Friday, July 13, 2018

Bill Hogg recalls a victory in the Hands Across the Sea Trophy and asks if that boys' tournament is still held

Good morning, Colin, I trust you are well and have been enjoying the recent spell of glorious weather, the first decent summer we’ve had for years!
The golf course are all of course vepiry burnt just now and looking like they used to do, before the days of fairway sprinklers which these days keep even links courses almost permanently green!
On that subject, I happened to read a recent blog from Richie Ramsay who recalled his early days when having been brought up at Hazlehead, he first encountered the hard and bouncy conditions at the Kings Links when he won his first open tournament, the Hands Across the Sea for under 16’s.
I wonder if this tournament is still being held because, wholly coincidentally I was recalling recently that this month 60 years ago in 1958, I also won the Hands Across the Sea for the first time, at the tender of age of only 12 I have to add!    It must have been a thin year as I managed to win despite only scoring two rounds of 81, including double bogey 5s at the last hole both times!    
I still cherish a press photo of me receiving the trophy from a legend of NE amateur golf, the late Jack Booth of Murcar, who swung the club as well as any-one I have ever had the pleasure of watching even 60 years on.
I followed two illustrious previous winners in Sandy Pirie in ’56 and Harry Bannerman in ’57, Sandy of course going on to represent GB & I in the Walker Cup in 1967 and Harry in the Ryder Cup in 1971 when he had that famous square game with the legendary late Arnold Palmer!
I managed to win it again in 1961 with slightly improved scores of 79 + 74 which wouldn’t stand a chance these days such is the raised standard of 15 year-olds.
Going back to that month of July 1958, I well remember watching on a grainy black and white TV one of the first Opens ever to be televised live when at Royal Lytham and St Anne’s, the very recently deceased great Australian champion golfer, Peter Thomson, won his 4th Open after a 36 play-off with the late Dave Thomas.   That was the year when any number of players were in contention right up to the end, including cotland’s own Eric Brown who managed to take 6 at the last hole when a 4 would have made him the winner.
Happy days indeed, great memories!

Colin Farquharson writes: I had to break the sad news to Bill Hogg that the Hands Across the Sea Trophy boys' tournament is no longer held at the Links which was the annual venue, if I remember correctly. In fact it is no longer held anywhere! What I cannot remember are the reasons for the demise of the tournament. Any volunteers to organise its revival and move it around courses in the North-east?



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