Congratulations to our Ladies Team (Lois Price, Maureen Turner, Leslie Ross, Dinah Johnston and Pat Johnson) who played in the 2018 National Golf Club Challenge National Final at the amazing Trump Turnberry Resort in Scotland this week.

It was an amazing all expenses paid trip to the awesome resort with gala dinners and fantastic hospitality. Our ladies finished 4th out of the 25 teams that took part with some fine golf played in tough/challenging conditions.

The National Golf Club Challenge is organised by the charity, On Course Foundation, who support the recovery of wounded and sick servicemen by building self-build confidence and self-belief through golf skills and employment events, and set them on the path to meaningful employment opportunities in the golf industry.

Well done ladies you did the club proud!!

Lois Price kindly wrote a report on hers and the teams Turnberry experience, check it out below -

2018 National Golf Club Challenge National Final at Turnberry - 21/22nd October

I think I can speak for all of us - myself, Maureen Turner, Pat Johnson, Dinah Johnston and Lesley Ross to say that we felt extremely fortunate to have qualified and had the opportunity to play in this final as well as experiencing the luxury of the Turnberry resort. It all started when the ladies section ran a stableford qualifier back in July and submitted our scores to the NGCC. We found out in August that by some miracle we were one of the qualifying teams. All accommodation and meals were included and we would be staying at Turnberry Lodges, adjacent to the main hotel and given access to all the facilities over the two competition days and nights.

The background to this event is that it is a national competition formed in 2009 with the purpose to raise money for the On Course Foundation which support members of our Armed Forces who have suffered life changing injuries. It is a charity that uses golf as a vehicle for successful recovery of their members. Golf provides a key part in physical rehabilitation, allows participants of all skills and physical abilities to play together on a level playing field. It also provides camaraderie, competitive spirit and supports psychological recovery and confidence building.

The final is run over two days in a stableford format and split between a men's and a ladies competition.

We all drove up on the Saturday and stayed nearby as we had to register early on the Sunday. It also gave an opportunity to find out more about what was happening and take in the stunning scenery of the Turnberry coastline and hotel complex.

Day 1 (Sunday) was the "practice day on The King Robert the Bruce course. We had drizzle and light wind to start with, but this cleared to provide a beautiful sunny afternoon. We all had a fantastic time, with all of us scoring well within the field which definitely boosted confidence levels. This was followed by an evening dinner in the Club House. We sat on a table with OCF servicemen and supporters. It was very humbling to listen to their stories - tours of duty in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Iraq etc, particularly one serviceman who suffers from PTSD and described the OCF as a life saver - if he hadn't of benefitted from their help he would "never have left his house". Another had been blown 100ft into the air when the vehicle he was in had gone over an UED - the force of impact had shattered part of his spine. Rehabilitation, metal implants and support through OCF had got him back on this feet and playing golf to a 15 handicap - he actually won the overall 2 day individual stableford which was an impressive achievement.

Day 2 (Monday) dawned and looked much brighter. After photos in front of the hotel, we had time for a "royal breakfast" at the hotel before getting ready for the main competition playing the famous Ailsa course. The weather was better, but we had to contend with a fair amount of wind which got stronger as the day went on. The starter had advised "stay on the fairway" which wasn't easy as there were so many bunkers of all variety and heights, strategically placed so that it was very easy to find them! If you didn't get caught out on these, there was the rough (which you really did not want to go near), mounds to navigate, cliff edges if you hit too far and undulating greens - so a real test of links golf. The course was in superb condition, fairways springy and challenging and the greens were all tests of accuracy and green reading - it really was an amazing experience to play here.

The organisation was great, we were provided practice balls each day and the facilities were second to none. On both days we were mixed up in differing groups of four with other players from the UK and a club from Belgium (Royal Golf Club Du Hainaut). We met some really lovely people, who all appreciated the opportunity of being at Turnberry.

On the second evening we had a gala dinner in the chandelier clad Crystal Ballroom within the main hotel where raffle prizes (Motocaddy) were drawn and also an auction of some impressive items to raise further money for the OCF. The evening culminated in the main prize ceremony, where the overall ladies winners were from Brickendon Grange golf club and had handicaps ranging from 13 to 27. We were extremely surprised and pleased to have come 4th and win Glenbrae jumpers each.

It still feels slightly surreal, but was an opportunity of a lifetime. What was also nice was that there was such a range of handicaps with all levels able to score well. Next year is the OCF's 10th anniversary, so they are hoping to open the final to more clubs and make it a bigger and special event, so hopefully as a club we will be able to run men's and ladies qualifiers again to try and repeat the experience.

Lois Price