Swinging into the World Finals
As an organiser and sponsor, I was lucky enough to attend The World Finals. This was in late October and held over 6 days. What an incredible week we had! We stayed at the Castle Hotel in Windsor, and on the first evening, we all met for the welcome dinner. This was the first opportunity we had to see how varied the guests were. It was wonderful to meet people from all over the world. Qualifying heats are held in locations such as the Bahamas, Gibraltar, Thailand, Mexico, and India. So, the group attending the finals is a diverse one with a shared love of golf.
On the second day, we played at the Edinburgh Course at Wentworth. Wentworth is one of the most exclusive courses in the UK, and you can only play as a member’s guest. So, I’m very grateful to the member, Leyton, who played with us. The golf course was stunning, and so was the clubhouse! After the golf, we had drinks and dinner with the Captain of Wentworth, and the prizes were announced for day one.
Day three was an amazing experience. We had the opportunity to play the King’s private golf course in the grounds of Windsor Castle. The Royal Household course, established in 1901, is obviously not open to the public, and the few members all have ties to the Royal family or Windsor Castle. We first feasted on a stunning Hog roast and then played this unique 9-hole course with a member, Dave, was ours and was an excellent host. It was a round I’ll never forget with some of the most stunning backdrops you can imagine.
Day four was a round of golf at the Berkshire, another course I hadn’t played before, and another stunner! The course was beautiful, a heathland course set amongst stunning woods. There are two courses, the red and the blue; we played the red, a course unique for having 6 par 3’s, 6 par 4’s, and 6 par 5’s. I loved the traditional feel of the course and club house, and it reminded me of my club, Hunstanton. After the golf, we had an excellent carvery in the clubhouse, and prizes were announced for round two. (I should mention I picked up the “closest to the pin in 2” award!)
On the fifth day, we had the daytime off, and I caught up on some work! But in the evening, it was the main event of the week, a Royal Gala Dinner at Windsor Castle with the Duchess of Edinburgh. I was excited about this evening as, again, it was truly a money-can’t-buy experience. But I had no idea that it would be such a special night. There was a truly magical feeling when driving through the gates and into the castle, and this continued as we handed over our invite and were invited up the stairs to the first reception room. What a room! “The Grand Reception Room,” the room used by Monarchs to host official visits of heads of state, investitures, and award ceremonies. The room is stunningly beautiful, with a huge malachite urn presented to Queen Victoria in 1839 by Tsar Nicholas I. After enjoying some champagne and listening to the harp, we were asked to move through to the dining room, an incredible room draped in history with coats of arms across the ceiling and coats of armour along each wall. It was a breathtaking room, and it felt like an incredible privilege to be there. After dinner, the Duchess of Edinburgh awarded the prize to the overall winner for 2023. I’m delighted to say the winner was from Norfolk! Peter Blackmur shot two rounds in the 70’s to lift the trophy for Norfolk, a well-deserved winner.