As the sun rose at 7.04am on September 29 at Rome’s Marco Simone Golf & Country Club for the opening day of the Ryder Cup, it rose too at the Three Locks Golf Club in Great Brickhill, Milton Keynes. The tournament – the ever-popular Collaborate MK golf day.
This memorable clash of the sporting Titans comprised members of the club, their friends, and guests from Collaborate MK, the region’s foremost business networking group. These golfing greats, elite athletes each and every one, had gathered to stride the pristine fairways and manicured greens of this finest of sporting venues.
The weather was magnificent. Storm Agnes had deferentially moved to one side, making way for a benign and glorious sunshine which, for the entire day, bestowed an unalloyed munificence upon our happy band of golfers. Clearly, tournament organiser and founder of Collaborate MK, Tim Lee, had consulted with the elements both well and wisely.
Following light breakfast refreshment, the competitors dutifully took their turn upon the first tee. Each player unerringly swept away their opening shots in such a way that would ensure their round of golf would continue as they had intended. Some were determined to play long, straight and true. Others clearly had other plans; as Attenborough-like, they set upon exploring the hitherto uncharted undergrowth and leafy latitudes of the Buckinghamshire countryside.
The pre-tournament interviews revealed that every player had ruthlessly harboured a single steely resolve to lift the coveted trophy. Yet, their on-course demeanour suggested otherwise. Throughout the day, the atmosphere was one of unbridled bonhomie. Above the chirruping of the chaffinch, the mewing of the buzzard and the occasional off -colour curse of the frustrated golfer, could clearly be observed and heard, the unmistakable sights and sounds of business relationships being fostered and connections forged.
Such events are invariably spoiled if sporting talent is allowed to bear any sway upon the outcome. With this in mind, the organisers strategically combined Stableford rules alongside the traditional handicapping system, thus quashing any chance of fulfilling the sporting cry, ‘May the best man win!’.
With the final fourball happily home and hosed, it was time for well-earned refreshment. The clubhouse soon rang to the sound of tales of brutally unfair lies, cruelly and unjustly lost balls, a magnificent chip on the seventh of which the late, great Severiano Ballesteros would have been proud, not to mention the 30-foot putt that was destined for the hole from the moment it left the face of the putter. The redoubtable Andy Axtell from sponsors It’s eeze websites performed the stoic duty of collecting the cards and checking the scores.
To the victors, the spoils, each of whom managed in their own inimitable way, to display all the characteristics of true golfing greatness.
- Best round – Daniel Douglas, winner of the Collaborate MK trophy
- Front nine – sponsored by Simon Evans, WPA Healthcare – winner, Daniel Douglas
- Back Nine – Sponsored by John Pratt, Bidwell Accountancy – winner, Ashley Stephens
- Nearest the pin – Sponsored by Richard Latimer, Jam Crackers – winner, Ashley Stephens
- Longest drive – Sponsored by Paul Swales, Beacon Financial Planning – winner, Daniel Douglas