What a dreadful day weather wise, but you will have seen that yourselves on T.V., I spent the morning in various spots around the course as my shift did not start until 3 p.m.
I am pleased to report that Larry dahling did turn up after his filming stint yesterday and has not changed a bit. He enjoyed it but none of us a have seen it as yet, apparently, it is on the internet.
Our shift is very much the death slot one as all of the players have passed through the area by 3 p.m. The weather being as it is means we are unlikely to see many returning for practise post round before we clock off at 6 p.m.
Apparently, a load of the players who missed the cut went to see Harry Potter and the deathly hallows last night – obviously, looking for that bit of magic for next time.
So we just pass the time with quizzes and running players back to their cars. A call to central control at 5 ish draws the response that I can stand down as many of the team as I want to when I want to. This coincides with the sun appearing and also a great swathe of blue sky.
The team leave in bits and by 5.45 we are down to two – a request from our leader asks if we can take Mike Collins, range manager, and his team back to their cars after they close.
STAT OF THE DAY – the range starts the week with 18,000 balls. Each manufacturer is represented.
Bernhard Langer appears on the range followed by Padraig Harrington – Jerry Lewis is also practising near to the Callaway van.
Bernhard is run back to the clubhouse after his session and shortly afterwards Padraig makes to leave. His Irish fan club is amazing there must be a dozen of them just watching him practise. There then follows a scene reminiscent of Father Ted – as he walks away one them yells out ‘Show us your 1 handed drive, Paddy’. Padraig calls back ‘I haven’t done it for ages it could damage me’. Undaunted the fan yells back Mrs Doyle style ‘Ah go on, go on, go on that’s the only reason I‘ve come over’. Padraig waves back and then signs a few autographs and one knowledgeable golf fan wishes him all the best for tomorrow’s round. He looks at me quizzically and smiles.
Apart from Jerry Lewis the range is now empty – and I dismiss the other driver and wait.
I arrive back at the clubhouse and Anders Hansen suddenly appears so off we set. I sit at the range end.
Ten minutes later an angry Dustin Johnson appears and asks where the buggies are – we are now just over an hour past the official end of the shift. I bite my tongue and explain this – he is ok with it. I commit to wait for him but his caddy tells me that there are lots of players waiting at the other end so off I set with a call on the way for extra staff.
There are no players waiting at the other end and my help arrives so we have him at one end of the run and me at the clubhouse. Kevin Na comes out and off we set for the range. Eventually, he is the only one left. It is clear that 45 minutes after Darren Clarke has finished that we have now finished for the day.
Mike Collins is a great character and one of those who always needs to be last to leave so that they can tell everyone. His mate Len is of the same vintage and they have 2 younger blokes completing the team. Mike has got the balls all split by manufacturer in baskets outside, I suggest that he take them into the trailer but he says ‘You never know someone might turn up’. Everyone but Mike and Len don’t believe this.
Kevin Na’s coach comes over after 20 minutes and asks for a basket – we all thought the same thing. However, he meant an empty one to gather in the balls they haven’t used. We all breathe a collective sigh of relief and I run Kevin and his coach back to the clubhouse as Mike begins the long process of moving the balls.
I return bringing a very elegantly dressed Bernhard Langer with his even more elegant wife Chrissie – they are off to a reception in the Patron’s lounge behind the range. He is a charming man.
Mike is half way through the ball job and instructs me to take the two younger men to their cars. I start talking about Mike in the buggy and was about to vent my frustration when one of them tells me that Mike is his Dad. It would appear that he and the other guy, Mike’s son in law, are the team in waiting for when Len and Mike retire. They are resigned to an even longer wait than they have had up to date.
It all ends well, if late, and we are treated to a glorious sunset on our return to Herne Bay.
Tomorrow is going to be very exciting ……..my shift is 10 – 1.I will then spend the rest of the afternoon in the stand overlooking the 18th to await that marvellous and emotional moment of victory for the Champion golfer of the year 2011.