Fours still going strong 28 years on

GOLF: When four Rushmere members decided to play foursomes 28 years ago, little could they have known the effect it would have on the club.

WHEN four Rushmere members decided to play foursomes 28 years ago, little could they have known the effect it would have on the club.

Tony Wiernicki, Len Garrett, Ray Knights and Bobby Wardley were the four people in question and three of them are still playing this format of golf with the well-established Rushmere Wednesday Foursomes Club.

Tony, whose idea it was to start a regular foursomes club, said: "When we started playing foursomes, it attracted a lot of attention from various other players, and in 1974 it was decided to start the Wednesday Fours.

"In the initial year we had eight players, but the following year that number had risen to 16, playing a high/low format.

"Sandwiches were supplied after every meeting and the winners had to buy a round of drinks."

It was decided that the Wednesday Fours would play every other Wednesday from April through to September, starting with 11 holes because of the light and increasing it to a full round once the nights lengthened.

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The first two years saw the final played over nine holes, but this changed in 1976 to a full 18 holes being played in the afternoon followed by an end of season dinner and prize presentation.

The late Barry Jordan, who was landlord of the Kesgrave Bell as well as being a member of the golf club, donated the first trophy and the first winners were Len Garrett and Paul Steward, who now lives in Australia.

Membership has increased over the years and is now at a manageable 37 (George Summers is reserve), but what the introduction of this competition did for the club was to improve the club's performances in both the Hambro and Tolly Cobbold Cups in which foursomes is the format.

As Tony said: "A fair amount of players, past and present, have gone on to represent the club in either the Hambro or Tolly.

"But the best thing to come out of the Wednesday Fours is the amount of people who play in their own little groups, come together every other week and play with other members they would not normally have the chance to do so."

In the first 15 years incoming captains were invited to join during their year in office and Tony said: "I'm pleased to say that there were no refusals.

"We were also honoured with the then professional Johnny Johnson who played for a number of years and gave his full support

"Let's be honest, a free round with the professional, tips, and you could still be a winner at the end!

"American Ed Bretzke is someone else who deserves a mention. He was a real character, as well as a very good player, along with the likes of Derek Harris (now living in Australia), Colin Wright, Charlie Maskall, Brian Allum and many others.

"So many very good players and some not so good, have come and gone, but they have all made the Wednesday Fours what it has been for the last 27 years, creating an atmosphere that has been second to none.

Bobby Wardley, one of the original quartet, died a few years ago and other Wednesday Fours members who have passed away are John Bradley, Bob Norman and David Farrow Snr.

Tony Wiernicki was the first captain, and ran the foursomes club from 1974 to '87. Colin Wright took over in 1988 until 91 and was followed by Ron Fuller (1992-94), George Summers (1995-97) and Harry Gallant from 1998 to the present day. Harry will again be running it this year.

When Phil Jewhurst was president of Rushmere, he donated a gilt-framed mirror for the person with the most wins in that particular season and it was appropriate that one of the originals, Ray Knights, was the winner.

The Wednesday Fours has a special place in Rushmere's history and long may it continue to thrive during the summer months.

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