Single-figure golfer Debbie Pollard-Barns has been installed as Captain of the Ladies Section of Leighton Buzzard Golf Club, driven to the first tee dressed in an artists’ smock and beret and supported by a mini-army of budding Van Gogh painters with their brushes and pallets.
The drive-in ruse was the work of Vice Captain Angela Samuels and was designed to capture Aussie-born Debbie’s passion for art, graphics and photography, and drew in club colleagues for support.
Debbie was born in Adelaide in 1961 while dad Ray was on a commission working on aircraft design, and returned to the UK the following year, the family settling in Hitchin.
Taking up golf at the Windmill Hill club, Milton Keynes, Debbie was encouraged to take a greater interest in the sport by son Freddie, joined Wavendon where she was Ladies Captain in 2003 (husband Peter was Club Captain there two years later) and Leighton’s Plantation Road club in 2005.
Debbie now plays off a handicap of eight while scratch-golfer Freddie turned professional three years ago and, having recently passed his PGA qualifications, is shortly to fly out to Australia with girlfriend Gina to spend a year playing and coaching before moving to Canada.
Debbie has enjoyed one of her most successful years in competition golf winning Club and County honours.
The reigning Ladies champion at the Leighton club, Debbie also this year has won the County Division One autumn meeting at Dunstable Downs, the Leighton Medal Cup, the Barbara McLeod Merit Award and Cherie James Birdie award.
But she had to be content with the runners-up spot for Leighton’s Davis Cup as she and partner David Banwell lost to Jean Bendall and Mick Myatt in the final, and Debbie and David also finished runner-up in the November Mixed Turkey Medal losing out to Andy and Jayne Tizzard whose nett 71.5 was two shots clear with Richard and Angela Samuels taking third place with a nett 74.0 ahead of Mick Myatt and Sandra Bellis.
Says Vice Captain Angela: “Debbie will make a great Captain; she is a good team player and will make every effort to succeed.”
During her term of office, Debbie will be raising funds for Keech Cottage along with Club Captain Steve Leng.
Top scorer in the competition following the drive-in was Gill McDougall, who won the Silver Division award with 39pts, four clear of Debbie who beat her “Vice” on countback.
The Bronze “A” Division winner was Avril Simpson with 33pts, while Sylvia Dell beat Jan Harries on countback after both finished with 31pts. Just one point separated the top three finishers in the Bronze “B” Division, with Sue Preston taking top spot on countback from Betty Bluett, with Sally Enright taking third place.
The sun shone for national newspaper journalist Mike Smith as he won Leighton’s Midweek Turkey Medal with a nett 69, a shot clear of runners-up Robbie John, Steve Shepherd and John Allinson.
Steve Foster finished fifth with a nett 71, one shot clear of a chasing pack consisting of Terry Lingham, Peter Morgan, Tim Hobday, Keith Edmunds, Ron Pearce and Phil Spratt Callaghan