|Trilby Tour 2011 - Trevose, 24 May|
'The Summer wind', Franks Sinatra once sang, 'came blowing in from across the sea.'
If Old Blue Eyes had ever played at the spectacular but gusty Trevose Golf Club in Cornwall he may well have amended his forecast upwards somewhat – perhaps to a gale warning.
Trevose adjoins as rugged a section of the Cornish coast as you've ever seen (hook a ball on a couple of the holes and you actually run the risk of stunning a lobster) and the wind that blows from the Atlantic certainly makes this fine links course a mighty tricky challenge.
Not that this fazes the early arriving Trilby Tourians, who set about the day's task with suitably breezy aplomb. The remoteness of the location seems to have engendered an uncharacteristic degree of siege mentality bonding amongst the assembled players and there are smiles and chummy handshakes everywhere you look. This can't last, can it?
No it can't. The first few holes are disarmingly gentle and confidence seems to be high (apart, perhaps, for the poor chap who managed to hook into the advertising banners on the first tee), but the amazingly scenic 4th hole starts marks the start of the boy/ men sorting process.
The tee is virtually on the beach and the hole requires a solid drive over sand dunes and gorse-covered rough with the flag hidden from view. Men arrive happy at the tee but many head off down the fairway whimpering boys, contemplating scratching their golf shoes searching for stray balls in the rough.
Over just one hole the players are divided into two camps – the smiling and the scowling. This is more like the Trilby Tour we know and fear!
There's something about this links course that seems to put the players on edge, maybe it's the openness and lack of trees which means that the players can see their competitors (even over great distance) so they're all very aware of who's playing a blinder and who's bothering the bunkers.
Trilby Tour competitor Barry Stevens pictured center
Many leave it too late in the day before deciding to go for broke. The 14th, for instance, is a risk and reward short par 4 that marks the point at which a lot of players sense they really need to pick up a few shots.
Rex Tatersall, a returning Trilby Tourian from North Wales, found his hopes of bothering the leader board dipping by the time he came to the last few holes. 'It's like a roller coaster,' he said, 'but at the moment it's only going downhill'.
Another competitor to suffer in the later stages was Barry Stevens, who was coming through the back 9 with a respectable score only to hit 3 consecutive shots into a relatively innocuous stream by the green on the 17th.
He checked into the scorers at the end of his round with his trilby pulled very firmly down to hide the thunder in his face.
William Hunt offered his usual condolences – public mockery and humiliation – as competitors arrived at the leader board to check if they stood a chance of making the final four and with the standard of play unexpectedly high (given the windy conditions) a one-shot shoot out was required to determine the qualifiers.
One of the finest sunsets the tour has ever seen accompanied the play off, with the winner a closely guarded secret until TV transmission.
Suffice to say a couple of superb long puts on the 18th proved vital and the assembled crowd were rewarded with the tightest possible finish ending the day.
This was the Trilby Tour's first ever visit to a links course, with the quality of scenery and play on offer it surely won't be the last.