Growling Swan Golf kicks off in style

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PSC Golf from The Growling Swan

Tuesday, June 5, Eastern Star – Stableford

This was a historic occasion for the twenty golfers who signed up for The Growling Swan Opening Day at the challenging Eastern Star Golf Course and there was a terrific “buzz” in the air as we assembled at the venue in readiness for the trip to the course.  Complimentary tea & coffee was available prior to our departure and several of us took advantage of Peter Grey’s hospitality.

As I looked around the bar I couldn’t help thinking of the people who had been saying that this was another “Aussie Golf Bar”.  We had representatives from USA, France, Switzerland, Japan, Canada, Ireland, England, and of course a “handful” of Australians.  No Danes on this occasion but I’m sure it won’t be too long before they will be amongst us.

Mike Allidi, Peter Blackburn & Fred Dineley.Mike Allidi, Peter Blackburn & Fred Dineley.

Some of us were travelling to the golf course by car and the remainder departed in 2 mini buses and due to the 10.26 am tee time we got on our way at 9.15 am.  There was a bit of activity when we arrived at the course 35 minutes later but we were hopeful of teeing off ahead of schedule.

I thanked all for attending this important inaugural Growling Swan Golf Competition and in particular made mention of the presence of the Pattaya Sports Club Golf Chairman, Joe Mooneyham who had kindly agreed to participate in the day’s event.  As we teed off 6 minutes ahead of schedule Joe kicked off the proceedings by hitting a cracking drive down the first which we were expected to follow but unfortunately we couldn’t match him.

It was alleged after the game that one of the Aussies who cannot be named but his initials are Stuart Rifkin, celebrated the occasion by performing a good old Aussie ritual called “shooting the moon” on the first tee.  Good on you Stu and rest assured, the likelihood of incarceration is fairly remote as all present said they “never saw a thing”!

The weather was fine but hot with a very stiff breeze and the golf course was looking good although some of the greens had much residual sand on them which made putting very tricky at times.  Despite a couple of fairly slow groups in front of us we proceeded at a good pace and after a 10 minute drinks break before the 11th tee we managed to finish our round in the good time of four hours & fifteen minutes.

It was also important to thank Peter Grey of The Growling Swan who contributed to making this all possible and thanks to Mashi Kaneta & Tom Cotton for supporting me on this special day.

We had 2 Flights with A Flight for handicaps 0 to 20 and B Flight for 21 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 Peter Grey & Martin Todd for providing additional rewards for these novelties.

The going was tough for most of us on the day as the scores will indicate and no-one was able to get better than 2 points from their handicap.  As there were 6 golfers amongst us without handicaps their scores were determined using the Callaway System which certainly evened things out somewhat.

The A Flight was won once more by Mike Allidi with a modest (for him) 32 points.  There were 4 golfers on 31 points vying for second & third places with Tony Turnbough (17 point back nine, 13 points on last 6 holes & 8 points on last 3 holes) finishing second ahead of Stu “naughty boy” Rifkin (17 point back nine, 13 points on last 6 holes & 6 points on last 3 holes.  The two unlucky golfers were Mashi Kaneta & Alain Taddei, both with 16 point back nines.

Much to his surprise Fred Dinely took out the B Flight with the best score of the day, 34 points, just 1 ahead of Tom Cotton in second place and in third place was Sandy Leiper with 31 points.

A Flight (0-20)

1st Mike Allidi (2) 32pts

2nd Tony Turnbough (20) 31pts

3rd Stu Rifkin (16) 31pts

B Flight (21+)

1st Fred Dinely 34pts

2nd Tom Cotton (23) 33pts

3rd Sandy Leiper 31pts

Near Pins:  3rd – Ken Bernek, 6th – Eric Black, 13th – Ken Bernek, 17th – Mashi Kaneta

Long Putts:  9th – Tom Cotton, 18th – Mashi Kaneta

It needed a count back to decide who was going to win the Compass Cap (awarded for worst score on the day) with your writer happily wearing the cap which was just reward for a very ordinary but very enjoyable game of golf.

Deefa the Dog was more than happy in his new home and was paraded by big Ken “let’s hear it for” Bernek in the absence of Hunter and collected many donations from the generous Growling Swan boys.

It was then back to The Growling Swan for a few hours and several celebratory beers with much humor and merriment.  It was unanimous that the day had been an outstanding success and we are all looking forward to many more super days like this.

Thursday, June 7, Crystal Bay A & C – Stableford

Despite one “no show” we had a good group of fifteen golfers eager to compete in the second Growling Swan Golf event.  The course was the popular Crystal Bay and as we assembled at G.S. we once more enjoyed Peter Grey’s complimentary tea & coffee and prepared for the trip down Highway 3.

Mashi Kaneta & Peter Blackburn.Mashi Kaneta & Peter Blackburn.

We were welcoming back Bo Cardwell from a week with her family and Fred Cuypers from his 3 weeks in Europe.  Unfortunately we were also saying Bon Voyage to Fred as he is returning to Perth, Australia in the next day or so.  We also bade farewell to our good friend Paul Sharples who is returning to his work in Oman.

8.30 am is now our normal departure time from G.S. and we got away right on time, arriving at Crystal Bay 46 minutes later to find the caddies eagerly awaiting as there were very few other golfers present at that time.  A & C were the designated nines to be played on the day and after some leisurely preparation our first group, a three ball teed off 10 minutes ahead of schedule at 9.50 am.

It was “millionaire’s golf” as there was no-one ahead of us and with almost perfect weather, albeit a few rain clouds above we proceeded to enjoy this great golf course which was in excellent condition.  Playing the first nine, A in the very good time of one hour and fifty five minutes we had a short drinks break before commencing C nine which we had not played for quite some time.  Continuing our good pace we finished the whole round in four hours & five minutes after taking another quick drinks break half way through the second nine.

With the smallish field we had just the one Grade plus nearest the pin rewards on all the par threes and longest first putts on A9 & C9, kindly sponsored by Mike Gosden & Daryl Evans.

Mostly the scoring was good on the day with one exceptional score, that being the 44 points by Mashi Kaneta who carded his best ever gross score of 75.  Well done Mashi!  This of course gave him first place and 5 points further back came Tom (T.C.) Cotton in second place.

There were 3 golfers on 38 points so a count back was necessary to determine third, fourth & fifth places.  In third place came Stu “Heineken” Rifkin (20 point back nine) with departee Fred Cuypers (19 point back nine) coming fourth and another departee Paul Sharples (17 point back nine) completing the podium in fifth spot.

1st Mashi Kaneta (11) 44pts

2nd Tom Cotton (23) 39pts

3rd Stu Rifkin (16) 38pts

4th Fred Cuypers (14) 38pts

5th Paul Sharples (13) 38pts

Near Pins:  A5 – Tom Cotton, A8 – Peter Blackburn, C4 – Mike Gosden, C7 – Alain Taddei

Long Putts:  9th – Mashi Kaneta, 18th – Peter Blackburn

Bo Cardwell celebrated her return by winning the Compass Cap (awarded for the worst score on the day) on a count back from Jerry Dobbs and Hunter paraded Deefa the Dog who is reveling in his new home and collected many donations from the generous Growling Swan Golf crew.

The winner of the Consistency Award for May, kindly sponsored by Mike Gosden was won by yours truly, Peter Blackburn.

Back at the Growling Swan afterwards we once more celebrated another successful outing and enjoyed the camaraderie and merriment.