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2006 C&O Autumn Golf Outing to Izu Peninsula

Following a proposal that the autumn match should take the form of an overnight outing, Mr Peter Itoh kindly investigated possibilities at the Nasu Country Club. Subsequently, however, a package tour to Izu including onsen (i.e. hot spring) and golf was favoured over the initial idea of an onsen and golf package in Nasu, which is located in the north of Tochigi Prefecture: the Izu Peninsula can be relied upon to be much warmer in the late autumn! Consequently, Mr Kaneyoshi Kawamoto (King’s, Cambridge, 1968), who owns two Japanese inns in Yugashima Onsen (in the central area of the Izu Peninsula), was persuaded to offer us accommodations at his inn, Ryokan Renaissance Ochiai. He also kindly arranged for us to play a round at Izu Ohito Country Club, which is located in the northeast of the peninsula, about 25 minutes’ drive from the hotel.

Thus, on Friday, 28th October, ten people (seven members and three guests) gathered at the hotel before the night completely obscured the autumnal colours of the surrounding mountains. The hotel stands on a fast-running river that flows down the narrow valley of Yugashima Onsen, delighting guests with its constant babble. The main dish at dinner was the local speciality, Shishi-nabe (wild boar sukiyaki), along with tasty Japanese sake. Everyone enjoyed the hot spa after the dinner and retired rather early to bed (or actually futon) in their Japanese rooms. I made the mistake of spending too much time in the bath and, when I returned, one of my roommates was already snoring loudly. I knew I should have booked a single room! After a couple of hours’ sleep, I decided to get up early in the morning and have a splash in the hot onsen.

Later that morning (29th), nine of us departed at 7:15 am for Izu Ohito Country Club (one of the original ten had to go back to Tokyo in the morning). We were split into three groups of 3 players each. Arrangements had been made for commemorative photos to be taken by the golf club’s staff of all 9 players standing together on the No. 1 Hole teeing ground of the Hakone (out) Course, but in the end we did not make it: one participant had left his expensive German camera in his hotel room, and someone had to bring it all the way to the golf club! Another member found his hotel room key in his pocket, and the hotel insisted it had to be returned. It took us a while to change the arrangements before the first group’s tee-off at 8:25 am. The weather was not wet, but it was so foggy that you stood little chance of finding your ball if your first drive was not straight. Also, the first drive had to be good enough to get your ball across a deep valley hidden in the fog in front of the teeing ground. The caddie warned us of this, but I still lost a new ball. It was a bad omen, and the tribulations of the morning and lack of sleep did not help me to feel better. Luckily, however, the morning fog quickly cleared up and the afternoon turned out to be a warm and sunny one. Everyone had finished their round by 3 pm, and we all gathered for post-golf drinks in the dining hall. The sun sliding down behind the Izu mountains, viewed from the balcony of the club house’s dining hall, was very impressive.

The first prize went to a new member, Alex Miller (Somerville, Oxford, 1997), who returned with a gross score of 84 strokes (38 on the Hakone course and 46 on the Fuji course). We refused to accept the handicap he claimed of 28 and gave him 12 until his official handicap is determined by his club, Windsor Park. Another new member, Chris Parry (Wolfson, Cambridge, 2001), won the booby prize. His scores, together with those of the other participants, were recorded in the C&O golf book. Oxford beat Cambridge by a heavy margin of 28 strokes in this C&O Varsity match.

The next golf match is the 2007 Spring Tournament at Hodogaya Country Club, which is planned in March, but the exact date is yet to be decided. At the post-golf drinks, however, there was talk about the possibility of organising another overnight golf outing in 2007 to Windsor Park Golf and Country Club in Ibaragi Prefecture. Alex Miller went on to say that, on top of the well-designed flat golf courses, the club house has European style accommodations and that they offer meals of good quality. Being a member of Windsor Park, Alex Miller has undertaken to investigate whether or not commercially attractive package terms are feasible for a C&O golfing event in the near future.

List of participants:

From Cambridge: Taka Hashimoto (Gonville & Caius, 1967), Phil Robertson (St John’s, 1981) and Chris Parry (Wolfson, 2001).
From Oxford: Tomo Imai (St Antony’s, 1960), Terry Nakamura (Worcester, 1964), Alex Miller (Somerville, 1977) and Masa Kogawa (Templeton, 1996).
Guests: Toshiro Yamanaka (Cam team) and Mrs Chizuru Imai.

(Reporter: T. Nakamura)

Posted in | Submitted by tim.minton on Sat, 2006-10-28 15:00.
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