JJ shoots the lights out at Pleasant Valley

Friday, 01 February 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 5 By  Peter Blackburn

PSC Golf from The Growling Swan

Monday, Jan. 21, Crystal Bay - Stableford

It was good to see our numbers up again and after a late cancellation and a “no-show” we had 29 golfers ready to play the popular Crystal bay Golf Course.

We welcomed Brian Gabe & Art Sohlin from Detroit, Michigan, USA plus fellow countryman Ed Stewart from California.  Returning after a few months work off the coast of Gibraltar was Stephen Newton, plus Max Bracegirdle back from Australia & the eagerly awaited return of JJ Harney after spending Xmas and New Year with family in Ireland.

With transport at a premium in Pattaya at the minute we were restricted to 2 mini vans so we had to call on the help of our “car owners” to lend assistance and we were extremely grateful to Wendy, Alain, Ebrahim & JJ for helping out.  Another early tee time meant we were leaving the GS early and we managed to depart at 8.10 am which was 10 minutes later than scheduled but we headed North on Sukhumvit where the Monday morning traffic was a touch busier than usual.  The journey took about 50 minutes and we arrived at the course where it was fairly busy and were allocated the A & B nines.

Martin Todd & Max Bracegirdle.Martin Todd & Max Bracegirdle.

Our first group, a three-ball, teed off 15 minutes behind schedule at 9.35 am in terrific weather conditions with a nice breeze to keep playing conditions quite comfortable.  With no groups immediately in front of us we proceeded at a cracking pace whilst appreciating the excellent condition of the course and although the greens were at times “lightning quick” they were firm & true.

We quickly caught up with the groups ahead of us so the tempo slowed and we finished our first nine in two hours & ten minutes.  There was no hurry so we relaxed and enjoyed the golf course & the scenery and managed to complete the round in a touch under four hours & twenty minutes, which was perfectly acceptable for this time of year at such a popular venue.

We were able to have 2 grades with five podium spots in each.  A Grade was for handicaps 0 to 21 and B Grade for 22 and over.  We had nearest the pins on all the par threes and longest first putts on the 9th & 18th greens.

In a very tight finish at the top of A Grade it was Martin Todd (21 point back nine) who emerged the victor on a count back from your writer, Peter Blackburn (20 point back nine), with both of us having 38 points.  With 3 players on 34 points another count back was necessary and it resulted in JJ Harney (18 point back nine & 14 points on the last 6 holes) finishing third with Mike “Hunter” Gosden (18 point back nine & 12 points on the last 6 holes) in fourth place & Mike Allidi (18 point back nine & 11 points on the last 6 holes) finished fifth.

Max “Two Corsets” Bracegirdle was too good in the B Grade and finished first with 34 points and with 3 people on 31 points yet another count back was required which saw Bernie McCart (19 point back nine) finish second from Shane “Jockey” Young (15 point back nine & 13 points on the last 6 holes) in third spot and Andrew “Turtle” Allen (15 point back nine & 11 points on the last 6 holes) finished fourth.  Another count back saw Graham “Grunter” Buckingham (16 point back nine) “slip” into fifth place ahead of Wendy Bernek (15 point back nine) with both having 30 points.

A Flight (0-21)

1st Martin Todd (8) 38pts

2nd Peter Blackburn (11) 38pts

3rd JJ Harney (12) 34pts

4th Mike Gosden (12) 34pts

5th Mike Allidi (2) 34pts

B Flight (22+)

1st Max Bracegirdle (25) 34pts

2nd Bernie McCart (29) 31pts

3rd Shane Young (25) 31pts

4th Andrew Allen (36) 31pts

5th Graham Buckingham (24) 30pts

Near Pins:  A5 – Martin Todd, A8 – Peter Blackburn, B4 – Takeshi Hakozaki, B6 – Brian Gabe

Long Putts:  A9 – Max Bracegirdle, B9 – Pekka Mustonen

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 newcomer Art Sohlin who accepted the award in fine style.  In the absence of big Ken Bernek it was Toddy who paraded Deefa the Dog and many donations were collected for the needy in Pattaya from our ever generous Growling Swan Crew.

Thursday, Jan. 24, Pleasant Valley - Stableford

We had a “full card” until someone pulled out at the last minute so 31 of us were ready to make the journey to the picturesque Pleasant Valley Golf Course and for one person in particular it was to be a memorable day.

Peter Grey, Rita Zoebelli & JJ Harney.Peter Grey, Rita Zoebelli & JJ Harney.

We welcomed back Aussies Scot Eaton and Kevin Waycott & newcomer Glen Henriksson from my old stamping ground Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia.  Some of the Melbourne Chapter of the Growling Swan Delinquents were at the end of their stay here so we bade a fond farewell to Robert Allen returning to Melbourne & Tony Olcorn going back to Brisbane for a short while.  It was a good showing by the Delinquents who had three groups playing so fun & games was always going to be the order of the day.

We departed the GS right on schedule at 8.30 am and in what seemed the blink of an eye we arrived at the course just 37 minutes later.  The golf course was fairly busy so there was to be no early tee off for us and we were instructed to start on number 10, our first four-ball getting away at 10.05 am which was just 5 minutes later than our booked tee time.

The weather was once more great and the golf course looked a treat, although some of the greens were a bit “hairy” having been recently cored & sanded and many of the bunkers were in a “sloppy” state but all in all conditions were good.  The going was slow with heavy traffic in front of us so there was plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and our first nine took two hours & twenty minutes and a similar pace continued for the rest of the round which was completed in four hours & thirty five minutes.

We were able to have 2 grades with five podium spots in each.  A Grade was for handicaps 0 to 21 and B Grade for 22 and over.  We had nearest the pins on all the par threes and longest first putts on the 9th & 18th greens.

Most good golfers have a day when everything goes right and they end up with a terrific score but rarely does a 12 handicapper shoot one under the card.  With just 20 putts for the day and bettering his previous best ever score by four strokes it was my old mate JJ Harney who amassed an amazing 49 points to win the A Grade.  His playing partners walked off the course stunned and shaking their heads, in particular JJ’s good mate, five handicapper Scot Eaton who was demanding a visit to the “Steward’s Room” and a drug test for JJ.

In second place, 9 points further back came Kevin Waycott with a welcome return to form and newcomer Glen Henriksson was third with 37 points, three points ahead of Ebrahim in fourth spot.  With 2 golfers on 33 points a count back was required to determine fifth place and it was your writer, Peter Blackburn (17 point back nine & 11 points on the last 6 holes) who edged out Mike “Hunter “ Gosden (17 point back nine & 10 points on the last 6 holes).

In the B Grade it was another fine winning score with Rita Zoebelli finishing on top with a terrific 42 points, 6 points ahead of Roy “Plums” Dayton (19 point back nine) in second place on a count back from Andrew “Turtle” Allen (16 point back nine) in third spot.  Wendy Bernek finished fourth with 34 points & Geri Crilly rounded off the podium with 33 points.

A Flight (0-21)

1st JJ Harney (12) 49pts

2nd Kevin Waycott (11) 40pts

3rd Glen Henriksson (10) 37pts

4th Ebrahim (16) 34pts

5th Peter Blackburn (11) 33pts

B Flight (22+)

1st Rita Zoebelli (24) 42pts

2nd Roy Dayton (22) 36pts

3rd Andrew Allen (36) 36pts

4th Wendy Bernek (31) 34pts

5th Geri Crilly (25) 33pts

Near Pins:  5th – Kevin Waycott, 8th – Pekka Mustonen, 13th – Alain Taddei, 17th – Ed Stewart

Long Putts:  9th – Ebrahim, 18th – Shane Young

The Growling Swan NAGA Award was won by Growling Swan Mine Host Peter Grey who as ever accepted the award in fine style and wore the NAGA cap for quite some time afterwards.  In the absence of big Ken Bernek it was Toddy who paraded Deefa the Dog and many donations were collected for the needy in Pattaya from our ever generous Growling Swan Crew.

It was then back to the Growling Swan where as usual the ice cold beer was plentiful and the day’s golf was the main point of discussion with most of us.  JJ arrived & kindly rang the bell to celebrate his memorable round of golf with everyone there, which was indeed much appreciated.

Toddy & I spent some time discussing certain rules of the game with a couple of the GS delinquents which is of course our duty to do so and as the saying goes – “you learn something new every day”!  It had been another great day’s golf with a lot of fun and excellent golf from some.

Don’t forget to check your new handicap on Saturday afternoon JJ!

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.

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