International Pairs 2011

10 10 2011

Wayne Wood and Dave Sheppard, winners of the International Pairs qualifying tournament at Glacier Greens, June 11th 2011 (plus some ugly bloke in the middle, holding the trophy)

For the past three years I’ve worked as a volunteer rules official at the International Pairs tournament in Courtenay in late September or early October. It’s a great tournament, wonderfully run by the organiser – Jeff Sutherland of Inside Golf magazine – and the host club, Crown Isle. Amateur teams from all over Western Canada are eligible to enter and this year 66 pairs (men, women and mixed) from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. qualified for the finals. The prize? An all-expenses paid trip for the winning pair to Scotland next year to represent Canada at the World Finals.

Two years ago I came back to Glacier Greens full of enthusiasm for the idea of hosting our own qualifying tournament, only to be greeted with numerous reasons as to why it wouldn’t work. Twelve months ago I was equally enthusiastic and this time, armed with with all the facts and figures from Deb Westover at Inside Golf, I received a warmer reception. Len Doyle, supremo of the hugely successful Saturday morning Men’s competition at Glacier Greens here in the sunny Comox Valley, lent his support and following a quick presentation at the club’s AGM, permission was granted to give it a go. With the help of some inventive ‘Special Pricing’ from Deb (as airfare to Courtenay and accommodation at Crown Isle were obviously not required) we were able to reduce the cost of the qualifying competition at Glacier Greens to just $15 per player, KP and draw prizes included. We managed to get the 30 pairs needed to break even signed up in time and held our qualifying tournament on June 11th. Of course I played in it myself and for a while my partner Gary Macgregor’s play was so good that I started to harbour thoughts of being on the winning team. Perhaps fortunately – imagine the abuse if we’d won! – my putter went so cold that even Gary couldn’t carry such a dead weight and we finished one of no fewer than seventeen teams within five shots of the leaders. The winners, on a countback from the stoical Stan Mills and Jim Larocque, were Dave Sheppard and Wayne Wood with a total of 48 Stableford points.

June 11th had been a beautiful, warm, windless day – a perfect day for golf. It was pretty nice on October 2nd too, the day of the practice round for the finals at Crown Isle. Unfortunately, the tournament day itself, October 3rd, was not so blessed. Play began at 9:30 with a shotgun start, and the rain began at 9:31. By 10:00 pretty much everyone in the field must have been soaked, and by then it was blowing a gale too. From my exposed position between the 2nd and 5th greens I could see players on five different holes battling with the elements. Most of my rules decisions were pretty straight forward: ‘Am I in casual water?’ (Very quickly the answer became ‘yes’ without me having to examine the situation too closely) and ‘ Can I get relief from this puddle in the bunker?’ (Answer again ‘yes’ as long as the player could find a dryish spot in the bunker, no nearer the hole).

After an hour or so my two Glacier Green colleagues, Wayne and Dave, trudged by. ‘How’s it going, lads?’ I asked. ‘Well, we’re not going to flipping Scotland’, replied Wayne, ‘but it looks like Scotland’s flipping well come to us’. (Actually, I don’t think he used the word ‘flipping’, but I’m sure you get the picture).

Talking of pictures, I asked one of the official photographers to take a picture of me when the weather was at its worst so that I could put it in my blog. It never arrived, so I assume that the email address I scrawled down for him on a piece of paper must have disintegrated entirely. Just picture the ugly guy in the awards photo above looking extremely wet and possibly quite miserable as well and you’ll get the idea.

Actually, virtually all the players were extremely cheerful and uncomplaining. I amused myself by greeting all the out of province players with the same line: ‘We put this weather on especially for you. We thought you’d appreciate the true Wet (sic) Coast experience’. In fact, after a couple of hours the sun came out and the wind died down and conditions were comparatively benign for the last nine holes or so. By then, though, the damage had been done to most people’s scorecards. Dave and Wayne scored a total of 26 Stableford points to finish somewhere near the back of the pack while our other local entrants, from Sunnydale and Crown Isle, totalled 36 and 33 point respectively to finish inside the top half of the field. The winners, Brad Chudiak and Craig Delwisch from Quesnel, amassed 45 points (amazing, really, given the conditions) to win by four clear points from the pairs representing Royal Regina and Golden). Congratulations to Brad and Craig, who I’m sure will now feel well acclimatised to whatever weather Scotland has in store for them next year, and thanks again to Inside Golf and Crown Isle for putting on such a terrific event. I don’t think we’ll have any problem at Glacier Greens in finding enough pairs for another qualifying event in 2012!

All da best.

Dave B.




2 responses

11 10 2011

Congrats Dave. Thanks for sharing another great time in the life of the Bagger. Glad all went well in spite of the weather.

11 10 2011
Bagger Dave

Actually, Martin, I should have got you to help out. The driving rain and howling wind would have reminded you of a nice summer day in Welsh Wales…


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