Monday, July 20th Khao Yai Trip Sir James
1st Tony Robbins (23) 37 points
2nd Lance Conway-Jones (14) 35 points
3rd Jimmy Carr (17) 32
Near pins Tony Robbins X 3
Our trip to Khao Yai began with a game at the Sir James course. Most of our group had a leisurely trip up Pak Chong on Sunday and were very relaxed and ready to play. A couple made the four-hour trip up in the morning, not ideal preparation for a course that presents plenty of challenges. An all-in fee of one thousand baht looked like a good deal. The course itself was not in great condition, not at least by the standard we expected from previous visits. In particular, the bunkers were a shambles and most if not all hadn’t seen a rake for some considerable time.
Since it is still monsoon season, rain was in the air and we had a couple of light showers, luckily not the downpours that threatened not too far away. We set out ahead of our scheduled tee time, but quickly ran up against a very slow fourball which held us up. Otherwise, we would have finished in a very quick time.
Overall scoring was decent with Tony Robbins making an appearance at the top of the winner’s dais for the first time in several months with a very creditable score of thirty-seven points. Tony also managed to snag all the near pins.
Second place went to Lance Conway-Jones with thirty-five points whilst Jimmy Carr rounded out the winner’s circle with thirty-two.
Tuesday, July 21st Khao Yai Golf Club
1st John Chesney (14) 40 points
2nd Tony Robbins (24) 38 points
3rd Lance Conway-Jones ((14) 37 points
Near pins Daryl Vernon, John Chesney, Lance Conway-Jones, & Michael Brett.
An absolute treat Tuesday with a game at the magnificent Khao Yai Golf Club. The course was in immaculate condition and everywhere we looked the scenery was to die for. A new clubhouse has been constructed on the site of the old one and now provides first-class facilities. This is now surely one of the most desirable golfing destinations in Thailand.
The weather was excellent for golf as we set out, but there was always doubt given the time of year that we may be hit with monsoon rain. As it turned out, that’s exactly what happened when, after eleven holes, the heavens opened forcing us to take shelter for about forty minutes. When it eased off, we continued to play in light rain and by the close of play, the weather was beautiful again. We should have waited a bit longer. For a few holes, the course was soggy but dried out quickly.
The Nicklaus design meant it was fair to everyone with risk and reward options available on just about every hole. The long hitters could go directly towards the green whilst the short hitters always had a bailout option and were not severely punished for it. The bunkers were unique with red compacted soil, not sand as is the norm. However, once one got accustomed to them they were not too difficult.
The standard of golf was very high with John Chesney taking first place with forty points off a fourteen handicap in a round that included four birdies. In second place Tony Robbins improved on yesterday’s score by a point with thirty-eight, a stroke ahead of Lance Conway-Jones in third place.
All the near pins were taken with one each to Daryl Vernon, John Chesney, Lance Conway-Jones, and Michael Brett.
Today was the last game for Daryl as he departs for the U.K. at the weekend having been trapped in Thailand over the last couple of months (poor boy). We wish him a safe journey and a speedy return although that may be a bit difficult in a COVID ruled world. Also the last game for John who made the trip down from Korat just for two days. We thank them both for their participation.
Thursday 23rd Mountain Creek, Valley & Creek nines
1st Alan Sullivan (11) 40 points
2nd Mashe Kaneta (17) 29 points
3rd Tony Robbins (24) 28 points
Near pins Alan Sullivan, Jimmy Carr, Mashe Kaneta, Lance Conway-Jones
Having enjoyed a day off on Wednesday it was back to the business of golf again Thursday with the venue being Mountain Creek. This is a course that we approached with more than a little trepidation as it has a reputation for inflicting what former Australian Cricket captain Steve Waugh referred to as mental disintegration on all but the strongest of wills. Several quality golfers failed miserably at this course and vowed never to play it again. Since the course had undergone some changes from the original Sevie design, we felt it was worth another visit.
We were allocated the Valley & Creek nines and to be fair the Valley nine presented as a fairly normal course. However, all that changed on the Creek Nine starting on the very first hole. The caddies not speaking much English were of little assistance and when we drove off down the middle of the fairway only to find an unseen rockery over the top of the hill in the middle of the fairway, we began to understand its fearsome reputation. The rest of the holes were not much better with scary vistas from almost every tee that messed with the mind. Needless to say, scoring suffered as a consequence and only straight hitters had any chance on tight fairways.
One golfer soared above the rest with Alan Sullivan having all parts of his game working perfectly. He put together a magnificent round of forty points to take first place. This was in stark contrast with his previous round where he struggled to twenty-one points at Khao Yai Golf Club and couldn’t buy a putt.
One had to go back a full eleven strokes to find Mashe Kaneta in second place on twenty-nine points, a measure of how well Alan played. Tony Robbins was a stroke further back on twenty-eight.
All the near pins were taken with one each to Alan Sullivan, Jimmy Carr, Mashe Kaneta, and Lance Conway-Jones.
Seve contributed much to the game of golf during his time with us, one feels that some of the design features on this course are not ones readily copied by modern-day designers.
Friday, July 24th Khao Yai Golf Club
1st Tony Robbins (24) 38 points
2nd Lance Conway-Jones (14) 35 points
3rd Alan Sullivan (14) 33 points
Near pins Alan Sullivan, Jimmy Carr, & Lance Conway-Jones
Our original schedule had us play Rancho Charnvee Friday, but given the exorbitant green/caddie fees requested and the fact that Khao Yai Golf Club was in exceptional condition and five hundred baht cheaper using vouchers supplied by Alan Sullivan, making the switch was an easy decision. For once something was in our favour. For the time being at least it’s a buyers’ market on the golf scene so we took advantage of the situation.
The weather, despite being overcast and threatening, looked like it might also do us a favour. But on the sixteenth, it started bucketing down calling a short halt to play.
Soon as it lightened enough we rushed in the last couple of holes, and luckily we did as by the time we finished the eighteenth it came down with greater intensity and filled the bunkers and flooded the course. It was so severe that power to the clubhouse was cut so it looked like cold showers. Fortunately, the power came back on long enough for us to shower before going out again.
Tony Robbins took the honours with a very fine thirty-eight points, his second of the week to go with a thirty-seven and make him tour player of the week. A serious haircut may not be far away for Tony.
Second place went to Lance Conway-Jones on thirty-five points and Alan Sullivan took third. Near pins to Alan, Lance, and Jimmy.