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Santa Came to Royal Hainaut

Results of 2021 Christmas Cracker

The Christmas Cracker has long been a NGC tradition. Scheduled every December, it is a chance for the hearty among us to face the challenges of winter golf in Belgium and exchange gifts. Some years we have had to cancel, and some years we have been delayed waiting for the fog to lift or the greens to thaw. Every year you can expect damp conditions (lots of rain, mud and even snow from time to time).

As Brussels woke up to its first snowfall on Thursday morning, it looked like the 2021 Cracker was going to fit perfectly into that mold. On Thursday, while our outgoing Captain was winging his way to warm Jordan with his new wife - Anne-Claire, Darryl Rupp was calling Rigenee (the traditional venue for the Cracker) to turn back unused tee times. That's when he found out the course would be closed through Sunday. An ever resourceful Army officer, Darryl got on the phone to his own club and made a reservation at Royal Golf Club Hainaut (RGCH) for Saturday, 4 December.

So a few hardy NGC golfers teed up just after 9 AM, rain threatening. With only 4 players the event was changed from a Texas Scramble to a Stableford event. Due to the week of rain and snow, we played to winter greens. The almost 10"/24 cm holes (rather than the standard 4.25"/10.8cm) and the shorter distances from tee to pin were much appreciated.

While we managed to get through 6 holes without rain,it did come, as forecast. So at the turn, the smart ones, Don and Rodney called it a day and headed back to Brussels to beat the protest which was planned for that afternoon, downtown.

That left two slogging through the rain - check out the rain on the glasses!!.

Thanks to a big jump in his handicap over the last few months, Rick took a lead into the back 9. Darryl fought back hard in difficult conditions, picking up a birdie and 2 pars, but Rick held on, ending the round with an obscene 42 Stableford points. So back in the warm and dry clubhouse, Golfing Santa was presented to Rick by Darryl.

Not a Christmas Cracker like those of years gone by, but at least it was held and those that played enjoyed the course and the company.

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