Winner of The Bell Tower Trophy was Nick Pritchard (Pritch), The Monticello Shield was Tim Bates (Jamboy) and the Wooden Spoon was Danny Bensley.
Report and pics courtesy of Nick Pritchard
The tourists departed Gatwick 6am sharp on a crisp Thursday morning in late October. The party were smartly dressed in their Myles Robinson Alumni Tour Jackets, bar one, a new tourist in the name of Stephen Trench. Trenchy had been at Newcastle University with Myles and was one of the few people who made Myles look small! He had been unable to have a tour jacket as his 52 inch chest dwarfed the largest size available! We also welcomed another Newcastle University Alumni for the first time to tour – Danny Bensley, a keen hockey player who had ferociously been having golf lessons in the run up to Aberdeen! Arthur Forbes, after a period of absence having not toured since Lake Como in 2010, made a famous return from his Liberian exile and little had changed.
We arrived at beautiful Cruden Bay in plenty of time and sat down for a Scottish Breakfast before the 12 o’clock tee times. Ollie ‘the bookie’ Banks had priced the respective markets perfectly and after much noise on the flight up to Aberdeen and a stomach full of Haggis, he started to take in some large bets! The now laughable and traditional £10 on himself came in for Jamboy (Tim) Bates to kick off proceedings. Nerves were high during the putt off before tee off to decide who would start holding the Wooden Spoon as the current Holder Ross Barden was sadly unavailable this year for the tour.
The first match was a close affair with tour veterans Tuna (Ollie Tunnicliffe) and Pritch (Nick Pritchard) up against the formidable partnership of the Forbes Twins. It came down to the last putt on 18, which George F almost holed. A half would have been a fair result but the veterans narrowly edged it. The second match was polar opposites from the first with the 20 stone Trenchy partnering Jamboy. The bookie Banks was in confident mood after a training trip to Orlando. The term Delusions of Grandeur surfaced when The Bookie and Rookie Bensley were 8 down through 8!! In what goes down as the most significant beating in tour history, a shout out must go out to Trenchy with an impressive 31 on his debut!
Royal Aberdeen was next up and after delaying the tee times twice for reasons I will not get into, we headed to the sixth oldest Golf Club in the world. We were welcomed very warmly in similar fashion to Cruden Bay and had a second breakfast in the beautiful clubhouse. The course was absolutely fantastic and rated up there with Royal Dornoch and Royal Portrush for many of us. Without a breathe of wind we decided to play of the back tees which was of course an error we have made hundreds of times in the past! The course took no prisoners and with the wind picking up on the back nine, the tourists melted! An average score of little over 18 stableford points, shows one how bad they all are but also the true test of golf Royal Aberdeen delivers!
A big night out which ended in a dingy casino followed – the less said about that the better. A relatively reasonably priced golf trip was made into an overly expensive one for two tourists who shall remain nameless! On we went to Fraserburgh GC, the seventh oldest golf club in the world. This is an hour north of Aberdeen right on the North Easterly tip. The clubhouse is very basic, but the members very friendly and the course is a brute when the wind is up. The rough was knee high which might have something to do with the amount of balls lost collectively! Pritch and Jamboy played some good golf in patches and overcame Trenchy and Art Forbes. The second match resulted in the Bookie (Banks) getting off the mark with a win alongside chief Bludgeoner – George Forbes.
US President Elect International GC
Into the final day and after an evening of bowling and pizza (Banks give up golf – focus on bowling!), we headed to Trump International. The money spent on this course is unbelievable and it really did not disappoint. The starter was very friendly and out of 7 tee box options we decided to go off the 6329 yard positions after some terrible golf in the previous three rounds! The course starts with a beautiful par 5 and all tourists miraculously hit good tee shots onto the fairway (seriously!). The course is absolutely fantastic but for obvious reasons did not have the firmness and green quality of Royal Aberdeen – I suspect it will in time.
Pritch was in control of the main individual event The Bell Tower Trophy and only a meltdown similar to his inaugural tour round in Bordeaux 2009, where he hit 42 over much to Myles’ amusement, could stop him from going back to back for the Bell Tower! The Monticello Shield, which is the Matchplay event was still being contested by four tourists on 2 points. The Shield has become a huge event in the Tour with just four names dominating since 2009. The tour ended with Pritch victorious by 11 points over the Bookie, but drama was to unfold with a split 3 way tie for the Monticello Shield – with Trenchy, Pritch and Jamboy all on 3 points. Once showered and changed the countback winner was still unknown although the bookie had Jamboy slight favourite after an impressive 32. Settled in for Sunday lunch the countback started with Jamboy (Bates) winning his first ever Golf Trophy 2&1. A well deserved victory for a team player who often brings the best out in partners with his amusing / insanely weird tales but then melts down on an individual basis like no other!
Another fantastic tour in memory of a fantastic bloke and friend. Once again Myles would have loved the trip and the courses and I dare say was having a good chuckle watching down on us hack around some of the finest Links courses in the world!