Silky Oak scores a hit with Pattaya golfers

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By taking out 6 holes and adding 6 newly developed ones, Silky Oak golf course, part of the Green Valley golf complex, re-opened this summer as a complete 18-hole layout.  A handful of golf societies in Pattaya tried it out during next couple of months, with many players thinking beforehand that it was might be a little on the short side at 5,814 yards from the white tees and possibly too easy.  None of those golfers thought the same after playing it just once however.

It turns out that in Silky Oak’s case “short” does not equate to “easy”.  The correct description for the course should be more like “short and tricky”.  Every hole brings a new challenge, with long and short par 5s, extreme downhill and uphill par 3s, water in play on 8 holes, doglegs and risk and reward holes.

The Joki Team: Joachim Oestreicher, Gary Saunders, Guenther Beckermann and Hans Pickartz with Nirand Phimwong, the Green Valley General Manager.

It is a public “secret” that the final goal here is to make 2 x 18 holes at Silky Oak in the future and with a new clubhouse connected to those courses.

Despite growing interest in the course, the management group at Green Valley believed that a real introduction was needed and therefore 20 of the major golf bars in Pattaya were invited to play a 4-man scramble on either October 6 & 8.  The entry fee was very friendly at 1.200 baht per player which included green fee, caddie fee, cart, buffet with free beer and soft drinks, and prizes.

In total 61 teams signed up split evenly between the two dates and in spite of very bad weather forecasts, both days were played in perfect weather with no rain and just a calm wind.  Leaving the tees at 17 and 18 empty at the shotgun start, close to 100% of the teams finished in 4.5 hours.

Back in the clubhouse at the Albatross Room it was easy to see that even after a tough scramble the players had plenty of capacity for eating and drinking.  The line in front of the beer kegs never ended before the kegs were empty.  For the management group it was a great pleasure to hear all the positive remarks about the arrangement and most important about the new layout at Silky Oak.  Some of the players even said that Silky Oak could be the most fun course to play out of the 3 available courses in the Green Valley complex.

PGS Team players Russel Exley, Andrew Humphries, Takano Masanori and Leigh Abbey pose with Kh. Nirand.

Prizes were given out to the top three teams on each day, golf green fee vouchers being the preferred reward on this occasion instead of trophies.  By a stroke of coincidence, the winners on both days had the same score, 63 gross, with the Joki Team taking the Oct. 6 honors with a net 54.1 off their team handicap of 8.9, and the PGS team being crowned the Oct. 8 champs with a net 54.6.  Each of the players in the winning teams received 2 vouchers for each of the 3 Green Valley courses.

The average gross scores for both days were 66.9.  That is 1.6 strokes higher than the average gross score from a scramble match at St. Andrews 4 years ago.  It underlines that “short” is certainly not “easy”.

There was further good news for golfers during the closing speeches when it was announced by the management that the present friendly green fee price at Silky Oak, 800 baht, will continue throughout the upcoming High Season.

The management also revealed that from next year they will start what they call “Giving back to the players” events.  The first tournament will be a 2-day scramble at Green Valley with a very friendly entry fee and based on a similar concept to this month’s Silky Oak scramble.