Our journey to the Wirral was a smooth one.
Travelling during the week often grants us a few benefits, one of them being quiet roads.
Radio 2 played quietly in the background as Dave and I discussed our last game, almost a full month ago now, where he had succeeded in breaking my 22-week winning streak. He’d done a very good job of not gloating since that day, something that I was surprised at considering his ebullient celebrations back in May.
Despite having played as a youngster, Dave had yet to return to his younger form before our game at Ballards Gore. Now, buoyed by his win, he was keen to turn the screws and ‘get in my head’ before we teed of at Caldy Golf Club.
A little bit about Caldy Golf Club
Unlike the relatively young Ballards Gore (built between 1979-80), Caldy has a rich golfing heritage behind it. Jack Morris (the nephew of Tom Morris, four-time Open Championship winner between 1861 and 1867) drew up the plan for the original 9-hole course back in 1906 with the course officially opening in 1907. Over two decades later James Braid, himself a five-time Open winner, revealed his plans to extend the course to a full 18 holes.
Illustrious origins aside, at times it was feared that the Course at Caldy was not long for this world. Significant erosion of the cliffs that it rests on began only 2 years after the course was completed. By 1936 a short hole had to be abandoned, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that the club took measures to prevent any more loss of the ground – by this point the 5th hole had already been lost to the sea, along with the back of the 3rd and another short hole.
Towards the end of the 80s £125,00 was invested in protecting the 3rd green, but even after this work was completed it was clear more needed to be done. A further £250,000 was ploughed into shoring up the cliffs – this work was completed in 1994 and has gone a long way in preserving this lovely course. Our enjoyment of the course, thankfully, wasn’t marred by any land erosion.
We followed a UPS delivery man down a well-kept drive to be greeted by a handsome clubhouse, parking alongside the van as the driver delivered his cargo to a chef waiting out front. As we entered the cook explained to us that he was currently in the midst of upgrading his kitchen, hence the package of Britannia cooker spares he was holding in his hands. We enquired as to whether we’d be able to order some lunch after our game, to which he replied in the affirmative – clearly a chef with some confidence in his engineering skills!
I’d like to tell you that I was able to wipe the smirk of Dave’s face and return to the top position in the Grace Hill Golf Club rankings, but unfortunately that did not happen. Although I drove well, clearly I was still lacking confidence after my recent loss which the caused me to collapse around the 5th hole. Dave, in comparison, confidently shot on part throughout the day peaking with an eagle on the final hole.
I’d like to say that I was proud of him, but that would make me a liar…