Blacky wins three in a row and inaugural Monthly Mug

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PSC golf from The Growling Swan

Monday, June 25, Royal Lakeside – Stableford

A good low season contingent of 14 golfers assembled at The Growling Swan in readiness for the longish road trip to the challenging Royal Lakeside and we welcomed first timers Ebrahim & Bernie McCart.  We also welcomed back Frank Donnelly from his 3 week stint as a tourist guide showing family from Australia around.  A hearty “Bon Voyage” was afforded to Dick Braimbridge who will shortly be returning to Queensland, Australia for about 3 months and also Dr Brian Vale & Wayne Harman who are off back to Perth, Western Australia in the next couple of days.

Everyone was running early so we departed the G.S. in 2 minivans 10 minutes ahead of schedule at 8.20 am and after an excellent run through Pattaya Monday morning traffic we arrived at the course just 55 minutes later.  The course was, yes – you guessed it, almost deserted and after a relaxing preparation time and putting practice for some we sent our first group, once more a Gosnells Golf Club four-ball away 18 minutes early at 9.42 am.

Monday Compass winner Brian (Doc) Vale, Deefa the Dog & winner Peter Blackburn.Monday Compass winner Brian (Doc) Vale, Deefa the Dog & winner Peter Blackburn.

The new caddies’ uniforms looked very smart and we teed off into a very stiff breeze which indicated it was going to be a tough day for some and indeed that’s the way in turned out.  The golf course was in fantastic shape with the greens as good as I’ve ever seen them and to top it off our caddies were disciplined, informative whilst being lots of fun at the same time.

The breeze did cool things down somewhat although at times it did seem fairly hot and after a sub 2 hour front nine we continued at a cracking pace and finished our round in three hours & fifty minutes.

With the smallish field we had just the one flight with five podium spots and there were rewards for long putts on holes nine & eighteen with sponsorship help from Mike “Hunter” Gosden.

As mentioned previously the going was quite tough with not one golfer able to play to their handicap or better.  After a last start win your writer managed to continue his good form and finished in first place with 35 points, one ahead of Bo Cardwell in second place with Jerry Dobbs third one point further back.

A count back was necessary to determine fourth & fifth places with Ken “let’s hear it for” Bernek (14 point back nine, 10 points on last 6 holes & 6 points on last 3 holes) edging out Alain “Inspector Clouseau” Taddei (14 point back nine, 10 points on last 6 holes & 5 points on last 3 holes).  Both of them had 31 points.

1st Peter Blackburn (12) 35pts

2nd Bo Cardwell (23) 34pts

3rd Jerry Dobbs (22) 33pts

4th Ken Bernek (16) 31pts

5th Alain Taddei (18) 31pts

Long Putts:  9th – Wayne Harman; 18th – Wayne Harman

Dr Brian Vale also had back to back wins but alas, it was the Compass Cap (awarded to the golfer with the worst score on the day) so at least he finished his stay with us on a winning note!  Deefa the Dog was of course present and paraded by Hunter resulting in many donations to charity from our generous Growling Swan group.

Ken Cornwall, Jerry Dobbs & Peter Blackburn.Ken Cornwall, Jerry Dobbs & Peter Blackburn.

Back at The Growling Swan afterwards the main topic of conversation was the upcoming inaugural Monthly Mug which was in 3 days time.  Even as we sat there drinking we had two more golfers sign up which left us with just one spot to fill.  Dick rang the bell due to his imminent departure which was appreciated by all.

Thursday, June 28, Treasure Hill – Monthly Mug/Stroke

There was a terrific buzz in the air on this morning as we assembled at The Growling Swan, all keen to compete for the very first Growling Swan Monthly Mug.  Peter Grey’s complimentary tea & coffee was flowing and we had many old and new faces in the record field of 25.

We welcomed first timers Rhys Allen (son of Andrew) from Melbourne, Noel Moore from Philippines/Australia, and Aussies Peter Starr, Tony Olcorn & Vince Romeo along with Dave Norman from the A Team Bar here in Pattaya.  It was also great to have back for another 6 weeks Talkeshi Hakozaki from Japan, Hugh O’Donnell from Spain, Don Richardson from Ireland and of course Graham Buckingham after his trip to Bangkok to compete in an International Scrabble Tournament.

Several people elected to drive to the Treasure Hill course and the rest piled into 2 minivans as we departed the G.S. right on our scheduled departure time of 8.30 am.  After a 48 minute drive we arrived at the course to find that despite being a Sport’s Day with a 500 baht green fee the course was practically deserted.  We were in no hurry as we prepared for this special occasion and our first four-ball consisting of myself, Mashi, Hunter & Buckers teed off 5 minutes ahead of our scheduled 10.00 am tee time.

The weather was terrific although a bit overcast at first but we knew that nothing was going to put a damper on this special day.  I must once more mention the improvement in this golf course as it was in terrific condition with the greens absolutely superb and a credit to the green keeper & his staff.  It was of course a Monthly Mug which meant playing a stroke round and sure enough this tough layout caught one or two golfers out.

Buckers was going great guns until the 12th hole where he got into all sorts of trouble and ended up with an eleven which effectively put paid to his chances of winning the Mug.  Hunter & I were travelling quite well and neck & neck down the home stretch while Mashi, although fairly consistent was not having one of his better days.  We proceeded at a very good pace considering it was a stroke round and even with 2 drinks breaks we completed our full round in four hours & ten minutes.

A terrific day’s golf at a lovely though challenging course with very good company.  It was very pleasing to hear the comments from all after that the day was an outstanding success and everyone was looking forward to the next Monthly Mug at Mountain Shadow in July.

With the 25 starters we were able to have 2 flights and there were rewards for nearest the pins on the four par threes plus nearest first putts on the ninth & eighteenth greens.  As we had nine players who not yet had handicaps they were put in the second flight which we named the Callaway Grade & their scores were calculated using the Callaway Scoring System.

Your humble organizer & correspondent continued his form of the last 2 outings and managed to win the very first Growling Swan Monthly Mug on a count back from Mike (Hunter) Gosden.  We both had a net 73 but my net 33 on the back nine got me home as Hunter had net 35.

In third spot came Takeshi Hakozaki with a net 74 and the luckless Graham Buckingham finished fourth with a net 75.  In a count back for fifth & sixth Don Richardson (net 77 with net 36 on the back nine) edged out Bo Cardwell (net 77 with net 39 on the back nine).

In the Callaway Grade the winner of the Growling Swan Monthly Glass was Ken Cornwall with a net 73, one better than runner up Bernie McCart.  In a count back for third place with both golfers on net 76, Vincent Romeo (51 back nine) took the honors with Fred Dineley (53 back nine) just missing out.

Monthly Mug

1st Peter Blackburn (12) net 73

2nd Mike Gosden (11) net 73

3rd Takeshi Hakozaki (13) net 74

4th Grahsm Buckingham (24) net 75

5th Don Richardson (13) net 77

6th Bo Cardwell (23) net 77

Callaway Comp

1st Ken Cornwall net 73

2nd Bernie McCart net 74

3rd Vincent Romeo net 76

Near Pins:  2nd – Mike Allidi; 6th – Peter Starr; 13th – Ebrahim; 17th – Stu Rifkin

Long Putts:  9th – Ken Cornwall; 18th – Mashi Kaneta

The winner of the Compass Cap (awarded for the worst score of the day) went to Aussie Jerry Dobbs and Hunter paraded Deefa the Dog who of course collected many donations to charity from our very generous Growling Swan crew.

Presentations of course were back at The Growling Swan on this occasion and many thanks go to Peter Grey for sponsoring this event and providing a delicious chicken meal for everyone.  Yours truly took advantage of the “I won the mug, you fill it up” rule and along with most of the others stayed for several hours of fun and merriment.

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]