2nd annual Poppy Golf Day tournament blooms ever brighter

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Friday, November 11, Khao Kheow – 2-Ball Better Ball Stableford

As all good ideas, the idea for a Poppy Golf Day came about over a beer in Tropical Bert’s and thus we had the Inaugural Poppy Day Golf in 2010.  The day proved such a success that the next year was discussed and then we realised that 2011 was not only the 90th birthday of the Royal British Legion, but also would be Poppy Golf on 11 November 2011, i.e. we could play on 11/11/11/11/11/11.  That is 11 seconds past the 11th minute of the 11th hour – well you get the idea, and thus was formed the way ahead for 2011.

It was also decided that we would have Poppy Day golf tournaments in Pattaya, Korat, Chiang Mai and Bangkok all at the same time.  Three went ahead but I am sure all realise that Bangkok in the present climate was unable to play, but will be having their day belatedly on the 5th of February 2012 and it promises to be a cracker of an event.

Team winners with Keith Phillip the prize sponsor.Team winners with Keith Phillip the prize sponsor.

The team got busy and Graham MacDonald, President of The Royal British Legion Thailand, was given the (easy!) job of organising major sponsorship, and after a long haul the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) came on board as title sponsors and Royal London 360 and MBMG also agreed to be major sponsors.  Now we had lift-off and could get things going.

The scribe then got things underway and Khao Kheow was selected as the course and Khun Surapol was contacted and we arranged to ‘Buy The Course’, so we could have a Shotgun Start on 11 November at, yes you guessed, 11/11 etc.  Then it rained and rained and rained, most of the courses here were awash and Khao Kheow was severely hit.  We went up there several times and a month before we played the competition the course was not in good condition.  However Khun Surapol said that give it a dry week and the course would be fine.

The third placed team accept their prizes from Max.The third placed team accept their prizes from Max.

The days went on and as the 11th approached it was obvious we were going to have a full house, and as we got to Khao Kheow early on the morning of the competition, the course was in fine shape and the weather was great and the numbers were what we wished them to be.  Max was there even earlier putting out the sponsor banners and then at the desk booking in the players, helped by Matt and Dot.  The day was well in swing as the players turned up, all 145 of them, and then we were off.

The Chairman, Derek Brook (center) presents  special medals from The Royal British Legion to tournament winners Les Charles & Barry Oats.The Chairman, Derek Brook (center) presents  special medals from The Royal British Legion to tournament winners Les Charles & Barry Oats.

With 2 groups of players on all the tees it was nice to see that the pace of play was very good and it was not till we met the par 3’s that we had some back up.  This was soon overcome however.  The Course was in good condition but you could see that in places the heavy rains had taken their toll, however the fairways were fine and the greens were fast and tricky with a fair bit of ‘rough trouble’.

The island green was the most backed up, however we had the special on this hole and it was a Cameron Special Golf Bag, Thanks to Mark Cameron.  Past this hole over and it was into the hot shower and a relaxation before we hit the traffic on the way back in our effort to reach Amari’s Tavern by The Sea where the evening function was to take place.

The strongest team at Khao Kheow.The strongest team at Khao Kheow.

On arriving at the venue it was very obvious that this year nearly all the players had gone back there as it was very full and we were bursting at the seams.  The buffet was laid out and the players and guests were tucking in.  We had 165 officially but I suspect there were one or two more.  I thank the Amari for their kindness and their sponsorship of the night.  The food was also the finest quality and was well received by all.

Before we get into the results it is only right to thank our Sponsors as without them we could not hold such a prestigious tournament.  First to Royal Bank of Scotland who were our title sponsors, to Royal London 360 and MBMG our major sponsors, also to Top Cat, guess who?, and to Pattaya Reality who gave generously.  We also thank Khao Kheow Country Club, Cameron Golf, The Amari, Tesco Lotus, HSBC, Boots and many others who also gave unselfishly.  Thank you all and if I missed you please accept my apologies.  However I must mention Colin Davis of Lewinski’s who always supports us with their golfers.

Scorers busy at work.Scorers busy at work.

A very special thanks also to our V.I.P.’s who also attended.  First  to Major General Winai, 14 Military Circuit Commander, and to Major Surin who both played in my four-ball, and made the round a pleasure, and later joined us at the Amari.  To David Kneeshaw and Steve Noon from Royal London 360 and of course ‘Top Cat’ himself.

The prizes looked fine and particularly the trophies ,sponsored by ‘The Sons of the Andrew’ alias George, Roy and Kevin.  Thanks to all the prize sponsors and in particular Keith who was the first prize sponsor.  Then it was into the presentation where the Chairman, yours truly, and the President, Graham MacDonald, said a few words and thanked the sponsors.

The runners-up with George and Roy ‘The Sons of Andrew’.The runners-up with George and Roy ‘The Sons of Andrew’.

So to the team prizes and we start with the strongest team, and that was Kevin Wild and Jack Robertson and they won The Standard Bearers Prize presented by Richard Holmes.  The other results were as follows:

1st Les Charles & Barry Oats 52pts

2nd Kanaka Serm & Chop Daprakorn 48pts

3rd Derek Brook & Tom Cotton 47pts

4th Patrick Brown & Graham Hisket 46pts

5th Joe Benesin & Jean-Claude Coulon 45pts

6th Peter Ranvert & Lasse Laks 45pts

Long Putts:  Al Laurie, Allan Tranekear

Near Pins:  Peter Lenory, John Bartley, Mike Gaussa, Lasse Laks, David Kneeshaw, Dan Meijer, Lester

The VIP group on the tee.The VIP group on the tee.

With the presentation over we watched a very fine Powerpoint presentation on The Royal British Legion and the Remembrance observance that was produced by Bert Elson, and held the attention of the audience until it came to an end.  Silence reigned and that is hard in these circumstances.  A very fine and moving presentation.

We finished the evening with the raffle by Reg and Dot and then we could relax in the knowledge that we had had a fine day and hopefully reached our aims.  Until next year – T.T.F.N.