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2009 Spring Golf Outing to Hodogaya Golf Club

At one of the golfing establishments with the longest and most distinguished histories in Japan, it was with a real sense of anticipation that the serried ranks of the C&O Golfing Society gathered at the kind invitation of member Peter Sato (Oxford, St Catherine's) in the early morning mist at Hodogaya CC (established 1921), on Saturday 28th of March, 2009. There was history in the event, too, as 2009 also marked the 20th year since we have extant records for the C&O Varsity golf match, which itself was first held at Hodogaya CC.

The Spring outing each year, for many, marks the first time in the season that the Guttie Percha ball is given its first chance of flight, and equal opportunity to raise (and then sometimes dash) the members' perennial hopes and aspirations for the golf of the summer to come. This year was no exception, with the course's Official Starter seeing off the assembled three flights of four off at 8.06am. A full and varied repertoire of tee shots was on display, aptly illustrating the group's immunity to the cold, as each addressed a tricky par four fairway that steeply fell away then disappeared around on a dog-leg left to an elevated green.

We were fortunate to be treated kindly by the weather, with an overcast day never threatening anything more ominous. With the course set up as a tough challenge, it was with the usual animated discussion regarding the lucky bounces, or just-short approaches, the regretful "it-almost-carried-the-water" and "if-only-I'd-not-duffed-that second-approach" -commentary that characterise any meeting of the Society, that a heartening lunch was taken in the wood-panelled Dining Room in the late morning, which set up the eight members from Oxford, and three from Cambridge, and one guest (Mari Ohsaki, James Lawden's (Oxford, New) guest) for the afternoon's action. With the greens running surprisingly fast for the time of year, and the fairways in superb condition, each four-ball returned with tales of fickle fortune, and a unifying satisfaction of being out for another Good Walk Spoiled.

After the round, and the customary Onsen, refreshments of both a local and international flavour saw the group through to Terry Nakamura's (Oxford, Worcester) as-ever highly effficient prize-giving, in a room overlooking the full panorama of the course; it was with bated breath that the announcement of the result of the 2009 C&O Spring Varsity Match was awaited; in the event, Takahisa Hashimoto (Cambridge, Gonville & Caius) saw his Autumn 2008 winning-mantle pass to Yasuzo Takeno (Oxford, Worcester), whose fine 86 was enough to secure the top individual net-score; for the team event, the news ~ after equalising for the number of team members ~ that Oxford had extended their fragile lead in the Varsity running total by one was greeted with generous applause, leaving the current standing at 19 to 15 in Oxford's favour.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable outing with many old friendships renewed, and new ones established; the Autumn outing (date/venue TBC) is already being looked forward to all involved, with existing members of the broader society warmly encouraged to get in touch if they would like to take part in the next event.

Alex Miller
Somerville, Oxford, 1997

Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Fri, 2009-03-27 15:00.
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