Those were the days

Dinner, a couple of drinks and a group of coaches around the table – not many other things get me to laugh as much. And learn as much at the same time! Last night offered another opportunity when the EGU and EWGA coaches got together for the induction of the PGA Level 4 Coach Education. One of our coaches told a story about the first time he came to Woodhall Spa. He was 17 and due to play in the English Amateur. Today he is one of our more experienced coaches so you might suspect that we are going back a few years.

This coach and his friend who was also playing had driven to Woodhall with 20 pounds from their fathers in their pockets. The idea was to stay for one night, get knocked out in the first round and then go home. The friend had a different idea though and suggested that they should play two other guys for 20 pounds each. That way they would, or more like it could, have 40 pounds which clearly was a lot of money. Guess what happened?

With no money whatsoever the car was the only place to sleep and they had to survive on rolls that they could get their hands on by asking people that had soup in the clubhouse – ‘Are you going to eat your role?’

I guess to his own big surprise our coach won his first round and hence another night in the car waited. Still the only thing they had to eat was rolls that other people did not want. Our coach said they had to drive around in the car during the night to get the heating up. ‘When teeing of in the morning my setup looked like a car seat’, our coach said.

In some mysterious way our coach won more matches and a day later Neil Hotchkin, the legendary owner of the golf course, found out about their situation and offered them a room. This probably helped to get our coach to reach all the way to the semifinal where he was knocked out by another legend – Michael Bonallack.

It is stories like this one that makes you wonder if things really were better before. One thing that is clear though is that the Child Protection in Sports unit would have had one or two things to say about the whole thing. But what a great story!

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