Cooney the conqueror

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PSC golf Bunker Boys @ The Ranch

Eight members of the Bunker Boys signed up for the road trip to Hua Hin, and for most of them it was their first opportunity to play the excellent courses there, at discounted rates during the Golf Festival.

John Graham was forced to miss the trip after being called at short notice to return to work, and generously donated the KPK food voucher he’d won the previous week as an additional prize.

Bunker Boys at the Banyan G.C. Bunker Boys at the Banyan G.C.

It rained continuously in Pattaya on Sunday and we set off on Monday morning under heavy skies and miserable, drizzling rain so everyone was fearing for the worst, however, as we headed south the skies cleared and the subsequent 3 golf games were uninterrupted by rain at any point – another fine example of the sun shining on the righteous!

Monday, Sept. 17, Sea Pine G.C. – Stableford

This recently opened course is owned by the Thai army, but any resemblance to the Navy course at Plutuluang, is purely coincidental as we discovered the superb clubhouse facilities, lush fairways, and a friendly staff.  The course fronts directly onto the beach, and everyone commented how great it was to play so close to the sea, with the accompanying cool breeze blowing in.  It makes one wonder why no one has built a course in the Pattaya area which offers such a great day out – almost resembling a links course back in the U.K.

The greens were recovering from recent coring which was the only downside of the day, and some of the hole ratings left something to be desired for the lower handicappers, leaving some players scratching their heads saying, “how can I possibly not get a shot here?”

The last three holes are played along the beach and we had the added bonus of a spectacular rainbow out at sea, as we played the 18th hole in the gathering dusk.  The pot of gold wasn’t at the end of the rainbow however – it remained with Gerry Cooney as he continued his recent run of good form to finish ahead of Colin Greig.

1st Gerry Cooney (13) 33pts

2nd Colin Greig (9) 31pts

Near Pins: Geoff Parker (2) and Gerry Cooney (2).

Tuesday, Sept. 18, Banyan G.C. – Stableford

It was a beautiful sunny morning as we set off to the Banyan Golf Club which is only a few kilometers outside of Hua Hin town, but set in spectacular, hilly countryside.  Once again the clubhouse facilities were superb, but as on the previous day the greens were recovering from recent coring.

We elected to play off the blue tees, which at 6,800 yards presented the toughest test of the three days.  Two of the par 3 holes were in excess of 200 yards, with the first being 210 yards uphill, into the wind, over water, and playing more like 240 yards!  Many players were seen opting to use their drivers, but unsurprisingly this was the only near pin that remained unclaimed over the three days.

The course was in great condition, with various types of hazards seemingly everywhere, but the caddies were superb and the GPS on the (compulsory) buggies was helpful.

Back in the clubhouse the scores on the day reflected the difficulty of the course, but Gerry Cooney came out on top (again!) ahead of Colin Greig on a count back.  The after-golf refreshments in the clubhouse were extortionately priced so several of us opted to head to Hua Hin beach and chill out there.

1st Gerry Cooney (13) 30pts

2nd Colin Greig (9) 30pts

Near Pins: Paul Smith, Geoff Cox and Colin Greig.

Wednesday, Sept. 19, Black Mountain G.C. – Stableford

The visit to the Black Mountain course was expected to be the highlight of the trip, and with the combined green fee and caddy price at 1,600 Baht, it was an excellent deal.  Once again the greens were recovering from recent coring, and there was some (mainly cosmetic) work being done around the course, but nothing could detract from the pleasure of playing a true championship course.

The great thing about this course is the variety of holes, not many of which are overly long, but even the shorter holes have hidden dangers.  Lee Butler found the water hazard on the short par 4 seventh hole, but spectacularly played his totally submerged ball out of the water (something which your scribe thought was impossible) only to incur a two shot penalty in the process.

There are some superb views of the surrounding hills as you make your way around the course and, all in all, it was a great way to finish the three-game trip.

Geoff Parker found some form at last, to prevent Gerry Cooney from making a clean sweep of wins, but once again Colin Greig secured the second place for the third game in a row.

1st Geoff Parker (13) 38pts

2nd Colin Greig (9) 37pts

Near Pins: Paul Smith, Mashi, Geoff Cox and Gerry Cooney.

Gerry Cooney was the overall points winner for the three-game Hua Hin tour, finishing one point ahead of Colin Grieg and he collected the additional bonus of the 500 baht KPK food voucher – enjoy your sausages Gerry, you earned them.

Friday, Sept. 21, Plutuluang E & N – Stableford

Back down to earth in Pattaya for a visit to the Navy course on a dull grey morning, but in the event there was no rain and the temperature was close to ideal.  The course was quiet and we had our pick of which nines to play, so we opted for the unusual combination of East and North, which we were assured by the starter were in the best condition.  It was immediately apparent that “best condition” did not equate to best greens, as they probably the slowest we have played on in living memory.

It was a good day for Roger Mitchell, playing his twelfth game with the Bunker Boys, as he recorded his maiden victory by one point ahead of Peter Habgood.  We welcomed back Alan Freeman who came third but missed out a prize in the small field – never mind Alan, we’re sure you’ll get plenty of presents for your birthday tomorrow.

1st Roger Mitchell (24) 33pts

2nd Peter Habgood (17) 32pts

Near Pins:  Alan Freeman, Dave Ashman and PJ Redmond.

Note:  The Bunker Boys are a PSC affiliated golf society who now play out of The Ranch bar on Pattaya 3rd Road (in front of the fire station, and almost opposite the Buffalo Bar).  We play three times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, so if you enjoy a fun day out, and a friendly but competitive golf competition why not come and join us.

We meet at The Ranch at 9 a.m. for breakfast and transportation, and new players are always welcome.  Contact Buff on 086 046 5091 or 080 605 5663 for all enquiries.  The society is also in the process of resurrecting our website which you can find at www.bunkersociety.com.