This year the 23rd Grand Scottish Tour had a “changing of the guard” under theleadership of the new new Hon Sec, Charles Hill, ably assisted by Tim Backhouse (CH 1994-1999) our new Muirfield Organiser taking over from Professor Andrew Lister. Such luminaries of the OSGS namely Sandy Bell – Original Grand Tour Organiser, Tim Lewis – recently retired Hon Sec and Anthony Smith – OSGS President were all unavailable to attend. We all wish Sandy Bell a speedy recovery from his current illness.
The above said – the format of the three days remains virtually the same and we all met at Luffness New Golf Club, founded in 1894 and celebrating it’s 125th anniversary this year, for a light lunch. Our hosts at Luffness – Jake Scott, Jimmy Dennison-Pender and Colin Macinnes joined us for lunch. Sadly William Backhouse was unable to be with us here this year but his wife Deborah joined the fray instead.
The OSGS Tourists reacquainted themselves with each other, caught up on their news and we all looked forward to a great three days with the weather set fair in the East Neuk. No real need to wear our OSGS Jumpers for a change as many set out in a T-Shirtin the spring sunshine!
A Four Ball Better Ball Team Match was played in the afternoon with the Best 2 Stableford Scores to count at each hole.
Will Campion returning to the Scottish Tour almost picked up both the Longest Drive and Nearest the Pin Prizes but was pipped at the post by the below players:
Stefan Hindmarsh picked up the Prize for the Longest Drive on the 14th Hole.
Simon Shepherd won the prize for the nearest the Pin on the Par 3 16th Hole.
In the main competition third place was taken by Will Campion, David Moorhouse, Jonathan Mitchell and the Ghost with 84 Points
The Runners Up were Jimmy Dennison- Pender, Stefan Hindmarsh, Simon Shepherd and Rob Bennett with 88 Points.
The Winners with 89 Points were Jake Scott, James Shaw, Jane Hill and the Hon Sec.
At 7.30pm we all gathered for supper at Winterfield where we were once again the guests of Kate Home who welcomed the invasion of Old Salopians and a number of guests / hosts who help to make the Grand Scottish Tour the main event in the OSGS Calendar.
David Home, once again, acted as our barman ensuring thirsts were quenched and Kate produced nibbles before we all enjoyed a wonderful buffet supper eating, drinking and chatting overlooking the North Berwick Links. Thank you Kate and David for some wonderful fayre!
At 8.00am on Thursday we gathered at the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, Muirfield to enjoy the Bacon Baps – advertised by the Hon Sec – but unfortunately not available from the clubhouse – Mea Culpa and my humble apologies once again to all those who missed eating something for breakfast!
The newly refurbished and extended clubhouse Muirfield looked beautiful in the dawn light with the sun coming over the horizon and the OSGS were eager to tackle this challenging Championship Course. Tim Backhouse’s Team of new hosts and some old hands were ready to escort us around the links.
A Team Stableford Competition was played and the results were as follows:
3rd Place with 75 Points: David Home (HCEG), James Shaw, Peter Nichols and David Moorhouse.
2nd Place with 79 Points: Hugo Balfour-Melville (HCEG), Peter McMullan, Rob Bennett and Andrew Saunders.
1st Place with 83 Points: Will Campion, Frank Higham, Julian Mitchell and Simon Cullingworth.
The traditional and magnificent Muirfield Lunch was taken in the newly refurbished dinning-room and stories of the successes and mishaps from the morning’s round of golf were talked about and new friends made in this convivial atmosphere.
Post lunch we played for the Lewis Bell Quaich in a Foursomes Competition – the results of which were as follows:
3rd Place with 28 Points David Home (HCEG) & Julian Mitchell
2nd Place with 30 Points Simon Mellard & Jonathan Mitchell
1st Place with 31 Points Andrew Saunders & Ed Saunders
At 7.15pm we all gathered at Kaimend, the home of Andrew Lister, for Drinks and Nibbles most generously provided by Andrew. The current Salopian Club President, Paul Nichols, who was on the tour with is wife, Jane, and their son Peter, who had travelled over from New York gave a very entertaining speech and prize giving for the days’ events at Muirfield took place. The Hon Sec presented Andrew with a token of our appreciation for hosting this drinks party.
Nineteen of us then retired to Zitto’s in North Berwick for our traditional post Muirfield supper and 11 bottles of wine were drunk! As ever this was a great party to round off a great day.
A little bleary eyed we gathered at Gullane Number 2 Course on Friday to play for two new trophies a 8.00am, either the Hill Scottish Tour Mixed Foursomes Quaich or the Mitchell Gullane Gill.
Mixed Foursomes is a great game and it is really encouraging to see a few more teams entering this competition to try and win. we had 6 pairs competing this year and the results were as follows:
3rd Place with 34 Points – Deborah Backhouse / Stefan Hindmarsh
2nd Place with 35 Points – Jane Hill / Charles Hill
1st Place with 36 Points – Karen Chapman / Simon Shepherd
The Mitchell Gullane Gill has been very kindly donated by Julian Mitchell who has won the Singles at Gullane for the last three consecutive years and he was told by the new Hon Sec last year that he now had to provide a trophy for this event! The results were as follows:
3rd = with 32 Points – Michael Brabner and Ed Saunders
2nd with 37 Points – Simon Mellard
1st with 41 Points – Julian Mitchell
Julian Mitchell loves Gullane having won this for a fourth consecutive year, however, a handicap cut is going to be enforced next year!!
Everyone enjoyed soup and sandwiches in the Gullane Clubhouse post the golf and a vote of thanks was given to Deborah Backhouse for hosting us at Gullane.
Next year the Hon Sec has plans to extend the numbers of Pairs playing in the Mixed Foursomes – his wife is being poached by Rob Bennett and the Hon sec will play with Kate Home. There are several other Gullane Ladies who can play so any OSGS Chaps who fancy getting their hands on the Mixed Foursomes Quaich are asked to contact the Hon Sec.
Next year the 24th Grand Scottish Tour will take place a month later from Tuesday 9 June to Thursday 11 June 2020 – we are already praying for the dry weather we had in May this year rather than the rain that arrived in June this year!
Luffness New bathed in Sunshine on Wednesday afternoon looking over towards Aberlady and Kilspindie GC
Jake Scott, Jane Hill and James Shaw – 3/4 of the Winning Team at Luffness New 2019 (Hon Sec taking the photo!)
The Muirfield Clubhouse at 8am looking towards the 18th Green on Thursday morning
Relaxing at Muirfield after the Golf: Left to Right: David Moorhouse, Jonathan Michell, Tim Backhouse and Simon Mellard
Relaxing at Muirfield after the Golf: Left to Right: Peter Graham (HCEG), Michael Brabner, Simon Shepherd and Stefan Hindmarsh
Simon Mellard Teeing off on the 17th at Gullane Two on Friday morning
Jonathan Mitchell Teeing off on the 17th at Gullane Two on Friday morning
Jane Hill (wife of Hon Sec), Prof. Andrew Lister and Maura Backhouse (Wife of Tim Backhouse) on the 18 Tee at Gullane No 2
Hill Scottish Tour Mixed Foursomes Quaich Winners 2019 – Simon Shepherd and Karen Chapman
Mitchell Gullane Gill Tophy Winner 2019 – Julian Mitchell