When Gillian Lauder from Tyne and Wear bought her partner David an AA Guide to Golf Courses in Britain and Ireland as a Christmas stocking-filler, the first thing she did was ask if she could rip out the back page to enter the competition as soon as possible! David did look a little confused, but all came clear when a few weeks later she got a letter to say she’d won the first prize - a golfing weekend break at any Marriott Hotel and Country Club in England!
David, a keen golfer was over the moon. Gillian was, a little apprehensive about the golf, but very excited about relaxing in the spa and sauna – also part of the prize!
They chose the Hollins Hall Hotel, West Yorkshire – built in 1878, set in its own tranquil surroundings with fabulous views of the Aire Valley, and it’s own 18-hole championship golf course.
They went this Easter, from Friday night to Sunday and made full use of all of the facilities.
“We got up early on Saturday morning and leapt in the sauna and Jacuzzi, had a hearty breakfast and spend a couple of hours reading the papers in the cosy front room before making our way onto the golf course…”
There was a bit of a backlog on the golf course so she and David were asked if they would pair up with another couple- Charlie and Elaine – both excellent golfers!!! Gillian admitted she didn’t play a lot; in fact, she’d only ever played on a 3-par practice course before, with just nine holes, and was a little nervous!
She was still laughing when she recollected the first tee off- David first, then Charlie (an excellent player with an impressive handicap of 6), then Elaine (chairman of the local Ladies Golf Club) then her. And then her again and again and then again – it took her four goes to hit the first ball!
She was a little embarrassed but there was no need, everyone was lovely, you’ve got to start somewhere, and it didn’t take her long to get theswingof it!
Four and a half hours later –and a stiff drink in the 19thhole, hotel bar, the swimming pool and spa were just what they needed to relax the aching golf arms before a delicious dinner in the restaurant.
“It was a fantastic experience that I’d have never done without winning the prize”, Gillian loved every minute of it, especially glancing at the bill as they left; the weekend would have cost them £500!
At the end of my conversation with Gillian, she whispered to me ‘why would anyone not want to comp?’ - she was looking forward to two more breaks away this year- both wins! It got me thinking again about those sneaky prizes, hiding in the back of books, and why I never entered them. I guess I imagined that widely published books would have thousands of entries and take over a year to close. So I spoke to the AA publishing team to see just how many people did enter that competition (there was a simple question asked - the answers were in the text). Only 200 entries! Now compare that with a National magazine- more like 15,000 or the Nationally Lottery - more like 54 million and you stand a brilliant chance of wining! Next time you see a comp in the back of a guide book – go for it! I will be!