Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Banbridge/Tandragee - All cooped up

[Banbridge: Par 4 11th]

At Banbridge there was a man my father’s age (70 something) who drove up to the clubhouse in a spanking new, bright red, Mini Cooper. Proud as punch he was. I wanted to suggest that he act his age and buy a Jag XJS like any normal older gentleman wanting to show off his viriity. For one thing, the Cooper does not take golf clubs very easily – so no ideas Dad, please.

Banbridge has that rollercoaster effect for a number of holes and is perfectly capable of wearing you out. When I spoke to Chris in the pro shop and mentioned that my afternoon stop was at Tandragee, he said to expect more of the same.

[Banbridge: Par 4 5th - Index 1]

There are certainly similarities, but Tandragee would have a more classic parkland bent, with more impressive tree-lined fairways, added finesse around tee boxes and clubhouse, while Banbridge has that wilder feel and a more entertaining routing.

When I arrived at Tandragee I was met by Alan Hewitt, the Hon Sec. We had a lengthy chat about the NITB (Northern Irish Tourist Board) website and then he grabbed a small silver cup. It was the Council Cup. On it were the words ‘replica’, ‘George Dixon’ and ‘1933’. The story goes that back in the old days if you won the cup three times in a row, or five times in total, you were allowed to keep it. George Dixon, a member of Tandragee, achieved the latter. So delighted was he at this achievement that he then had a replica made and presented it to the club. And what did the club do with it? They ‘misplaced’ it in 1934. So, the question is, how come it was now in Alan’s hands? Take a guess. In fact, take five guesses.
1. In a trunk in an attic?
2. On someone’s desk as a pen holder?
3. A goldfish bowl?
4. In the bottom of a musty shoe locker in the old changing rooms?
5. A long lost niece had found it under 40 years’ of newspapers?

Nope, none of these. Alan found it on eBay and bought it for 55 quid.

[Tandragee: Par 4 1st]

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