PSC Golf from The Growling Swan
Monday, June 11, Bangpra – Stableford
Another good “low season field” of 14 golfers were signed up to play the popular Bangpra golf course and as we assembled at The Growling Swan we started the “waking up” process with complimentary tea, coffee and friendly banter. Dobbsy was strutting around showing off his brand new Growling Swan Golf shirt, Stu “Heineken” Rifkin had yet another heavy cold and Peter Grey had his usual Monday morning hangover and was looking forward to his AFM (alcohol free Monday).
We welcomed back Graham Buckingham from his three week trip to the U.K., Volker Buley from Germany & Bob Akapita from Gove, Northern Territory, Australia. We managed to depart a couple of minutes ahead of schedule at 8.28 am and arrived at the course after a record 36 minute drive.
Bo Cardwell, Peter Blackburn & Bob Akapito.
Our scheduled tee time was 10.00 am and had we not had to wait for a foursome that was booked in ahead of us we would have got away well before 9.30 am but as it was our first group was able to hit off at 9.40 am. The weather was glorious, the golf course in fantastic “nick” and as usual those treacherously quick greens were catching everyone out.
Having played this course many times we should know to keep the ball below the hole on the greens but I for one was a slow learner on many occasions throughout the round. Mike “Hunter” Gosden made the comments that there would not be too many very good scores today and as usual he was correct. We were playing at a very good pace and finished the front nine in just under 2 hours so had a quick drinks stop at the half way mark.
Proceeding in similar fashion we were enjoying the outing except our golf was nothing to write home about but we had a very funny moment on the 18th tee. Graham “Buckers” Buckingham, who now and again lets out a Monica Seles type grunt as he plays his tee shot did a very loud one (grunt that is) as he teed off on the last. Hitting off after him, Frenchman Alain Taddei, who rarely says any more than calling out his score during a round, let out an even bigger “grunt” as he hit his drive. A very timely act of “taking the mickey” which had Hunter almost in tears and wishing he had a spare pair of undies.
The monkeys appeared to be having the day off although some golfers in the other groups spotted plenty of them. They obviously weren’t interested in watching our foursome and I can’t say I could blame them. A great day out on this lovely course and we completed the round in just on four hours.
With the smallish field we had just the one flight plus nearest the pin rewards on all the par threes and longest first putts on A9 & C9, kindly sponsored by Ken (let’s hear it for) Bernek & Stu Rifkin.
After 11 points on the front nine a podium finish would be the furthest thing from someone’s mind but an excellent back nine of 21 points gave Bo Cardwell 32 points and she was declared the winner on the day on a count back. This was a terrific effort from Bo who was the winner of the Compass Cap at our last outing.
In second place came Alain (Inspector Clouseau) Taddei (13 point back nine). Mike Gosden came third with 31 points and another count back with both on 29 points saw Graham Buckingham (14 point back nine & 10 points on the last 6 holes) finish fourth from Daryl Evans (14 point back nine & 9 points on the last 6 holes) in fifth spot. In form golfer Mashi Kaneta also had 29 points but a 13 point back nine saw him just miss out on a podium finish.
1st Bo Cardwell (26) 32pts
2nd Alain Taddei (18) 32pts
3rd Mike Gosden (12) 31pts
4th Graham Buckingham (23) 29pts
5th Daryl Evans (22) 29pts
Near Pins: 8th – Eric Black; 12th – Ken Bernek.
Long Putts: 9th – Alain Taddei; 18th – Bob Akapita.
Volker Buley celebrated his return by winning the Compass Cap (awarded for the worst score on the day) and Hunter paraded Deefa the Dog who is reveling in his new home and collected many donations from the generous Growling Swan Golf crew.
Back at The Growling Swan afterwards we replayed many of our shots, discussed what could have been and enjoyed the camaraderie and merriment whilst downing several “Aussie cold” low priced beers.
Thursday, June 14, Bangpakong – Stableford
There were 16 of us signed up for the trip to the popular and classy Bangpakong Riverside Country Club and thanks to Bo & Daryl we were able to use just one minivan. After the previous night’s big crowd at The Growling Swan watching the second Australian Rugby League State of Origin game between NSW & Queensland there were understandably a few sore heads so the complimentary tea & coffee was welcome relief, particularly for Dobbsy who took the Queensland defeat fairly badly. Sniffing Stu “Heineken” Rifkin was also not looking the best after several Bundies on the night but nonetheless presented himself for the outing like the good team man that he is.
Welcomes were handed out to Nigel Cannon, PSC Social Chairman who joined us for the day and Dick Braimbridge who has returned from a couple of weeks in Cambodia. Sadly it was time to say farewell to Bob Akapita who was returning to Gove, N.T., Australia the next day but will be back with us in 3 or 4 weeks time.
We got away from the G.S. 5 minutes earlier than planned at 8.25 am and after a very good run arrived at the course in just under one hour which is as quick as we’ve ever been. This trip included a “pull over” by a Thai policeman just after we went through the “Toll Gate” as he had spotted that the passenger in the front of the bus was not wearing a seat belt. Not mentioning any names but his initials are “Hunter” Gosden and he promptly reimbursed the driver with the 100 baht fine, so let this be a lesson to others.
Surprisingly this lovely golf course was practically deserted so after our locker room preparation, sun screen application etc. we strode to the first tee where we were asked to proceed as soon as we were ready. Our first four-ball teed off 5 minutes ahead of schedule at 9.55 am in just about perfect weather conditions except for a rather stiff breeze which made things a bit tricky.
The course was in terrific shape as ever although after Monday’s greens at Bangpra it was the exact opposite here as the greens were recovering from being cored & sanded and were much slower than normal. They didn’t appear to worry one of our group, Mike Allidi who slotted in a nice birdie putt on number one, his first of 6 birdies for the day. There was no-one in front of us so we proceeded at a very good pace and finished the front nine in two hours after a stop for drinks before the 8th tee. As we approached the tenth tee it was obvious that a Thai four-ball had been slotted in ahead of us but to their credit they soon got going and didn’t hold us up at all.
Whilst watching the “Mike Allidi Show” we managed to play some reasonable golf ourselves and after another drinks stop completed our round in just under four hours. It was a great day’s golf with fabulous weather on a pristine golf course with excellent company. Just another day in paradise!
We had 2 flights with A Flight for handicaps 0 to 18 and B Flight for 19 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 Allidi, Mike Gosden & Martin Todd for assisting with sponsorship of these awards.
In the end the stiff breeze did not appear to be a factor as remarkably there were no scores under 30 points and a couple of very good ones. Mike Allidi’s 69 gross unfortunately was not good enough to win the A Flight which was won by Bob Akapita who had 42 points, 1 point more than Mike. Eric “Judge” Black finished third with a fine 39 points.
Bo “Mama” Cardwell had her second win of the week by finishing on top in B Flight with 39 points and in a count back for second & third on 37 points Jerry Dobbs (19 point back nine) finished ahead of Daryl Evans (18 point back nine).
A Flight (0-18)
1st Bob Akapita (17) 42pts
2nd Mike Allidi (2) 41pts
3rd Eric Black (13) 39pts
B Flight (19+)
1st Bo Cardwell (26) 39pts
2nd Jerry Dobbs (23) 37pts
3rd Daryl Evans (22) 37pts
Near Pins: 4th – Nigel Cannon; 7th – Stu Rifkin; 13th – Eric Black; 16th – Mike Allidi
Long Putts: 9th – Ken Bernek; 18th – Eric Black
As mentioned before there were no really poor scores but returnee Dick Braimbridge managed to win the Compass Cap (awarded for the worst score on the day) and he luckily missed out on being fined as his spectacles managed to fall off his face and into his food as he was eating. One of those very funny moments that “tickled” all who witnessed it. 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. Judge was trying to come to terms with the fact that his trip is nearly over with just one more game left but we all know that he will be back before too long. With more visitors from Perth, Australia arriving next week we are all looking forward to more fun times.