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Spain Tour Report

posted 22 Apr 2013, 02:37 by Paul Collier   [ updated 1 Aug 2013, 04:33 by Brian Ward ]
In the middle of March, 15 members of the GSGB made their way to the Costa Brava in the hope of being able to shed some of the layers of winter clothes required to play golf in the UK. Their target was the Emporda Golf Hotel which has two courses, and Pals, another course only a few miles away. The weather was not brilliant, presumably thanks to the jet stream which the Met Office points out  is well south of where it normally is.  However, no umbrella was hoisted during the six rounds of golf, and the temperature which reached the mid-teens, aided by periodic sunshine, enabled a number of the usual layers to be dispensed with. Unfortunately the feeling of freedom resulting from this welcome undressing had the knock-on effect of destabilising everyone's winter swing, and for the first round, golf balls were frequently dispatched in unsolicited directions. This should have been anticipated, and in retrospect, the decision to hold a yellow ball team event on the first day was perhaps not the best. Out of the four yellow balls in the field, only one survived the course, one met a watery grave some way before the ninth, and two never made it to the first green!

However there was improvement over the following days, and some encouraging scores were posted. The usual round of team, individual and matchplay competitions took place, and the two stars who emerged triumphant in the individual aggregate competition were Pat Hart and Gerald Ackerman. In the Ladies v Gentlemen, Jenny and David Nation ably led their respective sides in a tense match in which Sunningdale played its part. The Gentlemen won but all the matches were close.

We played each of the three golf courses twice. The Links and the Forest at Emporda live up to their name, and, as to be expected, are very different courses, except that they both include a certain amount of water.  Pals is akin to the Forest but also has areas of  open parkland. All courses have some very interesting holes and overall there was more than sufficient golfing challenge and diversity.

There were two non-golfing days, and the opportunity was taken to explore. Places visited included Barcelona, Girona and Figueres as well as historic villages in the Emporda region.  It also allowed time to reconnoitre restaurants, and in this task we were fortunate to have a local contact, Tina Clarke, a friend of Robin and Pat Hart. Tina who is a member at Pals played in some of our competitions, and on the two days we played at Pals arranged a splendid post round meal for us in the very comfortable clubhouse.  In fact, everyone did so well in sourcing good restaurants that the group ate out and together nearly every evening.  There are many memorable restaurants moments to savour. Only on the first and last nights did we dine in.

Overall the tour was a welcome escape from the miserable winter at home.  Unfortunately it was not long enough to prevent a return to the same. However golf swings, while not exactly honed, have at least been given a work-out and should be ready for the summer when it comes.  More importantly, everyone  in the group contributed, and the result was a happy and enthusiastic band of GSGB tourers; which is what it is all about.