Axe Cliff golfer Geoff Hughes and his four-and-a-half hole-in-ones

PUBLISHED: 09:21 05 May 2020

Geoff Hughes (centre) with Peter Knighting and Ron Bragg during a round of golf. Picture: AXE CLIFF ARCHIVES

Geoff Hughes (centre) with Peter Knighting and Ron Bragg during a round of golf. Picture: AXE CLIFF ARCHIVES

Archant

We continue our look at the characters that make up the senior section of the Axe Cliff Golf Club and our thanks go to Dave Bruce for keeping us with plenty to read from the club.

tHE 2004 Axe Cliff junior section with then club captaiin Ben Norcombe at the back of the group. On the right hand sideis a youngster making a very apt sign given the 75th anniversary of VE Day in 2020. Picture; AXE CLIFF ARCHIVEStHE 2004 Axe Cliff junior section with then club captaiin Ben Norcombe at the back of the group. On the right hand sideis a youngster making a very apt sign given the 75th anniversary of VE Day in 2020. Picture; AXE CLIFF ARCHIVES

This week, the focus falls on Geoffrey Norman Hughes and this is his ‘golfing story’

‘We were a Wiltshire farming family and the day I left school Dad asked what I was going to do to which I responded: “I’m going to take a week off” and his reply was: “That’s a good idea. Do you have money?”

I was quick to get in a: “No, but...” at which point he cut me short with: “In that case you be in the milking sheds in the morning sharp at 5.30 am.”

I was now employed, earning 28 bob a week. Mum had 23 of that for food and clothing leaving me five bob for savings and girls.

Geoff Hughes (centre) with Peter Knighting and Ron Bragg during a round of golf. Picture: AXE CLIFF ARCHIVESGeoff Hughes (centre) with Peter Knighting and Ron Bragg during a round of golf. Picture: AXE CLIFF ARCHIVES

Mum berated Dad and said, as family, I should have more. Reluctantly he increased it to 30 bob and my hours to 25 a day, eight days a week!

Being a ‘slave’ I had little time for sport until I wrote a book about golf following some research on the game. My first club was West Wilts in Warminster, being introduced as a Rotarian.

After farming I had spells of running a butcher’s shop in Warminster and then Exmouth, before moving to Seaton, fully retired, in, I think, the year 2000 and I joined Axe Cliff Golf Club with good friend, and still a member, Mike Jamieson, who was also from Exmouth.

We came good friends of the late Iain Bain who was secretary of the club and Malcolm Glass, now our rules expert.

tHE 2004 Axe Cliff junior section with then club captaiin Ben Norcombe at the back of the group. On the right hand sideis a youngster making a very apt sign given the 75th anniversary of VE Day in 2020. Picture; AXE CLIFF ARCHIVEStHE 2004 Axe Cliff junior section with then club captaiin Ben Norcombe at the back of the group. On the right hand sideis a youngster making a very apt sign given the 75th anniversary of VE Day in 2020. Picture; AXE CLIFF ARCHIVES

I clearly recall a game with Malcolm when he was accidently hit by Iain’s long drive coming behind us. Why didn’t you shout ‘Fore’, Malcolm remonstrated. Iain, always a gentleman, apologised and we all continued with grins on our faces.

Time moves on, and I volunteered to look after the Axe Cliff Junior section in 2001. Another senior, John Gooding, saw he would help and even paid for the junior section presentation boards. My time with the them was very rewarding.

I remember one very cold day our youngest member, probably about six, threw himself on the floor deciding he could go no further.

I picked up his clubs and walked after the other juniors. When I reached them, they decided to go in as it was too cold.

I said to young ‘Johnny’: “The others have gone in.”

He was quick to tell me he was wanted to carry on and so we did. However, the look of determination on his little face gradually faded, and, bless him, he turned to me and said: “You look cold Geoff. I think we should go in...”

Where do they get it from... Later, in 2004, when I was with my group of youngsters at the Woodbury Park Juniors’ Open, I was asked by a county official if I would like to work for the Devon Juniors. It would have been a great honour, but, sadly, I had to decline as my health had suffered, but I did take on the senior’s captaincy at Axe Cliff and subsequently received great support from the members, especially Iain Bain and Malcolm Glass, the latter being my vice-captain.

Because of my failing memory I only told one joke after all our team matches, but it was a good one about King Arthur! The trouble is I have forgotten it now otherwise I would tell it to you!

I do remember, however, that I have had four-and-a-half ‘hole in ones’ which my great golfing buddy, Dave Bruce, is very jealous of as he, as yet, has none!

As for the hole-in-ones that I have recorded; one was at Axe Cliff on the short 11th and one on the difficult par three 18th. I also got one at Came Down Golf Club, Dorchester while playing in their Open competition and I also managed one at Erlestoke, Wiltshire which my late friend Dick Betts of Sherborne was also jealous of!

Oh yes, and as for that ‘half’ of a hole-in-one! That was again on the Axe Cliff 18th where my first shot was lost, but my second, again off the tee, sailed into the hole! Both Dave and Dick never cease to remind me though that: “It was a three, Geoff”


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