This page is dedicated to those one-off moments that could never be repeated nor ever forgotten, that have helped make our Thugs events a major success;
A little old dear gets into the hotel lift, whereupon Jimmy Elliott asks which floor she requires. The doors momentarily close, then open again without the lift having travelled anywhere. "This is your floor" says Jimmy to the lady, who thanks him for his kindness and unknowingly alights in exactly the same place she started.
Graham Wilson is about to take his iron to the green on the 18th at Son Vida. The Club Professional is frantically waving and shouting to him to explain that he has strayed into the practice range and is out of bounds. Unable to understand the Pro, Graham continues to take his shot and, to the embarrassment of the other players, wallops his ball straight onto the clubhouse roof where it pings off half a dozen tiles and comes to rest back on the fairway.
Turning up early for a round at Son Antem, one of the party decide to relieve himself by a tree in the car park. Soon, everybody has realised the benefits of taking a leak before the round and all are peeing in unison. Then it started. PARRP!! - One enormous fart after another until every single member had trumpeted his arrival in a way that can only be described as 'The Blazing Saddles Moment'.
Jimmy Elliot is nearest the pin on Bendinat's 12th hole. With the last group standing at the tee above and threatening to steal his thunder, Jim brilliantly shepherds around 30 ducks into the middle of the green to put the others off and protect his prize money. The 12th is now known as ‘The Duck Hole’.
Although there have been a number of exploding ball tricks played on members, this was the first we ever caught on camera, and unfortunately for Dave Anforth, it was probably the only time during the 2005 that he’d caught the ball clean out of the middle of the club.
Majorca 2007 - Ken Shadford was informed by Jim Wilson that under Spanish law he must wear the hi-vis orange jacket located in the glove box of the hire car as Jim would be driving under a provisional licence, and the senior driver is required to identify himself using the jacket.
Ken duly complied without batting an eyelid or even questioning Jim's driving credentials, despite Jim being a driving instructor at the time!
Adie Cartwright leaves himself an easy pitch over a small pond on the 16th at Andratx. Until this point he has six new Titleist Pro V1's sparkling in his bag. By the time he has holed out every one of them has landed in the pond, scattering many a duck in the process, and he has borrowed a ball to complete the round.
Brian Clarke takes his seven iron off the tee at Son Antem. At the end of his stroke the ball is sat by his feet next to an enormous divot with his tee peg still sticking out of it.
After struggling to find a taxi from Santa Ponça to Magalluf, three Thugs finally jump in the back of a cab while Graham takes his customary seat in the front. Twenty-five yards into the journey Graham lifts his buttock and farts loudly in the driver's direction. The driver screeches to a halt and throws everyone out, setting a new record for the shortest ever taxi ride. To make things worse, every other taxi that passes by switches its 'for hire' light off 50 yards before reaching the group and then back on again after passing, making it obvious that the driver has warned his colleagues of Mr Trumpettrousers and his gang.
Pete Ashworth sits down on the grass beside Poniente's 18th whilst waiting for the final group to finish. The usual etiquette of silence when people are putting out is observed by all but Ashey, who has fallen asleep and is snoring loudly beside the green.
Another exploding ball moment worth showing here. Ken Shadford was happily honing his swing on the practice area at Poniente in 2006, when he was asked to pose for a profile video. A quick and surreptitious ball swap was made, and Ken delighted us all by keenly striking the trick ball down the practice ground with hilarious results.
Playing rugby in the streets of Magaluf at 5am after a heavy nights drinking led to Jimmy Elliot sprinting toward the other lads. After getting full speed up over 70 yards, he encountered Jim Wilson - who promptly dropped his shoulder into Jimmy’s path causing our most senior member to tumble almost full somersault across the street for several yards. We couldn’t pick Jimmy up until we’d picked ourselves up off the floor!
In 1999 Thugs were split into two apartments. One group decided to take advantage by breaking into the other apartment and setting up a number of practical jokes including washing-up liquid in the kettle, sardines under pillows, flour or sugar on mattresses and itching powder in boxers. One unfortunate member of that room also had all but two of the bedframe laths taken out and his mattress carefully replaced. Finally, cling film was stretched across the toilet pan and the fuses taken out of the lighting circuit with the idea that the four occupants would return home in the early hours after a large dose of San Miguel, stumble around in the darkness and then either fall into bed or try and use the toilet - any of which would result in chaos. When Graham decided part way through the night that he needed to go back to the room because he had a bad dose of the runs, the jokers could only imagine the mess that the clingfilm was likely to leave.
Playing his second shot on the 7th at Son Vida, Ashey decided to play it safe and just lay up his shot with a gentle 7 iron. He caught the shot straight off the middle but way too left, and way too hard. The ball cleared the fairway, the rough and the trees, bounced on the road out of bounds, hit a house on the other side of the road, bounced back across the road, through the trees, back in bounds, missed a bunker and nestled back on the fairway right at the side of the green.
Returning from a round of golf at Santa Ponsa, we decided to sit down at the bar below our rooms for one swift bottle of lager before going up to shower before tea. At this point Dave Anforth decided to start asking football questions and before long we were all using the empty bottles to illustrate midfield formations etc. More drinks were ordered but the empties remained as they were indicating players and positions. By the time the questions dried up there were 81 empty bottles on the table, and we all staggered up for a shower with a full night of drinking still ahead of us.
Whilst enjoying a meal in Magaluf, Jimmy Elliot decided to tell us all a story that involved a certain pop act from the past. Unfortunately Jim couldn’t remember the name but knew it definitely involved the name Frankie. After half an hour of the rest of us trying to help him by naming all the Frankies we knew (...Goes to Hollywood, Ifield, Avalon, Vaughan etc) he suddenly remembered - “Right said Frankie”! How he escaped not wearing his dinner that night is a mystery.
Adie arrived at Herons Reach (Blackpool) suffering a dose of food poisoning, but determined to play in a social game alongside five other Thugs. Halfway down the ninth fairway the illness took a sudden hold and the signs of imminent bowel eruption had him pleading with his playing partners to search their bags for any tissues etc they had. Being so far from the clubhouse, the only option was for him to dart into the bushes at the side of the fairway, where he experienced the indignity of sharing his toilet habits with the rabbits, frogs and horseflies, whilst gripping a branch to keep his balance and avoiding some threatening looking thistles. After shedding a pound or two, he walked gingerly back to his ball and whacked it onto the elevated green, where sitting hidden behind the green was a pristine, beautifully kept block of toilets......
Neil Butterworth managed to drive his ball around 320 yards on Son Vida’s 10th hole in 2006, yet still end up further from the pin than his partners. His drive hit a tree about 150 yds up the left hand side of the fairway, and bounced backwards onto the concrete cart path where it proceeded to roll back down the slope toward the tee, eventually finishing 20 yds behind the original teeing area.
As reigning Champion and Pink Jacket holder, Jim Wilson would ordinarily be expected to offer any onlookers a reasonable strike off the first tee. Unfortunately this is not necessarily the case after a nights drinking in Magaluf, as Jim proved at Poniente in 2007. An initial tired lash at the ball brought a shank that travelled at 90 degrees to its target and as greenstaff looked on, he proceeded to reload and produce an identical shot with his next attempt. Bravely soldiering on, Jim struck a third shot from the side of the tee which once again scuttled off in the same direction, between the tyres of his buggy, causing him to calmly walk up to his ball, place it into his pocket and head off down the fairway leaving the gallery in stitches.
Quent’s poppadom juggling had to be worth a mention. The Indian restaurant in Palma Nova was our first port of call, all of us being fresh out of the shower and clean clothed. Within seconds of receiving his poppadom Quent was piling it high with onion, chutney and other condiments. Immediately after commenting how good the offending article was, he lifted it toward his mouth when it collapsed under the weight and covered his lap in assorted colours and sauces.
2009 - Neil Butterworth and Pete Ashworth both struck their second shots up Son Termens’ 10th fairway within a couple of seconds of each other, and both in the same direction. Neil roared with laughter as he saw Ashey’s ball come rolling back down the path at the side of the fairway, travelling between the wheels of a parked buggy, and following the snaking path all the way back to the bottom of the hill, around 100 yards further back than it had started. When Ashey failed to retrieve the ball, Neil mockingly enquired whether he was just going to leave it where it was. The look on Neil’s face was priceless when Ashey informed him it had actually been his own ball he’d watched disappearing back toward the tee.
When Adie Cartwright’s ball ended up in a small cave in the rocks of Son Termens, he noticed it had come to rest at the side of a goat that had been taking shade. Adie enquired about a ruling on the position, and Neil Butterworth decided the situation required recording, so he stuck his head and video camera into the cave entrance. Not enjoying being the centre of attention, the goat decided to charge at Neil, resulting in a hilarious 15 seconds of video footage.
Meeting at breakfast in the chosen colour shirt of the day is normal practice in Majorca, unless of course a plan has been hatched by four of the six attendees. When Jimmy Elliot and Graham Wilson sat at breakfast in a totally different coloured shirt, not only did the remaining Thugs question their choice, but other guests at the hotel also commented. Suitably embarrassed, the two argued between themselves as to whose fault the error had been, before heading back to the room to change. It’s fair to say they were hardly surprised ten minutes later, when the remaining four appeared in the colours that Jim and Graham had just changed out of, and a few expletives were exchanged.
When Ashey lashed at his ball on the second hole at Werneth, he topped it so severely that it bounced straight up in the air, hit the peak of his cap knocking it over the back of his head, and the ball landed back between his feet.
Dining in a typical Mallorcan restaurant, Adie and Jimmy Elliott decided to share a local delicacy of fried rabbit with peppers. Selecting an ear each, both were discussing how the salt encrusted item was considered a finer part of the animal, and proceeded to try it. After taking a small nibble and deciding he wasn’t keen on it, Adie placed it back under some peppers on the side of the plate presuming that it would not be disturbed as the meal was so large. Unaware of this, Jimmy decided he really liked the peppers, munched his way through them and discovered the ear. Examining the said organ, to make sure it was indeed an ear, he turned rather indignantly to the waiter across the room shouting “Hey hombre! How many ears has this bleeding rabbit got?”.
While struggling through a round at Son Muntaner, Jim Wilson lashed an almighty shot across the 9th fairway which headed straight towards a buggy occupied by the Cartwright brothers. Both dived out to safety, as Jim’s ball whistled through the back of the buggy and straight out the front, narrowly missing the very expensive built-in GPS screen. Four holes later, not content with the one close shave, Jim walloped another wayward shot, this time whizzing through his own buggy, hitting a rock on the other side, bouncing back into the buggy and clattering around inside before the ball came to rest on the seat, amazingly without damage to the GPS screen again.
During one of our nights out round the bars of Magalluf, we witnessed the surreal sight of a midget climbing up onto the bar and skateboarding along it. Whilst attempting to make his way back along the bar, our height-challenged friend fell off and sent his skateboard crashing into a beer pump, breaking it. The midget quickly climbed down and ran off out of the bar, returning only when he thought the coast was clear, and hiding out of sight under the bar.
Unfortunately for him, the bar owner spotted the little guy, grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and proceeded to spank his backside, whilst calling him a "Naughty dwarf!". We were crying with laughter at the spectacle.
And another exploding ball episode! This time it's Alan (Big Dave) Burgess who is tricked into playing a dust-filled sphere, on his first Thugs Mallorca outing at Puntiro.
The odd prank is never far away on the Majorca trip - and it isn't always instigated by one of our members! Back in 2000 we arrived at Manchester Airport's check-in desk in high spirits and eagerly handed our passports over en masse. Spotting a brand new passport, and sensing the opportunity for mischief, the Jet2 Desk Clerk inquired as to who Peter Ashworth was. Ashey duly stepped forward, and was asked by the young girl whether he had checked the dates printed on his new passport when he received it, as an error had clearly been made on the date of issue, and as it was showing the following year, the passport could not be used.
The girl, keeping a perfectly straight face, advised that if he was to return to the passport office in the morning, all could be resolved, and he could probably join the rest of the party a day late. By this point she had already tipped us the wink and we were all aware of the ruse apart from the man himself, and the idea of him missing the first night and first golf round of the trip clearly upset Ashey, who just looked totally drained of all enthusiasm, saying "Right. That's it - I'm going home!".
No amount of helpful advice was enough - Ashey was thoroughly dejected and just insisted on spending the week at home in a dark room.
When the girl's smile finally broke and we all burst into laughter, Ashey let out a huge sigh of relief,and realisation, before proceeding to call everyone - including the Desk Clerk some pretty unfriendly names!
Another prank - This time at the expense of Andy Vickers who was being shown "A novel way of measuring your stance".
During the 2021 June Cup at Davenport, Alan Burgess dropped Adie Cartwright off at his ball and headed off in the buggy to his own. Unfortunately this meant driving down a steep and wet hill on the fairway, where the merest touch of the brakes suddenly caused the buggy to spin out of control, throwing Alan out of the vehicle, whereupon the big fella's self-preservation kicked in and he rolled over like a nudged Portuguese striker in the penalty area trying to avoid the empty buggy running its own driver over.
Fortunately Al was only slightly injured, but the sympathy very quickly turned to laughter from his playing partners.
This is only a handful of the magic moments we've witnessed as a society. If you can think of others that deserve a mention here, please let us know.