John Pettitt holding the “Ryder Cup” 1985


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One year I played in the regional qualifying for Gloucester, Somerset and Wiltshire players for the national “John Courage Trophy” at “Swindon Golf Club”, Ogbourne St. George and was fortunate to come in the first three.

This meant our team for the final would be Peter Berry (Cotswold Hills. G.C. Later turned Pro) and Lachlan Miller (Scratch green keeper at Burnham and Berrow golf club) and myself. The final was held at “Calcot Pak Golf Club” in Reading and we won the team event and I was fortunate enough to win the individual with a most unusual day’s golf. I opened up with a 72 and found four players in front of me after the first round, one of them my old adversary from Suffolk, David Whinney. My afternoon round was pretty much a disaster as I recorded six over par for the par threes in that round, but still managed to turn in a gross score of 69 which coupled with the 72 was good enough to win and I was presented with my prize, a Ronson Table lighter by Dai Rees, the Welsh Ryder Cup player.

Perhaps now would be a good time to say that it would be impossible to win a scratch amateur tournament in those days without breaking par. There were far too many good players around.

The local circuit including tournaments like The “Long Ashton Vase”, The “Knowle Gold Medal”, the “Mendip Vase”, The “Whitchurch Silver Dragon”, The “Failand Plate” at Bristol and Clifton G.C. and the “Henbury Gold Medal”, a tournament in which I never won but did bring in two winners, one of whom was Ted Jackson a Gloucester County player, but it was interesting that in the write up for this event by John Reece of the Western Daily Press (Husband of Peggy Reece Curtis Cup player) he very kindly said that anyone wishing to learn how to swing a golf club should go and watch John Pettitt, it is hard to imagine him ever taking more than par. Embarrassed I may have been at the time but it was satisfying nevertheless.

I am also pleased with the fact that when I lived in Portishead my two young neighbours, George Ryall and Richard Svendson showed a keen interest when I used to practice on the open space in front of our houses overlooking the Bristol Channel. I showed them how to hold the club and the basic mechanics of the golf swing and they both became members of “Clevedon Golf Club”. George also won the Hawkins Trophy in 1982 and 1984.

George became a Professional and I believe is now playing on the Professional Senior’s tour. Richard ended up as a scratch golfer at “Ham Manor Golf Club” and I only found this out when I played in a match there when I was a member at “Sweetwoods Park G.C”. Sussex. He was a full county player for Sussex.

I won the Hawkins Trophy at my home club, as well as foursomes competitions like the “Somerset County Scratch foursomes” held at Saltford G.C which myself and my partner Barry Reeves won in 1972 with a score of 69=68 for 137 .

SOMERSET County Golf Union

Somerset Scratch Foursomes
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Copyright 1997 © John Pettitt

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