Binns shines at Crystal Bay

Friday, 25 January 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 4 By  Derek Brook

PSC golf from Tropical Bert’s

Tuesday, Jan. 15, Crystal Bay – Stableford

Well here we are into January, and all of a sudden the playing list fills up to overflowing.  On this day we had to scramble as the list filled up to 8 groups, and while we were playing Crystal Bay I wondered whether it was because of the good course or the good rate.

So with an overfull playing list, off we went to the course.  We got there reasonably quick and after booking in the good news was that we were to play the A & B Nines, always a pleasure.  With 8 groups it was a while before the last ones set out, and equally at the end a long time till all came in.  The course was not in too bad a condition and the greens, despite the odd square hole, did not seem to be too bad.

Tuesday’s top four with one of Bert’s finest.Tuesday’s top four with one of Bert’s finest.

This course is a favourite of many players despite its faded glory and this is probably why so many play and all enjoy the day out here.  Mind, once upon a time it was a great course.

So to the changing rooms, not one of Crystal Bay’s best selling points.  Many of the showers do not work and the ‘Out Of Service’ sign is to be seen in many areas.  Still, I suppose there are some good things, like the towels are ‘Old Friends’.

I suppose that going into the restaurant is an experience as the doors actually still do open the way it says on the doors - quite surprising.  I suppose faded glory says it all, but the food and drinks are well priced and are really very good.

Back at Bert’s we got on with the results as with a large number of players we were late.  In the A Flight, 0 to 18, the winner was John Binns with 40 points ahead of Richard Kubicki with 38 points in second.  The scribe (Derek Brook) was third with 36 points and Dick Warberg was fourth on count back over John Hackett, both 35 points.

Joel Flor, Pekke Mustonen and Daryl Evans with a member of Bert’s staff.

In the B Flight the winner was Ken Hatton with 39 points ahead of Torsten Bischoff in second with 37 points.  We had a count back for third with Stephen Cooper-Reade in third and Brian Gabe in fourth, both on 35 points.

Near Pins:  Mark West, John Binns, Don Carmody, Dick Warberg

Long Putts:  Brian Parish

Friday, Jan. 18, Century Chonburi – Stableford

We thought long and hard before booking this course - and in the end said with the low green fee we would give it a go.  It has to be said that I had not been there for many a year and I still remembered the tatty changing room and the ‘fly filled’ area called a restaurant.  I can remember when they only had two toilets and two showers.  I also remember a course that has a really good layout with some first class holes and a total lack of maintenance.  So was there any difference?

The drive there is just beyond Treasure Hill and a turn right.  Essentially there are two ways in and I thought I would go in the usual way, at the top of the hill on the 331.  This way is a great cross country track now that had plenty of large holes and dirt to get over - a fine way to cause damage to a normal car, but probably no problem to a pickup type car.

I drove very slowly and finally got there, having decided that I would not go back that way.  Whilst on the subject, I will describe the other way out to the road.  Coming out I turned left at the fork and went to the 331 on a route that I very rarely went in the old days but thought why not.  All the bends are dangerous as the road is broken up and in between there are plenty of deep holes.  Drive very slowly.  For me not at all till it gets better.

So we got to the course and on advice changed our shoes at the car, left our bags there and walked down to the book-in.  Nothing changes, it only gets older, to be kind.  I took the time to check out the changing room and found the old metal lockers we all love so much.  So I went back and booked in.

I also took a cart today which cost the same as most courses, that is 600 baht.  So with a green fee of only 200 baht and a caddie fee of 250 baht, that make a great rate to walk but not so if you take a cart.  Incidentally, there seems to be a shortage of carts.

So to the course, as I already said it is a good layout, but dismally maintained.  It seems the bunkers are raked in the morning, maybe, but are not good, and have no rakes in them.  The fairways have got fine grass in most places, or brown bare spots and just under the surface is that fine grit that makes a mess of your club.  The greens are weird, they seem over green and ‘hairy’, but seem to put quite well.  All in all a good layout and I suppose for the money people will go back to walk, but not for me for the next couple of years.

Back to the changing room after getting our gear from the car and the word spartan is an overestimation, with a cold shower a certainty.  But why on earth they have not changed those lockers I am amazed.  No one tested the food, but the drinks were cheap.

Back at Bert’s we did the presentation and the winner was Joel Flor with 38 points ahead of Pekke Mustonen with 36 points.  We then had a four-way count back on 33 points that saw Daryl Evans in third, Max Matthews in fourth, Takeshi Hakozaki in fifth and Nigel Perry in sixth.  We then talked a good round.

NB:  Dave Richardson tells me there is a better way into the course via Treasure Hill.  I might try it in a few years time, or maybe not.

Near Pins:  Daryl Evans (2), Brian Parish

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