Last year I decided to join Saunton Golf Club as a Country Member. It’s a course I’d played a few times before and one of the first golf clubs I went to in the year that I took up golf.

So this year MrsG and I decided to go down to Saunton for the whole of their Open Week, and what a great week it was. There are 12 competitions across the 10 days with 7 in which ladies can play and 9 in which men can play.

Here are details of each competition along with some notes from my experience playing each one.

Date/Competition Notes
Thursday August 1st – LADIES OPEN MEDAL (East Course) 18 Hole handicap in three divisions – Silver, Bronze I and Bronze II. Handicap Limit 36. (Trophy for Members Only) Limited to 96 entries with the lowest handicaps.
Friday August 2nd – ANY COMBINATION 3 BALL OPEN (East & West Course) 18 Hole Stableford two scores to count. Handicap allowance 3/4 of individual handicaps to a maximum of 18. (Ladies add East 3 & West 2 before calculation).
Saturday August 3rd – 18 HOLES MEDAL (East Course) CLUB SCRATCH GOLD MEDAL & HANDICAP CUP (Trophies for Members only of Maximum Allowance: 18). If oversubscribed the entry will be limited to the first 165 entries. A pretty windy day and my first experience of playing off the Blue Tees on the Saunton East course.  I shot a fairly respectable 78 and got my first surprise of the week when I discovered that the CSS varies between local members and visitors (which I’m considered to be as a Country member).  CSS was 74 & 77 respectively, which meant I was just in the buffer zone from a handicap perspective.  If you’ve not played much links golf then do not underestimate just how much a breezy day can affect your score and your ability to hit the right shot at the right time.  It’s not as a simple as saying “less club” downwind and “more club” into, the wind will magnify any slight flaw in your ball flight.  Your normal gentle fade turns into a massive slice and that perfect draw a huge hook when the wind takes the ball!
Sunday, Monday, Thursday & Saturday August 4th, 5th, 8th & 10th. SAUNTON PLATE MATCH PLAY (East Course) Day 1 – Rounds 1 & 2; Day 2 – Rounds 3 & 4; Day 3 – Rounds 5 & Semi-Finals; Day 4 – Final. 18 Hole match play full difference of handicap – Maximum Handicap 24.  Prizes: 1st – £300, 2nd – £200, S/F – £100, Q/F – £50. You know what a nice summer it’s been?  Well the Sunday started sunny, got cloudy quickly and with a mid-morning tee time, but the time Mike Pennicott and I got to the 5th hole it was raining pretty persistently.  And, it did not stop until the match was over – I lost 2&1 having lost my ball on the par 3 17th (played into a 2-3 club headwind!).  So that was it for me for the Matchplay competition that ran throughout the whole week.
Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday August 4th, 6th, 8th & 10th. LADIES OPEN MATCH PLAY (West Course). Day 1 – Round 1; Day 2 – Round 2; Day 3 – Round 3 & Semi-Finals ; Day 4 – Final. 18 Hole match play full difference of handicap – Maximum individual handicap – 28.
Monday August 5th – JACK CROPPER MEMORIAL TROPHY 18 HOLE STABLEFORD (West Course) Yellow Tees. 18 Hole handicap in two divisions – Division 1 up to 15 H’cap. Division 2 16 – 28 H’cap.  (Trophy for Members only). If oversubscribed limited to the first 183 entries. Having got soaked on Sunday in the Matchplay, I had barely got my shoes dry before it was time to go out again on the Monday.  I played with two visitors from Ingestre Park Golf Club (http://www.ingestregolf.co.uk) and oh what fun we had.  It was drizzling as we teed off on the West Course.  It was properly raining by the 2nd and halfway down the 10th the hooter sounded and everyone was called off the course.  By that time I was soaking wet down to my underpants, even with full wet weather gear on.  annoyingly I scored 19 points on the front nine, however, I was nowhere near as upset as the two players who were already in the clubhouse with 40+ points by the time the competition was cancelled!  Calling it off was the right thing to to do as I have NEVER played in rain like it, it was horrendous.  Everyone got their money back as you’d expect.
Tuesday August 6th - MICKY PAINE MEMORIAL CUP 18 HOLE STABLEFORD (East Course – White Tees)  (Trophy for Members only). Maximum allowance for trophy: 18. If oversubscribed the entry will be limited to the first 165 entries. I didn’t play in this competition.  Stupidly I thought I might have needed a rest day having played three days in a row, as it was, the body held up just fine bearing in mind the shortened round the day before.  So, MrsG and I went out and played round the West Course and I sneaked off the Blue Tees and got my ball round in a respectable 5 over!
Wednesday August 7th – OPEN MONTHLY MEDAL (East Course) 18 Hole handicap in two divisions – Division 1 up to 15 H’cap. Division 2 16 – 28 H’cap. REID PUTTER (Trophy for Members only) Maximum allowance for trophy: 18. If oversubscribed limited to the first 165 entries. Another breezy day dawned, full sun but breezy.  But it felt like I was getting the hang of playing in the wind and managed to golf my ball round in 79 (net 72) and with visitors CSS going to 76, that meant a 0.8 cut in my handicap from 7.2 to 6.4…yay, me, a 6 handicap golfer!  Highlight of the week so far.
Wednesday August 7th – LADIES OPEN STABLEFORD (West Course) 18 Hole handicap in three divisions – Silver, Bronze I & Bronze II. Handicap Limit 36. (Trophy for Members only) Limited to 96 entries with the lowest handicaps.
Thursday August 8th – GOODBAN SALVERS – 18 HOLE MEDAL FOURSOMES (any combination) (East Course). Handicap allowance ½ combined . Ladies to add 3 strokes to their handicap before calculation. MrsG and I played the first of two foursomes competitions during the week.  This is a Medal competition, possibly one of the hardest formats to play as husband and wife. None of the “two off the tee” rubbish you get with Greensomes.  One ball, one swing and a whole lot of trust in the other person.We played pretty well on the front nine but then let it all go on the back nine and finished nowhere really.  Great fun though playing with two other Henbury GC members who were down for the day.
Friday August 9th – KILLARD-LEAVEY SALVER (East) & KILLARD-LEAVEY CUP (West) 18 HOLE STABLEFORD Open to MEN & LADIES. The course played will be decided by draw. (Ladies to play off Ladies card) Men off White Tees & Ladies of Red Tees. Played in 2’s. This competition is drawn at random as to whether you get to play on the East or the West Course. Also the format of 2-balls is an interesting one, but apparently it was specified in this format by the person (a lady I think) who originally sponsored the competition and paid for the trophies.It was going really well until the 9th tee (150 yard par 3) when I got my club selection one wrong (one club too much) and put my tee shot over the green with one bounce into the rough, had to take a drop and a chip & two putts later carded a blob. This was followed by a lost ball on my second shot on the par 5 10th and that was it for me really, all over. As it was I bounced back pretty well and was level par for the next five holes before blobbing the par 3 16th having two shots in the right hand bunker. So that was it, 31 points and a 0.1 increase in handicap to 6.5 and back to a playing handicap of 7. However, having tasted a few days playing as a 6 handicap golfer I’m going to work a bit harder towards the end of the season to try and get back there!
Saturday August 10th – FOSTER MEMORIAL CUPS – 18 HOLE MIXED FOURSOMES STABLEFORD (East Course). Handicap allowance ½ combined – Maximum allowance 18. Entry fee inclusive of lunch voucher. MrsG and I were back on the East Course playing foursomes on this last event of the week.  This was a stableford competition so felt a bit more relaxed.  A bogey on the 1st and a blog on the 2nd didn’t seem like a good start, but the 18 points we accumulated on the front nine said otherwise.  The back nine was also going well until the par 3 13th when I thinned the tee shot and left MrsG with a hiding to nothing of a shot and we walked off with a blog.  But for the last five holes we played really well and finished with 36 points which at the end of the day was enough to place us 5th overall which gave us a name check that evening at the presentation evening and a pro shop voucher for £30 each…not bad!

You can see all the results at http://www.sauntongolf.co.uk/open_results

Saunton Open Week is a great set of events and even if you are the only golfer in your family, why not bring the family and stay somewhere locally for the whole week and play hooky on a few days and play in some competitive, yet fun, golf competitions.

So, see you in 2014!