The Nottingham Chinese Open returned to the beautiful Nottinghamshire Golf & Country Club at Cotgrave on 27th June. Reece Head, publisher at Fry Magazine, takes up the commentary
Travelling down the sweeping drive towards the course, you can’t fail to notice the significant improvements - a new hotel has been built for one - which give the instant impression that this is a venue and course that are well cared for.
Passing through the club shop and heading for breakfast there was a hive of activity and a real buzz about the room as over 100 players collected their complimentary gift bags, registered for their cards and found out what group they were playing in. I made my way to the green where I was met on the tee by the other three members of my group.
As the lowest handicap, I was first to tee off. Usually by June I have many rounds of golf and practice hours under my belt, but a long term back injury meant that this was just my second outing of the year.
Confidently I stuck my tee peg in the ground and pulled out my big stick only to find I stuck the ball high and wide into trees! Undeterred, I took my second shot with the same result. Well, there is an old saying “If you do what you always do, you will get what you have always got”. I was in too deep now though and proceeded to five shots off the tee. Usually a scrubbed hole isn’t a problem with stableford points scoring, but as this was stroke play medal format a score of 10 on my first hole effectively ended any ultra slim chance I had of winning the guest prize.
On the rare occasions I was on a fairway, I took the opportunity to chat to my fellow golf partners. Peter and I were discussing the takeaway and restaurant industry and the changes he has noticed over the past 20 to 30 years. Specifically he said that this next generation of Chinese, born 1990s onwards, were less likely now to work in the catering industry or family business like their fathers and grandfathers. These ‘millennial’ generations had other opportunities now to further education, and had more lifestyle choices available to them outside of working in catering.
By this time we were nearing a 220 yard par 3, a special hole with a prize of £2,500 cash for a hole in one. Sadly, my last chance to salvage a prize from the round quickly disappeared.
Once finished I eagerly awaited for Mick Hayes, depot manager for Friars Pride, and Nigel Ramsay of Middletons to appear. I was hoping, not very confidently, to at least have beaten these two as I knew I had to share a table at the Spring Water Cantonese Restaurant in Calverton that evening. My fears were confirmed when handicaps were taken into consideration that I was at the bottom of this three man table. Mick was the overall guest winner at the presentation, a great achievement, although Nigel was still questioning how this was long after the fabulous and very indifferent traditional Chinese cuisine had been served.
I wish to thank Nigel Ramsay and Middletons for inviting me as a guest again to this fantastic day and to Mick Hayes for providing transport for the evening. Roll on next year.