Having polished up their brassies, mashies and niblicks to their original gaiety and slipped into their jaunty plus-fours and Pringle sweaters, 14 intrepid ball-bashers strode out assertively onto the links of the Blackpool Park Golf Club to enact a sporting drama.
The Royal and Ancient game, reputedly maligned by Mark Twain as a good walk spoiled, brought out the best and not so best of competitiveness amongst the brethren of Emblem Lodge No 6727 and other lodges. Styles of swing varied from fluid and easy to ragged and violent. Ball trajectory was as diverse as elevated and accurate to erratic and distinctly hazardous to lethargic earthworms, barely rising above an ant’s kneecap above the ground. Despite the assortment of styles and experience, competition was cordial yet fierce.
Rumour has it that in consideration of the greenkeeping staff, the players concentrated much of their efforts in the bunkers and rough to preserve the quality of the fairways but judging by some impressive scoring there can be little foundation to such malicious slurs!
Thankfully the weather held out for the duration of the competition and waterproofs were not called for. This outcome was, no doubt, largely due to the excellent planning and organisation of the event by Charlie Mackay who has been at the helm of the Emblem Lodge Golf Classic for many years.
The ‘Emblem Classic’, as the occasion is more commonly known, is an annual tournament that has existed since 1989 with the aim of raising money for Masonic and non-Masonic charities whilst providing a fun day for the participants. The tournament is played as a Stableford competition with additional prizes for the nearest to the pin on Hole 16, a 139 yards par 3, and the longest drive on Hole 18.
For the benefit and understanding of non-golfers, Stableford is a scoring system that involves scoring points based on the number of strokes taken at each hole in comparison to a fixed score, usually par. For example, three strokes under par earns five points, two strokes under par four points, one under par three points, equal to par two points, one over par one point. Two or more over par receives no points. The system is unlike traditional scoring methods such as stroke play in which the total number of strokes taken is counted and in which therefore the aim is to have the lowest score. Under Stableford rules, the aim is to have the highest number of points. The system means that a player can still remain competitive even if he or she has a few bad holes.
It has been recorded that whilst all 14 competitors in the Emblem Classic were ardently chasing albatrosses, eagles and birdies, a proportion of players picked up ducks on more than a few holes. These participants shall of course remain nameless.
This year’s outright winner was past master of Emblem lodge Stephen Tew who also took the prize for the longest drive. Nearest to the pin on Hole 16 was David Boswell secretary of the Blackpool Lodge of Tranquillity No 6544.
On conclusion of play, the competitors joined their ladies, families and friends for a well-earned feast and continued with fundraising, the primary purpose of the event. Having a bit of fun and fining all those committing minor misdemeanours, fines master David Boswell executed his role superbly, resulting in this year’s event raising a staggering £386 for charity.
Master of Emblem lodge Michael Fisher thanked all involved for their competitiveness and support, but conveyed a special thanks to Charlie Mackay for all his efforts in organising the day.
The members of Emblem lodge look forward to supporting the other lodge’s forthcoming events. Tranquillity lodge’s next event will also be held at the Blackpool Park Golf Club, Stanley Park on Wednesday 17 June. All gentlemen, brethren and perhaps lady golfers would be most welcome.
To express interest and book a place or simply to make enquiries, contact David Boswell L6544@westlancsfreemasons.org.uk.