Brian Gee, Lilly Waller Winners at Int. Dutch Hickory Open

 

The winners of the IDHO 2015. From left: Ab van den Broek (Best Dressed), Bengt Franzon (Stableford), Menno Beelen (3rd), Perry Somers (2nd), Brain Gee (1st), Lily Waller (1st), Britta Nord (2nd), Barbara Nettelbladt (3rd), Coby Born (Best Dressed) (PHOTO: ESMEE WALLER)

Reported by Iain Forrester:

Traditionally, the IDHO was opened with the reception and the IDHO dinner in the beautiful setting of the Grote Huis. The dinner carried a Spanish theme, conversation was convivial (Perry Somers), plates were mostly empty when returned to the kitchen, the wine was ample and nobody died so we can say this was again a huge success.

Gray clouds hung heavy over the Ullerberg delivering a steady drizzle and intermittent drenching showers on the morning of the 6th International Dutch Hickory Open, held over 18-19 September. While the players, getting restless and clamoring to get out, were being held in check with an endless stream of coffee, tea and chunks of raisin bread, match master Iain Forrester and course master Diederick Vreede wisely decided to postpone the planned tee-off of 9:30h to 11:00h basing their decisions on technology that their IDHO forebears could not have dreamed of.

It was an inauspicious start of a tournament that was characterized by the many people who had to resign before and during the event. Amiable John Ott became unwell and had to retire before he could even hit a ball. Coby Born was brought down in mid-swing by a pinched nerve that prevented her from playing any further. Robust Pieck van Hooven inadvertedly stepped into one of the many hidden deep puddles on the course and almost drowned and last, but not least, match master Iain Forrester himself had to give up because he ran out of balls that were consumed by the heather’s thirst for white round objects.

Conditions were harsh then, even if the weather improved significantly and the sun started to shine. The course was wet, making the heather elastic and prone to capture a ball rather than to pass it on. The wet rough made the already difficult search for a ball less pleasant and more hopeless. Wet greens, ravaged by badgers, were even slower than they normally are. Nonwithstanding all these obstacles, the players couragely enjoyed the experience. John was restored to his normal self by the comforts of the Grote Huis. Coby was lifted by the great atmosphere. Pieck got dry socks and enjoyed the midday sun and Iain took his mishaps in the way that only great sportsmen can do. Ton Born, teamed up with Jeroen Manders and Michael Edin, did finish this year, wasted to the core but happy. Ab van den Broek, deserted by his flight members, was condemned to walk the 18 holes alone and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, his spirits seemingly lifted with every hole.

Boris Lietzow, also alone but for the company of sweet Caroline, made his round imperturbable, keeping to his own schedule and all the time explaining Caroline the finer points of the game. Britta Nord, keen to recapture the first position, and Barbara Nettelbladt as always graced the course with their elegant presence and swing. Peter Reijers and Elmar Vlottes, seconded by Elmars mother Geke, undauntingly faced all the obstructions the course threw at them. In the meantime Bengt Franzon was trying to distract Lily Waller and Wilma van Rijn by playing very poorly the first few holes, but, as it transpired, to no avail. Perry Somers demonstrated his seemingly effortless swing and aim to flight mates Staffan Herzell and Menno Beelen who did not do much less on those scales. And while Iain struggled, Brian Gee determinedly and, as it turned out decisively, addressed the field, seconded by Enrico Degiacomo who discovered a great alpine lake behind the 9th hole.

Because of the late start, lunch was skipped until all 18 holes were played and by 16:00h the players were gathering at the kitchen of the Grote Huis to enjoy the pleasant afternoon sun and the late but well deserved traditional IDHO lunch.

While Diederick Vreede set himself to the task of making sense of the scoring cards, stories were shared and a cup of soup was dealt round. Tension mounted as the party moved to the main sitting room for the prize ceremony. 8 Fine Italian wines waited for the happy few that managed to stand out against the fierce competition. Lily Waller (92) and Brian Gee (82) finally came out on top and took the Waller Trophee for 2015. Runners up were Britta Nord (98) and Barbara Nettelbladt (104) for the ladies and Perry Somers (86) and Menno Beelen (89) for the men.

Wilma van Rijn en Bengt Franzon took posession of the Stableford prize.

The most coveted prizes for the Best Dressed players went to Coby Born and Ab van den Broek. During the afterparty all players were given a beautiful reproduction of the famous painting of the children of the Tulp family playing Kolf. A generous present by the Dutch Golfmuseum in the person of John Ott.

We thank the players and all the people who helped to make this IDHO the warm and magnificent event that it was. We look forward to welcome you and your friends next year.

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