Natterjack 9’s Round 5 Roundup

Geoff Freeman wins twice in the matches that weren’t.

What a weekend for golf……..what a weekend of golf!  Golf on ice anyone? ‘First thing in the morning if you can manage it!’  That was the cry on Friday when the call went out on Whatsapp from one Geoffrey Freeman, and those of us who read it and had seen the forecast, thought, ‘Is he mad?’.  Meanwhile, sat with his wife on Pannat Hill, having shared a glass or three of Christmas cheer one man thought: ‘I think I can fit it in between bike rides!’ And like so many before him a wishful tipsy thought transmitted itself via the interweb and became tomorrow’s regret. Who else could it be but Jon [sometimes John] Holmes. And lo and behold we were wrong again, there wasn’t just someone mad enough to play on Saturday, there were two of them.

Day 1


The day dawned differently to those earlier in the week; no sun to burn the worst of the frost off. Deep, deep frost it was too but not too much for those two. Bitterly cold? So what! Temporary greens? No problem! Balls bouncing high in the air? Who cares! . And so they set off…madmen posing as golfers…hero and villain… winner and loser…but which would be which?  Each met the challenge of the first tee well and after concerted efforts succeeded in getting their tees into the ground! And away up the fairway they went.  Geoff’s 5 brought him 2 points but Jon[sometimes John] was unlucky with frozen worm casts and could only manage a 6 for 1. Good drives off the second went helter-skelter and a tricky pin on an even trickier green led to 7’s for both. But by virtue of a higher handicap[20] GF’s brought him a point. “Who chose to put that green there?” Jon was heard to mutter. And back came the ghostly reply, the spirit of Silecroft, the one we call Ken. “That was me!” it whispered, with a grin. Geoff 3 points, Jon [sometimes John] 1. On the third it was Geoff’s honour and as he looked in the distance for the flag he was forced to ask where the ‘new’ green was. “It’s where it’s always been.” Said the spirit of Christmas Golf, the one we call Ken. “Why couldn’t you have just put it on that flat bit short of the green?” “Toooooo easy!” And by immense effort, accurate iron play and the power of prayer both came away with fours. But for Geoff off 20, that’s another 2 points, whereas for Jon [sometimes John], off a niggardly 14 it’s only 1. The score moves on, now it’s 5 – 2. On to the 4th where each scored a 6 for 1 and at 6 – 3 it looked a likely win for Geoff. “Who mowed these greens?” Asked ‘almost gone Jon’. “”Nowt wrong with em!” replied Geoff. “Thaaaat woooould have been Gunger.” The ghost claimed, with a wicked laugh. But you don’t get up at 6 for a bike ride around in the dark by giving up and you can’t stand in front of a classroom of miscreants and bring them to heel without a degree of fortitude either….and so it began…. unknown to Geoff… the fight-back was on. A 4 on the 5th was soon followed by a three on the 6th and a birdie on the 7th all meant a massive 9 points in three holes. Not that Geoff was playing badly either with 6 points of his own over the same three holes. But suddenly it was 12 – 12 with two to play. Was it the bit between his teeth? Coloured balls? Something someone said? A trip to left field or just pure bad luck? No one will ever know because what happened on the 8th is staying on the 8th. Sometimes John, it’s best to forget. Geoff’s 6 was good enough for 2 points, 14 – 12, we’ll say no more. Rallying on the 9th was much more Jon’s style and two points there left Geoff needing one point to win. It was there that, thanks to an outrageous rebound off one worm cast and an in-off another he was able to count a six and win by the narrowest of margins. Final score Geoff 15 Jon 14. But wait, who was that figure in a Kangol hat approaching the green? Could it be Gunger? Yes it was. “What are you doing here?” They asked in unison. “I couldn’t believe that anyone would be daft enough to play in this and I had to find out!” Said Gunger. “Well we did.”They answered. And so the pair shook hands and went home, anxious to tell their grandchildren that once upon a time they played ‘golf on ice’. “You’re mad as a Hatter.” Said Geoff’s.” On yer bike.” Said Jon’s.

And as all three left an eerie sound was heard, which echoed and swirled and drifted and carried a message from The Spirit of Silecroft Golf Club in his nearby workshop, to golfers everywhere….and if you concentrated and  listened really carefully you could just make out what it said….”Yes we’re open…all through the holidays..if you’re mad enough.”

Day 2


It was the best of days [that weekend] not the worst of days [this year] and our hero had found a different playing partner, a certain Stephen Butterfield, who was prepared to travel from Keswick to give Geoff a game and would also push him to the limit. Stephen’s 19 points consisted of good three pointers on 3,5,6 & 9 and a particularly brilliant iron shot from 140 yards onto the miniature temporary green on the ninth. But Geoff remains in scintillating form and despite the hiccup of a 7 on the 8th was able to better his handicap by three shots and come home with an outstanding 21 points. Having posted 44 points in the Christmas Comp Geoff was naturally keen to play this weekend and was able to add a 21pts to his order of merit. Stephen’s 19 points was no mean feat either. With insufficient numbers to constitute a competition entry fees will be carried over to their next Natterjack rounds.

Natterjacks Round 4 Results and Roundup

1st Chris Davey 24 points

2nd Diane Clarke 23 points

3rd Stephen Butterfield 22 points

Chris Davey…the ‘can do’ man.

Helen Holmes has been struggling for form of late and will doubtless be hoping that a few days in the sun in Morocco will put things right in time for round 5. As with so many players Helen has had to adjust to a significant change of handicap but had the consolation of a par 4 for 3 points on the seventh on this occasion. Whereas Helen lost a lot of shots as a result of a flurry of successes, husband Jon has steadily improved his handicap and came away with 18 points this time. Perhaps I’m on my own in thinking that the 12th is a lot more difficult than SI 14 and whilst there were several advantageous tee positions this time around, the 12th was a marginal one. Jon was among those who made my opinion seem redundant by achieving a par on it for 3 points and then went on to par the shortened 14th and birdie the 16th, adding 3 points for each.  Mike Jackman kept company with Jon and Helen and was playing off a handicap of just 10. Pars on 12,15,16 & 18 showed why. We all struggle for consistency and a five on the 13th and a blank on 14 proved costly for Mike in what was otherwise a very promising round. Everybody will be pleased to hear that Dougie Myers is one step closer to returning after receiving a date for his long awaited op. Part of his preparation has been to accompany wife Joan around the course and any attempts to offer advice on these occasions will be met by a withering look. Joan scored on every hole this time, a par on the 12th for 3 points was her highlight as she came home with 15 points. Geoff Freeman used a practice round under difficult conditions on Saturday [12 points] as prep for a much better attempt on Sunday. Geoff’s another player off 20 which means that both holes where he receives two shots occur on the front nine. And he’s in two more groups; one lot who are gradually reducing their handicaps during the regular season and secondly what might be called the ‘Can’t play too much golf club!’. On Sunday he posted 19 points by starting slowly and then improving, culminating in pars for 3 points on 16 & 17. Richard ‘Joey’ Roberts also played both days, following 16 points on Saturday with 18 on Sunday. A blank on hole 10 on Sunday was quickly rectified by pars on 13 and 14 and another on 18, each garnering 3 points. Richard is coming off a long lay-off and appears to be approaching his very best. George van Boyd’s card showed all fours and fives; 544545445 and playing off just 10 that was good enough for 17 points. We all know what George can do on a good day. Neil Robertson also plays off 10 right now and played both days, scoring 18 points on each. Saturday’s round included a blank on 13 and five pars whereas on Sunday he scored on every hole but only had three pars + a birdie. So, which is the better round? And that was the question he was asking himself and others after leaving the course! No easy answer Gunger, no easy answer. Unbeknown to Lesley Davey, as she left the 14th green with just five points, success was just around the corner. Twelve points on the last four holes brought her total to 17 and provided further proof that, come summer, she’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Brother-in-law Ank meanwhile went one point better and played the last five holes in just 20 shots. Ank’s regular playing partner Davey Boyce was not to be out done and did the same feat but a slightly better start was good enough to give him the edge with 19 points. David Clark, founder member of the ‘Can’t play too much golf club’ was another to post 18 points by virtue of being consistent on the day and scoring on every hole. Dave’s playing off 20 and is also among those who receives both his two shots holes on the front nine [2nd being SI 2 – 8th being SI 1]. Stephen Butterfield is gradually learning the course yet managed to accumulate 22 points on Sunday whilst playing off 17 and that was good enough to give him 3rd place. Three pars and a birdie on the 16th for 4 points established that Stephen can definitely play the game. Must be all that coaching he’s getting from Dave ‘Will He Ever Stop Talking’ Ward! Diane & Peter Clark played both days. Peter’s going through one of those phases where he’s playing extremely well and then having a disaster at some point on his way round. Saturday’s round was a good example. Two pointers on 10 & 11 were followed by a blank on 12. Then it’s five three pointers on the last six, from four pars and a birdie, to give him 20 points. It’s obvious that a big score is out there. On Sunday it was Diane’s turn to shine. Five net pars, three net birdies and a net eagle were part of an exceptional round which brought her 23 points and 2nd place. All of which brings us to our winner, Chris Davey with 24 points. His highlight was another gross birdie on hole 17 for 5 points, for the second consecutive round, underlining just how far his iron play and short game have come. Watch out Ed Rob, watch out John Young, there’s a new kid on the block and he’s gunning for you!