The ALUMNI MR GOLF TOUR – PRAGUE 2014
report by Nick Pritchard
This year’s tour started no differently to any previous tours – bad packing, poor communication and some rather strong hangovers from the bank holiday. We made it to Prague by the early morning and tucked into some beers at a local establishment before an afternoon of Go-Karting.
Believing drinking and driving of course didn’t mix, we refrained from getting really stuck in at lunch and on arrival to the Go-Karting venue we couldn’t have been more wrong with 8 large Czech Beers waiting for us. A crash (no surprise there) had delayed proceedings, so we were offered a few more beers and then made our way to the track. No overalls, gloves, shoes (a few went barefoot) or Visors on the helmets meant it was a rather hairy race. The marshalls had recommended getting out of the car if you got stuck and push the car yourself which was the opposite of what you are told over here! A Pritchard win (a useful hustle on Banks hurt his wallet – as Pritchard had worked on a go-kart track for six months but had forgotten to mention this prior to racing!) and numerous blisters on tourist’s hands was not the preparation people had envisaged for our morning tee off!
Our first round was at Ypsilon GC on a very wet and windy day. Completely ill-equipped the Pro shop took in a stellar’s day business with shoes, water proofs, umbrellas, jumpers and hats all purchased (just by Harry – who had made the very impressive journey over from New York to make the tour).
The golf was somewhat poor, apart from Banks, who in his second tour had almost nothing to live up to after the horrors of Andalucía 2013 where he narrowly avoided the Wooden Spoon. A wet drive back to the centre of Prague and a subsequent night on the tiles set us up woefully for the next day’s tee off.
Fresh from 30 minutes sleep (with most tourists sleeping in the corridor of the apartment as there were only two sets of keys) we drove to the lovely Casa Serena GC, a private club designed by a division of IMG. The course was in fine condition with the greens testing and the par 5’s long. Silvio (Ross) Barden (later to pick up a host of nicknames on the tour) completely and utterly melted down, and at one stage Harry feared for his life after winding Silvio up one too many times, good old footwedge!
On Thursday we golfed at the lovely Konopiste GC which had two courses. Banks and Tunnicliffe continued to play well with Teare and Poole having some useful holes as well. After lunch we embarked on another 18, which every year is always agreed to be a huge error!
The form players of Banks & Tunnicliffe played a foursomes match between Jamboy (Tim) Bates and Silvio Barden with the bookmakers offering almost a 100% chance of defeat for the latter pairing! The bludgeoning duo miraculously took the game down the 18th having been two up with three to play. But in true bottling form they lost in the dark to a fine comeback. All knackered we returned to central Prague for some much deserved 60p pints.
The final day brought the best course of the lot – Albatross GC which the previous week had hosted a European Tour event won by Ryder Cup hero Donaldson. The course was absolutely fantastic and in great condition. The golf was of a much better standard with concentration levels a lot higher with no one wanting to take home the giant wooden spoon and Banks not wanting to mess up a seemingly unassailable lead.
Harry, who had had to pull up for the final few holes of the previous days round due to injury, had left himself too much to do and after a positive start on the first few holes, went back to playing what can only be described as some quite appalling golf!! His clubs were to be partly blamed as they were over 30 years old with almost no grips!
Banks continued his impressive form of the tour and won easily in the end and fully deserved not only the coveted Myles Robinson Bell Tower Shield, but also the Monticello Matchplay Shield. Pritchard, who had been the bookies favourite, bottled it again, playing some disgracefully bad golf until the final round. Poole played solid up until the final round and was pipped by the former for 3rd place, which was most pleasing to see!
Tuna (Ollie Tunnicliffe) was steady throughout but had a poor final round, the strength of the opposition was weak though and he still came 2nd! (Rob) Teare aka Ian Rankin, bludgeoned it round as did Silvio Barden aka Boyd Rankin. The two Rankin brothers played at times some disgustingly Rank golf, but there were touches of brilliance and 2015 could be the year one of these twins shine. JamBoy was JB, never going to be in the mix but did a job at not winning the Wooden Spoon for the third time. Harry picked up the Wooden Spoon for the first time and now is the only player IN THE WORLD to have won The Myles Robinson Trophy, the Monticello Matchplay and now the Spoon.
Thanks must go to Harry (and to JB for a bit of help..!) for organising another cracking tour in memory of our great friend Myles. On to 2015, where the golf will continue to be exceptionally mediocre!! Finally, hot of the press, Jamboy won his inaugural golf tournament in a team event at the Myles Robinson Golf Day, held at the wonderful Berkshire. Banks (the tour bookie) has been informed of this and JB’s odds slashed for 2015 tour (destination TBC).
Bell Tower Winner – Oliver ‘Mugboy’ Banks
Monticello Matchplay Winner – Oliver ‘Mugboy’ Banks
Wooden Spoon Winner – Harry ‘Peter-Pan’ Santa-Olalla
Final Standings –
1 Ollie Banks
2 Ollie Tunnicliffe
3 Nick Pritchard
4 Will Poole
5 Rob Teare
6 Jamboy aka Tim Bates
7 Ross Barden
8 Harry Santa-Olalla