Ken & Kae sparkle at Crystal Bay

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PSC Golf from The Growling Swan

Monday, Nov. 19, Crystal Bay B & A – Stableford

After torrential rain in Pattaya and its surrounds the previous day, we were all a bit worried about our Monday golf but as usual we were worrying over nothing.  It was fine but overcast as we assembled at The Growling Swan and even though our numbers were a bit depleted at 22 we were all looking forward to playing another of our favourite golf courses, Crystal Bay.

We handed out hearty welcomes to newcomers Pat Kavanagh from Ireland and Scot Eaton, Vice Captain of Chatswood Golf Club in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Pat Kavanagh, Kae & Ken Bernek. Pat Kavanagh, Kae & Ken Bernek.

We departed the GS a couple of minutes before our scheduled 8.30 am departure time and finding Highway No. 3 not too busy for a Monday morning we arrived at the course 45 minutes later.  There was a fair bit of activity there and after waiting for a couple of Korean groups to tee off we managed to send our first group, a three-ball, away 8 minutes earlier than booked at 9.52 am.

The weather was perfect, not too hot, very little wind and the golf course was in excellent condition.  There were not many traces of water on the fairways so maybe the Pattaya downpour of the previous day had not come this far north and playing conditions were super with the greens firm and true and at times a tad slick.

We were playing B nine first and were held up at both par 3’s on that nine but we still managed to get to the half way point in a touch over two hours.  Our second nine was A and the Koreans had disappeared so we stepped up the pace somewhat and even with a quick drink stop we were able to complete the full round in just on four hours.

J C Lhoste, Ken Cornwall & Mike Gosden.J C Lhoste, Ken Cornwall & Mike Gosden.

Another very enjoyable round of golf on a great course with good company and for one of my playing partners, Alain “Inspector Clouseau” Taddei, it was a spectacular finish to the round as he put his third shot with an eight iron into the hole on the par 5 A9 for an eagle 3!

We were able to have 2 grades with five podium spots in each.  A Grade was for handicaps 0 to 20 & B Grade was for 21 and over.  We had nearest the pins on all the par threes and longest first putts on A9 and B9 which were collectively sponsored by The Growling Swan, J J Harney, Takeshi Hakozaki, Jerry Dobbs, Brendan Byrne & Kae.  Many thanks to these golfers for their generosity.

A welcome return to form for big Ken “let’s hear it for” Bernek saw him win the A Grade with an excellent 41 points, one point ahead of Irishman J J Harney in second place.  On 39 points came the colorful Bjarne Kjaer in third place with Frenchman Michael Catillon fourth on 38 points and newcomer Scot Eaton fifth with 37 points.

Duangjai “Kae” Tusagad won the B Grade with 38 points and Aussie Jerry Dobbs finished second one point further back.  With 2 golfers on 36 points a count back was necessary to determine third & fourth places and Wendy Bernek (19 point back nine) just pipped Max “Two Corsets” Bracegirdle (18 point back nine).  Another Frenchman, J C Lhoste rounded off the podium, finishing fifth with 35 points.

I also informed the group about the success of Growling Swan golfers at the previous Friday’s PSC Monthly Tournament here at Crystal Bay.  Our own Wendy Bernek won the Ladies Flight with Takeshi Hakozaki finishing third in A Flight.  Nearest the pin prizes were won by Max Bracegirdle, Peter Blackburn and Takeshi Hakozaki – A very good day for the Swan!

A Flight (0-20)

1st Ken Bernek (14) 41pts

2nd J J Harney (12) 40pts

3rd Bjarne Kjaer (20) 39pts

4th Michael Catillon (18) 38pts

5th Scot Eaton (5) 37pts

B Flight (21+)

1st Duangjai Tusagad (30) 38pts

2nd Jerry Dobbs (24) 37pts

3rd Wendy Bernek (34) 36pts

4th Max Bracegirdle (27) 36pts

5th J C Lhoste (23) 35pts

Near Pins:  A5 – Pat Kavanagh; A8 – Stu Rifkin; B4 – Mike Gosden; B6 – Takeshi Hakozaki

Long Putts:  A9 – Andre Barril; B9 – Alain Taddei

The Growling Swan NAGA Award, (awarded to the golfer who has the worst score on the day) was won by newcomer Pat Kavanagh on a count back and believe me his score was not that bad.  Deefa the Dog was once again present and while being paraded by big Ken he collected many donations to charity for the needy in Pattaya.

Thursday, Nov. 22, Treasure Hill – Stableford

On a fine & sunny Pattaya morning we made our way to The Growling Swan to prepare for the journey to the challenging Treasure Hill Golf Course and a couple of late cancellations due to illness brought our numbers for the day back to a very creditable 30.

We welcomed our good friend Walter Baechli back from his cycling tour of northern Thailand and newcomer George Smails from Newcastle, UK.  Our numbers were once again boosted by 2 groups of Growling Swan ‘Delinquents” who this time insisted on being together in 1 minivan for reasons best known to themselves.  It was time to farewell Lindsay Fry who is returning to New Zealand on the weekend and also Eric “Judge” Black and Paul Simons who will shortly be returning to Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

We departed the GS a couple of minutes early at 8.28 am in 3 full mini vans and after just 50 minutes arrived at the course where it was very quiet.  After announcing explanations & instructions for the format of the day, which for the first time included an additional competition of “Divorce Pairs” our first four-ball got away 5 minutes ahead of schedule at 9.55 am.

The weather was terrific and there was no-one in front of us so we proceeded at a very good pace, enjoying the condition of the course along the way.  The areas around some of the greens that had received much work were progressing well and the greens themselves were in very good condition.  We took just under two hours to complete our front nine and with the weather remaining perfect just had the one drink stop before tackling the “Crocodile Hole” which most of our group managed to score on for a change (except J J) and we finished our round in a little under four hours.

It had been a very enjoyable round (particularly with a group of 4 “stirrers”) and the Divorce Pairs format caused plenty of cursing & finger pointing but it was all good natured.  We still played our own individual stableford game but were paired off within our groups, i.e. the first 2 players in the group were a pair and the next 2 also etc.  The idea then was after completion of a hole the points of one of the pair was multiplied by the points of their partner.  For instance if player 1 has 5 for 2 and their partner, player 2 has 4 for 3 then 2 x 3 being 6 is their team score for that hole.

In addition to the Divorce Pairs (sometimes known as Russian Stableford) competition we were able to have 2 grades, A Grade being for handicaps 0 to 21 and B Grade for golfers with handicaps of 22 and over.  We also had nearest the pins on the four par 3’s and longest first putt awards on the 9th & 18th.  These were collectively sponsored by The Growling Swan, Bernie McCart, Brendan Byrne, Walter Baechli, Ken Bernek & Tony Olcorn and we thank these golfers for their generosity.

In a tight finish at the top of A Grade with 2 players on 36 points it was Mike “Hunter” Gosden (18 point back nine) who ended up in first place with Alain “Inspector Clouseau” Taddei (17 point back nine) in second spot.  Irishman J J Harney was third with 35 points and with 3 golfers on 30 points it was necessary to have a count back to see who was going to miss out.  Stu Rifkin (17 point back nine) was fourth and Takeshi Hakozaki (16 point back nine) was fifth with the unlucky one being Brendan “Casper” Byrne (14 point back nine).

J C Lhoste was too good in the B Grade winning with 34 points and with 3 golfers on 33 points another count back was required.  In second place was Fred Dineley (18 point back nine) with Paul Simons (17 point back nine) third and Jerry Dobbs (15 point back nine) in fourth spot.  In another count back to decide fifth place it was Max “Two Corsets” Bracegirdle (16 point back nine) who edged out Bernie McCart (14 point back nine), both having 30 points.  With just 2 golfers able to play to their handicap it was the golf course that once more took the honours on the day.

In the “Divorce Pairs” competition the winners were J C Lhoste & Alain Taddei with a combined score of 74 points and in a count back for second & third places with both pairs having 62 points it was Peter Blackburn & J J Harney (44 point back nine) just beating Mike Gosden & Stu Rifkin (36 point back nine)

A Flight (0-21)

1st Mike Gosden (12) 36pts

2nd Alain Taddei (18) 36pts

3rd JJ Harney (11) 35pts

4th Stu Rifkin (14) 30pts

5th Takeshi Hakozaki (10) 30pts

B Flight (22+)

1st J C Lhoste (23) 34pts

2nd Fred Dineley (29) 33pts

3rd Paul Simons (23) 33pts

4th Jerry Dobbs (24) 33pts

5th Max Bracegirdle (27) 30pts

Divorce Pairs

1st J C Lhoste & Alain Taddei 74pts

2nd Peter Blackburn & J J Harney 62pts

3rd Mike Gosden & Stu Rifkin 62pts

Near Pins:  2nd – Ken Bernek; 6th – Kae; 13th – J J Harney; 17th – Max Bracegirdle

Long Putts:  9th – Ken Cornwall; 18th – Peter Blackburn

The Growling Swan NAGA was won by big Ken Cornwall who took it in very good spirit & insisted on taking the NAGA cap to wear back at the bar for a while.

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]