When we woke up in my cousin Simon‚??s flat on Sunday morning, two thirds of puregolf2010 were Not Well. ¬†A dodgy Ruby Murray ‚?? ironically from ‚??Lucky Tandoori‚?Ě ‚?? was causing mayhem in the gastronomic quarters of Messrs Goldstein and De Vries; and I was struggling to contain my amusement. ¬†After an absolutely smashing couple of days seeing family I hadn‚??t seen in years, it was with heavy hearts and dodgy guts that we left for Aldeburgh ‚?? a quaint wee town an hour down the coast in Suffolk. ¬†There we would be meeting Willie Lebus, one of the more colourful characters of the year.
The story was a one that has become increasingly familiar of late. ¬†That is, our friend Paul organised the game with Willie at the 11th hour, the day prior. ¬†He was up for the weekend from London with his wife, and fortunately for us was only too happy to entertain. ¬†In more ways than one. ¬†Paul had mentioned over the phone that Willie was one of life‚??s truly great characters, but even that couldn‚??t have prepared us for the side splitting eccentricity he exudes. ¬†On an overcast Sunday in Norfolk ‚?? when 2 out of our 3 were struggling to keep their trousers clean ‚?? a healthy dose of Monsieur Lebus was just what the doctor ordered. ¬†
Aldeburgh itself seems to be an apt weekend getaway for City Folk, just a couple of hours away by car. ¬†¬†Once you‚??re there though, you may as well be in Wick, such is the relaxed vibe. ¬†Not on the coast but near it. ¬†The town is a bonnie wee one from what we could make out and, as fate would have it, it has a fantastic golf club to call its own.
On arrival I ventured immediately into the clubhouse, which is a Panmure-esque job. ¬†Very traditional and homely. ¬†Having poked my nose into every nook and cranny there was still no sign of Willie, so I began my retreat to the car park. ¬†As I was about to push open the front door a shorter man than me wearing a big navy blue fleece and cap burst through. ¬†I knew right away it could only be Mr. Lebus. ¬†‚??Those are a well travelled looking set of clubs out there; ...must be one of the New Zealanders...‚?Ě ¬†Indeed, Kia Ora Willie, Te Na Kou Tou Te Na Kou Tou Te Na Kou Tou Katoa. ¬†The man had Energy.
Back outside we were introduced to his wife, who was fantastically named Venetia (I can only assume) by her parents. ¬†Venetia‚??s family hail from Nu Zillin, so once more we found ourselves in the company of someone who probably knows more about ‚??our country‚?Ě than we do. ¬†(This has happened several times of late). ¬†Venetia was supposed to be joining us for golf, but in Bart she found an excuse not to. ¬†Just the lads then.
As has become customary for us down in England, we played a foursomes match. ¬†Notwithstanding the near miss that we had at Royal West Norfolk, Goldy and I were paired together once more (this time it was the ball toss that conspired against us). ¬†My faith in his short game at this point had reached even lower levels than Friday, because Ruby Murray threatened to be very much a factor. ¬†Nothing like a cold sweat moistening your brow when you‚??re playing a flop shot from the greenside heather...
Willie‚??s involved with the biggest independent wine merchant in the UK, so given our interest in the stuff we had plenty to chat about from the get go. ¬†Bart‚??s even planning to start an export business smuggling NZ wine into South East Asia when he gets back. ¬†I think I‚??ll just continue supporting the industry in the best way I know how and to the best of my ability. ¬†Michael‚??s nodding in agreement too. ¬†I imagine Willie‚??s a good man to have on tour, but sadly he‚??s passing on the upcoming Lucifers trip to God‚??s Own (‚??Some people have to work...‚?Ě). ¬†
The course itself was, I suppose, an inland links. ¬†Good sandy soil just a mile or two from the Suffolk coast. ¬†There used to be a fair bit of gorse around but like many clubs they‚??ve ripped a fair bit of it out in recent times. ¬†Improves pace of play, of course. ¬†No par 5s either. ¬†What struck me most were the views back down the hill to the clubhouse from holes like the 7th. ¬†On a clearer day I suspect we could‚??ve seen the North Sea too, in all its aqua blue splendour. ¬†For what it‚??s worth I also thought the short par 3 4th hole was a gem too ‚?? with a 50 yard long narrow green pitched back towards you making it difficult to gauge where the pin actually is.
Goldy played quite delightful golf for the most part ‚?? showing signs that he‚??s coming back into some form. ¬†Willie was beside himself as Goldy caressed high 4 irons from 220 yards to 15 feet, or nipped a wee pitch stone dead. ¬†Michael‚??s Masterclass was Quite Masterful. ¬†Remarkable I can still take such pleasure in watching him play well after this long...(although not as much as Willie). ¬†We were victorious in the match; in the Bye match; and in the Bye Bye match. ¬†Comprehensive.
In the hut the omnipresent Oxford & Cambridge Golf Society were lunching mid-match. ¬†I suspect they play more golf than us. ¬†One chap had a fantastic pair of red chords which I‚??ve vowed to track down once I‚??m gainfully employed and have the time once more. ¬†I‚??ll be unstoppable in those breeks. ¬†
Willie proved to be a wonderfully eccentric and ‚?? more to the point ‚?? fun host. ¬†The sort of chap you could quite happily set anyone up with and know they‚??d have a whale of a time. ¬†On course I took a liking to sledging him (he developed the same hankering), but were I to continue along the same lines I fear the tone of satire might be lost to the internet Gods. ¬†So J‚??ll pay my respects respectfully and thank Willie and Aldeburgh for putting on a Super Sunday of good natured banter. ¬†And golf.
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