On our very first Variety Golf Day as their official travel partner, we were warmly welcomed at Croham Hurst Golf Club on a bright, crisp and sunny morning ….. as the guests started to arrive to enjoy their full English breakfast outside on the terrace it was very clear to see how excited everyone was to be back amongst friends with the anticipation of a great day’s golf ahead of them.
The brand new Sunshine Coach that was parked by the putting green provided a back drop and a fitting visual reminder as to why celebrities and amateurs alike turn out to support these events … they all share the same passion for golf and for raising money to present these amazing Sunshine Coaches that provide incredible opportunities for children less fortunate than our own to experience things that we all take for granted. We watched the presentation of the coach to the Head Mistress of the Jeanne Saunders Centre in Brighton later in the day and, after hearing her speak, there’s no doubt that this will make a huge difference to the lives of so many children. Even during the pandemic, Variety Golf have put 16 Sunshine Coaches on the road in 2020 ……. a real credit to Jamie Little and Samantha Head and the wider Variety Golf team as well as the numerous celebrities and Variety members that support these great events. The 2021 schedule will see more than 25 events across some of the best golf courses in the UK and we are delighted to be involved. We look forward to working with Jamie & Sam to raise as much money as possible for this amazing charity.
Penina Golf Resort had provided a 3 night + 2 round golf holiday for 2 people as the hole-in-one prize on the tricky 13th hole. Players were charged a small fee to enter (all money to the charity!) and also got their chance to put their skills to the test with a beat-the-pro competition against the Variety Golf’s very own Sam Head, a two time winner on the Ladies European Tour. It didn’t take long for Sam to warm up, pick her weapon of choice and then she very quickly dialled in, hitting, shot after shot, the 153 yards to the green with her trusty 8 iron! If you hit your shot closer than Sam’s you won a sleeve of balls ……. safe to say she didn’t have to give away many sleeves during the day. Players also received a £50.00 Golf Escapes Voucher that they can redeem against a golf holiday or with a host of golf manufacturers if they’d rather treat themselves to some new equipment or top up the ball supply after a few too many errand shots. Sam was joined for the day by her daughter Amy who at 11 years old has a swing many adults would be proud of and during a break in play she was quick to show off her skills by smashing her 3 wood to about 15 ft – one of the best shots we witnessed all day!
We had a two tee start today from the 1st and 11th holes, both of which are adjacent to the Croham Hurst clubhouse. It wasn’t long before the first of our groups arrived on the 13th to take on the challenge of beating Sam and winning the hole-in-one prize. It was great to see the celebrities and amateurs all dipping into their wallets to support the charity. It was also evident to see that these guys were just delighted to be back on the course with old friends, sharing jokes and reminiscing about past events and looking forward to the amazing schedule ahead. The celebrities were on good form with Variety Golf Captain Len Goodman and Variety Golf President Jimmy Tarbuck being joined by Steve Coppell, Ian Irving, Mark Ramprakash, Dave Beasant, Terry Mancini, John Conteh, Tiff Needell, Paul Walsh, David Redfearn, Lawrie Sanchez, Paul Jones and Liam Brady.
As the day wound to a close we made our way back to the clubhouse – a little colder than when we started the day but considerably richer with over £1300.00 raised from the hole-in-one competition. Those that had finished already were enjoying the beautiful roast lamb and apple pie as they shared stories about both the good and the bad shots they had hit during the day. We all gathered under a marquee adjacent to the putting green where we watched Jimmy Tarbuck & Len Goodman make the official handover of the Sunshine Coach to the Jeanne Saunders Centre before Jamie Little presented the prizes with Jimmy Tarbuck providing some very entertaining stories throughout! The winning team of celebrity John Conteh and amateurs Ron Winchester, Dave Horwood & David Murrel amassed a very credible 98 points (best 2 from 4 format) to win by 4 points. Presentations were also made to Jimmy Tarbuck for his 80th birthday which was missed last year due to Covid and Jimmy himself made a very passionate speech about long-standing Variety Golf member Bernie Flockhart who had been a member of the society for over 40 years – even longer than Jimmy himself. It’s the dedication and commitment by members like Bernie and celebrities like Jimmy that have ensured Variety Golf remains at the forefront of charity golf.
As the Penina holiday wasn’t won today, Jamie will be auctioning it a future event so keep your eyes open for your chance to visit this beautiful golf resort in The Algarve, Portugal.
We now look ahead to our next event with Jamie, Sam and the Variety family at the fabulous Sundridge Park Golf Club for the Ladies European Tour Charity Pro-Am where a host of past and present Ladies European Tour players will guide their teams around the famous Sundridge Park course.
Croham Hurst Golf Club
Opened in 1911 in the heart of South Croydon, this attractive par 71 layout looked beautiful in the bright Spring sunshine. The greens were fast and true and the striped manicured fairways were in excellent condition. You could see that a great deal of work had been done during lockdown and I’m sure the members are now benefitting from all the hard work. The course provided a first class full English breakfast and an amazing two course dinner in challenging circumstances as everyone still had to eat outside due to Covid restrictions. Although there was no time for us to play today we look forward to returning to Croham Hurst Golf Club in the future to take on the course in this picturesque corner of Surrey.