SUSAN Dinning had to call up a stand-in caddie – her husband John – for the Grand Final of The Journal Ladies Trophy at Close House.
He later explained how he “goaded” her into victory.
Both Dinning, from the Roseberry Grange club in Chester-le-Street, and Durham City’s Caz Fell-Smith signed for one-under nett scores of 71, eight shots clear of the field, and the winner was decided on a countback over the back nine.
Dinning had no trouble in pointing to the key moment of on the course for her at the 12th.
“I played a lovely third shot,” she said. “But John said quite pointedly it would only be a lovely shot if I sunk the putt, which was 20 feet, to get my par four.
“Now there was a bit of background to that and of course we both knew it. John does not rate my putting at all, he always says it is the worst part of my game.
“In fact, he is quite detrimental about it. His opinion is that I take the putter back so far, my putting is like my driving. But on this occasion I sank the putt, so that put him in his place.
“My playing partner was Barbara Sawyer from the Linden Hall club and I did not need to say anything because it was Barbara who said, ‘you got that putt because your husband goaded you into it’, and she was right.”
Dinning had her husband pulling her trolley because clubmate Kat Clarke, who caddied for her when she came through the Durham County qualifier for the Journal tournament, was unavailable because of work commitments.
Both Dinning and her husband, who live in Hetton-le-Hole, will be able to make full use of the first prize, a stayover for two at Close House Hotel, with two rounds of golf thrown in, plus a dinner in Bewickes, winner of the 2009 Gourmet Society award for Best Fine Dining restaurant in the North East.
“I am really looking forward to that,” said Dinning. “This is a beautiful spot to play golf and the course was in fantastic condition.”
This was Dinning’s sixth win of a season in which her handicap has fallen from 19 to 17.
All the other victories have arrived in tournaments at her club, the first of them a Roseberry Grange, invitation event in which her partner was a fellow competitor, Slaley Hall’s Marilyn Ashbury.
Asked the inevitable question, Dinning replied: “Er no, John has not won a thing all season!”
On a day when the course was bathed in brilliant sunshine, it was heart-warming to see victory go to such a cheerful and outgoing player. Both Dinning and her husband used to work in management in the education department of Newcastle City Council before retiring.
Glasgow-born Dinning, 51, who moved to the North East when she was 14, is now doing her bit for the community as a governor at Walkergate Early Learning Centre and helping out with voluntary work at Moneyside Credit Union in Byker. That is a non-profit making organisation whose role is to protect vulnerable people from loan sharks.
Whether Dinning herself needs protection from her husband’s comments is a question easily answered by simply pointing to the club honours board.
Right from the start when she shrugged off a seven to rattle up three pars in a row, it was evident she can take most things in her stride.
71 Susan Dinning (Roseberry Grange, on countback) 88-17; Caz Fell-Smith (Durham City) 84-13
79 Barbara Sawyer (Linden Hall) 95-16
80 Pat Coxon (Houghton-le-Spring) 94-14; Christine Taberham (Morpeth) 96-16
82 Sylvia Wilson (Whitley Bay) 114-32
84 Marilyn Ashby (Slaley Hall) 106-22; Prue Smith (Alnmouth) 101-17
86 Betty Tinkler (Bishop Auckland) 120-34
88 Liz Stephenson (Castle Eden) 113-25
90 Lesley Maddison-Stokes (Darlington) 117-27
97 Carolyn Hilton (Rothbury) 121-24