It was one of those warm spring days when I left London early to drive down to Wentworth for the start of Wednesday’s traditional Pro-Am shot-gun event which starts promptly at 8 am.. However, intentions of getting there before the start didn’t quite materialise as anticipated and instead found myself running about an hour late and having to catch up with various groups I had earmarked to follow. This meant heading straight for the lower numbered tee-off times first to watch last year’s champion Chris Wood’s group who started from the 1st hole and were already finishing the 5th when I arrived.

In Chris group’s were two Olympic gold medal rowers, Sir Steve Redgrave handicapped 14, and Matthew.Pinsent who plays off a respectable 12 plus Damian Lewis who like Redgrave plays off the same handicap. What I find fascinating was hearing Wood dishing out various pieces of advice on how to tackle awkward lies to his fellow team mates. After following Wood’s for a couple more holes, I meandered over to watch Justin Rose, my other hero since he won an Olympic gold medal in Rio last year. His group consisted of Peter Jones, Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy who between them  boasted a total 29 in handicaps. Justin was definitely the father figure, keeping his eye on shots and advising wherever necessary. It was after the 8th that I finally caught up Tommy Fleetward’s group which included Jodie Kidd, one of the few females taking part in this pro-am while on the next tee was Martin Kaymer with three footballing legends all boasting surprisingly low handicaps, Matt le Tissier, 4,  Tim Sherwood,10 and Teddy Sheringham, 5! 

Hubie with his caddie, Ian

Needless to say, play was slow…. which indirectly helped me catch up with several more groups and their pro-am guests. The one person I was keen to catch up was Austrian Bernd Wiesberger’s group as golf journalist, Hubertus tho Rahde was part of his group and someone I had met on a press trip to Barcelona a couple of years ago. Hubie invited me to follow him when we ran into one another in the media centre the day before and I promised faithfully I would be there but having arrived late, I first had to locate his group, Eventually we caught up on the 14th as they waited for the group in front to finish putting the 13th. It was only after Hubie teed off (after an interminable wait) that he finally noticed me in the crowd and immediately asked me I’d like a bottle of water. I managed to silently indicate I already had one with me, and at that point he sauntered over to where I was standing outside the robes and to my utter amazement invited me join his elite group (who had amassed a score of 12) inside the robes. “You’re my guest”, he insisted as I protested, saying that although I had a media pass it didn’t really allow me inside the robes.

This was a new and interesting experience being able to watch golf from close quarters and Hubie appeared to enjoy every moment. I was soon introduced to the rest of the group including his caddy, Ian and as we walked down the wide fairways was able to ask Ian a few poignant questions about playing Wentworth. I also watched with increasing fascination as irons were selected and balls struck with incredible accuracy. For a couple of holes Hubie played his best golf whether it was my influence is uncertain to say but clearly he was delighted with his eagle on the 10th par three. By the time we reached the final 5th hole,(the group had started on 6th), although not in contention for any prizes, they were happy with their final score. Everyone shook hands and as I waited to thank Hubie, he pointed to the three gleaming white top of the range BMW’s waiting to chauffeur players back to the clubhouse and invited me to join him in his car. As I sank into the BMW’s comfortable backseat that I realised what a wonderful, fun day I’d had, all thanks to my friend Hubie! .  

End 

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