Pickles tops the podium in Hua Hin

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The Ferdinand Golf Society

A fun golfing trip and competition was planned and organized by Freddy Starbeck, aided capably by Thierry Petrement and Pattaya’s famous (or infamous) Colin Davis.

Although the trip was originally booked for 4 nights, arriving April 16, with golf starting on the day of arrival, many of the touring golf professionals arrived a day early on the 15th in preparation for the four days of gruelling competition and for some, much needed practise and preparation in the local bars the same evening.

All 20 golfers arrived safely at the City Beach hotel, a pleasant hotel complete with swimming pool, but personally I didn’t see any of the finely tuned athletes from the competition using the pool or gym as part of their daily rigorous training regime, including myself!

Hua Hin top three: Freddy Starbeck, Ian Pickles and John I’Anson.Hua Hin top three: Freddy Starbeck, Ian Pickles and John I’Anson.

The first day’s competition was held at the Royal Hua Hin course, picturesque and scenic, but certainly a little dusty and sparse in some areas, nevertheless everyone enjoyed a good opening day workout.

Nick Shaw and Ian Pickles started their pre-golf workout with their now famous beer exercises, which certainly worked for Ian who scored an excellent 40 points and won the day.  Second was Freddy Starbeck with 39 points and making up the top three was Sel Wagner with a creditable 36.

Fun and merriment was had in the entertainment area of Hua Hin that evening, and thankfully all 20 golfers made it to the tee the following day.  We all arrived at the Palms Hills golf course for an early tee off at 09.30, and the course was in magnificent condition, with very testing greens (lightning fast downhill) and challenging pin positions.

The field arrived for the day’s briefing and tee times from Thierry, Colin and Freddy, then battle commenced.  Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the course, bathed in hot glorious sunshine.

Freddy won the day with a solid 37 points, and for some reason due to the heat of the sun, he was mistaken for some chap called Lou, but this was quickly cleared up.  Second, with a good score on a difficult course was Barry Oats with 36, and third on count back was Pierre Bietry also with 36.

After all of the golfers were rounded up at the hotel after yet another night of cultural entertainment, we headed for Banyan Golf and Country Club.  Upon arrival the writer can say the course and associate facilities were quite obviously of the highest standard, and the playing conditions certainly did not disappoint.  On manicured fairways, but a slightly stiff breeze, and yet again bathed in warm sunshine it seemed the course did not disappoint any of the players.

The day was won by our own war veteran, Mr. John I’Anson (some of our readers will find that hard to pronounce, so we just call him the mercenary), with a sparkling 41 points.  Second was one of our golfers from down under, Paul Hack with 37 points, and making up the top 3 was Peter Terry with a solid 35.  These were impressive scores on a challenging track.

With all 20 of the field arriving safely for the final day’s competition, yet again at Palm Hills golf club, we prepared for the last day of battle.

Freddy was late arriving due to a front tooth problem, which was suspected of being a previous evening battle scar from a lady Thai boxer he had befriended during the trip, and surprised everyone at not being able to talk too well.  Some felt sympathy for Freddy, others relief, especially his playing partners in the final and leading 4-ball.

Again we were blessed with a beautiful day, very warm sunshine, but yet again a stiff breeze and very slick greens.

The day’s competition was won by the affable Colin Davis with a solid 38 points.  In second was Nick Shaw on count back with 34 points ahead of Paul Hack.

The overall 4-day completion winner on count back with a total of 140 points was our Canadian, self-confessed redneck, Ian Pickles (now banned from pre golf beer) ahead of pre-tournament favourite Freddy Starbeck on the same score.  Filling third spot was John I’ Anson with a very good 138 and in fourth with 135 was Monsieur Pierre Bietry.

Sadly our organizer Freddy Starbeck had to leave for Pattaya immediately after the golf due to the urgent need for dental treatment, which left the presentations a little confused, but out of bad often comes good, and the good news is that there will be an official prize ceremony at Ferdinand’s golf bar and restaurant, coinciding with the grand opening party of the venue early in May (date to be advised).  Food, drink and entertainment, plus the presentations promise an evening of fun, and a rumoured appearance of the Welsh armed guards’ choir featuring Phil Davis as a guest singer.

All that is left to say on behalf of Ferdinand’s Golf Society is a big thank you to all the golfers and their ladies who made the journey to Hua Hin, which made the trip so enjoyable and memorable.  Keep swinging and see you at our next scheduled competition.  Please check our golfing calendar for our forthcoming courses and tee off times.