I am honored to say a few words not only from me, but more importantly on behalf of the many, many golfers at Southsea and others throughout the south of England
When I asked the lads over the weekend what they wanted me to say, they almost all came up with the same thoughts
LOVABLE, KIND, DEPENDABLE, DETERMINED, HONEST but most of all just a MATE.
The stories were also much the same, but more of that later.
Dave joined the club almost 40 years ago when he played with Jack Bamber and Roy Todd, later with Fred Large and over the last 10 years with Ian, Paul, Steve, Bob, Dave Bet, myself and most recently with Rob.
He loved his golf and often said after playing on the Sunday, the first thing he thought of when he went back to work on a Monday was his golf the following weekend.
He lived for the game and was a strong believer in the rules and etiquette of the game. He hated cheats and he also, like me, found fist pumping during a round unnecessary and difficult to stomach.
He represented the club at all levels including County 7’s, Bourne Vannik, Mitchell Thompson, the senior’s champs and he also played with the top 6 scratch golfers in the Club champs. In fact he is on the Merit board 3 times as national champ. A special thanks to Jeff Retalic for coming down from Downshire to not only represent the NAPGC but also to pay his respects to Dave as a friend.
Dave did suffer from one little problem on occasions, the dreaded shank. So bad that last year he seriously talked about giving up golf and taking up bowls until I reminded him of his efforts at Oakhampton with Towser, Raj and myself when he consistently sent the ball across other greens when he got the bias wrong. A reverse shank! Many a time when Steve Clifford turned up on the course, the ball would suddenly fly right and Dave believed that Steve and the shanks were truly linked.
He often said that he practiced the chip shot down his hallway and I would put money on him to beat anyone in the club with the little chip shots from 20 yards. A true magician.
During the last 10 years Dave enjoyed many a fabulous holiday abroad and I’m sure you all will have little stories to remember him by. Here’s just a few.
Ist trip to Ireland when I took Ian and Dave to the International pairs finals. After the round we were all given a free pint of Guinness and when Dave and Ian took their 1st mouthful all you heard was words that should not be repeated in church much to the dismay of the bar tender.
1st trip to France on the ferry Dave took £50 off Brian Barlow, I and I think Graham Kent playing nap despite assurances not being able to play the game beforehand. On the return journey after a drinking session, listening to a group on stage Dave went missing later to be found fast asleep on the steps leading up to the back of the stairs.
Dave could sleep for England and when we went to Fuengirola, on a return trip from Fish Alley, again after a few drinks, we had gone just 100 yards when Dave curled up on the pavement and demanded he be allowed to go to sleep.
Much worse on another occasion, as we were walking past the same nefarious spot Dave was accosted by the ladies of the night trying to entice him away whilst at the same time picking his pocket. Dave started swearing and waving his arms until Steve and I rescued him and escorted him through. Thereafter he always crossed the road at that point to get home.
Dave liked his lager but did not last long before he found somewhere to sleep it off. He was never any trouble and was always in the centre of the rowdy singing sessions that went on in Spain. “Who the F was Alice” was his favorite song. We also got him and his brother Mick to try some of the more exotic foods when went all inclusive, but whilst Mick enjoyed some, Dave always went back to steak and chips.
We did finally get him drinking white wine in Montecaltillo but I’m afraid that just made him sleepier.
On a personal basis Irene loved it when Dave came round when I was taking him away in the car to go to golf and always rushed out for a special Saveall hug before departing.
But the most recent memory was at the NAPGC Seniors National event at West Middlesex, London. In Sept 2015 just after Dave was first diagnosed we played as a pair representing Southsea along with John Walker and John Goater and came third 2 points behind the winners. I said to Dave that we must go back the following year and win it.
During his chemo and after the major surgery I kept reminding him of this. “Oh Yea” he would say. At the end of August we did just that, went back and won it on count back, no thanks to my miserable score but Dave played superbly and only missed out on the singles title by 1 shot. We laughed all the way back because as well as winning the trophy, we won a car blanket each, but it is one that I will treasure.
Dave played his last part round with Ian and myself playing just 5 holes in tremendous pain, refusing to go home saying he would rather be here on the golf course in pain than sitting at home in the same pain wishing he was on the golf course.
Dave was a great supporter of the Rowans and looked forward each year to the SGC Rowans fundraising event. He raised many a pound encouraging his mates from work to play. He loved it and it was only fitting therefore that he should spend his last few days in this wonderful establishment.
I think there are two things missing from his golf CV, a hole in one and representing his beloved golf club as captain. I asked him many times and I will always remember one quote he gave me “I’M UP FOR IT but I’M NOT UP TO IT. How wrong he was.
God bless you Dave and I’d like you all to stand and show your appreciation and love for just one great MATE.