Report from the Lucifer Commonwealth Tournament Week: July 2022
After a 2-year hiatus, the Lucifer golfing Society hosted the centenary Commonwealth tournament with the largest ever contingent of Canadians in attendance, representing several golf courses in Ontario, the Shaughnessy and Victoria golf clubs in British Columbia and the Royal Quebec and Mount Bruno Golf clubs in Quebec as well as some ex pats from Las Vegas. With the post-Covid chaos plaguing the airlines, a number arrived without their golf clubs or their clothing. Nevertheless, the festivities began with the Canadian welcome reception on June 29 at the Woking DoubleTree Hilton. The crowd of more than 40 Canadians was treated to drinks, canapes and lively discussion in preparation for an exciting and busy upcoming week.
The visit to Windsor Castle on the 30th was an exceptional experience. As we all gathered in the reception rooms, we were welcomed by Air Marshal Sir Ian McFadyen and the new Royal patron, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence. Some early attendees among us were treated to a special sneak visit through the back passages off one of the main reception halls, before they were whisked out by security.
On July 1, golfing began in earnest. Eight foursomes teed off at Pyrford Lakes, which as its name suggests, swallowed up our golf balls into the depths of the water hazards. The following day, a number of foursomes went to a local course called Guilford while others rested up for the rigors of the upcoming tournament. On Sunday, July the third, many attended the Berkshire with the hope of remaining limber for the beginning of the Lucifer Commonwealth tournament the following day.
The tournament commenced at West Hill on July 4. It was a stunningly beautiful sunny day but thankfully a breeze made the heat tolerable. The golf conditions were perfect with firm fairways and immaculate greens running true. At the end of day 1, there were a number of Canadians up near the top of the pack including Don Rogers, Bob Millar, and David Skinner. There was cautious optimism that there would be a Canadian taking home the prize again this year after Iain McLean’s stunning victory in 2019.
On the second day of the tournament, we played on the Old Course at Sunningdale Golf Club, where the first ever Lucifer tournament was played 1928. It was here that the wheat was separated from the chaff. Don Rogers repeated his first day score of 36 Stableford points with a second day equaling this extraordinary number and totaling 72 Stableford points. We all sat together in the dining room as group after group finished their rounds with totals not equaling Don’s. You could feel the excitement mounting as the afternoon waned. Sadly, in the second last group, an Aussie finished with a total of 73 Stableford points bumping Don into second place. The disappointment among us all was palpable. Fortunately, this was assuaged by a few more pints of beer and an evening of Italian food (plus more red wine), at our favorite restaurant called Latino, where we are now considered regulars.
Naturally, throughout the tournament, the participants were spurred on to greater heights by the inspirational words of our leader and transportation minister, Mr. Andrew White sent through TeamSnap:
“Every bloody year at least one of our group of idiots forgets a pair of shoes, a rain coat, or a pair of trousers at one of these venues. Don’t be that guy… 😉
Wednesday is normally a rest day in preparation for the black tie dinner at the Savoy hotel. A small group of intrepid golfers managed to sneak in another round at Walton Heath that day. The heather was a brilliant lavender color which belied its Brillo pad–like texture. Once trapped, only a desperate hack with a pitching wedge could free your ball. That evening after freshening up, we made our way to the Savoy for dinner. Like always, it was a brilliant event but this year because of the popularity of the Centenary tournament, it was more crowded than usual. This made for an even more joyous occasion. For the first time, the event was broadcast live for several of the members that remained in Canada (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChUCsSQ8P8ySZuGolTXW25A).
The following day, July 7, the Canadian contingent went to the New Zealand club to play. It was another beautiful day and the quality of the golf course mirrored this. After 18 holes, we were treated to a fabulous lunch and copious amounts of wine. Among us, were 7 stalwarts who felt obliged to play yet another 18 holes, dragging ourselves to the club house at the end.
The Friday of the week is reserved for the competition between the Lucifers and the Canadians at the Woking golf course. It was another splendid day of golf followed by eating and drinking way too much. Members Mr. Richard Halinda and Mr. Andrew White spoke on behalf of our contingent, expressing our thanks for a wonderful tournament week, and in particular the unrivalled hospitality shown by the members of the Lucifer golfing Society. In what has become almost a tradition, the Lucifers and Canadians again tied for the Woking Cup. The other award of significance was the “Choking Dog Award” shared between Mr. Paul Savoia and Mr. Tom Delibassis for their crime of results versus expectations for the tournament.
With the tournament week complete, we could reflect on all the wonderful experiences. Notwithstanding the misplaced luggage and the occasional bout of COVID among us, the renewed acquaintances and the camaraderie made it a joyous return to England to experience the Lucifer Commonwealth tournament.
Mr. Colin Fraser was unable to attend this year but was ever present in the background organizing our schedule and overseeing our finances. Thanks for those hours you put into making this trip so seamless from afar. We also recognize the extraordinary support and encouragement we have received from Mr. Ted Clarke over the years. He is the one who attracted us to the tournament in the first place and will continue to be our leader going forward.