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Ripon vs Ripon on the links
Golfers travel from across the pond
rip golfers
Eleven golfers from Ripon, England posed for a picture near the Spring Creek Clubhouse before they matched up in pairs with a Ripon golfer teeing off on the first fairway. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

The Brits are coming! 

The Brits are here, actually, for another golf tournament with the men of Spring Creek Country Club in Ripon from across the pond.  It’s a biannual event where one team travels to the other’s country to match up against distant golfers and friendships established in 1976.

Traditionally their wives travel with them and scout the surroundings and learn what they can about local history of surrounding communities in the region.  They arrived in town Friday and met at noon with the local team to do “proper” socializing.

Soni Kraminski said the women had already traveled by bus to Ironstone Vineyards near Murphys and enjoyed wine tasting there.  Janet Hanrahan said they even had champagne on the bus, but to be safe,  said it was just their morning coffee. Not wanting to break any motoring rules, they had their wine in coffee cups.

Hanrahan continued saying, “The salads here are lovely, they don’t have salads like that at home.

The British team captain Andy Marshall said that while most arrived last Friday, some came in early.  Of special interest to him and the other men was a Giants’ baseball game in San Francisco on Saturday while the women enjoyed seeing the Bay Area sights.

Marshall is the owner of a building renovation business in England.  He noted there was a big reception for them when they arrived, adding that the level of hospitality they received was awesome.

The Lord Mayor of Ripon England, John Richmond, was the first to come to California years ago during an Almond Blossom Festival.  He had brought his mace bearer to Ripon and the regality that went with his presence.  Mayor Richmond sent a proclamation with the team to Ripon this year. Ripon Mayor Leo Zuber wrote a similar proclamation recognizing the event at Spring Creek.

Both teams’ members enjoyed an early breakfast Tuesday morning with each other and their wives joined in at the Spring Creek dining room that was followed by a match of pairs starting at 11 a.m. for the first day of the tournament.   On Monday the teams competed in an “Away Day” with a match at the Wente Winery in Livermore.

Ripon Captain Gil Huckell said it was quite the match at Wente. 

“This is going to be a close tournament,” he predicted.

As the two groups left their breakfast tables, some of the men practiced on the driving range while others lined up with their carts to await their call by course manager.  Drive after drive seemed perfect as the golfers made good use of their drivers putting their balls down the center of the fairway.

The final two days of the tournament will be on Thursday and Friday with Wednesday a bye day off the course.  Friday night will be a dinner and dance with formal wear only in the dining room