John Pettitt holding the “Ryder Cup” 1985


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I joined Wimbledon Common Golf Club, but could do no better than get 4 handicap with the cards I submitted. The course looked easy, but the longer one played it the more paranoid I became and I could not get my handicap down. It came to a point with me constantly being out of the country driving a truck that one year the only rounds I played were the club championship, so I decided to let my membership lapse.

Around this time I met a young man in the canteen at the Daily Mirror in Watford, who wanted to learn how to play and I took him under my wing, He was a left hander and had no idea whatsoever, so it was nice to be able to start with a clean slate. It took no more than three years to get him down to seven handicap and his clubs were Donnay woods and Ram FX irons, so that tells you the equipment is not that important once you can swing the club properly. He was a fantastic guitarist and could play every Pink Floyd number exactly the way David Gilmour plays. He lives in Billericay so we are miles away from each other now that I live in Reading. Not so bad when I lived in London as we could always meet halfway.

As part of his education I took him down to Princes to show him a real golf course and when we arrived at the club, the secretary Mr. Stone asked us if we would care to make up a team that had two players unable to make it. We jumped at the chance of this free competitive round and were introduced to the other two members of the team, which had entered as the Sittingbourne Gas Board. As I did not wish to be called a bandit I said I was 3 handicap and it was a good thing I did as after I had posted a 72 gross and with good support from my team members we actually won and the prize is hanging on my office wall at this very moment. A wonderful framed print of the Old Bridge on the 18th hole at St. Andrews

We both joined a club down in Sussex called “Sweetwoods Park G.C”. as Elm members, which meant we paid 90 per year and got reduced green fees when we played. This was an incredible course for a new one; the greens were faster than Augusta and very true. I was given a six handicap based on the cards I submitted and my friend Perry was given 8. Being a new club the competitive side had not really swung into gear so there was no competition other than inter club matches. I played in one against Ham Manor G.C. and I played an exceptionally nice young player and he beat me 3/2. The team lost every match.

Sweetwoods Handicap Cert

Rather tatty now, but then It was given to me in 1996, probably only kept for nostalgic reasons to remind me that I used to be able to play this game. I was 59 at the time and I maintained this handicap until my first heart attack in 1999 at the tender age of 62.

I played in a “Diners Club International” event at Chart Hills partnering my eldest son (7 handicap) and we were drawn with John Paramour (PGA Tour referee). He plays off 2 and actually won that day.

I am showing off again by wearing my County blazer and tie, this is the old version of the county badge, which I preferred, as it was very small and not too conspicuous. The new badge which I now have on the blazer is pretty outrageous.

I am also getting a little too large round the middle for the blazer to hang properly. Why do we have to get old?


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Copyright 1997 © John Pettitt

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