Dublin University Golfing Society
The second annual Winter Meet – 4th and 5th January 2018
Carrying from the success of our inaugural Winter Meet, the DUGS second annual Winter Meet took place on the 4th and 5th of January 2018. Despite our best attempts to impair our memories with stout, wine, and Kummel, we managed to implement some lessons and suggestions from our open forum at our previous meet. One of the results of this was that the annual meet was played over a Thursday and a Friday but like last year, both rounds were played at the wonderful Portmarnock GC.
Having taken inspiration from ‘The Society’s President Putter’ and hearing countless tales and lore of the gale-force winds, sluicing rains, frozen greens, and sometimes sheeting snow and hail that they so often compete in, it was fitting that the DUGS experienced some of its own mythical weather. On Thursday the weather was vile. Strong winds and near zero temperatures made scoring very difficult. Due to upgrades and renovations being carried out on the course in preparation for the 2019 Amateur, the 9th hole, normally a strong par four, played as a par-3 of 210yds dead in to the wind and was out of reach for all, even when using the wooden clubs, except for the longest hitters. For other more slightly sane people, playing in those conditions would be considered a form of peculiar torture only permitted at Guantanamo Bay but such is the barbarous nature of society golfers from this area of the world, the competitors simply put on more layers and marched to the first tee.
On Thursday night there was a casual dinner at the King Sitric, in Howth, which was attended by more than twenty participants. The former Leinster and Irish rugby player, Leo Cullen also dined in the King Sitric that evening and several the DUGS attendees drew inspiration from the Leinster Rugby Coach, however he seemed to look disapprovingly of the quantities of red wine our boys were putting away the night before a competitive round. Perhaps he was merely jealous that golfers can enjoy what the South African’s call, ‘swing oil and aiming juice’ before a competitive round.
That night, DUGS stalwart, John Kenny, kindly collated the scores and the cards on that night so that all players knew where they stood after round one.
Thankfully, the weather on Friday was much more benign. The DUGS enjoyed what is hoped will become the familiar weather for the Winter Meet; almost balmy, calm conditions.
After golf on Friday, just as daylight bled slowly toward dusk, our new captain, Matt Minch, ‘drove-in’. In what is sure to become a DUGS tradition, he began his tenure by hitting a drive off the first tee at PGC straight out in to the estuary. Matt had been suffering with a bad back for some time and was concerned that he would be unable to take part in this ceremony but thankfully his physio and some alcoholic lubrication got him to the point where he could swing his driver. It appeared to be a great shot but because of the darkness no-one was 100% sure where the ball went. Some DUGS conjecture that Captain Minch missed the “unmissable fairway”. Other, more positive and encouraging DUGS, say that they saw the drive fly high, long, and straight as it disappeared into the twilight.
As one of these ‘glass-half full’ DUGS, Matt strutted to the Pickeman Room with his chin high and went on to make a fine speech at the black-tie dinner, rounded off with a super story which was well received by all. Gavin Caldwell spoke eloquently as always in his role as DUGS President and David Fleury proudly delivered what was to be his last Trinity Grace in Latin before dinner, may he rest in peace. Match manager, Dougie Heather, was on hand to officiate but was unable to play having broken his collarbone skiing in December. His co-match manager, Mark Murnane, who did a wonderful job of taking entries and preparing the time sheets braved through a bout of man-flu to play 36-holes but ran out of steam and was unable to attend the black-tie dinner. On behalf of all DUGS, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to both Dougie and Mark for all of their hard work.
Looking back at the records, there was a fantastic attendance at the tournament ending black-tie dinner with forty-nine DUGS members staying for after golf for provisions, which included five non-players and seven members of DUGC.
Richard Knightly, the holder of the Scratch Salver, was also unable to participate. The event was won by Andrew Stokes with two fine rounds and a stableford gross score of 61 points. Jerome, ‘MF’, Counihan was second with 58 points. The Seniors Scratch event was won by David Conway Snr for the second year running with Jim Carraghy following in the runners-up spot. The winner of the Super Seniors Scratch event was Huntly Lauder with Gavin Caldwell in second spot. The Nett event was won by Kenny Johnston with Aedan Jameson following closely. The best nett scores among the non-winners were Andrew Bryce, 31 points, and Paddy McElligot, with a wonderful 42 points, on Thursday and Friday respectively. Best gross score for DUGC was recorded by Luke Flynn who returned 55 Points over the two days. Lest we forget, our not-so humble scribe, Darragh Coghlan, who was unable to play on day one, played on day two shooting a very fine 3-under par round of 69.
After dinner, those who had consumed enough stout stood up to tell a few stories, jokes, and anecdotes as the rest sat back and enjoyed Port and Stilton. Darragh Coghlan delivered the Match Report on the 2017 inaugural DUGS Winter Meet which was well received and will prove to be a useful record of the event. The newly self-made DUGS dipsomaniac, Andrew Stokes, buoyed by his victory, engaged DUGS stalwart David Conway Snr in a shouting match back and forth across the Pickeman room about Stokes’ boyhood club, Milltown. Referring to the Winter Meet, Conway shouted, ‘If it was hosted at Milltown only four people would show up!’, ‘Yeah, well, I’d still beat you’ Stokes responded but without missing a beat Conway replied, ‘only because I’d be wearing wellies’, putting young Stokes firmly in his place.
The jovial atmosphere made its way to the Bradshaw Room where Dougie Heather captivated the younger DUGS with tales of the fabled Arthur Pierse and his legendary game. In spite of his broken collar bone, perhaps fuelled by ‘swing juice’, he also exhibited his vast knowledge of the game by demonstrating the squat and turn technique being made popular by the trendy Californian coach, George Gankas.
Sadly, to end on a sombre note, DUGS lost two great members in 2018. David Fluery, who was a longstanding servant to the DUGS and a true gentleman of the game and tragically, DUGS had to endure the loss one of our younger members, Conor Ringland, who passed away at the age of 26 during the year. They both will be sadly missed, and may they rest in peace.