Bernek & Grey prevail at Bangpra

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PSC Golf from The Growling Swan

Monday, July 9, Bangpra – Stableford

Another excellent field of 22 golfers were signed up to play “The Monkey Course” with several of our new players looking forward to seeing Bangpra for the very first time.  With a slightly earlier tee off time than normal our intention was to depart 15 minutes earlier than our normal 8.15 am time but there is always one who “spoils the party”.  Not mentioning any names but his nickname is “Heineken” and after a quick phone call to him we managed to depart at 8.22 am.

We welcomed Bo Cardwell’s brother Beer with us for the first time and good to see the return of Paul Avery for a couple of weeks to sort out some family visa issues before returning to work in Australia.

Peter Grey, Stu Rifkin & Ken Bernek.Peter Grey, Stu Rifkin & Ken Bernek.

After a quick 40 minute drive our 2 minivans arrived at the course where there appeared to be a fair amount of activity, however we were soon called to the tee and our first group, a three-ball teed off 5 minutes ahead of schedule at 9.37 am.  We were originally a four-ball but as Bucker’s caddy was still at home putting her make-up on when he called her it was necessary to drop him down the starting order to await her arrival.

The weather was perfect for golf although overcast for most of the day but it wasn’t too hot and there was very little wind.  The course was looking as good as ever with the greens playing their usual tricks and three & four putts were in abundance it was reported later.

After reports from another golf outlet that played Bangpra recently we were expecting to play off the back tees but to my surprise we were able to play off the white tees all the way round.  One would think that this would make the course a little easier but this was certainly not the case as the scores will indicate.

We breezed around the front nine in just over 2 hours and with a quick drink stop on the back nine we managed to complete the round in four hours & twelve minutes which was very good considering the number of golfers out there.

Once more we had a number of golfers still without handicaps (3 of them submitting their 5th & final card) so we had 2 grades for the day with the second one being for the non-handicap golfers whose scores were calculated using the Callaway Scoring System.  There were rewards for nearest the pins on the four par threes with one kindly sponsored by Mike Gosden and longest first putts on the ninth & eighteenth greens.

Ken Bernek came in with the best score of the day and his 34 points was good enough to take first prize with Don Richardson (16 point back nine) second on a count back 2 points further back and Neil Skilton (14 point back nine) in third place.  Bo Cardwell finished fourth with 31 points and with 3 golfers on 29 points, fifth place went to your writer (13 point back nine, 10 points on last 6 holes) with Paul Avery (13 point back nine, 8 points on last 6 holes) and Martin Todd (12 point back nine) just missing out.

In a breakthrough for his very first win our Growling Swan Host, Peter Grey took out the Callaway Grade with 33 points, with newcomer Beer second on 31 points.  In a three way count back for third place on 30 points it was Bernie McCart (58 back nine) who prevailed over Vince Romeo (64 back nine) and Andrew Allen (65 back nine).

1st Ken Bernek (17) 34pts

2nd Don Richardson (14) 32pts

3rd Neil Skilton (7) 32pts

4th Bo Cardwell (22) 31pts

5th Peter Blackburn (12) 29pts

Callaway Grade

1st Peter Grey 33pts

2nd Beer 31pts

3rd Bernie McCart 30pts

Near Pins:  2nd – Neil Skilton; 8th – Jerry Dobbs; 12th – Bo Cardwell; 17th – Bo Cardwell

Long Putts:  9th – Peter Grey; 18th – Graham Buckingham.

The winner of the Compass Cap (awarded for the worst score of the day) was Stu “Heineken” Rifkin and in Hunter’s absence big Ken “let’s hear it for” Bernek paraded Deefa the Dog who of course collected many donations to charity from our very generous Growling Swan crew.

Then it was back to The Growling Swan where we celebrated yet another successful day of golf.  Peter Grey was understandably “over the moon” after his very first win and also delighted that as this was his fifth card submitted; he will very shortly have an official handicap and he kindly “rang the bell” in celebration.

Wednesday, July 11, Rayong Country Club – Stableford

In order to take advantage of the excellent Sports Day rate at Rayong Country Club we decided to play on Wednesday instead of Thursday on this particular occasion.  There were 14 golfers signed up and as we assembled at The Growling Swan we were happy to welcome new PSC Member Max Bracegirdle, formerly of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia but now from Melbourne, Victoria.

Jerry Dobbs & Peter Blackburn.Jerry Dobbs & Peter Blackburn.

Mine host Peter Grey was “chomping at the bit” having just acquired his official handicap but alas, his “debut” has to wait until Monday at Crystal Bay due to prior commitments.  We headed off from the G.S. a shade after our normal 8.30 am departure time and arrived at the practically deserted Rayong C.C. 38 minutes later.

The deal was share cart with caddies for 550 baht each – great value and quite frankly I was surprised there were not more golfers taking advantage of this.  We were invited to commence as soon as we were ready and our first group teed off 15 minutes ahead of schedule at 9.45 am.

Once more the weather was overcast but conditions were quite pleasant with very little wind and with no-one ahead of us we proceeded at a leisurely but steady pace.

After playing here in April it was very pleasing to see the improvement in the golf course with very few bare patches on the fairways and the greens were in good shape although many of them had residual sand but of course this is a result of continued course maintenance.  The weather was looking ominous on the back nine with plenty of thunder & lightning in the distance but once more the rain Gods smiled on us and apart from eleven drops of rain we remained completely dry.  It took just two hours to complete the front nine and with a quick drink stop on the back we finished the round in a total of four hours & ten minutes.

Due to the smallish field we had just the one grade and rewards for nearest the pins on all four par threes kindly sponsored by Bo Cardwell & Ken Bernek. Martin Todd kindly provided golf balls for the winners of longest first putts on the ninth & eighteenth greens.

Yours truly returned to the winner’s list and won the day with 38 points, just 1 point ahead of Takeshi Hakozaki in second spot and Bo Cardwell came third with 35 points.  A count back was required to decide fourth & fifth places with 2 golfers on 34 points. Sandy Leiper (19 point back nine & 14 points on the last 6 holes) just edged out Martin Todd (19 point back nine & 13 points on the last 6 holes).  Takeshi Hakozaki dominated the novelty awards winning four out of six.

1st Peter Blackburn (12) 38pts

2nd Takeshi Hakozaki (13) 37pts

3rd Bo Cardwell (22) 35pts

4th Sandy Leiper (27) 34pts

5th Martin Todd (7) 34pts

Near Pins:  5th– Takeshi Hakozaki; 7th –Takeshi Hakozaki; 12th – Ken Bernek; 16th – Martin Todd.

Long Putts:  9th – Takeshi Hakozaki; 18th – Takeshi Hakozaki

The winner of the Compass Cap (awarded for the worst score of the day) was once more Jerry Dobbs and in Hunter’s absence big Ken “let’s hear it for” Bernek paraded Deefa the Dog who of course collected many donations to charity from our very generous Growling Swan crew.

Back at The Growling Swan afterwards over a few beers the usual post mortems were carried out but all agreed that even though our numbers were small the companionship was terrific which resulted in another very enjoyable day.  It was only a couple of beers for most of us on this occasion as we had to scurry home & don our finest for the Pattaya Sports Club Summer Party.

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 [email protected]