Players who woke Saturday in the Brussels area to the leaden skies and constant rain could be forgiven for asking themselves, “Am I crazy?” when considering golf that day. Of course, those who played the President’s Cup in August thought, “This is nothing!” Fortunately the forecast for constant and potentially heavy rains on Saturday did not hold true for the Golf Club of Henri Chapelle one hour to the east. Your intrepid club members trekked to the Ardennes for the Club Championship on a challenging and interesting course that is built on the sides of hills that challenged both our fitness as well as our golf. Looking at the par 5 number 13, which is nearly straight uphill over 550-plus yards in length, Barry McAlpine commented, “This is NOT a golf hole!” Personally, your Captain will think twice the next time the Club Secretary points out (for a golf course he has never played before) that “some players take golf carts due to the hilly terrain.” An understatement of the highest order!
Fortunately the weather held and we only endured minor showers episodically during the round. The course was in great shape with greens that offered some tricky breaks that were often counter-intuitive. The management of the hilly terrain led to some breath-taking vistas and some challenging shots on a course with few par threes and some very long par fours. Thanks to a high slope rating we were all awarded some extra strokes but could have used even more in some cases!
The competition was brisk in all categories and the skill prizes equally hard fought. For long drive, Alain Klein put the first marker in the fairway but new member Eduardo Diaz was proud to surpass him by nearly 30 yards. Nevertheless, the Lithuanian Lion, Gediminas Levickis, took home the prize with his legendary length off the tee. In the Ladies category, Naomi Bedford came over from the UK to pick up the prize there.
Nearest to the pin was on the shortest of the three par threes (155 meters from the back Men’s tees) and your Captain, playing in the first group, put a 7 iron about 8 feet from the pin to taunt the rest of the field throughout the day. Sadly for the Ladies they had no luck from 132 meters. The final skill category, fewest putts, went to Peter Bedford (30 putts) edging out Jeremy Drage (31) and Gediminas Levickis (33) to take the 2013 Silver Putter award.
We had three categories for the Championship with Category three (Handicaps 20-36) playing under Stableford competition. Dag Wilhelmsen took third place with 23 points, while Dick Whittingham (29 points) in second place was narrowly edged out by the Captain with 30 points who took the Category III trophy for 2013.
Category II (Handicaps 15-19.9) played stroke play with full handicaps and recorded some very respectable results for the day. In third place, with a net score of 87, was Naomi Bedford. Taking second place is the club treasurer, Alain Klein, with a net 79 and taking one less stroke to take home the first prize, for the second year in a row, Tom Taylor with a net score of 78. Well done!
Finally, Category I (Handicaps 0-14.9) showed the difficulty of the course. Our lower handicappers were compensated the least of all for the difficulty of the course and were challenged to their utmost. Taking third place with a net score of 81 was Eduardo Diaz. Second place went to Gediminas Levickis with a net 78 and the outright winner with a net score of 74 was Peter Bedford (clearly his putting trophy shows the level of his play for the day!) Congratulations to all.
The ultimate awards went to the male and female low gross scores who earned bragging rights until next year as well as the trophies for Men’s and Women’s Champions for 2013. The prizes went to Peter (87) and Naomi (105) Bedford who will have to return to defend their titles next year!