‘Bubbles’ & ‘Two Corsets’ sparkle at Crystal Bay

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PSC Golf from The Growling Swan

Monday, August 20, Crystal Bay B & C – Stableford

It was a “hive of industry” at The Growling Swan as we assembled prior to our departure to another of our very favourite courses, Crystal Bay.  It was necessary to book an extra tee spot as we were over-subscribed with 26 keen golfers ready to tackle this popular layout.

We handed out hearty welcomes to Bob Akapita from Gove in the Northern Territory of Australia, Paul Sharples back from his work in Oman, Fiona & Larry Crebo from Pattaya/Kuala Lumpur, Takeshi Hakozaki from Japan, Tony Campbell & Graham Preston from Melbourne, Australia and Peter Bye from his job at the North West Shelf in Western Australia.  We were sadly saying farewell to Alan “Colonel” Sanders who will shortly return to North Queensland, Australia.

Max Bracegirdle, Graeme Preston & Graham Rice.Max Bracegirdle, Graeme Preston & Graham Rice.

Three minivans were necessary for transportation on this morning and we got away right on time at 8.30 am and headed off down Highway 3 in the heavy Monday morning Pattaya traffic.  There were no major traffic hold ups however and we arrived at the course just 43 minutes later where we found that it was not too busy and sure enough we were invited to tee off at our leisure.

Our first group, a three-ball, teed off 23 minutes ahead of schedule on B1 in super weather conditions although fairly hot and humid with not much breeze.  As ever the course was in great nick and the greens firm, true and at times fairly quick with some tricky hole positions.

As a three-ball we proceeded at a fairly good pace although the Thai two-ball in front of us were obviously in no hurry and at one of the par threes actually teed off and then sat down for a drink for ten minutes before continuing.  I couldn’t resist just politely mentioning to them that perhaps they should “get a move on”.  Despite this we managed to complete B nine in just on two hours and as we slowed down slightly on C nine due to the heat we were just a touch slower but managed to finish the full round in a little over four hours & five minutes.

It was a very enjoyable day with excellent company, terrific weather although a tad hot and a pleasure to play on this fine golf course.

Having a very good field enabled us to have 2 grades with five podium spots in each.  A Grade was for handicaps 0 to 20 and B Grade for 21 and over.  We had nearest the pins on all the par threes, individually sponsored by Scott Lobenwein, Mike Gosden, Larry Crebo & Max Bracegirdle.  Also longest first putts on B9 & C9 sponsored by Stu Rifkin & Graeme Preston.  Many thanks to these guys for their generosity!

Last start Compass Cap winner Graham “Bubbles” Rice went from Zero to Hero and took out the A Grade with a magnificent 44 points, 3 points clear of his good mate Stu “Heineken” Rifkin in second place.  Bob Akapita played very steady golf to capture third spot with 40 points, 2 points ahead of Takeshi Hazozaki in fourth place and Neil Skilton completed the podium with 37 points to take fifth spot.

Another recent multiple Compass Cap winner Max “Two Corsets” Bracegirdle had a terrific reversal of form and had 43 points to win the B Grade section, 6 points ahead of Stephen Newton in second place.  Brian Noguer had 35 points to finish third with Bernie McCart fourth on 32 points & Fiona Crebo fifth with 31 points.

Graham Buckingham, Peter Grey & Peter Blackburn.Graham Buckingham, Peter Grey & Peter Blackburn.

A Flight (0-17)

1st Graham Rice (13) 44pts

2nd Stu Rifkin (16) 41pts

3rd Bob Akapita (17) 40pts

4th Takeshi Hakozaki (11) 38pts

5th Neil Skilton (7) 37pts

B Flight (18+)

1st Max Bracegirdle (26) 43pts

2nd Stephen Newton (31) 37pts

3rd Brian Noguer (22) 35pts

4th Berbie McCart (30) 32pts

5th Fiona Crebo (22) 31pts

Near Pins:  B4 – Mike Gosden; B6 – Stu Rifkin; C4 – Scott Lobenwein; C7 – Peter Bye

Long Putts:  B9 – Peter Blackburn; C9 – Bob Akapita

The winner of the Compass Cap (awarded to the player with the worst score on the day) was, much to their delight, not Peter Grey or Andrew Allen but indeed another Melbournian, Graeme Preston, who insisted on wearing the Cap for several hours afterwards.

Hunter paraded Deefa the Dog who of course collected many donations to charity from our very generous Growling Swan crew.

Thursday, August 23, Bangpakong – Stableford

We had 20 keen golfers signed up for the trip to Bangpakong Riverside Country Club and we assembled at The Growling Swan in readiness for the longer than usual journey.

Hearty welcomes were handed out to Roy Dayton from San Francisco and his lady Kae & also Alain Taddei’s brother Herve from France.  It was also good to see the return of Tony Alcorn from Queensland, Australia after a few weeks away.  Bon Voyage was the go for Bob Akapita who was returning to his work in Gove in the Northern Territory of Australia after just a week in Pattaya.  Gladly he will be back here in another 4 weeks.

We were hoping for an early departure but as usual Sandy was running late, nonetheless we managed to get away 5 minutes ahead of schedule at 8.25 am.  It is a fairly long trip and apparently puts a few people off but with 2 full minivans and plenty of chatter along the way we were there in just 66 minutes and found this lovely course to be quite busy which is to be expected on a Sports Day.  We were however able to send our first group away right on time at 10.00 am and the weather once more was terrific but this time not too hot.

The long journey is certainly worth it as the course was once more in great shape and the first timers to the course were naturally suitably impressed as they enjoyed the lush fairways & very good greens, although many of them were a tad slow due to recent sanding.  Our group were enjoying the day immensely with some pretty good scoring and even encountering several hold-ups due to the fairly heavy traffic on the golf course did not stop us from having both grade winners in the four-ball.

After a couple of drink stops and several waits on tees we managed to complete our full round in four hours & twenty minutes.

With the good field it enabled us to have 2 grades with four podium spots in each.  A Grade was for handicaps 0 to 18 and B Grade for 19 and over.  We had nearest the pins on all the par threes and longest first putts on the 9th & 18th greens.  Once more there was no shortage of sponsors for these “novelties” and thanks go out to Peter Bye, Bob Akapita, John Pierrel, Max Bracegirdle, Roy Dayton & Graham Buckingham.

Your writer managed to recover some of his lost form and finished first in the A Grade with 41 points, just 1 point ahead of Martin Todd in second place and Alain “Inspector Clouseau” Taddei finished third with 39 points.  A three way count back was necessary to decide fourth place with Bob Akapita (20 point back nine) successful from Mike “Hunter” Gosden (18 point back nine) and Takeshi Hakozaki (17 point back nine), all three having 35 points.

One of my other playing partners, Graham “Buckers” Buckingham took out the B Grade with 41 points, 6 points ahead of Max “Two Corsets” Bracegirdle in second place.  On 31 points came Roy Dayton in third spot with Sandy “Leiperfrog” Leiper (16 point back nine, 15 points on the last 6 holes) winning the count back for fourth place from Kae (16 point back nine, 11 points on the last 6 holes), both finishing with 28 points.

A Flight (0-18)

1st Peter Blackburn (11) 41pts

2nd Martin Todd (7) 40pts

3rd Alain Taddei (18) 39pts

4th Bob Akapita (17) 35pts

B Flight (19+)

1st Graham Buckingham (22) 41pts

2nd Max Bracegirdle (24) 35pts

3rd Roy Dayton (23) 31pts

4th Sandy Leiper (31) 28pts

Near Pins:  4th – Sandy Leiper; 7th – Martin Todd; 13th – Bob Akapita; 16th – Peter Blackburn

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

The winner of the Compass Cap was “mine host” of The Growling Swan, Peter Grey, who once more managed to capture this prestigious (not) award.  Back at The Growling Swan afterwards the beer was flowing and a good time was had by all after yet another terrific golf outing.

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]