The weather was fine & sunny as we headed off in two mini vans right on time at 8.30 am and arrived at the course just 40 minutes later. It was not too busy and we were allocated the West & North nines amid groans from a few of our players as this is generally regarded as the most difficult combination and indeed it proved to be a challenging day for most.
Sandy Leiper, Jerry Dobbs & Bjarne Kjaer.
We got our first group, a three-ball away 20 minutes ahead of time at 9.40 am and as mentioned earlier the skies were blue and with not much wind it was a perfect day for golf. The golf course was looking in very good shape although understandably quite wet in parts with the greens perfectly maintained although traditionally quite slower than those at most other courses in the region.
With no other groups in front of us we proceeded at a fair pace although were held up several times by having to look for golf balls that in some cases had only just strayed off the fairway. With golf carts not allowed on the fairways winter rules were in place and the order of the day was keep the ball on the fairway to avoid the very long adjoining rough. Luckily we were able to find our balls each time but not without considerable searching.
Finishing our first nine, West, in just over two hours we commenced the North nine as the cloud cover appeared and conditions did get a little sticky but thankfully no sign of rain. After a quick drink stop before the Lighthouse hole we carried on and without too many more delays managed to complete the full round in four hours & ten minutes. As can be seen by the scores the going was tough but a very enjoyable round of golf on a good golf course was had by all.
We were able to have 2 grades with three podium spots in each. A Grade was for handicaps 0 to 18 and B Grade for 19 and over. We had nearest the pins on all the par threes and longest first putts on the W9 & N9 greens which were collectively sponsored by The Growling Swan, Bob Akapita, Sandy Leiper, Brendan Byrne & Ken Blinco. Many thanks to these guys for their generosity.
The best score on the day was Bjarne “Mr Colors No.2” Kjaer who won the A Grade with 34 points, 2 points ahead of Ebrahim in second place. In a three-way count back on 29 points for third place it was your writer (15 point back nine) who got lucky with Bob Akapita (14 point back nine) and Ken Hole (14 point back nine) just missing out.
A clear winner in the B Grade was Aussie Jerry Dobbs with 32 points, 6 points ahead of second placegetter Brendan “Casper” Byrne (14 point back nine) who beat Max “Two Corsets” Bracegirdle (7 point back nine) who secured third spot.
A Flight (0-18)
1st Bjarne Kjaer (18) 34pts
2nd Ebrahim (16) 32pts
3rd Peter Blackburn (10) 29pts
B Flight (19+)
1st Jerry Dobbs (24) 32pts
2nd Brendan Byrne (21) 26pts
3rd Max Bracegirdle (26) 26pts
Near Pins: W3 – Bob Akapita; W8 – Roy Dayton; N3 – Ken Hole; N6 – Ken Hole
Long Putts: W9 – Ken Hole; N9 – Roy Dayton
The Growling Swan NAGA Award, (awarded to the golfer who has the worst score on the day and discreetly their score is not made public) was won by Sandy Leiper who sheepishly accepted the cap in very good spirit whilst vowing not to make it a regular occurrence.
Kae, Fred Dineley & Ebrahim.
In the absence of big Ken “Let’s hear it for” Bernek, who is holidaying in Bali, it was “Two Corsets” who paraded Deefa the Dog and collected many donations for the needy of Pattaya from our ever generous Growling Swan members. We then headed back to The Growling Swan where the beers were flowing and the post mortems of the day’s golf were conducted.
J J Harney turned up to say goodbye before returning to Ireland for a month or so over Xmas and apologies are forthcoming to Paul Hack who was wrongly accused of participating in the disappearance of Jim “AK47” Bell’s Monthly Mug which he won last Thursday. The Mug was found and all is well!
Thursday, Dec. 6, Bangpakong - Stableford
Once more we had a couple of late cancellations due to illness but still ended up with 24 players ready & keen to take the monthly trip to the classy Bangpakong Riverside Country Club. On this occasion the idea was to leave 15 minutes earlier than our normal 8.30 am departure time but unfortunately my request to our minivan organizer on the previous afternoon somehow got distorted in the “translation” and when we had no transport ready at 8.10 am some frantic phone calls were necessary.
We did manage to depart just before 8.30 am after we had welcomed Dick “Reverend” Braimbridge, back from his trip to Dubai, PSC Social Chairman Nigel Cannon and Michela Sancillo from Italy, now residing in Spain. It was also time to farewell Bob Akapita & Jerry Dobbs who are shortly returning to their work in various parts of Australia.
Proceeding up No. 7 at a cracking pace we arrived at the course in the record time of just on one hour and although the course was reasonably busy we just had to wait for a couple of groups to tee off before we were able to send our first group, a three ball away. The weather was fantastic with blue sky and just a sprinkling of clouds with a gentle breeze to cool things down a little.
I must beg forgiveness if I sound repetitious but I cannot cease to sing the praises of this magnificent golf course which is in pristine condition and somehow just keeps improving all the time. The fairways were lush and the greens perfectly manicured and of course demanded respect when faced with long putts, particularly of the downhill variety.
The groups in front of us were not wasting any time so we proceeded at an excellent pace and “flew” through the front nine in one hour & forty minutes which included a drinks stop. The pace continued on the back nine and another drinks stop was necessary but still we were able to complete the full round in the impressive time of three hours & thirty minutes. I cannot remember a quicker game of golf in 23 years of playing the game in Thailand and it enhanced the enjoyment of playing at this classy venue, which many of our 24 golfers described as being as good if not better than any course they had played before. I’m sure our numbers will swell for next month’s outing here despite the journey being a touch longer than normal – Well worth the extra 15 minutes drive.
We were able to have 2 grades with four podium spots in each. A Grade was for handicaps 0 to 22 and B Grade for 23 and over. We had nearest the pins on all the par threes and longest first putts on the 9th & 18th greens.
The winner of A Grade with a terrific 44 points was Ebrahim, closely followed by Mike Allidi who had 68 off the stick (14 pars & four birdies) for his 42 points and second place. Paul Hack was third with 40 points with Michela Sancillo 1 point further back in fourth spot.
In B Grade it was Fred Dineley who “got the chocolates”, winning with 38 points and in a count back for second & third on 34 points it was Allan “Parrot” Tranekaer (19 point back nine) finishing just ahead of Jerry Dobbs (18 point back nine) with Dick “Reverend” Braimbridge fourth with 33 points.
A Flight 0-22)
1st Ebrahim (16) 44pts
2nd Mike Allidi (2) 42pts
3rd Paul Hack (11) 40pts
4th Michele Sancillo (8) 39pts
B Flight (23+)
1st Fred Dineley (29) 38pts
2nd Allan Tranekaer (27) 34pts
3rd Jerry Dobbs (24) 34pts
4th Dick Braimbridge (36) 33pts
Near Pins: 4th – Mike Allidi; 7th – Peter Blackburn; 13th – Paul Hack; 16th – Mike Allidi
Long Putts: 9th – Ebrahim; 18th – Paul Hack
The Growling Swan NAGA Award was won by Kae who was somewhat unlucky as she was not feeling the best on the day but accepted the cap in fine spirit. “Two Corsets” again paraded Deefa the Dog and collected many donations for the needy of Pattaya from our ever generous Growling Swan members. We then headed back to The Growling Swan and continued to sing the praises of Bangpakong whilst participating in the usual fun & games. A great day’s golf with terrific company both during & after the game.
Note: Growling Swan Golf welcomes golfers of any persuasion – low & high handicappers alike, female golfers and beginners. We generally play Mondays & Thursdays, meeting at The Growling Swan (formerly The Bunker Bar) in Soi Chaiyapoon at 8.00 am with transport departing at 8.30 am. For bookings or more information please contact Peter on 0806 351 386 or email to petermalcolmblackburn @gmail.com.