|Old Thorns: The Official Report|
|Thursday, 31 May 2012 14:14|
Sometimes you have to pity the poor Trilby Tour caddies; they traipse round after players, lugging their clubs without payment or favour and (usually) mumble complaints only under their breath.
Today at the marvellous Hampshire course of Old Thorns they can't even muster enough breath to mutter.
So hot, so dry, so strength-sappingly sticky is it that all these poor men (and some ladies) can do is drag their tired legs up hill and down fairway while the sun does its best to melt their heat absorbing red caddy caps.
They resemble an exhausted boiler-suited army after a week at a French Foreign Legion desert boot camp.
The players, on the other hand look in fine fettle; skipping along in their fine new golf duds, enjoying the first proper sun of the summer and playing a spiffing round of golf while their heat-stroked Passpartouts take the strain. Who'd be a caddy, eh?
Old Thorns itself had hosted a gypsy wedding on the night before the TT arrived but the only thing big and fat on view at the first tee was the bunker on the left of the fairway, just before the dog leg.
Here many travelling balls pitched camp, causing players to tinker with their plan of attack. I'll stop that now, before I get into trouble.
Actually, only a handful of players set off badly, most were playing well right through the front nine. The first few holes rise steadily up to the spectacular elevated 5th tee (from where you can allegedly see 4 counties) before twisting round for the lower, flatter back 9.
The wonderfully designed two-tiered double green on the 15th is a joy for spectators and the Sky cameras alike as player after player forlornly watch their over-cautiously tapped balls wander up the rise.........pause at the top.........and then saunter back down, picking up pace until they settle further from the pin than they started.
Rogues Gallery has several new faces thanks to that hole.
Unlike Frilford Heath last week the standard of play was very high and as dusk arrived on this glorious day and catkin blossom drifted through the air, a 5-man nearest the pin shoot-out was required to find the final four.
Then, after 3 tight play-off holes, it took a ruling from event officials to distinguish the winner - a first for the Trilby Tour. A great day at a great club in great, great weather.
Oh, and what of the caddies come the end of the day? As the sun dipped behind the leader board, most of them were sat with a long glass of lager, tightening calves and bright red sunburnt necks. Bless 'em.