe on.
Now the Teams have been announced it’s obvious that it’s going to be a hard fought Final. I know Team Europe are very capable and ready to fight (friendly) for every point. We’re up against a great ROW Team who will undoubtedly put up a tough challenge. I’m loving the fact that the opposing Captain is my good friend Clinton Heap, who’ll undoubtedly make a cracking Captain. We’ve played golf together many many times in the UK, South Africa & California so we know each other and each other’s golf well. Let’s just hope for Team ROW’s sake that ‘Elvis legs’ don’t make an appearance!
We’re a competitive bunch and obviously looking to bring back the Trophy to Europe…so with Keith in mind I hope we can carry forward his spirit of friendship, fairness, warmth & fun while we rack up a Europe win
This happy girl is off to practice…