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Tonsley Golf Society - Winter Tour 2015

The Angels & Devils: Chris, Rob, Eddie I, Jonny, Jerry, Anton, Andy, Woolfy, Joe, Pedro, Nick, Floody, Richie, Dan, Giles, Dutts
The Angels & Devils: Chris, Rob, Eddie I, Jonny, Jerry, Anton, Andy, Woolfy, Joe, Pedro, Nick, Floody, Richie, Dan, Giles, Dutts

After the polar conditions of the 2012 Tonsley Cup, it took three years for Tonsley Events to thaw out and organise the next round of the competition. As competitors gathered for the weekend of the 7/8 February, stories from the previous round of frozen lakes, snowballs and the slowest, coldest round in golfing history were shared.

For the 2015 edition of the Tonsley Cup, Tonsley Events had found a new venue in Donnington Grove; a picturesque golf and country club near Newbury and a remarkable improvement in the facilities of previous years. A reflection, perhaps, of the ageing group of Tonsley competitors, harking after creature comforts.


Despite the best laid plans, even before the first ball was struck it looked as if the Tonsley Cup would be hampered by the cold again: the club called to say that due to snow, the course had been closed for two days and it was uncertain if they would be open in time and some of the more elderly of the Tonsley competitors had been struck with illness. With Churchillian spirit we remained resolute.

An advance party arrived at the club on the Friday evening to watch England come from behind to secure victory over Wales in the opening game of the Six Nations. It was at this early point that the customary golfing excuses began in earnest - 'I haven't played since our lad was born' and the like. Yes, whatever, we don't buy that.

Tonsley Golf Society: Chris, 
                    Floody, Anton, Eddie I, Jerry, Woolfy, Richie, Nick, Dan, 
                    Jonny, Joe, Pedro, Dutts, Angus, Andy, Giles, Rob
Tonsley Golf Society: Chris, Floody, Anton, Eddie I, Jerry, Woolfy, Richie, Nick, Dan, Jonny, Joe, Pedro, Dutts, Angus, Andy, Giles, Rob

The remainder of the golfers arrived the following morning and after a hearty breakfast and a swift briefing, the Angels and Devils nervously made their way to the 1st tee, which was actually the 10th. In true Tonsley fashion we played the back 9 first and the front 9 second! Unusually, the first 4-ball tee'd off without incident and the Tonsley Cup was underway!

Donnington Grove is a suitably forgiving course, despite the water obstacles to navigate, which kept the crowds entertained as some of the more competent competitors played skillful rescue shots out of the water. Some extraordinary golf saw the singles round finish all square to set up an exciting final day of pairs.

In the afternoon, the Tonsley group were joined by 'the drinkers' or rather those who had been previously declared as 'off-games': Dutts on legitimate medical grounds, Eddie I for sheer languorousness.

One beer followed another, and then another, as the remaining Six Nations games played out and stories from the day's action seemed to impress nobody. The evening saw a marvelous dinner served in the impressive Avon Room in Donnington Grove's Gothic house and a few prizes were dished out (see below). The presence of St Joseph's Girls School's dinner dance next door was distracting to some, until Richie hosted a series of Winter Olympic discipline seminars and Anton played ringmaster to a complex game of 'heads or tails', the result of which rarely had any resemblance to the upside of a coin and usually resulted in a multi-coloured drinking experience.

After a night's sleep in possibly the hottest house in England, the Angels awoke fervent in making history and gaining the Tonsley Cup for the first time. It looked promising as few Devils managed to tee off from the 1st (or rather the 10th) successfully. So much so, one of the Devil's 'day-trippers' remembered why he was not a regular golfer, taking five shots within the first 50 yards, much to the annoyance of an exasperated starting official!

It was a lovely brisk morning with a hard frost and brilliant sunshine. A perfect winter's morning for racing golf buggies. The Angels looked to have the upper hand throughout the day and into the clubhouse. As a couple of the Angels smugly declared 'Victoire!', the Devils resigned themselves to losing the cup for the first time. But things took a dramatic turn, when the auditors were summoned and the scores verified to find that the matches were actually level and the 2015 Tonsley Cup was declared a tie.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend, so thank you to all Tonsley golfers who participated. A particular mention for the following:

  • Gilo, aka 'Tour Bandit' for advantageously falsifying his handicap which led to...
  • An infuriated Floody in defeat, who declared it as otherwise one of his best rounds of golf
  • Joe's response to the rallying call on the final two holes on Saturday's singles
  • Pete's continued golfing demise and his sartorial refinement at dinner
  • Nick, who from photographic evidence, spent most of the weekend in a bunker
  • Angus walking into the water to play a 'skillful' rescue shot
  • Anton's habitual ability to count the number of shots he had taken just as his opponent was putting
  • Dan's odorous morning routine
  • Andy's unrivalled generosity in awarding his teammate a 'gimme'
  • Jerry's performance on the 1st tee on Sunday, which will remain Tonsley folklore for many a year
  • Eddie I and Dutts for being the first 'off-games' attendees at the Tonsley Cup and instead exerting their energies to ramp up the pressure on the 1st tee on Sunday
  • Rob for being the first to be reprimanded by the Starting Oficial: 'DON'T DRIVE ON THE GRASS!'
  • Jonny's embarrassing haul of prizes, a blatant attempt to ensure exclusion from the next edition of the Cup, as well as his 'official' scoring technique which led to...
  • Woolfy's discountenance of the match result after prematurely declaring 'Victoire!'
  • Rachel Duncan, who was somewhat concerned as to how darling Richard had managed to return from a golf weekend with a bobsleigh injury
  • Chris, who demonstrated why he holds a curling medal from Nagano 1998 (XVIII Winter Olympic Games), but moreso for taking on Pete and Floody in a side-by-side buggy race, but driving off with both buggy keys!
  • Donnington Grove's onion rings: fine fayre!

Here's the detail and prizes (whatever, show me the photos):

The Tonsley Cup 2015
The Tonsley Cup is a matchplay competition which loosely follows a Ryder Cup format. On Saturday we played ‘singles’, where there were two matches in each fourball.
On Sunday we played ‘fourballs’, where each hole was won by the team whose individual golfer had the lowest score. Handicaps were taken into account.
All players were designated a team: Floody and Woolfy’s guests playing in the Angels team (captained by Floody) and Rob and Joe’s guests playing in the Devils team (captained by Rob).
And the Tonsley Cup 2015 was drawn all square between The Angels and The Devils, 6 games to 6!

Get in the Hole Challenge Trophy 2015

The individual competition run over both Saturday and Sunday rounds and based on a combined ‘stableford’ score was won by Jonny Ross, way too good for any of the rest of us.

And winner of the 'Get in the Hole Challenge' 2015: Jonny Ross!
Other Prizes

Nearest the Pin winners:

Saturday - Nobody got onto the green!

Sunday - Rob Bruce

Champagne Moment:

Saturday - Angus Bruce - for climbing down into the stream (in his walking boots) to play a shot off the icy surface.

Sunday - Anton Barlow - for holing a 30-yard putt from off the green on the 16th to halve the hole.

Play Movie
Champagne Moment: Angus wades in to take a shot off the ice
Runner up: Dr Pedro Von Slider prefers not to get his feet wet

Andy Moxon: Dick of the Day, Saturday

Woolfy: Dick of the Day, Sunday

Hover over an image to see its caption. Click on an image to see its enlargement and then scroll through other images by clicking over it or using the cursor keys.

Straight to the bar... Nick and Rob A lecture from the eminent Dr Pedro Von Slider England beat Wales Woolfy, Rob and Joe playing Tetris The fabulous Donnington Grove A crisp morning with negative temperatures Woolfy and Richie brace themselves Barl and Chris Straight to the sandpit for Big Mox Barl sports his ski jacket (see Tonsley Ski Team, 2006!) Nick Chris Ice on the greens Kids on a beach Woolfy, Barl and Dutts, back at base for the Ireland vs Italy match Propping the bar and denting the kitty Pete in school uniform A private dining room for the evening bash Grace Graceful Graceless Fuel to a fire Eddie I, Smiegel and Pete Lord Bufty of Wandsworth Scores on the doors Rob builds it up Rob, Angus and Chris Jonny and Mox Chins, Edward! Gillet Ed is unamused with his 'hot' creme brulee Andy Moxon: Dick of the Day! And a fuzzy lip Angus, Chris, Giles and Nick Pedro gives Joe a biology lesson... ...and gets carried away Ant and Woolfy exhaust their small talk Angus and Angus: Champagne Moment - playing a shot from the icy stream Bruce Cubed Rob and Jonny And so to the bar Barl begs for a drink Chins again, Ed! Barl abuses his YT status and assumes the Weights and Measures role... ...Woolfy is his first victim Round again, 'heads or tails?' Nope! Pete wades in 'Unlucky' again! Richie and Andy in a rowing race Some idiot in the water Rowdy spectators Drive! It's close Capsize! 'Golfing injury' Giles shows the way And now for some bob-sleighing... Richie, Joe, Giles and Rob Kind of Take 2 That's better Aerodynamic, especially Giles A bit of curling? Rob and Joe sweep for Chris 1am and it's only Angels left in the bar Sunday Brekky Pedro 'Not My Bag' Slider! Tonsley Golf Society 2015 Marquee expertise Clear the roads Andy has the Shiny Trombone close to hand Playbus Chris Rob Road rage Jerry's, er, second tee shot Will live long in the memory That pink jumper Chris in full swing Lovely day Looking back to Donnigton Grove Yesterday's balls still sitting on the lake! Potter and his putter Last hole Floody, Captain of the Angels and Rob, Captain of the Devils, halve the match! Longest Drive for Richie And winner of the 'Get in the Hole Challenge' 2015: Jonny Ross!

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