Once again the fairways in the south of France were thronged with 31 hopefuls vying for the sumptuous prizes on offer at the SGS 2017 Spring meeting around Valbonne. Olivier Seigneur graciously assumed the mantle of responsibility in the absence of the peripatetic Peter who had wisely looked at the forecast and fled a long way east to avoid the gathering storm
Chateau de la Begude, which had successfully hosted our 2011 meeting, once again proved an ideal base for our opening salvo of 2017. A fair number arrived for the dinner on Thursday although some of the more junior elements took themselves off to the Michelin rated Colombe d'Or to dispose of excess cash
Friday saw the playing of our traditional better-ball competition round the rolling and watery terrain of St Donat which proved a fitting and enjoyable challenge. One couple in particular seemed to relish the course - Carolyn Edwards and James Stewart coming in with a laudable 41 points. I nominate Carolyn as Captain of this pairing since, by James's own admission, she was the mainstay, at one stage contributing a net eagle for 5 points.
On to Saturday and the Spring Cup at La Grande Bastide. Despite dire predictions the weather dawned fair and early starters made it to the 10th before the clouds began to gather and the first spots were felt. Within an hour most had trailed disconsolately back into the clubhouse bedraggled and soaked. My own group reached the 17th tee but the sight of two ducks swimming across the fairway was sufficient to call a halt to proceedings. Two resolute souls in the shape of Patrick Bodson and James Stewart managed to complete the course. Their claims to the Cup on the basis of being sole survivors were given lengthy consideration by the Committee but ultimately denied!
Our wise committee hastily convened an EGM and decided to defer the running of the Cup until Sunday. This proved an inspired act of flexibility when we awakened to strong sunlight and no wind. The course of Opio - Valbonne attached to the hotel was in excellent condition and offered many interesting ways to lose your ball so scoring was modest but the golf always interesting and enjoyable. Chris Skelton prevailed with a very average gross score and Brexited with a very nice and large bottle of bubbly - thanks very much! The nett was won by an improving Klaus Ennemoser whose wife Sybil, sporting the best swing the SGS has seen in a while, also walked off with the ladies' gross prize with 18 points, while Irina, always competitive, shared the lead with Sybil for the ladies' nett, with 28 points.
Many thanks to our traditional and faithful sponsors : Champagne Lanson and l’Occitane ; and to Florent Honoré of Golf de la Bastide who gave us some prizes to reward our stamina under the rain.
Not to forget a warm welcome to our newest and youngest members : Amol and Komal Aggarwal. We all enjoyed their company ; and we hope to see them again in our next events.
A very enjoyable weekend characterised by a bonhomie across nationalities which the separatists will never conquer.
With apologies to those who enjoy my brother's inimitable writing style which I do not even attempt to match. He will be back since my offer to Olivier to take over the running of the society met with such firm resistance.
Baudouin, our official photographer did it again. A best of will be published this week.