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Massereene Golf Club... Thursday, 23rd September 2010.

       Welcome to the report of the Press Golf Society outing to Messereene on the 23rd September... you may have observed what you took to be a spelling mistake in the opening sentence, it is no mistake! It was one of those days that can be likened to the time when you got the 'Do it Yourself Dentistry book' from the library, just for fun, of course.

    This is not a happy- clappy report so those of you with a delicate disposition may care to scroll do to the winners list at the bottom. It may contain flashing lights, graphic scenes and disturbing images, you have been warned.

 In serious mood, before entering the frivolous bits, I would like to say sorry to all the members who had to wait at Messereene last week, it was out of order and I have written on your behalf to the club and await their reply which you will receive in due course. 

 Being fond of a bit of Will Shakespeare to quote  (as you know) and in particular from Henry the V....

     And gentlemen in Rathfriland now-a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon Saint Sissa's day.

I find that on this occasion I would have been more than happy to have stayed abed, felt accursed and held my manhood at Asda prices rather than the day that transpired at Messereene.     Sometimes Will, the plebs would be happy to have missed the big show, write that.   I digress...

 Thursday 23rd September 2010, the day dawned and the rain came down. Forecast good to middling for the pm, expectations high and rock on Tommy to a cracking day on the shores of Lough  Chickincinerator.  That was how I saw it all in my mind, how wrong was I!

 Let's start with the car parking. I spent a good five minutes driving up and down, out and in looking for a space to park the motor, all we needed was May McFetridge and it would have been the pantomime. There was hardly a space to be found, I've never been at any outing with this amount of hassle to get the car parked up. Eventually I squeezed in beside an Astra ( and one sadly in need of a wash..NB treasurer) and the exit to the main road.

 I soon found out the cause of all this congestion and it was four words that was to echo in my brian for the rest of the day and beyond, 'Antrim Lions Charity day'. As I passed by the paved area at the front of the pro shop which is adjacent to the first tee there they were Lions and lionesses, herds of them swishing clubs, putting and getting in each others way, I knew from the sheer numbers of them that trouble was ahead and perhaps the use of the old twelve bore would be in order.

 I have absolutely nothing against Lions ( they do sterling work) or charity days, been at a few myself, but when you throw open the cage doors to all comers you need to crack the whip to make sure all goes smoothly. No whip crack, no order, result... lunatics, albeit nice apologetic ones, running the asylum. Sadly it proved  to be just that. An easy way to sum up would be in letter form to Messereene ,  this is not the version sent to them, it has been toned down a tad.....

Dear Keepers of the  Messereene,

  it is with great disappointment that  I have to write to you about our visit to Messereene on Thursday, 23rd September 2010. Personally and collectively we were most annoyed by the events of the day and although we recognise that the complaints lie mainly with the Antrim Lions/ Lionesses and their charity day, we have no recompense with them. My disappointment ranks second only to the time I attended a Saudi stag night when the stripper got her face out for the lads!

   An early indication of trouble ahead was when I received a call from one of our members to say that he was having a problem getting parked due to the high level of cars parked in your car-park. May I suggest you consider something of the high rise variety be added in future, perhaps you could rid yourselves of either the 12th or 18th to make way for it. Call the Anglo Irish bank if you need a few quid for the job.

    On my own arrival I spent quite a a few minutes with only Freddie Mercury for company waiting for a vacant space. Subsequently on the way to the clubhouse, at about 12.40am, I realised that an Antrim Lions charity day was in progress, not a problem, we have all had such events at our own clubs over the years. What did alarm me was the huge number of players prowling around the pro shop and the roaring from the first tee area. The air was thick with the stench of delay.

  Our first tee  time was for 1.30pm, I was among that first four-ball and we duly arrived at the first tee at about 1.26pm and it was at this stage that we understood what a big problem was unfolding. There were two of the Lions four-balls  (eight lions, thirty two balls) still waiting for the off at this stage. I approached a very nice man with a fancy red lions jacket and a stick, who was the organiser and was assured that in about 15 minutes they would be clear. He further explained that a lot of the earlier players had missed their tee times and this was the result. I made a point of asking the last Lions four-ball about the tee time they had been alloted and was told that it was 1.20pm.

 At 1.50pm we had 12 of our members waiting in and around the paved area in front of the pro shop.It was cool with light rain and the lads had to seek solace inside the pro shop where they were almost forced to spend money on Kendal mint cake and such like to keep themselves in fighting fettle. The huddling, contrary to the rumours, was in order to keep warm, we are a respectable society. Several more late coming Lions had appeared and our tee times got ever later. To cut a long story short  our members played their first shot of the day at 2.27pm, nine minutes later than the last group should have gone off.


 During this long sojourn eight of our stacked up ' pringle like' society members, decided due to later work commitments and the obvious snail and tortoise pace of the people playing on the Lions day, that they would be unable to play and get to work on time, decamped and went home. They were not amused. Great start! On a personal note,I was due to attend Ballyclare High School Prize distribution and that already looked seriously in jeopardy, but having taken a day off work to be here I decided to push on and hope for the best.

  To say that the first nine holes were slow would be an understatement, I could have pitched a small tent , cooked a fry, shaved, showered and watching the TV extended (directors cut) version of War and Peace on each teebox. Conception, gestation and birth could have taken place on a few of them. As I played the eighth hole (par 3), I could see on the teebox behind me, two of our four-balls waiting and a further three -ball on the 7th green. To my utter amazement the Lions four-ball in front of me, after playing the 9th, disappeared into the clubhouse and returned some 5 minutes later with coffee and some tin foil wrapped gazelle legs.

  I stood, legs akimbo,  on the tee of hole 10 at 5.11pm, two hours and forty-four minutes after teeing off. To say I was fit to explode would be no exaggeration, I had passed the Mir space station an hour before. Thank God I had left the tow rope in the car. It was getting close to a John Sweeney moment!

 It was here that eureka set in. It came to me that we would never be able to get round the course before the light had gone and with the news that another of my four-balls had lost patience and was having to go due to appointments and work matters within the BBC, I decided that we would need to terminate our own competition at hole 12 due to failing conditions. We were left with 11 players by this point. My group struggled on to hole 15 and being unable to see the flag, white or otherwise, ( even with my see all laser eyes) decided enough was enough and left the course. The remaining groups behind did likewise on the holes they were playing and so ended a day of complete and utter debacle from start to finish.

 I took to my heels and left for Ballyclare High School as fast as possible and I am glad to report that I made it just  in time to witness my son receiving his well deserved prize that he had cheated long and hard for. A silver salver may seem like small beer to you, but Cash Coverters were most generous.

 The food, I am told by those who stayed, was very good and they enjoyed that part of the day.I am sure that the caterer enjoyed the extra tenner for my meal that I was unable to stay for. The treasurer paid the caterer on the day and we have no complaint on that front at all. Speeches were brief and peppered with references to incidents during the round and a case of wayward balls as Tiger, or is it Lion Woods would say.

 Since then I have had complaints from members, annoyed, upset and downright angry about the day. Most had either taken a day off work, made arrangements for work cover or used holiday entitlement and in worse case scenario taken a well deserved day on the sick.  The one common thread was that they had never experienced either at society or their own club level such a frustrating day's golf. On a personal level and as secretary for the last four years of the society I have never ever been so angry on a golf course. I wanted to injure people on the course with a 7 iron ( easy to swing, leaves a nice deep wound), but the way my play was I would have missed by a country mile, so a putt on the ankle was the best I would have managed.

 Needless to say it will be a fight to get any of our members to return to Messereene in the future, which is a shame, as it had been looked forward to with a great deal of excitement by many of us who like going there and being chased by your basta** swans at the 17th. Get rid, I say and install some small waterfowl that are easily clubbed when balls need retrieving. Failing this hedgehogs would be more than acceptable, as they are easily thrown waterwards once impaled on a headcover.


  I hope that you will give this your immediate attention, as I am due to prepare a report on the day for distribution to members this week and I would like to say that Messereene Golf Club have understood their complaints and responded in a positive fashion to their concerns. Return of money, apology, free bar and a three minute trolley dash in the pro shop would be most warmly welcomed. Anything short of this may result in my members, in the dead of night, carving 'Allen Aprk si better' (well it would be dark) on your 18th green. Graffiti, 'Hasbeen Massereene' may appear.


 'Friendly and efficient service, with particular attention to the needs of societies and corporate clients is our clear aim. We believe this formula is at the heart of attracting new visitors. Society organisers involved in planning visits can rely on us to help with all aspects of their visit. This not only guarantees a superb day of challenging golf and great hospitality, but includes every possible assistance - right down to the last detail. It means that everyone visiting the club can focus on the task of enjoying the day.'

 I look forward to a resolution of this matter as soon as possible, to the satisfaction of my members and your club and hope that you can live up to the above quote from your website, that on this occasion was not fulfilled to my members ....

 Yours in anticipation...... M G Martin (Honsec)

On now to the prizewinners and a happy day for some at least...

 Prize winners over 15 holes.....


Visitors winner... Bertie Wilson.

 Best front nine...George Martin...17 points.

 Best back nine...   12 points from Jack McCloskey.

 High Section runner up...  with 29 points Brian Morgan.

 High Section winner.. A  fine tally of 32 points from Thomas Kane. 

 Low Section runner up... Joe Kearney with 23 points.

 Low Section winner... 27 points from Des Houston.

 Overall runner up.... with 32 points, was Des Magee.

 Overall winner.... was Terry Smyth with a blagging 33 points. 

On that cheery news I will end and here is a joke to give you all a chuckle before I take to the warm bath and let slip the cares of this world.... George Michael was hit by a chocolate bar thrown by another inmate today, a prison spokesman said that it was accidental, a case of a careless wispa.


 The booking for Ardglass ( next Friday, 8th October) is now open and email with your requirements, tee times from 11.00am to 12.04pm at 8 minute intervals. Weather will be good so get along and support the outing, it is a superb course and you really will have a good day out. Promise there will be no lions on the course, I have checked! Your biggest danger will be seagulls but at least they only shi* on you one at a time!!

 Take care and take it with a pinch of salt... MGM (Honsec)