Tullamore

This year's spectacular, again organised to perfection by Clint, saw the Sandpiper ranks swell to sixteen, with the addition of The Club Singer, Twitch, Lurch, The Snowman, Happy Gilmour and Provisional.

Once again, we were favoured by outbreaks of good weather and, occasionally, by outbreaks of good golf.

Visits to the four courses played were facilitated by the driving of Liam (and his dog) and Tullamore, Portarlington, Esker Hills and Castle Barna provided a warm welcome.

Each course was in splendid condition and each was enjoyed by all concerned. A particular challenge was presented by the buggy track at Esker Hills, which required the skills of Michael Schumacher and the nerve of Franz Klammer to negotiate it.

This year, an additional honour was introduced to bring the Sandpipers in line with the Tour de France. Each day, the perpetrator of the shortest drive had the ignominy of wearing an appropriately logoed "orange jersey". It wasn't only Twitch whose knees turned to jelly on the first tee!

Thanks must go to this year's captain, Bunter, who organised each day's competitions and spent more time on writing his prizegiving speech than he did in the bar!

Thanks must also be given, posthumously, to Picasso for designing The Club Singer's shirt and to The Snowman for his professional karaoke performances.

Mountains of food, supplemented by gallons of Guinness and countless Connemaras made for another great choice of hostelry. No wonder Clint has gone on the Atkins Diet after two lots of Irish hospitality, this year!