Jim Bell wins his first Growling Swan Monthly Mug


PSC Golf from The Growling Swan

Monday, Nov. 26, Pleasant Valley – Stableford

Pleasant Valley was the venue for the day’s competition and a smaller than normal contingent of twenty were ready to tackle this scenic and sometimes challenging layout, this time off the blue tees.  After welcoming newcomer Ken Hole, who was playing with us for the first time, we departed the GS at 8.30 am and 45 minutes later arrived at the course where there seemed to be a fair amount of activity. 

As mentioned earlier, the weather was super although with no carts allowed on the fairways it was apparent there had been a fair amount of rain on the course in the last 24 hours so winter rules through the greens were the order of the day.

Gary Monley, Peter Grey, Jim Bell, Roy Dayton & Peter Blackburn. Gary Monley, Peter Grey, Jim Bell, Roy Dayton & Peter Blackburn.

Although the course was busy we managed to get our first four-ball away 15 minutes earlier than booked at 9.45 am with the group in front of us about a hole and a half away.  Unfortunately they weren’t the quickest golfers in the world and we soon caught them up and slowed down considerably, causing our front nine to take about two hours and 15 minutes.

The course was looking great although obviously wet underfoot in places and the greens although fairly good were naturally suffering from all the heavy rain over the past few months.  This certainly did not deter us from appreciating this golf course with its magnificent scenery and we had plenty of time to look around with the slow play in front of us.  The pace did not improve for the remainder of the round which caused the full journey to stretch out to four hours & thirty five minutes, a lot slower than normal but I guess we need to get used to it as the high season kicks in.

We were able to have 2 grades with four podium spots in each.  A Grade was for handicaps 0 to 18 & B Grade was for 19 and over.  We had nearest the pins on all the par threes and longest first putts on the 9th and 18th which were collectively sponsored by The Growling Swan, Takeshi Hakozaki, Walter Baechli, Tom Cotton, Ken Bernek & Max Bracegirdle.  Many thanks to these golfers for their generosity.

Several weeks away from competition golf which were spent on the driving range certainly paid off for Neil Skilton who had a 76 gross, which gave him 39 points and secured him first place in the A Grade with your writer second on 37 points.  In third place came Takeshi Hakozaki one point further back and Alain “Inspector Clouseau” Taddei finished fourth with 35 points.

Once again it was Kae who “got the chocolates” in B Grade by winning with a fine 41 points and with two golfers on 37 points a count back was necessary resulting in Bjarne Kjaer (20 point back nine) finishing second ahead of Max “Two Corsets” Bracegirdle (19 point back nine) in third place.  Another count back was needed to determine fourth place with two players tied on 36 points and it was Rita Zoebelli (19 point back nine) just edging out Tom (TC) Cotton (14 point back nine).

A Flight (0-18)

1st Neil Skilton (7) 39pts

2nd Peter Blackburn (11) 37pts

3rd Takeshi Hakozaki (10) 36pts

4th Alain Taddei (18) 35pts

B Flight (19+)

1st Duangjai Tusagad (30) 41pts

2nd Bjarne Kjaer (19) 37pts

3rd Max Bracegirdle (26) 37pts

4th Rita Zoebelli (24) 36pts

Near Pins:  5th – Peter Blackburn; 8th – Tom Cotton; 13th – Ken Hole; 17th – Tom Cotton

Long Putts:  9th – Max Bracegirdle; 18th – Alain Taddei

The Growling Swan NAGA Award, (awarded to the golfer who has the worst score on the day and discreetly their score is not made public) was won by Roy “Plums” Dayton & he sheepishly wore the cap for a while but took it in good spirit.  Deefa the Dog was once again present and whilst being paraded by big Ken he collected many donations to charity for the needy in Pattaya.  Then it was back to The Growling Swan for several “tankards of mead” and with the usual fun & merriment it rounded off another very enjoyable day.

Thursday, Nov. 29, Century Chonburi – Stroke/Monthly Mug

It was that time of the month again when we get to compete for the coveted Growling Swan Monthly Mug and on this day there were 26 golfers signed up to play a stroke round at Century Chonburi.  We assembled at The Growling Swan ready for our 8.30 am departure and were happy to welcome newcomers Ken Blinco from Australia & now residing in Pattaya, James “Bear” Wilks from Melbourne, Australia and Ian Masterson from Belfast, Nothern Ireland.

Neil Skilton, Kae & Roy Dayton. Neil Skilton, Kae & Roy Dayton.

Departing the GS right on time we headed off in 3 mini vans and arrived at the golf course after the 60 minute journey, this time accessing the course via the “good” road off Highway 331.  There were a couple of groups wishing to tee off ahead of us and of course this was allowed as there was an important announcement to be made to our group.

We all assembled on the putting/chipping green and I announced that two days prior, on Tuesday a very good friend of ours Kevin Grose from Melbourne, Victoria had tragically passed away in his hotel room.  Kevin was here on holiday to see if he would be able to live here for six months a year but of course it was not to be.  Kevin was a lifelong mate of Growling Swan Mine Host Peter Grey and in the space of a few weeks had made many new friends here with his friendly & loveable attitude – He will be sorely missed!  We all observed a minute’s silence for him and Peter Grey provided us all with black arm bands which we wore for the day.

We managed to send our first four-ball away right on time at 10.00 am in fine but overcast conditions and proceeded at a leisurely pace whilst enjoying this challenging layout, which was in very good condition with the greens holding up well and at times being very quick, particularly the 18th.  The weather was perfect with dry but slightly humid conditions and of course the “Weather Gods” once more smiled on us as not a drop of rain was sighted all day.

Being a stroke round it was necessary at times to search for lost balls, mine a couple of times, but we didn’t really hold the others up behind and finished our 18 holes in four hours & twenty minutes.  This would have to be the best value course in the region with a green fee of 100 baht and although the amenities are sub standard compared to most venues it is well worth playing and now has a regular place on our monthly schedule.

In addition to the Monthly Mug winner we were able to have 2 grades with four podium spots in each.  A Grade was for handicaps 0 to 21 and B Grade for 22 and over.  We had nearest the pins on all the par threes and longest first putts on the A9 & B9 greens which were collectively sponsored by The Growling Swan, Sportscene, J C Lhoste, Alain Taddei, Max Bracegirdle & Kevin Waycott.  Many thanks to these guys for their generosity.

The 6th Growling Swan Monthly Mug was well won on the day by Jim “AK47” Bell with a net 71 and as Jim has been playing with us fairly regularly over the past month or so it was terrific to see him receive this much sought after award.

In the A Grade it was a very tight finish with 3 golfers on net 76 so a count back was required to sort them out.  Yours truly (net 37 back nine) managed to finish first from my old mate Mike “Hunter” Gosden (net 38 back nine) in second spot and Bjarne “Mr Colors No.2” Kjaer (net 41 back nine) finished in third place.  Newcomer Ken Blinco was fourth with a net 77.

In the B Grade it was last month’s Mug winner Roy “Plums” Dayton finishing on top with a net 75 and in a 2-way count back for second & third on net 77 it was Allan “Parrot” Tranekaer (net 39 back nine) edging out Ian Masterson (net 40 back nine).  Another count back was needed to determine fourth spot with 2 players on net 80 and it was Sandy “Leiperfrog” Leiper (net 32 back nine) who triumphed over J C Lhoste (net 40 back nine).

Monthly Mug

1st Jim Bell (16) net 71

A Flight (0-21)

1st Peter Blackburn (11) net 76

2nd Mike Gosden (12) net 76

3rd Bjarne Kjaer (19) net 76

4th Ken Blinco (16) net 77

B Flight (22+)

1st Roy Dayton (22) net 75

2nd Allan Tranekaer (27) net 77

3rd Ian Masterson (34) net 77

4th Sandy Leiper (35) net 80

Near Pins:  4th – Ken Blinco; 13th – Ken Blinco; 17th – Kevin Waycott

Long Putts:  9th – Kevin Waycott; 18th – Sandy Leiper

Back at The Growling Swan for presentations we thanked Peter Grey for sponsoring this very popular monthly event and also for providing the delicious chicken supper which was devoured at a rapid rate as usual.  Mine Host Peter was this time not the favourite to win the N.A.G.A. (awarded to the golfer with the worst score on the day) as he has had several golf lessons recently and it paid off as the award was well won on this occasion by Gary Monley, who accepted the cap in very good spirit and wore it for an hour or so in the bar.

Many of us stayed for quite a while enjoying another great night of fun after a very enjoyable day of golf, although Jim Bell was somewhat concerned when his newly presented GS Monthly Mug went missing.  The finger is pointed squarely at Paul Hack who we feel may know of its whereabouts – something to do with a putter!

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].