Eastern Star – a genuine test

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IPGC Pattaya Golf Society at the Elephant Bar

Monday, August 18, saw the Pattaya Golf Society travel to Ban Chang to play a stableford competition at the testing Eastern Star Country Club.  The four groups teed-off a little early, playing in conditions that are normal for this course, which means into a stiff breeze when playing 1, 4, 7, 10, 11 and 15.  Scoring well on these holes can be the key to a good round. 

The course was presented in reasonable condition, with fairways mostly offering good lies, although many closely-mown areas were subject to re-planting, especially in areas near the front of greens and these contained bare patches.  They could have done with a lot more white paint indicating GUR.  Bunkers were OK as were the greens.  Sure, the greens were slow, but they were consistent and offered a reasonably true line.  All in all, a tough layout that was in reasonable condition.  A score of net-par, as has always been the case, would go close.

Birthday Bash winners: Jesper Hansen and Akifumi Tate.Birthday Bash winners: Jesper Hansen and Akifumi Tate.

With four groups playing just the one division, and no ‘2’s, this meant the podium extended to the best four.  Playing his last round before returning home to Adelaide was Toby Glass.  His 36 points earned him enough to help offset some of the cost of his airfare.  In second-equal place, with an excellent score indicating he has fully recovered from his recent malaise, was Mr Len, posting his best effort for 2014 and sharing second place with him was Garry Olliffe.  The reward for his efforts will probably be spent in duty free, as he was also playing his last round this trip.  The winner, doing just enough to top the podium, was Jon Batty and his 38 points was testament to a superb round of golf on a course that played characteristically tough.

Back at the Elephant Bar, the presentation welcomed the return of Shuichi Kodaka, from Japan, and Alan Walker, from Australia who happened to pick up the lucky beer draw.  The booby bevy went to Joe Miller who had one of those rounds golfers prefer to forget – quickly.

On a sad note, the group were informed of the recent death of Canadian Jack Robertson.  Jack, a stalwart of both the PGS and Bunker Bar golfing groups, tended to split his time evenly between Canada and Pattaya.  He will be fondly remembered.

Two pass the test at Khao Kheow

The Pattaya Golf Society travelled to Khao Kheow on Wednesday, August 20, to play a stableford competition on the C and B nines, which were in good condition considering the regular heavy showers that drench the course every day or two at this time of year.  As a result the fairways were soft with only a little run and “lift and place” was the order of the day.

Monday podium grabbers: Mr Len, Garry Olliffe, Jon Batty and Toby Glass.

Greens were slower than noted on the course advice board (10? No way!) and the bunkers were soft and damp.  Other than that the course was a pleasure to play as always and held enough challenges for even the lowest handicapper.

The single flight saw two outstanding rounds only, the rest being a mixture of mistakes and mediocrity.  Murray Hart made third place with thirty points despite his excellent long game deserting him on the back nine and his hours on the practice range are obviously paying dividends.  The second placed golfer was Masashi Iizumi who came up with his best round of the year, a very fine 39 points, with only three holes on his card not marked as net par or better.  The winner was Dave Edwards, recently returned from UK and he matched his best score of the year with 40 points.  It was as solid a performance as anyone could wish for and the contrast with his golf of three months ago is so evident.

Garry Hookey snaffled the only ‘2’ of the day on the tricky B third hole.  The hosts’ free beer draw was won by Shuichi Kodaka and the Booby Bevy went to Ken Grimes who proudly boasted on his card of his six lost balls.  Silly boy!

Khao Kheow is always a treat for serious golfers, wet season or not.

Favourites win at Greenwood

A large group of Pattaya Golf Society members gathered at Greenwood on Friday, August 22, to celebrate Mr Len’s birthday with a pairs stableford best score competition on the A and B nines, which were in excellent condition with lush fairways and consistent greens.  Altogether the course condition and the rate offered to the group make a day’s golf at the course one of the best golf opportunities currently on offer.

The field got away on time and only eight points separated the top team from the bottom of the leaderboard.  Sharing third place was the Aussie pairing of soulmates Gary Bolger and Phil McClure with forty points and the untried Welsh-Japanese pairing of John O’Sullivan and Shuichi Kodaka on the same score.  In second place was the traditional birthday pairing of Wichai Tananusorn and Mr Len and again they gelled well with Mr Len contributing only six points to the team score as an excellent display of iron play by Khun Wichai set the standard for the day as they amassed 41 points.  A tight competition was won by the well-fancied pairing of Jesper Hansen and Akifumi Tate and their score of 43 points consisted of two four-pointers on the two short par fours.

Technical prizes were generously sponsored by Garry Hookey, Mr Len and Greenwood Golf Club and the near pins were all won by the inveterate Thai golfer Khun Wichai, as well as the best individual performance award for his excellent 38 points and he walked away with a box Titleist Pro V1x’s after his display on the day.  Greg McDonald and Craig Thomas won the losers draw with two golf caps donated by the club and the Booby Bevy went to Dave Allison and Wayne Morrison.

The presentation party ended with the bell being rung (and broken!) and the consumption of birthday cake, accompanied by the usual cold beers and Mr Len, for one, cannot wait for next year to repeat the best golf day imaginable, thanks to the support of many loyal friends.