Finalists at next week’s Accountancy Age Masters golf competition will not only be matching themselves against some of the best players in their profession, they will also be taking on one of the most intimidating courses in UK golf.
Chosen as the venue for last year’s British Masters, the 7,100-yard Forest of Arden course will test the mettle of the 36 finalists. Although considered a parkland course, it boasts a number of water hazards including the 209-yard 18th called Tontine.
But the most famous feature is the island in the lake on the 17th hole.
In the English Open five years ago, Wayne Westner hit a shot onto the island and, rather than drop a shot, waded into the middle to play the ball from the island. With the next stroke, he reached the green and, since then, the feature has been affectionately christened Westner’s Island.
Brit shows how it’s done …
According to Damian Tudor, one of the club’s professionals, the hardest hole is the 13th, a notorious par 4 that stretches 474 yards from the championship tee. But it proved no problem for this year’s Master’s winner Colin Montgomerie. The homegrown talent finished 7 under par in the championship, two shots ahead of Argentinian Eduardo Romero. According to Tudor, Montgomerie has never finished below second place in all his outings on the ten-year-old course.
Although the ground staff are not prepared to discuss pin settings for next week’s championship, it will certainly demand the very best golf from the finalists. The course’s five-inch thick rough will test every player’s middle game. Tudor describes the rough as ‘very thick and difficult and a good test of accuracy from the tee. He considers the overall playing conditions a real ‘test of golfing ability’.
When the finalists step onto the first tee, it will be the culmination of a fiercely fought tournament that saw the field whittled down from 454 entrants. From that, 150 progressed into the regional finals which produced five winners.
Mark Piercy of Mark Piercy & Co won the heat at the Kingswood course in Surrey, Jeff Wilson of Wolson Croft won at East Herts, sole practitioner Ralph Brindle took the Midlands heat at Great Barr, Alan Tomlinson from AH Tomlinson & Co won at Mottram Hall, Manchester, and Trevor Moor stole the show at Moor Allerton near Leeds.
Even for those that lost out in the earlier rounds, the competition has proved to be an excellent networking exercise. But the high standard of golf played by everyone throughout the tournament has been a reflection of the important attachment accountants have to the game. It is also a reminder that some of the best business is conducted on the course.
The day starts off with a nine-hole team Texas scramble on the club’s Aylesford course followed by the individual stableford tournament. The event promises to be an exciting event for supporters and golfing enthusiasts able to travel to the Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club. And if the course proves to be too tough for any of the finalists, the luxurious facilities of the 19th should provide apt consolation. To register for the 1999 Accountancy Age Golf Masters, call 0171 316 9554 or email email@example.com
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