| Final Shot
Brigadier Christopher Hammerbeck, former British military officer and businessman talks about his best ever round and favourite courses.
Charles McLaughlin talks to the former British military officer and businessman about his best ever round, favourite courses and how he made his hole in one.
When did you start playing golf?
I started to play golf with a very old set of wooden shafted clubs inherited from my father’s cousin on the Tidworth Golf Course when I was serving with airborne force and based in the Garrison in 1969. I was a fair cricket batsman and applied my stroke play to the clubs and then as now over hit hence my current handicap of 29! However, the combination of exercise, fresh air and good company was and is compulsive! The only time that I have taken lessons was with my late wife on the Gold Coast of Australia.
How often do you play?
I try to play every week as I am a member of the ‘Dad’s Army’ group at the Shek O Country Club. In reality, we simply get to lunch but enjoy it nonetheless. In addition, every two years we make a golf tour, and this year we shall be heading to Dornoch for a five-day trip.
What’s been your best ever round?
Difficult one to answer this as it is difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff as there have been so many mediocre rounds. However, I think the best that I can recall was in Sanya, Hainan, when I was playing with a group of Chinese businessmen and Senior Cadres back in1999 when it was not difficult to shine. The most memorable event on the round was on a par 5 hole. When having driven off to a reasonable distance, I saw a person in the middle of the fairway who stubbornly refused to give way, when we shouted at him in Putonghua and English. Some of our four ran over and found that it was one of the gardeners who had a King Cobra trapped under his rake. One of my partners using his wedge removed the head with a fine stroke. Then an argument ensued as to who would have the carcass for soup. Meanwhile, I went down with a bogie!
Hole in one?
I achieved this on the 17th hole at Shek O with a 5-iron when playing alone. But there was a team of greenkeepers who witnessed it, and the Secretary accepted. I always play this hole now with my 5-iron but never get close enough!
Do you have a favourite course?
My favourite course is the Sultan of Brunei’s Private Course, which I was lucky enough to play as a friend of mine was the chief of Staff of the Royal Brunei Army. The attractions being that any ball that went into the jungle was placed in the middle of the fairway, and the arrival on the green was celebrated by a team of young ladies serving ice-cold drinks and delicious snacks! If that is not good enough, then the wonderful links at Hesketh Golf Club in Southport where on a breezy day your drive starts to return!
Who would be in your dream fourball?
Captain John Felice RN, Squadron Leader Olaf Hammerbeck (he trained but never got to play a round) and Christian Hammerbeck (my son) with my late wife Joyce marking my card!
Hesketh Golf Club in Southport