Skilton blitzes Khao Kheow

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PSC golf from The Growling Swan

Tuesday, August 14, Khao Kheow B & C – Stableford

Due to a late withdrawal we were down to a field of thirteen and we assembled at The Growling Swan in readiness for the trip to one of our favourite courses, Khao Kheow.  Departing in 2 minivans slightly ahead of schedule at 8.26 a.m. we arrived at the course just 40 minutes later and found the course to be fairly quiet although there were a couple of other groups that we had to wait for before we could send our first group away.

It was 15 minutes ahead of our booked tee time of 10.00 a.m. when our first group teed-off in great weather, not too hot with at times a fairly stiff breeze and as usual the course was in terrific shape with the greens as fast & true as ever.

Max Bracegirdle & Neil Skilton.Max Bracegirdle & Neil Skilton.

We proceeded at a leisurely pace, never held up by the groups in front and as it did get a bit hotter we had a 7 minute break before tackling the picturesque B8 Alcatraz par three.  Remarkably, for the first time any of our group could recall all four of us finished on the green with our tee shots which resulted in two of us recording birdies. We did take another quick break on the C nine and were able to complete our round in four hours & twenty five minutes.  It was another very enjoyable round of golf with great company and terrific weather on a top class course.

With the smallish field we had just the one grade with four spots on the podium.  In addition there were rewards for nearest the pins on the four par 3’s, as usual one of them kindly sponsored by Mike Gosden and longest first putts on B9 & C9, kindly sponsored by Martin Todd..

Neil Skilton was remarking earlier that this was his very favourite golf course in the region, primarily because of the course design and sure enough it was certainly to his liking on this day.  His 42 points was a splendid effort, shooting 74 off the stick which enabled him to win the day, 6 points clear of Jim McFarlyn in second place.  That man again Geoff Williams finished third with 34 points and the improving Bernie McCart completed the podium with 33 points.

1st Neil Skilton (8) 42pts

2nd Jim McFarlyn (28) 36pts

3rd Geoff Williams (12) 34pts

4th Bernie McCart (30) 33pts

Near Pins:  B3 – Neil Skilton; B8 – Peter Blackburn; C3 – Geoff Williams; C8 – Geoff Williams

Long Putts: B9 – Sandy Leiper; C9 – Sandy Leiper

The winner of the Compass Cap (awarded to the player with the worst score on the day) was Max Bracegirdle, making it two in a row and he once more accepted the “honour” in good spirit.  Hunter paraded Deefa the Dog who of course collected many donations to charity from our very generous Growling Swan crew.

Graham Buckingham, Graham Rice & Stu Rifkin.Graham Buckingham, Graham Rice & Stu Rifkin.

It would be remiss of me not to mention one of the fines for the day which involved one of our golfers absent mindedly taking his golf cap into the showers with him instead of his towel!  Not mentioning any names but his initials are Mike Gosden.

Thursday, August 16, Burapha, A & B – Stableford

Our recent monthly visits to the classy Burapha Golf Course have been proving very popular and today was no exception as we had 20 golfers keen to participate.  Unfortunately one of our regulars got his dates mixed up and having recently acquired a car he naturally drove himself to the course, but upon arrival at Eastern Star he discovered that he was just one day out (PSC Member’s Tournament the next day) which left us with one short.

Whilst assembling at The Growling Swan prior to departure we welcomed Scott Lobenwein, Graham Rice & Alan (Colonel) Sanders from Nth. Queensland, Australia, John Pierrel from the USA and Walter’s mate Phil Hail from Switzerland.  We bade a fond farewell to Geoff Williams returning to the UK and also Jim McFarlyn who is due to fly back to Australia on Sunday although he is having so much fun he says he may delay his departure – for the second time!  It was also appropriate to wish Walter Baechli good luck as he is off to the UK very shortly for yet another cycling tour.

We left the G.S. a couple of minutes early in 2 minivans at 8.27 am and in the blink of an eye arrived at the course right on 9.00 am.  Our scheduled tee time was 10.00 am so there was plenty of time for putting practice and then a quick word with the Starter enabled our first group to tee off 24 minutes early.

The weather was once more great and apologies for being repetitious but this lovely golf course was as ever in fabulous condition with lush fairways and perfect although mostly very fast greens.  Our group proceeded at a cracking pace and after completing the A nine in just on 2 hours we continued in the same vein on B nine & our full round was completed in exactly four hours.

Having a good field enabled us to have 2 grades with four podium spots in each.  A Grade was for handicaps 0 to 17 and B Grade for 18 and over.  We had nearest the pins on all the par threes, individually sponsored by Scott Lobenwein, Jim McFarlyn, Stephen Newton & Geoff Williams.  Also longest first putts on A9 & B9 sponsored by Sandy Leiper. Many thanks for the generosity of these guys.

There were count backs galore in deciding the winners on the day and in A Grade it was Stu “Heineken” Rifkin (18 point back nine) who emerged victorious with 35 points, winning the count back from John Pierrel (15 point back nine) in second spot.  With 2 golfers on 34 points it was Phil Hail (19 point back nine) who took third place from Neil Skilton (15 point back nine) in fourth spot.

In the B Grade another count back was necessary with 2 guys on 38 points; Graham Buckingham (20 point back nine) finishing first from Tom “T.C.” Cotton (18 point back nine) in second spot.  Completing the count back scenario, Scott Lobenwein (19 point back nine) finished third with Jim McFarlyn (14 point back nine) fourth, both having 32 points.

A Flight (0-17)

1st Stu Rifkin (16) 35pts

2nd John Pierrel (14) 35pts

3rd Phil Hail (17) 34pts

4th Neil Skilton (7) 34pts

B Flight (18+)

1st Graham Buckingham (22) 38pts

2nd Tom Cotton (21) 38pts

3rd Scott lobenwein (31) 32pts

4th Jim McFarlyn (28) 32pts

Near Pins:  A3 – Jim McFarlyn; A6 – Neil Skilton; B3 – Martin Todd; B8 – John Pierrel

Long Putts:  A9 – John Pierrel; B9 – Graham Buckingham

The winner of the Compass Cap was Graham Rice who insisted on wearing the Cap for several hours afterwards.  Hunter paraded Deefa the Dog who of course collected many donations to charity from our very generous Growling Swan crew.  We then of course retired to The Growling Swan for many beers & lots of laughs.

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]