We welcomed back my very good personal friend Dr Brian Vale and Wayne Harman from my old Golf Club Gosnells in Perth Western Australia. Walter Baechli had returned from his cycling tour of Morocco. Newcomers Rick Field & Mick Sullivan from Dampier, Western Australia were having a hit with us along with Tom Parry and the legendary Roundy from The Roo Bar in Walking Street. I’d like to think they were all here to help me celebrate my birthday but I’m sure it’s just that the word is getting around that Growling Swan Golf is becoming more and more popular and is providing a fun day of golf.
Tom Cotton, Peter Blackburn & Ken Bernek.
Sadly we were saying farewell to Eric “Judge” Black who was returning to Geelong, Victoria after his 3 week holiday but we all know that this semi-retired Pattaya devotee will be back in the blink of an eye. Also good luck to Graham Buckingham who is taking a week off golf to compete in the King’s Cup Scrabble Tournament in Bangkok.
We were able to depart the G.S. right on time at 8.30 am and arrived at the course just 40 minutes later. Once more we were just about the only ones there so were able to tee off at our leisure and the first four ball got away 20 minutes ahead of schedule at 9.40 am.
The weather was great with not too much wind and the threatening clouds above disappeared quickly as we took in the beauty of this course which was in excellent condition. The greens appeared to be somewhat slower than normal but were firm & true so bad putting could be the only excuse for three putts or more.
We proceeded at a very good pace with no-one in front of us and after a two hour first nine we took a ten minute drinks break before the tenth tee. I managed to putt in for a birdie from just over the green on the tenth after hitting a career best five wood second shot but alas that was my only claim to fame for the day. Doc & Wayne were tiring during the second nine after just 4 hours sleep but we battled on and completed the round in four hours & ten minutes. Once again a very enjoyable round of golf on a very good golf course in great “nick” with very good company.
We had 2 Grades with A Grade for handicaps 0 to 17 and B Grade for 18 and over. There were rewards for nearest the pins on the four par threes and longest first putts on the 9th & 18th greens. Many thanks to Mike Gosden, Eric Black & Martin Todd for assisting with sponsorship of these awards.
Scoring was quite good considering we were playing off the blue tees and there were several golfers that played to their handicap or better. The winner of A Grade with a score of 37 points was my old mate Ken “let’s hear it for” Bernek with 37 points. In an Aussie count back for second & third on 35 points, Mike “Hunter” Gosden (19 point back nine) edged out Stu “Heineken” Rifkin (16 point back nine) and newcomer Tom Parry was fourth with 34 points.
Tom “T.C.” Cotton won the B Grade with a fine 38 points and in another count back for second & third Bo Cardwell (17 point back nine) finished just ahead of Alain “Inspector Clouseau” Taddei (16 point back nine), both having 37 points. It was terrific to welcome to the podium for the first time this trip Volker Buley who finished fourth with 36 points.
A Flight (0-17)
1st Ken Bernek (16) 37pts
2nd Mike Gosden (11) 35pts
3rd Stu Rifkin (15) 35pts
4th Tom Parry (15) 34pts
B Flight (18+)
1st Tom Cotton (22) 38pts
2nd Bo Cardwell (24) 37pts
3rd Alain Taddei (18) 37pts
4th Volker Buley (30) 36pts
Near Pins: 5th – Bo Cardwell; 8th – Bo Cardwell; 13th – Mick Sullivan; 17th – Walter Baechli
Long Putts: 9th – Tom Cotton; 18th – Alain Taddei
Newcomer Roundy managed to win the Compass Cap (awarded for the worst score on the day) and Hunter once more escorted Deefa the Dog around who collected many donations to charity from the ever generous Growling Swan Golf group.
It was then back to The Growling Swan for a few hours and several celebratory beers with much humor and merriment. Most of the group there just about fell over when I rang the bell for my birthday and several of us stayed for a considerable time whilst enjoying the very friendly atmosphere and very affordable drink prices.
Thursday, June 21, Mountain Shadow – Stableford
We originally had 16 golfers signed up for the day’s golf but an annoying “no show” brought it back to 15, meaning 3 four balls & 1 three ball. Poor old “Heineken” Stu Rifkin was laid up for a week with a sore leg and Alain “Inspector Clouseau” Taddei was saving himself for the PSC Member’s Tournament at Phoenix the following day.
We welcomed from Melbourne, Australia newcomers Simon Spalding (scratch handicap), Nelly Stoer & John Tonstall and it was sadly time to say farewell to our very good friend Volker Buley who will shortly be returning to Germany after his 3 weeks in Pattaya with a promise that he will back for a month in December. It was also good to have Mike Allidi, our regular 2 handicapper back with us after recovering from his sprained ankle and we were all looking forward to him playing in the same group as the visiting scratch handicapper.
We gave the “no show” until our 8.30 am departure time to turn up but then we departed on schedule and arrived at Mountain Shadow just 46 minutes later. It was yet again “millionaire’s golf” for us as the course was very quiet and we were invited to tee off as soon as we were ready.
Our first four ball, which consisted of 2 current members and 2 former members of Gosnells Golf Club in Perth, Western Australia, got away fifteen minutes ahead of our booked time of 10.00 am and in perfect weather with a bit of a breeze we kept a very good pace with no-one ahead of us. The golf course was as usual in good shape although partial coring & sanding of the greens meant tricky putting a lot of the time but I’m sure they will be back to their high standard when we return next month.
Just under 2 hours was all it took to complete the front nine and with a well earned drinks break after the 12th hole we finished the round in the good time of four hours & 10 minutes. With the smallish field we had just the one Grade with five podium spots and there were rewards for nearest long putts on holes nine & eighteen.
It was tough going on the day with just 1 golfer playing better than their handicap and after some fairly ordinary golf of late your writer managed to take advantage of his ever increasing handicap and won the day with 37 points. One of our visitors from Melbourne, Nelly Stoer came second just one point further back and Sandy Leiper was third with 34 points. In a count back for fourth & fifth places on 33 points Wayne Harman (17 point back nine) edged out Ken Cornwall (16 point back nine).
1st Peter Blackburn (13) 37pts
2nd Nelly Stoer (18) 36pts
3rd Sandy Leiper 34pts
4th Wayne Harman (13) 33pts
5th Ken Cornwall 33pts
Long Putts: 9th – Wayne Harman; 18th – Ken Cornwall
It needed a count back to decide the Compass Cap winner (awarded for the worst score of the day) and my very good friend Doc Vale took the award from fellow Aussie Jerry Dobbs. Deefa the Dog was of course present and paraded by Hunter resulting in many donations to charity from our generous Growling Swan group.